Senate Calendar

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jul 11 2012

Senator Bennet: (7:00 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 Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
    • On Wednesday, cloture was filed on Reid (for Landrieu) substitute amendment #2521 and S. 2237. The amendment tree has been filled. The filing deadline for all first-degree amendments is 1:00 PM tomorrow. Under the rule, unless an agreement is reached, the cloture votes will occur one hour after the Senate convenes on Friday.
    • Pending is the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • Pending is the Motion to Proceed to S. 3364, the Stabenow Tax bill.
The Senate stands adjourned until 9:30 AM Thursday, July 12th.

Reid (UC), McConnell

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Reid: (6:10 PM)
  • Unanimous Consent --
    • All remaining post-cloture time was yielded back and the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill, was Agreed to. The amendment tree has been filled.
    • Cloture has been filed on Reid (for Landrieu) substitute amendment #2521 and S. 2237, , the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • Pending is the Motion to Proceed to S. 3364, the Stabenow Tax bill.
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Right now the Senate is consider a small business jobs bill. A very important proposal that was part of President Obama's package to increase employment in this country. It will create a million jobs. This legislation will give tax credits to businesses that grow and hire. Yet Republicans are looking for any excuse to vote down the proposal for two reasons. Number one, it has the support of President Obama, and Democrats in Congress. And secondly, it would strengthen the economy which would help President Obama. We know Republicans won't do anything that helps President Obama. Even if it's good for the economy. Because their number-one goal is to defeat the president. My friend, Mitch McConnell, has said that. So Republicans are hiding behind their usual procedural trick, filibustering with unrelated amendments. If there's any doubt about Republicans' motivation to kill this legislation, just, take a look with me at the amendment proposed today by Senator Hatch of Utah. The first thing Senator Hatch's amendment would do is eliminate all the tax cut, every tax cut we have in this proposal. Every one of them. The one that's now before the senate. To create jobs, a million jobs. The Hatch amendment would literally eliminate every provision in the bill designed to create jobs. Senator Hatch's amendment eliminates the 10% credit for employers that hire additional workers or increase their payrolls, a provision that would create that part alone half a million jobs. And it strikes another deduction for businesses that invest in machinery and equipment which would create another half million jobs. But, the Republicans' amendment doesn't stop there. It goes on to increase taxes for 25 million American families. The Republican amendment, I repeat, increases taxes for 25 million American families. Senator Hatch's amendment would extend tax breaks for the top 2% of Americans, but it fails to extend a number of tax cuts that help middle-class families get by in a very tough economy. For example, Senator Hatch's amendment, the Republican amendment, would increase taxes by $1,100 for 11 million families trying to pay for college. 11 million families in effect an increase of their taxes by $1,100. The republican amendment would make it harder for 12 million large families to put food on the table, it would increase taxes by $800 for families that have three children. Or more. And Senator Hatch's amendment, the Republican amendment, fails to extend the full child tax credit for six million families increasing their taxes by $500 each. So no one is fooled by the Republicans' amendment. We see it for what it is. More Republican obstruction that comes with the added bonus of sticking it to the middle class. If that wasn't enough political theater for one day, my Republican colleagues also claim they're anxious to vote on President Obama's plan to cut taxes for 98% of American families. Once again, , no one should be fooled. Republicans know very well the senate will vote on the president's proposal to give middle-class families the certainty they won't be hit with a tax increase."
  • Unanimous Consent --
    • Cloture be vitiated with respect to the substitute amendment and ask #2237, that the motion to commit be withdrawn and amendments #2525 and #2522 be withdrawn, at 2:00 PM tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, the Senate vote in relation to the following amendments, amendment #2524 which is the Cantor language, substitute amendment #2521, that there be no other amendments or motions in order to the amendments of the bill prior to the votes other than motions to waive or motions to table, upon disposition of the two amendments the senate proceed to a vote on passage of S. 2237 as amended if amended. Further at a time determined by the Majority leader with consultation with the Republican leader the senate, and 96% of small businesses as outlined by President Obama, that the only amendment in order to the bill be an amendment offered by Senator McConnell or designee, which is identical to the text of amendment #2491 as filed by Senator Hatch. That the amendment not be divisible, that there be four hours of debate on the amendment and the bill equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to a vote in relation to the McConnell or designee amendment, upon disposition of the amendment the Senate proceed to vote on passage, there be no motions or points of order to the amendment or to the bill (McConnell objected).

Senator McConnell: (6:22 PM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I'm glad my friend the Majority leader has dropped his earlier opposition and wants to make up an effort to set up these votes on this important issue. On Monday the president said if the Senate passes this tax hike on small businesses, he would sign it right away. So I'm glad the Senate will have a chance to beat the bad idea that raise taxes on nearly one million small businesses. I'll be happy to take look at what my good friend the Majority leader is offering, but I cannot at this time agree to lock in a vote on a proposal that has not yet been written. My good friend has had all day to come up with a written proposal but I gather that so far they've been unable to do so. Or if they have, we certainly haven't seen it. Our proposal is drafted and filed and has been available for all to see. My goal here and it's one that I laid out several weeks ago is we act now to ensure no one's income taxes go up January of next year. The mere threat of this tax increase is already a drag on our economy and I do not plan on standing by and letting that tax increase go into effect. So we'd be happy to set up a vote on this issue, just as soon as the Majority leader produces a bill to show us what tax increases they have in mind. I want to make sure everyone understands the differences in our positions here. My goal and I hope it's one that is shared by a majority of senators, will be to enact a bill that protects small businesses by extending current income tax rates for one year to ensure that no one in America sees an income tax hike in January and tasking the finance committee to produce a bill that would enact fundamental pro-growth tax reform. Their goal will be the president's proposal to raise taxes on nearly one million business owners in the middle of the worst economic recovery in modern times. The Senate ought to make absolutely clear which policy it supports. I look forward to having the chance to do that but until that time, until we've actually got a product we can take a look at, I can't agree to this agreement and therefore I object."

Senator Reid: (6:25 PM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I'm going to be very, very brief. My friend the Republican leader said this morning and I quote directly, I'm trying to get a vote, a vote on what he says he's for and what the president says he's for. And what the Republicans say they're for. That's what this consent agreement does but I'm happy to let the Republican leader read the exact language. But let no one be fooled by this. The Hatch amendment doesn't do anything to protect small businesses. It does everything to protect Grover Norquist and his pledge that is, make sure the American people aren't satisfied. They believe, Democrats, Independents and Republicans, that the people - the top 2% of income earners in this country should contribute to the problems we have with the deficit and the debt in this country. That's what this is all about. I look forward to working with my friend the Republican leader to see if we can come to a position here and vote on the bill that's before us. I'm a little concerned because the hatch language eliminates our bill but I'm happy to have staff during the night look and see if we can arrive at some way to move forward on this but I think I've made my point clear."

Senator McConnell: (6:26 PM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I have already objected but one other brief observation. The consent I objected to also choose for us the amendment we would get to have. And, of course, that's not an agreement that the Republican side would feel we'd want to be a part of."

Sessions, Shaheen, Landrieu, Alexander, Enzi, Durbin

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Sessions: (4:49 PM)
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "The president promised in his state of the union to the American people that it would cost $900 billion. People knew it would cost more. But even then, the first ten years, as he proposed, when you counted the other factors, the enforcement mechanism through the IRS agents, through the doughnut hole fix and other manners, it truly was $1.4 trillion over ten years. That's almost 50% more right there. That's undisputable I think. I'll ask my colleagues, if I'm wrong, come tell me. And I would just note parenthetically, one of the most important things to have health care reform would include fixing the doc fix. In other words, we're projected without legislation that takes effect to reduce the expenditures, the payments to doctors, by 20-some-odd percent for Medicare-Medicaid patients. That's what we would reduce the pay-for if we don't do something each year. It adds up to about $200 billion to $250 billion over ten years. It was part of the promise that would be fixed in the bill. But when they looked at their numbers, if you paid for the doc fix, which was critical and needs to be fixed permanently - not continuing to hang out there every year and to be fixed by borrowed money - if we fix it, the couldn't have been contended to be in surplus. In fact, it couldn't contend to be paid for, as the president was saying. And so they just didn't do it. They just decided they wouldn't fix one of the most important areas in health care and it remains that today. So we're using Congressional Budget Office nonpartisan numbers and most of the major spending provisions in the law, as our colleagues should know, do not take effect until 2014. So when the law is implemented, the ten-year score should be 2014-2023. That's the ten-year window of full implementation. And how much will the bill cost then? Each year it goes up, because until 2014, you don't really get the full cost of the legislation. So what they did was - and the president deliberately did with aid from his OMB Director, Mr. Peter Orzag, who was at CBO and they contended this was going to be fine, they would do the first ten years and only six of them would have the real expenditures in the bill. And they would score it over ten and say it only cost $900 billion. Well, that was not correct When you go to 2023, 2014, the next ten years when the bill is fully implemented, it would cost $2.6 trillion. $23,600,000,000,000, almost three times the estimated cost of the legislation. So people ask, how do we get in a situation where we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend? This kind of math."

Senator Shaheen: (5:01 PM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "The fact is that over the last decade, businesses are fewer than 250 employees accounted for nearly 80% of all new hires. Economists tell us that about two-thirds of the jobs that are going to be needed to get us out of this recession are going to come from small businesses, and in New Hampshire, small businesses are particularly important. We are a small business state. Over 95% of all New Hampshire companies have fewer than 500 employees. About 85% of new Hampshire companies have fewer than 20 employees. And one of the things that we have got to look at is how we can help those small businesses continue to grow ... I want to talk specifically to two provisions that are in the Landrieu amendment, also known as the Success Act. The first one would deal with export issues 95% of export markets are outside of the United States and yet only 1% of our small and medium-sized businesses actually export. And so what we have got to do is help in every way we can through our policies, give them access to those international markets ... The amendment that Senator Landrieu is going to be offering, and those provisions would do a couple of things for our small businesses. One, they would improve government wide export promotion. Right now, we have a lot of independent silos, independent efforts that exist in different agencies to help small business with exporting. What we want to do is provide more coordination among those independent programs. It would also increase state events that are targeted to help small businesses export. Both are provisions that we heard from our small businesses in New Hampshire are important to them as they think about what they can do to improve their chances of exporting, getting into those international markets and the jobs that can be created as a result of that ... Another provision ... Extending the 504 refinancing program is to me a no-brainer as we think about how we can give those small businesses access to credit. What these provisions would do is extend for a year and a half the ability for the small business administration to continue refinancing short-term commercial real estate debt into long-term fixed rate loans, again through the existing 504 loan program, something that makes imminent sense, something that we ought to do."

Senator Landrieu: (5:10 PM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "In New Hampshire and other states that are caught paying higher interest rates on short-term loans for commercial buildings, and I'm sure we all know someone in that category, can now, if this amendment passes, go to their local bank. not a government program. It's a partnership with the local banks. And through the SBA and refinance their building and get a longer term loan. In fact, I'm told that this program, this 504 program, is basically taking up the majority of the space in this lending, that still the lenders are very weak, they are not extending credit out at a long, fixed rate. They are lending short term. They are lending with adjustable rates. As you know and many others, when a person is starting a small business and taking so much risk, one risk that can be eliminated is the cost of their money. And it's very comforting to a small business owner who has to borrow, who doesn't have the savings, who has run through their savings or their equity in their home, and they have got to extend and take that risk to be able to have a fixed longer term rate ... Let me reiterate that 95% of the world's customers are located outside of the borders of the united states. This might be shocking to people in America to realize this, but we represent only 4% to 5% of the population of the earth. We think of ourselves as the biggest and the best, and we are the best. We're not necessarily the biggest when it comes to population, though. And so there are growing markets all over the world. 95% of our customers and a majority of the market are outside of the boundaries of the United States. And what we are recognizing is right now only 1% of the 28 million small businesses in America export. Why would that be? We really need to get behind our small businesses in our state and help them to export so, again, this is not an additional grant program. This shaken proposal and layette proposal has no cost. It's just perfecting, coordinating this export initiative by establishing an interagency task force between the USDA and the export-import bank. It's encouraging cooperation that is not existing at the federal level and requires the SBA in coordination with other agencies to conduct one outreach in each state per year which I think would help motivate our state governments and stakeholders at the state level to be helpful."
  • Spoke on U.S. energy policy.
    • SUMMARY "Before America can be energy independent or energy secure, each state should be energy secure or each region. The country is not made up of smoke and mirrors. This country is made up of 50 states. And if every state and every region would do its part, either producing or conserving or a little of both, we actually will get there. But I get a little bit tired of lectures criticizing, particularly from senators whose states neither conserve or produce For the senator from Florida to come and lecture everybody about producing and his own state doesn't produce anything, or virtually nothing, and consumes everything, I just wanted to go on record saying i find that, you know, I find that offensive."
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "Senator Sessions came to the floor some few minutes ago and talked about the cost of the health care bill. And the health care bill has some expensive components to it, but the purpose of the health care bill, remember because you were in the middle of that battle, was designed to reduce the overall cost of health care for the nation because the percentage of the gross national product going to health care was moving up dramatically and frighteningly from 12% a few years ago to 14% to 16% and it was on its way to 19%. It was on its way to 19% before Barack Obama got sworn in to office. And I am getting tired and the American people are getting tired of the same diatribe coming from the other side of this aisle about how the cost of the Affordable Care Act is causing this country to go off the edge. This country was going off the edge before President Obama even became president. And they know that. But they're just bound and determined to keep talking about the same old thing day in and day out, about how the affordable health care act is wrecking America. The only thing wrecking America is their stubbornness."

Senator Alexander: (5:43 PM)
  • Spoke on the Marketplace Fairness Act.
    • SUMMARY "The Supreme Court said you can't impose that on the states, causing an out-of-state seller to collect the sales tax that's owed, though it may be owed. Today it's different. It's as easy to figure out the taxes as toss Google the weather in your hometown. In fact it is easier. It is easier to have the tax collected online than it is going in the store and do it. In the state of Tennessee, the governor and lieutenant governor, they want the right to decide for themselves. What I know they're going do is they have the right to collect the sales tax from everybody who owes it instead of just some of the people who owe it. They're going to lower the tax rate for everybody."

Senator Enzi: (5:50 PM)
  • Spoke on the Marketplace Fairness Act.
    • SUMMARY "If you buy the book Hunger Games at the local bookshop, you'll pay more for the book at the brick-and-mortar store than if you bought it online. There's nothing different about the book purchased in the store than from the book purchased online except for the sales tax. If they choose to do so, states should have the ability to fix this inequality. Sales taxes go directly to state and local governments, which brings the needed revenue for maintaining our schools, fixing our roads, supporting our law enforcement, and as I like to add, have you ever tried to flush your toilet on the internet? If sales on the internet continue to go untaxed and electronic commerce continues to soar, revenues to state and local governments will plummet but if Congress fails to authorize states to collect tax on remote sales and electronic commerce continues to negotiation, we're implicitly blessing a situation where states will be forced to raise other taxes, sufficient as income or property taxes to offset the growing loss of sales tax revenue. Do we want this to happen? No. We don't The Marketplace Fairness Act empowers states to make the decision themselves. If they choose to collect already-existing sales taxes on all purchases, regardless of where the sale was, whether it was online or in a store, they can. If they want to keep things the way they are you the states can do that The bill gives states the right to decide to collect or not to collect taxes that are already owed. The legislation would streamline the country's more than 9,000 diverse sales tax jurisdictions. The bill gives states two voluntary options that would allow them to collect the state sales taxes that are already owed if they choose. The first option is the streamline sales and use tax agreement which is supported by 24 states that have already passed laws to simplify their tax collection rules. The second option puts in place basic minimum simplifying measures states can adopt to make it easier for out-of-state businesses to comply. Now, the bill also carves out small businesses. So they aren't adversely affected by the new law. By exempting businesses with less than $500,000 in sales online or out-of-state sales from collection requirements There is an exemption in there for start-up and small businesses - when they have less than $500,000 less of sales in a year. Once they do reach the $500,000, then the next year they have to start collecting the tax. This will protect small merchants and GSE give new businesses time to get started."

Senator Durbin: (6:01 PM)
  • Spoke on the Marketplace Fairness Act.
    • SUMMARY "Many local retailers share with me just how frustrating it is to lose business because online retailers have a built-in advantage that I've seen firsthand. While local main street businesses collect state and local taxes and use taxes, their online competitors don't. In Illinois, this can mean an 8% differential in price So we've got to find a way to make this a fairer marketplace. Why can't state and local governments just require online retailers to collect sales and use taxes? For 20 years state and local governments have been prohibited from enforcing their own sales and use tax laws because of a Supreme Court decision in Quill vs. North Dakota where the court clearly stated that only Congress has the authority to solve this problem ... Our amendment is about saving main street businesses and jobs provided by those businesses. This bill allows states. It does not mandate the states but allows states, if they choose, to require online and brick and mortar retailers to play by the same sales tax rules. The bill eliminates the building price advantage that has distorted the market for 20 years. It includes, as Senator Enzi recently said, a small seller exemption for those selling less than $500,000 worth of commodities a year."

Rubio, Schumer, Landrieu, Casey

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Rubio: (3:47 PM)
  • Spoke on economic growth.
    • SUMMARY "If our goal is to grow the economy, we don't have to call trick plays. What we can do at the federal level to grow the economy is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is talk to the people who grow the economy. Go out there and talk to the people who have a great idea and are trying to start a business. They'll tell what you they're looking for. It's pretty straightforward stuff. Tax reform. What do we mean by tax reform? It's simple. We want a tax code that's stable, predictable and affordable. Of course we have to have taxes. Government needs revenue to be able to pay for the things that we all expect from government, but it has to be a predictable system and it has to be an affordable system. You see, if your taxes get too high, people may decide not to invest it in this country or to leave it in the bank, and that doesn't help anybody. And so the point is that we need to have a tax code that's stable, predictable and affordable ... We have a health insurance problem in America. There's no denying that. But there are better ways to deal with it. And the problem is that this bill that passed has created a tremendous amount of uncertainty. For example, it says if you have more than 50 full-time employees, these are certain requirements that you're going to have to meet. Imagine if you're a company with 48 or 49 employees. This may not be the year to hire the 50th. And maybe you were going to be the 50th but now you don't get hired. Or worse, maybe you will decide this is the year to turn all my employees into part-time employees. That's not good for the workers. And yet, that's the impact this law is having ... Imagine a small business run by a husband and wife with two kids and the business - not them, the business makes $95,000 a year. It would cost them between $4,000 and $6,000 to buy health insurance. If they don't, they will owe the IRS $2,000. Now, you tell me that's good for that business. Or imagine if you're thinking about going into business and you realize that this is what's going to happen to you, you decide not to go into business. That's not good for growth. That's why this law needs to be repealed and it needs to be replaced ... I don't know if people fully understand how energy-rich America is. Do you want a small glimpse of what it can mean to our future? Go to North Dakota. That's having a jobs boom. They can't find enough people to work there because energy is important. We need to start behaving like an energy-rich country with a true all of the above strategy, where the energies we choose, by the way, are decided by the marketplace, not by a politician. When politicians decide which energy source to get, do you know who wins? The people with the best lobbyists, the people with the best lobby, the people with the most political influence. That's how you get a Solyndra-type situation or a company that was going to go bankrupt gets all this money of your tax dollars. Meanwhile, America is sitting on over 100-some odd years of natural gas at our disposal and no concise natural energy policy to utilize it. Let me tell you why energy matters. Because if we can get energy costs down and stable and predictable, manufacturing will start coming back to America. That's one of the leading costs of manufacturing is energy ... Free and fair trade that allows the American people to build things that we can sell overseas to other places and lowers the cost of buying certain things here. Just last year we ratified the free trade agreement with Colombia, panama and South Korea. We are already seeing the economic benefits of that in South Florida. Imagine in if we were able to do that with more countries in a free and fair way. Has to be fair. One last thing we could probably do to help grow this economy is deal with the long-term debt. That's what it is, it's a long-term debt problem that hovers over all over this conversation and creates some uncertainty. People are afraid especially people with lots of money are afraid to invest in the America economy, and they think that country is destined for confiscatory tax rates. They're going where Europe is going. We don't want to invest in a country that will wind up like Europe in five years. That's why we have to deal with the long-term debt and the sooner the better. And to deal with the long-term debt, by the way, you have to deal what with what's causing it ... Let's say that tomorrow overnight magically we got real tax reform, real regulatory reform, replaced and replaced Obamacare, had a pro-American energy strategy, expanded free and fair trade and we had a plan in place that began to deal with the long-term debt in a serious and sustainable way. Let me tell you what would happen. Explosive economic growth, primarily by the creation of jobs. And you know what more jobs means? It means number one, more taxpayers. It means we can generate revenue for government to pay for the kinds of stuff we all want government to do and you don't have to raise tax rates to do that. It means you have more taxpayers who are now paying into the tax system that give you the revenue you need to bring the debt under control. Everything gets easier if the economy grows. The debt gets easier, our budgets get easier."

Senator Schumer: (4:08 PM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "The proposal will spur economic growth. It will create nearly one million new jobs in this country. If my republican colleagues cared about small business in America, they'd work with us to pass this commonsense bill immediately. Instead of playing procedural games that are thinly veiled attempts to block these tax cuts that spur hiring. The bill is based on bipartisan ideas that have traditionally enjoyed Republican support, yet they are obstructing their passage. Why are our Republican colleagues changing their tune? The only explanation is that Republicans continue to block proposals that will help create jobs and spur our economic recovery for their own political gain. This is a simple proposal. It's a smart proposal. It's a tax cut proposal Simply put, this bill makes equipment purchases and capital improvements for thousands of small businesses cheaper and by doing that provides a real jolt to the economy. In fact, it's estimated that every $1 of tax cuts devoted to writing off the cost of business purchases generates $9 of GDP growth. Let me repeat that. $1 of tax cuts generates nine times that in GDP growth. Why wouldn't we do it? Economists of every stripe will tell you hiring incentives like the ones in this bill are the best ways to kick start an economy and bet people back to work. Why wouldn't we do it? In fact, a new nonpartisan analysis of the proposal before us has determined that it will create nearly one million jobs this year ... The proposal's targeted towards the mom and pop main street businesses that will benefit most from this relief These small business owners are real job creators and they're the ones who make this country run. They come in early, they stay late, they work hard, and they deserve a tax break. Here lies an important contrast between what we're proposing and a different tax cut proposal that the House Republicans have passed. The House Republican proposal is neither focused on true small business nor does it make the tax cut dependent on a company doing any hiring at all. Our proposal rewards actual job creation by true small businesses rather than giving more tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, who may not create a single job."

Senator Landrieu: (4:23 PM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "The bill will invest basically $20 billion to the bottom line of small businesses, owners of businesses that are dynamic and that are growing. And I'd like to make that distinction. It's not all small business that will get a tax relief. It's small businesses that are dynamic and growing, adding employees or increasing wages. The bill is smartly and narrowly targeted to motivate and to reward those small businesses, subgroup of the 28 million small businesses that exist in the country today ... The House of Representatives' bill basically is taking $40 billion that we don't have - we don't have the $20 billion either. But one is half the cost. Taking the $40 billion and throwing it at businesses, 50% of which, according to the CBO study, will accrue to the highest income earners in the country over $1 million ... According to the National Economic Council, the tax credit would provide $20 billion in direct tax relief for businesses that hire new workers or increase wages and it could encourage an additional $200 billion to $300 billion in new wages in jobs this year. This tax credit, as I said, makes sense. It will help create jobs. According to the Congressional Budget Office report released last year, policies that have the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of cost in 2012 and 2013 are the ones that would reduce the marginal cost of hiring. A CBO report from November of 2011 that's exactly what the Schumer bill does. Firms that make capital investments in 2012 would be allowed to deduct the full value of the investment on their 2012 return. We know that this kind of targeted tax cut can spark demand that small businesses have been clamoring for. This tax cut is an extension of a tax provision that expired in 2011 and had yielded an estimated $50 billion in added investments and lowered the cost, the average cost of capital for business investment by over 75%, according to the National Council of Economic Advisors."

Senator Casey: (4:42 PM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "It includes a business payroll tax incentive similar to legislation I introduced back in the year 2010 that will make it easy for small businesses to grow and to encourage economic growth throughout the country. It'll give businesses a 10% income tax credit on new payroll for hiring new workers or increasing employee wages. It is in fact targeted legislation. It's targeted to small business owners because it's capped at $500,000 per firm or 10% of a payroll increase of $5 million. In addition to being targeted, it's timely. It'll be available immediately for any new-hires or increased workers for the remainder of this year 2012 ... CBO said that a tax credit based on increased payroll would create the most jobs and have the greatest positive impact on America's gross domestic product when impaired to other job-creation policies that have been proposed. Under this legislation, small businesses that hire a new worker would, on average, see more than $4,000 in tax savings per worker hired. That's a substantial help to a small firm, and you can just do the math as you hire more than one person. That's a smart step in the right direction to help these businesses themselves and also to boost job creation throughout our country."

Inhofe, Bennet, Cardin, Cornyn

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Inhofe: (2:26 PM)
  • Spoke on climate change.
    • SUMMARY "There's a new thing that's happening. It's kind of interesting because just last Friday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the Obama appointees said to the Associated Press, they said that the wildfires and hot temperatures over the past few weeks will likely convince Americans that global warming is real. In other words, they never tried to do this before because that's one of the few things all experts agree on that one isolated case doesn't make a case for major changes in the weather. This is kind of a dangerous game to play because what are they going to say when winter comes? It's going to be cold. As soon as it turns cold, I can tell you what they're going to say. They're not going to use global warming. They're going to use climate change. As the season changes, the terminology changes. They'll start saying just because the temperatures are freezing doesn't mean that the planet isn't overheating. If you followed through with those double negatives, maybe you understand that The important point is this and I want to make this today is that no one, not even the most committed alarmists, can claim that any percentage of the warm weather is due to man-made greenhouse gases It's time to take a trip down memory lane If you take the last 100 years, starting in 1895. 1895-1925, we went through a 30-year period that was a cooling period. And everyone back there was saying that another ice age is coming, we're all going to die. From 1925-1945, for that 20-year period, we went through a warming period and everyone was saying - that's when they coined the phrase global warming. That was way back in the 1930's. Anyway, from 1945-1975, we went into a cooling period. Again, they talked about an ice age is coming, and then after that, we went into a warming period that went up to the turn of the century. Now it's actually going down into a cooling period again Every 20 or 30 years, we go through this. We go through the same hysteria, everyone is going crazy and the world is coming to an end. But the interesting thing about this is the time in the world history when we had the greatest surge of CO2 was right after World War II. That was 1945, and that precipitated not a warming period with all that CO2 but a cooling period that endured for 30 years."

Senator Bennet: (2:57 PM)
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "Some people call it a penalty and some people call it a tax. That's something that's been debated around here for the last week. It hasn't been debated before this. And I don't care what label you put on it, frankly, because people at home are not talking to me about this. And you know why they're not talking to me about this? Because it applies to 1% - 1.2%, to be precise - of the American people. That's what the Congressional Budget Office told us when we were passing this legislation CBO said this mandate would cost $4 billion and that roughly 4 million people would be affected. Those are the 4 million people after Medicare and Medicaid and private employers' insurance and personal insurance that people buy. That is the group of people, a sliver, 1% of the American people that can afford to buy insurance but don't and choose to pay the penalty or the tax or the mandate instead of buying their insurance. $4 billion, 4 million people. What the health care bill was intended to do and, again, may not have done perfectly and there may be other ideas that we ought to be legislating around, what it was intended to do was solve a problem that confronted not 1% of the American people, not 4 million people but a problem that conservatively, extremely conservatively, affects 50% of the American people and is a $58.5 billion problem, not a $4 billion problem. Because it's 50% of the people that are covered today by their employer who have to pay $1,100 a year in premium in additional premiums to subsidize the uninsured in the United States of America. That was one of the big objectives of dealing with this health care issue. And I say it's conservative because this number doesn't even include the people that are buying insurance on their own. And so maybe if you add those numbers together, you get to about 70% of the American people."

Senator Cardin: (3:13 PM)
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "The House of Representatives - I think it's the 31st time that they're acting on legislation that repeals all or part of the Affordable Care Act but their strategy is to repeal the law and they have nothing to move forward with. They don't have a plan. And as you point out, that if that were to become the case and it won't; we're not going to pass it in the Senate, that parents that now have their children on their insurance policy that are 23, 24, 25-year-olds, would lose that opportunity. That parents who can now get their children covered by insurance who have preexisting conditions would lose that protection. The patients' bill of rights that we've incorporated against abusive practices of private insurance companies so that if someone goes into an emergency room with emergency conditions, they need to be reimbursed under prudent layperson standards. That could be lost. And our seniors could lose their wellness exam that's covered under Medicare. And that we're closing the coverage gap on prescription drugs. That could be lost. And let me also point out that our seniors appreciate the fact that what we did in the Affordable Care Act extends the life of Medicare for about a decade. That would be lost ... not be discriminated against by paying more for their insurance than larger companies. That would be lost. And, as you know, the attack on women's health care - this bill that is now law allows women to be treated equally with men as far as premiums are concerned. That would be lost."
  • Spoke on Turrets syndrome.

Senator Cornyn: (3:23 PM)
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "I think history has now demonstrated that it is not the Affordable Care Act. It is the Unaffordable Care Act. And my colleagues suggest that the only way that we could possibly protect people from preexisting disease exclusions under their insurance policy or make sure that young adults can remain covered under their parents' coverage is to pass this monstrosity. That's just not the case. We could easily address these other issues as well as affordability if we were take a step-by-step approach to try to make sure that the patient-physician decision-making process is preserved while making health coverage for affordable for more Americans. Unfortunately, that was not the approach taken under Obamacare. In fact, under Obamacare, there was almost no attention paid to trying to make coverage more affordable. The focus was on expanding coverage, an admirable goal, but one that ignored affordability almost entirely. And we now know that Obamacare was based - the vote in favor of and the public support such as it is for Obamacare was based on a litany of what has now proven to be broken promises, the promise that if you like what you have, you can keep it. We know that's not true. More and more employers are dropping their employer-provided coverage for their employees. The president himself said that a family of four would actually see their premiums reduced, on average of $2,500 a year. What's happened? Premiums continue to go up, roughly at the rate of 10% a year. The president said - and I heard my colleague from Maryland just say - Obamacare cut the deficit. Well, how you can spend $2.5 trillion and take $500 billion more from Medicare, an already fragile, unsustainable program - unless we fix it - and that cuts the deficit is, I think, beyond the understanding of most Americans, certainly it's beyond me."
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Why are lower taxes on capital gains and dividends important? On capital gains, it's important because we want to incentivize people to make long-term investments to create jobs. Why is a lower dividend rate important? Well, many seniors who are retired depend on dividend income from their retirement funds in order to help pay their costs of living I have to admit the president's recent announcement that he wants to raise taxes on small businesses has left me scratching my head. I remember back in 2010 when President Obama said that raising taxes during a economic recovery "would have been a blow to our economy." That's what President Obama said in 2010. But in 2012, he seems to be singing an entirely different tune. At the time in 2010, economic growth was roughly 3.1%. That's when President Obama said raising taxes would be a blow to our economy. You know what the economic growth numbers are today? Our economy is growing at roughly 2% of GDP, our gross domestic product. So it's instead of 3.1%, it's growing at an even slower rate now. Of course, as I mentioned, this tax increase that the president and the majority leader are proposing is on top of the Obamacare taxes. And you know it's not just the individual mandate that I alluded to earlier that will penalize people who don't buy government-approved health care. But that is on top of approximately 20 different other tax increases that are part of the obamacare legislation. Not only do these new taxes break the president's own pledge not to raise taxes on individuals who make less than $200,000 a year or families making less than $250,000 a year, but it also creates barriers to new investment and job creation According to one nonprofit economic policy research and educational organization, a 2.9% tax increase would depress economic growth by 1.3%. You heard me a moment ago say that our economy is growing roughly at 2%, and this think tank says they estimate that a 2.9% tax increase would depress economic growth by 1.3%. And it would reduce capital formation by 3.4%. Now, those are numbers that come out of obviously a think tank, but what that means is fewer jobs and a lower standard of living for many Americans. The damage to job creation and economic growth would be even greater, from a 3.8% investment tax. So, you don't have to be an economist or a rocket scientist to figure out that higher taxes are going to depress economic activity. Indeed, it's all about incentives. If we create incentives for people to be productive, work hard and make investments, then they will respond. If we raise the bar and make it more expensive and make it harder, they're going to do less of it. It's just that simple."
  • Spoke on the Texas voter-ID law.
    • SUMMARY "This is particularly important in my state, but it's important across the country because many states have passed commonsense voter identification laws to protect the integrity of the ballot and to prevent dilution of the vote for majority and minority members and everyone across the board, and to protect against voter fraud. Yesterday Attorney General Holder spoke in Houston, Texas, at a gathering of the NAACP. And I'm sorry to say that his remarks were completely inappropriate and misleading. Mr. Holder knows, or he should know that the Texas law that requires a photo ID. In order to cast a ballot will be issued free of charge - free of charge - to any voter that asks for one. Free of charge. He conveniently ignores the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States dispositively held that voter ID laws are constitutional and necessary to protect the integrity of the vote. And this is really the low point of the attorney general's remarks. He once again defamed my state and our state legislature by equating our sequence voter ID law - our commonsense voter ID law with a poll tax. By injecting the specter of Jim Crow racism, the attorney general is playing the lowest form of identity politics. Mr. Holder knows better. This rhetoric is irresponsible and a disgrace to the office of the attorney general. Shame on him."

Whitehouse, Thune, Nelson-FL, Barrasso

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Whitehouse: (1:39 PM)
  • Spoke on climate change.
    • SUMMARY "There is an article in Science Daily, "Arctic ice melt is setting stage for severe winters." And it says the dramatic melt-off of arctic ice is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think. That's because melting arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect leading to increased odds of winter outbreaks in the middle attitudes. Think, the article continues, the snowmageddon storm that hamstrung Washington, DC during February 2010 ... That shows that the original challenge to climate change theory based on the incident of snowmageddon was like so much that is said to challenge climate change, phony, outright wrong, misrepresenting what it shows. Scientists have recently published an article in oceanography that demonstrates again that link between climate change and severe winter weather in the northern hemisphere's middle latitudes. I think that can be swiftly debunked as a phony claim against the facts of climate change that are surrounding us. But look around at what's happening now. We're seeing extreme weather on the other side. Last week Eugene Robinson wrote in his Washington Post column feeling the heat, if you still don't believe in climate change, "you're either deep in denial or delirious from the heat." And he points out that the evidence is really mounting up in irresistible and ultimately irrefutable ways. To quote from his article, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the past winter was the fourth warmest on record in the United States. To top that, spring which meteorologists define as this spring, March, April and May, was the warmest since recordkeeping began in 1895."

Senator Thune: (1:59 PM)
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "The president pledged not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 and families making less than $200,000 per year. Yet the new individual mandate tax which the Supreme Court affirmed is a tax increase, will raise $54 billion in new taxes largely on middle-income Americans between 2015 and 2022. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, 77% of those projected to pay the tax in 2016 will be those earning less than $120,000 year. Americans earning less than $120,000 clearly meet the president's definition as middle income. The Congressional Budget Office projections confirm that at least three out of every four Americans subjected to the new individual mandate tax will be the same middle-income taxpayers that President Obama promised would not see their taxes raised by one dime. In fact, when asked by George Stephanopoulos if the president rejected the notion that the individual mandate was a tax, the president stated, "I absolutely reject that notion." The president wasn't equivocal and he didn't leave any room for interpretation. So let's be clear. This president and Democrat leaders here in congress sold Obamacare as if it did not increase taxes on the middle class. Now we know what they're selling was an incredible bait-and-switch. They were enacting $54 billion in new individual mandate taxes, primarily on the middle class, by calling it something else It is estimated that the average tax on an American subject to this new tax increase will be about $1,100 per year. And after paying this tax, these Americans still won't have health insurance. We should not forget that the national health insurance tax is not the only tax increase in Obamacare affecting individuals. Starting next year, individuals will be able to save less money tax-free in flexible spending accounts to pay for their own health care expenses. Currently there is no statutory limit on FSA limits. Starting next year, Obamacare will cap the limit at only $2,500 per year. And Obamacare will limit tax deductions for those with the largest health care needs by reducing the medical expense deduction from expenses above 7.5% of adjusted gross income to expenses above 10% of adjusted gross income. So at the very time that Obamacare is driving up health care costs, it is also making it more difficult for American families to pay for their own health care needs. These tax increases don't even take into account the new 3.8% tax increase on investment income or the almost 1% Medicare surtax that will be imposed on higher-income Americans making it more expensive for small businesses to hire workers or invest in the economy. These taxes are in addition to the Obamacare taxes on businesses such as the new medical device tax or the tanning tax. These taxes will ultimately be passed on to the consumers. Of the $552 billion of new taxes included in Obamacare according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Economic Committee has estimated that roughly $250 billion are tax increases that will hit the middle class either directly or through the health care products that they consume."

Senator Nelson-FL: (2:12 PM)
  • Spoke on the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act.
    • SUMMARY "What the bill does is direct the federal agencies to recognize relevant military training when certifying veterans for federal occupational licenses. In other words, it's common sense if a veteran is skilled because they have been trained in their military duties, they ought to be able to utilize that skill, that training without having to go through all of it duplicated again when they get into a specialized civilian job. So this bill directs the federal agencies to recognize relevant military training when certifying veterans for federal occupational licenses. If the military training is found to be comparable to the civilian requirements, the veteran would be deemed qualified for that occupation. These are the licenses that people need in order to get jobs in the civilian sector."

Senator Barrasso: (2:19 PM)
  • A Doctor's 2nd Opinion.
    • SUMMARY "According to the Congressional Budget Office, 77% of those forced to pay the tax will be people making less than $120,000 a year. President Obama repeatedly promised that he would not raise taxes on the middle class. Specifically, he promised that no family making less than $250,000 a year would see any form of tax increase. Let me quote. The president of the United States said I can make a firm pledge. He said under my plan no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. The president went on to say not through income tax. He said not your payroll tax. He said not your capital gains tax. He finished it by saying not any of your taxes. But when the president's lawyers went before the Supreme Court, they did just the opposite. They argued that this mandate was indeed a tax. The solicitor general even stated that the court had an obligation, he said, to construe the mandate as a tax. He said if it could be upheld on that basis. So as it turns out, the majority of the Supreme Court agreed that the mandate was constitutional but only, only because it's a tax. In short, the Supreme Court confirmed that the president has broken his promise to middle-class families, and it's the promise that he made to not raise taxes. In fact, the president's individual mandate tax will produce more tax revenue for the government than the so-called Buffett rule that this administration has been supporting. While supporters of the health care law may support using the IRS. to scare people into getting health insurance, most Americans don't think that this is the right policy for our country."

Kyl, Webb, Leahy

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Kyl: (12:12 PM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "We could let the top-two marginal tax brackets increase from 33% and 35% to 36% and 39.5% respectively. That's what President Obama and Leader Reid would like too do. Almost one million business owners will be hit with massive tax increase on new year's day. That's according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. That strategy means that 53% of business income will be subjected to a tax hike in order to fund the historic levels of spending from the current administration. The strategy guarantees that more jobs will be lost, that unemployment will stay high, and that economic growth will remain subpar. Let me just repeat over half, 53%, of all business income would be subjected to this tax increase. If we do nothing, the current code expires and Americans will see over $4.5 trillion taken from the private sector over the next decade. This will help push us into a recession next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. For any member of this chamber who cares about job creation and economic recovery, these two options should be unacceptable. They certainly were for President Obama in 2010. Less than two years ago when President Obama signed legislation into law preventing taxes from going up on any American, he noted that tax hikes "would have been a blow to our economy, just as we're climbing out of a devastating recession." Evidently 40 Senate Democrats agreed with the president since they too voted to stop taxes from increasing in 2010. What's the difference now? Our economy is in worse shape, growing now at less than 2%. At that time it was about 3%. So there's even more reason not to raise taxes now than there was in 2010 when the president thought it was a bad idea."

Senator Webb: (12:32 PM)
  • Spoke on the Stolen Valor Act.
    • SUMMARY "I am introducing a bill today in response to a recent Supreme Court holding that invalidated the provisions of what has become known as the Stolen Valor Act of 2006. The Supreme Court decision regarded a place in the Stolen Valor Act that made all false statements about the receipt of military decorations a crime, stating that this act, in the view of the court "seems to control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in an almost limitless times and settings without regard to whether the law was made for purpose of material gain.â€? And basically what the Supreme Court was saying is that you cannot freeze all first amendment rights to make claims about anything in this society unless there was a purpose at the end of it in terms of some sort of a material gain. I would start by saying I understand and fully accept the court's holding in this case about the overly broad measures of the Stolen Valor Act of 2006. And the legislation I'm introducing today is designed to remedy this issue and to bring criminal penalties to those who falsely claim military service or the receipt of unearned awards, medals and ribbons if these statements were made in pursuit of a tangible benefit or a personal gain. This legislation is drafted under the guidance of the holding of the Supreme Court in this case. I am a strong believer in the first amendment. I believe it is sacrosanct in our society. I believe the freedom to speak one's mind and to dissent when one opposes a proposal or an issue or a government policy is the very foundation of a truly free society. At the same time, the very special reverence for the first amendment should be measured against the equally special place that our society holds for military service."

Senator Leahy: (1:06 PM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "The bill is a multipronged strategy for spurring job creation and creating tax credit for businesses to hire new workers or increase wages for their current workers. In other words, instead of saying we'll give a tax break to extraordinarily wealthy people, we say let's see the jobs. Show me the jobs. Show me the jobs. You have a tax credit for businesses that hire new workers or increase wages for their current workers, then that is a good use of our tax code. Secondly, it would allow businesses to immediately write off all the major purchases they make this year. That's a tangible incentive for new investments and new hires right away. I don't support this bill just because the president supports it or the Democratic leader supports it or most of the members of my side of the aisle support it. They all do stand behind this effort and I'm grateful for that. I support this bill because I've heard from small business owners in Vermont, Democratic and Republican alike, who tell me they would make capital improvements and put people to work immediately if this bill were signed into law. And I suspect the same would be true in virtually every other state in this country."
  • Spoke on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
    • SUMMARY "It's been nearly three months since the senate passed the bipartisan Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. Three months. We are no closer to enacting this bill into law than we were in April when 68 senators, Republican and Democratic senators alike, voted for this critical legislation to protect women from domestic and sexual abuse. I'm concerned that politics will get in the way of passing this critical legislation this year. Protecting every victim from violence should be above politics. Members of Congress in both chambers set aside the political rhetoric to act swiftly to reauthorize this landmark legislation and save countless lives, and time is running out. There are only a few weeks left in this session before election year politics take over and congress comes to a standstill. There are critical improvements in the Leahy-Crapo reauthorization bill that will not take effect unless Congress acts. We can't simply say that if we don't enact it, maybe we can do it next year or the year after. There are a lot of major programs. They will only be enacted in this bill. Not in appropriations, not any other way. We saw programs that will not receive the added support they need unless we pass our bill into law. Legislation's emphasis on increasing housing protection for victims, preventing homicides would not have an opportunity to help vulnerable victims across the country. Important improvements in campus safety, prevention program for teens will not occur. Immigrant victims, native, LGBT programs will continue without the protection they deserve. The legislation is too important to wait. I hear from victims and the professionals who work on their behalf, they say they need the improvements made by the Leahy-Crapo bill and they need them today. The legislation is particularly important during difficult economic times. Because the economic pressures facing many Americans can pose additional hurdles. Active community networks are needed to provide support to victims in these circumstances, like emergency shelters and transitional housing and counseling."

Whitehouse, Blumenthal, Vitter, Gillibrand

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Whitehouse: (11:19 AM)
  • Spoke on cybersecurity.
    • SUMMARY "A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security found that companies that operate critical infrastructure have reported a sharp rise in cybersecurity incidents over the past few years. Companies reported 198 cyber incidents in 2011. This may reflect that the private sector is just now beginning to catch on. The private sector cannot be counted on to respond to this growing challenge on its own. As Ashton Carter has explained, "There is a market failure at the work here. Companies just aren't willing to admit vulnerability to themselves or publicly to shareholders in such a way as to support the necessary investments or lead their peers down a certain path of investment and all that would follow." These were administration warnings but the concerns are bipartisan. A wide range of national security experts from previous Republican administrations have echoed this alarm. Former director of national intelligence and NSA Director Admiral Mike McConnell has said, "The United States is fighting a cyber war today and we are losing. It is that simple." He explains "as the most wired nation on earth, we offer the most targets of significance, yet our cyber defenses are woefully lacking. The stakes are enormous. To the extent that the sprawling U.S. economy inhabits a common physical space, it is in our communications networks. If an enemy disrupt our financial and accounting transactions or created confusion about the legitimacy of those transactions, chaos would result. Our power grids, air, and ground transportation, telecommunications, and water filtration systems are in jeopardy as well." Admiral McConnell also made a comparison to threats from the past. "The cyber war mirrors the nuclear challenge in terms of the potential economic and psychological effects. We prevailed in the cold war through solid alliances and clear policies. We backed all this up with robust investments. Security never comes cheap. It worked because we had to make it work. Let's do the same with cybersecurity. The time to start was yesterday.""

Senator Blumenthal: (11:34 AM)
  • Spoke on cybersecurity.
    • SUMMARY "The United States today is under attack. We are under cyber attack. The question is how we respond. It is our national interests that are at stake. And every day this nation suffers attempted intrusions, attempted interference, attempted theft of our intellectual property as a result of the ongoing attack that we need to stop and deter and answer. National security is indistinguishable from cybersecurity. In fact, cybersecurity is a matter of national security. Not only insofar as our defense capabilities, our actual weapons systems are potentially under attack and interference. But also, as my colleague from Rhode Island said so well, because our critical infrastructure, are every day at risk. Our facilities in transportation, our financial system, our utilities that power our great cities and our rural areas, and our intellectual property, which is so valuable and which every day is at risk. In fact, is taken from us wrongfully at great cost to our nation. The number and sophistication of cyberattacks has increased dramatically over the years and there are warnings that say those attacks will continue and will be mounting with increasing intensity. In fact, experts say that with enough time, enough motivation, enough funding a determined adversary can penetrate nearly any system that is accessible directly from the internet. The United States today is vulnerable. And to take the Pearl Harbor analogy that our secretary of defense has drawn so well, we have our ships sitting unprotected today as they were at the time of pearl harbor. Our ships today are not just our vessels in the seas, but our institutions sitting in this country and around the world. Our critical infrastructure that is equally vulnerable to sophisticated and unsophisticated hackers. In fact, the threat ranges from the hackers in developing countries, unsophisticated hackers, to foreign agents who want to steal our nation's secrets through terrorists who seek ways to disrupt that critical infrastructure. And it is not a matter simply of convenience. We're not talking here about temporary dislocations like the loss of electricity that the capital area suffered recently or that our states of New England suffered as a result of the recent storms last fall. We're talking about permanent, severe, lasting disruptions and dislocation of our financial and our power systems that may be caused by this interference."

Senator Vitter: (11:47 AM)
  • Spoke on reimportation of prescription drugs.
    • SUMMARY "I come to the Senate floor to talk about a priority of mine that's been the case since I first came to the U.S. Senate and that is importation, changing federal law appropriately to allow Americans to buy safe, cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. We all know prescription drug prices are sky-high in the United States. They're sky-high by any metric, by any measure. Certainly in this down economy, certainly for folks like seniors on a fixed income. And they're particularly sky-high when you compare those drug prices to the prices of exactly the same drugs in other countries, including other western industrialized countries like Canada immediately to our north. For this reason, from the very beginning of my work in the Senate, I've laid out a number of solutions that I think would make the situation a lot better, including generics reform, which I'm working on in a bipartisan way with other members of the Senate. But one of those proposed solutions has been importation, again, changing federal law, as I think we absolutely need to do, to allow American seniors, all Americans to buy safe, cheaper prescription drugs from other countries like Canada. And let me emphasize, we're talking about exactly the same prescription drugs as we can buy here at much higher prices. We're only talking about FDA-approved drugs. We're talking about drugs coming from the same sources, manufacturing sites either in this country and those drugs go to Canada and other countries, or sometimes from third-party countries and the drugs come to both Canada and the United States ... In 2007, the Senate actually passed that measure 63-28, although it was after that essentially scuttled by a poison pill added to the bill. But the vote on the base measure was 63-28 with 47 Senate Democrats voting "yes" including then-Senator Barack Obama. Flash forward to 2009, after the Obamacare back-room deal, a whole different planet, a whole different landscape. Then the Senate defeated the same measure 51-48. There was a 60-vote threshold. With 38 Senate Democrats voting "yes" - a smaller number - with 23 Senate Democrats switching their vote from 2007. Exactly the same measure, 23 Senate Democrats flip-flopped, switched their vote in light of the White House Obamacare deal. You can see a similar flip-flop with regard to votes on my Vitter amendment, a more narrowly tailored measure regarding reimportation. In 2009, the Senate passed that 59-49. A more narrowly focused and tailored amendment. But in 2011, after the deal, completely different story. The Senate rejected the same amendment 45-55. Only 29 Senate Democrats voted "yes," again, 14 Senate Democrats switched their vote, did a complete flip-flop from 2009. So again, i believe the facts are in. Investigations, e-mails, other crystal-clear evidence, including those votes and those vote switches, make it very clear that it was a back-room deal worth billions of dollars to big PhRMA, worth a lot politically to the Obama White House. And the deal, as is evidenced by these communications and quotes and e-mails, was very clear. Big PhRMA said, we'll help you pass Obamacare, we'll give you $70 million in advertising money, we'll help lower costs so that you can brag that Obamacare is, through some smoke-and-mirrors accounting actually saving money when it's not, and in exchange, you kill, you kill reimportation, which would lower prices on us and hurt our profit margin. And the White Housesaid, absolutely we agree. Senator Obama was full-bore for reimportation. Candidate Obama campaigned on sue and was very strong and vocal about it. President Obama cut the back-room deal and killed it. Senators who are still fighting for lower prescription drug costs here in the Senate are, quite frankly, still reeling from the setback, still trying to deal with it. But I believe we ultimately will deal with it and will recover from this major setback when the American people fully realize what went on. The corrupt, I would say, backroom deal that was cut between the white house and big PhRMA and how seniors and other Americans are paying the price."

Senator Gillibrand: (12:02 PM)
  • Honored Raoul Wallenberg.
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "Small businesses have been responsible for at least 60% of all new jobs that have been created and small businesses can give us the spark that we actually need to create a growing economy and a thriving middle class ... Women-owned businesses are among the fastest-growing sector in the small business economy. More than 10 million businesses are owned by women and generated more than $2 trillion worth of sales in 2008 alone. Even though women-owned businesses start their businesses with about eight times less capital than their male counterparts, in the decade from 1997 to 2007, women-owned businesses added roughly a half a million dollars to our economy. That's the kind of growth and spark that could actually make a difference. We could do our part right here in congress this week It is time to come together around commonsense, core ideas like giving the tax breaks they need to grow. We shouldn't wait another day to eliminate capital gains on investments in these small businesses. We should extend the tax breaks for businesses that allow them to invest in new property, plant, or equipment and take those deductions up front. We should give them incentives to hire those new employees and it's our responsibility as lawmakers to do this kind of work together in a bipartisan way. One that can set aside the political gamesmanship. And I know, just as women-owned small businesses are ready to lead to a lasting economic strength and growing economy, the women of the Senate are there to support them. Democrats and Republican women have come together around this bill in a bipartisan way to urge our colleagues to support it. Now, these tax provisions provide relief to the self-employed, to small businesses and their capital investments and encourage new investment. They work hand in hand with other tax credits that encourage new hires and wage increases. The creation of these things really had harness their full potential for our American businesses to grow. Now, we know these proposals are effective. They helped boost the private sector for job creation over the past two years. But we all know that there's so much more we have left to do. And we can start by renewing these commonsense steps that unlock the power of our small businesses. Now, these aren't Democratic ideas, they're not Republican ideas. They're just good ideas. They're good, commonsense ideas that can make a difference. We should be able to come together to do this for the American people to create a growing economy again."

Udall-CO, Boxer, Manchin, Begich

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Udall-CO: (10:37 AM)
  • Spoke on the wind production tax credit.
    • SUMMARY "This is the point I want to make. If we don't extend the wind tax credit, the PTC, then these wind manufacturers may not have the wherewithal, frankly, to team up to commercialize the new technologies that will be developed then the jobs that follow won't be created. That just doesn't make sense I know for one that the Chinese would be really happy to step in and take away our manufacturing jobs. But if we get our act together, if we extend the PTC, then these wind turbines will be built here in America But if we let the PTC expire, we risk shipping this industry and our good-paying jobs overseas Let's pass an extension of the PTC today. Let's create jobs today. Let's build this clean energy economy. Let's pursue an all of the above strategy. Let's do it here in the United States and let's do it now."

Senator Boxer: (10:43 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "President Obama has called on us to pass a tax cut for 98% of the American people. Not the millionaires, but the middle class. Not the billionaires, but the middle class. 98%. He said anyone earning up to $250,000 gets a tax break. As a matter of fact, he said all income over $250,000 will get a tax cut. Only income $250,000 will go back to the tax rates of Bill Clinton. Now, let me remind everyone that in those years, we had 23 million new jobs created and a balanced budget, and we never had more millionaires created in one period of time as we did then because it was a fair tax system. President Obama has asked us to give a tax break to everyone on the first $250,000 of their income, and after that to go back to the rates under Bill Clinton. That includes 97% of small business owners. When you hear the Republicans get up and say Democrats want to hurt small businesses, Democrats want to hurt the job creators, our position is that 97% of small business owners, we agree with the president, should get a tax ... Pay the fair share that we paid during the fabulous economic growth period when Bill Clinton was the president. Why do we feel it's important that we say 98% and not 100% of taxpayers? Because we have a deficit issue. We have a debt problem. And we want to get back to the days of balanced budgets and we will get there if everyone pays their fair share."
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "Here's the deal. The Republicans have said if they take over all of the branches of government, which is their goal, on day one they're going to repeal Obamacare. They're going to repeal our health care law ... Let me say this to millions of Americans who are already receiving the benefits of Obamacare, and I'll lay those out, you are about to be hit over the head and punched in the nose and if you get the Republicans taking over this whole Washington, DC. which is their goal, take over the Senate, take over the presidency, and keep the House. Now, let me tell you why I say this. Here are the benefits that are in jeopardy. Not in jeopardy from repeal. They'll be repealed. Free preventive services have already begun, cancer screenings, immunizations for those people who have private insurance. 54 million people are going to be punched in the nose and hit in the head if the republicans take over and they repeal health care. On day one. They're trying to do it today over in the house for the 31st time. Prescription drug discounts for seniors who are in the doughnut hole, 5.2 million seniors have already saved $3.7 billion. They're going to be hit in the head and punched in the nose on day one, not even day two of a Republican takeover. Free preventive services for seniors, 32 million Medicare patients get these free screenings now. 32.5 million. That's almost as many people as live in California. Will be hit in the head and punched in the nose on day one. Not on day two or three. Right away. Protection against lifetime dollar limits. Right now you think you have a good health care insurance plan, you get, god forbid something like cancer, and you check it out and you find out it's a half a million, maybe a million, maybe even two million limit, you don't know how fast that limit comes and you're out of insurance. 105 million Americans, 105 million Americans who had limits on their policies no longer have it. Well, the republicans take over, punch in the nose, hit in the head, they're finished. They're out. Young adults who are staying now on their parents' plan up to age 26, 6.6 million young adults, they're out of luck. First day of a Republican takeover. Let's go to the next chart. Limits on the amount of premiums health insurance companies can spend on administrative costs. Right now, 12 million Americans plus are going to receive back a total of a billion dollars in rebates because under our law, Obamacare, the insurance companies have to spend the money on you, 80%. Not on their own perks, not on their bonuses and they're going to get checks in the mail. 12.7 million Americans. I hope you're listening because on day one, no more rebates. Tax credits to help small businesses purchase health insurance. We hear about how the democrats don't care about small business. How about this, about 60,000 small businesses who insure two million workers have gotten tax credits right now, right now, so you hear the crocodile tears over there, yet they want to repeal a tax break that is helping 360,000 small businesses. If your child is born with a preexisting condition, let's say some heart defect and they can't get insurance, today they can. And guess what, 17 million children benefit from this protection right now. 17 million of the most vulnerable people now have protection because of Obamacare. But if the Republicans take over, these little babies are out. Out of luck, and their parents will probably have to go on welfare."

Senator Manchin: (10:56 AM)
  • Spoke on the recent storms in West Virginia.
    • SUMMARY "Makes no sense to the people of the great state of West Virginia and for nearly two weeks hundreds of thousands of West Virginians have been deprived of basic necessities like water and electricity because of massive storms, not just West Virginia up and down the east coast. At the peak of the outage, FEMA estimates 688,000 West Virginians didn't have power. That's a third of our state. One third of our state was completely knocked out. And hundreds of thousands of people had to throw away all their food in their refrigerators and freezers because of lack of electricity. Our National Guard and first responders did a superb job keeping people safe but this country learned how vulnerable and inadequate our infrastructure is and how much we have come to depend on it. Up and down the east coast our electrical grid was crippled because there is no backup plan, none whatsoever that would keep the vital necessities of life running during these her risk storms. The fact is we have to invest in our nation's infrastructure. Little is being done. Power outages cost this country between $79 billion and $164 billion a year I know there are other needs around the world but seeing firsthand how vulnerable our system is, I was so surprised and you might be also.. It was disappointed too to hear yesterday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making a massive investment in power infrastructure in another country by awarding a $94 million contract to provide reliable power in Afghanistan. So I thought how could I explain this back home? We're providing reliable power to the Afghans when West Virginians spent an entire week without electricity. We lost all of our food, suffered through 100-degree heat during this period of time when our country is losing tens and hundreds of billions of dollars because of power outages all over the east coast. As of 6:00 p.m. yesterday, this is more than 12 days after the storm, we still have over 30,000 people without electricity. I cannot count the number of times I've come to the floor in the Senate chamber to say it is time to start rebuilding America. And not Afghanistan. But in all my time in the Senate I have not seen a starker example of misplaced priorities. It is wrong to invest in reliable power for the Afghan people when tens of thousands of not just West Virginians but Americans all over this country have been without power for nearly two weeks because our infrastructure is so vulnerable."

Senator Begich: (11:06 AM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "This is an important bill, has two components that seems simple in a lot of ways but have great impact. And, first, I want to mention the idea that you can get a tax credit for hiring people. Now, some say, well, small won't use the tax rate just to hire people. And I agree maybe to a certain extent on that but why is this important. If you're a small business person and you're going to increase your payroll, maybe you're giving raises or bonuses and so forth, or you're going to hire a part-time or full-time people. If you hire those people and just a clear example is if your payroll is $200,000 ask your payroll goes up by $20,000 to $220,000, you'll get a tax credit of 10%, which is $2,000 You're putting more money into the working people in this economy and, therefore, they're putting back into the economy. The second piece of the act is the depreciation. And, you know, if you're not a small business person, this is - you don't really pay a lot of attention to this. But the way the IRS codes work is if you invest in things, like new equipment, carpet, sheet rock, lighting, whatever, the IRS has these schedules to depreciate this over many, many, many years ... All that expense now if this bill passes can be written off in the first year instead of depreciating it over multiple years. Why is that important? Because let's assume they spend a hundred thousand dollars renovating their facility and they're in a 25% tax bracket. They will save in the first year $25,000. Like that. Instead of spreading that over the next 10 years. Why is that important? That $25,000 they save in taxes or depreciation, they'll be able to reinvest, reinvest into their business as they struggle to figure out how to build their markets."

Hatch, Coats, Brown-MA, Hutchison

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

Jul 11 2012

Senator Hatch: (9:55 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "The amendment that I have filed with my friend, the Republican Leader, is in itself a compromise because we have offered a further compromise. Fair is fair. We have our proposal, we want to keep taxes low for all Americans, particularly with our economy on the ropes, and the president has his proposal. He wants to raise taxes on small businesses even as his prospects for economic growth and job creation look increasingly bleak. So let's have these votes. Let's get on the record. Our constituents sent us here to make hard choices. It's time to put our money where our mouths are. If the president and his party really think that it is morally reprehensible to extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax relief, then they should vote against it. If they really think that raising taxes is the way to go, then vote for the president's plan. I wish I could say that I was shocked, but this is just par for the course. We have been watching this now for a couple of years. I know that the hand-wringing Washington pundits like to blame Republicans for the lack of progress on the fiscal cliff, but this episode should show once and for all what a fiction that is. Republicans are ready to act. They are ready to vote. We can vote on my amendment to extend tax relief to all Americans, and on the president's proposal to deny that tax relief to small businesses. We can do what our constituents sent us here to do. We can vote and let the better plan win. The Democratic leadership, fearful of the embarrassing reality that their own conference has serious reservations about the president's tax-hiking agenda is now filibustering their own bill and they are now filibustering President Obama's signature tax policy. Those who continue to talk about the president's re-election prospects in glowing terms need to re-evaluate that narrative. President Obama thinks that the ticket to his re-election runs through tax hike valley. He is going to succeed where Walter Mondale failed. President Obama's signature economic policy is a promise to raise taxes on job creators when we are facing the 40th straight month of unemployment in excess of 8%. You don't need to do a sophisticated poll to figure out how popular this policy is in swing states or with independents. Just look at what happened here this morning. Republicans offered a vote on the president's plan, and Democrats balked at the opportunity. Democrats are filibustering president Obama's signature domestic policy, a bill to increase taxes, and they are doing so because many members of their own conference know that a vote for these tax increases would sink them back home. They know that. This is a pathetic spectacle made even more so by the fact that time is running short. The fiscal cliff is approaching, and families and businesses need to know what their tax rates will be next year. To date, the Senate's Democratic leadership has done absolutely nothing to provide that certainty. It really is disgraceful what we are witnessing this morning. We need to put politics aside and have these votes."

Senator Coats: (10:05 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "There is a bipartisan consensus that we ought to move forward on comprehensive tax reform. Senator Hatch, our Republican leader of the Finance Committee, which is the committee responsible for writing that bill, has said that piecemeal is not the way to go. Anybody who has analyzed our current situation understands that But even he agreed that in this instance, given the situation that we now face, he would accept going forward with a short-term proposal that would allow us and give us a year to put together a comprehensive tax reform. The last one occurred in 1986, so it's more than time. With all the credits and subsidies and additions and addendums to the current tax code, it's complex beyond anybody's ability to fully understand, and it favors some - it isn't fair. It favors some at the expense of the many. In many ways where these special credits and so forth go to a single company or a single industry, so we need much more fairness across the board, and that's what Senator Wyden and I attempt to do in our proposal. Now, I don't know - the word fairness is thrown around here as condemnation on the Republican party's ability to a chief some kind of bipartisan consent, but if we want to talk about fairness, let's talk about what just happened here. It was imminently fair for the minority leader to offer the Democrats a vote on the president's proposal. All we asked in return was an opportunity to debate and present and have a vote on our proposal. Now, what's amazing is that the Democrat party controls this Senate. They have the votes to pass the president's proposal. And so in the end, if they voted in unison with the president, their proposal wins. Winner takes all. We vote, we come up short, we lose. Obviously, there must be a reason why they don't want that vote. They don't want an alternative presented to them because they must fear that they would lose votes on their side of the aisle for the president's proposal, and we would gain votes from them on our side. It's happened in the past and apparently that's the decision they made."

Senator Brown-MA:
  • Spoke on Stolen Valor Act.
    • SUMMARY "As many of you know the Supreme Court recently struck down the stolen valor act saying lying about military awards, services is protected by our first amendment rights. The court has ruled but let's be clear, it's wrong and cowardly for people to make fraudulent statements in order to receive distinctions they have not earned. Let me say that again. It's wrong and cowardly for people to make fraudulent statements in order to receive distinctions they have not earned. As a 32-year member of the army national guard still serving, I feel very strongly about this issue and believe we need a federal law to punish those who seek to benefit from making false claims and steal the true valor of our heroic men and women in uniform ... It addresses the Supreme Court's concerns by making a key change to protect first amendment rights. It would bun punish individuals who deliberately lie about their military service, their records, or honors with the intention of obtaining anything of value. And the key term is of value. You actually get something of value as a result of the misrepresentations. So, again, the new Stolen Valor Act makes it a federal crime to lie about military service in order to profit or benefit. That's the key distinction."

Senator Hutchison: (10:26 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Small businesses are the economic engine of America. It's not big business. Jobs are created by small businesses that grow and become medium sized businesses. They are responsible for driving most of the job growth in this country. 55% of private-sector jobs are created by small business. Punishing them with new taxes in a time of economic stagnation is incomprehensible, really. It's incomprehensible. This tax that is suggested by the president on those who make $250,000 or more will affect small business. Make no mistake about it. I've been a small business person and I know that if you're paying all the expenses that you're paying, you're not going to be able, if you're taxed as an individual in your small business, to hire new people. Not with what is looming next year in increased taxes and even the talk of it is part of the reason that we have the stagnation that we do. 75% of the small businesses in our country pay taxes at an individual rate. They are organized as flow-through businesses, partnerships, s corporations, LLC's and sole proprietorships. 53% of all flow-through business income will be subject to the top two individual income tax rates scheduled to take expect in 2013. Even talking about tax increases is on our minds of our small business people. It makes them very nervous. We have an already uncertain environment, hiring is stalled, we have a strangling growth in our country, and the hope of recovery is just not there. The first round of taxes in the health care law that the president's party and the president passed will kick in 2013. I don't want to have to go back to the small business owners that I have just visited with last week all over my state and say yes, it's true, you're going to have the taxes involved in the health care plan that will take effect in 2013 and your taxes are going up because you're going into a bigger bracket and yet if the president has his way, it's going to be even bigger. That is not the message anybody in this body should want to take back to their home states. Nor do I want to go back to the hard-working employees and customers and tell them the same thing. Because it won't be just small business owners caught in the net of higher taxes. Every American is going to see their taxes increase if they're paying taxes today."

Reid, McConnell (UC)

Opening Remarks

Jul 11 2012

  • Today --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill, post-cloture. The first hour will be equally divided, with the Republicans controlling the first 30 minutes and the Majority controlling the second 30 minutes.

Senator Reid: (9:33 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Over the last few years, Americans that are very, very wealthy have taken home the greatest share of the nation's income since the 1920's. That's 90 years. A larger percentage of what's out there, the rich are getting it. The rich are getting richer and the poor are being squeezed, the middle class is being squeezed, but the rich are doing really well. While the bank accounts of a few fortunate Americans have grown, their tax bills have not. The wealthiest Americans now pay the lowest tax rates in more than 50 years. While this generous tax code has been good for their bottom lines, it hasn't been good for Americans' bottom lines. Hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts, some say more than a trillion dollars, have been handed out disproportionately to the rich by the previous administration, and this has fueled skyrocketing deficits and a growing national debt. Democrats and Republicans alike agree we have to reduce the deficit and rein in the debt. Unfortunately, the same Republicans who say we have to get our fiscal house in order also claim millionaires and billionaires can't afford to contribute even a tiny bit more to share the effort that's before this country Mitt Romney is doing just fine, and so are the other millionaires and billionaires. It's the middle class, not the very wealthy. We all know times have been tough the last few years for ordinary people to put food on the table. The last thing middle-class families can afford now is a tax increase. That's why Democrats want to keep taxes low for 98% of Americans, including almost 98% of small businesses. Everyone making less than $250,000 a year. While Democrats are focused on how we can help 98% of Americans, Republicans are focused on how they can help Mitt Romney and the rest of the top 2%. And they're willing to hold tax cuts for everyone hostage just to protect tax breaks for the top 2%. Now, Democrats don't agree the top 2% of wage earners can afford to pay the same tax rate they paid when Bill Clinton was president. Remember, that was when the budget was balanced and we were actually paying down the debt and some complained we were paying down the debt too quickly. Well, eight years of the Bush administration took care of that. $7 trillion surplus over ten years was wiped out. Still, we're willing to have that debate with our Republican colleagues. We're willing to discuss it reasonably, but we don't believe middle-class families should wait and wonder and watch and worry whether their taxes are about to go up while congress has that conversation. We shouldn't wait until the last second act."

Senator McConnell: (9:39 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Earlier this week, the president reiterated his long-standing desire to raise taxes on small businesses earning over $250,000 a year. I and all of my Republican colleagues oppose this tax hike for the same reason the president himself opposed it just two years ago, because raising taxes would only make a bad economy worse. But here it comes again, sort of like a bad penny. The liberal crusade for more government, regardless of the circumstances, the impact it would have on working Americans or the broader economy. On Monday, the president issued the following reckless ultimatum. Let me raise taxes on about one million businesses, the president said, let me raise taxes on about one million business owners, and I promise I won't raise taxes on anybody else. In the face of 41 straight months of unemployment above 8%, the president is begging Congress to let him raise taxes on the very businesses the American people are counting on to create jobs. It was the exact opposite, of course, of what is needed. For some reason, he thinks a tax hike is his ticket to re-election. He says it's fair. I don't think most Americans think it's particularly fair for a government that doesn't do a thing to live within its means to take even more money away from those who have worked and sacrificed to earn it. Only to waste it on some solar company or on one more government program we can't afford. We have seen this movie too many times in the past. And frankly, we don't have the luxury to waste any more time arguing about a question that's already settled for most people. The problem here isn't that the government taxes too little but that it a lecture on fairness. They don't need a lecture on fairness. They would like to have some certainty. That's why today I am going to call on the Senate to provide just that. I have already called for a one-year extension of all the current income tax rates. Today, I will go further by asking consent that we set up two votes here in the Senate, two votes. One on the president's proposal to raise taxes on nearly one million business owners in the middle of the worst economic recovery in modern times, and another that would extend current income tax rates for one year and ask the Finance Committee to produce a bill that would enact fundamental pro-growth tax reform. Extend the current tax rates for one year and charge the finance committee with coming up with a proposal within that year for pro-growth tax reform."
  • Unanimous Consent â€"
    • At 2:00 PM today, the Motion to Proceed to S. 2237 be adopted and that the first two amendments in order to the bill be the Hatch-McConnell amendment #2491, which would provide for the extension of current rates while we work on tax reform, and a Reid or designee amendment to enact the president's proposal which as I have said would impose job-killing taxes on nearly one million business owners (Reid objected).

Senator Reid: (9:43 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "What we have before us is something that the republicans in the House have sent us their version of this. It's the help Paris Hilton legislation. It would give people like her a tax break for doing nothing, nothing. $46 billion of the American people's money to help Paris Hilton and others. It would give people a tax break ... 98% of the American people would have the benefit of that tax benefit. 97.5% of small businesses would benefit. So, we're in a situation where my friend talks about the fact that we haven't had enough job creation and I acknowledge that and I certainly that's true and the president acknowledges that. But you see, we have quite a hole to pull ourselves out of. During the prior eight years, eight million jobs plus were lost. And we have filled that hole, more than halfway, 4.5 million new jobs have been created. We've had 28 months of private-sector job growth, 28 months in a row. So we're making progress. We have a long ways to go."

Senator McConnell: (9:46 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Let me simplify this for everybody. The president on Monday asked that we have the vote that I've just offered to the majority. We have a clear contrast here, 41 straight months of unemployment over 8%. If this is a recovery, the most tepid recovery in modern times. The president's solution to that is to raise taxes on about a million small business owners representing about 53% of small business income and up to 25% of the work force. We're on a different bill that my friend the majority leader is talking about that I understand would be blue slipped by the house in any event, so clearly what we're doing this week is having a political discussion, not seriously legislating. And so my recommendation is we give the president what he asked for. He wants to have a vote on raising taxes, on individuals making over $250,000 a year which, of course, includes almost a million small businesses that pay taxes as individuals, not as corporations, either S-corporations or LLC's. The most successful small businesses in America, in fact. That's a vote we welcome. It's a vote the president's asking for. It's a vote I just asked for. And Senator Hatch, our leader on the Finance Committee here on the floor right behind me today has advocated that we extend the current tax rates for a year, the same thing the president, I would say to my friend from Utah, wanted to do two years ago. At that time arguing that it would be bad for the economy not to do that and the growth then was actually better than it is now. And we think we ought to vote on that. And it would give Senator Hatch and Senator Baucus and the people on the Finance Committee a year to work us through comprehensive tax reform again, it's been a quarter of a century since we've been that. Why not have those votes today?"

Senator Reid: (9:49 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "The American people should see this. Again, again, and again and again, scores of times during the last 18 months, we're engaged in a filibuster, a way as I said earlier, to divert attention from what we're doing today, to obstruct as indicated in the Oxford English dictionary, a filibuster is to obstruct progress on legislative assembly, to practice obstruction and that's what's going on today. Why shouldn't we pass this bill that's before the body today? Help a million businesses. I mean create a million jobs, I'm sorry, a million jobs. Give small business, not Paris Hilton, but small businesses across America today a tax credit for hiring new people. And to allow them to write off things that they purchase which would create more jobs. So, we have here in big Las Vegas neon flashing on and off signs that says Grover Norquist has won again to the people out there watching, who is Grover Norquist? Remember, he's this guy that goes to the Republicans and said would you be kind enough to sign a pledge for me? And that pledge says I want you to do what the American people don't want, and that is we will not tax the rich at all. Not even a tiny bit. Sign this pledge, will you? Of course. And they all signed. The American people, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans agree that the richest of the rich should pay a little bit more. But we're now involved in a filibuster to divert attention from an important piece of legislation."

Senator McConnell: (9:51 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "We just witnessed the new definition of a filibuster. My good friend, the Majority Leader, I gather is accusing me of filibustering when I'm trying to get a vote, not one but two a vote on what he says he's for, what the president says he's for, and a vote on what Republicans are for. So we have here a brand-new definition of a filibuster. Even when you're trying to get votes and they're objected to by the other side, somehow that's a filibuster. Now, my good friend talks about what would help small businesses. I think we ought to ask them would they prefer the underlying bill which the Majority Leader has called up and we have voted to proceed to, or would they prefer not to have their taxes go up at the end of the year? Talk about a no-brainer. I don't think there's any question what small businesses what rather have. But we're certainly not filibustering. We enjoy discussing our differences of opinion on the tax issue. There couldn't be anything more important to the American people. If we're going to get this economy going again. And certainly trying to set up two votes number one on what the president is asking for and number two on what Republicans think is a better alternative could not in my view meet the definition of filibuster."

Senator Reid: (9:53 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "When I came here this morning, I repeat for the third time, I asked what business was before this body. Small business jobs bill. And of course there has been a direct attack on that legislation by saying let's do something else. Let's not do this right now, we'll do something else. I understand the definition of filibuster. I understand it very clearly In the united states to practice obstructionism. They are trying to . steal legislation and move to something else. They will do anything they can as my friend the Republican Leader has said at the beginning of this Congress, to divert attention from the fact that President Obama should be reelected."

Jul 11 2012

The Senate Convened.

Jul 11 2012

The Senate is considering the motion to proceed to S. 2237, the Reid small business tax 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.