Floor Updates

Boxer, Leahy

Buffett Rule bill (S. 2230)/Executive Session

Mar 28 2012

04:50 PM

Senator Boxer: (4:14 PM)
  • Spoke on Menendez Energy Tax Credits bill.
    • SUMMARY "What's not good is that big oil is getting corporate welfare. Big oil is ripping us off at the pump. They never had greater profits. We're being asked to sacrifice and pay more at the pump because of instability in the world, because of problems with the refineries, even though we have never drilled as much as we're drilling now. Big oil exports our oil now. We have never had as many exports as we have now. And big oil gets billions of subsidies, so big that I will tell you $2 billion a year in U.S. tax breaks. And let me tell you, to just explain how that compares to something we do that's very near and dear to my heart and every mother and father, grandma, grandpa or aunt and uncle, which is we put about a billion dollars a year into after-school programs. When we have millions of children waiting, $1 billion a year on after-school programs where we give away $2 billion a year to the most, shall we say, successful companies in America. I want to show you what I'm talking about because I don't want people to think this is rhetoric. These are the facts. So when my Republicans colleagues come on the floor and defend these profits, let's talk about what they are ... In 2009, this is all the five oil companies made $64 billion. In 2010, big oil made $74 billion. And in 2011, they made a whopping $137 billion. So they went from $64 billion in 2009 to $137 billion in 2011, and my Republicans colleagues are crying bitter, bitter tears for them. Oh, let's keep giving them back $2 billion a year. Why? Why would we do that? When we are sacrificing and our constituents are paying more at the pump and big oil is profiting from it. There is no reason for this kind of an increase at the pump. There is no reason for it. Look at what's going on here. If they just made the normal profits that they made, we could have some relief at the pump, but oh, no. And so now we're going to reward them, the Republicans are, by allowing them to keep these subsidies ... Let's look at the CEO's of big oil for a minute, these poor guys that are fighting for these subsidies, let's look at them. CEO's for the big five made more than $14.5 million in total compensation in 2010. This is it. Average compensation. That's 307 times the average salary of a firefighter. That's 273 times the average salary of a teacher. That's 263 times the average salary of a policeman. That's 218 times the average salary of a nurse. But they need subsidies for their companies, and they need to rip us off at the pump so they can make a little more money. $14.5 million just isn't enough for a poor oil company executive. Give me a break. And stop giving them a break, because they don't need this break."
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "As a result of Obama health care that I proudly supported, already five million senior citizens are able to afford their prescription drugs. Your mother, your father, your grandma, your grandpa. And that's important. What's going to happen to those people if this whole thing gets overturned? They will get sick and they will not have those medications. In addition, what else is happening, madam president? 2.5 million young Americans are now covered because they can stay on their parents' health plan until they turn 26. Right now without this law, when you graduated from college you were out of luck. And you have to find your own health care. Obama plan said you should be able to stay on your parents' health plan until you turn 26. I can't tell you how many people have written to me to thank me for that. So 2.5 million Americans. So over there in the Supreme Court, they're talking about legalese, and I appreciate that. They're talking about severability. They're talking about a lot of interesting things. But one thing I want to talk about is what's going to happen to five million senior citizens who are able to stay on their medication as a result of the Obama health plan, what's going to happen to the 2.5 million Americans who are young who can stay on parents' plan till they're 26 if something happens over there across the street in terms of this legal case ... That's going to happen to 54 million Americans who now have access to free preventive care such as screenings for colon cancer, mammograms and flu shots? This is new, folks. Before you didn't get free prevention. Had you to pay a co-payment."

Senator Leahy: (4:36 PM)
  • Spoke on the Du and Morgan nomination.
  • Spoke on Menendez Energy Tax Credits bill.
    • SUMMARY "Over the past ten years, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, ConocoPhillips have seen combined profits of nearly $1 trillion But despite this massive windfall, big oil continues to receive billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Subsidies that are unnecessary, unconscionable, and money out of the pockets of the American taxpayers who are already paying record prices for the product of big oil. So the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act will eliminate these harmful subsidies, level the playing field for all Americans. Big oil does not need these big tax breaks. I might note they get all this from the taxpayers, they get these subsidies from the taxpayers. By suggest when you look at the price of gasoline at the pump today, they certainly don't appreciate what the taxpayers have done for them. In fact, they want to gouge them a second time, first take their tax dollars for the trillion dollars worth of subsidies, but then charge them record prices for gasoline ... And despite their ever-increasing profits, unneeded subsidies, the five major oil companies have done nothing to bring down prices for average consumers. They ask the taxpayers to give them these huge subsidies and they say, oh, by the way, thanks for the huge tax subsidies you're giving us, thanks for giving us your tax dollars, but we want more money on top of that. And that's padding their pockets at the expense of hard-working middle-class families in states like mine of Vermont. Now, if we eliminate these tax breaks, we'll end more than $2.4 billion per year in unnecessary tax breaks. This could help bring the federal government's deficit down, can also reinvest in clean energy technologies. It will benefit everyone. This is kind of an easy matter, madam president. Senators can make a choice. Stand with the American people and stand up to big oil, or just continue business as usual."
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "Americans are already beginning to see some of the benefits of insurance reform. Seniors on Medicare have high-cost prescriptions and have been trapped with a coverage gap known as the doughnut hole are now beginning to receive help. The Affordable Health Care act completely closes the coverage gap by 2020. 2010, more than 7,000 Vermonters received a $250 rebate to help cover the costs of their prescription drugs when they hit the so-called doughnut hole. Last year nearly 6,800 Vermonters with Medicare received a 50% discount on their covered grand-name prescriptions. That saved them $714 per person. Since the Affordable Health Care Act was signed into law more than 4,000 young adults in Vermont have gained health insurance coverage under these reforms that allows them to stay kids were college students. 81,649 Vermonters on Medicare and more than 100,000 Vermonters with private insurance gained access to and received preventive screening coverage with no deductible or co-pay. If all this is happening with a state with 600,000 people can you imagine how many millions of people this country are benefiting? For years we've had republican and democratic senators rightfully say that judges should not make law from the bench. For the sake of the health and security of our nation the Supreme Court should not cast aside this last mark law and congress' time honored ability to protect the American people."