tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 13, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
since those tax breaks expire republicans are insisting they are now subject to senate rules requiring cuts in other spending or offset. a vote to move forward on that bill is expected at 11:00 a.m. eastern. lawmakers will break for party lunches and clean 12:30 and 2:13. we take you live to the senate floor on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain retired admiral barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, ruler of all nations, hasten the day when the government shall be on your shoulders. bring an end to sin,
injustice, corruption, violence and immorality in our nation and world. use our lawmakers to do what is best rewarding their faithfulness with a bountiful harvest. lord, do for them. immeasurably, abundantly, above all that they can ask or imagine, according to your power working in and through them. may the whisper of your wisdom fill our senators with peace, power and praise. lord, infuse them with confidence in the ultimate triumph of your purposes.
we pray in your righteous name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 332, which is a vehicle for the tax extenders we hope to do this week. the president pro tempore: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 332, h.r. 3474, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986, and so forth. mr. reid: mr. president, following my remarks and those of the republican leader, the
senate will be in morning business. the time until 11:10 will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. at 11:10, there will be a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to h.r. 3474. the senate will recess from 12:3 until 2:15 to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. mr. president, i move to proceed to executive session to senate calendar number 667. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, rosemary marquez of arizona to be united states district judge. mr. reid: mr. president, there is a cloture motion at the desk. i would ask the chair to order
it reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: closings. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate debate on the nomination of rosemary marquez of arizona to be united states district judge for the district of arizona. signed by 17 senators as follows -- mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the names not be read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: is there an objection? without objection. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to live session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 668. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye.
all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: douglas l. rayes of arizona to be united states district judge. mr. reid: i send a cloture motion to the desk, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the closings. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of douglas l. rayes of arizona to be united states district judge for the district of arizona. signed by -- mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names not be necessary. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 2 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye.
all thoofd say nay -- all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: thank you, mr. president. i move to consider calendar number 669. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: james alan soto of arizona to be united states district judge. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask that the chair order the reading of the motion to invoke cloture. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of james alan so toe of arizona to be -- soto of arizona to be united states
district judge for the district of arizona, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names not be necessary. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is carried. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 732. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. and the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: gregg jeffrey costa of texas to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit. mr. reid: i sent a cloture motion to the desk.
the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of gregg jeffrey costa of texas to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? we have seen the last week or two the republicans just throwing things to the wall, hoping something will stick. they brought down the energy efficiency bill as a result of
that. we are sending informally -- rescinding informally an agreement i was convinced that we had. and here is why this is happening. one need only look at why we haven't heard these -- why we have heard these endless speeches in the house and senate on obamacare or the affordable care act. that has dissipated. it's been several weeks, mr. president, it's hard to believe, but several weeks before we have had a vote in the house on doing away with obamacare, repealing it. and why is that? there is no better illustration of why that is happening than something called the plumb line in "the washington post" today. it's short, but i'd like to read this. the headline is -- "going quiet on health care." this is an editorial comment. that's another thing they threw at the wall to see if it would
stick. "the hill reported yesterday that the house g.o.p. has gone quiet on obamacare. there are no scheduled votes or hearings on the affordable care act. when contacted by the hill newspaper, most g.o.p. campaign committees wouldn't say whether they would launch any new attacks on the law. as the hill put it -- quote -- the lack of action highlights the g.o.p.'s struggle to adjust its message now that enrollment in the exchanges beat projections, the uninsured rate is going down." close quote. they have tried a number of things since obamacare is no longer very high on their radar screen. a couple weeks ago, they said they were going to change direction and go after me. one of my friends, a democratic senator, said i wish they would do that in my state. nobody knows who you are. the point is, mr. president, they are getting desperate for something to change their tune. benghazi is one. and there will be other things come on the next few weeks.
i carry on reading this article. "at the same time it's noted that g.o.p. operatives overseeing senate races remain conscious of the need to keep up a drumbeat going against the law. the question now -- if republican officials really are backing off on obamacare, would the base go along? a new cnn poll illustrates the situation nicely. it finds that far more americans want to keep obamacare than repeal it. at the same time, only a majority of republicans want repeal and only a majority of republicans think the law is already a failure. the poll finds that 49% of americans want to keep the law with some changes, while another 12% want to keep it as is, a total of 61%. meanwhile, only 18% want to repeal and replace the law and another 20% want to repeal it full stop, a total of 38%. that's 61% for keeping the law, 38% for repealing it. among the independents, that's
55% to 44% in favor of obamacare. how is it possible that americans can disapprove of obamacare but support keeping it? part of the answer lies is another question cnn asked. it finds that a total of 61% say that it's a success or it's too soon to tell whether it's a success. by contrast, 39% say it's already a failure. among independents, that's 58% to 42%. all this is a reminder that at this point, a tax -- attacks on the law such as they are are all about keeping the base lathered up in advance of the midterm elections. there is six months to go and already some republican officials are realizing that the anti-obama energy is drank away. remember, mr. president, 61% to 38%. okay, mr. president. it wasn't all that long ago that the economy was in the throes of a great recession. less than six years ago, the world economy was taken to the brink of collapse before beginning a gradual recovery.
while american markets have returned to their pre-recession levels, recovery of millions of workers and their families has been slower in coming. in nevada, we continue to dig our way out of the recession, and although things are better, we still have a long ways to go. today the senate begins debate on legislation that continues to help many nevadans and countless americans as they recover from the recession. this bill before us extends current tax provisions that have bolstered american families and businesses, saving them money and growing our economy. for example, mortgage forgiveness debt relief act. that's something that the state of new jersey depended on significantly. nevada, virtually every state. nevada's home market was greatly damaged by the economic downturn and many of my state's homeowners succumbed to foreclosure. for many years, nevada had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. for struggling nevadans battleing to keep their homes,
the mortgage forgiveness debt relief act offers much-needed help. this provision provides relief to homeowners who otherwise would owe taxes on the debt forgiven through mortgage loan modifications. here's why we did it, mr. president. the i.r.s. had a rule that said you buy a home for $10,000 and the recession hit and you had to sell it for $6,000, you would be taxed at the $10,000 rate. hard to believe, but that was the rule. that's why we passed this law. we're now trying to extend that. very important. it allows underwater nevadans and other states around the nation to get a measure of financial relief while giving a much-needed boost to the state's housing market. in addition to mortgage relief, this legislation also extends relief to the state and local sales tax deduction. no one has worked harder on that than senator cantwell from washington. this deduction provides families
much of whom are already pinching pennies with a fair shot of providing for their families. it allows them to deduct local and sales tax, helping them keep more money in their pocket. it is not only helping our constituents and the victims of the downturn, it is also spurring job growth and local economies. ren the real estate newable tax credit helped attract investments of d 5.5 billion in nevada's clean energy economy, d 5.5 billion. and so people who have never seen, for example, solar panels, come to searchlight. you will see there, mr. president, almost four miles of solar panels, millions and millions of them. it's amazing. it looks hike -- i remember when i was a kid, we would drive the las vegas highway, and you would see mirages -- that's what it
looks like. it looks like water, but i.t. not. it's solar panels covering miles and miles. so, mr. president, the tax credit dealing with energy has been important. through clean energy tax incentives and loan guarantees in the state's renewable energy standard, nevada is becoming a ladder in the renewable energy world. as renewable energy grows in nevada, jobs multiply. all nevadans zev a fai deserve t at a good, stable job. another thing, mr. president, there's something we call the theater tax credit. the movie industry has had it a long time, but that's a provision in this bill that boosts nevada's economy and virtually every economy around the country. for example, in the las vegas area, we're home to many theatrical productions that benefit from the film credit.
the theater tax credit allows hotels and resorts in nevada and around the country to invest in high-quality productions which draw tourists from around the globe. while the examples i just mentioned are important to he have in, this legislation has many more provisions that benefit millions of people across the country. for example, the research and experimenexperimentation tax crt promotes development by companies and requires that global companies require this assistance to locate their search and development centers in the united states. the work opportunity tax credit is important and provides an incentive to businesses to hire under- or unemployed americans. this ducks ensures that -- this deduction ensures that teachers are not being punished financially. these are just a few examples of the beneficial credits and deductions that comprise this tax extenders legislation.
but there are many, many others. our constituents are depending on us to extend these provisions, many of which expired at the end of the 2013. we will not pull the plug before our nation's recovery is complete. by passing this tax extenders package, we will build our nation's economy more quickly. we'll continue to promote innovation, encourage industry, and create jobs. so i urge my republican colleagues to join us in passing this legislation. let's work together to bring american families and the economy a fair shot.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president, many years ago senator cabot lodge called the senate the most powerful single chamber in any legislative body in the world. just imagine making that kind of statement about today's senate. instead of a strong, independent voice at the van guard of american policy-making, what has the democratic-run senate become? a campaign studio, a late-night pusmpunchline, place where the r left gets its way and the middle class gets left behind. we saw this again yesterday when the majority leader was so determined to prevent the consideration of republican amendments that he killed every democratic senators' amendment in the process. he didn't seem to care about letting the more than 4 million
people in my state have a say on one of the most important issues facing their livelihoods: coal. and i didn't seem to think that the millions of americans represented by his own democrats deserved a meaningful say on energy either, even after senate democrats from states like alaska and maine and colorado and arkansas put out press releases touting the kinds of ideas contained within their amendments. no amendments were allowed. the fact that some of these same senators are now trying to convince others of just how moderate and influential they are, it's really ridiculous. but back in the majority leader's power play, instead of standing up for their constituents, they show where their loyalties really lie. and let's remember ... the majority leader thought that the american people didn't serve a say on energy at a time when
they're struggling, the kind of things that can be helped with smarter energy policy. he also blocked this debate at a time of growing energy crises that demand american leadership. moments like those had are when our country used to come together right here in the senate, when we used to have a serious discussion and actually pass serious legislation to solve serious problems. but not today, not in the senate anymore. today it is a place where the majority leader seems to deliver a daily monologue about almost anything but jobs, where democrats obstruct serious ideas and where they shut down meaningful debate on so many major issues. think back to last week when senate democrats declared that addressing global warming was the moral crusade of our time, then refused to even debate or consider legislative measures to
actually address it. or when the american people were calling out for us to pass jobs legislation and senate democrats put forward legislation that could actually cost up a a millioto amillion jobs, all whiy continued to pass serious house-passed job-creation bills. meanwhile, washington democrats are now boarding on absolutely farce, just a complete farce. last week we saw a fact checker from a major left-wing paper debunk one of their favorite talking points about filibusters, giving it the highest possible rating for dishonesty. the charges that have been made about republican filibusters, given the highest rating for dishonesty by a left-leaning newspaper. here's what the fact checker said: on just about every level, the claim is ridiculous.
this is the factcherchecker fora left-leaning newspaper responding to these daily charges about republican filibusters. quote -- "on just about every level this, claim is ridiculous." so let's be clear. it's time for senate democrats to look in the mirror. under democratic rule, the senate has become the place where serious legislation comes to die, the graveyard for good ideas. that's the main reason why president obama wants so badly to keep his senate majority this november. it's his castle mote, the moat around the castle, the first thing standing between him and the legislation that the middle class deserves but the far left hates. it is his buffer against having to approve things like the
keystone x.l. pipeline. keystone, as everyone knows, will create thousands -- thousands -- of good jobs at a time when we need them very badly. it is a project the american people support overwhelmingly. but of course the far left hates it, and the far left controls today's washington democratic party. i'll tell you one thing the far left does like, though: seeing headlines like this one last week from the a. pee. her-- from the a.p. "democratic leader blocks senate vote on keystone." that was the a.p. headline last week. that's the president's majority leader they're talking about. and both he and they are hoping to keep their senate majority this november so they can see even more headlines like that one. well, the american people are going to have their say on that. in the meantime, it's time for
the majority leader to start worrying about today's senate -- today's senate. the pepper are tired of waiting for this people to act on the jobs bills senate democrats to inblockade. they're tired of all the show votes. our constituents already know that the senate majority agenda was drafted by campaign staffers anyway. they wouldn't have been able to figure that out -- they'd been able to figure it that out even if our democratic friends hadn't just said it, the jeand was drafted over the democratic senatorial committee. the american people sent us here to do something about jobs and address the issues that actually matter to their daily lives. it is time the democrats, who run the senate, drop the diversions and finally work with us to do some of that. mr. president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the time until 11:10 a.m. will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, last week "the wall street journal" published an article entitled "
obamacare election pitch." this is what the article said -- "the white house is carving out a role for president barack obama in this fall's midterm elections which he will try to pose as a choice between the party's economic visions. the driving theory in the white house is that this election like every one since the 2007 recession is foremost about the economy. mr. obama already has been drawing contrasts between his economic program and that of republicans, end quote. that's from the "wall street journal" article of last week. mr. president, all i can say is that republicans welcome this debate. we agree that this election will be first and foremost about the economy, and we look forward to discussing the contrast between our economic program and the president's. i'm just surprised that the president wants to discuss it, because even many democrats realize that the democrats' economic record over the past five years isn't going to win them any elections. "the wall street journal" article quoted democrat pollster
mark melman who, and i quote, said the key for democrats is to frame the election as a choice between governing philosophies. if it's a referendum on whether you like the way democrats have governed, that's a harder election for us to win." end quote. so since they can't run on their record, democrats are going to make the case that their philosophy offers the best hope for working americans. the journal goes on to quote joel benenson, a pollster for the 2008-2012 obama campaigns who says and i quote, the fundamental question here that the country faces is which party has a philosophy and an approach that puts average hardworking americans front and center? we ought to be making that the centerpiece of the campaign, end quote. well, mr. president, democrats have had five and a half years to take an approach that puts average hardworking americans front and center. their record has not been
pretty. despite the fact that the recession technically ended almost five years ago, our economy continues to limp along. in the last quarter, growth averaged a minuscule .1%. meanwhile, unemployment has remained at recession-level highs for the past several years. last month, 806,000 americans gave up hope of getting work and dropped out of the labor force entirely. currently, nearly 10 million americans are unemployed. 3.5 million of them for six months or longer. over the five and a half years the president has been in office, 6.7 million additional americans have fallen into poverty. household incomes declined by $3,500. poverty rate for women has increased to 16.3% and income for women has fallen. in 19.4 million americans have been forced to join the food stamp program. meanwhile, prices have risen. gas prices are 99% higher per
gallon today than they were when the president took office. health care premiums are more than $3,600 higher. college tuition has soared. basically, mr. president, thanks to the failed policies of the president and congressional democrats, american families today are paying more and making less. mr. president, it's all very well and good to talk about the concern for the average hardworking americans, but what really matters is not what you say but how you govern, by what you do. the democrats seem to think that their speeches and good intentions and the -- quote -- philosophy should give them a free pass even if their policies are making it harder and harder for working families to achieve economic security and stability. they want to coast on the fact that their party has historically been thought of as the party of working men and women while ignoring the fact that the democrat party today looks more like the party of billionaires and special interests than the party of hardworking americans.
take the keystone pipeline. blue-collar unions strongly support the pipeline and the more than 42,000 jobs that it would support. the washington examiner reported yesterday morning that the 750,000-member strong international brotherhood of electrical workers is, as the paper notes, the latest of the growing number of traditional blue-collar unions taking an aggressive pro-keystone position. in a letter to senate democrats, the ibew's president writes, and i quote -- "at a time when job creation should be a top priority, the keystone x.l. pipeline project will put americans back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the economy. from pipe manufactured in arkansas to pump motors assembled in ohio and transformers built in pennsylvania, workers from all over the united states will benefit from the project." end quote. that's from the president of the ibew. so given the jobs and benefits the pipeline would create, how do you think the president and
the party of so-called average hardworking americans has responded? well, has he approved the pipeline and the jobs it would create for american workers around the country? no. despite five separate environmental reviews from his own state department testifying to the minimal impact the pipeline would have on the environment, the president has allied himself instead with far left environmental special interests like billionaire tom steyer who is pouring money into anti-keystone campaigns. so much for being a party of working men and women. democrats may talk about putting hardworking americans front and center, but over the past few years, hardworking americans have often come in last. take obamacare. it's hard to even know where to start when talking about the negative impacts obamacare has had on american workers. there is the 30-hour workweek rule, which has forced businesses to eliminate
full-time positions and count workers' hours below 30 hours a week. there is the employer mandate which has made it difficult or impossible for many businesses to expand and hire new workers. there is the tax on life-saving medical devices like pacemakers and insulin pumps which has already cost thousands of jobs in the medical device industry and which will eliminate many more if it isn't repealed. then, of course, there are the numerous burdens placed on small businesses. and the higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs and the fact that the nonpartisan congressional budget office estimates that the law will shrink the full-time work force by 2.5 million workers and lower wages by more than a trillion dollars. and who suffers the most from all those provisions? average hardworking americans. the small business owner can no longer afford to hire new employees. the middle-class family suddenly faced with a $10,000 deductible.
the low-income worker whose hours are suddenly slashed from 35 to 25 hours a week. the out-of-work american who can't find a job because businesses are too reluctant to hire. mr. president, you would think that the supposed party of average hardworking americans might sit back and rethink things a little bit after seeing the devastating economic impact of obamacare, but the democrats and the president are pushing ahead with more job-killing policies. recently, the democrats and president have been pushing for a massive 40% minimum wage hike, a measure the congressional budget office says could eliminate up to one million jobs. even the president's own federal reserve chair recently testified to congress that a minimum wage hike would negatively affect jobs. once again, the people most likely to lose their jobs as a result of this policy are those least able to afford it. namely, low-income workers. mr. president, democrats can talk all they want about their
commitment to ordinary americans, but actions speak louder than words, and it's going to be hard to convince people to believe that when their actions over the past five years have made things harder for working americans, that they are actually on their side. the democrats really want to provide permanent relief to the millions of americans who are struggling to get by. they would focus on measures that would create jobs, improve wages and expand opportunity. instead of spending their time on far left liberal policies and priorities like government-run health care and extreme environmental regulations, they would be supporting bills that have been offered by some of my colleagues here on our side of the aisle to provide one-time low interest loans to out-of-work americans to enable them to relocate to cities or states with more job opportunities. that's a piece of legislation i have introduced. or senator lee's bill to improve workplace flexibility for working families. or senator hoeven's bill to improve the keystone pipeline
and open up the 52,000-plus jobs that it would support. or senator collins' bill to fix the obamacare 30-hour workweek provision so we don't have so many part-time employees in this country and we get more people to work on a full-time basis. or the numerous republican proposals that have been offered by our colleagues to check e.p.a.'s overreach and to protect the millions of jobs proposed meap regulations could destroy. or the democrat majority could allow an open amendment process to the tax extender bill that we're going to be considering here soon to allow for the consideration of permanent tax relief measures for american families and small businesses. because, mr. president, americans deserve tax certainty, not more short-term measures. i intend to file amendments to the tax extenders bill this week to make a number of important pro-growth provisions permanent such as the ability for small businesses and farmers to expense more of their business
investments. i intend to work with senator cantwell and others on an amendment to make permanent the ability to deduct state and local sales taxes against their federal income taxes, a measure that's important to states without income taxes like south dakota. and i intend to work with my colleagues to make permanent the existing moratorium on state and local taxes on internet access before that moratorium expires on november 1 of this year. failure to act is going to mean a tax increase on the many millions of americans who use the internet. mr. president, this week's tax debate also provides the senate an opportunity to address the job-destroying taxes in obamacare. several of my colleagues, including senators hatch, toomey and coats, have been fighting for repeal or at least delay of the obamacare medical device tax. repeal of this tax has the support of over 70 senators, and it's time for a vote on this proposal. however, the obamacare taxes don't stop there.
this year, millions of young middle-class families will face a tax penalty for failing to purchase government-approved health care. many of these individuals and families may not be able to afford obamacare and cannot afford to pay the tax either. i will be filing an amendment to the tax extenders bill that would prohibit the i.r.s. from ever collecting this penalty. considering that this administration has already delayed the mandate for employers, it's only fair to waive this penalty for families and individuals as well. and finally, mr. president, i will be offering an amendment to exempt the long-term unemployed from the obamacare employer mandate head count. so if you're a business in this country and you hire somebody who has been unemployed for six months or longer, then you wouldn't be subject to the obamacare employer mandate which is so devastating to employers across this country. the tax extender package on the floor today will reportedly retain the hire our heroes act which is championed in the senate by senator blunt. with that the case, i'm pleased
to see the majority has finally realized the employer mandate is hurting the job prospects of veterans who have proudly served this country. we should expand this exemption to the 3.5 million long-term unemployed as well, and that's what my amendment seeks to do. , democrats may claim to be party of average americans but their record says something entirely different. ordinary americans are suffering as a result of democratic policies, and they're not getting any relief. it's time for democrats to stop talking about helping americans and to start actually helping them. mr. president, we have an opportunity with this tax extenders bill on the floor this week to do some things that are good for jobs and for the economy. if we can get chance to get these amendments in front of the united states senate and allow the voices of the american people to be heard and to get votes, we can start moving this dmun country in a different direction, a direction that will
result in better paying jobs for people and a brighter and more prosperous future. i hope that will be the case. and, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today after having heard the majority leader open this morning's session by talking
somewhat about the health care law, and he was referring to a headline that said that republicans were going quiet on health care. he went on to then say that obamacare is no longer very high on their radar screen. well, mr. president, i will at l you, as a doctor, someone who et goes home every weekend to wyoming, this issue of people's health care, something very important to them, continues high on my screen and high on the radar screen of americans all across the country because we're seeing all across the country that the president's promises have been broken. people can't keep what they had if they liked it. many are losing their doctor. there are many obamacare side effects, and one doesn't have to go very far today to see on the front page of "the new york times" this morning a comment referring in an article related to the president's promises. he said, if you like your
doctor, you can keep your doctor. if you like your hospital, you can keep your hospital. but in this front-page article, the first paragraph in the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is being aboutinbecoming clear: not kind of health plan americans choose, they will pay more for going to any provider they want. so the senate majority leader may not want this to be a major issue in the minds of the american public, but it is because their health care is so personal. americans hate to see taxpayer dollars wasted, but they're seeing it all across the country. i note that an article in "politico," $470 million for four failed obamacare exchanges. american completely wasted -- taxpayer dollars.
didn't help patients needing care. the other day, "the hill," "coveroregon flops. f.b.i. looking into obamacare rollout." there are huge problems with waste. another article about problems in colorado and problems with their exchange and yet the story out today, what happened there with the exchappin exchange in , outrage over the colorado c.e.o. so the impacts are felt all across the country and it is interesting to hear the senate majority leader makes his comments at the time when his hometown area newspaper has a headline story made may 4, 2014, local business owners might be hoping that the mandate covers sticker shock. the law's employer coverage
mandate doesn't take effect new mexico 2015 but early plan renewals are starting to roll in and for some businesses the premium jumps are positively painful. so, mr. president, i just come to the floor having heard the majority leader's comments. i'll have more to say about this later, as i see my colleague from the other side of the aisle has come to speak. but as one senator and a physician and someone intimately concerned about the care that the american public receives, their ability to get care, not empty coverage but quality, available care, this senator, in spite of what the majority leader may say, is not going quiet on health care, and it continues to be very high on my radar screen, as it is high on the radar screen of americans who have been told many things by the president of the united states, many things that turned
out not to be true. and these are why week after week urm a goin i'm going to co, mr. president, coming to the floor to talk about the side effects of a health care law, which is hurting patients in terms of keeping their doctor, higher costs -lower costs -- thg higher costs -- not being able to keep their hospital, paychecks is thi shrinking becaf the health care law. so i appreciate the indulgence of my colleague from oregon and appreciate the opportunity to make reference to the majority y leader's comments, republicans and certainly this senator is not going quiet on health care. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, this morning the senate begins consideration of a tax cut bill. the finance committee agreed to call it the "expire act. "the "and i'm going to take just
a few minutes to talk about why it is so important that this bill be passed and passed now. and here are a few of the key reasons. first, if the senate doesn't act, veterans who are now packing job fairs across this country are going it face an even tougher struggle to get good jobs. second, because the jobs most central to our economy, the good-paying, innovation-driven jobs needed to underpin a growing middle class, they'll be harder to create. and, third, because just when underwater homeowners get hold of a life raft that keeps them in their homes, a big tax hike could yank it away. and, fourth, because millions of students are already up to their
eyeballs in debt, without this, they'll go even deeper. and, in addition, producing clean energy will grow more expensive, risking the high-tech jobs that every member of congress wants to protect. the expire act addresses all of these issues and more. and the second question - that i think is going to be relevant to this debate are what is the implications of the stop-and-go policies that have made the policies in this country so uncertain. the expire act ends that and builds a bridge to comprehensive tax reform. now, many of these stop-and-go incentives are good policy, and they ought to be extended permanently. the expire act gives the finance committee and congress the room
to work on reform and decide which provisions to keep. for now, this is about balancing short-term needs and long-term goals. in the coming months, the finance committee is going to pursue a tax reform plan on a bipartisan basis that gives all americans the opportunity to get ahead. but right now what's needed is to protect jobs and deliver more certainty. on april 3, the finance committee passed the expiring provisions improvement reform and efficiency act. mr. president, there was a strong, bipartisan vote in the committee. and we called the bill the expire act for one reason: it's supposed to expire. and i stated that morning that on my watch, mr. president, this is going to be the last time -- the last time -- that the finance committee considers a tax extender bill.
once this piece of legislation is enacted and behind us, the committee moves on to the critical next challenge, and that is comprehensive, bipartisan tax reform. now, i'm going to talk for a minute about how this package is going to help middle-class individuals and families. we all understand that a prosperous middle class is the key to long-term economic growth for the country. this legislation boosts that cause by extending incentives that help workers get back on their feet, such as the work opportunity tax credit. this provision is a lifeline for our veterans in every state in the country because it encourages employers to hire the vets when they come home from overseas. veteran unemployment is still at crisis levels. this bill is going to help
address that. thanks to work by senators portman and cardin, again on a bipartisan basis, the work opportunity credit is now going to be available to businesses that hire the long-term unemployed. they're the americans who have been hit hardest by the recession, and without help, we're going to see them fall behinbetween the cracks. this legislation can be an important role in helping those americans find good jobs. the expire act also extends and expands the credit for research and experimentation, and the reason this is so important, mr. president, is this is the lifeblood of innovation that is so important for our economy. not only does this credit incentivize research and innovation, but thanks to good bipartisan work -- i heard that mentioned a couple times this morning, mr. president; you're going to hear it again -- in
this case, senator roberts and senator schumer and others made adjustments to the credit to make it make better for small businesses and for start-up firms. many of these firms that are just getting out of the gate can't really use the research credit in its current form, so the expire act says to all of those start-ups, if they want to use the credit, we're going to make it easier to hire and pay workers. we're going to help you do that. the congress also needs to keep pushing business investment and innovation. that's why the expire act extends incentives like bonus depreciation and expanded business expensing. this makes it easier for companies to invest in new companies and property, grow their operations, and create more jobs. now, we know many of our communities are hurting. they've been battered over the past decade by the financial crisis and by an exodus of manufacturing jobs. so it's critical to drive
investment to those communities to help promote growth and create good-paying jobs. the people in those communities hit -- and hit hard -- by this economy deserve a chance to achieve the american dream, just like everybody else. that's why the expire act extends provisions, such as the new markets tax credit, which drives private investment to these hard-hit areas. the new markets credit leverages private funds to create new businesses in economically depressed communities. and thanks to efforts by my colleague from ohio, senator brown, these credits are going to be available to boost manufacturing, areas that have lost some of their good-paying, blue-collar, industrial jobs through this will see more private investment head their way. now, with the recent news of the economy's first quarter, the challenge of growing the
economy, it's obvious our families and businesses need all the help they can get. that's why the expire act allows families to continue to deduct their state and local taxes. americans are already deduct their state income taxes, thanks to a permanent part of the tax code. but families in states like texas, florida, washington, and alaska don't pay state income taxes. they pay higher sales taxes. this legislation levels the field and lets families deduct their state and locals taxes, whether they're income or sales. and as the housing market continues to come back from the great recession, we know that millions of americans are still struggling to stay in their homes. many of our homeowners found themselves under water, owing more in mortgage debt than their houses were worth. to make matters worse, just when they caught a break and had
their mortgage payments lowered or their debt forgiven, they got hit by a giant tax liability. imagine that. once you get your head above water, a huge tax bill pushes you right back under water. this legislation contains a provision to prevent exactly that situation from happening and to help keep american families in their homes by exempting their forgiven mortgage debt from taxation. and i feel particularly strongly about this, mr. president, because that's really phantom income and middle-class americans shouldn't get hit that way. now, over the past several years, states throughout the country have been forced to make a lot of painful fiscal choices. in many communities, the budget ax has fallen on education. teachers routinely face classrooms of 30 to 40 students,
often even more. too often, those teachers run short on supplies and then they go reach into their own pockets, into their own pockets, mr. president, to make up the difference. now, these are hardworking middle-class professionals. what this legislation does is help those teachers just a little bit by letting them deduct up to 250 of those out-of-pocket expenses from their taxes. oregon teachers deduct more than $9 million in classroom expenses each year, and a college education is absolutely vital in our competitive, modern economy. for families and students paying for college, trying to deal with the skyrocketing costs, the mountains and mountains of debt they incur, this legislation extends the $4,000 deduction for
tuition expenses. oregon families use it to deduct more than $61 million in tuition and fees annually. it gets harder each year to maintain a middle-class life without a college degree. that's why this deduction is so important and why it's in this legislation. now, there is one last part of the bill that i'd like to touch on, mr. president, and that's the incentives for clean energy. previously, i chaired the energy committee and i saw how essential it was to generate investment in clean tech, in clean energy. it's an area of our economy that has been plagued by the stop-and-go nature of tax policy. now's the time our country should be investing in low-carbon and energy-diverse alternatives, and some of the provisions in the expire act have been extraordinarily successful in doing just that.
the production tax credit for renewable energy that includes wind, geothermal, hydropower and biomass, has helped drive major growth in renewable clean energy. wind in particular has boomed over the past five years. it now accounts for more than 60,000 megawatts of wind generation across the country. wind energy production has more than doubled since 2008. that's enough to power more than 15 million homes and the industry supports more than 50,000 jobs, and the growth of this industry has been a boon to manufacturing, supporting more than 500 manufacturing facilities. still, the wind industry is not immune to the stop-and-go nature of tax extenders. growth has leveled off over the past two years, mostly due to the expiration and late
retroactive renewal of provisions like the production tax credit. it's critical in my view to provide certainty to these businesses. in the energy sector, electricity-generating stations and refineries are major investments that can take years to plan and to finance and construct. that's why tax reform is so vital. our country needs a long-term, stable energy policy. and there are a lot of fresh ideas on how to improve energy policy in the tax code. as chairman of the finance committee, ambassador baucus put out a number of innovative technology-neutral ideas that in my view deserve a significant amount of attention. but while you work up those ideas in a transparent, bipartisan way, it's important, mr. president, that congress not let our domestic clean energy industry fall off the cliff.
that's why this bill extends provisions like the production tax credit through 2015. now, clean energy is not just about generating more low-carbon electricity. it's about using energy more efficiently and reducing our overall consumption. that's why the expire act extends and up daidz the credit that helps out homeowners, homeowners who want to improve their houses and make them more energy-efficient. so whether it's through better windows, installing insulation, perhaps replacing a water heater or a furnace, this provision helps those homeowners, and these improvements can dramatically reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool american homes, resulting in lower electricity bills. and the legislation improves this provision by cleaning up what has been current law and
updating its standards. it will be easier to use and help push the boundaries on energy efficiency by allowing only the most efficient, only the most energy-efficient improvements to qualify. even in pushing for efficiency in how we use energy, it's important to make smart use of taxpayer dollars. commercial buildings use a tremendous amount of energy. 20% of all electricity consumed in the united states powers the places we work. by reducing this consumption, the u.s. can drastically cut emissions and lower costs for businesses. so, mr. president, it's obvious that the areas that i have outlined make sense for our economy and they have had bipartisan support. they are going to help spur investment and innovation, boost our communities, help disadvantaged workers and continue to drive investments in clean energy and energy
efficiency. now, a number of those as i have indicated should be made permanent, and it would be a mistake to simply let them disappear, so in wrapping up, i want to address the question why not make these provisions permanent now? why not just pass tax reform today? well, mr. president, that would be my first choice. everybody knows our tax code is in bad shape. it's complicated. it is -- i think calling it opaque would be a compliment. it desperately needs fixing. we want a code that promotes economic growth and treats everyone fairly. a lot of members have worked hard to develop ideas, but the reality is tax reform is not happening tomorrow. reaching a comprehensive bipartisan plan is going to take time, focus and hard work, and i know something about that, mr. president, because i think i have put as much sweat equity into bipartisan tax reform as any member of this body,
starting with our former colleague, senator gregg. we sat next to each other on a sofa every week for two years to write the first bipartisan federal income income tax reforn in 30 years. senator coats as joined senator begich and i in this effort, and we're not alone. senator camp -- chairman camp has put forward in the ambitious tax reform draft that lays out several ideas as well on how to make the tax code simpler. all of these proposals contain the kinds of ideas we ought to examine as we look to reform our tax code, and once the issue of these extenders is settled, i look forward to working with senator hatch and all our colleagues on a broad-based tax reform plan that will grow our entire economy. but in the meantime, it would be a mistake to leave american families and american businesses out in the cold.
temporary provisions of the tax code continue to expire, leaving jobs and innovation and investment and people's homes in limbo. by providing some certainty to businesses and families for the next two years, the expire act creates the space needed for true tax reform. and i don't want us to lose sight of that during this debate. these extenders are important, but we're also going to talk on the floor about building a bridge to reform, reform that this country desperately needs. we know that the inequities in the tax code, the inability to have the certainty and predictability that we need is holding us back. we need to make sure that we have a tax code that gives everybody in america the opportunity to get ahead, especially our hardworking
middle-class citizens, our entrepreneurs and our businesses. our people work hard for the money they earn each and every day. they want to pay their fair share, but when they are asked to contribute part of their paychecks each month, they deserve a tax system that is transparent and equitable. we need to simplify the code. we need to level the playing field. we need to get rid of the disparities between different types of income that elevate some workers over others. so i encourage all of my colleagues today, the first back this legislation that we don't see, for example, innovation and our veterans and our teachers suffer as we work toward bipartisan tax reform, and second to be open about sharing their ideas from the finance committee and all members about innovative, bipartisan reforms that can improve our entire tax
code. voters send us here to work. they are looking for results. they don't want to hear excuses about why families pay more for college or why homeowners face a huge tax bill after getting out from under a mountain of debt. simply dropping those tax incentives sacrifices valuable priorities without getting the real job of comprehensive reform done. let us, colleagues, pass the reform act and let us move on to urgently needed, bipartisan comprehensive tax reform. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: closings. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 332, h.r. 3474, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 and so forth, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory
quorum call has been waived. the question is is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to h.r. 3474, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to allow employers to exempt employees with health coverage under tricare or the veterans administration from being taken into account for purposes of the employer mandate under the patient protection and affordable care act, and for other purposes shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
senator from massachusetts plan to address the senate? if he does, we'll be glad to defer to him. mr. markey: i would ask that you recognize the senator from tennessee. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. the senate will be in order. mr. alexander: thank you mr. chairman. i thank the senator from massachusetts. i ask the consent that the junior senator from tennessee and i be allowed to engage in a colloquy and i ask for the attention of the senate. the presiding officer: without objection. the senate will be in order. senators, please take your conversations out of the well. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president.
mr. president, a few days ago we lost a prominent tennesseean, harlan mathews. 87 years old, lived a long and distinguished life. he served in the senate seat which i -- in which i now have the privilege of serving. when senator al gore was elected vice president; so 20 years ago harlan mathews retired from the senate after two years of being appointed here. but that was by a long shot not a description of his public service. senator corker and i yesterday were at his funeral, memorial service in nashville, which was a beautiful service, a simple service, as he would have imagined. and the theme that kept coming through again and again and again was what a fine mentor and
an unselfish public servant harlan mathews had been in our state for 60 years. he was a world war ii veteran. he came to vanderbilt university, and in 1952, a governor whose name was frank clement, a national star in rising politics, became his assistant in variety positions all the way until he was appointed by governor mcquarter to serve for two years in al gore's seat. 20 years ago harlan mathews decided not to run for reelection and has lived the last 20 years in nashville. we were there with his wife, pat, and his sons and a host of friends. what i think about harlan
mathews is that other than his great friend, former governor ned mcwharter, no one had more friends around the state capital than harlan mathews did. we're here today to pay tribute to him and to his family for a life well lived, for service to the state of tennessee and for being a man who has mentored as many young public servants in our state as anyone that i can think of. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i do want to rise and talk about a former colleague to many in this body, senator harlan mathews. it was touching to be yesterday at a funeral service where so many people that he had mentored stood up and talked and talked in conversation around the
gathering we attended about the great mentorship that he provided. i think there is no greater legacy than any of us can provide than to set an example for other people and to create opportunities for other people coming along. so i want to join the senior senator who i know served with him while he was governor. i had the great opportunity to know him as -- and no one was kinder to me than former senator harlan mathews who has been involved in so many things that happened in our state. his wife, pat, complemented him in an extraordinary way. harlan, i think one of his greatest attributes was his constantly saying so much can happen in this world if no one cares who takes the credit. i think he was a quiet force for good in our state, has been a quiet force for good in our country. so many of the things that
caused him to be the kind of person that he was are things that many of us, i think, could emulate and cause the united states senate and our country to even function, to function much better than it does now. so i want to join the senior senator i have so much respect for in making sure that the senate record records the great work of harlan mathews, u.s. senator, deputy governor, treasury leader in our state, but also commissioner of finance, someone who provided years and years of great public service, years and years of great mentorship and has again a legacy of people who served with him and under him who have gone on to do wonderful things for our state and country. mr. president, i yield the floor with great gratitude towards a wonderful public servant, harlan mathews. mr. alexander: mr. president, i thank the senator from tennessee. whaef -- what he said i was
thinking yesterday during the service. harlan was known for working quietly, being modest. his service was only about 40, 45 minutes to reflect that. he would have been a terrific united states senator if he had been here for 20 or 25 years because of what we know about him. he wasn't out front. he was behind the scenes. he worked to get things done. he was always result oriented and he didn't mind who got the credit. sometimes there's a shortage of that in the united states senate then and now today. so he had those rare skills of a public servant that are always valuable, always needed. his wife, pat, his sons stan and les, his granddaughters i know miss him deeply as we do as well, but join us in admiring his life and his example. i ask consent that following our remarks be included an obituary detailing his public service. the presiding officer: without
objection. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. thank you to the senator from massachusetts for his courtesy. mr. markey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: i seek recognition to speak for five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, two things happened yesterday. first the shaheen-portman energy efficiency bill collapsed, at least for now. that would have created 190,000 new jobs. it would have cut carbon pollution by 22 million automobiles on the roads of the united states in equivalency. that's a big deal and it is something that was agreed upon by democrats and republicans. but what happened? well, too many republicans wanted a vote on the keystone pipeline issue. now they knew that the vote on the keystone pipeline was going to fail because they don't have
the votes in order to be successful, so they took a bill that would cut carbon emissions and said they wouldn't pass it unless they got a vote on three additional amendments to increase global warming emission s. number one, stop e.p.a. from cutting emissions from power plants. they wanted a vote on that just to take away the e.p.a. authority to do that. number two, allow massive export of natural gas that will actually increase costs to consumers here in the united states and move us back to coal because the higher the price of natural gas, the more people are going to go back to burning coal. and they all understand that. that's what the game is all about. and, three, prevent the senate from considering global warming pollution controls in the future. that's right, just have a vote that prohibits the senate from considering global warming pollution level. so obviously this is a debate
about pollution, not about energy efficiency, from the perspective of the republican party, although i give credit to the many republicans that were working on a bipartisan basis with jean shaheen to put together a bill that works on something and show this institution can work. a second thing happened yesterday as well. two new climate studies released saying that the west antarctic ice sheet is collapsing and the melting of the west antarctic is unstoppable. 12 feet of sea level rise is coming. you hear that? that the west antarctic ice sheet is collapsing and the melting is unstoppable, and 12 feet of sea level rise is coming. now what does that mean? that means boston under water. south florida under water. new orleans under water. in the united states senate, we're moving at a glacial pace
on climate change. we're frozen. but while we do nothing, the pace of glacial collapse is accelerating. the world's ice is melting. the senate has been called the cooling saucer of democracy, but when it comes to climate change, it's the warming plate, cooking the earth as we continue our slide into an ocean of dysfunction. the next major piece of the west antarctic glacier that breaks off into the ocean should be reserved as an island for all of the climate deniers. we'll just call it the island of deniers, and they can all live there because there will be plenty of room on this huge, massive body of ice that keeps breaking off and heading into the ocean. and secondly, we're about to take up tax extenders, and we have a fantastic chance here to extend the production tax credit
for wind in our country. unfortunately, because of the unpredictability of the tax breaks for the wind industry, 30,000 people in the wind industry who were laid off last year, that's not because the wind industry didn't prove that it could increase the amount of electricity in our country generated from wind. it is that unlike the oil industry, unlike the gas industry, unlike the nuclear industry, unlike the coal industry, the wind industry has to come in hat in hand to beg to continue their tax breaks year after year. no predictability for that marketplace. this gives us a chance to extend those tax breaks. so it's a big challenge, but ultimately if the oil and gas industry is going to receive $7 billion in tax breaks per year, the wind industry should receive the tax breaks it needs. we need a level playing field.
we need a way to ensure that there is in fact a fighting chance for these new renewable energy industries. the existing industries have received tax breaks going back 100 years. these newer industries, they're creating jobs at a massive pace, but we need to ensure that the tax breaks are there. so my hope is that we will be able to pass these tax extenders. i think, again, there are extensions for tax breaks that are in there for many, many industries across the board. it's the kind of, once again, bipartisan effort that deserves support like the shaheen-portman energy efficiency bill. my hope is that the institution can work in order to accomplish that goal. civility on matters like this should not melt away. we need to make sure that we are in fact protected generations yet to come. i yield back the balance of my
time. mr. hatch: mr. chairman? mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent i be permitted to finish my remarks, two separate remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president, i'd like to take a moment to say a few words in honor of national police week. i want to take this opportunity to remember the brave men and women of law enforcement who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the line of duty while safeguarding our communities. since the first recorded police death in 1791, there have been 21,742 american law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. this year 112 names will be added to the national law enforcement officers memorial here in washington. we should remember that there are 112 families who grieve the loss of a loved one who gave his or her life to protect their community and keep their fellow citizens safe. today i want to recognize two
utah law enforcement officers who recently gave their lives in the line of duty. sergeant derrick johnson who served with the draper police department for nine years when he was shot and killed while on uniform patrol in the early morning hours of september 1, 2013. during his service, sergeant johnson was the recipient of many awards including a lifesaving award and a distinguished service award. he was also honored as the 2012 community policing officer of the year. we take this time to think about the friends and family who mourn the loss of sergeant johnson and keep his wife shante and their seven-year-old son vincent ray johnson in our thoughts and prayers. another recent tragic loss to the utah law enforcement community was utah county sheriff office sergeant corey ride. sergeant ride was shot and killed while on duty on january
30, 2014 as he was assisting a stranded motorist. sergeant ride served with the utah county sheriff's office for nearly 20 years and served his community in various roles including patrol as a member of the department of special operations teams canine and swat. he was married to naonette for 18 years. he was the father of four boys and one daughter. nathan, chance, shea and connie ann. he had eight grandchildren. i wish to stand my sympathy to his family and recognize sergeant ride for his service, his selflessness and his courage. i urge my colleagues to take some time this week to think about these men and pay respect to the numerous other fallen heroes who have served our communities with professionalism, integrity, and compassion, as well as all members of the law enforcement community who watch over and
guard our streets, protect us, our families, and our mr. president, i ask that my next remarks be placed at an appropriate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: last week i came to talk about the news reports surrounding the proposed merger between pfizer and astrazeneca. and the proposals we're seeing in response to that merger. as you know, one of the key details is that when pfizer, a large american company, acquires astrazeneca, another large but smaller u.k. company, they plan to incorporate the new merged company in the united kingdom, not here in the u.s. and as i said last week, i was concerned to learn of these plans as were many of us here in congress. after all, pfizer is an iconic american company with o