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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 3, 2010 12:00pm-5:00pm EST

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that's my job. so i ask my colleagues, what are we doing here? thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that immediately after i finish, the senator from utah be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: well, thank you, mr. president. i rise as well to speak about the most single important issue facing the american people today. the single most important issue facing the american people today, and that is the state of the economy. now, let's consider three facts and lay them side by side. first, over the last decade,
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even though the economy was growing modestly, middle-class incomes declined for the first time since world war ii. your average middle-class family, which had always seen things get better and better and better and better, did not from 2001-2010. and by the way, this did not just occur during the recession which began in 2008. it was constant throughout this decade. the great american dream, what is it? very simple. everyone wants to try to become rich, but everyone knows they are not going to become rich, but they know one thing. in america, the odds are very high. you will be doing better ten years from today than you're doing today, and the odds are even higher that your kids will do better than you. when incomes decline over a decade, mr. president, that
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american dream burns a little less brightly for people, and the whole tenor of america changes, and the kind of anger that we have seen -- and it's really not typical of this great land of ours with its amazing people -- is unusual. second, -- so first, middle-class incomes have gone down. second, in the last decade, one group did very, very, very well. the highest income among us. the millionaires and billionaires. god bless them. their taxes went down, down, down over the last decade because of the bush-era tax cuts, but their incomes went up, up, up, up. they did great. number three, over the last
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decade while all of this was happening, our deficit got out of control. when we began this decade in 2001, there was a $250 billion surplus. we hadn't had that in decades. it was wonderful, and it helped fuel the economy because small business people and large business people would borrow, knowing that interest rates would stay low, and interest rates are often a greater cost to them than taxes. but when president bush departed 1600 pennsylvania avenue, at the end of 2008, he left behind a deficit of $1 trillion. now, some of that was due to the war in iraq where our brave soldiers defended us, and afghanistan as well, and a little more of it was due to new programs that the president authored, including prescription drug benefit to senior citizens,
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but most of it was due to the fact that he cut taxes on the wealthy. now, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle say you have got to keep the bush tax cuts, particularly those for the wealthy. well, was the last decade a great success? not for the middle class, no. their incomes went down. not for job growth. it was smaller than before. so when we have the clinton era level of taxes in the 1990's, all of america and job creation and the middle-class in terms of income did better than with these tax cuts which began in 2001. so this cry that we need these tax cuts for prosperity doesn't fit with history. it may fit with a particular ideology. it doesn't fit with history. who on earth would want to
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extend a failed economic program that didn't help the middle class, the backbone of america, the place i come from and always fight for? well, who with a want to extend this failed economic program? i'll tell you who: every single one of my 42 colleagues on the other side of the aisle are marching in lockstep, saying please extend this failed economic program. why? it seems to me the thing they hold out for is tax cuts for the millionaires. in fact, they are so committed to extending the failed economic program of the bush years, they're willing to hold middle-class tax cuts which we all agree we should have hostage until they can give a giant tax break to millionaires and billionaires. it defies economic logic. the welloff, people who my
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colleagues in the minority are fighting for, they aren't going to spend their tax break and get the economy moving. they're not going to rush to jc penney's and buy that warm winter coat they have been wait to go buy. they're not going to go out to the barncider and buy a nice prime rib dinner. they can afford all that already. they can afford it seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. and i want to say something about these millionaires and billionaires. god bless em. we're not mad at them for having done well, we admire them. we all wish we were like them, as successful as they were. god bless them. all we're saying is they don't need another $400,000 or or $4 million at this time when there are so many other more important needs. and i want to reiterate that. i have nothing against the
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wealthy. i don't like when we knock them. i think they're great. i respect them, i admire their achievements. there are lots of them in new york who started with nothing and worked their way up. i think it's great. some of them inherited their wealth, that's true, and they seem to have even more of a sense of entitlement than the ones who made it themselves oftentimes, but many more live the american dream, with grit and ingenuity, they pulled themselves up the economic ladder by the bootstraps. but i've got to tell you something, mr. president. when i talk to them, at least in my home state of new york, even many republicans who are wealthy, they say you know what? for the good of the country, i don't really need this kind of tax break. if you put it to deficit reduction, most of them say, i would be for it. not all of them.
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certainly not the hard right people who seem to have the party on the other side in their -- the palm of their hand who just say i made my $10 million, and don't you dare touch a nickel of it. but most, most. they say chuck, i can afford to pay a bit more. i have nothing against returning to the clinton rates. as long as, they say -- and this is a reasonable caveat -- the money goes to a good purpose, making our schools better, improving our infrastructure. above all, they say decrease the deficit, which is what the amendment i will offer tomorrow would do. mr. president, the other side of the aisle also wants you to believe that the average american overwhelmingly supports tax breaks for millionaires. i've heard it. they say the election -- can't
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you democrats hear about the election? well, i was running this year. i happened to get 65%, 66% of the vote. i got a lot of votes from republicans, a lot of votes from independents. and i talked to a lot of angry people. i saw a lot of tea party people. none of them said to me make sure you keep tax breaks on the millionaires. they may have said shrink the government, they may have said repeal health care, that's true, but none, none, none said keep the tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. and here's a poll that shows it, not by some democratic party organization or some republican party organization, but by cbs. it's a nonpartisan poll. the poll yesterday says only 26 of americans support millionaire tax breaks, 26%.
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you say well, that's just the democrats. oh, no. only 25% of independents say keep the tax breaks for millionaires. those swing voters were the ones who created a lot of new republican seats and caused us to lose a lot of democratic seats. and even on the republican side, 46%, only 46% supported millionaire tax breaks. so this idea that the election was a mandate to cut taxes on millionaires and billionaires, you know, i didn't only run in new york, but i worked closely with many of my colleagues from every part of the country, northeast, midwest, southwest. none of them reported any hugh hugh -- hue and cry to keep tax breaks for millionaires, none. that's not what the election said. now, maybe the money of some of
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those millionaires helped create ads on other issues that helped win the election for these folks, but not the issue itself. so we need to get our economy humming on all cylinders again, and it is true we need to stimulate demand. mark zandi, an economist who is as well respected on the right as on the left -- i believe he was senator mccain's chief economic advisor when he ran his campaign -- said that every dollar spent on tax breaks for the millionaires generates 32 cents of economic activity. those of us who believe in economic efficiency, which i do, that doesn't work. let me give you a contrast. every dollar spent on unemployment in benefits -- excuse me -- generates $1.61 in economic activity. so if you care about getting the
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economy going, you're going to be for unemployment -- increasing unemployment benefits quicker than tax breaks for millionaires, according to mark zandi and most every economist, even those on the right don't believe that that's false. u.i. benefits are 400% more stimulative than tax breaks for the wealthy, according to mr. zandi. but on wednesday when my esteemed and effective colleague from ohio, senator sherrod brown came to the floor and asked unanimous consent for just a one-year re-authorization of unemployment benefits, the other side objected. and as you said, mr. president, when you were speaking as a senator from minnesota on the floor a few minutes ago, the anomaly, the republican party is saying we don't have to pay for tax breaks for the millionaires, but we have to pay for an increase in unemployment benefits. what kind of logic is that?
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the middle class, mr. president, is worried. they're worried about how they are going to stretch that paycheck. they're worried about how they are going to make that mortgage payment. they're worried about how they are going to keep that job. and this, this recession, middle-class people are more unemployed than ever before. most recessions in the past had two differences. one, they mainly affected the poorest people and the working class people who made below a salary. this one has gone way up into the middle class and the upper middle class. i have met hundreds of people like that as i have traveled my state. and second, they are out of work for a lot longer. it's no longer three weeks or even three months, but six months, nine months, a year. and we just heard the unemployment rate went up under these bush tax cuts to 9.8%. we're trying to offer solutions that bring the unemployment rate down. we're trying to offer solutions that focus on the middle class
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and they are busy defending wonderful people who made a lot of money but don't need the help. after senator brown offered his bill to re-authorize unemployment insurance, senator udall of new mexico asked for consent to take up and pass a bill to extend the highly successful building start program. that gave tax incentives so construction workers could build buildings that were energy efficient. 150,000 jobs, good-paying jobs. they objected. next came senator stabenow from michigan, a real leader in the fight for job creation. she came to the floor with a bill to give tax breaks to manufacturers. we need manufacturing, not only in her state of michigan but in my state of new york. particularly upstate. conservative estimates said the bill would create 40,000 private sector jobs. again, the republicans objected. then i offered a bill myself,
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i'm glad my colleague from utah is here. this was a bipartisan bill. it was a tax cut for business called the hire act. it said if you hire somebody who is unemployed 60 days, you don't have to pay the payroll tax. for this year. it's expiring. i wanted to extend it. objection. the bill had passed with bipartisan support, but the point is here, to get tax breaks for the millionaires, they would even object to a bipartisan bill that gave a tax break to businesses that would employ people. what kind of logic is that? and one final point now, as i conclude, and that is the deficit. the deficit, as i mentioned, is huge. but let me just say that the
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bush tax cuts -- and particularly those for the millionaires and billionaires -- add a huge amount to the deficit and we don't hear a peep about it from the other side. they say they care about the deficit, but $300 billion that it would cost to give these tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, that's okay. please, over the next year i'm going to be up here reminding my colleagues when they say we can't pay for help to our schools so that they can hire a science teacher who might create the genius that would create a new industry that would create new jobs, when they say we can't have money to repair a road or a sewer project that would create good-paying jobs because it would increase the deficit, i am going to remind each and every one ever you that you said when you gave tax breaks to millionaires, the deficit didn't count. just remember that.
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the leader -- mr. schumer: i yield to my leader. mr. reid: would my friend, the distinguished senator from new york, allow an interruption for a unanimous consent request. mr. schumer: without any objection from. reid riled scw that his statement not p interrupted in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i have been in touch with senator mcconnell and i know that he is asking this unanimous consent agreement. i ask that at 10:30 tomorrow morning, the senate vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the reid amendment with the baucus amendment number 4727 with the time until -- with the time from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. equally divided and controlled between the leaders h.r. other designees. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, this is a time that virtually no one is happy with. someone wanted it late, someone wanted it earlly. as i indicated to lula davis, we
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split it in half. this is the best we can do. we're going to make as many people happy as we can. so we've we'll be coming in at 8:30, which is unusual hon a saturday morning. so people who live certainly east of the mississippi, they can go someplace. it's really difficult for those of us who live west of the mississippi to go anyplace. but at least some people will be able to have an afternoonality home or in their states, with this agreement that's just been approved. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: and of course they say that these tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires are tax braing brer small business. well, my good colleague, mr. president, someone who looks very much like you, the senator from minnesota, who was seated over there a few minutes ago,
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talked about that. my dad was a small business man. he had a small exterminating business. it wasn't very successful. i know how he suffered through t he knows that these tax breaks are not for a business like his or the dry cleaner or the restaurant or any of these other business. they're not for any businesses at all, because we're not talking about corporate tax cuts. they're for very wealthy people. some of whom you've mentioned. i know my colleague from utah has been patiently waiting and so i'm not going to talk about all the small business stuff. but i just want to remind people about this plan. under the president's tax breaks for millionaires, here's what would happen. under the plan that my colleagues across the aisle are supporting, people who make $1
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million would get a $43,000 break per year. people who make $10 million would get a $400,000 break per year. people who make $100 million would get $3,800,000 break per year. the average middle-class family making $60,000 would get $2,500. we want to get that middle-class family its break. we'll give the same amount to these folks -- they'll get a break. no more, no less than the middle-class family. but we don't believe these breaks when we have so many other needs and a huge deficit to boot are called for, and we'll be debating that all day today, all day tomorrow -- tomorrow morning until 10:30. but also for the rest of the next two years.
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and again i want to repeat, don't talk to us about deficit reduction, folks. if you're willing to put this whopping hole in the deficit for the millionaires and billion yairks don't come to us and say this program for this school or this road or this small business incentive has to be -- shouldn't be passed because of the deficit. but it's okay to give the breaks to these folks. more people last night tuned in to watch the reruns of matlock on tv land than would benefit from the republican proposal. i haven't seen matlock in a long time. and i'm sure those people who watched it had a good time, but it wasn't many of them. but it was more of them than the millionaires and billionaires who would get this break.
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they are hay a powerful group, god bless them. they shouldn't have the kind of power they have to have good people on the other side of the aisle tie themselves in a knot to prevent all kinds of important things from happening until they get their break. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i always enjoy listening to my colleague from new york. he is one of the brightest people in this body. he's one of the tougherest, and he's been a very dear friend all these years. i might mention that the schumer-hatch bill is now law, a bipartisan bill that we did put through and that was a good step in the right direction as far as getting jobs. i would also like to just point out that 56% of all capital gains that create jobs are paid for by people who earn over $500,000 a year. and i also would care to point
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out that i will absolutely guarantee to everybody watching us here today that if there were these tax increases -- and i think the distinguished senator knows that his suggests polls very well -- is that the reason we should do did? no. but i guarantee you -- and i don't think anybody can doubt this guarantee -- that if his approach wins, they'll take -- the democrats will take every dime of that and spend it. in fact, the president's budget spends more towards the end than it does now. i mean, a lot more. and that's one of the problems here. we know that a good 50% of small businesses would be feactd, the ones that really create jobs. 25% of the employees and about 50% of the small businesses
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would be affected if we do what the democrats would like to do. but with that as it may, those are some of the differences. but i'm going to explain why, at the last minute of this congress, after the upheaval that happened during the election, that we can't seem to get together during a time of economic distress and put over these tax relieves that were started in 2001, 2003, that we can't do that at the last minute to come in and want to change the game again and do that at a time when we have economic difficulty and problems that we have. its he's more of the same, mr. president. -- it's more of the same, mr. president. over the last few days, americans watching c-span would have seen lot of speeches about widespread tax hikes that will arrive with the new year.
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now, many of my friends on the other side deployed several attacks. c-span viewers probably weren't surprised that the attacks were exclusively aimed at those on this side. i will not get into correcting the record anymore than i have, but all of that misinformation right now -- i'd like to focus on two things we heard. we heard them over and over again. the first theme was repeated many times. it was this: republicans are accused of holding hostage tax relief for middle-income taxpayers. the second theme took some creativety. -- some creativity. you'd think that they hired a psychic or mind reader, that somehow this mind reader had successfully read the minds of 42 republican senators. our friends spoke as if they had determined the motives of 42 republican senators, perhaps not surprisingly, the motive described was not very favorable. republicans alleged hostage
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taking were described as solely motivated by a desire to cut taxes for high-income people. now, mr. president, if our friendfriends in the democratic leadership hired a mind reader rs i'd advise them to sake a refund. because it doesn't work. you have been had, my friends. you need not come to the floor ascribing motives to your colleagues on the other side of the floor on this sievmentd the record has been clear -- it has been clear for a decade -- that the tsm relief program has been in effect. actions speak louder than words. votes speak louder than talkingpoints or press releases. when first passed, over 9 1/2 years ago, nearly all the republican conference supported the bipartisan tax relief plan. roughly one-fourth of the democratic caucus supported the
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plan. because of the opposition of the democratic leadership, efforts were made -- efforts to make these policies permanent law were rebuffed. check the record. during the years of the republican majority, the democratic leadership opposed efforts to make the widely applicable tax relief measures permanent. those efforts were also opposed by this other side. what is even more revealing, mr. president, is the record since the democratic leadership assumed control of the congress almost four years ago. a few moments ago i said actions speak louder than word. votes speak louder than speeches. after obstructing permanent tax relief in the minority, what did our friends in the democratic leadership when they gained power? well, let's take a loofnlgt i have a series of charts here. the democrats have taken power.
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these charts chronicle the record of the democratic leadership on this time-sensitive matter. the first chart here chronicles the first year proliferate new democratic party majority. the year is 2007. the democrats took power on january 4, 2007. you'll see it circled on the chart right here. that's january 4. look at rest of the year in 2007. i mean, think about it. no action was taken on the tax hikes that come down in less than one month. no action, mr. president, no action, none, nothing, zilch. let's take a look at 2008. now, this chart is pretty simple. take a look.
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it's completely blank other than the calendars on there. no action, mr. president, no action, nothing, none, zilch. now, here's a chart for 2009. now, it's an important chart as well. there were big changes in walking. -- there were big changes in washington. democrats gained a large majority, 60 votes in the senate. it was basically a filibuster-proof body. that circle on january 6 -- that's circled here on january 6. president obama takes office an january 20, right here. it's circled right there, you can see it. a little over three months later, an event occurred that many on our side of the aisle will not forget. the senior senator from
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pennsylvania crossed the aisle to give democrats a filibuster-proof majority. let me point to that third circle right here. nothing happens for the rest of the year. not a doggone thing happens for the rest of the year. we had a larger democratic majority sworn in. president obama was sworn in. then my dear colleague, senator specter, decided that he wanted to be a democrat, and he switched parties. and that got 60 votes in the united states senate. now nothing happens for the rest of the year. nothing else happens. on december 3, 2009, one year ago, on december 3 the house democratic leadership -- that's way down here, by the way -- passes a long-term death tax reform. that's right here on december 3.
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that's after -- well, i might just say this represents a milestone, by the way, mr. president. almost three years into the majority, into their majority, one portion of the congressional democratic leadership took comprehensive action on one piece of the 2001 tax relief expiring provisions. now let's take a look at 2010. it's the fourth year the congressional democrats have controlled both bodies, abjectly controlled them in this decade. the house passed death tax reform was placed on the senate calendar on january 20, 2010. when senator scott brown was sworn in on february 4, the democratic majority fell, if
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that word is appropriate, to 59 majority votes. what's happened for the balance of this year? what actions have the democratic leadership taken as the big tax hikes approach? with the economy slumbering and a big tax hike coming, what actions have the democratic leadership in both houses taken? with the nation's job creators, america's small businesses, expressing pessimism about the small business environment and a looming tax hike on the horizon, what actions have the democratic leadership party taken? with unemployment announced today at 9.8% and a big tax coming, what actions have the democratic party leader taken over these last four years? this latest data indicates the unemployment rate is going the wrong way. that's upward, by the way. it's going up again.
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more americans are out of work. i'd remind my friends in the democratic leadership to pay close attention to this data. it should concentrate the mind on policies to counter the problems at hand rather than politics. with a big tax less than one month away and this horrible economic data arriving this morning, what actions have the democratic party leadership taken and the democratic leadership in the senate? well, let's take a look. over the past several months, republican senators have come to the floor to urge our friends in the democratic leadership to address a very time-sensitive topic. i'm referring to the package of unfinished tax legislative business. i'm on the finance committee. i sit right next to our ranking member, senator grassley. i expect to take over as ranking member in january. ranking member grassley and i used this chart in a colloquy a couple of weeks ago.
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here's our checklist chart. the only piece of legislation the senate has considered is one small but important piece of unfinished tax legislative business. it's what we call tax extenders. something that we almost automatically have passed in the past. unfortunately, the democratic party leadership in the senate and house scuttled a bipartisan agreement between chairman baucus and ranking member grassley about ten months ago. after we put it right out of the democrat-controlled finance committee, they basically canceled it. that includes the research and development tax credit that helps our high-tech world to remain competitive, just to mention one. the reason i mention it is
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because it's something almost everybody wants, so it's one of the glues that binds everything together. this whole year, after we put that tax extender bill out, look where we are. like i say, unfortunately the democratic leadership scuttled a bipartisan agreement between chairman baucus and ranking member grassley about ten months ago. after that, a partisan strategy was pursued by our friends on the other side. not surprisingly, it failed. it failed several times. mr. president, i'll give them a check mark on the chart for doing the minimum. my friends in the democratic leadership did at least bring up a bill. they did in fact bring up a bill. as the chart shows, the tax extenders right here, which are overdue by almost one year, are not alone. there are three other major areas of unfinished business,
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and there are others as well but i just decided to talk about these. oneary senator grassley and i discussed at length a couple weeks ago applies to millions of middle-income families this year. it's the 2010 alternative minimum tax. another area is the death tax. in less than one month from now, the number of states to be hit by the death tax will shoot dramatically upward. and small businesses, family farms are going to be lost unless we do something about it. and here we are in the last few weeks of this session. they haven't done a doggone thing on the a.m.t. patch. the house did something on death tax reform, but we've done nothing. both bodies have done nothing. and they've done absolutely nothing on these tax hikes. when compared with the lincoln-kalb compromise on this
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death tax reform, the number of taxable estates will be ten times higher. in the case of family farms it will be 13 times as high. the thirdary is the 2010-2003 tax rate cuts right here. as important as extenders, the a.m.t. patch and the death tax are, the impact of this tax package down here is monolithic in comparison. i'm referring to the marginal income tax rate reductions that are current law until the end of this month. i'm also referring to family tax relief. both pieces were the core of the bipartisan tax relief that was enacted in 2001 and 2003. for example, of the importance of this package, we need to look no further than a typical family of four. for a family of four earning
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$50,000 of income, the tax hike they face will be $2,136. now, in this slow-growth environment, who among us thinks it makes sense to hike this family's taxes by almost $300 a stphopbgt that's where we are -- a month? that's where we are, mr. president. all this mouthing off means unless we can get this all done, by the other side -- cooperating, it seems to me family of four will get socked extra bucks. that's where we are. how could we possibly -- just tell me, how could we possibly have held hostage any bill with the votes the democrats have had over the last four years? that means as much as these
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mean. the folks taking these partisan shots have had almost four years with an overwhelming majority in both the house and the senate to deal with the massive tax hike set to kick in in less than a month now. republicans have not had -- we have not controlled the house for four solid years. for almost two years the other side has ruled with one of the most robust majorities in modern times. the minority in the house hardly ever determined the fate of any bill there. likewise in the senate. a filibuster-proof majority has a lot of power. a majority that is absolutely less than filibuster-proof needs to work with the other side, and that's the way the senate has always worked. even if we republicans were to decide to filibuster, how could we have filibustered something that doesn't exist? look at all those prior charts. not one doggone thing done. and it's something that hasn't
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existed for almost four years of democrat party control of both houses of congress. go back through the record. in the four years of majority rule, show me the senate democratic leadership bill that republicans could obstruct. there hasn't been any. yesterday finally the dam of inaction broke but it broke on the house side. house democratic leadership sent a bill in the second week of this lame-duck session. the bill does not prevent a tax hike on virtually every american taxpayer. but what kind of action is the house bill? it's political action. pure and simple. it's political. look no farther than the statements of the bill's authors, the house democratic leadership. we can view that bill as expression of house sentiment in the house democratic caucus. it will not become law and we all know it. it is up to the obama administration and the senate
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democratic leadership to work with republicans. the aim should be a bipartisan transaction or deal if you want to call it. real ledges shraeugt on these time -- real legislating on these time-sensitive issues is long past due. what kind of action are the american people receiving from the democratic leadership? the majority leader used his procedural power to jam republicans. he has a right to do that. but, it has been consistent. call a bill up, fill up the parliamentary tree, prevent any and all amendments in the greatest deliberative -- quote -- "body" in the world and try to ram it through. therethe sum and substance of te democratic leadership's procedural jam is to guarantee that we will waste yet more procedural and more precious
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time. if you don't believe me, go ask the congressional press corps outside the senate chamber. taking a bet on a successful legislative outcome of the two jammed votes would not be a good wager. it can be akin to accepting an offer to sell the brooklyn bridge from a fast-talking new yorker. no one is fooled by this move by the senate democratic leadership but i challenge any of my friends on the other side to show me the votes. how will the actions of the democratic leadership advance the ball if the two votes are designed to fail? sure, maybe from their perspective, there's some cheap political benefit to the democratic leadership and democratic party from staging these jam votes. as one member of the democratic leadership implied yesterday, maybe there will be some campaign material produced. is that what this is all about?
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is that what the greatest deliberative body in the world is all about in the last few weeks of the session when this country is in the fiscal problems that it's in? that's -- i'd ask my friends to step back and take another look at the political calculation they may be making. the american people are angry. i know it. i've held seven town hall meetings in the last few months, and people are very, very angry. plus two teletown hall meetings. the american people know it's taken almost four years for friends in the house and senate to address this looming tax hike, and they have had monumental majorities that would have enabled them to put just about anything through they wanted to. a looming tax hike they all knew about when they took power long ago. is it really worth running through this political charade with a couple of partisan jam votes and the campaign commercials that may be used
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almost two years from now? is it? is it really that important. i'd ask my friends on the democratic leadership and the democratic side to consider the political calculation further, especially consider it when niece two partisan jams -- consider it when these two partisan jam votes failed. if you want to keep playing politics on the big tax hike on virtually every american, what will you say when we hit the last day of this calendar right here? you'd say too bad, american families? do you say too bad small business folks? will you say jamming the other side with partisan votes was our foremost goal? what will you say after wasting the hardworking taxpayers' time with 2450es jam -- with these jam votes? let's go to the partisan allegation not helpful to the goal of a bipartisan deal. it's the second theme to which i referred. many on the other side ascribe to republicans a motive to take whatever action necessary solely
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to provide tax relief for high-income taxpayers. let's be clear, senate republicans and democrats both want to prevent tax hikes on middle-income families. the only difference is senate republicans want to do more. on this side in this slow-growth environment, we don't want to raise taxes on anyone right now. yesterday i discussed some of the reasons for preventing any tax hikes even preventing the so-called millionaires tax hike, quote millionaires" tax hike. it's a small businesses on and -- and we all know it. this so-called -- quote -- "millionaires" tax hike will slow the flow of the lifeblood of business and business capital. let's be clear, on our side we do -- we do just as much as the democrats want to protect middle
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class taxpayers from a tax hike. nearly every republican in 2001 supported it then, tried to make it permanent, and we support now. you need look no further than our leader's bill. it's right there in the bill. on our side we want more of these middle class income taxpayers to keep their jobs. we want a business and investment environment that reduces the high unemployment rate close to 10%. that doesn't talk about the underemployment rate which is a little more than 18% when you include people that don't even want to look for a job anymore. and those who have given up. almost four years ago in the 2006 election, the american people provided the democratic party leadership with control of the congress. in the 2008 election almost two years ago the american people provided the democratic leadership with the largest majorities in more than a generation. they also provided the
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democratic leadership with the a -- with the president of their party. the democratic leadership 20 the period of 2001 to 2006 thwarting efforts to make the bipartisan tax relief of 2001 and 2003 permanent. upon assuming control they spent almost four years with no legislation, a you can see on this chart, to make permanent or even extend the marginal rate cuts and family tax relief packages. no senate legislative action. no senate committee and floor action. no senate action until this late lame-duck session partisan jam votes. senate democratic leadership needs to engage. engagement is defined as a construct ifl activity with -- constructive activity with the goal of changing the law.
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engagement is not defined as repeating a dead-end partisan process like we've seen with the extenders bill, something we should have passed long ago and were willing to. time sensitive tax legislative business should go through the regular order process. it is too late for that now as you all know. it is too late for partisan stunts. the american people need action. actions speak louder than words. it is too risky for all of our constituents to aim for partisan stumps. the clock is ticking and soon this calendar in this year, right here, this whole calendar will be history. well, the americans deserve real legislative action. and, as i've said, it's one thing to come on the floor now and try to raise the thresholds and so forth at this late date.
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but the fact of the matter is that small businesses are mainly partnerships, sub-s corporations, vidienties where the -- individual entities where it comes to the small business person, where if in most cases want their businesses to grow put that income back into creating jobs and opportunities. i even heard the funny argument over the years that, well, it's only 3% of small business of well, that 3% is $7 -- 750,000 business that's create 70% of the jobs in this society. i'd like to see jobs recreated. i'd like to see us do the things that we're here to do. i looked at white house, they have brilliant people in the white house. brilliant people, not one of
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whom, to my knowledge, has been really constructive in his or her lifetime in creating private sector jobs. they are great at creating public sector jobs as we have all seen over the past couple of years. as federal jobs have jumped dramatically. but hardly anybody down there even knows how to create a private sector job. i don't want to be mean to the president or anybody else. these are brilliant people. maybe there's something there that they can come up with. but they're sure as heck not helping us get through this end of session in a way that will create jobs. i hope that our negotiators on both sides will wake up and realize that we have got to do what's right for this country and we've got to do some things that will help small businesses in this country create jobs. and at a time when unemployment has now jumped another -- jumped
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to 9.8%, with the underemployment over 18% the last time i checked, it seems to me the worst thing we could possibly do is mess it all up with tax increases against anybody. now, i personally have suggested that since republicans want all tax -- all of these tax -- this tax relief in 2001 and 2002 bills to be permanent, since we have wanted that and the democrats have wanted only those 200,000 -- 250,000 to -- below those figures to -- to have the tax relief and they want their so-called middle class tax rate to be permanent, which we would keep going. because we believe as much in middle class tax relief as they do. in fact, i think actually more.
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it seems to me we ought to get together and we ought to at least give this economy a chance over the next two or three years, as much as i'd like to make this permanent, give us a chance to be able to regenerate jobs in this society in ways that really make sense. now, mr. president, keep in mind when you start talking about the so-called millionaires tax, you're talking about 56% of all capital gains rates paid by people, many of whom are small business people, who will create jobs if we can get rid of the uncertainty that i have to say has been continuous over the last four years and certainly over the last two years. i just hope we can get together.
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i hope nobody will construe my remarks as trying -- as trying to pick on anybody. i don't want to do that. i just want to make these points because i think they're relevant, they're truthful and it's time we get together and get these problems solved. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. first, let me thank my colleague from south dakota, senator thune, for allowing me to precede him. mr. president, i come to the floor this morning to urge my colleagues, all of us, to move very quickly to pass tax relief for middle-income americans. we have a crisis in this country, a crisis of jobs, a crisis of income for middle middle-class families. one of the ironies is that i was here in 2001 when the bush tax cuts were proposed. one of the major premises of
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those tax cuts was, well, this is going to freeup the engine of job creation. it's going to result in such economic growth that our surplus, and at that time we had a surplus, was going to be sustained, if not increased. and the record is that we've seen the worst job creation, private job creation, in this decade since post world war ii. we've seen the incomes of middle americans stagnate while we've seen the income of the very richest expand dramatically. one of the phenomenon taking place at the end of the 1990's and in 2000 and it was a function of several things. first, tough tax votes by democrats, alone, in 1993 to begin to balance the budget. federal reserve policy that recognized those tough votes and was appropriate in terms of providing an adequate interest rate level. and the third was something,
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frankly, we didn't even recognize. the explosion of information technology in terms of how it made it more productive. those three practices together led us to 2000 to a situation where we had a surplus, we had unemployment rates that were very low. particularly relative to today. and then the bush administration came in and decided that tax cuts, particularly tax cuts for the upper income americans, because that was the implicit argument. they create the jobs. if you give those tax cuts to the wealthy, they'll create the jobs. well, we've had 10 years of real experience and that hasn't worked. now, there are other factors that intervened. we've had two wars that we chose not to pay for increasing the deficit. we vastly expanded entitlements, not reforming them really, but
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paying them through part-d, the medicare program. and now we're looking at the worst economic performance we've seen post 1930's. we need to do two hugely challenging missions. first, we've got to grow jobs. we've got to continue to sustain demand. that's why in that context a tax cut for middle income americans makes sense now. i didn't think it made any sense in 2001. i voted against it. i thought we should start with the -- investing in the country or if we were going to provide tax relief, give it to the middle class. give it through reduction in payroll taxes that will encourage more employment. give it in a way that's targeted to those people who are struggling with jobs, with college tuitions. that was not the choice that was
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made then. i think that choice back in 2001 was the incorrect choice. now we have another choice. mission one, how do we keep this demand going? how do we sustain? there is a strong argument to provide continuation of the middle-class tax cut. but the next challenge is how do we rein in this deficit? that requires tough choices and, to me, the -- the idea of withholding further income tax breaks for the wealthiest americans, you know, that's something in terms of deficit reduction is probably a lot easier to do and, frankly, there's nothing easy to do around here these days, but a lot easier to do than some of the glib discussions, we'll cut medicare, or we'll cut this program, et cetera. all of that has to be done. ask yourselves, if we can't do this, how likely are we able to
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take on tougher issues that confront us? this is, i think, a defining moment in terms of our continuation to support working families and expanding the economy and grow jobs in america and also taking at least a small step to begin to deal with the deficit. we know that the addition of these tax breaks for the wealthiest and let me put the total tax issue in the context. we have a progressive tax system. you know, people who make a lot of money will enjoy all the tax reduction that's stay in place for middle americans. they won't enjoy the tax cuts that were posed for the bush administration for the wealthiest. that cost to the nation over 10 years will be $700 billion of additional deficit. where already in a hold and we're -- in a hole and we're going to dig ourselves much deeper. and we can decide, and i hope we
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do, to continue to try to provide support for middle-income americans and at the same time achieve that other objective which must be dealt with is how trying to get a handle on this deficit. a deficit that the president inherited along with an unemployment rate that was unacceptable. progress has been made. not enough progress in terms of ploivment and we've got -- employment. and we've got to keep up the effort. so this is an issue of providing support for working americans and beginning the long-term difficult task of getting a deficit under control and it is a difficult task. i was here in 1992 and 1993 and 1994 when it was done and it was difficult -- it was a difficult, arduous task. now the bill that chairman baucus is offering tooferred will extend the -- will extend the make it work tax credit.
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it gives all americans a $200 tax cut. it will make the child tax credit permanent. it cuts taxes of families paying college tuition, state and local sales taxes an property -- and property taxes. all of that is aimed at working families, our constituents. it's also cut taxes with business, research and development, other programs that will help, we believe, stimulate job creation. these are very important. and at the crux of it, though, is this decision to support working americans, middle-income americans -- and i don't -- again, there is a tendency in these types of debates to be so stereotypical and to be misunderstood. people who have been very successful in the country and make a lot of money work awfully, awfully hard, but i use the term to refer to those middle-income americans who are working very hard and facing
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real challenges and don't have the same kind of support they had just, if you will, two or thee or four or five years ago to fall back upon. there is another aspect here, too, of this legislation that's pending before us. there is one point i want to make, is that there is a national housing trust fund that was discussed of being included. that's not included, and i hope we can put it in because that's another program that's going to help put people to work, and i hope we can do that. and then, of course, there is the other aspect of the baucus bill. that's the unemployment compensation. emergency unemployment compensation. we just received a report from the council of economic advisors, and they have pointed out that this program has helped 14 million unemployed workers as of october 2010, and at that time there were nearly five million unemployed workers benefiting from these programs each week, five million americans. these people were working.
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they got caught newspaper this recession. this is for many of them the only constant source of support they have now as they look for work. we have seen this benefit, not just the recipients but their families. in fact, there has been an estimate of about 40 million people, spouses, children, 10.5 million children have depended in part on getting these unemployment benefits. and it's also been able to maintain employment. there has been an estimate of 800,000 jobs have been maintained, created because of this unemployment compensation, and that's because when someone gets their check, they do not usually sort of toss it aside. they cash it. they go to the grocery store. they go to the gas station. they go to places they have got to go. they put a little tuition down and they have to pay tuition on a child's education because they desperately need these funds. so that effort creates jobs,
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sustains jobs. and we're in the danger, frankly, of eagle this u.i. program terminate. -- of seeing this u.i. program terminate. i think we're going to do it, and i think it will add immensely to the efforts under way to help middle-income americans. the average benefit is about $300 a week. that's certainly not an inducement to say i don't need to look for work, i want to spend the rest of my life making $300 a week. the program is 99 weeks. there is no attempt to extend it, but it would be the same 99 weeks that people two years ago were able to benefit from. so we have got to do that, i think. that's part of this debate also. i would like to see that the only thing we do at the end of this day is pass tax cuts and not also include unemployment compensation. i think we have to have a middle-class tax cut, but i
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think we also have to have unemployment compensation benefits extended. i don't have to tell anyone in this room that the unemployment rate is too high everywhere. in my state, it seems to whoever between 10% and 12%. we have never withheld emergency unemployment benefits nationally as long as the unemployment rate was above 7.2%. republican administrations, democratic administrations, republican congresses, democratic presidents, every combination. we have always upped stood that this program needs to be there. so i have heard other proposals, let's do this, but let's offset it by unobligated funds. but these unobligated funds, it's -- it's -- it could include many things. for example, it could include the border fence between -- in arizona and california because
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there are funds there that are unobligated. now, i ask some of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle is that what they intend? border patrol stations, in texas, california, and washington. construction of coast guard ships and planes, a national security cutter built in mississippi. then there is the cybersecurity investments to secure the federal information system. we have just been briefed on the profound and deleterious impact on the wikileaks. we have a lot of work to do to improve our security systems. are unobligated funds coming out of that program? homeless assistance grants, that will help people who are probably homeless because of a combination of factors. they have lost their jobs, they have different problems, et cetera. so literally, are we borrowing from peter to pay paul? are we telling someone they can't get homeless under section 8 because we paid somebody else's unemployment benefit? i don't think we have to or
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should make those proposals. so the proposal to pay for this by unobligated expenditures might have some rhetorical appeal, but i ask what are these expenditures? if we're so committed to being clear and transparent about what we're doing here, then list out. we're going to cut the border fence, we're going to cut border patrol stations, coast guard stations. this is how we're going to pay for it. otherwise, i think, frankly, we should go ahead and pass this as we have always done, as emergency spending because it has a stimulative effect. for every dollar of unemployment combination, it is estimated to be $1.90 of economic activity. and it goes right back to the obvious, simple point we all grasp. when that check comes in, it's not tossed aside, it's cashed immediately. grocery store visits, all those things are done. it gets the economy moving.
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mr. president, we're at a crisis, a critical point. we have ten years of experience that despite all the rhetoric, tax cuts that go to the wealthiest americans don't necessarily in fact -- i think they would say probably don't contribute directly and immediately to jobs in the united states. we can save not only working americans by giving a little help in their tax check. we can begin the long, difficult struggle of going from a deficit to a circle. i've done it once. it's not easy. and frankly, the choice before us i think in the next six or seven months look a lot clearer and more -- more graphically in favor of the position we're advancing than some of the
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proposals that are floating around in terms of programs like medicare, defense spending, et cetera. all of them have to be looked at. but if we can't do this, i think a lot of people and a lot of people around the globe are going to start asking questions, did they have the political capacity to make the difficult choices that are necessary? just a final point, because many of my colleagues say -- and i say with great, i think, insight that the real judge of some of our economic policies is the marketplace, the bond marketplace, the people who buy our treasuries and securities. i just wonder if they see us literally unable to make this choice between stimulus and middle-income americans through tax cuts but saving saving $700 billion, we can't make that choice. i wonder how much is that going to do to the confidence in our ability to make tough, tough choices down the road, the
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confidence that keeps them buying treasury security. we should think about that. mr. president, i would urge passage of the proposals that we have before us to provide the middle-income tax cut while saving money and preserving further deficit spending under the republican proposal, and i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, i want to acknowledge the remarks that were made earlier by my colleagues from utah who i thought did a nice job of providing a history lesson for members of the senate about the past several years and tax policy and why we are where we are today. i don't think that there is anybody here in this chamber or any senator from any state who doesn't acknowledge we have a big problem right now with 9.8% unemployment. we had lots of things that we agree on here in the united states senate, we have lots of
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things that we disagree on. i think the one thing we agree on is 9.8% unemployment is unacceptable. i think the thing we disagree upon is how do we get that unemployment rate down, how do we create jobs, how do we get people in this country back to work? now, there has been a lot of discussion about various issues that might be dealt with here in the senate before the end of the year, most of which don't deal with this fundamental issue. the fundamental issue that is important to most americans -- and i've heard many of my colleagues get up and talk about people who are hurting. they are hurting. we're going into a holiday season. they have a lot of people who are unemployed, and with the numbers that came out this morning, that number got worse. you have more people who are unemployed, you have more people who are hurting economically, and yet in the waning days of this legislative session before the holiday break and before a new congress gets seated next year, we have had discussion and
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motions about the "dream" act, we have had motions about don't ask, don't tell, we have had -- we have talked a lot about getting the start treaty done before next year. there has been discussion about this public safety unionization act, all of which i think are probably important to certain members of the senate, but none of which are as important to the american people as the point i just mentioned. that is 9.8% unemployment. people are hurting. people have lost jobs in this country. that's the fundamental point that i think drove voters out to the polls in november. they wanted congress to focus exclusively on fixing this economy and getting people back to work. and yet, we come back here in december, we spent seven days here in the united states senate on a food safety bill. that's not an important issue. it is an important issue. but is it as important as dealing with this number i just
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mentioned? 9.8% unemployment. now, the irony about the food safety bill is after we spent seven days on it, a little snafu. went over to the house of representatives and somebody blue slipped it, which is something they have the prerogative to do, because it turns out there were revenue increases in that bill and revenue measures have to originate in the house of representatives, and so that bill for all intents and purposes is dead for the rest of this congress. so we spent seven days here in the united states senate on the food safety bill. now we're talking about doing something on unemployment, which is something we should have been talking about. we all knew that that deadline was coming and that was ahead of us, where we have got these tax rate increases that occur on january 1 of this year, which is something we should have been focused on a whole lot earlier. i mean, it's not any secret, as the senator from utah pointed out, the tax laws that we have today have been the tax laws now for the better part of a decade.
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so if we knew they were going to expire on december 31 of this year, that wasn't a secret. many of us here have been advocating for some time permanent extension of those tax rates, but that wasn't acted on. there weren't opportunities -- at least the democratic leadership since they have been in charge here has had no appetite to deal with doing something about a permanent extension of those tax policies. we have had tax extenders that we have been talking about here for this last year but nothing has happened. we had tax policies that expired on december 31 of last year which haven't been extended yet. we have a whole bunch more in addition to the 2001 and 2003 tax laws that expire at the end of this year, all of which impact some sector of our economy and most of which are very important to job creation. and yet for the better part of this year, what we talked about were issues that arguably the other side wanted to put before the senate. we had a stimulus bill which
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borrowed $1 trillion from our children and grandchildren which supposedly was going to keep unemployment under 8%. we all know that obviously didn't work. we had a massive expansion of health care which is going to spend when it's fully implemented $2.5 trillion. we have had debate about financial services reform, and i'm not saying these -- none of these are unimportant issues. all of them involve new spending, creation of new government, new bureaucracies, and at the same time ignore again what i think is the real and fundamental issue, and that is jobs and the economy. that's what we have heard repeatedly. now, the reason i think so many people turned out at the polls last november was because they were very concerned about what was happening in washington, and they wanted to come out and protest the policies that were coming out of washington, d.c., because they thought they were counterproductive in terms of the ultimate goal of creating jobs and expanding the economy and getting people back to work. and yet, we didn't have a
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discussion during the entire leadup, runup to the elections about getting these, with the exception of efforts on our side to get votes on amendments here on the floor, about these expiring tax rates. we do have tax cuts coming -- tax rates going up on estates, you can go right down the list. there isn't anything in any sec it ever our economy that isn't going to experience higher taxes on january 1. there was a "u.s. news & world report" yesterday. failure by congress, locking in the 15% tax rate will spark a stock market selloff starting november 15 as investors move to lock in gains at a lower rate than the 20% it would jump to next year, warn analysts. the last time the capital gains
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tax rate increased was on january 1 of 1987, it went from 20% to 28%, and that investors realize their gains at the lower tax rate. we would expect a similar effect this time around as investors see the tax rate going up and choose to realize their gains and incur the lower 15% tax rate. in a memo to clients, this particular firm said that the date that most clients are focused on is december 15. for a deal in congress before beginning to sell. one reason: many stock options expire that day and investors have to act. it goes on to say that fixing this issue next year will not negate these negative impacts. so if they say okay, we're going to put this off until next year, a lot of folks are going to say i don't trust these guys, they haven't done anything with this yet, and they are going to go ahead and sell off, and that could have a very -- a very destructive impact on the market and on many people's gains, things that have been -- things
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they have acquired this year, stocks and investments they have made. it says it's unclear how bad the selloff would be, but it could wipe out all of this year's gains. so that's just one reason of that many we need to act to address this important issue before the end of the year. and it's fair to say, as well, that contrary to what has been espoused by the other side abou people getting tax cuts come january 1, nobody going get a tax cut. but a lot of people are going t get tax crate increase. remember, this is allawi. this has been tax law for a better part of the dfnlgtd a lo of this tax law was put in in effect in 2001, some in 2003678 but the tax cuts tha tax cuts t effect today on capital gairntion dividend, marginal income tax rates have been in i effect for many years. what you're going to be experience something in the a tax cut but a tax increase on a lot of people in our economy. and the argument was made throughout the course of the year that we need to allow the
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tax cuts to expire for people above $200,000. and of course we pointed out that half of all small business income would be taxed at a higher rate if you allowed thos tax cuts to expire for people above $250,000. and 25% of the workforce would be impacted if you allowed that to happen. and so -- and i think that was view that was shared by the american public. there was a cnn poll that i hav here somewhere done in septembe where 60% of americans said tha all the tax rates -- the tax c cuts that were in effect many years ago ought to be extended for everybody. okay? well, i think that was a view that was shared by people when they voted during the election. i remember campaigning for people across this country, senate candidate, house candidates, and this was a landslide election, it was a watershed election by american stand. you look at the new members in the house of representatives, i think republicans have 83 or 87 new members of the house of
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representatives. a number of new senators. in all of those campaigns, in all the advertising that i saw, in all the speeches that i hear from candidat candidates in tra around the country, i didn't hear any of them say that i wan you guys to go back when you ge there in washington and deal with this food safety issue. i didn't hear anybody say, we want you to go back there and pass the "dream" act. i didn't hear anybody say we want you to go back and address this issue of don't ask, don't tell. i didn't hear anybody say that we want you to go back and pass the start treaty. these are all important issues but, remember, that is not what the american people are concer concerned about. and it is certainly -- certainl these are all important things but not the most important thin we should concern ourselves wi with, which is the 9.8% u unemployment rate and the fact that a lot of people across thi dun are hurting and don't have jobs. i think that the issue of exte extending unemployment benefits which will be dealt with and fo how long, i'm not sure. should it be paid for?
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i believe it should. some don't. but in any case i think that'll be dealt w but that is a sympto -- that is not the case. cause. the cause for the people who ar hurting in this country is that we have policies in place that are making it more difficult fo small businesses to create jobs. the best solution to this for the american people is a job. is to get people back to work. and raising taxes has never bee a way of creating jobs. now, the $250,000 threshold i think the other side concluded was not good plifntle so it's been tested and polled. that's a losing issue because i does impact so many small businesses across this country. so the latest version of this i to raise that to $1 million and that's a vote that we're going to have, i think, sometime tomorrow. but the fundamental point a ma make, mr. president, is that th american people i think understand that to grow the
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economy, to expand the economy and create jobs, you've got to incentivize the job createors t create jobs. and you can't do that by raisin their taxes. you can't do it by passing new regulations and making it more difficult and more costly for them to do business. and that's basically what this whole past year has been about. and my counterparts on the othe side have attacked republicans here on the floor for, you know the situation that we're in, an say republicans are blocking us from dealing with all of these important issues. well, we did gate letter this week that was signed by all 42 republicans and the letter was very six the message was this: yes, we think that there are a few days left in this legislative session and that we ought to use those days to focu on the things that the american people care about. and notwithstanding nist polls that were taken to date, the best poll was election day. what voted on in election day
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was jobs, the economy, reducing spending, and reducing debt. and so the letter that we put forward said, let's focus on th tax issue. let's get the tax issue resolve because it is so important to our com commitment of it helps provide certainty for our job creators to go out and create jobs and let's focus on fund th government and dealing with thi issue of spending. those are the two most importan issues, as i think were expres expressed at the ballot box by people across this country this year. then if you want to deal to other issues, that's fine. and we had 42 republicans who said that. i think that's perfectly appropriate and in accordance with what the american people would want us to do. notwithstanding that as i said earlier, we spend seven days on food safety, ashably again an important issues, mr. president. all eu7 i am saying that was se days spent son a pieces of legislation that went to the house, was blue-slipped and is never going to become law this year. we lost seven dhais we could have been talking about getting
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these tax rates down for middl middle-income taxpayers, for i investors. we could have been dealing with the issue of what we're going t do about the death tax because that also on january 1, the exemption for the death tax comes down to $1 million and th top rate goes up to 55 pmplet i have heard repeatedly from farmers and ranchers and small businesses in my state the concerns that they have about that. what are they going to be able to do? they want to pass on their farm or ranch operation not next generation. and they have a $1 million threshold. anything above that would be taxed at 55%. which means many will liquidate their holdings in order to have to pay the i.r.s. that doesn't seem like a very good way to run a government, certainly san good to create jobs in the commitment of and s i would simply again point out that the reason i think that in these waning days of this session of congress that we ought to be here is to focus on this first number i mentioned which is the 9.8% unemployment
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rate. and the unemployment debate, th unemployment -- the debate abou unemployment benefit benefits w occur here is a symptom of the high unemployment rate. but the cause of the high u unemployment rate is the fact that the policies coming out of washington, d.c., are not conducive to job creation in this country. and it hasn't had anything to d with, yeah, these bush tax rat rates. because, frankly, mr. president we saw lot of economic growth i the early part of this decade. since 2008 we have been in a recession. and since 2508 whef a president in the white house and huge majorities, democrat majorityie here in the congress, which hav attempted to address this issue in the form after stimulus bill which added $1 trillion to the debt that didn't do anything to reduce unemployment. create add lost jobs in washington, d.c., 250,000 new jobs in washington, d.c. the food safety bill, according to estimates, would create another 17,000 jobs here in
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washington, d.c. so almost anything that's been done hasn't created any private-sector jobs. it's create add lot of government jobs but that's not what people want. they want jobs in the economy. they want the small businesses in their smain stree main stree towns and comawntsst communities to be able to inve invest, to be able to buy that new peeves equipment to add to the productivit product product operation. i think that's what the message of the election was. i think that's what the interests of the american peopl still is. it is not all these other thin things. and i understand that there is need sometimes for political parties to check the box, to sa that they've done this, try to do this for a particular constituency and that's perhaps what drives the reason we have to have votes on some of these other issues. but at the end of the day, it comes down to one simple basic fundamental fact.
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a lot of people are unemployed. a lot of people are hurting. and the policies of washington, d.c., are contributing to that. i think that you can't blame, you know, republicans here in the united states senate for no the last two years where democrats have had huge jortz, they've got 58 votes today. they had 60 votes for 2009. they had 250 or some votes in the house of representatives. they had the white house. and yet here we are two years later. unemployment has not gone down. it has actually gone up. fewer people are finding jobs i this country. an economy that continues to struggle and washington, d.c., seems more intent on dealing with all these issues that are unrelated to the fundamental issue and that is creating jobs and getting people back to work in this country. so, mr. president, i would urge my colleagues, as we head into the end of the year, to really stay focused on the issue that
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the american people care about. that's their jobs. that's the economy. that's their ability to pay their bills, to hopefully save little money for their college -- their children's college education. as we head into the who will someday season, obviously to have a good holiday season with their family. but this idea that somehow the way that we help the american people had this country is by focusing on all these unrelated issues and talking about things that they at this particular point in time are not particul particularly concerned about strikes me as us m missing the point and not having given the message that the voters sent in november of this year. so, mr. president, i would agai urge my colleagues in these las few days to work on keeping taxes low on all americans, extend the talf relief because it is not a tax cut. it will be a tax increase star starting january 1, people across this country, including our job creators, we can't allo
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that to happen for the best interests of the american peop people. i yield the floor. mrs. shaheen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: i am they're talk about the situation in which we find ourselves, where millions of american families and small businesses on january 1 are going to see tax increase because the bush tax cuts are set to expire. but before i talk to that issue i heard my colleague from south dakota speaking, and i think it is important to -- to point out the differences of opinion in some of his remarks. because he didn't -- he talked about how great things were in the previous decade, in the
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early years of this decade. but he neglected to point out why we were in the situation that we're in with this recession. because the financial meltdown, the recession that began in 200 and 2008 really is the result o so many of the policies of the previous bush administration. and, unfortunately, if -- if those tax cuts that everybody i talking about were going to create so many jobs, we've had them for ten years, and i want to know where the jobs are. i've got a lot of people in new hampshire who are unemployed, and they're not benefiting from those tax cuts. because they haven't created th kinds of jobs that my colleague from south dakota is talking about. and i appreciate the frustratio that's there because this
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recession has gone on way too long and been way too deep and too many people have suffered. but the efforts of this congres to, through the american recovery act, to try and stimulate our economy and keep people workin working has been s successful. there are construction workers, there are teachers, there are small business people in new hampshire who are working because of the dollars spent under that recovery act, and the estimates are that 3 million people are working now or have been kept working because of the dollars in the recovery act. so i just think it's important for us to correct the record a little bit about why we are where we are today and how best we can get this economy moving again. now, like everybody else here, i
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think tax increases on struggling small businesses and on families who are just getting by would be devastating to them and to our economy. and i understand that we've got to do something about that. but at the same time we face another growing problem, and i don't think we can talk about how we're going to deal with these tax cuts without recognizing we've also got to look at a long-term plan for how we're going to deal with this other growing problem, and that is the problem of our national debt. our national debt is now approaching $14 trillion, and it's approaching that number quickly. in an effort to address the growing debt, i joined 12 democrats and 15 republicans, including my new hampshire colleague, senator judd gregg, in cosponsoring legislation earlier in this congress to establish a national commission on fiscal responsibility and
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reform. now, although that legislation failed, earlier this week a similar deficit-reduction commission, one that was appointed by president obama, issued its report, and the findings are very sobering. the report indicates that we need to take dramatic action to reduce our debt and we need to develop a plan for how we're going to do that. and we need to do that sooner rather than later. this is not a problem we can keep kicking down the road and expect it's going to solve itself. but while we're developing that plan, we need to look at how we can do everything possible to get the economy moving again. we need to confront an economy that's still recovering from a deep recession and i appreciate, like all of my colleagues do,
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that now is not the time to raise taxes on middle-class americans. senator baucus has proposed a plan that makes sense. it keeps taxes low on middle-class americans, so it essentially extends the middle-class tax cuts. and it also makes some smart targeted tax cuts, tax cuts that can help us lay a foundation to create good jobs and grow the economy. for example, i'm a strong supporter of the research and development tax credit. when companies invest in developing new technologies as the r&d tax credit helps them do, they generate high-paying jobs and solutions that make our -- that change our world for the better. investment in research and development plants seeds that will grow our economy and create jobs for decades to come. i believe we should make the r&d tax credit permanent myself, but
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i'm pleased that senator baucus' plan extends it for at least two years. the baucus plan also reauthorizes federal unemployment benefits and the extension of unemployment benefits is one of the best things we can do to help average americans and stimulate our economy. this money won't sit quietly in the accounts of millionaires and billionaires. it will get spent immediately at the local grocery store, at the pharmacy, at the gas station and at other small businesses that need that spending the most. in fact, economist mark zandi, who was a former advisor to senator mccain, has cited unemployment insurance as one of the three most effective uses of federal funding. according to his analysis, every dollar we invest today will create $1.61 in economic growth.
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that's a good investment in today's economy. now, i think it would be great if we could just give everybody a tax cut and not worry about the consequences. i would love to do that. but we don't have that luxury. tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% in this country cost america $700 billion over the next decade. and let me be clear, i don't think we should keep another $700 billion on to our national debt. that would be irresponsible. it isn't fair to our children and it isn't wise for the economy. i think we need to move forward and provide certainty for taxpayers. everybody agrees with that. and to do that, that takes compromise. it takes working together, democrats and republicans. so i'm also willing to vote for senator schumer's plan to extend
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tax cuts for everyone except those who make over $1 million a year. i think this is important to ensure that we include small businesses who might get hit at some level. i hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will come together, that we can negotiate a package that is responsible with taxpayer dollars, that stimulates our economy and that protects middle-class americans. that's what i'm hoping to do, and i look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we try and develop a compromise that can allow us to move forward. thank you very much, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president, earlier today i was listening to the senator from illinois,
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senator durbin speak, and he talked about coming over here to the senate floor from a meeting over in the dirksen building, which he said is just about a block away. he talked about how it's like going from one real tworld a surreal -- one real world to a surreal world here in the senate. as i listened to senators on the republican side talk since then, i think senator durbin is right on the mark. what's going on here? sometimes you've got to stop and say what really is going on here? i mean, we are really, have lost touch with what's happening in america to ordinary americans, to the real middle class. so what do we have here? we've got the republicans who won't do anything until we have a tax break for the richest 2% of americans, continue these tax breaks.
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well, -- and i listened to my friend from south dakota recently. he was just on the floor talking about creating jobs and all that kind of stuff. well, we just had the new unemployment figures come out this morning from the labor department. the bureau of labor statistics says we are now -- the unemployment rose to 9.8%. but that's just the official, the official unemployment figures. actually if you do an accurate count of payroll data and if you don't exclude the changes in khroeuplt among the nation -- employment among the nation's farm workers, if you take into account the 14.8 million workers who are part time of necessity because they can't get a full-time job, or they're discouraged and they've left the
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workforce because they have been looking and they're out of work and they've gone past their 99 weeks of unemployment compensation. when you take all that into account, according to leo hentkraoeurbgs who is the chairman of the smart globalization initiative, the real unemployment rate is 18.7%. 18.7%. and the job gap, the job gap is not -- is not just 7.3 million. it's actually 21.9 million in real terms. 21.9 million people in this country are either unemployed, underemployed, left the workplace because they're discouraged; their unemployment benefits have run out. or they basically have shifted around, and they're not any longer in the workforce. you take that all into account,
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you've got 21.9 million people out there out of work. mr. president, i'd ask that this study from the smart globalization initiative project be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: so we have the high unemployment rate going on, and republicans keep saying that we have to have, extend the tax breaks for the wealthy. and i hear in terms of jobs. jobs, jobs, jobs. well, mr. president, it's interesting, in 2007 the top 1% of all income earners in america took home 23.5% of all the income in america. let's get that straight. the top 1% took home 23.5% of all the income. in fact, they took home more money than the bottom 50% of income earners in america total.
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80% of all the income earned from 1980 to 2005 has gone to the top 1%. in the wake of the 2008 wall street bailout, executives at goldman sachs received bonuses totaling $13 billion. so we hear the republicans, we've got to do more tax breaks for the wealthy. well, after ten years of tax cuts for the wealthy, where are the jobs? we've had this for ten years, what they're trying to extend, the bush tax cuts which i never voted for in 2001. we've had them for almost ten years. if cutting taxes were so good for creating jobs, i ask: where are the jobs? where are they? it's the same old trickle-down theory. if only we give more to the top, it will trickle down on
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everybody else. as one worker told me the other day, he has been out of a job for two years, he said trickle down? i haven't had a drop. he said i'd settle for a heavy dew. one person told me one time, i'll never forget this, about trickle down, he said if you've been raised on the farm, you understand something very simple. you don't fertilize a crop from the top down. you don't fertilize a tree from the top down. you fertilize it by putting it at the roots. you want to create jobs in america, you don't give it to the wealthiest in america. you start putting things down at the bottom. if you really want to get to the jobs issue in america, we got to start talking about what our trade laws are doing, how we're shipping more jobs overseas, talk about our educational system and educating people and job retraining, rebuilding the manufacturing base in america so we can actually manufacture and make things here one more time.
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new things, not the old things, but new things. rebuilding our infrastructure, our high-speed networks of communications, making sure that we have an infrastructure that is second to none in the world. there's a lot of things that we can do to spur economic growth in jobs. the worst possible one of all is giving tax breaks to the wealthy. i haven't even touched on the moral implications of that or the justice or fairness issue, and i will. but just on pure economic issues, economic grounds, we know that tax breaks for the wealthy don't do it. they never have and they never will. and yet, the republicans keep wanting to do the same thing over and over and over again. someone attributed this to albert einstein -- i don't know if it's true or not -- who once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and
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expecting a different result. republicans, they just keep giving more tax breaks to the wealthy as someday, somehow magically we'll have jobs created. well, we gave all this money to wall street and to goldman sachs, i don't see any jobs out there anywhere. then my friend from south dakota was talking about the elections. we have to listen to the american people. here's a poll that came out this morning. senator schumer showed this earlier. 26% -- this is a cbs news poll today. only 26% of americans support millionaire tax breaks. and guess what? not even a majority of republicans support it. only 46% of republicans support the millionaire tax breaks. who are my friends on the other side of the aisle listening to?
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wall street. they're listening to those who have made a lot of money, and they don't want to pay their fair share of taxes. they're certainly not listening to, i guess, the 54% of republicans who say they don't even want the tax breaks for the wealthy. you know, my friend from south carolina was talking about the election -- south dakota talking about the election, a big election, the republicans got elected to office overwhelmingly. that's absolutely true. can't deny that. whatever happened to the election of 2008? it's like it never happened. yet 40 million more americans voted in 2008 than voted in 2010. and you know who they voted for? they voted for barack obama. they voted for democrats. they voted for a change. they didn't vote for more tax breaks for the wealthcy. they wanted to change the system. that's what we've been trying to
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do for the past couple of years. we've had -- so 40 million more people voted in the election of 2008 than voted in 2010. so, again, what we need to do is change things. we don't need to change things to do more of the same, which is what they -- the republicans want to do. again, i -- i hear that -- my friend, again, i can't help but refer to, that the tax increases never created jobs. at least kind of the way i heard it said. i kind of wrote it down here. can't -- can't create jobs by raising taxes, never happens. well, i, quite frankly, mr. president, remember in 1993, i was here then, and we had the clinton bill here from president clinton. we called it clinton recovery bill. we had all worked on it here.
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and did it increase taxes? yes, it did. it increased taxes. and, boy, did the republicans howl. i was here. i remember. oh, the economists on the other side said, oh, my gosh, if we pass this, it's going to be terrible. i just went back and got some of the quotes here. my friend from utah, senator hatch, said make no mistake, these higher rates will cost jobs. senator burns of montana said, so we're going to pile up more debt, most of all we're going to cost jobs in this country. senator phil gramm, august 5, 1993, i want to predict here tonight that if we adopt this bill the american economy is going to get weaker and not stronger. the deficit four years from today will be higher than it is
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today and know lower. when all is said and done, people will pay more taxes, the economy will create fewer jobs, government will spend more money and the american people will be worse off. that's what he said in 1993. want me to go on? my friend from -- my colleague from iowa, senator grassley, said i do not think it takes a rocket scientist to know that this bill will cost jobs, august 6, 1993. so here they were all predicting -- i had a couple of more i wanted to get in the record here. just -- just put an emphasis on. it -- on it. representative newt gingrich, republican of georgia. he said on 8593, he said i
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believe this will lead to a recession next year. this is a democrat machine recession and each of them will be held personally responsible. representative john kasich from ohio -- i like this one -- he says, this plan will not work. if it was to work then i'd have to become a democrat. now, if i'm not mistaken, this former representative john kasich was elected governor of ohio. i didn't know he ran on the democratic ticket. because it did work. read the history of it. you can't deny -- as we often say around here, everyone's entitled to their own beliefs, but not everyone's entitled to their own facts. and the facts are very clear that after we passed the clinton bill with not one republican vote -- without one republican vote -- the economy started to get better, we started to create jobs. we started to reduce the deficit. and in just seven years -- actually six years, a little
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over six years we actually got a surplus in our budget -- a surplus. the last time we had a surplus was then. and we were on the path of reducing our debt -- our national debt down, reducing our national debt. we had more jobs. people were working. and then -- and then george bush came to office in 2001. and the republicans looked at all this money that was coming in. which we were going to use to pay down the national debt. so our kids wouldn't have a big debt hanging over their heads. they looked at all that and said, oh, my gosh, let's have a tax kuvment and they ran -- cut. and they ran through a tax cut, they sure did, in 2001. they ran through a huge tax cut that mostly benefited the wealthiest people in this country. as i said, by 2007 the top 1%
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took home 23.5% of all the income and not paying their fair share. but that's what they want to extend. that's what -- that's what the republicans want to continue to do. they want to continue that bush tax cut that they put in in 2001. so they took all that money that was coming in that we were going to use to pay down the debt so that our kids would have a better future. they gave it all to the wealthy -- well, not all of it. i have to be fair about that. about 80% to the wealthiest in our country. and a few crumbs and stuff to others. and what did it do? it raised the deficit and puts in -- put us in deeper debt than ever before. also the wealthy could have a little bit more money. and this is what they want to continue. like i said, i think the -- the
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evidence is clear that what they did in 2001 cost us jobs, hurt the economy and widened the gap -- widened the gap in america between the top and the bottom even more. widened the gap even more in our country. and now they want to continue that same policy and they say it's going to create jobs. it did -- we didn't create jobs. we lost jobs because of this. we lost jobs because of this. they say, well, you know, i heard -- i spoke here last evening and after i spoke, the senator from texas spoke and she was talking about how -- well, who creates jobs in this country? it's the wealthy. they get this money and they create jobs. well, entrepreneurs do create jobs. most of the jobs and businesses created in this country were not created simply by the wealthy, they were created by ingenious people who had a good idea,
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willing to work hard, gather some money together, and invest in business. most were not duponts or rock fellers or people like that. they're created by the steve jobs and the bill gateses and people like that that didn't start with a lot of money, but they had a good idea and they were entrepreneurial and they went to work and started these businesses. but -- so they said, well, we'll create more jobs. the headline in "u.s.a. today" recently said that "luxury spending is back in fashion." and then underneath in small print it says jobless still aren't buying essentials. that kind of says it all, doesn't it? "luxury spending is back in business." so i guess what we need to do is
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give more tax breaks to the wealthiest so that they can go out -- i just read about someone the other day going out and buying $2,600 cashmere scarf. $2,600 for a scarf. i suppose so. i was just with a group of unemployed americans just the other day. came to washington. some have been out of work for over two years. over two years out of work. all of them hoping that we can extend the unemployment benefits. which the republicans won't let us do by the way and i'm going to get to that in a second. but i -- i -- i -- i held this up. i saw "luxury spending back in fashion." i asked how many of those people unemployed if they were going to be shopping at tiffany's this year. maybe you will go down and buy a jewel-encrusted broach for your wife or buy a rolex watch for your husband.
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oh, i know, you're going to buy a new lam mercedes made in germ. maybe -- maybe i said -- these people -- maybe you'd like to -- maybe you'd like to go down and buy one of the 3-d high-definition flat screen tvs made in japan. well, that's where the money's going. do you think the rich -- they're not creating jobs. they're buying $2,060 cashmere -- $2,600 scar ofs, going to tiffany's. most of which is not "made in america". it's made in some other country. if you really want to give tax breaks to businesses, i'm for it as long as the businesses employ people in america, as long as their products are "made in america", as long as they're manufactured here and they don't take the money and ship it off to some other country.
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hey, if business wants to start here and employ people in america, manufacturing is here, -- manufacturing is here, rebuild manufacturing in this country, i'm all for it. i just don't believe giving tax breaks to someone who will take money and say, guess what, i'm going to invest in a business in thailand or in germany or in brazil. and that's what they do. you give all that money to these wealthy people on wall street and stuff, they can invest that money wherever they want and out it goes out of the country. well, since we have such high deficits and we want to get our deficits down, we want to create jobs, don't give it to the wealthiest in our country, give it to legitimate businesses that can start or expand and start making things here in america or put it into infrastructure spending. rebuilding the infrastructure of
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america. or highways or bridges, roads, schools, communication systems. that will create jobs. that will create jobs. they say, well -- they always say, well, government spending can't create jobs. i happen to disagree with those who said that the stimulus bill didn't create jobs. it sure did. it put a lot of people to work all over this country. not in government jobs, but in rebuilding america. you know, when you put money out there and you're rebuilding a highway or a bridge in minneso minnesota, it's done by private contractors, private business that's employ people and spend the money here mostly on products "made in america". that's why infrastructure spending has such a good multiplier effect. it has a multiplier effect because when you build a new school or a new classroom or whatever, first of all, the work has to be done here.
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it cannot be shipped off to china. secondly, the money is spent here. third, most of the products that go into our infrastructure are still "made in america". think about that, when you rebuild a new school, you think about the cement, you think about the bricks, you think about the mortar, you think about all of the conduit for lighting, the heating, ventilation, air conditioning units, windows, doors. nine times out of 10 it's "made in america". "made in america". so you get a big multiplier effect from that money and it does, indeed, create a lot of jobs. mr. president, i mentioned just a second ago that i was with a bunch -- a group of unemployed who have come to washington to petition their government. -- government for a redress of their grievances much and their grievances are they're out of work, they're looking for work and their unemployment benefits have just run out. we have tried several times here
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on the floor of the senate asking unanimous consent to extend the unemployment benefits for another year. the republicans have objected every time -- objected. and the letter that was sent out by the republican leader the other day said they're going to object to anything passing this floor until they get their tax breaks for the wealthy. so they're holding hostage millions of americans -- holding them hostage millions of americans who lost their jobs. i met some who have been out of work for over two years. some for a year, six months. and for dz 300 a week, that's -- $300 a week, that's about the average for unemployment insurance. they say that we can't afford that. my republican friends say we can't afford that. well we can afford to give a $100,000 tax break to the
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wealthiest americans. think about that during this holiday season -- i heard my friend from south dakota say that we should wrap-up our business so that senators and things can go home and spend the holidays with their families and have a nice wh holiday season. what about those millions of americans out there that are out of work and they have just had their unemployment benefits cut off? what about them? are they going to have a nice christmas? are they going to have a nice holiday season? the republicans say no, give the tax breaks to the wealthy first. well, as i said, wall street executives got billions of dollars in bonuses, billions. they're probably going to have a nice holiday season. they will probably even go shop at tiffany's, saks fifth avenue, nieman-marcus. but what about the millions of
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americans that are out of work, that rely upon unemployment benefits? $300 a week, less than the poverty wage, and we're saying no, no, we're not going to extend them during this holiday season? republicans are holding them hostage. i just -- i'm sorry, mr. president, i just -- this is unconscionable. have the republicans lost all sense of fairness? have they lost all sense of justice? have the republicans lost all sense of what's right and wrong? they can fight for the -- for their tax breaks for the wealthy and stuff, fine. that's what they're fighting for. i understand that. but to say that we cannot extend unemployment benefits for people out of work because we haven't yet given the tax breaks to the wealthy, i -- i -- that's a
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moral outrage. and i ask where is our outrage at something like this? where's the president's outrage at this? the president ought to be out there saying this is morally outrageous that we're going to deny unemployment benefits to people during this time of the year especially. now, we can have our battles on the tax cuts. we can have those battles, but we shouldn't hold hostage the people who are out of work today and need unemployment benefits. some people say well, unemployment benefits, it makes people lazy. well, as i pointed out the other day in a speech on the floor, when you have got one person looking for about eight jobs, one person -- i'm sorry. there is eight people, eight people looking for one job. eight people looking for one
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job. there is one job for every eight people, so you have musical chairs. go around and around. one person gets it, and you have seven people still unemployed. and what few people -- what a lot of people don't know is that in order to even qualify for unemployment benefits, you have to be actively looking for work. you can't just sit at home. you have got to be actively looking for work. a lot of the people i talked to two days ago that were here that were unemployed, you hear their stories. i mean, they have tried everything. some have gone to different states, they have gone to different communities. they have tried everything to find another job. i just read a letter from one the other day, a math teacher. has three college degrees. she has lost her job. she has tried to find work in different states. she has tried everything from mcdonald's to everything else and cannot find a job. and by the way, mr. president, the people that are really hurting the most in this job
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market right now are people over the age 50, mostly women. women over the age of 50 who have worked hard, many of them had good jobs. again, i spoke to one on tuesday. worked all her life, had a really good job. she admitted she was making making $70,000 a year. good middle-class income. lost her job. been out of work for over a year, can't find work. and she has tried and beat the pavement, looked all over. but you know what? she is in that area between 50 and 60. very tough, very tough. and yet, we won't even extend unemployment benefits for people like her. well, as i said, mr. president, i think it's a moral outrage, and i would hope that our president would get out there and start saying that. let the american people know how the jobless are being held hostage by the republicans in
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trying to get their tax breaks for the wealthy. so it's been said that the republicans are playing hardball , they're playing hardball. well, if they're playing hardball for the rich, we ought to play hardball for the jobless, too, in this country. if they want to play hardball, we have to play hardball. now, my friend from south dakota says he would like to get out of here and spend christmas with his family. wouldn't we all? but i think rather than identifying with those on wall street and those that wear suits and ties every day and have a comfortable life like we do, we ought to be identifying with those middle-class americans who are out of work. if republicans want to play hardball, what we ought to say is we're going to be here every day and every day we're going to
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ask consent to bring this bill up to extend unemployment benefits. and if we have to be here on christmas eve, so be it. if we have to be here on christmas day, if we have got to be here on christmas day, if necessary, so the american people will get an idea what is going on in this united states senate chamber. the outrageousness of it. so yes, we would all like to spend time with family over the holidays, but unless and until we extend the unemployment benefits at least, at a minimum, we shouldn't leave this chamber. and see how long the republicans want to hold onto that and how much they want to deny people their -- their benefits. if two million americans and 10,000 of my fellow iowans are going to be suffering because they will not even be able to put food on the table or have a nice holiday season with their families because they are
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unemployed, the least we can do is identify with them. they're not going to have a very good holiday season unless we do something here and take action. so i think we should stay here as long as necessary. and lastly, mr. president, i will just say this. for too long and for too many times, the republicans have used an archaic 19th century procedure called the filibuster. to thwart the will of the majority of the people in this country, to stop legislation, to stop a whole bunch of things, nominations, things that when we finally get them through get 99 votes out of 100, but they stop them because of a filibuster. mr. president, that may have been okay in the 19th century, may have been okay in the early part of the 20th century, but we can no longer live with that. we cannot run a 21st century
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government in a 21st century world with an archaic millstone around our neck called a filibuster. when this body reconvenes in january, we finally have got to break the shackles of that. we have to break the shackles of that 19th century rule, proceeding, where one or two senators can stop everything, stop it. i quote vice president biden who said no democracy has ever survived that needed a supermajority. no democracy. and ours can't survive either if we continue with a supermajority needed in the united states senate. so, mr. president, i hope that we stay here. i hope we increase the unemployment benefits. we'll continue to debate on the taxes i will be supporting
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tomorrow morning on the $250,000 and less, to extend the tax breaks for that group. i can't go higher than $250,000, and i won't. i will not vote to extend tax breaks for anybody over over $250,000. and quite frankly, if you make make $250,000, you're in the top 7% of income earners in america. 93% of americans earn less than than $250,000 a year. so is that the middle class? the middle class is making making $40,000, $50,000, $60,00, making $40,000, $50,000, $60,0 00, $80,000 a year. that's the middle class in america. what are we doing for them? so i'll vote to go up to to $250,000, but not a cent more than that. and quite frankly, i have a hard time even just going to to $250,000. if you want to give tax breaks to people, extend the earned income tax credit for low
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income, increase the childcare tax credit for working families. if you want to do that. now you're talking about helping really middle-class families. some people say we have to do something for small businesses. i'm all for that, but i want to make sure it goes to small businesses that employ americans, keep the jobs here, manufacture things in america and don't ship them overseas. if you do that, i'm all for a small business tax break, you bet. so that's the debate we should have, but the unemployed and those that need unemployment benefits during this holiday season should not be held hostage. mr. president, i thank you and i note the absence -- i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. alexander: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: good to see the distinguished presiding officer. he must have been here all day. he was here yesterday, and i'm grad to see him again. mr. president, how long do i have -- are there limits on my speaking time at the moment? the presiding officer: we've we have a 10-minute grant at this time. mr. alexander: thank you very much. i'll use -- would you please le me know what i've consumed nine. the presiding officer: alexander: and
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else appears, i'll continue a little bit after that. mr. president, i just returned from the hudson institute, a distinguished think tank dow downtown where i made an addres called the new program of american life, less of washington and more of ourselv ourselves. it included a panel of -- foll following my address there was panel of kate o. burn of the "national review," christopher mute, checker finnn bill cryst crystal, founder of the weekly standard, and william sham bra who is a fellow at the hudson institute. and they commented on what i ha to say. one of my most enjoyable experiences, because it was a re-price of something we did in 1995.
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in 1995 i was a fellow at the hudson institute, and i was als touring the country trying to persuade merps that i was the next ledge coul choice for president of the united states. that didn't work out exactly right. in fact, when i lost my brother-in-law, who was a prea preacher, he said i should thin of that political loss as a reveres calling. i've always tried to think of i as that way. but, nevertheless, during that time, checker finf and i edited a book called "the new promise of american life." we selected that title because herbert control in 1999 had written a book called "the promise of american life" which really was a progressive manifesto that launched the thinking of president wilson an more recently president obama. and our thought then in 1995 an 1996, mr. crystal, mr. chambra,
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and mr. finn were all contributors to our vocialtion was that progressivism had gone too far understand that we nee needed less of washington and more of ourselves. that's what we said in 1995. well, looking back over that volume, that was pretty good advice, but obviously nobody took it. and so what we decided to do today was the hudson institute sponsored another forum about the new promise of american li life. i talked about it and the peopl that i just mentioned commented on it. it was interesting for me in a vai right-of-ways. i am going to ask unanimous consent at this time if i may include in the "congressional record" the address i made at the hudson institute today as well as excerpts from the new promise of american life that
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was published in 1995. namely, the introduction, the preface and first chapter. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president, the changing -- the premise of my remarks was that we don't do comprehensive well in the unite states congress. now, that was challenged by som of the conservatives on the panel today. and that was my point. my suggestion is that those who were elected in the 2000 election not make the same mistake that those who were elected before made in my opinion, which was not just to head in the wrong direction but to do it all at once. it is one thing to think comprehensively. it is another thing to try to act comprehensively. and our health care law has bee
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-- there have been multiple attempts to repeal it from the day it passed. our efforts at comprehensive immigration and comprehensive climate change fell of their ow weight. and i'm tempted, as i'm sure most people are, to make comprehensive changes. and we talked about some examp examples with the panel. take, i.g., education. i suppose i've had about every position on education reform possible. i have been for aboll iraq the united states department of education. i have been the united states department of education secretary. i remember as a governor in 198 i went to see president reagan and asked him to swap all of elementary and secondary education for medicaid. the federal government would take all of medicaid and the states would have all of elementary and secondary education. the sprfer from the state of minnesota where there is a high value on education. in and my own view is that the high value in the communities o minnesota does much more to
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assure quality education than anything we could do here. so i thought that if we got rid of the idea that washington could make your schools better that we in our communities in tennessee would feel more responsibility for it. president reagan liked that but obviously it didn't get anywhe anywhere. most big, comprehensive schemes don't. our country is too big and complicated and too diverse, an our constitutional system separates power into too many places, and you add on top of that that we just aren't smart enough to figure out a solution for all the many different things that are happening in this country. so my advice in this address is that those who are elected in 2010 ned a different direction. we talked a lot about less government, less taxes. we talked about fewer washingto takeovers. we don't like all the czars and czarinas. there are more of them than the roman and a halfs ever imagined.
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as we head in a different direction, i suggest that we go step by step to reearn the trus of the american people. there used to be scientist whos said think globally, act local locally. i think we might think comprehensively but act step by step. because if we don't, because if we don't, there are two dangers. one is that we won't succeed. it'll be a lot easier, for example, to fix no child left hierntiondz the education law, than it will to comprehensively reauthorize it, because its a a 1,000-page law filled with i investments by members of congress, teachers' unions, principals, people all over the country -- a attitudes. that will be hard to do. but we can probably fix t we ca probably pick the four, five, six things that need to be fixe and maybe in a bipartisan ba wa step by step to do that. if we want clean energy, a comprehensivelcomprehensive eco
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and trade proved tiewch to swallow here. but we can create an environmen for 100 new nuclear plants. we should be able to encourage electric cars. we should be able to double energy research and development. those are steps in the right direction. we took steps in the right direction with reques with the competes act. we did that in a bipartisan way. our overwhelming priorities today are just, debt, and terr terror. we're not likely to solve any o those problems all at once. we might think comprehensively about how to do it but we need to act step by step. for example, our goal could b w to make it easier and cheaper t create private-sector jobs. that shoobt first goal. and especially on this side of the aisle where we believe that raising taxes on anybody, anybody, in the middle of an economic downturn makes no sen sense, because it makes it harder to create private-sector jobs. but that's just one step.
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just one step. if i were to make my list, i would toad thatly, reducing the corporate income tax o so our corporations can be competitive in the world and i would say defend the right to work law an the secret ballot in union elections. i would also say build an adequate transportation s i would also say increase funding for research and development at major universities because it's that brain power that creates jobs for us. there are many different steps we take to create a progrowth economy. or take the issue of debt. we have a debt commission report today which has attracted all of our attention. we've got a horrendous problem with the federal debt. 42 cents out of every dollar we're spending is borrowing. if we try to fix it all at once, the country would collapse. but if we wait another day to begin to fix it, we should be ashamed. and we can take steps. we can say caps on discretionary
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spending. that's a third of spending. we can say no new entitlement programs. let's not dig the hole any deeper. we could say let's have a two-year budget so that every other year we can devote the year to reviewing the regulations we have and the laws we have and the rules we have so that we can get rid of some of them. we may need some new lawmakers but let's get rid -- new laws, but let's get rid of some of the old ones. i stood on the floor of the senate and voted against the higher education act. here i am a former university president, education secretary and so-called education governor -- and that's my passion, i say to the presiding officer, i -- if another senator comes to the floor, i'll be glad to yield the floor. but i voted against the higher education act. why did i do that? because i got permission to bring to the floor all of the
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regulations that now exist under the current higher education act. you have to ask for unanimous consent to bring demonstrative evidence on the floor. i had to do that once with minnie pearl's hat. i had it here in a drawer but couldn't bring it out unless i got unanimous consent, which i got. and i got it to bring all these regulations. i said i'm voting against this act because the reauthorization of the act would double the stack of regulations. so all these things have to do with debt, limited government and spreading prosperity and spreading freedom of the kinds of things that i believe in. so my argument is basically that those of us who are in the republican party, those of us who this year won more of the elections, we know what it's like to be on the other side too. two years ago we hardly won anything. two years before that we had
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elected one republican senator in the mix. those of us on the minimumming side this time -- those of us on the winning side this time i think would do well to head in a different direction. make it easier to create private sector jobs. be resolute in the direction we're going, but do it step by step. we're more likely to be able to persuade people to do it. when we get through we're more likely to be able to persuade them to live under those rules and regulations. when you do it comprehensively, when you bite off more than you can chew, when you offer a 2,000-page solution to anything, whether it's a comprehensive liberal solution or progressive solution or whether it's a comprehensive conservative solution, you're likely to frighten -- well, you're likely to make angry the people on the other side and scare the independent voters half to death. and as a result, you won't
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succeed. we as republicans won't have a chance -- we have a chance in the next two years to prove to the nation that we deserve to be the governing party. we're not today. there's a democratic president and there's a democratic senate and there's a republican house. so if we want to make progress, we have to work together when we can form a consensus. but if we want the privilege of being more than an ideological debate society and being actually a governing party, we have to reearn the trust of the american people. we have to say what are republicans for? and i'm suggesting when we say what we're for, we pick our goals -- easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs, reduce spending closer to revenues, toughen strategic on terror, and then we go step by step in that direction. and we take people with us, but we gain their support. i've mentioned on this floor before the example of civil rights laws.
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the civil rights was the greatest injustice. segregation was the greatest injustice in our country's history, plagued us from the day of our country's founding. our founders punted on the subject and then we tore ourselves apart in a war. and then we waited a century to do much about it. by any intellectual standard, by any moral standard, we should have fixed that all at once. but lyndon johnson, who was the majority leader at the time, knew better than to try to do that. in fact, he knew he couldn't do that. starting in 1958 and then in 1964 and then in 1968 and then in 1975 with the major civil rights laws in the country, we went step by step to realize the promise of american life that all men and women are created equal. now it's easy to sit somewhere and say, well, that went too slow.
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and a comprehensive approach towards civil rights would have, would have been the right thing to do. it would have been the right thing to do but it never would have happened. and there's one other problem with it. it wouldn't have been accepted by the country. the civil rights laws of 1964 and 1968, during the time of democratic majorities and a democratic president were written where? in the office of everett dirksen. why did president johnson do that? you could say he didn't need the votes. he had huge majorities in the house and in the senate. well, it was a little more complicated than that because he had southern democrats and they were against it. so, first, he needed the votes to pass the bill. but the thing that president johnson understood so well was he not only needed to pass the bill; he needed the country to accept it. and as controversial as the civil rights act of 1968 was,
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the one written down the hall in the republican leader's office by a democratic president and a democratic congress, as controversial as it was, when it was over, senator russell of georgia, for whom a building here is named, went to georgia and said i fought this for 30 years, but it's the law of the land and we obey it. lyndon johnson knew that going step by step in the right direction was the right way to get where our country had to go. so we've got some big challenges ahead of us, and some of them we'll be able to do in a bipartisan way. i hope we can do that with no child left behind. let's fix it with the four or five or six steps. arne duncan has good ideas, consistent with ideas of a number of democrats and a number of republicans. that would be a start. the america competes act, we should reauthorize at some point. that would be another step we could go. i think we have steps on clean energy. there are going to be areas where we disagree.
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we're going to have some republican ideas about making it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs that our friends on the other side will honestly disagree with. we're having one of those disagreements this weekend because we believe it makes no sense to raise taxes on anybody in the middle of an economic downturn if your goal is to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs and to have a little different view. so we'll have votes on that. so we'll have our differences of opinion. but if we want to be successful, we -- as a country, as a country, and if we as a party, the republican party, want to be successful in earning the trust of the american people to prove that we're eligible, qualified, worthy of being a governing party after 2012, then we better set our clear goal -- easier and
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cheaper to create private-sector jobs -- and go step by step towards that goal, explaining carefully what we're doing, attracting independent voters, keeping independent voters so in a when we pass the law the country accepts it and we move on ahead. so that's what our discussion was about today, and it's an important discussion. it's not stkwruft some dust -- not just some dusty, dry thing. herbert crowly's book, "the promise of american life" the manifesto for american life that descended in the country right now. and our idea of more of washington and less of ourselves is for the resurgent movement in america that has begun ever since the yeomen farmer which is skeptical of great big policy schemes imposed from washington. that's the grand debate of this -- of the last century.
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and it's the one we're in the midst of today. soy thank the senate -- so i thank the senate for giving me opportunity to present my thoughts, and i thank my colleagues who attended the hudson institute discussion today. and i especially urge my republican colleagues to remember that if we want to re-earn the trust of the american people that, we need to set the right goals and move in that direction step by step. we'll have to be a little patient to get there, but that's a good way to get where we want to go. i thank the president and yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from the university of arkansas on the -- mr. alexander: i see the senator from the university of arkansas on the floor, so i
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won't ask for a quorum call at this point. mrs. mccaskill: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mrs. mccaskill: mr. president, i rise today to -- the presiding officer: i'm sorry. the senate is in a quorum call. mrs. mccaskill: i ask the quorum call be set aside. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from missouri. mrs. mccaskill: back in july of this year, the subcommittee that i chair on contracting oversight held a hearing about heartbreaking incompetence at arlington national cemetery. because of a series of
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management errors, bungling, neglect, the contracts that were supposed to be executed to make sure that we were keeping track of america's heroes in our most sacred place in this country, we discovered that in fact the officials at arlington national cemetery weren't sure who was buried where. the reaction i have had to that hearing has been so reassuring because as i travel around missouri, person after person comes up to me, so many veterans, "thank you for getting on top of this disaster at
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arlington national cemetery." since that hearing, when it was very clear that there was no direct line of authority in terms of managing arlington national cemetery, that they had no problem issuing multiple contracts for millions of dollars and getting absolutely nothing for it, an acknowledgement that they didn't have a system that was adequately keeping track of the location of burial for potentially thousands of america's finest, we have continued to stay on top of this and have realized that more and more and more problems continue to arise. this morning it was reported nationally that now found a grave site that has eight different urns buried.
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eight different urns, cremated returns buried in one location with a tombstone that said "unknown." and, of course, they have been able to identify some of those remains. gratefully they have. and they are contacting those families. but as a result of the hearing, i filed legislation, along with spwrourpb, who is -- along with spwrourpb, who is with -- senator brown who is with me on that committee, toghee filed a bill, a number of cosponsors setting up basic oversight of arlington going forward. basic but very important, making sure that we have review of contract management, making sure that we have k compliance with an aerial directive, making sure that we have a report on the grave site discrepancies that have arisen so that we can be
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assured that every family in america that looks upon arlington as the last resting place for their family members, so they can be assured when they go to visit their loved one, they're visiting their loved one. so, we filed this bill, senate bill 3860, and after we found out about these additional problems, i feel a sense of urgency about this. i know my colleagues on the or side said we're not doing any legislation except to make sure that we get a tax cut for millionaires. i'm hoping that they will make an exception to the rule. because if we do not provide adequate oversight right now, when will we? is there a subject more important for our oversight? than making sure that those we should honor the most are, in fact, being treated with the kind of dignity and respect they deserve rather than just being
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thrown in a grave site that says unknown? so i am going to make a motion tomorrow -- we'll be in session for unanimous consent to pass this legislation. and i know i'm being impatient here and we're supposed to let these things sit on the calendar for months and months and hope that nobody puts a secret hold on it and we're supposed to get frustrated on not knowing who's got a hold on it and why we have 38 members of judiciary who have been sitting on the calendar that came out of committee unanimously. but, no, we can't -- we can't take those up. we can't do anything until we do unpaid tax cuts for millionaires. i'm hoping that my republican colleagues will give the millionaires a rest tomorrow, get off the case of helping the millionaires and the billionaires and let's unanimously pass this bill that is the best we can do right now to make sure that our loved
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ones -- because they're all of our loved ones. we love the men and women who are buried at arlington national cemetery. from john f. kennedy to the soldier that none of us have never met. we love these americans and we need to do everything we can to make sure there's proper oversight of what's going on at arlington national cemetery. so tomorrow i'm hoping that we get an exception to the -- what we got from our friends on the republican side of the aisle. i'm hoping that they will allow this bill to go through by unanimous consent. i will tell you i'm not comfortable going home for my christmas holidays with my family until i'm sure we've done everything we can for the families that lost loved ones who reached a final resting place on this earth at arlington national cemetery. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest
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the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the roll. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, last night chicago and america lost a
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hero. ron santo was a chicago cubs legend and an inspiration to anyone who has ever faced a tough uphill battle in life. during his 15-year career with the cubs ron santo batted .277 with 342 home runs and 1,300r.b.i.'s, a five-time national gold glove winner. each of four seasons he batted 300, drove in 100 runs and led the league in walks. what the public didn't know for most of ron santo's career is he lived every day with a life-threatening injuries illness. he hid his diabetes from the public for 20 years. he said he didn't want anybody to feel sorry for him and he didn't want to be held to a different standard. he wanted to be judged by the same standard as every other ball player and by that standard ron santo earned his spot among the greats. we can't know how much better he
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might have been if he hadn't suffered from diabetes. in an era that suppressed the long ball or maybe for a team that god blessed them never saw post-season action. but it really doesn't matter. simply put ron was the third baseman in cub's history and a lot of us would argue one of the best in the history of the game. the last decade of ron's life brought challenges that would have sidelined many others. in 2001 he lost the lower portion of his leg. in his later years he walked on prosthetic legs that slowed his gate, but not his dedication to the cubs or his work for the juvenile diabetes research foundation where he served on the board of directors. on october 3, as he head for the last -- as he had for the last 32 years, he headed the walk to raise awareness and funding into research for a cure. baseball may one day see a
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player with the same skills as ron santo, but it is hard to imagine that we will see a ball player with a greater loyalty for his team and his pans. pat hughes was quoted this morning as saying, ron santo absolutely loved the cubs. the cubs have lost their biggest fan. but ron santos' love affair with the cubs started at an early age. born in seattle he watched the game of the week on tv and remembers a game from wrigley field with ernie banks. he said there was something about that ballpark and the cubs fans. when it came time to sign up, this great prospective ball player was offered a lot of money by a lot of clubs, but he wanted to be a chicago cub. he could have had a lot more money at the end of his rear as well by -- career as well by leaving chicago. instead in 1974 he was the first player to invoke his privilege declining a trade to the california angels because he wanted to finish his career in
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chicago. that kind of dedication to a team and his family is something you hardly ever see anymore. it's something i remember fondly from my youth. ron santo live out his love for the cubs as commentator in the booth, providing color commentary on wto. rick reilly described ron's commentary this way, he said ron santo loves those cubs like the pooh bear loves honey. he cheers to much it sounds like his play-by-play partner is from murphy's bar. ron santo's seventh inning stretch of "take me out to the ballgame" carried on, would make anyone smile maybe even a white sox fan. i might add one other thing they used to joke about.
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i was fortunate to be invited to go up to the broadcast booth at wrigley field. what a treat for a baseball fan. to be up there with ron santo and pat hughes and to do an inning, if there is any psychic reward with this job, it's that. i would study up on all the stats and all the ball players' names and think what was coming and be all loaded up and here's ron santo, at this point it's instinctive and he's getting ready for the next commercial and all these things are going on and they're kidding himg constantly. there was one ongoing joke that i never knew the origin of and it wasn't until they started writing articles about his life that it finally came out. it seems that there was an incident that occurred on opening day in the year 2003. ron santo for all his great qualities didn't believe that an expensive toupee was necessarily
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worth the money. and so he wore a toupee that clearly was a bargain. his toupee caught fire in the shea stadium press box in new york in 2003 after he got too close to an overhead space heater. they kidded him about that for the next six years and what a good-natured man he was to take that kidding and to just go on and say let's get back to the game. typical of a great fellow with a great sense of humor who doesn't take himself too seriously. ron santo was considered for entry into major league's baseball hall of fame 19 times. the last time was 2008. saadly, wrongly, in my view, he never made it to coopers town, he took that disappointment the way that he took so many disappointments in life, with dignity and grace. in 2003 they retired his number, 10, and it hangs in wrigley
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field with billy williams and ernie banks. ron santo said that day, this is my hall of fame, wrigley field. but this old club deserved more -- like his fellow cubs whose retired numbers hang proudly on the foul poles, ron santo should have been in the major league hall of fame. he was a ball player who lived large through unimaginable pain. broadcast the game with all his heart and left an indelible mark on cubs' fans everywhere. whether staring down an opposing pitcher or staring down diabetes, he gave it his all every day. the cubs, chicago, and america will miss ron santo. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. menendez: mr. president, i rise this afternoon to speak about the debate we are having here on a fundamental question of what type of tax relief will be considered by the senate. now, not too often does a debate
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offer such clear differences in priorities between the two parties. we have before us a sensible package put together by chairman baucus which would ensure that any family, any family in america who makes up to a quarter of a million dollars in a year would get a permanent, permanent tax cut instead of one that expires a few years down the road as the bush tax cuts did. if republicans would just work with us, we could give businesses certainty, middle-class families tax relief and create jobs at this very moment. solving these issues has, at least in my respect, broad bipartisan support. everybody says they want to give businesses certainty, want to give middle-class families tax relief, they want to create jobs. so if we have that agreement,
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both sides should be able to come to support this proposition. both sides have agreed we should move forward, extending tax cuts for middle-class families, do more to create jobs and ensure that the alternative minimum tax doesn't ensnare more than 30 million americans this year. unfortunately, the question isn't who is going to cut your taxes. that's not a question. the question is whose taxes are going to be cut? now, we could pass this bill today, give middle-class taxpayers certainty, take care of the a.m.t., the alternative minimum tax problem which protects right now in terms of how we have responded to it to create relief from that and which we want to extend that relief. not only is it 30 million people in the country but 1.6 million
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new jerseyans who we have saved from being bit by that alternative minimum tax, and failure to act would mean that they would pay an additional tax bill of up to $5,600. these are middle-class families, never intended to pay a tax that was meant originally for those in our country who paid nothing towards the common good, and hence the congress created an alternative minimum tax so that those who were using the deductions and paid nothing to the common good, to the nation's defense, its well-being had to pay something. but since that was 20, 25, 30 years ago, it was never indexed, we have now seen that that's been bitten, biting middle-class families. in new jersey, subject to the a.m.t., they would be bit by another $5 ,]had 600. we also need to extend desperately needed unemployment benefits to the two million
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americans who lost their job through no fault, no fault of their own. that's all in this package. we could pass a number of job creation measures such as extension of the build america bonds, which true to its name puts people to work rebuilding communities across america, and my proposal to give them the tools they need to work on projects to deliver safer and cleaner water to families through private activity bond, something that gets the private sector putting money in a way that creates jobs. unbelievably, my republican colleagues have pledged to stop this bill, to do that by what we all a filibuster, to insist that instead of a simple majority of the 100 united states senators, there have to be 60. all of this, all of these benefits, permanent tax benefits for middle-class families making a quarter of a million dollars or less. the opportunity to create jobs, the opportunity to take care of a couple of million americans
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who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, the opportunity to bring the private sector back in, the opportunity to give the private sector certainty. none of that is good enough for them. they won't simply vote against it. they are seeking to block this bill by even -- by using the filibuster to even be considered, even be considered by the united states senate. the difference in the priorities between our two parties is rather clear. republicans would rather taxes increase for all americans than allow tax rates for millionaires and billionaires to revert to clinton-era prosperity levels. so all of us have to face an increase in taxes in order to get an extra tax benefit to the wealthiest in the country. now, it happens to be the fact that the wealthiest in the country still see a tax cut
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under this bill, and it will be bigger than a middle-class family's tax cut. we're simply asking not to extend additional tax cuts on top of the tax cuts they will already receive. so everybody in america gets a tax cut under our proposal. as a matter of fact, that tax cut instead of expiring a few years down the road stays permanent. but no, they want to give an additional tax cut to those who are millionaires, multimillionaires and billionaires. simply put, republicans believe that it is more important to deliver massive tax breaks to c.e.o.'s than to the people who work for them. they argue that millionaires paying tax rates at the leveled they paid in 2000 would decimate the economy. and the problem is that position is simply not supported by the facts or the experience of the
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last decade. now people who have worked hard and build personal wealth, they should be applauded for their success. i applaud people who through their hard work, their creativity, their ingenuity have created wealth. they should be applauded and admired. i admire them. people who work hard and prosper, they love their country, too. and they're in the best position to be helpful to their country in this tough economic time. many of them are willing to contribute if we ask, and we know from experience that reverting to the tax rates that the wealthiest and most successful paid during the clinton era of prosperity will certainly not break our economy. as a matter of fact, it was that era that balanced the budget for the first time in a generation, created record surpluses, low
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unemployment, low interest rates and had the greatest peacetime economy in over a generation. it certainly didn't break our economy. so i just don't understand what my colleagues on the republican side of the aisle continue to oppose what's good for america, for our children and for our future. now, we're on the eve of the holidays. middle-class families are sitting around the kitchen table at night wondering how they're going to afford to buy the gifts for their children this year. middle-class families are wondering how they're going to make the next mortgage payment, how they're going to pay the tuition for their college-aged children next semester. tough conversations around that kitchen table. i can assure you that those that the republicans are fighting for, millionaires and billionaires, they are not worried this holiday season, and
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yet we are being asked to give them an additional tax windfall while middle-class families struggle. our republican colleagues are playing santa for the millionaires and scrooge for the middle class. for those who make over over $1 million, they want to give them a big, fat check averaging $104,000 with a bow on it. for our children, they want to give them a big, fat $4 trillion bill to be paid back with interest for generations to come. i guess that's their version of happy holidays, america. does it really make sense to anyone? does it make sense to anyone but our republican colleagues who once again are telling us that rewarding the wealthiest helps us all, that that wealth somehow trickles down, that it creates
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jobs? well, i'd say show me the jobs. we cut taxes for that universe of taxpayers, highest income taxpayers in the nation, and they said it would create jobs. well, show me, where are they? in the -- after a nearly a decade under burke's tax policy, unemployment has doubled and it now stands at nearly 10% and now they're saying we need to reward the rich again and it will create jobs. well, in my view, the bush republican tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires have been the biggest failed jobs program in our nation's history. what it did do is add enormously to the debt. i listened to the voices that come here and talk about the consequences of debt, and yet
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they are rushing to add to that debt in dramatic ways%, all the wealthiest people in our country. my question to my republican colleagues who believe that only debt-financed tax cuts for millionaires can fix the economy is this: where is the prosperity that president bush promised to the middle class when these cuts were passed a decade ago? the fact is, let's look at that decade. the -- you budge decade will goe bush decade will go down as one of the poift decades ever faced. while the westy saw their incomes swell and their taxes plummet, middle-class salaries remained stagnated, family costs such as health care and college tuition skyrocketed and jobs disappeared overseas. the stock market sputters along at the same levels that achieved
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urchedz the clinton era tax rates. middle-class wages have continued to lose ground to inflation and health care costs, millions more, now live in poverty than before these tax cuts were passed. and when the unregulated greed on wall street led to millions of americans losing their jobs, republicans said, you are you n your own, literally. on this very floor while leading a filibuster against an extension of unemployment benefits, one republican retorted when he was asked how is it that dak that to these people who through no fault of their own face the unemployment line and he said, tough. and the rest it, you can fill in the blank. pleas from families desperate for help. if republicans were ready to
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protect the middle class then why did the republican leader introduce a bill that is thriewlly a tax increase on millions, a tax increase on millions of middle-class american families? yeah, a tax increase. that's right. the republican bill offered by their leader spends a trillion dollars more and yet the vast majority of americans would see their taxes increase if it were to become law. why? because president obama's tax cut for 95% of americans, for so many middle-class families, was not a large enough priority to make it in their package. gutting the estate tax was, additional middle-class tax relief was not. you know, the nonpartisan congressional budget office, the one entity both democrats and republicans depend upon for the scoring of our efforts, for
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thinking about what's the best job-producing initiatives and what not, has found the most effective way -- this is them through their studies -- to create jobs. the biggest -- quote -- "bang for the buck" is extending jobless benefits. and ranking right behind in terms of effectiveness are payroll tax cuts and small business tax incentives. the chairman's bill contains all of that, all that the congressional budget office has said is in fact the biggest creators of jobs. the republican leader's bill contain zero, none of those initiatives. not one of the most effective ideas for job creation that the congressional budget office has determined is effective is in the republican package. so if the republicans are in this debate to create jobs, why don't they include the proposals that economists are telling us
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are the most effective in creating jobs? mr. president, we know that republicans have said "no" to everything. we know from the republicans' leadership top priority is not middle-class families but defeating president obama. but we cannot tolerate the harm that their political strategy will do to middle-class families. they're even willing for the sake of their political strategy, which is to have this president fail, which really means not whether the president fails or not; it's whether the country fails or not, whether the country fails or not -- willing to hold hostage permanent middle-class tax relief for multimillionaires and billionaires. i really want to urge my colleagues to remember those who
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are struggling this holiday season to keep their homes, to find a job, to provide for their families. i urge my republican colleagues during this time -- forgiving time of the year to open their hearts and to change their political playbook. their political playbook maybe has brought them some success, but it puts middle-class families at enormous risk. there is in reason why the senate cannot have a bipartisan vote or a simple majority vote on making permanent a quarter of a million dollar -- already owes -- tax benefits -- tax cuts a reality for our families, to give businesses certainty, to create extension for those who are unemployed, to be able to create opportunity for the
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private sector and through the build america bonds to get us working again. that's all in this package to give relief from the alternative minimum tax. that's the vote we're going to have -- all of that. saying "no" to that for the wealthiest people in the country, those who we applaud because of their hard work and ink niewlt buingenuity, but thoe willing to help their country and have the best wherewithal to do so is just simply a political gamebook that should be ultimately abandoned. if not in this vote, republicans will have abandoned the middle class of this country at a time in which they need our support the greatest. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. durbin: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent that the quorum call be suspend.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 371, h.r. 3237. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 371, h.r. 3237, an act to enact certain laws relating to national and commercial space programs as title 51 united states code national and commercial space programs. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the built be read a third time, passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the bill be placed in the record at the appropriate place a if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 670, s. 3817. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 670, s. 3817, a bill to amend the child abuse prevention and treatment act, the family violence prevention and services act, the child abuse prevention and treatment and adoption
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reform act of 1978, and the abandoned infants assistance act of 1988 to reauthorize the acts and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate proceeds to the measure. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported amendments be agreed to, the bim, as amended, be read a third time and passed, the motions to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the bill be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 5281 and the senate proceed to its . the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5281, an act to amend title 28 united states code to clarify and improve certain -- against federal officers os or agencies to federal courts and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged of the bill and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. durbin: i disport that the
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amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as and be read a third time and the clerk precede a paygo statement for the record. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. conrad, that is statement of budgetary effects of paygo legislation for h.r. 5871, as amend. total budgetary effects of h.r. 5281 for the five-year statutory paygo scorecard zero dollars. total budgetary effect of hfer 5281 zero dollars. also senator the record as part of that statement is a table prepared by the congressional budget office which provides additional information on the budgetary effects of this afnl afnlgt. mr. durbin: further, that the bim be pabbed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, any statements related to this measure printed nlt record at the appropriate lace as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: mr. president, i understand there is a bill at the desk and i ask for its first reading.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 4006, a bill to provide for the use of unobligated discretionary stimulus dollars to address aids drug assistance program weight lists and other cost containment measures impacting state programs. mr. durbin: i no ask for the second reading and in order to place the bill on the calendar, i object to my own q. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that -- the presiding officer: one moment, senator. the bill will be read a second time on the next legislative day. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on judiciary be discharged from further consideration of the senate proceed to the en bloc consideration of s. 124 and 1*z 1774, two private relief bills. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the amendment at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amend be read a third timed and the budgetary paygo statement be read. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk:ness a statement of
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budgetary effects of paygo legislation for s. 1774. total budgetary effects of s. 1774 for the five inform year statutory paygo scorecard, zero dollars. total budgetary effect of $1 1774 for the ten-year statutory paygo scorecard, zero dollars. also submitted for the record as part of this statement is a table prepared by the congressional budget office which provides additional information on the budgetary effects of this act. mr. durbin: i ask that the bills be passed, the motions to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: i ask that the time under democratic control urchedz the debate in relation to the house message onl h.r. 4853 on is the day december 4 be equally divided between senators schumer and baucus or their designees. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the appointment at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
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mr. durbin: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate
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completes its business today it adjourn until 8:15 a.m. on saturday, december 4. following the prayer and pledge the journal of proceedings be approved to date the morning hour be tkpaoepld expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and the senate resume consideration of the house message on h.r. 4853, the legislative vehicle for the tax cuts as provided for under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, the senators should expect up to two roll call votes to begin at approximately 10:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the majority leader be authorized to sign any duly enrolled bill or joint resolution on friday, december 3. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 8:15 a.m. tomorrow. adjourn:
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>> if i had to put my money on a likely outcome, it would ease in iraq it would once again by hypocrisy. we just have to hope that if that does happen, the new ruler, the new tater will be a lot more benign than saddam hussein. >> john burns, two-time pulitzer prize winner one-time foreign correspondent for "the new york times" on the future of iraq, sunday night on c-span's q&a.
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>> federal regulators told the senate banking committee wednesday that there were systematic problems in the mortgage servicing industry. fannie mae's terry edwards called for a single point of contact when borrowers were quick on servicers to avoid
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foreclosure. representatives from fannie mae and freddie mac appeared on capitol hill before the senate banking committee to talk about the problems in the mortgage industry among servicers. this portion is about an hour. >> terry edwards is -- is the executive vice president of the credit portfolio management for friday night. in his capacity as strictly responsible for fannie mae loss mitigation activities, for a single-family home. his duties also include executing the making of affordable program for fannie mae. we thank him. donald bisenius -- did i pronounce that by the way? bisenius. he's the executive vice president of single-family guaranteed business for freddie mac. in this position, he oversees the sourcing pricing securitization of new business as well as strategic business
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process and technology redesigned first single family credit guarantees. then with freddie mac since 1992 and on the management committee. tom deutsch is the executive director of the american securitization forum. asf is an organization that works to develop a consensus, a frame, thought of legal regulatory and accounting activities for the securitization industry. represents both servicers of investors. that's an interesting juggling a high point that it will be rather interesting to hear his comments. and last is mr. kurt eggert, was a professor of law at chapman university school of law. his expertise as a mortgage and lending issues. consumer protection and securitization. before becoming a law professor, mr. eggert is a member of the federal reserve board and for two years he chaired the subcommittee on consumer credit. so again, really thank you for
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sitting through the last couple of hours it i hope it was somewhat helpful and i'll say to you what i said to the last panel, your prepared statements will be part of the record. fighter jet he could to try and at least paraphrase your testimony here today mmo get to some questions for you. but i'm very grateful for all of you for your willingness to participate in a second hearing on this very important and complicated subject matter as they think we are all acknowledging here. we want to move quickly, get people -- to resolution for people, 34 people. we can work something out so we can do about the issues that senator merkley and senator beit have raised as a result of this ongoing and growing problem. so will begin in the order is introduced to you. mr. edwards, thank you for being with us. >> thank you for the opportunist
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testified today. enter edwards and executive vice president credit portfolio management at fannie mae. this includes foreclosure prevention and servicing oversight, which we spent a lot of time on today. anyway is focused on resolving the mortgage crisis facing our country. every day people come to work with clear check is. keep mortgage funds flowing, do everything possible to help families avoid foreclosure, lobbying responsible stewards of taxpayer money. the good news is these goals are aligned. keeping these people in their homes saves taxpayer monies and is working with people to exit the home without the pain of foreclosure be a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure. since the start of 2009 cannot we have helped more than 600,000 struggling fannie mae family to avoid foreclosure. this number includes 160,000 hamp mob into a 50,000 proprietary fannie mae months. but with the current foreclosure has been difficult and
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unprecedented and we're far from done. the u.s. housing finance system is not set it to handle this tidal wave of mortgage defaults. in most servicers with the front-line responsibility to work with our worst to meet health have acknowledged they were struggling to keep up. so fannie mae has been taking aggressive action to ensure borrowers to get the help they need. although servicers are the primary contact with borrowers, we afford to expand our borrower outreach and education efforts so that homeowners who are in trouble know-how to seek help, understand their options, work with her servicers and avoid skimmers. these efforts include launching a know your website and mortgage health centers and partnerships with housing counselors in hard-hit communities across the country. we've developed a series of workout options for servicers to help struggling families keep their homes. all this workout options can now ductile with hamp commending the service has collect it
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documentation required for hamp and the bar was not eligible for hamp a more than likely they are eligible for a fannie mae mod. we offer services to exit through short sales indeed in the car reducing burden on borrowers and taxpayers. servicers do not get any incentive for foreclosures. we're working every day was servicers to help them pursue their importune and we enforced our contract with them when they fall sort. our teams meet with senior servicing leadership on a regular and frequent basis to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their operations, best practices we are aware of that we think can help, challenges they are facing, plus give us ideas, plus we asked them for ideas for fannie mae can make their jobs easier so they can serve homeowners. i submitted written testimony for the record you provide a full description of her records today, but i would like to touch on two recent issues here.
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the personal service or completion of foreclosure affidavits. fannie mae's guidelines require the servicers comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the foreclosure process. in the wake of reports of some servicers did not follow procedures, we've instructed our servicers to review policies and procedures regarding affidavits, verifications noted legal documents in connection with the foreclosure process. we are also coordinating with the regulator, f. hsa to seek appropriate corrective actions. the servicers that in recent hearings, they are working hard to fix the issue. the second issue has been called cool tracking where borrower receives the notice during the mummification process. to clarify, during the critical early stages of delinquency, fannie mae has a one track process for servicers has three months and sometimes longer to process a loan modification before starting the foreclosure process. in addition, our research shows that borrowers are more likely to succeed at the mummification
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process begins early. so we expect our servicers to put forth a maximum level of effort to communicate with the borrower during the first 90 days of delinquency. this means staffing up and implementing a single point of contact you if her servicers talk about. we are encouraged because it are many of the servicers, they say that they are on board and committed to adding staff to put the single point of contact in place. in closing, this housing crisis cannot be solved overnight and we are all frustrated with the time it has taken to get a smooth operating process in place for families facing very difficult circumstances. fannie mae is committed to doing everything we can to support the market and ensure the servicers do their job in helping struggling borrowers. i look forward to discussing our work with the committee. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. bisenius. >> thank you for inviting me to speak today.
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i am don bisenius competitive freddie mac single business. i ever see the sourcing, pricing from the securitization and performance of single-family mortgages referred to. today's hearing raises important issues about the integrity of the mortgage origination, securitization and servicing practices. as detailed in my written testimony, i would like to highlight the following points: first, let me start by saying freddie mac execs services available to treat borrowers dearly with respect and in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and freddie mac policies. no homeowner with a mortgage on her guaranteed by freddie mac should ever worry about losing his or her home to an unnecessary or wrongful foreclosure. in both the acquisition and ongoing servicing of these loans, freddie mac relies on sellers in servicers.
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we don't directly originate on some i don't directly service funds. rather, freddie mac provides guidelines for the origination and servicing of our loans and contracts for sellers and servicers to carry out these operations. companies conduct in effect to these represent and warrant to us that they are following our contractual requirements. freddie mac has ongoing monitoring programs in place to test compliance with these requirements. failure to fulfill these obligations creates liability for either the originator or the servicer, including the possibility they will be required to repurchase loans. second, freddie mac has long had policies and initiatives in place to help financially troubled borrowers avoid foreclosure. in response to the unprecedented mortgage default crisis, we have created additional servicer incentives and home retention options. in addition to the $5 billion that freddie mac pays servicers each year for managing servicing processes, we offer incentives for servicers to help borrowers keep their homes.
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third, while freddie mac currently owns almost 25% of all single-family mortgages outstanding in this country, we on fewer than 500,000 seriously delinquent mortgages nationwide. our ability to assist troubled borrowers is limited to this 10% share of the delinquent borrower population. having said that, i want to be very clear, we've redoubled our efforts to keep errors in their homes. since the beginning of 2009 commode helped nearly 370,000 families avoid foreclosure. through the first nine months of 2010 alone, nearly 211,000 to link with borrowers with freddie mac mortgages avoided foreclosure. that's nearly twice the 114,000 who were foreclosed upon. finally, the length of time for the average foreclosure of a freddie mac loan indicates borrowers are not being rushed through the foreclosure process. we require our servicers to seek
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to resolve to resolve a variety of foreclosure alternatives including forbearance, repayment plans, loan modifications and short sale. if the borrowers to link as he could not be cured by these methods foreclosure to minimize further financial loss and risk, the nationwide average for completion of foreclosures in a delinquent mortgage on her 449 days and borrowers whose properties are foreclosed upon are behind in their mortgage payments while guide does give servicers the authority to stop or suspend the foreclosure action whenever there's an opportunity we are aware that the existing processes are confusing to some borrowers. we are working with the industry to find ways to improve communication and minimize any borrower confusion. as my testimony makes clear, freddie mac has put in place
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financial incentives to help we continue to work with our conservator and servicers to enhance these efforts and improve their be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you dodd, ranking member shall be, members of the committee, deutsch and has directed the american forum i appreciate the on behalf of the 230 asf member institutions including those who originate collateral, trade the bombs come to service the loans and invest the capital on a preponderance of mortgage and the united states. in my prepared statement, i will highlight some of the key aspects of securitization as well as its critical importance to the brittany for this during their nearly 55 america today
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seven approximately three quarters a mortgage securitization trust center in the united states such as pension funds, mutual funds and my remarks today, i seek to address the concerns raised by a few commentators not actually own the $7 trillion of mortgages that are contained within if these have created systemic risk to the banking sector the concerns that have been raised have not been they are in origin is not clear. they are not the result of a series of new court cases supporting the but instead
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appear to be largely the result of quote the panel takes no position on whether any of these arguments are valid or and coke. so while the consequences that quote directly and solely from a single mistake that is that the trust and generally tony 7 trillion discussed in great detail my prepared remarks, the core premise is incorrect and therefore the dire consequences of the faulty premise two weeks ago, the asf issued a white paper on the subject that is part of a written testimony that puts to rest many of the questions that have been previously raised about kingship of asf exhausted legal principles and processes, substantial case history
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throughout every one of the 50 united states and the district of columbia and from the traditional legal principles and processes today's complex holding, assignment and transfer methods for mortgage loans. in fact, 13 major in exhibit a to that asf white paper reviewed it and believe that the further summary although the asf ip pressured many of the concerns that had previously been presented, some new concerns have been raised since that white example, one commentator has proposed the secured lasers have not met and are written testimony we contractual provisions, intent of the contracting parties, industry custom, independent third-party trustee acceptance as well as the relevant case law
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particular, this argument overlooks the key fact that the chain of each party from the originator to documented the proposition itself though, the the ucc to set up an even higher but then subsequently and a legal analysis in from time to time though, mistakes and process are particularly in the market were 55 million mortgages are transferred and are serviced and the worst housing market that is one reason why a particular typical language and the governing contracts provides
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the opportunity to carry these mistakes to prove ownership. in conclusion, the asf greatly appreciate the invitation to appear before this committee to share views related to these current issues. i look forward to answering any questions the committee members may have. >> thank you thank you, chairman dodd. i appreciate the opportunity to testify today. as a professor, i feel the luminaries around me, but i'll try to do my best to shed some light in the first panel, i kept to we saw it and we acted and i didn't hear that at least better than say well, here are the we can do either.
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what i heard was, were investigating that, we hope to know more then where can my concern is this is not i want this point, what i would need to do is change the name of add a zero to both of the statistics. and otherwise, everything i talked about in 2000. it's not just the result of the added in the width is servicers are we have to fix it. we didn't fix it in 2000 didn't
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fix it in 2003. we haven't fixed it say it's a systemic problem. i of this panel, there were questions about whether of issues or whether there was proof that it would like to note that economists been looking at this have been looking to see, due, rather than if they in other words, our borrowers more likely to get foreclosed if servicers are the there is some disagreement on it, but it seems like the trend of the investigation is that there is they are more likely are an
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important fact. christopher maier the next thing i'd like to note is that industry. i think a certain point, looked around and said, who's got the ball on this and how much of this is mine? how much and they haven't come up with a good and if they think of but as we've heard of and it's a program that. and in fact. so it addresses of loans that are being serviced. and i haven't heard of a is not
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doing it in the regulators
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we're going to sit and be comfortable, so you're not back in the corner there. you're going to be living up anyway come january, so get used to those seats. you framed my first question long before our 21st witnesses of this panel, both of fannie and freddie. i've been during the debate on the issue of whether we should have had gse reform as part of the financial reform package.
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i'm not going to bite that type of debate again, but there were reasons why we did at the time. it pointed out during those debates, and you can but correct me if i'm wrong, somewhere between 95 and 96, some higher% are backed by standing and freddie. that number is pretty much right, am i correct? >> that would include sha as well. >> correctly, those numbers are correct? >> welcome to professor eggert has raised an important question, one that i would have had because of the power you have -- again we tied to the regulators whether they have the authority, congress needs to get them to do it. but it seemed to me that just sha and your cells would have tremendous ability on services, given how critically important you are to them, that were they to be scripted of gse business, i suspect that might get their attention. and so the question becomes, why
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not? by hoping i'd done more to insist upon servicer reform in dealing with these matters directly affected by it as well? why haven't you done this? why wouldn't you do that? >> our approach has been to understand the problem, get behind the problem and try to solve the problem. >> well, we know what the problem is. you've got power to do this come to market power to do this. >> we've been trying to do with influence. we've been trying to find the problem for the services of the sudden my testimony. >> you told them you are going to strip those, don't you believe that they would jump back through hoops to respond to concerns. >> in some instances are, we have moved thirsting away from servicers were not performing. we moved hundreds of thousands of loans for servicers were getting it done. they were at the bottom of the billbill, if you will, in terms
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of service or performance among the servicers do it with capacity in the industry. at the end of the day, this problem is the capacity problem. servicers haven't stepped up or they need to start up in the habit fix the process. the process we've been suggesting since the beginning of the year is this approach you heard a lot about today, single point of contact. and the point is, servicers/originators, large financial institutions have plenty of resources when you need a loan. when it comes time to a difficult time -- your most difficult time in your situation where you potentially have to leave your house, the resources aren't there to take care of the problem. what was suggested as a single point of contact for a counselor puts their arm around the person who is in a jam and explains to them what is going on. what you have to do to stay in your house? if we can't keep you in your house, this is what happens. what is the best thing to do to manage your credit report? literally counsel people on what they need to know and
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understand. in the good news is we see our servicers starting to move their. it's taken far too long but the larger servicers are not using words we've asleep been using, single point of contact. there means it dusk on the they're going to. we know there is a solution. time is our enemy and not the function of getting the resources in place of a solution can be fixed. >> i appreciate that. i'll give you a chance to respond. less paperwork, misapplied conflicts. i mean, just emirate of problems there. and again, we talk about market power. ..
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>> we see improvement on the portfolio. it's a large percentage, and combining with the fannie mae portfolio, they occurred themselves. we are beginning to see improvements on the performance. >> well, let me urge you to keep at that. again, i made the point, and it just seemed to me it raised a good question and it seems to be the old market power which a lot
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of people agree with, which i do as well. where it exists, it can make a huge difference. we took as many member participation here and didn't get to it, but let me ask you a question. in briefing with fannie and freddie this week, it was apparent that the who of you have -- that the two of you have differing modification programs, and given the fact there's too much confusion in the process, shouldn't you adopt the same policies? why not the same policies? >> we each have different books. we, fannie and freddie, don't talk. we're in the field with our servicers trying to, you know -- >> that's not a great answer here. >> there are rules -- >> why aren't you talking? >> we talk through our regulator, but we're not able to talk directly because of trust
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issues. >> but you talk to the regular about this? >> yes. >> and if they say no, you can't have the same processes? >> we have our own books which perform differently. once you have all the documentation in hand, you don't have to ask for another document. we think that's a best practice and one that should be adopted, but -- >> i know you don't want to violate the law here, but what if you're sitting next to him? you talk to him, and you talk to him. we'll pretend we're having a conversation together. . [laughter] >> we work closely with fhsa and all the areas where we can align as clough as possible, we do. the majority of our requirements
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under hamp -- >> why not outside of that in >> i think they are close. they are not identical. there are differences with individual services and loan types, but i think they are amazingly close in most aspects. >> all right. i didn't mean to dominate, but let me get mr. deutsche. you seem to be conflicted yourself, and i don't mean that personally, but as a representative of both mortgage servicers and investors, and i just, wearing a hat of a representative of investors, put that hat on your head if you can here. how serious a problem do you think the service of conflicts of interest are in regard to example of excess fees and of course placing insurance, and do you have any suggested solutions? you heard in testimony that services are low to seek putbacks of loans where the
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putbacks come from their parent companies. i wonder if you agree with that comment in the assessment? >> again, with the hat of an investor on, i think our first lien investors are concerned internally. they are very concerned about how loans are modified and in particular how they are modified in relation to the second lien program. they have had significant concerns about how the mp program is performed. is it 382 loans going through that program since beginning in the last data i've seen, but investors are concerned about that conflict. that conflict is seen much more pref lantly now in a very down economy particularly in the housing market than we see at a normal time, so it's certainly trained by the housing market today. >> do you agree with the comment? the services are low to see
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putbacks at the parent company? >> well, i don't think any originator wants to buy a putback back. they are buying something at par that is defaulted. it is worth less than par. >> the alternative is worse? >> pardon? >> the alternative is worse? >> well, correct, but the banks have sold the loans who preferred not to buy them back, and up vesters would prefer to have them bought back in they are in default. how do we sell off credit risk from the bank's balance sheets to effectively isolate that credit risk from the bank, and at the same time, make sure that the representations and warranties made to the investors, those loans are how they originated in the way they actually were. >> you got the investor and the home owner here and the two entities here are taken to the
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cleaners in the process. professor eggert, you want to comment on that? >> something interesting was said which many people haven't said. there's servicers who were not performing so in essence we fired them. they are servicers that they worked with that were up to snuff, so they fired the servicer. different servicer behavior would be if more people could say that. have you ever heard of investors saying we fired our servicer? no. >> how often, do they? have you fired some? >> investors have the ability to fire servicers. it is challenging out of the pool agreements and you need a mass of investors, 25% or more, to fire a servicer. >> has it occurred? >> it has occurred in instances. in particular, but it hasn't happened widespread because the question is who is a better
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servicer out there? >> yeah. and the pooling and service agreements are too rigid in that sense? >> well, the challenge of a pooling and servicing agreement is you have a mass, diffuse set of investors in the marketplace bought into the securitization trust. how do you have a captain of that group of investors who can charge and lead that group, but at the same time, not be conflicted and serve their own best interests as o potioned to the -- opposed to the other group of investors. >> i have a couple more, but i'll turn to my colleague. >> thank you. i'll follow-up on your questions related to the putback with our folks mr. edwards and fannie and freddie, and in the testimony we had earlier, freddie and fannie together have $13.3 million of outstanding requests, putback asks if you --
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requests if you will. at what rate is that growing? if none of those were paid off, if that $13.3 billion set there, what would the total be o year from now? 20 billion? i want a sense of a monthly or annual amount of putback requests that are potential. what's the flow rate if you will? >> i don't know if i have the specific flow rate associated with that, but looking over the last few quarters, the share of outstanding repurchases or putbacks from freddie mac is declining. we may be past the peak, and are now on the downside of that. for us, it's declining at a fairly significant rate. >> and that would not be because the number of folks falling into foreclosure action is declining, so what do you attribute that in
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>> well, i do think it is associated with the number of folks going seriously delinquent is stabilizing and reviewing subsequent requests are going down. we worked through a huge pipeline of remortgages over the last two years. i think it is declining over the last few quarters. >> okay, ballpark, can you tell me between the two institutions or for your institution, how many more repurchase -- billion dollars a month or billion dollars every six months? >> yeah. i think it would be hard for me to speculate. we can do analysis and provide the facts to you separately. >> okay, and, mr. edwards, can you clarify from your perspective? >> yes, senator. yes, senator. so for the third quarter we
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collected about $1.7 billion. we don't see that pace slowing down, and what we have said to -- because we get asked this question all the time by our customers, our banks, where are we in this process? the answer is we're about 40% of the way through the process. we have another 60% to go. >> okay. so let me lay it out this way then. if the banks have reserves for repurchase of about $10 billion, and if we're at $13.3 billion and crudely between the two, perhaps $3 billion a quarter additional, and 40% of the way through the process, that means we might have the equivalent of a billion per quarter, back of the envelope math, and plus the 1 we have now, are we looking at something akin to over the next two years, a total of $30 billion in requests against $10
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billion in reserves? >> first and foremost, the way those reserves, when we talk about repurchases, we're talking about it in unpaid principal balance, so original principal balance. when a servicer buy those loans back, they don't need dollar for dollar reserves. it might be worth .60 cents on the dollar. you have to -- we're talking apples and oranges here. >> yeah, i think in addition to that, one of the things to highlight about that outstanding number is that's the level of repurchase requests. it is not uncommon for an originator once they get the repurchase request to provide information that leads us to resend that repurchase request, so the original loan file is sent in, we review it, we believe there's a defect. we request a repurchase, they cure the defect and the loan is
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no longer subject to repurchase. that is a growth number from an exposure standpoint in addition to what terry said. >> i would appreciate follow-up from both of you on the only sis of the issue. -- analysis of the issue. should this putback situation be considered a serious problem to pay attention to now because it could be a very sizable, systemic risk issue for fannie and freddie? a risk for civic financial institutions, a risk that may not have reserves to cover it, but then is there systemic risk on top of that three components, and so often we come in the story down the road when it exploded, but if we're at the front end understanding the problem, we need more analysis to get our hands around it, and that would be helpful. >> be happy to provide that. >> senator, one other thick --
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thing. there's a lot of putback talks from the gfc's. when you see the percentage of loans sold to us for each of the years, 2005, 2006, 2007, the big years, we have not gone beyond 2% of the originations in a particular year that were sold to us. >> thank you for noting that. the -- and these numbers i'm citing are just fannie and freddie. there's a lot of other pressure on the financial institutions with putbacks from other quarters that would have to be part of a comprehensive understanding of this issue, but let me turn to the dual-track issue. when my constituents were talking to the caseworkers on my team about the challenges of getting foreclosure notices, foreclosure phone calls, or postings on their door in the process they were in the middle
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of loan modifications, the explanations for a very long period of time were miscommunication within the bank, this unit and that unit. not so long ago, a few weeks ago, there was testimony about essentially along the lines of actually this is the consequence of a dual track strategy, and a couple of the major banks, b of a and chase testified while they have the power to change that dual track strategy and recognize the short falls of it, they can only do so on loans they have control over, but a tremendous amount of the loans they service are fannie and freddie lones, and in this case, they are pursuing both tracks quickly so the foreclosures can take place as quickly as possible if the modification fails. i guess that's supported in the testimony that both of you have
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put forward just from your written testimony on where you both address the dual track, and here is the dilemma. everyone benefits in general from a modification being successful. the investors benefit. certainly the community benefits by having a family in that home. certainly the children benefit from the stability of the family staying in that home. everyone who has a stake in the surrounding community isn't just those who live there, but the fact of the dropping home values are driving a national cycle we have not seen the end of yet are all tied together, and all these incentives, and yet testimonies earlier noted that despite the preference of modifications over foreclosure as a national strategy, that the deck is stacked the other direction, and he says that several possible
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explanations for the commonance of the foreclosures what appears to be easier execution of foreclosures relative to modifications, limits on authority of security trustees, and conflicts between primary and secondary lien holders, so kind of big picture, modifications make a lot of sense from a lot of perspectives, but the complexity of the mortgage market place results in a lot of foreclosures in lieu of pursuit, aggressive pursuit of modifications, and then we find fannie and freddie saying, hey, folks, if you have our loans, you have to seek foreclosures. a lot of families are stressed
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out, and families get foreclosures. some are walking away from their homes because they can't deal with the pressure of they they think they are trying to get a modification, been on the phone four times, submitted the paperwork three times, it's been lost repeatedly. they can't get the same story. they are told make your payments, and somebody else says, no, you have to be three months late, and in the middle of that the foreclosure side pounds on their door, and families like we're not answering the phone anymore or open the mail anymore, until the sheriff moves us out, and we'll get out of the house now. there's something counterproductive about this aggressive pursuit of foreclosures at the same time that a modification is in process. isn't it possible because folks say it's fannie and freddie
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driving this dual track. isn't it possible to find a way to recognize the importance that foreclosure may be the ultimate path, but to suspend some of the features of your tracking down that path during a period where there is legitimate good faith effort by the servicer and by the family to get a modification in place, and couldn't that help overall with this picture? i guess i'm asking each of you, mr. edwards and mr. -- i can't pronounce your name. >> well, a couple thoughts around that, senator. first off, the challenge you highlight is very real, and one that can lead to as you suggest, a counterproductive result. it is in our interest to have our servicers work with borrowers to seek a modification
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or a repayment plan, something other than a foreclosure. as i mentioned in my testimony, we provide financial incentive for them to do that and encourage them to do that. the balancing agent we feel -- the balancing act we feel is if a nonforeclosure alternative cannot be found, every day, every month, i wait to start that foreclosure process cost. it costs a lot. if you do back of envelope math, it's $30-$40 a day. if we have 300,000 loans in foreclosure, that runs into the hundreds of millions a dollars a month from those delays. we have to find a way to, you know, remove the confusion because i understand it is a painful process and a confusing process. simultaneously though, i need a way to make sure i'm not adding more losses to the taxpayers as a result of the actions. >> before i turn to mr. edwards, i'll pursue that for a moment. by the way, i'm over my time. thank you. so, essentially, you say when
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there is recognition that a modification can't be completed, then we need to push through foreclosure. okay. i understand that, but what about a policy where you said if this standard is met, a family applied in good faith for a modification, they are in negotiation of that modification, there is perhaps a 120 day limit or a 90 day window or something, can't you say, listen, suspend the foreclosure notifications and that track, tell the customer that for the next 90 days or 120 days well this gets sorted out, we recognize you and if it's not worked out that we will have to restart the foreclosure track, but create a window in which the whole emphasis of the institution, of the servicer institution is upon getting that modification in place and done. is something like that workable
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that could be done as a policy? >> let me suggest it is our policy that if we have begun some type of a modification, a work out strategy, we do not initiate the foreclosures. that is our policy. the difference we have though is as the servicers try to make a good faith effort to contact the borrower and the delinquency extended, at a point we begin that foreclosure process. oftentimes, that is the initiator who gets the borrower to make contact with the servicer and some type of work out option gets started. at this point we have not delayed that. it is something to look at, but if we begun the foreclosure process, it's important to continue that. >> all right. i'd love to continue this conversation because i think in some degrees we're passing each other. we're talking here, i think all the members of this committee have constituents in the
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modification process. we hear from them every day and yet they get foreclosure notices. they are not ignoring your calls and not responding. senator edwards? >> you made a key point in that the borrower/family is making a legitimate effort, but more importantly the servicer is making a lee legitimate effort to meet the mod. servicers are not staffed adequately. the problem is inadequate staff. it's the answers we read and hear about. why did i tell my story to different people over and over and over again, and there's another key point, stress in the family. our work, our focus groups have said once you get past three or four months of delinquency, families emotionally start to detach from the home, and they are not coming back or seeking a
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modification. we need to do everything we can to make sure the servicer follow-up with a single point of contact to communicate with them and fannie and freddie's process is there's no foreclosure act in the first 90 days. a legitimate effort done by both, we can get the staff to where they need to be and the system can run appropriately. >> thank you very much for your testimony, and i encourage every possible effort to try to make this modification track work better because it's a dismal failure in terms of policy now and our economy and families are suffering and will continue to suffer in we don't figure out how to do it better. thank you. >> let me pick up on senator's lines here thinking out loud here. i presume you have seen or heard some of the suggestions made by
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sheila bear and dan regarding standardses and a single point of contact and others, but let me state the conclusion. you can disagree. i presume you agree with the suggestions being made or disagree with the suggestions made? >> absolutely agree. >> i haven't looked at it in much detail to them. i add, mr. chairman, there is clear written standards on servicing. it's not as though they are prevalent. >> national standards in a sense? >> yeah. >> mr. deutsche? >> i'd have to look. >> let me know what you'd think. i want to hear back. >> okay. >> two things. it's important to have standards and one regulatory agency that takes this on as its job with an eye to protecting consumers, and i think the new bureau financial
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protection, this should be its baby. it should say we're taking over, we're going to write the regulations. we're going to make sure there there are standardses, that standards are enforced, and servicers who don't comply to the standards or live up to them will be sanctioned or lose their license to service. we have to get serious about that. >> that's a good way. let me ask something because murphy race raised an interesting set of questions with dual tracking. it seems to me one of the problems we saw that led to the near financial collapse is the lack of underwriting processes in the sublending. i'm not naive about this. i presume at some point and obviously facts circumstances can change, but in addition to hoping something can turn around or there is maybe a work out in
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a level that would allow that family to meet that obligation, stay in that home is obviously important. is there some capacity in all of this because obviously i think we all agree as well, if someone isn't able to do this and no matter how hard you try in this, it's better to move along because the other values of properties in that neighborhood suffer, and all the other problems that emerge get exacerbated by delaying, obviously, a situation, so striking that balance is not easy. none of us are suggesting there's a perfect way to do this, but is there any consideration of making a determination as to whether or not there is in the number of cases just no likelihood begin the economic circumstances beyond the capacity of that family to meet an obligation. do you consider that? >> first and foremost, for people who are unemployed, our first offering is six months of fore beer rains.
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the extent they get employed and all likelihood, it's going to be a less of an income they head earlier. we run them first through hamp, evaluate the documentation, and determine whether a hamp mod or a fannie mae mod is feasible. >> do you consider other sources of income coming? family support, others supporting that conclusion as well. it's not just a question of a job necessarily. is that true or am i -- can a home buyer provide evidence they have support that allows them to meet a modification? >> slotly. other sources of income need to be documented and we set the mod appropriately. i'll leave it at that. >> all i add to that is we encourage our servicers to actually reach out to the borrower just a few days after that first missed payment in order to begin to evaluate the financial circumstances that the borrower has.
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>> why don't you demand it of them? they need you. they don't survive without you. >> it's in our servicing contact that they reach out to borrowers in the first few days after that. it's demanded in the contract. >> i'd like to see it tougher than that. anything else to add to the consideration? >>ing? about the putback issue if i could. >> yeah. >> i worry about the discussion of putbacks is in terms of safety and soundness of the financial institutions that have to repurchase it. i think it's important to recognize that putbacks where there's been a breach of representation and warranties is an important market discipline for originators of loans. lenders should not be selling loans and breaching warranties, and if right now what we're seeing is lenders fighting off the putback thing, oh, you know, you're putting this back because
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the loan is in default, but you were a sophisticated investor, you knew what you were buying, but if you don't enforce recommendations and warranties, the market breaks down. that's an important part of market discipline. it's important that fannie and freddie sphort putbacks and put back loans that are appropriate. as a taxpayer, i think that's important and also for market discipline. it's a crucial thing. >> well, thank you. -- >> excuse me, senator? >> yeah. >> request -- can i make a final point? >> yeah, certainly. >> when we moved this servicing, we actually got together and worked out an arrangement where the servicer moved the loans to a place where we had better capacity. it was a win-win for fannie mae and the servicer and the ultimate families. >> well, good. that's encouraging.
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i think more of that evidence would help us. i submit a couple other questions that i have, but i kept it for a long time here. any additional comments? >> i'll close with this comment, and that is that the perspective presented by major banks before the committee was that they are sus spending the tule -- suspending the dual track for loans they carry, but they are enforced not to suspend it. you testified, no, we have a window, this 90 days, there is either a serious misunderstanding or a serious discrepancy, but i would just urge you to try to find a path that is as supportive of the modification process as the major banks are for their own portfolio loans, and despite your stations that you're doing
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it, something seems a miss and could be improved. >> it might be, and jeff, we tried this four years ago or three and a half years ago talked about in this room where we gathered together a lot of mortgage legenders to talk about this very issue with a set of principles we adopted in this room that went nowhere unfortunately despite the commitments of the contrary, and if might not be a bad idea to gather, and you can raise this with tim and others as a way of gathering these lending institutions, these servicers in a room like this to sit down and have that conversation of what is going on because that gap we are getting in the hearings, we have one panel and another panel and getting people together to see where the gaps are where we hear testimony is very valuable. just a suggestion. i thank you all. thank you for being here, gracious of you to participate in this, and obviously, this is a problem that's not resolved in
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the short term, but one we got to get behind for all the reasons articulated today. the community thanks you for your presence. committee adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] you're looking at a live shot of the u.s. capitol here in washington, d.c. where both the house and senate gaveled in today. the senate is back tomorrow at 8:15 a.m. eastern to debate and vote on two tax cut measures. this in response to the upcoming expiration of the bush era tax cuts. republicans have vowed to block any legislation that doesn't extend the tax cuts to all levels of earners, and a quick look at the tax cuts if allowed to expire, earners in all tax brackets would be affected. here's a look at some of those rates.
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>> unemployment rose to 9.8% adding just 39,000 jobs in november. the expected job growth and the bureau of statistics commissioner gave the new numbers to the joint economic committee and told up to 25,000 jobs need to be added to the economy each month before the unemployment rate is reduced. this is about an hour.
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>> [inaudible] >> okay. today's hearing with commissioner hallmarks the -- hallhall marks the last meeting i'll chair. two years ago, shortly after the inauguration of the president obama, my first hearing was also with commissioner hall, and the news that he presented that day was rather grim. the previous month, the u.s. economy had shed a staggering 654,000 jobs. today ease news is a little better. we are printing in the right direction, but not as strongly as we wanted. today's employment report shows the economy added 50,000 private sector jobs last month making
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november the 11th straight month of employment gains in the private sector, and we can see that in the chart over there. since the beginning of the year, the economy has added 1.2 million jobs in the private sector and private payrolls grew by 79,000 months a job in the first quarter of 2010, 118,000 in the second quarter, and 124,000 jobs in the third quarter. while job creation is picked up, the unemployment rate remains unacceptively high. this morning's employment report shows the unemployment rate edged up to 9.8% in november, and in addition to overall private sector job gains, the gdp grew by 2.5% in the first quarter of 2010 due to stronger consumer spending. this is the 5th consecutive quarter of growth. retail sales risen steadily for
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the past four months excluding the volatile sales of cars, gasoline, retail sales increased steadily since june. surveys of the service sector and manufacturing sector show growth is expected to continue. when i became chair of the jac in january of 2009, the economy was still reeling under the shocks of the great recession. one of the people who testified was christina romer testifying that our economy endured shocks during this recession that were even greater than the economic shocks of the great depression. this committee closely monitored the employment situation and tracked its rebound. over the past two years the joint academic committee held hearings and issued over 40 reports. in 2010, consistent with its mission to monitor the employment situation of the country, the jec focused on job
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creation holding hearings on problems in the labor market and solutions to spur employment. job creation was also the central focus of the jec annual report and mandateed announcement of the president released earlier this year. while the shocks of the great recession takes time the heal, our economy has made progress in the last year. the policy put in place over the last year are working. policies do matter. we passed the higher act -- hire act which provides a payroll tax credit for businesses that hire unemployed workers. we passed legislation to promote hiring by smaller businesses, the engines of job growth in our economy providing additional tax incentives to small businesses including the $30 billion access to credit loan program, and raised the cap on sba7a loans
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from 2 million to 5 million. we extended aid to states to cover medicaid costs and provided additional funding for teachers. the department of education estimated that 140,000 teacher jobs were saved because of the increase in funding. we passed legislation to help our domestic manufactures by reducing tariffs and extended unemployment benefits to unemployed workers who have been hard hit in the recession. the most recent extension did not raise the number of weeks that unemployed workers could receive benefits, but it did reauthorize the program so that unemployed wokers could continue receiving those critical benefits, however, we are aware that the latist extension of unemployment benefits that ran out this week. for most of the unemployed, the expiration of the benefits means
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that unemployed benefits will stop as soon as they enter their 27th week of unemployment at a cruel time when more than 40% of the unemployed have been out of work at least 27 weeks. if congress does not act qekly to renew the benefits, 2 million unemployed workers will lose their benefits during the holiday season. although, preliminary reports show a bump up in consumer spending on black friday, the loss of unemployment benefits has a significant impact on retail spending in the weeks and months to come. prematurely ending the federal unemployment insurance benefits program will drain the economy of 80 billion in purchasing power and cost the economy up to 1 million jobs over the next year. according to the nonpartisan congressional budget office, unemployment benefits are one st most effective tools were boosting economic growth and employment allowing the federal
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unemployment insurance program to expire when the unemployment rate is well over 9% would be absolutely unprecedented. for every recession calling congress to provide emergency unemployment benefits over the last six decades, congress has never let those benefits expire, but the unemployment rate above 7.4%. this is a tragic time to break from precedent. it is unfair to the millions of families counting on the benefits, and unwise for an economy recovering from a great recession. i hope we can count on the republican colleagues in both chambers to do the right thing and vote to maintain the current unemployment insurance program. i yield back the balance of my time and recognize my good friend and clueing on the other side of the aisle. >> thank you. today, we hold the last meeting with the bureau of labor
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statistics. like all the americans hoping for a turn around, this is a difficult two years for members of the joint academic committee with reporting months after months showing our americans out of work with high rating of unemployment, but the focus of this committee on the employment situation is a critical part of its function as no other aspects of the nation's economic well-being is more important than the ability of our citizens to find productive work. dlfs the difficult task of submitting the bleak reports to us in an insightful manner. i want to thank him and his staff for the effort they make to compile the employment data in meaningful ways and for answering our questions. i welcome dr. hall here again this morning. there's variance aspects on the economic market. i want to thank the chairwoman for her passion and dedication
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in setting the committee's agenda. we appreciate her leadership in many ways, and again, thank you for your many months and many hours of hard work. senator brownback is leaving the u.s. senator next year to assume as governor of the state of kansas. i thank him for his services as a ranking member in the committee and congratulate him on his new leadership position. all the best to you, your family, and the state of texas -- i'm sorry. i'm so used to saying that. it just comes out. [laughter] i didn't put greg in front of it, but it was in my mind. we wish the best to senator brownback. as we approach the end of the year, the national unemployment picture unfortunately, remains bleak. the unemployment rate increased to 9.8% due to job loss. this week's 39,000 increase in
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payroll employment was very disappointing given the expectations. still the fact we lost 1 o 1,000 -- 101,000 payroll jobs. think about that. despite $5 trillion of fiscal and monetary stimulus, we have 101,000 fewer jobs in america than when the recession officially ended. if we were to compare today's 9.8% unemployment rate to what the white house promised in the major stimulus, they projected that unemployment would be at 7% this month instead of a staigerring 9 -- staggering 9.8%. this recovery is held back and painfully slow by consumers doubtful of the president's ability to manage the economy and businesses discouraged with the democrat's tax hikes and job
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blocking regulations. yesterday's actions by the house raised taxes on small businesses and consumers most likely to pull us out of the poor economy. i think it's more of the failed economic policies hennedderring america's recovery. indicators say we are making this a slower recovery. payroll is not significantly different than 17 months ago, and this economy is too weak and sector growth is too slow so reduce the unemployment rate appreciatebly. in contrast by the 17 months of the reagan recovery after the 1981-82 recession, total payroll had increased by 5 million and the unemployment rate fell by 3.1 percentage points. why is the current recovery so weak? it is this. with less than one month to go
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before the end of the tax, the $4 trillion tax cut goes off, americans are facing dire uncertainty. we can't expect small or mid-size or larger businesses to take on employees when the government is raising the cost for employing them gainfully. yesterday's house vote that is dead on arrival in the senate was a terrible waste of time. it was also, i think, a dumb economic move, and no wonder substantial numbers of of jobs are not created in america, and within a dpu days the -- few days the federal government runs out of money. the administration has not been tending to their speedometers and -- responsibilities, and the frantic rush is no way to guide this economy. in addition to looming increases an tax rates, the out of control federal spending in the enormous national debt buildup has
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addressed democrats ill conceived health care. i will not repeat the points here, but the burdens and uncertainty they create contribute to the fundamental reasons why this recovery is not -- why this economy is not recovering faster. if we want rapid job creation, the administration las to relent from wasteful redistribution policies and the fewal attempt to -- phytal attempts. they cannot take up positions against business and oil and gas and coal production and free trade and then expect the economy to grow based on minimum wages, increased sub cities to a number of causes. the u.s. economy doesn't work this way and i doubt many do. the administration has been hearing as much from national leaders from around the world,
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and i hope they listen. i look forward to hearing from your testimonies. >> i thank the gentleman for his comments, and must feel that #eu must respond to some inaccuracies. we have made process in the past year of the obama administration by adding almost 1.2 million private sector jobs. when you compare that to the eight years of former president bush, this country lost 363,000 private sector jobs, and although president bush inherited a $5 trillion surplus, we left with a huge deficit and debt, and indeed, the last month he was in office, this country lost over 750,000 jobs. the bush tax cuts did not help the bush administration create jobs. in fact, they overall lost jobs in his administration, but with
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the focus on the economy, we are moving in the right direction under president obama, and just yesterday, we passed a tax cut to all americans, and it has now gone to the senate. we have moved the process forward, and we look forward to the response of the senate and moving in a balanced or a direction to create jobs and grow this economy. i now recognize the distinguished senator, the great senator. >> thank you very much. thank you. i wanted to thank you for your service in the committee. it's been an honor and i join in can congressman brady for running these meetings. congressman brady, thank you for your leadership and i look forward to receiverring on this committee next yearment i think there's a lot of good work we need to do with jobs in the economy and i guess we start here today. no one is pleased when we have
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this unemployment rate, but at the same time, i also think that the people of this country have understood that we couldn't dig ourselves out of this hole in one month, that it was like someone made the analogy of a freight train going 200 miles per hour the way the wall street crisis occurred and everything else that hped in the country -- happened in the country. there is glim res -- glimmers of hope here with the jobs added to the economy in november, and it's important we are one month shy of employment gains in the private sector, of course, none of it happening as quickly as we would like. i agree with some of what was said by congressman brady with the export trade, but i will say we have seen improvements with consumer confidence where it's hit its highest level since the financial crisis began with four in ten americans saying the economy is now on the right track. with growing consumer
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confidence, it's no surprise to learn that retail sales surged up 6% in november for the most promising start of the holiday season in three years. it's a serious matter in minnesota, where the home of target and wal-mart are big companies as the holiday season approaches, and they saw promising lines of customers out there. the other piece is the fact that there is more things we need to do going forward. first of all, i point to the work that needs to be done with exports for small and medial size -- medium size businesses. we have to start with the small business bill, but also the red tape barriers to the industries with the highest potential for exports. i use the example of medical devices largely based in minnesota where there's a 12% decline in fda approvals and
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that's less investments to places in europe where the safety approval process is moved quickly. tourism, i think i see an easy solution there. we have done a lot with crossing the travel promotion act, and we can promote our country over seas, and when you find out the startling statistics in china, it takes them 50 days to come to america. in europe, it takes 10 days. we have lost 20 points in the tourism business since 9/11. it makes it easier for tourists to visit our country. we should look at that as we consider how washington can truly help to create private jobs. the other piece of this mentioned by the congresswoman is the unemployment. there's a lot of people out this, 2 million americans who lost their jobs through no fault
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of their own, bad decisions on wall street resulted in them not finding jobs on main street. i believe it's very important that we can want making unemployment -- continue making unemployment available to these americans. last thing in response to congressman brady's comments on the tax bills before us. i'm focused on the tax deficit before us. i don't think many members of congress say they agree with everything in the report. i know i don't, but at the same time, i was heartened to see that people from diverse political backgrounds as senator durbin, now supporting that report as well as senator conrad on the democratic side now joined by senator coburn and senator crapo. along the lines of what we talk about now with the bush tax
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cuts, of course the middle class needs the tax cuts continued with the economic difficulties, but when you go up to the million dollar level, people making a million a year, they are given back 100,000 in response to the tax cuts. i think we are blinding ourselves if we didn't at least look at the choice of looking at someone making over 250,000 or a million a year where you can bring in depending on why you set it, $4,000 billion over -- 400 billion if you look at the deficit. that is a chunk of change, and so as we look at how we get our country out of the economic rut, reducing our deficit is key. it's going to add confidence to the markets if we show we do something in the long term and it's going to be better for those, our children, who are inheriting this debt, so i don't think it's just a band-aid to
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look at where we revert to the clinton levels, where, by the way, things were much more prosperous in the country. keeping the bush levels emphasize up to a million dollars. imagine it. millionaires get the tax cuts up to the million dollar level. that's what the debate is about. thank you very much. >> now recognize commissioner hall. first, i'd like to introduce him, he's the commission or for the u.s. department of labor and served as chief economist for two years under president george w. bush. prior to that, he was chief economist for the u.s. department of commerce. he also spent two years at the international trade commission. thank you very much for your public service, and we now recognize you for as much time as you desire. thank you. >> madam chair and members of
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the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the employment and unemployment data we released this morning. nonpayroll employment was essentially unchanged in november, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.8%. the jobless rate was 3.8% in the three months. payroll employment increased by 86,000 per month since its recent low point in december of 2009. in november, temporary health services and health care added jobs while employment fell in retail trade. temporary health services employment increased by 40,000 over this month. since the industry's most recent low in september, employment grew by 94,000. in november, health care rose by 19,000 including a gain of 8,000 hospitals. thus far in 2010, the health care industry has added an average of 21,000 jobs a month
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about in line with growth in 2009. retail trade employment decreased by 28,000 in november including declines in department stores, furniture, and home furnishing stores. other industries showed little employment change in november. manufacturing employment changed little over the month want following job growth in 2010, factory employment is flat on net since may. elsewhere, goods producing sector, construction employment changed little in november while mining employment continued to trend up. turning out measures from the survey of households, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.8% in november. 41.9% of the people were jobless for 27 weeks or more. their proportion is essentially unchanged since august. among the employed, there's 9 million individuals working part time in november who preferred full time work, about the same
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as in october. the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 64.5% in november. among those outside the labor force, persons looking nor working, the number of discouraged workers was up 861,000 from a year earlier. the individuals were not looking for work because they believed no jobs were available to them. in summary, the rate edged up to 8.9% in november, and payroll rates were unchanged. our colleagues and i would be happy to answer your questions. >> thank you, commissioner hall, and this is my last meeting as chair of the joint academic committee, so give us the best news that you have, and give us the best news you have on the economy. >> well, there were industries that did grow this month in terms of employment. temporary health services rose


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