TAX REFORM
(Senate - November 29, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 194 (Wednesday, November 29, 2017)]
[Pages S7380-S7391]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                               TAX REFORM

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I know I don't need to tell anybody that 
American families have had a tough time in recent years. Weak economic 
growth, stagnant wages, and a lack of opportunities have left many 
Americans struggling just to get by.
  To put a fine point on that, during the entire years of the Obama 
Presidency, there wasn't a single year wherein the growth rate and the 
economy exceeded 3 percent. If we go back to the end of World War II, 
average economic growth in this country has averaged somewhere in the 3 
to 3.5 percent range. So in the entire 8 years of the Obama Presidency, 
there was not a single year--not one year--where economic growth 
exceeded 3 percent.
  What did that mean for American workers? It meant that their wages 
stayed flat. In many cases, up until just recently, American families 
haven't had a pay raise for the better part of a decade as a result. It 
has been a sluggish, anemic, slow-growth economy that wasn't creating 
the kind of good-paying jobs or the wage levels that enabled American 
families to benefit from increasing incomes.
  A recent survey found that 50 percent of Americans consider 
themselves to be living paycheck to paycheck. That makes perfect sense 
if we look at the economic statistics, economic record of the past 8 
years. About one-third of those same Americans say they are just $400 
away from a financial crisis.
  Real help is on the way. This week, we will bring the Senate version 
of comprehensive tax reform to the Senate floor. The legislation we 
have produced will provide immediate, direct relief to hard-working 
Americans, but that is not what we are hearing from Democrats. Here is 
what we are hearing Democrats say about the Senate plan--and I will 
just contrast that with the facts, what is really true. Here is what we 
have heard: The Republicans have somehow drafted this secret tax plan 
behind closed doors and are forcing it through the voting process much 
too fast.
  No doubt we have heard this as well: The Senate tax bill raises taxes 
on lower and middle-income, middle-class Americans while cutting taxes 
for the rich.
  Here is an interesting attack that is coming from my colleagues on 
the other side as well who have, in the past, not been considered 
budget hawks: The Senate tax bill somehow is a budget buster that 
irresponsibly increases the deficit.
  First off, let me address that question. The answer to the deficit 
question is that this is a $5.5 trillion tax cut. Seventy percent of 
the tax cut is paid for by ending loopholes and special exemptions in 
the Tax Code today--what we call base broadeners--broadening the base 
by doing away with some of the preferences that exist in the code 
today.
  The Joint Committee on Taxation says that with a static score, we 
will have about a $1.4 trillion delta to cover. Assuming that we use 
current tax policy--and we normally do extend current tax policy--we 
believe the remaining cost of the tax cut will be covered through 
increased economic growth.
  What does that mean? What kind of growth do we have to achieve in the 
economy in order to have the kind of growth that would enable this tax 
relief above and beyond what we have done in terms of base broadeners 
and pay-fors to be covered?
  Just to put it in perspective, the Congressional Budget Office is 
assuming and forecasting 1.8 percent growth over the next 10 years. 
Again, as I mentioned earlier, we didn't have good growth over the last 
8 years in the Obama administration. We were averaging 1.5 to 2 percent 
growth. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting currently 1.8 
percent growth for the next 10 years.
  Well, I can't believe that growth rate would be acceptable to people 
in this country--the greatest economy on the face of the Earth growing 
at less than 2 percent a year. That cannot be the new normal. We have 
to do better than that.
  If we get just 2.2 to 2.4 percent growth with this bill, we will have 
covered the remaining cost of the tax cut. The amount I pointed out 
earlier is not covered in terms of base broadeners and pay-fors and 
offsets, but it assumes a certain reasonable amount of growth--just the 
growth necessary to cover the cost of that tax cut--which is 2.2 to 2.4 
percent. Again, to put it in perspective, going back to the end of 
World War II, the economy in this country has averaged 3 to 3.5 percent 
growth. It is only in the last decade, where we have had heavy taxes 
and heavy regulations and policies that have created conditions that 
are not favorable for that kind of growth, where we have gotten stuck 
with this malaise of 1.5 to 2 percent. So if we can just get 2.2 to 2.4 
percent growth in the economy, we will cover the remaining cost of this 
tax cut.
  In reality, when my colleagues on the other side of the aisle say 
that this is

[[Page S7381]]

going to add to the deficit, they are saying our country cannot grow at 
2.2 to 2.4 percent a year over the next 10 years. They have gotten used 
to the low, slow, sluggish, anemic growth and have accepted that as the 
new normal.
  I don't accept that as the new normal, and the American people 
shouldn't accept that as the new normal because we are selling our 
country--the greatest economy in the world--woefully short when we find 
it satisfactory that the economy can grow at less than 2 percent. As I 
said, since World War II, we have averaged over 3 percent growth.
  After such a long period of stagnant growth, I understand how my 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle are resigned to accept this 
as the new normal, but I think I can speak for all of our Republican 
colleagues here when I say we can do much better than we did during the 
Obama years. We can and we will grow at a faster rate on account of 
this tax reform bill. Why? Because when you reduce taxes, you allow 
people to keep more of what they have earned. Instead of growing the 
government in Washington, DC, you start growing the economy. When you 
reduce taxes on businesses, those businesses invest. They expand their 
operations. When they expand their operations, it means they have to 
hire new people. The demand for labor raises the price of labor. Wages 
go up. Paychecks get bigger. That is what happens.
  It also means the government generates more revenue. When the economy 
is growing at a faster rate, people are working, paying taxes; people 
who have invested are taking their realizations, and that raises tax 
revenues in this country.
  We can and will grow at a faster rate if we can put the right 
economic policies in place, starting with this tax reform bill. We can 
create those new, good-paying jobs, keep existing jobs from moving 
overseas, and we can see wages in this country go up and finally give 
Americans a much needed break in their paychecks. We can get the 
economy growing again and generate enough revenue to cover the 
remaining 30 percent cost of this tax reform bill.
  This bill has been put together after many years of hearings and 
work. Democrats argue that this was somehow cooked up in a short amount 
of time. I joined the Senate Finance Committee in 2011. Since I have 
been on the committee, we have had 70-plus hearings on tax reform. Two 
years ago, in 2015, the chairman of that committee, Senator Hatch, 
created a number of working groups to examine various aspects of the 
Tax Code. I had the privilege of chairing one of those groups along 
with Senator Cardin, a Democrat on the other side of the aisle. We 
looked at and examined the business part of the Tax Code to try and 
determine what sorts of recommendations we could make that would get 
the economy growing at a faster rate and generate better paying jobs. 
There were five groups like that, all of which made recommendations, 
much of which formed the basis for the tax bill we are considering 
today.
  We have been working on this for years to get to where we are today. 
It has involved a lot of thought, a lot of analysis, a lot of work has 
gone into the legislation that we will be voting on later this week.
  We made a focus of this tax reform legislation delivering meaningful 
tax relief to middle-income families who we believe know better how to 
spend their money than the Federal Government here in Washington, DC. 
If we can make American families' paychecks bigger, they can decide 
what they want to do to help themselves and their families, such as 
save for college education, perhaps save for a more secure retirement, 
or take care of the daily needs they have in their lives. The 
fundamental premise is, we trust the American people to make those 
decisions.
  We believe, after the last decade of stagnant wages and a slow and 
sluggish economy, that they deserve a pay raise, that they deserve to 
have a bigger paycheck than they do today. So reducing tax rates, 
doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, which 
are all features of the Senate bill--all benefits of this Senate bill--
are things that will help allow these families to keep more of what 
they earn.
  The average family in this country, under this legislation that we 
will consider--when I say ``average family,'' a typical family of 
four--with a combined annual income of $73,000, will receive a $2,200 
tax cut as a result of this tax legislation. That is a 60-percent tax 
cut over what they are paying today under current law.
  So if we look at the way this impacts middle-income families in this 
country, doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax 
credit, and lowering rates are all policies that will inure to the 
benefit of middle-income families in this country. We believe middle-
income families deserve to keep more of what they own. They deserve 
bigger paychecks. This tax bill will do that for them, in addition to 
creating the growth in the economy that we need to see if we are going 
to get those better paying jobs generated and get wages back up to 
where American families are enjoying a higher standard of living and a 
higher quality of life than what they have today.
  We need to get back to normal. We need to get back to 3, 3.5 percent 
growth. We can do that with the right policies, and it starts by 
passing the kind of tax reform we have before us today that will lower 
rates on businesses, lower rates on families, double that standard 
deduction, double that child tax credit, and allow American families 
and American workers to get the benefit of keeping more of their 
paychecks, more of their hard-earned money in their own pockets, and 
the benefit of higher wages that will compliment a stronger, more 
robust economy that is growing at a faster rate than what it is today.
  That is what is at stake in the discussion over tax reform. I hope, 
before the week is out, we will get the votes that are necessary to 
pass this and then go to conference with the House of Representatives, 
which has already passed their version of tax reform, and then put a 
bill on the President's desk that he can sign into law before the end 
of this year that moves us in a direction that provides meaningful tax 
relief for middle-income families in this country, as well as creates 
conditions that are favorable to that economic growth that will create 
better paying jobs and higher wages.
  The American people deserve better than 1.5 percent growth. They 
deserve a pay raise, not a pay cut, and that is what this tax reform 
bill will help accomplish.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I am here to discuss the tax bill, what we 
have done before, and what we have now in front of us. That is not what 
the American people want. It is what large corporations want--large, 
multinational corporations that get their corporate tax rate cut from 
35 to 20 percent. It is what the well-to-do want. That is what is 
before us.
  Now, let me explain. Anyone who says that this bill is all for the 
middle class is not giving the full story. What they are not telling 
you is that the tax cuts for the middle class expire in 7 or 8 years. 
That is not what is being told.
  Folks are not telling you that this bill will put small businesses at 
a competitive disadvantage, making it easier for large, multinational 
corporations to crush local small businesses. I say this as a Senator 
from Florida, since small business is the economic backbone of our 
State, not the large multinational corporations.
  What people are not telling you is that this bill will cause 
healthcare premiums to go up by 10 percent and will force 13 million 
people to lose their health insurance, and that is according to an 
independent analysis by CBO, the Congressional Budget Office.
  Folks are not telling you that this bill will send thousands of 
jobs--American jobs--overseas. It is not a jobs bill; it is a bill that 
is going to send jobs overseas because the tax rate for income produced 
overseas for large, multinational corporations is going to be less than 
the tax rate for those same corporations producing the income in 
America. This is exactly what is in the bill.

[[Page S7382]]

  They are not telling you all the other ways that CBO says this bill 
will hurt ordinary Americans. For example, beginning in 2019, CBO says 
anyone making under $30,000 a year will take a hit from this bill if it 
becomes law. Then, in 2021, anyone making under $40,000 will start to 
feel the pinch. Finally, in 2027, anyone making under $75,000 is 
actually going get a tax increase. That is what folks are not telling 
you, but that is what is in print in the bill. All the while, the big, 
multinational corporations and those at the economic top will continue 
to reap the benefits of tax cuts.
  This is not fooling; this is what the bill says. Once folks find out 
what is in this bill, there is going to be a day of reckoning. The 
question is, When are they going to find out? Are they going to wait 
until they see that everybody--in about 7 years--earning under $75,000 
is actually getting a tax increase? What the bill needs is balance.
  This Senator is a member of the Finance Committee. We tried to add 
balance in the committee, but our Republican colleagues insisted on 
voting down every Democratic amendment that was brought up, only making 
changes on the margin to say that they had gone through regular order. 
An amendment of this Senator's to increase the child tax credit was 
voted down, 14 to 12.
  In the meantime, the real bill is being written in secret by one 
party, with a new iteration to change it coming out almost every other 
day. I wish I were kidding. In fact, it came out the week before 
Thanksgiving. On Monday, we started marking it up. A new version came 
out on Tuesday. A new version came out on Wednesday. Then, in the 
markup on Thursday before Thanksgiving week, lo and behold, there was a 
new version with a so-called managers' amendment. The bill starts 
changing colors, with each new version trying to top the last in what 
it is doing to the middle class.
  This isn't the way we should be doing the people's business. We ought 
to be coming together to find a way to negotiate a tax bill that works 
for most Americans, not pit red States against blue States or make it 
harder for cities to invest in infrastructure. We shouldn't have a tax 
bill that makes healthcare less affordable and takes healthcare away 
from 13 million people and, on top of all of this, that increases the 
national debt by almost $1.5 trillion on top of the $20 trillion of 
national debt.
  What the American people want is for us to work together, to work on 
bipartisan compromise, but what we have is the opposite of that. The 
American people want the best way to ensure a good outcome for the 
widest majority of Americans. I daresay, if we put a tax bill on this 
floor in a bipartisan way, it would end up having 70 to 80 votes out of 
100 Senators in a big, resounding, bipartisan vote, but that is not the 
course that has been chosen.
  I want to give one other example. Some Senators are being told that 
the health insurance part of this bill ends up raising rates by 10 
percent and taking health insurance away from 13 million Americans. 
They are saying that in a series of bills that this Senator has worked 
on in a bipartisan fashion, some of them being initiated in a 
bipartisan way out of the HELP Committee by Senator Alexander and 
Senator Murray--some are saying that those bills, including a bill that 
this Senator has cosponsored with Senator Collins to establish a 
reinsurance fund--and in some States, the use of it has lowered 
premiums by 20 percent--some say that all of those fixes to the 
Affordable Care Act will completely overshadow and take away the health 
insurance premiums that this tax bill has that CBO has said will raise 
premiums 10 percent.
  That argument has been made why some Republican Senators should vote 
for this tax bill, but, in fact, the Congressional Budget Office came 
out today with a letter saying that that is not true, that the rates on 
what is being done in this tax bill on health insurance will still go 
up 10 percent almost every year for the next 10 years. That is not this 
Senator saying that; that is in a letter of November 29 by the 
Congressional Budget Office.
  So how we ought to do it is the same way the last major tax bill was 
passed. It was way back in 1986. It was when Ronald Reagan was 
President and the Speaker of the House was Tip O'Neill. They were two 
old Irishmen who used to fight like the dickens. But they had a 
personal friendship. They had a personal relationship. They could cut 
through all the political differences. When it was time to get things 
done, they could come to a bipartisan consensus. In 1986, they found a 
way to do it, and the middle class was the one that benefited.
  We know it can be done. It has been done before. This isn't 1986; 
this is 2017. Things have changed. It has gotten a lot more partisan 
around here. It has gotten a lot more ideologically rigid. But when you 
are doing major tax bills that affect one-sixth of the American 
economy, isn't it time to revert to what we did back in 1986 when we 
came together in bipartisan consensus? As long as there is a will, 
there is a way. And in the midst of this extreme, toxic atmosphere of 
high partisanship, what I hope is that we might find the will to cut 
through that and say: Indeed, there is a way, and it is a bipartisan 
way. We just need willing partners on both sides.
  I pray that will occur between now and Christmas before we do 
something we are going to regret, so that we can do something for the 
American economy and so that we can do something for the American 
people, that they finally say: This is the way I want our public 
servants to act. I want them to act in consensus building in a 
bipartisan or a nonpartisan way. I hope that will be our Christmas 
present.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I come to the floor to voice my very 
strong support for the tax reform legislation that will come before the 
U.S. Senate this week.
  This bill will power economic growth and provide great opportunities 
for American workers. It will lead to increased wages, and it will help 
our small businesses expand. I have said often on the Senate floor that 
small businesses in West Virginia comprise 95 percent of the businesses 
in West Virginia and over 50 percent of the workforce. Small businesses 
want to thrive, and they want to expand.
  It will provide much needed tax relief for middle-class working 
families in my State and across the Nation, and for many in the working 
class, the increase in the standard deduction will lower rates and 
provide for a much simpler process. I have talked about this on the 
floor a lot. I think that one of the things that is underemphasized and 
not talked about in this great tax relief package is the simplification 
model that many Americans really want and deserve in the Tax Code. So 
let's talk about our State of West Virginia.
  In my State of West Virginia, 83 percent of individual tax filers 
take the standard deduction--83 percent. This bill will nearly double 
that deduction--from $6,300 to $12,000 for an individual and from 
$12,700 to $24,000 for married couples. That is for 83 percent of the 
filers in my State of West Virginia. For West Virginians who are 
already taking the current standard deduction, this provision means 
less taxable income and lower tax bills--more money in their pockets at 
the end of the day that they have earned.
  Others who itemize will find that they are actually better off with 
the increased standard deduction. At tax time, they will make the 
determination: Should I take the standard deduction? I used to itemize 
in the past. They may make the determination: I am really better off 
taking the standard deduction because it is almost doubling. That is 
what I am going to do. That means that they will benefit financially 
and avoid the complications that come along with itemizing.
  Families with children will benefit from the child tax credit that is 
doubled. This will provide real help to working families who are trying 
to afford education costs, pay rent or their mortgages, and simply make 
it to the end of the month. Whether they want to put money aside for 
their futures or they need money to get through the

[[Page S7383]]

tough child care or health costs, more money is a significant factor in 
a lot of people's families. They are working hard, and they want and 
deserve more money.
  I was interested in an editorial that was in my local newspaper 
today, written in a negative way about this bill. It is funny, but it 
is not humorous. It actually does not mention the 83 percent of West 
Virginia earners who are going to be having the benefits of this simply 
by doubling the standard deduction and by doubling the child tax 
credit.
  This bill also eliminates the Affordable Care Act's individual 
mandate, which is a penalty that mainly impacts the middle class. Let's 
talk about this. In 2015, more than 34,000 West Virginians were 
penalized under this mandate, and 81 percent of those people--81 
percent of the 34,000 people--who were penalized with a tax penalty, 
because they could not afford to buy insurance or they chose not to, 
were assessed a tax penalty for that decision. That 81 percent earns 
under $50,000 a year.
  There has been a lot of misinformation about this provision, so let 
me just clarify. No one is being forced off of Medicaid or a private 
health insurance plan by the elimination of the individual mandate. By 
eliminating the individual mandate, we are simply stopping penalizing 
and taxing people who either cannot afford or decide not to buy health 
insurance plans. I, for one, want everyone to purchase and be able to 
purchase a health insurance plan, but that is a personal decision, at 
the end of the day, that a family makes. If you opt not to purchase, 
which I hope you would not, your government shouldn't be taxing you, 
and that is what has happened.
  Working families will also benefit from the higher wages and 
increased opportunity that this bill will create. The Tax Foundation 
found that this bill will create more than 4,900 jobs in the State of 
West Virginia. It doesn't sound like much, I guess, to a larger State. 
Yet, to a small State, almost 5,000 jobs is significant. A typical 
middle-class family in our State would see its after-tax income grow by 
over $1,900. Nationwide, this bill could create as many as 925,000 jobs 
in this analysis, which is significant. These new jobs and higher wages 
result, in part, from lower tax rates and the shift to a territorial 
system.
  This will make America more competitive. We want our jobs to be 
competitive not just here but globally. I mean, let's face it. We are 
in a global economy. Many of the companies, particularly the larger 
companies that are employing over 30 percent of West Virginia workers, 
are competing globally. If we can make it more competitive for those 
businesses to compete globally, that is going to mean higher wages, 
more jobs, and more products that will be made here in the United 
States with our American workers.
  Quite frankly, our current system is driving American companies and 
jobs overseas. The United States has the highest statutory corporate 
tax rate in the industrialized world. That drives behavior when you 
look at investing. After 30 years--30 years ago was the last time we 
modernized this--it is past time to modernize our business Tax Code and 
make America more competitive--hire more people, raise wages, buy more 
equipment, and invest more capital. We know by estimates--and some of 
these say they are conservative--that there is more than $2 trillion--
with a ``t''--in U.S. corporate earnings that is kept overseas. This 
tax reform package can bring those resources home, which will lead, 
again, to more jobs and higher wages here at home.
  It is important that communities across our country benefit from this 
growing economy. Half of our Nation's job growth since 2010--almost 8 
years ago--has occurred in only 2 percent of the counties across this 
country. I will add that none of those counties are in the State of 
West Virginia. That demonstrates to me the need to help lower income 
areas attract more jobs and investment. That is why I am very glad to 
support this tax reform bill, because it includes a provision called 
the Investing in Opportunity Act that Senator Tim Scott, of South 
Carolina, introduced and that I was proud to cosponsor. This bill is 
designed, as a part of this tax reform bill, to attract investment into 
areas that have been left behind in our Nation's economic recovery, 
including areas in my State of West Virginia that continue to struggle 
in the wake of the Obama administration's anti-coal policies.
  Besides making the Tax Code more competitive and helping to create 
and attract investment in economically distressed areas, this bill will 
also help our small businesses. We know that small businesses are a 
major economic driver in our economy. As I said earlier, half of West 
Virginia's workforce in the private sector is employed in small 
businesses, and this bill will provide significantly needed tax relief 
to our small businesses.
  I have been traveling across the State, listening to those at small 
business roundtables, and talking to a lot of people. What I have heard 
is that small businesses are eager to take the tax relief they get and 
raise wages so that they can keep their good employees. They want to 
pay them more. They want to hire additional workers so that they can 
expand their work or buy new equipment. I met with a communications 
company that wants to invest in more IT. These investments will have a 
positive effect on the economy in local communities across the 
country--those that are not in that 2 percent that have had the growth 
over the last 8 years.
  I believe that this tax reform bill will help the Nation as a whole 
and the people I represent. I am excited to have this bill on the floor 
of the U.S. Senate this week.
  The Senate Finance Committee, of which the Presiding Officer is a 
terrific member and is from the neighboring State of Pennsylvania, has 
held over 70 hearings on tax reform and has put together a very good 
piece of legislation. It has held over 70 hearings and an amendment 
process and has listened to many constituents and many individuals who 
will be impacted by this. The House has acted. President Trump stands 
ready to sign a tax reform measure into law. What remains now is for 
the Senate to do its work--for us to do our work--and pass this 
legislation. Some Senators will have a choice. Soon, Senators will make 
a choice. We can accept the slow economic growth that has occurred over 
the past decade or we can take big and bold action.
  To my colleagues, I say, if you want to help the middle class benefit 
from tax cuts, higher wages, and more job opportunities, then you 
should vote for this bill. If you want America to become more 
competitive in the global economy, then you should vote for this bill. 
If you want small businesses to expand and thrive, then you should vote 
for this bill. Our country needs this, and our constituents are 
demanding it. I call on my colleagues to join me in passing this bill 
on the Senate floor this week.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Toomey). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, for most of my time here in the U.S. 
Senate, I have been on the Senate Finance Committee, which deals with 
our Tax Code. For most of my time in the House of Representatives, I 
served on the House Ways and Means Committee, which dealt with our Tax 
Code.
  Quite frankly, I thought that there were three guiding principles in 
regard to tax reform that both Democrats and Republicans felt were 
essential and that, really, I thought were beyond being controversial. 
That is, if we are going to have tax relief, the focus must be on the 
middle class; that in today's economic circumstances, we would not want 
to have tax reform add to the deficit; and that we need to use an open 
process--a bipartisan process--for tax reform so that we have the 
opportunity for all stakeholders to understand exactly what we are 
doing so that we don't have any unintended consequences. As I look at 
the bill that is being brought to the floor by the Senate Budget 
Committee, it violates all three of these basic principles.

  First, with regard to providing relief to middle-income taxpayers, 
the Joint Committee on Taxation has looked at this bill, and that is 
the objective scorekeeper. Some may not like what

[[Page S7384]]

they say, but we have to acknowledge that these are the objective 
numbers that look at exactly who benefits from the tax provisions. It 
is an interesting analysis that they do about those who are in the top 
income tax brackets, and we are using about half a million people. In 
2019 this group of half a million people will receive $34 billion in 
tax relief--half a million taxpayers. In that same year, those 
taxpayers who have income under $50,000, which amounts to about 90 
million taxpayers in this country or about 180 times the number of 
people, will receive about 30 percent of the amount of benefits, about 
$14 billion in that year. That analysis does not take into 
consideration who benefits from the estate tax changes in the bill that 
is going to be brought before us. I must say that I doubt there are any 
taxpayers under $50,000 a year who would benefit from increasing the $4 
million base that we currently have in our estate tax. The Joint 
Committee on Taxation did not include the impact of the repeal of the 
individual mandate for health coverage, which affects the funds going 
into health premium support and Medicaid which, again, goes to lower 
income families. The figures I just provided are conservative figures. 
It is much more skewed toward higher income than even the committee's 
analysis for 2019.
  Let me point out one more issue about this number. Year 2019 is the 
most favorable year for middle-income taxpayers. It gets worse every 
year thereafter. The bill is not targeted toward middle income. It is 
targeted to the wealthy.
  Look at some of the reasons. The estate tax repeal helps wealthy 
people. The alternative minimum tax--those in the highest incomes who 
are required to pay some taxes--is repealed. There is the fact that the 
business tax relief is made permanent but the individual relief has a 
sunset and terminates after 8 years.
  So the Congressional Budget Office has told us exactly who will pay 
more taxes. This is interesting. In 2019, those at the lowest income 
tax brackets, or under $30,000, will actually pay more taxes. They are 
not getting a tax cut. If you look at 2021, 2 years later, those under 
$40,000 are going to pay more taxes. If you go all the way up to 2027, 
for those earning under $75,000, the majority will pay more taxes. So 
as to this bill, which is being advertised by my Republican colleagues 
as benefitting all taxpayers, know that it doesn't benefit all 
taxpayers.
  In my State, it is estimated that 800,000 Marylanders will pay more 
taxes under this bill in 2027. It particularly affects those in middle 
income who are going to be put at a disadvantage. The people who are 
protected are those at the high income level. To add one more 
complication to middle-income taxpayers, there is also not even a 
subtle attack on Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs that are 
important for middle-income families. Job training programs dealing 
with education, et cetera, are all going to be jeopardized because of 
the way this bill is funded.
  On the first test, is this bill aimed at middle-income taxpayers? The 
answer is no. It fails.
  On the second test, are we financing this tax cut by increasing the 
debt, asking our children and grandchildren to pay for this tax cut? 
The answer is clearly yes. By its own admission, the budget 
instructions tell us that we are going to have a $1.5 trillion deficit 
as a result of this tax bill, and that is not the whole picture. We 
know there is at least $1.5 trillion of new debt if this bill becomes 
law, but as I am sure my colleagues are aware, there are many 
provisions in this bill that have sunsets--that terminate--but it is 
anticipated that those sunsets will be extended. For example, in the 
business expensing or the credits for family medical leave, many people 
are advertising this as just a way of fitting a more expensive bill 
into a $1.5 trillion deficit and not making it larger, but in reality, 
when extending those extenders, we find that the deficit will be half a 
trillion dollars more. We are talking about a $2 trillion hole in the 
deficit. To make matters even worse, we have a trigger that is being 
recommended that is in the bill itself, but that trigger will extend 
more tax relief, not less. So this bill fails in the second basic test, 
and that is because it creates a major hole in the deficit.
  The third test is whether this is truly an open bipartisan process. 
Here no one can say with a straight face that the answer is yes. The 
majority, the Republicans, are using reconciliation, which is by 
definition a partisan process. There is no real opportunity for open 
debate or hearings or amendments. The amendments are all contrived 
under the reconciliation restrictions.
  Does anyone here believe that at the end of the day the majority 
leader is not going to offer a new bill at the eleventh hour with no 
time to debate, where we vote up or down, which will be the final 
product that we are being asked to approve?
  So on all three tests this bill coming out of the Budget Committee 
fails. But then it goes beyond that. There was a late addition in the 
Senate Finance Committee that repealed the individual mandate under the 
Affordable Care Act. Now, quite frankly, one would wonder how would 
that ever get put into a tax bill? Why would this be put into a tax 
bill? The Congressional Budget Office tells us that it will add 13 
million Americans to the uninsured rolls by 2027. These 13 million 
individuals will not be able to get access to quality healthcare. If 
they run into a major health episode, they are going either to have to 
sell all of their assets or go into bankruptcy or be denied care. I 
think we should be concerned about those 13 million. In addition, these 
individuals who don't have health insurance and don't have a doctor end 
up in emergency rooms for care, which is more expensive. Guess who pays 
the bill? We all do. We pay for it through higher hospital rates. Those 
of us who have insurance and who pay our bills are going to be paying 
for those who don't pay their bills. So the fact that we are 
eliminating the individual mandate doesn't just affect 13 million 
people. It does affect those 13 million, and it affects all of us who 
will be paying more through cost shifting.
  Quite frankly, what is really aggravating is that it is in the bill 
getting scored as a tax savings--as more revenue coming in. It is more 
revenue coming as we spend less on healthcare subsidies, less on 
Medicaid, and the bill spends that money. So we are using cuts to 
middle-income families in healthcare to finance permanent tax relief 
for businesses in this country. Where are our priorities? That makes no 
sense whatsoever
  There are individual changes that are being recommended in this bill 
that are going to have very dire consequences. I will just mention one. 
I spent a good deal of my life in public office at the State level, and 
I believe very much in federalism. I believe that State legislators are 
trying to do what is right for their taxpayers as we are trying to do 
what is right for the same taxpayers. Federalism says that we respect 
each level of government, but by eliminating the State and local tax 
deductions, we are telling taxpayers that they have to pay taxes on 
taxes, that we don't respect our State and local governments, and that 
you can no longer deduct your State taxes or local property taxes. 
Again, that is an insult to the Constitution and to federalism. It 
also, by the way, will hurt taxpayers.
  In my own State, almost 50 percent of Marylanders use the State and 
local tax deductions. If the Senate bill becomes law, all of them will 
lose that ability to deduct State and local taxes on their Federal 
income tax returns. It will affect the ability of our States and local 
governments to finance the necessary functions of government, whether 
it is to keep people safe or whether it is to provide schools for our 
children.
  I heard from people this last weekend from different charitable 
groups who told me that if the Senate bill becomes law, it will have a 
dramatic impact on private giving, because under the Senate bill, only 
5 percent of the taxpayers in this country will be able to get a tax 
deduction from charitable contributions. Think about that for one 
moment.
  We pride ourselves in the services that are provided by the private 
sector, services in healthcare, education, social services, and the 
arts. All of that depends on the generosity of private givers. Yet we 
are saying that only 5 percent of the population in this country will 
have any tax incentive to give charitable gifts. That will have a major

[[Page S7385]]

negative impact on charitable contributions.
  Then, there is the value of the credit that we have out there for 
economic growth. I am very proud of the public-private partnerships we 
have in Maryland. I am sure my colleagues are proud of those public-
private partnerships in Pennsylvania and in every State in this 
country, but the credits we give are going to be worth a lot less if 
the Senate bill becomes law, making it much more difficult to put 
together a venture that can redevelop vulnerable communities around our 
Nation.
  Let me just add one or two points before yielding the floor. What I 
think we all want to accomplish in tax reform is to have a tax code 
that is simpler and is predictable. That is not happening with the bill 
that is being recommended by the Budget Committee.
  So many provisions are temporary. It is a partisan process. It 
doesn't simplify the Tax Code, and there certainly is not going to be 
predictability on provisions that have sunset termination dates.
  The final bill could even be much worse. As I said, the bill coming 
out of the Budget Committee that is getting all this attention is 
certainly not going to be the bill that we vote on at the end of the 
day--sometime, as I have been told. It could be as early as tomorrow. 
It is going to be a different bill.
  It is being negotiated now in closed sessions with Republicans 
meeting, trying to get their last couple of votes. We don't know what 
the changes will be, but at the end of the day, we know we are going to 
be presented with a different bill. But that is not going to be the 
final bill because then it will go to the House and there will be 
additional changes. There are measures in the House that have many of 
us upset, such as this: Are we not able to deduct medical expenses if 
we have an extraordinary need in the family? In the House bill you 
cannot deduct those expenses. Student loan interest costs cannot be 
deducted in the House bill. Are they going to end up in the final vote 
we are going to be called to vote upon in the Senate?
  One thing is clear. The bill is only going to get worse and get more 
expensive, and it is going to cause greater damage to an already too-
large deficit.
  There is a better way. There is a better way, and that is true 
bipartisanship. Let's come together and work together.
  I am very proud of the work I have done here in my career in the 
Senate and the House. In the House I worked with then-Congressman 
Portman, and the two of us worked together with stakeholders to change 
our retirement policies for retirement savings. We were able to get 
bills not only enacted but made permanent. Even though we didn't have 
the political support of our leadership, we had the support of the 
American people, we had a bipartisan process, we used all of the 
stakeholders, and we came to good policy changes. More people have 
retirement savings as a result of those efforts. That is the type of 
effort we need to put on for tax reform--Democrats and Republicans 
working together so we can have a predictable tax code moving forward.
  There is a better way for job growth in this country. I heard my 
Republican friends say this bill will create up to a million jobs--$1.5 
to $2 trillion creating 1 million jobs?
  We had a bill in the last Congress that we could revise immediately 
to take the repatriation funds--that is the corporate money that is 
locked overseas--and bring it back here. I will submit an amendment to 
the Senate Finance Committee to try to get this done. A couple hundred 
billion dollars could come back into this country. We could use that 
for infrastructure, which creates 4 to 5 million jobs for a fraction of 
the cost. We could do much better in job creation than spending this 
type of money for the type of jobs that are predicted.
  I started by saying I thought one of the guiding principles is to 
help middle-class families. This bill doesn't do it. Let's join 
together, Democrats and Republicans, and do what is right for middle-
income taxpayers in this country.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from New York.
  Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the tax plan we 
will be voting on tomorrow, likely in the middle of the night, and 
definitely without much needed debate, oversight, and transparency, as 
it should have.
  I think everyone in this Chamber agrees we need to fix our tax system 
so it doesn't create so much difficulty for the working families in our 
States. If this bill actually did that, it would be real reform, and it 
would be bipartisan. However, this plan does not seek anything close to 
the type of relief regular working people need. Instead, what it does 
is this: It pays back wealthy donors and lobbyists through corporate 
welfare, and it does this at the expense of the middle class. In other 
words, this is a blatant attempt to take millions of families' hard-
earned money and hand it over to rich corporations on the Fortune 500 
list.
  If the Senate actually goes ahead and passes this bill, corporations 
and the wealthiest 1 percent of income earners will get massive and 
permanent tax cuts, and it will blow a $1.5 trillion hole into our 
deficit. Make no mistake, 3 months from now, Republican leadership will 
use that new, massive deficit as the reason to cut Social Security, 
Medicare, and Medicaid.
  Why are Republicans in Congress so determined to provide massive 
corporate welfare? Listen to this actual quote from one Republican 
Member of Congress, which will tell you everything you need to know 
about whom this tax plan is really for. He said: My donors are 
basically saying, ``Get it done or don't ever call me again.''
  This is Washington's culture of soft corruption at its absolute 
worst. Now, somehow after years of talking about it, a massive tax bill 
has finally made its way to the Senate floor and, after all that talk, 
it doesn't even help the middle class. It does the exact opposite.
  Here is one very simple example that sums it all up. This bill 
eliminates the deduction for local and State taxes, known as the SALT 
deduction, which so many Americans need to help them stay afloat. The 
SALT deduction prevents hard-working families from being double taxed 
on their income. It has long been our policy that when workers pay 
their State and local taxes, the IRS doesn't tax them twice on the same 
income, but the Republican tax plan now repeals this. In effect, this 
plan would make it so you are taxed on everything you make and then you 
will be taxed again. Why? Because corporations need a big tax break and 
to pay for the tax breaks for the richest Americans.
  In many cases, the SALT deduction makes it possible for families to 
afford to buy a home, which is usually a family's largest asset, and it 
keeps the value of this investment growing. Eliminating the SALT 
deduction would hurt New Yorkers, and it would hurt millions of 
Americans. There is literally no other way to spin it.
  When the details of this tax plan were released, we started hearing a 
lot of dredged up old talk about the supposed virtues of trickle-down 
economics--the myth that if only corporations had more money, it would 
help American families. Well, we have heard this one before, and let's 
not be fooled again.
  Let's take a look at the state of things right now. The biggest 
companies in America are flush with cash, the stock market has never 
been higher, but cities, towns, and rural areas all over my State have 
been hit hard over and over again by companies that have packed up and 
left for cheaper labor and fatter profits abroad. So then why would we 
reward them by giving them yet another tax cut they don't need and will 
not go to their workers?
  President Trump's top economic adviser recently asked a roomful of 
CEOs to raise their hands if this extra cash from the tax cut would get 
them to reinvest in their communities. No more than a handful of CEOs 
in the room raised their hand. I know a lot of people like to pretend 
otherwise, but is that really a surprise to anyone here?

[[Page S7386]]

In fact, several CEOs have said on the record that instead of hiring 
more workers or raising their pay, many companies will reward 
shareholders and not workers by increasing dividends or buying back 
their own shares.
  This plan could not be more misguided because we should be rewarding 
work, not shareholder value. Let me put it another way. Just yesterday, 
the Dow broke another record with a new alltime high, and I am sure 
many CEOs will get a massive bonus for that, but what I want to know is 
this: When the Dow broke that record, how many workers on factory 
floors in Pennsylvania or in New York saw their pay increase? How many 
workers in grocery stores saw their pay increase? How many families in 
your State were given big pay raises that reflected those historic 
profits? I think we all know the answer to that question.
  In our economy today, even as corporations are earning more money 
than ever before, there is essentially no benefit for families. The 
wealth does not trickle down, and this tax plan would make that problem 
even worse.
  This tax plan helps the wrong people. It helps the people and 
corporations that don't need any extra help right now. It ignores the 
people who do. We need to start rewarding work in this country again, 
not doling out lavish tax cuts for giant companies. I can't say this 
clearly enough to New Yorkers and to hard-working Americans all over 
this country: If you are not rich, if you are just a regular hard-
working family, then there is a very good chance you are going to take 
a big hit if this bill passes.
  I urge every one of my colleagues to do what is right for families 
and oppose this plan. Tax reform should never be a partisan exercise, 
and we should all agree that our goal should be to help middle-class 
workers and their families. So let's pass a bill that actually does 
that. Huge corporations do not need our help. They are going to be just 
fine. Instead, let's finally start rewarding work in this country 
again.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I come to the floor today painfully 
aware of the many reasons to oppose this reckless, wasteful Republican 
tax plan. It is a shame because I still believe we need smart tax 
reform that puts working families and small businesses first and that 
prepares America to compete in the 21st century, but that is not what 
we will be voting on this week.
  We are voting on the Trump tax plan this week--a plan Republicans 
hope to ram through the Senate with a simple majority vote, 51 votes. 
With 51 votes, Republicans will raise taxes on millions of middle-class 
families and those working to join the middle class. With 51 votes, 
Republicans will hand huge tax cuts to big corporations with no strings 
attached and no guarantees that workers will see higher wages. With 51 
votes, they will take healthcare coverage away from 13 million 
Americans and hike premiums for everyone else. With 51 votes, they will 
saddle our children and our grandchildren--like my new grandchild--with 
another $1.5 trillion in debt.
  Now, any one of these reasons is reason enough to oppose the Trump 
tax plan, but, for me, as the senior Senator from New Jersey--a State 
of nearly 9 million people, a State with the eighth most productive 
economy in America--I cannot and will not support a tax bill that reads 
like one giant hit job on New Jersey's middle class.
  Just how bad is the Trump tax plan for New Jersey? Well, take the 
House version--which is a bill so awful that 11 out of 12 Members of 
Congress from New Jersey voted against it, many of them Republicans--
take that plan and make it worse in the Senate. The Senate bill is 
worse because it totally eliminates the State and local tax deduction, 
otherwise known as the SALT deduction.
  Even President Trump's external economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, 
recently said ending the SALT deduction will hurt ``a lot of different 
people,'' and a lot of these people who will get hurt live in States 
like New Jersey.
  In 2015 alone, nearly 1.8 million New Jersey households deducted a 
combined $17 billion in State and local taxes from their Federal tax 
bills, and over 1.5 million New Jersey homeowners with sky-high 
property taxes deducted nearly $15 billion that same year. These 
taxpayers aren't high rollers. They are middle-class families who had 
to work hard to achieve the American dream. In fact, tax data tells us 
that 83 percent of New Jerseyans who claim the State and local tax 
deduction make under $200,000 a year, and about half of those make 
under $100,000 a year. So the families who get hurt live in every 
corner of our State--from Ocean County, where it will cost taxpayers 
$1.3 billion, to Burlington County, where it will cost taxpayers $1.37 
billion, to Passaic County, where it will cost taxpayers $1.16 billion 
in deductions. That is wrong. It is just plain wrong to ask these hard-
working families--folks who weren't born with a silver spoon in their 
mouth, who had to work hard for every dollar they have, who had to 
fight their way into the middle class--it is wrong to ask them to pay 
more just so big corporations pay less, and do so permanently, and 
those born to multimillion-dollar inheritances pay nothing at all.

  Ending the State and local tax deduction will literally force New 
Jersey families to pay taxes twice on the same money, and rubbing salt 
in their wounds is the fact that Republicans let corporations keep on 
deducting their State and local taxes on top of the huge tax cuts 
lavished on them by the Trump tax plan.
  If protecting the State and local tax deduction is so important for 
big corporations that make billions of dollars a year, surely my 
Republican colleagues can imagine how important it is for a middle-
class family in a State like New Jersey to keep it.
  Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of Congress treating States like 
New Jersey as America's piggy bank. My constituents already pay too 
much in taxes. New Jerseyans can't afford to subsidize the rest of 
America more than we already do. Yet Republicans now want to dig even 
deeper into the wallets of New Jersey's middle class with the Trump tax 
plan. To borrow an old phrase as you come into New Jersey from the 
Lower Trenton Bridge: ``What New Jersey makes, the GOP takes.''
  Some have speculated that this tax bill was designed to punish 
Americans who live in so-called blue States. Certainly, I don't know, 
but I wouldn't put it past an administration as cynical as this one to 
punish States that voted against Trump in the 2016 election, but 
ultimately this isn't about red States or blue States. It is time we 
start calling these States what they really are. These aren't blue 
States. They are America's blue-chip States. They are America's 
innovation States, America's economic powerhouse States.
  States like New Jersey are home to millions of makers, not takers, 
and we are proud of it, but our success didn't happen overnight. It 
didn't happen by accident. New Jersey's success is predicated on our 
priorities and our investments. New Jersey is a donor State precisely 
because we invest in public schools and higher education so New 
Jerseyans continue driving innovation in fields like biotechnology, 
agriculture, and medicine.
  New Jersey is a donor State precisely because we invest in mass 
transit and infrastructure so workers can commute to high-paying jobs, 
whether in New York City or Philadelphia or in the financial district 
in places like Jersey City and Hoboken, and family and friends in 
nearby States can easily travel to the Jersey Shore.
  New Jersey is a donor State precisely because we invest in public 
health and law enforcement because we are stronger when we have safe 
communities and a healthy workforce. In fact, the Fraternal Order of 
Police says ending the State and local tax deduction will hurt States' 
ability to ``recruit the men and women that keep us safe.'' That is 
their quote.
  In short, New Jersey is a donor State. We see the States ranked by 
their deduction, their per capita income, their education rank. There 
is a correlation. It is a donor State because we believe in opening the 
doors of opportunity to as many people as possible. That is how a small 
State like New Jersey continues to punch above its weight economically 
to the benefit of all Americans and especially the Americans who live 
in less productive States that are more reliant on Federal spending.
  For more than a century, the State and local tax deduction has 
encouraged

[[Page S7387]]

States to invest in education and infrastructure and opportunity for 
all. It is ironic that Republicans, who talk so much about supporting 
the States, want to single out those like New Jersey, Virginia, and 
Massachusetts that invest in the middle class. That is why Senator 
Cantwell and I will be introducing an amendment to protect the State 
and local property tax deduction, and I hope a majority of our 
colleagues see the value in that.
  For as long as I can remember, I heard my colleagues on the 
Republican side talk about protecting--not punishing--success. No 
matter how you slice it, ending, limiting, or capping State and local 
tax deduction is a massive tax on the success of States like New 
Jersey.
  The Trump tax plan will raise taxes on millions of middle-class 
families across America, not in a few years, not in a decade--
immediately.
  I refuse to support a tax bill that enriches the few at the expense 
of the many, that saddles our children with trillions of debt, that 
sets the stage for Republican cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social 
Security because when that debt rises, the next thing we will hear is 
we have to deal with the entitlements--but not entitlements given to 
corporations permanently--and that punishes the success of millions of 
hard-working, middle-class families in States like New Jersey. That is 
not something I am willing to do.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, I only have a few minutes of time on the 
floor so I want to be relatively brief.
  I want to share with you a chart that shows what is actually 
happening as a result of this proposed tax bill. Here is what is 
happening. There are 572,000 taxpayers. That is about half a million 
taxpayers in America who are fortunate enough to make more than $1 
million a year. As a result of this proposed plan, they will receive 
$34 billion in tax cuts. They will receive $34 billion in tax cuts this 
year, next year, and the year after that. That is an average tax cut of 
roughly $59,000 a person. That is $34 billion going to 572,000 
taxpayers.
  What about the middle-class people the Republicans claim this bill is 
about? There are 90 million taxpayers--not half a million--90 million 
taxpayers who make $50,000 or less. Do you know what they get under 
this bill? They don't get $34 billion. By the way, if you include the 
estate tax, that number is $39 billion, $40 billion. They get $14 
billion. That is an average tax cut per taxpayer of $160 a year, and 
that is in 2019. That is the best year these guys have--after that, it 
goes negative--and $160 a taxpayer is equivalent to $7.50 a paycheck. 
So I suppose in 1 year, you could say there is a $7.50 tax cut per 
paycheck.
  That doesn't sound like a tax bill that is a middle-class tax bill to 
me. These are the tax cut levels under the Republican plan also in 
2019. This is the $59,000 number. If you are making between $40,000 and 
$50,000, you get $492. If you are making between $10,000 and $20,000, 
you get $48, and so on and so forth.
  There is nothing middle class about this tax cut proposal. I was 
asked today by somebody: How could these Republicans go home and 
explain--in the States Donald Trump won--how could they explain they 
didn't vote for that tax bill, when I was saying: I think we still have 
a chance to defeat this tax bill. How can you say that? How could 
somebody go home? I can't wait to go home to rural counties in my State 
that voted 80 percent for Donald Trump--75 percent for Donald Trump--
and tell them I voted against this tax bill. My only regret is I will 
not be able to tell them I voted against it twice.
  They are not stupid. People in Washington think that somehow by 
selling something based on percentages or selling something based on 
rates, people aren't going to understand what is actually happening to 
their aftertax income. My farmers and ranchers will understand that. 
They voted for a guy who said he was going to Washington to drain the 
swamp. They voted for a guy who said he was going to go to Washington 
and not help the rich people--or the rich, as the President says. They 
voted for a guy who said he was going to defend, support, and fight for 
what he called the forgotten man.
  It turns out that when the rubber hits the road, we see the same 
movie that was happening before he got here--unless you want to argue 
that the forgotten man is making more than $1 million in an economy 
where people at the top earn more of that economy than they ever have, 
at least since 1928. If you want to make that argument, you can. My 
farmers and ranchers will not believe you. They will not believe that 
argument. This is a disgraceful bait and switch.
  Wait until you have to tell them that in order to make that tax cut 
for the wealthiest people in America, you are going to borrow the money 
from their children. You are going to borrow the money from the 
children of people here to pay for the tax cuts at this end. You are 
going to borrow the money from teachers' children, and police officers' 
children, and firefighters' children. You are going to blow a $1.5 to 
$2.5 trillion deficit. Today, J.P. Morgan came out and said this will 
result in the largest nonrecession deficit this country has ever had 
since World War II. That is what J.P. Morgan said.
  We do have problems in this economy. In Colorado, we have problems 
because even though we have one of the most dynamic economies in the 
country, middle-class families are still having a hard time paying for 
early childhood education. They are having a hard time paying for 
housing. They are having a hard time paying for higher education, which 
this bill makes even worse. They are having a hard time paying for 
healthcare, which this bill makes even worse. You can't even make it 
up. They are taking healthcare away from 13 million Americans in a tax 
bill, and the Congressional Budget Office tells us that because of the 
tax cuts they are producing for the wealthiest Americans, there is 
going to be an automatic cut to Medicare of $25 billion in January.
  So I say, let's go after those 80 percent Trump counties and 70 
percent Trump counties in Colorado and have a debate. They are not 
going to like what is in this plan. They will hate what is in this 
plan. It is the opposite of what they were told they were voting for.
  I would implore my colleagues--before I yield the floor--that we stop 
this. Let's stop this bill. This bill doesn't deserve to be on the 
floor of the Senate. It is a disgrace. There was not a single hearing 
in the committee of jurisdiction--the Finance Committee--about this 
bill. There was not one hearing about a bill that touches every recess 
of our economy. It touches every household in our economy.
  It has been 31 years since we did tax reform, and back then we did it 
right, in a bipartisan way. This time, we don't even have the decency 
to have a single hearing so the American people can hear what is in 
this bill and make a judgment about whether it is a good bill or not a 
good bill.
  I am telling you, I know what they are going to say when they know 
what the details are. We should stop this, and we should work in a 
bipartisan way.
  My colleague from Florida is on the floor. I know how important the 
child tax credit is to him and my colleague from Utah. It is important 
to me too. That is the basis for a deal.
  I believe the corporate rate is not competitive with the rest of the 
world. That is the basis for a deal, but borrowing money from middle-
class taxpayers to finance $34 billion in tax cuts for 572,000 people 
is not a basis for a deal.
  The American people are not going to be fooled by this. They are too 
smart for this.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be allowed 
to enter into a colloquy with my colleague, the Senator from Utah.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I hope that in tax reform, we will try to 
do what we should do in all of our policies; that is, come up with 
ideas that are both pro-growth and pro-worker.
  There are a lot of good things in this tax bill, but we need to make 
it better. We can make it more pro-growth and more pro-worker. Senator 
Lee from Utah and I have a plan that helps us move in that direction. I 
will describe it briefly, and I want him to have the opportunity to 
weigh in on this as well.

[[Page S7388]]

  On the pro-growth side, it is about becoming more globally 
competitive, and we do so by lowering the current corporate tax rate. 
The current corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent; we 
would reduce that to 22 percent. Now, the current bill has it at 20, 
but 22 percent is just as competitive as 20. Here is why. Just like the 
current bill, it would be lower than the global average rate of 23 
percent. Just like the current bill, it would move us from last place 
to third place among the G7 countries. So it is just as pro-growth. It 
makes us just as competitive, but it allows us to do the pro-worker 
reform that we desperately need.
  Here is what it allows us to do. It allows us to change the child tax 
credit in the current bill to help working families even more. No. 1, 
it would make it fully refundable up to the amount you pay in payroll 
tax. No. 2, it would eliminate the marriage penalty, meaning you pay 
more in taxes if you are a married couple than you do if you are an 
individual. No. 3, it would index the tax credit to chained CPI, which 
basically means that as inflation grows and the cost of living goes up, 
the credit doesn't lose its value because it doesn't go up.
  The one thing I want to emphasize is, Who does this help? I have had 
some people in the past and even today ask: Why are you doing this? 
This is like welfare.
  I find that offensive. I find it offensive not because I am offended 
by people who need the help and are in the safety net program because 
they have come upon difficult times but because the people we are 
trying to help are not on government assistance. They are workers. You 
have to work to get this credit. In essence, the credit applies against 
their tax liability, be it payroll tax or income tax. A lot of people 
who are working don't make enough money to be paying a lot of income 
tax, but they pay up to 15.3 percent of what they make in payroll tax. 
It is their primary tax liability, and if you don't allow the credit to 
apply toward that, you are not helping them.
  Who are they? Who are the kinds of people we are talking about? In 
essence, who are these workers? Well, this chart tells you who they 
are. They are the waitresses making about $20,000 a year. They are not 
fully benefiting from this credit right now. If we do it the way 
Senator Lee and I are talking about doing it, they would. They are the 
home health aides. They are the office clerks. They are the welders 
making $35,000 a year. They are the truckdrivers. They are the nurses. 
They are the firefighters making $48,000 a year. These are working 
people, the backbone of our country, the ones who have been left behind 
for over three decades because no one fights for them. They have been 
ignored and disrespected in our public policy, and they are not 
accounted for in this bill. They are raising families, our future 
taxpayers. It costs money to raise a family. The more children you 
have, the more expensive it is. Our Tax Code should recognize that, and 
we make a reasonable proposal in that regard.
  Now I would like to turn to Senator Lee and ask him to expound on the 
importance of this for America's workers and why, if we are truly going 
to have a pro-worker reform, the expansion of the child tax credit and 
applying it toward the payroll tax the way we have described is 
essential.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I am grateful to my colleague, the 
distinguished Senator from Florida, for his work on this issue.
  He noted a couple of issues that we focus on in this amendment. He 
noted, among other things, the marriage tax penalty. That is a more 
obvious defect within our Tax Code. There is another defect he also 
mentioned that doesn't get as much play as it should. It doesn't get as 
much play, especially considering the amount of damage it does. It is 
called the parent tax penalty.
  Here is how it works. We have American parents from one end of the 
country to the other who are essentially propping up and securing the 
future of our senior entitlement programs, not just once but twice and 
in a pretty unfair way. They prop up Social Security and Medicare two 
times--first, as they pay their taxes, and secondly, as they incur the 
substantial costs associated with child-rearing and thereby prop up and 
secure Social Security and Medicare.
  Social Security and Medicare are paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis. 
Many of today's workers pay for the benefits of today's retirees. 
Today's children are tomorrow's workers who will, in turn, be working 
to pay the taxes to fund the Social Security and Medicare retirement 
benefits of today's workers, who will be tomorrow's retirees.
  Those costs add up over time. According to one very lowball 
estimate--an estimate that doesn't include a lot of things that it 
probably should, such as education, higher education, and so forth--a 
family raising three children can reasonably expect to incur $700,000 
in child-rearing costs as they raise their three children. Those three 
children are going to go on to be tomorrow's workers, paying the Social 
Security and Medicare benefits for today's workers, tomorrow's 
retirees. This is important.
  We need to end the marriage tax penalty. We also need to end this 
parent tax penalty. The best way to do that is to make sure that we 
increase the child tax credit up to $2,000, as the current Senate 
proposal would do, but just as importantly, we need to make that sum 
refundable up to $2,000, up to the total amount of taxes paid, 
including payroll tax liability--in other words, up to 15.3 percent of 
earnings. If we do this, it is not going to end the parent tax penalty 
altogether, but it is an important first step.
  I also want to echo something said by Senator Rubio a moment ago, and 
I think it is worth mentioning. This is not a handout. This is not a 
welfare benefit. This is money they are making. It is not welfare when 
you say that the government's not going to take away something that you 
have worked hard for, that you have earned.
  We should at least be doing that for those people who are America's 
ultimate, most important entrepreneurial class, America's most 
cherished group of investors. The most important investment decisions 
are not necessarily those made around the boardroom. They are made at 
the altar. They are made in delivery wards in hospitals throughout 
America. They are made when a couple says ``I do'' and they agree to 
raise children. Those are the investors we need to be encouraging and 
certainly not punishing.
  We can fix this problem. We need to do it by passing the Rubio-Lee 
amendment and increasing refundability so that we can all benefit from 
this and so that America's families can stop being punished as a result 
of the interaction between our Tax Code and our senior entitlement 
programs.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to join other 
colleagues from both sides of the aisle to talk about this tax debate. 
We don't do tax reform nearly enough here in the United States. It 
seems we have taken it on about every 35 years whether we need to or 
not. But if there is one lesson we have learned from previous tax 
reform efforts, it is that while they can do a lot of good, they can 
also do a lot of harm.
  I have to start by expressing my extraordinarily deep frustration 
with the process we have gone through. Today we are considering a bill 
that was drafted in secret, designed with more gimmicks and loopholes 
than I have ever seen, and is being rushed through the process without 
input from all of us on this side of the aisle and without even 
appropriate analysis of its true financial impact.
  In many ways, to quote the President, what got us here is the worst 
of Washington. If you want to see swamp 101, look at the process of 
this tax bill. It is a 300-page tax bill that was released on the eve 
of a holiday weekend, only days before it was marked up in committee. 
Over a 4-day markup, two significant rewrites of this bill were 
presented. One consisted of over 100 pages of changes, and a second was 
released a mere 30 minutes before Members were asked to vote on its 
myriad of provisions. Now, less than 2 weeks later, we are considering 
that bill or a variation of it on the Senate floor. We are voting to 
proceed to the bill later today and then maybe on amendments tomorrow, 
before we even have any analysis from JCT.
  We know that near the end of the debate on the floor, another bill 
will

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magically appear from the majority leader's office without any time for 
those of us who want to do tax reform to have a chance to genuinely 
review or analyze its provisions. I believe it makes this process 
enormously dishonest.
  I know my friend from Delaware has just come on. I will speak quickly 
because I know he will raise some of these same concerns.
  One of the things I have been most involved with since I have been 
here in the Senate is trying to grapple with our Nation's overwhelming 
debt. We are a country that has run up close to $20 trillion in debt, 
and both sides--both sides--have been a party to that over the last 70 
years.
  But what I have heard from colleagues on both sides of the aisle is 
that when you are in that deep of a hole, you ought to stop digging, 
and that we need to make sure that if we are going to do tax reform, we 
do it in a fiscally responsible way.
  This legislation is the absolute opposite of any kind of fiscal 
responsibility under anybody's guideline. It starts with a $1.5 
trillion acknowledgement that that money will somehow magically appear 
through magical growth. But when you peel that away a little bit, it is 
bad enough that it is not really $1.5 trillion in additional debt that 
we are adding, the real number is $2.2 trillion. Let me tell you why. 
Off of the over $1.4 trillion of additional debt that is added, that 
alone will generate more than $230 billion of additional interest 
payments over the next decade, raising the cost of the bill from over 
$1.4 trillion to roughly $1.7 trillion. And then, in an effort that 
really takes the cake in a place where both sides have been known to 
use gimmicks, this legislation includes 37 different expiring 
provisions--provisions that are popular, provisions that a number of my 
colleagues have said give middle-class tax relief. The interesting 
thing is, all of these provisions are due to expire in 5 to 6 years, 
within the 10-year window.
  Rather than acknowledging the true costs of the bill, what people 
have said is, we know what we are going to create. We are going to 
create a whole new series of fiscal cliffs, in the neighborhood of $500 
billion, that the expectation will be that it will become so popular 
that Congress will go ahead and have to extend these provisions, again, 
without paying for them.
  In terms of gimmicks, don't take my word for it; you only need to 
listen to the words of the President's own OMB Director, Mick Mulvaney, 
who recently acknowledged that the tax bill had a lot of gimmicks to 
it. Well, if we add that over $500 billion and the $230 billion of 
additional interest and the $1.4 trillion that we start with, what we 
are talking about today is a $2.2 trillion addition to our debt.
  All my friends who for years have stood with me on the floor of this 
Senate and spoken out against adding this additional burden to our kids 
and grandkids, I hope they will take a moment and rethink their support 
for this legislation.
  Some have asked: Well, how will this get paid for? I believe there 
might be some dynamic growth. I believe there might be some addition 
from some smart tax reform that would add to the growth of our economy 
but nothing near what this bill assumes. In fact, it is even worse than 
that in certain ways. Not only will this add over $2 trillion to our 
debt and deficit, but we have even had the audacity of the Secretary of 
the Treasury, Mr. Mnuchin, who said that this bill is going to be so 
good for our economy, it is going to decrease our debt by $1 trillion. 
Yet there is no responsible budget projection of any economist from 
left to right that makes any kind of assumption that would make that 
kind of prediction true at all. And, if we go back and look in recent 
American history, when you pay for tax cuts with borrowed money, you 
end up with a pretty bad situation.

  Many of my friends on the other side of the aisle like to cite Ronald 
Reagan. I think President Reagan was a great President, in many ways. 
President Reagan's 1981 tax cut did provide a short-term stimulus, but 
then that stimulus ran out and our debt and deficits grew dramatically, 
and President Reagan himself had to raise taxes in 1982 and 1984.
  Likewise, again, President Bush, in 2001, inherited a surplus. He 
promised to give the magic of tax cuts that would grow our economy. 
Instead, we ended up with very little job growth and a debt and deficit 
now that is rapidly approaching the full size of our economy.
  When we look at the scoring of the effects of this kind of tax cut, 
we see that the Tax Policy Center did a dynamic score, saying: How can 
we build in growth that would come from a tax cut? They said again that 
this bill would cost $1.5 trillion.
  The Penn-Wharton Budget Model--again, an organization that is well 
respected by both sides of the aisle--did a dynamic score on this 
legislation as well. Again, they are saying the bill would still cost 
$1.5 trillion.
  Congress's official scorekeeper, the group that we look to for 
outside advice, the Joint Committee on Taxation--we are rushing this 
bill through so quickly that we have not even allowed our official 
scorekeeper to come up with a score.
  This is not the way to do a once-in-a-generation tax reform process.
  The truth is, when you do a tax cut with borrowed money, in periods 
similar to where we are right now--relatively full employment--there is 
no historical precedent at all in which you will see any kind of 
economic growth.
  Again, don't take my word for it. Alan Greenspan, the respected Fed 
Chair, pointed this out just within the last 2 weeks: Tax cuts paid for 
with borrowed money do not provide the kind of growth that this budget 
projects and that this tax reform bill projects.
  I could go through a whole litany of other concerns with this 
legislation. I, for one, believe we do need to do international tax 
reform. I, for one, believe we need a corporate tax rate that is more 
competitive. I, for one, believe we need repatriation and we need to 
bring back tax profits that have gone abroad. But we have seen analyses 
recently that show that this legislation may actually increase the 
amount of American jobs that are pushed overseas, for example, because 
of the average of tax rates in their so-called territorial system, 
where a company can go ahead and build that factory in a relatively 
high tax State, move their intellectual property to a tax haven like 
the Cayman Islands, average out the tax bill combined, and end up 
paying our country nothing and, at the same time, continue to see job 
loss around our country.
  There are a group of us--close to 17 of us, and many of them are my 
colleagues who are on the floor today--who came together yesterday and 
said to our Republican colleagues: Time out for a few minutes. We will 
work with you to do a responsible tax reform effort. We share many of 
the same goals. But, unfortunately, the process we are going through 
here today--to reach some kind of arbitrary Christmas present for the 
President--is not the way we ought to be doing responsible tax reform.
  I hope my colleagues will reconsider. I hope they will take the offer 
of the 17 of us who said that we will look at corporate tax reform, we 
will look at lower rates, we will look at repatriation, we will look at 
ways to make businesses more competitive, and join with us to do this 
in a way in which we can all be proud. If we are going to do tax reform 
only once every 30 or 35 years, we sure as heck owe the American people 
a product that we can all be proud of, not a product that is rushed 
through with one party only and that, at the end of the day, will leave 
our kids and grandkids paying the bill for decades to come.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, 9 years have passed since I first joined 
the Senate Finance Committee. For each of those 9 years, I have looked 
forward to working on tax reform. In the House of Representatives, a 
million years ago, I had the privilege of working on tax reform 
legislation led by President Reagan, led by Tip O'Neill, Dan 
Rostenkowski, Bill Bradley, Bob Packwood, and others, which actually 
worked. It got us where we wanted to go, with lower rates and a more 
simplified code.
  Tax reform takes time. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort. 
There is a lot of give and take. When we did that in 1986, the Congress 
took 2 years of public hearings, 2 years of meetings,

[[Page S7390]]

and 2 years of bipartisan negotiations. The idea that a permanent and 
enduring tax reform plan today can come to fruition in mere weeks is 
what they call in my State ``the triumph of [a man's] hope over 
experience.''
  Any tax legislation that is purely partisan, written in the dark, and 
rushed to the finish line is bound to be poorly designed and riddled 
with inadvertent errors. A flawed process results in a flawed product.
  When considering any tax policy, I look at it through a prism of 4 
questions: No. 1, is it fair? No. 2, does it foster economic growth or 
impede it? No. 3, does it simplify the Tax Code or make it even more 
complex? And No. 4, is it fiscally responsible? Those are the four 
questions. Unfortunately, the Republican tax reform plan fails the test 
on, sadly, all four of these questions.
  According to the nonpartisan--we just heard this from the Senator 
from Virginia--Congressional Budget Office, this plan would actually 
increase taxes on millions of Americans, beginning next year. By 2019, 
the CBO found that Americans earning less than $30,000 a year will be 
worse off under this tax bill. By 2021, Americans earning less than 
$40,000 will be worse off. By 2027, most Americans earning less than 
$75,000 a year will be worse off, not better. In fact, within 10 years, 
more than three-quarters of the tax cuts in this bill will go to the 
richest 5 percent of Americans. Think about that. Within the next 10 
years, more than three-quarters of the tax cuts in this bill will go to 
the richest 5 percent of Americans. In fact, almost two-thirds of the 
tax breaks will go to the richest 1 out of every 100 Americans. None of 
this meets the reasonable definition, in my judgment, of fair.
  The second question is, Does it foster economic growth or impede it? 
This bill does little to foster economic growth, and I fear, in the 
long run, it will actually impair growth.
  Last week, a survey of top economists--including economists from 
across the political spectrum, as well as Nobel Prize winners and 
former presidents of the American Economic Association--found that only 
1 out of 43 experts believe this type of tax reform would boost 
economic growth--1 out of 43--just 1. The truth is, any economic growth 
from this bill will be swamped by the deficits it creates. I will talk 
more about fiscal responsibility in a moment, but an important point 
here is that the increased national debt will be a huge drag on 
economic growth.
  More Federal borrowing means higher interest rates, which means it 
will cost more for businesses, both large and small, to borrow and 
finance investments. It will cost more for families to take out a 
mortgage. It will cost more to borrow for college.
  No. 3, does it simplify the Tax Code? One goal of tax reform is 
supposed to be simplifying the Tax Code and reducing unpredictability 
and uncertainty. Unfortunately, this bill introduces new and 
complicated provisions, for examples, new requirements to claim the 
child tax credit and an awkwardly designed tax deduction for 
passthrough businesses. This will make it difficult for Americans to 
file their taxes--more difficult, not easier. As we learned earlier 
this month from the Joint Committee on Taxation during consideration of 
this bill in the Senate Finance Committee on which I am privileged to 
serve, this tax bill will actually make the Internal Revenue Code 
regulations longer, not shorter. Making the Tax Code longer is not the 
key for simplification.
  A large part of the additional complexity results from the enormous 
new fiscal cliff created by this bill, which makes tax policy 
unpredictable for families and businesses. That point brings me to my 
fourth question: Is it fiscally responsible? This bill blows a $1.5 
trillion hole in the debt, and it will be far costlier than that as the 
deficit grows in years and decades to come.
  With respect to the fiscal cliff I just mentioned, almost all of the 
individual tax provisions expire within 9 years. I will say that again. 
Almost all of the individual tax provisions expire within 9 years.
  The bill's increase in the standard deduction, the increase in the 
child credit, the new tax break for passthrough businesses, and most 
other provisions affecting individuals will, under this Republican 
bill, expire by the end of 2025. At the same time, the tax cuts for 
large corporations in this bill are permanent.
  Many of our friends on the other side of the aisle are saying that 
all of these individual provisions will be extended and made permanent. 
Well, if that is the case, why don't they do it now? The truth is 
extending these provisions would dramatically increase the deficit, 
adding far more to the national debt--more than the $1.5 trillion this 
bill already adds.
  Making the individual provisions temporary and the corporate tax cuts 
permanent is, at bottom, an elaborate attempt to have our cake and eat 
it too. At best, making the individual provisions expire is, simply 
put, an elaborate scheme to hide the true cost of this tax bill, 
obscuring the fact that this bill would add much more to the debt, 
possibly twice as much as the $1.5 trillion that has been admitted and 
advertised.
  At worst, making the individual tax provisions expire is a sneaky way 
to increase taxes on American families, all in order to pay for a 
permanent and expensive corporate tax cut. Either way, the result is 
unconscionable and an affront to fiscal responsibility.
  Let me just conclude by noting that it doesn't have to be this way. 
Instead of rushing ahead with a partisan product that haphazardly 
remakes the American economy, there are many areas where Democrats and 
Republicans could work together on tax reform. I talked about a couple 
of those yesterday in a press conference that Senator Warner alluded 
to, and one of those areas is the standard deduction. I have supported 
a proposal to double the standard deduction, which would simplify 
filing for a lot of taxpayers.
  Another area where we could find common ground is the corporate rate. 
I think many of our Democratic colleagues would agree with me and with 
others that business tax rates should be reformed to ensure that 
American businesses remain competitive with our global trading 
partners. And while lowering the rate from 35 percent to 20 percent may 
be too low--and, I think, fiscally irresponsible--a more sensible and 
modern proposal would bring both Democrats and Republicans together. 
There has to be a rate somewhere between 25 percent and 35 percent on 
which we could come together.
  Another area for common ground is the child tax credit. The bill 
increases the child tax credit but fails to deliver the benefits to the 
middle- and working-class families who need it the most. A better tax 
reform proposal would have reformed the child tax credit to be fully 
refunded and, just as important, permanent, so that lower income 
families could benefit from it as well.
  Despite these many areas of bipartisan agreement, our Republican 
colleagues' partisan rush to the finish line leaves us with no room for 
negotiations on a plan that blows a $1.5 trillion hole in our debt 
while actually increasing taxes on millions of Americans beginning next 
year.
  In closing, President Trump made three promises when he ran for 
President, when he was nominated for President, and when he was sworn 
in to office as President. One of those is he didn't want a tax reform 
proposal that helped people like him--the wealthy. That is not what he 
wanted to do. No. 2, he wanted to make sure that we put money back into 
the pockets of hard-working families. A lot of middle-income families 
would benefit from tax reform. That is what he wanted. And he said that 
he wanted to simplify the Tax Code. The Democrats are all-in on tax 
reforms that keep those three promises. But from what we know about the 
legislation before us this week, this plan does almost nothing to 
fulfill the President's three promises.
  I join my colleagues today in urging Republicans to slow down, work 
with Democrats on a plan that is actually fair, actually fiscally 
responsible, and that encourages economic growth and job creation and 
simplifies the Tax Code.
  I will close with an African proverb that I mentioned yesterday: If 
you want to go fast, travel alone. If you want to go far, travel 
together.
  We need to travel together, and if we do, we will go far, and, 
frankly, we will lift with us the economy of this country and families 
who need our help.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.

[[Page S7391]]

  

  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, we do want to go far, and we need to 
travel together. We have been trying to make the case that, indeed, we 
do this in a bipartisan way instead of being jammed through in a 
partisan way.
  I don't think there would be a Senator in this Chamber that would not 
want to help Puerto Rico, given the fact that Puerto Rico is going 
through the ravages of the aftermath of a hurricane, where still today 
just under half of the population in Puerto Rico does not have 
electricity, and it is 3 months after the hurricane. But we are going 
to send another hurricane to Puerto Rico if we pass this bill because 
of the provisions that are so punitive to Puerto Rico in this tax bill.
  In this tax bill, there is a 20-percent penalty on businesses doing 
business in Puerto Rico. It is just unbelievable, a 20-percent penalty 
on companies that invest in Puerto Rico, causing one of the daily 
newspapers on the island, El Nuevo Dia, to state that 250,000 jobs 
would leave the island just as a result of that provision. That is not 
something we want to do to Puerto Rico. We want to help Puerto Rico.
  Unfortunately, that is not all. The bill eliminates the section 199 
manufacturing deduction for Puerto Rico, specifically in the law to 
encourage manufacturing in that island Commonwealth, a territory of our 
fellow U.S. citizens.
  The bill also eliminates the rum cover, which is how they get a 
rebate for paying those excise taxes on the production of Puerto Rican 
and U.S. Virgin Islands rum. It is a means of offsetting the cost of 
economic development in those two territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. 
Virgin Islands.
  This bill further fails to put Puerto Rico residents on an equal 
footing with those on the mainland by giving them the same treatment on 
the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.
  First, the bill is so out of balance, to begin with. But then, when 
you get down to the specifics in so many of the items--now, in this 
particular item affecting Puerto Rico--this is not what we want to do. 
Yet we are just about to vote on this bill, and that is what is going 
to happen. That is what is going to happen in Puerto Rico.
  I urge some of our Members to reconsider their vote.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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