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Senate Proceeding on Jul 22nd, 2010 :: 8:45:35 to 9:05:30
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Byron Dorgan

8:45:18 to 8:45:39( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota's recognized. mr. dorgan: mr. president, i consent that the quorum call be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. dorgan: mr. president, there's been a lot of discussion on the floor of the senate in the last couple of days about

Byron Dorgan

8:45:35 to 9:05:30( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

8:45:40 to 8:46:01( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: small business legislation and various things dealing with jobs. clearly we need a lot of jobs in this country. we've gone through a very steep economic decline that has victimized a lot of americans. and because of that, we have a lot of people who are waking up in the morning without work and wondering what to do next. they feel helpless and hopeless an are trying to get their feet

Byron Dorgan

8:46:02 to 8:46:22( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: on the ground, but they need some help from this congress, that is, we don't create jobs, but we do create conditions under which jobs can be created by the private sector. and so i want to talk a little about the issue about what might give the american people some confidence. because confidence is everything.

Byron Dorgan

8:46:23 to 8:46:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: if they're confident about the future, it means our economy can expand. if people are not confident about the future, our economy will contract. it's that simple. there's no question that this country now having gone through the biggest economic downturn since the great depression has

Byron Dorgan

8:46:44 to 8:47:04( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: the largest federal budget deficit that we've ever had. e last couple of years has been enormous budget deficit. the budget was in deficit by $1 trillion by the end of june in this fiscal year. but our colleagues, some of whom voted for all the war funding over these last years and voted for the big tax cuts to reduce the government's revenue and all

Byron Dorgan

8:47:05 to 8:47:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: those issues, now they're rushing to the floor with everything but suspenders and proclaiming that now the deficit's a big probl. well, you know, i'll tell you why it's a big problem. it's a big problem because 10 years ago a lot of folks in here decided to cut the revenue steeply, c taxes mostly for wealthy americans and cut it in

Byron Dorgan

8:47:26 to 8:47:49( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: a very significant way so the government had less revenue and they did that because they believed that we had budget surpluses that were going to exist for 10 years. we haven't had a budget surplus fo30 years in this country. we ran deficits for 30 years and all of a sudden at the end of

Byron Dorgan

8:47:50 to 8:48:10( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: the clinton administration, we of billion dollars. i voted for the economic plan that helped create that. we put that in place in the mid-1990's and we got to a budget surplus. and when that happened in the year 2000, we had a bunch of folks, a new president came to office in 2001 and said, you know what?

Byron Dorgan

8:48:11 to 8:48:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: we've got a budget surplus. we have a bunch of hot shot economists tell us we're going to have a budget surplus as far as the eye can see. we're going to have budget surpluses for the next 10 years. and then alan greenspan said that he couldn't sleep because he was worried we would have surpluses too large and we were going to pay down the federal debt too quickly. that's right.

Byron Dorgan

8:48:32 to 8:48:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i know it sounds like a joke. but the chairman of the federal reserve board worried that we would pay down our debt too quickly. so the new president came to town in 2001 and said let's have very big tax cuts. i and others said, let's probab not do that. at this point we don't know what's going to happen in 10 years.

Byron Dorgan

8:48:53 to 8:49:13( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: we have economist who's can't remember their telephone number for three hours, tell us what's going to happen in 10 years. so let's have very big tax cuts. to the -- so the president constructed big tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy. and here we are. what happened? almost immediately we were in a recession had a terrorist aack against

Byron Dorgan

8:49:14 to 8:49:34( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: this country in september of at year. then we were at war in afganistan and at war in iraq. and at war against terrorists. and so we sent hundreds and hundreds of thousands of soldiers abroad and we rotated them in and how for eight years

Byron Dorgan

8:49:35 to 8:49:55( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and never paid for -- paid a penny for it. because we used it for emergency funding. we did that for a decade and now all of a sudden all of the people that voted for the same things, that is tax cuts for the wealthy and decided to send soldiers to war without paying for, it now we hear all of this about how debt is important. oh, yeah, it's important.

Byron Dorgan

8:49:56 to 8:50:16( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: it was important when they voted to cut taxes for the wealthy as well. it was important when we decided to fight two wars and not pay for a penny of it. the fact is it's unsustainable now and we've got to find ways to fix it. it's interesting, yesterday i came to the floor because one of my colleagues came to the floor and said the priity is to

Byron Dorgan

8:50:17 to 8:50:37( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: eliminate the estate tax. that's priority. eliminate -- he didn't say that, eliminate the death tax because a clever pollster said, if you say death tax, it invokes a lot of passion. so we're going to eliminate the death tax. not understanding, apparently, or not caring, perhaps, that

Byron Dorgan

8:50:38 to 8:50:58( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: there is no such thing as a death tax. when you die there is no tax on your detsd. if i had been if i had been on the floor when my colleague asked that, i would have asked, god forbid what if something would happen? the spouse would inherit the

Byron Dorgan

8:50:59 to 8:51:20( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: entire estate tax free because we have a 100% spousal exemption. so that senator's death would have obviously been nontaxable. where's the death tax? we don't have a death tax. we've never had a death tax. we have a tax on inherited wealth. that's whawe have. so my colleague says, the most important thing at the moment,

Byron Dorgan

8:51:21 to 8:51:42( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: while we are deep in deep in th -- deep in debt in this country with a growing debt and a need to control the debt, the most important thing at the moment is to get rid of the death tax, which means that you want to provide taxreaks for billionaires. now, i didn't vote for the proposal in 2001 that put us on

Byron Dorgan

8:51:43 to 8:52:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: a course of changing our tax system with very large tax cuts for the wealthy and reducing the estate tax obligation so that it came down to having zero estate taxes in 2010 and then springs back to a higher estate tax in 2011. i didn't vote for that. i thought it was half nutsy. it passed.

Byron Dorgan

8:52:04 to 8:52:24( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: -- nutty. it passed. last year we had an estate tax that had an exemption of $7 million for husband and wife, $3.5 million each, and a 45% rate. this year the estate tax went to zero. that is nobody has to pay any estate tax and so we had four

Byron Dorgan

8:52:25 to 8:52:45( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: billionaires die this year, the late george steinbrenner died, the owner of the yankees. and so his estate will not be taxed. well over $1 billion. i've said this is the throw mama from the train era. this is the year if somebody's got to go, i guess, especially

Byron Dorgan

8:52:46 to 8:53:07( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: billionaires, they get to pay no taxes this year. and then the estate tax is supposed to spring back to a million dollar exemption husband and wife and 55% rate so my colleague and others now say the highest priority for them is to eliminate the death tax. this year we will have lost about $15 billion in revenue

Byron Dorgan

8:53:08 to 8:53:28( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: cause there is no estate tax. that's just this year. and over 10 years it's a very substantial amount and who's going to benefit if you eliminate the death tax? well, if under last year's law you had to have $7 million in total assets to pay a death tax or an estate tax, rather, i should say, how many people

Byron Dorgan

8:53:29 to 8:53:50( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: would pay it? very, very few. less than 1%. in fac i think it is .3% of 1% of the american people would ever pay an estate tax. now we're told that the highest?? priority is to eliminate the estate tax which means that america's billionaires are going

Byron Dorgan

8:53:51 to 8:54:11( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to be given a tax those who want to do it say, we're going to do that because they shouldn't be taxed twice. they're not taxed twice. that estate in most cases has never borne any tax. most of its growth appreciation of stocks or bonds or property. it has never borne the tax that most pple have to pay.

Byron Dorgan

8:54:12 to 8:54:33( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: a lot of people get up in the morning and put on their clothes and go to work and work at a manufacturing job, although there are fewer of those because they're moving to china, but get up and go to work and they come home and have a withhding on their paycheck that says that they pay taxes, they have to pay taxes for the kids to go to

Byron Dorgan

8:54:34 to 8:54:55( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: school and build roads and pay for the police and the police department and the centers for disease control. they had to bear a burden as an american citizen to pay for the things that we pay together. if you eliminate the estate tax, for example, billates, when bill gates expires, that $50 billion of yours, most of which has

Byron Dorgan

8:54:56 to 8:55:17( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: never had any kind of tax burden at all, we believe i be tax free. that's the highest priority? i used the word nutty before. let me s that's just nutty. what are you thinking? here's something i quoted yesterday from will rogers. will rogers, 80 years ago had it right. and it certainly applies to some

Byron Dorgan

8:55:18 to 8:55:38( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: in this chamber for sure. will rogers said, "the unemployed here ain't eating regular, but we'll get around to them as soon as everybody else gets fixed up oy." you know what? go back 18 months and figure out who got fixed up in this country. who got fixed up okay? you think the folks at the top

Byron Dorgan

8:55:39 to 8:55:59( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: of the economic ladder, did they get fixed up? yeah, yeah. the lowest unemployment rate in america are those at the top of the economic ladder. pretty low unemployment rate here in the united states senate, now that i think about it. we all get up in the morning and put on a white shirt and suit and tie and we all eat three meals a day. but the people at the bottom of

Byron Dorgan

8:56:00 to 8:56:20( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: the economic ladder, those five million americans who lost the manufacturing jobs, the people who are looking for jobs and can't find them when we're 20 million jobs short, the people who have been laid off, professional people who in many cases were laid off and have been searching for work for two years and can't find it, they're

Byron Dorgan

8:56:21 to 8:56:41( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: the people that seem somehow forgotten. and so now we have a priority by some in in chamber of saying we've got to get rid of death tax? a tax that doesn't exist, and a bill they filed that would only benefit largely billionaires in this country? it's unbelievable. it's just unbelievable.

Byron Dorgan

8:56:42 to 8:57:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i don't know. maybe -- maybe the people that are out of work need to change their name. now, i mean, there are names that signify wealth. at least sound like they're from a family of inherited w but it just seems to me to be

Byron Dorgan

8:57:04 to 8:57:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: something that's pretty much in sync with what will rogers said. the people at the top get fixed up pretty well, and don't matter very much. that's a pretty pathetic set of priorities in my judgment. well, mr. president, i wanted -- i wanted to come and -- and say a word about a piece of legislation that the senate has

Byron Dorgan

8:57:26 to 8:57:47( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: passed and the house has passed that ought to make all of us feel like we've done something very admirable and something that will save lives. let me do that in a very positive way. the tribal law and order act, which we passed. i passed along with a lot of help from the indianffairs committee and the senate passed. now the house has passed that legislation.

Byron Dorgan

8:57:48 to 8:58:09( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that will now be signed by the president into law. why is that important? let me give you an example on the standing rock indian reservation straddles north dakota and south dakota, the rate of violent crime is not double or triple the rate of violent crime. that is pretty tough to live in

Byron Dorgan

8:58:10 to 8:58:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: a neighborhood, it is eight times the violent crime of the rest of the country. be a young child going to school or an elder trying to get along and live on a reservation, live in a circumstance where the rate of violent crime is eight times the nional average. the stories we've heard at the hearings we held are unbelievable. on the standing rock indian

Byron Dorgan

8:58:32 to 8:58:53( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: association, it's the size of -- reservation, it's the size of the state of connecticut. they had nine full-time police officers to control the area the size of the state of connecticut. in one area a violent sexual rape, a crime in progress, a robbery and a call to the police

Byron Dorgan

8:58:54 to 8:59:14( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: might get someone there later that day or it might be the next morning. nine police officers to patrol 24/7, it doesn't work. we've passed a piece of legislation that i think is -- is really very, veryood. the tribal law and order bill. and it's bipartisan and i'm

Byron Dorgan

8:59:15 to 8:59:36( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: proud of that. senators jon kyl, john barrasso worked with me to get this legislation through the senate. let me mention cosponsors jon tester, max baucus, begich, bingaman, boxer, m maria cantwell.

Byron Dorgan

8:59:37 to 8:59:57( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: so many who worked so long to try to respond to these problems. we deal with cross deputization on the reservation an off the reservation. we deal with the tribal court system and a wide range of provisions that we put in this legislation that is going to make a very, very big

Byron Dorgan

8:59:58 to 9:00:19( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: difference. i've said on the floor previously that violence against american indian and alaska native women have reached epidemic levels. we heard it in theearings and testimony. one in three american indian and alaska native women will be the

Byron Dorgan

9:00:20 to 9:00:41( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: victim of assault or rape in their lifetime. one in three. that's an epidemic of violence. we've held 14 hearings in the committee on indian fairs relating to indian lands. i've had staff go across the nation meeting with tribal government. from that, we've put together a piece of legislation that i

Byron Dorgan

9:00:42 to 9:01:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: think will make a very, very big difference. it strengthens the tribal court system. it provides tools to law enforcementfficers on the indian reservations. and, by the way, it creates circumstances that will require the u.s. attorney's office to do their job. violent crimes on reservations are to be prosecuted by u.s. attorney's office.

Byron Dorgan

9:01:04 to 9:01:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: in most cases those offices are many, many miles away from a reservation and crime on reservation has become part of the back water of work in that office. we've had information that 50% of murder cases on reservations are declined for prosecution. they call them declinations. think ofhat.

Byron Dorgan

9:01:26 to 9:01:47( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: in 50% of the cases, there is a declination of prosecution for the charge of murder. nearly three-fourths of the cases for sual assault declined to be prosecuted. that is not fair. it is not tolerable. and we shouldn't stand for it.

Byron Dorgan

9:01:48 to 9:02:09( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: we had a hearing in chairman herman dylan in washington testified about the gang activity crisis on their reservation with 28 active gangs on that reservation with members as young as eight years old. drug trafficking, weapon sales, turf wars, injured. and this piece of legislation is

Byron Dorgan

9:02:10 to 9:02:30( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: going to increase the number of law enforcement personnel and provide better law enforcement training for those personnel. i won't go through the stories that we heard, but they are unbelievable, and there are a whole lot of victims out there living in third world conditions on indian reservations where they have inadequate health

Byron Dorgan

9:02:31 to 9:02:51( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: care, housing, education. and we've worked on all of those issues, and i'm proud to say we passed the indian health care improvement act. it's now signed into law. we did that this year; the first time in 17 years the congress dealt with those issues. now we've passed the tribal law and order act. it's the most significant set of policy changes and legislation affecting the first americans

Byron Dorgan

9:02:52 to 9:03:12( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that have been passed in decades. and i wanted to just simply say to the republican and democratic colleagues who worked with me to accomplish this that i believe lives will be saved. i believe this will make a profound difference across this country in addressing the issues. we've had the hearings about mexican drug lords running drugs

Byron Dorgan

9:03:13 to 9:03:34( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: now through indian reservations. i just described the circumstances of gangs. there is so much that needs to be done. and finally, at last, at last, at long, long last, we down this road by having passed this legislation. i talked to president obama yesterday and mentioned this passage by the u.s. house of our

Byron Dorgan

9:03:35 to 9:03:55( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: bill, and he campaigned on this issue as well. he was very strongly in support of the legislation, and i know that he will take great pride in signing this lislation. finally let me say with all the competition and tension sotimes between the house and the senate, let me say how much i appreciate the work the house of representatives did on this

Byron Dorgan

9:03:56 to 9:04:17( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: legislation. mr. president, let me make one final point about indian policy as i complete my statement. there is one other issue that's out there that i think desperately needs to be resolved, and that is something called the kobel lawsuit case. last december there was an

Byron Dorgan

9:04:18 to 9:04:41( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: agreement reached between the u.s. government and indians on the kobel case. we were given 30 days in the congress to provide the settlement funding, and it has not happened. we must, must, must find a way to make that happen soon. i showed a picture of a woman on an indian reservation with oil wells that were hers that she could see from her

Byron Dorgan

9:04:42 to 9:05:02( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: she lived in a spartan house. why is that the case? because she didn't get the money from the oil wells that she owned. the u.s. government, creating trust accounts for indians, manipulated those trusts, stole from those trusts, lost the record from those trusts over 150 years. and that's what resulted in this

Byron Dorgan

9:05:03 to 9:05:24( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: lawsuit called the cobell suit. it's gone on 15 years and a good many indians have died while that suit has gone on who should have benefited from that suit. now there is an agreement reached last tkaoefplts we were given 30 -- last december. we were given 30 days by the federal court to pay the agreement in front of the justice department, and now it's six months later and nothing has happened. the first americans don't

Byron Dorgan

9:05:25 to 9:05:30( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: deserve that treatment. and i hope very soon, soon, very soon that that cobell settlement

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