The Senate Is Not In Session - Next Session Friday, October 19 At 10:00 AM
Senate Session - June 30, 2010

The Senate unanimously approved the nomination of General David Petraeus to oversee the Afghanistan war, replacing General Stanley McChrystal, who resigned the previous week.

Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:30:35 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. ETERNAL AND BLESSED GOD, IN THE MIDST OF OUR DAYS OF LABOR, WE…

    PRAY. ETERNAL AND BLESSED GOD, IN THE MIDST OF OUR DAYS OF LABOR, WE GRATEFUL FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO PRAY. AS OUR LAWMAKERS GRAPPLE WITH PRESSING ISSUES, GIVE THEM THE WISDOM TO SEEK YOUR GUIDANCE AND TO DEPEND UPON YOUR DIRECTION. RESPOND TO THEIR PETITIONS BY UNDERGIRDING THEM WITH YOUR ENABLING MIGHT, EMPOWERING THEM TO EXERCISE RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP OF THEIR INFLUENCE BY STRIVING TO BE LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD. OPEN THEIR EARS AND HEARTS THIS DAY TO HEAR YOUR VOICE AND OBEY YOUR COMMANDS. STRENGTHENING THEM TO MAKE THEIR UTMOST CONTRIBUTION TO HEALING A HURTING WORLD. WE PRAY IN YOUR GREAT NAME. AMEN.

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  • 09:32:06 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. 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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  • 09:32:34 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 09:32:38 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON, D.C, June 30, 2010, TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF…

    WASHINGTON, D.C, June 30, 2010, TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE MARK BEGICH, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR, SIGNED DANIEL K. INOUYE, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:32:58 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 09:33:01 AM

    MR. REID

    FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, IF ANY, THE SENATE WILL TURN TO A PERIOD OF…

    FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, IF ANY, THE SENATE WILL TURN TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR TWO HOURS. SENATORS DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME WILL BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES. FOLLOWING MORNING BUSINESS THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION AND WILL DEBATE THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS. THERE WILL BE UP TO 20 MINUTES FOR DEBATE PRIOR TO A VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF THE NOMINATION. SENATORS SHOULD EXPECT THAT VOTE TO OCCUR AROUND NOON TODAY. AS A REMINDER ALL SENATORS -- TO ALL SENATORS LAST EVENING I FILED CLOTURE ON AN UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AND HOME BUYER TAX CREDIT EXTENSION. THAT VOTE WOULD OCCUR TOMORROW. UNLESS WE ARRANGE BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT SOMETIME TODAY TO DO THIS. I'LL WORK WITH THE REPUBLICAN LEADER ON AN AGREEMENT THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO VOTE ON THAT ISSUE TODAY IF THE MINORITY SO DETERMINES. I WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO -- WE WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE SMALL BUSINESS JOBS BILL THIS AFTERNOON. AND WE'LL CONSIDER AMENDMENTS. ROLL CALL VOTES ARE EXPECTED TO OCCUR THROUGHOUT THE AFTERNOON AND INTO THE EVENING. I SAY TO DEMOCRATIC SENATORS, WE WERE YESTERDAY LOOKING FOR AN AMENDMENT, BUT NONE WAS AVAILABLE. SO I AGREED UNLESS SOMETHING HAPPENS IN THE INTERIM, LET THE REPUBLICANS OFFER THE AMENDMENTS IF WE HAVE NONE THAT ARE READY TO BE OFFERED. I HOPE THAT WE'LL ALSO BE ABLE TO RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THIS MATTER THAT WE -- THAT WE CAN MAKE HEADWAY ON IT. IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT WE DO THAT. MR. PRESIDENT, ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, WE REALLY NEED TO DO THIS. I'VE HAD A NUMBER OF CONVERSATIONS WITH SENATORS FROM INDIVIDUAL STATES ABOUT THE -- REALLY THE DIFFICULT -- HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR THEM TO HAVE THESE LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED NO LONGER HAVING ANY PLACE TO GO FOR HELP. THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE DESPERATE ARE THROUGHOUT AMERICA. SO I WOULD HOPE THAT WE CAN DO SOMETHING ON THAT. WE HAVE HERE THAT I WILL CALL UP IN JUST A LITTLE BIT, THE READING OF THE BILL THAT WE GOT FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. -- THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DEALING WITH EXTENDING THE FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS TAX CREDIT CREDIT, THAT IS, TO ALLOW THE PAPERWORK TO BE COMPLETED. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE'S SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT ON THE OTHER SIDE FOR THIS. AND I WOULD HOPE THAT WE COULD TO THIS BY CONSENT, IF NOT IT WILL BE PART OF THE VOTE WE HAVE ON UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION. THERE IS -- I WOULD HOPE THAT MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WOULD CONSIDER JUST LETTING US DO THE HOME BUYERS ASSISTANT IMPROVEMENT ACT, THE SAME ONE THAT PASSED THE HOUSE. THE PAY FOR HAS BEEN AGREED TO BY DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. IT PASSED THE HOUSE LAST NIGHT WITH 400 VOTES -- 400 VOTES. SO I WOULD HOPE THAT WE COULD GET THAT DONE JUST BY CONSENT. IT'S THE END OF THE MONTH TODAY. AND WE SHOULD GET THIS DONE. I WOULD HOPE WE COULD DO THAT. AS MANY PEOPLE ARE AWARE, SENATOR BYRD WILL -- WILL LAY IN REPOSE IN THE SENATE CHAMBER FROM 10:00 A.M. UNTIL 4:00 P.M. TOMORROW. THE FAMILY WILL BE IN THE CHAMBER FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 12:00 NOON. MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PAY THEIR RESPECT TO THE FAMILY FROM 12:15 -- 10:15 TO 12:00 NOON. MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND SENATE STAFF WITHOUT PRIVILEGES ARE INVITED TO PAY TRIBUTE TO SENATOR BYRD FROM THE SENATE GALLERIES FROM 10:15 UNTIL 3:45 P.M. PUBLIC AND STAFF WITHOUT FLOOR PRIVILEGES SHOULD ENTER THE CAPITOL VISITORS CENTER. MR. PRESIDENT, AS I INDICATED, H.R. 5623, THE HOME BUYERS ASSISTANT IMPROVEMENT ACT IS AT THE DESK. I BELIEVE IT'S DUE FOR A SECOND READING.

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  • 09:37:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR'S CORRECT. THE CLERK WILL READ THE TITLE OF THE BILL A SECOND…

    THE SENATOR'S CORRECT. THE CLERK WILL READ THE TITLE OF THE BILL A SECOND TIME.

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  • 09:37:30 AM

    THE CLERK

    ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1968 TO EXTEND THE HOME BUYER…

    ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1968 TO EXTEND THE HOME BUYER TAX CREDIT AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 09:37:41 AM

    MR. REID

    I WOULD OBJECT AT THIS TIME TO ANY FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.

  • 09:37:45 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION IS HEARD. THE BILL WILL BE PLACED ON THE CALENDAR. UNDER THE…

    OBJECTION IS HEARD. THE BILL WILL BE PLACED ON THE CALENDAR. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS -- THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

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  • 09:38:24 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY PRESIDENT OBAMA INVITED A GROUP OF SENATORS DOWN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY PRESIDENT OBAMA INVITED A GROUP OF SENATORS DOWN TO THE WHITE HOUSE TO TALK ABOUT THE KIND OF ENERGY BILL HE'D LIKE CONGRESS TO PASS SOMETIME THIS SUMMER. THE FIRST THING WE HEARD ABOUT THIS MEETING IS THAT THE PRESIDENT SAID IT WAS NOT A MEETING ABOUT THE OIL SPILL. NOT A MEETING ABOUT THE OIL SPILL. THE PRESIDENT SAID THE PURPOSE OF MEETING WAS NOT TO DISCUSS THE ONGOING CRISIS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO WHERE UP TO 60,000 BARRELS OF OIL ARE SPEWING INTO THE GULF WATERS EACH AND EVERY DAY AND WHICH HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR 72 DAYS NOW. SENATOR ALEXANDER HAD TO RAISE THE ISSUE HIMSELF ONLY TO BE DISMISSED BY THE PRESIDENT. BUT I'M SURE THAT WE'LL -- IT WILL BE OF GREAT INTEREST AND COMFORT TO THE PEOPLE OF THE GULF COAST WHEN THE PRESIDENT CALLED SENATORS TO THE WHITE HOUSE TO TALK ABOUT ENERGY, I'M SURE MOST PEOPLE IN THE GULF THOUGHT THE CRISIS DOWN THERE WOULD BE AT LEAST A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION. EVIDENTLY THEY WERE WRONG. THE SECOND THING WE HEARD ABOUT THE MEET SOMETHING THAT THE PRESIDENT MADE WHAT IS DESCRIBED AS A VERY PASSIONATE ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF -- QUOTE -- "PUTTING A PRICE ON CARBON." THIS, OF COURSE, IS CODE FOR THE NEW NATIONAL ENERGY TAX COMMONLY REFERRED TO AROUND HERE AS CAP-AND-TRADE. THIS IS WHAT THE MEETING WAS REALLY ABOUT. AND THOSE OF US WHO SAID THAT THIS IS ALSO WHAT THE PRESIDENT WAS TALKING ABOUT IN HIS OVAL OFFICE SPEECH A FEW WEEKS AGO WERE ENTIRELY CORRECT. WHEN THE PRESIDENT ENCOURAGED AMERICANS TO VIEW THE GULF OIL SPILL AS A VISION FOR ENERGY CONSUMPTION IN THIS COUNTRY, HE WAS TALKING ABOUT GIVING GOVERNMENT VAST NEW POWERS OVER INDUSTRY AND OVER THE EVERY DAY LIVES OF AMERICANS THROUGH A NATIONAL ENERGY TAX. IN OTHER WORDS, AT A MOMENT WHEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WERE HOPING TO HEAR ABOUT WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE WAS DOING TO FIX THE OIL LEAK IN THE GULF, THE PRESIDENT WAS USING THAT MOMENT TO PREPARE THE GROUND FOR YET ANOTHER PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT WOULD DRAMATICALLY EXPAND THE REACH OF GOVERNMENT. AND WE SHOULD DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SOLVE THE CRISIS AT HAND. THE LEAK STILL ISN'T FIXED. FOR MORE THAN TWO MONTHS THIS PIPE HAS GUSHED OIL INTO THE GULF, POLLUTING OUR WATERS AND OUR BEACHES, WREAKING HAVOC ON THE LIVES AN LIVELIHOODS -- AND LIVELIHOODS OF MILLIONS ALONG THE GULF. I THINK IT THE LEFT WING'S VIEW THAT THE WISH LIST CAN WAIT, FIXING THIS SHOULD BE A TOP PRIORITY. ONE OF THE TOP ADVISERS SAID WHEN THE PRESIDENT WAS ELECTED HE HAD TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS THAT WERE PUT OFF FOR TOO LONG, BUT THE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO SOLVE THE MOST URGENT PROBLEM FIRST. THE URGENT PROBLEM IS NOT THE NEW ENERGY TAX, IT'S THE CRISIS IN THE GULF. FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON HAD IT RIGHT, HE SAID THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S POSITION ON THIS ISSUE OUGHT TO BE VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, HE SAID, IS TO FIX THE LEAK. FIX THE LEAK. THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO KEEP OIL AWAY FROM THE SHORES. THE THIRD MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO MINIMIZE THE DAMAGE FROM THE OIL THAT REACHES THE SHORES. AND THE FOURTH MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO FIND OUT WHO DID WHAT WRONG. -- WRONG AT B.P. AND IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AND TO HOLD THEM BOTH ACCOUNTABLE. BUT THE FIRST THING IS TO FIX THE LEAK. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 09:42:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER…

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THERE WILL NOW BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR TWO HOURS WITH SENATOR PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES EACH.

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  • 09:42:29 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER'S SPEECH, I HAVE A RESPONSE, DRILL, BABY, DRILL.…

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER'S SPEECH, I HAVE A RESPONSE, DRILL, BABY, DRILL. THAT WAS THE RESPONSE WE HEARD DURING THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. THE NOTION WAS IF WE STARTED DRILLING IN EVERY DIRECTION, WE WOULD SOLVE AMERICA'S ENERGY PROBLEMS. IT WAS AN IRRESPONSIBLE CHANT FAILING TO ADDRESS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME, THE FUTURE OF AMERICA'S NATIONAL ENERGY PICTURE. WHAT YOU HEAR THIS MORNING FROM THE REPUBLICAN LEADER IS A RETURN TO THE SUBJECT, BUT IGNORING THE PAST. WHAT WE KNOW IS THIS: WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE BECOME MORE AND MORE DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN OIL. IT COST US,, AS A NATION, $1 BILLION A DAY THAT WE ARE SENDING OVERSEAS TO OTHER COUNTRIES TO BUY THEIR OIL, TO SUSTAIN OUR ECONOMY. THIS DEPENDENCE, UNFORTUNATELY, LEADS TO COMMITMENTS THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE, MILITARY COMMITMENTS, POLITICAL COMMITMENTS, ECONOMIC COMMITMENTS BECAUSE OF THIS DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL. THE SECOND REALITY IS THIS: WE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A NEW EMERGING ENERGY TECHNOLOGY IN THE 21st CENTURY. IT IS AN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY BASED ON EFFICIENCY, ECONOMY, AND THE REDUCTION OF COSTS. THERE ARE OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD THAT ARE TAKING THE LEAD IN THIS AREA. NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH IS THE NATION OF CHINA. RIENTLY HEARD FROM MICHAEL -- I RECENTLY HEARD FROM MICHAEL BENNET OF COLORADO WHO SPOKE TO US AT A LUNCHEON AND HE CAME UP WITH A STATISTIC THAT IS HARD TO BELIEVE BUT EQUALLY SCARY. HERE'S WHAT IT IS. THE LARGEST EXPORT IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA OF ANY PRODUCT IS IN THE AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY. LOOK AT BOEING. LOOK AT ALL OF THE AIRCRAFT WE'RE EXPORTING AROUND THE WORLD. IT'S OUR MAJOR EXPORT. YET, IF YOU COMPARE OUR MAJOR EXPORT TO THE EXPORT BY CHINA -- BY CHINA OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGY TO THE WORLD, THEY'RE NOW AT 50% OF THE VALUE OF OUR ANNUAL AIRCRAFT EXPORTS. CHINA HAS DECIDED THAT THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD IS BASED ON NEW, CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY, AND THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. THEY DON'T COME TO THEIR LEADERSHIP AND SQUABBLE, OR AT LEAST NOT IN A PUBLIC FASHION. THEY GET FOCUSED. FOCUSED ON CREATING BUSINESSES AND JOBS AND BEING READY TO COMPETE IN THE 2st CENTURY. AND THE THIRD PREMISE OF OUR ENERGY POLICY GOES TO SOMETHING THAT THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY MAY OR MAY NOT AGREE WITH ME. I HAPPEN TO BELIEVE THAT THE ACTIVITIES OF US, HUMANS, HERE ON THIS EARTH MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN IT COMES TO THE PLANET WE LIVE ON. I HAPPEN TO BELIEVE THAT WHEN YOU LOOK AT TBLAISHIAL MELT AROUND THE WORLD -- AT GLACIAL MELT AROUND THE WORLD, IT REFLECTS THE FACT THAT THE WORLD IS CHANGING. EVER SO GRADUALLY, IT IS GETTING WARMER. AS THE EARTH INCREASES ITS TEMPERATURES, IT CHANGES WEATHER PATTERNS, THE CURRENTS OF THE OCEANS, IT CHANGES THE LAND THAT WE LIVE ON, THE CROPS THAT WE GROW AND OUR FUTURE. SOME PEOPLE DON'T ACCEPT THAT. SOME DON'T SEE A CONNECTION. THEY DON'T BELIEVE THAT ANY OF THE CARBON RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE CREATES A PROBLEM FOR US. I HAVE MET MANY OF THEM. SOME ARE PEOPLE WHO IN GOOD FAITH JUST DON'T COME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION I REACH. I RESPECT THEM, BUT I RESPECTFULLY THINK THAT THEY'RE WRONG. NOW, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO CRISIS? WE'VE LEARNED A LOT. YESTERDAY, HI ONE OF THE VICE PRESIDENTS OF B.P. IN MY OFFICE, B.P. AMERICA, AND I TALKED TO HIM ABOUT HOW WE HAVE REACHED THIS POINT. I SAID WHEN WE HAVE REACHED THE POINT WHERE WE ARE DRILLING DEEP, GOING AFTER THE TOUGH, DEEP OIL TO FUEL OUR ECONOMY AND ITS NEEDS, WE ARE ENDANGERING MORE PROBLEMS AND MORE CHALLENGES THAN BEFORE. HAD THERE BEEN A SPILL OF OIL IN DOWN STATE ILLINOIS OR IN ALASKA OR TEXAS, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN TERRIBLE BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN CONTAINED MUCH MORE QUICKLY THAN THIS GUSHER OF OIL COMING FROM THE FLOOR OF THE GULF OF MEXICO. SO AS WE EXPLORE IN NEW AREAS TOUGHER, MORE CHALLENGING AREAS, WE RUN GREATER RISKS, AND THAT IS A REALITY. I REALLY HAVE TO SAY THAT I TAKE EXCEPTION TO THE REMARKS OF THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY WHO SUGGESTED AT LEAST THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION IS NOT DOING EVERYTHING IN ITS POWER TO DEAL WITH THIS SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. LET'S LOOK AT WHAT WE'VE DONE. THIS PRESIDENT CALLED IN B.P. AND MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE COST, THE COST OF THIS DAMAGE WILL BE BORNE BY THAT OIL COMPANY, NOT BY THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS COUNTRY. I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED WHEN THE GOVERNOR OF MISSISSIPPI, HAILEY BARBOUR, A MAN WHO IN THE PAST WAS AS PASSIONATE IN HIS REPUBLICAN BELIEFS AS I WAS IN MY DEMOCRATIC BELIEFS CAME OUT AND PRAISED PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR SITTING DOWN AND GETTING A COMMITMENT OF $20 BILLION IN A FUND TO DEAL WITH THE ECONOMIC LOSSES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SPILL. B.P. HAS BOUGHT COMMERCIAL THAT IS MOST OF US HAVE SEEN ON TELEVISION, SAYING WE'RE GOING TO PAY FOR THIS, ALL OF IT. WELL, I DON'T KNOW IF THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY THINKS THAT THAT IS UNIMPORTANT. I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT. SECONDLY, I AM AS TROUBLED BY THE CONTINUING SPILL IN THE GULF AS ANYONE, AND I KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT FEELS THAT THAT HAS TO END AND END IMMEDIATELY. BUT AS THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY KNOWS, WE DON'T HAVE A U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEEP SEA DRILLING, IT DOESN'T EXIST. WHAT WE ARE RELYING ON IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR'S CAPACITY, TECHNOLOGY AND EQUIPMENT AND EXPERTISE TO FIND A WAY TO COPE WITH THIS PROBLEM. I AM AS FRUSTRATED AS ANY AMERICAN ON THE 70th OR 75th DAY OF THIS SPILL TO THINK THAT IT HASN'T COME TO AN END, BUT IT CONTINUES. THE PRESIDENT FOCUSES ON THIS EVERY DAY AS DOES HIS CABINET. YESTERDAY, WE HAD A MEETING WITH INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR. THE MAN HAS SPENT DAY AFTER WEARY DAY DEVOTING HIMSELF COMPLETELY TO THIS. CAROL BROWNER, AN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSISTANT IN THE WHITE HOUSE, WAS THERE AS WELL, TALKING ABOUT THE MASSIVE COMMITMENT WHICH WE HAVE MADE. WE WERE -- SHE WAS ASKED POINT BLANK ARE YOU PROVIDING THE BOOM -- THE THINGS THAT THEY SPREAD OUT IN THE WATER TO STOP THE FLOW AND SPREAD OF THIS OIL -- ARE YOU SUPPLYING ALL OF THE BOOM REQUESTED BY ALL OF THE STATES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO? SHE SAID WE ARE SUPPLYING NOT ONLY 100% OF THEIR REQUEST BUT OVER 100% OF THEIR REQUEST, AND WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO MANUFACTURE AND SECURE THIS BOOM TO PROTECT OUR SHORELINE. SHE SAID OF COURSE WE HAVEN'T DONE EVERYTHING RIGHT, BUT WHEN WE SEE A PROBLEM, WE MOVE ON IT QUICKLY TO TRY TO SOLVE IT. THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT THE COMMITMENTS OF THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF VESSELS TO SKIM THE SURFACE OF THE GULF OF MEXICO AND TO TRY TO SALVAGE AS MUCH OF THIS OIL AS POSSIBLE. IT IS A MASSIVE NATIONAL COMMITMENT BY OUR GOVERNMENT, BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR, AND THE SUGGESTION OF THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY THAT THE PRESIDENT ISN'T FOCUSED ON IT I DON'T THINK IS ACCURATE NOR FAIR. BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON ENERGY. WE NEED TO BE HONEST ABOUT THE FUTURE WHEN IT COMES TO ENERGY. IF YOU ACCEPT THE PREMISE THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN OIL INDEFINITELY, THAT WE WILL SPEND A BILLION DOLLARS A DAY SENDING IT TO MANY COUNTRIES WHICH NOT ONLY DISAGREE WITH US IN TERMS OF OUR VALUES BUT TURN AROUND AND SPEND OUR DOLLARS AGAINST US, TO FOSTER AND TO BE PATRONS TO TERRORISM, IF YOU ACCEPT THAT, THEN YOU WOULD DO NOTHING ABOUT A NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY. IF YOU WOULD ACCEPT THE PREMISE THAT WE SHOULD DO NOTHING ABOUT CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY AND ALL THE POTENTIAL FOR BUSINESS AND JOBS THAT CREATES, THAT AMERICA IS GOING TO TAKE A BACK SEAT TO CHINA AND OTHER COUNTRIES, THEN YOU WOULD DO NOTHING ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY. AND IF YOU ACCEPT THE PREMISE THAT THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING, THEN WE SHOULDN'T LOSE A MOMENT'S SLEEP WORRYING ABOUT IT, THEN YOU DO NOTHING ABOUT A NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY, AND THAT'S WHAT WE HEAR FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. DO NOTHING, SAY NO. OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN THROUGHOUT THIS CONGRESSIONAL SESSION, THE RESPONSE OF THE SENATE REPUBLICANS HAS BEEN SAY NO. WHEN WE TACKLED THE TOUGH AND CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE OF CONTAINING HEALTH CARE COSTS, RUNAWAY COSTS THAT ARE AFFECTING EVERY BUSINESS, EVERY FAMILY AND EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT, THE REPUBLICANS SAID NO, WE WILL NOT ENGAGE, WE WON'T BE PART OF THAT CONVERSATION. WHEN WE WENT AFTER WALL STREET REFORM AND SAID AFTER THIS RECESSION, WE'VE LEARNED LESSONS, WE WILL NOT ALLOW THESE TITANS ON WALL STREET TO REPEAT THESE MISTAKES AND KILL MORE JOBS IN THE FUTURE, ALL BUT FOUR REPUBLICANS SAID NO, WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN THAT CONVERSATION, WE DON'T WANT TO BE PART OF THAT EFFORT. AND NOW WE FIND AGAIN, IN ONE OF THE MOST TELLING AND IMPORTANT ISSUES OF THE MOMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION. FOR THE HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS OUT OF WORK, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE SAID NO, WE WILL NOT LEND A HELPING HAND TO THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA OUT OF WORK. I LOOK AT THE NUMBERS OF THOSE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED ACROSS OUR COUNTRY WHO WILL LOSE THEIR BENEFITS BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO SAY NO. I LOOK AT STATES LIKE KENTUCKY, THE HOME STATE OF THE REPUBLICAN LEADER. 22,600 UNEMPLOYED KENTUCKY FAMILIES HAD THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT CUT OFF BECAUSE SENATOR McCONNELL AND HIS COLLEAGUES VOTED NO WHEN IT CAME TO EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. IN MY STATE OF ILLINOIS, 80,000 FAMILIES HAD THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT CUT OFF THIS MONTH BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS SAID NO. ONE OF MY FRIENDS WHO IS A WOMAN OUT OF WORK WITH A FAMILY CALLED ME OVER THE WEEKEND AT HOME. WE KEEP IN TOUCH. SHE SAID LET ME TELL YOU, SENATOR, WHAT IT MEANS. THEY'RE CUTTING OFF MY UTILITIES. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. THREE KIDS IN THE HOUSE AND A GRANDSON, AND THEY'RE CUTTING OFF MY UTILITIES. THAT'S THE REAL WORLD OF THE REAL VOTES CAST BY THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. THIS MORNING, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" HAD AN EDITORIAL WHICH I'D LIKE TO MAKE REFERENCE TO AND ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT IT BE ENTERED INTO THE RECORD AFTER MY REMARKS.

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  • 09:53:20 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:53:23 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" EDITORIAL TODAY READ, "WHO WILL FIGHT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" EDITORIAL TODAY READ, "WHO WILL FIGHT FOR THE UNEMPLOYED?" I'D LIKE TO QUOTE A FEW SENTENCES FROM THIS EDITORIAL." WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE TWO BIGGEST THREATS TO THE ECONOMY ARE UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE DIRE FINANCIAL CONDITION OF THE STATES, YET LAWMAKERS HAVE FAILED TO DEAL INTELLIGENTLY WITH EITHER ONE. FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BEGAN TO EXPIRE NEARLY A MONTH AGO. SINCE THEN, 1.2 MILLION JOBLESS WORKERS HAVE BEEN CUT OFF. THE HOUSE PASSED A SIX-MONTH EXTENSION AS PART OF A BROADER BILL, BUT THE SENATE, DESPITE THREE ATTEMPTS, HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO PASS A SIMILAR BILL. THE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID SAID HE WAS READY TO GIVE UP AFTER THE THIRD TRY LAST WEEK WHEN ALL THE SENATE'S REPUBLICANS AND A LONE DEMOCRAT, BEN NELSON OF NEBRASKA, BLOCKED THE BILL. MEANWHILE, THE STATES FACE A COLLECTIVE BUDGET HOLE OF SOME SOME $112 BILLION. NEITHER THE HOUSE NOR THE SENATE HAS A PLAN TO HELP. THE HOUSE STRIPPED A PROVISION FOR $24 BILLION IN STATE FISCAL AID FROM ITS EARLIER BILL. THE SENATE INCLUDED STATE AID IN ITS ILL-FATED BILL TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. WHEN THAT BILL FAILED, THE PROMISE OF AID VANISHED AS WELL. AS A RESULT, 30 STATES THAT HAD COUNTED ON THE MONEY TO HELP BALANCE THEIR BUDGETS WILL BE FORCED TO RAISE TAXES EVEN HIGHER AND TO CUT SPENDING EVEN DEEPER IN THE BUDGET YEAR THAT BEGINS ON JULY 1st. THAT WILL ONLY WORSEN UNEMPLOYMENT, BOTH AMONG GOVERNMENT WORKERS AND THE STATE'S PRIVATE CONTRACTORS. WORSENING UNEMPLOYMENT MEANS SLOWER GROWTH OR WORSE RENEWED -- GROWTH OR, WORSE, RENEWED RECESSION. I MIGHT JUST ADD A COMMENT HERE. THIS MORNING'S NEWSPAPERS, "THE WASHINGTON POST" AND "THE NEW YORK TIMES," AT LEAST THE ONES THAT I HAVE SEEN, AND THE CHICAGO PAPERS AS WELL, QUESTIONED WHAT THE REACTION OF OUR ECONOMY IS GOING TO BE. THEY TOOK A LOOK AT THE STOCK MARKET YESTERDAY. ONE DAY DOESN'T MAKE A TREND, BUT THERE IS A GROWING CONCERN THAT WE ARE SLIDING BACK INTO A RECESSION BECAUSE OF THE FAILURE OF THE REPUBLICANS TO SUPPORT NOT ONLY THE PRESIDENT'S STIMULUS PACKAGE BUT ALSO TO SEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO THOSE NEEDY PEOPLE ACROSS AMERICA. THIS IS A REPEAT, UNFORTUNATELY, OF A CHAPTER IN AMERICAN HISTORY WHEN AFTER THE GREAT DEPRESSION, PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT INITIATED THE NEW DEAL AND INJECTED INTO OUR ECONOMY MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO CREATE JOBS SO PEOPLE WOULD GO TO WORK, EARN A PAYCHECK AND THEN SPEND IT FOR GOODS AND SERVICES, BREATHING LIFE BACK INTO A DYING ECONOMY, TRYING TO TURN IT AROUND. AFTER FOUR YEARS OF THAT EFFORT, THOUGH, PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, AT THE URGING OF MORE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL LEADERS, SAID WELL, WE HAD BETTER START FOCUSING NOW ON THE DEFICIT. THEY STARTED TAPPING THE BRAKES ON SPENDING INTO THE ECONOMY, AND THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE SHOT UP AGAIN, CREATING A FOLLOW-ON TO THE GREAT DEPRESSION WHICH WASN'T RELIEVED UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR II. SADLY, IT APPEARS THAT WE'RE ABOUT TO REPEAT THAT HISTORICAL MISTAKE. WE KNOW THAT THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO ARGUE THAT BECAUSE OF OUR DEFICIT, WE SHOULD NOT WORRY ABOUT THE RECESSION OR SPENDING MONEY TO STIMULATE THE CREATION OF JOBS. THE MONEY THAT WE SEND OUT TO UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE IS TURNED AROUND IMMEDIATELY INTO THE ECONOMY. THESE PEOPLE ARE LIVING HAND-TO-MOUTH, AND EVERY DOLLAR THEY RECEIVE IS SPENT. AS IT'S SPENT AT A BUSINESS, IT CREATES BUSINESS PROFITS AND BUSINESS -- SMALL BUSINESS JOBS, AND ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER AS THE MULTIPLIER TAKES THAT DOLLAR, RESPENDS ITMANY TIMES IN OUR ECONOMY AND BREATHES LIFE BACK INTO AN ECONOMY WHICH HAS BEEN BROUGHT WITH A RECESSION. THAT'S THE REALITY OF THE NEED TODAY. THE FAILURE TO MEET THAT NEED WILL GUARANTEE THAT DEFICITS CONTINUE AND GET WORSE. IT WILL BE A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY. AS THE REPUBLICANS TURN DOWN UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, ARGUING THAT WE CAN'T AFFORD IT AS A NATION BECAUSE OF THE DEFICIT, AND AS A RESULT DRIVE UP UNEMPLOYMENT IN OUR COUNTRY, DRIVING UP THE VERY DEFICITS WHICH THEY SAY THEY WANT TO END. IT'S A LESSON OF HISTORY, AND THOSE WHO IGNORE HISTORY ARE LIKELY AND CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT. RETURNING TO THIS "NEW YORK TIMES" EDITORIAL, THIS MORNING'S EDITORIAL THAT SAYS, "SO IF LAWMAKERS ARE WONDERING WHY CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IN THE STOCK MARKET ARE TANKING, THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 STOCK INDEX HIT A NEW LOW FOR THE YEAR ON TUESDAY, THEY NEED LOOK NO FURTHER THAN A MIRROR. THE SITUATION CRIES OUT FOR POLICIES TO SUPPORT ECONOMIC GROWTH, SPECIFICALLY JOBLESS BENEFITS AND FISCAL AID TO THE STATES. BUT INSTEAD OF DELIVERING, CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS AND MANY DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN ASSERTING THAT THE NATION MUST ACT INSTEAD TO CUT THE DEFICITS. THE DEBATE HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH ECONOMIC REALITY AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH POLITICAL POSTURING. A LOT OF LAWMAKERS HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE BEST WAY TO KEEP THEIR JOBS IS TO PANDER TO THE NATION'S NEW POPULOUS MOOD AND PLAY OFF THE FEARS OF THE VERY AMERICANS WHOSE ECONOMIC WELL-BEING CONGRESS IS THREATENING. DEFICITS MATTER, BUT NOT MORE THAN ECONOMIC RECOVERY, AND NOT MORE URGENTLY THAN THE ECONOMIC SURVIVAL OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS. A SANE APPROACH WOULD COUPLE NEAR-TERM FEDERAL SPENDING WITH A CREDIBLE PLAN FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION. A MIX OF TAX INCREASES AND SPENDING CUTS AS THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY TAKES HOLD." MR. PRESIDENT, THIS "NEW YORK TIMES" EDITORIAL SUMMARIZES WHAT I CONSIDER THE SITUATION HERE. IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, AFTER THE MEMORIAL TO OUR FALLEN COLLEAGUE, SENATOR BYRD, WHO SERVED THIS NATION AND WEST VIRGINIA SO WELL, WE WILL PROBABLY HAVE ONE VOTE TOMORROW EVENING AND THEN HEAD BACK TO OUR HOMES. FOR MANY PEOPLE, IT WILL BE A TIME OF RELAXATION WITH THEIR FAMILY. FOR MANY SENATORS, IT'S A REST THAT'S NEEDED AFTER A LOT OF DAYS SPENT IN SESSION IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. BUT I WILL TELL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE RETURN IN MY HOME STATE, 80,000 FAMILIES WON'T BE CELEBRATING THE FOURTH OF JULY. THEY WILL BE WONDERING HOW THEY'RE GOING TO PAY THEIR UTILITY BILLS AND FEED THEIR FAMILIES. FOR THE REST OF US WHO LIVE IN THE COMFORT OF FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT, IT MAY BE A WORLD REMOVED, BUT FOR THEM IT IS THE WORLD OF REALITY THAT THEY FACE EVERY SINGLE DAY. AND THEIR LIFE AND BURDEN -- LIFE HAS BECOME MORE COMPLICATED, THEIR BURDEN HAS BECOME HEAVIER BECAUSE THIS SENATE HAS FAILED TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. 1.2 MILLION AMERICANS IN THE MONTH OF JUNE WILL LOSE THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BECAUSE NOT ONE SINGLE REPUBLICAN WOULD VOTE TO HELP AMERICANS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. WHERE THEY WOULD FIND PERMISSION TO SPEND MONEY ON SO MANY OTHER THINGS, WHEN IT COMES TO INVESTING IN AMERICAN FAMILIES WHO HAVE FALLEN ON HARD TIMES, THEY TURN A DEAF EAR. THAT, TO ME, IS SAD AND UNFORTUNATE. WE NEED TO ADDRESS MANY ISSUES IN THIS CONGRESS. IT TROUBLES ME THAT WE WOULD CONSIDER GOING HOME FOR ANYTHING NEAR A HOLIDAY OR A RELIEF FROM OUR SENATE DUTIES AND IGNORE THE BURDENS THAT ARE FACING AMERICANS WHO ARE IN AN UNEMPLOYED STATUS OR WHO HAVE TROUBLE IN THEIR FAMILIES BECAUSE OF THIS WEAK ECONOMY. I SINCERELY HOPE THAT A HANDFUL, THREE OR FOUR REPUBLICANS, WILL CONSIDER VOTING FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR THOSE ACROSS AMERICA WHO ARE OUT OF WORK. WE COME TO THE AID OF THE AMERICAN FAMILY WHEN PEOPLE ARE IN NEED, WHEN THERE'S A NATURAL DISASTER, WE'RE THERE. THIS IS AN ECONOMIC DISASTER. IT REQUIRES AN EMERGENCY RESPONSE. WE SHOULDN'T LEAVE WASHINGTON WITHOUT DEALING WITH IT. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 10:01:04 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:01:07 AM

    MR. BEGICH

    SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, I WAS PRESIDING THERE FOR ABOUT A HALF-HOUR AND I…

    SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, I WAS PRESIDING THERE FOR ABOUT A HALF-HOUR AND I WAS IMKLEINEING TO SPEAK. I KNOW MY STAFF IS NERVOUS THAT I'M SPEAKING ON THE FLOOR WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE. I DO WANT TO SAY A COUPLE OF THINGS. ONE, YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO. I WAS AT MEETING YESTERDAY WITH THE PRESIDENT AND I SAT NEXT TO SENATOR ALEXANDER AND HER THE QUESTION ON THE OIL SPILL -- AND HEARD THE QUESTION ON THE OIL SPILL ISSUE. THE COMMENT FROM THE REPUBLICAN LEADER WAS THAT THE PRESIDENT JUST BRUSHED IT ASIDE. I'M NOT HERE TO DEFEND THE PRESIDENT. HE CAN DO THE JOB HIMSELF. THE POINT WAS WE WERE DOING EVERYTHING IN A BIPARTISAN WAY ON THE OIL SPILL. EVERYWHERE WE LOOK ON THE CHAMBERS, TOMORROW WE HAVE ANOTHER BRIEFING WITH THE COAST GUARD. THERE WAS A BRIEFING YESTERDAY. THERE'S A COMMITTEE MEETING I'M SUPPOSED TO BE AT NOW ON SOME OF THE LIABILITY ISSUES ON THE DEEPWATER AND WHAT'S GOING ON WITH OFFSHORE. THERE ARE MEETINGS ALL OVER THIS PLACE. SO TO COME TO THE FLOOR -- AND I KNOW THE REPUBLICAN LEADER WASN'T AT THE MEETING, SO I'M SURE THAT HE GOT THE INFORMATION SECOND-HAND. I WAS. IT WASN'T BRUSHED OFF. I DON'T CARE WHAT STATE YOU'RE FROM. WE'RE FROM AND AN OIL AND GAS STATE. WE'RE ALL CONCERNED ABOUT THE TRAGEDY IN THE GULF AND THE 11 LIVES LOST THERE. WE ARE COMMITTED IN THIS BODY ON A BIPARTISAN WAY. WHAT I FOUND AMAZING, AND YOUR POINT WAS THIS -- YOU KNOW, WE -- YOU KNOW, WE CAN DO MORE THAN ONE THING IN THIS BODY. I KNOW EVERYONE AROUND ME AND MY CAUCUS BELIEVES IT. WE'RE GOING TO WORK ON THE OIL SPILL. WE WANT TO CAP IT. THEY'RE 16,000 FEET DOWN ON A SECOND DRILL, A DRILL -- A RELIEF DRILL. THEY'RE ABOUT 1,000 FEET AWAY. WE KNOW THAT'S BEING WORKED ON. BUT THE REALITY IS WE'VE GOT TO HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN IN THIS COUNTRY. THE FACT IS IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT JOBS AND JOB CREATION IN THE FUTURE, THAT IS A HUGE POTENTIAL FOR US. THIS DEBATE, WHEN WE GET TO IT -- SOME WANT TO MAKE IT CAP-AND-TRADE AND CAP AND CAP, CAP AND SOMETHING, BUT THE REALITY IS THIS A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY. AS YOU MENTIONED THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WE SPEND OVERSEAS TO COUNTRIES THAT DON'T LIKE US. THEY SPEND THE MONEY AGAINST US. IT IS IN OUR BEST INTEREST THAT WE DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, NOT USE EXCUSES FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS THAT HAVE GONE AROUND THIS PLACE. WE NEED TO GET BUSY, DO IT FOR THE CONSUMER, DO IT FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, DO IT FOR OUR ECONOMIC SECURITY AND DO IT FOR FUTURE JOB CREATION AND THIS ECONOMY. IF WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE OIL SPILL, ABSOLUTELY. WE'LL WORK DOUBLE TIME ON THAT. WE'RE DOING IT FROM EVERY END OF THE CAPITOL, ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. TODAY ANOTHER REPORT CAME OUT, IT'S A MULTINATIONAL EFFORT, MULTICOUNTRY EFFORT AROUND THE WORLD HAS COME TO ASSISTANCE IN THE GULF. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN. IN ALASKA WE'RE DOING IT. BY 2025, WE INTEND TO HAVE 50% OF OUR ENERGY PRODUCED BY RENEWABLE ENERGY. EVEN THOUGH WE'RE DEPENDENT ON OIL AND GAS AS OUR ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF OUR STATE, WE RECOGNIZE THE DIVERSITY THAT HAS TO HAPPEN. KODIAK, ALASKA, 10 YEARS AGO ZERO, TODAY, THE LARGEST COAST GUARD STATION IN THIS COUNTRY IS IN KODIAK ALASKA, WHICH WILL BE RUN BY RENEWABLE ENERGY, BIOFUELS, HYDRO, WIND ENERGY. WE HAVE TO BE REAL ABOUT THIS. AND SO I UNDERSTAND THE POLITICS OF NOVEMBER'S COMING, EVERYONE WANTS TO BE FOR SOMETHING, AGAINST SOMETHING SO THEY CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT CONSTITUENCIES THEY WIN OR LOSE IN THE ELECTION. THE PEOPLE WHO WILL LOSE IF WE DO NOT GET A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN IS THE PUBLIC. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, GREEN PARTY, INDEPENDENT, YOU NAME IT, YOU'RE GOING TO BE AFFECTED. WE WILL CONTINUE TO IMPORT FROM FOREIGN SOURCE THAT'S DON'T LIKE US. WE WILL CONTINUE TO PUT OUR COUNTRY AT RISK FROM A NATIONAL SECURITY PERSPECTIVE. AND WE WILL NOT RECOGNIZE THAT WE ARE NUMBER TWO, NUMBER THREE IN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY. AN CHINA'S BEATING US. THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE FOR OUR COUNTRY TO BE NUMBER TWO OR THREE ON THIS ISSUE. WE SHOULD BE NUMBER ONE. FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO PIGEONHOLE THIS AND CLAIM THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE CAPACITY IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO DO MORE THAN ONE THING IS UNBELIEVABLE. WE WILL WORK DOUBLE TIME ON THE OIL SPILL. BUT WE MUST WORK DOUBLE TIME ON DEVELOPING AN ENERGY POLICY THAT MOVES US TO A BETTER SECURITY FOR OUR COUNTRY, FOR OUR ECONOMIC SECURITY, AND MAKING SURE THAT WE SEE THE FUTURE. AND THE FUTURE IS A NEW ENERGY ECONOMY THAT CREATES NEW JOBS AND A FUTURE FOR THIS COUNTRY. SO I WASN'T PLANNING TO SPEAK, TO THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, BUT YOU SPARKED ME. I GET AGITATED SOMETIMES WHEN THIS BODY -- NOT YOU, OBVIOUSLY, BUT THE REPUBLICAN LEADER WHEN THEY WANT TO DO JUST ONE THING. IT'S LIKE WHEN YOU GET YOUR MEAL ON THE PLATE AND ONE PERSON EATS THE CORN FIRST, COMPLETE IT ALL AND THEY MOVE TO THE NEXT. WE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DO MANY THINGS IN THIS SENATE. WE SPENT 40 YEARS ON THE LAST MAJOR EMBARGO TWIDDLING OUR THUMBS. NOW LET'S DO THE RIGHT LEGISLATION FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND DO IT RIGHT FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. SO I WILL STOP ON MY RANT. MY STAFF IS PROBABLY SWEATING BULLETS RIGHT NOW, HAD NO IDEA THAT I WAS DOWN HERE DOING THIS. I'M OFF TO A COMMITTEE MEETING.

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  • 10:06:55 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    WENT UP TO PRINCE WILLIAM TO SEE THE EXXON VALDEZ SPILL AND I KNOW YOU…

    WENT UP TO PRINCE WILLIAM TO SEE THE EXXON VALDEZ SPILL AND I KNOW YOU KNOW FIRSTHAND HOW TERRIBLE THE SPILLS CAN BE, THE TERRIBLE IMPACT THEY HAVE SHORT AND LONG TERM. I COMMEND YOU FOR YOUR STATEMENT. WE CAN DO MORE THAN ONE THING IF WE'RE WORKING TO THE. IF WE'RE DIVIDED AND AT WAR POLITICALLY, WE DON'T ACCOMPLISH MUCH. THE PRESIDENT WANTS US TO DEAL WITH THE GULF OIL SPILL AND NOT IGNORE THE NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY. I THANK THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA FOR HIS COMMENTS.

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  • 10:07:33 AM

    MR. BEGICH

    YOU FOR SPARKING ME FOR THE DAY.

  • 10:07:37 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:07:41 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    BE PEEK -- I WILL BE SPEAKING ON THE -- ON SENATOR BYRD. I WANT TO COMMEND…

    BE PEEK -- I WILL BE SPEAKING ON THE -- ON SENATOR BYRD. I WANT TO COMMEND SENATOR FROM ALASKA. YOU SPEAK FLUENTLY AND WITHOUT FLAW. SECOND, YOUR COURAGE ON THIS ISSUE HAS HELPED INSPIRE ROW CAUCUS TO MOVE FORWARD. WE COME FROM DIFFERENT STATES. SOME STATES ARE EASIER, SOME ARE HARDER TO TAKE THIS ISSUE. THE STATE OF ALASKA IS PROBABLY HARDER TO DO IT. YOU'VE DONE IT WITH COURAGE, INTELLIGENCE, WITH DRIVE AND I THINK ULTIMATELY WITH SUCCESS. SO I THANK THE SENATOR. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS WITH DEEP SADNESS THAT I RISE TO HONOR MY COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND, SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD. I LOOK AT SIMPLE ELOQUENCE OF THE ROSES AND THE BLACK FELT ON HIS DESK AND SORT OF HE RISES ABOVE THAT AND HOOFERS ABOVE US IN JUST ABOUT -- HOOVERS ABOVE US. THE ADMISSION THAT WE ALL HAVE IS GENUINE AND PALPABLE. WE MISS HIM DEARLY AND I KNOW I SPEAK FOR THE ENTIRE SENATE WHEN I SAY THAT OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH SENATOR BYRD'S FAMILY AS THEY MOURN HIS PASSING. MR. PRESIDENT, NO ONE LOVED THE SENATE MORE THAN ROBERT BYRD. HE DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO THIS AUGUST INSTITUTION, AND IN DOING SO BECAME AN INSTITUTION HIMSELF. HE IS A LEGEND. A MAN WHO EMBODIED THE BEST IDEALS OF THIS BODY. AND IT IS FITTING ON THIS DAY WE REMEMBER SENATOR BYRD. THE SENATE IS UNDERTAKING ONE OF ITS MOST IMPORTANT CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED RESPONSIBILITIES, THE CONFIRMATION HEARINGS FOR AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE. SENATOR BYRD WOULD REMIND US THAT WE'RE IN THE PROCESS WHERE THE FIRST BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT IS GIVING ADVICE AND CONSENT TO THE SELECTION OF A SECOND BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT TO CHOOSE SOMEONE TO SIT ON THE HIGHEST PART OF THE THIRD BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. HE LOVED THE CONSTITUTION. HE LOVED THE SENATE. HE LOVED AMERICA. AND HE CAME FROM THE BOOSOM OF AMERICA. I'M STRUCK BY THE HISTORY OF THIS MOMENT. YOU READ ABOUT THE GREAT SENATORS WHO SERVED IN THIS BODY, THE WEBSTERS, LAFELETTES AND THE WAGGERS IN. I CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL PRIVILEGED TO HAVE SERVED WITH A LEGEND, WITH A MAN WHOSE NAME WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY BESIDES THOSE MEN AS ONE OF THE GREAT MEN IN THIS BODY AND ONE OF THE GREAT MEN IN HISTORY. ON THURSDAY, MR. PRESIDENT, SENATOR BYRD WILL MAKE ONE FINAL VISIT TO THIS SENATE CHAMBER THAT HE SO LOVED. THERE COULD BE NO MORE APPROPRIATE WAY FOR US TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO HIM AND HONOR HIM THAN YIELD THE SENATE FLOOR TO HIM FOR ONE LAST TIME. PEOPLE ASK, WHY THE ROW -- WHY NOT THE ROTUNDA? IT WASN'T THAT HE DIDN'T DESERVE TRIBUTE IN THE ROTUNDA. FOR SURE TENS OF THOUSANDS WOULD HAVE LINED UP. THIS IS THE BODY THAT HE LOVED AND THIS IS THE BODY WHERE HIS FINAL DAY HERE SHOULD BE. NOW, I'D LIKE TO SHARE A FEW BRIEF THOUGHTS AND REFLECT ON SENATOR BYRD'S SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA AND NATION. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE SHOULD ALL REMEMBER ABOUT ROBERT BYRD IS HIS LIFE STORY FOR IT EMBODIES AMERICA, THE BEST OF AMERICA. IT EMBODIES THE AMERICAN DREAM. BECAUSE OF HIS INTELLIGENCE, HIS ENERGY, AND THE UP-BY-THE-BOOTSTRAPS DETERMINATION, HE ROSE FROM POVERTY TO BEING THREE HEARTBEATS AWAY FROM THE PRESIDENCY. HE MADE MISTAKES IN HIS EARLY CAREER WHICH HE FREELY ADMITTED. WHO WASN'T? BUT HE JUST GREW AND GREW AND GREW. THAT'S WHAT GREAT MEN DO. THEY GROW LARGER AND STRONGER AND BETTER AS THEY GO THROUGH LIFE. AND THAT COULD CERTAINLY BE SAID OF SENATOR BYRD. UNLIKE MANY OF THE GREAT MEN WHO PRECEDED HIM, SENATOR BYRD DIDN'T GROW UP AS A MEMBER OF THE PRIVILEGED CLASS, HE WAS AN ORPHAN RAISED IN THE APPALACHIAN COAL TOWNS OF WEST VIRGINIA, HE GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL AS THE VALEDICTORIAN, LIKE SO MANY AMERICANS OF HIS DAY, HE WAS TOO POOR, HE COULDN'T AFFORD COLLEGE. AS A YOUNG MEMBER OF CONGRESS, HE WORKED HIS WAY THROUGH LAW SCHOOL AND GRADUATED WITH HONORS THAT RELAUDED HIM IN HIS YOUTH. -- ELUDED HIM IN HIS YOUTH. I KNOW HE LOVED WEST VIRGINIA. WHEN I WAS -- I WENT TO SENATOR BYRD'S CLASS ON THE RULES OF THE SENATE. LEGENDARY TO EACH FRESHMAN CLASS OF HIS TIME. BUT ONE DAY I WAS SEATED AT MY DESK AND SENATOR BYRD ROSE TO SPEAK. IT WAS A FRIDAY AFTERNOON, I BELIEVE IT WAS, IN THE SPRINGTIME. AND BUSINESS WAS FINISHED AND EVERYONE WAS RUSHING HOME. AND AS YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I USUALLY RUSH HOME. I LOVE TO BE IN NEW YORK. BUT AS I WAS GETTING READY TO LEAVE, SENATOR BYRD ROSE AND HIS SPEECH CAPTIVATED ME FOR 45 MINUTES HE GAVE A SPEECH ON THE BEAUTY OF WEST VIRGINIA IN THE SPRINGTIME. THE THEME OF THE SPEECH WAS TO URGE VISITORS FROM OTHER STATES TO COME AND EXPERIENCE IT. IT WAS AN AMAZING SPEECH. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE POETRY. AND I'M SURE THAT SENATOR BYRD PROBABLY JUST DIDN'T HAVE TO SIT AND SPEND DAYS PREPARING IT. IT JUST FLOWED OFF HIS LIPS. HIS LOVE OF WEST VIRGINIA COMBINED WITH HIS WELL COMMONSENSE, IT'S ONE OF THE SPEECHES I WILL ALWAYS -- ELOQUENCE, IT'S ONE OF THE SPEECHES I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER IN THE SENATE. SPEAKING OF MY STATE OF NEW YORK, SENATOR BYRD DIDN'T JUST TOUCH WEST VIRGINIA, HE TOUCHED EVERY STATE. BECAUSE HE WAS HERE FOR SO LONG, OF COURSE, HAD SUCH POWER, BUT CARED ABOUT EACH OF THE MEMBERS IN THEIR STATES. THE MOST STRIKING MOMENT I HAVE OF SENATOR BYRD OCCURRED IN THE WAKE OF 9/11. SENATOR CLINTON AND I HAD JUST COME -- IT WAS THE DAY AFTER THAT SENATOR CLINTON AND I WENT UP TO NEW YORK AND WE SAW THE DEVASTATION. WE COULD SMELL THE DEATH IN THE AIR. THE ANGUISHED LOOKS OF PEOPLE HOLDING SIGNS. YOU HAVE SEEN MY HUSBAND? "YOU HAVE SEEN MY WIFE?" BECAUSE THE TOWERS WERE GONE, BUT PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW WHO SURVIVED AND WHO HADN'T. AND THE NEXT CALL WE GET WHEN WE COME BACK, SENATOR BYRD SAID, PLEASE COME TO MY OFFICE. WE WENT TO HIS OFFICE HERE ON THE FIRST FLOOR OF THE CAPITOL. HE CAME TO SENATOR CLINTON AND I AND SAID, CHUCK, HILLARY, I WANT YOU TO CONSIDER ME THE THIRD SENATOR FROM THE GREAT STATE OF NEW YORK. WE KNEW WE NEEDED HELP AND WE NEEDED IT FAST. AND EVEN BEFORE WE WENT TO THE VISIT PRESIDENT BUSH AND ASK HIM FOR THE HELP THAT NEW YORK NEEDED, SENATOR BYRD ON HIS OWN INVITED US OVER AND PLEDGED HIS HELP. AND, LIKE ALWAYS, HE LIVED UP TO HIS WORD. NOT JUST IN THE NEXT DAYS OR WEEKS OR MONTHS, BUT YEARS. I WOULD GO TO HIM THREE, FOUR YEARS LATER AND SAY THIS IS -- THERE IS STILL THIS PART OF THE PROMISE MADE TO NEW YORK THAT HASN'T BEEN FULFILLED. AND THERE HE WAS, AND HE DID IT. WITHOUT A DOUBT THE DEAR CITY I LOVE, NEW YORK CITY, WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RECOVER AS QUICKLY OR AS WELL WITHOUT THAT MAN FROM THE COALFIELDS OF WEST VIRGINIA, SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD, HELPING US. HE SHOWED A LEVEL OF SELFLESSNESS THAT'S RARELY SEEN, AND I THINK I CAN SPEAK ON BEHALF OF SECRETARY CLINTON AND THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK IN TELLING SENATOR BYRD HOW GRATEFUL WE ARE TO HIM. WE ALL HAVE SO MANY MEMORIES OF SENATOR BYRD, SO MANY THINGS. I WAS ONLY IN THE SENATE, WE ONLY SERVED TOGETHER A LITTLE LESS THAN 12 YEARS, 11 AND A HALF YEARS. BUT HE WAS SUCH A -- HE WAS LIKE A JEWEL. HE HAD SO MANY DIFFERENT FACETS THAT EVERY ONE OF US WAS TOUCHED BY HIM IN MANY WAYS. AND SO I REMEMBER MY LAST STRONG MEMORY OF SENATOR BYRD, AND YOU DO, TOO, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE IT WAS AT A HEARING OF THE RULES COMMITTEE WHERE WE ARE NOW HAVING A SERIES OF HEARINGS UNDER YOUR SUGGESTION AND LEADERSHIP TO DECIDE WHETHER WE SHOULD REFORM THE FILIBUSTER RULE AND WHAT WE SHOULD DO ABOUT IT. SENATOR BYRD, FRAIL AT THAT POINT -- IT WAS ABOUT A MONTH AGO -- CAME TO OUR HEARING ROOM. HE SAT NEXT TO ME AND THEN GAVE ONE OF THE BEST ORATIONS THAT I HAVE HEARD IN A COMMITTEE. HE WAS 92. HIS SPEECH, HE TURNED THE PAGES HIMSELF. THAT WASN'T SO EASY FOR HIM. AND HIS -- IT WAS CLEARLY, KNOWING THE WAY HE THOUGHT AND HIS WAY OF SPEAKING, WRITTEN COMPLETELY BY HIM. IT WAS AN AMAZING STATEMENT. PASSIONATE, ERUDITE, BALANCED. I'M SURE, AS YOU REMEMBER, MR. PRESIDENT, IT ELECTRIFIED THE ROOM. IT WAS AN AMAZING TOUR DE FORCE. THE MAN CARED SO MUCH ABOUT THE SENATE, DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE WAS AILING, THERE HE WAS BECAUSE HE LOVED THE SENATE. AND HE -- HIS REMARKS, IF YOU READ THEM, WERE BALANCED. HE UNDERSTOOD THE PROBLEMS BUT HE UNDERSTOOD THE TRADITIONS. HE TRIED AS USUAL TO WEAVE THE TWO TOGETHER. THERE ARE FEW SENATORS WHO COULD DO THAT IN THE MORE THAN 200-YEAR HISTORY OF THIS BODY THE WAY HE COULD. THERE ARE ALSO FEW SENATORS IN THIS BODY WHO FOUGHT AS HARD FOR THEIR STATE AS SENATOR BYRD DID. MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK THE PEOPLE -- I CERTAINLY ADMIRE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE WHO BECOME NATIONAL LEADERS BUT NEVER FORGET WHERE THEY CAME FROM. THERE IS A TENDENCY I THINK AMONG SOME WHO COME TO WASHINGTON TO SORT OF FORGET WHERE THEY CAME FROM. NOT SENATOR BYRD. ALL ACROSS WEST VIRGINIA, MEN AND WOMEN ARE ABLE TO REALIZE THE AMERICAN DREAM BECAUSE HE FOUGHT FOR THEM. HE WAS UNRELENTING, UNAPOLOGETIC IN HIS DESIRE TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF WEST VIRGINIA BY MAKING GENEROUS INVESTMENTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND RESEARCH. HE BROUGHT THAT STATE INTO THE FUTURE AND AFFORDED GENERATIONS OF WEST VIRGINIANS GOOD-PAYING JOBS, ALLOWING THEM TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND HAVE THE DIGNITY THAT ALL AMERICANS DESERVE. SOME IN THE MORE ELITE PARTS OF THE MEDIA WOULD MAKE FUN OF WHAT HE DID, BUT I THOUGHT OUR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER, SAID IT BEST. I'M PARAPHRASING THIS. I READ THIS IN THE NEWSPAPER. HE SAID SENATOR BYRD REALIZED THAT UNTIL YOU GET A ROAD AND A WATER SYSTEM TO THESE ISOLATED TOWNS, YOU COULDN'T OPEN THE DOOR TO THE FUTURE FOR THEM, AND HE KNEW THAT. AND SENATOR BYRD RELENTLESSLY IN TOWN AFTER TOWN AFTER TOWN DID THAT. AND HE FOUGHT TO INCREASE HEALTH CARE AND ENSURE THAT PEOPLE HAD THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND MAKE SURE EVERY CHILD IN WEST VIRGINIA HAD THE RIGHT TO LIVE UP TO HIS GOD-GIVEN POTENTIAL THROUGH A QUALITY EDUCATION. EVERY ONE OF US COULD GO ON AND ON AND ON ABOUT SENATOR BYRD'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS, BUT I THINK WHAT'S EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS WAS WHO HE WAS AS A PERSON. HE WAS SOMEONE WHO KNEW WHERE HE STOOD BUT SHOWED A PROFOUND WILLINGNESS TO EVOLVE, A SIGN OF EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTER. IT'S ALL TOO EASY FOR AN ELECTED OFFICIAL TO PLUG HIS EARS AND SAY SORRY, THAT'S MY POSITION, THAT'S THE WAY IT'S ALWAYS BEEN AND THAT'S THE WAY IT WILL ALWAYS BE. NOT SENATOR BYRD. HE WAS UNAFRAID TO TAKE NEW ARGUMENTS INTO CONSIDERATION AND EXPAND HIS WORLD VIEW ACCORDINGLY. WHAT ALSO STRUCK ME ABOUT HIM WAS HIS FUNDAMENTAL HUMILITY, AND THE BEST EXAMPLE OF WHICH IS PROBABLY HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH MY DEAR FRIEND AND MEN FOR TED KENNEDY, ANOTHER LEGEND IN THIS BODY WHO IS SO SORELY MISSED. TED SOMEWHAT UNEXPECTEDLY RAN AGAINST SENATOR BYRD TO BE THE DEMOCRATIC WHIP IN 1969, AND SENATOR KENNEDY WON. TWO YEARS LATER, THERE WAS A REMATCH AND SENATOR BYRD BECAME THE WHIP. YOU WOULD THINK AFTER THIS KIND OF ANIMUS THAT THE TWO OF THEM WOULD NEVER COME TOGETHER, BUT IN THEIR LIVES HERE IN THE SENATE, THEY ESTABLISHED A DEEP, MEANINGFUL BOND, A TRIBUTE TO BOTH OF THEM. SENATOR KENNEDY WOULD TELL ME STORIES ABOUT SENATOR BYRD AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HE HAD DONE, SERIOUS AND HUMOROUS. IT'S TO ME JUST SO PROFOUND THAT WITHIN A YEAR WE HAVE LOST THE TWO GIANTS WHO I WAS PROUD AND LUCKY TO SERVE AMONG. AND I'LL NEVER FORGET WHEN SENATOR BYRD, AS SICK AS HE WAS, WAS OUTSIDE THE STEPS OF THE CAPITOL TO SALUTE TED KENNEDY AFTER HE PASSED EARLIER THIS YEAR. IT WAS SENATOR BYRD WHO PROVIDED A CRUCIAL VOTE TO VULVILLE TED KENNEDY'S LIFELONG PASSION, COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE HEALTH CARE REFORM. AS EVERY SENATOR SAT AT THEIR DESK FOR PASSAGE OF THE FINAL VOTE, THE CLERK CALLED THE ROLL. WHEN SENATOR BYRD'S NAME WAS CALLED, HE RAISED HIS VOICE AS LOUD AS HE COULD AND DECLARED, "MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS IS FOR MY FRIEND TED KENNEDY, AYE." THOSE TWO FRIENDS, THOSE TWO LEGENDS TODAY ARE TOGETHER IN HEAVEN, AND I WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO HEAR THE CONVERSATIONS AND REMINISCES BETWEEN THEM. ROBERT BYRD, HE WILL BE REMEMBERED FOREVER. HE WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A MAN WHO LOVED THIS INSTITUTION AND GUARDED ITS HISTORY. HE WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A MAN WHO ALWAYS STOOD UP FOR HIS STATE. HE WILL BE A MAN WHO WILL BE REMEMBERED AS SOMEONE WHO LIVED THE AMERICAN DREAM AND FOUGHT TO MAKE THAT DREAM A REALITY FOR COUNTLESS OTHERS. AND PERHAPS MOST OF ALL, HE WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A LOVING FATHER, GRANDFATHER AND HUSBAND. TODAY THE SENATE MOURNS, THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA MOURN, THE NATION MOURNS. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:22:29 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 10:22:44 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:32:56 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM KANSAS IS RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK…

    THE SENATOR FROM KANSAS IS RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT FURTHER PROCEEDING UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 10:33:03 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:33:05 AM

    MR. BROWNBACK

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT SENATOR BYRD, AS MANY OF MY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT SENATOR BYRD, AS MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE, AND MAKE A FEW COMMENTS ABOUT AN EXTRAORDINARY INDIVIDUAL. YOU KNOW, THE -- JUST THE -- THE SHEER NUMBS ARE PRETTY IMPRESS -- NUMBERS ARE PRETTY IMPRESSIVE. VERY IMPRESSIVE. MARRIED FOR 68 YEARS, ELECTED TO NINE TERMS, MORE THAN 20,000 DAYS OF SERVICE IN THE SENATE, APPROACHING 19,000 ROLL CALL VOTES CAST, 97% ATTENDANCE RECORD. THE MAJORITY LEADER FROM 1977 TO 1981, SERVED PRESIDENT PRO PRO TEMPORE AND KNOWN FOR HIS DEFENSE OF THE CONSTITUTION. AUTHOR OF FIVE BOOKS, AVID FIDDLER PLAYER. THAT WAS THE FIRST PLACE I SAW SENATOR BYRD WAS PLAYING THE FIDDLE ON TELEVISION. AND, BOY, HE -- HE COULD PLAY. AND IT WAS -- IT WAS IMPRESSIVE TO SEE SOMEBODY OF HIS STATURE PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT SO BRILLIANTLY. IN HIS BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT FROM HIS WEBSITE, I FIND A STATEMENT I REALLY WANT TO EXPAND AND BUILD OFF OF, IT SAYS IN EVERY CORNER OF WEST VIRGINIA THE PEOPLE OF THE MOUNTAIN STATE KNOW THERE WAS ONE MAN THEY COULD ALWAYS DEPEND, U.S. SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD. HE HAS ALWAYS REMAINED THROUGH TO HIS FAITH AND FAMILY WHILE WORKING TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE FOR HIS STATE AND HIS COUNTRY. I'M SURE A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN ABOUT THIS. HIS REMAINING TRUE TO HIS FAITH AND FAMILY IS AT THE CORE OF SENATOR BYRD AND THE CORE OF HIS LONGEVITY AND THE CORE OF HIS SERVICE. WHILE HE SPOKE OFTEN, WROTE WELL ABOUT THE INSTITUTIONAL PREROGATIVES OF THE SENATE BETTER THAN ANYBODY I WOULD THINK IN THE HISTORY OF THIS BODY, IT'S THAT LIFE CENTERED AROUND HIS CORE, REMAINING TRUE TO HIS FAITH AND HIS FAMILY. MARRIED FOR 68 YEARS TO A SPOUSE BY HIS SIDE CONSTANTLY THAT HE WOULD SPEAK OF OFTEN. HE AND I WOULD SPEAK ABOUT HIS FAITH ON THE FLOOR FREQUENTLY. HE'S A DEEP MAN OF FAITH, STRONG MAN OF HIS CONVICTIONS AND HIS FAITH. THAT WAS THE CENTER CORE PIECE OF HIM WAS HIS FAITH, WOULD SPEAK ON THIS FLOOR OFTEN ABOUT THE -- THE FAITH. AND I THINK WHAT YOU SEE IN SENATOR BYRD IS -- IN THAT STATEMENT ABOUT HIS FAITH AND HIS FAMILY IS A CULTURAL REQUIREMENT FOR THE UNITED STATES. IT'S A STRONG NATION OF FAITH. IT'S A STRONG NATION OF FAMILY. AND THAT AT CORE OF THIS COUNTRY IS THAT RESULT RAL NEED -- CULTURAL NEED AND NECESSITY AND THE LEADERS OF THE COUNTRY NEED TO HAVE AT THEIR CORE A STRONG BEARING WITHIN THEY'LL AND THAT IS A PART OF THEIR SERVICE. THAT WAS A BIG PART OF HIS SERVICE WHERE HIS COMMENTS ABOUT THAT AND HIS COMMENTS, BY THE WAY -- COMMENTS BY THE WAY HE LIVED. AND THOSE THINGS, YOU KNOW, IT'S OFTEN THAT PEOPLE WILL QUOTE THE PHRASE THAT -- THAT -- THAT YOU SHOULD -- YOU COMMENT AND YOU -- THE WAY YOU LIVE IS SPEAKING LOUDER THAN ANY WORDS THAT YOU GIVE. THAT'S WHAT I FOUND WITH SENATOR BYRD. IT WAS THE WAY HE LIVED THAT WAS SPEAKING LOUDER THAN ANY WORDS THAT HE WOULD GIVE. IT WAS HIS COMMITMENT WINCE HIS FAMILY AN -- WITHIN HIS FAMILY AND HIS WILLINGNESS TO LIVE THAT AND TO LIVE HIS FAITH THAT SPOKE LOUDER THAN ANY WORDS HE WOULD SPEAK. WHEN WE TALKED ABOUT THESE ITEMS, YOU WOULD SEE THEY WERE AT THE DEPTH OF HIS SOUL AND THE DEPTH OF HIS BEING. WHETHER WE AGREED OR DISAGREED ON A NUMBER OF THINGS, AND THERE WERE MANY DISAGREEMENTS THAT I HAD WITH HIM ON POLICY ISSUES. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. YOU WOULD NEVER CHALLENGE AT THE CORE HIS CONVICTIONS AND AT THE CORE OF HIS FAITH AND HIS COMMITMENT TO HIS FAMILY. THOSE WERE THINGS WERE OBVIOUS BY THE WAY HE LIVED YOU COULD -- AND YOU COULD HAVE A GENTLEMENLY DEBATE ABOUT TOPICS THAT WOULD COME UP, BUT NEVER QUESTION OR CHALLENGE THE CHARACTER OF THE HEART OR THE SOUL OF THE MAN. AND THAT'S WHAT I FOUND MOST ENDEARING WAS THAT COMMITMENT THERE IN FAITH AND FAMILY. HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED IN THIS BODY. HIS TREATIES ON THE U.S. SENATE THAT HE GAVE TO ME AS A NEW MEMBER COMING INTO THE UNITED STATES SENATE, I GOT THROUGH A PORTION OF IT, NOT ALL OF IT, BUT IT WAS EXCELLENTLY WRITTEN, WELL -- WELL PRESENTED AND CERTAINLY A GOOD EDUCATION AS TO WHAT WE SHOULD DO IN PRESERVING THE CONSTITUTIONAL INTEGRITY THAT THE FOUNDERS INTENDED FOR THIS BODY TO BE. AND HE, OF COURSE, WAS THE GREATEST DEFENDER OF THIS. MR. PRESIDENT, I -- THERE ARE OTHERS WHO HAVE SPOKEN MORE ELOQUENTLY ABOUT SENATOR BYRD, BUT I DON'T THINK ANY ELOQUENCE COULD MATCH THE ELOQUENCE WITH WHICH HE LIVED HIS LIFE, PARTICULARLY TOWARD HIS FAITH AND HIS FAMILY, AND THAT'S WHAT I THINK WE SHOULD REALLY RECOGNIZE THE MOST. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:38:21 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 10:38:39 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:47:38 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: I ASK THAT FURTHER…

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: I ASK THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS ON THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 10:47:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:47:52 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    SARAH QUISENBERRY AND MICHAEL COOPER BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR. AND…

    SARAH QUISENBERRY AND MICHAEL COOPER BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR. AND I ASK THAT TWO STAFF FROM SENATOR BINGAMAN'S OFFICE BE ALLOWED PRIVILEGES OF THE FLOOR FOR THE REMAINDER OF TODAY.

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  • 10:48:05 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:48:13 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    OUR COLLEAGUE, ROBERT BYRD, A MIGHTY OAK IN THE FOREST OF SENATE HISTORY,…

    OUR COLLEAGUE, ROBERT BYRD, A MIGHTY OAK IN THE FOREST OF SENATE HISTORY, HAS FALLEN. THERE ARE FLOWERS HERE ON HIS DESK, BUT THERE IS A TREMENDOUS VOID IN OUR MIDST. AS WE ALL KNOW, SENATOR BYRD WAS THE LONGEST SERVING SENATOR IN THE HISTORY OF THIS BODY, BUT WHAT WAS MOST REMARKABLE ABOUT ROBERT C. BYRD WAS NOT HIS LONGEVITY BUT HIS UNIQUE STATURE AND ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. NO INDIVIDUAL IN OUR LONG HISTORY HAS BEEN A MORE TENACIOUS CHAMPION OF THE TRADITIONS, PREROGATIVES AND RULES OF THIS BODY. SENATOR BYRD WAS VERY FOND OF NOTING THAT WHEN ASKED HOW MANY PRESIDENTS HE HAD SERVED UNDER, HE ALWAYS ANSWERED NONE. AS HE EXPLAINED IT, HE HAD NOT SERVED UNDER ANY PRESIDENT, BUT HE HAD SERVED WITH 11 PRESIDENTS. AS A PROUD MEMBER OF A SEPARATE AND CO-EQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. LIKEWISE, NO INDIVIDUAL HAS HAD GREATER REVERENCE FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND FOR OUR FOUNDERS' VISION OF AN ASSERTIVE, INDEPENDENT LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. AS THE ALMANAC OF AMERICAN POLITICS SAYS IN ITS PROFILE OF SENATOR BYRD, AND I QUOTE -- "HE MAY COME CLOSER TO THE KIND OF SENATOR THE FOUNDING FATHERS HAD IN MIND THAN ANY OTHER." END QUOTE. FOR SO MANY YEARS, IF ANYONE HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR NEEDED TO LOOK UP SOMETHING IN THE CONSTITUTION, WE KNOW WHERE TO TURN. SENATOR BYRD ALWAYS CARRIED A COPY IN HIS LEFT BREAST POCKET, DIRECTLY OVER HIS HEART. IT WAS SENATOR BYRD'S REVERENCE FOR THE CONSTITUTION THAT LED TO WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE ARGUABLY HIS FINEST HOUR HERE IN THE SENATE. HIS OUTSPOKEN OPPOSITION TO THE RUSH TO WAR IN IRAQ IN 2002 AND HIS FIERCE WARNING TO HIS FELLOW SENATORS THAT WE WOULD REGRET SURRENDERING OUR POWER ON THIS WAR TO THE PRESIDENT. SENATOR BYRD'S SPEECHES AT THAT TIME OPPOSING THE INVASION BECAME A SENSATION AROUND THIS COUNTRY AND ON THE INTERNET. A WHITE-HAIRED SENATOR, WELL INTO HIS 80'S, BECAME A -- AN ICON AND A FOLK HERO TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN UNIVERSITIES ALL ACROSS AMERICA. WHY? BECAUSE WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH WAS AT THE PEAK OF HIS POPULARITY AND POWER, SENATOR BYRD DARED TO SAY THAT THE EMPEROR, ANY PRESIDENT, HAS NO CLOTHES WHEN IT COMES TO DECLARING WAR. SENATOR BYRD SAID THAT THE REASON GIVEN FOR THE INVASION, IRAQ'S ALLEGED WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION WAS TRUMPED UP, AND HE PREDICTED THAT THE WAR WOULD BE A COLOSSAL MISTAKE. I REMEMBER THOSE IMPASSIONED SPEECHES THAT HE GAVE HERE AT THAT TIME. IF ONLY WE HAD TAKEN THE ADVICE OF THE WISE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA, HOW MANY YOUNG AMERICAN LIVES -- OVER 3,000 -- WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN LOST. PERHAPS TEN TIMES THAT MANY INJURED, MANY CARRYING THE WOUNDS AND THE SCARS OF THAT WAR FOR THE REMAINDER OF THEIR LIVES. NOT TO MENTION THE NEARLY NEARLY $1 TRILLION SPENT OUT OF OUR TREASURY FOR THAT WAR IN IRAQ. LATER IN HIS OUTSTANDING BOOK TITLED "LOSING AMERICA" -- AND I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO EVERY YOUNG PERSON. I SEE OUR PAGES SITTING HERE. PICK UP THAT BOOK BY ROBERT C. BYRD. IT'S CALLED "LOSING AMERICA." HE JUST WROTE IT ABOUT FIVE OR SIX YEARS AGO. IT BECAME AN INSTANT BESTSELLER. A GREAT BOOK. IN THAT BOOK "LOSING AMERICA," SENATOR BYRD DECRIED THE SENATE'S WILLINGNESS TO CAVE IN TO THE PRESIDENT. AND HE DIDN'T CARE ABOUT WHETHER THE PRESIDENT WAS A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN. HE SAID CAVE IN TO ANY PRESIDENT. IT'S READINESS, AS HE PUT IT, TO -- QUOTE -- SALUTE THE EMPEROR, END QUOTE. HE REFERRED BACK TO HIS EARLIER BOOK THAT HE HAD WRITTEN ON THE ROMAN SENATE, KNOWING -- NOTING THAT IT WAS -- QUOTE -- THE PROGRESSIVE DECLINE OF THE ALREADY SUPINE ROMAN SENATE THAT LED TO THE DECLINE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC AND HE WARNED THAT THE SAME COULD HAPPEN IN AMERICA. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE ALWAYS HAD A SPECIAL AFFINITY FOR SENATOR BYRD BECAUSE WE WERE BOTH THE SONS OF COAL MINERS, BOTH RAISED IN HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES. I WILL MISS SEEING ROBERT BYRD HERE AT HIS DESK OR IN THE WELL, GOING UP TO EXPRESS MY BEST WISHES TO CONVERSE WITH HIM, AND HE WOULD ALWAYS GRAB MY HAND AND HE WOULD LOOK AT ME AND SAY WE HAVE COAL MINERS' BLOOD RUNNING IN OUR VEINS. WE WERE THE ONLY TWO SONS OF COAL MINERS TO SERVE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE, AT LEAST AT THIS TIME. HE ALWAYS SAID THAT TO ME. I'M GOING TO MISS THAT. READING ABOUT THE SENATOR'S EARLY YEARS, LIFTING HIMSELF OUT OF POVERTY BEFORE RUNNING FOR THE WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE IN 1946, AND READING THIS, I WAS REMINDED OF THOMAS EDISON'S REMARK THAT -- QUOTE -- "OPPORTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALWAYS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK." END QUOTE. WELL, IN HIS EARLY DAYS, ROBERT BYRD WAS DRESSED IN OVERALWAYS AND HE -- IN OVERALLS AND HE WORKED. BUT HE MADE HIS OPPORTUNITIES, HIS OWN OPPORTUNITIES WITH THAT RELENTLESS WORK, HIS SELF-EDUCATION AND STRIVING ALWAYS. I WILL ALWAYS APPRECIATE THE WAY THAT HE TUTORED ME IN THE WAYS OF THE SENATE WHEN I ARRIVED IN THIS BODY IN 1985. I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. ONE OF THE FEW FRESHMAN SENATORS TO EVER GET THAT. I WON'T GO INTO HOW THAT ALL HAPPENED, BUT I CAN REMEMBER GOING TO VISIT SENATOR BYRD WHO THEN, OF COURSE, WAS THE RANKING MINORITY MEMBER WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THE SENATE ON THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE TO ASK FOR HIS GUIDANCE AND -- AND HIS WILLINGNESS TO WORK WITH ME AND TO INSTRUCT ME ON HOW TO BE A GOOD MEMBER OF THE -- OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. AND FOR 20 OF THE NEXT 25 YEARS, HE WAS EITHER THE CHAIR OF A COMMITTEE OR RANKING MEMBER, SO I WAS PRIVILEGED TO LEARN AT THE ELBOW OF A MASTER APPROPRIATOR AND LEGISLATOR. DURING HIS MORE THAN 58 YEARS IN CONGRESS, SENATOR BYRD WITNESSED ASTONISHING CHANGES WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. OUR POPULATION DURING HIS SERVICE HERE GREW BY MORE THAN 125 MILLION. HE SERVED FOR 25% OF THE TIME THAT WE HAVE BEEN A REPUBLIC. AN EXPLOSION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES. AMERICA GREW MORE PROSPEROUS, MORE DIVERSE, MORE POWERFUL. BUT ACROSS THOSE NEARLY SIX DECADES OF RAPID CHANGE, THERE WAS ONE CONSTANT: SENATOR BYRD'S TIRELESS SERVICE TO HIS COUNTRY, HIS PASSION FOR BRINGING NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA, HIS DEDICATION TO THIS BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND TO THIS HOUSE OF CONGRESS, THE UNITED STATES SENATE. ROBERT BYRD WAS A PERSON OF MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS WITH A RICH LEGACY, BUT IN MY BRIEF TIME TODAY, I WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT JUST ONE AREA OF HIS ADVOCACY WHICH I HAVE HAD AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO OBSERVE IN MY CAPACITY BOTH AS THE LONG-TIME CHAIR OR RANKING MEMBER OF THE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE FOR EDUCATION AND AS A LONG-TIME MEMBER AND NOW CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS. DURING ALL THESE YEARS, SENATOR BYRD WAS PASSIONATELY COMMITTED TO IMPROVING PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES AND EXPANDING ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE OF MODEST MEANS. AS WE ALL KNOW, AS I SAID, HE WAS RAISED IN THE HARD-SCRABBLE COAL FIELDS OF SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA. HIS FAMILY WAS POOR BUT IT WAS RICH IN FAITH AND VALUES. HIS ADOPTIVE PARENTS NURTURED IN ROBERT BYRD A LIFELONG PASSION FOR EDUCATION AND LEARNING. HE WAS VALEDICTORIAN OF HIS HIGH SCHOOL CLASS BUT TOO POOR, TO UNDERPRIVILEGED TO GO TO COLLEGE RIGHT AWAY. AGAIN, KEEP IN MIND THAT WAS THE DAYS BEFORE PELL GRANTS AND GUARANTEED LOANS OR EVEN BYRD SCHOLARSHIPS. SO HE WORKED AS A SHIPYARD WELDER AND LATER AS A BUTCHER IN A COAL COMPANY TOWN. IT TOOK HIM 12 YEARS TO SAVE UP ENOUGH MONEY TO START COLLEGE. AND AS WE ALL KNOW, HE WAS A U.S. SENATOR WHEN HE EARNED HIS LAW DEGREE, AND NO OTHER MEMBER OF CONGRESS BEFORE OR SINCE HAS STARTED AND COMPLETED LAW SCHOOL WHILE A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS. BUT DEGREES DON'T BEGIN TO TELL THE STORY OF THE EDUCATION OF ROBERT C. BYRD. HE WAS THE ULTIMATE LIFETIME LEARNER. AS I TOLD HIM ONCE, IT WAS AS THROW HE HAD BEEN ENROLLED FOR THE LAST SEVEN DECADES IN THE ROBERT C. BYRD SCHOOL OF CONTINUING EDUCATION. HE ALWAYS GOT A SMILE OUT OF THAT ONE. AND I GUARANTEE YOU, A PERSON COULD NOT GET A BETTER, MORE THOROUGH EDUCATION AT ANY ONE OF OUR UNIVERSITIES. SENATOR BYRD'S ERUDITION BORE FRUIT IN NO LESS THAN NINE BOOKS THAT HE WROTE AND PUBLISHED OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES. WE ALL KNOW THAT HE LITERALLY WROTE THE BOOK ON THE SENATE, A MASTERFUL, FOUR-VOLUME HISTORY OF THIS INSTITUTION THAT HAS BECOME A CLASSIC. WHAT MY COLLEAGUES MAY NOT KNOW IS THAT HE ALSO AUTHORED A HIGHLY RESPECTED HISTORY OF THE ROMAN SENATE. THERE ARE SOME WHO HAVE JOKED -- AND I'M SURE HE WOULDN'T MIND ME SAYING THIS BECAUSE WE HAVE SAID IT TO HIM AT MANY TIMES IN THE PAST -- THAT THERE ARE SOME WHO THINK THAT ROBERT C. BYRD SERVED IN THE ROMAN SENATE, BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT PART OF THE BYRD LEGACY AND LEGEND JUST ISN'T SO. BUT WE ALWAYS SAID THAT, IT ALWAYS BROUGHT A SMILE AND HE ALWAYS CHUCKLED ABOUT THAT, AND WE TALKED ABOUT THAT. HE WAS AN EXPERT ON THE ROMAN SENATE. HE KNEW IT AND HE KNEW WHO SERVED IN THE SENATE, IN THE ROMAN SENATE AND HOW IT WORKED TO BRING DOWN THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. WELL, I HAVE TALKED AT LENGTH ABOUT SENATOR BYRD'S EDUCATION BECAUSE THIS EXPLAINS WHY HE WAS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT ENSURING THAT EVERY AMERICAN HAS ACCESS TO A QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION, BOTH K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION. COMING FROM A POOR BACKGROUND, SENATOR BYRD BELIEVED THAT A CARDINAL RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENT IS TO PROVIDE A LADDER OF OPPORTUNITY SO THAT EVERYONE, NO MATTER HOW HUMBLE THEIR BACKGROUND, HAS A SHOT AT THE AMERICAN DREAM. AND OBVIOUSLY, THE MOST IMPORTANT RUNGS ON THAT LADDER OF OPPORTUNITY INVOLVE EDUCATION, BEGINNING WITH QUALITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, INCLUDING ACCESS TO COLLEGE AND OTHER FORMS OF HIGHER EDUCATION. DURING MY QUARTER CENTURY NOW IN THIS BODY, NO ONE HAS FOUGHT HARDER FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION THAN SENATOR ROBERT BYRD. AS LONG-TIME CHAIRMAN, RANKING MEMBER AND MOST RECENTLY THE SENIOR MEMBER OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, HE WAS THE CHAMPION OF EDUCATION AT EVERY TURN. FIGHTING TO REDUCE CLASS SIZES, IMPROVE TEACHER TRAINING, BOOSTING ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION. IN 1985, MY FIRST YEAR HERE IN THE SENATE, HE CREATED THE ONLY NATIONAL MERIT-BASED COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FUNDED THROUGH THE U.S. TPT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. CONGRESS LATER NAMED THEM IN HIS HONOR, THE ROBERT C. BYRD HONORS SCHOLAR PROGRAM IS A FEDERALLY FUNDED STATE ADMINISTERED SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM THAT REWARDS HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS WHO HAVE EXHIBITED EXCEPTIONAL BEING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE. CURRENTLY THERE ARE MORE THAN 25,000 BYRD SCHOLARS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES ELIGIBLE FOR A A $6,000 GRANT DURING FOUR YEARS IN COLLEGE. AND I CAN REMEMBER SPEAKING WITH HIM ABOUT THIS AND THE FUNDING OF IT AND HE REMINISCED, MORE THAN ONCE WITH ME, ABOUT HOW HE WAS VALEDICTORIAN OF HIS CLASS AND HE SO WANTED TO GO ON TO HIGHER EDUCATION. BUT BECAUSE OF HIS ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES AND WHERE HE LIVED, IT JUST WASN'T AVAILABLE TO HIM. AND SO HE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN TODAY WHO REALLY EXHIBIT THAT GREAT EXCELLENCE IN ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE WAS NOT DENIED THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO COLLEGE SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THEIR BIRTH. MR. PRESIDENT, SENATOR BYRD HAS SOMETHING IN COMMON WITH WINSTON CHURCHILL. BOTH WERE PROLIFIC WRITERS, BOTH WERE MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE EVENTS THAT THEY CHRONICLED IN THEIR WRITINGS. SENATOR BYRD WAS ALSO A GREAT STUDENT OF LITERATURE. AND HE LOVED TO RECITE LONG POEMS FROM MEMORY. I COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW HE COULD REMEMBER ALL OF THE POETRY THAT HE WOULD RECITE HERE ON THE FLOOR, IN A COMMITTEE MEETING, OR SOMETIMES IN A MEETING WHEN A SUBJECT WOULD COME UP AND HE WOULD REMEMBER A POEM THAT PERFECTLY FIT THE TEMPER OF WHAT PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT. I'M SURE THAT SENATOR BYRD KNEW THE CANTERBURY TALES, A LOT OF IT PROBABLY BY HEART. IN THE CANTERBURY TALES DESCRIBING THE CLERK OF OXFORD, IT MIGHT HAS WELL HAVE BEEN DESCRIBING ROBERT C. BYRD. "FILLED WITH MORAL VIRTUE WAS HIS SPEECH AND GLADLY WHAT HE LEARNED AND GLADLY TEACH. FILLED WITH MORAL VIRTUE WAS HIS SPEECH AND GRADUALLY WHAT HE LEARNED AND GLADLY TEACH." SENATOR BYRD'S SPEECHES WERE A WONDER TO BEHOLD, FULL OF ELOQUENCE AND ERUDITION AND MORAL VIRTUE. AND SENATOR BYRD NEVER STOPPED LEARNING AND HE NEVER STOPPED TEACHING. AMERICANS FOR GENERATIONS TO COME WILL CONTINUE TO LEARN FROM HIS WRITINGS AND HIS EXAMPLE. MR. PRESIDENT, SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD WAS A GREAT SENATOR, A GREAT AMERICAN, A LOVING AND WONDERFUL FAMILY MAN. HE HAS MOST WRITTEN OUR NATION'S HISTORY AND LEFT HIS MARK TON. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HAS LOST A PATRIOTIC SON. WE HAVE LOST A WONDERFUL FRIEND AND A MENTOR. TOMORROW, HERE IN THIS HOLLOWED CHAMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, ROBERT C. BYRD WILL LIE IN STATE IN THIS CHAMBER HE SO LOVED AND SERVED FOR SO MANY YEARS. WE WOULD DO WELL TO HONOR HIS MEMORY BY MAKING A RENEWED COMMITMENT TO MAKING THE UNITED STATES SENATE WORK AND TO WORK FOR ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. MAY HE REST IN PEACE WITH HIS BE BELOVED ERMA AND MAY THE UNITED STATES ALWAYS REMEMBER AND HONOR HIS LIFETIME OF SERVICE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 11:04:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:04:58 AM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AFTER I SPEAK, SENATOR FEINSTEIN SPEAK.

  • 11:05:01 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:05:03 AM

    MR. KAUFMAN

    ONE OF THE WAYS THAT THE SPOKE ABOUT SENATOR -- MEASURE THAT I SPOKE ABOUT…

    ONE OF THE WAYS THAT THE SPOKE ABOUT SENATOR -- MEASURE THAT I SPOKE ABOUT SENATOR BYRD, ONE OF THE MEASURE YOU ANYONE IS BY THEIR FRIENDS AND WHAT SENATOR HARKIN JUST SAID ABOUT SENATOR BYRD SHOWS WHAT A GREAT MAN SENATOR BYRD WAS TO HAVE A FRIEND AS -- AS THOUGHTFUL AND AS CARING AS SENATOR HARKIN. THEY'RE BOTH A CREDIT TO THE SENATE. MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE CONVENE ANOTHER SCHOOL YEAR, I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS THE EXCELLENT SCIENCE IN MY STATE OF DELAWARE. THE SCIENCE EDUCATORS AND LEADERS IN MY STATE HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR 15 YEARS TO CREATE A WORLD CLASS SCIENCE PROGRAM FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SCIENCE MATERIAL KIDS. I'M HONORED TO SAY THAT I BELIEVE WORLD CLASS IS EXACTLY THE WAY TO DESCRIBE THE SCIENCE INSTRUCTION THAT DELAWARE STUDENTS RECEIVE. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED OVERNIGHT. IT IS A PROCESS THAT BEGAN IN 1995 WHEN A STATEWIDE SURVEY WE SENT OUT TO GATHER DATA ON THE SCIENCE TEACHING AN LEARNING IN DELAWARE. THE RESULTS, UNFORTUNATELY, SHOWED THAT NOT MUCH SCIENCE WAS BEING TAUGHT OR LEARNED IN DELAWARE SCHOOLS. CONSEQUENCELY, SEVERAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS BANDED TOGETHER TO FORM THE DELAWARE SCIENCE COALITION. IT RECEIVED EXTRAORDINARY SUPPORT FROM THE DUPONT COMPANY IN TIME, MONEY, AND VOLUNTEER SERVICES. THE GROUP WROTE AND RECEIVED A NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION GRANT WHICH ALLOW THE DISTRICTS TO HAVE AN OUT OF CLASSROOM SCIENCE SPECIALIST, PROVIDE SCIENCE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL TEACHERS, ASSEMBLE SCIENCE MATERIALS, DEVELOP ASSESSMENTS AND MEET AS A GROUP. WITHIN THREE YEARS ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS, EXCEPT ONE, HAD JOINED THE DELAWARE SCIENCE COALITION. TODAY THE SCIENCE COALITION HAS COME A LONG WAY. THEY HAVE A STATEWIDE KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 11th GRADE SCIENCE CURRICULUM IN PLACE AND PLANS FOR A 12TH GRADE CURRICULUM. THEY HAVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL SCIENCE TEACHERS IN K THROUGH 11. THEY HAVE COST-EFFECTIVE KIT-BASED SCIENCE MATERIALS. THEY HAVE ASSESSMENTS MODELED AFTER INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE TESTS. THEY ALSO HAVE A SYSTEMIC AND COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO REFORM THAT INCLUDES LEADERSHIP FROM THE STATE, DISTRICT AND CLASSROOM AS WELL AS CORPORATE, COMMUNITY AND UNIVERSALLY BASED PARTNERS. BEYOND ALL THESE COORDINATED MEASURES, PERHAPS THE MOST IMPRESSIVE EXAMPLE OF HOW FAR THE COALITION HAS COME IS SEEN IN THE WAREHOUSE AT THE JOHN W.KLED RESOURCE CENTER IN DOVER. IT IS TRULY IMPRESSIVE. TO GET THE IDEA OF WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE, YOU'VE JUST GOT TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IT'S TO BE INSIDE A HOME DEPOT OR LOWE HE'S, A WAREHOUSE OF SUPPLIES AN FORK LIFTS RUNNING ABOUT. THIS IS WHAT THE SCIENCE MATERIAL CENTER LOOKS LIKE. EXCEPT THE FORK LIVES LIFTS ARE TRANSPORTING BOXES FILLED WITH SCIENCE MATERIAL TO USE IN CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE STATE. SCIENCE CURRICULUM AND MATERIAL KITS FOR GRADES K THROUGH 8 INCLUDE RESOURCES DEVELOPED BY THE NATIONAL SCIENCE RESOURCE CENTER, THE THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKLEY, AND HOMEGROWN AND HYBRID UNITS DEVELOPED WITH THE AID OF DELAWARE'S VERY OWN TEACHERS. THESE UNITS INTRODUCE LIFE, PHYSICAL AND EARTH SCIENCE CONCEPTS EACH YEAR AND INCREASING ONE LEVEL TO THE NEXT. ALL DISTRICTS SHARE MATERIALS AND KITS ROTATE THROUGH TWO OR THREE TEACHERS PER YEAR. IN ORDER TO ATTAIN THE MATERIALS, TEACHERS MUST DEVELOP -- THE WAREHOUSE SENDS OUT THE KIT, TEACHERS AND STUDENTS USE IT, IT'S PICKED UP WEEKS LATER, IT'S REFURBISHED AND SENT OUT TO ANOTHER TEACHER BY SHARING MATERIALS COSTS ARE KEPT TO AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. THE COLLEGE CENTER IS A REMARKABLE CENTER FOR THE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS IN DELAWARE. IT IS UNIQUE AND THAT IS THE ONLY SCIENCE PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY, THE ONLY SCIENCE PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY THAT PROVIDES A CURRICULUM ALIGNED TO STANDARDS AND INTENSIVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND MATERIAL SUPPORT FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STATE. TO CREATE AN ALL ENCOMPASSING SYSTEM, THE SCIENCE COALITIONS WERE AT TIMES WORK CLOSELY WITH THE NATIONAL SCIENCE RESOURCE CENTER OR NSRC. IT IS A JOINT OPERATION OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION AND NATIONAL ACADEMIES. I THINK SALLY SHULER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NRSC SUMMED UP THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS BEST WHEN SHE SAID AND I QUOTE -- "DURING THE PAST DECADE, THE NSRC SHOWCASED DELAWARE AS A MODEL TO DOZENS OF OTHER U.S. STATES, FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS INCLUDING THE NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION, THE COUNCIL OF CHIEF STATE SCHOOL OFFICERS, JAMES B. HUNT INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND POLICY. HUNDREDS OF LEADERS HAVE VISITED JOHN W. EDUCATION RESOURCE CENTER IN DOVER INCLUDING MY SENIOR COLLEAGUE WHO HAS COME ON THE FLOOR. WHILE SMALL, YOUR STATE HAS BEEN AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE INSTRUMENTAL IN HAVING OTHER STATES AND COUNTIES. WHICH IS FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NRSC. THIS IS A POWERFUL STATEMENT AND ONE WHICH I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE. THE DELAWARE SCIENCE PROGRAM IS IMPRESSIVE AND THE WORK IS PAYING OFF FOR DELAWARE STUDENTS. WHEN THE NEW SCIENCE STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS WERE IMPLEMENTED IN 2001, ONLY 42% OF EIGHTH GRADE STUDENTS MET OR EXCEEDED THE STANDARDS. BY 2009, 60% OF THE EIGHTH GRADERS MET OR EXCEEDED THE STANDARDS. SIMILAR ACHIEVEMENT GRANTS HAVE BEEN ILLUSTRATED IN THE FOURTH, SIXTH AND 11TH GRADES AS WELL. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT AND I'M CONFIDENT DELAWARE SCIENCE TEACHERS AND LEADERS WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD ON THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT. CONGRATULATIONS TO DELAWARE FOR CONTINUING TO LEAD THE WAY IN SCIENCE EDUCATION. I YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

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  • 11:11:52 AM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    THE SENATOR DELAWARE.

  • 11:11:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA IS RECOGNIZED. FINE STEIN STEIN THANK YOU, MR.…

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA IS RECOGNIZED. FINE STEIN STEIN THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT --

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  • 11:12:03 AM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    FLOOR TO HONOR BOB BYRD, THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM THE GREAT STATE OF WEST…

    FLOOR TO HONOR BOB BYRD, THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM THE GREAT STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA. IT WASN'T LONG AGO WHEN I SAW THE DESK DRAPED IN BLACK WITH ROSES AND IT WAS ONE TITAN OF THE SENATE, SENATOR TED KEANTD AND TODAY I LOOK DOWN -- KENNEDY, AND TODAY I LOOK DOWN HERE AND SEE A SECOND DESK DRAPED IN BLACK WITH WHITE ROSES AND IT IS ANOTHER TITAN OF THE SENATE. I SERVED WITH SENATOR BYRD ON THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE FOR SOME 16 YEARS. I'VE HAD OCCASION TO WATCH HIM, TO SEE HIM. HE COULD BE VERY TOUGH. HE COULD BE VERY CARING. HE COULD HAVE THAT TWINKLE IN HIS EYE. HE COULD DEPART FROM A PRESENT TEXT INTO GREEK TRAGEDY INTO THE OLD ROMANS SPEAKING. HE HAD AN INCREDIBLY CURIOUS MIND. AND I THINK HE'S GOING TO BE GREATLY MISSED FROM THIS BODY. IF YOU THINK OF HIM REPRESENTING THE STATE OF VIRGINIA FOR 51 YEARS, SERVING SIX YEARS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND DOING ALL THESE 56 YEARS WITH THE KIND OF DEVOTION AND PASSION THAT HE SHOWED IN HIS LAST YEAR HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR WHEN HE WAS VERY TROUBLED BY A DECLINING HEALTH. HE HAS TRULY LEFT AN INDELIBLE IMPRINT ON THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA AND ON THIS BODY. NO ONE HAS EVER SHOWN MORE DETERMINATION OR GREATER LOVE FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE THAN ROBERT C. BYRD. HIS TENURE HAS BEEN LEGENDARY. HE'S HELD A NUMBER OF KEY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, SECRETARY TO THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS, MAJORITY WHIP, TWICE AS SENATOR -- SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, THE SENATE'S MINORITY LEADER. THREE TIMES AS CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. AND DURING THE PERIOD OF 1989 TO 2010, SENATOR BYRD WAS PRO TEM OF THE SENATE, THE MOST SENIOR DEMOCRAT AND THIRD IN THE LINE OF PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION. AND ALSO AS PRESIDENT PRO TEM EMERITUS WHEN THE DEMOCRATS WERE IN THE MINORITY. SENATOR BYRD CAST MORE ROLL CALL VOTES THAN ANY OTHER MEMBER OF THIS INSTITUTION. 1889 IN TOTAL. THAT IS -- 16,889 IN TOTAL. THAT IS REMARKABLE. THINK OF HOW MANY OF THIS NATION'S LAW HE HELPED SHAPE. HE WAS AN EXPERT ON THE INNER WORKINGS OF THE SENATE. THERE WAS TO THIS ONE MORE WELL VERSED IN THIS INSTITUTION'S INTRICATE RULES, PROTOCOLS AND CUSTOMS THAN ROBERT BYRD. AND HE LITERALLY WROTE ONE OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BOOKS ON THE SENATE. HE KNEW RIDDICK'S RULES OF ORDER, VIRTUALLY ALL 1,600 PAGES. MANY OF US HERE IN THE SENATE HAVE ALSO SPOKEN OF HIS ARDENT DEVOTION AND CONSUMMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. HIS WELL-WORN, TREASURED COPY OF THIS DOCUMENT WAS KEPT RIGHT HERE IN HIS VEST POCKET, AND YEAR AFTER YEAR, I WOULD SEE HIM PULL IT OUT. THE ONLY THING THAT WOULD CHANGE IS HIS HAND AS THE YEARS WENT ON SHOOK A LITTLE BIT MORE, BUT HIS DEVOTION TO THAT DOCUMENT DID NOT. HE WAS A STAUNCH DEFENDER OF THE PREROGATIVES OF THE THREE EQUAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT, AND HE WAS VERY QUICK TO NOTE THAT HE SERVED ALONGSIDE, NOT UNDER, 11 PRESIDENTS. WHEN HE FIRST JOINED THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN 1952, DWIGHT EISENHOWER WAS PRESIDENT. HIS TENURE IN CONGRESS THEN FOLLOWED ALONGSIDE THE PRESIDENCIES OF JOHN F. KENNEDY, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, RICHARD M. NIXON, GERALD R. FORD, JAMES CARTER, RONALD REAGAN, GEORGE H.W. BUSH, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, GEORGE W. BUSH, AND FINALLY BARACK OBAMA. OH, THAT'S AN AMAZING LIST OF PEOPLE TO HAVE SERVED WITH. BOB BYRD WAS NOT ONLY ONE OF THE SENATE'S FAMOUS POWER BROKERS, BUT HIS FONDNESS OF CLASSICAL HISTORY, MUSIC AND POETRY I THINK HAS IMPACTED EVERY ONE OF US. AS I SAID, HE INTERPERCENTSED -- INTERSPURSED HIS SENATE REMARKS WITH OFTEN POETIC VERSE. IT USED TO AMAZE ME HOW LATE AT NIGHT HE COULD MOVE FROM HIS SET TEXT AND REPEAT SOME POEM WORD FOR WORD, VERSE AFTER VERSE. THE NINE DECADES OF ROBERT BYRD'S LIFETIME WITNESSED GREAT CHANGE, BOTH AT THE PERSONAL LEVEL AND AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. HE LIVED TO SEE AND STRONGLY SUPPORT THE INAUGURATION OF OUR COUNTRY'S FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT, SOMETHING I KNOW MEANT A GREAT DEAL TO HIM. HE WAS NOT ALWAYS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE AT EVERY STAGE OF HIS LIFE, BUT HE BECAME A CHAMPION FOR EQUALITY AND A LION FOR PROGRESS. HIS TRANSFORMATION WAS TRULY INSPIRATIONAL. SENATOR BYRD WAS BORN INTO VERY HUMBLE BEGINNINGS IN 1917. HE GREW UP DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION. HE WAS THE ADOPTED SON OF A COAL MINING FAMILY IN A SMALL TOWN IN SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA. HE WAS THE VALEDICTORIAN OF HIS HIGH SCHOOL CLASS BUT WASN'T ABLE TO AFFORD COLLEGE AT THE TIME. THIS IMPOVERISHED CHILDHOOD MIGHT HAVE HINDERED OTHERS, MIGHT HAVE STOPPED A WEAKER PERSON, BUT NOT THE INDOMITABLE ROBERT BYRD. HIS INNER THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE PROPELLED HIM THROUGHOUT HIS EPIC CAREER. IN FACT, HE MANAGED TO FIND TIME DURING HIS TENURE IN THE SENATE TO FINALLY FULFILL HIS BACHELOR'S DEGREE FROM MARSHALL UNIVERSITY IN 1994 AT THE TENDER AGE OF 77. THAT SHOWS SOMETHING, I THINK. HE PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED A LAW DEGREE FROM AMERICAN UNIVERSITY'S WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW IN 1963. THE LOSS OF HIS BELOVED LIFE -- EXCUSE ME -- BELOVED WIFE ERMA BYRD IN 2006 I THINK WAS JUST A DRAMATIC BLOW TO HIM. I HAD OCCASION TO TALK WITH HIM DURING THAT TIME, AND THERE WAS NO QUESTION THAT THIS WAS A GREAT LOVE, THAT IT WAS AN ENDURING LOVE, THAT IT WAS A LIFETIME COMMITMENT. I DISCUSSED WITH HIM HOW HE PROVIDED DAY AFTER DAY, WEEK AFTER WEEK AND MONTH AFTER MONTH THE PERSONAL CARE TO HIS WIFE AS SHE BECAME MORE INFIRM AND CAME TOWARD THE END OF HER LIFE. THIS TRULY WAS A MAJOR GIFT OF LOVE. AND ONE THING I'VE LEARNED IN MY LIFETIME, THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT IN THE END OF LIFE CRISES ARE NOT REALLY ABLE TO GIVE WITH LOVE TO THEIR SPOUSE. THIS WAS A MAN WHO COULD DO THAT, AND I THINK THAT REALLY DEVELOPS HIS IMPORTANCE AS YOU LOOK AT LIFE AND PEOPLE IN GENERAL. ONCE AGAIN, I WANT TO OFFER MY SINCEREST CONDOLENCES TO HIS TWO DAUGHTERS, MONA AND MARJORIE, HIS GRANDCHILDREN, HIS GREAT GRANDCHILDREN, AND TO THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA. THIS NATION AND NOT ONLY WEST VIRGINIA BUT ALL OF US OWE SENATOR ROBERT BYRD A GREAT DEBT OF GRATITUDE FOR HIS SERVICE. I KNOW THAT I WILL VERY MUCH MISS THAT INDOMITABLE SPIRIT, THAT INSIGHTFUL GUIDANCE AND THE INTENSE COMMITMENT TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS MAN WILL BE MISSED. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 11:20:51 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:20:55 AM

    MR. CARPER

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'M PLEASED TO FOLLOW MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR…

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'M PLEASED TO FOLLOW MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR FEINSTEIN, IN TRIBUTE TO ROBERT BYRD, WHOM I ALWAYS CALLED LEADER AND WHO ALWAYS CALLED ME GOVERNOR. HE WAS OUR LEADER. HE WAS OUR LEADER FOR A LONG TIME AND WILL ALWAYS BE IN A VERY REAL SENSE FOR MANY OF US. I WAS BORN IN BECKLEY, WEST VIRGINIA, JUST ABOUT A DOZEN MILES OR SO FROM A COMMUNITY CALLED SOFIA, WHICH IS WHERE ROBERT AND ERMA BYRD ONCE RAN A LITTLE MOM AND POP SUPERMARKET BACK IN THE LATE 1930'S, EARLY 1940'S. HE WAS, I THINK, THE BUTCHER. HE RAN THAT SUPERMARKET, AND LATER ON I THINK IN WORLD WAR II, HE WAS A WELDER DURING THE WAR. AS WE KNOW, IN THE LATE 1940'S, HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO RUN FOR THE WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE AND RAN. HE WAS A GREAT FIDDLER. HE WENT AROUND HIS COMMUNITY, HIS DISTRICT PLAYING THE FIDDLE AND JUST ALWAYS CALLED HIMSELF A HILLBILLY. IRONICALLY, I WAS DOWN IN AN AREA IN THE CENTRAL PART OF OUR STATE JUST ABOUT A MONTH AGO, MR. PRESIDENT, AND HAD A CHANCE TO ATTEND A -- A PICNIC FOR SENIOR CITIZENS, A COOKOUT. A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE THERE. I WAS SITTING AT A TABLE, WALKING AROUND, SEEING THE DIFFERENT TABLES. I WAS SITTING AT THIS ONE TABLE. I LEARNED THE LADY SITTING TO MY LEFT WAS FROM WEST VIRGINIA. I SAID WHERE ARE YOU FROM? SHE SAID SOFIA. I SAID THAT'S RIGHT OUTSIDE BECKLEY WHERE I WAS BORN. SHE SAID YES, I KNEW ROBERT AND ERMAA BYRD WHEN THEY RAN THAT MOM AND POP SUPERMARKET. I SAID YOU'RE KIDDING. SHE SAID NO, I DID. I ASKED HER TO SHARE SOME THOUGHTS WITH ME ABOUT IT. SHE DID. A WEEK OR TWO LATER I WAS BACK HERE IN THE SENATE AND SENATOR BYRD WAS COMING IN IN THE WHEELCHAIR, AND THE LATTER PART OF HIS LIFE, HE LOST THE ABILITY TO WALK. NEVER LOST HIS VOICE, NEVER LOST HIS MIND EITHER. BUT HE CAME IN AND I STOPPED TO SAY HELLO TO HIM AND SEE HOW HE WAS DOING. I SAID I JUST MET A WOMAN OVER IN DELAWARE THE OTHER DAY WHO KNEW YOU FROM YOUR LITTLE SUPERMARKET IN SOFIA, WEST VIRGINIA. I TOLD HIM ABOUT IT. HE SMILED AND HE SAID DO YOU REMEMBER HER NAME, DO YOU REMEMBER HER NAME? IRONICALLY, I COULD NOT REMEMBER IT, BUT IF I HAD, HE WOULD HAVE. HE WAS AMAZING. SOME PEOPLE THINK THE REASON WHY HE GOT ELECTED TO OFFICE SO MANY TIMES IS -- IN THE LEGISLATURE AND THE STATE -- IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND HERE IN THE SENATE WAS BECAUSE HE WAS SO GOOD AT, FRANKLY, LOOKING OUT FOR WEST VIRGINIA ECONOMICALLY AND MAKING SURE THAT THEY WEREN'T LEFT BEHIND. HE WAS ALSO A PRETTY GOOD POLITICIAN. HE WAS REALLY, REALLY GOOD AT NAMES. I REMEMBER ONCE WE HAD A FUNERAL FOR MY MOM WHO DIED ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO. WE HAD A CELEBRATION OF HER LIFE JUST OUTSIDE OF BECKLEY, AND WE HAD IT IN THE HOME, THE VERY LARGE HOME OF A FAMILY WHO HAD 19 KIDS, 19 KIDS. ONE OF THEM MARRIED MY COUSIN DAN PATTON. AND WE WERE -- WE HAD A HUGE -- SOME PEOPLE HAVE A DINING ROOM. THEY HAD LIKE A BANQUET HALL FOR THEIR MEALS. WE'RE ALL GATHERED IN THIS BANQUET HALL, PAYING TRIBUTE TO MY MOM, REFLECTING IN HER MEMORY. I WAS WALKING AROUND THE HOUSE AFTERWARDS, AND I CAME ACROSS A CONGRESSIONAL RECORD TRIBUTE ON THE WALL OF THIS HOUSE. IT WAS A TRIBUTE BY -- FROM ROBERT BYRD HONORING THIS FAMILY. AND I WAS JUST BLOWN AWAY. I COULDN'T WAIT TO GET BACK TO THE SENATE TO -- THE NEXT WEEK AND SAY SENATOR BYRD, YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHOSE HOUSE I WAS IN. I TOLD HIM THE NAME OF THE HOUSE, THE FAMILY. HE REMEMBERED -- HE SAID I REMEMBER THAT GUY. HE'S A BARBER. THEY HAVE 19 KIDS. AND I MEAN THIS GUY WAS JUST AMAZING. I USED TO CALL HIM ON HIS BIRTHDAY -- I USED TO CALL HIM ON HIS BIRTHDAY, WHEN HE AND ERMAA HAD AN ANNIVERSARY, CALL HIM ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS JUST TO SEE HOW HE WAS DOING AND TO LET HIM KNOW I WAS THINKING ABOUT HIM. I THINK IT WAS HIS 90th BIRTHDAY, I CALLED HIM AND I SAID LEADER, I THINK IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY TODAY. HE SAID YEAH, IT IS. I SAID HOW OLD ARE YOU ANYWAY? I KNEW. HE SAID WELL, I'M 90. I SAID I JUST HOPE WHEN I'M 90, I CAN SIT UP AND TAKE NOURISHMENT. HE SAID -- MR. PRESIDENT, HE SAID I HOPE YOU CAN, TOO, I HOPE YOU CAN, TOO. BUT HE WAS AMAZING. HIS BIRTHDAY -- HE AND JOE BIDEN SHARE THE SAME BIRTHDAY. SOMETIMES I WOULD CALL SENATOR BYRD ON HIS BIRTHDAY, I WOULD SAY LEADER. HE WOULD SAY GOVERNOR, IS THAT YOU? I WOULD SAY THAT'S ME. I ALWAYS GET THIS CONFUSED, WHO IS OLDER, YOU OR BIDEN? HE WOULD SAY I HAVE STILL GOT HIM BY A COUPLE OF YEARS, BUT HE'S CATCHING UP ON ME. NOW HE WILL REALLY HAVE A CHANCE, I GUESS, TO CATCH UP. WHEN -- WHEN I CAME HERE AS A FRESHMAN IN THE SENATE -- I HAD BEEN IN THE HOUSE AND A GOVERNOR BEFORE, BUT I CAME IN HERE AS A FRESHMAN IN 2001 -- I WAS ABOUT THE AGE OF THE PAGES DOWN HERE, BUT I REMEMBER SENATOR BYRD REALLY TOOK ME, TOOK A BUNCH OF US UNDER HIS WING AND BECAME SORT OF MY MENTOR, SORT OF MY MENTOR. I THINK THE FACT THAT WE HAD THIS WEST VIRGINIA CONNECTION MADE IT EVEN MORE SPECIAL FOR ME AND I THINK MAYBE FOR HIM. HE TAUGHT US HERE HOW TO PRESIDE. HE EXPLAINED TO US THE RULES OF THE SENATE. HE KNEW THE RULES BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE. HE WAS ABLE TO WORK THE RULES, USE THE RULES TO GET THINGS DONE OR NOT -- OR TO KEEP THINGS FROM GETTING DONE. HE WAS GOOD. HE TAUGHT US HOW TO BEHAVE IN THE SENATE. HE DID THAT NOT JUST FOR US BUT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN HERE FOR 20, 30, 40 YEARS. IF THEY WERE ACTING UP, MAKING TOO MUCH NOISE ON THE SENATE FLOOR, HE WOULD STOP THEM DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS. HE ONCE SAID TO ME, HE SAID THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE FOR THE PRESIDING OFFICER, MR. PRESIDENT, HE SAID THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE OF THE PRESIDING OFFICER IS TO KEEP ORDER. THAT'S WHAT HE SAID. HE SAID IF YOU CAN KEEP ORDER, THE REST IS PRETTY EASY. AND I ALWAYS REMEMBERED THAT. I ALWAYS LIKED TO PRESIDE. HE PRESENTED TO ME MY GOLDEN GAVEL. THE PRESIDING OFFICER HAS A GOLDEN GAVEL. YOU GET IT AFTER PRESIDING SO MANY HOURS IN THE SENATE. BUT I WAS VERY HONORED TO HAVE RECEIVED MINE FROM SENATOR BYRD. HE WAS -- WHEN I GOT HERE IN 2001, I THINK HE WAS 83. 83. AN AGE WHEN MOST PEOPLE ARE LIKE, MAN, THEY ARE READY TO SIT BACK AND TAKE IT EASY. HE WAS JUST PICKING UP SPEED. SENATOR FEINSTEIN SAID HE COULD TAKE THE SENATE FLOOR WITHOUT A NOTE AND GIVE A SPEECH ON JUST ABOUT ANY SUBJECT, THROW IN ALL KINDS OF ANECDOTES WITH RESPECT TO ANCIENT ROME AND GREEK MYTHOLOGY, RECITE POEMS AND STUFF. I ONCE SAID TO HIM HOW DO YOU REMEMBER THOSE POEMS? HE SAID I JUST MAKE THEM UP. I JUST MAKE THEM UP. HE WAS KIDDING. HE DIDN'T -- HE ACTUALLY WAS ABLE TO REMEMBER THEM. I SOMETIMES HAVE A HARD TIME REMEMBERING WHERE I'M SUPPOSED TO BE FOR MY NEXT -- MY NEXT MEETING. I -- HE WAS FROM WEST VIRGINIA, THE SOUTHERN PART OF WEST VIRGINIA. AS OTHERS HAVE SAID, HIS VIEWS ON RACE AS A YOUNGER MAN AND AS A NEW PERSON, NEW PERSON IN THE SENATE WERE NOT THE SAME VIEWS THAT -- THAT HE LEFT WITH. HE MATURED, GREW UP. HE ONCE SAID TO ME, THE WORST VOTE I EVER CAST, I ACTUALLY VOTED AGAINST, SPOKE AGAINST THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964. I THINK HE SORT OF WENT TO HIS GRAVE REGRETTING THAT, BUT I THINK HE ALSO WENT TO HIS GRAVE HAVING ATONED FOR, IF YOU WILL, THAT SIN. I THINK HE CHANGED HIS VIEWS WITH RESPECT TO RACE IN PART FROM HIS OWN CONSCIENCE. HE IS A PERSON OF DEEP FAITH. I THINK HE PROBABLY CHANGED IN PART BECAUSE OF THE PRODDING AND CAJOLING OF A LOT OF OTHERS, ONE OF HIS BEST FRIENDS, SENATOR TED KENNEDY. AS I SAID EARLIER, I LOVED TO CALL HIM ON SPECIAL DAYS. I WOULD ALMOST ALWAYS CALL HIM WHEN I WAS BACK IN WEST VIRGINIA, CALL HIM ON MY CELL PHONE, CALL HIM AT HIS HOME IN McLEAN, VIRGINIA. IT WASN'T HIS BIRTHDAY OR ANYTHING, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO CALL HIM. I WOULD SAY LEADER? HE WOULD SAY IS THAT YOU, GOVERNOR? I WOULD SAY I'M DRIVING DOWN THE WEST VIRGINIA TURNPIKE, HEADING TOWARD BECKLEY. HE WOULD SAY NO KIDDING. I SAID I'M TRYING TO REMEMBER WHICH EXIT TO GET OFF OF. THE FIRST IS HARPER ROAD. THERE IS ANOTHER ONE. THE THIRD ROAD, WHAT IS THE EXIT? WHAT IS THAT? HE SAID THAT'S MY ROAD, THE ROBERT C. BYRD DRIVE EXIT. I WOULD ALWAYS HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH HIM FOR THAT. OTHERS HAVE SPOKEN ABOUT ALL THE LEADERSHIP ROLES THAT HE PLAYED HERE, ALL THE VOTES THAT HE CAST, ALL THAT HE DID. HE DID SO MUCH FOR WEST VIRGINIA. I LOVE TO GO BACK TO WEST VIRGINIA. THE FRIENDLIEST PEOPLE I HAVE EVER MET IN MY LIFE ARE FROM WEST VIRGINIA. KIND OF A HARD SCRABBLE PLACE, BUT THEY HAVE COME A LONG WAYS, BECAUSE OF HIS ENORMOUS HELP. HE HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF TRYING TO HIJACK WASHINGTON AND MOVE IT TO WEST VIRGINIA, ALL KINDS OF FEDERAL AGENCIES AND JOBS. HE WAS REALLY TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT WEST VIRGINIA DIDN'T GET LEFT OUT. I THINK THANKS TO HIS INTERVENTION, THEY DID NOT. HE MADE LIFE A LOT BETTER FOR THE FOLKS WHO LIVE IN WEST VIRGINIA TODAY AND WHO LIVED THERE FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS. HE ALSO MADE LIFE BETTER FOR A GENERATION OF AMERICANS, MAYBE A COUPLE OF GENERATIONS OF AMERICANS, LOOKING BACK AND MAYBE EVEN LOOKING FORWARD AS WELL. THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE THEIR LIFE LOOKING FORWARD FOR PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO NEED HEALTH CARE OR FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED A DECENT PLACE TO LIVE, A CHANCE TO BUY A HOME, A CHANCE TO GET AN EDUCATION, THE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE THEIR STATION IN LIFE. MORE THAN I THINK ANYBODY THAT I KNOW, FROM A GUY WHO WAS BORN, ORPHANED IN NORTH CAROLINA AS AN INFANT, WHO WAS REALLY TRADED OFF AND SENT OFF BY HIS MOM, KIND OF HER LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, SHE WANTED HIM TO BE RAISED BY HER SISTER WHO LIVED IN WEST VIRGINIA. AND HER SISTER TOOK THIS YOUNG MAN IN. HIS NAME WAS NOT ROBERT BYRD BUT SHE TOOK IN HER NEPHEW. SHE AND HER HUSBAND RAISED ROBERT BYRD IN TOUGH SITUATIONS, HARD-SCRABBLE SITUATIONS, AND HE SORT OF RAISED HIMSELF BY THE BOOTSTRAPS AND WORKED HARD ALL OF HIS LIFE TO MAKE SOMETHING OF HIS LIFE. AND TO SERVE AS I THINK IS A MOLGTDZ FORMODEL FOR US IN THE END AND A MODEL FOR OUR COUNTRY. AND WITH THAT, MR. SPEAKER, I YIELD BACK MY TIES. THANK YOUTIME. THANK YOU SO MUCH. MR.

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  • 11:31:23 AM

    MR. CARPER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE BEEN ASKED TO MAKE THIS REQUEST.

  • 11:31:28 AM

    MR. CARPER

    THIS IS PERMISSION FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET. AND I HAVE 12 UNANIMOUS CONSENT…

    THIS IS PERMISSION FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET. AND I HAVE 12 UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THESE REQUESTS BE AGREED TO AND THAT THESE REQUESTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 11:31:45 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THANK YOU.

  • 11:31:49 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:31:51 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO HE TODAY TO VOICE MY STRONG SUPPORT FOR GENERAL…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO HE TODAY TO VOICE MY STRONG SUPPORT FOR GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS TO BE CONFIRMED AS OUR NATION'S TOP MILITARY COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN. I WANT TO -- TO SAY THAT I HAVE HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WITH GENERAL PETRAEUS AND ALSO WATCHING HIM FROM AFAR. WHEN HE INTRODUCED THE CONCEPT OF THE COUNTERINSURGENCY IN IRAQ AND EMBEDDING OUR TROOPS WITH IRAQ TROOPS TO TRY TO TRAIN THE IRAQI TROOPS TO DO THE SECURITY FOR IRAQ AS WE WERE LEAVING, I HAD GREAT CONCERNS ABOUT EMBEDDING OUR TROOPS AND THE COUNTERINSURGENCY BECAUSE I FEARED FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR TROOPS AND TROOP PROTECTION. I DIDN'T WANT TO PUBLICLY ASK QUESTIONS OF HIS JUDGMENT OR DISAGREE WITH HIM BUT I DID ASK HIM TO COME SEE ME AND EXPLAIN THIS TO ME SO THAT I WOULD FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE. WHICH HE DID. HE CAME TO MY OFFICE. HE WALKED ME THROUGH IT. HE GAVE ME CONFIDENCE THAT IT COULD WORK. AND THEN LATER, WHEN HE WAS IN IRAQ AND I WAS TAKING ONE OF THE TRIPS THAT I HAVE MADE TO IRAQ, THE FIRST PLACE THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS SENT ME TO SEE WAS THE IRAQI POLICE STATION WITH OUR EMBEDDED TROOPS. HE CLEARLY -- HE NEVER SAID A WORD TO ME ABOUT MY QUESTIONING OF HOW IT WOULD WORK, BUT HE SENT ME THERE AND THEN LATER THAT NIGHT I WAS ABLE TO HAVE DINNER WITH HIM AND AMBASSADOR CROCKER AND I SAID, I KNOW WHY YOU SENT ME TO THE POLICE STATION, BECAUSE I HAD QUESTIONED HOW YOU WERE GOING TO PROTECT OUR TROOPS. AND I BECAME A COMPLETE BELIEVER IN GENERAL PETRAEUS AND CERTAINLY HOW THEY DO PROTECT OUR TROOPS AS WE ARE ALSO TEACHING THE FOREIGN FORCES TO TAKE ON THEIR OWN SECURITY. SO I DO HAVE COMPLETE CONFIDENCE IN THIS MAN. WHAT I DON'T HAVE CONFIDENCE IN, MR. PRESIDENT, IS THE MISSION THAT HE IS BEING GIVEN, BECAUSE I SENSE A MIXED MESSAGE. I SENSE A MIXED MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT AND A DIVISION IN WHAT OUR MEMBERS OF THE SENATE ARE SAYING EVEN AS THEY QUESTIONED SENATOR -- GENERAL PETRAEUS YESTERDAY. AND HERE IS MY CONCERN. WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN'T SET A HARD AND FAST DEADLINE AND SAY OUR TROOPS ARE LEAVING NO MATTER WHAT THE CONDITIONS ARE AND GAIN THE CONFIDENCE OF THE PEOPLE ON THE GROUND THAT YOU ARE GOING TO SEE THE MISSION THROUGH. NOW, IT SEEMS THAT OUR MISSION SHOULD BE CLEAR, THAT WE ARE GOING TO PREPARE THE AFGHANS FOR THE SECURITY OF THEIR COUNTRY AND ALSO ASSURE THAT THE TALIBAN AND AL QAEDA CANNOT GET A STRONGHOLD THAT WOULD ALLOW EXPORT OF TERRORISM TO AMERICA AND OTHER FREEDOM-LOVING COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD. THAT SHOULD BE THE CLEAR MISSION. I BELIEVE THAT IS THE MISSION THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS UNDERSTANDS AND I THINK THAT IS WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA IS SAYING. BUT MY CONCERN IS THIS QUESTIONING OF GENERAL PETRAEUS BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ABOUT THE WITHDRAWAL DATE. THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID FIRMLY THE WITHDRAWAL IS GOING TO BE JULY OF NEXT YEAR. GENERAL PETRAEUS IS VERY CAREFUL IN EVERY ANSWER THAT HE MAKES TO SAY, CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND WILL DICTATE WHEN WE WITHDRAW. JULY IS THE DATE. WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT, HE SAYS, BUT IT WILL ALSO DEPEND ON CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND. NOW, I JUST HOPE THAT WE WILL HAVE A UNITED UNITED STATES SENATE, A UNITED HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WE MUST HAVE THE CONFIDENCE OF THE PEOPLE ON THE GROUND IN AFGHANISTAN AND ALSO THE CONFIDENCE OF THE ENEMY ENEMY, THE TALIBAN AND AL QAEDA, THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO LEAVE IN JULY IF THERE ARE NOT CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND FOR THE AFGHANS TO REPEL THE EVIL FORCES OF THE TALIBAN AND AL QAEDA. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE VOTE TODAY ON THE CONFIRMATION OF GENERAL PETRAEUS, I AM VOTING FOR THIS GENERAL BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN HIM, I BELIEVE IN HIS CREATIVITY, I BELIEVE IN HIS MILITARY JUDGMENT, AND I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT HE HAS EVERYTHING HE NEEDS TO DO THE JOB WE'RE ASKING HIM TO DO. HE HAS PROVEN THAT HE CAN DO THE TOUGH JOB. HE CHANGED THE ATMOSPHERE IN IRAQ AND HE DID IT THE RIGHT WAY. AND HE PROTECTED OUR FORCES AS HE WAS DOING IT. SO WE MUST ASSURE THAT WE GIVE HIM THE SAME LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE AND SUPPORT IN AFGHANISTAN TO DO THE JOB THERE, BECAUSE IT IS CLEAR THAT THE PLACE WHERE AL QAEDA AND THE TALIBAN ARE OPERATING IS FROM THAT AREA OF PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN AND WE CANNOT ALLOW THEM TO STRENGTHEN THEIR EFFORTS TO BE ABLE TO EXPORT TERRORISM TO OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. AT THE SAME TIME, WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S NOT A BULL'S-EYE ON THE BACK OF OUR TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN BECAUSE THE ENEMY THINKS WE'RE LEAVING NO MATTER WHAT. CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND ARE THE PREREQUISITE, AND I HOPE THE PRESIDENT HAS GIVEN GENERAL PETRAEUS THE LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE THAT I FEEL IN HIM AND THAT I THINK OUR SENATE WILL SHOW TO HIM TODAY TO DO THE JOB AS HE SEES FIT BECAUSE HE'S GOING TO HAVE THE BOOTS ON THE GROUND IN AFGHANISTAN. I'VE BEEN TO AFGHANISTAN, AS HAVE MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES. I KNOW HOW TOUGH IT IS, THE TERRAIN, THE TYPE OF GOVERNMENT THAT THEY HAVE HAD THROUGHOUT THEIR CENTURIES, AND IT IS NOT ADAPTABLE EASILY TO OUR CONCEPT OF GOVERNANCE. SO WE HAVE TO WORK WITHIN A FRAMEWORK THAT IS VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULT, BOTH GEOGRAPHICALLY AS WELL AS IN THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE. AND I AM VOTING FOR GENERAL PETRAEUS TODAY BECAUSE I KNOW THIS MAN CAN DO THE JOB. AND I HOPE THAT THE PRESIDENT WILL GIVE HIM THE FREE REIN TO DO THE JOB THAT WE ARE ASKING HIM TO DO AND IN THE PROCESS PROTECT OUR TROOPS AND PROTECT HIM AS THEY ARE DOING THIS VERY TOUGH JOB WITH EVERYTHING HE ASKS US TO PROVIDE TO HIM TO FINISH THIS JOB AND MAKE THE AFGHAN PEOPLE SAFE, GIVE THEM THE ABILITY TO CREATE THEIR GOVERNANCE IN A WAY THAT WORKS FOR THEM, AND TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES FROM ANY FURTHER TERRORIST ATTACKS. THAT IS WHEN WE WILL BE ABLE TO SAY, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED." AND GENERAL PETRAEUS CAN DO THIS JOB. WE MUST GIVE HIM THE BACKUP SO THAT HE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:40:09 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: PLAINTIFF LEVIN: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 11:43:20 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 11:43:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:43:25 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 11:43:28 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED.…

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 11:43:41 AM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION, ARMY. TO BE GENERAL, GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS.

  • 11:43:47 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE 20 MINUTES FOR THE DEBATE WITH…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE 20 MINUTES FOR THE DEBATE WITH RESPECT TO THE NOMINATION, WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN, MR. LEVIN, AND THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA, MR. McCAIN, OR THEIR DESIGNEES. THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN.

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  • 11:44:04 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD MYSELF EIGHT MINUTES.

  • 11:44:06 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:44:10 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    THE SENATE WILL SOON VOTE ON THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS, WHO…

    THE SENATE WILL SOON VOTE ON THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS, WHO IS ONCE AGAIN STEPPING FORWARD TO RENDER INVALUABLE SERVICE TO OUR NATION AS HE HAS SO OFTEN IN THE PAST. CERTAINLY THE EVENTS THAT BRING GENERAL PETRAEUS TO THIS MOMENT WERE UNFORESEEN BUT WE CAN BE CERTAIN THAT WHEN CONFIRMED, HE WILL BRING HIGHLY EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP AND A PROFOUND UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRESIDENT'S STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN WHICH HE HELPED SHAPE AS COMMANDER OF THE U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND. GENERAL PETRAEUS CONFIRMED YESTERDAY BEFORE THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE THAT HE FULLY SUPPORTS THE PRESIDENT'S STRATEGY. THAT STRATEGY INCLUDES A SURGE OF U.S. COMBAT TROOPS WHO WILL BE IN PLACE LATER THIS YEAR. THAT STRATEGY INCLUDES A COUNTER COUNTERINSURGENCY CAMPAIGN FOAM FOCUSED ON SECURING THE SAFETY OF AFGHANISTAN'S POPULATION AND PURSUING THE INSURGENTS WHO THREATEN THAT SAFETY. AND THE PRESIDENT'S STRATEGY WHICH GENERAL PETRAEUS SUPPORTS INCLUDES THE SETTING OF A JULY 2011 DATE TO BEGIN REDUCTIONS OF U.S. COMBAT TROOPS AS A WAY OF FOCUSING THE ATTENTION OF THE AFGHAN GOVERNMENT AND MILITARY ON PREPARING AFGHAN FORCES TO TAKE GREATER RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SECURITY OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE. I HAVE LONG BELIEVED THAT FOCUSING ON BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF THE AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES TO SECURE THEIR NATION'S FUTURE IS CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN. GENERAL PETRAEUS AGREES. HE TOLD OUR COMMITTEE YESTERDAY -- QUOTE -- "WE WANT AFGHAN OWNERSHIP OF AFGHAN PROBLEMS, WHETHER IT'S SECURITY PROBLEMS, POLITICAL PROBLEMS, ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, YOU NAME IT." CLOSE QUOTE. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S WHAT THE AFGHANS WANT AS WELL. THAT'S WHAT WE WERE TOLD -- A NUMBER OF US WERE THERE A YEAR AGO IN AFGHANISTAN WHEN 100 OR SO ELDERS GATHERED AT A SHURA IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN. WHEN WE ASKED THEM WHAT THEY WANTED THE UNITED STATES TO DO, THEY TOLD US THAT WE SHOULD TRAIN AND EQUIP THE AFGHAN ARMY TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR COUNTRY'S SECURITY AND THEN DEPART. AND THE 1,600 DELEGATES TO AFGHANISTAN'S CONSULTED PEACE JOURNEY ADOPTED A RESOLUTION CALLING ON THE NDGES COMMUNITY TO -- QUOTE -- "EXPEDITE THE TRAINING AND EQUIPPING OF THE AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES SO THAT THEY CAN GAIN THE CAPACITY -- QUOTE -- "TO PROVIDE SECURITY FOR THEIR OWN COUNTRY AND PEOPLE" -- CLOSE QUOTE. THE AFGHAN ARMY FIELDS ABOUT 120,000 TROOPS INCLUDING 70,000 COMBAT TROOPS. THEY SHOULD WHERE EVER POSSIBLE BE LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST THE INSURGENTS. THE AFGHAN ARMY ENJOYS THE SUPPORT OF THE AFGHAN PEOPLE. THAT MEANS THAT AFGHAN TROOPS LEADING THE FIGHT WOULD BE THE TALIBAN'S WORST NIGHTMARE. IT WOULD DEMONSTRATE THAT INSURGENT PROPAGANDA, WHICH PORTRAYS US AS OUT FOR DOMINATION AND FOR OUR OWN END, IS A LIE. IF THE AFGHAN PEOPLE ARE TO SEE THIS AS THEIR FIGHT, IT SHOULD BE A FIGHT LED BY THEIR OWN SOLDIERS WITH OUR SUPPORT, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. I WANT TO READ AN EXCHANGE FROM YESTERDAY'S HEARING ON THIS ISSUE. I ASKED GENERAL PETRAEUS THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: "THE URGENT INCREASE IN THE SIZE AND CAPABILITY OF THE AFGHAN ARMY AND HAVING AFGHAN FORCES LEADING OPERATIONS MORE AND MORE IS BAD NEWS FOR THE TALIBAN," I SAID. "NOW, I'VE DESCRIBED THAT AS THE TALIBAN'S --" I'VE DESCRIBED THAT -- QUSH I--"I DESCRIBED THAT AS THE TALIBAN'S WORST NIGHTMARE BECAUSE THEIR PROPAGANDA THAT THEY ARE FIGHTING AGAINST FOREIGN FORCES THAT WANT TO CONTROL AFGHANISTAN WILL RING MORE AND MORE HOLLOW WITH THE AFGHAN POPULATION IF THE AFGHAN ARMY, WHICH HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE AFGHAN PEOPLE, IS LEADING THE EFFORT TO DEFEAT THE INSURGENTS." THEN I ASKED GENERAL PETRAEUS, "IS IN A SOMETHING THAT THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD GENERALLY AGREE WITH?" HIS ANSWER IS THAT HE AGREED WITH THAT STATEMENT. NOW, I'M ALSO ENCOURAGED THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS COMMITTED AT OUR HEARING YESTERDAY TO A REVIEW OF DEPLOYMENTS BY THE AFGHAN ARMY TO SEE HOW MORE AFGHAN TROOPS MIGHT BE DEPLOYED TO THE SOUTH WHERE OPERATIONS ARE THE MOST INTENSE, AND TO ENSURE THAT AFGHAN LEADERS ARE LEADING OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTH WHEREVER POSSIBLE. GENERAL PETRAEUS ALSO REITERATED TO THE COMMITTEE HIS SUPPORT FOR THE JULY 2011 DATE TO BEGIN REDUCTIONS OF THE U.S. COMBAT TROOPS. HE'S PUT IT -- QUOTE -- "I SAW SETTING THAT DATE MOST IMPORTANT, AS THE MESSAGE OF URGENCY TO COMPLEMENT THE MESSAGE OF ENORMOUS ADDITIONAL COMMITMENT." CLOSE QUOTE. MR. PRESIDENT, AS YOU WELL KNOW -- BECAUSE YOU'RE AN ESTEEMED MEMBER OF OUR COMMITTEE -- GENERAL PETRAEUS LITERALLY WROTE THE BOOK ON COUNTERINSURGENCY. HE LED THE EFFORT TO WRITE OUR MILITARY'S MANUAL ON COUNTERINSURGENCY. AS COMMANDER OF U.S. FORCES IN IRAQ AND THE U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND, HE HAS SERVED HIS COUNTRY WITH GREAT DISTINCTION AT A TIME OF GREAT NEED. WE'RE FORTUNATE THAT ONCE AGAIN HE HAS ANSWERED HIS NATION'S CALL, AND WE'RE GRATEFUL FOR THE SACRIFICES THAT HE, HIS WIFE HOLLY, AND HIS FAMILY ARE WILLING TO ONCE AGAIN ACCEPT. I STRONGLY SUPPORT HIS NOMINATION. HIS NOMINATION WAS UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORTED BY OUR ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE YESTERDAY, AND I HOPE THAT OUR COLLEAGUES WILL GIVE GENERAL PETRAEUS AN OVERWHELMING VOTE OF SUPPORT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:50:50 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:50:56 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: TEN MINUTES, SENATOR.

  • 11:50:59 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: YOU HAVE TEN MINUTES -- OR TEN MINUTES FOR THE WHOLE SESSION.

  • 11:51:06 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS TO BE COMMANDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE IN AFGHANISTAN AND COMMANDER OF U.S. FORCES AFGHANISTAN. GENERAL PETRAEUS IS QUITE SIMPLY ONE OF THE FINEST MILITARY LEADERS OUR COUNTRY HAS EVER PRODUCED. WE'RE ALL GRATEFUL FOR HIS WILLINGNESS TO ANSWER THE CALL OF SERVICE AT YET ANOTHER CRITICAL -- IN YET ANOTHER CRITICAL MISSION, A MISSION THAT ONCE AGAIN WILL TAKE HIM A FARAWAY FROM HIS FAMILY, ESPECIALLY HIS BELOVED WIFE HOLLY, WHOSE SUPPORT AND SACRIFICE OVER MANY DECADES, BOTH FOR GENERAL PETRAEUS AND FOR OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM, CAN NEVER BE OUTSTATED. GENERAL PETRAEUS IS AN AMERICAN HERO. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO CONFIRM HIS NOMINATION. BEFORE I GO FURTHER, LET ME SAY A WORD OF PRAISE FOR ANOTHER AMERICAN HERO, GENERAL STANLEY McCHRYSTAL. HE IS A MAN OF UNRIVALED INTEGRITY, AND WHAT IS MOST IMPRESSIVE ABOUT HIS LONG RECORD OF MILITARY EXCELLENCE IS HOW MUCH OF IT REMAINS CLOAKED IN SILENCE. FEW UNDERSTAND FULLY HOW GENERAL McCHRYSTAL SYSTEMATICALLY DISMANTLED AL QAEDA IN IRAQ AOR HOW HE BEGAN TO TURN AROUND OUR FAILING WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. THESE ACHIEVEMENTS, AND OTHERS LIKE THEM, ARE THE TRUE MEASURE OF STANLEY McCHRYSTAL, AND THEY WILL EARN HIM AN HONORED PLACE IN OUR HISTORY. WE'RE CALLING ON GENERAL PETRAEUS AT A CRITICAL MOMENT FOR THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. I AGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT THAT SUCCESS IN AFGHANISTAN IS A -- QUOTE -- "VITAL NATIONAL INTEREST" AND I SUPPORT HIS DECISION TO ADOPT THE COUNTERINSURGENCY STRATEGY BACK I HADBACKED BY MORE TROOPS AND CIVILIAN RESOURCES. THIS IS THE ONLY VIABLE PATH TO TRUE SUCCESS, WHICH I WOULD DEFINE AS AN AFGHANISTAN THAT IS INCREASINGLY CAPABLE OF GOVERNES ITSELF -- GOVERNING ITSELF, SECURING ITS PEOPLE, SECURING ITS OWN DEVELOPMENT, AND NEVER AGAIN SERVING AS A BASE FOR ATTACKS AGAINST AMERICA AND OUR ALLIES. IN SHORT, THE SAME RESULTS WE'RE SLOWLY SEEING EMERGE TODAY IN IRAQ, THANKS IN LARGE PART TO THE WORK OF GENERAL PETRAEUS AND THE FORCES HE COMMANDED. BEFORE HEADING OUT TO IRAQ THREE YEARS AGO, GENERAL PETRAEUS TOLD THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE THAT THE MISSION WAS HARD BUT NOT HOPELESS. I WOULD CHARACTERIZE OUR MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN THE SAME WAY. AFGHANISTAN IS NOT A LOST CAUSE. AFGHANS DO NOT WANT THE TALIBAN BACK. THEY'RE GOOD FIGHTERS. THEY WANT A GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS FOR THEM AND WORKS WELL. AND FOR THOSE WHO THINK THE KARZAI GOVERNMENT IS NOT AN ADEQUATE PARTNER, I WOULD REMIND THEM THAT IN 2007, THE MALIKI GOVERNMENT IN IRAQ WAS NOT ONLY CORRUPT, WHEN IS COLLAPSED AND COMPLICIT IN SECTARIAN VIOLENCE. A WEAK AND EXROMEDZ LOCAL PARTNER IS EXPECTED TO BE EXPECTED IN COUNTERINSURGENCY. THAT'S WHY THERE IS IAN INSURGENCY. THE CHALLENGE IS TO SUPPORT AND PUSH OUR PARTNERS TO PERFORM BETTER. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING IN IRAQ, THAT'S WHAT WE CAN DO IN AFGHANISTAN. BUT WE NEED TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT AS LONG AS SUCCESS? AFGHANISTAN IS POSSIBLE -- BUT TWEENDZ MAKE IT CLEAR THAT AS LONG AS SUCCESS IN AFGHANISTAN IS POSSIBLE, WE WILL STAY THERE TO ACHIEVE IT. JULY 2011 IS A DATE TO BEGIN A TRANSITION PHASE FOR GREATER AFGHAN RESPONSIBILITY. AND FOR THOSE WHO DOUBT THE PRESIDENT'S DESIRE AND COMMITMENT TO SUCCEED IN AFGHANISTAN, HIS NOMINATION OF GENERAL PETRAEUS TO RUN THIS WAR SHOULD CAUSE THEM TO THINK TWICE. I KNOW THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS WILL DO EVERYTHING IN HIS POWER TO HELP US SUCCEED IN AFGHANISTAN. I KNOW THAT IF HE BELIEVES HE NEEDS SOMETHING HE DOESN'T HAVE OR IF HE THINKS THAT CHANGES SHOULD BE MADE TO OUR WAR EFFORT, HE WON'T HESITATE TO OFFER HIS BEST PROFESSIONAL MILITARY ADVICE TO THE PRESIDENT AND THE CONGRESS. I'M ENCOURAGED THIS IS THE MAN THE PRESIDENT HAS GIVEN HIS CONFIDENCE. AND I BELIEVE THIS SHOULD BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE SENATE TO JOIN TOGETHER ON A BROAD, BIPARTISAN BASIS, NOT JUST TO SUPPORT THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL PETRAEUS BUT TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WE REPRESENT AS WELL AS TO OUR FRIENDS AND ALLIES ABROAD THAT WE ARE FULLY COMMITTED TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN. WE MUST GIVE GENERAL PETRAEUS EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED IN HIS NEW COMMAND. AND I BELIEVE THAT MEANS STATING CLEARLY THAT THE WITHDRAWAL OF U.S. FORCES FROM AFGHANISTAN MUST BE DETERMINED SOLELY BY CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND. WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IN AFGHANISTAN, AS IN ANY COUNTERINSURGENCY, IS WIN THE LOYALTY OF THE POPULATION. TO CONVINCE PEOPLE WHO MAY DISLIKE THE INSURGENCY BUT ALSO -- INSURGENCY BUT WHO MAY ALSO DISTRUST THEIR GOVERNMENT THAT THEY SHOULD LINE UP WITH US AGAINST THE TALIBAN AND AL QAEDA. WE'RE ASKING THEM TO TAKE A HUGE RISK, AND THEY WILL BE FAR LESS WILLING TO TAKE THAT RISK IF THEY THINK WE WILL BEGIN LEAVING IN A YEAR. IN A NEWS REPORT YESTERDAY, ONE U.S. MARINE DESCRIBED THE EFFECT OF THE JULY 2011 DATE ON THE AFGHANS SHE ENCOUNTERED -- QUOTE -- "THAT'S WHY THEY WON'T WORK WITH US," SHE SAID, "THEY SAY YOU'LL LEAVE IN 2011 AND THE TALIBAN WILL CHOP OUR HEADS OFF." IN ADDITION TO BEING HARMFUL, THE 2011 WITHDRAWAL DATE INCREASINGLY LOOKS UNREALISTIC. THAT DATE WAS BASED ON ASSUMPTIONS MADE BACK IN DECEMBER. ABOUT HOW MUCH PROGRESS WE COULD ACHIEVE IN AFGHANISTAN AND HOW QUICKLY WE COULD ACHIEVE IT. BUT WAR NEVER WORKS OUT THE WAY WE ASSUME. SECRETARY GATES SAID LAST WEEK, "I BELIEVE WE'RE MAKING SOME PROGRESS BUT IT IS SLOWER AND HARDER THAN WE ANTICIPATED." I AGREE. THE HOLDING AND BUILDING IS NOT GOING AS WELL AS PLANNED. OUR OPERATION IN KANDAHAR IS GETTING TO HAVE A SLOWER AND MORE DIFFICULT START THAN EXPECTED. THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AFGHAN GOVERNMENT OVER THE PAST SEVEN MONTHS IS NOT AS EVEN OR AS RAPID AS WE HAD HOPED. SOME OF ASH KEY ALLIES PLAN TO WITHDRAW -- SOME OF OUR KEY ALLIES PLAN TO WITHDRAW THEIR FORCES SOON AND IT LOOKS INCREASINGLY UNLIKELY THAT NATO WILL MEET ITS PLEDGE OF 10,000 TROOPS. NONE OF THIS IS TO SAY THAT WE'RE FAILING OR THAT -- NONE OF THIS IS TO SAY THAT WE ARE FAILING OR THAT WE WILL FAIL THIS AFGHANISTAN. IT JUST THAT HE MEANS THAT WE NEED TO GIVE OUR STRATEGY THE NECESSARY TIME TO SUCCEEDS. THIS IS ALL THE MORE ESSENTIAL NOW WITH GENERAL PETRAEUS ASSUMING COMMAND PENDING HIS CONFIRMATION. HE HAS PROVED THAT HE CAN LEAD OUR FORCES TO SUCCESS. HE HAS PROVED THAT HE CAN WORK EFFECTIVELY WITH LOCAL PARTNERS IN COUNTERINSURGENCY P. HE HAS PROVED THAT HE IS AN IDEAL PARTNER FOR OUR MANY ALLIES AND FRIENDS WHO ARE SO CRITICAL TO SUCCESS IN AFGHANISTAN. IN SHORT, DAVID PETRAEUS HAS PROVED THAT HE IS A WINNER, AND WE NEED TO GIVE HIM EVERY OPPORTUNITY AND REMOVE EVERY OBSTACLE SO THAT HE CAN HELP THE UNITED STATES AND OUR ALLIES WIN IN AFGHANISTAN. GENERAL PETRAEUS HAS MY FULL SUPPORT. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE TO CONFIRM HIM NOMINATION SO HE CAN TAKE UP HIS NEW MISSION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE BALANCE OF MY TIME..

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  • 11:59:32 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:59:34 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    ANY TIME REMAINING ON THIS SIDE IN.

  • 11:59:40 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST OF ALL, LET ME SAY I VERY MUCH JOIN SENATOR McCAIN'S…

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST OF ALL, LET ME SAY I VERY MUCH JOIN SENATOR McCAIN'S COMMENT ABOUT GENERAL McCHRYSTAL. I SPOKE ABOUT HIS HEROICS YESTERDAY, HIS INTEGRITY YESTERDAY AT THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE IN MY STATEMENT, AND I REITERATE THEM TODAY. GENERAL McCHRYSTAL IS SOMEONE WHO HAS THE DEEP RESPECT OF ALL WHO KNOW HIM. AND WHILE FATE TOOK A STRANGE BOUNCE IN HIS LIFE, HE HAS THE STRENGTH AND THE INTEGRITY OF CHARACTER THAT HE IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO DEAL WITH IT VERY, VERY WELL. WE ALL WANT SUCCESS IN AFGHANISTAN, AND SETTING THE DATE AS THE PRESIDENT HAS DONE, AND GENERAL PETRAEUS SUPPORTS, TO BEGIN REDUCTIONS OF OUR FORCES IS CRITICAL TO THAT SUCCESS, BECAUSE IT IS THE AFGHANS WHO MUST SUCCEED WITH OUR SUPPORT. IT IS THE AFGHAN ARMY THAT MUST GROW AND GET STRONGER, BECAUSE IT IS THAT WAY WHERE THE PEOPLE WILL BE SUPPORTIVE OF THIS EFFORT, WHERE THEY WILL TAKE THE RISKS, IF THEY KNOW THAT THE AFGHAN ARMY IS LARGE AND THEY KNOW ALREADY IT'S ON THEIR SIDE, THEY WILL TAKE THE RISKS TO TELL THAT ARMY WHERE THE BAD GUYS ARE, WHERE THE INSURGENTS ARE, AND NOT BE AFRAID. GENERAL PETRAEUS WAS ASKED YESTERDAY WHETHER OR NOT HE BACKS THE PRESIDENT'S APPROACH WITH RESPECT TO A DEADLINE. HIS ANSWER WAS CLEAR -- QUOTE -- "NOT ONLY DID I SAY THAT I SUPPORTED IT; I SAID THAT I AGREE WITH IT." NOW, PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS MADE A DECISION. GENERAL PETRAEUS WAS VERY MUCH A PART OF THAT DECISION. HE AGREES WITH THAT DECISION THAT WE NEED TO BEGIN REDUCTIONS IN JULY OF 2011 OF OUR TROOPS AS A WAY OF SENDING A POWERFUL MESSAGE TO THE AFGHAN LEADERSHIP ABOUT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE SECURITY FOR THEIR OWN COUNTRY. AND WHEN THEY DO TAKE THE LEAD, WHETHER IT'S IN OPERATIONS IN KANDAHAR OR ELSEWHERE, THAT IS THE WAY THAT THE PEOPLE WILL RALLY BEHIND THE GOVERNMENT, WILL RALLY AGAINST THE HATED TALIBAN. THE TALIBAN HAS NO LOVE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN. THE AFGHAN ARMY DOES. AND IT IS THAT ARMY WHICH MUST TAKE THE LEAD FOR THE SAKE OF SUCCESS IN AFGHANISTAN. THAT IS WHAT SETTING THIS DATE IS ALL ABOUT. THAT IS SKWR GENERAL PETRAEUS SUPPORTS -- THAT IS WHY GENERAL PETRAEUS SUPPORTS SETTING THAT DATE. NOT FOR WITHDRAWAL OF ALL OF OUR TROOPS, BUT FOR THE BEGINNING OF REDUCTIONS OF OUR TROOPS, AS THAT POWERFUL SIGNAL ABOUT WHAT IS AT STAKE HERE AND WHAT THE GOVERNMENT OF AFGHANISTAN MUST DO TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS FOR THEM AND FOR US. I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.

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  • 12:02:32 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    MR. PRESIDENT? SPROEUP THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA --

  • 12:02:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:02:38 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    THE TIME FOR DEBATE OVER STRATEGY. I WOULD POINT OUT THAT NO ONE FOLLOWS…

    THE TIME FOR DEBATE OVER STRATEGY. I WOULD POINT OUT THAT NO ONE FOLLOWS AN UNCERTAIN TRUMPET. AND FOR US TO ASSUME THAT THE AFGHAN PEOPLE WILL NOW RALLY TO THE SIDE OF DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM WHEN THEY THINK WE ARE LEAVING AND UNABLE TO SUSTAIN A COUNTERINSURGENCY ON THEIR OWN IS THE SAME KIND OF THINKING THAT OPPOSED THE SURGE IN IRAQ, THE SAME KIND OF THINKING THAT WOULD HAVE DOOMED US TO FAILURE, THE SAME KIND OF RHETORIC THAT WAS VOICED DURING OUR DEBATE ABOUT IRAQ THREE YEARS AGO. THEY WERE WRONG THEN. THEY ARE WRONG NOW. I WOULD HOPE THEY WOULD HAVE LEARNED A LESSON OF OUR SUCCESS IN IRAQ, THAT WE MUST SHOW OUR FRIENDS AND ALLIES ALIKE, THAT WE WILL BE THERE TO COMPLETE THE MISSION, NOT AS A YOUNG SOLDIER SAID THE OTHER DAY, THAT THEY FEAR WE ARE LEAVING -- THAT THE AMERICANS ARE LEAVING, AND THE TALIBAN WILL CUT OUR HEADS OFF. IT'S A FUNDAMENTAL OF WARFARE THAT YOU HAVE TO SEE THE MISSION THROUGH TO COMPLETION OR FAILURE. TO ANNOUNCE A DATE OF WITHDRAWAL IS TO ANNOUNCE A DATE FOR DEFEAT. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:03:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN.

  • 12:03:55 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    THE SENATOR'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.

  • 12:03:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.

  • 12:04:01 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I HAVE 30 SECONDS TO RESPOND.

  • 12:04:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 12:04:07 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I PUT THE BALANCE OF MY STATEMENT IN THE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I PUT THE BALANCE OF MY STATEMENT IN THE RECORD RELATIVE TO SETTING THE DATES IN IRAQ AND HOW THEY SUCCEEDED.

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  • 12:04:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. THE QUESTION IS ON THE…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. THE QUESTION IS ON THE CONFIRMATION OF THE PETRAEUS NOMINATION. IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: THIS

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  • 12:04:48 PM

    Senate Vote 203 - On the Nomination (Confirmation Gen David H Petraeus to be General)

    Nomination Confirmed (99 - 0)
    Yea

    Vote Details: Yea - 98
    Republican - 41
    Democratic - 55
    Independent - 2

  • 12:28:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE AYES…

    ARE ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE AYES ARE 99, THE NAYS ARE 0. THE NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER IS MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE, THE PRESIDENT WILL BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THE SENATE WILL RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION. THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 12:29:28 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    WHAT IS THE PENDING BUSINESS?

  • 12:29:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE PENDING BUSINESS. COULD WE HAVE ORDER…

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE PENDING BUSINESS. COULD WE HAVE ORDER IN THE SENATE, PLEASE. COULD WE HAVE ORDER IN THE SENATE, PLEASE.

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  • 12:29:37 PM

    THE CLERK

    CONDITION OCCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT WITH AN…

    CONDITION OCCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT WITH AN AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4213, AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO EXTEND CERTAIN EXPIRING PROVISIONS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 12:29:51 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 12:29:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA -- SOUTH CAROLINA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:29:59 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    I RISE TODAY TO CONGRATULATE THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA MEN'S…

    I RISE TODAY TO CONGRATULATE THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA MEN'S BASEBALL TEAM.

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  • 12:30:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR SUSPEND. COULD WE HAVE ORDER IN THE SENATE, PLEASE. ORD ORDER…

    THE SENATOR SUSPEND. COULD WE HAVE ORDER IN THE SENATE, PLEASE. ORD ORDER IN THE SENATE, PLEASE.

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  • 12:30:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA.

  • 12:30:20 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO CONGRATULATE THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO CONGRATULATE THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA MEN'S BASEBALL TEAM FOR MAKING HISTORY BY WINNING THE NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIES LAST NIGHT. WHIT MARYFIELD'S CLUTCH HIT BROUGHT HOME THE WINNING RUN AND GAVE U.S.C. ITS FIRST-EVER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FOR ANY MEN'S TEAM AT THE UNIVERSITY. IN SPOOT OF LOSING THEIR FIRST GAME IN OMAHA, THE TEAM PERSEVERED THROUGH MULTIPLE GAMES. THEY WERE MOTIVATED BY THE COURAGEOUS SPIRIT OF ONE YOUNG FAN WHO MAY HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST GAME CUP FAN IN AMERICA. HE SUFFERED FROM A RARE FORM OF CANCER AND DIED LAST THURSDAY DURING THE GAMECOCTION COME-FROM-BEHIND VICK IS RECOGNIZETORY OVER OKLAHOMA. HE WORE HIS GAMECOCK BALL CAP THE DAY HE DIED. FORTUNATELY HIS PARENTS WERE ABLE TO BE IN OMAHA TO SEE THEM WIN THE WORLD SERIES. TODAY I JOIN ALL SOUTH CAROLINIANS IN GAMECOCK -- AND GAMECOCK FANS EVERYWHERE TO CONGRATULATE THE PLAYERS, THE COACH, AND HIS STAFF FOR AN OUTSTANDING VICTORY. NOW ALL AMERICA KNOWS THAT U.S.C. MEANS THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA. GO CAMECOCTION!-- GO GAMECOCKS! I'D LIKE TO SPEAK IN MORNING BUSINESS WHILE I HAVE THE FLOOR. FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK IN OBJECTION TO THE MAJORITY'S LATEST ATTEMPT TO SECRETLY PUSH THROUGH ANOTHER EXTENSION OF THE FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER TAX CREDIT. THE THIRD TIME THE SENATE HAS MODIFIED OR EXTENDING THIS CREDIT SINCE JULY OF 2008 WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY INCLUDED IN THE MAJORITY'S HOUSING AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT. MR. PRESIDENT, HOME TAX CREDITS HAVE SEVERAL FLAWS, AND I OPPOSED THEM IN THE PAST BECAUSE I BELIEVE THEY ARE A TEMPORARY INFUSION OF CAPITAL INTO THE MARKETPLACE AND SIMPLY INCREASE THE GOVERNMENT'S GRIP ON OUR NATION'S ECONOMIC GROWTH. AS OFTEN HAPPENED WHEN THE GOVERNMENT BECOMES INVOLVED IN ATTEMPTING TO GROW A PORTION OF THE NATION'S ECONOMY, WE ONLY CREATE A BUBBLE WHICH WILL EVENTUALLY BURST. AS THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS SAID IN LATE APRIL, SHORTLY BEFORE THE EXPIRING OF THE TAX CREDIT ON APRIL 30 -- AND I QUOTE -- "IT'S TIME FOR THE HOUSING MARKET TO STAND ON ITS OWN FEET." IT'S TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO STOP PICKING WINNERS AND LOSERS IN THE HOUSING MARKET BASED ON ARBITRARY DATES AND ARBITRARY QUALIFICATIONS. FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T CLOSED ON THEIR HOMES BY TODAY, IT'S NOT THAT THEY WON'T GET THEIR HOUSE; ONLY THAT THEY WON'T GET A TAXPAYER SUBSIDY FOR HAVING BOUGHT A HOUSE NOW RATHER THAN LATER. A TAXPAYER SUBSIDY THAT HAS BEEN FUNDED BY THEIR NEIGHBOR WHO MAY HAVE NOT HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUY ON THE GOVERNMENT TIME LINE. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'VE WATCHED THIS MAJORITY PUSH THROUGH BIG SPENDING BILLS AND TARGETED GOVERNMENT CREDITS. AND WHAT WE'VE LEARNED IS THAT GOVERNMENT SPENDING DOES NOT GROW ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. RATHER, GOVERNMENT SPENDING GROWS DEFICITS. IT CREATES ECONOMIC BUBBLES. AND WITHOUT A DOUBT, IT INCREASES TAXES. FOR 18 MONTHS THIS MAJORITY HAS CREATED A FALSE SENSE OF HOME FOR CONSUMERS AND MARKETS WHILE INCREASING TAXES ON SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE MOST PRODUCTIVE AND HARD-WORKING AMERICANS. RATHER THAN CREATING TAX EQUALITY AND PREDICTABILITY FOR ALL AMERICANS, THIS CONGRESS HAS TRIED TO FORCE TAXPAYERS TO SUBSIDIZE THE PURCHASING OF CARS, HOMES, AND EVEN APPLIANCES. MR. PRESIDENT, WE KNOW WHAT WORKS. WHEN AMERICAN BUSINESSES HAVE THE PREDICTABILITY OF LOW TAX RATES, THEY IN TURN INVEST IN JOB CREATION AND CREATE REAL ECONOMIC GROWTH. THE ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF SPENDING THAT THIS CONGRESS HAS TAKEN ON IS UNSUSTAINABLE AND WILL EVENTUALLY LEAD TO THE HIGHEST TAX INCREASES IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY. THIS BILL IS NO DIFFERENT. I ASK MY COLLEAGUES, HOW MANY TIMES DO WE NEED TO EXTEND THIS HOME BUYER TAX CREDIT? WHAT DO WE TELL THE PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT THEIR HOMES JUST BEFORE IT STARTED AND THE ONES WHO BOUGHT THEIR HOMES RIGHT AFTER IT EXPIRED? THAT THEIR MORTGAGE RATES WILL BE HIGHER FOR THE WHOLE TIME THEY OWN THEIR HOME AND THEIR TAXES WILL BE PAYING FOR THEIR NEIGHBOR'S HOME WHO HAPPENED TO BUY IN THE GOVERNMENT'S WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY. THE NONPARTISAN TAX POLICY CENTER HAS CALLED THE HOME BUYER CREDIT "WASHINGTON'S POIFT TAX POLICY IDEA." THEY HAVE ESTIMATED THAT THE $12.6 BILLION ALREADY SPENT ON THIS PROGRAM THROUGH FEBRUARY COST CLOSE TO ZERO JOBS AND THAT AT LEAST 85% OF THESE BUYERS WOULD HAVE LIKELY PURCHASED A HOME ANYWAY. ALSO, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT'S INSPECTOR GENERAL FOUND THE HOME BUYER CREDIT HAS BEEN RIDDLED WITH FRAUD AND CHRONICLED OVER 14,000 INSTANCES OF FALSE CLAIMS. THIS IS TYPICAL OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. THE REPORT FOUND THAT AS MANY AS 67 PEOPLE CLAIMED THE CREDIT ON ONE HOME, THE SAME HOME. IT ALSO FOUND THAT OVER S-,000 PRISONERS -- 1,000 PRISONERS RECEIVED CREDIT FOR HOMES THEY CLAIMED TO BUY WHILE IN JAIL. HOW IS IT FAIR TO SUBSIDIZE AMERICANS WHO PURCHASED THEIR FIRST HOME ONLY BECAUSE THEY PURCHASED IT ON THE GOVERNMENT'S TIMETABLE? WITH THIS LATEST EXTENSION OF THE CREDIT, THE MAJORITY IS NOT ONLY CUTTING DEFENSE SPENDING TO FUND THE CREDITS, BUT NOW IT'S ADMITTING THAT TAXING AMERICANS AT THE HIGHEST RATES IN HISTORY ISN'T ENOUGH. NOW THEY'RE GOING TO TAX OUR FOREIGN VISITORS TO PAY FOR BUYING OUR HOMES HERE IN AMERICA. MY HOPE IS THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL USE RECESS NEXT WEEK TO FINALLY LISTEN TO THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE TIRED OF THIS CONGRESS CHOOSING WINNERS AND LOSERS. THEY'RE TIRED OF THE EXCESSIVE SPENDING AND THEY'RE FEARFUL OF TAX INCREASES YET TO COME. THEY ARE TALING US VERY CLEARLY, STOP SPENDING, STOP BORROWING, STOP ADDING TO THE DEBT, AND STOP THE GOVERNMENT TAKEOVERS. MOST OF ALL, THEY AGREE ON ONE THING: THIS CONGRESS NEEDS TO GET OUT OF THE WAY AND LET AMERICA GET BACK TO WORK. MR. PRESIDENT, ONE MORE -- OR, MADAM PRESIDENT, ONE MORE ITEM OF BUSINESS. I'D LIKE TO SPEAK THIS AFTERNOON, TAKE A FEW MINUTES ON THE STATUS. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION LEGISLATION AND HOPEFULLY MOVE THE PROCESS ALONG A GREAT DEAL. AND AT THE END OF THIS, I WILL OFFER A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST. AS MANY SENATORS REMEMBER, EARLY LAST YEAR A SMALL COMMUTER PLANE CRASHED JUST OUTSIDE OF BUFFALO, NEW YORK. THE ACCIDENT KILLED ALL 49 PEOPLE ON BOARD AND ONE PERSON ON THE GROUND. IN THE MONTHS FOLLOWING THE CRASH, THE SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE AND ITS AVIATION SUBCOMMITTEE HELD A NUMBER OF HEARINGS TO GET A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT EXACTLY WENT WRONG DURING FLIGHT 3407 AND WHAT CONGRESS COULD DO TO HELP FIX IT. I WANT TO THANK SENATORS DORGAN -- SENATOR DORGAN AND PARTICULARLY HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE. FROM THOSE LESSONS THAT WE'VE LEARNED AND DURING THE DRAFTING OF THE F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION, OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE WORKED WITH US AND WE WERE ABLE TO CRAFT A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT REFORMS THAT FORMED THE SAFETY SECTION OF BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE REAUTHORIZATION BILLS. LET ME TAKE A MOMENT TO OUTLINE SOME OF THEM FOR YOU. AN F.A.A. PILOT'S RECORD DATABASE -- HAD WE HAD A DATABASE LIKE THE ONE THAT WE'VE IN THIS BILL, IT WAS VERY LIKELY THAT THE PILOT OF FLIGHT 3407 WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO BE FLYING THAT NIGHT. ALSO, INCREASED HOURLY REQUIREMENTS FOR COPILOTS -- IF WE HAD HAD THESE REQUIREMENTS, THE COPIMENT ON FLIGHT 3407 WOULD HAVE HAD MORE EXPERIENCE AND WE MAY HAVE AVERTED A DISASTER. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN THE HOUSE BILL, INCLUDING ENHANCED MENTORING FOR PILOTS, INCREASED UTELY UTILIZATION OF SAFETY PROGRAMS AND BETTER CREW MANAGEMENT INITIATIVES AS WELL AS CLEARER RESPONSES TO NTSB SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS. AWFUL THESE REFORMS WILL GO A LONG WAY TO IMPROVING AVIATION SAFETY. SADLY, WE'VE YET TO GET THIS LEGISLATION ACROSS THE FINISH LINE THAT WOULD IMPLEMENT THESE REFORMS. PAROCHIAL POLITICS, POLITICAL PAYOFFS AND BACK-ROOM DEALS ARE KEEPING THESE IMPORTANT SAFETY MEASURES FROM PASSION. SOME MEMBERS ARE TRYING TO CUT SPECIAL DEALS FOR SPECIAL FLIGHTS TO THEIR STATES. NUMEROUS MEMBERS ARE LOOKING TO IMPOSE NEW TAXES ON TRAVELERS ALREADY BURDENED BY TOO MUCH TAXATION. SOME CONGRESSMEN ARE TRYING TO CUT A SPECIAL DEAL FOR THEIR BUDDIES IN THE LABOR UNIONS. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE BESIDE THE POINT. AND ARE EXACTLY WHAT AVIATION POLICY SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT. SINCE LAST OCTOBER, THE SENATE HAS HAD A BILL SITTING BEFORE US THAT WILL IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENT THE REFORMS THE FAMILIES OF FLIGHT 3407 HAVE BEEN CALLING FOR. THEY'VE WAITED TOO LONG. THE FIGHTS OVER FEDEX, TAXES, AND SPECIAL FLIGHTS AREN'T GOING TO GO AWAY ANYTIME SOON. IF WE LET THEM, THESE CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD UP THE SAFETY PROVISIONS THAT WE ALL AGREE ON. SO LET'S SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. IT'S TIME TO PASS THE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS AND LET THE REST OF THE F.A.A. STAND ON ITS OWN. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I'D LIKE TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3371 AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION, THAT THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE.

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  • 12:41:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 12:41:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION IS HEARD. MADAMMR. DORGAN: MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 12:41:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 12:41:23 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    OF THE SENATOR, WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO MOVE A 30-DAY EXTENSION OF EXISTING…

    OF THE SENATOR, WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO MOVE A 30-DAY EXTENSION OF EXISTING AUTHORITIES FOR THE F.A.A., WHICH IS ESSENTIAL AND VERY NECESSARY. IS THE SENATOR HOLDING THAT UP? WE'VE HAD OBJECTION FROM YOUR SIDE. MY UNDERSTANDING IS THE OBJECTION WAS YOURS. IS THAT AN ACCURATE UNDERSTANDING? I WOULD YIELD --

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  • 12:41:44 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    MADAM PRESIDENT, IF I MAY --

  • 12:41:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR IN SOUTH CAROLINA. MINTMONT I VERY MUCH SUPPORT THE EXTENSION…

    THE SENATOR IN SOUTH CAROLINA. MINTMONT I VERY MUCH SUPPORT THE EXTENSION BUT HAVE ASKED THAT THIS -- MINTMONT I VERY MUCH SUPPORT THE EXTENSION BUT HAVE ASKED THAT THIS SAFETY PROVISION BE MOVED ALONG WITH IT SO WE CAN GET THIS DONE INSTEAD OF OUR CONTINUING TO ALLOW IS IT TO BE HELD HOSTAGE TO POLITICAL INTERESTS ON THE REST OF THE BILL.

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  • 12:42:05 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    BE -- I WOULD BE VERY SUPPORTIVE OF A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST THAT WOULD…

    BE -- I WOULD BE VERY SUPPORTIVE OF A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST THAT WOULD EXTEND THE F.A.A. AUTHORIZATION 30 DAYS IF IT INCLUDED MY REQUEST FOR THE SAFETY PROVISIONS OF THE BILL.

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  • 12:42:18 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THINK THIS WILL BE EXTENDED 30 DAYS. THE FAILURE TO…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THINK THIS WILL BE EXTENDED 30 DAYS. THE FAILURE TO EXTEND THE CURRENT AUTHORITIES FOR THE F.A.A. FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS WHILE WE FINISH THIS CONFERENCE REPORT WILL MEAN THAT 4,000 PEOPLE AT THE F.A.A. WILL BE IF YOUFURLOUGHED, LAID OFF. DON'T TELL ME THAT PROMOTES AVIATION SAIVMENT EVERYBODY KNOWS BETTER THAN THAT. THE WORST POSSIBLE THING WE COULD DO IS DECIDE THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO EXTEND THE CURRENT AUTHORITIES AND HAVE JUST AFTER JULY 4, 4,000 PEOPLE THAT WORK FOR THE F.A.A. BE FURLOUGHED. THAT MAKES NO SENSE. NOW, WITH RESPECT TO WHAT MY COLLEAGUE HALLS JUST DONE -- HE IS WITHOUT SKULL FACING WITH ME OR ANYONE ELSE -- HE HAS DECIDED TO COME TO THE FLOOR AND TALK ABOUT SPECIAL DEALS AND NEW TAXES AND SO ON. LET ME DESCRIBE WHERE WE'RE. WE TRIED TO KEEP THE SENATOR'S STAFF INVOLVED AND HIM INVOLVED SO HE UNDERSTANDS WHERE WE'RE. BUT IN ANY EVENT THERE'S SOME MISSING INFORMATION, LET ME EXPLAIN WHERE WE'RE. NUMBER ONE, WE PASSED AN F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION BILL THAT INCLUDES MODERNIZATION OF THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM, VERY SUBSTANTIAL SAFETY PROVISIONS, FAR MORE THAN THE SENATOR SUGGESTS THAT WE ADOPT TODAY, AND WE -- AS THE SENATOR KNOWS, BECAUSE HE IS THE RANKING MEMBER ON THE SUBCOMMITTEE, I HELD A GOOD NUMBER OF HEARINGS ON THE SUBJECT OF THE COLGAN CRASH AND THE SAFETY PROVISIONS THAT NEED TO BE DONE AS A RESULT OF IT AND THE THINGS THAT THE SENATOR RAISES ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE TODAY INCLUDES MOST OF WHAT I SUGGESTED AMONG OTHER THINGS. SO I APPRECIATE THE COOPERATION THE SENATOR OFFERED WHEN HE WAS AT THE HEARINGS THAT WE HELD ON THESE SAFETY ISSUES. BUT FOLLOWING THE PASSAGE OF THIS BILL BY THE SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO APPOINT CONFEREES IN THIS CHAMBER, SYMBOLIC OF HOW DYSFUNCTIONAL THIS CHAMBER IS THESE DAYS, BECAUSE WE'VE OBJECTIONS EVEN TO APPOINTING CONFEREES. NOTWITHSTANDING THOSE OBJECTIONS, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER AND I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THE HOUSE AND WE'VE KEPT THE SENATOR INVOLVED IN WHAT IS HAPPENING TRYING TO NATURE PRODOWN -- AND -- NARROW DOWN -- AND WE'VE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL NARROWING DOWN MOST OF THE PROVISIONS THAT DIFFER BETWEEN THE HOUSE AND SENATE. THERE ARE SIX OR EIGHT OR PERHAPS TEN SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES THAT WE'RE WORKING ON NOW AND THE SENATOR MENTIONED A COUPLE OF THEM. THE ISSUE OF THE PERIMETER RULE, SLOTS AT WASHINGTON NATIONAL AIRPORT, A FEDEX ISSUE, PASSENGER FACILITIES CHARGE, AND OTHER ISSUES. THERE'S -- I BELIEVE THERE'S ALMOST NO DISPUTE AT ALL ABOUT THE MAJOR SAFETY PROVISIONS THAT BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE WILL INCLUDE IN THE BILL WHEN THE BILL IS COMPLETE. WE'VE HADWE HAD HOPED TO BE COMPLETE THIS WEEK. THAT IS NOT GOING TO BE THE CASE. I EXPECT TO HAVE A CONFERENCE REPORT ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AFTER WE RETURN THAT WILL INCLUDE ALL OF THESE SAFETY PROVISIONS -- AND MANY MORE, I SHOULD SAY, AS THE SENATOR KNOWS, I CHAIRED THE HEARINGS THAT HELPED DEVELOP THESE PROCEDURES. IFIT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO GET SOME NOTICE ABOUT WHAT THE SENATOR CHOSE TO DO TODAY. I DON'T THINK IT IS AFROAPT LEVERAGE AN EXTENSION OF 30 DAYS FOR THE CURRENT AUTHORIZATION OF THE F.A.A. WHICH IF NOT EXTENDED WOULD RESULT IN 4,000 PEOPLE BEING FURLOUGHED AT THE F.A.A. TO TRY TO LEVERAGE THAT WITH PASSING A PORTION OF THE F.A.A. REAUTHORIZATION BILL THAT WE'RE NOW GOARNTING WITH THE HOUSE AND THAT WE'RE VERY CLOSE TO CONCLUDING. IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO MY. NO ONE CARES MORE ABOUT THESE SAFETY ISSUES THAN I DO. I CAN SPEAK FOR LENGTH AND PERHAPS WILL ABOUT THE COLGAN CRASH. I UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT COCKPIT. I READ ALL THE TRANSCRIPTION. I READ ALL THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ABOUT IT. I SAT FOR HOUR AFTER HOUR AFTER HOUR AT HEARINGS. WHAT HAPPENED THERE IS AN ENORMOUS TRAGEDY. SOME OF THE THINGS THAT CAUSED IT, IN MY JUDGMENT, WILL BE REMEDIED AND CAN BE REMEDIED, AND SOME OF IT IS ALREADY REMEDIED AS A RESULT OF THE ACTION BY THE NEW F.A.A. ADMINISTRATOR. I SIMPLY WANT TO SAY TO THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA THAT I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE EXTEND FOR 30 DAYS THE CURRENT AUTHORITY OF THE F.A.A., AVOID THE FURLOUGHS THAT HIS OBJECTIONS WOULD ENTAIL. IF THERE'S ANY WAY TO QUICKLY AND IMMEDIATELY, DRAMATICALLY INJURE SAFETY IN THE SKIES IN THIS COUNTRY IT WOULD BE TO DECIDE TO HAVE THAT KIND OF FURLOUGH. WE DID ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR THE 30-DAY EXTENSION, AND I WILL DO SO AGAIN THIS MORNING AND HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THAT. I HAVE WORKED WITH MY COLLEAGUE ALL ALONG THE WAY ON THESE SAFETY ISSUES, AND I WISH PERHAPS HE WOULD HAVE CONSULTED US IN TERMS OF COMING TO THE FLOOR TODAY AT 12:45 AS A RANKING MEMBER OF A SUBCOMMITTEE AROUND SAY I'M GOING TO TAKE THIS ON MYSELF FOR WHATEVER REASONS HE DESCRIBED. A SENATOR: WILL THE SENATOR YIELD?

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  • 12:47:16 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    TO YIELD WITHOUT LOSING THE FLOOR IF YOU WANT ME TO LOSE FOR A QUESTION.

  • 12:47:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA.

  • 12:47:28 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    BILL, F.A.A. AUTHORIZATION WOULD GO THROUGH. THE FAMILIES OF FLIGHT 3407…

    BILL, F.A.A. AUTHORIZATION WOULD GO THROUGH. THE FAMILIES OF FLIGHT 3407 HAVE BEEN HERE CONSTANTLY. AS YOU KNOW, ONE OF THOSE FAMILIES IS FROM MY HOMETOWN, AND THEY'VE WAITED LONG ENOUGH. THERE'S NO REASON THAT WE NEED TO HOLD THESE SAFETY PROVISIONS HOSTAGE TO PASSING A WHOLE BILL THAT'S BOGGED DOWN IN POLITICAL, POLITICAL FIGHTS. I WOULD JUST ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO AMEND MY UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO INCLUDE THE 30-DAY REAUTHORIZATION OF F.A.A. THERE ARE NONE OF THESE PROVISIONS THAT YOU OBJECT TO. IF THERE ARE ADDITIONAL SAFETY PROVISIONS THAT SHOULD BE IN THE FINAL BILL, WE CAN DO THAT. BUT NOTHING IN MY REQUEST COMPROMISES WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH. AND I WOULD LIKE TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO AMEND MY U.C. TO CALL UP AND PASS H.R. 5611.

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  • 12:48:23 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I OBJECT. MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 12:48:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 12:48:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 12:48:30 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 12:51:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 12:51:54 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    PRESIDENT, LET ME WITHDRAW THAT REQUEST.

  • 12:51:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR MAY WITHDRAW HIS REQUEST.

  • 12:52:07 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    PRESIDENT, I MAKE A POINT OF ORDER THAT A QUORUM IS NOT PRESENT.

  • 12:52:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 12:52:24 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 12:52:28 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    I OBJECT. QUORUM CALL:

  • 12:54:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE VACATED.

  • 12:54:14 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE VACATED.

  • 12:54:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:54:20 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 12:57:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 12:57:13 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT, MADAM PRESIDENT. I WANT TO ASSURE THE…

    RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT, MADAM PRESIDENT. I WANT TO ASSURE THE SENATOR THAT I AM IN COMPLETE SUPPORT NOT ONLY OF THE 30-DAY EXTENSION, BUT OF THE BILL THAT YOU AND I PASSED OUT OF THE SENATE. AND BELIEVE ME, I WAS HERE FOR THAT AND VERY MUCH SUPPORT IT. AND IF YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD ACCEPT IT THE WAY WE PASSED IT THROUGH THE SENATE, IT WOULD BE DONE TODAY. BUT BECAUSE OF THIS HOLDUP AND WHAT I CONSIDER SAFETY PROVISIONS BEING HELD UP UNNECESSARILY FOR POLITICAL REASONS, I OBJECT.

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  • 12:57:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE OBJECTION IS HEARD. THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 12:57:49 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    LET ME MAKE A POINT VERY CLEARLY. A NUMBER OF THE PROVISIONS DEALING WITH…

    LET ME MAKE A POINT VERY CLEARLY. A NUMBER OF THE PROVISIONS DEALING WITH SAFETY THAT RELATE TO THE COLGAN AIR CRASH ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED ALREADY BY THE F.A.A. LET ME MAKE THAT POINT, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, IN ORDER TO SUCCESSFULLY DO THE THINGS WE REALLY NEED TO DO TO PROMOTE AVIATION SAFETY, WE NEED TO GET THE BILL PASSED THAT PROMOTES MODERNIZATION OF THE AIR TRAFFIC SYSTEM. THAT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. AND WE ARE LOSING GROUND ON THOSE ISSUES. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO MOVE AIRPLANES AROUND THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD WITH G.P.S. CAPABILITY. IT ALLOWS THEM TO FLY MORE DIRECT ROUTES, MUCH GREATER MARGIN OF SAFETY FOR PASSENGERS. THE MODERNIZATION OF THE SYSTEM IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. WE'VE WORKED LONG AND HARD ON THAT. THIS LEGISLATION, THE COMPREHENSIVE BILL INCLUDES AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL MODERNIZATION, SAFETY PROVISIONS AND SO MANY OTHER THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT. AND MY COLLEAGUE WAS THE RANKING MEMBER ON THE SUBCOMMITTEE THAT HELPED PRODUCE THIS BILL, AND HE KNOWS AND I KNOW WE HAVE TO HAVE THE 30-DAY EXTENSION. THAT HAS TO BE DONE. AND IT WILL BE DONE THIS WEEK. I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT MY COLLEAGUE WILL GO HOME AND DECIDE YOU KNOW WHAT? I DON'T CARE WHO'S LAID OFF. I'LL TELL YOU HOW TO QUICKLY DIMINISH SAFETY IN THE SKIES. THAT'S TO DO THAT, BEHAVE LIKE THAT. THAT IS A NONSTARTER, IN MY JUDGMENT. IT'S ALSO THE CASE THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE SOMEBODY COME TO THE FLOOR WITHOUT CONSULTATION, PULL THIS PROVISION OR THE NEXT PROVISION OUT OF THESE BILLS AND SAY, BY THE WAY, I WANT UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO GET THESE DONE. THAT'S NOT SERIOUS LEGISLATING. IT JUST ISN'T. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT. IT'S TIME FOR US TO START WORKING TOGETHER. THIS PLACE IS PRETTY DYSFUNCTIONAL THESE DAYS, AND THIS IS EXHIBIT "A" ON WHY IT IS DYSFUNCTIONAL. MY HOPE IS OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS WE CAN COME TOGETHER TO FIX SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE SENATE. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 12:59:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • 12:59:48 PM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE…

    PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED OF S. 3462, A BILL TO PROVIDE SUBPOENA POWER TO THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON THE BRITISH PETROLEUM OIL SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AND THAT THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO ITS CONSIDERATION. THAT THE BILL BE READ THREE TIMES, PASSED, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE, THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE MEASURE APPEAR AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE IN THE RECORD AS IF READ WITHOUT FURTHER INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE.

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  • 01:00:18 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    MADAM PRESIDENT, ON BEHALF OF OTHER MEMBERS --

  • 01:00:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: I'M SORRY. IS THERE AN OBJECTION?

  • 01:00:24 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 01:00:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 01:00:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • 01:00:34 PM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 01:01:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION?

  • 01:01:06 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    OF OTHER MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE, I OBJECT.

  • 01:01:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 01:01:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • 01:01:16 PM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    WE'RE WITNESSING EXHIBIT "B" TO SENATOR DORGAN'S EXHIBIT "A" ABOUT WHAT…

    WE'RE WITNESSING EXHIBIT "B" TO SENATOR DORGAN'S EXHIBIT "A" ABOUT WHAT THE PROBLEMS ARE IN THIS CHAMBER. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IS SO OBJECTIONABLE. IN THE HOUSE, 169 REPUBLICANS VOTED IN FAVOR OF GIVING THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION SUBPOENA POWER. THEY UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS, BECAUSE THIS COMMISSION BEGINS THEIR INVESTIGATION IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. THIS SHOULD NOT BE A PARTISAN ISSUE. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE ARE TURNING THIS INTO A PARTISAN ISSUE. I FIND IT UNBELIEVABLE THAT AFTER EVERYTHING, THE PEOPLE OF THE GULF REGION HAVE ENDURED -- THAT AFTER EVERYTHING THE PEOPLE OF THE GULF REGION HAVE ENDURED AND THIS COUNTRY HAS WITNESSED FOR OVER TWO MONTHS NOW, THAT ANYONE IS STILL STANDING WITH THE OIL COMPANY THAT CAUSED THIS DISASTER INSTEAD OF THE VICTIMS WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM IT. WE RECENTLY LEARNED THAT B.P., WHILE IT WAS PUBLICLY TELLING US THAT THE DEEPWATER HORIZON RIG WAS LEAKING AN ESTIMATED 5,000 BARRELS OF OIL A DAY, INTERNAL B.P. DOCUMENTS SHOWED THAT IN A WORST-CASE SCENARIO, UP TO 100,000 BARRELS OF OIL COULD ACTUALLY LEAK INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. WHAT THAT SAYS TO ME IS THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WHEN WE ARE INVESTIGATING THIS OIL SPILL SPILL, WHETHER IT BE WITH EMPLOYEES OF B.P. OR ANYONE ELSE ELSE, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE BEING STRAIGHT WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THAT'S WHAT SUBPOENA POWER WOULD DO. IF WE WANT TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF WHAT HAPPENED SO THAT WE CAN STOP IT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN, THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION NEEDS THE AUTHORITY TO COMPEL PEOPLE TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTS AND TESTIFY UNDER OATH. THE FULL DEVASTATION OF THIS CATASTROPHIC SPILL IS FAR FROM BEING KNOWN, BUT SURELY WE KNOW NOW THAT IT WILL BE ONE OF "THE" WORST IF NOT "THE" WORST ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS IN AMERICAN HISTORY. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION NEEDS SUBPOENA POWER TO GET THE JOB DONE FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PEOPLE. THE HOUSE MOVED QUICKLY TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION. THE SENATE SHOULD NOW PASS THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION ALSO. AND I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY ANYONE IS OBJECTING TO THIS. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:03:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 01:03:58 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    PRESIDENT, I WANT TO RISE IN SUPPORT OF WHAT MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUE…

    PRESIDENT, I WANT TO RISE IN SUPPORT OF WHAT MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUE FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE IS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH HERE WHICH IS SIMPLY TO GIVE THE OIL SPILL COMMISSION THE SUBPOENA POWER IT NEEDS TO BRING THOSE BEFORE IT WHO MIGHT BE RET TONIGHT IS -- WHOMIGHT BE RET TONIGHT RETICENT TO COME FORWARD AND BE ABLE TO DO ITS JOB. WHAT WE'VE SEEN ON THIS FLOOR, IS A WHOLE PROCESS, I HOPE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND, THAT THIS IS A CLEAR CONTRAST BETWEEN WHO STANDS ON YOUR SIDE AND WHO STANDS ON THE SIDE OF SPECIAL INTERESTS. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT MEMBERS OF THIS CHAMBER FIND IT DIFFICULT WHEN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IN A NEAR UNANIMOUS VOTE, COULD SAY THAT THE SUBPOENA POWERS NECESSARY FOR THE COMMISSION TO BE ABLE TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF WHAT HAPPENED COULD PASS UNANIMOUSLY THERE -- SAVE FOR ONE VOTE -- AND YET CANNOT EVEN PROCEED HERE. CANNOT EVEN PROCEED HERE. THIS ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE. IT'S COMMON SENSE TO MOST AMERICANS. WE NEED TO FULLY LEARN THE LESSONS OF THIS DISASTER WITH A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION, NOT PROTECT OIL COMPANIES FROM HAVING THEIR NEGLIGENCE EXPOSED. WE NEED TO GET ANSWERS FROM B.P. AND TRANSOCEAN AND HALLIBURTON AND EVERYONE ELSE, INCLUDING THE FEDERAL AGENCIES, NOT GIVE APOLOGIES TO THEM, AS I HAVE SEEN REPUBLICANS SUGGEST THAT WE SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO B.P. FOR MAKING SURE THAT THE RESIDENTS OF THE GULF REGION ARE HELD WHOLE. WE NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE COMMISSION NEEDS SUBPOENA POWER TO GET THE TRUTH. SO WHO ARE YOU PROTECTING? WHAT ARE WE HIDING HERE? IN ADDITION TO WITHHOLDING INFORMATION AND BLOCKING DATA COLLECTION, B.P. HAS SEEMINGLY MISREPRESENTED THE MAGNITUDE OF THE SPILL. WE NEED THE TRUTH. AND LET'S -- LET'S JUST GO THROUGH A LITTLE BIT OF REMEMBERING, JUST A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, HOW THIS CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WERE DECEIVED. IT'S WHY YOU NEED SUBPOENA POWER, TO GET TO THE TRUTH, BRING PEOPLE UNDER OATH. WE WERE TOLD AFTER THE DEEPWATER HORIZON BURST INTO FLAMES AND THEN SUNK INTO THE OCEAN FLOOR THERE WAS NO SPILL. ANYBODY REMEMBER THAT? CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? THE NEXT DAY, THEY ESTIMATED THAT AN ABSURDLY LOW FLOW RATE OF A THOUSAND BARRELS PER DAY WAS TAKING PLACE. THEN TO MAY 20, B.P. SAID THEY WERE SIPHONING OFF 5,000 BARRELS OF OIL A DAY FROM WHAT THEY CLAIMED WAS A 5,000-BARREL-A-DAY SPILL, MEANING THAT THEY WERE CAPTURING ALL OF IT. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? THEN VIDEO FEED RELEASEED UNDER PRESSURE FROM CONGRESS ON MAY 21 SHOWED A VERY DIFFERENT STORY, WITH A HEAVY FLOW OF OIL STILL SPILLING FROM THE WELL. IN RESPONSE, ONLY AFTER THAT PRESSURE AND THAT VIDEO FEED COULD BE MEASURED, THE COMPANY ADJUSTED THEIR SIPHON ESTIMATE DOWN FROM 5,000 TO 2 2RBGS00 -- TO 2,200 BARRELS A DAY TO EXPLAIN WHY OIL WAS STILL FLOWING. WE NOW KNOW THAT WHAT THE VIDEO ACTUALLY SHOWED WAS A MUCH, MUCH HEAVIER FLOW RATE. ONLY RECENTLY HAVE EXPERTS BEGUN TO HAVE ACCESS TO SOME OF THE DATA THEY NEED TO MAKE MORE CREDIBLE ESTIMATES. ON JUNE 15, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALLY ESTIMATED THAT THE FLOW MAY BE AS HIGH AS 60,000 BARRELS A DAY. , WHICH MEANS THAT AN ESTIMATED 3 MILLION BARRELS HAVE SPILLED SO FAR. 3 MILLION BARRELS. THAT WOULD AMOUNT TO MORE THAN 13 EXXON VERY VALDEZ SPILLS THAT TOOK PLACE IN ALASKA. THE POINT OF ALL THIS IS THAT WE NEED THE TRUTH. THAT'S WHAT SENATOR SHAHEEN'S TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH, HAVE THE SUBPOENA POWER FOR THE COMMISSION SO THAT THEY CAN BRING ALL THE PARTIES THEY NEED TO MAKE SURE WE GET TO THE TRUTH. WE NEED SOMEONE TO SWEAR UNDER OATH THAT THEY ARE TELLING US, IN FACT, THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW MUCH OIL IS SPILLING EVERY DAY INTO THE GULF. AND COMMON SENSE AND GOOD JUDGMENT DEMANDS THAT WE PASS THE LEGISLATION AND MOVE QUICKLY TO GET TO THAT TRUTH. I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHEN I HEAR SO MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES TALK ABOUT TRUTH AND HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY THAT YOU CAN OPPOSE THE VERY EFFORT TO GIVE THE SUBPOENA POWERS THAT GETS US THERE. IT'S A SAD DAY. NOW, WHILE I HAVE THE FLOOR, LET ME BRIEFLY, MADAM PRESIDENT, SAY SOMETHING GOOD DID HAPPEN TODAY AS IT RELATES TO THIS PROCESS AND THAT IS I WANT TO THANK SENATOR BOXER, THE CHAIR OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE, SENATOR LAUTENBERG, AND THE VERY SUPPORTIVE MEMBERS OF THAT COMMITTEE FOR PASSING MY BIG OIL BAILOUT PREVENTION BILL OUT OF THE COMMITTEE TODAY SO WE CAN GET AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE ON THE FLOOR TO HOLD BIG OIL FULLY LIABLE FOR THE ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE THEY CAUSE. FRANKLY, IT'S TIME WE HAVE A VOTE. AFTER SO MANY REPUBLICAN OBJECTIONS TO THIS COMMONSENSE LEGISLATION, THE BILL THAT THE COMMITTEE PASSED IS SIMPLE AND COMMONSENSE. IT ASSERTS THAT WE WANT TO PROTECT THOSE FAMILIES, THOSE TAXPAYERS, AND ALL OF US AS TAXPAYERS, NOT OIL COMPANY PROFITS. IT ASSERTS THAT OIL COMPANIES SHOULD BEAR THE BURDEN OF THE ECONOMIC DAMAGES THAT THEIR SPILL CAUSES, NOT TAXPAYERS. AS WE SEE THE IMAGES AND READ THE STORIES FROM THE GULF COAST NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, IT COULD NOT BE CLEARER THAT COASTAL FAMILIES AND TAXPAYERS ARE THE ONES WHO NEED PROTECTION, NOT OIL COMPANIES. WITH ACTION LIKE THIS ONE OF THE COMMITTEE TODAY, WE HAVE A LOT OF MOMENTUM GOING RIGHT NOW. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE SHOWN CLEARLY THEY WANT OIL COMPANIES HELD FULLY ACCOUNTABLE AND WE ARE WORKING TO DO JUST THAT. AND I THINK WE ARE DEVELOPING A HEAD OF STEAM. IT SEEMS LIKE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO CONSISTENTLY WORK TO PROTECT OIL COMPANIES INSTEAD OF COASTAL FAMILIES RIGHT NOW ARE THE OIL COMPANIES THEMSELVES AND SOME COLLEAGUES WHO SEEM TO, NO MATTER WHAT, OPPOSE, OPPOSE, OPPOSE EITHER HAVING SUBPOENA POWERS TO GET TO THE TRUTH OR LIFTING THE LIABILITY CAP SO THAT THE OIL INDUSTRY WILL BE RESPONSIBLE. FOUR TIMES MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES HAVE BLOCKED THE BIG OIL PREVENTION ACT FROM PASSING QUICKLY BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR EVEN THOUGH THERE IS A FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW. ALL BUT ONE IN THE COMMITTEE TODAY VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE POISON PILL AMENDMENT THAT WOULD HAVE GUTTED THE BILL AND THEY HAVE BLOCKED, AS I'VE SAID, MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE'S ATTEMPTS ON THE FLOOR TO GIVE THE COMMISSION ALL THE TOOLS NECESSARY TO DO A FULL INVESTIGATION. SO I SAY TO THEM, IF THEY CONTINUE TO STAND IN THE WAY OF OUR EFFORTS TO HOLD OIL COMPANIES FULLY ACCOUNTABLE, THEY'RE GOING TO GET RUN OVER BY PUBLIC OPINION. AND SO I HOPE THAT NOW THAT THE COMMITTEE HAS ACTED, THAT WE CAN USE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO FINALLY HOLD BIG OIL ACCOUNTABLE ACCOUNTABLE, AND IN DOING SO, TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE INDUSTRY THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL, THAT YOU CANNOT CUT THE CORNERS, THAT YOU CAN'T GO CHEAP AS YOU DRILL, TO THE EXTENT THAT WE'RE GOING TO ALLOW DRILLING TO TAKE PLACE SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER WE HAVE IN THE GULF TODAY, SO THAT WE DON'T LOSE, BY THE WAY, 11 LIVES LIKE WE LOST ON THAT DAY ON THAT RIG. SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE A GENERATION FACING ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION. THAT'S WHAT'S AT STAKE HERE. THAT'S WHAT'S AT STAKE HERE. AND IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE TO ME THAT WE CANNOT GET OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO JOIN US IN THIS EFFORT. WITH THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:12:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

  • 01:12:38 PM

    MR. BROWN

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT LEGISLATION I HAVE…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT LEGISLATION I HAVE INTRODUCED TODAY IN THE SENATE IN THE NAME OF 9 -- AND THE NAME OF THE BILL IS THE "FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE RELIEF OF OUR STATES ACT OF 2010." AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, AS YOU KNOW OVER THE PAST WEEK, THE SENATE HAS VIGOROUSLY DEBATED THREE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE EXTENDERS BILL. WE'LL BE DOING A VERSION OF IT AGAIN TODAY. IT'S TRUE THAT EACH OF THESE PACKAGES CONTAINED EXTENSIONS OF PROGRAMS IMPORTANT TO ALL OF OUR CONSTITUENTS, ESPECIALLY IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, SUCH AS EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, WHICH I KNOW WE'RE TRYING TO WORK ON AGAIN TODAY, INCREASED FMAP REIMBURSEMENTS, AND FUNDING FOR SUMMER JOBS FOR THE YOUTH THROUGHOUT AMERICA. WHAT IS ALSO TRUE IS EACH OF THESE PACKAGES CONTAIN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF TAX INCREASES FOR BUSINESSES AND EACH ADDED BILLIONS TO OUR ALREADY $13 TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT, AND RISING, FOR WHICH OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS AND GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN WILL HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME TO PAY BACK. AND THEY WILL HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PAY IT BACK. AND A LOT OF WHAT I'M PROPOSING TODAY IN THIS BILL AND OTHER BILLS THAT WE WILL PROBABLY BE DISCUSSING TODAY IS DO WE USE OUR -- OUR BANK ACCOUNT OR DO WE PUT IT ON THE CREDIT CARD. THAT'S ALL WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. WE'RE NOT TALK BEING ABOUTING ABOUT THE VIABILITY OF THESE PROPOSALS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OF COURSE WE WANT TO HELP WITH SUMMER JOBS, OF COURSE WE WANT TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE HURTING THROUGH UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, OF COURSE WE HAVE TO HAVE FMAP REIMBURSEMENT TO HAVE THE TO HELP THE STRUGGLING STATES. BUT DO WE USE OUR CHECKING ACCOUNT OR THE CREDIT CARD? I'M IN FAVOR OF USING THE CHECKING ACCOUNT BY USE BE UNALLOCATED STIMULUS -- USING UNALLOCATED STIMULUS DOLLARS, BY USING OTHER MEANS TO ARE IN THE SO-CALLED SLUSH FUNDS, THAT HAVEN'T BEEN USED IN YEARS AND ARE STILL AVAILABLE, OR JUST ARE CUTTING ACROSS THE BOARD IN VARIOUS ENTITIES TO COME UP WITH THE MONEY WE NEED TO FUND THESE PROGRAMS. AND AS I SAID,NO ONE'S DISPUTING THE -- AS I SAID, NO ONE'S DISPUTING THE VALUE OF THESE VERY IMPORTANT PROGRAMS. ESPECIAL IN HIGH HOME STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS -- ESPECIALLY IN MY HOME STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS BUT ALSO THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. OUR ECONOMY HAS SHOWN SIGNS OF SLOWLY RECOVERING AND PEOPLE ARE OUT OF WORK, CERTAINLY THEY NEED SOME HELP TO SEARCH FOR NEW EMPLOYMENT, AND, AS I SAID, STATES NEED HELP IN PROVIDING FUNDING FOR SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS. BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO HAVE TOUGH CHOICES AND WE ALSO NEED TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS. AND IT'S CLEAR THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS TO START PAYING FOR THE INITIATIVES AND START EXERCISING THE TYPE OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY THAT EACH AND EVERY CITIZEN IN MASSACHUSETTS AND IN AMERICA IS ALREADY DOING, THEY'RE LOOKING TO US FOR GUIDANCE, FOR -- FOR -- TO SHOW A BETTER WAY, THEY'RE CHALLENGING TO US DO IT BETTER, TO LOOK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND PAY FOR THINGS WITH THE CHECKING ACCOUNT, NOT THE CREDIT CARD. DO NOT CONTINUE IT TO ADD ON TO THE DEBT, CONTINUOUSLY ADDING ON TO THE DEBT, AS EVIDENCED BY WHAT THE BANKING CHAIRMAN SITTING IN THE CENTER OF THE -- OF THE SENATE DID. I MEAN, THEY -- THEY THOUGHT ABOUT IT A LITTLE BETTER. THEY FOUND A WAY TO PAY FOR THE FINANCIAL REFORM BILL. THEY DID BETTER. THEY THOUGHT OUTSIDE THE BOX. WHY CAN'T WE DO THE SAME THING? SO TODAY I INTRODUCE THE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE RELIEF FOR OUR STATES ACT OF 2010, AND IT PROVIDES AN EXTENSION OF EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS THROUGH NOVEMBER 30 OF 2010. IT ALSO INCLUDES AN EXTENSION OF ENHANCED FMAP REIMBURSEMENTS FOR STATES BUT ALSO AS HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED INCLUDES A GRADUAL DRAWDOWN OF THE ENHANCED FUNDING SO THAT -- BECAUSE WE NEED TO SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE TO THE STATE GOVERNMENTS THAT THEY MUST GET THEIR OWN FISCAL HOUSES IN ORDER AND THAT THEY CAN'T ALWAYS COME TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WITH A CAN SAYING, "PLEASE HELP US." SO WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT WE DO THE NECESSARY REFORMS TO ENSURE THAT THE -- THEIR FUTURE BUDGETARY VIABILITY IS REAL AND SO IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S. AND LASTLY, IT PROVIDES IMPORTANT -- THIS PROPOSAL THAT I'M MAKING PROVIDES IMPORTANT SUMMER JOBS -- OBVIOUSLY SUMMER IS JUST STARTING -- FOR THE YOUTH IN OUR CITIES AND TOWNS. MADAM PRESIDENT, THE COST OF EXTENDING THESE PROGRAMS IS FULLY PAID FOR THROUGH THE RESCISSION OF UNOBLIGATED FEDERAL FUNDS, INCLUDING STIMULUS FUNDING, AS WELL AS MAKING CUTS IN OTHER AREAS. IN FACT, MY LEGISLATION REDUCES THE DEFICIT. ALL OF THIS IS ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT RAISING ON BUSINESSES AT A TIME WHEN THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT OR ON -- WHEN OUR ECONOMY IS JUST ABOUT TO RECOVERING, PUTTING MORE AND MORE BURDENS ON BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS IN THE MIDDLE OF A TWO-YEAR RECESSION. SOME OF THESE PAID-FORS ARE EVEN PROVISIONS THAT THE MAJORITY PARTY HAS SUPPORTED IN PREVIOUS BILLS. MY LEGISLATION IS AN ATTEMPT TO COMPROMISE, LISTENING TO THE CONCERNS OF MANY, MANY AMERICANS THAT HAVE CALLED FOR US TO EXTEND THESE PROGRAMS. BUT ALSO TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION NOT BURDENING -- NOT BURDENING FUTURE GENERATIONS MANY SOME OF THEM ARE SITTING RIGHT HERE. AND IT WILL ALLOW US TO PROVIDE FOR THE NEEDS OF OUR CITIZENS WITHOUT PUTTING MORE DEBT ON THE CREDIT CARD. ONCE AGAIN, IT'S THE CHECKING ACCOUNT VERSUS THE CREDIT CARD. AND COMMENDING, YOU KNOW, SENATOR DODD FOR WHAT THEY DID WITH THE BILL THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE DISCUSSING NEXT WEEK IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE ABOUT THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX AND FINDING A WAY TO PAY FOR A LOT OF THESE PROGRAMS THAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO. IF WE USE THESE COMMONSENSE STEPS, LIKE IF WE CAN GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER, WEEK CONTINUE TO PUT OUR COUNTRY ON THE PATH OF RECOVERY. AS YOU KNOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR YOU, AND EVERYONE IN THIS CHAMBER, AND I'VE ONLY BEEN IN WASHINGTON A LITTLE OVER FIVE MONTHS NOW. AND I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING YOU AND OTHERS -- IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYBODY IS FOLLOWING MY VOTING RECORD. IT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF IN THAT I'VE WORKED TO WORK ACROSS PARTY LINES, TO SOLVE PROBLEMS. BUT THE THING THAT'S A PROBLEM IS, IT NEEDS TO BE A TWO-WAY STREET. BIPARTISANSHIP ISN'T JUST FROM THE NEW SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS. IT NEEDS TO BE WITH THE MAJORITY PARTY LOOKING OUTSIDE THE BOX, LIKE SENATOR DODD AND HIS TEAM DID, TO FIND A REALISTIC SOLUTION TO PAY FOR A LOT OF THESE THINGS THAT THE PEOPLE ARE REQUESTING, THEY EXPECT, BUT THEY ALSO EXPECT US TO USE FISCAL SANITY AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY TO DO OUR VERY, VERY BEST TO JUST THE GET GET THE JOB DONE. IT IS NOT ONLY GOOD FOR MASSACHUSETTS, IT IS GOOD FOR THIS NAIFLTION I APPRECIATE YOUR TIME, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:19:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS NOT FRR ILLINOIS.

  • 01:19:23 PM

    MR. DODD

    COLLEAGUE SPEAKS -- I WILL YIELD TO HIM RIGHT AWAY.

  • 01:19:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 01:19:29 PM

    MR. DODD

    LET ME COMMEND MY NEIGHBOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS FOR HIS COMMENTS, WITHOUT…

    LET ME COMMEND MY NEIGHBOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS FOR HIS COMMENTS, WITHOUT GETTING INTO THE DETAIL OF THIS BILL THAT HE'S OFFERED. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE GENERAL THRUST OF WHAT HE'S EXPRESSING. AND AS HE IS A NEWLY ARIFLING MEMBER OF THIS BODY AND MAY BE HERE FOR MANY, MANY YEARS -- I AM WRAPPING UP THREE DECADE OF SERVICE HERE. BUT I HOPE PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. PEOPLE COME TO THE CHAMBER, I THINK -- THEY COME TO THIS INSTITUTION WITH THE IDEA OF GETTING THINGS DONE FOR OUR COUNTRY. THAT'S SO CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. AND WHAT HE'S SUGGESTED, BUT I'VE HEARD OTHERS TALK ABOUT TODAY, IS MAKING THIS INSTITUTION FUNCTIONAL SO THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY COME TO TERMS. IT IS NOT EASY. WE REPRESENT DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCIES AND DIFFERENT INTERESTS. BUT IF THE SPIRIT EXPRESSED BY THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS IN HIS BRIEF REMARKS HE MADE THIS MORNING CAN CARRY FORWARD IN ALL OF THE DEBATES AND DISCUSSIONS WE HAVE, WE'LL FIND A LOT MOVE SOLUTIONS TO OUR DISCUSSIONS. I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU. I YIELD BACK THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:20:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 01:20:37 PM

    MR. BURRIS

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I'D LIKE TO THANK THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I'D LIKE TO THANK THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT, WHO HAS CERTAINLY BEEN AN INSPIRATION TO ME BEING IN THIS BODY AND AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US. I WILL BE LEAVING WITH YOU, ALTHOUGH I DIDN'T COME WITH YOU. BUT YOU'VE.

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  • 01:20:55 PM

    MR. BENNET

    TO ALL OF US, SENATOR ---- --

  • 01:21:01 PM

    MR. BURRIS

    NOT AT ALL. MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 01:26:59 PM

    MR. DODD

    NOT AT ALL. MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 01:27:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 01:27:03 PM

    MR. DODD

    MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME ALSO -- I SHOULD HAVE NOTED THAT I'LL BE LEAVING…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME ALSO -- I SHOULD HAVE NOTED THAT I'LL BE LEAVING WITH MY FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE FROM ILLINOIS AS WELL. HE'S BEEN A WONDERFUL ADDITION IN THIS INSTITUTION. HE IS DEAN A VERY FINE JOB REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS -- HE'S DONE A VERY FINE JOB REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS. I REGRET WE DIDN'T GET TO SERVE MORE YEARS TOGETHER AND THAT YOU DIDN'T GET TO CHANCE TO COME HERE EARLIER. YOU'VE MADE A GOOD CONTRIBUTION IN THE SHORT TIME YOU'VE BEEN HERE. HAD YOU BEEN HERE LONGER, I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE MADE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION OVER THE YEARS. SO THANK YOU FOR THE TIME YOU'VE SERVED. AND THE MANNER IN WHICH YOU'VE SERVED AS WELL. MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE THIS AFTERNOON TO SPEND A FEW MINUTES TO TALK ABOUT A MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION FACING THIS BODY AND MORE IMPORTANTLY OUR COUNTRY, AND THAT IS THE SO-CALLED WALL STREET REFORM BILL. IN FACT, THE PRESIDING OFFICER HAS HAD A DEEP INTEREST IN THIS SUBJECT MATTER IN HER PREVIOUS LIFE ACTUALLY WORKED IN THE AREA OF FINANCIAL SERVICES, SO SHE NOT ONLY BRINGS AN INTEREST FROM A STATE PERSPECTIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA, ONE OF THE FINE STATES THAT HAS A SIGNIFICANT INVOLVEMENT IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES OF OUR COUNTRY, BUT HAS ALSO A KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THESE INSTITUTIONS AND HOW THEY WORK AND HOW THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM WORKS. SO I AM VERY GRATEFUL TO HER FOR HER THOUGHTS AND SUGGESTIONS AS WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS RATHER LONG JOURNEY IN THE LAST YEARS AND THE ECONOMIC CRISIS THAT BEFELL OUR NATION MOST DRAMATICALLY IN THE FALL OF 2008. I THINK ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES HERE KNOW WHAT'S AT STAKE. I DON'T NEED TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. WE KNOW IT AND MORE IMPORTANTLY AND MORE POIGNANTLY OUR CONSTITUENTS KNOW IT BECAUSE THEY'RE LIVING IT. ALL OF US HAVE JOBS HERE, AND WE'RE FAIRLY WELL-COMPENSATED, TO PUT IT MILDLY. BY ANY STANDARD, WE'VE GOOD HEALTH CARE, WE OWN -- HAVE HOMES OR ARE NOT WORRIED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT WE CAN AFFORD THE RENT FOR THE PLACE WE LIVE IN, WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. AND IN SOME WAYS WE'RE INSULATED FROM THE DAY-TO-DAY BEING A NIECE THAT OUR FELLOW -- AGONIES THAT OUR FELLOW CITIZENS GO THROUGH OR HAVE GONE THROUGH OVER THESE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. BUT I HAVE A DEEP APPRECIATION THAT MY COLLEAGUES, DESPITE NOT PERSONALLY GOING THROUGH THESE TERRIBLE TIMES AS THEY ARE -- AS THEIR STATES ARE, UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ISSUE. AND I AM DEEPLY GRATEFUL TO EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF THIS CHAMBER OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS AND ALMOST EVERYONE IN THIS CHAMBER HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS DEBATE AND DISCUSSION TO ONE DEGREE OR ANOTHER. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, WE'VE COME AS FAR AS WE HAVE IN THIS BILL BECAUSE THERE IS THAT INTEREST. AND BECAUSE THERE IS THAT CONCERN THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS THE ARCHITECTURE, THE FINANCIAL STRUCTURES OF OUR NATION, SO AS TO AVOID THE KIND OF PROBLEMS WE'VE SEEN OUR NATION GO THROUGH OVER THESE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. AND AGAIN THE NUMBERS ARE -- HAVE BEEN REPEATED SO OFTEN, I AM ALMOST HESITANT TO REPEAT THEM AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON. CERTAINLY WE'LL KNOW BETTER TOMORROW, I GUESS THE UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS WILL COME OUT AGAIN. BUT WELL OVER 8.5 MILLION JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST AND FRANKLY, MADAM PRESIDENT, I THINK THAT NUMBER IS AN UNDERESTIMATION OF WHAT'S HAPPENING. SOME PEOPLE HAVE FOUND PART-TIME WORK FALLING BACK IN AND OUT OF T BUT THE NUMBER 8.4 MAGIC IS USED -- BUT THE NUMBER 8.4 MILLION SUED. IT IS NO LESS THAN THAT. SELL OF OUR FELLOW -- SEVERAL ASH FELL LEE AMERICANS HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES. IT IS SO BRIEF TO CITE THE NUMBER. BUT IMAGINING, AS WE MUST, THAT MOMENT WHEN DESPITE ALL OF YOUR EFFORTS THAT DREAM HOUSE THAT YOU'VE ACQUIRED FOR YOUR FAMILY, BECAUSE OF THE LOST JOB, THE LOST RETIREMENT, THE CLOSED BUSINESS, ALL OF A SUDDEN THAT WHICH YOU HOPED AND DREAMED FOR THAT HAS BROUGHT STABILITY TO YOUR FAMILY, A GREAT SENSE OF JOY AND HOPE, DREAMS FULFILLED, IS ALL OF A SUDDEN CLOSED. FORECLOSED. IT'S LOST. IMAGINE COMING HOME THAT NIGHT WHEN ALL THE EFFORTS TO HOLD ON TO THAT HOME ARE GONE, AND FACING YOUR FAMILY AND TELLING THEM THAT THE HOUSE YOU'VE LIVED IN, WHERE YOU PLAYED, YOU'VE EATEN, YOU'VE DREAMT, YOU'VE LAUGHED, YOU'VE CRIED, YOU'VE DONE ALL THE THINGS THAT THAT BUILDING ENSHRINES IN THE AMERICAN FAMILY IS NO LONGER YOURS. AND FOR 7 MILLION OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS, THAT NIGHT HAS HAPPENED. AND MANY MORE FACE THE PROSPECT OF THAT OCCURRING IN THE MONTHS AHEAD, DESPITE THE EFFORT TO GET OUR ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. RETIREMENT INCOMES, OF COURSE, HAVE VANISHED IN A FLASH. WATCHING THE MARKETS DECLINE, LITERALLY YEARS OF BUILDING UP SECURITY FOR THOSE RETIREMENT YEARS TO CONTRIBUTE TO A CHILD'S HIGHER EDUCATION COSTS, PWHRUPBGT THE COST -- BLUNTING THE COST OF A HEALTH TRAGEDY THAT HITS YOUR FAMILY, ALL OF THOSE RAINY DAYS THAT RETIREMENT OR SAVINGS ACCOUNTS CAN PROVIDE FOR TO WEATHER THOSE STORMS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED. SO THERE'S BEEN A SHOCKING LOSS OF WEALTH IN OUR NATION AS WELL. TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE GONE. INCOMES THAT WILL NEVER BE MADE UP. I MENTIONED LOST HOME VALUES. EVEN IF YOU HELD ON TO YOUR HOME, BEEN ABLE TO DO SO, HOME VALUES ON AVERAGE HAVE DECLINED ABOUT 30%. SO THAT EQUITY THAT YOU MIGHT BUILD UP FOR THAT DREAM HOUSE YOU'VE HAD AND RAISED YOUR FAMILY IN OVER THE LAST 10, 15, 20 YEARS, YOU PAID ONE PRICE FOR IT MAYBE 20 YEARS AGO AND HAD THE FULL EXPECTATION THAT THAT PROPERTY VALUE, WHILE IT MAY NOT SKYROCKET, WOULD INCREASE IN VALUE OVER THE YEARS. AND SO AS YOU BECAME THAT EMPTY NESTER, AS YOUR KIDS WENT ON TO COLLEGE, MARRIAGE OR JOBS, THAT YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO SELL THAT HOME TO ANOTHER HOPEFUL BUYER AND COME OUT OF IT WITH SOME EQUITY THAT WOULD THEN PROVIDE FOR THE SECURITY THAT YOU NEED AND CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR FAMILY'S WELL-BEING, HAVE BEEN TOTALLY GONE IN MOST CASES EVEN IF YOU HELD ON TO YOUR HOME. MADAM PRESIDENT, THE BILL THAT I BRIEFLY WANT TO TALK ABOUT DOESN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENED. I'D LOVE TO TELL YOU THAT IF WE PASS THIS BILL THAT I COULD GET YOUR JOB BACK. PASSING THIS FINANCIAL REFORM BILL WOULD GIVE YOU YOUR JOB BACK. I'D LOVE TO BE ABLE TO TELL YOU THAT IF WE PASS THIS BILL, YOU'LL GET YOUR HOME BACK OR THAT SOMEHOW I'D BE ABLE TO MAGICALLY REPLENISH THAT RETIREMENT ACCOUNT OR SAVINGS ACCOUNT. THIS BILL DOESN'T DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS. ALL THIS BILL DOES, MADAM PRESIDENT, IS TO SAY THAT WHEN THE NEXT CRISIS COMES -- AND SURELY IT WILL. AS NIGHT FOLLOWS DAWN, AS TOMORROW FOLLOWS TODAY, WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER ECONOMIC CRISIS. I'VE NEVER SUGGESTED THIS BILL WAS GOING TO STOP THAT. WHAT I HOPE WE'RE ABLE TO DO WITH THIS BILL IS THAT WE CAN MINIMIZE THE EFFECTS OF THAT CRISIS WHEN IT OCCURS SO THAT IT DOES NOT METASTASIZE -- AND THAT MAY BE THE BEST WORD TO USE IN THIS CASE, MUCH AS A CANCER DOES. WHEN AN ECONOMIC CRISIS HITS, IF YOU'RE ABLE TO HANDLE IT WHEN IT HAPPENS, MUCH AS YOU'RE ABLE TO HANDLE A CANCER WHEN YOU DISCOVER IT BEFORE IT CONTAMINATES YOUR ENTIRE BODY, THE CRISIS THAT WILL HAPPEN, IF WE CAN CONTROL IT, IDENTIFY IT EARLY ENOUGH, BEGIN TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS THAT IT POSES, THEN WE MIGHT AVOID THE KIND OF CATASTROPHIC EFFECTS THAT THIS PRESENT ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE HAS CAUSED, THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IN ALMOST 100 YEARS SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION MORE THAN 80 YEARS AGO. AND SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WANT TO BRIEFLY TALK ABOUT NOT ONLY THE PROCESS WE'VE GONE THROUGH OVER THE PAST YEAR AND A HALF, BUT ALSO WHAT THIS BILL IS TRYING TO DO. AND LET ME BE THE FIRST TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND ADMIT THAT IT DOESN'T DO EVERYTHING I WOULD LIKE IT TO DO. I'M NOT OVERLY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT EVERY PROVISION IN THIS BILL. THERE ARE MEASURES THAT I OBJECTED TO THAT ARE IN THE BILL. BUT WE SERVE IN A BODY OF FELLOW COLLEAGUES, THE 100 OF US WHO SERVE HERE TO WORK WITH THOSE WHO WORK DOWN THE HALL OF THIS CHAMBER, WHERE 435 OF OUR COLLEAGUES SERVE, WITH AN ADMINISTRATION AND REGULATORS, NOT TO MENTION FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES AND ALL THAT ARE INVOLVED IN THE FINANCIAL NETWORK OF OUR NATION ARE IMPACTED AND AFFECTED BY THIS BILL. AND SO, IT IS DIFFICULT TO TRY AND FASHION A PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT ACCOMMODATES THE VARIOUS INTERESTS AND ALLOWS US TO MOVE FORWARD, BUT THAT'S WHAT WE'VE TRIED TO DO. THE PROCESS IS IMPORTANT, MADAM PRESIDENT. AND I WON'T DWELL ON THIS POINT. BUT AS SOMEONE WHO HAS SPENT THREE DECADES OF MY LIFE AT THIS VERY DESK, IT'S THE ONLY DESK I EVER SAT AT IS THIS ONE SINCE THE DAY I ARRIVED AND THIS DESK WAS PLANTED OVER IN THE FAR CORNER AS THE 100th SENATOR IN THE BODY, UP UNTIL SOME 20 YEARS AGO THAT BY THROUGH SENATORITY YOU GET TO MOVE YOUR -- THROUGH SENIORITY YOU GET TO MOVE YOUR DESK AROUND, ROBERT C. BYRD HAD BEEN MY DESK MATE. I WAS A CHILD SITTING IN THE GALLERIES IN THE OTHER BODY WATCHING MY FATHER ON JANUARY 3, 1953 AND A 35-YEAR-OLD NEW CONGRESSMAN FROM WEST VIRGINIA BE SWORN IN AS NEWLY MINTED MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. AND SOME SIX YEARS LATER I SAT IN THAT CHAMBER, THAT GALLERY UP HERE, IN THE FAMILY GALLERY WATCHING MY FATHER BE SWORN IN AS A NEW SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT ALONG WITH A NEW SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA NAMED ROBERT C. BYRD, NEVER IMAGINING AS A 7- OR 8-YEAR-OLD OR AS A 14-YEAR-OLD THAT I WOULD SERVE 20 YEARS OF MY LIFE NEXT TO A MAN WHO WOULD MEAN SO MUCH TO OUR NATION. PROCESS MEANT A LOT TO ROBERT C. BYRD. THE CONSTITUTION, I CARRY WITH ME FOR 20 YEARS THE CONSTITUTION THAT ROBERT C. BYRD GAVE ME. IT IS WORN TODAY. HE REVERED THIS DOCUMENT, ABSOLUTELY QUOTED IT VERBATIM, AND GAVE ME A COPY AS HE DO TO ALL MEMBERS WHEN THEY ARRIVE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF THIS BODY AND OUR CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK. AND HE WAS SUCH A GREAT, GREAT ADVOCATE OF THE CIVILITY AND THE RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER AS WE TRY TO FASHION ANSWERS TO OUR NATION'S PROBLEMS. WE'VE BEEN THROUGH TWO MAJOR BILLS IN THE LAST CONGRESS. THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF OTHER BILLS TO CONSIDER, BUT THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE AND THE FINANCIAL REFORM DEBATE, I WOULD ARGUE ARE THE TWO LARGEST IN THIS CONGRESS. AND THERE ARE TWO MODELS OF HOW AN INSTITUTION CAN OPERATE. AND EVEN THOUGH I'M GLAD WE PREVAILED WITH THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE AND ARE FINALLY MAYBE GOING TO END UP DEALING WITH COSTS AND ACCESS TO OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND MAKE IT MORE AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE AS A RESULT OF OUR ACTIONS TAKEN, IT WAS NOT A PRETTY PROCESS. AND ANYONE WHO WATCHED IT, LET ALONE THOSE OF US WHO WERE INVOLVED IN IT, CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE PREFERRED THAT WE ARRIVED AT THE CONCLUSION IN A MANNER DIFFERENTLY THAN WHAT WE WENT THROUGH. MAYBE NOT EVERYONE WOULD AGREE WITH THAT. I FEEL THAT WAY. THE SECOND MODEL, IF YOU WILL, IS THE ONE WE JUST WENT THROUGH ON FINANCIAL REFORM, WHICH WAS ABOUT AS OPEN A PROCESS AS YOU COULD EVER HAVE. WE WENT THROUGH LITERALLY MONTHS OF LISTENING IN OUR COMMITTEE, THE BANKING COMMITTEE, WHICH I CHAIR, HUNDREDS -- AND I'M NOT EXAGGERATING -- HUNDREDS OF EXPERTS THAT CAME AND BRIEFED US EITHER FORMALLY OR INFORMALLY, LITERALLY DOZENS AND DOZENS OF FORMAL HEARINGS TO DISSECT WHAT HAD HAPPENED, HOW DID WE GET INTO THIS MESS, WHO CAUSED IT, HOW WAS IT CAUSED AND WHAT STEPS SHOULD WE BE TAKING TO SEE TO IT THAT THIS PROBLEM, ANOTHER ECONOMIC CRISIS, WOULD NOT EXPLODE AS BROADLY AS THIS ONE HAS. I INVITED MY COLLEAGUES, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, TO BE INVOLVED IN ALL OF THOSE MEETINGS TO SEE TO IT THAT THEY BE PRESENT, EVEN AT WHITE HOUSE MEETINGS AND TALK ABOUT WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO. WE LAID OUT OUR FIRST IDEAS TOGETHER A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, EVEN BEFORE MARKING UP ANYTHING CLOSE TO A BILL. AND I PRESENTED OUR FIRST DISCUSSION DRAFT OF THIS LEGISLATION IN NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR, AND IT WAS A DISCUSSION DRAFT. IN MARCH OF THIS YEAR, I UNVEILED A NEW BILL THAT INCORPORATED MANY OF THE BIPARTISAN IDEAS THAT THE WORKING GROUPS HAD PRODUCED. IN FACT, WHAT I ASKED TO BE DONE IN OUR COMMITTEE, IN THE BANKING COMMITTEE, WAS DIVIDE UP THE LABOR BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ON CERTAIN LARGE, COMPLICATED SUBJECT MATTERS. AND TO THEIR CREDIT, THEY WORKED VERY, VERY HARD. DIDN'T ALWAYS COME UP WITH A FINAL ANSWER IN VARIOUS AREAS, BUT THEY CONTRIBUTED SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE PRODUCT THAT WE NOW HAVE BEFORE US IN THE FORM OF A CONFERENCE COMMITTEE -- A CONFERENCE REPORT COMING TO THIS BODY, COMING TO THIS SENATE. SO I'M GRATEFUL TO RICHARD SHELBY, WHO IS NOT SUPPORTIVE OF THE BILL, BUT AS MY RANKING MEMBER AND WAS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE FOR FOUR YEARS BEFORE I TOOK OVER THE CHAIRMANSHIP IN JANUARY OF 2007. AND I WON'T GO DOWN THE LIST AND MENTION ALL THE MEMBERS, BUT THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS WORKED VERY, VERY HARD, EVEN THOSE WHO ENDED UP DISAGREEING WITH WHAT WE FINALLY PRODUCED, I'M GRATEFUL TO THEM FOR THE EFFORTS THAT THEY PUT IN TO THE LEGISLATION. BEYOND THAT, I'VE WORKED EVERY DAY TO KEEP MY COLLEAGUES INFORMED EVERY STEP OF THE PROCESS -- OR AT LEAST I TRIED TO -- SO THAT THERE WAS THAT SENSE OF INCLUSION. THE MODEL THAT EVERYONE OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO HAVE A ROLE AND PARTICIPATE IN THE DEBATE OF A SIGNIFICANT BILL. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE POINT I'M MAKING IS THIS BILL IS THE PRODUCT OF COLLABORATION OF MANY I MY COLLEAGUES BEFORE THE DEBATE EVEN BEGAN ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. ON THIS FLOOR THE DEBATE LASTED ALMOST A MONTH, ONE OF THE LONGEST DEBATES IN MANY YEARS IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES AS A DEBATE ON THIS FLOOR. WE HELD MORE THAN 50 VOTES WERE CAST BY DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS OVER A FOUR-WEEK PERIOD OF THIS DEBATE. ONE OF THE MANY THAT PASSED WAS THE VERY SECOND ONE, I THINK, SENATOR BOXER OF CALIFORNIA OFFERED THE FIRST AMENDMENT THAT SAID THAT TAXPAYERS SHOULD NEVER AGAIN BE ASKED TO PAY FOR A BAILOUT OF A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. THAT PASSED, I THINK, UNANIMOUSLY. AND THEN SENATOR SHELBY AND I OFFERED AN AMENDMENT WHERE WE REACHED AN AGREEMENT, A BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT, ON MEASURES TO END ALL BAILOUTS OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ONCE AND FOR ALL; ONE OF THE MOST CONTENTIOUS AREAS OF THE WEEK. FROM THAT POINT FORWARD, WITH ALMOST 60 AMENDMENTS BACK AND FORTH, WE ENDED UP PASSING THE LEGISLATION BY THE THINNEST OF MARGINS, OVERCOMING THE PROCEDURAL VOTES WE NEEDED TO IN ORDER TO PROMOTE FINAL PASSAGE OF THE BILL. THE LAST TIME THE BANKING COMMITTEE HELD A CONFERENCE ON ANY LEGISLATION WAS SEVEN YEARS AGO. SO I TOOK MY COMMITTEE PRODUCT, THE SENATE PRODUCT, AND WE WENT TO WHAT IS CALLED A CONFERENCE. THE HOUSE HAD PASSED ITS BILL IN DECEMBER. WE HAD PASSED OUR BILL IN MAY. AND SO, WHAT NORMALLY HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST IS THEY NEVER MEET. OR IF THEY DO MEET, THEY MET IN CLOSED-DOOR SESSIONS TO WORK OUT THE DIFFERENCES, AND THEN YOU COME BACK WITH A PRODUCT. THE LAST TIME THAT THE BANKING COMMITTEE HAD BEEN TO A CONFERENCE WITH THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON ANY BILL WAS MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS AGO. AND THAT -- THOSE MEETINGS WERE HELD MOSTLY IN PRIVATE WITH NEVER THE PUBLIC EVEN INVITED INTO THE ROOM, LET ALONE THE PRESS, TO OBSERVE AND TO COVER THE EVENTS. WE CHANGED ALL OF THAT. OUR CONFERENCE COMMITTEE, THE 42 MEMBERS OF BOTH CHAMBERS WHO MET, AGAIN, FOR A TWO-WEEK PERIOD, ALMOST 70 HOURS THAT WE MET, WE CONSIDERED 180 AMENDMENTS IN 70 HOURS, 54 AMENDMENTS WERE OFFERED BY SENATORS, 34 OF WHICH WERE OFFERED BY MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES IN THE CONFERENCE, 20 BY THE DEMOCRATS. SO COMBINED, BETWEEN THE NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS WE DEBATED ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AND THE NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS WE DEBATED IN CONFERENCE AS SENATORS -- FORGET THE HOUSE MEMBERS OR THEIR AMENDMENTS -- OVER 100 AMENDMENTS BY DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO THE FINANCE REFORM BILL. AND C-SPAN AND THE PRESS SAT THERE AND WATCHED EVERY MINUTE OF THE CONFERENCE AND COVERED EVERY SECOND GAVEL TO GAVEL OF THE PROCEEDINGS THAT WENT ON FOR ALMOST 70 HOURS OVER A TWO-WEEK PERIOD. MY POINT BEING THIS MODEL OF CONDUCTING OUR BUSINESS, LISTENING TO EACH OTHER, DEBATING AND DECIDING WHAT OUGHT TO BE IN THIS BILL STANDS IN STARK CONTRAST TO HOW WE WENT THROUGH THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE. WHAT'S THE POINT I'M TRYING TO MAKE TO YOU? IF AT THE END OF THIS PROCESS IT APPEARS AS THOUGH WE STILL FACE THE PROCEDURAL OBJECTIONS TO GOING FORWARD, WHAT DIFFERENCE DID IT MAKE THEN WHICH COURSE WE FOLLOWED? IF AT THE END OF THE PROCESS IT DIDN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE. THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE IS A STRANGE WORD THAT I SUSPECT MOST AMERICANS DON'T HAVE THE VAGUEST IDEA WHAT IT MEANS, OR VERY FEW DO. IT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING A DOCTOR MAY DO IF YOU'RE ILL. YOU GET A CLOTURE OR SOMETHING. THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT IT WAS WHEN I FIRST ARRIVED HERE. BRIEFLY, A CLOTURE IS THE METHOD BY WHICH YOU END A FILIBUSTER. IN THIS CHAMBER, UNDER OUR RULES, WE RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF A MINORITY, INCLUDING A MINORITY OF ONE. YOU CAN TALK AS LONG AS YOU CAN STAND UP UNDER MOST CIRCUMSTANCES, AND CONTINUE. ROBERT C. BYRD, IN FACT, HELD ONE OF THE RECORDS -- IT WASN'T THE RECORD. I THINK STROM THURMOND HOLDS THE RECORD. THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA. ROBERT BYRD CONDUCTED A FILIBUSTER THAT WENT ON FOR 14 HOURS. YOU CAN DO THAT IN THIS CHAMBER. IF YOU WANT TO END A DEBATE OR THE FILIBUSTER, YOU HAVE TO INVOKE CLOTURE. THAT TAKES 60 VOTES, MORE THAN A SIMPLE MAJORITY, TO SAY LOOK, WE'VE HAD ENOUGH DEBATE, THE PROCESS HAS BEEN FAIR, IT'S NOW TIME TO VOTE SO I INVOKE CLOTURE. IF YOU DON'T THINK THE PROCESS HAS BEEN FAIR, THAT YOU HAVEN'T BEEN GIVEN A CHANCE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF, THAT YOU THINK YOU'VE BEEN DENIED THE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER AMENDMENTS OR CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEBATE, THEN YOU VOTE AGAINST INVOKING CLOTURE. AND THERE HAVE BEEN CERTAINLY MANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN THAT HAS BEEN WARRANTED, IN MY VIEW, I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU COULD MAKE A CASE THAT A FILIBUSTER ON PROCEDURAL GROUNDS IS WARRANTED ON A FINANCIAL REFORM BILL SUCH AS WHAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH. I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE, MADAM PRESIDENT, I COULD HAVE DONE TO MAKE EVERY MEMBER OF THIS CHAMBER FEEL MORE INCLUDED IN THE DEBATE ON THE REFORM OF WALL STREET. IF THERE'S SOMETHING ELSE I COULD HAVE DONE TO SAY TO A MEMBER, YOU WOULD HAVE HAD ADDITIONAL RIGHTS OR OPPORTUNITIES, I'D LIKE TO HEAR THEM BECAUSE I DON'T THINK I COULD HAVE. YOU CAN'T SPEND FOUR WEEKS IN THIS CHAMBER THROUGH ALMOST 60 AMENDMENTS, 54 MORE IN A CONFERENCE, VIRTUALLY ALLOWING UNLIMITED DEBATE ON ALMOST ANYTHING THAT CAME UP AND TELL ME THAT YOU THINK YOU'VE BEEN DENIED THE OPPORTUNITY TO FULLY VENT YOUR FEELINGS, TO BE HEARD, TO OFFER YOUR IDEAS AND THOUGHTS. AND SO AS A DEPARTING SUGGESTION OF ONE ABOUT TO LEAVE IN FIVE OR SIX MONTHS, THERE OUGHT TO BE SOME VALUE TO THE PROCESS WE'VE GONE THROUGH. I'VE HEARD THIS MORNING ALREADY CONCERNS EXPRESSED BECAUSE THE INSTITUTION IN THE MINDS OF SOME IS DYSFUNCTIONAL. I DON'T WANT TO BELIEVE THAT. I WANT TO BELIEVE THAT IT'S STILL A FUNCTIONAL INSTITUTION. BUT IF AT THE END OF THIS PROCESS OF WHAT I'VE TRIED TO LEAD ON THE BANKING BILL CAUSE PEOPLECAUSE -- CAUSES PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE, WE'RE STILL GOING TO INVOKE THE PROCEDURAL ROADBLOCKS TO THIS BILL BECAUSE WE DON'T LIKE SOME OF THE PROVISIONS IN IT OR DON'T LIKE THE BILL, THEN I -- I DO DESPAIR IN SOME WAYS FOR WHETHER OR NOT THIS INSTITUTION CAN EVER FUNCTION. IF AT THE END OF ALL OF THAT YOU END UP WITH A SAME KIND OF PROCEDURAL ROAD ROADBLOCKS AS YOU DID ON THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE, WHERE I WOULD ARGUE THERE WAS MONTH LEGITIMACY TO INVOKING THOSE PROCEDURAL -- THOSE PROCEDURAL ROADBLOCK,S, THEN I THINK THE INSTITUTION IS IN A LOT MORE TROUBLE THAN I WANTED TO BELIEVE. SO I THINK THE PROCESS OUGHT TO BE MORE IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE AND TO SEEING TO IT THAT WE HAVE A CHANCE TO GO FORWARD. NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, AT THE END OF THAT CONFERENCE, WE CAME UP NOT ONLY WITH THE COMPROMISES NECESSARY TO IN THE BILL BUT ALSO HOW TO PAY FOR IT, OR HOW TO OFFSET THE COSTS OF THIS BILL. THE HOUSE RULES REQUIRE THAT YOU DEMONSTRATE THAT THE COST OF YOUR BILL TO THE OVERALL TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES IS NOT GOING TO LEAVE IT IN DEEPER DEBT THAN WOULD OIBZ THE OTHERWISE BE THE CASE. SO WE HAD TO COME UP WITH AN OFFSETTING COST FOR THE BILL. THE FIRST PROPOSAL WAS NOT MET WARMLY. IT WAS ASSESSMENTS ON LARGE INSTITUTIONS PRIMARILY BUT THERE WAS STRONG OBJECTIONS EXPRESSED AND TWO OR THREE OF OUR COLLEAGUES HERE WHO HAVE BEEN VERY HELPFUL ON THIS BILL, BY THE WAY, IN OFFERING IDEAS THAT WOULD STRENGTHEN THE BILL, MADE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS, EXPRESSED THEIR CONCERNS TO ME THAT THIS WAS AN UNACCEPTABLE OFFSET IN THEIR MINDS. SO I TOOK THE EXTRAORDINARY STEP OF RECONVENING THE CONFERENCE AND WE MET YESTERDAY TO CHANGE THE OFFSETS OF THIS BILL. AND WE DID SO BY TWO THINGS. ONE, WE KEPT THE SAME AND THAT WAS BY MAKING PERMANENT THE INSURANCE FUND IN THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, MAKING IT PERMANENT AT $250,000. THAT REQUIRES AN ASSESSMENT INCREASE IN ORDER TO MEET THOSE OBLIGATIONS. THAT WAS ALREADY IN THE BILL. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE SCORES THAT AS PROVIDING ABOUT $8.5 BILLION IN REVENUES OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. SO THAT WAS THERE. THE SECOND PIECE WE DID IS END THE TARP PROGRAM, AND THAT'S SOMETHING ALL OF US HAVE WANTED TO SEE SINCE THE INCEPTION OF PROGRAM, CAN WE BRING THIS THING TO A CLOSE. UNDER OUR ALTERNATIVE OFFSET, WE END THE TARP PROGRAM IMMEDIATELY EXCEPT FOR ITS CURRENT OBLIGATIONS. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE OFFICE -- AND I'LL PROVIDE THE LETTERS FROM THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CONFIRMING THESE NUMBERS THAT I'M SHARING WITH YOU -- DISHOORD AT SCORED THAT AT ABOUT $11 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS AS A SAVINGS. THAT MONEY GOES INTO DEFICIT REDUCTION BECAUSE, REMEMBER, THIS IS AN OFFSET. IT'S NOT A PAY-FOR. WHAT DO I MEAN BY THAT? IF THE BUDGET OF OUR NATION WERE $100 AND THE COST OF A PROGRAM COST $10, THEN YOU'D HAVE TO MAKE UP THAT $10. AND THAT'S HOW WE'RE MAKING UP THE $10, IN OTHER WORDS, YOU HAVE THE OFFSET. IT DOESN'T GO DIRECTLY TO PAY FOR THOSE PROGRAMS BUT IT PROVIDES THE OFFSET FOR THE COST OF THOSE PROGRAMS. AND THE THIRD PIECE OF THIS TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE WAS BY INCREASING THE RESERVE RATIO WITH THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION AT THE SUGGESTION OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE FDIC, TO GO FROM 1.15% TO 1.35% BUT HOLD HARMLESS ALL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS -- OR BANKS, RATHER, THAT HAVE ASSETS UNDER $10 BILLION. AND TO DO THAT NOT OVER FOUR OR FIVE YEARS BUT OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, UNTIL 2020. THAT PROVIDES AN ADDITIONAL $5 BILLION-PLUS. THE C.B.O. HAS THUS SCORED THE ENTIRE BILL AS PROVIDING AN ADDITIONAL $3.2 BILLION IN DEFICIT REDUCTION BECAUSE THE AMOUNTS WE'LL BE BRINGING IN EXCEED THE COST OF THE BILL. AND SO FOR MY COLLEAGUES, ENDING THE TARP PROGRAM, COMPLYING WITH WHAT THE PAIRPERSON OF THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION HAS SAID IS A FAR BETTER SUGGESTION. I'D BE REMISS AT THIS JUNCTURE IF I DID NOT SPECIFICALLY THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM MAINE, SUSAN COLLINS, MY COLLEAGUE FROM MAINE AS WELL, OLYMPIA SNOWE, BUT IT WAS SUSAN COLLINS WHO INITIALLY SAID, I THINK THIS IS A BETTER IDEA, TO LOOK AT AN OFFSET. AND I'M VERY GRATEFUL TO HER, AS I AMBULATORY COLLEAGUE FROM MAINE. MY COLLEAGUE FROM MASSACHUSETTS, SENATOR SCOTT BROWN, EXPRESSED HIS CONCERNS ABOUT THE ASSESSMENT APPROACH. AND AGAIN, I'LL LET THEM ALL SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES ON THESE MATTERS BUT IT'S IMPORTANT THAT MY COLLEAGUES KNOW THAT GOING BACK TO A FEW MOMENTS AGO TALKING ABOUT A PROCESS, IT WAS AT THE SUGGESTION OF DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS THAT CHANGES WERE MADE TO THIS BILL, INCLUDING THE EXTRAORDINARY STEP YESTERDAY OF OPENING UP THE CONFERENCE. THERE ARE THOSE WHO I SUSPECT WANTED ME TO GO FORWARD ANYWAY WITH IT. WHY WOULD I DO THAT IF, IN FACT, MEMBERS HAVE SAID I CAN'T BE SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR BILL UNDER THE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES? THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A CORRECTION IN THE BILL AND, THEREFORE, COME UP WITH A BETTER IDEA THAT WAS MORE ACCEPTABLE TO MORE OF OUR COLLEAGUES SEEMED TO BE THE APPROPRIATE STEP TO TAKE, AND THAT'S EXACT WHATLY WHAT WE DID AND THAT'S HOW WE HAVE OFFSET THE COST OF THIS BILL. AND I'LL PROVIDE ADDITIONAL DATA DATA, AND IF I'VE MISSPOKEN ON ANY OF THESE NUMBERS HERE, I'LL CORRECT MY OWN STATEMENT IN THE RECORD. BUT I THINK I'M APPROXIMATELY CORRECT ON ALL OF THIS. MADAM PRESIDENT, AGAIN, NONE OF THIS IS EASY AND I KNOW THERE'S A TEMPTATION AT TIMES LIKE THIS FOR THE EMOTIONS TO RISE, THE PASSIONS TO FIND EXPRESSION, BUT I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES AND THE EFFORTS THEY MAKE. AND THERE ARE MOMENTS OF FRUSTRATION, WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO PASS A MAJOR BILL, SEEK COOPERATION FROM YOUR COLLEAGUES TO GET THE JOB DONE. BUT THIS IS A COMPLICATED PIECE OF LEGISLATION. MORE THAN 2,000 PAGES ARE INCLUDED IN THE BILL. THERE ARE PROVISIONS IN THIS BILL THAT, AS I SAID EARLIER, ARE NOT ONES I'D WRITE MYSELF, BUT THIS IS A LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. AS I SAID, I POINTED OUT THAT I INTRODUCED THE BILL LAST NOVEMBER, THE ONE THAT I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED, BUT IN THE MONTHS SENSE, MANY MEMBERS HAVE HAD THEIR OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE CHANGES, THEIR MARK ON THIS BILL. SOME CHANGES I LIKED. SOME I DIDN'T. BUT IT SHOULDN'T BE THAT BECAUSE YOU DON'T LIKE ONE OR TWO OR SEVERAL PROVISIONS OF A BILL THAT THAT OUGHT TO BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE TOTAL IMPACT OF WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE. NOW, THERE ARE THOSE WHO DON'T LIKE THE BILL, ANY PART OF IT AT ALL, OR VERY FEW PARTS OF IT. AND AGAIN, I UNDERSTAND THAT. AND THOSE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO VOTE "NO." BUT WHEN SOMEONE TELLS ME THERE'S ONE PROVISION OR TWO PROVISIONS THEY DON'T LIKE AND AS A RESULT OF THAT THEY'RE GOING TO VOTE AGAINST EVERYTHING, THAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND, QUITE CANDIDLY. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'VE HAD OUR DEBATE. WE VOTED ON LITERALLY AS I POINTED OUT HUNDREDS OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS IN THIS BILL BETWEEN THE HOUSE, THE OTHER BODY, AND THIS BODY. AND THEN THERE WILL BE, AS I SAID, STILL PROCEDURAL VOTES. I'VE MADE MY CASE, THAT AT SOME POINT A PROCESS THAT IS AS OPEN AS THIS ONE HAS BEEN, AS INCLUSIVE AS THIS ONE HAS BEEN, AS -- AS HOSPITABLE AS I COULD POSSIBLY MAKE IT, AS CIVIL AS I COULD POSSIBLY MAKE IT, IF THE PROCEDURAL ROADBLOCKS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN THE LEGISLATION THAT WAS CONDUCTED WITHOUT ANY OF THE CIVILITY, WITHOUT ANY OF THE COOPERATION AND INCLUSIVENESS OF THIS, THEN WHY, IS THE LESSON? WHAT'S THE LESSON TO THE NEXT MAJOR BILL IF, IN FACT, GOING THROUGH ALL OF THAT GETS YOU NO FURTHER IN THE PROCESS THAN WHAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH? WELL, AS I SAID, THIS BILL DOESN'T BRING BACK YOUR HOME, YOUR JOB, YOUR RETIREMENT INCOME INCOME, BUT WHAT IT DOES DO IS TRY TO SEE TO IT THAT THE NEXT CRISIS WILL NOT CAUSE THE DEEP PROBLEMS THIS ONE HAS. AND LET ME JUST BRIEFLY IDENTIFY THE TWO OR THREE OR FOUR THINGS THAT ARE MAJOR IN THIS BILL. THERE ARE MANY BUT THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE SIGNIFICANT. AND IN THE ABSENCE OF WHICH, IF WE DEFEAT THE BILL, ALL OF THIS IS GONE AND WE'RE RIGHT BACK TO SEPTEMBER OF 2008. RIGHT BACK WHERE WE WERE WHEN THIS BODY VOTED WITH LESS THAN 40 DAYS TO GO BEFORE A NATIONAL ELECTION TO ASK THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER TO WRITE A $700 BILLION CHECK TO BAIL OUT AND STABILIZE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. YOU REJECT THIS EFFORT THAT WE'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS, AND THE WEEK WHEN WE COME BACK I GUESS IS WHEN THE VOTE WILL OCCUR, THEN WE ARE EXACTLY WHERE WE WERE IN THE FALL OF 2008 WITH ALL OF THE VULNERABILITIES THAT WE SAW OUR COUNTRY EXPERIENCE AS A RESULT OF NOT REFORMING THE STRUCTURES TO OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM. THIS BILL WILL END TAXPAYER BAILOUTS BY MAKING IT TOUGH FOR COMPANIES TO ENGAGE IN THE KIND OF IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR THAT HAS THREATENED OUR ECONOMY AND IT SETS UP A WAY, MADAM PRESIDENT, TO SHUT DOWN THE GIANT, DANGEROUS COMPANIES THAT FAIL THROUGH BANKRUPTCY OR THROUGH A RESOLUTION MECHANISM THAT LAYS ALL OF THE COSTS AND PAIN ON THEM, NOT ON THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. AND THAT IS A MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT OF THIS BILL. WE ALSO INCLUDE FOR THE FIRST TIME INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT HAVE OPERATED IN THE SHADOW ECONOMY OF OUR NATION. NO REGULATION, NO ONE MODERATING THEIR BEHAVIOR. THIS BILL BRINGS THEM ALL IN WHERE THEY'RE NOW GOING TO BE REGULATED AND CONTROLLED SO THEY CAN'T ENGAGE IN THE KIND OF WILDCAT BEHAVIOR THAT BROUGHT OUR NATION TO THE POINT WE'VE BEEN IN. THE BILL, MADAM PRESIDENT, FURTHER CREATES A CONSUMER FINANCIAL PRODUCT PROTECTION BUREAU. AND, AGAIN, I GET PEOPLE ACTING LIKE THIS WAS THE MOST RADICAL IDEA IN AMERICA. YOU BUY A FAULTY PRODUCT, A TOASTER, A CAR, A TELEVISION SET SET, AND IT'S A CRUMMY PRODUCT, YOU'VE GOT A PLACE TO GO TO GET SOME SORT OF REDRESS. IN FACT, THEY'RE REQUIRED TO RECALL THE PRODUCTS UNDER THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION AND OTHERS. YOU GET A CRUMMY MORTGAGE, A CRUMMY INSURANCE POLICY, YOU GET A -- A -- A CRUMMY PIECE OF STOCK BECAUSE SOMEONE LIED ABOUT IT, WHERE DO YOU GO? WHO DO YOU CALL? GET A LAWYER. I GUESS THAT'S THE ANSWER, IF YOU'VE GOT THE RESOURCES. WELL, THIS BILL SETS UP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY A PLACE WHERE THE AVERAGE CONSUMER OF FINANCIAL SERVICES MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET A REDRESS OF THEIR GRIEVANCES. AND I KNOW PEOPLE ARE ACTING LIKE THIS IS SOME WILD SOCIALISTIC IDEA, SOME CRAZY LEFT-WING NOTION AFTER WHAT THE COUNTRY'S BEEN THROUGH THAT WE COULD END UP HAVING A PLACE WHERE THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CITIZEN WHO WANTS TO HAVE FAITH AND TRUST IN OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM CAN GO TO GET SOME RELIEF, GOD FORBID THAT THEY'RE TREATED AS THEY HAVE BEEN IN TOO MANY INSTANCES IN THE PAST. AND SO THAT'S PART OF THIS BILL. THIS BILL WILL CREATE AN ADVANCED WARNING SYSTEM. ISYSTEM. INSTEAD OF ONE SET OF EYES THAT, FRANKLY, WERE CLOSED MOST OF THE TIME, WE NOW HAVE WHAT WE CALL A SORT OF A RISK ASSESSMENT COUNCIL MADE UP OF THE VARIOUS FEDERAL AGENCIES THAT HAVE PRUDENTIAL RESPONSIBILITY OVER OUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO BE MEETING AND LOOKING AT WHAT'S GOING ON IN OUR ECONOMY, NOT ONLY HERE IN OUR OWN NATION BUT ABROAD AS WELL. ARE THERE THINGS OCCURRING WITHIN COMPANIES, WITHIN INTERCONNECTED COMPANIES, WITHIN COUNTRIES THAT COULD POSE A FINANCIAL RISK TO OUR OWN NATION NATION? AND SPOTTING THEM EARLY ENOUGH TO PUT A STOP TO THEM, TO BREAK THEM UP, AS A LAST RESORT, OR TO INSIST THAT CERTAIN THINGS BE DONE TO AVOID, AS I SAID EARLIER, THESE METASTASIZING EVENTS THAT HAVE CONTAMINATED EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIFE BECAUSE NO ONE STOOD UP EARLY ENOUGH TO STOP THEM WHEN THEY FIRST SPOTTED THE THE BILL FURTHER, MADAM PRESIDENT, BRINGS TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE DERIVATIVES MARKET. $600 TRILLION. THAT'S NOT MISSPEAKING. THAT'S NOT A MILLION. THAT'S NOT A BILLION. THAT'S $600 TRILLION MARKET. IT'S A PHENOMENAL MARKET. IT'S BASICALLY BEEN UNREGULATED AND OUT OF CONTROL. WE HAVE CENTRAL CLEARING, EXCHANGE TRADING WITH NEW MARGIN AND CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS FOR LARGE BANK DEALERS AND MAJOR SWAP PARTICIPANTS. THESE SAFEGUARDS WILL ENSURE THAT TAXPAYERS WILL NOT BE LEFT ON THE HOOK FOR WALL STREET'S BETS, PARTICULARLY WITH DEPOSITORS' MONEY, AS WE SAW SO HAPPEN, OR AN A.I.G. CIRCUMSTANCE. THE BILL HAS THE SO-CALLED VOLCKER RULE TO PROHIBIT BANKING ORGANIZATIONS FROM ENGAGING IN PROPRIETARY TRADING AND STRICTLY LIMITING THEIR SPONSORSHIP AND INVESTMENT IN HEDGE FUNDS AND PRIVATE EQUITY FUNDS. AND AGAIN, IF THEY WANT TO RISK THEIR OWN MONEY, IT'S ONE THING. RISKING YOUR MONEY OUGHT TO BE SOMETHING ELSE. AND SO WE'VE EXPANDED THE VOLCKER RULE WITH BALANCE, I MIGHT ADD, TO IT. WE DON'T TOTALLY ELIMINATE THE ABILITY OF A BANK TO HEDGE ON THINGS THAT ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT FOR THEM. WE BELIEVE IT'S AN IMPORTANT RULE. WITHOUT IT, WE'RE RIGHT BACK WHERE WE WERE BEFORE. THE BILL BRINGS TRANSPARENCY TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND I WANT TO THANK BERNIE SANDERS OF VERMONT AND OTHERS WHO HAVE INSISTED ON GREATER AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY OUT OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM. UNDER OUR BILL HERE, WITH AUDITS OF THE SO-CALLED 13-3 EMERGENCY LENDING THAT TOOK PLACE DURING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, OUR REQUIREMENT THAT THE FED DISCLOSE THROUGH THESE SO-CALLED COUNTERPARTIES ARE AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE AMENDMENTS THAT THEY'RE PUTTING AT RISK AND, IN TURN, THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER SETTING CONDITIONS ON HOW THAT MONEY CAN BE USED, PUTTING REAL LIMITATIONS ON IT AND GIVING THIS BODY, THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, A CHANCE TO RESPOND IF, IN FACT, THEY EXCEED THEIR AUTHORITY. FURTHER, MR. PRESIDENT, THE BILL LIMITS EMERGENCY LENDING FUND OF 13-3 SO THERE CAN NO LONGER BE USED TO PROP UP AN INDIVIDUAL COMPANY AS THEY DID WITH A.I.G. THE BILL REQUIRES PEOPLE TO HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME, REQUIRING COMPANIES THAT SELL PRODUCTS LIKE ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES TO RETAIN AT LEAST 5% OF THE CREDIT RISK SO THERE'S NO LONGER AN INCENTIVE TO SELL GARBAGE AND JUNK LOANS TO PEOPLE WHO COULD NEVER PAY THEM BACK, AND, THUS, EXSPEOSEXPOSING OUR ECONOMY AND COUNTRY TO ABUSE. THESE ARE ALL THINGS IN THE BILL. AND IF WE SCRAP IT, WE'RE RIGHT BACK WITHOUT ANY OF THESE PROTECTIONS. AND I WILL TELL YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT, IT'LL BE A GENERATION BEFORE THE CONGRESS COMES BACK TO DEALING WITH THESE ISSUES AGAIN. BECAUSE IN THE ABSENCE OF THE CRISIS WE'VE BEEN IN, IT WOULDN'T GET TO THIS. THE CRISIS GAVE US AN OPPORTUNITY TO RESPOND. THESE WERE NOT NEW ISSUES. THESE ISSUES HAVE BEEN LINGERING AROUND. BUT THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES BEHIND MANY OF THESE OPERATIONS ARE TOTALLY RESISTANT TO THE CHANGES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. BECAUSE THERE'S TOO MUCH MONEY TO BE MADE FOR THEM AND TOO MUCH RISK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO ABSORB THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAVE THE SAME KIND OF CONCERNS AND INTERESTS BROUGHT TO THE BARGAINING TABLE WHEN THESE ISSUES AND THIS LEGISLATION IS DRAFTED. THE BILL GIVES SHAREHOLDERS -- THE OWNERS OF PUBLIC COMPANIES -- A SAY ON EXECUTIVE PAY, SO-CALLED GOLDEN PARACHUTES. AND WE REQUIRE PUBLIC COMPANIES TO TAKE BACK COMPENSATION AWARDED BASED ON PHONY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS. SHOULDN'T THE OWNERS OF PUBLIC COMPANIES HAVE SOME SAY IN THESE MATTERS? THE BILL FURTHER ENCOURAGES WHISTLE-BLOWERS WITH A NEW PROGRAM AT THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO REPORT SECURITIES VIOLATIONS. ASK THE VICTIMS OF BERNIE MADOFF WHETHER OR NOT THAT KIND OF PROVISION MIGHT HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE? WHEN WE HAD THE WHISTLE-BLOWERS WRITING AND BEGGING THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION TO TAKE NOTE OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING WITH THE MADOFF SCAM, AND NO ONE WAS WILLING TO DO A DARN THING ABOUT IT, AND LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WERE WIPED OUT BECAUSE NO ONE BOTHERED TO LISTEN TO A WHISTLE-BLOWER THAT IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM. THIS BILL CHANGES THAT. NOT TO SAY THERE WON'T BE ADDITIONAL SCAM ARTISTS. I PROMISE YOU THERE WILL. BUT INSTEAD OF DENYING THE EXISTENCE OF A WHISTLE-BLOWER, STANDING UP AND TELL AGO REGULATORY BODY THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, THIS BILL REQUIRES THEM TO TAKE NOTE AND TO ACT. SO WHEN YOU TAKE THE SUM TOTAL -- AND OBVIOUSLY I'M DESCRIBING HERE FIVE OR SIX PROVISIONS IN A 2,000-PAGE BILL DURVE A PRODUCT, I THINK, THAT RESTORES FINANCIAL SECURITY AND TRUST. LET ME ASK -- MENTION JUST THIS POINT ON TRUST, BECAUSE I -- THERE'S NO FINANCIAL NUMBER I COULD PUT ON TRUST, MR. PRESIDENT. BUT IT MAY BE THE MOST ELEMENT -- BUT IT MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF ALL. THE ONE THING THAT'S BEEN SO SEVERELY DAMAGED AND THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TO RESTORE IS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S TRUST IN OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM. AND TODAY THAT TRUST HAS BEEN SHATTERED BY WHAT'S HAPPENED. AND IN THE ABSENCE OF PEOPLE TRUSTING THAT THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS FAIR AND EQUITABLE, THEN I THINK WE'RE IN DEEPER TROUBLE THAN ANYTHING THAT CAN BE WRITTEN INTO A BILL. PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHEN THEY DEPOSIT AT A BANK, THRANS ASSUMPTION OF -- THERE'S AN ASSUMPTION OF RISK. WHEN THEY BUY AN INSURANCE POLICY, IT IS A DIFFERENT ASSUMPTION OF RISK. WHEN YOU COMBY BUY A STOCK, IT IS A DIFFERENT ONE. BUT WE OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO TRUST THE SYSTEM, THAT IT IS NOT GOING TO DECEIVE YOU AND DEFRAUD YOU, IT IS NOT GOING TO SEND PEOPLE OUT TO LURE YOU INTO SITUATIONS THAT THEY KNOW YOU CAN'T AFFORD, THAT THEY KNOW THEY CAN SELL OFF QUICKLY AND MAKE A FAST BUCK ON. THAT TRUST IN OUR FINANCIAL STRUCTURE, WHICH WAS SO IMPORTANT FOR SO LONG, HAS BEEN SEVERELY DAMAGED OVER WHAT'S OCCURRED IN THESE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. AND MORE THAN ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS BILL, MR. PRESIDENT, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE THAT ANYONE OF US CAN WRITE IN A PIECE OF LEGISLATION, IS WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE GOING TO REGAIN THE CONFIDENCE AND OPTIMISM AND THE TRUST OF THAT HARD-WORKING AMERICAN FAMILY TO BELIEVE THAT WHEN THEY DEPOSIT THAT PAYCHECK, THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE SOMEONE INVESTING IN A HEDGE FUND OR SOME RISKY VENTURE WITH THEIR MONEY. THAT'S PROHIBITED IN THIS BILL. OR THAT WHEN THEY BUY A STOCK, THAT THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT'S OUT THERE SCAMMING THEM IN A KITING SYSTEM, WHICH RUINS THEM FOREVER AND THEIR FAMILIES. AND WHEN THEY GET A MORTGAGE ON A HOME, THERE'S SOMEONE SITTING ACROSS THE TABLE PROMISING TO BE THEIR FINANCIAL ADVISOR WHEN THEY'RE ANYTHING BUT IN THE PROCESS. THAT TRUST HAS BEEN SO SEVERELY HURT THAT OUR HOPE IS, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE THAT I'VE WRITTEN INTO IN THIS BILL THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO BRING BACK AMERICA'S CONFIDENCE AND TRUST IN OUR COUNTRY'S FINANCIAL SYSTEM AGAIN. SO NOTHING ELSE IS A MISTAKE. THAT IS FUNDAMENTAL OVERHAUL IN THE WAY OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS REGULATED. THE GREATEST CHANGE SINCE THE REFORMS THAT WERE INVOKED AFTER THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF THE 1930'S. BEYOND THAT, OF COURSE, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WHAT WE'VE DONE CAN BE HARMONIZED WITH OTHER NATIONS. THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, WENT TO TORONTO A FEW DAYS AGO TO THE MEETING OF THE G-20. THE CONSERVATIVE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA POINTED TO THIS LEGISLATION AND HE SAID, THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICA TO LEAD ON HELPING THE REST OF THE WORLD HARMONIZE ITS RULES ON FINANCIAL SERVICES. DEFEAT THIS BILL, AND SOMEONE ELSE WILL SET THE GROUND RULES. AND WE'LL HAVE TO HARMONIZE WITH THEM. AND IF MY COLLEAGUES THINK THAT'S A BETTER RESULT, TO LET THE EUROPEAN UNION OR SOMEONE ELSE WRITE WHAT THE STANDARDS ARE GOING TO BE, THEN HAVE AT IT AND DEFEAT THE BILL. BUT IF YOU BELIEVE THAT IT'S BETTER FOR THE DWRIEWS LEAD AND PROVIDE THE -- THAT IT'S BETTER FOR THE UNITED STATES TO LEAD AND PROVIDE THE GINNED GUIDELINES THAT THE REST OF THE WORLD CAN FOLLOW, THEN GET BEHIND US. SO NO ONE IS GOING TO GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT IN THIS BILL. IRCERTAINLY DIDN'T. NO ONE EVER DOES. I'VE NEVER SEEN A BILL IN 30 YEARS THAT ENDED UP BECOMING THE PREROGATIVE OF ONE SMALL GROUP. THIS HAS BEEN A COLLECTIVE EFFORT, MR. PRESIDENT, A TRULY INCLUSIVE, COLLECTIVE EFFORT. OVER 100 AMENDMENTS HAVE BEEN OFFERED AND CONSIDERED BY MY FELLOW COLLEAGUES IN THIS CHAMBER TO THIS BILL, IN THE MOST OPEN PROCESS IN DECADES, THE ONLY TIME I'VE EVER SEEN A CONFERENCE CONDUCTED WITH THE PUBLIC VIEWING EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF IT, WITH 42 MEMBERS FROM THE HOUSE AND SENATE PARTICIPATING OVER 70 HOURS. IN A TWO-WEEK PERIOD, NOT TO MENTION A MONTH WE SPEPTS ON -- WE SPENT ON THE FLOOR OF THIS CHIME CHAMBER. I HAVE A DONE EVERYTHING I CAN DO TO MAKE THIS AS FAR AS WE COULD. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT. I WANTED TO TAKE A FEW MINUTES TODAY BEFORE WE TOMORROW PARTICIPATE IN THE SOLEMN CEREMONY OF CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF ROBERT C. BYRD IN THIS CHAMBER. IT WILL BE AN HISTORIC MOMENT. IT WAS A DESIRE OF HIS, I KNOW, WHEN HE WAS ALIVE THAT AT THE TIME OF HIS PASSING THAT HE BE RECOGNIZED IN THIS CHAMBER. AND THAT ON FRIDAY MANY OF US WILL TRAVEL TO HIS HOME STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA, THAT HE SERVED OWE REMARKABLY WELL OVER THE 58 YEARS OF HIS SERVICE, TO PARTICIPATE IN HIS FUNERAL SERVICES. THEN WE'LL BE GONE FOR A WEEK OVER THE 4th OF JULY BREAK. SHORTLY AFTER WE COME BACK, BASED ON THE SCHEDULE SET BY THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADER, WE'LL VOTE ON THE FINANCIAL REFORM PACKAGE AND BILL. AND SO TODAY I WANTED TO TAKE A FEW CLOSING MINUTES TO SAY TO MY COLLEAGUES, I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE I COULD HAVE DONE TO MAKE THIS MORE INCLUSIVE, TO PROVIDE MORE BALANCE AND SENSE TO ALL OF THIS, TO RESPOND TO THE CONCERNS MY COLLEAGUES HAVE RAISED THAN WHAT WE'VE DONE. AND I URGE YOU, I PLEAD WITH YOU, TO GIVE US THE VOTE ON THIS AND TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS WE'VE GONE THROUGH AND SET A TEMPLATE TO SAY THAT A PROCESS FOLLOWED BY WHICH EVERYONE GETS A CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE OUGHT TO BE THE MODEL OF HOW THE SENATE CONDUCTS ITS BUSINESS. I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE AND IMPORTANCE OF THAT APPROACH THAT WE'VE DANE TAKEN WITH THIS BILL. I'VE TAKEN A LONG TIME AND I APOLOGIZE TO MY COLLEAGUES. BUT I WANTED TO EXPLAIN THE PROCESS, WHAT WE'VE DONE IN CONFERENCE. AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK THE MAJORITY LEADER. THE MAJORITY LEADER DOESN'T GET THANKED ENOUGH. HE IS THE CACHET THE CAPTAIN OF OUR SENATE, AS WAS BOB DOLE AND SENATOR FRITZ AND GEORGE MITCHELL AND ROBERT C. BYRD. WITHOUT HIS WILLINGNESS TO MAKE SURE WE'RE HERE TO CONDUCT THAT DEBATE, IT WOULDN'T HAPPEN. AND SO I'D BE TERRIBLY REMISS AT THE CONCLUSION OF THESE REMARKS IF I DIDN'T EXPRESS A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO HARRY REID OF NEVADA, THE MAJORITY LEADER, FOR MAKING IT POSSIBLE AND TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF THIS OPEN PROCESS THAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH. WITHOUT HIS WILLINGNESS TO ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN, IT WOULDN'T V AND I'M DEEPLY GRATEFUL TO HIM AND HIS STAFF AND OTHERS FOR MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO COME TO THE MOMENT WE ARE IN. THAT IS TO VOTE FOR THIS IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 02:10:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:10:47 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY, AS HAVE…

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY, AS HAVE EACH WEEK SINCE THE HEALTH CARE BILL BECAME SIGNED INTO LAW, TO VISIT WITH THE MEMBERS OF THIS CHAMBER ABOUT EXPERIENCES THAT I'VE HAD OF HAVING PRACTICED MEDICINE IN CASPER, WYOMING, SINCE 1983. FOR A LONG TIME I WAS AN ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON TAKING CARE OF FAMILIES ACROSS THE COWBOY STATE, AND I COME TODAY, AS I HAVE WEEK AFTER WEEK, TO OFFER A DOCTOR'S SECOND OPINION ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE LAW. BECAUSE IT JUST SEEMS, MR. PRESIDENT%, THAT EVERY WEEK SINCE THIS BILL HAS BECOME A LAW, THERE IS SOME NEW UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE, SOME NEW DEVELOPMENT, SOME NEW SHARING OF INFORMATION THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SEE TO SAY, THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANT FOR MY HEALTH CARE. IT'S NOT WHAT I WANT FOR MY FAMILY. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, DURING THIS DEBATE OF THE HEALTH CARE BILL, IT WAS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI WHO SAID, FIRST YOU MUST PASS THE BILL TO FIND OUT WHAT'S IN IT. WELL, AS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CONTINUE TO LEARN ABOUT WHAT IS IN THIS NEW HEALTH CARE LAW, THEY CONTINUE TO BE DISAPPOINTED WITH SO MANY BROKEN PROMISES THAT WERE MADE BY MEMBERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE OF THIS BODY AND BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THE INITIAL GOAL OF THE HEALTH CARE BILL WHICH IS NOW LAW WAS TO LOWER THE COST OF CARE, TO INCREASE THE QUALITY OF CARE, AND INCREASE THE ACCESS TO CARE. AND YET IN THE WEEKS THAT HAVE GONE ON -- AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE LAST WEEK 90 DAYS INTO THE PROCESS -- IT SEEMS TO ME, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THIS LAW IS GOING TO BE BAD FOR PATIENTS, THOSE WHO NEED MEDICAL CARE IN THIS COUNTRY. IT'S GOING TO BE BAD FOR PAYERS, THE PATIENT WHOSE PAY FOR THEIR CARE, THE BUSINESSES THAT PAY FOR THE INSURANCE, THE TAXPAYERS WHO ARE GOING TO BE BURDENED ADDITIONALLY. AND IT'S BAD FOR PROVIDERS, THE NURSES AND THE DOCTORS WHO TRY TO TAKE CARE OF THESE PATIENTS. SO ACE LOOK AT THIS IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THIS HEALTH CARE LAW IS GOING TO BE RESULT IN HIGHER COST FOR PATIENTS AND LESS ACCESS AND LESS QUALITY. AND THAT'S WHY ACROSS THE BOARD STILL A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT THIS BILL REPEALED, WANT THIS LAW REPEALED AND REPLACED. BECAUSE BASICALLY AND FUNDAMENTALLY THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THIS WAS A LAW THAT WAS PASSED FOR THEM. THEY BELIEVE IT WAS A LAW THAT WAS PASSED FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. AND THEY THINK AS A RESULT THEY ARE REAL ESTATE GOING TO END UP PAYING MORE -- AND THEY THINK AS A RESULT THEY'RE GOING TO END UP PAYING MORE AND GETTING LESS. THAT'S WHY I COME TO THE FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT AN ADDITIONAL BROKEN PROMISE AND WHY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CONTINUE TO BE JUST SO VERY SKEPTICAL ABOUT THIS NEW HEALTH CARE LAW. WE'VE HEARD THE PROMISES IN THE PAST BY THE PRESIDENT. HE SAID, IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH CARE PLAN, YOU'LL BE ABLE TO KEEP YOUR HEALTH CARE PLAN, PERIOD. HE SAID, NO ONE WILL TAKE IT AWAY, PERIOD. BUT YET WE SEE -- AND WE'VE SEEN -- AND LAST WEEK I CAME TO THE FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT OVER HALF OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO HAVE RECEIVED HEALTH CARE THROUGH WHERE THEY WORK, HALF OF THEM WILL LOSE THE COVERAGE THAT THEY HAVE AND MAY LIKE WITHIN THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. AND THOSE AREN'T MY STATISTICS. THAT'S THE REPORT THAT CAME RIGHT OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE JUST A LITTLE OVER A WEEK AGO. WELL, SO THE PUBLIC IS -- IS SKEPTICAL, AND I COME TO YOU AS SOMEONE WHO HAS WORKED WITH PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, WORKED AS THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF THE WYOMING HEALTH FAIR, THAT HAS PROVIDED LOW-COST HEALTH SCREENING FOR PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THE COWBOY STATE, WHERE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SHOW UP AT HEALTH FAIRS ON WEEKENDS AND LEARN WHAT THEIR BLOOD SUGAR IS AND HOW TO HELP GET THAT DOWN, TO HELP PEOPLE WITH DIABETES, TO GET TO LEN LEARN WHAT THEIR CHOLESTEROL LEFERLS ARE AND GET THAT DOWN, LEARN IF THEY HAVE THYROID PROBLEMS AND DO SCREENINGS FOR CANCER AS WELL. SO, PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY ARE CONCERNED WITH THEIR CARE AND THE QUALITY OF THEIR CARE AND THE COST OF THEIR CARE, AND THE PRESIDENT HAS MADE A NUMBER OF PROMISES, AND THERE IS ANOTHER ONE THAT HE MADE THAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT TODAY, AND THAT IS A PROMISE THAT THE PRESIDENT MADE TO SMALL BUSINESSES. ON MAY 7, MR. PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT OBAMA, ON HIS MONTHLY JOBS NUMBER, HAS SAID 4 MILLION -- 4 MILLION SMALL BUSINESSES RECENTLY RECEIVED A POSTCARD IN THEIR MAILBOX TELLING THEM THAT THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A HEALTH CARE TAX CUT THIS YEAR. SO THE PRESIDENT SAID, HE SAID 4 MILLION SMALL BUSINESSES RECENTLY RECEIVED A POSTCARD IN THEIR MAILBOX TELLING THEM THAT THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR A HEALTH CARE TAX CUT THIS YEAR. HE WENT ON TO SAY IT'S WORTH PERHAPS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO EACH OF THESE COMPANIES. WELL, ON FACE VALUE, THAT SOUNDS PRETTY GOOD, MR. PRESIDENT. SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY WOULD WELCOME THAT SORT OF HELP. BUT YET, I'D LIKE TO BRING TO THE FLOOR TODAY AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY ONE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, CHARLES ARK. THE TITLE OF HIS COLUMN IS "OBAMA CARE'S BROKEN PROMISE: ONE COMPANY'S EXPERIENCE." AND I TALKED WITH HIM YESTERDAY BY PHONE. HE'S IN ILLINOIS. AND HE SAID THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WHAT'S HAPPENED TO HIS BUSINESS, AND HE KNOWS I'M GOING TO BE SHARING IT ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE TODAY, BECAUSE HE HAS CONCERNS, AND HE GOT THAT POSTCARD, AND HE WAS AT FIRST ENCOURAGED BY THE PRESIDENT'S WORDS, THE PRESIDENT'S PROMISE. BUT AGAIN, IT'S ANOTHER BROKEN PROMISE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THIS IS A LETTER DATED JUNE 18 OF THIS YEAR. HE SAYS "A FEW MONTHS AFTER THE PASSAGE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL, A POSTCARD ARRIVED WHICH LED ME TO BELIEVE THERE MAY BE A BENEFIT COMING TO MY SMALL FIRM. THE MAILING FROM THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT COUNTED A GENEROUS 35% TAX CREDIT TO FIRMS WITH LESS THAN 25 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES AVERAGING LESS THAN $50,000 PER YEAR IN WAGES. A CATEGORY, HE SAYS, WHICH INCLUDES MY COMPANY. HE SAID "IN FACT, I THOUGHT WE WERE RIGHT IN THE SWEET SPOT. WITH 17 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES AVERAGING SLIGHTLY MORE THAN $42,000 PER YEAR. WELL, SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS RELIEF. HE GOES ON TO EXPLAIN ABOUT HIS COMPANY. HE SAID I MANAGE PENNY PRINTING COMPANY IN STERLING, ILLINOIS. I'M THE PRESIDENT OF THE FIRM WHICH OUR FAMILY HAS OWNED FOR 100 YEARS. HE SAYS HEALTH CARE EXPENSE ARE A MAJOR OBSTACLE TO PENNY'S LONG-TERM PROSPERITY. EACH YEAR IN MAY OUR POLICY RENEWS AND WE ARE FACED WITH DOUBLE-DIGIT PREMIUM INCREASES, 20% TO 40% IN RECENT YEARS. SOME OF THE INCREASES ARE ABSORBED BY THE COMPANY. SOME GET PASSED ON TO EMPLOYEES THROUGH HIGHER PREMIUMS, DEDUCTIBLES AND CO-PAYS. WE EXPERIMENTED WITH HIGH-DEDUCTIBLE HEALTH PLANS. LAST YEAR WE WERE FORCED TO DOWNGRADE TO AN H.M.O. PLAN. HE SAID WE ARE NEARING THE END OF OUR ROPE SO I WAS HOPEFUL TO LEARN THERE COULD BE BENEFIT IN THE NEW LAW. WHAT SMALL BUSINESS OWNER WOULDN'T? HE GOES ON TO SAY, POSTCARD IN HAND, I DID A QUICK CALCULATION AND FIGURED OUR TAX CREDIT SHOULD BE ABOUT $28,000. WELL, THIS IS 35% OF THE $80,000 WE EXPECT TO SPEND THIS YEAR ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS. HE SAID, I PHONED OUR HEALTH CARE -- OUR HEALTH INSURANCE BROKER AND INQUIRED WHETHER ANYTHING SPECIAL HAD TO BE DONE, NOT WANTING TO BE EXCLUDED BY SOME TECHNICALITY. HE REPORTED THAT THERE WAS NO SPECIAL REQUIREMENT, SO MORE GOOD NEWS. AHA, THE NEXT SECTION, BARRIER TO TAX CREDIT. HE SAID THERE WAS A PROBLEM. A FEW WEEKS LATER I RECEIVED AN E-MAIL WITH A LINK TO THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES ONLINE CALCULATOR. AND THIS IS A CALCULATOR DESIGNED, HE SAID, TO HELP FIRMS DETERMINE THEIR QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE TAX CREDIT. I PLUGGED IN OUR NUMBERS AND PRESSED UPDATE TO YIELD A CALCULATION, HE SAID, OF ZERO, ZIP, NADA. DOUBLE CHECKING, I TRIED AGAIN AND AGAIN, FINALLY CONCLUDING THE 35% TAX CREDIT WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLY TO FIRMS WITH 10 OR FEWER EMPLOYEES AVERAGING $25,000 OR LESS PER YEAR. SINCE INCREASING EITHER FACTOR, EITHER THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OR THE AVERAGE SALARY, GREATLY DIMINISHES THE MAGNITUDE OF THE TAX CREDIT. INCREASING BOTH FACTORS YIELDS A PAR BOLL LICK REDUCTION IN THE RESULT. HE SAID BEING IN THE GRAPHIC ARTS INDUSTRY, HE DECIDED TO CREATE A CHART DIAGRAMMING THE LIMITS OF THIS GENEROUS -- QUOTE -- "GENEROUS TAX BREAK." I HAVE A CHART HERE, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. ARK GOES TON SAY, NOT ONE TO GIVE UP EASILY, I CONTINUED MY PURSUIT, BECAUSE HE HAD THE POSTCARD, OF COURSE. HE SAID SURELY THERE HAD TO BE SOME BENEFIT IN THIS FOR ME, AFTER YEARS AND YEARS OF PAYING THE TOLL FOR BIG GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AND RECEIVING NOTHING. THE VAGUE LANGUAGE ON THE POSTCARD INSTRUCTED READERS TO LEARN MORE AT IRS.GOV. THERE IT SAID TO EXCLUDE OWNERS, THOSE HAVING A STAKE OF 5% OR MORE FROM ALL THE INPUT VALUES. HE SAID I ENTERED THE NEW NUMBERS, SUBTRACTING MYSELF, MY ANNUAL PREMIUM, HE SAID, AND MY SALARY. THIS BROUGHT OUR HARD COUNT DOWN TO 16 EMPLOYEES, DROPPED THE ANNUAL SALARY TO $40,000. I ENTERED THE NUMBERS AND THE CALCULATORS DISPLAYED THE SAME RESULT. ANOTHER BIG GOOSE EGG. HE GOES ON. HE SAID TALK ABOUT UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. HE SAID, MY FIRM WOULD HAVE TO REDUCE ITS WORKFORCE AND CUT EMPLOYEES' WAGES TO BENEFIT FROM THIS NEWLY ENACTED PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. IS THIS WHAT THE OBJECTIVE SHOULD BE? I WOULD NEVER CONSIDER TAKING SUCH AN ACTION. MOST OF THE EMPLOYEES HAVE WORKED AT PENNY FOR 20 YEARS OR MORE. HE SAID IT GOT ME TO THINKING, THOUGH, MAYBE WE COULD DIVIDE PENNY PRINTING COMPANY INTO TWO SMALLER FIRMS. HE SAID WHILE I'M NO EXPERT AT GAMING THE GOVERNMENT LIKE SOME PEOPLE, IT CERTAINLY IS A POSSIBILITY MANY WILL CONSIDER. HE SAID, I FEEL FOOLISH NOW AFTER GETTING MY HOPES UP FOR A GOVERNMENT SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEM. HE SAID, OUR FIRM IS RUNNING OUT OF AFFORDABLE OPTIONS. HE SAID, IT IS MY BELIEF THAT HEALTH INSURANCE SHOULD BE DECOUP PELLED FROM EMPLOYMENT AND BOUGHT BY INDIVIDUAL FAMILIES IN THE SAME WAY THAT AN AUTOMOBILE IS PURCHASED. IT IS MY FEAR THAT OBAMACARE IS A STEP, HE SAYS, IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, AND MATTERS WILL GET WORSE, NOT BETTER, FOR PENNY PRINTING COMPANY AND OTHERS LIKE US. SO, THERE YOU HAVE IT, MR. PRESIDENT. A HEARTFELT LETTER WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHO GOT THE POSTCARD FROM THE I.R.S., FROM THE PRESIDENT, LISTENED TO THE PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT THAT SAID YOU'LL BE ELIGIBLE. BUT WHAT HE FOUND OUT, AS MANY SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS ALL ARPBTD COUNTRY WHO RECEIVED THIS POSTCARD IS, IS THAT IT DOESN'T APPLY TO THEM. AND IF THEY WANT TO MAKE IT APPLY TO THEM, WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO NEED TO DO IS ACTUALLY FIRE EMPLOYEES AND LOWER THE WAGES OF THE OTHER EMPLOYEES. MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. AND THAT'S WHY WHEN I TALKED TO MR. ARK YESTERDAY, THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY, HE SAID HE FOUND THIS DECEIVING. SO THAT'S WHY I COME WEEK AFTER WEEK TO THE SENATE FLOOR, MR. PRESIDENT, TO SAY IT IS TIME TO REPEAL THIS LEGISLATION AND REPLACE IT WITH LEGISLATION THAT DELIVERS MORE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, PUTS PATIENTS IN CHARGE, A PATIENT-CENTERED HEALTH CARE PLAN, ONE THAT ALLOWS AMERICANS TO BUY INSURANCE ACROSS STATE LINES, ONE THAT GIVES INDIVIDUALS THE SAME TAX RELIEF AS THE BIG COMPANIES WHEN THEY BUY THEIR OWN PERSONAL HEALTH INSURANCE, ONE THAT PROVIDES INDIVIDUAL INCENTIVES LIKE THE PEOPLE WHO ATTEND THE WYOMING HEALTH FAIRS, PEOPLE WHO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR HEALTH, WHO TRY TO DETECT PROBLEMS EARLY TO GET DOWN THE COST OF CARE; REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING THAT DEALS WITH LAWSUIT ABUSE AND THE EXPENSE OF UNNECESSARY TESTS DUE TO DOCTORS PRACTICING DEFENSIVE MEDICINE, AND ALLOW SMALL BUSINESSES TO JOIN TOGETHER TO PROVIDE LESS EXPENSIVE INSURANCE TO THEIR EMPLOYEES. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK ON. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT I WILL CONTINUE TO COME TO THE SENATE FLOOR AND SHARE WITH THE MEMBERS OF THIS BODY AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. AND TODAY THAT'S WHY I OFFER THIS SECOND OPINION AND ANOTHER REASON TO REPEAL AND REPLACE THIS HEALTH CARE LAW. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT? A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:24:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEVADA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:24:11 PM

    MR. ENSIGN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND IN THE LARGER CONTEXT OF OUR NATIONAL DEBT. ALLOW ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO THROW OUT JUST A FEW NUMBERS WHICH I WILL EXPLAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES. $30 BILLION, $200 BILLION, $13 TRILLION, $114,000, AND 60% OF G.D.P. TO MANY AMERICANS, THESE NUMBERS ARE JUST THAT. NUMBERS WITH NO REAL MEANING TO THEM. UNFORTUNATELY, THE SAME CAN BE SAID FOR MANY HERE IN THE SENATE AS WELL. THESE ARE JUST SIMPLE NUMBERS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE. BUT NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH. THESE FIVE NUMBERS ARE MARKERS ALONG THE ROAD TO FISCAL CATASTROPHE THAT WE ARE HEADING DOWN AT FULL SPEED. THESE FIVE NUMBERS TOGETHER ARE SYMBOLS OF A GREAT THREAT TO THE STABILITY OF OUR COUNTRY BOTH TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE. SO, THE $30 BILLION NUMBER, 14% OF NEVADANS ARE UNEMPLOYED AT THIS POINT. PEOPLE ARE HURTING ACROSS MY STATE. WE LEAD THE COUNTRY IN UNEMPLOYMENT. WELL, A LOT HAS BEEN SAID ON THE ISSUE OF EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. AND WHILE THIS ISSUE HAS BECOME ONE OF POLITICAL FODDER AND PARTISANSHIP, THE FACTS ON THIS ISSUE HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT IN FAVOR OF HIGH-STRUNG RHETORIC AND POLITICAL OPPORTUNITY. LET ME TAKE A MOMENT TO EXPLAIN TO MY CONSTITUENTS THE REAL DEBATE ON THIS ISSUE. I, ALONG WITH MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, BELIEVE THAT EXTENDING THESE BENEFITS FOR THE UNEMPLOYED SHOULD BE A TOP PRIORITY HERE IN THE SENATE. I THINK BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE AGREE ON THAT. AND I KNOW THAT WE CAN PAY TO EXTEND THESE BENEFITS NOW BY CUTTING SPENDING IN OTHER AREAS AND REDIRECTING SOME STIMULUS FUNDS WHICH HAVE HAD LITTLE IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY IN MY STATE AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY. DESPITE WHAT SOME OF MY OTHER COLLEAGUES MAY SAY HERE ON THE FLOOR, THERE IS NO DEBATE ON EXTENDING THE BENEFITS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN VICTIM TO A DOWNTURN ECONOMY. THE DEBATE ON THIS ISSUE ACTUALLY LIES WITH THE FACT THAT THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT, AND THEY WOULD LIKE TO AVOID PAYING FOR THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION BECAUSE IT'S TOUGH TO MAKE CUTS. INSTEAD WE'RE GOING TO ADD ANOTHER $30 BILLION ON TO OUR RECORD-BREAKING NATIONAL DEBT. I KNOW THE $30 BILLION IS JUST ANOTHER NUMBER TO THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, BUT IT'S ONE THAT COULD EASILY BE PAID FOR NOW BY JUST ADHERING TO THEIR OWN POLICY OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO. EACH TIME -- ON PAYGO EACH TIME THE SENATE VOTED TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, MEMBERS IN THIS BODY HAD TWO OPTIONS. ONE, THE DEMOCRATIC OPTION OF EXTENDING THESE BENEFITS AND JUST PUTTING THE DEBT, ADDING TO THE DEBT ON TO OUR CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN. THEY HAVE HAD THE -- ON THE OTHER SIDE, THEY HAVE HAD THE REPUBLICAN OPTION OF NOT ONLY EXTENDING THESE VITAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, BUT ALSO PAYING FOR IT AT THE SAME TIME BY REDUCING SPENDING IN OTHER AREAS. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE HAS VOTED AGAINST THESE COMMONSENSE PROPOSALS EACH TIME. SIX TIMES, TO BE EXACT. LET ME MAKE THAT MORE CLEAR. DEMOCRATS HAVE VOTED AGAINST PAYING FOR UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION SIX TIMES. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME THAT THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE HAVE GONE AGAINST THEIR OWN PAYGO POLICY, BUT IT IS THE FIRST TIME THAT THEY HAVE HURT THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS IN DOING SO. I MENTION THE NUMBER OF $200 BILLION EARLIER. THIS IS THE NUMBER THAT REPRESENTS THE AMOUNT OF SPENDING THAT IS VIOLATED -- THAT VIOLATED THE DEMOCRATS' OWN PAY-AS-YOU-GO POLICY. FOUR MONTHS AGO THERE WAS A SIGNING CEREMONY DOWN AT THE ROSE GARDEN WITH THE PRESIDENT. DEMOCRATS DECIDED TO HEED THE WARNINGS OF MANY HERE, INCLUDING MYSELF, WHO SAID WE WERE LITERALLY BANKRUPTING THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY WITH THE AMOUNT OF NATIONAL DEBT THAT WE WERE PAYING, PASSING DOWN TO OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN. SO THEY CAME UP WITH A POLICY THAT WOULD MANDATE PAYING SPENDING PROPOSALS NOW RATHER THAN LATER. HOWEVER, THERE WERE A FEW CAVEATS TO THIS NEW FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY PROPOSAL ONE OF WHICH ALLOWED FOR EMERGENCY FUNDING TO BE EXEMPT. WHAT WE HAVE WITNESSED IN THE LAST FOUR MONTHS HAS TRULY BEEN A GENIUS WAY OF SKIRTING THIS PAY-AS-YOU-GO POEUFPLT THEY HAVE DEEMED A GROTESQUE AMOUNT OF DOMESTIC SPENDING AS -- QUOTE -- "EMERGENCY SPENDING" WHEN IN FACT IT IS NOT EMERGENCY. THEY HAVE DONE THIS MOST RECENTLY WITH UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. IT IS HARD TO ARGUE THAT FUNDING THAT WE KNEW WOULD EXPIRE TO BE AN EMERGENCY. BUT THEY HAVE TRIED TO DO SO ANYWAY. THE REAL STICKING POINT HERE IS THAT IF WE ARE TO DEEM EVERY SPENDING MEASURE THAT COMES TO THE FLOOR OF THIS BODY AS AN EMERGENCY, THEN WE'RE ONLY SPEEDING UP OUR PATH TO FISCAL RULING, ENSURING OUR RECORD-BREAKING NATIONAL DEBT CONTINUES TO BE JUST THAT: RECORD-BREAKING. $13 TRILLION, THAT IS OUR NATIONAL DEBT TODAY THAT WE REACHED. IT'S A NEW MILESTONE. BUT IT'S NOT ONE THAT I THINK THAT MANY ARE CELEBRATING. OUR NATIONAL DEBT BROKE INTO A NEW STRATOSPHERE WHEN IT CROSSED THE $13 TRILLION THRESHOLD. IT'S TRULY AN APE SOUNDING NUMBER. BUT THIS GETS -- IT'S TRULY AN APE SOUNDING NUMBER. BUT THIS GETS WORSE UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S OWN BUDGET. THE DEBT THAT WILL BE ADD OVER THE NEXT BY 2019 WILL BE THREE TIMES THE AMOUNT THAT WAS RUNG UP OVER THE FIRST 232 YEARS OF THIS COUNTRY'S HISTORY. SO TAKE ALL OF THE PRESIDENTS BEFORE PRESIDENT OBAMA, ALL THE WAY THROUGH GEORGE W. BUSH, ADD THE TOTAL NUMBER OF DEBT THAT THEY ADDED TO THIS COUNTRY, AND WE'RE GOING TO TRIPLE THAT IN THE 10 YEARS FROM 2009 TO 2019. JUST LIKE AN AVERAGE FAMILY WHEN TE DELAY PAYMENT ON A PURCHASE AND CHRNLGAND CHARGE IT TO THE CREDIT CARD THEY ARE ADDING INTEREST TO THE MONEY THEY NEED TO PAY BACK. THE UNITED STATES WHEN THEY CHARGE MONEY AND ADD IT ON THE NATIONAL CARD IS IN THE SAME SITUATION. HOWEVER WE ARE NOT BORROWING IT FROM A BANK, WE ARE BORROWING IT FROM CHINA, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA AND MANY OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD. EACH TIME THE MAJORITY DEEMS A SPENDING BILL AS AN EMERGENCY FUNDING BILL, WE DELAY PAYING THE COST FOR THIS LEGISLATION. WE ARE ADDING ON TO THIS NATIONAL CREDIT CARD BILL WITH INTEREST THAT WE PAY TO CHINA, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA AND MANY OTHERS. AT ANY POINT THESE COUNTRIES COULD DECIDE TO UP OUR INTEREST RATES TO SUCH A LEVEL WHEN WE ATTEMPT TO START PAYING DOWN OUR DEBT, WE ARE ONLY -- ONLY ABLE TO PAY OFF THE INTEREST THAT WE OWE ON OUR CREDIT CARD. NOT THE ACTUAL DEBT. FURTHER SHOULD YOUR ECONOMIC SITUATION CONTINUE TO DECLINE, THESE COUNTRIES COULD REVOKE OUR BORROWING PRIVILEGES ALL TOGETHER. IF THAT HAPPENS, THIS WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC FOR THE ECONOMY OF THE UNITED STATES. I MENTIONED $114,000 EARLIER. WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA FIRST TOOK OFFICE, A CHILD BORN IN THE UNITED STATES WAS BORN WITH WITH $58,000 OF DEBT ON -- ON -- $85,000 WORTH OF DEBT ON ITS BACK. IN JUST A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME THAT CHILD BORN IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY NOW HAS HAS $114,000 OF DEBT ON THEIR BACK. AND THAT AMOUNT IS JUST GOING TO CONTINUE TO RISE BECAUSE OF HOW FAST WE'RE ADDING TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. GOING EVEN FARTHER INTO THE FUTURE SHOULD PRESIDENT OBAMA RECEIVE A SECOND TERM AND OUR SPENDING LEVEL STAY AT A HIGH LEVEL THAN THEY ARE NOW, A CHILD BORN IN THE UNITED STATES WILL OWE ALMOST $200,000. AS THEY'RE BORN, THAT'S HOW MUCH DEBT THEY HAVE, $200,000 FOR EVERY CHILD BORN IN THE UNITED STATES. WELL, I'VE SPOKEN A LOT OVER THIS PAST YEAR ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY AND WHAT THIS DEBT BURDEN WILL ACTUALLY MEAN. A NEW CHILD OWING THAT MUCH MONEY, THIS MEANS THAT THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO PAY FOR COLLEGE, BUY A HOUSE, START A NEW SMALL BUSINESS, RAISE A FAMILY, AND MAYBE RETIRE SOME DAY. THIS ISN'T JUST AN ABSTRACT NUMBER. WE ACTUALLY OWE THESE COUNTRIES THE MONEY THAT WE HAVE BORROWED FROM THEM WITH INTEREST. WE HAVE TO PAY THAT MONEY BACK WHETHER THESE COUNTRIES DEMAND PAYMENT FIVE YEARS FROM NOW OR LATER, WE STILL HAVE TO PAY IT BACK. I MENTIONED 60%, THAT NUMBER. 60% OF G.D.P., LET ME REMIND YOU OF THE FINAL -- OF THIS FINAL NUMBER WHAT IT REALLY MEANS. IT'S A CRITICAL MILESTONE ON THE PATH TO FISCAL RUIN. MOST OF US REMEMBER THE IMAGES THAT WE SAW ON NIGHTLY NEWS OF THE RIOTS BREAKING OUT ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN GREECE WHEN IT WAS REVEALED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS BEYOND BANKRUPT AND NO LONGER ABLE TO GUARANTEE SERVICES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. HISTORICALLY OUR DEBT HAS BEEN AROUND 35% OF G.D.P. SINCE THE DEMOCRATS HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF CONGRESS, THIS DEBT HAS SKYROCKETED. THE TIPPING POINT IS WHAT GREECE FOUND WHEN THEY HAD SO MUCH DEBT ON THEIR BOOKS THAT PEOPLE REALIZED THEY WERE GOING TO BE UNABLE TO PAY IT BACK. THE TIPPING POINT WHERE THE WORLD COMMUNITY REALIZED THAT THEY SHOULD BE CHARGING A LOT MORE TO LEND GREECE MONEY WAS WHEN GREECE EXCEEDED 60% OF G.D.P. THE UNITED STATES PASSED THAT MAGIC NUMBER THIS YEAR. 60% WAS THE TIPPING POINT FOR GREECE. HOW FAR BEHIND THEM DO YOU THINK WE REALLY ARE? THE UNITED STATES PASSED THAT 60% PART OF G.D.P. THIS YEAR WITH THE HELP OF THE HEALTH CARE BILL, THE $200 BILLION THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OFFSET WITH PAYGO, THE STIMULUS BILL THAT WAS $850 BILLION LAST YEAR THAT JUST ADDED ON TO THE DEBT. LAST YEAR'S APPROPRIATION BILLS, WHICH HAD LARGE INCREASES IN EACH ONE OF THEM. THE COUNTRY OF GREECE IS FORESHADOWING THE POSSIBLE FATE FOR THE UNITED STATES IF WE DON'T TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FISCAL MESS THAT WE HAVE CREATED. WE HAVE LIVED THIS YEAR THROUGH INSTANT GRATIFICATION POLICIES AND NOT ONLY IS THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY IN JEOPARDY, SO ARE THE NEXT 10, THE NEXT FIVE, AND THIS YEAR. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, $30 BILLION REPRESENTS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY DEMOCRATS WANT TO ADD TO OUR NATIONAL DEBT TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. $200 BILLION REPRESENTS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT HAS BEEN DEEMED AS EMERGENCY TO GET AROUND THE PAYGO RULES. $13 TRILLION REPRESENTS THE RECORDBREAKING NATIONAL DEBT THAT WE HAVE REACHED JUST THIS YEAR. THAT $114,000 THAT I MENTIONED IS THE AMOUNT THAT EACH CHILD BORN TODAY IN THE UNITED STATES HAS DEBT ON THEIR BACKS. 60% OF G.D.P. IS THE TIPPING POINT OF ECONOMIC COLLAPSE THAT PUTS THE UNITED STATES ONE STEP CLOSER TO GREECE. TO MANY IN THIS -- IN THIS BODY THESE ARE JUST NUMBERS. I THINK WE ALL HAVE TO FACE THE REALITY THAT THESE NUMBERS REPRESENT MARKERS ON THE PATH TO FISCAL RUIN IF WE DON'T TURN IT AROUND. WE ARE HEADING DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO FISCAL CATASTROPHE AND OUR COUNTRY LITERALLY STANDS AT A CROSSROADS. WE HAVE TO DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND AND STOP BORROWING MONEY FOR LEGISLATION WHEN THE OPTION TO PAY FOR IT STANDS ONLY ONE VOTE AWAY. EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IS -- ISN'T A PARTISAN ISSUE AND NEITHER IT OUR COUNTRY'S PENDING FISCAL CRISIS. THE SENATE NEEDS TO EXTEND THESE BENEFITS BY PAYING FOR THEM NOW AND THEN WE CAN TAKE THE FIRST STEP AND THE COUNTRY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION TOWARD FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY. MR. PRESIDENT, JUST A COUPLE OF OTHER COMMENTS. WHY ARE WE NOT REDUCING UNNECESSARY AND WASTEFUL GOVERNMENT SPENDING TO PAY, FOR EXAMPLE, THESE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BENEFITS? SENATOR COBURN'S OFFICE HAS IDENTIFIED ALMOST $4.5 BILLION IN SAVINGS OVER 10 YEARS FROM REDUCING UNNECESSARY PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COSTS OF GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS. ADD UP THE SAVINGS FROM THESE CUTS AND -- AND THESE KIND OF EXAMPLES ARE THE TYPE OF WASTEFUL SPENDING THAT WE COULD PAY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION JUST AT LEAST FOR A SHORT TIME. WELL, HOW ABOUT REDIRECTING SOME OF THE UNUSED STIMULUS FUNDS. THE STIMULUS BILL WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN IMMEDIATE STIMULUS. SOME OF THE MONEY HAS STILL NOT BEEN PAID OUT OR OBLIGATED. SO HOW ABOUT INSTEAD OF JUST ADDING TO THE DEBT, WE TAKE THAT MONEY AND PAY FOR AND OFFSET THE SPENDING FOR THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS? I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE ABSOLUTE REFUSAL BY THE OTHER SIDE TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY. FOR EXAMPLE, THE SMALL BUSINESS LENDING BILL, WHICH THE SENATE IS CURRENTLY SET TO CONSIDER CONTAINS A NUMBER OF OFFSETS FOR INCLUDING TAX RULES ON RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS. THE SO-CALLED MEDICARE DOC FIX WAS RECENTLY SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE PRESIDENT. THIS WAS COMPLETELY SWROF SET BY CHANGES IN -- WAS OFFSET BY CHANGES IN THE MEDICARE BILLING AND CHANGES IN PENSION RULES. NOW, I DON'T NECESSARILY AGREE WITH SOME OF THE OFFSETS THAT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE HAS USED BUT THE POINT IS THAT A DEBATE ON THE SENATE FLOOR PAYING FOR ANY PIECE OF LEGISLATION SHOULD NOT REST WITH WHETHER WE PAY FOR -- FOR NEW LEGISLATION, BUT IT IS HOW WE SHOULD PAY FOR IT. THIS DEBATE IS A DEBATE THAT WE OWE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS AND THE CONTINUED PROSPERITY OF OUR GREAT NATION. TOMORROW, OR MAYBE LATER TODAY, WEWE WILL BE VOTING ON A BILL THAT WILL EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WILL HAVE ONE THAT EXTENDS THOSE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, BUT IT WILL JUST BE ADDING TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. THE REPUBLICAN SIDE WILL BE OFFERING AN ALTERNATIVE THAT WILL BE COMPLETELY OFFSET. I HOPE THAT THIS CHAMBER FINALLY GETS ITS FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER, EXTENDS THOSE REALLY IMPORTANT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS THAT NEED TO BE GIVEN TO FOLKS WHO ARE REALLY STRUGGLING OUT IN AMERICA. BUT LET'S DO IT IN A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 02:40:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA'S RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:40:17 PM

    MR. WEBB

    MR. PRESIDENT. TODAY MARKS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT. TODAY MARKS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE G.I. BILL. I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES ABOUT THAT. BEFORE I DO, I HAVE NOT YET HAD THE OPPORTUNITY ON THIS FLOOR TO EXPRESS MY REGRET FOR THE PASS OF SENATOR ROBERT BYRD AND MY INCREDIBLE RESPECT FOR THE SERVICE THAT HE GAVE OUR COUNTRY. I -- I WAS ONLY ABLE TO SERVE WITH SENATOR BYRD AT THE TWILIGHT OF HIS CAREER, BUT I KNEW HIM IN HIS CAPACITY AS ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND SECRETARY OF THE NAVY YEARS AGO AND HAVE ADMIRED HIM FOR MANY, MANY YEARS AS AN INDIVIDUAL OF FIERCE INTELLECT. HE WAS A STRONG PROPONENT OF THE BALANCE OF POWER, PARTICULARLY PROTECTIVE OF THE POWERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AS THEY RELATE TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, WHICH IS AN AREA THAT I HAVE FOCUSED A GOOD DEAL OF MY TIME OVER THE YEARS. HE HAD A GREAT LOVE FOR THE PEOPLE OF APPALACHIA. HE WAS THEIR GREATEST CHAMPION. HE WAS A SELF-MADE MAN IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD, SELF-MADE ECONOMICALLY, BORN AN ORPHAN, SELF-MADE IN TERMS OF HIS OWN EDUCATION. I RECALL WHEN I WAS SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, I HAD THE AUTHORITY TO NAME VARIOUS COMBATANTS AND I NAMED A SUBMARINE THE U.S.S. WEST VIRGINIA. AND WHEN I MADE THE STATEMENT ABOUT WHY I NAMED THAT COMBATANT, I POINTED OUT THAT WEST VIRGINIA IN EVERY WAR OF THE 20th CENTURY RANKED EITHER FIRST OR SECOND IN TERMS OF ITS CASUALTY RATE. HE WAS SOMEONE WHO NEVER FORGOT THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE PEOPLE OF THAT MUCH MALIGNED STATE TO THE WELL-BEING AND THE GREATNESS OF OUR COUNTRY AND HE LEFT HIS MARK ON ALL OF US, AND I WOULD BE REMISS IF I DID NOT EXPRESS MY REGRET OF HIS PASSING. AS I SAID, TODAY MARKS THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POST 9/11 G.I. BILL. THIS IS LANDMARK LEGISLATION. I WAS PRIVILEGED TO INTRODUCE THAT BILL ON MY FIRST DAY IN OFFICE. THE IDEA WAS TO GIVE THOSE WHO SERVED SINCE 9/11 THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS SINCE WORLD WAR II. WE DID THAT AND WE BEGAN WITH A SIMPLE CONCEPT EVEN BEFORE I DECIDED TO RUN FOR SENATE. AND THAT WAS IF WE KEEP CALLING THESE PEOPLE THE NEXT GREATEST GENERATION, THEN WE SHOULD, AS A NATION, EXPRESS OUR APPRECIATION IN A PROPER WAY BY GIVING THEM THE SAME TYPE OF EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS THAT THOSE WHO CAME BACK FROM WORLD WAR II RECEIVE. PAY THEIR TUITION, BUY THEIR BOOKS, AND GIVE THEM A MONTHLY STIPEND. IT WAS A FORMULA THAT WORKED MAGNIFICENTLY FOR THOSE WHO WERE IN WORLD WAR II AND 7.8 MILLION OF THOSE VETERANS BECAUSE OF THE G.I. BILL WERE ABLE TO HAVE A FIRST-CLASS FUTURE. WE WORKED VERY HARD IN MY OFFICE WITH A LOT OF STAFF WORK DIRECTLY FROM OUR OFFICE PUSHING THIS LEGISLATION. WE EVENTUALLY ACHIEVED THE KEY COSPONSORSHIP OF THREE OTHER SENATORS, SENATOR JOHN WARNER, MY FORMER SENIOR SENATOR, REPUBLICAN FROM VIRGINIA, SENATOR CHUCK HAGEL OF NEBRASKA, NOW DEPARTED, ANOTHER REPUBLICAN, AND SENATOR FRANK LAUTENBERG OF NEW JERSEY, A FELLOW DEMOCRAT. SO WE APPROACHED THIS IN A WAY THAT WE WERE TRYING TO SHOW A BALANCE. WE HAD TWO WORLD WAR II VETERANS, TWO VIETNAM VETERANS, TWO REPUBLICANS, TWO DEMOCRATS. WE WANT TO STRIP THE POLITICS OUT OF THIS ISSUE. AND, ALONG WITH OUR COLLEAGUES ON THIS SIDE AND ALSO IN THE HOUSE AND THE COOPERATION OF THE LEADING VETERANS SERVICE GROUPS AND THE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMUNITY AND, QUITE FRANKLY, DESPITE THE CONTINUED OPPOSITION OF THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION, WHICH FOR SOME REASON OPPOSEED THIS LEGISLATION ALL THE WAY TO THE DAY BEFORE THEY SIGNED IT, WE WERE ABLE TO GET THIS BILL THROUGH. AND I AM SO PROUD IN THE FACT THAT HAVING ACCOMPLISHED THAT GOAL TWO YEARS AGO RIGHT NOW, THE BILL WAS SIGNED INTO LAW, ONE YEAR AGO TODAY THIS BILL WENT INTO EFFECT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED OUR NATION SO HONORABLY AND SO WELL SINCE 9/11. AND I CAN REPORT TO THIS BODY THAT AS OF TODAY IN THIS FIRST YEAR OF IMPLEMENTATION ALONE MORE THAN 550,000 VETERANS HAVE APPLIED TO RECEIVE THIS BENEFIT AND MORE THAN 267,000 VETERANS ARE NOW ATTENDING CLASSES ON THE POST-9/11 G.I. BILL. THAT'S MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A MILLION YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO OTHERWISE MIGHT NOT HAVE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A TRULY FIRST-CLASS FUTURE. AS MY FELLOW SENATORS SNOW, I WAS SOMEONE WHO GREW UP IN THE MILITARY. I WAS PROISTLED TO SERVE IN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY. I'M VERY PROUD OF MY SON WHO SERVED AS A MARINE AND MY SON-IN-LAW WHO SERVED AS A MARINE IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND WHO CONTINUES TO SERVE, AND SO MANY OTHER FRIENDS AND COME OPERATE ROTS OVER THE YEARS. I UNDERSTAND THE SPONSORS -- COME PATRIOTS OVER THE YEARS. I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PROPER STEWARDS FROM THIS BODY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THIS TYPE OF SERVICE. THAT IS OUR DUTY, AND THIS G.I. BILL, I THINK, SHOWS A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AND THE DESIRE OF THE LEADERSHIP OF THIS COUNTRY TO SEE THOSE WHO SERVE REALLY BE ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD IN THEIR LIVES AFTER THEIR SERVICE AND CONTINUE TO PROVIDE GREAT CONTRIBUTION TOSS OUR COUNTRY. -- CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR COUNTRY. WHEN I RAN FOR OFFICE, I SHOULD ALSO POINT OUT I SPOKE A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THE NEED TO RECLAIM ECONOMIC FAIRNESS IN THIS COUNTRY, AND PARTICULARLY IN TIMES AS WE SEE RIGHT NOW WHERE OUR ECONOMIC HEALTH IS IN DANGER. THE HEALTH OF OUR SOCIETY OVERALL IS MEASURED BY HOW WORKING PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO MAKE IT THROUGH DIFFERENT BARRIERS AND ACHIEVE ALONGSIDE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD GREATER ADVANTAGES, AND THIS BILL TODAY DOES THAT. JUST AS IT DID AFTER WORLD WAR II. WE SHOULD REMEMBER AS WE LOOK AT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS G.I. BILL WHAT IT DID TO THOSE WHO SERVED IN WORLD WAR II. VERY FEW OF WHOMEVER THOUGHT THAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION ONCE THEY WENT INTO THE MILITARY DURING THOSE DARK AND TROUBLED TIMES. AND FOR EVERY DOLLAR THAT WAS PUT IN THROUGH TAX DOLLARS INTO THAT WORLD WAR II G.I. BILL, OUR COUNTRY RECEIVED $7 IN TAX REMUNERATIONS BECAUSE THOSE PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO GO FORWARD AND HAVE A TRULY FIRST-CLASS FUTURE. THIS IS WHAT WE'RE DOING NOW. WE HAVE NEVER ERRED AS A COUNTRY WHEN WE HAVE MADE SUSTAINED INVESTMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION FOR OUR PEOPLE, AND PARTICULARLY WHEN IT COMES TO VETERANS, THIS IS NOT SIMPLY AN ADVANTAGE FOR THIS COUNTRY, IT'S AN OBLIGATION THAT WE HAVE. SO I WOULD LIKE TO ON THIS DAY REMEMBER THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE IN THIS BODY AND IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND COMING TOGETHER TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION. I'D LIKE TO THANK THE AMERICAN LEGION, THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS, THE IRAQ-AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA, THE MILITARY IRAQ ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, AND MANY, MANY OTHERS, INCLUDING NEARLY 60 SENATORS AND MORE THAN 300,000 MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE WHO SIGNED ON AS COSPONSORS TO THIS LANDMARK EFFORT. I THINK WE CAN ALL TAKE PRIDE TODAY IN SAYING THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE A PROPER INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE OF THOSE WHO SINCE 9/11 HAVE GIVEN SO MUCH TO THIS COUNTRY. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:48:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:48:25 PM

    MR. REID

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO AN…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO AN EXTRAORDINARY SENATOR, AN EXTRAORDINARY PERSON, ROBERT BYRD OF WEST VIRGINIA. CHAIRMAN BYRD WAS THE LONGEST SERVING SENATOR IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, AND HE SERVED WITH EXTRAORDINARY DISTINCTION, NOT ONLY ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA BUT ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US. I THINK THE GREAT LESSON OF HIS LIFE IS THAT THROUGH CONSTANT SELF-IMPROVEMENT, THROUGH CONSTANT EDUCATION, NOT ONLY CAN YOU RISE TO GREAT HEIGHTS BUT YOU CAN ALSO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR COUNTRY AND TO YOUR COMMUNITY. SENATOR BYRD WAS BORN IN VERY, VERY HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES.

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  • 02:49:14 PM

    MR. REED

    DON'T THINK ANYONE WOULD HAVE PREDICTED THAT HE WOULD HAVE BECOME THE…

    DON'T THINK ANYONE WOULD HAVE PREDICTED THAT HE WOULD HAVE BECOME THE LONGEST SERVING SENATOR IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. IN FACT, TRAGICALLY WITHIN A YEAR OF HIS BIRTH, HIS MOTHER PASSED AWAY AND HE WENT TO LIVE WITH HIS FATHER'S SISTER. BUT IN THOSE DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES IN WEST VIRGINIA, HE ROSE ABOVE IT THROUGH TENACIOUS EFFORT THROUGH HARD WORK. THROUGH HIS LIFE'S PATH, HE HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY COMPANION, THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE, ERMA. TOGETHER, THEY NOT ONLY HAD A FAMILY, THEY BUILT A LIFE OF SERVICE TO OTHERS, AND I KNOW HOW DEAR HIS DEAR ERMA WAS TO SENATOR BYRD. THEIR CHILDREN, MONA, MARJORIE, THEIR SON-IN-LAW, THEIR CHILDREN, THEIR GREAT GRANDCHILDREN ALL AT THIS MOMENT ARE REFLECTING ON THE WONDERFUL PERSON ROBERT BYRD WAS, HOW MUCH HE MEANT TO THEM, AND ALSO I HOPE RECOGNIZING HOW MUCH HE MEANT TO ALL OF US. IN THIS VERY DIFFICULT MOMENT, I'M SURE THAT HIS MEMORY, HIS EXAMPLE WILL SUSTAIN THEM AS IT SUSTAINS ALL OF US. SENATOR BYRD FROM THESE VERY HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES THROUGH HARD WORK AND SHIPYARDS AND THE COALFIELDS OF WEST VIRGINIA ROSE UP. HE ROSE UP BECAUSE OF HIS INCREDIBLE TALENT. NOT ONLY INTELLECTUAL TALENT, BUT I HAD THE GREAT GOOD FORTUNE ONCE TO HEAR HIM PLAY THE FIDDLE, AND ANYONE WHO COULD PLAY THE FIDDLE LIKE THAT HAD A GREAT HOPE OF EMPLOYMENT, AT LEAST IN THE MUSICAL WORLD, BUT HE WENT BEYOND THAT. AND SENATOR BYRD AGAIN THE LESSON HE TEACHES US ALL IS CONSTANT STRIVING. HE WAS SOMEONE WHO RECEIVED HIS LAW DEGREE WHILE A MEMBER OF THE CONGRESS. THE FIRST AND PERHAPS ONLY PERSON TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL WHILE HE WAS ALSO SERVING THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA AND THE CONGRESS. HE HAS WRITTEN SEVERAL ERUDITE ERUDITE -- IN FACT, REGARDED AS THE FOREMOST HISTORIES OF THE SENATE. NOT ONLY THIS SENATE, BUT THE ROMAN SENATE ALSO. HE DID THAT ALL BECAUSE HE WAS COMMITTED TO FINDING OUT ABOUT HISTORY, ABOUT LIFE, ABOUT THE HUMAN CHALLENGES, THE GREAT HUMAN ENDEAVORS AND USING THAT KNOWLEDGE TO HELP OTHERS. HE WAS SOMEONE WHO WE ALL REVERED. WHEN I ARRIVED IN THE SENATE, HE WAS GRACIOUS AND KIND AND HELPFUL. I CAN ALWAYS REMEMBER HE WOULD GREET ME AS MY CAPTAIN. HE HAD A DEEP AFFECTION FOR THOSE WHO SERVED, EVEN MYSELF WHO DIDN'T SERVE AT THE SAME LEVEL OF DISTINCTION AS DAN INOUYE AND JOHN KERRY AND JOHN McCAIN AND OTHERS. BUT HE WAS SOMEONE WHO HAS HELPED AND SUPPORTED ME, AND I APPRECIATE VERY MUCH HIS KINDNESS. I ALSO APPRECIATE THE PASSION HE BROUGHT TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THE PASSION HE BROUGHT TO ENSURE THAT THE SENATE AND THE CONGRESS PLAYED ITS RIGHTFUL ROLE IN DELIBERATIONS OF THIS GOVERNMENT. HE WOULD SAY QUITE OFTEN THAT HE HAD NOT SERVED UNDER NUMEROUS PRESIDENTS, HE HAD SERVED WITH THEM AS A SENATOR. A CO-EQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, THE LEGISLATURE. HE FOUGHT NOT SIMPLY FOR PERSONAL PREROGATIVES. HE FOUGHT FOR PRINCIPLE, THAT THIS GOVERNMENT WOULD BE, AS OUR FOUNDING FATHERS DESIGNED IT, THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL BRANCH. AND HIS PASSION FOR THE CONSTITUTION WAS EVIDENT AND OBVIOUS. HE ALSO WAS PASSIONATE IN THE LAST FEW YEARS ABOUT THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES. HE SPOKE WITH ELOQUENCE AND WITH PASSION AGAINST OUR ENGAGEMENT IN IRAQ. HE SAW IT AS NOW IT'S BECOMING CLEARER AND CLEARER AS A STRATEGIC DISTRACTION FROM THE TRUE CHALLENGE WHICH WAS TO DEFEAT OUR OPPONENTS, AL QAEDA AND THEIR AFFILIATED TERRORIST GROUPS, AND TO DO THAT TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY. A REMARKABLE MAN, BORN OF HUMBLE ORIGIN, SELF-EDUCATED, EDUCATING HIMSELF, AND I WOULD SUSPECT THAT HIS LAST FEW DAYS, HE WAS STILL STRIVING TO LEARN MORE. I JUST SIMPLY WANT TO CLOSE BY THANKING HIM FOR HIS SERVICE, THANKING HIS FAMILY FOR SUPPORTING HIM IN HIS SERVICE AND THANKING THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA FOR THE WISDOM IN SENDING ROBERT BYRD TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND THE UNITED STATES SENATE, AND I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:55:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:55:02 PM

    MS. LANDRIEU

    IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 03:37:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 03:37:41 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, ON BEHALF OF SENATOR SNOWE --

  • 03:37:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 03:37:47 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    ON WITH BEHALF OF SENATOR SNOWE, I OBJECT.

  • 03:37:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 03:38:02 PM

    MR. BROWN

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IT'S UNFORTUNATE TO WATCH WHAT JUST HAPPENED AGAIN IN…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IT'S UNFORTUNATE TO WATCH WHAT JUST HAPPENED AGAIN IN THIS INSTITUTION. THE CHAIR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE WHO IS SERVING HER STATE AS AN INCREDIBLE ADVOCATE FOR HER STATE WANTS THIS GOVERNMENT TO BE ABLE TO GOVERN. YOU SEE ONE AFTER ANOTHER AFTER ANOTHER WHERE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS DOZENS AND DOZENS AND DOZENS OF APPOINT AO ERBGS NONCONTROVERSIAL -- APPOINTEES NONCONTROVERSIAL. MY GUESS IS WHEN THIS NOMINEE FINALLY COMES TO A VOTE, MY GUESS IS THERE WILL BE VERY, VERY FEW "NO" VOTES. WE'VE SEEN IT WITH FEDERAL JUDGES, SEEN IT WITH U.S. ATTORNEYS, WE'VE SEEN IT WITH U.S. MARSHALS. WE'VE SEEN IT WITH UNDERSCARCE AND ASSISTANT -- UNDER SECRETARIES AND TPHAPBT -- ASSISTANT SECRETARIES. ONE PARTY HAS CONSISTENTLY BLOCKED NOMINEE AFTER NOMINEE. IF YOU COME TO GOVERNMENT AND YOUR GOAL IS TO BLOCK ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING, SENATE RULES SERVE YOU PRETTY WELL. BUT IF YOU WANT TO PUT THIS RULE FORWARD AND PUT PARTY ASIDE WE WOULDN'T SEE THIS THING HAPPEN OVER AND OVER. I COMMEND SENATOR LANDRIEU FOR HER WORK ON THE FLOOR HERE TODAY, HER PASSIONATE ADVOCACY FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND HER WORK GENERALLY IN FIGHTING FOR HER STATE. BUT I WAS DISTURBED TO WATCH WHAT JUST HAPPENED. IF IT WERE THE ONLY TIME, I GUESS I WOULDN'T BE JUDGING OF IT MUCH, BUT IT'S NOT. MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BILL. I KNOW THAT SENATOR LANDRIEU AND HER STATE, THE PRESIDING OFFICER, SENATOR MERKLEY, AND HIS STATE OF OREGON HAVE PEOPLE ALL OVER THAT STATE WHO HAVE SEEN THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT RUN OUT. I JUST DON'T GET IT. I THINK THAT -- I KNOW SOME OF THE OPPONENTS, SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT VOTED NO ON UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION EXTENSION THINK THAT IT'S WELFARE. I'VE HEARD SOME OF THEM SAY THESE PEOPLE DON'T REALLY WANT TO WORK OR WHY SHOULD WE GIVE THEM SOMETHING FOR NOTHING? THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT DESERVE UNEMPLOYMENT. THEY'VE EARNED THE UNEMPLOYMENT. THEY DESERVE THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. THEY'VE EARNED IT. AGAIN, IT'S NOT CALLED UNEMPLOYMENT WELFARE. IT'S CALLED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. YOU PAY IN WHEN YOU'RE WORKING. YOU GET OUT WHEN YOU DON'T. IT'S A LOT LIKE CAR INSURANCE AND HEALTH INSURANCE. I DON'T WANT TO COLLECT ON MY CAR INSURANCE PREMIUM. I DON'T WANT TO COLLECT ON IT. I DON'T WANT TO EVER HAVE AN ACCIDENT THAT I HAVE TO PAY -- THAT HURTS SOMEBODY OR DAMAGES THE CAR. I'VE BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT LIKE THAT. I DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN AGAIN. I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO CASH IN ANY OF MY HEALTH INSURANCE. I DON'T WANT TO BE SICK. I DON'T WANT MY CHILDREN TO BE SICK. I DON'T WANT TO BE UNEMPLOYED SO I HAVE TO DRAW UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION. MOST AMERICANS DON'T WANT TO BE. I HAVE JUST WONDER IF SOME OF MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO THINK ABOUT THIS, THAT THEY REALLY THINK IT'S WELFARE. I ALSO -- I ALSO -- I JUST ASK MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO THINK, TO PUT YOURSELF IN THE PLACE -- I KNOW THAT VIRTUALLY ALL OF US GET OUT ENOUGH THAT WE MEET PEOPLE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED OCCASIONALLY. I KNOW THAT WE'RE PRETTY ISOLATED HERE TOO OFTEN. YOU KNOW, A LOT OF US MEET PEOPLE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED, MEET PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR INSURANCE, MEET PEOPLE SOMETIMES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS AND TRY TO PERSONALIZE IT. TRY TO THINK ABOUT HUSBAND AND WIFE WHO ONE'S WORKING PART TIME NOT MAKING MUCH MONEY, THE OTHER ONE LOST THEIR JOB. THEN THEY LOST THEIR INSURANCE BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AFFORD THE PAYMENT FOR COBRA. THE COBRA IS A BIT OF A CRUEL HOAX. COBRA IS THE PROGRAM THAT YOU CAN KEEP YOUR INSURANCE AFTER YOU LOSE YOUR JOB, BUT YOU'VE GOT TO PAY YOUR PART AS THE EMPLOYEE. THEN YOU'VE GOT TO PAY THE EMPLOYER PREMIUM. AND IF YOU LOST YOUR JOB, HOW CAN YOU? WE'VE SUBSIDIZED THAT. WE'VE ACTUALLY, UNDER THE RECOVERY ACT, AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER KNOWS IN HIS WORK ON THIS BILL, ON THE HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE, TO HELP PEOPLE PAY THAT COBRA SO THEY CAN KEEP THAT INSURANCE. PUT YOURSELF IN A PLACE SINCE WE CAN'T SEEM TO GET THE REPUBLICANS TO GO ALONG WITH THAT EITHER NOW, PUT YOURSELF IN THE PLACE OF THAT FAMILY. THE HUSBAND'S LOST HIS JOB. THE WIFE WHO IS MAKING ONLY A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY IS STRUGGLING. THEY'VE LOST THEIR INSURANCE. SOMEBODY GETS A LITTLE SICK. THEY HAVE THESE BILLS RUN UP. THEY'RE GETTING TWO OR THREE MONTHS BEHIND IN THEIR MORTGAGE. AND THEY'VE GOT TO SIT DOWN WITH THEIR FAMILY, THEY'VE GOT TO SIT DOWN WITH THEIR TEENAGE KIDS AND SAY, YOU KNOW DAD LOST HIS JOB. YOU KNOW MOM CAN'T FIND MORE THAN PART-TIME WORK. YOU KNOW WE DON'T HAVE INSURANCE ANYMORE. YOU KNOW JIMMY GOT SICK. WE'RE BEHIND IN OUR HOUSE PAYMENTS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SELL OUR HOUSE. YOU'RE GOING TO GET FORECLOSED ON. YOU'VE GOT TO EXPLAIN TO YOUR KIDS THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE SEPARATE ROOMS ANYMORE, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE AWAY STUFF THEY HAVE AROUND THE HOUSE OR TRY TO SELL IT. THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GO TO A NEW SCHOOL. WHAT NEW SCHOOL? I DON'T KNOW. I WISH MY COLLEAGUES WHEN THEY CAST THESE NO VOTES ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AND CAST THESE NO VOTES ON THE EXTENSION OF COBRA THAT THEY WOULD THINK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO AN INDIVIDUAL FAMILY. THESE ARE ALL NUMBERS. I CAN GIVE YOU GREAT NUMBERS. THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS THAT WILL LOSE THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT PWEUFRS, 1.3 MILLION BY THE END OF THIS WEEK, 1.7 MILLION BY THE END OF NEXT WEEK, 2.1 MILLION BY THE END OF OUR CONGRESSIONAL RECESS NEXT WEEK, 3.2 MILLION BY THE END OF JULY. THESE ARE PRETTY TROUBLING NUMBERS. FORGET THE NUMBERS. I'M GOING TO READ FROM LETTERS OF PEOPLE IN OHIO THAT WILL EXPLAIN IT BETTER THAN I CAN WHAT THIS MEANS TO INDIVIDUAL OHIOANS OR INDIVIDUAL OREGONIANS OR INDIVIDUAL FLORIDIANS OR LOUISIANIANS OR KENTUCKIANS. YOU KNOW, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT AN ECONOMIC ARGUMENT, MAKE IT AN ECONOMIC ARGUMENT. FORGET ABOUT THE HUMAN FACES FOR A MINUTE. MAKE IT AN ECONOMIC ARGUMENT. PEOPLE LOSE -- THEY'RE NOT GETTING THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. IT MEANS THEY'RE NOT SPENDING MONEY IN THE COMMUNITY. YOU KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENED WHEN PEOPLE RECEIVE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. THE FIRST SIX MONTHS FOLLOWING THE PASSAGE OF THE RECOVERY ACT, UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PUMPED $19 BILLION INTO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. IF WE HADN'T DONE THAT, THIS RECESSION THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA INHERITED A YEAR AND A HALF AGO WHERE WE WERE LOSING 700,000 JOBS A MONTH, WE WOULD HAVE BEEN LOSING 800,000 AND 900,000 BECAUSE THIS $19 BILLION WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN PUMPED INTO THE ECONOMY. GROCERY STORES, BUYING MEDICINE FOR YOUR KIDS, GOING TO THE DRUGSTORE, ALL THE THINGS THAT KEEP ECONOMIC ACTIVITY GENERATING INTO A COMMUNITY AND PROVIDE JOBS. THE FIRST HALF OF THIS YEAR, $6 BILLION WENT IN BENEFITS TO THE STATES. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MET LAY SKWROFRS OF BUY -- LAYOFFS OF LIBRARY RANS AND TEACHERS AND POLICE OFFICERS AND PEOPLE PICKING UP GARBAGE. MORE UNEMPLOYMENT, LESS ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. IT IS PRETTY CLEAR, WHETHER YOU WANT TO LOOK AT THE ECONOMICS OF THIS AND LISTEN TO PRESIDENT -- EXCUSE ME, LISTEN TO SENATOR OBAMA'S -- EXCUSE ME. SENATOR McCAIN'S, ONE OF HIS CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISORS SAID THAT NOTHING MORE THAN $1 IN UNEMPLOYMENT HAS A GREATER MULL PLYING EFFECT THAN THAT. THAT IT -- IT GENERATED A LOT OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. THAT DOLLAR ISN'T POCKETED. THAT DOLLAR IS SPENT BY THE UNEMPLOYED WORKER TO TAKE CARE OF HIS FAMILY, HER FAMILY'S NEEDS. SO IT'S THE BEST THING FOR THE ECONOMY TO PUMP THIS UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION INTO THE ECONOMY. BUT LOOK AROUND AGAIN, TIME AFTER TIME OVER THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS, REPUBLICANS HAVE OPPOSED EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. OF ALL THE THINGS TO DRAW THE LINE ON. I KNOW THE ARGUMENT. I HEAR THEM OVER AND OVER. THEY SAY, WELL, WE CAN'T KEEP ADDING TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. I WASN'T HERE. I WAS DOWN IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WHEN THEY RAN UP THIS DEBT. IN 2000 WHEN BILL CLINTON LEFT THE WHITE HOUSE, WE HAD A SURPLUS THAT WAS PROJECTED TO BE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS. WHAT HAPPENED? THE WAR IN IRAQ. HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PAY FOR THE WAR IN IRAQ CHARGED TO OUR GRANDCHILDREN. TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH. HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS CHARGED TO OUR GRANDCHILDREN. MEDICARE -- A GIVEAWAY TO THE DRUG AND INSURANCE INDUSTRY IN THE NAME OF MEDICARE PRIVATIZATION, CHARGED TO OUR GRANDCHILDREN. SO THEY -- THEY DON'T MIND -- THEY DON'T MIND SPENDING US INTO DEFICIT FOR WAR -- TWO WARS, MAKE THAT, FOR TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH AND FOR A GIVEAWAY FOR THE DRUG AND INSURANCE COMPANIES. BUT NOW THAT IT'S TIME TO GIVE ABOUT $300,000 A WEEK TO WORKERS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS AND TO HELP THEM KEEP THEIR INSURANCE, THEY SAY, CAN'T AFFORD IT. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT VALUES AND US AS A COUNTRY? I DON'T GET IT. NO MATTER HOW HARD HEART OR HOW IRRATIONAL, OR HOW MUCH THEY WANT TO PLAY TO THE CROWD, THEY DIDN'T STAND UP FOR TAXPAYERS TO PAY FOR WARS, TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH AND BAILOUTS FOR DRUG COMPANIES AND INSURANCE COMPANIES. THEY'RE ALL OF A SUDDEN STANDING UP FOR TAXPAYERS, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN IT COMES TO FUNDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND HEALTH CARE BENEFITS FOR THOSE WORKERS WHO LOST THEIR JOBS AND HEALTH INSURANCE. AND I WILL JUST CLOSE WITH READING FOUR LETTERS FROM PEOPLE AROUND MY STATE. I GET -- I GET HUNDREDS OF THESE LETTERS. I KNOW THE SENATOR FROM OREGON GETS THEM FROM EUGENE AND PORTLAND AND ALL OVER HIS STATE AND I GET THEM FROM ALL OVER MY STATE. MARK FROM WOOD COUNTY, SOUTH OF TOLEDO, BOWLING GREEN, ONE OF THE GREAT THE UNIVERSITIES IN OUR COUNTRY. MARK WRITES, I SEND OUT FIVE RESUME AS WEEK YET I NEVER -- ALMOST NEVER HEAR BACK FROM EMPLOYERS. I'VE HAD ONLY ONE INTERVIEW AND I DIDN'T GET THE JOB. I'M NOT LAZY. I WANT TO WORK. I'M TRYING TO FIND WORK. I DIDN'T QUIT MY JOB. MY EMPLOYER QUIT ON ME AND EVERYONE ELSE THEY LAID OFF. WE NEED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENDED. PLEASE DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON US. PLEASE DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON US. AGAIN, THESE ARE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY. THIS IS MARK -- MARK SAYS ABOUT WHAT MOST OF THEM WOULD SAY, PLEASE DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON US. JENNIFER FROM GIOGA COUNTY, SOUTHEAST OF CLEVELAND. JENNIFER SAYS I'M A SINGLE MOTHER OF THREE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS. I'M AN EXPERIENCED ARCHITECT. LATE LAST YEAR I WAS LAID OFF FROM A LARGE ENGINEERING FIRM. I HAVE BEEN SEEKING A JOB FOR SIX MONTHS. MY INDUSTRY HAS NOT RECOVERED. I'VE BEEN WORKING 20 YEARS IN MY FIELD. I'M FOUR MONTHS BEHIND ON MY MORTGAGE. WHAT DO I DO? MR. PRESIDENT, THESE AREN'T PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO WORK. I AM JUST -- I AM JUST SECONDENNED BY SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO THINK THIS IS WELFARE, SICKENED BY SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO THINK, WELL, THESE PEOPLE DON'T REALLY WANT TO WORK. THIS IS A WOMAN WITH THREE CHILDREN, SHE'S A PROFESSIONAL, SHE'S AN ARCHITECT. SHE'S BEEN WORKING 20 YEARS IN HER FIELD. SHE'S LOOKING FOR WORK. ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE REQUIRED TO SEND OUT RESUMES WEEK AFTER WEEK, THEY'RE REQUIRED TO MAKE JOBS AND FIND JOBS. THEY CAN'T FIND THEM BECAUSE OF THIS ECONOMY THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA INHERITED A YEAR AND A HALF AGO. 700,000 JOBS WE WERE LOSING A MONTH WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK OFFICE. MY STATE WAS LUCKY ENOUGH IN APRIL TO HAVE A BIGGER JOB GAIN THAN ANY STATE IN THE COUNTRY, 37,000 JOBS. THAT'S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH TO MAKE UP FOR THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS LOST BECAUSE OF THIS ECONOMY, BECAUSE OF BAD TRADE POLICY, BECAUSE OF OUTSOURCING OF JOBS, BECAUSE OF -- OF ALL THAT'S HAPPENED WITH THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. JILL FROM FRANKLIN COUNTY WRITES, I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED THE SENATE HAS NOT PASSED AN EXTENSION FOR THOSE OF US STILL FACING UNEMPLOYMENT. I'VE BEEN OUT OF WORK FOR SIX MONTHS EVEN THOUGH I HAVE A MASTER'S DEGREE. I HAVE NEVER LIVED BEYOND MY MEANS, BUT WITH THE SMALL CHECK I GET FROM UNEMPLOYMENT I WILL BE LOSING MY HOME AT THE END OF JULY. PLEASE FIND A WAY TO PASS THIS BILL. PLEASE HELP US. I WANT MAKING UP -- MAKING THIS UP WHEN I SAY SOMEBODY LOSES THEIR JOB, LOSE THEIR INSURANCE AND THEY TOO OFTEN ARE LOSING THEIR HOME AND BECAUSE A BUNCH OF REPUBLICANS WANT TO VOTE NO ON THE EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT, CRYING WE'VE GOT -- WE'VE GOT TO CUT SPENDING IN THIS COUNTRY, THEY DIDN'T -- I REPEAT THIS, MR. PRESIDENT, I'M SORRY TO SAY IT OVER AND OVER. BUT WHEN I HEAR THEM SAY, WE CAN'T AFFORD THIS. WELL, THEY DIDN'T SAY THAT WHEN IT WAS TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH, DIDN'T SAY THAT PAYING FOR THE WAR, DIDN'T SAY THAT WHEN THEY BAILED OUT THE DRUG COMPANIES AND INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THEY ONLY WANT TO DO IT WHEN IT IS UNINSURED WORKERS. THE LAST LETTER I WILL READ BEFORE I YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA. AMY FROM PERRY COUNTY, A SMALL RURAL COUNTY SOUTHEAST OF COLUMBUS. MY HUSBAND'S TRYING VERY HARD TO FIND A JOB. FOR THE GOVERNMENT NOT TO PASS EXTENSIONS IS BEYOND ME. I'M A NURSE, I WORK TWO JOBS TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE OF MY HUSBAND'S LOST WAGES. OUR HARD-WORKING AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO HELPED BUILD THIS COUNTRY ARE NOW IN NEED OF THIS COUNTRY'S HELP. PLEASE URGE OTHER SENATORS TO VOTE THIS BILL THROUGH. MR. PRESIDENT, I COULDN'T SAY IT BETTER THAN JENNIFER, MARK, AND AMY AN JILL. THEY'RE ALL -- AND JILL. THEY'RE ALL TYPICAL OF HARD-WORKING AMERICANS WHO HAVE DONE RIGHT THING. SOME ARE VERY WELL EDUCATED. ALL ARE HARDWORKING. MANY HAVE GONE BACK TO SCHOOL TO -- TO IMPROVE THEMSELVES. AND THIS IS THE ECONOMY THEY'VE INHERITED BECAUSE OF A WHOLE BUNCH OF BAD POLICY DECISIONS IN THE LAST 10 YEARS, AND THEY'RE THE ONES PAYING FOR IT. THAT'S JUST NOT RIGHT. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:51:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA.

  • 03:51:55 PM

    MR. LeMIEUX

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:56:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:56:47 PM

    MR. LeMIEUX

    FOUR BULLET-POINT PARAGRAPH DOCUMENT. IT SAYS PURSUANT TO HIS AUTHORITY…

    FOUR BULLET-POINT PARAGRAPH DOCUMENT. IT SAYS PURSUANT TO HIS AUTHORITY I'VE DETERMINED THAT AN ADEQUATE NUMBER OF OIL SPILL VESSELS INCAPABLE OF SKIMMING OIL CANNOT BE EMPLOYED IN A TIMELY MANNER RECOVER THE OIL RELEASED. NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP UP WITH THE PACE IN WHICH OIL FLOWS FROM THE WELL. IT IS MY OPINION THAT DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN CAPABLE SKIMMING OIL ARE NEEDED TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE AND TIMELY PROTECTION IN THE GULF COAST. THIS IS THE DAY AFTER WE RAISED THIS ISSUE WITH THE PRESIDENT. GOOD. IT COMES. 58th DAY. IT SHOULDN'T HAVE TAKEN 58 DAYS TO FIGURE OUT THEY DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH EQUIPMENT. BUT BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. LAST WEEK -- I'M SORRY. MONDAY OF THIS WEEK E.P.A. COAST GUARD ON DAY 70 ISSUES AN ORDER RELEASING THESE SKIMMERS TO COME TO THE GULF OF MEXICO FROM WHATEVER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS THAT KEEP THEM WHERE THEY INCLUDING RELEASING NAVY SKIMMERS. THAT'S GOOD TOO. NOW IT'S DAY 70, NOT DAY 20, NOT DAY 10, NOT DAY5, BUT IT'S STILL PROGRESS. WHAT I'M HOPING IS THAT THESE SKIMMERS WILL COME TO THE GULF SOON. WHAT WE'RE DOING IS WE'RE TRACKING THESE SKIMMERS. WE GOT A LIST OF THESE 2,000. WE'RE CALLING THESE FOLKS IN THESE DIFFERENT PLACES WITH THESE SKIMMERS, DIFFERENT PORTS AROUND THE SOUTHEAST, THE MID-ATLANTIC AND WE'RE GOING TO CHECK WITH THEM AND SAY, ARE THE SKIMMERS ON THE WAY? BECAUSE WE NEED THE HELP. I WAS IN PENSACOLA ON MONDAY, MR. PRESIDENT. BEEN DOWN THERE FOUR OR FIVE TIMES SINCE THIS INCIDENT STARTED AND THE OIL ON THE BEACH IS PROFOUND AND IT BREAKS YOUR HEART TO SEE IT. IT'S A SPLATTERING OF OIL AN MUCK AND SCUM ON -- AND MUCK AND SCUM ON THE BEACHES AND IN SOME PLACES I FOUND WHAT I WOULD CALL NOT TAR BALLS, BUT TAR ROCKS, ABOUT THE SIZE OF GRAPEFRUIT THAT HAVE WASHED UP ON SHORE. WHO KNOWS HOW FAR THESE PLUMES OF OIL GO, WHAT IT'S DOING TO THE MARINE LIFE TO THE TURTLES TO THE POR FISH, WHAT THAT'S GOING TO MEAN TO THE PEOPLE OF THE GULF COAST WHO RELY ON THE FISHING AND THE SEAFOOD INDUSTRY, WHAT IT'S GOING TO MEAN TO OUR HEALTH. WHEN YOU STAND ON THE BEACH, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU CAN SMELL THE OIL. THE PEOPLE IN MY STATE ARE HEART BREAKEN ABOUT THIS. YOU -- BROKE -- ARE HEARTBROKEN ABOUT THIS. YOU CAN HEAR IT IN THEIR VOICES. I WAS DOWN THERE WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND I ASKED THE WOMAN WHO WAS AT THE PIER AND I ASKED HER IF PEOPLE ARE COMING. SHE SAID PEOPLE ARE COMING WHO DON'T OFTEN COME. PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING WHO WANT TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO THE BEACH ONE LAST TIME. THAT'S LIKE HAVING A LOVED ONE IN THE HOSPITAL ON THEIR DEATHBED, GOING TO SEE THE BEACH ONE LAST TIME. SO WE HAVE THESE SKIMMERS, THESE 2,000. HOPEFULLY THEY'RE ON THE WAY. THAT'S PROGRESS. THAT'S THE DOMESTIC ISSUE. THAT'S THE DOMESTIC SIDE OF THIS. THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS IS FOREIGN SKIMMERS. WE'VE BEEN HEARING FROM THE BEGINNING THAT FOREIGN COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN OFFERING ASSISTANCE. REACHING OUT TO US THE WAY WE HELPED THE WORLD BECAUSE OF THE GOODNESS OF OUR HEARTS AS AMERICANS WHEN THE WORLD HAS PROBLEMS. WHEN THERE'S A TYPHOON IN SOUTHEAST ASIA OR AN EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI OR CHILE, THE FIRST COUNTRY TO RESPOND BECAUSE OF THE GOODNESS OF OUR PEOPLE IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WE PROVIDE HELP AND RELIEF, MILITARY SOMETIMES. AND OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE ALSO OFFERED TO HELP US IN THIS, OUR TIME OF NEED. SOMETIMES THEY ARE FREE, SOMETIMES THOSE COMPANIES WANT TO GET PAID. NONETHELESS, THEY HAVE OFFERED TO HELP. IN FACT, THERE HAVE BEEN 64 OFFERS, ACCORDING TO THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT'S DOCUMENT OF JUNE 29, 2010. WE HAVE ACCEPTED SEVEN OUT OF 64. LET ME READ SOME OF THESE TO YOU. JUNE 23, CANADA OFFERED SKIMMERS. THAT'S UNDER CONSIDERATION. MAY 13, THE EUROPEAN MARITIME SAFETY AGENCY. MAY 13, STILL UNDER CONSIDERATION. JAPAN, JUNE 22, UNDER CONSIDERATION. NORWAY, APRIL 30. SOME HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED, OTHER OFFERS ARE UNDER CONSIDERATION. REPUBLIC OF KOREA, SKIMMERS, MAY 2, MAY 2, MR. PRESIDENT, UNDER CONSIDERATION. TURKEY, JUNE 23rd. QATAR, JUNE 22ND. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, MAY 10, UNDER CONSIDERATION. 64 OFFERS, 57 UNDER CONSIDERATION. NOW, THE STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS YESTERDAY THEY WILL ACCEPT 22 OFFERS OF ASSISTANCE FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. GOOD, GOOD. IT'S DAY 72. WHY WASN'T IT DONE SOONER? MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE COME TO THE FLOOR BEFORE AND SHOWN A PICTURE OF THE SHIP CALLED THE SWAN. IT WAS OFFERED ON MAY 6th FROM A DUTCH COMPANY. THE SWAN HAD THE CAPACITY OF SOAKING IN THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF OIL AND WATER. AND WE NEVER GOT BACK TO THEM. WE NOW HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRING ANOTHER SHIP INTO OUR EFFORT. THE SWAN WAS A HUGE SHIP. THIS IS A WHALE, APPROPRIATELY NAMED. REPORTED TO BE THE LARGEST SKIMMER IN THE WORLD. I MET WITH THE FOLKS WHO OWNED THE SHIP YEAD, TAIWANESE FOLKS. THEY HAVE NO APPROVAL YET TO USE THIS SHIP, BUT THEY STILL STEAM THIS SHIP FROM TAIWAN TO THE GULF. IT'S JUST GETTING THERE NOW, ON THEIR OWN DIME. IMAGINE WHAT IT COSTS TO SAIL THIS SHIP 300 YARDS LONG, BIGGER THAN AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER. IT'S THE LARGEST OIL SKIMMER EVER DEVICED. IT IS AT LEAST 250 TIMES THAT OF THESE MODIFIED FISHING BOATS WE'RE USING FOR SKIMMING. IT HAS THE CAPABILITY TO DRAW AS MUCH AS 500,000 BARRELS OF OILY WATER FOR -- PER 8-10-HOUR CYCLE, AND IT DOESN'T HAVE TO STOP, MR. PRESIDENT. IT PUTS THE SHIP NEXT TO IT WHICH IT OFFLOADS THE OILY WATER TO, AND IT CAN KEEP GOING 24 HOURS A DAY. BY THE WAY, STORMS AREN'T A PROBLEM EITHER BECAUSE IT'S SO BIG, IT DOESN'T ROCK IN THE WAVES OF A STORM. SO YOU HEAR THESE CONCERNS NOW WITH OUR TROPICAL STORM ALEX IN THE GULF, THAT CERTAIN SHIPS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO STOP THEIR EFFORTS IF THIS SHIP IS ALLOWED TO WORK. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO STOP, ACCORDING TO WHAT THE OWNER HAS TOLD ME. IT'S BEING TESTED BY THE COAST GUARD EITHER TODAY OR TOMORROW. AND LET'S HOPE THAT WE USE THIS INCREDIBLE RESOURCE AND ONES LIKE IT, BECAUSE, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN THIS OIL WASHES UP ON SHORE, WHEN WE HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE OFFERS OF ASSISTANCE FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES, IT'S NOT JUST OIL THAT'S WASHING UP ON SHORE, IT'S FAILURE. AND WE NEED EVERY RESOURCE, DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN ALIKE IN THE GULF, AND WE NEEDED THEM YESTERDAY. IN FACT, WE NEEDED THEM 50 DAYS AGO. AND IT SHOULDN'T HAVE TAKEN THIS LONG TO MARSHALL THIS RESPONSE. MR. PRESIDENT, I JUST WATCHED THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ON TELEVISION. HE IS IN RACINE, WISCONSIN. HE GAVE A SPEECH, VERY POLITICAL SPEECH. LIKES TO BLAME THE REPUBLICANS FOR EVERYTHING THAT'S GOING WRONG IN THE COUNTRY, IT'S ALL OUR FAULT. LET ME TAKE ISSUE WITH HIM ON THIS ONE POINT. THIS IS HIS JOB. YOU MAY NOT WANT TO BE IN CHARGE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND BE THE PRESIDENT WHEN WE HAVE THE WORST OIL SPILL WE'VE EVER HAD, BUT THAT'S PART OF THE JOB. IT'S NOT THAD ALLEN'S JOB TO RUN THIS. IT'S NOT JANET NAPOLITANO'S JOB, IT'S NOT KEN SALAZAR'S JOB, IT'S NOT JANE LACHENKO'S JOB OR ANY OTHER FOLKS WHO WORK IN THE ADMINISTRATION. IT'S THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES' JOB. WHEN HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT, HE SAID THAT PRESIDENT BUSH'S RESPONSE TO KATRINA WAS HALF HEARTED AND IT WAS HALF MEASURES. I'M NOT SURE HE WOULD WANT THE SAME STANDARD APPLIED TO HIM RIGHT NOW. AND I KNOW IT'S FUN TO GO GIVE A POLITICAL SPEECH, BUT THE PEOPLE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO ARE SUFFERING AND THEY NEED HELP, AND THEY NEED A PRESIDENT WHO IS ON THE JOB MANAGING THROUGH PROBLEMS. MR. PRESIDENT, BEING FROM FLORIDA, WE HAVE HAD A LOT OF CRISES IN THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS WITH HURRICANES. IN 2004, 2005, WE HAD NINE OR TEN HURRICANES COME THROUGH FLORIDA THAT DEVASTATED US, AND I GOT TO WATCH THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF OUR STATE, OUR GOVERNOR AT THE TIME, JEB BUSH, WHEN I WAS IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE MANAGE THROUGH PROBLEMS, OVERCOME OBSTACLES, WORK 12, 14, 16 HOURS A DAY TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, TO GET RESULTS DONE. THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES, AND THERE'S NO ONE LIKE THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER TO OVERCOME THOSE OBSTACLES. AND THAT'S WHAT YOU NEED FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN THIS SITUATION. I DON'T WANT TO SEE HIM IN WISCONSIN GIVING A POLITICAL SPEECH. I WANT TO SEE HIM IN FLORIDA GETTING THESE SKIMMERS THERE, OVERCOMING OBSTACLES, SOLVING PROBLEMS, MANAGING THROUGH THIS CRISIS SO WE CAN PROTECT OUR BEACHES, PROTECT OUR ESTUARIES, AND PROTECT THE WAY OF LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA, ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI, LOUISIANA. THIS CRISIS IS NOT OVER. IT MAY NOT BE ON YOUR TELEVISION AS MUCH AS IT WAS, BUT THE OIL IS STILL SPEWING OUT OF THIS WELL. WE HOPE THESE RELIEF WELLS WORK. WE HOPE THEY CAN STOP THE OIL FROM LEAKING IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AT AN UNPRECEDENTED RATE. WE STILL DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH IS LEAKING. WE HOPE THAT B.P. IS CAPTURING AT LEAST HALF THAT OIL, NOW MAYBE A LITTLE BIT MORE, BUT WE DON'T KNOW. BUT EVERY DAY THAT GOES BY THAT THAT OIL LEAKS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AND WASHES UP ON THE SHORE OF MY STATE, WHEN I STAND ON THE BEACH IN PENSACOLA AND I CAN'T SEE A SINGLE SKIMMER, I WONDER WHERE OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS. WE NEED HELP. WE NEED SOME URGENCY. WE NEED SOME PURPOSE. I'M GLAD THAT THEY SIGNED THE ORDER THIS WEEK TO LET THOSE SKIMMERS COME. I'M GLAD THAT WE'RE FINALLY STARTING TO ACCEPT FOREIGN SKIMMERS 72 DAYS IN THE CRISIS. MR. PRESIDENT, I WILL CONTINUE TO COME TO THE FLOOR EVERY DAY UNTIL THAT OIL WELL HEAD STOPS LEAKING TO TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND BRING LIGHT AND ATTENTION TO IT TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS DOING EVERYTHING IT CAN, MARSHALLING EVERY RESOURCE POSSIBLE TO KEEP THAT OIL FROM COMING ON OUR BEACHES AND INTO OUR COASTAL WATERWAYS. I'LL CLOSE WITH THIS,

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  • 04:07:31 PM

    MR. PRESIDENT

    IN FLORIDA, PEOPLE LOVE THE WATER. IT'S THE REASON WHY MOST PEOPLE COME TO…

    IN FLORIDA, PEOPLE LOVE THE WATER. IT'S THE REASON WHY MOST PEOPLE COME TO FLORIDA. IT'S NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE GREAT WAY OF LIFE. IT'S NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE GREAT CLIMATE. IT'S BECAUSE OF THE WATER. 90% OF OUR STATE LIVES WITHIN TEN MILES OF THE OCEAN. WE HAVE MORE RECREATIONAL BOATERS THAN ANY OTHER STATE IN THE COUNTRY. WE HAVE MORE COASTLINE THAN ANY OTHER STATE IN THE COUNTRY SAVE ALASKA. WATER IS A WAY OF LIFE TO PEOPLE IN FLORIDA. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE HAD GROWN MEN, MEN I'VE KNOWN AND RESPECTED MY WHOLE LIFE, NOT MEN WHO YOU WOULD CONSIDER EMOTIONAL OR SOFT, TALK ABOUT THIS SITUATION OF THIS OIL CRISIS WITH ME AND START BREAKING DOWN AND CRY. IT IS THAT MUCH OF AN ISSUE FOR THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA. I WANT TO SEE OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RISE TO THE TASK AND DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I SEE THAT MY COLLEAGUE IS HERE, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR TO HIM. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 04:09:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:09:47 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ADAM PELSER AND MADELEINE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ADAM PELSER AND MADELEINE DANIELS OF MY STAFF BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE DURATION OF TODAY'S PROCEEDINGS.

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  • 04:09:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 04:09:59 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    I AM SORRY THAT I WASN'T HERE ON THE FLOOR, BUT I WAS WATCHING IN MY…

    I AM SORRY THAT I WASN'T HERE ON THE FLOOR, BUT I WAS WATCHING IN MY OFFICE THE RECENT STATEMENTS MADE ON THE FLOOR BY MY COLLEAGUE FROM OHIO, SENATOR BROWN. SENATOR BROWN, I THINK, REALLY POINTED OUT VERY POIGNANTLY WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SO MANY PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY TODAY WHO HAVE EXHAUSTED THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS. I'D LIKE TO FOLLOW UP ON THE COMMENTS MADE BY SENATOR BROWN TO REINFORCE WHAT HE SAID JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR AND THE DIRE STRAITS THAT SO MANY PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES IN GOING INTO THE FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAYS. MR. PRESIDENT, RECENTLY A NATIONAL GROUP OF BUSINESS ECONOMISTS RELEASED ITS 2010 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK PREDICTING THAT AMERICA'S ECONOMY IS -- QUOTE -- "ON TRACK FOR RECOVERY. "WELL, THIS IS ENCOURAGING NEWS. IT INDICATES WE'RE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA'S LEADERSHIP, BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT THE RECOVERY IS VERY FRAGILE. FOR EXAMPLE, LAST WEEK, WE LEARNED THAT SALES OF NEW HOMES PLUMMETED 33% IN MAY. THE LOWEST LEVEL IN 40 YEARS. LET ME REPEAT THAT. HOME SALES IN MAY FELL TO THE LOWEST LEVEL IN 40 YEARS. BANKS, BANKS ARE STILL RELUCTANT TO LEND TO SMALL BUSINESSES. IT'S NOT THAT THEY DON'T HAVE MONEY. ACCORDING TO A NEW FEDERAL RESERVE REPORT, U.S. COMPANIES ARE HOARDING AN ALL-TIME HIGH SUM OF $1.84 TRILLION IN CASH. BUT THEY REMAIN LARGELY UNWILLING TO INVEST, HIRE AND EXPAND. U.S. COMPANIES HOARDING AN ALL-TIME HIGH SUM, SUM, $1.84 TRILLION IN CASH, BUT THEY'RE NOT INVESTING, THEY'RE NOT HIRING, THEY'RE NOT EXPANDING. SO THE THREAT OF THIS DOUBLE-DIP RECESSION IS VERY, VERY REAL. NOW, THESE ECONOMIC WARNING SIGNS AREN'T JUST ABSTRACT FACTS AND FIGURES. THEY HAVE VERY REAL CONSEQUENCES FOR FAMILIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THAT'S WHAT MY FRIEND FROM OHIO WAS TALKING ABOUT EARLIER. THE UNEMPLOYMENT REPORT FOR MAY WAS VERY DISAPPOINTING. BY THE OFFICIAL NUMBERS, THERE ARE 15 MILLION HARD-WORKING PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, AND THEY'RE STRUGGLING TO FIND WORK. NOW, THAT -- THOSE ARE THE OFFICIAL NUMBERS, OFFICIAL. MANY EXPERTS IN THIS FIELD AGREE THAT THE REAL NUMBERS ARE FAR HIGHER. SO THAT WHEN YOU COUNT THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BECOME SO DISCOURAGED THAT THEY HAVE STOPPED LOOKING FOR WORK OR WHO ARE WORKING PART TIME INVOLUNTARILY BECAUSE THEY CAN'T GET FULL-TIME WORK, THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED WORKERS IS FAR HIGHER, LIKE ABOUT 30 MILLION PEOPLE. SO HERE'S SORT OF THE OFFICIAL FIGURES OF 15, BUT THAT'S JUST PEOPLE THAT ARE RIGHT NOW ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT ROLLS THAT ARE ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR WORK. WE HAVE ENOUGH DATA TO SHOW THAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN OUT OF WORK FOR SO LONG, THEY HAVE HUNTED FOR SO LONG, THEY ARE DISCOURAGED, THEY ARE NOT LOOKING RIGHT NOW ACTIVELY, BUT THEY'RE NOT COUNTED AS UNEMPLOYED. YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT HAD JOBS FOR THE FIRST TIME WHO ARE OUT OF SCHOOL BUT HAVE NOT HAD JOBS FOR THE FIRST TIME, THEY'RE NOT COUNTED AS UNEMPLOYED. PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING MAKE-SHIFT JOBS FOR BITS AND PIECES HERE AND THERE PART TIME WHO ONE TIME HAD A FULL-TIME JOB, THEY'RE NOT COUNTED EITHER. WHEN YOU ADD ALL THOSE UP, OUR REAL UNEMPLOYMENT IN THIS COUNTRY IS RIGHT AROUND 30 MILLION PEOPLE. NOW, THE OFFICIAL FIGURES WILL SAY THAT THERE IS -- THERE IS -- THERE ARE FIVE UNEMPLOYED WORKERS FOR EVERY AVAILABLE JOB. THAT'S NOT TRUE. IT'S MORE LIKE TEN WORKERS, TEN WORKERS. JOB OPENINGS IN AMERICA, 2.69 MILLION. THAT'S HOW MANY JOBS THERE ARE IN AMERICA RIGHT NOW THAT ARE OPEN -- AT LEAST LAST MONTH ANYWAY. AND THERE ARE 30 MILLION PEOPLE OUT THERE AFTER THOSE 2.69 MILLION JOBS. NOT ONE IN FIVE BUT ONE IN TEN, A LITTLE OVER ONE IN TEN. IT'S LITTLE WONDER THAT THE AVERAGE SPELL OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN THIS COUNTRY HAS SKYROCKETED TO 34 WEEKS, FAR HIGHER THAN IN PREVIOUS RECESSIONS. SO HERE IS THE RECESSION OF 1980, TEN WEEKS. JULY OF 1981, 14 WEEKS. JULY, 1990, 12 WEEKS. MARCH, 2001 RECESSION, 13 WEEKS. THESE ARE THE UNEMPLOYMENT SPELLS THAT WE HAD DURING THOSE RECESSIONS. WE'RE NOW AT 34 WEEKS AND COUNTING. JUST COMPARE THAT TO THE RECESSIONS OF THE PAST. SMALL WONDER A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THIS IS NOT REALLY A RECESSION. THIS IS A DEPRESSION. PEOPLE JUST DON'T WANT TO SAY IT, BUT IN MANY WAYS WE ARE ON THE EDGE OF A DEPRESSION. SO AS A RESULT, A RECORD NUMBER OF AMERICANS FACING LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT, 6.8 MILLION AMERICANS OUT OF WORK FOR MORE THAN HALF A YEAR, BY OFFICIAL NUMBERS ALONE. THAT'S THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED WE'VE HAD SINCE WE STARTED KEEPING TRACK IN 1948. LET ME REPEAT THAT. THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS OUT OF WORK FOR MORE THAN HALF A YEAR IS THE HIGHEST -- THE HIGHEST -- SINCE WE'VE KEPT TRACK ON THIS SINCE 1948. NOW, THE FAMILIES OF THESE LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED ARE HANGING ON BY A THREAD. THE SAVINGS ARE GONE, UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ARE THE ONLY LIFELINE THEY HAVE TO PAY THE RENT AND PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE. NOW, AGAIN, I KNOW I'M NOT THE ONLY MEMBER OF THIS BODY WHOSE OFFICE HAS BEEN FLOODED WITH HEARTBREAKING STORIES OF FAMILIES BACK HOME STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET. WE JUST HEARD A NUMBER OF THOSE STORIES FROM SENATOR BROWN FROM OHIO. THESE ARE PEOPLE TRYING THEIR HARDEST, DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO FIND WORK BUT THE JOBS JUST AREN'T THERE. I HEARD FROM A COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROFESSOR FROM SIOUX CITY WHO WAS LAID OFF DUE TO BUDGET CUTS. SHE'S APLAYED FOR DOZENS OF JOBS, MANY FAR BELOW HER SKILL LEVEL. SHE'S OFTEN TOLD SHE'S OVERQUALIFIED. SHE'S EXHAUSTED HER UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. SHE AND HER SONS, ONE OF WHOM IS A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD, ARE ON MEDICAID AND THEY'VE APPLIED FOR FOOD STAMPS. I HEARD FROM A WORKER IN DES MOINES WHO'S BEEN IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY FOR MANY YEARS. SHE WAS LAID OFF ALMOST A YEAR AGO, HAS STRUGGLED TO FIND WORK. HER BENEFITS WERE CUT OFF LAST WEEK. HERE'S WHAT SHE WRITES. SHE SAYS, "MY CONCERN" -- AND I QUOTE -- "MY CONCERN IS THAT MY FAMILY CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. WE HAVE DEPLETED OUR SAVINGS JUST TO SAVE THE HOUSE AND NOT GET BEHIND ON THE BILLS. I KNOW THERE ARE OTHERS FAR WORSE OFF. PLEASE, HELP PASS THE EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE EXTENSION EXTENSION." I HEARD FROM A SCHOOLTEACHER IN NORTHERN IOWA WHO WAS LAID OFF IN OCTOBER OF 2008. SHE RECENTLY RAN OUT OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, HAD TO APPLY FOR WELFARE. SHE WRITES -- QUOTE -- "I HAVE NOT FELT SO HUMILIATED IN 20 YEARS. I HAVE BEEN A PRODUCTIVE AND HARD-WORKING WOMAN SINCE I WAS 13, BUT NOW I FEEL INSIGNIFICANT INSIGNIFICANT. PLEASE, DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT BUT TO NO AVAIL." AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, THESE ARE HARD-WORKING PEOPLE TRYING THEIR BEST, NEVER IMAGINED -- NEVER IMAGINED -- THAT THEY WOULD BE IN NEED OF FEDERAL ASSISTANCE. THEY PAID INTO THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SYSTEM WHILE THEY WERE WORKING. THEY'RE EMPLOYS PAID IN. AND THEY OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO COUNT ON IT WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH. TO ME, IT'S JUST A MATTER OF FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS AND HUMAN DECENCY. AND YET IN THE FACE OF SO MANY FAMILIES IN CRISIS, AN EXTENSION, JUST A SHORT-TERM EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SUSPECT BEING NEEDLESSLY AND I WOULD EVEN SAY CRUELLY -- CRUELLY -- OBSTRUCTED HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. TIME AND AGAIN WE'VE TRIED TO PASS AN EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT EFFORT HAS BEEN BLOCKED BY MEMBERS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS AISLE. AS A RESULT OF THIS POLITICAL GAMESMANSHIP, AS OF THE END OF THIS WEEK -- AS OF THE END OF THIS WEEK, 1.350 -- 1,350,000 AMERICANS WILL EXHAUST THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BECAUSE OF THE LAPSE IN THIS PROGRAM, THE END OF THIS WEEK. BY THE END OF NEXT WEEK, THAT WILL GO UP TO 1,720,000. WILL BE CUT OFF BECAUSE WE WON'T EXTEND IT HERE. BY JULY THE 10th, 2.14 MILLION 2.14 MILLION, $2,140,000 AMERICANS WILL HAVE THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS CUT OFF. WELL, BLOCKING THIS BILL MAY BE A POLITICAL GAME FOR SOME OVER HERE IN THE MINORITY PARTY, BUT IT'S NOT A GAME FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO'VE LOST THEIR LIFELINE. FOR THEM, THE OBSTRUCTION OF THIS BILL IS A PERSONAL AND FAMILY CRISIS OF THE FIRST MAGNITUDE. IMAGINE, WE'RE ABOUT TO GO OUT OF HERE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS FOR, WHAT, TEN DAYS, 12 DAYS, SOMETHING LIKE THAT, FOR THE -- TO CELEBRATE OUR NATION'S BIRTHDAY, THE 4th OF JULY WEEKEND. I'M SURE THAT SENATORS WILL BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES, CONGRESSMEN WILL BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES, ALL OF OUR STAFF. WE ALL GOT JOBS, MR. PRESIDENT. WE GOT GOOD JOBS. PAYS REALLY WELL. GOT GOOD BENEFITS -- HEALTH BENEFITS, RETIREMENT BENEFITS. AS DOES OUR STAFF. REPUBLICAN STAFF, DEMOCRATIC STAFF. REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND DEMOCRATIC SENATORS, WE'VE GOT GOOD PAY. WE'LL HAVE A GOOD 4th OF JULY. WITH OUR FAMILIES, WE'LL WATCH THE FIRE WORKS, HAVE HOT DOGS AND HAMBURGERS, LISTEN TO PATRIOTIC SPEECHES, MAYBE MAKE A FEW OURSELVES. HOW ABOUT ALL THESE PEOPLE? HOW ABOUT THESE PEOPLE? HOW ABOUT THESE FAMILIES? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING ABOUT ON THE 4th OF JULY? THEY'VE LOST THEIR BENEFITS. THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE TO TURN. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO BE CELEBRATING? WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO THINK ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY? WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO THINK ABOUT THIS IMPRESS CONGRESS THAT TURNS ITS BOOK THESE PEOPLE? THERE'S NO REASON WHY WE CAN'T EXTEND THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS, NONE WHATSOEVER. I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'VE GOT TO BE THINKING ABOUT HERE. NOW, YOU KNOW, ANOTHER THING THAT -- THAT REALLY I THINK HITS PRETTY HARD, I'VE HEARD SOME POLITICAL CANDIDATES OUT ON THE STUMP WHO WANT TO TAKE A PLACE IN THE SENATE OR MAYBE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OUT THERE TALKING ABOUT HOW WE SHOULDN'T EXTEND THESE BENEFITS BECAUSE THIS JUST ENCOURAGES PEOPLE NOT TO GO TO WORK. IT SORT OF ENCOURAGES LAZINESS. WELL, I THINK THAT'S JUST INSULTING AND ILLOGICAL. AS I SAID, THERE'S 30 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF WORK LOOKING FOR 2 MILLION JOBS. THEY SAY, WELL, IF YOU GIVE THEM THESE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, THEY JUST -- IT MAKES THEM LAZY, THEY WON'T GO TO WORK. WELL, WHILE THE NUMBERS VARY FROM STATE TO STATE, THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT NATIONWIDE IS ABOUT -- ABOUT $300 A WEEK. ABOUT $300 A WEEK. BELOW POFT LINE POVERTY LINE. SO HERE YOU ARE, HERE'S THE AVERAGE INCOME FAMILY OF FOUR, ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, IT'S ABOUT $15,600. NOW, MORE IN SOME STATES, LESS IN OTHER STATES. THAT'S AN AVERAGE. SO WHAT'S THE POVERTY LINE FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR? $22,000. THAT'S BELOW THE POVERTY LINE. ARE YOU TELLING ME PEOPLE HERE DON'T WANT TO GO TO WORK? THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAD WORK. THEY'RE NOT OUT OF WORK BECAUSE THEY WALKED OFF THE JOB. THEY'RE OUT OF WORK BECAUSE THEY WERE CUT OFF OF WORK. IN SOME STATES, THE BENEFIT'S FAR SMALLER. FOR EXAMPLE, IN MISSISSIPPI, THE WEEKLY MAXIMUM BENEFIT -- MAXIMUM, MAXIMUM BENEFIT -- IS $235 A WEEK. THIS IS $300. AGAIN, THAT'S THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS LESS THAN THE ANNUAL SALARY OF A FULL-TIME MINIMUM-WAGE WORKER. AGAIN, I CAN'T IMAGINE ANYONE WHO HAD THE ALTERNATIVE TO MAKE MORE MONEY ASK TO HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB AND SAY, NO, I WANT TO STAY ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. THAT'S INSULTING. IT'S INSULTING. WELL, I'VE ALSO HEARD MY COLLEAGUES OBJECT TO THIS BENEFIT EXTENSION ON THE GROUNDS THAT PROVIDING THESE BENEFITS IS TOO EXPENSIVE, IT WILL ADD TO THE DEFICIT. WHILE I UNDERSTAND THIS CONCERN CONCERN -- AND WE ALL ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE DEFICIT OF THIS COUNTRY -- IT DOESN'T HOLD WATER WHEN WE'RE SITTING IN THE MIDST OF AN ECONOMIC CRISIS. WE'RE ABOUT TO PASS A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL HERE, OH, SOMETIME SOON, PROBABLY AFTER WE GET BACK FROM THE 4th OF JULY. IT'S GOT ABOUT $37 BILLION IN THERE IN MILITARY AID TO IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. WE'RE BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS OVER THERE. WE'RE PUTTING PEOPLE TO WORK THERE. YET WE'RE CONTINUING TO LOSE A LOT OF YOUNG AMERICAN LIVES, YOUNG AMERICANS GETTING INJURED, KILLED. AND YET THAT'S ADDING TO THE DEFICIT. WE'RE NOT PAYING FOR THAT. THAT'S ADDING TO THE DEFICIT. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IF WE'RE TRYING TO LOOK AHEAD AND TRYING TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY, WE WANT TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, WE WANT TO GET THE ECONOMY GOING AGAIN. WE NEED TO GET THE RECOVERY UP. WELL, UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS COST MONEY, YES, BUT THINK ABOUT IT THIS WAY. THAT MONEY IS SPENT HERE IN AMERICA. NOT SPENT OVERSEAS AND NOT SPENT SOMEPLACE ELSE. IT'S SPENT HERE. NOW, WHAT DO PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY GET UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS, WHAT DO THEY DO WITH THAT MONEY? DO THEY PUT IT? A SHOE BOX, DO THEY BURY IT IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND? NO, THEY GO OUT AND THEY SPEND IT, THEY SPEND IT ON FOOD AND CLOTHES AND THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE, HOUSING, RENT, UTILITIES. THAT MONEY SPINS AROUND IN THE ECONOMY. THAT'S WHY -- THAT'S WHY THE ECONOMISTS ALL AGREE THAT ONE OF THE -- THIS IS FROM MOODY'S, MOODIESECONOMY.COM. THE BIGGEST BOOST FOR THE ECONOMY IN TERMS OF BENEFITS FROM THE GOVERNMENT, THE BIGGEST BANG FOR THE BUCK, SO TO SPEAK, ARE FOOD STAMPS. THAT'S BECAUSE POOR PEOPLE WHO GET FOOD STAMPS GET IT, THEY SPEND IT RIGHT AWAY ON FOOD. NOT ALL BUT MOST OF THE FOOD IS GROWN IN THIS COUNTRY AND PROCESSED. NOT ALL OF IT BUT MOST OF IT. SO YOU GET A BIG BANG FOR THE BUCK. FOR EVERY DOLLAR IN FOOD STAMPS, YOU GET $1.73 OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THIS COUNTRY. $1.73 FOR EVERY $1 INVESTED. UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, $1.63, RIGHT NEXT TO FOOD STAMPS. UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS THAT SO MANY OF US TALK ABOUT, VERY CLOSE ON THE HEELS, $1.59. YOU WANT TO PUT PEOPLE TO WORK? JUST START DOING INFRASTRUCTURE REBUILDING IN AMERICA. REBUILD OUR SEWER AND WATER SYSTEMS AND OUR HIGHWAYS, ROADS, BRIDGES, RAIL, HIGH-SPEED. THAT'S A GREAT INVESTMENT, PLUS YOU PUT A LOFT PEOPLE TO WORK -- A LOT OF PEOPLE TO WORK TOO. WELL, A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY, WELL, WE'VE JUST GOT TO EXTEND THE BUSH TAX CUTS AND KEEP -- GET THE ECONOMY GOING. WELL, EXTENDING THE BUSH TAX CUTS IS 49 CENTS RETURN ON THE DOLLAR. NOT A VERY GOOD INVESTMENT, FOLKS, NOT VERY GOOD. AND EXTENDING THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX, YOU GET 31 CENTS RETURN ON THE DOLLAR. SO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, YES, THEY COST MONEY, YES, THEY DO ADD TO THE DEFICIT, BUT THEY PROVIDE FOR A LOT OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THIS COUNTRY, A LOT MORE THAN EXTENDING A TAX CUT. FOR EXAMPLE, IN IOWA ALONE, MORE THAN 3,700 JOBS WERE SAVED OR CREATED IN MY STATE IN 2009 THANKS TO THE BENEFITS OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. 3,700 JOBS IN MY STATE ALONE JUST BECAUSE OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS. SO AGAIN, UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, MR. PRESIDENT, THE OBSTRUCTION OF AN EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IS INEXPLICABLE. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN IT? HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO SOMEONE WHO IS ON THEIR LIFELINE, HAVE LOST THEIR BENEFITS OR IS ON THE VERGE OF LOSING THEIR BENEFITS RIGHT NOW? IT'S LIKE A PERSON WHO'S IN THE HOSPITAL WITH A SERIOUS INFECTION. THE DOCTOR SAYS, OKAY, HERE'S A 15-DAY COURSE OF ANTIBIOTICS, AND THE PATIENT GOES HOME AND SAYS, OKAY, 15 DAYS, YOU GOT TO TAKE THE ANTIBIOTICS EVERY DAY. BUT DAY EIGHT COMES, DAY NINE COMES, THE PATIENT FEELS BETTER, THEY STOP TAKING THEIR ANTIBIOTICS. THE INFECTION REASSERTS ITSELF, THE PATIENT'S RIGHT BACK IN THE HOSPITAL. THAT'S WHERE WE ARE IN THIS ECONOMIC RECOVERY. WE MADE THE MISTAKE ONCE BEFORE -- HISTORY SHOWS THIS, 1937. WE WERE GETTING OUT OF THE DEPRESSION, THE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS AND THINGS THAT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT AND THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS PUT IN PLACE WERE GETTING US OUT OF THE RECESSION, BUT THEN THE SO-CALLED DEFICIT HAWKS TOOK OVER AND BEGAN THEN TO TIGHTEN DOWN ON THE BENEFITS AND ON THESE PROGRAMS. AND WHAT HAPPENED? THE FEDERAL RESERVE STARTED TIGHTENING UP THE MONEY. BUT CONGRESS SLASHED SPENDING, THE FED TIGHTENED ITS POLICY, AND THE ECONOMY PLUNGED BACK DOWN INTO A DEPRESSION. SO THAT'S WHY I USE THE ANALOGY OF SOMEONE IN THE HOSPITAL, SERIOUS INFECTION, THEY'RE PRESCRIBED 15 DAYS OF ANTIBIOTICS, BUT AFTER FIVE, SIX, SEVEN DAYS, THEY FEEL BETTER AND THEY STOP. THE INFECTION REASSERTS ITSELF. THEY'RE RIGHT BACK IN THE HOSPITAL. THAT'S WHERE WE'RE RIGHT NOW. WELL, QUITE FRANKLY, THERE IS AN INFECTION IN OUR COUNTRY. THE INFECTION IS CALLED A RECESSION, A DEEP RECESSION, A DEPRESSION. 30 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF WORK. IT IS AN INFECTION. AND THERE'S ONE THING THAT WILL HELP RELIEVE THAT INFECTION RIGHT NOW. THE MEDICINE OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.

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  • 04:31:30 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WILL THE SENATOR YIELD FOR A QUESTION?

  • 04:31:33 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    BE DELIGHTED TO YIELD TO MY COLLEAGUE AND LEADER FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 04:31:37 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS ISSUE TO THE FLOOR. WE HAD A MEETING TODAY OF…

    THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS ISSUE TO THE FLOOR. WE HAD A MEETING TODAY OF THE DEFICIT COMMISSION, 18 OF US WHO HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH FINDING A WAY TO DEAL WITH OUR NATION'S DEFICIT. IN SPEAKING -- AND SPEAKING TO US WAS THE DIRECTOR OF THE C.B.O., CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OUSTS, MR. ELMENDORF, TO TALKED ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO DO. AND I ASKED HIM THE QUESTION THAT WENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR POINT. AS WE TALK ABOUT REDUCING THE DEFICIT, ISN'T THERE A WORRY OR CONCERN THAT IF WE HIT THE BRAKES TOO SOON, WE COULD PLUNGE EVEN DEEPER INTO A RECESSION WITH MORE PEOPLE OUT OF WORK? AND HE SAID YES. HE SAID, YOU'VE GOT MAKE SURE THAT WE START MOVING FORWARD, PUTTING PEOPLE TO WORK, THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT GROWING, AND ONCE YOU HAVE THE ECONOMY STABLIZED AND MOVING FORWARD, PEOPLE PAYING TAXES, WHICH INCIDENTALLY BRINGS DOWN THE DEFICIT, THEN YOU CAN TALK ABOUT THE LONG-TERM DEFICIT FIX. SO I WOULD SAY TO THE THE SENATOR FROM IOWA, YOU REALLY HAD THE THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, WHO REFUSE TO SUPPORT UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BENEFITS, EXTENDING THEM, SAY, WELL, WE WANT TO TAKE IT FROM SOME OTHER AREA OF SPENDING. WELL, OF COURSE THAT JUST REDUCES THE STIMULUS TO THE AMERICAN COMMITMENT OF SO THEY ARE NOT HELPING THINGS. WE THEYWE NEED TO HELP THEM. WE'VE OVER 10,000 IN THE STATE OF I WILL I WILL-- --OF ILLINOIS, IT WILL BE 80,000 BY THE END OF JUNE. AT THIS POINT THESE FOLKS HAVE REACHED A POINT OF DESPERATION. AID CALL OVER THE WEEKEND FROM A FRIEND OF MINE WHO IS UNEMPLOYED, A MOTHER OF THREE KIDS WITH A GRANDCHILD IN THE HOUSE AND THEY'RE CUTTING OFF HER UTILITIES BECAUSE HER UNEMPLOYMENT CHECK WAS CUT OFF. THAT'S THE REALITY OF LIFE FOR PEOPLE WHO'VE LOST JOBS THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. AND I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS ISSUE UP. I WILL BE EMBARRASS FUNDAMENTAL WE LEAVE HERE FOR THE 4th OF JULY BREAK WITHOUT TAKING ON THIS UNEMPLOYMENT ISSUE AND HELPING THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE MIDWEST AND THE NATION WHO ARE SIMILARLY SITUATED. AND I'M SUPPOSED TO ASK YOU A QUESTION, SO I'LL ASK YOU, DO YOU EVEN POSSIBLY AGREE WITH WHAT I'VE SAID?

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  • 04:33:43 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, WHO HAS BEEN A CHAMPION OF WORKING…

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, WHO HAS BEEN A CHAMPION OF WORKING PEOPLE AND FAMILIES FOR ALL THE MANY YEARS THAT I'VE KNOWN HIM, AND THAT'S MANY YEARS NOW. I THANK HIM FOR TELLING US ABOUT WHAT THE O.M.B. SAID IN THE DEFICIT COMMISSION. IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, AND THIS IS WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW, TO GET THE ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN, KEEP IT MOVING, THE BIGGEST BANK FOR THE BUCK WE GET IS FOOD STAMPS. THE PEOPLE THAT GET FOOD STAMPS GO OUT AND SPEND IT RIGHT AWAY ON FOOD. SECOND ONLY TO THAT, FOR EVERY THAT WE PUT INTO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IT CAUSES $1.63 OF ECONOMIC BEING A. -- OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. THAT'S NOT A BAD RETURN. DOWN HERE ON THE BUSH TAX CUTS, WE ONLY GET 49 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR. MY FRIENDS SAY, WE GOT TO GET MORE OF THESE BUSH TAX CUTS. THAT'S A DISMAL RETURN. YET -- IN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS, $1.59. IF YOU INVEST MORE IN OUR INVESTMENT -- IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND SEWER AND WATER PLANTS AND HIGHWAY, ROADS, BRIDGES, HIGH-SPEED RAIL, NOT ONLY DO YOU GET A GREAT RETURN, YOU GET A LOT OF PEOPLE EMPLOYED, TOO, STATEMENT. TOO, HOW CAN YOU LEAVE HERE TOMORROW OR FRIDAY WHEN WE LEAVE HERE FOR 10 OR 12 DAYS, HOW CAN WE LEAVE HERE WHEN WE KNOW THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING? TEND OF THE THIS WEEK -- AT THE END OF THIS WEEK 1,350,000 AMERICANS WILL AGAIN LOSE THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. NEXT WEEK IF JUMPS UP TO 1,720,000. BY JULY 10, BEFORE WE COME BACK HERE, 2,140,000 AMERICANS WILL LOSE THEIR BENEFITS. HOW CAN WE GO HOME AND CELEBRATE THE 4th OF JULY -- FIREWORKS, THE BIRTHDAY OF OUR REPUBLIC, OF OUR COUNTRY, GIVE PATRIOTIC SPEECHES ABOUT HOW GREAT WE'RE AND WHAT A GOOD COUNTRY THIS IS -- AND WE'RE TABOOING LEAVE ALL THESE PEOPLE OUT IN THE -- AND WE'RE GOING TO LEAVE ALL THESE PEOPLE OUT IN THE COLD? WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THIS BODY? WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS? SO I'LL TELL YOU, I SAY TO ALL THOSE FAMILIES WHO HAVE WRITTEN ME LETTERS, WHO'VE CONTACTED ME BY E-MAIL, WHO'VE GONE INTO MY OFFICES TELLING ME THE STORY OF THEIR JOBLESSNESS, STRUGGLES, YOU'RE NOT FORGOTTEN. WE'RE HERE FIGHTING TO TRY TO GET THIS DONE. BUT MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES REFUSE, REFUSE TO LET US EXTEND THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. EVEN FOR A HALF A YEAR, EVEN FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. WELL, WE WILL DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO GET THIS DONE. AND FOR THE SAKE OF THESE FAMILIES, FOR OUR COUNTRY, AND I SAY TO MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS, FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FAMILIES, OUR COUNTRY, AND, YES, OUR ECONOMY, OUR ECONOMY, WE CAN'T LEAVE HERE WITHOUT EXTENDING THESE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. I ASK MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE BEEN BLOCKING THIS, HAVE A SENSE OF HUMANITY ON THIS, A SENSE OF COMPASSION, OF CARING FOR THESE FAMILIES. WE ALL MAKE GOOD MONEY AROUND HERE. WE GET GOOD PAY. WE GOT GOOD BENEFITS. GOOD RETIREMENT BENEFITS, ALL OUR STAFFS ARE EMPLOYED, EVERYTHING I SEE HERE IN THIS CHAMBER, WE'RE ALL EMPLOYED. WHAT ABOUT THESE PEOPLE THAT ARE UNEMPLOYED, HUH? WE GOT TO THINK ABOUT THEM BEFORE WE CLOSE UP SHOP AND LEAVE HERE THIS WEEK. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR:

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  • 04:38:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:38:06 PM

    MR. KERRY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT IS THE PARLIAMENTARY --

  • 04:38:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE PENDING QUESTION IS HOUSE MESSAGE ON H.R. 4213.

  • 04:38:24 PM

    MR. KERRY

    THANK YOU. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THEN THAT I CAN…

    THANK YOU. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THEN THAT I CAN SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 04:38:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:38:35 PM

    MR. KERRY

    THE SENATE IN ITS 223-YEAR HISTORY HAS NEVER HAD A GREATER CHAMPION THAN…

    THE SENATE IN ITS 223-YEAR HISTORY HAS NEVER HAD A GREATER CHAMPION THAN ROBERT BYRD, AND WEST VIRGINIA IN ITS 147-YEAR HISTORY HAS NEVER HAD A MORE POWERFUL ADVOCATE OR PUBLIC SERVANT THAN ROBERT BYRD. LIKE SO MANY SENATORS ELECTED BEFORE AND AFTER ME, I LEARNED VERY QUICKLY HOW PASSIONATE ROBERT BYRD WAS ABOUT THIS INSTITUTION. ITS ROOTS IN THE CONSTITUTION. AS ALL OF US RERKS HE HAD THAT DOG-EARED COPY OF THE CONSTITUTION THAT HE CARRIED IN THE FRONT POCKET OF HIS SUIT AND SOMETIMES IN THE CAUCUS OR OTHER TIMES ON THE FLOOR, HE'D PULL IT OUT TO HELP REINFORCE A POINT THAT HE WAS MAKING, EVEN THOUGH WE ALL KNEW THAT HE COULD RECITE THE CONSTITUTION BY MEMORY. HE CONSULTED IT OFTEN AND WITHOUT HESITATION. IN ITS WORDS, HE REMINDED US, HE ALWAYS FOUND WISDOM, TRUTH, AND EXCITEMENT, THE SAME EXCITEMENT THAT HE FELT AS A YOUNG BOY IN WOLF CREEK HOLLOW, READING READING BY KEROSENE LAMP ABOUT THE HEROES OF THE REVOLUTION AND THE BINCH OUR NATION. IN THOSE WORDS -- AND THOSE WORDS LITERALLY GUIDED HIM THROUGH THE 58 YEARS THAT HE SPENT IN WASHINGTON AS A MEMBER OF THE CONGRESS AND AS A SENATOR. MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT NO ONE KNEW THE SENATE, ITS HISTORY, ITS TRADITIONS, ITS PRECEDENTS BETTER THAN ROBERT BYRD. IT'S ALL THERE IN THE FOUR-VOLUME COLLECTION OF THE SPEECHES ON THE SENATE THAT HE GAVE AND THAT WE WERE ALL PRIVILEGED TO RECEIVE FROM HIM. BUT EVERY FRESHMAN SENATOR GOT A PERSONAL CRASH COURSE ON THE SENATE'S HISTORY FROM ROBERT BYRD HIMSELF. I WAS ONE OF FIVE DEMOCRATIC FRESHMEN ELECTED IN 1984. THE CLASS OF 1984 WAS PRIVILEGED TO SHARE SOME LOFTY HOPES AND GOALS. FOUR OF THE FIVE OF US EVENTUALLY RAN FOR PRESIDENT -- AL GORE, PAUL SIMON, TOM HARKIN, AND MYSELF. AND ALL OF US COULD TELL YOU THAT WE ARRIVED IN THE SENATE WITH A THIRST FOR ACTION AND AN IMPATIENCE FOR DELAY. THEN MINORITY LEADER ROBERT BYRD DIDN'T DISCOURAGE ANY OF THAT. IN FACT, HE ENCOURAGED IT, AND HE HELPED ALL OF US WITH OUR COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS SO WE COULD PUSH THE LIST OF OUR POLICY IDEAS THAT WE EXUBERANTLY BELIEVED WE COULD AND WOULD PASS INTO LAW. BUT IN MEETINGS WITH US INDIVIDUALLY, HE ALSO HELD EACH OF US TO SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE, TO IMPRESS UPON US THE FACT THAT ONE OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITIES AS SENATORS WAS TO BE CARETAKERS OF THIS INSTITUTION, AN INSTITUTION THAT HE REGARDED AS BOTH THE MORNINGSTAR AND THE EVENING STAR OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTELLATION. TO ROBERT BYRD, THE SENATE WAS, AS HE SAID, "THE LAST BASTION OF MINORITY RIGHTS, WHERE A MINORITY COULD BE HEARD, WHERE A MINORITY CAN STAND ON ITS FEET, ONE INDIVIDUAL, IF NECESSARY, AND SPEAK UNTIL HE FALLS INTO THE DUST." INDEED, EARLIER THIS YEAR WHEN MANY OF US FELT FRUSTRATION OVER THE SENATE'S RULES GOVERNING FILIBUSTERS, SPECIFICALLY THE REQUIREMENT OF 60 VOTES TO CUT OFF DEBATE, ROBERT BYRD CAUTIONED AGAINST AMENDING THE RULES TO FACILITATE EXPEDITIOUS ACTION BY A SIMPLE MAJORITY. IN A LETTER SENT TO ALL OF US, HE OBSERVED THAT THE OCCASIONAL ABUSE OF THE RULES HAS BEEN AT TIMES A PAINFUL SIDE EFFECT OF WHAT IS OTHERWISE THE SENATE'S GREATEST PURPOSE: THE RIGHT TO EXTENDED OR EVEN UNLIMITED DEBATE. THE SENATE, HE SAID, IS THE ONLY PLACE IN GOVERNMENT WHERE THE RIGHTS OF THE NUMERICAL MINORITY ARE SO PROTECTED. HE ADDED, "MAJORITIES CHANGE WITH ELECTIONS. A MINORITY CAN BE RIGHT AND MINORITY VIEWS CAN CERTAINLY IMPROVE LEGISLATION. EXTENDED DELIBERATIONS AND DEBATE, WHERE EMPLOYED JUDICIOUSLY, PROTECT EVERY SENATOR AND THE INTERESTS OF THEIR CONSTITUENCY AND ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE PROTECTION OF THE LIBERTIES OF A FREE PEOPLE." ROBERT BYRD ALSO IMPRESSED UPON US THE FACT THAT WE DID NOT SERVE UNDER ANY PRESIDENT, THAT AS A SEPARATE AND EQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, WE SERVED WITH PRESIDENTS, ACTED AS A CHECK ON THE EXECUTIVE'S POWER. ROBERT BYRD WAS THE LONGEST-SERVING MEMBER OF CONGRESS IN ALL OF OUR NATION'S HISTORY. AND AS SURCHTION HE SERVED WITH -- AND AS SUCH, HE SERVED WITH -- I REPEAT, SERVED WITH 11 PRESIDENTS. AND AT NO TIME IN HIS CAREER, WAS ROBERT BYRD'S DEFENSE OF LEGISLATIVE PREROGATIVES MORE ELOQUENT THAN IN ARGUING AGAINST GRANTING THE BUSH BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S BROAD POWER TO WAGE PREEMPTIVE WAR AGAINST IRAQ. HE CHIDE THE SENATE FOR STANDING PASS CIVIL MUTE, PARALYZED BY OUR OWN UNCERTAINTY, CEDE ITS WAR POWERS TO PRESIDENT BUSH. ROBERT BYRD WASHINGS AS WE ALL KNOW -- ROBERT BYRD WAS, AS WE ALL KNOW, A LOT MORE THAN THE GUARDIAN OF THE SENATE. AVENUES MAJOR FIGURE IN THE GREAT PANORAMA OF AMERICAN MOTHER OVER HALF A CENTURY. AND HE WAS A THINKER. ATHINKING AND REEVALUATING, MORE IN HIS HE 80'S AND 90'S THAN MANY SENATORS DO IN A LIFETIME. EAFNS ARDENT SUPPORTERS OF THE VIETNAM WAR BUT SURPRISED MANY WITH HIS FIERCE OPPOSITION TO PRESIDENT BUSH'S INVASION OF IRAQ. HE WAS A PROTECTER OF WEST VIRGINIA'S COAL INDUSTRY BUT CAME TO ACCEPT THE MOUNTING SCIENTIFIC DATA OF GLOBAL WARMING AND TOOK PART IN FINDING THE SOLUTION. TO DO," HE SAID, WOULD BE TO -- QUOTE -- "STICK OUR HEADS IN THE SAND." ROBERT BYRD CAST MORE THAN 18,500 VOTES IN THE SENATE, A RECORD THAT WILL NEVER BE EQUALED. HIS LAST VOTE WAS JUNE 17, AGAINST A REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL TO PREVENT THE EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. AND EARLIER THIS YEAR, EVEN WITH HIS HEALTH FAILING, HE CAST ONE OF THE MOST HISTORIC VOTES OF HIS CAREER IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION TO EXPAND HEALTH CARE TO ALL AMERICANS, THE LIFE WORK OF HIS OLD AND DEPARTED FRIEND, TED KENNEDY. WHETHER HE VOTED WITH YOU OR AGAINST YOU, IT WAS NEVER A HARD IDEOLOGY WITH ROBERT BYRD. HE HAD NO USE FOR NARROW PARTISANSHIP THAT TRADES ON ATTACK AND VALUES; ONLY VICTORY. I LEARNED THAT AS A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT IN 2004, WHEN SENATOR BYRD CAME TO MY DEFENSE AFTER OPPONENTS AIMED RELIGIOUS SMEARS AT ME, AND I WAS FOREVER GRATEFUL TO HIM FOR DOING THAT. IT ALL BEGAN ONE SUNDAY WHEN SENATOR BYRD WAS HOME IN WEST VIRGINIA AND FOUND THAT A BROCHURE HAD BEEN INSERTED IN A CHURCH BULLETIN SAYING THAT IF ELECTED PRESIDENT, I WOULD BAN THE BIBLE. SENATOR BYRD EXPLODED. NO ONE SIDE HAS THE MARKET ON CHRISTIANITY OR BELIEF IN GOD, SAID THIS BORN-AGAIN BAPTIST. AND LATER AT A RALLY IN BECKLEY, HE ACCUSED MY OPPONENTS OF HAVING IMPROPERLY HIJACKED THE ISSUE OF FAITH. AND HE SAID THAT THE SUGGESTION THAT I INTENDED TO BAN THE BIBLE WAS TRASH AND A LIE. BUT SENATOR BYRD WASN'T DONE. HE ALSO WENT TO THE SENATE FLOOR TO DENOUNCE THIS KIND OF POLITICS. PAID HENCH MEN WHO TALK ABOUT DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS ARE EAGER TO BAN THE BIBLE OBVIOUSLY THINK THAT WEST VIRGINIANS ARE GULLIBLE, I GO TPHARPBT FOOLS -- IGNORANT FOOLS, HE SAID. THEY MUST THINK WEST VIRGINIANS JUST BOUNCED OFF THE TURNIP TRUCK BUT THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA ARE SMARTER THAN THAT. WE ARE NOT COUNTRY BUMPKINS THAT WILL SWALLOW WHATEVER GARBAGE SOME HIGH-PRICED POLITICIAN MAKES UP. ANY TIME SENATOR BYRD SPOKE, ALL OF US WHO HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF SERVING WITH HIM REMEMBER THAT HIS SPEECHES WERE FILLED WITH AS MANY BIBLE REFERENCES AS HISTORICAL REFERENCES. AND WHEN HE SPOKE, THE SENATE KIND OF CAME TO A HALT. SENATORS WOULD LEAN FORWARD AND LISTEN AS THEY DIDN'T NECESSARILY DO OTHERWISE, AND LEARN. IT IS FITTING, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THIS TEACHER IN THE SENATE, THIS GUARDIAN OF THE SENATE, THAT HE WILL LIE IN STATE IN THIS CHAMBER ON THE FLOOR OF THE INSTITUTION THAT HE REVERED AND WHICH ALSO HAD SO MUCH RESPECT FOR HIM. HE IS AS MUCH A PART OF THIS CHAMBER IN MANY WAYS AS THE HISTORIC DESKS OR GALLERIES OR THE BUSTS OF SENATE PRESIDENTS. HE RAN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE 15 TIMES, AND HE NEVER LOST. HE WAS FIRST ELECTED TO THE WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE IN 1946, SERVED THREE TERMS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BEFORE HIS ELECTION TO THE SENATE. IT'S NO WONDER THAT HE WAS SUCH A KEEN OBSERVER OF POLITICS. I REMEMBER WHEN I DECIDED TO RUN IN 2004, I WENT TO TALK TO SENATOR BYRD, AND HIS ADVICE WAS IN FACT AMONG THE FIRST THAT I SOUGHT. AND HE ADVISED ME, GO TO WEST VIRGINIA. GET A LITTLE COAL DUST ON MY HANDS AND FACE AND LIVE IN SPIRIT WITH THE WORKING PEOPLE THERE. AND IF KEEPING WITH HIS ADVICE, I DID JUST THAT. WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE IT WAS. HE WAS DEEPLY PROUD OF WEST VIRGINIA AND ITS PEOPLE. HE PROUDLY DEFENDED HIS WORK TO INVEST FEDERAL DOLLARS IN HIS STATE, THE KIND OF SPENDING THAT SOME PEOPLE DERIDE AS PORK. ROBERT BYRD KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING ELSE. IT WAS OPPORTUNITY FOR HIS PEOPLE. HE TOOK PRIDE IN THE WAY THAT FEDERAL FUNDING HELPED TO LIFT THE ECONOMY OF WEST VIRGINIA, ONE OF THE -- QUOTE -- "ROCK BOTTOMNESS OF STATES," AS HE PUT IT. HE BREATHED NEW LIFE INTO SO MANY COMMUNITIES ACROSS THAT STATE WITH FUNDING FOR HIGHWAYS, HOSPITALS, UNIVERSITIES, RESEARCH INSTITUTES, SCHOLARSHIPS AND HOUSING, ALL THE TIME GIVING PEOPLE THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT HE KNEW SO MANY WEST VIRGINIANS OF HIS GENERATION HAD NEVER HAD. YOU TAKE THOSE THINGS AWAY, IMAGINE. IT WOULD BE BLANK, HE ONCE SAID. MR. PRESIDENT, ROBERT BYRD'S JOURNEY WAS IN MANY WAYS AMERICA'S JOURNEY. HE CAME OF AGE IN AN AMERICA SEGREGATED BY RACE. BUT LIKE AMERICA, HE CHANGED, EVEN REPENTED, AND HE MADE AMENDS. NOT ONLY DID HE COME TO REGRET HIS SEGREGATIONIST PAST, BUT HE BECAME AN ARDENT ADVOCATE FOR ALL KINDS OF CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION INCLUDING A NATIONAL HOLIDAY HONORING DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING. AND IN THE END ROBERT BYRD ENDORSED BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT. I HAVE LIVED WITH THE WEIGHT OF MY OWN YOUTHFUL MISTAKES MY WHOLE LIFE, HE SAID, LIKE A MILLSTONE AROUND MY NECK. THAT'S WHAT HE WROTE IN 2006. AND I ACCEPT THAT THOSE MISTAKES WILL FOREVER BE MENTIONED WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT ME. I BELIEVE I HAVE LEARNED FROM THOSE MISTAKES. I KNOW I HAVE TRIED VERY HARD TO DO SO. THAT IS THE EXPRESSION OF A MAN WITH A BIG HEART AND A BIG MIND. THE MOMENTS THAT DEFINE MOST MEN'S LIVES ARE FEW. NOT SO WITH ROBERT BYRD. HE DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO ERMA AND HIS FAMILY AND TO PUBLIC SERVICE, COMPILING AN EXTRAORDINARY RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AND SERVICE IN MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY IN CONGRESS. HIS MASTERY OF SENATE RULES AND PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE WAS LEGENDARY. HIS DEVOTION TO HIS COLLEAGUES AND TO THIS INSTITUTION WAS UNEQUALED, AND HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO HIS STATE AND TO THE NATION WERE MONUMENTAL. MR. PRESIDENT, ROBERT BYRD SPENT MOST OF HIS LIFE MAKING SURE THE SENATE REMAINED WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS INTENDED IT TO BE: A CITADEL OF LAW, OF ORDER, OF LIBERTY, THE ANCHOR OF THE REPUBLIC. AND IN DOING SO, HE TAKES HIS PLACE AMONG THE GIANTS OF THE SENATE SUCH AS DANIEL WEBSTER, JOHN C. CALHOUN, AND OF COURSE HIS AND OUR DEAR FRIEND, TED KENNEDY. MAY ROBERT BYRD REST IN PEACE.

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  • 04:51:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:51:55 PM

    MS. LANDRIEU

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:52:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:52:42 PM

    MS. LANDRIEU

    I WAS HERE EARLIER TODAY FOLLOWING SENATOR BAUCUS' HANDLING OF A PORTION…

    I WAS HERE EARLIER TODAY FOLLOWING SENATOR BAUCUS' HANDLING OF A PORTION OF THE SMALL BUSINESS BILL. I'M PLEASED TO BE SHARING THAT RESPONSIBILITY ON THE SMALL BUSINESS BILL THAT IS NOT IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THE SENATE BECAUSE, REMEMBER, WE CAME OFF OF IT TEMPORARILY TO TALK ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT MEASURE THAT'S PENDING, WHICH SENATOR HARKIN JUST SPOKE ABOUT. BUT I WANT TO RETURN TO THE SMALL BUSINESS BILL BECAUSE AT SOME POINT AFTER A VOTE ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT MEASURE BEFORE THE SENATE, WE WILL GET BACK TO A VERY IMPORTANT BILL FOR YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN. AND YOU'VE BEEN A REAL LEADER IN THIS AREA AS WELL AS MANY OF US. AND I WANTED TO SPEAK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT A COUPLE OF PROVISIONS OF THE SMALL BUSINESS BILL. THE BILL ITSELF HAS THREE MAJOR PIECES TO IT. THERE'S A PIECE THAT CAME OUT OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE THAT I SPENT SOME TIME THIS MORNING TALKING ABOUT, THE ELEMENTS OF STRENGTHENING THE S.B.A. LENDING PROGRAMS, EXPANDING THE LIMITS FOR THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT BUSINESSES CAN BORROW. THERE IS A PIECE THAT'S COMING OUT OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE THAT IS BROADLY SUPPORTED. SENATOR BAUCUS AND SENATOR GRASSLEY HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB. BASICALLY IT'S TAX CUTS RELATIVE TO SMALL BUSINESS THAT CAN HELP THEM AND TAX PROVISIONS. AND THEN THERE IS A PIECE OF THIS THAT'S COME FROM THE TREASURY, THE WHITE HOUSE, THE LEADERSHIP TEAM, IF YOU MIGHT, ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS LENDING. AND I'D LIKE TO TALK FOR ONE MINUTE, FOR A FEW MINUTES ABOUT A PIECE OF THE SMALL BUSINESS PACKAGE. AND THEN I'D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE BANK INVESTMENT PROGRAM, THE $30 BILLION PROGRAM. FIRST OF ALL, MR. PRESIDENT, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE SMALL BUSINESS BILL IS THE EXTENSION AND EXPANSION OF 504 LOANS. TO PUT THIS IN PLAIN ENGLISH, THESE ARE THE LOANS THAT THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION PARTNERS WITH BANKS TO MAKE TO WHAT WE CALL FLOOR PLAN LENDING. IT'S ANY BUSINESS THAT HAS INVENTORY. MAYBE IT'S A TRACTOR COMPANY OR A MANUFACTURED HOME COMPANY OR A BOAT MARINE INDUSTRY, WHERE A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER -- AND YOU HAVE SOME OF THESE IN ILLINOIS, I KNOW. I HAVE MANY OF THEM IN LOUISIANA. SMALL BUSINESSES THAT HAVE TO BUY INVENTORY AND PUT IN THEIR SHOW ROOMS WHEN PEOPLE COME BY, THEY LOOK AT THE PRODUCT. THEY MIGHT GO ON THE INTERNET, MR. PRESIDENT, THESE DAYS, YOU KNOW. MY SON DOES THIS. HE SPENDS A LOT OF TIME LOOKING AT AUTOMOBILES BECAUSE HE HAS NOT YET BEEN GIVEN PERMISSION TO PURCHASE HIS FIRST ONE. SO HE'S LOOKING EVERY NIGHT, BRINGING PICTURES TO HIS MOTHER AND FATHER TALKING ABOUT THE BENEFITS. SO THE PEOPLE TODAY GO ON THE INTERNET. THEY LOOK AT ALL THESE PRODUCTS THAT THEY WANT TO BUY: BOATS, TRACTORS, ET CETERA. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT THEY NORMALLY DO IS THEY DON'T REALLY PUSH THE BUTTON TO BUY THEM ON THE INTERNET. THEY GO DOWN TO THEIR LOCAL DEALER, BECAUSE THEY WANT TO WALK INTO A SHOW ROOM. THEY WANT TO SORT OF LOOK AT THE PRODUCT. THEY'VE HEARD ABOUT IT. THEY MIGHT EVEN HAVE DOCUMENTS FROM THE INTERNET. BUT THEY GO TO THEIR LOCAL SMALL BUSINESS, WHETHER IT'S IN SOME PARTS OF CHICAGO OR ILLINOIS OR LOUISIANA, DOWN IN TIVIDO OR VIOLET, LA ROSE. AND THEY WALK INTO AT THAT LOCAL MARINE OPERATOR AND SAY I'VE LOOKED ON THE INTERNET. THIS IS THE KIND OF BOAT I WANT TO BUY. DO YOU HAVE ONE IN STOCK? WELL, IF WE PASS THIS BILL, HE MIGHT HAVE ONE IN STOCK. BUT IF WE DON'T PASS THIS BILL, CHANCES ARE HE WON'T BE ABLE TO MAKE THAT SALE. THAT'S WHAT THE 504 LENDING PROGRAM DOES. AND I HAVE LETTERS EXACTLY FROM THE MARINE ASSOCIATION, MANUFACTURE ASSOCIATION THAT SAYS EXACTLY THIS, THAT WE HAVE OVER THOUSANDS OF MEMBERS, THEY SAY IN THIS LETTER. WE BELIEVE, THEY SAY THAT, IF WE PASS THIS PROVISION IN THIS SMALL BUSINESS BILL THAT IT COULD AFFECT OVER 350,000 JOBS IN AMERICA BECAUSE THAT'S HOW THESE SMALL BUSINESSES OPERATE. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, UNLIKE A LOT OF BUSINESSES WE TALK ABOUT HERE, THESE AREN'T BUSINESSES IN CHINA OR IN INDIA OR IN SOUTH AFRICA OR IN FRANCE. THESE ARE SMALL BUSINESSES WITH AMERICAN-MADE PRODUCTS IN OUR OWN NEIGHBORHOODS, ALMOST IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD IN AMERICA THAT HAS AN INVENTORY THAT,'S TRYING TO SELL SOMETHING. AND WHEN THAT PURCHASE IS MADE, TAX DOLLARS ARE GENERATED, MONEY CHANGES HANDS AND OUR ECONOMY GETS ROLLING AGAIN. SO THIS 504 LENDING PROGRAM IS NOT TO BE UNDERESTIMATED. IT IS NOT JUST AN OLD GOVERNMENT PROGRAM THAT DOESN'T WORK. THIS PROGRAM WILL LEVERAGE -- I'M LOOKING FOR THE PAPER HERE. WILL LEVERAGE POTENTIALLY LOANS UP TO $12 MILLION. BECAUSE THE WAY THE PROGRAM WORKS, IS THE FEDERAL BACKS 40% OF THE LOAN. THE BANKS USUALLY TAKE THE FIRST 50%. AND THEN THERE'S ANOTHER 10%. SO WHEN YOU ADD ALL OF THAT UP, BECAUSE OUR PORTION CAN NOW GO UP TO $5 MILLION, IT'S BASICALLY A $12 MILLION LOAN. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY FOR SMALL BUSINESS TO BE ABLE TO PURCHASE A NUMBER OF TRACTORS, FOR THEIR INVENTORY OR AUTOMOBILES OR R.V.'S OR JET SKIS, ET CETERA. THIS IS A BIG INDUSTRY, MR. PRESIDENT. YOU KNOW IT. YOU SEE IT ON MAIN STREETS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY SOFPLT WHEN WE PASS THIS BILL, I WANT MY COLLEAGUES TO KNOW, FOR THOSE OF YOU VOTING FOR IT, YOU CAN BE VERY PROUD. FOR THOSE OF YOU VOTING "NO," YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO BECAUSE THE AUTO DEALERS IN YOUR STATE, THE MARINE MANUFACTURERS IN YOUR STATE ARE GOING TO SAY WHY DIDN'T YOU VOTE FOR A BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW ME TO GO TO MY LOCAL BANK, BORROW UP TO $12 MILLION SO I COULD PUT INVENTORY IN THE SHOW ROOM SO OUR PEOPLE IN THIS TOWN CAN COME TO MY SHOP, OR MY PLACE OF BUSINESS AND PURCHASE THAT EQUIPMENT? SO THIS 504 LOAN PROGRAM IS VERY IMPORTANT. IT CAME OUT OF OUR COMMITTEE WITH BROAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. AND I'M PLEASED THAT IT IS IN THE UNDERLYING BILL. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I JUST WANT TO SAY ONE MORE WORD. I KNOW THERE MAY BE OTHERS ON THE FLOOR TO SPEAK. IN ANOTHER SECTION OF THIS SMALL BUSINESS BILL, IN OUR ATTEMPT TO GET JOBS CREATED IN AMERICA TO, BRING THIS RECESSION TO AN END, TO GET OUR PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, YES, WE HAVE TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT. BUT EVENTUALLY, EVENTUALLY -- NOT NOW BUT SOME TIME SOON. NOT NOW BECAUSE IT'S TOO SOON MANY ECONOMISTS SAY. BUT AT SOME TIME WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO STOP THE EMERGENCY EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND HAVE A JOB FOR PEOPLE TO GO BACK TO. BECAUSE I AGREE WITH SENATOR HARKIN. MOST PEOPLE, 99.9% OF PEOPLE IN AMERICA, MEN AND WOMEN, BLACK AND WHITE, HISPANIC OR ASIAN WOULD RATHER WORK BECAUSE IT NOT ONLY HELPS THEIR FAMILY ECONOMICALLY BUT BECAUSE IT IS VERY REWARDING TO WORK, PARTICULARLY AT SOMETHING YOU LIKE TO DO. AND IT'S LIFE AFFIRMING. PEOPLE AREN'T INTERESTED, AS SOME OF MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WANT TO SAY, TO SIT HOME AND COLLECT $215 A WEEK IN SOME STATES. I THINK IN MISSISSIPPI, IT'S $146 A WEEK. WHO WANTS TO DO THAT? HOW MANY MOUTHS CAN YOU FEED AT $146 A WEEK? NOT MANY. I DO THE SHOPPING IN MY FAMILY. THAT WOULDN'T COVER FOUR DAYS OR FIVE DAYS OF GROCERIES IN THE FAMILY AND I ONLY HAVE TWO CHILDREN. SO I'M NOT SURE WHAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE WHERE PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO STAY HOME AND COLLECT A REAL, YOU KNOW, BIG CHECK. PEOPLE WANT TO GET BACK TO WORK. BUT IN ORDER TO HELP THEM GET BACK TO WORK, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE SOME EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES TO GET BANKS MEDIUM-SIZED BANKS, COMMUNITY BANKS LENDING. AND SO THE PRESIDENT HAS COME UP AND TREASURY HAS COME UP WITH QUITE, I THINK, INNOVATIVE PROGRAM AND IT'S $30 BILLION. MANY SENATORS, REPUBLICAN SENATORS, VOTED FOR IT. AT LEAST ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT. EIGHT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE OTHERS WERE THINKING, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THEM TIME TO THINK ABOUT THEIR VOTE. THIS IS TARP. REMEMBER WHAT TARP STANDS FOR. TARP STANDS FOR TROUBLED ASSET -- TROUBLED ASSET PROGRAM. FOR TROUBLED BANKS, TARP, THAT'S WHERE THE WORD COMES FROM. THE T STANDS FOR TROUBLE. THIS PROVISION THAT WE'VE COME UP WITH, THIS $30 BILLION PROGRAM, SHOULD BE CALLED THE HAPPY BANK PROVISION. BECAUSE THIS IS NOT FOR TROUBLED BANKS. THIS IS FOR HAPPY BANKS. THESE ARE BANKS THAT ARE NOT TROUBLED. THEY'RE HEALTHY BANKS. BUT THIS PROGRAM WILL ALLOW THEM TO VOLUNTARILY, NOT MANDATORILY, VOLUNTARILY ALLOW THE TREASURY TO FIEWLT CAPITAL THROUGH OUR BANKS. THE BANKS WILL THEN TAKE THAT MONEY AND IF THEY FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES OF TREASURY IN TERMS OF THE PROGRAMS THAT OUT -- THAT ARE OUTLINED AND THEY START TO TAKE THAT MONEY AND LEND IT TO SMALL BUSINESS, THEY GET A BENEFIT. THEY DON'T HAVE TO PAY THE TREASURY BACK A DIVIDEND. THEY CAN PAY THE TREASURY BACK A LOWER DIVIDEND ON THE INVESTMENT THE TAXPAYERS HAVE MADE IN THAT BANK. SO FROM OUR COLLEAGUES THAT SAY THIS IS TARP TWO, THEY'RE DEAD WRONG. THERE'S NOT A T IN THIS PROGRAM FOR TROUBLE. THIS IS FOR BANKS THAT ARE HEALTHY. AND I'M VERY EXCITED TO SAY THAT OUR COMMUNITY BANKS IN LOUISIANA SURVIVED THIS MELTDOWN BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T ENGAGE IN SOME OF THIS RECKLESS BEHAVIOR THAT SOME OF THE LARGE BANKS PARTICIPATED IN. BUT OUR COMMUNITY BANKS IN ILLINOIS AND IN MICHIGAN AND IN OHIO -- AND I KNOW THEY HAD A LITTLE BIT MORE TROUBLE IN THE RUST BELT, BUT MANY COMMUNITY BANKS IN THE SOUTH DID VERY WELL AND WERE VERY SMART ABOUT THEIR LENDING AND NEVER GOT INTO TROUBLE. WHAT THEY'RE SAYING NOW IS THIS THIS $30 BILLION INFUSION FROM TREASURY INTO PREFERRED STOCKS IN THESE BANKS, INVESTMENTS STRUCTURED THIS WAY WILL ENCOURAGE THESE SMALL BANKS TO MAKE MONEY THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY. NOT ON TRANSACTION COSTS, NOT ON CHARGING PEOPLE EXTRA FOR THE BALANCES THEY DO OR DON'T HAVE IN THEIR CHECKING BOOK. BUT GETTING BACK TO THE OLD-FASHIONED CHECKING, YOU MAKE MONEY IN YOUR BANK WHEN YOU MAKE GOOD LOANS TO BUSINESS, WHEN YOU'RE SMART AND LENDING THEM MONEY, THEY'RE EXPANDING YOU -- THEY'RE EXPANDING, THEY PAY YOU BACK AND THEY GROW, THE BUSINESS GROWS, THE BANK GROWS AND THE COMMUNITY GROWS. MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST IN AMERICA WE GET BACK TO THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY THAT BANKS MAKE MONEY. YOU DID IT WHEN YOU WERE IN ILLINOIS SUCCESSFULLY. LEND MONEY TO SMALL BUSINESS. THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENT'S $30 BILLION DOES AND I HOPE THAT REPUBLICANS THAT VOTED AGAINST THIS PROVISION BECAUSE THEY WANT TO SAY THAT THIS IS TARP TWO, WOULD ACTUALLY READ THE BILL. IT'S NOT VERY LONG. IT'S JUST A FEW PAGES. IT'S NOT A TROUBLED BANK PROGRAM. IT'S A HAPPY BANK PROGRAM. THEY SHOULD BE FOR IT BECAUSE THEIR BANKS ARE. I'M THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE. I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM THE ASSOCIATION THAT REPRESENTS THE COMMUNITY BANKS. THEY SAID, SENATOR, WE FAVOR THIS PROVISION. WE WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. SO FOR THE TAXPAYERS LISTENING, DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE ARGUMENTS ON THE OTHER SIDE. IT GETS BACK TO WE'RE JUST THE PARTY OF NO. WE'RE GOING TO SAY NO NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE IDEA IS. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA FOR HAPPY BANKS THAT THE BANK ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS. I THINK WE SHOULD BE FOR IT AND I'M HOPING THAT WE CAN VOTE FOR IT WHEN -- WHEN WE GET BACK HERE. ONE OTHER POINT, AND THEM I'M GOING TO CONCEDE THE FLOOR -- I MEAN LEAVE THE FLOOR. BECAUSE OF THE GREAT WORK THAT SENATOR WARNER, FROM VIRGINIA, AND SENATOR LEVIN HAVE DONE, THEY HAVE CONVINCED ENOUGH OF US ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE, I HOPE, TO ADD TO THIS PROVISION SOMETHING THAT WE CALL THE STATE SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT ACCESS FUND. SO IN ADDITION TO WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA CAME UP WITH AND HIS TEAM, SENATOR WARNER AND SENATOR LEVIN DID A LOT OF WORK TO EXPLAIN TO MANY OF US THAT IN THEIR STATES, BECAUSE MANY OF THE SENATORS HERE WERE GOVERNORS BEFORE THEY GOT HERE, SO THEY KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. THEIR JOB WAS TO CREATE JOBS WHEN THEY WERE GOVERNORS. NOW THEY'RE SENATORS, THEY'RE STILL TRYING TO CREATE JOBS. THEY BROUGHT IN AN IDEA TO OUR COMMITTEE. WE LOOKED AT IT VERY CAREFULLY, SAID YES. THEY WORKED THROUGH FINANCE. FINANCE SAID YES. AND WHAT THIS DOES IS SET ASIDE ASIDE $2 BILLION FOR STATE PROGRAMS THAT ARE ALREADY ESTABLISHED THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, ACT IN VERY DIFFERENT WAYS, BUT THEIR -- THEY'RE MISSION-DRIVEN ORGANIZATIONS IN OUR STATES RUN BY GOVERNORS FROM DIFFERENT PARTIES, SO IT'S NOT A PARTISAN PROGRAM. WE'RE GOING TO GIVE $2 BILLION OUT THROUGH THESE PROGRAMS. THEY THEN TURN AROUND -- THEY THEN TURN AROUND AND MAKE MONEY AND MAKE THE MASTER PLANS OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA REAL. IT HELPS THE STATE OF MICHIGAN WHERE THEY HAVE GREAT SMALL BUSINESSES, CARL LEVIN SAID IN MICHIGAN, BUT HE SAID TO ME, MARY, THE PROBLEM IS THEY DON'T HAVE THE COLLATERAL THEY ONCE HAD TO GET THE LOAN BECAUSE THE COLLATERAL DEPRECIATED. THE BANKS WON'T LEND THEM MONEY BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE COLLATERAL. WEEFL COME UP WITH -- WE'VE COME UP WITH A WAY TO ENHANCE THE COLLATERAL AND MAKE A GOOD LOAN. NOT A RICKY LOAN, BUT A -- NOT A RISKY LOAN, BUT A GOOD LOAN. THAT'S IN HERE. FOR PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT GOVERNMENT IS NOT CREATIVE OR INNOVATIVE OR WE'RE NOT DOING THE SMART THING, THIS IS A SMART BILL. IT'S A SMART LENDING BILL. AND IN SOME OF THESE INSTANCES THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS ACTUALLY GOING TO MAKE A PROFIT. SO I HOPE WHEN WE GET BACK HERE, WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS, WE CAN BE ENTHUSIASTIC TO SUPPORT THE 32 -- $32 BILLION LENDING PROGRAM, THE SMALL BUSINESS PACKAGE AND THE TAX CUTS THAT SENATOR BAUCUS AND SENATOR GRASSLEY, WITH SENATOR SNOWE'S HELP, HAVE PUT TOGETHER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AND STOP FIGHTING. STOP SAYING NO. AND SAY YES TO JOB GROWTH AND CREATION IN AMERICA TO HARD-WORKING TAXPAYERS IN AMERICA WHO DESERVE OUR BEST EFFORT ON THIS BILL AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:08:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 05:08:37 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    I SUPPORT THE COMMENTS OF AND THE LEGISLATION BY THE SENATOR FROM…

    I SUPPORT THE COMMENTS OF AND THE LEGISLATION BY THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA. I THINK IT MAKES A GREAT DEAL OF SENSE TO STRENGTHEN SMALL BUSINESS. THEY ARE, AFTER ALL, THE JOB GENERATORS IN THIS COUNTRY. SO I APPRECIATED HER COMMENTS. WE DON'T ALWAYS AGREE ON EVERY ISSUE AROUND HERE, BUT I AM A STRONG SUPPORTER OF HER WORK AS CHAIRMAN OF THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE AND OF THE LEGISLATION THAT SHE'S DESCRIBED. I WANTED TO -- TO COME TO THE FLOOR BRIEFLY TODAY BECAUSE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK AND HAVING A VERY DIFFICULT TIME DOING THAT. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO WORKED ON PAYROLLS, THEY ACTUALLY PAID A LITTLE OF THEIR PAYROLL -- THEIR MONEY IN TAXES TO SUPPORT AN UNEMPLOYMENT FUND SO IF THEY LOST THEIR JOB, THEY'D BE ABLE TO GET SOME -- SOME UNEMPLOYMENT HELP. BUT IN ORDER TO DO THAT, THIS HAS TO BE EXTEND BID THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND -- EXTENDED BY THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND IT'S INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION TO THOSE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK. I FIND THAT KIND OF INEXPLICABLE. BECAUSE THE FOLKS AT THE TOP OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER, THERE'S NO PROBLEM THEM GETTING WHAT THEY WANT OUT OF THIS CHAMBER. ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES OBJECTED TO SOMETHING THAT WAS IN THE FINANCIAL REFORM BILL. HE SAID, WELL, YOU'RE GOING TO IMPOSE A FEE ON THE BIGGEST BANKS. HE SAID, I WON'T ACCEPT THAT. IF YOU DO THAT, I WON'T VOTE FOR THE BILL. THE BIGGEST BANKS IN THE COUNTRY SHOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY THIS FEE. I'M THINKING TO MYSELF, WHY NOT? THEY DROVE THE COUNTRY INTO THE DITCH. THEY WERE THE ONES INVOLVED IN A CESSPOOL OF GREED, MANY OF THEM TRADING THINGS FROM PEOPLE WHO NEVER HAD IT, MAKING MONEY ON BOTH SIDES, CREATING AN UNBELIEVABLE ORGY OF SPECULATION, RUNNING THE COUNTRY RIGHT INTO THE DITCH. NOTHING WRONG TO ME IT SEEMS TO PAY A FEE HERE AND THERE THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE GETS BACK TOGETHER AND SAYS, HOW CAN WE NOTCH UP YOUR PILLOW, BIG GUY? CAN WE GIVE YOU AN ASPIRIN, PUT YOU TO SLEEP? IF YOU'RE AT THE TOP OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER, YOU'RE DOING JUST FINE. SOMEONE WILL MAKE YOU COMFORTABLE. WHAT ABOUT THE PERSON WHO COMES HOME AFTER WORKING 18 YEARS AND SAYS, HONE, I LOST MY JOB TODAY AND CAN'T FIND ANOTHER JOB? WHAT ABOUT THAT FAMILY AND THAT PERSON? WHAT ABOUT EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FOR THAT PERSON. HERE'S WHAT WILL ROGERS SAID YEARS AGO. WILL ROGERS SAID THE UNEMPLOYED HERE AIN'T EATING REGULAR, BUT WE'LL GET AROUND TO THEM AS SOON AS EVERYBODY ELSE GETS FIXED UP OK. BOY, IF THERE'S A DESCRIPTION -- IF THERE'S A DESCRIPTION OF THE WAY THINGS WORK THESE DAYS, THIS IS IT. OLD WILL ROGERS. AND THIS PRESCRIPTION AND DESCRIPTION IS AS OLD AS EIGHT OR NINE DECADES, ISN'T IT? THE UNEMPLOYED AROUND HERE AIN'T EATING REGULAR, BUT WE DON'T HAVE TIME YET. WE'LL GET TO THEM AFTER EVERYBODY ELSE GETS TAKEN CARE OF. WHO GETS TAKEN CARE OF FIRST? THE FOLKS AT THE VERY TOP OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER. I WONDER -- I JUST WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WITH A BILL TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IF THE ONLY AMERICANS WHO WERE UNEMPLOYED WERE INVESTMENT BANKERS. DO YOU THINK THAT WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN PASSED IN A NANOSECOND, JUST LIKE THAT? BUT, NO, THE UNEMPLOYED ARE PEOPLE NAMED SMITH AND JONES AND ADAM AND JOHNSON. AND THEY'RE THE ONES SOMEHOW AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER THAT DON'T SEEM TO MATTER TO SOME PEOPLE. MY HOPE IS THAT THIS CONGRESS WILL HAVE THE GOOD SENSE TO DO THE RIGHT THING. DURING TOUGH TIMES WE HAVE SOMETHING CALLED A SAFETY NET THAT IS UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION THAT HELPS PEOPLE WHEN THEY'RE LAID OFF OR OUT OF WORK OR HAVING TROUBLE AND CAN'T FIND ANOTHER JOB. IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO EXTEND THAT. THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING. AND AS WILL ROGERS SAID, EVERYBODY ELSE GETS HELP. IN THE LAST 24 HOURS THE FOLKS AT THE TOP OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER GOT HELP. THE FOLKS OF -- WHY? BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE SAID THEY NEEDED COMFORT, A BEDTIME STORY, A FLUFFED PILLOW AND COMFORT. THEY GOT THEIR COMFORT. WE'RE WAITING TO SEE IF THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR JOBS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER, WILL THEY GET THE HELP THEY WERE PROMISED? I HOPE SO. WE'LL HAVE A VOTE ON THAT AND WE'LL SOON SEE. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I WANTED TO MENTION, YESTERDAY A GROUP OF US WENT DOWN TO MEET WITH THE PRESIDENT. AND FOLLOWING THAT MEETING ON THE SUBJECT OF ENERGY, A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES SPOKE TO THE PRESS. I DID NOT. BUT BECAUSE THERE WERE STORIES TODAY ABOUT THE REPRESENTATION OF THAT MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT, I THE THOUGHT I WOULD AT LEAST -- I THE THOUGHT I WOULD AT LEAST OFFER MY NOTION OF WHAT THAT MEETING MEANT AND WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES WILL OR SHOULD BE. THE MEETING BY THE PRESIDENT, CALLING A NUMBER OF US DOWN, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, ABOUT 10 OR 12 OF US DOWN TO THE WHITE HOUSE TO TALK ABOUT ENERGY WAS SIMPLY TO EVALUATE, WHAT'S ACHIEVABLE. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH RESPECT TO ENERGY? WE KNOW TWO THINGS ARE MAKING THIS COUNTRY VULNERABLE. NUMBER ONE, WE ARE WAY TOO DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN OIL. WE -- WE USE ONE-FOURTH OF THE OIL THAT'S PULLED OUT OF THIS PLANET EVERY MORNING, EVERY DAY. WE USE ONE-FOURTH OF IT HERE IN THIS LITTLE PLACE CALLED THE UNITED STATES. YET OVER 60% OF WHAT WE USE COMES FROM OTHER COUNTRIES. THAT LEAVES US FAR TOO VULNERABLE TO OTHERS, AND SOME IN VERY TROUBLED PARTS OF THE WORLD. THAT'S JUST A FACT. AND, SECOND, SOMETHING THAT'S HAPPENING TO THIS PLANET CALLED CLIMATE CHANGE. WE DON'T KNOW NECESSARILY WHAT THAT IS. BUT THE WIDE CONSENSUS OF SCIENTISTS TELL US WE NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT IT AND TO BE TAKING ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH IT. NOW THE DISCUSSION YESTERDAY -- AND, BY THE WAY, I APPRECIATE THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESIDENT'S LEADERSHIP ON THESE ISSUES SAYING, YOU KNOW, WE NEED TO MOVE. WE NEED TO DO SOME THINGS HERE. THE DISCUSSION IS WHAT IS ACHIEVABLE? WHAT IS ACHIEVABLE IN MY JUDGMENT LISTENING IN THAT MEETING AND PARTICIPATING IN THAT MEETING HAS BEEN WHAT I ALWAYS FELT WAS ACHIEVABLE, AND THAT IS THE ONLY THING THAT IS ACHIEVABLE IS THAT THAT WILL BE 60 VOTES TO COME FROM THE CALENDAR TO THE SENATE FLOOR. IT TAKES 60 VOTES ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED ON ANYTHING. THE ONLY THING THAT CAN GET 60 VOTES BASED ON THE MEETING YESTERDAY AND OTHER DISCUSSIONS THAT I'VE HAD, WOULD BE TO BRING THE BILL PASSED BY THE ENERGY COMMITTEE THAT. DOESN'T -- THAT DOESN'T EXCLUDE ANYTHING ELSE. THAT DOESN'T EXCLUDE ANYBODY FROM OFFERING COMPREHENSIVE CLIMATE CHANGE AMENDMENTS, BUT WE'LL NEVER GET TO THE FLOOR UNLESS WE GET TO THE FLOOR WITH SOMETHING THAT CAN GET 60 VOTES. I'M CONVINCED THE ONLY THING THAT CAN ACHIEVE THAT IS THE BIPARTISAN ENERGY BILL OUT OF THE COMMITTEE. THE ENERGY BILL ITSELF IS A BILL THAT DOES REDUCE CARBON. IT DOES ALL THE THINGS THAT I THINK WE SHOULD DO. YES, IT SAYS WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO USE THE FOSSIL ENERGY, COAL, OIL, NATURAL GAS, BUT WE'RE GOING TO USE THAT IN A DIFFERENT WAY. WE'RE GOING TO DECARBONIZE AND TAKE GREAT PAINS TO PROTECT THE PLANET AS WE DO. WE'RE GOING TO BUILD SOME NUCLEAR. WE'RE GOING TO MAXIMIZE SOME RENEWABLES, SOLAR AND WIND ENERGY. WE'RE GOING TO DO THE BIOFUELS, INCLUDING BIOFUEL AND ETHANOL, GEOTHERMAL. ALL OF THESE SOURCES OF ENERGY ARE IMPORTANT TO OUR COUNTRY'S FUTURE. ALL OF THESE AREAS, INCLUDING CONSERVATION, RETROFITTING BUILDINGS, THE FIRST-EVER RENEWABLE ELECTRIC STANDARD, BUILDING AN INTERSTATE HIGHWAY OF TRANSMISSION CAPABILITY, HIGH VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION SO YOU CAN COLLECT ENERGY WHERE THE WIND BLOWS AND THE SUN SHINES AND PUT IT ON A WIRE AND SEND IT TO WHERE IT'S NEEDED IN THE LOAD CENTERS. ALL OF THAT IS A PART OF THE BILL PASSED OUT OF THE ENERGY COMMITTEE ONE YEAR AGO THIS MONTH. THAT IS IN MY JUDGMENT WHAT'S ACHIEVABLE TO GET TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, AND THEN IT IS OPEN FOR AMENDMENTS. THAT DOES NOT EXCLUDE, BY THE WAY, ANY OTHER AMENDMENTS THAT PEOPLE WISH TO OFFER THAT CAN ACHIEVE THE 60 VOTES ONCE IT'S ON THE FLOOR THAT WILL ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE. AND I HAVE SAID BEFORE THERE IS SOMETHING TO CLIMATE CHANGE AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED. WE WOULD BE FOOLS NOT TO RECOGNIZE IT AND FOOLS NOT TO ADDRESS IT. THE QUESTION ISN'T WHETHER. IT'S WHEN AND HOW. I'VE SAID BEFORE I WOULD SUPPORT CAPPING CARBON AND I WILL SUPPORT PRICING CARBON. I ALSO SAID I WILL NOT SUPPORT WHAT IS CALLED CAP-AND-TRADE BECAUSE I DON'T INTEND TO GIVE WALL STREET A TRILLION DOLLAR CARBON SECURITIES MARKET TO TRADE SO THAT THEY CAN TELL US WHAT THE COST OF OUR ENERGY IS GOING TO BE. BUT THAT BEING ASIDE, I REALLY THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE NOT END THIS YEAR WITHOUT DOING AN ENERGY BILL THAT WILL ADVANCE THIS COUNTRY'S ENERGY SECURITY AND NATIONAL SECURITY. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME MENTION ONE ADDITIONAL ITEM VERY QUICKLY, AND THAT IS YESTERDAY THERE WAS A HEARING IN THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE WITH RESPECT TO THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL PETRAEUS TO ASSUME COMMAND IN AFGHANISTAN. I'M NOT GOING TO SPEAK AT LENGTH ABOUT THIS. I FULLY SUPPORT GENERAL PETRAEUS AND THIS NOMINATION. I THINK THE PRESIDENT HAS MADE AN EXCELLENT CHOICE. BY THE WAY, I DON'T THINK HE HAD MUCH CHOICE BUT TO REPLACE GENERAL MCCHRYSTAL. REPLACING WITH GENERAL PETRAEUS MAKES A GREAT DEAL OF SENSE TO ME. BUT I WANT TO SAY WITH RESPECT TO AFGHANISTAN, I THINK IT IS LONG PAST THE TIME FOR US TO HAVE A VERY SIGNIFICANT DISCUSSION ABOUT AFGHANISTAN. THE PRESIDENT HAS INDICATED THE POTENTIAL WITHDRAWAL DATE BEGINNING ON JULY 1st OF NEXT YEAR, 2011, BUT I THINK EVEN BEFORE THAT WE NEED TO HAVE A DISCUSSION IN THIS COUNTRY ABOUT WHAT OUR ROLE IS IN AFGHANISTAN. WHAT, IN FACT, IS VICTORY IN AFGHANISTAN? ARE WE FIGHTING AL QAEDA? ARE WE FIGHTING TERRORISTS IN AFGHANISTAN OR ARE WE FIGHTING INSURGENTS IN AFGHANISTAN? AND WHAT ABOUT THE AFGHANISTAN GOVERNMENT AND PRESIDENT KARZAI? WHAT IS ACHIEVABLE? WE ARE SENDING EVERY DAY YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN TO FIGHT IN A WAR AND MANY -- I SHOULDN'T SAY MANY. A NUMBER OF THEM WILL LOSE THEIR LIVES. WE GO ON ALMOST OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND NOT THINKING ABOUT IT, NOT DEBATING IT NEARLY ENOUGH. WHAT IS IT WE ARE ACHIEVING? WE HAVE BEEN AT WAR FOR NEARLY EIGHT YEARS, SPENDING A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY. LOST TREASURE AND LOST LIVES. BY THE WAY, WITH RESPECT TO TREASURE, NOT A PENNY OF IT HAS BEEN PAID FOR. AND I THINK IT'S TIME FOR US TO HAVE A GOOD DISCUSSION IN THIS COUNTRY ABOUT WHAT ARE WE DOING, HOW LONG WILL WE DO IT, WHAT IS VICTORY, WHAT IS ACHIEVABLE? SHOULD WE, IN FACT, BE ENGAGED IN A LONG-TERM WAR AGAINST INSURGENTS IN THAT COUNTRY? WHERE IS AL QAEDA? WE KNOW WHERE IT IS IN PART. NORTHERN PAKISTAN, YEMEN. WHERE IS AL QAEDA? WHAT IS THIS? A WAR AGAINST TERROR OR IS IT A WAR AGAINST INSURGENTS? I -- MY OWN VIEW IS I THINK IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY, NO MATTER HOW LONG THIS COUNTRY IS IN AFGHANISTAN, THAT WE WILL EVER BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE RURAL TRIBAL LANDS OF AFGHANISTAN. BUT MY HOPE IS AND MY DESIRE IS TO WANT THE BEST FOR THIS COUNTRY, AND I THINK THE BEST WILL BE ACHIEVED IF WE HAVE A THOUGHTFUL, GOOD, FULL, COMPLETE DISCUSSION AS A NATION ABOUT WHAT OUR OBJECTIVES ARE, HOW WE ACHIEVE THOSE OBJECTIVES AND WHEN AT LAST, AT LONG, LONG LAST WE CAN BRING TROOPS HOME AND BE IN A POSITION WHERE WE ARE NOT SAYING AMERICA AT THIS POINT IS AT WAR. WE NEED TO BE ADDRESSING THE TERRORIST THREAT ACROSS THIS PLANET, AND THAT WILL TAKE US A LONG, LONG WHILE, BUT THAT IS A VERY DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCE, I THINK, THAN BEING ENGAGED IN THE FIGHT IN AFGHANISTAN AS IT CURRENTLY EXISTS. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I MAKE A POINT OF ORDER THAT A QUORUM IS NOT PRESENT.

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  • 05:20:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 05:22:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 05:22:19 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 05:22:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 05:22:24 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TODAY TO TALK ABOUT ONE OF THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TODAY TO TALK ABOUT ONE OF THE BEST TEACHERS THAT I'VE EVER KNOWN, ROBERT C. BYRD. THE MAN WE LOST THIS WEEK IS KNOWN FOR MANY THINGS. HE IS THE LONGEST SERVING MEMBER OF CONGRESS IN OUR HISTORY. HE IS AN ACCOMPLISHED LEGISLATOR. HE IS AN AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN. HE IS A SELF-MADE MAN WHO REACHED EXALTED HEIGHTS, YET NO, SIR FORGOT THE COAL MINERS AND THE FAMILIES OF THE MOUNTAIN HOME COMMUNITY FROM WHICH HE CAME. I THINK OF HIM AS A TEACHER, ONE WHO BEGAN TEACHING ME FROM THE MOMENT I CAME TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND ONE WHOSE LESSONS THAT I SOUGHT RIGHT UP TO THE TIME THAT HE WAS TAKEN FROM US THIS WEEK. SERVING AS A NEW SENATOR IN THE MAJORITY MEANS, AS OUR PRESIDING OFFICER FULLY UNDERSTANDS, AMONG OTHER THINGS, HOURS SPENT IN THIS CHAMBER PRESIDING OVER THE SENATE. I WAS FORTUNATE THAT FOR MANY OF MY EARLY YEARS HERE, I SPENT MUCH OF THAT TIME IN THE PRESIDING OFFICER'S CHAIR, LISTENING TO SENATOR BYRD SPEAK ON THE HISTORY OF THIS BODY, ITS TRADITIONS AND PRACTICES AND ITS HISTORIC DEBT TO ANOTHER GREAT BODY THAT PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN MANKIND'S MARCH TOWARD DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT, THE ROMAN SENATE. I WAS LEARNING FROM SENATOR BYRD TWO DECADES LATER WHEN HE LED A SMALL GROUP OF US WHO FILED A LAWSUIT AND LATER A LEGAL BRIEF CHALLENGING A LAW THAT WE BELIEVED TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL. A LAW GRANTING THE PRESIDENT THE SO-CALLED LINE-ITEM VETO. SENATOR BYRD, LIKE I AND MANY OTHERS, SAW THIS LAW AS BENDING THE CONSTITUTION IN WAYS THAT USURPED CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY. IN 1998, THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT AGREED. THE MAJORITY IN THAT CASE, CITING ITS -- "QUOTE --" PROFOUND IMPORTANCE "-- CLOSE QUOTE -- CONCLUDED THAT THE LINE-ITEM VETO MAY OR MAY NOT BE DESIRABLE, BUT IT WAS SURELY NOT CONSISTENT WITH THE PROCEDURES DESIGNED BY THE FRAMERS OF ARTICLE 1, SECTION 7 OF THE CONSTITUTION, SO-CALLED PRESENTMENT CLAUSE. I REMEMBER STANDING NEXT TO SENATOR BYRD AT A PRESS CONFERENCE CELEBRATING THAT VICTORY FOR THE CONSTITUTION AS HE PULLED OUT OF HIS POCKET A COPY OF THAT GREAT FOUNDING DOCUMENT THAT HE ALWAYS CARRIED WITH HIM, A COPY OF THE CONSTITUTION THAT SITS TODAY ON MY DESK IN FRONT OF ME AT ALL TIMES, WAS INSCRIBED TO ME BY SENATOR BYRD. I HAD HOPED TO VISIT WITH SENATOR BYRD THIS WEEK TO AGAIN LISTEN AND LEARN. IN FEBRUARY, SENATOR BYRD HAD SENT ALL OF US, HIS SENATE COLLEAGUES, A LETTER SETTING OUT HIS POSITION ON PRESERVING THE ABILITY TO ENGAGE IN EXTENDED DEBATE IN THE SENATE. IT WAS YET ANOTHER POWERFUL DEFENSE OF BOTH THE ENDURING TRADITIONS OF THE SENATE AND THE NEED FOR THOUGHTFULNESS IN INVOKING THOSE TRADITIONS. SENATOR BYRD'S LETTER SPARKED SOME THOUGHTS OF MY OWN, AND LAST WEEK I DISCUSSED WITH SENATOR BYRD'S STAFF SCHEDULING A MEETING WITH HIM THIS WEEK TO GET HIS TAKE ON MY THOUGHTS. ONCE AGAIN, I WAS IN NEED OF THE INSIGHT AND WISDOM OF SENATOR ROBERT BYRD. NOW I WISH HE WERE HERE TODAY TO CONTINUE TEACHING US. WHILE THAT IS NOT TO BE, THE LESSONS OF SENATOR BYRD'S LIFE AND LONG SERVICE WILL ENDURE. HIS CAREER IS A TESTAMENT TO HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION. THIS IS A MAN WHO SPENT TEN YEARS IN NIGHT SCHOOL CLASSES TO EARN A LAW DEGREE. WHEN HE FOCUSED ON AN ISSUE, HE DID SO WITH UNCOMMON INTENSITY. WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM HIS COMMITMENT AND HIS GRIT. LIKE ANY GOOD TEACHER, SENATOR BYRD NEVER STOPPED TRYING TO LEARN. HE WAS A MAN OF STRONG CONVICTIONS WHO KNEW THE VALUE OF ADMITTING WHEN HE WAS IN ERROR. HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT EARLIER IN HIS LIFE, HE HAD TAKEN POSITIONS AND HELD OPINIONS ON THE SUBJECT OF CIVIL RIGHTS THAT HE LATER REGRETTED. AND WHEN HE SHARED THOSE REGRETS, HE CREATED A POWERFUL, TEACHABLE MOMENT. WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM HIS WILLINGNESS TO LEARN AND GROW TO THE VERY END OF HIS LIFE. HE WAS TIRELESS IN HIS DEFENSE OF THE ROLE OF THE -- THAT THE ROLE THAT THE CONSTITUTIONIST ASIGNS AND SPECIFICALLY TO THE SENATE IN OUR DEMOCRACY. IN HIS LETTER TO US IN FEBRUARY, HE WROTE -- "QUOTE --" THE SENATE IS THE ONLY PLACE IN GOVERNMENT WHERE THE RIGHTS OF A NUMERICAL MINORITY ARE SO PROTECTED." CLOSE QUOTE. HE CALLED THOSE PROTECTIONS ESSENTIAL TO THE PROTECTION OF THE LIBERTIES OF THE PEOPLE, OF A FREE PEOPLE. WHETHER IT WAS CONGRESS' CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATIONS TO RENDER JUDGMENTS ON MATTERS OF WAR AND PEACE OR TO EXERCISE THE POWER OF THE PURSE, SENATOR BYRD WAS A RELENTLESS FIGHTER OF THE ROLE THE FOUNDING FATHERS CAREFULLY SET OUT FOR US. HE WAS NOT DEFENDING SENATE AUTHORITY FOR ITS OWN SAKE. HIS PASSION WAS NOT FOR SENATE PREROGATIVES FOR THEIR OWN SAKE, BUT FOR THE BRILLIANTLY CONCEIVED CONSTITUTIONAL BALANCE OF POWERS ESSENTIAL TO OUR FREEDOMS. HE PASSIONATELY BELIEVED THAT WE MUST NOT YIELD ONE OUNCE OF AUTHORITY THAT THE CONSTITUTION ENTRUSTS TO THE PEOPLE'S ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM THAT CONVICTION AND FROM THE DEDICATION AND THE INTELLECTUAL POWER THAT HE BROUGHT TO THAT CAUSE TO THE END OF MAKING IT OUR CAUSE. THE MISSION HE SO ELOQUENTLY ESPOUSED BE OUR MISSION, ALTHOUGH OUR POWER TO PERSUADE BE FAR LESS THAN SENATOR BYRD'S. ROBERT BYRD HAD MANY LOVES. HIS LATE BELOVED WIFE ERMA, WEST VIRGINIA AND ITS PEOPLE, HIS GOD AND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE NATION THAT HE CHERISHED, BUT THE SENATE IS HIS SPECIAL LEGACY. FOR MORE THAN TWO CENTURIES, WE HAVE KEPT OUR TRADITIONS INTACT, OUR UNIQUE RESPECT FOR EXTENDED DEBATE AND MINORITY RIGHTS AND FOR THE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY THAT THE CONSTITUTION PLACES IN OUR HANDS TO EXERCISE AND DEFEND. THESE TRADITIONS ARE MAINTAINED BECAUSE OF SENATORS LIKE ROBERT BYRD, SENATORS WHO LIVE THEM AND WHO FIGHT FOR THEM. I LEARNED MORE ABOUT THESE WEIGHTY ISSUES FROM THIS GREAT TEACHER THAN FROM ANYONE OR ANYTHING IN MY YEARS IN THE SENATE. ROBERT BYRD IS NO LONGER WITH US. HE'S NO LONGER WITH US TO TEACH US AND TO LEAD US, BUT THE LESSON OF ROBERT BYRD'S LIFE AND CAREER WILL ENDURE, GUIDING ALL OF US NOW OCCUPYING THESE DESKS AND SENATORS WHO WILL OCCUPY THESE DESKS IN AGES TO COME. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:29:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 05:30:29 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:37:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MISSISSIPPI IS RECOGNIZED. MR.

  • 05:37:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WE'RE IN A QUORUM CALL, SENATOR.

  • 05:37:49 PM

    MR. COCHRAN

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE ORDER FOR THE QUORUM BE RESCINDED.

  • 05:37:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 05:37:55 PM

    MR. COCHRAN

    PRESIDENT, THE SENATE HAS LOST ITS MOST TALENTED, DEDICATED, AND…

    PRESIDENT, THE SENATE HAS LOST ITS MOST TALENTED, DEDICATED, AND BEST-INFORMED MEMBER ABOUT THE PRECEDENCE, RULES AND CUSTOMS OF THE U.S. SENATE WHEN THE DISTINGUISHED PRESIDENT ITEM PRO TEMPORE, ROBERT BYRD, PASSED AWAY TO JOIN HIS BELOVED WIFE ERMA IN THE HEAVEN HE WAS CONFIDENT EXISTED FOR THOSE WHO WERE TRUE BELIEVERS. I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE TO WORK CLOSELY WITH ROBERT BYRD AS A FELLOW MEMBER OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE FOR 30 YEARS. I SERVED AS THE RANKING MINORITY MEMBER WHEN HE WAS CHAIRMAN AND AS CHAIRMAN WHEN HE WAS THE RANKING MINORITY MEMBER. I PREFERRED BEING CHAIRMAN. BUT I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THE OPPORTUNITIES TO CONDUCT THE HEARINGS, SCHEDULE THE COMMITTEE MARKUPS, AND NEGOTIATE WITH OUR HOUSE COLLEAGUES TO FORMULATE AND PASS THE BILLS THAT FUNDED THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, THE JUDICIARY, AND THE CONGRESS. ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MY EXPERIENCE WITH ROBERT BYRD WAS A TRIP WE TOOK TO SEVERAL EUROPEAN CAPITALS. HE WAS COMFORTABLE DISCUSSING OUR MUTUAL INTERESTS AND DIFFERENCES WITH THE LEADERS OF OTHER NATIONS AND HIS MATHERY MASTERY OF EUROPEAN HISTORY AND POLITICS WAS AS IMPRESSIVE AS HIS WELL-INFORMED UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICAN HISTORY AND POLITICS. ON ONE LEG OF OUR TRIP, SENATOR BYRD ASKED MY WIFE ROSE TO COME SIT BY HIM. HE WANTED TO DICTATE SOMETHING TO HER. HE STARTED A RECITATION WITH NAMES THAT WERE NOT FAMILIAR TO ME BUT EVENTUALLY ROSE REALIZED THAT HE WAS RECITING FROM MEMORY THE NAMES OF THE MONARCH FROM GREAT BRITAIN. THE UNITED KINGDOM AS WE KNOW IT. AND THE ORDER IN WHICH EACH HAD SERVED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THAT GREAT COUNTRY. IT WAS AN UNBELIEVABLE PERFORMANCE REFLECTING AN AW AWESOME ABILITY OF RECALL AND A REVERENCIAL RELATION OF A NATION WHICH HAS BEEN OUR CLOSEST ALLY IN RECENT HISTORY. ROBERT BYRD WAS NOT ONLY MY FRIEND BUT A MENTOR AND AN EXAMPLE OF DEDICATED, DISCIPLINED, AND DETERMINED LEADERSHIP. I WILL MISS HIM BUT I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HIS LEGACY OF SERIOUSNESS OF PURPOSE AND HIS LOVE FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE, ITS ROLE IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, ITS POWERS OF ADVICE AND CONSENT, AND ITS CONTINUITY THAT HAS HELPED MAKE OUR GOVERNMENT THE MOST RESPECTED IN THE WORLD. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:41:39 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: QUORUM CALL:

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  • 05:45:59 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:27:36 PM

    MS. STABENOW

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN, WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:27:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN, WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:27:41 PM

    MS. STABENOW

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. TOMORROW EVENING, I THINK ABOUT 5:30, WE'RE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. TOMORROW EVENING, I THINK ABOUT 5:30, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A VOTE THAT'S GOING TO IMMEDIATELY IMPACT OVER A MILLION PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND MILLIONS MORE AFTER THAT IF WE DO NOT EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AS WE HAVE DONE IN EVERY RECESSION, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT THROUGHOUT OUR HISTORY. ANY TIME WE'VE SEEN THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE -- I BELIEVE IT'S ABOUT 7.5%, ABOVE 7.5% OR SO -- WE HAVE EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS, INSURANCE BENEFITS BECAUSE YOU PAY IN AND THEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING YOU RECEIVE BENEFITS. WE'VE DONE THAT THROUGHOUT OUR HISTORY FOR TWO REASONS. ONE, BECAUSE WE ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT HAPPENS TO A FAMILY WHEN SOMEONE IN THE FAMILY LOSES THEIR JOB, WHEN THE BREADWINNER CAN'T BRING HOME ANY BREAD, AND ALSO BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT IT STIMULATES THE ECONOMY BECAUSE EVERY ECONOMIST FROM THE RIGHT TO THE LEFT HAS AGREED THAT THE BEST WAY TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY IS TO PROVIDE DOLLARS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE FORCED TO SPEND IT, BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE A JOB. SO SOMEONE THAT RECEIVES THAT THAT $250 OR $300 A WEEK, NOT ENOUGH TO DO MUCH ON BUT ENOUGH TO PAY THE RENT, ENOUGH TO BUY SOME FOOD, ENOUGH TO PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL, MAYBE GET THE KIDS SOME CLOTHES, MAYBE PUT SOME GAS IN THE CAR SO YOU CAN GO CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR WORK. SO WE KNOW THAT IT NOT ONLY STIMULATES THE ECONOMY, BUT IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO FROM THE STANDPOINT OF ETHICS, MORALS, VALUES. SO TOMORROW, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE WHETHER OR NOT THERE ARE 60 COLLEAGUES HERE IN THE SENATE THAT ARE WILLING TO VOTE TO STOP A FILIBUSTER THAT HAS NOW GONE ON -- I BELIEVE THIS IS THE NINTH WEEK -- ACTUALLY, EIGHT WEEKS ON A JOBS BILL THAT INCLUDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT EXTENSION, AND THEN THIS WEEK, NINTH WEEK ON THIS BILL THAT WILL FOCUS ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND ALSO WILL DO SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED THE FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS TAX CREDIT. THAT RUNS OUT AT THE END OF THIS MONTH, THE TAX CREDIT THAT HAS BEEN A GREAT STIMULUS, ANOTHER PART OF THE RECOVERY ACT THAT'S BEEN VERY IMPORTANT TO THE ECONOMY. IT RUNS OUT, AND WE WANT PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T YET CLOSED ON THEIR HOMES NOT TO LOSE THE ABILITY TO HAVE THE CREDIT, SO THE BILL WILL ALSO INCLUDE EXTENDING THE HOME BUYERS CREDIT IMPLEMENTATION UNTIL OCTOBER. SO I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A WILLINGNESS, A STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT TO HELP FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS TO DO THAT PIECE BUT NOT TO HELP THE PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK AND WHO ARE PROBABLY GOING TO LOSE THEIR HOUSE, WHICH I CONTINUE NOT TO UNDERSTAND. I AM GRATEFUL. I KNOW THAT WE HAVE AT LEAST ONE COLLEAGUE, I THINK MAYBE TWO REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES THAT WILL JOIN WITH US TO STOP THE FILIBUSTER. I'M GRATEFUL FOR THAT. BUT, MR. PRESIDENT, WE NEED AT LEAST THREE MEMBERS, THREE REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TO JOIN WITH US IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO GET THIS DONE TOMORROW NIGHT. WE HEAR A LOT OF DEBATES, A LOT OF DISCUSSION, A LOT OF ARGUMENTS ABOUT THIS, PEOPLE WHO SAY WELL, WE'RE HAPPY TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. WE JUST -- QUOTE -- "WANT TO PAY FOR IT." WHICH SOUNDS GREAT ON THE SURFACE. IT SOUNDS GREAT UNLESS YOU KNOW THE FULL HISTORY OF HOW UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WORKS AND THE OTHER KINDS OF DECISIONS THAT WE MAKE AS A BODY. WE HAVE ALWAYS FUNDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT EXTENSIONS THROUGH SOMETHING CALLED EMERGENCY SPENDING. AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, IF 15 MILLION PEOPLE BEING OUT OF WORK IN AMERICA ISN'T AN EMERGENCY, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. THAT'S MORE THAN PEOPLE AFFECTED BY A HURRICANE OR A FLOOD OR A TORNADO OR AN AGRICULTURAL DISASTER. AND WE HAVE TRADITIONALLY DONE THIS, BOTH BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AS AN EMERGENCY, BUT ALSO BECAUSE AGAIN YOU LOSE THE STIMULUS, THE ECONOMIC BENEFIT IF YOU DON'T DO IT THAT WAY. SO FOR TWO REASONS, WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY. BUT IT'S INTERESTING THAT FOLKS WHO ARGUE PASSIONATELY THAT WE SHOULD NOT WORRY ABOUT THE DEFICIT IF WE ARE EXPANDING THE ESTATE TAX CUT FOR THE TOP 200 OR 300 FAMILIES IN AMERICA, BUT DEFICITS DON'T MATTER. OR THE TOP TAX BRACKET -- THE TAX CUTS UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS, DEFICITS DON'T MATTER THEN. BUT, BOY, THEY MATTER, THEY MATTER IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK. AND WHAT I SEE EVERY DAY ARE PEOPLE -- AND I TALK TO EVERY DAY IN MY STATE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN WITHOUT A JOB IN THEIR LIFE. THEY ARE HORRIFIED THAT THEY CAN'T FIND A JOB. THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A JOB EVERY DAY. THEY WANT TO WORK, BUT THEY ARE IN AN ECONOMY THAT THEY DIDN'T CREATE WHERE RIGHT NOW THERE ARE FIVE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR EVERY ONE JOB. NOW, THAT'S BETTER THAN LAST YEAR WHERE IT WAS SIX PEOPLE LOOKING FOR EVERY ONE JOB, AND WE KNOW THAT BECAUSE OF WHAT WE HAVE DONE WITH THE RECOVERY ACT, WE ARE SLOWLY COMING OUT OF THE HOLE. WE KNOW THAT, BUT WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO YET. AND CERTAINLY THIS ISN'T THE TIME TO FILIBUSTER JOBS BILLS, WHETHER IT BE SMALL BUSINESS OR THE JOBS BILL THAT WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO PASS IN THE LAST EIGHT WEEKS, AND IT CERTAINLY ISN'T THE TIME TO SAY, YOU KNOW, WE'RE JUST TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT THOSE PEOPLE WHERE I WORK, YOU KNOW? IT'S TIRESOME. WE HAVE ACTUALLY HEARD PEOPLE SAY THAT. AND TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT. WELL, PEOPLE IN MICHIGAN ARE TIRED OF BEING UNEMPLOYED. THEY WANT TO WORK, THEY KNOW HOW TO WORK, THEY WORK THEIR WHOLE LIVES. IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT THAT THE CRISIS HAPPENED ON WALL STREET. THAT DRIED UP CREDIT, THAT STOPPED MANUFACTURERS, SMALL BUSINESS FROM GETTING LOANS, FROM BEING ABLE TO CONTINUE TO DO THEIR BUSINESS, OR IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT THEY LOST THEIR SAVINGS OR THEIR 401-K OR THEIR PENSION. IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT WE DIDN'T ENFORCE TRADE LAWS IN THIS COUNTRY AND LOST SIX MILLION MANUFACTURING JOBS UNDER THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION BECAUSE THE FOCUS WAS ON CHEAP PRODUCTS RATHER THAN AMERICAN JOBS. THAT'S NOT THEIR FAULT. NOT THEIR FAULT THAT WE CONTINUE TO HAVE TAX INCENTIVES THAT PROMOTE JOBS GOING OVERSEAS. WHICH, BY THE WAY, WE WANT TO DO AWAY WITH IN THE JOBS BILL. IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT THAT THEY ARE CAUGHT. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT YOU TO READ ONE EMAIL OF THOUSANDS THAT I RECEIVED, BUT I JUST RECEIVED THIS TODAY. IT SAYS SENATOR STABENOW. THIS IS FROM SERENA IN DEARBORN, MICHIGAN." THE ARGUMENT BY THE REPUBLICANS SEEMS TO BE THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO STRAP OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WITH THE DEBTS OF THEIR PARENTS. HOWEVER, I BELIEVE THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN AND NOT MINE. I SAY THIS BECAUSE MY CHILDREN WILL BE HOMELESS AND HUNGRY IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO. A LOT MORE DAMAGE IS GOING TO BE DONE IN THE HERE AND NOW THAN ANYONE REALIZES. IF THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE BEING TAKEN OFF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS, THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT FAMILIES, NOT JUST ADULTS. FAMILIES. I HAVE TWO SONS. WHERE ARE WE GOING TO LIVE AND HOW ARE WE GOING TO SURVIVE? I WONDER HOW MANY OF THESE -- QUOTE -- INTELLIGENT PEOPLE WENT TO COLLEGE AND PAID FOR IT ALL AS THEY WENT AND DID NOT INCUR ANY DEBT. I AM ATTENDING COLLEGE CURRENTLY AND I'M INCURRING DEBT BECAUSE I PLAN IN THE FUTURE TO BE ABLE TO PAY BACK THE MONEY WITH MY NEW BETTER-PAYING JOB. THAT IS HOW MOST PEOPLE HAVE TO DO IT. THEY INVEST IN THE FUTURE. AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING NOT JUST FOR YOURSELF BUT ALSO FOR THE COUNTRY, TO BECOME A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON OUR SOCIETY. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO WITH MY CHILDREN, HOW I'M GOING TO PAY MY RENT AND UTILITIES, HAVE FOOD TO EAT AND GAS TO PUT IN MY CAR SO I CAN CONTINUE GOING TO SCHOOL AND LOOKING FOR WORK. I HAVE NEVER BEEN WITHOUT A JOB BEFORE. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS A STORY THAT IS REPEATED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS -- IN FACT, UNFORTUNATELY MILLIONS OF TIMES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW. PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING WHAT WE HAVE ASKED THEM TO DO, THEY ARE CARING FOR THEIR CHILDREN, MANY OF THEM GOING BACK TO SCHOOL, TRYING TO DO A DIFFERENT CAREER OR UPGRADE THEIR SKILLS OR DO SOMETHING THAT GIVES THEM AN EDGE IN THE JOB MARKET TO BE ABLE TO GET A JOB, BUT THEY ARE USING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO KEEP THEM BETWEEN BEING ON THE STREET AND HAVING A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD. THAT IS NOT SOME POLITICAL RHETORIC. THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING TO PEOPLE. AND IT DOESN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN TO PEOPLE. SERENA IN DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, DOES NOT HAVE TO BECOME HOMELESS IN A WEEK OR SO. SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO IF WE CAN COME TOGETHER AND OVERRIDE THIS FILIBUSTER AND EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. WE DON'T NEED EVERYBODY TO SUPPORT IT. WE JUST NEED 60 PEOPLE TO SUPPORT IT IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO GET THIS DONE. AND I FEAR FOR SERENA AND FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN MY STATE IF WE DON'T DO THIS, AND MILLIONS WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN THIS SITUATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY. WE WILL NEVER, MR. PRESIDENT, GET OUT OF DEFICIT WITH OVER 15 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF WORK. THIS IDEA THAT SUDDENLY NOW NOTHING MATTERS BUT TEFS IGNORES HOW WE'RE GOING TO GET OUT OF DEFICIT. BACK IN THE 1990'S, YOU MAY ACTUALLY BALANCE THE BUDGET, AND I WAS PROUD TO VOTE TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. I THINK IT WAS 1997 WHEN I WAS IN THE HOUSE UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON. PART OF WHAT WE DID WAS FOCUS ON WORK, ON JOBS AND EDUCATION AND 22 MILLION PEOPLE GOT JOBS. 22 MILLION NEW JOBS WERE CREATED, AND WE CAME OUT OF DEFICIT. THAT'S WHAT WE BELIEVE. THAT'S WHAT OUR DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY BELIEVES IN, THAT YOU FOCUS ON WORK, YOU FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESSES GETTING CAPITAL AND MANUFACTURERS GETTING BACK TO HIRING PEOPLE. YOU FOCUS ON JOBS, AND THEN YOU LIFT US UP OUT OF DEFICIT BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE WORKING AND BUYING THINGS AND PAYING THEIR TAXES AND THEY ARE PART OF THE ECONOMY. IT CAN'T JUST BE ABOUT A FEW PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY. WE WILL NOT HAVE A STRONG COUNTRY IF SOMEHOW THE POLICIES ARE ONLY SET FOR A PRIVILEGED FEW. WE HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT THAN OTHER COUNTRIES BECAUSE WE HAVE HAD THIS STRONG MIDDLE CLASS WHICH WE ARE LOSING AS A RESULT OF POLICIES, YES, IN THE LAST ADMINISTRATION, DEFICITS THAT WERE CREATED, AND WE'RE LOSING BECAUSE WE CANNOT GET PAST FILIBUSTERS NOW TO MOVE FORWARD ON A JOBS AGENDA AND HELPING PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO TURN IT AROUND. THE RECOVERY ACT HAS WORKED. IT WAS PUT IN PLACE LAST YEAR. MUCH MORE TO DO, BUT IT STOPPED US FROM GOING OVER THE CLIFF AND BEGAN TO TURN THINGS AROUND, BUT THERE IS MUCH MORE TO DO. AND SOMEHOW JUST SAY WELL, WALL STREET IS DOING BETTER DESPITE THE UPS AND DOWNS ON WALL STREET, BUT THINGS ARE KIND OF DOING OKAY NOW FOR FOLKS OF MEANS SO WE'RE DONE. IGNORES WHAT IS GOING ON FOR WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK THE LATEST POLL I SAW WAS THAT 47% OF THE PEOPLE IN MY STATE HAVE SOMEONE IN THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOB. THAT'S THEIR FAMILY IMPACTED BY THAT. IF THAT NUMBER IS CORRECT, THAT'S ASTOUNDING. AND WE DON'T HAVE THE HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ANYMORE. WE HAVE THE SECOND HIGHEST RATE. SO I'M SURE THAT CAN BE SAID OF NEVADA, RHODE ISLAND, CALIFORNIA AND AROUND THE COUNTRY. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST STRONGLY URGE COLLEAGUES TO SET ASIDE THE ELECTION POLITICS, SET ASIDE WHATEVER IT IS THAT HAS BEEN GETTING IN THE WAY OF GETTING THIS DONE AND BE WILLING TO LOOK AT WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING FOR REAL FAMILIES RIGHT NOW. AND HOW WE CAN MAKE SURE THAT SERENA ISN'T HOMELESS WITH HER TWO CHILDREN IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS AND HOW MILLIONS OF OTHER AMERICANS CAN BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO CARE FOR THEIR FAMILIES WHILE THEY LOOK FOR WORK, AND THEN THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT WE CAN DO IS PARTNER WITH BUSINESS, CREATE THE ATMOSPHERE AND THE INCENTIVES TO CREATE THAT WORK. THAT'S OUR JOB. I AM LASER FOCUSED ON THAT AS WELL. MR. PRESIDENT, I SEE MY DISTINGUISHED FRIEND FROM NEW JERSEY HERE, SO I WILL YIELD THE FLOOR TO HIM, BUT -- AND THANK HIM FOR HIS PASSIONATE SUPPORT OF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO JUST WANT A FAIR SHAKE, AND I WANT TO THANK THE PRESIDING OFFICER AS WELL FOR HIS PASSION AND COMMITMENT TO JOBS AND MAKING SURE THAT WE MOVE OUR COUNTRY FORWARD BY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE GREAT MIDDLE CLASS OF THIS COUNTRY WHO NEED US TO FIGHT FOR THEM, AND THAT'S WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE IN THE SENATE. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 06:44:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:45:26 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FURTHER CALLING OF THE ROLL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 06:45:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:45:41 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    PRESIDENT, THIS IS NOT MY SEAT, MY REGULAR SEAT IN THE SENATE. I SIT OVER…

    PRESIDENT, THIS IS NOT MY SEAT, MY REGULAR SEAT IN THE SENATE. I SIT OVER THERE. BUT I CAME HERE TO STAND NEAR THE PLACE THAT SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD OCCUPIED. HIS ABSENCE IS NOTED BY THE FLOWERS AND THE BLACK CLOTH THAT COVERS HIS DESK. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE'S SO MUCH ABOUT ROBERT C. BYRD THAT I HAVE A SERIOUS DISCUSSION ABOUT WHO AND WHAT HE WAS WOULD TAKE FAR MORE TIME THAN WE HAVE AVAILABLE. HE WAS AN UNUSUAL, UNUSUAL MAN. BRILLIANT. GENIUS. CREDITED WITH ENCYCLOPEDIC KNOWLEDGE. WHEN I CAME HERE IN 1983, I WASN'T A YOUNG MAN. I'M NOW AN OLDER MAN. AND I -- WHEN I CAME, I WANTED TO MEET SENATOR BYRD. I CAME FROM THE BUSINESS WORLD. I WAS CHAIRMAN AND C.E.O. OF A SIGNIFICANT CORPORATION, ONE THAT -- A CORPORATION THAT CARRIED SUBSTANTIAL ESTEEM AND RESPECT FOR THE RECORD COMPILED, THE THREE OF US, BOYS FROM POOR WORKING-CLASS FAMILIES IN PATTERSON, NEW JERSEY, AN INDUSTRIAL CITY THAT HAD ITS ORIGINS AT THE TIME AS AN INDUSTRIAL PLACE AT THE TIME OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON. AND SO I WAS PRIVILEGED TO MEET A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO COULD BE DESCRIBED AS LOFTY AND HOLDING POSITIONS OF IMPORTANCE. BUT WHEN I WENT INTO SENATOR BYRD'S OFFICE TO INTRODUCE MYSELF, I HAD MET HIM A COUPLE OF TIMES BEFORE I WAS ELECTED TO THE SEAT FROM NEW JERSEY. IT WAS WITH GREAT AWE AND RESPECT THAT I SAT IN FRONT OF THIS INDIVIDUAL WHO HAD GIVEN SO MUCH TO OUR COUNTRY, WHO TAXED OUR WITS AND MADE US THINK MORE DEEPLY ABOUT OUR RESPONSIBILITIES THAN SOMETIMES WE HAVE. HE WAS A TOWER OF WISDOM AND STRENGTH. AND I INTRODUCED MYSELF TO HIM. WE HAD A NICE CHAT FOR AWHILE. HE ASKED ME ABOUT MY BACKGROUND AND I TALKED ABOUT MY LIFE AND MY EXPERIENCES WHICH ARE NOT LIKE ANY LIKE THE DEPTH OF SENATOR ROBERT BYRD'S BACKGROUND BACKGROUND, BUT POOR FAMILY, I SERVED IN THE ARMY. MY -- I GOT MY EDUCATION AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY BECAUSE I WAS ABLE TO HAVE THE SCHOLARSHIP THAT WAS GIVEN TO SOLDIERS AT THE TIME FOR THOSE WHO HAD SERVED IN THE MILITARY. BUT WHEN I -- AS I LISTENED TO ROBERT BYRD, THE THINGS THAT HE ACCOMPLISHED IN HIS LIFETIME DWARFED ANYTHING THAT I HAD EVER SEEN. A MAN BORN INTO POVERTY, ORPHANED AT AN EARLY STAGE IN LIFE, TURNED OVER TO RELATIVES TO BE BROUGHT UP, TAUGHT HIMSELF HOW TO PLAY THE VIOLIN AND TAKE HIS LAW DEGREE PART-TIME AT NIGHT FOR YEARS AND THEN FINALLY GETTING IT FROM A UNIVERSITY. AN INCREDIBLE, INCREDIBLE FIGURE IN OUR TIME. YOU FEEL HIS ABSENCE ALREADY. AND IN HIS LATEST YEARS, HE WASN'T FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE THE KIND OF HEALTH THAT HE HAD AS A YOUNGER MAN BUT HE ALWAYS HAD THE RESPECT OF EVERYBODY WHO KNEW HIM. AND SO WHEN WE LOOK AT HIS HISTORY AND IF ONE HAS JUST SOME TIME TO READ AND GO TO THE COMPUTER AND GET THE BIOGRAPHY THAT IS HELD IN WIKIPEDIA AND SEE THAT THERE ARE MORE THAN 30 PAGES WORTH OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND HISTORY ATTACHED TO HIS BEING -- YOU KNOW THAT THOSE OF US WHO KNEW HIM HAD A PRIVILEGE AND HONOR THAT FEW HAVE IN DIRECT CONTACT. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE POSITIONS THAT HE HELD, HIS -- HE HAD ELEGANCE, HE HAD GREAT, HE HAD RESILIENCE, HE WAS TOUGH AND HIS METICULOUS GRASP OF HISTORY. I CAME OUT OF THE COMPUTER BUSINESS AND I USED TO TEASE ROBERT C. BYRD WHEN I CALLED HIM MY HUMAN COMPUTER. WE HAD SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE THAT, FRANKLY, I THINK IT COMPETED VERY ABLY WITH THE EARLY 1980'S AND I CAME HERE. WHEN I VISITED WITH HIM IN HIS OFFICE, HE ASKED ME IF I KNEW THE HISTORY OF THE MONARCHS OF THE BRITISH ENTIRE. I SAID I DIDN'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THEM. I KNOW WHO THE RECENT ONES AND SITTING KING WAS AT THE TIME. HE PROCEEDED FOR MORE THAN ONE HOUR TO GIVE ME THE HISTORY OF THE MONARCHS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE STARTING WITH WEN THE CONQUEROR IN 1066 AND RECALLING EVERYBODY WHO WAS KING OR QUEEN OF ENGLAND OR THE BRITISH EMPIRE EMPIRE, AS IT WAS KNOWN. TALKING ABOUT HOW LONG THEY SERVED, THE PRECISE DATES THAT THEY SERVED, WHETHER THEY DIED BY THE HAND OF AN ASSASSIN, WHETHER THEY DIED FROM A DISEASE, WHETHER THEY DIED FROM AN ACCIDENT. HE KNEW ALL OF THAT DETAIL. AND I WAS THERE SITTING IN TOTAL BEWILDERMENT AS HOW ONE CAPTURED AND REMEMBERED SO MUCH OF THAT INFORMATION. AND THEN I ASKED FOR SOME -- TO BE EXCUSED BECAUSE I HAD SOME OTHER THINGS. HE WAS READY TO GIVE ME THE HISTORY OF THE ROMAN SENATE WHICH HE -- AND HE DID THIS, NOT LIKE MOST OF US, WITHOUT NOTES. HE HAD IT IN HIS BRAIN, WHILE HE RECALLED EVERYTHING THAT HE'D LEARNED AND DID, THE NUMBER OF VOTES, WHERE HE CAST THEM, ON WHAT ISSUE. IT WAS REALLY REMARKABLE. AND HE SERVED AT A PERIOD OF TIME WHEN WE HAD SOME OF THE MOST REMARKABLE PEOPLE THAT THIS BODY HAS SEEN. NOT TO SUGGEST THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE TALENT EQUAL TO THE -- THE STATURE OF SOME OF THOSE THAT SERVED BUT IT'S WORTHY OF MENTION THAT HE WAS THE MAJORITY LEADER IN THE SENATE IN 1977, JANUARY TO JANUARY 1981, A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD, BUT HE WAS PRECEDED AND SERVED WITH PEOPLE LIKE HOWARD BAKER ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE AND BOB DOLE AND MIKE MANSFIELD AND THE -- AND GEORGE MITCHELL. AND HE WAS AN EQUAL WITH THOSE POWERHOUSES OF PEOPLE AND STOOD AS ONE OF THOSE THAT STOOD OUT. HE REVERED THIS PLACE AND THE PROCESS WITH WHICH WE THEN OPERATED. WE ARE FAR LESS COMMITTED TO PROCESS THAN BOB BYRD INSISTED THAT WE HAVE THE TIME, RESPECT, COURTESY, PROPER ADDRESSING OF INDIVIDUALS AND GIVING IT A CERTAIN LOFTINESS THAT WE OTHERWISE WOULD NOT HAVE. HE -- NOBODY KNEW MORE ABOUT THIS BODY THAN ROBERT C. BYRD. HE WAS THIS CHAMBER'S PROTECTOR. HE PROTECTED THE SENATE RULES, THE SENATE'S INTEGRITY, AND HE PROTECTED THE SENATE'S CIVILITY. HE TAUGHT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US HOW THE SENATE WORKS, THE INS, THE OUTS, AND IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE SERVING A SINGLE DAY HERE WITHOUT HIM. HE HAD SUCH A RESPECT FOR THE -- THE MANAGEMENT OF THIS COUNTRY OF OURS. AND WHAT WE SHOULD DO AS A SENATE IS TO BE INSPIRED BY SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD'S LEGACY, TO BECOME MORE COOPERATIVE AND MORE CIVIL IN THE DAYS AHEAD. WE OUGHT TO REFLECT ON THOSE VALUES TOMORROW AS WE VIEW SENATOR BYRD'S CASKET LYING IN REPOSE IN THIS CHAMBER THAT HE LOVED SO DEARLY. HE LOVED IT SO MUCH THAT HE REMINDED ALL OF US FROM TIME TO TIME HE WOULD PICK UP ON A PHRASE SOMEONE TALKED ABOUT SERVING UNDER PRESIDENT THIS OR THAT PRESIDENT. HE SAID, SERVED UNDER -- NEVER, NEVER. WE SERVE WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. BUT WE NEVER SERVED UNDER HIM. WE WERE A BODY OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE. AND HE KNEW IT FROM EVERY POSITION POSSIBLE OF RESPONSIBILITY THAT HE HAD. MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT WE SHOULD DO AS A SENATE IS ACCEPT THE BEST THAT ROBERT C. BYRD BROUGHT TO US, SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD, THE LEGACY TO BE -- TO SHARE THE IMAGE THAT HE BROUGHT TO ALL OF US AND TO THE STATURE OF THIS BODY. MR. PRESIDENT, ROBERT C. BYRD'S JOURNEY IN LIFE WAS SIMPLY REMARKABLE. BORN INTO DEEP POVERTY, GROWING UP WITHOUT THE COMFORTS THAT MANY OF US TAKE FOR GRANTED, LIKE RUNNING WATER, AND SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR ALL AMERICANS OF WHAT MIGHT BE IF YOU MAKE THE EFFORT AND YOU HAVE THE DEDICATION TO HIGHER PURPOSE. ALTHOUGH HE WAS HIGH SCHOOL VALEDICTORIAN AT THE AGE OF 16, HE HAD TO SKIP COLLEGE BECAUSE HE DIDN'T HAVE THE MEANS TO PAY FOR IT. HE OVERCAME THAT OBSTACLE BY COMING -- BY BECOMING A SELF-TAUGHT MAN AND A STUDENT OF HISTORY. AGAIN, HOW DID HE LEARN TO PLAY THE VIOLIN ALL BY HIMSELF AND LEARNING WHAT HE DID ABOUT EDUCATION AND LAW? HE SERVED HERE A HALF A CENTURY, 51 YEARS IN THE SENATE, HOLDING EVERY CRITICAL POSITION, INCLUDING, AS I MENTIONED, THE MAJORITY AND THE MINORITY LEADER AND PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE. AND IN THAT POSITION WAS THIRD IN LINE FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES. STILL, HE NEVER FORGOT WHERE HE CAME FROM, AND HIS DUTY TO HELP EVERYDAY PEOPLE. HE PLEADED THEIR CASE, PARTICULARLY IN THEIR BELOVED WEST VIRGINIA AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AND I HAD THE PRIVILEGE TO SERVE WITH SENATOR BYRD WHEN HE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE AAPPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. NOW SOME MAY LIKE TO MAKE LIGHT OF HIS POSITION TO FUND PROJECTS IN WEST VIRGINIA, BUT THERE WAS NOTHING CYNICAL ABOUT HIS LIFE'S CAUSE TO STAMP OUT POVERTY IN HIS HOME STATE AND IN THIS COUNTRY. SENATOR BYRD CALLED BRINGING FEDERAL DOLLARS BACK TO HIS STATE ONE OF HIS GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS. HE UNDERSTOOD THAT A NEW SCHOOL MEANT A CHILD WOULD HAVE A BETTER CHANCE FOR A FUTURE. A NEW SEWAGE SYSTEM MEANT THAT FAMILIES MIGHT HAVE CLEAN WATER, UNACCUSTOMED AS THEY WERE IN MANY MAILS IN HIS STAIVMENT A -- IN HIS STATE. A NEW HIGHWAY MEANT THAT FARMERS COULD BRING THEIR PRODUCE TO MARKET IN HOURS RATHER THAN DAYS. HE -- I'LL USE AN EXPRESSION. HE ELEGANTIZED THE BEAUTY OF THE DEEDS OF WORKING PEOPLE. AND HE BROUGHT MEANING TO THE PURPOSE OF THEIR LIVES AND THEIR WORK. HE WAS A FORWARD-LOOKING MAN. HE, WITH WORKING -- WORKING WITH ALL OF US, HE RECOGNIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF AN APPROPRIATE INFRASTRUCTURE, THE IMPORTANCE OF AMTRAK, THE RAILROAD, THE RAILROAD THAT SERVES SO MANY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS EVERY DAY. HE WAS A VOICE FOR STRONG -- STRONGER RAIL SERVICE, KNOWING THAT THAT COULD GET PEOPLE MORE RELIABLE TRAVEL AND NOT BE STUCK IN MASSIVE TRAFFIC JAMS WHEN THEY HAD TO GET SOMEPLACE. IT WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF AN AGENDA THAT HE HAD THAT WAS SO BROAD. HE -- YEARS AGO AMTRAK, A FAVORITE PART OF MY VIEW OF WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN WITH OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, WAS UNDER SIEGE AND WE WORKED SIDE BY SIDE TO PROTECT AMERICA'S PREMIER RAIL NETWORK FROM BEING DEFENDED. IN 2007 WHEN THE AMTRAK LAW WAS AUTHORED ON THIS FLOOR, WE FACED A DIFFICULT VOTE TO DEFEAT A KILLER AMENDMENT, AND I REMEMBER STANDING HERE AS THEY WERE COUNTING THE YEAS AND NAYS AND SENATOR BYRD HAD OCCASION TO LET HIS SIMPLE "YES" OR "NO" RING OUT ACROSS THIS PLACE AND REALLY PUT A STAMP ON THAT, THAT MEANT THAT HE DIDN'T LIKE IT AND HE WANTED EVERYBODY OR DID LIKE IT -- EVERYBODY IN THIS PLACE TO REMEMBER HE WAS OF APPROPRIATIONS, AND HE REMEMBERED WHEN PEOPLE VOTED WITH HIM AND WHEN THEY -- HE COULDN'T STAND THE HYPOCRISY OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD SAY, OH, THESE EARMARKS ARE TERRIBLE, AND THEN THEY'D PUT IN THEIR LIST AND HE WOULD REMEMBER IT. IT WAS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO BE ON BOB BYRD -- ROBERT C. BYRD'S DISAPPROVAL WHEN HE -- WHEN HE WHEN YOU WANTED SOMETHING, AS SO HYPOCRITICALLY HAPPENS, TO VOTE AGAINST SOMETHING AND THEN WANT THAT VERY THING FOR THEIR OWN STATE. MR. PRESIDENT, WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO HONOR THE LEGACY OF THIS GIANT OF AN INDIVIDUAL, GIANT OF A SENATOR, GIANT OF A PUBLIC SERVICE -- AND THAT MEANS NEVER LOSING SIGHT OF THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, AMERICANS OUT THERE WHO DON'T KNOW WHETHER THEY'LL HAVE A HOME NOW OR HAVE A JOB OR WHETHER THEY'LL BE ABLE TO AFFORD ELECTRICITY OR FOOD OR A ROOF TO SLEEP ON OR A WAY TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR CHILDREN. HE REMINDED US ON A CONSTANT BASIS WHAT IT WAS THAT -- THAT OUR COMMITMENT WAS. IT ALSO MEANS, I THINK IN REFLECTION, THAT WE RENEW -- WE SHOULD BE RENEWING OUR COMMITMENT, AS HARD AS IT IS -- AND IT'S EASY TO KIND OF PONTIFICATE, IF YOU WILL, HERE AND TALK ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER. BUT LET'S LACK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING. LET'S LACK AT WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING NOW -- LET'S LOOK AT WHAT HAYS BEEN HAPPENING NOW. I DON'T THINK THAT THIS IS AN APPROPRIATE TIME TO VOICE LOTS OF CRITICISM. BUT WHEN WE SEE HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO MOVE POSITIVE THINGS THROUGH THIS INSTITUTION, THROUGH THIS PLACE, IT'S HARD TO UNDERSTAND, BECAUSE THE FUNDAMENTALS THAT ROBERT C. BYRD BROUGHT WAS THAT YOU WERE TO SERVE THE PUBLIC. THAT WAS THE MISSION. RATHER THAN STAND IN THE WAY OF PERMITTING THINGS TO BE CONSIDERED, THINGS OF VALUE, IT'S -- PERHAPS WE OUGHT TO HAVE A BYRD LECTURE TO THE SENATE AT-LARGE EVERY NOW AND THEN, LET SOMEONE WHO KNEW HIM OR STUDIED HIM TALK ABOUT WHAT HE BROUGHT IN ADDITION TO EXTRAORDINARY LEADERSHIP, ABOUT A DEGREE OF COLLEGIALITY THAT WAS NECESSARY FOR US TO CONSIDER THINGS AND SERIOUS THINGS AND GET THEM DONE. HE SAID SOMETIME RECENTLY -- HE SAID SOMETHING ON A REGULAR BASIS, THAT THE WORLD HAS CHANGED, HE SAID, BUT OUR RESPONSIBILITIES, OUR DUTIES AS SENATORS HAVE NOT CHANGED. WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY, A DUTY TO THE PEOPLE TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY A BETTER PLACE. IT WOULD BE FITTING IF IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PASSING THAT WE COULD TAKE A SLEDGEHAMMER TO PARTISAN GRIDLOCK, PUT UNNECESSARY RANCOR ASIDE AND START FUNCTIONING IN DELIBERATIVE FASHION ONCE AGAIN. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU, MR. SENATOR, ROBERT C. BYRD, FOR WHAT YOU GAVE TO US, GAVE TO THIS COUNTRY, ALL OF IT WILL NOT BE RECOGNIZED IN THESE MOMENTS, BUT AS HISTORY IS REVIEWED, PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER -- SHOULD REMEMBER -- I HOPE THEY DO -- THAT EVEN WHEN HE MADE A MISTAKE, SERIOUS MISTAKE IN HIS EARLY DAYS, WHEN HE WAS NOT EAGER TO SUPPORT DE-- UNSEGREGATION -- LACK OF DISCRIMINATION AND HONOR LATER IN LIFE, THAT HE MADE A MISTAKE, THAT HE SHOULD NOT HAVE ABIDED WITH SEGREGATIONISTS, THAT THIS COUNTRY BELONGED TO ALL THE PEOPLE AND NO ONE SHOULD BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AND THAT ONE CAN BE FORGIVEN WITH GOOD DEEDS AFTER SOME BAD ONES, AND HE REDEEMED HIMSELF SO NOBLY, SO WONDERFULLY. SO WE SAY, AS WE HAVE BEEN FOR THESE DAYS, THANK YOU ROBERT C. BYRD. WE LOVED BEING WITH YOU, AND WE'LL MISS YOU. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 07:09:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL.

  • 07:10:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ED A ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE TERMINATED.

  • 07:10:07 PM

    MR. GRAHAM

    IF I COULD, I WOULD REQUEST THE ABILITY TO SPEAK SENATOR A COUPLE MINUTES…

    IF I COULD, I WOULD REQUEST THE ABILITY TO SPEAK SENATOR A COUPLE MINUTES IN TWO AREAS. AND IF YOU COULD LET ME KNOW WHEN 10 MINUTES HAS EXPIRED.

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  • 07:10:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR WILL BE NOTIFIED -- IT WILL BE NOTED.

  • 07:10:21 PM

    MR. GRAHAM

    ONE, TO CONTINUE WITH MY SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY, SENATOR LAUTENBERG, I,…

    ONE, TO CONTINUE WITH MY SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY, SENATOR LAUTENBERG, I, TOO, RISE TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND CAREER OF SENATOR BYRD. I HAVE BEEN IN THE BODY NOW SINCE 2002 AND SENATOR BADR WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS NOT ONLY THE LONGEST-SERVING SENATOR TODAY -- MAYBE FOREVER -- BUT ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE. HE WAS TOUGH. DURING HIS PRIME, THEY TELL ME THERE WAS NO TOUGHER OPPONENT, NO BETTER ALLY THAN TO HAVE SENATOR BYRD ON YOUR SIDE. WHEN HE WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE, YOU HAD A LONG DAY AHEAD OF YOU. HE TALKED ABOUT HIS EARLY LIFE. HE WAS A HUMAN BEING, LIKE THE REST OF US, AND I THINK WHAT HE WAS ABLE TO DO FOR HIS PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA AND FOR THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME AND HE'LL BE VIEWED FOR MANY THINGS, NOT JUST ONE THING, AND THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE FOR ALL OF US. AND I HAD THE PLEASURE OF GETTING TO KNOW HIM WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THE SENATE, AND I WALKED INTO ONE HELL OF A FIGHT OVER JUDGES. THE SENATE WAS IN FULL BATTLE OVER FILIBUSTERING JUDGES. THE SENATE HAD GONE DOWN A ROAD IT HAD REALLY NEVER GONE DOWN BEFORE, AND THAT WAS AN OPEN RESISTANCE TO PRESIDENT BUSH'S NOMINATIONS ACROSS THE BOARD, JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS, AND THE BODY WAS ABOUT TO EXPLODE. THERE WERE 55 REPUBLICANS AT THE TIME, AND WE ALL BELIEVED THAT WHAT THE DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES WERE DOING WAS UNPRECEDENTED, UNNECESSARY, AND, QUITE FRANKLY, DANGEROUS TO THE JUDICIARY. I'M SURE THEY HAD THEIR VIEW, TOO. AND EVERYBODY HAS A REASON FOR WHAT THEY DO AROUND HERE. BUT IT WAS THE GANG OF 14 AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN BY SOME AND DISCUSSED BY OTHERS, THAT WAS FORMED DURING THAT REAL MAJOR HISTORICAL MOMENT FOR THE SENATE. I REMEMBER TALKING TO SOME OBSERVERS OF THE SENATE, AND THEY WERE TELLING ME THAT IF THE RULES WERE CHANGED TO ALLOW A SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE FOR THE CONFIRMATION OF JUDGES, THAT WOULD TAKE THE SENATE IN A LAND THAT IT HAS NEVER GONE DOWN BEFORE, A ROAD IT HAS NEVER GONE DOWN BEFORE AND WHERE IT STOPS, NOBODY KNOWS. AND AT THE SAME TIME, THERE WAS ANOTHER CONSTITUTIONAL CONCEPT THAT MEANT A LOT TO ME, AND THAT'S PEOPLE DESERVE A VOTE. WHEN THEY'RE NOMINATED BY THE PRESIDENT. WELL, SENATOR BYRD AND 13 OTHER SENATORS -- AND HE WAS A BIG LEADER IN THIS -- CAME UP WITH THE COMPROMISE CALLED "EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE." WE AGREED THAT WE WOULD NOT FILIBUSTER JUDGES UNLESS THERE WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE. WE UNDERSTOOD THAT ELECTIONS HAD CONSEQUENCES AND WHAT WE HAD IN MINE WAS THAT WE -- IN MIND WAS THAT WE WOULD RESERVE OUR RIGHT TO FILIBUSTER ONLY IF THE PERSON DID NOT MEET THE QUALIFICATION TEST. AND I DO BELIEVE THE ADVISE AND CONSENT ROLE OF THE SENATE HAS TO RECOGNIZE AND RESPECT ELECTIONS BUT NOT A BLANK CHECK. SO THERE'S ALWAYS THE ABILITY OF ANY SENATOR HERE TO STAND UP AND OBJECT OR A GROUP OF SENATORS, ONE PARTY VERSUS THE OTHER, IF YOU BELIEVE THE PERSON IS NOT QUALIFIED. THE SECOND ISSUE WE DEALT WITH IS, WE ALL RESERVED UNTO OURSELVES THE ABILITY TO OBJECT IF WE THOUGHT THE PERSON WAS AN ACTIVIST JUDGE, A POLITICAL PERSON WHO IS GOING TO BE PUT ON THE BENCH AND USE THE ROBE TO CARRY OUT A POLITICAL AGENDA REAR THAN INTERPRET THE LAW. -- RATHER THAN INTERPRET THE LAW. AND THE LAW MEANT A LOT TO SENATOR BYRD, THE CONSTITUTION DID, AND I HAVE -- ONE OF MY CHERISHED POSSESSIONS IS A SIGNED CONSTITUTION GIVEN TO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE GANG OF 146789 HE MADE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE SENATE. AND AS HISTORY RECORDS THAT MOMENT, I WOULD DARE SAY IT'S PROBABLY ONE OF HIS FINEST HOURS BECAUSE THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT RESOLVING THAT DISPUTE THE WAY WE DID COULD HAVE CHANGED THE SENATE, THE RULES FOR EVER, AND I THINK THE -- AND I THANK THE JUDICIARY FOR THE WORST. -- AND I THINK THE JUDICIARY FOR THE WORST. I KNOW YOU MOURN THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE. THEIR BEST CHAMPION HAS PASSED. BUT WE ALL PASS. IT'S JUST WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND. I THINK HE IS LEAST A LOT BEHIND AND SOMETHING BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS CAN BE PROUD OF AND EVEN THOUGH YOU DISAGREED WITH HIM LIKE I DID ON MANY OCCASIONS, I HAD NOTHING BUT RESPECT FOR THE MAN AND HE WAS REALLY A TRUE GUARDIAN OF THE SENATE, WHAT IT STAND FOR, AND I DON'T THINK WE'LL EVER FIND ANYBODY THAT LOVED THE INSTITUTION MORE THAN SENATOR BYRD. SO HE WILL BE MISSED, BUT THE BEST WAY WE CAN HONOR HIS MEMORY IS TO TRY TO FOLLOW HIS FOOTSTEPS WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING SURE THAT THE CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE OF THE SENATE IS ADHERED TO AND THAT WE UNDERSTAND THE NATIONAL IS NOT THE HOUSE. THE SENATE IS NOT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. THE SENATE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL. AND LET'S KEEP IT THAT WAY. THE OTHER THING I'D LIKE TO CELEBRATE TONIGHT IS THAT LAST NIGHT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA WON THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES. AND I NEVER THOUGHT I'D LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO HEAR MYSELF SAY THAT. I'VE BEEN A GAMECOCK FAN SINCE HIGH SCHOOL. I WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA. THERE IS NO GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT LOVE SPORTS MORE THAN THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, BUT WE'VE BEEN A LONG-SUFFERING GROUP, MR. PRESIDENT. WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR NEXT YEAR EVERY YEAR THAT I CAN REMEMBER, AND WE'VE KNOCKED ON THE DOOR AND THE DOORS NEVER OPENED. BUT THIS GROUP OF YOUNG MEN AND COACH TANNER, THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA BASEBALL TEAM, WAS DOWN AND OUT, ONE STRIKE AWAY FROM ELIMINATION, LOST THE FIRST GAME AND MADE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO BEAT GREAT TEAMS LIKE KHREPL -- CLEMSON. LAST NIGHT'S GAME WAS A NAIL BITEER, PROBABLY THE BEST EXAMPLE OF COLLEGE BASEBALL I'VE SEEN, AMATEUR ATHLETICS. WHAT A TRIBUTE TO ROSENBLATT STA EUD STADIUM. TO THE OPPONENTS AT UCLA, I KNOW YOUR HEART WAS BROKEN. I WANT TO RISE ON BEHALF OF MY ALMA MATER AND THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA TO LET PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY KNOW WE FINALLY DID IT, THAT THIS GROUP OF YOUNG MEN PITCHED INCREDIBLY WELL, HAD TIMELY HITS AND NEVER GAVE UP. AND IT WAS A LOT MORE ABOUT BASEBALL TO PEOPLE IN SOUTH CAROLINA. TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING GAMECOCK SPORTS, THERE IS THE LEGEND OF THE CHICKEN CURSE. OUR MASCOT IS A GAMECOCK FIGHTING CHICKEN AND WE'VE BEEN CURSED BECAUSE OF THAT. I'M HERE TO TELL YOU ON THE SENATE FLOOR TONIGHT THE CHICKEN CURSE IS OVER. LONG LIVE THE GAMECOCK NATION. TO MY FRIENDS AT CLEMSON WHERE I LIVE FIVE MILES AWAY FROM THE BASEBALL STADIUM AT CLEMSON UNIVERSITY, YOUR DAY IS COMING. IT WON'T BE LONG UNTIL I'M ABLE TO TAKE THIS FLOOR AND CELEBRATE CLEMSON'S WINNING. UPON THE PASSING OF ROBERT C. BYRD, THIS BODY, THIS COUNTRY LOST A GREAT PUBLIC SERVANT. THE PEOPLE THE SOUTH CAROLINA, WE'VE GOT SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF. AS WE GO INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON -- THE JULY 4th HOLIDAY IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER -- LET'S REMEMBER WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, THE BIRTH OF OUR NATION. I'LL BE GOING TO AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ HAVING THE 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION WITH OUR TROOPS. I WOULD ASK EVERY AMERICAN KEEP THEM IN OUR PRAYERS BECAUSE WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO ON THE 4TH JULY WITH OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS IS ALL MADE POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF THEM. I THANK THE PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 07:18:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    KAU KAUFPLT -- THE PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL

  • 07:18:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 07:18:24 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 07:57:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 07:57:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:57:39 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE CLOTURE VOTE ON THE MOTION TO TO CONCUR…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE CLOTURE VOTE ON THE MOTION TO TO CONCUR WITH THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4213, 4425 OCCUR AT 8:00 TONIGHT, THAT ANY TIME UNTIL THEN BE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE LEADERS OR THEIR DISKNEES. IF CLOTURE IS NOT INVOKED, THE REID BE RECOGNIZED TO RECONSIDER THE MOTION BY WHICH CLOTURE WAS NOT INVOKED. THAT IF CLOTURE IS INVOKED, THE SENATE MOVE TO. R.R. 5699, THAT THE BILLS BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE AND READ. DOES THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS WISH TO SPEAK? WHY DON'T WE HAVE THE VOTE START ABOUT 8:03. IS THAT OKAY?

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  • 07:58:40 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY. THAT'S FINE. IS THE FLOOD INSURANCE BILL THAT WAS…

    PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY. THAT'S FINE. IS THE FLOOD INSURANCE BILL THAT WAS PASSED BY THE HOUSE THAT WILL EXTEND FLOOD INSURANCE FOR THOSE COASTAL STATE PEOPLE IN WHAT YOU JUST READ, MR. LEADER?

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  • 07:58:49 PM

    MR. REID

    TO WORK THAT OUT WITH SENATOR WITH SENATOR LANDRIEU A SHORT TIME AGO SO WE…

    TO WORK THAT OUT WITH SENATOR WITH SENATOR LANDRIEU A SHORT TIME AGO SO WE CAN DO THAT NOW. I WAS VERY ANXIOUS TO GET IT DONE. SO WE CAN START AT 8:00 IF YOU'RE THROUGH SPEAKING? OKAY?

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  • 07:59:06 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    YOU VERY MUCH. THANK YOU, MR. LEADER.

  • 07:59:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:59:10 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, FOR THE COUPLE OF MINUTES BEFORE THE VOTE STARTS, I JUST…

    MR. PRESIDENT, FOR THE COUPLE OF MINUTES BEFORE THE VOTE STARTS, I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT THIS IS A HUGE MOVE FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE GULF COAST WHO HAVE BEEN TRYING TO PURCHASE FLOOD INSURANCE UNDER THE FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM THAT LAPSED JUNE 1. THE HARDSHIP IS THAT OF COURSE WE'RE GOING INTO HURRICANE SEASON. PRIVATE INSURANCE IS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE COAST FOR FLOOD RIGHT NOW, SO THE FEDERAL PROGRAM IS ALL THERE IS. PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO CLOSECLOSE ON HOUSING CS, ON PURCHASES OF -- CONTRACTS, ON PURCHASES OF HOUSES, BECAUSE THEY ARE REQUIRED TO PURCHASE FLOOD INSURANCE AND THEY CAN'T GET IT. SO I, SENATOR CORNYN, SENATOR SESSIONS, SENATOR SHELBY, SENATOR KNELL SON, SENATOR LA -- SENATOR NELSON, SENATOR LeMIEUX, EVERYONE HAS BEEN VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS IF WE REPRESENT A BORDER STATE, AND SENATOR COCHRAN AND SENATOR WICKER. SO WE HAVE BEEN PRESSING AND I KNOW THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF COMPETING INTERESTS BUT IT IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE ARE PASSING THE BILL THAT HAS PASSED THE HOUSE ALREADY. IT WILL BE SENT TO THE PRESIDENT AND THE PEOPLE OF THE GULF COAST WILL ONCE AGAIN BE ABLE TO PURCHASE THAT FLOOD INSURANCE AS WE SEE A TROPICAL STORM MOVING TOWARD OUR GULF COAST AS WE SPEAK. SO I SO IT IS CERTAINLY TIMELY. IT'S CERTAINLY A RELIEF. AND THE EXTENSION WILL BE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30. SO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO PURCHASE INSURANCE, WHICH OF COURSE THEY NEED AND WILL KNOW THAT THEY'RE COVERED, WILL BE COVERED. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I THANK THE LEADER AS WELL. THANK YOU.

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  • 08:00:56 PM

    MR. REID

    SAID 803. I ASK CONSENT THAT THE VOTE BEGIN NOW.

  • 08:01:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE…

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

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  • 08:01:05 PM

    THE CLERK: CLOTURE MOTION

    CLOTURE MOTION: WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE…

    CLOTURE MOTION: WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO CONCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4213, THE AMERICAN JOBS AND CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES ACT WITH THE REID AMENDMENT NUMBER 4425, SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS.

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  • 08:01:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED.…

    OFFICER: BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE QUESTION IS, IS IT THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO CONCUR WITH AMENDMENT NUMBER 4425 IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4213, THE AMERICAN WORKERS STATE AND BUSINESS RELIEF ACT OF 2010, SHALL BE BROUGHT IT A CLOSE? THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE: VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 08:02:00 PM

    Senate Vote 204 - On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to HR 4213 with the Reid Amendment No 4425)

    Individual Indian Money Account Litigation Settlement Act of 2010

    Cloture Motion Rejected (58 - 38)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 57
    Democratic - 53
    Independent - 2
    Republican - 2

    Vote Details: Nay - 38
    Republican - 36
    Democratic - 2

  • 09:23:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE?…

    OFFICER: ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, ON THIS VOTE, THE AYES ARE 58, THE NAYS ARE 38. THREE-FIFTHS OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN NOT HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS NOT AGREED TO.

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  • 09:23:37 PM

    MR. REID

    I ENTER A MOTION TO RECONSIDER THE VOTE BY WHICH CLOTURE WAS NOT INVOKED.

  • 09:23:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE MOTION IS ENTERED.

  • 09:23:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, H.R. 5623 AND H.R. 5569 ARE PASSED EN…

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, H.R. 5623 AND H.R. 5569 ARE PASSED EN BLOC AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER ARE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE EN BLOC. MR.

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  • 09:24:24 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER CALENDAR NUMBERS 802 TO AND INCLUDING 811, 863, 965, TO AND INCLUDING 99 TO, ALL NOMINATIONS ON THE SECRETARY'S DESK IN THE AIR FORCE, MARINE CORPS AND NAVY, THAT THE NOMINATIONS BE CONFIRMED HE EN BLOC, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE EN BLOC, NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER, THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE NOMINATIONS APPEAR AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE IN THE RECORD AS IF READ, THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THE SENATE THEN RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 09:24:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 09:25:31 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    JUST SAY BRIEFLY, ONCE AGAIN THE MAJORITY WANTS TO MAKE THIS DEBATE ABOUT…

    JUST SAY BRIEFLY, ONCE AGAIN THE MAJORITY WANTS TO MAKE THIS DEBATE ABOUT REPUBLICANS OPPOSING SOMETHING. LET ME MAKE IT CLEAR, WE'VE OFFERED WAYS OF PAYING FOR THESE PROGRAMS AND WE'VE BEEN EAGER TO APPROVE THEM, BUT WE CAN'T SUPPORT JOB-KILLING TAXES AND ADDING TENS OF BILLIONS TO THE ALREADY UNSUSTAINABLE NATIONAL DEBT. SO THE ONLY REASON THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION HASN'T PASSED IS BECAUSE OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE SIMPLY REFUSE TO PASS A BILL THAT DOES NOT ADD TO THE DEBT. THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THEY'VE OFFERED AND WHAT WE'VE OFFERED. IN A MOMENT, I'LL OFFER A TWO-MONTH EXTENSION OF THE EXPIRED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS. TO EXTENSION WOULD BE FULLY PAID USING THE VERY SAME STIMULUS FUNDS THAT 57 DEMOCRATS, INCLUDING MY FRIEND, THE MAJORITY LEADER, VOTED TO REDIRECT FOR THESE SAME PURPOSES. LET ME REPEAT THAT. WE WOULD PAY FOR THIS EXTENSION WITH A DEMOCRAT-APPROVED STIMULUS OFFSET. THIS EXTENSION WE'LL OFFER WILL COVER THE MONTH OF JUNE, WHEN BENEFITS HAVE LAPSED, AND IT WOULD COVER NEXT MONTH SO WE'LL HAVE TIME TO FURTHER DEBATE THESE PROPOSALS. IF THE DEMOCRATS OBJECT TO EXTENDING THESE PROGRAMS USING THEIR OWN STIMULUS OFFSET TO PAY FOR THEM, THEN THEY'LL BE SAYING LOUD AND CLEAR THAT THEIR COMMITMENT TO DEFICIT SPENDING TRUMPS THEIR DESIRE TO HELP THE UNEMPLOYED. SO LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT THE PRINCIPLE THAT'S REALLY AT STAKE HERE. ARE DEMOCRATS WILLING TO EXTEND THESE PROGRAMS WITHOUT -- WITHOUT -- ADDING TO THE DEBT? THAT'S THE REAL QUESTION IN THIS DEBATE. THEREFORE, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 4853, THAT ALL AFTER THE ENACTING CLAUSE BE STRICKEN AND THE McCONNELL AMENDMENT AT THE DESK BE AGREED TO, THAT THE BILL AS AMENDED BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, THAT THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE.

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  • 09:27:35 PM

    MR. READ

    RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT. MY FRIEND, THE REPUBLICAN LEADER LEADER,…

    RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT. MY FRIEND, THE REPUBLICAN LEADER LEADER, KNOWS FULL WELL THAT EVERYTHING IN THE SO-CALLED EXTENDERS PACKAGE WAS PAID FOR. IT WAS PAID FOR BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. WE AS A CONGRESS, DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICANS, HAVE ALWAYS EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BECAUSE IT'S AN EMERGENCY. PRESIDENT REAGAN DID IT FOR ALMOST THREE YEARS. PRESIDENT BUSH NUMBER ONE DID IT FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS. IT'S BEEN GOING ON ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS WHEN TIMES ARE TOUGH IN AMERICA. THIS IS ONLY AN EXCUSE THAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE. WE ONLY NEEDED ONE MORE REPUBLICAN TO GET THIS DONE, AND I SO APPRECIATE THE TWO GOOD SENATORS FROM MAINE FOR RECOGNIZING THAT THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED DESERVE THIS. MARG ZANDY, JOHN McCAIN'S CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR, SAID FOR EVERY DOLLAR SPENT ON UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, $1.61 IS RETURNED. AND FOR PEOPLE TO TALK ABOUT THERE ARE JOBS OUT THERE, ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS GO LOOK FOR THEM -- FOR EVERY JOB IN AMERICA, THERE'S FIVE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR THAT JOB. IT'S BETTER THAN IT WAS. JUST A SHORT TIME, IT WAS ONE JOB FOR EVERY SIX JOB APPLICANTS. SO I UNDERSTAND AND I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTANDS WHAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE DOING, AND I OBJECT.

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  • 09:29:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 09:29:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 09:29:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 09:34:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR IN DELAWARE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:34:23 PM

    MR. CASEY

    BE VITIATED. OFFICER WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:34:25 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION AND THE FOREIGN REELS…

    I ASK THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION AND THE FOREIGN REELS COMMITTEE BE DISANCHED EN BLOC OF FOREIGN SERVICE NOMINATIONS BEGINNING WITH ROBERT J. BRINKLEY PATTON AND ENDING WITH HEATHER LOUISE HORTON, EXCEPT FOR EMAN, THAT THE SENATE PROCEED ENTBLOK THEIR CONSIDERATION WITH THE NOMINATIONS BE CONFIRMED EN BLOC AND THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE EN BLOC, THAT ANY STATEMENTS BE PLACED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE AS IF READ, THAT THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THAT THE SENATE RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 09:35:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 09:35:05 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES EACH.

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  • 09:35:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:35:14 PM

    MR. CASEY

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 5611, WHICH WAS RECEIVED FROM THE HOUSE.

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  • 09:35:26 PM

    THE CLERK

    ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO EXTEND THE FUNDING AND…

    ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO EXTEND THE FUNDING AND EXPENDITURE AUTHORITY OF THE AIRPORT AND AIRWAY TRUST FUND AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 09:35:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT…

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

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  • 09:35:43 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE, AND THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE BILL APPEAR AT THIS POINT IN THE RECORD.

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  • 09:35:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:35:59 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE NOW PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE NOW PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF S. CON. RES. 67, WHICH WAS SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 09:36:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 09:36:09 PM

    THE CLERK

    SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 67, CELEBRATING 130 YEARS OF UNITED…

    SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 67, CELEBRATING 130 YEARS OF UNITED STATES-ROMANIAN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS AND SO FORTH.

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  • 09:36:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO…

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

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  • 09:36:23 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE…

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

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  • 09:36:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:36:34 PM

    MR. CASEY

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION EN BLOC OF THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS WHICH WERE SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY: YOU SENATE RESOLUTION 576, SENATE RESOLUTION 577, AND SENATE RESOLUTION 578.

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  • 09:36:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 09:36:59 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE RESOLUTIONS BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE RESOLUTIONS BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TOES, THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE EN BLOC, WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, AND ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE RESOLUTION BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE AS IF READ.

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  • 09:37:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:37:20 PM

    MR. CASEY

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

    PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF H. CON. RESOLUTION 293, THE ADJOURNMENT RESOLUTION RECEIVED FROM THE HOUSE AND AT THE DESK.

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  • 09:37:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 09:37:34 PM

    THE CLERK

    293, CONCURRENT RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR CONDITIONAL ADJOURNMENT OF THE…

    293, CONCURRENT RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR CONDITIONAL ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND A CONDITIONAL RECESS ORDJOURNMENT OF THE SENATE.

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  • 09:37:43 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO AND THE MOTION TO…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE.

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  • 09:37:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:37:54 PM

    MR. CASEY

    THAT H.R. 5552 HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE HOUSE AND IS AT THE DESK. IS…

    THAT H.R. 5552 HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE HOUSE AND IS AT THE DESK. IS THAT CORRECT?

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  • 09:38:06 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK FOR ITS FIRST READING.

  • 09:38:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE COMPLERK WILL READ THE TITLE OF THE BILL FOR THE FIRST TIME.

  • 09:38:13 PM

    THE CLERK

    H.R. 552, AN ACT TO AMENDMENT THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO REQUIRE…

    H.R. 552, AN ACT TO AMENDMENT THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO REQUIRE THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE MANUFACTURERS EXCISE TAX ON RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT BE PAID QUARTERLY AND SO FORTH.

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  • 09:38:25 PM

    MR. CASEY

    FOR ITS SECOND READING AND OBJECT TO MY OWN Q.

  • 09:38:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: NO OBJECTION HAVING BEEN HEARD, THE BILL WILL RECEIVE ITS SECOND…

    OFFICER: NO OBJECTION HAVING BEEN HEARD, THE BILL WILL RECEIVE ITS SECOND READING ON THE NEGS LEGISLATIVE DAY.

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  • 09:38:38 PM

    MR. CASEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION AND…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION AND THAT THE PREVIOUS ACTIONS TONIGHT WITH RESPECT TO CALENDAR 963 BE VITIATED AND THAT THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO CALENDAR 964, NOMINATION BE CONFIRMED, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE, THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION, AND THE SENATE RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 09:39:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:39:04 PM

    MR. CASEY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE APPOINTMENT AT THE DESK…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE APPOINTMENT AT THE DESK APPEAR SEPARATELY AS IF -- IN THE RECORD AS IF MADE BY THE CHAIR.

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  • 09:39:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 09:39:16 PM

    MR. CASEY

    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 UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF HADN'T H. CON. RESOLUTION 293 UNTIL 2:00 P.M. MONDAY, JULY 12. FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE MORNING HOUR BE TEAMED EXPIRED, TIME FOR TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY, AND FOLLOWING ANY LEADERS' REMARKS, THERE BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP 10 MINUTES EACH.

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  • 09:39:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. CASE WHEN WE RETURN ON MONDAY, JULY 12,…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. CASE WHEN WE RETURN ON MONDAY, JULY 12, SENATORS SHOULD EXPECT A ROLL CALL VOTE AT APPROXIMATELY 5:30 P.M. WE HOPE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT TO VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF A JUDICIAL NOMINATION. SENATORS WILL BE NOTIFIED WHEN ANY AGREEMENT IS REACHED. IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO KM BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 09:40:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, AND PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF HOUSE…

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, AND PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF HOUSE RESOLUTION 293, -- HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 293, THE SENATE STANTDZ ADJOURNED UNTIL 2:00 P.M. ON MONDAY, JULY 12.

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  • 09:41:14 PM

    >>

    COMMITTEE MEMBERS MOVED TO RESPECT THE GROUND OF QUESTIONS FOR SUPREME…

    COMMITTEE MEMBERS MOVED TO RESPECT THE GROUND OF QUESTIONS FOR SUPREME COURT NOMINEE, ELENA KAGAN TODAY WITH EACH MEMBER TAKING 25 MINUTES. IF CONFIRMED COMMERCIAL REPLACER TRADE JUSTICE JOHN PAUL STEVENS. TWO-DAY SESSION IN SEVEN HOURS. [INAUDIBLE CONVERSATIONS] [INAUDIBLE CONVERSATIONS] [INAUDIBLE CONVERSATIONS] [INAUDIBLE CONVERSATIONS]

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  • 09:42:20 PM

    >>

    DIFFERENT PHOTOGRAPHERS FOR THE CHAIRMAN PLEASE.

  • 09:42:32 PM

    >>

    ALBRIGHT. BACK TO MY DAY JOB. YESTERDAY THE NOMINEE ANSWERED OUR QUESTIONS…

    ALBRIGHT. BACK TO MY DAY JOB. YESTERDAY THE NOMINEE ANSWERED OUR QUESTIONS OVER THE COURSE OFINEE 10 HOURS. THIS MORNINGIONS WILL COMPETE THE FIRST EXPOUNDED ROUND OF QUESTIONING IN WHICH ALL 19FIRSEX MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE,THE COMME REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ASKED QUESTIONS FOR 30 MINUTES EACH.ND AND I WOULD HOPE AFTER THATUESTIONS F SENATORS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE A BETTER SENSE OF THE NOMIN NOMINEE. YESTERDAY WE SAW HER DEMONSTRATE HER KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW, AS WELL AS HER PATIENCE AND GOOD HUMOR. SHE CONSISTENTLY SPOKE OF JUDICIAL RESTRAINT, HER RESPECT FOR OUR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS, AND DEFERENCE SHOWN TO CONGRESS AND JUDICIAL PRECEDENT. SO I URGE SENATORS TO CONSIDER WHAT ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS THEY MAY FEEL THEY NEED TO DO IN A SECOND ROUND. I'VE HAD SEVERAL SENATORS TELL ME THEY WILL NOT NEED THEIR WHOLE TIME, AND I DO APPRECIATE THAT. BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT TO DO IF WE WANT TO COMPLETE THE NOMINEE'S TESTIMONY TODAY, AND I REALIZE THEY'VE BEEN PUSHING THE SCHEDULE VERY HARD. I APPRECIATE THE NOMINEE'S, AND I ALSO APPRECIATE MY GOOD FRIEND JEFF SESSIONS, AND HIS WILLINGNESS TO WORK ON THIS, BECAUSE WE HAVE THE MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR SENATOR BYRD SCHEDULED THURSDAY, FRIDAY, AND SATURDAY. AND WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE TAKE THOSE INTO ACCOUNT. JEFF, DID YOU WANT TO ADD ANYTHING?

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  • 09:44:18 PM

    >>

    DO HAVE SOME CHALLENGES IN WORKING THROUGH THE SCHEDULE. I WANT TO WORK…

    DO HAVE SOME CHALLENGES IN WORKING THROUGH THE SCHEDULE. I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU. WE DO NOT WANT TO, AND CANNOT, IN ANY WAY CURTAIL THE ESSENCE OF THIS HEARING. BUT WE WILL DEFINITELY DO WHAT WE CAN TO BE ACCOMMODATING. AND I HOPE THAT WE CAN COMPLETE A FULL DAY ABOUT THIS, IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY. AND I DO HOPE THAT WE CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NOMINEE. WE SEE HER GIFTS AND GRACES IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS. THOSE ARE REVEALED IN OUR HUMOR AND HER KNOWLEDGE. BUT I THINK WE, SOME OF THE CRITICS WHO ARE SAYING, WHO IS THIS NOMINEE, EXACTLY WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE, MIGHT FIND IT FROM THE TESTIMONY DIFFICULT TO KNOW IF MISS KAGAN, WHETHER YOU'D BE MORE LIKE JOHN ROBERTS AND MORE LIKE RUTH BADER GINSBURG. I THINK WE NEED TO KNOW A LITTLE BIT MORE WHAT WE CAN EXPECT OF YOU AS A JUDGE AND I HOPE TODAY, AS WE GO FORWARD, MAYBE THAT WILL COME THROUGH A LITTLE CLEARER. THANK YOU. MR. CHAIRMAN?

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  • 09:45:22 PM

    >>

    MUCH. SENATOR WHITEHOUSE, YOU'RE RECOGNIZED FOR 30 MINUTES.

  • 09:45:27 PM

    >>

    GOOD MORNING.

  • 09:45:42 PM

    >>

    ASK JUDICIAL CANDIDATES USUALLY BEGIN WITH A DESCRIPTION OF WHAT I VIEW AS…

    ASK JUDICIAL CANDIDATES USUALLY BEGIN WITH A DESCRIPTION OF WHAT I VIEW AS THE ROLE OF THE JUDGE, AND I WOULD ASK YOU TO AGREE OR DISAGREE, IF YOU WOULD. I THINK THAT A JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT, FOR INSTANCE, MUST DECIDE CASES ON THE LAW AND THE FACTS BEFORE THEM. THAT THEY MUST RESPECT THE ROLE OF CONGRESS, AS THE REPRESENTATIVE BODY, REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THAT THEY MUST NOT PREJUDGE ANY CASE, BUT LISTEN TO EVERY PARTY THAT COMES BEFORE THEM. AND THAT THEY MUST RESPECT PRECEDENT, AND LIMIT THEMSELVES TO THE ISSUES THAT THE COURT MUST DECIDE. DO YOU AGREE THAT THOSE ARE THE PROPER ROLES OF A JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT?

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  • 09:46:41 PM

    >>

    SENATOR WHITEHOUSE, IT'S WHAT I TRIED TO EXPRESS IN MY OPENING STATEMENT…

    SENATOR WHITEHOUSE, IT'S WHAT I TRIED TO EXPRESS IN MY OPENING STATEMENT ON MONDAY, AND IN MUCH OF MY TESTIMONY YESTERDAY.

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  • 09:46:50 PM

    >>

    OF PRECEDENT, IS IT -- DOES PRECEDENT HAVE AN INSTITUTIONAL ROLE IN THE…

    OF PRECEDENT, IS IT -- DOES PRECEDENT HAVE AN INSTITUTIONAL ROLE IN THE COURT IN TERMS OF THE SEPARATION OF POWERS AND THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE CONSTITUTION? IS IT A MEANS BY WHICH THE COURT RESTRICTS ITSELF FROM TAKING STEPS OUTSIDE OF PROPER BOUNDS IN AREAS BEST LEFT TO THE MORE POLITICAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT?

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  • 09:47:28 PM

    >>

    I THINK THAT'S SAID VERY WELL, THE DOCTRINE OF PRECEDENT IS IN LARGE PART…

    I THINK THAT'S SAID VERY WELL, THE DOCTRINE OF PRECEDENT IS IN LARGE PART A DOCTRINE OF CONSTRAINT. THAT ENSURES THAT IMPROPER CONSIDERATIONS, IMPROPER FACTORS, WON'T COME INTO JUDICIAL DECISION MAKING. THAT ENSURES THAT COURTS WILL DECIDE EVERY CASE ON THE LAW. IT'S ALSO A DOCTRINE OF HUMILITY. IT SAYS THAT EVEN IF A PARTICULAR JUSTICE MIGHT THINK THAT A PARTICULAR RESULT IS WRONG, THAT THAT JUSTICE ACTUALLY SHOULD SAY TO HERSELF, MAYBE I'M WRONG. AND MAYBE THE GREATER WISDOM IS THE ONE THAT'S BEEN BUILT UP THROUGH THE YEARS BY MANY JUDGES, IN MANY CASES. SO, PRECEDENT IS ADOCTRINE OF HUMILITY, AND IT'S VERY MUCH WHAT YOU SAID IT IS, A DOCTRINE OF CONSTRAINT. A DOCTRINE THAT BINDS COURTS AND

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Statistics

115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 2039 (After 653 days)
  • Debate1175 Hours
  • Quorum Calls474 Hours
  • Votes333 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)