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Senate Proceeding on Dec 3rd, 2010 :: 1:13:45 to 1:28:00
Total video length: 6 hours 1 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Jeff Bingaman

1:13:34 to 1:13:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. bingaman: i'd ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bingaman: mr. president, i'd ask permission to speak in morning business for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bingaman: mr. president, let me start by thanking senator

Jeff Bingaman

1:13:45 to 1:28:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Bingaman

Jeff Bingaman

1:13:56 to 1:14:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: baucus for putting forward his proposal on tax issues. it is a responsible course for us to follow. it's one that i can vote for without reservation. he's basically saying, look, let's ensure that the first

Jeff Bingaman

1:14:18 to 1:14:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: $250,000 that is earned by any and all americans in this next year will be subject to the lower tax rates that were put in place during president bush's time in office. the tax rates that were adopted essentially in 2001. and, of course, it also contains

Jeff Bingaman

1:14:40 to 1:15:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: other very useful provisions to reinstate the estate tax at a reasonable rate with a significant amount exempted from the estate tax. it has provisions for energy tax, extending of energy tax provisions, which i think are very important to the country. but we had a good hearing yesterday in the finance committee.

Jeff Bingaman

1:15:01 to 1:15:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: i'm privileged to serve on that committee that senator baucus chairs and we had a very good hearing on the whole issue of federal revenues an outlays. -- and outlays. and i thought some useful information came out there. i was able to speak very briefly

Jeff Bingaman

1:15:23 to 1:15:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: with doug elmendorf, the head of the congressional budget office, and i was particularly impressed with one chart he presented in his materials and i made a copy of that essentially that i wanted to go through and explain. because i think it puts this entire discussion into context. this chart talks about what has

Jeff Bingaman

1:15:44 to 1:16:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: happened with both outlays, and that's the light blue line, and revenues, the darker, black line, outlays and revenues of the federal government for a 40-year period, starting in 1970 and ending, essentially, right now. and you can see that in that 40-year period -- and one useful

Jeff Bingaman

1:16:07 to 1:16:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: thing about the chart is it has an average and it says on average outlays were about 21 -- nearly 21%, and that is the dotted blue line across here. and it also says on average revenues, what the government collects in taxes, was about

Jeff Bingaman

1:16:28 to 1:16:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: 18%, and that's the dotted black line down here. so you can see that there is -- i don't know if you call it a structural gap, but a persistent gap between what we raise for the operation of the federal government and what we spend. and every year we spend more than we raise. and now there's an exception to

Jeff Bingaman

1:16:51 to 1:17:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: that and there's a period here where these two lines cross and that is the period at the end of the clinton administration where we got to a balanced budget and a surplus. and that was achieved for a variety of reasons. and let me talk a little about those reasons.

Jeff Bingaman

1:17:13 to 1:17:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: there -- there was a four-year period 1998 through 2001 where the federal government essentially did not spend more than it took in. in 2001, again, as you can see from this chart beginning in 2001 with this precipitous dropoff in revenue, the deficit

Jeff Bingaman

1:17:34 to 1:17:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: began to grow. and we now have a very large deficit and the particularly disturbing thing is that when you look ahead and project where we're going to be over the next five, 10, 20 years, we are projected to have a very large deficit change some things.

Jeff Bingaman

1:17:59 to 1:18:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: and changing either the outlay numbers, what we spend, or the revenue numbers, the level of taxes that are collected, is not easy. it's not easy in this congress. it's never been easy. so how did we produce a surplus during the four years that we had a surplus? i think there were three main factors that account for that.

Jeff Bingaman

1:18:21 to 1:18:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: in 1990, the congress and president george h.w. bush were able to agree to legislation that controlled spending and increased revenues as well. that was the omnibus reconciliation act of 1990. it for the first time enacted paygo rules.

Jeff Bingaman

1:18:43 to 1:19:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: it also increase taxes on the wealthiest americans by raising the top income tax rate from 28% to 31%. at the time president george h.w. bush said -- this is a -- quote -- "it's time i think it's past time to put the interest of the country first." end quote.

Jeff Bingaman

1:19:05 to 1:19:25( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: over the next five years this legislation did reduce the deficit by a tota of $480 billion. so that was one of the factors that got us to that period of balanced budget an surplus. -- and surplus. the second factor was in 1993 when the congress and president

Jeff Bingaman

1:19:26 to 1:19:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: clinton agreed, again, to legislation and increased control spending. this legislation once again raised taxes on the wealthiest americans. over the five years following that, the legislation reduced the deaf si by $430 -- deficit by $430 billion and revenue increases were responsible for

Jeff Bingaman

1:19:48 to 1:20:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: over that deficit reduction that occurred in that period. and the third factor, which is the most important is that the country enjoyed very strong economic growth during the 1990's, particularly the latter part of the 1990's. that allowed revenues to rise above the historical that we -- we see down here,

Jeff Bingaman

1:20:11 to 1:20:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: this 18% historical average for revenues. we were able to get that up significantly. mr. bingaman: both because of the changes in law that occurred under president george h.w. bush and under president clinton and the -- the very good economic circumstances that we enjoyed in

Jeff Bingaman

1:20:32 to 1:20:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: the 1990's. so what caused the situation to reverse? what's it an increase in spending or was it a decrease in revenue? i think this chart makes the point very clearly that initially what caused us this situation to reverse was the

Jeff Bingaman

1:20:53 to 1:21:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: bush tax cuts of 2001. they reduced revenue b by $70 billion in that exact year, that same year, 2001. in total the tax cuts, president george w. bush signed into law reduced revenue by an estimate estimated $1.6 trillion over a 10-year period. the actual cost may have been

Jeff Bingaman

1:21:15 to 1:21:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: significantly greater. simply put, the congress and the president when we enacted those bush tax cuts, so-called bush tax cuts, cut taxes more than we could afford to unless we were willing to also dramatically cut

Jeff Bingaman

1:21:37 to 1:21:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: spending, and we did not cut spending. in fact, we increased spending. we increased it rather dramatically to fund the afganistan war, to fund the iraq war, to create medicare part-d. none of that new spending was paid for. former congressional budget office and office of management

Jeff Bingaman

1:21:59 to 1:22:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: and budget director peter orszag estimates is that because they were not paid for, the bush tax cuts, if extended again, and medicare part-d, those -- those together would add $5 trillion to the debt over the next decade. so -- so the votes that we're casting here on this tax issue

Jeff Bingaman

1:22:21 to 1:22:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: are significant votes that will reverberate for some time and affect our economy and our deficit and our debt so people need to understand that. of course in the last three years since we've been in this recession, the deficit has worsened very substantially. revenue dropped to historic lows

Jeff Bingaman

1:22:42 to 1:23:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: as the economy contracted. spending also increased due to the recovery act and also due to the automatic stablizers that we have built into the law, such as, unemployment compensation. it's important to note that only about 10% of the debt that we

Jeff Bingaman

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

Jeff Bingaman: have incurred ove over the next 10 years -- the debt over the next 10 years is due to the recovery act. now with the economic recovery under way, the size of the deficit is beginning to stablize, and you can see that at the far right end part of the chart here where you can see these numbers beginning to --

Jeff Bingaman

1:23:24 to 1:23:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: you can see the outlay number beginning to come down, you can see the revenue number at least leveling off, and that is positive. but we can't solve -- i think the obvious point that i think that we need to understand is that we cannot solve the deficit problem by simply reverting to

Jeff Bingaman

1:23:45 to 1:24:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: the situation before the economic crisis. the chart shows that on average outlays have exceeded revenues by about 3% of gross domestic product. that's about $450 billion under our current size of our gross domestic product. in other words, if congress can

Jeff Bingaman

1:24:06 to 1:24:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: only accomplish an average performance, we are looking at a half trillion dollar deficit going forward even after we are fully out of this recession. clearly we need to do better than that. congress needs to make some tough choices both to control spending and to increase revenues just as we did in the

Jeff Bingaman

1:24:27 to 1:24:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: 1990's. both the president's deficit reduction commission, which i know is -- is having its final vote today and the bipartisan commission, led by my former colleague, senator pete domenici domenici, former budget director, recognize -- both of

Jeff Bingaman

1:24:49 to 1:25:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: those commissions recognize that we will need revenue increases as well as spending cuts to solve the deficit problem. the proposal that senator baucus has come forward with is to allow everyone in the country to enjoy the lower tax rates that were adopted under president

Jeff Bingaman

1:25:12 to 1:25:32( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: but only to enjoy that -- those lower rates for first $250,000 of income each year. i know senator schumer has a proposal which says we will allow the lower rates on taxation, earned income, to apply to the first million

Jeff Bingaman

1:25:33 to 1:25:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: dollars of income of all americans. so all americans will get the tax cut, just as they will under the proposal by senator baucus, but senator schumer's proposal would be to give them the lower rates on the entire -- on the entire million dollars that they person in the first year. above that, they would have to

Jeff Bingaman

1:25:54 to 1:26:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: go and pay the rates that were in place under president clinton's time in office in the 1990's when the economy was so strong. the question is, can we in this congress do what needs to be done to deal with the deficit issue? and particularly on this tax

Jeff Bingaman

1:26:17 to 1:26:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: bill to do what needs to be done to raise revenue? tomorrow we'll be voting on whether to let the bush tax cuts expire for in above $250,000. one of these votes will be to effectively raise on annual

Jeff Bingaman

1:26:39 to 1:27:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: income above a million dollars as i said. compared to other choices we have it seems to me this is a fairly easy choice. if we are not willing to revert to the clinton era tax rates on any income, no matter at what level, then it's going to be very, very difficult for us to

Jeff Bingaman

1:27:01 to 1:27:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: make a credible claim that we are serious about the deficit so i urge my colleagues to support the baucus proposal and i hope we can get a good, strong bipartisan vote on that. it's -- it's clear to me that americans do want to see the taxes that they are paying on

Jeff Bingaman

1:27:22 to 1:27:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: the first $250,000 of their income remain where they are today. that will only happen if we are able to pass this proposal that senator baucus has put forward. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest t quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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