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Senate Proceeding on Apr 7th, 2011 :: 0:47:50 to 0:56:35
Total video length: 11 hours 48 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar Alexander

0:47:43 to 0:48:04( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: mr. alexander: oh, i see. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee may proceed. mr. alexander: i thank the chair, and if another senator comes and wishes to speak, i will -- i will be succinct. senator begich, i see, is coming, so i will try to do mine in less period of time.

Lamar Alexander

0:47:50 to 0:56:35( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

0:48:05 to 0:48:25( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i thank the chair for its -- for its two subjects, mr. president. first, there is a good deal of discussion in washington today about making sure that we continue to operate the government over the weekend and on into next week while we get

Lamar Alexander

0:48:26 to 0:48:47( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: about the important business of reducing our debt. our national debt is an urgent problem. members on both sides of the aisle understand this and have said this. we have 64 senators who have written the president to say, mr. president, we're ready to go to work on reducing the debt on the whole budget.

Lamar Alexander

0:48:48 to 0:49:08( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: we have a proposal from congressman ryan. we have a proposal from the erskine bowles commission. we're ready to go to work, and the house of representatives has made a proposal to, for the time being, continue the government while we work on that that is eminently reasonable, and i would like to ask unanimous

Lamar Alexander

0:49:09 to 0:49:29( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: consent to include a "wall street journal" op-ed from april april 4 by gary becker, george shultz and john b. taylor that points out that the numbers in the house of representatives' proposal would have the federal government spend for the rest of

Lamar Alexander

0:49:30 to 0:49:51( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the year basically what we spent in 2008 plus an allowance for inflation. and there's no reason, the authors say, why the government agencies from treasury and commerce to the executive office of the president can't get by with the same amount of funding that they spent in 2008 plus increases for inflation, so this

Lamar Alexander

0:49:52 to 0:50:12( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: would be a reasonable first step as we get to the larger issue of how we reduce the debt over a longer period of time. i ask consent to include that in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president, last month marked the one-year anniversary of president obama's signing into law -- signing the health care bill into law.

Lamar Alexander

0:50:13 to 0:50:34( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i believe it was a historic mistake. and we talk about the health care law in a variety of ways. one thing that we have said is that at a time when our country needs to try to make it easier and cheaper to create private sector jobs, the health care law makes it harder and more expensive to create private sector jobs. and someone might say well, how could that happen?

Lamar Alexander

0:50:35 to 0:50:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: and so this morning, i'd like to just mention a few examples of how it actually is happening, how the health care law actually is causing -- making it harder and more expensive to create private sector jobs. last september, i met with about

Lamar Alexander

0:50:58 to 0:51:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: 35 chief executive officers of chain restaurant companies. according to the bureau of labor statistics, the retail and hospitality industries in america are the largest employers in the united states, second only to the u.s. government. food services and drink places provide roughly 10 million jobs. most of these are first-time job

Lamar Alexander

0:51:19 to 0:51:39( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: seekers and low-income employees, young people and poor people, so we're talking about companies that provide a huge number of jobs to low-income americans. one of the chief executive officers that i met with said his company had been operating their stores with 90 employees on the average, and as a result of the health care law, their

Lamar Alexander

0:51:40 to 0:52:01( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: goal was to operate with 70 employees. mr. president, that's fewer jobs, and there are many other examples of that around the room. many of the members are on the national -- in the national council of chain restaurants. they have significant concerns about the law, and they provided me with specific examples. one restaurant chain based in tennessee with worries about the

Lamar Alexander

0:52:02 to 0:52:22( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: law is a company called ruby tuesday. ruby tuesday has 24,000 full-time employees, 16,000 part-time employees. according to ruby tuesday, the employer mandate will cost them roughly $47 million, yet their annual net income last year was just over $45 million.

Lamar Alexander

0:52:23 to 0:52:43( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: in other words, the cost of the health care law to them equals the entire profits of this multibillion-dollar company. ruby tuesday says as a result it will have to reduce its work force by 18% in order to hold its profits even, and the company will increase the hours for their full-time employees and reduce their overall work

Lamar Alexander

0:52:44 to 0:53:05( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: force in order to reduce the number of people for which coverage would be required. now, the problem we're talking about, mr. president, is that the new law requires employers who don't provide -- quote -- "acceptable coverage to pay a fair share, -- quote -- ,"

Lamar Alexander

0:53:06 to 0:53:26( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: penalty of $4,000 per full-time employee." a full-time employee is defined as someone who works 30 hours a week instead of 40 hours a week. so you can see that a company like ruby tuesday with that many employees would have a big cost, cost, $47 million, which equaled its entire profits for the year. another restaurant chain, white castle, is also concerned.

Lamar Alexander

0:53:27 to 0:53:47( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: it said that according to their internal estimates, thelike law's provision imposing penalties for employer-sponsored health plans whose cost to the employee exceeds 9.5% of that employee's household income would be particularly punishing. in its present form, the provision alone would lead to an

Lamar Alexander

0:53:48 to 0:54:09( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: increased cost of over 55% of what white castle currentary earns in -- currently earns in net income. this devastating impact would cut job creation by at least half. it would be predominantly felt in the low-income areas where jobs are most needed. a representative of the national retail federation testified in

Lamar Alexander

0:54:10 to 0:54:31( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: february about another large quick change restaurant about potential job loss. this company preferred to remain anonymous. it estimates that the incremental cost to comply with the new law is $10,000 to $15,000 annually per affected restaurant which across the entire sys be $50 million to $75 million a year. and in that company, this would wipe out one-third of that

Lamar Alexander

0:54:32 to 0:54:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: system's profits for the years, which means eliminating 10% of its stores, which means hundreds of restaurants and the potential elimination of 12,500 jobs. there was another example of a large franchise system with multiple casual dining restaurant concepts and projects. they estimated the average cost

Lamar Alexander

0:54:53 to 0:55:15( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: per restaurant in their system of the new health care law would be $237,000, which equates to a systemwide cost providing health insurance benefits to full-time employees of almost $806,000 a -- $806 million a year.

Lamar Alexander

0:55:16 to 0:55:37( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: if all this changed franchisee owners elected to pay the employers' penalty instead of providing insurance, the cost would be reduced, but to just over still $84,000 a restaurant or savings of $286 million systemwide. so to cope with the increased costs of the health care law, mr. president, the employers

Lamar Alexander

0:55:38 to 0:55:59( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: of -- who are owners -- and these are the largest employers in america, employ the most people in america except for the u.s. government, are seeing their costs go up, and as a result of that, there are fewer jobs for americans. republicans believe it would be better to reduce health care costs step by step so more

Lamar Alexander

0:56:00 to 0:56:21( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: people can afford to buy insurance, instead of expanding a system that costs too much and will continue to advocate that position. but the important thing to remember about the law, we have heard it said, well, it hurts medicare, it adds regulations, raises taxes, individual premiums are going up, but also it makes it harder and more

Lamar Alexander

0:56:22 to 0:56:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: difficult and more expensive to create private sector jobs at a time when our country should be dedicated to making it easier and cheaper to create private sector jobs. i thank the president and i

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