tv Senate Budget Committee Votes on 2020 Budget Resolution - Amendement Votes CSPAN March 28, 2019 3:11pm-5:36pm EDT
>> and this hearing on the 2020 federal budget resolution before the senate budget committee just wrapping up here. the markup started i recallier this morning. you can -- started earlier this morning. you can find all of the coverage on c-span.org. we'll show the morning portion of the hearing again now. senator enzi: good morning. welcome to the second day of the senate budget committee's markup of the fiscal year 2020 budget resolution. i call the markup back to order with the business quorum being present. the committee resumes its meeting today for the purpose of considering the budget resolution for fiscal year 2020 and ordering it reported consistent with the requirements of the budget act. as i noted yesterday, the
fiscal year 2020 budget blueprint represents an important step in reducing our deficits and debt. the focus to modest steps that will put our country on a stronger fiscal footing. this budget will not solve our problems but i hope it will start a bipartisan conversation to ensure that our country will leave our children and grandchildren in a world stronger than the one we inherited. in its review of the budget, the nonpartisan committee for responsible federal budget said that this is, quote, a serious budget -- what a serious budget looks like, end quote. yesterday, we heard a lot about the need for a path to responsible fiscal outcomes and the need to have substancive bipartisan input. i laid out my part to drive deficits back to their 50-year average. this deficit reduction will be essential to begin stabilizing our debt. for the bipartisan part, that is why we have amendments. i released my mark last week to
provide members with ample time to produce amendments so we can have a substantiated debate. i look forward to hearing these amendments and allow the public to view. senator sanders. senator sanders: mr. chairman, with this budget and the trump budget that was released couple weeks ago, my republican colleagues, i think, have made it very clear that it is the party that wants to throw 32 million americans off of the health care that they have, wants to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions for people who have serious illnesses, wants to defund planned parenthood, wants to
prevent children from staying on their parents' health insurance plans until the age of 26, wants to substantially increase health care premiums for older americans, wants to make major cuts in medicare, medicaid, education, nutrition assistance, and affordable housing. but, also wants to continue to provide over $1 trillion in tax breaks to the top 1% and large profitable corporations. mr. chairman, i do not believe that those are the priorities of the american people. those priorities may work very well for the top 1% and large profitable corporations but not for ordinary americans. and i hope we will be able to offer some amendments today that will significantly change the priorities in this budget. senator enzi: thank you. i'd like to remind senators that as a result of the committee using its five-day
rule under which the text of the resolution was provided to members' offices last week, only timely filed amendments will be in order. i want to thank both sides of the aisle for following that rule. i want to thank everybody for their cooperation in getting to this point and i want to thank everybody for their thoughtful amendments. members will be recognized for three minutes to explain their amendment. a member opposed will be given two minutes in opposition. we will then put the amendment aside until we have our stacked votes, because we have that rule in committee that there are no proxies. so we'll try and set up a time that we can do stack votes. there will be an additional minute evenly divided just prior to each of those stacked votes. i will also ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendments be waved. hearing no objection, it's -- amendments be waived. hearing no objection, it's so ordered. in keeping with the committee practice under prior chairs, all amendments other than complete substitutes have to be offset.
per our rules, amendmentes that have no force or effect are not in order. so sense of the senate is not permitted. as the budget resolution is considered to be a privileged matter, we have consulted with senate parliamentarian on amendments offered to ensure they do not risk or endanger the privileged status of the resolution. if the parliamentarian advised an amendment would threatened the privileged resolution, i will rule that out of order. the committee rules do not allow proxies. members must be present in order for their vote to be tallied. as has been done in prior markups, i will recognize members to offer and debate amendments and certain blocks of time and then we'll work with the ranking member to try to stack the votes on those amendments at convenient times. so we will now proceed to consideration of the amendments. there has been an approved order. senator sanders. senator sanders: thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, when we have three families in this country owning
more wealth than the bottom half of the american people, when 46% of all new income is going to the top 1%, the american people want a budget whose priorities reflect the needs of the middle class and working families of this country, not just those on top. the first amendment that i'm offering today, sanders 2, is simple and it's straightforward. it simply establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to repeal the trump tax breaks that go to the top 1%. under this amendment, 83% of the benefits of the trump tax plan would no longer go to the top 1% by the end of the decade. in fact, the top 1% would get zero percent of the tax cuts under this amendment. this amendment is about stopping the koch brothers, the third wealthiest family in america, with a net worth over $100 billion, from getting a billion dollar tax break. frankly, the koch brothers do not need a $1 billion tax
break. this amendment is about stopping other billionaires from receiving enormous tax breaks. this amendment is about stopping amazon, netflix, general motors, i.b.m., federal express, berkshire hathaway, john deere, from paying nothing in federal income taxes after making billions in profits. i have the feeling today that we're going to hear a whole lot about the deficit. and yet you have major corporation after major corporation making billions of dollars in profits not paying a nickel in federal income taxes at a time when we have massive social needs in this country. so mr. chairman, having said that, i would urge my colleagues to support this amendment. senator enzi: thank you. do any members wish to speak in opposition? senator toomey is recognized for up to two minutes.
senator toomey: thank you, mr. chairman. i'm not sure it will take me three minutes but let's be clear about some of the facts. the top 1% of wage earners in america earn about 0% of the income and pay about 40% of the income taxes. in 2018, 44% of americans paid no income taxes at all whatsoever. despite those facts, when we did tax reform, we increased the relative share of taxes paid by the top 1%. we made the tax code more progressive than the very progressive tax code that it already was. and so to decide we're going to single out a category of americans and punish them after already increasing their relative burden, now, it's true, we lowered taxes for almost everyone. about 93% of all individuals and families that file tax returns pay you less in taxes as a result of our tax reform and the 7% that pay more are almost all very high-income individuals who live in high
state and local jurisdictions. the other 93% got a net tax reduction but the largest share of that went to lower income folks in proportion to what they pay. so, mr. chairman, what we did was a tax reform that generated a huge surge in economic growth. it was led by business investment as we had hoped and expected it would be. it has resulted in record low unemployment rate and now a tremendous acceleration in wage gains. the best we've seen in a very long time. and by the warnings the wage gain acceleration has occurred mostly and most impressively for the lowest income wage earners. so in my view, this has been extremely successful. it's fair enough to say we -- you know, time will tell until it continues to be as successful as it has been but we have a very successful tax reform. it shifted more of the relative burden to high-income individuals, and so i would urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment.
senator enzi: time has expired on the debate for the amendment. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume with a minute equally divided at the time we have the stacked vote. if requested. and a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed time, if requested. senator tomb is he recognized for an amendment. senator toomey: thank you, mr. chairman. this is an amendment that would protect victims of crime by ensuring that the crime victims fund, which is meant to provide a stable access to compensation and assistance for victims of crime is actually used for its intended purpose rather than diverted to other purposes, as often happens with congress. this fund was established in 1984. it's important to note these are not tax dollars. these are funds that result from criminal fines and penalties, and they are meant to give victims compensation and to provide resources for people who serve victims with a
special focus and priority on victims of child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. there are a number of institutions across our country, many in pennsylvania, that do wonderful work helping children and especially women but all americans who are victims of heinous crimes and it's absolutely out rage youous that a budgetary gimmick allows congress to divert this money to other purposes. that's what happens, and what my amendment would do, mr. chairman, it would preclude the possibility of this use of this gimmick which simply allows congress to have the equivalent of a slush fund to spend money on other purposes. i thank you for your support on this and i urge my colleagues to pass the amendment. >> mr. chairman. ns senator enzi: the senator has reserved 1:45. does anyone wish to speak in opposition? senator stabenow: i am not speaking in opposition. i do want to support the amendment. but do i want to go back to
ther comments that the sponsor of this amendment made in terms of the economy. there are two views what's happening right now in the economy. and when we look at what happened with the tax cuts creating almost $2 trillion with a t, $2 trillion in deficits and the vast majority of wealth in this country is owned by those at the top 1% versus 80% of the rest of the public, my folks were waiting for that $4,000 wage increase that was promised under the tax bill. certainly people in michigan have not seen a $4,000 wage increase. but what they have seen is the fact they are not getting tax refunds. so we got almost four million people that are not getting a tax refund they used to get and these are working folks. a lot of them use it for medical bills or medical procedures that they wait to be able to use their tax refund with. and so i would just suggest to
you that for my construction worker that used to be able to write off the cost of his tools and can't do that any you more, as a business expense, while the employers can continue to write off those costs or the person that wants to move to michigan for a job who can no longer write off their moving expenses even though businesses can continue to write off moving expenses overseas, this was not good policy for middle class and working people. and i certainly, when the time is right, will be supporting the sanders amendment. senator enzi: further debate? there's 1:45 in favor and 20 seconds in opposition. >> mr. chairman, i speak in favor of the amendment. senator tomb is he is absolutely right. -- toomy is absolutely right. many have been trying to stop this budget gimmick which has allowed congress to spend more money it at the expense of those who are victims of crime and the primary beneficiaries
who are hurting the most are women and children who are facing violence in their lives. it is simply wrong for this committee to continue to allow that abuse of our budgetary processes to continue and i support the amendment. senator enzi: thank you. consideration will resume if requested. a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed time. senator sanders. senator sanders: thank you, mr. chairman. my second amendment is simple and straightforward. it would allow this committee to keep the campaign promises made by donald trump not to cut medicare and medicaid and not to provide tax breaks to the wealthy. over and over again, as i think we all recall during his campaign, president trump donald trump told the american
people he was a different type of republican. that he would not cut medicare and medicaid. well, actually he was not telling the truth because in his budget he did just that despite saying over and over again, including on may 7, 2015, when he tweeted, "i was the first and only potential g.o.p. candidate to state there will be no cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid." that's what mr. trump said during his campaign. unfortunately, that is not what he has done as president of the united states. as i think we all know, his budget proposes a $1.5 trillion cut to medicaid, and $845 billion cut to medicare you, and a $25 billion cut to social security. in america today, as we all know, complade pays for more than 2/3 -- medicaid pays for more than 2/3 of all nursing home care in our country. this massive cud to medicaid would be a disaster for
millions of families. medicaid obviously also provides desperately needed health care to low-income people and to our children. so mr. chairman, the president told us he was not going to cut medicare. the president told us he was not going to cut medicaid. let us hear what the president said during his campaign and do just that. i ask for support for this amendment. senator enzi: permission to speak in opposition. i'll take the opposition time. this amendment would increase federal health spending by more than $360 billion and increase taxes by the same amount. the tax cuts and jobs act reduced taxes for every income group. middle income families saw the most. undermining taxes would undermine the performance we've seen since the law has passed.
medicaid is on an unsustainable path and without commonsense changes it will continue that way. federal health care spending has skyrocketed over the past several decades and according to c.b.o., these programs will grow more rapidly over the coming decade, federal health expenditures currently comprise nearly 30% of all federal spending. according to c.b.o., net federal outlays for medicare, medicaid, and other major health programs accounted for 41% of all mandatory outlays in 2018 totaling $1.1 trillion in one year. medicare's hospital insurance trust fund will become insolvent by 2026 under current law, three years earlier than predicted in last year's report. over the past 19 years, federal medicaid funding has almost quadrupled, increasing from $117 billion in 2000 to $406
billion in 2019, according to the congressional budget office. the budget before us supports modernizing medicaid and making modest reforms to medicare in order to extend the life of the medicare trust fund and put federal health spending on a more sustainable path. it is not prescriptive. i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. senator sanders: mr. chairman, may i briefly respond? do i have time? i think i do have a little bit. senator enzi: i think you have a minute. senator sanders: look, let's be clear. we are the only may you jor country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right. we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care. of course we spend a lot of money on health care. twice as much per capita. yet, our health care outcomes are worse than many other countries. when you talk about cuts in medicare and medicaid, understand that the number of americans receiving will be eligible for medicare will go up by 10 million people from 60
million to 70 million and the number of americans receiving medicaid will also go up by 10 million over the next five years. you are seeing more and more people eligible for these programs. you are seeing health care inflation higher than general inflation. and yet we are not addressing that issue. so if you really want to have cost-effective health care for all, you might want to look at a medicare for all single paier program but the last thing in the -- single payer program but the last thing you want to do is cut medicare and medicaid and cause more suffering in this country and more death. senator enzi: time has expired on debate for the amendment. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume and if requested a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed upon time. next amendment is senator kennedy's amendment number 1. senator kennedy: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, americans take care of their less fortunate
neighbors, and i'm very proud of that fact. in our country, if you're hungry we feed you. if you're homeless we house you. if you're too poor to be sick we'll pay for your doctor. we spend about $1 trillion, that's 12 zeros, of taxpayer money a year helping our less fortunate neighbors. those americans who think that merica was evil in its origins nd even more evil today ignore that fact. but every penny that we spend that we don't need to spend helping our less fortunate neighbors is a penny less that we have to spend on cops and
kids and roads and tax cuts. the purpose of my amendment, mr. chairman, is to establish a deficit neutral reserve fund relating to fraud and taxpayer funded government assistance programs like medicaid, like tanf, like snap. it would require state agencies to use federal tax return information to verify income eligibility. let me give you an example, mr. chairman. only 25 states use federal tax information in some man irto determine eligibility. in my state, louisiana, our legislative auditor did a cursory examination of our medicaid rolls. based on a cursory examination, he found 37,000 people on our edicaid rolls who plead --
made way more money in an the eligibility standards. and we found our department of health and hospitals was not even checking income eligibility. our legislative auditor found people -- and this is not an isolated circumstance -- found many people making over $300,000 a year on medicaid. now, that's not right. and my amendment would address that and i would think we all care about our social programs. those who believe in those social programs, in my judgment, should want to ensure that the money is being properly spent so that we have a sufficient amount to help all of those who need our help. and if we have any money left over, to help in other spending priorities. thank you, mr. chairman. senator enzi: the senator's time has expired. any member wish to speak in
opposition? senator stabenow. senator stabenow: i am in opposition just to make it clear because of the implication the programs that the senator talked about are running wild. i support the enforcement efforts. we have very strong enforcement efforts. in fact, in the supplemental nutrition assistance program it has the lowest error rate of any federal program and we need to keep vigilant on that. i did want to just for the purposes of members just to stress that right now there are multiple ways that states use. pay stubs being a main one as well as other forms of verifying income, all of which are very important. if it's required that a tax return information is used, then people earning under $12,000 a year usually do not file a tax return, so the poorest individuals will not --
those we would want to be supporting and helping will not be able to meet that requirement. so that would be just a concern of mine but certainly we want to all come together and be vigilant. i just can't help though, mr. chairman, say i wish we are requiring the president of the united states to make his tax returns public. >> mr. chairman. senator enzi: senator sanders. senator sanders: let me respond to senator kennedy by saying do you know who the largest welfare recipient in this country is? let me suggest to you it's the wealthiest family in this country, the walton family that owns walmart. they are worth about $170 billion. huge amounts of wealth. they pay their workers wages that are so low that many of these workers are on medicaid, they are on food stamps, they are on public housing because they can't get by on $10 or $11 an hour. if you really want to deal with welfare in this country, let's
pass a $15 an hour minimum wage and take the walton family off of welfare. senator kennedy: may i respond? senator enzi: all time has expired on the debate for amendment. if requested a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed upon time. senator wyden. senator wyden: thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. chairman and colleagues, i have come to this committee regularly to offer bipartisan ideas on health care. i'm looking right now at the people who are around the room. we have senators here who've been co-sponsors of those efforts. but i want to make clear the budget in front of us is pretty much an inexhaustible horror show of health care ideas that are going to harm the vulnerable. not the least of which is the president's choice to try to throw out the progress made in the last decade. i'm talking, for example, about the ironclad, air tight
protection for people with pre-existing conditions. now, we understand from the newspapers that the president did this over the objections of several of his top advisors. they weren't trying -- as far as i can tell -- to save health care for the vulnerable and seniors. they were petrified of the political harm that's going to come from taking away health care from millions of vulnerable americans and seniors. and regrettably, the entire republican party seems to have just fallen in line. the goals are that the bad guys would be back in charge of american health care. all the special interests. l the insurers, the pharma lobbies, the protections for pre-existing conditions off in the trash can. millions off their health care. prier prescription drug costs, higher insurance preems, insurance that goes away when you need it most which is what you have if you have these junk
plans. so not only are republicans, regrettably, endorsing the legal attack, they are mounting an attack through the budget. cut and finance directed by this budget would have to come out of health care. so that means once again we are back at the old movie we revisited, repealing the affordable care act. that is what my amendment seeks to prevent. democrats are not going to allow health care, essential health care to be taken away and that's why i'm offering an amendment that would bring this repeal effort to an end, at least for now. i mean, i kind of feel like this is wash, rinse, and repeat, because it just keeps coming back again and again and again. but the amendment i'm offering would strike the reconciliation instructions that would allow this attack to happen. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and i want to close, like i did at the
beginning, there are things we can do in a bipartisan way and i got colleagues right here who know it. but something like this is going to harm the most vulnerable people in our society and it comes right after, right after we borrowed close to $2 trillion for a tax bill that basically gave the biggest breaks for the folks at the top. this is about what we're supposed to be about. thank you, mr. chairman. senator enzi: time has expired. do any members want to speak in opposition? senator graham. senator graham: yes, i do. what senator wyden is doing is basically saying the reconciliation process is off the table. that's what they used to actually pass obamacare. and the reason we need to keep eliminate is, employer deductions, take that big pot of money, let people buy their own health insurance. they would have to be insured. they would have choices in the marketplace. there are a million ideas. the one thing that i am dead
set on is stopping obamacare from basically destroying private sector health care. right now there are 1,524 counties in america where you only have one choice in the exchange. in south carolina, there's a 31% increase in obamacare premiums last year. we started with five choices in the exchanges in 2014. we're down to one. why? people are dropping out. it's not working. it's designed to consolidate. what's left of the private sector health care into the government. t's a back door way to get singlepayer health care by making it so expensive that nobody can compete in these exchanges except the government-sponsored plan. employers will drop coverage because it's cheaper to drop coverage and put people in the exchange and let the government take over. the exchanges themselves, the
subsidies in the next decade rom 2018 to 2027 basically, 10 years, $990 billion in subsidies. this thing is going through the roof. less choices. and we owe it to the public to find an alternative that is sustainable, that works, and finally there are a lot of people in south carolina making $50,000 or $60,000 that are in these exchanges that might as where will not have any coverage at all because the deductibles are so high, the co-payments are so high you don't even have insurance. you are paying a premium to give it to somebody else for free. thank you. senator enzi: all time has expired. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume.
if requested a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed-upon time. senator braun. senator braun: thank you, mr. chair. when i came to -- when i decided to run for office a long time ago, i thought it was important for those of us that are here to set the example on what might start the change of dynamic where i think the american public is disappointed with some of the things we do here. not only the process of putting a budget together like we're witnessing today, but let's look at pensions. pensions have been something that have universally been underfunded, hardly no one is doing anything, whether it's defined benefit or contribution anymore, it's a pending liability that we have to contend along with medicare, social security. that aside, i thought you at least would be able to opt out of san torial pension if you
chose to and not grandstand part ever -- put that out there as the only thing i'm interested in here is the first thing i want to talk about philosophically. i did not like the idea and i thought surely it would be simple if you chose not to contribute that could you opt out. well, i gave up good health insurance when i resigned from my company as c.e.o. i needed a health care plan, and, like most americans, wanted to be part of a 401-k. then i find that you cannot do at unless -- in order to get health insurance, to participate in a 401-k plan you have to participate in the pension plan. that's one of the bizarre rules that i don't understand why that would be part of it. this is simple. that you could voluntarily withdraw and not sacrifice the other components of once you
become a senator, which all americans need health insurance . i've got a lot of other ideas on how we make that more productive and sound in the long run. but here this is very simple. if you choose not to participate, you ought to be able to do it with no strings attached. i think it would not only give the flexibility to individual senators that would choose to do it, it would also set a good example on how we might start operating differently as senators more in line with the rest of the american public. i urge all my colleagues to support it. thank you. senator enzi: does anyone wish o speak in opposition? somebody wanted to co-sponsor. you can co-sponsor any time, senator scott. ok. seeing no further debate on that, the amendment is laid
aside. consideration will resume if requested. and a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed-upon time. senator kaine. senator kaine: thank you. i'd like to call up -- i'd like to call up kaine 2, and this deals with a portion of the chairman's mark that's on page 42, section 2017, which establishes a deficit neutral reserve fund for border security and immigration. we need to keep that in place. there are challenges at the border. we need to give the ability -- have the ability to make adjustments to the budget to deal with those challenges. so i'm not proposing to strike it but i am proposing to make a significant modification. we would all agree we have challenges at the border. you could call it an emergency, call it a crisis, call it whatever you want, but there is no dispute that the challenge is not a military emergency. and i say that because i serve on the armed services committee, head of northcomm, the general said what's going
on at the border is not a military emergency. general dunford, it's not a military emergency. they have not deployed anything in the 2020 budget submission. and the president is proposed to take billions out of the military budget to deal with a nonmilitary energy mrge. i can't effect that through here because this is about f.y. 2020 but what i propose in this amendment is that the deficit neutral reserve fund that's in this section would not be able to be used if military dollars are reprogrammed over to deal with a nonmilitary emergency. i don't think we should ransack military construction projects or other military projects in our states to deal with a nonmilitary emergency. the president has submitted a list of projects, secretary of defense, that could be affected in f.y. 2019 to deal with this
nonmilitary emergency. if we're going to come up with additional funds for the border, we ought to do it not out of military funds but out of nonmilitary funds and so that is the thrust of the request, to leave the deficit neutral reserve fund in place but to disable it if there is an attempt to ransack the d.o.d. budget to deal with the norn military emergency. >> mr. chairman. senator enzi: senator kennedy. senator kennedy: mr. chairman, i know senator kaine knows i say this with no ill will. i have got respect for him. i oppose this amendment. i think it will have the perhaps unintended but certain impact of denying money for the president to use to secure our borders. to me this issue is fairly straightforward. i would think many of us could agree on this. illegal immigration -- i'm sorry -- legal immigration, legal immigration makes our
country stronger. illegal immigration undermines legal immigration. llegal immigration is illegal. duh. one way -- not the only way -- but one way to control illegal immigration is through a border wall. it's worked in san diego. it's worked in yuma. it's worked in el paso. it's worked on the west bank in israel, and i could continue going on. that's not to say there aren't other mechanisms. and we all know that the long-term problem of illegal immigration today is the deplorable situation in nicaragua with a and guatemala. but -- nicaragua and guatemala.
but in the meantime i would say it's impossible, to submit to you, to secure 1,900 miles of real estate without a barrier. now, if you believe that there's no distinction -- i'm not suggesting senator kaine does -- if you believe there should be no distinction between illegal immigration and legal immigration, which i don't. that's a separate issue. if you believe that the border is just a nuisance, that's a separate issue. but i don't think that's what the american people believe. senator kaine: did i have a few seconds left? senator enzi: i think 15. senator kaine: the issue is should you ransack the military budget to deal with a nonmilitary emergency. the only thing this would do is say on a nonmilitary emergency you couldn't take funds from the military budget. senator enzi: all time has expired on debate for the amendment. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume. if requested a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed time.
senator scott. so my scott: amendment's got a simple purpose. i want to make sure people with pre-existing conditions are covered and able to get health care they need. i grew up in a family that didn't have health insurance. i watched my mom cry because she couldn't find a place for my brother to get herk when he had a significant disease. thank god there was a shriner's hospital about four hours away that would take care of my brother about every six months. i know there's -- i know it's important, not just -- a family like mine growing up but many families across the country. think the obamacare has caused deductibles, co-payments and premiums to skyrocket. with you thing that's in there that i really believe in, pretecting people with a pre-existing condition. so whether obamacare is overturned or not, i want to make sure that all across the
country people that have the same issue that my mom had will know they have health care. my amendment is simple. it makes sure that people with pre-existing conditions are covered. senator toomey: thanks, mr. chairman. this has been mischaracterized. i think senator scott brings up an important point. i don't believe there are republicans believe that people that have extremely high health care costs should be somehow left to their own devices. if you have a working class family, has a child with cystic fibrosis, that's not affordable for anyone without some kind of help. so obamacare attempted to deal with this. i think one of the central flaws of obamacare is that it spread that cost over too narrow a pool and the result of that was they would -- they had to include individual mandates to force people into the pool. the pool was too narrow so cost for everyone was very high. you have this ruth goldberg
of people -- if you don't qualify for the reimbursements, it's -- there is a legitimate policy debate how best to outlier high with costs to have those socialized. my view they should be spread out over the broadest possible category of americans. not a narrow pool. and that would be a better approach. we could do it in a much more direct and transparent way. we could also acknowledge states have better ways still. my understanding is the the gentleman's intent and the amendment is we want to reinforce the fact people with these high costs have to be able to have affordable health insurance. but that the community rating mechanism of obamacare is not the only way to do it and since that's my understanding of this amendment, i tend to support it. senator enzi: 10 seconds left. senator brown. mr. brown: want to be a co-sponsor of it and want to
emphasize as well. i do not know of one republican that is not for covering pre-existing conditions. as well as no cap on coverage for myself and keeping your children on the plan until they're 26 years old. the debate is the vehicle you do it by. agree with toomey. want to be on as co-sponsor. thank you. senator enzi: time has expired. do members want to speak in opposition? senator stabenow. senator stabenow: thank you, mr. chairman. it -- it's one thing to say we support covering people's pre-existing conditions. it's another thing to have actions that actually create a way to be able to do that. so this budget, of course, repeals the affordable care act. and the -- what's in that are a group of consumer protections that actually are in all insurance. it's not just the small pool. it is every insurance plan is expected to protect consumers, cover people with pre-existing conditions, make sure that
things that women need are no longer required to be able to be charged more for that. making sure you can't put caps on cancer treatments. covering people to age 26. all of that is on every part of the insurance system. that is how it is set up. so what we're seeing with the administration is the exact opposite. and unfortunately, no willingness of colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join us in opposition. the administration has put together now what we call junk plans, things that don't have to cover. you don't have to cover any more those things that would affect people with pre-existing conditions or maternity care or other things. and more and more of those are going into the marketplace. what has happened in the last year, we have seen the cost go up 16.6% because of the instability and the sabotaging going on in the insurance market. insurance companies trying to figure out now in terms of how
they're going to rate this given all these new junk plans coming on the market. and so 16.6% increase for families that more than would otherwise be the case. so the numbers just, with all due respect, don't show that. and so we got some options. you can do medicare and cover everybody as a singlepayer system. you have other choices. you can do a veteran system like the v.a. and cover everyone with pre-existing conditions. or you can develop a model using the five-year sector which the affordable care act did. and so i welcome colleagues trying to figure this out how in the world you're going to be able to cover people with pre-existing conditions when you don't support any mechanism that would actually do it. >> mr. chairman. senator enzi: senator. senator sanders: let me just very briefly quote from the aarp and the aarp says that the effort to repeal the affordable
care act in the courts, which is what the trump administration is supporting, would, quote, allow insurance companies to once again charge people with high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or other conditions up to 10 times more than what others pay for the same coverage or deny them coverage altogether. this would be a deficit -- this would be devastating to the estimated 25 million older adults with a pre-existing condition, end of quote. if you vote to repeal the affordable care act, you're ting to end protections on pre-existing conditions. senator enzi: time has expired for debate on the amendment. amendment is laid aside. a recorded vote will be taken at an agreed time. we have a slight change in the schedule. it's been requested and that's to next consider stabenow number 5 to accommodate her and then crammer with his number 1 with the side-by-side for it. any objection?
seeing no objection, senator stabenow for number 5. senator stabenow: thank you very much, mr. chairman. $9 would simply repeal the billion cut that is in the resolution in terms of the cut to basically the u.s. department of agriculture. we just passed on the strongest bipartisan basis ever a farm bill. i appreciate very much everyone working with senator roberts and i to be able to do that. this would completely up-end what we did in the farm bill. and i want to stress, first of all, we take very seriously the effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. in the previous farm bill we were the only committee that actually did deficit reduction when the big deficit reduction committee broke down. we had committed $23 billion in deficit reduction which we did. this time we worked within a budget neutral position.
no new dollars in the farm bill. we streamlined existing programs, repealed over 150 authorizations that were either not being utilized or duplicative. and in the end, though, what we did was create five years worth of certainty for our farmers and ranchers in communities when they are being up-ended because of the instability now around trade and farm labor and all of the other issues. and to allow this $9 billion to go forward will undermine farmers and ranchers, conservation programs which are critical, search, trade promotion, rural community efforts. once you get outside of our big cities, certainly in the community where i grew up, rural development funds are being used for the roads, small business loans, to buy the fire truck, the police car, to be able to do telemedicine in the hospital, to be able to put in
rural broadband, all the things we need in rural communities. so i -- this amendment would simply strike that $9 billion reconciliation instruction and i would hope that the committee would support it. thank you you, mr. chairman. senator enzi: any others in support? in opposition, i do urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. the budget resolution supports strong economic growth and job creation and curbs our addiction to safeguard america's future. the reconciliation instructions provided to committees represents the first steps towards addressing the spending problem and reducing our $22 trillion debt. this instruction is simply a target. the instruction is not prescriptive. it's wholly up to the committees to decide how to reach this deficit reduction total if it survives the floor and if it survives the conference with the house.
previous reconciliation instructions have promoted energy independence, brought unemployment to historic lows and expanded our economic growth. i believe these instructions will build upon this success. instruction provides a new opportunity for the agriculture committee to streamline programs and identify wasteful, duplicative and fraudulent spending. for example, even though the unplace of employment rate is st 3.8%, 38 million people receive supplemental nutrition assistance program. a quarter of all able bodied adults who receive snap aren't working despite the program's work requirements. snap also has a major payment problem, with $3.3 billion in overpayment. this amendment would harm efforts to reduce government overlap and waste and get our fiscal spending under control. i urge my colleagues to oppose his amendment.
anyone else to speak in opposition? >> i would like to. how much time do we have, mr. chairman. senator enzi: 20 seconds. >> i pass. senator enzi: all time is expired for the amendment, the amendment is laid aside, if requested, a recorded vote will be taken. and nart cramer has a ide-by-side. senator cramer: my side-by-side further clarifies the intention of the budget. let me first start out applauding and appreciating senator stabenow's leadership on the successful farm bill. i was honored to be a house conferee on the farm bill committee, i admired your work and senator roberts' as well and the strong bicameral and
bipartisan effort. my amendment confirms a commitment to our farmers and ranchers. the budget asks the ag committee to find $9 billion of savings over five years. the reconciliation instructions focus specifically on the entitlement programs and specifically on finding waste, fraud, and abuse that is expected or projected to save $10 billion. so plenty to cover the $9 billion in proposed savings. it clarifies that this budget fully supports agriculture. fully supports the risk management and safety net programs such as crop insurance and just would appreciate an affirmative vote on the amendment. senator enzi: 1:45 remaining. anyone else wish to speak? 'll make a couple of comments.
the bill makes sure the program is work, that's why the bill doesn't propose remove anything programs. it's still well below its historical average. in lifingt challenges facing rural america, risk management tools are necessary for farmers to stabilize their income. this isn't just important for the midwest. according to congressional budget office, most recently baseline over 338 million achers are ensured -- are nsured across the country. over one in seven farms are covered in the risk programs. i commend my league in north dakota for his work to help ensure prosperity for our nation's farmers and ranchers by ensuring we have a strong
robust farm safety net. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. further discussion in favor? yield back the time. in opposition? > thank you, mr. chairman. senator stabenow: here's my concern with this. it appears the intent is to take this out of food programs, 2/3 of which are senior citizens, people with disabilities and children. i think that's important to say as well. but the reality is if you exempt certain things you shift bigger cuts to the rest of the -- rest of the farm bill programs. here's what that means. trade promotion at a critical time for our farmers. it could be conservation, we increase the conservation, very, very important. this is a very large part of the farm bill. conservation. i can't believe that would not be taking a cut. research. we added a new animal vaccine bank that is very, very important for animal disease.
and that would be in jeopardy. rural broadband. a whole range of things that are in the farm bill that would not be protected under this amendment. so i believe we should be following what we did on a bipartisan basis. we were very clear in terms of integrity in the farm bill never part of it and wise use of tax dollars. we passed it overwhelmingly, the largest bipartisan vote ever. and i don't know why in the world we would suddenly turn our become on something that is finally, you know, the usda has the tools to implement our farmers, support it, they're counting on it. in a very chaotic situation for them. i think this is the wrong approach, mr. chairman. thank you. senator enzi: further iscussion in opposition? seeing none, the time has expired. the amendment is laid aside, consideration will resume if
requested, recorded vote taken at an the agreed upon time. going back to the regular order. senator scott. senator scott: people from across the country come to florida for a lot of things but they come because our our natural beauty. this deals with lake okeechobee. the dike at lake okeechobee is federally funded, they make all decisions about it. when we have too much water what happens is we end up getting algae blooms in the indian river on the east coast, nd the caloosahatchee in the west. this committee funded the dike at lake okeechobee, i'm very, very appreciative of that i worked to get state resources put up. in my years as governor we spent $2 billion restoring the everglades. the federal government has not been the best partner,
especially in my eight years as governor. i'm still appreciative of what this congress did on the dike. what this amendment does is work with senator rubio to secure $200 million of federal funds to work on restoring the everglades and the entire south florida ecosystem. i appreciate everybody's support. >> others want to speak in favor? in opposition? seeing none. all time has expired. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume if requested a recorded vote will be done at the appropriate time. senator white house. -- senator white it is house. -- senator whitehouse. senator whitehouse: i remember fondly my difes innocence, when i came to the committee and
thought a deficit neutral fund does anything. had such a glow when i got one passed. obviously i've learned better. what this amendment focuses is on something i think there's broad bipartisan agreement on, the need for reform of the budget committee. we are now fully meaningless. we do two thing. we do this, which is an exercise in partisan messaging back and forth which is fine but it doesn't accomplish anything, and we are the delivery system for a reconciliation measure that allows the senate majority to pass something big with a simple majority around the 60-vote threshold. those are the two two things we do. we do nothing else. we do not look at the debt and deficit in any serious way. we're not even arhett me tickly prepared to look -- arith me ake -- mathematically prepared
to look at it this way. if you look around the capitol for where somebody is looking at the debt and deficit, there's no other place. it's not like we cannot look at it here and say the appropriators have got it or some select commission has got it. nobody is tasked to look at our deficit and our debt. theoretically, it's us. but we're not set up to actually do that. so what i have proposed and senator perdue is any co-sponsor for this particular amendment, but i also want to thank senator blount, because this reflects a piece of legislation that he is my co-author of and co-sponsor of in the senate and i want to thank the chairman because he's an enthusiestic -- enthusiastic ally and supporter of a budget reform process and has been extremely productive in all of this. and i also want to thank all the democratic and republican
members on the select committee who last year unanimously supported this measure. so i think it's passed a lot of tests of reasonableness. the bottom line is that if we're going to do something serious about our debt and our deficit, one, we got to get the arhett me tick right. you've got to have revenues in the arhett me tick. you've got to have health care spending in the arithmetic. you've got to have tax spending in the arithmetic. take any of those out, your numbers don't add up any longer. you're not doing the math correctly. second thing we've got to do is figure out what our goal is and it seems from the unanimous testimony in the select committee and i think virtually all the testimony we've had in is committee, that a debt to g.d.p. ratio is the metric. we could argue what it should be but that's the conversation we should be having. the last bit is how long does it take to get there unanimous
consent for another three minutes? i'll finish out. -- or enzi: another unanimous consent for one minute. and then there's two minute thrs eother side. senator scott f. you -- senator whitehouse: you give yourself the time frame, you have the math correct, the agreed upon target, if we can do that we'll have done something big. we make it biennial, i think if we're going to be serious it should be biennial. this is something the chairman has strongly, strongly supported. for those of us who expect to be in the majority in the future it does preserve reconciliation so we still have that feature. soy hope that the bipartisan ture of this, and i hope our desire to have the budget committee not be structurally designed to fail at the most
important task we're tasked with will bring us together around this amendment which, i am sorry to say it is a deficit neutral reserve fund, but it provides a message that we are willing to consider getting ourselves out of the bog we're in right now. senator enzi: thank you. i'm not seeing anybody in opposition to it, i'm going to make comments in support. unless there is someone who wishes to oppose? ok. the real debate on the budget process has to occur once we finish the budget resolution. and that'll happen this spring with a series of hearings and budget process reform. we want to have the people who are key on that committee provide a panel. some of you know i strongly favor fundamental reforms, have been working on it for three years. appreciate you mentioning biennial budgeting, reforming
the procedures that discourage consolidation of the budget on the floor, developing a long term path to bring the deficit to sustainable levels. i think senator kaine did that providing a glide scope to get back to g.d.p. norms. i know many of our colleagues have other ideas, i'm anxious for the committee to consider themism support this amendment in the spirit of bipartisanship in which it's offered. any other comments? i know there are a lot of others that have ideas for budget reform that we want to make sure happen and budget reform gives a much more extensive opportunity for debate than the budget. >> may i say i appreciate the chairman's commitment to a process so all of us can have a voice and with any luck come to a strong consensus erned the leadership of the chairman and ranking member. senator enzi: thank you. nart brown.
yesterday in the opening statement i reflected the same thing. i have to says the most inspirational moment i've had in the senate. if we can do what we talked about yesterday, making this the most important committee because we put some real essence to the process, my time spent here would be something i'd be very happy with. thank you. senator enzi: senator -- all time has expire thasmed will be set aside for a vote at a later time. thank you. senator america lee was supposed to be necks, he's not here, we'll move to senator king number one. > it's on page 28. 28, subsection 5, deals with homeland security governmental
affairs. there's an instruction lines three to nine for the committee to report changes in law to reduce the deficit by not less than $15 billion for the period of the fiscal year 2020 through 2024. senator kaine: what my amendment one would do is strike the reconciliation instructions and do that because of the effect we have already visited upon federal employees with the shutdown. the $15 billion in savings over this time period would really affect federal employees in a very significant way. they have already been blasted with the 35-day shutdown. i think all of us have interacted with them enough to know morale and retention effect on these employees has been significant. so we would strike the reconciliation instruction, obviously we were still working on appropriations issues dealing with this question but we would remove frit the reconciliation process because
cuts of this magnitude would result in federal employees seeing retirement reduced, pensions cut, higher retirement contributions on the part of employees, it would amount to to the a de facto pay cut for civil servants who serve our country honorably. that is the proposal simply to strike those eight lines, the reconciliation instruction in that jurisdiction. i think i may have a slight amount of extra time, i yield to senator van hollen. senator van hollen: i thank my colleague. i want to support this amendment. what's proposed in the budget is effectively a pay cut for federal employees. and the way it works is. this it requires federal mes to put more toward their pension without getting a single additional penny in pension benefits. so money taken out of your paycheck today, no benefit in the future, flat out pay cut. i think it's a very bad thing
to do to hardworking federal employees. who have been working hardener country and just had to go thraw 35-day shutdown. senator enzi: other wishing to speak in support? in opposition? i'll lead off. these are reconciliation instructions that have to go through quite an extensive process to ever become a reality of a request. but it's a first step toward addressing our overspending problems and avoiding trillions of dollars, recondition silluation are simply a target for committees, it's not prescriptive, it's up to the che of jurisdiction how they decide to hit their target. it can be done through cuts or through revenue. this instruction provides an opportunity for members of homeland security and governmental affairs committee on which i'm proud to serve to make reasoned decisions on areas within the committee's jurisdiction that can contribute to the deficit reduction including identifying
wasteful, duplicative or fraudulent spending. i applaud the efforts of senator johnson that he's taken in this area by holding a committee hearing focusing on g.a.o.'s recommendation to reduce waste, fraud, and mismanagement in the federal government. showerly we can all support making government more efficient. further, multiple administrations headed by both parties and the numerous nonpartisan groups argued that federal composition reform is necessary to bring the current system more in line with the private sector. i believe we can both protect the american taxpayer and the workers and build a strongering more affordable federal work force. soy urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. further discussion in opposition? >> mr. chairman. senator enzi: senator johnson. senator johnson: this would be about benchmarking what we pay federal employees, what the process is, type of pedges
plans, versus the private sector. you obviously do it with the mindset of not trying to harm or reduce pay but just bring it in line, you know, things like reducing the federal work force through attrition. $22 trillion in debt, projected deficits of $109 trillion over the next 30 year, we have to take a look at this, we can't take anything off the table. i appreciate what the chairman has done in providing that type of reconciliation instruction. i certainly do everything we could to protect the federal work force but get it in line with the private sector. senator enzi: time has expired for debate on the amendment. the amendment is laid aside. vote will be taken at the agreed upon time. senator grassley. senator grassley: i'd like to call up amendment number two. everyone knows iowa and nebraska and now missouri are experiencing historic flooding, 2/3 of my state's 99 counties
are impacted and have been declared disaster. estimated damages for iowa is around $1.6 billion. for agriculture, homes, small business leandvee repairs. i believe even those numbers are likely to rise. total damage has extended beyond the capability of local and state government and governor reynolds and the state of iowa are stepping up to the plate to find solutions. so my amendment is for deficit neutral reserve fund to provide for increased cooperation among federal government departments with agencies and state governments in disaster response. federal governments should use mid western common sense working to find solutions with state partners when responding to flood and recovery and mitigation. for instance, the current system has the federal government throwing away money
instead of fixing the problem. we waste a lot of time, effort, money in building and tearing down temporary flood structures using fema disaster funds. what we should do instead is pool our resources from different agencies and levels government to spend money once on permanent solutions to the problems instead of these temporary things. that's what will ultimately save the taxpayers money while protecting homes and small businesses and farms. i urge my colleagues to support my amendment to use commonsense to spend disaster money efficiently. senator enzi: others who wish to speak in favor? >> mr. chairman. senator enzi: opposition? senator sanders. senator sanders: probably against the rules for me to support an amendment from my
republican colleagues. i support the amendment but senator grassley and others, when we deal with disaster relief, it is absolutely imperative that we deal with it in a nonpartisan way. disasters strike states that are republican. disasters strike states that are democrat. disasters strike territories like puerto rico which have a very high percentage of their american citizens having fought and died in our wars. so the only point that i want to make is yes, nebraska and iowa need help. i support that. but when hurricane sandy hit the east coast, you may recall that some of your republican colleagues were not so sure they wanted to support disaster relief in democratic states. so let us be clear and i hope we can be unanimous on this. this is the united states of america. and no matter where a disaster strikes, it is the role of the government to be there, whether it is a republican governor, a
democratic governor, an independent governor or whatever. with that caveat, i certainly support this amendment. senator enzi: opposition? seeing none, i'll declare the time has expired on debate for the amendment. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume and if requested a recorded vote will be done at the agreed upon time. van hollen number one. senator van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. this is an amendment to make sure that no middle class families have to see a pay increase as a result of tax bill that was passed here december, 2017. if you recall at the time that bill was unveiled, both speaker ryan and republican senate leader, majority leader mcconnell made the sweeping statement say nothing middle class families were going to see any increase in their taxes. they had to revise the
statements later when it was clear middle class families would see a tax increase. if you look at my home state of maryland, the comptroller of our state did an analysis estimating that 376,000 tax filers are going to see a tax increase. the vast majority of those 0,000 make less than $250,000. the vast majority of them make less than $100,000 in income. yet they are seeing a tax increase from a bill advertised as not raising taxes on anyone in the middle class. if you look at the analysis of the tax policy center, those making less than $250,000 will see an increase of $.3 billion around the country. this amendment is very simple. in that same bill we provided a huge windfall tax break to the
wealthiest estates in this country. before the bill passed last year we only put taxes on estates, estates of couples over $11 million. less than $11 million, there was no tax. only one in 1,000 taxpayers, ezz cue me, two in 1,000 taxpayers under the old system were paying any kind of estate tax. that was changed, it was doubled, so now if you're a couple, you're exempt up to $22 million. of estate taking it from two in 1,000 taxpayers to one in 1,000 taxpayers. so it turns out that the annual windfall to those big estates is approximately $8 billion. which happens to coincide with the tax increase that middle class families around the country are experiencing because of the bill that our republican colleagues, the tax
bill our republican colleagues passed. this is a simple instruction. directing us to make sure that those middle class families who saw a tax increase as a result of that bill, don't face thain crease. they're held harmless. and those estates, you know, above $11 million that got an additional windfall will go back to paying on the same basis as they were before. in other words, estates if you're a couple, your estate is valued below $11 million, you don't pay a penny, above that, you go back to what you were doing a year and a half ago. i urge support. senator enzi: i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. according to the tax policy center, the vast majority of families earning less than $250,000 per year will pay less in income taxes tapping thanks to the tax cuts and jobs act. dibubble -- by doubling the
estate tax exemption, it was ensured that fewer ranchers and farmers in my own state are affected by this nundmentally unfair tax where you're tax when you earn it and are taxed when you die. many were affected by the state and local taxes because they live in high tax states that opportunity mean the federal government should go back to subsidizing these states especially fit means subjecting more family owned farms an small bayses to the threat of financial ruin caused by the death tax. eliminating the cap for state and local taxes as the senator from maryland has proposed would reduce revenues by about $620 billion according to tax policy center with less than 7% going to families earning less than $200,000. changing the estate tax exemption for its pre2018 levels would come nowhere close to offsetting the revenue loss. if the goal is to provide additional tax relief to middle income families across the
country and preserve tax reform's middle class tax cuts, i believe there is bipartisan support for that we shouldn't tie it to issues that will only divide us and keep us from accomplishing things we can all agree on. further comments in opposition? all time has expired then and the amendment will be laid aside. consideration will resume if requested, a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed upon ime. senator grassley. senator grassley: i have amendment number 6, meant to be a side-by-side to the amendment just explained by senator van hollen. and that would have the effect of increasing the death tax so that the wealthiest states will directly hit family-own businesses, farms and ranches, congress ought to do everything we can to encourage family
enterprises to be passed on to the next generation of kids and grandkids. and keep that business or farming operation open, expanding the reach of the death tax as democrats are advocating works against that goal. the death tax hits the kgchull -- agricultural sector particularly hard in states where cropland values have inkeysed tremendously over the last years and farmers don't generally buy bye farmland one day to sell the next they do it to make their farming operation efficient. and to pass on to the next generation. so this would leave many family farms, ranches, and businesses land rich and cash poor with limited options to pay the government for the death tax. my amendment would make permanent the increased death tax exceptions levels included in the tax cuts and jobs act
and continue to protect family owned businesses, farms, and tax s from conification, confiscation as opposed to just a plain old tax increase. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. senator enzi: others in support? >> mr. chairman. senator enzi: in opposition. senator sanders. senator sanders: let's be very clear. when the american people express in poll after poll contempt for the united states congress, this is one of the reasons they do. senator grassley no doubt knows, the state tax applies to the top one tenth of one percent. you've got half the people in his country living paycheck-to-paycheck, 40 million living in poverty, you have the very, very rich doing phenomenally well, better than any time perhaps in history. the state tax applies to the
1,700 wealthiest families in america. who inherit over $11 million in wealth. now i hear year after year, family farms in america will be hit by this. i represent a state of family farm, dairy mostly. to the best of my knowledge, not one farmer in the state of vermont will be affected by this. in 2017 only 20 farms and small businesses in the entire country owed any estate tax. and even the conservative american farm bureau has never been able to find one family in america that's ever lost a farm to the estate tax. not a single one. this tax applies to the top .1%. and if at a time of massive income and wealth inequality you think the very, very richest families in america, the walton family, get a tax break of up to $63 billion.
koch brothers would get a tax break, their families would. if you think those guys are the ones who need a tax break when our infrastructure is crumbling and kids can't afford to go to college, i guess you can support that amendment. i think it's a bad idea. senator enzi: mr. van hollen. senator van hollen: the figure he cited about just 20 of these farms in the country being impacted in 2017 from the estate tax comes from the tax policy center. .01%. 1% of the that were affected. >> taking those windfalls and giving them back to the middle class has a tendency to overrun. senator enzi: did you wish to take the remaining minute?
in that case time has expired for debate on the amendment. consideration will resume if requested and a vote will be taken on at the agreed upon time. we've had an agreement to switch america lee number two for -- merkley number two for merkley number three. >> mr. chairman, amendment number three would create a deficit neutral reserve fund for damage due to extreme storms, wildfire, drought, rising sea level. now more than ever it's clear we must act swiftly to protect our planet because it's at risk from multiple effects of the climate chaos. extreme weather is a significant threat to our security. just this week the offutt air force base in nebraska, one of the nation's most important air
force bases, was flooded. part of its airstrips sun america -- submerged, dozens of its building inundated. it damaged an air force base home to the strategic command. extreme weather conditions like the flooding in our heartland will not magically end. we can no longer risk ignoring the impacts on our economy and national security. the pentagon just release a report in january showing that 2/3 of the military's operationally critical installations are threatened by climate chaos. there's more we need to know. which are the most vulnerable bases? what actions do we need to take to adapt? what do we need to do to mitigate? what will this do to readiness? that's why i'm offering this amendment to analyze the threats to u.s. military installations due to extreme
storm, wildfire, droughts and ther impacts of climate chaos. >> i'd like to be listed as a co-sponsor. senator enzi: so noted. i'll also speak in support. i think we can adopt this amendment by a voice vote. the amendment would facilitate legislation that analyzes threats to military installations due to extreme weather events like storms, wildfire and drought. the budget resolution supports an strengthens america's military, we should evaluate all potential vulnerables to ensure that the highest level of military readiness is there to ensure the protection of our national security. further comments? opposition? the amendment will be set aside , considering will resume if requested, a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed upon time. next amendment is senator arris. number one.
senator harris: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to offer harris amendment number one. this would make rental house manager affordable for working families struggling to make ends meet. a home, of course, is more than just a roof and four walls. stable housing helps families place roots in their communities and provides a platform for them to raise families and participate in our economy. today far too many people struggle to find affordable housing. the cost of living is skyrocketing and americans have not received a meaningful pay raise in a generation. in 99% of the counties in the united states, a minimum wage worker working full time 40 hours a week cannot afford market rate for one bedroom apartment. over 21 million americans spend more than 30% of their income on rent. the housing crisis is especially acute for people of color. black and hispanic households
are twice as likely to rent their homes. in 2015, 46% of african-american-led renter household were rent burdened compared with 34% of other households. this is more than just about economics. this is about the security and dignity that every american and every human being deserves. that's why i'm offering this amendment to improve the affordability of renting housing -- rental housing for working families i urge my colleagues to vote yes on this amendment and look forward to working with all of you to ensure that every family has the basic security and dignity of a home. thank you, mr. chairman. senator enzi: others in support? senator sanders. senator sanders: i want to thank senator harris for offering this amendment. there are some issues out there that we don't talk enough about. and one of those issues is the crisis in affordable housing. all over this country, you have people who are spending 40, 50, sometimes 60% of their limited
incomes to put a roof over their heads. when you spend that kind of money you don't have any resources available for other needs. several years ago we managed to get passed working with congresswoman lee in the house the national affordable hougsing trust fund. it needs substantially more funding. there are other programs that need funding. bottom line is, it is not a radical idea to say that in america every person should be living in housing that is safe and affordable and this amendment takes us in that direction. >> others in support? -- senator enzi: others in support sf if not, i'll use 30 seconds in support. i think this amendment we can adopt by voice vote when the time comes. it would create a deficit neutral reserve fund for housing for low income families. according to the congressional research service, rental prices have increased faster than incomes. renters to c.r.s.,
pay over 30% of their income for housing. we do have to do better on housing assistance. the government accountability office found that across government 20 different entities administer 160 different programs and the tools that support home ownership and rental housing. that's too dispersed, there's nobody setting goals or checking on it. i've used the balance of the time. is there anyone in opposition? senator too many mi. senator too many mi thk the problem -- senator toomey: the question i have is how much is enough? we already spend a massive amount of money subsidizing rental income, we spend over $50 billion from h.u.d. programs alone. $7 billion on public housing. $3 billion in community block grants. $2 billion in homeless assistance grants. not to mention the billions and billions of dollars in subsidies we provide in the tax code ex-list fi -- explicitly for rental housing. my question is, what is the right amount? how much is enough? the role problem in my view is
a problem with supply and demand. we have municipalities and states across the country that obstruct the development of new affordable housing and that lack of supply that doesn't come on the mark because of bad policies like rent control and exclusionary zoning are the underlying problems. so with the many tens of billions of dollars we already spend dealing with this very problem, to throw more federal dollars at it would dealing with the underlying actual problem which is a lack of supply, i think would be a mistake. urge a no vote. senator sanders: how much is enough? i'll tell you how much is enough. this is the richest country in the history of the world, you shouldn't are many, many, hundreds of thousands of people tonight, including a few blocks from here sleeping on the street. senator enzi: that didn't sound like opposition to the harris amendment? opposition to the harris amendment? senator kennedy. senator kennedy: i don't know
how i'm going to vote on this amendment. i'm certainly not against affordable housing. that's like being against children or against prosperity. i think we're all for affordable housing. but i think senator toomey is right on supply and demand. and i would respectfully point out that when we have social media companies like facebook allowing owners of rural property to advertise those properties on social media platform and exclude certain people of color or income status or if they want to, gender, that would also be a good place to start in terms of correcting the problem, particularly in terms of supply and demand. >> mr. chairman. senator enzi: i'm sorry. anyone else in opposition. >> i'm certainly not in
opposition. senator enzi: time has expired for in favor. there's 18 seconds fleft opposition. seeing no one wishing to speak time has expired on the debate for the amendment. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume and if requested a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed upon time. senator grassley. senator grassley: i'd like to call up amendment number one. again i'm back to the floods of western iowa, nebraska, missouri. took a long time for communities to recover from a catastrophic flood eight years ago. i think this year is worse. iowans, especially those living along the missouri river, want and deserve answers. i've heard from southwest iowa communities raising grave concerns about nonresponsive corps of engineers, particularly about the lack of communication, river dredging and water releases on the dams upriver. and i share those concerns for
years -- those concerns. for years i worked with several american colleagues along the missouri river to make flood control the number one priority for the corps and it seems to me that misguided decisions and misplaced priorities have eclipsed common sense. it seems to me that protection of life and property should take precedent over recreation a -- recreation and experiments that may or may not have endangered species or over other purposes identified in he missouri river master manual. my amendment sets up a deficit neutral reserve fund to increase focus on flood control for the operations of the missouri river. the number one priority of the corps for operation on the missouri river should be flood control. flood control period. i urge my colleagues to support this common sense amendment.
senator enzi: 1:21 left. others in favor? >> yeah. senator enzi: senator zphane senator kaine: i offer support for this. s that responsibility we should all take seriously wherever the emergencies are. i'm struck that today we're going to have a vote on a disaster supplemental where all the money for puerto rico is taken out. this is a vote we'll have in about an hour on the floor. the house passed a supplemental with disaster relief for virtually all of our states but the sthath is trying to put up the vote that dramatically reduces the puerto rican disaster relief funds in the bill and why are we doing this? americans are americans. the needs of people in missouri, on the missouri river, the american flooding, pictures are disastrous. we ought to be focused on that but we shouldn't be shorting american citizens on the island of puerto rico. senator enzi: other comments in support?
>> let me concur with senator kaine. senator sanders: president trump may or may not like the mayor of san juan but that's not a reason to deny the territory money it desperately needs. senator enzi: others in support of senator grassley's amendment? seeing none, opposition. seeing none, the time has expired on debate for the amendment. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume and a recorded vote is requested. murray number three. senator murray? senator murray: thank you mr. chairman. i call up amendment number three. mr. chairman, i believe budgets matter both as a statement of our values and priorities and it's a blueprint of how we plan to govern and solve problems on behalf of our constituents. but before we can truly get to work on that, the most important thing we can do right now is work together to reach a fourth bipartisan budget
agreement. we need a caps deal. i'm willing to work with anyone from any part who is willing to work with me to get there. the first deal, the b.b.a.-2013 was made possible by the work of this committee. both in setting a clear and strong proposal in the senate-passed plan and then by reaching an agreement with paul ryan and the house budget committee at the end of the year. wasn't perfect but that agreement helped end the brinksmanship and gave the appropriations committee very clear marching orders for congress. mr. chairman, while i believe you could have gone further, i do appreciate that you did include both a reserve fund and adjustment score keeping language that would reset the budget talks following another bipartisan budget deal. i applaud that your plan rejects the president's oco gimmick and in doing so signals a real expectation that congress will work together once again even if president trump is not cooperating or at least that's what i hope. this amendment, amendment number three, would better align your adjustments language
with the results of the previous bipartisan budget agreements. we've done this deal three times now and we know how they work. of course we need parity across defense and nondefense. which is a principal that we have all affirmed in each deal that we have reached. so that's what my amendment reflecks and it makes it very clear that we will not increase the defense side of the ledger and leave middle class families behind as we move forward on is senator enzi: others in support of the amendment? i'm going to urge my side to
oppose this amendment. the sentence that requires the adjustment parity between defense and nondefense spending. we can have an honest discussion abspending priority on its own merits but i reject the idea that defense and nondefense have to be tied together that they're equal. doing so is merely a negotiating tactic, unfair to our service members. the constitution brusts us with the duty to provide for our defense and that duty requires matching our military spending to the missions our troops conduct and the threats our country faces. not arbitrarily tying defense spending to unrelated programs. this budget reflect -- reflects the bipartisan goal of providing for our defense by providing the most regular discretionary defense spending we can under current law along with appropriate levelers in overseas contingency operations account. lastly parity has not existed between defense and nondefense spending from the beginning. under the b.c.a., defense
spending was forced to absorb its share of the cuts almost entirely on the discretionary side of the ledger. nondefense discretionary was spared this fate as redemptions were absorbed by mandatory spending. for 2020 alone, defense discretionary cuts are $54 billion while nondefense discretionary cuts are less than $36 billion. the other place where parity has never existed is when we look at authorizations of appropriations. without fail defense spending is authorized each year, nondefense spending however is goes largely unauthorized with more than $300 billion in unauthorized appropriations in 2019 alone. so i urge my colleagues to oppose this whole defense -- holding defense spending hostage. any discussion in opposition? >> i will just respond very quickly that parity means replacing the cuts in both defense and nondefense from the sequester cap levels in an equal manner. that was the deal they reached with chairman paul ryan.
it is in 2013 it worked well. it about the guiding principal we have used to reach every budget deal since then, two more beyond that and i think we should recognize that, that is the way we can move forward and accomplish the goal we all have of making sure that we get through this and follow our responsibility to have a budget deal and appropriations process that at least has smooth sailing of a blueprint. senator enzi: i suspect there will be a caps deal. i suspect that that will be a requirement for it. senator murray: it would be help ffl this committee supported that so we could move forward. noup all time has expired. the amendment is laid aside. consideration will resume. a recorded vote will be taken at the agreed upon time. sanders number five. senator sanders: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment would create a
deficit neutral reserve fund to fully audit the department of outrageous cost overruns and crack down on the massive amount of fraud perpetrated by defense contractors. i wish i could tell you it was a brilliant new idea i thought of but it's not. it's been around far long time. on september 10, 2001, one day before 9/11, then secretary of defense donald rumsfeld said, and i quote, according to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. we cannot share information from floor to floor in this building, the pentagon, because it's stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible, end of quote. yet almost 18 years after secretary rumsfeld's statement, the department of defense has still not passed a clean audit
despite the fact that the pentagon controls assets in excess of $2.2 trillion, or roughly 70% of what the entire federal government owns. meanwhile, over the past two decades, virtually every major defense contractor in the united states has paid billions of dollars in fines and settlements for misconduct and -- all while making huge profits on those government contracts. i hope that my colleagues will support this important amendment. senator enzi: other comments in favor? i guess i have comments in favor. senator sanders: pardon me? senator enzi: i guess i have comments in favor. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment it would create a fund to support the effort to pass a clean financial audit
tsms the duty of congress to apply its oversight role. i applaud the department for completing its first ever financial audit. though they didn't receive a clean opinion, it helped scor vulnerables, identified efficiencies. and helped eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse to ultimately improve management and reform of the department. next month our committee is going to hold a hearing with the department in which we have an opportunity to learn more about its audit efforts. i look forward to working with my colleague in the senate to continue conducting oversight of agencies including the department of defense. to receive a clean audit. i support the amendment. in opposition? seeing none, time has expired for the amendment. it's laid aside. , a deration will resume
recorded vote if requested. senator murray number two senator murray: i know my colleagues, senators wyden, stabenow, and kaine filed amendments to strike reconciliation. senator alexander and i are working together in a bipartisan manner to address many of the major issues that american families and communities want us to be working on them, for instance, we are in the process of negotiating a bipartisan, comprehensive re-authorization of the higher education act that will try and improve access, affordability, accountability, and safety for students and families. we are ding that under regular order include regular conciliation and targeting the savings we may need to reach our bipartisan deal does not help with those negotiations. it hurts them. and if we want to take steps in this committee to move beyond some of the resentment and partisanship from last congress, reconciliation is really not the approach we should take to doing this.
i urge my colleagues to support my amendment, strike the reconciliation instruction on this. >> others speaking in favor? seeing none. i'll voice some opposition to this amendment. our country is on an unsustainable fiscal path fueled by out of control spending. we need to have committees taking a look at not just ways we can give away more money, but ways that we can create efficiencies. this is simply a target for the committees, it's not prescriptive. it's completely up to the committee of jurisdiction how to hit their target. and they don't have to hit their target unless this passes on the floor, goes to conference, and the reconciliation makes it through that. which would i think probably make it very bipartisan. since it's a split congress. so the reconciliation does not
mandate how the committee would ind the savings. i believe reconciliation instructions allow a committee to focus on reforms, many of which can be bipartisan in nature, that improve programs, outcomes, one of the things we did were a lot of consolidations, consolidations save money. this instruction is an opportunity for my colleagues, an opportunity i think it would take for long-term viability of education and health programs. noir comments in opposition? seeing none, time has expired. amendment will be laid aside, consideration will resume later. ext amendment. braun number 11. braun number 2.
mr. braun: mr. chairman, on these two teaments -- these two amendments i'd like permission to be able to discuss them even though i do intend to withdraw. further thought, i think this needs to be probably part of the process of when we get the budget reformulater on down the road. brief comments about it since we're not going to be voting on it today. this is simply one little way to make it a little more difficult to renege on what we should stick with. chimps, doesn't amount to more than $17 billion to $20 billion. but to me if we can't start there how will we be honest with me american public when we get to what senator whitehouse wants to do, and that is reform the process in general. i think until we start doing little things, that show we're going to change the framework of how it's been, we're going to lose more credibility year after year and i think what you
stressed all along, we'll be look at some type of calamity down the road rather than using all the smarts that we have on this committee to rein things in and do it in a way to get agreement across the board. so i would ask you that when we do get to this point down the road that i would be able to maybe lead on this and a few other reform measures. and thank you. senator enzi: appreciate somebody wanting to take the initiative to lead on some of these issues. we will have a full discussion and debate on them. and hopefully come to a number of agreements that will put us on a course of -- that will give the stability that senator kaine mentioned before of being on a glide slope to get to the right place. other comments in favor? omments in opposition?
seeing none, the amendments will be set aside. they've been withdrawn so, did you want to speak on the other one as well which covers more detail? senator braun: same principle do, not need. to senator enzi: thank you for speeding up the process and for making a point that's necessary in our budget reform process as well. next is wyden number six. senator wyden: thank you, chairman enzi and colleagues. i don't want to sound repetitive but again we had a lot of bipartisan discussion, right here in this budget committee over the years on bipartisanship on taxes. i wrote two full bipartisan tax reform bills, once with the
chair. judd gray. then with dan coats who is now donald trump's man on intelligence. and th and then early in 2017, democrats made it clear we wanted a bipartisan bill, but it had to focus on the middle class and making sure that the 1% and the multinational corporations paid their fair share. we didn't get that. we didn't get bipartisanship and we didn't get the substance that would have given us a chance to have something that would be bipartisan, with the 1% and the multinationals paying their fair share. the budget proposal before us is in lock step with the trump tax law, the law that is unbelievably unfair and ineffective, it extend as broken tax code and makes it worse. hundreds of billions of dollars in handouts to billionaires and corporations for the middle class, the tax cuts are temporary, they get anything at all. -- if they get anything at all.
millions, particularly oregonians, got hit with an outright tax increase, and there was a promise made to the middle class that's been broken. they were promised $4,000 raises. they were promised an end to offshoring jobs. they were promised tax cuts for those at the top. in terms of they would actually pay for themselves. none of this has turned out to be true. what happened instead, there was a massive wave of stock buybacks which overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy shareholders and executives and there's very little evidence that that is doing much good for working people. we've got two tax systems in this country. we got one for cops and nurses, it's compulsory, they didn't get much out what have donald trump was interested in. and then we've got another one for folks at the top and to a great extent they can pay what they want, when they want to. so what we're saying here is we want to focus on the middle class and the 1% and the
multinationals would have to pay their fair share and by the way, i see my friend pat toomey smiling, what i've been advocating essentially all these years is pretty much what ronald reagan said he was for. when he said there ought to be equal treatment for people with a wage and people for investments. so much for the history. i yield back. encence --encence -- ensens we have a side by side -- ensens we have side by side -- mr. enzi: we have a side by side amendment. >> it would be grassley number four. a side by side to wyden's. before i speak about my amendment, i don't know how many meetings senator wyden and i have had since i became chairman and he's ranking member of the finance committee. mr. grassley: but every one of those meetings has resulted in our commitment to work towards whatever the subject was of that meeting, to a bipartisan
solution. this is one where he and i have some disagreement. so, my amendment, i want everybody to know that i agree that we want to maintain tax relief for lower and middle income taxpayers. but i disagree that we achieve that goal using massive tax hikes on higher income earners and american job creators. my amendment would ensure that lower and middle income families continue to enjoy the significant tax relief provided by the tax cuts and jobs act, by making the tax relief permanent. our country's experiencing a remarkable strong labor market and a are you surjent economic growth -- a resurgent economic growth in the economy and worker wages because of the tax relief put in place in the last congress. unemployment has recently been at the lowest rate it's been in almost 50 years. real wage growth has accelerated. there are more jobs available than the number of people who
are unemployed. signaling increased opportunities for workers. the strengthen in the economy has followed from tax reform and is directly benefiting lower and middle income americans. so i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. >> mr. chairman. mr. enzi: senator wyden. mr. wyden: how long do i have to response to -- respond to senator grassley? mr. enzi: two minutes. mr. wyden: great. the chairman is right. we are working hard on a number of key areas in a bipartisan way. particularly when i think people understand is this horrendous price gouging on prescription medicine and in fact the chairman and i are introducing a bill on tax administration today that is also bipartisan. we do disagree on this. my amendment truly reforms the tax code to provide a genuine tax cut to working families and the middle class, by, for example, expanding the refundability of the child tax credit and the earned income tax
credit. we would offset the cost by rescinding tax cuts to the top 1% and multinationals. instead of adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficits. so there is a choice, colleagues. on this amendment. and when we get to the voting time, i urge colleagues to support my amendment. i say respectfully, we shouldn't support the grassley legislation, making the republican tax law permanent. and further enriching the well to do at the expense of working families and the middle class. and this is just an area where the chairman and i have a disagreement, but i want to highlight also, we're doing a lot of bipartisan work, which is what we ought to be doing on things like stopping prescription price gouging, which is just decades overdue. thank you. mr. enzi: senator grassley. you have 42 seconds.
mr. grassley: i yield back. mr. wyden: is now a time when i can ask for two bipartisan amendments that senator grassley and i worked on together? mr. enzi: no. it's not appropriate. we agreed on the schedule, it would have to come later. mr. wyden: oh. i was not up on that. but i will respect your wishes. [talking simultaneously] [laughter] mr. enzi: thank you. further discussion on the grassley or the widen amendment? all -- wyden amendment? all time is expired. the amendment is set aside and consideration will resume later. senator harris for number two. mr. harris: thank you, mr. chairman and -- ms. harris: thank you, mr. chairman. i offer harris amendment number two. this amendment would ensure middle class families receive the tax relief they need in order to cover expenses like child care and medical bills.
the budget offered by my colleagues extends the tax cuts to corporations and the top 1% on the backs of working and middle class american families struggling to make ends meet month to month. in 2017 the federal reserve reported that the top 1% in our country now owned nearly 40% of the nation's wealth. hile the bottom 90% owned 23%. the republican budget focuses on growing this imbalance between those at the very top and those who are working two, sometimes three jobs to pay their bills. my amendment would provide relief for the people who are working harder than ever to put food on the table, secure a quality education for their children, and save enough to retire with dignity. congress has the ability to make the tax code work for middle class families. instead this budget will continue to create more income inequality and shift wealth from the middle class to our
country's largest corporations, even though one out of every five corporations pays nothing in income taxes. i hear from people all over the country who are worried about paying their rent or getting their children through school. yet the republican budget cuts billions of dollars from programs that these families desperately need, eliminating housing assistance for almost 700,000 families across the country, and cutting pell grants by more than $55 billion. this budget does not line up with the priorities of working people and families. i say instead that we make a commitment to the middle class and the working people of our country and provide them with the relief they so desperately need to make ends meet. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on this amendment. mr. enzi: further discussion in favor? seeing none, we'll yield back opposition time to go to grassley number five, which is the side by side for this.
just to expedite things. mr. grassley: side by side for harris number two. i agree that we want to maintain relief for lower and middle income taxpayers. and i think the tax act of 2017 did just that. for example, tax rates were reduced and the standard deduction and child tax credit were increased. senator harris' amendment would go beyond that by expanding refundable credits such as earned income tax credit without addressing the long history of high rates of improper payments. so i think it brings great credibility to that point about improper payments when i, quote, treasury inspector general for tax administration, reporting over n 2017 nearly 24% or $16 billion in e.i. -- eitc
payments were improper. and the improper payment rate for the american opportunity tax credit was over 28% and that would represent about -- another billion dollars. so my amendment would ensure that lower and middle income families continue to get the significant tax relief provided by the tax cut and jobs act, by making that tax relief permanent. i urge my colleagues to support it. mr. enzi: further comments in feign -- comments in favor of the grassley amendment? opposition? ms. harris: mr. chairman. i believe and agree that the amendment's goals are laudable. however, what it actually represents in our anal -- and our analysis suggests is that it would be a thinly veiled attempt to extend the tax giveaways to the top 1% of corporations. if all the expired provisions of the tax cuts were extended, 71%
of the benefits would go to the top 20% of taxpayers in 2026. with the top 1% receiving a total tax cut of $50 billion. if my colleagues truly want to protect middle class taxpayers, we would not be proposing a budget that piles on nearly $1 trillion more in tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy by 2029. all at the expense of crucial programs that protect health, well-being and economic security for the middle class and middle class american families. so i urge my colleagues to vote no on this amendment. thank you. mr. enzi: further comments in opposition? seeing none, those two will be et aside for consideration later. next would be warner amendment number one. mr. warner: thank you, mr. chairman. am i going to just -- am i going to be doing both my amendments now or just warner amendment number one? both? mr. enzi: just one amendment.
and then the other one. mr. warner: thank you, mr. chairman. i think the first one may be a little easier than the second. mr. enzi: i think so. mr. warner: i'm offering a deficit-neutral reserve fund to support service members and their families, make sure they have access to safe and healthy housing. this is an amendment that's co-sponsored by my friend, senator kaine and senator harris. i think all of us have seen this problem once again re-arise across the country on military installations all over the nation. i think we look back at the fact, back in the late 1990's, when we basically outsourced military housing to eight contractors for 50-year terms. sometimes we may have not put as much review process for some of those contractors and we've seen repeatedly in virginia, as i'm sure almost every member has an installation have heard reports of service members living in homes with enormous amounts of
mold, lead, rodents, carbon monoxide identify poisoning. i even had one service member's spouse who was basically poisoned by carbon monoxide and the rental housing company, the company that was running the installation, told her to go back into that facility, even before it was fixed. our service members deserve better. we've seen a whole host of additional problems oftentimes where spouses who are not on the leases don't even get a chance to report back to the companies. i want to commend the members who brought in all the service heads, as well as the eight companies. this is a failure of management, frankly, at the service level and at the eight companies. and this deficit-neutral reserve fund amendment would put us on record in terms of making this -- these appropriate changes in our military housing, which i think we'd all support. i believe i've got about another
minute. i'm going to cede that to senator kaine to add additional comments. mr. mccain: thank you. this is really important -- mr. kaine: thank you. this is really important. it's not just substandard housing. it's the military mismanagement. so many of the service members, the thing that makes you mad is they reach out after the housing companies won't give them satisfaction to their garrison commander, to their chain of command. they're told, we can't do anything about it. people don't enlist to be tenants of lincoln housing. they enlist to become service members and the military's job to fix this and there may well -- i think this is one that should get bipartisan support. i thank senator warner. mr. warner: i simply add, mr. chairman, we also have legislation that would try to put some more teeth in this beyond the budget amendment. but appreciate your consideration. mr. enzi: this is very similar to an amendment that was filed by senator scott and i applaud both senator scott and warner for the work to bring this issue
to the light, with the recent reports of the poor and unsatisfactory housing conditions at military installations. i'll be asking my colleagues to support this. does anybody else wish to speak? anyone in opposition? that one will be set aside for later consideration. warner number three. mr. warner: this one, i'd like to get the same kind of affirmative response i got from you from the last one. i don't know that we'll see that come to pass. this is, again, an amendment that i've co-sponsored. i've got senator kaine, senator van hollen co-sponsored. those of us who have been here for a while have seen ourselves go through a number of shutdowns. i think the most recent shutdown at 35 days was maybe the most stupid and most pointless of any of the shutdowns that i've had to live through. and unfortunately the administration's budget
basically takes another whack at federal employees. i would simply like to make a comment, i don't know, as somebody who has spent more time in the private sector than the public sector, i don't know many folks in the private sector that would continue to show up five weeks in without pay and without any guarantee of pay on a going forward basis. we were able in the budget agreement to make sure that federal employees got their back pay. but in the budget that's been put forward, the administration has used these federal employees' retirement accounts to offset spending elsewhere. i think that would be, frankly, a slap in the face of our federal employees all over the country. not just here in the greater washington area. frankly, add further insult to injury. that's why i've offered this amendment with my colleague, senator kaine and senator value holen, which would create a score -- van hollen, which would create a score-keeping rule. as we've discussed many times,
mr. chairman, we do need to make sure everything's on the table if we're going to really be serious about getting our fiscal house in order. but i feel very strongly that we have disproportionately taken -- every time we have a shortfall, we look to federal employees as the first place to go. i think taking particularly on senator van hollen's comments were yesterday, going straight at federal employees' retirements, increasing their contribution while not increasing their back end, doesn't make any sense to me. the fact is there's no point over the next 80 years at which the assets to the civil service retirement an disability fund are projected to run out. yet twice since 2010 we've raised employee contributions without additional benefits in retirement. so i think enough is enough. federal employees deserve a lot better, particularly with what they've gone through in the last year and at the beginning of this year with the 35-day
shutdown. so i would hope that we would stop using them, particularly their retirement funds, as a budget piggy bank to go after. and i would urge my colleagues to vote for this amendment. mr. enzi: further discussion in favor? seeing none. i will urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. it creates a score keeping rule related to the first system and specifically it would require the federal score keepers to ignore the budgetary effects of changes that would make the system more financially stable and consistent with the private sector. i consistently object to any of these. we have a disaster bill on the floor that just has one tiny flaw in it. it's called the harbor maintenance trust fund exception. i agree with spending harbor fund money on anything remotely related to harbors. but there's a little provision in there that when you spend it, it doesn't count. you can't do that.
that's requiring a budgetary effect that is, i think, illegal. but a couple of words removed would make that work and this one again says that the budgetary effect of the changes would be a requirement on the score keepers. and we're not -- i don't think we're allowed to tell the score keepers how to keep score. i understand this is an effort to discurrently reform and i believe we should focus on protecting -- discourage reform and i believe we should focus on protecting the system for future and current employees and not impose unnecessary hurdles. we should always do our best to reflect true budgetary costs of legislative changes and i agree with the senator that the federal score keeping process can be improved and we should look to make improvements to the budgetary concepts and estimating principles through statutory budget process reform later this year. in light of that, i will oppose it.
further discussion in opposition? that will be set aside for consideration later. next one is van hollen number three. mr. van drew: mr. chairman, i would ask -- mr. van hollen: mr. chairman, i would ask that i switch the order of offering my amendment with senator merkley since he has to go somewhere. is that possible? i think he's supposed to be right after me. mr. merkley: mr. chairman we did have an greemed to switch these two amendments and i am in order fter senator warner. mr. enzi: he had to leave when you got here. mr. merkley: i agreed to the switching of my amendments. i'd be happy to have senator johnson offer his side by side later or make his case for him, if you'd like me to do so. [laughter] mr. chairman, i have a room full of people who have been waiting for me to deliver a speech and
so i'm just trying to be accommodating to the public. mr. enzi: well. we are trying to be accommodating and trying to get finished up here. we're getting close. so, go ahead. mr. merkley: thank you very much. mr. chairman, i offer merkley amendment number two. this creates a deficit neutral reserve fund to stop child separation at the border. and expedite family reunification. to cut the speech short, i'm sure everyone realizes how horrific this practice is. and yet it's continued and we have had numerous reports of several hundred more children being affected. it's time that we send a message that this offers us a great deal, this strategy of inflicking trauma on children. they'll feel it for a lifetime. so let's create a budget deficit -- deficit neutral reserve fund and for the purpose of addressing this very important issue. thank you.
would you like me to make my colleague's case for him? mr. enzi: pardon? i didn't hear that last comment. mr. merkley: would you like me to make senator johnson's case for him? [laughter] mr. enzi: no. first we'll see if there are others in support that want to se the balance of your time. if not, you yield back the time, i'll speak in opposition to the amendment. this is almost into the area of legislation which would normally upset the parliamentarian significantly. i don't think anybody in this room supports separating children from their parents. in fact, i've co-sponsored a bill that would prevent it. we went through a decade of separating families and now -- have a policy of putting the -- them back together. the government has a responsibility to enforce its laws and the people want to come to this country, need to follow them. we can ensure immigration laws are compassionate, along with
being fair to american citizens. i suggested a number of times that we could pass immigration legislation if we did it a piece at a time. agreeing to do all of the pieces. but a piece at a time instead of comprehensive. because comprehensive always loses a few votes on each of them. in 2018 customs and border protection apprehended almost 600,000 people on the border. this fiscal year there have been 140,000 people apprehended in what is referred to as a family unit at the border. unfortunately customs and border protection immigration and customs enforcement are so overwhelmed that the result becomes a humanitarian crisis. our policies toward the border and law enforcement must keep this part of the story in mind. any discussion on how to change this scenario needs to include law enforcement, both sides of the capitol and the administration. and it will take all of us working together. we need to move beyond gotcha
politics and work toward a way to address the really big challenges facing this country. this budget i think is the first step in tackling those fiscal challenges. so i would urge my colleagues to -- ok.this amendment and senator johnson on his way back. so permission, we'll move to -- h, here he is. senator johnson number one. mr. johnson: i'm assuming senator merkley has offered his amendment? mr. enzi: he has. mr. merkley: i attempted to help you make your case in your absence, but the chairman didn't allow me to do so. mr. johnson: i appreciate that. first of all, i think senator merkley's amendment is simply not necessary. it's already stated policy of this administration not to separate families and reunify the ones that were separated.
my amendment simply says that it would be deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide the department of homeland security with the necessary resources, they do not have them now because we are at a full-blown crisis to protect migrant children and families. that's how i know -- i just came from meeting with secretary nielsen. we are well past the breaking point and what i do want to point out is just the facts. we have it up on the screens but every member has a chart that shows the extent that we have a humanitarian crisis. this chart shows, first example in 2014, we had 120,000 individuals either as unaccompanied children or members of families, came into this country illegally and were apprehended and back then president obama very appropriately referred to that as a humanitarian crisis. last year that number was 169,000. in less than the first six months. we're closing in on the six had been month mark. we've had over 200,000 people
come into this country illegal he will or now so he showing up at port -- or now showing up at ports of entry without proper documentation. it's completely overwhelmed the system. we have a couple days now where we've app rehenleded 4,000 people per day. -- apprehended 4,000 people per day. detention facilities are full. the detention facilities were designed for single adults which used to be the problem in terms of immigration. but because of a number of laws, the flores agreement that's been reinterpreted to include accompanied children, together with the feinstein amendment that treats unaccompanied children from central america differently than we treat children from mexico and canada, where we cannot repatriate them, can't remove them, return them to the families immediately, has caused this surge. these individuals who now are in america, once they get here, they get to stay. so this administration needs the resources to handle this growing
crisis, and it is a growing crisis. anybody who says this is manufactured has their head so far in the sand, i don't know how to rehabilitate them. thanks huge problem. it's a growing problem and we -- this is a huge problem. it's a growing problem and we need to address it. the department needs the resources but we should prioritize spending and do it in a deficit neutral spending way. mr. enzi: further in support? in opposition? mr. merkley: opposition. mr. chairman, i put forward a resolution about child separation. it's an agronalous practice. it's not about whether migrants arrive in the u.s., it's how they're treateded after they rive in the u.s. my colleague has suggested, let's instead do a resolution that addresses stronger border scumplete that is a completely separate issue. on which many of us, perhaps all of us here at the table, have supported a lot of funds for stronger border security. but despite my colleague's presentation, child separation is continuing, even now, with more than 200 additional
documented cases. so, we are in a situation simply saying that the sort of debate that you ask for about the best way to go forward, you said we should bring in the experts, we should have the different departments, absolutely. that is exactly what a deficit neutral reserve fund is about. providing space to address that type of possibility of legislation that we look at in the future after we have done this budget. so, let us not turn our heads away from this egregious strategy of child separation. let us take a clear stand that this is morally reprehensible. mr. johnson: i have a few seconds left? so let me correct my -- mine is providing the resources to protect migrant children and families. we are in full catch and release. because we've overwhelmed the system. c.d.p. doesn't have the time to determine is that the father or the sex trafficker? is that the child or the sex trafficked victim?
so when we're separating children from an adult right now, we're doing it to protect the child. and we don't have the resources to do that adequately. so i am saying, we need the resources to protect children from potential sex traffickers in the full catch and release mode, we don't have the time or he resources to do so. mr. enzi: all time has expired. those will be set aside for a vote later. next is van hollen number three. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. this is a very straightforward amendment. it would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to reducing the costs of prescription drugs. it doesn't do americans any good if we have a terrific drug out there and they can't afford it. and so this calls upon the congress to create this fund to put in place different proposals that would actually reduce the costs of prescription drugs.
if you look at the 2018 report from aarp, they found that between 2016 and 2017, retail prices for 267 widely used brand name prescription drugs creased by 8.4% after five straight years of double-digit average annual price increases. my colleagues and i, especially on the democratic side, have put forward lots of proposals to address this issue. i know it's been a concern expressed by our republican colleagues as well. senator brawn and i had a good exchange yesterday about the fact that the united states, we should be able to bring down health care costs and do it in way that increases actually the quality of care and i'm going to defer the remaining time and support to senator brawn. brawn brawn mr. chair -- senator brown. mr. brown: mr. chair. i think this is a fertile field for all of us. that we hold the health care
industry primarily responsible for the fix that we're in. and this amendment, i've got three or four bills that simply states, get with it. embrace transparency. help us bring costs down. and if we don't -- braun braun i know there are many other approaches that will solve it in another way. mr. braun: i'm glad here, i've got three or four bills out there myself that challenge the health care industry to take the responsibility for the fix we're in, tackle the health insurance companies 10 years ago in my own business, and not offering us a product that's sustainable, that's transparent, and that's serving most americans. so, i do support this amendment. mr. enzi: i think this can probably be taken by a voice vote. unless there's more discussion. that completes the list that we were to do this morning.
today. so, get a few minutes extra for lunch because we'll come back at 2:00 and hopefully that will start the voting process on these bills. so we can get out of here at a reasonable time. i appreciate the cooperation of erybody this morning and adjourned for lunch. come back at 2:00 so we can get started right away with a quorum. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2019] >> later today, president trump holds a campaign rally with voters and supporters in grand rapids, michigan. live at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. and in primetime on the c-span networks, starting at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. or after the president's remarks conclude. the confirmation hearing for interior secretary nominee, david bernhardt, who has been serving as acting secretary
since january. at 8:00 p.m. on c-span 2 the senate budget committee debating and voting on a 2020 budget resolution. and at 8:00 eastern on c-span3, testimony from education secretary betsy devos on president trump's 2020 budget request for her democratic. -- department. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, family research council president tony perkins discusses the trump administration's efforts to expand the ban on u.s. funding for abortion services overseas. also, sierra club climate policy director will join us. she'll talk about the future of the green new deal and other climate change legislation. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. >> on saturday, c-span's road to
the white house coverage continues with former congressman beto o'rourke. he'll kick off his presidential bid and speak with voters and former constituents in el paso. you can watch his remarks live saturday at 12:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. this weekend, book tv has coverage of the virginia festival of the book from charlottesville, with author discussions on music and social movements, race, politics and crime in america. starting saturday at 1:00 p.m. eastern with the book "may we forever stand: a history of the black national anthem." biograffers on frederick douglass and discussing arthur ashe.
>> watch coverage of the virginia festival of the book saturday at 1:00 p.m. eastern. on book tv on c-span2. >> sunday night on q&a. supreme court reporter talks about her latest book "the chief: a biographer of chief justice john roberts." >> john roberts controls. however john roberts votes now, that anthony kennedy is gone, he's going to determine the law of the land. so, the liberals want him to come over, inch over a little bit, but the conservatives are trying to hold him back where he always was. meanwhile, you have this chief justice declaring there's no such thing as an obama judge. there's no such thing as a trump judge. there's no such thing as a bush judge. he wants to project a bench that's not political when they all have their agendas of sorts.
>> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> earlier today, the house debated a resolution that opposes president trump's ban on transgender people from serving in the military. the resolution passed by a vote of 238-185. with five republicans voting in favor. and justin amash of michigan voting present. here's the debate from the house floor which ran about an hour. house resolution 124. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield myself five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: thank you. this resolution is very straightforward. the department of defense, in cooperation with the white house, recently issued a policy which will be implemented in a couple of weeks that would effectively bar transgender people from being able to serve in the military. we have this resolution to reject that policy. it's that s