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Senate Proceeding on Apr 3rd, 2008 :: 8:06:59 to 8:19:18
Total video length: 8 hours 32 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Previous speech:

Jon Kyl

8:06:41 to 8:06:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Kyl: america. mr. president, i yield the floor. ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: can i ask unanimous consent to move that amendment aside so that

Mary Landrieu

8:06:59 to 8:07:18( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: i can offer the amendment i spoke on earlier today? thaye presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. land rieu: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i'd like to call up 4389 for

Mary Landrieu

8:06:59 to 8:19:18( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Mary Landrieu

Mary Landrieu

8:07:18 to 8:07:24( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from louisiana, ms. landrieu, for herself and others, proposes an amendment numbered

Mary Landrieu

8:07:24 to 8:07:35( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: 4389. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. mr i'd like to ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of theg amendment. a the presiding officer: without objection. ms. landrieu: mr. president,

Mary Landrieu

8:07:35 to 8:07:51( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: thank you very much. and i reallyan appreciate the cooperation of the manager because this is a very, veryy, important amendment for the gulf coast. it's an amendment that i offer with the support

Mary Landrieu

8:07:51 to 8:08:07( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: of the senators from mississippi, senator cochran, senator whitaker, as well as senator vitter from louisiana. we have been waiting for some time now for some housing bill to get to the floor of the senate

Mary Landrieu

8:08:07 to 8:08:21( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: where we could offer a small number of amendments that are really essential to helping continue the ongoing, or to give aid to the ongoing housing crisis tha t exists in the gulf today. as you know,

Mary Landrieu

8:08:21 to 8:08:37( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: as you remember because you've been down to louisiana, to new orleans particularly -- we're very grateful forhe support that so many senators have given. but throughout the gulf coast, literally fromm mobile

Mary Landrieu

8:08:37 to 8:08:55( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: to beaumont, particularly from biloxi to cameron parish, there is still a tremendous crisis in housing and reconstruction. i'm not going to belabor the point, only to say that i've had secretary

Mary Landrieu

8:08:55 to 8:09:10( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: chertoff on the record as late as three weeks ago, chief paulson today, the i.g. of the homeland security today in homeland security saying the stafford act was not intended to handle catastrop hic

Mary Landrieu

8:09:10 to 8:09:22( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: disasters and that fema has yet to make any substantial progress in getting ready to handle catastrophic disasters. they've made moderate progress. they've made modest but b not substantial. mr.

Mary Landrieu

8:09:22 to 8:09:38( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: president, our people need substantial everything. they needed it yesterday. they need it today. and this amendment will help them get a little bit of it now. my amendment basically will allow the

Mary Landrieu

8:09:38 to 8:09:51( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: people of mississippi and louisiana, texas, and alabama, those that are affected by katrina, rita and wilma, which was one of the worst seasons of hurricane disaster -- 2005 -- to basically receive the

Mary Landrieu

8:09:51 to 8:10:08( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: aid that we have already sent to them through the community development block grant. in louisiana we called it the road home program. these programs were designed at the state level, but they were funded

Mary Landrieu

8:10:08 to 8:10:25( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: by us. and in mississippi it's called the mississippi homeowners assistance program. it has literally sent direct lifesaving aid to over 150,000 families in louisiana and about probably 50,000

Mary Landrieu

8:10:25 to 8:10:41( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: to 75,000 in mississippi. i don't have t he mississippi numbers. my amendment will help to correct thist grave injustice that is occurring now. we did did not intend for this to occur, but it

Mary Landrieu

8:10:41 to 8:10:59( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: is going to occur if this amendment is not, or something like this amendment is not adopted. we sent, under a design basically designed by this congress approximately $150,000 grant to homeowners to help

Mary Landrieu

8:10:59 to 8:11:16( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: close the gap between what their insurance covered and the total cost of their loss. as i've said many times, homes that were worth $1 million or $2 million were totally destroyed as well as homes

Mary Landrieu

8:11:16 to 8:11:31( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: that were worth $50,000. many of these homes were not in the floodplain. they were not required to have flood insurance. and they were destroyed by the failure of a federal levee system that collapsed as well

Mary Landrieu

8:11:31 to 8:11:43( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: as historic highs of flooding and water coming from hurricane rita, which was one of the toughest and most aggressive storms on record. so the long and short of it is that when we sent this $150,000 grant

Mary Landrieu

8:11:43 to 8:12:00( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: -- we're still in the process of sending it. it's been very shroerbgs very frustrating -- very slow, very frustrating and so aggravating to people that are holding on by their fingernails to try to save

Mary Landrieu

8:12:00 to 8:12:15( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: what equity they had in their homes which, as you know, for most american families, that is their personal wealth. you know, 95%, i think, of all americans have almost 100% of their entire personal

Mary Landrieu

8:12:15 to 8:12:29( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: wealth tied up in their home. so this issue of helping homeowners in the gulf coast is literally trying to help restore to them a lifetime of work, in some instances generations of work have been

Mary Landrieu

8:12:29 to 8:12:41( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: lost in this storm. now we're not making everybody whole. believe me, there's been enough pain down on the gulf coast to go around for a century or more. but what happens is when they receive their

Mary Landrieu

8:12:41 to 8:12:53( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: $150,000 grant -- and most people have received an average of about $65,000, the authorized level is $150,000, but you have to qualify for that amount. so the average is about $60,000, which sounds like

Mary Landrieu

8:12:53 to 8:13:09( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: a lot of money. but if your house was worth $500,000 and your insurance has refused to pay you, it's not a whole lot of money to rebuild your house with labor costs that are going up at 20% or more since

Mary Landrieu

8:13:09 to 8:13:23( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the storm. so what's happening now is when they receive these grants and they -- and under the tax law they can take a casualty deduction. and if they did that last year, what happens this year, which is

Mary Landrieu

8:13:23 to 8:13:38( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: april 15, which is going to happen in about two weeks, that family that makes $75,000 a year, let's say the smith family, jones and smith family, they may about the same amount of money, one family

Mary Landrieu

8:13:38 to 8:13:50( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: this year that took the casualty loss deduction is going to have to pay $24,000 in taxes, and the family only makes $75,000 if they're lucky enough to have the job they had before katrina and rita struck.

Mary Landrieu

8:13:50 to 8:14:03( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: now this amendment is not cheap, mr. president. i make no bones about it. it's about $1 billion. it can be done on an emergency basis. this most certainly is a housing, is an emergency. so that

Mary Landrieu

8:14:03 to 8:14:21( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: is the essence of the amendment. the finance committee is well aware of it. we've been talking about it with them for over a year now actually. and we've just been waiting for a time to get it fixed.

Mary Landrieu

8:14:21 to 8:14:31( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: now again, this is an emergency. it is a real problem. it's almost april 15. we have, i would argue, families in america that need the most help on housing. i feel very sorry for people that are

Mary Landrieu

8:14:31 to 8:14:44( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: losing their home in foreclosure, and i'm not even going to try to say whether they're suffering more than the people in the gulf south. all i can say is the people in the gulf south didn't take

Mary Landrieu

8:14:44 to 8:14:58( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: out any adjustable mortgages. the people in the gulf south, most of them had paid their 30-year mortgage. they owned their house scot-free. they paid for it. and now they've lost everything. and

Mary Landrieu

8:14:58 to 8:15:09( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: we're trying to help them, but in my view, everything we try to do to help them, sometimes it turns out to not help them as much as we would like.|. and there is no textbook. there is no stafford

Mary Landrieu

8:15:09 to 8:15:24( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: act there is no way to help people who lost everything because the levees who should have held didn't. we're making it up as we go along and this is part of my job to do this. so we've got to knicks

Mary Landrieu

8:15:24 to 8:15:40( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: and that's what this -- fix this. and that's what that this amendment will do and i'm proud that senators pr both states have agreed to sponsor this. on behalf of senator cochran, on his request, and

Mary Landrieu

8:15:40 to 8:15:55( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: i'm happy to do it, there is a small change in this amendment that will allow this deduction -- this go-zone depreciation piece that we gave to help some of our businesses. we lost 20,000 businesses

Mary Landrieu

8:15:55 to 8:16:07( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: that weekend. mississippi lost, i think, 1,800. that's a lot of businesses to lose over a weekend. to help those businesses and people get back on their feet, this congress extended to them a

Mary Landrieu

8:16:07 to 8:16:19( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: way to accelerate their depreciation, but we said the way you can get that accelerated depreciation is that you have to start your project by a certain time and finish it by a certain time. the

Mary Landrieu

8:16:19 to 8:16:34( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: problem is -- the problem is the recovery has been so much slower than everybody anticipated because we had never gone through this catastrophic situation, that senator cochran's right when he said

Mary Landrieu

8:16:34 to 8:16:49( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: we should eliminate the start day we're not asking for an extension, so, technique, i will it shouldn't really add money. we're not asking toin extend it at any time or to let a lot of new people come in

Mary Landrieu

8:16:49 to 8:17:02( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: but for the same universe, just don't let them start the project the way we said, but let them end it. that is also in my amendment. we'll solve two big problems, we'll help our businesses, many small

Mary Landrieu

8:17:02 to 8:17:16( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: businesses, get the full benefit of what we wanted to givehem anyway actually work for them and we'll make this grant program work for them. now, let me be clear. when we pass this amendment, which i

Mary Landrieu

8:17:16 to 8:17:29( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: hope we will do by unanimous consent or getnt a large vote on it because i think we really should do in a bipartisanar way, the people that we give this tax break to, this will lower their rate to their

Mary Landrieu

8:17:29 to 8:17:43( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: regular rate they'll have to pay. they have to go back and reimburse the treasury for that deduction that they took, so, in other words, we're not allowing them to take two benefits. they're going to have

Mary Landrieu

8:17:43 to 8:17:56( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: to lower their tax this year, eliminate the tax on road home and go back and pay the benefit they took, those c.p.a.'s will have to figure that out. but if we don't do this, there will be people

Mary Landrieu

8:17:56 to 8:18:09( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: who will be stuck with a tax bill that they could not possibly pay and they shouldn't have to, mr. president. they've suffered enough. so i know that the senator from -- the chairman of the banking committee

Mary Landrieu

8:18:09 to 8:18:21( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: knows full well what's happening down in the gulf. this is only one thing that we're attempting to fix. i have several other amendments that i intend to offer if my colleagues would allow me at an appropriate

Mary Landrieu

8:18:21 to 8:18:33( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: time. but this is the amendment that i wanted to get in. april 15 is right around the corner and they need to know what our intention is. this will help so many people, and i appreciate it and i will

Mary Landrieu

8:18:33 to 8:18:52( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: ask for this amendment to be voted on when the first group -- however large that group is, two, five, six, 10, whatever the first group of amendments is voted on, i'd like for this to be included in that

Mary Landrieu

8:18:52 to 8:19:05( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: group. and i would ask unanimous consent for that to be the case. the presiding officer: is there objection? ms. landrieu: i said i would be happy to take this amendment whenever. i would like it

Mary Landrieu

8:19:05 to 8:19:18( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: to be voted in the first group of amendments. however that group is and whenever that group is going to be taken up. a senator: let me, if i may, mr. president -- observing any right to object to

Christopher Dodd

8:19:18 to 8:19:34( Edit History Discussion )

Christopher Dodd: my colleague. mr. dodd: this is a tax amendment. and i am very carefully deferring any questions regarding matters before the finance committee to senator baucus and senator grassley as to how they want to proceed.

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