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tv   U.S. Senate Tax Reform  CSPAN  December 20, 2017 6:28am-6:50am EST

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ought to be 100-0. all of us should agree on that. we might disagree on other things, fine. the death tax or as democrats like to call it, the estate tax, we can disagree on that. but educating kids with disabilities, you're really standing up, raising that objection. i would ask my friends on the democratic side of the aisle don't do that. don't discriminate against the home schoolers. the presiding officer: the proponent time is yielded back. the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, the issue with the cruz amendment is straightforward. the byrd rule states that the primary purpose of a budget bill is to address spending and taxes. if on the other hand you are debating a major policy change and the budget impact is merely
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incidental, the provision just doesn't comply with the byrd rule. that is the case here. the cruz amendment has a modest budget impact, but the impact is vastly outweighed by the profound impact as a matter of social and education policy of providing federal support for home schooling for the first time. in fact, last week, the senator from texas, he called his section 529 home schooling provision -- and i quote here -- the most far-reaching federal school choice legislation bill ever passed. i agree with the senator's assessment of his amendment. the issue of federal support for home schooling is, in fact,
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major policy. there is no question that there are parents who want to home school their kids. i'm certain that many of them are very conscientious, yet this is the first time the federal government would provide federal support for home schooling. that's why the parliamentarian ruled against senator cruz. i urge my colleagues to vote against the enzi motion to waive the byrd rule point of order which we will vote on shortly. now, mr. president, i also want to close for the finance democrats on this tax issue with some brief remarks. my colleague from texas once again has been saying, as many
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republicans have done tonight, is middle-class folks, wait until february. your paychecks are going to be bulging. here are the facts, and we just got them from the joint committee on taxation, a specific table that shows that 60 million taxpayers with an annual income of $200,000 or less will get $100 a year in tax relief or a tax increase. that looks to me like a third of all taxpayers are not exactly going to have bulging paychecks the way we have heard from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. the fact is some of the rhetoric we've heard from republican colleagues tonight didn't sound half bad, so it is a real shame
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that the rhetoric doesn't resemble the plan on paper. as i indicated, this bill is not centered on middle-class tax cuts. the fleeting sugar high the bill provides offers some middle-class families a modest amount of help, but it's basically a distraction from the giveaways to the multinational corporations and powerful donors. now, one of our colleagues -- one of our republican colleagues tonight repeated that if passed the deficit is going to drop when the bill is enacted. i just have to say, colleagues, that fantasy is over. even independent conservatives are saying that there is no absurd alternate reality in which republican tax bills
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perform magic. and i want to close tonight, colleagues, and say to the public that i'd really like to wrap this up with a warning. the american people should know that the far right architects of this tax plan are going to be coming for your social security and medicare before you take your christmas tree down. that's the end game. that's what americans need to know is coming next. and on this side of the aisle, we want the american people to know that we're going to be on their side. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague, ron wyden, for the excellent job he has done in leading the opposition to this bill. i'm incredulous that someone on the other side of the aisle said
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this will decrease the deficit. that's just amazing. i mean, the lack of factual fidelity to what's in the bill and what the other side is saying is unparalleled, unparalleled. and i want to thank senator wyden for his valiant efforts in pointing that out. i want to thank senator sanders and senator cantwell as well, ranking members of our committees who worked so hard on this bill. now, in closing, mr. president, very soon the senate will vote for the final time on the republican tax bill. when future generations look back at the short and messy history of the republican tax bill, its most enduring lesson will be what it has taught us about how not to legislate. after only a few months of
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frantic back-room negotiations by only one party, we are left with a product as sloppy and as partisan as the process used to draft it. even today, three provisions of the bill were found to violate senate rules, so now all of a sudden the house will have to vote again tomorrow. that's a perfect mcguire row come of the hasty and reckless process -- could we have order, mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. schumer: it's a perfect microcosm of the hasty and reckless process that produced this legislation. if my republican friends think these are the only mistakes that will be found in their bill, they are sorely mistaken. many more will almost certainly be unearthed.
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but the bigger issue is the failure of this legislation to live up to each and every one of the promises made by republicans about what it would mean for our country. what has been sold as a middle-class miracle will instead deliver a hefty windfall to the wealthy, and only -- an only paltry temporary leap for some in the middle class. others will see an increase right from the getgo. so all the talk, only a middle-class person will pay a tax increase, gone. and in a few years, a majority of the middle class will see their taxes go up. what kind of middle-class relief is that? what has been sold as a deficit reducer will instead balloon the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion, maybe more.
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our children and grandchildren will be asked to clean up the mess made tonight by our republican colleagues in their eagerness to give the very wealthy, the very powerful corporations a big tax break. what has been sold as a bill to give more freedom to choose their health care, to give people more freedom to choose their health care will instead raise freedoms and reduce the number of americans with health insurance by 13 million. the number of people who get a small tax cut and still have to pay more than that tax cut in premium increases is large, is large. what a huge mistake my colleagues made by eliminating that provision in the health
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care bill because the middle class is going to pay the price. and what has been sold as a job creator and wage booster will do little of either, as companies large, big, powerful companies are already initiateing stock buybacks instead of hiring more workers and increasing wages. is that what you intended? give them more money so they can buy back more stock, increasing the wealth of corporate c.e.o.'s, increasing the wealth of the very wealthy, sending billions of dollars overseas to overseas investors? that's what's happening already. corporation after corporation has said aha, with this new money, we'll do even more stock buybacks. ultimately, the american people will learn that republicans have squandered their so-called once
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in a generation opportunity on corporate welfare and taxes for the rich financed by tax increases and health care increases on the middle class. the joint committee on taxation just released a report that found by 2027, nearly 145 million middle-class families under $200,000 will either get tax hikes -- could we have order, mr. president? mr. schumer: the senate will be in order. mr. schumer: this is serious stuff. we believe you're messing up america. you could pay attention for a couple of minutes. 145 million middle-class families earning under $200,000 will get either tax hikes or a tax cut of less than $100.
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83% of the middle class will gen taxes or get little but crumbs. is that what you intended? is that this great bill that's helping the middle class? absolutely not. meanwhile, according to the tax policy center, the top 1% of earners in our country will reap 83% of the benefits of the tax plan. the top 5%, the top 5% will reap 99.2% of the benefits. is that what you intended? that's what you're doing. the very, very wealthy, the highest spectrum get almost all the benefits. some bill for the middle class. the raw numbers are a staggering indictment, mr. president, of the republican tax plan, as they
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have been throughout the course of this debate. the data reveals what the republican tax plan truly is, a tax scam that will rob middle-class families to pay for corporate tax breaks and giveaways to the wealthy. in an age of extraordinary income inequality, when the upper echelons of our economy are capturing an ever greater share of the pie, the republican tax bill is like pouring gasoline on a raging fire, making income inequality, bad as it is now, even worse. it will exacerbate all the bad trends in our economy that over the past few decades have produced dramatically more wealth for the already wealthy while producing less work and less pay for working people. that fundamental imbalance in
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our economy will be made even more precarious. what disgrace. that's what this bill is. it's an absolute disgrace. it's not just an ideological difference. it is something dramatically opposite of what america needs. there is no reason for a single middle-class family to pay more while every single corporation pays less. if you wanted to help the middle class, give them a real tax break. the rich get far more dollars back than the middle class. that is fact. irrefutable fact. on top of that, senator wyden warned everybody a few minutes ago this tax bill will endanger social security and medicare. republicans have already said, led by speaker ryan, they'll
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use the deficit they're about to create as an excuse to come after those earned benefits. the aarp is very reluctant to stake stands on bills like this, but it was so bad for the elderly, the aarp felt compelled to publicly oppose it. elderly americans are not the only ones who should be worried, although they certainly should be. if you're 40, 45 or 50 working hard, trying to put money away for retirement while sending your kids to college, and you're counting on these programs to be there when you retire, know this. cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid are likely to fall on your shoulders because of this monstrosity of a bill. the republican tax bill is the first shoe to drop. the second will fall on the social safety net that allows millions of hardworking americans to retire with
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dignity, with security. for all of these reasons, it's not a surprise that in poll after poll after poll the american people overwhelmingly oppose this bill. my republican colleagues have done what's nearly impossible. it's a bad trick, but they've accomplished it. they've managed to make a tax cut bill even less popular than previous tax hikes. who would have thought they could accomplish that? who would have thought? in fact, it's the second least popular piece of major legislation in 30 years. opposed two to one by the american people. and the more they learn about the bill, the less they like it. by the way, what was the first? the republican health care bill earlier this year. it's not hard to understand why
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the dark heart of the republican policy agenda, easing burdens on those who already have so much while punishing or ignoring those who have too little is a profoundly unpopular idea. my republican friends ought to listen to the american people. the fount of wisdom in our democracy where there will be a reckoning. the american people do not believe in trickle down as all of you seem to. give the very top money and they'll create jobs. hasn't happened. at&t, you know what their tax rate was over the last ten years? 8%. you know how many jobs they created? zero. they cut 80,000 people. let's give them more money while hurting the middle class. it makes no sense. the american people are saying in a loud, clear voice that
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they oppose tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. they don't believe in trickle down as you do. they oppose gutting health care, as you want to do. and they oppose this one-party approach to legislating. the american people know that a slap-dash partisan process will not result in good law. my republican colleagues ignored the warnings of the american people at their own peril. in just a short time republicans will have a choice whether or not to affix their name to this awful legislation. and though the republican propaganda may call passage a political victory, it will be very fleeting and illusory. the substance and polling are so rotten that a year from now republicans will be running away from this bill in shame for
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voting yes this evening. there's an alternative. vote no. come to the table with democrats. begin serious bipartisan talks on tax reform. get a good bill and work in the way this chamber is supposed to work. bipartisan, moderate, thoughtful, open. we've done none of those. none of those. i have little faith that at this late hour my colleagues will choose that better course. but if they do, we could do something great for the country, madam president, and for this body at the same time. we could return to regular order where the legitimate policy differences between our parties are argued in broad daylight and with pai painstaking effort we compromise even after we fiercely debate one another.
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isn't that what we came here to do? i challenge a single one of my republican colleagues to say they're proud of the way this tax bill was written and passed. i challenge a single one. i know this isn't what they'd like to see. i know that this isn't what so many of you came here to do. i know it's not what you tell your constituents the senate ought to be. i know so many of you lament the steady erosion of bipartisanship here in the senate, as do i, as do my fellow democrats. so rather than resign to the failures of the current moment, i plead, plead with my republican colleagues to imagine a better path forward. vote no. vote no and prevent taxes from going up on millions of middle-class families. vote no and stop 13 million
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americans from going without health insurance. vote no so we don't add $1.5 trillion to the deficit putting the burden on our children and grandchildren. vote no and say that you want to have the kind of bipartisan debate befitting grand traditions of this united states senate. vote no. otherwise i believe the entire republican party and each of you will come to rue this day. i yield the floor.

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