McConnell, Murray, Durbin, Shaheen, Thune

Executive Session

Senator McConnell: (10:38 AM)
  • Spoke on the Veterans Administration.
    • SUMMARY "Now, I know the Majority Leader's going to have us turn tomorrow to another one of these political show votes written by people over at the campaign committee, but we'll have plenty of time to consider bills designed to fail later. Instead, now is the time for the Senate to be serious, to be more than just a campaign studio for one political party. Senators Burr, Coburn and McCain have been working extremely hard on the issue along with the chair of the Veterans' Committee. We all know there's no one in the chamber better suited to tackling this crisis than John McCain. He understands the experience and the needs of our veterans. So we should give Senator McCain and the rest of this group the space and the support they need to get effective bipartisan reform through the Senate and given that their legislation contains provisions similar to a bill that already passed the House overwhelmingly, I think we'll get there as well. But we need to give the effort the attention it deserves first."
Senator Murray: (10:43 AM)
  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • SUMMARY "Right now corporations claim enormous tax breaks by compensating their executives with stock options instead of regular paychecks. That's so that the corporation can skirt a tax role at that limits deductible tax compensation to $1 million a year for each of a handful of corporate officers. Closing that loophole alone would save us as much as $50 billion over the next ten years. Another loophole allows some wealthy business owners to mischaracterize their income as business profits instead of a salary to avoid paying their fair share of payroll taxes. Putting a stop to that unfair practice as both Republican Chairman Camp and Democrats have proposed could save us more than $15 billion over the next ten years. Those are two wasteful and unfair tax loopholes that Democrats and Republicans proposed closing. The list of loopholes goes on and on, and we can use that kind of revenue generated by closing just a few of them to avoid an unnecessary crisis, shore up our highway trust fund and make the critical developments we need in our roads and our bridges across the country."
Senator Durbin: (11:16 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.
    • SUMMARY "So we're going to give college students tomorrow an opportunity, 25 million of them, to refinance their college student loans to lower interest rates 3.8% for undergraduate education. Currently, many of these students are paying 6%, 7%, 8%, 10% and higher. Is this a good thing? You bet it is. And for many of these students, it is the lifeline they've been looking for. So that's one possibility. That's one of the choices. Help 25 million in debt. But to pay for this, if we're responsible, we had to come up with a source of revenue to make up for the lost interest payments to the federal government when the debts are refinanced… So we created what we called the Buffett rule. And it said, if you're one of the fortunate few in America who makes over a million dollars a year, you're going to have a minimum income tax rate of 30%, which at least puts you on par with the people who work for you. You're going to pay an income tax rate at least as high as they do, 30%."
Senator Shaheen: (11:38 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.
    • SUMMARY "This legislation would allow eligible borrowers who took out student loans before July 1, 2013, to refinance those loans at rates currently being offered to new borrowers. It's clear that Congress needs to come together to work to reduce the cost of college for aspiring students throughout the country. But we also need to provide relief to those who have already borrowed to pursue their education. Many of whom have interest rates for their student loans that are much higher than they would be if they were purchasing a home or a car."
Senator Thune: (11:45 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.
    • SUMMARY "The Democrats' bill would do nothing make college more affordable or reduce the amount of money students have to borrow. And it would do nothing to address the real problem facing recent college graduates, and that's the lack of jobs. The Democrats' student loan bill would provide some students with loans based on congressional research data would be worth about $1 a day. To bribe this, their bill would raise income taxes by $72 billion. Meanwhile, Democrats have conveniently ignored the fact that student loan repayment plans that could lower monthly payments by more than their proposal are already available to all students with federal loans. Republicans have student debt solutions like simplifying the student debt process so that more students can take advantage of the affordable repayment options that already exist in current law."
  • Spoke on the Obama economy.
    • SUMMARY "Meanwhile, everywhere that families look, prices are going up. Gas prices have almost doubled during the Obama presidency. Food prices have increased. And the President's policies are just making things worse, and chief among the President's policy disasters, of course, is ObamaCare, which has driven up the price of everything from premiums to pacemakers. The President told the American people that his health care law would drive down health care premiums by $2,500. Instead, prices have risen by almost $3,700, and they are still going up. ObamaCare has meant new burdens for just about everyone: higher premiums and deductibles, more expensive medications, fewer doctors and hospitals from which to choose, lost jobs, increased taxes on businesses, both large and small, millions of Americans were forced off of their health plans that they were promised they could keep, and into the health exchanges where they were frequently forced to pay more for plans that they liked less. Not content with the high health care bills, now the President is adding insult to injury by putting in place EPA regulations that will drive up electricity bills for all American families."
  • Spoke on the Veterans Administration.
    • SUMMARY "The failures are a national embarrassment and a betrayal of our compact with our veterans. Congress has an obligation to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. And well today we could be discussing the best ways to fix our VA system. Instead, we're going to be discussing a bill designed not to improve things for Americans but to win the Democrats a few votes. Instead of proceeding to a student loan bill that's designed to fail, we should proceed directly to the VA reform."