tv [untitled] August 2, 2011 4:24am-4:54am EDT
speaker, i would like to thank the members of the house page board who provided such fantastic service to this institution. the chairman, congressman rob bishop, the vice chairman, congresswoman diana degette, congresswoman virginia foxx, clerk of the house karen haas, sergeant at arms bill livinggood, and mrs. lynn silversmith kline. i want to thank them for their service on the house page board and i thank the departing pages and you've seen a wonderful bit of history take place today. mr. bishop: reclaiming the time, mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to include the page summer class in the official record and ask this body to recognize the pages for the services they have rendered us this year. mr. speaker, i yield back.
the speaker: without objection, the gentlelady from california, ms. pelosi, is recognized. ms. pelosi: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i too want to join our colleagues in recognizing the contribution of the pages to the conduct of the house of representatives. i thank them. and they have, as mr. kildee said, and others have mentioned, borne witness to many important historical occasions here. but i can't think of any that is more special and means so much to our country than to witness the return of our colleague who was the personification of courage, of sincerity, of admiration throughout the country. congresswoman gabrielle giffords brings us --
ms. pelosi: her presence today, to make sure that we honor the obligations of our country great country is important and symbolic. her presence here in the chamber as well as her service throughout her entire service in congress brings honor to this chamber. we are all privileged to call her colleagues, of us very privileged to call her friend. throughout america there isn't a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect, more wishing for our daughters to be
thank you, gabby, for joining us the presiding officer: without objection. mr. conrad: mr. president, i have two unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous coent these requests be agreed to and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. conrad: mr. president, i rise today to discuss the agreement that has been reached between leaders in the senate and the house, republicans and democrats, and the president of the united states with resct to an extension of the debt
limit and certain deficit-reduction steps to be taken in conjunction with that action. mr. president, i want to remind colleagues that if we fail to act, most economists believe we would face an interest rate spike and for everyon percentable point increase in interest rates, we would add $1.3 trillion to deficits and debt over ten years. mr. president, if there was only a 200 basis point increase, that would wipe out all of the ficit reduction that is in this package. so colleague need to keep in mind the consequences of our actions and how critically important it is to prevent that interest rate spike. in addition, david beers of
standard & poor's global head of sovereigratings said in an interview on cnbc on july 26 the following -- "to avoid a u.s. credit rating downgrade, the s&p wants to see bipartisan debt-reduction effort." mr. president, he said specifically, "we will measure this mter on a number of pameters. one is, is it credible? and credibility, among other things, means to us that there has to be some buy-in across the political divide, across both parties, because politics can and will change going forward. and if there's ownership by both sides of the program, then that would give us more confidence. it's not just about the number. it's about the all-in intent." mr. president, however imperfect this agreement is -- and it is
imperfect; after all, it is a work of the hands of man, we are all imperfect -- b it is critically important. it is important to demonstrate that we can work together to achieve a result. mr. president, this package contains these elements. first, it prevents a default. it saves the nation from an immediate economic crisis. it creates a process to allow debt ceiling increase to 2013. so we don't have to reenact this entire episode in just a matter of months. it provides a $900 bilon down payment on deficit reduction that is enforced with ten years of spending caps. it creates a joint select committee of congress on deficit reduction tasked with finding additional $1.5 trillion in savings and to bring us a report
bere thanksgiving. this select committee has a goal of $1.5 trillion in savings as a floor. it is not a ceiling. this committee could come back to us with an even more ambitious, more bold proposal to get our fiscal affairs in order. mr. president, let us hope that it be so. it also, the overall package that is before us or about to be before us, requires a vote on a balanced budget amendment. the debt ceiling increase is not contingent on its passage but there is a requirement to give colleagues in both chambers an opportunity to vote. it also, the package before us, protects pell grants from deep near-term cuts,nd i thinkost of us understand how important pell grants are to providing opportunity to young, talented
people all across america to improve themselves through higher education. my grandmother was a schoolteacher. we called her little chief because she was only five feet tall but she commanded respect. and she commanded respect because she had character. and she told people in our family there are three priorities in this household. number one is education. number two is education. number three is education. and we got the message. i can remember fondly her telling us over and over, would yowhat you put in your head, no one can take away. they can take your property, they can take your wealth. one thing nobody can take from you is what you've done improve wriewr mind. that ought to be something that's taught in every household in our country, because it is central to america continuing to be a world leader.
mr. president, the proposal that will be before us also creates a joint select committee on deficit reduction. as i've indicated, they have a goal of finding an additional $1.5 trillioin savings, but they're not limited to that level of savings. they could do more. it is bipartisan and bicameral. 12 members, six democrats, six republicans. congress is to have a report by thanksgiving on their work. no amendments are allowed, and a simple majority vote to pass in the senate and the house. mr. president, thi this closely follows the recommendation of senator gregg and i from five years ago to create a commission empowered to bring to a vote in the senate and the house a plan to get our debt under control and to do it sthat you
wouldn't have the endless process that our current situation requires. mr. president, the idea was to create a brac-like systemo that a proposal could come before the senate, could come before the houseo get our debt down. it is modeled in many ways after the reconciliation procs that was designed for deficit reduction and only requires a simple majority vote. there is a failsafe. if this committee fails to produce a result, the failsafe is across-the-board cuts in defense and non-defense spending with exemptions for social security, veterans, low-income people, and it limits the medicare reductions to 2%. mr. president, i would prefer that the medicare reduction not be there because there is no
revenue that's assured in this plan. but we do have a have a failsafe. we do have to have some assurance that the savings are actually realized. and this mechanism does that. i think all of us know tha our current status finds us borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend. in fact, we are in a condition in which the united states is borrowing more than we have ever borrowed before as a share of our national income. and the congressional budget office, nonpartisan, has told us that the long-term outloom look is even more -- that the long-term outlook is even more sober. that we have a debt held by the public that is about 70% right now, or -- right here, debt held by the porks about 70%. our gross debt is actually approaching 100%. but our publicly held debt, debt
held by the public, not counting what we owe to trust funds like social security, is about 70%. but look where we're headed if we stay on our current course? the congressional budget office tells us by 2037 our publicly held debt will be 200% of our gross domestic product if we fail to act. and how did we get in this circumstance? well, mr. president, this says it very carly and very well. the red line is the spending line of the united states. the green line is the revenue line going back 60 years. and what we can see is the red line, the spending line, is the highest it's ever been. 24% of gross domestic product. federal spending. the revenue line is the lowest it's ever been in that period, the lowest it's been in 60 years. some of ash friends say on the other side, we just he a spending problem. they have got it half right.
we do have a spending problem. spending is almost the highest it's been in 60 years. but, you know what? we've also got a revenue problem. because revenue is the lowest it's been in 60 years as a shaver our national income. -- as a share of our national income. that's a fact. mr. president, we've got to work both sides of this equation. if we go back and reconstruct, how did we get in this ditch, a story may 1, 2011, in "the washington post" is instructive. here's what they found: "the biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. together the economy and tax bills enacted under former president george w. bush and to
a lesser extent by president obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue." revenue. " that's nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing expected from real detect. tax collections now stand at their lowest levels a percentage of the economy in 0*e6 years." in addition, if one examines our history going back to 1969, and look at the five times that we have balanced the budget, in each of those times, revenue was almost 20% of g.d.p. right now -- remember what i just said -- revenue is 14.5% of g.d.p. the five times since 1969 we've balanced the budget, revenue was 19.7% of g.d.p. in 1969.
in 1998, it was 19.9%. in 1999, it was 19.8%. in 2000, it was 20.6. in 2001, it was 19.5%. by the way, all of these budgets -- these last four -- were the responsibility of bill clinton. bill clinton not only balanced the budget, he stopped using social security funds to finance other government operations. and he did it with the longest period of uninterrupted growth in our nation's history a created 23 million jobs. the clinton administration record on deficits, on debt, on economic growth and job creation is the best, by far, of all modern presidents. mr. president, facts are stubborn things. now, we have a tax code today
that is riddled with tax expenditures, riddled with tax expenditures. we are losing to the treasury $1.1 trillion a year to tax expenditures, tax preferences, tax loopholes, tax exclusions. and guess who gets most of t benefit? 26% of the benefit goes to the top 1% of those tax expenditures, those tax loopholes, those tax preferences. here is one of the most conservative economists in america, martin feldstein, professor of economics at harvard, chairman of the council of economic advisors under president reagan. this is what he said about tax expenditures on july 20 of last year. "cutting tax expenditures is
really the best way to reduce government spending ... eliminating tax expenditures does not increase marginal tax rates or reduce the reward for saving, investment, or risk-taking. it would also increase overall economic efficiency by removing incentives that distort private spenng decisions. and eliminating or consolidating the large number of overlapping tax-based subsidies wou also greatly simpliftax filing. in short, cutting tax expenditures is not at all like other ways of raising revenue." mr. president, that is precisely why the fiscal commission and the group of six -- both groups that i was proud to participate in -- chose the reduction of tax expenditures as one way of reforming the tax system, improving the competitive position of the united states, and raising revenue to help
reduce this debt threat. mr. president, anybody that wonders about what's happening with respect to loopholes, exclusions, deductions, preferences in the tax code, you don't have to go any further than this picture that i've shown many tiessments this little five-story building, ugland house, down in the cayman island, claims to be the home of 18,857 companies. what an amazing building that is. this little building, home to 18,000 companies. they all say they're doing business out of this building. really? anody believe that? they're not doing business out of that building. they're doing monkey business, and the monkey business they're doing is to avoid paying the taxes all the rest of us pay, because the cayman islands is a tax haven.
they don't impose taxes on these companies, so guess what these companies do? they file returns that show, miraculously, their profits of all their operations across the united states, their profits don't show up in the united states; they show up in this little five-story building down in the cayman islands. they say that's where the profits are being realized. and what a blessing that is, because the cayman islands doesn't impose any taxes on the prits that show up down in the subsidiaries of the companies who are doing business all over the world. mr. president, anybody that wonders that this is costing all the rest of us huge amounts of money ... here's what our permanent subcommittee on investigations found in a report in 2007. "experts have estimated that the total loss to the treasury from offshore tax evasion alone approach $100 billion a year."
$100 billion a year. if you have any doubt about this, go home and google "tax havens," see what you find. i think you'll be quite startled by what you see. "thosthose losses of $s-00,000 r "include $40 billion to $4070 billion from individuals, another $30 billion from corporations engaging in offshore tax evasion, abusive tax shelters add tens of billions of dollars more." mr. president, my family and i, we pay what we owe. the vast majority of people in this country pay what they owe. we dot got a few people -- unfortunately they tend to be people with greater resources -- are not paying what they owe. that should come to a screeching
halt. mr. president, the bipartisan groups proposing comprehensive and balanced plans with spending cuts and revenues include the fiscal commission, the bipartisan policy center, and the group of six. these are the only bipartisan plans that have come from anywhere and all of them recommended a balance between spending cuts and revenue. almost all of them focused on reducing tax expenditures, the loopholes, the exclusions, the preferences, theax havens in order to raise revue, to reduce rates, to make america more competitive, but also to raise additional revenue to dump this debt. mr. president, the other day there was a spirited debate on the floor between theenior senator from arizona and the senior senator from illinois. i arrived here at the end of that debate, didn't have a chance to participate. there were a number of
assertio made there of my friend, senator mccain, and i just want to set the record straight. if we look at the records of reagan, bush 41, bush 43, a clinton with respect to deficits, the record is very clear. here it is. during the reagan administration, deficits expled. and you had -- you can see on the graph, deficits that averaged about $200 billion a year. during the first bush administration, the deficits actually got worse and ended up still in the range of $200 billion a year. president clinton inherited deficits of $200 billion a year, but yo can see by the end -- the last four years of his administration he was in the black. the budgets were balanced and
for, i think, two or three of those years he actually stoppe using social security money to fund government operations. so -- and then of course we see what happened in the second bush administration. deficits absolutely exploded. absolutely exploded. the second bush administration was, b far, the worst on record of deficits and debt of any of these administrations. but by ft was the clinton administration. we can look at it a different way. this chart shows in dollar terms what happened to the debt. you can see the reagan administration, the debt well more than doubled. the bush administration took it up much further. the clinton administration actually started bringing down the debt. he actually was paying off debt during the clinton administration. and then we saw what happened in the second bush administration.
the debt absolutely skyrocketed, going up well over two and a half times. mr. president, when we then look at the record of economic growth under those different presidents, it's very interesting. reagan, who more than doubled the debt, had a pretty good record of economic growth, 3.5%. bush i, who ran the debt up even further, pretty paltry record, -- 2.1% economic growth. clinton, who actually paid down debt, had the best record of economic growth, 3.8% on average. bush ii, who put in place the massive tax cuts that ballooned the deficits and the deb had the worst record o economic growth, averaging 1.6%. well, let's connect the dots. let's connect the dots.
big increase in debt during the reagan administration, but pretty good economic growth. he took the number-two spot. bush i, massive increase in deficits and debt, economic growth faltered. clinton administration has by far the best record on deficits and debt, also the best record on economic growth. and then bush ii, who had huge tax cuts, never offset by an adjustment, and as reagan did, had the worst record of economic growth. and finally, on job creation, again, reagan administration 16 million jobs were created. quite a strong record of job creation during his eight years. first bush administration, only 3 million jobs created. the clinton administration, by far the winner on theobs
derby, 23 million jobs created, and he had the best record of deficit and debt reduction and the best record on economic growth. and you know what? he raised taxes and cut spending. wow, our friends on the other side said when president clinton raised taxes and cut spending that it would crater the economy. i was here. i heard the majority leader on that side say that that proposal would crater the economy. and the republicans all repeated that line all across america. the clinton plan, to get the deficits and debt down by raising revenue and cutting spending, they all said would crater the economy. they were wrong they were wrong. then it came time for the bush
administration, and he had massive tax cuts, and they all said that would be a huge job creator and fire up the engines of economic growth. they were wrong again. they were wrong again. the record is clear. look at the difference here. 16 million jobs created under reagan, 3 million und bush i, 23 million under clinton, 3 million under bush ii. and clinton had the biggest reductions ineficit and debt by far of any of them. he had the best economic growth. he had the best jobreation. and the second bush administration comes, and they say big tax cuts. that's going to fire up economic growth, tt's going to fire up job creation. they were wrong. when clinton had a proposal to raise revenue and cut spending, they said it would crater the economy, and yet clinton had the
best record on economic growth, the best record on job creation. they were wrong again. during the second bush administration, at the end, has everybody forgotten? we were on the brink of financial collapse. i was called to a special meeting in this building with the bush administration's secretary of treasury, and i along with other lears of the house and the senate were told we were daysway from a financial collapse. this idea that you can't raise revenue or it will kill jobs; you can't cut spending or it will kill jobs has not proven to be right. in the real world, the clinton administration raised revenue, cut spending to get our debt under control