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tv   U.S. Senate 10182017  CSPAN  October 18, 2017 1:30pm-3:31pm EDT

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education at school, long-term care, personal assistance from nurses and attendants, and may cover technology that helps them thrive. medicaid may also cover social workers to help parents of children with special health needs make sensible the bureaucratic red tape and get the services they need for their kids. medicaid provides these children with quality care. 92% of children enrolled in medicaid have had a primary care visit in the past year which is higher than families with private insurance. if medicaid is cut by $1 trillion over a ten-year period, children with special needs could be left to fend for themselves. what a terrible, terrible thing that is to do to families who are struggling today, to tell them that you are going to remove the support that they get
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for their child who has a disability. but it's not just the children who will suffer if this bill is passed, it is our parents, it is the senior citizen of -- it is the senior citizens of this country. what every person should know, and i think and i fear many do not know, is that medicaid now pays for over two-thirds of all nursing home care. so let's think about this for a moment. what happens if there is a $1 trillion cut to medicaid? what happens to our parents and our grandparents and people with disabilities in america who have their nursing home coverage paid for by medicaid today? now, mr. president, i may be wrong, but i don't recall there has been one hearing to hear from groups like the aarp, to
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hear from senior citizen groups, to hear from doctors, to hear from nurses, to hear from nursing homes, as to what the implications are of a trillion dollar cut in medicaid and what it means for the families in this country who have loved ones in nursing homes. now, there may have been a hearing. i don't believe that there has been. my republican colleagues are going through this disastrous cut without even knowing what the implications are, not having heard from one expert about what this legislation would mean. mr. president, all of us know that, tragically, our country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that has hit my state of vermont very, very hard, and it is hitting virtually the entire country. each and every day more than 90
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people -- this is really quite unbelievable -- but each and every day more than 90 people in our country die from an opioid overdose. nearly 90,000 people begin every day abusing prescription painkillers, and it is almost unthinkable, but true, that almost 600,000 people start using heroin every single day. how horrible is that. today medicaid covers one out of every three americans who are addicted to opioids. now, opioid treatment is difficult, it is expensive, it is not always successful, but i dare say there is not one state in the country -- i know my state is trying hard, we are doing better than most -- there is not one state in this country that can say they have the
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treatment capabilities for people hooked on opioids or heroin. if we cut medicaid by a trillion dollars, there is no question, none whatsoever, that there will be a massive reduction in the kind of care available to people who have opioid or heroin addiction. mr. president, i find it hard to understand why my republican colleagues would come up with legislation that would do so much harm to the working families of this country with a trillion dollar cut in medicaid, and some of my colleagues in a few moments will talk about a proposed $470 billion cut to medicare and what that would mean, all to give incredibly large tax breaks to billionaires like the walton family, like the
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koch brothers, like the trump family. and i would hope that my republican colleagues understand that what they are proposing is way, way, way out of touch with where the american people are. according to a recent poll, 60% of americans oppose cutting medicaid. recent "wall street journal"/nbc poll finds that 3% of the people believe wealthy should receive a tax cut. 12% believe that wealthy deserve a tax cut. in other words, what this legislation does is exactly the opposite of what the american people want, but on the other hand, we must be honest about it and acknowledge that we have an extremely corrupt campaign
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finance system, and as a result of citizens united, that disastrous supreme court decision, our campaign finance system has become even worse than it used to be. so here you have an example of where the american people say overwhelmingly, don't cut medicaid, don't cut medicare, don't give tax breaks to the rich. in fact, ask the wealthy to stop paying their fair share of taxes. that's what the american people are saying in poll after poll, but there is another group and we have to be honest about that, who do believe that billionaires should get more tax breaks and there is a group that believes we should cut medicare and medicaid. and, unfortunately, those are the people who make hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions to the republican party. those are people like the koch
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brothers and a few of their billionaire friends, a small group of people, half a dozen, ten people who will contribute $300 million to $400 million to elect candidates who represent the wealthy and powerful just in the two-year election cycle, $200 million to $300 million. this debate is not about what the american people want. the american people are pretty clear about it. it's really about what the billionaire class wants. the billionaire class, despite the fact that their wealth has increased, despite that they own as much as the bottom 90%, that is not good enough. the koch brothers are only worth $90 billion. how are you going to get by, mr. president, on $90 billion?
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how do you take care of the kids? how do you put gas in the car? only $90 billion. they need more. and if this legislation goes through and if the estate tax is passed -- and i know people think i'm not telling the truth, i am telling the truth because it is so unbelievable that anyone would propose this. the walton family, the wealthiest family in america, worth well over $100 billion could get up to a $50 billion tax break. the koch brothers, second wealthiest family, worth $90 billion, their family, their heirs will get over a $30 billion tax break. so from their perspective, putting a few million dollars to help elect some republicans is pocket change if your family is going to get a $30 billion tax break. so, mr. president, let me just say that the legislation brought forth is really quite per post
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russ -- it is built on giving tax breaks to billionaires, it is a theory that is fraudulent and hasn't worked. it is legislation, the legislation we are dealing with here does work well for the billionaire class in america. i have the radical idea -- i know it's a radical idea -- that maybe, just maybe the united states senate should pay attention to the needs of the middle-class and working class and lower income class of people, the vast majority of people, and not just for billionaires. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that senator warren and senator bennet be added as a cosponsor to restore cuts to medicaid, amendment 911. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. sanders: with that, i yield the floor to the senator from pennsylvania, senator casey. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague from vermont for his leadership on this amendment and his words today. i will have more to say about the amendment in a moment. i first wanted to ask unanimous consent that michelle roso of my staff be granted floor privileges for the duration of today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. as senator sanders mentioned, his amendment that we're working together on, amendment number 1119, will do the following, and it's right in the text of the purpose section of the amendment -- to provide additional resources to restore the $1 trillion in cuts to medicaid paid for by reducing the republican tax breaks for
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the wealthy. that's the -- the quick summary of what we're working on. i think it's also important to put this amendment in the context of discussions we're having here in the senate and i'm sure throughout the country, and that is the tax proposal put forth by the administration as well as the republican leadership, the so-called unified tax proposal. so this is a republican proposal that comes before the country, and you almost have to -- or i think it's essential to read both the tax proposal along with the budget that we're debating on the floor together in a lot of ways to describe what the tax proposal is all about, and i'll discuss it very bluntly in my own words, that this tax
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proposal is, for sure, a giveaway to the wealthy. the super rich do quite well, big corporations do very well, the middle class doesn't do well at all at the end of the day. why do i say that? there have been a number of analyses done under the proposal, there will be more analyses done when the bill is actually introduced. in terms of what's on paper now, you have, for example, the center for budget and priorities stating by the end of 2027, 80% of the tax cut gets to the top 1%. there's another analysis even more pointed in terms of the year. you don't have to wait until 2027 to figure out what's happening to the top 1%.
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here's what the tax policy center says with regard to the tax benefit that accrues to the stop 1% and that also would accrue to the top .1%. the top 1% is roughly those making above $730,000, the top .1%, of course, is even higher. here's what the tax policy center said in september based upon the proposal so far. their table two in the report says the following -- it says starting in 2018 -- the assumption here is that the tax proposal as currently crafted would pass this year, it says as of the 2018 tax year, the top 1%
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would get a tax cut of $146,470. that is the first year for the tax cut for the top 1%. how about the top .1%, an extraordinarily wealthy group of americans, they gets dz 747,000 -- $747,000 in tax cuts. that is in year one. we could provide more examples year after year after year. but you get the picture that a lot of revenue will be shifted -- a lot of the of -- of the tax cuts, if there are any, will be shifted to the top 1% and the .1%. well, when they do that -- when they have a proposal that points in that direction in terms of the tax bill, what happens in the budget bill that's related
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to that? well, it's very simple. the budget bill will cut medicaid, as senator sanders referred to, by over $1 trillion. the exact number is $1 point056 trillion -- $1 point 056 trillion to medicaid. for medicaid, the number is $473 billion in the budget. the difference between the two bills or the two proposals, really, the budget proposal is a bill. so we know the exact details there. the tax proposal has some specificity and some areas are not as specific. but the benefits to the wealthy are rather specific. so the republican plan is to use
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the proposed $1.5 trillion when you have the $1 trillion cut to medicaid to the $473 billion cut to medicare, roughly $1.5 trillion, they use that $1.5 trillion in cuts to those to programs to pay for the $1.5 trillion tax cut to corporatio corporations. i think that's obscene to cut those programs and then use those dollars for a corporate tax cut. notice nothing about that is connected to the middle class. nothing about that is focused on folks who are trying to get into the middle class. it's really a corporate tax cut paid for by cuts to medicare and medicaid. i'll limit my remarks today to medicaid because that's what this amendment is about. this amendment seeks to restore
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at least the medicaid cut of $1 trillion. so that's what we're focused on. what is medicaid? well, there are a lot of ways to describe it but medicaid covers 40% of all the children in the country. and if you're in medicaid and you have the opportunity to bring your child to the doctor and get checkups and all of the benefits that you get from medicaid, you get to benefit from what's called early periodic screening diagnosis and testing. so a child who might be from a low income family and is in the case of medicaid, that child from a low-income family not only gets coverage but benefits from the early screening, early diagnosis, early testing. all of those benefits come to that child. so 40% of the nation's children are covered by medicaid.
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the other number which is rather startling is 60% of all the children in the country with a disability are covered by medicaid. of course, that's not limited to children from families that have lower incomes. you could have a family that has a rather high income, middle class income or much higher than that who might have health care through their employer. but if their child has a disability, especially a profound disability, they rely upon medicaid. so that's the program we're talking about. we know as well that medicaid covers half of all the births in the country. millions of births every year that are covered by medicaid. how about nursing homes? medicaid pays for nursing home care for our parents, our grandparents, our family members. if that were not the case, on
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average you would see something on the order of $75,000 in terms of annual expenses that would force countless middle-class families out of their homes and deplete hard-earned savings. so that's a big expense were it not for the benefit of medicaid in the context of long-term care in a nursing home. the other 45% in addition to paying for 45% of all the births, the other 45% is the 45% of school districts in the country that use medicaid funds to pay for medical and therapy services for kids in school who are receiving special education. so we could go on and on. one other point, i mentioned the 60% of children with disabilities are covered. the medicaid program also makes it possible for millions of
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people with disabilities, including adults, to live in their own homes, to have the dignity of staying in their own homes, even with a disability. it also makes it -- medicaid, i should say, also makes it possible for those with disabilities to get to work and to be an active part of the workforce. medicaid provides that as well. the program helps fund schools to be able to provide the physical, occupational, and speech therapy services to students with disabilities. so for all those reasons and more, what we seek to do with this amendment is to restore the more than $1 trillion cut to medicaid. we all have the opportunities or have the opportunity in the senate to receive letters from constituents, folks who send us letters, handwritten, sometimes typewritten, sometimes by way of e-mail or otherwise from constituents who communicate to
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us about issues of the day. one of the most compelling letters i've ever received in the context of health care and in particular the context of medicaid was from pam simpson. she's from southeastern pennsylvania. pam wrote to me and described in rather specific detail about the challenge her son rowan faced as a child with a disability on the autism spectrum and what his life was like before medicaid and what his life was like after medicaid. i won't dwell on the before. i'll focus on how his life changed with medicaid. pam tells me that in late january of 2016, she applied for medical assistance for her son rowan. she goes on to talk about the wraparound services that came from medicaid after her son rowan was enrolled, which
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included a behavioral specialist consultant and a therapeutic staff support worker to help her son rowan. it said that the behavioral specialist evaluated rowan while he was at day care and, quote, put a -- i should say a treatment -- quote, put a treatment plan together to help guide the therapeutic support who was then able to provide support to rowan while he was at day care. the wraparound services have been a godsend, unquote. that's what we were told in the letter from pam simpson. mr. president, i'll conclude because i know we're short on time. pam simpson described the before and the after. and then in the letter she was pleading with me to make sure that i don't take any steps that would cut medicaid. she talked about the adverse impact on her family, obviously
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the adverse impact on her son rowan, the recipient of medicaid, but she concluded the letter this way. she said, in addition to reminding me about his circumstances and hers, quote, please think of my 9-month-old daughter luna who smiles and laughs at her brother daily. she will have to care for rowan later in her life after we are gone. overall, we are desperately in need of rowan's medical assistance and would be devastated if we lost these benefits, unquote. that's one mother from one family talking about the adverse impact of cuts to medicaid. so i'd urge my colleagues to support this amendment to make sure that $1 trillion is restored that has been taken away from the medicaid program in this budget bill that we're debating today. and with that, mr. president, i
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will yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i can assure our colleague from pennsylvania that nothing in this budget resolution will deprive any person of the benefits they receive under medicaid. no one. this budget resolution will not do that to anyone in the country. i can promise you that. it is ironic, though, to hear colleagues talk about cuts in medicaid when no one's proposing cuts in medicaid. no one. all we're talking about is reducing the rate of increase in the growth of a very important and necessary entitlement program. these same children some day when they grow up are going to
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have to pay the money back that we've borrowed in order to sustain these programs today. and so we need to look at the whole picture here and to learn and to figure out how we can meet our current needs but also be responsible enough not to spend money today that our children and grandchildren are going to have to pay back tomorrow. mr. president, i came to the floor to talk primarily about tax reform because that is going to be the task we undertake following the passage of the budget resolution. the president of the united states invited the members of the senate finance committee over to the white house, and i just returned from that meeting. it was a bipartisan meeting of the tax writing committee in the united states senate. that's what the senate finance committee is. and we heard during the discussions how the president said his preference would be for this to be done on a bipartisan
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basis. and there was no one there present who said we insist that this be done on a partisan basis. in other words, everybody there agreed with the president that it would be better for the country, we be able to come up with a better product, and it would be durable, it would be sustainable if in fact we were able to do so on a bipartisan basis. so taking that to heart, chairman hatch who's the chairman of the senate finance committee, has previously stated his intention to have an open amendment process in the senate finance committee. typically what happens is there's some base bill sometimes referred to as the chairman's mark that's a starting place for legislation in our committees. and what we are going to do is come up with what we think represents the closest thing to a consensus of those who are interested actually in pro-growth tax reform, what that
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would look like, and then open it up to democrats and republicans alike to offer their amendments to change it. and if they have a majority vote in the committee, it will pass and change the bill. if they have a vote and it loses, then the bill will stay as it is. i'm, frankly, a little bit surprised to hear from some of our colleagues that they actually want us to avoid the committee process, and we want to come out on the floor and come up with a bill that we all 100 senators can agree to. well, that's a terrible way to operate, and it's basically a recipe for failure. so what we need to do is return to what we call around here regular order, which all that means is let's go through the traditional process of legislating, moving bills through the committee, letting everybody participate, and then the majority leader can then bring a bill to the floor with the same opportunity to offer
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amendments, to have votes. if you get a majority vote, you win, and your amendment is adopted. if you lose the vote, then it's not. it doesn't change the content of the bill. i just -- i really wonder whether we ought to go back to that old cartoon that talks about how a bill becomes a law. i remember when i was growing up, i'm just a bill on capitol hill or whatever the lingo goes. some people have seen that on the internet, even some of the pages here who are much younger than i am are shaking their head indicating they recall that. but that's how legislation becomes a law. and our colleagues across the aisle act like this is a revelation, this is somehow unprecedented and is a terrible way to do business. well, i think consistent with what the president has requested and what we would like on a bipartisan basis, let's give
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that a try. let's give that a try. that's what we talked about over at the white house, and i think we owe it to the american people. and honestly, i think if we were able to come up with a bipartisan tax reform bill, the country would be astonished, would be shocked, that we're actually working together in the best interest of the american people rather than relying on the same old tired talking points and this sort of -- and that's sort of ensconced in our own bunker, lobbying shots across some demilitarized zone at each other politically. the american people, i think, are tired of that and, frankly, some of us who have been here a while are frustrated by the lack of productivity and by resorting to the same old tired talking points, living in these bunkers
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and not getting as much done as we need to for the american people. but there's a good reason why large-scale changes in our tax code haven't been made since 1986, and that's because it's hard. it's hard to get a consensus on a bipartisan basis, but it's long overdue. and the american people are demanding it. the first step in the process of passing tax reform, pro-growth tax reform that will leave you with more of what you earn in your pocket will actually raise the living standards of hardworking families, the first step is for us to pass a budget resolution this week to give the congress the tools we need to get the job done. now it may very well be, well, i can hope anyway, that we won't need to resort to what's called the technical tools that we get from a budget resolution, the reconciliation instructions, where we can actually do this on a bipartisan
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basis. but if we can't, then this budget resolution will provide a road map for tax reform and provide a pathway fo get our federal spending under control. not by cutting, by reducing the rate of growth in some of our programs. i don't know anybody who believes that the current tax code is working. one of them, one of the flaws in our tax code is that it favors production overseas as opposed to buying and building in america. and it keeps trillions of dollars that could be brought back here and used productively to growing businesses and creating jobs and increasing wages, it keeps that money overseas. keeping your corporate headquarters in dallas or denton instead of delhi or dubai shouldn't be a disadvantage although that's what happens under our current tax code. of course we know for every provision in the tax code, there's some lobbyist, some
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entrenched special interest that's going to fight like the dickens to keep that provision in the tax code. and we've already heard from some of the lazy arguments and the scaremongering that are always based on unjustifiable smudgeses. in this -- assumptions. in this case there are people who say if we let people who keep more of what they earn, they say it won't change their behavior at all. they say if you let businesses keep more of what a business earns that they won't invest it in their own business and create new jobs. and i think that just defies common sense and it defies experience. that's why you see on the business side countries like ireland, who used to have one of the highest tax rates in the world, or the united kingdom cutting their business tax rate because they realize that brings businesses to their country. it creates jobs, and it helps grow the economy and make a lot
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of other important things possible. two recent studies illustrate why the naysayers are off base. one is the white house council of economic advisors shows a clear negative linkage between corporate tax rates and real wages. it shows reducing the corporate rate -- this may seem not obvious on its face but this study says by reducing the business rate from 35% for corporations to 20%, it will translate into a minimum of a $4,000 increase in income for the average household. the second study comes from another expert at boston university that concludes that lowering the corporate rate from 35% to 20% will mean a rise in income of $3,500 per household. now this used to be a bipartisan acknowledgement. i remember 2011, president
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obama gave a speech to the joint session of congress where he acknowledged that we needed to cut our business rates to bring that money back here onshore and to keep our businesses from moving to other countries. i mentioned several times on the floor recently that i was shocked when i read an article a couple weekends ago that said that i.b.m., one of the largest corporations in the world, has more employees in india than it does in the united states. i'm sure that's caused by a number of factors: access to workforce, well-trained workforce, cost of doing business. it has to be influenced by our highest tax rate in the world. these authors say the new plan that had been proposed by republicans raises the growth of economy between 3% and 5% and
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real wakes -- wages between 4% and 7%. in other words, if you cut corporate rates from the highest in the world to 20%, it raises wages of workers from 4% to 7%. both of these studies suggest tax reform will benefit working americans. and i have to tell you that the president made this point over and over and over again just at this meeting we had this morning. he said i'm not interested in giving tax breaks to the wealthy. he said i want more middle-class, hardworking families to see the benefit of tax reform. he said people who are wealthy are doing just fine. he said they don't need any help in the tax code. but what the people who do need help are hardworking families who are seeing stagnant wages or seeing their standard of living decrease because of their high tax rates.
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so who in good faith could stand in the way of this happening? who would stop us from giving workers a raise? well, we're ready for, to hear all the preaching. i know it's coming. but that shouldn't deter us from doing our designated task here. we shouldn't allow petty ignorance to go unchallenged in a sort of deliberate class warfare that pits different taxpayers against each other. we should not tolerate that. let me conclude because i know other colleagues want to speak. the american people are anxious and they're frustrated. they're upset with what they see happening in washington. or i should say not happening in washington. the reason is because they want us to realize the two points i just mentioned. they're waiting for us to get it
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and to base our fiscal policy on what is honest and true. we can't ignore this issue any longer, and we will not. first, by passing a budget resolution this week and then moving on a bipartisan basis through the senate finance committee, the house ways and means committee to come up hopefully with a consensus tax reform plan that will get our economy growing again and allow hardworking american workers to keep more of what they earn and in the process help improve their standard of living. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. scott: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, so often when you hear folks speak in washington, it sounds like we're only speaking to ourselves because most people around the country simply cannot understand what we're talking about when it comes to tax reform. we talk about repatriation and going from a global system to a
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territorial system and preventing inversions and the number of cohorts on the individual side and pass throughs and corporate cuts. talking about static wars versus dynamic scores. too often too many of us speak in a language that no one truly appreciates or understands. from my perspective, tax reform is really about two very simple pillars. the first pillar is how do we increase the take-home pay of the average person in this country? and how do we make sure that the jobs of the future are created here in the good old u.s. of a. mr. president, i was privileged to grow up in a home with a strong, powerful, optimistic mama. she raised two boys on her own. and i will tell you that when you think about the challenges
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of single moms today, i think about the one that raised me. i think back to the times when she was working 16 hours each day three days a week and eight hours a couple days a week. she was a nurse's aid. she wasn't an l.p.n. she was not an r.n. she wasn't even a c.n.a. she was a nurses aid which means for several hours a day each shift she changed bed pans, she rolled patients over. when i think about the average single mom with a couple of kids in the household whose average income today is less than $36,000 a year, i think to myself how are we going to make sure that that single mother takes home more of her
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hard-earned money. tax reform is the fastest way for us here in washington to actually translate our activities to that household. if we take less out of her paycheck, she gets to take home more of her money. some have joked about the fact that i said hashtag keep yo money. why did we say that? it's the way we speak at home, number one. number two, it simplifies and crystallizes who we are talking about. we are simply talking about single moms like mine. we're talking about folks who work hard every day. strapped, challenged with very little margin in their schedules and even less in their paychecks the average american, i heard, somewhere around 50% of americans do not have $500 in
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their savings accounts. when we are talking about tax reform, we are talking about increasing the margin for a family. the second major pillar of tax reform is simply making sure that the jobs of the future are created here at home. well, simple question: how do you do that? the answer is even simpler. when you look around the global, you find very carefully and critically and simply that there are countries who have a tax rate on their business production around 12.5%. the competition for countries like ours, they say the oecd high-income countries -- there are about 39 in there -- the average tax rate is 22%.
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our corporate tax rate is 35%. it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the difference between 35 and 22, yes, is 13%. but more importantly, it's fewer jobs created here at home. this is the problem that we should solve. we solve that problem by making sure that our corporate tax rate is competitive with our global competitors. common sense some would suggest. i would suggest they're right. but not only that, whether you are on the left or the right, economists on both sides -- and our current president, trump, and our former president, obama, agreed on one thing that we should all stop and celebrate when we have agreement on both sides. they both say that the corporate
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tax must come down because a part of who pays the price of the corporate tax are the workers. some would say 25% of the corporate tax is paid by workers. others have said it's 80%. here's what we know. our workers in this country take home less of their money because our corporate tax rate is too high. we can do something about that. so, mr. president, when we talk about tax foreman, when we talk about the importance of inversions being eliminated and satisfying the need to grow our economy, let's keep it simple. let's talk about moms and dads, my mom, single mom, income under $36,000. can we make sure she takes more of her money home so she can take care of her two kids?
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the answer is yes. and we should do that asap. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. a senator: pleased to follow the distinguished senator from south carolina and appreciate very much his remarks. while he does such a good job of really explaining why this tax is so very important. mr. hoeven: i rise today as well to talk about the need for tax relief and to talk about how our tax code is now both outdated, it's very complex, and, again, as my esteemed colleague from south carolina said, it is time, it is past time to provide tax relief for our nation's families, for our farmers, our ranchers, our small businesses.
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and that's what this is all about. passing this budget sets up our ability to provide that very much needed tax relief for our hardworking citizens. as i say, it's past time to modernize our outdated american tax code and bring it into the 21st century. we need to do so to ensure that american businesses can compete on the global stage. it is a global economy, and we must compete. and it's very much focused on our efforts to bring that tax relief to middle-class families that have been struggling to get ahead and stay ahead over the last decade. as i say, the senate this week is taking a very -- the first step and a very, very important step to enacting tax reform by enacting and passing a budget resolution which provides a path toward improving our economic growth and putting more money
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back into the pockets of the hardworking american people. voting for this budget will enable us to move forward to enact that tax relief again, not only for our families but for farmers, for ranchers, for small business across this country, and small business is the absolute backbone of our economy. that's where the vast, vast majority of jobs are created, and that's very important to understand and realize that this is not just about tax relief, making sure that after taxes, hardworking americans keep more of their money in their pocket, again as so eloquently detailed by the senator from south carolina, but it's also about growing our economy, right. this is also pro-growth. this is about stimulating economic growth, meaning more jobs, and as the businesses that create those jobs invest the capital, create those jobs, as
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they compete for labor, that would also boost wages and mchigher. so think about it. for that hardworking american, it is not only about reducing his or her tax wurd burden. it's about increasing their wages and income. that's the rising tide that lifts all boats. so it's both. it's both about improving wages and income as well as reducing the tax burden. recently released tax blueprint proposes sweeping tax reform tax relief that will benefit working families and small businesses across the country while promoting job creation, economic growth and global competitiveness. this country was built on hard work by individuals and families who strive each and every day to make ends meet, provide for their loved ones and plan for retirement, but this past decade has seen too many families struggling to get by. the current tax code is complex,
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it's riddled with loopholes, and that not only does nothing to help our hardworking families keep more of their money, it makes it very difficult to even fill out your tax return. the tax loophole will help individuals and families in -- will help by creating new jobs with economic growth. it will also help lower their overall tax burdens as they keep more of their paycheck. for example, by doubling the standard deduction, we'll eliminate taxes on the first $12,000 earned by an individual and $24,000 earned by a married couple. effectively establishing a zero percent tax rate up to $24,000. this means that the nearly 81% of north dakotans that claim the standard deduction, again, my state, will see a significant increase in their take-home pay.
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and that's true across the country. our tax framework aims to generate greater opportunities for small business owners and farmers, helping them to become more competitive. remember, we all compete in a global economy now, so how do we help our farmers, our ranchers, our small businesses become more competitive? small businesses represent nearly 96% of all employers in my state. while we have fostered a business-friendly environment in north dakota, the federal tax code continues to place undue burden on our small businesses that operate across north dakota and across the other 49 states. and that includes our farmers and ranchers who can pay a marginal tax rate as high as almost 45%, which is nearly twice the rate in the rest of the industrialized world.
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the tax framework follows an example that we have set. the tax framework that we have proposed will restore economic opportunity and, as i say, enact a pro-growth tax code for our country. last week, i hosted tax reform sessions and roundtables across north dakota to hear directly from our small businesses and also from ag leaders, our farm leaders on their priorities. i want to talk about some of those priorities in agriculture for just a minute. agriculture's number one in north dakota. we're a huge energy state as well, but agriculture is and always will be number one in our state. and so when we talk about tax relief, we need to talk about tax relief for our farmers and our ranchers. the right tax reform will help our farmers continue to provide the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world, which benefits every single american every single day.
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so that includes reducing the tax burden on these hardworking farmers and across the board small businesses. like i say, the job creators in our economy, in our country. and the biggest way we do that is we drop that rate for small business to 25%. that is a huge step forward, a huge step. not only making our farms, ranches, small businesses across the country more competitive, but generating that economic growth that is so important for job creation and higher wages. another important issue is in this framework, we eliminate the death tax or the estate tax. the death tax can result in double and sometimes triple taxation for income. for example, an individual's wages are taxed when they're earned. interest, dividends, and capital gains from saved wages are taxed
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again. so the death tax hit those earnings again when an individual dies. the average farmer today is 60 years old. the average farmer is 60 years old. and we continually see less and less young people able to get into the business of farming, with a tax code that disincentivizes passing down the family farm or to the -- the family farm to the next generation, how do we expect to feed our nation and in fact the world, which is exactly what we do? yesterday, -- the estate tax also stifles economic growth and reduces our nation's competitiveness. a study by the joint economic committee in 2012 found that the death tax had destroyed $1.1 trillion in capital stock in the economy, and of course less capital investment means fewer jobs. eliminating the death tax will encourage individuals to save
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our economy and according to the tax foundation will increase the capital investment reinvested back into our economy. additionally, many of our producers, our farmers, and other small businesses do not have access to the equity they need to operate, and so they rely heavily on debt financing to fund their businesses, and that's particularly true for new and beginning enterprises. our tax code should incentivize our nation's entrepreneurs to start their businesses, farm operation, and to allow them to grow and prosper. that's why it is a priority, certainly one of my priorities, that as we do tax reform, is that we maintain the ability of these businesses to deduct from their taxes the interest they pay on their debt in order to maintain the -- a level playing field for small business. think about a family farmer out there. when a family farmer needs capital, it's very hard for him to go out and get equity, right? so they have to borrow that
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money in order to buy equipment and invest in their enterprise, and that's why the interest deduction for farmers is so very, very important. they don't have access to that equity capital. they have to borrow their money. that's a huge cost of their operation, and that's why the interest deduction for our farmers and for our ranchers is so very important. also expensing. and this is important for farmers and ranchers. this is important for all small businesses. being able to expense what they invest into their business makes a huge, huge difference. equipment, business supplies, other capital expenditures could be very, very costly. for example, a new combine nowadays probably costs about half a million dollars. now, for a farmer to come up with a half a million dollars to buy a combine, which he obviously needs, is hard to do unless they are able to expense that investment and deduct the interest on the debt that goes with it.
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the tax framework we propose would allow businesses to immediately write off the expense or cost of new investment in business assets, effectively reinvesting in our nation's businesses and help drive economic growth. it will allow businesses to increase investment, again increase job creation and wages. and i would propose that we have got full expensing for the first five years, that's great, but we should also on a long-term basis keep the section 179 expensing provision that we have worked very hard to make permanent, and that should be retained in this new tax code for the long term. as we get beyond the first five years as part of tax reform and tax relief that really works for our ag sector. so these are some of the priorities we'll be working on to include in our tax relief package to ensure that our farmers, our ranchers, and our
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ag industry continues to remain strong, and really the leader worldwide when it comes to, as i say, not only producing the highest quality but the lowest cost food supply in the world that benefits every american every single day. tax reform is about getting the american economy going and growing. it's about creating jobs. and it's about creating jobs here at home, not overseas, bringing that capital that's stranded overseas and repatriating it back to america and creating jobs in this country. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work together. we need to pass this budget, and we need to pass tax reform for the hardworking people of north dakota and for hardworking americans across this great country. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you, mr. president. i am very pleased to be here on the floor of the u.s. senate with my colleagues, the senator from north dakota who just talked a lot about the -- some of the details but also some of the results of the tax reform that we're talking about. i also was very inspired to hear senator scott from south carolina talk about how he believes and i believe that tax reform for someone like his mother, who was a nursing assistant, raising two boys as a single mom, will have great impact to her. so we all have a story to tell, and that's why i think this tax reform bill that we're talking about will be, can be, and should be very impactful to
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everybody across this great land. my colleagues and i have talked a lot about this over the last several weeks, because it really presents just an incredible opportunity for us to make a difference in every american family. every american business and individuals from all walks of life. just last week when i was home in west virginia, i had a small business roundtable. i hosted about seven or eight owners of small businesses, and we sat down to just talk about tax reform and what kind of impacts this would have on them, their businesses, and the people that they employ. and it didn't take long because the first question i asked right off the bat is what does tax reform mean to you. well, they didn't say tax breaks for the wealthy because that's not what they believe, and that's not what i believe. we had a woman who had a family-owned business who employed six people in a kind of
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highly technical small manufacturer. she said what tax relief means to her and her small business is that after she trains people, it takes a year and a half to train, they, a lot of them, will leave and go to a bigger company because they are searching for a higher wage. she said what i'm going to be able to do, what i'm going to be able to do is reward the good workers in my business and raise their wages so they will stay. i almost closed my book and left. i said, well, do i need to hear anything more, because this is what the impacts i think tax reform will have on small businesses. i had another person there who employs 36 people in a communications company. what does tax reform mean to you? she said well, i have two locations. i have 36 people evenly split between the two locations. but in communications, you really have to modernize your --
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your i.t., you know, for graphics and to be able to do the best communications and advertising that you can do. it's expensive. it's really expensive. she said what tax reform means to me is i'm going to be able to modernize my infrastructure, my i.t., my software, and still keep the 36 people that work for me, and she said i'm looking next year to hire another six, and this gives me the certainty to be able to do that. well, i almost closed my book up and left then. what toes that mean conscious does that mean -- what does that mean? someone's creating that software, hopefully in this country, and somebody will be the beneficiary of that increased investment in a small business. so i heard about raising wages. i heard about what economic growth will do to a small business in a small state. i heard senator hoeven say 96% of business in north dakota is
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small business. well, we're one down, 95% of small business in west -- of business in west virginia is small business. these efforts will be about transforming our economy. for too long we have been living with a stagnant economy with too few opportunities and with the feeling that people feel like they can't get ahead. rural america has really felt like this and many of the communities in my state and around the country have felt these effects of this stagnation, of this lack of confidence, of this feeling that you can't get ahead. you're not ready to spend the money, number one, you don't have it because you're paying too high taxes, and, number two, you don't want to spend it because you don't have the confidence the economy will move. that's what this is about today. we have a chance to create
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opportunities, and develop pro-growth solutions. we haven't done this for decade and it is way, way past time to make a system that is more transparent, a system that is simple. you know, that's something i don't think we talk about enough is tax simplification, how welcome that will be to probably everybody seated in the gallery today and millions across the country when they look at the time, effort, and money they spend to prepare a complicated tax code when tax simplification would free them from a lot of that burden. but most of all, weep want a -- we p want a system -- we want a system that is fair and puts more money in the pockets of those who earn it. i think -- what would you do with it? i think everybody would come up with something they could do, whether they might want to save for retirement, they might want to go on vacation, they might
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want to do repairs to their home, they might want to buy new shoes for their child, a new car. there are all kinds of ways that people are holding back because they don't have the confidence. if they have that money in their pocket, they will invest in their lives, families, home, and their businesses. before we move forward, we must pass this budget. this budget resolution before us today reins in federal spending and provides new prospects for our businesses and our families. it paves the way for tax code overhaul and paves the way to better prosperity. i heard the senator from texas say weed love to have -- we'd love to have a bipartisan tax reform in front of us, we should, when we see what the results of this will be, we should be able to join together. but we need this budget resolution to make sure that what we've talked about for more
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than several months and a year is going to come to fruition. a vote for this budget is a vote to provide tax relief for hardworking, middle-income americans. it's a vote to lower taxes on families with children, and it's a vote to incentivize companies to invest domestically an create jobs -- and create jobs in this country. thas what they tell -- that's what they tell us they want to do. i believe that with the investment in this country with their capital and their people is a much more solid investment for their company's future than anything outside this country. it is thard to believe any -- hard to believe that any of my senate colleagues would not want to support these goals. this will create a -- an opportunity to change the tax code and move our country
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forward. i urge my colleagues to vote for the budget, to begin the process of delivering tax reform that will help so many people in my state of west virginia, but across this country. we cannot -- we cannot let this opportunity slip by and i'm going to do my best to make sure that it doesn't. thank you. i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i call up the following amendments en bloc and ask consent that they be reported by number and that the rollcall votes in relation to the amendments occur in the order listed, hatch 1144, sanders, 1119, nelson, 1150, heller, 1146, sanders, 1120, and collins 1151. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the amendments by number. the clerk: the senator from wyoming, mr. enzi proposes en bloc amendments number 1144,
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1119, 1150, 1146, 1120, and 1151. mr. enzi: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. while senator enzi is on the floor, i want to thank him for taking us through this very important vote today. i want to talk a little bit, maybe in terms of people can understand what's going on here -- what will be going on over the next few days. what we're doing right now is passing a budget, and our budget's no different than your household budget. when you sit down and figure out over some period of time how much money you have and how much money you need to spend, where maybe you need to spend more and where you need to spend less, that's what we're doing with
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this budget. this budget is not the tax reform bill. that will come after we pass a budget. but if we don't pass this budget, there's no possible way we can pass tax reform. that's why i support this budget and that's why i'll work to defeat any amendments that will keep from this budget from being passed because then we can have an honest discussion about what we need to do around tax reform. the senate from south carolina talked about why he supports tax reform, and that's somebody we should listen to. he came up through truly humble means. you have people come on this floor and they talk about how people supporting tax reform are just doing this for the billionaires and the rich. i would encourage you to go out to the internet and tell me about senator scott's story. he's here to help the little guy. he's here to help the economy going to get people back to work.
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he's here to create opportunities for wages to go up. he's here to do what we've been promising for 20 years and haven't done -- almost 30 years. and over that span of time, america has lost traction as the greatest economy that's ever existed. and as tax reform measure, after we pass the budget, is to really get to a point is for states like west virginia -- senator capito said that 98% of the jobs in west virginia are small business. how can anybody say that senator capito is supporting this for the corporations. they don't exist in any large numbers in west virginia. in my state, 80% of the jobs created are small businesses as well. anybody can suggest that there are those of us coming to the floor to talk about tax breaks for the rich and corporations need to go back and look at our states and whose struggling and
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who we're trying to help. we get to the tax reform bill after we pass the budget, and that's why i'm going to support the budget. now, to some-my colleagues on this side of the aisle. you know, the founding fathers did strive and created a more perfect union, but they created an imperfect democratic process. this is the sausage factory we call democracy. it's not intended to be perfect nor does it produce anything that's perfect, legislation, something that's done and you never come back to. but those of us who come to this floor and say unless i can have that perfect, i'm not willing to support the good, they really lead in to go back and rethink why they are here. we're heror start fulfilling promises. you don't do it by coming on the floor and say i only want to do tax reform, but only if it's the perfect solution. you start by make being progress and build on that progress, you start getting the economy to grow and use those resources to
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better fund those who are most challenged and use it to give people the opportunity to realize the american dream the way i did back in the 1980's. that's why we have to set aside our personal preferences for something far better than something that will probably ever come out of this chamber but will fulfill the promises we made to the american people. when we get past the budget, and we're going to do something called vote-a-rama tomorrow. it is an interesting process mainly because it's a bunch of votes that don't mean anything. people will file a bill, it will go up or down, and even if it goes up, it doesn't have the force of law. at the end of the day the only thing that matters is the final vote, and that's the vote on the budget. that's something that every person in this chamber should support and then we will move on to tax reform that has a
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meaning -- that has meaning to the poorest people in this country. it's not about tax breaks for the rich, it not about tax breaks for corporations. it's about small businesses in west virginia and north carolina, south carolina, across this nation that need help. it's about those employees that, if we do this right, will be making more money. they'll have more money to pay their bills. it's about making a conscience decision about how much money we can spend on medicaid to be absolutely certain we can full ill fill -- fulfill the promises challenged by it. it is about making the promise it those on social security and medicare to fill the promises that we -- fulfill the promises that we made. this is about how much medicaid should grow to be certain that those programs will be there 10, 15, and 20 years from now. so if you have an opportunity to sit up in the gallery and pay attention these words, go back and fact check some of what is being said, go back and look at
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the background of some of the members on this side of the aisle who support tax reform. they grew up as the little guy and in challenged situations. they represent states where the vast majority of the people in those states are themselves challenged. how anybody cans isly come down and -- sincerely say this is about the rich, this is about the corporations, ought to come down an spend time in west virginia, georgia, alabama, south carolina, north carolina, i come from the southeast and those are the ones that come out of my mouth, but i worry about all of those little businesses and all of those challenged people, and this budget lays the groundwork for us to put meaningful policy in place for the first time in 30 years that is sincerely attempting to fulfill the promises of politicians made every single day. mr. president, i hope all of our members will come down here and accept the fact that perfect
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doesn't have to happen, good can happen, and it will help by passing tax reform and it will help the most challenged among us. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, some of our republican colleagues said in the last couple of days that the budget debate is all about getting to tax reform. the fact is this is the fast lane for a partisan process for dealing with taxes. when it comes to the republican plan, you get a lot of rhetoric, a lot of happy talk. you hear that it's the biggest tax cut ever. you hear it's about the middle class. this morning the president tweeted the democrats will only are vote for tax increases, but that rhetoric is just out of touch with reality. for example, our 2015 bill, which i was the lead democratic sponsor, cut taxes $650 billion, and it went to the heart of the needs of young people in this
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country with the american opportunity tax credit, the earned income tax credit, but it also helped farmers, farmers who were concerned about expensing, the research and development credit for our innovators. that's the kind of approach that we ought to take that's bipartisan, that helps people in this country, everybody have a chance to get ahead. the fact is the tax code on the books is now a tale of two systems. there is a strict mandatory system for a cop or a nurse. their taxes come right out of every paycheck. it's mandatory. no special cayman island deals for them. but then there's another set of rules for the high fliers, the most fortunate. they can pretty much with good lawyers and accountants, they can pretty much decide what they want to pay and when they want to pay it. that is the rotting source of
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unfairness that is at the heart of the american tax code. that's why so many hardworking americans think they are getting a rotten deal every april 15. that's the brand of unfairness that ronald reagan was interested in going after but somehow we can't get that same kind of spirit from republicans at this point on this tax bill. the trump tax cut doubles down on the rotten unfairness in the tax code. it is a multitrillion-dollar handout to those who are the most powerful, and it's very generous to those at the top of the top, which is why this amendment with senator sanders is so important. the trump tax plan at this point doesn't just fail to close the most egregious loopholes.
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it enshrines them for good. so the amendment senator sanders and i are putting forward is pretty simple. it says we're going to put the focus in this tax bill on the middle class. we're not just going to focus on people at the top, and that's why the amendment creates a point of order against a plan that gives a tax handout to the top of the top of the income spectrum in our country. if you're a middle-class family as of what's on offer now, the republican plan giveth with one hand and take away with another. your standard deduction might be doubled but you're going to lose personal exemptions. and if you come from a state with a significant state and local tax structure, you're going to find it very hard to get ahead. and that's what we want to change. we don't want a scheme that
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hides the true multitrillion-dollar cost of the tax giveaway of those at the top. we want relief to go to folks in the middle. i close by saying the sanders-wyden amendment is based on a simple principle, and that is we want to expand the winner's circle for working families, those without lobbyists, those without clout to have a chance to get ahead. they've been left out of the economic winner's circle for too long. we want to put a focus on those people who have felt the panic of seeing the cost of rent and college and medicine go up and up and up. tax reform should be about helping them. that's what the sanders-wyden amendment proposes. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise to speak in support of my amendment, amendment number
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1144. this legislation is designed to do two things. it's important for us to consider this. first, it would protect medicaid for our nation's most vulnerable citizens, namely, low-income children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with disabilities. those are important, vulnerable citizens, as far as i'm concerned. in addition, it would strengthen medicare in order to help protect health benefits for current and future beneficiari beneficiaries. make no mistake, mr. president, our nation faces a growing entitlement crisis. and medicare and medicaid are at the heart of it. under obamacare, medicare enrollment is increased by 25% due to thexpansion of the program in 32 states.
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between 2014 and 2015 alone, expansion states received about $79 billion in federal funds. the problem, mr. president, is that even before obamacare, medicaid was plagued by quality issues and states' hands were tied whatever they tried to advance innovative solutions to improve patient care. and of course even before obamacare, medicaid spending at both the federal and state level was growing at an astronomical rate. contrary to popular myth, obamacare did not fix this. it made things worse. as chairman of the committee with jurisdiction over medicaid, i have been working with a number of my republican colleagues as well as state officials, stakeholders, and the american public to find solutions that will improve the
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equality and ensure the longevity of the medicaid program. that work will continue into the future. medicare is a separate problem entirely. everyone knows that. when it comes to medicare, we are on a collision course with fiscal and economic catastrophe facing us. over the long term, medicare faces more than $33 trillion -- that's with a t -- trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities according to the independent actuaries at the centers for medicare and medicaid services. in the nearer term, the medicare trustees project that medicare part a which deals with in-patient hospital payments will be officially bankrupt in 2029 resulting in steep benefit
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cuts for seniors relying on the program. even a number of prominent democrats who recently served as medicare trustees have recommended swift legislative action to, quote, minimize the impact on beneficiaries, providers, and taxpayers, unquote. put simply, we need to address the fiscal challenges facing these programs if we're going to preserve them for future generations. and despite the claims of a number of my democratic colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we can't even make a dent in these problems by focusing solely the tax side of the equation. i know many like to claim that every wrong will be righted and every problem will be solved if we'd simply raise taxes on rich people. but anyone who has spent more than five minutes looking at the
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fiscal condition of our federal health programs will tell you that that is preposterous. the money just simply isn't there. the republican budget acknowledges this reality. my colleagues would argue that the budget would cut medicare spending, but that isn't true. in fact, under the budget medicare spending would increase every year, though at a slightly lower rate in order to introduce some level of fiscal sanity into the process. all told, the budget would slow medicare's rate of growth by about 1% compared to the c.b.o. baseline. furthermore, the budget resolution does not propose any specific problematic - owe chans to medicare or medicaid even though my friends on the other side of the aisle like to argue otherwise. let me be clear on another point.
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despite a number of claims to the contrary, the budget resolution does not -- it does not rely on savings for medicaid in order to provide tax relief. my colleagues, the ranking member of the budget committee and the senior senator from florida have proposed amendments to dramatically increase taxes to the tune of about a trillion dollars for medicaid and a half trillion dollars for medicare over the next decade in order to double and triple down on this particular set of problems. on the failed policies that have made these programs unsustainable in the first place. these are not serious proposals, mr. president. they are poison pills designed only to give the other side a
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round of partisan talking points that are really ridiculous. a vote for my amendment is a vote for a stronger, more fiscally sound safety net that preserves medicaid for our most vulnerable citizens, keeps our promises to medicare's current beneficiaries, and strengthens the program for those who will need it in the future. i urge all of my colleagues to vote in favor of my amendment. its ea good amendment -- it's a good amendment. it's the right thing to do. it makes -- makes us better prepared for the future. and every one of us would be proud, it seems to me, to vote for it and to solve these problems that that amendment will solve. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan.
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ms. stabenow: i would ask unanimous consent for two minutes to speak, please. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr. president. first, let me say the people of michigan and our country deserve a better deal than what is in this budget. there are a number of concerns i have, but i want to mention three big ones that i'm proud to join with colleagues on amendments that would address them and votes that will be coming up. the first is the fact that this budget would take $473 billion out of medicare. i offered an amendment in committee to make sure that wouldn't include privatizing medicare, but that was voted down. so that is certainly something that could happen. $1 trillion in medicaid cuts as well. in michigan, three out of five seniors in nursing homes are there with the help of medicaid health insurance. this is children, families, senior citizens. there will be an amendment offered that senator nelson and i, senator sanders offered to
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take out this cut for medicare. there will be one offered for medicaid with senator sanders and myself and senator casey to strike that. second, 80% of the tax cuts built into the assumptions in this budget go to the top 1%. what does that mean? well, it's a trillion and a half dollars that goes to folks making $700,000 or more. that's at least a $200,000 tax cut per person. we commonly call this trirkle-down -- trickle-down economics. so far it's never worked. people in my state are still waiting for it to trickle down. we have an amendment as well to remove this provision, and put the tax cuts into the pockets of middle class taxpayers. finally, this plan overall increases the deficit, even though it cuts medicare and medicaid, it also increases and explodes the deficit by $2.4 trillion and we also will be
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addressing that as well. overall, unfortunately, this budget proposal is paid for in terms of the big tax cuts by our senior citizens, single parents who are affected, and middle-class families. i would urge a no vote. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. a senator: we want them to create jobs right here in america and not overseas but let us not forget the true engine of our economy and that is our small businesses. ms. collins: we need to provide true tax relief to our small business, the job creators in our economy.
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i rise to discuss my amendment which is number 1151, which would create a deficit neutral reserve fund to support small business tax relief while preventing wealthy taxpayers from sheltering income from taxation at the appropriate rate. it would send the message that through tax reform, we can help our small businesses thrive and be the engin of job -- engine of job creation and growth all across our country. small businesses make an outsized contribution to our economy. according to the small business administration, small businesses employ nearly half of all workers and generate two out of three net new jobs each year. nationwide they generate nearly half of our private non-farm
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g.d.p., one-third of our nation's export value. and the state of maine is truly a small business state with nearly 300,000 of our residents employed by our more than 141,000 small businesses. that's nearly 60% of our wor workforce. most small businesses, mr. president, are organized as so-called pass-through entities, meaning that their profits are passed on to their owners and reported on individual income tax returns. under current law, this income is taxed at individual rates which can reach nearly 40% at the federal level and can be significantly higher than the corporate tax rates that larger firms face. given the administrative costs of these high tax rates, small businesses are forced to devote more resources to compliance and tax payments and fewer resources
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to creating good jobs and investing in their local communities. it's no wonder that a recent survey by the national federation of independent business found that concerns about federal taxes on small businesses ranked third on the list of the top ten concerns. with tax reform, we have the opportunity to fix this problem. the presiding officer: all time for debate is expired. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the remainder of my statement be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 1144 offered by the senator from wyoming for the senator from utah.
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utah utah mr. president, i yield. -- mr. hatch: mr. president, i yield. the presiding officer: the majority of time is yielded back. the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: speaking in opposition to the hatch amendment, mr. president, the amendment from the senator from utah speaks about, ,quote-unquote, strengthening and improving, end of quote, medicaid and medicare. you don't strengthen and improve medicaid by cutting it by $1 trillion. and you don't strengthen and improve medicare by cutting it by $469 billion. that's an orwellian language. we should vote down this amendment and pass the sanders
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amendment which says let us give no tax breaks to billionaires while we cut medicaid. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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