Amendment Text: S.Amdt.438 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Shown Here:
Amendment as Proposed (03/21/2013)

This Amendment appears on page S2131 in the following article from the Congressional Record.

[Pages S2053-S2141]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
Senate will resume consideration of S. Con. Res. 8, which the clerk 
will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 8) setting forth the 
     congressional budget for the United States Government for 
     fiscal year 2014, revising the appropriate budgetary levels 
     for fiscal year 2013, and setting forth the appropriate 
     budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023.

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, as we just heard, the Senate has resumed 
consideration of the budget debate of S. Con. Res. 8, the budget 
resolution. We will continue debate during today's session. Senators 
will be notified when votes are scheduled, of course.
  The budget has 34 hours left, and then following that, we will have 
some votes. It is up to the two managers of this bill if we have votes 
before the 34 hours expire. These are two experienced Senators and they 
know how to handle this budget, but it would seem to me that we should 
move as quickly as we can to debate these issues. I hope Senators come 
and offer their opinions as to the budget that Chairman Murray has 
brought to the Senate floor. Maybe some people will want to talk about 
what passed in the House yesterday, the Ryan Republican budget.
  Everyone should understand that this time will run out at the latest 
at 7 p.m. tomorrow night. It seems to me the two managers could reduce 
that time somewhat. If they don't, it doesn't matter; we will be here 
until we finish this budget. If we are here all night Friday, we will 
be in all night Friday. I spoke to Senator Murray, and she was willing 
to be in all night last night; she is willing to be here all night 
tonight and all night Friday night until we finish this. We are going 
to move forward and finish this budget.

                          affordable care act

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, three years ago this coming Saturday was a 
historic time in this country and in the world, actually, because the 
Affordable Care Act passed. It was a very wintry night when it passed--
very cold. It was the greatest single step in generations to help the 
American people.
  This was unique because for the first time--going back to the days of 
Harry Truman where he talked about a health care bill for the country, 
to Eisenhower, who talked about a health care bill for this country--we 
were finally able to accomplish it. We ensured access to quality, 
affordable health care for every American with ObamaCare, the 
Affordable Care Act.
  Millions and millions of Americans, as we speak, are benefiting from 
this legislation. Insurance companies can no longer arbitrarily place 
lifetime caps on insurance policies during someone's care. No longer 
can they suddenly say: Sorry, you have cancer or had that bad accident, 
but you reached $1,000--or whatever limit they set, $10,000--and you 
are through. Go get help someplace else because insurance is over. That 
arbitrary lifetime cap by insurance companies put Americans just a car 
accident or an illness away from doom.

[[Page S2054]]

  Today children are no longer denied insurance because they were born 
with a disease, disability, or some other problem. They no longer are 
denied insurance. And being a woman, like my daughter, is no longer a 
preexisting medical condition. Before ObamaCare passed--and everyone 
needs to understand this--my daughter Lana had a preexisting condition; 
she was born a girl. That is gone.
  In less than a year, about 130 million Americans with preexisting 
conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes can rest assured 
they will have access to affordable insurance and lifesaving care 
regardless of their health and how much money they make.
  In Nevada alone--a sparsely populated State of some 3 million 
people--tens of thousands of seniors have saved tens of millions of 
dollars because 3 years ago we filled the doughnut hole. What that 
means is they don't have to pay exorbitant prices for their 
prescription drug coverage.
  Health care reform is not only saving money, it saves lives. In 
Nevada there are thousands of examples, but I will give one about a 26-
year-old woman named Sarah Coffey Kugler, a native of Gardnerville, NV. 
Gardnerville is a beautiful place next to the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  Well, this young lady, who was very smart--and still is--was half way 
through her first year of law school at the University of Connecticut 
when she was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's disease. Not stage 1, 2, 
or 3, but the worst, stage 4. She had done everything right. She knew 
she needed insurance, so she went to the University of Connecticut and 
bought the best plan she could for students so she would have health 
insurance. Due to her cancer and the difficult treatment to fight it, 
she had to drop out of school. She had no insurance because insurance 
would not cover her.
  As I said, she was no longer a student and, as a result, no longer 
qualified for student health insurance. What was she to do? She needed 
a bone marrow transplant. She and her family thought there was a very 
strong possibility she would pass away.
  Before ObamaCare, Sarah would have been one of tens of millions of 
Americans who desperately needed lifesaving care but didn't have 
insurance to take care of it. Before ObamaCare, Sarah might have even 
become 1 of the 45,000 Americans who die each year because they lacked 
health insurance. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, 
Sarah was able to sign on to her parents' insurance policy.
  Sarah is 1 of 3.1 million young people in America--approximately 
35,000 in Nevada--who have benefited from a law that allows children to 
stay on their parents' health plans until they are 26 years old.
  Sarah's story has a happy ending, as so often happens in America 
where we can get health care. She got the treatment she needed. Her 
most recent PET scan was clear, and she plans to return to school this 
coming September and finish law school.
  Her mother Sue sent me a letter. She wrote that ObamaCare and the 
dedicated doctors who took care of her daughter saved her life. There 
are so many legacies of this landmark legislation. No American will end 
up in an emergency room because they have no insurance. No American 
will live in fear of losing his or her insurance because they don't 
have a job. And in the richest Nation in the world, no insurance 
company ever again will put a pricetag on a human life.
  Long, long ago Thomas Jefferson wrote: ``The care of human life and 
happiness . . . is the first and only object of good government.''
  I am gratified that the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, meets Thomas 
Jefferson's standard. I am so happy this law came into being. For all 
of us who participated in that, we will always remember that cold 
winter when we were in session longer, I am told, than any other time 
in the history of the country to pass this legislation. We worked hard 
to pass it. It is already insuring the care of human life, which 
remains the first object of government, as Thomas Jefferson said it 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I want to thank my ranking member, 
Senator Sessions. We had a good debate, and I think everyone had a 
chance to see the differences about the values and priorities that 
drive us, how we see our country, and our future. I am looking forward 
to having that conversation again today.
  The budget we are debating on the floor this week puts our middle-
class families first. It reflects our progrowth, pro-middle-class 
agenda that the American people went to the polls in support of at the 
election just a few months ago. It takes the kind of truly balanced 
approach that families across our country strongly support, and I 
believe it is a strong and responsible vision for building a foundation 
for growth and restoring the promise of American opportunity.
  I spoke at length last night about our budget. It is built on three 
principles. No. 1, we have to protect our fragile economic recovery, 
create jobs, and invest in our long-term growth. This is something 
every family in America is asking us to focus on.
  No. 2, we need to tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly. 
As Democrats we understand it is a responsibility we bear today, and we 
do it in this budget. No. 3, we need to keep the promises we made as a 
Nation to our seniors, our families, and our communities. There are 
many people who have struggled so much over the last few years and they 
are counting on us to be there for them again now.
  We are going to hear a lot more about all of these principles today, 
and we are going to discuss the stark contrast between the budget that 
is expected to move in the House of Representatives today and the plan 
and path we have put forward here in the Senate as Democrats.
  At this time, I yield to Senator Sessions for his opening remarks, 
and we will continue this debate throughout the day.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair and express my appreciation to 
Senator Murray for her leadership, her courtesy, and her skill in 
managing the bill through the committee and on the floor. She is an 
experienced legislator who has strong convictions, but she is easy to 
work with, courteous, and effective in what she does every day. I thank 
Senator Murray, and I enjoy working with her.
  Well, our Chair says this is a pro-growth, pro-middle-class budget. I 
say it is a pro-tax, pro-spend, and pro-debt budget. It is a budget of 
deep disappointment. It is a budget that comes nowhere near doing the 
things necessary to put America on a sound path. It is a budget that 
does, indeed, reflect the stark differences between our parties. It is 
rather remarkable to me, the extent to which our majority party in the 
Senate has no interest in producing a budget that actually balances and 
actually puts America on the right path.
  They say they care about growth, and I know they do. I know they 
would like to see the economy grow more and more jobs being created 
because we have had the slowest recovery during this recession since 
anytime after World War II, at least. It has been very, very slow. But 
we have done something to a degree we have never done before; that is, 
borrow and spend to stimulate the economy.

  Someone has compared borrowing and spending to stimulate the economy 
to the idea of someone taking a bucket and scooping up water in one end 
of the swimming pool and pouring it into the other. We have no net 
gain. The truth is that we lose some of the water out of the bucket as 
we walk along the shore. In this case, what we lose is interest on the 
debt indefinitely because there is no plan to pay down the debt.
  So this budget that is before us today does not balance, it does not 
put us on a sound path, it does not create confidence among the 
American citizens that the future is going to be sound, that we have 
gotten this country reoriented in a way that is going to produce long-
term growth. Indeed, it is going to do exactly the opposite. It is 
going to do exactly the opposite. It says, once again, that this Senate 
is not willing to do the things necessary to put America on a sound 
course. And it is not that hard. We can do this. It is within our 
grasp. But our leadership in this Senate, contrary to the House, is not 
willing to take those good, solid but achievable steps necessary to put 
this country on a sound path. I just feel that very deeply.

[[Page S2055]]

  Hopefully, in the context of our debate and a budget being moved 
through here on a party-line vote, I suppose, as it was in committee, 
maybe some connection will be made amongst ourselves and our Members 
and our brains about the real issues facing the country and what we 
need to do to get on the right path. And maybe even in conference, if 
not here on the floor, we can have some miraculous agreement that would 
create the kind of long-term confidence businesspeople and the American 
people are looking for from the U.S. Congress and the government.
  Senator Reid indicated he would like to finish. I would like to 
finish too. We were under the impression that we could have started 
this voting process on the budget as early as Monday, if not Tuesday. 
That could have happened. Apparently, the leadership decided to block 
amendments. That created, on this side, a number of Senators who felt 
very strongly that they, in fact, had relevant amendments and they 
wanted them voted on, and they would not agree to time limits until the 
majority agreed to give them a vote. Whether I was for or against the 
amendments is not relevant. I thought they should have been given a 
vote. They are Senators. A big bill moving forward, several 
appropriations bills cobbled together to fund the government, and we 
only have four or five amendments. Serious amendments, such as the 
Moran amendment with 28 cosponsors, Republicans and Democrats, was 
blocked. He couldn't get an amendment on a relevant issue involving the 
health and safety of America.
  So that has put us behind in the schedule, not anything we have done. 
There was not a problem on this side. If they had been given 
amendments, they would have been done in very short order and could 
have been completed Monday or early Tuesday.
  So here we are. We have under the law 50 hours of debate on the 
budget, 25 to a side, and an unlimited number of amendments can be 
offered. So that is going to take time, as it always does, and I am 
sorry it is getting pushed into the weekend.
  I would also just say briefly that as time has gone by, I have been 
more and more convinced of what I believed from the beginning, which is 
that this Congress is not capable of producing a massive overhaul of 
the Federal health care program. I remember the night Senator Reid 
refers to when the final passage, I guess, occurred or the day that it 
occurred. But what I remember most is being here Christmas Eve--my 
birthday--when the bill cleared the Senate on a straight party-line 
vote, 60 to 40. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts was elected on a 
promise to block and kill the legislation. The American people were 
consistently opposing the legislation. They were able to ram it through 
before he could take office and cast the deciding vote. They got the 
absolute minimum number of votes--60--to pass this monstrosity.
  I am told now the regulations in the bill are 6 feet high when 
stacked. We still haven't seen them. That legislation has 1,700 
references to this section to be effectuated by regulations to be 
issued by the department. Regulations continue to pour out in record 
numbers to try to clarify the hundreds and thousands of ambiguities in 
the bill.
  We were told that people's health insurance premiums would go down, 
that this was going to bend the cost curve to bring health care costs 
down. We warned that would not happen. Who was correct 3 years ago? 
Health care costs are surging. They are not through surging yet. We are 
going to have more increases as the health care bill takes effect in 
January of next year. The average person's premium has already gone up 
$2,000-plus a year. Small businesses all over America are telling us 
they are not hiring because of the health care bill. This has clearly 
been a deficit and a detriment to job creation.
  We had no ability to write this health care law. We didn't know 
enough about it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: Well, we have to write it 
to see what is in it. What she meant was that we are just going to pass 
some vision of health care reform and the bureaucrats will take care of 
it. Well, they are not taking care of it well. We are not capable of 
managing it.
  We are endangering the greatest health care system the world has ever 
known. We are going to see fewer and fewer top-quality young people go 
into medicine. I am hearing that over and over again. Doctors are 
telling me they don't know what to tell their children about going into 
  This is just one example of what happens in this country when people 
in Washington take on the arrogant view that they know how to fix the 
health care system--one of the most massive, complex, marvelous systems 
the world has ever known.
  You can go to Alabama and see some of the best doctors in the entire 
world in our State. People go there from all over the world. Dr. 
Andrews treated RG3 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, his 
private practice in Birmingham. People can go to top-quality surgeons 
in Mobile, Montgomery--throughout the State--Auburn-Opelika, 
Tuscaloosa, Huntsville. This is true for every State in America.
  For people to say our health care is not the best in the world--why 
do people come here from all over the world? That is one of the most 
horrible things I have ever heard, really, around here, suggesting we 
don't. So we have people who die sooner than in some other countries. 
We have a lot of causes. We have more obesity. We have more smoking. We 
have fewer people taking care of themselves sometimes. We have a lot of 
individual problems. We have a higher murder rate. We have high 
accident rates in automobiles. So we have things that pull down our 
lifespan, but that doesn't mean our health care isn't good. It doesn't 
mean our health care is not the best in the world. All of us have seen 
  Mr. President, I wish to ask Chairman Murray where we are now on 
going through the business of the day. I appreciate the chairman's 
leadership and suggestions as to going forward.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Absolutely. I am happy to get things going here today. 
Does the manager on the other side have an amendment he wishes to start 
with this morning?
  Mr. SESSIONS. I would like to start with a motion, yes, and I am 
prepared to do that, and I thank the chairman.
  I offer a motion to recommit this budget that is on the floor today 
to the committee with instructions that it be altered to produce a 
balanced budget.
  That is what I think this Nation needs. I think that is what the 
American people want, and that is what we are determined to fight for 
because it is the right thing for the country, not because it is some 
green eyeshade goal. I have heard that argument, and that is not what 
is on our minds when we say: Let's balance the budget. It is not what 
the American people have on their minds when they say: Why don't you 
guys balance our budget?
  What is it that is necessary here? We believe that if we alter our 
debt course in a responsible way and we begin to reduce the deficits 
regularly and steadily in an effective way, we can reach a balanced 
budget and we can keep on that balanced budget without cutting 
expenditures. The facts are quite clear that we can increase spending 
every year, just not as much as we are increasing spending today and 
just not as much as our Democratic budget increases spending. That is 
what we believe we should do. I will explain as we go forward how that 
can create jobs, create growth, will make this country healthier, will 
create confidence in the world financial community, will see more money 
come to the United States, and will allow businesses that are sitting 
on cash to begin to invest and hire people. That is the direction in 
which we should be going. That is what would be good for America.
  But first and foremost, as I explained last night, the Democratic 
budget on the floor today comes nowhere close to that. It is nowhere 
close to setting forth a plan that would actually balance the budget. 
Indeed, the budget never balances under their plan, and it won't 
balance in the future. Things are only going to get worse. They are 
going to get worse because it deals in no way with the fundamental, 
driving forces of the debt this country faces. It does not deal with 
that. If we don't deal with those issues, then we are not going to get 
the debt under control. But we can do it. We can do it in a number of 
  Now, the President has sent a very clear message. Recently on ABC, 
with George Stephanopoulos, the President said: And so, you know, my 
goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance.

[[Page S2056]]

  Who said we are trying to chase a balanced budget just for the sake 
of balance? That is not what we are doing. We are trying to put America 
on a sound debt path. We are trying to put America on a sound financial 
path that will create confidence and avoid the danger of a fiscal 
  We started counting last night. My colleagues, yesterday and last 
night--I think we stopped counting--used the phrase ``balance'' 24 
times: This is a balanced approach. It is a balanced plan. We are 
seeking primary balance. We are going to have a responsible, balanced 
  Pretty soon, they will say they have a balanced budget. Well, they 
don't have a balanced budget. We need to understand that fully.
  Secondly, the budget that has been produced does not even put us any 
closer to a balanced budget than we are today. When we add up the taxes 
that are being increased, when we add the new spending that is in this 
bill, it doesn't change the debt course at all.
  Earlier this year, Mr. Elmendorf, the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office, testified before our Budget Committee. Mr. Elmendorf is 
an excellent scholar and a man who has managed the money of the budget 
well. Mr. Elmendorf is--Mr. President, I am having a little trouble 
concentrating with the roar going on in my background. I would 
appreciate it if we could keep it down a little bit.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Regular order.
  Mr. SESSIONS. So Mr. Elmendorf told us at the Budget Committee that 
we are on an unsustainable path. OK. This is after the Budget Control 
Act, after we reduced the growth of spending $2.1 trillion, and that 
includes the sequester. After we did all that, this year he told us we 
are on an unsustainable debt course. He said this is a danger to 
America and we have to get off it and we need to make further changes 
to get on the right course.
  So we have looked at this budget, and we thought the committee, which 
called him, would listen to him, and we wanted to see if the budget 
that is on the floor now actually helps us get toward a sound financial 
future. I have to say it does not. It does not change the course we are 
on. It raises taxes dramatically, but it raises spending and eats up 
all the new taxes, not altering the amount of debt that will be raised 
over 10 years.
  Isn't that a failed budget plan? Isn't that a failure of leadership? 
I hate to say that. But the challenge of our time is to deal with our 
financial crisis. The challenge of our time is to alter the debt course 
we are on and put us on a sound path, and it has not been met by this 
  The House budget--we all may have different ideas about some of the 
things in it--provides for increased spending every single year, but it 
balances the budget, totally balances the budget, in 10 years. It would 
balance in 10 years and does it by increasing spending every year, on 
an average of 3.4 percent a year. So we can increase spending at 3.4 
percent a year--increase spending--and balance the budget.
  But the problem is the budget the majority sends forth would increase 
spending at 5.4 percent a year. That does not sound like a lot, but the 
difference is trillions of dollars. The difference is a plan that puts 
us on a sound financial path to the future and a plan that leads us on 
the unsustainable debt course we are now on.
  My Democratic colleagues need to look at this. We saw, I guess, in 
Politico--I had the quote here yesterday that said fundamentally the 
majority's plan was written by the left of the Democratic conference--
the left--and it said explicitly to the left of President Obama. That 
makes sense if we look at what is in the budget. Look how much they 
spend, how much they tax, and how they do not reduce the debt we are 
adding every single year. So that is what we have.
  As Chairman Murray said, budgets present a contrast. Budgets lay out 
your vision for the future. A budget defines who you are because it 
says how much you want to tax in the next 10 years, it says how much 
you want to spend in the next 10 years, and it requires you to state 
how much debt you are going to accumulate for America over the next 10 
  This plan will add another $7.3 trillion to the debt of America. We 
are already at almost $17 trillion. That will take us to about $24 
trillion in 10 years. Interest on that debt is huge. By their own 
numbers, interest on their debt would amount to approximately $800 
billion in 1 year. Interest on the debt, under their budget, would rise 
to the point of $800 billion in 1 year. We spend about $100 billion on 
education. We spend about $40 billion-plus--a little over--on highways, 
roads, and bridges. That is just an example. We are now surging from 
$200 billion, $250 billion in interest to $800 billion in interest. As 
a result of the accounting CBO has provided us, if we follow this path, 
it is going to crowd out spending for research, it is going to crowd 
out spending for children, education, health care, and any other 
program this government wishes to undertake, including defense.
  Mr. President, what kind of time limit is there, might I inquire? Is 
there 30 minutes on this side on this motion?
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. On the motion, there is 1 hour, 
equally divided.
  Would the Senator like to call up his motion?
  Mr. SESSIONS. The first question would be how much time is left on my 
half of that hour.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The motion has not yet been 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I call up the motion.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will report the motion.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Alabama [Mr. Sessions] moves to recommit 
     Senate Concurrent Resolution 8 back to the Committee on the 
     Budget with instructions to report back no later than March 
     22, 2013 with such changes as may be necessary to achieve 
     unified budget balance by fiscal year 2023.

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. This motion would simply say this to our colleagues--it 
will be a defining vote for our Members; and Members need to understand 
the meaning of this vote--the question will be: Do you favor a balanced 
budget? Is it important to you? Have you said: I am going to vote for a 
balanced budget amendment. Have you said in your townhall meetings and 
in your campaigns and in your debates: I believe in a balanced budget 
amendment or I believe in a balanced budget, period.
  What we are saying is that this country can balance its budget. We 
can balance the budget in America today if we set forth a plan that 
allows the spending levels to increase by 3.4 percent a year for the 
next 10 years. Isn't that great news? We can spend 3.4 percent more 
each year. According to the data the Congressional Budget Office gives 
us and we rely on, we can do that and still increase spending over the 
next decade.
  Inflation is going to increase about 2 percent or a little over, 
according to CBO. Inflation will increase about 25 percent over the 
next 10 years and about 40 percent if we increase spending each year at 
3.4 percent. That puts us on a path to balance. It begins to reduce the 
debt overhang for our country. It brings down the amount of debt we 
have in our country and puts us on a sound path. It does all the things 
we need. It sends a message to the world that we have our financial 
house in order. I believe good Members of this body--Democrats and 
Republicans alike--have told their constituents and are sincerely of 
the belief that we can and should balance our budget. When I say 
``balance,'' I mean honest balance, not some balanced approach, not 
some primary balance, none of that; that when the revenue comes in and 
the money goes out, it is the same. We are not sending more money out 
than we are bringing in, in revenue, having to borrow the difference 
and pay interest on it. Because that is what we have been doing to a 
degree we have never, ever done before in this country. We have never, 
ever done before what we are doing now. We have never, ever had 4 
consecutive years of trillion-dollar deficits--nothing close to it.
  People say President Bush was irresponsible. He should have been more 
wary of the grand promises that the economy would never have a 
recession and that things are going to go great. He should have. The 
next to the last

[[Page S2057]]

year he was in office, the budget deficit was $167 billion. It had 
dropped from a higher figure in his time in office. His last year, it 
was $450 billion or $460 billion.
  President Obama has been in office 4 full years, starting his fifth, 
and his deficits have been averaging $1,200 billion a year. We have 
never, ever, ever seen anything like this before. The debt of the 
United States of America has surged, and our Democratic colleagues do 
not have a plan that will put us on a sustainable path in the future.
  If we come back out of the economy and we restrain the spending 
growth just a little bit, we can balance the budget. That is what we 
ought to do. Again, the goal of balancing the budget is not some 
frivolous goal for political reasons. The goal of a balanced budget is 
that we would put us on a sound financial course. It will mean we have 
confronted the challenges of our time. It means we know we cannot 
continue to spend systemically more than we bring in, that a debt 
crisis could occur and we could have a decline in wealth in America.

  So when we say we want to recommit to the committee, colleagues, you 
need to know what this means. It simply means this: We are directing 
the committee, the majority of whom are Democrats--and they can write 
the budget as they choose, using whatever tax changes they want to make 
and whatever spending changes they want to make--but the budget that 
hits this floor would be a budget that balances, that creates growth, 
confidence, and prosperity for America. That is what we are asking you 
to cast a vote for, and I believe you should break ranks on this. I 
believe you should vote your conscience. I believe every Senator should 
vote the beliefs of their constituents. Poll after poll after poll 
shows that the American people prefer a balanced budget. They know we 
cannot continue to do what we are doing.
  I think it has potential. We are willing to work with the majority. 
We may disagree with the results, but, my goodness, wouldn't it be 
great if the Senate produced a budget that balances--and it has one 
vision of how to balance the budget, the House produced a budget that 
balances and they have their vision about how to balance the budget--
and we go to conference and we could actually reach some sort of a 
compromise that would fix the financial future of America? The whole 
world would be amazed. They would say: My goodness, the United States--
look at this--they have gotten themselves together. We thought they 
were going goofy. We thought they had completely sold out to spending 
and borrowing and look at this.
  There would be more investment. American businesses would feel 
better. American workers would feel better. We would begin to have more 
growth that way.
  That is the way we believe jobs and growth are best created, not by 
the sugar high that comes from borrowing and spending money.
  Back when we did the stimulus bill--I would like to share this with 
my colleagues because a very important concept was explained us to by 
Mr. Elmendorf, the CBO Director. Back when we did the stimulus bill, 
the $800 billion-and-something that President Obama passed that was 
going to reduce the unemployment rate dramatically, put the country on 
a sound path, and stimulate the economy, we asked how were we going to 
do it? We were going to borrow money--every penny of the $830 billion--
now $1 trillion with interest--was borrowed and we spent it.
  This is what the Director of the Congressional Budget Office said 
about that. He said: Yes, it will create growth in the short term. It 
will enhance the growth in the short term. One financial expert called 
it a sugar high. We will get that. But once that is over and we have 
the burden of the debt, it begins to cost us every year and it will 
cost us as long as that money has been spent, as long as we pay 
interest on that money, and we are going to pay interest--young people, 
American people--indefinitely because we have no plan to pay down this 
debt that we have accumulated. We will be paying interest on that 
  This is what CBO said back in 2009 when the stimulus bill was passed. 
They said: Yes, you get a short-term benefit. But CBO said that over 10 
years, you will have less net growth than if you did not have the 
stimulus package at all. Think about that.
  So we took the sugar high. We voted to borrow the money. I did not. I 
opposed it. But it passed to borrow more money, to spend now to try to 
create a sugar high, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, pour one 
bucket of water from the pool into another, and this is going to 
somehow permanently fix our economy.
  There were some things that I think would have been legitimate for us 
to do at that time. I supported a more restrained package that had more 
infrastructure and actual benefits in it. But, fundamentally, we are 
almost now at the point where the benefits of that spending have been 
gone and the detriment is already here. Multiply that. Multiply that by 
the fact that we now have a total of $17 trillion borrowed from around 
the world, and we are paying interest on that every day. But we are 
paying extraordinarily low interest rates, unlike any we have seen in 
the history of the world, and those low interest rates are not expected 
to remain.
  This is why they project that with this budget we will have a $24 
trillion debt by 2022, resulting in $800 billion a year in interest. 
This would be more than the Defense Department, more than we pay on 
Social Security today, and more than we pay on Medicare today. This is 
a huge item.
  I would say we want growth. We want prosperity. We want to unleash 
the natural, inherent, entrepreneurial power of the American spirit, 
economy, and culture. It is a wonderful thing we have. Our free market 
infrastructure is magnificent, but it is being handicapped by poor 
economic financial policies of this country. We need to exit this path 
and return to a path for a balanced budget amendment.
  I thank you for the opportunity to make this motion and hope it will 
be considered. It would provide the committee with full freedom to 
produce a balanced budget through any way you choose, through any mix 
of tax-and-spend policies which would be chosen by the committee. It 
would then come back to the floor. If we were to vote for it, then it 
would go to conference and put us in an extraordinarily better position 
to achieve a bipartisan agreement this year, which could help pull us 
out of the economic doldrums. This would put us on a path to economic 
prosperity to eliminate the debt drag which international studies, the 
IMF, European Central Bank, Bank of International Settlements, and 
Professor Rogoff and Professor Reinhart have all shown pulls down 
growth. They are saying our debt is so high it is lowering economic 
growth right now.
  We would change all of this through a balanced budget coming out of 
committee. It would put us on the right path without having to reduce 
spending, actually. We could still increase spending every single year.
  I submit my motion, and I yield to the Chair.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I rise to use time in opposition to the 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator is recognized.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Our colleagues have sent a motion to the desk which 
sends our budget back to committee to balance.
  I think we all know what this means. They wish to send our budget 
back to take months and weeks to put together a budget, which does one 
of two things in order to balance: It either raises incredible revenue 
or has devastating cuts. We have seen the package they are talking 
about. It is the Ryan budget being debated in the House right now. They 
say they would eliminate the deficit in 2023.
  The Republicans have not put this budget out here right now, because 
they don't want to specify what the cuts are and be responsible for 
them. They just want some mystical moment to happen back in committee 
where these tough decisions are made.
  We know what they are looking at. They are looking at the Ryan 
budget. They say it eliminates the deficit, but it does so in a 
devastating way to middle-class families across this country, families 
who are already struggling so much.

[[Page S2058]]

  We hear a lot about balance these days. I want to clarify some real 
differences, important differences between how the Senate and the House 
budget use the word ``balance.''
  The proposal which passed through the Budget Committee in the House 
would be devastating for our economic recovery. It would really 
threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs this year alone. It makes 
extreme cuts to our infrastructure, which is crumbling; to education, 
which is so important to our future; to the innovation this country has 
been built on, which would lay down a strong foundation for broad 
economic growth--which our Senate budget is working so hard to make 
  Their budget in the House which the Republicans now want us to go 
back to committee and put in place would dismantle Medicare and cut off 
programs to support our middle-class and most vulnerable families. This 
sounds pretty unbalanced to me.
  Frankly, their budget gets worse. As we learned last week, House 
Republicans have put forth a budget which calls for huge tax cuts for 
the wealthiest Americans and makes it unclear how it will be paid for.
  Those pay-fors will come on the backs of families who are working 
hard, average families who would see their taxes increase in order to 
give that tax cut to the wealthiest Americans. This is what they call 
  I don't think that is balance. House Republicans like to say they are 
offering a balanced budget, which I would note also includes savings 
from the Affordable Care Act they vowed to repeal and tax increases on 
the wealthiest, which they strongly oppose. They haven't explained how 
they will reach that goal of reducing those rates down to 25 percent 
and who will pay for this. It is pretty clear, when you look at the 
numbers, how that will happen.
  The House Republicans never explain how they get to what they call 
``balance,'' because the only way they can do it is by raising taxes on 
the middle class or making deep cuts to vulnerable families and 
seniors, who depend on these benefits.
  Our budget takes a very different approach to balance. We ensure our 
families today have the ability to get what they need to put their 
families back on a stable path to recovery. We make sure we invest in 
the important things this country needs to ensure our middle class has 
what they need in education and infrastructure. These are the things 
which allow families to know their kids can go to college, pay their 
mortgage, receive job training, and get back to work. That is balance.
  When we have a responsible approach to spending cuts and to revenue, 
balance is an important word. Balance is about making sure we do what 
the Simpson-Bowles report has recommended, what every bipartisan group 
has said, and contains a responsible mix of revenues and spending cuts. 
This ensures no one bears the burden of the challenges of this country 
  I would not call the House Republican bill balanced. Their balance 
says the wealthiest Americans, the biggest corporations don't 
contribute to this problem at all. Everything is done on the backs of 
our middle-class families.
  Balance is an important word. It is an important word to every 
family, every community, every American. The approach we take is 
balanced, making sure everyone has an opportunity in this country for 
the future we need. This ensures everybody participates in solving the 
problems in front of us.
  I take a backseat to no one when it comes to making sure we have a 
balanced approach. Our budget does that. We are going to be hearing 
more on it right now. We have a number of colleagues on the floor.
  Let me make this very clear. The motion to recommit the Senators on 
the other side have offered simply says we will return to committee 
until we get the Ryan bill in front of us. This is something we soundly 
  I have a number of colleagues here who will participate. I yield to 
the Senator from Delaware and thank him for his great contributions to 
our committee this year.
  Mr. President, I yield time from the resolution.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to enter into a 
colloquy for up to 30 minutes with Senators from California, New York, 
Illinois, and Maryland.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, at its heart a budget is a statement of 
values. Last week I joined with my colleagues on the Budget Committee 
to pass a budget resolution firmly rooted in our values.
  With appreciation to the chairmanship of Chairman Patty Murray, the 
budget we passed reduces our deficit and stabilizes our debt in a 
balanced, responsible way, relying on an equal mix of spending cuts and 
cuts to spending through the Tax Code, which is a balance of cuts and 
increased revenue through tax reform.
  This first chart briefly shows we have made significant progress 
toward the Simpson-Bowles goal of $4 trillion in reduced Federal 
spending over the next 10 years. Our budget relies on these two next 
pieces, reducing loopholes, tax expenditures, and spending cuts. This 
is the balance I believe the American people called for in the last 
  Our budget promotes economic growth and job creation in the short 
term, makes critical investments in our competitiveness for the long 
term. It does all of this while putting a circle of protection around 
the most vulnerable in our society: children, low-income seniors, and 
the disabled.
  Unfortunately, in my view the budget resolution passed by the House 
Budget Committee, led by Chairman Ryan, does not reflect these same 
values or this same balance. It is wildly unbalanced, relying only on 
spending cuts in order to achieve claims of enormous savings.
  Yet when you look closer--and we will turn to this in more detail 
later in this colloquy--the Ryan budget actually relies on a whole 
series of deceptive gimmicks, impossible arithmetic, and unrealistic 
assumptions. The only way to make the Ryan budget add up is to increase 
our deficit or to raise taxes on the middle class by as much as $3,000 
a year.
  In my view, the House Republican budget either fails the test of 
deficit reduction or fails the test of basic fairness. It also, I 
believe, fails the test of economic growth and would put us on a fast 
track to austerity.
  Let me turn now, if I might, to my friend and colleague from the 
State of Maryland to ask for his further comments on the contrast 
between the budget we have adopted here in the Senate and the budget 
offered over in the House.
  Senator Cardin.
  Mr. CARDIN. Let me thank my friend from Delaware, Senator Coons. The 
Senator is exactly right, as he talks about balance. Senator Murray is 
absolutely right about the balance we have and the budget which has 
come out of the Budget Committee.
  Yesterday we did something which was the right thing to do. We passed 
the continuing resolution, an omnibus appropriations bill. The good 
news is we worked together. We completed it, and it was a major 
improvement from what the House did. The House again was acting in a 
very partisan, one-way direction which would have caused additional 
  I was disappointed the bill we passed yesterday was at the 
sequestration levels. I am against sequestration. I think we should 
substitute it for strategic reductions in the deficit. This is exactly 
what the budget coming out of the Budget Committee would do. It will 
substitute for sequestration a strategic way to get our budget into 
better balance. This is what we need to do.
  The budget, as Senator Coons has pointed out, is our blueprint. It 
speaks to the priorities we have as a Nation. It is a framework. All of 
the elements which are necessary for a responsible budget are included 
in the budget document, which has been brought to the floor. I am proud 
to support it. It gives us the right blueprint for America's future.
  The most important thing is it does get rid of sequestration. 
Sequestration is across-the-board mindless cuts. It says every priority 
in this country is exactly the same. That is not the case. The budget 
coming out of the Budget Committee is a responsible way of substituting 
for sequestration.
  Senator Murray mentioned balance. I wish to speak about this chart, 

[[Page S2059]]

points out the fact of how balanced the budget is. The Senate 
Democratic budget balances additional spending cuts--Senator Coons is 
absolutely right--and additional cuts in what we do in the tax 
expenditures. We spend money through the Tax Code and through 
appropriated bills. The budget you brought out balances reductions in 
both categories. Sequestration only applies through the appropriations 
process. It doesn't apply to how we spend money through tax 
  It is very interesting, as this is very similar to the other 
bipartisan proposal which has been brought forward. We talk frequently 
about Simpson-Bowles. Some of us may have disagreed with the specifics, 
but we thought it was the right blueprint and the right balance between 
spending reductions and tax expenditure reductions.
  The Senate Democrats' proposal is very similar to Simpson-Bowles on 
the ratio of cuts. Actually it has more spending cuts and a little bit 
less revenue. Again, the Gang of Six is very similar. We are very proud 
our colleagues came together in an effort to try to bring Democrats and 
Republicans together. The Democratic budget in the Senate builds upon 
that bipartisan cooperation. It is very similar.
  When we look at the House Republicans, they are totally out of step 
with what is necessary in order to get our country back into balance.
  This provides a framework for investment. I appreciate the fact 
Senator Murray has provided ways in which we can invest in 
infrastructure, invest in research and development, and how we may 
invest in education. This translates into job growth. The more jobs we 
create, the more people pay taxes and the less revenue which is used. 
This is how you also balance the budget.
  The Senate Democratic budget, the budget coming out of the Budget 
Committee, provides for those types of important investments. You also 
protect the most vulnerable citizens. This is so important. You protect 
Medicare. Why? Because it is important for the dignity of our seniors.
  I particularly appreciated the statements which were made by Senator 
Durbin, who was a major player in bringing this out, that going into 
deficit reduction we want to protect the most vulnerable. We don't want 
to add to the poverty of America. The Democratic budget which you 
brought out carries out that commitment, protecting our most 
  You also lived up to the commitment to our veterans, and I appreciate 
that very much. President Kennedy said, ``As we express our gratitude, 
we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter 
words, but to live by them.''
  We all say how much we appreciate our veterans and our soldiers and 
what they have done for our country, protecting the democracy and 
freedom of our country. This budget does more than just say our 
appreciation, it acts by deeds, carrying out our commitment to the best 
health care for our veterans, including mental health services. I 
particularly appreciate the reserve fund that is permitted that makes 
more veterans eligible for benefits and improves the efficiency of the 
claims processing, which is particularly important in our region where 
so many veterans have waited way too long to get the benefits to which 
they are entitled.

  Let me mention one last point, which is a huge difference--and 
Senator Murray and Senator Coons have mentioned it. The main difference 
between the budget the Democrats have brought out and the Republican 
budget conceived in the House is this is a credible way to manage our 
deficit, which is the most important thing--managing our deficit in a 
credible way--that will get our deficit under control. It builds on the 
deficit reductions we have already done. Since we started this debate 
and the Simpson-Bowles recommendations came out, we have already done 
$2.4 trillion in deficit reduction, $1.8 in spending reductions, and 
$600 billion in revenues. This is very similar to how the Simpson-
Bowles proposal was made to have a plausible baseline.
  Now, I am not going to get too technical about all this, but it means 
we are not using smoke and mirrors but are using a realistic baseline 
in order to do the deficit reduction. It is achievable, it is doable, 
it is credible, and Senator Coons deals with tax extenders.
  One more word about tax extenders, because Senator Coons is 
absolutely right. We have provisions in the spending programs of this 
country that invest in energy security that are subject to 
sequestration because it is an appropriations bill. But we have 
provisions in the Tax Code that give special breaks to the oil and gas 
industry. These are expenditures. These are revenues we are 
hemorrhaging. They should at least be under the same scrutiny as the 
appropriations bills. What this budget is saying is that we can get 
some savings from these tax expenditures and then use that to get our 
debt under control.
  Senator Murray is absolutely right. One of the huge differences 
between the Democrats and the Republicans is the Republicans want to 
reduce the tax breaks for middle-income families to give bigger tax 
breaks for high-income families. We say we can make the Tax Code more 
efficient and have a budget that allows for the growth of the middle 
class and manage our debt in a better way.
  The bottom line is this budget produces $4.25 trillion over the 10-
year window compared to Simpson-Bowles, which was $4 trillion. It is 
even more deficit reduction than the Simpson-Bowles proposal. It puts 
us on a sustainable path for a manageable deficit.
  What we need to do now is negotiate and get this done for this 
Nation, and this framework gives us the ability to do that. What 
Americans want is a balanced approach that allows for growth and that 
is credible. This budget gives us that pathway and, most importantly, 
it will give predictability to the American economy, which is what I 
hear more and more as I go around. People want us to make decisions. We 
are prepared to make decisions. This budget gives us that pathway, and 
I congratulate Senator Murray. I also congratulate Senator Coons for 
the work he has done.
  Mr. COONS. I thank the Senator for his comments and for his 
leadership in the Budget Committee and his hard work in the Chamber 
over many years.
  The budget we are bringing forward to this floor today is one that 
invests in growing the American economy; that gives us a real path 
forward toward out-educating, out-innovating, and out-building our 
competitors globally; and one that is focused on job creation but also 
on deficit reduction in a responsible and balanced way. In my view, the 
Ryan Republican budget, if adopted, would give us a cure worse than the 
  To talk about the budget's impact on America's treasured entitlement 
programs and the promises we have made to our veterans and our seniors, 
I am grateful to turn to my friend and colleague, Senator Boxer of 
California, who has joined us.
  Mrs. BOXER. I thank Senator Coons so much for including me in this 
opportunity to speak about the choices we have before us.
  Mr. President, may I ask how much time remains for Senator Coons so I 
have some idea?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. King). There is 18 minutes remaining.
  Mrs. BOXER. We all know a budget is critical because it is not just a 
bunch of numbers, it is a statement as to who we are as a people--what 
are our values, what we think is worth investing in, what we think we 
should cut, and so on. It is interesting because we have been 
attacked--Senator Murray and the Democrats--for backing a budget the 
Republicans say is not in balance. Well, I want to argue the point. I 
think it is, in fact, the only budget, between this budget and the 
Republican budget in the House--which is the one embraced by the 
Republicans--that is balanced in many ways.
  The first way this budget is balanced is between investments--the 
things we need to invest in for our Nation; in innovation, education, 
investing in our kids, investing in their health--and commitments we 
have made over the years to our senior citizens. I am going to talk 
more about that in a minute, about what the Republicans do to Medicare 
in their budget--by the way, they kill it. I will explain how and why. 
Our budget also moves us toward numerical balance in a way that 
economists of all sizes and stripes believe is wise, which is to get 
the deficit down below 3 percent of GDP.

[[Page S2060]]

  My colleagues don't think that is good enough, although I never heard 
one word from them--not one word--when George W. Bush came in and 
shredded the budget. He took a surplus that Bill Clinton and the 
Democrats, with the help of some Republicans, had put in place, and 
they shredded it under George Bush by giving tax breaks to the 
wealthiest, putting two wars on the credit card, adopting a 
prescription drug plan that didn't allow Medicare to negotiate for 
lower prices, and the deficit went wild. And it didn't even make sense. 
I am an old--well, I am old--economics major, and I remember the 
basics. You don't go into such deep debt because, if there is a 
recession, you can't really help but spend your way out of it.
  So what happened when President Obama got elected is he faced the 
worst deficit crisis, and that deficit went up to well over $1 
trillion. He has gotten it back to $850 billion. It is still too high, 
but the fact is I never heard a word from my really good friends on the 
other side of the aisle when they were racking up those debts. It was, 
oh, this supply side stuff is going to be great. Well, it wasn't great. 
It wasn't good. And I am glad this budget takes us back to the notion 
of the Clinton years, which is we have a balanced approach between 
revenues, investments, and commitments to our people.

  If we look at the Republican budget--that Ryan budget over there that 
passed with huge Republican support--we can see what he does. I have to 
tell the people something they may not know. The Ryan budget, the 
Republican budget, includes more tax breaks for the people at the top. 
Surprise. I thought we had an election about this. That didn't seem to 
matter to the Republicans. A new tax break of $200,000 a year for 
people making over $1 million. Just what we needed, Mr. President. More 
tax breaks for the people at the top. This is per year. Think about 
that. The average income is about $50,000 a year, and the Republicans 
are giving $200,000 a year to millionaires. Forget it. That is why they 
want us to send this budget back--to come out with that kind of a 
budget? No way. I want a balanced budget.
  By the way, how do they pay for this? With unspecified closing of tax 
loopholes. Well, let me tell you, the amount of money they are putting 
in these new tax breaks--$5.7 trillion--is so high they will have to 
end the home mortgage deduction, which the middle class really needs. 
The wealthy people don't need mortgages, they can buy their homes 
outright. The middle class, the upper middle class need this tax break. 
Charitable deductions, which our charities count on, is another of 
their loopholes; and making sure you can write off State and local 
taxes, which helps our States and our cities. That is what they are 
going after. They do not say it because it is ``unspecified.''
  I hope I have made the point that the Republican budget is basically 
a sham because I don't know any Senator on either side of the aisle who 
would vote today to do away with the charitable deduction, the home 
mortgage deduction, or State and local tax deduction. Maybe a couple of 
them would, but I can tell you, hearing from my folks at home and the 
charities that depend on that deduction and the real estate people who 
are finally seeing a little recovery, what a time to do that. So I say 
that budget is a sham. It doesn't balance and, worse yet, it hurts our 
  I have only one more point to make and then I will yield back the 
time to my friend.
  How much time remains?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Thirteen minutes is remaining.
  Mrs. BOXER. If the Chair will advise me when I have used 5 minutes.
  So let me now tell you about Medicare. In the Republican budget, if 
you are younger than 55, instead of getting the same Medicare your 
parents had and the same Medicare you have paid into and the same 
Medicare that you counted on, it is over, folks. It is over. You will 
get a voucher. There is no more Medicare. They tell you to go out with 
that voucher and find your own insurance.
  Now, we know, because studies have shown us, that plan says you will 
be paying $6,000 a year more out of your own pocket for health care. 
That is what this so-called Medicare--new Medicare--Program is. It is 
not Medicare. Medicare is a guaranteed benefit where you take the card 
and go to the doctor. Here you take a voucher.
  So now you are 55, and then you get older. If you are lucky enough to 
get health insurance, and you get older and now you are 70 or 80, and 
you are taking an insufficient voucher--you are retired--this is a 
giant nightmare. These are supposed to be the golden years. Well, the 
people who lose this will have lost the golden Medicare guarantee, I 
will tell you that.
  Here is the final point. The Republicans say if you have Medicare, 
don't worry. You are fine. Baloney. If you end Medicare, destroy it 
like the Republicans do, the people left in it are part of a dying 
program that is being phased out. Who is going to try to improve the 
quality of that program? It is going to be like fixing an Edsel or 
fixing your typewriter. There is no more Medicare. It is going to be a 
program that is dying, that is being phased out, and that will hurt 
current senior citizens.
  So let's be clear. The Ryan budget, the Republican budget, takes the 
Medicare promise and shreds it, destroys it, and it is the end.
  When President Johnson signed the Medicare law in 1965, here is what 
he said:

       No longer will older Americans be denied the healing 
     miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and 
     destroy the savings they have carefully put away over a 
     lifetime. No longer will young families see their own incomes 
     eaten away because they are carrying out their deep moral 
     obligation to their parents, to their uncles and their aunts.

  So I am saying to Senator Murray: Thank you, thank you, thank you, 
for your leadership. I am saying to Democrats such as Senator Coons, 
who has organized this today, thank you for your leadership, thank you 
for a budget that recognizes our obligations to our seniors, to our 
veterans, to our children, to this Nation, to make sure this is a 
Nation of innovation, and thank you for protecting transportation, an 
issue that I care deeply about as chairman of the Environment and 
Public Works Committee. Without being able to move people and move 
goods, our Nation will not be a leading economic power.
  So I thank you, and I yield back to Senator Coons.
  Mr. COONS. I thank my good friend from California and the other 
members of the Budget Committee who have worked so hard to pull 
together this proposal, this package, this budget resolution that comes 
to the Senate floor today.
  I think this is a great week for the Congress. We are at last, in 
stark contrast, presenting to the people of the United States a budget 
path forward adopted by the Republican-led House and a budget path 
forward adopted by the Democrat-led Budget Committee. Hopefully, this 
will not just be debated but adopted in this Chamber this week.
  Let me briefly summarize the main points made by my colleagues. 
First, as the Senator from California emphasized, one of the core 
elements of the Ryan budget plan that gives us real pause and concern 
is that it doesn't keep our promises to our seniors, to our veterans, 
and to our most vulnerable populations.
  It block grants Medicaid, it repeals the health care law's expansion 
of Medicaid, it repeals the health care's law exchange subsidies, and, 
more important than anything else, it turns Medicare into a voucher 
program. These are fundamental changes.
  When Chairman Murray began our deliberations as a budget committee, 
she laid out three core values she wanted us to keep in mind; that our 
budget resolution should, first, help grow the economy and help the 
private sector create jobs, and I believe it does that by prioritizing 
critical investments in infrastructure, in education, and in R&D; 
second, to keep our promises to our seniors, to our veterans, to those 
in our country to whom we have made commitments over decades--something 
I would add, that we also continue to respect and embrace a circle of 
protection for the most vulnerable in our society; and last, that we 
make credible progress toward reducing our deficit and debt but in a 
sustainable way that allows us to continue to grow our economy from the 
middle out.
  Let me turn for a few minutes to some criticisms or challenges that

[[Page S2061]]

many of us on the Democratic side of the Senate have of the Ryan 
Republican budget. Briefly, it relies on outlandishly rosy assumptions 
about revenue and spending levels. It counts $716 billion in Medicare 
savings from the very health care reform law it says is repealed, and 
that tension within the Ryan budget is irresolvable.
  Third, $810 billion in Medicaid savings are just cost-shifted onto 
the State governments. As we know, States all across this country are 
struggling to balance their budgets today. These costs are not trimmed. 
They are simply shifted from the Federal Government onto the States.
  Fourth, Ryan relies on $800 billion in undefined savings in mandatory 
programs, significant cuts that would have dramatic and negative 
impacts on our country and on our economy. There is $800 billion in 
cuts that he doesn't specify out of his total $962 billion in overall 
savings to so-called other mandatory spending.
  Last, Ryan claims his tax cuts for the wealthy--which cost more than 
$4.5 trillion--wouldn't add to the deficit. To give some visual sense 
of the likely impact, it is anything but balanced. While Ryan claims 
his budget plan would balance the budget--and I challenge that 
assumption, given all these different mathematical and programmatic 
challenges--it is also doing it in a way that is fundamentally 
unbalanced and that doesn't respect our core values. To double down on 
tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, to give an additional tax 
break of more than one-quarter million dollars a year to the very 
wealthiest Americans while shifting that tax burden onto the middle 
class doesn't make sense. It doesn't meet the test of fairness and it 
doesn't meet the test of sustaining economic growth in a balanced way.
  Last year, the independent Tax Policy Center analyzed the Ryan rate 
reduction, the proposal to reduce rates on the wealthiest Americans to 
25 percent, and estimated that unless those costs were offset with 
corresponding tax hikes, it would add $4.5 trillion to our deficit.
  So which one is it? Does the plan shift tax burden to middle-class 
Americans as was described in some detail by my colleagues or does it 
actually add to the deficit and fail the test of balance?
  Let me move then to the question of revenue and how our budget 
package achieves some contribution to balance going forward. One of the 
things that I think is important for folks watching the difference 
between these two plans to grasp is that both plans make significant 
changes to what my colleague from Maryland talked about as spending 
through the Tax Code.
  We spend almost as much as we receive in revenue through a Tax Code 
that, in the many years since 1986, has become riddled with loopholes, 
exemptions, and special treatments, particularly for the wealthiest and 
best connected. Both plans--the Ryan plan in the House and the 
Democratic plan in the Senate--both close tax loopholes. Out of an 
estimated $14 trillion in these tax expenditures over the next decade, 
the Ryan plan actually cuts $5.7 trillion. The Democratic plan that we 
are moving forward today only cuts 7 percent of these tax expenditures. 
That is how I think we can credibly say it would not cut into those tax 
expenditures relied on by the middle class--things such as the home 
mortgage deduction, the deduction for employer-provided health care, 
the deduction for charitable contributions. This 7-percent reduction in 
tax expenditures is much more modest than the significant amount of 
revenue raised in the Republican plan.
  The more important contrast, though, is to what end. What do we do 
with these two significant differences in revenue raised through 
closing tax loopholes? As I said a few minutes ago, the Ryan plan would 
dedicate it almost exclusively to reducing tax rates for corporations 
and the wealthiest Americans while, in our balanced plan, this is half 
of the total contributions we make toward deficit reduction.
  Let me move toward a close with a few conclusory comments. There are 
reasons to say the House Republican plan makes cuts that will grind our 
economy to a halt, makes cuts that are unduly focused on just those 
areas that we think deserve investment: research and development, 
infrastructure, education, public health. In my view, it wipes out the 
chance for us to continue to expand high-tech manufacturing to ensure 
that we have a more competitive economy, to cure life-threatening 
diseases, and to bring America's economy fully back to health. It 
relies on budget gimmicks and on faulty assumptions. In my view, the 
plan we move forward today is a more balanced and responsible path 
forward to keeping our promises to seniors and veterans, to protecting 
the most vulnerable in our society, to dealing with our deficit and 
debt, and to moving this country forward.
  The future that our budget plan would move us toward is the kind I 
envision for my kids, for my State, and for our country--one where we 
can grow our economy but continue to respect our most basic values.
  Even though the Ryan plan, in my view, fails a basic test of values, 
it also fails a basic test of balance. We have a budget that this body 
will take up and consider today and I hope we will pass. As it passed 
out of committee with the strong leadership of Chairman Murray, I am 
confident it will pass out of this Chamber today. From that passage, it 
is my hope that people of the United States can see us begin to work 
together on a balanced bipartisan plan that will responsibly deal with 
our deficit and debt, grow our economy but continue to respect our most 
fundamental values.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, was the time used there time against the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. No. The Senator from Washington specified that 
the time would be taken off the resolution.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, we understand what is happening here. 
The budget produced by the majority does not balance, doesn't come 
close to balancing, does not change in any measurable way the debt 
course we are on that the Congressional Budget Office Director said is 
  This budget taxes more, it spends more, and does not change the debt 
course we are on; therefore, it is a budget about to bankrupt America 
because, as Mr. Elmendorf said, our current deficit plan endangers our 
  They have used--we have counted--now over 30 times the word 
``balanced.'' We have heard a balanced approach, a balanced plan; a 
balanced approach, a balanced plan. But it does not balance.
  Senator Coons, a great Senator, was a county commissioner. He 
balanced his budget and gained acclaim for it, and it wasn't a balanced 
approach--it was a balanced budget.
  The Presiding Officer has been a Governor and balanced his budget. 
All former Governors in this body balanced budgets--real balance.
  A balanced approach means nothing, nada, zero. A balanced approach 
means nothing. It is an excuse to tax and spend and not change the debt 
course of America. At some point, every Senator is going to have a 
moral responsibility to decide whether they want to stay on that 
  The Ryan budget is not before us. This motion that I have does not 
require the committee to have a Ryan budget. This motion would simply 
say: Committee, go back and look at this budget. Committee, do a budget 
that balances, and if you want to tax oil companies, if you want to tax 
rich people more, lay it out. If you want to cut spending in some other 
area than Ryan wants to cut spending, do so. But remember, Ryan does 
not cut spending.
  We see the chart up here. How much does Ryan cut spending? Ryan's 
budget doesn't cut spending. Our proposal is not to cut spending. It 
increases spending every single year. One of the ways this country is 
going broke is, when they reduce the growth of spending, they say it is 
a cut. That kind of logic is why we are going broke.
  If we change the growth rate from 5.4 percent that we are on now to 
3.4 percent, this budget would balance. We can grow spending every year 
and balance the budget--no net cuts. Some programs ought to be 
eliminated but no net cuts.
  We are glad to have Senator Thune, who has served so ably on the 
Budget Committee for many years, is thoroughly knowledgeable about 
these issues and is part of the leadership in

[[Page S2062]]

our conference and I yield to him on the resolution.
  How much time remains on the resolution?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Approximately, 16 hours, 30 minutes on the 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I yield to Senator Thune.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Alabama for his 
eloquence in laying out what is at stake in this budget debate we are 
having and for also pointing out, once again, that the budget before us 
in the Senate doesn't balance.
  In a way, the speakers who have been here before on the Democratic 
side have been talking about another budget. They are talking about a 
budget that is under consideration in the other House, in the House of 
Representatives. They are not talking about their budget.
  I suspect one of the reasons they don't want to talk about their 
budget is it is a budget that, for all intents and purposes, will hurt 
economic growth, cost jobs, and lower take-home pay for middle-class 
Americans because it doubles down on the failed policies of the past 4 
years, which have consisted of more spending, more borrowing and more 
taxes, and that is what this budget is about.
  I wish to quote something from the Washington Post editorial page in 
regard to the Democratic budget that is before us.

       Except for the part about no imminent crisis, the Senate 
     Democratic budget recognizes none of this.

  They are talking about the challenges we face with regard to the 
fiscal crisis we are in.

       Partisan in tone and complacent in substance, it scores 
     points against the Republicans and reassures the party's 
     liberal base--but deepens these senators' commitment to an 
     unsustainable policy agenda.
       In short, this document gives voters no reason to believe 
     that Democrats have a viable plan for--or even a responsible 
     public assessment of--the country's long-term fiscal 

  This is their assessment of the budget debate that is going on in the 
Senate. The Washington Post editorial page isn't exactly a bastion of 
conservative thought, but note what they say about this: It is not a 
viable plan. It is not even a responsible public assessment of the 
country's long-term fiscal predicament.
  This is precisely what is wrong with this budget and why the 
Democrats who come down to the floor of the Senate aren't talking about 
it. They are coming down to talk about the budget that is under 
consideration today in the House of Representatives--which, 
incidentally, does actually balance in 10 years.
  The first motion that is under consideration in the Senate is to 
recommit this back to produce a balanced budget.
  It strikes me, at least, that I think most Americans would accept the 
logic, if you will--the notion, that we ought to be able to submit a 
balanced budget--at least a budget that balances in a 10-year period.
  Most Americans have to make decisions every single year. They have to 
figure out how they are going to go about balancing their own family 
budget, how to make what is coming in the door meet the expenses that 
they have to deal with in their daily lives. Yet the Democratic budget 
that is before us not only doesn't balance in 10 years, it doesn't 
balance ever--it doesn't balance ever.
  That is why this motion that is before us to recommit this budget to 
the Senate Budget Committee and to produce a budget that actually does 
balance is something I hope my colleagues on both sides will support.
  It is time we got serious about doing the important work of the 
Senate, taking care of the people's business, which is to get spending 
on a more responsible and sustainable fiscal path so future generations 
of Americans aren't saddled with this massive burden of debt, so we can 
protect and save programs--important programs such as Social Security 
and Medicare--which are on a pathway to bankruptcy.
  Social Security is already operating at a cash deficit; in other 
words, there isn't enough money coming in, in the form of payroll 
taxes, to pay the benefits that are due to Social Security 
beneficiaries. Medicare is going to be bankrupt 10 years from now and 
even in the hospital part of that trust fund, by the year 2016, 
according to the CBO.

  It is clear. These things are looking us right in the face. This is 
not something out there on the horizon, these are issues today that 
need to be dealt with. Yet the Democratic budget before us does 
absolutely nothing to address the long-term fiscal challenges facing 
this country. What are we going to do to save Social Security and 
Medicare and Medicaid?
  In fact, according to the CBO, by the year 2023, 10 years from now, 
mandatory spending will represent 91 percent of all Federal spending. 
Think about that. It is about 62 percent today. We are on a trajectory 
and a pathway over the next decade to where 90 cents--over 90 cents out 
of every dollar is paying for those basic core programs with nothing 
left over. How are we going to fund the military or defense or the 
other priorities this government deals with every single day when over 
90 cents out of every dollar is going to be spent on these programs? 
Yet this budget does nothing to address those important fiscal 
  What it does do is it grows government--a 62-percent increase in 
government spending over the next decade. It adds $7.3 trillion to the 
Federal debt, and that is on top of the $6 trillion that has been added 
in the last 4 years. It raises taxes. The Democrats will say it is only 
by $975 billion, about $1 trillion. But if you look inside the numbers, 
they replace the sequester--another $\1/2\ trillion--with a fund, some 
sort of fund. What is going to fund that? Spending cuts? I do not think 
so. We are talking about up to a $1.5 trillion tax increase in this 
budget on top of the $1.7 trillion tax increase we have already seen 
under this President and the Democrats here in the Congress.
  What does that mean? They say it is just a tax on the rich. We just 
need the rich to pay a little more. They need to pay their fair share.
  They got a big, fat tax increase with the fiscal cliff. They got a 
big, fat tax increase with the $1 trillion in ObamaCare. The rich are 
getting hit with higher taxes, but what is happening is a lot of these 
tax increases are starting to hit the middle class, and they are 
starting to figure this out. If you are a middle-class American and 
they are saying: Let's soak the rich a little more, that is OK, the 
rich can pay more--Mr. President, I have to tell you, it is coming at 
you. If you are a middle-class American, you cannot tax the rich enough 
to do all the things these guys want to do to increase Federal spending 
and grow the size of the Federal Government.
  Our focus should not be on growing the government; it ought to be on 
growing the economy. This budget does absolutely nothing to get the 
economy growing again. It simply does what we have done in the past 4 
years; that is, increase spending, increase borrowing, and increase 
  If you don't think the taxes are hitting the middle class already, 
just look at your health insurance premiums because the tax increases 
in ObamaCare were taxes on, yes, medical device companies, taxes on 
your health insurance plan, taxes on pharmaceuticals, all of which are 
being passed on in the form of higher costs to average working 
  We have a crisis in this country that affects the middle-income 
families, people who are out there every single day just trying to do 
their best to make their budget balance and do the important things to 
plan for the future of their children and grandchildren, and here we 
are in Washington, DC, debating yet more policies that are going to 
hurt the economy, going to crush job creation in this country and lower 
take-home pay for those very middle-class American families.
  This is the wrong approach. I hope as we debate this we will have an 
opportunity to vote on amendments. Perhaps there is a way we can make 
this better. I doubt that to be the case. This budget is so far off in 
terms of where we need to be going as a country. If we are serious 
about getting the economy growing and expanding again, creating jobs 
for middle-class Americans, and doing something about the massive 
amount of debt we are passing on to future generations, this budget is 
the exact wrong prescription for that. We can do much better by the 
American people, and we need to. I hope that during the course of this 
debate that will

[[Page S2063]]

become clear and that we will move in a different direction for the 
future of this country.
  I see the leader is here on the floor. I will conclude my remarks at 
least for the time being and allow him to make his.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader is recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from South Dakota. 
He is entirely correct. This budget is extreme, and it is unbalanced. 
What would happen if it passed? We would have a tax hike of up to $1.5 
trillion. That would be the largest in U.S. history. It would cost the 
average middle-class family literally thousands.
  Democrats here in Washington, as Senator Thune and Senator Sessions 
pointed out, already just got billions of dollars in new taxes at the 
end of the year--about $600 billion because the tax law expired, the 
fiscal cliff; then they got $1 trillion more out of ObamaCare. So this 
would be on top of all of that--$1.5 trillion on top of the $1.6 
trillion that is already going into effect. And there is a nearly two-
thirds increase in big government spending.
  It would siphon $\1/2\ trillion out of our economy and into the hands 
of Washington bureaucrats and the people in Congress to spend; 42 
percent more debt, with each American owing up to $73,000; and an 
average of 850,000 fewer jobs every year. That is about 11,500 jobs in 
the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Medicare would be allowed to go bankrupt 
in a few years, and this budget would not balance--not this year, not 
tomorrow, not ever.
  A lot of Democrats here in Washington are saying they simply don't 
care about balancing the budget anymore. It certainly shows with this 
one. Their budget will not give Americans a better economy. There won't 
be any real job creation or the kind of deficit reduction we all know 
the country needs, just a massive tax hike and more spending to grow 
the bureaucracy from the pockets of the middle class out.
  Our Democratic friends here in Washington like to say that budgets 
are not just about dollars and cents, they are about values. What their 
budget tells me is that they have completely lost touch with the hopes 
and concerns and aspirations of their constituents, that they are 
putting the needs of government ahead of those who elected them. The 
budget we waited 4 years for--4 long years we have waited for a 
Democratic budget--is just a rehash of the extreme policies that 
continue to pummel the middle class. As all of us have said, it is time 
to grow the economy, not the government.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, we have among the many people who serve in 
the Senate some people who have balanced budgets and done it----
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time to the Senator from South 
Dakota? The Senator from Alabama?
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I yield to the Senator from South Dakota 
such time as he and Senator Johanns would utilize.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, if you would, that would be from the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. I thank the Senator.
  The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. We have among the Senators who serve in the Senate people 
who have balanced budgets and done it the old-fashioned way, the hard 
way, one of whom is the former Governor of the State of Nebraska, now 
Senator, Mike Johanns. Senator Johanns, like me, comes from the 
midwestern part of the country where common sense prevails and where 
people are not unaccustomed to having to tighten their belts a little 
bit during difficult times. As a consequence of that, many of those 
States in that part of the country are well managed, and they elect 
leaders who bring those types of principles to their leadership and to 
the way they govern among their States.
  So the Senator from Nebraska, Mr. Johanns, has a long record--not 
only as a Governor, I might add, but as a mayor. He has been an 
executive. He knows what it is like to make those hard decisions, and 
he is someone who, like me, is very concerned that we get on a more 
sustainable fiscal path for this country, get our fiscal house here in 
Washington, DC, in order, and make sure we are not bankrupting this 
country and saddling the next generation with massive amounts of debt.
  I yield to my colleague from Nebraska, Senator Johanns.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mr. JOHANNS. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from South Dakota for 
a nice introduction. I appreciate the opportunity to speak today on the 
budget that has been proposed by the majority party.
  If I might lay a little groundwork, in addition to what the Senator 
from South Dakota said about me, my time in elected office dates back 
to 1983. I was first elected to be a county commissioner in Lancaster 
County. After that, I went to the Lincoln City Council, where I served 
for a couple of years, primarily because I had concerns about where the 
budget of the city of Lincoln was headed. I ran for mayor of Lincoln, 
and I served two terms as mayor of the city of Lincoln in a strong 
mayor form of government. From there I went to the Governor's office of 
the State of Nebraska, and from there I went on to become Secretary of 
Agriculture in the Bush administration, and 4 years ago I joined the 
Senate after running for election.
  I have dealt with government budgets all of my career. I worked on my 
first budget when I was 32 years old. The one thing I knew was that it 
had to be balanced or it was not going to work. I have submitted 
budgets over and over again through those years, all balanced.
  But let me focus a little more intently on the State of Nebraska and 
my time as Governor there. Nebraskans have a very practical approach to 
spending money. It is very straightforward. If you don't have the 
money, you don't spend it. It is that straightforward. You see, in our 
constitution, when the founders of our State wrote our State 
constitution, they worried about the very thing that is happening with 
this budget being presented by the majority. They worried that there 
would be politicians who would figure out that if they just kept 
borrowing and spending, they could get themselves reelected over and 
over. But they also realized that was no course for a State, so they 
put into our constitution that the politicians could borrow $100,000. I 
suspect that when our constitution was written over 100 years ago, many 
at that time looked at $100,000 and said to themselves: That is a 
handsome amount of money. Obviously, in today's world, $100,000 doesn't 
get you very far. In those years--post-9/11, I might add, when the 
economy had tanked because of what happened on 9/11--we were not only 
balancing the budget, we were not borrowing money to do it.
  The other thing I would say is this. The Presiding Officer 
understands this as a former Governor. There was always a day of 
reckoning for the Governor. It was called the State of the State 
address, when you would walk into a chamber like this and you would lay 
out your plan for the State, and every media outlet in the State was 
there examining every word of the budget you submitted, every single 
senator was listening to every word you had to say, and if you laid out 
a plan that did not work or was filled with gimmicks, then the 
editorials the next day were devastating. You could never do that.
  Let me compare that experience over those many years doing those many 
things with what I am faced with today as a Senator. This is what I am 
faced with. In order to support this budget, I, a former Governor, 
mayor, county commissioner, city council member who has balanced every 
single budget I ever submitted, would have to go home to Nebraskans and 
say this: My fellow Nebraskans, I just supported a budget that has over 
a $1 trillion tax increase. I would have to go on to say: That would be 
on top of the $600 billion tax increase last year. That would be on top 
of the $1 trillion of new tax increases in ObamaCare, and that is what 
I would have to say in order to support this budget to the citizens of 
Nebraska. I would also have to say to them that notwithstanding the 
fact that I have balanced your budgets for over 30 years in every 
budget I ever submitted, our Nation's debt in this budget will grow by 
$24.4 trillion by the end of the 10-year budget cycle. That is $7.3 
trillion in new debt.

[[Page S2064]]

  Let me just offer a thought on that. One could argue that at my age, 
age 62, maybe that doesn't mean a lot. After all, the Good Lord 
willing, I am probably not going to be on this Earth forever. It is 
just the way it works for human beings. Let me look around and see who 
is going to pay for this. Well, I know this weekend when I go back 
home--if we get back home--I am going to see my kids and grandkids. My 
kids are in their thirties. I am going to see my grandkids who range in 
age from 5 to 13. I am not going to have to look very far because if I 
vote for this budget, I am saying to my kids and my grandkids: I hope 
your life turns out OK because you are taking on, at the end of this 
10-year budget window, $24.4 trillion of debt.
  Now, let me compare that to how I started my adult life. When I was 
20 years old, this Nation owed $380 billion of debt. So what I am 
saying to my kids and grandkids is I supported this budget, because 
here is where you are going to end up. You are going to end up starting 
your adult life with about $25 trillion of debt. I started my life with 
$380 billion. So when there is a war--which I wish I could say it will 
never happen, but it does--when there is a flu pandemic, when you want 
to do something more to educate your children, you are going to be 
  They are going to be paying back the debt I ran up during my life if 
I support this budget. This budget balloons the debt by 42 percent. 
That is what I will tell my kids and grandkids when I go home this 
weekend if I vote for this budget.
  Net interest on the debt over the 10 years will total $5.2 trillion. 
What do we get out of that? What can we tell our kids and grandkids 
they get out of that? Well, they get to pay China back for lending us 
money. No schools will be built, there are no new teachers who will be 
hired, and there is no better health care which will be provided. That 
is just to service the debt our generation is running up.
  Our debt, as a percentage of the gross domestic product under this 
budget, never goes below 90 percent of our economy. Actually, for 4 out 
of the 10 years it is over 100 percent. Every economist will say if we 
get into that stratosphere, the warning lights will be going off, the 
flags will be waving--stop, stop, stop borrowing the money. If I would 
have suggested anything like this as the Governor of Nebraska or the 
mayor of Lincoln, I would have been laughed out of the chamber.
  Annual deficits. Even with all of the tax increases and gimmicks 
under this budget, we never get under $400 billion a year in new debt 
we are taking on. It ranges between $891 billion annually--on top of 
the nearly $17 trillion we owe today--to $407 billion annually. We 
never get close to a balance.
  Senator Sessions says it so well: Balanced? What is balanced about 
this? I have been balancing budgets my whole life. This is not 
balanced. This is crazy. This is insane. This is adding debt to the 
shoulders of our children and grandchildren who are already up to their 
eyeballs in debt because of the spending that is going on.
  Looking at the spending, it actually increases. Today's budget is 
$3.6 trillion. Under this budget--if I vote for this--it will go to 
$5.7 trillion in 2023, and that is a 60-percent increase.
  Entitlements. You know what. I am 62 years old and in June I will be 
63. Two more years until Medicare, and a little bit after that I will 
receive Social Security. People have talked about this great benefit 
that Senators get. Well, I said to a group back in Nebraska, at 65 I am 
going to get this great benefit. I am not going to have to pay much for 
it, and it is going to pay for my health care costs until the moment of 
my death. Everybody was looking at me. Wow, what is that plan? I said: 
Ladies and gentlemen, it is Medicare.
  I said: At a point in my life where I could afford to pay something 
for it--and I would be happy to do that. I am not the richest person in 
the Senate, but I am not the poorest either. So I am going to go on 
this program and pass it on to my kids and grandkids. Is there anybody 
here who wants to get up and say: My gosh, that is fair.
  That is not fair. We should not be doing that. It is not right. What 
does this budget do to address that problem? Nothing.
  In a townhall meeting I was at in Lincoln recently, I said: If you 
are 62 years old, it is probably going to work out for you. We will 
probably borrow enough money to get Medicare and Social Security 
throughout my life. For those 40-year-old Members in the Senate or 
citizens who come to my townhall meeting, I am sorry, but I cannot make 
that promise to them. The trustees are telling us we cannot make that 
  We waited 4 years for a budget from the majority. Year after year the 
majority leader would come down, stand right there and say: We are not 
going to be doing a budget this year. I wonder what the city council 
meeting would have been like if I would have gone down in Lincoln, NE, 
and said: I have been thinking about this, and I will not be doing a 
budget this year for the city of Lincoln. As Governor, I cannot imagine 
walking into our chamber back home and saying: I have been thinking 
about it, and I will not be doing a budget this year. Justifiably so, 
the people of the great State of Nebraska would have been looking for a 
new Governor and trying to figure out how to run the existing Governor 
out of office. Yet that is what we have been doing for the last 4 
  We have waited 4 years, and we finally get a budget that does nothing 
for this country except increase taxes, increase the debt, increase 
spending, increase borrowing, and lay it off on our kids and grandkids 
with whom we will all go home and spend time this weekend--if we get 
out of here. It is not right.
  Even the newspapers have figured it out. USA Today says:

       Disappointing . . . namby-pamby plan that underwhelms at 
     every turn . . . neither balances the budget or reins in 

  Now, I read the Washington Post, but I have to say, they are not 
always the most favorable to Republicans, and that is the 
understatement of the day. Here is what the Washington Post said: 
``Gives voters no reason to believe Democrats have a viable plan.'' 
Boy, talk about a condemnation of a plan.

  The Wall Street Journal said: ``Much higher taxes to fund much higher 
spending to finance a much bigger government.''
  The Hill said: ``The Murray budget does not contain net spending cuts 
with the sequester turned off.''
  I talked at length today about going home and explaining what a 
``yes'' vote would mean on this budget. I am not going to do that. I am 
not going to go home and tell people I voted for this budget. I just 
want people to know right now that I will be a ``no'' vote on this 
budget. I will be a ``no'' vote because somebody has to stand for the 
people who are ultimately going to pay the bill.
  We cannot pull the wool over the eyes of Nebraskans. They are just 
too darn discerning. They do not believe for a moment that all of this 
debt and spending and taxation is going to be financed by the rich 
guys. They realize that at the end of the day, this is going to visit 
home, and this is going to hammer the very people who are out there 
ranching, farming, running small businesses, and trying to pay their 
bills and educate their kids so maybe even they can leave a little 
something behind for the grandkids. That is what we are facing.
  We are facing literally a situation where if we don't stand up to 
this, the day is not very far off where people's Social Security is in 
jeopardy, their Medicare is in jeopardy, Medicaid is in jeopardy, and 
we leave our children and grandchildren with this massive pile of debt. 
There is just no way to deal with it unless we just slam their standard 
of living and tax the living daylights out of everybody, and that is 
where this is headed. There is no way I could justify this vote back 
  I proudly announce that today I will be a ``no'' vote on this budget 
resolution, and I will do everything I can to stop it. It is the wrong 
course for our country.
  I yield back to the Senator from South Dakota.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, the Senator from Nebraska could not have 
put it better. He has great experience with budgets and the people of 
Nebraska, who are similar to the people I represent in South Dakota.
  Someone else who is also from a very similar State, the State of 
North Dakota--he is yet another Governor who,

[[Page S2065]]

when he came here, came here in many respects because of his record of 
accomplishment as a Governor. The people of North Dakota elected him by 
an overwhelming margin largely because he knows how important it is 
that a State and country live within their means and that they not 
spend money they do not have. The Governor, and now Senator, of North 
Dakota has a long and incredibly strong record when it comes to fiscal 
matters. Again, like me, he represents a constituency which understands 
very clearly what is at stake when it comes to balancing our budget and 
making sure we are not handing that debt down to those children and 
  It is great to have here the Senator, my colleague and neighbor from 
North Dakota.
  Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from 
South Dakota.
  I am pleased to be here to discuss this very important issue, the 
matter of our budget, for this great Nation and to follow my 
distinguished colleague from Nebraska. I have had a tremendous 
opportunity to work with both of these Senators. Senator Thune and I 
have been friends for many years and have worked on many issues 
important to this country and the Dakotas. Likewise, I have had an 
opportunity to work with Senator Johanns when I was Governor of North 
Dakota; he was Governor of Nebraska.
  I want to pick up on some of his comments, but I am going to start 
out in a broader sense; that is, we are here today to debate a budget 
for this country. It is something we need to do. It needs to be a 
budget that moves the country forward. It needs to be a budget that 
helps us meet the challenges the American people want us to address. It 
needs to be a budget that sets the right priorities. It needs to be a 
budget that will help us truly reduce our debt and our deficit, and 
that means it needs to balance. It needs to be a budget that balances 
in a timely way. It needs to balance without raising taxes.
  We have millions of people in this country who want a job. They want 
to get back to work, and raising taxes will absolutely hurt our 
economic growth and hurt their ability to get a job and to get back to 
work. At the same time we are talking about reducing our deficit and 
our debt. That means we have to control our spending and find ways to 
cut and reduce spending in an intelligent way, but at the same time we 
need economic growth. We cannot have higher taxes to hurt that economic 
growth, which kills jobs, but also it is that very economic growth, not 
higher taxes, that produces the revenue--again, combined with the right 
kind of controlled spending reductions--that gets our debt and deficit 
under control. The fact is this budget doesn't meet those very 
fundamental tests. It raises taxes by $1 trillion--more than $1 
trillion. That would be the largest tax increase in the history of our 
country. That will hurt our economy. That will hurt our ability to get 
people back to work. That will hurt the economic growth we need to 
actually create revenue to address the debt and the deficit. So more 
than $1 trillion in higher taxes that will truly hurt our economy. Yet, 
even with a $1 trillion tax increase, the budget doesn't balance. Think 
about that: $1 trillion in tax increases and the budget doesn't 
balance. Does that make sense? I don't mean it doesn't balance this 
year; I don't mean it doesn't balance in 10 years; it doesn't balance.

  So we can go through all the individual numbers and talk about all 
the different aspects of this budget in great detail, and we will. But 
for starters, on a fundamental basis, the Presiding Officer was a 
former Governor, as was my colleague from Nebraska, and there are 
others in this Chamber. We were required by the constitution of our 
respective States to submit budgets that balanced, and balanced every 
single year. This budget raises taxes by over $1 trillion on the 
American people, the largest tax increase in the history of our 
country, and it never balances. That is not setting the right 
  The Senator from Nebraska spoke a little bit about how he as a 
Governor approached presenting a budget, and it is something every 
Governor has to do. They have to present a budget to their respective 
legislatures that sets the right priorities.
  When I did that budgeting process, the way I approached it was to 
say, OK, our budget first has to fund the right priorities. We have to 
set priorities. There is always more demand than there are resources 
available, so we have to determine what the right priorities are and 
fund those priorities in the best way we can. We can't fund everything, 
so we have to set the right priorities.
  Second, in our State--and I know in many States--we said as well that 
we also needed to have a rainy day fund. We needed to be prepared for 
the future. We shouldn't be running big debt and deficits; we should be 
having reserves for a rainy day. We should have an adequate reserve 
fund for the future.
  Third, we always looked to determine how we could reduce the tax 
burden on our hard-working citizens, the taxpayers of our respective 
States or the taxpayers of this country.
  So fund priorities, build proper reserves, be fiscally sound and 
responsible, just as we do for our homes and businesses. We want to 
make sure we are in strong financial shape, we are fiscally solid and 
sound, have a reserve, and reduce the tax burden on our hard-working 
taxpayers. This budget does none of those fundamental things that go 
into building the right kind of budget. That is why I can't support 
this budget and we should not pass this budget.
  As we look at our country today, we have to get people back to work. 
We have to get our economy growing. We have to reduce our deficit and 
our debt. We need to do it for our well-being today, for the well-being 
of our country today, and we need to do it for our children. This is 
about our kids. This is absolutely about our kids. So that means we 
have to have a budget that reduces our spending, that sets the right 
priorities, that controls and reduces spending. At the same time, we 
need progrowth tax reform and not higher taxes that hurt our economy. 
We need progrowth tax reform that gets our economy going, that gets 
people back to work. And with a growing economy, we get revenue from 
growth, not higher taxes. We need to reform our vital programs. We 
need, in a bipartisan way, to reform our programs such as Social 
Security and Medicare so we preserve and protect them for the long run. 
That is what the American people want. That is what the American people 
are asking us to do.
  So as we set this direction with this budget--something that is 
incredibly important for our country--with all of these different 
aspects, we have to have the right priorities. This budget does not 
have the right priorities.
  Members have to ask themselves as they vote on this budget: Does this 
budget set the right priorities? Does it properly control our spending? 
Will it put our fiscal house in order? Does it increase or reduce the 
tax burden on our hard-working taxpayers? We should ask ourselves those 
questions as we deliberate.
  I know the American people will be asking those same questions. Those 
are the priorities that have to be fully evaluated and properly 
addressed in any budget, and this budget doesn't do that. For that 
reason I cannot support it, and I believe it should not be passed. I 
believe we should go back to work and create a budget that truly does 
those things: controls spending, sets the right priorities, doesn't 
raise taxes, and that truly does what the American people want and need 
us to do.
  With that, I turn again to my distinguished colleague from South 
Dakota. I thank him for leading this colloquy, and I look forward to 
working with him on this very important issue.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from North Dakota. I 
think he put it absolutely right in terms of what the priorities should 
be and what the stakes are in the budget debate. I thank him for his 
leadership on this issue.
  I want to close with one final point he made. He spoke a lot about 
the impact on the economy and what happens when we get economic growth. 
His State is a good example of this, because the State of North Dakota 
has a growing economy. And when we have a growing economy, we have 
people who are making money, people who are working, people who are 
investing, and that means people are paying more taxes, and that is how 
we get more revenue. What we need is a growing economy.

[[Page S2066]]

  In the last 4 years, the average growth rate is less than 1 percent, 
eight-tenths of 1 percent. The 60-year average of economic growth, 
post-World War II, is 3.3 percent. So we are growing at less than 1 
percent. In the last 4 years we have added $6 trillion to the debt, and 
we still have 12 million people unemployed and an unemployment rate 
that continues to hover around 8 percent.
  Having said that, wouldn't we think we would want to try something 
different and go in a different direction? Yet this budget doubles 
down. It flat doubles down on these failed policies of the past 4 years 
that are antigrowth, antijobs, and continue to tax and spend and borrow 
as if there is no tomorrow. We need a different path. We need a 
different approach.
  So I hope, as we have this debate over the course of the next couple 
of days, it will become clear not only to the Senators here in this 
Chamber but to the American people who really is interested in getting 
revenue the right way, which is through growing our economy, creating 
jobs, getting Americans back to work, and doing something about the 
debt and the spending crisis we have in this country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I yield 60 minutes to the Senator from 
Virginia. Both Senators from Virginia are here. They are both great 
members of our committee who have contributed a great deal of time and 
effort in helping us get on to a path of sustainable economic recovery 
and deficit reduction. I appreciate the work of both of them.
  I yield to the Senator from Virginia to offer a resolution.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, let me, first of all, thank the chairman 
of the committee for her great work in putting together what is this 
first step toward getting this issue that has plagued this body and 
plagued this country behind us.
  This budget, as I have said to her and others, wouldn't have been the 
exact one I would have drafted. However, it reflects the varying 
concerns of the Democratic caucus. It is a budget that is credible, 
that is real, that moves us forward, and that has as part of its core 
all of the critical ingredients.
  Anyone who has looked at this problem--I know the chairman of the 
committee has, I know the ranking member has; many of us have wrestled 
with this; all of the bipartisan groups have wrestled with this issue--
have all said we have to do three or four things. No. 1, we have to 
have additional revenues. No. 2, we have to do entitlement reform. No. 
3, we do need, yes, smart, targeted cuts on both the discretionary side 
and the defense side.
  The Democratic budget, compared to what has now been as I understand 
in the last hour passed by the House, is the only document, the only 
budget that has all four of the component parts of any solution that 
will get this problem of the $16.5 trillion debt that our Nation faces, 
and a debt that goes up by $3 billion a day, to start putting a 
realistic, real plan in place to attack this problem in a real way.
  I wish my colleagues from North and South Dakota were still here, 
because I, as was my good friend and colleague, the Senator from North 
Dakota, was a Governor as well and, yes, we had to balance our budgets. 
I and my colleague, my great friend, the junior Senator from Virginia, 
was a Governor as well. I have to tell my colleagues, I will match our 
record of fiscal responsibility in Virginia and progrowth policies in 
Virginia with any State in the Nation. Independent rankings have named 
Virginia the best managed State in the country, the best State for 
business, the best State for educational opportunity. Those are not my 
words, not the words of the Senator from Virginia, but independent 
  How did we get there? Well, the remarkable thing was what we had in 
Virginia because of actions of prior administrations. When I came in 
and when the Senator from Virginia was my lieutenant governor, we had a 
structural budget deficit. How did we have that structural budget 
deficit? One, because we had spent too much, yes, but also what we put 
in place was a tax code and a revenue stream that would never meet the 
needs of basic operations of government.
  That analogy is actually what we face now in the United States of 
America. Yes, we do need to find ways to limit our spending. But what I 
find curious from all of my colleagues who talk about this issue is 
their constant focus on the spend side with virtually no mention of 
what we in this Nation have done on the revenue side.
  Anybody who can read a balance sheet--and I take great pride in the 
fact that I was a businessman long before I was a politician--realizes 
we have a revenue side and spending side. If we take a moment and look 
at what previous Congresses have done on the revenue side, back in 
early 2002, 2003, we put in place a tax cut that cut $4.5 trillion out 
of the revenue stream over 10 years. We had an expectation we would see 
budget surpluses as far as the eye could see. Well, I think there is 
not an economist anywhere or, for that matter, virtually any elected 
official, who would at least acknowledge privately that in retrospect 
that was a tax cut of unsustainable proportions. What is particularly 
remarkable when we talk about growth is that some of the period of our 
Nation's highest economic growth took place during the 1990s under 
President Clinton when we had a Tax Code that generated that additional 
$4.5 trillion of revenue over a 10-year period.
  What is remarkable about all of the debates and all of the groups 
that have looked at this, all of which have included new revenue back 
into the revenue stream along with targeted cuts, along with 
entitlement reform, is that every one of those independent reviews of 
our problem has said the only way we get a balanced approach to get 
this debt and deficit under control is yes, cuts, yes, entitlement 
reform, but, yes, additional revenue as well.
  The plan that is most often cited on this floor is the Simpson-Bowles 
report. Simpson-Bowles, on a 10-year basis, based upon the baselines 
they used in 2010, would have generated $2.2 trillion of net new 
revenue--$2.2 trillion of net new revenue. Again, thinking about that 
in the context of what we cut, that is less than half of the amount of 
taxes we cut back in 2003. So even the most ambitious proposal has said 
we do not need to go back to the Clinton tax rates when our country was 
prospering at unparalleled rates. We do not need to put back all of 
that revenue. We do not even need to put 50 percent of that revenue 
back in. But we do need to put somewhere between one-third and 40 
percent of the revenue back into the revenue stream to make sure we 
correct the structural deficit on both the spending side and the 
revenue side.
  What does this budget do? Well, we put $600 billion back in on New 
Year's Eve in a deal where many of us maybe had to hold our nose or our 
breath on, but it was back in the revenue stream. We put on top of that 
now another $1 trillion back in--$975 billion back into the revenue 
stream. That puts us at $1.575 trillion of net new revenue back in--
$1.575 trillion--literally only one-third of the revenue that was taken 
out with the $4.5 trillion tax cut in the so-called Bush tax cuts.
  So I find it a little strange for those who are saying: Let's look at 
the country's balance sheet--and, yes, we have to cut spending--not to 
reflect back upon the incredible growth we had back in the 1990s and 
recognize we have both a structural problem on the spending side but 
also a structural problem on the revenue side.
  I have to tell you, from any kind of reasonable standpoint, putting 
one-third of the revenues we took away back into the revenue stream 
seems to me to be a reasonable, balanced, thoughtful, and, candidly, on 
any kind of operational basis, business basis, fiscally conservative 
  I have colleagues here, and I want to engage in a conversation about 
sequester, but I also have to make one other point that particularly 
bothers me about what the House, which just passed their budget, did 
and I assume that many of my Republican colleagues, I guess, are 
  I 100 percent agree with my colleagues that we have to have a growth 
agenda in America. You cannot, no matter how much you cut, cut your way 
to prosperity. And you cannot--and I know our Republican colleagues 
agree--you cannot spend your way and tax your way to prosperity. You 
have to have a growth agenda.

[[Page S2067]]

  Well, for 20 years before I got into politics, my business was 
investing in businesses that were growth businesses. I was a venture 
capitalist. I was proud to cofound Nextel, close to 70 other 
technology-related companies. Anybody who was an investor in 
businesses--whether you were me or whether you were Mitt Romney at Bain 
Capital--looked at a couple of key components of any business in which 
you would invest. There were generally three items you would look at on 
any business plan. One was, did that business invest in its workforce, 
because in a global economy there is a global competition for talent, 
and the most important criteria you can look at, if a business is going 
to be successful, is, are the workers going to be trained and are they 
going to be able to compete and do the job?
  The second thing you would look at--of any business I would look at--
is, does that business have a plan to invest in its plant and 
equipment? Whether you are creating software or making widgets, are you 
going to stay current in a very competitive marketplace with how you 
make things?
  The third issue is, no matter how successful your business is today, 
are you going to stay competitive in this global economy and how do you 
stay ahead of the competition, because no matter how good you are 
today, somebody tomorrow is going to come up with a new idea.
  I would invest in businesses that met those three criteria. I would 
say that former Governor Romney had a very successful record at Bain in 
many cases. I bet he looked at those same three criteria.
  Countries, in a very similar way, have their own business plans, and 
budgets kind of reflect those business plans. We may call it different 
items, but we have those same three criteria: workforce, plant and 
equipment, staying ahead of the competition. We just call it different 
items. We call it our investment in education and workforce training. 
In terms of plant and equipment, we call it our investment in 
infrastructure because how well your economy, how well your country is 
going to do is how well your roads, your rail, your ports, and your 
broadband are, how well you can move goods and equipment in an 
efficient and effective manner. The third item is, how do you stay 
ahead of your competition? Well, in the global economy, staying ahead 
of your competition means, what is going to be your value added? That 
is going to be your intellectual capital and your ideas. That means 
research and development.
  Well, under the growth agenda criteria, under the business plan 
criteria, under the investment criteria, the House budget that just 
passed--and I hope I find my Republican colleagues will contradict me 
and say: No, no, we do not want to do this, but the House budget that 
just passed takes Federal domestic discretionary spending, which is 
currently only 16 cents on every tax dollar that we spend in America--
and for those viewers, in English, non-Washingtonese, domestic 
discretionary spending is, yes, money we spend on the environment and 
energy and law enforcement and early childhood, but it is also the 
money we spend in the Federal Government on education, infrastructure, 
and research and development. It takes that 16 cents--not a very high 
number right now even--and takes it over about a 20-year period to less 
than 5 cents.
  I have to tell you, I would never invest in a business that spent 
less than 5 percent of its revenues on its workforce, its plant and 
equipment, and staying ahead of the competition. I would never invest 
as a nation in a nation that is spending less than 5 percent of its 
revenues on the education of its people, the infrastructure of its 
nation, and the research and development to stay ahead of the 
  I tell you, I have spent a lot of time as somebody who looks at what 
some of our competitive countries are doing. China is spending, just on 
infrastructure, four times the percentage of their GDP what we are; 
India, significantly more as a percentage of their GDP on education; 
even Europe, with all its challenges, significantly more than what this 
House budget would spend on America's business plan, on America's 
growth agenda.
  I have to tell you, I would never invest in it. I have to tell you, I 
would really question if Governor Romney, whom I have great respect for 
with his business acumen--I do not think Bain Capital would ever invest 
in a business plan for America that spent less than 5 percent of its 
revenue on its growth agenda and its ability to stay ahead of the rest 
of the world.

  So I hope over this coming debate we can talk about growth agendas, 
we can talk about revenues, we can talk about balance, we can talk 
about looking at our plan from any historic perspective. But what I 
want to turn to now--and I apologize to my colleagues who are on the 
floor--is the question of sequester.
  Back in August of 2011, when we got close to the budget ceiling 
debacle--not exactly a high point for this institution or Congress, and 
we could debate about who had the idea or where it came from 
originally, but what was curious about that was we set up a process 
that said: We are going to figure this out in a way where we will never 
get to sequester.
  I use the analogy for sequester--some of us are old enough--my good 
friend, the Senator from Maine, may recall the movie ``Blazing 
Saddles.'' In that movie, ``Blazing Saddles,'' the sheriff comes out 
and puts a gun to his head, and all the townspeople come up and say: Oh 
my gosh, the sheriff may pull the trigger.
  We in Congress set up that circumstance with the sequester, and 
unfortunately 2 weeks ago we allowed that trigger to be pulled. Because 
I believe, as somebody who cut spending as the Governor of Virginia--
and I know my colleague, the new Senator from Virginia, cut spending as 
well--we know how to make cuts. But there are smart cuts and smart ways 
to cut, and there are stupid ways to cut, and there could not be 
created a more stupid way to cut than sequester.
  There are 975 separate line items in the Navy budget. Those 975 
separate line items in the Navy budget are not of equal value to the 
taxpayer, nor are they of equal value to the defense of this Nation. 
But within the framework of sequester, we do not have any ability to 
pick and prioritize the way any reasonable business leader or any 
reasonable Governor would. We had to cut them all of an equal amount. 
The remarkable thing that is happening--and, again, my friend, the 
Senator from Virginia, will talk to this more--is that there is example 
after example, under the name of sequester, that supposedly we are 
cutting spending where we are actually going to cost the taxpayer more 
than any perceived savings. I will just cite two examples before I turn 
to my friend from Virginia.
  For those viewers, the American government actually does get certain 
things right. We have even gotten a law that if we do any bulk 
purchases, we have to get at least a 10-percent discount. If we buy 10 
tanks instead of 1 tank, we get a discount. If we buy more than one 
Virginia class submarine, we get them at $2 billion apiece. If we buy 
them individually, they cost $2.5 billion apiece.
  Under the name of sequester, if this is allowed to continue, we will 
have times where we will have to violate those contracts and not only 
pay a penalty cost but then not receive the government discount because 
of volume purchasing. It does not mean we are not going to still have 
to buy the same amount; it just means it is going to cost the taxpayer 
more money.
  In the case of research, the National Institutes of Health does some 
remarkable work, but anybody who follows medical research knows you 
cannot normally finish a research project in a single year. So it may 
take 4 or 5 years to do a cancer research project. If we allow 
sequester to continue, you may have 4 years of a cancer research 
project done, but because you cannot discriminate between projects, you 
cannot let that fifth year of the contract, so the first 4 years of 
that research is flushed down the toilet.
  My colleagues, there has to be a better way to deal with this. Our 
budget, which replaces sequester with half revenues and half more 
targeted spending cuts, I believe moves us in that right direction. We 
in Virginia, in many ways, are ground zero of the effects of sequester. 
Many States have not begun to feel it. They will at some point.
  I would like to turn to my colleague, my good friend, the new Senator 
from Virginia, somebody who serves now on the Armed Services Committee 
and has

[[Page S2068]]

made hard choices as Governor as well, who knows what it takes to have 
a balanced approach to continue to grow the economy. He has continued 
the kinds of accolades that Virginia has received. I would like to ask 
the Senator from Virginia if he would be willing to explain in a little 
bit more detail some of the challenges we face at ground zero in 
Virginia around sequester and why the approach we have taken in our 
Senate budget is better than the status quo approach we are now having 
to deal with.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I would be happy to address that question 
from my senior Senator and good friend, Mr. Warner. As he indicated--
and I think I can maybe say it a little bit more strongly than he could 
because he would be a little bit modest. I know of many people in this 
body who have great experience in governance, great experience in the 
business sector. I do not know of anyone who has worked harder on 
issues of fiscal responsibility and who has a greater track record in 
the business world of understanding what true fiscal responsibility is 
than my colleague Senator Warner, and I am glad to engage in this 
colloquy with him.
  I also want to thank our chairwoman, Senator Murray, for a job well 
done in helping shepherd this budget through committee to the floor. 
This debate, both in committee and here on the floor, that will take 
place in the next few days will illuminate important choices we need to 
make as a nation and will illuminate important differences between the 
Senate's approach and the House's approach.
  I echo comments Senator Warner made. This Senate budget is a 
compromise, like all are, and there will be more compromise that should 
take place in any normal process. But the budget does a very good job 
in a number of ways. It tackles the task, the challenging task of 
deficit reduction to get us to figures that would be very much the 
equivalent of what had been recommended in the Simpson-Bowles report, 
as Senator Warner indicated. It focuses upon economic growth, a growth 
agenda, which is the most important thing we need to be focused on in 
this body, and it does it in a balanced way that incorporates real 
savings and also appropriate reform of revenues.
  It is impossible to fix a balance sheet by just focusing on one side 
of the balance sheet. Business leaders know this. Governors know this. 
Everyday Americans know this. I commend Chairwoman Murray and the other 
members of the committee, and I echo the comments made by my colleague, 
Senator Warner, about the budget having the critical components.
  I feel very confident, if this budget were enacted as is with no 
change to an apostrophe, comma, or a line item, this budget would be a 
positive result for the American economy. It would promote growth, and 
it would find us continuing on a path to responsible deficit reduction 
to reach the levels of debt, deficit, or GDP which are appropriate from 
economic terms.
  I would not say the same about the House budget. If it were enacted 
without a change, comma, or apostrophe, it would not be a positive 
thing for the American economy--it could be somewhat catastrophic or 
cataclysmic for the economy.
  To get to the question, my senior Senator and friend has asked me 
about the effects of sequester in Virginia. As some of you might know, 
I took the floor for my maiden speech on this topic last month--a 
little bit earlier than I would have wished to have spoken as a 
freshman Senator. With the spectre of the sequester having such a 
significant effect on the Commonwealth of Virginia, I felt I couldn't 
be silent on it. A Senator colleague from Hawaii is here, Senator 
Hirono, who I know feels equally strongly about this issue.
  I took a tour throughout Virginia in the middle of February, which 
was designed as sequester was looming. We spoke to people who were 
affected, especially in the armed services area. I heard their stories 
about the sequester and the anxieties and threats it posed. Beginning 
in early April, 90,000 DOD civilian employees will begin to be 
furloughed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, hundreds of thousands 
nationally. This will have a very significant effect on the kitchen 
table, family pocketbook discussions which are happening all over the 
Commonwealth. This will be a very significant change to the individuals 
and the lives of their communities.
  Mr. WARNER. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. KAINE. I yield to the Senator.
  Mr. WARNER. I would ask the Senator, I know he has seen and is very 
familiar with these installations and their families because of his 
tenure as Governor. You may also want to make the point: in an area 
such as Hampton Roads where you put these folks on furlough with 
literally 88,000, 98,000 immediately affected, will the Senator speak 
about the point of the ripple effect this has for literally thousands 
of others who provide the support services--restaurants, gas stations, 
auto repair, you name it--which rely on those folks having jobs as 
  Mr. KAINE. Absolutely. I am pleased the Senator brought this up. When 
folks are furloughed and they see their pay reduced, they will spend 
less at the drycleaner and less at the restaurant. They will delay the 
purchase of the automobile they planned for this year. They will be 
doing all kinds of things to tighten their spending. This will affect 
shopkeepers and merchants in their area.
  When I was Governor, early in my term Ford decided to close a plant 
in Norfolk with a couple of thousand workers. The ripple effect of that 
was felt throughout the economy, a couple of thousand workers, was very 
significant. To take 90,000 civilian DOD employees in a State such as 
Virginia, heavily concentrated in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads 
and furlough them and reduce their salaries will be felt throughout the 
economy. These civilian furloughs are one of the many effects of 
  Sometimes when people hear about furloughs of Department of Defense 
civilian employees, they might think it is someone sitting in an 
office. Who knows what they are doing? You need to think about who 
these people are. I visited Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, one of the 
premier facilities in the United States which treats wounded warriors, 
the people who have sacrificed so much for this Nation. When I was 
dialoguing with a wounded warrior and his wife at Fort Belvoir 
Community Hospital, they raised sequester. I thought they were raising 
sequester about something about their veterans' benefits. No. Instead, 
what they wanted to know is, My nurse is a DOD civilian and my physical 
therapist is a DOD civilian. Are the people we are asking to care for 
those who have borne the scars of battle--are they going to have 
reduced care because of this sequester? This is who these DOD civilian 
employees are, doing wonderful work, such as the nurses at Fort Belvoir 
Community Hospital.
  Outside of the DOD civilian space, let's move into the private sector 
world. On this tour I went to the Newport News Shipyard. Senator Warner 
and I were there last Saturday for a wonderful occasion honoring former 
Senator John Warner. This is a shipyard we in Virginia are proud of and 
proud of nationally. It is a great story. We manufacture the largest 
and most sophisticated items manufactured on the planet Earth in the 
Commonwealth of Virginia, nuclear aircraft carriers. They are 
manufactured and refurbished in Newport News at this shipyard. It is a 
very special technical expertise, the construction and refurbishing of 
these aircraft carriers. They are heel-to-toe for months. Then one 
leaves and the next one comes in. If you get out of line or delay, 
everything becomes backed up. The result is your shipping fleet isn't 
ready or as operational as it should be.
  There was a pier, a drydock, filled in because the Truman was 
supposed to be coming in for a new refurbishment. It was stopped and 
sitting across the water in Newport. They couldn't start work because 
of sequester and uncertainty about the CR.
  Many other shipyards in the Hampton Roads area, private, small ship 
repairs but without the financial muscle of a Huntington Ingalls of 
Newport News Shipyard, have issued warn notices to lay off employees 
because the Navy indicated in quarters three and four they would need 
to scale back on repairs. These were some of the effects they were 
  I went to a National Guard armory in Stanton, which was very 
interesting. I

[[Page S2069]]

learned the National Guard in Stanton is called the Stonewall Brigade. 
Their first activity on behalf of the defense of the Nation occurred 20 
years before the French and Indian wars. The Stonewall Brigade in 
Stanton began in 1740 defending the Nation, and they were talking to me 
about sequester.
  How does sequester affect the Guard in Virginia, the Stonewall 
Brigade? It affects their ability to train their people. A whole series 
of training exercises planned for the next months or years is now 
jeopardized. They will not be able to train.
  The commander of the brigade said, My people will do anything, but I 
would rather have them take on the tasks and the challenge knowing they 
are 100 percent trained and ready, rather than 85 or 90 percent trained 
and ready. This is an important responsibility we have to those men and 
women who sign up to be guardsmen in Virginia. Once again, whether it 
was our DOD civilians, ship repairers, wounded warriors, or guards men 
and women, you see these immediate effects sequester has in Virginia.
  Of all the effects I have mentioned, I will say there was only one 
which made goosebumps come up on my arm. They were all of concern to 
me, but there was one which really made me stop and think. I went to 
visit an ROTC unit at the University of Virginia, which combined 
students from Navy, Army, and Air Force ROTC programs at UVA, to sit 
with me and speak about their career path. They spoke about their love 
for their country, their patriotism and willingness to sacrifice and 
put themselves in harm's way for their country.

  One of them basically said this: I am willing to sign up voluntarily 
for a career path which will put me in harm's way--because I know it is 
a dangerous world. But as I am making a decision about my career, I 
hadn't really factored in the notion, Is my civilian political 
leadership willing to support me? When I watch Congress 
indiscriminately cutting budgets and doing an across-the-board cut to 
the military of the size sequester suggests, I need to ask myself--I 
will put myself in harm's ways, face bullets, danger, and the 
likelihood I could be a wounded warrior and a vet in a bed at Fort 
Belvoir Community Hospital once in my life. Do I want to face the risk 
a Congress might impose these types of cuts which are so nonstrategic 
and thereby send a signal to me what we are doing isn't that valuable?
  This was chilling to me. This is the message we send, whether it be 
the ship welders who could be ship repairers or go somewhere else or 
bright and talented college students who could be military officers or 
do something else. When we send a signal from this place, people pay 
attention. If the signal we send is we have a wavering commitment and 
are willing to do nonstrategic across-the-board cuts, it is not only 
affecting today but it could potentially have an effect down the road.
  There is an answer to this, a solution. What I heard repeatedly on 
the trail from Virginians of all political parties is fix this, make a 
deal, find a compromise, listen to the other side. No one said to me 
fix this; fix my problem by taking more money away from someone else. I 
didn't have the warriors say: Fix our defense cuts by cutting Head 
Start or by cutting other priorities more.
  They said go find the kind of balanced approach which would involve 
cuts and savings, and we all know how to do them. This would also 
involve the kinds of revenues we need to find a balance to this 
  The other good thing is we can fix this. In fact, we tried to fix it. 
There was a bill on the floor here which replaced the first year of 
these sequester cuts with a balanced mixture of revenues and 
expenditures. The bill was on the floor for vote, and it received 
enough to pass. It received more than 50 votes and more than a majority 
of this body. This is a way of saying we do not want there to be these 
nonstrategic sequester cuts. Because of the decision to filibuster, to 
require it to reach not a majority but 60 votes, the will of the 
majority in this body to turn off sequester for the first year and find 
a balanced replacement package was thwarted. We have another 
opportunity in this budget.
  I will say one more thing, and then I will throw it back to the 
Senator with a question. We have before us a sequester alternative in 
the fiscal year 2014 budget we are debating. The budget includes a path 
of deficit reduction which is balanced and is both expense cuts and 
revenues. It also does something very particular with respect to 
sequester. It replaces blunt across-the-board nonstrategic cuts with 
targeted and strategic cuts of a lesser magnitude, because we are 
adding in revenues as well. It also times the cuts so they are not 
straight across-the-board equal for 10 years but a little more focused 
on the back end of the 10-year period to help the economy. Signs 
indicate the stock market, housing market, auto sales, and consumer 
confidence is picking up.
  What this budget does with the sequester is it finds savings but 
reduces the deficit of savings. It makes them targeted and strategic, 
rather than blunt and across the board. It times them in a way which is 
more conducive to economic growth. This, as one of the many features of 
this budget, is the better approach to sequester than the one we are 
currently living under.
  I wish to ask the Senator a question. After attending the Budget 
Committee hearings with me and hearing the debate on the floor thus far 
about the budget, I have to say I have been a little surprised to hear 
some of my colleagues. They argue: No, we shouldn't replace sequester. 
The sequester should go forward. The sequester is a good thing.
  I heard this argued in committee. There was opposition to the notion 
of doing something better than sequester. It was sort of expressed as 
we said we were going to do the sequester cuts and we need to do them. 
I have heard it said on the floor, even in the course of the debate 
since yesterday. Under any circumstances, as somebody who has created 
and run businesses, who ran a State government and received fiscal 
accolades for doing it the right way, if we have a reasonable fix, is 
there any justification for continuing with blunt across-the-board 
sequester cuts which do not take into account the priority of any of 
the line items and do not take into account the performance data about 
whether any of those line items are affected? I would like to hear the 
Senator address that question.
  I know our colleague from Hawaii is also anxious to tell us about 
sequester effects in her State.
  Mr. WARNER. I thank the Senator from Virginia.
  I ask unanimous consent to engage in colloquy with my friend, the 
Senator from Virginia, the Senator from Hawaii, and the Senator from 
New Hampshire as well.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. WARNER. To briefly respond--I don't want to keep returning to the 
``Blazing Saddles'' analogy, other than the fact these cuts were set up 
to be the stupidest way possible. No rational group of folks would 
allow them to come to pass.
  The only other point I wish to make is with regard to the Senator's 
point about the ROTC individuals. I think at times this may not have 
been part of debate--although there may have been a number of 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have argued strongly 
against sequester and pointed this out as well. We are not just talking 
about the immediate short-term effect on that furloughed employee or 
the ship which may not get repaired. As these cuts were set up to be so 
ridiculously put forward, the effects of these cuts will actually, in 
many cases, cost us more money than the savings.
  If that ROTC member who has taken 3 years of ROTC decides to quit and 
not become an officer, the money we have invested in his or her 
training up to that point is flushed down the toilet.
  If we do not make the ship repairs that are part of our industrial 
base and if the workers at those ship repair businesses in Hampton 
Roads and in Hawaii and in New Hampshire and in California and in 
Alabama and in Mississippi leave those careers and those welders go 
elsewhere, the cost of replacing that workforce and retraining them 
because we have said, oops, we made a mistake and we come back and fix 
it 2 years from now, will end up costing the taxpayer more than the 
dollars we have saved.
  If we continue to defer the maintenance and the training of our Armed 
Forces so we don't have divisions ready to go into action, the cost to 
get them

[[Page S2070]]

back up to military readiness will be exponentially higher the longer 
we wait than doing these cuts in a smarter, more tailored and more 
phased-in fashion.
  I think the military and everybody I have seen realizes they are 
going to have to make the kind of cuts to make sure that everything--
domestic discretionary, defense, entitlement reform, and revenues--all 
have to be part of the mix.
  Our military does a remarkable job for us, and we owe them not only 
the kind of platitudes we sometimes say on this floor, but we owe them 
an ability to manage a budget that is reasonable, that is thoughtful, 
that does not have this kind of arbitrary, across-the-board-regardless-
of-performance cut. We owe that young man or woman who is in the ROTC 
the commitment that our Nation will stand by their obligations to their 
training and support of them so they can continue to serve and protect 
our Nation.
  I now want to ask our friend, another new Senator, the Senator from 
Hawaii, for her comments. Hawaii is a State that has enormous military 
assets as well as other assets on the frontline of our Nation's shift 
in focus on Asia. She may want to add as well any particular stories 
about her views on sequester and how our budget takes a more reasoned 
and balanced approach.
  The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. I thank the Senator and good morning, Mr. President.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Good morning.
  The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. I wish to thank Senator Warner for leading this colloquy, 
and I am glad to join him and my friend Senator Kaine in talking about 
the effects of sequester and how we need to come up with an alternative 
to the sequester.
  Senator Warner used the word ``stupid'' to describe sequester, and I 
think that is apt, because what family, in trying to get a handle on 
their budget, would just make an across-the-board cut to everything in 
their family's budget. The Senator raised the analogy that no business 
would do an across-the-board cut, but let's talk about families in our 
country. No family would cut across the board their food budget, their 
rent budget. That would not happen. So why are we doing this?
  As one of the people who testified before the Armed Services 
Committee said, sequester was the result of political dysfunction. That 
is very true because it was never supposed to happen. As Senator Kaine 
said, I am very surprised to listen to our friends on the other side of 
the aisle talk about sequester--something that was never supposed to 
happen, and both Republicans and Democrats had agreed this was not 
going to happen--now take the position that we are where we are and we 
need to live by the boundaries of sequester.
  What sequester does is it interjects huge uncertainty into our 
economy, huge uncertainty, at a time when we are still digging out from 
the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Senator Warner 
and Senator Kaine have both acknowledged that Virginia is ground zero 
on the bad effects of sequester. If Virginia is ground zero, I would 
say Hawaii is ground 0.1. We have a huge military presence in Hawaii. 
They are a big part of our economy. In fact, there are some 101,000 
people in Hawaii who are directly employed with the military. That is 
16 percent of our workforce. Some 20,000 of them have gotten notices of 
furloughs, looking toward a reduction in their pay of 20 percent. Talk 
about the ripple effect of that kind of reduction in their ability to 
buy products, we can see what the negative ripple effect would be.
  In Hawaii, as I said, the military is such a big part of our economy. 
States such as Hawaii, such as Virginia are among the first States to 
experience the negative effects of sequester--immediate. Thousands of 
letters have been going out to say: Expect to be furloughed, with 
11,000 people possibly losing their jobs directly. These are immediate 
  The top reason we need to replace the sequester with something 
balanced, reasonable, fair, and not stupid is that sequester cuts jobs. 
There will be huge job losses, and economists of all stripes have said 
don't keep going down this path with these kinds of cuts that will 
severely hamper economic growth and cost jobs in this country. These 
are senseless cuts.
  The State of Hawaii is already reeling from the potential impacts of 
sequester which will begin in a couple weeks. We have already gotten 
many of these notices. But the sequester also represents huge cuts to 
education, housing assistance, and other programs that are on the 
chopping block. We must listen to our constituents. So many of them, I 
know, have contacted all of us. There was one letter I received from an 
elderly woman and her husband. She lives on Social Security and on HUD 
housing grants--HUD vouchers--and she said: Our Social Security checks 
are so small.
  Yes, while sequester doesn't touch Social Security, it certainly has 
a potential impact of cutting their housing vouchers.
  She said: I don't know where we would go if we lost our HUD housing 
voucher. We would be homeless. I am so distressed, she wrote to me.
  Another letter I received was from an Army reservist who was all set 
to go for his training. Now multiply this situation thousands and 
thousands of times across our country. He said due to sequester he will 
no longer be traveling to the TDY location for his training. Yet he 
planned his calendar based on his going. The letter he got was that his 
orders had been canceled for training due to sequester and his billet 
is going unfulfilled to cut costs.

  Failing to provide training to this young man and the thousands and 
thousands of other men and women who are in our Reserves degrades our 
Nation's readiness.
  I received letters from people who work at the Pearl Harbor shipyard, 
which is the largest industrial employer in the State of Hawaii, with 
some 5,000 direct employees, both civilian and military, who got their 
furlough notices. These are highly skilled people with good-paying 
jobs. When they think about a 20-percent reduction in their salaries, 
believe me, they are thinking about how to revise their family budgets, 
and that revision is not going to involve across-the-board ``stupid'' 
  These are just some of the examples of how sequester will hurt a 
State such as Hawaii. What should we do to replace sequester? My 
colleagues have talked about it. The American people understand this 
meat-ax approach to balancing our budget is the wrong way to go because 
it destroys jobs and it affects many people who are working right now. 
So the budget put forth by Chairman Murray will reverse this path down 
no man's land, basically. What the Murray budget says is let's provide 
a balanced approach. Let's ask a little more from the most fortunate 
and wealthy, including the corporations, while including more smart, 
targeted cuts to other areas of our budget.
  Let's remember once again that we have already implemented and put in 
place $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction. So by following the balanced 
approach that is represented in the Murray budget, we will have reduced 
the deficit by some $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
  As I said, we need to do this in a responsible, balanced way, and it 
bears repeating--because we are still hearing from our friends on the 
other side that sequester is what we have; let's just live with it--
that there is an alternative, friends. The alternative is a fair, 
balanced, smart way to deal with our budget deficit, to create jobs, 
and to help our families, because our budgets do reflect our values, 
and our values are about supporting our families, creating jobs, moving 
our country forward, and enabling us to continue to dig out from the 
worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
  I thank Senator Warner very much for this opportunity to come 
forward, and I will have a few more things to say perhaps later on 
about the budget and how Senator Murray's budget reflects the kind of 
values we should be putting forth in our country.
  Mr. WARNER. I wish to thank the Senator from Hawaii for the real 
stories of how these sequester cuts are affecting folks in her State of 
Hawaii, and, obviously, my friend, the Senator from Virginia, has 
expressed those challenges as well.
  Let me be clear. It is not that our budget proposal doesn't make 
significant cuts in defense. We still add roughly $250 billion of cuts 
in defense over a 10-year period, but we do it in a smarter, targeted, 
phased-in way.

[[Page S2071]]

  The last point I wish to make, before I ask my friend, the Senator 
from Virginia, to close out, is I want to agree with so many of my 
Republican colleagues who have come and pointed out this is a 
responsibility we owe to our children and our grandchildren. We, 
candidly, owe it to ourselves. This $16.5 trillion in debt goes up $3 
billion a day, and it is unsustainable. As Erskine Bowles once said: It 
is the most predictable crisis in our lifetimes if we don't grapple 
with it. And so we need a growth agenda.
  Two comments I would simply make in closing: If we look back at 
recent American history for the period of the highest economic growth, 
the period that we added the most jobs, the area where America 
continued to lead in innovation, it was during the 1990s. We had a Tax 
Code at that point that generated sufficient revenue to meet our needs 
without dramatic expansion of government. I think, in retrospect, most 
of us would acknowledge we probably made a mistake when we took $4.5 
trillion out of the revenue stream in some of those cuts that were made 
  We have a spending issue, but we also have a revenue issue. What this 
Democratic plan puts forward doesn't say we have to put all those 
revenues back. It doesn't say we have to put half those revenues back. 
What the Democratic plan says, to get us back on this path to balance, 
to get us back on this path to growth, we have to, roughly, return 
about one-third of that $4.5 trillion. With what we did on New Year's 
Eve and what this budget does, it replaces $1.575 trillion into the 
revenue stream. It doesn't bring us back to the 1990s rate, but I would 
love the chance to debate my colleagues on how that is not a reasonable 
  If we have a structural deficit problem on the spending side, we also 
have a structural deficit problem on the revenue side, and I believe 
this approach is reasonable and both fiscally prudent and responsible.
  I would simply close as well with saying that we can't tax and cut 
our way out of this problem. We have to have a growth agenda. Any good 
company--any good country--has a business plan. Any business plan for 
any good company--any good country--that is going to compete in the 
21st century has to do at least three things: They have to invest in 
their workforce, invest in their infrastructure, and they have to stay 
ahead of their competition, which means research and development.
  I tell my colleagues, there is no way a plan that says America will 
invest less than 5 percent of its public revenues in its education, 
infrastructure, and R&D will keep America the leading economic power in 
the 21st century. If we want to honor our commitment to our children, 
we have to leave them not only a nation that is not riddled with debt 
and deficit but also a nation that continues to be the economic leader 
in the world. I believe our plan makes and protects those investments 
in those key components of growth.
  I hope, over the coming hours, we will go through this debate--I know 
we will have a spirited period of a lot of amendments--that this budget 
will pass, and it will then find agreement with our colleagues in the 
  I want to again commend both the chair and the ranking member in that 
at the end of the day, we have to find common agreement to get this 
done. This issue that hovers over all of our other debates has in many 
ways become a metaphor of whether our institutions can function in the 
21st century. So just as the chair and the ranking member found 
agreement through a markup process where both sides were heard and 
amendments were offered and debated in a fair and open process, I want 
to thank both the chair and the ranking member for their commitment. 
They have different ideas about how we get there, but at the end of the 
day we do have to get there in common agreement.
  Mr. President, I want to give the Senator from Virginia the last word 
on this issue. So I yield the remainder of my time to the Senator from 
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I thank my colleague Senator Warner.
  I do want to pick up on one of the last points he made, which is the 
balanced way of getting to where we all want to go. We want to have a 
growing economy with a lowering unemployment rate. We want to deal with 
our deficit. These are challenging, complex goals that are not easy, 
but we can get there. Even the action of this body last night in 
passing the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill and fix shows we can 
cooperate together and with the House get there. It is my hope that 
will inspire us going forward.
  The question is this: All agree that what has been done thus far in 
the area of deficit reduction equates to about $2.4 trillion of deficit 
reduction that has been done by the last Congress, including the deal 
on the Bush tax cuts that were made at yearend, $2.4 trillion of 
deficit reduction over the next 10 years. And all in looking at that 
deficit reduction also agree that $1.85 trillion of the deficit 
reduction was cutting expenses and a little bit more than $600 billion 
of it was revenues that were achieved through the yearend Bush tax cuts 
deal. So overwhelmingly what has been done thus far has been in 
spending cuts rather than new revenues. It is very important for us to 
know that. It is very important for folks to realize that Democrats are 
willing to make hard calls about spending, and we have done it already.
  But the question before this body and the question before the House 
now is, going forward, what do we do to achieve additional deficit 
reduction that is consistent with having a growing economy? The 
approaches of the Senate and the House on this could not be more 
  The House approach basically says all additional deficit reduction 
should be achieved by cutting spending, by looking at one side of the 
balance sheet. I do not know of a business, I do not know of a family, 
I do not know of other units of government that, as they are trying to 
wrestle with this question, confine themselves only looking at one side 
of the balance sheet. But that is what the House budget does.
  I was thinking about this approach and this question about deficits 
not long ago, and it struck me that when I look at myself in a mirror, 
I always wish I was thinner, but I have never once looked in a mirror 
and wished I was weaker. An all-cuts approach is like looking in a 
mirror and wishing you were weaker because an all-cuts approach makes 
you weaker. It makes you weaker in defense, it makes you weaker in 
education, it makes you weaker in infrastructure.
  By laying people off in jobs, it makes you weaker because your 
unemployment rate is higher. An all-cuts approach is like looking in 
the mirror and wishing you were weaker.
  I don't want to be weaker. I don't want this Nation to be weaker. We 
have to be stronger. Can we make cuts? Sure, we can. We have, and we 
will make more. But we ought to be focused on being stronger, about 
growing the economy and growing jobs.
  That is why the approach the Senate takes is the right approach; 
because by utilizing revenues appropriately, reforming tax expenditures 
to reduce them on the equivalent of about 7 or 8 percent a year, these 
myriad of tax expenditures in the Tax Code, we are able to find 
investments in infrastructure and soften the indiscriminate cuts that 
are leading to the job losses that my friend from Hawaii described.
  The Senate budget, in achieving additional deficit reduction, is a 
balanced approach that will make us stronger, not weaker. That is why 
it is my great hope that we will pass this in a significant way.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Baldwin). The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I thank the Senators from Virginia and 
Hawaii for excellent statements and laying out the framework of why it 
is so important that we have a progrowth bill that is balanced, that 
deals with both spending cuts and revenue, and I really appreciate 
their time both in committee and on the Senate floor.
  I ask unanimous consent that at 3:45 p.m. today there be up to 60 
minutes of debate, equally divided between Senators Klobuchar and 
Coats, or their designees, for a report on the economic goals and 
policy under section 305(b) of the Congressional Budget Act.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I have enjoyed listening to our 
colleagues discuss the issues, particularly

[[Page S2072]]

the sequester. I know Senator Kaine and I talked about this previously. 
I would just like to make a few points that are so important for every 
Member of this body to understand.
  Senator Kaine just said additional deficit reduction is needed. He is 
exactly correct. But this budget has no additional deficit reduction.
  They claim they have a balanced approach. They have used that word 
now 40-some-odd times, ``balance.'' This budget never balances. It does 
not balance in 10 years, 15 years, and has no vision that would even 
lead to balance. It remains unsustainable in terms of adding to the 
debt every single year, resulting in a 1-year interest payment in 2023 
of $800 billion--well more than the defense budget; surging interest 
from around $250 billion now to $800 billion a year--forever, I 
suppose. And it would go up with the debt rising and with interest 
rates that could rise even more.
  So we don't have additional deficit reduction in the budget that we 
are being asked to vote on. Senator Kaine said can we make cuts? Yes. 
Well, I would say we can make more cuts, but we don't. Yes, there is 
some reduction in some programs, but, on net, no deficit reduction in 
the budget. So it doesn't change the debt course. You can't deny that.
  What we are saying is, go back to the committee. Write the budget 
like you want. If you think there ought to be more taxes than I think, 
that is OK. Bring it up. Let's vote on it. But let's have this budget 
do what you say, be balanced. They have used this word ``balance''--
balance, balance, balance--40 more times. We have been keeping up with 
it. It is so ridiculous. It is utterly unbalanced. It never balances.
  By their own admission, the deficits in 1 year are never lower than 
$400 billion. So it never balances.
  A balanced approach. A balanced plan. Why? Are they guilty of 
confusing the issue? Do they think the American people will hear their 
message and think, oh, they have a balanced budget? I suspect that is 
what they think. Twice I have observed my Democratic colleagues at the 
committee slip and say they have a balanced budget. They have this in 
their heads so much, but a balanced plan is what they are really 
  So what is a balanced plan? The way it has been promoted: $1 trillion 
in tax increases, $1 trillion in spending cuts, a net $2 trillion in 
deficit reduction. Not so. It is not so. The tax increases are offset 
by spending increases.
  That is just the way it is. You can spin it any way you want to, but 
I want to make that point.
  One thing I will share about the sequester--and I am so pleased that 
Senator Rubio is here, and I look forward to yielding to him. I truly 
think this is an unwise mechanism to reduce spending. It should not 
happen. It should be fixed.
  I totally agree with my colleagues that this is unfairly and 
disproportionately falling on the military. I know Senator Rubio has 
military bases in Florida. I have them in Alabama and they have them in 
Virginia, we almost all do. These are patriotic Americans, and these 
furloughs are in effect 1 day a week, a 20-percent pay cut out of the 
blue. It is not necessary, and there are other things that have 
  So how did it happen? Well, it was proposed by the White House, who 
said: OK, if this special committee doesn't reach agreement on the 
details of spending cuts, then we will have a sequester across the 
board. So it originated from the White House. The political theater we 
have down here is not correct, and we need to be honest about this.
  The Republicans agreed to it. It was part of the Budget Control Act. 
That is the legislation. And who signed the legislation in blue ink 
right on the back? The President of the United States, Barack Obama.
  So he signed it, it is his document, and we agreed to raise the debt 
ceiling $2.1 trillion, and we agreed to reduce spending over 10 years 
by $2.1 trillion.
  Before the ink was dry, the President was proposing to eliminate the 
cuts he agreed to. He has been fighting to eliminate those cuts from 
the beginning, and they are not really cuts. If they were properly 
applied, it would reduce the growth of spending and not cut spending at 
  So the committee that was supposed to find other cuts failed. The 
sequester went into effect. And it is an antimilitary provision. It was 
designed by Jack Lew, a very liberal member of the President's Cabinet, 
who was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget at the 
  The President, in my opinion, seemed to be quite happy to see these 
cuts fall on the Defense Department. He seemed to be happy to have this 
  Why do I say that? Because he has done nothing to fix it except 
demand something that he has no right to demand, and that is to violate 
this agreement to reduce spending and instead raise taxes and spend 
more. That is not going to happen. Congress is not going to vote to 
violate the agreement they made with the American people less than 2 
years ago. If we give in on that, we might as well quit.
  Our colleagues say they want to have a balanced approach to this 
budget, and they are going to raise taxes. Most people who hear that 
think the taxes would be used to reduce the deficit, but they are not. 
The taxes are going to be used to fund more spending over the agreement 
we have had in place now for about 20 months under the Budget Control 
Act. They want to increase spending above these levels, and they want 
to use all the new tax increases they are now proposing to fund it.
  It does not change the debt course of America, which Mr. Elmendorf, 
the CBO Director, told us in committee is an unsustainable path that we 
are on even after the Budget Control Act was passed in August 2011. So 
we need to work on it.
  I am prepared to offer solutions. The House of Representatives has 
twice passed legislation that would alter the Budget Control Act so 
that the cuts don't fall so hard on defense. In fact, they eliminated 
the additional defense cuts, the second phase of defense cuts, and 
found cuts elsewhere in the budget and smoothed it out fairly. That is 
what should happen, and that is where we need to be.
  So I would encourage all our citizens, all our Members of Congress, 
all our military leaders by saying if you want to fix the sequester 
then address your request to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Address your 
request to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military, who has an 
absolute duty--a responsibility--to ensure that these reductions are 
done in a fair way.
  We have voted and fought for flexibility on this side of the aisle, 
and we believe in finding, and will vote for, other reductions in 
spending to prevent this happening the way it is set to occur under 
current law.
  It seems to me they wanted it to happen this way, so they could come 
to the floor and make a point somehow that we are dramatically and 
disastrously hammering the budget, when it is not necessary for it to 
be done this way. That is the way I see it, and I believe we can reach 
agreement on this. I think somehow we will because it is not right the 
way the military--representing one-sixth of all Federal spending--is 
taking half of the cuts. That is the way it falls right now. It is not 
right and it is too damaging.
  It is great to see Senator Rubio. I believe he is next up. I yield to 
him and thank him for his contribution to our discussion.
  Madam President, I ask that time be counted against the resolution.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. RUBIO. Madam President, I thank Senator Sessions for enlightening 
us on this budget as he has been doing all day on the Senate floor.
  I want to give some perspective about what we are debating. I think 
sometimes those of us who work in this building come to believe that 
Washington, DC, and government is the center of the universe or even 
the center of peoples' lives, and it is not. All this stuff we are 
talking about on the Senate floor, not just this day but every day, the 
reason it is relevant is how it impacts the lives of real people all 
over this country. What impact does this have on peoples' lives?
  Ultimately, I know it is cliche-ish to say this, but it happens to be 
very true that we are sent here to work for people. We are sent here to 
work for the people who elected us from the States we come from. So all 
this stuff we are discussing is relevant to the extent that it impacts 
the lives of real people in our country and in some respects around the 

[[Page S2073]]

  When you talk about cutting spending, what matters is the spending 
you are cutting and how it is impacting real people, for better or 
worse. When you talk about raising taxes, those taxes have to be paid 
by somebody. They are not being paid by some anonymous thing. They are 
being paid by a person or a business, which is a collection of people. 
The point is these taxes are being paid.
  Talk about the debt. The debt is not simply just a moral financial 
obligation. The debt also has to be paid. Someone is going to pay that 
debt one day. Every penny this government borrows someone is going to 
have to pay back one day. They are going to have to pay it back through 
higher taxes. If the debt is too high they are also going to have to 
pay it back through less opportunities. That is why this matters and 
why it is relevant. It is relevant because we have to view it through 
the lens of peoples' real lives, the lives of real people in the real 
  What do people want out of their lives? It is not that complicated. 
It is what all of us want. They want a job that pays them enough money 
so they can have a good standard of living, so they can afford to maybe 
buy a house and have enough time to spend with their families and have 
leisure activities, maybe take a vacation every year or so. People want 
that. People want to be able to pursue their dreams. Maybe you have a 
great idea about a new business you want to start and you want to live 
in a country where if that is what you want to do with your life, it is 
actually possible; you can actually do something that you love for a 
living and they pay you for it.
  What everybody wants, no matter where you are in the economic strata, 
everyone wants to make sure their kids are better off than themselves. 
That is not unique to Americans. People all over the world want their 
kids to be better off than they were.
  That is what this is about. It is about what role can we play making 
all these things more possible in this country. The fact that this has 
been more possible here than anywhere else is what has made us special. 
So in order to understand what we can do to make that possible we have 
to understand what makes that happen. How does prosperity happen? How 
does the kind of prosperity we Americans want for ourselves and our 
families, for our children, how is that possible? That is also not that 
complicated. It is largely a function of the private economy, and it is 
a cycle that is very well understood.
  Someone has a good idea for a business, a new business, or growing 
their existing business. They somehow get access to money, whether it 
is their own money or money they borrowed or someone invests through 
them, and they open this business. There is no guarantee that business 
is going to work out, but they are willing to risk it. And the idea 
works. All of a sudden this business they started all by themselves out 
of the spare bedroom of their home now has five employees--and five 
employees is not just a number, that is five families who are taking 
home a paycheck. Those are five providers, mothers or fathers, who are 
bringing home opportunities to their children.
  This is how prosperity is created. This is how every one of us has 
ever gotten a job or how our parents got their jobs. It is because he 
or someone else risked it and created a business opportunity that 
provided them a job. This is how prosperity is created.
  When you view prosperity this way you come to understand that what we 
need to do here is to make it easier for that to happen and not harder. 
Government does have an important role to play in our society. It does.
  For example, we believe in a safety net, not as a way of life but to 
help those who cannot help themselves. We are a society that is too 
prosperous and, quite frankly, as well as that, we are too humane and 
too compassionate to not take care of those who cannot help themselves. 
We always have and we always will. We also need to have a safety net to 
help those who have failed to get back on their feet and try again. But 
the safety net was never designed to be a way of life.
  By the same token we need to have security. Government plays an 
important role in our security--our national security for sure, but 
also in combating crime and enforcing contracts and ensuring that the 
water we drink is clean, the air we breathe is safe. These are 
important roles for government to play. But the majority of the things 
that are going to impact prosperity creation in this country do not 
come from government. They come from the private sector, and the job of 
our government is to make it easier for that cycle of prosperity I 
described to happen.
  The job of our government is to create an environment where people 
are encouraged to and it is easier for them to risk the money they have 
access to in order to start a new business or grow an existing business 
so they can hire more people and create more jobs for others. There are 
a lot of things government can do to help create that environment, but 
there are a few that are being discussed. I want to point to three.
  The first is predictability. What do I mean by that? What I mean is 
when someone decides they are going to open a business, one of the 
things that encourages them to hire people is they know what tomorrow 
is going to look like. They know what the taxes are going to be, they 
know what the law is going to be, what the economy is going to look 
like, so they feel encouraged because they can plan and know 
what tomorrow is going to look like.

  Imagine for a moment you are a businessman or businesswoman and you 
are deciding whether to hire five people next year. One of the first 
things you want to know is, Am I going to have customers to pay their 
salaries? How much am I going to owe on taxes and insurance? You want 
predictability and that is something that has not happened from 
Washington. There has not been a budget over the last 4 years out of 
this Chamber, and that creates unpredictability.
  I am pleased there is a budget to debate; it is an important debate. 
Even though we do not agree on everything, I congratulate those who 
have prepared this budget on bringing it up for a vote on the Senate 
floor so we can have this debate, a vibrant debate. But part of the 
problem we have is this budget that is offered doesn't really address 
the debt. Why does the debt matter?
  The debt matters. It matters as a moral obligation for sure. It is 
wrong to hit future Americans and our young people with this kind of 
debt, but it is having an impact right now. The debt is not something 
that is hurting us 20 years down the road or 10 years down the road 
alone, it is hurting us today. The problem is when people look at this 
economy and they look at this debt and they say there is no plan in 
place to fix it, there is no serious plan in place to deal with it, 
they are worried about risking their money and creating jobs in 
  They believe unless this debt is solved, we are going to have a 
financial crisis in this country. They believe unless this debt is 
solved, we are going to have dramatic increases in taxes, which is not 
going to make America a good place to do business. So there are jobs 
that are not being created right now because of the fear over the debt 
and no plan to fix it. This budget does not fix it. This budget does 
not fix it.
  The first thing we need from government is to create an environment 
where private business can grow and create opportunity, which is 
predictability. This budget does not do that. The second thing is 
affordability. We all understand we have to pay taxes. How are you 
going to pay firefighters and police officers? How do we pay the men 
and women who defend our freedoms around the world? How are the lights 
on in this building? Of course we have to pay taxes. This is not about 
paying taxes or not paying taxes. This is about the fact that there is 
only so much money in the world. Every penny the government takes in in 
taxes is money that is not available to invest in a private business.
  Every time you take a tax, what you are doing is taking money out of 
the economy. You have to do that at some point because you need a 
government, but if you do too much of it then there is not enough money 
for people to spend at your business. If someone is paying more in 
taxes, that means they have less money to spend where you work, which 
means you are going to make less money in tips or in salary or it may 
even cost you your job if the taxes are too high.
  I tell you, we focus on Federal taxes here, but these are not the 
only taxes

[[Page S2074]]

people pay. Depending on where you live you are paying local and State 
and now Federal taxes. You add this up and there are people in this 
country paying close to half the money they make in taxes. How is that 
good for growing your economy?
  So that is a problem.
  This budget talks about raising taxes. It doesn't say how. That is 
one of the things I wanted to address because I am telling you right 
now, you can raise taxes 100 percent on the richest people in America, 
and you will not solve this debt problem. Some statistics say if you 
raise taxes 100 percent on millionaires it will pay for about 60 days' 
worth of government. What are you going to do for the other 305 or 304 
days of the year? That is a problem. What happens when you run out of 
rich people to raise taxes on--or so-called rich people? You have to 
raise taxes on people who are not rich, and you have to raise taxes on 
the middle class.
  That is why I am going to offer two amendments to this budget that I 
hope will pass. The first amendment says we are not going to get rid of 
the mortgage interest deduction to pay for new spending and new 
programs in government. If you want to talk about the mortgage interest 
deduction in the context of tax reform--I am not sure that is the best 
idea or bad idea. Let's have that debate. But if you want to talk about 
it in the context of we are going to take that money and use it in the 
context of lets grow government, we are going to have a problem because 
there are middle-class people in this country who already have it hard 
enough as it is. They are working twice as hard, and they are making 
half as much. They have paid their mortgage on time every month even 
though they are upside-down, but because they paid on time, now their 
bank will not finance them and they are stuck and they are upset and 
they have a right to be.
  Now on top of that you are going to get rid of that mortgage interest 
deduction? I am not claiming that is what is being offered. I am just 
saying if no one is going to offer that, let's prevent that now. I am 
offering an amendment that is going to prevent that.
  Here is another thing. We should not raise taxes on the middle class 
at all to pay for new government, and I will offer an amendment that 
prohibits that as well. So the second thing we need is affordability. 
No one is saying we don't need to fund government. Of course we do.
  By the way, the best way to fund government is to grow your economy. 
If we could grow this economy at 4 percent a year for this decade, that 
would generate about $3, $3.5 trillion in new revenue. There is no tax 
increase in the world that can do that, at least no realistic one.
  My last point on this is one of the things government can do is help 
people to help themselves. In the modern era there is nothing more 
important in that regard than education. The world has changed. When my 
parents came here in 1956 from Cuba, they did not have a lot of skills. 
My dad didn't really go to school. My mom didn't either. And they were 
able to achieve a middle-class lifestyle in this country as a bartender 
and a maid. That is almost impossible to do today. That is no one's 
fault; that is just the way the world has changed.
  Today you need a certain level of skill because the information 
technology age has changed everything. The good news is the jobs that 
are being created, these new middle-class jobs have a lot more 
opportunity for better pay. The bad news is we have a lot of people who 
do not have the skills for those jobs.
  We have a skills gap in America that needs to be closed, but the one 
I want to focus on is school choice. I think it is wrong that the only 
parents in America who cannot send their kids to the school they want 
are poor parents. I think that is fundamentally wrong. Middle-class 
parents can sacrifice and scrape and some of them--not all of them but 
some of them--can afford to send their kids to the school of their 
choice. Rich people can send their kids to any school they want, but 
poor parents in America are stuck.
  Envision this for a moment. Envision this for a moment. You are a 
poor single mom or single dad. You are living already in a dangerous 
neighborhood in substandard housing, and on top of that you are forced 
by the government to send your children to a school that is failing and 
every year the politicians tell you they are going to improve these 
schools. They say: Give us a chance to pour more money in these 
schools. We are going to turn them around.
  I hope they do. But in the meantime, while they are carrying out this 
experiment your kids are turning 5 and 6 or 7 or 8, and the clock is 
running and you can never have those years back. It is wrong. It is 
wrong that parents who do not have access to funds cannot send their 
kids to the school of their choice.
  One of the things I want to try to do at the Federal level is 
replicate what we have done in Florida; that is, create an incentive 
for people to donate their money to private not-for-profit scholarship 
organizations that give scholarships to low-income families so they can 
send their kids to their parents' choice, not just to the school of the 
government's choice. That is important in terms of helping people 
acquire the skills they need in this new century because if we do not 
close that skills gap, we are going to have a huge opportunity gap in 
America, one that is already developing.
  I hope we do not underestimate what is happening out there. We have 
working class people in America who are starting to wonder if this is 
still the place where if you work hard you can go as far as your talent 
will take you. They are starting to wonder if this is still the place 
where if you work hard, you can leave your children better off than 
yourselves. You have middle-class families who are starting to wonder 
who is fighting for them. The people who have made it--big companies, 
big corporations--have lobbyists all over this building standing up for 
them. They don't want to take anything away from the people who have 
made it. They see other people always arguing on behalf of government 
programs to help people who are struggling. Many of those programs are 
important. They don't want to take that away from them either. But who 
is fighting for them? Who is fighting for the people who have done it 
the right way, who did not take out mortgages they couldn't afford, who 
will take a job even if it pays half as much and requires them to work 
twice as long because they do not want to be dependent on government? 
Their pride will not allow it.
  Who is fighting for them? And they are worried about the future. What 
about the people with the big ideas, the ones who are going to start 
the next American company? They are starting to wonder whether America 
is the place to do it when they hear some people basically describe 
financial success as wrong. They start to wonder whether government is 
an obstacle or ally in their hopes of opening their business here. This 
is a fundamental problem for us. This is not an economic debate; this 
is a debate about our identity as a country.

  It is important for us to understand what makes America different 
from the rest of the world--and we are different. For those people who 
were born and raised in this country, as I was, it is easy to take this 
for granted. We should not. It is not like this everywhere. In most 
countries, a person can only do what their parents did for a living--
even today. In most places on Earth, children can only go as far as 
their family went--even today. This Chamber is full of people--and I am 
glad to be a part of it--who have gone further than their parents ever 
  If people in this Chamber had grown up in the Old World, they would 
not be here, nor would they be able to run a business. In the Old 
World, people were trapped doing what their parents did. What makes us 
special and different is that it doesn't matter what our parents do for 
a living. It doesn't matter if we are not well connected or famous. We 
can go as far as our talent or work will take us. If we lose that, we 
will lose what makes us special and different. That is what we should 
be fighting about, and in some ways we are.
  I think we actually do have an agreement here. The agreement is that 
the only solution to our problem is growing our economy. We cannot tax 
our way out of this problem. We cannot cut our way out of this problem 
either. The only solution to this problem is to grow our way out of 
this problem, and I think we agree on that.

[[Page S2075]]

  I hope the debate we are going to have is, how do we grow our way out 
of this? How do we create growth in the private economy? Do we allow 
government to spend as much as it wants until growth starts to happen? 
That is what one side is arguing. We have to ask questions, such as, do 
we embrace the principles of free enterprise and say: Look, government 
has a role, but it has to be limited. What we have to do is create an 
environment for the private economy to be incentivized to grow, and it 
will happen.
  I want to have that debate. I want this budget to be that debate.
  By the way, no one comes to this with clean hands. I will criticize 
my own party on this. No one can build up $16.5 trillion by themselves. 
This is a bipartisan debt. We have never seen anything like the last 4 
years, I will say that. I have never seen anything like the last 4 
years in terms of growing the debt. There are Republicans who are 
complicit in this debt issue as well. We should be honest about that. 
We should also be honest that at times some in my own party have 
focused so much on the trees of debt that we lost focus on the forest 
of growth.
  The reason we should care about the debt is because it hurts growing 
our economy, and that is what the debate should be about. It should be 
about growth. Let's have a debate here about how we can get our economy 
growing at least 4 to 4.5 percent a year so we can pull millions of 
people out of poverty, pay down and stabilize our debt, and get people 
from the working class to the middle class and from the middle class 
and beyond. Let's have that debate. Let's argue about what is the best 
way to create growth. Do we create growth through more government or 
more free enterprise? Let's have that debate.
  For those on my side of the argument, I hope we can have that debate 
because I like our chances. I like what history has to say about it. I 
think we can prove that the only nations in the history of the world 
that have ever accomplished the kind of economic exceptionalism and 
middle-class prosperity that Americans want and expect and deserve are 
the countries that have followed the path of limited government, 
effective government, well-run government, and free enterprise. Our 
country deserves once and for all to have that debate and stop hiding 
behind negotiations that it is rich versus poor or the haves versus the 
  Let's have a debate about growth. If we grow this economy, we can 
protect America, and it will make the world a better place as well.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Madam President, I yield such time as I may consume from 
the resolution.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Madam President, I wish to commend the Senator from 
Florida. I could not agree more with the importance of focusing on 
economic growth and developing policies that maximize economic growth.
  I believe we could have a tremendous economic recovery underway right 
now, but we don't. The main reason we don't is because we have a 
dysfunctional government in Washington that has policies that are 
preventing economic growth.
  Unfortunately, the budget resolution our Democratic friends have 
offered offers more of the same failed policies that would only result 
in extending this period of miserable economic growth or a lack 
thereof. I would like to talk about a few aspects of this. I will talk 
about what they want to do on taxes, but before we get into the 
substance of the Democratic budget proposal for taxes, I think a little 
historical context is important, and we don't have to go back to 
ancient history.
  In the last few years, what our Democratic friends and this 
administration have done is repeatedly raise taxes on all Americans, 
including middle-income Americans, and they propose much more now. 
Let's go back, for instance, to the ObamaCare middle-income tax 
increases. I will run through a quick litany of some of the tax 
increases we have suffered through as a result of ObamaCare, which 
raises taxes on people with health savings accounts and flexibility 
spending accounts. It raises taxes on people with catastrophic medical 
expenses. It raises taxes on people who purchase medical devices. It 
raises taxes on people who buy health insurance. It raises taxes on 
people who don't buy health insurance. It raises taxes on employers who 
cannot afford to provide health insurance. It raises taxes on people 
who have family plans that Washington believes are excessive. Is there 
anyone in America who is not on one or more elements of this list? I 
very much doubt it. The fact is that ObamaCare was a huge tax increase 
that added up to $1.2 trillion over 10 years, and it very much included 
all kinds of taxes that will be carried by middle-income Americans.
  More recently, on January 1 of this year, we had another huge tax 
increase. That was about $620 billion over the next 10 years. It was 
less than 3 months ago. This raises the top rate from 35 percent to 
42.5 effectively when we include the phasing out of deductions. If we 
add in the Medicare increases and the total top Federal marginal tax 
rate, it is 44.8 percent.
  By the way, this is the highest this rate has ever been. Right now, 
this is the highest this rate has been since Ronald Reagan inherited a 
disastrous tax code from Jimmy Carter. That was a long time ago. That 
doesn't include the State and local taxes, which put many Americans at 
a top marginal tax rate of over 50 percent. The government is taking 
over half of the income they are earning, and our friends who are 
introducing this budget are suggesting that all of this is not enough. 
They are suggesting that we need yet another big tax increase--in fact, 
we need a giant one, $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years in new 
additional taxes.
  I have news for everyone. I don't see how this can possibly be done 
without significant tax increases on middle-income Americans. I know 
some folks in this Chamber like to suggest this can be done by soaking 
the rich again. We can just go back to soaking rich folks again. I 
don't see how that can work. I will give an example of why I don't 
think that can work.

  The President laid out in his budget last year his plan for a whole 
new round of taxes for wealthy Americans on top of the tax increases 
that occurred weeks ago. He specified how he would propose doing it. 
The gist is that he wants to limit the value of deductions and apply 
taxes to income that is not otherwise taxed at the moment. He will 
limit the value of all kinds of deductions. He laid this out. It would 
be all itemized deductions--mortgage interest deductions, charitable 
contributions, State and local taxes. They want to tax health insurance 
exclusions and employee contributions to 401(k)s and IRA plans, section 
199 manufacturing deductions, tax exempt interest, contributions to 
health savings accounts.
  All of these things would be limited and would especially affect the 
wealthy taxpayers under the President's plan--the last budget we got 
from this President. He has chosen not to comply with the rules whereby 
he should have already produced one for this year. These tax increases 
were meant to be in that budget above and beyond the tax increase he 
got on January 1. Guess what. The President's plan for raising taxes on 
the wealthy is $584 billion. That is a lot of money, but it doesn't get 
us anywhere near the $1.5 trillion this budget resolution calls for. 
The President has laid out his plan for how he intends to soak the rich 
yet again--we know that much--but we don't know yet how he will raise 
the other $1 trillion. I can tell everyone where they are going to get 
that money. It will come from the middle class; that is where the money 
  What are all of these tax increases for? A lot of it is for 
increasing spending. The Democratic budget would spend more money than 
the current CBO budget. I know it doesn't look that way if we look just 
at the top lines. We have to dig deeper. What we discover is that the 
Democratic budget decides to make a totally different assumption about 
the American presence in Afghanistan than what CBO does. We are winding 
down our presence in Afghanistan, but the budget doesn't decide that. 
That is a separate matter altogether. If we want to compare apples to 
apples, we make the same assumptions about ongoing war expenses. When 
we do that, we discover that this proposal actually increases spending 
at a rate faster than what current law calls for. That is what this 
budget would do.

[[Page S2076]]

  This budget raises taxes enormously, including very much on the 
middle-class because I don't see any other way we can get there. It 
also increases spending.
  By the way, the only operative year of a budget is the first year. In 
the first year, the increase is $162 billion over what we are going to 
spend this year. That is a 4.6-percent increase in spending in the year 
in which inflation is running around 2 percent, and that is what this 
plan is.
  Here is what is most objectionable to me about all of the spending 
and these huge tax increases. This is a big part of the reason we are 
suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great 
Depression. There is no coincidence here. If we look in the post-war 
era, in the 3 years following a recession, the economy, on average, has 
grown by 14.4 percent. That is the average growth over a 3-year period 
after we have had a recession. What is the growth we have had this 
time? It is 6.7 percent. It is less than half. This is the worst 
recovery in our lifetime, and it is no coincidence.
  We have had huge increases in spending, and what has that given us? 
It has given us this feeble economic growth, and it has given us an 
unemployment rate hovering around 8 percent. We all know that does not 
include the millions of Americans who left the workforce altogether. 
They have given up looking for work. It doesn't include the many folks 
who are underemployed. In fact, we have fewer people working in America 
today than we did in 2007. And it never takes this long for an economy 
to bounce back and create the jobs that were lost during a recession. 
However, it has this time, and it is partly because we are pursuing the 
wrong policies.
  There is huge government spending, stimulus spending, all kinds of 
growth in government, and huge tax increases and the threat of big tax 
increases. This is a big contributing factor. Higher taxes reduces 
economic growth not only because of the money it takes directly out of 
the economy but because of the incentives. It reduces the incentive to 
work, to save, to invest. Whatever is being taxed, there is less of for 
the person to enjoy who actually created it. Sure enough, as a result, 
we get less of that activity. So the more we raise taxes on work, on 
savings and investment, the less of it we get. The other thing is that 
there are tax increases that are looming in the future--and that day 
will come--and people's behavior is affected by it.
  Huge growth in government spending and the corresponding deficits we 
have seen have a chilling effect on economic growth itself. People 
understand that is eventually going to get paid with either higher 
taxes or we are going to monetize it and diminish the value of our 
currency and have inflation or some combination of those. So all of 
this government--of which this budget proposes still more--is part of 
the reason our economic growth is so meager.
  I have one final point to make on this as it pertains to the budget. 
The irony is that growth is the best way to solve all of our problems. 
Strong economic growth has a direct benefit for the families who enjoy 
it, who benefit from the jobs that are created, the higher wages they 
earn, the elevated standard of living, the integrity that comes from 
providing for their families. All of those things are the direct 
benefits from a stronger economy. There is no better way to deal with 
our budget deficit than stronger economic growth.
  In fact, the CBO tells us that just one-tenth of 1 percentage point 
of sustained increase in the rate of growth in 10 years results in $280 
billion of new revenue. That is not completely linear. However, we are 
so far below the average that if we just add a full percent, we would 
be talking about literally trillions of dollars in additional revenue 
and smaller deficits. All of that would come from economic growth in 
the context of people who are back to work and an economy that is 
booming. That is what we ought to be heading for. Unfortunately, this 
budget doesn't take us there.
  I know the Senator from Wisconsin wants to speak, and I will yield 
the floor in a minute.
  I want to say a quick word before I do that about one particularly 
important amendment we are going to debate beginning around 2 p.m. 
today and vote on hopefully soon. This goes to a small subset of the 
tax problems ObamaCare and this budget would create. It is the medical 
device tax.

  The medical device tax is one of the more egregious flaws in 
ObamaCare, in my view. Part of the reason is it is such a badly 
designed tax. This tax is badly designed, in my view, because it 
applies to total sales, so it is even worse than an income tax 
increase, which would have been a bad idea.
  This applies a tax to sales, irrespective of whether a company is 
making income. So if you are a startup company, if you are a small 
growing company or if you are an established company and having hard 
times, this is a tax that disregards whether you are operating in the 
black and says, We are just going to apply this new tax on your total 
sales. That is a very badly designed tax, in my view.
  It is a particularly bad idea in a sector that has so many young and 
growing and startup companies that have so much promise. They are 
making medical devices that are improving the quality of our lives, 
saving lives that without these inventions wouldn't be saved, and we 
are going to slap a new tax on the sales of some of these companies 
that are just trying to get started and not yet profitable. That is a 
terrible idea. I know in Pennsylvania, the tax has gone into effect. It 
went into effect on January 1 of this year. It is already costing us 
jobs, limiting growth, and preventing new factories from being built in 
Pennsylvania to manufacture medical devices. It is also making health 
care more expensive. We are all consumers of medical devices of various 
kinds. We are talking everything from surgical implements to 
prostheses, to hip replacement to ordinary health care devices.
  Lastly, I would suggest that the existence of this tax makes it 
harder to raise the capital to launch new firms and, therefore, it is 
going to stifle innovation.
  I know there is bipartisan support to repeal this tax. I am very 
pleased about that. I wish to thank Senator Hatch for his leadership 
for a long time on this. I know Senator Klobuchar has been a great 
leader on this issue as well. Several others, including Senator Casey 
and myself, feel very strongly about this. I am cautiously optimistic 
that this amendment could pass. I sure hope it does. It would be a big 
  At this time I am happy to yield to the Senator from Wisconsin.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Before my colleague yields, first I am speaking and 
taking time off the resolution, but I wish to inquire of my colleague 
from Wisconsin as to how long he will be speaking, for the information 
of the body. It was my understanding there had been an informal 
discussion about having the majority start speaking on the resolution 
at 12:45. So just for the purposes of colleagues, I wanted to check on 
how long he thought he would be speaking.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Wisconsin. Madam President, I was allocated 15 to 20 
minutes. I will try to keep it to 15 minutes to yield at the top of the 
  Ms. STABENOW. I thank the Senator very much.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Wisconsin. Madam President, I ask that my time be used 
against our allocation on the resolution.
  I wish to commend the Senator from Pennsylvania, who is absolutely 
right. I supplied the medical industry for over 31 years, and the 
medical device tax will do great harm to medical innovation.
  I also wish to commend both the Senators from Florida and 
Pennsylvania about their great points on the importance of economic 
growth and how important it is that we concentrate all of our efforts 
here in Washington on economic growth.
  I truly believe that every Member of this body, people serving in 
Congress, share the same goals, or the same goal: We want a prosperous 
America. We want every American to have the opportunity to build a good 
life for themselves and their family. But often folks on the other side 
of the aisle accuse Republicans--conservatives--of conducting a war on 
women or a war on the middle class. Nothing could be further from the 
truth. I will tell my colleagues what is the truth. It is that with all 
of our deficit spending here in

[[Page S2077]]

Washington, we are conducting a war on our children. Fortunately, I do 
not know of a parent or parents who would willingly drive up their own 
personal debt, who would max out their credit cards with absolutely no 
intention of ever paying those debts off, but fully intending to pass 
those debts on to their children and grandchildren and great-
grandchildren. Again, fortunately, I don't know anybody who would do 
that. Yet, collectively as a Nation, that is exactly what we are doing. 
We are mortgaging our children's futures.
  I ask all Americans to please consider what we are doing in terms of 
robbing future generations of the prosperity and the heritage and the 
type of opportunity that we should be handing over to them.
  An awful lot of people don't quite understand the connection between 
our high levels of debt and economic growth. By the way, it is economic 
growth that actually strengthens middle-income Americans. But if we 
think about our own personal situations, if we in our own family budget 
have driven our debt levels up to the point where creditors are calling 
us all the time, how are we going to grow our own personal economy? In 
other words, how can we increase consumption when all of our extra 
dollars are going to pay off our debt, pay our creditors? We are under 
a great deal of pressure. The answer to the question is a person can't 
grow their personal economy, they can't grow their own personal 
consumption. That same economic fact applies to a nation as well. That 
is why these high levels of debt are harming economic growth and 
harming the very people all this government spending is purporting to 
try and help.
  One way to take a look at this in terms of the harmful effect of all 
of the regulation, all the government debt, is economic growth. The 
fact of the matter is, on average, after 14 quarters, the American 
economy has grown, after post-World War II recessions, by 19.9 percent. 
Under Ronald Reagan, our economy grew 20.1 percent in the first 14 
quarters. Under this President, our economy has grown by only 7.5 
percent. Again, I would argue an awful lot of that has to do with 
regulations, but an awful lot of it has to do with the fact that we 
have increased our debt to unsustainable levels. It is scaring 
consumers. It is scaring business people away from investing in capital 
and growing their businesses.

  As Republicans, as conservatives, we want every American to pay their 
fair share. We actually want a balanced approach to deficit and debt 
reduction. We want more revenue flowing into the Federal Government, 
but we want to increase revenue the old-fashioned way: by growing our 
  Just a couple of quick little facts. Even with the meager economic 
growth we have experienced from 2009 to 2012, revenue has increased to 
the Federal Government by a total of $344 billion per year. If we 
returned to an economy such as we had in 2007, when revenue to the 
Federal government was 18.5 percent of our economy--it was pretty close 
to the 50-year average--that would add another $435 billion per year of 
  The tax deal, the ``punishing success'' tax increase that was part of 
the fiscal cliff, supposedly will raise $41 billion in the year 2014. 
So $41 billion versus $435 billion is a tenth as effective. The problem 
with that ``punishing success'' scheme is it puts at risk the very 
growth that is far more effective at raising revenue.
  So how do we get our fiscal house in order? Well, we actually have to 
put our Nation on a glide path toward a balanced budget. We have to 
return that level of certainty. Global creditors have to be able to 
look at the United States and say, I think they are getting this 
situation under control. The only way we can do that is by passing a 
budget in this body that actually shows a glide path to balance.
  Of course, that is not what the Democratic Senate budget resolution 
will do. It never balances. As Senator Toomey was speaking about, we 
have to take a look at that first year. In comparison to the CBO 
estimate, it actually increases spending by $100 billion. It would 
increase our deficit by $75 billion. That is the primary thing we have 
to take a look at because these budget resolutions are only about as 
good as the paper they are written on, so we have to look at that first 
  The other point I want to make in terms of this budget resolution is 
the claims in terms of deficit reduction are patently dishonest. The 
claim to reduce the deficit by $1.85 trillion in comparison to the CBO 
baseline is not true. The only way we get that is by comparing apples 
to oranges. If we adjust the CBO baseline--for example, the $1 
trillion--it counts in more spending, or the $300 billion of Hurricane 
Sandy extended spending, or the additional $200 billion of interest. If 
we compare apples to apples, this budget at most will reduce the 
deficit by $300 billion to $400 billion. Again, what we have to take a 
look at is what it does in that first year, which is actually increases 
the deficit and increases spending.
  This is basically not an honest budget. So my first amendment that I 
will be offering is a simple amendment. It would establish a point of 
order subject to a 60-vote waiver or appeal that simply requires a 
balanced budget in the year 2023. Pretty reasonable. I think the 
American public actually expects us to live within our means far before 
that date, but this would be a responsible glide path. I think it is an 
eminently reasonable amendment, and I certainly hope my colleagues here 
in the Senate will support a very commonsense approach to providing 
some level of fiscal discipline to our Federal situation.
  The second amendment I wish to offer has to do with the financial 
situation of States and local governments. Far too many cities are 
already going bankrupt. We have a chart here that shows a number of 
cities that have already declared bankruptcy and are going through that 
process. I think it is extremely important that we here in Congress put 
States and local governments on notice that they cannot come to the 
Federal Government looking for a bailout. They need to get their own 
fiscal house in order. We are not picking on anybody, but it is amazing 
when we take a look at the unfunded liability that some of these State 
and local governments are facing right now.
  The city of Chicago, for example, has an unfunded liability per 
household of close to $42,000. I said $42,000 per person. New York City 
is about $39,000, and San Francisco is about $35,000.
  The point of this amendment is to put State and local governments on 
notice that the Federal Government will not be here to bail them out. 
They need to get their own fiscal house in order.
  The third amendment I intend to offer has to do with recognizing the 
truth of the situation with our entitlement programs. At the current 
level, at the current path, neither Social Security nor Medicare is 
sustainable. So this amendment is also a very simple amendment. It 
establishes a point of order that requires in any budget resolution 
that we reform both Social Security and Medicare to create a 75-year 
solvency. Again, I think that is pretty reasonable. Let me describe why 
I think it is so important. I frequently hear all kinds of people claim 
Social Security is solvent to the year 2035 or the year 2038. It is a 
moving target. Let's take a look at the true picture in terms of the 
Social Security financial balance sheet. This comes right from the 
Social Security Administration. This is looking ahead to the year 2032, 
a mere 20 years' worth of deficits.
  It is true that Social Security actually was running surpluses for 
decades. It built up a trust fund of--we will talk about that later--
about $2.5 trillion, $2.6 trillion. But in 2010, that situation turned 
around. Now Social Security is paying out more in benefits than it is 
taking in, in terms of dedicated revenue to the payroll tax. Over the 
next 20 years, that total cash deficit will equal $5.1 trillion.
  How could anybody, looking at these facts and figures, possibly claim 
Social Security is solvent? Well, it is because of the fiction--and it 
is fiction--of the Social Security trust fund. I have a couple of 
quotes here from the Office of Management and Budget. Talking about the 
Social Security trust fund, they say:

       These balances are available for future benefit payments 
     and other trust fund expenditures, but only in a bookkeeping 
     sense. The holdings of the trust funds are not assets of the 
     government as a whole that can be drawn down in the future to 
     fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury.

  In other words, they are claims against the Federal Government.

[[Page S2078]]

       The existence of large trust fund balances, therefore, does 
     not, by itself, increase the government's ability to pay 
     benefits. Put differently, these trust fund balances are 
     assets of the program agencies and corresponding liabilities 
     of the Treasury.

  In other words, we have assets worth $2.6 trillion, we have 
liabilities of $2.6 trillion, netting to zero.
  One of the analogies I use to describe the trust fund is very similar 
to this: If a person has $20 and spends it--by the way, this money is 
spent; it is gone--and then that person writes him- or herself a note 
for $20 and stuffs it in their pocket and says, Hey, I have 20 bucks, 
they really don't. They have a promissory note they will have to give 
somebody else to purchase so they can have the real $20 to spend. That 
is basically what we have in the Social Security trust fund. It does 
exist. It is just worth zero.

  But here, ladies and gentlemen of America, as shown in this picture, 
is the Social Security trust fund. It is a file cabinet. It is locked. 
That is kind of funny because they are actually nonmarketable 
securities, but there you go. That is $2.6 trillion worth of value that 
supposedly makes Social Security solvent to the year 2035. It is a 
fiction. It is false. And until everybody here in Washington starts 
truthfully describing the extent of our problem with not only Social 
Security but also Medicare--I was part of that group of Senators who 
had the privilege of having dinner with the President a couple weeks 
ago. I found it very interesting that President Obama accurately 
described the problem in reforming Medicare. He said the problem is 
that Americans pay in $1 but they get $3 worth of benefits. He also 
went on to say we have a problem because most Americans do not 
understand that.
  Well, today I am asking the President, I am asking Members on the 
other side of the aisle to join with Republicans to honestly describe 
the problem to the American public. You do not solve a problem until 
you first define it and then secondly admit you have the problem. We 
have severe problems with Social Security, with Medicare, with other 
mandatory spending, with our budget. Until we come to terms with that, 
until we are honest with the American people--stop pulling the wool 
over their eyes--we have no chance whatsoever of solving these very 
severe problems.
  So with that, I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Heinrich). The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I will be speaking off of the time on 
the resolution for a moment and then deferring to Senator Mikulski in 
yielding time to her, as well as our great colleague from Minnesota, 
Senator Klobuchar, and others who wish to speak as we proceed with the 
debate on this resolution.
  Let me take a moment and say that today the House has passed their 
budget called the Ryan Republican budget, and it effectively rolls back 
health care for women in this country. Our budget does exactly the 
opposite. We protect and strengthen access to health care for women.
  Under health care reform, which we strengthen and support in our 
budget, health insurance plans, as we know, are required to cover 
women's preventive care, things such as annual wellness visits, 
domestic violence screenings, and contraception, without copays, 
coinsurance, or deductibles. The Republican budget that was passed 
today would take away those protections. Under the budget they passed 
today, 1.3 million women in Michigan alone could lose their health 
  Insurance plans are now--under what we have passed--not allowed to 
discriminate against women. That is part of health reform. Being a 
woman is not a preexisting condition anymore. You cannot charge higher 
rates, you cannot discriminate in other ways against women in the 
marketplace when they are looking to buy insurance. And it would 
prohibit insurance companies from denying access to health insurance 
for a variety of things, such as being a domestic violence survivor. 
The Republican budget in the House would take away those critical 
  Until we passed health reform, as many as 60 percent of the 
individual insurance plans in this country did not offer basic 
maternity care, which I think is shocking. I know that whenever I talk 
with folks about that, they cannot believe that basic prenatal care, 
which is so important for babies, for women, was not provided. Now it 
is under our definition of health care.
  The Ryan Republican budget would mean that 1 million women and 
children would not have access to maternal or child health services in 
Michigan alone. It would mean that 6,000 fewer women in Michigan would 
get cancer screenings that could save their lives and that nearly 
16,000 children would not get the vaccinations they need to remain 
  That is just one area of many reasons why we need to support the 
budget Senator Murray and our committee have put before this body. This 
is about focusing on women's health, on middle-class growth in terms of 
education and innovation, and on infrastructure investments to grow our 
economy. It is important that we are having this debate, and it is 
important that the women of the country understand that the budget we 
have before the Senate, the Democratic budget, places women as a 
priority--their health, the economy for their families, being able to 
balance their own budgets, and being able to provide futures for their 
  I would now like to yield time off the resolution to our great leader 
from Maryland, the chair of the Appropriations Committee, a person who, 
as we know, showed extraordinary leadership in the last few weeks on 
the floor in a very challenging time, dealing with the current budget, 
which we have now successfully passed. She also is our leader as it 
relates to women's health care and the provisions on women's health 
care in health reform that are now impacting and saving women's lives.
  I yield time off the resolution--as much time as she would consume--
to Senator Mikulski.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Michigan for 
her kind words and also her leadership. She is part of our Democratic 
leadership team and has been a real champion for jobs that pay a living 
wage, jobs that lead to the middle class. She is an advocate for making 
sure we have an economy that builds from the middle class out. Also, as 
the chair of the full Committee on Agriculture, she has fashioned 
bipartisan solutions to help our American farmers, particularly the 
family farm, and to feed the hungry here and around the world. I salute 
her for her leadership.
  Mr. President, I come here today to support the budget put forth by 
the Democrats in their resolution, led by the very able chair, Senator 
Patty Murray. We are showing that we can govern. Yesterday we passed 
the continuing funding resolution in the Senate. It passed 73 to 26. It 
showed a bipartisan resolution, a resolve to make sure there is no 
government shutdown, slowdown, slamdown. We now have to look ahead to 
fiscal year 2014.
  I salute Senator Murray for what she has done through her committee. 
First of all, she is dealing with sequester, that Draconian approach 
that is going to shred government but most of all shred opportunity and 
place our fragile economy in jeopardy. She has done it in a balanced 
way. At the same time, she has protected seniors, veterans, and our 
most vulnerable by making sure she has looked out for Medicare and 
Medicaid. Contrasting the Ryan budget, she also showed that she, in our 
budget, is not going to throw women and children under the bus. I think 
she has done an outstanding job, and I want to support her.
  As we look at what we need to do here in the budget, I was appalled, 
first of all, to see what the Ryan budget did. Women across America 
have to balance their family budgets. They know America also has to get 
its fiscal act together. But the entire Ryan budget places the whole 
burden of drawing down our public debt on discretionary spending. It 
preserves tax breaks and tax earmarks and further squeezes those fiscal 
priorities that impact women and children, impact education, impact 
empowerment. I think what we have to offer here offers a far greater 
  One of the things I am deeply concerned about is its impact on 
women's health care. The Senator from Michigan has spoken about it. We 
worked on

[[Page S2079]]

making sure that--when we were working on the Affordable Care Act, we 
acknowledged the special needs of women. We were appalled in hearings 
that I had that women were paying more for their health insurance than 
men of comparable age and health status. We were paying a gender tax.
  Now, the Affordable Care Act--disparagingly mentioned on the other 
side as ObamaCare; affectionately mentioned here as ObamaCare because 
the President does--our legislation that we passed in the Affordable 
Care Act eliminated gender discrimination in the insurance industry, 
that you do not penalize someone because they are a woman.
  Then we got right rid of the punitive practices in insurance 
companies, one of which was to deny families with children with 
preexisting conditions health care. That meant that if you had a child 
with autism, if you had a child with cerebral palsy, you could not get 
health insurance for the rest of your family--punitive, harsh. We got 
rid of that.
  Then there was the way they treated the women. Simply being a woman, 
as others have said, was a preexisting condition. We were appalled in 
our investigation that showed that in eight States you were denied 
health insurance if you were a victim of domestic violence. So you were 
battered in your own home, and you were battered by your insurance 
company. Again, we got rid of those punitive practices.
  But the Ryan budget gets rid of the Affordable Care Act. So all of 
those reforms--increasing universal access to the working poor, getting 
rid of the punitive practices of insurance companies, ending gender 
discrimination--will be vitiated. It will be canceled like it did not 
  During their campaigns, they said they wanted to repeal and replace. 
Well, Paul Ryan repeals, but he does not replace. And do you know what. 
We do not need to have it replaced. We need to keep the Affordable Care 
Act in place, moving America in the right direction and helping health 
care be affordable both to families and to businesses. We cannot allow 
the Ryan budget to stand.
  But just being against an idea is not good enough. This is why we 
support the Murray budget, because she preserves the Affordable Care 
Act, and she continues to emphasize those reforms we made in quality 
and prevention and integrative services. We know how, through those 
quality initiatives, we can save money and save lives.
  Others will also speak about Medicare. I cannot believe that we are 
going to replace Medicare with a voucher--a voucher and a promise. So 
let's get rid of, not deal with, the health care needs of the elderly. 
Let's get rid of the financial needs of the Federal Government. So we 
would rather protect billionaires than protect senior citizens. I think 
we have our priorities wrong.
  Others will speak to Medicare. I am going to go to Medicaid. I want 
to speak to Medicaid because of our knowledge about who is on Medicaid. 
Mr. President, 1.8 million seniors are in nursing homes. What is 
Medicaid? Medicaid is the only safety net the middle class has when, 
through the ravages of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or other chronic, 
debilitating disease, you must turn to a long-term care facility, that 
you have a safety net to help pay the bill. In order to qualify, you 
have to spend down.
  I was a leader here, 25 years ago, in trying to reform the spend-down 
policy. Twenty-five years later, we have made no reforms. We have had 
plenty of attacks but no reform.
  We cannot turn Medicaid into a block grant. It is going to endanger 
really the ability of sound nursing homes--either by the private sector 
or faith-based--in my own State to look at how are they going to fund 
  All we are doing is funding our problems with public debt onto the 
States. Many people here talk about, oh, we need to go to the 
Governors. All we are sending to the Governors is more unfunded Federal 
mandates. We cannot do this to Medicaid, and we cannot do this to the 
middle class.
  Instead, we should be investing in research. I say this because my 
father died of the ravages of Alzheimer's. We had to spend down the 
family savings he earned from working over 60 or 70 hours a week in a 
little grocery store. This is not only our story, it is the story of 
over 1 million people.
  What could we do? I felt so sad for my father. I felt worse because 
even though I was a Senator, even though I could get Nobel Prize 
winners on the phone, even though I was an appropriator, there wasn't 
the cure, the cognitive stretchout for him.
  We need to invest in the research. We are on the brink of incredible 
breakthroughs in neurological science which could either help fund the 
cure for Alzheimer's or do the cognitive stretchout. We need to spend 
money to save money. Let's put the money into research and deal with 
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's disease, debilitating things 
which break the family's budget and family's heart but also contribute 
to the public debt. We can get there if we make wise and prudent 
choices. Most of the people in nursing homes are primarily women over 
the age of 80. What are we going to do? Are we going to abandon them?
  This budget is unkind to women, but it is also unkind to children in 
terms of the opportunity structure.
  The Ryan budget caps and freezes Pell grants at $5,645. It requires 
families who make less than $20,000 to qualify for a Pell grant. This 
means many people who seek Pell grants are single mothers. There is 
recent data showing many of our families, 63 percent, are in single-
parent households. It could be a single mother or a single dad, someone 
who started out life with hopes and dreams and now has many 
  Many wish to return to higher education, particularly the community 
colleges which offer gateways to better jobs in the new economy. In my 
own State, this could be an associate degree in nursing, in pharmacy 
tech or in lab tech. This can help keep people in the middle class in 
affordable living. An affordable education will be the gateway into 
community colleges. We should be expanding the Pell grants, not 
shrinking them. It is a new economy, and it is a new family profile.
  I could go over this line item by line item. I know others will be 
talking. When we look at women who need health care for themselves, for 
their children and their aging parents, the so-called sandwich 
generation, the Ryan budget vitiates it, but the Murray budget has a 
way to deal with this.
  For education and opportunity, for our children, workforce, and 
community colleges, the Ryan budget shrinks opportunity and shrinks the 
ability of people rising to the middle class or staying in the middle 
  I think the Ryan budget is a bad prescription for America. The way I 
want to deal with the Ryan budget is replace it with a sensible, 
balanced approach which looks for the hopes and dreams of the American 
people and is not protecting lavish subsidies and lavish tax breaks to 
subsidize corporate jets and other such items.
  I salute the Senator from Washington State for the great job she 
accomplished. I look forward to further debate.
  Yesterday, we were able to move the continuing resolution for 
funding. I could not have done it without the great staff I have.

                       Retirement of Charlie Houy

  Mr. President, in a few days the U.S. government will say 
congratulations and happy retirement to one of our finest public 
servants, Charlie Houy. After more than three decades of federal 
service Charlie will retire from the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  He has served on the Appropriations Committee for more than 30 years, 
always following the dictum of his first supervisor, Senator Ted 
Stevens, that staff, like children, should be seen and not heard. 
Charlie began his Federal service in 1981 working for the Naval Sea 
Systems Command as a Presidential Management Intern. He was detailed to 
the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in 1983 and worked as a 
majority professional staff member for Chairmen Ted Stevens, John 
Stennis, and Daniel Inouye. Charlie was appointed Democratic clerk of 
the subcommittee in 1995 by Chairman Inouye and remained in that 
position through 2010.
  In 2009, Charlie became the 23rd staff director of the full 
Appropriations Committee under Chairman Inouye's leadership and did an 
outstanding job keeping the trains running to get the committee's work 
done and maneuvering the committee through numerous budget minefields.

[[Page S2080]]

  During the transition following Chairman Inouye's sudden passing, 
Charlie expertly brought me up to speed on the short term and long term 
issues I would be facing as the new chairwoman. Just one day after 
becoming chairwoman, I found myself managing the Sandy Supplemental on 
the Senate floor. Charlie was on my side, and at my side. His advice 
and during this period were invaluable. It more than made up for the 
fact that he is an avid San Francisco 49ers fan.
  His spirit of bipartisanship has earned him praise from members on 
both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Dome. Senate Majority 
Leader Harry Reid described Charlie as a person ``who has a fantastic 
knowledge of what goes on in this country as it relates to money.'' The 
late Senator Ted Stevens had this to say about Charlie: ``He is a 
consummate expert on defense issues and is well respected by those at 
the Department of Defense and his colleagues on the Hill . . . I am 
proud to say he is my friend.'' The late Chairman Daniel Inouye 
described Charlie as ``one of the finest staff members in the whole 
Senate . . .''
  His accomplishments and expertise earned him a coveted spot on Roll 
Call's Fabulous 50 staffers for his mastery of policy and procedure and 
his ability to influence agendas and legislation.
  President Harry Truman once said, ``It's amazing what you can 
accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit.'' This personifies 
Charlie. In a town where most people are clamoring over each other for 
the spotlight, Charlie has used a quiet humility and a tireless work 
ethic to accomplish great things for our country.
  I would also like to recognize and thank Charlie's wife Sharon and 
his daughter Cassie. Working in the Senate for more than 30 years, 
there were many late nights and weekends that required Charlie to miss 
out on family events, crew regattas, and vacations. Thank you for 
lending us your husband and father during those times.
  Mr. President, I stand here today to express my deepest appreciation 
to Charlie Houy for serving the Senate Appropriations Committee, the 
Senate, and the American people with integrity and intelligence. His 
tireless contributions to our nation have been outstanding. I wish him 
well as he leaves the U.S. Senate for new adventures.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent this discussion 
be taken from the resolution time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Let me thank all the women Senators who are down here 
speaking so eloquently about the importance of passing a budget 
resolution which reflects the values and needs of women in this country 
and the men who are important to them.
  I wish to especially thank our dean of women, Senator Mikulski, who 
has made this a lifetime passion to ensure the women who come after her 
have the strength and ability to participate in the economy in any way 
they wish. I thank her and the other Senators for their leadership.
  Senator Klobuchar will continue this discussion.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. I wish to thank Senator Murray for her leadership on 
this budget. This is not an easy thing. We all know this. She actually 
has been working on this many years. I am very proud of this budget and 
the work which has been done here, the balanced approach which has been 
  I wish to thank Senator Mikulski, the Senator from Maryland, our 
fearless leader of the women Senators, who has been there since the 
beginning and understands these fights in a different way than many of 
us who are new can't imagine. We will need to continue moving forward 
for the women of this country and can never step backward, which is 
where I wish to begin discussing this budget.
  The budget Senator Murray has proposed is a budget which moves us 
forward. For a long time, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have 
been talking about how we need to get $4 trillion in budget reduction 
and deficit reduction over the next 10 years.
  We have done $2.4 trillion. It is a start. It is not all we need to 
do, but it is a start. Of that amount, the $2.4 trillion, 70 percent 
was in cuts. When we look at the proposals which have been made by 
Simpson-Bowles, Rivlin-Domenici, the Gang of 6, all the groups which 
have worked on a very strong bipartisan basis, they have all proposed 
something like 2 to 1 on spending cuts to revenue.
  The proposal which has been made on the House side which passed in 
the House today isn't even close to that. In fact, when we look at 
Congressman Ryan's budget, there isn't revenue in this budget. He does 
include some of the past revenues. Even when you do that, that is a 10-
to-1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue for this country going forward. 
It is not the right mix. Yes, we need to balance our budget, but we 
also need a balance which is budgeted.
  The last thing we need to do is balance our budget on the backs of 
women and children. This is why it is important for people. I will 
return later to speak about some of the economic issues in my State and 
why it is so important to move forward and have a budget with a 
balanced mix of spending cuts and revenue. I truly believe we need a 
deal here. We need to bring this debt down. It is very important to me 
because I think it will trigger investment. We need to do it in the 
right way.
  Today, I am focused on one issue; that is, the effect this budget 
would have on women and children, the budget proposed in the House 
versus the budget Senator Murray has put together.
  It is no coincidence the Senator who is leading us through this 
budget process is the same Senator who joined me last spring when the 
Violence Against Women Act was on the floor. We needed to rally all 17 
women Senators behind us. At the time people thought it was stuck, it 
was a gridlock and wasn't going anywhere. Then all the women Senators, 
Democrats and Republicans, came together.
  Patty Murray was the leader in this effort. This is why this Senate 
budget not only maintains but increases critical funding for the 
Violence Against Women and Family Violence Program. This will give law 
enforcement better tools for responding to cases of domestic violence 
and sexual assault, programs which make sure mothers and children have 
a safe place to go and programs which help victims get back on their 
feet again. Even more important, this includes programs which save 
  As a former prosecutor, I know firsthand how important the Violence 
Against Women Act has been. We were very pleased it was reauthorized on 
such a strong bipartisan basis. It is incredibly important, not just 
for those individual victims but for entire families and entire 
communities. Statistics show kids raised in violent homes are 76 times 
more likely to be perpetrators of these crimes when they grow up.
  This is why I truly appreciate Senator Murray's work to ensure we 
have a policy in place, which is something we worked on in the 
Judiciary Committee. I see Senator Hirono from Hawaii. We worked hard 
on this, as it is important, but also the funding is in place. We 
consolidated programs, reduced funding with the Violence Against Women 
Act and did different things in the last Violence Against Women Act to 
make it more efficient. This is fully funded in this bill, and it is 
very important for people to know who care about this.
  As to health care, something which is very important to our kids, the 
House budget, as has been noted by Senator Stabenow and others, would 
slash billions of dollars in basic health care services for children, 
including prenatal care for expectant moms and vaccinations for kids. 
Under the House proposal, more than 33,000 women would lose access to 
maternal and child health care services in Minnesota alone. Meanwhile, 
another 8,551 children would lose access to lifesaving immunizations. 
This is only in my State.
  Sadly, after the devastating flu season we just experienced, with 
many children dying across this country, how could anyone think it is a 
good idea to cut funding for vaccination programs? How could that be 
one of the proposals in this budget. There are so many loopholes we 
could close, so many tax subsidies we could eliminate. Why would we cut 
kids' vaccinations? Sadly, this is what happened in the House today.

[[Page S2081]]

  While we are on the subject of health care, I also wish to point out 
the House budget would cut funding for the National Breast and Cervical 
Cancer Early Detection Program, meaning hundreds of thousands of women 
would lose access to mammograms, pap smear tests, cervical cancer 
screening, which is the tip of the iceberg. By repealing the Affordable 
Care Act, the House budget would threaten preventive care for women 
across this country. The Ryan budget would eliminate the important 
reforms to improve patient care, already noted by Senator Mikulski and 
Senator Stabenow. It would eliminate the important reforms to improve 
patient care and the delivery system which is included in the health 
care bill.

  What is interesting to me is Congressman Ryan does acknowledge the 
Affordable Care Act has some very good savings in it because he 
includes those over $700 billion in savings in his budget.
  This is great, but then he cuts out all those budgets I spoke about 
which were so important to the American people: to not be banned from 
health insurance because you have a preexisting condition and to be 
able to keep kids on their parents' insurance until they are 26 years 
old. I am looking forward to that with my own daughter.
  The third thing I mentioned is closing the doughnut hole for our 
seniors. Those things are all being cut under this budget.
  We have had this debate too many times already. I wish to be clear; 
the Senate budget not only protects core funding for preventive 
services but upholds the Affordable Care Act and its most important 
provisions for women and children.
  Let's turn to another front to see how women and children of this 
country, particularly children, fare and this is education. On the 
education front, the Senate budget--while still making $975 billion in 
cuts, $975 billion in spending cuts--still maintains core funding for 
early education through the Head Start Program. The House budget, when 
combined with sequestration, would push almost 200,000 low-income 
children out of the program in 2014.
  We all know education is one of our best investments. When we look at 
the global economy and education growing across this country, we are 
getting real competition from other countries. The last thing we need 
to do is cut back on education.
  This is why the Senate proposal includes continued support for 
elementary and secondary schools through programs such as IDEA, the 
ladder which provides early intervention in special education services 
to kids with disabilities. Our budget also makes key investments in 
improving literacy and increasing the emphasis on STEM, science, 
technology, engineering, math.
  This is the future. We want to train our own kids in America, as 
Senator Sanders is well aware, to ensure they have the skills to be 
able to compete on the international stage.
  What does the House budget do? It slashes close to $1.2 trillion of 
investments in education, skills training, science and technology, R&D, 
transportation and infrastructure over the next 10 years.
  Do you know what I think. I think that is being penny wise and pound 
foolish and not what we should do in the budget for the United States 
of America. I truly believe we have an amazing opportunity right now. 
We have seen better unemployment numbers than we have seen in 4 years. 
The housing market is starting to turn around. People are starting to 
go back to work. It is not nearly where it should be. The last thing we 
need to do is go backward. The last people who want to see us go 
backward are the women of America.
  I was listening as Senator Stabenow spoke about the health care bill, 
the Affordable Care Act, and during the Finance Committee there was a 
debate about whether maternity care should be included in the mandatory 
benefits. One of our colleagues at the time said: I don't understand 
why maternity benefits should be included. I never needed them.
  Without missing a moment, Senator Stabenow looked across the table 
and said: I bet your mother did.
  There are a lot of mothers around America right now who are looking 
at these budgets because these budgets represent values, the future of 
our kids and the women and men of this country.
  Let's bring our spending down. Let's get over the $4 trillion figure 
we are supposed to get out of the debt reduction but do so in a way 
which doesn't hurt middle-class families and doesn't hurt the families 
most vulnerable. I know we can do it. We are a great country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, before I begin my remarks, I wish to thank 
Senator Mikulski for the tremendous work she did on the continuing 
resolution. I know she worked so hard, and yet she is on the floor 
today to talk about how important passing the Murray budget is. And of 
course Senator Murray is on the floor also, and I want to thank her for 
her great work.
  I stand in solidarity with all the men and women, my colleagues, who 
are going to be talking about how important it is to pass the Murray 
budget, which is a balanced budget that reflects our priorities and our 
values. The last few years have been hard for families across the 
country. Our economy is still struggling its way out of a great 
recession, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And we 
have made progress. For example, the economy has grown and millions of 
people are back to work. But this progress is not fast enough for too 
many families in Hawaii and across our Nation.
  Regrettably, that doesn't seem to concern some of our colleagues in 
the House of Representatives. The budget proposed by the House 
majority, the Ryan budget, would set our economic recovery back and it 
would do so on the backs of those who can least afford it. Some of the 
hardest hit will be women and children, the very people who face some 
of the biggest challenges in today's economy. So I want to focus on how 
the Ryan budget negatively impacts women in our country.
  Women in Hawaii make 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man for 
the same job. Monthly food costs in Hawaii are 61 percent higher than 
in the rest of the country. Forty percent of Hawaii households pay more 
than 40 percent of their monthly income on housing. Hawaii residents 
pay some of the highest gasoline prices in the country, which we all 
know can be a serious hardship on family budgets. Our high cost of 
living is one of the reasons we have a high percentage of women working 
in two-parent households in Hawaii.
  Across my State and across our country, women are waking up every 
day, working hard, and making ends meet in any way they can. These 
challenges I mentioned are being overcome every single day by 
determined women. They work hard to improve their lives and to give 
their children an even greater shot at success than they had. For many, 
the support they receive for health care, education, childcare, paying 
for food and housing, makes all the difference. Unfortunately, the Ryan 
budget lays out a vision of America where these people, our families, 
are left behind.
  We are told that budgets reflect our values. I agree. What are the 
values exemplified and reflected by a budget, the Ryan budget, that 
makes deep cuts in supports such as the Supplemental Nutrition 
Assistance Program--SNAP--and the Women, Infants and Children--WIC--
Program? Combined, SNAP and WIC help put food on the table for over 50 
million--I repeat, 50 million--Americans, primarily women and children. 
The SNAP cuts in the Ryan budget would put over 180,000 families in 
Hawaii at risk of losing the ability to put food on their table.
  What could be more fundamental than putting food on the table? I 
don't know anyone who could look these families in the eye and say: 
Sorry that you can't afford to feed your children anymore. We have to 
balance the budget. We need to close the deficit. Sorry. That, to me, 
is unconscionable and runs counter to our core values.
  The Ryan budget would also deeply cut childcare assistance and Head 
Start, as mentioned by my other colleagues, leaving more than 2 million 
children and their families without realistic early childhood or 
  In addition, the Pell Grant cuts in the Ryan proposal would make 

[[Page S2082]]

less affordable for 6 million women students. Add to that the millions 
of male students and you are affecting the future education of our 
  These cuts don't just hurt families now, they force parents to choose 
between jobs and caring for children. They prevent kids from accessing 
early learning opportunities that we know are vital to enabling these 
children to succeed in school and in life.
  The Ryan budget also slashes support for things such as public 
transit, housing assistance, and community development. Each of these 
investments helps make our communities better places to raise a family, 
which attracts businesses and creates jobs.
  Finally, and most egregiously and seriously, in my view, the Ryan 
budget cuts health care for women of all ages by repealing ObamaCare. 
By repealing ObamaCare, the Ryan budget takes us back to when being a 
woman was a preexisting condition, thereby disqualifying her for health 
insurance or costing her many times more for coverage. If we repeal 
ObamaCare, analysts project that insurance companies could charge women 
over $1 billion more in premiums than men are charged for the very same 
coverage. So by repealing ObamaCare, the Ryan budget discriminates 
against women. And since when is discriminating against women a core 
  While ObamaCare requires that insurers cover maternity care, only 12 
percent of plans on the individual market do so currently. Repealing 
ObamaCare would also undermine access to reproductive health and family 
planning services.
  Now let's talk about how the Ryan budget would affect seniors. 
Seniors in our country know the Ryan budget will end Medicare as we 
know it. They know these changes will force millions of women--and, of 
course, men--to make do with a voucher for their medical care--a 
voucher of decreasing value. And since so many women receive lower 
Social Security benefits than men, while paying higher out-of-pocket 
health care costs, losing Medicare coverage could be the difference for 
them between food, housing, or lifesaving medication. Now is not the 
time to be making huge cuts to investments in programs that provide the 
very economic security we should be working to improve.
  Fortunately, the priorities laid out in Chairman Murray's budget 
would help to strengthen the economic security so many families are 
seeking. The Senate budget resolution prioritizes creating new jobs, 
expanding opportunity, and laying out a strong foundation for economic 
growth. It builds on the progress we have made over the past few years 
instead of tearing that progress down.
  I applaud Chairman Murray for prioritizing the elimination of the 
sequester, which the Congressional Budget Office says could eliminate 
750,000 jobs. I also applaud her foresight in including investments in 
early childhood education, clean energy, national security, our 
veterans and our seniors, and her bill preserves access to health care, 
opportunities for higher education, and programs such as SNAP and WIC. 
These supports are vital to keeping our economy moving in the right 
  The Murray plan will help improve American competitiveness, foster 
innovation, and open more opportunities for small businesses to 
succeed, and it lays out a blueprint for responsibly paying for these 
investments and reducing our deficit in a balanced way. Each and every 
one of these priorities helps to improve the economic security of men 
and women and children--families--in our country.
  I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting the Murray plan, a 
plan that provides a foundation for growth, instead of a plan that 
takes a meat-ax approach to the economic security of millions of 
families in our country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I want to thank the Senator from Hawaii 
for joining a number of very strong Democratic women to talk about the 
importance of our budget for women in this country, and I appreciate 
her strong voice here in the Senate.
  I yield 30 minutes off the resolution to the Senator from Vermont, 
who is a great member of our Budget Committee and contributes so much 
thought to all of it. We appreciate all his work.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I thank Senator Murray for yielding, and 
I want to thank her and her staff for the excellent work they have 
done. As a member of the Budget Committee, I have enjoyed working with 
  Everybody knows our country has an $850 billion deficit and a $16-
plus trillion national debt. But what has not been discussed as often 
as it should be is how we came into that financial position. How do we 
have the deficit and how do we have this huge debt?
  Let us not forget, as we discuss this issue, that in January of 2001, 
when President Bill Clinton left office, this country had an annual 
Federal budget surplus of $236 billion. A surplus of $236 billion in 
January 2001. We now have an $850 billion deficit. So what happened?
  Well, I think many Americans know what happened. When you go to war 
in Afghanistan and Iraq and you don't pay for those wars, you add to 
the deficit. When you give huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people in 
this country and you don't offset that, you add to the deficit. When 
you pass a Medicare Part D prescription drug program and you don't pay 
for that, you add to the deficit.
  And on top of all of that, we must understand that right now, at 15.8 
percent of GDP, revenue coming into the Federal Government is the 
lowest it has been in 60 years. The reason for that is we are in the 
midst of a very serious recession--a recession caused by the greed, 
recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street. Not only has that 
led to significant increases in unemployment and businesses going 
under, once again, it resulted in less tax revenue coming in to this 
  And by the way, when we talk about Wall Street and the greed and the 
recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, I must say I was 
stunned when the Attorney General of the United States recently 
suggested it might be difficult to prosecute Wall Street CEOs who 
commit crimes because of the destabilizing effect that prosecution 
might have on the financial system of our country and the world. In 
other words, we have a situation now where Wall Street is not only too 
big to fail, they are too big to jail. The theory is, if you are just a 
regular person and you commit a crime, you go to jail. If you are the 
head of a Wall Street company, your power is so great, the tentacles of 
that company are so great, that if you are prosecuted, and there is 
destabilization in that company, it can have worldwide or national 
implications. That is an issue we have to think long and hard about. We 
are supposed to be a country of law, and that law should apply to the 
CEOs of Wall Street companies as well as everybody else.
  The other point I want to make deals, if you will, with a moral 
issue. When you are dealing with a deficit situation--and I just 
described how we got into the deficit situation--and you say we need to 
make sacrifices, it is absolutely appropriate to ask who is best able 
to make those sacrifices. Right now, as I think most Americans know, 
the wealthiest people in this country are doing phenomenally well. 
Large corporations are enjoying record-breaking profits. That is one 
group of people. Meanwhile, the middle class of this country is 
disappearing, and we have 46 million people living in poverty. So 
common morality, basic morality, says who should we ask most 
significantly to help us with deficit reduction? Do we tell an 
unemployed worker who is struggling to keep his or her family afloat 
that we are going to balance the budget on their back or do we ask, a 
huge profitable corporation, that in some cases is paying nothing in 
taxes, to help us with deficit reduction?
  It is important for us to do what we do too rarely on the floor of 
the Senate--take a hard look at what is happening to the American 
people right now. I am very pleased we are seeing more job creation. 
Good thing. We are seeing somewhat of a recovery in housing. Very good 
thing. But let us understand where the middle class of this country is 
today, where the working class of this country is today before we 
demand that we balance the budget on their backs, as the Ryan budget in 
the House does.

[[Page S2083]]

  Since 1999, the average middle-class family has seen its income go 
down by nearly $5,000 after adjusting for inflation. Median family 
income today is lower than it was in 1996. Real unemployment is not 7.7 
percent, it is 14.3 percent if you count those people who have given up 
looking for work and are working part time. Youth unemployment is even 
higher. More than 25 percent of young Americans are unemployed. In 
terms of the African-American community, unemployment is off the 
  When we talk about job creation, we all want job creation. However, 
it is important to understand that nearly 60 percent of the new jobs 
that have been created since 2010 are low-wage jobs paying between 
$7.80 an hour and $13.80 an hour.
  Jobs, yes. But we want jobs that can take care of families, not just 
low-wage jobs.
  Further, when we are talking about the budget, we don't talk about 
this at all. I know my Republican friends don't talk about it; most of 
my Democratic friends don't talk about it. It is anathema here to talk 
about issues of distribution of wealth and income, but I think it is 
important before we talk about on whose backs we are going to balance 
the budget.
  Today the United States has the most unequal distribution of wealth 
and income of any major country on Earth, and the gap between the very, 
very wealthy and everyone else is growing wider and wider. Incredibly, 
the wealthiest 400 individuals in this country today own more wealth 
than the bottom half of America, 150 million people. I think that is an 
issue we might want to discuss even if it offends some of our wealthy 
campaign contributors, but I think we should put that on the table.
  Today one family--the Walton family of Walmart--owns more wealth than 
the bottom 40 percent of families in this country. And by the way, you 
will all be delighted to know they got a huge tax break recently.
  Today the top 1 percent owns 38 percent of all financial wealth. That 
is a stunning number. What is even more stunning is the bottom 60 
percent owns 2.3 percent of the wealth in this Nation. One percent on 
top owns 38 percent of the wealth; the bottom 60 percent owns 2.3 
percent. And who do Mr. Ryan and my Republican friends want to balance 
the budget on? Those 60 percent, the working families who already have 
nothing, who are losing what they have, who are struggling to keep 
their heads above water.
  But it is not just distribution of wealth, it is distribution of 
income. If you can believe it--this is again a stunning fact which, for 
some reason, we don't talk about too much here on the floor. A recent 
study shows that had all of the new income gained from 2009 to 2011 
gone to the top 1 percent, 99 percent gained nothing. So who do we 
balance the budget on? Of course you go after the middle class, go 
after the working class, go after low-income people. Well, maybe 
somebody might want to ask that 1 percent to start paying a little bit 
more in taxes before we cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, 
education, and nutrition.
  One of the good parts of the Murray budget is that it provides $100 
billion in funding to put millions of Americans back to work rebuilding 
our crumbling infrastructure. I would have gone much higher. Because 
while deficit reduction is a very serious issue, it is even more 
important that we start putting millions of people back to work who are 
in desperate need of employment. The fastest way to do that is to 
rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. One hundred billion is a good 
start. We need more.
  During the consideration of the budget resolution, I plan on offering 
two amendments. The first, amendment No. 264, would create a reserve 
fund to reduce the deficit and create jobs by eliminating offshore tax 
abuse by large profitable corporations. The second, amendment No. 198, 
would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect the benefits 
of disabled veterans--and I speak as chairman of the Veterans' Affairs 
Committee--disabled vets and their survivors by not enacting the so-
called chained CPI. I am pleased that this amendment is being 
cosponsored by Senator Harkin and Senator Hirono. Let me take a few 
minutes to describe both of these amendments.
  At a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high, when the 
effective corporate tax rate is at a 40-year low, when one out of four 
profitable corporations pays zero in taxes, it is time for large 
profitable corporations to significantly contribute to deficit 
  The first amendment I will be offering would create a reserve fund to 
reduce the deficit and create jobs by eliminating offshore tax abuse by 
large profitable corporations. In 2011, corporate revenue as a 
percentage of GDP was just 1.2 percent. That is lower than any other 
major country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and 
Development, lower than Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, you 
name it. Each and every year, corporations and the wealthy are avoiding 
more than $100 billion in U.S. taxes by sheltering their income 
offshore. Offshore tax schemes have become so absurd that one five-
story building in the Cayman Islands is now the home to more than 
18,000 corporations.
  When the Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and 
Citigroup needed a taxpayer bailout in 2008--and I did not vote for 
that bailout--they told us what great Americans they were, how much 
they love the United States of America, proud to be an American. But 
when it comes to paying their taxes, these large Wall Street companies 
are proud to be with the Cayman Islands. So my suggestion to these 
corporations: Next time you need a bailout, don't come to the taxpayers 
of America. Go to the people of the Cayman Islands and get your bailout 
there. But so long as you are an American company, how about helping us 
with deficit reduction and paying some taxes in this country?
  But it is not just Wall Street. You have pharmaceutical companies 
such as Eli Lilly and Pfizer also using offshore tax havens. Apple 
wants all the advantages of being an American company, but it doesn't 
want to pay American taxes or American wages. It creates the iPad, the 
iPhone, the iPod, and iTunes in the United States, manufactures most of 
its products in China, and then ships most of its profits to Ireland, 
Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands, and other tax havens to avoid 
paying U.S. taxes.
  This is a huge issue. By the way, it is not just an American issue. 
It is an issue facing governments all over the world: Corporations run 
to tax havens, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and elsewhere. We have got to 
address that issue.
  I am going to list for the Record 15 large profitable corporations 
that have used offshore tax havens to avoid paying U.S. income taxes in 
recent years. At the top of the list, Bank of America. In 2010, Bank of 
America set up more than 200 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands to 
avoid paying U.S. taxes. It worked. Not only did Bank of America pay 
nothing in Federal income taxes but it received a rebate from the IRS 
of $1.9 billion that year.
  Before you cut Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare, do you 
think maybe we might want to ask Bank of America--which we bailed out, 
by the way--to help us with deficit reduction?
  General Electric during the last 5 years made $81 billion in profits. 
Not only has General Electric avoided paying Federal income taxes 
during these years, it received a tax rebate of $3 billion from the 
IRS. GE has at least 14 offshore subsidiaries in Bermuda, Singapore, 
and Luxembourg.
  Citigroup, Verizon, Honeywell International, JPMorgan Chase, Merck, 
Corning, Boeing, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Caterpillar, Cisco 
Systems, Dow Chemicals, major profitable corporations using tax havens 
to avoid paying in the United States of America. We have an amendment 
to deal with that issue, and I hope we can have bipartisan support for 
that amendment.
  Now I want to talk about my second amendment, and now I speak as 
chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
  This amendment, No. 198, would establish a deficit-neutral reserve 
fund to protect the benefits of disabled veterans and their survivors 
by not enacting the so-called chained CPI. I am pleased this amendment 
is being cosponsored by Senators Harkin and Hirono.
  The time has come for the Senate to send a very loud and clear 
message to

[[Page S2084]]

the American people: We will not balance the budget on the backs of 
disabled veterans who have lost their arms, their legs, and their 
eyesight defending our country. We will not balance the budget on the 
backs of the men and women who have already sacrificed for us in Iraq 
and Afghanistan, nor on the widows who have lost their husbands in Iraq 
and Afghanistan defending our country. And we will not balance the 
budget on the backs of those who served so valiantly in World War II, 
the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the gulf war, and other conflicts, by 
cutting Social Security benefits. We will not the adopt the chained 
  The chained CPI is forcefully opposed by every major veterans 
organization in this country. I have talked to many of them, and they 
are outraged after the sacrifices veterans have made that people want 
to balance the budget on their backs. All veterans organizations are in 
opposition to the chained CPI, and that includes of course the American 
Legion, the VFW, the Disabled American Veterans, the Iraq and 
Afghanistan Veterans of America, Gold Star Wives, DAV. You name the 
veterans organization, and they are in opposition.
  But it is not just the veterans organizations that oppose the chained 
CPI. The chained CPI is opposed by every major senior citizen group in 
this country--including the AARP, the largest senior group. And I 
understand they have been calling Members of the Senate and the House, 
and I hope Members will listen to what the AARP has to say--and the 
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the 
Alliance for Retired Americans.
  The chained CPI is opposed by every major union in this country. I 
had a press conference not so long ago with Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO. 
They are strongly opposed to the chained CPI. The chained CPI is 
opposed by every major disability group in this country. It is opposed 
by the National Organization for Women, because they understand what 
the chained CPI would mean for women.
  There are some who believe that lowering costs of living 
adjustments--COLAs--through the adoption of a chained CPI would be just 
a minor tweak in benefits. Let's be clear. For millions of disabled 
veterans and seniors living on fixed incomes, the chained CPI is not a 
minor tweak. It is a significant benefit cut that will make it harder 
for permanently disabled veterans and the elderly to feed their 
families, heat their homes, pay for their prescription drugs, and make 
ends meet. This misguided proposal must be vigorously opposed.
  In one moment or another everybody here has talked about how they 
want to save Social Security, because they know that back home Social 
Security is enormously popular. In poll after poll--whether you are 
Democrat, Republican, Independent--what people are saying is, Don't cut 
Social Security. Don't cut benefits for disabled veterans. Now we are 
going to give Members on both sides of the aisle the opportunity to act 
on what they have been saying for many years.
  Supporters of the chained CPI want the American people to believe 
that the COLAs for the disabled vets, senior citizens, and the 
surviving spouses and children who have lost loved ones in combat are 
too generous. For any senior citizen who is listening to this, the 
theory behind the chained CPI is the benefits that you have been 
getting are too generous. And whenever I say this in Vermont, people 
start laughing. They really do. And I have to say, No, they are not 
kidding, they are serious.
  At a time when some think these benefits are too generous, we should 
understand that in 2 out of the last 4 years disabled vets and senior 
citizens did not receive any COLA at all, zero. So I guess a zero COLA 
is too generous. And this year's COLA of 1.7 percent is one of the 
lowest ever at a time when prescription drug costs for seniors are 
going up, health care costs for seniors are going up, heating costs in 
cold weather States such as mine are going up, food costs are going up. 
And yet seniors got a 1.7 percent COLA, and there are people who say 
that is much too generous.
  Today, more than 3.2 million disabled vets receive disability 
compensation benefits from the VA and would be negatively impacted by 
the chained CPI. Are you really ready after all the great speeches we 
hear--speeches of thank you to the veterans who put their lives on the 
line, who gave their lives defending this country--do you really want 
to cut those benefits for those who lost their arms, their legs, their 
eyesight? I hope not.
  Under the chained CPI, a disabled veteran who started receiving VA 
disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits cut by more 
than $1,400 at age 45; $2,300 at age 55; and $3,200 at age 65. For our 
Wall Street friends, the people who make millions of dollars a year, 
that is not a lot of money. But for people who are trying to survive on 
$20,000, $25,000, $15,000 a year, that is a big hit. In my view, if you 
respect veterans and the sacrifices they have made, if you respect the 
``greatest generation'' and what they have done to make this country 
great, you do not balance the budget on their backs.
  Let me just conclude by saying I have been to Walter Reed, and I have 
seen what war has done to veterans. Many of my colleagues have done the 
same. In Vermont we paid a very heavy price for the Iraq war. I have 
been to too many funerals. I know many of my colleagues have done the 
same. I just ask that before we support this so-called chained CPI, 
which will make devastating cuts on the backs of disabled veterans and 
senior citizens, we remember the sacrifices those people made.
  Let me ask unanimous consent to have printed letters in opposition to 
the chained CPI that I have received from the American Legion, Disabled 
American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and several other veterans 
  Let me quote from a letter I received from the National Commander of 
the American Legion, Jim Koutz, in opposition to the chained CPI:

       On behalf of the 2.4 million members of The American Legion 
     I voice our opposition to [the chained CPI] because of the 
     harmful effects it will have on veterans' and Social Security 
     benefits . . . Under the chained CPI, which cuts the formula 
     used to determine the COLA for VA benefits, disabled veterans 
     who receive this benefit would have their benefits reduced by 
     thousands of dollars over their remaining lifetimes . . . The 
     American Legion understands the need to restore fiscal 
     discipline, but it should not be done by reneging on this 
     country's promises to its veterans who already have earned 
     these benefits through their service to country . . . For 
     these veterans and their families, reducing the current COLA 
     represents real sacrifice . . . We ask you not to do harm to 
     those who have already sacrificed so much for this great 

  I ask unanimous consent to include the American Legion letter in the 
Congressional Record.
  Let me also quote a letter I received from the Executive Director of 
the Disabled American Veterans--DAV, Barry Jesinoski:

       On behalf of all disabled veterans and their families, we 
     stand with you in firm opposition to the application of the 
     chained CPI to disability and pension payments for veterans, 
     dependents and survivors of veterans. In recent years, it has 
     become apparent that even the current COLA has failed to meet 
     the rising costs faced by disabled veterans, their dependents 
     and survivors. Lowering VA benefit payments using a new 
     formula designed to reduce federal spending at large seems an 
     unconscionable policy and would threaten their financial 
     security and must be rejected. America's heroes deserve 
     better from a grateful and caring nation.

  I ask unanimous consent to print the DAV letter in the Congressional 
  Let me also quote from a letter I received in opposition to the 
chained CPI from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Paralyzed Veterans 
of America, the Blinded Veterans Association, Gold Star Wives, the Iraq 
and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Vietnam Veterans of America, 
and several other veterans' groups, in one letter. They came together 
and here is what this letter says:

       As efforts to address our nation's debt continue, we are 
     writing to express our opposition to changing the formula 
     used to calculate the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) 
     because of the harmful effects it will have on veterans and 
     Social Security benefits. We agree that political leaders 
     need to restore fiscal discipline, but we believe it should 
     be done with great care and without reneging on this 
     country's promises to veterans, including the promises of 
     Social Security and VA disability compensation and pension 
     benefits--all of which are modest in size. Many veterans who 
     rely on these programs live on fixed incomes and very tight 
     budgets. For them, every dollar of hard-earned benefits 
     counts in meeting basic expenses, attaining quality of life, 
     and building

[[Page S2085]]

     a better future for themselves and those who depend on them. 
     For many of them, reducing the annual COLA would mean real 
     sacrifice. We ask that you not do that for those who have 
     already sacrificed so much for this great country.

  I ask unanimous consent that letter be printed in the Record.
  So here we are. We are in this deficit situation because of wars that 
were unpaid for, tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country, 
Medicare Part D not paid for, and a recession caused by Wall Street. 
Now we have folks who are saying we have a serious deficit problem. I 
  The way we are doing it is to make devastating cuts on the backs of 
some of the most vulnerable people in this country, including disabled 
vets and including people who receive Social Security and disability 
benefits. I do not think that is the moral thing to do. I do not think 
that is the economically appropriate thing to do.
  When you have one out of four major corporations, huge corporations, 
profitable corporations paying zero in taxes; when the corporate tax 
rate today, the effective corporate tax rate is the lowest it has been 
in decades; when the gap between the very wealthy and everybody else is 
growing wider; there are ways to do deficit reduction that are fair.
  I will do everything I can to make sure that as we go forward with 
deficit reduction we do it in a way that is fair and not on the backs 
of some of the most vulnerable people in this country.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                December 12, 2012.
     Hon. Harry Reid,
     Majority Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
     Hon. John Boehner,
     Speaker, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Republican Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Nancy Pelosi,
     Democratic Leader, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and 
     Leader Pelosi: As efforts to address our nation's debt 
     continue, we are writing to express our opposition to 
     changing the formula used to calculate the annual cost of 
     living adjustment (COLA) because of the harmful effects it 
     will have on veterans and Social Security benefits.
       The Congressional Budget Office estimates that adopting the 
     chained consumer price index (CPI) to calculate annual COLAs 
     could save the government $208 billion over ten years by 
     reducing Social Security, disability, and other benefits, and 
     by increasing revenues. More than half of this amount--$112 
     billion--would come from Social Security cuts, which veterans 
     rely on very heavily for both retirement and disability 
     benefits. Another 11 percent of the savings--$24 billion--
     would come from VA benefits, civilian pensions, and military 
     retirement pay.
       We estimate that use of the chained CPI would have a 
     significant effect on benefits that millions of veterans 
     depend on in the following ways:
       Social Security Retirement Benefits: Social Security is one 
     of our nation's most important programs serving veterans and 
     their dependents and survivors. It currently pays benefits to 
     over 9 million veterans--about 4 in 10. The average 
     retirement benefit of a veteran receiving Social Security was 
     about $15,500 in 2010. Adopting the chained CPI would 
     significantly reduce those benefits, by changing the manner 
     in which COLAs are determined. A veteran with average 
     earnings retiring at age 65 would get nearly a $600 benefit 
     cut at age 75, and a $1,000 cut at age 85. By age 95, when 
     Social Security benefits are probably needed the most, that 
     veteran would face a cut of $1,400--a reduction of 9.2 
       Not only would a Social Security COLA cut hurt veterans and 
     their families; it is also misguided policy. Social Security 
     is self-financed by the contributions of workers and 
     employers. In effect, it belongs to its contributors. It is 
     separate from the rest of the budget. To use it to reduce the 
     federal deficit, which it did not cause, or effectively to 
     fund other parts of the government or to help maintain tax 
     breaks unrelated to Social Security, is to break the promise 
     of Social Security.
       VA Disability Compensation Benefits: Veterans are generally 
     eligible for VA disability compensation benefits if they 
     become disabled due to injuries or illnesses sustained 
     during, or as a result of, military service. There were 3.2 
     million veterans receiving these benefits in 2010. A veteran 
     receiving VA disability compensation due to a service-
     connected disability rated at 100 percent is currently 
     entitled to receive $33,288 a year. Under the chained CPI, 
     which is a cut in the formula traditionally used to determine 
     the COLA for VA benefits, a disabled veteran who started 
     receiving benefits at age 30 would have their benefits 
     reduced by $1,425 at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at 
     age 65.
       VA Pension Benefits: Veterans with low incomes who are 
     either permanently and totally disabled, or age 65 and older, 
     may be eligible for pension benefits if they served during a 
     period of war. More than 310,000 veterans received VA pension 
     benefits in 2010. The current benefit for a veteran is just 
     $12,256 a year. Under the chained CPI, VA pension benefits 
     for veterans aged 65 and older living in poverty would be 
     reduced by $353 at age 75, $696 at age 85 and $1,029 at age 
       Social Security and veterans' benefits need to be based on 
     an accurate measure of inflation. The current COLA formula 
     understates the true cost-of-living increases faced by 
     seniors and people with disabilities because it does not take 
     into account their higher share of spending devoted to health 
     care, and that health care prices rise much more rapidly than 
     overall prices. Although veterans who have service-connected 
     disabilities and those receiving pension benefits are 
     eligible for VA health care, they may still be impacted by 
     rising out-of-pocket health care costs. Adopting the chained 
     CPI would make the situation worse.
       Instead, Social Security and VA benefits should be based on 
     a formula that takes account of these higher health care 
     costs called the CPI-E (Experimental CPI for the Elderly) 
     developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-E rises 
     at a slightly faster rate than the formula currently used to 
     calculate the COLA, and at a still faster rate than the 
     proposed chained CPI, providing a modestly more generous COLA 
     for seniors and people with disabilities.
       We agree that political leaders need to restore fiscal 
     discipline, but we believe it should be done with great care 
     and without reneging on this country's promises to veterans, 
     including the promises of Social Security and VA disability 
     compensation and pension benefits--all of which are modest in 
     size. Many veterans who rely on these programs live on fixed 
     incomes and very tight budgets. For them, every dollar of 
     hard-earned benefits counts in meeting basic expenses, 
     attaining quality of life, and building a better future for 
     themselves and those who depend on them. For many of them, 
     reducing the annual COLA would mean real sacrifice. We ask 
     that you not do that for those who have already sacrificed so 
     much for this great country.
       Thank you for your serious consideration of our views. We 
     look forward to working with you on this important matter.
       Air Force Sergeants Association; Air Force Women Officers 
     Associated; American Military Retirees Association; American 
     Military Society; Association of the United States Navy; 
     Blinded Veterans Association; Gold Star Wives; Iraq and 
     Afghanistan Veterans of America; Jewish War Veterans; 
     Military Officers Association of America; National 
     Association for Uniformed Services; National Guard 
     Association of the United States; National Military Family 
     Association; Paralyzed Veterans of America; Veterans for 
     Common Sense; Veterans of Foreign Wars; VetsFirst, a program 
     of United Spinal Association; Vietnam Veterans of America.

                                          The American Legion,

                                Washington, DC, December 14, 2012.
     Hon. Harry Reid,
     Majority Leader, U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. John Boehner,
     Speaker, House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Republican Leader, U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Nancy Pelosi,
     Democratic Leader, House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and 
     Leader Pelosi: As efforts to address our nation's debt 
     continue, we understand many proposals and policies are being 
     reviewed. One proposal appears to be the changing of the 
     formula used to calculate the annual cost of living 
     adjustment (COLA) that affects Social Security and other 
     beneficiaries, including many veterans. On behalf of the 2.4 
     million members of The American Legion I voice our opposition 
     to this proposal because of the harmful effects it will have 
     on veterans' and Social Security benefits.
       The Congressional Budget Office estimates adopting the 
     chained consumer price index (CPI) to calculate annual COLAs 
     could save the government $208 billion over ten years by 
     reducing payments of Social Security, disability, and other 
     benefits. More than half of this amount--$112 billion--would 
     come from Social Security cuts, which many veterans rely on 
     for both retirement and disability benefits. Another 11 
     percent of the savings--$24 billion--would come from 
     Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, civilian 
     pensions, and military retired pay. The American Legion 
     opposes the use of the chained CPI because using it would 
     have significant deleterious effects on the benefits millions 
     of veterans depend on in the following ways:
       Social Security Retirement Benefits: Adopting the chained 
     CPI significantly reduces these benefits by changing the 
     manner in which COLAs are determined. Not only would a Social 
     Security COLA cut hurt veterans, their families, and their 
     survivors; it is misguided public policy. Social Security is 
     financed by the contributions of our members and their 
     employers. In effect, it belongs to its contributors. It is 
     separate from the rest of the budget. To use it to reduce the 
     federal deficit, which it did not cause,

[[Page S2086]]

     breaks the promise of Social Security and it could have 
     harmful effects on the recruitment and retention of the Armed 
       VA Service-connected Disability Compensation: Veterans are 
     eligible for VA service-connected disability compensation if 
     they become disabled due to injuries or illnesses incurred 
     during, or as a result of, military service. Under the 
     chained CPI, which cuts the formula used to determine the 
     COLA for VA benefits, disabled veterans who receive this 
     benefit would have their benefits reduced by thousands of 
     dollars over their remaining life times.
       VA Pension Benefits: Veterans with low incomes who are 
     permanently and totally disabled, or are age 65 and older, 
     may be eligible for pension benefits if they served during a 
     period of war. Under the chained CPI, VA pension benefits for 
     veterans aged 65 and older living in poverty would be reduced 
     over their remaining life times.
       Social Security and veterans' benefits do need to be based 
     on an accurate measure of inflation. The current COLA formula 
     already understates the true cost-of-living increases faced 
     by seniors and people with disabilities because it does not 
     take into account their higher share of spending devoted to 
     health care, and health care prices rise more rapidly than 
     overall prices. Even though veterans who have service-
     connected disabilities and those receiving pension benefits 
     are eligible for VA health care, they will still be impacted 
     by rising out-of-pocket health care costs not covered by the 
     VA. Adopting the chained CPI would make their situations much 
     worse over time.
       The American Legion understands the need to restore fiscal 
     discipline, but it should not be done by reneging on this 
     country's promises to its veterans who already have earned 
     these benefits through their service to country. For these 
     veterans and their families, reducing the current COLA 
     represents real sacrifice. We ask you not to do harm to those 
     who have already sacrificed so much for this great nation.
       Thank you for your consideration. And thank you for what 
     you have done on behalf of the nation's servicemembers, 
     veterans, and their families and survivors.
                                             James E. `Jim' Koutz,
     National Commander.


                                Washington, DC, December 17, 2012.
     Hon. Bernard Sanders,
     U.S. Senate,
     Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Sanders: On behalf of the DAV, a national 
     veterans service organization with 1.2 million members, all 
     of whom are wartime disabled veterans, I write to express our 
     strongest opposition to any attempts by Congress to replace 
     the current consumer price index (CPI) formula used for 
     calculating the annual Social Security cost-of-living 
     adjustment (COLA) with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 
     new formula commonly termed the ``chained CPI.'' As you know, 
     the Social Security COLA is applied annually to the rates for 
     VA disability compensation, dependency and indemnity 
     compensation, and pensions for wartime veterans and survivors 
     with limited incomes. Since the chained CPI is specifically 
     intended to lower the annual Social Security COLA, its 
     application would mean systematic reductions for millions of 
     veterans, their dependents and survivors who rely on VA 
     benefit payments.
       In recent years, it has become apparent that even the 
     current COLA has failed to meet the rising costs faced by 
     disabled veterans, their dependents and survivors. These men 
     and women are not traditional consumers of goods and services 
     in the U.S. economy; they are significantly older and suffer 
     disabilities at higher rates than average citizens across the 
     age range of residents of this country. In general, they are 
     heavy consumers of health care, both within the VA and DOD 
     systems, from Medicare and Medicaid, and from private sector 
     providers. The sickest and most infirm among them are 
     unemployable. They are substantial consumers of prescription 
     medications and other health aids. In many cases, they live 
     on fixed incomes and some must subsist on a single source of 
     income: their monthly government disability or pension 
     payment. The current COLA does not even take into account the 
     rising costs of food or fuel. Lowering VA benefit payments 
     using a new formula designed to reduce federal spending at 
     large seems an unconscionable policy and would threaten their 
     financial security and must be rejected. In addition, we urge 
     you to examine whether there are better, more appropriate 
     indexes that recognize the uniqueness of this population's 
     needs and consumption patterns.
       Furthermore, these millions of disabled veterans, 
     dependents and survivors suffer the additional indignity of 
     the novel ``rounding down'' policy Congress imposed in 1991 
     as a ``temporary'' means to lower the federal deficit in 
     fiscal year 1992 by reducing the annual COLA increase to the 
     next-lower dollar. Adding a chained CPI formula to this 
     reduction of benefits would serve to lower their standard of 
     living even more, an ironic reversal of the very purposes of 
     these payments.
       On behalf of all disabled veterans and their families, we 
     stand with you in firm opposition to the application of the 
     chained CPI to disability and pension payments for veterans, 
     dependents and survivors of veterans. America's heroes 
     deserve better from a grateful and caring nation.
                                                  Barry Jesinoski,
                                                Executive Director
                                          Washington Headquarters.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Heitkamp). The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I will be yielding to Senator Thune, 
one of the experienced former members of the Budget Committee. He will 
be sharing his thoughts. I would say to my colleagues, we have been 
hearing that the Democratic plan is a balanced approach. It is 
balanced, but it is not a balanced budget. What we need is a balanced 
budget. That means the amount of money that comes in is the same as the 
amount of money that goes out.
  We can do that and increase spending every single year by 3.4 
percent. This is very doable. It does not require the slashing of 
spending on every important account that we care about in Washington. 
That is what we are here for, and the administration, the Cabinet 
Secretaries and so forth, they will make sure the limited amount of 
money any government has is wisely spent. Therefore, we are not talking 
about devastating cuts. We are talking about better management and 
working with how to grow spending over the next 10 years--growing 
spending over the next 10 years by 3.4 percent, not at 5.4 percent. 
That balances the budget even under the assumption of 2.5 percent 
inflation. It can be done. That is what the experts tell us, and that 
is the best estimate we have today.
  The motion to recommit the budget is now on the floor--recommit to 
the committee, with instructions that they decide what to do to alter 
it so that when it comes back it is balanced, a real balanced budget--
not a balanced plan, not a balanced approach, not some balanced 
theory--but a real balanced budget. Presumably our colleagues think 
balance is important because they have mentioned the word about 40 
times. We have been counting them since we have been on the floor. I 
think when we get to that vote we will be asking our colleagues: Do you 
really want to achieve a balanced budget?
  Senator Sanders said: We think you do not tax the rich enough. You 
need to tax the rich more and more--as if taxing and punishing them 
will fix the problem of growth in this economy that is truly too slow. 
We are having the slowest recovery in our Nation's history, at least 
since World War II. So we do not have a good recovery coming on. We 
need to be talking about that.
  But I guess my final statement is we do not need a balanced approach, 
we need a balanced budget. There is a gulf of difference between the 
  The plan before us today raises taxes $1 trillion. They claim it cuts 
spending nearly $1 trillion and that it is a balanced approach: tax 
increases, spending cuts, and deficit reduction. That is the message 
that has been coming from the other side. Except it is not accurate. 
This budget increases taxes by $1.5 trillion. It also increases 
spending. That is what it does.
  We are concerned about that. The net result is there is no change, it 
seems to me--no change, a good analysis shows, in the debt course we 
are on.
  I see my colleague, Senator Thune. It is now time to yield to him. I 
yield to Senator Thune.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Will the Senator be yielding off the 
resolution or off the motion?
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair. It will be yielding off the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. Madam President, I rise today along with my colleague from 
Missouri, Senator Blunt, to offer a couple of amendments that have been 
filed and that I hope we get an opportunity to vote on before this 
process concludes. If you look at the base Democratic budget that has 
been put before us, it has large tax increases in it; in fact, up to 
$1.5 trillion in new taxes.
  What we would attempt to do is to ensure that those taxes, higher 
taxes, do not come by eliminating or capping the Federal tax deduction 
for charitable giving. We have tens of millions of Americans mired in 
poverty, and government budgets are more constrained than ever before 
and what fills that gap is the charitable giving. It is the generosity 
of people around this country who keep organizations going that are 
providing these essential and basic functions for many Americans.

[[Page S2087]]

  In fact, in 2011, Americans gave nearly $300 billion to support 
charitable causes. This generosity not only helps to feed the hungry 
and clothe the needy, it has a real budgetary impact because this is an 
instance where the private sector is fulfilling a need that would 
otherwise have to be met by government spending.
  Unfortunately, as we know, the White House has proposed limiting the 
value of itemized deductions for those earning above $200,000 for 
singles, and $250,000 for married couples to 28 percent. Previous 
estimates were that this proposal would reduce charitable donations by 
up to $5.6 billion a year. As the Charitable Giving Coalition has 
recently stated, that amounts to more than the annual budgets of the 
Red Cross, Goodwill, YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls 
Clubs, Catholic Charities, and the American Cancer Society combined.
  But even this impact understates the degree to which charitable 
giving could be harmed under the White House proposal because we now 
have a new baseline with a higher top income tax rate. A new study by 
the American Enterprise Institute estimates that the President's 
itemized limitation under the new tax rates will lower total giving by 
individuals by more than $9.4 billion per year.
  We ought to be exploring new options to expand charitable giving 
rather than limiting the charitable donations in order to fund higher 
levels of government spending. If we are going to explore any changes 
in the charitable deduction or any other tax provisions that we have in 
the Tax Code today, it ought to be in the context of progrowth revenue-
neutral tax reform, not as a way to pay for higher spending, which is 
what these proposals would do. I hope the vote on this amendment this 
time around will be just as broadly bipartisan as the one I offered 
back in 2009, where we got 94 votes in support.
  The second amendment will put the Senate on record in support of 
eliminating the destructive Federal estate tax, better known as the 
death tax. That amendment I offer with the Senator from Missouri and 
several others of my colleagues.
  I have long believed the Federal estate tax is an unnecessary, 
counterproductive, and inefficient tax. More important, the death tax 
strikes many of us as not simply being bad tax policy but a policy that 
runs counter to the very essence of the American free market system. 
This is not a tax on rich fatcats, as some will claim. We already have 
an income tax, and it is one of the most progressive income taxes in 
the developed world.
  The death tax is different. It is a tax on success, a tax on assets 
that have been accumulated through a lifetime of hard work and 
generated from income that was already taxed when it was earned. Many 
of these businesses are ``land rich and cash poor,'' meaning that the 
value of the business is in the land and in the business assets. These 
businesses do not have substantial liquid assets sitting around to pay 
a second layer of tax that is imposed when a loved one passes way. As a 
result, the death tax often requires that business assets are sold 
simply to pay the tax.
  Consider South Dakota, where we have seen farmland prices increased 
by over 50 percent in just the past 5 years. States such as Iowa, 
Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, and North Dakota have seen similar 
  Finally, my amendment will give farmers, ranchers, and family 
business owners peace of mind, and it will do so in a deficit-neutral 
way. When we voted on a sense-of-the-Senate to eliminate the death tax 
in 2002, 11 Senate Democrats supported that, including a number of 
Senators who are still in the Senate today. Much has changed since 
2002, but I believe the death tax was a bad tax law then, and it 
remains so today. I hope to get a strong bipartisan vote on this as 
  Before I shift to my colleague from Missouri, I simply want to say, 
as I have said before, that when we look at this budget process and the 
budget proposal put before us by the Senate Democrats, the question we 
ought to ask is, What does this do to promote economic growth? What 
does this do to create jobs? More than anything else, what we need in 
this country is increased economic growth. Increased economic growth 
will get the people who are unemployed back to work, which will 
increase the take-home pay of middle-class Americans.
  We have seen a sluggish economy, chronic high unemployment, and a 
massive amount of debt over the past 4 years. It is time to chart a 
different course, and the way to do that is to put policies in place 
that will encourage economic growth. A $1.5 trillion tax increase is 
not the way to do that, and we certainly do not want to take away the 
incentive people in this country have to continue to give out of the 
generosity of their hearts to our charitable organizations all across 
the country.
  It is also important that once and for all we get rid of the death 
tax, which is so punitive to people who work so hard and want to pass 
that on to the next generation of Americans.
  I am happy to yield to my colleague from Missouri, who, like me, 
represents a lot of farmers, ranchers, and hard-working small 
businesspeople for whom the tax issues are important. He will offer 
comments on the impact of some of these tax policies and the impact 
some of the budget proposals coming from the Senate Democrats would 
have on the State of Missouri.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I am glad to join Senator Thune in 
proposing these two important amendments and also to join him on the 
overall point on which we ought to be focused, which is economic 
opportunity and economic growth.
  How do we get people onto the pathway of more opportunity for them 
and their families? Private sector job creation should be the No. 1 
domestic goal of America today. Frankly, it should be the No. 1 
domestic goal of everything we do.
  When we are dealing with a budget or an appropriations bill that 
deals with any kind of domestic policy, we ought to be thinking about 
how this would impact private sector job creation. How does this impact 
economic growth? How does this impact opportunity? What do we do to 
change our society for the better and not the other way around?
  Clearly, I think we all appreciate the fact that Americans are more 
generous in giving to religious organizations and charities than 
anybody else in the world. My belief is that there is no country that 
comes anywhere close in charitable giving. It is not just the top 
earners in America who give money to charitable organizations, 
sometimes it is given by families who have to stretch the dollar to 
make the contribution they want to make to their church that Sunday or 
to make the contribution they want to make to the Girl Scouts or Boy 
Scouts activities or the YMCA or YWCA in their community. Nobody does 
this the way we do it.
  I am proud to join Senator Thune as he works on these issues. We have 
worked together for a long time, and Senator Thune has always been a 
critical advocate for our charities as well as for families who work 
hard and create a small business or a family farm or ranch so they are 
able to pass it along to the next generation.
  Let me first talk a little bit more about charities. The ability to 
voluntarily come together and do things is provided in the first 
amendment. It is not just an amendment that protects speech and 
religion, but it protects association, it protects people who make 
things happen in their community that otherwise would not happen.
  Americans give like nobody else in the world. Every day our religious 
institutions, charities, hospitals, museums, and others come together 
to take private resources and meet a number of community needs which 
are met in the best possible way by people who are doing that through a 
charitable effort. They help to feed the hungry, care for the sick, 
serve the poor, and contribute to all kinds of educational 
  Americans help by undertaking critical research and giving money that 
goes to either help operate or actually support museums and parks. This 
is a small example of what Americans do because they give to charity, 
which is often done better than government bureaucracies; it is 
cheaper, more effective, more reasonable, and we need to do everything 
we can to continue to do that.

[[Page S2088]]

  In 2011 Americans gave nearly $300 billion to charitable causes, and 
75 percent of that giving was done by individuals. Of the 41 million 
American households who itemize on their taxes--where they can 
specifically see what they did--86 percent of those households take 
advantage of the charitable contribution as they calculate their taxes.
  The vast majority of people don't give to charities for tax breaks. I 
was the president of a southern baptist university for 4 years before I 
came to Congress. Every university president I know knows a little bit 
about raising money, and every one of them knows that not every 
contributor is motivated by the Tax Code, but the Tax Code has an 
impact on whether they meet their goals. However, some contributors are 
concerned, and the size of that contribution matters as it relates to 
how they can leverage, frankly, the Tax Code in a way that makes it 
easier for them to give more to help take care of the things they care 
  We want to be sure we are doing what we can as we try to grow the 
economy, and an awful lot of our economy comes from the private sector. 
About 1 out of 10 jobs is in the charitable sector--1 out of 10 jobs is 
in the charitable sector. When we restrict that charitable sector, we 
restrict people from doing what they would do otherwise.
  Senator Thune mentioned $9 billion. Now, $9 billion of $300 billion, 
does that sound like a lot? It sounds like a lot to the kid who got the 
last scholarship. It sounds like a lot for the park that doesn't get 
the new playground equipment because the local Kiwanis club could not 
get to their goal so they could help their community. If we add 
up charitable contributions that anyone here gives to, in all 
likelihood, collectively it would amount to less than $9 billion. So of 
course it makes a difference, and it is a difference in whether or not 
they get there. The nonprofit sector employs 1 out of 10 U.S. workers 
and provides almost 14 million jobs and paid almost $600 billion in 
wages and benefits. It is about exactly the same in our State.

  This is a part of who we are that we don't want to discourage. There 
is a reason Americans give more generously to charitable causes than 
anybody else in the world. Let's not walk away from that.
  This amendment will ensure that the limits on charitable giving that 
are in place in the budget of the majority don't go toward just more 
government spending. If we want to have a discussion about how we might 
cut tax rates and encourage the economy, that is one thing, but if the 
discussion is to discourage people from giving to charities so there 
will be more money for government to spend, I just say that is the 
wrong discussion to have.
  We should not increase government spending at the expense of 
America's churches and charities. And, of course, the death tax, small 
businesses, family farms, ranches have all paid taxes on everything 
they have. Lots of times they pay taxes on everything they have, such 
as the income tax and the annual property tax.
  Everybody can think of 1 example, if not 100, of the family who works 
side by side. Frankly, by the time parents leave this Earth, it is 
really hard to determine who created the wealth. Was it Mom and Dad or 
was it the son or daughter who was standing right there beside them in 
the grocery store every day or working with them on the family farm or 
  In our State of Missouri, we have more than 100,000 individual farms. 
It is the second highest number of farms in America. We do not have the 
biggest farms and ranches in America, but we have more of them than any 
other State but for one. Those individuals and families have done what 
they could to try to create opportunity and a livelihood, and they 
would like to pass that along. What is wrong with that?
  Clearly, the point we are at right now with the tax at the time of 
death is better than it has been in a while--I suppose not better than 
the 1 year there was no death tax. For 1 year we had no death tax, and 
that is the ideal that government should try to achieve again.
  I am pleased to join Senator Thune in this effort. I hope we will do 
what we can to encourage families who have businesses that they can 
pass along without having death as a taxable event. There are plenty of 
taxable events in life without having death as a taxable event.
  I again thank Senator Thune for his long advocacy of eliminating this 
unfairness in our Tax Code. I have been glad to join him in debate 
after debate over the years on this issue. Let's not move toward 
thinking we are doing the right thing by doing the wrong thing as it 
relates to family farms and business.
  I also want to say as I conclude that I am going to be offering an 
amendment on the carbon tax as well. We should not have a carbon tax 
because the carbon tax that is anticipated in some of the language of 
this budget raises utility bills. Who is impacted most by a higher 
utility bill? It is the most vulnerable among us. It is the family who 
is the last family to get the new refrigerator, it is the family who is 
the last family to get the better insulated windows, it is the family 
who is the last family to get more insulation in their ceiling. All of 
the things we do that raise utility bills have a real impact on them 
just like whenever we are doing anything that raises costs, such as 
gasoline prices. The last person or family to get the fuel-efficient 
car is the one who can least afford to see what happens to their 
utility bill or their gasoline costs. I am opposed to this kind of tax 
being passed along to people who have a hard enough time paying their 
utility bill.
  So whether it is the carbon tax or the death tax or a tax on 
charitable giving, let's not do the wrong thing for the sake of more 
government spending. Let's do the right thing for jobs and American 
  I ask through the Chair if Senator Thune has anything he wants to say 
in conclusion on these amendments.
  Mr. THUNE. Madam President, I thank my colleague from Missouri. He 
has a great deal of experience. As he said, we worked together on these 
issues for a long time. We both recognize the importance of economic 
growth. We see a budget put before us by the Senate Democrats that 
grows the government and not the economy. We believe the focus should 
be on growing the economy, not the government. The amendments we 
offered have that thought in mind.
  There are other colleagues who are here to speak to the basic budget 
proposal the Democrats have put forward and talk about some of the 
amendments they intend to offer.
  Thank you.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I see we have Senator Vitter of 
Louisiana ready to speak. I ask unanimous consent that their time be 
taken off the budget resolution.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Louisiana.
  Mr. VITTER. Madam President, I come to the floor on this budget 
debate and will specifically highlight several amendments that I am 
presenting that will be voted on in the context of the debate. We 
address several provisions that I think are important as we vote on 
moving forward with the budget.
  One issue is a reform idea. It is very simple, but it is very basic, 
and I think it is important in terms of our leading through these 
fiscally tough times; that is, ending automatic pay raises for Members 
of Congress. I am joined in this amendment by Senator McCaskill of 
Missouri, and I thank her for her leadership. There is existing Federal 
law that establishes automatic pay raises for Members of Congress. We 
don't have to put in a bill, we don't have to debate the measure on the 
floor, much less vote. I think that is offensive to the American 
people, particularly in tough economic times such as these.

  To Congress's credit, we have passed stopgap legislation to refuse 
pay raises since 2009, but we need to go the next legitimate step. We 
need to end all automatic pay raises and have the courage, if it is 
ever justified over time with inflation, to put in a proposal, to 
debate it, to vote on it, not to have automatic pay raises for Members 
of Congress. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
  A second amendment would require photographic IDs for voting in 
Federal elections. This is largely provoked by the actions of the Obama 
administration's Justice Department which has been fighting States that 
are trying to institute photo IDs. That is allowed under Federal law, 
and several States

[[Page S2089]]

are doing that and doing it properly, including Texas and South 
Carolina, but this Justice Department is trying to shut that down, even 
though it is allowed by Federal law. Interestingly, that assault on 
States trying to do their job, trying to do things properly, has been 
made by the head of the Civil Rights Division at Justice, Thomas Perez, 
who is now nominated for a Cabinet position--Labor Secretary. This 
amendment and this proposal would clarify it by actually requiring 
photo IDs for voting in Federal elections.
  We require photo IDs for traveling in airports. We require photo IDs 
for going into a conference. We require photo IDs for a myriad of 
things, including visiting the White House. Surely it is a very 
legitimate, simple requirement that doesn't disenfranchise anyone to 
make sure the integrity of our election system is preserved. I urge my 
colleagues to support this amendment.
  Third, another amendment I will bring would finally require the US-
VISIT system to be properly and fully executed and put in place. The 
US-VISIT system, as the Presiding Officer knows, is an entry and exit 
control system to track foreign nationals who are properly visiting our 
country with visas, so it tracks them as they come in and go out, and 
if they don't go out in time, if they overstay their visa, it brings up 
a red flag that is sent to law enforcement officials.
  This is not a small matter because, as we all remember, the 9/11 
terrorists overstayed their visas. A proper US-VISIT system would have 
tracked that, would have caught them, would have done something about 
it. There has been a crying need since at least 1996. In 1996, Congress 
passed legislation that mandated the executive branch, within 2 years, 
establish this sort of system. Of course, it wasn't done in time for 9/
11. After 9/11, the 9/11 Commission specifically went back and 
recommended that we get on this, that we finish the work, that we fully 
establish the US-VISIT system. It said:

       The Department of Homeland Security, properly supported by 
     the Congress, should complete as quickly as possible a 
     biometric entry/exit screening system.

  Yet, even now, over a decade after 9/11, 12 years after 9/11, we 
don't have that system fully in place. We need that system, and this 
amendment would not just mandate the system but it would say that the 
Department of Homeland Security cannot grant legal status to those 
illegally present within the United States until we all comply with 
Federal law relating to the entry and exit data system required under 
the law originally passed in 1996.
  In the context of immigration reform, I don't think we should 
consider granting legal status to those here illegally until we have 
this US-VISIT system, which is an absolutely essential component of 
  A fourth amendment I have that we will be voting on over the next few 
days is in support of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. This 
amendment would support that act and express the sense of the Senate 
that Congress should enact it. What does that act do? It provides that 
whoever knowingly performs an abortion that is sought based on sex or 
gender selection would be guilty of violating the law. So it prohibits 
discriminating against the unborn in the form of abortion sex 
  A lot of folks don't realize it, but, again, this is not a 
theoretical issue. This, unfortunately, is an ongoing practice. There 
are at least four studies from universities--not from ultraconservative 
think tanks; UC-Berkeley is not a conservative think tank, University 
of Connecticut, Columbia University--there are at least four studies 
that found there is a strong son bias within certain American 
communities, a bias toward having sons, not daughters. These studies 
say that is ``clear evidence of sex-selection, most likely at the 
prenatal stage.''
  That is sort of academic speak. What does it mean? It means that 
parents are selecting and using abortion to that outcome. It is always 
selection against women, against girl babies, in favor of sons. That is 
outrageous and it is tragic. We need to follow other countries that 
have prohibited this practice.
  Other countries--the United Kingdom, India, China--have enacted these 
sorts of bans. The medical community, including the American Congress 
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society of 
Reproductive Medicine, and the President's own Council on Bioethics, 
have all condemned sex selection abortions.
  In 2007, the United States even spearheaded a resolution to condemn 
these sorts of sex selection abortions at the United Nations Commission 
on the Status of Women. Yet we are doing nothing about it in this 
country. So we should start doing something about this horrible 
practice in this country. I urge all of my colleagues to support this 
  Fifth and finally, I will have an amendment with regard to China, 
India, and Russia, and greenhouse gas regulation. The amendment and the 
idea are very simple. It creates a point of order against funding for 
greenhouse gas regulations until the administration can certify that 
China, India, and Russia are similarly implementing greenhouse gas 
regulations to reduce their own emissions.
  There are big disagreements and debates about global warming, climate 
change, greenhouse gas regulation. I wish to forego all that and put it 
to the side. No matter what one thinks about that--causes and effects, 
trend lines, or lack of trend lines--one thing is perfectly clear and 
beyond dispute; that is, whatever the United States does is irrelevant 
if major players globally, such as China and India and Russia, don't do 
the same. Clearly, our action is irrelevant unless all three of those 
countries do the same. China has just surpassed the United States as 
the world's largest producer of CO2. China now produces more 
than the United States and Canada combined. India is now the world's 
third largest offender of CO2, and Russia is fourth. So 
unless these three countries adopt some sort of similar regime, our 
actions do zero in terms of the environment. But our actions would do a 
lot in terms of costing us jobs, killing jobs, and suppressing economic 
  This is a very commonsense regulation. It shouldn't matter what one 
thinks about climate change with regard to how a Senator votes, 
because, again, our actions will have zero effect if China, India, and 
Russia are not taking similar action. I urge all of my colleagues to 
support this important amendment.
  Thank you, Madam President. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, I rise in support of Senator Sessions' 
motion to recommit on a balanced budget. I think it is important that 
we have a balanced plan before us, as we have talked about a lot today, 
but that means balancing the budget, just as we ought to do in our 
families and people have to do in their businesses. States all around 
the country have to do it. Local governments have to do it.
  Let's stop spending more than we take in. We can do it over time and 
without making the kind of severe cuts that were alleged earlier. We 
can do it by growing the economy and restraining spending. So I am 
happy to stand in support of that.
  I stand here because I am worried about where we are headed. Our debt 
now is about $140,000 per household. Think about that. For all of the 
folks watching today, on average, $140,000 is what every household in 
America owes on this debt. This is now something that, in my view, can 
put us in a perilous situation. Our economy is already weak and we have 
this huge debt and deficit, which is something that worries me. I think 
our country is in trouble.
  The Democrats have a proposal. Their budget is before us now and this 
is what we are talking about. It adds another $7 trillion to that debt. 
It actually doesn't deal with our budget problems. In fact, it actually 
makes them worse, which I will talk about soon.
  Let me for a minute, if I could, talk about where we are. There is a 
lot of discussion on the floor about, Gosh, we need to raise more 
revenue and how this is not about spending; it is about taxes. 
Republicans are saying, No, the problem is spending. Let me explain why 
we are saying that. It is arithmetic. It is math. It is what the 
numbers show.
  This is from the Congressional Budget Office. This is the nonpartisan 

[[Page S2090]]

here in Congress that tells us how much we are spending, how much 
revenue we are bringing in, and then they make a projection. They did 
this about 3 years ago. They said, Here is where we are heading as a 
country. Here is where we are now. Tax revenue is the blue line and 
spending is the red line. By their projections, by 2015, a couple of 
years from now, we are going to be back up above the historical levels.
  Historically, taxes have been about 18 percent of the economy, and 
that is the way economists like to look at it: What is the percentage 
of the economy? Revenue has been about 20 percent. So here is 18 
percent and here is 20 percent. This has been the average.
  What they are saying is, actually it gets up to just over 19 percent 
in a couple of years, by 2015, and then stays up above the historical 
average over the next decade. In fact, what they tell us is that over 
the next decade we are going to have the second highest amount of 
revenue that we have had in the history of our country except for one 
other decade.
  So when we say it is spending, that is the issue. It is because the 
revenue which, as we know, impacts the economy--the more revenue we 
take out of the economy the harder it is for the private sector to get 
ahead and to create jobs. We are saying, by the projections of this 
nonpartisan group, they are going to be slightly above the average.
  The problem is spending. What they tell us is that in a few decades--
here is 2040--spending is going to get so high that there is no way to 
catch up to it with taxes. We can't even do it under the income tax 
system. It is impossible.
  Why do we say spending is a problem? Because if we don't deal with 
this issue, our kids and grandkids are not going to have the economic 
future we hope for them. The prosperity of this country will go down 
the drain because this spending level will make it impossible to create 
prosperity. That is the issue before us today. Yet, again, we have a 
budget before us that, unfortunately, doesn't address that issue. In 
fact, I would argue that it makes it worse.
  Some have said, Gosh, we ought to be increasing taxes $1 for every $1 
of spending reductions. What I would say to that is pretty simple. This 
line here is about 19 percent of the economy. That is the revenue line. 
And that is very close to the historical spending line, which is about 
20 percent. So let's take 19 percent as the revenue line. The 
Democrats, who have talked today on the floor about $1 of revenue for 
every $1 of spending cuts, what do they mean by that? Well, this is 39 
percent up here, here is 19 percent. So if we take $1 from each as a 
percent of the GDP, it would go to about this line here. Where is that? 
Well, 19 and 39, it is about 29 percent. What does 29 percent mean? 
That means we would have a government bigger than we have ever had in 
the history of this country. Again, the average has been about 20 
percent in this country. That means we would have to have huge tax 
increases to get to balance. Nobody on this floor, Democrat or 
Republican, is talking about tax increases of that magnitude.
  Why? Because that would be about doubling the taxes in this country. 
So everybody listening today would be looking at their taxes and 
saying: My gosh, my taxes just went up by 100 percent. That is what 
that would mean. It would mean the biggest government in the history of 
our country, so the scope and the size of government would grow.
  So when you hear ``1 to 1,'' I hope you will just think about it in 
terms of what does this mean based on these projections that have been 
given to us by this nonpartisan group. It means a different country. It 
means a much bigger government. It means a much bigger burden of 
taxation. It means we end up not looking like the entrepreneurial, 
innovative America that has been on the cutting edge and has created 
the greatest economy on the face of the Earth.
  That is our concern. That is why we say we have to deal with the 
spending. It is pretty simple. Again, it is really a question of math.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. PORTMAN. I would be happy to yield.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Senator Portman is such a valuable member of the Budget 
Committee. He served as the Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget. He knows how this situation works.
  But that dotted line on the chart, it is just spending, isn't it? It 
is spending as a percentage of the American economy. So in some sense 
that surging upward line of spending is even worse than at first glance 
it might appear.
  Mr. PORTMAN. That is true. This chart is as a percent of the GDP. So, 
look, we all want the economy to grow. Actually, they projected it will 
grow under the Congressional Budget Office analysis. Even so, that 
growth in the economy cannot keep up with this great surge in spending.
  So other folks have said on the floor over the last 24 hours: Well, 
gosh, let's go back to the Simpson-Bowles 3-to-1 ratio, where you have 
$3 in spending cuts for every $1 of revenue. That is what Erskine 
Bowles testified before the supercommittee on, that that was what their 
revenue was, $1 of revenue for every $3 in spending cuts.
  That is also not what this budget does, this underlying budget, 
because it actually increases taxes dramatically. Even under their own 
calculus, again, it is 1 to 1. We have looked at it. We think the tax 
increase is between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion in this budget. So it 
is the biggest tax increase in the history of the country.
  What does $1 trillion mean--or $1.5 trillion? Well, it means that you 
are going to have to tax a lot of people other than rich people. I 
would refer you to an economic expert on this, a guy named Gene 
Sperling, who is down at the White House, who talks about these 
economic issues a lot. Here is what Gene Sperling said about raising $1 
trillion. He said you cannot do it without hurting middle-class 
families. This is his quote:

       [A] careful look at the math of these types of caps and 
     limits [on tax preferences] shows that, once one takes into 
     account the reality of their impact on the middle-class 
     families and on charitable donation, plausible limits raise 
     only a fraction of the $1 trillion or more some have 

  It is just too much to raise without going to the folks who are 
making less than $200,000 a year, less than $100,000, less than 
$50,000. So I would just suggest today that we have a problem in this 
country. It is a spending problem. Yes, we want to get the economy 
moving, and that will create more revenue. But we have to address that 
issue and, unfortunately, the budget before us does not do it.
  In addition to having these huge tax increases--the biggest in the 
history of our country--this budget also has huge spending. The 
spending is actually an increase. When you wipe away the gimmicks that 
are in the budget that they have proposed--and we have talked a lot 
about OCO. That just means the spending in Afghanistan. They project 
that all this spending is going to occur that nobody expects is going 
to occur, so because it does not, they say, well, that is a savings. 
Then you are going to be able to spend more to make up for that.
  Well, we are going to spend some more in Afghanistan. We all 
understand that. But we are not going to spend as much as the CBO 
projects. So those savings are not real, unfortunately. That is in 
their budget. That is a gimmick.
  They also say: Let's do away with this so-called sequester. This is 
the thing that the Budget Control Act put in place. The Budget Control 
Act said: Let's find these savings of $1.2 trillion in spending. Yet in 
this budget, they say: No, let's replace that. So you have to add that 
as well because instead of $1.2 trillion, they are saying half of that 
is going to be new taxes. So that is less spending cuts.
  So when you add all that up, and when you wipe all that away, it 
looks like the spending increases are about $900 billion over the next 
decade. So despite all these problems, we are talking about a huge 
spending increase.
  Now, let's just talk for a second about what the spending increase is 
on. Here is the debt chart I have in the Chamber that shows the debt 
climbing to $24 trillion over the next 10 years, under the Murray 
budget, under the Democratic budget we are talking about today. But 
what is the problem? Well, we are starting to do more to get the 
discretionary spending under control. That means the spending that 
Congress appropriates every year.
  But when you think about the budget as kind of a pie, 62 percent of 

[[Page S2091]]

budget--the biggest piece of that pie--is not spending that Congress 
appropriates every year. Congress does not do it because it is on 
autopilot. That is interest on the debt that you have to spend; and 
then it is the very important, vital entitlement programs--Medicare, 
Medicaid, Social Security--but that are not sustainable in their 
current form.
  By the way, everybody agrees with that. The President talks about it 
publicly. Everybody talks about it privately. But the fact is, these 
programs are incredibly important. We want to ensure that they can 
continue into the future. That is why we need reform--to preserve and 
protect them. Yet, unbelievably, this budget before us does absolutely 
nothing there. In fact, when you add up the changes on the entitlement 
programs over the next 10 years--which, again, is the biggest reason 
for these huge spending increases; in fact, as a percent of GDP, it is 
the only reason--all of the spending increases are because of those 
entitlement programs and interest on the debt, all of them as a percent 
of the GDP, all of them. Yet this budget does not touch it. In fact, it 
slightly increases spending as compared to the CBO baseline, as 
compared to what we are going to do anyway that the Congressional 
Budget Office just told us about.
  That, to me, is the most amazing part of the budget. It is the 
responsible thing to do. Again, the President has talked about it. 
Members of both parties acknowledge this. We have to deal with this 
issue. If we do not, we are not going to be able to have these programs 
going forward.
  Under their budget, the disability fund in Social Security--and a lot 
of people rely on disability--runs out of money in 2016.

  Under their budget, the Medicare trust fund itself goes bankrupt in 
  Under their budget, Social Security's fund for senior citizens would 
go bankrupt in 2033, to the point that under law--remember this is just 
20 years from now--a 25-percent benefit cut would be put in place.
  That is what this budget would lead to. So it is hard for me to take 
it very seriously as a budget. It is, I guess, more of a political 
  The final thing I will say is, if we do this, if we go down this path 
of more spending next year, more spending the next year, huge increases 
in spending and taxes over the next 10 years, we will not only have a 
budget that is out of control--and, as I said earlier, risk us having a 
meltdown in terms of our economy because of a potential crisis we could 
have, like has happened in southern Europe; Greece is a country people 
talk about--but think about what it does to our economy.
  This huge overhang of debt and deficits everybody now acknowledges is 
bad for the economy. Some people think it is worse than others think. 
But if you look at these studies--the Rogoff-Reinhart study has been 
talked about on the floor. I know that is the one that says, when you 
get to the level we are at now, you lose about 1 million jobs per year.
  Well, something is happening in our economy, and I think a lot of 
it--the negative part of it--is because of this debt and deficit. We 
are living through the worst economic recovery since the 1940s. All of 
us are discouraged by it, Democrats and Republicans alike. The average 
growth rate was less than 1 percent over the last 4 years, and that is 
not acceptable to any of us. We have to deal with this issue because it 
is the right thing to do for our kids and our grandkids, as we have 
talked about, the right thing to do for these programs so they are 
viable and their trust funds do not go insolvent, but also for today's 
economy. If we do not deal with this issue we are not going to have 
people taking the risk, making the investment.
  There are companies making money out there. Do you know what they are 
doing with it? They are keeping it on the sidelines because they are 
afraid of this, because they see this coming. They are worried about 
making the investments. That is how we are going to create the jobs.
  Right now, in the weakest economy we have had in a long time--and the 
worst economic recovery since the 1940s--we are looking at unemployment 
numbers that are unacceptably high. We are looking at a place such as 
Ohio where we have a struggle with manufacturing. We are trying to get 
back on our feet. We are looking for economic growth again. We are not 
going to get it unless we deal with this issue.
  The Heritage Foundation has looked at this budget, and they have done 
an analysis of it in terms of its impact on jobs, on the economy. They 
have said the budget will result in losing 800,000 jobs in our country. 
In my State of Ohio, they said we will lose 40,000 jobs. We cannot 
afford to lose 40,000 more jobs.
  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office--which I mentioned 
earlier and is the group in Congress that advises us on the economy--
has said this new debt will reduce long-term economic growth and cost 
  So, ultimately, this is about a choice. Do we want to expand 
government or do we want to expand the economy? Do we want to create 
the opportunity to get the private economy moving or do we want to grow 
the size and scope of government?
  We have a fundamental choice to make in this Chamber with regard to 
this budget today. I am hopeful we will be able to amend the budget so 
we can take out some of the taxes and the spending and the borrowing, 
so that it is better for the economy. Even if we cannot prevail--and if 
this budget passes over the next couple days here--I still hope, as a 
Congress, working with the President, we can address this issue.
  Once this budget debate is behind us on the floor, I hope we can sit 
down as Republicans and Democrats alike, as Americans, acknowledging 
that if we do not deal with spending, we cannot get this economy back 
on track, acknowledging that trying to tax, spend, and borrow your way 
to prosperity does not work. We tried it. We have seen the results.
  We have also seen the opposite, over time, through the great history 
of this country. The time-honored principles that have made us this 
cutting-edge economy, that have made us the envy of the world, relied 
on entrepreneurship, innovation, keeping taxes low, keeping government 
spending under control, and encouraging the private sector to do what 
they do best, which is, to create jobs. This is why I oppose this 
budget. This is why I also support a better way, to bring back the jobs 
and get our country back on track.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, there has been a complete abdication of 
fiscal responsibility in Congress, particularly in the Senate, for the 
last 4 years, in that there has been no budget passed in this Senate 
for that period of time. What better manifestation, what uglier 
manifestation of that fiscal irresponsibility than the $16.5 trillion 
in debt.
  Another symptom of that problem is the fact that in addition to the 
Senate not passing a budget for the last 4 years, in 4 out of the last 
5 years, the President of the United States has missed the statutory 
deadline on submitting his proposed budget to the Senate for 
consideration and to the Congress.
  Really, when we are talking about budgeting, the House is going to 
pass a budget that limits the rate of growth of Federal spending from 
5.4 percent to 3.4 percent. It limits the rate of growth. Now, most of 
America would not call that a cut. But for some reason that is called a 
cut in Washington. What I would call that is a limitation on the rate 
of growth of Federal spending.
  It is important we get the President's proposed budget, as required 
by the law. The law requires the President to send his proposed budget 
to the Congress by the first Monday in February. He has not done so, 
and we have been advised that we probably will not even see the 
President's proposed budget until our work here is done. I do not know 
what the President could do that would render himself any more 
irrelevant to this important process than not contribute his proposed 
budget on a timely basis, as required by the law.
  Because the President has not complied with the law, I am going to 
offer an amendment to this budget resolution called the No Budget No 
OMB Pay Act of 2013. OMB, of course, stands for the Office of 
Management and Budget, the executive branch agency responsible for 
preparing the President's proposed budget.
  The No Budget No OMB Pay Act would prohibit paying the salaries of

[[Page S2092]]

the Office of Management and Budget Director, the Deputy Director, and 
the Deputy Director for Management for any period of time that the 
President is late in meeting the statutory requirement to submit his 
budget, as I said, by the first Monday in February.
  I have also filed an amendment to the budget that would allow the 
Senate to express its support for this legislation.
  It is certainly progress that now, after 4 years, Senator Reid has 
seen fit to bring a budget to the floor. That is his prerogative as the 
majority leader, something we in the minority have no authority to do. 
But it represents progress--some small progress--that Senator Reid has 
finally decided to bring a budget to the floor and that the Senate is 
now able to amend and debate that budget resolution.
  As you have heard, the proposed budget that has come from the Budget 
Committee, Senator Murray's budget, raises taxes by $1.5 trillion and 
increases spending by 62 percent. What is worse, it actually fails to 
balance within 10 years, which is the budget window.
  Equally as unfortunate, for the first time in recent memory, is that 
the Congress is acting before receiving the President's proposed 
budget. According to the National Journal, this marks an unprecedented 
break of 92 years of tradition in having the President make the first 
move in the budget process.
  This is called leadership.
  Current law requires the President to send his budget by the first 
Monday of February, which I have said. President Obama has ignored this 
requirement. He has missed the deadline 4 out of 5 years he has been 
President of the United States. This year he was required to issue the 
budget proposal on February 4, but he missed the deadline once again. 
While the Senate is acting this week, it has been 45 days since the 
President has failed to live up to the legal commitment for the 
President to submit his proposed budget. We all know nowhere else in 
America, whether in private life, private business, or in local or 
State government, can you fail to do your job and still be paid--only 
here in Washington, DC.
  We know it is important the President and the executive branch live 
up to their responsibilities, just as it is important we do so 
ourselves. If the Office of Management and Budget does not do its job 
and produce a budget, its top official should not be paid.
  Based on legislation we have already passed, both the legislative 
branch and now, if my budget amendment passes and if Congress embraces 
this requirement, both executive and legislative branches share 
responsibility when it comes to the budget. Without us doing our jobs 
and the President doing his job, spending will remain out of control. 
We all deserve better and the American people deserve better. They 
deserve the accountability which comes from the President fulfilling 
his legal responsibilities under the law of the land.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Warren). The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, as the Senate continues to debate the 
first budget resolution in more than 4 years, I am struck not only by 
the things we know about the Democrats' budget but also the things we 
don't know. For example, we know the budget would increase our debt by 
nearly $7 trillion over 10 years and it would continue on an upward 
trajectory thereafter. What we don't know is how, while amassing all 
that debt, our Nation will be able to respond to unforeseeable crises 
and emergencies in the future.
  In addition, we know the budget does next to nothing to address our 
runaway entitlement spending. What we don't know is how programs such 
as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would survive over the long 
term if this budget were to be followed.
  Finally, we know this budget includes as much as $1.5 trillion in new 
taxes. What we don't know is where all that revenue will be coming 
from. Last week before the budget was released I came to the floor to 
speak about the rumors the Democratic budget would include 
reconciliation instructions with regard to taxes. The concern I 
expressed at that time was the budget would instruct the Finance 
Committee to close so-called tax loopholes in order to raise revenue 
and this would, in effect, end ongoing bipartisan efforts on tax 
reform. As it turns out, my fears were not unfounded. Specifically this 
budget instructs the Finance Committee to find nearly $1 trillion in 
new revenues to pay for additional spending.
  The deadline under these instructions would be October 1 of this 
year. That clashes directly with the schedule Chairman Baucus and I 
have set out for bipartisan tax reform deliberations in the Finance 
Committee. This budget would instruct the committee to set aside those 
reform efforts and, instead, comb through the Tax Code looking for new 
revenues. In addition, this budget includes deficit-neutral reserve 
funds and sequester replacement which total more than $500 billion. 
According to the Budget Committee, this new spending would be paid for 
by closing so-called tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations.
  In addition to the $1 trillion in reconciliation instructions, this 
budget includes potential for another half trillion in new taxes. This 
means up to $1.5 trillion in fresh taxes from this budget will be used 
to expand our already bloated Federal Government.
  The budget repeats the common refrain we hear from our friends on the 
other side of the aisle that our Tax Code is so full of so-called 
loopholes which benefit only the wealthy. According to their arguments, 
these loopholes may be closed at any time to generate untold amounts of 
revenue without affecting the middle class or our economy.
  During last week's Budget Committee markup, the chairwoman claimed 
they could hit their revenue target by ``closing loopholes and cutting 
unfair spending in the Tax Code for those who need it the least.''
  This statement is simply incorrect. First of all, a loophole is 
something created by accident or carelessness which is then exploited. 
When my colleagues talk about loopholes, they aren't talking about 
backdoors created unintentionally or sneaky abuses of the Tax Code, 
they are talking about tax expenditures, all of which were deliberately 
placed into the Code for specific reasons. More often than not my 
Democratic colleagues use the term ``loophole'' to describe items in 
the Tax Code they don't like. This doesn't make the label any more 
  Earlier this week one of my friends on the other side of the aisle 
took this rhetoric about loopholes up a notch. He described the Tax 
Code as this treasure trove of special deals and earmarks for the rich 
and well-connected. He went further by saying, We are at the place 
where the lobbyists wield the sweet corporate tax deals. He blamed 
Republicans for this, arguing we were responsible for the existence of 
these so-called loopholes and earmarks.
  Admittedly there are some narrow provisions in the Tax Code--too 
many, if you ask me. There are supporters of these provisions on both 
sides of the aisle. Let's be honest. There aren't any real loopholes in 
the Tax Code, nor are there any earmarks. There are simply tax 
expenditures. If you look at a list of the largest tax expenditures, 
you will find a number of deductions and preferences which 
disproportionately benefit the middle class, middle-income taxpayers. 
That being the case, if my colleagues want to raise significant amounts 
of revenue by eliminating tax expenditures, they will have to do so by 
raising taxes on the middle class.
  Look at this chart. If you look at this chart, you will see the 
revenue targets in the Democratic budget. First up, there is $975 
billion right near the reconciliation instructions to the Finance 
Committee. Below that are additional revenues included in this budget. 
As I have mentioned, all told, if you include the specified revenue 
target for reconciliation and potential increases elsewhere, the budget 
may include more than $1.5 trillion in tax increases. Look at this.
  Next we have a list of all the tax increases Senate Democrats have 
voted for over the last 2 years, including the elimination of tax 
breaks for oil and gas companies, increased taxes for carried interest 
and the so-called Buffett rule. All told, these tax hike proposals 
could raise about $108.3 billion in new revenues. At the bottom we see 
the difference between that number, the tax increases which Senate 
Democrats have actually voted for and the potential tax hikes which are 
included in the budget.

[[Page S2093]]

  As I said, we can give the Democrats credit for having identified 
about $108 billion in tax increases they support, but that would mean 
there is as much as $1.4 trillion in unidentified tax increases in this 
  How would they reach their target? The budget doesn't spell it out. 
It leaves more than enough room to speculate. For example, you might 
simply think they would adopt the idea from President Obama's past 
budgets to cap itemized deductions for higher income earners at 28 
  This seems unlikely for two reasons. First, to date very few 
Democrats in the Senate have come out in favor of that proposal. 
Indeed, it would impact things such as charitable contributions and 
pension deferrals which most have been unwilling to change. Second, and 
more important, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, that 
proposal would generate only about $423 billion in new revenues over 10 
years, which would leave my colleagues about $1 trillion short of their 
revenue goal. Still, I can't help but wonder if the tide has shifted 
with regard to this proposal.
  With the Senate budget staking so much on the elimination of so-
called loopholes, it will be interesting to see how many Democrats 
shift positions and endorse the President's proposal, even though it 
will not yield nearly enough revenue to reach the targets outlined in 
this budget.
  Staying in the world of capping itemized deductions, there is also 
the proposal outlined by CBO in 2011 to cap all itemized deductions for 
all taxpayers at 15 percent. This would effectively raise taxes on 
every tax filer in every bracket who itemized their deductions. Make no 
mistake. This would be a tax increase on the middle class, meaning it 
would violate the promises made by President Obama and other Democrats 
to protect the middle class from further tax increases.
  However, it would also generate enough revenue to be in the 
neighborhood of what the Democrats have outlined in their budget. All 
told, this proposal would, according to CBO, raise about $1.2 trillion 
in revenue over 10 years. Given the outlandish revenue proposal in the 
budget, this idea, while punitive and damaging to the middle class, 
can't be ruled out entirely.
  I have another chart here which lists the top 10 tax expenditures 
according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. These 10 items account 
for 71 percent of what Democrats have called spending in the Tax Code.
  What is No. 1 on this list? I will give you a hint. It is not 
corporate jet depreciation or carried interest. No, it is the tax-free 
treatment of employer-provided health care. Do you want to do away with 
  What is No. 2 on the list? It is the tax-deferred benefit for retired 
savings plans.
  How about No. 3? It is the measure which provides relief against 
double taxation on investments. I am referring to the reduced rate on 
long-term capital gains and dividends. This rate went up recently. It 
was raised by 59 percent in the fiscal cliff bill. Raising it even more 
is a sure-fire recipe for job destruction and even slower economic 
  No. 4 is the deduction for State and local taxes.
  No. 5 is the home mortgage interest deduction. Do you want to do away 
with that?
  No. 6 is the tax-free treatment of Medicare benefits.
  So far I don't see a lot of expenditures aimed solely at benefiting 
the wealthy. No, most of these provisions benefit a significant number 
of middle-income taxpayers or earners.
  Three of the four next items on the list are refundable, meaning the 
person filing the return can receive a check even if they owe no income 
tax. This is truly where there is spending in the Tax Code. These 
provisions exclusively benefit lower and middle-income earners. They 
are not available to those making over $200,000 a year.
  The point is not simply there are a lot of popular tax expenditures. 
I think people know that already. No, my point is, given the difference 
between the revenue target in the Democrats' budget and the tax 
increases they supported on the record, there is no telling how they 
plan to actually raise their revenue. If they are serious about closing 
so-called loopholes to the tune of over $1 trillion, this list is where 
the real money is. If we are talking about raising that kind of revenue 
by eliminating tax expenditures, we are necessarily talking about 
provisions which benefit the middle class. It can't be raised through 
eliminating tax breaks for oil companies. It can't be raised by 
instituting the Buffett rule. It can't be raised even by eliminating 
all itemized deductions for millionaires.
  I am sure my colleagues will disagree with this assessment. However, 
the burden is on them to show where I am wrong, and they can't.
  This is their budget and their revenue target. If they want this 
budget to be taken seriously, the Democrats should come out and state 
specifically their plan for raising their $1.5 trillion in additional 
revenue. You can't simply say: We want the Finance Committee to figure 
out how to raise taxes by another $1 trillion to finance our spending 
spree. That is irresponsible and, as I said, it poisons the well for 
fundamental tax reform. You can't simply say: We want to turn off 
almost half a trillion dollars of sequestration spending cuts, but we 
won't say how we will pay for it. This is irresponsible and misleading 
to the American public.
  Finally, I wish to point out the budget would also mark a significant 
shift in the position held by many Democrats with regard to corporate 
taxes. The Obama administration has repeatedly expressed support for 
approaching corporate tax reform in a revenue-neutral manner. Prominent 
Democrats on the Finance Committee have also publicly expressed support 
for revenue-neutral corporate tax reform in order to make America more 
globally competitive.
  However, the Democrats' budget states: Eliminating loopholes and 
cutting unfair spending in the Tax Code for the biggest corporations 
must be a significant element of a balanced and responsible deficit 
reduction plan.
  You cannot have it both ways. Revenue-neutral corporate tax reform 
means paring back corporate tax expenditures and lowering the corporate 
tax rate. Revenue-neutral corporate tax reform does not mean, and 
cannot mean, eliminating tax expenditures which some Members don't like 
because it polls well, and then using some or all of the resulting 
revenue gain to further expand the government. This is not tax reform 
of any kind, this is a tax hike pure and simple. I would be interested 
to find out whether the Democrats who have publicly expressed support 
for revenue-neutral tax reform will support this budget.
  More generally, I wish to know where the Democrats stand on corporate 
taxes. Do they want to raise them, or do they want to make American 
companies more globally competitive? I hope it is the latter. You 
cannot do both.
  When you look at the tax provisions of the Senate budget, it is clear 
it is nothing more than a political document.
  I suspect my colleagues on the other side of the aisle know they 
cannot hit their revenue targets without impacting the middle class. I 
think they also know we can't do revenue-neutral corporate tax reform 
and at the same time raise more tax revenue from the corporate sector. 
I think they know that in real-world terms, the tax provisions of this 
budget are several bridges too far. So in the end, I have to assume 
there is a political calculation being made.
  My colleagues apparently believe it makes good political sense to 
talk about reducing the deficit on the backs of the wealthy and less 
popular corporations rather than making difficult choices on spending.
  The American people need a real blueprint for our Nation's fiscal 
future, not more talking points. Once again, I urge my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle to reject this budget.
  Now I wish to take just a few seconds to talk about one of the budget 
amendments I expect will be discussed and considered on the floor. I 
understand it is described as an amendment to ``establish a deficit 
neutral reserve fund to allow States to collect sales and use taxes 
already owed under State law.'' This amendment is intended to be a 
proxy vote for a bill called the Marketplace Fairness Act.
  I greatly appreciate the diligent efforts of the supporters of this 
bill, including Senators Enzi and Alexander.

[[Page S2094]]

Clearly, a lot of work has gone into this legislation. However, over 
the last few months, I have been on the floor several times to talk 
about the importance of restoring regular order in the Senate. The 
Marketplace Fairness Act has been referred to the Finance Committee. 
Both Chairman Baucus and I have the view that legislation is more 
properly considered within the context of the committee's current 
bipartisan efforts on tax reform.
  However one feels regarding this amendment, it is undeniable that the 
Marketplace Fairness Act is controversial and that concerns about and 
suggestions for the legislation have been raised by many stakeholders. 
I have met with many people on both sides of the Marketplace Fairness 
Act, including people from Utah, and have heard many concerns. I am not 
here to take a position on the substance of this legislation, only to 
note that it deserves to be fully debated in committee and I am 
concerned this amendment might not allow those debates to occur.
  For this reason, I intend to vote no on this amendment at this time.
  What I have said is extremely important. It is not partisan. It is 
pointing out these doggone problems with this bill, and I hope my 
friends on the other side will start looking at things such as this. 
Because we can play politics with these things all day long, but that 
doesn't make it right and it doesn't make it so we can do what my 
friends on the other side would like to do, which is raise revenue so 
they can spend more.
  It boggles my mind. We have to find some way of living within our 
means in this country. If we don't, we are creating a new generation of 
debtors--our children, our grandchildren, and in many cases--in my 
case--great-grandchildren as well. It is the debtor generation now. 
Every one of them owes well over $50,000 personally, and that is going 
to go up exponentially if we don't watch what we are doing.
  In fact, even if we do watch what we are doing, it is still going to 
go up. But we have to do everything in our power to give them a future. 
The debtor generation is all those who are less than 50 years of age 
but especially our youth. We simply can't barter away their future 
because we don't have the guts to stand up and do what is right.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I think we will proceed now to the 
other side. Then there will be back and forth on the Internet Fairness 
Act; is that correct?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, it is my understanding there are a 
number of Senators who have come to talk on one of the provisions they 
would like to offer. I think we will start with their side, with 
Senator Enzi to be yielded to from their side.
  If the Senator wants to yield time to him, I will then yield to a 
  Mr. SESSIONS. All right.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. For the information of my colleagues--and I guess this 
will not be in concrete--I will recognize Senator Enzi for 10 minutes, 
Senator Alexander for 10 minutes, and Senators Blunt and Ayotte for 5 
minutes each.
  Senator Enzi, I know, has worked hard on this legislation, and I 
yield to him.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I note the time will come off the 
resolution on this.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.
  The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Madam President, I rise with Senators Durbin, Alexander, 
and others to discuss an amendment I am filing to the fiscal year 2014 
budget resolution. The amendment establishes the deficit-neutral 
reserve fund that allows States to enforce State and local use tax laws 
and to collect taxes already owed under State law on remote sales.
  The amendment captures the bipartisan, bicameral--the House and 
Senate--policy my colleagues and I are pursuing in S. 336, the 
Marketplace Fairness Act. I did hear my colleague from Utah mention he 
would like that to go through regular order. This does not preclude 
regular order. This would not be a final determination for the bill, 
but it would give us some kind of indication of the strength behind 
this idea.
  As a former small business owner, I believe it is important to level 
the playing field for all retailers--in-store, catalogue, and online--
so an outdated rule for sales tax collection does not adversely impact 
small businesses and Main Street retailers. The Supreme Court case 
earlier encouraged Congress to solve this problem. Thousands of local 
businesses are forced to do business at a competitive disadvantage 
because they have to collect sales tax and use tax and remote sellers 
do not, which in some States can mean a 5- to 10-percent price 
advantage. We should not be subsidizing some taxpayers at the expense 
of others.
  Sales taxes go directly to State and local governments--that would be 
counties and cities and towns--which bring in needed revenue for 
maintaining our schools, fixing our roads, and supporting local law 
enforcement. If Congress fails to authorize States to collect tax on 
remote sales and electronic commerce continues to grow, we are 
implicitly blessing a situation where States can be forced to raise 
other taxes, such as income or property taxes, to offset the growing 
loss of sales tax revenue. Do you want that to happen? I sure don't.
  Now is the time for Congress to act. Many Americans do not realize 
when they buy something online, order something from a catalogue from a 
business outside their own State, they still owe State sales taxes. It 
is just very difficult to comply with that. For over a decade, Congress 
has been debating how best to allow States to collect sales taxes from 
online retailers in a way that puts Main Street businesses on a level 
playing field with online retailers.
  On February 14, 2013, the bicameral, bipartisan Marketplace Fairness 
Act was introduced to close the 20-year loophole that distorts the 
American marketplace by picking winners and losers, by subsidizing some 
businesses at the expense of other businesses, and subsidizing 
taxpayers at the expense of other taxpayers. All businesses and their 
retail sales and all consumers and their purchases should be treated 
  The bill also empowers States to make the decision themselves. If 
they choose to collect already existing sales taxes on all purchases, 
regardless of whether the sale was online or in-store, they can, but it 
takes their action. If they want to keep things the way they are, it is 
the State's choice.
  The Marketplace Fairness Act does not tax Internet use, it does not 
tax Internet services, and it does not raise taxes. It gives States the 
right to collect what is owed by the purchasing individual.
  I wish to provide some highlights of what the Marketplace Fairness 
Act accomplishes. The bill gives States the right to decide to collect 
or not to collect taxes that are already owed. The legislation would 
simplify and streamline the country's more than 9,000 diverse sales tax 
jurisdictions and provide two options by which States could begin 
collecting sales taxes from online and catalogue purchases. The bill 
also carves out small businesses so they are not adversely affected by 
the new law by exempting businesses with less than $1 million in online 
or out-of-State sales from collection requirements. This small business 
exemption will protect small merchants and give new businesses time to 
get started.
  Do not let the critics get away with saying this kind of 
simplification cannot be done. The different tax rates and 
jurisdictions are no problem for today's software programs. As a former 
mayor and State legislator, I strongly favor allowing States the 
authority to require sales and use tax collection from retailers on all 
sales if the State chooses to do so. We need to implement a plan that 
will allow States to generate revenue using mechanisms already approved 
by their local leaders. We need to allow States the ability to collect 
the sales taxes they already require. If enacted, it would provide 
approximately $23 billion in fiscal relief for the States for which 
Congress does not have to find an offset. This would give States less 
of an excuse to come knocking on the Federal door for handouts and will 
reduce the problem of federally attached strings.

[[Page S2095]]

  The Marketplace Fairness Act is about States rights and it is about 
fairness. I strongly encourage my colleagues to vote for the Enzi-
Durbin amendment to support the goals of States rights and a level 
playing field for all businesses.
  I yield the floor and I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I yield 10 minutes to the Senator from 
Illinois off the resolution.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, this is a photograph of a store in 
Palatine, IL, called Soccer Plus. Bob Naughtrip opened this store and 
sold sporting equipment in the suburbs of Chicago. He had a pretty good 
business going, but then he ran into something called show-rooming. 
That consists of people walking into a store and saying: I would like 
to try on a pair of shoes or some equipment. They would find exactly 
what they wanted, write down all the information, and then say: Thanks, 
Bob, walk out the door and order it on the Internet, paying for it 
without paying sales tax on their purchase. So every time Bob tried to 
sell something and collect the sales tax in Illinois--which he was 
required to collect--he was at a disadvantage from the people buying 
over the Internet. Is that fair?
  The Supreme Court said it was up to Congress to decide whether that 
is fair. It is up to Congress to decide whether Internet sales should 
be subject to State and local sales taxes. That is why we are here. To 
my way of thinking, this is just a question of fundamental fairness. We 
are not talking about imposing a new tax--not at all. We are talking 
about existing taxes.
  In my State of Illinois, incidentally, when I buy something on the 
Internet, I have a legal obligation to pay sales tax on it, but it is 
done voluntarily. Many times it is not collected when I make the 
purchase. I do it on my State income tax return each year. Most people 
don't do it at all, so the sales tax is never collected on the Internet 
  The purpose of this bill is to allow States, if they wish--
voluntarily--to start having Internet retailers collect sales tax for 
the sales that are made over the Internet to people living in their 
State. This is voluntary, so the States can decide whether to do it. Is 
this a new tax? No. In 46 States it is an existing tax. It is now going 
to be collected as opposed to voluntarily adding it to an income tax 
return by individuals.
  So it is not a new tax, and it is certainly not a tax on the Internet 
itself. It is just that happens to be the point of purchase. We have on 
the floor my friend, Senator Baucus of Montana. He is from one of the 
four States in our Nation that do not have a sales tax, and they, of 
course, are concerned about this issue. Let me make it clear: Anyone 
purchasing an item on the Internet in Montana is not going to have to 
pay sales tax if Montana doesn't have a sales tax. The same will be 
true for New Hampshire, as well as Delaware and Oregon--the four States 
that have no sales tax. So we are not imposing a new sales tax on 
Montana or any other State. Those that have the tax will be collecting 
it under our bill.
  How about the Internet retailers who will be covered by this? We 
created an exemption, as Senator Enzi said. The exemption says they 
have to have $1 million in sales on the Internet before they have to do 
this--$1 million.
  How many Internet retailers would that mean? We think about 1,000, 
975 sell more than $1 million worth of goods each year on the Internet. 
So about 1,000 retailers on the Internet would be collecting the sales 
tax. They would look at my home address and they would assess the tax 
that is owed.
  Wait a minute. How will that be assessed when each and every Internet 
retailer has to go through the burden of establishing this technology, 
these computer programs? No. The burden is on the States to provide the 
computer software for the Internet retailers, not at the expense of the 
Internet retailers. So it is a simple process, and it is a fair 
  Bob was a good businessman. He hired a lot of local people. He 
collected sales tax and paid his property tax, and with that money they 
built this road right out in front of his shop, they provided the 
police and fire services and things that are part of civilization, 
living in America. He paid the taxes on this, and he lost his business 
because his competitors weren't collecting the taxes.
  I find it interesting, though. I recently made a purchase on Amazon, 
and they collected the sales tax from me in Illinois--which they can 
do. Amazon supports our bill, incidentally. They delivered it, and I 
believe they used the Postal Service this time, but sometimes they use 
UPS and FedEx. Their trucks and delivery people use the streets of 
Chicago and the streets of Springfield. They rely on the basic services 
we all count on. So even the Internet sales are dependent on some basic 
services that are going to be provided by a community.
  I have heard so many speeches on the floor of the Senate about how 
much we love and venerate and respect small businesspeople. We are told 
that if this economy is going to get well and move forward, it is going 
to be driven by small businesses expanding their employment. Well, I 
believe that. I have seen it over and over again in Illinois and every 
State I have visited. But if they are going to have a fighting chance 
to compete, there ought to be a level playing field, as Senator Enzi 
said. There ought to be a basic fairness here.
  If Bob's business had to collect sales tax for sales to Illinois 
residents, why wouldn't those who purchase over the Internet be under 
the same obligation? That is what this says. It basically establishes 
that responsibility.
  Now, of course we have a lot of support for this--support from 
Governors and mayors and business developers and, of course, small 
businesses. So if people want to come to the floor and decide what side 
they want to be on, I urge them to be on the side of the same small 
businesses they have given speeches about over and over again.
  I believe in these men and women. Many of them have gone into small 
business and taken a lot of risks. They are the backbone of our 
communities, there is no question about it. Time and time again, we go 
to them to make sure they are going to build the economy and hire the 
people whom we need in our local communities. So let's give them a 
fighting chance. The marketplace fairness bill will do that.
  Senator Enzi was on this bill before me, Senator Dorgan from North 
Dakota before me, and when Senator Dorgan retired, I asked if I could 
join him. But I thank the Senator from Wyoming for his leadership. As 
you probably heard, Senator Enzi, before he came to the Senate, was a 
small businessman himself, and so he knows this firsthand.
  So let's stand for business and retailers across America and give 
them a fighting chance. Let them be competitive. Let them continue to 
hire and be good neighbors in our communities. And let's say to the 
Internet retailers: We are glad you are doing well, but play by the 
same rules and make sure there is a level playing field.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, if I might ask the Senator from 
Missouri to go ahead of me, if that is agreeable with the Senator from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I thank my colleagues for recognizing me 
to make a few comments.
  I agree with everything that has been said. I believe this is the 
fair thing to do. I think it is wrong for government to penalize some 
businesses over others. I think it is wrong, frankly, to have laws on 
the books that we know aren't being enforced. To have laws on the books 
that you know create law violators is the wrong thing to do. And 
frankly, in almost every State where--as Senator Durbin pointed out, in 
his State and my State, which is next door to his State, you are 
supposed to pay this tax. People just don't do it. I think last year in 
Missouri we had about 300 people pay this tax in the entire State. I 
would bet, more than the collective tax they paid, that more than 300 
people bought something over the Internet in the State of Missouri last 
year. So this is a tax that is on the books, it needs to be collected, 
and we ought to

[[Page S2096]]

see what we can do to make that happen.
  States that don't have a sales tax don't have to collect it. States 
that don't want to participate don't have to participate. But with all 
of the technology now available, with the $1 million exemption for 
businesses that want to sell a few things over the Internet--or maybe 
they want to sell everything over the Internet, they just don't sell 
very much--I think the objections that are reasonable to this have been 
more than met.
  I saw in a publication just last week on this topic three pretty well 
known conservatives, one talking about the Internet at its inception 
when William F. Buckley said:

       If the advantage of tax-free Internet commerce marginally 
     closes out local industry, reforms are required.

  This was at a time when nobody was buying things over the Internet, 
when it was just getting started, when we didn't want to have a unique 
tax for the Internet. But in all of those discussions, I never heard a 
serious discussion that if you are on the Internet, you should avoid 
taxes that are required to be paid. And William F. Buckley at the time 
was saying that whenever this becomes a problem, something should be 
done about it, and that is what this bill would do.
  One of my former colleagues when I was in the House, now the Governor 
of Indiana, Mike Pence, said:

       I don't think Congress should be in the business of picking 
     winners and losers. Inaction by Congress today results in a 
     system today that does pick winners and losers.

  He is talking about this system.
  Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, said:

       There is no more glaring example of misguided government 
     power that when taxes or regulations affect two similar 
     businesses completely differently. Over time, the company 
     that has to comply with a tax or a regulation will lose 
     market share to its competitor who is carved out from this 
     government interference.

  That is what this is about.
  I had a news conference on this in St. Louis a year or so ago, and as 
soon as the camera was turned off, the person interviewing me said: You 
know, one of my wife's friends has a wedding dress shop, and she sees 
people come in all the time who are clearly there to try on a wedding 
dress, get the number off the wedding dress, and order it on the 
Internet. And if the only difference in the cost of that wedding 
dress--I guess there are lots of variations but, say, 8 or 10 percent--
if the only difference is the sales tax, that is not a fair 
  And the person who went in the store to try on the wedding dress paid 
their local property taxes, they helped pay for the police protection, 
they helped pay for the sidewalk and the parking place, and then 
ordered the wedding dress from somebody who had contributed to none of 
  So I join my colleagues in saying this is the right thing to do. I 
hope we can get it done. And frankly, if we don't get it done, the 
States that say this tax needs to be voluntarily paid and know that is 
not happening should just get that law off the books. Having a law on 
the books that you know people violate is not the right thing to do.
  Madam President, I would give back to Mr. Enzi or Mr. Alexander 
whatever time I haven't used, and I look forward to hearing others talk 
on this issue.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the hour 
for Senators Klobuchar and Coats now begin at 4:10 p.m.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I yield 5 minutes to the chair of the 
Finance Committee, Senator Baucus.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Madam President, I think this amendment is not yet ready. 
It is premature. This is a very complicated question, and I think there 
has been a lot of easy talk and a little bit of herd instinct here 
that, gee, because most States are not sales tax States, therefore this 
amendment should be adopted.
  The fact that is this is an extremely complicated question. For 
example, who is going to enforce this statute? Is the State of 
California, for example, or the State of Massachusetts going to enforce 
the noncollection of sales tax in another State? That is revolutionary. 
I cannot think of an instance where this Congress has legislated that a 
State can go into another State and enforce the taxation laws in that 
second State or when a State has empowered the State court in one State 
to go to another State and enforce the State taxation in that other 
State. It has not happened. It is not only complicated, but it is 
revolutionary. We have not done this before--nothing similar.
  I understand the arguments of those who want to pass this. They make 
some good points. I have said to Senator Durbin, Senator Enzi, and 
others that we in the Finance Committee will very seriously take this 
up as soon as we can and will probably in the context of tax reform.
  Let me repeat. It raises lots of questions that have not been 
addressed with respect to States rights; that is, the degree to which 
authorities in one State or courts in one State are able to go to 
another State and enforce State taxation issues.
  Certainly, we have the full faith and credit clause in the 
Constitution where if someone in California, for example, gets a court 
order or wants to enforce a collection of tax in California, that could 
not be overturned in another State. That is not this question. This 
question is whether courts in other States and citizens in other States 
can go to another State and force the court in that other State to 
enforce that other State's taxation law. We are not talking about the 
taxation law in California. We are talking about the other State 
taxation laws. We have never done that, and I don't think it is wise to 
start going down that road now.
  Second, different States have different State taxation laws for 
different reasons. Some States have income taxes. Some don't. Some have 
sales taxes. Some don't. The State of Montana has decided no sales tax, 
but we will have a significant income tax. Other States say no income 
tax but a significant sales tax. That is their prerogative. That is how 
they want to run their State.

  What does this do? This basically will have the virtual effect over a 
period of time of saying that all States have to have a sales tax--
forget your income tax--and beyond that, it has to be the same rate. 
That is what is going to happen here over time if this is enacted into 
law. You are telling States they have to have a sales tax even if they 
don't want to. I don't think we want to do that, to say nothing of all 
the potential complications revolving around different jurisdictions.
  I know the authors of this bill say: Computers can take care of it 
all. That is part of the problem. The computers get shut down, they get 
hacked. It is not the panacea a lot of people talk about. This is 
extremely complicated.
  Sure, we have to have a full, complete hearing on this, and we should 
and we will. The best thing to do right now is to have this amendment 
withdrawn because otherwise there are going to be a lot of amendments 
offered today, tomorrow, and tonight that are going to show all the 
defects of this, and they are all going to pass, and that is going to 
seriously undermine and be a poison pill for this bill that is pending 
right now. So the best solution is to withdraw this amendment now. 
Let's not try to solve this here in the Senate budget resolution but, 
rather, it should be in the right forum in the right location, and that 
is the Finance Committee, with big hearings, and we will work all this 
out because there are very legitimate points to be made on both sides.
  What bothers me is there is a lot of easy talk about how good this 
is, how fair it is, and nobody has thought through all the unintended 
consequences and all the problems that could arise, and I just started 
to raise a few of them.
  My friend from Oregon had a good thought. What about Canada? What 
about direct sellers in Canada just across the border? They sell to the 
United States. Do we have jurisdiction over Canada? I don't think so. 
And I can see a burgeoning direct sales business and revenue to Canada, 
as my friend from Oregon thought of. There are a lot of others that we 

[[Page S2097]]

thought about because it has not become ripe. It has not become ripe 
because we haven't had a direct hearing in a direct forum.
  So I just say this is not a good idea. I understand the reasons why 
some advocate it, but I might say this: If we assume Federal dollars--
because someone has to come up with asking Uncle Sam for Federal 
dollars to enforce this question in another State. Do we want that? I 
ask, who is the enforcer here? Is it another State? Is it Uncle Sam? I 
don't know. That has not been thought through.
  Therefore, I strongly urge that it not be adopted. Otherwise, we are 
going to have a ton of amendments that are not going to be appreciated 
by the supporters of this bill. If they pass, it will dramatically 
weaken any momentum they think they are going to have. So discretion is 
the better part of valor. Let's withdraw this, and let's consider this 
calmly in the right forum.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Montana for 
his comments, since Senator Enzi has probably been considering this 
bill his whole career. He came to the Senate nearly 18 years ago, and 
he introduced it 14 years ago. So even by Senate standards, it has had 
a good deal of calm deliberation.
  We have also had a hearing in the Finance Committee, where the 
distinguished chairman is in charge, and we have asked for a markup, 
which we haven't had.
  Mr. BAUCUS. You will get one.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. I thank the chairman for his commitment to a markup. I 
wonder if I might ask through the Chair when that would come.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Madam President, I can't guarantee a time. Nobody around 
here can. But I think it is appropriate that this is an issue that 
should come up in the context of tax reform, which the committee is 
pressing very vigorously. We had a meeting today in the Finance 
Committee on the first of many steps. Regrettably, Senator Enzi was 
unable to make it. It was on tax reform. And that is the appropriate 
forum for this to be brought.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I think this illustrates the problem 
we are having. How can this be a part of tax reform when it is not part 
of the Tax Code? It has been heard by the Commerce Committee in the 
Senate. It has been heard by the Finance Committee. It has not been 
marked up. It has been heard by the House Judiciary Committee. Senator 
Enzi has been working on it for 14 years.

  This is a very simple question. It is a matter of States rights, two 
words. Does a State, any State, have the right to decide whether to 
collect existing taxes from some of the people who owe the taxes or 
from all of the people who owe the taxes?
  In the State of Tennessee, at the Nashville Boot Company store, I 
walk in, I try on a pair of boots, then I go order it over the Internet 
so I do not have to pay the sales tax. What the State of Tennessee 
wants to do--the conservative Governor Bill Haslam, the conservative 
Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, the Republican legislature, these are 
not a bunch of big tax people--they want to collect the sales tax from 
everybody who owes it and they would like to require those who sell 
into Tennessee to do the very same thing they do, what the Nashville 
Boot Company does when I buy from it: They add the sales tax to the 
bill. They collect it and send it to the State. How hard is that to do?
  My wife gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday last year. I 
ordered some ingredients to make chocolate ice cream, over the 
Internet. When I did that they added to my bill the sales tax based on 
my ZIP Code. It is as easy as looking up the weather on your computer.
  That is all we are deciding here. We are only deciding whether we in 
the Congress are going to make State governments in our constitutional 
framework play Mother May I, by coming and pleading with us to allow 
the State to decide what to do about its own taxes. The State of 
Tennessee wishes to reduce its tax rate. It wishes to avoid a State 
income tax. It doesn't like the idea of treating one taxpayer one way 
and another one another way; and one business one way and another 
business another way. It wants to make that decision for itself.
  When I was the Governor of Tennessee, nothing made me more unhappy 
than to look up at Washington and see people of my own political party 
come up here and think since they had taken an airplane to Washington, 
they had gotten smarter than I was, suddenly, just by an hour plane 
ride, and they were going to tell me what to do.
  Now we have an honor roll of conservatives, and I will just speak to 
the conservatives on my side for a while, who said we do not think 
States ought to be playing Mother May I to the Federal Government on 
this question. Give State legislatures the power to make these 
decisions for themselves. That is consistent with the tenth amendment. 
That is consistent with our constitutional framework. And most of them 
are saying, as ours is in Tennessee: If you give us this power, the 
right to do it, which the Supreme Court has said you clearly have the 
right to do it--you, Congress, are the most qualified to do it. You can 
make this decision. Give us this power and we will lower our tax rate. 
That is what our State wants to do.
  It might use the money another way. They might use it to pay 
outstanding teachers more, to lower the tuition rate. But States have 
the right to be right, and States have the right to be wrong.
  There was a Supreme Court case 20 years ago at a time when most 
Senators didn't even know there was an Internet. The Court did say that 
States could not impose a burden on interstate commerce. But it said 
Congress could write the rules for doing that. Now it is about as easy 
to add the sales tax if you are buying from a catalog or buying over 
the Internet as it is if you buy from a local store. There is no reason 
for us to take the position that only we know best about how States 
should make decisions about their services or their taxes.
  Some are worried that this might increase taxes. I have said most 
Governors think they will lower tax rates. But here is the honor roll 
of conservatives who are asking the Congress to reaffirm our commitment 
and understanding of our constitutional system which allows States to 
make this decision: Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative 
Union; Governor Bob McDonnell, Virginia; Governor Tom Corbett, 
Pennsylvania; Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee; Governor Chris Christie, 
New Jersey; Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan; Governor Butch Otter, 
Idaho; Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana; former Governor Jeb Bush, 
Florida; former Governor Haley Barbour; the writings of the late 
William F. Buckley, et cetera, et cetera.
  It is time after 20 years to take this simple 11-page bill that says 
States have the right to decide for themselves whether to collect an 
existing tax from some of the people who owe it or from all the people 
who owe it, by requiring the seller to collect the tax at the time of 
the sale: same tax, same store. They ought to be able to do that.
  Finally, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
following my remarks the comments of a number of conservative 
supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act.
  In our State of Tennessee this bill is an insurance policy against a 
State income tax. We don't have one. We don't want one.
  It is also an opportunity for us to treat every taxpayer the same 
way. If you owe the tax, it is collected at the time of sale and you 
pay it, you don't avoid it. It is also a chance to treat all of the 
businesses that sell into Tennessee the same way. If you are going to 
sell to our 6 million people, we are going to treat you the same way we 
treat people in the State. We don't want to create an incentive for 
people to move out of Tennessee in order to sell into Tennessee. We 
want there to be a level playing field.
  If Montana businesses do not want to sell in Tennessee, that is their 
prerogative. But if they do, we want to treat them in the same way we 
treat all the other businesses in Tennessee. Let's make it very clear: 
This is not a tax on the Internet. We have a Federal law that placed a 
moratorium on Internet access taxes. Let me repeat that. We have a 
Federal law that is an existing moratorium on taxing the Internet.

[[Page S2098]]

This is a question about whether the State of Idaho, the State of 
Wyoming, the State of Tennessee, the State of Massachusetts, or any 
other State, that may say if we are going to have a sales tax then we 
are going to collect it in the same way from all the people who sell to 
the people in our State. That is infinitely logical. With the advent of 
technology it is about as easy to collect it one way as the other. And 
it is fair.
  I congratulate Senator Enzi and Senator Durbin for their years of 
work. I appreciate very much the commitment of the chairman of the 
Finance Committee to say there will be a markup. I think it is 
absolutely wrong to think of it as part of tax reform since it is not 
part of the Tax Code. We might include a milk producers bill in tax 
reform as well by the Chairman's logic. They do not belong in the same 
place. This bill boils down to two words: It is a States rights bill. 
Do we have a tenth amendment, or the spirit of a tenth amendment, or do 
we not? Do we trust Governors and legislatures to make decisions, or do 
we not? Then they can decide whether they want to raise or lower taxes, 
whether they want to collect taxes from some of the people who owe it 
or from all the people who owe it. That is the issue, these two words: 
States rights. I think this issue is perfectly appropriate to bring up 
after 14 years of work by Senator Enzi, after hearing from the Senate 
Finance and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. This 
is an opportunity for us to express our support for this principle of 
States rights and to give Governors and legislatures across the country 
a chance to treat businesses and taxpayers in the same way--stop 
picking winners and stop picking losers.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                    Conservatives Support E-Fairness

       William F. Buckley, Editor At Large, National Review: ``If 
     the advantage of tax-free Internet commerce marginally closes 
     out local industry, reforms are required... The mattress 
     maker in Connecticut is willing to compete with the company 
     in Massachusetts, but does not like it if out-of-state 
     businesses are, in practical terms, subsidized; that's what 
     the non-tax amounts to. Local concerns are complaining about 
     traffic in mattresses and books and records and computer 
     equipment which, ordered through the Internet, come in, so to 
     speak, duty free.'' (William F. Buckley, ``Get That Internet 
     Tax Right,'' National Review Online, 10/19/01)
       Al Cardenas, Chairman, American Conservative Union (ACU): 
     ``A robust free-market system requires a level playing field, 
     where the government doesn't get to pick winners and losers 
     in the marketplace. Senator Enzi and Congressman Womack 
     deserve praise for their efforts to empower states to make 
     their own revenue policy choices and create a fair system of 
     tax collection. The number one threat to the future of 
     American competitiveness isn't other countries--it's our tax 
     law. When it comes to state sales taxes, it is time to 
     address the area where federally mandated prejudice is most 
     egregious--the policy towards Internet sales, the decades-old 
     inequity between online sales and in-person sales as outdated 
     and unfair.'' (``Statement from ACU Chairman Al Cardenas 
     Applauding Efforts to Address Marketplace Fairness,'' Press 
     Release, 2/14/13)
       Hanns Kuttner, Hudson Institute: ``Current policy gives 
     remote sellers a price advantage, allowing them to sell their 
     goods and services without collecting the sales tax owed by 
     the purchaser. This price difference functions like a 
     subsidy. It distorts the allocation between the two forms of 
     selling. The subsidy from not collecting tax due means a 
     larger share of sales will take place remotely than would 
     occur in a free, undistorted market.'' (Hans Kuttner, 
     ``Future Marketplace: Free and Fair,'' May 2012.)
       Iowa Governor Terry Branstad: ``Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa 
     this week became the latest in a string of top Republican 
     state officials to back federal legislation giving states 
     more freedom to collect online sales taxes. Branstad's letter 
     of support, obtained exclusively by The Hill, comes not long 
     after another prominent Republican governor, Chris Christie 
     of New Jersey, also urged Congress to get moving on sales tax 
     legislation . . . In a letter sent Thursday, Branstad 
     encouraged his home-state senators to support a solution that 
     he said would close a longstanding loophole. `I understand 
     that the coalition supporting this legislation is now very 
     broad which gives me hope that, under your leadership, this 
     legislation can be passed yet this year,' Branstad wrote to 
     Sens. Chuck Grassley (R) and Tom Harkin (D). `The Internet is 
     now a robust, mature and dynamic marketplace that does not 
     warrant special protections,' he added. `The application of 
     sales taxes only to `brick-and-mortar' retailers, many of 
     which are small businesses, puts those very entities at a 
     competitive disadvantage.' '' (Bernie Becker & Kevin 
     Bogardus, ``GOP Governors Bolster Sales Tax Push,'' The Hill, 
       New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: Governor Chris 
     Christie: ``I just want to make clear that I have been 
     working on this issue in my role on the executive committee 
     of the National Governors Association because it is an 
     important issue to all the nation's governors. And I too--
     along with governors like Governor Daniels and others--urge 
     the federal government and the Congress in particular to get 
     behind Senator Lamar Alexander's legislation to allow states 
     to be able to make these choices for themselves. And I think 
     Senator Alexander's legislation would be a great step forward 
     in that regard. It would give states options to decide how 
     they want to deal with this and not have to any longer deal 
     with the federal prohibition on dealing with it. So, it would 
     allow us to do it in a much more uniform and broader way. So, 
     I'm with Governor Daniels on this and other Republican 
     governors--Governor Snyder of Michigan and others who feel 
     strongly about it. And we've been working on it at the 
     National Governors Association and I know we will continue to 
     and hope to get some type of resolution to it by the end of 
     this year.'' (Press Conference, Governor Chris Christie, 5/
       Michigan Governor Rick Snyder: `Technology currently exists 
     to quickly and effectively calculate taxes due on sales and 
     can be easily be integrated into online retailers' 
     operations,' wrote Snyder, a onetime venture capitalist and 
     former executive at the computer company Gateway. `It is time 
     for Congress to grant states the authority to enforce sales 
     tax and use laws on all retailers doing business in their 
     state.' (Bernie Becker, ``Michigan Governor Joins Online 
     Sales Tax Chorus,'' The Hill, 5/11/12)
       Alabama Governor Robert Bentley: ``Alabama's Republican 
     governor has urged lawmakers from his state to support online 
     sales tax legislation, adding to the growing roster of GOP 
     officials who are on board with the idea. Gov. Robert Bentley 
     told Alabama's two senators and seven House members the 
     online sales tax bills would improve the state's fiscal 
     situation, and stressed that the legislation would not create 
     a new tax. `The bills will give Alabama the authority to 
     collect sales taxes--as we currently do from local brick-and-
     mortar retailers--that are already owed from online 
     retailers,' Bentley wrote in a letter dated April 19. 
     `Allowing us to effectively close this sales tax loophole 
     would help both our state's finances and our state's small 
     businesses.' '' (Bernie Becker, ``Alabama Governor Gets 
     Behind Online Sales Tax Push,'' The Hill, 4/25/12)
       Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval: `` `The only way to 
     completely resolve this issue is for Congress to enact 
     legislation that, within a simplified nationwide framework, 
     grants states the right to require collection by all 
     sellers,' Sandoval said in a statement.'' (Ed Vogel, ``Gov. 
     Sandoval Reaches Sales Tax Deal With Amazon,'' Las Vegas 
     Review-Journal, 4/24/12)
       Maine Governor Paul LePage: ``Last week, Gov. Paul LePage, 
     R-Maine, wrote his state's two U.S. senators, Republicans 
     Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, to urge them to back 
     legislation introduced by Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Dick 
     Durbin, D-Ill., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., that would 
     close a loophole left by a 1992 Supreme Court decision. The 
     high court ruled that states can't require retailers such as 
     catalog and now online retailers to collect sales taxes from 
     customers in states where those companies have no physical 
     presence. `There's no denying that passing the bill would 
     give thousands of small Maine businesses a real boost,' 
     LePage wrote. `Through no fault of their own, federal policy 
     now gives some out-of-state corporations an unfair advantage 
     over other Maine retailers.' '' (Juliana Gruenwald, ``Tea 
     Party Governor Is Backing Net Sales Tax Bill,'' National 
     Journal, 3/20/12)
       Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell: `` `This bill helps to 
     ensure that online retailers with a physical presence in 
     Virginia are treated the same as traditional brick and-mortar 
     retailers who are already required to collect and remit 
     existing sales taxes on goods sold in the commonwealth.' '' 
     (Press Release, ``Governor McDonnell Announces Agreement 
     Reached On Tax Fairness Bill,'' Governor Bob McDonnell, 2/22/
       Idaho Governor C.L. ``Butch'' Otter: ``Gov. C. L. `Butch' 
     Otter backs taxing Internet sales to level the playing field 
     between virtual businesses and brick-and mortar 
     establishments on Idaho's Main Street. Otter made the remarks 
     to Idaho chamber of commerce leaders meeting in Boise on 
     Monday.'' (``Idaho Governor Supports Internet Sales Tax,'' 
     The Associated Press, 1/30/12)
       Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels: ``[S]ales taxes that 
     [states] impose ought to be paid, and paid by everybody 
     equally and collected by everybody in the retail business ... 
     We're not talking about an additional or new tax here--we're 
     talking about the collection of a tax that's existed a long 
     time.'' (Jeremy Hobson, ``Indiana Makes A Deal With Amazon On 
     Sales Taxes,'' Marketplace Business, 1/12/12)
       Georgia Governor Nathan Deal: ``Gov. Nathan Deal is 
     considering extending the state sales tax to online 
     purchases, he told newspaper publishers Thursday morning . . 
     . `In the absence of congressional activity on that . . . I 
     think there will be some appetite to act on that in the 
     legislature,' he said.'' (Walter C. Jones, ``Ga. Considers 
     Online Sales Tax,'' The Augusta Chronicle, 1/12/12)
       Indiana Governor and former Representative Mike Pence: ``I 
     don't think Congress should be in the business of picking 

[[Page S2099]]

     and losers. Inaction by Congress today results in a system 
     today that does pick winners and losers.'' (House Judiciary 
     Committee, Hearing On ``Constitutional Limitations On States' 
     Authority To Collect Sales Taxes In E-Commerce,'' 11/30/11)
       Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour: ``. . . [E]-
     commerce has grown, and there is simply no longer a 
     compelling reason for government to continue giving online 
     retailers special treatment over small businesses who reside 
     on the Main Streets across Mississippi and the country. The 
     time to level the playing field is now. . .'' (Letter To 
     Sens. Enzi And Alexander Endorsing S. 1832, The Marketplace 
     Fairness Act, 11/29/11)
       Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam: ``The National Governors 
     Association applauds your efforts to level the playing field 
     between Main Street retailers and online sellers by 
     introducing S. 1832, the `Marketplace Fairness Act.' This 
     common sense approach will allow states to collect the taxes 
     they are owed, help businesses comply with different state 
     laws, and provide fair competition between retailers that 
     will benefit consumers.'' (National Governors Association 
     Letter To Sens. Durbin, Enzi, Tim Johnson And Alexander 
     Endorsing S. 1832, The Marketplace Fairness Act, 11 /28/11)
       South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley: `` `And I will tell 
     you regardless of what happens with Amazon, we want them. I 
     have told them we want you to do business in this state, but 
     we want you to do it on a level playing field. They got free 
     property, they got tax incentives, they got plenty of things. 
     Don't ask us to give you sales tax relief when we're not 
     giving it to the book store down the street or we're not 
     giving it to the other stores on the other side of town, it's 
     just not a level playing field.'' ' (Press Conference, 
     Governor Nikki Haley, 4/28/11)
       South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard: ``On March 11, South 
     Dakota enacted S.B. 146, sales tax legislation that requires 
     out-of-state retailers that sell to in-state residents to 
     notify their customers of their personal use tax obligation. 
     Under the law, online sellers are required to provide clear 
     notice to consumers during the checkout process that a South 
     Dakota use tax is due.'' (Rosemary Hawkins, ``Sales Tax Bills 
     Pass In Arkansas And South Dakota,'' American Booksellers 
     Association, 3/3/11)
       Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush: ``It seems to me there 
     has to be a way to tax sales done online in the same way that 
     sales are taxed in brick and mortar establishments. My guess 
     is that there would be hundreds of millions of dollars that 
     then could be used to reduce taxes to fulfill campaign 
     promises.'' (Letter To Florida Governor Rick Scott, 1/2/11)

                                                   March 19, 2013.
       Dear Senator: The undersigned companies and state and 
     national trade associations respectfully request that you 
     vote yes on a proposed amendment to the fiscal year 2014 
     Senate Budget Resolution to implement S. 336, the Marketplace 
     Fairness Act. The Marketplace Fairness Act would level the 
     playing field for all sellers while assisting the states in 
     collecting approximately $23 billion in uncollected state 
     sales and use taxes that are currently due on Internet and 
     other remote sales. The bill was introduced by a strong bi-
     partisan group of Senators, led by Senators Enzi, Alexander, 
     Heitkamp and Durbin--to address the inequality in today's 
       At issue is a decades-old Supreme Court ruling, issued in 
     1992 before the pervasiveness of Internet commerce, which 
     prohibits states from requiring remote sellers to collect 
     sales and use taxes owed on purchases from out-of-state 
     vendors. This has created an unfair price disadvantage for 
     brick-and-mortar businesses, has led to budget shortfalls for 
     states as sales and use taxes go uncollected, and has placed 
     an undue burden on consumers who do not realize they owe the 
     sales/use tax if it is not collected by the seller, leaving 
     them to face penalties and increased scrutiny from state 
       We support the Marketplace Fairness Act because it would 
     give states the authority to manage their sales tax laws 
     while addressing this issue. Only Congress can grant this 
     authority to the states. S. 336 represents the best thinking 
     of all the stakeholders and provides a pathway forward for 
     states to collect sales and use taxes, simplify their tax 
     statutes, and assist vendors with compliance, while providing 
     for a robust $1 million small business exemption.
       As the Congress seeks solutions to address the federal 
     budget and the impacts of sequestration, the Marketplace 
     Fairness Act is a proposal that will help states facing their 
     own budget shortfalls without increasing the federal deficit. 
     Congress has an opportunity to enhance states' rights over 
     sales and use tax collection authority and in the process 
     level the playing field for all merchants. Please support the 
     budget amendment on S. 336, the Marketplace Fairness Act, 
     because the time has come to update our local and state tax 
       American Apparel and Footwear Association
       American Booksellers Association
       American Farm Bureau Federation
       American Independent Business Alliance
       American Specialty Toy Retailing Association
       American Veterinary Medical Association
       Association for Christian Retail
       California Association of College Store
       Campus Stores of New England
       Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute
       College Stores Association of North Carolina
       Consumer Electronics Association
       Consumer Electronics Retailers Association
       Food Marketing Institute
       Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors 
     International (HARDI)
       Independent Running Retailer Association
       Institute of Real Management
       International Council of Shopping Centers
       International Downtown Association
       International Economic Development Council
       Jewelers of America
       Middle Atlantic College Stores
       NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association
       NAMM, National Association of Music Merchants
       National Association of Chain Drug Stores
       National Association of College Stores
       National Association of Electrical Distributors
       National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts
       National Association of Realtors
       National School Supply & Equipment Association
       National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
       National Bicycle Dealers Association
       National Grocers Association
       National Home Furnishings Association
       National Retail Federation
       National Sporting Goods Association
       North American Retail Dealers Association
       Outdoor Industry Association (O1A)
       Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
       Professional Beauty Association
       Real Estate Roundtable
       Realtors Land Institute
       Retail Industry Leaders Association
       Soccer Dealer Association
       Society of Industrial and Office Realtors
       Southwest Association of College Bookstores
       Tri-State Bookstore Association
       World Floor Covering Association
       Alabama College Bookstore Association
       Alabama Retail Association
       Alaska Veterinary Medical Association
       Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers
       Arizona Retailers Association
       Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association
       Association of Washington Business
       California Business Properties Association
       California Retailers Association
       California Veterinary Medical Association
       Campus Stores of New England
       Carolinas Food Industry Council
       College Stores Association of New York State
       Colorado Retail Council
       Colorado Veterinary Medical Association
       Connecticut Retail Merchants Association
       Delaware Veterinary Medical Association
       Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, WA
       Florida Association of College Stores
       Florida Retail Federation
       Georgia Association of College Stores
       Georgia Retail Association
       Georgia Veterinary Medical Association
       Idaho Retailers Association
       Idaho Veterinary Medical Association
       Illinois Association of College Stores
       Illinois Retail Merchants Association
       Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
       Indiana Association of College Stores
       Indiana Retail Council
       Indiana Veterinary Medical Association
       Iowa Retail Federation
       Iowa Veterinary Medical Association
       Kentucky Retail Federation
       Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association
       Local First Arizona
       Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
       Louisiana Retailers Association
       Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association
       Maine Merchants Association
       Maine Veterinary Medical Association
       Maryland Retailers Association
       Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association
       Michigan Association of College Stores
       Michigan Retailers Association
       Michigan Veterinary Medical Association
       Minnesota Business Partnership
       Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
       Minnesota Retail Association
       Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association
       Missouri Retailers Association
       Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association
       Nebraska Retail Federation
       Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association
       Nevada Veterinary Medical Association
       New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association
       New England Independent Booksellers Association
       New Jersey Retail Merchants Association
       New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association
       New Mexico Retail Association
       North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
       North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association
       North Dakota Retail Association
       Northwest College Bookstore Association (WA, OR, AK, MT)
       Ohio Association of College Stores
       Ohio Council of Retail Merchants

[[Page S2100]]

       Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association
       Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association
       Pennsylvania Retailers' Association
       Retail Association of Mississippi
       Retail Association of Nevada
       Retail Council of New York State
       Retail Merchants of Hawaii
       Retailers Association of Massachusetts
       Rhode Island Retail Federation
       Rocky Mountain Skyline Bookstore Association
       Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
       South Carolina Association of College Stores
       South Carolina Association of Veterinarians
       South Carolina Retail Merchants Association
       South Dakota Retailers Association
       Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
       Tennessee Association of College Stores
       Tennessee Retail Association
       Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association
       Texas Retailers Association
       Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce
       Tri-State Bookstore Association (ND, SD & MN)
       Tri-State Jewelers Association
       Twin Cities Metro Independent Business Alliance
       Utah Food Industry Association
       Utah Retail Merchants Association
       Utah Veterinary Medical Association
       Vermont Retail Association
       Virginia Retail Merchants Association
       Virginia Veterinary Medical Association
       Washington Retail Association
       Washington State Veterinary Medical Association
       West Virginia Retailers Association
       West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association
       Wisconsin Association of College Stores
       Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association
       Wyoming Retail Association
       Wyoming Veterinary Medical Association
       Abbell Associates, Chicago, IL
       Acadia Realty Trust, White Plains, NY, Seattle, WA
       AutoZone, Memphis, TN
       Balliet's, LLC, Oklahoma City, OK
       Barnes and Noble, New York, NY
       Beall's, Inc., Bradenton, FL
       Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Union, NJ
       Belpre Motor Sales, Belpre, OH
       Ben Bridge Jewelers, Seattle, WA
       Best Buy Co., Inc., Richfield, MN
       Blake Hunt Ventures, Inc., Danville, CA
       BrandsMart U.S.A., Hollywood, FL
       Bucksbaum Retail Properties, Inc., Danville, CA
       Build-A-Bear Workshop , Saint Louis, MO
       Camelot Retail Consulting Group, Wichita, KS
       Cascade Designs
       CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., Chattanooga, TN
       Cencor Realty Services, Dallas, TX
       The Hocker Group, Louisville, KY
       David Hocker & Associates, Owensboro, KY
       DDR Corp., Beachwood, OH
       Dick's Sporting Goods, Coraopolis, PA
       DLC Management Corp., Tarrytown, NY
       Donahue Schriber Realty Group, Costa Mesa, CA
       EDENS, Columbia, SC
       Evergreen Devco, Inc., Glendale, CA
       ExOfficio, Seattle, WA
       Fairfield Corp., Battle Creek, MI
       Federal Realty Investment Trust, Rockville, MD
       FedTax, Norwalk, CT
       Foot Locker, Inc., New York, NY
       Forest City Enterprises, Inc., Cleveland, OH
       Gap Inc., San Francisco, CA
       Garrison Pacific Properties, San Rafael, CA
       General Growth Properties, Chicago, IL
       Ginn Solutions
       Givens Books and Little Dickens, Lynchburg, VA
       Glimcher Realty Trust, Columbus, OH
       Hart Realty Advisers, Inc., Simsbury, CT
       Hutensky Capital Partners, Hartford, CT
       Hy-Vee Inc., Des Moines, IA
       Inland Real Estate Corporation, Oak Brook, II
       JC Penney, Plano, TX
       Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., Hudson, OH
       Bellevue Square Managers, Inc., Bellevue, WA
       Kimco Realty Corporation, New Hyde Park, NY
       L. Michael Foley and Associates, LLC, La Jolla, CA
       Larson Binkley, Inc., Kansas City, MO
       Lewis Electronics, Cleveland, OH
       Limited Brands, Columbus, OH
       Lowes Companies, Inc., Mooresville, NC
       Macy's, Inc, Cincinnati, OH
       Malcolm Riley and Associates, Los Angeles, CA
       Marketing Developments, Inc. MI
       Marshall Music Co., Lansing, MI
       Meijer, Walker, MI
       Michaels Electrical Supply Corp., Lynbrook, NY
       Monte Cristo Bookshop, New London, CT
       Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, Philadelphia, PA
       Petco, Inc., San Diego, CA
       Point of View Farm, Inc., Bengali, NY
       Regency Centers, Jacksonville, FL
       REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), Kent, WA
       Reininga Corporation, Healdsburg, CA
       RMResources, LLC, Ann Arbor, MI
       Rosen's of Maine, Bucksport, ME
       Sears Holdings Corporation, Hoffman Estates, IL
       Simon Property Group, Indianapolis, IN
       Stafford Properties, Inc., Atlanta, GA
       Staples, Inc., Framingham, MA
       Steiner + Associates LLC, Columbus, OH
       Stirling Properties, Covington, LA
       Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc., Greensboro, NC
       Target Corporation, Minneapolis, MN
       Taubman Centers, Bloomfield Hills, MI
       The Container Store, Dallas, TX
       The CortiGilchrist Partnership, LLC, San Diego, CA
       The Greeby Companies, Inc., Chicago, IL
       The Home Depot, Atlanta, GA
       The Howard Group, Albany, NY
       The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT
       The Macerich Company, Santa Monica, CA
       The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., Dallas, TX
       The Pratt Company, Mill Valley, CA
       The Rappaport Companies, McLean, VA
       The SEAYCO Group, Bentonville, AK
       The Sembler Company, St. Petersburg, FL
       The Weitzman Group, Dallas, TX
       Tractor Supply Company, Brentwood, TN
       VPI Commercial Realty, LLC, Knoxville, TN
       Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, AR
       WDP Partners, LLC, Phoenix, AZ
       Weingarten Realty Investors, Houston TX
       Wendy's Company, Dublin, OH
       Western Development Corporation, Washington, DC
       Westfield, LLC, Los Angeles, CA
       Williams Ski and Patio, Highland Park, IL
       Wolfe Properties, LLC, St. Louis, MO
       Woolrich, Inc., Woolrich, PA
       Zumiez, Inc., Lynwood, WA.

                                                   National Retail


                                                   March 19, 2013.
       To the Members of the United States Senate: On behalf of 
     the National Retail Federation, I respectfully urge you to 
     vote in favor of the Enzi amendment in support of S. 336, the 
     Marketplace Fairness Act, to the Concurrent Resolution on the 
     Budget for Fiscal Year 2014.
       As the world's largest retail trade association and the 
     voice of retail worldwide, NRF's global membership includes 
     retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution 
     as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the 
     United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., 
     NRF represents an industry that includes more than 3.6 
     million establishments and which directly and indirectly 
     accounts for 42 million jobs--one in four U.S. jobs. The 
     total U.S. GDP impact of retail is $2.5 trillion annually, 
     and retail is a daily barometer of the health of the nation's 
       As the retail industry evolves and digital commerce becomes 
     a more prominent portion of total retail sales, it is 
     critical that the tax laws not discriminate between similar 
     businesses based on how their products are distributed. This 
     collection disparity has tilted the competitive landscape 
     against local stores creating a crisis for brick-and-mortar 
     retailers around the country and in your state. The 
     Marketplace Fairness Act addresses the crisis by removing the 
     constitutional limitation on states' authority to collect 
     sales and use taxes from remote sellers. This legislation 
     will level the playing field, while protecting small 
     businesses from complicated laws in other states with a 
     healthy small business exemption.
       The Marketplace Fairness Act is a commonsense piece of 
     legislation necessary to modernize our federal and state 
     understanding of sales tax laws so that they can keep current 
     with real world change in the marketplace. Leveling the 
     playing field for large and small retailers alike will create 
     a business climate where retailers have a better opportunity 
     to grow and create jobs in a truly competitive marketplace. 
     Please support the local retailers in your state by voting 
     for the Enzi amendment in support of S. 336, the Marketplace 
     Fairness Act, to the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for 
     Fiscal Year 2014.

                                                 David French,

     Senior Vice President, Government Relations.

                  [From, Marketplacefairnesscoalition]

                  Erick Erickson is Wrong, Here's Why:

       This morning Erick Erickson published a very misleading 
     post that claims that legislation introduced by Senator Enzi 
     (R-WY) will raise taxes and tax online downloads.
       The truth is:
       The Marketplace Fairness Act will not raise anyone's taxes; 
     in fact it could help lower taxes by making state tax codes 
     more efficient and restoring state and local control.
       The Marketplace Fairness Act does not tax the Internet or 
     Internet businesses.
       The Marketplace Fairness Act has nothing to do with 
     iTunes--digital goods are not covered by The Marketplace 
     Fairness Act.
       At the end of the day, the Marketplace Fairness Act gets 
     the federal government out of the way of state policymaking 
     and restores free market principles by leveling the playing 
     field between local, brick-and-mortar sellers and their out-
     of-state competition.
       By the way, it is probably a coincidence that he expresses 
     his sincere concern for eBay sellers. Certainly eBay couldn't 
     be behind Erickson's piece. The good news is that the 
     Marketplace Fairness Act protects small online businesses by 
     exempting the first $1 million in online sales--not total 
     retail sales

[[Page S2101]]

     but specifically online sales--so the exemption actually 
     applies to businesses with far more than $1 million in annual 
       One MORE thing Erickson misses is that the tax is already 
     due. As an avid online shopper himself, if he isn't 
     calculating and remitting the use taxes he potentially owes, 
     he could be audited and face fines and penalties. Truth is 
     that every online shopper faces that threat under the current 
     system and that is why a significant majority of online 
     shoppers want the tax collected at the point of purchase.
       At the end of the day we shouldn't be surprised that 
     Erickson is taking the side of faceless Internet sellers who 
     are desperately trying to protect their competitive 
     advantage--as much as 10% in some places.
       To quote Ronald Reagan, ``facts are stubborn things.'' 
     Erickson is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I yield 5 minutes to the Senator from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, let me first thank Senator Enzi and 
Senator Durbin for bringing forward this amendment. I agree with 
Senator Alexander for his comment as it relates to this bill. Let me 
talk about one of the objectives we want to see in taxes. We talk about 
simplifying, we talk about fairness. We also talk about what is known 
as the tax gap. That is the gap between the taxes that we have imposed 
that we should collect and what we really collect. When it comes to 
sales and use tax, it has been estimated that because of the place in 
which an individual buys the product there is a $23 billion gap. That 
is $23 billion of taxes that are owed are not collected.
  This is an urgent problem. In my own State of Maryland it is $300 
million a year. There are people who are paying higher taxes than they 
should because Maryland has to impose higher rates to make up for that 
$300 million. We all talk about a system where we can spread the base 
and lower the rates. The first way you do it is by collecting the taxes 
that everyone should pay.
  This is a good-governance issue, this is a fairness issue, this is an 
issue that is not that terribly complicated. We are not talking about 
any new tax responsibilities. We are not talking about any new taxes. 
We are talking about getting our local governments, as Senator 
Alexander has said, the ability to collect the taxes that they impose 
in a fair manner. This is a matter of fairness. This is a matter of 
doing what is right.
  Let me give one example that was brought to my attention by a 
retailer in Maryland, a person who works in an electronics shop in our 
State, where someone came into that shop recently and was shopping for 
a TV monitor, a new TV set. They did all the comparative shopping, 
brought the expert in from that store, answered all their questions and 
decided on what television set he was going to buy. He then went on his 
phone and ordered it from an Internet supplier. The price was identical 
at the two locations--identical. But the person bought it on the 
Internet because they did not have to pay the State sales tax. They had 
to pay the State use tax, but they never paid the State use tax. That 
is something we have to end. That is wrong. That is basic fairness.
  The distinguished chairman of the Finance Committee points out, how 
do we collect these taxes? Let me point out we already collect taxes in 
our State from sales that are made outside of our State. We do it when 
there is that nexus that the Supreme Court has acknowledged, and as has 
been pointed out, the retailer you buy it from adds the State sales tax 
by putting in their sales the ZIP Code in which we live and they 
calculate the sales tax and they remit the sales tax. That is currently 
being done. This is not an additional burden.
  Then I heard how complex it is to figure out what taxes are owed. Let 
me point out two points about that. First, the bill provides that the 
States adopt the streamlined sales and use tax agreement so we have a 
uniformity as far as how this is applied. But let me tell you, I do not 
even know that is totally necessary because there are computer programs 
today that figure this out for the retailer. The retailer knows the 
products they are selling and they know how the retail sales taxes 
throughout the Nation apply to the products they sell. It is a simple 
program. This is not a burden to the retailer.
  Senator Durbin already pointed out if you live in New Hampshire or 
you live in Montana or you live in a State that may not have a sales 
tax, your citizens are not going to pay a sales tax. It does not 
increase anyone's sales tax. All we are saying is that when our 
citizens buy products that are subject to our sales and use tax that 
they cannot get a competitive advantage by going on the Internet rather 
than using a retail establishment. What is wrong with that? We are not 
talking about imposing any taxes on anyone.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has used 5 minutes.
  Mr. CARDIN. Let me last point out, in an effort to make sure that no 
small businesses are disadvantaged, there is a small business sales 
exemption of up to $1 million, so we are not talking about very small 
sales. We are talking about a great deal of revenue.
  I thank Senator Enzi for his leadership, and Senator Durbin. This is 
long overdue. We should pass this.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington?
  The Senator from New Hampshire?
  MS. AYOTTE. I thought I was next. May I check that?
  Mrs. MURRAY. I believe they are yielding time off the Republican 
  MS. AYOTTE. Madam President, I rise in opposition to the amendment I 
heard that is going to be filed, the so-called Marketplace Fairness 
Act. I think we have need to rename this legislative proposal for what 
it is, the Internet Tax Collection Act. I come from a State, New 
Hampshire, that does not have a sales tax nor do we have an income 
tax. One of our famous Governors said low taxes are the result of low 
spending, and that is how we do it.

  There has been a lot of talk on the floor today about somehow this 
Marketplace Fairness Act is about States rights. This act, which really 
should be named the Internet Tax Collection Act, infringes on the 
rights of retailers in New Hampshire and businesses that have thrived 
and grown over something great called the Internet. It forces them to 
become tax collectors for the rest of the Nation. In fact, they would 
be forced to become tax collectors for nearly 10,000 tax jurisdictions 
across this country should this proposal go forward.
  I have heard a lot of talk about leveling the so-called playing 
field. There is nothing level about this playing field. These are cash-
strapped States looking for more money and asking Washington to impose 
burdens on other States that have chosen to have a low tax burden, like 
States such as mine which doesn't have a sales tax. In fact, this is 
another attempt to turn our businesses into tax collectors. I think it 
is wrong.
  It is the opposite of States rights. There has been some discussion 
of conservative support for this. There is absolutely nothing 
conservative about this proposal because, again, what this is about is 
officials in cash-strapped States across the country looking for new 
ways to plug their budget holes. They are attempting to make New 
Hampshire businesses, and other businesses across this country, use the 
Internet to collect their taxes. This is not just about the State of 
Tennessee handling its own taxes, it is making New Hampshire, which has 
no sales tax, collect for the rest of the Nation, and it is wrong.
  The exemption for small businesses is a red herring. This so-called 
exemption doesn't even match up with what the SBA defines as a small 
business retailer. We know what will happen with the small business 
exemption. When the States don't get the revenue they want, they will 
be right back here again looking for us to repeal the small business 
exemption, saying: It is not fair that this category of businesses has 
been exempt. They will be looking for more and more, and here we are in 
Washington letting them trample on the States that made the decision 
not to have a sales tax. This bill should not go forward.
  I want to share some stories from New Hampshire. My constituents have 
written to me about this. A company in Franconia, which is in the 
northern part of New Hampshire, calls this a job killer. From 
Pittsfield, an online coin and stamp dealer says: If policymakers

[[Page S2102]]

decide to impose new sales tax collection burdens on small businesses 
and force them to collect and remit 9,600 tax jurisdictions nationwide, 
the legal compliance and administrative cost alone would undoubtedly 
make it harder and, in many cases, impossible to enjoy the 
opportunities and benefits of the Internet marketplace.
  This is from a business in Amherst:

       Our company is a poster child for small family-run Internet 
     businesses. We have over 80,000 customers nationwide. The 
     burden of collecting and distributing sales tax for this 
     would be prohibitively expensive.

  Finally, another constituent from Boscawen believes this would open 
the door for States to begin taxing across their borders for many other 
different taxes. Another company from Rindge says:

       This bill is absolutely terrifying. I think I may not be 
     able to survive. I may not be significant to many in 
     Washington, but my little machine shop is the center of my 
     family's livelihood.

  When I hear my colleagues come to the floor and call this a States 
rights issue, what about States such as New Hampshire? Why are we going 
to make this vibrant part of our marketplace, the Internet, a tax 
collection haven for other States? So businesses in New Hampshire and 
other States are going to collect taxes for Indiana, and this is all 
because cash-strapped States are coming here and asking Congress to do 
  By the way, for those who believe this is some kind of conservative 
bill, this is not my idea of conservative. The Americans for Tax Reform 
are against this, the Heritage Foundation is against this, the Campaign 
for Liberty is against this, the National Taxpayer Union is against 
this, Cato is against this, and the Heartland is against this.
  This is not about small government. This is about forcing businesses 
in States like mine, with no sales tax, to become the tax collectors 
for the Nation. It is wrong.
  This is not about small businesses. I urge my colleagues to vote 
against the online tax collection act because that is what this really 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Coons). The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I yield 2 minutes to the Senator from 
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the 
Marketplace Fairness Act. This act will level the playing field for 
small business retailers in Minnesota and across the country.
  I want to thank Senator Enzi for his years of work on this. He had a 
retail shoe store. I thank Senator Durbin, Senator Heitkamp, and 
Senator Alexander for introducing this legislation. This legislation 
will simply allow States to help their brick-and-mortar retailers, 
including the mom-and-pop shops on Main Street, stay competitive in a 
marketplace where online sales have become a fact of life. The 
amendment we offered to the budget resolution today lays the groundwork 
for passing that legislation. It is a commonsense measure which brings 
our sales tax into the 21st century.
  In Minnesota, the retail industry includes nearly a half million 
workers, which is about one in five jobs in our State. Those retailers 
need to compete on price and service every single day. The current 
sales tax system makes it impossible for them to compete.
  Senator Cardin spoke about something that is very common around this 
country. I have heard the same exact story myself. It is where someone 
walks into an electronics store and wants to buy a big flat-screen TV, 
and they get the guy who knows everything to come over and point out 
what is the best for their needs. The salesman is a very skilled guy. 
He was hired because he knows what he is doing. He sells the TV, except 
he doesn't sell it, not for his store. Instead, the customer gets on 
their smart phone and buys it online. They buy the same exact model at 
the same exact price, but because he or she doesn't have to pay the 
sales tax--they are supposed to, by the way, but they don't--they buy 
it online. They end up saving $100 and the brick-and-mortar store, 
which pays for employees, sewer, schools, and everything which makes a 
society work, loses the sale and cannot compete. It is just not fair. 
It is just not fair.
  This is a commonsense amendment. Small businesses have an exemption. 
The exemption is written in the amendment. People cannot say, well, 
just because they have an exemption, we are going to get rid of the 
exemption in some way. It is an exemption that is a part of the 
amendment we are proposing.
  I am proud to be on this bill. I am proud of my colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle. The Marketplace Fairness Act is common sense, it is 
bipartisan, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to 
support this amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I am pleased to yield 5 minutes to the 
Senator from Rhode Island, who is a member of the Budget Committee and 
has worked hard to get us to where we are. I appreciate his input to 
get us to this point.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I have similar stories to those that 
have been described on the Senate floor today. Indeed, a former Member 
of this body, who is now the Governor of our State, Governor Chafee, 
wrote to me about a bookstore owner in Middletown, RI. The bookstore 
owner talked about patrons who would browse for books in his store, 
only to leave without actually making a purchase. He said they would 
make a list of the books they wanted to buy and then went to get them 
more cheaply on the Internet.
  I have been approached by a Rhode Islander who works in a shoe store. 
He said he has seen people come in and have his employees bring them 
boxes of shoes to try on so they can find the exact size and model shoe 
they want only to then walk out the door without a purchase. They have 
seen it happen enough that they think what happens is the potential 
customer is instead going to an Internet site so they can buy the shoe 
more cheaply.
  Now, there are true efficiencies and true benefits to shopping over 
the Internet. It is very valuable, and it is very sensible. Those are 
real factors. That is part of progress, and we have no quarrel with 
that. However, we should not be using discrepancies in taxes to favor 
shoe companies, one over the other, because one sells over the Internet 
and the other sells out of a brick-and-mortar store where people can 
actually come in and try on the shoes.
  As a result of this loophole, big businesses who do business over the 
Internet have $23 billion to fiddle around with that doesn't go to 
support the kind of civic structure of our society--as Senator Franken 
talked about.
  The complexities are not that great. There is an existing Streamlined 
Sales and Use Tax Agreement that simplifies this immensely. The tax 
payments will very shortly be built into the basic business software. 
The concern about small businesses is misplaced because we completely 
exempt any business with less than $1 million in annual sales. They 
have no obligation to comply with this whatsoever.
  The National Governors' Association, the National Conference of State 
Legislatures, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference 
of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the Retail Industry Leaders 
Association, the National Retail Federation, the International Council 
of Shopping Centers, and, to their credit, as well as 
AFSCME, support this.
  I hope we can use the vote on this amendment to show that this is a 
piece of legislation that we are willing to move forward on. Then, of 
course, we will have to go through the legislative process of 
authorization in order to actually pass it into law. The budget 
amendment will not pass it into law, but I think it will send an 
important signal that will bring everybody to the table and finally get 
us to closure on this important piece of legislation.
  I will close by thanking Senator Enzi, whom I see on the floor, for 
his work and his leadership and dedication in trying to get this right 
over 14 years. Before it was as easy as it is now to comply with this, 
he was working on this. Every year it gets easier. Every year the 
software is able to catch up more. Every year more States join the 
Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. He and Senator Durbin have

[[Page S2103]]

done a service to this country with their leadership on this issue.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, the Marketplace Fairness Act is about 
leveling the playing field for brick-and-mortar businesses. We have a 
bipartisan and bicameral bill to do just that. So I am pleased to join 
Senators Durbin, Enzi, and many of my colleagues in offering this 
budget amendment today to add a deficit neutral reserve fund to ensure 
marketplace fairness by allowing States to enforce their State and 
local sales tax laws.
  This is a big issue in Rhode Island, where businesses have a hard 
time competing against out-of-State retailers because of outdated rules 
that require shops on Main Street to collect revenue, but their out-of-
State online competition does not.
  When Internet commerce was still in its early stages online companies 
were basically exempted from collecting State and local sales tax for 
sales to States where they do not have a physical presence despite the 
fact there was an obligation to collect sales tax on those purchases.
  This puts Main Street businesses at a competitive disadvantage, hurts 
the ability of Rhode Island to keep jobs in the State, and has strained 
State budgets all across the United States.
  In 2012, Rhode Island lost out on estimated $70 million in 
uncollected revenue. Revenue that was owed but because of an outdated 
Supreme Court decision went uncollected. It is past time that we fix 
this loophole.
  I have talked to a lot of local business owners about this in Rhode 
Island and many of them say the same thing: Since when is requiring all 
customers to pay the same sales tax rate a tax increase?
  This is a bipartisan proposal. It seeks to keep jobs in our 
communities, and bring much-needed revenue to strained State budgets 
all across the United States.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and continued efforts 
to close this long-outstanding loophole.
  I thank them and yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I yield 5 minutes off the resolution time 
to my colleague, Senator Wyden of Oregon, who is an outstanding member 
of the Budget Committee. He has been waiting to come and speak. I want 
to thank him as well for his valuable input throughout the process.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I thank my friend from the Northwest. We 
worked it out so I could talk a little bit about Medicare and taxes as 
  Before Senator Enzi leaves, I just want to tell him he is someone who 
gives public service a good name. We have spent a lot of time working 
together on a variety of issues, such as tax reform, and particularly 
this idea of transition rules. I just want to tell the Senator how much 
I appreciate the way he approaches problem solving. I would say to 
colleagues that what I have not been able to figure out for the 10 
years this debate has gone on is how we are going to make this work for 
America's innovators and small businesses. Let me give just a couple 
examples and be very brief.

  What concerns me most about the bill as it is written today is State 
revenue collectors, under this legislation, in effect, will be 
outsourcing their jobs to America's small businesses, America's 
innovators. If the bill passes in its present form, those small 
businesses, our innovators, are going to spend their time trying to 
figure out how to collect all these taxes across the land rather than 
creating jobs. I don't think that is anything any of us want to do, 
Democrats or Republicans. That is point No. 1.
  Second, I wish to talk about the international implications of this 
bill. Senator Murray and I and others, including Senator Baucus, are 
very close to the border. What concerns me, especially after the legal 
analysis I received from the Congressional Research Service, is I think 
the way this bill is going to work, people are going to end up calling 
it the shop Canada bill or maybe the shop Mexico bill or, what is even 
more ominous, the shop China bill. I wish to describe exactly why that 
is the case using the legal analysis from the Congressional Research 
  The proposal, of course, requires American businesses to collect 
sales taxes on behalf of 45 State revenue collectors, but it imposes no 
such burden on foreign retailers that sell into the United States. So 
an Oregon business would have to collect taxes for New York, but 
Chinese firms wouldn't have to collect taxes for any State. Washington 
State businesses would have to collect taxes for Idaho, but Canadian 
firms are under no such obligation. I ask my colleagues: What is fair 
about sacking these American small businesses, these entrepreneurs, 
which are adding so much value to the new economy, to make it even more 
difficult for our small businesses to compete with Canadian sellers and 
European sellers and Chinese sellers? This bill as written is going to 
be a huge boon, for example, for the idea of setting up online 
businesses in Canada.
  Small businesses all across the country, especially those that are 
near the border, in my view, would have every financial incentive to 
incorporate there. For the life of me, I don't see how that could be 
good for the American economy or fair to American firms that, for a 
variety of reasons, are not capable of moving.
  Senator Alexander was spot on in terms of talking about how we should 
look to States rights--I am certainly interested in that--but let's not 
do it so that in a globalized economy, we make it even tougher for 
American innovators to compete.
  At this point, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a legal memorandum that was prepared for me by the Congressional 
Research Service that describes in great detail the unfairness the so-
called Marketplace Fairness Act would create for American firms in a 
global economy.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                               Congressional Research Service,

                                                    July 23, 2012.
     To: Senator Ron Wyden; Attention: Jayme White
     From: Steven Maguire, Specialist in Public Finance, 7-7841; 
         Jeanne Grimmett, Legislative Attorney, 7-5046; Erika 
         Lunder, Legislative Attorney, 7-4538
     Subject: Analysis of Possible Modifications to the 
         Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 1832.

       This memorandum responds to your questions about the 
     ``Marketplace Fairness Act,'' (S. 1832). The Marketplace 
     Fairness Act (MFA) would modify current law to allow state 
     tax authorities to compel out-of-state vendors to collect 
     sales and use taxes. Your office asked CRS to: (1) analyze 
     the impact of expanding the MFA to require foreign sellers to 
     collect and remit sales tax; (2) identify legislative 
     proposals to achieve this and assess if these are consistent 
     with international trade rules; and (3) suggest other taxes 
     that could be collected and remitted if MFA were to become 
       Generally, extending state sales and use tax collection 
     authority beyond international borders could be complicated 
     both administratively and legally. Under current law, states 
     may only impose sales and use tax collection responsibilities 
     on out-of-state sellers of goods and services to in-state 
     persons if the seller has a ``physical presence'' in that 
     state. This nexus standard is required by the Commerce Clause 
     of the U.S. Constitution. When no physical presence exists, 
     then the state sales and use taxes would apply to these 
     transactions, though remittance of the tax would fall to the 
     in-state buyer to the extent prescribed by state law. So, 
     when the seller does not have a physical presence in the 
     taxing state, the buyer is typically responsible for 
     remitting the tax to the state.
       For example, consider a consumer in Virginia who purchases 
     a camera over the Internet or by phone from a retailer based 
     in New York state. The camera retailer does not have an 
     outlet or a physical presence (substantial nexus) in 
     Virginia. The New York retailer is not required to collect 
     New York sales taxes because the transaction does not occur 
     at the retail outlet and the customer is not a resident of 
     New York state. And, the retailer is not required to collect 
     the Virginia sales tax because the retailer has no physical 
     presence in Virginia. The Virginia consumer, however, is 
     required to remit the use tax to the state.
       Under its authority to regulate commerce, Congress has the 
     power to authorize state action that would otherwise be an 
     unconstitutional burden on interstate or foreign commerce, so 
     long as it is consistent with other provisions in the 
     Constitution. The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), if enacted, 
     would be an example of Congress exercising that power. Under 
     the MFA, Congress would authorize states to shift the burden 
     for sales and use tax collection from the in-state consumer 
     to the out-of-state seller as long as the state had either 
     adopted the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) 
     or if the state implemented ``minimum simplification 
     requirements.'' If either criteria are met, then the state 
     could impose sales

[[Page S2104]]

     and use tax collection liability on any remote vendor if the 
     sale was sourced to that state under the sourcing rules in 
     the SSUTA or the act. Neither set of sourcing rules are 
     restricted to physical presence. So, for the states meeting 
     either criteria, the bill would essentially change the nexus 
     standard under the Commerce Clause by removing the 
     requirement that the seller have a physical presence in the 
     taxing state. While the bill would expand the authority of 
     these states to impose sales and use tax collection 
     obligations on remote vendors, it does not provide the states 
     with additional enforcement mechanisms or authority. As 
     discussed below, states could have difficulty in enforcing 
     the law with respect to foreign vendors with little U.S. 
     presence. CRS was not able to find any legislative proposals 
     that would provide such a mechanism. Since no specific piece 
     of legislation has been proposed, the following discussion of 
     possible trade agreement implications is only a general one.
       Removing the ``physical presence'' requirement does not 
     mean that all remote vendors would be subject to the state 
     collection responsibilities. First and foremost, nexus is 
     also required by the due process guarantees of the Fourteenth 
     Amendment. Unlike the Commerce Clause's nexus requirement, 
     Congress may not change the standard required by the 
     Fourteenth Amendment. Thus, even if MFA were enacted into 
     law, states could still not impose sales and use tax 
     collection responsibilities on entities that did not have 
     sufficient contact with the state required for due process. 
     Furthermore, it is possible that other domestic laws could 
     also limit the ability of states to impose the collection 
     obligations. For example, state law might contain exceptions 
     or other provisions that limit or remove the liability in 
     some cases.
       With respect to international law, in general, the United 
     States, or a subdivision thereof, could tax a sale by a non-
     U.S. merchant to a person in the United States without 
     running afoul of what has been considered to be a consensus 
     view of international law regarding a nation's jurisdiction 
     to prescribe tax laws. As set out in the Restatement (Third) 
     of Foreign Relations Law:
       A State may exercise jurisdiction to tax a transaction that 
     occurs, originates or terminates in its territory or that has 
     a substantial relation to the state, without regard to the 
     nationality, domicile, residence, or presence of the parties 
     to such a transaction.
       The Restatement further explains that taxes on transactions 
     that occur, originate or terminate in a state ``include 
     sales, value-added, excise and severance taxes, as well as 
     export taxes and customs duties.'' It further notes that 
     ``states impose sales and excise taxes or customs duties on 
     transactions in or touching the state, regardless of the 
     relationship between the participants and the state,'' but 
     that ``[a]n excise or tariff . . . may be imposed on a person 
     participating in a transaction by reason of that person's 
     relationship to the taxing site even though the transaction 
     occurs outside the state's territory.'' This latter principle 
     would appear to have relevance for Internet or mail order 
     transactions involving non-U.S. vendors, where the sales 
     transaction itself may legally be sited outside the United 
     States but the purchaser is located within this country. 
     Further, under international law, if a state has jurisdiction 
     for prescribing a rule of law, it also has jurisdiction to 
     enforce that rule, be it through judicial or nonjudicial 
       At the same time, regardless of its status under 
     international law, a requirement that places the burden of 
     collecting the tax on a non-U.S. vendor with no ties to the 
     United States or a particular U.S. state other than the sales 
     themselves would seemingly pose practical problems with 
     regard to its implementation. It appears difficult to 
     envision a workable mechanism by which the United States 
     could compel such a vendor in a foreign country to collect a 
     U.S. tax. In this regard, punitive trade measures, such as 
     prohibiting the importation of products from foreign 
     companies that fail to collect the tax, would appear to raise 
     issues under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 
     (GATT 1994). For example, GATT Article XI:1 generally 
     prohibits the imposition of quantitative restrictions on 
     imports from other WTO Member countries and a U.S. measure 
     violating this provision would need to be justified under one 
     of the general exceptions set out at GATT Article XX. It may 
     be that, for practical purposes, implementation of a tax 
     collection requirement imposed on non-U.S. vendors that in 
     fact have no nexus to the U.S. state imposing the tax may 
     call for some sort of reciprocal agreement between the United 
     States and countries in which such vendors are legally 
     constituted. Whether such an agreement is feasible, 
     however, is far from clear and beyond the scope of this 
       Finally, some have noted that U.S. based retailers may 
     respond to the expanded state tax collection authority by 
     shifting operations outside the U.S. to avoid the collection 
     burden. The costs of moving operations and increased shipping 
     costs, however, would seem greater than any benefit conferred 
     by avoiding the collection burden.
       With regards to your second question, national measures 
     involving the imposition and collection of taxes on Internet 
     and catalog sales of products would implicate international 
     trade obligations involving trade in goods and possibly trade 
     in services. Regarding a tax itself, Article III:2 of the 
     General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994) 
     prohibits a WTO Member from imposing a sales, excise, or 
     other tax on an imported product in excess of the tax imposed 
     on the like domestic product. In addition, tariffs on 
     products imported into the United States from non-U.S. 
     vendors would be subject to GATT Article II, which prohibits 
     the United States from exceeding the negotiated or ``bound'' 
     rates for particular products contained in the tariff 
     schedule that the United States has submitted to the World 
     Trade Organization (WTO) under Article II. Also, as noted 
     above, quantitative restrictions on the importation of 
     products from WTO Member countries are generally prohibited 
     under GATT Article XI: 1. GATT Articles III and XI are 
     generally incorporated into U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) 
     such as the NAFTA. In addition, FTA parties are subject to 
     the tariff rate and tariff reduction commitments made in the 
     FTA regarding goods originating in the territories of the 
       WTO obligations in the General Agreement on Trade in 
     Services (GATS) apply to ``measures by Members affecting 
     trade in services'' and thus, were a U.S. tax collection 
     requirement placed on non-U.S. vendors to qualify as such, 
     the GATS would come into play. For GATS purposes, the measure 
     may be at the federal, state, or local level. According to 
     the WTO Appellate Body, the phrase ``affecting trade in 
     services'' is intended to give the GATS ``a broad reach'' and 
     ``the term `affecting' . . . indicates a broad scope of 
     application.'' Here, the Appellate Body upheld a WTO panel 
     interpretation of the phrase ``measures by Members affecting 
     trade in services'' finding that ``no measures are excluded a 
     priori from the scope of the GATS as defined by its 
       ``Trade in services'' would be involved if foreign vendor 
     were considered to be a service provider--likely a provider 
     of retail services--and the Internet or catalog sale fell 
     within one of the modes of providing a service covered by the 
     GATS. Internet or catalog sales may constitute either cross-
     border provision of a service or the consumption of a service 
     abroad, i.e., the provision of a retailing service from the 
     territory of the vendor into the territory of the U.S. 
     consumer, or the consumption of a retailing service in the 
     territory of the vendor by a U.S. consumer. If the measure 
     were in fact covered by the GATS, the United States would be 
     subject, inter alia, to the GATS most-favored-nation (MFN) 
     obligation, meaning that it would need to accord to the 
     services and service suppliers of any other WTO Member 
     treatment no less favorable than it accords to the like 
     services and service suppliers of any other country.
       In addition, the United States has made a sectoral 
     commitment under the GATS with respect to retailing services 
     where these two modes of service supply are concerned, thus 
     implicating additional GATS obligations. Thus, to the extent 
     that catalog or Internet sales constitute a retailing 
     service, and the service is provided cross-border or consumed 
     abroad, the United States would be subject to GATS 
     obligations involving market access and national treatment of 
     services and service providers of other WTO Members in the 
     retailing sector. Market access commitments generally involve 
     prohibitions on various types of quantitative restrictions, 
     such as limitations on the total value of service 
     transactions in the sector in the form of a numerical quota. 
     The GATS national treatment obligation requires that, 
     regarding all U.S. measures affecting the supply of services, 
     the United States must accord to services and service 
     suppliers of any other WTO Member treatment no less favorable 
     than that it accords to its own like services and service 
     suppliers. U.S. free trade agreements also contain 
     obligations involving trade in services, including MFN 
     obligations and national treatment obligations that are not 
     premised on specific sectoral commitments.
       While U.S. trade agreements do not appear to expressly 
     address a situation where a foreign service provider of one 
     agreement party is required by another agreement party to 
     collect sales, excise or similar taxes on sales made by the 
     former in the territory of the latter, the obligations 
     described above would be relevant if a case can be made that 
     the requirement is covered by the GATS or the services 
     chapter of an FTA. Further, were a quantitative restriction 
     placed on retail sales services by a foreign service provider 
     to U.S. consumers as a punitive measure for non-collection of 
     sales taxes, GATS market access commitments may well be 
     implicated. As is the case with the GATT, a measure that 
     violates a GATS obligation may be justified under a GATS 
     general exception if all the requirements of the exception 
     are met.
       Regarding your third question, the proposed MFA is narrowly 
     focused on sales and use taxes and would not allow for states 
     to use this new authority for the collection of any other 
       No obligation imposed by virtue of the authority granted by 
     this Act shall be considered in determining whether a seller 
     or any other person has a nexus with any State for any tax 
     purpose other than sales and use taxes.
       The MFA also expressly provides that:
       Nothing in this Act shall be construed as--
       (1) subjecting a seller or any other person to franchise, 
     income, occupation, or any other type of taxes, other than 
     sales and use taxes,
       (2) affecting the application of such taxes, or
       (3) enlarging or reducing State authority to impose such 
       If you have any questions, please call Steven Maguire on 7-
     7841, Jeanne Grimmett on 7-5046, or Erika Lunder on 7-4538.

[[Page S2105]]

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I will just wrap up with this. As 
colleagues look at this--and we are going to have plenty of debate--
let's think through the implications of what the administrative water 
torture is going to be all about for small businesses and why it 
doesn't make more sense for State tax collectors to do their job, No. 
1; and No. 2, let us not make it harder for American small business to 
compete in tough global markets. It is plenty tough as it is.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I yield 5 minutes to Senator Cochran.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, it is encouraging that for the first time 
in 4 years the Senate is considering a budget resolution. The absence 
of a resolution during this time has contributed to a breakdown in the 
legislative process. As a result, we have operated the Federal 
Government without a blueprint for revenues or spending.
  Unfortunately, the budget resolution being considered by the Senate 
does not reflect a workable effort to get our country back on a 
sustainable path.
  But rather than setting us on a new path toward a more affordable, 
efficient, and effective Federal Government, the Budget Committee has 
laid out a plan for higher taxes and more spending. It does not even 
pretend to balance the budget. Support of this budget would represent 
support for a bigger Federal Government and a weaker economy.
  I have heard from many of the hard-working citizens in my State who 
are ready for better economic times and more opportunities to improve 
their lives. Our priority should be to help strengthen the economy and 
get government spending under control. The Obama administration has 
embraced a course which locks us into higher and higher deficits for 
the foreseeable future.
  I am hopeful we can amend this resolution to produce a serious 
proposal that will lead to a more efficient, more effective Federal 
Government that better serves hard-working Americans rather than 
increasing the government's burden upon them.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I yield 3 minutes off the resolution to the Senator from 
Minnesota, and then she will take her 30 minutes as the chairman of the 
Joint Economic Committee following that.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I thank Senator Murray for her great 
leadership. I also wish to thank Senator Enzi and Senator Durbin on the 
Marketplace Fairness Act. This is a bill and an amendment that needs to 
pass. It is incredibly important to small businesses, big businesses, 
and to people across this country who work for retailers.
  When I travel around my State, I hear from small, locally owned 
retailers about the competitive disadvantage they face against online 
retailers, small businesses such as Creative Kidstuff that sells 
educational and developmental books for kids and Thrifty White 
Pharmacy, a full-service, employee-owned drugstore.
  Right now, States are currently unable to require out-of-State or 
online-only retailers to collect sales tax and it puts local mom-and-
pop stores at a disadvantage. Not only that, but this tax loophole is 
draining billions of dollars in lost revenues from State and local 
governments--$23 billion last year alone across the country.
  In effect, this tax loophole subsidizes some taxpayers at the expense 
of others and some businesses over others. That is why we call this the 
Marketplace Fairness Act.
  I have been committed to a competitive agenda for this country since 
I got to the Senate, and part of that agenda includes not only 
encouraging competition and innovation, but it is also about having an 
even playing field for our businesses. Minnesota alone lost about $394 
million in 2011 from out-of-State sales that are legally due but not 
collected. This lost revenue translates into over 7 percent of 
Minnesota's general sales tax liability in 2011. That is what we are 
talking about. This is real money.
  One of the longstanding principles of tax fairness is that similarly 
situated taxpayers should be taxed similarly. A bookstore on Grand 
Avenue in St. Paul has to charge a sales tax, while an online retailer 
selling that same book hundreds of miles away does not. A consumer 
buying a T-shirt in downtown Duluth is taxed differently than his 
friend who is buying that same T-shirt on the Internet. Someone buying 
a TV at Best Buy--hometown company--in Richfield, MN, is taxed 
differently than if he buys the same TV online.
  Our current situation encourages tax avoidance, undermines our tax 
system, and ultimately creates a competitive disadvantage for brick-
and-mortar retailers at a time when we want them to succeed.
  I am so excited that there is a bipartisan group of Senators 
supporting this bill. Our momentum is growing. We can see it today on 
the floor.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a list of some 
of the supporters from my State that includes major stores such as 
Target and Best Buy to the Uffda Shop in Red Wing, MN. I have shopped 
there and I suggest my colleagues do the same. It also includes Mary's 
Morsels & Catering and Sleepy Eye Floral & Design, to give my 
colleagues just a sense of the hundreds of companies that support this 
in Minnesota.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                 [From the Stand With]

       Minnesota imposes a sales tax that brick-and-mortar 
     retailers (and their websites) collect at the time of 
     purchase and remit to the state. Today some online-only 
     retailers (including are exploiting a loophole 
     that allows them to not collect Minnesota sales tax on these 
     same purchases, placing the burden on consumers to self-
     report and pay that tax directly. However, few do. This gives 
     online sellers a competitive advantage by not collecting the 
     tax and creating the perception that online-only purchases 
     are ``tax free.'' The Minnesota Legislature is considering a 
     proposal to require large online-only retailers to collect 
     sales tax at the time of purchase like brick-and-mortar 
     retailers are already required to do and to bring fairness to 
     the marketplace. Competition among businesses, whether they 
     operate on the Internet or in Minnesota communities, is 
     important. The proposal being considered by the Legislature 
     establishes fairness for a 21st century marketplace and makes 
     sure that all sellers have the same tax collection 

                         E-Fairness Supporters

                         Statewide businesses;

       Target; Walmart Home Depot; JCPenny; Best Buy; Creative 
     Kidstuff; Barnes & Noble; Sears; Thrifty White Pharmacy; 

                            Small businesses

       Hennen's Furniture; Happy Sleeper Furniture; Quality 
     Appliance & TV Center; Roberts Fine Jewelry; Eichorn's 
     Furniture; Brownie Furniture; Jenia's Appliance & TV; 
     Woodwards Books; Puffes Fine Jewelry; Ferrin's Furniture; Red 
     Wing Appliance; Wanshura Jewelers; Johnson-Mertz Appliance; 
     Garon Bros Jewelers; Security Jewelers; First Photo; 
     Bookstore at Fitgers; Ski Hut; Explorations; J Skylark Co.
       Toys for Keeps; Logan's Furniture; Appliance Village Co. 
     Master Jeweler; Waconia Farm Supply; Factory Direct 
     Furniture; Linsk Flowers; Drury's Furniture; Grand Jete; 
     Schroeder's Appliance Center Kern's Appliances; Bethany Book 
     & Gift; Cycle City; Bob & Frans Factory Direct; Cattale's 
     Books & Gifts; Uff da Shop; Rick's Home Furnishings; Yetzer's 
     Home Furnishing; Vacuum Cleaner Outlet & Services; Valley 
     Bookseller; Bakkum Enterprises, LLC; Mary's Morsels & 
     Catering LLC.
       Spicer Bike & Sports; Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction; 
     Bookstore/Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore; T & M Athletics; 
     Artistic Floral; Dieknnan's Jewelry; Rhoda's Closet Inc. 
     Hillary's; Pete's Surplus; Christian Book Store; Glenwood 
     Floral & Greenhouses; Kraning Jewelry Inc.; Jenny & Co; The 
     Framing Place and Gallery; Yarn Harbor; Gem Classics Inc.; 
     Teske's Jewerly Inc.; Adventure Cycle and Ski; Bissen's 
     Tavern; J B Off Sale Liquor.
       Casey's Bar Inc.; Country Rose Floral; Collins Feed & Seed 
     Center; Liquor Mart; A Johnson and Sons Florist; Kalli's 
     Place; That Special Touch Flower Shop; Strom Clothing Co.; 
     Thomas Liquors; Dar's Pub Inc.; Judy's House of Gifts; 
     Suzanne's Jewelry; Big Guys Bar; Beltone Hearing Care Center; 
     Woodwards Books, Yarns, Fabrics; Anderson Memorials Inc.; 
     Eastside Express; Northwedge Greenhouse; Tradewind Products 
     Art II (Framing & Art Supplies).
       Fleur de lis; Replay MMG; Sleepy Eye Floral and Design; 
     Chapel of Love; Grand Performance; Uncle Louie's Cafe; OFF 
     Sale Liquor; Artistic Treasures; Phillson Award Etc. LLC; 
     Double J Cafe; Antle's Long Guns & Accessories; Village 
     Liquor; Dan's Dugout; Bremer's Bar Inc.; Shooters Pub LLC; 

[[Page S2106]]

     Repair; Town and Country Cafe; Stavrakis Jewelers; Wothe 
     Bait; Life in Lavender.
       Lake City Radio Shack; A&W Consulting; Bloomington Jewelry 
     & Trophy Co.; Brinky's Liquor; C&J Store; Country Floral; 
     Crosstown Market; Deb's Snow Sled Inn; Hwy. 25 Liquor; La La 
     Homemade Ice Cream; Mike's Drive-In Liquor, Inc.; Moments On 
     Main; On Sale Liquor; Oriental Orchid; Preston Liquor Store 
     LLC; RMR Inc, Roger's Grove City Liquor; Slim's Wood Shop; 
     Stogies Discount Tobacco; Trailhead Cycling & Fitness.
       Nelson OFF Sale Card Shop; Colonial Laundry, Tara's Sewing 
     Shop; Witoka Tavern; Doug's Bar; Bud Rose Flowers; The Attic 
     Gallery; Cattales Books & Gifts (new & used book store); The 
     Gumdrop Tree; Pioneer Cycle; Buskala's Jewelry; Straight 
     River Sports & Fitness; Van Guilders; Bayside Floral; 
     Waldeland Jewelry & Gift; Soderbergs Floral and Gift.

                         Business organizations

       Midwest Bookseller Association; Midwest Hardware 
     Association; Minnesota Retailers Association; Minnesota 
     Chamber of Commerce; Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce; Saint 
     Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. Dakota County Regional Chamber 
     of Commerce; Richfield Chamber of Commerce; Minnesota 
     Business Partnership; American Booksellers Association; 
     Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber; Litchfield Chamber of 
     Commerce; Woodbury Chamber of Commerce; Chisholm Area Chamber 
     of Commerce; TwinWest Chamber of Commerce.


       Dakota County Board of Commissioners; Sleepy Eye Herald 

  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I will conclude my remarks by saying 
this is an opportunity to help our State and local governments, but it 
is a big opportunity to help the employees and workers of this country 
who work every day, showing those TVs, making sense of things, 
explaining how things work, going to work every day, putting those 
flowers in the vases. They deserve an equal playing field. This 
amendment does it.
  I am now going to begin my 30 minutes of Joint Economic Committee 
time. I am the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, which is a 
joint committee with the House and I am the Senate chair.
  I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 10 minutes, that Senator 
Tester be permitted to speak for up to 8 minutes, that Senator Sanders 
be permitted to speak for up to 5 minutes, that I then again be 
permitted to speak for up to 5 minutes, and that Senator Franken be 
permitted to speak for up to 2 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I wish to first thank Senator Murray 
again for her leadership on the Budget Committee. Day in and day out, 
month in and month out, she has been working on this budget and she has 
achieved, along with the committee, a smart, balanced proposal for 
meeting our country's fiscal challenges.
  This is not the first time I have come to the Senate floor to talk 
about the critical need for a balanced approach and to bring down our 
debt in a balanced way, but this is the first time in a long time I 
have actually felt optimistic that we are going to get a budget through 
the Senate and optimistic that there are a lot of stirrings of 
bipartisanship and compromise. While our budget, as has been pointed 
out and I will point out, is very different than the House budget, I 
think there are still grains of compromise there. We have seen this 
willingness in the Senate, with our Republican colleagues, to talk 
about bringing the debt down, whether it is the Gang of 6 or the Gang 
of 8 or whether it is the work of Simpson-Bowles or the work done with 
the Rivlin-Domenici group. These are all reasonable proposals. We don't 
agree with everything in them, but they are all reasonable proposals 
and they contain some balance.
  The other reason I am optimistic is that we have a great opportunity 
here. I was reminded of this last week when former Republican Senator 
Judd Gregg testified before our Joint Economic Committee. He actually 
paraphrased the Foreign Minister of Australia saying, ``The United 
States is one debt deal away from leading the entire world out of 
economic doldrums.''
  I couldn't agree more. Look at the economic news we have had in just 
the last month. We know there is so much work to do, that there are too 
many people unemployed, and there is too much investment that is not 
being made. But we also know that we saw the best month for 
unemployment numbers than we have seen in 4 years. We are seeing a 
turnaround in the construction market. We are seeing a turnaround in 
the housing market. I can tell my colleagues that in my State, we have 
unemployment that is at about 5.6 percent. So we are seeing progress, 
but we have more to do. The last thing we need to do now is to go 
backward. We need to go forward, and that is what Senator Murray's 
budget does in a very balanced way.
  As I have said many times before, we are talking about balance. I 
believe the Senate budget achieves the right equilibrium. It includes 
an equal mix of responsible spending cuts and new revenue from closing 
loopholes and ending wasteful spending in the Tax Code. Our proposal 
builds on the $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction we have already 
received--I don't think every citizen knows that--$2.4 trillion. Let's 
remember 70 percent of that was spending cuts and the other 30 percent 
was revenue. That is a balance. It is not exactly the balance we wanted 
on our side of the aisle, but if we were to adopt the House budget 
right now, we would be at, if we include the past revenues, 10-to-1 
spending cuts to revenue. That is not the balance we are seeing in the 
other proposals that have been made by these bipartisan groups.
  How does our budget do this? The additional debt reduction to the 
$2.4 trillion we have done to get to over $4 trillion in debt 
reduction--first of all, $975 billion in targeted cuts and $975 billion 
in revenue. Again, this will help us to surpass the bipartisan goal of 
$4 trillion and put our debt-to-GDP ratio at about 70 percent.
  Some of the most important points in the Senate budget include the 
fact that it replaces sequestration--which is just a hammer--with 
smart, targeted cuts while also making critical investments in areas 
such as education, workforce training, and infrastructure.
  When I get out in our State with our unemployment rate at 5.6 
percent, I hear time and time again that there are jobs unfilled, that 
we need to train workers, that we need our high school kids to be going 
into trades again, to be going into technology, math, and science. This 
budget accounts for that. It produces savings in Medicare and Medicaid 
by eliminating waste and fraud, promoting efficiency, and emphasizing 
cost alignment. We know a little bit about this in Minnesota, with the 
Mayo Clinic and the way we deliver health care in a high-quality, low-
cost way.
  One study out of Dartmouth showed that if they simply used in the 
rest of the hospitals across the country the cost-effective ways of the 
Mayo Clinic, we could save $50 billion--$50 billion in 5 years with 
chronically ill patients. That gives a sense of what we are talking 
about when we talk about high-quality, low-cost care.
  Our budget also recognizes there is a massive amount of spending that 
takes place through the Tax Code to the tune of over $1 trillion per 
year in tax expenditures.
  I come from a State with a thriving renewable energy sector, and 2 
years ago we agreed to let the ethanol tax credit expire at the end of 
2011, which saved billions of dollars. In fact, that was $60 billion in 
10 years--$60 billion. I do not understand why the oil industry cannot 
follow ethanol's lead. I am proud of the work they are doing. I have 
been out to Lewiston. I have seen the drilling in North Dakota. It has 
helped to increase our own domestic oil production and decrease our 
dependency on foreign oil. But I do not believe the oil companies still 
need $40 billion in 10 years. That is a lot of money we could bring in 
to reduce the debt.
  We can make other commonsense changes. One I would propose is with 
the home mortgage deduction, very near and dear to everyone's heart. 
Cap it at $500,000 in value of a home. If you buy a million-dollar 
home, great. Then you get it for up to $500,000 in value of the home. 
That brings in tens of billions of dollars in debt reduction.
  All told, the proposal that is coming out of Senator Murray's budget 
reduces the deficit by approximately $2 trillion. If enacted, our debt 
will continue on a downward path, where our debt-to-GDP ratio will be, 
as I mentioned, about 70 percent. The Congressional Budget Office has 
stated that a debt-to-GDP ratio in that range would also result in a 1-
percent increase in the size of the economy in that year.
  We cannot discount the impact that a growing economy can have on 

[[Page S2107]]

reduction. CBO expects GDP growth to be above 3 percent in 3 of the 
next 4 years. As the economy grows, we will see more revenue, and we 
will see lower deficits.
  Former CBO Director Alice Rivlin, who just testified last week at a 
Joint Economic Committee hearing on the very topic of debts and 
deficits, said this:

       The really important thing is to keep the debt from growing 
     faster than the economy.

  I could not agree more. Deficit reduction must be paired with 
economic growth. This is where we need to be, and I am optimistic that 
ultimately--while we have many differences that we are going to hear a 
lot about today--ultimately, we are going to come together on something 
that works for America.
  Unlike the proposal in the House, I will tell you the Senate budget 
preserves and protects Medicare, ensuring that it is there for our 
seniors today and strong for our children and grandchildren tomorrow.
  I firmly believe we can make some reforms to our Social Security 
safety net, and that those reforms--that money--can go right back into 
Social Security to keep it solvent. On the Medicare front, there are 
many things we can do without reducing the benefits for our current 
seniors, for the people who deserve that help.
  Look at what we could do. The VA negotiates prescription drug prices 
and gets much less expensive drug prices for high-quality drugs. Right 
now, we do not do that with Medicare. By negotiating prescription drug 
prices under Medicare Part D, you could produce $240 billion in savings 
over 10 years right there. Why not leverage the power of America's 
seniors? They have a lot of power.
  We all agree we need to reduce our debt. But our ultimate goal is not 
simply a balanced budget; it is a budget that is balanced.
  Let's look at what goes on with the Ryan budget. Well, the Ryan 
budget gives millionaires a huge tax cut, drastically lowering their 
income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.
  Last year, the Joint Economic Committee, on which I serve, estimated 
that a similar plan introduced would have given millionaires an 
additional $285,000 in tax breaks, while hitting the average middle-
class family with a $1,300 tax hike.
  He also claims his tax cuts for the wealthy, which would cost about 
$4.5 trillion--and I say that because I believe they would be paid for 
by the middle class--will not add to the deficit. But Ryan refuses to 
name one specific loophole or expenditure that his budget would 
eliminate to pay for the tax cuts.
  Some experts project that such extreme cuts, as we would see in his 
budget, would cost jobs. I believe that is true. That is why, as we are 
seeing this improvement in stabilization of our economy, we need to do 
things in a balanced way over the long term. We need to send the clear 
message that we are reducing this debt and get to our goal of $4 
trillion in debt reduction in 10 years. But we simply cannot do it by 
doing it on the backs of the middle class who are still struggling in 
this country.
  I urge my colleagues to support this budget proposal. It is time to 
get it done. I truly see this as a time of opportunities not only in 
the next 2 days to get the budget done, but also in the next few months 
as we negotiate with our colleagues across the aisle to get a budget 
for America.
  Thank you very much, Mr. President.
  I now yield 8 minutes to Senator Tester of Montana.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I thank the senior Senator from Minnesota. 
I thank her very much for her comments.
  I rise to join my colleagues who understand the need to strengthen 
our economy while taking responsible steps to reduce our deficit.
  Four short years ago we were coming out of the worst economic 
recession, depression, since the dirty thirties. Today, this country 
needs a budget that tells Americans we are serious about growing our 
economy and creating jobs. Strengthening our economy will increase 
economic opportunities for all Americans and allow small businesses to 
expand and hire more workers. But a stronger economy will also help us 
reduce our deficit without cutting the investments that lay the 
groundwork for a better future for our kids and grandkids: investments 
in education, in infrastructure, in our health, investments in our 
  That is why the budget we are debating today is the responsible path 
forward for this Nation. It sets forth our priorities. It reduces our 
deficit without cutting the legs out from underneath our economy. It 
also tells Americans that we are not going to sacrifice those critical 
investments to strengthen our economy and enable our economy to grow.

  Montanans know what it is like to live within their means. We do not 
spend what we do not have. And our State government is required to have 
a balanced budget. That is why Montana is one of the few States that 
survived the recession without dropping into the red. I am going to get 
into that in another area shortly.
  We cannot tear the Federal Government apart to make up for the 
decisions that put us here in the first place. Ten years ago, we put 
two wars on the credit card at the same time we drastically cut taxes. 
Those choices quickly squandered the budget surplus we had in the 
  Today the Republican plan approved by the House, known as the Ryan 
budget, uses tricks and gimmicks and smoke and mirrors to balance the 
budget. It sacrifices the welfare of our seniors, our students, and our 
veterans to get us back to the good old days.
  It ends Medicare as we know it. It hands seniors a voucher that down 
the road will grow at half the rate of anticipated medical costs. Under 
their plan, for a procedure that a senior can afford today, tomorrow 
they will get a voucher for a part of what that procedure will cost, 
and they will be told: You make up the rest. And if you don't, too bad.
  The Ryan plan also freezes Pell grants for students at a time when 
education costs continue to grow too fast for middle-class families to 
afford. Pell grants, education--a major driver in our economy.
  It also makes it harder for low-income and unemployed veterans to get 
the health care they need. The Ryan plan is what I speak of. It cuts 
funding for women's health care and reduces coverage for preventative 
health services, such as cancer screenings--affecting 47 million women 
across this country. It does this while protecting tax loopholes for 
large corporations and failing to invest in roads and bridges. And the 
senior Senator from Minnesota knows all about bridges that collapse. 
She had one collapse in Minnesota. Those investments are necessary.
  If you balance the budget by taking the country apart, what is the 
point of balancing the budget?
  Now, there is no doubt we must reduce the deficit, and the Democratic 
plan responsibly cuts our deficit by putting us on a responsible long-
term path that gets our fiscal house in order while investing in 
initiatives that grow our economy. It reduces the deficit by nearly $2 
trillion over the next 10 years. Now, that is not chump change, and 
that is on top of the work we have already done over the last few years 
to reduce the deficit by $1.6 trillion. It does this while protecting 
seniors, women's health, middle-class families, and students.
  Here is the kicker: Only the Democratic plan reforms the Tax Code and 
puts those savings toward deficit reduction. The Republican plan 
specifically forbids new revenue from tax reform to go to lower the 
deficit. For a party that claims balancing the budget is its holy 
grail, it is puzzling that Republicans want to use tax revenue to pay 
for more tax cuts. This is just one of many radical proposals and 
budget gimmicks they are proposing.
  If you are for a balanced budget, then you must be for balanced 
deficit reduction. Every bipartisan commission that has looked at the 
problem agrees: to responsibly balance the books, you need to save 
money through a comprehensive plan that cuts spending, reforms 
entitlements, and fixes our Tax Code--and uses that savings to pay down 
the debt.
  The time for commissions and working groups is past. We should have 
learned those lessons. We are here now to do the work to get our long-
term deal to fix the budget. We will have to

[[Page S2108]]

compromise, and that is the way it should be, because working together 
is what built this country. But only one plan is closer to where we 
need to be at the end of this debate. The Democratic plan cuts 
spending, keeps in place reforms to our health care system, and 
mandates the tax reform we need.
  Tax reform will not be easy, but there are a few things that should 
not be hard to agree on either. I think tax loopholes for big oil and 
gas companies and corporations that ship jobs overseas should be wiped 
off the books.
  We have two paths we can follow. One path drags this economy into a 
ditch by dismantling Medicare and cutting investments in infrastructure 
and our future. The other path takes a balanced approach to put this 
country on the road to long lasting economic growth and stability.
  We have been lurching from one crisis to another for far too long. It 
has hurt job growth because businesses are holding back. They do not 
know where the debate in Washington is headed.
  Offering them more certainty and strengthening this economy is 
something we need to do. We need to do it in a responsible way. We need 
to come together around a plan that strengthens our economy in the 
short term while taking real steps to reduce our deficit in the long 
  Senator Murray's plan is a better choice. It meets the needs of the 
American people. It shows them we are willing to lead. That is what we 
were sent here to do.
  Mr. President, may I ask how much time I have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 2 minutes remaining.
  Mr. TESTER. Perfect. Let me also take 2 minutes to comment on an 
amendment that some of my colleagues spoke of that will be filed to 
this resolution.

  It is an amendment that would not only impose new burdens on small 
businesses but would also fundamentally alter the rights of States by 
allowing them to tax entities located outside their borders.
  Now, I heard a few Senators earlier today advocating for the 
elimination of the current standard that only allows States to tax 
entities with a physical presence in that State.
  Montana is one of those States that does not pay a sales tax. We do 
not want a sales tax. It has been on the ballot a number of times. It 
has been voted down by the people every time. But under the provisions 
that some in this Chamber are pushing, small businesses in Montana 
would be forced to do the bidding of the departments of revenue in 
other States by collecting and remitting their sales taxes.
  Montana's budget is currently operating at a surplus--without a sales 
tax. The idea that other States would balance their budgets on the 
backs of Montana's hard-working businesses is not only wrong, it is 
flat insulting.
  This is an unfunded mandate on Montana's small businesses, and it is 
a slippery slope of what businesses will do to take their collections 
out of State.
  Where is it going to go from here? Agricultural products grown and 
raised in Montana and marketed in other States? This is an aberration 
of States rights--rights which so many in this Chamber say they 
support. I would urge my colleagues to vote against any measures that 
would gut these States rights.
  With that, I thank the Senator from Minnesota and yield the floor.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, what is our agreement at this point?
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, the Joint Economic Committee has 30 
minutes on our side, and I do not know on the Republican side. I think 
we are about halfway or more into it.
  Mr. SESSIONS. You are into it?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 12 minutes remaining in the period of 
time allotted for Joint Economic Committee remarks.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. If the Senator would like to speak for a minute or so, 
if he has something he would like to say.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 2 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I appreciated Senator Tester's remarks 
and his belief that Montanans believe they should live within their 
means, and he supports a plan to reduce the deficit. But I just want to 
share with my colleagues that the budget that is before us today is not 
balanced. It does not reduce the deficit. It taxes a lot more, but its 
spending increases at the same level, and there is no net change in the 
unsustainable debt course we are on.
  He said it reduces the deficit by $2 trillion. I want you to know 
that is what the Budget Committee claims for that budget, but it is not 
accurate. It does not reduce the deficit $2 trillion. It does not. It 
keeps us on the same path.
  It is not a balanced deficit reduction plan, because it doesn't 
reduce the deficit. It increases taxes and increases spending, if you 
call that balance. It is not the right kind of plan. I wish we could 
get together on fundamentals of numbers in that budget.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I think we have made our case here with 
the $975 billion in spending cuts that are contained in the budget, and 
the fact that to date we have made $2.4 trillion in debt reduction, and 
of that 70 percent or $1.5 trillion has been spending cuts. What we are 
simply trying to do with this budget is keep this balanced approach to 
not set an economy--which was literally on its heels a few years ago--
back in the same place. We want to do deficit reduction. We want to 
give our businesses the kind of consistency and incentive to invest, 
but not do it in a way which Chairman Bernanke has said would cause a 
sharp contraction by doing too much too soon at once on the backs of 
the middle class and seniors. I am very hopeful in the coming months I 
will be able to find some kind of compromise and agreement with our 
  The American people are tired of the gridlock. They want to see 
people are willing to work together. I truly believe courage is not 
just standing alone but standing next to someone you don't always agree 
with for the betterment of this country. Senator Sessions and I have 
worked very well together on Judiciary matters, and I wish to continue 
to do this on the budget.
  Turning to another matter, I spoke about marketplace fairness, and I 
support that amendment to this bill. I also want to talk about the 
medical device tax repeal. As I mentioned before, one of my major 
focuses in the Senate has been on an innovation agenda, the idea we 
should manufacture items in this country, invent things, and export to 
the world. This is how we are going to get out of the current situation 
we are in. I believe we can do it.
  We need to do it by promoting innovation all across this country. My 
State has a long history of innovation, bringing the world everything 
from the pacemaker to the Post-it note. We are home to one of the 
world's leading medical device companies, Medtronic, started by Earl 
Bakken in his garage. It is not just the large medical device companies 
and their employees who keep this industry running, the small- and 
medium-sized companies and their entrepreneurs are incredibly vital as 
  In Minnesota we have over 400 medical device companies employing more 
than 35,000 people across the State. This thriving technology, the 
medical technology sector, has been one of the keys to our success and 
one of the bright spots in America's economy. When you look at the 
potential for exports, as you see a growing middle class in China and 
in India, people are finally going to the hospital. They are beginning 
to receive good health care. We have a great potential here for more 
jobs in America as long as we do this correctly.
  The United States is currently the largest net exporter of medical 
devices in the world, yielding a trade surplus of roughly $5.4 billion 
a year. Medical device companies are also responsible for creating 
millions of high-paying, highly skilled American jobs, exactly the 
kinds of jobs we want in this country. These are the kinds of jobs 
where every parent sends their kid to high school and says, is he or 
she going to learn something which will create a job? I am looking at 
our pages right now, and I can tell you medical device jobs are one of 
those kinds of jobs.

[[Page S2109]]

  In order to ensure our country remains a world leader in medical 
device innovation, we need to address the 2.3-percent excise tax on 
medical devices. As you know, this came out through the Affordable Care 
Act. At the time I opposed that tax. We negotiated and were able to get 
it halved from $40 billion to $20 billion in 10 years. It still isn't 
right because it creates too much of a burden.
  Medical device manufacturers are not the ones which are going to get 
multiple new customers, millions of new customers out of the increase 
in coverage in the health care bill. Pharmaceuticals might. They 
negotiated something. Think about it. A lot of medical devices are used 
by people who are older. They tend to have health care coverage with 
Medicare and other things. This is the issue here is this is not at the 
right rate, this is not the right tax, and it should be repealed. The 
tax is a burden on medical device businesses but, most importantly, it 
is a disincentive for jobs. It stifles innovation, and it makes it more 
difficult for the next generation of lifesaving devices to make it to 
the market. I have been fighting to reduce it, repeal it, and to delay 
it since the first day it was introduced. At the end of last year, I 
rallied a record number of Democratic Senators behind the effort. While 
we couldn't get an agreement included in the fiscal cliff negotiations, 
we had great traction. I think there were 18 or 19 Democratic Senators 
in strong support.
  I see Senator Coats from Indiana, as part of the strong support we 
had on the Republican side for repealing this tax.
  This is why Senator Hatch and I have filed an amendment to the budget 
resolution to repeal this tax and help give these businesses and their 
employees the certainty and stability they need to keep researching, 
developing, and inventing the next medical breakthrough. Our amendment 
now has the support of 28 of my colleagues from both sides of the 
aisle. I am hoping we can continue to work in a bipartisan way.
  I yield 2 minutes to my colleague Senator Franken of Minnesota to 
speak about this important issue.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. FRANKEN. I rise today to speak about the promise of biomedical 
innovation in our country, as did Senator Klobuchar. I talk a lot about 
the importance of biomedical innovation because in my home State of 
Minnesota there are 400 medical device companies, and there are more 
than 30,000 employees who support our economy while creating high-
quality jobs. They do it while saving and improving patients' lives.
  The industry is being punished for its innovation and growth. The 
medical device tax is cutting into the proceeds which go toward 
research and development and workforce training. By taxing companies on 
the first dollar of sales, they are especially hurting the very small 
companies, the startup companies, which may not be in profit yet. This 
is why I am happy to join with Senator Klobuchar, with Senator Hatch, 
in filing this amendment to the budget resolution to allow for the 
repeal of the medical device tax. This amendment is an important first 
step toward fully repealing the tax and providing much-needed relief 
for our innovators and doing it in a fiscally responsible way.
  Along with Senator Klobuchar, I fought this tax from the beginning. 
The health care law will insure 30 million new Americans while also 
improving the health care of every American citizen. While I am proud 
to be a champion of that law, I believe the medical device tax is not 
the way to pay for it.
  On this point, I disagree with the Obama administration, as I did 
from the beginning. Senator Klobuchar also disagreed from the 
beginning. We fought against the tax and ultimately we were successful 
in getting it cut in half from what it was when it came out of the 
Finance Committee.
  As a member of the HELP Committee, I will continue to improve our 
regulatory process. I am very proud I had a part in helping create the 
Medical Device Innovation Consortium, a private-public partnership in 
this industry which is a first of its kind. Part of this, I believe, is 
the full repeal of the Medical Device Act. As a first step, I ask my 
colleagues join those of us who are cosponsors of this critical 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. I thank Senator Franken for his strong words in 
support of this amendment. I thank him for being a cosponsor of this 
  May I ask how much remains on the Joint Economic time?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 4 minutes remaining.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. I want to thank the Senators who joined me today as we 
work to advance a smart, balanced approach for meeting our country's 
fiscal challenges. The time is ripe for common ground on a budget plan 
to move the economy forward. While I don't know if we will have that 
bipartisan plan in the next few days, I think we will get a budget 
through this Chamber which will pave the way for the kinds of 
bipartisan negotiations we need to have. We need to keep this country 
moving, and moving in the direction we need.
  When I go out there and talk to small companies throughout my State, 
they want us to get something done. They want to have consistency so we 
are not playing green light, red light with the Tax Code; that they 
know exactly where they stand. I think they all acknowledge everyone is 
going to have to sacrifice a little here. I think they acknowledge we 
are going to have to do something which makes a difference and not just 
speak about it anymore. We have not only the opportunity but the 
responsibility to find common ground on a deficit reduction plan which 
will help build a stronger, more resilient framework for economic 
renewal so families and businesses have the certainty they need.
  I think we know neither party is going to get everything it wishes, 
but this doesn't mean we can put our heads in the sand and pretend this 
isn't happening. I truly appreciate my Republican colleagues. When we 
meet behind closed doors and speak about this, they have a willingness 
to compromise. I think this is what will happen in the future. However, 
our job in the next 2 days is to get a fair budget through a balanced 
  This is what Senator Murray's budget is. I have been part of this, 
and I look forward to working with her and our colleagues in the future 
to show the American people we can stand tall and do what is right.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I rise today as the senior Senate 
Republican of the Joint Economic Committee to discuss one of the most 
fundamental issues this body confronts on a year-to-year basis, or at 
least should confront on a year-to-year basis, which is passing a 
budget through which we could operate the rest of the year and measure 
how we spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
  Unfortunately, we haven't had one of these budgets for 4 years. I am 
pleased we finally have arrived at this particular point. I will speak 
about that in more detail.
  A few years back when I was serving as Ambassador to Germany, I made 
calls on the various ministers. They would be equivalent to cabinet 
secretaries in our country. I would always try to get a little 
background information on them before I went to see if we had anything 
in common, or an ice breaker to start the conversation.
  I was calling on one of the ministers and noticed, reading his 
background first, his birth date was the same as mine. It was a 
milestone birthday. We were both born in 1943. At the time, the date of 
my seeing him was just a couple of months after we both celebrated our 
60th birthday.
  To break the ice, I said to him: Mr. Minister, we have something in 
  He said: What is that?
  I said: We both were born on the same day. Therefore, we both reached 
a very important milestone in life.
  He looked at me seriously and said: And how are you doing with all of 
  I said: Well, I am doing fine. I don't feel any different, and I 
don't think I think any different. It is almost as if the number is 
  He looked at me seriously and said: You are in serious major denial. 
This is a big deal. This is a major milestone.

[[Page S2110]]

  Well, ever since he said that, I have been wondering, gosh, is that 
little pain in the right shoulder the beginning of more problems and so 
  It reminded me of the situation we faced here when others have said 
the debt problem we have is not a major problem or that we don't have a 
spending problem. It reminded me of the minister who said: You have to 
be in major denial.
  Year after year, we are spending a lot more money than we take in, 
and there is no end in sight to that. Mandatory spending alone on 
programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security is projected 
to double in a few years' time. It is estimated each new child born 
today will inherit $50,000 or more of debt, which they will need to pay 
off as they grow, go through their education years, and become part of 
our economy. They are going to be saddled with this ever-growing debt.
  My three latest grandchildren, Grace, Charlie, and Avery, all young, 
just a few years old, are inheriting a very significant amount of debt 
which will saddle and stifle their opportunities to participate in the 
American dream and enjoy many of the same opportunities many of my 
generation have had.
  Interest rates were held down by the Fed at historically low levels. 
We might also be facing our day of reckoning. I had the opportunity to 
speak with the Fed Chairman some time back. He indicated we are running 
out of tools here at the Fed to address these problems. The people up 
the street who handle the fiscal issues, not the monetary issues, need 
to stand up and address the problem.
  I think we all know we can only keep interest rates low for so long. 
It is important to understand a 1-percent point increase in interest 
rates would add over $1 trillion to the United States debt in a 10-year 
period of time. These historically low rates are not going to stay 
historically low forever. They are going to rise as investors lose 
confidence in America's ability to pay off their debts in the future if 
we keep plunging into the level of debt and deficit spending which has 
been taking place here over the last several years. Eventually, we are 
going to reach that tipping point, and when we reach that tipping 
point, investors and consumers lose confidence. When that happens, 
interest rates rise. When interest rates rise, it impacts our economy 
in a very significant, negative way. All we have to do is look across 
the Atlantic, in Europe, to see what is happening there to get a 
glimpse of the crisis that can come with not dealing with the ever-
increasing debt and not taking the necessary steps over a period of 
some time to put our country on a fiscal path to health.

  I think most of us here know that we have to make some tough choices 
and that it will require political will in order for us to address 
this. We have been avoiding this for years, and we are going to face a 
debt-induced catastrophe if we don't address it and address it soon.
  So when you are faced with this kind of fiscal mess, what do you do? 
Well, what families and businesses all across America have had to do 
when they have faced these types of situations--sit down, create a 
budget, and put themselves back on a path to balance and prosperity in 
order to avoid the inevitable: a collapse of the family budget or the 
business budget. Our communities and our States have had to do this. We 
see this happening everywhere except in Washington. It is this body and 
this administration that have refused to step forward, No. 1, to pass a 
budget on which to guide our spending and, No. 2, to make the decisions 
necessary to turn this economy around and begin to put us on a better 
path toward a balanced budget.
  Why a budget? Well, it helps us identify priorities. Sitting on the 
Appropriations Committee, where agency heads and Secretaries come 
before us and present their requests for the future fiscal year in 
which we are making decisions, I ask each one of them: Do you have a 
plan B?
  They say: What do you mean by a plan B?
  I say: if we continue down this path that is going to ever shrink 
discretionary spending--whether it is for cancer or paving roads or 
education or any other worthy project, there is going to be less money 
if we don't address this spending problem, particularly if we don't 
address mandatory spending.
  I ask them: Have you looked at doing what every family has had to do 
and what every business has had to do during these 4 years of tepid 
growth, which just seems to linger and linger and linger? We still have 
23 million people out of work. Have you looked at ways in which you can 
make your spending and the parts of the budget you oversee more 
efficient and more effective? Are there things you can cut? Are there 
programs you can eliminate that no longer are effective or perhaps 
shouldn't have been there in the first place? Are there things you 
would like to do but without the resources are not able to do at this 
  You know, if a family is faced with lower revenue--dad's salary has 
been cut or mom has lost that second income or for whatever reason--and 
they are having a hard time making payments--education for the 
children, mortgage payments, and so forth--the family has to say: You 
know, we are going to have to look at how we spend money, and we are 
going to have to cut back. Maybe we won't be able to go to Disney World 
this year as we had planned. Maybe we will need to buy a tent and go to 
the State park or do something less expensive. And if they have kids 
with a credit card: We are going to have to put limits on that or you 
are going to have to scale back.
  These are decisions every family has had to make. These are decisions 
every business owner is faced with and has to deal with, and they are 
doing that. But this is a decision that hasn't been made here.
  Well, it has been 4 years--1,400-some days; I think 1,422 days and 
counting--since this body, the Senate, has passed a budget which would 
allow us to determine what our priorities are or at least give us a 
guidepost as to how we are going to spend money. Four years since this 
body has presented to the American people, who elected us to come here 
and represent them, a budget and give them the transparency of how we 
are spending their money.
  Finally, after 1,422 days, after 4 years, we have a budget before us. 
While I am pleased that is the case and I am pleased we are here 
debating that, it is disappointing when we learn what that budget 
  One would think, after 4 years--and particularly after the 4 years we 
have been through and the 23 million people unemployed or underemployed 
and the rate of growth of this economy half of what it normally is--
that the budget being presented to us would take some steps toward 
addressing our spending issues and would not incorporate $1 trillion or 
more of increased taxes, which will simply go to more spending. How 
could we possibly support a budget--being $16.7 trillion in debt--that 
plunges us further into debt--a staggering increase in debt--and also 
doesn't reduce spending? That is at least a step but nothing nearly 
appropriate to what we are facing.
  So this budget grows government. Let's not make any excuses. It grows 
government by increasing spending, and it grows government by a massive 
increase in taxes just after we have had one a few months ago, not 
counting the massive increase in taxes that is going to occur beginning 
in 2014 with the implementation of ObamaCare. When we add that up and 
look at the cost of that, we face a dire circumstance. So one would 
think a budget being offered to us would not increase debt by 42 
percent but would address the real problem.
  I know there has been a dispute about how much of the budget revenue 
is increased taxes. Some say $1.5 trillion. Those who have presented 
the budget simply say: Oh, no, it is only $1 trillion. Well, whether it 
is $1.5 trillion or only--only--$1 trillion, it is $1 trillion in new 
taxes on the American people after they just got hit with more than 
$\1/2\ trillion 2 months ago and are going to get hit again with 
another $1 trillion when ObamaCare fully kicks in. I mean, it just 
defies credibility, and I think the investment community and consumers 
and taxpayers all across America look at this and say: What in the 
world are you doing?
  What are the consequences of this? Well, the Heritage Foundation 
indicates that the Senate Democrats' budget would cost over 8 million 
jobs nationwide and 225,000 jobs in my own

[[Page S2111]]

State over the next 10 years. They estimate that the budget would 
reduce economic output by $1.4 trillion and reduce private domestic 
investment by $820 billion. We certainly see the trend here, and the 
trend is a negative consequence not a positive consequence.
  So I think these statistics emphasize the fact that the entire 
mindset behind this budget seems to be how we can find more revenue to 
fund more government spending rather than how do we grow the economy. 
Our goal ought to be to grow the economy, not grow an already bloated 
government with more taxes to pay for more government spending.

  This budget never balances the budget. We will never reach the point 
our States have had to reach in balancing their budgets. The majority 
of our States have had to pull themselves out of a hole, and they have 
done so because many are constitutionally mandated by their own State 
constitutions to balance that budget. Families have had to balance 
their budgets, and businesses have had to balance their budgets. Only 
the Federal Government doesn't seem to balance its budget and this plan 
doesn't even attempt to get us there.
  I have been coming to the Senate floor day after day after day this 
year basically talking about the need for Republicans and Democrats and 
the President to come together with a bold, credible, and enforceable 
long-term plan to reduce our debt and put our country back on a path 
toward growth and prosperity. We need to recognize that it will take 
more than a quick fix. It is going to take more than this soap opera 
drama of kicking the can down the road, extending the decisions we have 
to make for yet another few months behind this, behind that, or 
whatever. It is going to take the will to roll up our sleeves, stop 
wasting our time and instead get to work on a plan that will deliver 
real results for the American people.
  To solve this dire situation and reduce dangerously high debt, I 
believe we need a plan that includes three major things:
  We need to reform the way we spend. We need to go through each 
program at every agency and department and determine how we can do more 
with less. My colleague from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, already has taken 
steps to triage our Federal Government's spending by identifying 
programs that are ineffective, unnecessary, and overly duplicative.
  We need comprehensive tax reform. The Joint Economic Committee has 
heard witnesses from the left, from the right, from the middle, 
nonpartisan, Republican, Democratic, Independents, and there is a 
consensus: If we don't have comprehensive tax reform together with a 
sensible, credible, long-term, enforceable deficit-reduction plan, we 
will not pull ourselves out of this mess we are in.
  The growth element of what we need comes through tax reform. Senator 
Wyden and I, in a bipartisan way, have worked for years--he worked 
years before that with former Senator Judd Gregg--on putting together a 
plan. We are not saying it is the be-all, end-all, but it forms the 
basis for a simplification of the Tax Code. It is revenue neutral, it 
addresses our lack of competitiveness around the world in terms of our 
corporate entities and businesses, it fixes rates at reasonable levels, 
and it ought to be the basis for at least the discussion and moving 
  If we don't combine our spending discipline with comprehensive tax 
reform, we are not going to have the element that will produce the 
growth and revenue that will bring us closer to balance.
  Finally--I talk about this all the time--let's have the courage to 
address what we know is driving us into more and more deficit and will 
prevent us, if we don't adjust it, from ever having a rational plan to 
get us out of this situation, and that is mandatory spending.
  Let me quote from the President's own bipartisan commission. They 

       By 2025, revenue will be able to finance only interest 
     payments, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Every 
     other Federal Government activity--from national defense and 
     homeland security to transportation and energy--will have to 
     be paid for with borrowed money.

  That is because our revenues will only pay for these few programs, 
which are eating up all of our expenditures. So from cancer research to 
education, from paving roads to air traffic control to meat inspectors, 
national defense and homeland security, and everything the government 
does that is an essential function for the Federal Government--all will 
paid for with borrowed money.
  Let me go back to their statement.

       Debt held by the public will outstrip the entire American 
     economy, growing to as much as 185 percent of GDP by 2035. 
     Interest on the debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion by 

  That is just 7 years away. Returning to the quote:

       These mandatory payments--which buy absolutely no goods or 
     services--will squeeze out funding for all other priorities.

  So not only will the uncontrollable growth of mandatory spending 
squeeze out funding for all other programs or priorities in our 
country, but it will also jeopardize the safety net we have put in 
place for retirees who have worked hard and put money aside to become 
eligible when they retire for Social Security and Medicare and for 
those who find themselves in a situation where Medicaid is a necessary 
safety net.
  We have always taken pride in being a country that is compassionate. 
We have been a place where, if you work hard, you can earn a good 
living, you can raise a family, and in later phases of life you will be 
able to rely on the safety net of health and retirement programs you 
have invested in. But if we don't act on mandatory spending, if we 
don't act on Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, we will all but 
ensure the demise of these much needed programs for future generations. 
Failing to act and leaving our children and grandchildren with this 
enormous debt burden is immoral.
  We all know--or we ought to know by now--our current path is 
unsustainable. Academics, economists, and business leaders from all 
sides of the political spectrum repeat the same thing: Unless we make 
the tough choices we have been avoiding for years, we are going to face 
a debt-induced catastrophe and it is only a matter of time and the 
clock is running down.
  Congress and the President must summon the courage and the political 
will to do the right thing and take the tough medicine now that will 
heal this economy. What we have been doing for the last 2 years that I 
have been here is basically looking at a chronic illness and saying: 
Take two Advil; maybe you will feel better in the morning. That doesn't 
work. We need the bold, the credible, and the enforceable plan that 
will put us on the path to prosperity, and it must include spending 
discipline, comprehensive tax reform, and mandatory spending reform.
  I am going to be offering up to five amendments to this budget. I 
don't want to spend a great deal of time on this now. I will, for the 
record, mention the five I am going to offer.
  The first is a mandatory spending budget point of order. This would 
be a point of order against any legislation that increases the net 
level of mandatory spending at any time our gross Federal debt exceeds 
100 percent of the economy or our GDP.
  Numerous studies have said that when we reach 90 percent, we are at a 
tipping point, and it becomes historically proven that it has a serious 
negative impact on our economy. I have raised this to 100 percent to 
allow a little room. This point of order will be in place and, if 
passed, can only be overridden with 67 votes. This should force 
Congress to think before we act.
  Secondly, I am offering an amendment that is called debt transparency 
legislation. One of my colleagues and a Member of the House of 
Representatives, Luke Messer, has passed similar legislation in the 
House with very significant bipartisan support.
  It simply requires the Congressional Budget Office to report annually 
an estimate of the cost per taxpayer of the deficit for any year that 
the President's budget is projected to be in deficit. The American 
people deserve to know this number, and this amendment would achieve 
  I am also offering an amendment to repeal the 3.8-percent tax on 
investment income. If we want to stifle the economy more, if we want to 
prevent more growth and slow down this economy, throw in yet another 
tax on the very people who are providing the capital and the 

[[Page S2112]]

  We just talked about the medical device tax, which I have supported, 
working along with Democratic cosponsor Senator Klobuchar from 
Minnesota and many others who have joined us. It is an absolutely 
irresponsible tax, simply a way for the administration to pay for the 
costly health care law that taxes the very industry that is providing 
us revenues, high-paying jobs, and helping our trade balance exported 
quality products. This is crippling, and it is forcing some of these 
companies to look overseas because of this egregious surtax on top of 
all the other taxes they pay. So I support the amendment of Senator 
Hatch and Senator Klobuchar to repeal that medical device tax.
  I am also offering an amendment designed to fix our broken and 
convoluted Tax Code. I see Senator Wyden has come to the floor. Senator 
Wyden and Senator Gregg started a heroic project several years ago to 
put together a comprehensive tax reform package. The work and the hours 
spent in pulling this together is amazing. When Senator Gregg left the 
Senate, he called me and he said: This is something I think you ought 
to take a look at. Perhaps you can take my place and work with Senator 
Wyden so it can be a bipartisan effort going forward. We have discussed 
this with our colleagues. It should serve as the basis for tax reform.
  As I said earlier in my remarks, we cannot address this problem 
without spending discipline and comprehensive tax reform combined. All 
the witnesses who have come before us in the Joint Economic Committee 
have asserted this and enforced this; that it is the necessary element 
to provide the growth to accompany the spending discipline and, added 
to that, the mandatory entitlement reform.
  Finally, an EPA amendment--which working with my colleague Senator 
Manchin, a Democrat, again, a bipartisan effort--to deal particularly 
with an EPA rule. I will not go into the details of that.
  But these will be some of the amendments I will be offering in 
conjunction with my colleagues to hopefully make this budget a better 
piece of legislation.
  To conclude, it has been 4 years since the Senate has passed a 
budget. The plan before us, in my opinion, has not been worth the wait. 
It will not help generate more jobs for the more than 23 million 
Americans who are either unemployed or underemployed. It will not 
improve this slow economy. It will not save Medicare and Social 
Security from going broke. It will not produce a path to bipartisan 
comprehensive tax reform. It will not ever balance the budget. It will 
not help hard-working Americans get back to work and get ahead in this 
life. We can do better than this.
  After 4 years of inaction, the American people deserve better than 
this plan. The American people elected a divided government. It was not 
a mandate for either party. It is a challenge, a challenge all of us 
need to accept.
  So let us act now. Let us summon the courage to stand and work 
together on a truly balanced plan--not one that calls for ever more 
spending and ever higher taxes but one that puts in place real reforms.
  The first step is passing a credible budget. Sadly, in my opinion, 
this budget doesn't match the need. Hopefully, we can make the 
adjustments for this to put us on that path to prosperity.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I yield myself 10 minutes off the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, we are having this debate in hopes of 
ultimately reaching a fair and bipartisan budget deal. We all know that 
is not going to be easy, so the least we can do is get our facts 
straight. It is kind of disappointing to see that rather than engaging 
in a productive conversation, some of our Republican colleagues prefer 
to launch some pretty inaccurate attacks. I would like to take just a 
moment to correct some of those inaccuracies so we can focus on the 
urgent task at hand.
  Some Republicans continue to claim the Senate budget includes a $1.5 
trillion tax hike. I talked about this last night, but I wish to make 
it clear again. This is not true. Here are the facts:
  Of the $975 billion in new revenue from those who can afford it the 
most, $480 billion is matched with responsible spending cuts to fully 
replace sequestration, $100 billion goes toward targeted, high-priority 
infrastructure repairs and job training to help boost our economy and 
put Americans back to work. The rest goes to reduce the deficit. But, 
unfortunately, rather than seriously considering the credible path we 
have presented in our budget plan, some Republicans have decided to 
play some games with these numbers and are not telling the truth.
  Instead of subtracting the sequestration replacement portion and the 
investment package from that $975 billion in total revenue, they are 
trying to say we should add it all together. They are taking one side 
of the ledger, combining that with the other side of the ledger, and 
coming to a conclusion that makes absolutely no sense. It doesn't make 
sense. You don't have to take my word for it. Fact checkers and 
reporters have called this claim false. They have called it a step too 
far. The Washington Post fact checker even gave it two Pinnochios.
  Republicans have also made the argument that this budget actually 
only includes $300 billion in deficit reduction. That distorts the 
facts. It is not true, and it is inconsistent actually with what 
Republicans have claimed in the past.
  Our budget includes 1.85 in deficit reduction, evenly divided between 
responsible spending cuts and new revenue. That revenue comes from 
closing loopholes and cutting wasteful spending from a Tax Code that 
has been skewed toward the wealthiest Americans and biggest 
corporations. But some Republicans say that because part of what we are 
doing is replacing sequestration with smarter deficit reduction, that 
this somehow diminishes the savings.
  I actually find this kind of interesting because I served on the 
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction when Republicans and 
Democrats discussed ways to replace sequestration, which was, of 
course, well after sequestration had been signed into law. We didn't 
reach an agreement because Republicans refused to include revenue. But 
we did agree then that deficit reduction to replace sequestration was 
deficit reduction. In fact, my colleague Senator Toomey put forward a 
plan to replace sequestration--to replace sequestration that he said 
would have ``reduced our deficit by $1.2 trillion.''
  I find it odd that some Republicans were willing to count replacing 
sequestration as deficit reduction when they were putting forth plans 
to do it, but they will not treat the Senate budget the same way, 
especially since bipartisan groups, including Simpson-Bowles and 
Domenici-Rivlin and the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, all 
used the same starting point that the Senate budget does. Like us, 
these groups knew sequestration was not deficit reduction. It was there 
to trigger deficit reduction that would come from replacing it. That 
was the whole point.
  In fact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that the 
Senate budget uses the appropriate starting point:

       ``Bowles and Simpson received no criticism when they did 
     the same thing for their new budget plan of a few weeks 

  I didn't hear any Republicans complaining then. This just goes to 
show that, sadly, some of our Republican colleagues appear more 
interested in politicized attacks than serious consideration of our 
plan. The American people deserve better. They deserve better. They 
want an honest conversation. That is what we are trying to have with 
the credible approach we put forward.
  Finally, I wish to strongly dispute the criticism I have heard that 
Democrats somehow don't take reducing our deficit and debt seriously. 
Despite what you may have heard, Democrats care deeply, as we both 
know, about restoring our Nation's fiscal health. We think it would be 
absolutely wrong to pile up unsustainable debt and hand it to our 
children. That is exactly why the Senate budget presents a serious, 
credible, and sustainable approach to getting our debt and deficits 
under control.
  Experts on both sides of the aisle have generally come together 
around a

[[Page S2113]]

few principles for a responsible deficit reduction plan. The Senate 
budget builds on the work of the last 2 years to meet each of those 
  In 2010, the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission recommended finding 
roughly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. This has now 
become the benchmark of other serious bipartisan proposals. The Senate 
budget builds on the $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction that has 
already been done in the last 2 years since Simpson-Bowles, with an 
additional $1.85 trillion in new deficit reduction, for a total of 
$4.25 trillion in deficit reduction since the Simpson-Bowles report.
  What the Senate budget does is it takes us the rest of the way to 
that $4 trillion goal and actually beyond it. Following the 
recommendations of Simpson-Bowles and the Senate Gang of 6 plan, the 
Senate budget importantly reduces the deficit to below 3 percent of GDP 
by 2015 and keeps it well below that level for the rest of our 10-year 
window in a responsible way. It pushes our debt as a percentage of the 
economy down, moving it in the right direction, as we have been told is 
an important goal.
  So our budget reaches these benchmarks the way the American people 
have consistently said they want it done and the way economists and 
experts across our political spectrum have recommended--with an equal 
mix of responsible spending cuts across the Federal budget and new 
revenue raised by closing loopholes and cutting wasteful breaks that, 
by the way, primarily benefit the rich.
  This budget responsibly cuts spending by $975 billion. As a member of 
the Budget Committee, the Presiding Officer knows we made some pretty 
tough choices to get there.
  We think every program, including the ones that we know are 
important, needs to be wringing out the waste and trimming fat and 
reducing costs so our taxpayers get that benefit. So $500 billion of 
our deficit reduction comes from responsible savings on the domestic 
spending side, including, by the way, and I remind all, $275 billion in 
health care savings that we do in a way that does not harm seniors or 
  There are no sacred cows. We have put everything on the table. But we 
do it in a responsible way to preserve and protect and strengthen 
programs such as Medicare and Medicaid that the American people support 
as well. Our budget saves $240 billion by carefully and responsibly 
reducing defense spending while giving the Pentagon enough time to plan 
and align the reductions to time with the drawdown of our troops from 
overseas. The remainder of the savings, $242 billion, comes from 
savings on interest payments due to lower debt.
  Taking the balanced approach the American people have consistently 
called for, our Senate budget matches those responsible spending cuts 
with $975 billion in new revenue, which is again raised by closing 
loopholes and cutting unfair spending in the Tax Code while locking in 
tax cuts for the middle class and low-income working families so we 
protect them from paying anymore.
  There is bipartisan support for reducing the deficit by making the 
Tax Code more fair and efficient. During the fiscal cliff negotiations, 
Speaker Boehner proposed that we reduce the deficit by $800 billion by 
closing what he called special-interest loopholes and deductions. So 
the Senate budget takes him up on that. Every bipartisan group that has 
tackled this issue in a serious way recommended a lot more revenue than 
the $600 billion raised from the wealthiest Americans in the yearend 
  If our budget passes, the total deficit reduction since the Simpson-
Bowles report will consist of 64 percent spending cuts, 14 percent tax 
rate increases on the rich, and 22 percent new revenue from closing 
loopholes and cutting wasteful spending in the Tax Code. That is a 
responsible approach. It is a balanced and fair approach. It is the one 
endorsed by bipartisan groups and experts and it is one that is 
supported by the vast majority of the American people.
  I want to say this again. Here are the facts. Our budget does not 
include a $1.5 trillion tax hike. It does raise $975 billion, again 
from closing loopholes and cutting wasteful spending in our Tax Code. 
It reduces the deficit by $1.85 trillion when analyzed the same way 
Republicans have analyzed their own proposals. And Democrats do care 
deeply about our country. We do want to reduce our debt and deficit, 
which is exactly why we have put forward a responsible proposal to put 
our debt and deficit on a downward sustainable path. As we continue 
this debate over the next day I urge my Republican colleagues to stick 
to the facts. Let's end the misinformation. Let's work together on the 
job the American people want us to focus on and get a comprehensive 
budget deal and get our country back on track.
  Mr. President, I yield 10 minutes off the resolution to Senator 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question? I 
will not insist on an answer but I wish to raise something.
  Mrs. MURRAY. If the Senator would withhold, because we have two 
Senators waiting to talk. I will be happy to answer that. Can we let 
two of them go on our time?
  Mr. SESSIONS. You have the time. That will be fine. Thank you.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I yield 10 minutes to Senator Wyden and 35 minutes to 
Senator Levin.
  Mr. LEVIN. If I can ask Senator Wyden to yield, that 35 minutes will 
be allocated by me among a number of Senators on this side.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, when we began the budget debate in Senator 
Murray's committee last week, I said that Senator Murray's challenge 
gave new meaning to the idea of playing a tough hand. Many thought her 
task was essentially ``Mission Impossible.''
  The fact is, for all of us who know Senator Murray well, she has 
spent her whole life coming up with solutions to those matters that 
people said were ``Mission Impossible.'' She spent her whole life 
coming up with accomplishments that actually solve problems. I commend 
Senator Murray for all of her work on this matter. I think it is very 
clear that when we get the kind of bicameral, bipartisan agreement that 
addresses the major concerns we are debating here on the floor, it is 
going to be in no small measure because Senator Murray continued to 
reach out to all sides. I want her to know how much I appreciate that.
  I think we all understand these are complicated issues. At the same 
time, the challenge of coming up with a bipartisan agreement here is 
not rocket science in terms of identifying what the issues are. There 
are two issues here. One of them is taxes and the other is Medicare. 
The two of them in fact are inextricably linked in many respects, 
because I have heard some on the other side of the aisle say I will 
look at ways to reform taxes if colleagues on the Democratic side will 
look at ways to protect Medicare and at the same time hold down its 
costs. We have heard other Senators say the reverse. So these issues 
are inextricably linked.
  One of the reasons I support this budget this evening is that I think 
this budget provides significant space for Democrats and Republicans, 
as this process goes forward, to produce bipartisan solutions on those 
two issues, the tax question and the Medicare issue, in the days ahead.
  Let me take a few minutes. Senator Coats talked about our bipartisan 
efforts. I have had a chance for the last 5 years to work with two very 
thoughtful, conservative Republicans--Senator Coats and our former 
colleague Senator Gregg. Senator Begich and I have been part of a 
bipartisan team that is, in effect, seeking to modernize some of the 
principles that a very big group of Democrats and Ronald Reagan agreed 
to in the 1980s, which is to clean out some of these outlandish 
special-interest tax breaks.
  I see my good friend Senator Levin tonight. He is going to outline 
just some of those outlandish tax breaks. We ought to clean them out 
and use a portion of those dollars to hold down the rates and keep 
progressivity. In the 2 years after Democrats and Republicans did that 
in the 1980s, the country created millions of new jobs. No one can say 
that every one of them was due to that tax reform effort, but it 
certainly helped.
  We had Senator Enzi on the floor earlier this evening. I have been 
working with him on something that I think has been missed in the tax 
reform debate, and that is Senator Enzi has said

[[Page S2114]]

when are people going to start talking about the transition rules you 
would need to actually implement the tax reform plan because today in a 
global economy--and Senator Murray and I come from a part of the world 
that is so trade sensitive--here we have Senator Enzi talking about 
something very practical that ought to be very attractive to the most 
progressive Member of the Senate and the most conservative Member of 
the Senate. Under the Murray proposal these are the kinds of ideas we 
should be looking at in the days ahead.
  Let me now turn, if I might, to the Medicare issue. Again, we all 
understand it is right at the heart of this when Senator Murray and 
Congressman Ryan and all those who are going to be in a bipartisan 
conference are negotiating. I continue to believe it is critically 
important to protect the Medicare guarantee, something I have battled 
for since the days when I was codirector of the Oregon Gray Panthers, 
and we can do it in a way that will hold down costs. This is another 
area where Senator Murray has given us a chance to look at some of the 
solutions that could win support on both sides of the aisle. I will 
touch on them briefly.
  For years now we have had advocates on all sides of the political 
spectrum talk about the value of merging Part A, which is the hospital 
portion of Medicare, with Part B, the doctors and outpatients part of 
the program. Here is a chance to save billions of dollars while also 
helping vulnerable seniors hold down some of their out-of-pocket 
expenses. It is there for the doing under the Murray budget. I think we 
can forge bipartisan support for it.
  Let me move on now to the question of chronic care. This is where 
more than 70 percent of Medicare costs go, for those who are suffering 
from heart and stroke and cancer and diabetes. The accountable care 
organizations, which are an important part of the Affordable Care Act, 
are clearly going to help with respect to how we look to treat this 
population. But it is not going to lift all the boats. There are a lot 
of very effective plans and group practices around the country that are 
going to give us the opportunity to put in place integrated, effective 
plans to help the most sick among us. We ought to pursue it. The Murray 
budget will give us that opportunity.
  I will close simply by saying there are some very good ideas for 
promoting Medicare quality and holding costs down, which cost very 
little, such as the approach Senator Grassley has given me the chance 
to partner with him on, that would open for the first time the Medicare 
database so that we would get a sense of what Medicare was paying 
various doctors and providers for various services.
  I know colleagues are waiting to speak. I will wrap up by saying that 
on the biggest challenges of our time, which I think come down to two 
issues, taxes and Medicare, the Murray budget gives us a chance to come 
together in a bipartisan way. We are not going to get it all done, 
obviously, this week. But we are going to have a chance to do it and I 
think in both of these areas, taxes and Medicare, there are Senators on 
both sides of the aisle who can pick up on this budget and find a way 
to help Senator Murray and others who are going to participate in these 
discussions get us to the solutions we need that will strengthen our 
economy and protect our people.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, first I commend Senator Murray and the 
Budget Committee for the plan they have presented to us. It represents 
an enormous step forward on an issue of huge significance to American 
taxpayers. It is a step toward balanced deficit reduction.
  An important part of balanced deficit reduction is reducing the 
deficit without severely damaging important protections for and 
investments in American families. One way to do that is by ending 
unjustified tax loopholes and ending the damage they have inflicted on 
our budget. Senator Murray's summary of the Foundation For Growth, the 
budget plan before us, refers to ``the sheer magnitude of the revenue 
lost to off-shore tax abuse, wasteful and inefficient loopholes, and 
other business tax breaks.''
  Many Senators have focused on this issue over the months and the 
years. A number of them will, I expect, be joining me on the floor over 
the next few minutes. For many years as chairman of the Permanent 
Subcommittee on Investigations I have focused on the maze of offshore 
schemes and complex gimmicks that are concocted to allow a privileged 
few to avoid paying the taxes that are rightfully owing.
  Our subcommittee has, on a bipartisan basis, filled volume after 
volume with damning detail on how these schemes work and the damage 
they cause. As Senator Murray and the Budget Committee have pointed out 
in their blueprint, we are at a moment in history when we can remove 
this blight. The pressures on the Federal budget and the threat to 
economic growth and prosperity that they represent require action. We 
must close these loopholes. The relentless arithmetic of our budget 
situation compels it; fairness and justice demand it.
  We come to the floor today in support of the revenue provisions in 
the budget resolution before us. We are going to outline the ways for 
ending these tax avoidance schemes, the preposterous contortions that 
too many corporations and wealthy individuals employ to avoid paying 
taxes. We will illustrate the huge loss in Federal revenues, the 
resulting rise in deficits from these contortions, and will show how 
that loss has contributed to a shift in the tax burden from 
corporations and the wealthy to middle-class families and small 
businesses. This is a shift that has occurred largely without the 
notice or the approval of the American public. We are going to 
demonstrate how closing these loopholes is integral to any balanced 
deficit reduction agreement that is built on the common good.

  The case for additional revenue and for closing tax loopholes as a 
source of that revenue is overwhelming. Serious deficit reduction 
requires more revenue, as everybody from the Simpson-Bowles Commission 
to the Domenici-Rivlin task force to the Concord Coalition to Fix the 
Debt, has recognized. They have rightly concluded that without 
additional revenue, the deficit reduction numbers simply do not add up. 
Republicans have insisted that the discussion of revenue as part of our 
deficit-reduction approach is finished.
  The other day Speaker Boehner claimed, ``The talk about raising 
revenue is over.'' He is mistaken. Our effort is picking up steam. 
These Republican protests cannot erase the fact that Federal revenue 
remains significantly below its historic average as a percentage of the 
gross domestic product of our economy, and that revenue is, and under 
current trends will continue to be, below the levels we have needed in 
the recent past to balance the budget.
  In particular, the loss of corporate tax revenues is an ongoing cause 
of deficits. At a time when corporations enjoy record profits, the 
highest in half a century, revenue from corporate income taxes has 
fallen off as a percentage of our taxes collected.
  In 2006, corporate tax revenue made up about 15 percent of all 
Federal revenue. In 2012, it had fallen to 10 percent. Somebody has to 
pick up the slack. In this case it has been average American families. 
Why is corporate revenue a shrinking share of our Treasury even though 
the U.S. corporate tax rate, at 35 percent, is one of the highest in 
the developed world? It is because the top tax rate doesn't tell the 
story. While our tax rate at the upper limit is 35 percent on 
corporations, the average U.S. corporate taxpayer's actual tax rate was 
just 12 percent in 2011, which is the lowest in generations.
  A recent study by two think tanks found that 30 of our largest 
corporations with combined profits of more $160 billion paid no income 
tax, zero, from 2008 to 2010.
  The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which I chair, has 
outlined in great detail the black magic that these corporations employ 
to make their tax bills disappear. One major culprit is offshore tax 
avoidance. This is hardly a new problem, but it is receiving attention 
like never before--perhaps because it is simply too big to ignore any 
  This recent edition of The Economist--just a few weeks ago--pointed 
out in its lead story and on its cover that tax haven abuse is now a 
$20 trillion problem for the global economy.

[[Page S2115]]

That is $20 trillion, not billion. They also have a special report on 
this offshore finance. The headline here--and it is an eye-popper, I 
hope--is that ``The Missing $20 Trillion--How To Stop Companies And 
People Dodging Tax.''
  The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has been digging into 
these abuses for years. Last year a subcommittee report outlined how 
three U.S. companies--Apple, Google, and Microsoft--had used offshore 
gimmicks to avoid taxes on almost $80 billion in profits. Much of this 
tax avoidance stems from manipulation of intellectual property and 
other intangibles. Companies develop valuable knowledge within the 
United States, often using tax credits, grants, and other Federal 
support. They then transfer that valuable property under various legal 
schemes to offshore subsidiaries at bargain basement prices, thereby 
shifting the profit that this valuable property generates overseas 
where it is shielded from taxes.
  Other offshore schemes involve pretzel-like twisting of tax laws. For 
example, the subcommittee found that Hewlett-Packard employed such a 
gimmick to bring home money that was held offshore--bring it back to 
the United States--without paying the required taxes. Here is what the 
law requires: When profits are brought back to the United States, the 
profits are taxed. The IRS allows an exemption for very short-term 
loans from offshore subsidiaries to their domestic parent. Hewlett-
Packard exploited that exemption by concocting a rotating series of 
alternating loans from a pair of offshore subsidiaries to make billions 
of dollars in what should have been taxable repatriated income appear 
to be short-term loans exempt from taxation. This is a gimmick that is 
so blatant that even some of Hewlett-Packard's accountants questioned 
  Our subcommittee found that Hewlett-Packard used this offshore cash--
used it here--shielded it in taxes to help run its U.S. operations 
during the 2010 fiscal year. To quote from the subcommittee's 

       There does not appear to be a gap of a single day during 
     that period where the loaned funds of either BCC or CHCC--

  The two offshore subsidiaries in question--

       were not present in the United States. Moreover, a similar 
     pattern of continuous lending appeared to be occurring for 
     most of the period between 2008 and 2011.

  Now they are talking about short-term loans--which I believe is 30 
days or less--but they are supposed to be exempt from taxes when they 
are lent from an offshore subsidiary back to the parent here in the 
United States. This has been going on for years without a gap by using 
a gimmick that they found in the Tax Code, which is egregious. It is 
time to act.
  Senator Whitehouse and I introduced a Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes 
Act not too long ago. Our bill would help address some of these tax 
schemes, and others as well. It is a powerful weapon in our deficit-
reduction arsenal if we will use it.
  Today a coalition of more than two dozen national public interest 
groups, as well as dozens of State and local organizations, released a 
letter urging the Senate to adopt our Cut Loopholes Act.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that this letter be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                   March 21, 2013.
       Dear Senator, We write to ask you to join as a cosponsor of 
     the Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act (S. 268), introduced by 
     Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 
     This bill would close a myriad of corporate tax loopholes 
     that serve no public purpose and would raise at least $190 
     billion over ten years. We urge the Senate leadership to 
     include the provisions of this bill in any budget deal struck 
     this year. The legislation tackles offshore tax loopholes 
     that allow and even encourage many large U.S. companies to 
     shift U.S. jobs and profits to offshore subsidiaries. 
     Corporations that benefit from all of the advantages of doing 
     business here are able to use creative tax planning to avoid 
     paying taxes on income legitimately earned in the United 
       As federal revenues from corporations hover at multi-
     generational lows, cracking down on offshore tax abuses 
     should be at the top of the Congressional ``to do'' list. The 
     Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has estimated 
     the cost to taxpayers of tax-avoidance schemes involving tax 
     havens at $100 billion annually. New estimates put the amount 
     of lost revenue as high as $150 billion: $90 billion from 
     corporate tax avoidance and $40-$70 billion from individual 
     tax evasion. Tax haven abuse is widespread: at least 83 of 
     America's top 100 publicly traded companies have subsidiaries 
     in offshore tax havens, according to the GAO. Some of these 
     subsidiaries are nothing more than P.O. boxes. In fact, 
     18,857 corporate `headquarters' are registered at one modest 
     five-story building in the Cayman Islands.
       This is also a jobs problem. At a time when far too many 
     Americans are facing unemployment, our tax code is rewarding 
     U.S. corporations for moving and operating abroad rather than 
     in the U.S. It allows corporations to immediately deduct some 
     of their expenses for moving and operating those overseas 
     facilities even though the companies can defer U.S. taxes on 
     the offshore profits indefinitely. The CUT Loopholes Act 
     would promote investments in American jobs by removing some 
     of these incentives.
       The non-partisan Congressional Research Service recently 
     found that U.S. multinational corporations reported 
     ``profits'' in offshore tax havens that far-exceeded the 
     entire economies of those tax havens. For example, in 2008, 
     U.S. multinational corporations' reported profits in Bermuda 
     and the Cayman Islands exceeded 645% and 545% of those tax 
     havens' GDPs, respectively. After surveying the multinational 
     corporate profits reportedly from tax havens, that report 
     found ``these numbers clearly indicate that the profits in 
     these countries do not appear to derive from economic 
     activities related to productive inputs or markets, but 
     rather reflect income easily transferred to low-tax 
       Here is an example of how these loopholes work. A recent 
     investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on 
     Investigations found that Microsoft avoided $4.5 billion in 
     federal income taxes over three years by using sophisticated 
     accounting maneuvers to artificially shift its income to tax-
     friendly Puerto Rico. The company sold certain intellectual 
     property rights to its Puerto Rican subsidiary. Now the 
     parent company pays that subsidiary 47% of the revenue 
     generated from its American sales despite the fact that its 
     products were developed and sold in the U.S.
       Businesses should compete based on the quality of the 
     products and services they offer, not on the cleverness of 
     their tax attorneys in exploiting loopholes like these. Tax 
     haven abuse by large multinational corporations puts small 
     businesses -- and even large domestic businesses -- at a 
     competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. Along with 
     individual filers, they must shoulder the extra tax burden 
     through higher taxes, a reduction to public services, or a 
     larger share of the federal. A 2012 U.S. PIRG report found 
     that the average extra tax burden shifted to just one 
     ordinary taxpayer due to tax haven abuse adds up to $426 per 
     year. If small businesses were to make up for the revenue 
     lost just from the corporate abuse of tax havens, each small 
     business in America would have to pay $2,116. It is time for 
     Congress and President Obama to correct this imbalance and 
     make sure multinational corporations are contributing their 
       Offshore tax loopholes create winners and losers. The 
     winners are multinational corporations, usually in financial 
     services, high tech, and pharmaceutical industries. The 
     losers are those businesses who stay here in the U.S. and 
     those who can't afford to hire expensive tax planners and 
     lobbyists. Those on the losing end of these loopholes include 
     retailers, small businesses, and ordinary taxpayers, who are 
     forced to pick up the tab for tax haven abuse.
       Due to the substantial loss of revenue, governments at all 
     levels, here and around the world, cut programs and jobs that 
     are critical to economic recovery and growth. We are finally 
     seeing international bodies such as the European Union, the 
     G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and 
     Development and government leaders from U.K. to India taking 
     action. The United States should be leading these efforts, 
     not following and certainly not ignoring the fact that these 
     stateless corporations are not going to act until we 
     eliminate these loopholes for good. Additionally, by closing 
     these corporate tax loopholes we send a message around the 
     globe that corporate tax avoidance is unacceptable whether it 
     be in the developing or developed world.
       As Congress looks for ways to reduce the federal deficit 
     and debates tax reform proposals, members should start with 
     the elimination of these loopholes, which could raise as much 
     as $1.5 trillion in revenue over the next ten years. Policies 
     that would close a number of the most egregious of these 
     offshore tax loopholes are included in the Cut Unjustified 
     Tax Loopholes Act (S. 268). The Levin-Whitehouse bill would 
     end incentives that encourage the offshoring of jobs and 
       Diverse constituencies, including small business, labor, 
     faith, and public interest groups support closing these 
     loopholes. We urge you to stand with taxpayers by joining as 
     a co-sponsor of the Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act and 
     urging your leadership to close these loopholes as part of 
     any budget agreement made in the next year.
       Action Aid USA
       Alliance for a Just Society

[[Page S2116]]

       American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial 
     Organizations (AFL-CIO)
       American Sustainable Business Council American Friends 
     Service Committee
       Business for Shared Prosperity
       Center of Concern
       Center for Effective Government
       Citizens for Tax Justice
       EG Justice
       Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency 
       Foreign Policy In Focus
       Foundry United Methodist Church
       Friends of the Earth US
       Global Financial Integrity
       Jubilee USA Network
       Main Street Alliance
       Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
       New Rules for Global Finance
       Presbyterian Church (USA)
       Public Citizen
       Service Employees Union International (SEIU)
       Tax Justice Network USA
       U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)

                       State/Local Organizations

       Arizona PIRG--AZ
       Jubilee San Diego--CA
       California PIRG--CA
       Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA)--CA
       Resurrection Lutheran Church--CA
       Colorado PIRG--CO
       Connecticut PIRG--CT
       Pax Christi Catholic University of America--DC
       Foundry United Methodist Church--DC
       Florida PIRG--FL
       Georgia PIRG--GA
       Georgia Rural Urban Summit--GA
       Georgia Fair Share--GA
       9 to 5 Atlanta--GA
       MoveOn Atlanta--GA
       Atlanta Jobs with Justice--GA
       Provincial Council of the Clerics of St. Viator 
       Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition--IL
       AIDS Foundation of Chicago--IL
       Autism Society of Illinois--IL
       Union Church of Hinsdale--IL
       American Bottom Conservancy Illinois--IL
       Citizens Against Ruining the Environment--IL
       Eco-Justice Collaborative--IL
       Holy Cross International Justice Office--IN
       Sisters of the Holy Cross Congregation Justice Committee 
     Notre Dame, Indiana--IN
       Des Moines Chapter--Women's International League for Peace 
     and Freedom (WILPF)--IA
       Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church--IA
       Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement--IA
       Iowa Move to Amend--IA
       Green Dubuque--IA
       Iowa Progressive Action Coalition--IA
       Iowa Citizen Action Network--IA
       Iowa Mainstreet Alliance--IA
       Iowa PIRG--IA
       Iowa Policy Project--IA
       Maryland PIRG--MD
       Maryland United for Peace and Justice--MD
       Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti--MA
       Jubilee Justice Task Force of the United Church of Christ--
       Jubilee Massachusetts--MA
       Massachusetts PIRG--MA
       Immaculate Heart of Mary Justice, Peace and Sustainability 
       Holy Innocents Episcopal Church--MI PIRG in Michigan--MI
       Missouri PIRG--MO
       Missourians for Tax Justice sub-committee of the MO 
     Association for Social Welfare--MO
       Economic Justice Task Force--MO
       Progress Now Nevada--NV
       New Hampshire PIRG--NH
       New Jersey PIRG--NJ
       NJ Working Families Alliance--NJ
       NJ State Industrial Union Council--NJ
       NJ Save Our Schools March--NJ
       NJ Main Street Alliance--NJ
       NJ Citizen Action--NJ
       New Mexico PIRG--NM
       North Carolina PIRG--NC
       Jubilee Oregon--OR
       Oregon PIRG (OSPIRG)--OR
       Pennsylvania PIRG--PA
       Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart--PA
       Small Business Chamber of Commerce--SC
       Texas PIRG--TX
       Vermont PIRG--VT
       Jubilee Northwest--WA
       Fuse Washington--WA
       Washington PIRG--WA
       Hill Connections--WI
       Madison Teachers Inc--WI
       Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans--WI
       Citizen Action--WI
       Wisconsin Community Action Program--WI
       Wisconsin Education Association Council--WI
       Wisconsin PIRG--WI.

  Mr. LEVIN. I see there are a number of my colleagues who have joined 
me here in this effort so I will close with the following comment. Some 
of the people argue that they will consider closing tax loopholes but 
only if the resulting revenue is used to lower tax rates rather than 
reducing the deficit. This position is unwise for two reasons. First, 
the budget deficit is a significant problem for our country, and we 
should address it. Senator Murray's budget wisely takes the view that 
we need to act to reduce the deficit.
  Second, the people who elected us overwhelmingly believe that reforms 
to end these tax schemes, which I have outlined, should contribute to 
deficit reduction. A recent poll shows that more than 80 percent of 
Americans believe that revenue we recover from closing tax loopholes 
should be dedicated to reducing the deficit, not to cutting rates.
  Let's follow the path this budget resolution before us outlines: 
spending cuts, yes, but prudent, carefully considered cuts that 
preserve our most important priorities; Savings from reform of 
entitlement programs, yes, but reforms to keep the faith with seniors 
today and in the future. And, yes, revenue, revenue that ends the 
privileges of an influential few who have for far too long enjoyed 
unjustified tax breaks that boost corporate profits and the bank 
accounts of the wealthy few at the expense of ordinary Americans.
  Earlier today Senators Whitehouse, McCain, and I--a bipartisan 
group--filed an amendment to the budget resolution suggesting the need 
to close tax loopholes. Our amendment makes reference to ending 
offshore tax abuses by large corporations. Our amendment provides that 
at least some of the revenue generated must be used for deficit 
reduction. This bipartisan amendment makes a strong statement on the 
momentum that is building for balanced, commonsense deficit reduction.
  There is a group of Senators who have come to the floor with me so we 
can end these tax schemes and gimmicks. I thank Senator McCain, Senator 
Whitehouse, and I thank my other colleagues who are here today for the 
work they put into a very vitally important issue.
  Mr. President, I believe Senator Whitehouse is ready to proceed. 
Senator Whitehouse is my principal cosponsor on this amendment, along 
with Senator McCain.
  Mr. President, how much time do I have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Udall of New Mexico). The Senator has 24 
minutes remaining in his name.
  Mr. LEVIN. Is 9 minutes sufficient?
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. It is more than sufficient.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I thank Senator Levin for his 
leadership on this issue. I am proud to be part of his Levin-Whitehouse 
group in putting this together. If we boil down the discussions that we 
are having back and forth about the budget, they come to a very simple 
question; that is, can we use the money that is in tax avoidance, in 
tax loopholes toward solving our sequester problem, our deficit 
problem, and our debt problem?
  The way this has been described so far is that there are spending 
cuts. That is one part of the equation. The other part of the equation 
is tax increases. That has been the way this has been framed. That 
overlooks the third big piece of the problem, which is money that goes 
out the backdoor of the Tax Code without ever coming into the U.S. 
Government in revenues. I want to let people who are watching know--
because they probably won't believe it--what a colossal number that is.
  We get $1.09 trillion in revenue out of the individual Tax Code. We 
get $181 billion in revenue out of the corporate Tax Code. We give away 
$1.02 trillion out the backdoor of the Tax Code for individual 
deductions and loopholes. We give away $157 billion out the backdoor of 
the Tax Code in corporate deductions and loopholes. The IRS estimates 
that there is $385 billion which never even gets into the formula 
because of what Chairman Levin was talking about: companies and 
individuals who hide their revenue and income offshore so it never even 
gets into the tax package. If we add it up, there is actually more 
money lost through tax avoidance than there is collected in tax revenue 
in this country.
  When people talk about only the tax revenue and only spending cuts, 
they are trying to hide a very big ball. That is the basic difference 
between the Democratic proposal and the Republican proposal. We want to 
take $975

[[Page S2117]]

billion, which is only 7 percent of all the money that goes out the 
backdoor of the Tax Code, and use it toward ending the sequester and 
balancing the budget. That is our proposal. The Ryan Republican 
proposal is to take 41 percent of that money that goes out the backdoor 
of the Tax Code and use every nickel of it to lower the high-end rates 
for corporations and for wealthy Americans who pay the highest end 
rates. They don't put a dime from this toward either the sequester or 
deficit reduction. We cannot have that be the rule.
  If we take this number, which is an annual number--the minimum is 
right here, $1.02 trillion plus $157 billion. We do our budget over a 
10-year span. These are annual numbers. That means in a 10-budget 
horizon, we have at least $11.5 trillion going out the backdoor of the 
Tax Code. If we allow for moderate growth in the economy, it is not 
$11.5 trillion, it is $14 trillion. If we throw in the nearly $400 
billion in offshoring, we are up to nearly $18 trillion--$18 trillion 
that goes out the back door of the Tax Code.

  By the way, although there are important middle-class deductions in 
the middle of this, such as the home mortgage deduction, there is an 
awful lot of nonsense and mischief in the tax expenditures that go out 
the back door of the Tax Code. If we want to know why hedge fund 
billionaires pay a lower tax rate than their chauffeurs and the 
hospital orderly rolling his cart down Rhode Island hospital hallways 
in the middle of the night, we can look at the mischief in the Tax Code 
for the carried interest exception. If we want to know why corporate 
jets, private jets get favored treatment, look at the accelerated 
depreciation schedules in the corporate Tax Code. There is a lot of 
mischief and monkeyshines that have been built into the Tax Code by 
lobbyists for the wealthy and lobbyists for powerful corporations over 
the years.
  All we want to do--and what this fight is all about--is take $975 
billion out of those trillions and trillions of dollars that go out the 
back of the Tax Code and use it to get rid of the sequester and to 
balance the budget. That is what we want to do. And what the 
Republicans want to do is take 41 percent of that and use every 
dollar--every dollar--to lower tax rates for the richest people. They 
don't spend a nickel in all of that toward reducing the deficit or 
toward ending the sequester.
  This Tax Code spending--all the earmarks the lobbyists built into the 
Tax Code over decades--is the Republican treasure trove. That is their 
Ali Baba's cave. That is where all the goodies are, and they don't want 
to spend a nickel of it either getting rid of the sequester or helping 
with deficit reduction. They want all of the treasure in Ali Baba's 
cave of special tax deals to stay with the big corporations and with 
the wealthy in the form of lower tax rates. That is the entire debate 
between our sides right now.
  I think Chairman Levin, by putting forward this plan to take this 
offshore hidden revenue and bring it into the discussion and use it to 
help solve our sequester, use it to help support our economy, use it to 
help reduce our deficit, is a very strong idea, so I am very pleased to 
support him. I appreciate his leadership. I am delighted Senator John 
McCain has joined us on this to make this a bipartisan initiative. They 
show great leadership together, and I am delighted to join them.
  With that, with my great appreciation to Chairman Levin, I yield the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. First let me thank Senator Whitehouse. He has been a 
leader in this effort for a long time. His support here is critical and 
will really make a difference.
  How much time do I have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 14 minutes remaining.
  Mr. LEVIN. I yield 7 minutes to the Senator from Connecticut.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I wish to add my thanks to the 
chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the leader in this effort 
to close some of these abusive and unnecessary and wasteful loopholes. 
I also thank Senator Whitehouse and Senator McCain for their leadership 
in this effort, which is about fundamental fairness.
  Most importantly, let me thank Senator Murray for the hard work, the 
courage, the strength it has taken to put together a budget that is 
intensely complex, dealing with issues that are hugely challenging, and 
craft a solution that presents a vision for the future of America that 
is very distinct and different, as well as very preferable to the one 
presented by the House budget. The House insists on a cuts-only 
approach and absolutely refuses to consider new revenue. The solution 
crafted by Senator Murray and her committee has opted for balance and 
compromise--two words that unfortunately are too often missing from our 
deliberative process.
  Our budget achieves $1.85 trillion in new deficit reduction, with an 
even mix of $975 billion of new revenue and $975 billion in responsible 
spending cuts. That is a real achievement.
  We are here today to talk about cutting loopholes, tax breaks, 
giveaways to people who don't need them and corporations that don't 
deserve them. Their existence undermines the fundamental fairness of 
our Tax Code.
  The fact that more money goes to tax avoidance than to tax revenue is 
a fundamental, searing indictment of our Tax Code, and it is the reason 
there is resistance to people paying their fair share. Again and again 
and again, what I hear from citizens, from taxpayers, from residents of 
the State of Connecticut is, I would be willing to pay my fair share as 
long as others are required to do the same.
  Fairness is at the core of our Tax Code. It is the reason why 
voluntary compliance is so important and why it happens--because people 
rely on its fundamental fairness.
  The offshoring of profits and ending those offshore tax abuses that 
have been described so eloquently by Senator Levin and Senator 
Whitehouse is absolutely necessary to a sense of fairness in our Tax 
Code. As important as the additional money is the sense of equity it 
would bring to our Tax Code.
  Likewise, fair and effective tax enforcement is critical. I know as 
an enforcer of civil laws for 20 years as attorney general it is 
important to a sense of fairness in our society, and effective 
enforcement requires resources. It requires tightening rules relating 
to tax shelter promoters; stiffening penalties for the aiders and 
abettors--the ones who enable violations of our tax laws and tax 
evasion; and modernizing Federal tax lien registration. We are fond of 
saying in this body that the devil is in the details. Here, the devil 
is in nonenforcement of those detailed regulations and rules that 
require compliance.
  Similarly, ending excessive corporate tax deductions or stock options 
and closing some of the loopholes that apply to derivatives are 
fundamental to fairness and to preserving a sense that everybody is 
bearing a fair share of the burden. Those rules that presently permit 
evasion and abuse must be ended. The consequences are huge because they 
apply to the vision of the future that each of these rules and budgets 
  The wasteful tax loopholes mean losses in revenue, and those, in 
turn, mean we must cut programs as a consequence. In my home State of 
Connecticut alone--just to show some of the consequences of the House 
or Ryan budget--47,000 seniors would pay more for prescription drugs 
next year, and that means $828 for each of them, on average, more in 
the cost of drugs in 2014 alone and more than $13,000 over the next 
  The House budget would cut $8.73 billion in funding Connecticut 
receives for nursing care and other health care services for seniors 
and the disabled, putting at risk tens of thousands of Connecticut 
seniors who rely on Medicaid for their long-term health care needs.
  I have sponsored the Bring the Jobs Home Act, which many others have 
cosponsored, which would close that loophole for corporations that send 
jobs and ship employment overseas. We need to bring those jobs back.
  The House budget would double down on job-killing cuts to 
infrastructure and research and economic development programs. The 
Economic Policy Institute has found that these cuts would cost 
Connecticut over 24,000 jobs in 2014 alone.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Our economic recovery is fragile. Job-killing cuts 
must be stopped.

[[Page S2118]]

  I thank Senator Levin for his leadership on this issue.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, first of all, let me thank Senator 
Blumenthal for his tremendous work in this area.
  I yield the remainder of my time, which I believe is 6 or 7 minutes, 
to Senator Shaheen. Is that correct?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.
  The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I thank Senator Levin for the work he 
has done to look at the tax loopholes that should be closed and to 
bring attention to really the fairness we should have in our Tax Code.
  I am here to join my colleagues in talking about the importance of 
passing a budget that will address our debt and deficits and protect 
middle-class families while investing in our future job growth. I 
applaud Senator Murray for her leadership and the work of the Budget 
Committee in bringing this document before us.
  We have made significant progress in the last few years to get the 
American economy growing, and we have taken real action to reduce our 
deficits, but there is more we can do on both fronts, and the budget 
before us addresses both of these urgent priorities in a responsible 
  No one is questioning the need to address our debt and deficits. The 
question is, Can we do this in a responsible way? Can we come together 
in a way that protects our economic recovery?
  Unfortunately, because of continued political stalemate, we have seen 
the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration go into 
effect. Now we need to come together to support a plan to address these 
harmful automatic cuts because they are hurting small businesses. They 
are having an impact on our economic recovery. They are forcing 
furloughs of public employees--in New Hampshire, people such as our 
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers and our air traffic controllers. They 
are creating economic uncertainty that is putting our economic recovery 
in jeopardy.
  I have had the chance to travel around New Hampshire in the last 
month or so and talk to companies that are concerned about the impact 
of these automatic cuts. One of those companies I visited is called 
Cirtronics, which is a manufacturing company in Milford, NH. The 
company employs about 150 people, and it manufactures a diverse array 
of products, from circuit boards, to medical equipment, to defense and 
homeland security products. Cirtronics doesn't have any direct 
government contracts, but many of its clients do. As a result, the 
company is facing a lot of uncertainty under sequestration. According 
to its CEO, Geraldine Ferlins, this uncertainty is getting in the way 
of the company's growth. She said:

       How do you plan without knowing how you will be affected? 
     You hear about how CEOs are hesitant to hire. This is why.

  Another company in Salem, NH, called Micro-Precision Technologies is 
a small, family-owned business with about 20 employees that makes 
semiconductors used in the military, aerospace, medical, and 
communications industries. About 80 percent of Micro-Precision's 
business is with the Department of Defense. Sequestration has meant 
that their orders are down about half for the month of January. They 
had been planning to hire two new people, but unfortunately they cannot 
do that because they are so uncertain about what is going to happen.
  That is why we need a better approach to addressing our budget 
situation. We need a plan that looks at all areas of our spending--at 
our domestic, at our defense, at our mandatory programs--as well as at 
revenues through tax reform. That is exactly the approach that was 
taken by the Budget Committee in passing out the budget resolution that 
is before us this week. That is why I supported it. It replaces the 
harmful cuts under sequestration with a balanced mix of responsible 
spending cuts as well as additional revenues. So instead of across-the-
board cuts, the budget makes targeted cuts to several areas. It cuts 
health care spending without harming beneficiaries; it reduces defense 
spending cuts, as we wind down our operations in Afghanistan; and it 
results in reduced interest payments on our debt.
  The budget also provides a balanced approach by ending, as Senator 
Levin pointed out, the unfair tax breaks for the wealthiest and for big 
corporations. I certainly applaud Senator Levin and Senator Whitehouse, 
and I was really glad to hear that Senator McCain has joined them in 
addressing these unfair tax breaks.
  The budget does all this, and yet it still invests in our economy in 
a way that allows it to grow. It provides much needed funding for our 
aging transportation infrastructure. It creates an infrastructure bank 
that is a bipartisan idea that allows us to get a greater bang for the 
taxpayer buck. There is no doubt that we have to do more to fix our 
debt and deficits, but we need to do it in a smart, responsible way. 
That is what this budget does.
  I certainly hope we will be able to come together this week to 
replace the harmful cuts under sequestration with a comprehensive and 
responsible plan for addressing our debt and deficit. That is why I 
intend to vote for this budget--because it does exactly that.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, my colleague, Senator Murray, has 
questioned the $1.5 trillion in tax increases that we have contended in 
this legislation. I think it is there because there are two separate 
reserve funds that would allow taxes to be increased by $500 billion 
without legislation and would go through without a supermajority, to be 
passed on a simple vote.
  But our colleagues say that is not there, so I would offer into the 
Record, Mr. President, a number of documents that support our view that 
it is $1.5 trillion. Others can agree, disagree about it, as it is 
presently written. I would offer that for the Record and our 
explanation and why we think that is accurate. I ask unanimous consent 
to have that material printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

 An Explanation of the $1.5 Trillion Tax Hike in the Senate Democrats' 
                             FY2014 Budget

       When the Budget Committee minority staff began analyzing 
     Senate Democrats' FY 2014 budget last week, they discovered 
     that the plan called for not $975 billion in tax increases--
     the amount that the majority claimed--but instead $1.5 
     trillion in tax hikes.
       How is this possible? The answer lies in an arcane budget 
     tool known as a ``deficit neutral reserve fund'' (DNRF). 
     Because it is not possible to legislate on a budget 
     resolution, DNRFs were created to facilitate the passage of 
     subsequent legislation. They do this by removing future 
     barriers in the form of budget points of order.
       To understand how DNRFs work, consider an example: A 
     Senator wants to introduce a piece of legislation to increase 
     funding for border security. Even if that bill's spending is 
     completely offset with new tax revenue, the legislation could 
     still be subject to a budget point of order. (Importantly, if 
     the new spending is offset with spending reductions 
     elsewhere, the bill would not be subject to that point of 
     order.) So if the Senator knows during consideration of a 
     budget resolution that he will be introducing border security 
     legislation at a later time, he can offer a DNRF to preclude 
     the possibility of that point of order being raised when his 
     bill is brought up.
       Returning to the Senate Democrats' FY 2014 budget, the 
     majority asserts that their plan ``includes budget 
     reconciliation instructions . . . that [instruct] the Senate 
     Finance Committee to report legislation that will reduce the 
     deficit by $975 billion through changes to the tax code 
     alone.'' The budget also calls for an extension of the 
     certain refundable tax credits that were originally included 
     in the 2009 stimulus law (the American Reinvestment and 
     Recovery Act). After accounting for the extension of these 
     tax credits, the summary tables included with the budget 
     reflect a revenue level that is $923 billion higher than the 
     Congressional Budget Office current law baseline.
       In a separate place in their policy document, Chairman 
     Murray proposes to ``[replace] sequestration using the 
     following equal mix of responsible spending cuts and . . . 
     $480 billion in new revenue . . .'' Finally, the majority 
     also proposes a $100 billion ``jobs and infrastructure'' 
     package that ``is fully paid for by eliminating loopholes and 
     cutting wasteful spending in the tax code . . .'' [see Table 
       It was initially assumed that this additional $580 billion 
     was simply a detailed breakdown of a portion of the $975 
     billion in tax increases called for through reconciliation, 
     but then Budget Committee analysts found two separate deficit 
     neutral reserve funds (Sec. 301 and Sec. 308) that exactly

[[Page S2119]]

     match those respective amounts. Recall that the sole purpose 
     of a DNRF is to pave the way for legislation that increases 
     both taxes and spending. If the Murray budget intended for 
     the $580 billion to be a subset of the $975 billion, they 
     would have had no need to include these two DNRFs. In other 
     words, it must be assumed that the $580 billion is in 
     addition to the tax hikes called for in the reconciliation 
       In total, therefore, the Senate Democrat budget clearly 
     calls for $1.503 trillion (the $923 billion from the tax 
     increases through reconciliation adjusted for the extension 
     of the refundable tax credits plus $580 billion) in tax 
     increases. The budget's authors have protested this 
     calculation, but if they wish to clear up the confusion, 
     surely they would agree to amend their resolution to 
     remove these two DNRFs and remove any possibility that the 
     funds will be used for additional future tax increases.

        Table 1--Proposed Tax Increases in the Democrats' Budget
                                                        Cite in budget
     Proposed tax increases          10-year total     document* and how
``Includes $100 billion . . .     $100 billion......  Top of page 8
 paid for by eliminating                               ``Infrastructure'
 loopholes''.                                          ' Reserve Fund
                                                       (deficit neutral:
                                                       higher taxes for
                                                       higher spending).
``This budget replaces            $480 billion......  Middle of page 21
 sequestration using . . . $480                        ``Replace
 billion in new revenue raised                         Sequester''
 by closing loopholes''.                               Reserve Fund
                                                       (deficit neutral:
                                                       higher taxes for
                                                       higher spending).
$975B reconciliation instruction  $923 billion......  Middle of page 66
 to Finance Cmte, less the                             Reconciliation
 extension of stimulus                                 Instruction
 refundable tax credits.
    TOTAL TAXES IN BUDGET.......  $1.503 trillion ..
* ``Restoring the Promise of American Opportunity'', Chairman Patty
  Murray, March 13, 2013.

 Appendix A--Detailed Citations in Chairman Murray's budget document, 
            ``Restoring the Promise of American Opportunity

       On page 66 is an explanation of the $975 billion 
     reconciliation instruction:
       The Senate Budget calls for deficit reduction of $975 
     billion to be achieved by eliminating loopholes and cutting 
     unfair and inefficient spending in the tax code for the 
     wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. It recognizes 
     that the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax 
     legislation, could generate this additional revenue through a 
     variety of different methods.
       On page 55 is an explanation of the permanent extension of 
     the 2009 refundable tax credits:
       [T]he Senate Budget builds on the middle class tax relief 
     that was legislated in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 
     2012 (ATRA) and supports the permanent extension of the 
     American Opportunity Tax Credit... as well as the temporary 
     enhancements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child 
     Tax Credit, all of which are scheduled to expire after 2017.
       On page 8 is an explanation of the new revenue used to pay 
     for the new infrastructure spending:
       Includes a $100 billion targeted jobs and infrastructure 
     package that would start creating new jobs quickly, begin 
     repairing the worst of our crumbling roads and bridges, and 
     help train our workers to fill 21st century jobs. This jobs 
     investment package is fully paid for by eliminating loopholes 
     and cutting wasteful spending in the tax code that benefits 
     the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.
       On page 21 is an explanation of the new revenue used to pay 
     for the sequester replacement:
       This budget replaces sequestration using the following 
     equal mix of responsible spending cuts and new revenue from 
     the wealthiest Americans, which builds on the precedent set 
     in the bipartisan year-end deal... $480 billion in new 
     revenue raised by closing loopholes and ending wasteful 
     deductions that benefit the wealthiest Americans and biggest 

Appendix B--Quote from Keith Hennessey (Stanford University), included 
   in the Washington Post article ``Mitch McConnell's claim that the 
               Democrats plan a $1.5 trillion tax hike''

       Keith Hennessey, another former GOP budget expert who now 
     teaches at Stanford University... was especially suspicious 
     of the fact that reserve funds do not have limits--as is 
     sometimes the case in budget resolutions--and said it was 
     perfectly acceptable to argue that the budget ``also allows 
     for another $580 billion in tax increases to offset 
     additional spending increases she [Murray] assumes and 
     promotes aggressively.'' He added: ``If anything I'd argue 
     that even the $1.5 trillion number understates the tax 
     increases allowed by the Murray budget resolution. She's 
     requiring $975 billion in tax increases to reduce future 
     deficits, and allowing for unlimited amounts more to pay for 
     new spending. I find that terrifying.''

  Mr. SESSIONS. I would like to say this to my chairman: I am willing 
to concede the point if the chair would agree to amend the two reserve 
funds so that they cannot be used to advance tax increases, and I would 
cease making that argument and accept the fact that you have already 
almost $1 trillion in new taxes.
  So I would ask through the chair, is the Senator willing to amend 
those two reserve fund languages so they cannot be used to add another 
$500 billion in new taxes?
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, let me just respond again. As the 
Washington Post said in giving this concoction two Pinocchios, the 
reserve funds the Senator refers to lie within there in order to 
provide the $975 billion in revenues. So essentially what he is doing 
is double-counting. So I would just say to the Senator through the 
Chair that there is no need to have any kind of agreement here. That is 
what our budget does. It is clear. It is what every expert has said.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I thank the chair, and I assume, then, 
that she refuses to clarify the ambiguity, the certain option to 
increase taxes by another $500 billion. That could be eliminated simply 
by making the suggestion I just announced. She is rejecting that. So I 
think it is legitimate to assume that the intent of this reserve fund 
is to raise taxes another $500 billion.
  Secondly, with regard to the situation we have been discussing 
concerning the sequester, I know the Senator said just a few moments 
ago that the sequester is not deficit reduction. We can disagree about 
that, but that was her opinion, apparently. I think it is inaccurate.
  But my question to the Senator is, does your budget as now presented 
on the floor eliminate the spending limits that are in current law 
under the Budget Control Act and specifically the sequester portion?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, as I have stated many times out here on 
the floor--and our budget is very clear--we replace sequestration with 
a balanced mix of spending cuts and revenues, exactly as we have 
stated. There is no reason to misconstrue this. That is exactly what 
our budget does.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Well, I wouldn't misconstrue it. So it does eliminate 
the sequester.
  So then the next question would be, did you score the allowed 
increase in spending of $1.2 trillion in your budget as increased 
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, this is a matter of semantics. We replace 
the sequestration, very clearly, because it is very damaging to our 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Well, your staff indicated that you could not double-
count that money, and if you eliminated the $1.2 trillion in sequester 
limit and allowed $1.2 trillion more to be spent, you would not save 
$1.85 trillion but approximately $700 billion on that decision alone. 
Do you agree with your staff in their analysis?
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I assume we are taking this off the 
Republican time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, let me be very clear: We have put out a 
budget that is credible. It is clear, and it is a good, solid approach. 
I know we are playing with numbers here in terms of baselines. There is 
no need to do that. We are doing what every single budget has done--
Simpson-Bowles and everyone else--replacing the sequestration. We are 
clear that we have $975 billion in spending cuts, $975 billion in 
revenue. We, within the context of that, replace the sequester cuts. We 
take the $2.4 trillion that has already been done since Simpson-
Bowles--since Simpson-Bowles and we add another $1.85 trillion in 
deficit reduction.
  Mr. SESSIONS. One more question, then. Do you still stand by the 
promotional material that went with the budget--and in the budget 
document itself--that you have reduced the deficit over current law by 
$1.85 trillion or isn't it a fact that eliminating the sequester 
reduces that to approximately $700 billion in savings?

[[Page S2120]]

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, over the baseline, which we are very 
clear in what we are using--we are not hiding the ball, as he is trying 
to do when he is mixing numbers here--we reduce the budget by an 
additional $1.85 trillion, absolutely.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I would just say that the Associated 
Press disagrees. It is plainly inaccurate. Plainly, I asked that 
question, over current law, did they count the sequester increase in 
spending? And the staff admitted in our Budget Committee mark up that 
it did not--that increased spending--and therefore we reduce the 
deficit savings from $1.85 trillion to about $700 billion. There is 
another $700 billion in gimmicks, so there is no reduction in the 
deficit in this budget.
  The AP reported:

       . . . because Democrats want to restore $1.2 trillion in 
     automatic spending cuts . . .--cuts imposed by [the] failure 
     to strike a . . . budget pact--Murray's blueprint increases 
     spending slightly when compared with current policies.

  The Hill says:

       The Murray budget does not contain net spending cuts with 
     the sequester turned off.

  So I will say this is a serious issue. We need to understand that the 
sequester is law. It is not just a policy, it is in law. It is taking 
effect right now. The deficit reduction proposed by this bill is not 
$1.8 trillion but, in fact, zero.
  I thank the Chair and would now recognize Senator Barrasso for 10 
minutes, I believe, and Senator Alexander for 10 minutes. I thank them 
for their patience.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, within the last 20 minutes, I have heard 
on the floor comments about the sequester. A previous speaker on the 
Democratic side of the aisle said the sequester was hurting small 
business and said the sequester was causing economic uncertainty. 
Another Senator on the other side of the aisle made reference to the 
Washington Post.
  Well, I would draw the attention of this body to the Washington Post 
of this morning, a front page story in the Washington Post of today, 
Thursday, March 21: ``Health-care uncertainty weighs down small 
firms''--not the sequester, uncertainty about the health care law. 
``Requirements under 2010 law sow confusion, fear among businesses.'' 
That is the problem that is driving the fear and the anxiety and the 
lack of new business starts and the failure to expand business.
  In this article, there is a small business owner of an air-
conditioning firm in Richmond. He says:

       In speaking to them, I am convinced--
  He is talking about other customers, he is talking about other 

       I am convinced that the primary reason we aren't seeing a 
     robust economic recovery is the uncertainty and costs 
     associated with this health-care law.

  ``Looming health-care changes hold back small businesses.''
  Another quote from the article:

       It's already hard out there right now. . . . This may be--

  ``This'': the health care law--

       the straw that breaks the camel's back.

  Not the sequester, not made-up confusion by the Democrats, it is the 
health care law that is hurting our economy. Even the Federal Reserve, 
in their Beige Book, said so this past month.
  So I rise today to speak on the fiscal year 2014 budget and the 
choice we face over whether we are going to grow the economy or just 
grow government bureaucracy.
  When I travel home to Wyoming, as I did last weekend and will again 
this weekend, I hear from hard-working American taxpayers that they do 
not believe Washington is spending their tax dollars wisely. They think 
Washington has become far too inefficient, ineffective, and 
unaccountable. It is not just the people in Wyoming I am hearing it 
from. According to Gallup, Americans across the country estimate that 
the Federal Government wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends. More 
than half of all taxpayer dollars are wasted is what the American 
people believe. So when people look at the Federal budget--and the 
debate that we are having today in the Senate--it is no wonder they are 
concerned. They want to know how this budget is going to affect them 
and their quality of life.
  Looking at the Democratic budget, I think the American people have 
every reason to be skeptical and every reason to be concerned. This 
budget is just more of the same--more taxes, more spending, and more 
debt--and it never reaches balance, not this year, not 10 years from 
now, not ever.
  This budget does far too little to heal our ailing economy and far 
too much to expand Washington bureaucracy. The budget the Democrats 
have put forward would increase taxes by $1 trillion. That is on top of 
the trillion dollars in tax increases in the President's health care 
law. It is also on top of the tax hikes the President demanded in the 
January deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. In contrast, the Republican 
plan from the House Budget Committee will not increase taxes at all.
  The Democrats' budget will also rack up $7.3 trillion in new debt 
over the next decade. Since President Obama took office 4 years ago, he 
has added more than $6 trillion to our national debt. For 4 years, he 
has run budget deficits of over $1 trillion each and every one of those 
4 years. Now Senate Democrats want to throw good money after bad and 
add another $7 trillion on top of that. The President has simply wasted 
too much of the American taxpayers' money. The American people have 
been stuck with an enormous bill as well as an anemic economy and 
economic growth that has been very slow.
  The American people think more than half of all Washington spending 
is wasted, and the Democrats cannot find a single dollar that they 
think should be saved. Democrats actually want to increase Washington's 
spending by another $645 billion.
  This budget would spend $46.4 trillion over the next 10 years. 
Apparently, President Obama thinks the only things which need to be cut 
from our budget are White House tours.
  Well, Republicans and the American people know there is a lot more we 
could be cutting. Taxpayers are demanding Washington finally get 
serious about our budget and stop the political games and political 
gimmicks. It is time for Washington to do what families across the 
country have always needed to do, live within their means. Democrats 
still don't seem to get it. They continue to insist the rules don't 
apply to Washington, and they should not be held accountable for their 
spending choices.
  Like their other failed policies of the past few years, the 
Democrats' plan is very much a statement of their priorities. It does 
nothing to stop the overregulation which is destroying jobs and 
strangling our economy. It protects failing government programs from 
reform. It does nothing to preserve and protect Medicare and Social 
Security for future generations. It spends more money so Washington 
Democrats don't need to make a single tough choice. They have made 
their priorities clear, but they are the wrong priorities for America.
  Republicans have offered a plan which starts to rein in Washington's 
spending and getting it back in line with revenue. This is what we 
should be doing. With a debt of more than $16 trillion, it is why, and 
it is way beyond the time to balance the budget.
  We need to finally start to ease the burden of that debt on future 
generations. We need to reduce our obligations to countries such as 
China. We need budget reforms which help to grow our economy and create 
jobs, or we can go in the opposite direction the Democratic way. The 
Democratic budget never balances. It never even comes close to 
  The smallest deficit it ever achieves would be more than $400 billion 
in 2016, and then the deficit begins to climb again. It continues 
Washington's unrestrained borrowing and spending and continues the 
damage 4 years of failed Democratic priorities have done to our 
economy. According to one independent analysis, the Democrats' budget 
would cost America 853,000 jobs. Total economic output would be $1.4 
trillion less because of this budget. Private investment would be $82 
billion less per year.
  As bad as this budget is, at least we finally have a Democratic 
budget to debate. This is the first time in 4 years the Democrats have 
even bothered to offer a budget in the Senate.
  President Obama has not even submitted a budget. Where is the 
President's budget? It was due on February 4. Now the White House says 
they will

[[Page S2121]]

finally produce a budget maybe sometime in April. This is more than 2 
months late.
  What we have to work with is an unserious budget plan written by 
Senate Democrats. It is inadequate to the challenges we face as a 
country. It is out of touch with what the American people want, and it 
is a slap in the face to the hard-working taxpayers who will need to 
pay for it.
  If President Obama truly believes we can take a balanced approach to 
our budget, he should publicly oppose this wildly unbalanced budget 
which harms America. We need a serious budget, one which grows the 
economy, not government bureaucracy.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee is recognized.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I wish to speak for a few minutes about 
11 million low-income children in America, children which all of us 
would like to help. These are children that I wish would have a chance 
to get a little help getting to the starting line towards realizing the 
American dream. I am talking about the children we help through the 
Federal education program called title I of the elementary and 
secondary education act.
  It is the largest of our Federal programs aiding elementary and 
secondary schools. It provides $14.5 billion a year to local school 
districts. The express purpose of it is to help low-income children in 
schools across our country.
  The problem is that the money is not going to help those children as 
it was intended. It is being diverted for other purposes.
  As part of our discussion today and tomorrow on the budget, I will be 
offering an amendment on behalf of myself, Senator Paul, Senator Rubio, 
Senator Toomey, and Senator McConnell, which will redirect the 14.5 
billion Federal dollars we spend on behalf of 11 million children 
living in poverty.
  This is the way we would do it: We would simply pin $1,300 in funds 
to each of those children, and let this money follow the child to the 
school they attend, any accredited school, public or private.
  In a contentious Washington world this is a problem which seems to 
have a broad amount of agreement from the left and the right. As I 
said, this $14.5 billion, which is appropriated expressly to help these 
11 million children, isn't getting to them. It is ending up in other 
places. It is distributed by a complicated Federal formula which is 
generally based on the percentage or number of low-income children in a 
particular school district and the average per-pupil expenditure in the 
  What happens is the money largely follows the teachers' salaries. The 
children in wealthier districts are usually taught by teachers who earn 
higher salaries. The children in poor districts are usually taught by 
the teachers who earn lower salaries. A lot of the title I money ends 
up in the schools with more of the wealthier children instead of the 
schools with the poorer children.
  Marguerite Roza, in a report by the Center for American Progress--
which I think can be fairly described as a progressive think tank, 
  The difference in actual school expenditures are often substantial 
because teachers' salaries are based on their experience and credits or 
degrees earned, and because high-poverty schools have many more less 
experienced, lower paid teachers and much more turnover than low-
poverty schools.
  She offers Baltimore as an example:

       When teachers at one school in a high-poverty neighborhood 
     were paid an average of $37,618, at another school in the 
     same district the average teacher's salary was $57,000.

  Assuming the same average number of teachers per school, say 20, the 
difference in dollars for the two schools is $387,640. That is a lot of 
money per school.
  Under the Federal formula, this is considered ``comparable'' or fair, 
which means the poor school is essentially stuck with newer, less 
expert teachers. This is a system designed for the bureaucracy and the 
adults, not the students.
  A different report by the Fordham Foundation, which I would call a 
center-right foundation, came to a similar conclusion. It summed up its 
findings by saying:

       All of these problems have a common root: today, money does 
     not follow children to the schools they attend according to 
     their needs. Instead, money flows on the basis of factors 
     which have little to do with the needs of students, the 
     resources required to educate them successfully, or the 
     educational preferences of their parents.

  We have scholars from the Center for American Progress and Fordham 
Foundation coming to the same conclusion, largely because the title I 
money is distributed based on teachers' salaries and because very often 
the wealthier school districts pay teachers more. We have significantly 
more title I money in a school with wealthier children than with poor 
children, even though the purpose of the $14.5 billion is to help those 
low-income children move from the back of the line to the front of the 

  This is a lot of money. This is $1,300 per child. If you have a 
school full of children who bring $1,300 with them pinned on their 
jackets, they have a lot of money to help those children. I think most 
of us believe that if we are trying to help children get to the 
starting line, children who might not have had as much help as other 
children, might not have had a book read to them by their parents, 
might not have eaten lunch that day, and who have other challenges 
associated with living in poverty, then we want to make sure we are 
spending every single dollar designated toward them for them.
  Why isn't the right solution simply to say let's take these $1,300 
per student and let it follow the student to the school they attend? 
This means almost all the money would go to public schools. We have 
100,000 public schools in the country, but children are usually 
assigned to public schools. Sometimes they may choose a public school. 
This is a matter of State law. This wouldn't interfere with that at 
all. If the parent chooses instead for their child to go to a nonprofit 
or attend a private school, as long as that school is accredited, the 
$1,300 would follow the child to that school.
  Some may say that sounds a little different than the way we do it 
now. It is a little different, but the main difference is the money 
follows the child. It is not different that we spend public money in 
private schools. We already do that with title I money by providing 
services to children who go to private schools under a formula in the 
Federal law. We have long experience, dating back to World War II, with 
public money following college students to community colleges, to 
universities, and even after World War II to high schools. The GI bill 
followed the veteran to the school they wanted to go to, whether it was 
the University of Tennessee, Notre Dame, Yeshiva, or any other school, 
as long as it was an accredited school.
  Of course, in our system of education I think we would all agree that 
we have had the greatest success with higher education, for a variety 
of reasons. I believe one of the reasons for this success is we have 
provided generous amounts of Federal dollars that follow the student to 
the accredited college of their choice, public or private. We call 
those Pell grants. We call those federal loans. More than half of the 
college students in the country today go there with some government 
money that follows them to the academic institution of their choice.
  By allowing title I money to do this, we could say the $1,300 
scholarship is almost a Pell grant for kids. We could say we will 
attach it right to the child. It follows the child to the school. It is 
the most logical way to do that.
  Some of my colleagues would like to fix this comparability problem by 
imposing a whole series of mandates on State and local school districts 
even though the Federal Government only supplies about 10 percent of 
all the money spent on local elementary and secondary schools. This 
would produce a minor revolution in the country, and it would be a 
gross overextension of Federal power to say that just because we 
provide 10 percent of the money, and we don't give it effectively, we 
are going to make it our job to tell Tennessee, Georgia, New Mexico, or 
any other State how to spend it.
  The simple and logical way to solve the comparability problem that 
the left and the right agree on is to let the $14.5 billion follow each 
of the 11 million children living in poverty to the school they attend. 
Then we could make sure that taxpayer dollars are

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being used in the most effective way to help these children have the 
single best opportunity they may have to get a leg up on reaching the 
American dream, which is through a good education in the best possible 
  I look forward to introducing an amendment to do this. As the ranking 
member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, I look 
forward to working with Senator Paul, Senator Rubio, Senator Toomey, 
Senator McConnell, and, hopefully, a number of my Democratic colleagues 
to solve the misallocation of title I money.
  Let's do the simple and logical thing: Let the funds follow low-
income children to the school they attend.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah is recognized.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I rise today to raise my voice in this 
important dialogue about the budget currently pending before this body.
  I am thrilled as, first, we are actually having this debate. It has 
been 4 long years since we passed a budget. I am deeply disappointed 
the President's budget is not part of this discussion. He missed his 
first Monday in February requirement, and it must not fit into his 
schedule to produce one until the second week of April.
  Budgets are economic documents, but they are also much more than 
that. Budgets reflect moral choices we make as a nation. They shape the 
kind of society we will build for the future. Budgets are about setting 
  Republicans realize we have a moral obligation to spend the American 
people's hard-earned dollars wisely. When those tax dollars are paid 
into the government, we have an obligation to be careful with them. We 
should spend them only in areas that we need to cover a 
constitutionally authorized function of government and not $1 more. 
That is why we support reforms to fix programs that Washington should 
be funding, to eliminate programs that it shouldn't be funding and to 
balance the budget in the process.

  We all know the Federal Government wastes hundreds of billions of 
dollars each year, and the President should work with Congress to 
identify and remove wasteful areas within the budget. My office has 
been focused on a very simple message that seems to make sense to every 
American: Cut this, not that.
  The Federal Government wastes hundreds of billions of dollars every 
year, and instead of targeting waste, it is unfortunate the President 
is using fear-mongering tactics to scare Americans into believing cuts 
have to come first from important priorities--priorities such as first 
responders, law enforcement, national security, and educators.
  The President and his allies in Congress want to increase spending 
and raise taxes. Republicans, meanwhile, want to prioritize spending 
and keep taxes low. The President is intentionally making cuts to 
government spending as painful as possible to force more tax increases. 
Cut this, not that.
  This is a debate about priorities. Republicans have identified 
trillions of dollars in savings that would come from eliminating waste 
and reforming programs rather than cutting important essential 
services. The President is choosing to cut the most visible items in 
order to build opposition to any further spending reductions.
  The debate should not be about whether we should cut, but, instead, 
how we should cut in order to preserve our ability to afford our true 
national priorities.
  Here are some examples of the massive waste: $1 million spent taste 
testing food that would be served on Mars; $4.5 billion in improper 
food stamp payments used to purchase junk food, fast food, gourmet 
coffee, guns, and even alcohol; $1.5 billion for free and subsidized 
cell phones billed to the American taxpayer; $230 million spent on 
first-class and business-class travel.
  I say to my colleagues and to the President of the United States, cut 
food testing on Mars, not teachers; cut free cell phones, not border 
security; cut premium first-class travel, not air traffic controllers; 
cut improper food stamp payments, not first responders.
  The President's second inaugural address was an advertisement for the 
biggest, most expensive government our country has ever seen. It was a 
pitch for new government solutions, more government programs, and the 
promises of a government-made utopia. Of course, no mention was made 
about the future cost of the President's vision for the country, no 
mention was made about how we would pay for it, and no mention was made 
of the damage that will occur from our increasing debt and deficits.
  Americans and Members of this body hear this message and get pulled 
into a debate over the proper size of government or whether a certain 
policy represents good government or bad government. We argue for a 
smaller or more limited government or for one that is more efficient or 
more affordable. Unfortunately, this is often where we fail to 
articulate a positive vision of what America looks like under the type 
of government we are striving to create. It is time to reframe this 
debate. It is time for us to focus on the kinds of principles that will 
lead us to the kind of country and the kind of society we want for our 
future and for ourselves.
  Here is the principle I ask Americans and my colleagues in the Senate 
to consider: The opposite of bad government is not necessarily good 
government--at least not just good government. It isn't even 
necessarily limited government. The opposite of bad government is a 
strong civil society. A free and strong civil society is built on the 
innate desire of Americans to contribute freely to the betterment of 
the community. It is not the product of bureaucratic, centralized 
decisionmakers handing down rules and regulations for the rest of us to 
follow. A civil society is the result of the relationships that 
connect, bind, and strengthen us. It is derived from the condition in 
each of us to do our part to help those around us.
  Civil society is where free individuals thrive and communities 
flourish. The interconnection of local communities has always been at 
the heart of our Nation. I am convinced our future success will be 
found in a return to that connectedness that has driven the American 
dream from the very beginning of our Nation.
  We see the bonds of civil society when a parent instills values in a 
child, when a doctor heals a patient, when a teacher stays late to help 
a student learn to read, when a neighbor stops to help a neighbor, when 
a pastor inspires faith in a troubled soul. These are the keys to 
restoring our faith in the institutions of civil society and away from 
dependence on an administrative state full of so-called experts. ``We, 
the people'' does not mean a collective adherence to the agenda of the 
ruling class in Washington. It instead means that as Americans we share 
certain basic values and principles that when viewed as a whole help 
form and secure a more perfect union.
  Americans' belief in civil society is grounded in bedrock principles 
of freedom, self-reliance, and self-governance. It is manifested in the 
form of historic American institutions, including the family, schools, 
churches, private groups, and civic organizations. These institutions 
of civil society teach the morals, values, and behaviors that instill 
faith, confidence, and trust between individuals, communities, and even 
government. The Constitution of this great Nation provides the 
framework that ennobles the vision of the individual while, at the same 
time, enabling the value of the institutions to create an environment 
where people are secure and prosperous and free.
  It is important to remember that government cannot create a civil 
society, but it can kill it. Over the past 80 years, the Federal 
Government has expanded well beyond its constitutional limits. History 
demonstrates that as the power of the Federal Government increases, the 
ability to self-govern diminishes to a corresponding degree. As self-
governance decreases, so too does the influence of the institutions of 
civil society. Soon, the ability to instill faith, competence, and 
trust among individuals and communities is replaced by the false 
promises of big government.
  America is extraordinary, not because of who we are but because of 
what we do. Despite the current crushing weight of our bloated Federal 
bureaucracy, we can still see the strength of our Nation's fabric 
through the intertwining actions of the genuine heroes all around us. 
They are often described as the daily deeds that everyday citizens 
perform every day, but

[[Page S2123]]

they are powerful reminders of the strength of the American spirit and 
the values we share.
  We have a moral obligation to future generations to make the peoples' 
priorities our priorities. The budget debate isn't just about dollars, 
it is about sense. It is about common sense. Rather than having a 
budget battle between Democratic and Republican priorities, we should 
be having a dialog about American priorities.
  Republicans recognize that keeping dollars, decisions, priorities 
and, at the end of the day, power in the hands of the people is what 
has long made America the greatest civilization the world has ever 
known. Now is the time to return to that model. I encourage my 
colleagues to keep that very model in mind as we embark on this 
critical debate. Working together we can, we must, and we will restore 
the greatness and prosperity of our Nation.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I appreciate the recognition, and I ask 
unanimous consent--I was going to ask that Senator Shaheen be allowed 
to follow me. She is on the floor now and so she will.
  I am pleased to stand and talk about amendment No. 138, sponsored by 
Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire and myself. It is a solution to a 
problem we have in this country and we have in this body. The problem 
is we have not been able to appropriate; we have not been able to 
budget. Our debts and deficits have grown, and it has turned into a 
situation where we do not function as well as we should over the most 
important responsibility of government; that is, spending money.
  For one second I wish to talk about my side. Then I will defer to a 
lady who has been there and done that, because the State of New 
Hampshire is a biennial budgeting State.
  We have a process problem. We budget every year, we spend money every 
year, but we never do oversight, we never look for cost-benefit 
savings, and we never look at analysis. This biennial budgeting 
amendment does the following things:
  No. 1, it amends the Budget Act to require the Congress to do a 2-
year budget, not a 1-year budget; No. 2, and followed by that, it 
requires them to do 2-year appropriations bills, not 1-year 
  The appropriations bills and the budget are passed in the first year 
of a Congress, which means the odd-number year. In the even-number 
year, it is dedicated to oversight, efficiency, and cost-benefit 
analysis, something we do far too little of in this body and far too 
little of in this country.
  Wouldn't it be nice to have elections every even-numbered year where 
Members of Congress were running for office based on the savings they 
are going to find, the efficiency they will create, and the 
accountability they will have in appropriations, rather than talking 
about how much more bacon they are going to bring home or how much more 
money they will spend.
  This legislation creates a new majority point of order against any 
amendment that is not confined and coordinated with the 2-year budget 
process and the 2-year appropriations process.
  I have been in Washington 15 years, and we have gotten into the 
business of when we do appropriations bills, they are omnibus; and when 
we do budgets, which we haven't done in 3 years, they end up being more 
of an argument over political philosophy than a practical roadmap for 
the American people.
  The biennial budgeting process, which has been adopted by 20 of the 
50 States in this country, is a process that will work and will force 
us to do what we know our job is--to appropriate, to budget, and then 
to conduct oversight to make sure the money we are spending is 
  One side note before I yield to Senator Shaheen. The State of Israel, 
3 years ago--4 years ago--was having difficulty with deficits and debt. 
They went to the World Bank for advice and consultation and they 
recommended--the World Bank did--that they adopt a biennial budget 
process and a biennial appropriations process. In the 3 years since 
that time, while operating under those principles, they have gone from 
deficits to surpluses, and they have gone from debt to a lower debt. In 
other words, it has worked in Israel, it worked in a democracy, it 
works in 20 of our 50 States, and it can work in the United States of 
  Every President since Ronald Reagan has endorsed the biennial budget. 
Members of the Cabinet of the President who were nominated and have 
been confirmed have endorsed a biennial budget. Pete Domenici started 
this process 15 years ago, and we want to bring it to a conclusion this 
year. So I urge my colleagues to support and adopt amendment No. 138, 
creating a biennial budget process and accountability for our 
  I yield the floor now to the Senator from New Hampshire, who has been 
there and done this in her State, and she is a great partner with me in 
this bipartisan amendment for success in this Congress.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. I wish to thank my colleague from Georgia Senator 
Isakson for his eloquent and thoughtful remarks in support of the 
biennial budgeting amendment. I am proud to join him as a cosponsor of 
this amendment and a cosponsor of the legislation we introduced last 
week, in fact.
  I am pleased to point out on the floor with us is Senator Angus King, 
my neighbor from Maine, who is also a sponsor of biennial budget 
  I appreciate we have the budget resolution before us. I think it is 
an important step toward returning to regular order. But the fact is, 
as my colleague just pointed out, since 1980, we have only had two 
budget processes that have finished on time, according to schedule. We 
have had every President since that time, since Ronald Reagan, endorse 
a biennial budget. As my colleague said, I have been there and done 
that. As Governor of New Hampshire, as the Governors of 19 other 
States, we have biennial budgets. It has worked very well--because as 
this amendment would do, and as the biennial budget process would do, 
it would give us the chance to spend the first year of the budget cycle 
working on the budget, looking at programs and preparing for the budget 
and then the second year in oversight, so we can make sure what we are 
spending our money on is effective and is doing what we want it to do. 
It would give us a more transparent process and would, hopefully, allow 
us to address what has been one of the real challenges we have faced in 
Congress; that is, getting a budget through on time, according to the 
  As my colleague from Georgia pointed out, as we think about 
addressing the debt and deficits facing the country, as we think about 
investments we need to make going forward, thinking about how we can 
use the process in a way that is more effective, that works better, is 
something we also ought to be including. We have had a lot of momentum 
that is built around the biennial budget legislation. In the last 
Congress, we had 37 bipartisan cosponsors. We had the support of then-
budget chair Kent Conrad and ranking member Jeff Sessions. So we have 
some momentum. I think we clearly have an opportunity. I hope we will 
take advantage of it and that our colleagues will support this effort.
  I thank my colleague for his leadership.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I just to want to thank the distinguished 
Senator from New Hampshire for what she has done in supporting this, 
and I thank my other colleagues who are supporting it. This is an idea 
whose time has come. I urge every Member of the Senate tonight to vote 
for this amendment so we can begin a new process and a new day in this 
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. King). The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I yield 5 minutes off the resolution to 
the Senator from New Mexico.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. I thank the chairman, and I rise to speak 
briefly in support of the Senate budget resolution and four amendments 
that I will be offering. I believe these amendments will improve the 
underlying budget resolution and they deserve broad support.
  First, Udall amendment No. 192 addresses the need to increase access 
to care for rural veterans.

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  Many of these veterans, including those in New Mexico, travel long 
distances between their homes and Veterans' Administration medical 
centers. Many other States have rural veterans who face the same 
challenges. I am glad to be joined by Senator Moran from Kansas as a 
cosponsor of this bipartisan amendment. Expanding access to health care 
in rural areas helps our veterans get the care they need.
  The second Udall amendment, No. 311, would ensure that the 113th 
Congress can strengthen and reform the National Nuclear Security 
Administration. During the past decade NNSA has shown repeated failures 
in managing and planning projects. The result is costly overruns, 
deferrals, and, in some cases, security lapses. These failures are not 
only a threat to our national security, they pose threats to the safety 
of the scientists, engineers, and other workers employed at the 
National Labs.
  I cosponsored an amendment to the 2013 Defense Authorization Act with 
Senator Kyl to form an advisory panel and to take a look at this to 
make bipartisan recommendations to improve the governance and structure 
of the NNSA. It is vital that necessary reforms would be completed.
  The third Udall amendment, to lay the foundation, is for future hard 
rock mining reform in the 113th Congress. I have just filed this 
amendment so it does not yet have a number. We should correct a 
longstanding fiscal loophole and establish a royalty on hard rock 
minerals mined on Federal lands. Since 1872, the Federal Government has 
literally been giving away our gold, silver, uranium, and other hard 
rock minerals, handing over these public resources for free. A royalty 
is long overdue. It could be used for the reclamation of thousands of 
abandoned hard rock mines across the country, as well as for budget 
deficit reduction.
  Oil and gas and coal all pay Federal royalties when extracted from 
Federal land. All other developed nations apply royalties to hard rock 
minerals. This amendment does not prejudge what type of royalty 
Congress might agree on. The mining industry supports one type of 
royalty. We have worked with Chairman Wyden, Ranking Member Murkowski, 
and Majority Leader Reid on the text of this amendment, and I hope it 
is acceptable to a broad range of the Senate.
  Lastly, I have also filed an amendment to allow for full funding of 
the Impact Aid Program. This program is one of the oldest Federal 
elementary and secondary education programs, going back 63 years. 
Impact Aid supports school districts that lose local revenues, such as 
property taxes, when educating pupils who live on Federal lands, such 
as military bases and Indian reservations. Impact Aid funding has been 
flat for many years, but the costs of education have gone up 
significantly, shortchanging many Indian communities.
  I am pleased to be joined on this amendment by Senator Baucus of 
Montana who faces many of the same issues as we do in New Mexico and 
throughout the West. Finally, let me thank Chairman Murray for the work 
on this budget. She has shown real courage and leadership on this 
budget and pulled together a very diverse committee.
  I think this is a budget bill that is good for the middle class, and 
it is going to be a fair and sensible budget. The budget is critically 
important to my State of New Mexico. It replaces the devastating 
sequester cuts with a balanced approach that will save thousands of 
jobs in my State. At home in New Mexico, sequestration is not just 
another political issue, it is a bread-and-butter issue for our family 
budgets: smaller paychecks, lost contracts, real economic harm.
  Not only does the Senate budget resolution put a stop to the 
sequester, it also helps rebuild our economy with $100 billion for jobs 
and infrastructure investment. It will help spur job creation and 
rebuild the outdated infrastructure on which American businesses 
  I urge my colleagues to support my amendments and support this 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor to Ranking Member Murkowski from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, would my friend yield for a unanimous 
consent request?
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Absolutely.
  Mr. REID. I do appreciate the courtesy. Members are waiting all over 
the Capitol and maybe a few other places.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
motion be set aside and the following amendments to S. Con. Res. 8 be 
called up:
  Murray No. 433, Hatch No. 297, Stabenow No. 432, Grassley No. 156, 
Mikulski No. 431, Ayotte No. 158, Cruz No. 202, Murray No. 439, Crapo 
No. 222, and Shaheen No. 438; that the time until 8:10 p.m. be equally 
divided between the two managers, or their designees, prior to votes in 
relation to the Sessions motion and the first four amendments listed; 
that all after the first vote this evening be 10-minute votes; that 
there be 2 minutes equally divided in the usual form prior to each 
vote; that no amendments be in order to the motion or any of the 
amendments prior to the votes in relation to these items; that 
following votes this evening, the remainder of today's session be for 
debate only on the concurrent resolution; further, that when the Senate 
convenes at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 22, the Senate resume consideration 
of S. Con. Res. 8 with the time until 11 a.m. equally divided between 
the two managers or their designees; that at 11 a.m., the Senate 
proceed to vote in relation to the remaining amendments listed above; 
that there be 2 minutes equally divided prior to each vote and all 
after the first vote in this sequence be 10-minute votes; that upon 
disposition of the last amendment listed, there be 2 hours equally 
divided between the two managers or their designees remaining on the 
concurrent resolution; finally, the next amendment in order be an 
amendment from the majority side to be followed by a Republican 
alternative to Shaheen No. 438.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I have been in consultation with Senator 
McConnell today. We believe this is an appropriate way to go forward. I 
appreciate very much the work of the two managers on this legislation. 
This is noteworthy legislation. Debate at this point has been courteous 
and strong. There are feelings on both sides, and that is what this 
body is supposed to be.
  So I am grateful to the two managers of this bill, and I again 
appreciate my friend from Alaska yielding.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to take 3 minutes 
off of our side of the 30 minutes to allow the Senator from Alaska to 
proceed, and then we will continue on the debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Alaska.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I came to the floor, as Senator Isakson 
from Georgia and Senator Shaheen from New Hampshire were speaking about 
the biennial budget amendment and the effort they have undertaken. I 
just want to acknowledge their leadership on this issue. I think it is 
smart, I think it is wise, and I think it is something that we as a 
Senate should surely consider. I wanted to just make that brief 
  As the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 
I know bipartisan progress on energy is possible in this Congress. 
While it may take our committee some time to develop, consider, and 
complete legislation within this area, we have a great opportunity to 
take the first step forward today through the adoption of a number of 
energy-related amendments that I have offered. I filed three amendments 
that would help us seize on the historic opportunities within our 
reach. I hope the Senate would agree to adjust the resolution before us 
to reflect their beneficial impact.
  The first amendment that I have introduced is cosponsored by the 
Senator from Missouri, Mr. Blunt. It would raise an estimated $3.1 
billion--not through taxes but by facilitating new energy production on 
Federal lands and waters that are currently not open to development.

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  It is worth noting that the $3.1 billion estimate is probably far too 
low. Almost certainly that number does not account for the substantial 
receipts that would result from a good plan to boost Federal production 
offshore and onshore in Alaska and across the continental United 
States. But for this amendment, we relied on the Congressional Budget 
Office estimates for receipts that we already know we can raise. If we 
were to take action today, we will also generate far greater receipts 
in the years ahead. CBO doesn't assume that production will begin 
within its 10-year window, but it has acknowledged that Federal 
receipts will grow tremendously by several billion dollars a year once 
it does.
  Some Members might question why this amendment is even necessary at 
all. They know that oil and natural gas production is rising in this 
country. After watching a few campaign ads, listening to a few 
speeches, they might think that everything is fine right now. But that 
is hardly the case. While overall production has in fact risen, the 
entirety of that increase has been from State and private lands. 
Production on our Federal lands and waters--the only area that the 
Federal Government is responsible for managing--has actually fallen.
  According to the Congressional Research Service, oil production on 
Federal lands is down 6 percent since 2009 while natural gas production 
is down 21 percent. Just as worrisome, the pace of permitting--which is 
a key indicator for future production--has also slowed.
  The Senator from Missouri and I believe it is time to produce more of 
our prolific resources beneath our Federal lands and waters. We need 
the jobs, we need to reduce our deficits, we need to keep energy prices 
down, and we need to break our dependence on foreign oil. New 
production will help us accomplish all of those crucial goals, and 
there is no real downside.
  My second amendment is focused on increasing oil production on 
Federal lands in Alaska. Right now, no production is occurring on those 
lands. That is the case even though we have more than 200 million acres 
of Federal land and close to 40 billion barrels of conventional oil 
just waiting to be produced. The cause, of course, is the Federal 
Government continues to deny, delay, and generally up-end anyone who 
tries to bring energy to the market. The consequences are now apparent 
for all to see.
  In 1988, Alaska produced more than 2 million barrels of oil per day. 
Last year, they had fallen all the way down to 526,000 barrels per day, 
and it is forecasted to drop even further in the years ahead. In 
Alaska, we are treating this as an emergency, and the Senate should as 
well. If our production continues to decline, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline 
system could be shut down. Our Nation could lose a substantial share of 
its oil supply. Jobs will be lost, energy prices will rise, our 
dependence on foreign oil will deepen, sapping our economy and progress 
that we have made.
  These consequences and others that would manifest must be avoided--
can be avoided--and it is within our power to do that. Alaska doesn't 
need subsidies or loans or grants or tax credits. What we need is 
permission to produce. We need the Federal Government to work with us, 
not against us. We need access to our National Petroleum Reserve. We 
need access to that tiny dot of land in the nonwilderness portion of 
the Coastal Plains. We also need to be able to explore new areas where 
resources have not yet been discovered.
  My amendment is simple. It would modify the budget resolution to 
account for substantial receipts--about $2.5 billion--from increased 
oil in Alaska. As with the amendment that Senator Blunt and I have 
cosponsored, this estimate is probably too low. We anticipate that 
receipts would grow tremendously once production begins. We always talk 
about the need for an ``all of the above'' policy. That would allow for 
  I have one final amendment that I would speak to briefly, and this is 
one that would facilitate the creation of an advanced energy trust 
fund. This was part of my energy 2020 blueprint that I released earlier 
this year. It is specifically designed to help create an energy policy 
that pays for itself. It would open new lands that are not currently 
available for development and devote a share of the receipts to energy 
  This concept has gotten pretty broad support, notably from the think 
tanks, and even more notably from the President himself. But I would be 
remiss if I didn't point out why my plan works and why the President's 
does not. While I would raise new receipts from new production, the 
President would divert revenues from production that is already 
scheduled to occur.
  The result of his plan would be either deficit spending or, most 
likely, tax hikes elsewhere in the budget. Neither of those would be 
acceptable to us, particularly when we know there is a better path 
  My amendments offer us an opportunity to create jobs, to make energy 
more affordable, to reduce our debt, to break our dependence on foreign 
oil. That is in the best interests of a coherent energy policy that so 
many of us are working to develop and certainly in the best interests 
of our Nation's budget. I encourage my colleagues to take a look at 
these amendments and, should they be brought before us for a vote, to 
join me in support of them.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. I think I can yield myself 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa is recognized.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I rise to speak about amendment No. 156. 
I am offering this amendment to the majority budget to ensure that tax 
reform is revenue neutral and the money available to do tax reform is 
not used for spending, as the underlying resolution proposes. I am 
pleased to be joined in offering this amendment by a number of my 
colleagues: Senator Enzi, Leader McConnell, Senator Cornyn, the finance 
ranking member Senator Hatch, as well as Senators Burr, Roberts, 
Portman, Isakson, Thune, Coats, and Rubio.
  In order to ensure tax reform does not become a tax-raising exercise, 
this amendment eliminates the nearly $1 trillion in new revenue and the 
reconciliation instructions called for in the majority's budget. It 
further creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund for progrowth, revenue-
neutral tax reform.
  The budget reconciles the Finance Committee to come up with nearly $1 
trillion in revenue. I spoke last night how difficult that is to do 
unless you want to tax middle-income Americans. This reconciliation 
instruction, in addition to raising a lot of money to spend more, 
dashes the hopes that the Finance Committee can take a bipartisan 
approach to tax reform. First, it puts in place an arbitrary deadline 
that requires the Finance Committee to produce a bill by October 1 of 
this year. Tax reform will be a long and difficult process. Hopefully 
it will not take 3 years to produce it, as it did in 1986, the last 
major tax reform we had, but discussions about tax reform should not be 
cut short to meet an arbitrary deadline. The Finance Committee needs to 
be allowed to do its work.
  Second, reconciliation is not a suitable way to produce tax reform 
that simplifies the Tax Code. This is because it prohibits any changes 
to the Tax Code that score as adding anything to the deficit. This 
requirement is incompatible with the goal of simplifying the Code, 
making it easier to administer. Chairman Baucus has voiced similar 
concerns, which is why he has concerns about including a reconciliation 
instruction in the budget.
  While the budget does not call explicitly for tax reform to be a part 
of the reconciliation process, it has that effect by requiring the 
Finance Committee to come up with nearly $1 trillion in ``savings . . . 
by eliminating loopholes and cutting unfair and inefficient spending in 
the Tax Code.''
  If such large amounts of low-hanging fruit exist in the Tax Code, you 
would have thought that either Chairman Baucus or I, during the period 
of time I was finance chairman, would have gone after some of these 
along with the billions of dollars of loopholes that we have worked to 
close already. The truth is that the majority's definition of a 
loophole is so broad as to be void of any real meaning, and their idea 
of spending in the Tax Code is popular deductions widely used by 
middle-class Americans such as tax deductions, mortgage interest, 
charitable giving, State tax deductions, and in order to

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raise the revenue they want to, you have to go to those areas. When you 
do that, you end up taxing middle-class America.
  Also, referring to these tax increases as savings or as eliminating 
loopholes or spending in the Tax Code does not change the fact that to 
raise nearly $1 trillion, the middle class will see higher tax bills. 
The budget of course does not only assume nearly a $1 trillion in tax 
increases, additional reserve funds in the budget assume another $500 
billion in tax hikes to pay for more spending.
  The underlying premise in this budget is that the Federal taxes are 
too low to support much-needed Federal spending. The budget resolution 
has this completely backwards because until we get spending under 
control, we will never be able to raise enough revenue that will 
suffice to satisfy the spending appetite that some in Congress have.
  Yesterday I had charts--I have a different one today--that lists the 
last five times we had a balanced budget. The last five times were the 
years 1969 and 1998 through the year 2001--5 years in the last 43 
years. As you can see, in each of these years, spending as a percent of 
GDP was significantly lower than 20 percent--significantly lower than 
20 percent. This line represents the spending level of these years, 
right here, the years when we balanced the budget. Over the next 10 
years as projected by the Congressional Budget Office, under current 
law spending will average 22.1 percent of gross national product as CBO 
estimates it under current law. Actually the budget resolution would be 
higher than that 22 percent.
  Lower on the chart I have another dotted line which represents 
projected revenue, right here, about 18.9 percent. That is over the 
next 10 years. As this chart shows, these revenues are more than enough 
to bring our budget into balance simply if we return to the spending 
levels of the late 1990s and 2000.
  The larger gap where spending was and where spending is projected to 
be is where our problem is. In between here and here is where the 
problem is. Congress has exhibited an appetite in the last few years to 
go hog wild on spending compared to the average of the last 50 years of 
about 20 percent.
  We all know there is clutter in the Tax Code. There has been a 
proliferation of tax preferences that should be reexamined. However, 
they should be reexamined in the context of enacting progrowth tax 
reform, not as a means to finance higher government spending. The goal 
of tax reform is to simplify the Tax Code and make it more efficient. 
The ultimate goal is economic growth, but true tax reform should be 
revenue neutral. It should not act as a way to increase taxes. Revenue 
raised by eliminating tax preferences should be used to lower marginal 
tax rates because that is where you get economic growth, you encourage 
entrepreneurship, and that is how you create jobs.
  The assumption in the budget that business and corporate loopholes 
are available for revenue reduction is particularly puzzling. We 
currently have the highest tax rate among our major trading partners. 
The President has even recognized the competitive disadvantage this 
puts us in. That is why he has called for reducing the corporate tax 
rate from 35 percent down to 28 percent. That is the President of the 
United States who wants to do that.
  At a recent hearing before the Budget Committee on tax expenditures, 
the Democrats' only witness, Professor Edward Kleinbard, similarly 
recognized the need to use revenue from eliminating business tax 
preferences to lower rates. It was his view that the corporate rate 
should be reduced to the mid-20s by eliminating corporate tax 
  I want to stress this was the opinion of the majority's witness. 
Raising revenues by closing so-called loopholes or reducing tax 
expenditures is a tax increase. Unless it is used to offset true tax 
reform, it is a tax increase that will support more spending, and that 
is the purpose of it, according to the budget resolution.
  Tax reform, then, should be revenue neutral and my amendment would 
ensure that any reduction in tax preferences is used to lower tax 
rates. In other words, tax reform and not finance more spending.
  I yield the floor and reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I yield 15 minutes off my time to the Senator from Iowa.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa is recognized.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, first I thank Senator Murray and the 
Budget Committee for producing a budget that says loudly and clearly 
that our No. 1 priority is to fight for a stronger middle class, even 
as we dramatically reduce budgets and stabilize the debt by the end of 
the decade. I also applaud Senator Murray and the committee for 
producing a budget resolution that insists on a balanced approach to 
deficit reduction: both spending cuts and revenue increases--both.
  I also applaud my colleague Senator Levin for his leadership on using 
his investigating subcommittee, his Permanent Committee on 
Investigations, to bring to light over the last few years the number of 
loopholes and the egregious tax spending that we are doing through 
loopholes that allows corporations and others to get by without paying 
their fair share of taxes.
  Senator Carl Levin has long fought to bring fairness to the Tax Code. 
His investigations have shown that one of the major things we have to 
do is to close up some of those egregious loopholes.
  My colleague from Iowa was just talking. He pointed out the years we 
balanced the budget. I note those are the years when we had a 
Democratic President, President Clinton. We were working off the 1993 
deal that was made to both reduce spending and increase revenues. We 
had growth in the economy. We had low unemployment. We balanced the 
budget for 5 years in a row.
  During that time our revenues averaged about 20 percent of our gross 
domestic product. Now it is down to less than 18 percent. We also know 
that demographics, including the tens of millions of baby boomers 
becoming eligible for Social Security and Medicare, will place vast new 
demands on our budget. At the same time, we need to make investments in 
infrastructure, research, and education to prepare our young people and 
our economy for the competitive global economy that is coming. I remind 
my colleagues that when President George W. Bush's tax cut was passed 
in 2001, it was defended on the grounds that it was only going to take 
a small part of the projected surpluses that we were going to have for 
the next 10 years. That was what was said.
  As we now know, those surpluses didn't materialize. We had the tax 
cuts, we had two unpaid-for wars that completely wiped out the expected 
surpluses, and yet we kept those big tax cuts going and that created 
big deficits. Then the onslaught of the great recession in 2008 pushed 
our deficits even higher.
  To date, only one-eighth of the revenues lost by the Bush tax cuts 
have been restored. Yet many of the Republicans keep repeating their 
mantra that we only have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. 
This is demonstrably not the case.
  If we go back in time, when I was here, President Reagan pushed 
through some tax cuts. To his credit, he realized he went too far. He 
reversed course and supported two income tax increases. In looking back 
just 12 years ago, President George W. Bush's tax cuts also went too 
far, again, contributing to the largest deficit in our history.
  One would think we would want to reverse course, but Republicans have 
dogmatically refused to reverse course on increasing revenues. They are 
sticking to their ideological mantra. They say: Don't touch tax breaks 
for the wealthy and the largest corporations. Instead, cut the programs 
that undergird the middle class and meet the needs of the most 
vulnerable citizens. They demand that we slash funding for 
infrastructure, innovation, and education and keep tax cuts for the 
wealthiest Americans.
  There are abundant opportunities for cutting waste, cutting spending, 
but it needs to happen on both sides. Yes, we need spending cuts. We 
need to cut spending by closing tax provisions in the Tax Code that 
hurt our economy. That is where we need to cut some spending--tax 
spending that goes to the wealthiest and goes to large corporations.

[[Page S2127]]

  I will cite a few examples. Consider the so-called deferral provision 
governing taxation of profits earned by companies overseas. Follow 
this: A U.S. company can deduct the cost of starting a business 
overseas, such as building a facility. They can deduct the cost of 
shipping equipment to that plant even if it comes from America. But the 
Tax Code then allows these companies to delay paying taxes on these 
profits until its profits are brought back home.
  So on one hand, they get tax breaks for building a plant overseas, 
they get other tax breaks for shipping the jobs overseas, they get tax 
breaks for shipping equipment that could be used in America overseas--
those are immediate. They get the tax breaks right away, but when that 
plant earns a profit, they are not taxed until and unless they bring 
those back home. That is totally unfair to U.S. manufacturers who may 
have a factory in Iowa or New Mexico and pay their full taxes at a full 
and fair rate. The lost revenue is unfair to Americans who play by the 
rules, pay their full taxes, and, yes, Americans who rely on essential 
government services.
  Here is another one. U.S. companies can sell their patents to their 
own subsidiaries with an overseas postal address in a country with low 
tax rates. The parent company is paid to use the patent, generating 
profits for the company, but the taxes on those profits are not paid as 
long as the money is technically in the subsidiary's account even if 
the money is deposited in a U.S. bank.
  Consider another tax outrage, and we all know it by the name of 
``carried interest.'' What does that mean? It means that for those 
individuals who are fortunate enough to make $10 million a year, they 
pay income taxes at the rate of 39.6 percent. But if a hedge fund 
manager makes $10 million managing a hedge fund and never invested a 
penny, they get taxed at 20 percent, not 39.6 percent. Twenty percent 
is the capital gains rate for most of our income. Well, why is that? 
Well, there is no rational reason. That was just put into the Tax Code 
I guess by some great tax lobbyist who was hired by the hedge fund 
  These gimmicks and tax breaks cost the Treasury untold billions of 
dollars. They serve no constructive economic purpose. In fact, they 
give incentives to corporations to make decisions that harm the U.S. 
economy and American workers. By ending these abuses, we can generate 
needed revenue while creating a fairer Tax Code, one that does not 
reward corporations and the wealthy for behaviors that put the rest of 
us at an unfair disadvantage.
  When I hear someone say, well, we are going to have tax reform, but 
it must be revenue neutral, what I hear is, let's keep all the tax 
loopholes for the wealthy and these large corporations. I say it is 
time to end that. We need that revenue for education, reinvesting in 
the infrastructure of our country, biomedical research, and science 
research. We need it to make sure that our young people today are able 
to compete in this global economy in the future.
  Compromise, commonsense, and good-faith negotiations are what we need 
today. We do not need someone saying: No, we cannot raise revenues; all 
we have to do is cut spending. On our side, under the leadership of 
Senator Murray, we have said we will cut spending, but we will also 
raise revenues. We will have a balanced approach.
  I urge my colleagues to vote yes on this budget resolution and to say 
no to all of these amendments that would upset what I think is a very 
good, solid budget resolution that has been put forward by Senator 
Murray and the committee. Let's put dogma aside. Let's act rationally 
and reasonably, and let's come together for a balanced and responsible 
solution to our Nation's budget challenges.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Udall of New Mexico). The Senator from New 
  Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I rise in support of amendment No. 297, 
which has been brought forward by my colleague, Senator Hatch from 
Utah. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this amendment that establishes a 
reserve fund to repeal the onerous medical device tax. In fact, the 
medical device tax is nearly a $30 billion new excise tax on medical 
devices. It took effect on January 1 to pay for the President's new 
health care law, and it affects everything from orthodontics to the 
most complex lifesaving medical devices--just to name a few: joint 
replacements, knee braces, pacemakers, visual aids for sight-disabled 
people. It affects things that help people who are ill, such as 
lifesaving devices and technologies that people need, and this tax 
burdens all of them, and it will increase health care costs.
  I thank Senator Hatch for his tremendous leadership on this issue. He 
has been fighting so hard to repeal this onerous tax since it went into 
effect. I thank Senator Hatch for bringing this important amendment 
forward because the medical device industry in America is a 
manufacturing success, and I have seen this in my home State of New 
Hampshire, where we have nearly 50 medical device companies that employ 
almost 3,500 Granite Staters. We are very proud of those companies, and 
we want to keep them in New Hampshire and hopefully grow them. When I 
campaigned for the Senate, I went to visit many of these companies. 
They told me about this tax and the impact it will have on their 
  The medical device technology and medical field in this country is a 
great success story. In 2008 the industry employed over 420,000 
workers, generated more than $24 billion in payroll, and paid 40 
percent higher salaries than the national average in terms of a job. 
These are great-paying jobs. They are high-quality, good-paying, 
sustainable jobs, and this tax is going to make sure we have fewer of 
those good jobs that Americans want so much right now. With the 
Nation's unemployment rate still unacceptably high, we should be doing 
everything we can to create a good climate for American companies so 
they can strive and make sure we have more economic growth and make 
sure people have good-quality and high-paying jobs.

  If this tax is left in place, the medical device tax will absolutely 
stifle hiring. For example, a 2011 study by the Hudson Institute found 
that the device tax threatens nearly 43,000 jobs nationwide and will 
cost $3.5 billion in wages. I hear a lot of talk from my colleagues 
about investing. This is something where this tax is basically going to 
kill good-paying American jobs. It defies common sense. Over 16 percent 
of respondents to a survey last year said they would reduce staff and 
employees in order to lower costs before the implementation of this 
device tax.
  In my home State of New Hampshire, a study found that we could lose 
potentially hundreds of employees due to the cost of this medical 
device tax.
  I had an opportunity to visit one of those companies, Corflex, which 
is located in Manchester. They manufacture orthopedic medical products. 
Corflex has seen steady growth over the years. It is a small thriving 
business in Manchester, NH. When I met with the CEO at Corflex, he 
showed me their balance sheets. He showed me the balance sheets before 
the medical device tax went into effect and after the medical device 
tax went into effect. What he showed me is that they went from being a 
profitable company to a company that would sustain a loss. This is a 
great company that was founded by a person in New Hampshire who was an 
entrepreneur and just had a dream. This tax would change a profitable 
company into a company that would experience a loss. He said: If this 
tax is not repealed, it will ultimately force companies, like us, to 
cut research and development dollars, pass costs on to consumers, or 
even consider reducing our workforce.
  Last year I visited Smiths Medical Facility in Keene, which employs 
500 people in New Hampshire. They are doing great work at Smiths 
Medical. The vice president of global operations of technology told me 
that repealing the medical device excise tax is about improving patient 
care and investing in more innovation and jobs.
  The medical device tax has sadly already cost the United States 
thousands of jobs. We need bipartisan action now to repeal this onerous 
tax that is killing jobs in this country. I know there are Senators on 
both sides of the aisle who support the Hatch amendment.
  For smaller device companies, like many in New Hampshire, this tax 
hits them even harder. In fact, Teleflex--a Pennsylvania-based company 
that has

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a manufacturing plant in Jaffrey, NH--does what many larger medical 
device companies do: they rely on small companies to do their research 
and development. The vice president of Teleflex said:

       I think the fear is that there is a lot of good that comes 
     out of small medical device companies, and with more costs 
     thrown upon them, it's going to be harder and harder for them 
     to sprout up and make a go of it . . . I think the view in 
     the industry is that this is going to stifle innovation.

  Why is this going to stifle innovation? Because this is a tax that is 
not a tax on profit, it is a tax on revenue. It is a 2.3-percent tax on 
revenue. What does that do to startups? What does that do to 
investments? Basically what we are saying is, don't start your new 
medical device company here with your new idea on how to save American 
lives because we are going to tax you whether you make a profit or not. 
That is why this tax is very onerous on startups. It is essentially a 
tax on innovation.
  The device tax also stands to increase health costs, and that is why 
I don't understand why it was used to fund the President's new health 
care law--because we are going to see greater costs. In fact, the CMS 
Actuary, Richard Foster, said he anticipates that the excise tax will 
generally be passed on to health consumers in the form of higher drug 
and device prices and higher insurance premiums. It will raise national 
health costs by a whopping $18.2 billion by the time we reach 2018.
  Even though it only went into effect a couple of months ago, we are 
already hearing about the job losses in this country because of the 
medical device tax. We heard that Stryker Corporation laid off 5 
percent of its global workforce. Covidien, which makes surgical 
instruments, recently announced the layoff of 200 American workers. And 
guess where they plan to shift their production. They are shipping it 
offshore to Mexico and Costa Rica. And that is the other impact of this 
tax--encouraging new devices to go elsewhere, to plant their new 
investment in other countries instead of here in the United States of 
America. That is another horrible impact of this medical device tax. 
Zimmer said it planned to cut jobs and outsource. The CEO of Cook 
Medical, the world's largest privately owned medical device company, 
said it will have about $20 million less to develop and improve patient 
care and access to technology. We heard so many of these stories about 
American companies that are being hurt tremendously by this medical 
device tax.
  So what is this about? This is about repealing this onerous tax. This 
is a tax that taxes innovation, increases health care costs, and also 
is a tax that kills good-paying American jobs.
  Finally, we want the new medical devices to be developed here in this 
country. We don't want them to be developed in Europe because of an 
onerous tax. What we are going to see is that Americans are going to 
have less access to the very new and best products because it is going 
to become too costly in this country for new companies to develop those 
products and for startups and, at the end of the day, it will be sad 
for Americans.
  I urge my colleagues to support the Hatch amendment and, again, I 
thank him for his leadership.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I think we have confusion on the time 
limits. I had reserved 10 minutes; I have 17 on the motion. I think 
there has been some confusion about it. What is the status of the time?
  I ask unanimous consent for 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time until 8:10 is divided. Of that 
remaining time, the Senator from Alabama has 8 minutes. There is still 
time remaining on the motion.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Does that include-- The PRESIDING OFFICER. But it 
cannot be used before 8:10.
  Mr. SESSIONS. So that time could be used after 8:10?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct. After the votes occur.
  Mr. SESSIONS. After the votes?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There will be 2 minutes equally divided.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Well, my colleague Senator Hatch is here. The 8 
minutes, as I understand, that exist--he wishes to speak. If he spoke, 
would that count against my time?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. It is the Senator's time to yield.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I ask unanimous consent that the vote be delayed until 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, our Members have been waiting for 2\1/2\ 
hours to get to a vote. I know we have had a lot of time to debate. We 
will have additional time after the votes as well, as the Senator 
knows, tonight and tomorrow morning. I would respectfully ask if we 
could stay on time because a lot of Members have been waiting for the 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Well, reclaiming the floor, I ask unanimous consent 
that the vote start at 8:12, and I will be happy, and we will make it 
all happen. Senator Hatch can have 1 minute.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I assume that means the time will be divided equally, 
which means the Senator from Alabama would only have 1 additional 
  Mr. SESSIONS. I will do my best.
  I yield to Senator Hatch for 30 seconds.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise to say a few words in support of 
amendment 156 offered by Senator Grassley and myself.
  This amendment would strike the tax reconciliation instructions from 
the budget and, instead, create a deficit neutral reserve fund for pro-
growth, revenue-neutral tax reform.
  The American people have had it with our current tax code.
  It is too complex.
  It is overly burdensome.
  And, it is an impediment to economic growth and our global 
  Members from both parties need to work together to reform our tax 
code to provide greater fairness and simplicity and to ensure that it 
encourages growth.
  In order to do that, we need to work at finding ways to broaden the 
tax base in order to lower the marginal tax rates.
  That is how we encourage economic growth.
  That is how we create jobs.
  For the first time in many years, there is bipartisan agreement in 
both the House and Senate on the need to move forward on tax reform.
  Unfortunately, rather than letting those efforts move forward, the 
budget before us today would hijack those efforts.
  Under this budget, the Finance Committee would be instructed to scour 
the tax code in search of nearly $1 trillion in new revenues in order 
to pay for new spending.
  It is bad enough that this budget would greatly increase our Nation's 
debt. And, it is bad enough that it doesn't balance at any point.
  But, to add massive tax increases on top of that is simply 
  As I said this afternoon, more than 70 percent of the revenue loss 
due to tax expenditures comes from the top 10 tax expenditures, most of 
which predominantly benefit the middle class.
  As Senator Grassley stated last night, the top 20 tax expenditures--
which also greatly benefit the middle class--account for 90 percent of 
the revenue loss.
  So, as we can see, we simply cannot generate a significant amount of 
revenue--certainly not in the magnitude imagined under this budget--
without negatively impacting the middle class.
  I hope my colleagues will reject this attempt to once again raise 
taxes on the American people.
  Toward that end, I hope they will support our amendment.
  I will recap quickly. The Grassley-Hatch amendment assures tax reform 
will travel on a bipartisan path. It corrects the partisan process in 
the budget with an elimination of reconciliation. That is all it does, 
and we ought to all support it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I yield 3 minutes to the Senator from Michigan.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I thank my 
colleague, the terrific chair of the Budget Committee, who has worked 
so hard in putting together the budget.
  I wish to speak for a moment on the amendment I will be offering in a 

[[Page S2129]]

moments that relates to Medicare and protecting Medicare for future 
generations by keeping it as an intact insurance plan. There are very 
different visions, as we all know, and this will be an opportunity 
tonight to vote on which vision we support.
  The House, under the Ryan Republican plan, has eliminated Medicare as 
we know it and replaced it with a voucher program which only covers 
part of the costs, increasing costs for seniors of around $6,000 per 
person. They would have to go back into the private insurance market 
and try to find insurance that would work for them.
  We very clearly say that Medicare is a great American success story. 
We have created a generation of seniors such as my mom and future 
generations who will be able to live longer, healthier lives, play with 
their grandchildren and great-grandchildren because of something they 
have paid into all of their lives called Medicare.
  When we look at the choices, even the people who invented this whole 
idea passed by the House have said that the proposals ``lack safeguards 
for beneficiaries and threaten to shift costs to the elderly and 
disabled and force them to shop for coverage in a confusing insurance 
  That is what the folks who came up with the Republican idea are 
saying. Even Chairman Ryan's own description of his plan admits: ``We 
are stopping the open-ended, defined benefit system.''
  In other words, the Republican plan will end Medicare and end its 
guaranteed benefits--benefits that seniors have paid into throughout 
their lives, for the security of knowing they have a health insurance 
plan; they won't have to go out and try to figure out how to find 
private insurance and then have a voucher to pay for part of it.
  To add insult to injury, what is most concerning is the money that is 
taken away from seniors, the costs that are added, the savings in the 
Republican budget, don't go to save Medicare, they go to give another 
round of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. One more time we are 
seeing seniors, as we have seen middle-class families, as we have seen 
the vulnerable in our communities, find themselves sacrificing over and 
over again so the wealthiest among us, the well-connected, can get 
another special tax deal.
  My amendment makes it very clear. If Members vote for my amendment, 
they are voting for Medicare. If Members vote against it, they are 
voting for the Republican plan that dismantles Medicare as we know it 
and takes the money and turns it around and gives it to another tax cut 
for the wealthy.
  The other side of the aisle and those on the other side of the 
building have called the Ryan Republican plan a balanced plan. It is 
certainly not balanced for seniors. It is anything but balanced for the 
middle class. I hope when the opportunity comes we will see a very 
strong vote in support of my amendment to guarantee Medicare going 
forward for our seniors.
  Thank you very much.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, it is good to be considering a budget 
again. It has been 4 years since one has been brought to the floor. It 
is important that we do so because the Nation has never, ever faced a 
more systemic debt threat to our country.
  Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson both told us before the Budget 
Committee that this Nation has never faced a more predictable financial 
crisis. What they meant was that if we don't change course, we are 
going to have a crisis.
  I would say one of the things that would make our economy grow 
better, create jobs, confidence, and productivity gains would be for 
this Nation to commit itself in a responsible way over a decade of 
effort to balance the budget. We can do that with increasing spending 
every year by 3.4 percent. It does not even require a net reduction in 
spending each year. It will be hard. It will require us to change some 
course because we are on a path now to increase spending 5.4 percent a 
year, and that is the difference in an unsustainable path and a 
sustainable path.
  We have the budget of the majority before us, Senator Murray's 
budget. It is not the kind of budget we should pass. It is the kind of 
budget--it requires alteration, in my view, and it needs to be placed 
on a path to balance. I think my Democratic colleagues implicitly agree 
with that, because they have been talking about balance all week. We 
started keeping a tally on it.
  Look at this chart. We made this chart not too long ago. We 
determined the word ``balance'' had been mentioned by the Democrats 120 
times. We kept on counting and now it is up to 165 times. Maybe that 
indicates they believe a balanced budget is important. They say, 
however, that when they say balance they mean we balance deficit-
reduction spending cuts with deficit-reduction tax increases, and that 
totals $1.9 trillion in net deficit reduction. Nothing could be farther 
from the truth. I hate to say that. It is unbelievable to me that in 
the Senate we have legislation on the floor that is being counted $1 
trillion--really $2 trillion off--and fundamentally, indisputably, that 
is correct.
  At the Budget Committee hearing last week, I asked a staffer for the 
Democratic majority:

       Can you honestly say that under this budget you can achieve 
     $1.85 trillion in deficit reduction and eliminate the 
     sequester with only $975 billion in new taxes?

  The answer: ``No.''
  When I pressed him: Well, what does that mean? He said it would be 
$700 billion. And what he was talking about was $700 billion under 
current law.
  The way the confusion has occurred is our colleagues are switching 
around in the way they compare spending cuts.
  This is the true situation: Under current law--that is the Budget 
Control Act and the tax increases we had in January--that is current 
law--we are projecting to continue deficits throughout the entire 10-
year period and increase interest charges by dramatic amounts, placing 
this country in a very serious predicament.
  So what do we say about it? Mr. Elmendorf, the Director of CBO, 
testified a couple of weeks ago before the Budget Committee and I asked 
him: Under the current law that we are operating under, including the 
full cuts in the sequester, including the tax increases in January, 
were we still on an unsustainable course? He said we were.
  What I want my colleagues to know with every fiber in my being is: 
Please know that if you take out the sequester, you increase spending. 
You do not have $1.9 trillion in deficit reduction. You have only $700 
billion. And then if you add other gimmicks in the budget, including 
not scoring the doc fix, misscoring war costs, and misscoring the 
stimulus spending, we end up with hardly any deficit reduction at all.
  We raise taxes in this budget almost $1 trillion. We have no deficit 
reduction because we increase spending as much as we increase taxes. 
So, apparently, my colleagues should know and think about this: A 
``balanced'' plan that has been mentioned 165 times means we raise 
taxes $1 trillion and we increase spending $1 trillion, and there is no 
net deficit reduction in the course of this 10-year budget.
  So we are asking that this budget go back to the committee and give 
them full authority to produce a balanced budget in any way they wish 
to. They can raise taxes, they can cut spending, but we are saying we 
have to get off the unsustainable debt course. The choice is to have a 
balanced budget because it will create confidence, it will create 
business certainty, it will electrify the world, it will help people 
see that we are on a sound path and not on a dangerous path that could 
lead to fiscal crisis.
  It is so important for my colleagues to know one more thing, and that 
is experts have told us--Carmen Reinhart with the Reinhart-Rogoff study 
has told us that when debt reaches 90 percent of the value of our GDP, 
growth begins to decline in the country. We are now at 104 percent, and 
the debt factor is the gross debt of the United States is what they 
used in that study. This is confirmed by the International Monetary 
Fund, the European Central Bank, and the Bank for International 
Settlements, all of which have done studies of developed nations with 
high debt, and they say it cuts growth. Reinhart and Rogoff says 1 to 2 
percent. A 1-percent reduction in growth amounts to a million jobs. For 
the last 3 years, our growth has substantially

[[Page S2130]]

fallen below what CBO projected. I believe the debt is already pulling 
down our growth.

  I ask my colleagues one more thing: All of us have traveled our 
States. We have talked to our constituents. We have answered their 
questions. They ask: Are you going to do anything about the budget? Are 
you going to balance the budget? Why aren't you bringing up a budget? 
Don't you, colleagues, say we should have a balanced budget? Don't you 
say we should be moving toward a balanced budget, at least?
  Many of you--at least half of our Democratic colleagues--have said 
they favor a balanced budget constitutional amendment so we have this 
country on a right path. You validated your promises back home. You 
should support moving this bill back to conference and letting the 
chairman write a budget that balances. It would make this economy much 
  I thank the Chair and yield the floor.

Amendments Nos. 433, 297, 432, 156, 431, 158, 202, 439, 222, and 438 En 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the clerk will 
report the amendments that are in order en bloc.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Nevada [Mr. REID] proposes amendments en 
     bloc: for Mrs. Murray, amendment numbered 433; for Mr. Hatch, 
     amendment numbered 297; for Ms. Stabenow, amendment numbered 
     432; for Mr. Grassley, amendment numbered 156; for Ms. 
     Mikulski, amendment numbered 431; for Ms. Ayotte, amendment 
     numbered 158; for Mr. Cruz, amendment numbered 202; for Mrs. 
     Murray, amendment numbered 439; for Mr. Crapo, amendment 
     numbered 222; for Mrs. Shaheen, amendment numbered 438.

  The amendments, en bloc, are as follows:

                           Amendment No. 433

                   (Purpose: To amend the resolution)

  (The amendment is printed in today's Record under ``Text of 

                           Amendment No. 297

    (Purpose: To promote innovation, preserve high-paying jobs and 
   encourage economic growth for manufacturers of lifesaving medical 
              devices and cutting edge medical therapies)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

                   DEVICE TAX.

       The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget may 
     revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the House and the Senate, motions, or 
     conference reports related to innovation, high quality 
     manufacturing jobs, and economic growth, including the repeal 
     of the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device 
     manufacturers, by the amounts provided in such legislation 
     for that purpose, provided that such legislation would not 
     increase the deficit over either the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2013 through 2018 or the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2013 through 2023.

                           Amendment No. 432

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect 
  Medicare's guaranteed benefits and to prohibit replacing guaranteed 
  benefits with the House passed budget plan to turn Medicare into a 
                            voucher program)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:


       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     motions, or conference reports related to access for Medicare 
     beneficiaries, which may include legislation that provides 
     beneficiary protections from voucher payments, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided 
     that such legislation would not increase the deficit over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 through 
     2018 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 through 

                           Amendment No. 156

 (Purpose: To protect Americans from a $1,000,000,000,000 tax increase 
  and provide for pro-growth revenue-neutral comprehensive tax reform)

       Beginning on page 49, strike line 20 and all that follows 
     through page 50, line 3 and insert the following:

                        TITLE II--RESERVE FUNDS

                   PRO-GROWTH TAX REFORM.

       The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget may 
     revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between houses, motions, or conference reports 
     that reform the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure a 
     revenue structure that is more efficient for individuals and 
     businesses, leads to a more competitive business environment 
     for United States enterprises, and may result in additional 
     rate reductions without raising new revenue, by the amounts 
     provided in such legislation for that purpose, provided that 
     such legislation would not increase the deficit over either 
     the period of the total of fiscal years 2014 through 2018 or 
     the period of the total of fiscal years 2014 through 2023.
       On page 4, line 6, reduce the amount by $20,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 7, reduce the amount by $40,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 8, reduce the amount by $55,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 9, reduce the amount by $70,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 10, reduce the amount by $82,110,000,000.
       On page 4, line 11, reduce the amount by $95,881,000,000.
       On page 4, line 12, reduce the amount by $115,534,000,000.
       On page 4, line 13, reduce the amount by $135,203,000,000.
       On page 4, line 14, reduce the amount by $149,801,000,000.
       On page 4, line 15, reduce the amount by $159,630,000,000.
       On page 4, line 20, reduce the amount by $20,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 21, reduce the amount by $40,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 22, reduce the amount by $55,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 23, reduce the amount by $70,000,000,000.
       On page 4, line 24, reduce the amount by $82,110,000,000.
       On page 4, line 25, reduce the amount by $95,881,000,000.
       On page 5, line 1, reduce the amount by $115,534,000,000.
       On page 5, line 2, reduce the amount by $135,203,000,000.
       On page 5, line 3, reduce the amount by $149,801,000,000.
       On page 5, line 4, reduce the amount by $159,630,000,000.

                           Amendment No. 431

(Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to require equal 
                      pay policies and practices)

       At the end of title III, add the following:

                   EQUAL WORK.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports 
     related to efforts to ensure equal pay policies and 
     practices, by the amounts provided in such legislation for 
     those purposes, provided that such legislation would not 
     increase the deficit over either the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2013 through 2018 or the period of the total of 
     fiscal years 2013 through 2023.

                           Amendment No. 158

  (Purpose: To prohibit the consideration of a budget resolution that 
  includes revenue increases while the civilian unemployment rate is 
above 5.5 percent, the administration's prediction for the unemployment 
                       rate without the stimulus)

       At the end of subtitle A of title IV, add the following:


       (a) Point of Order.--It shall not be in order in the Senate 
     to consider a concurrent resolution on the budget for the 
     budget year or any amendment, amendment between Houses, 
     motion, or conference report thereon that includes a revenue 
     increase while the unemployment rate is above 5.5 percent.
       (b) Supermajority Waiver and Appeal in the Senate.--
       (1) Waiver.--Subsection (a) may be waived or suspended in 
     the Senate only by an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the 
     Members, duly chosen and sworn.
       (2) Appeal.--An affirmative vote of three-fifths of the 
     Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be 
     required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a 
     point of order raised under subsection (a).
       (c) Determination of Revenue Increase.--For purposes of 
     this section, a revenue increase is an increase in Federal 
     Revenues in any fiscal year above total revenues in the same 
     fiscal year of the most recent Congressional Budget Office 
       (d) Determination of Unemployment Rate.--For purposes of 
     this section, the unemployment rate is the Current Population 
     Survey seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate for the 
     most recent month, published by the Bureau of Labor 

                           Amendment No. 202

 (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide for 
 the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the 
 Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and to encourage 
 patient-centered reforms to improve health outcomes and reduce health 
                 care costs, promoting economic growth)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

[[Page S2131]]


       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between houses, motions, or conference reports 
     relating to the repeal of the Patient Protection and 
     Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education 
     Reconciliation Act of 2010 without raising new revenue, by 
     the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, 
     provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit 
     over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 
     through 2018 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 
     through 2023.

                           Amendment No. 439

 (Purpose: To amend the deficit-neutral reserve fund for tax relief to 
         provide tax relief for low and middle income families)

       On page 56, line 12, insert ``relief for low and middle 
     income families'' after ``enterprises,''.

                           AMENDMENT NO. 222

(Purpose: To establish a deficit neutral reserve fund to repeal the tax 
increases enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 
         that were imposed on low- and middle-income Americans)

       At the appropriate place insert the following:

                   INCOME FAMILIES.

       The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget may 
     revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     amendments between houses, motions, or conference reports 
     that would repeal the tax increases enacted under the Patient 
     Protection and Affordable Care Act that were imposed on low- 
     and middle-income Americans by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for that purpose, provided that such legislation 
     would not increase the deficit over either the period of the 
     total of fiscal years 2013 through 2018 or the period of the 
     total of fiscal years 2013 through 2023.

                           Amendment No. 438

   (Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect 
   women's access to health care, including primary and preventative 
 health care, family planning and birth control, and employer-provided 
contraceptive coverage, such as was provided under the Affordable Care 
                           Act (PL 111-148))

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

                   HEALTH CARE.

       The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate 
     may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, 
     aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution 
     for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, 
     motions, or conference reports related to women's access to 
     health care, which may include the protection of basic 
     primary and preventative health care, family planning and 
     birth control, or employer-provided contraceptive coverage 
     for women's health care, by the amounts provided in such 
     legislation for these purposes, provided that such 
     legislation does not increase the deficit or revenues over 
     either the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 through 
     2018 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 through 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.

                           Amendment No. 433

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I want all of our Members to understand 
that the second amendment we will be voting on tonight is the Ryan 
  Now, there seems to be some resistance among my Republican colleagues 
in bringing up the House Republican budget for a vote, and it is pretty 
easy to see why that is. Last year's Republican budget was, in fact, 
soundly rejected by the American people in the election. Since then, it 
continues to be very clear the American people prefer a balanced and 
fair approach that puts our economy and our middle class first--not an 
extreme, irresponsible approach.
  Unfortunately, House Republicans put forward a budget last week that 
doubles down on the rejected ideology that the American people spoke 
about. They have a new talking point about their same old budget. They 
now claim their budget would eliminate the deficit in 2023. House 
Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has even said it does not really 
matter how their budget eliminates the deficit.
  Americans across our country who will feel the impact of the choices 
we make in the coming weeks and months believe that it does matter. So 
while some of my Republican colleagues would probably prefer not to 
hear about it, I think that the impact of the House Republican budget 
is a crucial part of this debate, and we owe it to the American people 
to put our opinions on the record.
  We have come a long way, but there are still far too many Americans 
today who are unemployed or underemployed, which is why our Senate 
budget's first priority is boosting our economic recovery.
  Speaker Boehner has actually agreed with President Obama that our 
debt does not present ``an immediate crisis.'' So you might think the 
House budget would phase in cuts responsibly so we can protect our 
fragile recovery.
  Instead, the House Republican budget would do serious damage to job 
creation and job growth, and it doubles down on the harmful cuts from 
sequestration, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office 
estimates will lower employment by 750,000 jobs this year alone and 
slow economic growth.
  The House Republican budget will weaken our economy in the long term 
as well. As any business owner will tell you, in tight times, the last 
thing you want to do is cut investments that help make you stronger. 
Well, that is what the House Republican budget does. It cuts 
investments in education, so our students and workers are less prepared 
for the jobs of the future. It would undermine our ability to upgrade 
our roads and bridges and highways and ports even though our national 
infrastructure just got a D-plus from the American Society of Civil 
Engineers. And the House budget would greatly reduce our ability to 
support research and development, making it so much harder for us to 
maintain the innovative edge that helps us attract new industries and 
new businesses to the United States.
  Americans want to see a budget that puts the middle class first and 
asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to do their fair 
share too as we work toward deficit reduction.
  So our Senate budget locks in tax cuts for the middle class while 
closing loopholes and cutting wasteful spending in the Tax Code. Our 
budget uses that new revenue from the wealthiest Americans and biggest 
corporations for deficit reduction and for investments that support our 
economy and strengthen our middle class.
  The House Republican budget, which we will vote on tonight, does the 
opposite. According to the Tax Policy Center, the tax plan in the House 
Republican budget would cost nearly $5.7 trillion in lost Federal 
revenue, and the majority of that lost revenue would benefit the 
wealthiest Americans.
  Just like past House Republican budgets, it is once again pretty 
unclear how this budget would pay for all those tax cuts that are 
skewed toward the wealthiest. But the reality is that to achieve the 
goals that are laid out in their budget, House Republicans will either 
have to add to the deficit--meaning their budget might not actually 
balance, as they claim--or they are going to have to raise taxes on the 
middle class.
  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, to keep from 
increasing the deficit while lowering rates--which they propose to do--
the House budget would have to raise taxes by an average of $3,000 on 
families making less than $200,000 a year who have children. But in 
their plan, the wealthiest Americans will see a net tax cut averaging 
about $245,000.
  There is no reason middle-class families should have to pay for a tax 
cut for the wealthiest Americans. That is bad for our economy. It is 
very unfair. That kind of unbalanced approach is what made Americans 
reject the House Republican budget in the first place.
  The same is true of Medicare. We just heard Senator Stabenow talk 
eloquently about the importance of Medicare. Well, the House Republican 
budget would replace the Medicare guarantee with a voucher, capped at 
growth levels below projected health care costs, forcing our seniors to 
pay more and more out of pocket, and ending Medicare as we know it.
  That is not a solution that our seniors deserve.
  AARP said, in their critique of the House Republican budget:

       Removing the Medicare guarantee of affordable health 
     coverage seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of 
     hard work is not the answer.

[[Page S2132]]

  That is not me, that is AARP.
  The Senate budget offers a much better answer. Let me remind 
everyone, in our budget we uphold the principle--consistent with 
Simpson-Bowles and all other bipartisan deficit reduction proposals--
that the most vulnerable families should not be asked to bear the 
burden of deficit reduction.
  Our budget maintains the safety net that has kept millions of 
families and children above the poverty line during the recession and 
strongly supports efforts to help our low-income students and others, 
as they try to get back in the job market.
  House Republicans say their budget balances. Nothing in it sounds 
like balance to me. I would like to remind my colleagues as this debate 
continues that unlike what House Republicans have said about how a 
budget achieves its goals, how it achieves those goals really matters a 
  The American people have rejected this plan, and, understandably, 
some of my colleagues across the aisle would prefer not to vote on it. 
Our Senate budget offers a credible, serious approach to a fair and 
bipartisan agreement. It puts jobs and the economy first and provides a 
credible, balanced path forward.
  We are going to have to make some tough choices in the coming weeks 
and months, and I recognize moving away from the extreme approach in 
the House Republican budget is going to be a tough choice for many of 
my Republican colleagues. But I hope, as they consider the effects of 
the House Republican budget on our economy and on our families 
throughout the country, and the fact that the House Republican approach 
has been thoroughly reviewed and rejected by the American people, they 
will now be willing to come to the table, end the gridlock and 
dysfunction, and discuss a fair, comprehensive budget deal.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and yield the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.

                           Motion To Recommit

  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on the 
motion to recommit.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. 
Lautenberg) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 46, nays 53, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 45 Leg.]


     Johnson (WI)


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The motion was rejected.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote and to lay the 
motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, while I have everyone's attention, today, 
this evening, and tomorrow, we are going to have a lot of votes. 
Everyone should understand they are not going to have time to spend a 
lot of time with constituents, to make phone calls. When the time is 
up, we are turning it in--Democrats or Republicans. There are no 
excuses. We have a lot to do and we are determined to get these votes 
in very quickly.

                           Amendment No. 433

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, this next amendment is the Ryan budget. 
The House Republicans have doubled down on failed policies by passing 
the same budget that was rejected by the American people just a few 
months ago. Now Senate Republicans are going to have to decide whether 
they agree with this approach.
  This budget would be devastating for the middle class and the 
economy. It would cause millions of our workers to lose their jobs and 
dismantle programs such as Medicare that seniors and families depend 
on. It relies on gimmicks and tricks to eliminate the deficit by an 
arbitrary date and does all that while giving the wealthiest Americans 
a tax cut.
  I encourage my colleagues to oppose this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, the House Republican budget does something 
the Democratic budget does not do--it balances. It actually balances in 
10 years, and it does it not by taxing more but by spending less, 
spending at a slower rate--3.4 percent over that 10-year period.
  If we look at what the House Republican budget does, it is focused on 
growing the economy, not growing the government. What the Democratic 
budget, before the Senate this evening, does is it grows the 
government, not the economy.
  In fact, if we look at the analysis that has been done, it is 
suspected the Democratic budget would cost us 850,000 jobs and reduce 
take-home pay for middle-class families by $1,500. The House Republican 
budget takes seriously the challenges that are facing this country, 
takes the steps necessary to save and protect Medicare for future 
generations of Americans, something this budget--the Senate Democratic 
budget--does not do.
  I urge my colleagues to support this budget, and it is a serious one, 
that balances the budget in 10 years and puts our economy back in 
growing mode and our fiscal house back in order.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. 
Lautenberg) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 40, nays 59, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 46 Leg.]


     Johnson (WI)


     Johnson (SD)

[[Page S2133]]

     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The amendment (No. 433) was rejected.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mrs. BOXER. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

                           Amendment No. 297

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will now be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to a vote in 
relation to amendment No. 297, offered by Mr. Hatch.
  The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, what we want to do is repeal the $30 
billion costly medical device tax. It is a gross tax on these 
businesses. We have already lost 5,000 jobs and we will lose 46,000 
  I hope everybody will vote for this.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, this is a bipartisan amendment. This is 
about innovation and jobs. The medical device industry is one of our 
biggest exporters. We have so many opportunities out there with a 
growing middle class in China and India to export even more, but we 
cannot have a tax that puts us at a competitive advantage. I think 
people understand that. This is about manufacturing, high-skilled jobs, 
millions of jobs in America.
  I ask my colleagues to vote with Senator Hatch and me to repeal this 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I yield back the remainder of my time and 
ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I yield back all time and ask for the 
yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The yeas and nays are ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. 
Lautenberg) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Baldwin). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 79, nays 20, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 47 Leg.]


     Johnson (WI)
     Udall (CO)


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (NM)

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The amendment No. 297 was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, I move to reconsider the vote, and I 
move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

                           Amendment No. 432

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will now be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to a vote in 
relation to amendment No. 432, offered by Ms. Stabenow.
  The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I yield my 1 minute to the Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Madam President, this is a very simple, straightforward 
amendment. A ``yes'' vote supports Medicare as an ongoing insurance 
plan. A ``no'' vote sides with what the House of Representatives has 
done with the Ryan Republican budget: dismantling Medicare, turning it 
into a voucher program, adding $6,000 on average in costs to seniors 
and, adding insult to injury, their budget takes the money, doesn't 
strengthen Medicare but provides another tax cut for the wealthiest 
Americans, averaging about $245,000 for those at the very top. Please 
vote yes. Let seniors know in this country what they have paid into 
their entire lives will be there for them and the great American 
success story of Medicare will remain strong for the future.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I rise to set the record straight. 
Amendment No. 432, which characterizes the House budget plan as a plan 
to turn Medicare into a voucher program, is patently false. This 
amendment is not trying to voucherize Medicare. That is not true. I 
think it is ironic that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle 
attack the House budget proposal when the Affordable Care Act took $716 
billion from the bankrupt Medicare Program to create an unsustainable 
new entitlement.
  In no way can the House budget be considered as turning Medicare into 
a voucher program, and we reject the characterization of amendment No. 
432. The House budget proposal draws from bipartisan proposals put 
forth by the Breaux-Thomas Medicare Commission, President Bill Clinton, 
and Domenici-Rivlin.
  We are prepared to take the amendment. We will be happy to take it by 
unanimous consent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There appears to 
be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. 
Lautenberg) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 96, nays 3, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 48 Leg.]


     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson (WI)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)



                             NOT VOTING--1

  The amendment (No. 432) was agreed to.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, I move to reconsider the vote and to 
lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

[[Page S2134]]

                           Amendment No. 156

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to the debate 
on amendment No. 156 offered by Mr. Grassley.
  Who yields time?
  The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, this amendment strikes a $975 billion 
tax increase. This amendment in turn sets up a deficit-neutral reserve 
fund that will allow the Finance Committee to reform corporate and 
individual taxes in a revenue-neutral way.
  The President got his $612 billion tax increase January 1. We should 
not raise taxes another $1 trillion with unemployment at 7.7 percent. 
We should not close loopholes for more spending. We won't grow the 
economy by raising taxes by $1 trillion as the majority wants to do. We 
will grow the economy with more efficient progrowth tax reform.
  My amendment is progrowth, pro-small business, and pro-jobs. The 
Democrats' budget taxes the middle class to spend more. It is balanced 
and fair because they have finally come to the conclusion they cannot 
raise taxes just on the wealthy; they have to raise it on the middle 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, again, the goal of our budget is to 
tackle our deficit and debt responsibly in a way that works for the 
middle class and the economy. That means a balanced mix of responsible 
spending cuts and new revenue from those who can afford it the most.
  All of the bipartisan groups that have examined our budget situation 
have acknowledged this reality--Simpson-Bowles, Gang of 6, Domenici-
Rivlin--and recommended more revenue than the roughly $600 billion that 
we generated in the yearend deal. In fact, Simpson-Bowles and the Gang 
of 6 each recommended well over $2 trillion in new revenue, which is 
several times more than the yearend deal. Repealing this budget's 
proposed revenue increase and striking the reconciliation instruction 
would be wholly irresponsible. We cannot cut our way out of this 
  I urge my colleagues to vote no.
  For the information of all Senators, this is the last vote this 
evening. Tomorrow there are votes beginning at 11. I ask again that all 
Senators be here. We are going to move through a lot of amendments 
tomorrow. I have a lot of Senators asking me to have their amendment 
voted on. I assure everyone that by 1 a.m., 2 a.m. tomorrow night, many 
Senators won't have that opportunity unless they are here and help move 
that process along.
  I yield the floor and ask for a ``no'' vote.
  I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  There is a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. 
Lautenberg) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 45, nays 54, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 49 Leg.]


     Johnson (WI)


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The amendment (No. 156) was rejected.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, I move to reconsider the vote, and I 
move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, we have had a great debate here on the 
floor today about the budget. What we have heard is the fact that in 
the face of unprecedented debt and deficits, we need to get spending 
under control and grow the economy. Unfortunately, the Democratic 
budget that has been presented doesn't do that because it actually 
increases spending and increases taxes.
  But there is an alternative, and that is to restrain spending in ways 
that are smart but also get this economy moving so we have more revenue 
and revenue the way we ought to get it, which is through growth. One 
obvious way to do that is through tax reform.
  We just had a vote on a tax reform proposal. I am offering a couple 
of amendments that I want to talk about tonight. One is with regard to 
tax reform on the business side, where there is an amazing consensus 
now between Democrats and Republicans, the White House and the Capitol 
on how to get this economy moving again by ensuring that our Tax Code 
becomes more competitive globally--not to cut taxes, not to raise 
taxes, but in a revenue-neutral way to improve the way we collect taxes 
at the business level to be sure we can create more jobs at a time when 
we are suffering through the worst recovery we have had since the Great 
  Second, I am going to offer an amendment that ensures that we have 
the right information from the Congressional Budget Office and the 
Joint Committee on Taxation, which are the two groups who give us 
information here on Capitol Hill, as to what tax reform means because 
we want to be sure that as we reform our Tax Code, we do it in a way 
that is progrowth and projobs.
  Fundamental tax reform should be done across the board, in my view, 
not just on the business side but also on the individual side. On the 
individual side, we have a great opportunity to broaden the base of tax 
and lower the rates to make the code again more progrowth. Most 
businesses in America pay their taxes through the individual Tax Code 
because they are what are called passthrough entities, about 85 percent 
of businesses--they tend to be smaller businesses. That is very 
  But tonight I want to talk about the other part of that, which is the 
business Tax Code that relates to primarily our larger companies and a 
lot of the international companies, so-called C corporations.
  Back in 1986 we actually reduced the rate on the corporate side from 
46 percent down to 34 percent. That was 1986. It was done in a 
bipartisan way with Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill, and the idea at that 
time was to take our tax rate down to the point that it was 
competitive, meaning that it was below the average of our global 
  In the intervening 2\1/2\ decades, guess what has happened. Every 
single country of the developed world--the so-called OECD countries, 
our global trading competitors--every single one of them has reformed 
its tax code. They have lowered their rates, but they have also made 
their codes more competitive--every single country except us. So 
America has been on the sidelines while these other countries have 
moved quickly to improve their tax code. Why? Because they want 
investment, they want the jobs, and what has happened is, sure enough, 
they are more competitive.
  Capital is now flowing outside of this country. We are losing 
headquarters. We are in a situation where if there is a foreign 
acquisition to be made, those companies in foreign countries have an 
advantage because they have a more competitive tax code. Our tax rate,

[[Page S2135]]

which in 1986 was purposely put in place to be just below the average 
of all the developed economies in the world, is now No. 1. It is the 
highest rate in the world. That is a No. 1 we don't want to have.
  Japan just lowered their rate last year, putting America as the top 
corporate tax rate in the world. This means, again, we are losing 
people, we are losing capital, we are losing headquarters, we cannot 
keep up.
  So what is the solution? Well, let's go do what we did back in 1986 
again, let's do it quickly, and let's do it on a bipartisan basis 
because everybody seems to agree that our current code is not 
competitive, that the rate is too high. We have some disagreements on 
how to correct it, but actually there is a growing consensus about that 
as well.
  The White House has talked about this. In fact, in a February 2012 
white paper issued by the Treasury Department, they said: Let's lower 
the rate of corporate taxation by broadening the base, meaning reducing 
or getting rid of a lot of the preferences that have built up in the 
Tax Code. By the way, hundreds of them have been built up in the Tax 
Code since 1986. So not only has our rate become high because other 
countries have lowered theirs, we have added more and more 
complications to our Tax Code.
  It is not just the White House that is talking about this. In front 
of our committee, the Budget Committee, a professor came to talk to 
us--who was the Democrats' witness; this was not the Republican 
witness--who was gung ho also on doing corporate tax reform. This was 
the Democrats' witness. This is what he said:

       . . . corporate income tax's statutory rate of 35 percent 
     is today far outside world norms. The rate needs to come 
     down. . . . I therefore conceive of corporate tax reform as a 
     roughly revenue neutral undertaking, in which the corporate 
     tax base will be broadened through closing business tax 
     expenditures and loopholes, and the resulting revenues used 
     to pay down the corporate rate.

  Pay down the corporate rate.
  In the paper from the Treasury Department in February 2012, they said 
we should reinvest the savings we get from getting rid of some of these 
loopholes and expenditures and use it, as they said, to invest in 
lowering the rate.
  So here we have an opportunity as a Congress--Republicans and 
Democrats alike--to do something that is good for jobs. By the way, the 
Congressional Budget Office has looked at this in terms of who 
benefits. It is not the corporate boardroom that benefits, it is the 
workers. They have said 70 percent of the benefit of lowering the 
corporate rate is going to go to workers in the form of higher 
salaries, better benefits, and more jobs.
  By the way, the Congressional Budget Office has also said if you 
would like to get this economy moving, probably the best bang for your 
buck is going to be to do something on the corporate tax code because 
it has gotten so complex and the rate has gotten so high. If you do 
this, you are also doing something we ought to be doing generally in 
our Tax Code; which is you are not picking winners and losers. Instead 
of the government stepping in and deciding where resources are 
allocated, you have the private sector doing that, market forces doing 
that, which is going to help grow the economy.
  So just as President Reagan and Democrats did in 1986, we should cap 
or eliminate inefficient tax preferences and loopholes, and we should 
use that revenue to reduce both the corporate rate and the individual 
rate, without adding to the deficit.
  Another amendment of mine takes this same idea, which is tax reform 
on the individual-corporate side, and allows us, as legislators, to 
understand better what we are doing.
  Right now, when the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint 
Committee on Taxation give us an analysis of taxes, they tell us the 
revenue is likely to be based on what they call a static score--a 
static score. It does not take into account the big macroeconomic 
changes you are likely to see from people's changed behavior from lower 
rates, for instance.
  I will give you an example. Back in 2003, the capital gains tax, as 
you know, was reduced. So what did they say? Well, the Joint Committee 
on Taxation and CBO did their analysis, and they said: Well, that 
means, because you lowered the rate of taxation, you are going to get 
less revenue, right, because you have less taxes coming in. No. Because 
they lowered the capital gains tax, there was more economic activity. 
It turns out we actually got more revenue in. So in 2007 they said 
revenue was going to go down. In fact, revenues shot up. The same thing 
happened, by the way, back in 1997, the last time this Congress had a 
unified balanced budget. That was when Bill Clinton was President, and 
he worked with the Republican Congress to get some of the spending 
under control, as we talked about earlier. But they also cut the 
capital gains rate, and, lo and behold, as I recall, about $100 billion 
showed up on the revenue side that folks did not expect because we 
lowered the capital gains rate. Because of the behavioral change, the 
dynamic scoring, the macroeconomic scoring, showed that was going to 
happen, but the static score did not.
  So as we begin to formulate what kind of tax reform we should do on 
the individual side and on the corporate side, wouldn't it be great if 
we had access to two kinds of analysis: one, the static score--and that 
will continue to be the official analysis; nothing changes there--but 
also why shouldn't we have access to the macroeconomic analysis--not 
done from the outside, not from groups from the outside that might have 
a pretty aggressive dynamic score, but let's just use the macroeconomic 
model that the Joint Tax Committee already does. In fact, they are 
required to look at it in three different ways. CBO already does. It 
does not add more work in the sense that this analysis is already being 
done; it is just that we are getting the benefit of it.
  So this second amendment that I hope my Democratic colleagues will 
also support, as I hope they will the first one, says, quite simply: 
Let's have more information so we can make smarter decisions. Who could 
be against that?
  Some have said: Well, we do not believe in dynamic scoring. Fine. If 
you do not believe in dynamic scoring, let's see what happens. We are 
going to have a static score, which will be the official score still--
that is what we will have to use around here--and then we will have 
that dynamic score. Again, we want that so we can formulate a better 
tax proposal but also to know what the impact is going to be. We will 
see what happens.
  My belief is that the macroeconomic score is more likely to be 
accurate, as it has been in the past, and over time I would not be 
surprised if this Congress decides: My gosh, that is more consistent 
with the behavior changes you are going to see with good tax reform. 
Let's make that part of the official analysis. But that is not what we 
are talking about tonight. The official score would still be the static 

  I believe this will enable us to be better legislators, and certainly 
it will enable us to have an opportunity, as we look at this budget 
deficit and these historic debts and the impact it is having on our 
kids, on our grandkids and on today's economy, to come together as 
Republicans and Democrats and do the two things that everybody knows 
have to be done: One, restrain spending, specifically to deal with 
these important but unsustainable entitlement programs--remember this: 
The Congressional Budget Office has told us in the report just about 2 
weeks ago that the growth of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, 
incredibly important programs--and that is why we need to save them--
that growth will go up by 94 percent over the next 10 years. It nearly 
doubles. In fact, they have told us that as a percent of the economy, 
which is how they look at the spending--as a percent of the economy, 
the only growth in our spending over the next 10 years is going to be 
from these entitlement programs and interest on the debt. Other parts 
of our budget actually, as a percent of the economy, are going to be 
flat or even a little bit below as a percent of the GDP. But what is 
going to grow dramatically are these programs.
  So we know we have to have entitlement reform to save these programs 
so that the trust funds do not go insolvent, which they otherwise will. 
But we also know as part of that we should do tax reform. Those two 
together--entitlement reform, smart reforms to make these programs work 
better to ensure they are there for the future,

[[Page S2136]]

and then tax reform that is progrowth, that is going to generate 
revenue, to help us because it will change people's behavior, which 
will change economic growth, which will, in turn, provide more 
revenue--revenue, really, the right way--will help us get the debt and 
deficit under control and at the same time give people the opportunity 
to get back to work, deal with the weakest economic recovery since the 
Great Depression, help us to get out of the doldrums we are in right 
now in this economy.
  The shot in the arm that tax reform can give us--particularly if we 
have the right information from these organizations on the Hill: the 
Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Committee on Taxation--will 
enable us to move this country forward in ways that can be bipartisan, 
in ways that can be consistent with what the administration and the 
Congress are talking about: restraining spending, growing the economy.
  I thank the Chair for letting me talk about this tonight. I look 
forward to having these amendments offered tomorrow. I hope my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle will be willing to stand together 
and to say: Yes, we can do this. We can get this economy moving. We are 
going to have to change the way we deal with our tax system. We are 
going to have to retrain the spending. If we do that, our future can be 
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Madam President, I just want to thank the Senator from Ohio 
for his usual very clear way of explaining things. I know that comes 
from the tremendous background he has had, not just in the House but 
actually putting together a White House budget before. I guess the 
Senator has had access to these different sources of information before 
and knows how they could work if we could get access to them.
  It is hard for me to believe that somebody would not want more 
information. They can analyze themselves whether they think it is 
useful. But more information is always better. So I thank the Senator 
for bringing that amendment here, and his other amendment as well. But 
as to that one, it is just incredible to me that anybody could oppose 
  So I thank the Senator for the thought he put into it and for the 
great presentation he did.
  Mr. PORTMAN. I thank the Senator.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I have filed an amendment, No. 233, that 
I would like to visit with my colleagues about this evening.
  I am pleased we are debating a budget. Budgets have great purposes in 
individual and business lives, and they are certainly important to us 
as we try to solve the country's fiscal problems.

  A budget is a document that determines how much money we have to 
spend and how we are going to spend it. In determining how we are going 
to spend money, we establish priorities.
  I want to talk about one of my priorities for the investment of our 
taxpayer dollars. Kansans and citizens from across the country pay 
their taxes. In many ways, they would be pleased by having to pay taxes 
if they knew the money was being well spent. One of the areas where I 
strongly believe we can prioritize and that money can be well spent is 
in support of the National Institutes of Health.
  We have a tremendous opportunity to continue to lead in the world's 
research to solve individuals' problems with their health, with the 
treatment of disease, in eradicating disease, and treating the people 
of our country and really the people of our world.
  This amendment I am going to discuss adds $1.4 billion in spending 
for the National Institutes of Health. Our citizens and our country 
face a significant challenge. There is not a family in our Nation who 
has not suffered from the consequences of cancer and other horrendous 
diseases. We have seen tremendous success. America leads the world in 
finding cures and treatments for those diseases.
  A problem is, the funding for NIH has remained at a virtual 
standstill since 2010. In my view, those who come to Congress with the 
desire to make sure every dime, every nickel is wisely spent, and those 
who come to Congress with the belief that we need to care for people 
and provide compassion to all, can come together and jointly agree that 
money spent on the National Institutes of Health is both. It is a sense 
of providing well-being, comfort, care, and treatment for people who 
desperately need that, and it is the realization that when we invest in 
research, in projects that ultimately cure a disease, we are saving 
money. We save money by curing and treating diseases, which then means 
that the cost of health care is reduced.
  Long before Congress passed a so-called health care reform bill, I 
outlined to my constituents in Kansas what we could do to save health 
care costs. One of the points in my plan was to invest in medical 
research because money invested today in research saves lives and 
reduces costs.
  There is also the reality that the United States of America is the 
place to do research. But we are facing tremendous challenges because 
of the flat line of NIH spending and the lack of real dollars available 
for medical research. In fact, we have to worry that there is a brain 
drain, once again, going on in the United States. Other countries are 
investing. Other countries with more difficult economic challenges than 
ours are increasing their funding for medical research.
  I have always worried that if we do not compete, if we do not 
maintain a steady opportunity for research scientists in the United 
States, we will lose the edge and the economic and health benefits that 
come from having that edge in a global economy.
  Our own Director of the NIH, Francis Collins--highly regarded and 
with tremendous background, intellect--has indicated that we are seeing 
the potential for a brain drain. This is what he said in February of 
this year, just last month:

       Since 2003 the NIH budget has basically lost about 20% of 
     its purchasing power by effectively flat budgets that have 
     been eroded by inflation.
       The consequence of that to grantees who send us their best 
     ideas in hopes of being supported is that their chance of 
     being funded has dropped from about 1 in 3 which is where it 
     has been for most of the last 50 years now down to about 1 in 
     6 . . .
       Imagine yourself as a young investigator [a scientist] with 
     a great idea, ready to tackle it and to do so in your 
     university setting somewhere [in the United States] knowing 
     that you have only a 1 in or less chance of getting funded, 
     seeing that there seems to be no real clear path forward for 
     achieving stability in the support of biomedical research, 
     wondering whether you can legitimately speak to young people 
     who are wanting to follow in your path about whether this is 
     a path they should choose.

  Dr. Collins says this deeply worries her. At a time we need to 
encourage our children to pursue degrees in education, science, 
research and medicine and the absence of continued increase in funding 
for health research, for biomedical research, we clearly send a message 
this may not be the career you wish to pursue. At the same time as 
other countries increase their support for biomedical research, we send 
a message, even though you decide you want to pursue this career, maybe 
you should pursue it someplace else. This is a serious problem which 
desperately needs our attention.
  I am going to ask my colleagues to support an amendment which 
establishes a clear understanding of the value of biomedical research, 
both again that opportunity to increase the longevity of our lives, to 
improve the quality of our lives, to combat those diseases which are so 
devastating to so many families in our country, knowing when we do 
that, not only are we improving individual lives, the well-being of 
families across our Nation, but we are also investing in an opportunity 
to reduce the long-term costs of health care in the United States.
  This issue is one of great importance to me, and I can't imagine 
there is a Senator in our Chamber who hasn't experienced the challenges 
of disease and death in their own families. We have seen tremendous 
strides in turning this around. It is so clear to me we need to make 
certain those strides continue.
  I was pleased to have the Senator from Illinois seek me out on the 
Senate floor this evening to suggest there is an opportunity for us to 
work together. While I have an amendment filed, Senator Durbin and I 
are having a conversation tonight, tomorrow, to see if there is a way 
we can come together in a joint amendment to fully establish all of us 
are in favor of funding the

[[Page S2137]]

NIH, the National Institutes of Health, at a magnitude and a level 
which will again restore us to the forefront of medical research around 
the globe.
  We will send a message to our students and future scientists America 
is the place medical research should occur and where they should pursue 
their careers. Disease can be conquered and lives can be restored. Most 
important, there may be hope in the United States. The serious and 
debilitating diseases, the causes of death so many families face day 
after day and year after year, can be cured and treated.
  I look forward to those conversations with my colleagues to find the 
right words to bring us together to demonstrate significant and real 
support for funding the National Institutes of Health.
  I yield my time.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I wish to speak on what almost 
qualifies as a historic event:
  For the first time in 4 years, the Senate will try to complete a 
budget resolution.
  Since 2009--the last year the Senate passed a budget--the government 
has run deficits in excess of $1 trillion every year. The Democrats' 
budget resolution that we are currently debating will, in fact, only 
reduce net deficits by $279 billion.
  I have spoken on the Senate floor and around the country for the past 
2 years in favor of a budget that will end excessive spending, provide 
a platform for tax reform, and rid ourselves of oppressive debt and 
deficits. But I am afraid that even after the Senate has completed its 
work, I will still be advocating for those changes.
  Senate Democrats have not used their proposed budget resolution to 
make government better. Their proposal does little in the way of 
reform, and actually grows the government instead of the economy. It is 
discouraging to anyone concerned about excessive government debt, and 
it is discouraging to the job seekers who are, unfortunately, so 
abundant right now.
  What the Democrats have proposed is not a budget at all. It is merely 
a spending plan to further stunt economic growth and job creation, 
while condoning increasing the deficit and growing the government. I 
believe the American people expect a budget that provides a platform 
for our economy to grow. A budget that increases government spending, 
increases debt, and further endangers our Medicare and Social Security 
is not what Georgians or people across America want.
  We have a real opportunity now to correct a lot of missteps. We need 
a budget that will reform our Tax Code, grow the economy, reduce 
poverty, and fix our entitlements.
  Yet here, in the middle of a global economic crisis, we are going to 
vote on a budget that does none of that.
  Mr. President, tonight the Senate voted on a budget that will balance 
in 10 years the--budget proposed by House budget chairman Paul Ryan. I 
can't think of better way to show the American people and the world 
that our government is serious about getting back on track and 
reclaiming our country's financial dominance. Simply put, Mr. 
President, even with all the provisions combined, the Murray budget 
doesn't get us out of debt. The Ryan Budget does.
  A budget that balances in 10 years should be the starting point for 
discussions, and we need to make that budget a reality now to secure 
America's future. Economists, budget experts, and analysts across the 
country have come to the conclusion that the debt we have already 
accumulated is having a negative effect on our economy. We have known 
for a long time--and have been told many times by economists--that when 
a country's gross debts reach 90 percent of GDP, its economy will 
contract substantially.
  We have seen in places such as Japan and Europe that when debt gets 
out of control, the government's response to control debts must be 
tougher. Unfortunately, as my friend from Alabama, Senator Sessions, 
noted yesterday, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for 
International Settlements, and the European Central Bank have all 
analyzed our debt and found that we are now at 103 percent of GDP. That 
is a staggering and shocking number. It is a hopeless number.
  We haven't balanced our budgets in so long that we have ended up 
harming America's economic engine--and the Democrats' proposal doesn't 
fix anything. It merely continues our unsustainable spending.
  We voted on a spending measure yesterday that lowered our 
discretionary spending down to 2008 levels. With some hard work, we can 
keep our discretionary spending at sustainable levels. However, what we 
haven't addressed is the continued rise in mandatory spending which has 
increased substantially since 2008.
  We simply cannot continue to let mandatory spending go unchecked. 
This budget's approach to restraint is half-hearted, at best. President 
Obama likes to remind us that he is in favor of entitlement reform. I 
would like to give him the benefit of the doubt about that--but is this 
the best his party can come up with? We are a nation that believes in 
caring for the most vulnerable among us, but if we continue to operate 
our programs this way, on a path toward bankruptcy, we will never be 
able to keep our promises.
  We can no longer allow the American people to suffer by not providing 
the economic basis for recovery and growth. The equation is simple: A 
balanced Federal budget that is free of excessive debt leads to a 
healthy economy and sustainable job creation.

                        Community Health Centers

  Mr. SANDERS. I would like to thank Chairwoman Murray for including 
the request I made in the budget resolution to provide $2.2 billion in 
discretionary funding and $2.2 billion in mandatory funding for 
community health centers in fiscal year 2014.
  I believe that community health centers are the answer we are looking 
for to make health care work for everyone, and I am very grateful for 
the language included in this Budget that recognizes the value of 
health centers.
  As the Senator knows, since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, 
budget cuts have significantly reduced discretionary funding for the 
Community Health Center Program. Current service levels for the 
Community Health Center Program have been maintained only by 
redirection of the ACA's mandatory expansion funding--which is not 
authorized beyond the year 2015.
  In other words, beginning in fiscal year 2016, the community health 
center fund will expire. Unless we find a solution to this problem, 
community health center funding will be reduced by 69 percent. If 
adequate funding is not restored, the result will be dramatic 
reductions in the number of patients community health centers are able 
to serve. I believe that would be a serious mistake.
  Would the Senator be willing to work with me and other Senators on 
resolving the funding cliff facing health centers in 2016 so we don't 
have a massive cut facing such a valuable program?
  Mrs. Murray. I thank the Senator and I couldn't agree with him more 
on the value of the Community Health Center Program. I know very well 
about the value they bring to Washington State, and also to the country 
by controlling health care costs and delivering care to our Nation's 
most vulnerable people and communities. We have included language that 
recognizes the importance of adequately funding the Community Health 
Center Program and I look forward to working with the Senator and other 
Senators to try and find a solution to the community health center 
funding cliff before it occurs.
  Mr. SANDERS. I thank the Chairwoman. The sooner we can work on this 
the better, as it will really give the program and all the centers 
across the country the stability and certainty they need to plan for 
the future.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I thank the Senator for raising this very important 
issue. I look forward to working with him to ensure that community 
health centers can continue to provide care to our most vulnerable 
populations today and in the future.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. There are a lot of problems with the country and the 
way we manage business. Frankly, President Bush became engaged in a war 
which used up so much of his time and effort. President Obama is not 
trained as a manager. He has never been a manager, Governor or managed 
a business. He has too little tough, serious management of the 
taxpayer's money in this country. It is time for us to get

[[Page S2138]]

under control the spending which goes on.
  In my humble opinion, the American people are tired of sending more 
money to Washington just because we run out. We say it is not our 
fault; it is the way things are. We can't have any reduction in 
spending. There are people who are hurt and in pain, hungry, women, 
elderly, singles, and married. They need to have more money. Any change 
in our policy whatsoever means somebody is not getting something they 
are entitled to.
  The truth is many of our programs serve many good people in need, but 
almost all those programs have serious management problems which could 
be run effectively and efficiently, and the program would cost 
substantially less without any significant diminishment of the 
effective aid which is rendered by that program. I believe the American 
people understand this absolutely and fully.
  As we have done, as an amendment or idea comes forward to confront 
wasteful spending, somebody in this body, particularly in the Senate, 
always objects. They raise the specter of meanness and unkindness and 
that sort of thing. In truth, we all ought to identify serious problems 
and fix them.
  For example, in our energy policy, we have had some of the most 
amazing failures and losses of Federal money I can imagine, beyond 
anything which is logical and absolutely should not have happened.
  Most people have heard of the Solyndra company. They had political 
connections to the White House and received $528 million in Federal 
loans, went bankrupt and left Uncle Sam holding the bag.
  There was another company, Abound Solar. It declared bankruptcy after 
receiving $400 million in Federal loan guarantees. Failing to deliver 
on the promises they made, somebody at the Department of Energy, 
apparently, was not checking very well. Maybe they were more interested 
in a press release, a big announcement, going to some solar factory and 
saying how we are going to create jobs, grow the economy and pump 
hundreds of millions of dollars into a program which sank.
  Beacon Power received $43 million in Federal loan guarantees before 
it shut down.
  Fisker, an electric car maker, is not making any cars now due to 
production problems. It received more than $190 million from the 
Department of Energy.
  A123 Systems, a battery maker, also received substantial Federal 
loans. It is bankrupt.
  The President emulates the failing energy programs of Europe. His 
policies were designed to promote an energy theory which is not ready 
economically. It is one thing to invest in research to try to create a 
new battery; it is another thing to try to loan hundreds of millions of 
dollars to a company to produce a product which is not competitive and 
not ready for prime time. This is the mistake we made.
  Mr. Lomborg, from Europe, who wrote the book ``Cool It'' and is, in 
my opinion, an expert on these issues, pointed out a number of years 
ago in his book the best way to handle this is for the government to 
subsidize where it can and direct money to try to reach technological 
breakthroughs, but you should not mandate the people of the United 
States, or use any kind of program which will not work, cost a lot more 
money, and have little benefit on the environment.
  Back in 2008, President Obama made this statement: ``Will America 
watch as the clean energy jobs and industry of the future flourish in 
countries like Spain, Japan, or Germany?''
  That is what he said. We need to emulate Spain, Japan, and Germany.
  Spain right now is having to cut back dramatically on its forward-
leaning green mandates. They went probably further or as far as any 
country in Europe. It has been a total disappointment. They are 
reducing their subsidies. Their economy is in shambles, and they are 
not doing well.
  The Financial Times in February of this year wrote:

       The Spanish government's latest bid to cut its growing 
     debts to the country's energy sector is expected to slash 
     profits at renewable energy companies as Madrid continues to 
     grapple with a $37 billion deficit built up through years of 

  They continue:

       Shares in Acciona, Spain's largest wind power operator, 
     have tumbled almost 20 percent, with Analysts expecting 
     Acciona's earnings per share to drop by 40 percent, while 
     Abengoa's EPS are forecast to drop by 12 percent.

  Germany is also cutting back. According to Reuters in January of this 

       [The German energy company] RWE is delaying investments. 
     SIAG filed for insolvency. REpower Systems is cutting 
     temporary staff. All show how German Chancellor Angela 
     Merkel's $734 billion plan to replace nuclear reactors with 
     renewable sources is stalling.

  Former Secretary of Treasury, under President Obama, Larry Summers 
said this: ``Government is a crappy venture capitalist.''
  This is exactly correct. We have no business trying to pick and throw 
American taxpayers' money into risky ventures. We are not good at it. 
Spain and Germany are not good at it--governments aren't.
  When it is your money and you are putting up $100 million, then you 
are at a point where you need to be very serious about that investment.
  These are some points I wanted to make because I think the American 
people are tired of hearing Washington say send more money.
  No, we are not going to cut spending in Washington. We can't do that 
in the budget which is on the floor. It does not cut spending, actually 
does not reduce the deficit. It increases spending, increases the 
deficit, and increases taxes by $1 trillion.
  What did they say in the budget? We are not going to cut spending. 
There is nothing we can cut. The government is working. Every dollar we 
receive, every dollar we distribute is absolutely critical and cannot 
be contained. Send more money. Just send more money and don't complain, 
American people.
  I think people are getting tired of that. They have a right to be 
tired of that. They should not send another dime until we are on the 
right path.
  I see my friend Senator Enzi, and I would be pleased to yield the 
  I would note Senator Enzi is the senior member of the Budget 
Committee and is a successful businessman who has a proven record in 
his State. He understands these issues, and he is trained as an 
accountant. I am sure when he sees what we do in the budget process 
around here, he must wonder what world we are connected to.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. I wish to thank the Senator from Alabama for all the work 
he has done on the budget. He worked on a budget for 2 years previous 
to this which never materialized. I am so pleased he and his staff are 
working on a budget.
  I understand his disappointment. I am an accountant, and I hope 
Senator Johnson, who is the other accountant in the Senate, will have 
an opportunity to come to the floor and talk about some of the numbers 
because there seems to be some discrepancies in the numbers. He has 
tried to pin those down by asking questions of the staff and, as a 
result, has come up with some demonstrations that show where the budget 
we are currently talking about goes.

  I wanted to just briefly share an article I ran across today. It is 
called ``Mr. Penny vs. a dragon: Hey kids, it's the national debt!''
  How are kids across America going to understand the debt? We are 
having a lot of problems understanding it in this body. Washington's 
budget squabbles and financial fights are enough to tangle up anyone's 
head, so one can only imagine how it might confuse children. So enter 
Mr. Penny and the Dragon of Domeville. Let's see, that would be the 
dome? Yes.
  This children's book by Lucile McConnell seeks to raise awareness of 
fiscal irresponsibility and the national debt for those who are just 
out of diapers. The book's hero, Mr. Penny, is introduced as ``quite an 
individual and not a follower,'' and begins:

       Once upon a penny, in the Land of Us''--

  That would be U.S.--

       in the little town of Meville, lived a little penny. In 
     fact, a whole lot of little pennies were scattered all over 
     the Land of Us, but our story is about one particular penny: 
     Mr. Penny. He was a singular fellow, quite an individual and 
     not a follower of the crowd.

  The antagonist, a dragon--a black dragon--if this had been a western 
story, it would be the guy with the

[[Page S2139]]

black hat--a dragon designed to represent a bloated Federal Government 
that will not stop growing and loves to eat currency.

       In fact, he developed a taste for charred bills . . . 
     dollar bills. Within no time, the dragon had devoured $15 

  You can tell the book is a little old, otherwise it would be $16.6 
trillion, which is where we are now--

     and was always looking around for more to consume.

  Eventually, Mr. Penny scores a one-on-one with the dragon and does 
his level best to convince the dragon just how reckless Federal waste 
can be.

       I don't think you know what effect you are having on the 
     whole land of Us by eating the money that we send to 
     Domeville. . . . Our schools are closing; our youngsters 
     can't go to college; our oldsters can't get medical help; our 
     businesses are failing because there is no money for loans; 
     our roads and bridges are falling down; our towns and 
     industries are not safe; our citizens do not have jobs; and 
     we are running out of money.

  On the book's Web site, McConnell describes herself as ``a tax/
commercial transactions attorney'' practicing in Washington and New 
York and says--and this is very important--all funds from the book--all 
funds from the book--will go toward paying down the national debt.
  In an author's note in the book, McConnell writes:

       Our beloved Country is in trouble . . . big trouble. This 
     is the kind of trouble that cannot be solved unless we all 
     pitch in and come to the aid of our country immediately.

  She adds:

       My hope is that after reading this book, young people are 
     energized about the possibility of what we can accomplish 
     together through cooperation and teamwork.

  So, Madam President, I had an amendment in the committee that would 
have taken care of some of those charred bills and converted them to 
metal coins--dollar coins. If we were to do that, it would probably 
save about $1 billion. That maybe doesn't sound like much around here, 
but $1 billion would be a good start and would put a little punctuation 
in this book.
  We are getting to the point where if we don't do something, we will 
not have money to spend. If interest rates go up--and if people lose 
confidence in our economy, the interest rates will go up--the only 
thing we will be able to pay is interest. Doesn't that sound like 
somebody who has used their credit card too much and can't afford to 
pay the credit card down? Of course, we are not even worried about 
paying the credit card down. We are not even talking about doing that. 
We are not even talking about balancing the budget at this point, and 
we need to do that or maybe we need to pass out copies of ``Mr. Penny 
and the Dragon of Domeville.''
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, we talked about a number of challenges 
our Nation faces and the debt course we are on. The Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office, Mr. Elmendorf, testified just a few weeks 
ago before our Budget Committee and declared that we remain on an 
unsustainable financial course even after the Budget Control Act that 
reduced spending and even after the tax increase in January, and that 
this does not get us out of the danger zone.
  We have hundreds of billions of dollars in deficits every year, and 
he is projecting that interest on our debt in the 10th year will rise 
to $800 billion, which is about what the score of the Murray budget 
that is on the floor today would add to our debt.

       Fundamentally, this budget that is before us today did not 
     change the debt course we are on. It does not have $2 
     trillion in spending reductions, and it leaves us on the same 
     dangerous course as Mr. Elmendorf said we are on, so we have 
     to get off of it.

  I want to share a few things that drive home the danger we are in. 
Now, we have a strong economy. We have a great entrepreneurial spirit. 
We have a tremendous infrastructure compared to most places. We have a 
rule of law that helps us tremendously in terms of managerial 
efficiency and contracts and complex documents that can be entered 
into. If there is a dispute over it, you can go to a Federal or State 
court and have a pretty good chance of a fair decision being reached 
even in the most complex matters involving high finance. That is not 
true in most places in the world, so it gives us an advantage.
  We have an educated workforce. We have a lot of people who are 
willing to work and hustle. So we have some advantages. We have a 
history of trade and freedom. But I want to show this chart, because we 
may not be doing as well as we think we are, and the debt that we are 
facing may be more serious than a lot of people will acknowledge.
  This is a chart that shows the debt per person in the Eurozone 
compared to the United States. It is a stunning chart. Some people have 
explained it somewhat by saying, well, our economy in the United States 
is bigger than other economies in the world. Therefore, individual 
Americans normally make more money and, therefore, they can carry more 
debt. But anybody who sees this chart has to begin to understand and 
worry that the needle of our debt is in the red zone--the danger zone.
  Look at this. This includes spending for Federal, State, and local 
government. These are 2012 projections of general government 
expenditures in nominally U.S. dollars--all converted to U.S. dollars 
by the International Monetary Fund. This is not the United States. This 
is the world's economic outlook according to the International Monetary 
Fund. This is the way they score our debt compared to the rest of the 
world in comparable U.S. dollars.

  Look at this: In dollars, Spain's debt per person is $24,000. Spain 
is in serious financial difficulty now. Its debt has caused the 
interest on their debt to surge. They are paying a large amount. They 
have tried to bring that under control, but their unemployment is high, 
and the net result has been the economy is stagnating dangerously. It 
is a sad thing.
  Italy has more, with $26,000; Portugal, $39,000 per person; Greece, 
$42,000 per person; but the debt per person in the United States, 
according to the International Monetary Fund, is $53,400--higher than 
all those countries.
  I would say to my colleagues, we are not in a position of safety. I 
would say to my colleagues that this is a kind of debtload that we need 
not to underestimate. We might find that this economy is more 
unpredictable than we think.
  As I said last night, I remember Alan Greenspan being before the 
Budget Committee in 2001 and telling us we had to worry. And the worry 
was that we had so much money that we would pay down all the debt in 
the United States and then--he worried--what we would do with the extra 
money when we paid the whole debt down. This is the maestro, Alan 
  I say that just to indicate that if he misses it that badly, maybe 
Mr. Bernanke will miss it. Actually, the Wall Street Journal documented 
that when Mr. Bernanke was advising Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve 
Chairman, about the bank mortgage situation in the mid-2000s--2003, 
2004, 2005--he was advising Mr. Greenspan to keep pouring the low money 
out, keep encouraging banks to lend, lend, lend, and he rejected the 
idea we were in danger. Then, whammo, we had this horrible recession of 
  So I would just say this chart shows us that we need to get our house 
in order. The American people know that. They tell me that everywhere I 
go. So why won't Congress respond?
  Well, the House has responded. I know my Democratic friends don't 
like to hear that, but this budget that Paul Ryan produced, while not a 
perfect document, it changes the debt course of America. It balances 
the budget, and we could do the same thing if we wanted to, and do it 
in a different way. Let's do it a different way, but we should have a 
balanced budget. And we don't, and there is no plan to get there--not 
even close.
  One of the things that is happening in America today is the growth in 
our economy is not where it should be. This chart is a vivid indicator 
that the Congressional Budget Office, our top adviser, has been 
consistently wrong about its projections in the last several years. 
This is CBO forecasts 2 years before an event. OK? So in 2008, what was 
CBO projecting the growth rate to be in 2010?
  They projected it would be 3.1 percent, but it came in at 2.4 
percent. In 2009, what did they project we would have as growth in 
2011? They projected we would have 4 percent growth in 2011.

[[Page S2140]]

We had less than half of that--1.8 percent. That is a huge difference.
  Now Christina Romer, who served President Obama as his top adviser on 
economic matters, has estimated that the difference in 1 and 2 percent 
growth is 1 million jobs. So what do we have here? We have more than 2 
million less jobs being created in 2011 than were projected by the 
experts that we relied on in 2009.
  And look at this. It is even worse in 2012. They projected back in 
2010 that growth in 2012--just 2 years in advance--would be at 4.4 
percent, and it came in at 2.2 percent. So these 1.8 and 2.2 percent 
growth figures are really not growth. That is not a job-creating 
factor. You need to have more growth than that to create real jobs and 
hiring and wage improvements and raises.
  So I just would ask my colleagues: What is causing that? What is 
causing that? Professors Rogoff and Reinhart did the fabulous book, 
``This Time It's Different,'' and they did an empirical actual study of 
the economies of over 200 years of nations who ran up too much debt.
  They studied what happened and the ones that had debt crises. What 
did they conclude? And not based on theory, not some ideal formula 
reached in academic situations, but what actually happened in these 
countries? What they concluded was that when the gross debt exceeds 90 
percent of GDP, 90 percent of the size of the economy, then growth 
begins to slow. They found that the growth was slowed by 1 to 2 
  In 2010, the gross debt of the United States exceeded 90 percent of 
the economy and CBO's forecast was off. The next year, we were still 
way above 90 percent. In 2012, we were way above 90 percent of GDP. The 
debt is so high that it impacts economic growth, it would appear to me. 
I think this is a fact not being fully considered by CBO and it is 
impacting our economy, and it argues against any idea that we have no 
responsibility to start confronting our debt situation now.
  In addition to Rogoff and Reinhart--perhaps stimulated by Rogoff and 
Reinhart, in the last couple of years, the International Monetary Fund, 
the European Central Bank, and the Bank for International Settlements 
have studied these very issues because it is a big deal in Europe. Many 
of the countries in Europe are deeply in debt, their economies are 
stagnating, and they have studied this issue. And what did they 
conclude? They concluded basically the same thing. Every one of those 
studies shows that when a country reaches a high level of debt--in the 
range of the 90 percent--they begin to suffer economic growth 
reduction. One of the studies went as low as 60 percent of your GDP in 
debt begins to slow the economy.
  They have various factors in how it is done and the studies are 
constructed in different ways, but the net result is that when our debt 
situation is applied to each of those three studies, our economy is 
projected to be suffering as a result of the high debt we have. So I 
would say those three studies validate the concerns of Rogoff and 
Reinhart. Those three studies indicate we are already in America 
suffering growth loss because of the debt we have.
  As we wrestle with how to deal with our economy, I would challenge 
all of our Members and challenge commentators in the media to ask tough 
questions: Can we continue to borrow more, run up more debt, and 
attempt to create a stimulus effect in our economy today? How much can 
we do that?
  The Congressional Budget Office early this year concluded in a 
thorough report that if we were to balance the budget and bring our 
debt down to the level--as Congressman Ryan proposed and as we proposed 
in the committee, and as I proposed in my amendment tonight--and 
balanced the budget, what would happen? They predict this economy in 10 
years would be stronger than it is if we hadn't done that, if we used 
two other scenarios that had less reduction and allowed more debt to 
  Did you hear that? The economy over the long term will be healthier 
in this country, according to our own CBO, if we get our debt under 
control and balance our budget. It is in their report in January of 
this year. We need to listen to that. The American people know you 
can't get something for nothing. They know you can't borrow your way 
out of debt. As one of my citizens in Evergreen told me several years 
ago at a town meeting, My daddy said you can't borrow your way out of 
debt. Isn't that true? That is what we have been doing. We are going to 
borrow somehow and create a false high, a sugar high, and that is going 
to fix our problems. It has proven not to be the case.
  What do we need to do? We need to do the same thing responsible 
people all over the world do. We need to do the same thing families do, 
the same thing States do that are well managed--and many are very well 
managed--and that counties and cities do; that is, operate within our 
means. Let's have a budget that actually balances, and all of the other 
factors will come into play. Debt as a percentage of GDP and these 
arguments about primary debt, and debt as a percentage of the economy, 
that is not where we need to be.
  If we balance the budget over a period of time--carefully, so it 
doesn't do damage to the economy--and do this in the right way, we will 
make this economy better, and we will have people working who are now 
on unemployment. We will have people working and bringing home 
paychecks who are now on food stamps and TANF and other welfare 
programs. They will have jobs and they will be able to get pay raises 
and they will be able to work longer hours and get some overtime, and 
be able to pay down the house payment or the car payment. People are 
hurting out there. We have fewer people working today than we did in 
2000. The average wage has declined--not increased--in the last 10 
years. This economy is not growing. My Democratic colleagues are 
correct about that. People are hurting.
  So how do you fix it? Do you borrow more so we can spend more? Is the 
government going to lift people out of poverty by giving them more 
checks that we taxed more and passed out more money? Is that 
compassion? I don't think so.
  I have worked with working people. I have worked construction. I grew 
up in the country. I know people who didn't have money and how they can 
live and take care of their families on modest means, and they were 
independent, with pride and self-respect. We have an award being given 
in North Carolina to a food stamp office employee who talked people 
into taking food stamps who said they didn't need them. The award was 
given to her for overcoming mountain pride. So is this the status of 
the American economy today, that we are talking people into not being 
independent, we encourage them to take benefits from the government 
when they say they don't need them? That is what they gave her the 
award for.
  We have got food stamp promoters in foreign embassies, in the 
consulate offices all over. They are meeting and promoting new 
residents to America--legal, presumably--to get on food stamps and 
other benefits programs. But you are not supposed to be admitted to the 
United States if you are going to be a charge on the State, so we 
checked on that. Do you know what we found? That about two-tenths of 1 
percent--not 1 percent, but two-tenths of 1 percent of the people who 
apply to enter the United States are turned down because they might not 
be financially able to support themselves. One study said at least 36 
percent of lawful immigrants in our country today are on some sort of 
welfare benefit program.
  If they have to have health care to survive and go to the hospital, 
they need to get it, and we want to help people who are in need. But 
doesn't anybody follow common sense? Doesn't anybody understand we have 
a reasonable law that says, If you are going to come to America, we 
need to know you are going to be able to take care of yourself? You 
shouldn't be coming to America to get on a benefit program. We are not 
checking. Nobody is checking. Nobody is worried.

  So what will they do? They will get Uncle Sam to ask the taxpayers to 
send more money, and we will keep spending more. It is a bottomless 
pit, you know. We will just tax the rich. How about that? Because 
shouldn't the rich pay more because somebody immigrated to America and 
their income was low? And so we will just give them money.
  Do you know they did the same thing, the Department of Agriculture,

[[Page S2141]]

with people who entered the country? They had a soap opera series of 
videos, and this is what they did: A lady speaks to another lady and 
she says something about food stamps. The other lady says, Well, my 
husband has a good job. I don't need food stamps. That is the first 
scene. The first lady says, Well, you don't understand.
  After two or three of these videos, the first lady convinces the 
second lady that she should ask for these benefits when she said she 
didn't want them. She was a lady of pride and dignity. She didn't think 
she had to have this and wasn't asking for it. But our government 
overcame her resistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture was 
promoting this and paid money to buy these ads: Don't worry, we will 
ask the American people to send more money. But we won't ask you to 
send more, we will ask the rich to send more money.
  I remember years ago George Wallace used to want to tax the power 
company. He always wanted to tax the power companies. I was looking at 
my electric bill the other day and they list your charges, and one of 
them is the State tax. So they taxed the power company, and the power 
company passes it on to the person who buys the electricity. Give me a 
break. A tax on the economy is a tax on the economy. It is a weak 
argument that you can have an unlimited amount of money by taxing the 
rich. At some point it becomes not correct, not fair, and not right if 
the money is being thrown away on Solyndras and A-123 battery companies 
that go bankrupt. But nobody worries about it: Send more money.
  We are having abuses in the SNAP program, and I proposed an amendment 
that would eliminate an abusive part of the food stamp program a year 
ago. In 2001, we spent $20 billion a year on SNAP. Last year, we spent 
$80 billion. It has gone up, from 20 to 80, four times. We identified a 
categorical eligibility gimmick that was allowing people to get food 
stamps who did not qualify and should not have received them. I said, 
Let's close that loophole. Over 10 years we were projected to spend 
$800 billion on the food stamp program. This would have reduced it by 
11, so we would have been spending $789 billion instead of $800 
billion. And do you know what they said? Sessions wants to take food 
out of the mouths of babies. People are going to starve. He is 
uncompassionate. He is unkind. He wants to chop the budget so we can 
hurt people. It was voted down. And we had reports showing that this 
was an abusive practice that should have been fixed.
  Now we want to ask the American people, Send more money. We want to 
tax you more. Well, what about the abuse in the food stamp program? 
There is no abuse. The Department of Agriculture said we have less 
fraud than we have ever had in history. And I used to prosecute that as 
a Federal prosecutor. I know there is fraud in there. We established 
without any doubt that their claim that they have minimal fraud is only 
in the computer part of the program.
  Nobody is checking to see if somebody who qualified for any of these 
government programs later gets a job and doesn't meet the 
qualifications. They still are getting benefits all over the country, 
unless they self-report. All kinds of things such as this are going on. 
No one is checking to see if somebody goes into two food stamp offices, 
two other benefit offices of various kinds and asks for them under 
different names at each place and produces some sort of ID. There is 
all kinds of abuse in this system and I hear it all the time.
  Most people who get food stamps need it, they qualify for it, and 
they would get it under any kind of reasonable reform that would occur. 
But to suggest that we aren't wasting money through practices that 
allow unqualified individuals to gain access to multiple programs of 
this kind is a mistake. It absolutely happens every day.
  I tried cases to a jury of stores selling food stamps, manipulating 
the program, dealing with corrupt individuals who brought the food 
stamps in to sell because they had obtained them fraudulently and never 
needed the food at all. This idea that there is no fraud in this 
program is ludicrous. That is what the leaders of the Department of 
Agriculture are saying: We have no problem. It is OK. Just send us more 
money. We will keep expanding and growing every year--maybe double the 
thing again, I guess.

  These are the kinds of things that I believe this budget does not 
address. This budget allows spending to continue at its current rate, 
it allows the debt to continue at its current rate. Spending goes up 
and taxes go up. That is what this budget does. Spending goes up and 
taxes go up and the deficit is not reduced.
  I hope that somehow we will come to our senses, go back home, and 
talk to our constituents. We will listen to them when they plead with 
us to do something about the debt course we are on. They tell us they 
are disgusted with the way things are going in Washington, and we say: 
We cannot do anything about it. They said there is not a problem. You 
don't understand the challenge we face. We really have to have more 
money. That is what we have to have. We can't get by on the money we 
have been having. We have to increase the money you give us.
  Do you know that if we increase spending every year 3.4 percent--and 
these figures are not disputed--if we increase spending each year 3.4 
percent, we could balance the budget? The problem is that our spending 
is increasing at 5.4 percent. It is hard to believe that difference 
would cause as many billion dollars in debt as it does, but it does. 
Each year, we add hundreds of billions of dollars to the debt. In fact, 
the last 4 years we have averaged adding $1,100 billion to the debt 
each year. As those dollars are added to the debt, we pay interest on 
them, and interest is surging.
  We are going to find, according to the CBO, on the course we are on 
and on the course we would stay on if this budget passes, that we would 
not do anything different than where we are today, which means we would 
be paying about $800 billion in 1 year in interest. The road bill is 
$40 billion, education is about $100 billion--it is going to crowd out 
spending for every agency in our government. For research and 
development--we are just going to keep raising taxes now?
  When we talk about a $650 billion tax increase in January this year 
on the rich, that passed. That went through. That will be $65 billion a 
year in extra revenue. I am saying to you that the Congressional Budget 
Office tells us that in 10 years from now, we will be paying $800 
billion a year in interest. You are not going to tax the rich out of 
that. It is just not going to happen.
  We are at a point where the debate today and the last week in the 
Budget Committee has put us in a position to confront the choices we 
have. Forgive me if I am passionate about this. We have waited 4 years 
to even see a budget brought to the floor when the law of the United 
States of America says a budget should be brought every year to the 
floor and every year before the committee and the President is required 
to produce a budget every year. For the first time since the Budget Act 
has been passed, the President has not produced a budget this year. But 
the Senate has begun to act, so I guess we are supposed to be happy for 
that. And I am happy for that, but I think we would be a lot better 
off, the country would be a lot better off--we may be in a better 
position to reach some sort of compromise on some of the great issues 
had we been publicly wrestling with these issues for the last 4 years 
instead of sweeping them under the table.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.