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tv   U.S. Senate 12052017  CSPAN  December 5, 2017 9:59am-12:42pm EST

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note [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> as we leave the scene here on c-span2 we want to let you know you continue to watch this live on-line on our website, c-span.org. the supreme court justices about to hear the discrimination case and the oral argument will be available on friday on our companion network. and the senate is about to go into session.
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a time is set for confirmation vote, but it would happen tomorrow. the government runs out of money saturday. and we may hear argument for tax reform. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black , will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, we praise you for your goodness. your faithful love
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endures forever. you are the protecter of your people. today recapture the minds of our lawmakers and galvanize their wills. may they live blameless lives doing what is right and speaking the truth from sincere hearts. lord, infuse them with a spirit of humility so that they will seek to be guided by your wisdom. may they keep their priorities straight, remembering that you are the only constituent they absolutely must please. help them to make it their primary goal
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to please you in what they think, say, and accomplish. we praise you and pray in your holy name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: under
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the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i ask consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, we're facing a deadline of march 5, 2018. this deadline crafted by president donald trump on september 5. that was the day that he announced through the attorney general that he was ending the daca program. the daca program had been created by president obama to give young people who were brought to this country as infants and toddlers and young children and who grew up in
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america and are currently undocumented a chance to earn their way to legalization and citizenship. that was the original dream act. and when president obama passed his executive order, he protected them from deportation until congress responded with a law. i asked for that designation and was thankful that president obama did it. as a result of his executive order, 780,000 young people came forward, paid a filing fee of over $500, went through an extensive criminal background check and were cleared to be given temporary protection from deportation and temporary opportunities to work in america, renewable every two years. president trump came to office and said i'm going to end it. and he challenged congress and said now pass a law to take care of this issue. it's a legitimate challenge for the president to issue it. i wish he had done it
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differently, but it certainly is worthy of him to call on us to do our job. well, here we are three months after that challenge from president trump and what has the republican majority done in the senate or the house to respond to that challenge? absolutely nothing, nothing. not one thing to provide these 780,000 as well as others who are eligible for this protection an opportunity under law, not one thing. is it because we've been overwhelmed with business? well, i defy those who followed the business of the united states senate over the course of the last year to say that. it's seldom that we've ever come to the floor and debated anything of substance. most of the time we're an empty chamber lurching from one cloture vote to another cloture vote to a motion to proceed to this nomination and that nomination. the exceptions of course were under health care and the trump text reform bill, and those were
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done by reconciliation. in other words, strictly partisan efforts. so we've not done much this year. we certainly haven't done much since september 5 of this year. and now what we hear from the other side of the aisle, from the senior senator from texas is, what's the hurry? we've got plenty of time here. we'll take care of these young people perhaps in january, perhaps in february. the deadline is march 5. it's pretty easy for any member of the united states senate to say what's the hurry, let's go slow until they sit down and talk to the young people who are affected. i've done that many, many times and i did it over this weekend. i went to a high school in the city of chicago. we had a group of about 20 young people who came forward, all of them protected by daca. and these young people started telling their stories, being brought to the united states at
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the age of 1 or 2, watching as some of their relatives had been deported, trying to grow up in america uncertain of their future, really uncertain today as to what they're going to be doing, and many of them are extraordinarily talented young people. it's not uncommon for them to break down in tears as they tell their story. one was a 24-year-old graduate of college who received no federal assistance because she is one of the dreamers and undocumented. she finished college. she is now teaching in the chicago public school system and if she loses daca protection, she loses her job as a teacher. there are tens of thousands just like her across america. and the senior senator from texas says what's the hurry, why do we need to address this issue? i wish that senator could have been there and watched her and spoken to her as i did and realized that she's living in fear, in terror that her life as she knows it could end tomorrow
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and it could because of the decision by president trump to end this protection. all we've asked for, many of us on a bipartisan basis, is to call the dream act for a vote in the united states senate to give these young people a chance for the protection of law so they can continue in this country. some republicans said we need to sit down and talk about border security. i said i'd be happy to do that. when i was part of the gang of eight, we came up with comprehensive immigration reform, we had an extensive border security plan. some of the republican senators who offered it told me later we went overboard and you accepted it. we did. we're serious about border security. that's not an issue. but for the senior senator from texas, that's not good enough. i handed him a sheet of paper last week. i have it right here, a copy of it, showing him the proposals that we're making on border security. and i pointed out to him that 12 of the proposals that i handed to him were proposals from his
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own bill for boarde -- for bordr security. we're serious about this. this is a genuine effort to give border security provisions, the enactment of law along with the dream act. so what we hear is the senior senator from texas came to the floor and said, well, they're just not negotiating in good faith. well, i've handed him this provision, this proposal. it was a good-faith gesture, a good-faith effort to move us forward and the only response we had yesterday from the senior senator from texas is, what's the when ourry? why -- the what's the hurry? why do we need to get this done this year? why don't we wait til next year? well, next year, as we know, means two months when it comes to this issue. and that to me is the real fear that i have, we'll put this off. the uncertainty, the worry, the stress for these young people will continue while we do
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nothing, nothing. we don't enact laws here. we do nothing. we give speeches to empty chambers and say gosh, i wish we had a little more time here to really do stuff instead of work. we have all the time we need. i would commend to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for goodness sakes, when 76% of the american people agree with the dream act, when 61% of trump voters agree with the dream act, there's no excuse. we need to make it the lawl of the land -- the law of the land. mr. president, i ask that my next statement be placed in a separate part in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, it was 20 years ago when i was first elected to the ?a. i was asked to consider the bill called the red rocks wilderness act. i didn't know anything about it. it was a bill that had been offered by senator bill bradley of new jersey. he was retiring. i was asked to consider sponsoring this wilderness proposal in the state of utah. and of course i said i'm from
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illinois, not utah, and i've never seen this. well, they asked me to come out and take a look and i did. my wife and i went out to take a look at what was known as the red rocks wilderness area. it's in the southeastern corner of utah and i'd never been there, nor had i ever heard of it before i visited. what an eye opener to go there and see this magnificent vista, this incredible landscape that was being proposed for wilderness protection and status. so over the years i reintroduced the bill, the conversation continued and it wasn't until president obama took a major share of this area which is in san juan county in the southeastern corner of utah and designated it in the name of the bears ears monument that we finally achieved protection for this beautiful piece of real estate. i've been there. it is breathtaking. there are incredible cultural sites there, native americans. and it's a great place to visit, to hike, and to enjoy a special
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piece of america. it's filled with magnificent rock formations, deep carved canyons, long mazes and rock arches. some of the photos just don't do it justice. take a look at some of these and get an idea of the vastness of the area that is affected here. then you might take a look at some of the others and realize that it includes a lot of cultural and prehistoric settings that were used and utilized by native american people when they called these caves their homes. it has a special meaning to the native american tribes that are there. for many of them traition their origin -- trace their origins to the very people that dwelled in these caves and the structures that they built with the loose rocks that you can still see today. you look at it and you think, well, if you didn't -- if you didn't preserve it, if you
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didn't protect it, what would you do with it? i've talked to some of the senators from utah, and they've readily conceded there's no oil or gas there to be drilled. there may be some uranium processing but very little. and i asked them, then why wouldn't you want this area protected? it doesn't have economic value other than the fact that people will come, tourists will come to see this beautiful place. i was troubled when president trump announced that he was going to follow secretary zinke's recommendation and shrink the proposed bears ears monument as well as another nearby called the grand staircase escalante. they would reduce the size of the bears ears monument by 85% grand escalante by 50%. in april president trump issued an executive order requiring the department of interior to preview and review the previous
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national monument designations of president obama. and although bears ears and grand staircase are the first two targets to be hit by president trump, this attack on what's known as the antiquities act and our national monument goes far beyond these two sites. as part of the review the president and secretary zinke considered changing every national monument that had been created since 1996. that's more than 50 nationwide. these are areas that have been protected by presidents of both political parties. it goes back in fact to a republican president teddy roosevelt who realized that it was worth fighting off some of the parochial and economic interests to preserve pieces of america for future generations. the list that was subject to the trump order spans the country. it includes the cascades in oregon, gold butte in nevada, catoctin woods in maine, desert
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peaks in rio grande, new mexico and several marine monuments. the administration's decision to shrink bears ears and grand staircase escalante goes against continued support for these sites. the bears ears monument was the first monument to be proposed and advocated by the five sovereign tribal nations, the hope, navaho, yiewt mountain yiewt, pueblo, and yute indians. the tribes sought protection because of the important place bears ears has in their cultures. the artifacts within bears ears range from 700 to 12,000 years old, providing incredible insight to their sacred history of their an assess rally homeland and bolstering their deep spiritual connection to the landscape itself. in total, 30 native american tribes with ancestral, historical and contemporary ties to bears ears supported the designation, 30.
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i might recall for those who are not students of history, and i'm learning, the treatment of native americans in this region has really raised some serious questions again about america's past. it wasn't until 1920 that native americans were recognized as citizens of the united states in many of these areas. it wasn't until 1957 that native americans were given the right to vote in the state of utah even though native americans had served our country in world war ii and honored such as the code talkers that were honored by president trump last week, and it wasn't until 1970 that the state of utah built its first public school on a tribal area reservation and only did that after being ordered by the federal court. the history of our relationship with these native american tribes is one that really raises questions about our respect for what they have meant to the
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earliest founding of america and what they mean to us today. mr. president, i would note that the majority leader is taking the floor, and i know that under the rules, he has priority when it comes to speaking. i'd like to finish my remarks, but if i could have the permission of the chair by unanimous consent allow the majority leader to speak and then resume my statement after he is finished. the presiding officer: without objection. is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i thank my friend from illinois. yesterday, the senate voted to advance the nomination of kirstjen nielsen to be secretary of homeland security. now it's time for us to vote to confirm her so she can get to work for the american people. by confirming ms. nielsen's nomination to lead d.h.s., the senate will take a serious step to strengthen our nation's security. ms. nielsen will be charged with leading the department at a critical time. with her understanding of the challenges facing our nation and her experience and prevention and preparedness, i believe she will excel as the next secretary
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of homeland security. her leadership will also help in providing continued assistance to the men and women still suffering from the effects of recent natural disasters in our country. our nation faces myriad threats, and i look forward to working with hiz nielsen to address each of them. now, on another matter, as we all know, we must pass legislation to fund the government before the end of the week by approving a short-term bill, we can continue the crucial functions of the federal government while we work with our colleagues in the house and the trump administration to finalize a long-term plan. the temporary funding measure will come before the house soon, and i expect the senate to consider it shortly thereafter. it's a clean bill, free from any sort of objectionable policy riders. in addition, it includes a provision to assure states of the future of the children's health insurance program while a bipartisan reauthorization agreement is completed. all members should be able to support this noncontroversial
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short-term legislation. we'll continue to work to pass a funding agreement that advances a number of american priorities, something we will be discussing with the president on thursday, along with democratic leaders of the house and senate. yesterday, the senate democratic leader expressed his opposition to a government shutdown. i certainly agree with him. so i hope he and his fellow democrats will continue to work with us in good faith to pass this short-term funding bill and maintain the critical functions of the federal government. now, one final matter. last night, our colleagues in the house voted to send the tax reform legislation to conference committee. there members of both chambers will work to resolve the differences in our bills and eventually enable us to send the final product to the president for his signature. the house's action last night is more progress in our years-long effort to deliver real relief to the men and women we represent. i'm grateful to our friends in the house for their willingness to continue working with us to
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shift our economy into high gear. i look forward to the senate voting to join the conference later this week. and in the end, both chambers will have an opportunity to pass the final legislation to help families keep more of their hard-earned money to create good jobs and to jump-start economic growth. i look forward to working with all of our colleagues to get this done. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, resuming my earlier remarks, the native american tribes unanimously oppose the action that was announced yesterday by president trump and secretary zinke to shrink the bears ears monument. they passed resolutions in support of that announcement. navajo nation's president said the administration's effort to shrink the monument demonstrates their failure to listen to the concerns of our people who have lobbied and fought for over 80 years for this designation, end of quote. even worse, the navajo nation
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made several attempts to meet with president trump on the issue to no avail. those requests fell on deaf ears and the administration never met with the leadership of the navajo nation or any of the other tribes who work to protect this area. the administration took these actions under the guise of protecting this area for future generations. during president trump's speech in utah, he said, quote, i don't think it's controversial, actually. i think it's so sensible, the president said. and from the folks he was speaking to, it must have seemed that that comment was correct. but the group that the president was speaking to was a closed door group of selected supporters of his administration who do not reflect the feelings of local residents when it comes to the future of this monument. it reflected the same closed door process this administration had used to shrink these monuments. the administration often ignored that more than 2.8 million americans weighed in when there was an open public comment period at the department of
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interior. 98% of them asked the president to protect the monuments and to maintain their borders. 98%. so to say shrinking these monuments dramatically is not controversial is to ignore 2.8 million americans and the tribes who the president never took the time to meet with. with these reductions, it's clear that secretary zinke and president trump are choosing politics over science and choosing economic and political local concerns over the reality of what this particular monument means to the future of america. they are ignoring utah's state historic preservation office and the interior department's own staff both confirming that there are artifacts throughout bears ears that now will lose their protection because of the decision by president trump yesterday. the administration's proposed cuts closely follow the desires of utah politicians to shrink
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the monument. i have had the opportunity to meet with secretary sin key and some of -- secretary zinke and some of my colleagues a few weeks ago to discuss the reduction in size of the monuments. in that meeting, he assured me any potential cuts to bears ears protection would continue to protect the actual site's antiquities, including arc logical sites. but according to interior documents from the department of the interior, there are more than 8,400 archaeological sites in the monument, 70% of which are prehistoric. even more interesting, according to the department of the interior staff, less than 10% of the monument has truly been surveyed. that means we have only scratched the surface of the antiquities that could be present there. now, what value is it to the people of utah, what value is it to san juan county in utah, what value is it to the united states to allow spectators and tourists
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to roam over these areas without acknowledging their sacred status and historic importance? we only get one chance to preserve our history, and now the president is walking away from that chance for the largest part of the bears ears monument. taking away protections from these precious places is something that could lead to permanent damage. during the time that i visited bears ears, i stopped near frye's canyon for a little lunch. i hiked around and saw some amazing artifacts which i showed in the earlier photograph. but these amazing artifacts are outside the new boundaries that president trump decided to draw yesterday. to me, these impressive artifacts are worth preserving, but for president trump and secretary zinke, they don't agree. they have left frye canyon unprotected. i went to some of the areas where centuries ago native americans drew artwork on the sides of these canyons and walls. it's still very visible, and it
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should be protected. some of it has been desecrated and obliterated by graffiti. how could they possibly justify that? how could we say to future generations we just didn't care enough to keep this intact so that you and your children and grandchildren could appreciate it? i know there are many more areas like frye canyon throughout the original bears ears monument no longer protected because president trump and secretary zinke decided to draw new boundary lines. while i was visiting in moab, utah, in one of the tourist shops there, i heard a group of about 12 speaking on the other side of the shop. i drew a little closer just to hear what they might be saying. they were speaking in french. they traveled all the way from europe to see this unique area so critically important to them, so unimportant to this administration. these tourists' willingness to travel halfway around the world
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tells us we have something special here. i really wish the president could have met with them and so many others who create a bustling tourist economy in this area of people who come halfway around the world to see it. they believe it's something worth seeing. we should believe it's something worth preserving. the residents of moab just outside the monument must recognize this. once a mining town with a dubious future, moab saw its economy decline as the industry left during the 1980's, but the town has experienced a new rebirth, an economic growth of tourism which now provides up to 40% of the jobs in the area. last year, "national geographic" named moab, utah, one of the best outdoor towns in the world. eli, minnesota, is the other u.s. town to receive that honor. the people of moab will tell you that the protection of public lands has been good for their economy, creating good-paying jobs, new hotels, and new
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opportunities, and they support the bears ears monument. president trump didn't pay attention to them, and neither did secretary zinke. according to the department of interior, the number of visitors to utah increased 20% between 2011 and 2015 and is projected to continue, but that didn't impress the secretary of the interior when it came to literally obliterating 80% of the original bears ears monument that president obama designated. it was the university of utah that found that tourists spent more than $8 billion in their state in 2015, resulting in more than a billion dollars in state and local tax revenue and more than 142,000 jobs. why when the state is benefiting so much from tourism would they give away the protection of an area that attracts so many people and creates so many businesses and jobs in their own state? with public lands providing such a boom for tourism and economic
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growth, it's hard to believe the utah congressional delegation has ignored this and pushed so hard to destroy these monuments. the dispute has roots in debate over federal control of land and utah's enabling act which was signed more than 100 years ago. when it became a state, utah passed a bill to, quote, agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any indian or indian tribes. that provision gave all the lands not specifically claimed by the state of utah to the federal government. utah signed up for that. that's how they became a state. as a result, utah now has the second most federal land of any state, with federal lands making up 65% of their state. that includes five national parks and eight national monuments. these lands are a source of pride and economic opportunity for so many people, and yet the
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politicians of utah don't appreciate that. last year, 15 million people visited national parks and monuments in utah, hiking, camping, learning the traditions and history of the native people in that state. let me say that again. 15 million people from around the world visited public lands in utah in 2016, an 82% increase in visitors over the past decade. this is not only the right thing to do, it's the economically sensible thing to do to protect these monuments and these areas. despite this growth, there is a push by some of utah's politicians to force the federal government to give up these lands and remove the protections for cultural and archaeological resources that they contain. when i met with secretary zinke to discuss his recommendations, he confirmed to me that his decision was not based on protecting some of the most extraordinary natural resources in our nation but rather on
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protecting political alliances. every monument designation has some opposition, even roosevelt faced opposition when he worked to protect many of america's iconic places. but despite the opposition, president theodore roosevelt, a republican, protected the grand canyon, a controversial decision in his time. and other special places. thank goodness he did. thank goodness he had the vision to look forward to future generations instead of looking backward to political promises and political buddies. roosevelt -- teddy roosevelt is remembered for his conservation record. what this administration is doing is just the opposite of teddy roosevelt's courage and vision. repealing protections for the bears ears and grand staircase-escalante will not
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make america great again. it will give up america's greatness for selfish selfish . i urge president trump and secretary zinke to reconsider this decision which really rescinded our national monument protection. it will be challenged in court and may take a long time to resolve. but i hope ultimately the courts in this land will stand up for the right of a president, of either political party, to make these designations as they have so many times before. we owe it to america, but we owe it especially to the native american people, who have forever called this land home, to preserve the sites that are so sacred to them, and we owe it to those in the scientific community and to future generations. i'm hopeful that future generations will be able to visit bears ears, as i have and as my wife have, and learn about the people and culture that made america long before we arrived. it is worth the respect of this
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generation and future generations, and it's certainly worth it for us to step forward and say, with vision and with courage we stand behind preserving these sites. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorumdispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president, even as my republican friends move to reconcile their two tax bills in a conference committee, their problems are far from over. at the heart of their bill is a toxically unpopular idea. giant tax breaks on big corporations and the very wealthy, paid for by cutting care and raising taxes on millions of middle-class families. the new republican party is the party of tax hikes on the middle class to subsidize corporate welfare. that menacing idea at the core of their bill is a problem that like a hydra spouts many heads. slashing the state and local deduction remains a massive problem for house republicans
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from suburban districts in virginia, new york, illinois, washington, and of course california. multiple analyses have shown that despite the so-called compromise that allows families to deduct up to $10,000 in property tax, the pain inflicted on suburban families won't be much mitigated. states like california and new york will still experience an exodus of taxpayers, draining local resources and impacting services. for those house republicans, voting for a conference report is a poisonous vote substantively and politically. and not to mention that home values will fall in those districts of those house republicans. if they are voting to decrease home values by 10% or 8% for every homeowner in their district, that's political suicide.
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why would they do it? but that's what will happen, and homeowners will start seeing that right away. another problem. the last-minute inclusion of a corporate a.m.t. has republicans and corporate leaders scrambling to figure out if it will have the unintended consequence of functionally eliminating the value of the r & d tax credit. remember, the corporate a.m.t. was added at the last minute because republicans needed more revenue to offset a generous patriot on pass-throughs. that's what republicans were working on in the waning hours last week. not trying to figure out how we can help middle-class families with a kid in college, with a kid who has serious medical expenses. not reducing the impact it would have on our deficit. oh, no. they were busy figuring out how to make tax cuts for the wealthy even more generous. 70% of our pass-through income already flows to the top 1%, not
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the top 20%, not the top 10%. the top 1%. 70% of pass-through income goes to the top 1% of earners. the republican tax bill already slashed the rate on pass-throughs, but several republican senators withheld their votes until that loophole was widened further. now, i understand they wanted to help smaller businesses, but take the time and figure out how to help the small businesses without helping the hedge funds. the corporate law firms. the big lobbying firms and other wealthy individuals. take the time to figure it out. but no, in the rush to get a crumb for small business owners, they're giving a whole big nice chocolate layer cake to the wealthy. it's wrong. very wrong. the inclusion of the corporate a.m.t. is another reminder that
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republicans can't have it both ways. you can't cut every conceivable tax on big corporations and the wealthy without blowing up the deficit. if republicans are forced to go back and look at the corporate a.m.t., they will have to find revenue elsewhere. will they slightly lessen another corporate tax break or will they ask working americans to pay more, which they have done in previous iterations on this bill? yesterday, we learned the republican leadership circuited -- circulated talking points that questioned the legitimacy of the joint committee on tax. the nonpartisan independent scorekeepers of tax legislation. rather than confront the awful truth that their bill won't pay for itself but instead costs about $1 trillion, even with dynamic growth estimates, the republican leadership asked their members to shoot the messenger. j.c.t., widely respected, always
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accepted by both parties all of a sudden have a pariah in republican circles because it told the truth that this bill would not cause the growth they projected, that this bill will increase the deficit far more than republicans had hoped. republican leadership tried to discredit the nonpartisan umpire they had long praised and they had appointed. what a disgrace. and it brings up that what's happened in the last week or two here has been one of the most disgraceful episodes in the whole history of the senate. a major bill done behind closed doors, rushed through, and then adding insult to injury, the truth tellers, the independent, appointed by republican monitors are discredited because our republican colleagues didn't like hearing the answer. now, there is still time to avert this awful bill. if my republican friends vote no on the conference bill, we can
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do a bipartisan tax reform bill. we can pursue a much better process, a much better product, and go so far to heal a senate that's been wounded by partisanship and strife recently aggravated, greatly aggravated by the majority's actions on this tax bill. now end of the year. instead of rushing through a bad tax bill -- instead of rushing a bad tax bill through the conference, the senate should focus on the bevy of year-end issues confronting us. first and foremost, we must reach a spending deal that would have us meet our commitments to support the military and also urgent priorities here at home, like combatting the opioid crisis, shoring up pension plans, supporting veterans health care, relieving student loan debt and building rural infrastructure. in previous budget agreements democrats have always strived to achieve parity between our
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investments in defense and jobs and economic development here at home. it's continually been a sticking point with our republicans as we go through these negotiations. they want to increase spending for defense, for military but shortchange important domestic programs like infrastructure, education, scientific research, things that create jobs, things that help the middle class. we democrats support an increase for our military, but we want to make sure other crucial programs don't get left behind. so we will fight just as hard in this budget agreement to ensure that for each dollar we add for defense, a dollar is added for domestic economic development. 50-50. we care about our soldiers. they are the greatest. they're risking their lives for us. but we also care about a pensioner who spent his whole life working in the steel mills, working driving a truck, working building buildings.
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they put money religiously away every month so they would have something when they retire. they're important too. general mattis came to see me and told me how badly our defense department needs help. i agree. but i told him to go back to the white house and tell the white house that the domestic side of the ledger needs help as well. spending on the domestic side of the ledger is lower than it was in 2010 despite increased costs. we also need to provide funding for community health centers and children health insurance, relief for millions of americans still recovering from natural disasters. and we must come together in a bipartisan deal to pass the dream act along with tighter border security measures. it's a lengthy to-do work. it's going to require hard work, steady cooperation on both sides. last night, however, there was a concerning spectacle on the
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house floor. the freedom caucus held up an unrelated vote on the tax bill -- who could figure -- because they were unsatisfied with the republican leadership's plan to keep the government open. if we're going to solve all the problems that confront us before the end of the year, house leaders cannot let the freedom caucus, a small band of hard right reactionary conservatives, run the show. if they cooperate with democrats, they can accomplish something. to just let the freedom caucus dictate, a recipe for chaos. and once again negotiations broke off because we were at an impasse on 50-50 on parity for defense and nondefense. that's been very important to democrats for years. we've settled our become -- budget agreements, spending policy, omnibus agreements always with 50-50. we believe it's still important today.
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parity, parity, parity. as we continue to negotiate with our republican counterparts we hope the republican leadership can avert this hostage taking like we saw on the house floor last night which can only impede the serious ongoing bipartisan negotiations. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: morbid is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proved to executive
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action and resume consideration of the nielsen nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of homeland security, kirstjen nielsen of virginia to be secretary. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip is recognized. mr. cornyn: mr. president, as we know, last friday night in the wee -- into the wee hours in the morning this body did something remarkable, something that people say never happens. we actually got some really important work done and passed a very important piece of legislation, the first overall of our nation's tax code in 30 years. people said it couldn't be done. it's too hard. but with democrats opposing us at every step in the committee and on the floor, people said there are too many obstacles in our way and it's impossible to accomplish. people said there are too many special interests down on k
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street who will make it impossible for us to figure out this rubik's cube of a tax code. too many moving pieces in this giant tome of our tax law. people warned us, if you do this, you're going to take political flak from all sides. well, to the cynics and the skeptics and the doubters, i say you were wrong. we did get it done. families and job creators woke up the next day after the final vote feeling a little bit more confident about our nation's fiscal future. because now that the bill has passed the senate, there will less weighing down by the yoke of government. they can breathe a little sigh of relief knowing that we are doing our job. we're doing what we said we would do when they gave us control of the government. of course it took no time for our major victory to be mocked,
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denigrated or simply misrepresented. sometimes the false rumors spreading was done deliberately by our friends on the other side of the aisle, which is ironic because democrats used to support many aspects of this plan, like lowering taxes for the middle class and eliminating incentives for corporations to ship jobs overseas. i guess you must conclude that they were happy with the status quo. a slow-growing economy, stagnant wages, jobs being shipped overseas because of our self-destructive tax code. i guess you would have to conclude they thought that was a good thing. well, they know it's not a good thing, but they just couldn't stand the possibility that we were going to be able to make this major accomplishment on behalf of the american people
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because they were so mired down in the politics of the day, they lost sight of the forest for the trees. but we all know it's easier to criticize than to contribute, like when many on the other side feigned outrage last friday over small handwritten tweaks that needed to be made to the bill. well, it's interesting, back in 2010 there was an amendment called the durbin amendment number 3989, where during the course of the debates it was necessary to make some changes in the bill by handwriting those changes in the bill text. no one thought that that was an outrage. everyone understood that this is sometimes what happens when you're making last-minute changes to legislation. yet our democratic colleagues acted like this is the first
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time this had ever been done. 46 senate democrats voted for senator durbin's amendment which included these handwritten changes in the text. don't forget the tax bill was passed last week through regular order. regular order is part of the jargon we use around here, but it means the normal legislative process. unlike the affordable care act that was written in majority leader harry reid's office and brought to the senate floor without going through the senate finance committee. unlike that process, this tax bill originated in the senate finance committee, was the process of multiyear studies, working groups, white papers, a lot of proposals like the camp draft, for example, that helped inform our debate. and we also knew from, for example, the bill that had been introduced by the ranking
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member, senator wyden, along with senator coats, we were able to glean some of the best elements of all of those prior efforts. and using regular order, which is to give democrats and republicans a chance to contribute to the legislation in the finance committee, which we did, and then here on the senate floor to give democrats and republicans a chance to offer amendments and to get votes on those amendments. that's what we mean by regular order. and that's what our friend from arizona, the senior senator from arizona, senator mccain, rightly called for earlier this fall. there were hearings after hearings. democrats went to them. democrats had their opportunities to offer amendments during the committee markup and offer amendments on the floor. so you simply can't say honestly, truthfully, as many
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democrats have, that the bill was negotiated in dark behind their back, without their participation. it simply is a false claim. it's not true. and the facts show that. but it's not just our democratic colleagues that have fueled misperceptions about the tax bill that we passed last, late last friday night early saturday morning. there was a big stir raised with the scoring down by the joint committee on taxation. some of the critics of the tax bill have latched on to the joint committee on taxation report, finding that the bill would increase the economy by .8% over ten years. not enough for the cuts to pay for themselves. thus, adding to the national deficit. that was the claim. i take concerns about fiscal responsibility very seriously, but we've got to acknowledge
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that economic modeling is notoriously difficult and can be done in a number of different ways. each of these models has its strengths and weaknesses. each provides a significant range of estimates and none is perfect. we have not yet been given the gift of perfect knowledge of the future. in the case of the joint committee on taxation, the estimate was that the tax bill would generate enough growth to offset its price tag from $1.4 trillion to about $1 trillion, a net $400 billion feedback effect. now this was pretty, pretty interesting listening to our colleagues across the aisle. they make the audacious claim that tax cuts generate no economic growth. none. and so when the original budget committee budget came out giving
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the tax writers $1.5 trillion of deficit spending on a static basis, they claimed that that would result in a $1.5 trillion deficit. well, the joint committee on taxation concluded that was not true, and in fact tax cuts can have a stimulative effect on the economy. incentives can change human behavior, but it's notoriously difficult to estimate with any precision. and any giant, complex system like the american economy, the effect of changes is not easy to predict. but even small changes produce large, far-reaching benefits. and in our case, that means changes in our tax code can fuel major economic growth which ought to be our collective goal. why should we have to settle for anemic economic growth? why should we have to settle for flat wages? why should we have to settle for
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jobs being created overseas because our tax code incentivizes that, rather than incentivizes investment and job creation in the united states. the fact of the matter is we don't have to settle for that, and we have been -- and we have. and this tax bill represents our best effort to try to make sure that our economy does grow, that wages do go up and that jobs do come home to the united states because businesses are incentivized to bring that money back home and invest it in jobs and wages here. now i'm optimistic that with the reforms we've enacted, the economy could grow by as much as 3%, as the heritage foundation and the tax foundation have said. the president's council of economic advisors and influential economists agree. but i'm aware of the old saying that if you stretch all the economists in the world end to end, you will never reach a
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conclusion. they call it the dismal science for a reason. it's not rocket science. it's modeling that tries to predict the future which is notoriously difficult to do. income tax, you can't do it. but we try to come up with the -- in fact you can't do it but we try to come up with the best guesstimate that we can. i think it's wrong to look at the tax code when you're looking at our economic future coupled with the regulatory relief we've seen under the new administration along with the congressional review acts where we repealed back some of the onerous regulation of the economy with consumer confidence at a 16-year high, i think we all have the sense that america is coming back as an economic engine, as a leading economic engine in the world. and we need to do that because
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we need to lead the way for the world economy. we need to make sure that the standard of living in america continues to be something that we can achieve, a better standard of living for our children and grandchildren than we ourselves have enjoyed. that's the legacy we have inherited from our parents and grandparents. yes, in a dangerous world where as the former director of national intelligence james clapper said in his 50 years in the intelligence community, he had never seen a more diverse array of threats than he did today. and we can't ignore that, which means we have to use some of that prosperity for our common defense. and that's another important thing we're going to have to do before the end of this year is agree on a top-line spending number for national defense spending because we have been trying to cash the peace
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dividend again when there is no peace. or at least peace is threatened in places around the world, whether it's in the south china sea or in syria or north korea or in europe with russia on the march threatening nato and our european allies. so we need a strong economy so standard of living can go up, wages can increase, and so we can do the things we know we need to do as a country. now, i realize that these positive analyses by groups like the heritage foundation and tax foundation and the president's council of economic advisors don't entirely pacify some of the deficit hawks. i counseled myself among them. we worried about whether tax reform will add to our debt through cuts and decreased
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revenue, but even based on conservative estimates, this tax reform could result in $130 billion in new revenue, revenue we would not otherwise have. and here's the problem. here's the elephant in the room that people simply choose to ignore or have given up on. revenue isn't our biggest problem. it's our spending addiction. it's the 70% of federal spending that's on auto pilot, going up on average 5.5% per year. now, we have tried to do what we could through the budget control act of 2011 and put a cap on discretionary spending, including defense spending, and that's been relatively flat since 2011, but all the while entitlement spending has gone up because we don't have the political courage to deal with it. the deficit can't be eliminated
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with tax increases. we can't tax america's producers enough to fill the hole. we have got to address mandatory spending which keeps growing year after year after year. it nearly doubled during the obama administration during which time our friends across the aisle never really said much about deficits and debt. but it's real, but we ought to go to the root cause of it and not claim that it's making tax cuts to help mike our economy more vibrant and to improve the quality of life for more americans. putting aside the macroeconomic concerns over the tax bill for a moment, it's easy to see how on a more personal level, families and workers will benefit. sometimes in accounts over tax reform, the more human focus is simply left out, and that's a
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mistake. for example, in our bill, rates are reduced for everybody, every tax bracket sees a reduction in their tax rate. the standard deduction for families is doubled, so if you're a married couple filing a joint return, the first $24,000 you have earned, there is a zero tax, zero. then we double the child tax credit. i think that's something we should do because we need to help those families that have children make sure their family prospers and the child tax credit is one way we can do that. the obamacare mandate to buy government-approved insurance, which is just a tax on low and middle-class americans is repealed, and i think that's just another form of tax relief.
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6.7 million americans had to pay a penalty to their own government because they couldn't afford to buy the government-mandated insurance because of the way that program was structured. we eliminate that entirely, so hopefully those families can then use their own resources to buy insurance policies that meet their needs rather than that that the government mandates. we also fn soften the blow of the -- we also soften the blow of the death tax, something i will work to completely eliminate because i think it's simply a moral issue. why should we tax income when earned and when families want to pass it on to their children, whether it's the family farm or ranch or small business, we tax them again and make that sometimes impossible to do. usually, if you want to reduce something, you tax it. that doesn't apply to the death
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tax because death will come no matter what. but it's impork-barrel, double taxation. that's no reason for washington to prevent families from passing on the fruit of their labor to their loved ones. well, the likely result of all of these changes will be that wages will increase by as much as $4,000 for the average family. that's the estimate of the council of economic advisors. and you think about that. if we can get the economy growing faster than the 1.9% anemic growth of the obama years, just think about that. the economy is has -- economy has grown on average at 3.2% since world war ii, yet we are being asked to settle for the new normal of the obama years when the economy grew at 2% or less. so if we can get the economy growing faster, we will see wages improve.
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we will see family income improve. and if if we can cut their tax burden and relieve them of onerous things like the poverty tax known as the obama individual mandate tax, families will be better off. a median family of four will see their tax burden cut by $2,200. now, i know in washington, d.c., when we talk about millions and billions and trillions of dollars, $2,200 doesn't seem like a lot of money. but for many families struggling to meet their obligations paycheck after paycheck, $2,200 can make a big difference. it can help them pay off their mortgage or pay college tuition for their children or replace a water heater or get their car fixed. or finally take a family vacation long delayed. now, the last heedless claim i have heard about our tax bill is that it mainly benefits
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corporations at the expense of normal, hardworking men and women. once again, this is a false claim. some portion of our high corporate tack rates are always borne by labor, by american workers, in other words. our friends across the aisle and the critics sometimes claim that if you do something for a business, whether it's a pass-through business or a corporation, it has no effect on the people that work for it. well, that's just demonstrably wrong, because the better off those businesses are, the more people they can hire, the better the wages are that they can pay, and those help hardworking american families. so higher business taxes mean fewer jobs and smaller paychecks, and it means we are less competitive in a global economy. that's why businesses are moving their headquarters overseas, to
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low-tax countries like ireland or the united kingdom. this situation will change under our new bill. in a recent survey of corporate chief executive officers, 82% said they would increase capital spending if our bill passed. 76% said they would increase hiring. so yes, it's true. the business will benefit, but we want them to because the end result will be less tax dodging and more jobs coming back home. and as i mentioned earlier, apart from businesses, families and individuals benefit, too. what's so bizarre about the debate is that this is a concept that former president obama championed, that the democratic leader, senator schumer, has championed, and the ranking member of the senate finance committee, senator wyden has
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championed. lower corporate taxes because they realize this is a self-inflicted wound because it forces businesses overseas and prevents them from bringing their income back and investing it in the united states in jobs and wages. my question to them is have you forgotten? well, i don't think they have forgotten. mr. president, throughout the tax reform process, members of this republican conference on this side of the aisle work together, and i'm grateful for the contribution that each and every one of them made. we knew that with strong headwinds from our opponents on the other side of the aisle who wanted failure, presumably because they like the status quo rather than success, we knew this was going to be difficult, and it was, but we got it done, but we're not finished yet.
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as we head into a conference with the house of representatives, the focus has to be on how we can maintain support here in the senate. i hope our friends across the capitol understand that the senate bill was a very fragile compromise and that one or two -- well, two or more senators who would not support that bill could jeopardize the house-senate conference. so we have got to be very careful. we have got to continue to communicate and work together with each other, and we can't undermine our own victory. and it's not just our victory. it's a victory for american families and for our country and for our standing in the world. so when we begin our conversations with the house, let's take care to work closely together and continue to communicate. let's prove that passing tax
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reform wasn't just a dream or an aberration. it was real. and now with the ball on the five-yard line, we have just got to punch this into the end zone. mr. president, i yield the floor, and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona's recognized. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: i have a request for eight committees to meet during today's session of the senate. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. flake: mr. president, i rise today with increasing concern about the uncertain future facing daca recipients. there are nearly 800,000 daca recipients. these are children who were brought across the border through no fault of their own years and years ago. nearly 800,000 across the country, nearly 50,000 in arizona alone. they have protections now from deportation, but those protections will run out around march 1. despite the sense of urgency to
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solve the problem by the end of the year, there's very little legislative progress to show for it. the time has come for us to work together to deliver a real solution. we don't need partisan bills that send a message. we need bipartisan solutions that can pass the senate. we've spent so much time operating under reconciliation that it's worth reminding people that this measure will need 60 votes in order to succeed. so much of the legislation we've been considering has been under reconciliation with just a 51-vote margin being sufficient. that will not be the case with a fix for daca. we need to get 60 votes. that means if we hope to protect daca recipients both sides will need to compromise. these individuals who we seek to help are students, employees, colleagues, and friends.
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they know no other home but the united states. they have embraced the values of hard work and perseverance, and in are turn their communities have embraced them as their own. some of the most compelling pleas on behalf of these young people have come from those who know them best. these kids are not just americans in their own eyes, they are americans in the eyes of their friends, their classmates, their teachers, and their co-workers. we all recognize these kids, that they were brought here, as i mentioned, through no fault of their own. no one wants to see them deported. as leaders of a nation of immigrants, we need to work together and deliver a chance for them to have a bright future. we need workable legislation that can realistically be passed and signed into law. we don't need to make a statement. we need to make a law.
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there are many challenges facing us with regard to immigration, but protecting these young people should not be one of those challenges. this should be the easy lift. mr. president, i hope that we can all work to believe in a -- work together in a bipartisan way top find a solution to these kids who deserve a solution. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota is recognized. mr. thune: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, leaf for -- relief for american families is on the way. last week the senate passed our version of the tax cuts and jobs act, the tax reform bill that
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will provide immediate, direct relief to hardworking americans. our legislation doubles the standard deduction. it doubles the child tax credit, and it lowers rates. under our bill a family of four making $73,000 a year will see a $2,200 tax cut or a reduction in taxes of about 60% of what they are paying under current law. a single parent with one child making $41,000 will see his or her taxes drop from $865 today to just $488 under our bill, a reduction of nearly 75% over what they are paying today. mr. president, that's just the beginning. the tax bill before us today is going to provide immediate relief to hardworking families. it is going to immediately lower their tax bills, it's going to immediately mean more money in their pockets, but this bill is
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about much more than that. this bill isn't just about helping americans today, although it is certainly going to do that, the bill is about helping americans for the long term. it's about giving americans access to the kinds of wages, jobs, and opportunities that will set them up for a secure and prosperous future and the way that we do that is by improving the playing field for american businesses. in order for individual americans to thrive economically, we need american businesses to thrive. thriving businesses creates jobs, they provide opportunities, and they increase wages and invest in their workers. our current taxes hasn't been helping businesses thrive. for years now our tax laws have left businesses of all sizes struggling under the burden of high tax rates and an outdated tax system that has left american businesses at a disadvantage in the global
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economy. small businesses employ nearly half of american workers and create a majority of the new jobs in this country, but right now small businesses face high tax rates that can make it difficult for this these businesses to even survive, much less thrive and expand their operations. our bill will fix this. to start with, our bill implements a new deduction for pass-through businesses for partnerships, llc's, and s corporations. this deduction will allow them to keep more of their money which will allow them to increase wages and hire new workers. our bill reforms current provisions in the tax code that leaves small businesses with very little cash on hand. under our legislation, small businesses will be able to recover the capital that they've invested in things like inventory and machinery much more quickly, and in certain cases immediately. this, in turn, will free up
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capital that small businesses can use to expand and create jobs. our legislation also includes provisions that i helped develop that will simplify accounting rules for small businesses, which will also help reduce their tax burden, leaving more of their earnings to reinvest in their businesses and their workers. mr. president, in addition to providing relief to small businesses another thing our bill will do is to boost americans' -- is to -- to do is boost americans wages is to lower our massive corporate tax rate. our nation's corporate tax rate is the largest in the industrialized world, which puts the united states at a major disadvantage next to our international competitors. reducing the corporate tax rate will enable american businesses to compete on a more level playing field which will in turn free up money u.s. businesses can use to increase wages.
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the white house counsel of economic advisors said that recusing the tax rate to 25% will increase wages to u.s. households to $4,000 annually. that is money that families can use to save for retirement, save for al child's education, replace a vehicle, or invest in a new home hsm the bill will end the outdated tax framework that allows companies to keep jobs and profits overseas. our country operates under a worldwide tax system. that means u.s. companies have to pay taxes on the profits they make abroad and here at home. the problem with this is that american companies are already paying taxes to foreign governments on the money they make abroad. then when they bring that money home, they can end up having to pay taxes again on part of those
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profits and at the highest tax rate in the industrialize world. it's no surprise that this discourages businesses from bringing their profits back to the united states to invest in their domestic operations and new jobs and increase wages. our bill, mr. president, replaces our outdated worldwide tax system with a territorial tax system. under our legislation, american companies will no longer face the double taxation that has encouraged them to send their investments and their operations overseas. instead, u.s. companies will have a strong incentive to invest their profits at home and american jobs and american workers. all in all the foundation estimates that in addition to increasing wages, our bill will create nearly one million new jobs for american workers and boost the size of the economy by 3.7%. mr. president, i don't need to
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tell anybody that american families have had a tough name recent years or that our economy, as a whole, has stagnated with weak economic growth, almost nonexistent wage growth and a lack of opportunity that has become the norm for way too many families. but this tax bill marks the beginning of the end of the obama era economy. the tax bill will offer in a new era of dynamism in this country. this bill will improve america's economic situation for the long term, and it will send a message, mr. president, to the world that machining is serious about competing and succeeding and winning in the 21st century economy. under this bill, american companies will compete and win globally and american businesses large and small and the american people will thrive as a result. mr. president, i look forward to
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going to conference with the house of representatives in getting a final comprehensive tax reform bill to the senate. swee have a once in a jen -- we have a once in a generation opportunity to make a difference in the lives of literally millions of americans. it's time to get this bill across the finish line. it can't happen soon enough for the american people. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. sanders: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. sanders: thank you. mr. president, president trump and the republican leadership, as you just heard, are talking
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every day on television and in news conferences telling the american people how this tax bill that was passed here at 2:00 in the morning on friday night without any hearings with no serious debate, how this tax bill is designed to help the middle class and how it was written for the middle class. unfortunately, i suspect that i will not shock too many americans by suggesting that what president trump has been saying is not truthful. this legislation, according to numerous independent studies, will provide 62% of the benefits to the top 1% -- 62% of the benefits will go to the top 1%
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while increasing taxes on 83 million middle-class house howleds bid -- households by the end of the decade. why? and the reason is because tax cuts for middle-class families expire by the end of 2025 while the tax breaks for large corporations are made permanent. mr. president, we are living in a moment in american history where we have an unprecedented level of income and wealth inequality where the top .1% now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, where the top 1% owns almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 90%. and if you can believe it, where three of the wealthiest
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people in this country -- mr. gates, mr. bezos, and mr. buffett -- three people own more wealth than the bottom half of the american population. that is where we are right now. yet in the midst of this incredible level of income and wealth inequality, my republican colleagues believe that this is a moment when 62% of the benefits of so-called tax reform should go to the top 1% and 42% of the benefits should go to the top .1%, while at the same time tens of millions of middle-class families will end up paying more in taxes. how crazy is that. so we have a situation in which
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the wealthy who need tax breaks the least will benefit the most and the working class and middle class of this country which need the most help will benefit the least. the president of the united states and my republican colleagues tell the american people that trickle-down economics, giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations, will expand the economy -- just heard senator thune talk about that. they'll create new jobs and will bring in so much revenue that it will pay for the deficit it creates. mr. president, every independent expert who has taken a look at this tax bill has said that it will substantially
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increase the deficit even after accounting for the possibility of increased economic growth. joint committee on taxation has told us that this bill will increase the deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next decade. now why is that important? well, first of all, it shows, if i may say, the hypocrisy of my republican colleagues who year after year after year on this floor lectured us about the dangers of a $20 trillion national debt and growing deficits. we heard this time and time again. somehow when it comes to the need to provide tax breaks to billionaires, that concern about the deficit seems to have disappeared. but secondly, mr. president,
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and more immediately, there is no doubt in my mind that if the republicans are able to pass this bill, which will soon go to a conference committee, this bill which gives huge tax breaks to the top 1% and raises the deficit by $1.4 trillion, there is no doubt in my mind that they will suddenly rediscover their great concern about deficits and the debt and move directly within the next few months to begin the process of cutting programs desperately needed by the working families of this country, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor. now, mr. president, this is not just bernie sanders speculating. this is what the "new york
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times" said in a front page article a few days ago, and i quote, front page article "new york times", quote, as the tax cut legislation passed by the senate early saturday hurtles toward final approval, republicans are prepared to use the swelling deficits made worse by the package as a rationale to pursue their long-held vision undoing the entitlements of the new deal and great society, leaving government leaner and the safety net skimpier for millions of americans. speaker paul d. ryan and other republicans are beginning to express their big dreams publicly, vowing that next year they will move on to changes in medicare and social security. president trump told a missouri
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rally last week, quote, we're going to go into welfare reform. end of quote, "new york times." mr. president, let me take this opportunity to translate into english what phrases like entitlement reform or welfare reform really mean. what they mean in reality are massive cuts to social security, medicare, medicaid, education, nutrition programs, affordable housing, and other programs desperately needed by a declining middle class. it means that after they pass this so-called reform -- tax reform bill which would provide a $200,000 tax break to c.e.o.'s who make over $16 million a
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year, they will come back to the floor of the senate and fight for cuts to social security for senior citizens trying to survive on $12,000 or $13,000 a year. massive cuts for millionaires and billionaires in their taxes at the same time as they want to cut social security, medicare, and medicaid for struggling seniors. mr. president, it means entitlement -- entitlement reform means at a time when millions of seniors are splitting their pills in half because they cannot afford the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs, republicans want massive cuts to medicare. it means that when two out of every three nursing home residents in this country rely on medicaid to pay for their
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long-term care, the republicans want to make massive cuts to medicaid. now we do not know exactly what form these cuts will take. i think that is not yet clear. there has been discussion among republicans about raising the retirement age for social security to 70, 70 years of age, forcing older workers to work years more before they can get their earned retirement benefits. maybe they will cut back on cost-of-living increases through a so-called chained c.p.i., and that is a new formulation which means lower benefits not only for seniors, but for millions of disabled veterans. they apparently believe for those of you who are on social security now that the colas you have been getting in recent years are just too high.
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that zero percent increase you got a couple of years ago just much too high. we've got to change the formula and lower benefit increases. or maybe they will go back to their long-term dream of privatizing medicare, converting it into a voucher program which will say to the elderly in this country, here is a check for $8,000. now you go out and you find private insurance on your own. and i would say good luck to any elderly person in this country who is struggling with heart disease or cancer, and you see what kind of insurance program you're going to get with a check of $8,000. mr. president, i would remind my colleagues that many of these
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proposals were included in the budget resolution the republicans voted for right here on the floor of the senate. this is not speculation. these are issues and items that republicans already voted for. they already voted for a $1 trillion cut to medicaid which would throw some 15 million americans off of health insurance. they have already voted in the budget to cut medicare by $473 billion. mr. president, in my view, the last thing we should be doing is giving tax breaks for billionaires while cutting programs for the most vulnerable people in our country. now, mr. president, during the campaign donald trump as a
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candidate promised he would not cut social security, medicare, and medicaid. he made that promise over and over again. and let me just quote here on some of these charts and some of these tweets exactly what donald trump said on the campaign trail. this is what he said, quote, i was the first and only potential g.o.p. candidate to state there will be no cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid. end of quote. on another occasion he said, quote, i am not a cutter. i'll probably be the only republican that doesn't want to cut social security. that was january 24, 2015.
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quotes, donald trump, here it is, it's my absolute intention -- not being very vague about this one, mr. president. his absolute intention to leave social security the way it is. not increase the age, and to leave it as it is. and the quote, donald trump, march 10, 2016. and here's another quote, mr. president. donald trump. quote, you know, paul ryan wants to knock out social security, knock it down, way down. he wants to knock medicare way down. and frankly, well, two things. number one, you're going to lose the election if you're going to do that. now i want to get rid of waste, fraud and abuse. i want to do a lot of things to it that are going to make it much better actually. but i am not going to cut it, and i'm not going to raise ages.
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and i'm not going to do all of the things that they want to do. but they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially. the republicans. and i'm not going to do that. end of quote. before i get on to the next quote, i want to tell donald trump as a candidate, man, he was exactly right. this is what he said on march 29, 2016. he said the republicans wanted to cut social security and medicare and medicaid. well, candidate trump, you are exactly right because that is now what we will see in a few weeks or a few months. another quote from donald trump as a candidate: social security faces a problem, 77 million baby boomers set to retire. i know there are some republicans who would be just fine with allowing these programs to wither and die on
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the vine. the way they see it, social security and medicare are wasteful entitlement programs, but people who think this way need to rethink their position. it's not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money's worth. that's not an entitlement. that's honoring a deal. end of quote. well, there it is, mr. president. candidate donald trump said over and over and over again that he would not cut social security, he would not cut medicare, he would not cut medicaid. and in fact, quite correctly he predicted that the republicans would try to do exactly that. and now i would like to talk directly, if i might, to the president of the united states.
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and i would say, mr. president, on the campaign trail you said over and over again, you would not cut social security or medicare or medicaid. and today i am asking you nothing more than to keep your words. don't lie to the american people. millions of people voted for you because you said you would not cut social security, medicare, and medicaid. keep your word. tell senate leader mcconnell and tell house speaker paul ryan that you will veto any legislation that cuts these programs. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor.
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mr. sanders: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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ms. collins: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: i ask that proceedings under the call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding
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rule 22, the postcloture time on executive calendar 495 expire at 4:00 p.m. today, december 5. that if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate previous order, the senate
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the senate will be back later than the usual to 15 type. lawmakers will be posing for their official photo of the 115th congress. live coverage when members return here on c-span2. some floor speeches now on the senate republican tax reform plan which was passed early on saturday morning. >> even as my republican friends moved to reconcile their to tax bills in a conference committee, their problems are far from over. at the heart of the bill is a unpopular idea. giant tax breaks on big corporations and the very wealthy. paid for by cutting care and raising taxes on millions of middle-class families. the new republican party is a party of tax hikes on the middle class and subsidize corporate welfare. that menacing idea at the core of their bill is a problem that like a hydra, spo

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