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Senate Proceeding on May 4th, 2011 :: 6:29:20 to 7:12:55
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Tom Harkin

6:29:04 to 6:29:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: the senator from ask further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: i ask unanimous consent that samantha wessels, kelly morgan and my staff be granted floor privileges for the duration of

Tom Harkin

6:29:20 to 7:12:55( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

6:29:25 to 6:29:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: madam president, everyone in this body agrees that we must take aggressive action to reduce the deficit, but we have to do it right. frankly, the best way to bring down the deficit is to help 15 million unemployed americans get good middle-class jobs again.

Tom Harkin

6:29:46 to 6:30:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: those hardworking americans would be delighted to be on the tax rolls and to be taxpayers once again. but, regrettably, the tea party party budget passed by the house republicans last month takes us in the opposite direction. it would weaken our economy and destroy jobs.

Tom Harkin

6:30:09 to 6:30:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i have spoken previously on the senate floor about the grave flaws in the republican budget. but beyond the misguided priorities in this budget, i object to its premise. the premise of the tea party republican budget coming over from the house, the premise is that america is poor and broke

Tom Harkin

6:30:31 to 6:30:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and we can can no longer afford the investments that make possible a strong middle class and world class economy. indeed, some house republicans take the radical view that government has no business investing in the middle class, period. madam president, i emphatically reject the defeatest premise of

Tom Harkin

6:30:54 to 6:31:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this republican budget. the united states of america is a wealthy nation. the wealthiest nation in world history. the problem is how that wealth has been shared or not shared among the american people. with income inequality that is the highest among developed countries.

Tom Harkin

6:31:17 to 6:31:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: let me repeat that. right now income and equality in america is the highest among developed countries. and so the problem is how our wealth has been invested or misininvested. with trillions of dollars

Tom Harkin

6:31:38 to 6:31:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: squandered by manipulators on wall street or fu through -- through the top on tax cuts. the tea party budget offered by congressman ryan would make these problems far worse. it lavishes yet more tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy even as it slashes investments that under gird the middle class

Tom Harkin

6:31:59 to 6:32:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in this country. everything from education funding to medicare and medicaid. let me state the obvious, if working people and the middle class are going to take a hit in tough times, it shouldn't be to take a hit to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires -- and

Tom Harkin

6:32:20 to 6:32:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: billionaires. let's look at some of the particulars in this so-called deficit-reduction plan of the house republicans. for starters never before have i heard of a deficit reduction plan that begins by demanding trillions of dollars in new tax

Tom Harkin

6:32:41 to 6:33:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: cuts largely for corporations and the wealthy. in addition to allow the very wealthy to keep all of the benefits of the bush-era tax cuts and to keep them permanently, the republican budget would cut the top tax rate from 35% down to 25%. let's, again, state the obvious.

Tom Harkin

6:33:03 to 6:33:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this doesn't reduce the deficit. it digs the deficit the a hole much deeper. next, the republican budget dismantles medicare and medicaid. and lace the groundwork for deep cuts to social security. changes that will devastate the economic security of the middle class in this country.

Tom Harkin

6:33:25 to 6:33:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the republican budget says we cannot cut one additional dime from the pentagon budget because, i guess to them, there's no waste in the pentagon. there's no unnecessary weapon systems, no troops based in japan or europe or elsewhere that could be brought home. meanwhile this tea party republican budget slashes

Tom Harkin

6:33:47 to 6:34:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: federal investments in everything from education to infrastructure to law enforcement back to the levels of the 1920's. again, let me repeat that. it slashes federal investments and everything from in everything from education to infrastructure to law enforcement back to the levels

Tom Harkin

6:34:10 to 6:34:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: of the 1920's. it also repeals wall street reform that we passed here as well as a consumer -- the consumer protections in the affordable care act including the ban on denying coverage for preexisting conditions. what's that got to with the deficit? their budget cuts funding for

Tom Harkin

6:34:32 to 6:34:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: food safety, workplace safety, environmental protection, gutt of corporate america. it tells wall street bankers and speculators, health insurance companies, credit card companies an mortgage lenders you're free to go back to the reckless abuses of the past, we'll just

Tom Harkin

6:34:53 to 6:35:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: trust to you do what's right for the american people. to appreciate just how extreme and idealogical this budget is, look more closely at its blueprint for replacing medicare with a voucher system. budget office estimates that by

Tom Harkin

6:35:14 to 6:35:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: 2030 future seniors would have to pay two-thirds of the cost of their private health insurance. their out-of-pocket costs would average in excess of $12,000 per person per year. more than double -- more than double the current cost to seniors.

Tom Harkin

6:35:35 to 6:35:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: yet, this would pay for private plans that would provide only half of current medicare coverage. how many seniors can afford to pay $12,000 annually out-of-pocket for health insurance that only gives them half of the coverage they have right now for medicare? and good luck finding affordable

Tom Harkin

6:35:58 to 6:36:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: coverage if you're a 70-year-old with a preexisting condition such as heart disease. good luck fighting endless battles with your private health insurance company over that one. madam president, does this tea party republican budget reflect our values and priority as americans? is this the kind of country we

Tom Harkin

6:36:19 to 6:36:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: want to live? the kind of country we want to pass on to our children? of course not. americans don't want or expect a handup, but they rightfully expect a government that lends a helping hand. not one that stands in their way. not one that destroys the essence of the middle class.

Tom Harkin

6:36:40 to 6:37:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they want -- the american people want a government that helps them to achieve retirement security, a government that makes sure that when we put money away for retirement it's going to be there when we retire. the american people want to maintain strong investments in education an infrastructure --

Tom Harkin

6:37:01 to 6:37:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and infrastructure to reduce deficits the american people want shared sacrifice. including an increase in revenues from those who can most afford it. they want an end to taxpayers' subsidies to oil and gas companies and they want to cut pentagon spending. yet, the republican budget does

Tom Harkin

6:37:22 to 6:37:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: exactly the opposite in every single respect. madam president, make no mistake, this tea party republican budget puts us on a course of disinvestment, drift, and decline. disinvestment, drift, and decline.

Tom Harkin

6:37:43 to 6:38:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this budget wreaks of pessimism and gloom and doom. as said, its defeatest president de -- premise thatit is broke. we can no longer care for our -- prepare our young or care for our elderly.

Tom Harkin

6:38:06 to 6:38:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: yet, bizarrely, republicans insist that we can absolutely afford another enormous tax cut for millionaires and billionaires. madam president, i totally reject this premise. i reject this defeatest ryan budget. the premise that america is poor and broke.

Tom Harkin

6:38:27 to 6:38:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: here is the truth, the united states is recovering from the largest economic downturn since the great depression. and from the damage caused by very unwise budget decisions made over the last decade. and we're growing wealthier by the day.

Tom Harkin

6:38:50 to 6:39:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: our economy, our technology, universities, arts, are the envy of the world. americans are still the best educated and most productive people on earth. most importantly, americans continue to be an optimistic can-to people. we have faced national trauma including depressions and wars

Tom Harkin

6:39:12 to 6:39:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and national -- natural disasters many times before and we have always rebounded stronger and better than ever. we can overcome our current challenges without s our great middle class. and without abandoning -- abandoning our seniors and people with disabilities and the less fortunate among us.

Tom Harkin

6:39:33 to 6:39:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: madam president, there's one important point of agreement on both sides of the aisle here in the senate, we agree the current budget deficits are unacceptable the we must bring these deficits under control. however, deficits are by no means our only urgent economic challenge. an even greater challenge --

Tom Harkin

6:39:54 to 6:40:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: greater challenge is our fragile economy and the jobs crisis. and addressing this successfully will help reduce the deficit. now, the unofficial unemployment rate is 8.8%. but the real unemployment rate, including people who are underemployed, who have dropped

Tom Harkin

6:40:15 to 6:40:35( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: out of the job market in frustration and are no longer working is staggering 16%. meanwhile our middle class is under siege. our middle class is being dismantled as fast as big corporations can shift our manufacturing jobs overseas. people are losing their savings,

Tom Harkin

6:40:36 to 6:40:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: their health care, losing their pensions. in many cases losing even their homes. with good reason american people feel they are losing the american dream for themselves and for their children. that's why we cannot look at the deficit reduction challenge in isolation. we cannot just take a slash and

Tom Harkin

6:41:00 to 6:41:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: burn approach to the budget. smart countries do not just turn a chainsaw on themselves. instead of this tea party republican budget, which is being sold through fear and fatalism, we need a budget that reflects hope and the aspirations of the american people. we need a budget that brings

Tom Harkin

6:41:22 to 6:41:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: deficits under control in a way that allows us to continue investment that's boost competitiveness, create jobs and strengthen the middle class. and i would add this, we need a deficit reduction plan that actually attacks the sources of our current deficits.

Tom Harkin

6:41:44 to 6:42:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: now, what are those sources? well, a remarkable article on the front page of sunday's may 1st, "washington post" by lori montgomery, documented clearly how the huge budgets of the clinton years were turned into the $1 trillion budget deficit that george w. bush passed on to

Tom Harkin

6:42:05 to 6:42:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: president obama. as the article states -- quote -- "voices of caution were swept aside. political leaders chose to cut taxes, jack up spending, and for the first time in u.s. history, wage two wars solely with barod

Tom Harkin

6:42:26 to 6:42:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: bundz -- barod funds." the article cites a new analysis by the congressional budget office which determined that -- quote -- "routine increases in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15% of the financial deterioration. the biggest culprit by far has

Tom Harkin

6:42:47 to 6:43:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. the article notes that federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years. in 60 years.

Tom Harkin

6:43:11 to 6:43:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: madam president, our legislation passed since 2001 when george w. bush became president, about half of the negative impact on deficits came from reductions in revenue and nearly a quarter came from increases in defense spending. one half. one half came from reductions in revenue. i'm talking about now what's the sources?

Tom Harkin

6:43:33 to 6:43:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: what are the sources of the deficit hole we're in? well, if in 2001 we had huge surpluses and c.b.o. said if we maintain the same budget policies that by 2010 we've paid off the entire national debt, but that was 2001 and 10 years

Tom Harkin

6:43:56 to 6:44:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: later in 2011 we have a $1.4 trillion deficit, what happened? what decisions were made in those 10 years that put us in that hole? as i said, the article by lori montgomery in "the washington post" 30 points out of the congressional budget office clearly points out half -- half of the hole we're in came from reductions in revenue. a quarter came from increases in

Tom Harkin

6:44:17 to 6:44:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: defense spending. and a quarter from everything else. as a c.b.o. analysis makes clear, we do not just have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem. the main source of our current deficit problem is not the modest increase in domestic spending, beyond the one-time

Tom Harkin

6:44:38 to 6:45:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: spending in the recovery act, which is rapidly coming to an end. the principal source of our deficits are the deep tax cuts and the surging pentagon budget. 75% of our current problems. yet, now the tea party republican budget calls for

Tom Harkin

6:45:01 to 6:45:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: trillions of dollars, and yet more new tax cuts, largely for those at the top. it refuses to cut pentagon spending in any significant way. it places almost the entire burden of deficit reduction on programs that support the middle class, seniors, people with disabilities and those of low income.

Tom Harkin

6:45:22 to 6:45:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so americans are rightfully asking some commonsense questions. if a principal source of our deficit problem has been deep tax cuts, largely benefiting those at the top, shouldn't a big part of our deficit reduction plan include allowing

Tom Harkin

6:45:44 to 6:46:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: those unaffordable tax cuts to expire? and if ongoing domestic spending increases are only a minor source of our deficit problem, why does this republican budget take a slash-and-burn approach to these programs which are so important to the middle class and working americans?

Tom Harkin

6:46:06 to 6:46:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the answer, of course, is that the tea party republican budget is not principally a deficit reduction plan. it is an ideological manifesto that encompasses the entire tea party wish list. everything from more tax breaks for the rich to dismantling

Tom Harkin

6:46:29 to 6:46:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: medicare and medicaid. madam president, i have a simple test for judging any budget plan. what does that plan do to give hope and opportunity to middle-class americans who have been hardest hit by the economic downturn? to speak in terms specific to my state of iowa, what does it do

Tom Harkin

6:46:50 to 6:47:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: for webster city? webster city is a community like thousands of others across the united states. it's a town where middle-class families work hard, play by the rules, sacrifice for their children. it's also a town where our decent, middle-class way of life is threatened. recently in webster city, iowa,

Tom Harkin

6:47:15 to 6:47:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the electrolux plant which has been in the town forral -- for 80 years closed its doors. production was moved to juarez, mexico. 500 iowans lost their well-paying, middle-class jobs. this most recent factory closing comes on the heels of 222 plant

Tom Harkin

6:47:40 to 6:48:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: closings just in iowa last year. destroying nearly 12,000 well-paying middle-class jobs. as we all know, each of these plant closures reverberated on main street, with many local stores and restaurants falling on hard times or going out of business themselves. let's be clear.

Tom Harkin

6:48:02 to 6:48:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the wrong kind of budget plan, one that indiscriminately slashes funding for education and job training, infrastructure and research, will deepen the plight of webster city and similar communities across america. indeed, by accelerating the erosion of the middle class in this country, such a plan will

Tom Harkin

6:48:24 to 6:48:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: make our fiscal situation even worse. there can be no sustainable economic recovery in the united states without the recovery of the middle class. there can be no sustainable solution to our budget challenges without a strong middle class, a middle class that's getting its fair share of rising national income.

Tom Harkin

6:48:46 to 6:49:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: as i said earlier, we are growing wealthier by the day in america. we are the wealthiest country in world history, and we're going wealthier by the day, but what we want to make sure is that the middle class will get its fair share of that rising national income. so again, i think the test of a

Tom Harkin

6:49:09 to 6:49:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: budget plan is this: will it strengthen the middle class in america, will it require shared sacrifice with the promise of shared prosperity in the long run? mr. president, madam president, i have applied this test to the tea party republican budget and it comes up woefully short. this tea party republican budget cuts the top tax rate for

Tom Harkin

6:49:30 to 6:49:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: millionaires and billionaires from 35% down to 25%. how will that help laid-off workers in webster city? the republican budget dismantles medicare, replacing it with an absurdly inadequate voucher system. will that strengthen the

Tom Harkin

6:49:52 to 6:50:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: retirement security of seniors? in webster city? this budget of the republican tea party people guts medicaid. will that improve the lives of seniors and people with disabilities who depend on medicare to pay for nursing home care and home health care assistance? the tea party republican budget

Tom Harkin

6:50:13 to 6:50:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: slashes funding for pell grants. will that improve the prospect for kids in webster city who want to go to college, whose parents are now unemployed and without resources? the tea party republican budget makes draconian cuts to funding for everything from food safety to law enforcement to environmental protection. how will that improve the

Tom Harkin

6:50:35 to 6:50:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: quality of life in webster city and communities across america? madam president, we know the answer to these questions. the bottom line is that the republican budget offers more pain and no gain to the people of webster city. instead of increasing economic opportunity, it sends a message

Tom Harkin

6:50:57 to 6:51:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: of surrender and defeat. indeed, let's speak the plain truth. with this tea party budget, republicans have taken their class warfare to a new level. they have launched an unprecedented assault on middle class and working americans. their message to struggling folks in webster city and

Tom Harkin

6:51:18 to 6:51:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: communities like it across america is brutally clear. tough luck. i've got mine. you're on your own. this republican tea party budget would drive down our standard of living, shred the economic safety net, reduce access to health care and higher education and do grave damage to our public schools' ability to

Tom Harkin

6:51:40 to 6:52:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: prepare our kids for the jobs of the future. we can and must do better. i have come to the floor today to propose an alternative approach to the federal budget, a balanced approach that will discipline the federal budget and bring deficits under control, while continuing to make critical investments in a stronger america. and best of all, we know this

Tom Harkin

6:52:03 to 6:52:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: approach can work, because it is consciously modeled on the successful budget policies of the 1990's. under president clinton's leadership, congress passed a bold economic plan that combined tough-minded spending cuts with smart investments and, yes, revenue increases.

Tom Harkin

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

Tom Harkin: this created large budget surpluses, put us on a track to completely eliminate the national debt within a decade. it created a brief era of shared prosperity for the middle class, with 22 million new jobs and 116 consecutive months of economic expansion, the longest in american history.

Tom Harkin

6:52:45 to 6:53:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so i say to the people across america, we can do this again. the key to renewing america and restoring our economy is to revitalize the middle class. this means reducing deficits while continuing to invest in education, innovation and infrastructure. boosting american competitiveness.

Tom Harkin

6:53:06 to 6:53:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and it means restoring a level playing field with fair taxation and empowered work force and a strong ladder of opportunity to give every american access to the middle class. we have the resources, both financial and human, to do these things. i repeat what i said earlier. the central falsehood in the tea

Tom Harkin

6:53:27 to 6:53:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: party republican budget is its assumption that america is poor and broke. it's an assumption that we can no longer afford to invest in a prosperous and secure middle class. again, i say emphatically, we are not poor and we are not broke. we have the highest per capita income of any major company.

Tom Harkin

6:53:49 to 6:54:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: as i said earlier, the problem is how our wealth is distributed, how it's managed and how it's been invested -- or should i say misinvested. income inequality in the united states has reached levels not seen since immediately before the great depression. middle-class americans are

Tom Harkin

6:54:10 to 6:54:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: working harder than ever, but they're falling behind. real average incomes haven't gone up since 1979. more than three decades ago. let me repeat that. average real incomes haven't

Tom Harkin

6:54:31 to 6:54:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: gone up since 1979, more than three decades ago. in fact, over the last decade, the average income of working americans has actually declined, while those in the top 10% of income earners and wealth in america, their incomes and their

Tom Harkin

6:54:53 to 6:55:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: wealth has soared to new levels. vast wealth because of tax breaks and other government preferences has flowed to millionaires and money manipulators who pay a tax rate that is lower than that paid by their chauffeurs and their secretaries. in 2007, the top 25 hedge fund

Tom Harkin

6:55:14 to 6:55:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: managers took home an average income of $892 million. yes, you heard that right. $892 million each average income for one year. over the last decade, the average income of the top 1% in america increased by an average

Tom Harkin

6:55:37 to 6:55:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: of more than a quarter million dollars a year. again, let me repeat. and the top 1% of income earners in america, their income increased by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars a year for ten years. i ask who in their right mind believes that these people need

Tom Harkin

6:55:59 to 6:56:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: another giant tax madam president, people don't hate the rich. to the contrary, most americans aspire to do well and to achieve financial independence. that's a big part of the american dream. but americans do resent it when the wealthy and powerful

Tom Harkin

6:56:20 to 6:56:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: manipulate the political system to reap huge advantages at the expense of the working people and the middle class. ordinary people think the game is rigged and unfair, and you know what? they're right. yet this tea party republican budget says to middle-class americans again, hey, tough luck, i've got mine, you're on

Tom Harkin

6:56:41 to 6:57:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: your own. your retirement security is expendable. your access to health care and college is expendable. your desire for quality public schools is expendable. your quest for a modernized transportation syste expendable. all of these things, according

Tom Harkin

6:57:02 to 6:57:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to the republican budget, are expendable in order to create a tax code even more favorable to the rich and the powerful and the privileged. madam president, this is deeply wrong. the middle class is the backbone of this country, and it's time our leaders showed the backbone to defend it. we need an alternative, a budget

Tom Harkin

6:57:24 to 6:57:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that invests in education and opportunity for all americans, a budget that invests in the retirement security of the middle class, and yes a budget that does not abandon the less fortunate among us, including seniors and people with disabilities. as we saw in the 1990's, do these things at the same time

Tom Harkin

6:57:46 to 6:58:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that we are bringing deficits under control. this will require smart, prudent reductions in spending, and it will require reform of the tax code to make it fairer and more equitable, a tax code that asks more from those at the top whose incomes have skyrocketed in

Tom Harkin

6:58:07 to 6:58:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: recent decades. let me speak first about spending cuts. i hope i have set an example with my own appropriation subcommittee, subcommittee on labor, health, human services and education of the appropriations committee. the fiscal year 2011 spending bill that was enacted last month cuts spending in these areas by almost $6 billion and eliminates

Tom Harkin

6:58:30 to 6:58:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: dozens of individual programs. i also serve on the appropriations subcommittee on defense. of course, i believe we can make major spending cuts without harming our national security. i agree with secretary gates who has urged us to terminate the additional c-17 cargo planes and a new amphibious fighting vehicle.

Tom Harkin

6:58:52 to 6:59:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i would also save $12 billion by terminating the b-22 osprey which even dick cheney labeled a turkey and tried to cancel. i would also save around $80 billion over the next decade by reducing the number of active duty u.s. personnel stationed in europe and japan. most importantly, it's time to

Tom Harkin

6:59:13 to 6:59:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: save hundreds of billions of dollars by speeding up the return of our troops from iraq and afghanistan. it costs an estimated $1 million a year to deploy and support each soldier deployed in those wars. that is an extravagance we can do without. we can also make cuts close to home.

Tom Harkin

6:59:34 to 6:59:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i represent a farm state and i have a strong record of supporting a true farm income safety net. however, in this time of strong commodity prices, record lels of net farm income -- record levels of net farm income, the usda is still paying out nearly $5 billion a year in direct

Tom Harkin

6:59:55 to 7:00:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: payments to farmers. having no relationship to farm income or commodity prices or to what they're even planting. no question, we can save some money here while still making sure farmers have a good, solid income safety net protection system. we also must find additional deficit reduction in the area of

Tom Harkin

7:00:16 to 7:00:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: health care. once again, the tea party republican budget flunks the test. it doesn't reduce spending on health care. it just shifts costs. it shifts the cost to seniors and others by making them pay most of the bills themselves. by contrast, the new health reform law, the new health reform law actually cuts health

Tom Harkin

7:00:39 to 7:01:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: care costs. again, according to c.b.o., it reduces the deficit by hundreds of billions in the first decade and by more than $1 trillion. the health reform bill cuts the deficit by more than $1 trillion in the second decade while preserving and strengthening medicare, not just dumping it on the backs of seniors.

Tom Harkin

7:01:01 to 7:01:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it does so by rewarding health care providers for the quality of care, not the quantity t does so by placing a sharp, new emphasis on wellness and prevention, keeping people out of the hospital in the first place. and it does so by creating an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers to examine patient

Tom Harkin

7:01:22 to 7:01:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: data and recommend the best ways to reduce wasteful spending and ineffective procedures while preserving the quality of care. we can and must build 0 on the health care savings in the affordable care act. but my friends on the other side of the aisle want to repeal the health reform act. but they don't say where they're

Tom Harkin

7:01:43 to 7:02:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: going to get the known make up the $1 trillion hole that we'll blow in the budget in the next decade. madam president, the enormously successful deficit reduction

Tom Harkin

7:02:04 to 7:02:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: campaign of the 1990's insisted on a balanced approach: spending cuts and refer use in increases. revenue increases were concentrated on the most affluent americans, those who could most easily afford it, and who benefited the most from the strong economy and the stock market that followed.

Tom Harkin

7:02:25 to 7:02:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this must be our template as we raise necessar necessary revenues. by all means, we must allow the bush era tax breaks to expire immediately. to put it bluntly, they don't need it, and we can't afford it. the fact is, high-income americans did extremely well in the 1990's under the higher

Tom Harkin

7:02:47 to 7:03:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: rates of the clinton years, and they will continue to do very well in the future. while contributing their fair share to bringing deficits under control. i also strongly agree with president obama's proposal to limit itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2% of americans, a regorm that would reduce the

Tom Harkin

7:03:12 to 7:03:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: deficit by 320 over t $320 billion over ten years. we need to cancel the gimmicks, those that allow hedge funds managers to pay taxes at just a 15% rate on part of their bonuses, a far lower rate than middle-class americans pay. as i said earlier, in one recent

Tom Harkin

7:03:33 to 7:03:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: year the top 25 hedge fund managers took over $892 million each. let's tax this income the same way we tax the income of teachers and truck drivers. in addition, i strongly favor a modest speculation tax on certain types of financial transactions.

Tom Harkin

7:03:55 to 7:04:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: a .25% tax -- that's one quarter of 1% tax -- on each stock transaction and a similar tax on options, futures, and swap transactions in order to minimize the impact on ordinary american investors. this would exclude tax benefit pension accounts such as 401(k)'s and ira's and defined

Tom Harkin

7:04:17 to 7:04:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: benefit plans. now, some might say, well, this sound -- this sound kind of pie in the sky. well, mr. president, great britain currently levies a tax on stock transactions that's twice as high as what i'm proposing, twice as high as what i'm proposing.

Tom Harkin

7:04:38 to 7:04:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and there's no question that wall street can easily bear this modest tax. john vogel, the legendary founder of the van guard group has long advocated a speculation tax in order to -- quote -- "slow the rampant speculation that has created such havoc in our financial markets." we also should be working to

Tom Harkin

7:05:00 to 7:05:20( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: eliminate the tax provisions which promote the shifting of jobs to other countries. the president's budget proposes the elimination of over $100 billion in international tax breaks in this area. mr. president, a prudent but aggressive mix of spending reductions and tax increases

Tom Harkin

7:05:21 to 7:05:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: combined with economic growth and the entdz of the war in iraq and afghanistan will bring the federal deficits under control. this will restore the fiscal discipline that was squandered in the years after president clinton left office. best of all, this restored fiscal foundation will allow us to continue making critical investments in transportation

Tom Harkin

7:05:42 to 7:06:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and infrastructure, education and energy, investments that will put americans back to work, strengthen our global competitiveness and prepare our workforce for the future. and make no mistake, we have no time to waste. while the united states has been descractdistracted and weakened by foolish wars and speculative bucialtion our competitors have

Tom Harkin

7:06:05 to 7:06:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: been charging ahead. we have lost major ground to china and to other rapidly growing economies, including brazil and south korea. we are playing catch-up and the stakes are enormous. across america, roads are crumbling, bridges are collapsing, our formerly world-class interstate highway system is increasingly

Tom Harkin

7:06:28 to 7:06:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: overwhelmed, mass transit systems, including washington's once-proud metro system, have fallening into disrepair. we have a backlog of $1 trillion in school construction and modernization. in infrastructure, we currently invest less than one-third of what western europe does as a

Tom Harkin

7:06:50 to 7:07:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: percentage of g.d.p. china has tripled its investment in education and is building hundreds of new colleges and universities at a time that we're slashing school budgets and laying off teachers. the tea party republican budget makes thinvestment gap far worse. it proposes to cut fund for

Tom Harkin

7:07:12 to 7:07:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: transportation by 25% and for education by 25%, and in future years would cut those investments even more deeply. congressman ryan has the audacity to tell us that this is -- quote -- "a path to prosperity." common sense tells us it is a

Tom Harkin

7:07:34 to 7:07:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: bridge to nowhere. mr. president, these statistics are not abstractions. investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation directly translight into more and better jobs, higher incomes, stronger economic growth. that's why we need to get america moving again. for starters, we need a massive new commitment to infrastructure expansion and modernization.

Tom Harkin

7:07:55 to 7:08:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: truly a marshall plan for america. the first step is to adopt a solid six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that will allow us to modernize our transportation system. we also need robust, new investments in clean, renewable, domestically produced energy. this will lower our energy costs

Tom Harkin

7:08:17 to 7:08:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in the long term and will reduce our dependence on some of the most unstable countries in the world. early in the 20th century, we provided the emerging oil industry with subsidies to accelerate its growth. today we must provide similar policies to accelerate america's transition to a clean energy

Tom Harkin

7:08:39 to 7:09:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: economy, including long-term tax credits for renewable energy generation and for infrastructure investments for biofuels, as we will as smart grid technologies to enable broader renewable energy use. the goal should be 25% of our energy from renewable resources by 2025.

Tom Harkin

7:09:01 to 7:09:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in the field of education, we need major new investments. this begins with federal support for universal preschool education to ensure that every child is ready to learn and succeed in school. it means an ambitious reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act -- bill that closes the gap between

Tom Harkin

7:09:24 to 7:09:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: world-class schools and affluent suburbs and struggling schools in poor, urban, and rural communities. it means providing resources to ensure that the goal of graduating students who are college and career-ready aplies equally to students with disabilities. mr. president, this closing, in my remarks today i have offered

Tom Harkin

7:09:46 to 7:10:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: not just an alternative approach to bringing deficits under control but an alternative vision of the role of the federal government. going back to the 1930's, the american people have supported and strengthened an unwritten social contract. this social contract says that we will prepare our young and care for our elderly.

Tom Harkin

7:10:08 to 7:10:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that social contract sthais if you work hard plaindz by the rules, you'll be ail to rise to the middle class or even beyond. that social contract says that a cardinal role of government is to provide a ladder of opportunity so that every american can realistically aspire to the american dream. mr. president, in one fell

Tom Harkin

7:10:30 to 7:10:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: swoop, this tea party republican budget rips up that social contract. it replaces it with a winner-take-all philosophy that, again, tells struggling aspiring people in communities across america, i've got mine,es you're on your own. mr. president, as i said at the outset, the republican budget is president obamaed on the idea

Tom Harkin

7:10:53 to 7:11:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that america's -- is premised on the idea that our best days are behind us, that we have no choice but to slash investment required to keep our middle-class strong. i totally disagree. america remains a tremendously wealthy and resourceful nation. we are an optimistic, forward-looking people, who are purposeful and can-do.

Tom Harkin

7:11:14 to 7:11:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and we expect our government to be on our side, the side of the middle class. we expect it to be an instrument of national greatness and purpose, allowing us to come together to achieve the big things that we cannot achieve as individuals, things like building an interstate highway

Tom Harkin

7:11:35 to 7:11:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: system, mapping the human genome, and one day discovering a cure for cancer. through our government, we come together to provide a ladder of opportunity to give every citizen a shot at the american dream, a ladder of opportunity that includes quality public schools and universities, pell grants, the g.i. bill, job training.

Tom Harkin

7:11:56 to 7:12:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: through ash government, we come together to ensure that our citizens have a secure retirement with guaranteed access to health care and to ensure that the less fortunate among us are not abandoned in the shod dose of life -- in the shadows of life. i am convinced that the great majority of americans share this

Tom Harkin

7:12:17 to 7:12:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: positive, can-do vision. we refuse to be dragged backward into a winnerrer-take-all society where the privileged and the powerful seize even a greater share of the wealth as the middle class struggles and declines. americans are a tough and resilient and optimistic people. we can and will work together to

Tom Harkin

7:12:39 to 7:12:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: meet the great challenges of our day. we can and will -- indeed, we must -- restore the middle class as the backbone of a stronger, rich,and fairer america.

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