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Senate Proceeding 12-14-10 on Dec 14th, 2010 :: 4:36:55 to 4:51:50
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Jeff Bingaman

4:36:53 to 4:37:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: exampl behavior. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. bingaman: mr. president, i want to speak for a few minutes on the tax package that is before the senate and that we will be voting on tomorrow. yesterday the senate voted to

Jeff Bingaman

4:36:55 to 4:51:50( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Bingaman

Jeff Bingaman

4:37:21 to 4:37:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: proceed to this $857 billion or $858 billion package that would have the effect of extending all personal income tax rates tpwaor years, sub -- for two years, substantially reducing the estate tax. now, i think the way to evaluate

Jeff Bingaman

4:37:45 to 4:38:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: this package is on two basic grounds. first of all, how does it help us deal with the very substantial economic problem we face with trying to strengthen the recovery from this deep economic downturn that we've experienced? and, second, how is it helping

Jeff Bingaman

4:38:09 to 4:38:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: us to set a long-term course to achieve fiscal stability? on the first issue, the economic recovery, there's much in the package that i would strongly support and that i do strongly support. we should protect 98% of american households from any tax increase. we should extend benefits to our fellow americans who are unable

Jeff Bingaman

4:38:31 to 4:38:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: to find jobs in this period of very high unemployment. we should continue key business incentives such as section 1603 program which has provided a critical lifeline to the renewable energy industry. if the only economic imperative

Jeff Bingaman

4:38:52 to 4:39:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: that we faced was how to strengthen this recovery from the downturn, i would be voting for the package. but as i said at the outset, that's not our only economic imperative. our dire fiscal condition requires us also to adopt a strategy that will dramatically

Jeff Bingaman

4:39:14 to 4:39:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: reduce deficits in coming years. frankly, i'm disappointed by the plan's shortsightedness on that issue, and, therefore, i did oppose the cloture motion yesterday, and i plan to vote against the package tomorrow when the vote is called. if we're serious about addressing the deficit, we need

Jeff Bingaman

4:39:35 to 4:39:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: to admit that we cannot afford all of this package. in 2001, i came to the floor to explain my opposition to enacting the so-called bush tax cuts. at that time the congressional budget office was projecting budget surpluses. as i explained then, i viewed

Jeff Bingaman

4:39:56 to 4:40:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: the 2001 tax cuts as carrying a higher price tag than we as a nation could afford. the 2001 cuts which were accelerated in 2003 reduced the stream of revenue to the federal government by an amount that virtually guaranteed the elimination of our anticipated budget surplus and instead

Jeff Bingaman

4:40:17 to 4:40:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: ensured that substantial deficits would once again become the norm in our federal budget. the result, which is a federal debt that today nears $14 trillion, could have been avoided under the bush tax structure only if there had been major cuts in spending at the same time.

Jeff Bingaman

4:40:40 to 4:41:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: as we all know, no such cuts in spending were ever proposed by the president and no such cuts in spending were ever adopted by the congress. in fact, in the years following the bush tax cuts, spending increased very substantially. the bush tax cuts were larger than we could afford when they

Jeff Bingaman

4:41:02 to 4:41:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: were adopted, including interest costs, those tax cuts account for nearly 55% of the deficit that's projected to the end of the next decade. once again, in my view, we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts in their entirety today. the nation's debt now stands at

Jeff Bingaman

4:41:24 to 4:41:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: 62% of gross domestic product. the congressional budget office says that if we continue on our present course, that debt will reach 90% of gross domestic product by 2020 and 185% of gross domestic product by 2035. this concern is not merely academic.

Jeff Bingaman

4:41:45 to 4:42:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: our growing deficit has stark consequences for our government's ability to meet essential priorities. at current levels, government revenue in 2025 will be enough only to cover interest on the debt, medicare, medicaid, and social security. and the threat to american prosperity is severe.

Jeff Bingaman

4:42:09 to 4:42:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: by 2035, rising debt could reduce per capita gross domestic product by as much as 15%. in recent weeks we've had several expert commissions tell us that we need to get the debt under control. they've offered thoughtful, practical proposals to do that. the national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform

Jeff Bingaman

4:42:31 to 4:42:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: released a six-part plan that would achieve nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 20. five of the six senators that served on that commission supported the plan. two weeks earlier a bipartisan commission headed by former congressional budget office director alice rivlin and my

Jeff Bingaman

4:42:53 to 4:43:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: former colleague pete domenici issued their own report, and both bipartisan groups concluded that to be credible, any deficit-reduction plan must impose limits on spending and must increase revenue. for much of this congress, the excuse for deferring serious

Jeff Bingaman

4:43:15 to 4:43:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: action on deficit and debt is that we should wait and see what these commissions decide. now that these commissions have finished their work, this bill is our first chance to begin considering their recommendations. i see no evidence that we are doing so in this legislation. i understand we can't tackle both tasks simultaneously.

Jeff Bingaman

4:43:36 to 4:43:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: that is stimulating the economy and reducing the deficit. we cannot attack both of those tasks with equal force at the same time. the decision which i have supported has been to focus first on stimulating the economy, but that focus does not excuse us from also taking the relatively easy steps that are

Jeff Bingaman

4:43:58 to 4:44:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: available to reduce future deficits. i agree with the commission for a responsible federal budget whose leaders argued that -- quote -- "the critical objective is to pair any stimulus for the short term with a credible plan to reduce the debt in the medium and long term." we should be talking about what

Jeff Bingaman

4:44:19 to 4:44:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: triggers to attach, how to pay for the new package over the decade, what spending cuts and tax reforms to make. it's unfortunate that that conversation has not taken place. because the cost of the package is not offset, it has been, unfortunately, larded up with very wasteful provisions that do little to stimulate the economy.

Jeff Bingaman

4:44:41 to 4:45:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: the most problematic is the one many colleagues have commented on. that's the $129 billion to extend tax cuts that benefit only the very high-income american households and reduce the estate tax below 2009 rates. opponents of the bill say because the economy is weak now

Jeff Bingaman

4:45:02 to 4:45:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: is not the time to allow the tax cuts for the wealthiest households to expire. but a congressional budget office report issued earlier this year tears down this argument. they examine 11 options to stimulate growth and job creation and they concluded that the extension of the 2001 and

Jeff Bingaman

4:45:24 to 4:45:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: 2003 ta tax cuts was dead flaft that list of 11. they further found that extending the tax cuts for high-income households in particular would rate lower in effectiveness than extending all of the tax cuts because, as i quote -- and i quote "higher-income households would probably save a large fraction

Jeff Bingaman

4:45:47 to 4:46:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: of their increase in aftertax income." there's one comparison that puts this sharply into perspective, at least to my view it z last month the president announced that because of concerns about the deficit, he was proposing to freeze all civilian federal salaries, at a savings of about $2.5 million a year.

Jeff Bingaman

4:46:09 to 4:46:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: i stated at the time that i supported his decision, but we -- in this package we will erase those savings nearly three times over merely with the reduction of the estate tax from the 2009 levels. it is not -- is it not enough to

Jeff Bingaman

4:46:32 to 4:46:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: reinstate the 2009 estate tax provisions, which exempted $7 million in assets per couple and taxed amounts above that at 45%? under this package, the exemption is dialed up to $10 million per couple. the vat reduced to 35%. so instead of -- the rate is reduced to 35%.

Jeff Bingaman

4:46:54 to 4:47:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: so instead of reaching only one out of 400 american estates -- americans involved -- this plan would subject one out of 100 estates to any tax whatsoever. so while a gs-3 clerk at the department of agriculture office in albuquerque will have her

Jeff Bingaman

4:47:16 to 4:47:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: salary frozen in the name of fiscal responsibility, the heirs of a $50 million estate will save $5.35 million. in my view, this is unwarranted generosity that will cost our treasury an added $7 billion a year. americans are right to question

Jeff Bingaman

4:47:37 to 4:47:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: how we can be serious about reducing the deficit when we're ready to give wealthy heirs a windfall with no benefit whatsoever to the economic recovery. i also am troubled that the package makes the tax code permanently temporary and falsely assumes that we'll be

Jeff Bingaman

4:47:59 to 4:48:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: able to achieve a different outcome when we debate this issue two years from now. the cover of the "wall street journal" points out in a story entitled "temporary tax code puts nation in a lasting bind," this is in today's "wall street journal." the piece opens with this sentence.

Jeff Bingaman

4:48:20 to 4:48:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: it says "welcome to the world of the temporary tax code." mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the text of that article be included in the record after my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bingaman: a main argument being used in support of the extension is that this is the only proposal we can get our republican colleagues to agree to.

Jeff Bingaman

4:48:42 to 4:49:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: in my view, that is an uncharitable view of our republican colleagues. i think they would embrace a more responsible proposal if they felt that they were required to do so. the fact that not a single republican supported either the proposal senator baucus brought to the floor or the proposal that senator schumer brought to

Jeff Bingaman

4:49:09 to 4:49:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: the floor last week, in my view, supported the fact that no republicans supported either one of those proposals was based on their expectation, which was apparently accurate, that if they remained intransigent, democrats would give into their demands to stendle all the tax cuts. -- to extend all the tax cuts.

Jeff Bingaman

4:49:30 to 4:49:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: those demands reflected in the bill now before us do not acknowledge the serious problem that we face with our deficits, and i've explained why. mr. president, i know that there are other colleagues waiting to speak, and let me just point out that there are also some important provisions that were included in the recovery act

Jeff Bingaman

4:49:51 to 4:50:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: which unfortunately have been left out of this tax package, and i'm informed that they've been left out because republican leaders have insisted that recovery act provisions not be extended. there are some of the provisions in the recovery act that have

Jeff Bingaman

4:50:12 to 4:50:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: been extremely beneficial to economic activity in my state. the build america bonds program, for example -- i think it is very unfortunate that that program is not being continued as part of this package. the package also ends a provision that senators crapo and grassley and i fought to include in the recovery act

Jeff Bingaman

4:50:35 to 4:50:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: which raises the bank qualified limit, which was last adjusted in 1986, for small municipalities that sell debt to community banks. this has significantly reduced rural governments' borrowing governments and created jobs and need infrastructure improvements in thousands of communities.

Jeff Bingaman

4:50:56 to 4:51:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: i'm disappointed that tha has not been continued. there was a reflectionive antirecovery act position that republican leaders have taken, and i believe that has been reflected also in the provisions dealing with energy.

Jeff Bingaman

4:51:18 to 4:51:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: i will -- in my full remarks, i will elaborate on that. mr. president, in spite of the positive provisions in this legislation to strengthen the economic recovery -- and there are some which i strongly support -- the bill, in my view, moves us in the wrong direction with regard to our other major problem, which is deficit reduction.

Jeff Bingaman

4:51:42 to 4:51:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Bingaman: on that issue, it will start the 112th congress off on the wrong track, and for that reason, i will oppose the legislation tomorrow when the vote is called. mr. president, i yield

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