tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN April 17, 2018 9:59am-12:31pm EDT
learned and changes we've made in the last couple of years as a company is we said, you know what? if we've got a great idea, terrific, but maybe some of the best ideas are outside of the company. maybe there are folks that we want to partner with, that we want a joint venture with, that we want to invest or buy and that's how we're thinking about innovation. >> last night senate passed dodd-frank reforms and i know they don't affect you directly, 215 billion in assets and down, does that change the competitive landscape? and is it a good move? >> first, i think it's a really good move and the reason i say that is because many of the-- and the rest of mr. sloan's remarks to the detroit economic club are available for viewing anytime on-line at c-span.org. we're going to leave this here now as the u.s. senate is about to gavel in. lawmakers expected to look at the general counsel for the education department. a confirmation vote could take
place later today and may start on a bill dealing with consumer financial protection bureau. live senate coverage 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. almighty god, ruler of the universe, the sustainer of life, and the father of humanity, great is your faithfulness. lord, forgive us when our courage wavers in the face of difficulties because we ignore your abiding presence.
thank you for imparting wisdom, patience, and strength to our lawmakers. sustain them with your presence and strengthen them with your love. lord, em through each challenge with honor. grant that they will meet their hardships and setbacks with a firm faith in your sustaining presence. we pray in your merciful 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,
meet a variety of important missions. i hope my colleagues will join me in ensuring its swift consideration and passage this week. but first the senate will consider yet another chance to use the congressional review act and repeal yet another of the last administration's runaway regulations. thanks to senator moran and senator toomey, today's effort will protect consumers from a brazen attempt by the past director of the consumer financial protection bureau to stretch his authority and interfere in the auto industry. now, the dodd-frank act of 2010 got a lot of things wrong, but one thing dodd-frank got right was protecting auto dealers from meddling by the cfpb. our democratic colleagues are usually fans of federal
regulations. i guess even they had a hunch that left unchecked the federal bureaucracy would find way to put the brakes on this key industry. and how right they were. in 2013, federal regulators concocted a loophole. they bypassed standard review and public comment periods for federal regulations and instead issued guidance that would regulate auto dealers' ability to negotiate loan terms with their customers. dodd-frank already gave the cfpb unprecedented insulation from the american people's elected representatives. but apparently that wasn't enough because they still attempted an end run around the express prohibition on the regulation of auto dealers with guidance they assumed would not be subject to the congressional review act. well today senator toomey foiled
that plan when he asked g.a.o. for an opinion on whether this guidance was in fact intrusive rule making that should be subject to congressional review. g.a.o. decided that indeed it was and now congress will have its say. republicans are chopping away at the tangled mess of regulation s that the last administration left behind. our whole economy is getting a tune-up and now it's time for the front end of the auto industry to come along for the ride. we use the congressional review act -- we used the congressional review act a record is a times last year. let's join with our colleagues from pennsylvania and kansas and add another victory to that list. now on another matter, today, madam president, is tax day, the deadline for most americans to
file their tax returns. for many middle-class households, that means sending too much of their hard-earned money off to the i.r.s. hardly cause for celebration. but this year, the gray clouds of tax day have a silver lining. today is the very last time the american families will have to file under the unfair, outdated tax code that congress and the president got rid of a few months ago. out with the old and in with the new. republicans' historic overhaul of -- overhaul cut taxes for families and small businesses. we doubled the standard deduction, expanded the child care credit and lowered rates as well. and we accomplished all of this while preserving the key middle-class provisions like the mortgage interest deduction. the upshot of all this is simple -- major tax relief for middle-class families and a big shot in the family for the u.s.
economy, which will lead to more and higher-paying homegrown american jobs. already tax reform has given american workers a raise. since less of each paycheck needs to be withheld for the i.r.s. when all is said and done, the treasury department estimates our tax cuts will leave 90% of wage earners with more take-home pay. those 90% of wage inners with -- earners with more takehome pay as a result of our measure. americans are receiving special bonus, pay raise or new benefits from their employers as a direct result of tax reform. $1,000 bonuses for workers at kansas city southern railway in missouri, a higher starting wage at first farmers bank and trust in indiana, higher wages and new job opportunities at c.s.s.
distribution group, a small business packaging and distribution company in kentucky. billion-dollar investments in pension plans for u.p.s. and fedex workers. the list goes on and on and on. my democratic colleagues from new york and san francisco scoff publicly at the idea that a $20,000 tax cut for a $1,000 bonus would make a difference for american families. they've called these things crumbs. something tells me they haven't tried that talking point around many middle-class kitchen tables. i suspect they would be laughed out of the rooms. and these are just the first fruits. tax reform laid the foundation for a more prosperous future with more good-paying american jobs. that's because we made sending jobs overseas less appealing. we created new incentives for businesses to invest, expand,
build, and hire right here at home. we gave overseas competitors something to worry about -- a healthy, competitive u.s. economy. already job creators of all shapes and sizes are investing more and expanding. a furniture store, for example, in ohio is planning a 4, 500 square-foot expansion. a craft brewery in iowa is planning to open a new production line. and a deck and patio builder in virginia is hiring ten new employees to meet rising demand, just to name a few. republicans designed every piece of tax reform to benefit middle-class families and small businesses, both right now and in the years and decades ahead. that used to be a bipartisan priority, but this time democrats chose to put political posturing ahead of america's best interests.
madam president, every single democrat in the house and every single democrat in the senate voted to block tax reform and, by extension, every bit of this good news would not have happened. later today, in fact, some of our colleagues across the aisle will be demonstrating against the law. later today some of our colleagues across the aisle will be demonstrating against the law right here on the grounds of the capitol. i wonder whether it's all the new jobs they're protesting or maybe it's the big family tax cuts or maybe they're protesting the bonuses and wage hikes or all the small business expansions. well, their first mistake was voting to block all this in the first place. now, even as the economy is starting to thrive, they want to
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. schumer: madam president. congratulations. at least this is the first time i am speaking when you are in the chair. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. schumer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer:
once again, congratulations. this is the first time at least when i am speaking on the floor that you are in the chair. is it the first time you are in the chair, madam president? can't answer. i know. let the record show she nodded her head in an affirmative way. okay. madam president, first a brief comment on the tribal labor sovereignty act which failed to move forward in the senate last night. indian affairs has very rarely found its way to the floor of the senate, despite a number of very pressing issues in indian
country, including homelessness, educational disparities, language loss, health care access, broadband access, and many more. for a number of years, democrats and republicans on the indian affairs committee have pushed legislation that would alleviate these problems. on our side of the aisle, senators udall and tester, smith, baldwin, heinrich, heitkamp, cantwell, murray, have worked very hard on bills that deal with these very, very significant issues in indian country. but, madam president, none of these bills have reached the floor. the leader has refused to put bills that would dramatically help indian country on the floor. and when finally a tribal bill is brought forward by the majority leader, it was closed to amendments and debate. senator udall, our ranking member, wished to have amendments. senator hoeven, the chairman of
indian affairs, told me he wanted amendments. but the way the leader mcconnell brought it to the floor was no amendments, no debate, no discussion. evened worse, it was a bill to scrap labor rights at a time when we should be doing everything we can to strengthen labor protections. the only bill the leader would bring to the floor is one that was divisive and destined to fail, a political act, not an act to help indian country. the a.f.l. said the passage of the measure, quote, would have amounted to the most aggressive erosion of labor protection since the 1940's. after many years of waiting for tribal issues to reach the floor, i think many of us were sorely disappointed that the majority leader opted for this incredibly divisive bill done in such an incredibly divisive way. i hope now that the measure has
failed to advance the majority leader would consent to putting other tribal bills on the floor, so many of which have broad bipartisan support and could pass at least the senate. on another issue, russia and mueller. yesterday, it was reported that president trump overruled a decision of his administration to implement new sanctions against russia for its support of the brutal assad regime in syria in the wake of a chemical weapons attack that was devastating. our hearts go out when we see pictures like this. it was only the latest action in a long pattern of behavior in which president trump opted to treat russia and president putin with kid gloves. it took a very long time for president trump to even utter a negative word about mr. putin and his administration has time and time again delayed the implementation of sanctions. reports in the press said that
president trump was unhappy with his administration's decision to expel 60 russian diplomats after british citizens were victim of a russian-linked attack. the decision to expel those diplomats was correct in my view, but apparently the president wasn't happy with the decision by his own appointed national security team. now, madam president, the white house shouldn't have to drag the president kicking and screaming to do the right thing when it comes to punishing vladimir putin and russia. his refusals to stand up to the kremlin is troubling and leaves many americans wondering why? what does the president have to hide? that's what 90% of all americans are asking themselves. democrat, republican, liberal, conservative. his actions with putin have been so confounding and so contrary to american interests, there is virtually no rational explanation for it.
and now at the same time the president's rhetoric about the russia probe should concern all of us. should he seek down to shut down or impede the investigation by firing the deputy attorney general or special counsel mueller, interfering with the chain of command, or by issuing pardons? we would be, make no mistake about it, in a full-fledged constitutional crisis. so i urg, all of my colleagues, democrat, republican, independent, to support the bipartisan legislation in the judiciary committee that would protect the special counsel from a political firing. the rule of law is not a partisan issue. it is one of the most serious issues we face because that's what is at the core of being an american. that is why the whole world admires us. that is why so many of families like mine have been able to climb the ladder, starting out
in poverty, as my grandparents did, to a decent life. we cannot let the rule of law become a partisan issue. let us speak in one loud, clear voice by passing this legislation through the senate as soon as possible. and finally as well, the contradictions i just might add to the administration are enormous. nikki haley must be so embarrassed today that she forthrightly says we're going to be tough on russia and do additional sanctions one day and the president contradicts her the next. do they talk to each other? do they have a set plan? or is it just up to the president's whim day by day, moment by moment? when it comes to russia it's far too serious to rely on whim, changing attitudes or maybe an
800-pound gorilla in the room, something the president is worried about. finally today, tax day, probably americas least favorite holiday and it is appropriate to look at what's happening since the republicans passed the tax bill last year. since the beginning of the tax debate the republicans have insisted their bill is about helping working americans even though the crux of the bill is a massive corporate tax cut, they said workers would benefit the most. even though it would direct 83% of the benefits to the top 1%, they said the bill would be a middle-class miracle. well, how many middle-class people today think that tax bill is a miracle? not many. the only way that could have been true was if corporations had decided to invest a substantial amount of their newfound profits in workers. that's what republicans, after all, argued would happen. we democrats warned that if you gave the big corporations the
lion's share of the tax cuts, corporations would do what they always do when they have higher profits and extra cash. distribute it among themselves. have a nice little party. unfortunately, the evidence is mounting that our predictions, as much as we wish they hadn't come true, were prescient. since the passage of the tax bill -- listen to this, madam president -- corporations have spent over $250 billion on share buybacks since the tax bill passed. that's putting corporations on track to spend between $800 billion and $1 trillion on share buybacks this year alone, outstripping the previous pace. now people may ask, what is a share buyback? here's what it is. a corporation has a lot of money. one thing they can do, pay workers more, give paid family leave, treat their employees better. another thing they could do,
invest in new plant and equipment, new training to make that corporation more efficient and sell more of its goods. those are good things. what's a bad thing? buying back the stock. why is -- what is buying back the stock? the corporation says i have a million shares outstanding. if i buy back 100,000 of them, the price of the remaining ones will go up. and who benefits? well, above all, the c.e.o.'s of the corporations who have a lot of stock shares, and the wealthiest heads of those companies. who else benefits? shareholders. 80% of all shares in america, despite pensions, despite 401(k)s, are held by the 10% richest people in america. and a third of all shares totally go to people overseas. that's who benefits from stock buybacks. corporate c.e.o.'s, wealthy shareholders, people overseas, more than the average american worker. that's what's happened.
so listen to this. according to a recent analysis by just capital, only 6% of the capital allocated by companies from the tax bill savings have gone to employees, while nearly 60% has gone to shareholders. that statistic gets to the very core of the debate, who benefited from this tax bill. mainly wealthy c.e.o.'s, a lot of foreigners, and the wealthiest people in america. not the average working person. as "usa today" put it last week, the number of companies letting workers know they are getting a bonus, raise, or other form of financial compensation has slowed to a trickle. most of the extra cash from tax savings is going into the pockets of stock shareholders through dividend increases and companies buying back their own stock in hopes of it boosting
its price. a whole theory the republican tax bill can be summed up in two words: trickle down. the whole theory was to lavish corporations and the already wealthy with tax cuts, and maybe the benefits might trickle down to everyone else. we're already seeing the balloon burst on that idea as corporations dedicate an enormous percentage of the tax savings to stock buybacks and only a sliver to worker compensation. that's why the republican bill is not popular. a poll out from the nbc "wall street journal" -- "wall street journal," hardly a working man's newspaper -- showed that only 20%, 27% of americans think the tax cuts were a good idea. fitting news on tax day, one of the least popular days of the year. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are, senator. ms. warren: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. senator, i need to read a few things first for the record. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of education, carlos g.muniz of florida to be general counsel. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 12:30 p.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. under the previous -- the senator may proceed, please. ms. warren: thank you,
mr. president. mr. president, just weeks after voting, to make it harder to stop discrimination in mortgage lending, the senate is now on the verge of voting to make it harder to stop discrimination in auto lending. about 40 years ago, congress passed an important civil rights law called the equal credit opportunity act. that law said companies couldn't discriminate when offering a loan. it was a simple idea. loan terms should be based on creditworthiness, not on the color of someone's skin. the consumer financial protection bureau is one of the federal agencies responsible for enforcing that 40-year-old law. the cfpb found out that when auto dealers were helping customers get financing for a loan, minority customers were often given worse loans than their white counterparts. the underlying reason was something called a dealer reserve where the lenders providing the financing for a car loan gave the dealer the
discretion to mark up the interest rate on the loan and then the dealer could keep some of the additional profit generated from the markup. the problem was that there was growing evidence that some dealers marked up loans more often and higher for minorities than for whites with similar credit profiles. in 2013, the cfpb issued guidance to these lenders about how they could make sure they were complying with the equal credit opportunity act. they could institute more rigorous oversight of their auto financing process to get rid of these discriminatory practices. or they could stop using the dealer reserves that facilitated these discriminatory practices and just pay dealers a flat fee per loan instead. after issuing the guidance, the cfpb found that some were not
following the guidance. it entered into settlements with fifth third and the financing arms of both honda and toyota. these settlements returned millions of dollars to people who had been charged more for car loans simply based on the color of their skin. but a lot of auto dealers and auto lenders don't like the cfpb's guidance, which brings us to today when the senate is about to vote on reversing this guidance and prohibiting the cfpb from ever issuing similar guidance again. this is part of the broader republican attack on the efforts to fight economic discrimination. house republicans have passed multiple bills that would make it harder to enforce fair lending laws. and since consuming control of the cfpb, mick mulvaney has taken steps to undermine the office of fair lending. the vote today is also a troubling follow-up to the recent bank deregulation bill that just passed the senate.
that bill reduced data reporting requirements for 85% of the banks in this country, making it harder for federal agencies to monitor mortgage lending, to uncover discrimination, and to enforce the law. now the senate is considering rolling back guidance that explains how lenders can avoid discrimination when providing auto loans. let's be clear. discrimination in auto lending is alive and well. the national fair housing alliance recently sent two people, one white, one nonwhite, to eight car dealerships in virginia, even though the nonwhite person had better credit than the white person in each instance. the nonwhite person ended up with a more expensive loan half the time. think about that. better credit and paid more for the loan. in fact, in those cases, the
nonwhite person would have paid more than $2,500 over the life of their loan than the white person with worse credit. the last thing we should be doing is making it harder to crack down on that kind of discrimination. as a wide array of civil rights and consumer groups recently wrote, quote, discrimination in auto lending continues to extract billions of dollars a year in extra loan payments from borrowers of color. congress should be taking action to end this injustice, not interfering with efforts to enforce fair lending laws. a vote in favor of the resolution today is a vote to support the trump administration's system systematic -- systematic dismantling of fair lending laws in this country. it's a vote in favor of mick
mulvaney's efforts to leash up the fair lending. it's a vote in favor of allowing some auto lenders and dealers to continue charging african americans and latinos hundreds, even thousands more just because of their race. i urge all of my colleagues to oppose this resolution. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president, i would ask suspension of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, today i rise to talk about an issue that is extremely important to my state of michigan. in michigan, we take great pride in the fact that we're never more than six miles from a body of water or more than 85 miles from one of our incredibly amazing great lakes. in fact, one out of five jobs in michigan is in some ways tied to the water. so this is really about who we are. it's in our d.n.a. in michigan when we talk about the great lakes. and in terms of the country, it's important for all of us to care about the great lakes because 95% -- 95% of the
surface fresh water in the united states is in the great lakes. 20% of the world's fresh water, but 95% of our fresh water in the united states is surrounding the great lakes. so we are always, through our great lakes traffic force and our working together, all of the senators and the house around the great lakes have a special responsibility to step up and protect them. but we all should care because of the incredible natural resources that they provide. and unfortunately, perhaps no other body of water in the united states has been as harmed by invasive species as the great lakes. and it's also unfortunate that it's balanced water that brought the majority of these invasive species into the great lakes. they are brought in from salt water into the great lakes and then they are moved around
within the great lakes after they get there. so i am very concerned about legislation in front of us that would weaken our ability to protect the great lakes. we need to do everything we can to maintain strong ballast water standards and everything we need to under the clean water act to protect the water. i intend to speak out to colleagues about what's in front of us. i strongly support the coast guard bill. in fact, i strongly support the coast guard. i think we have the best and the brightest anywhere in the michigan coast guard. i'm very proud of them. but i am deeply opposed to attaching a bill to that critical legislation that would undermine our ability to fight invasive species under the clean water act and to take away our
rights of our states to be able to protect our waters. this new version of what's been dubbed vita, the vessel incidental discharge act, requires the coast guard to set ballast water standards in consultation with the e.p.a., that it's always been in the reverse. the coast guard is not responsible for the protections. they do fantastic work, but it's not their job in terms of water quality. that's the e.p.a. it removes the authority. unfortunately this legislation has been attached to the coast guard bill. it removes the authority to regulate ballast water -- under the clean water discharge act. that's a problem for a lot of reasons. first of all, it means states like the great lakes state in michigan will see our authority to set standards disappear. so repealing what the state of michigan has done, the governor,
the state legislature has done over the years to protect the water that literally surrounds our peninsula, and it means that legal challenges to ensure strong standards will be curtailed as well. why is this important? it has been legal action under the clean water act that has arguably been the primary driver for requiring new ballast water standards. and preventing invasive species from this in ballast water is a big deal. the cost of fighting it nationwide is $120 billion a year. in michigan we are spending anywhere up to $800 million a year dealing with invasive species that are already here, and one of our nightmares is that asian carp that have been coming up the mississippi and
illinois rivers will hit the great lakes. if we don't have the capacity to do what we need to do there, it's going to be a disaster for the great lakes. now, let me also say that on the great lakes, we have what we call our lakers, which are huge cargo vessels. mr. president, if you haven't been to the great lakes, you can look out in it. it looks like you're looking at the ocean with our big barges, and the great lakes, of course, we call the ocean without the salt, or the sharks. we have barges, and i've been a strong supporter of the lakers. they're vital to our economy and they really do a wonderful job. but unfortunately, when we look at protecting the great lakes, giving a de facto exemption, which is in this bill, from these vessels ever having to be required to install ballast water control technologies is
just not in the interest of protecting our waters. and unfortunately, the good news is that the lakers traveling within the great lakes aren't bringing in the salt water ballast and invasive species but they move them around. we saw this with zebra mussels in the lower part of the great lakes get moved around to lake superior because of the vessels that are moving. so it does make a difference having those standards. beyond the ballast water, though, one of the things that i've just recently found out about this addition to the coast guard bill that is concerning on top of all this, in another very large way, is that it not only curtails state ballast water laws, but many states have regulations to limit other -- of oils and chemicals and so on. and this bill -- and oftentimes
these rules are in place to protect sensitive areas like oyster beds or corals out, again, in the salt water. for us this is about the fact that it would remove the ability for states to regulate other harmful chemicals. i'll give you one that is becoming a nightmare for us in michigan, and i know it's being found, i think it will eventually be in every state. and that is runoff of a type of -- regulating a type of foam that's been used forever in fire suppression. there's a group of chemicals that they dub pfas, that's an acronym. but basically we have fire suppression equipment. this has been used for training facilities and others on our air force bases, national guard
bases and so on, not used anymore. but on the west side of michigan we also have private companies making foot wear and other kinds of products where this water-resistant chemicals have been used in all kinds of ways for a long, long time. across the country, states like michigan are struggling to address now serious contamination of drinking water caused by a chemical that has been used in this fire-fighting foam. and we have at our national guard training center in northern michigan, the largest one in the country for the national guard, we have a beautiful lake. we have a lot of lakes. we have a beautiful lake in the middle of this beautiful, very large facility. and we now see this foam floating on top of the water. and so the townships -- and people have private property around the lake. this foam, chemical, now is floating on top of the water. the townships are looking at
ways that they can go from individual wells to some kind of municipal water system. but it is, it's touching every part of michigan. and my guess is before it's done, because these types of foam were used all over the country, we're going to see that everywhere, and we're going to have some real challenges. i'm very appreciative that in the department of defense appropriation, money was added for a study to look at the broader safety issues, public health issues that relate to this so we know that the right standards are set. there are standards now, but we need to be looking more deeply about impacts from groundwater and so on. and we are going to have, i think, a lot of remediation to do. public sector as well as private sector. here's the problem, this bill says that states can no longer issue any regulation on the use of these foams which may contain
toxic substances. so it's not only ballast water is one thing, which we care deeply about, but states that don't have the beautiful great lakes around them or coastlines are impacted by these toxic substances that we are finding more of every day. these chemicals that were used everywhere. i'm sure people thought they were safe when they were using them and now we're finding out that they were not, and there are huge impacts. so this is especially problematic when the states, not the federal government, is on the front line of addressing these new -- chemicals aren't new, but the awareness, the impact, the groundwater contamination, concern from citizens is new. so this bill would take away the capacity for states to be able to act. and i don't think any of the supporters of the bill intended for this to happen. in fact, many of the proponents of the bill have been leaders in
the effort in the senate to address these chemicals. so i would urge us to take a step back and before voting to proceed here to concur with this that we take a step back together and take a look at the broader implications of the way this language is put together. i strongly support the coast guard bill. i think this addition of everybody here is going to regret if this moves forward with this additional language, because certainly i'm not going to support it. certainly because of ballast water concerns alone, i would not. add on top of it taking away the states' capacity to be able to address these toxic chemicals now that we are just finding everywhere, not only in michigan but across the country, i think this should be sending off alarm bells to etch.
i -- bells to everyone. i know the e.p.w. committee, senator carper has been working on a real solution to do that. i think we can do that on a bipartisan basis, and i hope we will, mr. president, because this is a vote i think many will regret down the road. as this pfob chemical contamination becomes more widespread, and i can't believe, the fire fighting foam wasn't just used in michigan or a few states. it was around the country. and i think taking away the states' ability to be able to address that in their state is a very serious issue. so i would urge colleagues to vote no on this motion. let us go back and take another look at it and figure out some language that -- we just want to take vita out and do the coast
guard bill, that's great. but if we want to look at the issues around vita -- and i appreciate the concerns around that -- let's do it in a way that makes sense for the people we represent. and the states who need to be able to act now. and certainly in michigan, this has become a huge issue around this group of toxic chemicals. whenever we vote, i believe it may be tomorrow, and that we take a step back and work together to get this right. thank you, mr. president. i would yield the floor. and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, today is the last day under the old, awful broken tax system that the american people have had to put up with for decades. under the tax relief law that republicans passed in december and signed by president trump and passed by the house as well, we now have a simpler system, a fairer system, and one that is so much less expensive for the american families. one big thing we did in the tax
law is double the standard dixs -- deductions that the american people can take. it means that 95% of taxpayers will be taking the standard deduction from now on. it means people won't have to wade through paperwork, boxes of receipts, people won't have to chase after itemized deductions like they have done year after year on tax day. they won't just cross their fingers hoping they are doing everything right, hoping that they don't overpay, hoping that they don't run afoul of the law by not paying the amount required by law. it is just going to be much simpler and much fairer. when i voted, all of the things we worked on for tax relief, tax reform, tax deductions, for me it was just two words, taxes needed to be lower and simpler. now what we're seeing is simpler and lower taxes. now, it's a big change people
are going to notice and they are noticing it now in their paychecks and they will really notice it next april 15 when they file their taxes. americans are seeing the went fits today. the law wasn't just tax reform and simplification, it was an immediate big tax cut as well. meaning, hardworking americans are seeing it in their paychecks. the average increase in paychecks is #%. that is a staggering wage growth. according to the bureau of economic analysis, american workers brought home almost $200 billion more in february than they did in december. now, some of it came right away in the form of bonuses because of companies. some of it came from the income tax that workers were holding from their paychecks and some of
it was because of higher wages with wages higher across the country. it means $200 million more for hardworking americans. it means it is more they can spend on themselves and their families. it's about american family priorities not how the government can spend their money. it's about how they can save for college, kids, for whatever they want to save for. you know, people notice that kind of difference in their take-home pay. it makes a big difference in their lives. another thing that happens when we cut taxes is businesses have more money to hire more workers. i see it happen in wyoming. i see it as i travel through the state, city after city, town after town, community after community. businesses hiring more workers locally. the american economy has added over 600,000 new jobs just since republicans passed, and
president trump signed, the tax law in december. jobs in places like kroger, and they have a number of conveniences stores all around wyoming. well, they said last week they are going to high 11,000 new workers. those aren't just people in headquarters, these are people in stores all across the country. cashiers, workers in prepared sections of the store, in the produce area, and this is good for the community. somebody has money in their pocket, they can spend it, give to charity, invest some, save some. it's their money. these stores related to kroger's, we are seeing it around the country. stores are highing more people. they are increasing benefits, people are able to get a g.e.d.
they say it is because they are saving money under the tax law. we have heard it again and again in my state and the presiding officer heard it in his state, saving money because of the tax law. a lot of companies are paying more because they want to hold on to the workers that they have. that's one reason that the initial jobless claims number for the first week in april dropped. the claims of people who are out of work who file for -- for benefits from the government, the number of people filing has dropped by 9,000 people. that is a sign that people are keeping jobs, don't need to apply for unemployment benefits. the number of jobless claims has been low for the longest stretch now ever. they have been keeping records since 1967, nobody has ever seen it like this. one economist looked at the good news and said, the job market is rip roaring.
the american people don't need an economist to tell them that. all they need to do is look around their hometown. i see it in wyoming. businesses are hiring, workers are getting bonuses, they are getting raises. they see more money in their paychecks. people across america is feeling better about their jobs. there is a confidencecy see at home. people are feeling better about their own personal financial situation, certainly the case at home in wyoming. there's a couple of surveys that came out recently. in one of them, the pugh organization found the number of people who say this economy is in good or excellent condition is now the highest it has been in two decades, 20 years. that is confidence of the american people in the economy. the second survey, a poll from gallup, found that investor optimism is at the highest level in 17 years. when we are talking about investmentings we are talking about families who --
developments about families in wyoming. we have seen what they are doing to regulations so the economy can grow and people can be free to live their lives and make decisions for themselves. they have seen what happens when washington puts america first again. mr. president, all of those things added together make people confident in our economy and it gives them optimism for tt future. the only -- for the future. the only people not feeling optimistic are the democrats in congress who, across the board, voted against this tax relief law. the republicans voted for lower taxes, the democrats voted for higher taxes. now democrats seem to be desperately traig to spin -- trying to spin their way out of their bad choices. nancy pelosi said that the tax cuts are unfair to america's working families. who is she kidding? the only thing unfair is if the
democrats get their wish and repeal the tax cuts and raise taxes, which is apparently what they want to do. i have spoken to a lot of american families at home in wyoming. they are overjoyed by the extra money they have in their paychecks since republicans cut taxes. americans know the economy has created 605,000 new jobs since we applied tax relief. people see that the average wages are up, much higher than they were a year ago. they know the republican tax cuts, that we doubled the standard deduction, got rid of the -- obamacare tax. mr. president, hardworking americans who just filled out their taxes, they know that the republicans are on their side and the last thing that they
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader dump are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are, sir. mr. durbin: i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: today as million, of americans in illinois and across the nation finish filing their taxes, i come to the floor to discuss the most recent tax
reform bill considered by the united states senate and house of representatives. last year, republicans followed through with their promise and took a special procedural approach called reconciliation chl allowed them -- which allowed them to bring a tax reform plan to the floor outside of regular order and without committee hearings and the ordinary amendment and vote process. democrats were not really participants in this but only observers under the reconciliation process. that tax plan has now become the law of the land and now we know what it is doing. it has created a massive tax giveaway to the largest multinational corporations, to the wealthiest corporate c.e.o.'s, and well-connected campaign donors. republicans in passing this plan said if they could just cut taxes for large corporations enough, that these corporations would invest in america, give
breaks to their employees, and create more employment. the benefits of these tax breaks to the corporations supposedly would trickle down to workers in the form of higher wages and the economy would explode creating new jobs. the tax plan was voted favorably by every republican in the u.s. senate, and it added $1.5 trillion to the national debt to fund these massive corporate tax cuts. so what did the corporations do? with the tax cut information, they turned around, took their taxpayer funded tax cut, and gave their wealthy c.e.o.'s and shareholders a raise. so far in 2018, large corporations have announced over $235 billion in stock buybacks far outpacing the rate of companies announcing one-time bonuses for their workers. not only that, but more than a
hundred thousand emplo actlly been terminated. you couldn't get further from tax relief for working families if you tried. it gets worse. the congressional budget office reported last week that the republican t another $300 billion beyond the $1.5 trillion estimate. our children and grandchildren will pay off the cost of this tax cut for the wealthiest people in america and the largest corporations. so much for the promise that these tax cuts would pay for themselves. roughly it will cost us $1.9 trillion over ten years for these tax cuts for major corporations and wealthy people. this is a burden that our children and grandchildren will bear. so what are we hearing now when it comes to the budget? just last week after seeing that the plan voted for was expected to add $1.9 trillion to the deficit, republican tennessee senator corker said, and i
quote, if it ends up costing what has been laid out here, it could be well -- it could well be one of the worst votes i've made, end of quote. the so-called fiscal conservatives here in the senate didn't seem concerned about the deficit when they were voting for a ten-figure increase that would go to cut taxes for wealthy people and large corporations. but make no mistake. as predictably as night follows day, we now have a renewed call in the house of representatives for a budget amendment, a balanced budget constitutional amendment. stop me before i sin again amendment. the republican vs exploded the deaf -- have exploded the deficit. they violated public assistance programs in this country in this nation lake social security, medicaid and medicare are now at risk. if there's a balanced budget amendment, they said we've got to get to the basic programs like social security, medicare, and medicaid to make up the
difference. i think that is unconscionable to give tax breaks to people who are well off and comfortable and then to cut the basics of human existence from many senior citizens and social security and medicare. the devastating first act the republican tax plan and fiscal conservatives unless they define it has exploded our nation's deficit and provided enormous benefit to those who frankly don't need it. we can't let the second act be a balanced budget constitutional amendment that will end up pillaging the basic programs that help low and middle incoamericans -- middle-income americans the most in the name of fiscal responsibility. i ask consent that the next statement be placed in a separate part in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, there's a poll in the city of chicago a few years ago by the "chicago tribune" and they asked the residents of that city, what's the greatest asset of the city of chicago. overwhelmingly they all said the same thing.
like michigan. it's -- lake michigan. it's understandable if you've been to the beautiful city and see the lake front and realize the impact it has on the quality of life. it's understandable the chicagoans would value it the most. millions of people visit lake michigan each year. they swim. they kayak. they boat. they just walk along the beach. they have little picnics. it really is al major asset -- is a major asset. the lake is the primary source of drinking water for more than ten million people, not just in illinois but in wisconsin, indiana, michigan, many other states. together the great lakes support a multibillion dollar fishing industry. dozens of local economies and thousands of small businesses. however, the coast guard reauthorization bill which could come before the senate as early as tomorrow will do irreversible damage to the great lakes. i'm urging my colleagues to oppose it. it's not uncommon in this chamber for members from each
state to stand up from time to time and tell a story to their colleagues about something in their state of great personal value to them and to plead with their colleagues to understand what this means and to stand by them in protecting a great natural resource. our great natural asset. the bill itself coast guard reauthorization, i don't have a problem with. it does a lot of good things for great important part of our military service. it helps equip the coast guard with the tools they're going to need so that they can keep us safe and be part of the critical homeland security mission. but there's one provision in the bill that should not be there. this bill was supported by the commerce committee. and one of the provisions in this bill should never have started in the commerce committee. it should be in the environment committee. it's known as the vessel incident discharge act or vida. this provision in the coast guard reauthorization bill will
undermine the clean water act just to give a generous deal to one specific industry. vida exempts the shipping industry from being regulated by the environmental protection agency under the clean water act. it places it instead under the coast guard. now, the coast guard is a great organization and there are great men and women serving there. the coast guard, however, has no expertise in setting standards for clean water. the environmental protection agency has that responsibility. this bill takes that responsibility away from the e.p.a. this bill also preempts the states and their rights to implement their own standards that would meet specific needs and limit the public's ability to seek action in court. who opposes this bill? the attorney general of the state of illinois, new york, california, maine, massachusetts, michigan, oregon,
rhode island, vermont, and washington so far. the bill supporters say all of this is necessary to establish a uniformed national standard. but the bill doesn't do that. instead it cuts a big hole out of its own standard and exempts the ships from meeting the best technology control standards that all other ships are required to meet. it's a sweetheart deal for shippers on the lakes. vida makes it impossible for anyone to require ships operating on the great lakes to install pollution controls in the future. this means that these ships will likely never be required to use any technology to prevent the spread of invasive species, like muscles, blood red shrimp, and asian carp. i can't tell you how much money we spent to stop the asian carp
from destroying the great lakes. we've stopped them so far. this irresponsible measure is part of the coast guard -- as part of the coast guard reauthorization goes in the opposite direction. it opens the door for species to invade the great lakes. chicagoans ought to know that ships are using the best technology available to prevent the discharge of harmful chemicals in their drinking water and invasive species. but this goes beyond the great lakes. another provision of vida would prevent e.p.a. and states from enforcing standards to stop the shipping industry from releasing chemicals into the waters. we have become familiar with pfas after they contaminated
critical groundwater resources. as the ranking member of the resources subcommittee, i can't tell you how much we have discovered that these chemicals are a danger to the drinking supply. they come to me begging to clean up the messes at military bases and airports, and now we're considering the bill on the floor that weakens the standard for release of those chemicals into our water supply. what are we thinking? is the shipping industry worth that much that we turn our backs on this public health hazard. i have seen how the military has used these chemicals over the years for legitimate purposes like firefighting and now we are going to spend thousands to clean them up. allowing the shipping industry to freely release these chemicals without proper oversight is downright
disgusting. all of these reasons is why organizations have announced their opposition to the coast guard will. it has nothing to do with the coast guard. we value them and treasure them. we want to help them. but to have this rider which endangers the water supply is wrong. despite all of these objections senator mcconnell wants to bring this bill to the floor in a way that will limit debate, doesn't allow for any amendments to change it, and provides no pathway to improve the bill or to delete this terrible provision. this is not how to consider an issue that is so important with so many people concerned about it. i urge my colleagues, when this measure in the coast guard reauthorization comes up for a vote on cloture, vote no. today it's the great lakes, tomorrow it's your backyard, it's your water supply that some special interest group will want
to contaminate in the name of more profits. we can do better. we owe it to our kids to do better. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, i rise today, as i have in the past and will continue to do until we find a resolution to this issue. i rise to advocate for a solution to address securing our bored and -- border and for
securing a future for those in the daca program. i had legislation to have three years for daca and for a border. the president's decision to send national guard troops to the border displays a continued interest to secure the border and to take care of that aspect. this bill would provide significant resources to do just that, to help secure the border at the same time protecting these young immigrants from possible deportation. i'm the first to admit this solution is far from perfect, but it provides a temporary fix for these are critical problems and will provide all sides of the debate with just enough of what they want. it is a compromise.
it would begin the process of funding the president's plan to improve border security and, as i mentioned, ensure daca recipients won't lose protections and face possible deportation. these young immigrants were brought here through no fault of their own. they waited long enough for these protections. likewise, border communities like in my home state of arizona, have waited long enough for increased security along our southern border. as i said in congress, we in congress have too often confused action with results and been too comfortable with ignoring problems that are just actually tough to solve. we may not be able to deliver a permanent solution to these problems at this time, but we now have an opportunity to offer at least some action on them. there are many people whose lives and well-being depend on
our ability to deliver meaningful results. therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to immediate consideration of calendar number 300, h.r. 1551. i further ask that the flake substitute amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill be amended, considered read a third time and passed, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cotton: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
mr. cornyn: mr. president, i have six requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have been approved by the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i come to the floor to offer some remarks on the decision of the president of the united states to order precision missile strikes on three facilities in syria last friday night. this action demonstrates american leadership in the face of gross human rights violations. and as we all recall president obama's redline, which was not enforced, which, indeed, is a provocation in and of itself. i'm glad this president has seen fit now, not just once but on two occasions, to punish the syrian regime for such gross human rights violations. these actions are consistent with our values and the legal authorities provided to the president under the constitution. they are similar to decisions
made by presidents clinton and obama in kosovo and libya. while not unprecedented, clearly what occurred is very serious, and so i want to take just a few moments to explain why i think the strikes were justified and the appropriate course of action taken against the assad regime and were the appropriate course of action. what we now know is the syrian government on april 7, attacked civilians in the city of duma, killing 70 and injuring 500 more. to carry out the attack the government used chlorine imas against its only people. the world health organization said that these substances had been used. people were convulsing in the streets. their nervous systems were attacked. their pupils were constricted,
all telltale signs of these chemicals. when civilians suffer this way, there's nothing normal or acceptable about it, even in a country grappling with a civil war, that assad did this to his people makes this more insidious. chemical weapons are the kind of redline in international conflict after world war i, chemical and biological weapons were banned because they were different from guns, sabres and bombs. one reason they are different is because of the suffering they inflict on their victims, another reason is because of their indiscriminate nature, gases, by their nature, are impossible to control. they spread in the atmosphere. you can't quarantine gas inside a defined battlefield which
means civilians will not be spared. there is nothing surgical or targeted about these weapons. the use of them can't be tailored to avoid hurting children and innocent bystanders. they are instruments of terror, short and simple, and their brutality are stunning. the third reason these weapons are so atrocious is because of the slippery slope they provide. if gas attacks are tolerated in the international community, what comes next? biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons. that's not an unreasonable question. the free world must, therefore, stand unified against the use of chemical weapons. the failure to do so sends a signal of idleness or even complicity to the dictators of the world. the geneva protocol that eventually led to the chemical weapons convention has been rats identified by more than 190
nations. this means that there's near -- a near global consensus that the kind of gas attacks perpetrated by bashar al-assad are completely out of bound, even in war zones. so as i stand here today, i want to offer my support for both the mission that was carried out and the underlying objective which was to degrade syria's capability to research, develop, and di ploy chemical weapons -- deploy chemical weapons, ones that have done tremendous amounts of harm. the target of the syrian missile strikes were a research center and storage facilities used in the production of testing of biological weapons. we hope these facilities are destroyed. assad will perhaps be persuaded not to use chemical weapons once and for all. but there is reason to be skeptical as we know since he has before. we all remember last year when we struck syrian airfields after
similar provocations. bashar al-assad ignored our warning, gassed his own people, and has now paid a higher price. will it be enough? who can know? but i hope so. the consequences of his cruel and repressive tactics were swift and sur cup scribed air strikes ordered by the president of the united states. they protected against the loss of innocent life and avoided sparking a larger regional conflict. we're grateful to our allies, great britain and france, who played a pivotal role in the mission and we're grateful to the uniformed military -- our uniformed military for its meticulous planning, flawless execution and courageous leadership. mr. president, on another matter that's very much on americans' minds today is tax day. this is the day our 2017 tax
returns are due. and many texans i know are breathing a sigh of relief knowing what lies just around the corner. and that's because today is the last time americans will file taxes under the old broken tax code that we overhauled last year in the tax cuts and jobs act. our friend representative kevin brady in the house wrote yesterday, now we can finally say goodbye and good riddance to that outdated monstrosity of a tax code that took so much of americans' money and sent so men american jobs overseas and kept our economy so slow, many workers didn't see a pay raise for decades. it's been estimated that after tax income in texas will increase by close to $2,600 because of the changes we enacted into law and which were signed by the president. and all across the state, our constituents are seeing signs of
the law's positive and wide-reaching effects. i, like the presiding officer, my colleague from texas, have spoken to many of those families and businesses, both great and small. some of the most recent ones i've talked to were in college station. one of the folks who i spoke to there was a woman by the name of claudia smith. claudia owns and operates a small mom and pop flooring business. she told me that tax reform has impacted her company in many important ways. the first is with more money in her pocket, her customers feel -- in their pocket, her customers feel more optimistic. they're more willing to make purchases that for years before they'd been putting off. the second is that claudia is using her tax savings to hire more employees and buy expensive equipment that previously the company could not afford. the third way that changes are helping claudia is she's able to sleep a little more soundly at
night. in years past, one thing that kept her up is the rising cost of health insurance. because of the size of her business, claudia has never been required to provide it but since she considers her coworkers to be family, health insurance is something she felt obligated to offer. but when she did her annual budgeting each year, health insurance was often on the chopping block, something she just couldn't afford. up until the very last minute, claudia was never quite sure if she would be able to keep offering it. but now, thanks to the tax cuts and jobs act, she feels more confident in her ability to provide not only health insurance for the foreseeable future but other new employee benefits as well. claudia's is a great story not because it's unique but because it's typical of the sort of responsive' heard across my state when it comes to the benefits of the tax cuts and
jobs act. although i'm very glad last fall we were able to pass the first major overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years, now is not the time to let up. we can't stop fighting for taxpayers like claudia. in fact, today i'm reintroducing the small business taxpayer bill of rights act, legislation that reduces red tape for taxpayers and allows small businesses to spend more time growing and creating jobs and less time dealing with burdensome i.r.s. procedures and improper targeting practices. i'm proud to have my colleague, the senior senator from nevada, as my original cosponsor. in some ways it's the complement to the tax cuts and jobs act. this year research has shown taxpayers will spend more than eight billion hours completing i.r.s. forms costing almost $#00 billion -- $200 billion in cumulative monetized costs. that's a 14% increase from 2017.
this legislation will hopefully improve that situation. it will notably lower the compliance burden, strengthen taxpayer protections, and ensure small businesses are not unfairly targeted with unjustified levels of scrutiny by the i.r.s. for example, the bill makes it a fireable offense for an i.r.s. employee to use auditing methodologies based in whole or in part on the political or ideological views of the tax-paying individual or entity. the bill also allows more small businesses to petition for attorneys' fees when a court determines that the i.r.s.' legal actions weren't substantially justified. so i hope we can act on this legislation soon. and to all of my fellow texan, happy tax day. just remember today it's out with the old and in with the new. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
senator from new york. a senator: mr. president, i rise to speak in op decision to carlos muniz to be counsel at the department of education. mrs. gillibrand: one of the most important responsibilities that the department of education has is to uphold title nine and fight back against gender discrimination in all its forms. this is an enormous responsibility but it is also an urgent one. thousands of men and women have survived sexual assault on college campuses and they are demanding that the education department at their universities take these crimes seriously. but over the last year, we've heard over and over again the secretary -- that secretary devos has let these survivors down. instead of working to uphold and even strengthen title 9, she's used her position to weaken title 89. so we should not be arming her with more staff who are determined to carry out that plan. but that is what mr. muniz would
do if confirmed. mr. muniz' combination sends a cynical message to survivors of campus assaults all over our country that the education department is not taking survivors seriously and that they are not interested in protecting a law that's supposed to keep our students safe. if this nominee is confirmed, i have no doubt that he is going to accelerate secretary devos attack on title 9. this is an insult to the thousands of students who have suffered through sexual assaults on their college campuses. mr. muniz has spent his career on the wrong side of this issue and he has made it clear through his actions that he does not respect the important role that title 9 actually plays in protecting our students in keeping our campuses safe. the general counsel at the education department should work to uphold and strengthen our antidiscrimination laws, but i fear that this nominee is going to do the exact opposite.
so i urge all of my colleagues to do what's best for our students and join me in opposing this nomination. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22 if applicable, at 1:00 p.m., wednesday, april 18, the senate resume consideration of the muniz nomination with one hour of debate remaining equally divided between senator jil gillibrand or her designee and senator alexander or his designee on the nomination. further, that following the use or yielding back of time, the senate vote on the nomination as under the previous order. finally, that the senate now proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to spea for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, for information of our colleagues, i know the leader plans to make a motion to proceed for s.j. res.
57 at 2:15 p.m. and we'll have a roll call vote on that motion. a senator: mr. president, i ask consent to be able to complete my remarks. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana is recognized and without objection. mr. young: mr. president, i rise today on tax day to recognize this as the very last time americans will have to file their taxes under the complicated, 3wurdensome, outdate -- burdensome, outdated system of the past. we officially kick off a new tax code, one that's simpler, fairer, and allows hardworking americans to keep more of their hard earned money. since we passed the tax cuts and jobs act just last december, success stories have poured into my office from indiana businesses that are paying their workers more and from constituents who are earning more. tax reforms provided needed
relief across indiana and across the entire country. to date we found scores of companies in my home state of indiana who have invested in their employee, invested in capital improvements, or lowered energy rates for consumers. it ranged in size from large companies like walmart and at&t to smaller indiana businesses, like family express which has 70 convenience stores across the state and now is building ten more and increasing its starting wage. we feel obligated to pass on a significant portion of the tax savings to our staff, said family express president and c.e.o. gus olimatus. my address to this year's state of the union address was another beneficiary of this historic overhaul. chelsea hatfield is a young mother of three children, teller at a rural branch of first farmers bank and trust company in tipton, indiana.
chelsea received a raise and a bonus as a result of this tax reform effort. this additional income will help chelsea go back to school to earn her associate's degree. it will enable her to put money away for her future children's college education. chelsea represents so many americans who work in small towns, would live in our rural communities, and who are going to get a fair shot because of the benefits from tax reform. in the -- and the tax reform success stories don't stop there. nithe northern indiana public service company is an electric company in merryville, indiana. they're passing on $26 million in new savings to their customers. andy mark, a technical and electrical parts sup employer in cokis hiring more employees. one hoosier who lives in cedar
lake, indiana is growing his third-generation business. another who lives in southern indiana and works for u haul down in louisville used his $500 tax bonus to pay a bill. now, these bonuses and raises are allowing more hoosiers to save for a rainy day, to put more money away towards their child's education, to make repairs to their home, and to keep food on the table. now, it's worth noting when we were debating tax reform, i listened carefully to feedback from my constituents across indiana, spent a lot of time traveling the state, holding round tables, talking to folks on the street. i'm glad to say hoosier voices were heard and they're receiving the tax relief they asked do. -- they asked for. i look forward to hearing hoosier tax success stories and i look forward to this being the last day of the old outdated tax system. thank you, mr. president.
i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate the previous order, the senate outside the capital a rally marking tax day is underway today. members of congress, consumer advocates and union representatives are taking part. >> the idea that when we have massive income and income inequality they want to give tax breaks to billionaires and then cut programs at the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor need is morally reprehensible.
and you know what? they're not going to get away with that because the american people are catching on. we are going to vote them out in november. we are going to transform, we're going to transform our national priorities. we're going to make this institution start working for the working families of this country, not just the one person. person. thank you all for what you are doing. [cheers and applause] >> thank you, senator sanders. next, we going to hear from representative lloyd doggett. he's from texas and he served in the house since 1995 and is also the ranking member on the house subcommittee on tax policies. please welcome representative doggett. [applause]