Departments of Labor , Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008 - Resumed

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: Oct. 18, 2007
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008--Resumed -- (Senate - October 18, 2007)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--S. 2128

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, in just 13 days the Internet tax moratorium will expire. If Congress has not acted by then, State and local governments will be free to impose new taxes on Internet access--and trust me, they will.

We need to be straight with the American people about what is happening. The majority wants to preserve at least the possibility of taxing access to the Internet.

The Internet has literally transformed this country. It has cleared new pathways to learning for rich and poor. It has brought a level of efficiency and innovation to the shop floor, the home, and the corner office that were unimaginable just a decade ago. Just think of the millions of middle-class Americans who have lifted their fortunes through online auction sites or made their first stock purchases over online trading sites.

The Internet has been at the heart of America's economic growth over the past decade--all because Government has not gotten in the way. But those days are over if the people on the other side of the aisle in the Senate open the Internet to new taxes.

We cannot let that happen. For the sake of our economy, for the sake of our competitiveness, for the sake of consumers who don't want to see new taxes on their bills, we need to ban taxes on Internet access permanently.

The House of Representatives has sent us a bill that would extend the moratorium for 4 years. Frankly, I do not think that is nearly long enough. If we all agree that taxing Internet access hurts consumers, hurts innovation, hurts broadband development, why should we stop at 4 years? Why not keep the Internet tax free forever?

So I say to my friends on the other side, the clock is ticking. If you object to considering the Sununu bill to make the moratorium permanent, let's take up the House-passed bill with a couple of relevant amendments in order. One would make the moratorium permanent and, failing that, one would extend it for substantially longer than a mere 4 years.

We can debate these amendments quickly and vote--to see where the
Senate stands on this very important question of keeping the Internet free of onerous taxes.

We could do it this week or next week--but the Senate must act before the moratorium expires in 13 days. And it is my intention to have a vote on the question of whether the moratorium should be extended permanently or merely for another 4 years.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 401, S. 2128, the permanent moratorium on the Internet tax bill. I ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and that any statements relating to the bill be printed in the Record.