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American Jobs And Closing Tax Loopholes Act Of 2010 - Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to Calendar No. 210, H.R. 3962, and that the Baucus substitute amendment, which is at the desk, be considered and agreed to; that the bill, as amended, be read the third time, passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table; that any statements relating thereto be printed in the Record, as if read, with no further intervening action or debate.

Mr. President, what this is, as of Tuesday, the doctor fix--the reimbursement for Medicare physicians--expired. The administration was able to--the Health and Human Services Department--extend that for 3 days. It runs out, I think, tomorrow. It is still good until tomorrow. So if we don't do this, not only will doctors who take Medicare patients get a 21-percent cut, in addition to that, so will others that are based upon Medicare reimbursements--veterans, insurance companies, HMOs, even TRICARE and the military. It will be a shame if this weren't agreed to. Remember, it is paid for. It is not a question of running up the debt.

My friends on the other side have the opportunity to take care of the doctors for the next 6 months, fully paid for. If not, there is going to be havoc in America starting tomorrow.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, we just got this a few moments ago. We are going to take a look at it. I think we are all hoping we can come up with a way to do the so-called doc fix and in a paid-for fashion, but for today I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to a bill to provide for an extension of unemployment insurance provisions that are in this bill we just had a vote on, for an extension of unemployment insurance provisions; that the bill be read the third time, passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table; that statements relating to the matter be printed in the Record, as if read, with no further intervening action or debate.

Mr. President, this is extending unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work a long time. As Mark Zandi, Senator McCain's chief economic adviser, says, nothing stimulates the economy more than giving an unemployment check to somebody who has been unemployed for a long period of time.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, we are still working together, on a bipartisan basis, to try to figure out how to go forward. For the moment, I object.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of a bill--the provision in this bill we just dealt with--to extend the temporary increase of the Medicaid FMAP through June 30, 2011; that the bill be read the third time, passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table; that any statements relating to the matter be printed in the Record, as if read, with no further intervening action or debate.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, this issue is currently covered through the end of this calendar year. This matter doesn't have the urgency at the moment that some of the others arguably do. We still have 6 months to address this issue. Therefore, for the moment, I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, here is one I hope we don't have objection to. If there were ever a bipartisan piece of legislation, this is it. This is legislation originally devised by the Senator from Georgia, JOHNNY ISAKSON. It has been good for the economy--the first-time home buyers tax credit.

Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of people who have qualified for this first-time home buyers tax credit. The problem is that the banks processing the paper are taking too long. If we don't extend this time, they will lose the opportunity to buy a home for the first time. It is fully paid for. It passed by a large margin. It seems that we should at least get this done tonight. It would allow these papers to be processed. I cannot imagine why something as bipartisan as this should not go forward.

I ask unanimous consent that the Finance Committee be discharged from H.R. 4994, and that the Senate proceed to its consideration; that the amendment we dealt with yesterday, the so-called Reid amendment, which is at the desk, be considered and agreed to; the bill, as amended, be read the third time, passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table; that any statements relating to this matter be printed in the Record, as if read, with no further intervening action or debate.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the majority leader is entirely correct that there is support on both sides for the step he recommends we take. Senator Isakson has been the leader on this issue on our side. However, incredibly, CBO has decided this costs money, which nobody can quite understand. So there is still a disagreement over how to pay for it. There is an agreement on the result, but there is a disagreement on how to pay for it, since CBO has decreed that it will cost the government money.

We are going to have to continue to work on this and, therefore, for the moment I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, with respect to some of the previous consents, Americans are frustrated with the amount of spending and borrowing we are doing here. We have an opportunity to show the American people that we can be fully responsible and cut spending elsewhere. Earlier today, we voted for a bill that would have cut the deficit by almost $70 billion. Let's not wave on through legislation that is going to worsen the deficit and dig an even deeper hole than we are currently in.

Americans want us to show that we are serious about lowering the debt. Therefore, I have a consent to extend all of these expired provisions, including unemployment insurance and the doc fix. I will propose that now.

I ask unanimous consent that the Senate now proceed to the consideration of Calendar No. 411, S. 3421; further, that the bill be read the third time and passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.

Before the Chair rules, for clarity, this is a paid-for 30-day extension of the extenders bill, which includes unemployment insurance, the doc fix, COBRA, flood insurance, and the extension of the small business loan guarantee program, and the 2009 Federal poverty guidelines.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. REID. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, how is it paid for, I ask my friend?

Mr. McCONNELL. With stimulus money.

Mr. REID. That is what I thought. First of all, that money is not there; it is obligated. I also say this. The economic recovery money--the stimulus money--has created millions of jobs in America today--at least 3 million. But the best bang for the buck will come in the next quarter of this year. All the economists say that. It has taken a while to get the programs up and running. This would be taking good money that will create lots of jobs. We are all aware of the deficit. We are all aware of that. We understand where it came from. We understand that President Obama found himself elected President in a huge hole created by the one who was President before him. That is the reason we passed the recovery bill. It wouldn't be right, with the country still struggling to gain its economic viability, to cut the legs out from under this program that has worked so well.

I think this is the wrong way to go. I think it is too bad that we are trying to take good money and abuse it. So I object.

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