Speeches & Floor Statements

Floor statement on amendments to Marketplace Fairness Act

Posted on April 25, 2013

I rise in support of the amendment by the senators from Maine.  I think it makes a lot of sense.  It is symbolic too.  Here we have a bipartisan amendment, we have a Republican senator and an Independent senator.  The Independent senator is a former governor, as I once was. 

The reason I support the amendment is because it gives more time for anybody who might be affected by this amendment to adjust to it.  That is never a bad idea -- almost never a bad idea in the Senate. 

It gets us to our goal a few months later than we had thought.  It makes sure those who might be affected can adjust.  Of course, many people who call my office are surprised to learn that it does not affect anyone unless they have remote sales of more than $1 million a year.  So about 99 percent of people who sell things online or in catalogs are not affected. 

Of course, it does not affect Internet taxes; we have a law against Internet taxes.  In fact, another bipartisan amendment by the senator from Arkansas and the senator from Missouri was to extend the 10-year moratorium on Internet taxes.  That was objected to. 

The Collins-King amendment is imminently reasonable.  I think it strengthens the bill.  It is offered in a good spirit.  Some may wish to go faster, but I think it is sensible and reasonable.  I fully support it. 

I would reiterate that we were ready to accept amendments on Monday, but there was an objection -- not a partisan objection but by Democrats and Republicans, a small number. 

We were ready on Tuesday to go ahead with amendments, but there was an objection, a bipartisan objection to going forward.  We were ready on Wednesday with a bipartisan proposal to put on the 10-year extension of the Internet tax, but there was an objection. 

This is like -- I have used this before, but this is like joining the Grand Ole Opry and not being allowed to sing.  This is what we are supposed to do.  We are supposed to bring up these bills, consider reasonable amendments, and vote on them. 

We are at noon on Thursday.  We have not been allowed to do what we could have finished on Tuesday.  So I greatly respect the senators on the other side.  I know their feelings; we have strong feelings too.  As a former governor, I do not think it is any of Washington's business to continue to keep us from making decisions about our own taxes and tax structures.  Some people say they do not trust the states.  Most of the people in my state do not trust Washington to make decisions about spending.  We do a heck of a lot better job of making decisions about taxes and spending and collections than people do here.

So we pretty well made up our minds.  Three times now we have had 74, 75 votes for this bill.  We are ready to proceed.  We have several amendments that have been filed, some by those who oppose the bill.  That is fine.  Bring them up.  Let's vote on them.  They may make good sense, just like this amendment makes good sense. 

So I thank the senators from Maine for being constructive, for making a commonsense proposal to the bill.  I support it.  I hope that very soon we can debate it and vote on it and finish this legislation.