Senate Calendar

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jul 12 2012

Senator Chambliss: (5:25 PM)
  • Paid tribute to Lieutenant Ronald L. Burgess, Jr., Director of the Intelligence Agency.

Senator Reid: (5:42 PM)
  • Performed Wrap Up --
    • Cloture was filed on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3369, the Disclose Act.
  • Monday, July 16th --
    • The Senate will convene at 2:00 PM and Majority Leader Reid will be recognized.
    • At 5:00 PM, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and begin up to 30 minutes of debate, equally divided, on Executive Calendar #662, Kevin McNulty, of New Jersey, to be United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey.
    • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct 2 ROLL CALL VOTES on:
      1. Executive Calendar #662, Kevin McNulty, of New Jersey, to be United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey; and
      2. Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3369, the Disclose Act (there will be 10 minutes of debate prior to the vote).
The Senate stands adjourned until 2:00 PM Monday, July 16th.

Landrieu, Grassley, Whitehouse

Disclose Act (S. 3369)

Jul 12 2012

Senator Landrieu: (3:13 PM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill/SUCCESS Act.
    • SUMMARY "Perhaps we can't find common ground on a $40 billion tax cut bill or a $50 billion tax cut bill or even a $20 billion, but I think we could find common ground on a bill that only scores and costs the federal government $4 billion in the score but has a $12 billion impact, because it's $4 billion over ten years, but the benefit is right now, the way that we've structured it to extend these tax credits and tax extenders for about a year and three months, which would give us time, as we move forward, to revising the tax code and to seeing how we can reduce and eliminate our deficit and make our tax code more fair. At least it would give a strong signal to many of these small businesses they could count on the tax cuts that are in this bill. So I am going to, on behalf of the 57 members that voted for this today, to file a stand-alone bill. It's going to be called the SUCCESS Act bill of 2012."

Senator Grassley: (4:02 PM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Just this morning in a floor speech, the majority leader said the lowest tax rates in 30 years was "thanks to President Obama, who has consistently fought to lower taxes for the middle-class families over the last three and a half years." However, the majority leader and others of his political party are only telling half the story. The report also shows that incomes of households in all income groups have declined by an average of 12% since 2007. This means, then, that that Americans are 12% poorer than they were in 2007. Now, should we also thank President Obama for this reduction in income? Essentially, this is what the majority leader is doing when he thanks President Obama for lower tax rates. Because when individuals have less income, they pay less in tax. Now, isn't that common sense? Millions of Americans are out of work, and have no or very little income. You would have better luck getting blood out of a turnip than collecting income taxes from someone who has no income. Over the past weeks and months we have heard a lot about income inequality. Occupy Wall Street has been very vocal on this very issue. Many members of Congress have also expressed concern that income inequality is ever increasing. The Finance Committee, of which I am a member, just recently had a hearing on this very topic. This most recent CBO data shows that income inequality is at the lowest point in more than a decade. The share of income held by the top 1% has shrunk by 28%. At the same time, the bottom 60% of households saw their share of income increase by an average of 11%. So perhaps my friends on the other side of the aisle do have reason to cheer. The rich are much less rich, but, of course, the poor are poorer as well. It's just that those in the lower incomes did not see their income shrink by as much as higher income people. Of course, those in the bottom 60% of households are not better off today than they were when income inequality was greater. In fact, they are poorer and struggling more than ever. So I would just hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle keep that in mind as we try to create a better future and do it for everyone. Reduction in income inequality should not be a goal in and of itself. What really matters is individual well-being and opportunity for everybody to succeed. This is best achieved, then, through pro-growth policies aimed at growing the economic pie, not by targeting certain unpopular groups for tax hikes."

Senator Whitehouse: (4:33 PM)
  • Spoke on the Disclose Act.
    • SUMMARY "Campaigns are no longer waged by candidates and parties fighting over ideas. They are now waged by shadowy political attack groups posing as social welfare organizations run by political operatives, linked to specific candidates, and fueled by millions of undisclosed dollars from secret special interests. When these secret special interests take over our elections, it puts in jeopardy the key supports of a strong middle class Americans who worry now that Washington listens too much to the special interests, strap in, look out and hang on to your wallet, because a secret special interest avalanche is underway. According to a study in April, 90% of the money being spent by SuperPACs, nonprofits and other outside groups to elect the president of the united states, 90% of the money being spent by those groups, is coming from secret sources. Secretive corporations and billionaires whose names, whose motives the voters may never know and who will have no accountability for how that money is spent. When there's no accountability for how money is spent because the phony front organization that purports to be spending it isn't real and the real party and interest has hidden behind a veil of secrecy, then there is no limit on what people will say. It is accountability that keeps public dialogue in reasonable check. Well, relieved from that accountability, about 70% of the ads in this election cycle have been negative. 70%. 70% have been negative. Up from 9% in 2008. 70% up from 9% as this flood of secret special interest money has hit. Even worse, if you look at the top four spending political 501-c-4, the secret organizations, the ones that hide their donors, if you look at the top four and what they've done in the last six months, an estimated 85% of their election spending was spent on ads that contained deceptions, according to a recent analysis by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. So you unhinge any real person from accountability for the spending, the special interest behind it remains secret, the ads become virtually exclusively negative attack ads, and they are riddled with deception. This is what the Supreme Court thought free speech looked like Today the Majority Leader has moved to a bill that will bring at least transparency and accountability to our elections. At least these big special interests will have to say who they are. And then we as Americans can evaluate what their motives are, what the deal might be, whether we're actually aligned with their interests or not, and we can evaluate what they're saying about candidates. We will have more information. We will have a better quality of free speech."

Vote Results (Motion to Invoke Cloture)

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

Jul 12 2012

Not Agreed to, 53-44:
Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Vote Results (Motion to Invoke Cloture on Reid (for Landrieu) substitute amendment #2521)

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

Jul 12 2012

Not Agreed to, 57-41:
Motion to Invoke Cloture on Reid (for Landrieu) substitute amendment #2521 to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Vote Results (Motion to Table Reid amendment #2524)

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

Jul 12 2012

Agreed to, 73-24:
Motion to Table Reid amendment #2524 (H.R. 9, the House-passed Small Business Tax Deduction bill) to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

Grassley, Hagan, Thune

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

Jul 12 2012

Senator Grassley: (12:46 PM)
  • Spoke on the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
    • SUMMARY "I have received many complaints concerning the enforcement actions of the civil rights division, when the division's attorneys will not allow themselves to be quoted, we can only conclude that they are saying things about enforcing the law that the American people would never accept. There are no statutes that deny the media the right to quote statements of Justice Department officials that are made at public meetings. If there were, they would violate the first amendment's protection of freedom of speech as well as protection of freedom of press, and there should be no Justice Department policies to that effect either and for the very same reason. This administration says that it is transparent. It wants people to believe that. But then it wants to prevent the press from reporting what it says in public. To carry out that plan, it threatens those reporters with a politically motivated legal action. That is thuggish, not transparency. To the extent that the department has a policy of preventing the press from quoting the statements of its attorneys at public meetings, that policy should be reversed immediately and comply with the first amendment. And whether it has a policy or not, the attorney that claimed that sufficient a policy existed - the attorney that claimed that sufficient a policy existed and tried to expel the reporter from a public meetings because he might quote her and threatened the reporter for getting on the Department of Justice's bad side, that employ should be appropriately disciplined."

Senator Hagan: (1:13 PM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "I rise today to speak in support of the small business tax cut and job creation act. Families throughout North Carolina are facing a difficult economy right now, and I've said repeatedly that the people of our state cannot wait until after the election for Congress to work on solutions to speed up our economic recovery. And that's why I'm pleased that the Senate has agreed to consider this small business legislation. This is a bill that will help North Carolinians get back to work this year in industries such as health care, finance, construction, manufacturing and retail. This legislation supports businesses that expand payroll or invest in new equipment, and there are estimates that it will put 27,000 of unemployed people in my state back to work. And it does this by creating an incentive for North Carolina small businesses to add new jobs in 2012 by giving businesses a 10% income tax credit on new payroll. And it encourages businesses to make new investments by extending 100% depreciation deduction on qualified property, providing real tax relief that lowers the cost of doing business should be a bipartisan idea and it is one that I will support."

Senator Thune: (1:22 PM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "A couple of years ago, the president of the united states in 2010 said that it would be a blow to our economy if tax rates went up on small businesses. Well, that was back at a time when economic growth was a little over 3%. Well, here we are two years later. Economic growth is much slower. We're going at a more sluggish rate, about 2%. There is concern that even is going to slow down as we approach the end of the year. Yet we have this threat hanging out there on the horizon looming of smaller taxes on small businesses, the very people that we rely upon to get Americans back to work, to create jobs and to get this economy growing again ... All of our tax policy ought to be oriented around getting this economy growing and expanding again it is just counterintuitive to me and to most Americans I think to suggest that the way to do that would be to raise taxes on the very people that you are looking to create jobs and to grow this economy, and those are our small businesses. So when the president came out earlier this week and suggested that we ought to allow the tax rates to expire for people who make more than $250,000, what he was talking about, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, was almost a million small businesses, almost a million small businesses if we don't take steps to avert it on January 1 are going to see their taxes go up. Now, those small businesses that I am referring to employ 25% of the American work force. Most of them are small businesses, they are organized as subchapter S-corporations, LLC's which means that their income flows through to their individual tax return and they pay at the individual rate level, and so as a consequence of that, when you start raising taxes for people above $250,000, you are hitting almost a million I should say of those small businesses who are going to be faced with higher tax burdens and higher tax liabilities. That to me is completely counterintuitive to what we ought to be thinking about if we're interesting in getting the economy growing again. We shouldn't be making it more difficult and expensive for small businesses to create jobs. We ought to be looking at what we can do to lessen the burden on our small businesses and to keep that tax burden, that regulatory burden at a level that doesn't create impediments and barriers to them going out and investing and creating jobs. And so the president's proposal is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. 53% of the income that I mention, these companies that are organized, small businesses as S-Corporations, LLC's, 53% of that income would be faced with a higher tax burden come January 1 unless we take steps to avert it, and what the president proposed essentially was allowing taxes to go up on those very small businesses."
  • Spoke on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, 77% of the people who would be impacted by the individual mandate tax are people who make less than $120,000 a year. Now, the president promised when he was running for office he wouldn't raise taxes on anybody who makes less than $250,000 a year. Clearly one of the many broken promises in the health care bill was the individual mandate and its impact on the very people he said he wouldn't raise taxes on, middle-income Americans, those who make less than $120,000 a year who according to the joint committee on taxation are 77% of those people would see higher taxes. And it's a significant amount of tax. $54 billion over the next ten years, and if you think about what that raises, the individual mandate, the amount of revenue raised by the health care tax, individual mandate tax, it actually is more in revenue than would have been raised by the so-called Buffett tax designed to get millionaires in this country to pay more in taxes. So we're levying a tax on middle-income Americans that actually is going to exceed in revenue the amount that would be raised by the tax, the so-called tax on millionaires. Ironic but that's exactly what the Obamacare bill would do. But in addition to that, there are a whole series of other taxes that are imposed on people across this country, and many of them strike at middle-income Americans. About $250 billion in taxes that are imposed on our economy that would be passed on in many cases to consumers in this country, and impact and raise the cost of health care, obviously these are taxes on health insurance plans, taxes on pharmaceuticals, taxes on medical devices, taxes on tanning services, taxes on self-insured health plans. There are a whole range of taxes included in the Obamacare legislation which when it's fully implemented are just going to hit people, middle-income Americans squarely in the face. You have not only the individual mandate tax, the new tax imposed there but all these other taxes included in the Obamacare legislation which are going to hit working people across this country."

Reid (UC)

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

Jul 12 2012

Senator Reid: (12:42 PM)
  • Unanimous Consent --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill, with the time until 2:00 PM equally divided.
    • At 2:00 PM, the Senate will conduct 3 ROLL CALL VOTES on:
      1. Motion to Table Reid amendment #2524 (text of H.R. 9, the House-passed Small Business Tax Deduction bill) to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill;
      2. Motion to Invoke Cloture on Reid (for Landrieu) substitute amendment #2521 to S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill; and
      3. Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 2237, the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
        • If Cloture is Invoked on S. 2237, all post-cloture time will be yielded back and the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on passage of the bill as amended, if amended.
        • If Cloture is Not Invoked on S. 2237, the bill will be returned to the calendar.
    • There will be no other amendments or motions in order to the amendments or the bill prior to the votes other than Motions to Waive or Motions to Table. There will be two minutes, equally divided, between the votes and all votes after the first vote will be 10 minutes.

Hoeven, McCain, Brown-OH, Rubio

Disclose Act (S. 3369)

Jul 12 2012

Senator Hoeven: (11:35 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Small businesses across this country are the very backbone, the backbone of our economy. They hire the people. They pay the wages. They pay the taxes, and they fuel the growth and the dynamism of our economy. In short, they make our economy go. Small business in this country makes our economy go. Yet, the president's proposal would raise taxes on about one million business owners, hurting their ability to grow our economy. And you know what? Hurting our ability to get 13 million unemployed people back to work. It's not the way to go. Very clearly that is not the way to go. This administration's policies are making it worse. But the president says everyone needs to pay their fair share. How many times have you heard him say that? Everyone needs to pay their fair share. Well, of course everyone needs to pay their fair share. But the way to do it is with pro-growth tax reform and closing loopholes, not by raising taxes on some people, some businesses, and not others. So that's what we've proposed. That's exactly what we've proposed. We've proposed pro-growth tax reform and closing loopholes. Let's extend the current tax rates for one year and set up a process to pass pro-growth tax reform that lowers rates, that closes loopholes, that's fair, that's simpler and that will generate the revenue to reduce our debt and deficit along with savings, along with spending less, controlling government spending, but that will generate the economic growth to drive revenue, not higher taxes. The reality is that is the only way to get on top of our debt and deficit and to get people back to work. We need economic growth to reduce the debt and deficit along with more savings at the federal level, controlling spending. And we need economic growth to get people working again. And that's why we've put forward our approach. A simple approach. A simple approach. Extend the current tax rates for another year and set up a process for comprehensive pro-growth tax reform. That's the right approach."

Senator McCain: (11:43 AM)
  • Spoke on the Defense Authorization Act.
    • SUMMARY "We live in a dangerous world. We live in a very uncertain time and it seems to me that our priority should be to bring the National Defense Authorization bill to the floor. It received a unanimous vote in the committee by both Republican and Democrat. I'm proud of the relationship that the chairman and I have developed over many years of working together. I am confident, as we have in the past, that despite the fact that there will be hundreds of amendments that will be filed, that we can work through those and work through the process and bring the Defense Authorization bill to a conclusion and then conference with the House and then signed by the president of the United States. We owe this to the men and women who are serving in the military. It is not or right, it's our obligation to get the authorization bill to the president's desk. And we may have significant disagreements. But for 50 years, this body has passed the Defense Authorization bill and it has been signed by the president of the United States, and were in some danger of not letting this happen this year. When you look at the remaining weeks that we have in session and the number of challenges that are before us, I think that it's time we stepped back and looked at the requirement to pass this legislation. I have some sympathy for the majority leader in that there is great difficulties in the way that we're doing business nowadays, but I hope my colleagues would all recognize on both sides of the aisle the importance of this legislation and we must urge members on both sides to set aside our own personal agendas and do what's necessary for the defense of this nation."

Senator Brown-OH: (12:01 PM)
  • Spoke on the Veterans Retraining Assistance program (VRAP).
    • SUMMARY "VRAP provides unemployed veterans between 35 and 60 the opportunity to pursue training for new careers in high-demand occupations. As of July 12, some 33,000 applications have been received nationally for the VRAP program. The program was limited to 99,000 participants through March 31, 2014. All of us must do everything we can to spread the word to eligible veterans. The number was restricted to 99,000, the expiration date was set March 31, in large part so we could see how this program worked, we could reintroduce it, continue it if it is effective, as I think it will be and as most on Veterans' Committee think it will be ... Programs like VRAP are not only about opportunities for veterans, they are about businesses strengthen our economy by meeting the demand for high-skilled workers. We are seeing business leverage public and private resources to hire veterans and expand operations."

Senator Rubio: (12:21 PM)
  • Spoke on economic growth.
    • SUMMARY "Today we owe just about or over $15 trillion of money that we are going to have to pay back. Let me correct that. That you are going to have to pay back through your taxes now and in the future. In fact, your great-grandchildren are going to have to pay it back. That's the national debt. The problem with the national debt is it has become an enormous part of our national economy. It's grown to a very dangerous level as a percentage of our overall economy. What's the way to solve it? The only way to solve it is growth. The only way to solve this problem is to grow our economy. If our economy grows, then the debt becomes smaller as a percentage of our overall economy. Think of it almost as a pie. If the pie gets bigger, the slice gets smaller if you keep it constant. It's the same thing with the debt. If we can keep the debt constant and we can grow the economy, then our debt becomes less problematic. That's really the solution to this problem. As a point of emphasis, let's suppose we wanted to get back to what our debt was in 2007. We want our debt to be what it was in 2007. In order to do that, we'd have to come up with over $1 trillion this year to get us back to what our debt was as a percentage back in 2007. Basically means we'd have to come up with that permanently. The functional reality is that to do that, we'd either have to double everybody's taxes or we would have to cut close to a third of our budget right now. And the point is we can't tax our way or cut our way out of this issue. Definitely there has to be cuts, but we can't just cut our way out of this. And we certainly can't tax our way out of it ... The only solution is growth. Dynamic growth. Not slow growth. Big growth. That's the only solution. Because if the economy grows, more jobs are created. And if more jobs are created, you have more taxpayers. If someone's unemployed right now, they're not paying income tax. Now they get a job or raise at their job, even if their rates stay the same now they're paying more taxes. Now the government has more money to pay down the debt, if it doesn't grow the government ... The bigger the government, the smaller the private sector. And the smaller the private sector, the smaller the growth, which is our only solution. That's not a theory. That's a reality."

Hatch, Blumenthal, Cardin

Disclose Act (S. 3369)

Jul 12 2012

Senator Hatch: (10:41 AM)
  • Spoke on the death tax.
    • SUMMARY "Next year, unless Congress does something, the death tax will come roaring back at a much higher rate of 55% and a much lower exemption amount of $1 million next year The death tax does not just hit those in higher income tax brackets. It has an effect well beyond small business owners, adversely impacting middle-class jobs and wages. Call it what you will, the estate tax or the death tax, but in the end, it is a tax that is anti-small business and anti-job creation and anti-wage increase Not only is it double taxation and a deterrent to savings but it also sucks up capitol hill in - sucks up capital in the marketplace. This is capital that could be used to hire more workers or expand small businesses or any business for that matter. This is a basic economic concept that seems lost on our current president, President Obama. During last year's deficit reduction talks, President Obama argued on behalf of tax increases, saying "I do not want and I will not accept a deal in which I am asked to do nothing. In fact, I'm able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don't need." Income that I don't need? This is a point that could only be made by a person with a very loose understanding of how businesses and entrepreneurs operate. The president seems to think that this so-called excess income does no good. In fact, however, it will be invested or it would be invested in new business ventures, new hires and better wages. If these entrepreneurs with all this excess income did nothing but put that money into a savings account, it would benefit individuals looking to buy a house, buy a car or start their own business. But the president doesn't seem to grasp this so it is no surprise he and his Democratic allies have done nothing to address this job-killing death tax increase looming on the horizon The death tax adds inefficiency to our economy. It is what economists refer to as dead weight loss. In other words, it creates another burden on our free market system that prevents the full potential of economic growth. For instance, many small businesses have to purchase insurance in order to prepare for paying the death tax so they do not end up having to sell the business just to pay the death tax. This added cost is embedded into the cost of goods when sold. In other words, American consumers, American workers, or Americans looking for work are those who will ultimately have to pay the death tax. Consider also that heirs are often forced to sell an asset of the business or the business itself in order to meet this arbitrary tax due date. These assets are likely generating revenue and could be a vital part of the business, but because the tax man cometh, small businesses are forced to sell these assets to pay the death tax. We ought to repeal the death tax, plain and simple. We actually don't get that much revenue from the death tax to justify its existence. And it's a pain in the neck from the beginning."

Senator Blumenthal: (11:00 AM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "It has two compelling, concise concepts. First is a tax credit of 10% on new payroll. It can be either new hiring or increased wages in 2012 as compared to 2011, and it is capped at $500,000, pretty simple, straightforward prose in aid of jobs, in aid of employment. It also extends for one year the 100% bonus depreciation allowance to stimulate economic investment. Again, to create jobs. Very simple and straightforward extension of the accelerated depreciation that boosts gross domestic products and will benefit two million businesses, it's estimated, two million businesses, most of them small businesses, across the United States. In fact, this measure is targeted, very specifically targeted and aimed at small businesses creating jobs. They are the backbone of our economy, the source of the majority of new jobs. It economizes very prudently and practically the aid that is designed to boost new jobs as well as overall output in our economy No increase, no reward. That's the concept. But the reward and the incentive are a powerful potential driving force to aid small businesses in increasing the numbers of jobs they provide."

Senator Cardin: (11:07 AM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "We know that businesses can't get all the financing they need. They need some help in order to be able to put together the new job opportunities. This bill provides that with a 10% credit on the costs of a new hire. That gives the incentive for a small business owner, it might be the difference between setting up that new restaurant or moving forward to add that employee that will not only help our economy but will help that company discover the way in which we can deal with the cyber threats to this country. So it helps our country, it creates the jobs. And this underlying bill should be discussed on the floor of the Senate without filibusters that deny us that chance to talk about the issue."

Jul 12 2012

Senator Udall-CO: (9:50 AM)
  • Spoke on the wind production tax credit.
    • SUMMARY "The uncertainty that we've created, unfortunately, by failing to sustained the wind production tax credit has sidelined roughly $3.5 billion in wind energy investments. That defies common sense ... If we refuse to develop our wind energy resources, there are a lot of countries that are willing to outcompete us, take China for example. We have to work to keep these jobs and that investment here in the United States. And that's why the Congress must extend the production tax credit as soon as possible."

Senator Reed: (9:57 AM)
  • Spoke on the Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill.
    • SUMMARY "It will help small businesses to hire new workers, to expand their payrolls or invest in new capital equipment and this is a commonsense step to encourage growth and create jobs. These tax cuts are cost-effective and have been estimated by the CBO as having some of the biggest bang for the buck compared to other fiscal policies that directly benefit businesses. It's especially important to pass these cost-effective policies because we are in the midst of a global slowdown hurting job creation and lowering government revenue The targeted tax cuts in the legislation that we've proposed, the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act stand in stark contrast to the approach taken by the House the Republicans which is in many effects just another way to provide huge tax benefits to the wealthiest Americans in contrast to doing what we should be doing, providing jobs for all Americans. Proposals like the House Republican bill would only generate 30 cents for every federal dollar spent compared to the $1.30 for, multiplier that are included in our version. Even more disturbing with the house proposal is that half of the $46 billion would go to the wealthiest Americans, millionaires, billionaires, without any obligation to create one single job. Our bill provides, in contrast, a targeted 10% income tax credit to businesses that increase our payroll by hiring new workers or raising wages this year. So there is a direct link between benefits, for new jobs or higher wages for American working men and women. This is a tax credit that is directly linked to this job creation effort and the credit only applies to the first $110,000 of wages for any individual employee. So we are looking to target this as closely and precisely as we can to be both effective and prudent with our resources. The taxes further target the small businesses as it only applies to the first $5 million in new payroll, especially effectively capping the maximum tax credit to any business under $500,000. The bill also extends bonus depreciation through 2012 for businesses that invest in new capital. Bonus depreciation has proved to be an effective incentive for businesses to pull forward capital purchases and invest in the near term, offsetting some of the weak aggregate demand that has held back our economic recovery. In 2011, bonus depreciation accelerated $150 billion in tax cuts to two million businesses and generated an estimated $50 billion in added investment. In total, Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act is estimated to create about one million jobs and over 3,500 jobs in my state of Rhode Island, and we desperately need these jobs and we need them as quickly as possible."

Senator Heller: (10:17 AM)
  • Spoke on the Obama economy.
    • SUMMARY "Last week's jobs report reinforces what many of us have known for some time. Unlike what the president would like you to believe, the private sector is not doing fine and the administration's policies are not providing effective solutions to our nation's problems. The health of our economy hinges upon job growth and it clearly has not received the attention it deserves. Our nation has no road map and it is past time for genuine effort to work in a bipartisan manner to create the certainty and stability that will allow American businesses and families to thrive Blue collar and white collar workers alike continue to pay the price of the poor decisions by Wall Street and Washington, DC. Nevadans did not want Wall Street bailout and Washington did it anyway. Nevadans did not want the trillion-dollar Stimulus bill, and Washington did it anyway. Nevadans did not want the president's health care bill, and Washington did it anyway. I often ask people to raise their hands if the bailout has helped them find a job. No one raises their hand. So I ask did the stimulus help you find a job? And no one raises their hand. Finally, I ask them if the health care bill helped them find a job, and still no one raises their hand. In January of 2009, President Obama was inaugurated, Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. Nevada's unemployment was at 9.4%. Nearly four years later, Nevada's unemployment is 11.6%. Too many people in Nevada are unemployed, have stopped looking for jobs, or worse, left the state for employment elsewhere. With over 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed, I think it's past time to ask the president and this Congress, is this working? Nevadans have seen the effects of higher Washington spending, higher regulations, and higher debt, and they know that these policies have failed. They deserve solutions instead of having more show votes, congress needs to focus on pro-growth policies that eliminate burdensome regulations, reform the tax code, and help struggling homeowners."

Senator Roberts: (10:24 AM)
  • Congratulated the University of Kansas on its designation as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Senator Brown-MA: (10:35 AM)
  • Spoke on the medical device tax.
    • SUMMARY "The new medical device tax is one more example of a policy that we all know is bad for jobs and in fact bad for our economy. The house has already voted to repeal this job-killing tax, but I'm disappointed to say that the Senate has not taken the time to work to repeal it in a truly bipartisan manner. For those of you who don't know what the medical device tax is, or why should you even care, well, in Massachusetts, we have over 400 medical device companies in our state employing tens of thousands of people. This 2.3% tax on medical device sales would cost our economy thousands of jobs and limit Americans' access to the most ground-breaking state-of-the-art medical devices. For example, a medical device company with 2,000 employees in my home state has estimated that taxable medical devices represent approximately 30% to 40% of the total net sales in 2011. What that means in plain language is that tax will cause the company between $80 million and $107 million annually. So where is that money going to come from? Is it R&D, is it expansion, is it hiring or expanding their work force? Over the last five years, Covidian has more than doubled its R&D investment and launched more than 100 new products. One of those products is a device that restores blood flow to the brain of patients suffering from stroke by mechanically removing blood clots from blocked vessels. I mean, obviously, a very important device that would actually help save people's lives and save costs. Another product provides the first safe and effective treatment for large or giant wide-neck brain aneurysms available on the market, but losing $80 million to $107 million in revenue each year is going to put Covidian's continuing growth in very, very real jeopardy. Another medical device company, Stryker corporation, said late last year that they would begin cutting 5% of their work force in response to the tax. That's 1,000 jobs gone as a result of this tax. Stryker expects the device tax to cost them $130 million to $150 million in the first year alone. These are just two examples. As I said, in Massachusetts, we have over 400 medical device companies. The Massachusetts medical device industry, as I referenced earlier, employs nearly 25,000 workers in Massachusetts an contributes over $4 billion to our economy. Massachusetts alone is expected to lose over 2,600 jobs. As a result of this tax, as a direct result of this tax, around 10% of our entire medical device manufacturing work force will be affected. The bottom line is that we just can't have that kind of job loss in a sector of our economy that is still struggling."

Reid, McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 12 2012

  • Today --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 3369, the Disclose Act. 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 Increased Payroll Tax Credit and Bonus Depreciation bill. The amendment tree has been filled. The filing deadline for all first-degree amendments is 1:00 PM today. Under the rule, unless an agreement is reached, the cloture votes will occur one hour after the Senate convenes on Friday.
Senator Reid: (9:36 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "We already have a general agreement that we'll try to schedule votes sometime today. This week Republicans continued to make the case that millionaires and billionaires can't afford to pay even a penny more in taxes. Meanwhile, a new report shows average tax rates are at their lowest level in decades. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported this week that in 2009, rates fell to their lowest level in more than three decades, 30 years. Much of that decline is thanks to President Obama who has consistently fought to lower taxes for middle-class families over the last three and a half years. The average tax rate in this country fell to the lowest rate since 1979, 17.4% ... As our economy continues to recover, it's critical we keep tax rates low for the middle class. They are still struggling to pay the mortgage, send their kids to college, save for retirement. That's why President Obama and Democrats in Congress want to extend tax cuts for 98% of American families. But there is one group that's not struggling. Mitt Romney and the rest of the top 2% of Americans. My Republican friends can come out here and they can talk, oh, it's terrible because what we're trying to do is raise taxes on small business. The president's presentation, legislation raises taxes on 2% of wealthy people and about 2.5% of businesses. This is no crush for small businesses. It seems to me that they can, the top 2%, can contribute a little bit more to get this deficit under control. Yet Republicans are prepared to block tax cuts for 98% of families unless democrats agree to even more giveaways for the richest of the rich. As the Republicans continue to argue the wealthiest 2% can't contribute even a little more, I urge them to talk to the 3/4 of Americans who disagree. I urge them to talk to the almost 60% of Republicans who believe the wealthiest Americans should shoulder their fair share of the responsibility for getting the deficit under control. Almost 60% of the Republicans agree with what the president is doing - that is, the top 2% should pay a little more. So I urge my Republicans to - my Republican friends to talk to a few of the more than 135 million taxpayers who are waiting to see whether Republicans will continue holding hostage their tax cuts."

Senator McConnell: (9:41 PM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "Earlier this week, President Obama issued an outrageous ultimatum to Congress, raised taxes on about one million business owners, he said, and I promise not to raise taxes on anybody else. At a moment when the American people are reeling from the slowest recovery in modern times, when the percentage of those who could work are working is at a three-decade low and just five months away from the economic body blow that will result if tax rates spike as scheduled on January 1, the president's solution is to take more money away from the various business folks we are counting on to create jobs that we need, presumably so we can spend it on solar companies and stimulus bills. This was the president's brilliant economic solution to the mess we're in. Now, naturally, Republicans oppose this. The way we see it, nobody should see an income tax hike right now, not small businesses, not individuals, nobody. Nobody should get a tax hike right now. The problem isn't that Washington taxes too little but that it spends too much. But rather than just talk about it, we thought we should actually take a vote on it, actually vote on it. After all, the president himself boasted Monday that he would sign a bill to raise taxes on small businesses right away, right away, he said if we would pass it. So what we suggested was two votes, one on the president's plan once it's actually written and one on ours. But the Majority leader in the Senate blocked it from happening. Why? Because as usual, Democrats want to have it both ways. Now, two years ago, just two years ago when the economy was growing faster than it is now, 40 Democrats in the Senate voted to do precisely what Republicans are proposing right now. Keep everybody's taxes right where they are and do no harm. Well, the president apparently doesn't want any of them to vote that way now. In other words, he doesn't want to do what's right for the economy and jobs. He wants to do what he thinks is good for his re-election campaign. For some reason, his advisors think it helps them to take more money away from small, already struggling businesses and spend it on more government. That's the plan, anyway, and he wants to stick with it."

Jul 12 2012

The Senate Convened.

Jul 12 2012

The Senate is considering 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.