The Senate Is Not In Session - Next Session Tuesday, October 23 At 4:30 PM
Senate Session - March 17, 2010
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:30:01 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, OUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER, THANK YOU FOR -- THE…

    PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, OUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER, THANK YOU FOR -- THE CENTER OF OUR JOY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GRACIOUS CARE FOR EACH OF US. HELP OUR LAWMAKERS LIVE TODAY WITH A SENSE OF ACCOUNTABILITY TO YOU, STRIVING TO PLEASE YOU MORE THAN OTHERS. AWAKEN THEM TO THE FACT THAT YOU SEE ALL THEY DO AND HEAR ALL THEY SAY. MAY THEY WALK FROM WEAKNESS TO STRENGTH, GROWING IN ETHICAL FITNESS DAY BY DAY IN ORDER TO FULFILL YOUR PURPOSES FOR THEIR LIVES. LORD, GIVE THEM A SPECIAL MEASURE OF INNER PEACE SO THAT THEY MAY BE PEACEMAKERS DURING TIMES OF TENSION AND CONFLICT. WE PRAY IN YOUR SOVEREIGN NAME. AMEN.

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  • 09:31:34 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THANK YOU, DR. BLACK. PLEASE JOIN ME IN THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO OUR…

    THANK YOU, DR. BLACK. PLEASE JOIN ME IN 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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  • 09:31:55 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 09:32:00 AM

    THE CLERK

    D.C, MARCH 17, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1,…

    D.C, MARCH 17, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE TOM UDALL, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: ROBERT C. BYRD, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:32:17 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:32:20 AM

    MR. REID

    FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE HIRE…

    FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE HIRE ACT. THERE WILL BE 10 MINUTES FOR DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN SENATORS GREGG AND SCHUMER OR THEIR DESIGNEES. WE EXPECT SENATOR GREGG TO MAKE A BUDGET POINT OF ORDER WITH RESPECT TO THE BILL. AT APPROXIMATELY 9:45, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO A SERIES OF ROLL CALL VOTES. ON H.R. 2547. THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION. THE SENATE WILL DECREASE FROM 12:30 TO 2:00 P.M. FOR A SPECIAL DISEMENT CAUCUS. WHEN THE SENATE RECONVENES AT 2:00 P.M., THERE WILL BE A LIVE QUORUM. THE SENATE WILL CONSIDERATION ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT OF JUDGE G. DAVID PORTIOUS OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA. SENATORS WILL BE SWORN & THEN SENATORS ARE REQUIRED TO SIGN THE BOOK. CONSIDERATION OF AMENDMENTS ON THE F.A.A. ARE EXPECTED THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

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  • 09:33:34 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE HOUSE MESSAGE ON H.R. 2847, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 09:33:46 AM

    THE CLERK

    RESOLVE THAT THE HOUSE AGREE TO THE AMENDMENT OF THE SENATE TO THE…

    RESOLVE THAT THE HOUSE AGREE TO THE AMENDMENT OF THE SENATE TO THE AMENDMENT OF THE HOUSE TO THE AMENDMENT OF THE SENATE TO THE BILL H.R. 2847 ENTITLED "AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE AND JUSTICE AND SCIENCE AND RELATED AGENCIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES WITH AMENDMENTS."

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  • 09:34:10 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME IS CONSIDERED EXPIRED. THE…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME IS CONSIDERED EXPIRED. THE MOTION TO CONCUR WITH AN AMENDMENT IS WITHDRAWN. THERE WILL BE 10 MINUTES OF DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE, MR. GREGG, AND THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK, MR. SCHUMER OR THEIR DESIGNEES. WHO YIELDS TIME?

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  • 09:34:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:34:56 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    I RISE IN SUPPORT OF THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US AND AGAINST THE MOTION TO…

    I RISE IN SUPPORT OF THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US AND AGAINST THE MOTION TO WAIVE THE POINT OF ORDER. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS A GOOD DAY FOR AMERICAN WORKERS. FOR CONGRESS IS FOCUSING ON WHAT THEY'VE ASKED US TO FOCUS ON. CONGRESS IS FOCUSING ON WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANTES TO FOCUS WANT US TO FOCUS ON, WHICH IS JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. AND CONGRESS WILL ACT IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. SO THIS IS A BREAK IN SEVERAL WAYS FROM THE PAST. ONE, WE'RE FOCUSING ON JOBS AND THE ECONOMY. THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING. AND, SECOND, WE'RE DOING IT IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. THE BILL BEFORE US FOCUSES ON PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS. IT HAS FOUR PIECES. EACH IS LEANED, EACH IS DIRECTED AT PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS, EACH WILL GIVE THE ECONOMY A CERTAIN LIFT. YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, LAST QUARTER WE HAD GROWTH OF 5.9%. THAT SOUND GREAT. BUT THAT 5.9% GROWTH RESULTED IN NO NEW JOBS BEING CREATED. IN FACT, THERE'S BEEN A CONTINUED LOSS OF JOBS ADMITTEDLY, LESS OF A LOSS THAN IN THE PAST. OUR JOB HERE IS TO TAKE THAT GROWTH AND TRANSLATE IT INTO JOBS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. AND THAT IS WHAT WE ARE DOING WITH THIS HIRE ACT. AT THE CENTER OF IT IS A BIPARTISAN PIECE OF LEGISLATION, A PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY FOR A YEAR FOR ANY NEW WORKER HIRED WHO HAS BEEN UNEMPLOYED FOR 60 DAYS, AUTHORED BY THE SENATOR FROM UTAH, SENATOR HATCH, AND MYSELF. IT IS THE BIPARTISAN GLUE WHICH HOPEFULLY WILL STICK WITH US AS WE MOVE FORWARD ON OUR JOBS AGENDA BECAUSE THIS IS JUST THE FIRST, CERTAINLY NOT THE LAST, PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT WE WILL PUT FORWARD IN RELATION TO JOBS. IF WE DON'T CREATE JOBS, THE ECONOMY WILL NOT MOVE FORWARD. IF WE DON'T CREATE JOBS, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AMERICAN BUSINESS, AMERICAN LABOR COULD LOSE THE OPTIMISM THAT HAS BEEN PART OF THIS COUNTRY SINCE ITS FOUNDING. AND WHEN YOU LOSE THAT OPTIMISM, YOU LOSE DOLLARS AND CENTS ECONOMICALLY, BECAUSE BUSINESSES DON'T SPEND, WORKERS DON'T PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE, PEOPLE GET DISCONSULATE. AND SO THIS LEGISLATION, IT'S ADMITTEDLY MODEST AND FOCUSED, WILL GO FAR BEYOND WHAT THE SPECIFIC LEGISLATION DOES, BECAUSE IT WILL SHOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE -- IT WILL SHOW AMERICAN BUSINESS LARGE AND SMALL, IT WILL SHOW AMERICAN WORKERS THAT CONGRESS IS FOCUSED ON WHAT THEY WANT US TO FOCUS ON AND THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK ON OUR JOBS AGENDA UNTIL JOBS START GROWING, UNTIL PEOPLE ARE BEING PAID DECENT WAGES, UNTIL THE ECONOMY ROARS BACK ON A LONG AND STABLE TRAJECTORY, WHICH CAN ONLY BE DONE IF EMPLOYMENT GOES UP AND UNGLOIMENT GOES DOWN. -- AND UNEMPLOYMENT GOES DOWN. MR. PRESIDENT, I RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.

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  • 09:38:36 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:38:39 AM

    MR. GREGG

    MR. PRESIDENT, THIS ISN'T SO MUCH A JOBS BILL AS IT IS A DEBT BILL. IT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THIS ISN'T SO MUCH A JOBS BILL AS IT IS A DEBT BILL. IT ADDS TO DEBT, DEBT, DEBT. YOU KNOW, I VOTED AGAINST THE BUDGET WHICH PASSED THIS HOUSE AND PASSED THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. I VOTED BEGINS IT BECAUSE IT HAD A TRILLION DOLLARS OF DEFICIT EVERY YEAR FOR AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE. BECAUSE IT BASICALLY PUT OUR COUNTRY ON A PATH OF UN UNSUSTAINABILITY WHERE THE NATIONAL DEBT WILL DOUBLE IN FIVE YEARS AND TRIPLE IN TEN YEARS, WHERE EVERY ONE OF THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN SITTING HERE BEFORE US WHO ARE PAGES, BY THE TIME THEY GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE WILL HAVE $133,000 OF FEDERAL DEBT ON THEIR HEADS, THAT THEY'LL HAVE TO PAY OFF AS THEY GO TO WORK. I VOTED AGAINST IT BECAUSE IT WAS PROFLIGATE, BECAUSE IT WASN'T DISCIPLINED AND BECAUSE IT WAS EXCESSIVE. BUT IT APPEARS IT WASN'T EXCESSIVE ENOUGH FOR MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. THIS WILL BE THE THIRD WEEK IN A ROW THAT THE LEADERSHIP OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THIS BODY HAS BROUGHT A BILL TO THIS FLOOR THAT VIOLATES THEIR OWN BUDGET. AND SPENDS MORE THAN OTHER OWN BUDGET CALLED FOR. A BUDGET WHICH THIS YEAR WILL RUN $1.6 TRILLION OF DEFICIT ISN'T RUNNING A BIG ENOUGH DEFICIT ACCORDING TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. THEY HAVE TO RUN THE DEFICIT UP WITH THIS BILL BY ANOTHER $3 BILLION PROLIFERATE AUTHORIZED MONEY ABOVE THEIR OWN BUDGET. THAT'S ON TOP OF LAST WEEK WHEN THEY SPENT $30 BILLION THIS YEAR AND $1 BILLION OVER FIVE YEARS IN EXCESS OF THEIR OWN BUDGET. WHEN'S IT GOING TO STOP? WHEN IS IT GOING TO STOP IN WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STOP SPENDING MONEY AROUND HERE AS IF THERE'S NO TOMORROW, BECAUSE PRETTY SOON THERE WILL BE NO TOMORROW FOR OUR CHILDREN, AS WE ADD THIS DEBT TO THEIR BACKS AND MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO HAVE THE STANDARD OF LIVING THAT WE'VE HAD. YOU KNOW, MOODY'S TODAY -- OR, YESTERDAY CAME OUT AND SAID THAT ALTHOUGH TODAY THE TRIPLE-A RATING OF THIS COUNTRY IS NOT AT RISK, IT MAY BE DOWN THE ROAD IF WE CONTINUE TO SPEND MONEY THAT WE DON'T HAVE AT THE RATE WE'RE SPENDING IT. THAT'S NOT A SIGN OF OPTIMISM FOR THE FUTURE. THAT'S A SIGN THAT OUR NATION IS IN TROUBLE. IT'S IN TROUBLE BECAUSE OF US. THERE IS A LOST TALK AROUND HERE ABOUT WHAT'S THE SYSTEMIC RISK TO THIS ECONOMY. THE SYSTEMIC RISK IS THIS CONGRESS, WHICH CONTINUES TO SPEND MONEY IT DOESN'T HAVE, SEND THE BILL ON TO OUR KIDS AT A RATE THAT THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY IT OFF. SO THAT THEIR LIFESTYLE WILL ACTUALLY HAVE TO BE REDUCED, THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE, THEIR STANDARD OF LIVING WILL GO DOWN. BECAUSE THEY'LL BE PAYING FOR ALL THIS DEBT WE'RE PUTTING ON THEIR BACKS TODAY. AND WHAT'S EVEN WORSE IS THAT THIS CONGRESS ISN'T EVEN WILLING TO LIVE BY THE PROFLIGATE -- AND I HOPE CAPITAL LETTERS WILL BE PUT IN THE RECORD ON THAT BECAUSE IT SHOULD BE ALL SPELLED IN CAPITAL LETTERS -- BY THE PROFLIGATE BUDGET WHICH PASSED THIS HOUSE AND WHICH PROJECTED TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF DEFICITS FOR AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE AND DOUBLED THE DEBT IN FIVE YEARS AND TRIPLED IT IN TEN. THAT WASN'T ENOUGH. NO! WE'VE GOT TO COME TO THE FLOOR AGAIN THIS WEEK, AFTER LAST WEEK, AFTER THE WEEK BEFORE, WITH ANOTHER BILL THAT BREAKS THEIR OWN BUDGET. SO ALL I'M ASKING FOR IS THAT AT LEAST THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE BE WILLING TO LIVE BY ITS OWN BUDGET. LAST WEEK I ASKED THAT THEY BE WILLING TO LIVE BY THEIR OWN PAYGO RULES. THAT DIDN'T PASS. $100 BILLION WAS SPENT THAT WASN'T PAID FOR. SO THIS WEEK INL A MAKING A POINT OF ORDER THAT -- SO THIS WEEK I'M MAKING A POINT OF ORDER THAT SIMPLY SAY, LIVE BY YOUR OWN BUDGET. YOU PASSED A BUDGET, AT LEAST LIVE BY THAT YOU KNOW. CAN'T YOU LIVE WITHIN $106 TRILLION DEFICIT? DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO ADD ANOTHER $3 TRILLION, OF AUTHORIZED DOLLARS, TO THAT DEFICIT THIS YEAR? GOSH, I HOPE NOT. SO I'M MAKING A POINT OF ORDER AND ASKING THAT WE LIVE BY THE BUDGET THAT WAS PASSED BY THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS. THE PENDING AMENDMENT WOULD COST THE AGGREGATE LEVELS OF THE BUDGET AUTHORITY AND THE OUTLAYS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2010 AT SET OUT IN THE MOST RECENTLY AGREED TO CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET, S. CON. RES. 13, TO BE EXCEEDED -- THE DEMOCRATIC BUDGET, BY THE WAY. I PUT THAT IN PARENTHESES. AND THEREFORE, I RAISE A POINT OF ORDER UNDER SECTION 311-A-2 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1924 -- 1974. I'M SORRY.

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  • 09:43:47 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 09:43:52 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    I WILL SUPPORT THE MOTION TO WAIVE THE POINT OF ORDER. I BELIEVE I HAVE A…

    I WILL SUPPORT THE MOTION TO WAIVE THE POINT OF ORDER. I BELIEVE I HAVE A MINUTE LEFT. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, THE WORLD IS TOPSY-TURVY. MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES ARE OPPOSING A TAX CUT TO BUSINESS, LARGE AND SMALL, THAT HIRES PEOPLE. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE SHOULD DO. WE DON'T WANT TO BE SAYING TO WORKERS THEY CAN'T -- WE CAN'T HELP THEM FIND A JOB. THERE ARE SHADES OF HER HERBERT HOOVER IN WHAT MY COLLEAGUE IS SAYING. AND I DON'T THINK MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES ON EITHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WOULD SUPPORT THAT. AND LET ME SAY THIS ABOUT THE BUDGET POINT OF ORDER: THE JOINT TAX COMMITTEE, WHICH WE ALL RESPECT HERE, SAYS THAT THESE PROVISIONS ARE BUDGET-NEUTRAL. WE HAVE FOUND A WAY TO HIRE WORKERS, HELP BUSINESS WITH TAX CUTS TO HIRE THEM, AND KEEP IT BUDGET-NEUTRAL. AND YET THERE IS STILL OPPOSITION. WHEN WILL IT END? WHEN WILL THE BIPARTISAN KIND OF FEELING IN THIS BODY RETURN, BECAUSE THIS IS A BIPARTISAN MEASURE THAT LIVES BY MANY OF THE TENETS THAT THE PARTY ON THE OTHER SIDE HAS STOOD FOR FOR DECADES. AND SO, MR. PRESIDENT, IS THERE ANY TIME REMAINING?

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  • 09:45:14 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.

  • 09:45:16 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 09:45:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE.

  • 09:45:48 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:45:51 AM

    MR. GREGG

    PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY. I HAVE MADE A MOTION THAT SAYS THAT THE BUDGET…

    PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY. I HAVE MADE A MOTION THAT SAYS THAT THE BUDGET POINT OF ORDER STANDS UNDER SECTION 311, WHICH POINT OF ORDER SPECIFICALLY LIES BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE AMENDMENT BEFORE US, OR THE BILL BEFORE US SPENDS MORE IN AUTHORITY AND OUTLAY THAN THE BUDGET ACT PASSED BY THIS CONGRESS ALLOWS. IS THAT NOT CORRECT? IS THAT MOTION NOT WELL TAKEN?

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  • 09:46:26 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CHAIR UNDERSTANDS THAT THE POINT OF ORDER WOULD BE WELL…

    OFFICER: THE CHAIR UNDERSTANDS THAT THE POINT OF ORDER WOULD BE WELL TAKEN. MR.

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  • 09:46:34 AM

    MR. GREGG

    MEANS THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, MORE MONEY IS BEING SPENT THAN IS ALLOWED TO BE…

    MEANS THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, MORE MONEY IS BEING SPENT THAN IS ALLOWED TO BE SPENT UNDER OUR BUDGET RULES; IS THAT CORRECT, UNDER THIS BILL?

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  • 09:46:43 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR IS CORRECT.

  • 09:46:45 AM

    MR. GREGG

  • 09:46:47 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE QUESTION IS ON THE MOTION. THE YEAS AND NAYS HAVE BEEN ORDERED.

  • 09:46:53 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    PRESIDENT? I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 09:46:58 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 09:48:18 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    PRESIDENT? ARE WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 09:48:20 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE IN A QUORUM CALL. THE REPUBLICAN LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:48:25 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 09:48:29 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:48:31 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE BEEN IN THE SENATE FOR QUITE AWHILE. I'VE SEEN A LOT,…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE BEEN IN THE SENATE FOR QUITE AWHILE. I'VE SEEN A LOT, BUT I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THE PLAN THAT HOUSE DEMOCRATS HATCHED THIS WEEK TO JAM THEIR HEALTH CARE BILL THROUGH CONGRESS AND OVER THE OBJECTIONS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AMERICANS WOKE UP YESTERDAY THINKING THEY'D SEEN EVERYTHING IN THIS DEBATE ALREADY. THEN THEY HEARD THE LATEST. THEY HEARD THAT DEMOCRATS WANT TO APPROVE THE SENATE VERSION OF THE HEALTH CARE BILL WITHOUT ACTUALLY STANDING UP AND TAKING A VOTE ON IT. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN: THEY HEARD THAT DEMOCRATS OVER IN THE HOUSE WANT TO APPROVE THE SENATE BILL WITHOUT ACTUALLY VOTING ON IT. THESE DEMOCRATS WANT TO APPROVE A BILL THAT REWRITES ONE-SIXTH OF THE ECONOMY, FORCES TAXPAYERS TO PAY FOR ABORTIONS, RAISES TAXES IN THE MIDDLE OF A RECESSION AND SLASHES MEDICARE FOR SENIORS WITHOUT LEAVING THEIR FINGERPRINTS ON IT. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY WANT TO GET AROUND THE VERY PURPOSE OF A ROLL CALL VOTE. THEY WANT TO HIDE WHAT THEY'RE DOING FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO THEY SEEM TO VIEW AS AN OBSTACLE. THEY WANT TO HIDE WHAT THEY'RE DOING FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHOM THEY SEE AS AN OBSTACLE TO WHAT THEY'RE TRYING TO DO. WELL, IT WON'T WORK. THEY REALIZED THAT YESTERDAY WHEN THEY SAW THE PUBLIC REACTION TO THEIR PLAN. AMERICANS ARE MORE OUTRAGED THAN EVER. AMERICANS ARE SHOCKED AT THESE TACTICS. THEY'RE FED UP, AND THEY'VE HAD ENOUGH. AND THE LONGER DEMOCRATIC LEADERS IGNORE THIS OUTRAGE AND IGNORE THESE QUESTIONS, THE WORSE IT'S GOING TO GET. DEMOCRATS HAVE LOST THEIR PERSPECTIVE IN THIS DEBATE. THEY HAVE LOST THEIR WAY. THEY DON'T EVEN SEEM TO CARE WHAT THE PUBLIC THINKS. SPEAKER PELOSI SAID YESTERDAY THAT SHE'LL DO -- QUOTE -- "WHATEVER IT TAKES" TO ENSURE THAT THIS BILL BECOMES LAW. AND WHAT I WILL SHE'S AT IT, SHE'S THROWING OTHER LEGISLATION INTO THE BILL THAT DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HEALTH CARE, MAJOR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ENABLE THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE OVER THE STUDENT LOAN INDUSTRY WITHOUT ANY DEBATE WHATSOEVER. THAT'S BEEN THEIR STRATEGY ALL ALONG. ANY TIME ONE OF THEIR PROPOSALS MEETS RESISTANCE, THEY LOOK FOR A WAY TO GET AROUND IT. BUT THE SCHEMES THEY'VE USED END UP MAKING THEIR PROPOSALS EVEN MORE REPELLENT THAN THEY ORIGINALLY WERE. AND THIS LATEST SCHEME IS THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS ONE YET. SO THEY'VE TAPPED -- SO WHAT'S HAPPENED HERE IS THEY'RE TRAPPED IN A VICIOUS CYCLE THAT SOMEONE OVER THERE NEEDS TO BRING TO A HALT. THIS IS NOW A FIGHT BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND THEIR OWN CONSTITUENTS. AND THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THIS MADNESS IS FOR A FEW COURAGEOUS DEMOCRATS TO STEP FORWARD AND PUT A STOP TO IT. HISTORIANS WILL REMEMBER THIS. HISTORIANS WILL REMEMBER THIS AS A NEW LOW IN THIS DEBATE. THE WEEK THAT AMERICA WAS INTRODUCED TO THE SCHEME-AND-DEEM APPROACH TO LEGISLATING. THE SCHEME-AND-DEEM APPROACH TO LEGISLATING. THEY'LL REMEMBER THIS AS THE WEEK THAT CONGRESS TRIED TO PULL THE WOOL OVER THE EYES OF THE PUBLIC IN ORDER TO GET AROUND THEIR WILL. AND THEY'LL REMEMBER THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO STAND UP AND PUT AN END TO IT. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 09:52:06 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE QUESTION IS ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE. THE CLERK WILL…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE QUESTION IS ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 09:52:17 AM

    Senate Vote 54 - On the Motion (Motion to Waive All Applicable Budgetary Discipline Re HR 2847)

    Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act

    Motion Agreed to (63 - 34)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 62
    Democratic - 54
    Independent - 2
    Republican - 6

    Vote Details: Nay - 34
    Republican - 33
    Democratic - 1

    Vote Details: Not Voting - 3
    Democratic - 1
    Republican - 2

  • 10:15:34 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WHO WISH TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE A…

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WHO WISH TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE A VOTE? IF NOT, ON THIS VOTE THE YEAS ARE 63. THE NAYS ARE 34. THREE-FIFTHS OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN NOT HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS NOT AGREED TO. A SENATOR: MOVE TO RECONSIDER. A SENATOR: MOVE TO LAY ON THE TABLE.

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  • 10:16:00 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. -- ON THE MOTION TO CONCUR ON THE HOUSE AMENDMENTS TO…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. -- ON THE MOTION TO CONCUR ON THE HOUSE AMENDMENTS TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT TO THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 2847. IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 10:16:35 AM

    Senate Vote 55 - On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendments to Senate Amendment to House Amendment to Senate Amendment to HR 2847)

    Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act

    Motion Agreed to (68 - 29)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 67
    Republican - 11
    Democratic - 54
    Independent - 2

    Vote Details: Nay - 29
    Republican - 28
    Democratic - 1

    Vote Details: Not Voting - 3
    Democratic - 1
    Republican - 2

  • 10:38:05 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR…

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE AYES ARE 68 AND THE NAYS ARE 29. THE MOTION TO CONCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENTS TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT TO THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO SENATE AMENDMENT H.R. 2847 IS AGREED TO. FELLFUL I MOVE TO RECONSIDER THE VOTE AND --

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  • 10:38:37 AM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    I MOVE TO RECONSIDER THE VOTE AND LAY IT ON THE TABLE.

  • 10:38:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE SENATOR IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:38:44 AM

    MR. JOHANNS

    I ASK TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 10:38:50 AM

    MR. JOHANNS

    AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO LOCK IN, IF YOU WILL, THAT SENATOR LANDRIEU WILL…

    AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO LOCK IN, IF YOU WILL, THAT SENATOR LANDRIEU WILL FOLLOW ME.

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  • 10:38:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:38:56 AM

    MR. JOHANNS

    PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S…

    PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM. OVER THE PAST MANY YEARS, USDA HAS ADMINISTERED A SYSTEM CALLED THE NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM, NAIS. THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THE SYSTEM WAS TO KEEP TRACK OF ANIMAL MOVEMENTS SO THAT WE COULD TRACE BACK ANIMALS IN THE EVENT OF A DISEASE OUTBREAK. THE FIRST STEP UNDER ANIMAL I.D. WAS TO REGISTER FARMS, WHERE ANIMALS ARE HOUSED, ALSO KNOWN AS PREMISES. AND THAT REGISTRATION WAS TO OCCUR IN DATABASE A DATABASE. AFTER REGISTERING A DATABASE, A PRODUCER COULD IDENTIFY INDIVIDUAL ANIMALS OR GROUPS OF ANIMALS THAT MOVED TO OR FROM A FREM. EACH GIVEN AN INDIVIDUAL I.D. NUMBER. NOW, THIS SYSTEM WORKED FOR THOSE WHO WANTED TO USE IT, BUT NO ONE WAS FORCED TO PARTICIPATE. IN OTHER WORDS, IT WAS A VOLUNTARY SYSTEM. IF PRODUCERS WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM SO THEY COULD KEEP TRACK OF ANIMAL MOVEMENTS OR BECAUSE A TRADING PARTNER MIGHT BE MORE INCLINED TO BUY THEIR PRODUCT OR FOR ANY REASON THAT WORKED WELL WITH THEIR OPERATION, THEN IT WAS THERE FOR THEM, IT WAS AT THEIR DISPOSAL. BUT AS LONG AS NAIS WAS IN EXISTENCE, IT WAS A VOLUNTARY PROGRAM. NOW, RECENTLY, ON FEBRUARY 5, 2010, USDA ANNOUNCED IT WAS DOING AWAY WITH THAT AND DEVELOPING A NEW FRAMEWORK FOR ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY IN THE UNITED STATES. IT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION, AS A FORMER SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION COMPLETED A SERIES OF LISTENING SESSIONS HELD BY USDA'S ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE. WE REFER TO THEM AS APHIS. THOSE WERE DONE JUST LAST YEAR. HAVING HELD FARM BILL FORUMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, I APPLAUD ANY EFFORT TO HEAR DIRECTLY FROM FARMERS AND RANCHERS, AND I PLODDED THAT EFFORT -- AND I APPLAUDED THAT EFFORT. I WAS VERY APPRECIATIVE THAT AT MY REQUEST ONE OF 0 THOSE ANIMAL I.D. LISTENING SESSIONS WAS IN FACT HELD IN MY OWN HOME STATE OF NEBRASKA. BUT I MUST ADMIT, AFTER THE LISTENING SESSIONS, I WAS VERY SURPRISED AT THE NEW FRAMEWORK THAT THE USDA HAS DEVELOPED. USDA SAYS THIS: THEY SAY THE NEW PROGRAM IS NOT A MANDATORY PROGRAM, EXCEPT FOR ANIMALS THAT TRAVEL TO A DIFFERENT STATE FROM WHERE THEY WERE BORN. THINK ABOUT THAT. THAT LITTLE CAVEAT BASICALLY MEANS THAT THE PROGRAM IS A MANDATORY PROGRAM FOR A WHOLE LOT OF LIVESTOCK IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU SEE, MR. PRESIDENT, ANYBODY WHO HAS ANY FARM BACKGROUND OR AG EXPERIENCE WILL TELL YOU THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF ANIMALS IN THIS COUNTRY MOVE TO A DIFFERENT STATE IN THEIR LIFETIME. IT'S JUST SIMPLY A FACT. ADDITIONALLY, THE PROGRAM IS MANDATORY NOT ONLY FOR PREMISE REGISTRATION BUT FOR THE ACTUAL TRACKING OF THE ANIMAL. AND HERE'S THE REAL KICKER: STATE GOVERNMENTS WILL BE TASKED WITH KEEPING TRACK OF THE LIVESTOCK UNDER THE NEW SYSTEM. IT'S ALMOST LIKE THIS ADMINISTRATION REALIZED HOW MUCH OPPOSITION THERE WAS TO A MANDATORY SYSTEM -- AND, BELIEVE ME, THERE IS -- AND DECIDED TO HAND THE HOT POTATO TO THE STATES. BUT IN DOING THAT, THEY SAID, THOU SHALT DO IT, BUT KEEP THE HEADACHE AWAY FROM OUR DESKS. STATES ARE GENUINELY AND RIGHTFULLY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS NEW PROGRAM POTENTIALLY BEING DUMPED ON THEM. I AM ALREADY HEARING FROM OFFICIALS AND PRODUCERS IN MY HOME STATE, AND THEY ARE ENORMOUSLY CONCERNED BY THIS PROPOSAL. SOME GROUPS ARE EVEN URGING THE NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WHICH WOULD BE TASKED WITH ADMINISTERING THE PROGRAM, TO REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE. AND, BELIEVE ME, THIS ISN'T THE LAST STATE THAT WILL WEIGH IN ON THIS VERY, VERY CONTROVERSIAL PROPOSAL. LATER THIS WEEK, THERE'S A MEETING OF STATE DEPARTMENTS OF AGRICULTURE, STATE VETERINARIANS, AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES TO FURTHER EXAMINE THIS ISSUE. THAT'S WHY I'M HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. I'M GOING TO BE VERY ANXIOUS TO HEAR THEIR INPUT AND TO HEAR THE OUTCOME OF THAT MEETING, BECAUSE THERE IS GREAT CONCERN IN FARM COUNTRY FOR THIS PROPOSAL. MY HOPE IS THAT CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS CAN GET ANSWERS TO SOME BASIC QUESTIONS. CONSIDER THIS: LET'S SAY A NEBRASKA FARMER BUYS A NEBRASKA CALF WITH NO TRACKING NUMBER AND PUTS IT OUT 0 ON A NEBRASKA PASTURE. SO THAT'S IN STATE, AND THAT'S PRETTY CLEAR. NO NEED TO COMPLY. NOW SOMETIME LATER, AFTER THAT CALF HAS GAINED SOME WEIGHT, IT'S THEN TAKEN TO THE AUCTION BARN, THE SALE BARN. AT THIS POINT, IN THE SALE BARN THERE'S MULTIPLE BUYERS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY TYPICALLY. COULD BE BUYERS FROM NEBRASKA AND KANSAS, IOWA, OTHER STATES. THEY'RE ALL IN THE ARENA TO BID ON THEIR CALVES. BUT, APPARENTLY, ONLY BUYERS FROM NEBRASKA COULD MAKE BIDS, EVEN THOUGH OTHER BUYERS FROM OTHER STATES MIGHT OFFER MORE MONEY. BUT, LET'S SAY BY CHANCE, A NEBRASKA FEED LOT THE HIGHEST BID HE AND BUYS THE CALF. STILL IN STATE, CAN FEED THE CALF OUT, STILL NO REASON TO COMPLY WITH THE ANIMAL FEED PROGRAM. BUT NOW SOME MONTHS LATER, THE STEER IS READY TO GO TO THE PACKING PLANT. BUT THE PLANT IS ON THE OTHER SUED OF THE RIVER IN ANOTHER STATE AND THEY'LL PAY MORE THAN A PLANT IN STATE FOR THAT ANIMAL. WHOA, WAIT A SECOND HERE. CAN THE FEED PROCESSORS SELL? PROBABLY NOT BECAUSE THE TWO OWNERS PRIOR TO HIM CHOSE TO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS, MANY LIVESTOCK AUCTIONS ATTRACT BIDDERS FROM IN STATE AND STATES AROUND, STATES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. SO ONE CAN ASSUME ALL ANIMALS SOLD THROUGH AN AUCTION BARN WILL BE REQUIRED TO HAVE ANIMAL I.D. FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TO THESE SALES, CAN YOU IMAGINE LITERALLY THE AUCTIONEER STOPPING THE SALE AND SAYING "THESE ANIMALS AREN'T REGISTERED. ONLY NEBRASKA PURCHASERS CAN BUY THE ANIMALS"? IF NOT, IF THEY WEREN'T I.D.'D, AUCTIONEERS WOULD LITERALLY HAVE TO STOP THE BIDDING AND ANNOUNCE WHERE THE POTENTIAL SELLER RESIDES FOR EACH ANIMAL WITHOUT A TRACKING NUMBER. THEN MANY OF THE BUYERS WOULD HAVE TO SIT ON THE SIDELINES, VISIT THE BATHROOM, GO TO THE VENDING MACHINE, ANYTHING BUT BID ON THAT CALF. CAN YOU IMAGINE? IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. WHAT WILL BE THE VIABILITY OF THE CATTLE OPERATIONS IN THIS COUNTRY OR THAT SALE BARN? WHAT ABOUT THE RANCHER WHO SELLS SOME OF HIS CATTLE IN STATE AND SOME OF IT GOES TO FACILITIES IN OTHER STATES? WILL THAT PERSON BE REQUIRED TO TAG SOME OF THE ANIMALS IN THE FEED LOT BUT NOT OTHERS? HE'S GOING TO SPEND MORE TIME TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO COMPLY WITH THE USDA PROGRAM THAN HE OR SHE WILL SPEND RANCHING. PRODUCERS ARE BASICALLY GOING TO BE FORCED TO FULLY PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM, AND I THINK THE USDA KNOWS IT. IF A POTENTIAL BUYER IS FROM ANOTHER STATE, THERE CAN BE NO DEAL UNLESS THE ANIMAL HAS THE TRACKING NUMBER. THIS LOOKS LIKE A BACKDOOR MANDATE THAT'S BEING PACKAGED AS SOMETHING ELSE. WORSE YET, THE PACKAGE IS BEING DELIVERED AND DROPPED ON THE DOORSTEP OF OUR STATES. SO LET'S FACE THE FACTS, THIS SO-CALLED NEW ANIMAL I.D. PLAN IS A MANDATORY SYSTEM WHEN IT WAS PROMOTED AS A VOLUNTARY ONE. IN MY JUDGMENT, TO BE VERY BLUNT ABOUT THIS, THIS IS A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING, BUT AMERICA'S FARMERS AND RANCHERS AREN'T GOING TO BE FOOLED. THEY KNOW BETTER THAN ANYONE THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF AGRICULTURAL COMMERCE OCCURS ACROSS STATE LINES AND EVEN COUNTRY TO COUNTRY, AND THEY DESERVE BETTER. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME BE CLEAR, I DID NOT COME DOWN HERE TO BE CRITICAL OF THE FACT THAT USDA IS CONSIDERING NEW APPROACHES. IN FACT, I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WHEN I WAS THE SECRETARY, I CALLED A TIME-OUT TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE ANIMAL I.D. AND TO HEAR FROM PRODUCERS. I OPENLY SAID I'M CONSIDERING MAKING THIS A MANDATORY PROGRAM. I THOUGHT A MANDATORY APPROACH MIGHT BE NECESSARY, AND WE LISTENED AND WE STUDIED IT VERY CLOSELY. AND THEN WE WENT TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, AND WE LISTENED TO FARMERS AND RANCHERS, AND WHAT WE HEARD OVER WHEUPLGLY IS -- OVERWHELMINGLY IS, "MIKE, DO NOT MAKE THIS A MANDATORY PROGRAM." WE REALIZE THAT PRODUCERS ALREADY COMPLY WITH A LAUNDRY LIST OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, AND IN THIS ADMINISTRATION IT GROWS BY THE DAY. THEY TAKE NUMEROUS STEPS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THEIR ANIMALS. THAT IS THEIR LIVELIHOOD. MANDATING AN ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM WOULD HAVE BEEN ONE MORE COSTLY BURDEN DICTATED ON THE RANCHER BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SO I APPEAL TO MY FRIEND, SECRETARY VILSACK. WE WERE GOVERNORS TOGETHER. I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM. I WENT DOWN THAT ROAD TOO. AND I CAN TELL YOU, MR. SECRETARY, IT IS A DEAD END. ON ONE HAND, USDA HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THE BROAD AND DECOMPOSITION IN THE COUNTRYSIDE WHEN THE ADMINISTRATION SEEMED TO SAY WE'RE GOING TO GO FORWARD ANYWAY. OUR PRODUCERS HAVE SPENT YEARS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES WHAT NAIS IS ABOUT. THERE IS NO REPACKAGING THAT WILL CONVINCE THEM THAT ANOTHER FEDERAL MANDATE IS A GOOD IDEA. DOES THIS ADMINISTRATION THINK STATES WILL EMBRACE THIS HOT POTATO WITH ALL THE COSTS IN THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS THAT GO WITH IT? I DON'T SEE IT. THE OLD NAIS SYSTEM WAS NOT PERFECT. WE ALWAYS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS IS HUGELY COMPLICATED. BUT CALLING IT VOLUNTARY AND THEN LEAVING PRODUCERS NO REAL CHOICE, THAT'S FAR FROM PERFECT. AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT'S NOT A SOLUTION. I URGE THE USDA TO RECONSIDER. MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 10:51:10 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:51:14 AM

    MS. LANDRIEU

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I AM PLEASED TO COME TO THE FLOOR THIS MORNING AS THE…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I AM PLEASED TO COME TO THE FLOOR THIS MORNING AS THE CHAIR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE WITH SEVERAL OF MY COLLEAGUES FROM THE COMMITTEE THAT HAVE BEEN HARD AT WORK COMING UP WITH IDEAS, DRAFTING AND PASSING LEGISLATION IN THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE OVER THE LAST THREE MONTHS PARTICULARLY TO GET READY FOR THIS TIME. MR. PRESIDENT, P TOFS TIME THAT THIS SENATE AND CONGRESS MOVE THE THIRD JOBS BILL. AND AS A FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESS IN AMERICA. I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE MEMBERS OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE. TWO OF THEM WILL JOIN ME THIS MORNING AND WE WILL ALL, HOPEFULLY, BE ON THE FLOOR OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AND WEEKS TALKING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF FOCUSING ON SMALL BUSINESS JOB CREATION IN AMERICA. MY RANKING MEMBER, OF COURSE, IS THE GREAT SENATOR FROM MAINE, SENATOR SNOWE; JOHN KERRY, FORMER CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE; CHRIS BOND FORMER CHAIR; THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN CARL LEVIN, EVAN BAYH, ROGER WICKER, MARK PRYOR, JAMES REICH AND BEN CARDIN. JEANNE SHAHEEN IS ALSO HERE AND KAY KAGAN. LET ME SAY, MR. PRESIDENT THAT, THESE MEMBERS HAVE BEEN EXTRAORDINARY IN MY VIEW. WE HAVE PASSED NOT ONE, NOT TWO, NOT THREE, NOT FOUR BUT FIVE FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT PIECES OF LEGISLATION IN A COMPLETELY BIPARTISAN FASHION. THE BILLS THAT I'M GOING TO HIGHLIGHT THIS MORNING HAVE BEEN PASSED BY OUR COMMITTEE BY LARGE AND CONVINCING MARGINS. 18-0, 15-3, 16-4. WE ARE VERY PROUD OF THE WORK THAT WE'VE DONE. AND MY CALL TO THE SENATORS THIS MORNING IS TO LET'S GET OUR EYES OFF OF WALL STREET AND GET OUR EYES ON MAIN STREET. IF WE REALLY WANT TO DIG OUT OF THIS RECESSION THAT WE'RE IN, CREATED BY A NUMBER OF THINGS -- FAILED POLICIES FROM THE PAST ADMINISTRATION, A CONFLUENCE OF A CRASH OF THE STOCK MARKET AND THE FINANCIAL SECTOR, POOR REGULATION FROM US OVER TIME. BUT, YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE REALLY SUFFERED ARE THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS THAT, UNLIKE MAYBE LARGE BUSINESSES AND PUBLIC COMPANIES, HAVE PUT EVERYTHING AT RISK. EVERYTHING: THEIR FUTURE, THEIR HOUSE, THEIR CHILDREN'S FUTURE. EVERYTHING AT RISK TO CREATE BUSINESS, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT AMERICANS DO. AND WE DO IT BETTER THAN ANY COUNTRY ON EARTH. AND AS SOON AS WE RECOGNIZE THE STRENGTH OF AMERICAN BUSINESS, AND IT'S ABOUT ENTREPRENEUR. THAT'S WHAT THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE IS FOCUSED ON. AND WE WANT ATTENTION, AND WILL GET IT, TO THIS ISSUE. AND I WANT TO THANK THE MEMBERS FOR THEIR HARD WORK AND SUPPORT. IN THIS TOXIC ENVIRONMENT TO GET ANYTHING OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH THAT KIND OF VOTE, I THINK WE DESERVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE BEFORE WE EVEN START, BUT THAT'S ANOTHER STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY. NOW WE HAVE TO MOVE THE BILLS THROUGH THE PROCESS. I WANT TO JUST SHARE THIS GRAPH WHICH IS, I THINK, VERY TELLING. THE SHARE OF NET NEW JOBS CREATED, 65% OF THE NEW JOBS CREATED BY EVERYTHING WE DO HERE WILL BE CREATED BY SMALL BUSINESS. NOT BY BIG BUSINESS. LARGE FIRMS ARE SHRINKING, REORGANIZING, SORT OF WAITING FOR THE MARKET TO COME BACK. I UNDERSTAND THAT. THEY HAVE A FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY. THESE FOLKS ARE OUT THERE TAKING THE BIG RISK. WHEN THE WAY IS NOT KHRAOERBGS WHEN IT'S STILL CLOUDY, SMALL BUSINESS IS OUT THERE TAKING A CHANCE THAT MAYBE THINGS WILL TURN AROUND. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WE HAVE TO GET OUR EYES ON. AS CHAIR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE, I'VE HEARD FOR MONTHS THAT SMALL BUSINESSES WANT TO HIRE NEW WORKERS. THEY NEED TO HIRE NEW WORKERS. THEY CAN EXPAND THEIR BUSINESS, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY. SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS LIKE RAY MASH, WHO OWNS SEVERAL NEIGHBORHOOD PHARMACIES IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA HAS AN EXCELLENT TRACK RECORD. HE'S BEEN IN BUSINESS OVER 20 YEARS. HE'S NEVER MISSED A PAYMENT. HE CAN'T GET A LOAN FROM HIS BANK BECAUSE HE USES THE SMALL BUSINESS LENDING PROGRAM, AND HE'S CAPPED AT $2 MILLION. ONE OF OUR BILLS WOULD RAISE THAT CAP TO $5 MILLION. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT IS SOMETHING WE MUST DO NOW. SO UNTIL WE DO, BUSINESS OWNERS LIKE RAY WAIT. THEY WAIT TO GET LARGER LOANS TO EXPAND THEIR BUSINESSES. THEY WAIT FOR A GOVERNMENT CONTRACT. THEY WAIT FOR OPPORTUNITIES FOR COUNSELING AS THEY ATTEMPT TO BOOST SALES BY TAPPING IN TO POTENTIAL MARKETS OVERSEAS. SO I WANT TO SHOW YOU THE EXPORT CHART WHICH IS ALSO VERY TELLING. WHEN I SAW THIS, I HAD MY STAFF USE IT AT EVERY TOWN HALL I DO BECAUSE I ACTUALLY DIDN'T BELIEVE IT. I MADE THEM GO BACK AND DO IT SEVERAL TIMES BECAUSE IT WAS JUST SO, SO CONTRARY TO MY NOTION OF THE WORLD. BUT IT IS TRUE, AND THIS IS THE TRUTH. ALL SMALL BUSINESSES IN AMERICA F EVERY ONE WE KNOW, LESS THAN 1% EXPORT THEIR GOODS OUT OF THIS COUNTRY. YOU THINK ABOUT THAT. WHEN THE MARKET IN AMERICA IS SOFT AND OUR BUSINESSES ARE TRYING TO CREATE JOBS, WE CAN DO WHAT WE CAN TO ENERGIZE THESE MARKETS AT HOME, BUT WE MOST CERTAINLY SHOULD BE LOOKING OVERSEAS. BUT I CAN TELL YOU WHY SMALL BUSINESSES WOULD BE A LITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT IT. BECAUSE THEY'VE NEVER NEGOTIATED WITH BIG OLD TRADE REPRESENTATIVES FROM CHINA AND KOREA AND GERMANY AND FRANCE. IT CAN BE A LITTLE INTIMIDATING. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? THEY'VE GOT GREAT PRODUCTS. AND WITH THE INTERNET, THEY'VE GOT THE WORLD AT THEIR IF I THINK TIPS. WHAT THEY DON'T -- AT THEIR FINGER TIPS. WHAT THEY DON'T HAVE IS AN EXPORT BILL THAT GIVES THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET THE TRAINING THROUGH DEPARTMENTS THAT ARE PAID FOR, DEPARTMENTS THAT ARE SET UP BUT NOT FOCUSED ON SMALL BUSINESS AND HELPING THEM TRADE. I WANT TO SEE THIS PIE CHART EXPANDED. I DON'T KNOW IF WE CAN EXPAND IT TO 10% OF SMALL BUSINESSES IN AMERICA OR 20%. BUT, MR. PRESIDENT, WE CAN'T SIT AT 1% WHILE OUR PEOPLE LOSE JOBS HERE. THAT'S WHY THIS PACKAGE IS IMPORTANT. AND I WANT TO THANK SENATOR SHAHEEN FOR HER EXTRAORDINARY LEADERSHIP AND ALSO MY RANKING MEMBER, SENATOR STPHORBGS WHO HAS SPENT -- SENATOR SNOWE, WHO HAS SPENT A GREAT DEAL OF TIME TALKING ABOUT, IN OUR COMMITTEE AND IN OUR HEARINGS, THE OPPORTUNITY FOR TRADE. THAT'S WHAT THIS PACKAGE DOES AS WELL. I WANT TO PRESENT THE ACCESS TO CAPITAL COALITION THAT'S BEHIND US. WE DID NOT COME HERE TO THE FLOOR ALONE. WE HAVE AN EXTRAORDINARY COALITION FOR A JOBS AGENDA FROM SMALL BUSINESS GROUPS ALL OVER AMERICA, FROM THE SMALL BUSINESS GROUPS REPRESENTED BY THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO THE FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESS TO SAN FRANCISCO SMALL BUSINESS NETWORK, TO GREATER PROVIDENCE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, MARTIN BUILDERS ASSOCIATION, THE MAIN STREET ALLIANCE, JUST TO READ A FEW. OREGON SMALL BUSINESS FOR RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP. THIS LIST REPRESENTS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES THAT SAY TO ME EVERY DAY, "SENATOR, DOES ANYBODY KNOW WE'RE HERE?" I MEAN, EVERY DAY WE PICK UP THE PAPER, AND ALL WE READ ABOUT IS A.I.G., GOLDMAN SACHS, GENERAL MOTORS, EXXON. WE THINK THOSE COMPANIES ARE GREAT. I WE HOPE MAYBE TO BE -- WE HOPE MAYBE TO BE AS BIG AS THEY ARE SOMEDAY, BUT DOES ANYBODY KNOW WE'RE HERE? I WANT YOU TO KNOW I KNOW YOU'RE THERE AND WE'RE GOING TO FIGHT HARD FOR YOU AND WE'RE GOING TO PULL THIS COALITION TOGETHER TO FOCUS ON THE ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE IN AMERICA THAT CAN ACTUALLY CREATE JOBS, WHICH WOULD BE THE SMALL BUSINESSES FOUND IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD, IN EVERY MAIN STREET, IN URBAN AREAS, SUBURBAN AREAS, AND, YES, MR. PRESIDENT, EVEN IN RURAL AREAS CAN CREATE THE KIND OF JOBS WE NEED TO LIFT THIS NATION OUT OF THE WORST RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, WERE A BANKER. YOU UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF LENDING MONEY TO SMALL BUSINESSES AND GETTING IT TO THEM WHEN THEY NEED IT, QUICKLY. YOU ESTABLISHED SOME EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITIES IN YOUR HOME STATE OF ILLINOIS. THAT'S WHAT THIS PACKAGE OF BILLS DOES THAT HAS PASSED OUT OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE AND IS PENDING FOR ACTION IN THIS SENATE. SMALL BUSINESSES HAVE BORNE THE GREATEST BURDEN IN THIS ECONOMY. THEY ARE THE BUSINESSES THAT HAVE THE GREATEST POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE IT. BY MAKING THESE SIMPLE, INEXPENSIVE AND COMMONSENSE PROPOSALS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESS, WE CAN TURN PINK SLIPS INTO PAYCHECKS FOR AMERICAN WORKERS, AND WE CAN LIFT OUR ENTIRE NATION OUT OF THIS TERRIBLE RECESSION INTO A BRIGHT IRDAY IN THE FIEWP D. INTO A BRIGHTER DAY IN THE FUTURE. SO AGAIN I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR WORKING IN SUCH A BIPARTISAN MANNER. I WANT TO SUBMIT TO THE RECORD THIS MORNING THE FIVE BILLS THAT MAKE UP THIS PACKAGE: S. 2869, THE SMALL BUSINESS BUSINESS CREATION ACT, S. 2862, THE SMALL BUSINESS EXPORT AND ENHANCEMENT, S. 2989, THE SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTING IMPROVEMENT ACT, S. 1229, THE ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT ACT, AND S. 1233, THE STR REAUTHORIZATION ACT. WE WILL TAKE THEM UP IN A PACKAGE LATER IN THE DAY. BUT I WANT TO CALL MY COLLEAGUES' ATEPTION 0 THIS PACKAGE OF BILLS THAT WILL EXPAND CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THAT BY THE WAY SPENDS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS RIGHT NOW WITH BUSINESS. IF WE JUST SPENT A LITTLE BY THE MORE WITH SMALL BUSINESS, THESE SMALL BUSINESSES INSTEAD OF ABSORBING THE CONTRACTS WHICH THE BIG BUSINESSES DO, THEY'D HAVE TO HIRE UP -- I WANT TO ASK FOR 30 SECONDS MORE, IF I -- UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR 30 SECONDS MORE.

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  • 11:02:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:02:25 AM

    MS. LANDRIEU

    THE SMALL BUSINESSES, WHEN THEY GET A CONTRACT FROM THE FEDERAL…

    THE SMALL BUSINESSES, WHEN THEY GET A CONTRACT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THEY WILL STAFF UP BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT SMALL BUSINESSES DO. THEY'RE VERY FLEXIBLE. THEY'RE VERY AGILE. THEY'LL SCALE DOWN AND THEY CAN SCALE UP QUICKLY. SO I AM PROUD OF THIS PACKAGE, AND I WANT TO RECOGNIZE MY TWO MEMBERS THAT ARE HERE ON THE FLOOR, THE FORMER GOVERNOR AND NOW SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND HERE -- NEW HAMPSHIRE, I'M SORRY SORRY, JEANNE SHAHEEN, WHO IS HERE ON THE FLOOR, WHO'S BEEN A GREAT LEADER ON THIS ISSUE. THANK YOU, SENATOR. AND ALSO SENATOR BEN CARDIN FROM MARYLAND IS HERE. HE HAS BEEN A PARTICULARLY STRONG LEADER ON THE CONTRACTING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. SO I'D LIKE TO ASK THE SENATOR TO JOIN ME IN HER REMARKS THIS MORNING.

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  • 11:03:14 AM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 11:03:16 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE IS REASONABLE CARED. HURRICANE…

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE IS REASONABLE CARED. HURRICANE KATRINA HOON I ASK TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 11:03:21 AM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    I ASK TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 11:03:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. HURRICANE KATRINA HOON I AM SO PLEASED TO…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. HURRICANE KATRINA HOON I AM SO PLEASED TO JOIN --

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  • 11:03:28 AM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

  • 11:11:07 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MARYLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:11:09 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    I WOULD ALSO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 11:11:16 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    THE COMMENTS MADE BY SENATOR LANDRIEU AND SENATOR HEY HASN'T -- AND…

    THE COMMENTS MADE BY SENATOR LANDRIEU AND SENATOR HEY HASN'T -- AND SENATOR SHE HASN'T. WE'RE LEER TO TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF JOB CREATION IN OUR ECONOMY. WE ALL NEED WE NEED TO CREATE JOBS AND THE WAY TO CREATE JOBS IS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES. TOO MUCH OF THE FOCUS OVER THE LAST COUPLE YEARS HAS BEEN ON HELPING THE LARGE COMPANIES, THE LARGE BANKS. WE NEED TO FOCUS ON SMALL COMPANIES IN ORDER TO CREATE NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICANS. I WANT TO COMPLIMENT SENATOR SHAHEEN ON HER COMMENTS. SHE'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. SMALL BUSINESSES CAN CREATE MANY JOBS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES BY CREATING PRODUCTS THAT ARE WANTED AROUND THE GLOBE. THE PROBLEM IS, IT'S VERY COMPLICATED FOR A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER TO HAVE THE TYPE OF STAFF TO DEAL WITH THE DIFTDS OF ENTERING D. DIFFICULTIES OF ENTERING THE NDGES MARKETPLACE. THE LEGISLATION THAT SENATOR LANDRIEU HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING FORWARD IN THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE THAT DEALS WITH ENHANCING INTERNATIONAL TRADE FOR SMALL COMPANIES, S. 2862, WILL PROVIDE MORE JOBS IN AMERICA BY HELPING SMALLER COMPANIES BE ABLE TO GET THEIR PRODUCTS INTO THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE. THAT MAKES COMMON SENSE. AS I SAID IN THE BEGINNING, MR. PRESIDENT, WE NEED TO CREATE MORE JOBS. SENATOR LANDRIEU, IN HER LEADERSHIP ON THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE, HAS MADE THAT OUR TOP PRIORITY, AND I CONGRATULATE HER FOR BRINGING THIS TO OUR ATTENTION. WE KNOW THAT OVER 50% OF THE PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS ARE WITH SMALL COMPANIES. WE KNOW THAT 64% OF THE NET NEW JOBS DURING THE PAST 15 YEARS HAVE COME FROM SMALL COMPANIES. THAT'S WHERE THE JOB GROWTH WILL BE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT CREATING JOBS. WE'LL CREATE MORE JOBS FROM SMALL COMPANIES, BUT WE'VE GOT TO HELP THEM BECAUSE THEY'VE GOT MANY OBSTACLES TODAY. 40% OF HIGH-TECH WORKERS WORK FOR SMALL COMPANIES. THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING STATISTIC. THERE ARE 13 TIMES MORE PATENTS PER EMPLOYEE IN SMALL COMPANIES THAN IN LARGER COMPANIES. INNOVATION COMES FROM OUR SMALLER COMPANIES. DOESN'T MEAN WE IGNORE LARGER COMPANIES. THEY HAVE OPPORTUNITIES THAT SMALL COMPANIES DON'T, BUT IF WE'RE GOING TO CREATE THE JOBS IN INNOVATION, WE HAVE TO HAVE A HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TODAY, AND WE NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB. NOW, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? WELL, PROBLEM NUMBER ONE IS CREDIT. SMALL COMPANIES CAN'T GET TRADITIONAL CREDIT. MANY LARGE BANKS HAVE JUST CLOSED OUT GIVING LOANS TO SMALL COMPANIES. I CAN TELL YOU OF THE CALLS THAT I'VE GOTTEN TO MY OF COURSE, THE LETTERS I'VE GOTTEN. THERE'S A HIGH-TECH COMPANY LOCATED IN HUNT VALLEY, MARYLAND, A SMALL BUSINESS, CANNOT GET A BANK TO MAKE A REFINANCING LOAN SO THAT THAT HIGH-TECH COMPANY CAN EXPAND. THEY'RE DOING VERY WELL. THEIR CUSTOMER BASE WOULD BE VERY FAMILIAR TO MANY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE. BUT THEY CAN'T GET A BANK TO BE THEIR PARTNER IN THIS ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE THEY'RE A SMALL K AS A RESULT-- --THEY'RE A SMALL COMPANY. AS A RESULT, MANY SMALL COMPANIES, MANY SMALL BUSINESSES RESORT TO THE USE OF THEIR PERSONAL CREDIT CARDS. THEY ARE PERSONAL CREDIT CARDS IN ORDER TO FINANCE THEIR BUSINESS. ONE-THIRD OF SMALL COMPANIES HAVE OVER 25% OF THEIR OVERALL DEBT FROM CREDIT CARDS. 50% OF SMALL BUSINESSES' INTEREST RATES ARE 15% OR HIGHER. THAT'S NOT SUSTAINABLE, MR. PRESIDENT. YOU CAN'T RUN A BUSINESS BASED UPON THAT TYPE OF FINANCING. WE'VE GOT TO DO MUCH BETTER IN THAT REGARD. AND THAT'S WHY I WAS PARTICULARLY PLEASED BY S. 2869 THAT OUR CHILDREN, CHAIRMAN LANDRIEU, HAS BROUGHT FORWARD WITH SENATOR SNOWE THAT WOULD STRENGTHEN THE S.B.A.'S CAPACITY TO MAKE CREDIT AVAILABLE TO SMALL BUSINESSES. IT WOULD INCREASE THE 7-A LOAN PROGRAM -- AND 7-A LOANS ARE THE TRADITIONAL LOANS THAT SMALL BUSINESSES GET IN ORDER TO FINANCE THEIR OPERATIONS -- WOULD INCREASE IT FROM $2 MILLION TO $5 MILLION. AND CONTINUED 90% FEDERAL GUARANTEE. THE THE 504 LOANS, INCREASE THAT. AND THE MICRO LOANS, MICRO LOANS WHICH GIVE A BUSINESS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR WORKING CAPITAL SO THAT THEY CAN MOVE FORWARD WITH AN INNOVATION AND AN IDEA AND CREATE JOBS, INCREASING THAT FROM 35,000 TO 50,000. THAT TELLS YOU HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS TO A SMALL BUSINESS. THAT EXTRA $15,000 CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEVELOPING AN IDEA TO CREATE JOBS OR NOT. I CONGRATULATE CHAIRMAN LANDRIEU FOR BRINGING FORWARD THAT LEGISLATION. IT PASSED OUR COMMITTEE BY A 17-1 VOTE. THIS IS A STRONG BIPARTISAN BILL THAT WE HOPE WILL BE MADE PERMANENT. I MIGHT SAY I THINK WE NEED TO DO MORE. I'VE INTRODUCED LEGISLATION THAT FOLLOWS IN THE DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS SUGGESTED THAT WE TAKE SOME OF THE TARP FUNDS AND WE USE THAT TO HELP COMMUNITY BANKS MAKE LOANS TO SMALL BUSINESSES. WELL, I THINK WE SHOULD LOOK AT HAVING DIRECT LOANS BY THE S.B.A. TO SMALL BUSINESSES. CERTAINLY AS A BACKUP, IF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS NOT GOING TO SHOW ENOUGH INTEREST TO HELP OUR SMALL BUSINESSES. I KNOW THERE ARE OTHER SUGGESTIONS TO HELP OUR STATES. GOVERNOR O'MALLEY HAS SUGGESTED THAT HE HAS A PROGRAM, COULD USE SOME ADDITIONAL FEDERAL SUPPORT AND COULD GET MONEY OUT TO SMALL BUSINESSES FOR CREDIT QUICKLY. WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THAT, BECAUSE THERE IS A CREDIT CRISIS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO DO BETTER THAN WE'RE DOING TODAY IF WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO CREATE JOBS. IN EVERY STATE IN THE NATION, I KNOW MY COLLEAGUES HAVE HEARD FROM THEIR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS THAT THEY CAN'T GET AFFORDABLE CREDIT. WE NEED TO ACT IN ORDER TO BRING US OUT OF THIS CURRENT ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. THERE ARE OTHER BILLS I JUST WANT TO MENTION BRIEFLY. CHAIRMAN LANDRIEU MENTIONED THE BILL THAT I'VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH, S. 2989, THE SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTING IMPROVEMENT ACT. SMALL BUSINESSES DEPEND UPON GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT AS AN EFFORT TO GET STARTED AND TO GROW. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THERE IS THIS COZY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROCUREMENT OFFICERS AND LARGER COMPANIES. SO THEY'VE DEVELOPED INTO PRACTICES THAT HAVE HURT SMALL COMPANIES FROM BEING ABLE TO GET THE SET-ASIDES THAT WE IN CONGRESS SAID THAT THEY SHOULD DO. SO WHAT THE CONTRACTOR FOR THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY DOES IS THEY BUNDLE A LOT OF CONTRACTS THAT SHOULD BE OFFERED INDIVIDUALLY. BUT THEY BUNDLE THEM TO MAKE THEM TOO LARGE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO BE ABLE TO BID ON. WELL, THIS LEGISLATION DEALS WITH THE ABUSES OF BUNDLING, AND I CONGRATULATE OUR CHAIR FOR BRINGING THAT FORWARD. IT ALSO DEALS WITH THE ABUSES BETWEEN SUBCONTRACTORS AND PRIME CONTRACTORS. IT IS NO SURPRISE TO ANYONE HERE THAT SMALL BUSINESSES ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE SUBS. WE DON'T HAVE TRANSPARENCY AND OPENNESS TO TIMELY PAYMENTS TO SUBS, THE PRIME CONTRACTORS REALLY ABUSING THE PRIVILEGES HERE. AND WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT THE LAW IS CARRIED OUT WITH THE SET-ASIDES TO SMALL BUSINESSES IN OUR PROCUREMENT POLICIES. AND THIS LEGISLATION WHICH PASSED OUR COMMITTEE BY A UNANIMOUS VOTE JUST THIS, EARLIER THIS MONTH I THINK WILL GO A LONG WAY TO HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES AND HELP, AGAIN, CREATE JOBS IN OUR COMMUNITY. THERE'S OTHER LEGISLATION THAT'S OUT THERE TO STRENGTHEN THE S.B.A. COUNSELING PROGRAM; CHAIRMAN LANDRIEU MENTIONED. I THINK THAT'S AN IMPORTANT BILL. IT PASSED OUR COMMITTEE BY A 19-0 VOTE. AGAIN, STRONG BIPARTISAN VOTE. AND ANOTHER PROGRAM I WANT TO MENTION QUICKLY, BECAUSE DURING THE RECOVERY ACT THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FUNDS SET ASIDE BY FOR THE SBRI PROGRAM. IT WAS NOT. WE'VE SPOKEN ABOUT THAT BEFORE ON THE FLOOR THIS HAVE BODY. THE LEGISLATION THAT PASSED OUR COMMITTEE BY AN 18-0 VOTE WOULD INCREASE THE ALLOCATIONS ON THE SBIR AND SBTR PROGRAMS WHICH ARE HIGH-TECH SET-ASIDES FOR SMALL HIGH-TECH COMPANIES WHICH REALLY HELP US DEVELOP INNOVATION IN TECHNOLOGY HERE IN AMERICA, KEEPING JOBS IN AMERICA AND EXPANDING JOBS IN AMERICA. WOULD INCREASE THAT SET-ASIDE FROM A MODEST 2.5% TO A 3.5%. IT PASSED OUR COMMITTEE BY AN 18-0 VOTE. THESE ARE ALL IMPORTANT BILLS THAT I HOPE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE UP SHORTLY, AS WE LOOK AT THE NEXT JOBS BILL. I HOPE THAT THESE PROVISIONS CAN BE INCORPORATED INTO LEGISLATION WE CONSIDER. THIS IS BIPARTISAN. I THINK ALL MY COLLEAGUES UNDERSTAND THAT WE'VE GOT TO CREATE MORE JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN AMERICA. THE WRAEU TO DO -- THE WAY TO DO IT IS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES DEAL WITH THEIR CURRENT NEEDS. I WILL MENTION ONE OTHER BILL BEFORE YIELDING THE FLOOR, AND THAT IS THE HEALTH CARE BILL, WHICH WILL HELP SMALL BUSINESSES. THE PROBLEM I USUALLY HEAR THE MOST FROM SMALL BUSINESSES WERE ON PAYING HEALTH CARE COSTS. NOW I HEAR CREDIT. CREDIT IS THEIR NUMBER-ONE PROBLEM. WE PROVIDE A CREDIT -- SENATOR LANDRIEU WAS HELPFUL IN GETTING THIS STARTED EARLIER -- PROVIDING A CREDIT TO OUR SMALL BUSINESSES SO THEY CAN AFFORD TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES. THANK YOU, SENATOR LANDRIEU, FOR THAT PROVISION. THAT'S GOING TO HELP SMALL COMPANIES AND HELP JOB GROWTH. WE ALSO MAKE THE EXCHANGES. THESE ARE THE EXCHANGES WHERE A SMALL COMPANY CAN GO IN AND BUY HEALTH POLICIES. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES I'VE HEARD FROM A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER SAYING I'M GETTING RIPPED O. I HAVE NO CHOICE -- RIPPED OFF. I HAVE NO CHOICE ON WHAT PLAN I CAN TAKE. MY EMPLOYEES' HEALTH DIDN'T DETERIORATE. BUT I HAVE NO CHOICE, THERE IS NO OTHER COMPANY I CAN GET A POLICY WITH. UNDER THE HEALTH REFORM, WE PROVIDE OPTIONS AND CHOICE AND COMPETITION FOR THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER. TODAY THEY'RE PAYING ON AVERAGE 20% MORE THAN LARGE COMPANIES PAY FOR KERBL INSURANCE -- FOR COMPARABLE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR AN EMPLOYEES. WE SHOULDN'T BE DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SMALL BUSINESSES IN AMERICA. AND WE TAKE MAJOR STEPS FORWARD TO ELIMINATE THAT DISCRIMINATION. THESE ARE ALL THINGS WE CAN DO TO CREATE JOBS HERE IN AMERICA. TO HELP OUR SMALL BUSINESSES HELP OUR NATION, HELP OUR RECOVERY AND HELP US GROW AS A NATION TO BE EVEN MORE COMPETITIVE, OFFERING GOOD JOBS TO PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO ARE SEEKING EMPLOYMENT. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME YIELD THE REMAINDER OF MY TIME TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE, THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA.

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  • 11:22:13 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:22:15 AM

    MS. LANDRIEU

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AGAIN, I THANK MY COLLEAGUES BOTH, AND…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AGAIN, I THANK MY COLLEAGUES BOTH, AND PARTICULARLY SENATOR CARDIN, FOR THAT IMPASSIONED PLEA TO REALLY FOCUS THIS PLACE ON SMALL BUSINESS. IF REREALLY ARE SERIOUS ABOUT -- IF WE REALLY ARE SERIOUS ABOUT CREATING JOBS, THEN OUR FOCUS, OUR EFFORT, OUR WORK SHOULD BE ON THE MILLIONS OF SMALL BUSINESSES OUT THERE THAT WITH JUST A LITTLE BIT OF TWEAKING, A LITTLE BIT OF HELP FROM, YOU KNOW, AN EXPORT INITIATIVE HERE, SOME REGULATION REFORM HERE, LOAN POOLS HERE, CHANGING CURRENT LAW COULD HELP THEM DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO, WHICH IS EXPAND AND GROW JOBS. I SEE MY COLLEAGUES ARE HERE TO SPEAK, SO I'M JUST GOING TO TAKE ONE MINUTE TO CONCLUDE. I WANT MY COLLEAGUES TO KNOW THAT WHILE THIS PACKAGE IS FIVE MAJOR BILLS, THERE IS AN INITIATIVE THAT'S NOT IN BILL FORM YET. BUT WE ARE VERY, VERY SERIOUS ABOUT BRINGING IT FORWARD. AND IT'S GOING TO BE A POOL OF CAPITAL AVAILABLE. WHETHER IT'S THE WAY THAT SENATOR CARDIN HAS ENVISIONED IT, WHICH IS DIRECT LOANS FROM THE S.B.A. OR WHETHER IT'S THE WAY THAT SENATORS LEVIN AND SENATOR WARNER HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT, AN IDEA TO PROVIDE A GUARANTEEED LOAN POOLS TO LEVERAGE PRIVATE CAPITAL IN THE COUNTRY, OR WHETHER IT'S SOMETHING THAT BILL CLINTON SPOKE WITH US ABOUT YESTERDAY, WHICH IS CREATING A DYNAMIC NEW OPPORTUNITY TO RETRO FIT PUBLIC BUILDINGS IN AMERICA AND PUT PEOPLE TO WORK AND USE THE SAVINGS AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY TO PAY BACK THE LOANS SO THERE'S NO NEW TAXPAYER MONEY SPENT. BUT IT'S LEVERAGING THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO DO TWO GREAT THINGS: PROVIDE JOBS IMMEDIATELY AND MAKE MORE EFFICIENT EVERY PUBLIC BUILDING IN AMERICA. THERE'S MORE THAT WE CAN DO. SO AS THE CHAIRMAN, LET ME BE VERY CLEAR, I'M VERY PROUD OF THIS PACKAGE. IT'S FIVE BILLS. IT PASSED OUR COMMITTEE ALMOST UNANIMOUSLY. AND I WANT TO SAY THAT I HOPE THAT AS WE MOVE THIS PACKAGE TO THE FLOOR, WE WILL GET THE SAME COOPERATION FROM REPUBLICAN MEMBERS THAT ARE ON THIS FLOOR FROM THE REPUBLICAN MEMBERS THAT ARE ON OUR COMMITTEE. WE HAVE BEEN VERY OPEN, VERY SINCERE IN OUR EFFORTS TO PULL THIS PACKAGE TOGETHER. AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK IN THAT GOOD SPIRIT. I HOPE WE ARE MET WITH THAT SAME FEELING. AND TWO MORE THINGS BRIEFLY, I'M PROBABLY NOT GOING TO PUSH TO PUT IN THIS BILL A REFORM PIECE ON CREDIT CARDS TO SMALL BUSINESSES BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE JURISDICTION OF OUR COMMITTEE. PRIMARILY IT'S THE JURISDICTION OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE. BUT I WANT THIS SENATE TO KNOW, I'M ON RECORD TODAY WHEN SENATOR CARDIN SAYS -- AND HE'S CORRECT -- HOW IN THE WORLD ARE SMALL BUSINESSES IN AMERICA GOING TO KEEP IN BUSINESS IF THEY HAVE TO PAY 15% AND 20% INTEREST RATES? COULD ANYBODY TELL ME THIS? IS THERE ANY SMALL BUSINESS IN AMERICA THAT THINKS THEY CAN MAKE MONEY, HIRE PEOPLE AND PAY 20% INTEREST RATES? IT IS A SHAME. IT IS WRONG. AND WE'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT CARD RATES. AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY. BECAUSE IN THE OLD DAYS NOT TOO LONG AGO, WHEN THE HOUSING MARKET WAS STRONG -- WHICH IT IS NOT TODAY -- AMERICANS WHO BELIEVE IN THE AMERICAN DREAM BECAUSE WE TELL THEM ABOUT IT WHEN THEY'RE FOUR YEARS OLD, AND THEY ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT WHEN THEY GROW UP, THEIR HOUSE HAD $200,000 AND $300,000 AND $400,000 OR $50,000 IN EQUITY. SO WHEN THEY WANTED TO START A BUSINESS, THEY WENT TO THEIR BANKER AND THE BANKER SAID HOW MUCH EQUITY DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOUSE AND THEY SAID $50,000? THEY WROTE THEY CAN A CHECK. THEY TOOK THE MONEY, BOUGHT A STOVE AND STARTED A SMALL BUSINESS, MAYBE SCRAMBLED A LITTLE EGGS AND HAM. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER WITH. THERE IS NO EQUITY IN THEIR HOMES ANYMORE. AND THEN WHEN THEY GO TO THEIR BANK, THEY DON'T SEE A SIGN THAT SAYS "WELCOME." I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT COMMUNITY BANKS. I'M TALKING ABOUT THESE BIG BANKS THAT GOT ALL THE MONEY FROM US. THEY SEE A SIGN "COME BACK NEXT YEAR WHEN THINGS ARE BETTER." THEY HAVE TO THEN DIG IN THEIR POCKET AND PULL OUT THEIR CREDIT CARD. WE'VE DONE THEM A GREAT FAVOR; WE ALLOW THE COMPANIES TO CHARGE THEM NOT 3%, NOT 6%, NOT 10%. BUT 20 NOW I CAN'T PUT THAT BILL IN THIS PACKAGE, BUT I PROMISE YOU IT'S COMING. WE CANNOT ASK SMALL BUSINESS TO PAY 20% ON THEIR LOANS. YES, WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM TAX RELIEF. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT THEY NEED RIGHT NOW? THEY NEED BORROWING RELIEF. SO, I'M GOING TO CONCLUDE WITH THAT. IT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD PACKAGE, AND WE'RE GOING TO BE VERY SMART ABOUT HOW WE PUT IT FORWARD. AND I KNOW WE HAVE TO TAKE THE TOUGH THINGS MAYBE SEPARATELY. BUT I AM ON RECORD, AND WE'RE GOING TO FIGHT FOR IT UNTIL WE GET IT DONE. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. THANK YOU. A SENATOR:

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  • 11:27:38 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:27:41 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ADDRESS THE SENATE AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 11:27:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:27:48 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    I GET INTO THE MAIN TOPIC, I OBVIOUSLY APPRECIATE THE PASSION OF THE…

    I GET INTO THE MAIN TOPIC, I OBVIOUSLY APPRECIATE THE PASSION OF THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA. IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT SHE AND THE MAJORITY, THE OTHER SIDE, REFUSE TO VOTE FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE COULD HAVE DONE IMMEDIATELY FOR SMALL BUSINESS, AND THAT'S GIVE THEM PAYROLL TAX RELIEF AND TAKE THE MONEY OUT OF THE STIMULUS PACKAGE, WHICH SO MUCH OF WHICH IS BEING WASTED ON ISSUES SUCH AS DAVIS-BACON AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS. WE OUGHT TO GIVE SMALL BUSINESSES PAYROLL TAX RELIEF IMMEDIATELY. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I'D LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT THE ONGOING CAUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA. THESE ARE NOT ISSUES THAT WE HEAR MUCH ABOUT FROM THE CURRENT RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT, UNFORTUNATELY, UNLESS IT IS TO DENOUNCE THOSE RUSSIAN CITIZENS WHO ASPIRE TO THESE UNIVERSAL VALUES. I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY THE OTHER WEEK TO MEET WITH ONE OF THESE BRAVE RUSSIAN CHAMPIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, HUMAN DIGNITY AND FREEDOM, A MAN BY THE NAME OF BORIS NETZOFF. I KNOW THAT SEVERAL OTHER PEOPLE AND OTHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS HAD A SIMILAR OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH HIM. MR. NEMSOF IS BUT ONE OF THE MANY RUSSIANS WHO BELIEVES THEIR COUNTRY DESERVES A GOVERNMENT THAT ENHANCES THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ITS PEOPLE AND A RULE OF LAW THAT ALLOWS CITIZENS TO HOLD THEIR LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE THROUGH A REAL DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 20, MANY RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ARE PLANNING PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS ALL ACROSS THEIR GREAT COUNTRY. I MIGHT ADD, AT GREAT RISK, SINCE THERE'S VERY LITTLE DOUBT THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT MAY EVEN -- WILL FORCIBLY REPRESS SOME OF THESE PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS WHICH WILL BE PEACEFUL. I ASKED MR. NEMSOFF WHAT WE IN WASHINGTON COULD DO TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIA, AND HE SIMPLY SAID "SPEAK UP FOR IT AND SPEAK UP FOR US. " IT IS MY PLEASURE TO DO THAT TODAY. NOW THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE WHATEVER I SAY HERE AND SIMILAR THINGS SAID BY OTHERS AND TRY TO PAINT RUSSIA'S CHAMPION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY AS PUPPETS AND PROXIES OF THE UNITED STATES. OF COURSE THEY WOULD SAY AND DO THE EXACT SAME THING, EVEN IF NO AMERICAN SPOKE UP FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF RUSSIA'S CITIZENS. SO WE SHOULD REFRAIN FROM INTERNALIZING THE KREMLIN'S TALKING POINTS ESPECIALLY WHEN RUSSIANS THEMSELVES ARE REQUESTING OUR MORAL SUPPORT FOR THEIR CAUSE. BECAUSE THE FACT IS THIS ISN'T ABOUT PARTICULAR INDIVIDUALS OR PARTICULAR DEMONSTRATIONS HELD THIS WEEK OR ANY WEEK IN RUSSIA. THIS IS ABOUT UNIVERSAL VALUES. VALUES THAT WE IN THE UNITED STATES EMBODY BUT DO NOT OWN, VALUES THAT SHOULD SHAPE THE CONDUCT OF EVERY GOVERNMENT, BE IT OURS OR RUSSIA'S OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY'S. AND WHEN WE SEE CITIZENS OF CONVICTION SEEKING TO HOLD THEIR GOVERNMENTS TO THE HIGHER STANDARD OF HUMAN RIGHTS, WE SHOULD SPEAK UP FOR THEM. THIS IS ALL THE MORE NECESSARY WHEN WE REALIZE THE OBSTACLES THOSE CITIZENS FACE, ESPECIALLY IN RUSSIA. I'D LIKE TO READ A PASSAGE FROM THE 2009 COUNTRY REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES WHICH WAS RECENTLY RELEASED BY OUR STATE DEPARTMENT. HERE'S HOW THEY DESCRIBED THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN RUSSIA, AND I QUOTE -- "DIRECT AND INDIRECT GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN LOCAL AND REGIONAL ELECTIONS RESTRICTED THE ABILITY OF CITIZENS TO CHANGE THEIR GOVERNMENT THROUGH FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS." QUOTE -- "DURING THE YEAR, THERE WERE A NUMBER OF HIGH-PROFILE KILLINGS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS BY UNKNOWN PERSONS, APPARENTLY FOR REASONS RELATED TO THEIR PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES. THERE WERE NUMEROUS REPORTS THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL ENGAGED IN PHYSICAL ABUSE OF SUBJECTS, PRISON CONDITIONS WERE HARSH AND COULD BE LIFE-THREATENING. A JOURNALIST, MANY OF WHOM -- EIGHT JOURNALISTS, MANY OF WHOM REPORTED CRITICALLY ON THE GOVERNMENT, WERE KILLED DURING THE YEAR. WITH ONE EXCEPTION, THE GOVERNMENT FAILED TO IDENTIFY OR ARREST OR PROSECUTE ANY SUBJECTS. BEATING AND INTIMIDATION OF JOURNALISTS REMAIN A PROBLEM. THE GOVERNMENT'S LIMITED FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND POLICE SOMETIMES USED VIOLENCE TO PREVENT GROUPS FROM ENGAGING IN PEACEFUL UNREST. IT WILL BE VERY INTERESTING TO SEE HOW THE POLICE AND THE GOVERNMENT TREAT THESE DEMONSTRATIONS THAT WILL TAKE PLACE ACROSS RUSSIA ON MARCH 20. THESE CONDITIONS WOULD BE INTOLERABLE IN ANY COUNTRY, AND THIS CONDUCT WOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE FOR ANY GOVERNMENT. CLEARLY, RUSSIA TODAY IS NOT THE SOVIET UNION, NEITHER IN ITS TREATMENT OF RUSSIA'S PEOPLE, NOR IN ITS FOREIGN POLICY, BUT I FEAR THAT MAY BE DAMNING WITH FEINT PRAISE, AND RUSSIANS THEMSELVES ARE RIGHT TO WANT TO HOLD THEIR COUNTRY AND THEIR GOVERNMENT UP TO HIGHER STANDARDS. RUSSIA'S A GREAT NATION. LIKE ALL AMERICANS OF GOODWILL, I WANT RUSSIA TO BE STRONG AND SUCCESSFUL. I WANT RUSSIA'S ECONOMY TO BE A VIBRANT SOURCE OF WEALTH AND OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL RUSSIANS. I WANT RUSSIA TO PLAY A PROUD AND RESPONSIBLE ROLE IN WORLD AFFAIRS, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO AFFIRM IN PUBLIC AND IN PRIVATE THAT THE BEST WAY FOR RUSSIANS TO SECURE THE THINGS THEY SAY THEY CARE ABOUT MOST, REDUCE CORRUPTION, -- REDUCE CORRUPTION, EQUITABLE MODERNIZATION IS BY NURTURING A PLURALISTIC AND FREE CIVIL SOCIETY BY BUILDING INDEPENDENT AND SUSTAINABLE INSTITUTIONS OF DEMOCRACY, AND BY RESPECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL. I WAS HAPPY TO SEE THAT RUSSIAN POLITICAL PARTIES NOT ALIGNED WITH THE KREMLIN ACTUALLY WON MORE SEATS IN REGIONAL PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS THIS WEEK. PERHAPS THIS SIGNALS A GROWING RECOGNITION AMONG RUSSIANS THAT THE AUTHORITARIAN TENDENCIES OF THE KREMLIN NEED TO BE ROLLED BACK FROM POPULAR OPPOSITION. PERHAPS THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT COULD ALLOW FUTURE ELECTIONS AT ALL LEVELS TO BE FREER AND FAIRER. PERHAPS. THERE IS STILL A LONG WAY TO GO FOR THE CAUSE OF DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA, AND I HOPE THESE SMALL ELECTORAL GAINS ONLY EMBOLDEN DEMOCRACY'S DEFENDERS. AS WE SPEAK UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF RUSSIA'S DISSIDENTS, WE MUST DO THE SAME FOR THE RIGHTS OF RUSSIA'S NEIGHBORS AS WELL. NEIGHBORS LIKE THE COUNTRY OF GEORGIA. I VISITED GEORGIA IN JANUARY, AND I HAD A CHANCE TO TRAVEL TO THE SO-CALLED ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARY LINE WITH THE BREAKAWAY REGION OF AKAZIA. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT BREAKAWAY LINE IS SOVEREIGN GEORGIAN TERRITORY OCCUPIED BY RUSSIAN TROOPS, AS IT HAS BEEN SINCE THE 2008 INVASION. WHEN I WAS IN MUNICH LAST MONTH FOR AN ANNUAL SECURITY CONFERENCE, I HEARD SEVERAL RUSSIAN OFFICIALS SPEAKING FROM THE SAME SCRIPT ALLEGING ACTS OF AGGRESSION BY GEORGIAN FORCES AGAINST RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS. THE SAME KIND OF RHETORIC WE HEARD BEFORE THE 2008 INVASION. THIS SHOULD GIVE US ALL PAUSE. I KNOW THAT WASHINGTON HAS A LOT OF FOREIGN POLICY CHALLENGES AT THE MOMENT, BUT WE CANNOT FORGET GEORGIA AND THE SUPPORT IT DESERVES AMID A CONTINUING THREAT FROM ITS NEIGHBOR TO THE NORTH. A RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT THAT BETTER PROTECTS THE HUMAN DIGNITY OF ITS PEOPLE WOULD BE MORE INCLINED TO DEAL WITH ITS NEIGHBORS IN PEACE AND MUTUAL RESPECT, AND THAT'S WHY WE SHOULD ALL SAY A SILENT PRAYER AND A PUBLIC WORD OF SUPPORT FOR RUSSIA'S COURAGEOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS AS THEY MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD THIS SATURDAY. THESE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WANT THE BEST FOR THEIR COUNTRY. THEY WANT A GOVERNMENT THAT IS NOT ONLY STRONG BUT JUST, PEACEFUL, INCLUSIVE AND DEMOCRATIC. I URGE RUSSIA'S LEADERS TO RECOGNIZE THAT PEACEFUL CHAMPIONS OF UNIVERSAL VALUES ARE NOT A THREAT TO RUSSIA AND THAT GROUPS LIKE THIS SHOULD NOT FACE THE KINDS OF VIOLENCE, OPPRESSION, AND INTIMIDATION THAT RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES HAVE USED AGAINST SIMILAR DEMONSTRATORS IN THE PAST. THE EYES OF THE WORLD WILL BE WATCHING. MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:36:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:36:45 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:25:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WETION VIRGINIA IS -- FROM WEST VIRGINIA IS…

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WETION VIRGINIA IS -- FROM WEST VIRGINIA IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 12:25:17 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:25:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:25:23 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    I HAVE 10 UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THESE…

    I HAVE 10 UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THESE REQUESTS BE AGREED TO AND THESE REQUESTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 12:25:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 12:25:32 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE ADOPTION…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE ADOPTION OF AMENDMENT NUMBER 3467 THAT IT BE MODIFIED WITH THE CHANGES AT THE DESK.

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  • 12:25:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:25:45 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE MAJORITY LEADER, BE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE MAJORITY LEADER, BE AUTHORIZED TO SIGN ANY DULY OFF ENROLLED BILLS OR JOINT RESOLUTIONS TODAY, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17th, AND THURSDAY, MARCH 18th.

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  • 12:26:02 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    I NOW ASK THAT THE SENATE STAND IN RECESS UNTIL 2:00 P.M.

  • 12:26:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE SENATE IS

  • 02:09:47 PM

    MR. REID

    PRESIDENT? THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: A QUORUM IS PRESENT. THE…

    PRESIDENT? THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: A QUORUM IS PRESENT. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 02:10:07 PM

    MR. REID

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 02:10:50 PM

    MR. REID

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 02:13:21 PM

    MR. SCHIFF

    THE MANAGERS ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE HERE PRESENT…

    THE MANAGERS ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE HERE PRESENT AND READY TO PRESENT THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT WHICH HAVE BEEN PREFERRED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AGAINST G. THOMAS PORTEOUS JR., JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA. THE HOUSE ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION, WHICH, WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, I WILL READ. H. RES. 1165, IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, U.S, MARCH 11, 2010. RESOLVED, THAT MR. SCHIFF, MS. ZOE LOFGREN OF CALIFORNIA, MR. JOHNSON OF GEORGIA, MR. GOODLATTE, AND MR. SENSENBRENNER ARE APPOINTED MANAGERS ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE TO CONDUCT THE TRIAL OF THE IMPEACHMENT OF G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., A JUDGE FOR THE UNITED STATE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, THAT A MESSAGE BE SENT TO THE SENATE TO INFORM THE SENATE OF THESE APPOINTMENTS, AND THAT THE MANAGERS ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE MAY EXHIBIT THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT TO THE SENATE AND TAKE ALL OTHER ACTIONS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH PREPARATION FOR, AND CONDUCT OF, THE TRIAL, WHICH MAY INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: (1) EMPLOYING LEGAL, CLERICAL, AND OTHER NECESSARY ASSISTANTS AND INCURRING SUCH OTHER EXPENSES AS MAY BE NECESSARY, TO BE PAID FROM AMOUNTS AVAILABLE TO THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY UNDER HOUSE RESOLUTION 15, 111th CONGRESS, AGREED TO JANUARY 13, 2009, OR ANY OTHER APPLICABLE EXPENSE RESOLUTION ON VOUCHERS APPROVED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY. (2) SENDING FOR PERSONS AND PAPERS, AND FILING WITH THE SECRETARY OF THE SENATE, ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ANY SUBSEQUENT PLEADINGS WHICH THEY CONSIDER NECESSARY. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, I WILL NOW READ THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT. H. RES. 1031, IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, U.S., MARCH 11, 2010. IMPEACHING G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. RESOLVED, THAT G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., A JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, IS IMPEACHED FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, AND THAT THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT BE EXHIBITED TO THE SENATE: ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT EXHIBITED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN THE NAME OF ITSELF AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AGAINST G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., A JUDGE IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, IN MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF ITS IMPEACHMENT AGAINST HIM FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. ARTICLE I. G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., WHILE A FEDERAL JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, ENGAGED IN A PATTERN OF CONDUCT THAT IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE PLACED IN HIM AS A FEDERAL JUDGE, AS FOLLOWS: JUDGE PORTEOUS, WHILE PRESIDING AS A UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE IN LIFEMARK HOSPITALS OF LOUISIANA, INC. v. LILJEBERG ENTERPRISES, DENIED A MOTION TO RECUSE HIMSELF FROM THE CASE, DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE HAD A CORRUPT FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LAW FIRM OF AMATO & CREELY, P.C. WHICH HAD ENTERED THE CASE TO REPRESENT LILJEBERG. IN DENYING THE MOTION TO RECUSE, AND IN CONTRAVENTION OF CLEAR CANONS OF JUDICIAL ETHICS, JUDGE PORTEOUS FAILED TO DISCLOSE THAT BEGINNING IN OR ABOUT THE LATE 1980s WHILE HE WAS A STATE COURT JUDGE IN THE 24th JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT IN THE STATE OF LOUISIANA, HE ENGAGED IN A CORRUPT SCHEME WITH ATTORNEYS, JACOB AMATO, JR., AND ROBERT CREELY, WHEREBY JUDGE PORTEOUS APPOINTED AMATO'S LAW PARTNER AS A "CURATOR" IN HUNDREDS OF CASES AND THEREAFTER REQUESTED AND ACCEPTED FROM AMATO & CREELY A PORTION OF THE CURATORSHIP FEES WHICH HAD BEEN PAID TO THE FIRM. DURING THE PERIOD OF THIS SCHEME, THE FEES RECEIVED BY AMATO & CREELY AMOUNTED TO APPROXIMATELY $40,000, AND THE AMOUNTS PAID BY AMATO & CREELY TO JUDGE PORTEOUS AMOUNTED TO APPROXIMATELY $20,000. JUDGE PORTEOUS ALSO MADE INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING STATEMENTS AT THE RECUSAL HEARING INTENDED TO MINIMIZE THE EXTENT OF HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TWO ATTORNEYS. IN SO DOING, AND IN FAILING TO DISCLOSE TO LIFEMARK AND ITS COUNSEL THE TRUE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AMATO & CREELY LAW FIRM, JUDGE PORTEOUS DEPRIVED THE FIFTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS OF CRITICAL INFORMATION FOR ITS REVIEW OF A PETITION FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS, WHICH SOUGHT TO OVERRULE JUDGE PORTEOUS'S DENIAL OF THE RECUSAL MOTION. HIS CONDUCT DEPRIVED THE PARTIES AND THE PUBLIC OF THE RIGHT TO THE HONEST SERVICES OF HIS OFFICE. JUDGE PORTEOUS ALSO ENGAGED IN CORRUPT CONDUCT AFTER THE LIFEMARK v. LILJEBERG BENCH TRIAL, AND WHILE HE HAD THE CASE UNDER ADVISEMENT, IN THAT HE SOLICITED AND ACCEPTED THINGS OF VALUE FROM BOTH AMATO AND HIS LAW PARTNER CREELY, INCLUDING A PAYMENT OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN CASH. THEREAFTER, AND WITHOUT DISCLOSING HIS CORRUPT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ATTORNEYS OF AMATO & CREELY PLC OR HIS RECEIPT FROM THEM OF CASH AND OTHER THINGS OF VALUE, JUDGE PORTEOUS RULED IN FAVOR OF THEIR CLIENT, LILJEBERG. BY VIRTUE OF THIS CORRUPT RELATIONSHIP AND HIS CONDUCT AS A FEDERAL JUDGE, JUDGE PORTEOUS BROUGHT HIS COURT INTO SCANDAL AND DISREPUTE, PREJUDICED PUBLIC RESPECT FOR, AND CONFIDENCE IN, THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY, AND DEMONSTRATED THAT HE IS UNFIT FOR THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL JUDGE. WHEREFORE, JUDGE G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., IS GUILTY OF HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS AND SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE. ARTICLE II. G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., ENGAGED IN A LONGSTANDING PATTERN OF CORRUPT CONDUCT THAT DEMONSTRATES HIS UNFITNESS TO SERVE AS A UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE. THAT CONDUCT INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING: BEGINNING IN OR ABOUT THE LATE 1980s WHILE HE WAS A STATE COURT JUDGE IN THE 24th JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT IN THE STATE OF LOUISIANA, AND CONTINUING WHILE HE WAS A FEDERAL JUDGE IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, JUDGE PORTEOUS ENGAGED IN A CORRUPT RELATIONSHIP WITH BAIL BONDSMAN LOUIS M. MARCOTTE, III, AND HIS SISTER LORI MARCOTTE. AS PART OF THIS CORRUPT RELATIONSHIP, JUDGE PORTEOUS SOLICITED AND ACCEPTED NUMEROUS THINGS OF VALUE, INCLUDING MEALS, TRIPS, HOME REPAIRS, AND CAR REPAIRS, FOR HIS PERSONAL USE AND BENEFIT, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME TAKING OFFICIAL ACTIONS THAT BENEFITTED THE MARCOTTES. THESE OFFICIAL ACTIONS BY JUDGE PORTEOUS INCLUDED, WHILE ON THE STATE BENCH, SETTING, REDUCING, AND SPLITTING BONDS AS REQUESTED BY THE MARCOTTES, AND IMPROPERLY SETTING ASIDE OR EXPUNGING FELONY CONVICTIONS FOR TWO MARCOTTE EMPLOYEES (IN ONE CASE AFTER JUDGE PORTEOUS HAD BEEN CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE BUT BEFORE BEING SWORN IN AS A FEDERAL JUDGE). IN ADDITION, BOTH WHILE ON THE STATE BENCH AND ON THE FEDERAL BENCH, JUDGE PORTEOUS USED THE POWER AND PRESTIGE OF HIS OFFICE TO ASSIST THE MARCOTTES IN FORMING RELATIONSHIPS WITH STATE JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND INDIVIDUALS IMPORTANT TO THE MARCOTTES' BUSINESS. AS JUDGE PORTEOUS WELL KNEW AND UNDERSTOOD, LOUIS MARCOTTE ALSO MADE FALSE STATEMENTS TO THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION IN AN EFFORT TO ASSIST JUDGE PORTEOUS IN BEING APPOINTED TO THE FEDERAL BENCH. ACCORDINGLY, JUDGE G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., HAS ENGAGED IN CONDUCT SO UTTERLY LACKING IN HONESTY AND INTEGRITY THAT HE IS GUILTY OF HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, IS UNFIT TO HOLD THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL JUDGE, AND SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE. ARTICLE III. BEGINNING IN OR ABOUT MARCH 2001 AND CONTINUING THROUGH ABOUT JULY 2004, WHILE A FEDERAL JUDGE IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., ENGAGED IN A PATTERN OF CONDUCT INCONSISTENT WITH THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE PLACED IN HIM AS A FEDERAL JUDGE BY KNOWINGLY AND INTENTIONALLY MAKING MATERIAL FALSE STATEMENTS AND REPRESENTATIONS UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY RELATED TO HIS PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY FILING AND BY REPEATEDLY VIOLATING A COURT ORDER IN HIS BANKRUPTCY CASE. JUDGE PORTEOUS DID SO BY -- (1) USING A FALSE NAME AND A POST OFFICE BOX ADDRESS TO CONCEAL HIS IDENTITY AS THE DEBTOR IN THE CASE; (2) CONCEALING ASSETS; (3) CONCEALING PREFERENTIAL PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN CREDITORS; (4) CONCEALING GAMBLING LOSSES AND OTHER GAMBLING DEBTS; AND (5) INCURRING NEW DEBTS WHILE THE CASE WAS PENDING, IN VIOLATION OF THE BANKRUPTCY COURT'S ORDER. IN DOING SO, JUDGE PORTEOUS BROUGHT HIS COURT INTO SCANDAL AND DISREPUTE, PREJUDICED PUBLIC RESPECT FOR AND CONFIDENCE IN THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY, AND DEMONSTRATED THAT HE IS UNFIT FOR THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL JUDGE. WHEREFORE, JUDGE G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., IS GUILTY OF HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS AND SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE. ARTICLE IV. IN 1994, IN CONNECTION WITH HIS NOMINATION TO BE A JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., KNOWINGLY MADE MATERIAL FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT HIS PAST TO BOTH THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND TO THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION IN ORDER TO OBTAIN THE OFFICE OF UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE. THESE FALSE STATEMENTS INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING: (1) ON HIS SUPPLEMENTAL SF-86, JUDGE PORTEOUS WAS ASKED IF THERE WAS ANYTHING IN HIS PERSONAL LIFE THAT COULD BE USED BY SOMEONE TO COERCE OR BLACKMAIL HIM, OR IF THERE WAS ANYTHING IN HIS LIFE THAT COULD CAUSE AN EMBARRASSMENT TO JUDGE PORTEOUS OR THE PRESIDENT IF PUBLICLY KNOWN. JUDGE PORTEOUS ANSWERED "NO" TO THIS QUESTION AND SIGNED THE FORM UNDER THE WARNING THAT A FALSE STATEMENT WAS PUNISHABLE BY LAW. (2) DURING HIS BACKGROUND CHECK, JUDGE PORTEOUS FALSELY TOLD THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ON TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS THAT HE WAS NOT CONCEALING ANY ACTIVITY OR CONDUCT THAT COULD BE USED TO INFLUENCE, PRESSURE, COERCE, OR COMPROMISE HIM IN ANY WAY OR THAT WOULD IMPACT NEGATIVELY ON HIS CHARACTER, REPUTATION, JUDGMENT, OR DISCRETION. (3) ON THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE'S "QUESTIONNAIRE FOR JUDICIAL NOMINEES," JUDGE PORTEOUS WAS ASKED WHETHER ANY UNFAVORABLE INFORMATION EXISTED THAT COULD AFFECT HIS NOMINATION. JUDGE PORTEOUS ANSWERED THAT, TO THE BEST OF HIS KNOWLEDGE, HE DID "NOT KNOW OF ANY UNFAVORABLE INFORMATION THAT MAY AFFECT [HIS] NOMINATION." JUDGE PORTEOUS SIGNED THAT QUESTIONNAIRE BY SWEARING THAT "THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS STATEMENT IS, TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, TRUE AND ACCURATE." HOWEVER, IN TRUTH AND IN FACT, AS JUDGE PORTEOUS THEN WELL KNEW, EACH OF THESE ANSWERS WAS MATERIALLY FALSE BECAUSE JUDGE PORTEOUS HAD ENGAGED IN A CORRUPT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LAW FIRM AMATO & CREELY, WHEREBY JUDGE PORTEOUS APPOINTED CREELY AS A "CURATOR" IN HUNDREDS OF CASES AND THEREAFTER REQUESTED AND ACCEPTED FROM AMATO & CREELY A PORTION OF THE CURATORSHIP FEES WHICH HAD BEEN PAID TO THE FIRM AND ALSO HAD ENGAGED IN A CORRUPT RELATIONSHIP WITH LOUIS AND LORI MARCOTTE, WHEREBY JUDGE PORTEOUS SOLICITED AND ACCEPTED NUMEROUS THINGS OF VALUE, INCLUDING MEALS, TRIPS, HOME REPAIRS, AND CAR REPAIRS, FOR HIS PERSONAL USE AND BENEFIT, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME TAKING OFFICIAL ACTIONS THAT BENEFITTED THE MARCOTTES. AS JUDGE PORTEOUS WELL KNEW AND UNDERSTOOD, LOUIS MARCOTTE ALSO MADE FALSE STATEMENTS TO THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION IN AN EFFORT TO ASSIST JUDGE PORTEOUS IN BEING APPOINTED TO THE FEDERAL BENCH. JUDGE PORTEOUS'S FAILURE TO DISCLOSE THESE CORRUPT RELATIONSHIPS DEPRIVED THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND THE PUBLIC OF INFORMATION THAT WOULD HAVE HAD A MATERIAL IMPACT ON HIS CONFIRMATION. WHEREFORE, JUDGE G. THOMAS PORTEOUS, JR., IS GUILTY OF HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS AND SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. MR. PRESIDENT, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, BY PROTESTATION, SAVING TO THEMSELVES THE LIBERTY OF EXHIBITING AT ANY TIME HEREAFTER ANY FURTHER ARTICLES OF ACCUSATION OR IMPEACHMENT AGAINST THE SAID G. THOMAS PORTEOUS JR., JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, AND ALSO OF REPLYING TO HIS ANSWERS WHICH HE SHALL MAKE UNTO THE ARTICLES PREFERRED AGAINST HIM, AND OF OFFERING PROOF TO THE SAME AND EVERY PART THEREOF, AND TO ALL AND EVERY OTHER ARTICLE OF ACCUSATION OR IMPEACHMENT WHICH SHALL BE EXHIBITED BY THEM AS THE CASE SHALL REQUIRE, DO DEMAND THAT THE SAID G. THOMAS PORTEOUS JR., MAY BE PUT TO ANSWER THE MISDEMEANORS IN OFFICE WHICH HAVE BEEN CHARGED AGAINST HIM IN THE ARTICLES WHICH HAVE BEEN EXHIBITED TO THE SENATE, AND THAT SUCH PROCEEDINGS, EXAMINATIONS, TRIALS, AND JUDGMENTS MAY BE THEREUPON HAD AND GIVEN AS MAY BE AGREEABLE TO LAW AND JUSTICE. MR. PRESIDENT, THE MANAGERS ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, BY THE ADOPTION OF THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT WHICH HAVE JUST BEEN READ TO THE SENATE, DO NOW DEMAND THAT THE SENATE TAKE ORDER FOR THE APPEARANCE OF THE SAID G. THOMAS PORTEOUS JR., TO ANSWER SAID IMPEACHMENT AND DO NOW DEMAND HIS CONVICTION AND APPROPRIATE JUDGMENT THEREON. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: THE MAJORITY LEADER.

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  • 02:25:52 PM

    MR. REID

    MR. PRESIDENT, AT THIS TIME, THE OATH SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED IN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, AT THIS TIME, THE OATH SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED IN CONFORMANCE WITH ARTICLE 1, SECTION 3, CLAUSE 6, OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE SENATE'S IMPEACHMENT RULES. I MOVE THAT THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY, MR. McCONNELL, BE DESIGNATED BY THE SENATE TO ADMINISTER THE OATH TO THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE, THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII, MR. INOUYE. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

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  • 02:26:26 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT IN ALL THINGS APPERTAINING TO THE TRIAL OF THE…

    YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT IN ALL THINGS APPERTAINING TO THE TRIAL OF THE IMPEACHMENT OF G. THOMAS PORTEOUS JR., JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, NOW PENDING, YOU WILL DO IMPARTIAL JUSTICE ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS, SO HELP YOU GOD?

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  • 02:26:44 PM

    MR. REID

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED. SENATORS SHALL NOW BE SWORN. WILL…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED. SENATORS SHALL NOW BE SWORN. WILL SENATORS RISE AND RAISE YOUR HAND. DO YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT IN ALL THINGS APPERTAINING TO THE TRIAL OF THE IMPEACHMENT OF G. THOMAS PORTEOUS JR., JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, NOW PENDING, YOU WILL DO IMPARTIAL JUSTICE ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS, SO HELP YOU GOD? SENATORS: I DO.

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  • 02:27:35 PM

    MR. REID

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE RESOLUTION.

  • 02:28:27 PM

    THE CLERK

    THE QUESTION IS ON AGREEING TO THE RESOLUTION. THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE.…

    THE QUESTION IS ON AGREEING TO THE RESOLUTION. THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED, NAY.

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  • 02:28:53 PM

    MR. REID

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO RECONSIDER THE VOTE BY WHICH THE RESOLUTION WAS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO RECONSIDER THE VOTE BY WHICH THE RESOLUTION WAS AGREED TO.

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  • 02:28:56 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO LAY THAT MOTION ON THE TABLE. THE ACTING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO LAY THAT MOTION ON THE TABLE. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: THE MAJORITY LEADER, THE RESOLUTION IS AGREED TO.

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  • 02:29:07 PM

    MR. REID

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE RESOLUTION.

  • 02:29:24 PM

    THE CLERK

    THE QUESTION IS ON AGREEING TO THE RESOLUTION. ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE.…

    THE QUESTION IS ON AGREEING TO THE RESOLUTION. ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. THE AYES HAVE IT.

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  • 02:29:45 PM

    MR. REID

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO RECONSIDER THE VOTE BY WHICH THE RESOLUTION WAS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO RECONSIDER THE VOTE BY WHICH THE RESOLUTION WAS AGREED TO.

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  • 02:29:48 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO LAY THAT MOTION ON THE TABLE. THE ACTING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MOVE TO LAY THAT MOTION ON THE TABLE. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

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  • 02:29:52 PM

    MR. REID

    MR. PRESIDENT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RESOLUTION ON THE APPOINTMENT OF AN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RESOLUTION ON THE APPOINTMENT OF AN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL COMMITTEE, I RECOMMEND TO THE CHAIR THE APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS McCASKILL, CHAIRMAN; KLOBUCHAR; WHITEHOUSE; UDALL OF NEW MEXICO; SHAHEEN; AND KAUFMAN. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: THE REPUBLICAN LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 02:30:06 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RESOLUTION ON THE APPOINTMENT OF AN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RESOLUTION ON THE APPOINTMENT OF AN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL COMMITTEE, I RECOMMEND TO THE CHAIR THE APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS HATCH, VICE CHAIRMAN; BARRASSO; DeMINT; JOHANNS; RISCH; AND WICKER. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: PURSUANT TO THE RESOLUTION ON THE APPOINTMENT OF AN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL COMMITTEE AND IMPEACHMENT RULE XI, THE CHAIR APPOINTS, UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE TWO LEADERS, THE FOLLOWING SENATORS TO BE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE TO RECEIVE AND REPORT EVIDENCE IN THE IMPEACHMENT OF JUDGE G. THOMAS PORTEOUS JR.: SENATORS McCASKILL, CHAIRMAN; KLOBUCHAR; WHITEHOUSE; UDALL OF NEW MEXICO; SHAHEEN; KAUFMAN; HATCH, VICE CHAIRMAN; BARRASSO; DeMINT; JOHANNS; RISCH; AND WICKER. THE SENATE WILL TAKE FURTHER PROPER ORDER AND NOTIFY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND COUNSEL FOR JUDGE PORTEOUS. HOUSE MANAGERS WILL NOW WITHDRAW FROM THE CHAMBER.

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  • 02:31:16 PM

    MR. REID

    THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: THE CLERK WILL…

    THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM. THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: MR.

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  • 02:31:35 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:46:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:46:51 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE VACATED.

  • 02:46:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE PENDING BUSINESS.

  • 02:46:58 PM

    THE CLERK

    NUMBER 36, H.R. 1586, AN ACT TO IMPOSE AN ADDITIONAL TAX ON BONUSES…

    NUMBER 36, H.R. 1586, AN ACT TO IMPOSE AN ADDITIONAL TAX ON BONUSES RECEIVED FROM CERTAIN TARP RECIPIENTS.

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  • 02:47:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:47:11 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    SENATOR ROCKEFELLER WILL BE BACK ON THE FLOOR SHORTLY. WE ARE ON THE…

    SENATOR ROCKEFELLER WILL BE BACK ON THE FLOOR SHORTLY. WE ARE ON THE F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION BILL. THAT'S WHAT THIS JUST MEANT. THIS IS THE FOURTH DAY HERE IN THE SENATE THAT WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO PASS THE F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION BILL. WE'VE ACCEPTED MANY AMENDMENTS. WE'VE HAD MANY AMENDMENTS OFFERED THAT HAVE NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THIS LEGISLATION. UNDERSTAND THAT. WE VOTED ON, I THINK, THREE OR FOUR OF THEM LAST NIGHT. BUT THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO GET SOMETHING THROUGH THE SENATE THESE DAYS IS SLOW AND DIFFICULT, A LITTLE LIKE WATCHING PAINT DRY TO SEE ACTIVITY ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. WE'RE TRYING VERY HARD TO DO THIS. AND THIS IS NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE A CONTROVERSIAL BILL. AND EVERY AMERICAN WHO GETS ON A COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE IN THIS COUNTRY HAS A STAKE IN THIS BILL. THIS BILL INCLUDES MODERNIZATION OF THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM, WHICH WILL ALLOW PEOPLE TO FLY IN THE SKIES MORE SAFELY, MORE DIRECT ROUTES, SAVE ENERGY, SAVE POLLUTION. SO, MODERNIZATION OF THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM TO GO FROM GROUND-BASED RADAR TO G.P.S. NAVIGATION SYSTEM. WE SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT A WHILE AGO. WE HAVE NOT. WE NEED TO CATCH UP WITH THE EUROPEANS AND OTHERS. SO WE NEED TO MOVE WITH SOME DISPATCH. THIS BILL, BY THE WAY, SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE LONG AGO, BUT HAS BEEN EXTENDED 11 TIMES.

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  • 02:48:34 PM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    WILL THE SENATOR YIELD FOR A QUESTION?

  • 02:48:39 PM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    ON THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE WITH SENATOR DORGAN. THANK YOU FOR YOUR…

    ON THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE WITH SENATOR DORGAN. THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP. DURING THE TIME WE WAITED AND DITHERED AND DIDN'T GET THIS DONE -- NOT YOU BUT OTHERS -- HAVEN'T OTHER COUNTRIES MODERNIZED THEIR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS?

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  • 02:48:54 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    OTHER COUNTRIES ARE MAKING GOOD PROGRESS. GOING TO A G.P.S. SYSTEM --…

    OTHER COUNTRIES ARE MAKING GOOD PROGRESS. GOING TO A G.P.S. SYSTEM -- G.P.S. IS NOT NEW TECHNOLOGY. AS MANY OF US KNOW, YOU SEE MANY VEHICLES, AUTOMOBILES AROUND TOWN USING A G.P.S. TO NAVIGATE. YOU'VE GOT PEOPLE USING G.P.S. ON THEIR CELL PHONES. BUT IN A JET AIRLINER FLYING ACROSS THE COUNTRY, HAULING A COUPLE HUNDRED PEOPLE, BEHIND THE COCKPIT, THEY'RE USING WORLD WAR II TECHNOLOGY, GROUND-BASED RADAR FOR NAVIGATION. NOT G.P.S., WHICH IS THE MODERNIZATION APPROACH. THIS IS CALLED NEXTGEN, MODERNIZING THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM. EUROPE IS MOVING ON IT. OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD ARE MOVING ON IT. AND WE IMMEDIATE TO MOVE. THIS IS ABOUT SAFETY. IT'S ABOUT MODERNIZING THE SYSTEM. BUT MORE THAN THAT, IT'S ABOUT INVESTING IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR AVIATION IN THE COUNTRY, BUILDING THE AIRPORTS AND THE RUNWAYS. IT'S ABOUT THE ISSUE OF PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS WHICH IS IN THIS BILL, SAYING TO THE AIRLINES HERE ARE THE NEW RULES. YOU CAN'T HAVE SOMEBODY AT AN AIRPLANE SIX OR SEVEN HOURS SITTING ON A RUNWAY SOMEPLACE. THREE HOURS, YOU GOT TO BRING THEM BACK TO THE GATE. I KNOW SOME DON'T LIKE THAT, BUT THAT'S THE PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS, GIVING PASSENGERS SOME RIGHTS AS WELL. I'VE SPOKEN AT LENGTH ABOUT THIS LEGISLATION, AS HAS SENATOR ROCKEFELLER. I GUESS OUR HOPE WOULD BE, THAT IF THERE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS AND WISH TO DEBATE THEM, THEY MIGHT COME TO THE FLOOR, ENGAGE IN A DISCUSSION ON THE FLOOR SO WE CAN GET THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION PASSED. IT MAKES NO SENSE FOR US TO CONTINUE TO TALK AND TO CONTINUE TO WAIT AND NOT PASS LEGISLATION WHEN WE HAVE SO MUCH AHEAD OF US TO DO. I WANT TO MENTION A COUPLE OF OTHER ISSUES THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS WHILE I'M WAITING. ONE IS THE KOBEL SETTLEMENT. IT HAS AN END DATE OF APRIL 16, AND IT NEEDS TO BE DONE. APRIL 16. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT THE KOBEL SETTLE IS. IT'S ABOUT AMERICAN INDIANS, THE PEOPLE WHO WERE HERE FIRST IN THIS COUNTRY, THE FIRST AMERICANS. THE AMERICAN INDIANS WERE GIVEN, CEDED CERTAIN PROPERTY AS A RESULT OF TREATIES AND SO ON. WHAT THEY HAVE DONE FOR THE LAST CENTURY IS THEY HAVE WATCHED THEIR PROPERTY, IN MANY CASES TIMBER COMPANIES CAME IN AND WOULD PRODUCE TIMBER FROM THAT PROPERTY. MINERAL COMPANIES WOULD COME IN AND PRODUCE MINERALS, DRILL FOR OIL ON THAT LAND. AND THE GOVERNMENT WAS HOLDING THAT IN TRUST FOR THE INDIANS. AND SO THEN THE INDIANS ASKED THE QUESTION: WHAT'S HAPPENED TO OUR MONEY? WE SEE THIS GOING ON, AND WE'RE SPOEFD TO -- SUPPOSED TO GET MONEY FROM THESE LANDS THAT WE OWN THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS HOLDING IN TRUST, BUT THE MONEY NEVER QUITE SHOWS UP. THE KOBEL SETTLEMENT IS NAMED AFTER A REMARKABLE WOMAN, ELOISE KOBEL FROM MONTANA. SHE IS AN AMERICAN INDIAN AND A BANKER. SHE FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND SHE ASKED FOR ONE THING. SHE SAID GIVE ME AN ACCOUNTING OF THE MONEYS THAT YOU COLLECTED FROM MY LANDS BECAUSE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, YOU HELD THESE LANDS IN TRUST FOR ME. GIVE ME AN ACCOUNTING OF THE MONEY FROM MY LANDS, AND DO THE SAME FOR ALL OTHER NATIVE AMERICANS. WELL, THE FACT IS NOBODY KNEW HOW MUCH MONEY WAS OWED HER. AND WHEN THEY TAKE A LOOK AT THE RECORDS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD AND HELD FOR INDIAN PROPERTY AND INCOME, IT WAS SHAMEFUL. IT WAS SHAMEFUL. MARY FISH, AN OKLAHOMA INDIAN, LIVED ON HER LAND IN A VERY SMALL, HUMBLE HOUSE, AND SHE LIVED NEXT TO AN OIL PUMP THAT WAS CONSTANTLY PUMPING OIL OFF OF HER LAND. AND SHE RECEIVED JUST A PITTANCE OF MONEY FROM THAT OIL EVEN THOUGH THE WELL WAS GENERATING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN REVENUE EACH YEAR. WHERE DID THE MONEY GO? WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO ACCOUNT FOR THAT MONEY? WHY IS IT THAT MARY LIVED SUCH A HUMBLE BEGINNING IN A VERY SMALL -- VERY SMALL HOME WHEN NEXT DOOR ON HER LAND AN OIL WELL WAS PUMPING, AND THAT MONEY GOING THROUGH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SOMEHOW NEVER GOT TO MARY? WHEN THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED BY ELOISE KOBEL, WHAT HAPPENED WAS THE JUDGES IN THE FEDERAL COURT SAYS WHERE ARE THE RECORDS? AND HERE'S WHAT THEY FOUND. IT WAS PRETTY CLEAR THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COULDN'T PRODUCE RECORDS NECESSARY FOR AN ACCOUNTING. 162 BOXES OF CASE-RELATED DOCUMENTS WERE SHREDDED AFTER THE TRIAL BEGAN, A PROCEDURE THAT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LAWYERS WITHHELD FROM THE COURT FOR THREE MONTHS. OTHER RECORDS WERE IN LOUISIANA IN A RAT-INFESTED WAREHOUSE. NEW MEXICO, THE SAME. AND I HAVE PHOTOGRAPHS OF WHAT THEY SAW WHEN THEY OPENED UP WHERE HOUSES IN NORTH DAKOTA WITH WHAT WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN RECORDS OF THESE -- THE KIND OF INFORMATION THAT WAS GOING TO TELL AMERICAN INDIANS HOW THEIR TRUST LANDS WERE USED. IT'S UNBELIEVABLE. SO THERE HAS BEEN A SETTLEMENT OF $3.4 BILLION BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IN THE KOBEL CASE WITH AN APRIL 16 DEADLINE FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO MAKE GOOD ON ITS SETTLEMENT. I MENTIONED THIS ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE BEFORE. THIS CONGRESS HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROCEED BY THE APRIL 16 DEADLINE. SO DOES THIS PRESIDENT. THE PRESIDENT, THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR, WHO I COMMEND, BY THE WAY, WHO NEGOTIATED THIS SETTLEMENT, WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY NOW TO GET THIS DONE. I WANT THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE APRIL 16 DEADLINE. I ALSO WANT TO -- ON ANOTHER POINT WHICH WE'LL GET TO IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME ON APPROPRIATIONS -- MENTION THAT THOSE AMERICANS WHO HAVE FILED DISABILITY CLAIMS UNDER SOCIAL SECURITY AND ARE NOW WAITING OVER A YEAR AND A HALF TO HAVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DETERMINE WHETHER THEIR CLAIMS ARE VALID, AWAITING 490 DAYS AFTER A CLAIM IS FILED -- PRETTY UNBELIEVABLE TO ME. THIS CONGRESS HAS INCLUDED ABOUT $2.5 BILLION -- THAT'S WITH A "B." $2.5 BILLION OF ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION IN THE LAST FOUR TO FIVE YEARS. AND THE EXPECTATION WAS THAT THE GIANT BACKLOG THAT EXISTED OF CASES, DISABILITY CLAIMS FILED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE PAID FOR THIS INSURANCE -- AMERICAN PEOPLE PAY FOR DISABILITY INSURANCE OUT OF THEIR PAYCHECK UNDER OASDI, AND NOW WHEN SOMEONE WHO IS DISABLED FILES A CLAIM IN THIS COUNTRY, ON AVERAGE IT TAKES 491 DAYS TO PROCESS IT. THAT AFTER WE'VE GIVEN $2.5 BILLION IN EXTRA INCREASED MONEY TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION. PRECIOUS LITTLE PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE. THEY SAY, WELL, IT USED TO BE 514 DAYS. NOW IT'S 491 DAYS. IT'S NOT MUCH PROGRESS AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED IF YOU'RE DISABLED AND YOU'RE EXPECTING TO FILE A CLAIM AND HAVE A CLAIM PROCESSED IN A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME. IN MY STATE, THERE'S 2,800 CLAIMS THAT ARE AWAITING ACTION. THE NUMBER OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES, WE'VE GOT TWO VACANCIES NOW OUT OF FIVE. ONE GAVE THEIR NOTICE ALMOST A YEAR AGO, ABOUT TEN MONTHS AGO, AND HAS NOT BEEN REPLACED. I MEAN, NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE TO ME. THE CONGRESS SHOULD EXPECT AN AGENCY LIKE THIS, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU GET $2.5 BILLION, TO UNDERSTAND WHY HASN'T PROGRESS BEEN MADE. I SENT A LETTER TO THE HEAD OF SOCIAL SECURITY ASKING WHAT HAPPENED TO THE $2.5 BILLION ON THE APPROPRIATIONS SIDE? I WANT SOME UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT MONEY AND WHY PROGRESS WASN'T MADE IN THESE DISABILITY CLAIMS THAT RESULTED FROM THE FUNDING GIVEN THE ADMINISTRATION BY THE CONGRESS. MR. PRESIDENT, AGAIN, WE'RE ON THE F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION BILL. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME WITHHOLD FOR THE MOMENT AND YIELD THE FLOOR SO THAT MY COLLEAGUE CAN TAKE THE FLOOR IN AN AGREEMENT.

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  • 02:57:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:57:35 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    AS IF IN EXECUTIVE SESSION, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT TODAY AT 3:00…

    AS IF IN EXECUTIVE SESSION, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT TODAY AT 3:00 P.M. THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TOR CONSIDER CALENDAR NUMBER 653, THE NOMINATION OF O. ROGERIEE THOMPSON TO BE A U.S. JUDGE FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT AND THERE BE DEBATE WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN SENATORS WHITEHOUSE AND SESSIONS OR THEIR DESIGNEES, WITH SENATOR REID OF -- SENATOR REED OF RHODE ISLAND CONTROLLING UP TO FIVE MINUTES. THAT AT 3:30 P.M. THE SENATE PROCEED TO VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF THE NOMINATION. THAT UPON CONFIRMATION THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE, ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE NOMINATION APPEAR AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE IN THE RECORD AS IF READ, THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION, AND THE SENATE THEN RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 02:58:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 02:58:31 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    I THANK THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FOR YIELDING FOR THAT UNANIMOUS CONSENT.

  • 02:58:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:58:38 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    REMAINING COUPLE OF MINUTES LET ME SAY IT IS MY HOPE, SENATOR…

    REMAINING COUPLE OF MINUTES LET ME SAY IT IS MY HOPE, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER'S HOPE, SENATOR HUTCHISON'S HOPE THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE PROGRESS AND COMPLETE THE F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION BILL. THIS IS THE FOURTH DAY. WE HAVE SEEN SO MANY INTERMINABLE DELAYS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. LET US NOT DELAY A PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, THAT DEALS WITH THE ISSUE OF AIR SAFETY IN THIS COUNTRY AND HAS SO MANY IMPORTANT PROVISIONS. LET US MINORITY AT THIS POINT DECIDE TO DELAY THIS -- LET US NOT AT THIS POINT DECIDE TO DELAY THIS, OF ALL PIECES OF LEGISLATION, SOMETHING THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE LONG AGO AND HAS HAD 11 EXTENSIONS, INSTEAD OF A REAUTHORIZATION BILL, WHEN WE FINALLY HAVE A BIPARTISAN REAUTHORIZATION BILL BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, IT'S MY HOPE IF WE'RE GOING TO GET COOPERATION ON ANYTHING, AT LEAST WE COULD EXPECT IT ON THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION. SO MY HOPE WILL BE THAT IN THE HALF-HOUR DEBATE AND THE SUBSEQUENT VOTE, OR I GUESS THE HOUR DEBATE AND SUBSEQUENT VOTE ON THE JUDGE, WE MIGHT MAKE SOME PROGRESS IN SEEING WHETHER WE WOULD GET COOPERATION TO BE ABLE TO COMPLETE THIS BILL TODAY. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 02:59:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WOULD THE SENATOR WITHHOLD THAT REQUEST. UNDER THE…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WOULD THE SENATOR WITHHOLD THAT REQUEST. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE GOES INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE NOMINATION.

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  • 03:00:02 PM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION. O. ROGERIEE THOMPSON OF RHODE ISLAND TO BE UNITED STATES…

    NOMINATION. O. ROGERIEE THOMPSON OF RHODE ISLAND TO BE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE TO THE FIRST CIRCUIT.

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  • 03:00:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA'S RECOGNIZED. WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.…

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA'S RECOGNIZED. WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:12:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 03:12:58 PM

    MR. REED

    WOULD ASK TO DISPENSE WITH THE CALLING OF THE QUORUM.

  • 03:13:02 PM

    MR. REED

    MR. PRESIDENT, SHORTLY WE WILL HAVE THE HONOR AND PRIVILEGE, MYSELF AND…

    MR. PRESIDENT, SHORTLY WE WILL HAVE THE HONOR AND PRIVILEGE, MYSELF AND SENATOR WHITEHOUSE, TO JOIN IN SUPPORTING AND CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE ROGERIEE THOMPSON, WHO IS BEING CONFIRMED TODAY TO THE FIRST CIRCUIT COURT. JUDGE THOMPSON IS AN IMMINENT MEMBER OF OUR RHODE ISLAND TRIAL COURT. SHE'S BEEN A JUSTICE OF THE RHODE ISLAND SUPERIOR COURT SINCE 1997. SHE IS A PATH BREAK ARE IN MANY RESPECTS BOTH IN TERMS OF HER TALENT. BUT ALSO SHE IS THE FIRST WOMAN OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN DESCENT TO SERVE ON OUR COURT. SHE'LL BE THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN TO SERVE ON THE FIRST CIRCUIT COURT AND ONLY THE SECOND WOMAN. SHE HAS ACHIEVED THESE REMARKABLE RESULTS BECAUSE OF HER INTELLECT, CHARACTER, INTEGRITY, AND HER DEEP, DEEP COMMITMENT TO FAIRNESS AND DISPASSIONATE DISPENSE OF JUSTICE. SHE'S A REMARKABLE WOMAN. WE'RE JUST PLEASED AND DELIGHTED THAT HER NOMINATION HAS BEEN FORWARDED TO US BY THE PRESIDENT. HE'S MADE A WISE CHOICE AND TODAY WE'LL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONSIDER HER NOMINATION AND CONFIRM HER. SHE'LL DO A REMARKABLE JOB ON THE COURT. ORIGINALLY JUDGE THOMPSON WAS BORN IN SOUTH CAROLINA, SHE CAME TO RHODE ISLAND TO ATTEND BROWN THE UNIVERSITY. SHE EARNED HER J.D. FROM BOSTON THE UNIVERSITY OF LAW AND BEGAN HER CAREER AS A STAFF ATTORNEY AT RHODE ISLAND LEGAL SERVICES. HER PROGRESSION TO THE FIRST CIRCUIT IS ONE THAT CARRIED HER A LONG WAY AND IT'S INCLUDED, I THINK VERY IMPORTANTLY, A STRONG COMMITMENT NOT JUST TO THE MOST POWERFUL IN OUR COUNTRY, BUT ALSO TO THOSE WHO DESPERATELY NEED HELP AND ASSISTANCE. AND SHE'LL BRING THAT SENSE OF FAIRNESS AND DECENCY TO THE COURT. AND I URGE ALL MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THIS WORTHY WOMAN AND HER NOMINATION. AND I WILL YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:15:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 03:15:06 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE SENATE WILL SOON CONSIDER THE NOMINATION OF O. ROGERIEE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE SENATE WILL SOON CONSIDER THE NOMINATION OF O. ROGERIEE THOMPSON TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT. I JOIN MY DISTINGUISHED SENIOR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR JACK REED, IN APPLAUDING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SELECTION OF THIS VERY TALENTED NOMINEE. JUDGE THOMPSON'S NOMINATION HAS BEEN AN UNCONTROVERSIAL ONE, AND FOR GOOD REASON. SHE IS A DEDICATED PUBLIC SERVANT, A HIGHLY EXPERIENCED AND RESPECTED JUDGE, AND A CREDIT TO OUR HOME STATE OF RHODE ISLAND. I CONGRATULATE JUDGE THOMPSON ON COMING TO THIS POINT IN THE PROCESS. I LOOK FORWARD TO AN UNEVENTFUL CONFIRMATION VOTE IN THE NEXT FEW MOMENTS, AND I EXPRESS TO MY COLLEAGUES MY THOROUGH CONFIDENCE THAT SHE WILL HAVE A DISTINGUISHED CAREER AS A UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE. I ALSO WANT TO THANK SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES. I AM GRATEFUL TO OUR MAJORITY LEADER, HARRY REID, TO OUR CHAIRMAN, CHAIRMAN PATRICK LEAHY OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, AND TO SENATORS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, IN PARTICULAR JUDICIARY COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER SESSIONS FOR CLEARING THE PATH FOR US TO VOTE ON JUDGE THOMPSON'S NOMINATION TODAY. I ALSO AM VERY GRATEFUL, VERY GRATEFUL THAT MY SENIOR SENATOR, JACK REED, GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASSIST HIM IN IDENTIFYING THE BEST POSSIBLE NOMINEE TO RECOMMEND TO PRESIDENT OBAMA TO SERVE ON THE FIRST CIRCUIT. AS MY COLLEAGUES KNOW, IT HAS BEEN A GREAT HONOR FOR ME TO SERVE WITH SENATOR REID SINCE COMING TO THE SENATE, AND THIS EXPERIENCE WITH HIM WAS ANOTHER GREAT PRIVILEGE FOR WHICH I AM DEEPLY GRATEFUL. AFTER THE SENATE'S ACTION TODAY AND AFTER A LIFETIME OF ACHIEVEMENT, JUDGE THOMPSON WILL MAKE HISTORY AS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND ONLY THE SECOND WOMAN TO SERVE ON THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT. THIS WILL NOT BE THE FIRST BARRIER BROKEN BY JUDGE THOMPSON, AS SHE WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN ON EACH OF THE RHODE ISLAND COURTS ON WHICH SHE HAD SERVED. THESE WERE GREAT MOMENTS, MR. PRESIDENT, IN THE HISTORY OF OUR STATE, AND HER ARRIVAL WILL BE A WONDERFUL ADDITION IN THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. JUDGE THOMPSON HAS GIVEN OUR STATE 21 YEARS OF DISTINGUISHED JUDICIAL SERVICE. FIRST AS AN ASSOCIATE JUDGE ON THE RHODE ISLAND DISTRICT COURT AND SUBSEQUENTLY AS AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ON THE RHODE ISLAND SUPERIOR COURT. JUDGE THOMPSON HAS LONG, SCRUPULOUSLY ADHERED TO THE PROPER ROLE OF A JUDGE, RESPECTING THE ROLE OF THE LEGISLATURE AS THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE. DECIDING CASES BASED OP THE LAW AND THE FACTS. NOT PREJUDGING ANY CASE BUT LISTENING TO EVERY PARTY BEFORE HER. RESPECTING PRECEDENT AND LIMITING HERSELF TO THE ISSUES PROPERLY BEFORE THE COURT. HER COURTROOM DESERVEDLY HAS COME TO BE KNOWN AS A PLACE IN WHICH EVERY PARTY CAN EXPECT A FAIR HEARING, AND I KNOW THAT SHE WILL EARN THE SAME REPUTATION FOR FAIRNESS AND EXCELLENCE AS A JUDGE ON THE FIRST CIRCUIT. I SHOULD ADD THAT JUDGE THOMPSON HAS ALSO MADE GREAT CONTRIBUTION TOSS OUR HOME STATE OF RHODE ISLAND OUTSIDE OF THE COURTROOM. SHE HAS CHAIRED OR BEEN A MEMBER OF IMPORTANT COURT COMMITTEES THAT HAVE IMPROVED THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE IN OUR STATE. SHE HAS GIVEN BACK TO HER ALMA MATER, BROWN UNIVERSITY, BY SERVING AS A TRUSTEE OF THAT GREAT UNIVERSITY. SHE ALSO HAS PROVIDED MENTORING TO INNUMERABLE STUDENTS, GIVEN HER TIME TO COUNTLESS LAW SCHOOL PROGRAMS AND SERVED ON THE BOARDS OF VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT NONPROFIT GROUPS SUCH AS THE RHODE ISLAND CHILDREN'S CRUSADE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, A BOARD ON WHICH I WAS PRIVILEGED TO SERVE WITH JUDGE THOMPSON. HER WILLINGNESS TO GIVE BACK TO OUR RHODE ISLAND COMMUNITY, I SHOULD NOTE, IS CHARACTERISTIC OF HER ENTIRE FAMILY. JUDGE THOMPSON'S HUSBAND, BILL CLIFTON, IS A JUDGE ON THE RHODE ISLAND DISTRICT COURT, AND HER BROTHER-IN-LAW, BILL'S BROTHER, EDWARD CLIFTON, IS A JUDGE ON THE RHODE ISLAND SUPERIOR COURT. IT IS A VERY JUDICIAL FAMILY, MR. PRESIDENT. I HAD THE OCCASION TO APPEAR BEFORE JUDGE CLIFTON, AND HE WAS THE FIRST JUDGE WHEN WE BEGAN OUR RHODE ISLAND DRUG COURT WHEN I WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL, SO I HAVE HAD FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE OF HIS QUALITIES AS WELL. WE IN RHODE ISLAND ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO BE BLESSED BY THE SERVICE AND EXCELLENCE OF THIS FAMILY. I AM SURE THAT THIS IS A VERY PROUD DAY FOR THEM ALL, AND I EXTEND MY BEST WISHES AND MY CONGRATULATIONS. I ANTICIPATE THAT WE WILL HAVE A STRONG VOTE IN FAVOR OF JUDGE THOMPSON. SHE PASSED WITHOUT INCIDENT OR OPPOSITION THROUGH THE REVIEW OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. THERE WERE NO QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT HER AT HER HEARING. THE VOICE VOTE IN HER FAVOR WAS UNANIMOUS, AND THE TRACK RECORD TO DATE I THINK IS AN INDICATION OF A LIKELY RESOUNDING CONFIRMATION, AND I WOULD ADD IF THAT HAPPENS THAT THAT IS YET ANOTHER EVIDENCE OF HOW TALENTED SHE IS AND HOW WELL SHE DESERVES THIS SEAT ON THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT. IT IS AN IMPORTANT CIRCUIT FOR OUR STATE. IT IS A VERY DISTINGUISHED COURT. IT HAS HAD VERY DISTINGUISHED RHODE ISLANDERS SIT ON IT IN THE PAST. A FRIEND OF SENATOR JACK REED'S AND MINE, THE HONORABLE BRUCE CELIA, HAS SERVED ON THAT COURT WITH GREAT DISTINCTION FOR MANY YEARS, SO THERE IS AN IMPORTANT RHODE ISLAND TRADITION HERE ON THE FIRST CIRCUIT, AND I CAN ASSURE ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES HERE IN THE SENATE THAT AS A JUSTICE OF THIS COURT, O. ROGERIEE THOMPSON WILL DISCHARGE ALL OF HER DUTIES WITH THE GREATEST OF DISTINCTION. I THANK THE PRESIDING OFFICER, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:22:34 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    WE ARE NOT.

  • 03:22:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WE ARE NOT.

  • 03:22:39 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    MAY I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM AND ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ALL…

    MAY I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM AND ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ALL REMAINING TIME BE DIVIDED EQUALLY BETWEEN THE MINORITY AND THE MAJORITY.

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  • 03:22:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

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  • 03:23:06 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:30:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 03:30:59 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    MR. PRESIDENT, MAY I ASK THAT THE PENDING QUORUM CALL BE TERMINATED?

  • 03:31:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:31:06 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    PRESIDENT, I ASK FOR THE YEAS AND NAYS ON THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE THOMPSON.

  • 03:31:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THERE IS. THE QUESTION…

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THERE IS. THE QUESTION IS ON THE NOMINATION. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 03:31:29 PM
  • 03:55:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR…

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE AYES ARE 98, THE NAYS ARE ZERO. THE NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED.

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  • 03:55:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE PRESIDENT IS NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION. THE…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE PRESIDENT IS NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION. THE SENATE NOW RETURNS TO LEGISLATIVE SESSION. MR.

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  • 03:56:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA.

  • 03:56:04 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE F.A.A., FEDERAL…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE F.A.A., FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION REAUTHORIZATION PROCESS IS MOVING SLOWLY BUT STEADILY AND WE TAKE SEVERAL STEPS FORWARD BUT NONE BACK BACKWARD BACKWARDED AND THE REASON IS BECAUSE THERE IS A LOT OF -- AS WE DID YESTERDAY, WE APPROVED 14 AMENDMENTS. THEY WERE ALL A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF WORK DONE BY THE STAFF TO WORK THOSE OWVMENT WE HAVE ANOTHER LARGE GROUP THAT WE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS AFTERNOON, SO LARGE CHUNKS OF THE BILL ARE ACTUALLY GETTING DONE. THEN WE HAVE A NUMBER OF CONTROVERSIAL AMENDMENTS, OR POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL, AND THOSE WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING LOCKED DOWN SO THAT THE PRESIDING OFFICER CAN PRONOUNCE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT AGREEMENT WITH TWO MINUTES EQUALLY DIVIDED. I YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

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  • 03:56:58 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST SAY THAT MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUE AND…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST SAY THAT MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUE AND CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE AND I ARE WORKING VERY HARD TO CLEAR FURTHER AMENDMENTS AND ALSO GET VOTES ON THE SESSIONS AMENDMENT WITH A PRYOR AMENDMENT CONNECTED TO THAT AND A McCAIN AMENDMENT SO THAT WE CAN TRY TO FINISH THIS BILL BY TOMORROW. AND SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON, AND WE ARE OF THE SAME MIND ON THAT. AND I HOPE VERY MUCH THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO GET THE AMENDMENTS CLEARED THAT ARE VERY IMPORTANT, AND I WOULD ASK ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES TO WORK WITH US TO EXPEDITE THIS SO THAT WE CAN FINISH THIS BILL EARLY TOMORROW. THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT, AND I THANK THE CHAIRMAN AS WELL FOR WORKING WITH US ON THIS ISSUE.

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  • 03:57:55 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 03:57:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA.

  • 03:58:01 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    I THINK THE DISTINGUISHED CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WANTS TO…

    I THINK THE DISTINGUISHED CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WANTS TO SPEAK, BUT HE'S WAITING WAITING FOR SOMETHING, SO I'LL -- YOU KNOW, THIS FEDERAL AVIATION BILL IS ENORMOUS IN SCOPE BUT WE'RE DOING IT WITH LITTLE PIECE PIECES AND AMENDMENTS. IT HAS SEVEN DIFFERENT TITLES IN IT. AND ONE OF THEM HAS TO DO WITH COMMUNITY AIR SERVICE TO RULER -- TO RURAL RING UNDERSERVED AREAS, WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT IN MY STATE AND THE PRESIDING OFFICER OFFICER'S STATE, AND REALLY ALL OF OUR STATES STATES. EVEN CALIFORNIA AND NEW YORK HAVE VERY RURAL AREAS WHERE THEY NEED AIR SERVICE. I SPENT 10 YEARS CHAIRING THE AVIATION SUBCOMMITTEE, AND I ENJOYED IT ENORMOUSLY. AND I NOW CHAIR THE FULL COMMITTEE, WHICH I ENJOY ENORMOUSLY. BUT ONE FOCUS THROUGHOUT HAS BEEN TRYING TO PROTECT SMALL AND RURAL COMMUNITIES, BECAUSE THE FACT OF LIFE IS THAT -- AND GIVE THEM AIR SERVICE. THEY TRAVEL. AND IF THE LOCAL AIRPORT PROMOTES ITSELF AS A PRODUCT MUST -- IT'S NOT JUST A PLACE PEOPLE GO TO, THEY HAVE TO ANNOUNCE THEMSELVES TO THE PUBLIC AND SAY, WE CAN TAKE YOU HERE, WE CAN TAKE YOU THERE, WHILE OTHERS OF US TRY TO GET FOLKS IN. IT'S TREMENDOUS IMPORTANT. AND THEY'RE WORTH FIGHTING FOR AND WE DO THAT. AND LARGE AND URBAN STATES SOMETIMES QUESTION THAT, BUT IF THEY LOOK IN THEIR HEARTS, THEY HAVE A LOT OF THE SAME REQUIREMENTS THEMSELVES. IT'S REALLY ABOUT EQUALITY, AND IT'S ABOUT THE ECONOMY, AND IT'S ABOUT FAIRNESS. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMEBODY FROM THE CITY AND SOMEBODY FROM A SMALLER COMMUNITY IF BOTH DO BUSINESS? ONE MAY NOT HAVE A BIG JET. THEREFORE, THEY REQUIRE A SMALL -- SMALLER AIRPLANE. A COMMUTER AIRPLANE. -- TO GET TO WHERE HE OR SHE WANTS TO GO. BUT IT'S IMPORTANT THEY BE ABLE TO GET THERE. SO IT'S VITAL TO OUR ECONOMY. EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS CONSIDERS, ALONG WITH THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, THE SO-CALLED QUALITY OF LIFE, THE CRIME RATE, ALL OF THIS, THEY CONSIDER AIR SERVICE WHEN THEY'RE DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO LOCATE OR TO EXPAND IN THEIR -- IN A PARTICULAR STATE. AND SO, FOR THAT WE HAVE THIS WONDERFUL PROGRAM CALLED THE ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE, THE E.A.S. IT'S A PROGRAM WHICH HAS PROVED VITAL TO COMMUNITIES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. IT'S ALLOWED THEM TO KEEP AIR SERVICE THAT THEY MIGHT OTHERWISE NOT BE ABLE TO KEEP, AND LITERALLY SO. IT DOESN'T BAIL THEM OUT TO DO THAT. I MEAN, IT DOESN'T PAY THE COST OF THAT, BUT IT HELPS THEM. AND THEY USE IT. THE FIRST OPTION AIR CARRIERS NATURALLY BUT REGRETTABLY AS FAR AS A SMALL COMMUNITY IS CONCERNED, IF THEY'RE IN DISTRESS, AS OUR AIRLINES, OUR LEGACY AIRLINES IN PARTICULAR HAVE BEEN IN RECENT YEARS, THEY GO TO THE END OF THE FOOD CHAIN TO MAKE THEIR FIRST CUTS, AND THAT'S ALWAYS THE SMALL COMMUNITIES, THE SMALL AIRPORTS AND THE SMALL CENTERS. THAT DOESN'T MAKE THEM LESS IMPORTANT. EVERY TIME I THINK ABOUT THAT, I THINK ABOUT I RAN FOR GOVERNOR AND I WAS DEFEATED AND I BECAME PRESIDENT OF A WONDERFUL SMALL PRIVATE COLLEGE WHICH HAD A GRASS AIRFIELD. AND THEY DIDN'T GET ANY FEDERAL HELP BECAUSE YOU CAN'T DO THAT WITH GRASS. BUT I ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT THERE WAS ALWAYS A LITTLE YELLOW FARMHOUSE WHEN I DROVE OUT THERE, AND IT'S THE SAME LITTLE YELLOW FARMHOUSE TODAY. BUT IF YOU GO INSIDE, IT'S A WORLDWIDE EDUCATIONAL, YOU KNOW, C.D. VIDEO, IT'S THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY THAT YOU COULD IMAGINE. IT JUST DOESN'T WANT TO BUILD A BIG BUILDING. IT IS HAPPY TO BE IN THIS LITTLE YELLOW FARMHOUSE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE TALL SKYSCRAPERS TO DO BUSINESS. SO, THE SMALL COMMUNITY AIR SERVICE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM HAS REALLY HELPED PEOPLE. MY BILL TAKES SEVERAL IMPORTANT STEPS TO KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON'S IN MY BILL. WE WORK SIDE BY SIDE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, SORT OF A PERFECT COMBINATION, AS RANKING AND CHAIRMAN. WE DO SEVERAL THINGS. INCREASE THE AUTHORIZED FUNDING FOR ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE TO $175 MILLION. THAT'S AN INCREASE OF $48 MILLION. THAT'S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY PWURBGS ON A NATIONWIDE BASIS -- BUT ON A NATIONWIDE BASIS, THAT DOES A LOT. THAT KEEPS MANY, MANY SMALL AIRFIELDS OPEN AND ALLOWS THEM TO HAVE CONTROL TOWERS AND RUN AIR SERVICE. WE PERMIT THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION TO INCORPORATE FINANCIAL INCENTIVES INTO CONTRACTS WITH THE ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE CARRIERS TO ENCOURAGE BETTER SERVICE. YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON THAT. IT'S NOT JUST A QUESTION THAT SENATOR DORGAN HAS TALKED ABOUT, AND THAT IS WHAT IS THE NAME ON THE AIRPLANE. AND SOMETIMES THERE ARE TWO NAMES AND YOU DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE YOU'RE RIDING ON. IS IT UNITED, IS IT COLGAN OR WHAT. YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT, AND WE CORRECT THAT ELSEWHERE IN ANOTHER TITLE IN OUR BILL. WE ALSO AUTHORIZE THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION TO NEGOTIATE LONGER-TERM ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE CONTRACTS. WELL, THAT MAKES SENSE BECAUSE THAT GIVES A SENSE OF STABILITY AND PREDICTABILITY TO AN AIRFIELD, TO A SMALL AIRFIELD AND TO THE PUBLIC, WHICH IS INTERESTED IN IT. WE AUTHORIZE THE DEVELOPMENT OF FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR CARRIERS TO IMPROVE. AS I INDICATED, THEIR SERVICE. IT'S REALLY QUITE AMAZING, THE WHOLE STRUCTURE OF WHAT PEOPLE GET PAID TO FLY TO THESE LITTLE CARRIERS, COMMUTER AIRLINES. I'M NOT GOING TO SAY THE NAME OF THEIR SALARIES BECAUSE YOU'D BE SHOCKED. THEY GET PAID A LOT LESS THAN TEACHERS. THEY ACCEPT THAT BECAUSE OF THE SENIORITY SYSTEM SAYS IF YOU'VE FLOWN A LONG TIME, YOU GET PAID A LOT. PEOPLE HAVE SORT OF ACCEPTED THAT, AND PEOPLE WHO FLY LOVE TO FLY. BUT YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR EYE ALWAYS ON THE QUALITY OF THE SERVICE. MAINTENANCE IS A VERY HIGH ORDER BECAUSE THAT'S THE KIND OF THING WHICH COULD BE NEGLECTED AND PEOPLE MIGHT NOT NOTICE. IT'S JUST LIKE KEEPING UP YOUR HOUSE. YOU CAN'T DEFER MAINTENANCE. YOU PAY A TERRIBLE PRICE. IN THE CASE OF AIRLINES, THE PRICE IS VERY OBVIOUS. SO, WE ALSO AUTHORIZE THE AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM TO CONVERT ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE, THAT IS SMALL AIRPORTS, INTO GENERAL AVIATION AIRPORTS. THAT TURNS OUT TO BE VERY CONVENIENT. THERE ARE A LOT OF, THOUSANDS OF GENERAL AVIATION, BIG JETS, LITTLE JETS, AND KING AIRS ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY. AND THEY FLY EVERYWHERE. AND WE WANT THEM TO. SO, WE TRY TO ENCOURAGE THE E.A.S. TO -- ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE TO DO WELL BY THEM. WE HAVE AN INCREASING FUNDING FOR CONTRACT TOWERS. THAT'S IMPORTANT. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A TOWER. I HAD A 9:30 A.M. THIS MORNING FROM NOT A LOT AIRPORT. THERE WAS FOG AND THEY COULDN'T TAKE OFF. I ASSUME THEY COULD PROBABLY SEAT FOG THEMSELVES. BUT IF THEY WERE IN DOUBT, THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER SAID YOU AREN'T TAKING OFF. THAT'S CALLED A SERVICE TO THEM. LESS SO TO PHAOERBGS BUT TO THERPBLGS AND THAT'S WHAT -- LESS SO TO ME, BUT TO THEM AND THAT'S WHAT COUNTS. JUST IN CLOSING, VERY IMPORTANT TO WEST VIRGINIA AND TO OTHER STATES, OUR GLOBAL ECONOMY IS GROWING AND WE'RE MUCH MORE INTERCONNECTED. IT BECOMES VERY IMPORTANT NOW, FOR EXAMPLE, PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO FEED INTO -- COMMUTER SERVICES DON'T JUST TAKE YOU FROM CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, TO CINCINNATI. THEY CAN ALSO TAKE YOU, AND SOMETIMES MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR BUSINESS, THEY CAN TAKE YOU TO DULLES AIRPORT AND THEN YOU CONNECT INTO THE INTERNATIONAL AIR FLIGHT SERVICE BUSINESS, SO SOMEBODY FROM BLUEFIELD, WEST VIRGINIA, OR BECKLEY, WEST VIRGINIA, CAN BE FLYING AND GO SEE HIS CUSTOMERS OR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS, OR HER, IN A LITTLE COMMUTER AIRPORT, AND A LITTLE COMMUTER AIRPLANE WHICH THEN TURNS INTO A MUCH LARGER AIRPORT AND INTERNATIONAL FLOW. SO I'M PROUD OF THIS. WE -- THIS IS A PART OF OUR BILL. IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER BUSINESS, AS WE WAIT FOR AMENDMENTS TO BE WORKED OUT, WE'LL DO THREE OF THOSE THIS AFTERNOON, AND THEN WE'LL HAVE, AS I SAY, A TRANCHE OF AGREED-TO AMENDMENTS, A VERY TRANCHE LARGE -- A VERY LARGE TRANCHE. WE'VE BEEN THREE YEARS AWAITING ON THIS BILL. IT'S BEEN SORT OF HELD OVER OR EXTENDED 11 TIMES, AND INDEED IT WILL BE 12 TIMES BY THE TIME WE PASS IT, WHICH WILL BE HOPEFULLY TOMORROW EVENING. SO I WANT TO MAKE THESE COMMENTS. I THANK THE CHAIR, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:08:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 04:08:35 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:15:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:15:30 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 04:15:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:15:35 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    PRESIDENT, I OFFERED ALONG WITH SENATOR CLAIRE McCASKILL, A DEMOCRATIC…

    PRESIDENT, I OFFERED ALONG WITH SENATOR CLAIRE McCASKILL, A DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUE, AN AMENDMENT THAT WILL HELP CONTAIN OUR TENDENCY IN THIS BODY -- BIPARTISAN TENDENCY, UNFORTUNATELY -- TO BUST THE BUDGET, TO SPEND MORE THAN WE -- WE STATE WE'RE GOING TO SPEND. IT'S A TEMPTATION THAT'S ALL TOO REAL. WE'RE FACED WITH COMPETING CHOICES TO SPEND AND SPEND AND SOME OF OUR MEMBERS JUST FIND IT HARD TO SAY NO. WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT THAT BECAUSE EACH TIME YOU DO THAT, THE BASELINE OF THE BUDGET REPORT EMERGENCY SPENDING GOES -- BUDGET, THE EMERGENCY SPENDING GOES UP, AND WE'VE GOTTEN INTO A HABIT OF THAT THAT IS SURGING US ON AN UNSUSTAINABLE PATH. MR. BERNANKE, THE HEAD OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION LEADERS, INDEPENDENT ECONOMISTS AND BUSINESS LEADERS, REPUBLICANS ACROSS THE BOARD ARE SAYING THAT WE'RE ON A SPENDING PATH THAT IS UNSUSTAINABLE. THAT WE CANNOT KEEP ON IT. BUT I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU THAT -- THAT A LOT OF THIS IS BAD BECAUSE WE BUDGETED IT. A LOT OF IT IS BAD BECAUSE WE BREAK THE BUDGET AND SPEND MORE THAN THE BUDGET SAYS. BUT WE HAVE A HISTORICAL INCIDENT IN WHICH THIS CONGRESS PASSED STATUTORY CAPS ON SPENDING TO SUPPORT THE BUDGET. IN EFFECT, CONGRESS PASSED LAWS THAT SAID THIS IS OUR BUDGET FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS. WE'VE GOT ACTUAL SPENDING DOLLAR LIMITS IN OUR BUDGET. LET'S PASS A LAW THAT SAYS IF WE GO ABOVE THAT, THEN IT TAKES A SUPER MAJORITY. SO OUR BILL WOULD SAY THAT IT WOULD TAKE A TWO-THIRDS VOTE TO EXCEED THE SPENDING THAT THE BUDGET ALLOWS. SO SOME SAY, WELL, TWO-THIRDS VOTE. WELL, THAT'S A HIGH VOTE. BUT IT'S BASED ON THE BUDGET AND THE PASSAGE OF A BUDGET. AND THE BUDGET IS PASSED BY A 50-VOTE MAJORITY. SO THE BUDGET WILL ESSENTIALLY BE OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES' BUDGET. THE ONE THEY PASSED AND SAID WHAT THEY EXPECT THE LEVELS OF SPENDING SHOULD BE AND WHERE WE SHOULD CAP IT AND WHERE WE SHOULDN'T GO ANY FURTHER. AND SO THIS LEGISLATION WOULD ENHANCE OUR ABILITY AND STATE WITH CHARITY YEAS A BIPARTISAN -- CLARITY AS A BIPARTISAN ACT IN THIS CONGRESS THAT THIS IS WHERE WE'RE GOING TO STAY AND WE'RE SERIOUS ABOUT IT THIS TIME AND WE'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT SPENDING THAT'S OUT OF CONTROL. NOW, THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS THAT WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO SPEND AS WE ARE. THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS THAT WE'RE SPENDING INTO DEBT DEFICIT MORE THAN WEAVER HAD IN OUR HISTORY. LET ME JUST SHOW THIS CHART. I THINK IT'S PRETTY INDICATIVE CHART THAT SHOULD CAUSE THE AVERAGE PERSON TO LOSE THEIR APPETITE. MAYBE EVEN HAVE THEIR HAIR STAND UP. I WAS -- USED THIS CHART A WEEK OR SO AGO AND I WAS MEET -- IN A MEETING LATER WITH A FOREIGN MINISTER FROM A EUROPEAN COUNTRY. HE SAID I HAPPENED TO BE WATCHING C-SPAN AND I SAW YOU ON THE FLOOR WITH THIS CHART. HE SAID, DO YOU USE CHARTS ON THE FLOOR OFTEN? I SAID, YES, WE DO MR. MINISTER. HE SAID, WELL I THOUGHT IT MADE A LOT OF SENSE. YOU OUGHT TO GO ALL OFORT COUNTRY AND SHOW THAT. THIS IS THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE NUMBERS BASED ON THE BUDGET THAT'S OUT THERE AND IT SHOWS WHAT OUR DEBT HELD BY THE PUBLIC IS AND THE DEBT HELD BY THE PUBLIC IS THE DEBT THAT WHERE WE SELL TREASURY BILLS AND PEOPLE GIVE US THEIR MONEY AND LOAN US THEIR MONEY AND WE PROMISE TO PAY THEM BACK OVER 10 YEARS, TWO YEARS, OR 30 YEARS AT A CERTAIN RATE OF INTEREST. AND SOME PEOPLE SAY YOU SHOULDN'T COUNT THE INTERNAL DEBT. THAT'S NOT EXACTLY ACCURATE. THE ONLY THING THAT REALLY COUNTS IS THE PUBLIC DEBT. WELL, THE INTERNAL DEBT, THE GROSS DEBT IS MUCH LARGER THAN THAT. BUT LET'S JUST USE THESE NUMBERS. IN 2008, THE TOTAL PUBLIC DEBT IN THE UNITED STATES WAS WAS $5.8 TRILLION. SINCE THE FOUNDING OF OUR REPUBLIC, 1770 -- 1789, 2013, ACCORDING TO THE C.B.O. STAFF, IT WILL DOUBLE TO TO $11.8 TRILLION. THAT'S JUST THREE YEARS FROM NOW. DOUBLE. AND THEN IN 2019, IT'S PROJECTED TO GO TO $17.3 TRILLION MORE THAN TRIPLE. THIS IS -- THIS IS NOT A LITTLE BITTY MATTER. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE ARE SAYING, WE CAN'T DIDN'T THIS WAY. THAT'S WHY MOODY'S, THE DEBT RATING AGENCY IS CONTINUING TO DISCUSS WHETHER OR NOT TO DOWNGRADE THE AMERICAN DEBT. AND THAT THE -- THE ENTITIES OUT THERE THAT INSURE DEBT -- SOME PEOPLE ARE SO NERVOUS ABOUT DEBT, THAT THEY WANT TO INSURE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DEBT AND THEY PAY AN ACTUAL INSURANCE PREMIUM TO MAKE SURE IF THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T PAY THEM WHAT THEY OWE, THE INSURANCE COMPANY WILL PAY THEM WHAT THEY OWE. I'M NOT SURE IT'S A SMART DEAL. MAYBE IT IS IF YOU'RE IN SOME SMALLER COUNTRY. AT ANY RATE, PEOPLE PAY THIS. AND THE AMOUNT OF INSURANCE THAT IS BEING PAID ON THE AMERICAN DEBT IS TRIPLED. IT'S NOT A LOT, BUT IT'S ENOUGH -- IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT INDEPENDENT PEOPLE EVALUATE. THE GREECE DEBT AMOUNTS TO 12.9%. THE DEFICIT OF -- THE ONE-YEAR DEFICIT FOR GREECE AMOUNTS TO 12.9% OF THEIR TOTAL ECONOMY, THEIR G.D.P. WE'RE AT 9.9%, OUR DEFICIT, THIS YEAR, THE YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30th, LAST YEAR, THAT DEFICIT WAS $1.4 TRILLION, THREE TIMES THE LARGEST DEBT IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC. THREE TIMES. IS THIS YEAR GOING TO BE BETTER? NO. THIS YEAR THEY'RE PROJECTING, SEPTEMBER 30th, A RISE, OUR DEFICIT FOR THAT ONE FISCAL YEAR WILL BE $1.6 TRILLION. AND ACCORDING TO SOME OF THE ESTIMATES, THE DEBT WILL DROP DOWN TO ABOUT $600 BILLION OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS THROUGH 2014. BUT NOW WE'RE SEEING NUMBERS THAT INDICATES THAT WAS TOO ROSY A SCENARIO AND WE PROBABLY WON'T DROP BELOW $700 BILLION AND IT STARTS UP IN 2018, 2019, 2017 ARE ALMOST $20 TRILLION A YEAR ANNUAL DEFICITS. SO THESE NUMBERS ARE LOW BY ANY ESTIMATE, REALLY. ALL RIGHT THIS YEAR'S DEFICIT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A LITTLE OVER $1 TRILLION, BUT IT'S GOING TO BE $1.5 TRILLION. MAYBE $1.6 TRILLION. SO IT'S A LOT OF MONEY. WE PASSED ANOTHER BILL HERE THE OTHER DAY, ANOTHER $104 BILLION TO THE DEBT FOR A JOBS BILL. SO WHAT WE'RE SAYING IS WE'RE ON A PATHWAY THAT'S UNSUSTAINABLE. YOU CAN'T CONTINUE TO RUN TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICITS. WE'RE GOING TO AVERAGE ALMOST A TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR DEFICIT FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS. PROBABLY WILL AVERAGE MAYBE MORE THAN THAT. SO THAT'S WHY I THINK ALL OF US ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IT. SO SENATOR McCASKILL AND I, AS A FIRST STEP, OFFERED LEGISLATION THAT SAID WE'RE GOING TO STICK WITH OUR BUDGET. IF WE'LL JUST STICK WITH OUR BUDGET, THINGS WILL BE BETTER THAN THEY WOULD BE IF WE DON'T STICK WITH OUR BUDGET. IT'S NOT A CURE ALL. IT DOESN'T DEAL WITH ENTITLEMENTS AND ALL OF THE THINGS THAT WE -- WE'RE CONFRONTING. BUT IT -- IN OUR DISCRETIONARY SPENDING WE'LL STICK WITH OUR BUDGET. AND THE FIRST VOTE WAS 56 VOTED FOR IT. AND WE MADE SOME CHANGES TO ACCOMMODATE CONCERNS OF SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES AND 59 VOTED FOR IT. 18 DEMOCRATS JOINED IN VOTING FOR THAT AMENDMENT. SO WE NEED ONE MORE VOTE TO MAKE IT LAW. AND I AM REALLY PLEASED TO WORK WITH SENATOR McCASKILL BECAUSE WE'RE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS GOOD STEP. AND WHEN IT WAS DONE, SIMILAR LEGISLATION WAS PASSED IN THE EARLY 1990'S, AND CONTINUED THROUGHOUT THE 1990'S, THAT WAS A FACTOR, NO DOUBT. DOUBT -- IN GOING FROM SUBSTANTIAL DEFICITS FROM THE EARLY PART OF THE 1990'S AND 1980'S TO SURPLUSES IN THE LAST PART OF THE 1990'S. THAT WAS A BIG PART OF IT BECAUSE WE STUCK TO OUR BUDGET NUMBERS AND WE MADE PROGRESS. AND SO, AGAIN, WHAT NUMBER ARE YOU SAYING, IS IT A FREEZE ON SPENDING? NOT REALLY. THE PRESIDENT TALKED ABOUT A FREEZE ON SPENDING. I WILL SUPPORT THAT AGGRESSIVELY AND SUPPORT IT. BUT WE'RE REALLY TALKING ABOUT A 1% OR 2% INCREASE ACCORDING TO THE BUDGET. SO IT WOULD GIVE US A HARD LIMIT ON HOW MUCH INCREASE IN SPENDING WILL HAVE. IT WILL REQUIRE A CUT IN SPENDING. WELL, HOW -- HOW DOES THIS PLAY OUT IN TERMS OF OUR ECONOMY? WELL, WHAT'S A TRILLION DOLLARS? USED TO TALK ABOUT MILLIONS AND THEN BILLIONS AND NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TRILLIONS. IS THAT REALLY A LOT OF MONEY? WELL, YES, IT IS. A TRILLION DOLLARS IS 1 TRILLION. THE ALABAMA STATE, WE'RE ABOUT ALMOST 1/50th OF THE POPULATION, ALABAMA'S BUDGET IS ABOUT $2 BILLION. ALABAMA, COUNTING EDUCATION, IS LESS THAN 10. A TRILLION DOLLARS IS AN AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT'S DIFFICULT FOR US TO COMPREHEND. WE'VE NEVER, EVER, EVER DEALT WITH NUMBERS AS DRAMATIC AS THESE NUMBERS. WELL -- WELL, WHAT'S WRONG WITH BORROWING IT? WHY DON'T WE JUST BORROW? WELL, WE HAVE TO PAY INTEREST ON IT. THIS IS PUBLIC DEBT. WE DON'T HAVE ANY INTERNAL SURPLUSES ANYMORE, OR VERY LITTLE FROM SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. WE HAVE TO BORROW THIS MONEY ON THE MARK PLACE AND WE PAY INTEREST ON IT. WE PAY INTEREST EVERY YEAR ON WHAT WE BORROW. THE CONGRESS PASSED, OVER MY OBJECTION, AN $800 BILLION STIMULUS PACKAGE. EVERY DOLLAR OF THAT WAS BORROWED BECAUSE WE WERE ALREADY IN DEBT. AN WHEN YOU SPEND $800 BILLION MORE, YOU HAVE TO BORROW IT. AND YOU PAY SOMEBODY INTEREST TON. AND IT COMES OUT OF OUR -- OUR MONEY THAT WE'RE COLLECTING TAXES. WE HAVE TO PAY INTEREST FIRST, JUST LIKE YOU DO ON YOUR MORTGAGE. FIRST THING, YOU PAY YOUR HOUSE NOTE, OTHERWISE THEY'RE GOING FOR FORECLOSING OUT IN THE STREET. HOW MUCH INTEREST DO WE PAY? THAT'S A QUESTION THAT I REALLY THINK DRIVES HOME HOW SERIOUS OUR UNSUSTAINABLE COURSE IS. A SIMPLE TRUTH IS THAT WILL THE INTEREST ON THE NATIONAL DEBT IS GROWING AT AN INCREDIBLE RATE AND WILL SOON SURPASS DEFENSE BUDGETS AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN OUR -- OUR -- OUR BUDGETARY ITEMS. LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS. IN 2009, LAST YEAR, WE PAID PAID $183 -- $183 BILLION IN INTEREST. WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE HIGHWAY PROGRAM? THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY PROGRAM -- AND WE TALKED SO MUCH ABOUT AND ARGUE AND DEBATE EXACTLY HOW MUCH THAT SHOULD BE -- IS IS $40 BILLION A YEAR. JUST $4 BILLION. WE PAID LAST YEAR $187 BILLION IN INTEREST. AND THIS IS A LOT OF MONEY. BUT, AS I TOLD YOU, SINCE WE HAVE AN UNSUSTAINABLE ANNUAL DEFICIT EVERY YEAR, HUGE, HUGE DEFICITS ON TOP OF THE DEBT -- DEBT WE'VE ALREADY ACCUMULATED, OUR INTEREST PAYMENT ON THE PUBLIC DEBT WILL GO UP. LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS. IN 2020, FROM 29 TO 2020, THE NUMBER HITS $480 BILLION. IN ONE YEAR WE WILL HAVE TO PAY IN INTEREST BECAUSE WE BORROWED SO MUCH MONEY. AND THAT'S WHY YOU HEAR PEOPLE SAY TIME AND AGAIN THIS IS IMMORAL. WE'RE BORROWING FROM OUR FUTURE, FROM OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN SO WE CAN SPEND TODAY AND LIVE WELL TODAY WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE IMPACT IT'S GOING TO HAVE IN THE FUTURE. AND DO NOT THINK THIS WON'T IMPACT THE ECONOMY ADVERSELY ALSO. BECAUSE THIS MONEY IS -- IS ALL A PRODUCT OF BORROWING FROM THE ECONOMY SO THE GOVERNMENT IS NOW CROWDING OUT PRIVATE BORROWING BY SUCKING UP THE MONEY ITSELF. AND IF YOU ARE A PRIVATE PERSON AND YOU NEEDED TO BORROW MONEY AND YOU SAY, I'LL PROMISE TO PAY YOU BACK. AND THE GUY SAYS, I THINK YOU'LL PAY YOU BACK, BUT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WILL PAY 5% ON A T BILL, WHY SHOULD I LOAN YOU MONEY AT 5%? IF I LOAN YOU, YOU'RE LESS SECURE, I WANT 7%, 8% FROM YOU, BIG BOI. -- BIG BOY. AND THAT'S HOW THINGS HAPPEN. IT DRIVES UP OUR WEALTH IN CAPITAL FOR EXPANSION OF BUSINESSES AND HOME BUYERS AND THAT SORT OF THING. SO LOOK AT THAT CHART. IT'S A STUNNING CHART AND IT'S A CHART PREPARED FROM THE NUMBERS ON PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET THAT HE SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS AS SCORED BY THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE. WELL, THAT'S WHY WE HAVE GOT TO DO SOMETHING, MR. PRESIDENT. A LOT OF THINGS WE NEED TO DO. BUT I'M HOPEFUL THAT IN OUR DEBATE AND DISCUSSION IN RECENT DAYS, AS WE HAVE HAD THIS VOTE UP NOW -- THIS WILL BE THE THIRD TIME WE VOTE ON IT -- I'M HOPEFUL THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL SEE THIS AS AT LEAST ONE FIRM STEP, THAT WE WILL HELP US CONTAIN OUR TENDENCY TO NOT STAY WITH OUR BUDGET. IF WE WERE TO STAY WITH SPENDING INCREASES THAT DID NOT EXCEED THE 1% OR 2% THAT'S IN THE BUDGET OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS NOW, ACCORDING TO THE BUDGET PASSED LAST YEAR, WE WOULD SEE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON SPENDING. UNFORTUNATELY, IN THE LAST -- LAST YEAR, WE HAD BILLS LIKE AGRICULTURE INCREASED AT 10%. WE HAD BILLS LIKE INTERIOR GETTING ABOUT 15% OR 20%. WE HAD BILLS LIKE E.P.A., ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, 30% INCREASE. STATE DEPARTMENT, 30% INCREASE. AND 30% INCREASE IN A BUDGET, THE BUDGET IS GOING TO DOUBLE IN ABOUT THREE OR FOUR YEARS. IT'S 7% MONEY THAT WILL DOUBLE IN TEN YEARS, 7% INCREASE, SO I JUST WOULD SAY THIS IS A DANGEROUS THING. THIS WILL HELP US CONTAIN THAT SPENDING. THAT'S WHY SENATOR McCAPITAL GAIN KILL AND I ARE SO INTERESTED IN -- THAT'S WHY SENATOR McCASKILL AND I ARE SO INTERESTED IN THIS. SENATOR PRYOR HAS AN ALTERNATIVE, A SIDE BY SIDE, VOAS FOR OURS, NOT THEIRS, KIND OF AMENDMENT. I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS. HOPEFULLY I CAN SUPPORT IT, TOO. I UNDERSTAND IT MAY BE JUST A ONE-YEAR BINDING CAP. IT PROVIDES NO POINT OF ORDER TO WAIVE THE CAP. IT INCREASES SPENDING IN A NUMBER OF ACCOUNTS. ALSO, WE WILL LOOK AT THAT. I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT HIS, TOO. WHAT I WOULD SAY TO MY COLLEAGUES IS THE ADVANTAGE OF THE AMENDMENT THAT SENATOR McCASKILL AND I ARE OFFERING, IT'S A -- IT'S PROVEN PROCEDURE. IT REQUIRES A TWO-THIRDS VOTE TO BREAK THE BUDGET. IT ALLOWS US TO TELL OURSELVES, TELL OUR CONSTITUENTS AND REALLY THE WORLD FINANCIAL MARKETS THAT WE GET IT, WE'RE WILLING TO BEGIN TO CONTAIN THIS SPENDING, AND THAT WE CAN DO BETTER AND WE WILL DO BETTER IN THE FUTURE. THERE WILL BE OTHER STEPS THAT WE WILL TAKE, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT THIS AMENDMENT WILL BE ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT WE CAN DO IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO HELP CONTROL THE GROWTH OF SPENDING AND PUT US BACK ON THE TRACK IN THE 1990'S THAT LED TO ACTION SERVICE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THE SESSIONS-McCASKILL AMENDMENT. I BELIEVE IT'S THE RIGHT THING FOR OUR COUNTRY. IT'S A SIGNIFICANT STEP THAT WILL WORK. IT'S NOT GOING TO SOLVE ALL OUR PROBLEMS, BUT IT WILL BE A BIG HELP. I THANK THE CHAIR AND WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:34:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:35:01 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    I WOULD ASK IF SENATOR SESSIONS NOTES THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM? I'LL TRY…

    I WOULD ASK IF SENATOR SESSIONS NOTES THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM? I'LL TRY THAT AGAIN. DO YOU NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM?

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  • 04:35:16 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 04:35:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MR.

  • 04:38:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:39:01 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL IN PROGRESS BE VITIATED.

  • 04:39:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 04:39:07 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    I ASK THAT I BE RECOGNIZED TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS FOR SUCH…

    I ASK THAT I BE RECOGNIZED TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS FOR SUCH TIME AS I MAY CONSUME.

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  • 04:39:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:39:15 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I -- FIRST OF ALL, LET ME JUST SAY THAT I -- I REALLY DO…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I -- FIRST OF ALL, LET ME JUST SAY THAT I -- I REALLY DO LIKE ALL THE GUYS THAT I'M OPPOSING ON THIS LEGISLATION, AND I HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY CLOSE TO JIM DeMINT FOR QUITE SOME TIME. IT HAPPENS THAT SENATOR DeMINT AND I, ALMOST EVERY RATING THAT COMES ALONG, WE ARE CONSIDERED THE -- ALWAYS IN THE TOP FIVE MOST CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. IN FACT, I -- I WOULD TELL THE OCCUPIER OF THE CHAIR WHO ALREADY KNOWS THIS THAT JUST LAST WEEK, I WAS DECLARED BY THE "NATIONAL JOURNAL" REQUESTING TO BE THE MOST CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I SAY THAT BECAUSE I'M DISAGREEING WITH A LOT OF MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE -- HAVE COME FORTH TO TRY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT THEY CALL -- WHAT THEY CALL EARMARKS. LET ME TRY TO MAKE A COUPLE OF POINTS HERE I THINK ARE SIGNIFICANT. FIRST OF ALL, AN EARMARK, IF IT IS DEFEATED, IS A CURRENT, UNDERLYING BILL DOESN'T SAVE ONE SENT, NOT ONE. PEOPLE OUT THERE REALLY BELIEVE, AND I HAVE HEARD THE TALKS ON THE FLOOR HERE WHERE THEY SAY THAT THEY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE NEXT GENERATION AND ALL THAT. LOOK, I HAVE 20 KIDS AND GRANDKIDS. I'M THE GUY WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE NEXT GENERATION. SO WHEN YOU TRY TO MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING THAT IS SAVING MONEY AND DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE HORRIBLE SPENDING THAT IS GOING ON, IT'S NOT SINCERE BECAUSE AN EARMARK DOES NOT -- DOES NOT ADD MONEY. WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU KILL AN EARMARK IS REDIRECT OR YOU MIGHT SAY YOU HAVE AN EARMARK THAT YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT THEY PUT IN SO YOU'RE GOING TO RE-EARMARK IT TO SOMETHING ELSE. I WILL GIVE YOU A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES. NOW, THESE EXAMPLES HERE ARE OF -- I KNOW THE CHAIR IS FAMILIAR WITH THIS BECAUSE HE SERVES ON THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE. THERE ARE TWO EARMARKS THAT SENATOR McCAIN HAD. ONE WAS THE EARMARK FOR THE -- THE F-22 WHERE THE PRESIDENT HAD HAD AN AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR THE F-22. THAT'S A FIFTH GENERATION FIGHTER. AND HE WAS NOT -- AND I THOUGHT IT WAS NOT ENOUGH. SEVERAL OF US ADDED THE MORE, ABOUT $1.75 BILLION TO THAT PROGRAM. NOW, SENATOR McCAIN DID -- AND I RESPECT THE FACT THAT HE DISAGREED, WE DISAGREED ON THIS ISSUE, BUT HE HAD AN AMENDMENT TO STRIKE THAT EARMARK, WHICH WAS A SUCCESSFUL EFFORT. SO HE STRUCK IT. HOWEVER, THAT DIDN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT THE NDAA -- THAT'S THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT -- WAS STILL AT AT $679.8 BILLION, THE SAME AS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HAD THAT EARMARK NOT BEEN STRUCK. NOW, WHAT HAPPENS TO THAT MONEY? THAT WAS THE $1.75. WELL, THAT GOES BACK TO THE -- INTO THE DEFENSE SYSTEM, INTO THE PENTAGON WHERE THE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HIS PEOPLE CAN MAKE A DETERMINATION AS TO HOW TO SPEND THAT. NOW, USING ANOTHER EXAMPLE, VERY SIMILAR TO THAT, THE -- WHEN WE HAD THE APPROPS BILL, THAT WAS AUTHORIZATION, WHEN WE HAD THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL, IT WAS WAS $625.8 BILLION. WE HAD AN EARMARK -- YOU CAN CALL IT AN EARMARK AS WE INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WITHIN THE BILL AND WE OFFSET IT, TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF C-17'S. WE FELT IN OUR JUDGMENT THAT'S WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN BEEN $2.5 BILLION. THE -- AND SO SENATOR McCAIN TRIED TO GET THAT OUT OF IT, AND HE WAS UNSUCCESSFUL. NOW -- SO I HAVE GIVEN YOU TWO EXAMPLES, ONE WHERE YOU SUCCESSFULLY DEFEAT AN EARMARK, ONE WHERE YOU'RE NOT SUCCESSFUL, BUT NEITHER ONE CHANGES THE UNDERLYING BILL. SO FOR THAT REASON, IT JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN. ANOTHER ONE THAT HE HAD WAS HAVING TO DO WITH TRANSPORTATION, AND I RESPECT HIM, I DON'T AGREE WITH HIM, BUT HE HAD AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD STRIKE SOME THINGS FROM THE TRANSPORTATION BILL AMOUNTING TO ABOUT $1.7 BILLION, AND HE REDIRECTED THAT TO NEXTGEN. NEXTGEN IS A PROGRAM I'M VERY FAMILIAR WITH BECAUSE IT HAS TO DO WITH THE NEXT GENERATION OF AVIONICS AND ALL OF THAT. I KNOW THE CHAIR IS AWARE OF THIS THAT WHEN SENATOR GLENN RETIRED, THAT LEFT ME AS THE ONLY ACTIVE PILOT IN THE CHAMBER, COMMERCIAL PILOT. SO I STAY ON THOSE ISSUES, AND I FOUND OUT THAT I DISAGREED WITH SENATOR McCAIN ON THAT BECAUSE C.B.O. HAD SAID THAT WE CAN DO THE NEXTGEN WITHOUT THIS ADDITIONAL MONEY. I'M JUST SAYING -- THE POINT I'M TRYING TO MAKE IS THAT -- THAT ELIMINATING EARMARKS DOESN'T SAVE ANY MONEY. NOW, HERE'S ANOTHER THING THAT I THINK IS SIGNIFICANT. SEAN HANNITY HAD A THREE-NIGHT REPORT THAT I REALLY ENJOYED, AND WHAT HE DID, HE HAD A LIST OF 102 EARMARKS, AND HE WENT DOWN THESE EARMARKS AND EVERYONE ENJOYED IT. LAST NIGHT HE HAD THE LAST 20. SO HE WENT EARMARK NUMBER 20, THEN 19, 18, 17, 16, ALL THE WAY DOWN TO EARMARK NUMBER ONE. THERE ISN'T TIME TO GO OVER ALL 102 OF THESE. I DID THIS ON MONDAY ON THE FLOOR, BY THE WAY, BUT THERE ARE SUCH THINGS AS THE $3.4 MILLION TO FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO BUILD AN E ECOPASSAGE TO ALLOW TURTLES TO CROSS UNDER THE HIGHWAY SO THEY WOULDN'T GET HIT BY A CAR. $450,000 FOR 22 CONCRETE TOILETS IN THE MARK TWAIN NATIONAL FOREST, ANOTHER EARMARK. $325,000 TO STUDY THE MATING DECISIONS OF FEMALE CACTUS BUGS. THAT WAS ANOTHER ONE. THIS COUNTRY NEEDS THAT, OF COURSE. $300,000 TO BUY A HELICOPTER EQUIPPED WITH -- EQUIPPED TO DETECT RADIOACTIVE RABBIT DROPPINGS. $400,000 TO STUDY BY ADULTS WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDERS SPOKE MORE THAN OTHER ADULTS. THIS IS ONE THAT REALLY WOUND ME UP. $500,000 IN A GRANT TO A RESEARCHER NAMED IN THE CLIMATEGATE SCANDAL. SO HERE'S A GUY THAT HAS BEEN COOKING THE SCIENCE, WE'RE GOING HIM HALF A MILLION DOLLARS. $500,000 TO STUDY THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING ON WILDFLOWERS IN COLORADO. ANYWAY, I COULD GO THROUGH ALL 10 OF THEM, BUT THERE IS -- THROUGH ALL 102 OF THEM, BUT THIS IS ONE THING THEY HAVE IN COMMON. NOT ONE OF THESE 102 WAS A CONGRESSIONAL EARMARK. THESE WERE ALL PRESIDENTIAL OR BUREAUCRATIC EARMARKS. THERE'S WHERE THE PROBLEM IS. BUT THEY WON'T TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN DUPED INTO THINKING THAT BE CONGRESSIONAL EARMARKS ARE A PROBLEM. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED OVER IN THE OTHER HOUSE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. AND I'M CRITICIZING MY OWN REPUBLICANS NOW. THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS ALL GOT TOGETHER, AND THEY PUT A RESOLVE. LISTEN TO THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. THEY SAID, "IT IS THE POLICY OF THE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE THAT NO MEMBER SHALL REQUEST A CONGRESSIONAL 50ER78 -- EARMARK, LIMITED TAX TARIFF AS SUCH RULE USED IN CLAUSE 9, RULE 21 OF THE RULES OF THE HOUSE." THAT FINALLY DEFINES WHAT AN EARMARK IS. I WAS THANKFUL FOR THAT, EVEN THOUGH THEIR POLICY WAS BAD AT LEAST THEY TALKED ABOUT WHAT AN EARMARK IS. HERE'S WHAT IT IS. APPLIES TO ALL LEGISLATION IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WHETHER IT BE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROPRIATION. THAT'S WHAT WE DO FOR A LIVING AROUND HERE. AND SO, I TOOK THE TIME, THERE'S NO DOCUMENT THAT NOBODY PAYS ANY ATTENTION TO ANYMORE. IT'S CALLED THE CONSTITUTION. AND IF YOU LOOK UP ARTICLE 1, SECTION 9, OF THE CONSTITUTION, IT SAYS "NO MONEY SHALL BE DRAWN FROM THE TREASURY, BUT IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE BY LAW." THAT'S US. BESIDES, IF YOU'RE A MEMBER STUDYING ABOUT THIS, I KNOW YOU DO, I SAY TO THE CHAIR, BECAUSE WE'VE TALKED ABOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONSTITUTION. IT WAS JAMES MADISON WHO IS THE FATHER OF THE CONSTITUTION. AND HE IS THE ONE WHO CAME UP WITH THE THREE COEQUAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. COEQUAL -- JUDICIARY, EXECUTIVE, US, THEM -- LEGISLATIVE. HE IS THE ONE WHO COINED THE PHRASE "POWER OF THE PURSE." THAT WAS HIS, JAMES MADISON. IF YOU READ "THE FEDERALIST" PAPERS, IT MADE IT VERY CLEAR WHAT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO DO. WHAT WE IN THE HOUSE, WE IN THE SENATE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO IS PASS THE LAWS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO HAVE APPROPRIATIONS AND AUTHORIZATION. I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. THE CHAIR AND I ARE BOTH ON THE DEFENSE -- WELL, IT'S THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE. THAT'S AN AUTHORIZATION COMMITTEE. SO WE GO THROUGH AND WE STUDY WHAT DO WE NEED TO DEFEND AMERICA? MISSILE DEFENSE, FOR EXAMPLE. WE NEED TO HAVE REDUNDANCY IN ALL PHASES, THE BOOST PHASE, MIDCOURSE PHASE, TERMINAL PHASE, ALL THESE THINGS THAT ARE VERY COMPLICATED THAT WE CAN'T EXPECT THE PUBLIC TO BE AWARE OF BECAUSE THEY ARE OUT TOO BUSY MAKING MONEY FOR ALL THIS FUN WE'RE HAVING UP HERE. SO WE HAVE THIS AUTHORIZATION. THAT'S WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. THEN APPROPRIATIONS. AFTER WE AUTHORIZE SOMETHING AND STUDY AS TO WHETHER OR NOT IT SHOULD HAVE A TOP PRIORITY, THEN WE GO AHEAD AND HAVE AN APPROPRIATION TO PUT IT INTO LAW. WELL, THAT'S, AGAIN, WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. THE CONSTITUTION TELLS US THAT WE HAVE TO APPROPRIATE AND AUTHORIZE. THE OATH OF OFFICE, EVERYONE IN HERE HAS TAKEN AN OATH OF OFFICE. IN THAT OATH, WE SAY "WE SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND BEAR TRUE ALLEGIANCE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES." NOW, WAIT A MINUTE, THEY ARE GOING TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, BUT THEY JUST SAID BY THEIR OWN RESOLUTION THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BREAK THE CONSTITUTION. I JUST LOOK AT THIS, AND I THINK ABOUT HOW PEOPLE, IF THEY ONLY KNEW THAT THIS WAS GOING ON, IF THEY ONLY KNEW THAT ALL THESE EARMARKS THAT SEAN HANNITY TALKED ABOUT, ALL 102 OF THEM CAME FROM UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS, PEOPLE NOT RESPONSIBLE. THERE WAS AN INTERESTING ARTICLE IN "THE HILL" MAGAZINE THE OTHER DAY. IT WAS FEBRUARY 4 WHERE THEY SAID LOBBYISTS ARE NOW GOING TO FEDERAL AGENCIES BECAUSE OF ALL THESE EFFORTS BECAUSE OF THE EARMARKS AND ALL THAT. SO WE'VE TURNED OVER AND GIVEN TO THAT ELECTED BUREAUCRATS WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING UNDER OUR SWORN OATH. NOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE -- I KNOW SENATOR McCAIN IS GOING TO HAVE AN AMENDMENT COMING UP TOMORROW, AND I'M GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN THAT. BUT I WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST THAT PEOPLE WHO TALK ABOUT NOT DOING EARMARKS HAVE DONE EARMARKS. IN THE CASE OF SENATOR McCAIN, THERE'S AN ARTICLE CALLED "McCAIN BREAKS OWN PORK RULE." THIS IS BACK, I THINK IT IS NOVEMBER 7 OF 2003. THEN WE HAVE SENATOR DeMINT WHO -- AGAIN, I REALLY VALUE HIM AS ONE OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS. I REMEMBER WHEN I WENT DOWN -- HE WAS FIRST RUNNING FOR OFFICE. I WENT DOWN TO SOUTH CAROLINA, AND THEY TALKED ABOUT HOW ROADS WERE SO IMPORTANT DOWN THERE, AND HE SWORE HE WOULD SUPPORT THEM. HE DID; HE KEPT HIS WORD. THESE ARE EARMARKS, SENATOR DeMINT, $10,000 FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF I-73 IN MYRTLE BEACH. $15 MILLION TO WIDEN U.S. 278 TO SIX LANES. $10 MILLION ENGINEERING DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF A POOR ACCESS ROAD. $10 MILLION IMPROVEMENTS TO THE US-17. $5 MILLION WIDENING THE SC-9, WHATEVER THAT IS. $3 MILLION TO COMPLETE THE CONSTRUCTION. THESE ARE EARMARKS THAT WERE DONE BY SENATOR DeMINT, AND I DON'T BLAME HIM. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. I'VE DONE THE SAME THING. YOU ADD ALL THESE EARMARKS ON JUST THAT BILL, IT COMES TO $110 MILLION. NOW, THAT'S SENATOR DeMINT'S EARMARKS ON THAT ONE BILL. WHAT I'M SAYING IS THESE GUYS ALL EARMARKED, BUT SOMEHOW THE PUBLIC THINKS THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH EARMARKS. I SAID DEFINE EARMARKS. BE AS HONEST AS THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SAYS EARMARKS ARE AUTHORIZATIONS AND APPROPRIATIONS. I THINK THAT WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS REMEMBER WHAT OUR JOBS ARE HERE. AGAIN, THE THING THAT FROM US ME IS THERE ARE -- THAT FROM YOUS ME IS THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WRITING EDITORIALS THAT SAY SOMEHOW YOU'VE GOT TO CUT SPENDING. THEY DON'T CUT ANY SPENDING. ZERO. ELIMINATING AN EARMARK TRANSFERS IT FROM OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. SO I'M HOPING THE PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND THIS. YOU KNOW, I'M REMINDED, THERE'S SOME -- I CAN REMEMBER SEVEN, EIGHT YEARS AGO THAT I THOUGHT -- EVERYONE HAD SAID AT THAT TIME THAT GLOBAL WARMING WAS CAUSED BY MANMADE GASES, ANTHROPOGENIC GASES, Co2, METHANE. I THOUGHT IT MUST BE TRUE, MUST BE TRUE. UNTIL THE WHARTON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS CAME ALONG. THEY DID A STUDY DURING THE KYOTO TREATY DAYS. THEY SAID WHAT WOULD IT COST AMERICA IF WE WERE TO SIGN A RATIFY THAT TREATY AND LIVE BY ITS EMISSIONS RESTRICTIONS. THE RANGE THEY GAVE US WAS BETWEEN $300 BILLION AND $400 BILLION A YEAR. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT $300 BILLION AND $400 BILLION A YEAR. I SEE MY FRIEND FROM ARKANSAS OVER HERE. I WOULD SUGGEST TO YOU THAT THAT $300 BILLION TO $400 BILLION A YEAR WOULD COST EVERY TAXPAYER THAT HE HAS WHO FILES A RETURN IN THE STATE OF ARKANSAS JUST UNDER $3,000 A YEAR. THAT'S WHAT IT WOULD COST. ANYWAY, WE DIDN'T SIGN, RATIFY THAT. ALONG CAME IN 2003 THE McCAIN-LIEBERMAN BILL, ANOTHER CAP-AND-TRADE BILL TO DO ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THING THAT KYOTO DID. THEN THE McCAIN-LIEBERMAN BILL IN 2005 AND THE WARNER-LIEBERMAN BILL IN 2008 AND THE SANDERS-BOXER BILL, I GUESS TWARBGS IN 2009. ALL OF -- I GUESS IT WAS IN 2009. ALL OF THESE THINGS HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON AND THAT IS CAP-AND-TRADE. RIGHT NOW SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM AND SENATOR JOHN KERRY ARE TRYING TO CHANGE THE WORDS, NOT USE CAP-AND-TRADE. ESSENTIALLY IT'S GOING TO BE CAP-AND-TRADE. ALL OF THAT WOULD HAVE COST BETWEEN $300 BILLION AND $4 HUNDRED BILLION A YEAR. I BRING THAT UP TO LET YOU KNOW IT IS PERTINENT TO THIS. I BROUGHT IT UP BECAUSE EIGHT YEARS AGO NOBODY BELIEVED ME WHEN I SAID IT'S GOING TO COST THAT MUCH MONEY AND IT'S NOT GOING TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING. THEN AS THE YEARS WENT BY, FINALLY THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY DIRECTOR THAT WAS APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION I HAD, I SAID, NOW, LET ME ASK YOU THIS QUESTION: IF WE WERE TO PASS THIS BILL -- THAT WAS THE MARKEY BILL -- THEY'RE ALL THE SAME. CAP-AND-TRADE IS CAP-AND-TRADE. HOW MUCH WOULD IT REDUCE THE EMISSIONS OF Co2? YOU KNOW WHAT HER ANSWER WAS? HER ANSWER WAS IT WOULDN'T REDUCE IT. COMMON SENSE TELLS US IT WOULDN'T. IF WE DO SOMETHING UNILATERALLY IN AMERICA, IT'S NOT GOING TO REDUCE IT WORLDWIDE. IF ANYTHING, IT WOULD INCREASE IT BECAUSE AS WE LOSE OUR JOBS HERE, THEY GO TO CHINA AND OTHER PLACES WHERE THEY'RE GENERATING MORE ELECTRICITY. THEN IT WOULD HAVE EFFECT OF INCREASING, NOT REDUCING THAT. IT TOOK AMERICA SEVEN YEARS -- I WAS A BAD GUY FOR SEVEN YEARS BECAUSE IN ADVANCE I SAID THIS IS WHAT IT WAS GOING TO COST, AND IT WAS A PHONY ISSUE. FINALLY THEY AGREED. I'M HOPING -- THIS HAS ALREADY ENDURED THREE YEARS. I'VE BEEN TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO PEOPLE FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS YOU DON'T SAVE MONEY IF YOU ADDRESS EARMARKS. THE HOUSE HAS BEEN HONEST THEY DEFINED IT AS APPROPRIATIONS AND AUTHORIZATION, WHICH THE CONSTITUTION TELLS US WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. THE POINT I'M MAKING IS KILLING EARMARK DOESN'T SAVE A CENT. EVERYBODY WHO SAYS THEY'RE AGAINST EARMARKS HAS BEEN INTRODUCING EARMARKS. THE BOTTOM LINE IS WE NEED TO REALLY ADDRESS SOMETHING MEANINGFUL. SO WHAT I'VE DONE IS I HAVE CAUSED TO INTRODUCE A BILL THAT WOULD DO WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID HE WAS GOING TO DO, AND THAT IS FREEZE THE NON-DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING AT THE 2010 LEVELS. THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH THAT IS HE INCREASED IT IN HIS BUDGET BY 20%. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT INCREASING THE NONDISCRETIONARY, OR THE KREGSARY NON-DEFENSE -- THE DISCRETIONARY NON-DEFENSE SPENDING AFTER YOU'VE INCREASED IT BY 20%. I INTRODUCED A BILL THAT SAID LET'S TAKE IT BACK. THIS PRESIDENT IS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT WHAT HE INHERITED FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. WHA E WHAT DID HE INHERIT? -- WHAT DID HE INHERIT? IN 2008 THE AMOUNT OF MONEY CALLED DISCRETIONARY SPENDING WAS 20% LESS THAN 2010. IF IT'S GOOD FOR THE 2010, LET'S BRING IT DOWN TO 2008. WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY THAT WOULD SAVE JUST UNDER $1 TRILLION IN THE NEXT TEN-YEAR BUDGET CYCLE. SO THAT'S THE ANSWER. THAT'S WHAT I THINK WE OUGHT TO BE DOING INSTEAD OF SITTING AROUND AND DECEIVING THE PUBLIC INTO THINKING THAT JUST BECAUSE THE MEDIA DOESN'T UNDERSTAND IT, THAT SOMEHOW EARMARKS ARE GOING TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING WORTHWHILE. WITH THAT, I WILL YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 04:56:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ARKANSAS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:56:43 PM

    MR. PRYOR

    SET ASIDE THE PENDING AMENDMENT AND CALL UP NUMBER 3548.

  • 04:56:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 04:56:54 PM

    THE CLERK

    FROM ARKANSAS, MR. PRYOR, FOR HIMSELF -- FOR MR. REID AND HIMSELF PROPOSES…

    FROM ARKANSAS, MR. PRYOR, FOR HIMSELF -- FOR MR. REID AND HIMSELF PROPOSES AN AMENDMENT NUMBERED 3548. MR.

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  • 04:57:16 PM

    MR. PRYOR

    PRESIDENT, MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW THAT THIS NATION IS IN A FISCAL CRISIS. I…

    PRESIDENT, MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW THAT THIS NATION IS IN A FISCAL CRISIS. I THINK ANYBODY THAT IS PAYING ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS UNDERSTANDS THAT, AND WE HAVE TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT DEFICIT REDUCTION. AND I BELIEVE THAT IN ORDER TO DO THAT, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE FULL PICTURE. WE CAN'T JUST LOOK AT DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. I WANT TO THANK THE PRESIDENT FOR SAYING HE WANTS TO FREEZE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. I THINK WE NEED TO DO THAT. IT'S A HARD DECISION. IT'S GOING TO BE UNPOPULAR. BUT WE NEED TO START TAKING STEPS LIKE THAT. I ALSO WANT TO THANK SENATORS SESSION AND McCASKILL BECAUSE THEY'VE OFFERED AN AMENDMENT WE'RE GOING TO VOTE ON HERE IN A FEW MINUTES, THAT IT FREEZES DISCRETIONARY SPENDING AND PUTS A CAP ON IT. AND IT'S FOR FISCAL YEARS 2011, 2012 AND 2013. I VOTED FOR THAT IN PREVIOUS VERSIONS ON A COUPLE OF OCCASIONS, AND I STILL SUPPORT THE CONCEPT. BUT I THINK THAT IN ORDER FOR US TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER, WE HAVE TO PUT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE. AND I THINK THAT'S REALLY THE BOTTOM LINE, IS WHEN WE DO THE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE THING, IT'S GOING TO BE HARD, IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFICULT POLITICALLY. IT'S GOING TO TAKE DETERMINATION AND POLITICAL WILL. BUT WE HAVE TO PUT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE. THE MULTIYEAR DISCRETIONARY SPENDING CAPS WERE A KEY PART OF THE 1990, 1993, AND 1997 DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGES. HOWEVER, ONE OF THE DIFFERENCES IN THOSE PACKAGES AND WHAT SENATOR SESSIONS AND McCASKILL ARE OFFERING TODAY IS THOSE DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGES LOOKED AT ALL SPENDING: MANDATORY AND DISCRETIONARY AS WELL AS REVENUES. AND SO THAT'S WHAT MY AMENDMENT, THE REID-PRYOR AMENDMENT THAT WE'LL ALSO VOTE ON THIS AFTERNOON, THAT'S WHAT MY AMENDMENT DOES. IT PUTS EVERYTHING, ALMOST EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE. WE JUST HAVE TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT FISCAL DISCIPLINE AND RESTORING FISCAL ORDER HERE IN THE U.S. THERE WAS A STORY IN YESTERDAY'S "NEW YORK TIMES." I'M SURE IT WAS WIDELY REPORTED THAT MOODY'S IS CONSIDERING DOWN GRADING OUR BOND RATING, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT'S BOND RATING FROM A TRIPLE-A DOWN TO SOMETHING LOWER BECAUSE OF THE ENORMOUS NATIONAL DEBT THAT WE HAVE. BY ESTABLISHING LIMITS ONLY ON DISCRETIONARY FUNDING SOURCES, WE GREATLY REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF ANY BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT THAT WE COULD MAKE IN THIS CHAMBER TO FIX OUR LONG-TERM DEFICITS AND OUR LONG-TERM DEBT PROBLEM. I THINK FOR US TO REALLY FIX THIS AND TO GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE, WE HAVE TO APPROACH THIS IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. MY CONCERN IS IF WE JUST DO DISCRETIONARY SPENDING, WE'LL NEVER GET TO A BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT. THE OTHER THING ABOUT THIS, IF THE PRYOR AMENDMENT WERE ADOPTED -- OR THE REID-PRYOR AMENDMENT WERE ADOPTED TODAY, I THINK THE MARKETS WOULD LIKE IT. I THINK WALL STREET AND THE THE GLOBAL MARKETS AND ALL THESE FOLKS LIKE MOODIES AND ALL THESE OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE WATCHING WOULD SEE THIS AS A VERY POSITIVE SIGNAL AND WOULD HELP THE U.S. ECONOMY IN MANY WAYS BEYOND JUST THE PURE NUMBERS IN THE BUDGET. I TRUST THE MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM. I TRUST THAT THEY WILL PROVIDE VERY VIABLE OPTIONS AND SOLUTIONS, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO THEIR HEARINGS AND ALL OF THEIR SUGGESTIONS AS THEY GO THROUGH THIS YEAR TO TRY TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE FISCAL CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE. THE SENATE HAS SIX MEMBERS ON THIS COMMISSION -- SENATORS BAUCUS, COBURN, CONRAD, CRAPO, DURBIN AND GREGG. ALL OF THESE BRING GREAT EXPERIENCE. THEY ALL BRING GREAT DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE ON THESE ISSUES TO THE COMMISSION, AND I THINK THAT I'M FRAID THAT IF WE -- I'M AFRAID THAT IF WE DO THE CAP ON DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LIKE WE TALKED ABOUT BEFORE THAT IT MIGHT ACTUALLY SERVE TO UNDERMINE THE COMMISSION'S VERY CHALLENGING WORK. I HAVE A CHART HERE THAT JUST LAYS OUT A FEW THINGS. THIS ACTUALLY COMES FROM "C.Q. TODAY" FROM TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2. IT PAINTS A COUPLE OF PICTURES THAT I THINK WE NEED TO EMPHASIZE TODAY AS WE COMPARE THESE TWO AMENDMENTS. THE FIRST PICTURE IS THIS -- JUST THESE PIE CHARTS. AND I DON'T KNOW IF THE CAMERAS ARE PICK THESE UP FOR FOLKS BACK HOME, BUT YOU SEE THESE TWO PIE CHARTS HERE, AND THESE ARE THE 2011 REVENUE ESTIMATES, THESE ARE THE 2011 PROPOSED OUTLAYS. NOW, ONE THING THAT I THINK IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT IS THAT WHEN WE LOOK AT THE SESSIONS-McCASKILL AMENDMENT, YOU CAN SEE THIS PURPLE SPLICE OF THE PIE RIGHT HERE. YOU CAN SEE THAT IT'S MUCH LESS THAN HALF OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET. YOU CAN SO THAT VERY EASILY. BUT IN THE FINE PRINT HERE, THIS IS DISCRETIONARY SPENDING, AND THAT'S NON-DEFENSE, NATIONAL DEFENSE, AND THE INTEREST -- EXCUSE ME, NON-DEFENSE AND NATIONAL DEFENSE RIGHT THERE. AND OF COURSE THEY'RE CARVING OUT FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE, SO REALLY MY GUESS IS THEY'RE ONLY TALKING ABOUT -- I'LL GUESS -- 20% OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET. I'M NOT QUITE SURE HOW MUCH. SO THEY'RE TRYING TO FIX ALL OF OUR PROBLEM WITH JUST ABOUT 20% OF THE BUDGET. WHAT OUR PROPOSAL DOES IS IT ACTUALLY INCLUDES ALMOST EVERYTHING IN THIS PIE. INSTEAD OF SAYING 20%, PROBABLY 80%, 85%, 90% OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET WILL BE INCLUDED IN TRYING TO ADDRESS THE FISCAL CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE. THE OTHER THING I WANTED TO POINT OUT IS THIS CHART THAT'S BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME -- I'VE SEEN THIS IN MANY DIFFERENT VERSIONS, MANY DIFFERENT PUBLICATIONS -- AND YOU SEE THE CHAFORT OUR DEFICIT SPENDING. STARTING WITH THE JIM CHE CARTER ADMINISTRATION, GOING THROUGH THE REAGAN YEARS, THE GEORGE W. BUSH YEARS, THE CLINTON YEARS, THE GEORGE W. BUSH YEARS AND OF COURSE THE OBAMA YEARS. THE OBAMA YEARS ARE MOSTLY PROJECTIONS. IN THE PURPLE LINES ALL DOWN HERE UNDER ZERO -- THOSE ARE OUR DEFICITS, AND THEN THEY ACTUALLY GO UP DURING THE CLINTON YEARS ABOVE ZERO, WE GO INTO SURPLUS SPENDING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONG, LONG TIME PAYING OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT, TRYING TO BE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE, MAKING DUFF CHOICES. NOT EVERYBODY IS HAPPY ABOUT THAT, BUT TRYING TO DO THAT. THEN YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS HERE AFTER 2000 WHERE WE -- OUR NUMBERS JUST PLUMMET. AND THIS YELLOW LINE -- MAYBE IT'S HARD TO PICK UP ON TELEVISION -- IS THE -- AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P. BUT NONETHELESS YOU SEE THIS SHARP DROPOFF, THEN YOU SEE THIS SHARP DROPOFF. AND SO WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THIS PRESIDENT CAME INTO OFFICE, PRESIDENT OBAMA, HE DID INHERIT A LOT OF PROBLEMS, A LOT OF FISCAL PROBLEMS, BUT IT ALSO IS, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE OF THE RECESSION, BECAUSE OF THE NEAR-GLOBAL COLLAPSE, GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, BECAUSE OF TWO WARS, AND JUST BECAUSE OF SOME OF THESE FISCAL POLICIES IN THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION, AND BECAUSE OF THE STIMULUS AND BECAUSE OF SOME OF HIS PRIORITIES, THAT YOU SEE THE NUMBERS GOING WAY DOWN. NOW, TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CREDIT, HE'S MOVING THE PURPLE LINES BACK UP, AND THAT'S GREAT. BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH. IT'S NOT U.N. WE NEED TO MOVE THESE LINES ON UP HERE AND WE NEED TO GET ABOVE ZERO. WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO SURPLUSES IN THIS GOVERNMENT SO THAT WE CAN PAY OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT AND DO THIS BEFORE OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN ARE STUCK WITH US LIVING BEYOND OUR MEANS. I THINK THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE. I THINK THAT THE REID-PRYPRYOR AMENDMENT IS THE AMENDMENT THAT DOES THAT. WE CAN TALK ABOUT HOW, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE AN ANNUAL DEFICIT THIS YEAR OF $1.-- I THINK IT'S $1.2 TRILLION. I'VE FORGOTTEN THE NUMBER. WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE NATIONAL DEBT, $13 TRILLION AND GROWING EVERY SINGLE YEAR. WE HAVE TO GET THAT TURNED AROUND. WE ARE ON AN UNSUSTAINABLE COURSE. WE'VE HEARD THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE, THE RANKING MEMBER OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE. WE'VE HEARD PEOPLE SAY WE'RE ON AN UNSUSTAINABLE COURSE. SO I WOULD ASK THAT MY COLLEAGUES LOOK AT THE REID-PRYOR AMENDMENT. IT -- IN SOME WAYS IT'S STRUCTURED LIKE WHAT SENATOR SESSIONS AND SENATOR McCASKILL HAVE OFFERED. AGAIN, I VOTED FOR PREVIOUS VERSIONS OF THAT I THINK THEY CHANGED IT A LITTLE BIT. THE GREATEST LIABILITY FOR THE SESSIONS-McCASKILL AMENDMENT IS IT DOESN'T TAKE IN THE WHOLE PICTURE. JUST LIKE THIS PIE CHART. WHAT I THINK WE NEED TO DO IF WE'RE GOING TO GET SERIOUS, GET SERIOUS ABOUT FIXING OUR FISCAL EQUATION, WE HAVE TO PUT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE. THAT'S DISCRETIONARY SPENDING, MANDATORY SPENDING, AS WELL AS REVENUES. WE HAVE TO PUT IT ALL ON THE TABLE AND WORK ON THIS TOGETHER HOPEFULLY IN A VERY BIPARTISAN WAY. EVEN IF OUR AMENDMENT WAS TO PASS THIS EVENING, IT DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE OUT OF THE WOODS YET. REALLY WHAT IT DOES IS IT SETS THE TABLE FOR THE DEFICIT COMMISSION AND OTHERS IN FUTURE CONGRESSES TO COME IN AND DO THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO, AND GET US BACK WHERE WE NEED TO BE. THE LAST POINT I WANT TO MAKE ABOUT THIS CHART RIGHT HERE IS IF YOU LOOK AT THIS PURPLE LINE, THIS CHART IS BASICALLY A GRAPH OF POLITICAL COURAGE. THAT'S WHAT THIS IS. BECAUSE THE EASIEST THING IN THE WORLD FOR A POLITICIAN TO DO, THE EASIEST THING TO A POLITICIAN TO DO IS TO CUT TAXES AND RAISE SPENDING. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU SEE ON THIS CHART. YOU SEE TAX TAX CUTS COMING IN AT VARIOUS TIMES, AND YOU SEE SPENDING GOING UP AT VARIOUS TIMES AND THAT'S WHEN THESE PURPLE NUMBERS GET WAY OUT OF BALANCE IS WHEN CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU SEE ON THAT CHART. AND THAT'S WHY WE'RE IN THIS SITUATION TODAY. IT'S NOT ONE PRESIDENT'S FAULT. I DON'T WANT TO BLAME IT ALL ON THIS PRESIDENT OR A PREVIOUS PRESIDENT. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR A LONG TIME. IT IS NOT ONE CONGRESS'S FAULT. IT'S BEEN GOING ON FOR A LONG TIME. BUT WE HAVE TO HAVE THE POLITICAL WILL TO CHANGE THE WAY WEWE DO THINGS AROUND HERE AND I HOPE THAT TONIGHT WILL BE A VERY IMPORTANT STEP IN THAT PROCESS. I HOPE THAT MY COMPLETION ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE WILL -- I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDE OF THE AISLE WILL LOOK AT THE REID-PRYOR AMENDMENT -- IT CONTAINS ALL THREE FIXES -- AND THAT'S DISCRETIONARY SPENDING, MANDATORY SPENDING, AS WELL AS REVENUES -- TO TRY TO GET THIS PASSED TONIGHT AND GET US MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. MR. CHAIRMAN, THINK WE'RE WAITING ON SENATOR INOUYE. WHAT THE REID-PRYOR AMENDMENT DOES IS IT FREEZES ALL DISCRETIONARY SPENDING CAPS AT THE LEVELS PROPOSED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011. IT FREEZES ALL DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LEVEL CAPS FOR YEARS 2012, AND 2013 AT 40% OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET PROPOSAL AND LAST YEAR'S BUDGET RESOLUTION AND THE REASON WE DO THAT IS BECAUSE SENATOR SESSIONS AND McCASKILL, THEY USED LAST YEAR'S BUDGET NUMBERS AND IT MAY BE FAIR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THIS YEAR WE'RE SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE THERE. THE THIRD THING IS THESE TWO FREEZES WILL REDUCE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING BY AT LEAST $77 BILLION OVER THREE YEARS. REDUCE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING BY $77 BILLION OVER THREE YEARS. A PRETTY SUBSTANTIAL CUT. AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT DISCRETIONARY SPENDING, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT MOSTLY THE POPULAR PROGRAMS THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS. IT MAY BE THINGS LIKE AUTO SAFETY, IT MAY BE THINGS LIKE CHILD PRODUCT SAFETY, MAYBE THINGS LIKE THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION AND SOME OF THE OVERSIGHT THEY HAVE, IT COULD BE THE A.H. E.P.A. CLEAN DRINK WATER, CLEAN AIR. THOSE KINDS OF THINGS. SO WE'RE DOING CUTS THERE. THOSE ARE GOING TO HURT. PEOPLE AREN'T GOING TO BE HAPPY WITH THAT. BUT ALSO IT REQUIRES THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM TO FIND AT LEAST AN ADDITIONAL $77 BILLION OF DEFICIT REDUCTIONS OVER THE THREE YEARS TO CLOSE THE GAP BETWEEN THE PROJECTED REVENUES AND ENTITLEMENT SPENDING. SO IT BASICALLY SAYS THAT THEY HAVE TO FIND SOME SPENDING CUTS AS THEY DO THEIR WORK. IT ALSO REQUIRES CONGRESS TO ENACT THE DEBT COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATIONS BY JANUARY 2 OF 2011 FOR FISCAL YEARS 2012 AND 2013, DISCRETIONARY SPENDING CAPS TO GO INTO EFFECT. AND IT HAS A SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF DEFICIT REDUCTION BY THE DEBT COMMISSION SHALL BE AT LEAST EQUAL TO THE REDUCTIONS IN DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. SO, ONE OF THE DIFFERENCES IN THE REID-PRYOR AMENDMENT AND THE SESSIONS-McCASKILL AMENDMENT IS THEIRS REALLY IS JUST ABOUT SPENDING. AND, LISTEN, SPEND SOMETHING IMPORTANT, AND THAT'S HALF OF THE EQUATION. YOU KNOW, WE ARE SPEANGDZ TOO MUCH MONEY. AND I -- WE'RE SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY. AND I RECOGNIZE THAT AND LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THAT. BUT THAT'S ONLY HALF OF THE EQUATION. THE OTHER HALF IS HOW MUCH WE'RE TAKING IN AND CAN WE DO BETTER AND SMARTER ALL AROUND THE BOARD AND PUT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE TO TRY TO FIX THIS? THE REAL PROBLEM WE FACE, IN MY VIEW, IS NOT JUST SPENDING ALONE, BUT IT'S THE SPENDING THAT IS LEADING TO THESE ENORMOUS DEFICITS EVERY YEAR, AND THIS ENORMOUS NATIONAL DEBT. SO I THINK THAT OUR APPROACH IS MORE COMPREHENSIVE. I THINK THAT IT'S FAIRER, AND I THINK THAT MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES, ONCE THEY SEE THE LANGUAGE OF THE LEGISLATION, HOPEFULLY THEY'LL CONSIDER VOTING FOR THAT. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:11:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 05:15:26 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:35:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 05:35:56 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:35:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:36:01 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    WHILE WE ARE CONTINUING TO WAIT AS WE HAVE SO PATIENTLY WAITED ALL DAY FOR…

    WHILE WE ARE CONTINUING TO WAIT AS WE HAVE SO PATIENTLY WAITED ALL DAY FOR AMENDMENTS TO BE OFFERED AND DEBATED AND VOTED UPON ON THE F.A.A. RE-AUTHORIZATION BILL, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER HAS REMAINED ON THE FLOOR MOST OF THIS DAY, AND THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION, SO IT'S DISAPPOINTING THAT IT HAS SLOWED DOWN AS HAS MOST OF THE ISSUES WE HAVE DEALT WITH OVER RECENT MONTHS IN THE PAST YEAR. BUT WHILE WE ARE WAITING, APPARENTLY WE WILL VOTE EITHER LATER TONIGHT OR MORE LIKELY TOMORROW ON A PIECE OF -- ON AN AMENDMENT, RATHER, TO THE F.A.A. RE-AUTHORIZATION BILL THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BILL. IT IS SO CHARACTERISTIC OF THE SENATE THAT WE BRING A BILL ON AIR SAFETY AND MODERNIZING THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM, ON ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE, ON PASSENGERS' BILL OF RIGHTS AND AMENDMENTS ARE OFFERED THAT HAVE NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THAT BUDGET, BUT THE RULES OF THE SENATE ALLOW THAT, SO LET ME AT LEAST TALK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT AN MEAMENT THAT WILL BE VOTED ON PROBABLY -- ON AN AMENDMENT THAT WILL BE VOTED ON PROBABLY NEXT AND PROBABLY TOMORROW, I GUESS, BY SENATOR SESSIONS AND SENATOR McCASKILL. I SNOW SENATOR SESSIONS SPOKE ABOUT THIS RECENTLY, AND HE USED A VERY LARGE CHART TO SHOW THE GROWTH IN FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICITS AND ALSO DEBT, AND THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE LEVEL OF BUDGET DEFICITS AND DEBT ARE UNSUSTAINABLE AND DANGEROUS TO THIS COUNTRY. THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. BUT WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO IS UNDERSTAND, NUMBER ONE, HOW DID WE GET HERE, AND NUMBER TWO, HOW DID WE GET TO A DIFFERENT DIRECTION THAT ADDRESSES THESE ISSUES. LET ME DESCRIBE JUST BRIEFLY THE FIRST PART AND THEN TO THE SECOND PART. TEN YEARS AGO, THERE WAS A BUDGET SURPLUS IN THIS COUNTRY. THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS, A BUDGET SURPLUS TEN YEARS AGO. AND THEN PRESIDENT BUSH WAS ELECTED AND PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH SAID AT THE TIME THERE IS A BUDGET SURPLUS AND IT'S EXPECTED NOW THAT THERE WILL BE A SURPLUS FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS, AND HE HAD ALAN GREENSPAN, THEN CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, WHISPERING IN HIS EAR, SAYING BY THE WAY, IF WE HAVE SURPLUSES FOR TEN YEARS, I WORRY A LOT ABOUT PAYING DOWN THE FEDERAL DEBT TOO QUICKLY. I WORRY THAT MAY BE A REAL PROBLEM FOR OUR ECONOMY. WELL, I HOPE HE DIDN'T SPEND A LOT OF SLEEPLESS NIGHTS WORRYING ABOUT THAT. HE NEED NOT HAVE, I GUESS. SO THE PRESIDENT THEN WITH THAT KIND OF COUNSEL SAID I'M GOING TO CUT TAXES AND I'M GOING TO CUT TAXES PERMANENTLY FOR TEN YEARS AT LEAST, AND WHAT I'M GOING TO DO IS I'M GOING TO CUT TAXES MOST FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT THIS ECONOMIC ENGINE WORKS BEST BY PUTTING SOMETHING IN AT THE TOP AND HAVING TO TRICKLE DOWN TO EVERYBODY ELSE. SO WE HAD A CUT PROPOSAL THAT WAS VERY, VERY GENEROUS TO THE PEOPLE AT THE TOP. I STOOD ON THIS FLOOR AND SAID I DON'T THINK THAT MAKES ANY SENSE AT ALL. I THINK WE OUGHT TO BE A LITTLE CONSERVATIVE HERE. FIRST OF ALL, THESE ARE BUDGET ESTIMATES OF SURPLUS. THEY DON'T EXIST. THEY ARE JUST ESTIMATES, ESTIMATES BY ECONOMISTS THAT CAN'T REMEMBER THEIR HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER, LET ALONE WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN THREE YEARS FROM NOW. AND SO LET'S BE A LITTLE CONSERVATIVE. THE PRESIDENT AND THOSE IN THE CHAMBER WHO VOTED FOR IT IN 2001 SAID NONSENSE. KATIE BAR THE DOOR, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE BUDGET SURPLUSES FOREVER. WE'RE GIVING BIG TAX CUTS AND YES WE'RE GIVING BIG TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHIEST BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONES THAT MAKE THIS ECONOMIC ENGINE HUM. AND THEY DID. I DIDN'T VOTE FOR IT. VERY SHORTLY THEN WE FOUND OUT WE WERE IN A RECESSION. THAT'S A PROBLEM. SIX MONTHS AFTER THAT, WE FOUND OUT THAT TERRORISTS WERE BENT ON INJURING THIS COUNTRY AND WE HAD THE 9/11 ATTACK THAT KILLED SEVERAL THOUSAND INNOCENT AMERICANS, AND THEN WE WERE AT WAR WITH TERRORISTS, AT WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, AND THEN AT WAR IN IRAQ. NONE OF IT PAID FOR, NOT A PENNY. WE SENT MEN AND WOMEN OFF TO FIGHT AND DIDN'T ASK ANYBODY TO PAY FOR A PENNY OF IT AND PUT ALL OF THOSE COSTS ON THE FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT, JUST PUT IT RIGHT ON TOP OF THE DEBT. IN THE MEANTIME, AS THAT DECADE, WHICH I THINK WILL BE KNOWN PERHAPS AS THE LOST DECADE OF LOST OPPORTUNITY IN SOME WAYS, AS IT MOVED ON, WE ALSO HAD PEOPLE COME INTO THIS TOWN WHO WERE TO BE REGULATORS AND WHO WERE PAID TO BE REGULATORS WHO BOASTED THAT YOU KNOW WHAT? WE'RE GOING TO BE WILLFULLY BLIND FOR A FEW YEARS HERE. YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT. WE WON'T WATCH, WE WON'T TELL. AND THE RESULT IS A FIELD DAY FOR THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL INTERESTS IN AMERICA, CREATING THE MOST EXOTIC FINANCIAL INTERESTS -- OR FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS SUCH AS CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS, C.D.O.'S, DERIVATIVES. BY THE WAY, SYNTHETIC DERIVATIVES. WHAT'S THAT MEAN? THAT MEANS YOU HAVE AN INSTRUMENT THAT HAS NOTHING ON EITHER SIDE. IT'S JUST FLAT-OUT GAMBLING. WE HAVE SOME OF THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT WE'RE SPENDING A DECADE TRADING TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF DERIVATIVES, ALL OF IT UNREGULATED BY HEDGE FUNDS THAT ARE UNREGULATED. AGAIN, MR. GREENSPAN, WHEN THOSE OF US IN THE SENATE PUSHED FOR SOME REGULATIONS, THEY DON'T NEED TO BE REGULATED. IT WILL ALL WORK OUT FINE. SELF-REGULATION. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING STUPID. SELF-REGULATION WILL WORK JUST FINE. IN THE MEANTIME, WE HAD THE HOUSING SCANDAL, THE HOME LOAN SCANDAL, MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MONEY IN SUBPRIME LOANS PUT OUT THERE, PEOPLE THAT COULDN'T AFFORD THEM BY COMPANIES MAKING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. MR. MAZILLO RAN COUNTRYWIDE, THE SINGLE LARGEST MORTGAGE BANK IN AMERICA. HE LEFT WITH A COUPLE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS. HE IS NOW UNDER INVESTIGATION. BUT THEY WERE CUT -- PUTTING LOANS OUT THERE, TEASER LOANS. BY THE WAY, THEY SAID IF YOU HAVE BAD CREDIT, NO CREDIT, DON'T PAY YOUR BILLS, SLOW PAY, NO PAY, COME TO US. WE WANT TO GIVE YOU A LOAN. ALL OF US UNDERSTAND THAT DOESN'T WORK, YET THAT'S WHAT WAS GOING ON. THEY WERE ALL AWASH IN MONEY BY MOVING ALL OF THESE ASSETS AROUND AND SECURITIES AROUND. UNBELIEVABLE. THAT'S THE SUBPRIME LOAN SCANDAL. SO ALL OF THIS TRANSPIRES AND THEN IT ALL COLLAPSES. WHEN YOU CREATE A HOUSE OF CARDS, THE SLIGHTEST LITTLE WIND BLOWS THE HOUSE OF CARDS DOWN. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. WE DISCOVERED THAT SOME OF THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY HAD MUCH MORE LEVERAGE THAN THEY WERE ABLE TO SUSTAIN, AND THE ENTIRE THING CAME CRASHING DOWN. THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD NOW HAS SPENT UNTOLD AMOUNTS OF MONEY -- UNTOLD BECAUSE THEY WON'T TELL US. WE HAVE ASKED AND THEY SAID YOU DON'T DESERVE TO KNOW NOR DO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW HOW MANY TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS HAVE GONE OUT THE BACK DOOR IN ORDER TO SUSTAIN INVESTMENT BANKS AND OTHERS WHO MADE BAD JUDGMENTS. BUT THE SO-CALLED TOO BIG TO FAIL INSTITUTIONS, THE NO-FAULT CAPITALISM, THEY WERE TOO BIG TO FAIL, SO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER GOT STUCK. THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER AND THE AMERICAN CITIZENS LOST ABOUT ABOUT $15 TRILLION IN VALUE AND AT THE SAME TIME HAD TO BAIL OUT BIG FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT HAD MADE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MONEY. AND BY THE WAY, RIGHT NOW, THEY'RE PAYING ONCE AGAIN BONUSES OF SOMEWHERE IN THE THE $120 BILLION, $140 BILLION IN SOME OF THOSE SAME INDUSTRIES, AND THEY'RE SHOWING RECORD PROFITS WHILE 15 MILLION TO 17 MILLION PEOPLE THIS MORNING WENT OUT AND LOOKED FOR WORK AND CAN'T FIND IT AND SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES ARE STILL HAVING DIFFICULTY. THOSE AT THE TOP, TOO BIG TO FAIL THAT GOT MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF GOVERNMENT HELP, ARE NOW MAKING RECORD PROFITS AND PAYING RECORD BONUSES. SO ALL OF THAT EXISTS. WELL, WHEN WE HIT THIS -- THIS DITCH, THIS FINANCIAL WRECK, WE LOST A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF INCOME COMING INTO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ABOUT $400 BILLION A YEAR. THE ECONOMIC STABILIZERS THAT YOU HAVE SUCH AS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, FOOD STAMPS AND OTHERS, THE COST OF THAT WENT WAY, WAY, WAY UP, AND HAD BARACK OBAMA WINNING THE PRESIDENCY DONE NOTHING WHEN HE WALKED ACROSS THE THRESHOLD INTO THE WHITE HOUSE FOR THE FIRST DAY, HAD HE DONE NOTHING FOR THE NEXT 10-12 MONTHS, NOTHING, HE WOULD HAVE HAD A IS.3 -- HE WOULD HAVE HAD A $1.3 TRILLION FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT. NOT OF HIS MAKING. THAT'S HIS INHERITANCE WHEN HE WON THE PRESIDENCY. SO WE HAVE THESE GIANT BUDGET DEFICITS. I FIND IT INTERESTING, PEOPLE COME OUT HERE AND TALK ABOUT THESE BIG BUDGET DEFICITS WHO HAVE SPENT THE LAST TEN YEARS SAYING YOU KNOW WHAT LET'S DO? LET'S GO AHEAD AND SEND MEN AND WOMEN TO WAR, AND WE'LL JUST CHARGE IT. WE WON'T ASK ANYBODY TO PAY FOR IT. RATCHETING UP THIS DEFICIT, HELPING CREATE THESE PROBLEMS, AND NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY ARE HAVING AN APOPLECTIC SEIZURE OVER THE BUDGET DEFICITS AND THE INCREASED LEVEL OF DEBT. WELL, WE SHOULD HAVE A SEIZURE OVER THAT BECAUSE IT'S UNSUSTAINABLE AND WE NEED TO FIX IT. THE QUESTION IS, UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAPPENED TO CREATE IT AND MAKING SURE THAT WE FIX IT SO IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN, THAT MEANS FINANCIAL REFORM, THAT MEANS PAYING FOR WARS THAT WE'RE FIGHTING AND SO ON, WHICH IS NOT HAPPENING YET. BUT EVEN MORE THAN THAT, THE QUESTION IS WHAT IS THE MEDICINE OR THE SOLUTION? SO OUR COLLEAGUES BRING AN AMENDMENT THAT WE'LL NOW VOTE ON TOMORROW THAT SAYS YOU KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD DO? LET U. FREEZE DOMESTIC DISCRETIONARY SPENDING FOR THREE YEARS, DOMESTIC DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. WELL, PEOPLE THAT DON'T WORK AROUND HERE DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS SO MUCH. WHAT THAT MEANS IS THEY'RE PROPOSING TO FREEZE THAT PORTION OF FEDERAL SPENDING THAT HAS NOT BLOWN THROUGH THE -- THE LID HERE. I MEAN, WHAT HAS -- IS OUT OF CONTROL ARE THE ENTITLEMENTS. I MEAN, MASSIVE INCREASES IN MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. WHAT -- WHAT IS OUT OF CONTROL IS THE SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN DEFENSE SPENDING THAT'S NOT PAID FOR. WHAT IS OUT OF CONTROL IS THE DRAMATICALLY LESS REVENUE THAT COMES FROM GIVING TAX CUTS TO PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T NEED IT. YOU KNOW, IF YOU OWN A -- IF YOU HAVE A -- A MILLION-DOLLAR INCOME A YEAR, WHICH WOULD BE A GOOD THING TO HAVE, AND YOU -- AND SOMEBODY SAYS, DO YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU JUST WON THE LOTTERY. OUR GOVERNMENT SAYS WE'RE GOING TO GIVE YOU A $79,000 TAX CUT. I MEAN, SO A PROPOSAL THAT SAYS, DO YOU KNOW WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO? WE'RE GOING TO TAKE THAT SMALLER PORTION OF THE BUDGET AND WE'RE GOING TO FREEZE THAT FOR THREE YEARS. YOU KNOW, THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT EDUCATE KIDS, THE SORT OF THINGS THAT -- THAT YOU INVEST IN PEOPLE'S LIFE AND HUMAN CAPITAL, HUMAN POTENTIAL, THE KIND OF THINGS THAT MAKE LIFE BETTER IN THIS COUNTRY, WE'RE GOING TO FREEZE ALL THAT BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO TOUCH ANYTHING ON THE REVENUE SIDE. NO, WE WANT TO PROTECT THOSE TAX CUTS FOR THE BIGGEST. WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING ON THE -- ON THE ENTITLEMENT AREAS, DESPITE THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, WE'VE GOT DRAMATIC GROWTH IN MEDICARE. THERE'S NOTHING IN THIS THAT SAYS LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT ALL SPENDING. THEY SAY LET'S JUST TAKE A LOOK AT A BIT OF SPENDING. AND THERE'S NOTHING IN THERE THAT SAYS LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT REVENUES. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT ALL OF THESE THING F. YOU ARE REALLY SERIOUS, IF YOU ARE REALLY A DEFICIT HAWK, YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN GETTING YOUR ARMS -- HANDS AROUND THIS DEFICIT PROBLEM AND GETTING RID OF THIS PROBLEM, THEN YOU'VE GOT TO BE SERIOUS OUT HERE AND SAY WE'RE GOING TO DO IT ALL. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT EVERY SINGLE AREA OF SPENDING AND WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT REVENUES AS WELL. LET ME JUST MENTION ONE EXAMPLE. SO IN 2008, THE HIGHEST INCOME EARNER, JUST PURE INCOME, IN AMERICA IS A MAN THAT MADE $3.6 BILLION. $3.6 BILLION RUNNING A HEDGE FUND. SO HE GOES HOME AT NIGHT AND HIS SPOUSE SAYS, HOW YOU DOING, HONEY? PRETTY GOOD, I MADE $10 MILLION TODAY. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY FOR A DAY, ISN'T IT? $3.6 BILLION, THAT'S $300 MILLION A MONTH, $10 MILLION A DAY. BUT THAT'S NOT HIS ONLY SUCCESS. IT WASN'T JUST THAT HE MADE $3.6 BILLION. IT WAS THAT HE GETS TO PAY A LOWER INCOME TAX THAN ALMOST ANYBODY IN THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, THE STATE OF THE PRESIDING OFFICER, BECAUSE MOST OF THE CONSTITUENTS OF THE PRESIDING OFFICER PAY INCOME TAX RATES THAT ARE MUCH HIGHER THAN 15%. BUT THAT $3.6 BILLION GETS TO PAY INCOME TAX RATES AT 15% BECAUSE IT'S DEFINED AS CARRIED INTEREST. NOW, THAT IS A LOOPHOLE THAT YOU CAN DRIVE A HUMVEE THROUGH. AND IT'S ONE THAT WE OUGHT TO CLOSE RIGHT NOW. SO YOU SAY YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE DEFICITS. HOW ABOUT MAKING SOMEBODY LIKE THAT PAY A FAIR SHARE OF TAXES? IF SOMEBODY'S THAT'S GOING TO GO TO WORK ALL DAY AS A DRILL PRESS OPERATOR AND COME HOME AND SHOWER AFTER WORK AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT, YOU KNOW, HOW THEY'RE GOING TO PAY THE BILLS AND SO ON, IF THAT PERSON'S PAYING 20%, 28%, 30%, 34% INCOME TAX RATE, HOW ABOUT THE PERSON THAT'S MAKING $3.6 BILLION? AND SO SOMEBODY WILL LISTEN AND SAY, AH, THAT'S THAT OLD POPULISM AGAIN. IT'S NOT POPULISM TO TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE NECESSARY AND RIGHT. IT'S NOT POPULISM. IT'S JUST DECIDING THAT EVERYBODY OUGHT TO BE TREATED FAIRLY. AND IT'S NOT FAIR IF THOSE THAT ARE AT THE LOW END OF THE INCOME LADDER ARE PAYING THE HIGHEST TAX RATES AND THOSE AT THE HIGH END ARE PAYING THE LOWEST TAX RATES. WARREN BUFFETT, THE SECOND OR THIRD RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD, A GUY THAT I REALLY LIKE, I'VE KNOWN FOR A LONG, LONG TIME, I THINK WARREN BUFFETT'S A WONDERFUL MAN. HE DID AN EXPERIMENT AT HIS OFFICE IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA, AND I THINK HE SAID THEY SOMETHING LIKE 20 OR 40 OR 50 PEOPLE WORKING AT BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY AT THE OFFICE. AND SO HE ASKED THEM, I BELIEVE VOLUNTARILY, TO DISCLOSE WHAT THEIR INCOME WAS, ALTHOUGH HIS COMPANY PAYS THEM, AND WHAT THEIR TAX RATE WAS. AND WHAT HE DISCOVERED WAS THIS. OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN HIS OFFICE, THE PERSON THAT PAID THE LOWEST COMBINED TAX RATE OF INCOME TAXES AND PAYROLL TAXES WAS THE THIRD OR SECOND WEALTHIEST MAN IN THE WORLD, WAR REPUBLICAN WARREN BUFFETT. HE AND PAID A LOWER TAX RATE THAN HIS RECEPTIONIST. AND WARREN BUFFETT SAID TO ME, THAT SO UNBELIEVABLY WRONG, IT HAS TO CHANGE. YOU ALL HAVE TO CHANGE THAT. I'M PAYING WHAT I SHOULD PAY, BUT HE SAID, IT'S NOT -- IT'S NOT RIGHT THAT YOU HAVE A TAX CODE THAT HAS ME PAYING A LOWER TAX RATE THAN THE RECEPTIONIST IN MY OFFICE. SO MY POINT SIMPLY IS THIS. WE COULD CHANGE THAT AND SHOULD AND INCREASE SOME REVENUE AS A RESULT BY MAKING THE TAX SYSTEM FAIR AND HAVING THOSE WHO SHOULD PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE. AND THAT'S ONE WAY TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT, ISN'T IT? EXCEPT IT WILL NEVER BE DONE WITH THIS RESOLUTION BECAUSE THIS RESOLUTION JUST LOOKS AT THAT PORTION OF THE BUDGET THAT WOULD BE USED TO FUND A SCHOOL OR TO BUILD A WATER PROJECT OR TO BUILD A FLOOD PROTECTION PROJECT. JUST THAT DOMESTIC DISCRETIONARY IN WHICH HE INVEST IN AMERICA. WELL, THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL. SENATOR PRYOR CAME TO THE FLOOR AND SAID HE'S GOING TO OFFER AN AMOUNT ACTIVE WHICH I'M GOING TO -- AN AMENDMENT WHICH I'M GOING TO SUPPORT, WHICH SAYS DON'T DELAY, DO IT NOW, TACKLE IT WITH SERIOUSNESS, NOT JUST TAKE ONE PIECE THAT HASN'T EXPLODED AND IGNORING THE OTHER PIECE, TAKE THE PIECE OF SPENDING, DOMESTIC DISCRETIONARY, THAT HAS NOT EXPLODED AND SAY, LET'S TAKE ALL THE SAVINGS OUT OF THERE. I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT. I UNDERSTAND THE MOTIVE. THE MOTIVE IS TO SAY WELL, WE'VE GOT A BUNCH OF PEOPLE THAT DON'T WANT TO TOUCH TAXES IN ANY WAY, EVEN ASKING THE $3.6 BILLION PERSON WHO PAYS A 15% RATE TO START PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE. I UNDERSTAND THEY WANT TO PROTECT THAT. I DON'T. I WANT THAT PERSON TO PAY A FAIR RATE OF TAXES TO OUR GOVERNMENT. THEY WOULD CALL THAT A TAX INCREASE. I DON'T. I THINK IT'S JUST EVENING UP THE SCORE, SAYING YOU WANT ALL THE BENEFITS AMERICA HAS TO OFFER BUT DON'T WANT TO PAY THE FULL OBLIGATION OF BEING A CITIZEN? SAME IS TRUE WITH SOME CORPORATE INTERESTS THAT DECIDE THEY WANT EVERYTHING AMERICA HAS TO OFFER THEM BUT THEY WANT TO RUN THEIR EMPLOYEES THROUGH THE GRAND CAYMANS SO THEY CAN AVOID PAYING PAYROLL TAXES. BY THE WAY, THE SAME PEOPLE THAT ARE PAYING 15% INCOME TAX RATE ON CARRIED INTEREST RUNNING HEDGE FUNDS ARE SETTING UP DEFERRED COMPENSATION ACCOUNTS IN THE BAHAMAS TO AVOID PAYING EVEN THAT 15%. SO IS THAT SOMETHING WE CAN SHUT DOWN? OF COURSE. WOULD THAT HELP REDUCE THE BUDGET DEFICIT? YES. IS THAT TACKLING DOMESTIC SPENDING -- THE DOMESTIC DISCRETIONARY? NO. IT'S MORE EFFECTIVE THAN DOING THAT BECAUSE WE KNOW WHERE THIS MONEY IS AND WE KNOW HOW WE CAN REDUCE THE BUDGET THIS WAY. I'M IN FAVOR OF TACKLING EVERY PART OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND SEEING WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T. THERE ARE A WHOLE NUMBER OF THINGS THAT THIS GOVERNMENT DOES THAT IT DOESN'T NEED TO DO ANYMORE. AND I'LL -- I KNOW THAT SENATOR KAUFMAN WANTS TO SPEAK SO I WANT TO MENTION ONE THING. I HAVE BEEN HERE AT THIS DESK NOW AND I'VE TRIED -- LET ME DESCRIBE HOW UNBELIEVABLE IT IS THAT EVEN WASTE HAS ITS CONSTITUENCY IN THIS CHAMBER. EVEN WASTEMENT WE'RE -- EVEN WASTE. WE'RE DOING THIS. WE BROADCAST TELEVISION SIGNALS INTO THE COUNTRY OF CUBA EVERY SINGLE DAY THAT THE CUBAN PEOPLE CAN'T SEE. WE DO IT EVERY SINGLE DAY. WE'VE SPENT A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS DOING IT. WE BROADCAST FROM 3:00 IN THE MORNING UNTIL ABOUT 7:00 IN THE MORNING AND THE CUBANS ROUTINELY BLOCK THEM. THE PURPOSE WAS IT WAS UNDER TELEVISION MARTI TO INFORM THE CUBANS HOW WONDERFUL FREEDOM IS. WELL, THEY'RE PRETTY MUCH AWARE THAT HAVE BY LISTENING TO MIAMI RADIO STATIONS, AND WE KNOW THAT THEY UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF FREEDOM BECAUSE A LOT OF THEM GET ON RIFTS TRYING TO FIND THEIR WAY TO OUR COUNTRY. BUT WE HAVE TELEVISION MARTI, BIG GROUP OF PEOPLE, PRETTY WELL FUNDED, ABOUT $20 MILLION A YEAR NOW, $25 MILLION A YEAR, AND WE SEND TELEVISION SIGNALS TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE THAT THEY CAN'T SEE. SO WE FIRST DID IT WITH A BIG BLIMP CALLED FAT ALBERT, WAY UP IN THE AIR SHOOTING SIGNALS DOWN THAT THE CUBANS COULD BLOCK. AND THEN FAT ALBERT GOT OFF ON ITS TETHER AND LANDED IN THE EVERGLADES AND WHAT A MESS. SO THEY DECIDED TO BUY AN AIRPLANE. SO NOW THEY ACTUALLY SEND CUBAN TELEVISION SIGNALS BY FLYING, WHICH THE CUBANS ROUTINELY BLOCK. I HAVE OFFERED AMENDMENT AFTER AMENDMENT AFTER AMENDMENT TO TRY TO STOP SPENDING TO SEND TELEVISION SIGNALS TO NO ONE. AND YOU CAN'T GET IT DONE. ISN'T THAT UNBELIEVABLE? SO ANYWAY, I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT. THAT'S AN AREA OF SPENDING, IT SEEMS TO ME, IT TAKES A UNANIMOUS NOTICE SECONDANANOSECOND OF THOUGHT TO SAY DO YOU KNOW WHAT, THAT'S JUST STUPID, THAT'S JUST DUMB, SO STOP IT. EXCEPT GOVERNMENT DOESN'T QUITE WORK THAT WAY OR THAT WELL. BUT IF THE PRYOR AMENDMENT IS OFFERED TOMORROW, I FULLY INTEND TO SUPPORT THAT AGGRESSIVELY BECAUSE WE ARE ON AN UNSUSTAINABLE PATH AND MOST OF US KNOW HOW WE GOT HERE BUT NOT EVERYBODY YET KNOWS HOW WE'RE GOING TO GET OUT OF IT. I THINK THAT'S A DECENT STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. I WOULD SAY, THE SESSIONS-McCASKILL AMENDMENT IS SERIOUSLY DEFICIENT AND IS NOT, IN MY JUDGMENT, THE SERIOUS WAY TO ADDRESS WHAT IS A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I MAKE A POINT OF ORDER -- WELL, I'LL WITHHOLD MY POINT OF ORDER.

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  • 05:55:37 PM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    YOU, SENATOR. MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 05:55:40 PM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    I ASK TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS FOR UP TO FIVE MINUTES.

  • 05:55:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:55:46 PM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE ONCE MORE TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF OUR NATION'S…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE ONCE MORE TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF OUR NATION'S OUTSTANDING FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. I'VE SPOKEN BEFORE ABOUT THOSE WHO, IN SERVING OUR NATION, PLACE THEIR LIVES IN DANGER IN ORDER TO PROTECT OTHERS. ON MARCH 4, A LONE GUNMAN OPENED FIRE NEAR THE MAIN ENTRANCE OF THE PENTAGON, WOUNDING TWO SECURITY OFFICERS BEFORE BEING QUICKLY SUBDUED. THESE TWO OFFICERS AND A THIRD WHO ASSISTED THEM PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE OF THE BRAVERY AND EXCELLENCE OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND ESPECIALLY FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, WHO TAKE RISKS EVERY DAY. THESE THREE MEN ALL WORK FOR THE PENTAGON FORCE PROTECTION AGENCY WHICH OVERIES SECURITY FOR THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'S HEADQUARTERS -- OVERSEES SECURITY FOR THE DEFENSE WANT IT'S HEADQUARTERS AS WELL AS SEVERAL OTHER FACILITIES IN THE WASHINGTON AREA. IT WAS CREATED AFTER THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, TO PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE THREAT PREVENTION FOR ONE OF THE BUILDINGS TARGETED ON THAT FATEFUL DAY. JUST LIKE THOSE SERVING IN OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY AGENCIES, THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE PENTAGON FORCE PROTECTION AGENCY UNDERGO RIGOROUS TRAINING. MANY ARE VETERANS OF THE ARMED FORCES OR HAVE WORKED PREVIOUSLY AS POLICE OFFICERS FOR STATES AND MUNICIPALITIES. THEY TRAIN TO BE READY AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE FOR SCENARIOS THEY PRAY WILL NEVER COME. OFTEN THESE SECURITY OFFICERS WILL STAND AT A CHECKPOINT FOR HOURS AT A TIME AT THE READY DURING DAYS AND WEEKS AND MONTHS OF QUIET. AS A YOUTH, I WORKED JUST TWO SUMMERS AS A LIFEGUARD IN PHILADELPHIA. WE ALWAYS USED TO SAY IT WAS HOURS OF BOREDOM INTERDISPERSED WITH SECONDS OF SHEER TERROR. WELL, SHEER TERROR HAPPENED FOR THESE GREAT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. FOR THESE THREE OFFICERS FROM THE PENTAGON FORCE PROTECTION AGENCY, SUCH A MOMENT CAME JUST BEFORE 7:00 ON THE EVENING OF MARCH 4. 2010. OFFICERS MARCH INCARROWAY JR. AND COLIN RICHARDS WERE STANDING GUARD AT THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE BUILDING OF THE PENTAGON WHEN A SUSPICIOUS FIGURE APPROACHED. MARVIN SENSED SOMETHING WAS AMISS SO HE WALKED TOWARD HIM TO CHECK OUT HIS IDENTIFICATION. WHEN THE MAN PULLED A GUN FROM HIS JACKET AND BEGAN FIRING, ONE OF THE BULLETS GRAZED MARVIN'S THIGH. UNDETERRED, HE HELD HIS GROUND AND FIRED BACK. LATER, HIS FELLOW OFFICER WOULD TELL REPORTERS THAT MARVIN WAS LIKE SUPERMAN, A MAN OF STEEL. COLIN DUCKED BEHIND A BARRICADE AND BEGAN TO RETURN FIRE. HEARING THE SHOTS, A THIRD OFFICER, JEFFREY AMOS, RAN OVER FROM HIS POST NEARBY AND JOINED THE EFFORTS TO SUBDUE THE GUNMAN. IN THE PROCESS, HE WAS WOUNDED IN THE SHOULDER. THE WHOLE INCIDENT TOOK ONLY A MINUTE. AND THE THREE OFFICERS FATALLY SHOT THE ASSAILANT. THE QUICK REACTION AND UNDETERRED PROFESSIONALISM OF THESE THREE ARE INSPIRING. ALL BROUGHT TO THE JOB A STRONG BACKGROUND IN BOTH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICE. MARVIN, WHO LIVES IN CLINTON, MARYLAND, IS A FORMER MARINE WHO SERVED IN THE FIRST PERSIAN GULF WAR AND HAS EXPERIENCE PROTECTING OUR EMBASSIES OVERSEAS. JEFFREY FROM WOODBRIDGE, VIRGINIA, IS A RETIRED MEMBER OF THE AIR FORCE RESERVE. HE SPENT 11 YEARS ON THE NEW ORLEANS POLICE S.W.A.T. TEAM. COLIN, WHO RESIDES IN ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, RECALLED HOW HIS EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING PREPARED HIM TO ACT QUICKLY. HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "MY VISION WAS BIG, MY HEARING, I COULD HEAR EVERYTHING. WHEN THE SHOOTER STARTED RUNNING, HE LOOKED LIKE A BIG TARGET. AT THAT POINT, I FELT LIKE I COULDN'T MISS." FEDERAL SECURITY OFFICERS LIKE MARVIN, JEFFREY, AND COLIN ARE MODERN-DAY MINUTEMEN, TRAINED AND READY TO KEEP US SAFE FROM THREATS TO OUR LIBERTY AND SECURITY. WE OWE ALL OF THEM OUR CONSTANT APPRECIATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I MUST ADD THAT WE SEE THE SAME DEDICATION AND PROFESSIONALISM RIGHT HERE EACH DAY IN OUR VERY OWN CAPITOL POLICE FORCE AS WELL. I KNOW HOW PROUD MAJORITY LEADER REID IS OF HIS OWN SERVICE AS A CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER WHEN, AS A YOUNG MAN, HE STOOD GUARD AT ONE OF THE ENTRANCES TO THIS BUILDING. I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN ME THANKING MARVIN CARROWAY JR., JEFFREY AMOS AND COLIN RICHARDS FOR THEIR BRAVERY AND A JOB WELL DONE. AS WELL AS ALL THOSE WHO SERVE AS FEDERAL SECURITY OFFICERS STANDING AT THE READY. THEY ARE REMINDERS OF OUR GREAT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENT AFTER QUORUM.

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  • 06:00:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:02:01 PM

    MR. BURRIS

    I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VISHTD.

  • 06:02:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:02:06 PM

    MR. BURRIS

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I'D ALSO LIKE UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK AS IF…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I'D ALSO LIKE UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 06:02:11 PM

    MR. BURRIS

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IN 1777, WHEN OUR REPUBLIC WAS JUST ONE YEAR OLD…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IN 1777, WHEN OUR REPUBLIC WAS JUST ONE YEAR OLD AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR WAS RAGING, A MAN NAMED FRANK McWATERS WAS BORN IN SOUTH CAROLINA. IN 1795, WHEN THE WAR WAS OVER AND GEORGE WASHINGTON WAS PRESIDENT, HE MOVED TO KENTUCKY. HE MET A WOMAN BY THE NAME OF LUCY. IN 1830, HE AND HIS FAMILY MOVED TO ILLINOIS. THE VERY SAME YEAR THAN A MAN NAMED THOMAS LINCOLN ALONG WITH HIS SON ABRAHAM MOVED THERE FROM INDIANA P. FRANK McWATER DECIDED HE WOULD SETTLE DOWN AND SO HE BOUGHT A FARM IN PIKE COUNTY, HADLEY TOWNSHIP AND BEGAN TO PLAN OUT THE TOWN OF NEW PHILADELPHIA. 0 OTHER SENATORS MOVED IN. SOON THERE WERE FAMILY HOMES, BUSINESSESSINGS AND EVEN A SCHOOL. AND WHEN FRANK McWATER DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES IN 1854, HAVING LIVED MORE THAN THREE QUARTERS OF A CENTURY, HE DIED IN A TOWN HE FOUNDED AND GUIDED TO PROSPERITY. THE COMMUNITY OF NEW PHILADELPHIA CONTINUED TO STRIVE UNTIL IT WAS BYPASSED BY THE EXPANDING RAILROAD IN 1869. LEFT BEHIND BY THE STEAM ENGINES, IT PUSHED ACROSS THE WESTERN FRONTIER. THE RESIDENTSES OF NEW PHILADELPHIA BEGAN TO DISPERSE BY THE LATE-1880'S AND THE TOWN DISAPPEARED AGAIN INTO THE ILLINOIS PRAIRIE. THE STORY OF FRANK McWATER AND NEW PHILADELPHIA IS AN EXTRAORDINARY ONE, MR. PRESIDENT. BUT, AS I'VE TOLD THIS STORY A MOMENT AGO, HERE TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE FLOOR, I LEFT OUT ONE OF THE DEFINING DETAILS. IF FRANK McWATER HAD BEEN A FARMER OR BANK HE OR SOLDIER, THIS TALE WOULD BE REMARKABLE BECAUSE OF THE ERA IN WHICH HE LIVED. BUT IN MANY WAYS HE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO DIFFERENT FROM THOUSANDS OF OTHERS WHO GREW UP IN THE EARLY DAYS OF OUR COUNTRY. BUT FRANK McWATER'S STORY IS EXTRAORDINARY BECAUSE HE WAS NOT A FARMER OR A BANKER OR A SOLDIERS. NO, MR. PRESIDENT, FRANK McWATER WAS A SLAVE. WHEN HE MOVED TO KENTUCKY IN 1795, HE DID NOT GO VOLUNTARILY. HE WENT WITH HIS OWNERS. THE DAY HE MET LUCY, HIS FUTURE WIFE, THE TWO OF THEM WERE SLAVES ON NEIGHBORING FARMS. EVENTUALLY, FRANK WAS ALLOWED TO WORK ODD JOBS AND HIRE OUT HIS OWN TIME AND LABOR. HE EARNED -- HE LEARNED TO MINE A MAJOR COMPONENT OF GUNTO YOUDER, WHICH PROVIDED HIM PROFITABLE -- A PROFITABLE BUSINESS. IN 1817, HE HAD EARNED ENOUGH MONEY TO PURCHASE FREEDOM FOR HIS WIFE. IN 1819, HE BOUGHT HIS OWN FREEDOM. AND HE SET OUT TO BUILD A LIFE FOR HIMSELF AS A FREE AMERICAN. THAT IS THE STORY OF FRANK McWATER, MR. PRESIDENT, SO WHEN HE STARTED THE TOWN OF NEW PHILADELPHIA IN 1836, HE ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING TRULY REMARKABLE AND UNIQUE. HE BECAME THE FIRST KNOWN FREE AFRICAN-AMERICAN IN 0 HISTORY TO LEGALLY FOUND AND PLAN A TOWN. AND HE HE USED HIS PROCEEDS FROM THE LAND PURCHASE TO PURCHASE FREEDOM FOR 15 OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS. I INVITE MY COLLEAGUES TO IMAGINE WHAT LIFE MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE IN NEW PHILADELPHIA IN THE MID-1800'S. IN PRE-CIVIL WAR AMERICA, IN A TIME WHEN THIS COUNTRY STILL LEGALLY PERMITTED SLAVERY, NEW PHILADELPHIA, ILLINOIS, WAS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE OF ALL RACES LIVED AND WORKED SIDE BY SIDE. THE FEDERAL CENSUS RECORDS INDICATE THAT THE TOWN WAS POPULATED BY TEACHERS, BLACKSMITHS, MERCHANTS, CABINETMAKERS AND SHOEMAKERS. AND THERE WAS A SEAMSTRESS AND A DOCTOR AND A WHEELWRIGHT AND EVEN A CARPENTER DL. NEW PHILADELPHIA EVEN HAD ITS OWN POST OFFICE, WHICH ALSO SERVINGED AS A STAGECOACH STOP. MR. PRESIDENT, IMAGINE WHAT WE COULD LEARN FROM STUDYING THIS UNIQUE PLACE, WHICH EXISTED DURING SUCH AN IMPORTANT TIME. AN IN-DEPTH STUDY OF NEW PHILADELPHIA WOULD YIELD IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE IN AN INTEGRATED COMMUNITY DURING THAT PERIOD. AND IT COULD ADD NEW DIMENSIONS TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE HISTORY WE SHARE. SO I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO JOIN WITH ME IN PRESERVING THIS HISTORIC SITE, WHICH WAS DESIGNATED AN HISTORIC -- NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK LAST YEAR. BUT I BELIEVE IT'S TIME TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP, TO ENSURE THAT THE EXTRAORDINARY WORK OF FRANK McWATER AND NEW PHILADELPHIA IS PRESERVED FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. I'LL ASK MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT SENATE BILL 1629, A BILL I'VE INTRODUCED TO DIRECT THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR TO BEGIN A SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY WHICH WOULD DETERMINE WHETHER NEW PHILADELPHIA SITE CAN BE MANAGED AS A UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. TODAY NOT MUCH REMAINS OF THE STRUCTURES WHERE THE TOWN'S RESIDENTS LIVED AND WORKED. FOR PASSERSBY, THE SITE IS AN OPEN FIELD JUST SOUTHEAST OF OUR STATE CAPITAL OF SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS. IN 2004, A THREE-YEAR NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION GRANT ALLOWED ARCHEOLOGISTS TO EXPLORE THIS SITE FOR THE FIRST TIME. THEY FOUND BUILDING FOUNDATIONS, WELLS, PIT SELL ARSE AND A TOTAL OF MORE THAN -- CORRECTLY ARSE AND A TOTAL OF MORE THAN -- CELLARS AND A TOTAL OF MORE THAN 65,000 ARTIFACTS. IF WE PASS THIS BILL, IT WOULD ALLOW THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR TO EVALUATE THE NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE AND SUITABILITY OF THE SITE. WE CAN WAIVE THE WAY FOR ITS PRESERVATION AS PART OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. WE CAN REDISCOVER THE INCREDIBLE STORY THAT HAS BEEN HIDDEN AMONG THE PRAIRIE GRASS FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY. WE CAN RECLAIM THE SPIRIT THAT DROVE FRANK McWATER, A MAN BORN INTO SLAVERY, TO REACH FOR EQUALITY AND OPPORTUNITY. TO ESTABLISH HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY AS FREE AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN AT A TIME WHEN FREEDOM WAS EXTREMELY HARD TO COME BY AND TO ESTABLISH A THRIVING COMMUNITY, A PLACE OF INTERRACIAL PEACE AND COOPERATION IN A DARK PERIOD FOR RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I BELIEVE THAT WE MUST ACT TO PRESERVE THIS LEGACY. I BELIEVE WE OWE IT TO OURSELVES AND TO THE FUTURE GENERATIONS OF AMERICANS TO EXAMINE THE HISTORY OF NEW PHILADELPHIA AND THE LIFE OF PIONEERS LIKE FRANK McWATERS. LET US PASS SENATE BILL 1629 SO WE CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US AND THE PROCESS, I HAVE NO DOUBT, WE WILL DISCOVER MORE REMARKABLE THINGS ABOUT OURSELVES. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 06:10:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

  • 06:10:26 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:34:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:34:17 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 06:34:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MR.

  • 06:34:40 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:45:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 06:45:19 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:45:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:45:23 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:45:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:45:30 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE NOW PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF SENATE…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE NOW PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF SENATE RESOLUTION 459 WHICH WAS SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 06:45:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:45:42 PM

    THE CLERK

    459 CONGRATULATING KYCI RADIO FOR 50 YEARS OF SERVICE TO WESTERN ALASKA…

    459 CONGRATULATING KYCI RADIO FOR 50 YEARS OF SERVICE TO WESTERN ALASKA AND THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST.

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  • 06:45:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:45:54 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:46:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:46:03 PM

    MR. DURBIN

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF SENATE RESOLUTION 460 SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 06:46:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:46:12 PM

    THE CLERK

    460, RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LONG TRAIL AND THE GREEN MOUNTAIN…

    460, RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LONG TRAIL AND THE GREEN MOUNTAIN CLUB ON THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LONG TRAIL.

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  • 06:46:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:46:24 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    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 TO, THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE AND ANY STATEMENTS RELATED TO THE RESOLUTIONS BE PLACED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE AS IF READ.

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  • 06:46:39 PM

    MR. DURBIN

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

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 317, S. 2865.

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  • 06:46:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:46:51 PM

    THE CLERK

    S. 2865, A BILL TO RE-AUTHORIZE THE CONGRESSIONAL AWARD ACT, AND FOR OTHER…

    S. 2865, A BILL TO RE-AUTHORIZE THE CONGRESSIONAL AWARD ACT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 06:46:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:47:01 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I FURTHER ASK THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME, PASSED. THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I FURTHER ASK THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME, PASSED. THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE AND THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATED TO THIS MEASURE BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE.

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  • 06:47:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:47:16 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    PRIOR TO MAKING THE NEXT UNANIMOUS CONSENT, I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A…

    PRIOR TO MAKING THE NEXT UNANIMOUS CONSENT, I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A STATEMENT ON THE RECORD RELATIVE TO THE BILL THAT I WILL BE ASKING FOR CONSENT. IT'S S. 1789. THIS BILL, MR. PRESIDENT, IS KNOWN AS THE FAIR SENTENCING ACT. IT'S BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION WHICH HAS CLEARED BOTH SIDES. AT THE CONCLUSION OF MY REMARKS, I WILL, OF COURSE, ASK FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT BUT WILL ASK PERMISSION, IF POSSIBLE, THAT A STATEMENT THAT WILL BE MADE BY SENATOR SESSIONS BE ENTERED IN THE RECORD, IF IT'S POSSIBLE. I DON'T KNOW IF HE WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE IT THIS EVENING, BUT IF NOT, WE'LL DO OUR BEST TO ACCOMMODATE HIM. AT THE CONCLUSION OF HIS REMARKS, I WILL -- WELL, LET ME STRIKE THAT. THE FIRST SENTENCING ACT WOULD REDUCE THE SENTENCING DISPARITY BETWEEN CRACK AND POWDER COCAINE AND INCREASE PENALTIES FOR SERIOUS DRUG OFFENDERS. CRACK AND POWDER COCAINE HAVE A DEVASTATING IMPACT ON FAMILIES AND ON AMERICA. TOUGH ANTICOCAINE LEGISLATION IS DEFINITELY NEEDED, BUT THE LAW MUST ALSO BE FAIR. CREPT LAW IS BASED ON AN UNJUSTIFIED DISTINCTION BETWEEN CRACK AND POWDER COCAINE. SIMPLY POSSESSING FIVE GRAMS OF CRACK, THE EQUIVALENT OF FIVE TINY PACKETS OF SUGAR THAT YOU FIND IN RESTAURANTS, CARRIES THE SAME SENTENCE AS SELLING 500 GRAMS OF POWDER COCAINE. THAT'S 500 PACKETS OF SUGAR. FIVE PACKETS FOR CRACK. 500 PACKETS FOR SUGAR. SAME SENTENCE. THIS IS KNOWN AS THE 100-1 DISPARITY. I WILL TELL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, I CAN REMEMBER AS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WHEN WE ENACTED THIS LEGISLATION CRACK COCAINE HAD JUST APPEARED ON THE SCENE AND IT SCARED US. BECAUSE IT WAS CHEAP, ADDICTIVE. WE THOUGHT IT WAS MORE DANGEROUS THAN MANY NARCOTICS AND LEFT THE LEGACY OF CRACK BABIES IN MANY LIVES. IN OUR RESPONSE TO THIS TERRIBLE NEW NARCOTIC AT THE TIME, WE ENACTED THIS SENTENCING DISPARITY, SAYING THAT CRACK COCAINE WOULD HAVE A SENTENCE THAT'S 100 TIMES MORE SEVERE THAN THOSE WHO WOULD COMMIT CRIMES WITH POWDER COCAINE, A DIFFERENT FORM OF THE SAME BASIC DRUG, 100 TIMES. WHAT IT MEANT WAS IN THE ENSUING YEARS THAT HAVE FOLLOWED, WE HAVE SEEN PEOPLE SENT TO PRISON FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME FOR POSSESSING, MERELY POSSESSING THE SMALLEST AMOUNT OF CRACK. DISPROPORTIONATELY, AFRICAN-AMERICANS WHO ARE ADDICTED USE CRACK COCAINE. THE USE OF POWDER COCAINE IS SPREAD ACROSS THE POPULATION WITH WHITE, HISPANIC, AND OTHERS, SO THE NET RESULT OF THIS WAS THAT THE HEAVY SENTENCING THAT WE ENACTED YEARS AGO TOOK ITS TOLL PRIMARILY IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. IT RESULTED IN THE INCARCERATION OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THIS HEAVY SENTENCING DISPARITY, 100-1, AND A REACTION FROM THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY THAT IT WAS FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR. THAT IT WAS THE SAME COCAINE ALTHOUGH IN A DIFFERENT FORM, AND THEY WERE BEING SINGLED OUT FOR MUCH MORE SEVERE AND HEAVIER SENTENCING. THIS DEBATE WENT ON AND ON AND ON. AFRICAN-AMERICANS MAKE UP ABOUT 30% OF CRACK USERS IN AMERICA, BUT THEY MAKE UP MORE THAN 80% OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF FEDERAL CRACK OFFENSES. LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERTS SAY THAT THE CRACK-POWDER DISPARITY UNDERMINES TRUST IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, ESPECIALLY IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. IN A HEARING THEY HELD LAST YEAR, ASA HUTCHISON, A FORMER MEMBER OF CONGRESS WHO IS ALSO HEAD OF THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, TESTIFIED, AND HE SAID, AND I QUOTE -- "UNDER THE CURRENT DISPARITY, THE CREDIBILITY OF OUR ENTIRE DRUG ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM IS WEAKENED." THE BIPARTISAN U.S. SENTENCING COMMISSION AND THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPPORT REDUCING THIS DISPARITY. ACCORDING TO THE SENTENCING COMMISSION, THIS, I QUOTE, -- "WOULD BETTER REDUCE THE GAP IN SENTENCING BETWEEN BLACKS AND WHITES THAN ANY OTHER SINGLE POLICY CHANGE, AND IT WOULD DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE THE FAIRNESS OF THE FEDERAL SENTENCING QUOTE." THE FAIR SENTENCING ACT, WHICH I WILLCALL UP FOR ANNE CONSENT MOMENTARILY, WOULD MAKE THE DISPARITY 18-1. THE FAIR SENTENCING ACT ALSO ELIMINATES THE FIVE-YEAR MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE FOR SIMPLE POSSESSION OF CRACK COCAINE. INCIDENTALLY, THIS IS THE ONLY MANDATORY MINIMUM FOR SIMPLE POSSESSION OF A DRUG BY A FIRST-TIME OFFENDER. THIS ONE FORM OF NARCOTICS. PERSONS WHO WERE FOUND IN SIMPLE POSSESSION OF CRACK COCAINE LITERALLY FACED YEARS IN PRISON FOR THAT POSSESSION WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE THAT THEY WERE SELLING IT OR INVOLVED IN ANY OTHER WAY. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE IS A BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS THAT CURRENT COCAINE SENTENCING LAWS ARE UNJUST AND NOW DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS HAVE COME TOGETHER TO ADDRESS IT IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. LAST WEEK, THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE REPORTED THE FAIR SENTENCING ACT BY A UNANIMOUS 19-0 VOTE. THE BILL IS COSPONSORED BY 16 OF THE 19 MEMBERS OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HAS EVER REPORTED A BILL TO REDUCE THE CRACK-POWDER DISPARITY. AND IF THIS BILL IS ENACTED INTO LAW, IT WILL BE THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1970 -- 40 YEARS AGO -- THAT CONGRESS HAS REPEALED A MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE. HERE'S WHAT ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER SAID LAST WEEK IN RESPONSE -- QUOTE -- "THE BILL VOTED UNANIMOUSLY OUT OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TODAY MAKES PROGRESS TOWARDS ACHIEVING A MORE JUST SENTENCING POLICY WHILE MAINTAINING THE NECESSARY LAW ENFORCEMENT TOOLS TO APPROPRIATELY PUNISH VIOLENT AND DANGEROUS DRUG TRAFFICKERS. I LOOK FORWARD TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE APPROVING THIS LEGISLATION QUICKLY SO THAT I -- IT CAN BE SIGNED INTO LAW." THIS FAIR SENTENCING ACT IS SUPPORTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT GROUPS, INCLUDING THE NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S ASSOCIATION, REPRESENTING 40,000 STATE AND LOCAL PROSECUTORS, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF POLICE ORGANIZATIONS, REPRESENTING 240,000 LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, AND THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF POLICE ASSOCIATIONS, REPRESENTING MORE THAN 100,000 LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS. I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUES ON THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FOR SUPPORTING THE FAIR SENTENCING ACT, AND I ESPECIALLY WANT TO THANK THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WHO REALLY HAVE DONE AN EXTRAORDINARY JOB OVER THE LAST YEAR THAT WE'VE WORKED TO REACH THIS BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT. FIRST, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, PAT LEAHY. HE IS A GREAT LEADER AND A PATIENT MAN. THIS BILL HAS BEEN SITTING ON THE CALENDAR FOR WEEKS, BUT HE KEEPS COMING TO ME AND SAYING, "DURBIN, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HAVE THIS READY?" AND I SAID, MR. CHAIRMAN, WE'RE WORKING TO. HE HAD THE PATIENCE OF JOB. II ESPECIALLY WANT TO MANG THANK MYTO THANK MYFRIEND FROM ALABAMA, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER, JEFF SESSIONS. IF YOU ASK IF THERE ARE TWO POLITICIANS ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE ARE SO DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT, YOU COULDN'T FIND TWO ANY MORE DIFFERENCE THAN DICK DURBIN AND JEFF SESSIONS. WE SELDOM AGREE ON THINGS, BUT WE CAME TOGETHER ON THIS AND WE MADE MUTUAL CONCESSIONS TO COME UP WITH A GOOD, BIPARTISAN BILL. JEFF REALLY I THINK WENT THE EXTRA MILE TO FIND SOME AGREEMENT HERE. HE HELD TO HIS PRINCIPLES BUT WE WORKED IT OUT. IN THE PROCESS OF REACHING THAT, I WANT TO ALSO THANK SOME REPUBLICAN MEMBERS WHO WERE JUST INVALUABLE. LINDSEY GRAHAM IS ONE OF THE FIRST TO COME UP TO ME AND SAY, I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU ON THIS. THERE HAS TO BE A WAY THAT WE CAN WORK THIS OUT TO THE SATISFACTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TO REACH THE STANDARDS OF JUSTICE. AND I THANK SENATOR LAND LANDS SEE LINDSEY GRAHAM OF SOUTH CAROLINA FOR ALL THE WORK HE PUT IN. AND SENATOR TOM COBURN OF OBSERVEOKLAHOMA ANOTHER ONE WHO I DISAGREE WITH, AND SENATOR HATCH FROM THE BEGINNING SAID DON'T QUIT, STICK WITH IT, WE CAN REACH AN AGREEMENT. AND HE REALLY WAS AN INSPIRATION TO US AS WE BROUGHT THIS TO A CONCLUSION. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THE NEED TO ADDRESS THE CRACK-POWDER DISPARITY FOR TOO LONG. EVERY DAY THAT PASSES WITHOUT TAKING ACTION TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM IS ANOTHER DAY THAT PEOPLE ARE BEING SENTENCED UNDER A LAW THAT VIRTUALLY EVERYONE AGREES IS UNJUST. I WISH THIS BILL WENT FURTHER. MY INITIAL BILL ESTABLISHED A 1-1 RATIO, BUT THIS IS A GOOD BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE. IF THIS BILL IS ENACTED INTO LAW, IT WILL IMMEDIATELY ENSURE THAT EVERY YEAR, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE TREATED MORE FAIRLY IN OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES WHEN THEY HEAR ABOUT OUR EFFORTS ON THIS WILL JOIN IN SUPPORTING OUR EFFORTS TO DEAL WITH THIS DISPARITY. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO THE RECORD AT THIS POINT A STATEMENT BY WADE HENDERSON, PRESIDENT OF THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE, IN REFERENCE -- IN SUPPORT OF THE BILL THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING CONSIDERED BY THE SENATE.

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  • 06:56:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:56:44 PM

    MR. DURBIN

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

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 316, SENATE -- PARDON ME, S. 1789.

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  • 06:56:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:56:56 PM

    THE CLERK

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:57:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:57:05 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT BE AGREED TO, THE…

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT BE AGREED TO, THE BILL AS AMENDED BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, AND ANY STATEMENTS RELATED TO THE BILL BE PLACED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE AS IF READ.

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  • 06:57:20 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASKED EARLIER, IF IT'S POSSIBLE -- I DON'T KNOW IF…

    AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASKED EARLIER, IF IT'S POSSIBLE -- I DON'T KNOW IF IT IS -- BUT IF SENATOR SESSIONS HAS A STATEMENT THAT IS GOING TO BE MADE A PART OF THE RECORD, I ASK THAT IT BE ENTERED AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE, IF IT CAN BE, NEXT TO MY REMARKS, BEFORE THE PASSAGE OF THIS BILL.

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  • 06:57:36 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 06:57:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 07:00:31 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 07:18:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 07:18:06 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I ASK CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 07:18:10 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ON THURSDAY, MARCH 18, AFTER THE SENATE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ON THURSDAY, MARCH 18, AFTER THE SENATE RESUMES CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1584, THE SENATE -- I'M SORRY. 1586, THE SENATE THEN DEBATE CONCURRENTLY THE SESSIONS-McCASKILL AMENDMENT NUMBER 3453 AND THE PRYOR AMENDMENT NUMBER 3548. THAT THE AMENDMENTS BE DEBATED CONCURRENTLY UNTIL 11:30 A.M., WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN SENATORS SESSIONS AND PRYOR OR THEIR DESIGNEES, WITH NO AMENDMENTS IN ORDER TO THE AMENDMENTS PRIOR TO THE VOTE. THAT THE AMENDMENTS THEN BE SET ASIDE UNTIL 2:00 P.M., AND AT 2:00 P.M., THE SENATE PROCEED TO VOTE IN RELATION TO THE AMENDMENTS WITH THE SESSIONS-McCASKILL AMENDMENT VOTED FIRST IN THE SEQUENCE. THAT PRIOR TO EACH VOTE THERE BE TWO MINUTES OF DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED IN THE USUAL FORM.

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  • 07:18:56 PM

    MR. DURBIN

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, IT ADJOURN UNTIL 9:30 A.M., THURSDAY, MARCH 18. THAT FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE JOURNAL OF THE PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE MORNING HOUR BE DEEMED EXPIRED, THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY, AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR ONE HOUR WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH, WITH THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING THE FIRST HALF AND THE MAJORITY CONTROLLING THE FINAL HALF. THAT FOLLOWING MORNING BUSINESS, THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1586 AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 07:19:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:19:30 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, TOMORROW WE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE F.A.A.…

    MR. PRESIDENT, TOMORROW WE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE F.A.A. RE-AUTHORIZATION LEGISLATION. SENATORS SHOULD EXPECT AT LEAST TWO VOTES TO BEGIN AT 2:00 P.M. AND IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 07:19:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL STAND ADJOURNED UNTIL 9:30 A.M., T

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 2039 (After 655 days)
  • Debate1175 Hours
  • Quorum Calls474 Hours
  • Votes333 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)