Senate Calendar

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jul 10 2012

Senator Brown-OH: (6:31 PM)
  • Performed Wrap Up --
  • Tomorrow --
    • The Senate will convene at 9:30 AM and Majority Leader Reid will be recognized. The first hour will be equally divided, with the Republicans controlling the first 30 minutes and the Majority controlling the second 30 minutes.
    • Pending is the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill, post-cloture.
The Senate stands adjourned until 9:30 AM Wednesday, July 11th.

Nelson-FL, Burr, Durbin, Brown-OH

Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill (S. 2237)

Jul 10 2012

Senator Nelson-FL: (5:10 PM)
  • Spoke on the RESTORE Act.
    • SUMMARY "In the process several months ago when the Transportation bill was on the Senate floor, I had the privilege of offering an amendment - again, bipartisan - that was the amendment to restore the Gulf of Mexico after the effects of the BP oil spill. And it emanates from the fact that we have a fine that will be ... levied by a federal judge. The law allows for a certain amount for the judge to determine per barrel of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. And the law in general allows for the amount to be levied against any barrel of oil that is spilled in a public waterway. In this case, we're talking about some real money. We're talking about almost five million barrels spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. And, as a result, the feeling is that this could be anywhere from a $5 billion fine all the way up to a $20 billion fine. So the question was, once the fine is determined and approved by the court, where is that money going to go, and what the gulf state senators are argued is that we'd be able to have this come back and to help the people and the environment ... The feeling was to have the money come back and help the people and the environment of the gulf who were harmed, and there are so many effects that we do not know what is going to be the ultimate result, particularly on the health of the gulf. When you dump five million barrels of oil into the gulf, that's a lot of oil. And the question is, the natural processes of the bacteria in the water that consume oil that naturally leaks through the overwhelmed with all that oil that the bacteria are not being able to consume it? And since this came from a ruptured well 5,000 feet below the surface of the water, how much oil is still down there? Down there where it is hard to get any kind of research done because of the depth and the pressure. So that's what we need to know. We need to know for the future. We need to know for all the people that have their livelihood by the gulf."

Senator Burr: (5:41 PM)
  • Spoke on the Deterring Public Disclosure Covert Action Act.
    • SUMMARY "This act will ensure that those who disclose or talk about covert actions by the United States will no longer be eligible for federal government security clearance. It's novel. It's very simple. If you talk about covert actions, you will have your clearance revoked and you will never get another one. This is not a bill that any member should ever have to introduce. Covert actions are by their very definition supposed to be kept quiet. Those who engage in them, those who support them and those who work to get them authorized all know that. Yet, those rules, those very laws that are supposed to protect classified information are being disregarded with few repercussions, even though each one of those leaks undermines the hard work of our intelligence officers, puts lives at risk and jeopardizes our relationship with overseas partners. As I said in this chamber last month, I strongly believe that those leakers are violating the trust of the American people. Those who are given access to classified information, especially covert actions, are given the same responsibility we as members have. As long as something is classified, you don't talk about it. In other words, keep your mouth shut. Yet month after month we see articles about covert action ... a wide range of U.S. officials, mostly anonymous, and often senior administration officials. While this act focuses on covert action, it in no way minimizes the importance of maintaining the secrecy of other types of classified information. Those who leak any classified information should no longer be trusted with our nation's secrets. But I believe that the damage that is being done to our covert action programs by these leaks deserves special attention today. The act also ensures that any determination that an individual has leaked information about covert action will be made only in accordance with the applicable law or regulation. In short, no one will lose his clearance without appropriate due process. I believe that's an important requirement. As losing clearance often means losing your livelihood. Today I'm taking one step to silence those who may have done irreparable harm by putting their own personal agendas above their colleagues and most importantly, their country. We cannot afford to wait for more leaks, more compromised covert actions. The bill I've introduced today may target only one part of the problem, but I believe it is an essential part of a solution."

Senator Durbin: (5:54 PM)
  • Spoke on the Washington Post's article, "In Niger, hunger crisis raises fear of more child marriages.â€?
  • Spoke on the DREAM Act.
    • SUMMARY "11 years I introduced the DREAM Act. Legislation to allow a select group of young immigrant students with great potential to be a bigger part of America. The DREAM Act gives these students a chance to earn their way into legal status. It isn't automatic. They have to come to the United States as children, be long-term residents, have good moral character, graduate from high school, and complete at least two years of college or military service."

Senator Brown-OH: (6:08 PM)
  • Spoke on the auto industry.
    • SUMMARY "The auto industry was literally dying in Ohio and across the country at this point four years ago, in late 2008/early 2009. And if the United States Congress, the president and the House and Senate hadn't stepped in, my state would be in a depression. Since then, we are seeing major investments, in many cases meaning hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, tens of millions minimum, major investments in Ohio in Chrysler, Toledo, major investments in Ohio in GM, major investments in Ohio in Ford, and major investments in Ohio in Honda. All of them understanding the auto industry is alive and well and coming back. But many of these auto suppliers, the companies that make brackets or bolts or wheel covers or glass or a number of other products that ultimately go into auto assembly, many of these manufacturers of component manufacturers of parts for the auto industry talk about competing against China. For too long, they tell me, and I recognize China has been manipulating its currency to give Chinese exports an unfair advantage. The Chinese government also gives illegal subsidies to domestic industries, domestic in china, for the purpose of exporting and dumping products on the American market. Dumping - the term "dumping" simply means they subsidize it so the product itself is priced under the cost of producing it. It's called dumping it in our market. China, if that wasn't enough, skirted trade law even further by placing illegal duties that affect more than 80% - more than 80% - of U.S. auto exports to China, including Ohio-made vehicles like the jeep assembled in Toledo, and Auras assembled in Marysville. We can't afford to let China take the wind out of our sails. Last week, the administration stepped - a day after independence day, the administration announced it would stand up for American workers, it would fight back against China's discriminatory tariffs on American automobiles. When they put illegal - illegal under international trade law, when they put illegal tariffs on American products, it means they basically keep, the Chinese keep prices so high for American-made autos, artificially high, the Chinese - the Chinese simply won't buy them, Chinese motorists won't buy them. So they, in effect, by these tariffs have kept American products, made by American workers, made in the United States of America, keeping them out of China By addressing the Chinese trade policies, this helped increase demand for domestic production. It made a significant role in the decision to do something that people didn't expect would happen anytime soon."

Hatch, Isakson, Harkin

Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill (S. 2237)

Jul 10 2012

Senator Hatch: (2:56 PM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "It has now been 40 months in a row since the Stimulus bill passed that unemployment has been above 8%. Now, looking at this problem more broadly, economists estimate that if these current tax policies are allowed to expire, the economy could contract by approximately 3 percentage points, three percentage points. That would be a large hit to which I that is still weak in recovering from the fiscal crisis of 2008. Adding another fiscal crisis by neglecting to extend these tax policies may cause even further damage, and for those on the other side of the aisle, including the president, that argue that we should raise the top two tax rates because it is the fiscally responsible thing to do, I would just like to point out a few things. First, according to the Congressional Budget Office, 80% of the revenue lost from extending the 2001 and 2003 tax relief provisions is found among those making less than $200,000 per year if single and $250,000 if married. Secondly, the nonpartisan official scorekeeper for Congress on tax issues, the Joint Committee on Taxation tells us that 53% of all flow-through business income would be subject to the president's proposed tax hikes. Because the vast majority of small businesses are organized as flow-through business entities, as I mentioned above, this is especially harmful to small businesses. Given the agreed upon importance of small businesses to our economic recovery, it is a mystery to me why the president and his democrat allies would pursue tax increases on these very job creators. We simply cannot afford to raise taxes on over half of this business income. This would take the marginal tax rate on small businesses from 33% and 35% to 39.5% and 41% respectively."

Senator Isakson: (4:43 PM)
  • Spoke on Iran.
    • SUMMARY "Iran has been seeking a position on this UN conference on small arms ... The same Iran the United Nations has sanctioned four times in the last three years for its progress on its nuclear arms program and enrichment of nuclear material. This is the same Iran that as recently as last week the UN sent its former chief head president to go to try and negotiate a settlement in the horrible things happening in Syria. This is the same Iran accused of shipping arms to Syria and to the Assad regime that's resulted in the killing of over 17,000 Syrian people in the last year. How in anyone's right mind could they allow a country that is in the process of doing that and sanctioned four times by the UN to ascend to a position to negotiate a conference and a treaty on small arms on behalf of the United Nations? Now, I have written this letter to Secretary Rise because I have the greatest respect for Ambassador Rice and I know she is doing a great job. But I cannot understand for the life of me why the United States would not use its right to object to the appointment of someone like Iran on any treaty much less the treaty on arms and the arms trade treed treaty. Reminds me of what happened a year ago when North Korea went on the disarmaments committee in the United Nations. Syria today is seeking a position on the human rights committee. These types of appointments to people who are serial violators of the governance of the committee they are trying to seek is laughable and puts the United Nations and quite frankly the United States in a very embarrassing position. So I've written Secretary Rice today to find out the answer to the question, did we have the opportunity to object to Iran being named to the conference? If we did, why did we not object to Iran being named to the conference? How in the world can we be expected to have any confidence in what would come out of this conference if in fact one of the worst perpetrators is being appointed to the conference and high pressure the secretary will inform me so I can inform my constituents because frankly I cannot explain it."

Senator Harkin: (4:48 PM)
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "I believe this is a great victory for the American people, for small businesses and for our economy. Now is the time to move past the political distractions and focus on the task before us: implementing the law to bring quality, affordable health coverage to every American. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives tomorrow will take a step in exactly the opposite direction. They've cracked open their old, tired playbook and will vote once again to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is the second time the House has taken this vote to repeal the entire affordable care act and they have failed every time to pass it in the Senate. The House has also voted 30 times - 30 times - to repeal pieces of the Affordable Care Act. And, again, have not been successful on any one of those here in the Senate. In this chamber. And, again, if you say, well, there hasn't been a vote. Yes, in this chamber, the Senate last year, every member of the Republican caucus voted to repeal health reform. That failed as well. This is just cynical politics. My Republican friends don't expect their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act to actually become law. They just want to put on grand political theater. Their strategy, dreamed up by the same, old cast of characters like Karl Rove is to scare people, gin up the rhetoric with lies and distortions, without offering any new ideas of their own. They don't offer any new ideas because they don't have any. Neither House nor Senate Republicans agree on any plan that controls costs, covers as many people as the Affordable Care Act. In fact, a Republican senator was recently asked to describe his plan for the health care system if the Affordable Care Act were repealed. His answer "what we need to do is have a lot of hearings." That's their plan? "What we need to do is have a lot of hearings"? I don't think that qualifies as a plan. That won't help the millions of people that would lose access to affordable health insurance coverage. Republicans in Congress are pandering to the extreme right wing, those who want to tear down everything that this president has accomplished, regardless of the cost. Their strategy only makes sense if you're absolutely obsessed with two things: tearing down health reform and tearing down this president. Obsessed. Obsessed with that."

Vote Results (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed)

Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill (S. 2237)

Jul 10 2012

Agreed to, 80-14:
Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Jul 10 2012

Confirmed, 94-2:
Executive Calendar #661, John Thomas Fowlkes, Jr., of Tennessee, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.
The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Grassley, Leahy, Alexander, Corker

Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill (S. 2237)/Executive Session

Jul 10 2012

Senator Grassley: (10:47 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Given all of the looming tax increases that the president failed to mention in his speech yesterday, it's difficult to see how extending just the 2001 and 2003 bipartisan tax relief provides certainty to taxpayers, including small business. The president agrees that they are job creators and engines of our economy. So the president recognizes a fact of life, that middle-class small business people are job creators. Unfortunately, he defends his tax increase this way on small businesses by claiming that the impact will be minimal because only 2% to 3% of the small businesses would be subject to this tax increase. Now, what the president fails to mention is that this 2% or 3% account for a large amount of activity and a large amount of the jobs created. We often talk, people on both sides of the aisle, about small business providing 70% of the new jobs being created in America. Now I want to see how the Joint Committee on Taxation, which is a nonpartisan congressional organization - and I want to emphasize the nonpartisan aspect of this, because we often refer to them as authorities in this area. According to this Joint Committee, 53% of the flow-through business income would be subject to the president's proposed tax increases. So as I said, 70% of the new jobs created here, but this 2% to 3% also accounts for about 25% of all employment in America. The president claims that he wants to give the 97% of small businesses a sense of permanence, yet the tax relief for those in this group is only for another year. Now, how do you get permanence if you only want to provide tax policy for one year? It just doesn't add up. The president continues to claim that we cannot afford to extend tax relief for those earning above $250,000 because of our current deficit situation. But he fails to mention any ideas for reducing the deficit by controlling spending or by enacting tax reform, which is the only real way to provide a sense of permanence and eliminate the uncertainty that we all agree keeps small and even larger corporations from hiring."

Senator Leahy: (11:29 PM)
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • SUMMARY "Nearly one in every 11 federal judgeships remains vacant because of the slowdown tactics of the Republicans here in the United States Senate. Thus more than twice the vacancy rate by this date during the first term of President Bush's term ... During President Bush's first term we reduced the number of judicial vacancies by almost 75%. As soon as I became Chairman in the summer of 2001 there were 110 vacancies. As chairman I worked with the Bush administration and senators from both sides of the aisle to confirm 100 judicial nominees by a Republican president in 17 months. Then we were back in the minority, we continued to work with Senate Republicans and we confirmed President Bush's consensus judicial nominees well into 2004 which was a presidential election year. At the end of that presidential term we acted to confirm 205 circuit district court nominees. 100 of them during the 17 months I was Chairman and another 105 during the 31 months Republicans had the chairmanship. We reduced judicial vacancies to 29. By comparison, vacancies long remain near above 80, while little comparative progress was made during the first years of President Obama's first term. There are more than two and one half times the number of vacancies at this point during President Bush's first term. Each day Senate Republicans refuse because of its political agenda - blocking President Obama - when they refuse to confirm these qualified judicial nominees who have been reviewed and voted on often unanimously by the Judiciary Committee, it is another day a judge could have been working to administer justice. Hardworking and hard-pressed Americans shouldn't have to wait years to have their cases decided."

Senator Alexander: (11:39 PM)
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • SUMMARY "Today's vote will be the 156th nominee of President Obama confirmed to district and circuit judges. We've also confirmed two Supreme Court nominees during the president's term. The last time was during President Bush's second term. During President Bush's entire second term, the Senate confirmed a total of only 119 district and circuit court nominees. With Judge Fowlkes' confirmation today, we'll have confirmed 33 more district and circuit court nominees for President Obama than we did for President Bush in similar circumstances. That's according to Senator Grassley's comments which will be inserted into the record. I have to say to my friend from Vermont, my memory is good enough that about this time four years ago when we had a Republican president, I think I remember the Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Reid, and Senator Leahy both suggesting it is time we slowed things down and not confirm any more circuit judges until we saw how the election came out in November. We're basically, in our opinion, applying in the fairest possible way to the Senate the Thurmond-Leahy rule that has been developed over time. If there are ask excellent nominees by the president to the circuit courts, the election is only four months away. And if he's reelected, they can be confirmed in November and December. If he's not, then his successor will have a chance to make those nominations."
  • Spoke on the Fowlkes nomination.

Senator Corker: (11:43 AM)
  • Spoke on the Fowlkes nomination.

Durbin, Udall-CO, Reed, Whitehouse

Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill (S. 2237)

Jul 10 2012

Senator Durbin: (10:16 AM)
  • Spoke on GOP obstructionism.
    • SUMMARY "It's been three years, three years since my colleague from Kentucky who just spoke announced to America that his highest priority as a Senate leader was to make sure that Barrack Obama was a one-term president. Since then we've seen a record number of Republican filibusters on the Senate, broken all records in terms of efforts to stop even to allow a vote on the priorities of the Obama administration. And then for the Republican leader to come to the floor and bemoan the fact that president has not done more suggests that he believes we're victims of political amnesia, and we're not. We know when the president came with a stimulus bill, when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, that's what we were losing the month the president was sworn in, he came with a stimulus bill to turn the economy around to give tax breaks to businesses and individuals, we ebbed ended up getting three republicans who would join us over the objection of their leadership. We needed those three to break the Republican filibuster on the president's effort to get the economy moving forward again. And when it came time for health care reform, Senator Baucus, Chairman of the Finance Committee, invited the Republicans in to sit down and construct a bipartisan bill with us and they walked away. They walked away. And then started a Republican filibuster against any change in health care reform. Do you remember the Republican alternative for health care reform? Of course you don't because there wasn't any. They didn't have a bill. They didn't have a good idea. They were just here to say no. And to use their filibuster to achieve it. The story is repeated over and over again, trying to rein in Wall Street greed so we don't go through another recession like the one we're living through now, not a single Republican would step up and support that, not one and we faced a Republican filibuster again. So for the Republican leader to come to come to the floor and bemoan certain things have not come here is to ignore the reality his priority was to make President Obama a one term president."
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "What President Obama said yesterday, your first $250,000 in income, your first $250,000 will continue to receive a good tax break. There will be no increase in taxes on your first $250,000 in income. Now, for 98% of Americans, that's great. Because they make less than $250,000, so they're not going to see any tax increase by the president's proposal. But for the 2% who make more than $250,000, the president's suggestion was let's go back to the tax breaks for that money earned over 250, go back to the tax breaks of the Clinton years which was a time of dramatic economic expansion and the last time, the last time we in Washington balanced a budget. That's not a radical idea. It's a sensible idea and you can't come to the floor of the Senate day after day and week after week posing for holy pictures about dealing with the deficit, the debt, the deficit, and then when you suggest raising taxes this much on 2% of the American people, to say, oh, that's just unacceptable. The only way to reach fiscal stability and deal with the debt and deficit is to put all on the table, to make sure spending as well as revenue are on the table and if we can't touch income over $250,000 for the top 2% of Americans, we will never honestly deal with the deficit crisis."
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "We can do more things to help get this economy moving forward. The first thing I'd like to see is the Republicans to end their filibuster against the Small Business bill we have before us today. What does this bill do? This bill says to small businesses across America we will give you a tax credit if you will create jobs or if you will expand your payroll. A tax credit and we will give you a quicker depreciation on those items of equipment, technology, and capital that you purchase now. This would be a shot in the arm, it's a recipe every Republican has sworn to Grover Norquist they're going to stand by hell or high water to cut taxes, cut taxes on small businesses so they create jobs. Give them a break to buy equipment so that they can depreciate it more quickly and create the jobs of those supplying them. What's wrong with this notion? It's supposed to be the republican credo, cut taxes. And for small business. Can't we agree on that? No. We're facing a Republican filibuster on that, too. Well, it's an illustration in my mind of an example of a bill that can move us forward with a million new jobs. Why won't the Republicans join us on this? Well, because they've said over and over again they want this president to be a one-term president. They don't want success. They don't want job creation on his watch. They want as miserable a record as they can produce to take into the November election."

Senator Udall-CO: (10:25 AM)
  • Spoke on the Wind Production Tax Credit.
    • SUMMARY "Wind energy is a bright spot for communities across America. Which supports good manufacturing jobs in places like the United States and Rhode Island, and this despite the great recession. Rhode Island has dedicated itself to building a clean energy future, a key part of which is offshore wind energy. The entire eastern seaboard has massive offshore wind potential, and Rhode Island is one of the first states to begin construction on a project off of its coast. And if you look at the chart here, you see the potential for job creation. And you also see that Rhode Island is on track to meet 75% of its energy needs through offshore wind development ... It equals jobs, we need to pass it as soon as possible. This is a travesty that we have not extended the wind production tax credit, particularly in a time when we still need to create more jobs and I know that two senators from Rhode Island agree with me, communities like Warren, Rhode Island have benefited from the growth in the wind energy industry, but they're still hurting because of the great recession and our failure to act is making things worse. We face a stark choice, we can let the PTC expire and continue to lose good-paying Rhode Island jobs or invest in America's future and take advantage of a manufacturing sector that's poised to expand. The development of offshore wind is coming to the eastern seaboard, and the opportunities for American manufacturers like TPI to grow their business and beat our international competitors are within our grasp. There is so much more economic growth possible if we could simply extend the PTC but our inaction is stunting the growth of this important industry today and that's why I urge my colleagues to join us in extending the wind PTC as soon as possible."

Senator Reed: (10:30 AM)
  • Spoke on the Wind Production Tax Credit.
    • SUMMARY "Nationally with the support of the wind production tax credit or the PTC, nearly 500 facilities across 44 states manufacture components for the wind energy industry. These products are critical to our future. The U.S. content of wind turbines installed in the United States has grown from 25% prior to 2005 to 60% today, according to the American Wind Energy Association, so we're actually seeing a situation in which American components are displacing foreign components in wind turbine facilities that are being deployed here in the United States, and that is an encouraging sign because it means more jobs in manufacturing, it means more American content in products that will be purchased by Americans. This is fundamentally premised on the availability of the PTC, and so we have to maintain it. If we do not, then we're, again, at the mercy of world markets in which we know and we suspect, let me say, that there are countries that are supporting directly and indirectly their wind energy sectors very aggressively. We need comprehensive reform of our tax code. That will be discussed, I'm sure, in the months ahead, but we can't forget that this production tax credit for wind credit and other clean energy resources supports many manufacturing jobs across the country. It saves money for middle-class families and it increases our global competitiveness. And so as we think about the tax program, we also have to think about those programs that produce jobs. This program is one of those job-producing tax provisions. We in Rhode Island have taken steps, as Senator Udall alluded to, to try to position ourselves to be in the forefront of wind production, particularly offshore wind production. Due in part to strong state policy, I will commend my colleagues at the state government, we rank fifth in the country, according to the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy in terms of their annual energy efficiency scorecard. Our utility, national grid, our state leaders are taking very aggressive steps to lower the amount of energy that we use, which helps us in terms of our competitiveness across the globe and with other states in the country."

Senator Whitehouse: (10:37 AM)
  • Spoke on the Wind Production Tax Credit.
    • SUMMARY "This renewable energy production tax credit is a vital part of our energy security strategy. It is pretty simple. It provides a per-kilowatt-hour corporate tax credit for energy that is produced by various clean energy systems like wind or biomass or hydro or geothermal. It makes a lot of sense, we need to do it. The problem is that it expires at the end of this year. Given the way that wind, biomass, solar and other such projects have to be financed in advance and built over time, the market effect of the expiration of this production tax credit at the end of this year is already being felt in projects that are not going forward now or are under a cloud right now because of the uncertainty that we are creating. We know what happens when we allow the production tax credit to fail. The installations of this kind of equipment drop dramatically. The Department of Energy estimates that new wind installations will be virtually nonexistent, nonexistent next year if the production tax credit is allowed to expire. I don't know if there is a state in the union in which people are not seeking to build wind energy to capture this free and abundant resource. All those projects will become nonexistent if this does not continue. It really doesn't make any sense at all. In Rhode Island, it's particularly important, not only because we don't have a lot of domestic energy sources, so this is a really good one for us as a domestic energy source, but also because of the jobs that these projects support. You're not supporting international shipping tycoons who bring the oil over here. We're not supporting Saudi princes who pump the stuff or other folks from owe peck around the world. We're supporting engineers in America, manufacturers in America, assemblers' in America, factory workers when we go this route. We have no tolerance for knocking down these jobs. This is not an acceptable energy strategy. It is not an acceptable jobs strategy. It is really self-defeating from America's interests."

Reid, McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 10 2012

  • Today --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill. The first hour will be equally divided, with the Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
    • At 11:30 AM, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session for up to 30 minutes of debate, equally divided, on Executive Calendar #661, John Thomas Fowlkes, Jr., of Tennessee, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.
    • At 12:00 PM, the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on the nomination.
    • At 12:30 PM, the Senate will recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus lunches.
    • At 2:15 PM, the Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill, for 10 minutes of debate, equally divided.
    • At 2:25 PM, the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237.

Senator Reid: (10:02 AM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "My Republican colleagues made a good talk on taxes, but Democrats' record of cutting taxes for small businesses speaks louder than Republicans' rhetoric. Since President Obama took office, taxes have been cut for small businesses 18 times. Today he will advance a plan to cut taxes for small firms for the 19th time in just three and a half years. Small businesses jobs and tax relief act would put money back in the coffers of true job creators. Under our plan, business owners will hire new workers or give raises to current employees who get a 10% tax credit. Our legislation would also cut taxes on firms that invest in new development, allowing more than two million businesses to grow faster. These two proposals will create almost a million new jobs. Economists from across the political spectrum agree this is the most effective way to give the economy a badly needed boost. So my Republican colleagues want their records to match their rhetoric, they will end their filibuster on this worthy measure, and a vote to support the real job creators, businesses that grow and hire. Unfortunately, our Republicans agree we should cut taxes, their approach is completely different than ours. Congressional Republicans want to lavish huge across-the-board tax breaks on billionaire hedge fund managers and people like megarich celebrities like Donald Trump. Unlike our proposal, the Republican plan which passed the House of representatives wouldn't do a thing to encourage hiring. More than 99% of business in America would qualify for this extravagant tax break. Even if they don't create a single new job or raise wages for one solitary employee. In fact, fabulously rich so-called small business owners like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton could qualify for these wasteful giveaways. Even though 3/4 of americans oppose tax breaks for the wealthiest few, nearly half the benefits of this $46 billion proposal would go to millionaires and billionaires. We Democrats want to cut taxes for small businesses, but the Republicans' alternative which passed the House of Representatives is simply the wrong way to do it."

Senator McConnell: (10:07 AM)
  • Spoke on the Obama economy.
    • SUMMARY "Last Friday morning, the American people woke up to the news that the economy is on life support. The first response of the president of the United States was that we're headed in the right direction. The president says we're headed in the right direction. Now, just think about that for a second. The president's first reaction to the news that more Americans signed up for disability last month than got jobs was to flash a thumbs up and head back to the campaign trail, just like his first reaction to a question about the economy at a recent White House press conference was to say that the private sector is doing just fine. Well, obviously, answers like that just aren't going to cut it. The president's advisors must be telling him that much, so yesterday the president, the man at the wheel, changed his tune by doing his Washington best to change the subject. For three and a half years, this White House has shown an utter lack of imagination when it comes to jobs and the economy. If the solution doesn't involve more government, they're not interested. That's all they have got. So yesterday, the president went back to the same well one more time. After three and a half years of more government, more debt, more spending, more taxes, more regulations, he demanded even more. Yesterday, the president issued an ultimatum. Raise taxes on about a million business owners to fund more government, and I won't raise taxes on the rest of you. Raise taxes on about a million business owners and I won't raise taxes on the rest of you. That was his considered response to this crisis. Now, let's leave aside for a second the complete and total absurdity of raising taxes on job creators in the middle of what some are calling the slowest recovery ever. Leave that aside and ask yourself a more fundamental question - whose money is it in the first place? Whose money is it in the first place? I mean, why should small businesses be put on the defensive about keeping money they worked for and earned? It seems like every day for the past three and a half years we have woken up to stories about waste and abuse and government. Whether it's a bankrupt solar company or the $800,000 party some government agency threw for itself or this week's report that we overspent on unemployment benefits by about $14 billion. As far as I'm concerned, there shouldn't even be a debate here. The government doesn't need any more money. It's government that should be answering to us for the tax dollars it's wasted and misdirected. It's the president who should be on the defensive. He's the one who pledged he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term but doubled it instead. He's the one who spent the first three and a half years of his administration shattering spending records. And now he wants us to believe that he will direct new tax revenue toward tackling the deficit?"

Jul 10 2012

The Senate Convened.

Jul 10 2012

The Senate is considering the nomination of John Thomas Fowlkes Jr. of Tennessee to be U.S. district judge for the Western District of Tennessee.  The Senate is also considering S. 2237, the increased payroll tax credit and bonus depreciation bill.  Republican senators continue to focus on creating jobs, lowering the deficit, reducing gas prices, and replacing the Democrats' health care bill with reforms that will actually lower costs.