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Senate Proceeding 05-17-11 on May 17th, 2011 :: 1:50:45 to 2:01:50
Total video length: 5 hours 16 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Claire McCaskill

1:50:42 to 1:51:02( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: quorum call: mrs. mccaskill: madam president, i rise to support the legislation that is going to be voted on in just a few hours, and i have listened to the last couple of speakers. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mrs. mccaskill: i ask that the quorum call be set aside. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. mccaskill: i've listened to the last couple of speakers, and while i certainly respect senator coburn's commitment to

Claire McCaskill

1:50:45 to 2:01:50( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill

1:51:03 to 1:51:23( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: fiscal responsibility and he and i have worked together on a number of projects in that regard and have the same view of many of the spending habits around here, i've got to say i'm a little confused by the opposition to this legislation by my friends across the aisle. you know, we have two ways to spend money around here.

Claire McCaskill

1:51:24 to 1:51:45( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: one is through the appropriations process. the other is what i call tax goodies. and what these goodies are, they're called tax expenditures. what these do is they basically say to whatever group has successfully lobbied for them you're not going to have to pay all your taxes.

Claire McCaskill

1:51:46 to 1:52:06( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: so there's two ways that we deny the treasury money. one is by spending money. the other is by telling people you don't have to pay the money that the tax code says you owe. and -- and we put into the tax code special deals. now, many of the special deals are done because the case is made that they spur economic

Claire McCaskill

1:52:07 to 1:52:27( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: development or they spur some kind of activity in our country that we think is desirable. a good example is the interest deduction on people's homes. the notion is that we want to encourage people to buy homes so that we allow them to deduct the interest they pay on those home loans against their income tax. charitable deductions are

Claire McCaskill

1:52:28 to 1:52:49( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: another good example. we want people to give to charity, so we say you know what? you don't have to pay as much in taxes if you give to charity. the real estate sector is full of tax goodies for development of real estate and the creation of jobs that goes with the development of real estate. one of the big tax expenditures we have in our tax code are

Claire McCaskill

1:52:50 to 1:53:11( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: goodies for big oil. and that's really what this is about. now, can we get to where we need to be on our structural debt and our annual deficit without touching the tax code? no way. no way.

Claire McCaskill

1:53:12 to 1:53:33( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: are we going to have to look at revenues for multimillionaires? i think we are. are we obviously going to have to look at spending? of course we are. and aren't we going to have to look at the tax goodies? well, i would sure hope so because, frankly, as some of my colleagues across the aisle have said -- and i thought they agreed with us -- that cleaning

Claire McCaskill

1:53:34 to 1:53:54( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: out some of those goodies could potentially lower taxes for everyone. so where do we start with the goodies that are in the tax code? might we not start with the most profitable companies in the history of the planet? do they really need this extra money that we give them by telling them they don't have to

Claire McCaskill

1:53:55 to 1:54:15( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: pay the taxes that other companies have to pay? how many quarters will we have where we read the headlines record-breaking profits for big oil?

Claire McCaskill

1:54:16 to 1:54:37( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: how many times will we read that before we are willing to take the baby step, just the baby step of saying, you know, maybe these tax goodies for big oil are not a good idea in light of our deficit and our debt. maybe this is a good place to start. they made north of $35 billion in the last three months. now, i know that there are all kinds of things that are being

Claire McCaskill

1:54:38 to 1:55:02( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: put out there to kind of height behind as we cast this vote, because this is a tough vote, i think, for people who vote no. how do you explain to your constituents that are struggling around their kitchen table to figure out how they can afford to drive their kids to soccer practice, how do you explain to them that we think that instead

Claire McCaskill

1:55:03 to 1:55:23( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: of $125 billion -- instead of of $123 billion of profit big oil is going to make this year, they need to make $125 billion? that's what this is. instead of making $125 billion, north of $125 billion of profit this year, big oil is going to have to really suffer along with

Claire McCaskill

1:55:24 to 1:55:44( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: only $123 billion in profit. and that $2 billion that we want to take back from them is going to go towards the deficit. how do you explain that to people around their kitchen table? now, oh, this means it's going to -- the cost of fuel is going to go up. everyone has debunked that. really? the cost of fuel has gone up

Claire McCaskill

1:55:45 to 1:56:05( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: just fine and they've got all those subsidies. i remember when oil was $55 a barrel and they had all those subsidies. and by the way, all these subsidies didn't help them go out and do what they needed to do to keep the price of fuel down. and by the way, just today, a letter was sent to the f.t.c. by myself and other members of the senate saying what about this

Claire McCaskill

1:56:06 to 1:56:26( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: refinery process? you know, talk about economic ill literacy. maybe who -- illiteracy. anybody who believes the oil companies today are making a profit of 7 cents on a gallon has no idea what's going on with refineries now. a year ago at this time, refineries were operating at a

Claire McCaskill

1:56:27 to 1:56:47( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: capacity of close to 90%. today, they are only operating at 80%. now, why would that be? their profit per gallon of gas, just the refineries, has gone from less than 40 cents a gallon to 80 cents a gallon in a matter

Claire McCaskill

1:56:48 to 1:57:09( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: of a few months. 80 cents a gallon of refinery profit. many of these refineries were owned by the big five, the big five big oil. so why is that capacity down? is it because they don't have crude to go through the refining process? no, there's plenty of crude. and how about this?

Claire McCaskill

1:57:10 to 1:57:30( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: we are giving these big oil companies tax goodies, and what are they doing today? they're exporting a record amount of oil and fuel from the united states, exporting. they're sending it to south

Claire McCaskill

1:57:31 to 1:57:51( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: america, in mexico. so while my constituents are suffering mightily at the gas pump week after week after week, these guys are sending the oil they've produced with our tax goodies to another country, instead of putting that additional supply into our

Claire McCaskill

1:57:52 to 1:58:12( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: supply chain which, in turn, reduces the price.?? the more supply, the less the price. so, one, they have put back refining capacity. two, they're exporting more, and they want to say it's about drilling, really? we have got more rigs drilling right now in this country than we have in many, many, many

Claire McCaskill

1:58:13 to 1:58:34( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: years. we have production higher at this point, domestic production higher than it was at the end of the bush administration. we just issued 12 new deepwater permits in the last few months. there are all kinds of leases out there that are not being explored.

Claire McCaskill

1:58:35 to 1:58:55( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: meanwhile, cha-ching, these big oil companies are continuing to make profits that just make your jaw drop. so honestly, half seriously, you talk about economic illiteracy. i'll tell you what economic illiteracy is. it is thinking that these companies -- what about the fee market i always hear about from the other side of the aisle? what about that free market?

Claire McCaskill

1:58:56 to 1:59:16( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: why do they need our tax goodies to help them if this is truly a free market? and maybe they're right. maybe we shouldn't pick on big oil. but what a great place to start. frankly, if we can't take these things away from the most profitable companies in the history of the planet, how are

Claire McCaskill

1:59:17 to 1:59:39( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: we ever going to take them away from the mohair industry or how are we ever going to do what we need to do with the tax code in the real estate sector or any of the other goodies that we have larded up our tax code with to make it so complicated and so long that frankly the people that get the most advantages out of it are the families who can't

Claire McCaskill

1:59:40 to 2:00:00( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: afford to hire accountants and tax lawyers? meanwhile, the real tax rate for most americans is much higher than the real tax rate for most multinational corporations. so, i think economic ill literacy is talking a lot about the debt and deficit and not

Claire McCaskill

2:00:01 to 2:00:21( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: being willing to take this baby step to take back $2 billion a year that these companies get, that they don't need and they're not using to hold down the price of gas. i mean, when i realized how cynical this whole process had become is when today i got a question from a reporter that said, well, the oil companies say that most of these profits

Claire McCaskill

2:00:22 to 2:00:44( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: are going to these pension companies. give me a break. you know, really -- really? these guys want to talk about free market and how this is all about the bottom line and then they want to try to hide behind the fact that some of the pension funds have stock in their companies that somehow that justifies them feeding at the public trough?

Claire McCaskill

2:00:45 to 2:01:08( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: talk about greed ... talk about greed. so, i think this legislation is a real litmus test, because if we can't do this, then i question what we can do to right this ship that is all about the footprint of the federal government, how much money we're

Claire McCaskill

2:01:09 to 2:01:29( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: spending, and how many tax spend -- tax expenditures are out there. anybody that tells you this is about raising their taxes, no. this is about saying to them that you have to pay the taxes that the free market says you should pay, not avoid taxes by these other goodies. this isn't about raising their taxes. this is about saying, you need to pay your taxes, like average

Claire McCaskill

2:01:30 to 2:01:51( Edit History Discussion )

Claire McCaskill: citizens do, as it relates to their businesses. you shouldn't get this extra help in the tax code that allows to you avoid taxes. it's a tax expenditure. it's real money that will come to our bottom line as it relates to our deficit, and it is important to get it and, madam president, i yield

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