tv Senate Democrats Infrastructure Proposal CSPAN March 7, 2018 3:07pm-3:44pm EST
testifying at this hour. that's over on c-span3. here oc-span, the u.s. house will be gaveling back in this afternoon. we think around 4:00 eastern. when they return, the first of two emissions bills this week. this bill dealing with e.p.a. emissions standards for brick and clay kilns. we'll have that when they gavel back in. majority leader kevin mccarthy, meanwhile, said this week the house next week will vote on the stop school violence act offered by florida republican john rutherford. a bill to provide grants to train students, teachers and school officials and local law enforcement. that's next week. live house coverage here on c-span when they return. in the meantime, senate democrats from earlier today held a news conference unveiling an infrastructure proposal. we'll show you as much as we can until the house returns.
>> good morning. well, shall we say since it's approaching st. patrick's day, top of the morning. 'm irish in my heart and hibernian man of the year. when i got the award, i said, god bless america. only in america could this be chuck schumer. mr. schumer: ok. anyway. we are not here to talk about the great irish people. as much as we love them. ok. i want to thank everyone for being here. now, last january we senate democrats unveiled our trillion-dollar infrastructure plan and sent it to the president. we said it was one of the areas we could certainly work with the president when he called me a week after winning the election, that was the first thing we talked about. unfortunately it took a year for the administration to unveil a
plan and the plan they unveiled just doesn't come close to doing what america needs. it relies on $200 billion in federal funds, largely financed by cutting existing infrastructure programs. and on local governments and the private sector to make up the vast bulk of infrastructure building we so desperately need here in america. robbing peter to pay paul a ittance won't do nearly enough to rebuild our infrastructure. as penn wateren found out, it would spur only 2% or $30 million of the $1.5 million new investment. isn't that caribbean edible? 2%, 30 million -- isn't that incredible? 2%, 30 million dollars. it's another poorly thought out plan from this administration. they don't seem to be able to get their act together and put together real policy. whatever it is. so, the $30 million that penn
wharton found is a far cry from the $3 trillion that the american society of civil engineers says is needed to repair our nation's ailing and aging infrastructure. what it will do instead, what the plan, what the administration plan will do is lead to trump tolls across the country. as private developers stick commuters with the bill for the few projects that actually get built. so we democrats have a better deal to offer the american people. rather than cutting existing infrastructure projects to pay for a paltry program, we want to roll back the republican tax giveaways to big corporations and the wealthy, and invest that money instead in job-creating infrastructure. our plan would do three things. compared to the president. first, create many more jobs than the trump plan. second, build many more projects than the trump plan. and, third, build the
infrastructure america actually needs. not just what republican donors and private investors can profit from. we're proposing to put the top rate back to 39.6%, restore the a.m.t. for the very wealthiest americans, restore the 2017 estate tax rules that impact only the very richest families, close the carried interest loophole, and bring the corporate tax rate to 25%, to fund $1 trillion in real infrastructure investments. our plan actually, i don't have it here, but it creates 1.022 trillion dollars of spending for infrastructure, for middle class jobs. over $10 million middle class jobs -- over 10 million middle class jobs we estimate will happen. what do we invest in? we're proposing a truly modern infrastructure plan that would build from roads and bridges to schools, to airports, to high speed internet and more. this isn't your grandfather's infrastructure plan.
in addition to the traditional types of projects we've built in this country, water, sewer, highways, bridges, we're going to build infrastructure of the 21st century. providing $40 billion of universal, high-speed internet. franklin d. roosevelt said every rural home should have electricity back in the 1930's. we say, in the 21st century, every rural home and every inner city home should have high speed internet. it's a necessity. only with real direct investment to federal dollars are we going to see the kind of transformational projects that we need built. only with the kind of investment will rural america see the projects it needs built built, because no private developer is going to go to rural america. there's just not enough traffic to pay the tolls. only with the kind of investment we have will we create the illions of middle class jobs
that we so need in country. and as we've said from day one, we democrats want to work with the president and our republican colleagues on infrastructure. but we want to do it in a real way that actually produces results. not the kind of proposal the president made, which has gone over with a big thud. not even republicans are excited about his plan. we hope the president will move away from his plan and come much
further in our direction so we can get something real done for the american people. senator leahy. mr. leahy: thank you, thank you, leader. you know, he's absolutely right in what the leader has said. the trump infrastructure plan falls far short of what is needed to address our crumbling infrastructure. in the appropriations committee, there's one thing that has republicans and democrats talking together and want to do
something. we need real investments in road, brings and broadband and -- bridges and broadband. especially as you said, the inner cities and rural areas. but they come up with a plan to be funded on the backs of work americans by raising new trump tolls. the broadband, i remember my grandparents being so excited when they got a telephone and electricity 100 years ago at their home in vermont. but this is smoke and mirrors. it's worse than just smoke and mirrors. it's a talking point for the president. but does nothing. his budget, and this is what we're looking at in appropriations, cuts transportation and housing and urban development programs by 29%. we don't need cuts in those programs. we need real investments. and rural america, can you imagine putting toll bridges and
toll roads? they're not going to work the. and these are things where the country has to come together to build. our trillion dollar investment in the american people and our economy is part of america's future. it's real investments, it's not fumes. the trump plan is fumes. and it's not going to go anywhere. we don't rely on trump tolls. that might help wealthy developers, it doesn't help americans. cash-strapped states cannot bear more. we need real investment. we need a real investment that makes infrastructure what it should be. it only makes for a better america, a better economy, but it creates a lot more jobs than toll roads might. thank you.
mr. schumer: senator wyden. senator sanders is ranking member of the budget committee so we'll call him next. mr. wyden: thank you, leader schumer. what we are proposing is to lift americans' infrastructure out of dess repair by ensuring that -- disrepair, by ensuring that multinational corporations and the fortunate few pay their fair share. last year republicans unanimously chose to spend over $1 trillion on flashing taxes for -- slashing taxes for exactly those people and businesses. and now apparently they are out scrounging around, looking under the sofas, trying to find some spare change in order to pay for our infrastructure. in fact, only a few months ago finance committee republicans passed up a golden opportunity, a golden opportunity with
bipartisan roots to redirect taxes on overseas earnings, to invest in infrastructure. we could have used and it could have been bipartisan because we spent a lot of time working on this. using repatriated dollars, dollars from overseas that were stashed there because of our flawed tax laws. we could have used a significant portion of that money to pay for roads and bridges and highways and yet when this proposal came to our committee for consideration in this inherently republican tax bill, they said no to something that had bipartisan roots and would make for a very different infrastructure debate right now. under the leadership of mitch mcconnell and chairman hatch, republicans instead rigged the tax code to ensure taxes from offshore ownings, offshore earnings would go straight into
the pockets of executives and wealthy shareholders around the wod. and we know that because we are documenting the extraordinary number of stock buybacks right now. so they made a choice and in fact today what senate democrats are doing is announcing a different choice. a choice which we believe really meets the needs of our country. and i want to focus just for a quick minute on the difference between how we're going about our jobs and how they have. they have come up with budgetary flim-flam. when you look at how they have numbers, er their there is no there there. what we chose to do, all of us working with the democratic leader, we sat down with the congressional score keepers and we spent the time crunching the numbers, actually going through them, nuts and bolts so, that we
can say to the american people, you want to talk about who's being fiscally responsible? we're the ones being fiscally responsible. because we said, we're not going to be part of this budgetary flim-flam and pretend you can pay for roads and bridges just out of thin air. we actually crunched the numbers and that i think illustrates the difference between the parties. one last point. on some of the most egregious matters, the republicans just aren't telling the truth. for example, they have made a big production out of how they're closing the carried interest loophole. the fact is they have not done it. the president said he would do it in the campaign. mr. mnuchin came to the finance committee and said he was going to do. it now they've got all kinds of ways to shroud what they're doing. they say they have a fix for hedge funds but the fact is this egregious tax loophole is
something that we actually close, we restore the estate tax. so the fact of the matter is there is a contrt between the pties now where weer something that's real, something that's paid for, something that reflects american priorities and on the other side, when we wanted a bipartisan approach, and there was a chance to have it, our colleagues weren't willing to do it. thank you, leader. united rs: we are the states of america. we are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. and yet from vermont to california people look around them and what they're finding is their roads and their bridges and their water systems and their waste water plants are falling apart. they're finding that the american society of civil engineers now gives us a d-plus in terms of the state of our
infrastructure. and they tell us that we're going to have to spend $2 trillion above current levels to just get our infrastructure in good repair. in my own state of vermont, my own state of vermont, senator leahy and i represent, we need $700 million a year through 2018 just to get our roads into a state of decent repair. 30% of our bridges are obsolete. or structurally deficient. our small community drinking water systems need $510 million over the next 20 years. and our waste water and storm water facilities need an addition $156 million in needed repairs and upgrades. the fact of the matter is that the american people understand, whether they are republican, democrat, progressive or conservative, that in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, where we used to lead the world in our
infrastructure, we are now falling further and further behind many, many other countries. now is the time to rebuild america. now is the time to create 10 million to 15 million decent paying jobs. now is the time to restore pride in rural america that has desperate needs in urban america that has desperate needs. unfortunately the trump plan, as you have heard, is a sham. it is a fraud. we need a real investment for real jobs to rebuild this infrastructure. and that is what this plan does. thank you. mr. schumer: thank you and thanks for your brevity. senator nelson. mr. nelson: so you see what happens when you don't have bipartisanship? what you have is one party in our tax x bill writing committee, the finance committee, ramming it down the throat of everybody, excluding the other party from any
participation. oh, would it have been bipartisanship? because what would have happened in the tax bill is what you're being presented today. the corporate tax would have been cut. it would have been cut substantially. 10 points from 35% to 25%. reasonable things would have been done on estate taxes. and all of those things would have produced revenue. $1 trillion worth of revenue. that then could have been used for infrastructure. a state grows at ,000 people day net -- at 1,000 people a day net. we are in so much need of
infrastructure. and you can't toll yourself out of this problem. florida needs an infrastructure bill. mr. schumer: thank you. ms. stabenow: thank you. and i'm here because i'm very excited about this plan. i can't think of much that's more important than the idea of creating 15 million great paying middle class jobs and rebuilding america. and this is great for michigan. we actually have running jokes that aren't so funny anymore. about the roads in michigan, where certain ones that you drive down, if you survive it people tweet out, i just survived the road one more time. the problem is that you end up paying for all kinds of damage to your tires and axels and so on and it's not so funny anymore when people are paying thousands of dollars just to try to drive to work.
so, i'm very excited about this. it's responsible, it's paid for, it creates jobs, it rebuilds merge -- america. i specifically want to speak to the rural provisions that i was spo so pleased ouring can -- that i was so pleased our agriculture committee was able to contribute to. i grew up in a little town in northern michigan and we have great infrastructure needs. not only for roads and bridges, but water and sewer systems. we also have a need to modernize our ports and waterways and in the great lakes states, that means what's called the sioux locks. that's up at the st. lawrence seaway. that brings the major shipping industry into the great lakes. it brings raw materials from manufacturing. it takes agricultural products out around the world. we have a lock that was built in world war ii, we're on borrowed time. we need to be adding another lock with it. our plan does that. so our plan is about creating
jobs. not only jobs, building infrastructure, but jobs that are going to help us be able to keep agriculture moving, keep manufacturing moving, and keep america moving. and the final thing i would say, we invest $40 billion in new funding for high speed internet. this is not a frill. we are talking about basic infrastructure in communities. where there's the hospitals, the schools, the small business, the farmer, the student, high speed internet, which in michigan right now, about a million people don't have access to it, not only in rural areas, but in our inner cities as well, this is about the economy. it's about 21st century infrastructure. and i'm excited because this is about the future and this is something that we should all lean in on and get done for the american people. ms. cantwell: -- mr. schumer: all of our ranking members of our major committees have been here. ms. cantwell: thank you, senator
schumer. great to join my colleagues and i want to thank you for your tremendous focus on infrastructure. two years ago you went very far in discussions with then speaker ryan on how to finance an infrastructure bill. and last january the first thinth leader said was we are willing to work with the white house and proposed an outline of an infrastructure proposal and asked the white house to make that the number one priority. both of those ideas were rejected and yet leader schumer still remains very dedicated to infrastructure and we appreciate that. it's unfortunate we don't have a white house partner who wants to make infrastructure the major priority it needs to be. the state of washington and seattle, i can tell you, needs infrastructure. whether it's transportation, our ports or our electricity grid. a major investment in infrastructure will grow our economy and create more jobs. we need to upgrade our power lines, build smarter buildings, make an investment in the energy work force, and to also protect
our grid from cybersecurity attacks. we learned from previous infrastructure investment in grid technology, $1 billion of investment created $7 billion in economic output and 50,000 new jobs. the energy review by the department of energy says we new energy jobs that have to be filled by 2030. and these are high paying jobs. the investments we've already made in training and skilling the energy workers for the future are getting $30,000 more in income than previous energy workers. so we need to make the investment in the grid and in the energy development to protect a growing internet economy, where so much transaction is happening online. and we need to protect the united states of america from cyberattacks from state entities such as the russians, by making an investment now and making it a priority. thank you.
mr. schumer: thank you. with that, cleanup, the ranking member of our e.p.w. committee, who has had a lot of say in this proposal, senator carper. mr. carper: thank you. some of you have heard me ask the question, what is the role of government, what is the role of government? lincoln once answered that question with this answer. he said, the role of government is do for people what they cannot do for themselves. i believe that a major role of government is to -- we don't create jobs in government. what we do is working with others, private sector, state and local government, we create a nurturing environment for job creation. access to capital. access to decision makers. public safety. water. sewer. transportation. those are some of the ingredients for a nurturing environment for job creation. when the president was elected
and said at his inauguration how important investing in our infrastructure, airports, rail, airports, ports, internet, i cheered. quietly. but when i saw what they really had in mind, i mourned. i mourned. for years we have paid for roads, highways and bridges on a user-fee basis. what they propose is to sort of turn that on its head. instead of the federal government providing roughly 80% of the support for capital costs, and across the country, we're going to ask the state to cover 80% of the cost. a huge shift in responsibility. i'm all for sharing the responsibility. but this reminds me a little bit of the description of the new testament, the story of the fishes. take five or seven loaves and a couple of fish and you feed 5,000 people. the idea to somehow take in this
case, $200 billion and turn that into $1.5 trillion, and basically say, we think the state and local governments are going to come up with that money commonsensention of and ality. the ministration says we're going to help pay for our roads, highways and bridges and other parts of the infrastructure by moving toward puic-private partnerships. in the last three years we've 60 of those. 60. if we were to increase that by 10-fold over the next 30 years, probably not likely. we still wouldn't be close to wherwe need to be. the administration says we need to do more environmental stream lining. we actually, if you look at the per -- and permitting reform. we did that in 2012. we did it again in 2015. is there more to do? there may be more to do. but we've not implemented what we adopted in 2012. we've not implement what had we
adopted in 2015. we're not putting in charge the resources, either the financial resources or the people to make sure that we do what we pledgeded into twelve and 2015 -- 2012 and 2015. the last thing i would say is this. things that are worth having are worth paying for. some of our republican friends may not care for what we're proposing as a pay-for. i ask four questions when discussing tax reform. one, is it fair? two, does it foster economic growth or impede it? three, does it simplify the tax code or make it more complex? four, what does it do to the deficit? on each four of those questions this proposal is honest and i think it's forthright. p.s., ultimately we're going to move away from the current way of sort of hodgepodge way of funding roads, highways and bridges and our parts of --
other parts of our infrastructure. 20re going to move, the next years, vehicles miled traveled. we're piloting down that now in seven states. in the 2015 legislation. we're compiling it now in seven states. eventually we'll pilot it for the nation and eventual that that's going to be a big approach. and it may be 20 years. probably will be 20 years until we're there. and in the meantime, what do we do? what do we do? i think the democrats under the leadership of this man right here presented an honest, i think a responsible approach. to filling the gap for the next 10, 20 years. move tol we're ready
to a vehicles miles traveled approach. mr. schumer: thank you. we're ready for your questions on this subject first. reporter: in the context of the tariff proposal, do you see this as an opportunity -- mr. schumer: good try. reporter: for the u.s., if the president moves ahead with these tariffs, to make the types of
steel and aluminum that are needed in infrastructure projects or that this could adversely effect -- mr. schumer: our proposal has very strong buy america provisions. when the federal government is paying for highways, roads, bridges, power grids, the stuff ought to be made in america. that's federal tax dollars. and tammy baldwin has been a leader in this and her proposal is in our bill. reporter: democrats have spent the last few months talking about the republican tax plan as being a trillion and a half dollars of deficit spending. your plan is basically proposing to take fwirds of that deficit spending and -- 2/3 of that deficit spending and spend it on infrastructure instead of tax cuts. what does -- mr. schumer: we are always, throughout the history, since henry clay, financed the federal government, has financed roads and bridges because the external benefits are far greater. in other words, you can put a toll on a road for a truck that goes there. but when a new factory locates
right near the road and employs 1,000 people, and pays income tax and sales tax and buys products, that's not accounted for. so we believe that infrastructure's a place where -- where the federal government should make an investment we think it's a lot better investment of the federal government in infrastructure than cutting taxes on the wealthiest people and the biggest corporations. reporter: -- [inaudible] -- might it close specifically major loopholes? the carry interest loophole which the president campaigned as saying he was going to clorks he didn't. now the republicans are falsely claiming that they did. mr. wyden: they didn't. we roll the estate tax back. the fact is, we are closing specific and major loopholes. mr. schumer: yes. in the back. ok, we'll call on both of you. reporter: the biggest -- mr. schumer: one with lot of hair. one with not so much. repoer: the infrastructure program -- [inaudible] -- is now under fire by administration.
what do you think -- [inaudible] -- angry retaliation against you for -- mr. schumer: look, i'm not going to get no the politics of it. gateway is the most important infrastructure projects in country. it effects 50 million people in the northeast corridor. 25% of our economy. if those two tunnels that are now under the hudson river are no longer functional, they'll be -- there will be a recession in the entire country. not just in new york, new jersey and even the northeast corridor. so we have to get it done. the good news is we have bipartisan support. for get it -- for getting it done. from everything i hear it's all systems move ahead, despite what the president had to say. reporter: to what extent are you guys planning to run on this in the fall? how big a part of your campaign -- mr. schumer: we believe in jobs, we believe in the middle class. we believe in the economy. there's no better way to create jobs and improve the economy than infrastructure. this will be a major thing we will talk about.
and the contrast between tax cuts for the wealthiest people as opposed to middle class jobs is one that whether he forcefully advocate in the fall. >> obviously we need infrastructure financing to continue to grow. but the fact that the tax bill made affordable housing worse in the united states of america, when we have an opioid crisis and a homelessness crisis, i guarantee you that everyone's going to be talking about the fact that they made it harder, harder to deal with this crisis and gave the money away to major corporations. ms. cantwell: so i wouldn't want to be running if i was them in a city or -- whether you're in texas or wherever you are, nevada, talking about how you passed tax breaks and then made it more expensive to deal with affordable housing. mr. schumer: which is in our plan. >> can i add? mr. schumer: yes, please. >> when people go to the polls this fall, they're going to be thinking about a lot of things.
have a job, prospects for a job for my kid. one of the things i hope people think about is, we spend two full days every year sitting in traffic. that's on average across the country. mr. carper: texas a&m has run the numbers. they do it every year. literally sit there. we're not moving. we're not going five or 10 miles an hour. we're just sitting there. the average family in this country spends $500 per year fixing their tires, changing tires, axel, steering. $500 a year. and it doesn't have to be that way. doesn't have to be that way. i go home on a train just about every night. and on the train and when i get home, people almost every day, somebody says to me, we need for you guys to work together. down here. they want to us work together. i think most american people think and see one of the way ways we could work together actually, do something about choice, bridges, airports and so forth. and there's a way to do it honestly. and way to pretend that we're
doing it. we can't just pretend. we cabinet just say it's only make -- we can't just say the only make believe. we have to make it real. i think this makes it real. mr. schumer: as more people learn about the tax bill, the less popular the becoming. it had a bump in january. we're now finding in our states, the popularity's receding. because people are seeing that that money is not going to jobs. so the contrast is great. when it goes to stock buybacks that enrich wealthy corporations and the top ends of shareholders, people don't like it. when they hear it increases the deficit and now ryan and others are proposing cut social security anded me -- and medicare they don't like it. we aim to use this as a contrast. here's what you can do with that money that makes a difference to you and makes your life better and creates jobs. so we're very positive about going full steam ahead, showing our plan, and the contrast of what the republicans want to do with the money. it's a loser for them.
>> the contrast will also include all the efforts that we made to be bipartisan. mr. wyden: first thing, for example, out of the gate, the leader, i, our caucus sent a letter, basically the first sentence was, we want a bipartisan bill. we had a big group of moderates that wanted a bipartisan bill. so actually when you sit down with the number of crunchers -- with the number crunchers and do your homework, then you're really doing what citizens consider to be bipartisanship. so apropos, not only will we have a sharp contrast between them and us, but we'll be able to say, look at all the missed opportunities, starting with repatriation, where we worked for bipartisanship and they basically opted for partisanship through reconciliation. mr. schumer: last question. we'll take two.
reporter: [inaudible] -- mr. schumer: they cut it out in the budget. reporter: mcconnell and some of the other senior republicans said they've gotten the heads up that their states are getting tiger grants. i wanted to ask how you and other democrats -- mr. schumer: i'm all for tiger grants but in the new budget they propose is eliminate it. one of the ways they're going to pay for this is knock out the tiger grants. so i'd ask you to ask what some of our senators, republican, who are getting tiger grants say this about -- say about this year's budget. reporter: an action to your constituent leaving the white house and as somebody who had a reputation for working across the aisle a little bit. does that make it harder to get things done with the white house? mr. schumer: one of the problems here is the white house is getting hollowed out. and the number of people capable of doing things, doing real things, whether you agree or disagree ideologically, is getting smaller and smaller that end seem unable to recruit new people to take these jobs. so the kind ofs meups we've seen
this past week i think we're going -- these kind of messups we've seen this past week i think we're going see over and over again. the president's erratic style. i didn't vote for jeff sessions but i think it's a symbol to everybody what did he to his best friend, jeff sessions. don't go work there. i've heard story after story of capable people in the gary world trying to be recruited by the white house and no one wants to go. thank you, everybody. ok. i'll do one or two more. reporter: when you said messups, were you referring to the taffs? is that a messup? mr. schumer: here's what i think about the tariffs. i said this, i spoke on the floor about in this morning. i agree with -- i totally agree wholeheart lid with president trump's instinct to go after china. china doesn't play by the free trade rules. they gnaw away every day at our economy. by not letting our good predicts -- products in. by stealing our intellectual property. by buying companies that are good.
the trouble is, the execution of the plan didn't do what his instincts said do. they caused far more harm to countries that aren't are a patience in their trading, where we benefit from trading. canada, where we have a surplus. western europe. and so they ought to not let all of these academics who just say, any time you try to do anything on trade it's protectionist, they ought to not let that deter them. but they ought to put together a real plan that works. last question. reporter: off topic. i wanted to ask about news from last night that former pornography star stormy daniels -- i want to ask but part of the lawsuit that says the president's personal lawyer has continued his attempts at silencing her, including as recently as february. mr. schumer: i'm not going to comment on that issue. we want to stick to infrastructure. thank you. [captioning performed by the
national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> senate democrats from earlier. the house today has been working
on a couple of bills. votes coming up later on an e.p.a. emissions bill. today's measure deals with brick and clay kilns. tomorrow they'll woron a bill dealing with emissions standards from coal waste-powered plants. we'll have live coverage of the house on c-span here when they return. looking ahead to the house calendar, majority leader kevin mccarthy says members will vote next week on the stop school violence act by florida republican john rutherford. the bill would provide grants to train students, teachers, school officials and local law enforcement to prevent school violence. congressman rutherford is not the only member of congress working on gun policy. earlier today florida senators marco rubio and bill nelson held a news conference to unveil their proposal that would encourage and incentivize states to adopt gun violence restraining orders. this would allow law enforcement and families to obtain court orders to stop a person that poses a threat from having or purchasing guns. the two senators also talked about a broader gun policy bill that's moving through the