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Senate Proceeding 03-31-09 on Mar 31st, 2009 :: 6:01:45 to 6:23:30
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Thomas Carper

6:01:39 to 6:01:59( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: quorum call: mr. carper: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr ask unanimous consent that the quor the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. carper: thank you, mr. president. mr. president and colleagues, i rise this evening t address, as others have year 2010 budget resolution that's currently being

Thomas Carper

6:01:45 to 6:23:30( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Thomas Carper

Thomas Carper

6:02:00 to 6:02:21( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: considered by this body. as we take up this budget under the specter of some would say gloomy, some would say perilous economic conditions amidst a credit crisis that threatens long-term damage to our economy, not just to our economy in this country but over the world budget is very likely, probably

Thomas Carper

6:02:22 to 6:02:44( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: the most important v cast but certainly one of the most important that we'll vote on congress. want to begin this evening by reminding my colleagues that i know we've been reminded already today and we'll be reminded tomorrow that our friend, former colleague, barack obama, took

Thomas Carper

6:02:45 to 6:03:05( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: office just ten days ago, about 70 days or so ago. not franklinelano roosevelt has american president inherited such far-reaching economic turmoil and been asked to do so much in a short period of time. over these last seven -- or rather ten weeks, president

Thomas Carper

6:03:06 to 6:03:26( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: obama has become sr e well -- very well acquainted with the economic mess inherited from the previous administration. date his predecessor took office, our federal government enjoyed -- this was about eight years ago -- enjoyed multibillion-dollar surpluses as far as the eye could see, were on track to -- believe it or not, we were on track to pay

Thomas Carper

6:03:27 to 6:03:49( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: down our national debt which at the time was a little under $6 trillion. since then we've seen those surpluses sadly disappear and they have been replaced instead by the largest budget deficits i think we've witnessed in our country's history. we ran up as much new debt ove?? the last eight yea as we did in the first 200 and almost 20

Thomas Carper

6:03:50 to 6:04:11( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: years of our nation's history. when president bush left office early this year, our nation and the new president to -- and usere in the senate and the house were left to bear the cost that tend to favor the wealthiest among us, an

Thomas Carper

6:04:12 to 6:04:33( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: of more than 50% in government spending, and $10.6 trillion in debt. again, former president bush inherited on his first day on the job. th our badly damaged credit system, or banking rising unemployment numbers and a contracting economy have

Thomas Carper

6:04:34 to 6:04:54( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: threatened to reduce future revenues to the point where the burgeoning budget deficits of the eight years could become a permanent fixture if we're not careful. the damage deficits cannot be overlooked. i believe deficits matter. i think our presiding officer knows that deficits matter, and

Thomas Carper

6:04:55 to 6:05:18( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: they matter for all of us. last year american taxpayers paid some $250 billion in interest payments, just interest, not principal, just interest payments to creditors at home and around the world. i'm told each citizen's share of today's debt amounts to more than $36,000 per person.

Thomas Carper

6:05:19 to 6:05:39( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: beyond our own borders, we now owe $740 billion that's almost three quarters of $1 trillion. we owe about $635 billion to japan. we owe $1 # 3 billion to bra -- $133 billion to brazil. and the list goes on and on. in all deficits will drive up interest

Thomas Carper

6:05:40 to 6:06:00( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: rates for consumers. they'll raise prices for goods and and they'll combine a america's financia competitiveness. the bigger our deficits become, the fewer resources we have for investments in things like energy, things like

Thomas Carper

6:06:01 to 6:06:22( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: health care, and we'll have fewer resources to help provide tax relief for the middle class and for small businesses who need it the most. thankfully both the president's budget -- this president's budget and the senate budget committee's proposed budget for begins this october 1 -- seek to reverse the trend set in motion

Thomas Carper

6:06:23 to 6:06:44( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: by the previous administration. under both plans, annual deficits will be cut in half over the next four years by 2012. du summit which i was fortunate to be able to attend, along with democrat and colleagues, the president said these words.

Thomas Carper

6:06:45 to 6:07:05( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: he said, "this will not be easy. it will require us to make difficult decisions." there's an understatement. he went on to say "and face challenges we have long neglected." he wen leave our children with debt they cannot repay. that means taking responsibility right now. and this

Thomas Carper

6:07:06 to 6:07:28( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: might add for this congress, "for getting our spending under control." the president is right. meeting this budget goal will not be and discipline by all of some of these tough choices will come from the spending side. and in difficult economic we've got to make sure that every dollar we collect from the

Thomas Carper

6:07:29 to 6:07:49( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: taxpayers is spent wisely effectively. as financial management subcommittee of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee, i worked with senate and house colleagues, including the presiding officer, to identify areas spending that are wasteful and in many cases inefficient. one of these

Thomas Carper

6:07:50 to 6:08:13( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: areas involves improper payments. according to the office of management and budget, by federal agencies in the recent financial statements, the federal governmen made something like $72 billion last fiscal year in overpayments, actually, improper payments, mostly overpayments. and during a series of hearings held by my subcommittee my

Thomas Carper

6:08:14 to 6:08:34( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: colleagues and i learned from g.a.o. some agencies do not take responsibility for accounting for their federal dollars. we learned others may not have the resources they need to address their improper payments problem. think about this: this is a big budget, a budget that's hundreds of billions, but $72 billion

Thomas Carper

6:08:35 to 6:08:55( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: were improperly paid, mostly overpayments. i plan to introduce legislation in the future to direct agencies focus their time and more of their resources on eliminating improper payments and not just that but to develop better improper payments remediation plans so they do in the continue to make the same mistake and finally to become more

Thomas Carper

6:08:56 to 6:09:18( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: aggressive in the use of recovery auditing. i say to my sons who are many and 20, nothing wrong with making mistakes, we all make mistakes. the only people that mistakes are the people that ar't doing anything. the key here is to figure out we are making the mistakes on the imrop payments and figure out

Thomas Carper

6:09:19 to 6:09:39( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: how not to continue to make the same mistakes and the figure out when we make overapartments to recover the moneys of the taxpayers overpaid. the proposal we will introduce with bipartisan support in the weeks to come increases the use of recovery auditing. and the positive impact the auditing could have on government spending will be

Thomas Carper

6:09:40 to 6:10:00( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: measur dollars and even when we look at $1 trillion-plus deficit, billions still counsel. a recent test of recovery auditing in three state medicare programs led to the recovery of $1 billion and the presiding officer heard me talk about this, a time or two, including

Thomas Carper

6:10:01 to 6:10:21( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: with the president at the lunch in wednesday on the capitol, three years ago we starting doing recovery in medicare to identify monies overpaid in medicare. we went to three states: california, texas and florida. and began trying to recover monies first year, didn't get much of anything.

Thomas Carper

6:10:22 to 6:10:42( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: second year, we coup captured a little by. last year, close to $1 billion. in just three days. i suggested to the president and my colleagues we should not just do this in three states but in all 50 states, recover real money, and the other thing we ought to do is consider medicaid program and see if there is a way to do

Thomas Carper

6:10:43 to 6:11:04( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: of recovering misspent monies, overapartments, do that, take the same lessons from medicare and apply them to medicaid. i'm pleased to see senate budget makes a number of tough choices when it comes to federal spending. senator conrad has shown i think great leadership and fiscal discipline in the drafting of

Thomas Carper

6:11:05 to 6:11:26( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: this senate resolution. and his counterpart in the house, congressman john spratt from south carolina has done the same in the house. the senate budget committee sent us a lean budget this year, relatively speaking, that increases discretionary spending i'm told by about 5% over fiscal year 2009 level.

Thomas Carper

6:11:27 to 6:11:47( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: despite calls to do much more, and frankly that's a bit less than asked for by our while making sure that the taxpayer funds are spent is crucial i add that i, for one, reject the philosophy held by some that discretionary spendi is the culprit, maybe

Thomas Carper

6:11:48 to 6:12:08( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: the major or even the only couple prit for our fiscal mess. balanced budgets won't come just from reductions in discretionary spending. fundamental reform of our major entitlement programs coupled with changes in our tax code must occur to restore fiscal sanity in our federal budgets. on the entitlement side, and the

Thomas Carper

6:12:09 to 6:12:31( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: presiding officer and i are among a number of centrist democrats who met with the budget director, o.m.b. budget director, peter orszag, and among the things we talked about were entitlement spending, and programs b care consumes an ever-increasing percentage of the g.d.p. with u.s. spending over $2 trillion per year on health care.

Thomas Carper

6:12:32 to 6:12:53( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: i think that's about 17% g.d.p. and we are on track to get up to 20% in the nex several years. 20% of g.d.p. just for health care. i'm told if we look at three programs, three entitlement programs right now -- social security, medicare and medicaid --ing to they 10% of our g.d.p. and we're on a track in 25 years that those

Thomas Carper

6:12:54 to 6:13:15( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: three programs will amount to 20% is historically our whole budget just for three programs. that's obviously not sustainable. and while we spend a whole ton of money, $2 trillion a year on health care, a number of suggested about $700 billion of

Thomas Carper

6:13:16 to 6:13:37( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: that money is about 35% of it, doesn't really improve our health outcomes. we spend more money than any other developed nation for health care and we certainly don't get better results. and this cost growth we are witnessing is the price tag associated with entitlement programs like medicaid as well. and i repeat myself, but the current path we're on clearly is

Thomas Carper

6:13:38 to 6:13:58( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: not sustainable, it is not sustainable for our fiscal health and our medical held or as far as being the rest of the world and our businesses trying to compete whether they are building cars, wimills or electronic equipment. america must reform our health ca system. we have a responsibility to help

Thomas Carper

6:13:59 to 6:14:19( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: do that so we can reverse the rise in health care costs while improvin we simply cannot afford to continue on this trajectory. as i have said, doing nothing is not an objection. i want to commend, tonight, not only senator conrad but i want to commend the senate budget

Thomas Carper

6:14:20 to 6:14:40( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: committee for including a deficit neutral reserve fund in the senate budget that would enable us to advance a health care reform bill and reduce medicare and medicaid contributions to our budget deficit. now, on the tax side i am pleased the senate budget provides middle-class taxpayers with a measure of tax relief.

Thomas Carper

6:14:41 to 6:15:01( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: this is going to have to pay taxes but the budget package in the spending plan they receive a measure of tax relief, something the president is a champion of. taxpayers need certainty, though, for making middle-class provisio person. taxpayers need certainty when it comes to the alternative minimum tax. and taxpayers certainly need certainty when it comes to the

Thomas Carper

6:15:02 to 6:15:22( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: estate tax. the idea that we're going to have an estate tax this we're not going to have one next year and the year later we go back to the estate tax we had in 2001 -- that doesn't make a lot of sense for us or much sense to our constituents. this budget begins the process of addressing the issues and i look forward to working with my colleagues in the finance

Thomas Carper

6:15:23 to 6:15:43( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: committee and on the senate floor in addressing them. on the estate tax, this budget includes a proposal that looks a lot like one that i introduced a year or two and it would permanently extend the 2009 rate of exemption of $7 couple and it would index that

Thomas Carper

6:15:44 to 6:16:05( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: amount that is exempted from tax by the rate of inflation each year. so it will not be $7 million exempt go each year the rate of plagues and that not covered within that exemption is taxed at the rate of 45% which is right where we are this year. i think this approach represents

Thomas Carper

6:16:06 to 6:16:26( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: maybe a sense build way to balances our two critical goals and seems and reasonable and helps avoid hitting middle-class taxpayers and small businesses. it hps avoid the problems we have had with the a.m.t., where we have not indexed over 30

Thomas Carper

6:16:27 to 6:16:47( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: years and now middle-class families are finding they are subject to the minimum tax and some d the same thing will happen with the estate tax if we don't in$it. in addition, the budget extends e previous administration's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the

Thomas Carper

6:16:48 to 6:17:09( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: mill class. we are not throwing out everything from 2001 and 2003 and the bush administration. some of it is meritorious and that is an example of, those are examples of things we want to preserve. we think preserving tax relief to the yield low risk investment and it

Thomas Carper

6:17:10 to 6:17:31( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: is the middle class that will bring in a new decade of innovation and hopefully prosper. this extension of the tax cuts, i believe, will go a long way toward bolstering a resurgence. an seek to help stimulate groght through revenue -- growth through revenue motion we n other changes to our current tax policy to help increase revenues

Thomas Carper

6:17:32 to 6:17:55( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: that will pay done our budget deficits. one way to do this is to close something we call the tax gap which i am pleased to say is a high priority of this budget resolution. most machines if they knew something like $400 billion in taxes owed to the federal government are not being collected, most people in this country pay their fair share of

Thomas Carper

6:17:56 to 6:18:17( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: taxes and the idea half a trillion is not collected that makes my blood boil and i suspect it does for a lot of other people. and as it towns out, there number of things that we can do to address the taxap. and i'm delighted in this budget document that

Thomas Carper

6:18:18 to 6:18:40( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: they reflect a whole lot of the stops we can take and through my subcommittee that i chair on homeland security and government affairs and thrgh my work on the finance committee i have been helped by a bunch of people to enable us to craft legislatn. i'll introduce it close the tax gap and we do it by focusing on improving compliance. i will say this: when you and i

Thomas Carper

6:18:41 to 6:19:02( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: and most people, withheld from our income we comply and have compliance rate of about share of taxes. when our income i the i.r.s., say, on a 1099 there is 90 or 95% compliance. when there

Thomas Carper

6:19:03 to 6:19:23( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: taxes, there is not reporting of income, the rate of compliance drops way done, as low as 50% and i'm looking forward to working with our new president and with my colleagues and democrats and republicans. it is not a partisan issue, in putting together a package of proposals to meet the goals laid now this budget particularly

Thomas Carper

6:19:24 to 6:19:44( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: with respect to making sure people pay their fair share of taxes. the senate tax cuts from the bush white house it does not do the same for most affluent americans. during the previous administration, some of the wealthiest americans less tax burden than do many

Thomas Carper

6:19:45 to 6:20:07( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: members of the middle class. the budget restore a fair balance and close our budget deficits over the next several fiscal years. finally, i want to commend senator conrad and the preside foraging that we have t do more to address cli this budget. something i know our presiding officer agrees with.

Thomas Carper

6:20:08 to 6:20:29( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: we need to keep open all options including cap-and-trade which i've worked on for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. unfortunately some colleagues have likened cap-and-trade program to a carbon trade is interesting people here who embrace the idea, or propose the idea of carbon tax instead of a cap-and-trade approach most of the people that propose

Thomas Carper

6:20:30 to 6:20:51( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: embrace a carbon tax wouldn't vote for one if they had the chance so it is ironic. but let me be clear. cap-and-trade system where basically say for carbon dioxide we put a cap on how much is measured and over time we bring that cap down and give the. mitters a chance to trade -- to

Thomas Carper

6:20:52 to 6:21:14( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: give the emitter as chance to trade with other emitters and forces to reduc in an efficient way our emissions of co2. but among the advantages of the cap-and-trade system is flexible with our economy, interacts with folks in europe where they have been doing this cap-and-trade

Thomas Carper

6:21:15 to 6:21:35( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: stuff for a while and ensures we get the needed reduction. a great example of the cap-and-trade program is the acid rain program. it was not set up by a democrat, it wasn't set up by bill clinton but it was set up by george herbert walker bush in 1990. and that cap-and-trade program, the acid rain program, has

Thomas Carper

6:21:36 to 6:21:56( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: reduced sulfur dioxide emissions at half the estimated c get this -- half the estimated cost and quicker than expected making the one of the most successful environment programs in our nation's history. i hope that our freeways here won't forget that is a valuable market tool proven to secure air quality

Thomas Carper

6:21:57 to 6:22:17( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: improvement at half the cost. it is not a tax. we had a chance to go out and test this works and we have seen it work very, very well. let me add in closing this budget resolution puts the brakes on some of the budgetary tax used in recent budgets and puts us on a path to fiscal discipline.

Thomas Carper

6:22:18 to 6:22:38( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: we cannot solve all of our budget problems in one year this represents the opening a multiyear battle to reduce deficits, and prevents our children from bearing the cost of ever-greater deficits. at the president's first noted "while we're making important

Thomas Carper

6:22:39 to 6:22:59( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: progress toward fiscal responsibility this year, in this budget, this is just the going and coming here we will be forced to make more tough choices and do much to address our long-term challenges." and he's right. to have miles to go -- miles to go -- before we sleep.

Thomas Carper

6:23:00 to 6:23:21( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: and i stand ready to help this president, to work with my colleagues, republicans and democrats, house and senate to make some of those tough choices that we need to make and to tackle the challenges in the years to come. and with that, mr. president, you'll be pleased to know i'm finished. and i suspect our staff will

Thomas Carper

6:23:22 to 6:23:31( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: a lot of smiles up front. and i -- unless there's some objection, i'm going to ask that -- note the absence of a quorum -- no?

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