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Senate Proceeding on May 16th, 2011 :: 3:18:20 to 3:38:45
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Bill Nelson

3:18:18 to 3:18:40( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: quorum call: mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: i ask consent that the quorum c the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, the senate is expected to bill that would repeal

Bill Nelson

3:18:20 to 3:38:45( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson

3:18:41 to 3:19:01( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: $20 billion in outdated, antiquated tax breaks for the oil and gas companies. in many cases this tax break was created about a century ago and they have little, if anything, to do with modern job-creating

Bill Nelson

3:19:02 to 3:19:22( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: energy policy. mr. president, it's time for them to go. these oil and gas tax breaks, they are targeted in this bill that we're going to vote on, they are narrow, special

Bill Nelson

3:19:23 to 3:19:43( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: interest tax subsidies that distort the marketplace. it happens to pad the profits as a result of the tax breaks, and it does nothing to keep gas prices down. it simply doesn't make any sense

Bill Nelson

3:19:44 to 3:20:05( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: to me that we would continue to rely on oil and gas tax breaks that were originally written in 1916. these rules are truly vestiges of another era. and in some cases, rather than encouraging energy independence,

Bill Nelson

3:20:06 to 3:20:27( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: the tax breaks actually promote energy dependence on the opec oil-producing member states and other foreign countries that produce oil. for example, there's a part in it called "the dual capacity provision" and it allows major

Bill Nelson

3:20:28 to 3:20:49( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: oil companies to claim a foreign tax credit for royalties paid to foreign governments. now, the foreign tax credit was never intended to offset royalty payments. it was originally intended to offset foreign income tax payments.

Bill Nelson

3:20:50 to 3:21:12( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: so a company does business in a foreign country. they pay an income tax. the tax code was created so that you could offset for their american income tax and use as a business deduction that foreign

Bill Nelson

3:21:13 to 3:21:35( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: income tax payment. but what has happened is that the oil companies have twisted that and are claiming that that is like an income tax that they've paid to a foreign government. it isn't. it's a royalty payment. the tax code was never intended

Bill Nelson

3:21:36 to 3:22:00( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: for that and here is another loophole in our tax code that does nothing more than promote reliance and dependence on foreign oil. and, for that matter, foreign governments. now, that's exactly what we ought to be reversing, just from

Bill Nelson

3:22:01 to 3:22:21( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: a national security standpoint, not even to speak of the threat to our national economic condition because we are now importing 70% of our daily consumption of oil from foreign shores. in addition to repealing those kind of tax subsidies, we also need to close a loophole that

Bill Nelson

3:22:22 to 3:22:45( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: allows oil companies to claim a tax break for their own irresponsible actions. turns out that b.p. has figured out how to shift nearly a third of their cleanup and legal costs of the gulf of mexico oil spill

Bill Nelson

3:22:46 to 3:23:06( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: on to the backs of our american taxpayers. now, here's what they've done. they've come out with a projection of future income and profitability in a report that came out. they expect that they're going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 billion of payments that they're going to

Bill Nelson

3:23:07 to 3:23:27( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: make as a result of their irresponsible action of having this huge deep and water horizon micando oil well spill. part of that, of course, is payments to local governments. part of that is payments through the gulf claims facility fund. part of that's going to be a

Bill Nelson

3:23:28 to 3:23:53( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: hefty fine that's going to be imposed by the federal government. well, very cleverly they have gotten their tax lawyers together and they've figured out that what they can do is claim that as an expense, a deduction and save themselves

Bill Nelson

3:23:54 to 3:24:17( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: $11.8 billion in taxes. what b.p. is doing, is treating its cleanup and legal expense as an ordinary and necessary cost of doing business. these costs aren't ordinary business expenses and they should not be tax deductible.

Bill Nelson

3:24:18 to 3:24:39( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: and so when the five oil company c.e.o.'s were in front of our finance committee, i asked the c.e.o. of b.p., i said, "are you going to do this?" and he said, that's what the law allows. that's what we're going to do. and i said, well, what the law allows doesn't make it right.

Bill Nelson

3:24:40 to 3:25:00( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: i said, why don't you take a cue from the boeing company or from goldman sachs. for the expenses they incurred as a result of untoward activity, they voluntarily did not employ this part of the tax

Bill Nelson

3:25:01 to 3:25:23( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: code to use it as a business deduction and, therefore, to cut their taxes. and, of course, when a company like this cuts their taxes nearly $12 billion, guess who makes up the difference? the rest of us do, us american taxpayers. so i've filed a bill, mr. president, "the oil spill tax fairness act," and it aims

Bill Nelson

3:25:24 to 3:25:46( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: to reduce the deficit by billions of dollars by preventing oil companies from shifting the cost of oil spills on to our taxpayers. in the pas, congress has stepped in to prevent unconsequence tax deductions for expenses, such as civil and

Bill Nelson

3:25:47 to 3:26:07( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: criminal fines, bribes, lobbying expenditures, political contributions, excessive executive compensation. we've done that in the congress by passing laws to prevent those as tax deductions. well, we ought to step in and do it again.

Bill Nelson

3:26:08 to 3:26:29( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: b.p. i think anybody would say was irresponsible and negligent to the detriment of a whole lot of people and the company should not be able to claim tax savings for their missteps. and especially so -- this is just pouring salt on the wound -- while our people are

Bill Nelson

3:26:30 to 3:26:54( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: being squeezed at the pump every day because of the price of gasoline at the same time that in the first three months of this year, the first quarter, those five oil companies had $35 billion in profits.

Bill Nelson

3:26:55 to 3:27:16( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: i mean, how much more flagellation can the american taxpayer take? today's rising gas prices reflect more than just record profits for the oil companies. there's also rising demand in asia. it's clearly clear that our oil and energy markets are no longer

Bill Nelson

3:27:17 to 3:27:42( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: governed by just supply and demand. speculation, mr. president, is back with a vengeance. we saw the handiwork of speculators two years ago when the price of oil hit an all-time high of $147 a barrel only to

Bill Nelson

3:27:43 to 3:28:03( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: plummet 80% of that price just a few months later. that's not supply and demand. that's not the working of the economic market. that is in part caused by speculators running the price of oil up and then, because they

Bill Nelson

3:28:04 to 3:28:24( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: had to drop their positions on the commodities futures trading commission and the exchanges, they started dropping all of those futures contracts in oil. now speculators are using the

Bill Nelson

3:28:25 to 3:28:45( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: turmoil in the middle east and north africa as an excuse to drive the price of oil sky-. sky- -- price of oil sky-high. and it makes no sense that we continue to let these commodities exchanges self-regulate by setting their own margin ranges and other rules.

Bill Nelson

3:28:46 to 3:29:07( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: last year when we passed the dodd-frank wall street reform and consumer protection act, congress empowered that commission that i just mentioned, the cftc, the commodities futures trading commission, we empowered them under the new law to rein in

Bill Nelson

3:29:08 to 3:29:30( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: excessive speculation so that commodities markets don't fly off the rails. yet this same commission has yet to finalize new rules to impose speculative position limits which are the amount of money that you have to put down in

Bill Nelson

3:29:31 to 3:29:53( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: order to buy these oil futures contracts. there are a number of us who have been working for months in this senate to push the cftc to act. the law we passed was clear and it's time for the federal

Bill Nelson

3:29:54 to 3:30:16( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: regulators to follow through. mr. president, sadly i want to recall a little over a year ago something that a lot of us remember so vividly many people can't forget the i am images of the oil that was

Bill Nelson

3:30:17 to 3:30:39( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: gushing from 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf of mexico. in my public service for decades i've warned about the dangers of drilling out there in the gulf. it's now unbelievable that

Bill Nelson

3:30:40 to 3:31:02( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: almost a year after the gulf oil spill, and all of the environmental disaster that occurred as a result of this, folks are still now talking about being willing to risk the economy of the entire gulf coast again.

Bill Nelson

3:31:03 to 3:31:24( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: you remember that 11 people died because safety took a back seat to expediency and profit. and so last week the house passed three bills that would speed up oil production in a way that ignores serious safety concerns.

Bill Nelson

3:31:25 to 3:31:45( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: and now senator mcconnell has a similar proposal, and these bills would require the secretary of the interior to approve or deny drilling permits within a maximum of 60 days. and if the secretary doesn't take action within that time, a permit is deemed improved.

Bill Nelson

3:31:46 to 3:32:07( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: that's like saying, a home buyer, if they are not approved for financing within 60 days, they automatically get the financing regardless of their credit. or it's like saying, if a prisoner doesn't hear back from the parole board in two months, that prisoner is going to be automatically out on parole.

Bill Nelson

3:32:08 to 3:32:29( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: let me stop right here, mr. president, and ask my colleague, the great and distinguished senator from new hampshire, if i may be allowed by unanimous consent to continue and finish, and i think i can be done in about two or three minutes. i thank the senator from new

Bill Nelson

3:32:30 to 3:32:50( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: hampshire. well, it's simply irresponsible to deregulate an inherently dangerous activity in this manner. and it's a slap in the face to the commercial fishermen, the hoteliers and the small business owners on the gulf coast who, to

Bill Nelson

3:32:51 to 3:33:12( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: this day, have not been made whole. and yet these bills are out here. the house passed it. senator mcconnell's bill would roll back the department of interior's post-deepwater horizon revisions to offshore

Bill Nelson

3:33:13 to 3:33:33( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: leasing, revisions that came about because of what we learned from the oil spill. and senator mcconnell's bill seeks to limit the fundamental right of americans. and that's access to the courts. his bill would not allow

Bill Nelson

3:33:34 to 3:33:55( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: floridians, who want to file a civil lawsuit regarding any offshore energy projects in the gulf of mexico, to have a claim near their home in florida or their place of business in florida. instead, under his bill, they have to go to the fifth circuit. that's mississippi, louisiana,

Bill Nelson

3:33:56 to 3:34:17( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: and texas. now, why should people from florida have to file a claim there? why can't they go through the 11th circuit, which is the one for the state of florida and georgia? the fifth circuit certainly can't be the only circuit with

Bill Nelson

3:34:18 to 3:34:38( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: expertise on the subject of offshore energy. i believe we have a responsibility to protect access to the courts, and senator mcconnell's bill jeopardizes that for the people that do not have the luxury of going far off to another state. to bring a lawsuit. and so, meanwhile, the house has

Bill Nelson

3:34:39 to 3:34:59( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: passed a bill last week that seeks to open -- now it's getting personal -- they seek to open the eastern gulf of mexico off of florida, that which senator martinez and i have off

Bill Nelson

3:35:00 to 3:35:22( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: limits in law. for obvious reasons we have it off limits in law. it's the largest testing and training area for the united states military in the world. we have two letters from two successive secretaries of defense, including the present one, secretary gates, that says you can't have oil drilling and

Bill Nelson

3:35:23 to 3:35:44( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: related activiies. they use the word "it is incompatible with the military training and testing mission." that is the largest training and testing area for the u.s. military in the world. it's the gulf of mexico basically off of florida.

Bill Nelson

3:35:45 to 3:36:06( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: and, of course, you all have heard me over and over talk about all the dry holes. there's not much oil out there off of florida. the oil is where the lord intended the oil to be, and that was for years the sediments coming down the mississippi river and then being come pablghted compacted and then for

Bill Nelson

3:36:07 to 3:36:28( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: millions of years the compacting of the earth's crust has formed that oil. that's off primarily louisiana, some off of mississippi, some off of alabama and texas, not florida. so the proponents of these bills claim they are they'll lower gas prices. at the same time the oil and gas

Bill Nelson

3:36:29 to 3:36:49( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: companies are making millions of dollars. just look at their first quarter report. and we're giving big tax subsidies to the oil companies. mr. president, the price of oil dropped $17 last week. it was the largest weekly

Bill Nelson

3:36:50 to 3:37:11( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: decline in over two years. but you know what? i don't think the folks at the gas pump saw a commensurate drop. i think it's about time that we gave them some relief. and we're going to have a chance to do that. now, mr. president, i conclude

Bill Nelson

3:37:12 to 3:37:32( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: by saying that we're not fooling ourselves. to be able to get an individual bill like this for an individual tax break, however objectionable that tax rate is, it's going to be difficult to get 60 votes to break a filibuster.

Bill Nelson

3:37:33 to 3:37:56( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: but, mr. president, help son the way. -- help is on the way. there is a group called the gang of six. they are meeting, and they're trying to put together a package to solve our deficit crisis and to make real progress over the

Bill Nelson

3:37:57 to 3:38:18( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: next decade or so, as we move toward budget balance, a condition that we enjoyed as recent as 2001. not only a budget balance but a budget surplus. and so it is my hope that when

Bill Nelson

3:38:19 to 3:38:39( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: we get down to putting this package together of how we're going to lower the deficit, that people of good will will come together and recognize there are things in the tax code that have got to be changed to make them right. i have enumerated but a few here

Bill Nelson

3:38:40 to 3:38:46( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: today. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor and i look forward to the comments of the

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