Floor Updates

Reid, Landrieu, Kerry, Baucus, Reed, McCaskill

Student Loan bill (S. 2343)

Apr 26 2012

05:30 PM

Senator Reid: (4:52 PM)
  • Filed Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 2343, the Student Loan bill.

Senator Landrieu: (4:56 PM)
  • Honored 13 young women for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Senator Kerry: (4:56 PM)
  • Honored Mary Tarr, Office Manager, who is retiring.

Senator Baucus: (5:08 PM)
  • Spoke on the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill.
    • SUMMARY "The bipartisan reauthorization renews grants programs critical to Montana including those that support law enforcement, victim services and prevention programs. And the bill consolidates 13 programs, many of which overlap, into four. This consolidation reduces administration costs and adds efficiency, acknowledging the current fiscal realities, the bill reduces authorization levels by 17% overall. It's more effective and costs less. It also addresses the pervasive domestic violence occurring in Indian country. Native Americans represent about 6% of Montana's population, about 6%. Yet native women account for over 13% of victims reporting domestic violence in my state in the year 2008, more than two times. According to the Department of Justice, Native women are two and a half times more likely to be a victim of rape or sexual assault compared with non-native women. However, it is the federal courts, not the tribal courts which have jurisdiction over many of these crimes including misdemeanor cases. With federal prosecutors stretched thin, especially large, rural states like Montana, many cases go uninvestigated and criminals walk three-free to continue their violence with no repercussions. Chairman Leahy's bill carefully crafts a measure to extend jurisdiction to address the issue of domestic violence and partner abuse in Indian country. These will give travel courts narrow jurisdiction to prosecute violence occurring on tribal land. The bill, however, safeguards those who might be defendants, Provides safeguards to ensure defendants receive all rights guaranteed by the United States constitution. This includes fourth amendment protections against search and seizure, fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination and sixth amendment right to counsel, all guaranteed in this statute."

Senator Reed: (5:15 PM)
  • Spoke on the Student Loan bill.
    • SUMMARY "After months of working to ensure student loan interest rates don't double this summer, I think we finally reached a consensus that that position is absolutely correct, that middle-income families in America can't afford a huge increase, a doubling of the interest rates on student loans. Those who were previously opposed or indifferent to our proposal now are in favor of stopping a doubling of rates. The most prominent, of course, is the former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, who said "I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans." I think that is the consensus. I submitted the legislation in January and now we reached that consensus. The debate now is how to pay for it. What I have proposed has been to close the loophole that has allowed a self-selected few to avoid paying their fair share of payroll taxes. The alternatives proposed on the other side go to critical health care benefits to low- or middle-income families. It seems to me entirely unfair to try to provide help to middle-income families by taking away their access to health care. For families that are struggling, education and health care are not something that are, can be avoided, can be traded one for the other. Congress should not raise the interest rate on these loans. We've reached that. It's a fact, a de facto tact for middle income families and we have put forth a plan for student loans. We are offering a short-term solution but we have to begin and do it quickly. If we don't act before July 1, these loans will double ... Our proposal targeted only to those S corporations that derive 75% or more of their gross revenue from the services of three or fewer shareholders or where the S corporation is a partner in a professional service business. Essentially, this is a small group of people who derive 75% or more of their gross revenues from services. It's lawyers, accountants, lobbyists and folks like that. The proposal only applies to S corporations and partnerships in the fields where virtually all the earnings are attributable to the performance of services. This is not the local manufacturer, not the local hardware store, not the local dry cleaners or gas station. These are people who perform essentially professional services. They are avoiding their payroll taxes, and we don't think that should be the case. Furthermore, this proposal exempts S corps shareholders or partnerships with modified adjusted gross incomes below $250,000 for joint filers and $200,000 for individuals. So it is targeted within the small subsection to an even smaller group, those who are making $250,000 as joint filers or $200,000 as sole filers. This proposal prevention professional service income for being mischaracterized to avoid taxes. Legitimate passive income, if the S corporation is earning income from rents, dividends and certain other gains, that would be essentially treated as such and will continue to be exempt from payroll tax."

Senator McCaskill: (5:24 PM)
  • Honored Angela Ellbury, Scheduler.