Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Mar 10th, 2011 :: 6:45:15 to 6:54:00
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Carl Levin

6:45:13 to 6:45:33( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from michigan recognized. mr. levin: madam president, i ask that further proceedings under the quorum dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: yesterday the senate rejected two bills to provide funding for the rest of this fiscal year and i voted against both bills and i want to explain why and to explain what i

Carl Levin

6:45:15 to 6:54:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Carl Levin

Carl Levin

6:45:34 to 6:45:54( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: believe is the only course open to us if we're to be serious about reducing the budget deficit. it was a victory for the american people when the senate voted overlemmingly to reject the bill sent to us by the house. house republicans who tell us they want to reduce the deficit and propose a cure that does

Carl Levin

6:45:55 to 6:46:17( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: little to cure our budget disease and does great damage to our patience in the mean time. it cuts in nondiscretionary spending and in that area alone. simple math suggests that we cannot meaningful reduce the deficit in this manner. these programs represent less than 15% of the total budget. not surprisingly, then, the

Carl Levin

6:46:18 to 6:46:38( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: republican proposal would reduce our projected budget deficit this year by only a token amount. as a matter of fact, it would reduce our budget deficit this year by less than 1%. so the republican plan fails the test of seriousness about the deficit but it would have done significant damage to programs that americans depend on.

Carl Levin

6:46:39 to 6:47:00( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: it would have cut more than a billion dollars from head start. it would have eliminated early childhood education programs for more than 2 children. it would have cut or eliminated pell grants for hundreds of thousands of college students. it would have cut $61 million from the budget request for th the -- for food inspections, despite the fact that thousands

Carl Levin

6:47:01 to 6:47:21( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: of americans every year suffer from foodborne illnesses. it would have cut a billion dollars from women's, infant and children's program, weag ening a program that -- weakening a program that helps poor families put food on the table t. would have cut $180 million from the securities and exchange commission, and more than a hundred billion dollars from the commodities future trading

Carl Levin

6:47:22 to 6:47:43( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: commission. those are the regulators, those are the cops that we need on the beat to make sure that we oversee the financial markets that recently devastated our economy. it would have cut nearly $290 million from the veterans administration's efforts to provide better service to our veterans. the house budget would have cut a billion dollars in funding for community health centers,

Carl Levin

6:47:44 to 6:48:05( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: eliminating primary care for millions of americans. that proposal of the house of representatives, which we soundly defeated here yesterday, would have cut $550 million from the national science foundation research, another billion-plus from the department of energy research, almost $900 billion from our support for renewable energy resources and energy conservation.

Carl Levin

6:48:06 to 6:48:28( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: and all that would make us even more dependent than we now are on foreign oil. the republican proposal from the house would have cut $2 billion from clean water programs and would have put public health at risk and would have cut $250 million from the great lakes restoration efforts. $120 million from the president's request would have

Carl Levin

6:48:29 to 6:48:50( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: been cut and $350 million from the -- from the 2010 level from border security efforts. now, that's the very issue, border security, which republicans, including the speaker of the house, have called their number-one priority. yet their budget would have cut more than $350 million from the 2010 level for border security.

Carl Levin

6:48:51 to 6:49:11( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: now, we need to make spending cuts and i think all of us know that. we've got to reduce and remove redundancy and inefficiency in the government, and it exists. the president has proposed cuts. we need to seek more cuts and we need act. but the cuts that the republicans proposed aren't about increasing efficiency.

Carl Levin

6:49:12 to 6:49:32( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: their proposal, as senator manchin pointed out yesterday -- quote -- "blindly hacks the budget with no sense of our priorities or of our values as a country." so we wisely rejected that path. we also rejected a second proposal and i voted against that one as well. i rejected it because, while it

Carl Levin

6:49:33 to 6:49:53( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: avoided the blind hacking at the budget in which the house republicans engaged, it focused solely on cuts in non-defense discretionary spending. we had two choices yesterday: draconian cuts or more targeted cuts?

Carl Levin

6:49:54 to 6:50:14( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: but, madam president, those are not the only two choices available to us. mr. levin: we can choose to seriously address our budget deficit by acknowledging that it cannot be significantly reduced until we understand that increased revenue as well as spending cuts is part of the solution. now, how can we raise additional

Carl Levin

6:50:15 to 6:50:35( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: revenue without slowing t economy? we can end the excessive tax cuts for that president bush put in place place. we can close tax loopholes that not only drain the treasury but send american jobs abroad, to boot. the cost to the government to continue that upper bracket income tax cut president bush

Carl Levin

6:50:36 to 6:50:57( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: was able to obtain is about $30 billion a year. ending that $30 billion tax cut, which goes to roughly 2% of americans at the very top -- those earning more t $200,000 -- could allow us to avoid the drastic cuts in important programs that i've mentioned and much more beside.

Carl Levin

6:50:58 to 6:51:18( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: increasing revenue makes sense not only from a deficit-reduction perspective. it is also fair. those at the top income-wise have done very well as a group in recent decade. while incomes for most americans have stagnated.

Carl Levin

6:51:19 to 6:51:40( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: to be specific, the top 1% of all income earners has more than doubled their share of total u.s. income in the last few decades from 8.2% in 1980 to 17.7% in 2008. meanwhile, median income -- the income of a

Carl Levin

6:51:41 to 6:52:01( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: typical american family -- is now 5% lower than it was in the late 1990's. to eliminate programs that are critically important to working families while maintaining tax cuts for those whose incomes have soared would be a grave injustice. now, there's also other revenues that we can look to if we're

Carl Levin

6:52:02 to 6:52:23( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: truly serious about deficit reduction. there are a number of tax loopholes that we can close. for example, we should not continue to give corporations a tax deduction when they send american jobs overseas. we should not allow corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid u.s. taxes by hiding assets and

Carl Levin

6:52:24 to 6:52:44( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: income in offshore tax havens. we should not allow hedge fund managers to ernie normous incomes -- earn enormous incomes and yet pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries pay. the american to us. they're concerned about the size of the deficit and the effect that it might have on future generations, but they also

Carl Levin

6:52:45 to 6:53:06( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: reject the notion that draconian cuts, cuts that fall hardest on working families, are the answer. and they see the wisdom and the fairness in making sure that all americans share in the sacrifices that will be required as we seek to reduce our deficit. now, we have an opportunity now to show the american people that

Carl Levin

6:53:07 to 6:53:27( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: we understand too. we can craft a plan now that preserves vital programs, that makes prioritized and necessary cuts in spending, but also a plan that recognizes the need for comprehensive approaches that address revenue as well as spending. and in the coming days,

Carl Levin

6:53:28 to 6:53:48( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: madam president, we need to adopt such a comprehensive approach. madam president, i yield the floor.

Carl Levin

6:53:49 to 6:53:59( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: mr. levin: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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