Kevin McCarthy Elected Republican Leader in 116th Congress, 159-43
Senate Session - September 22, 2005

The Senate passed fiscal year 2006 spending bills for the Department of Agriculture, military construction, and the Veterans Affairs Department.

Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:30:44 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. TODAY'S PRAYER WILL BE OFFERED BY…

    OFFICER: THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. TODAY'S PRAYER WILL BE OFFERED BY GUEST CHAPLAIN FATHER JOSEPH BREEN OF SAINT EDWARD'S CATHOLIC CHURCH IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE.

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  • 09:31:03 AM

    THE GUEST CHAPLAIN

    GATHER THIS MORNING IN THIS HALLOWED HALL OF THE SENATE CONSIDERED BY…

    GATHER THIS MORNING IN THIS HALLOWED HALL OF THE SENATE CONSIDERED BY THOSE THAT FORMED THE CONSTITUTION TO BE THE GREAT "ANCHOR" OF THE GOVERNMENT, LET US CALL UPON GOD, SOVEREIGN LORD OF OUR NATION TO DEEPEN IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS TO THE TRUTH ABOUT LIFE, ITS DIGNITY AND ITS REFLECTION OF THE ETERNAL GOD. HELP US TO APPRECIATE THE TRUTH THAT LIFE IS ALWAYS GOOD AND THAT EVERY LIFE IS OF EQUAL DIGNITY. WE ARE THANKFUL FOR THE EYES WE HAVE TO SEE; HEARTS TO UNDERSTAND; THE DEPTH TO THINK AND THE CONCERN TO CARE. AS WE TAKE LIFE ONE DAY AT A TIME, WE ASK FOR GUIDANCE AND STRENGTH. WE DO NOT HAVE YESTERDAY OR TOMORROW... ONLY TODAY. HELP US TO REMEMBER THE PROBLEMS WE ENCOUNTER ARE BUT OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE PUT BEFORE US TO USE CREATIVE ENERGIES, MAKING A BETTER WORLD FOR ALL. LORD, THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS THE LOVE AND GRATITUDE OF THE PEOPLE OF OUR NATION TO OUR LAWMAKERS WHO SO WILLINGLY HAVE GIVEN THEMSELVES TO PUBLIC SERVICE. BLESS OUR SENATORS, NOW AND ALWAYS. AMEN.

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  • 09:33:01 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO OUR FLAG. I PLEDGE…

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO OUR FLAG. I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

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  • 09:33:18 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 09:33:20 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 22, 2005. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS…

    WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 22, 2005. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE JOHN E. SUNUNU, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED TED STEVENS, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:33:38 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. TPHAPZ, THE…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. TPHAPZ, THE NATIONAL WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2744.

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  • 09:33:49 AM

    THE CLERK

    NUMBER 121, H.R. 2744, AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT…

    NUMBER 121, H.R. 2744, AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND F.D.A. APPROPRIATIONS AGENCY AND RELATED PROGRAMS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING 2006.

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  • 09:34:07 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO A VOTE ON THE DAYTON…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO A VOTE ON THE DAYTON AMENDMENT NUMBER 1844. THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

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  • 09:34:15 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:34:45 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WE'RE NOW ON THE DAYTON AMENDMENT.

  • 09:34:50 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    IN RELATION TO THE DAYTON AMENDMENT NUMBER 1844, ALL THOSE -- ALL THOSE --

  • 09:34:52 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IN RELATION TO THE DAYTON AMENDMENT NUMBER 1844, ALL THOSE -- ALL THOSE --

  • 09:34:59 AM

    MR. DAYTON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS.

  • 09:35:01 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE REQUESTED. IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND?…

    OFFICER: THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE REQUESTED. IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE A SUFFICIENT SECOND. THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE ORDERED. THE VOTE OCCURS ON THE DAYTON AMENDMENT NUMBER 1844. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: /

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  • 09:35:11 AM

    Senate Vote 240 - On the Amendment (Dayton Amdt No 1844 As Modified)

    To condition the use of funds for carrying out a provision relating to prevented planting payments, with an offset.

    Amendment Rejected (47 - 52)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 47
    Democratic - 43
    Republican - 3
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 50
    Republican - 50

  • 10:06:51 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE CLERK WILL READ THE BILL…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE CLERK WILL READ THE BILL FOR THE THIRD TIME.

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  • 10:07:11 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE CLERK WILL READ…

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE CLERK WILL READ THE BILL FOR THE THIRD TIME.

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  • 10:07:16 AM

    THE CLERK

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 10:07:28 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

  • 10:07:29 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

  • 10:07:32 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA.

  • 10:07:55 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA.

  • 10:07:57 AM

    MR. STEVENS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:08:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MADAM PRESIDENT? I CALL FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS.

  • 10:08:14 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    PRESIDENT? I CALL FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS.

  • 10:08:16 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE YEAS AND NAYS HAVE BEEN ORDERED. IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE…

    THE YEAS AND NAYS HAVE BEEN ORDERED. IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE IS A SUFFICIENT SECOND. THE YEAS AND NAYS HAVE BEEN ORDERED. THE QUESTION OCCURS ON PASSAGE OF THE BILL AS AMENDED. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: n VOTE:

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  • 10:08:30 AM

    Senate Vote 241 - On Passage of the Bill (HR 2744 As Amended)

    Agriculture Department FY2006 Appropriations bill Appropriations bill FY2006, Agriculture

    Bill Passed (97 - 2)
    Yea

    Vote Details: Yea - 95
    Republican - 51
    Democratic - 43
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 2
    Republican - 2

  • 10:25:51 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

  • 10:26:08 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

  • 10:26:11 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    PRESIDENT, AT THIS TIME I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THOSE WHO WORKED SO HARD TO…

    PRESIDENT, AT THIS TIME I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THOSE WHO WORKED SO HARD TO HELP US WITH THE BILL, PARTICULARLY DAVE SCIAPPA AND LAURA DOVE HERE ON THE FLOOR, ALONG WITH BILL HOAGLAND OF THE LEADER'S STAFF AND CHAIRMAN CHAMBLISS AND HIS STAFF, ALL OF WHOM HAVE BEEN TREMENDOUSLY HELPFUL. WE ALSO WANTED TO THANK DAVID TINSLY, KATHY ALVAREZ, LULA DAVIS AND THE PARLIAMENTARIANS AND THE CLOAKROOM STAFF. THESE MARATHON ACTIVITIES ARE NOT THE BEST KIND OF SITUATIONS FOR SOME OF THESE FOLKS WHOM WE TAKE FOR GRANTED AROUND HERE, AND I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR HELP AND THEIR SUPPORT. I, OF COURSE, WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE STAFF OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE, AND I WILL LIST THEIR NAMES AS A SINGLE STAFF, EVEN THOUGH TECHNICALLY THEY'RE DIVIDE BETWEEN MAJORITY AND MINORITY, BUT IN THIS SUBCOMMITTEE, WE WORK TOGETHER AS IF WE ARE ONE STAFF. JOHN ZILKOWSKI, HUNTER MOORHEAD, DIE UNANIMOUS PRIEST, STACY McBRIDE, GAYLAND FOUNTAIN, JESSICA FREDERICK, BILL SIMPSON AND TOM GONZALEZ. ALL OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE MY VERY DEEP AND SINCERE THANKS FOR THE WORKING IN GETTING THIS DONE. NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND WE HAVE TO APPOINT CONFEREES.

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  • 10:27:32 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE INSISTS ON ITS AMENDMENT,…

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE INSISTS ON ITS AMENDMENT, REQUESTS A CONFERENCE WITH THE HOUSE ON THE DISAGREEING VOTES OF THE TWO HOUSES AND THE CHAIR APPOINTS THE FOLLOWING AS CONFEREES ON PART OF THE SENATE.

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  • 10:27:44 AM

    THE CLERK

    BENNETT, COCHRAN, SPECTER, BOND, McCONNELL, CRAIG, BROWNBACK, STEVEN,…

    BENNETT, COCHRAN, SPECTER, BOND, McCONNELL, CRAIG, BROWNBACK, STEVEN, KOHL, HARKIN, DURBIN, JOHNSON, LANDRIEU AND BYRD. BEN BEN MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT --

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  • 10:27:58 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:28:17 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I NOW ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THERE BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS…

    I NOW ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THERE BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 10:28:19 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:28:26 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:28:35 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    CON THAT SENATOR McCAIN'S LEGISLATIVE FELLOW BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGESES…

    CON THAT SENATOR McCAIN'S LEGISLATIVE FELLOW BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGESES DURING CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2528.

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  • 10:28:42 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:28:52 AM

    MR. BENNETT

    PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 10:28:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. n QUORUM CALL:

  • 10:31:02 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:38:17 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 10:38:18 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 10:38:19 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 10:38:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:38:25 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY MORNING I MADE A TRIP DOWN TO MEET WITH THE…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY MORNING I MADE A TRIP DOWN TO MEET WITH THE HEAD OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS, ADMIRAL MARTI EFRPBS IS AN -- EVANS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY PERSON, SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY FOR 29 YEARS, ROSE TO THE RANK OF REAR ADMIRAL. AFTER HER RETIREMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES NAVY SPENT SEVERAL YEARS AS HEAD OF THE GIRL SCOUTS OF AMERICA AND THEN JUST FEW YEARS AGO WAS CHOSEN TO BE THE C.E.O. OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS. THE AMERICAN RED CROSS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY AGENCY. SOME 4,500 EMPLOYEES HERE IN WASHINGTON, 30,000 NATIONWIDE, MILLIONS OF VOLUNTEERS. THOSE OF US WHO HAVE HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE OF WORKING WITH THE RED CROSS KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE WORKING IN WASHINGTON ARE IMPORTANT, BUT THE VOLUNTEERS IN THE FIELD ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. MEN AND WOMEN FROM COMMUNITIES ACROSS AMERICA WHO AT THE FIRST WARNING SIGNAL ARE PREPARED TO GIVE UP THE PERSONAL LIVES AND TO MOVE TO WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED. THE HELP THAT THEY BRING AND HAVE BROUGHT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE SO MANY TIMES IN THE LIVES OF VICTIMS. AS MS. EVANS TOLD ME YESTERDAY, THIS IS NOT JUST A MATTER OF HURRICANES AND FLOODS, BUT THEY RESPOND TO HOUSE FIRES TO TRY TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUAL COMMUNITIES HAVE A HELPING HAND. I ASKED HER WHAT SHE DID IN PREPARATION FOR HURRICANE KATRINA, HOW THE AMERICAN RED CROSS POSITIONED ITSELF. AND I ASKED WHAT THEY WERE DOING IN ANTICIPATION OF HURRICANE RITA, WHICH WE ARE ALL WATCHING SO CLOSELY. SHE SAID THAT THEY DIDN'T WAIT FOR A GOVERNMENT SIGNAL. THEY KNEW WHAT THEY HAD TO DO. THEY POSITIONED THEIR PEOPLE, THEIR RESOURCES IN SAFE LOCATIONS WHERE THEY COULD MOVE IN AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AFTER THE DISASTER. THEY GAVE A HELPING HAND IN THE EVACUATION, BUT THEY WERE READY AND PREPARED IF SOMETHING TERRIBLE OCCURRED TO BE THERE. IT WAS HEARTWARMING AND REASSURING TO KNOW THAT THE AMERICAN RED CROSS AND OTHER EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS LIKE AMERICA'S SECOND HARVEST BASED IN CHICAGO, THE SALVATION ARMY AND SO MANY FAITH-BASED GROUPS ARE PREPARED AND READY TO MOVE. WE ARE NOW WATCHING BECAUSE OF SATELLITE IMAGERY, THE COURSE OF THIS HURRICANE RITA AND PRAYING THAT IT WILL NOT STRIKE WITH THE FORCE OF CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE ON THE COAST OF TEXAS AND LOUISIANA, AND THAT SOMEHOW SOME WAY AT LAST MOMENT WE'LL BE SPARED. BUT WHETHER WE ARE SPARED OR NOT, WE MUST BE PREPARED. THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN HAUNTED BY HURRICANE KATRINA FOR THE LAST THREE WEEKS. PRESIDENT BUSH HAS MADE AT LEAST FIVE DIFFERENT VISITS TO NEW ORLEANS TO BE VISIBLY PRESENT DURING THE RESCUE AND RECOVERY EFFORT. HE MADE AN HISTORIC SPEECH FROM JACKSON SQUARE IN NEW ORLEANS LAST WEEK SPEAKING ABOUT THE CHALLENGE WHICH HURRICANE KATRINA PLACES FOR AMERICA. I THOUGHT WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID WAS THE RIGHT THING. I'M A LOYAL DEMOCRAT. DON'T GET ME WRONG. BUT I LISTENED CAREFULLY TO WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID AND I THOUGHT THAT PRESIDENT IS SHOWING THE KIND OF LEADERSHIP AMERICA NEEDS AT THIS MOMENT. WE'VE GOT TIME -- AND I'LL REFER LATER IN MY REMARKS -- TO THE WHOLE QUESTION OF WHAT WENT WRONG WITH HURRICANE KATRINA. BUT LOOKING FORWARD, AS WE MUST AS A NATION, WE NEED TO STAND BEHIND THOSE VICTIMS, THEIR FAMILIES, THE COMMUNITIES AND THE STATES THAT WERE HIT BY HURRICANE KATRINA. IT WAS A CALL TO ARMS BY THE PRESIDENT FOR THIS CONGRESS TO JOIN WITH HIM AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN STANDING UP FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY. THAT IS AS TRULY AMERICAN AS IT GETS. BUT LISTEN TO THE DEBATE THAT HAS FOLLOWED PRESIDENT BUSH'S ANNOUNCEMENT IN NEW ORLEANS. WE HAVE HAD MEMBERS OF CONGRESS SAYING WE CAN'T AFFORD TO DO IT. WE CAN'T AFFORD TO PROVIDE THE DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR THESE PEOPLE TO REBUILD THEIR LIVES AND FOR THESE COMMUNITIES TO REBUILD THEIR INFRASTRUCTURES AND THEIR HOMES. THERE HAVE EVEN BEEN ARGUMENTS ON SOME SIDE THAT WE CAN'T CONSIDER SPENDING THIS MONEY BECAUSE WE HAVE TO KEEP OUR WORD, KEEP OUR WORD TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA THAT WE PROMISED WE WOULD CUT THEIR TAXES. THAT'S RIGHT. THIS BUDGET RESOLUTION WE PASSED IN THE SENATE AND IN THE HOUSE THIS YEAR PROMISED THAT BEFORE WE WENT HOME AT THE END OF THE YEAR WE WOULD GIVE $70 BILLION MORE IN TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA. AND WE ALSO PROMISED IN THIS BUDGET RESOLUTION, WHICH I OPPOSED, WE PROMISED THAT WE WOULD CUT MEDICAID, WHICH IS HEALTH INSURANCE FOR POOR AND ELDERLY PEOPLE IN AMERICA, AND PROMISE THAT HAD WE WOULD CUT STUDENT LOAN ASSISTANCE ACROSS AMERICA. THAT WAS PART OF WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE A VERY POORLY THOUGHT-OUT BUDGET RESOLUTION. WHICH PASSED WITH REPUBLICAN MAJORITIES IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE. AND NOW WITH THE INTERVENTION OF HURRICANE KATRINA AND OPHELIA AND THE POSSIBILITY OF HURRICANE RITA AND DAMAGE, MANY REPUBLICANS ARE ARGUING WE HAVE A SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY TO CUT THE TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY FIRST, TO CUT MEDICAID EXPENDITURES FOR THE POOR AND ELDERLY, AND TO CUT STUDENT LOANS AND THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO HELP THE VICTIMS. THAT IS TRULY UNFORTUNATE. IT REFLECTS A DIFFERENCE IN VALUES. IT REFLECTS A DIFFERENCE IN PRIORITIES. I WILL TELL YOU THIS. THIS SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS BELIEVES THAT OUR FIRST OBLIGATION IS TO THE MOST VULNERABLE IN AMERICA. OUR FIRST OBLIGATION IS TO THOSE HELPLESS VICTIMS AND THOSE COMMUNITIES, THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, WHO ARE SUFFERING TODAY. IT IS TIME FOR US TO BE STRAIGHTFORWARD. IT IS TIME FOR THE PRESIDENT TO BE STRAIGHTFORWARD TO HIS REPUBLICAN LEADERS IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE AND TO SAY CLEARLY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GO FORWARD WITH MORE TAX CUTS FOR WEALTHY PEOPLE IN AMERICA AS WE FIGHT A WAR IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND AS WE COME TO THE ASSISTANCE OF OUR NEIGHBORS WHO SUFFERED BECAUSE OF THESE TERRIBLE NATURAL DISASTERS. IF THE PRESIDENT WILL DO THAT, I CAN GUARANTEE HIM THIS. THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE FOR DEMOCRATS TO STAND AND JOIN HIM IN A BIPARTISAN RESPONSE TO A NATIONAL DISASTER WHICH PAID NO ATTENTION TO PARTY AFFILIATION. I CAN SAY THAT WITH CONFIDENCE BECAUSE AFTER 9/11/2001, THAT -- THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ALIKE JOINED HANDS IN THE FACE OF THAT TERRORIST DISASTER AND SAID WE WILL STAND BEHIND THE VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND THAT CITY THAT ENDURED THAT GREAT LOSS AS WELL AS, OF COURSE, OUR FRIENDS IN THE PENTAGON WHO WERE VICTIMS AS WELL ON 9/11. WE STOOD TOGETHER ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS. WE DID SOME EXCEPTIONAL THINGS, THINGS TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY STRONGER, THINGS TO RESPOND TO THE ATTACK THAT HAD TAKEN PLACE. THE LIST IS LONG.n STARTING WITH RESOLUTIONS CONDEMNING TERRORISM, APPROPRIATIONS BILLS AND SPECIAL BILLS TO PUT MONEY AFTER 9/11 WHERE IT WAS NEEDED THE MOST. THE AIRLINE STABILIZATION ACT, UNITING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA, THE U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT, THE INTELLIGENCE BILL, THE DEFENSE BILLS. THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. THESE WERE STRONG, BIPARTISAN MEASURES TAKEN IN THE WAKE OF 9/11 BY DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. WE NEED THAT SAME SPIRIT TODAY. WE NEED THAT SPIRIT TO STAND BEHIND THE VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KATRINA AND THEIR FAMILIES AND GOD FORBID IF HURRICANE RITA ARE REEK THE SAME TYPE OF HAVOC, WE NEED TO STAND BEHIND THOSE VICTIMS, AS WELL, MAKING CERTAIN FIRST THAT WE HAVE THE RESOURCES IN FEMA TO RESPOND TO NATIONAL EMERGENCIES. THERE WAS A FEELING FOUR YEARS AGO THAT AMERICA HAD RECEIVED A WAKE-UP CALL AFTER 9/11, THAT WE HAD TO BE READY AND PREPARED AS A NATIONAL TO RESPOND TO WHATEVER WAS THROWN AT US. EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES WERE TAKEN. EXTRAORDINARY SPEECHES WERE MADE. BUT WHEN HURRICANE KATRINA STRUCK, WE WEREN'T READY. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF QUESTION ABOUT HOW TO ANSWER THE QUESTION: WHAT DID WE DO WRONG OR WHAT DID WE FAIL TO DO WITH HURRICANE KATRINA? WE BETTER GET THOSE ANSWERS AND GET THEM QUICKLY, NOT JUST TO POINT BLAME, WHICH SOME SAY IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, BUT FOR ACCOUNTABILITY, TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WENT WRONG SO IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. THAT'S BASIC. IT'S NOT A BLAME GAME. THERE'S NO GAME INVOLVED IN THIS. IT'S A MATTER OF ACCOUNTABILITY. AND SADLY, OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY ACCOUNTABILITY CAN COME ABOUT IF A MAJORITY OF THOSE WHO ARE ASKING THE QUESTIONS ARE MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENT'S PARTY. WE LEARNED AFTER 9/11 THAT IT WAS MUCH BETTER TO BRING IN AN INDEPENDENT, NONPARTISAN COMMISSION TO ASK THOSE HARD QUESTIONS. THE 9/11 COMMISSION, COCHAIRED BY GOVERNOR THOMAS KANE, A FORMER REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY, CONGRESSMAN LEE HAMILTON, A FORMER DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN OF INDIANA, DID AN EXCEPTIONAL JOB. THE STRONG, BIPARTISAN COMMISSION CAME UP WITH MEASURES AND RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH TRULY CHANGED THE WAY WE GOVERN AMERICA AND CHANGED THE WAY THAT WE THINK ABOUT OUR RESPONSIBILITY IN CONGRESS, AS WELL AS IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. WE NEED EXACTLY THE SAME THING WHEN IT COMES TO HURRICANE KATRINA, BUT FOR REASONS I CAN'T EXPLAIN, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE STEADFASTLY REFUSED TO APPOINT AN INDEPENDENT, NONPARTISAN COMMISSION TO FIND OUT WHAT WENT WRONG SEVERAL WEEKS AGO WITH HURRICANE KATRINA. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO COME UP WITH A CREDIBLE ANALYSIS OF THAT FAILING, WHETHER IT OCCURRED AT THE FEDERAL REVEL, THE STATE LEVEL, THE LOCAL LEVEL OR RIGHT HERE IN CONGRESS. LET'S HAVE AN HONEST, INDEPENDENT, NONPARTISAN COMMISSION, AS WE DID AFTER 9/11. INSTEAD, THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP SAYS, LET'S PRESS FORWARD WITH OUR OWN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION. THAT HAS NO CREDIBILITY OR VERY LITTLE, I MIGHT SAY. I'VE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, WHERE SENATOR ROBERTS IS THE CHAIRMAN AND HAS PROMISED THAT HE WOULD INVESTIGATE THE MISUSE OF INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION BEFORE THE INVASION OF IRAQ. THAT PROMISE HAS BEEN MADE FOR OVER A YEAR. NOTHING'S HAPPENED. WE'VE CALLED TIME AND TIME AGAIN FOR CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS OF THE CONTRACTS IN IRAQ, THE NO-BID CONTRACTS IN IRAQ TO COMPANIES LIKE HALLIBURTON. WE KNOW THAT THERE'S EVIDENCE OF ABUSE, MISUSE OF TAXPAYERS' FUNDS, AND YET THIS REPUBLICAN CONGRESS REFUSES TO HAVE A FULL-SCALE, HONEST INVESTIGATION OF HALLIBURTON AND THE OTHER CONTRACTORS WHO ARE PROFITEERING AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR TROOPS AND AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR TAXPAYERS. SO IT'S TIME TO CONCEDE THE OBVIOUS: WE CANNOT HAVE A THOROUGH, MEANINGFUL INVESTIGATION OF HURRICANE KATRINA WITHOUT AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION, AND WE CAN'T COME UP WITH THE RESOURCES TO ADDRESS KATRINA AND THE OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS UNTIL THE PRESIDENT MAKES IT CLEAR TO THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IN CONGRESS, WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD THE PROMISED TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA. IT IS A TIME FOR US TO ASSESS THE REALITY OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE, IN IRAQ, IN AFGHANISTAN AND RIGHT HERE AT HOME. IT IS TIME FOR US TO DEDICATE THE RESOURCES TO REBUILDING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA RATHER THAN STRENGTHENING THE COFFERS OF A FEW CORPORATIONS THAT HAPPEN TO HAVE POLITICAL CONNECTIONS. THAT, I THINK, IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY. I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES IN THE SENATE AND HOUSE WILL GATHER TOGETHER AND UNDERSTAND THAT REBUILDING OUR NATION IS OUR FIRST RESPONSIBILITY. WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THE LEAST FORNAT AMONG US -- THE LEAST FORTUNATE AMONG US NEED OUR HELP TODAY, MORE VULNERABLE THAN THEY HAVE EVER BEEN. WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST, BUT NOW, WITH ANOTHER HURRICANE MOVING ACROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO, WE CAN WORK TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO CHANGE THE FUTURE. AMERICA CAN CERTAINLY DO BETTER. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:50:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    .

  • 10:50:56 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:14:42 AM

    MR. NELSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:14:44 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:14:46 AM

    MR. NELSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:14:51 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:14:57 AM

    MR. NELSON

    PRESIDENT, HURRICANE RITA BEARING DOWN ON THE GULF COAST TEXAS, PERHAPS…

    PRESIDENT, HURRICANE RITA BEARING DOWN ON THE GULF COAST TEXAS, PERHAPS LOUISIANA AGAIN, CATEGORY 5, WINDS HAVE GOTTEN UP TO 175 MILES AN HOUR, VERY SIMILAR TO THE HURRICANE THREE OR FOUR WEEKS AGO, HURRICANE KATRINA, BECAUSE IT SPRANG UP AS A CATEGORY 1 HITTING SOUTH FLORIDA FIRST. KATRINA, QUITE A BIT OF DAMAGE. AS YOU WOULD EXPECT, WINDS IN THE RANGE OF 80 AND 85 MILES AN HOUR, A LOT OF DEBRIS, THE LOSS OF ELECTRICITY AS IT WENT OVER MIAMI DADE COUNTY AND THEN, OF COURSE, WHEN IT GOT OUT INTO THE GULF FUELED BY THOSE WARM WATERS ABOUT 87 DEGREES, PROVIDING THE FUEL THAT THE HURRICANE SURGED IN INTENSITY ON UP TO CATEGORY 5 , COMING DOWN TO A CATEGORY 4 BEFORE IT HIT THE LOUISIANA COAST.n EERILY SIMILAR, HURRICANE RITA, SPRINGING UP, HITTING FLORIDA THIS TIME, ACTUALLY 50 MILES SOUTH OF KEY WEST, BUT, OF COURSE, THOSE COUNTER-CLOCKWISE WINDS AND A CATEGORY ONE HITTING KEY WEST, THAT BEING THE STRONGEST SIDE OF THE STORM, AND THEN OUT OVER THE WARM WATERS OF THE GULF, AND THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE AS IT IS APPROACHING LANDFALL SATURDAY MORNING. BEFORE KATRINA, THIS NATION WAS FINALLY WAKING UP TO THE FACT OF HOW VULNERABLE WE ARE ON OUR DEPENDENCE ON ENERGY SOURCES, SPECIFICALLY THE NATION WAS WAKING UP TO THE FACT THAT 58% OF OUR DAILY CONSUMPTION OF OIL COMES FROM FOREIGN SHORES. THAT'S NOT A VERY GOOD POSITION TO BE IN IF YOU HAVE TO DEPEND ON FOREIGN LANDS FOR THAT OIL. AND GASOLINE WAS SPIKING UP PRIOR TO KATRINA IN THE RANGE OF $2.70 A GALLON. THIS WAS DURING AUGUST, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I WAS DOING TOWN HALL MEETINGS ALL OVER MY STATE OF FLORIDA, AND I CAN TELL YOU, AT $2.70 A GALLON, PEOPLE ARE HURTING. SENIOR CITIZENS ON FIXED INCOMES CAN'T AFFORD TO DRIVE TO THE DOCTOR. PEOPLE MAKING $20,000 A YEAR, THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO DRIVE TO WORK. AND THEN ALONG COMES KATRINA, AND BECAUSE OF HITTING AT AN AREA OF OUR REFINERY CAPACITY, THE SCARE GOES INTO THE MARKET AND THE GASOLINE SURGES. AT ONE STATION OVERNIERKTS ONE STATION ON INTERSTATE 10 NEAR TALLAHASSEE, IT SURGED 40 CENTS IN ONE NIGHT. IT WENT TO WELL OVER $3 A GALLON. NOW, I CAN TELL YOU, BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT MY PEOPLE FEEL IN FLORIDA, AND THEY'RE HURTING. AND THEY'RE HAVING DIFFICULTY MAKING ENDS MEET MUCH LESS NOW HAVING THIS ADDITIONAL COST. WELL, HERE WE GO AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT. HERE COMES THE NEXT MAJOR HURRICANE, HURRICANE RITA, AND IT IS NOW APPARENTLY BEARING DOWN ON THE GALVESTON-HOUSTON AREA, ONE OF THE MAJOR SHIPPING PORTS OF THE WORLD AND ALSO WHERE A GREAT DEAL OF THE OIL ACTIVITY AND THE OIL REFINERY CAPACITY OF THIS COUNTRY IS LOCATED. AND IF IT DOES KNOCK OUT SOME OF THAT REFINERY CAPACITY, WE'RE GOING TO SEE THESE SPIKES IN THE PRICE OF GASOLINE TO THE POINT THAT IT IS REALLY, REALLY STARTING TO HURT OUR PEOPLE. IS IT GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER TRAGEDY LIKE THIS FOR US TO FINALLY WAKE UP AND AS A NATION GET OUR HEADS OUT OF THE SAND AND ADDRESS THIS ENERGY DEPENDENCE CONDITION THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN? NOW, MIND YOU, THIS IS IN THE BACKDROP THAT OVER THE PAST FOUR-PLUS YEARS THAT I'VE BEEN PRIVILEGED TO BE A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, WE HAVE TRIED ALMOST EVERY YEAR TO DO A SIMPLE LITTLE THING, AND THAT IS TO RAISE MILES PER GALLON ON S.U.V.S AND PHASE IT IN OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME SO IT DOESN'T HURT ANYBODY. BUT MR. PRESIDENT, WE CAN'T EVEN GET 40 VOTES OF 100 SENATORS OUT HERE FOR AN AMENDMENT LIKE THAT TO TRY TO ADDRESS THE ENERGY DEPENDENT CONDITION THAT THIS NATION FINDS ITSELF IN. SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? IS IT GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER KATRINA-LIKE TRAGEDY TO SHAKE US OUT OF OUR LETHARGY? WELL, WE MIGHT BE SHAKEN COME NEXT SATURDAY MORNING. WELL, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT WE CAN DO. ONE THING -- BEFORE I GO INTO THAT, LET ME JUST SAY ONE OTHER THING. LET ME TELL YOU THIS THIN THREAD THAT WE ARE HANGING ON IN OUR ENERGY DEPENDENCE. 58% OF OUR DAILY CONSUMPTION, ANY DISRUPTION IN THE SYSTEM AUTOMATICALLY WILL CAUSE PRICES TO SPIKE AND COULD COME TO THE POSITION OF PARALYSIS. IT COULD BE THE MAJOR SHUTDOWN BECAUSE OF SOME MALFUNCTION IN A REFINERY. LORD FORBID IT COULD BE A TERRORIST SINKING A SUPERTANKER IN THE STRAIT OF HORMOUSE, THAT 19-MILE-WIDE STRAIT IN THE PERSIAN GULF THROUGH WHICH ALL OF THE WORLD'S TANKERS HAVE TO FLOW OUT INTO THE OPEN SEA TO SUPPLY A THIRSTY WORLD FOR OIL. IT COULD BE ANOTHER SERIES OF HURRICANES. WHATEVER IT IS, THAT THIN THREAD OF THE SUPPLY LINE COULD HAVE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES FOR THIS COUNTRY IF WE CANNOT SATIATE OUR PARCHED THROATS FOR THIS THIRST FOR OIL. WELL, WE BEST GET ON WITH IT. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE START RETHINKING AND GET SOME MORE VOTES THAN 39 VOTES OUT HERE FOR MANDATING INCREASED MILES PER GALLON. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE START MAKING ETHANOL NOT JUST FROM CORN, WHICH IS AN EXPENSIVE PROCESS, BUT FROM LESS-EXPENSIVE SOURCES THAT OUR TECHNOLOGY NOW ALLOWS US TO MAKE ETHANOL. WE CAN CLEARLY MAKE IT FROM SUGAR CANE. WE CAN MAKE IT FROM A LOT OF NORMAL WASTE, AND YOU KNOW SOMETHING ELSE, WE CAN MAKE IT FROM GRASS. AND WE HAVE 31 MILLION ACRES OF PRAIRIE GRASS IN THIS COUNTRY. LET'S CUT THE GRASS. AND LET'S MAKE CHEAPER ETHANOL AND LET'S MIX THAT ETHANOL WITH GASOLINE THAT WILL BURN IN THE EXISTING CAR ENGINES THAT WE HAVE, WHICH IS THE PRIMARY CONSUMPTION OF OIL IS THE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR, AND IN THE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR IS OUR PERSONAL VEHICLES WHERE WE CONSUME MOST OF THAT OIL. WELL, YOU START MIXING ETHANOL WITH GASOLINE IN GREATER PROPORTIONS, IT WILL BURN IN OUR EXISTING CAR ENGINES, AND WE'RE USING THAT MUCH LESS OIL. BUT LET'S DO SOMETHING ELSE. LET'S MAKE SURE THAT THE CAR MANUFACTURERS THAT ARE SATISFYING THE DEMANDS OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC FOR NEW AUTOMOBILES, LET'S MAKE SURE THAT THEY SATISFY THE DEMANDS AND START PRODUCING MORE HYBRID VEHICLES SO THAT IF YOU HAVE A HYBRID VEHICLE, WHICH TOYOTA HAS HAD FOR THE LAST SIX YEARS THAT WILL GET THE EQUIVALENT OF 50mph IN START-STOP TRAFFIC -- 50 MILES PER GALLON IN START-STOP TRAFFIC, THEN YOU'RE BURNING LESS OIL, THE CONSUMPTION IS LESS OINTMENT NOW, IF THAT HYBRID VEHICLE IS NOW BURNING A FUEL THAT IS NOT JUST GASOLINE BUT IS A MIXTURE OF GASOLINE AND ETHANOL, THEN YOU'RE CONSUMING LESS OIL. AND I'D SUGGEST ONE MORE THING, THAT WE BUILD OUR HYBRID VEHICLES SO THAT WHEN YOU DRIVE IN YOUR GARAGE AT NIGHT, YOU PLUG IT IN AND IT CHARGES UP THAT BATTERY SO THAT THE NEXT DAY WHEN YOU DRIVE OUT, YOU'VE GOT A FULLY CHARGED BATTERY SO THE GASOLINE ENGINE IN YOUR HYBRID VEHICLE IS BEING USED LESS TO CHARGE UP THAT BATTERY AND YOU HAVE CHARGED UP THAT BATTERY OVERNIGHT FROM A SOURCE OF ENERGY OTHER THAN OIL. NOW, THESE ARE STEPS THAT WE CAN TAKE RIGHT NOW. HOW MANY MORE MONSTER HURRICANES IS IT GOING TO TAKE HITTING THE REFINERY CAPACITY OF THIS NATION ALONG THE GULF COAST FOR US TO GET OUR HEADS OUT OF THE SAND? I HOPE AND PRAY THAT KATRINA IS -- THAT TREATA IS -- THAT RITA IS GOING TO LESSEN AND THAT IT WILL NOT STRIKE A PORTION OF THE COAST THAT BRINGS DEVASTATION AND TUMULT AND HARDSHIP, BUT AS OF THURSDAY MIDDAY, THAT IS THE COURSE THAT IT IS ON FOR SATURDAY MORNING LANDFALL. AND THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS PRETTY ACCURATE IN THEIR PREDICTIONS. I'M TALKING TO AN EMPTY CHAMBER BECAUSE WE'RE ALL OUT THERE IN COMMITTEE MEETINGS, AND I'VE JUST RUN HERE FROM TRYING TO HELP PROTECT US IN THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE ON A QUESTION OF COMMUNICATIONS AFTER A NATURAL DISASTER, WHICH WE'VE EXPERIENCED AFTER KATRINA. THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE IS MEETING AT THIS MOMENT AS THEY CONSIDER A NOMINEE FOR CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT. I'VE MADE SIMILAR REMARKS ON THIS FLOOR TIME AND TIME AGAIN, AND IF THEY HAVE NOT FALLEN ON DEAF EARS, THEY HAVE BEEN IGNORED, AS HAVE OTHER SENATORS MADE SIMILAR REMARKS. HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO BE REMINDED OF OUR VULNERABILITY AS A NATION DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN OIL? LET'S START ENACTING SOME ENERGY POLICIES THAT WILL ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM IMMEDIATELY TO WEAN OURSELVES AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE FROM DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL. MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THE SENATE, AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:28:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 11:30:47 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:39:35 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 11:39:37 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 11:39:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. AND UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. AND UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF H.R. WHICH THE THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 11:39:51 AM

    THE CLERK

    NUMBER 169, H.R. 2528, AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR MILITARY QUALITY…

    NUMBER 169, H.R. 2528, AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE FUNCTIONS AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 11:40:00 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS MY PLEASURE TODAY TO BRING FISCAL YEAR 2006 MILITARY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS MY PLEASURE TODAY TO BRING FISCAL YEAR 2006 MILITARY CONSTRUCTION VETERANS' AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES BILL TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION. FIRST, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT AS A RESULT OF CHAIRMAN COCHRAN'S LEADERSHIP AND SENATOR BYRD'S LEADERSHIP, WE RECEIVED AN INCREASE IN OUR ALLOCATION FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THIS PROCESS FROM OVER $1.2 BILLION ABOVE THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST TO ASSIST THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. IT WAS ONLY THROUGH THIS INCREASE THAT SENATOR FEINSTEIN AND I WERE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF OUR NATIONS VETERANS. THIS BILL DOES STAY WITHIN OUR 302-B ALLOCATION. IT PROVIDES $12,116,611 FOR MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND $70, 710, 881 FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS AND $157, 126 FOR RELATED AGENCIES. THIS BILL BRIDGES TWO SIGNIFICANT FUNDING GAPS IN FISCAL YEAR 2006 FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS. THIS IS A TOTAL OF $3.2 BILLION. FIRST THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET REQUEST INCLUDED TWO LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS FOR THE V.A.'S HEALTH SYSTEM THAT WOULD HAVE INCREASED THE COAPARTMENTS FOR PRIRPTION DRUGS AND INSTITUTED NEW ENROLLMENT FEES BOTH OF WHICH WERE TO BE PAID FOR MY VETERANS. REVENUE ESTIMATES FOR THESE PROPOSALS WERE APPROXIMATELY $1.2 BILLION. THE ADMINISTRATION REDUCES THE V.A.'S BUDGET REQUEST BY THIS AMOUNT. THIS BILL DOES IN THE INCLUDE EITHER OF THOSE TWO LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS, AND INSTEAD THE SUBCOMMITTEE USED ALL OF OUR INCREASED ALLOCATION TO COVER THE $1.2 BILLION DIFFERENCE FOR V.A. HEALTH CARE. THE SECOND GAP IN THE 2006 BUDGET WAS A SHORTFALL IN V.A. HEALTH CARE BUDGET IDENTIFIED BY THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS JIM NICHOLSON THIS SUMMER. THE BILL CONTAINS 1.977 BILLION REQUESTED IN A BUDGET AMENDMENT. WHILE SENATOR FEINSTEIN AND I HAVE INCLUDED THE FULL AMOUNT REQUESTED THE BILL DESIGNATES THIS FUNDING AS AN EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION. I WOULD LIKE TO ESPECIALLY THANK THE SUBCOMMITTEE'S RANGE SENATOR FEINSTEIN FOR HER EFFORTS AND COOPERATION OVER THE SUMMER REGARDING THAT CRITICAL ISSUE. I WANT TO THANK SENATOR CRAIG AND SENATOR MURRAY FOR THEIR HELP, AND SENATOR AKAKA AS WELL, FOR THEIR HELP IN HELPING US SOLVE THAT PROBLEM THAT WAS LOOMING AND NEEDED AN EMERGENCY. AND WE ALL CAME TO AN AGREEMENT ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS THAT I THINK IS IS CERTAINLY WORTHY OF OUR COLLEAGUE S SUPPORT. WE HAD PART OF IT AS AN EMERGENCY AND WE WILL FINISH WHAT WE NEED IN THE 2006 BUDGET. THE BILL RECOMMENDS $ $26.3 BILLION FOR THE V.A. ACCOUNT. THIS LEVEL IS $1.3 BILLION ABOVE THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST, AGAIN, ONLY POSSIBLE WITH THE EXTRA ALLOCATION PROVIDED BY THE FULL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MEMBER. THIS BILL RECOMMENDS $412 MILLION FOR MEDICAL AND PROSTHETIC RESEARCH. THE BUDGET REQUEST FOR THIS ACCOUNT WAS $9 MILLION BELOW THE FC2005 ENACTED LEVEL. THE FUNDING LEVEL IN THE BILL INCREASES THIS ACCOUNT ABOVE THE FC2005 LEVEL BY $19 MILLION. WE HAVE SPECIFICALLY INCLUDED FUNDS DIRECTLY SOLELY TO RESEARCH FOR GULF WAR ILLNESS SYNDROME. THIS IS AN AREA THAT I FEEL VERY STRONGLY COMMITTED TO BECAUSE SO MANY OF OUR VETERANS CAME BACK FROM THE FIRST GULF WAR. ONE IN SEVEN VETERANS WHO RETURNED FROM THAT, WITH SYMPTOMS THAT THEY HAD NOT HAD EVER IN THEIR LIVES BEFORE. AND WE WERE, I THINK, SLOW TO RECOGNIZE THAT, BUT WE NOW ARE PUTTING GREAT EMPHASIS ON THAT RESEARCH, NOT TONAL TREAT THOSE VETERANS BUT ALSO TO SEE WHAT THE CAUSE IS AND PREVENT FUTURE MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED SERVICES FROM BEING SUSCEPTIBLE TO THAT KIND OF CHEMICAL WARFARE. THIS BILL PROVIDES FULL FUNDING AS REQUESTED FOR THE V.A.'S MEDICAL FACILITIES ACCOUNT AT $3.3 BILLION, AS WELL AS NEW CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION OF EXISTING FACILITIES AT $607 MILLION AND $209 MILLION RESPECTIVELY. THE BILL CREATES A NEW ACCOUNT FOR THE V.A. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT EFFORT THAT WILL HELP ACHIEVE EFFICIENCIES IN DELIVERING CARE TO OUR VETERANS. WE DO NOT HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY THAT WE NEED IN OUR VETERANS SYSTEM TO REALLY DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AN AN EFFICIENT BASIS, AND I THINK THIS WILL REORGANIZE THE ENTIRE TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO AND GIVE CONGRESS MORE OVERSIGHT AS WELL. FOR OUR NATION'S VETERAN VETERANS COMPENSATION AND PENSIONS AND OTHER BENEFIT PROGRAMS, WE FULLY FUNDED THE ADMINISTRATION'S REQUEST OF $36.BILLION. THE BILL ALSO PROVIDES SORELY NEEDED FUNDS FOR MILITARY CONSTRUCTION.n THE PENDING RETURN OF TROOPS AS A RESULT OF THE OVERSEAS RE REBASING EFFORT, BRAC, AND THE GLOBAL WAR ON TEAR, OUR SERVICE EN AND WOMEN ARE IN A TIME OF GREAT TRANSFORMATION. IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THEY HAVE FACILITIES IN PLACE TO ENABLE THE TRANSFORMATION. THE BILL INCLUDES THE FIRST PHASE OF FUNDING FOR THE BRAC 2005 ROUND SHOULD IT BE APPROVED BY CONGRESS AT $1.5 BILLION. WE HAVE ALSO INCLUDED A PROVISION THAT FACILITATES CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT BY REQUIRING THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TO PROVIDE A SPENDING PLAN BEFORE OBLIGATING ANY FUNDS FROM THIS ACCOUNT. THE BILL ALSO CONTINUES FUNDING FOR MANY IMPORTANT QUALITY-OF-LIFE INITIATIVES, INCLUDING 11 FAMILY HOUSING PRIVATIZATION PROJECTS AND IT INCREASES GUARD AND RESERVE FUNDING MORE THAN $295 MILLION OVER THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST. FOR THE RELATED AGENCIES UNDER OUR JURISDICTION, WE INCLUDE $51.5 MILLION FOR THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENT COMMISSION, WHICH IS $1 MILLION ABOVE ITS REQUEST AND $28.5 MILLION FOR ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETARY, WHICH IS $500,000 ABOVE THEIR REQUEST. OUR SUBCOMMITTEE HAS WORKED HARD, MR. PRESIDENT, TO BRING YOU A FAIR AND BALANCED BILL, AND I THINK IT WARRANTS THE SUPPORT OF OUR COLLEAGUES. WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT THE TOTAL COOPERATION OF SENATOR FEINSTEIN AND HER STAFF. WE HAVE ALWAYS WORKED TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN BASIS AND WE ALWAYS WILL ON THIS SUBCOMMITTEE. MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR TO MY RANKING MEMBER, SENATOR FEINSTEIN.

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  • 11:47:28 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE COMMITTEE-REPORTED SUBSTITUTE IS AGREED TO…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE COMMITTEE-REPORTED SUBSTITUTE IS AGREED TO AS ORIGINAL TEXT FOR THE PURPOSE OF AMENDMENT WITH NO POINTS OF ORDER WAIVED. THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

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  • 11:47:41 AM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. THANK YOU. I'M VERY PLEASED TO JOIN MY…

    YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. THANK YOU. I'M VERY PLEASED TO JOIN MY CHAIRMAN, SENATOR HUTCHISON, IN RECOMMENDING THE 2006 MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL TO THE SENATE. AND I ALSO WANT TO THANK SENATORS COCHRAN AND BYRD FOR THEIR LEADERSHIP AND ASSISTANCE IN GUIDING THIS BILL THROUGH THE COMMITTEE AND TO THE FLOOR. I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE THE SUPPORT OF OUR LEADERS IN ALLOWING US TO TAKE UP THIS BILL AT THIS TIME, BEFORE WE'VE COMPLETED ACTION ON THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROPRIATION BILLS. AND I RECOGNIZE THAT THIS IS NOT THE NORMAL ORDER OF BUSINESS, BUT WITH THE CLOCK RUNNING AND A LARGE AMOUNT OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS FACING THE SENATE, IT'S IMPERATIVE THAT WE PRESS ON WITH THESE BILLS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WITH ONE DISASTROUS HURRICANE BEHIND US AND ANOTHER BEARING DOWN ON TEXAS, I THINK WE ALL RECOGNIZE THAT THERE'S NO TIME TO DAWDLE. WE FACE ENORMOUS CHALLENGES WITH THESE HURRICANES, AND I THINK BOTH SENATOR HUTCHISON AND I HOPE AND PRAY THAT IT WILL NOT BRING ANOTHER MEASURE OF DEVASTATION ON OUR COASTAL STATES. MY HEART GOES OUT TO MY CHAIRMAN, SENATOR HUTCHISON, TO HER PEOPLE, OUR PEOPLE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. AND I HOPE WE CAN MOVE THIS BILL QUICKLY SO THAT SHE CAN RETURN TO TEXAS LATER TODAY TO HELP HER CONSTITUENTS PREPARE FOR THE ONSLAUGHT OF THIS STORM. AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT ALL OF US ON THIS SIDE WISH YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE GODSPEED. AND I HOPE IT DOESN'T HIT AS HARD AS IT LOOKS LIKE IT MIGHT.

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  • 11:49:30 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST SAY THANK YOU FOR THOSE KIND WORDS. I REALLY…

    PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST SAY THANK YOU FOR THOSE KIND WORDS. I REALLY APPRECIATE IT. I KNOW THAT THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA HAS LIVED THROUGH SOME VERY TOUGH EARTHQUAKES, AND WE APPRECIATE THE RESPONSE THAT CONGRESS IS GIVING TO THE MANY NEEDS OF THE VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KATRINA AND POSSIBLY THOSE WHO WILL BE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION FROM RITA. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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  • 11:49:55 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

  • 11:49:59 AM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    VERY MUCH, MADAM CHAIRMAN. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'VE WATCHED WITH GREAT PRIDE…

    VERY MUCH, MADAM CHAIRMAN. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'VE WATCHED WITH GREAT PRIDE THE HEROIC ACTIONS OF OUR NATION'S ACTIVE AND RESERVE MILITARY PERSONNEL AS THEY HAVE RUSHED TO RESPOND TO DEVASTATION CAUSED BY HURRICANE KATRINA. AND WE'VE WATCHED THESE SAME TROOPS COURAGEOUSLY CARRY OUT THEIR MISSIONS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. WE ASK SO MUCH OF OUR MILITARY, AND I THINK WE ALL RECOGNIZE THAT WE CAN NEVER ADEQUATELY REPAY OUR DEBT OF GRATITUDE TO THEM. THAT SAID, WE AS SENATORS HAVE BOTH THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT PROGRAMS IMPORTANT TO OUR MILITARY FORCES AND OUR VETERANS ARE ADEQUATELY FUNDED. AND AS SENATOR HUTCHISON HAS SAID, THE BILL BEFORE US TODAY IS A BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO PROVIDE A PORTION OF THAT FUNDING FOR THE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS OF OUR MILITARY AND THE HEALTH CARE AND OTHER NEEDS OF OUR VETERANS. I REALLY WANT TO EMPHASIZE THE BIPARTISAN NATURE OF THIS BILL AND TO ESPECIALLY COMMEND THE CHAIRMAN, SENATOR HUTCHISON, FOR HER SKILL AND HER DETERMINATION. AND SHE CAN BE VERY DETERMINED. IN ADDRESSING THE BUDGETARY COMPLICATIONS POSED BY MERGING THE MASSIVE AND TROUBLED BUDGET OF THE V.A. INTO THE MILITARY CONSTRUCTION APPROPRIATIONS BILL. AND IN THAT RESPECT, WHEN WE HAD HEARINGS, IT WAS INTERESTED TO SEE THAT SENATOR CRAIG CAME, SENATOR AKAKA CAME, SENATOR MURRAY CAME, THE FORMER AUTHORIZERS, AS WELL AS APPROPRIATORS WHEN THE V.A. WAS IN ANOTHER BUDGET. SO I HOPE THAT VETERANS ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES RECOGNIZE HOW DEEPLY THIS UNITED STATES SENATE DOES CARE THAT THE V.A. BUDGET IS ADEQUATELY FUNDED. IT WAS A STRUGGLE BUT WE GOT THERE AND WE GOT THERE TOGETHER. AND I THINK THAT WAS THANKS TO THE AUTHORIZERS AND THE APPROPRIATORS AND THE FORMER APPROPRIATORS, INCLUDING MY FRIEND, SENATOR MIKULSKI, FOR WORKING CLOSELY WITH US. THIS BILL IS NOTABLE I THINK IN SEVERAL REGARDS. FIRST, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF CHAIRMAN COCHRAN AND SENATOR BYRD, WE WERE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE $1.977 BILLION IN EMERGENCY FUNDING TO ADDRESS THE PROJECTED SHORTFALL IN VETERANS HEALTH CARE. THIS WAS ORIGINALLY DISPUTED BUT IT WAS FOUND -- THE AUTHORIZERS ACTUALLY FOUND THAT THE WRONG -- THAT THE PERCENTAGE OF INCREASE IN THE PLANNING MODEL WAS WRONG. AND SO, THEREFORE, ADDITIONAL MONEYS WERE, IN FACT, NEEDED. AND THAT WAS IN ADDITION TO THE $1.5 BILLION IN THE 2005 SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING THAT WE WERE ABLE TO ADD TO THE 2006 INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS BILL TO MAKE UP THE CURRENT SHORTFALL IN VETERANS HEALTH CARE FUNDING. SO IT WAS A DOUBLE EFFORT BECAUSE MONEY WAS ALSO ADDED ON THE INTERIOR BILL AS WELL AS ON OUR BILL. AT A TIME OF TIGHT BUDGET CONSTRAINTS AND MANY COMPETING NEEDS, THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE DEMONSTRATED THAT IT STANDS UNITED IN SUPPORT OF OUR VETERANS. AND I VERY MUCH HOPE THAT THE FULL SENATE AND, YES, THE HOUSE WILL STAND BY OUR COMMITTEE'S RECOMMENDATION. THE BILL BEFORE THE SENATE TODAY TOTALS $82.98 BILLION, OF WHICH $44 BILLION IS DISCRETIONARY. FOR MILCON, MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, THE BILL EQUALS THE BUDGET REQUEST OF $12.116 BILLION, ALTHOUGH WE HAVE REARRANGED SOME OF THE FUNDING WITHIN THAT REQUEST. FOR THE V.A., THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF APPROPRIATED IN THIS BILL IS $70.7 BILLION, INCLUDING $34.1 BILLION IN DISCRETIONARY SPEND SPENDING AND $36.6 BILLION IN MANDATORY SPENDING. THIS IS $3.2 BILLION ABOVE THE PRESIDENT'S ORIGINAL BUDGET PROPOSAL. NOW, EVEN BEFORE WE LEARNED OF THE TERRIBLE SHORTFALLS IN THE V.A. BUDGET, CHAIRMAN COCHRAN AND SENATOR BYRD PROVIDED AN ADDITIONAL $1.26 BILLION TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE TO COVER SHORTCOMINGS IN THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET REQUEST FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. SENATOR HUTCHISON AND I USED THAT ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO RESTORE PROPOSED CUTS TO PROGRAMS AND TO MAKE UP ALL THE SAVINGS ASSUMED IN THE BUDGET SUBMISSION FOR PROPOSED ENROLLMENT FEES AND INCREASED PHARMACEUTICAL COPAYMENTS, AS THE CHAIRMAN JUST MENTIONED. THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE SNANL REJECTED LEVYING THESE FEES ON OUR VETERANS AND PROVIDED FUNDING TO ENSURE THAT THE V.A. COULD CONTINUE TO PROVIDE SERVICE TO ALL ELIGIBLE VETERANS. THE BILL ALSO PROVIDES ESSENTIAL FUNDING FOR MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, MILITARY FAMILY HOUSING, AND BASE REAL ESTATE LINEMENT AND CLOSURE COSTS. ONCE AGAIN, HURRICANE KATRINA HAS DEMONSTRATED THE VITAL MISSION OF THE GUARD AND THE RESERVE FORCES TO RESPOND TO DISASTERS AT HOME. AND THE IMPORTANT BACKUP ROLE PLAYED BY COMPONENTS OF OUR ACTIVE-DUTY FORCES. AS ANY EXPERIENCED MILITARY MEMBER WILL TELL YOU, INFRASTRUCTURE IS THE KEY TO READINESS. OUR TROOPS CAN'T TRAIN OR DEPLOY EFFECTIVELY WITHOUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY TO SUPPORT AND MOUNT THEIR MISSION. THIS BILL PROVIDES IMPORTANT FUNDING FOR MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS, INCLUDING FAMILY HOUSING, AS THE CHAIRMAN MENTIONED, IN THE PRIVATIZATION OF A NUMBER OF NEW PROJECTS. THOSE NEEDS WILL ONLY INCREASE AS A RESULT OF THE IMPACT OF HURRICANE KATRINA ON A NUMBER OF FACILITIES AND INSTALLATIONS IN MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA. WE MUST BE PREPARED TO MEET THOSE EMERGING REQUIREMENTS AND OTHERS WE MAY YET FACE WITHOUT SLOWING DOWN THE PROGRESS WE WERE MAKING TOWARD ADDRESSING THE BACKLOG OF MILITARY CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS NATIONWIDE. AND I WOULD SUGGEST THAT A NECESSARY PLACE FOR SOME OF THIS WILL BE THE NEXT EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL RATHER THAN HOPEFULLY AMENDMENTS TO THIS BILL. FINALLY, THIS BILL INCLUDES NECESSARY FUNDING TO IMPLEMENT THE 2005 BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE PROCESS AND TO CONTINUE THE ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP FROM THE PREVIOUS BRAC ROUNDS. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO THANK THE CHAIRMAN FOR GOING ALONG WITH IT. BECAUSE THE ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP NEEDS ARE FAR BEYOND THOSE ENVISIONED OR THOSE BUDGETED. MUCH OF THE REMAINING ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP REQUIREMENTS ARE IN MY HOME STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND I'M PARTICULARLY MINDFUL OF THE NEED TO FINISH THIS JOB. SENATOR HUTCHISON HAS STRONG WILLINGYSUPPORTED NECESSITY THIS EFFORT AND I REALLY -- SENATOR HUTCHISON HAS STRONGLY SUPPORTED ME IN THIS EFFORT AND I REALLY APPRECIATE HER CONCERN THAT WE FULLY FUND CLEANUP OF THE ADMINISTRATION PROPOSED BY THE BRAC PROCESS. AGAIN, LET ME THANK CHAIRMAN HUTCHISON FOR HER STEADFAST LEADERSHIP ON THIS BILL, CHAIRMAN COCHRAN, SENATOR BYRD FOR THEIR UNSTINTING SUPPORT OF OUR NATION'S MILITARY MEMBERS AND VETERANS. I ALSO WANT TO THANK -- BECAUSE WE'VE GOT A GREAT STAFF -- TAMMY CAMERON, SHAWN NOLES, DENNIS BALKOM ON THE MAJORITY, AND CHRISTINA EVANS, B.J. WRIGHT, AND CHAD CHULKIN OF MY STAFF FOR THEIR PROFESSIONALISM AND THEIR EXCELLENT WORK. THIS IS A GOOD BILL. I'D LIKE TO ENCOURAGE ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE IN PARTICULAR TO SUPPORT IT AND TO MOVE EXPEDITIOUSLY TO PASS IT. I THANKS THANK IT IS CHAIRMAN. I YIELD THE FLOOR. -- I THANK THE CHAIRMAN. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:58:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 11:58:44 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    IF I MAY --

  • 12:03:30 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    IF I MAY --

  • 12:03:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

  • 12:03:34 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    -- MR. PRESIDENT, I VERY MUCH CONCUR WITH WHAT MY CHAIRMAN HAS JUST SAID.…

    -- MR. PRESIDENT, I VERY MUCH CONCUR WITH WHAT MY CHAIRMAN HAS JUST SAID. IN WATCHING ON TELEVISION, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S COME THROUGH TO ME IS THE ENORMOUS SENSITIVITY OF OUR MILITARY TOWARD PEOPLE'S PLIGHTS, AND WHAT'S COMING BACK FROM PEOPLE IS, OH, THEY ARE TREATING US SO WELL. THEY REALLY CARE. I THINK THAT'S A REAL COMMENDATION FOR THE AMERICAN MILITARY THROWN INTO A SITUATION WHICH THEY'RE NOT NECESSARILY TRAINED FOR. AFTER ALL, THEY'RE TRAINED FOR WAR FIGHTING. AND THEY HAVE JUST DONE AMAZINGLY. I THINK FROM THE TOP, WHEN GENERAL HONORE, SAID MOVE THAT GUN DOWN, THERE WAS NO DOUBT WHO WAS IN COMMAND. THERE WAS A TRUE COMMAND PRESENCE AND FOLLOWED DOWN THE RANKS IN AN AMAZING WAY. SO I JUST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO EACH MAN AND WOMAN WHO IS DOWN THERE REALLY HELPING PEOPLE GO THROUGH SOME OF THE WORST DAYS OF THEIR LIVES.

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  • 12:04:41 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    YOU, SENATOR FEINSTEIN, FOR BRINGING THAT UP, BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY…

    YOU, SENATOR FEINSTEIN, FOR BRINGING THAT UP, BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES. I TALKED TO THE FEMA DIRECTOR YESTERDAY, AND HE HAS ALREADY GONE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO GET A MOBILE HOSPITAL PREPOSITIONED SO WE MIGHT HAVE A UNIT READY TO HELP PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE INJURED. AND HE HAS ASKED FOR HELICOPTERS, WHICH HE IS GOING TO GET FOR EVACUATION AND RESCUE MISSIONS. AND I DO THINK THE MILITARY HAS REALLY STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE IN ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI, AND LOUISIANA. THEY ARE READY TO GO AND WILL BE GOING TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS, WHERE WE THINK THE BRUNT OF THIS STORM WILL HIT. AND THE OTHER UNSUNG HEROES OF THIS PLIGHT -- AND HEROINES -- IS THE COAST GUARD. THE PERSON IN CHARGE FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE EFFORT IN TEXAS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO BE THE ADMIRAL FROM THE COAST GUARD, BECAUSE THEY HAVE DONE AN INCREDIBLE JOB. ADMIRAL ALLEN OVER IN LOUISIANA DOING A WONDERFUL JOB, AND NOW WE WILL HAVE OTHER COAST GUARD PERSONNEL HELPING WITH THE OPERATION IN TEXAS. SO I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH OUR STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS AND OUR FEDERAL OFFICIALS TO ASSURE THAT THE RESOURCES ARE THERE IN THE LAST 24 HOURS. I AM CONVINCED THAT EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE IS BEING DONE AND THAT IF YOU CAN BE PREPARED, WE ARE PREPARED. BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT HURRICANES ARE UNPREDICTABLE IN MANY WAYS, AND WE ARE IN FOR PROBABLY A A TOUGH TIME, AND WE'RE UP TO IT. WE WILL MAKE SURE THAT WHATEVER CAN BE DONE TO EASE THE PAIN OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN HARM'S WAY WILL BE DONE. AND I THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR STATEMENT AND THE CONCERN OF ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES, JUST AS WE HAVE STATED OUR CONCERN TO OUR COLLEAGUES FROM LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA. PEOPLE NOW REALIZE THAT WE HAVE ANOTHER STATE TO ADD TO THE EMERGENCY NEEDS OF OUR COUNTRY, AND I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT EVERYONE WILL BE THERE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE FOR MY CONSTITUENTS IN TEXAS. MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE GOING TO SHORTLY PROPOSE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT. I WOULD ASK ANY OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO MIGHT HAVE AMENDMENTS TO GET DOWN TO THE FLOOR IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE WE KNOW OF NO AMENDMENTS OTHER THAN A COUPLE THAT WE ARE ALREADY -- WE HAVE IN THE MIX. SENATOR COBURN HAS ONE, AND WE HAVE ONE FOR SENATOR FEINSTEIN FOR SENATOR CARPER AND SENATOR BIDEN, AND THOSE ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED WOULD BE THERE, AND WE'RE GOING TO DISPATCH THOSE. SO I WILL ASK FOR A QUORUM CALL SO THAT WE CAN COME BACK SHORTLY FOR A UNANIMOUS CONSENT. BUT IF ANYONE IS THINKING OF AN AMENDMENT, I WOULD ASK MY COLLEAGUES TO ADDRESS IT IMMEDIATELY. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:08:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 12:09:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 12:09:24 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 12:09:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:09:29 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE DO HAVE A COUPLE OF OTHER AMENDMENTS. SENATOR DeWINE HAS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE DO HAVE A COUPLE OF OTHER AMENDMENTS. SENATOR DeWINE HAS PUT AN AMENDMENT IN, BUT I AM GOING TO SAY THAT IF WE DON'T HEAR FROM ANYONE BY 12:30, WE ARE GOING TO PREPARE TO GO TO THIRD READING AND SET A TIMETABLE FOR THE VOTE. SO I'M JUST GIVING OUR COLLEAGUES FAIR WARNING THAT AT 12:30 WE WILL LOCK IN THE THIRD READING AND THE VOTE ON THE MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RILLETED AGENCIES APROAPTIONS BILL. -- --AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:10:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: / QUORUM CALL:

  • 12:10:25 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:18:52 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:18:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:19:00 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    I APPRECIATE THE EXPEDITIOUS WAY OUR LEADER AND THE CHAIRMAN OF THE…

    I APPRECIATE THE EXPEDITIOUS WAY OUR LEADER AND THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES HAS BROUGHT THIS VERY IMPORTANT APPROPRIATION BILL TO THE FLOOR. FIRST AND FOREMOST, IT IS IN MY OPINION WITHOUT QUESTION THAT WE OUGHT TRY TO DEAL WITH ALL OF OUR APPROPRIATION BILLS THIS YEAR, COMPLETE THEM INDIVIDUALLY INDIVIDUALLY, TO COMPLETE THE TOTAL PROCESS. WE'VE SEEN THE VERY DIFFICULT AND CONFUSING PROCESS OF OMNIBUS BILLS OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. CLEARLY THIS SENATE AND THIS CONGRESS OUGHT TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER THAT WE CAN CONDUCT OUR BUDGET -- BUDGETING PROCESS AND OUR APPROPRIATING PROCESS IN A REASONABLE AND RESPONSIBLE FASHION. TO MOVE AHEAD AND CERTAINLY NOW THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE IS URGING US TO COME TO THE FLOOR IF WE HAVE AMENDMENTS AND ADDRESS THEM IN A TIMELY FASHION TO SEE IF WE COULD NOT COMPLETE WORK ON THIS APPROPRIATION BILL TODAY. AND I APPRECIATE THAT VERY MUCH. AS CHAIRMAN OF THE VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HERE IN THE SENATE, I'VE WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH THE CHAIRMAN AND THE RANKING MEMBER OF THIS SUBCOMMITTEE TO ASSURE THAT WE HAVE ADEQUATELY FUNDED THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. AS ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES KNOW, AND AS CERTAINLY OBSERVERS HAVE KNOWN, WE'VE HAD SOME DIFFICULTIES IN EFFECT DISPIF RESPONSIBLE PROJECT -- EFFECTIVE AND RESPONSIBLE PROJECTING OF COSTS. AND AS WE HAVE SEEN A RAMPING UP OF SERVICE TO AMERICA'S VETERANS VETERANS, AND AS THE QUALITY OF VETERANS HEALTH CARE IMPROVES, THERE HAS BEEN A SUBSTANTIALLY GREATER NUMBER OF VETERANS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO USE THE VETERANS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR NEEDS. AND AS A RESULT OF THAT, H.R. 252, THE LEGISLATION -- H.R. 2528, THE LEGISLATION WE HAVE IN FRONT OF US, PROVIDES $7.7 BILLION -- $70.71 BILLION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. CLEARLY THE HIGHEST A. APPROPRIATED DOLLARS EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT. OF THIS FUNDING, $50.95 BILLION IS DISCRETIONARY FUNDING, OF COURSE BEING SPENT ACROSS THE SPECTRUM OF VETERANS SERVICES, WHICH IS $1.26 BILLION ABOVE THE ADMINISTRATION'S REQUEST AND $23.31 BILLION IS FOR MEDICAL SERVICES, WHICH IS $1.3 BILLION ABOVE THE ADMINISTRATION'S REQUEST. NOT ONLY DID THE ADMINISTRATION COME IN AT A HIGHER NUMBER, BUT AS THE NEEDS CHANGED, CONGRESS CAME IN AT AN EVEN HIGHER NUMBER NUMBER. AND I THINK THAT SPEAKS CLEARLY TO OUR COMMITMENT TO AMERICA'S VETERANS AS WE HAVE ALWAYS RESPONDED TO THEIR NEEDS IN WHAT WE BELIEVE TO BE A DIRECT AND STRAIGHTFORWARD WAY. THE OVERALL BUDGET OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HAS RISEN $22.5 BILLION OR 47.5%, WITH AVERAGE INCREASES FOR ALL VETERANS AT NEARLY 7.8% EVERY YEAR. AND I'M TALKING ABOUT SINCE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TOOK OFFICE. THESE INCREASES MORE THAN DOUBLE THE GROWTH OF THE ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET WHICH HAS INCREASED BY 4.4%. I'M TALKING OF THE VETERANS -- DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. FOR ANYONE WHO SAYS THAT WE ARE NOT MEETING THE OBLIGATION TO AMERICA'S VETERANS WITH UNPRECEDENTED INCREASES, AND INCREASES THAT ARE SUBSTANTIALLY MORE THAN IN OTHER AREAS OF OUR FEDERAL BUDGET, SIMPLY HAS NOT LOOKED AT THE NUMBERS AND HASN'T LOOKED AT THE LEVEL OF HEALTH CARE BEING PROVIDED. HEALTH CARE FUNDING ALONE HAS GROWN BY $10 BILLION, OR 52%, DURING THE PERIOD OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. WITH THAT ATTENTION AND RESPONSE FROM THE CONGRESS AND THIS PRESIDENT, V.A. HAS BECOME A MODERN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM DESCRIBED IN RECENT NATIONAL PUBLICATIONS AS BEST HEALTH CARE ANYWHERE. AND OF COURSE THAT'S EXACTLY WHY WE NOW SEE MORE VETERANS SEEKING OUT THE VETERANS HEALTH CARE BECAUSE IT IS NOT A HEALTH CARE OF LAST RESORT, IT IS A HEALTH CARE OF FIRST CHOICE. IT IS A MODERN QUALITY DELIVERY SYSTEM THAT I THINK ALL OF US CAN BE PROUD OF NOT ONLY BECAUSE WE'RE PROVIDING IT BUT BECAUSE IT SERVES AMERICA'S HEROES IN A WAY THAT WE FEEL AN APPROPRIATE OBLIGATION TO DO SO. SO I WANT TO THANK CHAIRMAN HUTCHISON FOR THE WORK SHE HAS DONE, THE RANKING MEMBER, SENATOR FEINSTEIN, FOR THEIR COOPERATIVE EFFORT WITH US AS WE'VE WORKED OUR WAY THROUGH THIS DIFFICULT FUNDING PROCESS WITH VETERANS. THE JOB IS WELL DONE. AND THE SERVICES AND THE RESOURCES PROVIDED I BELIEVE ARE RESPONSIBLE AND ADEQUATE FOR THE SERVING OF AMERICA'S VETERANS. I'M PRIVILEGED TO SERVE ON THIS SUBCOMMITTEE TO WORK WITH THE CHAIRMAN AND THE RANKING MEMBER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS TASK AND I ALSO HAVE THE UNIQUE RESPONSIBILITY HERE IN THE SENATE OF SERVING ON AS CHAIRMAN OF THE AUTHORIZING COMMITTEE FOR VETERANS AFFAIRS. SO I AM EXTREMELY PLEASED AND PROUD OF THE WORK THAT WE'RE DOING, NOT ONLY FOR AMERICA'S VETERANS TODAY BUT FOR THOSE WHO ARE SOON TO BECOME AMERICA'S VETERANS. THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN THAT ARE SERVING US IN THE DEFENSE OF NOT ONLY OUR FREEDOM IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AT THIS MOMENT ARE COMING BACK. MANY OF THEM WILL BE REQUIRING SIGNIFICANT SERVICES AS THEY'VE BEEN INJURED, FIND THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY AND OF COURSE THAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY. AND WE WILL NOT STEP BACK FROM IT IN ANY WAY. AMERICA'S VETERANS OR AMERICA'S SERVING MEN AND WOMEN, SOON TO BE VETERANS, NEED TO KNOW THAT THIS CONGRESS HAS AND WILL CONTINUE TO ADDRESS THEIR NEEDS IN A RESPONSIBLE FASHION TO SERVE THEM AS WE APPROPRIATELY MUST, SOMETIMES HAVING TO DRAW PRIORITIES BUT RECOGNIZING THAT THOSE NEEDING THE CARE ARE GOING TO GET THE CARE OF THE KIND THAT WE THINK IS APPROPRIATE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR AMERICA'S HEROES HEROES, AMERICA'S VETERANS AND MEN AND WOMEN CURRENTLY SERVING IN OUR ARMED SERVICES. MR. CHAIRMAN, I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:25:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 12:26:14 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:36:23 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

  • 12:36:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 12:36:27 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:36:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:36:31 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:36:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:36:45 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 12:36:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL: A…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 12:37:04 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 01:05:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM GEORGIA.

  • 01:05:47 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:05:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:05:51 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:05:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:05:56 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO EXPRESS MY HEARTFELT SYMPATHY FOR THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO EXPRESS MY HEARTFELT SYMPATHY FOR THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WHO HAVE BEEN IMPACTED AND DISPLACED BY HURRICANE KATRINA. MANY PEOPLE WILL FEEL THE EFFECT OF A NATURAL DISASTER OF THIS MAGNITUDE FOR YEARS AND MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE CERTAINLY WITH THEM ALL. THERE'S BEEN AN AWFUL LOT OF NEGATIVE STORIES AND NEGATIVE PUBLIC POLICITY SURROUNDING THIS EVENT BUT THERE ALSO HAVE BEEN ANY NUMBER OF POSITIVE ACTIVITIES THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE LEADING UP TO KATRINA, DURING THE STORM ITSELF AS WELL AS IN THE AFTERMATH, AND I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE SOME OF THOSE STORIES. SINCE KATRINA MADE LANDFALL ON AUGUST 29, 2005, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE AGENCIES HAVE WORKED CLOSELY TOGETHER TO SURVEY THE DAMAGE TO MISSISSIPPI, LOUISIANA, AND ALABAMA. THE HURRICANE AFFECTED THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS AND THE PORTS ALONG THE GULF COAST AND GRAIN FACILITIES ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. REPORTS ESTIMATE THAT THE TOTAL DAMAGE TO THE PORT OF NEW OR EANS IS APPROXIMATELY $1.6 BILLION, INCLUDING DAMAGE TO TWO BRIDGES AND A LOCK. THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS IS AN ECONOMIC ASSET TO THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, CONTRIBUTING APPROXIMATELY $88 MILLION TO THE CITY'S ECONOMY AND $1.6 BILLION TO THE STATEWIDE ECONOMY OF LOUISIANA, JUST IN THE YEAR 2001 ALONE. ACCORDING TO THE NEW ORLEANS CUSTOMS DISTRICT FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 2004 THROUGH JUNE 2005, AN EIGHT-MONTH PERIOD, THE DOLLAR VALUE OF EXPORTS FOR BULK AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IS ALMOST $1 BILLION GOING THROUGH NEW ORLEANS. THIS IS ALMOST HALF OF THE BULK PRODUCT BY VALUE EXPORTED FROM THE UNITED STATES EVERY YEAR. IN 2004, THE BULK AMOUNT WAS $25.6 BILLION. AS MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES ARE AWARE, TRANSPORTATION ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IS VERY IMPORTANT TO OUR NATION'S FARMERS AND IS CRITICAL TO KEEPING U.S. AGRICULTURE POSITIONED AND ABLE TO SERVE GLOBAL MARKETS FOR GRAINS, OIL SEEDS AND GRAIN PRODUCTS SHIPPED FROM NEW ORLEANS. THE MISSISSIPPI GULF TYPICALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ABOUT 71% OF CORN, 65% OF SOYBEANS, AND 22% OF WHEAT EXPORTS. THIS SYSTEM IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS IN KEEPING U.S. GRAINS AND OIL SEEDS, PARTICULARLY CORN AND SOYBEANS, AS WELL AS SEVERAL OTHER U.S. AGRICULTURE PRODUCTS COMPETITIVE IN THE WORLD MARKETS. OF THE 50.2 MILLION METRIC TONS EXPORTED FROM THE UNITED STATES PORTS THUS FAR IN 2005, 29.7 MILLION METRIC TONS, OR 59%, WAS EXPORTED FROM THE MISSISSIPPI GULF. EXPORT ELEVATORS IN THE MISSISSIPPI GULF REGION RANGE IN STORAGE CAPACITY FROM TWO MILLION TO MORE THAN SEVEN MILLION BUSHELS EACH. THESE FACILITIES HAVE A RATED VESSEL LOADING CAPACITY GENERALLY RANGING FROM 60,000 TO 100,000 BUSHELS PER HOUR. AS CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, MY STAFF HAS BEEN IN TOUCH WITH ALL OF THE MAJOR U.S. GRAIN EXPORTERS FOLLOWING KATRINA MOVING NORTH. THE GRAIN EXPORT INDUSTRY AND THE INDUSTRY SUPPORTING TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE AFFECTED BY THIS DISASTER COMMITTED EARLY ON TO RESUME OPERATIONS AS SOON AS FEASIBLE. THROUGH CONTINUED PERSEVERANCE, THE NATIONAL GRAIN FEED ASSOCIATION, NGFA, AND THE NORTH AMERICAN EXPORT GRAIN ASSOCIATION, NAEGA, WHICH REPRESENTS THOSE FOLKS THAT HANDLE 70% OF THE U.S. GRAIN AND OIL SEED CROP, HAVE PRIORITIZED THE RECOVERY OPERATIONS OF THE GRAIN EXPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN THIS REGION. DUE TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR, AS OF TODAY, THE GRAIN EXPORT ELEVATORS ARE OPERATING AT A STORAGE CAPACITY IN EXCESS OF 84% IN NEW ORLEANS. MOREOVER, THE FEDERAL AGENCIES, ESPECIALLY THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS AND THE U.S. COAST GUARD, HAVE MADE THIS POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND THE LESSEES OF THE PORT FACILITIES, SUCH AS CARGHILL AND A.D.M. AND OTHER GRAIN BROKERAGE COMPANIES. GRAIN EXPORTERS, ALLIED INDUSTRIES AND MULTIPLE U.S. STATE AND LOCAL U.S. GOVERNMENT ENTITIES, CONTINUE TO WORK AROUND THE CLOCK UNDER VERY CHALLENGING CONDITIONS TO RESTORE OPERATING CONDITIONS AT THESE FACILITIES WHICH ARE NOT FULLY RESTORED. MANY OF THE OBSTACLES ARE BEING ADDRESSED SUCCESSFULLY TO HAVE THEM OPERATE AT FULL CAPACITY. A COMMON CHALLENGE FOR EVERY COMPANY IS MAKING SURE ENOUGH WORKERS CAN REACH THEIR FACILITIES AND HAVE A WARM BED AND A HOT MEAL. ELEVATOR WORKERS, PORT WORKERS AND USDA GRAIN INSPECTORS WERE DISPLACED BY THE HURRICANE'S EXTENSIVE DAMAGE OR COMPLETE DESTRUCTION TO THEIR HOMES AND THEY OBEYED EVACUATION INSTRUCTIONS. ALL OF THESE PEOPLE NEED HOUSING AND THE APPROPRIATE INFRASTRUCTURE IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO RETURN TO WORK. AS THE COMPANIES CONTINUE TO SECURE ADEQUATE HOUSING AND LIVING QUARTERS FOR THE EMPLOYEES AND THEIR FAMILIES, THE EMPLOYEES OF THE INDUSTRY, THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS, AND OTHER GULF COAST PORTS CAN MORE QUICKLY GET BACK TO WORK TO ENSURE U.S. AGRICULTURE CONTINUES FEEDING THE WORLD. AND THIS IS AT A POINT IN TIME IN THE HARVEST OF GRAINS IN THE MIDWEST WHERE WE ARE AT OUR PEAK AND IT'S SUCH A CRITICAL FACTOR NOT JUST FOR THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS BUT FOR ALL OF OUR GRAIN PRODUCERS IN THE MIDWEST THAT PUT THEIR GRAIN ON BARGES, SHIP THEM DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE PORT AT NEW ORLEANS AND OTHER GULF COAST FACILITIES. THE PRIVATE SECTOR, THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, AND THE COAST GUARD ARE DILIGENTLY WORKING TO RESTORE THE GULF COAST PORTS TO FULL CAPACITY IN A TIMELY MANNER. CONGRESS WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE THESE AGENCIES THE RESOURCES AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR THE ABILITY THEY NEED TO DO SO. I AM CONFIDENT THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL CONTINUE TO BE A RELIABLE SUPPLIER TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF GRAIN. I COMMEND THE TIRELESS EFFORTS OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, NAEGA, NFGA, AND THE COMPANIES INVOLVE IN RESUMING OPERATIONS AT THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS, THE PORTS ALONG THE GULF COAST, AND GRAIN FACILITIES ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. THERE CONTINUE TO BE MANY GREAT STORIES OF OTHER INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES CONTRIBUTING AND SACRIFICING TIME, MONEY, AND EVEN THEIR SAFETY TO HELP THE VICTIMS OF KATRINA. IN MY HOME STATE OF GEORGIA, MANY FOLKS ARE VOLUNTEERING IN EVACUEE SHELTERS, CONTRIBUTING FOOD, CLOTHES AND MONEY. SOME ARE EVEN HOUSING EVACUEES. COMPANIES AND THEIR EMPLOYEES ARE JOINING THE EFFORT AS WELL. THE MARQUEE COMPANY OF MY HOME STATE IS COCA-COLA. COCA-COLA, ITS BOTTLERS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES ARE DOING THEIR PART TO ASSIST THE VICTIMS OF KATRINA. COCA-COLA HAD ITS INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM IN PLACE PRIOR TO THE STORM MAKING LAND TO COORDINATE ITS RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA. WITH A NUMBER OF FACILITIES DAMAGED OR WITHOUT ELECTRICITY IN THE AFFECTED AREA, COCA-COLA AND ITS BOTTLERS IMMEDIATELY BEGAN PRODUCING WATER AND AN ASSORTMENT OF BEVERAGES FROM OTHER PLANTS FOR DONATION TO FEMA AND OTHER RELIEF AGENCIES, EVEN AS THEY ATTEMPTED TO REACH EMPLOYEES IN THE AFFECTED AREAS. RUNNING SHORT OF BOTTLES AND CANS TO DELIVER WATER AND JUICE FOR CHILDREN, COCA-COLA EMPLOYEES MODIFIED 2 1/2-GALLON CONTAINERS WHICH ARE NORMALLY USED FOR SYRUP IN RESTAURANT FOUNTAIN DISPENSERS AND CONVERTED THEM TO HOLD VARIOUS BEFERBLGS FOR SHIPMENT -- BEVERAGES FOR SHIPMENT TO SHELTERS AT THE ASTRODOME AND OTHER SHELTERS IN THE AFFECTED AREA. TO DATE, COCA-COLA AND ITS BOTTLING PARTNERS HAVE SHIPPED MORE THAN 30 MILLION CONTAINERS OF FILTERED WATER, JIEWRKS SPORT DRINKS, AND OTHER -- JUICE, SPORT DRINKS AND OTHER BEVERAGES TO RELEASE ORGANIZATIONS, INCLUDING THE AMERICAN RED CROSS, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, FEMA, AND MISSISSIPPI EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY AND FOOD SERVICE PARTNERS SUCH AS AERAMARK. THE COCA-COLA COMPANY AND THE COCA-COLA BOTTLERS ASSOCIATION COMMITTED $5 MILLION TO HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF, A MAJOR PORTION OF THE DONATIONS WENT TO THE AMERICAN RED CROSS AND THE SALVATION ARMY, WITH $2 MILLION BEING SET ASIDE TO AID DISPLACED COCA-COLA EMPLOYEES. BECAUSE OF GEORGIA'S EXPERIENCE IN DISASTERS AND BECAUSE OF THE EXPERTISE IN MOBILE MEDICAL SERVICES, BEN HENSEN, THE OWNER OF MID-GEORGIA AMBULANCE COMPANY, WAS ASKED BY THE STATE OF LOUISIANA TO COORDINATE ALL AMBULANCE AND PARAMEDIC SERVICES COMING INTO ITS -- INTO THE STATE. WITHIN TWO DAYS OF HURRICANE KATRINA MAKING LANDFALL, BEN HENSEN WAS ON THE GROUND DELIVERING MEDICAL SERVICES AND COORDINATING RESPONSE TEAMS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. HIS COMPANY, ALONG WITH OTHER GEORGIA AMBULANCE SERVICES, WOULD EVENTUALLY SEND 20 AMBULANCES AND 50 50 PARAMEDIC CREWS TO HELP IN THE RELIEF EFFORTS. BEN AND HIS SON SHEA NOW MANAGE OVER 600 PARAMEDICS AND NEARLY 400 AMBULANCES, A NUMBER THAT IS GROWING EVERY DAY AS MORE STATES AND LOCALITIES CONTINUE TO MOBILIZE IN THE AFFECTED AREA.n MID-GEORGIA AMBULANCE IS ALSO WORKING SIDE BISIDE WITH NAVY MEDICAL TEAMS IN ST. BERNARD PARISH PROVIDING TRIAGE AND PRIMARY MEDICAL CARE TO SURVIVORS. HOME DEPOT IS ANOTHER MARKEE -- MAR KEY GEORGIA COMPANY. IT IS PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING COMMUNITIES DURING TIMES OF NEED. HOME DEPOT RESPONDED WITH UNWAVERING SUPPORT TO HELP RESIDENTS RECOULD HAVE BEEN FROM THE KATRINA CATASTROPHE. ONE OF HOME DEPOT'S POLICIES DURING SUCH EMERGENCY IS TO FREEZE PRICES ON ALL HURRICANE COMMODITIES TO ASSURE THAT NO PRICE GOUGING CAN TAKE PLACE. THEY ESTABLISHED A 24-HOUR HURRICANE COMMAND CENTER TO RESTORE OPERATIONS IN THE FIELD. A FACILITY WHICH JOHN SNOWE AND MYSELF REVIEWED LAST FRIDAY. HOME DEPOT RELOCATED 950 ASSOCIATES TO WORK IN AFFECTED STORES WHILE IMPACTED ASSOCIATES FOCUSED ON THE NEEDS OF THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR HOMES. THEY RAISED CREDIT LIMITS ON ITS CONSUMER CREDIT CARDS AND EXTENDED SPECIAL OFFERS TO CUSTOMERS IN THE AFFECTED AREAS. HOME DEPOT DISPATCHED LOSS PREVENTION PERSONNEL AND UNIFORMED GUARDS TO ASSURE THE SAFETY OF CUSTOMERS AND ASSOCIATES IN AFFECTED AND SURROUNDING STORES AND TEMPORAR TEMPORARY SUPPORT CENTERS. THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR EMPLOYEES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPANY ASSET AND MANY WERE DISASTER VICTIMS THEMSELVES. TO CREATE A NETWORK FOR SHORT-TERM FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP ENSURE THE SAFETY OF EACH ASSOCIATE AND THEIR FAMILIES, HOME DEPOT PROVIDED MORE THAN $1.2 MILLION TO GRANTS FOR WORKERS IMPACTED BY HURRICANE KATRINA. THEY ALSO SET UP A TOLL FREE DISASTER ASSISTANCE LINE FOR AFFECTED ASSOCIATES. THE HOTLINE HELPS ASSOCIATES FIND TEMPORARY HOUSING, PROVIDES TRANSFERS TO OTHER STORE LOCATIONS AND CONTACTS MORTGAGE AND CREDIT CARD COMPANIES TO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND PAYMENTS AMONG OTHER SERVICES. THE HOME DEPOT HAS DONATED $1.5 MILLION FOR RELIEF INCLUDING $4000,000 TO THE AMERICAN RED CROSS AND SALVATION ARMY AND $600,000 TO SUPPORT LONG-TERM REBUILDING AND VOLUNTEERISM EFFORTS. THE HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION DONATED $500,000 TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS THAT REBUILD LOW TO MODERATE-INCOME HOUSING IN AFFECTED AREAS. WITH THE HELP OF ITS VENDOR PARTNERS, THE HOME DEPOT HAS PROVIDED AND SHIPPED FLEERL $1.25 MILLION IN THIS KIND PRODUCT DONATIONS INCLUDING GENERATORS, GLOVES, FLASHLIGHTS AND BATTERIES, FLOOD LIGHTS, FOOD, CLEANING SUPPLIES AND LINENS. THIS EFFORT BY HOME DEPOT WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE CLEANUP PROCESS IS COMPLETED. GEORGIA'S OWN CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL HAS DIRECTED MUCH OF ITS RESOURCES TOWARDS PROVIDING BOTH IMMEDIATE HELP TO THE VICTIMS IN THE DAY-TO-DAY HEALTH NEEDS AS WELL AS THE LONG-TERM DIFFICULTIES IN CONTAINING THE SPREAD OF DISEASE AND INFECTION INFECTION. C.D.C. PEOPLE ON THE GROUND IN LOUISIANA PRIOR TO THE STORM MAKING LAND, DR. JULIE GERBDING IS HAS ASKED THE C.D.C. TO ACTIVATE IT'S EMERGENCY PROCEEDEDNESS AND RESPONSE FUND CREATED AFTER 9/11 PROVIDING RESOURCES FOR C.T.D. TO USE IN A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY. SHE HAS ALSO ACTIVATED THE C.D.C. STATE OF THE ART BERNIE MARCUS EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER TO SUPPORT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICE AS A COORDINATING HUB FOR THE HURRICANE RESPONSE. PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCES, RELIEF WORKERS AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES, AS WELL AS ENVIRONMENTAL AND MEDICAL TEST SAMPLES HAVE BEEN ON FLIGHTS TO THE AFFECTED AREAS SINCE THE DAY OF THE STORM. AS OF TODAY, SEPTEMBER 22, THE C.D.C. HAS SENT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOSES OF ANTIBIOTICS AND MAINTENANCE MEDICATIONS FOR CHRONIC DISEASES SUCH AS DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, PAIN AND ANXIETY, JUST TO NAME A FEW. ALSO INCLUDED ARE I.V.'S, INSULIN SURRINGS AND BASIC PHARMACEUTICALS. C.D.C. HAS DEPLOYED SPECIALISTS TO THE FIELD, THEY INCLUDE NURSING, EPIDEMIOLOGY, SANITATION, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY, DISEASE SURVEILLANCE, AND RISK COMMUNICATION. C.D.C. IS HELPING TO VACCINATE THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN AT SEE VACATION CENTERS, AND C.D.C. EXPERTS ARE HELPING TO ORGANIZE, IMPLEMENT AND ASSIST THE EVACUATION CENTERS VACCINATION PROGRAM. C.D.C. HAS BEEN FOCUSING ON FOOD BORNE, WATER BORNE AND INSECT BORNE INFECTIOUS DISEASE OUTBREAKS AS WELL AS CHECKING WATER QUALITY, RESTORING CRITICAL LABORATORY FUNCTIONS AND REBUILDING PUBLIC HEALTH AND LABORATORY INFRASTRUCTURES. MANY VACS IN LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI AND L.A. ALABAMA LOST THEIR PERSONAL HEALTH RECORDS. THESE NEEDS ARE BEING ADDRESSED. IN LOUISIANA ALONE C.D.C. ESTIMATED THAT 8,300 INQUIRIES HAVE BEEN MADE TO LOUISIANA IMMUNIZATION NETWORK FOR KIDS STATEWIDE, OR LINKS, REGARDING VACCINATION HISTORIES FOR CHILDREN THAT WERE EVACUATED. C.D.C. IS USING LINKS TO DETERMINE HEALTH RECORDS OF CHILDREN AND PROVIDING IMMUNIZATIONS FOR THOSE IN NEED AND FOR THOSE WITH NO PROOF OF HEALTH RECORDS. A STORY OF HUMAN INTEREST OF ONE C.D.C. EMPLOYEE NAMED LIZ O'MARIA WHO IS A SURVEY AT A SHELTER IN MISSISSIPPI IS HEARTWARMING. A C.D.C. PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISOR, SHE SPENT HER SECOND WEEK OF MARRIAGE ON A COT IN A CONFERENCE ROOM WITH TEN OTHER MEN WHO SHE SAID SENATORED LOUDLY. SHE SAID, AND I QUOTE, "IT IS ON HONORABLE EXPERIENCE TO PLAY A SMALL PART OF A STATE AND LOCAL RESPONSE EFFORT. WE THE STRATEGIC NATIONAL STOCKPILE ARE NOT NOT AS INDIVIDUALS BUT AS A TEAM. WE RELY ON EACH OTHER'S COMMITMENT TO THEIR SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES AND EXPERTISE AS A SINK CONIZED YOU UNIT OR WE WITH NOT BE SUCCESSFUL ASSISTING WITH NEEDS. " I'M PROUD OF THE EFFORTS OF GEORGIANS AS WELL AS ALL AMERICANS TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM HENAL. WE OWE THEM ALL A GREAT DEAL OF GRATITUDE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD BACK AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 01:23:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. / QUORUM HE QUORUM QUORUM CALL:

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. / QUORUM HE QUORUM QUORUM CALL: / 123450 QUORUM123450 QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:23:24 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 01:47:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CHAIR APOLOGIZES.

  • 01:47:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CHAIR APOLOGIZES.

  • 01:48:01 PM

    MR. AKAKA

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 01:48:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 01:48:08 PM

    THE CLERK

    THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII, MR. AKAKA, PROPOSES AN AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1852.

  • 01:48:17 PM

    MR. AKAKA

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:48:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:48:24 PM

    MR. AKAKA

    THIS AMENDMENT WOULD PLUS UP THE READJUSTMENT COUNSELING SERVICES FUNDING…

    THIS AMENDMENT WOULD PLUS UP THE READJUSTMENT COUNSELING SERVICES FUNDING BY $10 MILLION. R.C.S. IS THE ARM OF V.A. THAT OPERATES THE VET CENTERS THAT MANY OF US KNOW SO WELL. VET CENTERS HAVE TRADITIONALLY PROVIDED NEEDED COUNSELING SERVICES TO VETERANS OF THE VIETNAN WAR IN COMMUNITY-BASED SETTINGS FOR OVER TWO DECADES. NOW IN THE MIDST OF OPERATIONS IRAQI AND ENDURING FREEDOM, THE MISSION OF THE VET CENTERS HAS BEEN EXPANDED TO INCLUDE OUTREACH AND COUNSELING FOR SERVICE MEMBERS. INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE GUARD AND RESERVING WHO ARE -- RESERVE WHO ARE RETURNING FROM THESE CONFLICTS. BY PROVIDING THE VET CENTERS WITH AN ADDITIONAL $10 MILLION IF FUNDING, V.A. WOULD BE ABLE TO HIRE ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL FAMILY THERAPISTS AT VET CENTERS NATIONWIDE TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO FAMILY MEMBERS OF VETERANS DEEPLY AFFECTED BY THEIR SERVICE IN COMBAT. THE READJUSTMENT PERIOD CAN BE DIFFICULT FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY. WE HAVE ALL HEARD THE STATISTICS EMERGING FROM THE GROUPS THAT HAVE ALREADY COME BACK FROM O.I.F. AND O.E.F. FAMILIES AND MARRIAGES HAVE SUFFERED DUE TO ROUGH TRANSITIONS AND MANY HAVE RESULTED IN DIVORCE. THESE ADDITIONAL FUNDS WOULD ALSO AUGMENT VET CENTERS IN UNDERSERVED RURAL COMMUNITIES AND WOULD EXPAND THE CAPACITY FOR THESE CENTERS TO PROVIDE ADJUSTMENT SERVICES TO THOSE VETERANS WHO MAY STRUGGLE WITH OBTAINING ACCESS BECAUSE THEY LIVE IN A REMOTE AREA. SURVIVING FAMILY MEMBERS OF THOSE SERVICEMEN WHO PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE WILL BE ABLE TO FIND SOLACE THROUGH THE VET CENTER'S BEREEVEMENT COUNSELING PROGRAM. VET CENTERS WOULD BE ABLE TO HIRE MORE BEREAVEMENT COUNSELORS TO PROVIDE COUNSELING FOR THOSE THAT MUST ENDURE THE PAIN OF LOSING A FAMILY MEMBER IN COMBAT. FINALLY, MR. PRESIDENT, I POINT OUT THAT IN HIS TESTIMONY TO THE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS THIS PAST JUNE, V.A. SECRETARY NICHOLSON STATED THAT ONLY $8 MILLION WOULD BE REQUIRED FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES THAT WERE ALREADY BEING IMPLEMENTED BY THE VET CENTER PROGRAM, SUCH AS PROVIDING ADDITIONAL OUTREACH WORKERS. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THESE SERVICES ARE SECURE BY PROVIDING THE FUNDS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THEM. THE REQUESTED AMOUNT WOULD DO THAT AND GO EVEN A BIT FURTHER TO SUPPORT THIS -- THIS PROGRAM. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK FOR THE SUPPORT OF THIS AMENDMENT, AND KNOWING HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TODAY FOR OUR VETERANS AND LOOK FORWARD TO ITS PASSAGE. I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.

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  • 01:52:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR YIELDS BACK.

  • 01:52:09 PM

    MR. AKAKA

    ASK FOR A QUORJ, A CONFORM QUORUM, PLEASE.

  • 01:52:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL: / QUORUM CALL:

  • 01:52:41 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:30:02 PM

    MR. STEVENS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:30:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:30:05 PM

    MR. STEVENS

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE VOICE OF THE ANCHORAGE TIMES PRINTED AN ARTICLE OFFERED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE VOICE OF THE ANCHORAGE TIMES PRINTED AN ARTICLE OFFERED BY MY GOOD FRIEND, DR. AKASOFU. DR. AKASOFU IS THE DESCRERKT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ARCTIC RESEARCH CENTER IN FAIRBANKS. HE IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LEADING EXPERTS ON ARCTIC SCIENCE AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE./ GIVEN THE INTEREST OF SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES -- THAT SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE RECENTLY SHOWN ON THIS SUBJECT, I ASKED THAT THE DOCTOR'S ARTICLE BE ENTERED INTO THE "CONGRESSIONAL RECORD."

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  • 02:30:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:30:51 PM

    MR. STEVENS

    PRESIDENT, I TRUST THE DOCTOR'S RESEARCH AND OPINIONS. HE HAS PUBLISHED…

    PRESIDENT, I TRUST THE DOCTOR'S RESEARCH AND OPINIONS. HE HAS PUBLISHED MORE THAN 550 ARMS AND IS THE AUTHOR OR COAUTHOR OF TEN BOOKS. HIS WORK HAS SHOWN THAT HE IS AN EXPERT IN ARCTIC RESEARCH. IT HAS SHOWN THAT WHILE THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THE EARTH'S TEMPERATURES CHANGING, THERE IS STILL MUCH DEBATE ABOUT WHAT IS CAUSING THIS CHANGE. IN HIS ARTICLE, DR. OKASOFU SAYS THIS -- AND I QUOTE -- ONE THING WE DO KNOW IS THAT THERE IS NO DEFINITIVE SCIENTIFIC PROOF THAT ALL THE PRESENT GLOBAL WARMING IS ATTRIBUTABLE TO HUMANS OR CAUSED BY THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT." THAT IS THE END OF HIS QUOTE. SOME OF THE CHANGES WE ARE SEEING ARE THE MOST RECENT STAGE IN AN HISTORIC EVOLUTION. IN ALASKA, OUR GLACIERS HAVE BEEN RECEDING SINCE 1800, LONG BEFORE THE ADVENT OF THE SO-CALLED GREENHOUSE GASES. IN THE PAST 100 YEARS, THE SUN HAS BEEN GIVING OFF ADDITIONAL ENERGY WHICH IS LIKELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ONE-THIRD OF THE .6 DEGREE CELSIUS INCREASE IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURE. AND THERE IS NOW THE SO-CALLED ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC OSCILLATION THAT MAY BE DUMPING MORE HEAT -- THAT IS WARM OCEAN WATER -- INTO THE ARCTIC OCEAN. CHANGES IN CLIMATE AND WEATHER PATTERNS ARE NOT ISOLATED EVENTS THEY ARE PART OF A LONG-RANGE HISTORIC TREND OR TRENDS. ONE CANNOT ARRIVE AT SOUND CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE CAUSES JUST BY OBSERVING THE CHANGES WHICH OCCUR IN THEIR OWN LIFETIME. RELIABLE CONCLUSIONS CAN ONLY BE REACHED BY SOUND SCIENCE AND THE TYPE OF RESEARCH BEING CONDUCTED BY DR. AKASOFU AND HIS STAFF. WE MUST NOT SUBSTITUTE OUR OWN CASUAL JUDGMENT FOR SOUND SCIENCE. THIS WILL ONLY LEAD TO CONFUSION, AND DR. AKASOFU HAS WARNED THAT -- AND I QUOTE -- "THE DANGER FROM SUCH CONFUSION AND HYSTERIA MAY BE EVEN GREATER THAN FROM GLOBAL WARMING ITSELF." THAT'S THE END OF QUOTE. THE EFFECT OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE -- THE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE ARE REAL. REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE, CHANGES ARE UNDERWAY IN THE ARCTIC REGIONS, INCLUDING ALASKA, AND WE MUST DEAL WITH THESE EFFECTS. BUT WE MUST ALSO ALLOW THE SCIENTISTS TO REACH SCIENTIFICALLY-BASED CONCLUSIONS ON WHAT IS CAUSING THIS PHENOMENON. THE BASIC PROBLEM WE FACE IS DISTINGUISHED BETWEEN NATURAL CAUSES AND HUMAN IMPACT. THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE SUBCOMMITTEE ON GLOBAL K- CLIMATE CHANGE CHAIRED BY SENATOR VITTER AND COCHAIRED BY SENATOR LAUTENBERG HELD A HEARING ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE IN HEARING. DURING THAT HEARING I ASKED DR. JAMES MA HOE NI, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE ON OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERE, ABOUT THIS CHANGE, AND HE TOLD ME THERE ARE POLITICAL ARGUMENTS THAT WANT TO GO ON IN ONE EXTREME OR THE OTHER. THE SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT IS MUCH MORE COMPLICATED IN THE MIDDLE. FIGURING OUT WHAT REALLY IS HAPPENING IN THE ARCTIC WILL BE VERY IMPORTANT TO ANSWERING THE OVERALL QUESTION OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, AND I'M DEDICATED TO PURSUING THIS. AS FAR AS THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED, THE EVIDENCE THAT GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE IS MORE APPARENT IN ALASKA THAN ANYWHERE ELSE. WE SHOULD PREPARE FOR ITS EFFECTS, BUT I WANT TO SEEK SOUND SCIENCE BEFORE WE ENACT POLICIES AIMED AT ITS CAUSES. WE HAVE CREATED TWO SUBCOMMITTEES ON THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE THAT DEAL IN SOME WAY WITH GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, AND WE WILL CONTINUE ON OUR COMMITTEE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE. BUT I THINK IT'S VERY DANGEROUS TO MAKE, AS DR. MAHONEY CALLED THEM, THE POLITICAL ARGUMENTS. WE MUST FOLLOW THIS SCIENCE -- FOLLOW SCIENCE ON THIS ISSUE. AND I COMMEND DR. AKASOFU FOR LEADING THOSE EFFORTS. MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:35:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 02:35:56 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    PRESIDENT?

  • 02:35:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 02:36:05 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

  • 02:36:39 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 02:36:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 02:36:42 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:36:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:36:46 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE DO HAVE A SERIES OF AMENDMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN CLEARED ON…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE DO HAVE A SERIES OF AMENDMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN CLEARED ON BOTH SIDES, AND I WOULD LIKE TO ASK CONSENT THAT THE PENDING AMENDMENTS BE TEMPORARILY SET ASIDE SO THAT I COULD SEND THESE AMENDMENTS INDIVIDUALLY TO THE DESK FOR THEIR CONSIDERATION.

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  • 02:37:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:37:06 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED.

  • 02:37:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED.

  • 02:37:25 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:37:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:37:28 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:37:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:37:32 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    AND ASK IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION. I ASK CONSENT THE READING BE DISPENSED…

    AND ASK IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION. I ASK CONSENT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.

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  • 02:37:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED? THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS…

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED? THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED.

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  • 02:37:47 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:37:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:37:50 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR BOXER AND ASK FOR ITS…

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR BOXER AND ASK FOR ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

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  • 02:37:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:37:56 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.

  • 02:38:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS…

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED.

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  • 02:38:07 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    TO RECONSIDER. A SENATOR: MOVE TO LAY OBT TABLE.

  • 02:38:13 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR ISAKSON AND SENATOR…

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR ISAKSON AND SENATOR CHAMBLISS AND ASK FOR ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

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  • 02:38:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 02:38:31 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.

  • 02:38:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED? THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS…

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED? THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED.

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  • 02:38:40 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR FEINSTEIN AND ASK FOR…

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR FEINSTEIN AND ASK FOR ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

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  • 02:38:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:38:50 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.

  • 02:38:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED? THE AYES HAVE IT. THE…

    OFFICER: ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED? THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED.

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  • 02:39:00 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:39:05 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:39:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:39:07 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR FEINGOLD AND ASK FOR…

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR FEINGOLD AND ASK FOR ITS CONSIDERATION.

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  • 02:39:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:39:14 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK CONSENT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND I URGE ITS ADOPTION.

  • 02:39:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MOVE TO RECONSIDER.

  • 02:39:25 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:39:26 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:39:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:39:35 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR DURBIN AND ASK FOR…

    I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR DURBIN AND ASK FOR ITS CONSIDERATION.

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  • 02:39:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:39:46 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK -- EUP ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS…

    I ASK -- EUP ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.

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  • 02:39:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MOVE TO RECONSIDER.

  • 02:39:57 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:39:58 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:40:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:40:01 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:40:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:40:09 PM

    THE CLERK

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS, MRS. HUTCHISON, FOR MR. DURBIN PROPOSES AMENDMENT…

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS, MRS. HUTCHISON, FOR MR. DURBIN PROPOSES AMENDMENT NUMBER 1865.

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  • 02:40:14 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.

  • 02:40:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED NO. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE…

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED NO. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED.

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  • 02:40:24 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:40:26 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:40:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:40:28 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    SUGGEST THE ABSENCE AFTER QUORUM.

  • 02:40:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL.

  • 02:41:24 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:41:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:41:29 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.

  • 02:41:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED NO. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE…

    ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED NO. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS --

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  • 02:41:39 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:41:40 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:41:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:41:43 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 02:41:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 02:45:53 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 02:45:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 02:45:55 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 02:45:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:46:00 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:46:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:46:12 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I SEND AN AMENDMENT TO THE DESK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR SALAZAR AND ASK FOR ITS PHAOERBGD.

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  • 02:46:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

  • 02:46:22 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND URGE ITS ADOPTION.n

  • 02:46:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALWAYS THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE.

  • 02:46:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE AYES HAVE IT.

  • 02:46:37 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:46:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:46:41 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    LAY ON THE TABLE.

  • 02:46:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:46:44 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    SWOCIAL.

  • 02:46:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR.…

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

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  • 02:57:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I SEND TO THE DESK AMENDMENT…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I SEND TO THE DESK AMENDMENT 1868 ON BEHALF OF SENATOR SALAZAR.

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  • 02:57:21 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    ASK FOR ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

  • 02:57:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE PENDING AMENDMENT IS SET ASIDE. THE CLERK WILL…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE PENDING AMENDMENT IS SET ASIDE. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE AMENDMENT.

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  • 02:57:28 PM

    THE CLERK

    THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO, MR. CRAIG, FOR MR. SALAZAR, PROPOSES A AMENDMENT…

    THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO, MR. CRAIG, FOR MR. SALAZAR, PROPOSES A AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1868.

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  • 02:57:35 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH AND ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

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  • 02:57:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE FURTHER DEBATE? IF NOT, ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. A…

    OFFICER: IS THERE FURTHER DEBATE? IF NOT, ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. A SENATOR: AYE.

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  • 02:57:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALL THOSE OPPOSED NO. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS AGREED TO. A…

    ALL THOSE OPPOSED NO. THE AYES HAVE IT. THE AMENDMENT IS AGREED TO. A SENATOR: MOVE TO RECONSIDER.

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  • 02:57:55 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:57:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:58:00 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 3:10 P.M. TODAY THE SENATE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 3:10 P.M. TODAY THE SENATE PROCEED TO A VOTE IN RELATION TO THE AKAKA AMENDMENT, 185, WITH NO AMENDMENTS IN ORDER TO THE AMENDMENT PRIOR TO THAT VOTE, PROVIDED FURTHER THAT NO OTHER AMENDMENTS BE IN ORDER TO THE BILL AND THAT FOLLOWING DISPOSITION OF THE AKAKA AMENDMENT, H.R. 2528, BE READ FOR THE THIRD TIME AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO A VOTE ON PASSAGE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, PROVIDED FURTHER THAT FOLLOWING THE VOTE THE SENATE INSIST ON ITS AMENDMENTS, REQUEST A CONFERENCE WITH THE HOUSE AND THE CHAIR BE AUTHORIZED TO APPOINT CONFEREES ON THE PART OF THE SENATE. I FINALLY ASK CONSENT THAT THERE BE TWO MINUTES EQUALLY DIVIDED FOR DEBATE PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE.

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  • 02:58:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:58:56 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 03:03:10 PM

    MR. AKAKA

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 03:03:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII.

  • 03:03:13 PM

    MR. AKAKA

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:07:15 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 03:07:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

  • 03:07:18 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    MR. CHAIRMAN, I'D LIKE TO PROPOSE THAT FOR THE MOMENT, WE SET ASIDE THIS…

    MR. CHAIRMAN, I'D LIKE TO PROPOSE THAT FOR THE MOMENT, WE SET ASIDE THIS AMENDMENT. SENATOR CRAIG AND I MAKE OUR TWO-MINUTE ENDING COMMENTS. WE THEN HAVE THE VOTE ON THE AKAKA AMENDMENT AND THEN FINAL PASSAGE DIRECT -- SO THEY'RE CONSECUTIVE VOTES.

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  • 03:07:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:07:40 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    WELL THANK YOU,.

  • 03:09:48 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 03:09:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 03:09:52 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I WOULD BE HAPPY TO YIELD TO THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO.

  • 03:11:17 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I WOULD BE HAPPY TO YIELD TO THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO.

  • 03:11:20 PM

    MR. CRAIG

    I APPRECIATE THE CHAIRMAN YIELDING. LET ME SAY TO THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING…

    I APPRECIATE THE CHAIRMAN YIELDING. LET ME SAY TO THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MEMBER, AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE AUTHORIZING COMMITTEE OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HOW MUCH WE APPRECIATE THE COOPERATIVE WAY IN WHICH WE'VE WORKED TOGETHER TO GET THESE NUMBERS RIGHT. AND YOU'VE ALL BOTH SPOKEN VERY CLEARLY TO THAT EFFORT AND TO THE UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT HAS FLOWED TO VETERANS AT THIS TIME THAT WE THINK IS NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, AND I THANK YOU FOR THAT DO YOU DILIGENCE.

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  • 03:11:45 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE AMENDMENT, WHAT IS THE AMENDMENT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE AMENDMENT, WHAT IS THE AMENDMENT PENDING?

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  • 03:11:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I ASK FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS.

  • 03:12:00 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    ASK FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS.

  • 03:12:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE'S A SUFFICIENT…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE'S A SUFFICIENT SECOND. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: n VOTE: /

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  • 03:12:08 PM

    Senate Vote 242 - On the Amendment (Akaka Amdt No 1852)

    To provide an additional $10,000,000 for the Readjustment Counseling Service, with a corresponding offset from the HealtheVet account.

    Amendment Rejected (48 - 50)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 48
    Democratic - 43
    Republican - 4
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 48
    Republican - 48

    Vote Details: Not Voting - 2
    Republican - 1
    Democratic - 1

  • 03:45:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WHO HAVE NOT VOTED OR WISH TO KHAEBG THEIR VOTE? IF…

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WHO HAVE NOT VOTED OR WISH TO KHAEBG THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE YEAS ARE 48. THE NAYS ARE 50. THE AMENDMENT IS NOT AGREED TO. WITHOUT OBJECTION. WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE MAJORITY LEADER. THE SENATE WILL BE IN ORDER.

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  • 03:46:19 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

  • 03:47:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

  • 03:47:18 PM

    MR. REID

    CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING THEY WANT TOMORROW. WE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF…

    CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING THEY WANT TOMORROW. WE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS; IS THAT RIGHT?

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  • 03:47:27 PM

    MR. FRIST

    BUSINESS TOMORROW. I WANT TO ACCOMMODATE MEMBERS FOR THEIR STATEMENTS ON…

    BUSINESS TOMORROW. I WANT TO ACCOMMODATE MEMBERS FOR THEIR STATEMENTS ON ROBERTS OR ANYTHING TOMORROW. THE VOTE AT 5:30 ON MONDAY WILL NOT BE ON ROBERTS.

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  • 03:47:39 PM

    THE CLERK

    ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE FUNCTIONS OF THE…

    ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE FUNCTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 03:47:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE IS A SUFFICIENT SECOND. THE CLERK WILL…

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE IS A SUFFICIENT SECOND. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: n W VOTE:

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  • 03:47:54 PM

    Senate Vote 243 - On Passage of the Bill (HR 2528 As Amended)

    Appropriations bill FY2006, Military Construction Military Construction FY2006 Appropriations bill

    Bill Passed (98 - 0)
    Yea

    Vote Details: Yea - 96
    Republican - 52
    Democratic - 43
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Not Voting - 2
    Republican - 1
    Democratic - 1

  • 04:12:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE…

    OFFICER: ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE AYES ARE 98. THE NAYS ARE ZERO AND THE BILL IS PASSED. WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE TITLE IS AMENDED. THE SENATE INSISTS ON ITS AMENDMENTS AND REQUESTS A CONFERENCE WITH THE HOUSE. THE CHAIR APPOINTS THE FOLLOWING CONFEREES.

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  • 04:12:28 PM

    THE CLERK

    SENATORS HUTCHISON, BURNS, CRAIG, DeWINE, BROWNBACK, McCONNELL, COCHRAN,…

    SENATORS HUTCHISON, BURNS, CRAIG, DeWINE, BROWNBACK, McCONNELL, COCHRAN, FEINSTEIN, INOUYE, JOHNSON, LANDRIEU, BYRD, MURRAY AND LEAHY. A SENATOR:

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  • 04:12:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 04:12:41 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THERE NOW BE A PERIOD OF…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THERE NOW BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 04:12:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 04:12:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MONTANA.

  • 04:12:58 PM

    MR. BAUCUS

    MR. PRESIDENT, A NEW ORLEANS MAN WITH A BRAIN TUMOR NEEDED SURGERY FAST.…

    MR. PRESIDENT, A NEW ORLEANS MAN WITH A BRAIN TUMOR NEEDED SURGERY FAST. WHEN HE FOUND HIMSELF STRAND WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA, IT TOOK THE ATTENTION OF LOUISIANA'S DEPUTY TO GET HIM HELP. THIS ENERGY ET STATE OFFICIAL CAN'T POSSIBLY PULL STRINGS FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO NEED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AFTER THE STORM, SUCH AS AN 89-YEAR-OLD LOUISIANA MAN, NOW IN LOS ANGELES WITH FAMILY, WHO COULDN'T FILL HIS PRESCRIPTION BECAUSE HIS LOUISIANA MEDICAID CARD ISN'T GOOD IN CALIFORNIA. OR DISPLACED NEW ORLEANS WOMEN WITH COLON CANCER WHO NEEDED KEEP -- KEEP THERAPY BUT COULDN'T GET AN APPOINTMENT IN THE CITY SHE FLED TO. MEETING THE MEDICAL NEEDS OF UP TO ONE MILLION HURRICANE EVACUEES ACROSS THE COUNTRY LOOMS AS AN ENORMOUS CHALLENGE. MOST OF THEM ARE WITHOUT THEIR MEDICAL RECORDS, WITHOUT ANY WAY TO CONTACT THEIR PHYSICIAN. MANY ARE SUDDENLY WITHOUT JOBS AND RISK LOSING THEIR MEDICAL COVERAGE. AS A GROUP THEY'RE DISPROPORTIONATELY LIKELY TO BE NEEDY AND SICKER THAN AVERAGE. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S A DIRECT QUOTE FROM "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE," DATED SEPTEMBER 14, BY JUDITH GRAHAM, "TRIBUNE" STAFF REPORTER COMMENTING ON THE CONDITIONS OF PEOPLE NEEDING MEDICAL CARE, NEEDING IT DESPERATELY ON THE HEELS OF KATRINA. SENATOR GRASSLEY, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND I, HAVE WRITTEN A BILL. WE WOULD LIKE THE SWIFT PASSAGE OF THAT BILL. IT'S THE EMERGENCY HEALTH CARE RELIEF ACT. THIS BILL PROVIDES VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KATRINA WITH THE HEALTH CARE THAT THEY URGENTLY NEED. WE SHOULD PASS THIS BILL AND WE SHOULD PASS IT IMMEDIATELY. WE'VE ALL SEEN TERRIBLE DESTRUCTION, THE DEAD, THE DISPLACED, THE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS IN DAMAGE. TRAVELLING DOWN TO THE GULF COAST LAST WEEK I SAW THE HAVOC THAT KATRINA HAD WREAKED. IT'S STUNNING. IT'S LIKE A WAR ZONE. IT'S WORSE THAN THE PICTURES. IT'S MORE THAN I HAD IMAGINED. AT ONE STOP WE WENT INTO WHAT WAS LEFT OF A LIBRARY. MUCK AND RUIN COVERED BOOKS AND OTHER LIBRARY MATERIALS, AND IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, A SHINY OBJECT CAUGHT MY EYE. I REACHED DOWN TO PICK IT UP. WHAT WAS IT, A D.V.D. OF THE FILM "A PERFECT STORM." AMONG ITS MANY CONSEQUENCES, THE HURRICANE INFLICTED COUNTLESS BLOWS TO PEOPLES' HEALTH. ONE-THIRD OF KATRINA EVACUEES IN HOUSTON HAD INJURIES OR HEALTH PROBLEMS -- ONE-THIRD -- AND MORE THAN HALF OF THOSE VACK WEISE WERE SEEK MEDICAL CARE. THE BILL THAT SENATOR GRASSLEY AND I HAVE INTRODUCED WILL PROVIDE THAT CARE. THE BILL WILL PROVIDE TEMPORARY MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR KATRINA SURVIVORS. IT WILL PROVIDE FOR A STREAMLINED APPLICATION SO NEEDED, MAKE THE BENEFITS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW./ PROVIDE COVERAGE UP TO FIVE MONTHS WITH A POSSIBLE EXTENSION OF FIVE MONTHS. IT'S EMERGENCY HEALTH CARE BENEFITS TO PEOPLE WHO NEED IT. PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR HELP AT HIGHER INCOME LEVELS AND AN EXTENDED PACKAGE OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES UNDER MEDICAID WILL HELP SURVIVORS DEAL WITH THE TRAUMA OF KATRINA. TO SUPPORT THOSE WHO HAVE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE, OUR BILL WILL PROVIDE FEDERAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP INDIVIDUALS KEEP THEIR COVERAGE. REFERENCE TO THE ARTICLE I JUST READ, REPORTERS' COMMENTS ABOUT WHAT -- PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE ANYMORE BECAUSE THEY'VE LOST THEIR JOBS. OUR BILL WILL HELP ALLEVIATE THE BURDEN PROVIDING HEALTH CARE. I AM INSPIRED BY THE SIGHTS AND STORIES OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS DOING ALL IN THEIR POWER TO TREAT VICTIMS. TO ENSURE THAT THESE PROVIDERS ARE COMPENSATED, OUR BILL ESTABLISHES A DISASTER RELIEF FUND TO COVER THE UNCOMPENSATED COSTS THAT THEY INCURRED BECAUSE OF KATRINA. THERE'S MILLIONS OF UNCOMPENSATED HEALTH CARE COSTS. KATRINA INFLICTED MASSIVE FINANCIAL LOSSES ON THE STATES OF LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, AND ALABAMA. LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI, OUR LEGISLATION CALLS ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO PAY 100% OF MEDICAID AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM COSTS THROUGH 2006. FOR ALABAMA, THE GOVERNMENT WILL PICK UP 100% OF THOSE COSTS IN SEVERAL PARTICULARLY RAVAGED COUNTIES. OUR BILL POSTPONES A SCHEDULE DECREASE IN FEDERAL MEDICAID PAYMENTS IN 2006 TO ENSURE THAT ALL STATES HAVE THE MEANS TO MEET THEIR HEALTH CARE NEEDS IN THIS TRYING TIME. OUR LEGISLATION PROVIDES IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO FUNDS THROUGH THE TANF PROGRAM IN LOUISIANA, ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI FOR 14 MONTHS AND IT PROVIDES THESE STATES AS WELL AS STATES PROVIDED SERVICES TO EVACUEES IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO THE TANF CONTINGENCY FUND, WHICH IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE 1996 WELFARE LAW. IT HAS BEEN VERY DIFFICULT AND HARD TO USE UNTIL NOW. OUR BILL EASES WORK RULES AND TIME LIMITS ON AID SO PEOPLE CAN GET IMMEDIATE HELP. AND OUR LEGISLATION PROVIDES A FEDERALLY FUNDED EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR UNEMPLOYED WORKERS IN LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, AND ALABAMA. THIS LAW WILL GO A LONG WAY TOWARD HELPING KATRINA SURVIVORS TO GET BACK ON THEIR FEET. WE MUST ACT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THOSE WHOM KATRINA HAS HARMED AND ACT NOW. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY, MR. PRESIDENT. THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR LEGISLATION -- THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS AS USUAL. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. PEOPLE NEED HELP NOW. NOT TOMORROW. WE MUST DO OUR PART TO HELP THIS REGION AND ITS PEOPLE, AND WE CAN DO SO TODAY BY PASSING THE EMERGENCY HEALTH CARE RELIEF ACT. MR. PRESIDENT, I MIGHT ALSO ADD THAT THIS BILL I THINK SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP NOW, TODAY. SEVERAL OF US HAVE APPROACHED THE LEADERSHIP TO TRY TO GET THIS BILL UP NOW, PASSED TODAY. PEOPLE NEED HELP. MANY HAVE NO INSURANCE. THEY HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS. TIME IS CRITICAL. SENATOR GRASSLEY AND I HAVE WORKED TOGETHER FOR OVER A WEEK AND OUR STAFFS. WE HAVE A GOOD EFFORT TO HELP MEET HEALTH CARE NEEDS. THE AFFECTED STATES AGREE. SENATORS BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE FROM THE AFFECTED STATES HAVE ALL WORKED WITH US. WE HAVE AGREEMENT. ALL SENATORS IN AFFECTED STATES, INCLUDING SENATOR GRASSLEY AND MYSELF, WE AGREE. NOW, I CAN'T SPEAK FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BUT I CAN SPEAK FOR US, FOR THIS BODY, MR. PRESIDENT. WE HAVE A VERY GOOD PACKAGE THAT I THINK SHOULD PASS RIGHT NOW. I AM VERY CONCERNED THAT OUR -- I AM VERY CONCERNED THAT OUR SENATORS HERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO OBJECT. NO ONE ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE OBJECTS TO THIS LEGISLATION COMING UP. I'M INFORMED THAT THERE ARE SENATORS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO OBJECT TO THIS LEGISLATION COMING UP. NOW, THE OBJECTION IS, WELL, WE HAVEN'T HAD TIME TO READ IT. WELL, I UNDERSTAND THAT. IT WAS BROUGHT UP FAIRLY QUICKLY. WE COULD GIVE SENATORS TIME TO READ IT. WE COULD BRING THIS LEGISLATION UP TOMORROW. CERTAINLY THEY CAN READ IT IN OVER 24 HOURS, READ THIS BILL, OR THE NEXT 72 HOURS OVER THE WEEKEND. AND CERTAINLY THERE HAS TO BE SOME TRUST AROUND HERE. SENATOR GRASSLEY AND HIS STAFF AND I HAVE FLYSPECKED THIS BILL. WE WORKED VERY HARD TOGETHER OVER A PERIOD OF ABOUT ALMOST TWO WEEKS. WE'VE WORKED FOR THE SENATORS AFFECTED. THEY ALL AGREE. AND THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. THIS IS NOT LEGISLATION AS USUAL, MR. PRESIDENT. AND SO I CALL ON MY COLLEAGUES, LET'S BRING THIS BILL UP AND GET IT PASSED. I'M VERY TEMPTED, MR. PRESIDENT, TO ASK FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO BRING THIS BILL UP NOW TO MOVE US INTO LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO BRING THIS BILL UP NOW. WHY? VERY SIMPLY, IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. VERY SIMPLY, THESE PEOPLE NEED HELP. VERY SIMPLY, IT'S BEEN WORKED ON FOR ALMOST TWO WEEKS NOW. AND VERY SIMPLY, I CANNOT THINK OF ANY POSSIBLE SIGNIFICANT LEGITIMATE EXCEPTION. BUT I'M NOT GOING TO PUSH FOR A UNANIMOUS CONSENT AT THIS POINT, MR. PRESIDENT, IN DEFERENCE TO THOSE WHO FEEL THEY NEED MORE TIME. BUT I VERY MUCH HOPE THAT WHEN -- WHEN THE TIME DOES COME, YOU KNOW, MAYBE TOMORROW, MAYBE ON MONDAY, THAT WHEN THIS BILL DOES COME UP, THAT WE DO HAVE WORK -- HAVE WORKED OUR WAY THROUGH THOSE OBJECTIONS AND ALL SENATORS CAN UNANIMOUSLY PASS THIS LEGISLATION. IT IS SO IMPORTANT, IT'S SO NEEDED FOR SO MANY PEOPLE. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR:

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  • 04:21:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 04:21:18 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'VE CONSIDERED MANY IMPORTANT…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'VE CONSIDERED MANY IMPORTANT ISSUES IN CAPITOL HILL THIS WEEK. HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, TWO MAJOR APPROPRIATION BILLS HAVE PASSED. IN THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, WHICH I SERVE ON, WE CONSIDERED THE HISTORIC NOMINATION OF JOHN ROBERTS TO BE OUR NEXT CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT. THOSE ARE ALL WORTHY ISSUES FOR THIS CHAMBER TO CONSIDER. UNFORTUNATELY, NOT ENOUGH HAS BEEN SAID THIS WEEK ABOUT AN ONGOING CHALLENGE TO THIS NATION WHICH COSTS US DEARLY. I SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE ISSUE OF THE WAR IN IRAQ. YESTERDAY I JOINED WITH MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES FOR A BRIEFING FROM THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, AMBASSADOR JEFF SCPRIZ GENERAL MEYERS ABOUT THE SITUATION IN IRAQ. NATURALLY I'M CONSTRAINED AND CANNOT DISCLOSE DETAILS OR SPECIFICS OF THAT BRIEFING. BUT I THINK IN THE MOST GENERAL TERMS THAT AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING IN IRAQ. WHETHER IT'S CALLED TERRORISM OR INSURRECTION, IT CONTINUES A PACE. AND EVERY SINGLE DAY, HARROWING REPORTS COME OUT OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES AND THE DEATHS AND INJURIES TO OUR SOLDIERS. UNFORTUNATELY, WE DON'T SPEAK ENOUGH ON THIS FLOOR ABOUT THE REALITY OF THIS WAR. AND THIS IS THE REALITY. AMERICANS KILLED IN IRAQ AS OF THIS MORNING, 1,907. AMERICANS WOUNDED, 14,641. IF YOU'RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH HOW THESE CATEGORIES ARE CREATED OF WOUNDED SOLDIERS, YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT MANY OF THESE SOLDIERS SUFFER FAR MORE THAN SUPERFICIAL WOUNDS. I HAVE VISITED WITH THEM AT WALTER REED HOSPITAL AND VETERANS HOSPITALS BACK IN MY PART OF THE COUNTRY, AND I'VE SEEN MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE FACING AMPUTATIONS, SERIOUS HEAD INJURIES, PROBLEMS THAT WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER. THE WOUNDS THAT THEY'VE SUFFERED ARE WOUNDS THAT THEY'LL CARRY FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. AND THERE ARE MANY VETERANS WHO COME HOME FROM THAT WAR WITH INVISIBLE WOUNDS, WITH WOUNDS OF SPIRIT, POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, FROM THINGS THAT THEY HAVE SEEN, THINGS THAT THEY HAVE DONE, STRESS THAT THEY'VE BEEN PLACED UNDER FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME. IF YOU HAVE FRIENDS WHO SERVED IN THE VIETNAN WAR, YOU MAY KNOW ONE WHO IS STILL TRYING TO OVERCOME THE FACT THAT HE'S HAUNTED BY THAT EXPERIENCE. THIS IS THE REALITY OF WAR. IT IS A REALITY THAT YOU SEE TIME AND AGAIN. AS FAMILIES STAND BY HOSPITAL BEDS OR STAND IN GRIEF AT THE FUNERALS. AND IT'S A REMINDER THAT WE CANNOT IGNORE THE ISSUE OF THE WAR IN IRAQ. WE CANNOT IGNORE THE REALITY OF WHAT IT HAS BROUGHT TO AMERICA. LAST WEEK THE IRAQI PRESIDENT, JALAL TALABANI DIME WASHINGTON. AS HE ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON, HE SAID THAT HE BELIEVED THE UNITED STATES COULD SAFELY WITHDRAW 50,000 TROOPS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR. HE SAID IRAQI FORCES ARE TRAINED AND READY TO ASSUME CONTROL OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY. AND THEN HE WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND HE CHANGED HIS REMARKS REMARKS. HE WASN'T AS SPECIFIC. HE WASN'T AS DEFINITE. HE SAID HE HOPED THAT THE IRAQI TROOPS COULD TAKE OVER FOR AMERICAN TROOPS AT SOME POINT IN THE FUTURE. IT WAS ENTICING TO HEAR HIM SUGGEST THAT 50,000 OF THE 146,000 CURRENTLY SERVING IN IRAQ WOULD BE HOME BY CHRISTMAS. I STILL THINK THAT'S A GOAL WE SHOULDN'T GIVE UP ON. UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR CONCRETE EVIDENCE THAT IRAQI TROOPS ARE READY TO ASSUME THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DEFENDING THEIR OWN COUNTRY. I'M NOT CERTAIN THEY CAN TAKE ON THIS UNSURGERY SAY TODAY FROM A POLITICAL OR A MILITARY POINT OF VIEW. BUT WE NEED TO SEE A CLEAR PATH FROM THE POINT WE'RE AT TODAY TO THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE AMERICAN TROOPS. AND WE NEED TO HAVE THIS ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATE THAT PATH AND MAKE IT CLEAR TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. NEXT MONTH THE SECOND REPORT ON THE STATUS OF THE TRAINING OF IRAQI FORCES IS DUE. IT IS CRITICAL THAT THIS REPORT PROVIDE REAL INFORMATION ON THE READINESS OF THESE FORCES TO MEET PRESIDENT TALABANI'S SUGGESTION. WHILE IT MUST NOT DISCLOSE VITAL SECURITY INFORMATION, THIS REPORT MUST INCLUDE ENOUGH DATA IN UNCLASSIFIED FORM SO WE KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE TODAY IN TERMS OF THE IRAQI TAKEOVER OF THE DEFENSE OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY. THE TRAJECTORY TO DATE IS NOT ENCOURAGING. THERE HAVE BEEN PEAKS RECENTLY, INCLUDING THE HISTORIC VOTE IN JANUARY IN THE FIRST REAL DEMOCRATIC ELECTION IN IRAQ'S HISTORY. BUT 470 AMERICANS HAVE BEEN KILLED SINCE THOSE ELECTIONS ON JANUARY 30 OF THIS YEAR. 470. THE ADMINISTRATION TO DATE HAS NOT MANAGED TO CHANGE THAT TERRIBLE EQUATION. 2 1/2 YEARS AFTER THE INVASION, I STILL DON'T BELIEVE THE ADMINISTRATION HAS A CLEAR PLAN TO SECURE THE PEACE. INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS, BOTH CIVILIAN AND MILITARY, USE A PHRASE CALLED "GROUND TRUTHING." GEEING ONGEOGRAPHERS AND PHYSICISTS USED THE SAME TURN T. MEANS GOING OUT AND PHYSICALLY LOOKING AT THE TERRAIN. REALIZING THAT THE REALITY ON THE GROUND MAY NOT MATCH THE SOLUTION YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN. THE SOLUTION TO THIS IS NOT TO BULLDOZE THE LANDSCAPE OR TO SCULPT IT TO MATCH THE MAP OR SCULPT IT TO MATCH AN EXPECTATION IN YOUR MIND. THE SOLUTION IS NOT TO BLIND YOURSELF TO REALITY ON THE GROUND. THE SOLUTION IS TO RECOGNIZE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WHAT YOU EXPECTED AND WHAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY EXPERIENCING. YOU MAY NEED TO REDRAW YOUR MAP. YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY NEED TO READAPT YOUR PLAN. FROM THE DAY OF THE INVASION, PLANS WERE DRAWN UP THAT REFUSED TO RECOGNIZE THE REALITY ON THE GROUND IN IRAQ. THE ADMINISTRATION HAS BLINDED ITSELF TO WHAT I CALL THESE GROUND TRUTHS. OUR TROOPS ROLLED IN, DEFEATED SADDAM HUSSEIN AND HIS VAUNTED NATIONAL REPUBLICAN GUARD. YOU KNOW WHY? WE HAVE THE BEST FIGHTING MEN AND WOMEN IN THE WORLD. NO ONE ELSE EVEN COMES CLOSE. BUT DEFEATING AN ARMY IS NOT THE SAME AS DEFEATING AN INSURRECTION. AND THE REPORTS WE READ IN THE PRESS SUGGEST THAT THAT INSURRECTION IS STILL VERY STRONG AND VERY LEATHAL. DWEEGD AN INSURGENCY LIKE THAT IS SO MUCH HARDER. THESE TERRORISTS, THESE INSURGENTS DON'T SWIM IN A SEA OF SAND. THEY ARE SUPPORTED BY PEOPLE IN IRAQ. IT DEMANDS THAT WE TAKE A COMPLETELY HONEST, CLEAR-EYED AND UNBIASED LOOK AT WHAT WE ARE FACING TO THE GROUND TRUTHS, THE FCIALG THE CULTURAL AND THE POLITICAL GROUND TRUTHS. I'M AFRAID THIS IS LACKING IN THIS ADMINISTRATION'S ADMINISTRATION OF THIS WAR. IN 1961, PRESIDENT JOHN KENNEDY SPOKE TO A COMMENCEMENT AT THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY. I'D LIKE TO READ YOU A FEW LINES FROM HIS SPEECH AS HE SFOAK THESE MIDSHIPMEN. YOU GENTLEMEN, THEREFORE, HAVE A MOST IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY TO RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR EDUCATION IS JUST A BEGINNING AND TO BE PREPARED IN THE MOST DIFFICULT PERIOD IN THE LIFE OF OUR COUNTRY TO PLAY THE ROLE THE COUNTRY HOPES AND NEEDS AND EXPECTS FROM YOU." PRESIDENT KENNEDY WENT ON TO SAY, "YOU MUST UNDERSTAND NOT ONLY THIS COUNTRY BUT OTHER COUNTRIES. YOU MUST KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT STRATEGY AND TACTICS AND LOGISTICS BUT ALSO ECONOMICS AND POLITICS AND DIPLOMACY AND HISTORY. YOU MUST KNOW EVERYTHING YOU CAN KNOW ABOUT MILITARY POWER AND YOU MUST ALSO UNDERSTAND THE LIMITS OF MILITARY POWER. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT FEW OF THE IMPORTANT PROBLEMS OF OUR TIME HAVE IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS BEEN FINALLY SOLVED BY MILITARY POWER ALONE." IRAQ HAS SHOWN US AGAIN THE LIMITS OF MILITARY POWER. EVEN THE MILITARY CAPABILITIES OF THE GREATEST MILITARY FORCE ON EARTH. IT HAS SHOWN US AGAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF ALLIES, AND IT HAS SHOWN US THE IMPORTANCE OF GROUND TRUTHING. WE ARE NOW CONSTRAINED BY THE LIMITS THAT ARE IMPOSED BY POOR DECISIONS MADE IN THE PAST BY THIS ADMINISTRATION IN IRAQ. NOT JUST BY GOING TO WAR BUT HOW WE WAGED THE WAR. IF WE WERE PREPARED FOR THE INVASION AND THE WAR, WE CERTAINLY WEREN'T PREPARED FOR WHAT FOLLOWED. WHEN THE ADMINISTRATION WENT TO WAR, IT FAILED TO BUILD A REAL COALITION. HOW MUCH DIFFERENT THAT WAR WOULD BE TODAY IF THE PRESIDENT HAD AT HIS SIDE MUSLIM NATIONS HELPING US TO MAINTAIN STABILITY IN IRAQ. WHEN IT EXECUTED THE INVASION, IT TORE DOWN SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC STRUCTURES THAT COULDN'T BE REPLACED. WE SAW THE BEGINNING OF THE DISINTEGRATION WHEN THE LOOTING BEGAN AND IT CONTINUES ALMOST EVERY DAY WITH IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES FROM THE ALMOST ENDLESS ARSENAL OF EQUIPMENT AND AMMUNITION STILL ON THE GROUND FOR THE TAKING IN IRAQ. IN IRAQ, IT SOMETIMES SEEMED THAT WE HAD BEEN BUILDING LEVEES OF SAND THAT HAVE BEEN STEADILY ERODED. I'M REMINDED OF THE IMAGES OF THE HELICOPTERS IN LOUISIANA DUMPING ENORMOUS SANDBAGS INTO A GAPING HOLE ON A BROKEN LEVEE AND HOW THOSE ENORMOUS SANDBAGS WOULD JUST DISAPPEAR, SWALLOWED UP BY THE FORCE OF THE WATER.nIS THAT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN IRAQ? THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO ASK, AND THAT'S WHAT THIS ADMINISTRATION MUST ANSWER. ARE WE MAKING ENOUGH PROGRESS IN IRAQ TO JUSTIFY WHAT IT'S COSTING US IN BLOOD, IN TREASURE, AND IN DAMAGE TO OUR OWN NATIONAL SECURITY. THAT'S BECOMING A MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT QUESTION. IT'S CERTAINLY A QUESTION THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS NOT FACED FORTHRIGHTLY. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE AN ANSWER. THE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM RISKING THEIR LIVES TODAY IN IRAQ DESERVE AN ANSWER. AND IF WE ARE NOT MAKING SUFFICIENT PROGRESS, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TO CHANGE DIRECTION? I'VE JOINED OTHERS IN SAYING THAT PROGRESS ON A BATTLEFIELD ALONE IS NEVER GOING TO BE ENOUGH. THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT HAS TO FUNCTION AS A REAL GOVERNMENT. IT HAS TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE BASIC SOCIAL SERVICES, PROTECT ITS BORDERS, OFFER ITS PEOPLE SECURITY AND IT'S A FAR DISTANCE BEFORE THEY EVER REACH THAT POINT. RIGHT NOW, THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT CANNOT PERFORM THESE BASIC FUNCTIONS. TODAY ELECTRICITY IN BAGHDAD IS AT PRE-WAR LEVELS. BARELY HALF THE IRAQIS HAVE ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER. UNEMPLOYMENT ESTIMATES RANGE FROM 27% TO 40%. IN ADDITION TO THE TERRIBLE ATROCITIES OF CAR BOMBING AND OTHER ATTACK, STREET CRIME IS NOW EPIDEMIC. THERE ARE 146,000 U.S. FORCES IN IRAQ TODAY AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY THAT THEY JUST AREN'T ENOUGH TO DO THE JOB. THERE ARE OTHERS WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM ALL LEAVE TOMORROW. BUT WHATEVER THE RIGHT NUMBER IS, STABILITY IN IRAQ, SECURITY IN IRAQ AND PEACE IN IRAQ DEPEND ULTIMATELY UPON THE IRAQIS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT, NOT AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND THEIR LIVES. NEXT MONTH THE IRAQIS WILL AGAIN GO TO THE POLLS TO VOTE UP OR DOWN ON A DRAFT CONSTITUTION THAT IS BEFORE THEM. VOTING IN A COUNTRY UNDER SIEGE IS A REAL ACT OF COURAGE BY THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ. WE RESPECT THEM AND THAT DECISION TO VOTE VERY MUCH. THIS REFERENDUM IS AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS. BUT HOWEVER THE RECEIVE DUMB TURNS OUT, IT'S NOT CLEAR THAT THE DAY AFTER THE VOTE THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ WILL BE ALL THAT MUCH CLOSER TO A SECURE GOVERNMENT. I CERTAINLY HOPE THEY WILL BE. BUT IF THE CONSTITUTION PASSES WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF A MAJOR FACTION LIKE THE SUNNIS IT'S HARD TO SEE HOW SECURITY AND UNITY WILL EMERGE. AND IF THE CONSTITUTION IS DEFEATED, WE MAY HAVE TO START OVER. THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME I CAN IMAGINE IS WHENEVER WAY THE REFERENDUM TURNS OUT IT'S FOLLOWED BY CIVIC ENGAGEMENTS BY ALL FACTIONS. WITHOUT THAT ENGAGEMENT, I DON'T SEE HOW THE POLITICAL PROGRESS IN IRAQ CAN SUCCEED, BUT WHATEVER COMES NEXT, WE MUST NOT LET OUR DESIRE TO SEE PROGRESS IN IRAQ BLIND US TO REALITY. WE NEED POLITICAL GROUND TROOPING AS WELL. PRESIDENT KENNEDY WAS RIGHT WHEN HE SAID MANY PROBLEMS JUST DON'T HAVE MILITARY SOLUTIONS. WE NEED AN INTEGRATED PLAN FOR IRAQ THAT ADDRESSES POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC NEEDS. WE NEED A PLAN THAT WOULD FINALLY BRING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION INITIALLY THOUGHT IT COULD DO WITHOUT. WE NEED A PLAN TO DRAW DOWN AMERICAN FORCES NOT ONLY BECAUSE THE WAR IS LESS POPULAR BUT BECAUSE WE HAVE TO TELL THE IRAQIS THEY NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN FUTURE AND SECURITY. WE NEED A PLAN BASED OFTEN THE IRAQI POLITICAL CALENDAR, NOT OUR OWN. THAT'S A PLAN WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED FROM THIS ADMINISTRATION. 146,000 U.S. SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN IN IRAQ TODAY RISKING THEIR LIVES DESERVE THAT PLAN. SO DO THEIR FAMILIES AT HOME. AND SO DO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS WHO HAVE NOW POURED NEARLY $200 BILLION INTO THIS WAR, A WAR WHICH CONTINUES TO DEMAND OVER $1 BILLION A WEEK. THE WAR HAS COME AT A TERRIBLE PRICE FOR AMERICA. THIS CHART SHOWS THE MOST GRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF THE COST. 1,907 OF OUR BEST AND BRAVEST WHO HAVE PAID THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE, A SACRIFICE BORNE BY THEIR FAMILIES FOR. WE DON'T -- FOREVER. WE DON'T HONOR THEIR SACRIFICE IF WE REFUSE TO ASK HARD QUESTIONS, IF WE REFUSE TO DEMAND OF THIS ADMINISTRATION, ANY ADMINISTRATION, TO TELL US THE TRUTH AND HOW WE WILL BRING THIS TO AN HONORABLE CONCLUSION. OCTOBER WILL GIVE US A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN IRAQ WITH BOTH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE REPORT. IT'S THEN UP TO ALL OF US TO ACT ON THAT KNOWLEDGE, RECOGNIZE OUR TRAJECTORY AND CHANGE THE COURSE IF WE MUST. BEFORE AMERICA LOSED 2,000 OF OUR BEST AND BRAVEST IN IRAQ, THIS ADMINISTRATION NEED THEES TO -- NEEDS TO COME FORWARD AND SPEAK CLEARLY ON ITS PLAN TO BRING OUR TROOPS HOME. THIS ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT IRAQ MUST ACCEPT ITS OWN RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT ITS OWN NATION. IF THE IRAQI WAR EXPOSED A FAILURE OF INTELLIGENCE, IF HURRICANE KATRINA EXPOSED A FAILUREEL OF IMAGINATION AND PREPARATION, THE LIVES WE LOSE EVERY DAY IN IRAQ MAKE IT CLEAR THAT WE CAN WAIT NO LONGER FOR LEADERSHIP AND VISION TO BRING THIS WAR TO AN END AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. AND WE NEED TO DO OUR PART IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. EACH YEAR WE CONSIDER A BILL CALLED THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL. IT'S A BILL WHICH CONSIDERS NOT ONLY WHAT OUR TROOPS NEED, WHAT OUR VETERANS NEED. IF THERE WAS OF A TIME -- WAS OF A TIME WHEN WE SHOULD BE SPENDING MORE TIME ON THAT IT'S RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW AS WE ARE LOSING SOLDIERS EVERY DAY AND SEEING THEM COME HOME WOUNDED. MR. PRESIDENT, I'M SORRY TO REPORT TO YOU THAT BEFORE THE AUGUST THAT BILL WAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE CALENDAR, TAKEN OFF THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE FOR REASONS I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND. WE MOVED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL TO A SPECIAL INTEREST BILL FOR THE GUN LOBBY THAT JUST HAD TO BE PASSED BEFORE WE LEFT FOR THE AUGUST RECESS. THAT'S A MACE IN -- MISTAKE IN PRIORITY. IT'S A MISTAKE THAT FRANKLY DOES NOT REFLECT WELL ON THE SENATE. WHAT COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT FOR US TO CONSIDER AT THIS MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY THAN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BILL? WHAT COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TALKING ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT NEEDS OF OUR TROOPS TO PROTECT OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO ARE STANDING THERE IN THE PATH OF BULLETS, IN THE PATH OF BOMBS IN IRAQ TODAY? WHAT COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TO TALK ABOUT VETERANS BENEFITS FOR THOSE THAT ARE COMING HOME TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO KEEP OUR PROMISE TO, THAT IF THEY WILL STAND UP FOR AMERICA, WE WILL STAND UP FOR OUR VETERANS? WHY AREN'T WE RETURNING TO THIS BILL? WHY IS THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP REFUSING TO GO BACK TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL? IT SHOULD BE THE FIRST THING ON THE CALENDAR? BUT UNFORTUNATELY A DECISION HAS BEEN MADE THAT WE WILL NOT. I THINK IT'S WRONG. I THINK WE OWE IT TO THE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM, THEIR FAMILIES PRAYING FOR THEM AT HOME, AND EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO IS SO PROUD OF THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO MAKE THAT OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY. I SINCERELY HOPE THAT WHEN WE RETURN TO THE SENATE NEXT WEEK, WE WILL RETURN TO THAT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL, RETURN TO IT TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT THE EQUIPMENT, THE SUPPLIES AND ALL THAT IS NEEDED WILL BE THERE FOR THOSE TROOPS. CAN I REMEMBER THE FIRST SOLDIER THAT I VISITED AT WALTER REED SO LONG AGO. HE WAS FROM AN OHIO UNIT. HE HAD LOST HIS LEFT LEG BEFORE THE -- BELOW THE KNEE. I WAS AMAZED. THERE HE WAS STILL SCARRED WITH THE I.V.'S RUNNING, RECENT AMPUTATION. I ASKED HIM WHAT HE THOUGHT. HE SAID, I WANT TO TELL YOU TWO THINGS: FIRST, PLEASE GET SOME PROTECTION IN THESE HUMVEES, PUT SOME ARMOR IN THOSE HUMVEES. THEY ARE MOVING TARGETS IN IRAQ. AND SECOND, TELL ME HOW I CAN GET BACK TO MY YOUITY. I HAVE HEARD THAT SO MANY TIMES FROM SOME SOLDIERS. IF THEY FEEL THAT OBLIGATION TO FELLOW SOLDIERS, SHOULDN'T WE FEEL AN OBLIGATION TO THEM? SHOULDN'T WE MAKE THIS OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE? I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY WE HAVE FAILED TO DO THAT. I CALL ON THE LEADERSHIP, ON SENATOR FRIST AND OTHERS, TO SET ASIDE WHATEVER YOU PLAN AFTER WE CONSIDER JUDGE ROBERTS NEXT WEEK AND MOVE DIRECTLY TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL. I CAN GUARANTEE YOU YOU WILL HAVE THE COOPERATION WITH THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE OF THE AISLE TO COME UP WITH A LIST OF AMENDMENTS AND A MOVEMENT TO FINAL PASSAGE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THOSE ARE THINGS WE CAN WORK OUT, BUT WE CAN ONLY WORK THEM OUT IF THE LEADERSHIP OF THE SENATE BELIEVES THIS IS THE SAME HIGH PRIORITY THAT I FEEL TODAY. THAT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY, OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THESE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES AND GIVEN IMPORTANT PARTS OF THEIR LIVES FOR THIS COUNTRY. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOWER. I -- I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:40:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARKANSAS.

  • 04:42:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARKANSAS.

  • 04:42:38 PM

    MR. PRYOR

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:42:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:42:43 PM

    MR. PRYOR

    TODAY THE SENATE JUDICIARY VOTED TO BRING THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE ROBERTS…

    TODAY THE SENATE JUDICIARY VOTED TO BRING THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE ROBERTS TO THE FULL SENATE FOR ITS CONSIDERATION. I'M QUITE SURE THAT ON OCTOBER 3, 2005, MR. ROBERTS WILL BE SWORN IN AS THE 17th CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT. TODAY IS A VERY IMPORTANT DAY FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I SAY THIS BECAUSE SEVERAL MONTHS AGO THIS BODY WAS MIRED IN A PARTISAN JUDICIAL BATTLE THAT MANY THOUGHT WOULD END IN A NUCLEAR WINTER. VERY FEW PEOPLE INCLUDING A MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THOUGHT THAT WE WOULD WEATHER THE STORM AND FIND COMMON GROUND. BUT INSTEAD OF NUCLEAR WINTER, THIS BODY WAS ABLE TO RISE ABOVE THE PARTISAN BICKERING THAT HAS PLAGUED US FOR SOMETIME AND WE WERE ABLE TO COME TO AN AGREEMENT, AN UNDERSTANDING THAT HAS ALLOWED THE JUDICIAL PROCESS TO MOVE FORWARD. WHILE I DO NOT INTEND TO REVIEW THAT ENTIRE AGREEMENT, THERE IS ONE PART THAT IS WORTH NOTING. IT STATES, AND I QUOTE "WE BELIEVE UNDER ARTICLE 2 SECTION 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, THE WORD ADVICE SPEAKS TO CONSULTATION BETWEEN THE SENATE AND THE PRESIDENT WITH REGARD TO THE USE OF PRESIDENT'S POWER TO MAKE NOMINATIONS. WE ENCOURAGE THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT TO CONSULT WITH MEMBERS OF THE SENATE, BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN, PRIOR TO SUBMITTING A JUDICIAL NOMINATION TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION. SUCH A RETURN TO THE EARLY PRACTICES OF OUR GOVERNMENT MAY VERY WELL SERVE TO REDUCE THE RANCOR THAT UNFORTUNATELY ACCOMPANIES THE ADVICE AND CONSENT PROCESS IN THIS SENATE." MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK THAT THE CASE OF JOHN ROBERTS -- THAT IN THE CASE OF JOHN ROBERTS THE CLAUSE I JUST READ HAS BEEN HEEDED BY THIS ADMINISTRATION, AND I APPLAUD PRESIDENT BUSH FOR FOLLOWING IN THE TRADITION OF PAST PRESIDENTS WHO HAVE SOUGHT MEANINGFUL CONSULTATION WITH THE U.S. SENATE. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY SHORT TENURE AS A SENATOR, I FELT AS THOUGH THIS ADMINISTRATION PUT FORTH AN EFFORT TO GAUGE WHERE THE SENATE WAS ON A NOMINATION AND ACTED ACCORDINGLY. MR. PRESIDENT, I BELIEVE THE WHITE HOUSE, WHEN WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE SENATE AS A COEQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, WILL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO FIND A CONS.OUS -- CONSENSUS NOMINEE WHO WILL FAITHFULLY UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION AND REPRESENT THE BEST OF OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM. I THINK IN THE CASE OF JOHN ROBERTS THAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED. THIS WAS ONE OF SEVERAL REASONS THAT I'VE DECIDED TO VOTE TO CONFIRM JOHN ROBERTS AS THE NEXT CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT. WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH NOMINATED MR. ROBERTS, I SAID THEN THAT I FELT VERY STRONGLY THE SENATE MUST FULFILL ITS CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY, TO LEARN AS MUCH ABOUT ROBERTS JUDICIAL RECORD AS POSSIBLE, INCLUDING HIS WORK OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS SINCE ON THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE D.C. CIRCUIT. THE SUPREME COURT IS THE FINAL ARBITER OF OUR LIB WE ARE AT THIS -- LIBERTIES AND FREEDOMS. APPOINTMENTS FOR THESE GATEKEEPERS ARE RARE AND PIVOTAL. A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DESERVES A HIGH THRESHOLD OF REVIEW, AND I THINK JOHN ROBERTS WAS PUT TO THE TEST. I APPLAUD THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FOR ALL OF THEIR HARD WORK OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS, AND FOR THE QUALITY OF LAST WEEK'S HEARING. S, THE QUALITY OF ENSUING DEBATE WERE A TESTAMENT TO THE WORK THE COMMITTEE DOES AND A TESTAMENT TO THE VALUED LEADERSHIP OF SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER AND SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET PERSONALLY WITH JOHN ROBERTS. HE IS SOMEONE YOU CAN SIT DOWN AND TALK WITH FOR HOURS ABOUT THE LAW. HE IS CONGENIAL AND EASY TO GET ALONG WITH. HE IS A FAMILY MAN. WHILE THESE ARE WONDERFUL QUALITIES IT'S NOT WHY I'M VOTING FOR HIM. I'M VOTING FOR MR. ROBERTS BECAUSE HE MEETS THE CRITERIA I HAVE SET OUT FOR JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS, CRITERIA I HAVE OOZE -- I HAVE USED IN ASSESSING ALL JOURNAL NOMINATIONS THAT HAVE COME BEFORE THIS BODY. WHEN LOOKING AT THE NOMINATION OF MR. ROBERTS, I FIRST ASK, DOES JOHN ROBERTS HAVE THE QUALIFICATIONS OR CREDENTIALS TO BE A JUDGE?n I THINK THE ANSWER TO THIS IS OBVIOUS TO ANYONE, AND NO ONE IN THIS BODY WILL DISPUTE T JUSTICE ROBERTS BRINGS WITH HIM EXCELLENT CREDENTIALS. HE'S BRILLIANT LAWYER AND I HAVE -- AND I WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH HIS BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW. HE IS ALSO ON MULTIPLE OWE CAUTIONS DEMONSTRATED A GENUINE UNDERSTANDING OF THE LAW. I WAS ALSO VERY IMPRESSED WITH HIS TESTIMONY BEFORE THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. WHILE SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES AND I WOULD HAVE LIKED FOR MR. ROBERTS TO FURTHER EXPLAIN SOME OF HIS ANSWERS AND POSITIONS, NO ONE CAN DISPUTE, HE HAS THE ABILITY TO TAKE THIS MOST PRESTIGIOUS POST. MY SECOND CRITERIA, MR. PRESIDENT, WILL MR. ROBERTS BE OF THE RIGHT JUDICIAL TEMPERAMENT? AS A LAWYER WHO HAS ARGUED IN FRONT OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT 39 TIMES, I BELIEVE MR. ROBERTS HAS A HIGH LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR THE LAW, ITS INSTITUTIONS, AND ITS TRADITIONS. I'M CONVINCED AFTER SPENDING TIME WITH MR. ROBERTS THAT HE WILL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH THE DIGNITY, THE FITTING OF A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, AND THAT HE WILL LEAD THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY WITH HONOR AND INTEGRITY. MY THIRD CRITERIA, WILL JOHN ROBERTS BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL AND NOT AN ACTIVIST? MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO BELIEVE THE ANSWER IS "YES." MR. PRESIDENT, I DON'T THINK IT'S ANY SECRET THAT THERE ARE MEMBERS OF THIS BODY, INCLUDING MYSELF, THAT WERE AND STILL ARE IN DISAGREEMENT WITH SOME OF PRESIDENT REAGAN'S DOMESTIC POLICIES, ESPECIALLY AS IT PERTAINS TO CIVIL RIGHTS. I, OF COURSE, WASN'T IN A THE SENATE DURING THE 1980'S AND BEING A FEW YEARS YOUNGER THAN MR. ROBERTS, I WAS STILL IN SCHOOL WHEN HE WAS STARTING HIS LEGAL CAREER. I DON'T AGREE WITH MANY OF THE OPINIONS MR. ROBERTS EXPRESSED IN HIS MEMOS WHILE SESQUI IN THE OFFICE OF THE U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL. BUT I CAN SAY THAT AS A LAWYER, I HAVE TAKEN POSITIONS THAT WERE NOT MY OWN BUT WERE MY CLIENTS'. I CAN ALSO SAY THAT TIME HAS A WAY OF CHANGING A MAN. IT IS MY HOPE THAT AFTER 20 YEARS OF GAINING LIFE EXPERIENCE, JOHN ROBERTS HAS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF HOW IMPORTANT CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS ARE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THIS COUNTRY AND THAT HE HAS MOVED AWAY FROM SOME OF HIS EARLIER WRITINGS. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE WILL BE PEOPLE IN MY HOME STATE OF ARKANSAS THAT ARE GOING TO BE VERY PLEASED THAT I'M VOTING FOR MR. ROBERTS. I WILL ALSO FACE CONSTITUENTS WHO ARE THE DISAPPOINTED, AND I'M SURE THOSE CONSTITUENTS WILL ASK, SENATOR PRYOR, HOW CAN YOU BE SURE? HOW CAN YOU BE SURE, WITHOUT BROADER EXPLANATIONS FROM MR. ROBERTS OR WITHOUT MORE DOCUMENTS, HOW CAN YOU BE SURE THAT HE WILL VOTE THIS WAY OR THAT WAY ON AN ISSUE? MY ANSWER TO THAT IS TWOFIELD. FIRST, I DO NOT BELIEVE-- --MY ANSWER TO THAT IS TWOFOLD. FIRST, I DON'T BELIEVE IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO CONFIRM JUDGES THAT WILL VOTE THE WAY I WANT THEM TO 10000% OF THE TIME. MY DUTY AS A U.S. SENATOR IS TO USE MY DISCRETION TO PUT THE BEST JURISTS POSSIBLE ON THE BENCH. I BELIEVE WE HAVE ACHIEVED THAT THRESHOLD WITH JOHN ROBERTS. JUST AS IMPORTANTLY, I WOULD ANSWER THOSE CRITICAL OF MY DECISION TO SUPPORT JUSTICE ROBERTS BY SAYING, YOU CAN NEVER BE 100% SURE. I HAVE CHOSEN BASED UPON THE EVIDENCE THAT I HAVE, BASED ON MY TALKS WITH JOHN ROBERTS, BASED ON HIS TESTIMONY. I'VE CHOSEN TO PUT MY FAITH IN JUSTICE ROBERTS. I HAVE CHOSEN TO BELIEVE HIM WHEN HE SAYS THAT HE IS NOT AN I HADEOLOGUE. I HAVE CHOSEN TO BELIEVE HE WILL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION ABOVE ALL ELSE AND THAT HE WILL NOT LET POLITICS OR PERSONAL AGENDA GET IN THE WAY OF HIS JOB. MR. PRESIDENT, I AM CERTAIN THAT IN THE YEARS THAT FOLLOW, THERE WILL BE TIMES I WILL LAUD JUSTICE ROBERTS' OPINIONS AND THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN I'M DISAPPOINTED IN HIS RULINGS. BUT I AM CONFIDENT THAT I WILL NEVER BE DISAPPOINTED IN HIS INTEGRITY OR ABILITY TO CONDUCT HIMSELF AS A MAN OF THE COURT, NOT AS A MAN OF POLITICS. THEREFORE, I ONCE AGAIN STATE MY INTENTION TO VOTE FOR JUSTICE ROBERTS WHEN HIS NOMINATION COMES TO THE FLOOR. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I HE NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:51:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 04:54:25 PM

    MR. SPECTER

  • 04:54:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA.

  • 04:54:31 PM

    MR.R. SANTORUM

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:54:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:54:36 PM

    MR. SANTORUM

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT A BILL THAT I HAVE INTRODUCED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT A BILL THAT I HAVE INTRODUCED THIS MORNING CALLED THE SOCIAL SECURITY GUARANTEE ACT. THE REASON THAT I INTRODUCED THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION WAS AN ATTEMPT TO TRY IN A TIME WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE WHEN THE SOCIAL SECURITY ISSUE HERE IN CONGRESS HAS GROUND DOWN TO ALMOST A HALT -- ALTHOUGH I THINK THERE'S STILL AN OPPORTUNITY; AT LEAST WE HEAR THAT THE HOUSE MAY PASS SOMETHING TO MOVE THE BALL FORWARD -- I WANTED TO PUT FORTH AN IDEA THAT I THINK WOULD BE HELPFUL AS SOMETHING THAT WE CAN GET DONE, THAT HAS -- SHOULD HAVE, I HOPE, BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, AND WOULD THE CREATE A SENSE OF SECURITY AND CERTAINLY REDUCE ANXIETY AMONG THOSE AT OR NEAR RETIREMENT WITH RESPECT TO ANY FUTURE CHANGES TO SOCIAL SECURITY. THE SOCIAL SECURITY GUARANTEE ACT IS A VERY SIMPLE CONCEPT. IT SAYS, IF YOU WERE BORN BEFORE 1950, THIS LAW NOW CREATES A RIGHT FOR YOU TO THE BENEFITS THAT YOU HAVE BEEN PROMISED. NOW, YOU SAY, WELL WHY IS THAT A NEW THING? WELL, BELIEVE FOR NOT, THERE'S A SUPREME COURT CASE ON THIS POINT THAT SAYS THAT SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS HAVE NO RIGHT TO THE BENEFITS THAT THEY'VE BEEN PROMISED BY THE CONGRESS. -- OR PROPPED UNDER THE LAW. THIS-- --OR PROMISED UNDER THE LAW. THIS WOULD CREATE SUCH A RIGHT FOR PEOPLE BORN BEFORE 1950. WHY DO I PICK OUT 1950? BECAUSE IN ALL THE LEGISLATION THAT'S BEEN INTRODUCED HERE IN THE CONGRESS, STATEMENTS MADE BY THE PRESIDENT, EVEN STATEMENTS MADE BY MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, WE'VE ALL AGREED THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE AT OR NEAR RETIREMENT SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS. NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH WAS -- IS, I SHOULD SAY, THAT THERE IS MONEY THERE TO PAY THOSE BENEFITS. CASH-FLOW WISE, THERE WILL BE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY FOR THE BENEFITS FOR OUR SENIORS AND THOSE WHO ARE NEAR RETIREMENT, OR NEAR ELIGIBILITY AGE OF 62. AND SO THERE ISN'T A NEED TO CHANGE THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS AND, THEREFORE, EVERYONE WHO'S PROPOSING CHANGES TO THE SYSTEM TO SAVE IT AND STRENGTHEN IT FOR THE FUTURE HAVE SET THEM ASIDE VERBALLY AND SAID, WE ARE NOT GOING TO PROPOSE ANYTHING THAT'S GOING TO AFFECT YOUR BENEFITS IF YOU WERE BORN BEFORE 1950. WELL, IF WE'RE GOING TO SAY THAT AND PROMISE THAT, THEN I THINK A STEP FORWARD HERE, BOTH IN TERMS OF OUR ABILITY TO FIND A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM FOR YOUNGER WORKERS AND THE FACT THAT SOCIAL SECURITY WILL NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO PAY FOR BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE, WE TAKE A STEP FORWARD IF WE PROMISE AND PUT IN LAW A GUARANTEE THAT OLDER WORKERS AND RETIREES-- --OLDER WORKERS' AND RETIREES' BENEFITS ARE GUARANTEED IN LAW. THE SECOND ONE IS POLITICAL IN THIS SENSE: IN THAT ONE OF THE DIFFICULTIES IN FRYING TO RALLY SUPPORT IN THE PUBLIC FOR A PROGRAM THAT WILL SAVE AND STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY FOR YOUNGER WORKERS IS THE ANXIETY THAT OLDER WORKERS HAVE AND RETIREES HAVE THAT SOMEHOW OR ANOTHER AT THE LAST MINUTE THEY'LL BE FOLDED INTO THIS BILL AND SOMEHOW THAT THEIR BENEFITS WILL BE AFFECTED, OR THEIR TAXES WILL BE INCREASED. THIS SHOULD PROVIDE A LEVEL OF COMFORT AND REDUCE THAT ANXIETY AND CREATE A PROPER FOCUS FOR REFORM. THE PROPER FOCUS FOR REFORM BEING THE FUTURE, NOT THE PRESENT, NOT THE PAST. AND SO I PUT THIS FORWARD AS AN ADMITTEDLY MINIMALIST STEP, BUT I THINK AN IMPORTANT ONE THAT CREATES A BETTER ATMOSPHERE WHERE THERE AREN'T POLITICAL ACCUSATIONS OF TRYING TO TAKE SOMEONE'S SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK AWAY OR, YOU KNOW, HAVE, YOU KNOW, GRANDMA'S, YOU KNOW, CHECK BE CUT IN HALF OR WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE, AND YOU HEAR ALL THESE THINGS FROM THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO MAKE ANY KIND OF CHANGES FOR -- TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM FOR YOUNGER WORKERS. SO THEY GO OUT AND TRY TO SCARE OLDER WORKERS AND RETIREES WHO -- IT WOULD NOT BE FAIR, I MIGHT ADD, AS ANOTHER REASON TO DO THIS -- IT WOULDN'T BE FAIR AT THIS POINT TO REDUCE THEIR BENEFITS OR TO CHANGE THE STRUCTURE WHEN THEY ARE EITHER IN THE SYSTEM OR VERY CLOSE TO DOING SO. -- BEING CLOSE TO BEING IN SOCIAL SECURITY. SO, THIS IS A -- THIS IS A STEP THAT I WOULD HOPE THAT WE COULD GET BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON, THAT WE COULD PASS THIS BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT. I DON'T KNOW OF ANYBODY IN THIS CHAMBER WHO HAS MADE THE STATEMENT THAT THEY THINK WE SHOULD CHANGE BENEFITS FOR CURRENT RYE RETIREES, OR THAT WE SHOULD CHANGE BENEFITS FOR FOLKS THAT ARE NEAR RETIREMENT. AND THAT BEING THE CASE, I SEE NO REASON WHY WE WOULDN'T PASS THIS. AND IN A SENSE TAKE THOSE BORN BEFORE 1950 AND SAY, OKAY, YOU'RE OFF THE TABLE. NO SBLGHTNO SOCIAL SECURITY CHANGES ARE GOING TO AFFECT YOU. YOUR INTEREST IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY DEBATE THEN BECOMES THE FEWFUTURE, NOT YOU, BECOMES YOUR GRANDCHILDREN, THEIR CHILDREN, THEIR GRANDCHILDREN, NOT HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR LIFE AND YOU TODAY. I THINK THAT'S A HELPFUL STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION TO TRYING TO GET SOMETHING THAT IS APPROPRIATE, A STRONGER SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM THAT IS APPROPRIATELY DESIGNED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS OF AMERICANS. SO I AM PLEASED SENATOR DeMINT HAS JOINED ME IN THIS LEGISLATION, AND I CERTAINLY PUT OUT A CALL FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN TRYING TO TAKE A SMALL STEP FORWARD IN MOVING THIS SOCIAL SECURITY AGENDA TO JOIN ME IN SECURING THE THE BENEFITS FOR OUR SENIORS, REMOVING THE ANXIETY THAT OFTEN COMES, PARTICULARLY WITH THOSE WHO LIVE -- EXCUSE ME, SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK TO SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK, REMOVING THE ANXIETY THAT THEY HAVE ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR THEIR BENEFITS TO BE AFFECTED BY ANY CHANGES THAT CONGRESS WOULD MAKE. THIS WOULD CREATE A VOTE, WHICH I SUSPECT WOULD BE UNANIMOUS, THAT WOULD PUT EVERY SENATOR ON RECORD FOR PUTTING IN THE LAW THAT THEY WILL NOT CHANGE THE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR THOSE WHO WERE BORN BEFORE 1950./ THAT HAS A POWERFUL EFFECT WHEN A MEMBER VOTES THAT WAY. IT MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO COME BACK AND SAY I'M GOING TO CHANGE MY MIND AND VOTE A DIFFERENT WAY. I THINK IT IS A MEANINGFUL PIECE OF LEGISLATION. IT IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. IT DOES REMOVE THE ANXIETY, WHICH IS A POSITIVE THING FOR OUR SENIORS. AND IT CREATES A PLATFORM FOR US TO BUILD INTO THE FUTURE A STRONGER SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM. AND I'M HOPEFUL THAT IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS, IF NOT EARLY NEXT YEAR, THAT WE CAN GET A VOTE ON THIS, THAT WE CAN HAVE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO BRING IT UP AND TO PASS IT AND TO GET A STRONG VOTE FROM EVERY MEMBER OF THE SENATE THAT SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM, PROGRAMS PUT FORWARD HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE TO SAVE AND STRENGTHEN THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM WILL BE ALL ABOUT THE FUTURE, WILL BE ALL ABOUT YOUNGER WORKERS AND HOW WE MAKE THIS SYSTEM STABLE FOR THEM WITHOUT USING SCARE TACTICS ABOUT HOW IT'S GOING TO AFFECT OLDER WORKERS WHO ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE, IN MANY CASES THE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR SOCIETY. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:03:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 05:03:17 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:18:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE CALLING OF THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE CALLING OF THE QUORUM.

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  • 05:18:42 PM

    MR. REED

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:18:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:18:46 PM

    MR. REED

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:18:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:18:51 PM

    MR. REED

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, HEADLINES ACROSS THE NATION WARN…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, HEADLINES ACROSS THE NATION WARN OF AN IMPENDING DISASTER FACING AMERICAN FAMILIES THIS WINTER. RISING ENERGY PRICES THAT COULD WIPE OUT WORKING-CLASS FAMILIES AND SENIORS. "THE NEW YORK TIMES" REPORTS ENERGY PRICES LEAD INFLATION OVERCOMING SALARY INCREASES. THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL" STATES, "SOARING NATURAL GAS PRICES POINT TO RECORD-HIGH ELECTRICITY COSTS." AND "U.S.A. TODAY" STATES HEATING PROBLEMS AND PRICES LOOM AS PROBLEMS THIS WINTER." PRIOR TO HURRICANE KATRINA'S DEVASTATION IN THE GULF REGION, AMERICANS WERE FACING RECORD PRICES FOR OIL, NATURAL GAS AND PROPANE. HURRICANE KATRINA EXACERBATED THESE COSTS BY DAMAGING PRODUCTION PLATFORMS AND PORTS AND CURTAILING PRODUCTION AT REFINERIES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. NOW HURRICANE RITA THREATENS FURTHER DAMAGE AND IN TURN PRICE INCREASE. NATURAL GAS PRICES ARE HITTING ALL-TIME HIGHS AND CRUDE OIL AND GASOLINE PRICES ARE AGAIN ON THE RISE. CONSUMERS ARE FEELING THE PRICE INCREASES AT THE PUMP, BUT WITH WINTER LOOMING, THE FULL EFFECT OF THESE COSTS HAVE YET TO HIT US. IN NEW ENGLAND, THE AVERAGE HEATING COST FOR A FAMILY USING HEATING OIL IS PROJECTED TO REACH $1,666 DURING THE UPCOMING WINTER. THIS REPRESENTS AN INCREASE OF $403 OVER THE LAST WINTER'S PRICES AND $714 OVER THE WINTER HEATING SEASON OF 2003 AND 2004. ALMOST $1,000 INCREASE IN TWO YEARS. FOR A FAMILY USING NATURAL GAS IN THE MIDWEST, PRICES ARE PROJECTED TO HIT $1,568, REPRESENTING AN INCREASE OF $611 OVER LAST YEAR'S PRICES AND $643 OVER THE HEATING SEASON OF 2003/2004. THE MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION EXPECTS STEEP ENERGY COSTS COULD INCREASE THE NUMBER OF MISSED PAYMENTS AND LOST HOMES BEGINNING LATER THIS YEAR. YESTERDAY THE STATE ENERGY DIRECTORS RELEASED A SURVEY ABOUT THE CHOICES THAT HOUSEHOLDS MAKE WHEN THEY FACE UNAFFORDABLE ENERGY BILLS. LIE HEAP IS THE LOW-INCOME HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM THAT WE HAVE AUTHORED AND SUPPORTED FOR MANY YEARS NOW HERE IN THIS CONGRESS. IT ASSISTS LOW-INCOME AMERICANS AND SENIORS TO ENSURE THAT THEY CAN FACE THESE CRISES. ACCORDING TO THE SURVEY BY THE STATE ENERGY DIRECTORS, 73% OF THE HOUSEHOLDS SURVEYED REPORTED THAT THEY REDUCED EXPENSES FOR OTHER NECESSITIES BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY FOR THEIR ENERGY BILLS. THESE OTHER NECESSITIES ARE FOOD, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, RENT OR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS. IN FACT, ONE IN FIVE LIE HEAP HOUSEHOLD REPORTED THAT THEY WENT WITHOUT FOOD FOR AT LEAST ONE DAY OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS DUE TO UNAFFORDABLE ENERGY BILLS. 24% USED THEIR STOVE OR OVEN TO PROVIDE HEAT BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T FILL THE TANKS TO RUN THEIR BOILERS. ON MONDAY, I VISITED THE HOME OF ARAMOHENNIAN, AN 88-YEAR-OLD VETERAN WHO LIVES IN RHODE ISLAND AND WHOSE MONTHLY INCOME CIVES OF $799 DOLLARS IN SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS. MONEY IS SO TIGHT, THE MAN SOMETIMES'S AT HIS DAUGHTER'S HOUSE OR GOES TO A LOCAL SOUP KITCHEN FOR FOOD. HE ALSO GETS HELP FROM A LOCAL FOOD BANK. LAST YEAR MR. O'HANIAN RECEIVED A TOTAL OF $600 IN LIHE GRANTS TO KEEP HIS HOME SAFE AND WARM. EVEN WITH THAT ASSISTANCE HE HAD TO CLOSE OFF PARTS OF HIS HOUSE TO REDUCE ENERGY COSTS. IN COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THIS NATION, MR. O'HANIAN'S STORY REPEATS ITSELF. NOW, THE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED. WE KNOW THAT PRICES FOR ENERGY PRODUCTS ARE ON THE RISE. WE CAN ALL FORETELL THE NEXT DISASTER FACING AMERICAN FAMILIES. THE QUESTION IS: WHAT WILL WE DO TO PROTECT THESE AMERICANS FROM THIS UPCOMING ENERGY STORM? WE SAW THE MOST VULNERABLE AMERICANS OVERWHELMED BY RISING WATERS IN NEW ORLEANS. IF WE DO NOTHING, WE CAN SEE OTHER VULNERABLE AMERICANS OVERWHELMED BY RISING ENERGY PRICES THIS WINTER. NOW, FIRST, SENATOR COLLINS AND I, JOINED BY 39 COLLEAGUES, ARE CALLING ON THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO SUPPORT $1.3 BILLION IN EMERGENCY LIHEP FUNDING IN THE APPROPRIATIONS PACKAGE FOR HURRICANE KATRINA THIS. FUND WILLING PROVIDE OUR NATION'S MOST VULNERABLE, LOW-INCOME FAMILIES, SENIORS AND DISABLED INDIVIDUALS, WITH AFFORDABLE ENERGY THIS WINTER. THIS IS THE ADDITIONAL FUNDING -- LET ME STRESS ADDITIONAL FUNDING -- NEEDED FOR LIHEP TO MAINTAIN THE PURCHASING POWER IT HAD LAST YEAR. THIS MONEY WOULD BE ON TOP OF THE $3 BILLION THAT WE ARE SEEKING FOR THE LIHEP STATE GRANT PROGRAM IN THE FISCAL YEAR 2006 APPROPRIATIONS BILL, THE REGULAR LIHEP FUNDING, IF YOU WILL. STATES ARE BRACING FOR A CRISIS CAUSED BY THE LACK OF AFFORDABLE ENERGY, AND THIS FUNDING WILL ENSURE LOW-INCOME FAMILIES AND SENIORS HAVE WARM HOMES THIS WINTER. LAST YEAR A RHODE ISLANDER RECEIVING $400 IN LIHEP FUNDS COULD BUY APPROXIMATELY 235 GALLONS OF HEATING OIL, ALMOST A FULL TANK. AT $2.60 CENTS A GALLON, $400 WILL ONLY BUY ABOUT 150 GALLONS OF OIL, A LITTLE OVER HALF A TANK, WHICH MIGHT ONLY LAST ABOUT 2 1/2 WEEKS AND INDEED THE $2.60 PRICE IN RHODE ISLAND IS A HARD PRICE TO FIND NOW FROM OIL DEALERS. RHODE ISLAND'S LIHEP PROGRAM ESTIMATES THAT THE STATE NEEDS $21 MILLION TO SERVE THE 27,000 HOUSEHOLDS IT HELPED LAST YEAR. I URGE ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES TO JOIN SENATOR COLLINS AND I TO SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS TO SECURE $4.3 BILLION FOR LIHEP FUNDING THIS WINTER. SECOND, WE NEED TO INVEST IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY. THE WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IS VITAL TO THESE EFFORTS. THE WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM HAS WEATHERIZED 5.3 MILLION HOMES IN THE UNITED STATES DURING ITS HISTORY, INCLUDING 30,500 IN MY STATE OF RHODE ISLAND. THE PROGRAM ON AVERAGE SAVES FAMILIES $274 PER YEAR AND REDUCES HEATING BILLS BY 31%. RHODE ISLAND'S PROGRAM ALONE HAS SAVED THE UNITED STATES AN EQUIVALENT OF 43 DAYS WORTH OF OIL CONSUMPTION OR AN EQUIVALENT OF 81 DAYS OF GAS CONSUMPTION OVER THE COURSE OF THE LIFE OF THIS PROGRAM. NOW IS THE TIME TO EXPAND THIS AND OTHER ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS TO SERVE THESE FAMILIES. THIS IS ONE OF THOSE BENEFITS THAT'S NOT ONLY INDIVIDUAL TO THE FAMILY BY KEEPING THEM WARM, BY SAVING THEM MONEY, BUT COLLECTIVELY BENEFITS THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE ONE OF OUR GREAT PROBLEMS IS OUR ACCELERATING DEMAND FOR ENERGY, WHICH DRIVES UP PRICES. IF WE CAN CONTROL THAT DEMAND, IF WE CAN BE MORE EFFICIENT IN THE USE OF ENERGY, WE CAN GO A LONG WAY TO HELP MODERATE THE PRICES OF ENERGY THAT WE FACE. IN AMERICA, ONE OF THE WEALTHIEST NATIONS IN THE WORLD, NO FAMILY SHOULD HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN HEATING THEIR HOME AND PUTTING FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THE CHILD. NO SENIOR CITIZEN SHOULD HAVE TO DECIDE TO EITHER BUY LIFE-SAVING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS OR PAY THEIR ELECTRIC BILL, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, OUR NATION'S MOST VULNERABLE HOUSEHOLDS, WORKING FAMILIES, SENIORS LIVING ON FIXED INCOMES AND DISABLED INDIVIDUALS, HAVE TO MAKE THOSE VERY CHOICES. THIRD, WE NEED TO PASS SENATOR CANTWELL'S ENERGY EMERGENCY CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, OF WHICH I AM A COSPONSOR. THE LEGISLATION WOULD BAN PRICE GOUGING AT THE GAS PUMP IN THE WAKE OF NATURAL DISASTERS LIKE HURRICANE KATRINA. AND IT WOULD EMPOWER FEDERAL REGULATORS TO ENSURE GREATER MARKET TRANSPARENCY AND GO AFTER MARKET MANIPULATION OF OIL AND GAS PRICES ON AN EVERYDAY BASIS. THE ADMINISTRATION ALSO MUST BEGIN TO RETHINK ITS BANKRUPT ENERGY POLICIES, RELIABLE, AFFORDABLE ENERGY IS CRITICAL TO THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC WELL-BEING OF OUR NATION. TOTAL ENERGY SPENDING FOR THE NATION THIS YEAR WILL APPROACH $1 TRILLION -- 24% HIGHER THAN IN 2004. ENERGY WILL CLAIM THE BIGGEST SHARE OF U.S. OUTPUT SINCE THE END OF THE OIL CRISIS 20 YEARS AGO. THIS IS NOT GOOD ENERGY POLICY. AMERICANS DESERVE A BETTER ENERGY BILL THAN THE ONE PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNED THIS SUMMER. THEY DESERVE AN ENERGY BILL THAT RAISES FUEL EFFICIENCY STANDARDS AND PROVIDES FOR OIL SAVINGS, AN ENERGY BILL THAT INVESTS VALUABLE TAX DOLLARS, THOSE CURRENTLY BEING HANDED OUT UNNECESSARILY TO OIL AND GAS COMPANIES INTO THE DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE FUELS AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY. OIL AND NATURAL GAS COMPANIES ARE MAKING RECORD PROFITS WHILE ENERGY PRICES ARE OVERCOMING WORKERS' SALARY INCREASES. THESE COMPANIES DO NOT NEED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM THE FEDERAL TREASURY. THE AMERICAN PUBLIC DESERVES GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY TO ENSURE OIL COMPANIES ARE NOT GAUGING -- ENGAGING IN ANTICOMPETITIVE BEHAVIOR, SUCH AS CLOSING DOWN REFINING CAPACITY TO DIVE UP PRICES. -- TO DRIVE UP PRICES. HURRICANE KATRINA DEMONSTRATED THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND RACIAL DIVIDES THAT EXIST IN AMERICA. AS A NATION, WE MUST STEP BACK AND REEVALUATE OUR PRIORITIES. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO CUT FUNDING FOR OR UNDERFUND SOCIAL PROGRAMS SUCH AS LIHEP, MEDICAID AND FOOD STAMPS THAT SUPPORT WORKING FAMILIES AND SENIORS WHILE THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES TAX BREAKS FOR CASINOS AS THE "WASHINGTON POST" REPORTED THIS MORNING. WE MUST PRIORITIZE, AND THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONGST US MUST BE CONSIDERED FIRST. HURRICANE KATRINA UPSET THE LIVES OF MILLION, DISPLACING FAMILIES FROM THEIR HOMES AND INFLICTING SEVERE ECONOMIC DAMAGE. THE PEOPLE OF THE GULF REGION DESERVE OUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AS THEY REBUILD AND AS HURRICANE RITA THREATENS THE GULF COAST OF TEXAS, WE MUST ALSO BE PREPARED TO HELP THOSE AMERICANS AFFECTED IN ITS WAKE. WE CANNOT, HOWEVER, FORGET THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS THAT STRUGGLE EACH DAY TO MAKE ENDS MEET. THEY ALSO DESERVE OUR SUPPORT. I HOPE THE PRESIDENT AND THE CONGRESS WILL HEED THIS WARNING AND HELP BUILD AN ENERGY SAFETY NET FOR ALL AMERICANS, BEGINNING WITH ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR LIHEP, INCREASING INVESTMENT IN WEATHERIZATION, PASSING SENSIBLE LEGISLATION LIKE THE CANTWELL BILL AND REVISITING OUR OVERALL ENERGY POLICY. IT WILL MAKE US STRONGER, MORE FAIR AND A MORE DECENT PLACE FOR ALL OF US. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I WOULD NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:30:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL: ROM MINNESOTA. A…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL: ROM MINNESOTA. A SENATOR: THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 05:30:50 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:43:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:43:37 PM

    MR. DAYTON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT KIMBERLY JACKSON OF MY STAFF…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT KIMBERLY JACKSON OF MY STAFF BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES THROUGHOUT MY REMARKS.

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  • 05:43:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:43:45 PM

    MR. DAYTON

    YOU. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION CREATING A…

    YOU. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION CREATING A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE HEADED BY A CABINET-LEVEL SECRETARY OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE. WHILE I AM LOATH TO ADD ANOTHER AGENCY TO THE ALREADY OVERSIZED FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE ELEVATE PEACE TO AT LEAST THE SAME LEVEL AS WAR WITHIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S CABINET ROOM AND IN OUR NATIONAL POLICY MAKING. THE DEPARTMENT'S MISSION IS SET FORTH IN SECTION 101 OF THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION. IT SAYS THE DEPARTMENT SHALL HOLD PEACE AS AN ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE, COORDINATING SERVICE TO EVERY LEVEL OF AMERICAN SOCIETY, ENDEAVOR TO PROMOTE JUSTICE AND DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES TO EXPAND HUMAN RIGHTS, STRENGTHEN NONMILITARY MEANS OF PEACEMAKING, PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN POTENTIAL, WORK TO CREATE PEACE, PREVENT VIOLENCE, DIVERT FROM ARMED CONFLICT, USE FIELD TESTED PROGRAMS, AND DEVELOP NEW STRUCTURES IN NONVIOLENT DISPUTE RESOLUTION. TAKE A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO THE POLICIES THAT PROMOTE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT PREVENTION. NONVIOLENT INTERVENTION, MEDIATION, PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT AND STRUCTURED MEDIATION OF CONFLICT. ADDRESS MATTERS BOTH DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL IN SCOPE. ENCOURAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF INITIATIVES FROM LOCAL COMMUNITIES, RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS. THE LEGISLATION MANDATES THAT AN AMOUNT NOT LESS THAN 2% OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE'S ANNUAL APPROPRIATION BE EXPENDED FOR THOSE PEACEMAKING AND PEACE ADVANCING EFFORTS, WHICH DOES NOT EFFECT THE DEPARTMENT OF -- AFFECT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE'S LEVEL OF FUNDING. NOW IS CLEARLY THE TIME TO CREATE A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE. THE CONTINUING WAR IN IRAQ, A WAR WHICH I OPPOSED, A WAR INITIATED BEFORE ALL ATTEMPTS AT PEACEFUL RESOLUTION HAD BEEN MADE SHOULD TEACH US AGAIN THAT WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER./ DESPITE THE INCREDIBLE HEROISM OF MEN AND WOMEN IN OUR ARMED FORCES WHO HAVE FOUGHT, PATROLLED AND HELPED SO WELL AND FOR SO LONG IN IRAQ, 138,000 OF THEM ARE STILL THERE WITH NO END IN SIGHT. MORE OF THEM ARE WOUNDED, MAIMED AND KILLED EVERY DAY. TERRORISM ACTIONS AGAINST OUR TROOPS AND AGAINST IRAQI CITIZENS ARE CONTINUING AND EVEN INCREASING IN THEIR LETHALITY. TRAGICALLY, WRONGLY BUT UNAVOIDIBLY ANTI-AMERICAN HATRED CONTINUES TO GROW THROUGHOUT THE ARAB WORLD. WHO CAN DOUBT THAT SOME OF THE SONS OF EYE YAWKEYS KILLED DURING THE LAST TWO AND A HALF YEARS OF WAR WILL GROW UP TO TERRORISTS HELL BENT ON REVENGE ON AMERICA. OUR LEADERS DID NOT CREATE THE AMERICAN BACKLASH, HOWEVER, THEY ARE IGNORING IT AT OUR PERIL. OUR NATION HOLDS A MILITARY MIGHT THAT IS UNPRECEDENTED AND UNPAR LEGALED TODAY. WE MUST REMAIN SO. YET IF WE ARE TO REMAIN THE WORLD'S LEAD AND IF WE ARE TO LEAD THE WORLD INTO A PROSPEROUS FUTURE WE MUST BE BETTER KNOWN FOR PEACE MAKING THAN FOR OUR MILITARY FORCES. PEACE IS MORE THAN JUST THE ABSENCE OF WAR ALTHOUGH THAT IS THE STARTING POINT. PEACE TO HAVE ANY LASTING VALUE MUST BE ADVANCED, EXPAND AND STRENGTHENED CONTINUOUSLY. DOING SO REQUIRES SKILL, DEDICATION, PERSISTENCE, RESOURCES AND MOST IMPORTANTLY PEOPLE. WE NEED THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN EMSARIS OF PEACE AT HOME AND ABROAD. WE NEED OUR EMBASSIES TO BECOME CENTERS FOR PEACEFUL INITIATIVES WORLDWIDE AND WE NEED ADVOCATES FOR PEACE-PROMOTING POLICIES HERE IN WASHINGTON. THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED BY A REVOLUTIONARY WAR, A NECESSARY WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE, BUT OUR NATION'S FOUNDERS WANT THIS TO BE A NATION OF PEACE. PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON SAID IN 1801 THAT PEACE, SAFETY AND CONCORD MAYBE THE PORTION OF OUR NATIVE LAND AND BE LONG ENJOYED BY OUR FELLOW CITIZENS IS THE MOST ARDENT WISH OF MY HEART. AND IF I COULD BE INSTRUMENTAL IN PROCURING OR PRESERVING THEM, I SHALL THINK I HAVE NOT LIVED IN VAIN." 158 YEARS LATER PRESIDENT EISENHOWER, HIMSELF NO STRANGER TO WAR SAID, "I THINK THAT PEOPLE WANT PEACE SO MUCH THAT ONE OF THESE DAYS GOVERNMENTS HAD BETTER GET OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THEM HAVE IT." TO FURTHER THAT GOAL, IN 1984 CONGRESS PASSED LEGISLATION AND PRESIDENT REAGAN SIGNED IT INTO LAW CREATING THE U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE. TODAY THE INSTITUTE OF PEACE IS AN INDEPENDENT, NONPARTISAN ORGANIZATION FUNDED BY CONGRESS TO PROMOTE PEACE AND CURB VIOLENT INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT. THE PAST 20 YEARS HAVE SHOWN THAT THE INSTITUTE AND ALL OF US HAVE MUCH MORE TO DO TO CREATE AND TO SUSTAIN A PEACEFUL WORLD. LIKE THOMAS JEFFERSON, PEACE, SAFETY AND CONED FOR OUR FELLOW DISINZ IS THE MOST ARDENT WISH OF MY HEART, AND IF I CAN BE INSTRUMENT IN PROCURING THEM, I THINK I SHALL NOT HAVE LIVED IN VAIN. I THINK A PEACEFUL WORLD, IN A WORLD WHO WANTS PEACE, WHO KNOW ITS BENEFITS AND INSIST THEIR GOVERNMENTS LET THEM HAVE IT, THAT WOULD BE THE BEST WORLD AND THE GREATEST INHERITANCE WE COULD GIVE TO OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN AND THE GENERATIONS THAT WILL FOLLOW THEM. WITHOUT IT, NOTHING IS RELIABLE, WITH IT, EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOL. I SUGGEST THE -- I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:49:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MR. PRESIDENT, CAN I CALL OFF THE QUORUM.

  • 05:50:02 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:02:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:02:59 PM

    MR. OBAMA

    LET ME CONGRATULATE US FOR MOVING THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE ROBERTS ALONG…

    LET ME CONGRATULATE US FOR MOVING THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE ROBERTS ALONG WITH SUCH CYST CIVILITY, A CIVILITY THAT I THINK SPEAKS WELL OF THE SENATE. LET ME ALSO SAY THAT I REMAIN DISTRESSED THAT THE WHITE HOUSE, DURING THIS CONFIRMATION PROCESS, WHICH OVERALL WENT SMOOTHLY, FAILED TO PROVIDE CRITICAL DOCUMENTS AS PART OF THE RECORD THAT COULD HAVE MADE US -- COULD HAVE PROVIDED US WITH A BETTER BASIS TO MAKE OUR JUDGMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE NOMINATION. THIS WHITE HOUSE CONTINUES TO STYMIE EFFORTS ON THE PART OF THE SENATE TO DO ITS JOB, AND I WOULD HOPE THAT WITH THE NEXT NOMINEE THAT COMES UP FOR THE SUPREME COURT THAT THE WHITE HOUSE RECOGNIZES THAT IN FACT IT IS ITS DUTY, NOT JUST TO THE SENATE BUT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CAN THOROUGHLY AND ADEQUATELY EVALUATE THE RECORD OF EVERY SINGLE NOMINEE THAT COMES BEFORE US. NOW, HAVING SAID THAT, THE DECISION WITH RESPECT TO JUDGE ROBERTS' NOMINATION HAS NOT BEEN AN EASY ONE FOR ME TO MAKE. AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, I'VE NOT ONLY ARGUED CASES BEFORE APPELLATE COURTS, BUT FOR TEN YEARS WAS A MEMBER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL FACULTY AND TAUGHT COURSES IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. PART OF THE CULTURE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL FACULTY IS TO MAINTAIN A SENSE OF COLLEGIALITY BETWEEN THOSE PEOPLE WHO HOLD DIFFERENT VIEWS. ONE ENGENDERS-- --WHAT ENGENDERS RESPECT IS NOT THE PARTICULAR OUTCOME THAT A LEGAL SCHOLAR ARRIVES AT BUT, RATHER, THE INTELLECTUAL RIGGER AND HONESTY WITH WHICH HE OR SHE ARRIVES AT A DECISION. GIVEN THAT BACKGROUND, I AM SORELY TEMPTED TO VOTE FOR JUDGE ROBERTS BASED ON MY STUDY OF HIS RESUME, HIS CONDUCT DURING THE HEARINGS, AND A CONVERSATION THAT I HAD WITH HIM YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT JUDGE ROBERTS IS QUALIFIED TO SIT ON THE HIGHEST COURT IN THE LAND. MOREOVER, HE SEEMS TO HAVE THE COMPORTMENT AND THE TEMPERAMENT THAT MAKES FOR A GOOD JUDGE. HE'S HUMBLE, HE'S PERSONALLY DECENT, AND HE APPEARS TO BE RESPECTFUL OF DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW. AND IT'S ABSOLUTELY CLEAR TO ME THAT JUDGE ROBERTS TRULY LOVES THE LAW. HE COULDN'T HAVE ACHIEVED HIS EXCELLENT RECORD AS AN ADVOCATE BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT WITHOUT THAT PASSION FOR THE LAW. AND IT BECAME APPARENT TO ME IN OUR CONVERSATION THAT HE DOES IN FACT DEEPLY RESPECT THE BASIC PRECEPTS THAT GO INTO DECIDING 95% OF THE CASES THAT COME BEFORE THE THE FEDERAL COURTS: ADHERENCE TO PRECEDENT, A CERTAIN MODESTY IN READING CONSTITUTIONAL TEXT, A RESPECT FOR PROCEDURAL REGULARTY AND AN IMPARTIALITY IN PRESIDING OVER OUR ADVERSARIAL SYSTEM. ALL OF THESE CHARACTERISTICS MAKE ME WANT TO VOTE FOR JUDGE ROBERTS. THE PROBLEM THAT I FACE, A PROBLEM THAT'S BEEN VOICED BY SOME OF MY OTHER COLLEAGUES, BOTH THOSE WHO ARE VOTING FOR MR. ROBERTS AND THOSE WHO ARE VOTING AGAINST MR. ROBERTS, IS THAT WHILE ADHERENCE TO LEGAL PRECEDENT AND RULES OF STATUTORY OR CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION WILL DISPOSE OF 95% OF THE CASES THAT COME BEFORE THE COURT SO THAT BOTH A SCALIA AND A GINSBURG WILL ARRIVE AT THE SAME PLACE MOST OF THE TIME ON THOSE 95% OF THE CASES, WHAT MATTERS ON THE SUPREME COURT ARE THE 5% OF CASES THAT ARE TRULY DIFFICULT. IN THOSE CASES, ADHERENCE TO PRECEDENT AND RULES OF CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION WILL ONLY GET YOU THROUGH THE 25th MILE OF THE MARATHON. THAT LAST MILE CAN ONLY BE DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF ONE'S DEEPEST VALUES, ONE'S CORE CONCERNS, ONE'S BROADER PERSPECTIVE ON HOW THE WORLD WORKS AND THE DEPTH AND BREADTH OF ONE'S EMPATHY. IN THOSE 5% OF REALLY HARD CASES, THE CONSTITUTIONAL TEXT WILL NOT BE DIRECTLY ON POINT. THE LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE WILL NOT BE PERFECTLY CLEAR. LEGAL PROCESS ALONE WILL NOT LEAD YOU TO A RULE OF DECISION. IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOUR DECISIONS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO THE HISTORY OF DISCRIMINATION IN THIS COUNTRY OR WHETHER OR NOT A GENERAL RIGHT OF PRIVACY ENCOMPASSES A MORE SPECIFIC RIGHT OF WOMEN TO CONTROL THE THEIR REPRODUCTION OR WHETHER THE COMMERCE CLAUSE EMPOWERS CONGRESS TO SPEAK ON THOSE ISSUES OF BROAD NATIONAL CONCERN THAT MAY ONLY TANGENTIALLY RELATE TO WHAT IS EASILY DEFINED AS INTERSTATE COMMERCE, WHETHER A PERSON WHO'S DISABLED HAS THE RIGHT TO BE ACCOMMODATED SO THAT THEY CAN WORK ALONGSIDE THOSE WHO ARE NONDISABLED -- IN THOSE DIFFICULT CASES, THE CRITICAL INGREDIENT IS SUPPLIED BY WHAT'S IN THE JUDGE'S HEART. NOW, I TALKED TO JUDGE ROBERTS ABOUT THIS, AND JUDGE ROBERTS CONFESSED THAT, UNLIKE MAYBE PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS, IT'S NOT EASY FOR HIM TO TALK ABOUT HIS VALUES AND HIS DEEPER FEELINGS. THAT'S NOT HOW HE'S TRAINED. HE DID SAY THAT HE DOESN'T LIKE BULLIES AND HAS ALWAYS VIEWED THE LAW AS A WAY OF EVENING OUT THE PLAYING FIELD BETWEEN THE STRONG AND THE WEAK. I WAS IMPRESSED WITH THAT STATEMENT BECAUSE I VIEW THE LAW IN MUCH THE SAME WAY. THE PROBLEM I HAD IS THAT WHEN I EXAMINED JUDGE ROBERTS' RECORD AND HISTORY OF PUBLIC SERVICE, IT'S MY PERSONAL ESTIMATION THAT HE HAS FAR MORE OFTEN USED HIS FORMIDABLE SKILLS ON BEHALF OF THE STRONG IN OPPOSITION TO THE WEAK. IN HIS WORK IN THE WHITE HOUSE, IN THE SOLICITOR GENERAL'S OFFICE, HE SEEMS TO HAVE CONSISTENTLY SIDED WITH THOSE WHO WERE DISMISSIVE OF EFFORTS TO ERADICATE THE REMNANTS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN OUR POLITICAL PROCESS. IN THESE SAME POSITIONS HE SEEMED DISMISSIVE OF THE CONCERNS THAT EVERY WOMAN KNOWS IT IS HARDER TO MAKE IT IN THIS 0 WORLD AND IN THIS ECONOMY WHEN YOU'RE A WOMAN RATHER THAN A MAN. I WANT TO TAKE JUDGE ROBERTS AT HIS WORD THAT HE DOESN'T LIKE BULLIES AND HE SEES THE LAW AND THE COURT AS A MEANS OF EVENING THE PLAYING FIELD BETWEEN THE STRONG AND THE WEAK. BUT GIVEN THE GRAVITY OF THE POSITION TO WHICH HE'LL UNDOUBTEDLY ASCEND AND THE GRAVITY OF THE DECISIONS THAT HE WILL UNDOUBTEDLY PARTICIPATE IN DURING HIS TENURE ON THE COURT, I ULTIMATELY HAVE TO GIVE MORE WEIGHT TO HIS DEEDS AND THE OVERARCHING POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY THAT HE APPEARS TO HAVE SHARED WITH THOSE IN POWER THAN TO THE ASSURING WORDS THAT HE PROVIDED ME IN OUR MEETING. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: I WILL BE VOTING AGAINST JOHN ROBERTS' NOMINATION. I DO KNOW WITH CONSIDERABLE RETICENCE. I HOPE-- --I DO SO WITH CONSIDERABLE RETICENCE. I HOPE THAT I AM WRONG. I HOPE THAT THIS RETICENCE ON MY PART PROVES UNJUSTIFIED AND THAT JUDGE ROBERTS WILL SHOW HIMSELF TO NOT ONLY BE AN OUTSTANDING LEGAL THINKER BUT ALSO SOMEONE WHO UPHOLDS THE COURT'S HISTORIC ROLE AS A CHECK ON THE MAJORITYTARIAN IMPULSES OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. I HOPE THAT HE'LL RECOGNIZE WHO THE WEAK AND WHO THE STRONG ARE IN OUR SOCIETY, AND I HOPE THAT HIS JURISPRUDENCE IS ONE THAT STANDS UP TO THE BULLIES OF ALL IDEOLOGICAL STRIPES. WHICH LEADS ME TO CONCLUDE WITH JUST ONE 0 MORE COMMENT ABOUT THIS CONFIRMATION PROCESS. I WAS DEEPLY DISTURBED BY SOME STATEMENTS THAT WERE MADE BY LARGELY DEMOCRATIC ADVOCACY GROUPS WHEN RANKING MEMBER SENATOR LEAHY ANNOUNCED THAT HE WOULD SUPPORT JUDGE ROBERTS. ALTHOUGH THE SCALES HAVE TIPPED IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION FOR ME, I'M DEEPLY ADMIRING OF THE WORK AND THE THOUGHT THAT RANKING MEMBER SENATOR LEAHY HAS PUT INTO MAKING HIS DECISION. THE KNEE-JERK UNBENDING AND WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE UNFAIR ATTACKS ON SENATOR LEAHY'S MOTIVES WERE UNJUSTIFIED. UNFORTUNATELY, BOTH PARTIES HAVE FALLEN VICTIM TO THIS KIND OF PRESSURE. I THINK EVERY SENATOR ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, IF THEY WERE HONEST, WOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE SAME UNYIELDING, UNBENDING, DOGMATIC APPROACH TO JUDICIAL CONFIRMATIONS HAS, IN LARGE PART, BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE KIND OF POISONOUS ATMOSPHERE THAT HAS HELD IN THIS CHAMBER SURROUNDING JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS. IT'S TEMPTING THEN FOR THOSE ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE TO GO TIT FOR TAT. BUT WHAT I'D LIKE TO SEE IS ALL OF US RECOGNIZE THAT AS WE MOVE FORWARD TO THE NEXT NOMINEE, OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT IN FACT THE ISSUES THAT ARE CONFRONTED BY THE SUPREME COURT ARE DIFFICULT ISSUES. THAT'S WHY THEY GET UP TO THE SUPREME COURT. BUT THE ISSUES FACING THE COURT ARE RARELY BLACK AND WHITE AND THAT ALL ADVOCACY GROUPS WHO HAVE A LEGITIMATE AND PROFOUND INTEREST IN THE DECISIONS THAT ARE MADE BY THE COURT TRY TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT THEIR ADVOCACY REFLECTS THIS COMPLEXITY AND DON'T RESORT TO THE SORT OF BROAD-BRUSHED, DOGMATIC ATTACKS THAT HAVE HAMPERED THE PROCESS IN THE PAST AND CONSTRAINED EACH AND EVERY SENATOR IN THIS CHAMBER FROM MAKING SURE THAT THEY'RE VOTING ON THE BASIS OF THEIR CONSCIENCE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. LET ME SUGGEST AN ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 06:14:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: / ' QUORUM CALL: n QUORUM CALL:

  • 06:16:02 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:44:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    AS THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS I ASK IS THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE RESOOINDED.…

    AS THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS I ASK IS THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE RESOOINDED. WITHOUT OBJECTION, IN MY CAPACITY AS THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS I ASK THAT THE SENATE STAND

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  • 07:06:31 PM

    none

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 07:11:30 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 07:11:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I ASK THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 07:11:32 PM

    MR. FRIST

    IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 07:11:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 07:11:35 PM

    MR. FRIST

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF S. 1764, INTRODUCED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 07:11:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:11:43 PM

    THE CLERK

    1764, A BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONTINUED EDUCATION OF STUDENTS AFFECTED…

    1764, A BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONTINUED EDUCATION OF STUDENTS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE KATRINA.

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  • 07:11:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MATTER AT THIS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MATTER AT THIS TIME? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

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  • 07:11:57 PM

    MR. FRIST

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 07:12:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 07:12:07 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 07:12:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 07:12:42 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON:

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 07:15:19 PM

    MR. FRIST

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 07:15:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 07:15:23 PM

    MR. FRIST

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:15:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:15:45 PM

    MR. FRIST

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF S.1758 INTRODUCED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 07:15:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL PLEASE REPORT.

  • 07:15:57 PM

    THE CLERK

    TO AMEND THE INDIAN FINANCING ACT OF 1974./

  • 07:16:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MATTER AT THIS TIME?…

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MATTER AT THIS TIME? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

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  • 07:16:05 PM

    MR. FRIST

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:16:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:16:16 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:16:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:16:24 PM

    THE CLERK

    247 COMMENDING THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESSES' PRIVATE SECTOR ADVISORY BODY,…

    247 COMMENDING THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESSES' PRIVATE SECTOR ADVISORY BODY, THE JAMES MADISON COUNCIL.

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  • 07:16:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE AT THIS TIME? WITHOUT…

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE AT THIS TIME? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

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  • 07:16:37 PM

    MR. FRIST

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE.

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  • 07:16:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:16:44 PM

    MR. FRIST

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 248 WHICH WAS SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY BY SENATOR AKAKA.

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  • 07:16:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL PLEASE REPORT.

  • 07:16:56 PM

    THE CLERK

    SENATE RESOLUTION 248 COMMEMORATING THE WEST OAHU LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM FOR…

    SENATE RESOLUTION 248 COMMEMORATING THE WEST OAHU LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM FOR WINNING THE LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES.

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  • 07:17:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING AT THIS TIME? HEARING NONE, WITHOUT…

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING AT THIS TIME? HEARING NONE, WITHOUT OBJECT.

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  • 07:17:10 PM

    MR. FRIST

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT'S SO ORDERED.

  • 07:17:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT'S SO ORDERED.

  • 07:17:21 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE CLERK WILL PLEASE REPORT.

  • 07:17:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL PLEASE REPORT.

  • 07:17:30 PM

    THE CLERK

    249 COMMEMORATING THE OAHU ALL STARS FOR WINNING THE 2005 CALL RIPKEN…

    249 COMMEMORATING THE OAHU ALL STARS FOR WINNING THE 2005 CALL RIPKEN WORLD SERIES.

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  • 07:17:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MATTER? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:17:44 PM

    MR. FRIST

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:17:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:18:00 PM

    MR. FRIST

    SENATE RESOLUTION 250 SNORING THE -- SUPPORTS GOALS AND IDEALS OF GOLD…

    SENATE RESOLUTION 250 SNORING THE -- SUPPORTS GOALS AND IDEALS OF GOLD STAR MOTHER'S DAY.

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  • 07:18:08 PM

    THE CLERK

    250 SNORING THE -- SUPPORTS GOALS AND IDEALS OF GOLD STAR MOTHER'S DAY.

  • 07:18:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:18:25 PM

    MR. FRIST

    NOTWITHSTANDING PASSAGE OF H.R. 258 I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE TWO…

    NOTWITHSTANDING PASSAGE OF H.R. 258 I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE TWO AMENDMENTS AT THE DESK BE AGREED TO.

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  • 07:18:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT'S SO ORDERED.

  • 07:18:33 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE CLERK WILL PLEASE REPORT.

  • 07:18:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL PLEASE REPORT.

  • 07:18:46 PM

    THE CLERK

    RESOLUTION 239 SUPPORTING THE GOALS AND IDEALS OF INFANT MORTALITY…

    RESOLUTION 239 SUPPORTING THE GOALS AND IDEALS OF INFANT MORTALITY AWARENESS MONTH.

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  • 07:18:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE COMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED AND THE SENATE…

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE COMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED AND THE SENATE WILL NOW PROCEED.

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  • 07:18:59 PM

    MR. FRIST

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER LAY IT ON THE TABLE.

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  • 07:19:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:19:07 PM

    MR. FRIST

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT S. 1492 THE -- 1692 THE EMERGENCY AGRICULTURE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT S. 1492 THE -- 1692 THE EMERGENCY AGRICULTURE ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2005 BE STAR PRINTED WITH THE CHANGES AT THE DESK.

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  • 07:19:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECT FRIST I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE TWO BILLS AT THE DESK DUE…

    WITHOUT OBJECT FRIST I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE TWO BILLS AT THE DESK DUE FOR A SECOND READING.

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  • 07:19:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR IS CORRECT. THE CLERK WILL PLEASE READ THE…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR IS CORRECT. THE CLERK WILL PLEASE READ THE TITLES OF THE BILLS FOR THE SECOND TIME.

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  • 07:19:34 PM

    THE CLERK

    TO EXPAND THE AVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES UNDER THE COMMUNITY SERVICES BLOCK…

    TO EXPAND THE AVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES UNDER THE COMMUNITY SERVICES BLOCK GRANT ACT FOR INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE KATRINA. S.1748 A BILL TO EXAMINE THE FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL RESPONSE TO THE DEVASTATION BROUGHT BY HURRICANE KATRINA.

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  • 07:19:57 PM

    MR. FRIST

    TO FURTHER PROCEEDING EN BLOC.

  • 07:20:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE OBJECTION BEING HEARD THE BILLS WILL BE PLACED UPON THE…

    OFFICER: THE OBJECTION BEING HEARD THE BILLS WILL BE PLACED UPON THE CALENDAR CALENDAR.

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  • 07:20:06 PM

    MR. FRIST

    I UNDERSTAND THERE'S A BILL AT THE DESK AND I ASK FOR ITS FIRST READING.

  • 07:20:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL PLEASE READ THE TITLE OF THIS BILL FOR THE FIRST TIME CLERKS…

    CLERK WILL PLEASE READ THE TITLE OF THIS BILL FOR THE FIRST TIME CLERKS S.1761 A BILL TO COVER THE LIABILITY OF CONTRACTORS ASSISTING IN RECOVER I REPAIR AND RECONSTRUCTION WORK IN THE AREA OF UNITED STATES AFFECTED BY HURRICANE KATRINA OR OTHER MAJOR DISASTERS.

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  • 07:20:33 PM

    MR. FRIST

    ON THE CALENDAR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 14, I OBJECT TO MY OWN…

    ON THE CALENDAR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 14, I OBJECT TO MY OWN REQUEST.

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  • 07:20:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE OBJECTION BEING HEARD THE BILL WILL RECEIVE ITS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE OBJECTION BEING HEARD THE BILL WILL RECEIVE ITS SECOND READING ON THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE DAY.

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  • 07:20:46 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO S. -- INTRODUCED EARLIER…

    THE I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO S. -- INTRODUCED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 07:20:55 PM

    THE CLERK

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? HEARING NONE, WITHOUT…

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? HEARING NONE, WITHOUT OBJECT.

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  • 07:20:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? HEARING NONE, WITHOUT…

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? HEARING NONE, WITHOUT OBJECT.

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  • 07:21:05 PM

    MR. FRIST

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT'S SO ORDERED.

  • 07:21:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT'S SO ORDERED.

  • 07:21:16 PM

    MR. FRIST

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY,…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, THE SENATE ADJOURN UNTIL 1:00 P.M. ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26. I FURTHER ASK FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE THE MORN HOUR BE DEEMED EXPIRED, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVES AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR 317 JOHN ROBERTS TO BE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES. I FURTHER ASK CONSENT THE TIME FROM 1:30 TO 2:30 BE UNDER THE CONTROL OF MAJORITY LEADER OR HIS DESIGNEE AND THE TIME 3:30 TO 4:30 UNDER MAJORITY CONTROL AND 4:30 TO 5:30 UNDER THE CONTROL OF DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

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  • 07:21:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:21:59 PM

    MR. FRIST

    THE SENATE DOES CONTINUE TO MAKE TEDCY -- STEADY PROGRESS ON THE BUSINESS…

    THE SENATE DOES CONTINUE TO MAKE TEDCY -- STEADY PROGRESS ON THE BUSINESS OF AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE'RE HEARD AT WORK FUNDING THE BASIC OBLIGATIONS OF GOVERNMENT. TODAY WE PASSED THE MILITARY CONSTRUCTION APPROPRIATIONS ACT. THE MILITARY APPROPRIATIONS BILL FUNDS THE ENTIRE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ALONG WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF ALL FIVE BRANCHES. IT PROVIDES FOR CANCER RESEARCH AND FUNDING FOR OUR V.A. HOSPITALS, ALONG WITH COVERING THE COST OF OUR TREASURES NATIONAL MONUMENTS. I WANT TO CONGRATULATE SENATORS HUTCHINSON AND FEINSTEIN -- HUTCHISSON AND FINE FEINSTEIN FOR CONSIDERATION AND PASSAGE OF THAT BILL IN A SINGLE DAY. IT TOOK THE COOPERATION OF A LOT. MEMBERS -- A LOT OF MEMBERS AND THE IT PROVES WE CAN MOVE QUICKLY THROUGH THIS APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS. AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK BOTH OF THEM. THIS MORNING WE ALSO PASSED WITH NEAR UNANIMOUS SUPPORT, THE AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATIONS BILL. I ALSO WANT TO THANK SENATOR BENNETT AND SENATOR KOHL FOR THEIR TREMENDOUS WORK, THEIR HARD WORK AND LEADERSHIP ON THIS VERY IMPORTANT BILL. THE AGRICULTURE BILL TARGETS SPENDING ON THE NEEDS OF RURAL AMERICA WHILE ALSO MAINTAINING FUNDING FOR ESSENTIAL FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS PROGRAMS. THE BILL IS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT TO FARMERS IN STATES ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BUT IN PARTICULAR I WANT TO COMMENT ON MY HOME STATE. IT PROVIDES $2 MILLION FOR APPALACHIAN HORTICULTURAL RESEARCH, A COLLABORATIVE PROJECT BETWEEN THE USDA AND THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE TO HELP TREES FIGHT AND RESIST DISEASE. ABOUT $95 5,000 FOR RESEARCH INTO THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT SOIL AND WATER QUALITY ON FARMS WHICH CAN SUFFER FROM HEAVY EROSION, AND NEARLY $40 MILLION FOR THE VERY SUCCESSFUL BULL WEEVIL ERAID CASE PROGRAM WHICH WILL HELP OUR FARMERS CONTINUE TO COMBAT THIS PAST. THESE FUNDING ARE HELPING FARMERS AROUND THE COUNTRY CONTINUE TO FEED AMERICA. AND INDEED, CONTINUE TO HELP FEED THE WORLD. LAST WEEK, WE ALSO PASSED A THIRD APPROPRIATIONS BILL, THE COMMERCE-JUST-SCIENCE BILL. IN ADDITION TO FUNDING BASIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS, IT INCLUDES SIGNIFICANT KATRINA-RELATED MEASURES. MORE THAN 350,000 FAMILIES HAVE BEEN MADE HOMELESS BY THE KATRINA DISASTER. THE C.J.S. BILL PROVIDES FEDERAL HOUSING ASSISTANCE OF UP TO $600 PER MONTH PER FAMILY TO HELP GET THESE FAMILIES BACK ON THEIR FEET. I COMMEND MY COLLEAGUES FOR REMAINING FOCUSED ON THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS SO THAT WE CAN ALSO MEET OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE VICTIMS OF KATRINA. WE HAVE EXTRAORDINARY CHALLENGES BEFORE US AND WE'RE WORKING HARD TO DELIVER MEANINGFUL RELIEF IN THAT GULF REGION IN A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY. WE MOVED QUICKLY IN THE INITIAL DAYS TO ALLOCATE APPROPRIATE FUNDING. WE ALSO LIFTED THE BURDEN OF STUDENT LOANS FROM THOSE DISPLACES FROM THEIR COLLEAGUES -- COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. WE MADE SURE FEMA HAD COVER TO COVER THEIR NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE OBLIGATIONS AND WE WORKED TO GET THE FEDERAL COURTS BACK ON TRACK IN THE REGIONS AFFECTED. SINCE THEN WE HAVE PASSED TAX RELIEF TO ENCOURAGE GIVING, AND TO HELP VICTIMS REBUILD THEIR HOMES, FIND HOUSING AND FIND JOBS. ALL OF THIS IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP. THERE WILL BE MORE. HELPING THE VICTIMS OF KATRINA -- HURRICANE KATRINA RECOVER AND REBUILD SAY MONUMENTAL UNDERTAKING, AN UNDERTAKING THAT THIS BODY IS FOCUSED ON. AGAIN, WE UNDERSTAND THE ABSOLUTE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF DOING THIS IN A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY WITH FULL ACCOUNTABILITY AND FULL TRANSPARENCY. THIS IS AMERICA. AMERICA IS UP TO THE CHALLENGE. THETHE THE UNITED STATES SENATE WILL CONTINUE TO DO OUR WORK MOVING FORWARD IN THIS REGARD. NEXT WEEK, WE'LL BEGIN TO DEBATE NOMINATION OF JUDGE JOHN ROBERTS TO BE AMERICA'S CHIEF JUSTICE ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I'M CONFIDENT IT WILL BE A CONTINUATION OF A PROCESS THAT I BELIEVE HAS BEEN QUITE DIGNIFIED AND CIVIL AND WE'LL CONTINUE THAT MOMENTUM AS WE GO THROUGH NEXT WEEK. A FINAL VOTE ON HIS NOMINATION, AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE WILL BE HELD ON THURSDAY. I LOOK FORWARD TO A FULL AND ROBUST DEBATE THAT BRINGS CREDIT TO THIS GREAT, GREAT INSTITUTION. OUR DUTY TO ADVISE AND CONSENT TO THE SUPREME COURT IS PERHAPS ONE OF OUR MOST SOLEMN OBLIGATIONS. I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR THEIR CONTINUING HARD WORK IN THIS REGARD. IN SUMMARY, MR. PRESIDENT, THE ORDER THAT WE HAVE LAID OUT WILL BE THAT WE BEGIN THAT ROBERTS NOMINATION ON MONDAY. WE WERE PREPARED TO HAVE SENATORS DELIVER OPENING STATEMENTS DURING FRIDAY'S SESSION. HOWEVER, NOBODY HAS COME FORWARD WITH A SPECIFIC REQUEST TO SPEAK. THEREFORE, WE WILL RETURN ON MONDAY AND PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO BEGIN THAT DEBATE. I MENTIONED EARLIER THAT WE WILL VOTE ON MONDAY, AND SENATORS SHOULD EXPECT THAT VOTE TO BEGIN SOMEWHERE AROUND 5:30. WE ARE CLEARING A NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS AND WE WILL ANNOUNCE ON MONDAY WHAT THAT VOTE WILL BE. I DO WANT TO ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MOBBED AND -- MONDAY AND EARLY TUESDAY TO SPEAK ON THE ROBERTS' NOMINATION. SENATORS SHOULD NOT DELAY -- PLEASE DO NOT -- SENATORS SHOULD NOT DELAY THEIR STATEMENTS UNTIL WEDNESDAY. THE NOMINATION -- THE VOTE ON THE NOMINATION WILL BE NEXT WEEK. WE'LL BE PREPARED TO REMAIN IN SESSION AS LATE AS NECESSARY TO ACCOMMODATE MEMBERS' SPEECHES. I KNOW THAT ALL MEMBERS WILL WANT TO COME TO THE FLOOR OR SUBMIT THEIR STATEMENTS TO THE RECORD, AND WE WILL ACCOMMODATE THEM. AGAIN, I WANT TO ENCOURAGE THEM SO WE WON'T HAVE THIS GREAT RUSH ON WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY MORNING TO COME MONDAY AND TUESDAY AND MAKE THEIR ADDRESSES. IF THERE'S NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE ASENATE, I ASK THE SENATE STAND IN ADJOURNMENT UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 07:28:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE STANDS ADJOURNED UNTIL…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE STANDS ADJOURNED UNTIL 1:00 P.M. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2005.

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Briefings for September 22, 2005

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 2048 (After 681 days)
  • Debate1179 Hours
  • Quorum Calls475 Hours
  • Votes334 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)