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tv   House Session  CSPAN  April 15, 2015 2:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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mmittee discovered in our investigation was that some i.r.s. employees used their personal, nonsecure email accounts to conduct official i.r.s. business. in doing so they also disclosed confidential taxpayer information. lois learner, a person centered at the scandal routinely conducted official business on her personal email account. if that's not bad enough, nothing on her personal email is subject to official record keeping which conveniently keeps taxpayer information outside the orbit of proper security. . such behavior breaches the trust between the american people and their government. this is wrong in principle and failed in practice. currently the i.r.s. employee
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manual only says that sensitive but unclassified data can't be emailed outside the i.r.s. network. but it says nothing about an outright prohibition. in other words it's bad practice, but it's not prohibited. and it clearly didn't stop lois lerner from lurning the tsh-from returning the confidence of the american people. as i said at the offset, congress has a responsibility to protect taxpayers, just avoiding a repeat of past failures cannot be our ambition. so let's put commonsense safeguards if place, shine the light of the transparency on the i.r.s. and provide greater accountability to the american people. the i.r.s. email transparency act does just that. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserve. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: i rise in support of house bill 1152, the i.r.s. email transparency act. in 2012, the internal revenue service prohibited employees from using personal and email accounts for governmental or official purposes. this bill stipulates the commonsense rule of federal law. house bill 115 responds to the investigation into the processing of tax exempt application. this investigation started nearly two years ago in may, 2013. to date, the agency has spent more than $20 million to produce more than 1,300,000 pages of
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documents, including 78,000 emails from miss lois lerner. mr. speaker, to date there's not been one shred of evidence produced to support the republican claim that the process of application was politically motivated or intended to target the president's political enemies. the inspector general even stated that no one outside the agency was involved in setting the standards for processing tax exempt application. the delays expands by groups were the result of incompe -- incompetence at the agency in the exempt organization division. i want to thank the gentleman from texas, mr. marchant, and my republican colleagues for bringing this bill to the floor today. now mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. gentleman from wisconsin virginia tech. mr. ryan: at this time i'd like
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to yield three minutes to the chairman of the subcommittee, mr. roskam. the speaker pro tempore: gentleman from illinois is recognized for three minutes. mr. roskam: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, chairman, for yielding. one of the questions that i get at home a lot is how did the lois lerner scandal happen. how did it come to pass that that happened? and how do you make sure that it doesn't happen again? mr. marchant's bill doesn't deal necessarily with lois lerner 1.0, but deals with lois lerner 2.0. it's a prohibition against this very cavalier attitude we have seen coming from the i.r.s. and that's to be cavalier about taxpayer information. it hasn't just been leaked through emails. it's been leaked in other sources and other ways and shapes and durations, but the effect is the same and the effect is devastating. so this takes away any ambiguity that somebody can use their own private email account and begin
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to do official activity. if that's the bright line that is necessary, that's the bright line that mr. marchant's bill creates. so we want to make sure that we do more than simply say lois doesn't work here anymore as if that's the remedy. but to actually change these underlying policies, reclaim this authority and make sure that this can never happen again. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is prepared to close. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: i have no further speakers. since we reserve the right to close, mr. marchant will close, we have no further speakers. the gentleman from georgia -- mr. lewis: we don't have any other speakers. mr. ryan: no. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman from georgia yield back? mr. lewis: yield back.
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mr. ryan: yield back. we'll close now then. i yield such time as he may consume for the purpose of closing to mr. marchant. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. marchant: mr. speaker today is the dade we should declare that the i.r.s. cannot take our personal tax information and put it on their private email account so that it could be subject to discovery by other people and people that will not observe and revere that information. i urge passage today of h.r. 1152. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1152. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. as amended.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1026, as amended, the taxpayer knowledge of the i.r.s. investigations act of 2015. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 48, h.r. 1026, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 19 6 to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from wisconsin mr. ryan, and the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 1026, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, at this time i'd like to thank mr. kelly, a member of the ways and means committee, along with minority ranking member for
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their diligence in uncovering this problem also. you're seeing a theme here, mr. speaker, which is, both the republican and democratic side of the ways and means committee in conducting oversight saw abuse that is need oed to be fixed. we are fixing these abuses so that they can't happen again in this statute. for the purpose of describing this particular legislation, i'd like to yield such time as he may consume to the author of the bill, mr. kelly. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. kelly: i'd like to thank the chairman. mr. speaker, h.r. 1026 has been described, this had come before congress before dr. boustany and mr. roskam presented this. this is about taxpayer knowledge of i.r.s. investigations. now, this would make sense to almost everybody to understand what exactly's been going on. under 6103 it's a felonyle to disclose or compromise people's tax information and give it to other groups to work with. we shouldn't have to pass laws
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like this but unfortunately laws are not made and governments are not run by agents but men. we have to have oversight over what has happened. this piece of legislation gives the same rights to those people whose information has been violated, whose information has been compromised, as given to i.r.s. personnel. we found out two years ago the national organization of marriage made the point, their tax information on the people, their members, was given out and put into a human rights campaign. would you think by the name of that that it makes sense. human rights campaign, those are good people. but you cannot divulge private tax information to anybody else. it is a felony. to do that. but 6103 also prevented those whose tax information was divulged, they couldn't get information on it. they weren't allowed to even
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inquire and weren't allowed to be informed of what was taking place. we knew it took place because it was in the public. secondly, who was who die vullinged it? we don't know can't talk to you about that because it's protected under the tax code. is there an investigation? can't say that, either. that's projected. can't tell who divulged it, was there an investigation, not an investigation, and in the end was this actually done and what's the pent for it? those are basic tenets of what we are as americans. i submit to people this is not a republican or democrat issue. as we know it mr. lewis is a good friend of mine, it is american tenets. it is what we firmly believe as americans. nobody should be able to do that to us. if they do, we should be able to inquire about the status of that. this piece of legislation gives every single taxpayer the same rights as those doing the leaks and the findings.
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now, if we are to restore the american people's confidence in our form of government, this is essential. we can't allow these things to happen and then say, well, you know, we could have helped except for one thing. the tax code 6103-e, those people will look at us and say i don't know what you're talking about. we can't let you know what happened. so if it really is an american principle and if we really do need to have faith and trust and feel we are all being treated the same way and in an honest way, and if that's the only way to restore the confidence that the people need to have and the trust they have in our form of government and those of us who they sent to represent them, then this type of legislation has to take place. so i'm so proud of what our ways and means committee is doing today under chairman ryan and under mr. roskam. what are we doing? we are protecting taxpayers and taxpayers' rights. this is so fundamentally american.
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there shouldn't be anything you have to stop and think about. so what we are proposing today is under 1026 the taxpayers have the same information and the same knowledge of what's going on with their tax. who divulged it, is there an ongoing investigation, what were the findings of that investigation, and who is being held responsible and more importantly, who is being held accountable? these are felonies. until we get to the point where the american people have faith and trust in us again and restore their confidence we have nothing. in america's house, we as members have got to make sure that every single day we safeguard the rights of every single american. unfortunately this is not taking place in the past and we have to move forward with it. do i that today being april 15 is a day most people dread. listen tax revenues are necessary. we need to have an agency to collect it. by the same token, when it turns out those people in that agency,
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not all but some people if there violating individuals' rights, then we have to come forward and we have to champion legislation that protects the same people who voted us into office and sent us -- with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back of the the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i rise in support of house bill 1026, the taxpayer knowledge of i.r.s. investigation act. earlier this afternoon the house passed house bill 1058, the tax bill of rights -- taxpayer bill of rights. two of the rights included in that bill was the right to confidentiality. the right to be informed. this bill complements this legislation. generally tax returns are
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confidential. may not be disclosed unless authorized by the internal revenue code. section 6103 of the code provides certain exceptions. these do not include telling the taxpayer there's been an unauthorized tiss closure of his or her tax return information. fines, criminal penalties both apply to the unthorsed -- unauthorized inspection disclose sure of tax return information. house bill 1026 would allow the internal revenue service to update a taxpayer on the status of investigation of unauthorized disclosure of his or her tax return. they would be allowed to know when the investigation started. is opened or closed. this is a simple commonsense
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bill. taxpayers have a right to know if their tax return information has been compromised. i want to thank my friend the gentleman from pennsylvania and my republican colleague, the ranking member of the subcommittee, and the chairman, for bringing this bill to the floor today. and with that, mr. speaker i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. mr. ryan: let me inquire how much time has on both sides. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin has 25 minutes -- the gentleman from wisconsin has 17 1/2 minutes. the gentleman from georgia has 18 minutes. mr. ryan: just making sure. let me yield myself four minutes, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. ryan: this one -- this case really boils my blood.
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let me just try and describe in a simple way what mr. kelly is fixing here. and what happened to honest, hardworking taxpayers in america in this case. there is an organization that's a nonprofit organization advocating freely in our free speech society for their view on a cause. i won't even say what cause it is. advocating for their view, a charitable nonprofit. the internal revenue service took their confidential filing and list of their donors to their cause and the internal revenue service broke the law and leaked it to an outside individual not with the internal revenue service. and this list of donors to this cause went out on the internet
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was released to the public by the opponents of this cause and guess what happened. the people who confidentially, privately donated, exercising their free speech rights to advocate for a cause found themselves intimidated found themselves harassed because their personal, private information had been released by the i.r.s. to the public. and then when this organization asked the internal revenue service, what just happened, how did this private document with private information of our donors to our cause get out there on the internet and hosted on the page by the opponent of our cause? the internal revenue service in turn said, we can't answer your
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question. so the advocates of the cause who were trying to defend the privacy of their donors, a free speech right, said, are you investigating this, are you looking into this, are you holding somebody responsible, is there an investigation into how this private information got out on the internet? and they said, we can't answer that question. unbelievable. that is not freedom. that is not liberty and that is not how thirst will ever act again if we have any say so over this. and so that is why mr. kelly is writing this bill to make sure that people's privacy is protected and that it's not leaked to the public to the opponents of a cause that they care about. and with that i'd like to yield three minutes to mr. roskam, the chairman of the subcommittee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for three minutes.
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mr. roskam: thank you, mr. speaker. you are noticing a theme here and that is intimidation and impunity. that's a bad combination. when a culture of impunity develops and an agency says we can do what we want when we want and how we want to and we can intimidate who we want, how we want and when we want to. said another way, here's what the i.r.s. did. the i.r.s. broke the law and then they used the law to conceal it. they broke the law and they used the law. that's a manipulation and that's a manipulation that no side of this congress is going to stand for. that's a manipulation that has to be answered. that's a manipulation that has to be put down, that we cannot
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be complicit. you cannot break the law and then use the law to conceal it, and that's exactly what happened in this case. in other words, the i.r.s. releases this information in violation of the law says then when they're asked about it, they say well we'd just love to tell you about it but it's against the law to tell you about it. that's ridiculous. that is ridiculous. and that is so jarring that now we've had a situation and we had a culture that's developed over a period of time at the internal revenue service where breaking the law and using the law to conceal it is considered, what? that's considered normal. but i'm proud of the house today because the sensibilities of the house of representatives is to say that's not normal that's not acceptable, that's not right and that will not be
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tolerated. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker i support the piece of legislation, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: i'll yield the remaining time to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. kelly, for the purposes of closing. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. kelly: i agree everything my colleagues said. i think for americans to look at what's going on in their house, america's house today and to understand we do understand the difference between right and wrong. we also understand that sometimes absolute power corrupts absolutely. we start -- -- we started years ago looking into this. we still don't have all the answers. i tell my fellow citizens, we're not done yet. i think what the chairman has express and what mr. roskam has expressed is the outrage that we feel because it's not only our responsibility, it is our duty to protect every single
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one of america's citizens. and to divullg the information that was divulge and to use it to break the law makes absolutely no sense to any of us. and this isn't really about either side of the aisle. this is about all of us together doing what's right for the american people. this should reconfirmed to the american people that we are here acting in their best and defending them every single day that we sit in session and that we sit in office. so with that i'd yield back my time. i thank the chairman and mr. roskam, thank you so much mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1026, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, twirtstwirts, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection -- 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek
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recognition? mr. ryan: mr. speaker i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1314, as amended, ensuring tax-exempt organizations the right to appeal act. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 47 h.r. 1314, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to provide for a right to an aminute straightive appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status of certain organizations. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ryan, and the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 1314, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i'd like to thank the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. meehan, for his work in crafting this legislation and for bringing it to the floor. this, too, is one of the important things we need to do
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to restore some trust and confidence and accountability at the internal revenue service and for the purpose of describing the legislation, i'd like to yield such time as he may consume to mr. meehan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. meehan: i thank you, mr. speaker, and i thank the chairman for his recognition and his support of this very, very once again thee mat -- thematically important bill. i rise in support of this commonsense legislation, h.r. 1314, and what it does is give tax-exempt applicants whose application is denied the right to appeal that decision. that seems fundamental, doesn't it? in a country like ours, the constitution that builds within it the concept of the right to petition your government for the decisions that they make. the purpose of the legislation is simple. what it will do is codify in statute the requirement for the i.r.s. to create a mechanism by
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which 501-c-3 or 501-c organizations, tax-exempt organizations, if they get an adverse determination of their tax-exempt status, they can request an administrative appeal to the agency's internal office of appeals. my colleague from illinois talked about the concept here of impunity, and to me this is a lot of what this speaks to. the idea that an administrative agency, in this case the i.r.s., would take this application and then would make a decision, it was because of the good work that was done in the previous congress by this committee and the oversight subcommittee of this committee that they exposed the reality that many cases these particular appeals -- these particular decisions were being made after the applicant was being targeted because of the fact that they had chosen to express particular political views in the context of their
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application. what was done was those applications once denied were diverted to a different part of the structure in which they went to die, and that made the i.r.s. the judge, the jury and in fact the executioner because you were done with the application. there was no place else to go. now, i have to say when this came to light, because of the work of this committee, the i.r.s. did issue interim guidance in may of 2014 that ensured all groups subject to a denial would have a right to appeal the decision. but this bill today, h.r. 1314, codifies that guidance into law so there's no ambiguity and once again we don't have the ability of the i.r.s. to indiscriminantly make their own decisions about when american taxpayers should have the right
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to be able to petition for appeal of an adverse decision. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a letter from the small business entrepreneurship council which supports the letter and the group writes that h.r. 1314 is an important bill as it allows taxpayers an additional right to petition the government when they disagree with the decision. that's the fundamental challenge we have to the impunity which has been taken place. and i urge my colleagues, as they have on our subcommittee and on our committee with their unanimous support on our committee from both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense taxpayer protection and send an unmistakable signal to the american taxpayers that they should not be targeted by the i.r.s. for their political views. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
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mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i rise in support of house bill 1314. currently not all 501-c organizations are able to appeal the decision regarding the application for tax-exempt status. instead, the right to appeal depends on whether the application was processed inside the internal revenue service. this bill, this bill will give the right of an administrative appeal to all organizations that apply for tax-exempt status. it is a good, commonsense bill. i urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes for house bill 1314. thank you, mr. speaker, and i thank the chair of our full committee and the sponsor of this bill and with this i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized.
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mr. ryan: i thank the gentleman from georgia as well for his comments. i'd like to yield at this time three minutes to the gentleman from illinois, the chairman of the subcommittee, mr. roskam. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. roskam: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the chairman for yielding. this is a classic example of the i.r.s. basically putting the american taxpayers in a nice little cul-de-sac. they would come in and you'd have a process and they'd review something and so forth and so on and then rather than moving you through where you could get a disposition, rather than moving you through to where you could get an answer, rather than moving you through so you knew there was somebody unbiased that was looking at something they essentially move you into a cul-de-sac and kind of let you walk around the neighborhood for a while and not particularly caring about the disposition of this. and i want to say, mr. speaker, these bills that we're discussing today, many of them were authored and have been highlighted and brainstormed by
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dr. charles boustany the former chairman of the oversight subcommittee and now on a bipartisan basis folks have come together, so i want to congratulate mr. meehan for the procedure by which this has now been expedited and the expectation that people will be fairly considered and fairly reviewed and that they won't be stuck in a cul-de-sac with no way out. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. . >> i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin virginia tech. mr. ryan: for the purpose of closing i yield such time as he may consume to mr. meehan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. meehan: i thank the point has been made very articulately by all of the speakers who o have talked about what really is a fundamental and simple issue which is the right to appeal to your government. what concerned me the most when we began to look at what
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occurred with the i.r.s. conduct and the context of the applications by the organizations which were denied based on their perceived political views or religious views that the process for these particular applicants was changed. that it went to a different division where as my colleague from illinois identified, it went to die in the cul de sac. so this is a question of fundamental fairness that every american taxpayer should have the right to be treated equally. that's all we are asking for here. is fundamental, equal treatment. and the right when you disagree with the decision by an i.r.s. administrative official that you have the right to have somebody else question that decision.
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that's fundamental. it is simple. it is basic american. and i am very proud that we have colleagues from both sides of the aisle who have joined together to petition to assure that that right is codified into law. that's what we accomplish today. i'm grateful for the support of all my colleagues and the leadership of the chairman of the subcommittee who has been helping to bring to light these abuses. with that, mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support the legislation and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1314. as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? mr. ryan: mr. speaker, morph to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1295, as amended. the i.r.s. bureaucracy reduction and judicial review act. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 51 h.r. 1295, a bill to amend
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the internal revenue code of 1986 to improve the process for making determinations with respect to whether organizations are exempt from taxation under section 501-c-4 of such code. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ryan, and the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: on h.r. 1295. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: i would like to thank mr. holding for bringing this bill to the floor and committee. i thank the ranking member from georgia as well for his support. i yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. holding, for the purpose of describing his bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. holding: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. h.r. 1295, the yoursers
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bureaucracy reduction and judicial review act, two simple goals. first, it will provide newly formed 501-c-4 organizations with a mandatory, simple process registered with the i.r.s. within 60 days of establishment a new 501-c- would be required to provide notice of formation and intent to the i.r.s. and the i.r.s. in return must issue an acknowledgement and receipt of the notifying organization. second, this legislation would offer 501-c-'s with the ability to seek judicial review should the i.r.s. deny their application for recognition. failure to act on the application or inform an organization that it is considering revoking or adversely modifying its tax exempt status. this will be conducted under the 7428 declaratory judgment procedure that's currently afforded to other tax exempt organizations. mr. speaker, it's important to note that this legislations to
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not change the requirement for 501-c-4's to file an annual 990 or alter any of the other reporting requirements currently mandated for 501-c-'s. thanks to the efforts of chairman roskam of the oversight subcommittee, leading a team of us, we know that last year the i.r.s. spent nearly 10,000 hours reviewing 501-c-'s. so this legislation -- 501-c-4's. so this legislation would simplify everything and beter use the resources of 501-c-3 applications which are outstanding and languishing for review. i urge support of this bill and i thank the chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from gafment is recognized. mr. lewis: thank you mr.
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speaker. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i rise in support of house bill 1295. the improvement the bill makes to the taxpayer exempt process of social welfare organizations. under current law, social welfare organization are not required to file for tax exempt status with the internal revenue service. although many organizations do apply for greater certainty. from 2009 to 2012, the number of social welfare organizations applying for tax exempt status nearly doubled from 1,800 to 3,00 requests. -- 300 requests. for an organization operating as a social welfare organization
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without applying for tax exemption, the agent does not have any information on the organization until it files its annual information and return. this return known as form 990 may not be due until more than a year after the organization has already been off pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20ing. -- has already been operating. this bill which i think is a good bill, commonsense bill requires all social welfare organizations to file a notice of formation with the agent no later than 60 days after the organization is established. the intent is to he provide the agency with certain key information. i believe this bill could have done more. current social welfare organization are permitted to engage in political campaigns.
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however, an organization primary work cannot be engaged in political activities. i'm concerned that the information required to be provided to the agency under this bill and in the first annual information return may not be sufficient. it is important that the agency can clearly identify all cases and organizations engaged in an appropriate amount of political activity. to address this concern, the bill should require these organizations to indicate whether they engage or intend to engage in political activity. all this bill does not go far enough. i support improvement it makes. i urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes for house bill 1295. thank you, mr. speaker.
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i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, at this time i'd like to yield three minutes to the chairman of the subcommittee, mr. roskam. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for three minutes. mr. roskam: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, chairman ryan, for yielding. congressman holding's idea is a great idea. and we should enact it with dispatch and get it done with. and the reason is, according to the i.r.s., their 2014 data book, published by the internal revenue service, they have said that they had spent 10,000 hours reviewing 4,000 applications for 501-c-4 organizations which sounds interesting. except there's a plot trap. you know what the plot trap is? they only said know to eight of them. so said another way, the way
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peter roskam thinks about the world, that's 10,000 hours of a complete waste of time. that's 10,000 hours from an organization that, in saying, oh, we are begging for mercy and to the able to meet these claims and not able to make these calls. i got an email here that the commissioner sent out to all the i.r.s. employees at the beginning of this year. january 13, 2015. and you foe how normally around the dinner table when people say, hey, it's getting tough out there. we are going to have to do what? we are going to have to do more with less. that's what we do as americans. don't we? we do more with less. that's who we are as a people. but that's not the internal revenue service. no no. they don't disappoint. you know what the internal revenue service says? we are going to do less with less. we are going to do less with less. so this is an organization now
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that has spent 10,000 hours of taxpayer time completely squandering it. stay tuned next week and come to the oversight subcommittee where you're not going to be disappointed when you learn more things about the i.r.s. budget and some of the things that we are going to be discussing. but my point is this, representative holding's concept says this is a complete waste of time. let's clean this up. let's free up 10,000 hours so that we can do more with less. and reject the i.r.s. notion that the best that they can do is to do less with less. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: i will yield the balance of our time to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. holding, for the purpose of closing on his bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. holding: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. speaker, i want to thank the
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distinguished gentleman from georgia for the support of this bill. i thank the chairman mr. roskam of the subcommittee, for the support of this bill. by streamlining the registration process for newly formed 501-c-4's with the i.r.s. and providing them the ability to seek judicial review, similar to such review the other tax exemption organizations have, we have can have a process that is simpler and fairer for the folks who want to get involved in their communities and across the nation. civic engagement should not require jumping over hurdles or a long drawn out review process by the i.r.s. you play by the rules the i.r.s. should not be a hindrance to your activities. once again i urge support of this bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1295 as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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in the opinion of the chair 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 709, as amended, the prevent targeting at the i.r.s. act. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 46, h.r. 709, a bill to provide for the termination of employment of employees of the internal revenue service who take certain official actions for political purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ryan, and the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis, are both recognized for 20 minutes -- will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 70 , currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized.
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mr. ryan: mr. speaker, i first want it start to thank mr. renacci for moving this through the committee on a bipartisan basis. i yield to him such time he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman virginia tech. mr. renacci: i rise today to urge approval of h.r. 709, the prevent targeting of the i.r.s. act. this bipartisan legislation has over 50 co-sponsors and actually passed by voice vote in the previous congress. i think the overwhelming support for this legislation shows that the vast majority of members regardless of their party affiliation, believe the i.r.s. should be above politics. congress has already acted to create a list of firblee offenses at the i.r.s. fireable offenses in the i.r.s. in 199 , the act passed by a vote of 402-8. it south to bring gablet to the i.r.s. by allowing for the immediate termination of i.r.s. employees who engage in the
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so-called 10 deadly sins against taxpayers. many of the members in congress today supported those reforms back then. unfortunately while that legislation covers many offenses, it did not include political targeting. . this is not a partisan issue. i know they would not remove an employee for bad behavior but somehow not consider political targeting to be not a bad enough behavior. it is absolutely unacceptable for a government official to consider the political leanings of any taxpayer when conducting official business. if a federal employee engages in political targeting, that employee should be fired. it's that simple. my legislation will make sure of it. it specifically spells out that any i.r.s. employee regardless of political affiliation who
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targets a taxpayer for political purposes will immediately be relieved of his or her duties. if you work for the i.r.s., you cannot target taxpayers for political purposes. there should be no controversy in that. this legislation does not change any of the procedures for removing an i.r.s. agent. it just adds political targeting to the list of 10 deadly since already in existence. though it's been nearly two years since we learned that i.r.s. targeted individuals based on their political beliefs the american public's lack of trust in this federal agency remains and rightly so. political targeting contradicting the very principles this country was founded upon and there is no room for it in our democracy. it will not be tolerated. the i.r.s. needs this legislation, the entire federal government needs this legislation and most importantly the american people
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need this legislation. they need to know they will not be targeted by the government for political purposes. they need to know that those who are entrusted with the vast power of the federal government will act in a responsible and professional manner and will be reprimanded if they don't. they need to know that government is accountable of them and not the other way around. i urge all members to support this commonsense legislation. thank you mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i rise in support of house bill 709. this legislation removes certain protections that are otherwise available to federal employees if an employee conducts his official duties
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with the intent to extract personal gait for political purpose. house bill 709 -- the investigation into the process of tax-exempt application. this investigation started nearly two years ago in may 2013. to date, the agency has spent more than $20 million to produce more than 1,300,000 pages of documents, including 78,000 emails from lois lerner. mr. speaker, to date there's not been one shred of evidence to support the republican claim that the process of application was politically motivated intended to target president political enemies. the inspector general even stated that no one outside the agency was involved in setting the criteria for processing
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tax-exempt application. the delayed expense by the group as a result of incompetency at the agency in an exempt organization division. i urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes for house bill 709. thank you, mr. speaker, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: at this time i yield two minutes to the gentleman from kansas, mr. huelskamp. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kansas is recognized for two minutes. mr. huelskamp: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate my colleague from ohio bringing forth this important legislation. if men were angels, no government would be necessary. if angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. james madison wrote these words 227 years ago in his 51st federalist paper. it's an elegant way of expressing an ugly truth that a
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government of the people cannot always be trusted to do right by the people and that's -- must hold itself in check for sake of the people. when madison penned that federalist paper it was with a fresh view of what the british government did to exert government control over the lives of the col nists leading to the famous boston tea party and ultimately a revolution. the targeted discrimination and unfair treatment of conservative organizations with the words tea party and others in their names that took place at the i.r.s. under the direction of lois lerner shows what happens when government no longer fills accountable to the -- feels accountable to the people and when the constitution is simply a list of suggestions. agencies can become a political weapon for one party to use against the other. it's sad we have to actually pass legislation to address these inexcusable actions. every employee of the i.r.s. of this entire federal government is ultimately a public servant.
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once you stop serving the public and start serving political agendas, it's time for you to do something else. this bill will add targeting taxpayers for political purposes to the list of 10 things that can get you fired as an employee of the i.r.s. i'm not sure what's more upsetting about that sentence that our government is so bureaucratic that only 10 things might get you fired at the i.r.s. or that political discrimination wasn't already one of those things. i urge my colleagues to support this straightforward commonsense measure, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: mr. speaker i'd like to yield four minutes to the chairman of the subcommittee, mr. roskam. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from illinois is recognized for four minutes. mr. roskam: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, chairman, for yielding. i want to tell you a story. i want to take you back to 1996 a friend of mine in
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illinois, my former law partner al salvi, was running for the united states senate. he loned himself to his federal campaign. different agency we're talking about. stick with me. it's like a "seinfeld" episode. it's all going to come together at the end. the federal election said you did that the wrong way. they placed him under investigation. world war ii headlines in the chicago papers. he goes on and he loses the election for the united states senate. now, political scientists can debate whether he would have won or whether he would have lost but let's face it, being under investigation by the federal election commission generally does not help you in a political campaign. at the end of that campaign, the federal election commission came and they made a very large settlement demand. i don't remember off the top of my head how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they were demanding from him. but he said, i didn't do anything wrong and i'm not going to pay you any money.
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federal election commission said that's fine. we're going to sue you, which they did. they filed a lawsuit against him in federal court. federal judge reads the pleadings. dismisses the case against the federal election commission, finds in favor of al salvi. you would think this drama all ended there. oh, no, no, no. no, the federal election commission came back and they said, well we know you won but we're still going to make a settlement demand of you. we're going to lower the amount but we're still going to make a demand because if you don't pay us we're going to appeal the judge's ruling. al is a pretty sophisticated lawyer and he talked to the lawyer at the other end of the line and said to that person, give me the person and let me talk to the person who had authority on this case. because you don't have -- you don't kind of understand, i won, you lost, i'm not going to pay you any money. let me talk to the person with authority on the case at the federal election commission. that person got on the phone
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with al sal vee -- salvi and said this. if you pledge never to run for office again, we'll drop this case. al said, put that in writing. the person said we don't put that in writing and we never lose. that person was lois lerner. now, you take that disposition, you take that attitude, you take that long arm of a bureaucrat and reaches into the sanctity of the ballot booth and you got a real problem. and you up the wattage on that and you move her over and you give her the type of authority that not the federal election commission has but the internal revenue service to grab somebody by the throat and to do whatever they want with them with the possibility of imprisoning them, that is a
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problem and that's a problem that representative renacci is trying to make go away. we had a hearing in the last congress. i hear a lot of testimony, we all hear a lot of testimony but this testimony was inspirational to me because these were people that came in before our committee, committee members, you'll remember this. they told us about how they had been targetted but you know what was the most incredible thing? they kept faith with their country when it didn't look like their country had kept faith with them and they said this isn't america. my america doesn't target me. my america doesn't shun me out of the public square. but you know the one that got the most attention in my mind was the pro-life group in iowa who was asked by the internal revenue service, tell us about your organization. tell us about your activity. and they gave a list of activities and one of the activities they said was we have prayer meetings.
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mr. ryan: i yield the gentleman an additional two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. roskam: we have prayer meetings and the i.r.s. said in writing under penalty of perjury, tell us about your prayer meetings. the hair on the back of my neck is tingling at this moment as i'm describing this to you because it is so scandalous. mr. ryan: i believe the specific question to the pro-life group from iowa is, what do you pray about by the i.r.s. mr. roskam: so can you imagine that? you're a nice little group in iowa with a point of view and the internal revenue service starts roughing you up. this targeting is insidious. this targeting is poisonous. this targeting is without a
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defender. there is nobody who's getting up on this floor today, no voice is saying oh, yeah, let them do it. it's fine. it will all settle out. not the ranking member. he's not defending this. there was nobody, not the chairman. he's not defending this. everybody in this house should all be saying that we all have the right to come in and make our arguments and try and persuade the public to vote for us and it should be never a bureaucrat who manipulates and uses power to an end and abuses somebody who by good faith is coming into this process. this is an incredibly important piece of legislation. i urge its passage and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: i yield myself two minutes, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. ryan: this one is the one that really takes the cake with us because we recognized a
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persistent pattern of targeting and harassment by the internal revenue service over groups, and the only thing these groups together -- the only thing that was similar was their political persuasion, their political beliefs. so the question that i get asked a lot from hardworking taxpayers in wisconsin is, did the i.r.s. really target people based upon their political beliefs? and the answer is absolutely, yes, they did. that is tyrannical. that is beyond the pail and that with the passage of this bill will be illegal. it will make it extremely clear . you know, ifs, ands and buts. let me tell you, mr. speaker there is still a long way to go with the investigation that's
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still under way, but what we already know is that this targeting happened, people were targeted based upon their political beliefs and this law makes that a crime. and with that, for the purpose of closing, i'd like to yield the remaining of our time to mr. renacci. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. renacci: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the chairman. i want to thank the gentleman from illinois for his comments and i want to thank my colleague on the other side. look, it's pretty simple. it's unacceptable for a government official to consider the political leanings of any taxpayer when conducting official business. if a federal employee engages in political targeting, that employee should be fired. it's that simple. with that i urge the -- members to support h.r. 709, the prevent targeting at the i.r.s. , a commonsense piece of legislation and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 709, as amended.
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those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative the rules suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. . for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin mr. ryan: i move to pass h.r. 704. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1104 a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to provide a deduction from the gift tax for gifts made to certain exempt organizations. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ryan and the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h r. 1104 currentry under --
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currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: at this time i'd like to yield to the gentleman the author of this bill, mr. roskam, for the purposes of describing his bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized mr. roskam: i have a riddle for you. what sit that brings together the american civil liberties union, the human rights campaign and the tea party patriots all under one tent? it's the fair treatment for all donations h.r. 1104. this is why all these groups from a wide range of political perspectives have come together. they've come together because the i.r.s. has started sniffing around about the possibility of doing something that every one of those groups finds jarring and that is assessing a tax liability on gifts to nonprofit organizations. you would have thought that this would be pretty settled doctrine, gifts to nonprofit
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organizations, those types of contributions, are not taxable. yet the internal revenue service wrote a letter to -- this type of letter,, it's the kind of letter i described in an earlier bill, you get it and it's very unsettling. they just wrote some coe or -- donor and said, your gift tax return was assigned to me for examination, the i.r.s. received information that you donated cash to some organization and it begins to lay out a theory as to why this should be a taxable event. mr. speaker, this should not be a taxable event. mr. speaker, this should not be ambiguous. mr. speaker, the internal revenue service should not be wasting its precious time, of which it seems to have so little of, shouldn't be going after american donors, all kinds of group left, right center, up, down, which way and giving them a hard time about the contributions that they're making. one final point. we've got a system, mr. speaker,
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that is determined -- that depends on the generosity of americans. the american public is incredibly generous group. the american public is sack official in their giving in many ways. and the donations and the generosity of american public is absolutely foundational for our civic life. mr. speaker, h.r. 11 o4 clarifies that and then -- 1104 clarifies that and then says donations to tax exempt organizations under 501-c-4 5, and 6 are not taxable. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. ruste: -- mr. lewis: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: i rise in support of house bill 1104. on this day it is wise for the house to consider a bill to increase subsidies for taxpayers this bill brings clarity to what
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has historically been treatment for contributions to social welfare organization the culture associations, and labor unions and trade associations. with this bill, mr. speaker, amounts contributed to such organizations will not be subject to the gift tax. i urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes to house bill 1104. mr. speaker, with this i reserve the balance of my time and thank my colleagues, the chairman, the chair of the subcommittee and all of the members of the committee for supporting this piece of legislation and other pieces. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. ryan: i yield myself susm time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: -- such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: are you getting a
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theme here, mr. speaker? what's happened here individuals were giving donations to tax exempt organizations. nonprofit organizations. and as they should have, not expected to have to pay taxes on those donations. the internal revenue service sent these letters that tease -- to these donors to these particular organizations. obviously stirring up a lot of confusion. threatening twhem a big tax bill. this makes it really clear. these organizations are tax exempt organizations and therefore you don't owe gift taxes to a donation to these organizations. it's crystal clear. it's made even more clear in this bill. because mr. speaker, it's very important for the operation of our society that space that occurs between ourselves and our government is full.
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it is vibrant. it is alive. we call that space civil society. it's where we live our lives. and the deeply woven fabric of civil society are all these various groups nonprofit groups, all kinds of groups, advocating for something. advocating for the environment. advocating for the economy. advocating for the disabled. advocating for this cause. advocating for that cause. advocating for this person. advocating for that person. it's how we lead our lives. it's how we integrate with one another. it's how we have a community. so the last thing we want to do is have the i.r.s. parachute itself in and divide itself and make people think that they can't participate in civil society. civil society is so core to who
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we are as americans, so core to our ability to live our freedoms and to help others. that's what's so important about this. and so when people are hit with an intimidating letter from the internal revenue service, being told that by participating in civil society, by participating in civil dialogue, by exercising their free speech rights, they're going to get hit with this huge, massive tax bill they didn't expect. that's harassment. that's targeting. that is not going to happen once this bill passes. that's one other mistake that was made that is being rectified because of mr. roskam's diligence and i want to congratulate all the members of our committee who on a bipartisan basis saw that this
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was wrong and on a bipartisan basis agree with this solution and that is why i'm just so pleased that we are bringing these bills to the floor. john lewis and sandy levin and peter roskam and paul ryan are arm in arm. we agree on this. we are standing up for citizens, we are standing up for taxpayers, we are putting the tax pay for the charge of the i.r.s., not the other way around, and we are standing up for our free speech rights, for our civil society. that's why on this tax day, april 15, we are bringing these bills to the floor and passing these bills on a bipartisan unanimous basis because this is a signal we want to send to americans on tax day, that we're not going to take this anymore and we're going to reassert our rights. with that mr. speaker i would like to yield such time as he may consume, the balance of our time, to mr. roskam for closing on our bill.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roskam: i want to make one other point to echo something chairman ryan said as it relates to civil society, and it's an important thing to think about. there's the federal government here and there's the individual here. and the only thing that sort of comes in between as a buffer there's a couple of things. one is family. i think that's a very important buffer. the other buffer is civil society. and it is a restraining influence, the capability of individual, family, and civil society to push back. so i say you know, we're on the floor today, we've been interacting with john lewis, our friend from georgia, who has a reputation that's unbelievable and it's an honor an privilege to serve with him. why? was because of the work he did in the civil rights movement. it is an inspiration.
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but can you imagine, what would it have been like if a bureaucrat at the time had said well, i'm just going to send one of these kind of letters to the donors of the naacp. or any of these organizations. can you imagine what ps? here's my second point. a letter like this what does it do? it has a chilling effect, doesn't it all of a sudden you have donors who say, i don't know. i don't know. you know. this is going to be a taxable event. well, maybe i'm not going to give. or i'm going to end up on some list. or i'm going to find my name in the pain for the this way and i don't want my name in the paper. whatever it happens to be. but the impact and the damage, mr. speaker is the same. it has a chilling effect, doesn't it? here's the final point. the i.r.s. backed off really fast on this. once we asked about it. this wasn't a situation where they doubled down and said oh, no no. the statute you all passed absolutely gives us this authority.
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they backed off and said, no, we're not going to do that anymore. that tells you something too, doesn't it it tells you that the ground upon which they thought they were operating was pretty soft ground. let me just conclude by saying this. today, the nature of this debate the intensity that you've heard from both sides of the aisle, the members are reflecting not ourselves and just our world view mr. speaker, but we're reflecting what we're hearing at home and we're reflecting the desire of the american public who want to have confidence in these institutions. they want to know that the tax collecting body of the united states that is the internal revenue service, is just going to collect the taxes and is not going to mess with them and is not going to put them through all kinds of paces and manipulate them and make their lives miserable and actually abuse power. that's all they want. isn't that a very real expectation? it's not asking too much.
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so my suspicion is that the debate today, it's my hope that the other body will pick up these bills and move forward on them, recognize the bipartisan nature of them and recognize the timeliness and the ripeness of -- and the rightness of them. these need to be fixed. the problems need to be fixed now, there's an urgency to them. but this is not a false claim that the work is completed. in fact, this is going to be a work in process because it's our responsibility to get the internal revenue service that moves away from the disposition and attitude of impunity which has saturated up until now back where it should be. i think we can do it, i'm confident with the bipartisan support in this house we can get that done and reflect back and say, april 15 of this year, this was a good day. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time, but just before i yield it back, it's been an honor and a
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pleasure to work with the chairman, chairman of the subcommittee, and all the members on the other side. we did come together in a bipartisan fashion. in a real sense we all live in the same house. the american house. and we must continue to look out for this house. not just this building, but the more than 300 million people in our country. that's the right thing to do. it's the fair thing to do. it's the just thing to do. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is -- mr. ryan: reserving the right to close, i can't top that so we yield back our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1104 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the
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affirmative, the bill is passed and the notion reconsider is laid on the table. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1562, the contracting and tax accountability act of 2015. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 52. h.r. 1562. a bill to prohibit the awarding
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of a contract or grant in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold unless the perspective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee has no seriously delinquent tax debts and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i appreciate being here today. we've done this in a good bipartisan way. this is a good strong bill. the previous bill -- this bill has come under a previous congress and done quite well. h.r. 1562 will increase tax compliance by federal contractors and grant recipients
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and deny contracts or grants to those with serious delinquent tax debt. i'm pleased to again present this bill in the house with representative jackie speier like we did in the past. i also appreciate the help of representative john carter for his co-sponsorship. the bill has a long history of bipartisan support including from then senator obama and president obama. while he cannot claim that he's on this specific bill, this bill before us is something that was originally introduced by then senator obama years ago. five years ago president obama directed his administration to crackdown on tax cheats and -- who are seeking government contracts. the president said quote, all across this country there are people who meet their obligations each and every day. you do your jobs, you support your families, you day taxes you owe because it's a fundamental responsibility of citizenship. the steps i'm directing today and the steps i'm calling on congress to take are just basic common sense, he said.
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they're not going to eliminate all of the waste or abuse in government contracting in one swoop. going forward we'll also have to do more to hold contractors accountable, not just for paying taxes but following the other laws as well. end quote. i wholeheartedly and totally agree with the president's approach on this. on april 15, 2013 the house passed this very similar piece of legislation by a vote of 407-0. unfortunately the senate did not act. two years later we're considering essentially the same bill today. with some very minor changes. for example the definition of serious delinquent tax debt now exempts individuals determined by the i.r.s. to be under economic hardship. let me remind my colleagues what have this bill does. h.r. 1562 denies contractors or grants to those with serious delinquent tax debt. the bill requires contractors and potential grant recipients to certify their tax status when submitting a proposal for a
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contract or a grant. if the agency finds the contractor or grantee to have serious delinquent tax debt, then they would be referred for suspension or debarment and would not be eligible for new awards. there are exceptions in the bill for those that are trying to do the right thing so they should not be covered under the definition of serious delinquent tax debt. such people including those who are paying their back taxes through debt installment plans or are in the process of hearings with the i.r.s. to finalize a determination of their debt or are experiencing economic hardship as determined by the i.r.s., they have exceptions. in 2007 then senator obama introduced legislation to address this contractor accountability issue. the bill before us today is simple. if contractors and those applying for grants don't pay their taxes, they will not be eligible for lucrative federal contracts or grants. at its core, this bill is about contractor and grant recipient accountability with taxpayer
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dollars. the law requires we pay taxes. we expect the same from contractors and grant recipients. to give you some perspective on how much money we're talking about the federal government spends about $1 trillion annually on contracts and grants. $1 trillion. on just contracts and grants. most recently in fiscal year 2014 the federal government spent $444 billion on contracts and $591 billion on grants. that's a lot of money, it demands a lot of tax compliance. over the years the g.a.o., the government accountability office has identified thousands of federal contractors with substantial amounts of unpaid taxes. here are a few examples given to us by the g.a.o. tens of thousands of recipients of federal grant and direct assistance programs collectively owed more than $790 million in federal taxes as of september, 2006. approximately 27,000 defense contractors owed about $3
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billion. 33,000 civilian agency contractors owed roughly $3.3 billion. and 3,00 general service administration -- $3,800 general service administration -- 3,800 general service administrations owed money. at least 3,700 recovery act contract and grant recipients owed more than $750 million while receiving over $24 billion in recovery act funds. so we have somebody who already -- 3,700 contractors that already owe $750 million and what do we do? we gave them $24 billion in additional contracts. g.a.o. also found contractors were not paying payroll taxes or own other assets and still didn't pay their taxes. for example, under a v.a. h.h.s. contract for health care-related
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services, a contractor was paid more than $100,000 in federal funds. the contractor also had an unpaid tax debt of more than $18 million. the owner was purchasing multimillion-dollar properties and unrelated luxury vehicles while not fully paying its payroll taxes. and it goes on and on. the tax accountability problem has become a potential national security problem. in 2014 the g.a.o. found 83,000 department of defense employees and contractors who held or were eligible for security clearances had unpaid federal tax debt, totaling more than $730 million. now, not all contractors are tax cheats. the vast majority do pay their taxes, on time and in full. those who fail to satisfy their tax debt have a cost advantage over those who do pay their taxes. so you're competing for federal contracts, competing for grants, some pay taxes, some don't, who do you think's going to get the lower price and potentially get the next grantor contract? the person who can undercut
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because they don't pay their taxes. it's just not fair. further, many fulfill dangerous missions, investing in cutting edge technology and provide assistance for poor and others in need. contractors who do not play by the rules should be held accountable. unfortunately despite our past efforts, we haven't been able to get this bill over the finish line. i hope we will again support this bill as we did in the year 2013 and that the senate will finally bring this bill up and pass it as they should. hopefully this congress will be a bit different. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 1562 and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: i rise in strong support of h.r. 1562, the contracting and tax accountability act. the bill is nearly identical to a bill introduced in the last two congresses by chairman chaffetz and is very similar to legislation reported by the
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oversight committee and passed by the house in the 110th congress. i supported this legislation each time it has been introduced and i continue to support it today. the government accountability office has reported that government contractors owed more than $5 billion in unpaid federal taxes in 2004 and 2005. unpaid taxes owed by contractors include payroll taxes, amounts required to be with held from employee wages, as well as corporate income taxes. g.a.o. has also found that some contractors with unpaid tax debts are repeat offenders that have failed to pay their taxes over many years. including one case for almost 20 years. this legislation will allow the federal government to make sure that contractors seeking to do business with the federal
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government have paid their taxes before they can receive a federal contract. the federal acquisition regulation was revised in 2008 to require contractors to certify that they do not owe a delinquent tax debt to the federal government. this builds on that requirement by providing federal agencies the means to verify contractors' claims. this legislation will also ensure that responsible contractors no longer have to compete with tax delinquents. i urge members to support this legislation and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker i'd like to close but i have no additional speakers. i'd like to reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: we will close having no other speakers. let me say this. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: i'd just like to
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reiterate that i fully support the legislation. it's imperative that we ensure that all contractors that are doing business with the government have complied with their tax obligations. i believe this bill does just that and i urge all of our members to support the legislation. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: thank you. mr. speaker, i want to reiterate my pleasure in working with both sides of the aisle on many, many pieces of legislation. we don't always agree but i think the tone that's happening in the government oversight reform committee it's going the right direction. we've worked well with our staff . that wouldn't happen without the leadership of the ranking member, mr. cummings, and i do appreciate it. we have voted for this bill unanimously in the past, it's a new congress with new members. but i would encourage this
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passage today. i believe in the spirit in which the president and previously senator obama has urged that congress act on this issue. it's imperative that we act on this issue today. i'm hopeful with passage that we'll get the senate to act as well. we're talking about billions of dollars of taxpayer money. it's the fair and right thing to do. i urge the passage of this bill. and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 1562. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. mr. chaffetz: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking the vote by yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i
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move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1563, the federal employee tax accountability act of 2015, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1563 a bill to amend title 5 united states code to provide that individuals having seriously delinquent tax debts shall be ineligible for federal employment and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. let me be clear right away. we got great federal workers. they care they're patriotic they work hard. but we got a few, we got a few
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that are bad apples. and we've got to give the tools necessary to the leadership within the administration to do what is right and if necessary, allow them latitude to let those people go. we voted on a similar bill years ago before i got into congress, we gave this right of authority we gave it to the i.r.s., and guess what? the i.r.s. has the best tax compliance in all federal government. who would have thought? i was pleased to see that congressman steny hoyer voted for that piece of legislation, that congressman cummings voted for that piece of legislation. we want to take that same power that same right that we gave the i.r.s. years ago, because it worked. it worked. and we want to give it to the other departments and agencies. there's a lot of exceptions, there's a lot of ways to get out of this. but the basic principle is true. a, federal workers do a better job of paying their taxes than the general public. and we should pat them on the back and recognize them for that. but number two, when you do have a few bad apples, you've got to
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allow leadership the ability to let those people go if they continue to thumb their nose at the system and the taxpayers. we just heard testimony from the d.e.a., i can't fire anybody, even though they were engaged in some very nefarious activities. we heard the administrator of the e.p.a. say, i can't let anybody go, even though the person was watching four hours of porn a day. four hours a day, they couldn't fire them. let's give them some latitude. because we have a test case, we have -- it's worked. we want tax compliance. the president's fiscal year 2016 budget asks american taxpayers to spend $275 billion to pay federal workers an average salary of more than $78,000. yet the i.r.s. reports that more than 100,000 federal civilian employers -- employees owed more than $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2014. more than $1 billion. now, there are lots of reasons why people can't do that.
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there are people that need to have their wages garnished and they are. there are people that are disputing what the i.r.s. said. and again this bill doesn't affect those people. the adjudication process continues on this bill doesn't affect those people. but as a last resort we need a tool that the i.r.s. has for its employees, we need that tool for the other departments and agencies. because like it or not the law requires that we pay taxes. . five years ago president obama directed his administration to target tax cheats tsms specifically targeting contractor bus i would argue that the same principle for contractors should be in place for federal employees. how can you look the employees and contractors in the eyes and say we've got two different standards and principles. the principle is the same. you're in trouble, trying to get out of it new york city a problem we'll work with you.
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but for those of you scruge over the american taxpayer, bye-bye. you can't even apply. the president said, quote all across this country there are people who meet their obligations each and every day. you do your jobs you support your families, you pay the taxes you owe because it's a fundamental responsibility of citizenship. i totally and whole heartedly agleesm federal employee tax accountability act makes employees with serious delinquent tax debt ineligible for employment. it's a tax fine that may be assessed or levies by court proceedings. it does not affect those who are working to resolve tax dispute. i want to indicate remind everybody that the committee and me as the prime sponsor accepted 100%, every democrat amendment that was offered, we accepted. several other safeguards are carved out in the bill, including provisions offered by the minority in the previous
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congress. individuals are providing full due process rights and have an additional 180 days to demonstrate their debt meets one of the exemptions in the bill. that was, i believe, offered by congressman lynch, we accepted it. and we thought we would get broader support because of it. and we would hope we would today. the bill also provides a financial hardship exemption for individuals, if the individual's service is in the best interest of the united states. the person leading that department of agencies still has discretion. if they say it's in the best interest in my judgment for the united states to continue to have this person serve, they're allowed to continue to serve. the bill demonstrates a principle, individual collection of federal salaries -- salaries have to pay their taxes. those charged with stewardship of our federal programs should not be delinquent in their taxes. as all americans file their taxes today, so should federal employees, and most of them do.
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in fact, at better rates than civilians do. last month, the testimony before the committee the g.a.o. warned congress of tens of thousands of federal employees eligible for security clearances but still had unpaid tax debt. tax debts. i would argue that that is a potential security risk. it shows a vulnerability. during the hearing members discussed the high rate of tax compliance. from 2009 to 2013, i.r.s. employees had a .8% delinquency rate, compared to 3.3% for civilian workers through the government. the i.r.s. restructuring and reform act of 1998, which again, mr. hoyer, mr. cummings and a host of other people voted in favor of, required the removal of i.r.s. employees who are found to have willingfully failed to file their tax returns and who willfully understated their federal tax liability.
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the house passed the conference report of this bill by a vote of 402-8 overwhelmingly. and i've never heard another member complain that the i.r.s. has this provision in place. let's even the playing field. let's give the same tool to the rest of federal government. don't give it just to the i.r.s. give it to the department of interior. give it to the department of defense. give it to the other departments and agencies because the financial results of that work. this bill makes federal workers subject to the same standard as i.r.s. employees. not all federal workers are tax cheats. this is not about politics. i appreciate the good work that's gone on in this bill. unfortunately, despite past efforts we haven't been able to get this bill over the finish line. i hope the house will again support the bill as it did in 2012 and that the senate will act on this bill. with that, i reserve the balance of my im-- of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield myself
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such time as i may consume. sproim the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: i rise in strong opposition to h.r. 1563rk the federal employee tax accountability a act of 2015. the bill seeks to resolve a problem of tax compliance that simply does not exist. a fact confirmed by the internal revenue service. this measure is based on ideology rather than fact and will perpetuate a negative image of federal workers. this legislation is very similar to h.r. 249 introduced in the last congress which i opposed in committee and on this house floor. i remain opposed to this legislation because the purpose and intent of the bill is the same as the measure from last congress. it would require federal agencies to fire -- fire federal
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employees who are delinquent in paying their taxes. everyone, including federal employees, should pay their taxes. there's no argument on that. my republican colleagues seem to believe that there's a serious problem with federal employees not paying their taxes that require a legislative fix. there's not and the chairman i think admitted that. last congress after committee consideration former committee chairman issa and i sought information from the rimplet s. on the rules and procedures regarding debt collection. options for resolving delinquencies and payment options. without waiting for these answers, the republican leadership rushed the bill to the floor. during congress we were able to obtain valuable information from the i.r.s. which the republicans have chosen to ignore by
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bringing this legislation to the floor. the i.r.s. has a mechanism in place already to recoup funds from federal employees who fail to pay their taxes known as the federal payment levee program -- levy program. under this program the i.r.s. can impose a continuous levy on federal salaries and pensions up to 15% until the debt is paid. the i.r.s. can initiate additional levies in cases when it determines that it's appropriate to do so. data from the i.r.s. show that all federal employees who owe taxes and do not qualify for financial hardship exemptions or are not involved in bankruptcy, litigation, or pending offer in compromise are subject to having their wages levied. that can happen today. since the start of the levy
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program, the i.r.s. has been extremely successful in recovering delinquent taxes from federal employees. according to the i.r.s., the levy program has collected over $5 billion since 2000. these facts indicate that the i.r.s. is succeeding in recovering delinquent taxes in 100% or nearly all cases involving federal employees. the fact is that the i.r.s. has confirmed that it does not have a problem collecting delinquent taxes from federal employees. therefore, mr. speaker, i do not see a problem with the government's ability to recover the de-lynn quent taxes from federal employees. i do not understand why, despite this fact we are debating this pleasure on the floor today. according to i.r.s. 2014 tax compliance rate for the federal community is 97%.
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this is higher than the 95% tax compliance rate for members and staff of the house of representatives. it is also much higher than the 91% compliance rate for the general public. this legislation is designed to demonize federal employees rather than to help the government recoup delinquent taxes. it is interesting to note that we want to collect the taxes but we will never get them if we fire people. so in fact the cop gregsal budget office concluded that these proposals would increase costs, by the way, to the taxpayers. let me repeat, c.b.o. determined that these provisions would actually increase costs. that is because they would require agencies to spend time and resources to review public
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records to find tax liens filed against current or prospective employees even though the gains would be minimal. keep in mind that we already have a process to levy these funds that might be delinquent system of for these reasons and more, i urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this measure and i urge that they vote for it and now i will reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. meadows. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. meadows: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the chairman for his leadership on this particular issue. i think it's important mr. speaker, to talk about what this bill is and what it is not. you know, when we talk about compliance on tax compliance, it becomes very easy to focus on those hardship cases, very easy
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to focus as the gentleman opposite just talked about that 3% to 5%, depending on which agency you're talking about. but this bill is really not about those with hardship cases. there's already an exemption. this bill is not about trying to penalize federal workers. it's really about fairness, mr. speaker. why is it fair that 97% in some agency, 94% 95% in others why sit fair that most of them pay their taxes on time and yet we continue to give others a free pass? now my friend opposite would many times suggest that oh, well, they're complying better than this group and that group but we need to look no further than the i.r.s. because the i.r.s. implemented a
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different standard within their agency and guess what happened, mr. speaker? their compliance went way up. they have one of the best records within the federal employees that we get to oversee. and so, mr. speaker you know, when we start to look at this chairman was very care to feel make sure that hardship case the ones that all of our hearts go out to when people have family situations that preclude them from being able to pay their taxes on a timely basis, that's an exemption. but mr. speaker, i would say whether it's congress or whether it's the federal employees, we're held to a different standard because we are paid with the hardworking american taxpayers' dollars. it is a higher standard than the private sector. it is difficult for us to acknowledge that. but we're under that scrutiny
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that we should be because we not only have the authority to tax and spend and so when you have both of those authorities mr. speaker, it is a different standard. now i for one can tell you that from a federal employee standpoint it is all about making sure that we're fair to them. what happens is, when the headlines is federal employees not paying their taxes, for whatever reason it may be mr. speaker, it paints in a bad light the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who do everything right and on time. and so mr. speaker, i think that what we must do is not only address this for the integrity of the american people. we need to address it for the integrity and the spirit of those federal workers as well. and i yield back to the chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from maryland is
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recognized. mr. cummings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. cummings: again i want somebody to answer for me, how do you get the money from somebody who is fired? who has no job? with that, i yield to my friend from maryland, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. hoyer: i thank the gentleman for yielding. the ranking member said this was a bill to solve a nonexistent problem. everybody ought to pay their taxes. everybody. everybody ought to pay their taxes. now if you're really rich, you can find an accountant who can find you about every loophole that there is that we've given. we don't have a bill on the floor to close loopholes. the chairman admits that federal
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employees pay their taxes at a -- voluntarily and correctly -- at a higher percentage an the general public. should every one of them, should it be 100%? the chairman is right it should be 100%. the gentleman from north carolina talks about our federal employees and they ought to be treated correctly. we're their board of directors. i will tell you, folks if any board of directors of any large corporation treated its employees the way we treat them they'd all quit and the company would go bankrupt because we treat our federal employees very poorly. . very poorly. and the general public, of course, thinks they're loafing and not working hard and this, that and the other. and that's wrong. we have the best civil service in the world.
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and this does convey the message that somehow you're not doing what you're supposed to do. and i know the gentleman gets up and says, this is a very small percentage. and when a member of congress doesn't pay his taxes, and he gets indicted, and he has to quit this body, it besmirks all of us -- besmirches all of us. the gentleman from maryland is lootly correct. -- is absolutely correct. there is a provision in law that allows the i.r.s. to go in and take the salary of federal employees. that's what the gentleman's talking about. unlike the private sector, where you have to go through a lot of stuff, properly so, to protect the taxpayer, the federal employee's subjected to the i.r.s. having special authority, going and taking part of their salary.
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by the way, this mentioned federal employees. i don't know whether the ranking member knows the answer to this but are members of congress included in that definition? the answer the gentleman is shaking his head saying no. yet the congress as an institution has a lower rate of paying, some 95% as opposed to 97%, federal employees. what is this all about? this is about, frankly saying, government is bad and the people who work for it aren't so hot either. i don't think the gentleman from utah thinks that's the message. i understand that. the gentleman is my friend. i like him. he's a bright and able fellow. but that's the message we're sending. and it's a bad message. and if federal employees, i will
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tell you, i represent 62,000 federal employees. and i tell all of them and all the unions, if they're not performing their job, if they're watching television four hours a day, they ought to be fired. and i will support the gentleman in that effort. because we ought to demand performance. and that's why we have in the i.r.s. code, you can take the salary if they're not paying their taxes. that's not true of any other employee in america. you have to go through a legal process, as you should. so i would urge my colleagues to defeat this bill, as are we did in the last congress -- as we did in the last congress. on suspension. and, yes, tell all of our employees, you need to pay your taxes. and make sure if they don't, the i.r.s. gets there and if they're not performing their task and it
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undermines their performance, then we ought to subject them, just as every other employee, to being removed. but not simply to say ash trail, this employee these -- ash trail, these -- arbitrarily, these employees, our employees, america's employees, will be treated more harshly than the american people and the american workers around this country are treated. treat them the same. that's fair. that's what they hoped for. we shut down government. for 16 days. sent our employees home. the gentleman from north carolina talked about there are some bad circumstances for some people. they have to pay a mortgage payment or a rent payment or a car payment or a college tuition and we send them home and said -- sent them home and said, we're not paying you. we came back later and said no,
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no, we're going to pay you. but we caused them a great deal of angst. i will tell you this that is not the way to treat people. and we didn't send them home because we didn't have the money to pay for them. we sent them hope because we disagreed with a policy the president was pursuing. -- home because we disagreed with a policy the president was pursuing. or we wanted to repeal the affordable care act over which they had no control. but we sent them home without pay and, very frankly, those who were critical employees we kept working but we didn't pay them. what way is that to run any organization? much less the greatest country on the face of the earth? i urge my colleagues, show respect and fairness to those who work for our country in the civil service of our country. reject this legislation.
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vote no. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: we've heard speeches on this floor mr. speaker, about fairness, about treating them the same. and i'll remind me members that on june 25 -- members that on june 25, 1998, the i.r.s. restructuring reform act, of which mr. hoyer, mr. cummings and others voted in favor for, gave this same power and authority to the i.r.s. gave them the same authority and power. why not treat them equally and fairly? why not treat them exactly the same as the i.r.s. employees? why are the i.r.s. employees treated so unfairly? other members that are standing here on this floor today voted in favor of that bill. so it's ok back then. just gave it to them. guess what? tax compliance went up. i take issue with this quote, ideology rather than facts. the facts are every single year the number of federal employees paying their federal taxes has -- not paying their federal
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taxes has gone up. in fact, from 2008 we roughly didn't collect $962 million. this year or 2014 $1.14 billion. if you pay your taxes, you're trying to pay your taxes, you don't have a problem. but if you want to be fair, if you want to be the same, if you want to treat them equally, then give the other departments and agencies the same power that we gave the i.r.s. absolutely. mr. hoyer: what other employee in america is subject to being fired because they don't pay taxes? and does the gentleman want to include either members of congress in this bill or all private sector employees? i yield to my friend for an answer to that question. mr. chaffetz: thank you. i appreciate the spirits in which that's asked. i wish the gentleman would join me in co-sponsoring the members of congress tax accountability act there are constitutional reasons why we can't include
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them in this provision but bill has been referred to the committee on house administration and i would encourage all members to get behind this. because there should be a higher standard for members of congress that should be more readily available to the public. you should have to disclose that liability. right now you don't. and so i introduced that bill as well. i would also argue that federal employees, taking taxpayer dollars, have a high standard. and that the evidence that we have, and i said it repeatedly and i know the gentleman's heard this but mr. speaker mr. hoyer voted in favor of this same bill years ago and it's worked and i've never heard anybody say, this is a problem. we got to change this. we have to take it out. i never heard anybody offer an amendment. in fact, we accepted 100%, every amendment -- 100% every amendment offered by the democrats. we accepted them, we expected them. i want to tackle a couple other things.
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mr. hoyer: i don't think i got the answer to the private sector employees. mr. chaffetz: fair enough. reclaiming my time since i didn't yield it. but reclaiming my time. i said clearly, i don't think this should be part of the private sector. i think working for the federal government is a privilege it is an honor. and i take great exception, mr. speaker, to the idea and the notion that we treat federal workers so poorly that if we were a company everybody would quit. well, they can quit. they don't. you look at the turnover rate in the private sector versus the turnover rate in the federal government, we treat them pretty darn well. can we do things better? yes. and part of that is weeding out the bad apples. if you're sitting there watching pornography on your computer four hours a day, you should be fired. if you're a d.e.a. agent down serving in colombia and you have sex slaves come to you, you should fire them. if you're a federal worker thumbing your nose at the federal government, not paying your taxes then you should be eligible to be fired by the supervisor. don't we trust the superviser to make that decision and say, --
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supervisor to make that decision and say, we're going to keep them, but 24,833 federal employees didn't even file a federal tax return didn't even file one last year. is that too small a percentage to worry about? how do you look people in the eye who are working in this room and in some government office and they're paying their taxes but these eight yahoos over here aren't paying their taxes? i believe that standing up for the federal workers means, you know what, we owe it to all of you that are doing a good job to make sure that they are too. and if they don't and they're not getting good, guess what? a, you're not going to be hired and, b, you're eligible to be fired. it's exactly what mr. hoyer, mr. speaker voted for and it worked. it worked as a good piece of legislation a good vote. and guess what? the i.r.s. now has the highest -- less than 1% of their people don't pay their federal taxes. give that same tool to the other
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departments and agencies and i think we'll have even better compliance and we can look the american people in the eye and say, you know what we're doing everything we can, stop picking on federal employees. i'll reserve the balance of my time. mr. hoyer: will you yield for just a second? mr. chaffetz: i don't have much time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for one minute. mr. hoyer: i would hope the gentleman would make it very, very clear, he's not making an analogy between the two instances that he cited for firing, on which i would agree with him, and a federal employee for whatever reason may not have paid his taxesment certainly the gentleman isn't making the two -- taxes. certainly the gentleman isn't making an analogy between those two. because if he is he's doing exactly what i think this bill does. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield to mr. connolly 2 1/2 minutes.
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may i ask how much time we each have? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland has 7 1/2 minutes. the gentleman from utah has 4 1/2 minutes. mr. cummings: thank you very much. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for 2 1/2 minutes. mr. connolly: i thank my friend from maryland. thank you mr. speaker. we've heard some words here on the floor describing this bill as simply actually a bill to protect federal workers who are in compliance from that small percentage who aren't. we had a hearing today at the government ops subcommittee, a committee of which mr. chaffetz is full committee chair. and i asked the question of the taxing of the i.r.s., how would you characterize 97% compliance
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when the broad public compliance with tax compliance is 83% to 86%? so how would you characterize 97%? and the answer was extraordinary. this is a solution in search of a problem. and the the pro he istations to the contrary -- the pro stations to the contrary notwithstanding, this is another way albeit cloaked in respectability and sanctimony, at whack federal employees again. we just heard it. scratch the surface and suddenly they're all watching pornography. they're all sitting around not doing work. they're all in fact not filing taxes and they ought to be fired and let me go through the list of firing offenses. allowing the impression that
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this actually characterizes the federal work force. my friend, the minority whip, said that if you were a c.e.o. and managed your company this way, you would be fired. or your company would go out of business. my friend from utah took exception to that, but for those who say we ought to run the federal government as a private company, what c.e.o. would keep his or her job, who froze wages for three years, who disparaged his work force as being overcompensated, unproductive, lazy, too many of them? and we're going to crack down on you. go after their benefits and make sure they're reduced, threaten not to pay your bills while you're at it. what company would stay in business? what c.e.o. would ever get away with that? and that's what we're doing here. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. connolly: can i ask for 10
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seconds more? mr. cummings: 10 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. connolly: we're disparaging the federal work force, no matter how put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, at this time i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. mulvaney, as i remind the gentlemen in this room that it was president obama who introduced the pay freeze. i'll recognize mr. mulvaney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. mulvaney: i thank the gentleman and the speaker. i was in my office watching some of this dialogue and i'll pick right up where the gentleman from virginia just left off. . this is not an attack on federal workers. i sat on the subcommittee, mr. speaker, when we had the hearing on this issue. this is not an attack on the federal workers. this has absolutely nothing to do with federal workers and everything to do with taking care of the people who pay for those federal workers.
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taking care of the people who pay the taxes. the analogy, the story was told what happened yesterday in the hearing about the d.e.a. you can take -- you can accept the services of a prostitute from a drug lord, let the drug cartel members watch your guns and your cell phone, and still not get fired. it's not an attack on federal workers. people back home see that and think that we are crazy. they think we are completely nuts and do not know how to run the country. and you have to look at that hearing yesterday and think, you know what? they may be right this bill is an attempt to at least try to send the mess abbling back home to people, make it very clear if one is going to audit you for not paying your taxes, at the very least that person will have paid their taxes. that is not a slam on federal workers. it's going to the american people who pay their taxes and
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saying look, we may not do the best we possibly can but at least we pay attention to some things. and we're going to make sure that the people auditing you are at least following the law that they're making you follow. that is not an unreasonable thing to ask for. it's not an attack on a larger federal work force. it's simply trying to reaffirm for people back home that we are not absurd and we're not crazy and we're not running this country in a minds refashion. that we actually do pay attention to what's important to folks back home. if we can't fire the guys taking the prostitutes from the drug lords maybe we can at least make sure that the people doing audits pay the taxes. that's what this bill is about. that's why it should pass. thank you, sir. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield the gentlelady from the district of columbia two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. norton: i thank my good friend for yielding. let's put in context what's happening on this floor today.
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this is tax day. and what the majority does each tax day is pull out bills, some of them are good bills, some of them have the -- have the appearance of everything but the kitchen sink. you know, there's some members of their party who are running for president on abolishing the i.r.a. you can't abolish it so what can you do to people in the frolve that points out that you are not asleep on tax day? what you don't do is a gratuitous, useless slap in the face of federal employees. whose -- who apparently do understand that they have an affirmative duty even beyond others to pay their taxes because they do at a rate that's almost twice that of other people, or the general public which is more than twice that of other americans.
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the -- the bill -- the best that can be said about this bill is that it is entirely superfluous. it's -- it does what already can be done. what can be done is existing statutory authority gives the federal government the i. -- the federal government, the i.r.s., the ability to collect federal state and local taxes. if they find that there is a delinquent taxpayer, they can already under federal law, go from counseling to removal. that is in the law already my friends. in their wisdom, the congresses in the past have wanted to keep federal employees paying their taxes until they paid them off. so they didn't cut off their nose to spite their face by taking away their jobs.
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they tried something that has work the federal employee retiree delinquent initiative which matches up federal employees at all the agency, not just the i.r.s. work delinquencies so you have this rate today that could he -- this rate today. they can levy they can levy past 15% until they get all their money back. they have the discretion to do that. chairman iis -- issa called this bill -- could i have 30 seconds? conceded that this bill was cosmetic before. if you want to do something for the american people stop cutting the inch r.s. so that they can start collecting taxes and cut they can deficit. i thank my good friend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland reserves. the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: i have no additional speakers i reserve the right to close.
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i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. mr. cummings: how much time is remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 3 1/4 minutes. mr. cummings: i yield to the gentleman, mr. limple of massachusetts. the speaker pro tempore: -- mr. lynch of massachusetts. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lynch: i rise in on stoigs this, this is indeed about federal employees. federal employees tax accountability act. it's all about federal employees. while i have the greatest respect for the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, i remain --ed that the practical effect of h.r. 1653 will be to diminish the rights of our dedicated federal work force. it's important to note that the internal revenue code, section 6103, provides that all citizens for all citizens federal tax information including tax returns, annual wage and tax statements and tax
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penalty notices, is strictly confidential and must remain in the trust of only the i.r.s. and must remain in the trust of only the i.r.s. service and the individual taxpayer. that's it. it's not open to general knowledge. under this bill, though tax information which now includes health care information because the affordable care act that's all going to be shared among every single federal agency to take so-called adverse personnel actions where the agency finds that an individual has willfully fallen behind on his or her taxes or failed to file a return on time system of now we have completely blown this out. and if it's not about federal employees, this is what we're going to do to every american taxpayer. that their information, we're basically deputizing the bosses of all these federal employees
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to be table delve into their personal tax information, their personal health care information that is now held by the i.r.s. we're blowing this completely out so that we're damaging all of these federal employees' privacy rights and we also present the possibility that in the future will be done to every american citizen. this is not a good idea. this is not a good idea. you know -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. lynch: i think we have every opportunity to make sure people pay their taxes. there's a greater compliance rate among federal employees than there is among the general public. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. cummings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: unfortunately this bill is symbolism without substance. it's very, very sad. i'm disappointed to say that the house majority seems more interested in ideology and political messaging rather than facts and evidence.
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here are the facts. there is no problem to solve. the rimplet s. confirmed that they have no problem collecting delinquent taxes from federal employees. federal employees have a much higher tax compliance rate than the american public and even members of congress and their staff. c.b.o. has estimated that implementation of this measure will actually increase the cost to american taxpayers. i again ask the question, when somebody is fired and don't have a job, where does the money come from? the fact is that we already have mechanisms in place to get the money and i do believe with all my heart that this is another effort to demonize our federal employees and it's very, very sad. i urge all members to vote against this legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from utah is recognized mr. chaffetz: i yield myself such time as i may consume. here are the facts. i just love it when washington, d.c. says, oh, there's no problem. we got 100,000 plus people,
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federal employees who don't pay about $1.1 billion in taxes. that number is up from $962 million in 2008. but there is one agency where it did get behrer, the i.r.s. we should pat them on the back. there's one fundamental thing we changed. in a bill voted on an supported by mr. cummings and mr. hoyer and the 400-plus members of this body, the congress gave the ability and authority to the head of the i.r.s. to terminate the employment of one of their workers if they're not paying the federal taxes. now they have the best compliance rate in the federal government. let's give that same tool to the rest of the departments and agencies. you know what's a slap in the face to the federal workers? -- worker? when you don't get rid of the bad apples. when you get somebody who is thumbing their nose, not playing
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by the rules, not doing what they're supposed to be doing guess what? the seeds of -- it goes into the morale of the institution. and i think as a federal employee, being paid by the taxpayers, one of your fundamental responsibilities is to file and pay your federal taxes. a fact, we had last rear-year 24,833 people as federal employees who didn't even file a return. can we solve that? should we? absolutely, we can shove that. we should require it. when somebody goes to fill out an application, they should certify that they're fully compliant with taxes. if there's a hardship if they're in dispute over taxes yes owed if their spouse get into problems if they're having wages garnished there's all these outs even at the finish line. based on the amendment offered by mr. lynch, you get another
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180 days to go forward to your administrator or whoever is leading your department or agency and say i'm valuable i'm trying but i -- still the leader can say, oh, you know what i'm going to give you a waiver or allow you to continue. but if we don't give them the authority, which they have at the i.r.s., then you limit the tools and you get rid of the people, you're not getting rid of the people who are the bad apples. we can make sure we get the best federal employees but we -- but weed out the bad apples. i want to see people on both sides of the aisle say, let's pat thebacks of the hardworking employees but get rid of the bad apples. that's what this bill does. i urge its passage and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1563 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3
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being in the affirmative -- >> mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. maryland: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that when the house adjourns today it adjourn to meet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. pusuant to clause 12-a of rule 1 the chair declares the house in recess for a"washington journal"
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continues. host: jim mcdermott joining us. many stories in the paper talking about the medicare bill that was passed yesterday. tell us a little bit about what it does. what does it mean for. doctors in the system? caller: we put it back into the
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law in 1988 and hit has been effective in helping the increasing cost of medicare. we have not been able to replace it with something else here and we have been catching it every year for the last 12 years. this year we decided to fix it and take it out. it always has the potential work cutting doctor payments by 10% or 12% or 15%. it had gotten to the point where there would have been a 25% and dr. payments for medicare. that was never going to happen. we finally fixed it generally. we got tired of waiting patches on it. host: generally, what do you mean by that? caller: we took out of the gsr the sustained growth rate. doctors offices only supposed to grow a certain amount each year. of course a group more than that or they did not. if they grew more there's a post to get a cut in their payment.
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we said that does not work. we put a new payment schedule into the law in place of the sgr . host: they are saying more money will be needed in the future to keep what has happened from happening again. what do you think of the idea that you have to visit this down the road? guest: medicare's problem is going to be the question of how do you control costs? when the president took on the aca he said we had two problems. one is access. secondly, how do we control costs? we will have to confront the issue of cost. we have got so many possibilities for treatment today that the cost in health care continues to go up. and leslie will say that we will not replace knees or hopsips or
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something which is very ciccone, we're going to have to eager out how to do it. the pressure will be on congress in the medical profession. host: is the burden on the medical profession? who bears the most burden? guest: it is jointly. congress can continue to appropriate money. they can throw money at it forever. they are not going to do it. they're going to put pressure with money and the doctors will have to put on pressure to be more efficient in order to live with the same level of care. you don't want to not to people for what they have. you want to make sure you do it in the most efficient way. there are some really big issues and all of this. one is the whole issue of the last months of life and how much time and money is at a time in people's lives when they will
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not get better. how do we let people to in a dignified way? all those questions have to be raised and how much money we went. we will not live forever. woody allen said i do not mind talking about death as long as i'm not there when it happened. we have to talk about death and how we're going to do it. there are a lot of issues that we are facing in this country host: is and of life issues a congressional issue as well? guest: we had some money in the affordable care act four. your's to consult with their 00-- for doctors to consult with their patients what they wanted done at the end. they call the death panels. it was an awful public relations thing that was done. doctors need to sit and talk
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with their patients and say here is what the options are. what do you want me to do if this is what happens? that takes time. that is not an easy discussion to have someone your it i did a ted talk on this whole issue. i think everybody should write their own final directives and say what they want to talk to their family and kids and spouse and anybody around them. make it clear how you would like to go if you have the choice. you do not always have the choice. an awful lot of money gets and in health care. -- gets s inpe health care on issues where people do not want itnt. they want to be able to die. firstly they are ready to go in they would like to go. the medical professions will is to keep you alive for as long as possible.
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that is the mission of a doctor and a nurse. that is the mission of the hospital. you have these two things colliding of the mission of the health care profession and what a person wants. you have to be strong and have not through what you want otherwise doctors what we have seen is where people have been on machines and all these extensions of life. it is a very tough decision to make. you ought to have the first shot at deciding what is going to happen. host: jim mcdermott to talk about this and other issues. here are the numbers. (202) 748-8001 four republicans (202) 748-8000 for democrats (202) 748-8002 for independents. he takes on issues of medicare but he also at social security.
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he said he would call for an income cap for benefits and medical security and reduce payments were those making more 800,000 -- 80,000 for additional income. what do you think about that approach? host: everybody pays into social security. everybody ought to be able to draw the benefits out in my view. you have a very small number of people i the top who do not need the money. it is the main source of income for senior citizens today in this country. when you start saying if you have more than 80 house in dollars or more than 30,000 in whatever it is easy to then slide it down to the point where you get rid of social security altogether.
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these people who are talking like that are people who want to get rid a socialist surety or money in -- of social security. the worst thing that could happen is it someone took your social security is a totally to invest in and wall street. most people lose half of it. social security is a known amount of money. you get a letter from them every year that says this is what your benefit is going to be when you're 65. you know it is going to be there. if you have it out in the market , i mean, the market goes up and down. we had is discussed the -- this destructive thing in 2007. lots of people lost huge amount of money. you do not want your security in that kind of ink. that is what chris christie is talking about, moving the money to wall street. host: the first call comes from
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alabama. this is larry. go ahead. caller: good morning. i have a question here and it comment. i would like to know from him if he knows whether or not the republicans and maybe some of the democrats want to establish a marketplace for those who do not have any income or health insurance. i would like to hear whether they will establish one or they had tried to stop this one for indigent people, folksy do not have income. it is a disgrace for states to opt out and medicaid and let millions and millions of people without health insurance. most of these are republicans. i do not understand that. i would like to know him. do
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you know anyone who would like to establish a marketplace for those who are indigent? the republicans are establishing one for those who are making a certain amount of money. what about those who are poor? thank you for giving me the opportunity to say that. host: he raises a very important issue. one of the decisions congress made years ago in 1964 was that medicaid, money for people with less money, would be administered by the state. each state can design their own program. some states have been very generous. washington has been very generous. some other states have been absolutely inhumane to their citizens. one of my concerns always has been that medicaid ought to be a national program where we say
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everybody in the united states should have the same set of been its. it should not make any difference what state you live in. if you live in alabama are washington state will get way different treatment in a medicaid program. that is not fair. in this country we are all americans. we are all one. we ought to be treated the same. ultimately, the medicaid program have to be taken over by congress. there are a number of states where they refuse to expand medicaid coverage. president obama, 10 year expansion of medicaid and said we will pay for it, and hundred percent at the federal level and governors will send we do not want to get it. they are saying to the poor people in their states "no, we do not want it." you can look at florida and texas and alabama refused to take
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care of the people in their states. i think it is wrong. host: from florida, the independent line. good morning. caller: hello, good morning pedro. last time i spoke to you was before christmas, and it was regarding the medicare and the ways and means. my question to you is, number one, will we ever see some kind of exchanges so that we can get a -- an agreement with some of the state so if you want to get care in other states and you are on medicare or medicaid, a combination, or just medicaid, will we ever just see that rectified? and also, last time i talked to, we talked about fema. can you get many care to take care of -- get medicare to take care of a singular? [laughter] guest: my view is i have always
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been someone who believed in a single-payer system. everybody in the united states ought to be in the same system. not the doctors and -- you don't have to control all of that -- but everybody ought to begin to the same set of benefit, no matter where they live or how much money they have or anything else. no difference for any american on this issue. when he will allow insurance companies, when you allow state governments, when you allow all these other people to manipulate or fiddle with the benefit package, you are going to get the problems that you are seeing today. and i think ultimately, the congress, on the basis of fairness, is going to have to come back and make medicaid a program that is at the federal level. that is why medicare for old people, was done at the federal
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level. we wanted every senior citizen to have the same benefit, no matter where they live. if they lived in maine or florida or california or illinois or arkansas, they get the same set of benefits. that ought to be true for everybody in the country. the health budget -- host: the health budget takes a block approach. what do you think about it? guest: i oppose it because we already know what stump -- some states do. i believe that everybody -- i don't care which state you live in, i think you ought to have the same access to health care. and that is not true today in this country. it is not -- the block grant simp >> the u.s. house is coming back in for a series of votes, live coverage here on c-span. 200, adopting house resolution 200 if ordered and suspending the rules h.r. 1562
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and h.r. 1563. electronic votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. unfinished business is ordering the previous question on house resolution 200. the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 200, resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 622 to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to make permanent providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 1105 to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to repeal the state and skipping transfer taxes and for other purposes and for providing consideration of the bill h.r. 1195 to amend the consumer financial protection act of 2010 to establish advisory boards and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on ordering the previous questions. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a 15-minute vote.
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[captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 240, the nays are 183. the previous question is ordered. the question is on the adoption of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? >> on that i request a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives.
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any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 242, the nays are 182. the resolution is adopted. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the house will come to order. all members, please take seats and clear the well and clear the aisles. the house will come to order. the house will come to order. all members, please clear the aisles. please clear the well. cease conversation. the house will come to order.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to speak out of order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized. the gentleman will continue. mr. mccarthy: mr. speaker, at 7:22 this morning, 150 years ago, we lost one of the greatest leaders of our nation. president abraham lincoln. lincoln understood americans' exceptionalism. we know this for many reasons but one great reason was his words at gettysburg. he told the crowd that our fathers have brought forth on this continent a new nation. one conceived in liberty and
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dedicated the proposition that all men are created equal. it was his vision that this nation would have a new berth of freedom and for that beautiful vision, many have fought and died. president lincoln understood the costs of freedom. he was a member of this, the people's house. for one term. before he rose to become what i believe was one of our greatest statesmen. he struggled and never gave up to pass the 13th amendment. so that no one here would ever again have to endure the sin of slavery. and he died for the dream that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would finally become more than just words. that it would be a promise kept to all. so as we remember lincoln as one of the greatest american leaders and the truest embodiment of american principles, our country still feels the mark of his great presence today.
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i thought it was important that we memorized that it was here. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. without objection, five-minute voting will continue. the unfinished business is the motion from the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1562 on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 52 h.r. 1562, a bill to prohibit the awarding of a contract or grant in excess of a simplified acquisition threshold unless the perspective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee has no serious past debt and for
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other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 424. the nays are zero. 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1563, as amended, on which the yeas and nays were ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1563, a bill link lirning -- a bill to amend title 5, united states code, to provide that individuals having seriously delinquent tax debts shall be ineligible for federal employment, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 266. the nays are 160. 2/3 of those not responding in the affirmative, the rules are not suspended and the bill is not passed. the speaker pro tempore: the house will come to order. please, all members take conversations from the floor. out of the aisles. if you remain in the chamber, please take a seat and cease all conversations at this time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will come to order. please take conversations off the floor or cease conversations and be seated. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? mr. capuano: mr. speaker, to speak out of order for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute but the gentleman will suspend so the house can come to order. the house will come to order. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. capuano: thank you mr. speaker. mr. speaker, two years ago today one of the most cowardly acts in american history was
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perpetrated on the people of boston, in massachusetts, in america and in fact the world when two lowly cowards blew up a bomb, two bombs in the middle of the boston marathon which is a celebration of marin patriotism and birth of this country killing three innocent people and later on in the day shooting a police officer and again another cowardly act and injuring over 275 people. i just want to take a moment of this house's time to remember the people that died that day, the people who were injured that day and to think for a moment on what a wonderful country we have the good fortune to live on and god bless the united states of america. with that mr. speaker, i ask that everyone rise and share a moment of silence with me. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for
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what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, thank you. americans strongly dislike tax day. and uncle sam is set to take in record levels of americans' tax dollars again this year. mr. rothfus: these are dollars that hardworking taxpayers take out of their wallets and there are too often used to grow washington's bureaucracy at the expense of growth elsewhere in the country. western pennsylvanians are rightfully frustrated with the federal government's overreach in their daily lives. back in pennsylvania's 12th district i regularly talk to folks who are appalled by the i.r.s.'s hi pop rasi-i, corruption -- hypocrisy, crups and the abuse of -- corruption and the abuse of power.
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the i.r.s. needs to be held accountable to the people. washington bureaucrats are not above the law. americans spent countless hours and precious resources filing their taxes by april 15. they are following the law. it's only fair that the i.r.s. do the same. i was proud to support bills to restore the public's system in laws and prevent the i.r.s. from abusing its power. i thank the speaker and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from florida seek recognition? >> thank you, madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. frankel: madam speaker, i stand here today one year since boko haram kidnapped 270 young girls attending school in
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nigeria. this kidnapping received international attention for a short time. then like the girls the spotlight disappeared. and they were subjected to unimaginable crimes. innocent girls who cry to be liberated cannot be forgotten. they are as maya angelou's caged birds, who sing with a fearful thrill of things unknown long still and their tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged birds sings of freedom. mr. speaker, i join my colleagues today in saying bring back our girls and i waive my time. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: request unanimous
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consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: thank you, madam speaker. earlier this week the energy information administration released its annual forecast of u.s. energy trends and predicted that the united states will become a net exporter of natural gas by 2017. as co-chair of the bipartisan congressional natural gas caucus i understand the magnitude of this geopolitical transition and the implications for ensuring american energy security through continued natural gas development and investment. by becoming an exporter of natural gas by 2017, the united states will be able to build and strengthen its economy. help to improve the environment and remain globally competitive. as one of the nation's top producers of natural gas, pennsylvania continues to help drive record breaking oil and natural gas production domestically. the energy information administration's recent projections place united states closer than ever to obtaining energy independence while signaling longer term market
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stability that will make energy prices more affordable for businesses and families throughout pennsylvania and all across the country. thank you, madam speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from nevada seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. titus: i rise today to congratulate the fisher house foundation on their 25th anniversary and to thank them for their services to our military and veteran families. the fisher house foundation is the result of the vision and efforts by zackary and elizabeth fisher. they wanted to provide a home away from home for the families of service men and women while their loved ones receive treatment. and their vision has come to fruition. since the first fisher house opened in 1990, over 250,000 families have saved $282 million
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in lodging and transportation costs. the 64 locations throughout the united states and germany have provided families $5.8 -- 5.8 million days of lodging. just a few weeks ago i was fortunate and proud to participate in the ground breaking of nevada's first fisher house located across the street from our new v.a. hospital. what a wonderful day it was. so congratulations, fisher house foundation. and thank you and your volunteers for all you do to make a difficult time just a little easier for our nation's heroes. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from florida seek recognition? ms. ros-lehtinen: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you so much, madam speaker. i rise tonight to recognize one of the most profound educational leaders of her generation, dr.
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donna shalala. as the head of my alma mater, the university of miami, donna made it her goal to see u.m. become the next great american research university. never one to leave a promise unfulfilled, under her unparalleled guidance, the university has consistently ranked in the top 50 research institutions. through leadership, service and selflessness donna has positively impacted our south florida area as a school administrator and a community leader. it is with great pride admiration and affection that i join our community and university of miami students, professors and grads in thanking the doctor for her hard work and dedication. donna, you are an outstanding member of our south florida community and we will certainly miss you. i wish you good fortune and all the best in this new, exciting next chapter of your life. and oh, yes, go kings.
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thank you, donna. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> madam speaker, every year 3/4 of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids in this country are verbally harassed at school. nearly 1/5 will be physically assaulted. mr. engel: it's time for the bullying to stop. every day there's a national day of silence. this friday kids across the country will observe a vow of silence to acknowledge the abuse. counseling and outreach have done a lot to help these kids but change is not coming fast enough. so i'm once again introducing a resolution supporting the day of silence. lgbt kids deserve to be able to go to school and feel safe. i invite my colleagues to join me and co-sponsor the resolution. on another matter, yesterday is
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the one-year anniversary of the nigerian school girls kidnapping by the terror group boko haram. i'm wearing these ribbons today to say, bring back our girls. and i thank our colleague, frederica wilson of florida, for being a champion on this issue. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. butterfield: madam speaker, i rise to congratulate duke university and its division i men's basketball team on winning the 2015 national championship. this marks their fifth national championship victory. the coach is the winningest coach in division i men's basketball history. legendary coach mike krzvzewski. we refer to him as coach k. this year's team, led by senior quinn cook, earned the a.d.a.'s
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school-wide ncaa tournament victory. even more impressive madam speaker, is the fact that the duke university blue devils had five all-a.c.c. academic players, which is the most in the school's history. today i introduced a resolution along with my colleagues, to recognize the team for its extraordinary achievement. i urge quick consideration of my resolution and encourage my colleagues to support it. madam speaker, i ask all of my colleagues to join me in congratulating the duke university blue devils on their historic tournament win. thank you, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? without objection the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. waters: madam speaker, a year and a day ago today, 276 innocent nigerian school girls were tragically taken away from
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their boarding school and their family. one year later, more than 200 of these girls are still missing and boko haram continues to prey on the nigerian people. the kidnapping of these school girls is just one example of the appalling acts of terror committed by this group who according to the human rights watch have killed more than 2,000 people and forpsed 800,000 children -- and forced 800,000 children to be displaced from their homes. we simply must do more to combat their efforts. i commend president obama for publicly expressing his willingness to assist nigeria in its efforts to dismantle this group. additionally, i encourage the incoming president of nigeria to remain committed to his pledge to implement an aggressive effort to combat boko haram and to protect his citizens. i hope that with the anniversary of these attacks upon us, we are all regalvanized to do what we can to bring back our girls and protect our other innocent citizens from any future attacks.
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and i thank congresswoman frederica wilson for her leadership on this issue. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. are there further one-minute requests? for what purpose does the gentlewoman from wisconsin seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. moore: thank you so much. it is very heartbreaking to think that it's been a whole year since our girls, 276 girls were kidnapped by boko haram in nigeria. i think the importance of memorializing this is to talk about the nature of terror and its cruelty, to take these children, these babies, away in the name of religion. it's extremely important for us to galvanize all around the world and to focus on the main
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thing, the main thing is these are criminal organizations, these are not religiously motivated people. these are people who will maim, cripple and kill anyone for their political objectives. i want to thank frederica wilson for her leadership in bringing us all together today and i pray that -- and mrs. maloney from new york, and i pray that our resolve will be reignited today. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. are there further one-minute requests? for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you madam speaker. i rise today in support of the paycheck fairness act. according to the u.s. census bureau in 2013 women who worked full-time earned on average only
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78 cents for every $1 a man earned. figures are even worse for women of color. african-american women earned only approximately 64 cents and latinas, only 56 cents. for each $1 earned by a white male. this is absolutely unacceptable in the united states of america. the average woman would have lost $420,000 throughout her working lifetime as a result of this pay gap. in my district, women make up 51% of the population. yet there's still a 76.4% wage gap in their annual median earnings. that is why i am a sponsor of the paycheck fairness act, which would work to close the gender wage gap by requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differentials are based on factors other than sex and strengthening penalties for equal pay violations. families increasingly rely on women's wages to make ends meet.
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equal pay is not simply a woman's issue it's a family issue. thank you, madam speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, madam speaker. small businesses are vital to the strength and -- strength of the american economy generating 63% of new private sector jobs over the past two decades. but it's not just about the entrepreneurs. it is also about helping workers that depend on small businesses for their paycheck. whether it be young people paying down their college loans, immigrants hoping to provide a better life for their loved ones or moms and dads looking for a little more income while the kids are at school. curb curb small businesses --
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mr. curbelo: small businesses not only strengthen main street, they play a vital role in keeping our neighbors prosperous. one of the many challenges that small businesses face is a cumbersome and overbearing tax code. most small businesses file their taxes as s corporations or sole proprietorships, both of which are taxed at individual rates. congress needs to get serious about reforming and simplifying the tax code, creating a broader, flatter tax base will allow for lower rates for both individuals and businesses. i look forward to working with my colleagues to finding ways to reform our tax code so small businesses and their workers can thrive. with that, madam speaker i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for -- is recognized for one minute. >> i thank the gentlelady for yielding me this time madam speaker. i was tempted to rise when my friend from california was
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speaking of the great late president abraham lincoln. mr. crowley: and his legacy. really a dichotomy of a man. very complicated. we know of his great achievements, of ending slavery of maintaining our union, great achievements and very difficult achievements for him as well. passing the 13th amendment. we think of how dysfunctional maybe congress is today and the lack of cooperation. under the conditions that then president lincoln was working under, it's a marvel that he was able to pass such incredible legislation with such ramifications and positively. but i think one of the great things about lincoln that oftentimes goes unnoticed is one of the legacies that was unintended. by himself directly. he dies, he's shot on the 14th of april, 1865, he dies on the 15th of april 1865. one of the greatest things about
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abraham lincoln is on the 16th of april, the sun rose again on the republic of the united states, a better nation for his having lived, continuing despite his absence. how wonderful a legacy is that, that this republic, greater than any man or woman lives on, a better place for him having lived? may god rest the soul of abraham lincoln. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. . for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. veasey: madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. veasey: madam speaker, i rise today to congratulate the irving independent school district for being recognized by the college board as the 2015 advanced placement district of the year in the mid-sized category. this award recognizes the effort that irving i.s.d. in
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ensuring the academic success of our local schoolchildren. since 2008, irving i.s.d. has increased over 70% the number of students taking the a.p. exam and has increased by over 80% the number of students who scored a three or higher on the a.p. exam. not only are more students taking the a.p. test in irving but also more students are earning good scores and that's really important. i represent almost all of south irving in district 33 and three out of the five schools in the -- high schools in the irving i.s.d. are located in south irving. to every teacher, principal staffer and parent at cardwell, macarthur, nimitz and singly high, thank you for making all of us texas crowd. madam speaker, i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back his time. are there further one-minute requests? under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the
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gentlewoman from new jersey, mrs. watson coleman, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mrs. watson coleman: thank you madam speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the subject of our special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, madam speaker. today, low-wage workers across the country rallied in small towns and big cities. their request is very simple, a livable wage and the right to organize. this isn't rocket science. these folks turn on the news and see reports on stock market gains on wall street. they see companies reporting record profits. they see the prices for bread and a carton of milk rising every month. then they open their paychecks and see the same amount that they've seen for the past 10 years. this is a crisis that my colleagues across the aisle keep trying to brush under a political rug. that may have worked in the
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past but it's just getting too big to be hidden. according to u.c.-berkeley economist, the nation's 100 richest families, the nation's 100 richest families the nation's 100 richest families have as much wealth as the 80 million families that make up the bottom 50% in wealth. meanwhile, republicans keep trying to peddle the same tired work hard and get ahead rhetoric. madam speaker, american workers are doing just that. they're stringing together 40-hour weeks whenever they can and in many cases they're not given the opportunity to even do that. but they're being paid wages that cobble together to just over $15,000 a year. even when mcdonald's raises wages for the fraction of its workers behind the counters of their corporate stores, they'll only get a raise of $5,000.
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and $5,000 will make a huge difference for those families. but at $20,000 they've gone from drowning to just barely keeping their heads above water. that is not enough to pay for a college education or to buy a home. that's not enough to save for retirement. that's not enough to pay for medical bills. madam speaker that's not enough to achieve the american dream. my progressive caucus colleagues and i are here on the floor tonight to stand with workers and the fight for 15. that's $15 an hour and the right to form unions. it's time to support working families and it is time to make it possible to work hard and get ahead. it is now my pleasure to yield to one of the chairs of our caucus, someone who's never been afraid to fight for american workers, the gentleman from minnesota, mr. ellison. mr. ellison: thank you, the
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gentlelady, for yielding. an interesting tore see i had today. i was talking with a young lady named stacy mitchell who's a researcher. she does a lot of research on this issue of what is the economic effect of raising the minimum wage because what you hear so many conservatives say if we raise the minimum wage, then maybe there will be a lot of workers who simply will not be employable because they don't have the skill level to be employed. they don't bring enough value to the business to pay them $15 an hour. well, what she showed -- and this is through research -- is that low wages lead to workers who have a lot of high turnover. and high turnover leads to mistakes, leads to errors, leads to training errors, leads to people -- bad customer service when the workers don't have a firm grip on what they've been doing. and so high turnover and the
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need to retrain then leads to loss of money and they've calculated that to about $12,000 a year for the average small business. now, folks who are interested in learning more about this can contact the institute for local self-governance, local self-reliance. this is a small business organization that says that, look, you know, we can have more economic viability if we focus on small business and not just the big box retailer. of course, it's interesting because whenever you talk to the big box retailer raising the minimum wage or whether you talk to mcdonald's or wal-mart they're saying, yeah, yeah, we're making record profits. but what about the small business? so it was pretty surprising to hear there are a lot of small businesses who have decided to pay people a better wage, keep them on the job and as they stay on the job they learn the job better, serve the customer
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better and end up making the business more profitable overall. business people -- a lot of business people whether it's costco or ben and jerry's are challenging this idea by the right-wing conservative business types that squeezing the most out of the worker, hurting the worker, taking the most out of the worker, paying the worker the least you can possibly afford, not any health care not any sick days, just squeezing the life out of that worker is not a good business model. they say it's not a good business model. there are other ways to do it. there are ways for everyone to succeed. now sometimes my friends on the other side of the aisle like to say, have you ever run a business? in fact, i have. i'm a business owner. i ran my own law firm for years. i employed investigators. i employed legal assistant. i even hired some lawyers. so when people arrogantly talk
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about, you know, oh, i know business and you don't it always makes me chuckle a little bit because i actually have run a business, owned a business. and have actually run fairly large nonprofits which are also businesses. and it's clear to me that the real thing that i cared about as a business person is customers coming through the door. i needed people with money who could pay me. that's what i needed. and if nobody was making any money, they couldn't pay me. so it was always better for me to -- being a vibrant strong community with an economy that where prosperity was shared so people had some business for me. you know, it's funny. i never worried about taxes too much. it wasn't -- i can't imagine too many small business people staying up all night worrying about taxes. you know what they're worried about, customers coming through the door, clients coming through the door, people who need haircuts, people who need
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meals, people who would need a lawyer to do their will. that's what you got to have. but if the average working class person is broke because they've been getting paid $7 an hour for 20 -- you know -- or whatever, they can't spend money with you. so it was interesting to me when i first got to congress -- this was right before the real hit in the financial system in 2008 i was at a committee hearing -- i'd like to let the gentlelady know, and i asked one of the witnesses at the committee hearing what their opinion was about america having negative savings. because i found a statistic that america is about a negative 2% savings rate. that meant that you were borrowing to consume. that meant that you didn't have no money and you had to go to the credit card or the payday loan, title loan something like that to make it through
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the week. and this person looked at me and said, there's so much equity people have in their homes, that's not a problem. that's an economist i will never listen to again. the bottom line is when you pay people more, they can save. they can save for retirement. when you pay people more, that makes them more loyal to you. i actually paid people as much as i could way over minimum wage. the reason why, i needed my legal secretary to know how to prepare documents the way i needed them. i needed her to know how to prepare the document so that i could read it over, make sure that this divorce or this will or whatever it was that i was doing for them was right and the better she got at what she was doing, the faster i could work and i was happy to pay her because the customer was happy to pay. the real job was getting customers in the door and paying workers better was smarter and more profitable for me. so i absolutely reject this model that you squeeze the life
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out of the worker and try to make sure they don't have anything except for the bus fare to get back to work the next day. this is absolutely wrong, and yes, you can run a business like that. you can make a lot of money like that but you will ruin society doing things like that. i actually liked paying taxes so we can have the rail -- the metrorail get people to work. so the bus would come. i didn't mind being able to turn on the spigot and have clean water come out of the faucet in minnesota. so i don't understand these people who claim to be for business, don't want to pay any taxes, don't want to train anybody, don't want to pay any decent wages, hate health care. it's the craziest thing in the world. it's actually bad for business. and leads to very extremes in society. extremely rich and the vast ocean of the poor. and how many people have you talked to who sit back and say,
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you know what, you used to be able to get into the middle class by becoming a small business person or getting a good union job. the conservative right wing attacks both. the conservative right wing attacks unions. the conservative right wing doesn't like unions and they're union busters and so the good union membership has declined and as they pushed this right to work garbage, what we have seen happen is wages go down at the very same time. we have seen small business -- you know what's a funny thing about these big, big business types, whenever they come to my office asking for whatever, they always talk in terms of what's the -- small business. i always find it somewhat amusing when the big businesses that pay poverty wages say, if we raise the minimum wage it's going to hurt small business. i think to myself, man, when was the last time you were
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running a small business? you don't pay only taxes because you got lawyers to figure out how to get around them. you don't deal with what other -- the small business person has to deal with. they actually have to earn a living and come up with a product or a service that people really want. and they don't get tax breaks the way they do. they don't have a mountain -- an army of lawyers to help them escape their responsibility to help fund the u.s. government. so today, what does that have to due with today? well low-wage workers have finally gotten sick of it. today over 200 cities are standing together to call for $15 an hour. 30 different countries are stand in solidarity for low-wage workers calling for $15 an hour. i'm proud in my own city of minneapolis, low-wage workers have gone out and they are on strike to ask for $demand $15 an hour. these folks have -- these are the people who make the hamburgers, they fry the chicken, they sweep the floors,
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they do the stuff that if it doesn't get done the business crashes. i'm going to tell you honestly. the business i ran, if i wanted to go on vacation for a day or two, i probably could, but if my legal secretary and my investigator and my -- and the lawyer that i hired didn't show up i'd be -- i'd would be in trouble. i couldn't go -- i'd be in trouble. i couldn't go anywhere. you show me a c.e.o. of a business that -- a big business, if they don't show up if they go on a long golfing trip, whatever, but you let the people who actually fry the chicken not show up and this place will grind to a halt. and so i was very glad to see low -- tens of thousands of low-wage workers in more than 200 cities stand together to call for $15 an hour. these workers are white, they are black they are latino, they are asian. they are young, they are old. some of them are senior citizens. these workers -- some of them
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were born in the united states and some of them came here from other places. there are diverse but they're unified in the idea that in america we ought to have a fair economy that makes sure that everybody can climb the ladder of success, not just the few who want to concentrate wealth at the very top and then after they get to the top they don't want to pay any taxes, they don't want to pay for public services and you know -- and they want to divide people. . these workers, they don't care if you're straight or gay, they want to know, are you down with raising the wage? they don't care if you're latino and -- or maybe you're black. they don't care. they care about are you for an economic ladder that everyone can climb? if they work hard? we are in a world -- we are in an america today where the people at the top, many of them are highly divisive. they want to split the straight
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from the gay, the black from the white. they want to break everybody up. because they know that's the only way that they can keep the control that they have. so we're trying to be unified around our common humanity, our love of our country and the belief that this is the land of opportunity and that's just not some slogan, it's got to be real and it's got to mean something. and anybody who puts in a week, a hard week of work ought to be able to be able to do well by their family. and here's one of the most amazing things. this statistic really blew me out. by the way, please just ask me to yield when you're sick of me going on. i just thought i'd share had little statistic with you -- share this little statistic with you because it really did shock me. the conservative right wing is very proud of how they claim, oh, we're self-reliant. we don't ask anybody for anything. we don't -- we believe people should work for themselves. and shouldn't -- and they're
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real hard on folks with government assistance. but did you know that -- i'm looking for this statistic right here. i had it just a moment ago. it blew my mind when i saw it. it showed that if you add up all of the public assistance that low-wage workers have to rely on because they will not -- because their bosses will not pay them properly, uncle sam has to pay if the people don't have a livable wage, if they don't have enough for rebt and food because -- rent and food, because their job won't pay them enough, then these people go on public assistance. if you add up all that public assistance it basically is a subsidy to big business. i think that number's about $150 billion. it's about $150 billion of welfare, welfare that some of these conservative corporate types are mooching off the american people. and their chest is always poked
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out about how we work for ourselves, we don't rely on anyone. well, wait a minute. these folks work hard every day getting splattered with grease, pushing a broom, making hamburgers. customer after customer on your feet all day long. these folks work hard. but $150 billion of accumulated subsidy to the working poor. i'll never forget how wal-mart yes, i said the name, and by the way, you i want to congratulate them for raising the -- i want to congratulate them for raising the wake. you ought to say it's good when it happens. thank you wal-mart, for raising the wage. but i do have to tell on you a little bit. because last christmas, which is the spirit of giving, they put out a bucket asking their customers to put canned goods in the bucket so that their customers would give canned foods goods so that they would distribute them to their workers. i'm sure somebody thought that
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was a clever business idea. wait a minute. you want the customers to give free canned goods to your workers because will you not pay them? mcdonald's had this proposed budget that was proposing, i don't know, you know, all kinds of crazy things undignified things people were asked to do. at the end of the day, though i just want to say that these workers, who have gone out over 200 cities where workers are going out on strike, saying we need to get paid more i'm very proud of these people. this is a great american tradition. civil disobedience, striking, it's something in america, sometimes when you don't have any bargaining power, when you don't have a union, when the national labor relations act board will not protect you quickly enough because it's been weakened by the conservative wing, then you got to strike. what else are you going to do? america's elected leaders and c.e.o.'s are finally waking up
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to the reality that a low-wage economy, in which many people can't afford basic necessities are forced to rely on public aid , isn't good for work families or the economy or the taxpayer. last year the president issued executive orders that ensured that the minimum wage and workplace protections for americans working under federal contracts and over the last few months, what we have seen is that employers like wal-mart target, t.j. max, mcdonald's, have announced raises for their employees. do you believe they would have done it without these strikes? absolutely not. they wouldn't have given these poor folks a penny. they had to go on strike. they had to. they had no choice. they were pushed to the brink. and i'm going about to yield back to the gentlelady but i want to just tell folks about the model employer labor rights. in congress we can help support this movement by continuing to join workers in their strikes and by fighting for action at the federal level.
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the congressional progressive caucus is calling for a model employer executive order that gives preference for federal contractors to companies that do more than just pay the minimum by providing things like livable wages, paid leave, health benefits and respecting their employees' right to collectively bargain. that will restore the american middle class and as i take my seat i just want to point out to the gentlelady from new jersey, you know, in 1957 there was a lot of things that america needed to improve. we had racism, segregation, women could not rise to their potential, there's a lot of things america needed to do better at. but 1957, about 35% of the american work force was in a union. and guess what? one person could feed a family of four. one person could feed a family of four. now because people have been pushed into trickledown economics, reaganomics, whatever, we say we're going to squeeze the worker, we're going
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to offshore their job we're going to -- the rich won't pay any taxes, and beer who -- we're not going to provide any services and we're going to break the unions. now for 40 years we've seen wages flat and we have seen this thing happen. we have seen these bad outcomes. but today's a new day. people are wise to it. and they are unifying together to push back and make a brand new economy where we can have the public sector and the private sector work together for the betterment of the american people. thank you very much. i yield back. >> i thank you very much, to the the gentleman, for the fine point he's made. i can speak from a personal perspective. mrs. beatty: i'm one of four siblings and my father was -- mrs. watson coleman: and my father was the bread winner and my mother was the woman who was taking care of our family and he did provide a wholesome living for his family. madam speaker it is right now
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tens of thousands of american workers in fast food and child care and home care and airport services and even in professional positions in higher education, are not being paid enough to survive. and what that means, and i believe that my colleague did mention it, it becomes a drag on the economy. our economy does rely on consumers buying products they want. not just products that they need. spending is what gives companies, big and small, the revenue to expand and hire more workers. ideally it also gives -- it's also what gives companies a revenue to increase wages. but if you ask the workers who are fighting for $15 an hour, they will tell you that a wage increase has been nowhere in sight. i'd like to take this opportunity now, madam speaker, to yield to my colleague from the great state of california
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congresswoman lee. mr. lee: thank you very much -- ms. lee: thank you very much. let me thank you, congresswoman watson coleman, for yielding and hosting this important special order on the need to provide all americans a good paying job and the right to form a union. i want to thank you for your tremendous leadership each and every day, for making sure that we stay on point on all of these economic issues that mean so much to people who are working, yet still live below the poverty line. so thank you again. this afternoon the congressional progressive caucus, which i am proud to serve as the whip of, welcomed experts and low-wage workers to the hill for a forum. each of the workers told powerful stories and i hope that these are stories that members here on both sides of the house will listen to. they spoke of struggling to get by despite working full time on paychecks that are just too small. i hope we will take their struggles to heart and join the congressional progressive caucus
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in our efforts to ensure a good paying jobs for all americans too. many americans are still struggling to find a job that pays more than the bare minimum. they don't want to just get by. they want to get ahead. and they want to live the american dream. they deserve to live the american dream. they're looking for a job that pays an actual living wage. a job that will provide them with paychecks big enough to lift themselves out of poverty into the middle class. a job where they can take care of their families and make sure the bills are paid and maybe save for retirement. these are american values that everyone wants to live by and to achieve. a few decades ago these jobs were accessible to most americans. yet because of the great recession and wage stagnation, too many americans are working harder and harder for paychecks that keep them trapped in poverty.
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in the world's richest and most powerful nation, this really is a disgrace. a report released just two days ago from the university of california at berkeley in my district found that allowing companies to pay workers wages that keep them in poverty costs taxpayers $152 billion a year. that's outrageous. instead of doing the right thing and paying for a living wage, these corporations are reaping record corporate profits while leaving families to struggle and taxpayers on the hook. as a former small business owner myself i can tell you that paying poverty wage is no way to run a business. paying a living wage with benefits is good for business and it's the right thing to do. as we continue to build support for the good jobs movement, i know that more and more business owners will see the benefit of paying a living wage and will
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join our cause. everyone deserves a job that allows them to make a living and provide them with the right to form a union. it's the economical, sensible thing to do. you can ask any college or high school student that's taken economics 101. when we empower workers to fight for themselves and provide them a big paycheck, our country becomes fairer and our economy grows. people who are working should not be living below the poverty line. so thsdz 15 an hour -- $15 an hour that's minimum that we should be paying our workers. certain parts of the country $15 an hour just barely, barely helps them put food on the table. so we need to get to a living wage and we need to talk about what that means in different parts of the country. so i want to thank you again, congresswoman watson coleman, for your leadership, for bringing us together. we got to stay focused on this because everyone deserves a path out of poverty, into the middle
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class, everyone in our country deserves to live the american dream. ms. watson: i thank the gentlelady from california for -- mrs. watson coleman: i thank the gentlelady from california for sharing her insights with us and the very important points that have been made. our economy relies upon consumers buying products that they want. not just products that they need. but $15 an hour is what we're trying to fight for and even with that that will barely provide the needs of these families. they can barely cover their rent or keep food on the table, they can't buy new cars and support the american auto industry. they can't afford new clothes supporting american retailers. and they can't buy computers or smartphones, supporting silicon valley. six out of the 10 largest corporations with median wages of less than $15 also ranked among the most occupations projected to add the most jobs in the coming years. as the low-wage work force
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grows, the decline in purchasing power of americans means that there is less demand for goods and services in the economy. if we want to grow our economy, if we're focused on creating jobs, we need to support the people that do just that. and i'd like now to yield to my colleague from the great state of florida who has -- who stands up for working class families every single solitary day and has even introduced legislation to secure a living wage for the families in our country. mr. green: thank you very much. i especially appreciate you remembering that i was reared in florida. that's important to me. i now dwell in texas, of course. but not many people remember that. so thank you so much. i am honored to be on the floor with you this evening. and i think this is a very
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timely topic that we are having an opportunity to give some opinions on. and i think that it's important for us to remember that america is not a poor country. america is not a poor country. and i want to emphasize that because too often we come to conclusions about what we should do based upon our lack of resources. and and i think that's appropriate to come to conclusions on the lack of resources, but we are still the richest country in the world. we are still the richest country in the world. as a matter of fact, america in america, one in every 12 american households, one in every 12, have assets of $1
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million or more. one in 12. as a matter of fact, in the united states of america we are fortunate enough to have in 2013, the average c.e.o. to make 11.7 million. $11.7 million. that is 331 times what the average worker made, the average worker made $35,000 285 -- $35,000 285. i don't begrudge the c.e.o. i believe in capitalism. i believe in this country, you should succeed on your merits. if a c.e.o. can make 11 plus million dollars, i do think he
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ought to pay a fair amount of taxes just as someone who makes $35,000. $35,000 versus $11.7 million. now a full-time worker, a full-time worker, the average c.e.o. that year made 774 times what a full-time minimum wage worker made. 774 times. we are in the richest country in the world. one in 12 households has investable assets of million dollars or more. in 2007, an interesting thing occurred. a manmade $3 billion. i don't begrudge him. i salute him for making $3
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billion. i don't envy him for making $3 billion. i commend him for making $3 billion. i would note, however, that he did not pay ordinary income tax on that $3 billion. i think that if you are going to make $3 billion, you ought to pay your fair share of taxes on it. $3 billion. that's a lot of money, and it's very difficult to get your mind around it. so let me help you understand what $3 billion is. it would take a minimum wage worker working full-time 198,000 years, 198,000 years to make $3
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billion. i don't begrudge the person who made $3 billion. i salute him. that person made $400 a second. people are making money in this country. just because those of you at home, you don't know these people, i want you to know they are there. they are there and doing quite well and ought to be the first in line to talk about raising the minimum wage 198,000 for a minimum wage worker to make $3 billion. $400 a second. it would take that hedge fund manager about 37.7 seconds to make what a minimum wage worker makes in a year. 37.7 seconds. i don't begrudge him.
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i commend him. i salute him. but i do think he should pay a fair amount of taxes on it. paying the fair amount of taxes is the american way. others pay their taxes, fair amount. i think people who make billions of dollars ought to pay a fair amount of taxes as well. when dr. king gave his speech when they had the march in washington back in august of 1963. they had a list of 10 demands. number eight on that list of 10 demands was to have a wage that people could make a living on. at that time, it was thought that $2 an hour would be a sufficient amount of money. today, we would call that a living wage. $2 an hour 1963. well, today, that $2 an hour
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would be about $14.90. $14.90. there is a rationale for the $15 an hour human cry that we hear. a lot of things have changed. a lot of things have also remained the same. $15 an hour is not an unreasonable amount of money in the richest country in the world, in a country where where we have people who can make $400 ag second. hundreds of times what a minimum wage worker makes, 700 times what a minimum wage worker makes in a year. this is the richest country in the world. however, in the richest country in the world, we still have people who work full-time and live below the poverty line.
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i believe every person ought to work his or her way out of poverty. i would like to see subsidies ended and people have wages that will allow them to work their way out of poverty. if i had my way, we would have people without subsidies, who work hard, proceed on their merits and elevate themselves out of poverty by simply working full-time and not living below the poverty line. interesting to note, that 2015, the poverty threshold for a family of four is $28,850 for a family of four. i pray for the people who have to live off of that amount of money with a family of four. but that's what it is.
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i believe that we should not only raise the minimum wage but we should index it and should index it to poverty, because right now, a full-time worker with a child makes about $15080 a year. that is below the poverty line. working full-time, living below the poverty line. in the richest country in the world. where at least one person made $4 million a second and c.e.o.'s made $11 million a year the average c.e.o. seems to me we are talking about trying to bring a balance
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between the c.e.o. salary and the workers. at one time in this country, there was a sense of moral responsibility that c.e.o.'s had for their workers. c.e.o.'s would literally sit and talk to the board of directors and talk about the needs of workers and how workers should be paid so they could take care of families so they could educate children. there was a sense of moral response biment to workers that c.e.o.'s had. i saw an example of that just a day a c.e.o. decided he was going to cut his salary so his workers could have a getter quality of life with a higher earning that would be paid to them. we have a responsibility to each
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other in this country. we who happen to be blessed are not blessed so we can enjoy it all ourselves. we are blessed so we may be a blessing to others. that sense of moral responsibility to those who are less fortunate that we have to return. if we don't get that sense of moral responsibility so that others can receive some of the blessings and some of the goodness of the richest country in the world, we do ourselves a disservice. dr. king reminded us that life is an ines exabble network of reality, what impacts one impacts all indirectly. what happens to people who are living below the poverty line directly will indirectly impact all of us. how does it happen snl well,
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here's how it happens. when they live below the poverty line and they are being paid a salary and don't get health care, they are going to get health care in the richest country of the world, it's just going to cost a lot more. when they live below the poverty line and working full-time, they are going to get subsidies. taxpayers are going to take care of that. their value is a direct impact. you are paying for it. they're not getting it on the job. we're paying for it. we are subsidizing very wealthy people. by paying a minimum wage on the job and then providing subsidies for people from the federal government so that they can have a decent living in the united
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states of america, the richest country in the world. what impacts others indirectly impacts all directly. health care, food subsidies. this is all coming out of the pockets of taxpayers. why not have a wage that allows people to take care of themselves. in this country, we can, for some reason, to equate our network to our self-worth. that is unfortunate. we shouldn't do it. but a good many people do. good many people do. and a good many people don't feel so good when they work full-time and they are below the poverty line taking care of a family, playing by the rules. some will say, that living wage that minimum wage is just a wage
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that you start out with. it's just a wage for young people. the statistical information does not bear that out. unfortunately too many people find themselves in minimum wage jobs for more than just a few months. if you think about it, a good many of you who are listening to this, you know people who have been in minimum wage jobs for years and years and years. you know people who are doing their best to make ends meet at $47.245 an hour. -- $7.25 an hour. this is the richest country in the world. one in 12 american households have these assets that i've talked about and invest tabble assets of -- investable assets
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of $1 million or more. we should allow people who are willing to work, to work, not people who are asking for a handout, but people who want to work, they want to earn we ought to be paying them a decent wage. raise it to $140.10 an hour. it should be $15 an hour. based on what dr. king said in 1963, and raise it to $2 an hour, which by today's standards it $15 an hour. i don't believe we will get $15 an hour. i support the bill that would raise it to $10.10 an hour. but my bill, the original living wage act would raise it higher than $140.10 and index the minimum wage to poverty.
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so as the poverty rate goes up at some period of time willing to negotiate what that period is, the minimum wage would go up, too. and we wouldn't find ourselves on the floor trying to debate what the minimum wage ought to be as we are doing currently. and now i know not everybody thinks there should be a minimum wage at all. some people think market forces should control. . . have in this circumstance produced some very unpleasant circumstances for people who are working and trying to make ends meet on jobs that pay what we will call entry-level wages if we don't have a minimum wage. so i'm of the opinion that we ought to raise the wage. and i think we should index it to poverty. the bill that seems to have more support, and i confess that it does, would index it to the c.p.i.
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i'm not a hard person to get along with. i can live with indexing it to the c.p.i. but i do think that it should be indexed and i do think that we should raise it. and i say this to you, my dear friends, because dr. king, who was so far ahead of his time, so far ahead of his time, who was the preeminent fighter for those who live in the streets of life those who are trying to eke out a living on little who have learned how to take very little and do a lot with it, dr. king was a fighter and a champion for these folks. and i think that as we continue to celebrate the anniversary of his birthday, now he's being recognized on the mall, there's a statue on the mall i think that we ought to go further and recognize what he asked for in 1963, and that was a living wage
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. i think that it's time for us to honor the request of dr. king which has not to this date been honored. and let us let everybody work his or her way out of poverty. i thank you so much for this great opportunity to speak and i pray that you will continue to be strong and carry on. you have done a stellar job. what you're doing now, you don't do for yourself. what you do now you do for people will you never meet and greet, people that will never get to touch your hand. but they will be blessed by what you're doing to help them elevate themselves to a better standard of living. god bless you, my dear sister. i pray that you will continue to be strong and continue to carry on. mrs. watson coleman: congressman, it's been an honor to share this moment with you this special order hour. it's been a blessing to me and texas is very, very lucky, very fortunate to have you as its representative and florida must
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be very proud because you were born there. mr. green: thank you very much. mrs. watson coleman: thank you and god bless you. mr. green: god bless you too. mrs. watson coleman: how much time do we have left? the speaker pro tempore: about 15 minutes. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. speaker. because i want to follow up on something that my colleague had alluded to and that is the impact of low wages on the government's need to subsidize. i think that he sort of spoke to it in a generalized way, but i'd like to just share with you what i think happens with an individual and a family that has a $15,000 a year income. since it's not enough to keep food on the table, those americans have to turn to food stamps. and since it's not enough to come -- and the jobs don't come with health care we've got to rely on medicaid. because $15,000 a year doesn't pay for the rent in most cities,
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and those americans rely on low income housing or subsidized housing. through section eight vouchers or whatever. or they're homeless and living in shelters. these workers' children are enrolled in children's health insurance programs and these families are getting support through temporary aid to needy families, the tanf program. 52% of fast food workers rely on public assistance programs. 46% of child care workers rely on public assistance. 4% of home care workers -- 48% of home care workers rely on public assistance. and mr. speaker 25% of part time college faculty highly educated adjunct professors, rely on public assistance. according to a report, the federal government spent $127.8 billion on working families in
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these programs. california spent almost $3.7 billion because of low-wage workers. new york, $3.3 billion. texas, $2.1 billion. and illinois and florida, both spent a little more than $1 billion. this isn't funding for americans that are uncharacteristically down on their luck. or temporarily out of work. or in some other moment of crisis. this money is spent on full-time hardworking americans who simply are working for corporations who maximize the c.e.o.'s benefits and minimize at the expense of the workers' salaries. if my republican colleagues are so adamant about reducing government spending, shouldn't we be worried about why these folks are trying to work full time but still need food stamps to make ends meet? we've also spent a lot of time this congress debating tax breaks for the wealthy and for corporations. in fact, earlier this afternoon we argued about whether or not
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the 5,000 or so wealthiest families in this country, the only people who have enough money in their estates to qualify for the estate tax, should get a $2.5 million tax break. every year we let corporations deduct unlimited amounts of bonus pay for executives regardless of whether or not the companies' workers get pay raises or not. unlike that one special c.e.o. who sees lights differently and believes that to whom much is given, much is required corporations have wrote off $66 billion between 2007 and 2010. while letting the low-wage workers who make up the rank and file of their companies struggle. my colleague, chris van hollen, has a solution for this. requiring companies to raise wages for their workers if they want to qualify for that tax break. it's a simple solution that wouldn't mean companies certainly have to raise pay for their workers. they'll just need to stop expecting the government to
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cover the exorbitant salaries of their executives if they can't pay the rest of their employees a livable wage. mr. speaker, my colleagues and i stand with the millions of workers fighting for $15. lifting pay for low-wage workers will boost their purchasing power pumping more money into our economy and giving businesses the revenue to create more jobs. lifting pay for low-wage workers will reduce government spending. lifting pay for low-wage workers will open the doors to the american dreams for the millions who have already demonstrated that they are ready and willing to work and to work hard for it. and by standing together and fighting for the $15, these workers have already made their voices heard. in the living rooms and the board rooms and the state houses all across this country. it's time for d.c. to lend an ear as well. it is my privilege and my honor to stand with those who are simply seeking a fair wage for the work that they do.
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thank you mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015 the gentleman from illinois, mr. dold, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. dold: thank you, mr. speaker. it's indeed an honor for me to be here today with several colleagues to talk and highlight a very serious environmental risk to our communities. the last 58 years, this nation has embraced nuclear power as an inexpensive, clean, nearly inexhaustible power source for our growing set to. -- society. yet in all that time we have not yet addressed a key problem caused by nuclear power and that's how to safely dispose of spent nuclear fuel. so we've gathered a good crew of folks here, mr. speaker, and it's an honor for me to turn some time over to my good friend from washington mr. newhouse. mr. newhouse: i appreciate the gentleman from illinois' indulgence in allowing me to speak on this important subject this evening.
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mr. speaker, located in my central washington district is the handford site, which has played a pivotal role in our nation's security and defense or decades. as part of the manhattan project, the hanford site produced plutonium for the bomb that eventually brought an end to world war ii and continued work on the site was critical during the cold war. however this work also resulted in massive amounts of nuclear defense waste. today hanford is the world's largest and most complex nuclear cleanup site. with over 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste in 177 temporary underground storage tanks. the federal government has a legal and a moral obligation to clean up this waste. the importance of yucca mountain cannot be overstated. hanford is scheduled to send
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more nuclear waste to yucca mountain than anywhere else in the nation. the high level defense waste at hanford will be treated at the waste treatment plant which is currently being constructed to turn this waste into glass that can then be sent to yucca. the waste treatment plant is over 70% complete and the glass produced will meet the geological specifications of yucca mountain. yet the obama administration has moved the goal post by illegally shutting down yucca. which will take us back to square one and harm the already challenging hanford cleanup. the federal government has spent decades and billions of taxpayer dollars studying the roo the right place for the repository. the conclusion was yucca mountain. the subject of one of the most thorough and extensive reviews of a major government project ever conducted.
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it is the lawful repository for nuclear waste and congress has reaffirmed this fact many times over. there is no scientific reason why yucca cannot and should not move forward. earlier this month i visited yucca mountain and was impressed by the substantial work that has already been completed. the development of the site has taken decades and has come at great taxpayer expense. costing americans over $15 billion. because d.o.e. has failed to begin accepting this nuclear field as required by contracts signed with electric utilities that own the reactors, like the and settlement estimates now range from $13 billion to $50 billion. a blow to taxpayers and rate payers, all due to the failure of the president to move forward with the legal repository. simply put we do not have the
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time or the resources to just start over. doing so would change yucca from being the nation's most secure national repository into a monument of government waste and all in violation of the law. after getting that firsthand look at yucca, i can see why it was selected as the best place for our nation's defenseaste and commercial spent nuclear fuel. i am disappointed the administration has continued efforts to push ahead with its plan to circumvent yucca as well as the repeated affirmations by congress that yucca is a lawful repestory. i look forward to work -- repository. i look forward to working with my colleagues here in congress especially the members of the nevada delegation, to ensure that the law is upheld in yucca mountainmoves forward. i'd like to thank the gentleman from illinois and i yield back my time. mr. dold: i tnk the gentleman from washington. and i just wanted to kind of
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highlight again, if i may, you mentioned the statistic just a moment ago that was talking about the fact that because the government hasn't moved forward with yucca mountain, the fact that we were actually paying to store this material all over the country, to our -- to companies, it was anywhere between $15 billion and $50 billion. astounding. i thank the gentleman from washington for your leadership. mr. speaker it's my honor to be able to recognize the dean of the illinois delegation, someone whose leadership when it comes to yucca mountain, has been extensive. certainly somebody that understands what we need to be doing in terms of making sure this material gets off the shores of the great lakes and from our neighborhoods all around the country and put into a safe location. about 150 miles from any inhabitant in yucca mountain. it's my honor to recognize mr.
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shimkus. mr. shimkus: i thank my colleague for the time and for having this national debate. state of illinois has -- is a large state with a lot of nuclear power. we're very fortunate to have that. not only to have the power generated but to have the jobs. high paying jobs. to be located around our state. and paying a lot of taxes to our local communities, our local schools, and the like. it would even be better if the federal government would keep its promise. part of the movement to promote nuclear power was a promise by the national government in fact they -- government, in fact, they enforced a fee on those states that have nuclear power, to go into a fund, the nuclear waste fund, to fund a long-term geological storage.
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you might say, why a long-term geological storage? why a centralized location? because the world community, the best scientists have determined that one repository, one location is better than 104, not counting defense sites. one geological repository in other words, some place in the ground is better than above ground or in the case that you're particularly concerned about, next to lake michigan. and that's not the only location that is in what you would think would be some sensitive areas whether it's large lakes large rivers, flood planes and the like. . let's get it located in one place and put it in a geological
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location. they passed a nuclear waste policy act and had 10 locations and the top pick was yucca mountain. the top pick of the three was yucca mountain. the 1987 to the act said, that's where we're going to send it. now, after that, 30 years, $15 billion, the greatest scientific minds in the world this is the most studied piece of ground on the planet. as concluded as reported by the nuclear regulatory commission said that once yuckaver mountain is closed, it will be safe for a million years. that's a long time. that is what has turned this debate again. people are -- there has been a question of the science.
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will the science prove it. we have to do the studies and the research. fortunately, we were able to get the nuclear regulatory commission to render the report which said once closed, this site will be safe for a million years. now, as you mentioned yucca mountain is 100 miles from las vegas. it's in the desert. it's a mountain in the desert. 1,000 feet below the crest of the desert, and the other story is not told very well, it is surrounded by the nuclear test site, the place where our government used to test nuclear weapons. and there's an air force base there. so the ajoining land around yucca mountain is federal land. people say you have to have local folks to decide. well the federal government is the local folks in this case.
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so i appreciate you highlighting not just yucca mountain, but the need for communities around this nation to start having this debate again because the federal government's already invested -- we have a site and it's time to move forward and time to get the spent nuclear fuel in your case or the defense waste, like congressman, time to get that in a single repository. >> many people might be watching this and not know who owns the nuclear fuel. mr. dold: many people don't realize that private entities can't own this. this is actually opened by the government. they can use it for power, but the nuclear fuel rods are owned by the government. this is the government's problem here.
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mr. shimkus: it's the government's waste and the longer -- and you highlight the this earlier -- when we don't have a long-term repository to take the spent nuclear fuel, we have to pay the nuclear utilities to hold that spent fuel because we have an obligation by law to receive that. so even from a fiscal conservative position, we should be moving forward. we should get a return on the investment in 30 years, $15 billion, since the n.r.c. has said this location is safe, but should relieve ourselves from having to pay the additional costs to utilities for holding the wastes that we should be holding. and i appreciate your leading this special order and of course, again, talking about the local issues that are very
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important in your district, but they are important to districts all around this country and someone has to lead the charge and make that statement about where the federal government starts doing what it is legally obligated to do and i thank you for giving me this time. mr. dold: i appreciate your leadership and great to have you speak on an important topic. it is an economic issue and one we have to step up and solve and i'm pleased to yield to my good friend from texas who understands these issues, mr. williams. mr. williams: i wish to discuss an important matter we heard tonight and talk about it more that it impacts my home state of texas and the nation. nuclear power is a clean, efficient and many people rely
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on it. in texas, there is a nuclear power plant that can supply 1.1 million homes and 460,000 homes in periods of peak demand. nuclear waste must be isolated to safely degrade. yucca mountain, we talked about it tonight, is the official federal nuclear waste repository. the department of energy has concluded that the repository would have little to no adverse impact on future populations or the environment. yet, president obama and harry reid have delid the yucca program without proposing any kind of alternative energy strategy. like many other nuclear power plants. they have been paying dues for
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storing waste which is passed on to its customers. that's what happens. nuclear waste in our communities poses an environmental risk, a terrorism risk and prevents communities from developing the property. the facility at yucca mountain will dispose of waste in a friendly and secure way for centuries to come. if we fail to act, we will continue to spend billions of dollars in securing nuclear waste that could lead to terrorism. we cannot punt this problem. we have a habit of doing that. we need to find a solution and need to find that solution today and i believe we need the federal government to quit breaking promises to the american people. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back to you for further discussion. i thank my good friend from
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texas and i appreciate your lip. highlighting the fact this is an economic issue, this land can't be redeveloped. mr. dold: the property taxes for these communities can't be developed to its fullest extent. as jobs and the economy continues to be that constant drumbeat around the country, you know better than many and this is one of the things that i think the government has fallen short on. mr. williams: it's about jobs and it's about growth and we need yucca mountain to come online to develop these properties and also protect the safety of america and americans. mr. dold: as we continue to talk about this, again this highlights, mr. speaker, how many communities how many sites we have around our country that are impacted by spent nuclear
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fuel or whether it could be defense or whether it be for civilian purposes. it's my pleasure to recognize my good friend from south carolina, mr.|wilson. mr. wilson: thank you for your leadership. i represent the savannah river site of south carolina. i have the privilege of working with congressman jim clyburn this site is located in south carolina. and worked on this to the savannah river site which should be noted is where the defense waste is currently being placed. it's a consequence of the cold war. but it is a consequence of victory in the cold war. the persons who worked at the savannah river site are grateful to provide for the protection of
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the american people and been successful. it is particularly meaningful to me i'm a congresswoman who worked at the river site and i know it's really very professional and also very environmentally sound and we are talking about why are we here. it's due to the environment and jobs. and the environment we know is in danger, if we have different sites around the country that could be addressed and the department of energy, i have another distinction. i was very grateful to be the deputy general counsel in the defense bill came up through that time and it was determined that there should be a geelic formation to place the waste of our country whether it be defense waste or whether it be commercial. and it was dirmed and i know you
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will be going through this to explain that yucca mountain is ideal. and none of us would ever want to put any community, any state at risk, but we know well that yucca would not be of risk to the people of the west, but it would be very sound and it would be very environmentally secure and it would also indeed help create jobs. our state has been so fortunate to have the savannah river site, but we have another distinction. we are one of the most nuclear-intensive states in the country. nearly 60% of all the power produced in the state of south carolina for 30 years has been nuclear. we know what the consequence of this is. we have reliable energy. we have green clean energy, and we have a level of inexpensive energy, which has a consequence
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of promoting jobs and the jobs that have been created are quite self-evident in our state. we have a circumstance with the -- with providing of low-cost energy -- south carolina now particularly with the bmw facility at greer, south carolina is the leading ex importanter of cast in the cars. creating that in our region and providing for extraordinary export. south carolina is the leading manufacturer of tires and through the -- right next to the savannah river site is the bridgestone facility and this is a japanese facility. and right down i-20 not far from the district i represent is the michigan lynn facility and two plants that are adjacent and
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i was there with the ambassador from france. the facility is the largest facility in the world, nearly two million square feet with nearly 2,000 employees. this is because of the success that we have with nuclear power. and further down i-20 we are grateful, continental tire has announced -- they have just completed a half billion dollar facility in south carolina and we also welcome from singapore, the getty tire company has announced a facility to be located in the upper part of south carolina. over and over again, we have safe secure, clean energy. and in fact i want to commend the obama administration. they actually have provided for the licensing of three new nuclear reactors in our country
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two are located at the facility in jenkinsville, south carolina and then directly across the savannah river from the district i represent is the plant in wainsville, georgia. we are supportive of these. and all of these will be helpful to achieve the environmentally, very important determination of a geelic formation. and there is an economic side. just as the people of illinois, the people of south carolina and the people of south carolina, have through their rates paid over a billion dollars into the fund to build yucca. our people are invested and done it in good faith and we need to follow the law. the law is that indeed this be the geelic -- geologic formation
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and creating the opportunity for jobs. i want to commend our governor and i want to commend our attorney general, they have actually filed a suit and it was inspired largely by linds a graham and tim scott to enforce the law. the law needs to be enforced and beneficial to the people of our state and beneficial to our region toll south carolina and georgia and beneficial to the american people. and i want to thank you for your leadership on this issue. and i just know if the american people understand how positive it is, the energy that is being produced because of this and the potential for jobs, not just in our region, but across the united states. i yield my time. . mr. dold: i thank the gentleman
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for his time and insight. certainly you know, living close to the water there on the savannah river, very close to what my particular issue is with spent nuclear fuel being just a few hundred feet away from the greatest fresh surface water we have in the world, 95% of the world's fresh surface water is in the great lakes and certainly storing that nuclear fuel so close i think is not only an environmental risk, it's a terrorist risk but it's jeopardizing where 30 million americans get their drinking water and it's just a jewel of a natural resource and one we need to protect. i certainly appreciate your leadership. mr. wilson: thank you for your leadership. mr. dolede dold: thank you, sir. we have heard from different people around our country for the need for us to move forward with yucca mountain and again highlighting some points that yucca mountain it's 100 miles away from the colorado river, further away from any
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inhabitants, sit 1g,000 feet above the water table 1000 feet below ground. mr. speaker, i came today and wanted to share with you a story about my district and more specifically a portion of my district. zion illinois. it has 25,000 residents and sits on the shores of lake michigan yet due to the obstruction of the administration, tons of spent nuclear fuel remain stored at zion. it's stored on the shores of the great lakes literally just a few hundred felt away from the shore. for 30 million american -- where 30 million americans receive their fresh drinking water. we need to make sure we do everything we can to protect what i believe is the jewel of our ecosystem and the great lakes. so long as the fuel remains there, the city of zion can't use the site to bring new businesses or new jobs on that site and continues to suffer from lost revenue from lost
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property taxes. the iran -- the uranium remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years. it stays radioactive after it's been removed from the reactor. and it must be isolated from the environment in order to allow toyota safely degrade. unfortunately, the federal government has not done its part to take charge. as we talked about earlier mr. speaker, the federal government is the one that actually owns the fuel. and so it is sitting now in our communities as opposed to going to a site where we spent nearly $15 billion researching and putting money into at yucca mountain. for the past three decades, the policy of the federal government has been to push forward with a long-term, deep joe yo -- geologic repository at yucca mountain. 13 years ago, the department of energy determined yucca mountain was the best and safest location to store america's nuclear waste. indeed it is the law of the
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land, as we have heard tonight. and we spent billions of dollars to study the site and get it ready to be able to store our spent nuclear fuel. mr. speaker despite the billions of dollars spent, nothing has been done on yucca mountain since this administration has taken office. the administration cut off funding for yucca mountain and ensured that nothing would be done to get this site ready. this, despite the three decades spent studying the site and over $15 billion spent. if we do not proceed, that money will be completely wasted. further, the administration has failed to bring forward any kind of alternative meaning that spent nuclear waste continues to sit in our communities where i would argue it should not be. america's nuclear power plants have produced over 71,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel over the past six decades. while it's created jobs and clean energy, we do have an
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obligation to make sure that it is stored and stored safely. we need to make sure that it is stored in a long-term facility. but instead spent nuclear fuel remains at plants at at least 75 nationwide sites including zion. mr. speaker, there is a solution to this problem which affects not only zion but the entire country. we can fund the yucca mountain project and ensure we'll solve the problem once and for all. if we don't, the only alternative right now is to leave the waste where it is, stored in places like zion. leaving both zion and the drinking water for 30 million americans vulnerable to an environmental disaster or terrorist event. leaving the residents of zion with a large plot of land in the heart of their community that we can't use. the only responsible course of action is to tack until problem today. we've seen the statistics out there and frankly as we look at
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what the facts are, the department of energy has determined that the deep geological disposal is the safest method to store spent nuclear fuel. if we just look at the difference here, zion, illinois, on the shores of lake michigan, there are 65 casks containing 1 135 metric tons of nuclear waste. waste stored above the ground. about five feet above the water table. just a few hundred feet away from the shores of lake michigan. and yet yucca mountain on the other hand, a place where we spent $15 billion where our experts have said is the safest place for us, is where we actually tested a nuclear weapon . near an air force base so when people talk about the neighbors, as congressman shimkus talked about earlier, the neighbors are the federal government. the federal government owns the spent nuclear fuel, the federal government owns the land around
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it. the federal government owns the site at yucca mountain. yucca mountain again 100 miles away from the colorado river. the storage that we're talking about would be a thousand feet above the water table because it's important that we protect our water. a thousand feet below ground. this is the ideal spot. and yet we've come not on science. this hasn't been objected to by the scientific research. this has been objected to for political reasons. and frankly, i have to tell you mr. speaker, the politics has to end. because what it's doing is jeopardizing communities across our nation. we should be transporting this spent nuclear fuel to the safest location possible, make sure that we are not putting our citizens at risk. that we're not damaging or potentially damaging the environment. the department of energy has
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concluded that the repository would have little or no adverse impact on future populations or the environment. these are key. so we are going to take a look at what the department of energy has to say and the studies that have been done and this is literally yucca mountain is probably the most studied piece of real estate we have in our nation today. all the studies that have come back, they say this is the spot we should be storing this spent nuclear fuel. and instead, it is saying all across the country at the cost to the taxpayers. the federal government owns the nuclear fuel and when it refused, according to the law to take that nuclear fuel back and deal with it we had our companies out there that basically said, what are we supposed to do with it? so they sued on breach of contract. literally costing the taxpayers
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billions of dollars. we heard my colleague from washington talk that it could be as much as $50 billion, that the federal government the hard working taxpayers are going to pay to keep the fuel, the spent nuclear fuel where we don't want it to stay. the government has an obligation, mr. speaker to step up and do the right thing. i for one am delighted to be able to be here today to tell you about the story of zion illinois, but we recognize that this is a situation that's impacting over 104 different sites. we cannot afford to wait any longer. there are some on the other side of the building mr. speaker, that are specifically holding this process up. we need to move forward. we need to make sure yucca mountain is approved to open and again being able to store this
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for up to a million years. it's the right thing to do. and i urge my colleagues republicans and democrats, we've got those in the illinois delegation to my south rely on lake michigan. this is something that we should all be united behind. so i am -- i'm honored to be able to come up and talk about this but i'm also saddened that it's taken so long and that if we do nothing it will be potentially decades longer. this is unacceptable. the citizens of our country demand that the united states government abide by the law and by its obligations to store the spent fuel at yucca mountain. with that mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6 2015, the
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chair recognizes the gentlewoman from the district of columbia, ms. norton, for 30 minutes. ms. norton: thank you, mr. speaker. in advance of d.c. emancipation day, i know that's not a national holiday but it is -- yes a holiday in the district of columbia when the slaves in the district of columbia were liberated by the congress and abraham lincoln nine months before the national emancipation proclamation. astonishingly 150 years later full freedom and equal citizenship has not yet come to the residents of the district of columbia. you don't have to be three generations away -- three generation the way the holmes family is in the district of columbia to have lived three
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generations here paying taxes without representation. indeed my great grandfather, richard holmes was a runaway slave from virginia when lincoln and congress freed the slaves 150 years ago, richard holmes was now freed because he was a runaway -- was not freed because he was a runaway slave rather than a slave whose master lived in the district of columbia. he had to wait nine months. he was working on the streets of washington as they were building washington. he, too, became free but his great granddaughter grateful for all that my family has done, cannot say that we are free. the greater shock will not come from those of us who are longtime residents. it will come from those who
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moved to d.c. yesterday. those who are not three generations here but one day here. when they find that all their rights are gone. the rights they had in every state of the union, vanished. except for a very few. they can vote for president. but they can't vote for whoever represents them on this house floor. they have congress interfering with this local business. this will astonish the average american and most americans have no idea this is the case for the 650 residents who live in their nation's capital. because people have taken for granted the vote that is emblematic of statehood would follow them from, i don't know, utah and california, from alaska and maine to the district of columbia when they moved here. they have no idea that their local budgets for example,
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budget raised exclusively in the district of columbia, would have the big foot of the federal government kicking it around. indeed that it would even be in the congress. emancipation day in the district of columbia is not a mere commemoration. it's not like george washington's birthday tsms alive. with the fervor against this rank and -- against this rank injustice that i have begun to speak about this evening. i'm going to speak about the injustice but i'm also going to talk about progress. because we have en-- we have been encouraged, we live in the district of columbia. many allies we have to fight and to begin to make some substantial headway. most americans, indeed all other americans, obtain their full
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rights by going through a citizenship ceremony or by simply being born here. all you have to do to have your full citizenship rights when all is said and done is to pay taxes. you don't even have to have participated in all the nation's wars or any of the nation's wars. . you don't have to have paid all the taxes the district of columbia residents have. and the reason you don't is that the state heap hood comes with where you live and that hasn't happened to us, and we are proud to live in the nation's capital and you would expect rights to flourish first and foremost.
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when i spoke of not having the vote, i have the vote in committee and i'm very grateful for that vote because it allows me to carry home some important matters to the district of columbia. but what i don't have is the right to come to this floor and have the same vote that each of my colleagues has on business that affects the district of columbia and the nation. even matters that affect the district of columbia that would give us our own budget comes here and everybody else who had nothing to do with raising the funds, every other member gets to vote on that budget but not the member elected by the people elected by the people of the district of columbia. how painful it is that i have been able to speak on a number of wars that our country has
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entered upon and most recently afghanistan and iraq and gone to arlington to bury those killed -- our residents killed in those wars. who went to war to secure the vote for residents of afghanistan and iraq, but came home to find no vote or in the case of those who died who did not come home at all. i'm in a republican house where federalism is a bad word. and why, nothing was more important to the founders than their own laws and the federal government was kept out of their affairs. what mattered to them was what was most local. the very notion of interfering
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with the local business of a jurisdiction of any kind was unthinkable to our framers. it is the very meaning of statehood, this localism, this thing that says there is territory laws habits, they will vary differently, and that is the prirog georgiative and that is why the residents seek to be the 51 state. it will happen. perhaps later than sooner and it must happen because of the principles i have described. and we have been called out and continue to be called out because we have signed treaties where we are now in violation, we are in violation of a treaty we signed in 1977, the international could haven ant on
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civil and political rights. the human rights committee, the u.n. human rights committee has called us out once again as it did in 2006, and they recited the reason for it. the human rights committee looking at what has been done or not being done and i'm quoting them, that the authority that the human rights -- the united nations delegation to the u.n. remains concerned that the residents of the district of columbia do not enjoy full representation in congress, a restriction that does not seem to be compatible with article 25 of the covenant. and then they cited article 2 and i won't quote from that, but
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it says that the treaty we signed requires that we adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary. to give effect to the rights recognized in the present covenant. well what are those rights? in this covenant, in this treaty we have signed, all persons are equal under the law. and are entitled without discrimination through the equal protection of the law. in this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee all persons, equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground and then they name the ground. and here are the grounds. such as, race color, sex religion, political, or other
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opinion national or social origin, property, birth. and here's the one that applies to the district of columbia and its residents or other status us. what is our other status that we reside in our own nation capital and for that reason and for that reason alone, are denied equal rights with other citizens of the citizens of the united states of america. and having a right and having that taken from you. that was taken from us. shortly after i was elected, i wrote a memo indicating that since as a delegate, i could vote in the committee of the whole. it followed that i should be able to vote in the committee of the whole when the committee was on the floor. the democrats said we must send
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this to outside counsel. they sent it and said that the district of columbia votes by rule in committee, so by rule yes, if you pass one, they can vote on the floor of the house of representatives. and so that rule was passed. every time that the democrats are in power, i get to vote on the house floor by no means on all business, but certainly on business on business in the committee of the whole and it is important to the district of columbia. it's not the whole thing. it's not what we are entitled to but why would someone want to take it from us. but sure enough when my good friends on the other side of the aisle, they write their rules and take from us a vote which we exercised on the house floor, with the concurrence of the federal courts of the united
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states, because right after we were granted that right and right after i began to exercise it my republican colleagues actually sued the congress for giving me the vote in the committee of the whole, the district court said your discretion that's a legal matter. what you have done is legal, the matter -- strike that, i'm sorry, the congress or the republicans, not the congress, took their suit against the congress, the democratic congress to the court of appeals. the court of appeals, the federal court of appeals said yes, what you have done is legal, and it's within your discretion and again i proceed to vote. i think it's probably unheard of, except in dictatorship, that
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somebody would snatch a vote or a right that someone once held, but that's what happened. so residents of the district of columbia. no wonder there is rage in the city about such treatment. you say there surely must be some reason why residents of the district of columbia don't have the vote. well, no one has found any such reason. yet, they have only found reasons why we should have the vote. some will say, you are much too small to have the vote. after all, you are only a city. city is whatever you call it. it's a state. but the size determines that you
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have the vote, then vermont and wyoming should not have the vote. because we have more population than either of those two states. and vermont and wyoming are not alone. those are the ones that have note wli more residents. we have more than 650,000 residents. but there are more than half a dozen states, which are in the same range of population is the district of columbia and have a representative no more than one, just like the district of columbia has one in this house and two senators. the district of columbia has no senators. who would say that that is fair? and yet, if you look down,
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states of comparable population s, the first that is like us or like the district of columbia, pardon me, are north dakota alaska vermont and wyoming, and then there is another tier that are above us, delaware and south dakota. well, i want them to keep their vote. and i want them to keep their two senators. all we're asking is that district of columbia residents be treated equally. i have been speaking all week in preparation for emancipation day tomorrow. the 16th of april began with
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two important what i call debt paid, paid in full obligations of citizenship. the first is participation in the armed service. although you know, nobody is required to participate in the armed services today. and the second is payment of taxes. and pretty much today, april 15 if you earned enough money, even a small amount, you are going to have to pay some taxes. it's hard to say which of those is most important. they all, of course, surround citizenship. both support our government. those that go to the service, those who pay their taxes. i wouldn't dare say what is most important, but i start with military service with a reason. that anyone who enters the service especially today does
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so knowing he is taking personal risk of his life. it is so important to our country that undocumented immigrants have been granted citizenship by serving in the armed forces and that has now been formalized. young people who grew up in the united states and came as undocumented children without any legal status, have always joined the armed services, in recognition of that, our country has now said that at least for those who vr special language or medical skills, if they join the armed services after six months they can apply for citizenship. just consider the premium that we are placing on service in the armed forces at a premium that
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is more than deserved, and yet there is no cognizance taken of that the residents in the district of columbia from the time, the inception of its formation in 1801, have fought and died in the armed services and even before that, they fought in the revolutionary war that led to the formation the formal formation of the united states and the district of columbia. so by any measure this district of columbia residents have gone beyond the call of duty in serving their country and earned the right, earned earned, painfully with their lives the full right to be treated as full and equal citizens of a state.
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this chart painfully shows how the right to be the 51st state was earned. world war i more casualties from this small territory than three states. world war ii, more casualties from the district of columbia than from four states. and it only rises. in the korean war, more casualties than from eight states of the union. almost all of which are large for the size and have more
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population. vietnam war, where we have the very most, more casualties more men and women killed, than from 10 states in the union. there is a very special part of our service in the armed forces. the district of columbia was not a majority african-american city until almost 1960 and today it really is not a majority african-american city again. i grew up in a city that was largely white but during this period most of its history, the district of columbia was a segregated city. segregated by the congress of the united states. i went to segregated schools, for example. and yet look at how residents of
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the district of columbia had no vote, at that time had no home rule government. the city was run by three commissioners new york mayor new york city council nobody to go to who was response to believe you. and yet look what its residents did. the first african-american general was born and raised in the district of columbia. the first african-american -- that's army general. the first african-american air force general born also in the district of columbia. the first african-american naval academy graduate born right here in the district of columbia. and the first african-american air force academy graduate born in this city and the roster continues into recent years where we had the first deputy commandant of the u.s. coast guard and the first african-american female aviator in the d.c. national guard.
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don't tell me district residents haven't paid their dues and then some. and yet i've even had some difficulty getting our armed services personnel duly recognized. perhaps the most poignant was a mother who wrote me and i thank this congress for helping me to correct this injustice, it may seem small to you but it sure didn't seem small to my constituent. she -- these were the parents of jonathan matthew rucker. d.c. native high school graduate who then proudly joined the navy instead of going to college. graduated from the naval station great lakes. his parents went to see him graduate. tommy rucker, his mother, an investigator with the d.c. fire
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and e.m.s. department and his father, michael lemwood boyd, a severaget in special operations of the d.c. police department. all enjoy to attend their son's graduation from naval boot camp. they called out the names and as the name of each young person was called they raised the flag. the name of jonathan matthew rucker was called and no flag was raised. what in the world, what could they have been thinking? that we weren't a state so a flag didn't have to be raised? well this congress, controlled by my good republican friends, was also amazed. i very much appreciate that they attached my bill to the defense
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authorization bill that the armed forces had to display the d.c. flag. and well they might because we learned only then that there were d.c. veterans who had come home from war and in their regiment, everybody's flag us was raised except the d.c. flag. i think it's because d.c. was not a state you know, at some point you have to draw the line. just make us a state and maybe this won't happen, those kinds of things won't happen and no one would have to think about it. or take our world war i memorial. every state has a world war i memorial. it was paid for by people in is that state. so was ours. 100%. indeed they collected money from schoolchildren. there was actually a -- an attempt, a fight, to take our d.c. war we moirl because it happens to be located tone mall and convert it -- located on the
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mall and convert it into a national world war i memorial because there's no world war i memorial on the mall. sorry about that but we paid, not only in treasure but in the lives of almost 500 d.c. residents. i thank my republican colleagues for working with me to maintain the d.c. war memorial, the world war i memorial has now become really a war memorial for all d.c. veterans. but what i did was to work closely with my colleagues so we would get a real world war i memorial that could be respected. that means there's going to be a wholesale redevelopment of the pershing memorial which many considered a world war i memorial, it's not located on the malibu it's located there on pennsylvania avenue near the
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white house and we were able to come to a compromise, the kind of compromise that makes the world go round and make this is house look good. today of course was tax day and my republican colleagues came forward with any number of bill, some were worthy bills, bipartisan bill, some were nonsense, some were straight out demagoguery. but my colleagues are very concerned with tax cuts, tax cut bill coming to the floor. many of them would be surprised about the district of columbia and taxes. this is one of the great unknown facts of the united states. that residents of the district of columbia, per capita, perez dent, pay the highest taxes in the united states, federal taxes more than any americans. if you're in mississippi you pay the lowest per capita.
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just about $4,000 compared to our $12,000. if you go to my website you'd find out where your state stands . i'll just go down the top 10. district of columbia, connecticut new jersey, massachusetts this is in rank order, by the way. massachusetts maryland new york, nevada wyoming, new hampshire, and california. the largest states. let's take california. new york. they each pay in the $8,000 range. we're $12,000 per capita. this is all perez dent. you say well look at the small states, they must be like you. no, they are not. small states like rhode island, we are at $12,000, they are at $7,000. vermont, we're at $12,000 perez dent. they're at $6,000. north carolina sat $6,000.
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sorry, not north carolina. north dakota. montana at $5,000. those are the states with small populations. so that can't be the cause. the cause is that the district has middle income people, rich people and yeah, because it's a big city, small people. when you add it all up, uncle sam gets more than his due without our getting our dufmente only statehood can end this buckethood of injustice. only statehood can end no vote for the member from the district on this floor, no matter what the bill. even if the bill is about the district of columbia. only statehood can end the outrage of bringing district's local budget for people to vote on who have nothing to do with it and have contributed not one
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penny to it. only statehood can keep this congress from interfering with the local laws of our local jurisdictions. using their own preferences to overturn the will of the democrat -- the democratic will of the legislature of the district of columbia. well, it's not all terrible. we have made progress. s that country that makes progress slowly. so we're not about to give up. the elements of statehood, we are trying to get even as we try get what we're entitled to. so budget autonomy, so our budget won't have to come here was not only in the president's budget but my bill for budget autonomy was recognized by the
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senate last term. they put it in their budget. but that i'm afraid, did not pass because we cannot get, yet the kind of consensus we need from the house and the senate. but the residents of the district of columbia want to have sole dominion over their own money. that's $7 billion that we raise ourselves in the district of columbia that they put the matter to a vote and said we're going to do it anyway. they were sued. because of that referendum, which passed by almost 85% of the vote, so now that's in court to see where it goes. they're not going to give up. if they can't get statehood they're trying to get any part of it that they can. other elements of statehood have also been introduced in the house and the senate so that our
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local laws don't have to come here, for example. mr. chairman, i appreciate the time i've had on the floor on emancipation day. i simply want to leave you with, we're looking forward, not backward. we are overjoyed by having made some progress, we know that ultimately the denial of rights will be seen as un-american, especially when that denial concerns the residents of our own nation's capital. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. does the gentlewoman have a motion. ms. norton: i move that the house adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. according to -- accordingly the house stands adjourned
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stern on isis and what we need to understand about them. >> there are twos a -- there are two aspects of isis that are very, very important for the president to understand. once is their efforts and successes on social media and the need for us to respond to that to counter the narrative that they are spreading so effectively and so far. and the other is their apop -- apocalyptic narrative. of course it's impossible for me to know for sure whether they really believe that the end times are coming or whether they're captlidsing on widespread belief in muslim majority countries that they will witness the end of time. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a."
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and once again, the house returns tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. eastern to continue and finish work on two tax bills. they began floor debate on those two bills earlier this afternoon and we'll show you that rule debate right now. ro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for one hour. >> mr. speaker, during consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only. and i now yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from colorado, mr. polis, pending which i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. stivers: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. stivers: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, on tuesday, the rules committee met and reported a rule for three important bills. h.r. 622, the state and local tax deduction fairness act of 2015.
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h.r. 1105, the death tax repeal act of 2015. and h.r. 1195 the bureau of consumer financial protection advisory board act. house resolution 200 provides for a closed rule for consideration of h.r. 622 and h.r. 1105, and a structured rule for the consideration of h.r. 1195. the resolution provides one hour of debate equally divided between the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on ways and means for h.r. 622 and h.r. 1105, and one hour of debate equally divided between the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on financial services for h.r. 1195. the resolution also provides for consideration of the two amendments offered by the gentlewoman from new hampshire ms. kuster, on h.r. 1195 and provides a motion to recommit for each bill.
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mr. chairman -- mr. speaker, i rise today to support the resolution and the underlying legislation. each of these bills is important to providing fairness and certainty for our nation's tax code. ensuring our nation's small business and family farms are able to pass on to the next generation and ensuring our nation's community banks, credit unions, and small businesses are able to work with federal regulators and have their voices heard. today is april 15. it's tax day. millions of americans are filing their taxes today. they go through this annual process and many americans are frustrated today. because sometimes the tax code is frustrating. unfortunately, the tax code's also frustrated by the fact that millions of americans have to wait until the last minute to
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find out what the tax code will be because so many provisions in our tax code are temporary. last year, the tax -- so-called tax extender package, a batch of tax provisions, was retroactively applied for the entire year of 2014, but it didn't get signed into law until december 19. that's less than two calendar weeks from the end of the year. well, mr. speaker we are determined to provide a little more certainty and a little more fairness in our tax code for the future. and that's what these bills are about today. we are moving forward with important legislation that permanently extends a couple of sections in the tax code. h.r. 622 is a he very straightforward proposal. -- is a very straightforward proposal. in our tax code today, american
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taxpayers have the option to deduct their state taxes. they can deduct their income taxes, of course, that provision is permanent. it's in the law permanently. if they want to deduct their sales taxes that is an annual provision that's been -- part of the tax extender package last year which wasn't even renewed until december 19. this is an issue of fairness. some states like ohio, where i happen to reside, have an income tax. other states have a sales tax in its place. for the states that have sales taxes having this uncertainty is patently unfair and it pits one state against another. it advantages states that have an income tax and disadvantages states that have a sales tax. states like texas and florida where millions of americans live, do not have an income tax in arizona. they have a sales tax. so we should treat these two tax systems the same. we should be fair and say, if
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the income tax deduction is permanent the sales tax deduction is permanent as well. certainly i know the gentleman from colorado brought up some good points yesterday in the rules committee meeting, and while you could move to make the income tax deduction temporary that would also provide certainty, i think until we can do tax reform we should make these provisions permanent because of congress' inability to, in a timely way, provide certainty to the american public. and in tax reform we can have the discussion about deductibility as an overall concept. i think that's a fair debate to have, but if we are not going to renew it until december 19 12 months into the year that does not create a fair and certain system for our taxpayers.
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we want to ensure taxpayers across the country are treated equally and fairly by our tax code. this underlying legislation would permanently extend the sales tax deduction just like the income tax deduction is permanently in law. h.r. 1105 is a proposal to repeal the death tax. the death tax conflicts with the american dream and it is inherently unfair. the death tax hurts family businesses, family farmers and ranchers. in fact, according to the joint economic committee, the death tax hurts economic growth and activity by discouraging savings and small business growth. it represents a tiny fraction of federal revenue, but its impact on families is enormous. the death tax violates the basic premise of the american dream that if american individuals work hard and provide for their families, that they'll get to
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keep some of that money. many americans spend their entire life working hard to build a nest egg for their families, and yet through the federal tax code the federal government can take up to 40% of certain estates just because somebody was unfortunate enough to die. in my district, which covers parts of rural ohio this is often a problem for small family businesses and family farms. as the price of land continues to go up and the price of farm equipment it's a capital intensive business. and unfortunately when you have the power to tax something, you have the power to destroy it. and when these assets trigger the tax in the death tax, what many times happens is part of the family farm or part of the family business has to be sold and liquidated, taken away from the family, just to pay the tax collector.
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the death tax is one of the reasons that some family businesses have been lost from generation to -- one generation to the next. i don't think it's fair at all for a family business to have to pay that type of price. family businesses and farms should be able to pass on what they worked so hard for and what has already been taxed to the next generation. instead of giving 40% back to the government. the death tax represents double and sometimes triple taxation and it further penalizes people from saving and investing in their family, their business, and their family farm. i'm glad we have an opportunity to move forward on this he proposal and repeal -- on this proposal and repeal the death tax. final hely, mr. speaker, h.r. 1195, would create a small business advisory council for the cfpb and codify two other councils that the cfpb did
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create on their own. it would provide information on emerging practices in the consumer financial products and servicings industry. h.r. 1190 provides -- 1195 provides for a small business counsel to advise the cfpb regarding small business concerns. it's important that the cfpb receive this input from people that are close to the action that know what's going on in consumer finance. and it's critical for small businesses and community-based financial institutions to have that kind of input and dialogue with the cfpb. small business is the engine of our economy. and we need to ensure its viability in the future by making sure that our federal regulators are well informed of the issues affecting small business as he they move forward with important regulations. i look forward to debating these bills with our house colleagues
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and i urge support for the rule and underlying legislation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. polis: thank you, mr. speaker. the rule here today provides for consideration of three bills, all of which i oppose in their current form. i want to talk about each of those. we also have under this rule a closed process. this resolution contains the 19th and 20th closed rules of this congress. instead of having an open debate about taxes here on tax day, we see nothing more than recycled partisan measures and attacks on consumer protections that are disdisguised and under the guise of the small business advisory board which historically has been a bipartisan effort. while discussing tax legislation on tax day may not seem the most exciting piece of legislative news to our constituents, i hope they are watching today, mr. speaker. this rule and this bill we are bringing under it really demonstrate the gulf that exists
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between our two parties when we talk about things like middle class economics. this is a $296 billion tax cut. so if we have $296 billion in taxes to cut, who are we going to cut taxes for? this bill affects 100 families in colorado. with the same amount of money, $296 billion, we could cut taxes for every american adult by $1,000. that $1,000 would mean a lot to middle class families, mr. speaker. it might help pay for your kids' college tuition, might help pay for a family vacation. but instead of directing money there, we are directing it to the very wealthiest americans, namely those who die with more than a $10 million estate for a married couple. i think we see a stark contrast on priorities. while i disagree with the policies and tactics under
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consideration, i think it's important to talk about what a democratic majority would do here on tax day. we would certainly not be about to consider a bill that applies to literally zero percent of taxpayers, mr. speaker, and let me clarify because that may seem strange to some people that this applies to zero percent of taxpayers, but the bill we are considering with regard to an inheritance tax on estates over $10 million, would apply to 0.15% of taxpayers. that could be rounded down to zeer he row. it doesn't even apply to those taxpayers. it applies to them after they are dead. so it applies to zero living americans. mind you we won't have a debate about the broken immigration policies that impact over 11 million immigrants workers and would grow the tax base. we want discussions on reducing classes for the middle class, but we are having policies that affect a few thousand dead people, rich dead people i might add. if there were a democratic majority on tax day, we would be working to provide tax relief to middle class families rather than offering a bill that would
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gut p one agency's sole purpose to protect middle class consumers and delivering a tax break to rich, dead families. we have another bill under this rule ostensibly, about a small business advisory board. this is a worthwhile effort to provide a small business advisory input to the consumer financial protection agency. unfortunately, it is a minimal cost, $9 million but the republicans are offering a way of paying for it that guts the consumer financial protection bureau. they are effectively cutting off your arm to remove a splinter in your pinky. well, look, if the majority was consistent when they say the deficit matters and we must pay for legislation, but we are dealt with two bills that are mutually exclusive. on the one hand they are handing out $269 billion in deficit spending to providing tax cuts to 1,000 americans who are already dead, and on the other hand they are saying this $9 million somehow we have to
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figure out a way of paying for, and they are effectively gutting the financial protection agency to do it. that's because this $9 million is apparently a step too far. even though they are offering two bills, one that has $269 billion to the deficit, and the other adds $42 billion to the deficit which i'll talk about in a minute. in this year alone, the house ways and means committee has given congress nine tax expenditure bills at a cost of $317 billion, all unfunded. $317 billion in tax expenditure spending. not even included this $269 billion billion that they are looking -- $269 billion that they are looking at doing today. what bothers me most about this rule today is where we say to ourselves, look, we'll spend $269 billion for a tax expenditure for dead rich people $42 billion on a tax
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reform that will ultimately make tax reform harder but we can't spend $9 million on a bill that helps small business. . we have a lot of ideas about how to spend money, $269 billion in tax expenditures to do, why don't we direct that to a tax cut for small businesses or reducing the corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the world or reducing the middle-class tax rate, but instead, it is being directed to 100 dead people in cole, rather than to allow businesses to keep more of their money so they can re-invest infrastructure and create jobs. this tax break, we are giving it to 100 dead people. we should be talking about tax
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reform and how to reduce taxes for the middle class. we are going to have a closed debate that will not likely pass the senate and if it goes to the president, he will likely veto this. $269 billion in benefits in less than 100 dead people in the state of cole. they say this will help small business, let's keep in mind you don't even pay inheritance in the first $5 million of your estate $10 million for a couple. you can die and your hires pay zero tax on that tax. wall we are saying now is that the very limited number of families that might have estates of $50 million instead of
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paying tax on that, will pay zero tax on that and have the cost of that added to the deficit. there are a lot of ideas about spending $269 we should spend it on schools or science and research, why aren't we lowering taxes on businesses or reducing the marginal rate and reducing the tax brackets across the bort, why not a tax refund to middle-class families. but we instead we are spending it on dead people. that is the least productive ways to attempt to cut taxes. you want to cut taxes on small businesses, no argument here. i would have loved to keep my own money to invest in the growth of my small business rather than receive a tax break when i'm already dead. this makes no sense. we would love to get rid of every tax estate tax, business
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tax, income tax, we gee that government needs so much money to function. we have a house budget. the house budget stipulates a certain amount of tax breaks. it's up to our body to decide how to deliver those tax breaks. i think that almost every business owner would what would rather see rates when they are alive and employ people rather than a tax break after they're dead. proponents of this bill tell stories about how many businesses or farms are harmed by the estate tax. how many businesses are harmed by the money they are forced to turn over the government. why are we giving the hard-earned income to the government every year? no. the tax and spend approach continues to oppress small businesses with higher and higher taxes, oppress the middle class with higher and hire taxes and only concerned with giving a
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tax break to dead, rich people. i disagree. chairman ryan knows full well i'm enthusiastic about having a discussion about how to cut taxes for businesses and reduce the businesses on small businesses and streamline the tax code by reducing tax expenditures and bringing down tax rates to ensure that capital expenditures by businesses and re-investing in businesses is determined by business owners rather than lobbyy -- lobbyists. these are detrimental to the middle class and american small businesses. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. stivers: i have three quick points in response before i yield to the gentleman from tennessee, with regard to the death tax, it's important to remember whose money it is in
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the first place. this money has already been taxed. some small businesses grow to be big businesses and we are for that in america and that's great, just because someone has the misfortune to die does not mean that the government should take up to 40% of their assets. second with regard to the cfpb this bill was bipartisan and i hope that we can get it back to a bipartisan bill, because the input from small businesses and credit unions and community banks is something that both sides of the aisle agree on and the disagreement is on the pay-for. unfortunately the gentleman from cole and his side of the aisle when they were in charge did not subject the cfpb to the appropriations process therefore, any time we make any change that requires money, it requires an offset. this offset says beginning in 2020, it reduces the cap of the
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amount that the cfpb can take from the federal reserve. as an exact offset, it was done by the c.b.o., said to us, and did an offset for the $700,000 a year it allegedly according to the c.b.o. will take to run these three advisory committees and doesn't apply any cap until the year 2020. it does apply a cap exactly offset by the amount that it will have cost to run these committees for the budget window. and that starts in the year 2020. and i'm disappointed we didn't find a bipartisan offset. i know that the chairman of our financial services committee did say that he talked to the minority whip's office when he did the offset but obviously folks on the other side are upset. i want to acknowledge it started as a bipartisan bill that passed our financial services committee that i happen to sit on in a
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bipartisan overwhelming basis. in fact i believe it was unanimous. the last point to the gentleman from colorado is on comprehensive tax reform, we agree that america needs comprehensive tax reform and nothing in these underlying bills would preclude us from doing comprehensive tax reform, but it's important that the american people know that we want to end the death tax and create a situation that there are permanent deductions that are the same for income tax states and sales tax states and they will be treated fairly. both of those bills are about fairness and the advisory committee bill is about making input and dialogue with small business before the cfpb creates regulation. i yield three minutes to the gentleman from tennessee, mr. duncan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. duncan: i want to thank the gentleman from ohio for this
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time. i rise in strong support of the combined rule bringing all three of these very important bills to the floor today. however, i rise to speak primarily about h.r. 622, the state and local sales tax deduction fairness act, which is so vitally important to the people of my home state of tennessee. some people refer to today as tax day, the day on which individual income tax returns are due to the federal government. but actually, for most americans every day is tax day, counting sales taxes, gas taxes, property taxes, all the taxes that people pay directly and then all the hidden indirect taxes we pay on everything in the cost of goods, taxes that are passed onto the consumer in the form of higher prices, because to stay in businesses businesses have to pass their taxes onto the consumer in the form of higher prices. we are an overtaxed nation. most will pay more taxes than on
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food, clothing and housing gind. per person the federal government collected a near record amount in revenues over the past 12 months $3.3 trillion just to the federal government and another trillion and a half or perhaps even more to state and local governments. despite what some say, washington doesn't have a revenue problem but a spending problem and higher taxes won't solve it. tennessee is a prime example of that, an example for the nation leading the way because it is a low tax state. the state and local sales tax deduction fairness act is especially important to my state because it will help tennessee families make ends meet by keeping more money in the pockets of hardworking individuals. this deduction is a matter of fairness to ensure they are treated the same way the federal government treats those in states with state income taxes. the state and local sales tax
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deduction allows states with no state income tax to deduct their state and local sales tax payments from their federal income tax and this puts tennessee on equal footing with taxpayers in other states that can deduct state income taxes. this is a matter of fairness, mr. speaker. as the gentleman from ohio, the people of tennessee shouldn't pay a larger taxes simply because we pay sales tax and rely on sales taxes instead of income taxes. making this deduction permanent will provide certainty to the people of tennessee who itemize their taxes and allow them to plan. people all over the country are moving from the high tax states to the low tax states. tennessee benefits from this. jobs are being created. our state economy is one of the strongest in the nation because we keep our taxes low. this is an example that the
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nation should follow and certainly not one that the nation should penalize in any way. i urge support for this legislation. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: i want to address some of the points that my colleague, the gentleman from ohio. he asked whose money is it. i think you ask any small business person, any person that we're talking about here, people that are worth over $10 million and you say look, would you rather pay higher taxes while you are alive or after you're dead. i bet everybody would rather hold on to more of their money, keep more while alive rather than pay it after they're dead. i certainly would i would like to pay after i'm dead than alive. number two, he said why can't we come up with this pay-for.
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this body at its very best just came together around a package over $100 billion for s.g.r. this is $9 million not that hard to pay for $9 million. we probably spend that just having this debate right here keeping the lights on and the c-span flowing and the chamber going. $9 million, it's easy. if you allow this to come up under an open rule, plenty of amendments could have offered $9 million pay-fors. take it out of any account. it is a relatively small amount of money. take it from any government agency and i'm sure you could find $9 million to agree on to fund this rather than gut a back-door attempt to fund the consumer financial protection agency. nothing precludes tax reform. we are moving further and further away from tax reform by
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making permanent special interest tax cuts that we agree are part of the discussion for tax reform to eliminate in order to bring down taxes. so it's moving further and further away. doesn't preclude it. makes it harder. mr. speaker, yesterday was equal pay day. if we defeat the previous question, we'll offer an amendment to the rule to allow the house to consider h.r. 1619, introduced by representative delauro, which i'm proud to co-sponsor, to discuss our proposal. i yield 3 1/2 minutes to the the gentlewoman from connecticut, ms. delauro. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for 3 1/2 minutes. ms. delauro: i thank the gentleman and i rise to ask members to defeat the previous question so the gentleman from colorado can offer an amendment for the house to immediately consider the pay check fairness
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act. yesterday, we marked yet another equal pay day. what is equal pay day? that means that it took 104 days for the average woman's earnings to catch up with what the average manmade last year. 104 days. that is exactly 104 days too long. 52 years since the equal pay act became law and the woman still makes only 78 cents on average for every dollar earned by a man. that is almost $10,000 a year or almost half a million dollars over the course of the average career. and the gap has barely changed in over a decade. even in nursing, a profession that is more than 90% female, a study last month showed that men earned $5,100 more per year on average than women, when you
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control for education, experience and other factors. clearly, we must do more to close the gender pay gap. i re-introduced the paycheck fairness act. my bill would finish the job. it would end pay secrecy across the board. it would require employers to prove that pay disparities are not based on gender. passing the bill would give real peace to a simple principle, men and women in the same job deserve the same pay. the pay check fairness act enjoyed bipartisan support and passed the house already and come just two votes shy of passing in the senate. president obama has called on us to pass it. more crucially still the american people know the importance of paycheck fairness. in october a gallup poll asked americans to identify the top issue facing women in the workplace.
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equal pay was by far the most common response among menace well as women and all across the country today, working families are in trouble. . wages are stagnant. men and women are in jobs that do not pay enough to live on. many are struggling to feed their children and to heat their homes. it is time that we look at equal pay because equal pay is a crucial part of the solution to this problem. women are half of the work force. 2/3 of us are bred winners for our families -- breadwinners for our families. it means less gas in the car, less food on the table less money in the college fund and, yes, less money to support our economy. president obama and the department of labor have shown the way by taking action to protect women who work for federal contractors. it's high time we in the
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congress acted to extend real and forcible pay equity protection to all women. equal pay for equal work is the right thing to do. it's the smart thing to do and it's a popular thing to do. it is time to make it a reality for all americans, and for those of us who are in the congress, we all come to this institution from different parts of the country. we come from different skill sets, different educational backgrounds, different philosophies and yet we are in the same job and men and women in this institution get paid the same amount of money that ought to be extended to every woman in this nation. that's why we should defeat the previous question so we can introduce the paycheck fairness bill. i thank the gentleman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. stivers: thank you, mr. speaker. really quickly before yielding to the gentleman from texas i don't think we're going to solve necessarily the disagreement philosophical agreement we have on the death tax because clearly we think
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death is bad enough and shouldn't be a taxable event and the gentleman from colorado thinks it's a preferable tax. but on the other one, i would just ask the gentleman from colorado, mr. speaker, whether he thinks having a temporary deduction for sales tax states like texas, the gentleman from texas is about to speak, is fair when we have a permanent deduction for income taxes for states like ohio? mr. polis: if the gentleman will yield? stiverstiver yes. mr. polis: as we talked about yesterday in committee, it would make the deduction of income tax temporary, moving us away from reform. i'd be happy to yield back. mr. stivers: i thank you mr. speaker, to the gentleman from colorado. it doesn't matter which we choose, we need to equalize the treatment and neither one take us further away from tax reform because in tax reform we're going to have the entire debate and whatever we do we just need to move to a system that is fair and i don't think it's
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fair to states like texas that we are not going to let you know whether you can deduct your sales tax until december 19. it just does not make sense. mr. speaker i would like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from texas mr. thornberry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for three minutes. mr. thornberry: thank you. and i appreciate the gentleman from ohio yielding. i rise in support of the rule and the underlying legislation. mr. speaker, i think the gentleman from ohio makes a great point. it is not right to have some states given preference versus other states when states have different methods of taxation. but i want to focus my remarks primarily on the death tax and i want to first commend the gentleman from texas, mr. brady, who's the sponsor of the underlying legislation. i have had a bill to deal with the death tax and supported doing away with it completely since i have been in congress and i want to express appreciation for the 79 members who have co-sponsored my bill in this congress which is
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substantially similar to the bill we will vote on tomorrow. the reason i'm so -- this issue is so important is because the death tax has a huge effect on farmers ranchers and small businesses of all kinds, including those in my district. it is one of the issues i have heard the most about. it hangs like a cloud over business -- over business growth and job creation. now, what we often hear is, well, the thresholds are so high it really doesn't affect anybody but the very rich. i just want to make two points. one we see continual efforts to increase taxes on estates, even the president's budget request this year had a different method of increasing taxes and so it makes it very difficult for any farmer, rancher, small business owner to plan because you never know what the government is going to do next. secondly, it is wrong to tax --
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to levy a tax on what someone tries to leave to their children after they have already paid taxes on it when they earn it and then have the government come and want them to pay taxes on it again. and it is wrong for an estate of $100 and it is just as wrong for an estate of $100 million. we pay taxes when we earn it the first time. we should not have the government come in after death when we're trying to leave it to our heirs or our children and then take another bite out of it. there's too many farms, ranches, small businesses who have had to sell just in order to pay the tax. and if there's one thing we want people to do in this country it is to work hard, to save and to leave something for our kids so they can have a better life. the death tax punishes you for doing that and that is why it is so fundamentally wrong regardless of whether you're leaving a farm, a ranch, a
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small business or a lifetime of savings. it is time to get rid of it completely so it does not hang over us in this country. i support the rule and the underlying legislation. i hope my colleagues will as well. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. mr. stivers: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: i yield three minutes to the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: i want to thank the gentleman from colorado for his very lucid explanation of where we are today. and let me say that i hope my colleagues will join me me in eliminating sequester. we can put that on the floor today that in actuality would provide more funding for education, for military pay, for the infrastructure. we need to be doing serious work here, but let me join my colleague, congresswoman delauro, and opposing the rule and the previous question in order to be able to assure that
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we pass pay equity. in today 2015 whether we have the death tax or sales tax, we have women who are making 75% on the dollar and cannot make ends meet. we're having women who are not in the body of this august house and senate working every day and getting 75 cents on the dollar. it is time for pay equity now. let's hear the voices raise up to be able to support the working women of america who over almost a century ago -- not yet -- were fighting for the right to vote. we have gained the right to vote but we are still in an unequal economic circumstance. so i want my colleagues to be as energetic about providing for pay equity. now, let any say something that is sort of bifurcated. i will say to you that on the death tax there is an equity in that. there's an equity in that because the ability to build that estate has been through
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the gracious laws and hard work of the people. it's a combination that you are in the capitalistic system that's here in america and therefore the death tax is simply the transfer tax that goes on the basis of all of this money that you've made to be able to help run this government. and i don't really think that is offensive at all because there are many tax breaks that have come to the individuals with these huge estates through their lifetime. capital gains tax. many different taxes that they have. r&d taxes. research tax that gives them a benefit. and so it's not like we are taking money. it is an investment in america. so let me also add that i do come from texas and i do think equalizing of taxes is very important. i really do. but what i would like to say to my friends let us have a comprehensive tax reform. let's get rid of sequester. let's pass pay equity. let's address the tax problems of people who make $50,000 a year and that does impact those
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who pay sales tax. and so that is a reasonable approach. but let's look at everybody in the circle of life, if you will, and make sure when we leave this floor tomorrow we will have addressed the concerns of all and let us look closely at the death tax in the fact they are not being punished. it is a transfer based upon the bounty of wealth that have been gained over the years invested because of a capitalistic system that allows that wealth to grow. and i don't think anyone can challenge that when you have become a rockefeller and in the time that rockefeller was in, they determined -- notorious positively for giving money because because they realized they had gained money through the system here in the united states their hard work -- i'm not denying that -- but in the overall system that we have, allow their money to grow. and so i would just make the argument that we can do well together in doing a comprehensive system.
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i certainly will not ignore the fact that the equalizing of taxes through the sales tax deduction is an important step, but i would like to take many steps and i'd like my colleagues to join me in releaving the sequester but also voting for -- not voting for the previous question so the pay equity can come to the floor. vote for the women. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado reserves. the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. stivers: mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to the gentleman from louisiana, our whip, mr. scalise. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana is recognized for three minutes. mr. scalise: thank you, mr. speaker. and i thank the gentleman from ohio for yielding and i rise in strong support of the rule and especially in strong support of the underlying legislation to repeal the death tax in the united states of america. mr. speaker, if you look at what the death tax is, this is an attack on family-owned businesses. you're talking about people who have built up as part of the american dream, built up businesses that are creating
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jobs across this country, and right now, because of the death tax -- and these people, by the way, paid taxes all along the way as they were building up that business. the business has already been taxed multiple times in most cases by the federal government and yet when the business owner dies, the first thing the federal government does is uncle sam shows up, not to issue condolences to the grieving family, but to send them a massive tax bill that in many cases mr. speaker, in many cases threatens the very existence of that business. what we hear from small business owners all over the country and family-owned businesses is in many cases when their loved ones die, while they're trying to figure out how to grieve and how to take care of the family from there, in many cases they have to spend those first few weeks figuring out how or even if they can keep their family-owned small business bests. we see many sell their
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family-owned businesses that they want to pass onto the next generation so they can pay the death tax. this is morally wrong mr. speaker, that the federal government taxes people on their death after they already paid taxes building up their businesses, wanting to pass on the american dream. this is part of the american dream. not just to own a home or to create jobs, to create good jobs for people, to be able to pass that onto your kids so they can experience and live that same dream as well and to continue to grow and create jobs. but what we see so many times because of this death tax is that many business owners spend so much of their time and resources trying to figure out how to shield their business from the death tax. a lot of people aren't paying this tax. they're paying a lot of accountants and attorneys to figure out how to avoid the death tax so they can pass it on to their kids and that's money, millions and billions of dollars they could be spending growing their business, growing jobs creating more opportunities for other people, not only to have that first job
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but to then go out and create their own small business. but lo and behold if they're too successful, mr. speaker, and they grow that business big enough and they have kids they want to pass it on to, eventually they'll die and the one constant they know is their kids will have to face that same decision whether or not to sell the family business just to pay the federal government over their death. this is morally wrong. it's time we repeal this death tax and preserve the american dream for those >> the house returns tomorrow to continue work on two tax bills. one would repeal the federal estate tax, known by some as the death tax. final votes expected. follow the house live on c-span. a small gyro copter landed on
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the west lawn of the capital today. this triggered a brief lockdown and raise questions about security on capitol hill. it is reported by the hill. video here on your screen as well, courtesy of the associated press of the copter landing on the west lawn. it sat down shortly after 1:00 p.m. it appeared to be adorned with the logo of the u.s. postal service. reporters and security personnel flocked to the same. police said the pilot of the aircraft had been arrested. you can read more at thehill. com. irs commissioner john koskinen was asked about long wait times for customers. that hearing is coming up next on c-span. then republican senators marco rubio and mike lee discuss their tax policy plan. and a conversation about law
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enforcement and its relationship with the african-american community. now, it is the irs hearing with commissioner john koskinen. it is by senator ron johnson of wisconsin. senator: i know millions of
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americans are trying to comply with tax code. my wife was talking to me last night. she is a former irs agent. she is actually doing our family taxes. she asked me, when you retire will i take it back over? i am pretty satisfied with the current arrangement. of course, it is tax day, which is different from tax freedom day. i asked my staff to find out when that is. that is a day when americans have paid tax. all the money they have earned up to that point goes to federal government passed that point they get to keep the fruits of their labor. that is april 24. this is starting to move back closer to tax day. a very long period of time we work for the federal government. as is my custom, i have an opening statement to enter into
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the record. i always get consent. senator carper is a nightmare -- nice man. i would like to read something else. this letter we received from a constituent. i think it is pretty appropriate to read. it is a little longer, but if you bear with me, i think it would set the discussion we need to have. it is a serious letter with serious concerns. senator johnson, we are writing to you because we are not sure where else to turn and to make you aware of an issue with affordable health care. we are both retired. we live in a moderate annuity payment. we each have social security. we have been receiving distribution from a retirement plan discontinued in may of 2014. let me mention this was written to me by scott and julie thompson. they allowed me to use their name.
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which we are finding is getting more difficult, to have taxpayers allow us to use their name. they are concerned if the irs knows who they are and are complaining about something, they are afraid of being targeted. that is pretty sad. scott and julie thompson were willing to let us use their name. in the spring of 2014, we moved to wisconsin from colorado to care for scott's father. in doing that, we moved out of the network of our colorado health insurance. we were buying a high deductible health insurance plan through an agency in colorado. at that time, our income was too high to qualify for subsidize premiums. in april 2014, we contacted the health insurance marketplace. because that was the contact for wisconsin. we were unsure if we would be able to change insurance in the middle of the calendar year. we spoke with a marketplace agent who informed us we had to bang qualifying events -- two
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qualifying events, the move from colorado and a substantial reduction in our income. we were told we were eligible for coverage and arranged for coverage with providers in our area affected june 2014. we were told we were eligible for a premium credit and that it would be applied towards our monthly premium, leaving us with a monthly cost of over $400 a month. we were told to submit proof of current income by july 20, which we did. in response, we received a letter from the marketplace stating we have verified your information. your eligibility as described in your notice will continue unchanged. fast forward to february 2015. in the process of completing our federal income taxes, we now find out our total income for
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2014 is being used as the basis of eligibility for coverage. with that, we are not eligible for subsidized premiums and are told we must pay a penalty returning the entire subsidy amount of $11,550. there is nothing in the recording process that allows taxpayers to report when there was a qualifying event. we knew the income in the first half a .14 was too high to allow us to qualify. that is why we bought insurance in colorado. we were straightforward about our situation in coming to wisconsin when we spoke to the marketplace in april. we were told that a qualifying event would make is eligible for premium subsidies, even midyear. again, this is a couple moving to wisconsin to care for a dying father. they followed all the rules and talk to people. they were told they would be eligible for subsidies. all of a sudden, they are
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finding they will have to pay back $11,550. our entire gross annual income for 2014 including the distribution received earlier in the year is just over $62,000. the penalty imposed is $11,550. this is 18.5% of our gross annual income. considering it is being imposed via our income taxes, it will have to be paid out of after-tax dollars, raising the percentage even higher. for a real ironic turn, we will possibly have to withdraw the money from a retirement account which will create income that will probably create a penalty for our 2015 coverage. we do not know what the threshold is for eligibility for health insurance. an $11,000 penalty on an annual
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income of approximately $60,000 for two people seems excessive. we do not have any option except to pay the penalty. we do intend to file an appeal with the marketplace. we did not do anything criminal. we did exactly as we were told by the agents for the marketplace. we pay for coverage, even when it was very expensive, so we would be compliant within the law. moving to wisconsin was a difficult emotional time. we were thrilled our new circumstances would allow us to have good health insurance coverage. we never expected that what we were told would not feature -- be true. it seems to us there must be other people who had things happen to them that affected their health insurance and ability to pay for it. can you help us at all? scott and julie thompson. the sad fact of the matter is -- and this is what this hearing is about -- is how the irs is
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trying to comply with the affordable care act. that law is in place now. it did not particularly protect scott and julie thompson. there are thousands, if not millions, of americans who lost health care coverage, paying higher amounts. having to comply with an even more complex tax system. of course, that is the purpose of the hearing. how is the irs trying to grapple -- in terms of the task it has -- trying to deal with and help taxpayers comply with added complexity of the affordable care act? i am looking forward to your testimony and your answers to our questions. i will turn it over to senator carper. senator carper: it is great to see you. you have a tough job. you have a really tough job.
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i want to say thank you for your willingness to continuing to serve the people of our country. thanks to those on the team you leave for the difficult work you do. we do not make your job easier. because we do not fully fund the work that needs to be done, providing service to people. making sure people are paying what they ought to be paying. it is well beyond any reasonable deadline. we expect you to come along and cleanup after us in the tax code. an old cartoon character pogo, says we have seen the enemy, and it is us. my hope is that you will be able to help my constituents. people call my office every day with a variety of concerns.
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one of the people called my office in the past 14 years is because they did not have health care coverage. they were frankly doing without. that is a not good option. what are we going to do about it? we have been talking about doing something about it for years. and we did not. when hillary clinton was first lady, she tried to do something about it. and it did not work out. for barack obama becomes president and says, let's give it another shot. i serve on a committee with senator portman. i do not know if you was with us when we did his work on the finance committee. we tried a bipartisan effort for months with three democrats and three republicans to figure out how to extend health care coverage to people who did not have it. and rain in the cost of health care coverage. after three or four efforts months of trying to do that, we
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just cannot do it. just could not do it. we took two republican ideas, the exchange and marketplace creating large pools so people did not have to be part of an organization to get health care. and we incorporated it into the law. and we took the idea of the individual mandate. insurance companies that if you do not require people to get coverage, we will -- it is not an economically feasible approach. so we incorporated those ideas into the law. one of the ideas behind the exchanges for people's income is not great we want you to be able to purchase insurance through a pool to maximize leverage. but for folks whose income is low, they get a tax credit. the credit eventually phases
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out. whether the origin of the ideas was republican or democrat, they were good ideas. one of the ways we make it work is making sure you at the irs have resources to give them the right answer. tomorrow, barry black hosts a bible study group. he does it every thursday for the most part. it includes democrats and republicans. one of the things he shares with us is matthew 25. when i was hungry, did you feed me? when i was sick, did you visit me? when i was thirsty, did you get me to drink? matthew 25 says nothing about if i had no health care coverage, did you do anything for me? but it is real to us today.
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we had some a 40 million people with no health care coverage a few years ago. today, that number has been knocked down by one third. on behalf of all the people who have coverage including young people of the age of 26, a very good thing has happened. can we do better? you bet we could. and we will. my hope is that, as we go forward, we will find a bipartisan way to work with the administration to fix problems that need to be fixed. i'm encouraged we will do that. i have a statement to enter for the record. but i am happy that you are here. i look forward to a good conversation. if it is not perfect, let's make it better.
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senator johnson i would like to enter the letter from the toxins in the records as well -- thompson's in the record as well. it is tradition to swear in witnesses. commissioner, if you would please stand. qs where the testimony you give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? mr. koskinen: i do. senator johnson: prior to his appointment, john koskinen served as commissioner of freddie mac and it's acting chief executive officer in 2009. is your microphone on? mr. koskinen: you might actually like to hear this. members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to
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appear before you today. i would like to have my entire testimony submitted for the record and give you a brief synopsis. subject to today's hearing the provisions of the affordable care act are important and described in detail in my testimony. before addressing the affordable care act and because today is april 15, i would like to provide the committee with an update on the tax return filing season. i would also like to note that today marks the 60th anniversary of the april 15 tax deadline. congress moved the deadline back from march 15 to april 15 in 1955 to provide more time for processing tax returns. in some ways, this is like the start of a dickens novel. the best of times, the worst of times. but begin with the best of times. i am pleased to report that the
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filing season has gone smoothly in terms of reform processing and operation of systems. thus far, the irs has received more than 120 million tax returns from individuals on the way to an expected 150 million individual returns. we have issued 83 million refunds for more than $230 million. the vast majority of taxpayers had refunds move quickly through the systems and reach them in 21 days or less. since today is the filing deadline, i would like to remind anyone who has not finished their taxes that while time is running out, anyone can file an automatic extension. return processing this season has gone better than anticipated given the challenges we face beforehand. along with normal preparations we had to prepare for tax related affordable care act changes and changes applying to
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the foreign tax compliance act. and there was legislation passed in december integrating all these changes into our antiquated i.t. systems. still being able to open on time by january 20 was a great compliment by our employees. i appreciate their commitment to the mission of the irs and their hard work. i also want to thank our partners in the tax industry, especially tax professionals and developments of tax software. without them, the filing season could not run smoothly. we are also indebted to the 90,000 dollars years who helped prepare returns at more than 12,000 volunteer income tax assistance sites each year. i am proud to say that many of these vita volunteers are current employees are retirees. regarding the irs portion of the aca, most taxpayers have been
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able to fulfill their filing obligations without difficulty. you will talk later about the letter you received. we provide an array of communication products to tax preparers in advance of the filing season. we also developed a special section on our website, providing information about the affordable care act. we also worked with software developers to ensure that the estimated 90% of taxpayers who will file using software will be easily able to provide necessary information required by the aca and file returns without difficulty. we believe these activities taken together were a big reason why processing returns with premium tax credits generally went smoothly. i would note that for the vast majority of people, the aca provisions only took a moment or two to handle. all they had to do was check a box when prompted by software indicating they had coverage. now a word about the worst of
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times. return processing has gone smoothly if you are simply filing a return without questions or a need to contact us. that is the situation most taxpayers find themselves in the season. if you needed to contact us, it has been difficult. and a much less positive story. customer service on the phone and in-person has been far worse than anyone would want. it is a simple matter of not having enough people to answer phones or provide services at our walk-in sites. as a result of the cuts in our budget. we are dismayed by reports of taxpayers lining up outside our assistance centers hours before they open, just to get service. taxpayers who called us had long wait times on the phone. on bad days, fewer than 40% of callers were able to reach a live assistant after a 30 minute wait or longer. this was frustrating for taxpayers and also for the irs customer service representatives
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who wanted the resources to be able to provide better customer service. as we begin preparations month for next year's filing season one can't locating factor is the need for us to implement, as part of the able act certification for professional employer organizations on a tight timeline without additional funding. complicating matters still more is the work ahead of us to continue implementing tax related provisions of the aca for the next filing season along with expanded requirements. we expect another round of legislation's early in the year, which we hope will be passed in advance of december. i am concerned, that when i testify next year on the 2016 filing season, a report on the return processing front may not be as good as this year. employers -- employees of the irs do everything they can to effectively deliver the filing
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season, but we need help. we need to congress to pass any legislation regarding tax spenders as early as possible this year and to provide us additional resources in the 2016 budget. without help, i am more confident about the chances of delivering a smooth filing season for taxpayers next year. with regard to the letter the chairman recited and received obviously, this is the first year of the program. taxpayers are, in fact adjusting to the requirements of the act. there is a reference to the penalty. it is not a penalty. it is a repayment of the premium advance payment provided. we spent a significant amount of time last year trying to remind taxpayers that, if circumstances changed during the year, particularly if family size change or income changed, they should contact the marketplace. it sounds as if they provided income information that was not properly applied to the
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situation, which is a rare circumstance. it is the first time i have heard someone say they have gotten the wrong information from the health care marketplace. we have encouraged most of the people that overestimated or underestimated their income and therefore have an adjustment in their premium to estimate a year in advance. indications are that close to half of the people 45%, are getting a bigger refund because they overestimated income to be careful. 55% getting a smaller refund. while we do not have data for another three or four weeks, it appears there are relatively few people in a situation where they own taxes as a result of having underestimated their income. i would stress we are doing everything we can in the transition year to help taxpayers, whatever their difficulties are.
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the treasury department issued a policy saying, to the extent that taxpayers are having difficulty with their payments either in terms of understanding exactly what they oh -- owe there will not be additional penalties for inability to pay. the treasury has removed any penalties for difficulty in this transition year. we have -- i think it is because 90% of people you software -- we have not seen a significant response from the public with regard to difficulties they are having. if you use the software, you just answered questions, you never have to deal with forms. i am struck with the chairman's concern, the point people are nervous about revealing their names if they have a problem because somehow they will be disadvantaged in dealing with
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the irs. it is critical for compliance and the operation of the tax system in the united states for every taxpayer to feel comfortable they will be treated fairly the matter who they are who they voted for, what organization they belong to. in particular, they will be treated fairly if they have a problem. we encourage our employees and taxpayers to let us know if things are not going the way the way they think they ought to. the only way we will be able to fix the system and get better is if we know what the problems are. my encouragement to any taxpayer is, if you have a problem, we are here to help you. we distinguish between those trying to become compliant and those trying to cheat. if you are compliant and have had a problem, a change in circumstances, difficulty with your ability to pay, we want to work with you. we spend a significant amount of time and money trying to help taxpayers figure out how to pay.
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we have online installment agreements you can enter into it you cannot make payments when you file on april 15. you negotiate offers of copper mines for people who had difficulty. and we simply want to stress, we are here to help. i would remind people, if you are going to try to cut corners we are going to fight you. we will not be happy about that. but wherever a taxpayer has difficulty, we try to help them. i always say, call us and we will help. i know how long it takes to get through. as senator carper said, when we ask for more funds, it is not that we want to add back 13,000 people who are retired from the agency and not replaced. we need funds in the interim to be able to have enough people to answer the phones. with that, i would be delighted to answer questions. senator johnson: i will say that
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it is not unusual that taxpayers are afraid to offer their names because of fear of retribution. that is prevalent to people i talked to. that is a real problem. i think it makes it even more important that we hold people accountable. that the american people see that those who did the targeting are brought to justice. this is a problem. it is very prevalent. it is not just something unusual. i was actually surprised this is the first time you have heard the marketplace or one of the exchanges a bout incorrect information. -- gave out incorrect information. mr. koskinen: i meant in terms of an individual being told the wrong information as the validity of their income.
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we have been forthcoming about errors that have appeared in returns and make sure that taxpayers get corrected information in 1095a's. to that extent, clearly, in a transition year, there have been a reasonable number of cases. compared to the 4.5 million taxpayers expected to file, the numbers are surprisingly small. but you are right. as you would expect in the first year of a program, some of the information in returns have had to be corrected, updated. some taxpayers have said the information in their return does not correspond with either the payments i have made or the premium support i have gotten. there are 30,000 or 40,000 of those being worked through by b -- cms. senator johnson: you stated that what they were paying is not a
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penalty, just a reimbursement of the subsidy they were incorrectly provided. again, they view that as a penalty. you can kind of understand that. they followed all the rules. i was reading what they say. but speaking of penalties, that is one of the things i found interesting in the package here. the average penalty paid by people who decided to exercise their freedom and not purchase insurance -- by the way, is that penalty? is that a penalty or tax? mr. koskinen: the ruling has been that it is called a shared responsibility payment. senator johnson: my point being that the average tax is not the $95 minimum. it is the 1% of income, about $172. mr. koskinen: i do not have the number. $95 is the minimum. senator johnson: the greater of.
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so if you extrapolate that, that is about 80% higher than the minimum. 172 is 1.8 times the minimum of $95. if you extrapolate that to next year, the minimum payment would or 1% of your income, whatever is greater. i just did the math on 1% and it is going to double that so that will be 588 in double that. as closer to being to $1200 next year.