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tv   U.S. Senate 10192017  CSPAN  October 19, 2017 9:29pm-10:49pm EDT

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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change his or her vote? if not, the yeas are 51. the nays are 49.
quote
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the concurrent resolution as amended is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: tonight we completed the first step toward replacing our broken tax code by passing a comprehensive fiscally responsible budget that will help put the federal government on a path to balance. the budget also gives us the tools we need to strengthen our economy after years of stagnation under the previous administration. we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to replace a failing tax code that holds americans back with one that actually works for them. to middle-class families across america, we have a very simple message: we want to take more money out of washington's pockets and put more in yours. now with this budget, we're on
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a path to delivering much-needed relief to american individuals and families who have borne the burdens of an unfair tax code for entirely too long. so i want to particularly thank chairman mike enzi and the members of budget committee and the staff for their extraordinary work on this budget. now, mr. president, i ask the chair to lay before the body the message to accompany h.r. 2266. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: resolved that the house agreed to the amendment of the senate to the bill h.r. 2266 entitled an act to amend title 28 of the united states code and so forth and for other purposes with an amendment. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 2266 and i send a cloture motion to
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the desk on the motion to concur. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion: we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 2266, signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur on the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 2266 with a further amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky moves to concur with the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 2266 with an amendment numbered 1568. mr. mcconnell: oi ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on the motion to concur with amendment.
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the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? yes, there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, proposes an amendment numbered 1569 to amendment number 1568. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to refer the house message on h.r. 2266 to the committee on appropriations with instructions to report back forth with an amendment numbered 1570. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell moves to refer the message to accompany h.r. 2266 to the committee on appropriations with instructions numbered amendment 1570. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my motion. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be.
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the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have an amendment to the instructions. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell proposes an amendment numbered 1571 to the instructions of the motion to refer. mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays on my amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. mcconnell: i have a second degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell proposes an amendment numbered 1572 to amendment numbered 1571. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i just want to take a few minutes following the remarks of the majority leader to thank chairman enzi, the bill manager, and the whole budget committee for the tremendous work that's been done on this budget resolution.
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i also want to express my gratitude, our collective gratitude to the budget committee staff that's done just such her heroic work to get us thus far. this might be the well run time during my time of the senate. certainly the fact that mr. enzi has gotten us to this point this time of night, i think he is to be commended for that. the resolution has gone through regular order from the start working its way through the budget committee where amendments were considered and adopted from both sides. chairman enzi has been a very effective floor manager as we've been considering the budget resolution, obtaining consensus from both sides of the aisle to ensure that the senate has considered a number of amendments in a timely fashion, something that's not so always common around here. so i just want to take a moment
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to note the great job that the chairman has done in getting us to this point. because as we all know, without a budget resolution there will be no tax reform. so this is the first step to getting us to pro-growth tax reform which will unshackle the sleeping giant of the american economy, something from which we will all benefit, all americans will benefit. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president. mr. president, having been away for awhile from the senate, i'm pretty amazed to come back today and see a budget that is passed that throws away years, years that i've listened to here of rhetoric about fiscal conservatism. the senate passed a budget that adds $1.5 trillion --
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trillion -- to our national debt. a budget that sloshes seniors' health care by $473 billion. it decimates the medicaid program for parents and grandparents in nursing homes and those who are disabled and those who are among the poorest with cuts of over $1 trillion over the next decade. in total, the republican budget would cut more than $5 trillion over the next decade from education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and other programs that all americans rely on. so the question many new jerseyans will be asking me is: why? why do republicans in congress add $1 trillion, $1.5 trillion to our national debt while slashing the medicare program? and the answer is simple.
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we're on a pathway to provide massive tax breaks to corporate interests, special interests and the wealthiest 1%. this has been a republican agenda for as long as i can remember. what i find most galling is this budget plan is meant to set up a special process we know here as reconciliation to pass the trump tax plan, a plan which by their own admission will raise taxes on middle-class families. so think about that. the republican party is not adding $1.5 billion to the debt to pay for massive tax breaks for the wealthiest among us. i should say trillion. $1.5 trillion to the debt to pay for massive tax breaks for the wealthiest among us. they aren't even guaranteeing that middle-class taxes won't go up. what the republican budget fails to realize is that budgets are not just about numbers. budgets are about people, their
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hopes, their dreams, their expectations for a better life for themselves and their children. so my view is this budget sells america short. it's not what the american people believe our collective values would be. hardworking families want us to work together and pass a budget that addresses their concerns. they want safe communities, not a budget that threatens to cut the firefighter grants stretching local budgets thinner. they want peace of mind when they reach their golden years, not a budget that raises their health care costs. they want a tax proposal that cuts taxes for the middle class and working people, not more tax breaks for the folks that have been rigging the system against us. people are willing to do their part, if everyone is sharing in the sacrifice. but this budget fails that test. it fails to recognize that we are all in this together and should benefit together, sacrifice together, each of us
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working for the betterment of all of us. in another area where it's critical that we come together not as 50 separate states but as the united states of america is to help the 3.5 million american citizens living in puerto rico. and i have serious concerns that the current disaster relief package currently being considered by congress falls far short of that. tomorrow will mark one month, one month since hurricane maria devastated the island of puerto rico, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction, despair and suffering. one month later and still 88% of our fellow americans in puerto rico don't have power. one month later and still one-third of the island lacks access to clean, safe drinking water. and outside the city of san juan, the situation is even worse as nearly two-thirds of people still remain without
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water. so let me just pause for a moment to think about that. think about it. an entire month without clean water, without water to bathe, to cook with, or simply to drink. how many of us can even imagine such an existence? more than half of the island's cell towers are down, which is not just an inconvenience, it's a threat to safety. imagine the sense of isolation and desperation when your power is out, when you've run out of potable water, none on the way, and you can't even call for help. as bad as it looks on tv, the situation on the ground as i saw it is tragically worse, and i'm concerned that the package we're considering now is both inadequate in scope and unfair in treatment. inadequate because it's just a fraction of what puerto rico needs to recover. unfair because it treats the people of puerto rico different
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than florida and texas even though they are united states citizens. while all three areas were devastated by natural disasters, only puerto rico is being required to pay back federal disaster assistance. that's right. unlike florida and texas, the majority of puerto rico's assistance is coming in the form of a loan. while there are a lot of things the people of puerto rico need from their federal government, one thing they absolutely don't need and simply can't afford is billions of dollars of more debt. and this isn't a normal disaster loan. no, just like everything else with puerto rico, this loan comes with a major stipulation. while disaster loans are normally forgiven according to a standard formula under the stafford act, this package overrules long-standing law and leaves the decision entirely in the hands of the secretaries of treasury and homeland security.
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and while disaster loans are normally used to help people be able to be safe and start the recovery process, this legislation gives the secretaries of treasury and homeland security the authority to control how puerto rico spends the money. so if secretary mnuchin decides that some or even all of the loan should be used to pay his friends on wall street, there is nothing puerto rico can do to stop him. if he decides that debt bondholders are more important than those who are suffering in darkness, there is nothing they can do to stop him. so instead of being treated like the rest of the country, puerto rico's left at the mercy of treasury secretary mnuchin. they're at the mercy of someone who made his fortune off the backs of seniors and hardworking families who lost their homes in the foreclosure crisis. do we really think that someone who callously rejected the pleas
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of struggling families to save their homes and instead put them on the fast track to foreclosure is going to suddenly change now for the 3.5 million american citizens in puerto rico? does anyone really believe that he is going to put the people of puerto rico first? what a tragedy it would be if instead of helping our most vulnerable citizens this loan was used to pay in whole or in part off vulture funds. we need people saved, not bondholders. we need a response that answers puerto rico's call. and instead of continuing to treat puerto rico like a foreign country, make them start a tab at the u.s. treasury while they are vulnerable and pleading for help, we need to treat them just like their fellow american citizens in florida and texas. we need to provide unconditional assistance, real dollars to rebuild roads, the electrical grid, and put people back in their homes and businesses.
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we need to address the massive medicaid cliff which is forcing even more doctors and nurses off the island and threatening the health of the people of puerto rico. and we need strong protections to make sure that disaster relief stays with the people of puerto rico and where it's needed the most. so, mr. president, let me close by saying i grew up believing that the united states was the greatest country that has ever -- the world has ever seen. i still believe that today as strongly as ever. ultimately, our response as it relates to the people of puerto rico is not just the people of puerto rico, but about all of us. it's about our values, who we are as a people, who we are as a nation, how we respond to this crisis will test the collective conscience of our nation, and it will define us. as i have said many times, i
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have never shied away from voting for flooding in the mississippi, wildfires in the west, for hurricanes like katrina, and any other natural disaster that has faced our country with our fellow americans. i was amazed when i had to struggle and fight here on the senate floor when for the first time in, i don't know, in my lifetime that we had to fight to get assistance for super storm sandy in the area. it took a major fight with people voting no, even though i always voted yes. now, the people of puerto rico don't have a united states senator to cast their vote for them or to raise their voice for them. but for so long as i am a member of this chamber, i am going to continue to prick the conscience of the senate to understand that if we go down, walk to the vietnam wall and see those names, a disproportionate number
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of them are americans of puerto rican descent who wore the uniform, gave their lives, made the ultimate sacrifice. they didn't leave the conflict early. they gave it their all. we cannot leave them early, nor should we leave them short. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. mr. enzi: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i am going to contain my remarks to the budget and its process. for several days, in fact, for several weeks, i have been of listening to the same rhetoric of what this budget will do. this budget is a special process. it does outline a plan for what we can do over ten years. that's a long time.
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i don't know that we ever make it past the first year. in fact, some budgets don't last more than 40 days before we waive the budget. but we need to have a blueprint, this is a blueprint that covers ten years, and in spite of some of the rhetoric that this bill will not do any of the things that have been claimed. the reason it will not do any of the things that have been claimed is that anything in the budget requires action by another committee before it can be done. maybe they will take what we had in the budget and do that. usually they don't. if they did, we could balance it, in this case, over a ten-year period. that's too long. interest is going to eat us alive before that time. we're going to have to do something else. now, i remember when president obama came into office, he had an idea. he said the economy was too
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sluggish, so he was going to do a stimulus bill. they are complaining about this trillion and a half, perhaps, that might be part of the flexibility for doing tax reform. we did more than that in stimulus, and it didn't work. it went in the hands of a few people. some of it never did get used. some of it went to very few people. it was supposed to be shovel-ready projects. some of those projects haven't been done yet. so that didn't work. we have had a slow economy. in fact, it seems to be slowing down, not speeding up, until last november. last november, people showed a sign of hope, and the economy started going the other way. it's reflective in the stock market and some of the commodity prices because they felt that those could be produced again.
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and we decided we had to try a different approach. a different approach is to try to put the money in the hands of the hardworking americans. that's the middle class that some of the people talked about. it's the poor that some of the people talk about. it's everybody. when we do tax reform, it will affect everybody. in fact, there are even some studies that show that when you do the corporate tax, it increases money for individuals. individuals that are working because it will drive up -- there will be more competition for people and it will drive up wages. some economists have pointed that out. but rather than argue with the congressional budget office about how much the change is going to be, we said go ahead, do your static one just as throw no change were made at all. and we're willing to bet that there will be a very slight increase that will cover what
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we're talking about as a possible deficit, and that deficit will not develop if we increase just a very small amount in productivity. now about every economist says how come you're picking such a low number? well, we try to be conservative and hope that the number goes four or five or six points higher than that. if it does, we'll have money to start paying back some of the debt. if it just stays at my estimated conservative amount, at the end of ten years, we'll have a surplus of $197 billion. so we have a chance to put america on a different route, one that will increase jobs, one that will get money into the hands of the people, realizing that they probably know best what to do for them and their families than we do. and i do hear a lot when i go
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home about different government programs that aren't working, and in my studies, i have found that we not only have programs that aren't working, we have got programs that nobody ever takes a look at. and we have got programs that have a lot of duplication. 160 housing programs. now, there is really only five things that those 160 programs do, so shouldn't we have just five of them? and maybe have them specifically and all under one agency? and set some goals and see if they meet those goals. i was visiting with a lady from africa who happens to be in charge of finance in her country, and she said, you know, we have performance contracts in our country, and a performance contract means that everybody, including the towns, do a list of what they are going to get done during the year, and
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then -- because they are smaller than the united states, once a year, they get everybody together that has a performance contract, and everybody reviews their performance contract. so if you didn't meet your performance contract, there is a little bit of public embarrassment. we don't even check to see if they did it. we don't even check to see if they have a plan. we've got to change that, and some of the things in this budget will allow that to happen. i appreciate the way that we finished up in committee. i allowed the other side to see the budget early. normally, they get to see it after opening statements are done. imagine that. do the opening statement about what you think's going to be in the budget. although some of the speeches that i have heard around here act like they are still thinking that something might be in the budget that isn't, but i got to see it five days early in exchange for submitting their amendments, which is what every other committee does, submit the amendments early and then we can look through them and see how
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much duplication there is. and some that can be accepted from both sides. as a result, we started with over 150 amendments, and we voted on 25, and we took five from the other side, making it a bipartisan budget. but nevertheless, we brought it after the committee process, we brought it to the floor. we have had an open amendment process today. in fact, the way that the rules are on this, after we voted on the last amendment -- of course, before we voted on final passage, but after we voted on the last amendment, somebody could have said wait a minute, i have got one more, and they could have gone on all night. but again, we had i think a civil process today that resulted in us being able to finish at what would be considered an extremely early hour. there was a little different
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tone to the amendments than what i have seen before, and i think people will agree with that, and that's that they were focused on the actual items in the budget, not the gotcha amendments. usually they say that person is up, and they have this little soft spot, so if i throw in this amendment, they will be on record of probably having to vote against it. or they will vote for it, and that can be used against them. either way, they would be able to use it. i didn't see those amendments this time. and i appreciate that. i appreciate my colleagues for their consideration, their cooperation, and a lot of patience that have got us to this point. i thank senator, leader mitch mcconnell for allowing senators to do our job, to do them in committee, to do them here on the senate floor. this commitment to an open, honest, and transparent legislative process is crucial to helping congress restore the
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trust of the american people. i also owe thanks to the outstanding members of the senate budget committee who fought so hard and so tenaciously to outline a plan that could balance the budget over the next ten years while providing the tools needed to reform our tax code and boost the economy. and the presiding officer was a part of that committee and one who just finished presiding was a part of that committee. i appreciate the careful and calculated way that they -- they looked at it and provided suggestions and then asked good questions at hearings and helped come up with that budget. so thanks as well are due to the many members on this side who came and spoke on the budget's behalf, who offered amendments to make it better. well, almost always to make it better. who worked with each of us and each other to move through the resolution's debate and the vote
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process together. i'd also like to focus for a moment on some of the staff who helped lead us here. i want to thank the republican staff of the senate budget committee. that's betsy mcdonnell, my staff director, who is relatively new to the position but you would never know that. the way that she took a hold and with her knowledge and friendship among people, again on both sides of the aisle. she she's been able to work some wonders where we had the least votes in a vote-a-rama that i think we've ever had. that came from her being able to combine some of them but also to help them redraft so that they were covering a different area than somebody else might be covering, which eliminated some of the repetition. my staff director, matt grow who is the deputy staff director. and then paul vinva ch, joe,
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jim, steve robinson, greg deanglo, tom bourque, richard berger, jeremy delrimple, allison, will morris, sue towson, well , kelsey and our i, katherine and jake and max. quite a team that have been doing a lot of work both daytime and night and while the senate has been out of session. so i'd also like to offer a special thank you, though, to eric euland who previously served as my staff director and he's been nominated for a post in the administration. he's still kind of waiting for his vote here which we're delaying a lot, not on his but apparently on all of them. eric has played an important
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role in this committee and throughout his time in the senate. two years ago eric was instrumental in helping congress approved its first balanced budget since 2001 which represented an important step toward putting our country on not just another course but a better course. he's careful, precise, dogged in his work. he has a tremendous history of the senate and particularly the budget process. i especially appreciate his understanding of the complex senate rules and the precedence along with the budget act. and i wish him godspeed on his next position in service to our great nation. as well, thanks are due to my personal office staff who have to carry a load because i'm not there. i'm working on the budget stuff. but they keep me well informed so that we're progressing on some of the state stuff at the same time. but particularly have to thank my chief of staff tara shaw who
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because the new administration came in and they liked the employees that i had working for me, they hired many of them away and we had to find replacements. and she did an outstanding job of that. she's helped to kind of hold me together during this whole process, and gives me outstanding advice so that i know not only what i'm doing but why i'm doing it and again has a tremendous history of what i've done before which helps me as a good reminder. she's not standing chief of staff. i also want to include my legislative director. when you're a budget chairman and worried about some of the numbers, can give the legislative director a heart attack because as budget director, you have to vote against some that have some unusual numbers to them, but it might be something people in wyoming are interested in. and is able to resolve some of those conflicts.
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i always support wyoming as i've mentioned, that anything that happened in the budget process, there's another process that actually will require some votes to finish up anything that's in there and we'll see that everything there comes out in wyoming's favor and the rest of the nation. i'm not trying to do anything really partial, just our part of our country. although a lot of the things i work on have to do with very rural places where the least populated -- places. we're the least populated but the sixth biggest state in the nation so we have a lot of open space we invite people to. i also want to thank bart, liz, natalia, anelia butler, charlie carol, shauna, chris, erin, and dillon. i also want to thank my communications director, coy kanoble and our press team max
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and richle. and -- and rachel. and the west of the wyoming team. i have a bunch of team in wyoming. they gather and work on case work and they do an outstanding job doing that i also want to thank the budget committee's bipartisan staff, which would be kim, katie, george, grace, and kevin, as well as celine who has been on loan to us from the printing office. you can tell around here it takes a lot of government printing. now, we've also been supported by the great work of our leadership, the floor and the cloakroom staff. i thank them for their continued good work and dedication to this institution and the country as a whole. i in particular i want to thank sharon, hazel marshal and jane lee and brendon dunn in the leader's office. monica, john and emily in the whip's office and especially
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lauelaura dove who really runs s place. she has a history both from when her dad was the parliamentarian and i'm sure it was dinner table talk that has led her to know a lot of the preferences. i've seen when we had discussed something and somebody disagreed with her, she was able to go -- pull out a manual, turn almost instantly to the page and say here it is. does an outstanding job of helping us to stay on the right track. also, robert duncan, chris tuck, megan mercer, tony hannigan, mike smith, katherine killroy and chloe barrs in the cloakroom and of course i would really be remiss if i didn't thank the senate parliamentarian elizabeth mcdonough and her team along with our bill and amendment clerks who kempt us on the straight and their -- kept us on the straight and narrow. i particularly want to point out
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our senate parliamentarian who really has to go through the technical details of every sentence of everything that we do and when you talk about a file cabinet of ideas that are all contained in one place, she does it. she knows precedent. she's been working a long time. you have to be something that really likes detail work and pressure because when somebody comes in, they don't say take a look at this and maybe i'll see what you think next week. no, they want to know right now what you think. and fortunately, she's able with a very great personality to be able to say not yet. and then she does her research and comes up with some great -- not ones we always agree with but some great explanations for any decision that she makes. and we really appreciate that. so you can see that it takes a
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whole lot of people and i haven't had a chance to get the list of the people from the other side of the aisle that have been working on in some cases countering what we're doing and keeping their people informed. but that's -- that's the senate. there's all these people behind the scenes that are helping to make it work and to do it right. that's the important thing. we want to do it right. now, i think that we could work together a lot better if we were able to work in smaller bites. i get a little upset when we do comprehensive stuff around here. i've watched so many times when we take a comprehensive bill and soundly defeat it or narrowly defeat it but we defeat it. i've figured out when you do something that ought to be in separate bites, that this piece loses five votes and this piece loses ten votes and this piece loses 12 vote votes and pretty k you don't have a majority
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anymore but if you do it in bites and lose eight bites, that isn't a big deal. losing 12 votes isn't a big deal but getting them done would be the big deal. so if people would settle for working one issue, kind of sticking to that issue instead fd saying -- and of saying well, i have to amendment nobody will like but it's an important bill, i can work it in there and nobody will hardly know. that's not legislating and we shouldn't be operating that way. we should be doing an item at a time in bite sizes so the american people can understand it and getting it done. and i've been keeping a lot of people that have done a great job here late, including the pages. so rather than go on, i've bhaid it -- i've made it til after 10:00 so you don't have to have class tomorrow morning. and so with that, i'll close and relinquish the floor.
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there's probably some closing -- oh, i'm sorry. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, as we've just seen, there is no more decent or honest senator in the united states senate than the senator from wyoming who just spoke, and that's why we were able to expedite the process tonight. it may seem like we're here late but frankly, we all expected to be here til 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. instead we worked things out and you saw an example of why we did. both here in committee and on the floor, senator enzi was able to work with people, be fair, honest, and that pays off. it gave everybody a fair shot. i will also say that he has produced a budget that does balance which i think most americans agree with. as he said so well, the budget is a framework so the budget itself does not have specific policies in it. in fact, those would have to go to other committees to be passed and then passed by the full senate and the house and signed into law by the president. what it does do is it prepares
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this body to do something really important and really exciting. and that's the opportunity to reform our broken tax code. it's so important because it will give us a shot in the arm in terms of our economy, get this economy moving again, and because it's going to help people who have been left behind in this economy. really when you look at it over the past 15 years, so many people i represent and represented by the other members in this whaim better have not -- chamber have not seen their wages go up. in fact, they have been flat. and what has gone up? expenses, health care expenses more than any, it's the single biggest increase people see in their family budgets. but also food, medicine and, frankly, tuition. so that's the middle class squeeze. flat wages, not seeing more takehome pay and yet seeing higher expenses. what we have the opportunity to do in the tax reform bill that is made possible by the budget that was passed tonight and
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again the budget is a framework. it doesn't mandate things. the most important thing i think we did tonight was we set the stage for commonsense tax reform that's essential to this effort to grow our economy, to create more jobs and to create better jobs and increase wages for middle class americans. we heard a lot of discussion tonight about it adding to the deficit. i will add to what has been said already. if we do this tax reform right, it will not add to the deficit. in fact, i strongly believe it will actually reduce the deficit over the next ten years. why do i say that? because i'm going to talk for a second about some of the things that are in good pro-growth tax reform that we are planning to implement here that will actually grow the economy. that will result in what? more economic activity and more revenue coming in to the treasury. so if you assume as the congressional budget office does they're only going to grow this economy 1.9%, that's a pretty paltry amount. 1.9% over the next ten years,
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way below what the average has been for the past 30 years. then let's say all this tax reform we're doing only grows the economy by a little bit more. let's say .4%. so instead of 1.9%, let's say we grow the economy at 2.3%. that's a very conservative estimate i believe based on the kinds of things we're talking about. that will mean we actually not only have a revenue neutral tax reform proposal, but we begin paying back some of the national debt by having a deficit once again as it was back in the years 2000, 2001 be unified on a unified basis a zero deficit. so this is an exciting opportunity, to help people be able to seek their goals in life but also to actually help with regard to the budget deficit. so i agree with the chairman on that. i think we have an opportunity here if we do the right tax relief to really help to get the budget deficit down. so how does this comprehensive tax reform help the middle class? we talked about this a little
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bit today. some of us offered amendments. i offered one with regard to the business tax side of things. but i think it does it in three ways. first, it immediately helps the family budget by cutting middle class taxes. so everything that's been laid out in terms of the proposals tonight on the tax side talk about the fact that for families who are working families in this country who are making $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year, they will see reductions in their taxes which will help the family budget. the tax code, of course, is very complicated, too burdensome. one thing we are proposing is to double what's called the standard deduction. what does that mean? that means for people who take the standard deduction now and two-thirds of the people i represent do, they'll be able to have a doubling of that from $12,000 for a family let's say up to $24,000 for a family. that's a zero tax bracket for the first $24,000 in income. that's significant middle class tax relief. second, we're going to expand the child tax credit. that's really important, not just to.very leaf but -- to
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provide relief but help to provide child care and adjust the bracket so people who are beyond the standard deduction, doubling of it, and who don't take advantage of the child tax credit also get tax relief. so these are ways in which folks are going to see immediate help to the family budget. it's more than that. it's more than that. i think frankly the most significant part of this reform is going to be giving the economy that shot in the arm and helping to increase jobs and improve wages. that's going to happen, i think, through the business tax relief that we have talked about. first with regard to smaller companies, the so-called pass-through companies. about three-quarters of the companies in america pay their taxes as individuals. this is the corner drugstore. this is the small manufacturing business in your town. those folks are going to see a reduction in their taxes on their business income so they can invest more in that business and create more jobs. a lot of the growth is going to come from meese smaller businesses. that's the -- these smaller businesses. that's the 25% rate people are
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talking about as compared to, say, 35% or a higher rate for individuals. that is something that is fair in part because we're also going to lower the rates for people who are in the larger businesses. these are the c corporations that are being talked about. that rate has to come down. if not, america will continue to lose jobs and investment overseas. that's what's happening right now. in the last 24 hours, another major american company announced they were inverting, going overseas, why? because of the tax code. it is amazing that the tax code that this congress is responsible for improving is so bad that people are actually voting with their feet and leaving the country and taking jobs and investment with them. we have done research on this, investigations on this. we know what is happening. we know as an example that because of our tax code there are almost 5,470 companies that have become foreign companies that would otherwise be foreign
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companies. think about that. that's the ernst and young study we recently saw. we know for a fact it's not just about these companies leaving america and going to the other countries and doing these so-called inversions, becoming a foreign company, but it's also foreign companies coming here and taking over u.s. companies, and again what's happening here is you see jobs and investments going overseas. why is this? it's for a couple reasons. one is that american companies have the highest tax rate in all the industrialized world. the 35% tax rate you hear about, that's a high rate compared to every other country in the world that we do business with. that's a negative. but it's also how we tax. we tax in a way that discourages us from bringing profits back to america, to a point that unbelievably there is between 2.5 trillion and $3 trillion, some say more, of earnings that is stuck overseas locked out of america that could come back here to expand plant and equipment and jobs, to actually get this economy moving.
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this is a huge opportunity for us. we don't want to see these companies go offshore. we want to see them come back. trade policy is important, regulations are important. worker retraining programs are important. health care cost containment is important, but nothing is more important than fixing this broken tax code if we're going to see the kind of economic growth and improvement in wages that we all hope for. there have been a lot of studies done on this. it says since we haven't changed our code since the mid 1980's, every other one of our competitors have. they have all lowered their rates. they have all gone to a system of taxation tha more efficient to get this money back to their countries. in 1986, ronald reagan was president. he made some great changes. that was 31 years ago. things have changed a lot since then. by the way, back then, pete rose was still playing for my cincinnati reds. that's how long ago it was. it's time for us to update this tax code, to modernize it and to bring back those jobs in that investment, and we can do it. we can do it because of what
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happened tonight. this creates the framework for us to be able to do this. in a recent business roundtable survey of 150 american companies, these are the c.e.o.'s, 82% said the tax reform that we're talking about will prompt them to increase capital spending. three-quarters of them, 76%, said it's going to increase hiring. with this reduced tax burden, businesses are going to have the money to invest in their workers. i will tell you, with the tighter job market that's out there now as the economy has begun to improve, this will increase competition for workers, and this will increase wages. we know that's going to happen. every economist agrees that this kind of tax reform is going to change behavior. now, some might think it doesn't improve the economy as much as others do, but everyone believes that this will incentivize us to create more jobs and improve wages here in the united states of america. there is a group called the congressional budget office, nonpartisan group we work with. they have a study that says as much as 70% of the benefit from that lower corporate rate is
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going to go where? to the workers, in terms of higher wages, better benefits. that's the way we're going to help the middle class also. not just with regard to the tax relief directly but with regard to helping to improve job creation and increase wages. so i'm excited about this. i think it can happen. i think it's something that is long overdue. i think it's something, frankly, that should be bipartisan. this is what the simpson-bowles proposal which was a totally bipartisan proposal said we ought to do. in fact, they took the top rate down to 28%, lower than anybody is talking about here. but they said we should go to this kind of taxation we're talking about in terms of international businesses, in terption of corporations, in terms of creating jobs. two years ago, i worked with chuck schumer, who is now the democratic leader here in the united states senate, and we were asked to cochair a working group on taxation, particularly folks on the international side, and we came up with a consensus that said we've got to fix this broken tax code. it's not working. we need to bring this money back
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and bring these jobs back if we're going to this kind of system we are talking about, a so-called territorial system. in the past, this has been bipartisan, and my hope is it can be again. yes, the budget provides the framework for us to get this done. not on a 60-vote basis but a 50-vote basis. we should do it with more than 50 votes. we welcome input from our democratic colleagues. i believe in the end this will be bipartisan because i do believe the vast majority of americans out there as they understand this tax reform proposal will say yeah, i think middle-class tax relief makes sense. and, yeah, i think we should be bringing back the jobs and the investment to this country. and i think that's going to be something that members will hear across this country and across this aisle. and when they do, i believe we'll have the opportunity to have the kind of commonsense, bipartisan tax reform we need in this country. we need to do it to be able to have a thriving american middle class, and we need to do it to have a stronger america. i'm excited about this opportunity. i look forward to working with
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my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. mr. president, i yield back my time on that, but i have another matter that i need to do the closing business. mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate now proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following senate resolutions which were submitted earlier today. s. res. 298, s. res. 299, s. res. 300. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the senate will proceed to the measures en bloc. mr. portman: i ask unanimous consent that the resolutions be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, all en
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bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 3:00 p.m. monday, october 23. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. further, following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of the house message to accompany h.r. 2266, with the time until 5:30 p.m. be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. further, notwithstanding the provisions of rule 22, the pending cloture motion ripen at 5:30 p.m. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 3:00 on, thank
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you, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: thank you very much. mr. graham: thank you very much. >> the senator from south carolina. >> thank you very much. i would like a few minutes here to support the efforts that the budget resolution. i'm on the budget committee. it provides a pathway to balance 197 billion-dollar surplus in 2027. it allows for tax cuts and to those republicans and democrats you are welcome to join. it's a only way we are going to meaningfully get a tax cut that passes the budget reconciliation structure. this bill allows us that
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structure. i hope republicans and democrats join us. if we don't pass this budget we can't cut taxes unless you get 60 votes. our friends on the other side, it'soi going to be hard to get y democrats i think for a meaningful taxey cut. they are not bad people. they just see things differently. when they spend money they think that's good. they don't worry about the deficit the only cut taxes the deficite is another thing. my belief is not only will we not have the deficit we will have a surplus in this budget does two things. it restraints branding -- spending and actually creates a system for tax cuts to spuror economic growth. he could just grow the gdp number by 1% that's trillions of dollars in o revenue and to thoe who are interested in this we are growing at 1.9% of gdp per year over there last eight years
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years, sometimes under and sometimes a bit under. if we could get back to 3.2% gdp growth that would need trillions of dollars coming into the treasury and i believe president trump is trying to deregulate america after eight years of regulation but he can only do so much with an executiveec order. senator sullivan the presiding officer talked about the opportunities in alaska. i've learned a lot about alaska. they are a is 750,000 people living in the state twice the size of texas, beautiful as it can be an environmentally one of the qualities you want to preserve but a lot of natural resources good to the people of alaska and united states as a whole. every barrel for we can extract from alaskan environmentally sound way. we are going to be using oil and gas for a long time to come.
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alaska has been blessed with natural resources and i think senator sobel explains how there and extraction process and it would be insane to take alaska export -- oil exploration off the table.tr in that area of russia's all over the place and trust me they don't care about the environment environment. one thing this budget doesn't do it doesn't change the budget control act straygur is one member of our caucus who claims that this budget is somehow fiscally irresponsible. it's not. actually leads to a surplus and there's nothing in this budget that allows more defense spending. government contingency operation money set aside for military and state department to deal with the wars we are fighting. they are not part of the budget controlav act so anybody who suggests this authorizes an explosion of spending on the defensebo side you literally dot know what you are talking about. if you look at the details of
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the budget you would find out they cut spending by 5.1 trillion and 79 million-dollar surplus 10 years from now and i want to let the body known the presiding officer that i senator mccain president trump general mattis senator sobel and senator blunt and many others are going to do everything we can to give the military more resources to fight wars we can't afford to lose so i look forward to this debate with some of my colleagues on the other side and a few on this site. really is a really smart to have an army 1940 size given what's going on in the world having fighter squadrons grounded not because the enemy has shot at them but congress has shot at them. we are spending about 3.2% of gdp on defense historically since world war ii it's beenin about life. tell me how you justify it spending that muchuc less today
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given the world we have do deal with. where is the dividend click since 2011 when sequestration was past the world has deteriorated. president trump's promising to rebuild the military giving them the capability they need to beat the enemy today and not have one arm tied behind theiro backs. i will work with senator mccain and many others to make sure that our military is replenished and that we do have a 30050 ship not the 25011 army consistent with the threat of 520,000 versus four and 20,000 the number one job of the congress and the federal government is to defend the nation. that's a different debate and that's not part of the budget resolution. the budget resolution doesn't change defense spending hopefully we can do that later working with a the democratic friends of this is the last best chance we will have to cut
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taxes. if this budget resolution fails the ability to cut taxes on president trump swatch goes away so for those of you on the republican side claiming we need tax cuts and a simpler tax code this is your chance. if we don't succeed now we are going to fail for the entire term of president trump. that will be the end of us and the party because if you are republican and you don't want to cut taxes what good are you to anybody? our friends on the otherha side have really invested in the government. somebody needs to be involved in american politics who would like to send money to you and less money to the government in a responsible way. we are going to cut the corporate tax rate i hope to make it competitive. we are going to double standard exemption so working people have more money in their pocket and exemptions for the few in defense for the many but we can
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only do that if you pass a budget resolution. final thoughts, from a party point of view and the republican point of view we have the house the senate and the presidency. we have got nobody to blame in this exercise but ourselves and if you are a republican and you are frustrated with the lack of progress, count me in. the president is a willingo partner to help us repeal and replace upon the caring to get healthy tax cuts and grow an economy that's dying to grow but we have to help ourselves. if we can't muster the votesot necessary to pass this budget resolution to cut your taxes than everybody who supported us for all these years should feel tlet down and we did let you down. i hope that doesn't happen. i'm confident it won't but those republicans who believe that a no vote is good for the future of conservatism and the future of the economic well-being of the country i could not disagree
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with you more. you will never balance the budget by dealing with discretionary spending alone. 2008 level discretionary spending. blood but -- balances the budget is entitlement reform. if you want to balance the budget vote or graham cassidy because it only puts medicaid on a sustainablehe path and we have to deal with their entitlement programat but this is not in the budget reconciliation. this allows us to cut taxes for the majority only vote and gets to balance with a surplus in 2027. from the republican point of view this is the most important votes we are going to cast in 2017. if we fail that's the end of this party's ability to grow and all those who worked hard to get us here are going to be disappointed and you should be. but we. are not going to disappoint you. we are going to pass this budgeu resolution. we are going to cut your taxes
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and we are eventually going to repeal and replace obamacare which is failing with the block grant to get the money power closer to where he lived in the hands of peopleo who you can voe for. we are going to succeed and with that i yield the floor. >> mr. president. seneca senator from missouri. >> mr. president i agree with the point that the senator from south carolina just made about the importance of passing a tax bill this year. he made the point and if he did and i will make it that if we don't pass a tax bill this year or at least get most of the way there and i hope we get done with this taxax process this ye, if we don't get that done i think we don't have another opportunity to pass a tax bill in the next four years the day do think on the other hand if we do pass a tax bill this year we will have the incentive to y tae a second look in 2019, maybe 2020 by probably 2019 pre-the
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point i'm making mr. president is we don't do everything they could possibly be done to improve the tax code this year to take an important step but if we don't take that important step my belief is we are likely not to have the kind of tax relief that working families needhe in the next four years so not only is the pressure on the republican senate, the republican house a white house that wants to work with us to get this done, the pressure should be on everybody cares about hard-working families and the pressure should be on everybody who wants to see tax relief for those families happen and needs to understand that needs to happent now. bites the campy one in the next fewew weeks can be one in this presidential term but only if we take the step successfully right now and as those in south
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carolina has pointed out this is important to the process. the first episode budget that allows us to move forward so that we can do this under the budget rules that allow 51 senators to pass the bill on tax reform and by the way they don't have to be 51 republicans. i suspect that's what happens but once we get 51 republicans i would love to see democrats join us. i would love to see them join us before that. this is the kind of help that hard-working familiesin need. families that have for nine years now been stuck in a situation where their buying power wasn't increasing, their job opportunities weren't increasing, they generally were not saying that better job out there that was largely available to those very same hard-working families in the past because we aren't as competitive as we need to be.
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so really they are up to be a couple of things we focus on here. onehe is how do you create tax relief for working families rightef now so that as soon as possible they began to see a check that has more take-home pay. the other way to increase take-home pay is to increase starting pay to make those jobs better so that's where we need to be looking on the other end of the spectrum on that and that creates jobs. what do we need to do to make us more competitive? what do we need to do to have us constantly have the kind of pressure o on the working job market that those people who are working hard for a living really have better opportunities than they have otherwise because we are more competitive than we should he otherwise. i think the entire focus of this discussion should the what do we do that improves the opportunities and approves the
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future for hard-working families and you can do that by a tax cut right now which we should do and you can do that by policies that make more sense as we try to compete with the people we compete with around the world. you can't have the highest corporate tax in the entire world and assume you were going to be competitive, you are going to be the most competitive country in the entire world. you can't have a tax system that uniquely as different as it relates to products you sell overseas and expect to be more competitive than the countries who don'tav have that unique system that penalizes rather than encourages american products to be sold in other places. the senate will vote later today mr. president on the budget resolution that reduces federal spending by $5 trillion over 10 years and provides a stronger
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foundation for economic growth that allows us to move forward and the first necessary legislative staff in the senate so that we can then move immediately to tax policy, a budget that will allow us to reduce taxes by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, a budget that would put more money in the pockets of hard-working families, it idget that would add some opportunity for almost a decade now where things didn't seem to be gettingst better or easier. they seem to be getting more difficult because they are less competitive and there's less pressure to find the workforce you need to do the jobs that need to be done. and then this is a tax code that
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simply will make it simpler and fairer and more uniformly impactful on everybody that pays taxes. most people don't mind paying taxes on the income they have until they find out that their neighbor next door with the same income has figured out how not to pay taxes. so simplifying that system, there is a reason that american families and american businesses can't get through april without a bottle of aspirin. there is a reason that this tax code creates headache after headache. there is one estimate that compliance costs with individuals and businesses complying with the complicated tax system we have caused $267 billion a year. that's half of the defense budget. if people are spending half of the defense budget just to
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comply with the tax code there's got to be something wrongfe with that and we can do better. i think the proposals we are talking about does a better job. right now the individual tax code has seven different brackets, seven rates so you've got to figure out how tots apply whatever income you have had and has 100 different credits and deductions and exclusions and other provisions that make it extremely difficult to know what you owe or when you are going to overweight you open it according to the irs currently imposes a .1 billion hours of paperwork on americans which amounts to about 54 hours per taxerpayer that is paying taxes. more for some and less for some but a weeks worth of work, 54 hours of work for taxpayers to pay their taxes. every taxpayer gives to the
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federal government. we are streamlining the tax code, increasing the basic eduction that families can have. if they don't want to go to the complication of the tax code here's how many of us there h a, here is the basic eduction make it far each of those people living in our house, here's how much we subtract from the money we make, here's how much we need to pay. there is no reason that one of the compliance options can't be a postcard or a piece of paper. in fact when the current income tax was imposed on the american people the entire instructions were on one page. the entire instructions of everybody who havery them fill t an income tax form and also by the way with the assurance that they only riches people with day an income tax so most americans
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would never have to read that instructionul sheet that all. now most americans find it almost impossible to read the 100 pages of instructions that get you to the tax code itself. streamlining the tax code, helping families keep more of their money figuring out a way that we can be more competitive so they have an opportunity for better jobs in the future all should be an important priority for this congress. passing a budget today will allow us to take the first step which then allows us to take the next step in tax relief that matters and makes sense to the american people. we will take that step today. we should take that step today. we should then follow up as quickly as possible to win the fights it can be won this year so americans start next year
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understanding that their tax code is simpler, the tax code is fair and their opportunities are likely tore be greater but the hard-working families, their take-home pay will definitely be higher than it is today. i yield. >> the senator morgan. >> how much time remains on our side? >> the democrats have four minutes remaining. >> mr. president yesterday i was at a meeting with the president at the white house along with several members from both sides of the senate committee. i said to the president flat out that democrats agreed the taxe code is a broken dysfunctional mess and financed democrats yesterday laid out to the president our principles for
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reform focusing on the middle class not 1% and deemed fiscally responsible so congress doesn't turn around and be looking at gutting safety net programs like medicare and medicaid or social security. i think it would be fair to say that awful lot of years in that room perked up when the president said hey i am for those kinds of things. the president talked to us about wanting help for the middle class and said hey this is not supposed to be about people like him and he said he doesn't want to shred the safety net. unfortunately as i have indicated there is a gap as wide as crater lake between all of
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the administrations statements through rhetoric about taxes and the reality of what is actually written down on paper about the tax cut plan. the republican plan, this administration's plan that actually is written down on paper doesn't resemble what the late president reagan accomplished in partnership wita democrats back in 1986. back then the two sides brought their best ideas forward and passed major tax reform built around the idea that america is strongest when the middle class prospers. what is on paper today is just an enormous gift to the top of the top, the most fortunate
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special-interest. so i hope that the senate will in a few minutes vote for my amendment to strike the reconciliation instructions from the budget because budget reconciliation is exactly the kind of partisan process at least for taxes, especially for taxes given in this particular budget, budget reconciliation is exactly the kind of approach that president reagan did in 1986 so i hope my colleagues will support my amendment striking the reconciliation instruction from the budget. senate democrats have outlined our principles for reform.
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>> the centers is time has expired. >> mr. president i asked for 30 additional. minute -- 30 additional seconds. >> very quickly the principles democrats have laid out in our letter are very much in line with what the president says he wants. now what we have got to do is a bipartisan process and you don't get that withe reconciliation. i yield back. >> mr. president i came to the fore today in support of the budget resolution for oneut rean reason. it's because i strongly support this effort to fix america's burdensome taxes them and i hope it will simplify the tax of strengthening the middle class and ultimately boosting our economy. unfortunately i cannot offer my support without reservation so i've come to the fore today to explain my concerns and remind why colleagues of the important work ahead of us.
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we support this resolution as a means to achieve meaningful tax reform we must acknowledge the fact that the underlying budget takes an f insufficient level of funding for nationalal defense. the chairman of the armed services committee and my highest priorities is to assure men or women serving in the military and have served in uniform have the training equipment and resources they need to keep our nation safe. the senate budget resolution will set defense spending at the levels dictated by the budget control act. this budgetge is $54 billion lat than the presidents request and $86 billion less than this body authorized justy last month in the national defense authorization act. we passed the national defense operation acts by it

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