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tv   U.S. Senate 12012017  CSPAN  December 2, 2017 1:34am-2:36am EST

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all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment as amended is agreed to. the clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 266, h.r. 1, an act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles 2 and 5 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018. the presiding officer: there will now be two minutes of debate prior to the vote on h.r. 1. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: we yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, millions of americans must be watching in stunned disbelief tonight as the republican senate
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betrays the middle class for the benefit of faceless multinational corporations. colleagues, how many middle-class families need to see their hard-earned pay snatched away in tax hikes before these corporate handouts are no longer worth it? how many more americans need to see their jobs shipped overseas before corporate paymasters no longer call the shots? how many americans need to lose their health care or see their premiums shoot shy high before this is stopped? what's happening tonight is the worst of the united states senate. there is a trail of broken promises, broken promises to working families in the mad dash to pass this bill, and the american people understand this is the first step of continuing attacks on medicare, on
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medicaid, and social security. this vote will not be forgotten. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i yield back the time on this side. the presiding officer: the question occurs on passage of h.r. 1 as amended. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 51 and the nays are 49. the tax cuts and jobs act as
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amended is passed.
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the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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the senate will come to order. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 495, kirstjen nielsen. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all favor in favor say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of homeland security, kirstjen nielsen of virginia to be seventh. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of kirstjen nielsen of virginia to be secretary of homeland security, signed by 17 senators as follows -- you. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum call waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding
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rule 22, the senate vote on this cloture motion at 5:30 p.m. monday, december 4. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i'd
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say it was historic that earlier this week we began the consideration of tax cuts and jobs act. today is even more significant because we are one step closer to enacting that bill. the chairman of the finance committee, senator hatch, has called this a once once-in-a-generation opportunity. i agree. as an accountant, one of my goals when i came to the senate in 1996 was to serve on the financial committee. when i joined the committee in 2009, i said that positive pro-growth chaplains to our tax policy -- changes to our tax policy could help us out of the economic downturn. i believe this bill makes those types of changes and will jump-start our economy. this week 137 economists agreed with ssessment. in a letter to senators and representatives, these economists wrote, quote, economic growth will accelerate
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if the tax cuts and jobs act passes, leading to more jobs, higher wages, and a better living standard for the american people, end quote. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle dispute that analysis, but after a decade of below-average growth and official projections showing real economic growth will average less than 2% annually over the next decade, isn't it time that we tried something new? some of my colleagues have also suggested that bill hasn't gone through regular order. i've already reminded folks of the 70 tax hearings in the senate finance committee held over the last six years. but that isn't all we've done. in the last congress, chairman hatch organized five bipartisan groups to propose changes to the tax code. i was part of two of those groups, which made many recommendations that have informed this package. i would say that those working
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groups were also bipartisan. and while i don't sit on the energy committee, i understand that chairman murkowski led a similarly robust process. the issue of oil and gas exploration and development in the arctic national wildlife refuge has been an issue since before i was a senator. we've been considering and debating the matter for years. this year alone, senator murkowski has introduced a bill, held a hearing, and then marked up legislation on this issue. now the bill that is a product of the finance and energy committee's efforts is on the floor. we've not bypassed committees. we've not filled the tree. we've not cut off debate by filing cloture, which was a common practice in recent years. i think this is an open and transparent process, as i've seen in many years and i appreciate the leader, i appreciate chairman hatch, and i appreciate chairman murkowski for their work to make that happen.
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i also want to thank my budget committee staff for their work on this bill. in particular, i want to thank my staff director betsy mcdonnell who has done a remarkable job shepherding the budget resolution and reconciliation bill. -- through the committee and on the floor. she's been new to that position. she's had a umin of positions -- a number of positions in the senate that have traininged her well to be able to do that. she did a marvelous job. i also i want to thank her team, matt gurow, thomas fuller, elizabeth keys, joe brinkle, tom bork, rick burger, jeremy derimple, allison mcguire, steve towson and eric uland. i want to thank my personal
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office staff who worked hard on the tax provisions on this package and kept all other issues going at the same time. in particularly i want to thank mart massey who is a cpa and who has been my special person to work on these finance issues with me for more than three years. i also thank tara shaw, my chief of staff, who had to put together a new staff because a lot of good people that i had were taken to the administration and to the budget committee. and she did a marvelous job of that. landon stropko, the legislative director and coordinated well. natali rigin, chris lighton, erin wer, max dufornio. and the rest of my wyoming team that work out in wyoming collect
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being the information and working casework out there while we get this work done. i want to thank the budget committee's bipartisan staff, kim prorkt, katie smith, george woodall, grace and kevin walsh. we've been supported by the great work of the leadership floor, the cloakroom staff. specific thanks are owed to sharon soderstrum, monica popp, john chapee, emily curlin, jody wright. the whip's office. and laura dove, especially laura dove who coordinates this activity on the floor, knows the rules backwards and forwards and is able to give good
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advice, very did i have knit advice -- definite advice but always helpful. tony hanagan, mike schmitt, katherine kilroy. i'd be remiss if we didn't thank the senate parliamentarian elizabeth macdonough and her team, leig hildebrand. i know they have given up a lot of their nights and their weekends as well as their regular job time working in detail on these -- on this product and people wouldn't realize the file cabinets full of precedents they have to search through as they listen to both sides make cases about what can and can't be in a budget reconciliation bill. there are also many other staffers who deserve to be
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thanked for their work on this product including the entire finance and energy committee staffs, but in the interest of time i will just say that i appreciate them and look forward to working with all of them to help finish enacting this bill that will benefit hardworking americans and make our economy and country stronger. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of executive calendar 510 through 522 and all nominations placed on the secretary's desk and that the nominations be confirmed, the motions to reconsider be
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considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order, that any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: i further ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 347 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 347 commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the dedication of whiteman air force base. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. enzi: i further ask that the resolution be agreed to, the
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preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 3:00 p.m., monday, december 4. further that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. finally, following leader remarks the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the nielsen nomination as under previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
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the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. wyden: reserving the right to object . the presiding officer: the senator from oregon is recognized. mr. wyden: colleagues, the senate is looking at making $10 trillion of changes in tax policy on the fly. the biggest change in federal income tax policy in more than three decades. legislation that will determine
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our country's economic future for a generation. and at this time, the senate does not have the language the senate will be voting on. my colleagues have been saying that they are out looking for it and i'd like to ask the distinguished majority leader -- i have a couple of questions. when will the senate be able to actually see the full text of this legislation? mr. mcconnell: i say to my friend to oregon, it will be in plenty of time for him to read it. mr. wyden: again, through the chair, we're talking about complicated material. we're talking about
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extraordinarily difficult, technical issues under the best of circumstances and while i respect the majority leader to just be told we'll have plenty of time to read it, what i can say coming on the fact that we didn't have a single hearing on the actual legislation, nothing with regard to specifics, i think on this side of the aisle we have a right to some sense of when we will actually be able to see this. it strikes me as a reasonable and pretty straightforward request given the fact that the american people have been kept in the dark about this for so long. so, again, i respectfully ask the majority leader when will it
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be possible to see the text of this bill? mr. mcconnell: there were four days of hearings in the committee. the report has been out at least two weeks. i'm totally confident our friends on the other side are fully familiar with almost all aspects of this and the final version he'll certainly have an opportunity to read, but he's very familiar with the various parts of this. he had plenty of time to look at it in committee, and as i said, there will be plenty of time to read the final version of it before the vote. mr. wyden: further reserving my right to object. i know that on the other side there have been discussions of scores and scores of hearings, i would say to the distinguished majority leader, there was not one single hearing, not one, on the specifics with respect to this legislation. there was not one single hearing
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on the health changes that the majority seeks to make to put a dagger into the heart of the affordable care act. so i will ask my colleague once more and if we don't get a sense of what time we're actually going to see this bill, i intend to object yect. -- object. mr. scott: mr. president. the presiding officer: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: reserving my right to object. i'm not sure what meeting i sat through for 12 hours about two weeks ago where we essentially litigated each aspect of this legislation. i'm not sure where we've been for the last several years as we've had over the last five or six years several dozen hearings.
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the reality of this legislation is every facet of it is something that we've discussed. there's not a new part to the legislation. yes, we fused it together over time, there's no doubt about that. but to sit here and say that we have not had opportunities in the finance committee to hear the facets of the bill is just disingenuous. mr. wyden: would my colleague yield? mr. scott: certainly. mr. wyden: could my colleague tell me when the hearing was held in the health changes envisioned in this legislation? mr. scott: it is not a secret that our party and this body has been working on health care for ten years. so anybody who doesn't appreciate the individual mandate and its effect in our bill takes nothing at all away
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from anybody who needs a subsidy, anyone who wants to continue coverage. it does not have a single letter in there about preexisting conditions or any actual health feature. what our plan does on the individual mandate is good news for the average american. here it is -- here's the good news for every american. they ought to hear it loud and clear. 80% of the folks who are punished by the individual mandate -- 80% of those folks live in a household of less than $50,000 of income, a third of those folks live in a household of less than $25,000. therefore, benefit of our actions is to set folks free from being penalized for doing nothing. mr. wyden: would my colleague continue to yield? just one moment. would my colleague yield for a
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question? i believe i have the floor. the presiding officer: is there objection to the pending -- mr. wyden: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: is there objection to the request? mr. wyden: it's my intention, mr. president, to come back every 30 minutes until we get an answer to the question. i just asked my colleague from south carolina was there a hearing on the sweeping changes that were -- that are being proposed in this bill, the affordable care act. i ask him for a date. he said nothing with respect to the date. mr. president, we'll be back in 30 minutes. the presiding officer: is
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there objection to the request? without objection, so ordered. there will be nowom west virgin. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: mr. president, i want to thank my colleague from oregon. i don't think there is a person more bipartisan than i am. i don't think there is a senator here that i have voted on for republican bills as i have as a democrat. i am really so frustrated that i thought we could make this place work. that was my purpose for being here. i truly did everything i possibly could. i reach out. the white house was kind enough to reach out to me. i sat down. i talked to all of the people in charge of writing this legislation from the white house. i sat down with my colleagues. i gave them some suggestions and ideas. we brought people together thinking we could find a
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bipartisan way. mr. president, i will tell you, this, as i have seen it unfold tonight, it is not designed to have one democrat on the bill. i want to be part of the reform. i look back at ronald reagan. he was a hero to all of us. he had 97 votes. 97 senators voted for the legislation he crafted. there were adjustments, give and take, but every time i think, well, if you have some ideas, shouldn't you at least listen to me, listen to what we think. two days ago we did a press conference. i invited all of my colleagues. i think myself and senator heitkamp and senator donnelly, i knew the three of us would show up. i had four other colleagues who wanted to be involved. i saw my good friend senator corker from tennessee asking for
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a few more days to look at this, and that was denied. i don't know what it will take. maybe we hit the proverbial wall. but this is the first time i know that we have done this type of major reform without having a bipartisan objective for it. not one bipartisan vote on this piece of legislation. i have been looking, trying to, to say that people have called me today from my home and asking, what have you seen. would you like something? i said, i haven't seen that much. i'm still trying to find the bill. i promised them, i will at least tell you i will seeing is before i vote on it. i won't be able to read it but i will see it. i want to seeing is. i would love for us to take the time to sit down and work on this. i think you would be surprised. i think not only could we get to 60, we could get above 60 votes on this. i thought my democratic colleagues in 2010 that voted
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for the affordable care act with not one republican on it was wrong. i thought that was wrong. i understand from the history -- i wasn't here. i was a governor at that time. they tried. they went through the mawrps, they went -- markups, they went through the hearings. i don't think any major legislation that affects every american should go through without a bipartisan -- without bipartisan votes and support. if this was designed to be a political ploy to have one side and one side only without one democrat vote, this will fail, and it's a shame for our country and for my colleagues. i have made it a point what i thought was broken in this place, i have never ever campaigned against a sitting colleague. i have never campaigned against my fellow republican. i have never made a phone call against a fellow republican. i have never raised money to defeat a fellow republican, my
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friends, because i don't think i could face you if i am trying defeat you. i will never do that. all i ask is to give me a chance to work with you. that's all i want to do. i want to be a part of this. i ask that you slow this down to allow me to be involve. each are going to try to take around five minutes. senator durbin. mr. durbin: mr. president. mr. president, what happens when you decide to write a tax bill that changes the economy of the united states of america, you don't have adequate hearings to gauge what's going to happen, you don't bring in the experts to try to tell you what the impact will be on individuals, families, and businesses, and you stick around until 5:00 on a friday night, and you hand out the work product for all the members of the senate to take a look at before they vote on changes in the tax code that will affect the people they represent. this is what happens.
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479 pages were handed to us. they tell us that some of this has been around for awhile. some of it's new. they don't tell us which part is new and which part is old. but lucky for us, on k street -- and there's nothing wrong with lobbyists. but on k street where the federal lobbyists live, they are following this really closely and they have given us basically a cheat sheet, a score card so we can figure out at least generally speaking how many changes have been made in the 479 pages since the last time we saw this proposed bill. now i defy any member of the senate to stand here, take an oath that they have read this and understand what in the world it means for businesses and families and individuals. and if they want to take that oath -- and maybe some will -- then i refer them to, ladies and gentlemen of the american jury, i refer them to exhibit a, page 257 out of the 479.
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why do i pick this page? because they didn't have time to type it. they wrote it out in longhand. we're not even teaching cursive in a lot of schools anyone -- any more but someone on the staff knew it to try. the problem is they wrote it on the margin here about subchapter s corporations and what they don't pay and how much they pay. i defy anybody to read it because the problem is when they copied it they chopped off-line so there aren't sentences. there are just little phrases and words. this is your united states senate at work. this is what happens when you push through a bill late at night desperate to pass it without really stopping to ask yourself will this make us a stronger nation? will this help legitimate businesses that happened to expand and create jobs? is this good for american families? well, the joint committee on
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taxation told us yesterday -- that's our scorekeeper. they are the ones we hired to be our scorekeeper. they're nonpartisan. they told us what they learned about this bill before we got the new version with the new amendments that our friends at k street were happy to tell us what the listings were. they told us that this starting bill will add $1 trillion to the national debt so our kids and grandkids can pay it off, to pay for the tax cuts. they also told us that the predicted economic growth that's supposed to come out of these pages of 4% or 5% a year is .8%, is it not? is that right? they also told us that the biggest beneficiaries under this tax code, this joint committee on taxation happen to be the wealthiest people in america. surprise. and the biggest corporations. they told us at least in the second ten years, maybe before, reagan middle-class --
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middle-income families are going to pay higher taxes because of this. and they let us know and we knew already what's going to happen to programs like social security, medicare and medicaid. when you run up the national debt and want to try to balance the books, our republican friends have been very open about this, they want to cut benefits under social security, medicare and medicaid to try to balance the books. well, america, are you ready for this? are you ready for senior citizens who are counting on that social security check to get a cut in benefits to pay for a tax cut, a tax giveaway to the wealthiest people in america? are you ready to see medicare cut? that's reimbursement for seniors for medical expenses in order to make sure the biggest corporations in america get a tax break. are you ready to see medicaid, taking care of seniors in
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nursing homes, are you ready to see those benefits cut in order to give an incentive for businesses to move jobs overseas? that's what this is all about. here is the reality. as a percentage of gross domestic product, american corporations have never been more profitable. never. and as a percentage of gross domestic product, american corporations have never paid less in federal taxes. so what is the republican response to that? cut corporate taxes. why? shouldn't we be focused on doing what's necessary so that middle-income families have a fighting chance to pay their bills, put money away for their kids and their future? shouldn't we be working on helping small and medium sized corporations instead of the big boys? that's what i think we should focus on. i don't know for sure that this bill doesn't do that. in fact, nobody does. nobody knows what's in here. 479 pages. and if they tell you they do, then ask them to explain page
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257. ask them to try to read this. i've tried. and this is going to change the tax law of america in ways that we can't even explain. we've got to get this done because the united states senate has done little or nothing this year. and so they're desperate to get something done before the end of the year. and sadly, it's the tax bill which we've just been handed one hour and some minutes ago. mr. wyden: i want to thank my colleague from illinois for his insightive analysis and his skills with handwriting may be used to find what that means. i thank him for trying to define a byzantine area of subchapter tax law. mr. durbin: i'd like to ask consent that this infamous page 257 be made a part of the record
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after my speech, but i'm really sorry for the members of the staff to have to try to write this out, type it out. mr. wyden: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, this is in effect a massive transfer of wealth under the guise of tax reform and under repeating the statement it will help the middle class. now you can repeat a statement but that doesn't mean it's true. you have to look at what the facts are. and i think you've heard a number of the speeches here that will refute that this is not middle class tax relief. it certainly isn't when a lot of those so-called tax cuts for the middle class will evaporate. they'll cease to exist after
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seven or eight years. but let's take another part of this tax bill, the child tax credit. we're going to have a couple of amendments out of here on the floor tonight about it. we're going to have one that is going to increase the tax credit substantially like $3,000 per child. when you compare that to the current bill, the current existing republican bill, they have a tax credit that in fact if you have more than three children, if you have a large family, you are going to be penalized. that's just what the facts are. so let's see how the votes come later this evening on two amendments. one, a democratic amendment. and one a republican amendment.
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and the child tax credit, let's see what the majority of our friends that are trying to ram this through in the dead of night, let's see what happens. because clearly their tax bill does not do enough. now this senator has long supported increasing the child tax credit, including cosponsoring senator brown's amendment to increase the credit and make it easier for those who are in a low-income situation to claim that credit. i'm going to continue to support increases for this tax credit for the middle class as long as it's done in a fiscally and thoughtful, responsible way. it doesn't make any difference who's proposing it. let's see how the votes come out here on these two amendments.
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unfortunately the bill that's before us does it backwards because it actually increases those who have a number of children. we should be doing the opposite. so i hope that we'll find a way to drastically change this bill instead of limiting the child tax credit, let's go in and make the corporate income tax not at 20%, but at 22% or 25% in order to fund the child tax credit to help those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. we should be coming together in a bipartisan manner to flip the priorities in this bill and to significantly increase the child tax credit. obviously that's what the american people want, but
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that's not the bill of goods that you are getting sold here tonight. by saying something is something, that doesn't make it so. it's what the facts are. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. wyden: mr. president, my colleague has a parliamentary inquiry and then we'll go to senator bennet. durbin i submitted this page -- mr. durbin: i submitted page 257 of the record and you gave unanimous consent for that to happen. i've now been instructed the personnel cannot read this page the way it is currently written. could i have this entered in the record just at written with the handwritten notations on the side? could i enter it as a graphic or art work or something like that?
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i ask the president, does that mean if the amendment has this page in it that the amendment cannot be filed? the presiding officer: the amendment can be filed with handwritten changes, but the staff will have to change those later. or correct them. mr. durbin: i'd like to ask a parliamentary inquiry further. why didn't they accept page 257 after i received consent to put it in the record? the presiding officer: the amendment has not been filed yet.
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it was accidentally -- mr. durbin: parliamentary inquiry. this page which is part of the tax bill, 257, as written cannot be filed in the senate because no one can read it? is that correct? the presiding officer: the amendment has not yet been filed. it can be filed in that form. mr. durbin: parliamentary inquiry. why can't this page be filed in that form? the presiding officer: the amendment as shown in the handwritten text cannot be
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printed in that graphic form. mr. wyden: parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: when this is filed, we want the american people to know what has actually been written on the side. will it be possible as part of senator durbin's statement to add this written on the side portion as part of his statement so that the american people actually know how outrageous this process is and it at least states as part of his speech what is written in the margin? can that be stated as part of his statement?
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mr. wyden: would the chair answer the question? mr. wyden: my question is when the amendment is filed, i would like to ensure that the important point my colleague has made about what is written in the margin could be included as part of his written statement that will be entered into the record so that the american people can get some sense of what kind of flimflam is actually taking place here. the presiding officer: when the amendment is filed. mr. wyden: i thank you. the presiding officer: the text will appear in linear format with any errors that may be in
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it. mr. durbin: mr. president, let me just say, i -- i have the greatest respect for the senate staff, and i am not trying to say anything negative about them. i was hoping that this could be entered into the record, and i ask for unanimous consent to enter it, believing that the handwritten portion would show up in the record. i have since been advised that there will have to be translators and interpreters who will later decide exactly what this says before it's part of the congressional record. i think i have made my point about where we stand in preparation of a tax reform for america. thank y

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