U.S. Senate Rejects White House and Bipartisan Immigration Proposals
Senate Session - December 14, 2010
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 10:01:01 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. GIVE HEED, MIGHTY GOD, TO OUR PRAYERS, AND HEAR OUR PETITIONS. YOU…

    PRAY. GIVE HEED, MIGHTY GOD, TO OUR PRAYERS, AND HEAR OUR PETITIONS. YOU ARE A GOD OF JUSTICE WHO ALWAYS DOES WHAT IS RIGHT. YOU HAVE EXAMINED OUR HEARTS. YOU KNOW OUR MOTIVES. CONTINUE TO GUIDE OUR SENATORS, EMPOWER THEM TO FOLLOW YOU FAITHFULLY, TO SEEK YOUR WILL, AND TO FIND THEIR PEACE THROUGH FELLOWSHIP WITH YOU. MAY THEY TRUST YOU FOR SAFETY, FINDING THEIR HIGHEST FULFILLMENT IN KNOWING THEY ARE DOING YOUR WILL. WHEN EVERYTHING SEEMS TO FALL APART, REMIND THEM THAT IN EVERYTHING, YOU ARE WORKING FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE YOU. LORD, HELP THEM TO DISCOVER SECURITY IN YOUR PROMISES AND JOY IN SERVING YOU. WE PRAY IN YOUR SACRED NAME. AMEN.

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  • 10:02:29 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO…

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

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  • 10:02:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 10:02:56 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON, D.C., DECEMBER 14, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS…

    WASHINGTON, D.C., DECEMBER 14, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE JENNE SHAHEEN, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: DANIEL K. INOUYE, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 10:03:21 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 10:03:25 AM

    MR. REID

    THE TAX BILL, H.R. 4853. POSTCLOTURE TIME WILL EXPIRE TONIGHT AT 12:30…

    THE TAX BILL, H.R. 4853. POSTCLOTURE TIME WILL EXPIRE TONIGHT AT 12:30 A.M. THE SENATE WILL RECESS FROM 12:30 TO 2:15 TODAY FOR WEEKLY CAUCUS LUNCHEONS. WE ALSO HAVE A NUMBER OF SENATORS ORGANIZED TODAY TO GIVE THEIR FINAL SPEECHES. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM SENATOR BOND AT 11:30 TODAY TO DELIVER HIS FAREWELL SPEECH. SENATOR JUDD GREGG WILL DELIVER HIS SPEECH AT 2:15 P.M. SENATOR HARKIN WILL BE SPEAKING AT 3:15 P.M. FOR UP TO 45 MINUTES. SENATOR KIRK WILL DELIVER HIS MAIDEN SPEECH AT 5:00 P.M. TODAY. SENATORS WILL BE NOTIFIED WHEN ANY VOTES ARE SCHEDULED. I HAVE SPOKEN TO THE REPUBLICAN LEADER AND WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO WORK THIS OUT SO WE DON'T HAVE TO BE IN UNTIL 12:30 TODAY AND CAN MOVE TO OTHER MATTERS. WE WILL KEEP SENATORS ADVISED AS TO WHAT THE EXACT SCHEDULE WILL BE.

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  • 10:04:37 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE HOUSE MESSAGE WITH RESPECT TO H.R. 4853.

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  • 10:04:48 AM

    THE CLERK

    IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT WITH AN AMENDMENT TO H.R.…

    IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT WITH AN AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4853, AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986, AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 10:05:10 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 10:05:17 AM

    MR. REID

    LEADER IS ON HIS WAY HERE. HE HAS A SPEECH TO GIVE. IF EVERYONE WOULD JUST…

    LEADER IS ON HIS WAY HERE. HE HAS A SPEECH TO GIVE. IF EVERYONE WOULD JUST BE CALM UNTIL HE DELIVERS HIS SPEECH. MR.

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  • 10:05:35 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 10:05:38 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    YESTERDAY, AMERICA LOST ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED AND DEDICATED DIPLOMATS…

    YESTERDAY, AMERICA LOST ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED AND DEDICATED DIPLOMATS IT HAS EVER PRODUCED. RICHARD HOLBROOKE BEGAN HIS DIPLOMATIC SERVICE SEVERAL DECADES AGO AS A YOUNG FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER IN VIETNAM. THE STORIED CAREER THAT FOLLOWED SPANNED THE GLOBE AND WILL REMAIN AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF OUR NATION. DICK HOLBROOKE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED FOR PURSUING THE HARDEST MISSIONS, WHETHER NEGOTIATING THE DAYTON ACCORDS WHICH HELPED END THE WAR IN BOSNIA OR HIS IMMENSELY DIFFICULT FINAL ASSIGNMENT AS SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN. AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE DOGGEDLY PURSUED WHAT, IN HIS VIEW, BEST ENHANCED THE DIPLOMACY AND NATIONAL SECURITY OBJECTIVES OF OUR NATION. WE HONOR HIS LEGACY OF SERVICE TO AMERICA'S FOREIGN POLICY AND INTEREST BY CONTINUING HIS EFFORTS TO HELP AFGHANISTAN DENY THE TALIBAN A RETURN TO POWER AND TO DISRUPT DEFEAT AND DISMANTLE AL QAEDA. I MIGHT JUST ADD, MADAM PRESIDENT, I REMEMBER RUNNING INTO DICK AT THE WHITE HOUSE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO AND HE NEVER MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE SELLING WHAT HE WAS DOING, AND SO HE SIDLED UP TO ME, AND IN HIS USUAL, AGGRESSIVE WAY BEGAN TO DISCUSS HIS CURRENT MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN. HE WAS A DEDICATED PUBLIC SERVANT, AND WE WILL ALL -- ALL MISS HIM GREATLY. NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, ON ANOTHER ISSUE, I RISE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO SENATOR GEORGE VOINOVICH WHO HAS SERVED THIS CHAMBER AND THE PEOPLE OF OHIO WITH HONOR OVER THE PAST 12 YEARS AFTER AN ALREADY LONG CAREER AS A DEVOTED PUBLIC SERVANT. GEORGE HAS SERVED IN THE OHIO STATE HOUSE, AS OHIO'S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, AS THE MAYOR OF CLEVELAND, AS GOVERNOR OF OHIO, AND AS A U.S. SENATOR. THAT'S QUITE A RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. WHEN GEORGE WALKS OUT OF THE CHAMBER FOR THE LAST TIME, HE WILL HAVE SERVED 44 YEARS IN PUBLIC SERVICE. YET, IN A CAREER THAT'S TAKEN -- YET, IN A CAREER THAT'S TAKEN HIM FROM CLEVELAND TO COLUMBUS TO WASHINGTON AND AROUND THE WORLD, GEORGE HAS ALWAYS MADE TIME FOR HIS FAMILY. NO ONE WAS SURPRISED WHEN IN JANUARY, 2009, HE ANNOUNCED THAT HE PLANNED TO RETIRE AT THE END OF THIS YEAR IN ORDER TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH JANET. GEORGE AND JANET HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR NEARLY HALF A CENTURY, AND THEY HAVE SEEN A LOT TOGETHER. GEORGE GREW UP IN THE SAME WORKING CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD IN CLEVELAND WHERE HE AND JANET STILL CALL HOME TODAY. HE ATTENDED COOLINGWOOD HIGH SCHOOL, OHIO UNIVERSITY, AND THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FOR LAW SCHOOL. AFTER PRACTICING LAW FOR SEVERAL YEARS IN CLEVELAND, HE BEGAN HIS POLITICAL CAREER IN 1963 AS AN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OHIO. THREE YEARS LATER, AT THE TENDER AGE OF 30, GEORGE WAS ELECTED TO THE OHIO STATE HOUSE. THE 1970'S WAS A PERIOD OF ECONOMIC TURMOIL FOR MANY AMERICAN CITIES, AND CLEVELAND WAS NO EXCEPTION. IN 1978, CLEVELAND BECAME THE FIRST AMERICAN CITY SINCE THE 1930'S TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY, AND GEORGE, WHO WAS SERVING AS THE STATE'S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AT THE TIME, DECIDED HE NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP HIS HOMETOWN. MOUNTING A CHALLENGE TO THE DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT, DENNIS KUCINICH, GEORGE OVERCAME TOUGH ODDS AND WON THE RACE. DETERMINED TO TURN THE CITY AROUND AND BRING CLEVELAND OUT OF THE ECONOMIC DITCH, GEORGE ORGANIZED A SERIES OF COALITIONS AND PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO BRING CLEVELAND BACK FROM THE BRINK. MORE IMPORTANTLY, I THINK GEORGE WOULD TELL YOU HE HELPED RESTORE CONFIDENCE AND PRIDE TO THE CITY. HIS MOTTO WAS "TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT." AND THEY DID. HE WENT ON TO SERVE AS MAYOR FOR AN ENTIRE DECADE AND HELPED CLOSE AN UGLY CHAPTER IN CLEVELAND'S HISTORY. IT WAS A HARKABLE FEAT. ONCE CALLED THE BUCKLE OF THE RUST BELT AND THE BUTT OF A LOT OF LATE-NIGHT TELEVISION JOKES, CLEVELAND UNDERWENT A RENAISSANCE UNDER GEORGE'S LEADERSHIP. IT PAID DOWN A $110 MILLION DEBT, ADDED THOUSANDS OF JOBS, BROUGHT NEW DEVELOPMENT AND BUSINESSES DOWNTOWN AND SAW STRUGGLING SPORTS FRANCHISES TRANSFORMED INTO CONTENDERS. FOR GEORGE, IT WAS NEVER ABOUT HIM. HE WOULD NEVER TAKE FULL CREDIT FOR THE GROWTH AND PROSPERITY CLEVELAND ENJOYED OR THE FACT THAT HE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE NATION'S TOP MAYORS. IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF CLEVELAND WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE THE CITY THEY KNEW AND LOVED GREAT AGAIN. GEORGE'S OUTSTANDING WORK AS MAYOR HELPED HIM WIN THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION IN 1990 WHERE HE SERVED TWO TERMS. HE FACED A FISCAL MESS IN COLUMBUS, TOO, AND WORKED HARD TO REIN IN SPENDING. ONE OF HIS SIGNATURE ACHIEVEMENTS AS GOVERNOR WAS EDUCATION REFORM AND IN PARTICULAR THE CLEVELAND SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM, WHICH PROVIDED THOUSANDS OF LOW-INCOME STUDENTS WITH THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A BETTER EDUCATION AND ULTIMATELY GREATER OPPORTUNITIES IN LIFE. BUT HIS RECORD OF SUCCESS AS GOVERNOR WAS DEEP AND FAR-REACHING. HE HELPED RESTORE OHIO'S ECONOMY, BALANCED ITS BUDGET AND SAW UNEMPLOYMENT HIT A 25-YEAR LOW. AND FOR A JOB WELL DONE, THE VOTERS OF OHIO RE-ELECTED GEORGE TO A SECOND TERM OF GOVERNOR IN 1994 WITH A REMARKABLE 72% OF THE VOTE. BLOCKED BY TERM LIMITS FROM RUNNING AGAIN FOR GOVERNOR, GEORGE RAN FOR THE U.S. SENATE IN 1998. HE TOOK THE VALUES THAT EARNED HIM SO MUCH SUCCESS IN COLUMBUS AND CLEVELAND TO WASHINGTON. AND AS A SENATOR, HE HAS BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF NUMEROUS IMPORTANT NATIONAL DEBATES. HE HAS BEEN A LEADING ADVOCATE FOR AN EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND FOR SIMPLIFYING THE TAX CODE. HE HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN LEGISLATION TO ENHANCE AMERICA'S COMPETITIVENESS AROUND THE WORLD, TO REFORM OUR ENERGY POLICY, AND TO ENSURE AMERICA'S STRENGTH AND SECURITY. GEORGE HAS ALWAYS HAD MY RESPECT AND ADMIRATION FOR HIS ADHERENCE TO PRINCIPLE AND FOR HIS STRAIGHT-SHOOTING STYLE. HE ALWAYS TOLD YOU EXACTLY WHAT WAS ON HIS MIND. TODAY WE HONOR OUR CLOAK AND FRIEND, GEORGE -- OUR COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND, GEORGE VOINOVICH, FOR HIS NEARLY FOUR AND A HALF DECADES OF PUBLIC SERVICE. WE THANK JANET AND THE ENTIRE VOINOVICH FAMILY FOR SHARING HIM WITH US, AND ON BEHALF OF THE ENTIRE SENATE FAMILY, I WANT TO THANK GEORGE FOR HIS SERVICE AND WISH HIM THE VERY BEST IN THE YEARS AHEAD. HE WILL INDEED BE

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  • 10:12:37 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA.

  • 10:12:39 AM

    MR. KYL

    YOU. MIGHT I JUST ADD A WORD TO WHAT THE MAJORITY LEADER -- THE MINORITY…

    YOU. MIGHT I JUST ADD A WORD TO WHAT THE MAJORITY LEADER -- THE MINORITY LEADER, THE REPUBLICAN LEADER, HAS JUST SAID. AS THE REPUBLICAN WHIP, IT'S MY JOB TO VISIT WITH SENATORS ABOUT THEIR VIEWS ON ISSUES AND VOTES THAT ARE COMING UP, AND I DIDN'T ALWAYS LIKE THE ANSWER THAT GEORGE VOINOVICH GAVE ME, BUT I ALWAYS KNEW THAT, AS THE LEADER SAID, IT WAS A PRINCIPLED RESPONSE TO A QUESTION THAT REFLECTED HIS WELL-THOUGHT-OUT AND DEEPLY FELT VIEWS ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT, ISSUES ON FINANCE AND DEBT AND GENERALLY FROM HIS LONG EXPERIENCE AS HAVING BEEN A PUBLIC LEADER AT THE STATE LEVEL, AS WELL AS THE FEDERAL LEVEL. SO I JOIN MY COLLEAGUE IN PAYING TRIBUTE TO AN INCREDIBLE PUBLIC SERVICE CAREER AND ESPECIALLY THE TIME THAT I HAVE ENJOYED WORKING WITH SENATOR VOINOVICH HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK IN MORNING BUSINESS. I NOTE THAT THE --

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  • 10:13:45 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

  • 10:13:47 AM

    MR. VOINOVICH

    I WOULD JUST LIKE TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO THE MINORITY LEADER AND…

    I WOULD JUST LIKE TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO THE MINORITY LEADER AND WHIP FOR ALL OF THE COURTESY THAT THEY HAVE EXTENDED TO ME OVER THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT, MITCH, I HAVE ENJOYED DOING IS GETTING TO KNOW YOU AND ELAINE. ONCE YOU BECAME THE LEADER HERE, I THINK THAT YOU HAVE DONE AN OUTSTANDING JOB OF KEEPING YOUR TEAM TOGETHER. I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO ANSWER ALL MY TELEPHONE CALLS, VISIT WITH ME. SENATOR KYL, THE SAME WITH YOU. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT WE HAVE HAD OPEN DIALOGUE ON MANY OF THE ISSUES CONFRONTING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND I WANT TO APPLAUD THE MINORITY LEADER FOR REACHING OUT TO THE PRESIDENT. AS YOU KNOW, I DON'T AGREE WITH THE COMPROMISE ON THE TAX SITUATION, BUT I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT -- THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY. I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND THAT WHEN LEADERS GET TOGETHER AND SPEND TIME THINKING ABOUT THOSE THINGS THAT BRING THEM TOGETHER RATHER THAN THOSE THINGS THAT ARE DIVIDING THEM, THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE AND THE NATION BENEFIT FROM IT. SO, AGAIN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR KINDNESS TO ME OVER THE YEARS, BOTH OF YOU..

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  • 10:15:08 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

  • 10:15:12 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    WANTED TO MAKE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST THAT AFTER SENATOR KYL HAS TEN…

    WANTED TO MAKE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST THAT AFTER SENATOR KYL HAS TEN MINUTES?

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  • 10:15:27 AM

    MR. KYL

    IT IN 12 MINUTES.

  • 10:15:30 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:15:32 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:15:34 AM

    MR. KYL

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 10:24:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

  • 10:24:27 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    MUCH, MADAM PRESIDENT. I JUST HAD A NUMBER OF ISSUES I WANTED TO BRING UP…

    MUCH, MADAM PRESIDENT. I JUST HAD A NUMBER OF ISSUES I WANTED TO BRING UP TODAY FOR THE RECORD TO EXPLAIN A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE FACED WITH HERE AS WE WIND DOWN BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE MAYBE. THE FIRST THING I'M GOING TO ASK YOU TO DO IS TO PLACE INTO THE RECORD THE CALIFORNIA-CONNECTED SERVICE MEMBERS WHO HAVE DIED IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ. I PUT THEIR NAMES IN THE RECORD CONTINUALLY, AND SOMETIMES I HAVE TIME I READ THEM. I WANT TO SAY THIS: SINCE AUGUST 5, 52 MORE CALIFORNIA-CONNECTED SERVICE MEMBERS HAVE DIED IN AFGHANISTAN AND TWO MORE HAVE DIED IN IRAQ. AND I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO PLACE THEIR NAMES IN THE RECORD. THANK YOU. THESE HEROES, THESE AMERICANS WHO HAVE SACRIFICED AND GIVEN IT ALL FOR THIS NATION, I AM HUMBLED BY THEIR SERVICE. I'M HUMBLED BY THE SERVICE OF THEIR FAMILIES, BECAUSE THIS IS A FAMILY COMMITMENT. I'M SO PROUD FOR SENATOR BYRD TO BE THE COCHAIR OF THE MILITARY FAMILIES CAUCUS AND I WILL CONTINUE TO DO WHATEVER I CAN DO TO MAKE SURE OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR MILITARY FAMILIES IS CONSTANT AND THAT WE'RE FULFILLING OUR ROLE TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY GET TREATED WITH HONOR AND RESPECT AND THAT WE LESSEN THEIR HARDSHIPS. WE CANNOT TAKE AWAY THE PAIN OF THEIR LOSS. I ALSO WANT TO SAY THAT I'M WORKING IN EVERY WAY I CAN TO END THIS WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. I SUPPORT BEGINNING TO BRING THE TROOPS HOME IN 2011. THERE'S SOME TALK THAT IT MIGHT BE EXTENDED TO ANOTHER YEAR. I DON'T SUPPORT THAT. AS SOMEONE WHO VOTED TO GO AFTER OSAMA BIN LADEN AND THE TALIBAN AND GO INTO AFGHANISTAN, WE LOST A LOT OF YEARS BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH TURNED AND FOCUSED HIS ATTENTION IN IRAQ, A WAR I DID NOT SUPPORT, DIDN'T THINK IT WAS BASED ON TRUTH. IT TURNED OUT IT WASN'T. AND HISTORY WILL SPEAK TO THAT. BUT, WE'VE BEEN IN AFGHANISTAN A LONG TIME, AND THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO STAND UP AND DEFEND THEIR OWN COUNTRY, AS ALL NATIONS HAVE TO DO, DEFEND THEMSELVES. WE'VE GIVEN SO MUCH, AND TODAY 52 MORE CALIFORNIA-CONNECTED SERVICE MEMBERS SINCE AUGUST 5. IT'S AN ONGOING SACRIFICE. WE JUST HEARD YESTERDAY ABOUT A TRAGIC EXPLOSION AGAINST NATO FORCES THERE ON A HEADQUARTERS IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN WHERE WE LOST SIX. SO, I SUPPORT THAT WITHDRAWAL AND DOING IT IN A WAY THAT MAKES SENSE. WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO IT IN ONE DAY OR SIX MONTHS, BUT WE SHOULD START IT. CONNECTED TO THAT, THE SECOND ISSUE I WANTED TO BRING UP IS THE PASSING OF AMBASSADOR RICHARD HOLBROOKE, SOMEONE I CONSIDER TO BE A FRIEND, AN ADVISOR, A BRILLIANT MIND, A WARM PERSONALITY, A MAN WHO LIVED FOR HIS WORK AND HIS FAMILY. IT'S SO IRONIC IN A SENSE, I SAW HIM TWICE LAST WEEK BECAUSE HE AND HIS WIFE HAD GONE TO THE KENNEDY CENTER AWARDS, AND HE SEEMED SO FINE AND SO ENGAGED AND SO WELL. AND IT WAS A SHOCK TO READ ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED. I JUST SEND MY LOVE TO HIS FAMILY, HIS WIFE AND HIS CHILDREN, AND HE WILL BE MISSED SO MUCH BECAUSE HE HAD A VERY UNIQUE APPROACH TO DIPLOMACY. IT WAS A LOVE OF WHAT HE DID, THAT YOU CAN'T CREATE. AND WHEN YOU TALK TO HIM, HE ENGAGED YOU BECAUSE OF HIS DEEP COMMITMENT AND HIS LOVE OF HIS WORK AND HIS UNDERSTANDING THAT DIPLOMACY IS REALLY THE ANSWER, AND NOT WAR. AND THAT YOU HAD TO BE TOUGH. AND AS HE POINTED OUT, MEET WITH PEOPLE THAT YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO BE IN A ROOM WITH, AS HE HAD TO DO WHEN HE NEGOTIATED THE END OF THE WAR IN BOSNIA. BUT I WILL MISS HIM BOTH PERSONALLY AND CERTAINLY AS A MEMBER OF THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE WITH YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT A COUPLE OF OTHER ISSUES, JUST EXPRESS MY DISAPPOINTMENT THAT BECAUSE OF AN ARTIFICIAL LINE LAID DOWN IN THE SAND BY OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT THEY WOULDN'T VOTE ON A CIVIL RIGHTS MATTER TO END DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL, WHICH IS A POLICY THAT MAKES OUR NATION WEAKER, NOT STRONGER. IT'S A POLICY THAT BRINGS PAIN TO SO MANY OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS, WHERE THEY HAVE TO KEEP A SECRET AS TO WHO THEY ARE AND HOW THEY LIVE THEIR LIFE, AND IT'S -- IT RUNS COUNTER TO THIS COUNTRY, BECAUSE THE THING IS WHEN YOU'RE IN THE MILITARY AND YOU ARE SIDE BY SIDE AND YOU'RE IN TROUBLE, WHETHER YOU'RE GAY OR STRAIGHT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MISSION YOU'RE FACING. IT'S A VERY STRICT CODE OF CONDUCT IN THE MILITARY THAT SAYS WHOEVER YOU ARE, YOU CANNOT ABUSE YOUR RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES, WHETHER IT'S ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR ANYTHING ELSE, THAT'S VERY CLEAR. SO WE ALREADY HAVE A CODE OF CONDUCT THAT COULD APPLY TO EVERYONE, AND I WAS PROUD THAT IN THE SURVEY THAT WAS TAKEN, OUR MILITARY SAID THEY -- THEY DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD HARM US IN TERMS OF OUR ABILITY TO HAVE A STRONG DEFENSE. GOOD FOR THEM. I READ INTO THE RECORD A NUMBER OF CASES OF HEROES WHO HAVE BEEN RUN OUT OF THE MILITARY BECAUSE OF THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, HEROES. A COUPLE OF THEM HAVE BEEN REINSTATED. THE COURTS ARE GOING TO DO AWAY WITH DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL, SO I WOULD RHETORICALLY ASK MY COLLEAGUES WHY ON EARTH WOULD WE LEAVE THIS TO THE COURTS WHEN WE COULD HAVE THE PRIDE IN STANDING UP FOR CIVIL RIGHTS? IT'S -- IT'S JUST UNFORTUNATE. AND SOME ON THE OTHER SIDE HAVE FLIP-FLOPPED ON THIS ISSUE, SAID OH, WELL, WHEN THE MILITARY LEADERS SAY IT'S OKAY, I'LL BE THERE, AND NOW THEY'RE NOT. THEY SET THE BAR EVERY DAY A DIFFERENT HEIGHT. IT'S WRONG. WE SHOULD GET IT DONE. NOW THERE WAS AN EXCUSE, LET'S DO THE TAX CUT FIRST. OKAY, WE DID THE TAX CUT. SO I'M HOPING THEY WILL LET US GO TO THIS AND VOTE ON THIS, AND WE COULD BE PROUD AS AMERICANS HERE ACROSS PARTY LINES THAT WE PUT ASIDE PARTISAN DIFFERENCES WHEN IT COMES TO CIVIL RIGHTS. I JUST WAS WATCHING A TV SPECIAL ON CIVIL RIGHTS LAW THAT PASSED IN 1964, AND THE BEAUTIFUL PART OF IT WAS THE COMING TOGETHER OF THE PARTIES AT THE END OF THE DAY ON AN ISSUE THAT WAS SO RIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY. I HOPE WE CAN DO THIS AGAIN, I JUST HOPE WE CAN DO THIS AGAIN. AND IF NOT, I SAY TO THE COURTS DO THE RIGHT THING. YOU'RE DOING IT, BUT KEEP IT UP BECAUSE WE ARE NOT ANY STRONGER AS A NATION. WE ARE WEAKER WHEN INCREDIBLY TALENTED, DEDICATED, PATRIOTIC AMERICANS ARE TURNED AWAY FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. AND SO I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT AS WELL AS THE "DREAM" ACT, ANOTHER AREA WHERE THIS COUNTRY IS MADE STRONGER. WHEN WE LOOK AT A CHILD THAT MAY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT HERE BY THEIR PARENTS, THEIR PARENTS BROKE THE LAW, BROUGHT A CHILD HERE, SAY 3 MONTHS OR 4 MONTHS. THE CHILD DOESN'T EVEN KNOW THEY DON'T HAVE THEIR PAPERS UNTIL THEY GET TO BE 18 YEARS OLD. THIS IS THEIR COUNTRY. THEY LOVE THEIR COUNTRY. A LOT OF THEM ARE PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT BODY. SINCE WHEN DO WE WIN THE CRIMES OF THE PARENTS ON A CHILD? WE DON'T DO THAT HERE. AND AGAIN, WHAT ARE WE GAINING? WE ARE LOSING. SO THE "DREAM" ACT, WHICH STARTED OFF WITH HUGE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, SUDDENLY HAS GOTTEN INTO THE PLACE WHERE DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL HAS GOTTEN US, WHERE WE'RE MOVING AWAY FROM JUSTICE. AND EVERYBODY HAS GOT THEIR REASONS. OH, IT CAN'T BE PART OF THE MILITARY BILL, AND THEN IF IT'S PART OF THE MILITARY -- IF IT'S NOT PART OF THE MILITARY BILL, THEY SAY WHY ISN'T IT PRT OF THE MILITARY BILL? IT JUST SEEMS TO BE A MOVING BAR. AND I -- YOU KNOW, AS -- THERE WAS A BIG MEETING, I READ ABOUT IT, CALLED NO LABELS WHERE PEOPLE GOT TOGETHER AND SAID WE'RE TIRED OF THE TWO PARTIES NOT WORKING TOGETHER. AND IT WAS SORT OF INTERESTING BECAUSE IT WAS ON THE DAY WHEN THE TWO PARTIES DID WORK TOGETHER, AND WE GOT OVER 80 VOTES FOR OUR TAX BILL, BUT BE THAT AS IT MAY, WE'LL SET THAT ASIDE. HERE ARE TWO ISSUES THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH PARTISAN POLITICS BECAUSE THEY'RE GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY TO HELP OUR YOUNG PEOPLE AND TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE CAN SERVE IN THE MILITARY IF THEY'RE QUALIFIED AND THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION ESSENTIALLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. WE HAVE A CHANCE TO COME TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY ON THESE. 57BD I STILL HOLD OUT HOPE THAT WE CAN DO IT AND WE CAN ALSO TAKE CARE OF THOSE HEROES, TALK ABOUT HEROES OF 9/11 WHO WENT TO THAT TOXIC PILE IN NEW YORK AND LOOKED FOR THE SURVIVORS AND THEN LOOKED FOR THE REMAINS AND BREATHED IN THAT TOXIC AIR, WHICH THOSE YEARS THE E.P.A. SAID WAS SAFE WASN'T SAFE, AND THEY'RE SICK. AND WE CAN'T SEEM TO GET THE VOTES TO HELP THEM. BUT I DON'T GIVE UP. I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE CAN DO THIS, SO LET'S WORK TOGETHER ON THOSE THINGS. NOW, ANOTHER AREA WHERE WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER IN THE PAST, WHERE I HOPE WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER, IS THE TRANSPORTATION BILL. WE USUALLY ENACT OUR HIGHWAY TRUST FUND PROGRAMS FOR ABOUT FOUR, FIVE OR SIX YEARS AT A TIME. LAST TIME WE EXTENDED IT FOR A YEAR, AND NOW THE EXTENSION IS ENDING, AND WE NEED TO EXTEND AGAIN THE EXISTING TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZATION. I'M OPTIMISTIC ON THIS ONE BECAUSE IN THE HOUSE, IT DIDN'T SEEM CONTROVERSIAL, THEY ADDED IT TO THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION, EXTENDED IT TO THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR 2011. SEPTEMBER 30 IS THE DATE. IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT 900,000 JOBS NATIONWIDE DEPEND ON THIS HIGHWAY TRUST FUND AND THE RE-AUTHORIZATION OF IT AND ALL OF THOSE PROGRAMS. 85,000 JOBS IN MY HOME STATE OF CALIFORNIA. AND IT'S -- IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE DO THIS WORK, WHETHER IT'S THROUGH AN OMNIBUS BUDGET OR THROUGH THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION, HOWEVER IT ENDS UP. THIS IS AN AREA AGAIN WHERE THE POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE COME TOGETHER. MY RANKING MEMBER, JIM INHOFE, AND I HAVE BEEN VERY -- WORKING VERY CLOSELY ON THIS, AND WE SUPPORT THIS EXTENSION. IT HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE MEMBERS OF THE AMERICANS FOR TRANSPORTATION MOBILITY COALITION. I'LL NAME SOME OF THEM. THE AMERICAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION, THE AMERICAN ROAD AND TRANSPORTATION BUILDERS, THE ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTORS, THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS, THE SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS, THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS AND LABORERS INTERNATIONAL, THE NATIONAL ASPHALT PAVING ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL STONE, SAND AND TBRAF HE WILL, UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS AND THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. NOW, LISTEN, THAT'S QUITE A GROUP. WHEN YOU HAVE GOT UNIONS AND YOU HAVE GOT THE EMPLOYERS AND YOU HAVE GOT THE U.S. CHAMBER OF OFFICERS, WHICH IS NEGATIVE ON SO MANY THINGS, UNFORTUNATELY, POSITIVE ON THIS, THAT'S A GOOD MATCHUP. SO I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE LETTER FROM THE AMERICANS FOR TRANSPORTATION MOBILITY BE PLACED IN THE RECORD. SO THIS EXTENSION WILL SAVE JOBS NOT ONLY IN THE SHORT TERM, BUT IT GIVES -- REALLY GIVES CERTAINTY TO OUR STATES, MADAM PRESIDENT. WE KNOW OUR NATION'S HIGHWAYS, BRIDGES AND TRANSIT SYSTEMS NEED TO BE IN GOOD REPAIR. I CAN SAY THIS. WITH THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY STILL IN A DOWNTURN, IT'S TOUGH FOR THEM BECAUSE OF THE HOUSING CRISIS. CONSTRUCTION WORK IS FEW AND FOOR BETWEEN AND WE HAVE A VERY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. THIS EXTENSION IS IMPORTANT. IT GIVES THE CERTAINTY. IT WILL SAVE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS. IT WILL IMPROVE OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROVIDE THAT FOUNDATION THAT WE NEED FOR A SOLID RECOVERY. AND SO I LOOK FORWARD TO TAKING THAT UP. AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE LAST TOPIC I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT -- AND I ASK HOW MUCH TIME REMAINS IN MY 25 MINUTES?

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  • 10:39:23 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR HAS USED 15 MINUTES.

  • 10:39:26 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:50:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:50:14 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:52:54 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 10:52:58 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO SAY THAT I THINK…

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO SAY THAT I THINK THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND OUR SENATE MINORITY LEADER, MITCH McCONNELL, HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB. AS I HEAR THE TALKING HEADS AND THE PUNDITS AND DIFFERENT PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS COMPROMISE, THIS WAY FORWARD, I AM SURE OF IT BECAUSE NO ONE IS COMPLETELY HAPPY WITH IT. PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT WE SHOULD HAVE A DEATH TAX ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THIS BILL. PEOPLE WHO THINK, AS I DO, THAT THE UNEMPLOYMENT GOES TOO FAR AND ISN'T PAID FOR AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN, ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE. BUT, WE ARE NOW FACED WITH A CHOICE. ARE WE GOING TO ALLOW THE TAXES FOR EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL IN OUR COUNTRY WHO PAYS TAX TO GO UP ON JANUARY 1. WE COULD TALK ALL DAY ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD HAVE ADDRESSED THIS MUCH EARLIER. YES, THAT'S TRUE. BUT WE ARE WHERE WE ARE. IT IS NOW MID-DECEMBER, AND IT IS LONG PAST TIME. WHEN WE SHOULD HAVE TOLD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HE, EVERY FAMILY, EVERY BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY WHAT THE TAX POLICY IS GOING TO BE FOR TWO YEARS. MADAM PRESIDENT, I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT I COME FROM A BUSINESS BACKGROUND. I WISH MORE OF MY COLLEAGUES HAD HAD REAL BUSINESS EXPERIENCE, BECAUSE SOMETIMES WHEN I HEAR THE AM DEMOCRAT MIX AND THE TALKING HEADS -- THE ACADEMICS AND TALKING HEADS AND PEOPLE TALK ABOUT WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO, SOME SAY LET'S WAIT, WE CAN DO THIS BETTER NEXT YEAR. ARE YOU KIDDING SUNNI ARE YOU KIDDING SUNNI HAVE YOU -- ARE YOU KIDDING ME? HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE REAL WORLD TRYING TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT WHETHER YOU CAN ADD ONE MORE PIECE OF MACHINERY TO YOUR FACTORY FLOOR AND HIRE PEOPLE TO RUN IT OR NOT BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE THE DECISION IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR COMMITMENTS ARE GOING TO BE IN TAXES AND IN THIS HEALTH CARE BILL THAT IS LOOMING BEFORE EVERY BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY. NOW NOT ONLY DID I COME FROM A BUSINESS BACKGROUND, BUT I DO TALK TO PEOPLE IN BUSINESS THROUGHOUT MY STATE. AND THEY ARE NOT HIRING. THEY ARE NOT HIRING. TWO-THIRDS OF THE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE CREATED BY SMALL BUSINESS, AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE SHOULD ALL HOPE FOR. WE DON'T WANT JOBS TO BE CREATED IN THE GOVERNMENT SECTOR THAT'S A COST YOU CAN'T RECOUP. WE NEED TO CUT DOWN ON THE GOVERNMENT-SECTOR JOBS AND MAKE SURE PEOPLE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR ARE WORKING BECAUSE THAT IS HOW YOU BUILD A STRONG AND VIBRANT ECONOMY. TWO-THIRDS OF THOSE JOBS ARE SMALL BUSINESS AND SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE ARE OPERATING GENERALLY AT LOW MARGINS. AND THEY'RE NOT HIRING PEOPLE WHEN THEY KNOW THAT THIS HEALTH CARE BILL THAT THEY'RE SEEING ALL KINDS OF ESTIMATES ON THE COST OF THAT TO THEM. AND THEIR TAXES ARE GOING TO GO UP NEXT YEAR AT EVERY LEVEL. AT EVERY LEVEL TAXES WILL GO UP IF WE DON'T PASS THIS BILL THIS YEAR. CAPITAL GAINS AND DIVIDENDS ARE GOING TO GO UP. SENIORS WHO HAVE SAVED THEIR LIFETIMES TO BE ABLE TO RETIRE, AND THEY KNOW THEY CAN'T LIVE OFF SOCIAL CURATE, SOCIAL SECURITY WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A COMPLETE RETIREMENT PLAN. IT WAS MEANT TO BE A CUSHION, A HELP WITH YOUR SAVINGS THAT WOULD ALLOW YOU TO HAVE A STANDARD OF LIVING. YOU TALK TO A SENIOR TODAY WHO HAS SAVED, AND THEY'RE NOT EARNING ONE PENNY ON THEIR SAVINGS, AND THEY CERTAINLY ARE NOT GOING TO DO WELL IF WE RAISE THE TAX ON CAPITAL GAINS AND DIVIDENDS. WHAT ARE WE THINKING? TO RAISE TAX ON CAPITAL GAINS AND DIVIDENDS THAT IS THE LEVEL THAT HALL LOUSE MANY SENIORS -- THAT IS THE LEVEL THAT ALLOWS MANY SENIORS TO LIVE AT A DECENT STANDARD. WHAT ABOUT THE TAX RATES? EVERY PERSON WHO PAYS TAXES IS GOING TO HAVE AN INCREASE JANUARY 1 BECAUSE THEY'RE GOING TO GO INTO A HIGHER BRACKET, A HIGHER LEVEL AT EACH BRACKET. NOW, IF WE DO THAT, LET'S GO BACK TO SMALL BUSINESS. NFIB, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, WHICH IS THE LARGEST SMALL BUSINESS ORGANIZATION IN AMERICA, SAYS THAT 75% OF THE SMALL BUSINESSES IN THIS COUNTRY ARE TAXED AT INDIVIDUAL RATES. SO IF THEIR TAXES GO UP, THAT IS GOING TO BE THE VERY, VERY CONVEYOR BELT BEING ABLE TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE AND HIRE. WHAT PEOPLE IN BUSINESS WANT IS PREDICTABILITY AND STABILITY. THAT'S WHY HAVING AT LEAST TWO YEARS IS SO VERY IMPORTANT. AND DOING IT NOW SO THEY CAN PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR IS SO VERY IMPORTANT. BECAUSE THEY'RE LOOKING FOR PREDICTABILITY. NOW IF I HAD WRITTEN THIS BILL WITH NOBODY ELSE'S OPINIONS ON THIS FLOOR, I WOULD HAVE MADE THEM PERMANENT BECAUSE I KNOW THAT SMALL BUSINESS WOULD MUCH RATHER HAVE THE IDEA FOR TEN YEARS WHAT HAVE'S GOING TO HAPPEN, OR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS, BUT I DIDN'T GET TO WRITE IT BY MYSELF. TPHAOERTD -- NEITHER DID SENATOR McCONNELL AND NEITHER DID THE PRESIDENT. HAD WE WRITTEN IT, WE WOULD HAVE MADE THEM PERMANENT. WE HAVE ALL SPONSORS OF THE BILL TO MAKE THE TAX CUTS PERMANENT BECAUSE WE WANT JOBS TO BE CREATED IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE GOOD JOBS OF THE FUTURE THAT CAN BE SUSTAINABLE AND GROW OUR ECONOMY. IF WE ALLOW THESE TAX CUTS TO GO UP, THE MARRIAGE PENALTY IS GOING TO COME BACK. NOW, THE MARRIAGE PENALTY IS MY AMENDMENT THAT FINALLY WAS PUT IN TO THE TAX CUTS OF 2001 AND 2003. MY AMENDMENT WAS TO RELIEVE THE MARRIAGE TAX THAT PEOPLE PLAY, A POLICEMAN AND A STKAOL -- SCHOOLTEACHER GET MARRIED AND THEY GO INTO A HIGHER BRACKET BECAUSE THEY GOT MARRIED NOT BECAUSE THEY INCREASE THEIR INCOMES, AND THAT IS WRONG. TWO SCHOOLTEACHERS GET MARRIED, THEY GO INTO A HIGHER TAX BRACKET, BUT THE MARRIAGE PENALTY RELIEF BILL THAT I PASSED RELIEVES THEM TO THE GREATEST EXTENT. IT DOUBLES THE STANDARD DEDUCTION INSTEAD OF PARING IT BACK. AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO HAVE. WHAT ABOUT THE A.M.T.? THE A.M.T. RELIEF IN THIS BILL GOES TO THE VERY LOWEST INCOME EARNERS IN THIS COUNTRY. IF WE DON'T PASS THIS BILL, 21 MILLION AMERICAN TAXPAYERS WILL HAVE TO PAY AN ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT SAYS THEY'RE NOT PAYING ENOUGH. NOW, I THINK IT'S A FAIR QUESTION. AT WHAT POINT DOES THE A.M.T. KICK IN? TODAY, THE A.M.T. KICKS IN FOR A SINGLE PERSON WHO MAKES $33,000. A MARRIED COUPLE THAT MAKES MAKES $45,000. IF WE DON'T PASS THIS BILL THROUGH THIS CONGRESS AND LET THE PRESIDENT SIGN IT, A MARRIED COUPLE MAKING $45,000 WILL HAVE TO PAY THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX. OUR BILL GIVES RELIEF. THE BILL THAT IS ON THE FLOOR GIVES RELIEF SO THAT IT WOULD GO UP TO A MARRIED COUPLE MAKING MAKING $72,000, NOT TO HAVE THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX KICK IN. A SINGLE PAYER AT $47,000. SO THE BOTTOM LINE IS IF WE THINK THAT A SINGLE PERSON MAKING $33,000 OUGHT TO HAVE TO PAY THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX, THEN I CAN'T EXPLAIN IT TO YOU. IF YOU THINK THAT, I CAN'T EXPLAIN IT TO YOU. I DON'T. I DON'T THINK THAT SINGLE PERSON MAKING $33,000 SHOULD BE SUGGEST TO AN ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT PAYING ENOUGH TAX. THE A.M.T. RELIEF IN THE BILL WILL BUMP IT UP TO A LEVEL THAT IS MORE REASONABLE, $47,500 FOR A SINGLE PERSON AND $72,000 FOR A MARRIED COUPLE. THE ESTATE TAX RELIEF, I THINK THAT WAS A SIGNIFICANT ADVANCE FOR THE REAL WORLD. AGAIN, FOR SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE, FARMERS AND RANCHERS. IF YOU HAVE THE $1 MILLION EXEMPTION, YOU WILL FORCE FARMERS AND SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE WHOSE EQUIPMENT IS VALUED AT MORE THAN IT CAN PRODUCE, WHAT HAPPENS IS THE HEIRS TO THAT ESTATE WILL HAVE TO SELL THE EQUIPMENT OR THE BUSINESS OR PART OF THE FARM OR ALL OF THE FARM TO PAY TAXES TO THE GOVERNMENT. AND THE IRONY IS THE MONEY IN AN INHERITANCE TAX IS MONEY THAT HAS BEEN TAXED AND TAXED AND TAXED AGAIN. PEOPLE PAY TAXES ON THEIR EARNINGS. PEOPLE PAY TAXES ON THEIR PROFITS IN A BUSINESS. THEY PAY TAXES WHEN THEY EARN ON THEIR EARNINGS. THE DEATH TAX IS -- IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE IN THE AMERICAN DREAM, BECAUSE WE HAVE ALWAYS SAID THIS IS A COUNTRY WHERE YOU CAN WORK HARD AND GIVE YOUR CHILDREN THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR, BUT BECAUSE OF THE DEATH TAX, FAMILY BUSINESSES ARE CUT BY 50% IN THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE THE HEIRS HAVE TO SELL THE BUSINESS TO PAY THE TAXES. THAT DOESN'T JUST AFFECT THE FAMILY. IT AFFECTS THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR THAT FAMILY BUSINESS. I WANT TO KEEP THE AMERICAN DREAM ALIVE, AND I THINK THE INHERITANCE TAX SHOULD BE DONE AWAY WITH COMPLETELY, BECAUSE IT IS NOT MONEY THAT'S NEVER BEEN TAXED. IT HAS BEEN TAXED IN OUR SYSTEM AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. EVERY TIME SOMETHING IS EARNED ON EARNINGS, YOU PAY A TAX. SO THERE IS NO POLICY REASON FOR A DEATH TAX. I DIDN'T GET TO WRITE THE BILL BY MYSELF AND NEITHER DID SENATOR McCONNELL. WE WOULD HAVE MADE IT PERMANENT, BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE PERMANENT AND IT'S NOT GOING TO GO AWAY. IT IS GOING TO BE A TWO-YEAR EXTENSION WITH A $5 MILLION EXEMPTION AND A 35% RATE AFTER THAT. I THINK AT LEAST IF WE CAN ALLOW PEOPLE TO PLAN FOR THEIR ESTATES, I HOPE THAT WE CAN MAKE IT PERMANENT SO THAT PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO PLAN INTO THE FAR FUTURE SO THAT THEIR SMALL BUSINESS, THEIR FARM, THEIR RANCH WILL BE ABLE TO BE HELD BY THEIR HEIRS AND KEEP THE JOBS THAT THOSE FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES HAVE PRODUCED. SO I JUST THINK IT IS IMPORTANT WHEN WE GET DOWN TO THE BOTTOM LINE, DO WE PASS THIS BILL OR NOT, THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES. WE COULD SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT? I WANT TO WRITE IT DIFFERENTLY. LET'S WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR. FIRST OF ALL, IF WE DO THAT AND WE OPEN UP WHAT I THINK IS A VERY BALANCED APPROACH, THEN WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THIS A WHOLE LOT LONGER THAN A WEEK NEXT YEAR. IT'S GOING TO TAKE A WHILE. AND IN THE MEANTIME, PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO BE HIRED BECAUSE SMALL BUSINESS WON'T KNOW WHAT THEIR TAX LIABILITIES ARE GOING TO BE, AND WE WILL NOT HAVE THIS SETTLED FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS SO THAT WE CAN WORK ON LONG-TERM TAX REFORM. I THOUGHT THE -- THE COMMISSION THAT JUST REPORTED HAD SOME VERY GOOD IDEAS FOR TAX REFORM, WHERE EVERYONE WOULD PAY MORE OF A FLAT TAX. IT WOULD BE SLIGHTLY HIGHER -- AT THE HIGHER LEVELS, BUT -- SLIGHTLY HIGHER AT THE HIGHER LEVELS, BUT IT WOULD BRING IN MORE -- AND LOWER THE TAX ON EVERYONE AND BRING IN MORE BECAUSE IT WOULD BE SIMPLER AND MORE FAIR. I THINK WE OUGHT TO LOOK AT THAT. WE MAY NEED TO MAKE CHANGES IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, BUT IT WAS A GOOD STARTING PLACE. BUT IF WE WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR TO PASS A BILL, WE ARE GOING TO THROW THIS ECONOMY INTO UP HEAVIAL, AND WE WILL CERTAINLY NOT CREATE THE JOBS THAT IS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THIS AGREEMENT. THE PRESIDENT AND THE REPUBLICANS AGREE ON ONE THING, AND THAT IS THE GOAL SHOULD BE TO SPUR THE ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS. HOW WE GET THERE, WE HAVE DIFFERENCES, BUT AT LEAST THERE ARE SOME PARTS ON BOTH ENDS THAT WILL HAVE THE EFFECT OF GIVING STABILITY AND PREDICTABILITY TO THE SMALL BUSINESSES IN OUR COUNTRY THAT CREATE TWO-THIRDS OF THE JOBS SO THAT THEY CAN START HIRING, AND THAT SHOULD BE THE DISPOSITIVE PART OF THE DECISION THAT WE ALL NEED TO MAKE TO VOTE FOR THIS BILL. YOU WOULD HAVE WRITTEN IT DIFFERENTLY, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD HAVE WRITTEN IT DIFFERENTLY, THE PRESIDENT WOULD HAVE WRITTEN IT DIFFERENTLY AND SO DID SENATOR McCONNELL IF WE WERE THE KING AND QUEEN OF AMERICA. FORTUNATELY, WE'RE IN A DEMOCRACY, NOT A MONARCHY, SO WE CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING THE WAY WE WANT IT. THIS IS A GOOD START. AND LET ME END BY SUGGESTING THAT ONCE WE MAKE THIS DECISION -- AND I HOPE THAT WE WILL MAKE THE DECISION TO MOVE FORWARD. I HOPE THE HOUSE WILL JOIN US -- THEN WE WILL NOT HAVE TO DISCUSS TAX CUTS FOR TWO YEARS. PEOPLE WILL KNOW WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO OWE FOR TWO YEARS, AND THEY WILL BE ABLE TO START MAKING PLANS ON THAT. BUT THE ARGUMENT THAT IS BEING MADE THAT THIS IS GOING TO CREATE MORE IN THE DEFICIT DOES NEED TO BE ADDRESSED, AND ONCE THIS BILL IS PASSED, WE MUST GET ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF CUTTING OVERALL SPENDING IN THIS GOVERNMENT, AND THAT IS NOT JUST THE DISCRETIONARY PART, WHICH IS A MINOR PART OF OUR BUDGET. IT IS ALSO THE ENTITLEMENTS. WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THE ENTITLEMENTS NOT CONTINUE TO GROW BEYOND THE CAPABILITY TO PAY FOR IT IN A REASONABLE ECONOMY? WE MUST GET THE DEBT DOWN. WE MUST GET THE DEFICIT DOWN, AND WE WILL BE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON THAT IF WE HAVE PUT THE TAX CUTS TO BED. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS IS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS HEALTH CARE BILL, WHICH IS THE OTHER FACTOR IN JOBS NOT BEING CREATED RIGHT NOW. I HOPE THAT WE CAN REPEAL WHAT WE HAVE PASSED AND START ALL OVER SO THAT THE BUSINESS PEOPLE KNOW THAT WHAT WE HAVE PASSED IS NOT GOING TO WORK, IT'S GOING TO BE IN THE COURTS FOR A LONG TIME BECAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES, AND LET'S GO ABOUT THE PLANNING FOR A HEALTH CARE REFORM THAT DOESN'T PUT THE FINES AND THE PENALTIES ON BUSINESS AND INDIVIDUALS. LET'S GIVE THEM OPTIONS, OPTIONS SO THAT AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE IS THERE FOR THEM. WE DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT WITH A HAMMER. WE CAN DO IT WITH OPTIONS THAT ARE INCENTIVES FOR PEOPLE TO GET HEALTH CARE BECAUSE IT WILL BE AFFORDABLE AND LET THEM MAKE CHOICES FOR WHAT FITS THEIR FAMILY, NOT A BIG GOVERNMENT-PRESCRIBED ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL. AND LET'S START GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT A BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO CUT THE SPENDING AND CUT THE DEBT AND CUT THE DEFICITS, AND LET'S SET SOME PARAMETERS AROUND EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT SO THAT MORE PEOPLE WILL BE HIRED AND WE WILL SET STANDARDS THAT ARE REASONABLE FOR PEOPLE TO START GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY IF THEY ARE ABLE-BODIED AND HAVE BEEN UNEMPLOYED FOR TWO YEARS AND MORE. IF WE ARE CREATIVE AND WE WORK TOGETHER, WE CAN DO THIS. BUT TEARING THIS PACKAGE APART AND SAYING, WELL, I WANT IT ALL MY WAY MEANS WE ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE THE STABILITY AND PREDICTABILITY THAT WILL CREATE JOBS STARTING NEXT YEAR, AND THAT IS OUR STATED GOAL ON BOTH SIDES. I HOPE THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE WILL REALIZE THAT ANYTHING THAT WE DO NEXT YEAR IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE WITH A DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED SENATE, A REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED HOUSE, AND THAT MEANS THAT EVERYTHING IS NOT GOING TO BE OUR WAY. I WOULDN'T HAVE WRITTEN THIS AGREEMENT EXACTLY THIS WAY. NEITHER WOULD SENATOR McCONNELL. I'M SURE THE PRESIDENT WOULDN'T EITHER. BUT SENATOR McCONNELL AND THE PRESIDENT HAVE DONE WHAT LEADERS NEED TO DO. THEY HAVE COME TOGETHER ON A BILL THAT WILL MOVE THIS COUNTRY FORWARD, AND IT WILL NOT INCREASE TAXES ON ANYONE THAT IS PAYING TAXES TODAY. HOW CAN ANYONE BELIEVE THAT IT WILL BE GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY OF OUR COUNTRY TO RAISE TAXES IN A RECESSION? SO I'M SURE WE'RE GOING TO HEAR A LOT OF DEBATE ON THIS FLOOR ABOUT WHAT DIFFERENT INDIVIDUAL SENATORS WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY, BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS SENATE WILL OVERWHELMINGLY PASS THIS PACKAGE. I JUST HOPE THAT WHEN ALL THE DEBATE IS FINISHED, THAT THIS BILL WILL BE SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT, AND WE WILL MOVE FORWARD IN A JOINT EFFORT TO REDUCE THE DEBT OF THIS COUNTRY AS ADULT LEADERS SHOULD DO. THAT SHOULD BE OUR GOAL FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS AS WE NOW HAVE SETTLED THE TAX CUT ISSUE, HOPEFULLY. WE WILL GO WITH A VENGEANCE AGAINST THE DEBT, AND WITH TAX REFORM AND SOME REFORM IN THE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, WE CAN DO IT. IT WON'T BE EASY, BUT IT CAN BE DONE, AND THAT'S WHY WE RAN FOR THESE OFFICES, TO BE THE LEADERS WHEN OUR COUNTRY NEEDS LEADERSHIP. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:14:32 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:15:23 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:21:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:21:43 AM

    MR. REID

    IN THE PROCESS OF A QUORUM CALL?

  • 11:21:48 AM

    MR. REID

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:21:50 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:21:52 AM

    MR. REID

    MR. PRESIDENT, LAST NIGHT I WAS AT HOME AND RECEIVED A MESSAGE ON MY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, LAST NIGHT I WAS AT HOME AND RECEIVED A MESSAGE ON MY BLACKBERRY THAT AMBASSADOR RICHARD HOLBROOKE HAD DIED. I REALLY FELT VERY, VERY SAD ABOUT THAT. HE WAS SUCH A NICE MAN. HE WAS THE EPITOME, IN HIS DEALINGS WITH ME, OF BEING A GENTLEMAN. EVERYONE WHO WORKED WITH HIM KNEW HOW HARD HE WORKED, AND I JOIN THE MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO MOURN THE PASSING OF AMBASSADOR RICHARD HOLBROOKE, A CHAMPION DIPLOMAT AND A PERSONAL FRIEND. AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE DEDICATED HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO THE FOREIGN SERVICE, TO KEEPING AMERICA SAFE THROUGH TOUGH, SENSIBLE DIPLOMACY. I WILL MISS HIM, HIS FRIENDSHIP, HIS COUNSEL, AND OUR NATION WILL MISS HIS TIRELESS LEADERSHIP AND STEADY GUIDANCE FOR FOREIGN POLICY. I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH HIM CLOSELY ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS DURING MY TENURE HERE AS MAJORITY LEADER. I APPRECIATED OUR MANY CONVERSATIONS AND HIS INSIGHTS INTO THE CENTRAL NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES OF THE DAY. THE WORLD BEARS THE IMPRINT OF AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE'S EFFORTS TO BRING PEACE AND STABILITY TO PLACES TORN BY CONFLICT. IN HIS EARLY DAYS IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE TO HIS LEADERSHIP AT THE DAYTON ACCORDS TO HIS EFFORTS AT STABILIZING AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN, AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE WAS ALWAYS AT THE CENTER OF THE TOUGHEST SECURITY CHALLENGES OF A GIVEN ERA. AMERICA IS SAFER AND MORE RESPECTED AROUND THE WORLD BECAUSE OF RICHARD HOLBROOKE. OUR NATION MOURNS HIS PASSING AND MY CONDOLENCES TO HIS FAMILY AND LOVED ONES DURING THIS MOST DIFFICULT TIME. I WOULD NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:23:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:23:53 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:35:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE REPUBLICAN LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:35:43 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    RISE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO MY OLD FRIEND --

  • 11:35:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATE IS CURRENTLY IN A QUORUM CALL. MR.

  • 11:35:51 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 11:35:53 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:35:55 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I RISE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO MY FRIEND KIT BOND, A MAN WHO DEDICATED THE…

    I RISE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO MY FRIEND KIT BOND, A MAN WHO DEDICATED THE BETTER PART OF FOUR DECADES TO PUBLIC SERVICE AND NEVER FAILED IN ALL OF THOSE YEARS TO PUT THE PEOPLE OF MISSOURI AHEAD OF HIMSELF. AS KIT PUTS IT, SERVING MISSOURI HAS BEEN MY LIFE'S WORK. I'VE WALKED THE LAND, FISHED ITS RIVERS AND BEEN HUMBLED BY THE HONESTY AND HARD WORK OF OUR PEOPLE. THE HIGHEST HONOR IS TO RECEIVE AND SAFEGUARD THE PUBLIC TRUST. BUT KIT ALSO KNEW WHEN TO LEAVE THE FIELD TO SOMEBODY ELSE. AS HE PUT IT IN HIS RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT LAST YEAR BEFORE A PACKED MISSOURI HOUSE CHAMBER, IN 1973, I BECAME MISSOURI'S YOUNGEST GOVERNOR. I DO NOT ASPIRE TO BECOME MISSOURI'S OLDEST SENATOR. IT MAY HAVE BEEN THE ONE AMBITION KIT DIDN'T PURSUE, BORN IN ST. LOUIS, KIT IS A SIXTH GENERATION MISSOURIAN. GREW UP IN MEXICO, MISSOURI WHERE HIS GRANDFATHER FOUNDED A BRICK COMPANY, THE LARGEST EMPLOYER IN TOWN, AND KIT AND LINDA STILL CALL MEXICO HOME. KIT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN OVERACHIEVER. HE GRADUATED CUM LAUDE FROM PRINCETON UNIVERSITY AND FIRST IN HIS CLASS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW. AFTER THAT HE MOVED TO ATLANTA AT THAT TO CLERK FOR ONE OF THE GREAT PIONEERS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT ON THE FIFTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS. AFTER THAT, KIT WENT HOME TO PRACTICE LAW. IN 1968 HE RAN FOR CONGRESS AND LOST, BUT HE DIDN'T LOSE HIS TASTE FOR PLIFNTLE A YEAR LATER HE WAS APPOINTED ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL WHERE HE RAN THE CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION UNDER ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN DANFORTH. THE FUTURE SENATE COLLEAGUES WOULD BECOME CLOSE FRIENDS, POLITICAL ALLIES, AND DOMINANT FIGURES IN MISSOURI POLITICS FOR MORE THAN A GENERATION. IN 1969, KIT WAS ELECTED STATE AUDITOR AND IN 1972 AT THE TENDER AGE OF 33, HE WAS ELECTED AS THE YOUNGEST GOVERNOR IN THE HISTORY OF MISSOURI AND ITS FIRST REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR IN 32 YEARS. IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENT, FOLLOWED BY AN EQUALLY EXTRAORDINARY SERIES OF EVENTS. FOUR YEARS AFTER WINNING THE SEAT, HE LOST IT TO A DEMOCRAT NAMED JOE TIESDALE, BUT FOUR YEARS LATER HE WON IT BACK FROM THE SAME GUY. AS GOVERNOR, ONE OF KIT'S GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT WAS WORKING WITH THE DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE TO TAKE THE PILOTS AS TEACHERS PILOT PROGRAM STATEWIDE, A PROGRAM THAT WAS DESIGNED TO HELP PARENTS PREPARE THEIR CHILDREN FOR THE CLASSROOM AND HELP THEM SCORE HIGHER ON STANDARDIZED TESTS. AS A YOUNG FATHER AND GOVERNOR, KIT SAW HOW IMPORTANT THE PROGRAM WAS FOR HIS OWN SON SAM. AS A PARENT LOOKING FOR AN OWNER'S MANUAL TO CARE FOR A NEW BABY, KIT SAID, PARENTS FOR TEACHERS WAS MY LIFELINE. AND SO IN 1984 KIT SIGNED A BILL REQUIRING ALL MISSOURI SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO PROVIDE PARENTS AS TEACHER SERVICES. SINCE ITS INCEPTION, IN THE MID-1980'S THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN IMMENSELY SUCCESSFUL AND HELPFUL TO PARENTS ALL ACROSS MISSOURI, SERVING 3 MILLION CHILDREN IN THE STATE. AND TODAY THE PARENTS AS TEACHER TEACHERS' PROGRAM INCLUDES 3,000 PROGRAMS AND HAS EXSPANTDZED TO ALL 50 STATES AND SEVEN COUNTRIES. AS GOVERNOR, KIT WAS ALSO STRONG ADVOCATE FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE EXPANSION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS TO UNDERSERVED AREAS. AFTER HIS SUCCESS AS A TWO-TERM GOVERNOR, KIT DECIDED TO FOLLOW HIS FORMER BOSS, SENATOR JACK DANFORTH TO WASHINGTON. HE WON HIS FIRST TERM WITH 53% OF THE VOTE BECOMING THE ONLY REPUBLICAN TO CAPTURE A SEAT PREVIOUSLY HELD BY A DEMOCRAT. FOR THE LAST 24 YEARS KIT THAT IS AHAS BEEN A LEADER OF THIS BODY -- KIT HAS BEEN A LEADER OF THIS BODY. THERE IS NO STRONGER ADVOCATE FOR THEMEN MEN AND WOMEN OF OUR ARMED FORCES THAN KIT BOND. HE WORKED HARD TO ENSURE THAT OUR NATION'S VETERANS GET THE CARE THEY NEED AND DESERVE. HE'S BECOME AN EXPERT ON SOUTHEAST ASIAN AFFAIRS. LAST YEAR HE COAUTHORED A BOOK ENTITLED "THE ELECTION FRONT: SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE ROAD TO GLOBAL PEACE WITH ISLAM." IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO CONVINCE A SENATOR TO WRITE A BOOK. THE HARD PART IS CONVINCING PEOPLE TO READ IT. THE SENATE IS INDEBTED TO KIT FOR HIS SERVICE AS VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE. HE HAS WORKED TIRELESSLY TO CONDUCT RESPONSIBLE OVERSIGHT OF OUR NATION'S INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. HE WORKED CLOSELY WITH FORMER CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER AND OUR CURRENT CHAIR DIANNE FEINSTEIN. IN DOING SO, THEY SHOWED ALL OF US THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN FASHION ON MATTERS OF NATIONAL SECURITY. KIT WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE PASSAGE OF THE PROTECT AMERICA ACT AND THE SUBSEQUENT FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE AMENDMENT ACT OF 2008, AND HE WORKED TIRELESSLY BEHIND THE SCENES AND ACROSS THE AISLE TO COMBAT WIDESPREAD MISINFORMATION ABOUT THESE BILLS. REGARDING THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008, KIT SAID, "THERE'S NOTHING TO FEAR IN THIS BILL UNLESS YOU HAVE AL QAEDA ON YOUR SPEED DIAL." OVER THE YEARS, KIT WORKED HARD TO IMPROVE MISSOURI'S TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE. LEGEND HAS IT THAT HIS STAUNCH PROTECTION OF MISSOURI'S HIGHWAY FUNDS EVEN LED TO A PHYSICAL ALTERCATION ONE DAY WITH OUR FORMER COLLEAGUE, SENATOR MOYNIHAN. THE DETAILS ARE A LITTLE MURKY, WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME, AND PAT DENIED IT EVER HAPPENED. BUT KIT CLAIMS TO HAVE BEEN THE LAST SENATOR TO BE SLUGGED ON THE SENATE FLOOR. AND THE REST OF US LEARNED AN IMPORTANT LESSON THAT DAY: DON'T MESS WITH MISSOURI'S HIGHWAY FUNDING. I THINK ANYONE WHO KNOWS KIT WELL WILL TELL YOU THAT THE LAST TEN YEARS HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE HAPPIEST FOR HIM. LINDA HAS MADE KIT A NEW MAN. I UNDERSTAND SHE'S IMPROVED HIS DIET, HIS FITNESS ROUTINE, AND, THANK HEAVENS, HIS WARDROBE. AND HE'S PROBABLY WATCHED HIS SON SAM STAND UP AND DEFEND THE NATION KIT SERVED HIS ENTIRE LIFE. FIRST LIEUTENANT BOND SERVED TWO TOURS IN IRAQ, THE LAST HAS A SCOUT SNIPER PLATOON LEADER WHERE HE CONDUCTED CLOSE RECONNAISSANCE AND SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS IN ORDER TO GAIN INTELLIGENCE ON THE ENEMY. AND WE ALL THANK HIM FOR HIS COURAGE AND HIS SACRIFICE IN DEFENDING OUR FREEDOM AND SECURITY. NOW, I'D BE REMISS IF I FAILED TO ACKNOWLEDGE ANOTHER KIT'S LOVED ONES, HIS DOG TIGER. HE'S BECOME SORT OF A YOUTUBE CELEBRITY AROUND HERE. TYING CERTIFICATE NAMED AFTER KIT'S UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI TIGERS AND HIS FAVORITE PAST TIME IS LYING UNDERNEATH KIT'S DESK AND DESTROYING A STUFFED UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS JAYHAWK. TIGER MAY NOT BE THE KIND OF DOG ONE WOULD IMAGINE FOR THE VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. EVEN KIT ADMITS HE IS A LITTLE BIT OF A FROO-FROO PET. THE LAST TIME HE SAW FDIC CHAIR SHEILA BAIR, HE WOULDN'T STOP BARK. CHAIRMAN BAIR HAS NOT ONE BUT TWO DEGREES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS. I THINK SHE SNIFFED IT OUT, BOND SAID. KIT HAS A TREMENDOUS CAREER IN PUBLIC SERVICE. HE'S BEEN ELECTED SEVEN TIMES IN MISSOURI FROM STATE AUDITOR TO HIS FOUR TERMS IN THE SENATE, MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE HISTORY OF THE SHOW-ME STATE. LOOKING BACK, KIT SAYS HIS POLITICAL ADVERSARIES KEPT HIM NIMBLE AND THE MEDIA KEPT HIM HUMBLE. WHATEVER THE FORMULA, KIT HAS BEEN AN OUTSTANDING SENATOR AND WE WILL MISS HIM TERRIBLY. I'M SURE IT IS HARD FOR MISSOURIANS TO IMAGINE KIT OUTSIDE OF OFFICE. IT'S NO EASIER FOR HIS COLLEAGUES TO IMAGINE THE SENATE WITHOUT KIT. AS HIS FOURTH TERM DRAWS TO A CLOSE, HISTORY WILL SHOW HE HAS SERVED THE PEOPLE OF MISSOURI AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION WITH PASSION, HONOR, AND INTEGRITY. HE WILL BE MISSED. AND LET ME JUST ADD, MR. PRESIDENT, BACK IN THE MID-1980'S, I STARTED OFF IN THE VERY LAST SEAT BACK THERE AND THEN TWO YEARS LATER -- THESE WERE NOT GREAT YEARS FOR REPUBLICANS; WE HAD TWO FRESHMEN MY FIRST YEAR AND TWO FRESHMEN THE NEXT YEAR, SENATOR BOND AND SENATOR McCAIN. AND SO SENIORITY BEING WHAT IT IS IN THE SENATE, I GOT TO MOVE OUT OF THE VERY LAST CHAIR OVER TWO MORE CHAIRS AND BOND AND McCAIN CAME BACK THERE AND JOINED US. WE WERE SUCH POWER PLAYERS IN THOSE DAYS. WE REFERRED TO OURSELVES AS THE "NOT QUITE READY FOR PRIME TIME PLAYERS," BUT I MUST SAY TO MY FRIEND FROM MISSOURI, YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY FROM THOSE EARLY DAYS, MADE AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE HERE IN THE SENATE, AND WE WILL ALL MISS YOU GREATLY.

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  • 11:45:23 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MISSOURI IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:45:28 AM

    MR. BOND

    IN MY TWO TERMS AS GOVERNOR, WITH A 70% DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN BOTH THE…

    IN MY TWO TERMS AS GOVERNOR, WITH A 70% DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, THEY EXPLAINED TO ME HOW BIPARTISANSHIP WORKS. I FIGURED OUT DURING MY SECOND TERM, WHICH ENABLED TO US DO BETTER. MY MOST SUCCESSFUL TERM IN OFFICE, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND I BOTH ACHIEVED PASSAGE OF ALL THE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES THAT WE HAD. SO NOW, IF MY COLLEAGUES WILL PERMIT A LITTLE PARTING ADVICE FROM AN OLD -- AN OLD BULL, WORK TOGETHER, PLAY NICE. I WOULD FOLLOW UP ON THE LEADER'S COMMENT ABOUT A LITTLE SCUFFLE I HAD WITH PAT MOYNIHAN. I NEVER TALKED ABOUT IT. HE -- WE NEVER SAID ANYTHING PUBLICLY UNTIL NOW. BUT HE DID LATER ON, AS WE BECAME FAST FRIENDS, USED TO TEASE ME ABOUT SETTING UP BOXING MATCHES SO WE COULD RAISE MONEY FOR CHARITY. BUT WHEN I LOOKED AT HIS HEIGHT AND HIS REACH, I DIDN'T TAKE HIM UP ON THAT. BUT IN A WORLD TODAY WHERE ENEMIES ARE REAL, THE KIND WHO SEEK TO DESTROY OTHERS BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGION, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THERE IS A LOT OF REAL ESTATE BETWEEN A POLITICAL OPPONENT AND TRUE ENEMY. IN GOVERNMENT WE EXPECT DEBATES. THERE WILL BE ISSUES WHERE PEOPLE OF GOOD CONSCIENCE CANNOT COME TOGETHER. LET US NEVER NOT WHAT CANNOT BE DONE INTERFERE WITH WHAT CAN BE DONE. EVEN EVENTS IN THE WORLD WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE CHALLENGES, THE GROWING DEBT, NEARLY 24 YEARS AGO I WAS SWORN IN AS U.S. SENATOR. SINCE THAT TIME I'VE BEEN HONORED TO WORK WITH YOU AND OTHERS ON ALL OF THE PRIORITIES FACING OUR COUNTRY AND MANY MORE. PUBLIC SERVICE HAS BEEN A BLESSING AND A LABOR OF LOVE FOR ME AND LITTLE IN LIFE COULD BE MORE FULFILLING. BUT I LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT CHAPTER OF MY LIFE. I'M NEITHER SHY NOR RETIRING, THERE ARE WAYS TO SERVE. ELECTIVE OFFICE IS ONLY ONE OF THEM. I PLAN TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR MISSOURI NATIONAL PRIORITIES FROM A DIFFERENT VANTAGE POINT. THROUGH 40 YEARS IN PUBLIC LIFE, I'VE MET MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE. I VISITED EVERY AREA OF THE COUNTY, OF THE STATE, EVERY TERM I SERVED IN OFFICE. THE PEOPLE I MET IN OFFICE AND THE PEOPLE I WORKED WITH HAVE MADE THE JOB SO REWARDING I DECIDED TO STAY LONGER. THE PEOPLE OF MISSOURI HAVE BEEN MY MOST TRUSTED AND VALUABLE ADVISERS, I THANK THEM FOR GIVING ME SUPPORT. IN ADDITION TO MY COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS THERE ARE TOO MANY TO THANK BUT LET ME GIVE YOU THE FIRST ONE FIRST, MY PATIENT FAMILY, MY WIFE LINDA, THE LIGHT AND LOVE OF MY LIFE, MY TALENTED CHARMING DAUGHTER-IN-LAW MARGARET AND MY SON SAM, WHOM I REGARD AS MY PERSONAL HERO FOR HIS SERVICE AS A GROUND INTELLIGENCE OFFICER IN IRAQ. THANKS TO ALL WHO WORKED FOR ME IN MY OFFICE ON MY COMMITTEES AND THOSE WHO HELPED ME WITH POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OVER THE YEARS. SOME WERE NOT BORN WHEN I STARTED, OTHERS HAVE PASSED AWAY FORTUNATELY MANY ARE STILL HERE. AS MITCH SAID, I THANK MY POLITICAL ADVERSARIES FOR KEEPING ME NIMBLE AND THE MEDIA FOR KEEPING ME HUMBLE. MOST OF ALL I THANK THE VOTERS IN MISSOURI WHO SENT ME TO JEFFERSON CITY THREE TIMES AND TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOUR TIMES TO REPRESENT THEM. THERE'S NO GREATER HONOR. I HAVE BEEN TRULY BLESSED TO BE ENTRUSTED BY THEM WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICE. AND I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 11:59:39 AM

    MR. BOND

    AS GOVERNOR, WITH A 70% DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE…

    AS GOVERNOR, WITH A 70% DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, THEY EXPLAINED TO ME HOW BIPARTISANSHIP WORKS. I FIGURED OUT DURING MY SECOND TERM, WHICH ENABLED TO US DO BETTER. MY MOST SUCCESSFUL TERM IN OFFICE, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND I BOTH ACHIEVED PASSAGE OF ALL THE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES THAT WE HAD. SO NOW, IF MY COLLEAGUES WILL PERMIT A LITTLE PARTING ADVICE FROM AN OLD -- AN OLD BULL, WORK TOGETHER, PLAY NICE. I WOULD FOLLOW UP ON THE LEADER'S COMMENT ABOUT A LITTLE SCUFFLE I HAD WITH PAT MOYNIHAN. I NEVER TALKED ABOUT IT. HE -- WE NEVER SAID ANYTHING PUBLICLY UNTIL NOW. BUT HE DID LATER ON, AS WE BECAME FAST FRIENDS, USED TO TEASE ME ABOUT SETTING UP BOXING MATCHES SO WE COULD RAISE MONEY FOR CHARITY. BUT WHEN I LOOKED AT HIS HEIGHT AND HIS REACH, I DIDN'T TAKE HIM UP ON THAT. BUT IN A WORLD TODAY WHERE ENEMIES ARE REAL, THE KIND WHO SEEK TO DESTROY OTHERS BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGION, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THERE IS A LOT OF REAL ESTATE BETWEEN A POLITICAL OPPONENT AND TRUE ENEMY. IN GOVERNMENT WE EXPECT DEBATES. THERE WILL BE ISSUES WHERE PEOPLE OF GOOD CONSCIENCE CANNOT COME TOGETHER. LET US NEVER NOT WHAT CANNOT BE DONE INTERFERE WITH WHAT CAN BE DONE. EVEN EVENTS IN THE WORLD WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE CHALLENGES, THE GROWING DEBT, NEARLY 24 YEARS AGO I WAS SWORN IN AS U.S. SENATOR. SINCE THAT TIME I'VE BEEN HONORED TO WORK WITH YOU AND OTHERS ON ALL OF THE PRIORITIES FACING OUR COUNTRY AND MANY MORE. PUBLIC SERVICE HAS BEEN A BLESSING AND A LABOR OF LOVE FOR ME AND LITTLE IN LIFE COULD BE MORE FULFILLING. BUT I LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT CHAPTER OF MY LIFE. I'M NEITHER SHY NOR RETIRING, THERE ARE WAYS TO SERVE. ELECTIVE OFFICE IS ONLY ONE OF THEM. I PLAN TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR MISSOURI NATIONAL PRIORITIES FROM A DIFFERENT VANTAGE POINT. THROUGH 40 YEARS IN PUBLIC LIFE, I'VE MET MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE. I VISITED EVERY AREA OF THE COUNTY, OF THE STATE, EVERY TERM I SERVED IN OFFICE. THE PEOPLE I MET IN OFFICE AND THE PEOPLE I WORKED WITH HAVE MADE THE JOB SO REWARDING I DECIDED TO STAY LONGER. THE PEOPLE OF MISSOURI HAVE BEEN MY MOST TRUSTED AND VALUABLE ADVISERS, I THANK THEM FOR GIVING ME SUPPORT. IN ADDITION TO MY COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS THERE ARE TOO MANY TO THANK BUT LET ME GIVE YOU THE FIRST ONE FIRST, MY PATIENT FAMILY, MY WIFE LINDA, THE LIGHT AND LOVE OF MY LIFE, MY TALENTED CHARMING DAUGHTER-IN-LAW MARGARET AND MY SON SAM, WHOM I REGARD AS MY PERSONAL HERO FOR HIS SERVICE AS A GROUND INTELLIGENCE OFFICER IN IRAQ. THANKS TO ALL WHO WORKED FOR ME IN MY OFFICE ON MY COMMITTEES AND THOSE WHO HELPED ME WITH POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OVER THE YEARS. SOME WERE NOT BORN WHEN I STARTED, OTHERS HAVE PASSED AWAY FORTUNATELY MANY ARE STILL HERE. AS MITCH SAID, I THANK MY POLITICAL ADVERSARIES FOR KEEPING ME NIMBLE AND THE MEDIA FOR KEEPING ME HUMBLE. MOST OF ALL I THANK THE VOTERS IN MISSOURI WHO SENT ME TO JEFFERSON CITY THREE TIMES AND TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOUR TIMES TO REPRESENT THEM. THERE'S NO GREATER HONOR. I HAVE BEEN TRULY BLESSED TO BE ENTRUSTED BY THEM WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICE. AND I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 12:03:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MISSOURI IS RECOGNIZED. MRS.

  • 12:03:49 PM

    MRS. McCASKILL

    PRESIDENT, I -- I THINK IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THERE ARE THINGS THAT…

    PRESIDENT, I -- I THINK IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THERE ARE THINGS THAT SENATOR BOND AND I MIGHT DISAGREE ON, BUT TODAY IS NOT A TIME TO TALK ABOUT THOSE THINGS. I WOULD RISE JUST FOR A FEW MINUTES TO TALK ABOUT SENATOR BOND AND THE THINGS THAT I MOST RESPECT AND ADMIRE HIM FOR. IT COULD BE A VERY LONG LIST, AND I DON'T WANT TO TAKE TOO LONG, BUT I'M GOING TO HIT THE HIGH POINTS OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK DEMAND THAT ANYONE WHO'S PAID ATTENTION TO MISSOURI, THEY NEED TO RESPECT AND ADMIRE THIS MAN FOR. FOR 42 YEARS HE HAS SERVED THE STATE OF MISSOURI, AND LET'S START THERE. HE LOVES THE STATE WE CALL HOME. I WOULD SAY THAT HE KNOWS IT BETTER THAN ANY LIVING PERSON IN THE WORLD. HE UNDERSTANDS IT. HE IS DEDICATED TO IT. AND HE HAS MADE MISSOURI HIS LIFE WORK. FOR THAT HE DESERVES MY RESPECT AND ADMIRATION. SECONDLY, HE'S MADE MAJOR SACRIFICES TO SERVE. AS THE LEADER SAID HE GRADUATED FIRST IN HIS CLASS FROM VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, A GRADUATE FROM PRINCETON. I DON'T NEED TO EXPLAIN TO ANYBODY IN THE SENATE WHAT THAT COULD MEAN IN TERMS OF ONE'S CAREER IN TERMS OF MAKING MONEY. CHRISTOPHER KIT BOND COULD HAVE BEEN WEALTHY BEYOND ANYONE'S IMAGINATION. HE HAD THE INTELLECT, HE HAD THE PERSONALITY TO SUCCEED IN ANY BUSINESS THAT HE DECIDED TO ENGAGE IN AND CERTAINLY IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW. I THINK IN TODAY'S WORLD THERE'S SO MUCH CYNICISM ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE A CAREER OF POLITICAL SERVICE. THIS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE FOR CIVICS CLASSES THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY TO SEE THIS IS REALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. SOMEONE WHO CHOSE NOT TO MAKE BIG BUCKS, NOT TO TRAVEL THE HALLS OF POWER IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, BUT TO TOIL IN THE FIELDS OF BEING A PUBLIC SERVANT. AND, YES, THERE ARE MANY THINGS ABOUT BEING A PUBLIC SERVANT THAT ARE GRAND AND GLORIOUS, BUT THERE IS A LOT THAT IS NOT. I WOULD CHALLENGE ANYONE WHO GO TO AS MANY FARM BUREAU PICNICS AS MY COLLEAGUE HAS GONE TO AND NOT ADMIT A LITTLE BIT OF FATIGUE. I WOULD CHALLENGE ANYONE TO HAVE ATTENDED AS MANY STATE FAIRS AS MY COLLEAGUE HAS ATTENDED AND NOT CONFESS A LITTLE FATIGUE. I WOULD CHALLENGE ANYONE TO GO WHAT MY DAD USED TO CALL THE SLICK HAM SUPPERS IN SMALL COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE STATE AFTER A LONG WEEK OF WORK BECAUSE HE KNEW THERE WERE PEOPLE THERE THAT WERE GOING TO BE REWARDED BY HIS PRESENCE AND THAT IT WAS PART OF HIS JOB THAT HE REALIZED WAS VERY IMPORTANT. SO I AM VERY RESPECTFUL AND HAVE GREAT ADMIRATION FOR THE FACT THAT HE HAS TOILED IN THE FIELD OF PUBLIC SERVICE FOR ALL THESE YEARS. THE THEIR THING THAT I RESPECT AND ADMIRE ABOUT HIM IS HOW PROUD HE IS OF HIS FAMILY AND HOW DEVOTED HE IS TO HIS WIFE. IT IS A WONDERFUL THING TO BEHOLD WHEN SOMEONE JUST EX YOU'DS LOVE -- EXUDES LOVE, ADMIRATION AND DEVOTION TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO ALL OF US, THEIR FAMILY. AND I'VE WATCHED SENATOR BOND AS HE BEGAN TO REALLY IMMERSE HIMSELF IN FOREIGN POLICY, AND I KNOW IT WAS BECAUSE HE WENT TO BED EVERY NIGHT AN WOKE UP EVERY MORNING -- AND WOKE UP EVERY MORNING THINKING OF SAM AND SAM'S SERVICE AND FEELING COMPELLED TO DO AS MUCH AS HE COULD IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS TO HELP MEN AND WOMEN LIKE SAM BOND THROUGHOUT OUR WORLD. FOURTH, AND MAYBE THIS IS THE BEST ONE, SENATOR KIT BOND IS NOT AFRAID OF A FIGHT. I THINK THAT IS TERRIFIC. YOU KNOW, MISSOURI'S A TOUGH STATE. IT'S A TOUGH STATE IN THAT ANYBODY WHO TELLS YOU THEIR REELECTION IS CERTAIN DOES NOT KNOW OR UNDERSTAND MISSOURI. EVERY ELECTION IS A BATTLE IN MISSOURI. HE HAS A RECORD OF 9-2 IN THOSE ELECTIONS AND FOR OUR BELOVED TEAM THE MISSOURI TIGERS, WE WOULD TAKE THAT RECORD ANY YEAR IN FOOTBALL. HE'S HAD THREE CAMPAIGNS FOR GOVERNOR AND FOUR CAMPAIGNS FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE FROM STATE OF MISSOURI AND HIS RECORD IS 9-1 IN THOSE ELECTIONS. LET ME TELL YOU, THAT IS ONE REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT. BECAUSE IN MISSOURI WE HAVE SOME STRONG-MINDED FOLKS. WE HAVE A BUNCH OF FOLKS ON ONE END THAT ARE VERY LOUD AND THEY OPINION 8ED AND THEY'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE AND WE HAVE A BUNCH OF FOLKS ON THE OTHER END THAT ARE JUST AS LOUD AND OPINIONATED AND THEY'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. BUT IN THE MIDDLE WE HAVE A GRAND AND GLORIOUS GROUP OF STUBBORNLY INDEPENDENT PEOPLE. I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT THEY ELECTED JOHN ASHCROFT AND HARRIET WOODS IN THE SAME ELECTION. MY COLLEAGUE KNOWS WHO HE IS AND WE KNOW THESE ARE TWO PEOPLE, JOHN ASHCROFT AN HARRIETTE WOODS WHO BELIEVED IN NOTHING IN COMMON. THEY HAD COMPLETELY DIVERGENT VIEWS OF THE WORLD. I'LL TELL YOU WHAT THAT GRAND AND STUBBORN STREAK WANTS, THEY WANT SOMEONE WITH A SMILE. CHECK FOR KIT BOND. WHEN YOU THINK OF KIT BOND, YOU THINK OF HIM SMILING. EVEN IF HIS TEETH ARE GRITTED AND HE'S TELLING YOU SOMETHING YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR OR YOU CAN TELL HE'S ANGRY AT YOU, HE IS STILL GRINNING. THEY APPRECIATE HIS INTELLECT. HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN INTELLECTUAL GIANT AND THAT IS IMPORTANT IN -- WHEN YOU'RE TOILING THE FIELDS OF PUBLIC SERVICE. HIS INTEGRITY. THERE WAS NEVER A DOUBT IN ALL OF THESE YEARS OF KIT BOND'S SERVICE THAT THIS WAS NOT A MAN OF THE VERY HIGHEST INTEGRITY. AND, FINALLY, A WORK ETHIC. AND YEE-HOWDY MISSOURIANS WANT A WORK ETHIC. THEY WANT SOMEBODY WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT THEY'RE WORKING HARD AND THEY WANT TO SEE YOU WORKING HARD AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT SENATOR BOND HAS DONE FOR THESE 42 YEARS. HE'S WORKED VERY, VERY HARD. EVEN NOW TO PLANTING HIS CHEST CHESTNUT TREES HIMSELF ON THE FARM IN MEXICO. SO THE MAGIC FORMULA OF A READY SMILE, INTELLECT, INTEGRITY, AND AN AMAZING WORK ETHIC HAS PUT HIM IN THE SAME CATEGORY AS SOME OF MISSOURI'S VERY GREATEST FROM THOMAS HART BITTEN TO SENATOR CHRISTOPHER KIT BOND, HE HAS SHOWN THE WORLD AND SHOWN OUR COUNTRY WHAT HARD WORK, WHAT SOMEBODY WHO LOVES THE MIDDLE OF AMERICA AND ALL THAT IT REPRESENTS CAN DO IN THE UNITED STATES SENATOR. HE HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL ROLE MODEL FOR MANY OF US IN MISSOURI, EVEN IF WE DON'T ALWAYS AGREE ON EVERY ISSUE. AND, BY THE WAY, I WILL TELL THIS STORY TODAY THAT WHEN I TOOK MY DESK IN THE STATE AUDITOR'S OFFICE, THERE IS A TRADITION THAT ALL OF THE PREVIOUS STATE AUDITOR'S PICTURES ARE AROUND YOUR OFFICE AT THE TOP ON A POET YES RAIL AT THE TOP -- PHOTO RAIL AT THE TOP. I STAT DOWN AT MY DESK ON THE FIRST DAY AND LOOKED UP AND WHO WAS DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM ME? KIT BOND AND JOHN ASHCROFT. I WILL CONFESS, I MOVED THE ORDER SO I DIDN'T HAVE TO LOOK AT BOTH OF YOU EVERY SINGLE DAY. BUT YOU WERE A REMINDER TO ME THAT THERE IS MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO SERVE AND IT IS WITH A GREAT DEAL OF RELUCTANCE THAT I SAY FAREWELL TO SENATOR KIT BOND IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. HE HAS SERVED HERE WELL. HE HAS SERVED HIS STATE WELL. I HOPE HE REMAINS A COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND OF MINE FOR MANY YEARS TO COME. AND WITH THE UTMOST ADMIRATION AND RESPECT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:12:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA'S RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: I ALSO…

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA'S RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: I ALSO WANT TO ADD MY VOICE IN RESPECT AND RECOGNITION FOR THE SERVICE OF SENATOR KIT BOND.

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  • 12:12:19 PM

    MR. CONRAD

    A TERRIFIC COLLEAGUE. AND WE HAVE JOSTLED OVER ISSUES LIKE WATER POLICIES…

    A TERRIFIC COLLEAGUE. AND WE HAVE JOSTLED OVER ISSUES LIKE WATER POLICIES AFFECTING OUR TWO STATES, BUT HE HAS ALSO CONDUCTED HIMSELF WITH HONOR AND INTEGRITY AND HE WILL BE MISSED IN THIS CHAMBER. MR. PRESIDENT, FOR JUST A MOMENT I ALSO WANT TO NOTE THE PASSING OF RICHARD HOLBROOKE, A DISTINGUISHED AMBASSADOR, SOMEBODY WHO PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN WORKING ON THE POLICY TOWARD IRAQ AND AFGANISTAN. RICHARD HOLBROOKE WAS A GIANT IN AMERICAN DIPLOMATIC HISTORY. RICHARD HOLBROOKE WAS A FRIEND. I ACTUALLY WAS WITH HIM THE SUNDAY BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY. AND WAS SHOCKED TO LEARNED THAT HE HAD BEEN STRICKEN. EVEN MORE SHOCKED TO LEARN THAT HE PASSED AWAY ON MONDAY. RICHARD HOLBROOKE LEAVES AN EXTRAORDINARY LEGACY OF WORKING FOR PEACE AND FOR ADVANCING THE INTEREST OF THIS COUNTRY. RICHARD HOLBROOKE WILL BE MISSED. MR. PRESIDENT, SEPARATELY, I HAVE THREE 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 THESE REQUESTS BE PRINTED IN THE IN THE RECORD.

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  • 12:13:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:13:48 PM

    MR. CONRAD

    PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TO DISCUSS THE TAX EXTENSION PACKAGE BEFORE…

    PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TO DISCUSS THE TAX EXTENSION PACKAGE BEFORE US. I SUPPORT THIS PACKAGE BECAUSE IT WILL PROVIDE, I BELIEVE, A SIGNIFICANT BOOST TO THE ECONOMY NEXT YEAR. IT IS NECESSARY BECAUSE THE ALTERNATIVE WOULD BE A SIGNIFICANT TAX INCREASE ON MILLIONS OF MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES IN JUST A MATTER OF WEEKS. MR. PRESIDENT, I RECOGNIZE THAT THIS PACKAGE WILL INCREASE THE DEFICIT OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS, BUT WE NEED TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN WHAT IS THE RIGHT ECONOMIC POLICY SHORT TERM AND LONGER TERM. SHORT TERM I DON'T THINK THERE IS ANY QUESTION THAT THIS ECONOMY REMAINS WEAK, UNEMPLOYMENT STUBBORNLY HIGH, AND THAT MEANS WE NEED TO DO MORE TO PROVIDE LIQUIDITY IN THE SHORT TERM. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE SHOULD IGNORE THE GROWING DEBT THAT IS ALL AROUND US. THAT IS A LONGER-TERM CHALLENGE, BUT IT REQUIRES OUR URGENT ATTENTION. MR. PRESIDENT, WE NEED TO PUT TOGETHER A PLAN THIS YEAR TO DEAL WITH OUR DEFICITS AND DEBT. THAT'S WHAT THE FISCAL COMMISSION WAS ALL ABOUT THAT SENATOR GREGG AND I PUSHED FOR, WHICH WAS JUST RECENTLY CONCLUDED ITS WORK WITH 11 OF THE 18 MEMBERS ENDORSING A PLAN TO REDUCE OUR DEBT LONG TERM BY $4 TRILLION. MR. PRESIDENT, JUST AS WITH THAT PACKAGE, THERE ARE NOT ALL ELEMENTS OF THIS PACKAGE WITH WHICH I AGREE. IN FACT, PART OF THIS TAX PACKAGE I STRONGLY OPPOSE. MOST NOTELIABLY, I AM TOPPED -- MOST NOTEABLY, I AM OPPOSED TO THOSE PROVISIONS THAT I THINK GIVEOVERLY GENEROUS TAX REDUCTIONS TO THE WEALTHIEST AMONG US IN THE ESTATE TAX AREA. BUT I UNDERSTAND THAT THE PRESIDENT DID WHAT HE HAD TO DO TO GET AN AGREEMENT. THIS ECONOMY CLEARLY REMAINS IN A FRAGILE STATE, AND WE CAN'T AFFORD TO WAIT UNTIL WE GET EVERYTHING WE WANT. WE CANNOT LET THE PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD. MR. PRESIDENT, TOO OFTEN IN THIS CHAMBER, IN THIS CONGRESS, PEOPLE INSIST ON HAVING IT THEIR WAY OR TAKE THE HIGHWAY. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, THAT PREVENTS US FROM DOING THINGS THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR THE NATION. MR. PRESIDENT, ECONOMISTS PROJECT THAT A FAILURE TO PASS THIS PACKAGE COULD REDUCE ECONOMIC GROWTH NEXT YEAR BY AS MUCH AS 50%. THAT WOULD MEAN MILLIONS OF JOBS JOBS, MR. PRESIDENT, SO THOSE WHO SAY, WELL, LET'S JUST SCUTTLE THIS, THEY GOT TO THINK VERY CAREFULLY. WHAT IS THE RISK TO THE ECONOMY OF THE UNITED STATES? MR. PRESIDENT, JUST TO REVIEW WHERE WE'VE COME FROM, THE FEDERAL RESPONSE TO THE RECESSION AND THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, I BELIEVE, HAS SUCCESSFULLY PULLED THIS ECONOMY BACK FROM THE BRINK. WE WERE HEADED, I BELIEVE, FOR FINANCIAL COLLAPSE. ECONOMIC GROWTH HAS RETURNED -- NOT AS ROBUSTLY AS WE WOULD HAVE LIKED, BUT NONETHELESS IT HAS RETURNED. IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF 2008, LEVMENT EST WE FORGET, ECONOMIC GROWTH WAS 6.8%. NOW IT IS 2.5%. THAT IS A REMARKABLE TURNAROUND. THE THE SAME CAN BE SEEN ON THE JOB FRONT. IN JANUARY 2009 THIS ECONOMY LOST OVER 800,000 PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS IN ONE MONTH. THE NEXT MONTH WE LOST ANOTHER 700,000 JOBS. THE NEXT MONTH ANOTHER 700,000. THE NEXT MONTH ALMOST 650,000. NOW WE FAST-FORWARD TO TODAY, NOVEMBER OF 2010, 50,000 JOBS WERE CREATED. THAT IS A DRAMATIC TURNAROUND. AND WE CAN SEE IN -- FOR MONTH AFTER MONTH AFTER MONTH WE YOU A HAVE POSITIVE JOB GROWTH. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS ECONOMY HAS TURNED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND DONE SO IN QUITE A DRAMATIC WAY. WE'VE ALSO SEEN THE REBOUND IN THE MARKETS. THE STOCK MARKET HIT A LOW OF 6547 BACK IN MARCH 7 OF 2009. WE'RE NOW WELL OVER 11 NOW THO. ON ECONOMIC GROWTH, ON JOB CREATION, ON THE STOCK MARKET WE HAVE SEEN DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENTS. I THINK AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THINGS THAT WERE QUITE UNPOPULAR -- THE TARP PRARNLG THE STIMULUS PROGRAM. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS ECONOMY STILL REMAINS TOO WEAK, TOO FRAGILE. UNEMPLOYMENT STUBBORNLY HIGH AT 9.8%. BY THE WAY, WITHOUT TARP, WITHOUT STIMULUS YOU THE BEST ECONOMIST -- THE BEST ECONOMISTS IN THIS COUNTRY, INCLUDING ALAN BLINDER AND THE CHIEF ECONOMIST AT MOODY'S MARK ZANDI SAID, WITHOUT TARP, WITHOUT STIMULUS, UNEMPLOYMENT TODAY WOULD BE 15%. 8 MILLION MORE PEOPLE WOULD BE OUT OF WORK. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, DESPITE SOME WHO SAY THESE HAVEN'T WORKED -- TARP AND STIMULUS -- YOU I BELIEVE THE EVIDENCE IS QUITE CLEAR THEY HAVE WORKED. SO WHAT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE? AS WE ENTER THE HOLIDAY SEASON WE CAN'T FORGET THAT ONE IN SIX AMERICANS IS NOW UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED. AND SO WE MUST DO MORE TO CREATE JOBS. IN A RECENT SPEECH TO THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK BEN BERNANKE WENT ABOUT AS FAR AS HE COULD GO ON THE QUESTION OF FISCAL POLICY. AND HE URGED CONGRESS TO DO MORE TO HELP THE NEAR-TERM ECONOMY WHILE AT THE SAME TIME TAKING STEPS TO BRING DOWN LONG-TERM DEFICITS. HERE'S WHAT HE SAID: "ON ITS CURRENT ECONOMIC TRA JOHN KERRY TRIRKS THE UNITED STATES RUNS THE RISK OF SEEING MILLIONS OF WORKERS UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED FOR MANY YEARS. AS A SOCIETY, WE SHOULD FIND THAT OUTCOME UNACCEPTABLE. MONETARY POLICY IS WORKING IN SUPPORT OF BOTH ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND PRICE STABILITY, BUT THERE ARE LIMITS TO WHAT CAN BE ACHIEVED BY THE CENTRAL BANK ALONE... [A] FISCAL PROGRAM THAT COMBINES NEAR-TERM MEASURES TO ENHANCE GROWTH WITH STRONG, CONFIDENCE-INDUCING STEPS TO REDUCE LONGER-TERM STRUCTURAL DEFICITS WOULD BE AN IMPORTANT COMPLEMENT TO THE POLICIES OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE." THE CHAIRMAN, I THINK, HAS IT RIGHT. HE IS CLEARLY SAYING THE FED ALONE DOES NOT -- AND THEIR ACTIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP THE RECOVERY GOING. CONGRESS ALSO NEEDS TO ACT. IT NEEDS TO ACT IN THE NEAR TERM BY TAKING STEPS TO GENERATE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND IT NEEDS TO ACT ON THE LONG-TERM CHALLENGE BY PUTTING IN PLACE A PLAN TO BRING DOWN DEFICITS AND DEBT IN THE MEDIUM-TERM AND IN THE LONGER TERM. THIS PACKAGE, THE ONE BEFORE US, WILL ENSURE THAT MIDDLE-CLASS TAXPAYERS ARE NOT HIT WITH A TAX INCREASE AT THE START OF THE YEAR. IT EXTENDS FOR TWO YEARS ALL OF THE 2001 AND 2003 TAX CUTS. IT -- AND, BY THE WAY, BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THE ECONOMY IS THE MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS. THAT IS WHAT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO THE ECONOMY. THE TAX CUTS FOR THE HIGH END, WE COULD EITHER DO OR NOT DO. THEY'RE MILDLY STIMULATIVE, MILDLY STIMULATIVE, BUT ACCORDING TO C.B.O. THEY HAVE PRETTY LOW BANG FOR THE BUCK IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH. THAT'S THE HIGH-END TAX CUTS, PRETTY LOW BANG FOR THE BUCK, ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE. THIS PACKAGE ALSO HAS EXPANDED CHILD TAX CREDIT AND EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR WORKING FAMILIES. THE AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT FOR COLLEGE EXPENSES, THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX FIX, OTHERWISE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WOULD BE GETTING A TAX HIKE COMPLETELY UNINTENDED. AND THE R&D TAX CREDIT AND OTHER EXPIRING TAX PROVISIONS. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS PACKAGE, AS A PACKAGE, ACCORDING TO THE BEST ECONOMIC ADVICE THAT WE CAN GET, WILL HELP ECONOMIC GROWTH, WILL HELP JOB CREATION CREATE AS MANY AS 2 MILLION ADDITIONAL JOBS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR NEXT YEAR. THE PACKAGE ALSO INCLUDES THREE CRITICAL MEASURES TO HELP THE ECONOMY. IT INCLUDES A PAYROLL TAX CUT FOR WORKING FAMILIES. THIS WILL PROVIDE A TWO PERCENTAGE POINT REDUCTION IN EMPLOYEES' SOCIAL SECURITY PAYROLL TAXES. A WORKER WITH $40,000 IN INCOME WOULD SAVE $800. THIS MEASURE IS WIDELY RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE MOST TBECTIVE WAYS TO -- EFFECTIVE WAYS TO BOOST NEAR-TERM GROWTH. IN FACT, I ASKED C.B.O. LAST YEAR, WHAT ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE STEPS WE COULD TAKE TO PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH? NUMBER ONE, INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. THAT'S IN THIS PACKAGE. NUMBER TWO, A PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY. THAT'S IN THIS PACKAGE. IN FACT, AS I INDICATED, THIS PACKAGE HAS AN EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS AT THEIR CURRENT LEVEL FOR 13 MONTHS. THIS WILL PREVENT 7 MILLION WORKERS FROM LOSING UNEMPLOYMENT IN 2011. ECONOMISTS ALSO RANK THIS MEASURE AS HIGH ON BANG FOR THE BUCK, AS I INDICATED. IT ALSO INCLUDES A BUSINESS EXPENSING PROVISION ALLOWING BUSINESSES TO WRITE OFF 100% OF CAPITAL PURCHASES IN 2011. THIS IS A USEFUL INCENTIVE TO GET BUSINESSES TO START SPENDING AGAIN AND COULD GENERATE MORE THAN $50 BILLION IN ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT IN 2011, AND AGAIN C.B.O. RATED THIS MEASURE AS HIGH ON BANG FOR THE BUCK. HERE ARE SOME OF THE EXAMPLES OF THE TAX CUT BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THIS PACKAGE. A MOTHER WITH ONE CHILD WITH $20,000 OF INCOME WILL RECEIVE AN $1,100 TAX CUT. A MARRIED COUPLE WITH $40,000 OF INCOME WILL RECEIVE A TAX CUT OF ALMOST $2,000. AND A MARRIED COUPLE WITH TWO CHILDREN WITH $60,000 OF INCOME WILL RECEIVE A TAX CUT OF MORE THAN $3,300. MR. PRESIDENT, MARK SEDAN -- THE CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR MOODY'S, FORMER ADVISOR TO SENATOR McCAIN'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, HAS EXAMINED THE POTENTIAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THIS PACKAGE. HERE'S WHAT HE CONCLUDED: "THE FISCAL POLICY COMPROMISE ... WILL BE GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY NEXT YEAR. THE PLANNED TEMPORARY TAX CUTS AND SPENDING INCREASES WILL PROVIDE A SUBSTANTIAL BOOST TO GROWTH IN 2011, ENSURING THAT THE STILL-FRAGILE ECONOMIC RECOVERY EVOLVES INTO A SELF-SUSTAINING ECONOMIC EXPANSION. THE DEAL'S SURPRISINGLY BROAD SCOPE MEANINGFULLY CHANGES THE NEAR-TERM ECONOMIC OUTLOOK." THAT ACCORDING TO MARK ZANDI, THE CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR MOODY'S. MR. PRESIDENT, FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE DEFICIT, AS I AM, JOB ONE IS TO GET THIS ECONOMY GROWING MORE STRONGLY. THAT IS JOB ONE. THEN WE'VE GOT TO PIVOT AND DEAL WITH THE LONG-TERM PLAN TO DEAL WITH THE DEFICITS AND THE DEBT. AS I NOTED BEFORE, THE ONE PROVISION IN THIS PACKAGE THAT I AM PARTICULARLY UNHAPPY WITH IS THE ESTATE TAX PROVISION. I SUPPORT THE CONTINUATION OF THE 2009 LEVEL WITH AN ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION OF P $3.5 MILLION FOR AN INDIVIDUAL, THAT WOULD BE $7 MILLION FOR A COURAGES AND THE A RATE OF 45%. ONLY.25% WOULD BE SUBJECT TO ANY ESTATE TAX IN 2011. .25% OF ESTATES WOULD BE AFFECTED. THAT MEANS 99.75% OF ESTATES WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM ANY ESTATE TAX UNDER THE LEVELS THAT I AM PROPOSING AND DID PROPOSE IN THE BUDGET. UNFORTUNATELY, UNDER THE COMPROMISE PACKAGE, CERTAIN OF OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE INSISTED THAT THE EXEMPTION LEVEL BE RAISED TO $5 MILLION FOR INDIVIDUALS ORB INDIVIDUALS OR $10 MILLION FOR COUPLES WITH A RATE OF 35%. THIS WILL REDUCE THE NUMBER ESTATES SUBJECT TO THE ESTATE TAX TO.7%. IT ADDS ABOUT $20 BILLION TO THE COST OF THE PACKAGE OVER TWO YEARS AND WILL DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO GENERATE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND CREATE JOBS ACCORDING TO THE ECONOMIC ANALYSIS MADE AVAILABLE TO US. IF MADE PERMANENT, THIS PROVISION WOULD ADD $100 BILLION IN LOST REVENUE TO THE TREASURY OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS -- $100 BILLION MORE THAN THE PACKAGE THAT I PROPOSED. I DON'T THINK THAT'S FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. I DON'T THINK IT'S WISE. AND I DON'T THINK IT SHOULD BE APPROVED. WHILE WE NEED TO PASS THE OVERALL PACKAGE TO GIVE A NEAR-TERM BOOST TO THE ECONOMY, WE MUST ALSO NOW PIVOT TO DEAL WITH THE NATION'S GROWING DEBT. GROSS FEDERAL DEBT IS ALREADY EXPECTED TO REACH 100% OF THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT OF THIS COUNTRY IN 2011, WELL ABOVE THE 90% THRESHOLD THAT MANY ECONOMISTS SEE AS THE DANGER ZONE P. ONE OF OUR NATION'S LEADING ECONOMISTS, DR. CARMEN REINHARDT, CAME BEFORE THE PRESIDENT'S FISCAL COMMISSION. SHE HAD RECENTLY COAUTHORED A STUDY OF THE IMPACT OF DEBT ON MORE THAN 20 COUNTRIES OVER THE LAST 200 YEARS. SHE CONCLUDED THAT WHEN GOVERNMENT DEBT AS A SHARE OF THE ECONOMY EXCEEDS 90%, ECONOMIC GROWTH TENDS TO BE ABOUT ONE POINT LOWER THAN IF DEBT LEVELS WERE NOT SO HIGH. BUT DON'T BE MISLED BY ONE POINT LOWER. THAT SOUNDS LIKE NOTHING. IF THE ECONOMY IS GROWING TYPICALLY AT 3.5%, ONE POINT LESS WOULD BE ABOUT ONE-THIRD LESS ECONOMIC GROWTH. SO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEBT ARE LOWER ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR THE FUTURE. MR. PRESIDENT, OUR LONG-TERM DEBT OUTLOOK IS EVEN MORE SERIOUS. ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, FEDERAL DEBT COULD RISE ON THE CURRENT TREND TO ALMOST 400% OF G.D.P. BY 2054. THAT IS A COMPLETELY UNSUSTAINABLE COURSE. I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THE DEFICIT AND DEBT REDUCTION PLAN ASSEMBLED BY THE PRESIDENT'S FISCAL COMMISSION ON WHICH I SERVE COULD PROVE A WAY FORWARD. EVEN THOUGH THE PLAN DID NOT RECEIVE THE NECESSARY 14 OF THE 18 VOTES ON THE COMMISSION TO GUARANTEE A VOTE IN CONGRESS, IT DID RECEIVE THE SUPPORT OF 11 OF THE 18 COMMISSION MEMBERS, WHICH IS MORE THAN 60% OF THE PANEL. 60% HERE, WE CAN PASS ANYTHING. BUT ON OUR COMMISSION, WE REQUIRED 14 OF 18 OF THE COMMISSIONERS TO AGREE TO ASSURE A VOTE IN CONGRESS THIS YEAR. AND, BY THE WAY, THE 11 WHO SUPPORTED THE PLAN WAS COMPLETELY BIPARTISAN, FIVE DEMOCRATS, FIVE REPUBLICANS, AND ONE INDEPENDENT. THAT OUTCOME PROVED THAT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS CAN COME TOGETHER TO SOLVE THIS CHALLENGE. HERE'S A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE FISCAL COMMISSION PLAN. IT PROVIDES NEARLY $4 TRILLION IN DEFICIT REDUCTION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. IT LOWERS THE DEFICIT FROM 8% OF G.D.P. IN 2011 TO 2.3% IN 2015 AND 1.2% IN 2020. IT STABLIZES THE DEBT BY 2014 AND THEN LOWERS IT TO 60% OF G.D.P. BY 2023 AND 40% OF G.D.P. BY 20356789 IT REFORMS SOCIAL SECURITY TO ENSURE ITS SOLVENCY FOR AT LEAST 75 YEARS AND PUTS THE PROGRAM ON A MORE SUCCESS SPHAINABLE PATH BEYOND -- SUSTAINABLE PATH BEYOND THE NEXT 75 YEARS. A UNDERSTAND IT INCLUDES FUNDAMENTAL -- AND IT INCLUDES FUNDAMENTAL TAX REFORM MAKE THE TAX CODE SIMPLER AND MORE EFFICIENT WHILE ALSO RAISING MORE REVENUE FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION. SO NOW WE HAVE A RESPONSIBLE AND REALISTIC BIPARTISAN PLAN ON THE TABLE AND NATIONAL ATTENTION IS FOCUSED ON THE ISSUE. IT'S UP TO CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT TO FINISH THE JOB. MR. PRESIDENT, TAX REFORM MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF THE FISCAL COMMISSION PLAN. HERE ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN THE FISCAL COMMISSION PLAN: ONE, IT ELIMINATES OR SCALES BACK TAX EXPENDITURES THAT ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING RUNNING $1.1 TRILLION A YEAR. AND LOWERS TAX RATES. THAT WILL PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE AMERICA'S GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS. AND IT MAKES THE TAX CODE MORE PROGRESSIVE. THE COMMISSION'S ILLUSTRATIVE TAX REFORM PLAN DEMONSTRATES HOW ELIMINATING OR SCALING BACK TAX EXPENDITURES CAN LOWER RATES. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS PLAN IS A BEGINNING, IT'S GOT TO BECOME LAW IN ORDER TO HAVE ITS FULL EFFECT. MR. PRESIDENT, I HOPE VERY MUCH OUR COLLEAGUES WILL CONSIDER SUPPORTING THIS PLAN, THE TAX PLAN BEFORE US AND THE DEFICIT-REDUCTION PLAN THAT NEEDS TO BE AN INTEGRAL COMPONENT OF A LONG-TERM FISCAL PLAN FOR THE NATION. I THANK THE CHAIR AND YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 12:32:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM OHIO IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:32:25 PM

    MR. BROWN

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SET ASIDE THE SECOND-DEGREE AMENDMENT TO THE…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SET ASIDE THE SECOND-DEGREE AMENDMENT TO THE REID-McCONNELL SUBSTITUTE TO OFFER AMENDMENT NUMBER 4763.

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  • 12:32:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 12:32:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 12:32:35 PM

    MR. BROWN

    MR. PRESIDENT, SENATORS STABENOW, DEMOCRAT FROM MICHIGAN, WICKER, A…

    MR. PRESIDENT, SENATORS STABENOW, DEMOCRAT FROM MICHIGAN, WICKER, A REPUBLICAN FROM MISSISSIPPI, AND I BRING THIS AMENDMENT TO THE FLOOR TO EXTEND FOR ONE YEAR MODEST ENHANCEMENTS TO THE HEALTH COVERAGE TAX CREDIT PROGRAM. I'M GOING TO THROW A START CURVEBALL AND START WITH THE COST OF THIS AMENDMENT, WHICH WILL HELP PLACE ITS BENEFITS INTO CONTEXT. WHILE WE'RE AWAITING THE FINAL SCORE BASED ON PRELIMINARY NUMBERS, THIS AMENDMENT SHOULD COME IN UNDER $50 MILLION. THAT'S LESS THAN.006% OF THE COST OF THE LEGISLATION. LESS THAN.006%. IT'S $50 MILLION OUT OF ROUGHLY $800 BILLION-PLUS. NOW, LET'S LOOK AT WHO THE AMENDMENT HELPS. IT HELPS AMERICANS WHO TOOK A KIDNEY PUNCH WHEN THE COMPANIES FOR WHICH THEY WORKED EITHER PACKED UP AND MOVED THEIR OPERATIONS OVERSEAS OR WHEN THE COMPANIES FOR WHICH THEY WORKED WENT BANKRUPT AND TURNED THEIR PENSIONS -- THEIR PENSION OBLIGATIONS OVER TO THE PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION. I DON'T HAVE TO TELL WHAT YOU IT MEANS WHEN AMERICANS' PENSION GOES OVER TO PBGC. IT MEANS THAT AN AMERICAN'S PENSION IS SLASHED, OFTEN DRAMATICALLY. SO THESE ARE AMERICANS WHO EITHER LOST THEIR JOBS AND THEIR HEALTH COVERAGE OR LOST LARGE CHUNKS OF THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HEALTH COVERAGE. AS I STATED EARLIER, THIS AMENDMENT WOULD EXTEND MODEST AMENDMENT TO THE HEALTH COVERAGE TAX CREDIT, OR THE HCTC. THE HCTC WAS ESTABLISHED EIGHT YEARS AGO TO HELP THESE WORKERS AND RETIREES PURCHASE PRIVATE HEALTH COVERAGE TO REPLACE THE EMPLOYER-SPONSORED COVERAGE THEY LOST. UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE OF THE MODEST SIZE OF THE TAX CREDIT AND OTHER LIMITATIONS, MANY CREDIT ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS HAVE REMAINED UNINSURED. AND AS TOO MANY AMERICANS KNOW, THE COMBINATION OF NO HEALTH INSURANCE AND A DRAMATICALLY REDUCED PENSION SPELLS FINANCIAL HARDSHIP. DRAMATIC FINANCIAL HARDSHIP, PARTICULARLY FOR PEOPLE FORCED INTO EARLY, UNPLANNED RETIREMENT. THESE ARE AMERICANS WHO WORKED HARD, WHO WERE LOYAL TO THEIR COMPANIES, WHO WERE OFTEN INVOLVED IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, WHO EARNED THEIR PENSIONS AND EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH COVERAGE DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY UNTIL THE DAY WHEN THEY WATCHED IT ALL EVAPORATE. AMERICANS, LIKE MIKE FROM BROOKVILLE, OHIO, WROTE TO LET ME KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THE TAX CREDIT IS, HOW WORRIED HE IS THAT HE'LL HAVE TO REVERT BACK TO COVERING ONLY 65% OF PREMIUMS. MIKE'S AN ADELPHI RETIREE, THOSE OF WHOM WERE LEFT HIGH AND DRY WHEN THE NEW G.M. ABANDONED THEM. LARRY FROM MIAMISBURG, OHIO, IN THE OTHER END OF THE STATE, IS ANOTHER ADELPHI RETIREE. IN HIS LETTER, HE SAID, "I'M WRITING TO ASK FOR HELP FOR US RETIREES. FIRST FOR THE HCTC INCREASE ULTIMATELY FOR THE LOSS OF OUR RETIREMENT. SIR, THEY'VE TAKEN EVERYTHING FROM US, EVEN NOW OUR DIGNITY." LARRY AND MIKE ARE VICTIMS OF WHAT CAN ONLY BE CALLED MYOPIC PENSION DEAL CUT BY THE NEW G.M. DURING ITS BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS. THE NEW G.M. CLUNG TO AN AGREEMENT SIGNED BACK IN 1999 IN ORDER TO PROVIDE FULL PENSIONS TO SOME UNION DELL PHI RETIREES AND ALLOW OTHER UNION AND NON-UNION RETIREES TO RECEIVE DEEP PENSION CUTS. BOTH GROUPS OF ARE FORMER EMPLOYEES, THOSE WHO RECEIVED THEIR FULL BENEFITS AND THOSE WHO DID NOT, DEVOTED MOST OF THEIR CAREERS TO G.M. BEFORE ADELPHI WAS SPUN OFF. BOTH GROUPS EARNED THEIR PENSIONS BY WORKING HARD FOR G.M. YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT, BUTthBUTBUT MIKE AND LARRY AND SO MANY OTHERS LIKE THEM WERE FORCED TO LIVE WITH FINANCIALLY DEVASTATING PENSION CUTS WHILE THEIR COUNTERPARTS RECEIVED FULL PENSIONS. AND NOW THESE SAME RETIREES MAY ONCE AGAIN LOSE ACCESS TO HEALTH COVERAGE TO. PREVENT IT, WE NEED TO EXTEND THE ENHANCED HCTC PROVISIONS. UNDER THE RECOVERY ACT, THE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE TAX CREDIT WAS INCREASED SLIGHTLY AND THE RULES SURROUNDING IT WERE MADE MORE FLEXIBLE. THESE MODEST CHANGES ENABLED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF TRADE AFFECTED WORKERS AND RETIREES TO USE -- RETIREES TO USE THE TAX CREDITS AND PURCHASE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE TO REPLACE THE EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH BENEFITS THEY LOST. SPECIFICALLY, THE TAX CREDIT NOW COVERS 80% RATHER THAN 65% OF COVERAGE COSTS. BENEFICIARIES ARE ALLOWED TO USE THE COVERAGE TO PURCHASE COVERAGE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR SPOUSES AND THEY ARE ALLOWED TO APPLY THE CREDIT TO LESS EXPENSIVE COVERAGE UNDER A VEBA, UNDER A VOLUNTARY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT ASSOCIATION. SINCE THESE PROVISIONS WERE PUT INTO PLACE, THE NUMBER OF DISPLACED WORKERS AND RETIREES USING THE HEALTH COVERAGE TAX CREDIT HAS MORE THAN TRIPLED, INCREASING FROM ABOUT 14,000 TO ABOUT 50,000. BUT THE HCTC PROVISIONS ARE SET TO EXPIRE AT THE END OF THE YEAR. WE JUST CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN, MR. PRESIDENT. DOESN'T MATTER WHERE THE ENHANCED COVERAGE TAX CREDIT PROVISIONS CAME FROM. COULD HAVE BEEN THE RECOVERY ACT, COULD HAVE BEEN A BILL THE MINORITY CHAMPIONED. THE VEHICLE DOESN'T MATTER, BUT THE MERITS OF THESE PROVISIONS DO MATTER. THAT'S WHY SENATOR STABENOW AND WICKER AND I BRING THIS AMENDMENT FORWARD. THEY WILL KEEP AMERICANS INSURED AND IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THEY LACK -- WHERE THE LACK OF COVERAGE COUPLED WITH PENSION CUTS COULD MEAN IMPOVERISHMENT. IF WE DON'T EXTEND THESE PROVISIONS, THE SPOUSES OF FORMER WORKERS WILL DEFINITELY LOSE THEIR COVERAGE AND THESE FORMER WORKERS THEMSELVES LIKELY WILL. THAT'S IN NO ONE'S BEST INTEREST. APPROVING THIS AMENDMENT, AS I SAID, WOULD LIKELY INCREASE THE COST OF THIS BILL BY LESS THAN .006%. THAT'S A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR A LIFELINE. IT'S A SMALL PRICE TO PAY TO KEEP MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS FROM SLIPPING INTO POVERTY. THIS, MR. PRESIDENT, SHOULDN'T BE A MATTER OF DEBATE, IT SHOULDN'T BE THE FOCUS OF A PARTISAN DIVIDE, IT SHOULD BE A SMALL STEP ALL OF US TAKE TOGETHER ON BEHALF OF AMERICANS WHO DID WHAT WE ASKED THEM TO. THEY DESERVE OUR RESPECT, THEY DESERVE OUR CONSIDERATION, AND AS OUR ECONOMY CONTINUES TO POSE CHALLENGES EVEN BEFORE THE HARDSHIP THESE AMERICANS FACE, THEY DESERVE THIS MODEST EXTENSION OF TAX CREDIT BENEFITS. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE AMENDMENT NUMBER 4805 BE PRINTED.

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  • 12:38:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 12:38:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:38:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:38:48 PM

    MR. ISAKSON

    OBJECTION.

  • 12:44:21 PM

    THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE:THE PRESID

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE STANDS IN RECESS UNTIL THE…

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE STANDS IN RECESS UNTIL THE HOUR OF

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  • 02:17:28 PM

    MR. GREGG

    YOU. WE'VE BEEN MARRIED 37 YEARS AND FOR 32 OF THOSE YEARS WE'VE HELD…

    YOU. WE'VE BEEN MARRIED 37 YEARS AND FOR 32 OF THOSE YEARS WE'VE HELD ELECTIVE OFFICE. NINE MAJOR CAMPAIGNS, INNUMERABLE CAMPAIGNS, LIKE THOSE FOR OTHER PEOPLE THAT WE'VE PARTICIPATED IN. AND THROUGH THIS WHOLE INTENSITY -- AND WE ALL KNOW WHO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROCESS, THE INTENSITY OF THE PROCESS. THERE HARASS HAS BEEN A ROCK AND A SOLID FORCE -- THERE HAS BEEN A ROCK AND A SOLID FORCE IN OUR FAMILY. SHE IS SHE'S RAISED TWO EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN IN OUR FAMILY, MOLLY, VER AND JOSHUA. SOME OF THEM THINK THEY'RE AGING A LITTLE BIT, BUT THEY'RE STILL YOUNG. AND THEIR VALUE SYSTEM AND THEIR BELIEF IN THIS NATION AND THEIR WILLINGNESS TO GIVE OF THEMSELVES TO OTHER PEOPLE IS A DIRECT EXPRESSION OF THE VALUES THAT KATHY HAS GIVEN THEM, SOMETIMES A LITTLE OVERCOMPETITIVE ON OCCASION, BUT THAT HAS BEEN ONE OF HER STRENGTHS ALSO. AND WE'VE BEEN THROUGH SOME HARD AND SOME GOOD TIMES AND SHE HAS BEEN THERE TO BE OUR LIGHTHOUSE. SO I EXPRESS MY LOVE TO HER AND THANKS. BISMARCK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 20th CENTURY SAID -- FIRST I SHOULD SAY, KATHY TOLD ME I SHOULDN'T WALK BACK AND FORTH LIKE THIS. I'VE BEEN DOING IT FOR 18 YEARS AND SHE SAYS IT MAKES PEOPLE SICK WATCHING IT ON TV. IT WAS LIKE THE FAMOUS TIME SHE CALLED OUT -- WE WERE HAVING A COLLOQUY. I'M TALKING TO I THINK JOHNNY ISAKSON, SHE CALLS THE FLOOR STAFF AND SAYS GO OUT AND TELL HIM TO TURN AROUND AND FACE THE CAMERAS. BISMARCK AT THE TURN. 20th CENTURY -- BISMARCK WAS ONE OF THE TRUE GREAT FORCES IN EUROPE THROUGHOUT THE LATE-1800'S AND INTO THE 1900'S -- SAID THAT THE DEFINING FACT OF THE 19th CENTURY WAS THAT ENGLAND AND THE UNITED STATES SPOKE THE SAME LANGUAGE. WHAT I THINK HE MEANT WAS THAT THE DEFINING FACT OF THE 19th CENTURY WAS THAT ENGLAND AND THE UNITED STATES HAD A VALUE SYSTEM WHICH BELIEVED IN THE INDIVIDUAL, IN LIBERTY, DEMOCRACY, AND MARKETS. IT WAS A VALUE SYSTEM THAT GREW OUT OF THE SCOTTISH ENLIGHTENMENT -- PEOPLE LIKE JOHN LOCKE, ADAM SMITH. AND THE 20th CENTURY, IF YOU LOOK AT IT WAS A TEST OF THAT VALUE SYSTEM AGAINST THE OTHER VALUE SYSTEMS WHICH HAD COME UP OVER THE YEARS, MOSTLY TOTALITARIANISM. IT WAS A TEST OF DEMOCRACY AGAINST FASCISM, IT WAS A TEST OF TOTALITARIAN SOCIALISM, AND WE WON. WE WON THAT TEST. IT WAS ALSO -- THE SECOND BIG CHARGE OF THE 20th CENTURY WAS, IT WAS A TEST OF HOW YOU WOULD CREATE PROSPERITY FOR PEOPLE. A TEST OF MARKETS VERSUS COMMUNISM, OF MARKETS VERSUS AGAIN TOTALITARIAN SOCIALISM. BY THE END OF THE 20th CENTURY, THERE WAS NO LONGER AN ISSUE, NO LONGER AN ISSUE. THETHE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNANCE HAD COME TO COME DOMINATE THE WORLD. DEMOCRACY, INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY, AND MARKETS. THE WHOLE WORLD WAS MOVING IN THAT DIRECTION. NOW WE'RE 10 YEARS INTO THE NEXT CENTURY, AND WE ARE CHALLENGED AGAIN -- CHALLENGED AGAIN. THIS TIME THE CHALLENGE IS DIFFERENT, SUBSTANTIVE, SIGNIFICANT, MAYBE NOT AT THE SAME LEVEL THAT THE SOVIET UNION REPRESENTED A CHALLENGE BECAUSE THEY HAD THE CAPACITY TO DESTROY US, MAYBE NOT EVEN AT THE SAME LEVEL THAT THE FIGHTS AGAINST JAPAN -- FASCIST JAPAN AND FASCIST GERMANY, BUT THE CHALLENGES ARE HUGE AND THEY WILL DETERMINE OUR FUTURE AS A COUNTRY, AND THEY BASICALLY IN MY OPINION BREAK INTO TWO PRIMARY AREAS. THE FIRST IS, OF COURSE, THE THREAT OF A TERRORIST GROUP USING A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION AGAINST US. AND WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT 9/11 FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED OUR CULTURE. IT CHANGED OUR PERSONALITY AS A NATION AND CAUSED US TO REALIZE OUR VULNERABILITY. THAT THREAT OF TERRORISM IS DRIVEN BY A FANATICAL BELIEF IN A RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY. AND WE SHOULDN'T DENY THAT. WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BECAUSE IN ORDER TO DEFEAT THAT THREAT, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT. THE SECOND MAJOR THRUST THAT I SEE AS OUR CONCERN AS WE GO FORWARD IS CLEARLY OF OUR OWN MAKING, AND IT IS A POSITIVE MAKING, BUT IT IS STILL AN ISSUE, AND THAT IS THAT WE HAVE A NATION WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN EXTRAORDINARILY PROSPEROUS WHERE ONE GENERATION HAS ALWAYS PASSED ON TO THE NEXT GENERATION A BETTER, MORE PROSPEROUS, MORE SECURE COUNTRY. AND YET TODAY WE'RE ON THE CUSP OF NOT BEING ABLE TO DO THAT AGAIN. BECAUSE WE HAVE THIS POPULATION OF WHICH I AM A MEMBER, CALLED THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION, WHICH IS TAKING OUR RETIRED POPULATION FROM 35 MILLION TO 70 MILLION PEOPLE. AND AS A RESULT, WE AND THE REST OF THE WORLD -- AND JAPAN FOR THAT MATTER -- BECAUSE OF THIS DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT FIND OUR SELF CONFRONTED WITH GOVERNMENTS WHICH ARE STRUGGLING HOW THEY'RE GOING TO PAY FOR WHAT OUR ENTITLEMENT SOCIETIES. THE WAY I SORT OF PHRASED IT IS THAT WHEN A POPULIST GOVERNMENT, A GOVERNMENT THAT MOVES BY ELECTION OF THE PEOPLE, WHEN A POPULIST GOVERNMENT MEETS A MASSIVE DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT IN AN ENTITLEMENT SOCIETY, YOU GET UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT. AND THAT IS SOMETHING WE CONFRONT RIGHT NOW. AND WE NEED TO STAND UP TO. THOSE TWO STREAMS ARE OUR BIGGEST CONCERNS, OR AT LEAST MY BIGGEST CONCERNS AS I LEAVE THE SENATE. HOW -- HOW DO WE DEFEND OURSELVES AGAINST A FANATICAL MOVEMENT, WHICH IS ASIMPLE METTORY -- WHICH MASS AN ASYMMETRY BASE, WHICH WANTS TO DO US HARM. THEY ARE NOT A NATION STAIVMENT YOU CAN'T FIND THEM EASILY. BUT THEY WANT TO DO US HARM AND WILL DO US HARM IF THEY HAVE THE CAPACITY AND WILL DO IT WITH A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION. AND, SECONDLY, HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THIS SHIFT IN OUR SOCIETY, THIS AGING THAT IS DRIVING THE POPULIST MOVEMENT, WHICH IS MAKING OUR STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT UNAFOFERREDDABLE IN MANY WAYS? -- UNAFFORDABLE IN MANY WAYS? WELL, AMERICA'S GREATNESS COMES IN OUR ABILITY TO ADDRESS ISSUES LIKE THIS AND COMES FROM OUR PEOPLE AND FROM OUR CONSTITUTION CONSTITUTION, AND IT'S THAT CONSTITUTION WHICH EMBRACES BASICALLY THE LIBERTIES THAT ALLOW OUR PEOPLE, ALLOW OUR PEOPLE TO CREATE PROSPERITY AND GIVE THIS NATION ITS STRENGTH. OUR FREEDOM AND PROSPERITY IS ABSOLUTELY RE RESILIENT. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. BUT GOVERNMENT CAN EITHER BE AN ENABLER OF THAT FREEDOM AND THAT RESILIENCE OR IT CAN BE A STIFLER OF IT. AND WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE GOING TO SUCCEED, I BELIEVE IS WHETHER OR NOT WE CONTINUE TO ASSERT THE CORE VALUES WHICH ALLOW US TO GOVERN WELL AND THEY ALL BASICALLY ARISE FROM OUR CONSTITUTION. I HAVE THE GOOD FORTUNE TO SIT AT THE WEBSTER DESK. DANIEL WEBSTER WAS THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS. NEW HAMPSHIRE IN AN ACT OF APPROPRIATE STEALTHINESS HAD THE DESK DESIGNATED TO THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE BY STATUTE IN THE 1970s. IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO SIT AT THIS DESK. WEBSTER AND CLAY KEPT THIS NATION TOGETHER AT A TIME WHEN, HAD IT BEEN TORN APART, IT WOULD HAVE NO LONGER EXISTED BECAUSE WE WERE NOT CAPABLE -- WE HAD NO LINCOLN AND WE HAD NO STRENGTH OF THE NORTH TO SURVIVE. AND WEBSTER IN HIS SPEECH ON THE COMPROMISE OF 1850 SAID, "I MEAN TO STAND UPON THE CONSTITUTION. I NEED NO OTHER PLATFORM. I KNOW BUT ONE COUNTRY. NO MAN CAN SUFFER TOO MUCH. NO MAN CAN FALL TOO SOON. IF HE SUFFERS ON OR IF HE FAILS IN DEFENSE OF THE LIBERTIES OF THE CONSTITUTION OF OUR COUNTRY." AND AT THE CENTER OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT, WHICH WAS DESIGNED BY MADISON AND RANDOLPH, WHICH WAS BUILT ON THE CONCEPT THAT THERE SHOULD NEVERREN BE -- NEVER BE AN OVERLY POWERFUL BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT, AT THE CENTER OF THIS GOVERNMENT IS THE UNITED STATES SENATE. IT IS THE CALDRON OF LIBERTY FOR OUR NATION. WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE IT IS THE PLACE WHERE ISSUES ARE AIRED, PEOPLE ARE HEARD, AMENDMENTS ARE MADE, AND NO ONE GETS TO SHUT DOWN THE MINORITY UNTIL A SUPERMAJORITY DECIDES TO DO SO. THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY ARE THE SOURCE OF THE POWER OF OUR GOVERNMENT. THEY ARE THE SOURCE OF THE POWER OF OUR CONSTITUTION. THEY ARE THE SOURCE OF THE POWER OF OUR LIBERTY. AND THIS IS THE CENTER. THIS INSTITUTION IS THE CENTER OF THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY. I'VE BEEN IN THE MINORITY HERE. I'VE BEEN IN THE MAJORITY HERE. IT'S ALMOST IRRELEVANT FROM A STANDPOINT OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ROLE OF THE SENATE. BECAUSE IT IS THE SENATE THAT GIVES VOICE TO ALL AMERICANS. IT DOES NOT ALLOW US TO SHUT OUT ANY AMERICAN OR ANY THOUGHT PROCESS IN AMERICA THAT IS LEGITIMATE AND WHICH CAN COME TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AND MAKE -- MAKE ITS CASE. I'VE OFTEN WONDERED, WHAT WOULD THIS GOVERNMENT BE LIKE IF THERE WERE NO SENATE? WELL, IT WOULD BE A PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT. FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, MOVING -- LUNCHING TO THE LEFT, LUNCHING TO THE RIGHT -- LUMPING TO THE LEFT, LUMPING TO THE RIGHT. AND AS A RESULT IN MANY WAYS UNDERMINING INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, HAVING NO CONTINUITY OF PURPOSE. OR FORCE. WE PLAY POLITICS IN THIS CITY AND IN THIS COUNTRY BETWEEN THE 40-YARD LINES FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES. WE ARE NOT THE GOVERNMENT THAT EVER MOVES TOO RADICALLY LEFT OR RADICALLY RIGHT. AND THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULDN'T. -- AND THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOOFNLT THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. IN THIS INSTITUTION, COMPROMISE IS REQUIRED. TO GOVERN YOU MUST REACH AGREEMENT. WE ARE 300 MILLION PEOPLE. OBVIOUSLY OF A DIVERSE VIEW. IF WE'RE GOING TO GOVERN 300 MILLION PEOPLE, WE MUST LISTEN TO THOSE WHO HAVE LEGITIMATE VIEWS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. SO, AS I LEAVE THIS CHAIRNLINGS I JUST WANT TO SAY THIS SIMPLY: IT'S BEEN A HUGE HONOR TO HAVE THE CHANCE TO SERVE HERE. IT'S SOMETHING THAT IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF OUR CAREER, KATHY AND MINE. WE MOVE ON WITH RESERVATIONS, BUT WE HOPEFULLY MOVE ON TO SOMETHING EQUALLY AS INTERESTING. BUT IT WILL NEVER BE -- HAVE THE SAME STATUS AS BEING IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THIS TO ME IS THE ULTIMATE JOB WHEN IT COMES TO THE GOVERNANCE OF AMERICA. AND I SIMPLY ASK YOU WHO STAY HERE -- AND I KNOW THIS WILL BE DONE -- TO CONTINUE TO CARRY THE TORCH. UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS THE SENATE THAT IS THE CENTER OF THE LIBERTY THAT LEADS TO THE PROSPERITY THAT OUR PEOPLE EXPECT. IT IS THE CENTER -- SENATE THAT THE THE CENTER OF OUR CONSTITUTION. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [APPLAUSE]

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  • 02:30:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 02:30:20 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 02:30:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 02:30:42 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE ACCOLADES THAT OUR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, THE SENIOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE ACCOLADES THAT OUR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE, HAS JUST RECEIVED FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE ARE RICHLY DESERVED AND I WOULD HOPE HE MIGHT BE ABLE TO STAY JUST A BIT LONGER, AS SOME OF US HAVE A CHANCE TO COMMENT ON HIS EXTRAORDINARILY DISTINGUISHED CAREER. HE'S DEVOTED HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO PUBLIC SERVICE. ALWAYS SERVED WITH A DEEP SENSE OF PURPOSE AND WITH THE OVERRIDING CONVICTION WE MUST LEAVE AMERICA IN A BETTER PLACE THAN WE FOUND IT, AS HE JUST SO ARTICULATELY EXPRESSED. HE'S WORKED TIRELESSLY FOR THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE AND FOR ALL AMERICANS AND HE'S BEEN A TRULY INVALUABLE MEMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE. HE'S THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM, USUALLY THE MOST STRATEGIC, AND AS WITTY AS THEY COME. AND YET EVEN AS JUDD'S NATIONAL PROFILE HAS INCREASED OVER THE YEARS AS A RESULT OF HIS MANY NATURAL GIFTS, HE NEVER LOST SIGHT OF WHERE HE CAME FROM OR THE PEOPLE HE REPRESENTS BACK HOME IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. NOW, JUDD GREW UP IN NASHUA, IN SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE, WAS INTRODUCED TO THE WORLD OF POLITICS EARLY ON. IN 1952, WHEN HE WAS JUST FIVE YEARS OLD, HIS FATHER, HUGH GREGG, WAS ELECTED GOVERNOR OF THE STATE. JUDD WENT ON TO PHILLIPS EXECTOR ACADEMY FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND IN THE MID-191960'S AND TO COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AFTER THAT GRADUATING WITH A DEGREE IN ENGLISH IN 1969. IT WAS AN EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE BEING IN NEW YORK CITY. PARTICULARLY IN THOSE YEARS. AND JUDD TOOK IT ALL IN. HE JOKES THAT HIS MINOR IN COLLEGE WAS SUBWAY EXPLORATION. EVEN AS HE WITNESSED ALL THE STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS AND CLASHES WITH POLICE ON CAMPUS, HE FOUND TIME TO DRESS UP AS THE SCHOOL'S MASCOT FOR A TIME, THE COLUMBIA ROYAL LION, WORKING THE SIDELINES AT GAMES. JUDD RETURNED NORTH TO ATTEND LAW SCHOOL AT BOSTON UNIVERSITY AND GOT HIS J.D. IN 1972 AND THEN AN L.L.M. IN TAX LAW IN 1975. AND THEN HE RETURNED TO NEW HAMPSHIRE TO PRACTICE LAW. MEANWHILE, HE BEGAN TO VENTURE INTO NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY POLITICS, COORDINATING THE PRIMARY CAMPAIGNS FOR RONALD REAGAN IN 1976 AND GEORGE H.W. BUSH IN 1980. IT WAS DURING THIS TIME THAT HE REALLY DEVELOPED HIS CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES. AND OVER THE YEARS, HE STUCK TO THOSE PRINCIPLES AND THE VOTERS HAVE REWARDED HIM FOR IT. NEVER LOST A RACE -- NOT ONE. PART OF THE REASON JUDD WINS IS THAT HE'S NOT AFRAID TO LOSE. HE'D RATHER LOSE FOR THE RIGHT REENS THAN WIN FOR -- RIGHT REASONS THAN WIN FOR THE WRONG ONES. OVER THE YEARS, HE'S BECOME SOMETHING OF A POLITICAL LEGEND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND FOR GOOD REASON. HE'S THE FIRST PERSON IN NEW HAMPSHIRE HISTORY TO SERVE AS CONGRESSMAN, GOVERNOR, AND SENATOR. FIRST ELECTED TO CONGRESS IN 1980, WHERE HE WOULD SERVE FOUR TERMS, AND THEN IN WHAT SOME VIEWED AS A POLITICAL GAMBLE, HE FOLLOWED HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR IN 1988. HE WAS ELECTED AND EASILY REELECTED IN 1990, AND DURING HIS SECOND TERM, NEW HAMPSHIRE, LIKE THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, FACED A DIFFICULT RECESSION. BUT LACED WITH PRESSURE TO RAISE THE STATE'S INCOME TAX OR SALES TAX, HE CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING INSTEAD. THE NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER WOULD LATER CREDIT JUDD AS BEING ABLE TO MANAGE THE STATE THROUGH THE CRISIS FAR BETTER THAN ANYONE EXPECTED, AND THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL" RANKED HIM NINTH IN THEIR GOOD GOVERNOR GUIDE FOR CUTTING SPENDING AND KEEPING A LID ON TAXES DURING A SERIOUS BUDGET CRISIS. IN 1992, JUDD DECIDED TO RUN FOR THE U.S. SENATE ON HIS STRONG RECORD OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND FISCAL DISCIPLINE. HE WON A CLOSE RACE, AND UPON NARVEG THISARRIVING IN THIS CHAMBER, JUDD IMMEDIATELY SET OUT TO WORK FOR THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. AND I KNOW ONE OF THE THINGS HE'S PROUD OF IN HIS NEARLY 17 YEARS IN THE SENATE IS THE WORK HE'S DONE TO PROTECT MORE THAN 300,000 ACRES OF LAND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE FROM DEVELOPMENT. HE CAN ALSO BE JUSTIFIABLY PROUD OF THE REMARKABLE WORK HE'S DONE AS THE REPUBLICAN -- THE TOP REPUBLICAN ON THE SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY FROM OUR CONFERENCE'S POINT OF VIEW, ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, WHERE HIS KNOWLEDGE AND COMMAND OF THE ISSUES HAS ALWAYS IMPRESSED THE REST OF US. HE WAS CLEARLY THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB. AND WHEN -- WHEN THE BUDGET CAME UP -- AND I THINK WE WOULD ALL AGREE ON OUR SIDE OF THE AISLE, WHEN JUDD STOOD UP AND HAD SOMETHING TO SAY, EVERYBODY QUIETED DOWN AND LISTENED. AND YOU CAN'T SAY THAT ABOUT ALL OF US ON EVERY ISSUE ALL OF THE TIME. WE RECOGNIZED HIS TALENTS FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. JUST TWO YEARS AFTER ARRIVING HERE, HE WAS SELECTED TO SERVE AS CHIEF DEPUTY WHIP AS WELL AS COCHAIRMAN OF SENATOR DOLE'S SENATE AGENDA COMMITTEE, A WORKING GROUP TASKED WITH DEVELOPING AND MANAGING THE REPUBLICAN AGENDA BACK AT THAT PARTICULAR JUNCTURE. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME IN 20 YEARS THAT A SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE HAD SERVED IN A SENATE LEADERSHIP ROLE. HE NEVER HESITATED TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE TO GET THINGS DONE. JUDD UNDERSTOOD THAT TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN IN THIS BODY, AS HE JUST DESCRIBED, IT HAPPENS BETWEEN THE 40-YARD LINES, AND THAT MEANS BOTH SIDES HAVE TO PARTICIPATE. HE TEAMED UP WITH SENATOR KENNEDY TO COAUTHOR "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND," REFERRING TO THAT PARTICULAR ACCOMPLISHMENT, JUDD ONCE SAID, "I DON'T THINK ANY OF US EVER GAVE UP OUR BASIC PRINCIPLES. TED JUST UNDERSTOOD THAT EVEN THOUGH HE HAD STRONG BELIEFS, HE UNDERSTOOD YOU HAD TO LEGISLATE TO ACCOMPLISH THINGS. THERE WAS NO POINT IN JUST STANDING OFF IN THE CORNER AND SHOUTING." HISTORY WILL REMEMBER THAT JUDD ALSO PLAYED A CENTRAL ROLE IN CONGRESS' RESPONSE TO THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 2008, WHICH WE ALL REMEMBER VERY, VERY WELL. WITH OUR NATION ON THE BRINK OF ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, I KNEW I WAS TO SELECT ONE PERSON TO REPRESENT OUR POINT OF VIEW AT THAT CRITICAL MOMENT. THE CHOICE WAS COMPLETELY OBVIOUS. THE ONE PERSON WE HAD THAT EVERYBODY KNEW HAD NO OTHER AGENDA AND WOULD AT THE END OF THE DAY DO WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR THE COUNTRY. SO I MADE HIM THE TOP REPUBLICAN NEGOTIATOR ON THE EMERGENCY ECONOMIC STABILIZATION ACT, NOW INFAMOUSLY REFERRED TO AS TARP. HIS TOP PRIORITY THEN AND THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE DEBATE OVER THE EFFORT WAS TO ASSURE THAT THE ORIGINAL PACKAGE PROTECTED THE TAXPAYERS BY INCLUDING LANGUAGE IN THE BILL THAT STATED ALL THE PROCEEDS FROM THE PAYBACKS WOULD GO TO REDUCING THE DEBT, AND HE DID A FABULOUS JOB. IT WAS BECAUSE OF JUDD'S PRINCIPLES, INTELLIGENCE, COMMONSENSE, AND ABILITY TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE, AS I JUST INDICATED, THAT I ASKED HIM TO JOIN MY LEADERSHIP TIME AFTER HE WAS ELECTED REPUBLICAN LEADER. I'VE RELIED ON HIM HEAVILY THESE LAST FOUR YEARS. JUDD HAS BEEN RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF EVERY LEGISLATIVE DEBATE WE'VE HAD SINCE I'VE BEEN IN THIS POSITION AND HE'S NEVER DISAPPOINTED. HE'S BEEN SO EFFECTIVE, IN FACT, THAT SENATOR REID GAVE HIM A COUPLE OF NICKNAMES LATE IN HIS CAREER. FIRST, THIS WAS SENATOR REID ABOUT OUR COLLEAGUE ABOUT HIM, I'M SPEAK, FIRST HE CALLED HIM THE -- QUOTE -- "SEE IF WE CAN MESS UP THE LEGISLATION GUY." AFTER THAT, HE DESCRIBED JUDD AS AS, SOMEBODY -- QUOTE -- "WHO COMES ON TO THE BASKETBALL GAME TONIGHT SCORE POINTS, JUST TO KIND OF ROUGH PEOPLE UP, JUST TO KIND OF GET THE GAME GOING IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION." AND I THINK JUDD AND I WOULD BOTH AGREE THAT'S A HECK OF A COMPLIMENT. IN FACT, THIS IS SENATOR GREGG'S REACTION TO THOSE NICKNAMES GIVE TO HIM BY THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER. "I APPRECIATE THE SENATOR'S COMMENTS. I TAKE THEM AS A COMPLIMENT. I'VE BEEN ACTIVE LEGISLATIVELY. THAT IS, OBVIOUSLY, OUR JOB." IT'S FUNNY HOW PEOPLE SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY. I NEVER SAW JUDD AS A BILL LAMBIER-TYPE PLAYER OUT ON THE COURT JUST TO ROUGH PEOPLE UP. I ALWAYS SAW JUDD JUST STICKING WITH THE BASKETBALL METAPHORS FOR A MOMENT, AS THE INTELLIGENT POINT GUARD, AS THE IDEAS GUY WITH THE EXTRAORDINARY JUDGMENT, AS THE TYPE OF GUY WHO COULD SEE THE WHOLE FLOOR, THE BIG PICTURE AND COULD MAKE THE UNSELFISH PLAY THAT WOULD WIN THE GAME. AND OVER THE YEARS, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT JUDD DID FOR OUR TEAM. HE'S BEEN INSTRUMENTAL -- HE'S BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN OUR EFFORTS TO HOLD THE LINE, SLOW DOWN, OR CALL OUT THE DEMOCRATS THESE PAST TWO YEARS IN PARTICULAR ON AN AGENDA THAT WE VIEWED AS DEEPLY HARMFUL TO OUR FUTURE. HE'S BEEN AN INDISPENSABLE MEMBER OF THE TEAM. IN FACT, I'M NOT SURE WHERE WE WOULD BE NOW WITHOUT HIM, AND SOMETIMES I'VE WONDERED WHERE WE'LL BE A FEW YEARS DOWN THE ROAD WITHOUT HIM. BUT HE LEAVES HIS EXAMPLE AND HE LEAVES THE KNOWLEDGE HE'S PASSED ALONG ALONG THE YEARS AND WE'LL ALL CONTINUE TO DRAW ON THAT IN THE YEARS AHEAD. NOW, JUDD WAS RECENTLY ASKED WHAT THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A SENATOR WAS, AND HE ANSWERED WITHOUT HESITATION. "THE HARDEST THING," HE SAID, "WAS BEING AWAY FROM HIS FAMILY." IT'S ANOTHER PRINCIPLE HE NEVER, EVER HEDGED ON. HE SAID, "I MADE A DECISION EARLY ON IN MY CAREER WHICH I'VE CARRIED THROUGHOUT MY CAREER THAT IF THE CHOICE WAS BETWEEN BEING HERE AND BEING WITH SOMETHING THAT WAS IMPORTANT TO MY FAMILY, I'D BE WITH MY FAMILY FAMILY." FAMILY. NOW, MAYBE MY CHILDREN FEEL DIFFERENTLY BUT I DON'T THINK I'VE MISSED ANYTHING THAT WAS REALLY CRITICAL IN THEIR UPBRINGING." WHICH BRINGS US TO KATHY. AS JUDD INDICATED, A WIFE OF 37 YEARS. A CHERISHED MEMBER OF THE SENATE FAMILY. WE'RE SO GRATEFUL FOR KATHY'S GRACE AND PATIENCE WITH THE DEMANDS OF PUBLIC LIFE. ALONG WITH HER IMPORTANT WORK IN EDUCATION, PROMOTING THE ARTS, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION, AS WELL AS HER WORK IN RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT CHILD ABUSE. SOMEHOW SHE AND JUDD'S THREE CHILDREN, MOLLY, SARAH AND JOSHUA, ALL MANAGED TO PUT UP WITH JUDD'S THREE DECADES OF PUBLIC SERVICE. AND WE THANK THEM ALL FOR SHARING JUDD WITH US ALL THESE YEARS IN WASHINGTON. ONE OF JUDD'S GREATEST ASSETS AS A SENATOR HAS BEEN HIS PROFOUND LOVE FOR THIS INSTITUTION AND HIS GRATITUDE FOR HAVING HAD A CHANCE TO SERVE AS A MEMBER OF IT. HE NEVER TOOK THIS PLACE OR THIS JOB FOR GRANTED. AS HE ONCE PUT IT, FROM MY FIRST DAY IN THE SENATE TO TODAY, I REMAIN IN AWE OF THIS FABULOUSLY INTERESTING PLACE, WHICH HE JUST EXPRESSED AGAIN. WHEN I'M ON THE FLOOR AND I LOOK AROUND AND TAKE IN ITS HISTORY, IT NEVER CEASES TO HIT ME THAT THIS IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY IN HISTORY. IT'S AN HONOR TO SERVE THERE. NOW, TO SAY THAT I TRIED TO CONVINCE JUDD TO STAY IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. BUT HE KNEW IT WAS HIS TIME TO MOVE ON. AND TO WRITE THE NEXT CHAPTER -- NEXT CHAPTER IN HIS LIFE. AND WHILE SENATORS COME AND GO ALL THE TIME, I CAN'T HELP BUT NOTE THAT WHEN JUDD WALKS OUT OF THIS CHAMBER, WHEN HE WALKS OUT OF THIS CHAMBER FOR THE LAST TIME, HE'LL LEAVE AN ENORMOUS VOID BEHIND. AND SO I'LL CLOSE, OLD FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, BY SAYING THAT YOU'RE CERTAINLY GOING TO BE MISSED. WE WISH YOU WELL IN YOUR FUTURE ENDEAVORS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. YOU'VE DONE AN EXTRAORDINARY JOB.

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  • 02:46:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO SAY A FEW…

    THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE AS WELL.

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  • 02:46:16 PM

    MR. ENZI

    PLEASURE OVER THE YEARS OF SERVING WITH WHIM AND WATCHING HIM AND LEARNING…

    PLEASURE OVER THE YEARS OF SERVING WITH WHIM AND WATCHING HIM AND LEARNING FROM HIM AS WE DID ONCE AGAIN TODAY AND IT'S ALWAYS AMAZING AT THESE GOING AWAY SPEECHES THAT WE LEARN THINGS THAT WE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THEM DURING THE 18 YEARS THAT THEY SERVE. I APPRECIATE SENATOR McCONNELL'S COMMENTS AND SOME NEW INSIGHTS THERE. BUT I KNOW THAT SENATOR GREGG AT ONE TIME MOVED FROM BEING THE CHAIR OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSION TO BEING THE CHAIR OF THE BUDGET AND THIS GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE THE CHAIRMAN OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSION, AND FOR THAT I'LL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL AND I HOPE I'VE MADE GOOD USE OF THE THINGS THAT -- THAT HE TAUGHT ME WHEN HE WAS IN THAT POSITION. I KNOW THAT NO ONE KNOWS BETTER HOW THIS SENATE OPERATES AND THE PROCEDURAL DETAILS THAT -- THAN THE SENATOR DOES. IF I WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF AN ISSUE AND I SAW SENATOR JUDD GETTING UP TO PLEAD HIS CASE, I KNOW I'D FEEL A SENSE OF GRAVE CONCERN AS I LISTENED TO HIM THAT WOULD ONLY INCREASE IN STRENGTH AND INTENSITY. IT'S ALWAYS A WORRY FOR ONE SIDE IF HE UNFOLDS. IF HE IS ON THE FLOOR TO EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR MY POSITION, I WOULD WATCH HIM WITH GREAT RELISH. HE'S A BRILLIANT LEGISLATOR AND OORT AR BECAUSE HE FOLLOWS THE ADMONITION OF RUDARD KIPLING. ONCE HE DETERMINED RIGHT THING TO DO AND HOW TO DO IT, HE WOULD CALMLY COME UP WITH A PLAN OF ACTION THAT MADE IT HAPPEN AND FOLLOW HIS STRATEGY STEP BY STEP WITHOUT WAVERING FROM HIS PLAN. IN ALL MY YEARS IN PUBLIC LIFE AND AS AN OBSERVER AND PARTICIPANT I DON'T THINK I WOULDWORKED WITH ANYONE QUITE LIKE HIM. NO ONE SPEAKS BETTER OFF-THE-CUFF LIKE HE DOES. HIS NATURAL TALENT FOR THE ART. HE KNOWS THE RIGHT WORDS TO SAY AND HOW AND WHEN TO SAY THEM FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT. THAT MEANS MORE -- THAT MEANS THAT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT HE KNEW HOW TO PRESENT THE PERFECT ARGUMENT THAT COULD NOT BE REFUTED. YEAR AFTER YEAR THAT GREAT TALENT HAS SHOWN ITSELF ON THE FLOOR AND IN COMMITTEE AS HE TOOK A MORE AND ACTIVE ROLE IN OUR DELIBERATIONS ON A LONG LIST OF SUBJECTS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO BUDGET REFORM, EDUCATION REFORM AND ENTITLEMENT REFORM. HE HAS, FOR INSTANCE, BEEN A STRONG SUPPORTER OF THE NEED FOR CONGRESS TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS CURRENTLY FACING SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. THIS HAS BEEN MOSTLY EVIDENT AS THE RANKING MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND AN ACT IFL MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM. TO PUT I ASK PERMISSION THAT MY FULL STATEMENT BE MADE PART OF HAS PLANS FOR THE FROM JUDD GREGG. THIS IS GOOD FOR ALL OF US, AS WELL AS THE YOUNGER CONTINUE TO SPEND THEIR INHER TRANSTO SUCH AN -- HAIR TRANSTO THE EXTENT THAT THEY'LL BE LEFT WITH AN ECONOMY SO SLOW AND WEAK THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO PAY IT OFF WITHOUT A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN AND ADVANTAGES AND ABILITY TO ACCESS THE AMERICAN DREAM WE'VE HAD. THERE'S A NATIVE AMERICAN SAYING, WE HAVE NOT INHERITED THE EARTH FROM OUR ANCESTORS, WE'RE BORROWING IT FROM OUR CHILDREN. IF WE FOLLOW THAT LEAD; WE'LL ABLE TO ENSURE THAT THEIR FUTURE WILL BE AS PROMISING AS THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO EXPECT AND DEMAND. AND BEFORE I CLOSE, I'D BE REMISS IF I DIDN'T SAY A QUICK THANK YOU TO YOUR WIFE, KATHY. AS WE BOTH KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF LATE NIGHT TRIPS HOME AND ABROAD WITH LITTLE NOTICE AND THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH BECAUSE THEY COME WITH THE JOB THE OUR WIVES NEVER COMPLAIN BUT WE BOTH KNOW THEY HAVE EVERY REASON TO DO SO. THEY PROBABLY DON'T BECAUSE THEY KNOW AS WELL AS WE DO THAT WE COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT THEM BY OUR SIDE. THEY'RE OUR GREATEST FRIENDS AND MOST TRUSTED POLITICAL ADVISERS AND ALWAYS MAKE SURE WE'RE HEADED IN THE RIGHT POLITICAL DIRECTION. I THINK KATHY DESERVES A WORD OF THANKS. TOGETHER YOU'VE BEEN A REMARKABLE TEAM. THAT'S WHY NEW HAMPSHIRE IS SO PROUD TO CLAIM BOTH OF YOU AS YOUR OWN. IN THE DAYS TO COME DIANA AND I WILL NOT ONLY MISS YOU AND KATHY, AND FORTUNATELY WE KNOW WHERE TO FIND YOU, RIGHT NEAR THE OCEAN. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN THERE WHEN WE HAD A CHANCE TO EXPLORE IT THERE WITH YOU THIS YEAR. THE FISHING WAS PRETTY GOOD AND THE SCENERY WAS MAGNIFICENT. COMING TO WYOMING ANY TIME. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR FUTURE. THANKS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE FOR US.

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  • 02:51:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE ANARTICA FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • 02:51:27 PM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    PRESIDENT, I'M HONORED TO BE HERE ON THE FLOOR TODAY TO JOIN SENATOR…

    PRESIDENT, I'M HONORED TO BE HERE ON THE FLOOR TODAY TO JOIN SENATOR McCONNELL AND MY OTHER COLLEAGUES IN RECOGNIZING THE SERVICE THAT SENATOR JUDD GREGG HAS PROVIDED TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY AND FOR US, IMPORTANTLY, TO THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. I'VE HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE TO KNOW SENATOR GREGG SINCE I FIRST GOT ELECTED TO PUBLIC OFFICE. IN THE NEW HAMPSHIRE TRADITION, YOU LEARN TO WORK TOGETHER WITH PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE FOR WHAT'S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF NEW HAMPSHIRE AND SENATOR GREGG HAS BEEN A FINE EXAMPLE OF THAT TRADITION. I'VE ENJOYED WORKING WITH HIM OVER THE YEARS AND HIS PRESENCE HERE IN THE CHAMBER AND THE SENATE HALLS WILL BE MISSED BOTH BY ME AND AS WE'VE ALREADY HEARD BY THE REST OF OUR COLLEAGUES AND I THINK AS SENATOR GREGG WAS GIVING HIS REMARKS, THE NUMBER OF SENATORS WHO WERE HERE TO SAY GOOD-BYE SHOWS THE RESPECT AND THE -- HOW MUCH HE WILL BE MISSED BY ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES. THROUGHOUT MY OWN PUBLIC LIFE, RIVAL ALWAYS APPRECIATED THE THE CIVIL -- PUBLIC LIFE, I'VE AUTOMOBILE APPRECIATED THE CIVILLY THAT SENATOR GREGG SHOWED ME. WHEN I WAS ELECTED IT WAS THEN GOVERNOR GREGG WHO SWORE ME IN FOR THE FIRST TIME. WHEN I WAS ELECTED TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE, HE WAS THE FIRST REPUBLICAN TO CALL ME NOT JUST TO OFFER HIS CONGRATULATIONS, BUT TO OFFER HIS ADVICE AND HELP AND GETTING STARTED HERE IN WASHINGTON. THE SENATOR AND I HAVE FOLLOWED SIMILAR PATHS TO THE SENATE. ALTHOUGH HIS SERVICE HAS BEEN LONGER THAN MINE. THOUGH WE'RE THE SAME AGE, SO I WON'T SAY THAT YOUR SERVICE HAS BEEN OLDER THAN MINE, JUDD. BUT I THINK THAT EXPERIENCE, BOTH OF US HAVING SERVED AS GOVERNOR, LEADING NEW HAMPSHIRE, HAS GIVEN US A MUCH MORE SIMILAR MINDSET THAN MOST PEOPLE WOULD EXPECT. I THINK IT CONTRIBUTES TO OUR CONCERN ABOUT CONTROLLING THE DEBT AND ENSURING THAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS FUNCTIONING IN THE BEST INTEREST OF ALL OF ITS CITIZENS AND I, AGAIN, APPRECIATED HIS COMMITMENT TO ADDRESSING THAT DEBT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS IN HIS REMARKS THIS AFTERNOON. WHILE WE HAVEN'T ALWAYS AGREED ON THE BEST APPROACH TO SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS, SENATOR GREGG'S CIVILITY HAS NEVER WAVERED. SINCE COMING TO THE SENATE, I NOTICED THAT HE EXTENDS THAT SAME CIVILITY AND COURTESY TO COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE IN A TOWN NOT ALWAYS KNOWN FOR ITS GOOD MANNERS, SENATOR GREGG REMINDS US WE CAN DISAGREE WITHOUT BEING DISAGREEABLE. SENATOR GREGG, OF COURSE, IS KNOWN FOR HIS EXPERTISE ON VEJ VEGETARY MATTERS. HIS EXPERTISE WILL NOT BE EASILY REPLACED ESPECIALLY AT A TIME WHEN OUR NATION SO URGENTLY NEEDS A NEW HAMPSHIRE-STYLE APPROACH, STRONG, BIPARTISAN, AND NO NONSENSE. IT'S A CONCERN ABOUT THE DEFICIT THAT WE SHARE AND I HOPE THAT IN SOME SMALL WAY I CAN CONTINUE HIS SEARCH FOR SOLUTIONS TO THIS CHALLENGE. THOUSAND, WHAT MIGHT BE LESS KNOWN TO PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON, THOUGH SENATOR McCONNELL MENTIONED IT, IS SENATOR GREGG'S PASSION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF OPEN LANDS. HE'S A CONSERVATIONIST AND A -- IN THE FINE REPUBLICAN TRADITION OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND PRESERVED THE WONDERFUL LEGACY OF FORESTS AN LAKES. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MAY SOME DAY VISIT THE NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE, YOU'LL BE SURPRISED TO SEE THAT SENATOR GREGG APPEARS IN HIS FORMAL GUBERNATORIAL PORTRAIT IN THE MOUNTAINS OF NEW HAMP SHIES, AS I THINK -- HAMPSHIRE AS I THINK IS FITTING FOR SOMEBODY WHO CARES ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT. IN 2001 WHEN I WAS GOVERNOR AND SENATOR GREGG WAS HERE, WE WORKED TOGETHER TO PRESERVE THE CONNECTICUT LAKES HEAD WATERS, 171,000 ACRES, IT WAS THE LARGEST CONTIGUOUS BLOCK OF LAND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE IN PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. WITH HIS LEADERSHIP, WE WERE ABLE TO ENSURE THAT FUTURE GENERATIONS COULD ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF THIS BEAUTIFUL WORKING FOREST AND PART OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. NOW, AS ANOTHER WELL-KNOWN SENATOR, AGAIN, ONE THAT JUDD ALLUDED TO WHEN HE SPOKE, DANIEL WEBSTER ONCE SAID, WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO REGARD A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE AS A SENTINEL ON THE WATCH TOWER OF LIBERTY IN THE SENATE AND IN THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SENATOR GREGG HAS SERVED AS THAT SENT MAL. HE -- SENTINEL. HE WILL BE MISSED. I JOIN MY COLLEAGUES AND THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE WISHING HIM AND KATHY AND HIS WHOLE FAMILY WELL IN HIS FUTURE ENDEAVORS. THANK YOU. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 02:56:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MAINE.

  • 02:56:43 PM

    MS. COLLINS

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, AS I LISTENED THIS AFTERNOON TO SENATOR…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, AS I LISTENED THIS AFTERNOON TO SENATOR GREGG'S FAREWELL ADDRESS, I THOUGHT ABOUT HOW MUCH ALL OF US WHO HAVE BEEN PRIVILEGED TO SERVE WITH HIM WILL MISS HIS WISDOM. BUT FOR ME MR. PRESIDENT, THE LOSS WILL BE EVEN MORE INTENSE FOR THERE IS NO ONE TO WHOM I HAVE TURNED MORE OFTEN FOR ADVICE DURING THE PAST 14 YEARS THAN MY NEIGHBOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE UNLESS, OF COURSE, IT WAS HIS WIFE, KATHY, WHO ALSO GAVE VERY GOOD ADVICE. JUDD'S EXTRAORDINARY KNOWLEDGE OF SO MANY ISSUES, HIS KEEN INSIGHTS INTO POLICY AND POLITICS AND HIS ABIDING FRIENDSHIP HAVE MET -- MEANT SO MUCH TO ME. I TRULY CAN NOT IMAGINE A DEBATE IN THIS CHAMBER ABOUT THE BUDGET, SPENDING, ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, OR TAXES WITHOUT HIS LEADING IT. GIVEN HIS STRONG WORK ETHIC, HIS COMMITMENT TO THE PROSPERITY OF FUTURE GENERATIONS, AND HIS UNWAVERING DEDICATION TO DOING WHAT IS RIGHT, I AM CONFIDENT THAT HIS CLEAR CALL FOR ACTION ON OUR FISCAL CRISIS WILL CONTINUE TO BE HEARD AND TO BE INFLUENTIAL IN THE DEBATES AHEAD OF US. RAISED IN A FAMILY DEVOTED TO PUBLIC SERVICE, CONGRESSMAN, GOVERNOR, AND NOW SENATOR GREGG HAS ALWAYS BEEN GUIDED BY THE PRINCIPLE THAT THE PUBLIC INTEREST IS PARAMOUNT AND THE PUBLIC'S TRUST IS ESSENTIAL. AS A STRONG VOICE FOR FISCAL DISCIPLINE AND CHAMPION OF BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS, SENATOR GREGG HAS ALWAYS UPHELD THOSE PRINCIPLES. HE FACED UP TO THE LOOMING ENTITLEMENT CRISIS AND OUR INEQUITABLE TAX SYSTEM BY INTRODUCING COMPREHENSIVE BIPARTISAN BILLS TO ADDRESS BOTH CONCERNS. HIS SPONSORSHIP OF LEGISLATION EARLY THIS YEAR TO ESTABLISH A BIPARTISAN COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY BROUGHT TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE NATIONAL DEBATE OUR DEBT, A DEBT THAT AMERICA CAN NO LONGER IGNORE. SENATOR GREGG'S SERVICE ON THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION DEMONSTRATED HIS DETERMINATION TO PRESENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AN ANALYSIS OF THE TOUGH CHOICES WE MUST FACE AND THE MEANS TO RETURN TO FISCAL SANITY. AS ALWAYS, JUDD HAS BEEN DEDICATED TO ONE GOAL, ENSURING THAT OUR COUNTRY'S CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN INHERIT A JUST AND PROSPEROUS NATION WHERE THE AMERICAN DREAM CAN STILL BE A REALITY FOR MILLIONS OF HARD-WORKING FAMILIES. THE IDEA OF SADDLING FUTURE GENERATIONS WITH TRILLIONS IN UNPAID BILLS HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN ANATHEMA TO SENATOR GREGG. ALTHOUGH FISCAL ISSUES HAVE BEEN JUDD'S PASSION, THE SOARING AND UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT HAS NOT BEEN HIS ONLY FOCUS. FOR EXAMPLE, TWO YEARS AGO, SENATOR GREGG HELPED LEAD A COALITION THAT CALLED FOR A BIPARTISAN NATIONAL SUMMIT TO DEVELOP AN ENERGY STRATEGY FOR OUR COUNTRY. HE RECOGNIZED, HE WARNED AGAINST OUR OVERRELIANCE ON FOREIGN OIL AS THREATENING OUR NATION AND FORCING ONE ENERGY CRISIS AFTER ANOTHER ON THE BUSINESSES AND FAMILIES OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY. SENATOR GREGG HAS BEEN A POWERFUL ADVOCATE FOR A COMMONSENSE, ACHIEVABLE ENERGY POLICY THAT BALANCES INCREASED DOMESTIC PRODUCTION, CONSERVATION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE AND RENEWABLE FUELS. AND AS HIS COLLEAGUE FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE MENTIONED, JUDD'S WORK TO PRESERVE OPEN SPACE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE HAS LED TO THE CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF MORE THAN 330,000 ACRES OF SENSITIVE LAND, LEAVING A TANGIBLE LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO ENJOY. SENATOR GREGG HAS ALSO COMMITTED TO STRENGTHENING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. IN 2005, I WAS HONORED TO JOIN WITH HIM AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THROUGHOUT MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE IN SAVING THE PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD, WHICH IS, BY THE WAY, IN KITERRING, MAINE, NOT PORT SMITH, NEW HAMPSHIRE, BUT IT WAS A GREAT EFFORT. STANDING UNDER SENATOR GREGG'S LEADERSHIP, OUR DELEGATIONS WORKING WITH THE PEOPLE OF OUR TWO STATES PREVAILED. IN ADDITION TO SAVING THE SHIPYARD, JUDD HAS BEEN IN THE FOREFRONT IN STRENGTHENING AND MODERNIZING IT, AND THANKS TO HIS EFFORTS, THE UNITED STATES NAVY SUBMARINE FLEET REMAINS UNSURPASSED, OUR NATION'S SHIELD AND OUR SWORD. AS CHAIRMAN FOR YEARS OF THE HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE, SENATOR GREGG RECOGNIZED THE THREAT THAT WE FACED FROM RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM, AND HE ENSURED THAT THE RESOURCES WERE PROVIDED TO HELP PROTECT OUR HOMELAND, WHILE ELIMINATING FUNDING THAT WAS INEFFECTIVE OR EXTRAVAGANT. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS QUITE A CAREER. THROUGHOUT HIS LONG AND DISTINGUISHED LIFE IN PUBLIC SERVICE, JUDD GREGG HAS BEEN A CHAMPION OF GOOD GOVERNMENT, AN INDEPENDENT AND CREATIVE THINKER AND A BIPARTISAN PROBLEM SOLVER. HE HAS FOUGHT FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND HAS EARNED THE PUBLIC'S TRUST. AND I KNOW THAT NOT ONLY THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MAINE WHO KNOW HIM WELL BUT PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THIS GREAT COUNTRY JOIN ME TODAY IN THANKING SENATOR JUDD GREGG FOR HIS EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP, COUNTLESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND FIERCE DEDICATION TO OUR COUNTRY AND THE STATE THAT HE LOVES SO MUCH. WE WISH BOTH JUDD AND KATHY ALL THE BEST. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:05:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE.

  • 03:05:03 PM

    MR. ALEXANDER

    MR. PRESIDENT, DURING THE 1980'S, SOMEHOW THE UNITED STATES SENATORS TOOK…

    MR. PRESIDENT, DURING THE 1980'S, SOMEHOW THE UNITED STATES SENATORS TOOK A SURVEY AMONG THEMSELVES ABOUT WHO WAS THE MOST ADMIRED MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, AND ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS, SENATOR HOWARD BAKER OF TENNESSEE WAS THE MOST ADMIRED SENATOR, BOTH BY REPUBLICANS AND BY DEMOCRATS. IF SUCH A SURVEY WERE TO BE TAKEN TODAY, JUDD GREGG WOULD CERTAINLY BE AT THE TOP OF THAT LIST FOR MOST OF US. THERE IS NOT A BETTER MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. MUCH HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT HIM SO I'LL SAY THREE THINGS QUICKLY BECAUSE THERE ARE OTHER SENATORS WHO WISH TO SPEAK. FIRST, JUDD GREGG IS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, NOT FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE. WE SAY WELL, SOMETIMES SENATOR SO AND SO IS FROM TENNESSEE OR FROM NEW YORK OR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA OR FROM MAINE, BUT A SENATOR WHOSE ROOTS ARE REALLY WHERE ROOTS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE IS OF HIS STATE. JUDD GREGG SOUNDS LIKE NEW HAMPSHIRE, HE ACTS LIKE HE'S FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE, HE IS FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE, HE VOTES LIKE HE'S FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE. THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN, WHICH IS A ROCK THAT WAS UP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN THERE A LOT, WOULD DRIVE BY AND SEE IT, FELL DOWN A FEW YEARS AGO. I THOUGHT, WELL, MAYBE THE BEST WAY TO REPLACE IT IS JUST PUT JUDD GREGG BACK UP THERE BECAUSE HE IS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. SECOND, JUDD GREGG IS A VERY GOOD POLITICIAN. I KNOW THAT FROM DIRECT EXPERIENCE. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS THE GREGG MACHINE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. THOSE WHO HAVE THE TEMERITY TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT FIND THAT OUT. IT WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MY EFFORTS WHEN I WAS THERE, AND JUST TO GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, ONE DAY A REPORTER ASKED ME, WELL, MR. ALEXANDER, WHAT'S THE PRICE OF A GALLON OF MILK? OF COURSE I KNEW WHAT A GALLON OF MILK COSTS, BUT I MADE THE MISTAKE OF TURNING AROUND TO SOMEONE AND ASKING JUST TO MAKE SURE WHAT IT WAS, A PRESS PERSON OVERHEARD IT, AND THE NEXT THING I KNEW THE GREGG MACHINE HAD SPREAD THAT ALL OVER THE STATE AS IF THIS FELLOW IN A RED AND BLACK SHIRT DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THE PRICE OF MILK WAS. SO THEY ARE A VERY INTIMIDATING, EFFECTIVE CROWD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. THE THIRD THING AND THE FINAL THING I'LL SAY ABOUT JUDD IS ONE REASON THAT I ADMIRE AND LIKE HIM SO MUCH IS THAT I SO OFTEN AGREE WITH HIM, ON CONSERVATION ISSUES, ON EDUCATION ISSUES, ON FISCAL ISSUES, BUT ESPECIALLY ON HIS VIEW OF THIS BODY WHICH HE EXPRESSED SO ELOQUENTLY MANY TIMES, BUT IN HIS REMARKS TODAY. JUDD GREGG KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS THAT THIS BODY IS THE CITADEL OF THE PROTECTION OF LIBERTY IN OUR GOVERNMENT. HE SAID THAT TODAY. IT IS THE PLACE WHERE WE AVOID THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY. IT IS A PLACE WHERE THE VOICES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE HEARD, WHERE WE HAVE OPEN AMENDMENT AND OPEN DEBATE. HE HAS BEEN AN EFFECTIVE ADVOCATE FOR THAT. HE UNDERSTANDS THAT WE ARE NOT JUST A DEBATING SOCIETY, THAT IN THE END WE'RE A GOVERNING BODY. THAT THE PURPOSE OF OUR 60-VOTE MAJORITY IS TO FORCE CONSENSUS AND A COMPROMISE SO THAT WE CAN ACT, SO THAT WE CAN DO OUR JOBS. SO HE LEAVES A WONDERFUL LEGACY AS MANY FRIENDS HERE, HE WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE MANY FRIENDS HERE, AND THE SENATOR WHO IS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE WHO IS A PRETTY GOOD POLITICIAN AND WITH WHOM I SO OFTEN AGREE. AND MY SPECIAL BEST WISHES TO HIS WIFE KATHY. I ALSO AGREE WITH HER. THANK YOU. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:08:51 PM

    MR. CORKER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA FOR ALLOWING ME TO SPEAK FOR ABOUT 60…

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA FOR ALLOWING ME TO SPEAK FOR ABOUT 60 SECONDS. I DON'T GIVE LONG SPEECHES ON THE FLOOR AND SELDOM USE NOTES, BUT I REALLY -- I KNOW THAT SENATOR GREGG KNOWS THIS, BUT I HAVE BEEN HERE FOUR YEARS AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY ONE OF THE GREATEST HIGHLIGHTS IN MY FOUR YEARS HAS BEEN BEING ABLE TO SERVE WITH SENATOR GREGG. I KNOW OF NO ONE IN THE SENATE THAT I HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED EVEN CLOSE TO AS FAR AS MY SERVICE. I KNOW OF NO ONE THAT I THINK CREATES A BETTER EXAMPLE FOR THOSE OF US IN THE SENATE. I KNOW OF NO ONE THAT I RESPECT MORE THAN SENATOR GREGG. I KNOW THAT HE KNOWS THAT. I KNOW THAT HIS WONDERFUL WIFE KATHY KNOWS THAT, AND I THINK UPON HIS DEPARTURE, THERE WILL BE A TREMENDOUS VACUUM. I THINK ALL OF US UNDERSTAND WHAT EACH OF US IS GOING TO HAVE TO DO TO TRY TO FILL A COMPONENT OF THE SHOES THAT YOU HAVE -- OR THE EXAMPLE THAT YOU HAVE SET HERE. SO, SENATOR, I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU CERTAINLY HAVE RAISED MY THINKING AS TO WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SENATOR IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. EACH OF US HAVE FRAILTIES AND EACH OF US HAVE STRENGTHS, AND THERE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE OCCASIONS WHEN SENATORS CAUSE US TO -- TO RISE UP BECAUSE THEY INSPIRE US, THEY DO THINGS THAT ARE ASPIRATIONAL, AND THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE TIMES WHEN SENATORS DISAPPOINT US BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, AND THAT'S THE WAY THE -- THAT'S THE WAY HUMAN BEINGS ARE. BUT I CAN SAY THAT YOU MORE THAN ANYBODY IN THE SENATE HAVE CAUSED ME TO WANT TO BE BETTER MORE TIMES THAN ANYONE AND HAVE DISAPPOINTED ME FEWER TIMES THAN ANYBODY HERE IN THE SENATE. I WILL MISS YOU, I WISH YOU WELL, AND I THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND.

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  • 03:11:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA.

  • 03:11:08 PM

    MR. THUNE

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:11:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:11:13 PM

    MR. THUNE

    ADVOCATING AGAINST THIS TAX PROPOSAL IS TO ADVOCATE FOR A TAX INCREASE.…

    ADVOCATING AGAINST THIS TAX PROPOSAL IS TO ADVOCATE FOR A TAX INCREASE. AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE CANNOT AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY CANNOT AFFORD. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF WE COULD WAIT A FEW WEEKS UNTIL WE HAVE THE CHANGEOVER IN THE CONGRESS. I FRANKLY WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO SEE A BILL WRITTEN A FEW WEEKS FROM NOW WHEN THE NEWLY ELECTED REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO BE SWORN IN. BUT THAT IS A LUXURY THAT DOESN'T EXIST BECAUSE OF THIS REALITY THAT WE HAVE, THIS DEADLINE LOOMING IN FRONT OF US. IF WE WAIT FOR THE PERFECT PROPOSAL, THE PERFECT AGREEMENT, THEN AMERICAN FAMILIES AND AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO PAY HIGHER TAXES JUST TWO WEEKS FROM NOW. THAT'S NOT A SCARE TACTIC. THAT'S NOT POLITICAL POSTURING. THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, IS SIMPLY A FACT. TAKING ACTION NOW TO PREVENT THIS TAX INCREASE WOULD DO A NUMBER OF THINGS. FIRST OFF, IT WOULD PROTECT 21 MILLION HOUSEHOLDS FROM BEING HIT BY THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX IN THE YEAR 2010. IT WOULD PRESERVE RELIEF FROM THE MARRIAGE PENALTY. THERE ARE MANY PROVISIONS IN THE TAX CODE TODAY, SOME OF WHICH HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED IN PREVIOUS TAX LAW, EXPIRING TAX LAW, THAT LESSEN THE IMPACT OF BEING MAY RID. WE EYEICALLY, IN -- WE IRONICALLY PUNISH PEOPLE FOR BEING MARRIED IN THIS COUNTRY.

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  • 03:16:43 PM

    MR. THUNE

    WOULD PROTECT FARMERS AND RANCHERS FROM A DEATH TAX THAT WOULD CONFISCATE…

    WOULD PROTECT FARMERS AND RANCHERS FROM A DEATH TAX THAT WOULD CONFISCATE OVER HALF THE VALUE OF THE FAMILY TPAFRPLT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE DON'T PASS THIS TAX PROPOSAL? ACCORDING TO A NUMBER OF ECONOMISTS, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE A DROP IN THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT FROM SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 1.7% TO 2%. THAT'S ACCORDING TO TPRAOEUFT ECONOMISTS. EVEN THE -- PRIVATE ECONOMISTS. EVEN THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE SUGGESTS NEXT YEAR YOU'RE GOING TO SEE A 1.4% NEGATIVE IMPACT IN OUR ECONOMY, IN THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT IF WE DON'T TAKE THE ACTIONS NECESSARY TO PREVENT THESE TAX INCREASES. FAILURE TO ACT TPHOURBGS ACCORDING -- FAILURE TO ACT NOW, ACCORDING TO THE TAX FOUNDATION, WOULD COST THE AVERAGE FAMILY IN SOUTH DAKOTA ABOUT $1,700 IN HIGHER TAXES. THE AVERAGE AMERICAN HOUSEHOLD WOULD BE FACED WITH HIGHER TAXES TO THE TUNE OF ABOUT $3,000. IF WE DON'T TAKE THE STEPS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO ADDRESS THE DEATH TAX, ON JANUARY 1 THE DEATH TAX KICKS BACK IN AT $1 MILLION, $1 MILLION EXEMPTION, AND EVERYTHING ABOVE THAT WOULD BE TAXED AT 55%. SO IMAGINE THE IMPACT ON A FARMERER, RANCHER, A SMALL BUSINESS PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY AND WHAT THIS WOULD MEAN. AS I SAID EARLIER, THIS IS NOT A PERFECT AGREEMENT, BUT NO COMPROMISE IS. THE FACT THAT WE ARE DEALING WITH DEMOCRATS WHO STILL RUN BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND THE WHITE HOUSE, IF WE WANT TO STOP TAXES FROM GOING UP ON EVERYONE, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO GET THAT DONE. WITHOUT ACTION AND WE STAND AROUND TO TRY TO DEBATE THE PERFECT, TAXES ARE GOING TO GO UP ON FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY IS GOING TO STALL OUFPLT I THINK IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT NOTE IT WILL TAKE A TOLL ON FINANCIAL MARKETS. IF WE DON'T TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT THIS CRISIS LOOMING IN FRONT OF US, WE CAN EXPECT THE 9.8 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE COULD GO SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER. I WOULD ARGUE, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT INACTION IS NOT AN OPTION. ADVOCATING AGAINST THIS PROPOSAL IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ADVOCATING FOR HIGHER TAXES. I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL SEE THEIR WAY TO SUPPORT THIS TODAY AND TO SUPPORT IT IN BIG NUMBERS BECAUSE IT WILL GO FROM HERE OVER TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND THEY'RE GOING TO LOOK CLOSELY AT THE VOTE COMING OUT OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY IF AND WHEN IT GETS TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT IT WILL PASS PROVIDED THAT THE UNITED STATES SENATE SENDS A VERY STRONG MESSAGE. AND I THINK CONSISTENT WITH THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WHO ACCORDING TO PUBLIC OPINION POLLS AND ONE AS MOST RECENT AS THIS MORNING, 70% OF AMERICANS BELIEVE AND AGREE THIS TAX PROPOSAL OUGHT TO BE ENACTED AND SIGNED INTO LAW. THE REAL ISSUE, I THINK, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT AFFECTS OUR FISCAL SITUATION IN THIS COUNTRY ISN'T THE FACT THAT WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH REVENUE. IT'S THAT WE SPEND TOO MUCH. IF YOU LOOK AT THE -- IT'S AN EMPIRICAL FACT. IF YOU LOOK HISTORICALLY AT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOWER TAXES -- LOOK AT JOHN F. KENNEDY, RONALD REAGAN, GEORGE W. BUSH, IN RECENT HISTORY, ANY TIME YOU LOWER INCOME TAX RATES, YOU GET NOT LESS REVENUE BUT MORE. THAT'S AN EMPIRICAL FACT. YOU ALSO GET A GROWING ECONOMY. WHEN YOU HAVE A GROWING ECONOMY, OBVIOUSLY IT IS CREATING MORE JOBS AND THAT'S WHAT WE WANT TO SEE HAPPEN. WE WANT TO GET THIS 9.8% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DOWN. I WOULD ARGUE, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THE ISSUE THAT WE HAVE IN FRONT OF US HERE WITH REGARD TO SPENDING AND DEFICITS AND DEBT DOESN'T HAVE TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH REVENUE. IT HAS TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT WASHINGTON SPENDS TOO MUCH. AND THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, IS WHERE WE OUGHT TO BE FOCUSING OUR EFFORTS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE LAST HALF CENTURY I THINK THE AMOUNT WE SPEND AS OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT HOVERS IN THE 20.5% RATE. TODAY IT'S ABOUT 24%, 25% WE'RE SPENDING ON GOVERNMENT AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR TOTAL ECONOMY. WE'VE COMPLICATED AND ADDED TO THAT BURDEN BY ENACTING MAJOR LEGISLATION IN THIS LAST YEAR, THE MASSIVE NEW HEALTH CARE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM WHEN IT'S FULLY IMPLEMENTED IS GOING TO COST ON THE ORDER OF $2.5 TRILLION. WE'VE GOT LOTS OF OTHER LEGISLATION THAT MOVED THROUGH HERE. THE STIMULUS BILL WAS $1 TRILLION OF BORROWED MONEY WHICH DIDN'T HAVE THE DESIRED IMPACT. THE ONE THING WE KNOW WITH CERTAINTY AT LEAST BASED ON HISTORY IS THAT WHEN YOU RAISE TAXES, YOU GET FEWER JOBS. WHEN YOU LOWER TAXES, YOU GET MORE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND MORE JOBS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND, FRANKLY, MORE REVENUE. THAT HELPS TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT. IN THIS PARTICULAR PROPOSAL THERE IS SOME NEW SPENDING. THERE'S UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS INCLUDED IN HERE. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT OFFSET. I HAVE AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD DO THAT THAT WOULD PAY FOR ADDITIONAL SPENDING IN THIS BILL. WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER AMENDMENTS BUT THERE ARE GOING TO BE A COUPLE OF MOTIONS OFFERED BY MY COLLEAGUE FROM OKLAHOMA, SENATOR COBURN, MOTION TO SUSPEND THE RULES AND PAY FOR THE ADDITIONAL $56.5 BILLION IN NEW SPENDING AS A RESULT OF EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN THE BILL. I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO DO. SINCE WE STARTED, WE GOT INTO THIS RECESSION, WE SPENT ABOUT $124 BILLION THAT WE BORROWED FROM FUTURE GENERATIONS FOR THESE EXTENSIONS WE CONTINUE TO PASS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. THIS PARTICULAR ONE WOULD TAKE US UP TO ALMOST $180 BILLION IN BORROWED MONEY TO PAY FOR THESE THINGS. IT MAKES SENSE IN MY JUDGMENT WHEN YOU'RE SPENDING NEW MONEY THAT YOU OUGHT TO OFFSET OR PAY FOR THAT. FRANKLY, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT AS PART OF THIS PROPOSAL. IT'S NOT IN THERE. I HAVE AN AMENDMENT TO RECTIFY THAT WHICH WON'T BE CONSIDERED. BUT I WILL SUPPORT THE MOTION TO SUSPEND THE RULES AND PASS A PAY-FOR FOR THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT EXTENSION THAT THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA WILL OFFER LATER. ALL THAT TO SAY AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THE REAL ISSUE HERE, IN MY JUDGMENT, COMES DOWN NOT TO AN ISSUE OF REVENUE. IT COMES DOWN TO AN ISSUE OF SPENDING. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THAT. I THINK THAT'S WHY THERE IS SUCH BROAD PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR THIS TAX PROPOSAL BECAUSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THAT YOU CAN'T RAISE TAXES IN THE MIDDLE OF A RECESSION AND EXPECT THE JOB CREATORS IN THIS COUNTRY -- OUR SMALL BUSINESSES -- TO CREATE JOBS. IT'S COUNTERINTUITIVE AND IT DEFIES ALL EMPIRICAL KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE THAT WE HAVE TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE. I THINK, ON THE OTHER HAND, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO BELIEVE THAT GOVERNMENT HAS GOTTEN TOO BIG, THAT IT IS GROWING TOO FAST AND THAT IT NEEDS TO BE REINED IN. THAT'S WHERE WE HAVE GOT TO ATTACK THE SPENDING SIDE OF THIS EQUATION. AND I BELIEVE THAT WHEN THE NEW CONGRESS IS SEATED NEXT YEAR THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE AN INTENSE FOCUS ON THIS ISSUE OF SPENDING AND IT'S HIGH TIME THAT HAPPENED BECAUSE IT'S HIGH TIME THAT WE GET THE DEBT, THE DEFICIT ISSUE THAT WILL PLAGUE FUTURE GENERATIONS UNDER CONTROL. AND THE ISSUE, THE REAL ISSUE HERE WITH REGARD TO THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, DOESN'T HAVE TO DO WITH REVENUE. IT HAS TO DO WITH SPENDING. SO I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THIS PROPOSAL. AS I SAID EARLIER, IT'S NOT PERFECT; CERTAINLY NOT IN MY ESTIMATION NOR I THINK IN THE EYES OF MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOOKED AT THIS. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, IT DOES PREVENT US FROM JANUARY 1 SEEING A MASSIVE TAX INCREASE, THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN AMERICAN HISTORY START TO HIT AMERICAN FAMILIES AND AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES. AND THAT'S WHY I HOPE WE'LL BE ABLE TO PASS IT OUT OF THE SENATE WITH A BIG BIPARTISAN VOTE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:24:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 03:24:33 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT KIM HOMADICHI BE GRANTED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT KIM HOMADICHI BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE DURATION OF TODAY'S SESSION.

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  • 03:24:47 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROVIDED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROVIDED STUDENTS WITH GRANTS AND LOANS TO HELP PAY FOR COLLEGE. THAT'S A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND STUDENTS, BETWEEN OUR TAXPAYERS AND STUDENTS. IT'S AN INVESTMENT PREMISED ON THE IDEA THAT HIGHER EDUCATION WILL STRENGTHEN OUR SOCIETY BY GIVING MORE AMERICANS THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS TO GET BETTER JOBS AND TO BE ABLE TO GIVE BACK TO THEIR COMMUNITIES. I KNOW FIRSTHAND HOW HIGHER EDUCATION CAN TRANSFORM ONE'S LIFE. I WENT TO COLLEGE ON STUDENT LOANS AND LAW SCHOOL ON THE G.I. BILL. THAT'S WHY I SPENT MY CAREER IN CONGRESS FIGHTING TO ENSURE THAT ALL STUDENTS WHO WISH TO LEARN, WHO WISH TO GET A COLLEGE DEGREE ALSO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. I WORKED ON THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE TO EXPAND FUNDING FOR PELL GRANTS AND STUDENT SUPPORT PROGRAMS, AND NOW AS THE "HELP" COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN, I'VE WORKED TO EXPAND PELL GRANTS TO MAKE SURE OUR STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS ARE WELL RUN. IN THE PAST TWO YEARS CONGRESS HAS PROVIDED SIGNIFICANT NEW RESOURCES TO HELP STUDENTS TO ACCESS AND FINANCE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. IN 2008 WE INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF STAFFORD LOANS THAT UNDERGRADUATES CAN BORROW BY $2,000 A YEAR. THE RECOVERY ACT OF 2009 PROVIDED ANOTHER $17 BILLION TO THE PELL GRANT PROGRAM. THE RECENT RECONCILIATION LAW ADDED ANOTHER $36 BILLION TO PELL GRANTS OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. SO THE CONGRESS HAS MADE HARD CHOICES TO SECURE THESE INCREASES FOR FINANCIAL AID PROGRAMS. THE MONEY IS AN INVESTMENT IN OUR NATION'S STUDENTS AND ALSO IN OUR COUNTRY'S FUTURE. FOR THAT INVESTMENT TO PAY OFF, WE MUST ENSURE THAT STUDENTS ARE BEING WELL EDUCATED AND THAT SCHOOLS ARE USING FEDERAL DOLLARS RESPONSIBLY. TO ENSURE THAT OUR INVESTMENT IS PAYING OFF, EARLIER THIS YEAR I INITIATED AN OVERSIGHT INVESTIGATION INTO ONE PART OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM. THE FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION COMPANIES. EDUCATION COMPANIES THAT ALSO MAKE A PROFIT FOR SHAREHOLDERS AND INVESTORS ARE GROWING AT AN ASTONISHING PACE. ENROLLMENTS, PROFITS AND SHARE OF THE FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID BUDGET GOING TO THOSE SCHOOLS ARE SKYROCKETING. IN 2008, THESE SCHOOLS, THESE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS ACCOUNTED FOR 10% OF THE STUDENTS ENROLLED IN HIGHER EDUCATION. BUT THOSE STUDENTS RECEIVED 23% OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS, AND THEY ACCOUNTED FOR 44% OF THE DEFAULTS. AGAIN, FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS 10% OF THE STUDENTS GOT 23% OF THE FEDERAL LOANS AND GRANTS AND ACCOUNTED FOR 44% OF THE DEFAULTS. SO CONFRONTED WITH NUMBERS LIKE THESE, I BECAME INCREASINGLY CONCERNED THAT A SIGNIFICANT SHARE OF OUR FEDERAL INVESTMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION IS BEING MISUSED AND THAT SOME COMPANIES ARE USING THE FEDERAL AID PROGRAM AS A CASH MACHINE TO DRIVE UP PROFITS AS THEIR MAIN PURPOSE. ACROSS THE COUNTRY SOME HIGHER EDUCATION COMPANIES ARE USING A HIGH-PRESSURE SALES FORCE, PERSUADING CONSUMERS IN SEARCH OF THE AMERICAN DREAM TO GO DEEP INTO DEBT TO PURCHASE A PRODUCT OF OFTEN DUBIOUS VALUE. DEFAULT RATES ARE SKY-HIGH. TAXPAYER MONEY IS BEING SQUANDERED. TOP EXECUTIVES WALKING AWAY WITH FORTUNES. YOU MIGHT THINK I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE INDUSTRY WHICH CAME CRASHING DOWN TWO YEARS AGO BECAUSE THAT DOES DESCRIBE IT. BUT WHAT I JUST DESCRIBED IS ALSO THE SITUATION CREATED BY MANY FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES. JUST AS IN THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE CRISIS, COUNTLESS THOUSANDS OF ORDINARY AMERICANS ARE BEING HARMED IN THE RECKLESS PURSUIT OF PROFITS BY A FEW. THIS SUMMER I HEARD TESTIMONY FROM YAZMINE ISA, A SINGLE MOTHER OF TWIN GIRLS. TWO YEARS AGO SHE WENT BACK TO SCHOOL TO EARN HER DEGREE IN MEDICAL STEPB NOTHING IF I. SHE WENT -- STENOGRAPHY. SHE WENT ONLINE AND FOUND A PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANY. THE FOLKS AT SANFORD BROWN SOLD MRS. ISSA ON THE VALUE OF HER PROGRAM, THEY TOLD HER HOW IT WOULD HELP HER PROVIDE FOR HER DAUGHTERS. SHE ENROLLED AND PAID OUT $29,000 FOR AN 18-MONTH PROGRAM. THE RECRUITERS AT SANFORD BROWN DID NOT TELL HER THAT SHE COULD HAVE GONE TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND RECEIVED THE SAME DEGREE FOR $7,000. THEY ALSO DIDN'T BOTHER TO TELL HER THAT HER DEGREE AT SANFORD BROWN WOULDN'T EVEN ALLOW HER TO SIT FOR THE STENOGRAPHY EXAM. THEY DIDN'T TELL HER THAT WITHOUT PASSING THE EXAM SHE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO WORK AS A STENOGRAPHER. AFTER $29,000 INVESTED, 18 MONTHS OF HARD WORK, SHE COULDN'T SIT FOR THE EXAM. MS. ISSA IS NOT ALONE BUT SHE AND STUDENTS LIKE HER ARE THE REASON I DECIDED WE IN CONGRESS NEED TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE SITUATION. AFTER THREE HEARINGS, I BELIEVE IT IS AN IMPORTANT TIME TO REPORT BACK TO THE SENATE ON WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TO DATE. TODAY I'M GOING TO TAKE THE TIME TO WALK THROUGH THE FINDINGS OF EACH OF THESE THREE HEARINGS, TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEMS FACING STUDENTS AND TAXPAYERS AND CONCLUDE BY TALKING ABOUT WHERE THE "HELP" COMMITTEE INVESTIGATION IS GOING IN THE COMING YEAR. THE FIRST HEARING: WHAT ARE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES? WE HELD OUR FIRST HEARING IN JUNE FOLLOWING DOZENS OF TROUBLING REPORTS ABOUT STUDENTS BEING RIPPED OFF BY FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES. "THE NEW YORK TIMES," BLOOMBERG NEWS, FRONT LINE, EVEN GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTED EXTENSIVELY ABOUT THE GROWTH OF FEDERALLY FUNDED FOR-PROFIT HIGHER EDUCATION CORPORATIONS. OUR FIRST TASK WAS TO GET A SENSE OF WHAT THESE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES WERE. HOW BIG THEY WERE, HOW WELL WERE THEY SERVING OUR STUDENTS? GIVEN THAT THESE COMPANIES RECEIVE ALMOST ALL OF THEIR REVENUE FROM FEDERAL DOLLARS, ONE WOULD THINK THAT ALMOST AWFUL THIS INFORMATION WOULD BE EASILY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AND NOT REQUIRE A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION TO UNEARTH. BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, THAT WAS NOT THE CASE. FIRST, WHAT ARE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES? FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES ARE -- QUOTE -- "PROPRIETARY INSTITUTIONS, AS THEY ARE KNOWN IN THE LAW, ARE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION THAT PROVIDE A PROGRAM OF TRAINING TO PREPARE STUDENTS FOR GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT IN A RECOGNIZED OCCUPATION. ESSENTIALLY, WHEN WE CREATED THE FEDERALLY FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM BACK IN 1965, WE RECOGNIZED THAT CAREER, OR VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS, AS THEY WERE THEN KNOWN -- CAREER OR VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS -- MOST OF THEM WERE PRIVATELY OWNED -- PLAYED A VALUABLE ROLE IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM AND THAT THE PEOPLE WHO ATTENDED THE SCHOOLS SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET FINANCIAL AID TO ATTEND THEM. AT THE SAME TIME, WE REQUIRED THESE SCHOOLS TO DEMONSTRATE THAT STUDENTS WERE BEING PREPARED FOR GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT IN A RECOGNIZED OCCUPATION, SOMETHING WE DO NOT REQUIRE OF TWO- AND FOUR-YEAR PROGRAMS AT PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT SCHOOLS. SO TODAY WE FIND OURSELVES IN A WORLD WHERE PROPRIETARY SCHOOLS OFFER EVERYTHING, FROM BASIC SKILLS TRAINING TO LIBERAL ARTS AND GRADUATE DEGREES, AND FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS ENROLL NOT A FEW HUNDRED STUDENTS BUT IN SOME CASES A FEW HUNDRED THOUSAND STUDENTS. NOW, IF THESE SCHOOLS WERE PROVIDING HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION, MOST OF THE STUDENTS, THOSE NUMBERS WOULD BE A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION. INSTEAD, THEY ARE A CAUSE FOR CONCERN. AND THESE CONCERNS ARE LONG SM -- ARE LONG-STANDING. 20 YEARS AGO SAM NUNN OF GEORGIA HELD A SERIES OF HEARINGS LOOKING AT THE FOR-PROFIT SECTOR AND BECAUSE OF THE PROBLEMS THEY FOUND, THEY INITIATED A SERIES OF LEGISLATIVE FIXES TO ENSURE THAT FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS WERE A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR STUDENTS AND TAXPAYERS. AS WITH MANY LAWS, 20 YEARS HAVE TAKEN THEIR TOLL AND THOSE REFORMS HAVE BEEN ALMOST COMPLETELY ROLLED BACK. WE FIND OURSELVES TODAY FACING SOME OF THE SAME PROBLEMS, WITH FEW TOOLS IN PLACE TO PROVIDE GENUINE OVERSIGHT OF OUR TAXPAYERS' INVESTMENT. WHAT HASN'T CHANGED IS THAT UNLIKE PUBLIC OR NONPROFIT SCHOOLS, PROPRIETARY SCHOOLS ARE LEGALLY BOUND -- LEGALLY BOUND -- TO OPERATE IN THE INTERESTS OF THEIR OWNERS. AS THE COMPANIES HAVE GOTTEN LARGER, THEY'VE BEEN TRANSFORMED FROM MOM AND POP OPERATIONS INTO HIGH-GROWTH, HIGH-INVESTMENT, BIG BUSINESSES. 15 FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION COMPANIES THAT OPERATE 69 SCHOOLS WITH AN ENROLLMENT OF 1.5 MILLION ARE ACTUALLY PUBLICLY TRADED ON THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE OR AN NASDAQ. ANOTHER 43 FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION COMPANIES OPERATING 65 MORE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS OR AT LEAST -- ARE AT LEAST PARTIALLY OWNED BY PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTORS OR HEDGE FUNDS -- HEDGE FUNDS. THE RESULT IS THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS HAVE PRIORITIZED GROWTH OVER EDUCATION NOSHED TO SATISFY THE DEMANDS OF THEIR -- IN ORDER TO SATISFY THE DEMANDS OF THEIR INVESTORS. IN FACT, GROWTH AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR SHAREHOLDERS IS THEIR LEGAL OBLIGATION. SO IT SHOULDN'T PRICE US THAT EDUCATING STUDENTS IS TAKING A BACK SEAT TO JUST GETTING MORE BODIES IN THE DOOR. GROWTH. FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES TRADED IN THE STOCK MARKET IS A RELATIVELY RECENT PHENOMENON THAT HAS CREATED A DRASTICALLY TRANSFORMED LAND SKIP FOR US -- LANDSCAPE FOR US HERE IN CONGRESS, LEGISLATORS. IN 1992, THE LAST TIME CONGRESS TOOK A SERIOUS LOOK AT THIS SEC FER UNDER SENATOR NUNN, THERE WERE NO PUBLICLY TRADED FOR-PROFIT HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS. NUN. ZERO. IN 2010, 15 PUBLICLY TRADED INSTITUTIONS ENROLLING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS ARE IN EXISTENCE. THAT'S JUST PUBLICLY TRADED. THERE ARE MANY, MANY MORE THAT ARE EQUITY OWNED, OWNED BY EQUITY INVESTORS OR HEDGE FUNDS, WHICH ALSO DID NOT EXIST 20 YEARS AGO. TO SATISFY SHAREHOLDERS, PUBLICLY TRADED SCHOOLS MUST CONSTANTLY FOCUS ON GROWTH, MEASURING UP TO WALL STREET'S LASERLY LIKE ATTENTION TO QUARTERLY ENROLLMENT STATISTICS. PUBLICLY TRADED SCHOOLS MUST ALSO GENERATE HIGHER REVENUES WHILE KEEPING DOWN COSTS, INCLUDING TEACHING COSTS. THESE SCHOOLS DO THIS BY RAISING TUITION, INCREASING THE NUMBER OF ENROLLED STUDENTS, WHICH IN TURN INCREASES THE AMOUNT OF FEDERAL STUDENT AID DOLLARS FLOWING TO THE SCHOOLS, BUT IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE EDUCATION RECEIVED. A FOCUS ON GROWTH AT THE EXPENSE OF STUDENT OUTCOMES IS NOT JUST THE PROVINCE OF THE PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANIES. AS I SAID, INCREASINGLY HEDGE FUNDS AND PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS INVEST IN FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES AND MANAGE THE BUSINESS END OF THE OPERATION. FOR EXAMPLE, HOW MANY PEOPLE KNOW THAT GOLDMAN SACHS -- YES, THE SAME GOLDMAN SACHS -- IS THE OWNER OF MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF THE PUBLICLY TRADED EDMC -- A PRIVATELY TRADED COLLEGE -- THE ORMTER OF SOMETHING CALLED THE ART INSTITUTE AND BROWN MACKEY, THESE ARE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS. A VICE PRESIDENT AND A MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GOLDMAN SACHS SIT ON THE EDMC BOARD. THESE FIRMS ARE INTERESTED IN SHORT-TERM PROFIT AND HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE LONG-TERM EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES OF THE STUDENTS ATTENDING THE SCHOOLS. THIS CERTAINLY ISN'T CLEAR TO THE STUDENTS THAT THE SCHOOL IS OWNED BY A BUNCH OF WALL STREET INVESTORS. I HAD THIS CHART PRINTED UP HERE. THIS IS NOT ALL OF THEM, BUT THESE ARE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS OWNED BY PRIVATE EQUITY AND HEDGE FUNDS THAT WE WERE ABLE TO COME UP WITH RIGHT AWAY. NOW, HOW MANY STUDENTS SIGNING UP AT RASMUSSEN COLLEGE OR MORRISON UNIVERSITY OR THE INSTITUTE FOR BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY OR BECKFIELD COLLEGE OR CHANCE LETTER UNIVERSITY OR ASHWORTH COLLEGE, FLORIDA COASTAL SCHOOL OF LAW -- HOW MANY STUDENTS SIGNING UP FOR THIS KNOW THAT THEY'RE OWNED BY PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTORS OR HEDGE FUNDS THAT OPERATE THESE SCHOOLS? THEY SOUND LIKE THEY'RE JUST LEGITIMATE KIND EVER COLLEGES. AN ESTIMATED 1.3.3 MILLION OUT OF 1.8 MILLION STUDENTS TEANDERSING SCHOOLS IN 200 L WERE ATTENDING SCHOOLS OWNED BY WALL STREET INVESTOR. OUT OF 1 PIE 8 MILLION STUDENTS GOING TO FOR-PROFIT COMPLEDGES IN 2008, 1.3 MILLION STUDENTS WERE ATTENDING COLLEGES PRIMARILY OWNED BY WALL STREET INVESTORS. AGAIN, THIS LANDSCAPE WASN'T AROUND 20 YEARS AGO. IN FACT, MOST OF IT WASN'T AROUND 10 YEARS AGO. HERE'S HOW THE HEDGE FUND OWNERS OF WESTWOOD COLLEGE -- WESTWOOD COLLEGE DOWN HERE SOMEPLACE -- WESTWOOD COLLEGE HERE. THE HEDGE FUND OWNERS OF WESTWOOD COLLEGE STATE ON THEIR WEB SITE, "THEY ALWAYS KEEP THEIR EYE ON THE BALL OF WHAT IS BEST FOR THE BUSINESS OVER THE LONG TERM." NOT STUDENTS, NOT THE EDUCATION OF STUDENTS, BUT THEY KEEP THEIR EYE ON THE BALL OF WHAT'S BEST FOR THE BUSINESS. THE HEDGE FUND. FUNNY, I THAT YOU THOUGHT THE BALL WE SHOULD BE KEEPING OUR EYE ON IS HOW WELL WE'RE DOING EDUCATING STUDENTS WITH THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY. WESTWOOD IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN COLORADO. IT'S HAD ITS OPERATIONS SHUT DOWN IN TEXAS AND HAS BEEN TOLD NOT TO OPERATE ONLINE IN WISCONSIN. NO ACCREDITING AGENCY ACTUALLY SEEMS WILLING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IT ACCREDITS THIS SCHOOL. YET WESTWOOD COLLEGE TURNED A PROFIT OF $46.7 MILLION IN 2009. $46.7 MILLION. OWNED BAY -- OWNED BY A HEDGE FUND. TO DISTINGUISH THEM FROM DISTINGUISHED FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES, IT IS REAL LAY MISNOMER. SINCE THEY ARE LARGELY FEDERALLY FUNDED THROUGH STUDENT LOANS, GRANTS, AND MILITARY BENEFITS. AS A GROUP, THESE PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANIES RECEIVE AT LEAST 85.6% OF THEIR REVENUE FROM FEDERAL DOLLARS OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER. THAT'S FOR-PROFIT? UNDER CURRENT LAW -- UNDER CURRENT LAW THESE COMPANIES CANNOT GET MORE THAN 90% OF THEIR REVENUE FROM STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS. WE CALL IT THE 90/10 RULE. TO ME, THAT SEEMS LIKE A LOT. FOR THESE COMPANIES IT IS NOT ENOUGH. ACCORDING TO AN INTERNAL LOBBYING DOCUMENT FROM THE CAREER COLLEGE ASSOCIATION RELEASED BY THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION, ONE OF THE TOP PRIORITIES FOR THE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE TRADE ASSOCIATION IS TO ROLL CALL THAT RULE AND INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF FEDERAL DOLLARS THESE COMPANIES CAN GET FROM THE GOVERNMENT. 90% ISN'T ENOUGH. WELL, THEY'VE CLEARLY DONE A GOOD JOB. SINCE AT LEAST SIX OF THE COMPANIES -- KAPLAN, ECPI, T.U.I., A.C.C., REMINGTON AND VATTEROT GET MORE THAN 90% OF REVENUES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. NOW, YOU MIGHT SAY, WAIT A SECOND, SENATOR HARKIN. I THAT YOU JUST SAID THEY'RE LIMITED TO 90% BY LAW? TRUE, THAT'S HOW THEY GET AROUND IT. THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX, FOR EXAMPLE, IN ITS SACRAMENTO REPORT ANG ACKNOWLEDGED THAT IT RECEIVED 89% OF THE REVENUES FROM STAFFORD LOANS AND PELL GRANTS. DOCUMENT REQUESTS THAT WE GOT INDICATE THEY RECEIVED AN ADDITIONAL 1.5% OF REVENUES FROM OTHER FEDERAL SOURCES, INCLUDING MILITARY BENEFITS. THAT MEANS THAT EVEN THE LARGEST FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL -- PHOENIX -- IS RECEIVING MORE THAN 90% OF THEIR REVENUES FROM FEDERAL TAXPAYER DOLLARS. AGAIN, HOW DO THEY DO THAT BECAUSE IF YOU GET MILITARY MONEY THAT'S NOT COUNTED IN THE 90%. THAT'S COUNTED IN THE 10% THAT'S KIND OF -- QUOTE -- "PRIVATE." LET'S GET THAT AGAIN. IF THEY ENROLL A MILITARY PERSON WHO GETS G.I. BILL BENEFITS AND THEY PUT IT INTO THAT'S SCHOOLS, THAT'S NOT COUNTED AS PART OF THE 90%. THAT'S WHAT THEIR NICE LOBBYING GOT DONE FOR THEM. SO THEY DON'T ABIDE BY 90%. SOME OF THEM GET MORE THAN 90% OF THEIR MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SO AGAIN, JUST LOOKING AT PHOENIX, THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX TOOK IN MORE THAN $1 BILLION IN PELL GRANTS LAST YEAR, $1 BILLION IN PELL GRANTS, MORE THAN $3 BILLION IN FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS, $4 BILLION IN REVENUE FROM THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS FOR JUST ONE COMPANY IN ONE YEAR. MORE THANK 93% OF THE STUDENTS IN THESE SCHOOLS TAKE OUT FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS AND THE LOANS GO TO THESE SCHOOLS. BY RELYING SO HEAVILY ON FEDERAL SUBSIDY, THESE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES HAVE PRIVATETIZED THE PROCESS OF COLLECTING FEDERAL SUBSIDIES BUT THEY'VE LEFT THE STUDENTS HOLING THE BAG. THE COST OF A SUBPAR EDUCATION AT A VERY HIGH PRICE. OF COURSE THE TERM "FOR PROFIT" IS NOT COMPLETELY MISPLACED BECAUSE REGARDLESS OF HOW POORLY STUDENTS PERFORM, AS LONG AS THESE COMPANIES CAN DEMONSTRATE ENROLLMENT GROWTH, THEY REMAIN PROFITABLE. IN 2009, THE SAME 30 SCHOOLS THAT RECEIVED 85% OF REVENUES FROM FEDERAL DOLLARS GENERATED $3.5 BILLION IN PROFITS. FOR THE HEDGE FUNDS, THE EQUITY INVESTORS, OR STOCKHOLDERS. SHAREHOLDERS. TOGETHER THE SCHOOLS, GET THIS, MR. PRESIDENT, TOGETHER THE SCHOOLS LAST YEAR -- TOGETHER, ALL THE SCHOOLS -- HAD A PROFIT MARGIN OF 19%. HOW MANY BUSINESSES IN THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA HAVE A PROFIT MARGIN OF 19%, I ASK? OR IOWA? BUT THAT'S OVERAGE. SOME SCHOOLS HAD PROFIT MARGINS OF 33%. THE HIGHEST WE FOUND WAS 36%. 36% PROFIT MARGIN, LAST YEAR. AND WHERE DID THE MONEY COME FROM? THE TAXPAYERS. THE TAXPAYERS OF AMERICA. NOT A BAD DEAL, IF YOU CAN GET IT, HUH? AND THEN -- AND THEN LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE EXECUTIVE SALARIES. SO THAT 85% TO 90-PLUS PERCENT OF THE REVENUES COMING FROM THE TAXPAYERS REALLY PAID FOR SOME HIGH EXECUTIVE SALARIES. "BUSINESSWEEK" RECENTLY REPORTED THAT THE C.E.O. OF STRAYER -- STRAYER, ONE THESE SCHOOLS -- STRAYER WAS PAID $41.6 MILLION LAST YEAR. THAT'S THE PRESIDENT OF THE SCHOOL. 26 TIMES THE HIGHEST SALARY PAID TO A NONPROFIT OR PUBLIC UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT -- 26 TIMES -- PROBABLY MORE THAN THAT AT UNIVERSITY OF WEST VIRGINIA OR IOWA STATE. COMBINED THE EXECUTIVES AT THE 15 PUBLICLY TRADED SCHOOLS RECEIVED STOCK. LET ME REPEAT THAT. OVER THE LAST SEVEN YEARS, THESE EXECUTIVES THAT RUN THESE SCHOOLS STARTED DUMPING STOCK. THEY STARTED SELLING ALL THEIR STOCK BACK. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY GOT? $2 BILLION IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS FROM THE SALE OF THEIR STOCK. UN, IF THEY LOVE THESE SCHOOLS SO -- YOU KNOW, IF THEY LOVE THESE SCHOOLS SO MUCH, YOU THINK THEY'D BE INVESTING THE MONEY IN THESE SCHOOLS TO HELP SOME OF THESE STUDENTS, MAYBE TUTORING, SOME KIND OF SUPPORT MECHANISMS FOR THESE POOR STUDENTS THAT COME IN THAT DON'T HAVE AN EXPERIENCE OF GOING TO SCHOOL, THAT THEY WOULD BE DOING EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO MAKE SURE THAT STUDENTS WHO CAME IN STAYED AND DIDN'T DROP OUT. HUH-UH. THEY JUST SOLD STOCK, WALKED AWAY WITH $2 BILLION IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS. THE CO-C.E.O. OF THE COMPANY THAT OWNS THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX WAS PAID $11.3 MILLION LAST YEAR. THAT'S MORE THAN SEVEN TIMES THE $1.6 MILLION PAID TO THE HIGHEST PAID HEAD OF A NONPROFIT, MORE THAN 14 TIMES I, JUST FOUND OUT HERE, THE COMPENSATION PAID TO THE PRESIDENT OF HARVARD. HMM. BOY, THEY'RE WALKING AWAY WITH MONEY. WELL, THAT WAS OUR FIRST HEARING. WHAT ARE THESE SCHOOLS? NOW, OUR SECOND HEARING THAT WE HAD IN AUGUST, WE FEATURED TESTIMONY FROM THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, THE G.A.O. FOCUSED ON HOW FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS GO ABOUT RECRUITING STUDENTS. WE HAD HEARD COMPANIES WITH THESE PRIVATE SCHOOLS COMPLAINED THAT THEIR RAPID GROWTH WAS NOTHING MORE THAN STUDENTS VOTING WITH THEIR FEET. UNFORTUNATELY, THE G.A.O. AND OUR WITNESSES, INCLUDING A FORMER RECRUITER AT WESTWOOD COLLEGE -- I JUST MENTIONED -- MADE CLEAR THAT FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE GROWTH IS ACTUALLY THE RESULT OF AN AGGRESSIVE, WELL-FUNDED MARKETING EFFORT BY THE SCHOOLS, INCLUDING LIES AND DECEPTION. USING UNDERCOVER AGENTS AND HIDDEN CAMERAS, G.A.O. PRESENTED A TROUBLING PICTURE OF STUDENT RECRUITMENT. UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATORS FROM G.A.O. VISITED 15 CAMPUSES OF 12 COMPANIES -- 15 CAMPUSES OF 12 COMPANIES -- AND THEY FOUND MISLEADING, DECEPTIVE, OVERLY AGGRESSIVE OR FRAUDULENT PRACTICES AT EVERY ONE OF THOSE CAMPUSES. EVERY SINGLE ONE. WE WATCHED THE FILMS. WE WATCHED THEM. THEY HAD THESE LITTLE HIDDEN CAMERAS AND MICROPHONES. WE WATCHED THEM IN OUR COMMITTEE HEARING. STARTLING. STARTLING. STUDENTS WERE LIED TO ABOUT THE COST OF THE PROGRAM, ABOUT WHAT THEY COULD EXPECT TO EARN, ABOUT HOW MANY STUDENTS TBRAD WAITED WAITED -- GRADUATED, WHETHER THEIR CREDITS WOULD TRANSFER, AND WHETHER THE PROGRAM WAS ACCREDITED. THEY WERE MISLED ABOUT WHETHER THEIR STUDENT LOANS WERE DISCHARGEABLE IN BANKRUPTCY. AND EVEN WERE PREVENTED FROM HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH A FINANCIAL AID OFFICER UNTIL AFTER THEY SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE. SO YOU SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE, THEN YOU GET TO TALK TO THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICER. THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN AT WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY OR IOWA STATE. YOU CAN SEE THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICER AND SEE WHAT YOU'RE ELIGIBLE BEFORE, BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO GO THERE -- ELIGIBLE FOR BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO GO THERE. NOW, I WANT TO JUST DIGRESS FOR A MINUTE, MR. PRESIDENT, ABOUT THIS DISCHARGEABLE IN BANKRUPTCY. THAT'S ONE THING THAT VERY FEW OF THESE STUDENTS KNOW. LET'S FACE IT, A LOT OF THESE STUDENTS ARE -- ARE -- ARE -- COME FROM LOW-INCOME FAMILIES -- AND I'LL GOAT THAT ALSO IN A -- GET TO THAT ALSO IN A MINUTE, THEY PROBABLY HAD A GOOD EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOL, BUT THEY WANT TO BETTER THEMSELVES. AND SO THEY LISTEN TO THIS HIGH HIGH -- HIGH-PRESSURE SALES TACTICS. WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW IS IF THEY BORROW THIS MONEY -- AND THE OTHER THING THESE SCHOOLS DO, THEY GET THESE KIDS ON-LINE AND STUFF AND THEY CALL THEM ON THE PHONE AND THEN THEY SAY, DON'T WORRY ABOUT A THING, WE'LL FILL OUT ALL THE PAPERWORK, WE'LL TAKE CARE OF ALL THE PAPERWORK, AND BASED UPON WHAT YOU SAID, YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS MUCH PELL GRANT -- YOU'LL GET THE MONEY -- AND LOANS AND YOU CAN GET THESE FEDERAL LOANS. AND WE'LL TAKE CARE OF ALL THE PAPERWORK. YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT A THING. YOU JUST SIGN UP. WHAT THE STUDENTS DON'T KNOW IS THAT THE LOANS THEY'RE TAKING OUT CAN NEVER BE DISCHARGED. NEVER UNTIL THEY DIE. NOW, WE TALK A LOT ABOUT THE SUBPRIME AND HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE LEFT WITH HOUSES THEY BOTH BOTH -- THEY BOUGHT AND THEY COULDN'T PAY FOR. HERE'S ONE DIFFERENCE. YOU CAN WALK AWAY FROM THE HOUSE. IF YOU BUY A CAR AND YOU GET A LOAN ON A CAR AND YOU CAN'T MAKE IT, YOU CAN WALK AWAY FROM THE CAR. STUDENTS CANNOT WALK AWAY FROM THESE DEBTS. ONCE THAT SCHOOL GETS THAT MONEY AND THEY DROP OUT, THEY GOT THAT DEBT HANGING AROUND THEIR NECK. AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS -- AND I'LL GET TO THIS LATER TOO -- THOSE STUDENTS THEN CAN'T GO ON TO ANOTHER SCHOOL, THEY CAN'T GET ANOTHER LOAN, THEY CAN'T DO ANYTHING UNTIL THEY PAY THAT DEBT. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL BE AFTER THEM ON THAT DEBT EVEN WHEN THEY GET SOCIAL SECURITY, THEY'LL GO AFTER THE SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS. HOW MANY STUDENTS WOULD BORROW $29,000 IF THEY KNEW THAT? IF THEY KNEW THAT DEBT WILL BE YOURS UNTIL YOU PAY IT OFF? THEY DON'T KNOW THAT. THEY DROP OUT OF SCHOOL, THEY THINK THEY BORROWED THE MONEY, THEY GAVE IT TO THE SCHOOL AND THAT'S IT. NOT TRUE. AND SCHOOLS DON'T REALLY INFORM THEM OF THIS. THE COMMITTEE RECEIVED RECRUITMENT TRAINING MANUALS FROM SEVERAL DIFFERENT CAMPUSES. THEY HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON -- MANIPULATION. GET THIS, AND THIS IS WRITTEN UP UP, THEY ENCOURAGE THEIR SALES STAFF TO IDENTIFY THE EMOTIONAL WEAKNESSES OF PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS, TO EXPLOIT THE PAIN TO MOTIVATE STUDENTS TO ENROLL. AGAIN, DON'T TAKE IT FROM ME, A RECENT "BUSINESS WEEK" ARTICLE DESCRIBED A DOCUMENT FROM KAPLAN UNIVERSITY THAT URGED RECRUITERS TO FOCUS ON -- QUOTE -- "THE FEAR, UNCERTAINTY AND DOUBT OF THEIR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS." THESE RECRUITMENT PRACTICES ARE MORE LIKE CARICATURES OF BOILERROOM SALES TACTICS THAN TRYING TO GET ONE SOMEONE A GOOD EDUCATION. THESE ABUSIVE RECRUITMENT PRACTICES RESULT IN STUDENTS UNPREPARED OR POORLY MATCHED TO THEIR ACADEMIC PROGRAMS WITH THE HIGH PROBABILITY OF DROPPING OUT, LEAVING SCHOOL NOT WITH A DEGREE BUT WITH A MOUNTAIN OF DEBT. SOME FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES SPEND IN EXCESS OF 30% OF TOTAL COSTS JUST TO FUND AN AGGRESSIVE SALES FORCE. 30%. OF TOTAL COSTS JUST ON THEIR SALES FORCE. THESE ABUSIVE PRACTICES SO WIDESPREAD THAT G.A.O. FOUND THEM AT EVERY CAMPUS OF EVERY COMPANY IT VISITED, ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A VERY SICK INDUSTRY. WHILE G.A.O. MADE SOME MINOR REVISIONS AND CLARIFICATION TO THE LONG LIST OF MISLEADING PRACTICES THAT IT DOCUMENTED AND THAT THE INDUSTRY HAS NOW TRIED HARD TO USE TO DISCREDIT THE WORK OF THE G.A.O., THE ESSENTIAL FINDING STANDS, THAT EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL ENGAGED IN MISREPRESENTATION, DECEPTION, OR OUTRIGHT FRAUD. I URGE ANYONE INTERESTED TO GO TO OUR COMMITTEE WEB SITE, THE "HELP" COMMITTEE WEB SITE, AND LISTEN TO THOSE G.A.O. TAPES FOR THEMSELVES. IN FACT, THE 30 COMPANIES FROM WHICH I REQUESTED INFORMATION SPENT A COMBINED $4.12 BILLION IN MARKETING IN FISCAL YEAR 2009. $4.12 BILLION THEY SPENT ON MARKETING. AND IF YOU SAY, WELL, WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT? WELL, JUST THINK, 85% OF THAT CAME FROM THE TAXPAYERS. SIX COMPANIES, APOLLO WALL DEN, GRAND CANYON, BRIDGEPOINT, STRAYER AND I.T.T., ACTUALLY SPENT MORE THAN 50% OF THEIR REVENUES ON A COMBINATION OF MARKETING AND PROFIT. SO YOU ADD UP THEIR MARKETING AND THEIR PROFIT -- OVER 50% OF THEIR REVENUES. THE SECOND "HELP" COMMITTEE HEARING MADE CLEAR TO ME THAT THE PROBLEMS OF THE FOR-PROFIT SECTOR CANNOT BE CHALKED UP TO A FEW BAD ACTORS. THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GREAT PROFIT IN SPITE OF POOR STUDENT OUTCOMES HAS BECOME THE BITS MODEL IN THIS -- THE BUSINESS MODEL IN THIS SECTOR. I BECAME WORRIED THAT THIS APPROACH CHARACTERIZED BY AGGRESSIVE RECRUITMENT, HIGH-COST, HIGH-DEBT, LOW GRADUATION RATES WAS CREATING A VORTEX, SUCKING IN EVEN THE GOOD ACTORS IN THE INDUSTRY. I MEAN, THINK ABOUT THIS BUSINESS MODEL. THINK ABOUT IT. IF YOU'RE ONE OF THESE FOR-PRIVATE SCHOOLS, THESE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS, YOU MAKE THE MOST MONEY BY RECRUITING THE POOREST STUDENTS. NOW, HERE'S WHY. BECAUSE IF YOU GET THE POOREST STUDENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR THE MAXIMUM PELL GRANT. YOU GET THE POOREST STUDENT, THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR THE MAXIMUM FEDERAL LOANS. AND THAT'S PROFIT. THAT'S PROFIT TO THESE COMPANIES. SO THEY ARE THE BUSINESS MODEL. AND SINCE THEY, THE COMPANIES, ARE LEGALLY BOUND TO TRY TO INCREASE THEIR RETURNS, EITHER TO THEIR EQUITY INVESTORS OR HEDGE FUNDS OR THEIR SHAREHOLDERS, THEY HAVE TO HAVE THIS GROWTH. SO THEY KEEP AGGRESSIVELY RECRUITING MORE STUDENTS. AND THE POORER YOU ARE, THE BETTER THEY LIKE IT. IT GIVES THEM MORE MONEY. AND THEN IF YOU DROP OUT, NO SKIN OFF THEIR TEETH. THEY DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING. SO THE POOR STUDENTS GET RECRUITED. THEY DON'T GET ANY SUPPORT OR VERY LITTLE. LITTLE HELP. THEY DROP OUT. I HAVE A CHART, I'LL SHOW YOU THAT AFTER A BIT, AND THEY GOT ALL THIS DELL AND THE SCHOOLS HAVE -- ALL THIS DEBT AND THE SCHOOLS HAVE ALL THE MONEY. THAT'S THE BUSINESS MODEL. THAT'S THE BUSINESS MODEL. THE "HELP" COMMITTEE HELD ITS THIRD AND MOST RECENT HEARING IN SEPTEMBER WITH THE FOCUS ON ANSWERING THE QUESTION: WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ALL THE STUDENTS THAT THESE SCHOOLS ARE PUSHING SO HARD TO BRING IN THE DOOR, THE ONES I JUST TALKED ABOUT? UNFORTUNATELY, ACCORDING TO INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE 30 SCHOOLS AND ANALYZED BY OUR "HELP" COMMITTEE, IT APPEARS THESE STUDENTS ARE NOT FAIRING VERY WELL. AT THE 30 COMPANIES WE ANALYZED, 54% OF THE STUDENTS WHO CAME IN THE DOOR IN THE 2008-2009 SCHOOL YEAR HAD LEFT WITHOUT A DEGREE BY THE FOLLOWING YEAR. OKAY? AT 30 COMPANIES THAT WE ANALYZED, 54% OF THE STUDENTS WHO CAME IN THE DOOR THAT YEAR LEFT THE FOLLOWING YEAR WITHOUT A DEGREE. THEY JUST VANISHED. 54%. ONE OUT OF EVERY TWO. THEY JUST LEFT. THAT NUMBER IS STRIKING. WE KNOW FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION THAT NEARLY EVERY STUDENT AT A FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE WILL TAKE OUT A FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN. AND, OF COURSE OF COURSE, OF COURSE, THEY'LL GET THEIR PELL GRANTS TOO. THAT MEANS MORE THAN HALF OF THESE STUDENTS ARE BEING SADDLED WITH DEBT AND DROPPING OUT WITHOUT A DEGREE. THE NUMBERS ARE EVEN WORSE WHEN WE LOOK AT STUDENTS ENROLLED IN ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE PROGRAMS. ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE PROGRAMS. THESE ARE -- THIS CHART HERE WILL SHOW THIS. THIS CHART HERE SHOWS THAT -- SHOWS THE TEN ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE PROGRAMS WITH THE WORST OUTCOMES FOR STUDENTS. THESE TEN HERE. THE COLUMN IN YELLOW SHOWS THE PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS LEAVING. RIGHT HERE. SO HERE'S THE INSTITUTION. TOTAL STUDENTS. HERE'S THE WITHDRAWAL RATE. THIS IS THE WITHDRAWAL RATE IN THE FIRST YEAR. IN THE FIRST YEAR. 84% FROM BRIDGEPOINT. BRIDGEPOINT, $84.4% OF THE STUDENTS THAT SIGNED UP DROPPED OUT IN THE FIRST YEAR. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENED TO THEIR LOANS? WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENED TO THEIR PELL GRANTS? STUDENTS GET THOSE BACK? NOT ON YOUR LIFE. BRIDGEPOINT GOT THEM. WENT TO THEIR SHAREHOLDERS. AND THAT PROGRAM, BIJPOINT, 84% -- BRIDGEPOINT, 84%, NEARLY ALL OF THE 7,900 STUDENTS THAT THEY HAVE, LEFT BEFORE OBTAINING THEIR ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE. I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT A BACHELOR'S DETERMINATION I'M TALKING ABOUT A TWO-YEAR DEGREE. NEARLY 70% AT THE SECOND SCHOOL, LINCOLN, WITH THE REST IN THE 60% RANGE. SO THEY HAD 69% DIDN'T FINISH. NOW, JUST AMONG THESE TEN SCHOOLS HERE, 375,000 STUDENTS ENROLLED -- ENROLLED -- IN THE 2008-2009 SCHOOL YEAR. NEARLY 250,000 DROPPED OUT WITH A -- WITHOUT A DEGREE A YEAR LATER. 250,000. THIS IS STAGGERING NUMBERS. NOW, BEHIND THEM ARE STUDENTS WHO ARE FED UP WITH THE LACK OF HELP OR SUPPORT FROM THE SCHOOL BEHIND THESE NUMBERS. THEY CAN NO LONGER JUSTIFY THE LEVEL OF DEBT THEY'RE TAKING ON BECAUSE THEY REALIZE THE DREAM JOB THAT THE RECRUITER SOLD THEM ON ISN'T WAITING AT THE END. AND I SHOULD BE CLEAR THAT THESE ARE NOT THE COMPLETE DROPOUT RATES. MORE STUDENTS ARE ACTUALLY LIKELY TO QUIT BY THE TIME WE WOULD ACTUALLY MEASURE THAT. THESE ARE STUDENTS WHO ARE GONE WITHIN A YEAR, MANY OF WHOM NEVER EVEN REGISTER IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION'S ANNUAL ENROLLMENT COUNT. GUESS WHERE THEY'RE COUNTED, THOUGH? THEY'RE COUNTED BY INVESTORS LOOKING TO VALUE THE COMPANY AND MEASURE ITS LIKELY PROFIT. SO WHEN I SAY ALL THESE STUDENTS DROPPED OUT, THAT'S JUST ONE YEAR. HOW MANY DROPPED OUT THE SECOND YEAR? WE DON'T KNOW THAT. NOW, LET ME FOCUS FOR A MOMENT ON BRIDGEPOINT. BRIDGEPOINT OPERATES ASHFORD UNIVERSITY BASED SORT OF IN CLINTON, IOWA. A GROUP OF PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTORS PURCHASED A SMALL CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN 2004 WHEN IT HAD ABOUT 375 STUDENTS. NOW -- LISTEN TO THAT. IN 2004, THIS SMALL CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN CLINTON, IOWA, HAD 375 STUDENTS. THEY TRANSFERRED IT INTO -- TRANSFORMED IT INTO A FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL. IT NOW HAS 67,000 STUDENTS. A 17,000% INCREASE IN STUDENT POPULATION IN SIX YEARS. 17,000%. NOW, ASHFORD STILL OPERATES THE SMALL CAMPUS IN IOWA, ABOUT 600 STUDENTS GO THERE. THE OTHER 67,000 TAKE CLASSES ON-LINE. I OBVIOUSLY WAS VERY INTERESTED TO KNOW HOW THE HECK THEY CAN BE DOING SUCH A GOOD JOB FOR STUDENTS WITH THAT KIND OF GROWTH. WHAT THE DATA WE HAVE COLLECTED THROUGH OUR INVESTIGATION CAN TELL US, FOR THE FIRST TIME, IS THAT THEY'RE NOT DOING A VERY GOOD JOB FOR THEIR STUDENTS. 84% OF THE STUDENTS SEEKING AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE AND 63% OF BACHELOR DEGREE SEEKING STUDENTS LEAVE ASH FORD WITHIN A YEAR WITHOUT FIN -- ASHFORD WITHIN A YEAR WITHOUT FINISHING THEIR PROGRAMS. BUT LOOK AT THE GROWTH, 17,000% GROWTH. YOU KNOW, THIS ISN'T TERRIBLY SURPRISING, BECAUSE BRIDGEPOINT OFFERS NO TUTORING OR OTHER STUDENT SERVICES. IF A STUDENT STARTS TO HAVE DIFFICULTIES AT ASHFORD ON-LINE, THEY HAVE TWO OPTIONS: TALK TO THEIR PART-TIME TEACHER ON-LINE OR ASK THE COMPUTER AVATAR, WHO IS THE ON-LINE STUDENT RESOURCE CENTER SHOULD A STUDENT SUCCEED IN COMPLETING A DEGREE AT ASHFORD, THEY BEST NOT EXPECT A LOT OF HELP FINDING A JOB. WHILE BRIDGEPOINT EMPLOYS 1,703 RECRUITERS, THEY EMPLOY, GET THIS -- THEY EMPLOY JUST ONE PERSON TO HANDLE CAREER PLANNING. THEY HIRE 1,703 RECRUITERS, ONE PERSON TO HANDLE CAREER PLANNING FOR THE ENTIRE STUDENT BODY OF 67,000 STUDENTS, ONE PERSON. -- FOR CAREER PLANNING AND PLACEMENT. ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY 60% OF ALL COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS NEW EXTRA HELP TO SUCCEED IN SCHOOL. THEY NEED TUTORING AND CLASSES TO MAKE UP FOR WHAT THEY MAY NOT HAVE LEARNED IN MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL. FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES SERVE A SIMILAR POPULATION WITH SIMILAR NEEDS AS THEY OFTEN REMIND US THE FOR-PROFIT SECTOR SERVES A GROUP OF STUDENTS THAT -- QUOTE -- "TRADITIONALLY LACKED ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION." THEIR STUDENTS ARE THE ONES WHO ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE, THE ONES WHO MAYBE DIDN'T HAVE COLLEGES THAT WENT TO COLLEGE, WHO DIDN'T GROW UP IN A FAIRLY WEALTHY HOUSEHOLD, THEY NEED A SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT STRUCTURE. LIKE BRIDGEPOINT, SCHOOLS THAT HAVE LARGE ONLINE PROGRAMS SEEM TO HAVE PARTICULARLY TROUBLING OUTCOMES. THIS BECOMES CLEAR WHEN YOU LOOK AT A LARGE PUBLICLY TRADED SCHOOL THAT HAS A LARGE ONLINE PROGRAM AND A LARGE CAMPUS-BASED PROGRAM FOR ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE SEEKING STUDENTS. I'M TALKING ABOUT A TWO-YEAR DEGREE. YOU CAN SEE IT ON THIS CHART. CAREER EDUCATION CORPORATION. THAT'S ANOTHER ONE OF THESE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS. HAS A WITHDRAWAL RATE OF 44% ON THEIR CAMPUS BASE PROGRAMS. A WHOPPING 69.5% IN THEIR ONLINE PROGRAMS. CAMPUS-BASED PROGRAMS WITHDRAWAL RATE 44%, ONLINE WITHDRAWAL RATE 69.5%. SO SOMETHING'S VERY WRONG HERE. TO ME THIS SUGGESTS THAT THE ONLINE STUDENTS ARE NOT GETTING THE SUPPORT THEY NEED. IT'S INEXPENSIVE FOR A STUDENT TO ENROLL A STUDENT ONLINE. BUT TO ENSURE THAT THOSE STUDENTS ARE LEARNING AND SUCCEEDING WOULD REQUIRE A MAJOR INVESTMENT THAT FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS OBVIOUSLY ARE NOT WILLING TO MAKE. WHAT THESE HIGH DROPOUT NUMBERS ILLUSTRATE IS A PHENOMENON CALLED CHURN. CHURN. C-HUNCH-U-R-N. THAT'S AN INDUSTRY TERM FOR BRINGING IN STUDENTS, SIGNING THEM UP FOR LOANS AND PELL GRANTS AND THEN LEAVING THEM TO SINK OR SWIM AND THEN THEY GO OUT THE DOOR AND THEY BRING IN MORE. THAT'S WHAT THEY CALL CHURNING THROUGH THE STUDENTS. BECAUSE SO MANY STUDENTS AT THESE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS COME IN THE DOOR AND THEN LEAVE WITHIN FOUR MONTHS, FIVE MONTHS, SIX MONTHS, MANY OF THESE STUDENTS DON'T EVEN SHOW UP IN THE DATA THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION COLLECTS. SO AT BRIDGEPOINT, FOR EXAMPLE -- AT BRIDGEPOINT -- AT BRIDGEPOINT ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASSES IN FALL 2009 THERE WERE ABOUT 48,000 STUDENTS SIGNED UP. OVER THE NEXT YEAR RECRUITERS SIGNED UP 77,000 ADDITIONAL STUDENTS. OK. LET'S KEEP THESE FIGURES STRAIGHT. FOLLOW 2009, 48,000 STUDENTS SIGNED UP FOR BRIDGEPOINT. IN THE NEXT YEAR THEY SIGNED UP 77,000 ADDITIONAL STUDENTS. THEN AT THE END OF THAT SCHOOL YEAR IN 2010 THERE WERE ONLY 67,000 TOTAL STUDENTS ENROLLED. THAT MEANS THAT THE SCHOOL'S ACTUAL HEAD COUNT FOR THAT YEAR WAS ABOUT 125,000 STUDENTS ENROLLED AT SOME POINT. BUT 58,000 STUDENTS, NEARLY HALF OF THEM, DIDN'T STICK AROUND. THEY WERE OUT THE DOOR. NOW, THESE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS THAT PEOPLE DON'T MOMENT THIS IS WHAT OUR INVESTIGATION HAS UNCOVERED. BY GETTING THE DOCUMENTATION THAT LED US TO THESE FIGURES. THE PICTURE IS MUCH THE SAME AT OTHER FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS. IN FACT, MOST SCHOOLS THAT WE ANALYZED RECRUIT AT LEAST THE EQUIVALENT OF THEIR STARTING STUDENT POPULATION AND NEW EACH YEAR. AGAIN, THAT BEARS REPEATING. MOST OF THE SCHOOLS THAT WE ANALYZED RECRUIT AT LEAST THE EQUIVALENT OF THEIR ENTIRE STARTING STUDENT POPULATION ANEW EVERY YEAR. NOW, THIS IS THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX. WE'VE ALL HEARD OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX. IF YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF THEM YOU DON'T WATCH TV OR READ THE NEWSPAPERS OR RIDE A BUS OR ANYTHING ELSE TO SEE ALL THEIR ADS. THEY DO A GREAT JOB OF ADVERTISING. AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX IN 2008 -- RIGHT HERE 2008-2009, THE SCHOOL STARTED THE YEAR WITH 443,000 STUDENTS. 443,000 STUDENTS. THEY ENDED THE SCHOOL YEAR WITH 470,800 STUDENTS. SO WHAT'S THAT? ABOUT 27 -- ALMOST 28,000 STUDENTS INCREASED. OKAY. 27,800, TO BE EXACT. SO THEY GREW THEIR ENROLLMENT BY 27,800. IN FACT, THEY ACTUALLY RECRUITED AND ENROLLED 371,700 NEW STUDENTS. -- STUDENTS IN THAT YEAR TO GET 27,800. AGAIN, THESE NUMBERS CAN GET A LITTLE CONFUSING. LET ME TRY IT AGAIN. THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STARTED THE SCHOOL YEAR IN 2008 WITH 443,000 STUDENTS. THEY ENDED THE SCHOOL YEAR WITH 470,800. A GROWTH OF 27,800 STUDENTS. HOW DID THEY GET 27,800? THEY RECRUITED 371,700 STUDENTS JUST TO GET THAT 27,800. THAT MEANS ALMOST 350,000 STUDENTS PASSED THROUGH THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX IN 2009 WITHOUT ANYTHING TO SHOW FOR IT. THEY CAME IN, A LOT OF THEM GAVE THEM THEIR PELL GRANTS, THEY TURNED OVER THEIR STUDENT LOANS, AND THEN THEY VANISHED. AND THE STUDENTS GOT THE DEBT AND THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX, A NICE LITTLE PROFIT. A NICE LITTLE PROFIT. I SHOULD SAY A NICE BIG PROFIT. AT ANOTHER COMPANY, EDMS, THE MARKETING AND RECRUITING MACHINE SIGNED UP 124,000 NEW STUDENTS IN THE LAST SCHOOL YEAR, BUT THEY ENDED THE YEAR WITH ONLY 19,000 MORE STUDENTS THAN WHEN THEY STARTED. RECRUITERS FOR THESE SCHOOLS FACE THE IMPERATIVE OF ENROLLING LARGE NUMBERS OF NEW STUDENTS EACH YEAR TO REPLACE THOSE DROPPING OUT AND EVENTUALLY REACHED THE POINT WHERE THE NUMBER OF NEW STUDENTS CAUSED ENROLLMENT TO GROW. THAT'S WHAT THE SHAREHOLDERS DEMAND. THAT'S WHAT THE HEDGE FUNDS WHO OWN THEM DEMAND. THAT'S WHAT THEIR EQUITY INVESTORS DEMAND. SO THE SCHOOLS MAY BE VERY SUCCESSFUL AS COMPANIES, MAKING PROFITS FOR THEIR INVESTORS AND THEIR OWNERS, AND I MIGHT SAY HUGE COMPENSATION FOR THEIR EXECUTIVES AND THEIR PRESIDENTS. IT'S HARD TO SAY THAT THEY'RE SUCCESSFUL AS EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.

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  • 04:08:07 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WILL THE SENATOR YIELD FOR A QUESTION?

  • 04:08:10 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    BE DELIGHTED. BUSH TUSH MOST PEOPLE -- BUSH BUSH MOST PEOPLE SAY THAT --

  • 04:08:18 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MOST WILL MAKE A PROFIT WHAT PERCENTAGE OF REVENUES LIKE AT UNIVERSITY OF…

    MOST WILL MAKE A PROFIT WHAT PERCENTAGE OF REVENUES LIKE AT UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX COME FROM FEDERAL TAXPAYERS?

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  • 04:08:27 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    THAT THE SENATOR ASKED THAT QUESTION. I WENT OVER IT EARLIER. I'LL GO OVER…

    THAT THE SENATOR ASKED THAT QUESTION. I WENT OVER IT EARLIER. I'LL GO OVER IT AGAIN. AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX, THEY CAN ONLY GET 90% OF THEIR REVENUE FROM FEDERAL SOURCES, LOANS OR GRANTS, PELL GRANTS, LOANS, THAT TYPE OF THING. 90%. WELL, UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX REPORTED LAST YEAR THEY GOT 89% OF THEIR MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. HERE'S THE KICKER. IF YOU ARE A G.I. AND THEY RECRUIT YOU AND YOU'RE GIVING THEM YOUR G.I. BENEFITS AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS YOU GET THROUGH THE MILITARY, THAT'S NOT COUNTED IN THE 90%. FOR SOME REASON THAT'S NOT TAXPAYER MONEY. SO ACTUALLY THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX GOT MORE THAN 90% OF THEIR MONEY FROM THE TAXPAYERS MONEY.

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  • 04:09:19 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    ASK THE G.A.O. TO DO A STUDY ABOUT THE G.I. BILL BENEFITS AND HOW MUCH WE…

    ASK THE G.A.O. TO DO A STUDY ABOUT THE G.I. BILL BENEFITS AND HOW MUCH WE WERE ACTUALLY SPENDING THROUGH THE G.I. BILL FOR EDUCATION TO THE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS COMPARED TO THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, COMMUNITY COLLEGES, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. WE ASKED FOR THAT NUMBER AND WE ENDED UP, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN, LEARNING THAT THESE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS WERE CHARGING G.I.'S AND VETERANS THREE TIMES -- THREE TIMES THE AMOUNT THAT WAS BEING CHARGED FOR THOSE WHO WENT THROUGH OTHER TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS, PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES. AND IT STRIKES ME THAT WE HAVE A LEGITIMATE CONCERN -- I KNOW THE SENATOR FROM IOWA AND MYSELF HAVE BEEN DUTIFULLY AND LOYALLY VOTING FOR FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION. I DON'T KNOW HIS STORY, MIORY IS BECAUSE OF A -- MY STORY IS BECAUSE OF A GOVERNMENT LOAN THAT ALLOWED ME TO FINISH LAW SCHOOL. THINK THAT THE, FOR GOODNESS SAKE, IF THAT'S HOW I REACHED THIS POINT IN MY LIFE, OTHER PEOPLE DESERVE THE SAME CHANCE. I HAVE BEEN ALMOST AN AUTOMATIC VOTE WHEN IT CAME TO THIS KIND OF ASSISTANCE. I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM IOWA, NOW THAT YOU'VE HAD THESE HEARINGS AND I JOINED YOU IN INVESTIGATING IT, I FIND THAT A GROWING PERCENTAGE IS GOING FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS THAT OPERATE WITH 90% OF FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS AND DON'T END UP PROVIDING THE KIND OF EDUCATION THAT THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN NEED TO SUCCEED AND MANY OF THEM END UP DEFAULTING ON THEIR STUDENT LOANS SO THERE THEY ARE WITH THE DEBT AND NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT. WHICH I BELIEVE IS THE POINT THAT YOU'RE MAKING. SO I'D SAY TO MY COLLEAGUE FROM IOWA, A VETERAN HIMSELF, HOW CAN IT BE FAIR TO GOVERNMENT OR TO THE VETERANS FOR THIS KIND OF EXPLOITATION TO CONTINUE?

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  • 04:11:12 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    I SAY TO MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS, WHO HAS BEEN A LEADER IN THIS EFFORT OF…

    I SAY TO MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS, WHO HAS BEEN A LEADER IN THIS EFFORT OF LOOKING AT THE FOR-PROFIT INDUSTRY AND TRYING TO GET THE FACTS OUT AS TO WHAT'S GOING ON HERE SO WE CAN MAKE REASONABLE DECISIONS AS LEGISLATORS PROTECTING BOTH THE TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS AND PROTECTING STUDENTS. I SAY TO MY FRIEND ON DECEMBER THE 8, OUR COMMITTEE PUBLISHED THIS REPORT CALLED "BENEFITING FOR-PROFIT -- WHOM, FOR PROFIT COMPANIES. I SUGGEST THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO TAKE LOOK AT THAT TO SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING. THE SENATOR'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, MORE AND MORE OF THIS MONEY IS GOING FOR -- TO THE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS. LET ME PUT THIS WAY. BETWEEN 640 -- $640 MILLION TO TO $700 BILLION IN G.I. BILL BENEFITS WENT BASICALLY TO PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS, YOU KNOW, PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, IOWA STATE, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, ALL OF THAT. SO ABOUT $640 MILLION TO $700 MILLION WENT TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THAT SUPPORTED 209,000 STUDENTS. ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY FROM G.I. BILL BENEFITS WENT TO THE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS SUPPORTED 75,000 STUDENTS.

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  • 04:12:33 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    3 TO BURN. EVERY DOLLAR THAT WE SPENT THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO…

    3 TO BURN. EVERY DOLLAR THAT WE SPENT THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO HELP VETERANS IN THE G.I. BILL IF THEY WENT TO A FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL, THEY WERE BEING CHARGED THREE TIMES WHAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS WERE CHARGING?

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  • 04:12:49 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WE FOUND, INCIDENTALLY SHOW THAT, FOR EXAMPLE, FOUR OF THE FIVE BIGGEST…

    WE FOUND, INCIDENTALLY SHOW THAT, FOR EXAMPLE, FOUR OF THE FIVE BIGGEST SCHOOLS RECEIVING THE MOST POST-9/11 G.I. BILL FUNDING HAS A ONE CAMPUS DEFAULT RATE OF 20% IN THREE YEARS. IN COMPARISON, I DON'T HAVE THE NUMBERS IN FRONT OF ME, I BELIEVE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE DEFAULT RATES ARE IN THE 7% TO 10% RANGE. SO MORE AND MORE STUDENTS ARE BEING CHARGED HIGHER TUITION AND GOING INTO DEEPER DEBT ARE DEFAULTING, DEFAULTING THREE TIMES AS MUCH AS THOSE WHO ARE ATTENDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS. IT WOULD SEEM TO ME THAT AT A TIME OF GREAT NATIONAL DEFICITS WHEN WE REALLY DO CARE ABOUT OUR VETERANS, THIS IS AN ABSOLUTELY UNEXPLAINABLE, INDEFENSIBLE SITUATION. AND I THANK THE SENATOR FROM IOWA FOR HIS HEARINGS ON THIS AND I ASK HIM AT THIS POINT WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE IN TERMS OF THESE SCHOOLS AND IN TERMS OF WHAT WE SHOULD BE ASKING THEM TO MAKE SURE THAT THE STUDENTS, THE VETERANS AND THE TAXPAYERS GET A FAIR SHAKE?

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  • 04:13:56 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS, I THANK HIM FOR HIS FOCUS ON THIS ISSUE FOR A…

    MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS, I THANK HIM FOR HIS FOCUS ON THIS ISSUE FOR A LONG TIME AND BRINGING IT TO OUR ATTENTION. AGAIN, WHERE ARE WE GOING? WE HAVE SOME MORE HEARINGS THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE HAVING AFTER THE FIRST OF THE YEAR. AND THEN WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT LEGISLATION THAT WE NEED TO DO. WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THIS. AS I SAID EARLIER, OUR FRIEND AND FORMER COLLEAGUE, SENATOR SAM NUNN, OF GEORGIA IN 1992 HAD HEARINGS ON THIS VERY SAME SUBJECT AND WE PUT IN PLACE WHAT WE THOUGHT WERE FIXES TO STRAIGHTEN THIS INDUSTRY OUT AND TO MAKE SURE THAT TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS WERE BETTER PROTECTED. ALMOST ALL OF THOSE HAVE BEEN DONE AWAY WITH THAT THE -- THE FIXES THAT WERE MADE BY SENATOR NUNN AND THIS BODY, THIS CONGRESS AT THAT TIME. WE JUST REALLY HAVE TO REEXAMINE AGAIN THOSE FIXES AND OTHERS. FOR EXAMPLE, AS THE SENATOR KNOWS IN 1992 WE PUT A BAN ON RECRUITING. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU COULDN'T PAY RECRUITERS FOR HOW MANY STUDENTS THEY RECRUITED.

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  • 04:15:00 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    BOUNTIES. THAT WAS ROLLED BACK IN 2001. THEN WE ALSO HAD A PROVISION…

    BOUNTIES. THAT WAS ROLLED BACK IN 2001. THEN WE ALSO HAD A PROVISION BEFORE THAT --

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  • 04:15:18 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    PROVISION THAT WAS PUT IN THE LAW THEN THAT MORE THAN 50% OF YOUR STUDENTS…

    PROVISION THAT WAS PUT IN THE LAW THEN THAT MORE THAN 50% OF YOUR STUDENTS HAD TO BE CAMPUS BASED, HAD TO BE CAMPUS BASED. THAT WAS DONE AWAY WITH IN 2005, SO ALL OF YOUR STUDENTS CAN BE ONLINE. SINCE 2005, WE HAVE SEEN THIS HUGE EXPLOSION OF ONLINE STUDENTS GOING TO THESE PRIVATE SCHOOLS ONLINE. SO THOSE ARE JUST TWO OF THE THINGS THAT -- THAT WE MADE -- THAT HAVE BEEN ROLLED BACK. I THINK WE REALLY HAVE TO RE-EXAMINE THAT AND RE-EXAMINE HOW WE BETTER PROTECT BOTH TAXPAYERS AND THE STUDENTS.

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  • 04:15:49 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    ONE LAST QUESTION OF THE SENATOR FROM IOWA. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF…

    ONE LAST QUESTION OF THE SENATOR FROM IOWA. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS LOOKING AT THIS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN IS LOOKING INTO THIS. YOU CAN'T ESCAPE THE REACTION OF THE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL INDUSTRY. THEY ARE BUYING FULL-PAGE ADS IN EVERY NEWSPAPER THEY CAN GET THEIR HANDS ON CLAIMING THAT WE ARE BY THIS LEGISLATION TRYING TO DENY AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EDUCATION FOR PARTICULARLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS. ISN'T THE BOTTOM LINE HERE THAT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT FIRST SCHOOLS ARE ACCREDITED SO THAT WHEN THEY HOLD THEMSELVES OUT TO OFFER A TRAINING PROGRAM, CERTIFICATE, DEGREE, THEY, IN FACT, ARE DOING THAT? SECONDLY, TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE CHARGING A REASONABLE AMOUNT FOR THE EDUCATION THAT THEY'RE OFFERING. THIRD, IF YOU HAVE SO MANY DEFAULTS, IT BASICALLY SAYS YOUR STUDENTS ARE JUST ACCUMULATING DEBT, NOT ACCUMULATING DIPLOMAS, AND WE HAVE GOT TO BRING THAT TO AN END, AND THEY ARE ASKING ABOUT WHETHER STUDENTS END UP IN A JOB WHEN IT'S ALL OVER, GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT. ARE ANY OF THESE UNREASONABLE IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS PROVIDING 90% OF THE REVENUES FOR THESE SCHOOLS?

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  • 04:16:48 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    THE SENATOR IS BEING VERY REASONABLE. I THINK THESE ARE THE MINIMUM KINDS…

    THE SENATOR IS BEING VERY REASONABLE. I THINK THESE ARE THE MINIMUM KINDS OF THINGS WE HAD TO DO TO BE STEWARDS OF THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY, PROTECT OUR VETERANS AND PROTECT OTHER STUDENTS. ONE OF THE TRICKS IN THE TRADE, AS THEY SAY, I BET IF I ASKED THE SENATOR, I BET IF I ASKED MOST SENATORS HERE TO DESCRIBE A SEMESTER, WHAT'S A SEMESTER. WELL, YOU WOULD THINK A SEMESTER THAT GOES FROM USUALLY SEPTEMBER TO JANUARY IS ONE SEMESTER, MAYBE JANUARY TO MAY IS ANOTHER SEMESTER. THEN THERE IS SUMMER SCHOOL. THAT'S NOT IT. A SEMESTER IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. SOME OF THESE SCHOOLS HAVE A SEMESTER THAT'S FIVE WEEKS LONG. SO IF YOU CAN KEEP YOUR STUDENTS IN FOR 60% OF THE SEMESTER, YOU KEEP ALL THEIR MONEY, AND THEN THEY DROP OUT AND THEY HAVE GOT THE MONEY. NOW, THIS IS SOMETHING ELSE WE HAVE TO WORK OUT, BETTER DEFINITIONS OF WHAT THE TIME FRAMES ARE HERE. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY A SEMESTER AND HOW MUCH TIME IS THAT AND HOW MUCH TIME DOES A STUDENT HAVE TO STAY THERE BEFORE THE SCHOOL CAN KEEP THE GRANTS AND KEEP THE LOANS FROM THE STUDENT? AGAIN, THESE ARE THINGS THAT I THINK THAT OUR COMMITTEE AND OTHERS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WRESTLE WITH AS WE -- AS WE -- AS WE GO AHEAD ON THIS. MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW OTHERS ARE BACKED UP HERE TO SPEAK. I STARTED A LITTLE BIT LATE. I WAS SUPPOSED TO START AT 3:15. I THINK I STARTED AT 3:30 IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN. I DON'T WANT TO KEEP OTHER SENATORS WAITING. I JUST, AGAIN, WANTED TO JUST CLOSE ON THIS, ON THE COST AND DEBT. AT THESE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS, MANY STUDENTS DON'T LEAVE WITH A DEGREE BUT MOST LEAVE WITH DEBT. THE AVERAGE STUDENT ATTENDS FOR ABOUT 128 DAYS BEFORE DROPPING OUT. THAT'S A LITTLE OVER FOUR MONTHS. THAT'S THE AVERAGE. FOR MOST SCHOOLS, THAT'S TWO TERMS. THAT'S ENOUGH TIME FOR STUDENTS TO RACK UP THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF DEBT, ANYWHERE FROM $6,000 TO TO $11,000, DEPENDING ON THE PROGRAM OF THE SCHOOL. THAT'S BECAUSE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS ARE FAR MORE EXPENSIVE THAN COMPARABLE PROGRAMS AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES OR PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES. THE AVERAGE TUITION FOR A FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL IS ABOUT SIX TIMES HIGHER THAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE, TWICE AS HIGH AS FOUR-YEAR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. AVERAGE ANNUAL TUITION AT A FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL WAS ABOUT ABOUT $14,000 IN 2009, WHILE TUITION AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES AVERAGED ABOUT $2,500. AND IN-STATE FOUR-YEAR TUITION WAS ABOUT $7,000. OF THE 15 SCHOOLS INVESTIGATED BY G.A.O., 14 HAD HIGHER TUITION THAN THE NEAREST PUBLIC COLLEGE OFFERING A SIMILAR PROGRAM. ONE THAT WE LOOKED AT OFFERED A -- QUOTE -- COMPUTER-AIDED DRAFTING CERTIFICATE, COMPUTER-AIDED DRAFTING CERTIFICATE FOR $13,945. THE SAME PROGRAM AT A NEARBY COMMUNITY COLLEGE COST $520. THE COST OF AN ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE OFFERED BY THE SECOND LARGEST FOR-PROFIT IS OVER OVER $38,000, AND A BACHELOR'S DEGREE CAN COST UP TO $96,500. AGAIN, I JUST -- I JUST REFERENCED TO THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS THE RECENT STUDY THAT WE HAD DONE REGARDING THE G.I.'S AND WHAT THE G.I.'S ARE COMING OUT, AND THEY ARE PAYING THREE, FOUR, SOMETIMES FIVE TIMES AS MUCH GOING TO AN ONLINE SCHOOL AS THEY COULD AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR A -- A LOCAL PUBLIC OR EVEN A NONPROFIT UNIVERSITY. ON THE PLACEMENT, MR. PRESIDENT, I -- I KNOW OTHERS ARE HERE, AND I DON'T WANT TO, AGAIN, HOLD THEM UP. I MENTIONED -- I TALKED ABOUT SENATOR NUNN, WHAT HE HAD DONE BACK IN 1992. LET ME JUST RESPOND ON ONE THING ON THE CREDITORS. THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS MENTIONED ACCREDITATION. I WANTED TO JUST RESPOND TO THAT, BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK IF THEY ARE ACCREDITED, THEY MUST BE ALL RIGHT, BUT HERE'S WHAT WE FOUND. ALL INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING ARE GOVERNED BY A COMBINATION OF THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, STATE AGENCIES AND PRIVATE ACCREDITING AGENCIES, WHICH OUGHT TO ACT AS A SAFEGUARD AGAINST THE PROLIFERATION OF HIGH-COST, LOW-QUALITY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. A FEW STATES HAVE PASSED STRONG STATE AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS WHICH HAVE MADE IT DIFFICULT FOR SOME QUESTIONABLE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES TO SHOP IN THOSE STATES. UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE STATES ARE THE EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE RULE. ACCREDITING AGENCIES ARE CHARGED WITH THE MISSION OF ENSURING EDUCATIONAL QUALITY. HOWEVER, THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN AT A LOT OF FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS. THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF ACCREDITING AGENCIES: THE SO-CALLED NATIONAL ONES THAT FOCUS ON ACCREDITING FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS AND THERE ARE REGIONAL ACCREDITORS THAT ACCREDIT MOST PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT UNIVERSITIES. INCREASINGLY, FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS ARE SEEKING REGIONAL ACCREDITATION. ONE PARTICULAR REGIONAL ACCREDITOR, THE HIGHER LEARNING COMMISSION OF THE MIDDLE STATES ACCREDIT ITS 18 OF THE 24 FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS THAT HAVE REGIONAL ACCREDITATION, AND UNTIL RECENTLY IT WAS KNOWN AS THE GO-TO ACCREDITOR FOR FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS. THEY HAVE A COZY RELATIONSHIP. WE HAD TESTIMONY FROM A WITNESS EMPLOYED BY ONE OF THE NATIONAL HIGHER ACCREDITING ORGANIZATIONS. HE TESTIFIED, AND I QUOTE -- " ACCREDITORS MUST HOLD INSTITUTIONS ACCOUNTABLE TO ENSURE THAT ONLY THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF INTEGRITY IS INJECTED INTO THE STUDENT RECRUITMENT AND ADMISSIONS PROCESS." THE SAME WITNESS ASSURED THE COMMITTEE THAT IN 629 ON-SITE EVALUATIONS OVER THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS, THE AGENCY DID NOT FIND EVEN SINGLE EXAMPLE OF SUBSTANTIAL NONCOMPLIANCE, YET THIS WITNESS' ORGANIZATION ACCREDIT ITS THREE OF THE SCHOOLS DOCUMENTED BY THE G.A.O. AS HAVING ENGAGED IN MISLEADING OR DECEPTIVE RECRUITING. SO, AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES. ONE QUARTER OF OUR FINANCIAL AID BUDGET GOING TO A SECTOR DOMINATED BY EDUCATION COMPANIES OWNED BY INVESTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS SEEKING TO MAXIMIZE SHORT-TERM PROFIT. THEIR MISSION IS TO GROW AND TO GET PROFITS AT THE EXPENSE OF POSITIVE STUDENT OUTCOMES. THERE ARE VIRTUALLY NO LEGISLATIVE CHECKS IN PLACE, ALTHOUGH NEW DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION REGULATIONS ON THAT IS A STEP FORWARD. THEY ARE ILL-EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH THE SIZE AND RELENTLESSNESS OF INVESTOR-OWNED COMPANIES. AS A CONSEQUENCE, AS I JUST SAID, WE HAVE FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES -- QUOTE -- FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES -- FINANCED WITH 85% OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS, REAPING REAPING $3.5 BILLION IN PROFITS, MILLIONS OF STUDENTS LEAVING THESE SCHOOLS WITH A DEBT BUT NO DIPLOMA. THESE SCHOOLS WILL RECEIVE MORE THAN $30 BILLION IN FEDERAL AID THIS UPCOMING YEAR, $30 BILLION. IT SEEMS TO ME IT'S THE OBLIGATION OF US HERE AND FEDERAL REGULATORS TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT AND REGULATION OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID DOLLARS. THE PUBLIC IS WATCHING TO SEE WHETHER TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS ARE BEING USED WISELY AND EFFECTIVELY. WITH HIGH-COST SCHOOLS AND SKY-HIGH DROPOUT RATES WITH LIMITED JOB PLACEMENT AND SERVICES, I HAVE GRAVE DOUBTS THAT MANY OF THESE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS ARE A GOOD TAXPAYER INVESTMENT. AT STAKE IN THE DEBATE IS THE FUTURE OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS BEING AGGRESSIVELY RECRUITED INTO HIGH-COST PROGRAMS OF OFTEN DUBIOUS EDUCATIONAL QUALITY. FOR ALL OF THESE REASONS, FOR EVERY PERSON WHO HAS BEEN MISLED BY A FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE, WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE THESE SCHOOLS ARE DOING A DECENT JOB FOR THEIR STUDENTS. WE NEED FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS THAT PUT THE INTERESTS OF THEIR STUDENTS FIRST. WE NEED FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION COMPANIES THAT STRIVE TO SERVE THE NEEDS OF THE STUDENTS THEY RECRUIT AND ENROLL. THAT IS NOT THE CASE TODAY. CONGRESS AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH HAVE AN OBLIGATION, I WOULD SAY A MORAL OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE OVERSIGHT OF THE FOR-PROFIT SECTOR IN HIGHER EDUCATION. WE OWE THIS TO THE STUDENTS AND WE OWE IT TO EVERY TAXPAYER. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:25:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

  • 04:25:40 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I AM AWARE THAT YESTERDAY BY A…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I AM AWARE THAT YESTERDAY BY A VOTE OF 83-15 THE SENATE VOTED TO REACH -- ASK FOR CLOTURE ON THE TAX AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP. I WAS IN THE MINORITY, AND I WANT TO VERY, VERY BRIEFLY -- I SPOKE ON THIS ISSUE AT SOME LENGTH THE OTHER DAY. I WILL BE A LITTLE BRIEFER THIS AFTERNOON, BUT I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO EXPLAIN WHY I THINK AND A NUMBER OF US THINK AND MANY AMERICANS THINK THIS IS A BAD AGREEMENT AND THAT, IN FACT, WE CAN DO A LOT BETTER. JUST A FEW POINTS. NUMBER ONE, THIS COUNTRY HAS A A $13.8 TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT, OUR MIDDLE CLASS IS SHRINKING, AND IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE TO ME THAT WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF PROVIDING HUGE TAX BREAKS TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY TO DRIVE UP THE NATIONAL DEBT WHICH OUR KIDS AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL HAVE TO PAY OFF. I THINK THAT THAT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG. MR. PRESIDENT, DURING THE BUSH PRESIDENCY ALONE, THE WEALTHIEST 400 AMERICANS SAW THEIR INCOME MORE THAN DOUBLE WHILE THEIR INCOME TAX RATES DROPPED ALMOST IN HALF FROM 1992-2007. THE RICHEST 400 AMERICANS NOW EARN ON AVERAGE $345 MILLION A YEAR AND PAY AN EFFECTIVE TAX RATE OF 16.6%. BOTTOM LINE IS, GIVEN ALL OF THE PROBLEMS FACING THIS COUNTRY, LOWERING TAXES FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE EXTRAORDINARILY WEALTHY, WHOSE INCOMES ARE SOARING, WHOSE TAX RATES ARE GOING DOWN SHOULD NOT BE A MAJOR PRIORITY OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. MR. PRESIDENT, LET'S BE VERY CLEAR. IF WE CONTINUE TO BORROW MONEY NOW TO GIVE TAX BREAKS FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO DON'T NEED IT, OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL BE PAYING HIGHER TAXES IN THE FUTURE. WE SHOULDN'T BE DOING THAT. NOW, HERE'S A POINT THAT I REALLY WANT TO EMIF A SIZE -- EMPHASIZE. I KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT AND MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES ARE SAYING HEY, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. THIS EXTENSION OF TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY IS ONLY FOR TWO YEARS. I WONDER IF MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS WOULD AGREE WITH ME THAT IT IS NOT THEIR INTENTION TO ONLY MAKE THIS EXTENSION FOR THE WEALTHY FOR TWO YEARS. I AM QUITE SURE THAT TWO YEARS FROM NOW, THEY WILL BE ON THE FLOOR, MAYBE ALONG WITH SOME DEMOCRATS, WHO SAY OH, NO, THAT'S NOT ENOUGH, WE HAVE GOT TO EXTEND IT AGAIN. SO ANYONE WHO THINKS THEY ARE ONLY EXTENDING TAX BREAKS TO THE WEALTHY FOR TWO YEARS, I COULD -- MAYBE I'M WRONG -- I THINK ARE SORELY MISTAKEN. I THINK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT EXTENDING TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES INTO THE INDEFINITE FUTURE. NOW, THAT'S JUST NOT WHAT I'M THINKING. HERE IS WHAT DAN BARTLETT, A GENTLEMAN WHO IS PRESIDENT BUSH'S FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, SAID TO THE WELL-KNOWN COLUMNIST HOWARD KURTZ, JUST RECENTLY, LAST WEEK, DECEMBER 3, 2010. THIS IS WHAT MR. BARTLETT SAID -- "WE KNEW THAT POLITICALLY ONCE YOU GET IT, THE TAX CUTS, INTO LAW, IT BECOMES ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE IT. THAT'S NOT A BAD LEGACY. THE FACT THAT WE WERE ABLE TO LAY THE TRAP DOES FEEL PRETTY GOOD, TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH." END OF QUOTE. MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS KNOW IT. IN TWO YEARS, YOU WILL BE BACK TO EXTEND IT, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE VOTING ON. LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT IT. MR. PRESIDENT, IF, IN FACT, THAT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE BRINGS US, BUT IF, IN FACT, WE DO END UP EXTENDING THE TAX BREAKS FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS, AS OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WANTED, IT WILL INCREASE THE NATIONAL DEBT BY $700 BILLION AND WOULD GIVE A TAX CUT OF OVER OVER $100,000 TO A YEAR TO YEAR TO PEOPLE EARNING MORE THAN THAN $1 MILLION. IT DOESN'T MAKE A WHOLE LOT OF SENSE TO ME. MR. PRESIDENT, WE SHOULD ALSO BE CLEAR THAT THIS AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP ALSO, ALSO CONTINUES THE BUSH ERA OF 15% TAX RATE ON CAPITAL GAINS AND DIVIDENDS, MEANING THAT THOSE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEIR LIVING OFF OF THEIR INVESTMENTS WILL CONTINUE TO PAY A SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER TAX RATE THAN FIREMEN, TEACHERS, NURSES, AND POLICE OFFICERS. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? MAYBE IT DOES TO SOME PEOPLE. NOT TO ME. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS AGREEMENT ALSO INCLUDES AN HORRENDOUS PROPOSAL REGARDING THE ESTATE TAX. UNDER THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND REPUBLICANS, THE ESTATE TAX, WHICH WAS 55% UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON, WILL DECLINE TO 35% WITH AN EXEMPTION ON THE FIRST $5 MILLION OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S ESTATE. THIS DECLINE IN TAXES IN THE ESTATE TAX APPLIES TO THE TOP .3%. THIS IS NOT JUST THE TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY. THIS IS A TAX BREAK FOR THE VERY, VERY, VERY WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. AND AT A TIME WHEN WE HAVE A RECORD-BREAKING DEFICIT, IF THAT MAKES SENSE TO SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES, THAT'S FINE. IT TRULY DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME, NOR DO I THINK IT MAKES SENSE TO MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE HAS ESTIMATED THAT THIS ESTATE TAX GIVEAWAY WOULD INCREASE THE DEFICIT BY MORE THAN $68 BILLION. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, WHILE THIS EXTENSION IS FOR TWO YEARS, THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL CONTINUE TO PUSH FOR LOWER AND LOWER ESTATE TAX -- LOWER TAX RATES IN THE FUTURE ON THEIR WAY TO EVENTUALLY REPEALING THE ESTATE TAX PERMANENTLY. I WOULD REMIND MY COLLEAGUES THAT LAST YEAR SOME OF US BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR AN AMENDMENT THAT SAID THAT MAYBE AT A TIME WHEN OUR SENIORS AND DISABLED VETS HAVE NOT GOTTEN A COLA FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, MAYBE, MAYBE WE SHOULD GIVE THEM A $250 CHECK. THIS IS FOR PEOPLE TRYING TO LIVE ON $14,000, $15,000, $16,000 A YEAR. WE DIDN'T GET ONE REPUBLICAN VOTE. NOT ONE REPUBLICAN VOTE. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO HUGE TAX BREAKS FOR BILLIONAIRES, THE TOP $3%, I GUESS THERE IS -- THE TOP .3%, I GUESS THERE IS A LOST SUPPORT FOR THAT. THERE IS ALSO AN ISSUE I WANT TO SPEND A MOMENT ON WHICH I THINK HAS NOT GOTTEN THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES. THE PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY. WHILE ON THE SURFACE THIS SOUNDS GOOD, IT IS ACTUALLY A VERY DANGEROUS IDEA. THIS PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY ORIGINATED FROM CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS. OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS THINK THAT THIS IS A GOOD IDEA BECAUSE FOR MANY OF THEM -- NOT ALL -- THE GOAL IS TO CHOKE OFF MONEY GOING INTO SOCIAL SECURITY TO DIVERT MONEY THAT SHOULD GO INTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND AND OVER A PERIOD OF TIME WEAKEN THE SOLVENCY OF SOCIAL SECURITY. AND ONCE AGAIN, WHILE THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A ONE-YEAR PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY, FRANKLY, IT IS HARD FOR ME TO IMAGINE THAT IT WILL NOT BE CONTINUED NEXT YEAR. AND I SUSPECT IT WILL GO ON AND ON. FOR MANY OF OUR CONSERVATIVE FRIENDS, I THINK THEY'RE FEELING GOOD ABOUT IT. LESS AND LESS MONEY IS GOING TO GO INTO THE SOCIAL SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. WHILE THE ADMINISTRATION CLAIMS THE MONEY LOST FROM THIS PROPOSAL BE WILL BE PAID BACK FROM THE GENERAL FUND OF THE GOVERNMENT, THIS PROPOSAL WOULD LEAVE SOCIAL SECURITY DEPENDENT ON GOVERNMENT REVENUES RATHER THAN THE DIRECT CONTRIBUTIONS OF WORKERS WHO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY FUNDED THIS PROGRAM FOR THE LAST 75 YEARS. ONCE YOU'RE INTO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, LET ME TELL YOU IT WILL BE CUT AND CUT AND CUT AND CUT, AND YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR SOCIAL SECURITY. SO I HAVE REAL, REAL CONCERNS ABOUT THAT. FRANKLY, MAYBE IT'S A ONE-YEAR PROGRAM. I DOUBT IT VERY MUCH. I THINK IT WILL BE EXTENDED. FURTHER, MR. PRESIDENT, WHILE SOME OF THE BUSINESS TAX CUTS IN THIS AGREEMENT MAY WORK TO CREATE JOBS -- MAYBE SOME WON'T -- ECONOMISTS, I THINK, FROM ALL ENDS OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM BELIEVE THAT THE MUCH BETTER WAY TO SPUR THE ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS IS TO SPEND MONEY REBUILDING OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE. NO DEBATE. WE NEED TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF WORK TO REBUILD OUR ROADS, BRIDGES, WATER SYSTEMS, LEVEE, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, OUR RAIL SYSTEM. I THINK MOST ECONOMISTS BELIEVE THAT WHEN YOU PUT MONEY INTO INFRASTRUCTURE, NOT ONLY DO YOU INCREASE THE LONG-TERM PRODUCTIVITY OF OUR COUNTRY, OUR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS, BUT ALSO CREATE JOBS A LOT FASTER THAN MANY OF THESE BUSINESS TYPES DO. ONE OF THE OTHER REASONS I'M VOTING AGAINST THIS AGREEMENT, I KNOW THE PRESIDENT AND SOME OF THE REPUBLICANS SAID WE REACHED A COMPROMISE ON EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. WELL, I JUST DON'T BELIEVE THAT WAS A COMPROMISE. THE TRUTH IS THAT WHILE IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERFECT, MORALLY UNACCEPTABLE THAT WE WOULD TURN OUR BACKS ON MILLIONS OF WORKERS WHO IN THE MIDST OF THIS TERRIBLE RECESSION HAVE FOR A VERY LONG PERIOD OF TIME NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND A JOB, OBVIOUSLY WE'VE GOT TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. BUT, TO SAY THAT IT IS A COMPROMISE THAT OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS CAME ALONG, THIS IS SOMETHING I DON'T ACCEPT. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS UNDER BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATIONS, UNDER REPUBLICAN LEADER IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE, DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE, WHENEVER THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HAS BEEN ABOVE 7.2%, UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE HAS BEEN EXTENDED. THIS HAS BEEN FOR DECADES BIPARTISAN POLICY. REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS HAVE SAID YOU CAN'T LEAVE PEOPLE TO LOSE EVERYTHING, LEAVE THEM TO LOSE THEIR DIGNITY, NOT BEING ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR FAMILIES WHEN UNEMPLOYMENT IS HIGH. NOT A COMPROMISE. THIS IS JUST AN EXTENSION OF 40 YEARS OF BIPARTISAN POLICY. FURTHERMORE, MR. PRESIDENT, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ADDITIONAL EXTENDERS IN HERE DEALING WITH ETHANOL, DEALING WITH THE NASCAR, DEALING WITH TAX BREAKS TO OIL AND GAS COMPANIES, DEALING WITH RUM PRODUCERS IN PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS THAT I THINK, TO SAY THE LEAST, HAVE NOT GOTTEN THE KIND OF DISCUSSION THAT THEY DESERVE. ARE THERE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THIS AGREEMENT? OF COURSE THERE ARE. EXTENDING MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS FOR 98% OF AMERICANS, EARNED-INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR WORKING AMERICANS AND CHILD AND COLLEGE TAX CREDITS ARE ALL EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE GOT TO DO. BUT WHEN WE LOOK AT THE OVERALL PACKAGE, WE MUST PUT IT IN A BROADER CONTEXT, WHAT WILL PASSAGE OF THIS LEGISLATION MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY? THE BOTTOM LINE IS THE MIDDLE CLASS IS IN A STATE OF COLLAPSE, POVERTY IS INCREASING. PEOPLE ON TOP ARE DOING PHENOMENALLY WELL. WE NEED TO PUT PEOPLE TO WORK AND PUT THEM TO WORK NOW. I THINK THE FASTEST WAY TO ADDRESS THAT IS TO ADDRESS THE CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE. THE TOP 1% EARNS MORE INCOME THAN THE BOTTOM 20%, GIVING BREAKS TO THOSE WHO DON'T NEED IT. THERE ARE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES OUT THERE WHO ARE SAYING WE ARE DOING GREAT. WE DON'T NEED A TAX BREAK. USE IT TO DEAL WITH THE POVERTY RATE AMONG OUR CHILDREN. USE IT FOR EDUCATION, USE IT FOR HEALTH CARE. WE DON'T WANT IT, WE DON'T NEED IT. WE'RE THROWING IT AT THEM. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK AND I BELIEVE AT THE VERY BEGINNING THAT WE COULD REACH A MUCH BETTER AGREEMENT THAN WE HAVE REACHED RIGHT NOW. I INTEND TO VOTE NO ON THIS AGREEMENT, AND I HOPE AS MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES AS POSSIBLE WILL DO THE SAME. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:37:54 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    THE SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA.

  • 04:41:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA.

  • 04:41:11 PM

    MR. WARNER

    MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME ECHO MY COMMENTS OF MY GOOD FRIEND, THE SENATOR FROM…

    MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME ECHO MY COMMENTS OF MY GOOD FRIEND, THE SENATOR FROM GEORGIA, SENATOR CHAMBLISS. IT IS TIME FOR US IN THIS SENATE -- AND EXCUSE THE LANGUAGE -- TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP. A LOT OF FOLKS TALK ABOUT DEFICIT REDUCTION IN BOTH PARTIES TIME AND AGAIN. BUT OVER THE NEXT YEAR THERE IS A GROWING GROUP OF US, AND I THINK FOLKS WILL SEE THIS GROUP IN THE NEXT 45 MINUTES HOPEFULFULLY BRIEFLY, EACH ONE OF US, START TO RAISE THE ISSUE THAT NEXT YEAR PEEVE TO TAKE ON DEFICIT REDUCTION -- WE HAVE TO TAKE ON DEFICIT REDUCTION AND TAX REFORM. THE COUNTRY IS APPROACHING $14 TRILLION IN NATIONAL DEBT. IT'S BEEN ESTIMATED THAT EVERY DAY THAT WE DELAY WE ADD CLOSE TO $5 BILLION TO THAT NATIONAL DEBT. SO WHETHER YOUR ISSUE IS THE SOLVENCY OF SOCIAL SECURITY, WHETHER YOUR ISSUE IS TAX RATES, WHETHER YOUR ISSUE IS MAKING SURE THAT WE PASS ON A BALANCE SHEET TO OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDKIDS THAT ALLOW AMERICA TO CONTINUE TO BE THE ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER THAT IT HAS BEEN, UNLESS WE TAKE ON THIS ISSUE, WE WON'T BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THOSE GOALS. AND WHILE I BELIEVE AS IMPERFECT AS THIS COMPROMISE BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND OTHERS IN TERMS OF SHORT-TERM STIMULUS, THAT WE WILL VOTE ON LATER TONIGHT, WE ALSO HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THIS BODY CAN ACTUALLY WALK AND CHEW GUM. WE CAN DO SHORT-TERM STIMULUS NOW BUT NEXT YEAR ENGAGE IN MEANINGFUL TAX REFORM AND DEFICIT REDUCTION. IF WE ACT TONIGHT WE WILL BE ADDING $900 BILLION OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS TO OUR NATIONAL DEFICIT. TODAY YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR VERY BRIEFLY FROM A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. I THINK IN A NEW RESPECTFUL WAY -- WE MAY NOT AGREE ON THE ULTIMATE SOLUTIONS, BUT WE ARE GOING TO AGREE TO LISTEN TO EACH OTHER RESPECTFULLY AND RECOGNIZE AT THE END OF THE DAY MEANINGFUL TAX REFORM AND THE NEED FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION HAS TO BE A GOAL OF THIS SENATE, OF THIS CONGRESS IN THE NEXT YEAR. I YIELD THE FLOOR TO MY GOOD FRIEND, THE SENATOR FROM

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  • 04:43:26 PM

    MR. WICKER

    MR. PRESIDENT? I'M GLAD TO JOIN THIS BIPARTISAN GROUP. I SEE TEN OF US ON…

    MR. PRESIDENT? I'M GLAD TO JOIN THIS BIPARTISAN GROUP. I SEE TEN OF US ON THE FLOOR AT THIS TIME. WE HAVE AGREED TO SPEAK BRIEFLY ABOUT THIS BECAUSE WE WANT TO MAKE THE CASE THAT OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS WE MEAN BUSINESS, AND WE INTONED DO WHAT WE CAN TO ACTUALLY MAKE SOME TOUGH CHOICES. I JOIN MY COLLEAGUE FROM GEORGIA IN COMMENDING THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM AND PARTICULARLY THE LEADERS OF THIS GROUP:ER KIN BOWLS AND -- ERSKINE BOWLES AND ALAN SIMPSON, GREAT PATRIOTS. THEY'VE COME FORWARD WITH SOME RECOMMENDATIONS. IN THEIR PREAMBLE THEY MAKE IT CLEAR NONE OF US LIKES EVERY ELEMENT OF THE PLAN, BUT THEY PUT FORWARD A PLAN THAT I THINK IS A STARTING POINT FOR US. AND WE INTEND TO USE THESE NEXT FEW MONTHS, FRANKLY, WE INTEND TO USE THE RUN-UP TO THE VOTE WE WILL HAVE TO TAKE ON THE DEBT CEILING AROUND APRIL OF 2011 TO MAKE REAL PROGRESS. LET ME SUBSCRIBE TO SEVERAL OF THE STATEMENTS MADE IN THE PREAMBLE. THEY SAY WE CANNOT PLAY GAMES OR PUT OFF HARD CHOICES ANY LONGER. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT, AND THEY EXPECT LEADERSHIP FROM THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE IN THAT REGARD. THE REPORT IN THE PREAMBLE GOES ON TO SAY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE COUNTING ON US TO PUT POLITICS ASIDE. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO ON THE FLOOR TODAY WITH A BIPARTISAN REPRESENTATION. PULL TOGETHER AND NOT PULL APART AND AGREE ON A PLAN TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS AND TO MAKE AMERICA STRONG FOR THE LONG HAUL. IT'S BEEN POINTED OUT THAT ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, SAID THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY TODAY IS OUR NATIONAL DEBT. I AGREE WITH ADMIRAL MULLEN ON THAT AND I THINK AMERICANS AGREE ALSO. PICKING THE -- KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD IS NOT GOING TO SUFFICE ANY LONGER, TO QUOTE OUR COLLEAGUE FROM OKLAHOMA, SNOW SHOWER--SENATOR TOM COBURN. THE PREAMBLE GOES ON TO SAY, THE CONTAGION OF DEBT THAT BEGAN IN GREECE AND CONTINUES TO SWEEP THROUGH EUROPE SHOWS US CLEARLY THAT NO ECONOMY WILL BE IMMUNE. NO ECONOMY, NOT EVEN THE UNITED STATES'S ECONOMY. IF THE U.S. DOES NOT PUT ITS HOUSE IN ORDER, THE RECKONING WILL BE SURE AND THE DEVASTATION SEVERE. THE TITLE OF THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION, MR. PRESIDENT, IS "THE MOMENT OF TRUTH." AND I THINK WE'RE HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE TODAY ON THE 14-G9S OF DECEMBER, 2010, TO SAY THAT THERE IS A BIPARTISAN WORKING GROUP THAT BELIEVES WE HAVE ARRIVED AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT OF TRUTH, AND WE INTEND TO GET DOWN TO THE BUSINESS OF RECTIFYING THE PROBLEM OF NATIONAL SPENDING AND OUR NATIONAL DEBT. AND I YIELD TO MY FRIEND FROM MONTANA. A SENATOR: SNRP.

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  • 04:46:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MONTANA.

  • 04:46:33 PM

    MR. TESTER

    WOULD LIKE TO THANK SENATOR WICK FOR HIS REMARKS. I TRIES SHARE A FEW…

    WOULD LIKE TO THANK SENATOR WICK FOR HIS REMARKS. I TRIES SHARE A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE DEBT AND ABOUT THE BIPARTISAN TAX CUT COMPROMISE THAT WE WILL VOTE ON THIS EVENING. BEFORE I GET INTO THESE REMARKS, I WANT TO THANK SENATOR WARNER AND SENATOR CHAMBLISS FOR THEIR GOOD WORK IN PUTTING TOGETHER A GROUP OF SENATORS TO HELP ADDRESS THERE ISSUE -- THIS ISSUE IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. ASAS FAR AS THE COMPROMISE TONIGHT, I LOOK FORWARD TO VOTING FOR THIS COMPROMISE. IT IS A MATTER OF REBUILDING CREATING JOBS. IT IS A PLAN THAT I WOULD HAVE WRITTEN? NO. BUT IT DOES CUT TAXES FOR THE FOLKS IN A NEED IT THE MOST. THEY ARE THE REAL JOB CREATORS IN THIS COUNTRY AND AIMING TAX RELIEF AT THEM REQUIRED COMPROMISE AND WORKING TOGETHER AND IT HAPPENED AND IT IS A VICTORY FOR ALL MONTANANS. IT IS A VICTORY FOR ALL AMERICANS. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO POINT OUT ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WORKING TOGETHER. OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS, A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, INDEPENDENTS -- TEAMED UP TO PUT FORWARD A RESOLUTION THAT WE HOPE WILL BE PART OF A PACKAGE THAT WE WILL VOTE ON TONIGHT. THIS RESOLUTION PUTS ALL OF US ON RECORD EXPRESSING OUR DEEP CONCERNS ABOUT THE UNSUSTAINABLE PATH OF THIS COUNTRY'S DEBT. ENSURING OUR COMMITMENT TO WORKING TOGETHER TO PULL OURSELVES TOGETHER AND DIG OURSELVES OUT OF THE DITCH THAT WE'RE IN AND TO $THAT ANY PLAN WILL HAVE TO HAVE TAX REFORM, SPENDING CUTS, AND DEFICIT REDUCTION. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE AN EASY PROCESS. IN ORDER HAVE A A SERIOUS DEBATE ABOUT CUTTING OUR DEBT, WE'RE GOING TO NEED TO MAKE SOME TOUGH DECISIONS, NOT JUST PLAY IT LIP SERVICE OR PLAY POLITICAL GAISMS JUST LIKE THE REPORT ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT MEMBERS OF THIS GROUP AND OF THIS BODY ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE IN ANY POTENTIAL PLAN. BUT WHAT'S IMPORTANT HERE IS THAT ALL OF THESE MEMBERS ARE SERIOUS BH PUTTING THIS -- ABOUT PUTTING THIS COUNTRY ON A SUSTAINABLE PATH AND ARE COMMITTED TO VOTING ON A PLAN TO DO THAT WITHIN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS. IT'S THAT IMPORTANT OF AN ISSUE. THIS IS HANDS DOWN THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT THIS SENATE WILL DEAL WITH OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS. PUTTING OUR NATION'S ECONOMY ON A SUSTAINABLE PATH, TO CONTROL THIS COUNTRY'S DEBT, AND TO OFFER OPPORTUNITY FOR THE FUTURE. MR. PRESIDENT, I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH MY COLLEAGUES ON THIS ISSUE BECAUSE I KNOW THEY SHARE MY SAME COMMITMENT TO GETTING SOMETHING DONE. THE TRUTH IS, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET ANYWHERE UNLESS WE TRUST ONE ANOTHER. THIS PROCESS ISN'T GOING TO BE PLEASANT FOR ANYONE BUT WE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL IF WE HAVE A BIPARTISAN EFFORT. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION IS MORE THAN JUST LIP SERVICE. IT IS A PLAN TO MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR TO MY FRIEND FROM NEBRASKA, SENATOR JOHANNS.

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  • 04:49:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA.

  • 04:49:28 PM

    MR. JOHANNS

    RATHER REMARKABLE MOMENT. ON EACH SIDE, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ARE…

    RATHER REMARKABLE MOMENT. ON EACH SIDE, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ARE STANDING TO DESCRIBE A PROBLEM THAT LITERALLY JEOPARDIZES NOT JUST THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN, OUR GRANDCHILDREN, BUT IT JEOPARDIZES OUR SECURITY, AND THAT IS OUR RUNAWAY SPENDING AND OUR DEFICIT. LET ME, IF I MIGHT, PUT THIS IN PERSPECTIVE, MR. PRESIDENT. AS A FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEBRASKA, I USED TO TELL MY CABINET WHEN WE WERE STRUGGLING THROUGH BUDGET ISSUES, THIS IS NOT MAGIC. IT IS MATH. AND THAT'S THE REALITY OF WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH HERE. WE SIMPLY HAVE A PROBLEM THAT IS SO GIGANTIC, IT CAN ONLY BE SOLVED IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. LET ME OFFER A COUPLE OF STATISTICS TO BACK THAT STATEMENT UP. IF YOU LOOK AT THE ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS WHAT YOU SEE: IF YOU ADD MEDICAID, MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY, AND THE INTEREST WE PAY ON OUR DEBT, THAT IS 64 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND ANNUALLY. LET ME REPEAT THOSE PROGRAMS: MEDICAID, MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY, AND THE INTEREST WE PAY ON OUR DEBT. EVERYBODY WILL ACKNOWLEDGE THE IMPORTANCE OF THOSE PROGRAMS. LET'S COMPARE THAT TO THE REVENUES THAT ARE COMING IN THIS YEAR. THE REVENUES COMING IN DON'T EVEN COVER THE FULL COST OF THOSE PROGRAMS. SO IF ANYONE IS OUT THERE SUGGESTING THAT A LITTLE NIP AND A LITTLE TUCK AND A TWEAK HERE AND A TWEAK THERE IS GOING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, IT JUST FUNDAMENTALLY WON'T. YOU LITERALLY HAVE A SITUATION WHERE IF YOU JUST SHUT DOWN THE ENTIRE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT -- NATIONAL DEFENSE, EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM OUT THERE EXCEPT THE ONES I MENTIONED -- YOU WOULD STILL COME UP A BIT SHORT. WE NEED TO FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE HOW WE ARE OPERATING THIS GOVERNMENT BECAUSE, QUITE HONESTLY, TO DATE WE ALL RECOGNIZE -- DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS -- THAT WE HAVE BEEN OPERATING THIS GOVERNMENT ON THE CREDIT CARD OF OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN, AND IT CAN'T WORK. IT JUST SIMPLY CAN'T WORK ANY LONGER. SO I CONCLUDE MY COMMENTS TODAY BY SAYING, I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, TO WORK WITH MY COLLEAGUES ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE TO TRY TO SOLVE WHAT I CONSIDER THE MOST PRESSING, MOST URGENT NEED OUR NATION FACES TODAY. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR TO SENATOR WYDEN.

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  • 04:52:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OR OUR. -- FROM OREGON.

  • 04:52:30 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO THANK SENATOR CHAMBLISS FOR HIS IMPORTANT…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO THANK SENATOR CHAMBLISS FOR HIS IMPORTANT WORK. TOMORROW IT WILL BE EVEN MO IMPORTANT GIVE THAN THIS AGREEMENT WILL PASS TONIGHT. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER ELECTION AROUND THE CORNER, A BIG ARRAY OF SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS THAT NEED TO BE SATISFIED, AND A CONSTANT STREAM OF PUBLIC OPINION POLLING THAT POLITICIANS LIVE AND DIE FOR. WHY TAKE ACTION THAT COULD OFFEND A GROUP TODAY IF YOU CAN PUT IT OFF FOR A WHILE? THE AGREEMENT THAT WILL PASS TONIGHT, IN MY VIEW, IS A VICTORY FOR THE POLITICS OF PROCRASTINATION. AT A TIME WHEN AMERICANS ARE SWIMMING IN DEBT, MORE WATER WILL BE PUT INTO THE POOL. INSTEAD OF TAKING STEPS TO FIX THE MARKET DISTORTING, JOB-KILLING TAX CODE, LAST OVERHAULED A QUARTER CENTURY OF AGO WHEN CHINA AND INDIA WERE BLIMPS IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, THIS TONIGHT WILL PROP UP OUR BROKEN TAX CODE. MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE OUT OF WORK, SMALL BUSINESSES ARE CLOSING THEIR DOOR, AND INSTEAD OF FINDING PERMANENT SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM, THE AGREEMENT IS SMILING LIKE SCARLET O'HARA SAYING, "FIDDLE DE-DE. I'LL THINK ABOUT IT TOMORROW." MR. PRESIDENT, IT DID NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. AS SENATOR WARNER AND COLLEAGUES HAVE MENTION THE, THERE WAS A BLUEPRINT PROVIDED BY THE DEFICIT COMMISSION. I DON'T HAPPEN TO AGREE WITH EVERYTHING, BUT CLEARLY IT WAS A VERY IMPORTANT BLUEPRINT. IN THE 1980'S -- AND I SEE SENATOR ALEXANDER CLEARLY REMEMBERS THOSE DAYS -- PRESIDENT REAGAN AND DEMOCRATS WORKED FOR BIPARTISAN TAX REFORM TO CLEAN OUT THE LOOPHOLES, HOLD DOWN THE RATES AND KEEP PROGRESSIVITY. IN THE TWO YEARS, COLLEAGUES, AFTER DEMOCRATS AND RONALD REAGAN WORKED TOGETHER, OUR ECONOMY GREW BY 6.3 MILLION JOBS, TWICE -- TWICE THE NUMBER THAT WERE CREATED BETWEEN 2001 AND 2008 WHEN TAX POLICY WAS PURELY PARTISAN. I DON'T THINK IF HAD TO BE THIS WAY -- I DON'T THINK IT HAD TO BE THIS WAY. SENATOR WARNER AND SENATOR CHAMBLISS TRIED VERY HARD TO ADD A PROVISION THAT MIGHT AT SOME POINT INSERT CONSEQUENCES FOR INACTION. COLLEAGUES -- AND I'LL CLOSE WITH THIS -- NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IN THIS TOWN, WHERE THERE IS THIS CULTURE OF PROCESS CRASSTY NATION, UNLESS THERE AREN'T SOME CONSEQUENCES FOR INACTION. THERE ARE PROVISIONS IN THIS MEASURE TONIGHT THAT I SUPPORT VERY STRONGLY: UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, HELP FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS, A SMALL BUSINESS. I WAS WILLING TO EXTEND THE WHOLE BUSH-ERA PROGRAM FOR A YEAR IN ORDER TO FORCE ACTION. BUT THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE DONE. TONIGHT I INTEND TO VOTE "NO." TOMORROW I WILL BE BACK WITH SENATOR WARNER AND SENATOR CHAMBLISS TO BUILD ON THE GOOD WORK OF THE DEFICIT COMMISSION, BILLETEDBUILD ON THE GOOD WORK THAT DEMOCRATS AND RONALD REAGAN DID IN THE 1980'S TO GIVE US A MODEL SO THAT FINALLY IN THIS COUNTRY WE TACKLE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS: DEBT REDUCTION AND FIXING THE JOB-KILLING TAX CODE TO BRING BACK THE MIDDLE CLASS TO THE PROSPERITY THEY DESERVE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 04:56:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SNOER FROM IDAHO.

  • 04:56:09 PM

    MR. CRAPO

    I ALSO HAVE HONORED TO JOIN THIS BIPARTISAN GROUP WHO IS SPEAKING TO THE…

    I ALSO HAVE HONORED TO JOIN THIS BIPARTISAN GROUP WHO IS SPEAKING TO THE NATION TONIGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE CANNOT ANY LONGER DELAY DEALING WITH THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM OUR NATION FACES -- OUR DEBT AND OUR FISCAL DIFFICULTIES. I WAS ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF OUR PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM AND HAD THE OPPORTUNITY OVER THE PAST YEAR TO WORK ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS WITH PEOPLE ON THAT COMMISSION WHO TOOK TESTIMONY FROM EXPERTS, EVALUATED THE ISSUES, STUDIED THE ECONOMIES OF THE WORLD, STUDIED THE DETAILS OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE AMERICAN ECONOMY AND CAME FORWARD WITH A PLAN. THIS PLAN GOT 11 OF THE 18 VOTES ON THAT COMMISSION. IT WAS REQUIRED BY THE PRESIDENT'S ORDER TO GET 14 OF THE 18 VOTES IN ORDER TO FORCE THAT PLAN TO CONGRESS FOR A VOTE. AND I WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, BUT LET ME MAKE A COUPLE OF POINTS OF CLARIFICATION. 11 OF THE 18 VOTES REPRESENTS OVER 60% OF THE VOTES OF THE COMMISSIONERS ON THAT COMMISSION. THAT'S ENOUGH VOTES TO PASS ANY BILL IN THIS SENATE. IT'S ENOUGH VOTES TO PASS ANY BILL IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. AND TO GET THAT BILL TO THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT. 14 OF 18 WOULD HAVE BEEN OVER 77% OF THE VOTES, A MARGIN THAT HAS RARELY BEEN MET IN THIS CONGRESS. MY POINT IN MAKING THIS CLARIFICATION IS TO SAY THAT ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS, WE WERE ABLE TO COME UP WITH A SUPERMAJORITY OF SUPPORT ON THE COMMISSION FOR A PLAN. NOW, DID THAT PLAN CONTAIN CONTAIN EVERYTHING THAT I WANTED AND LEAVE EVERYTHING OUT THAT I DIDN'T LIKE? NO. TBHAW PLAN DID PUT AMERICA OWN A PATH TOWARD A BALANCED BUDGET. IT STOPPED THE EROSION. IN FACT, IT STOPPED THE EXPLOSION OF OUR DEBT ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. AND IT DID SO IN A WAY THAT FOCUSED ON THE RIGHT ELEMENTS. WHAT WERE THOSE? SPENDING AND TAX REFORM. MANY OF US WERE WORRIED AT THE OUTSET THAT THE COMMISSION WOULD FOCUS ON JUST TRYING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM WITH MORE TAX INCREASES. UNTIL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE -- AND TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT OUR SPENDING HABITS HERE IN CONGRESS WERE TOO IMPORTANT TO BE DEALT WITH AND WE SIMPLY HAVE TO INCREASE YOUR TAXES IN ORDER TO KEEP CONGRESS SPENDING AT ITS BREAKNECK RATE. THE COMMISSION DENIED THAT. THE PROBLEM IN CONGRESS IS THEY SPEND TOO MUCH AND IT PUTS SPENDING CAPS ON DISCRETIONARY SPENDING AND STARTED AT LEAST -- NOT AS MUCH AS I THOUGHT IT SHOULD DO, BUT AT LEAST STARTED THE DEBATE ABOUT HOW TO DEAL WITH OUR ENTITLEMENTS. AND ONE VERY IMPORTANT ADDITION: IT PROPOSED A MAJOR REFORM OF OUR TAX CODE, PROBABLY THE MOST SWEEPING TAX REFORM THAT I'VE SEEN IN MY LIFETIME. IF YOU WERE TO TRY TO COME UP WITH A TAX CODE THAT WAS MORE UNFAIR, MORE COMPLEX, MORE COSTLY TO COMPLY WITH AND MORE ANTICOMPETITIVE TO AMERICANS SEEKING TO DO BUSINESS IN THE WORLD, YOU PROBABLY COULDN'T DO MUCH WORSE THAN WE'VE DONE WITH OUR TAX CODE. AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF DEALING WITH OUR FISCAL POLICY IS TO REFORM THAT TAX CODE. SO THAT'S ANOTHER REASON I'M SO GLAD TO SEE THAT WE HAVE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR THAT KIND OF REFORM. I WOULD SIMPLY SAY, AS I CLOSE, THAT I AM HEARTENED BY THE FACT THAT WE SEE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ALIKE SAYING THE TIME FOR FURTHER INACTION IS GONE. THE TIME FOR GRIDLOCK IS GONE. WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO CONTINUE THE KIND OF GRIDLOCK DEBATE THAT WE'VE SEEN OVER THE YEARS HERE IN CONGRESS, AS WE DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. AND IT'S MY HOPE THAT IN THE NEAR FUTURE WE WILL FORCE PROCESS REFORMS ON THIS CONGRESS THAT WILL PUT VOTES ON THE DIFFICULT ISSUES THAT WE MUST FACE AS AMERICANS BEFORE US. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD MY TIME -- OR, I YIELD MY TIME AND YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA.

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  • 04:59:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA.

  • 04:59:59 PM

    MRS. HAGAN

    YOU. WHEN THE FISCAL COMMISSION RELEASED ITSZ REPORT ON DECEMBER 1, IT…

    YOU. WHEN THE FISCAL COMMISSION RELEASED ITSZ REPORT ON DECEMBER 1, IT STARTED WITH A GUIDING PRINCIPLE THAT ALL AMERICANS CAN AGREE ON: WE HAVE A DUTY TO MAKE AMERICA BETTER OFF TOMORROW THAN IT IS TODAY. BUT THE PICTURE IS PRETTY BLEAK RIGHT NOW. LET ME GIVE YOU A FEW EXAMPLES. IN 1982 OUR DEFICIT HAD NEVER EXCEEDED $100 BILLION. BY MARCH OF 2004, 22 YEARS LATER, THE DEBT WAS $3.7 TRILLION. AND TODAY, SIX YEARS PASSED, THE DEBT HELD BY THE PUBLIC HAS BALLOONED TO $8.7 TRILLION. THE FEDERAL DEBT WAS 33% OF G.D.P. IN 2001. IT'S NOW 62% AND ON A TRAJECTORY TO REACH 90% OF G.D.P. BY 2020. INTEREST ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT COULD RISE TO NEARLY $1 TRILLION ANNUALLY BY 2020. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT IS THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAXES WE ARE COLLECTING THIS YEAR. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS AND BELIEVE THAT THIS TRAJECTORY WILL RESULT IN AN AMERICA THAT'S BETTER FOR OUR CHILDREN THAN IT IS FOR US. WE CAN'T CONTINUE TO JUST GROW THE DEBT AND RUN HUGE DEFICITS EACH YEAR WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT OUR CHILDREN WILL PAY THE BILL. THIS TREND OF BORROWING WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE TO COME TO AN END ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. THE ONLY QUESTION IS HOW. ARE WE GOING TO REDUCE OR DEFICIT RESPONSIBLY, IN A BIPARTISAN FASHION AND IN A WAY THAT ENCOURAGES INVESTMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH? OR ARE WE GOING TO CRUISE BLISSFULLY ALONG UNTIL SOME EXTERNAL CRISIS FORCES US TO MAKE THESE ADJUSTMENTS IN THE MOST SUDDEN AND PAINFUL WAY POSSIBLE? THE TIME FOR CONGRESS TO ACT IS NOW. THERE'S A MOUNTING CHORUS GROWING FROM ALL SIDES THAT RECOGNIZES OUR CURRENT PATH IS UNSUSTAINABLE. 11 MEMBERS OF THE FISCAL COMMISSION VOTED FOR THE BIPARTISAN DEFICIT REDUCTION REPORT, INCLUDING MY FRIENDS, THE SENATORS FROM ILLINOIS, NORTH DAKOTA, OKLAHOMA, IDAHO, AND NEW HAMPSHIRE. JUST TODAY, MONDAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT -- MOODY'S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT IT COULD MOVE A STEP CLOSER TO CUTTING THE A.A.A. RATING ON OUR U.S. DEBT. THAT'S WHY I AM HERE TODAY JOINING WITH MY COLLEAGUES IN VIGOROUS SUPPORT OF CONCERTED BIPARTISAN ACTION ON THE DEFICIT IN 2011 AND THE RESOLUTION INCREASED BY MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR CHAMBLISS, AND SENATOR WARNER. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS PAST TIME TO GET TO WORK. WE NEED TO THINK SERIOUSLY ABOUT REFORMING THE TAX CODE AND TACKLING THE DEFICITS AND THE DEBT IN A CIVIL AND BIPARTISAN MANNER AND WE NEED TO DO IT NOW. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:02:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, FELLOW SENATORS, I RISE…

    THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, FELLOW SENATORS, I RISE TODAY TO SPEAK VERY BRIEFLY ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

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  • 05:03:01 PM

    MR. RISCH

    BE "THE" MOST SERIOUS ISSUE THAT WE DEAL WITH IN RECENT YEARS AND IN…

    BE "THE" MOST SERIOUS ISSUE THAT WE DEAL WITH IN RECENT YEARS AND IN FUTURE YEARS. WE HAVE AN ENEMY TODAY THAT IS AT THE DOOR. THIS IS AN ENEMY THAT IS OUT THERE SOMEWHERE AND YOU CAN TALK ABOUT PHILOSOPHICALLY. IT'S AN ENEMY THAT IS AT THE DOOR. LAST YEAR, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SPENT AROUND $3.8 TRILLION. THAT REALLY DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING TO ME OR PROBABLY MUCH TO ANYBODY BECAUSE NOBODY KNOWS WHAT $3.8 TRILLION IS. IF YOU SAY IT'S A LITTLE OVER $7 MILLION A MINUTE, IT STARTS TO SOUND A LITTLE BIT MORE LIKE YOU COULD UNDERSTAND IT. BUT NONE OF THAT IS IMPORTANT. IT'S HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE. AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS SHORT 41% OF THAT MONEY. 41 CENT OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR -- 41 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SPENT IT BORROWED. I HOPE EVERYONE LISTENED CLOSELY TO THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA WHEN HE SAID THAT IF WE FUNDED ONLY SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND THE INTEREST ON THE NATIONAL DEBT, WE WOULD BE SHORT OF THE MONEY COMING IN TO PAY FOR THAT. IF YOU SHUT DOWN ALL OTHER ASPECTS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, YOU STILL COULDN'T PUT IT IN THE BLACK IF YOU PAID FOR JUST THOSE. THIS -- THIS MOMENT IN HISTORY IS AN ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL MOMENT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE'VE GOTTEN JADED BECAUSE ALL OF OUR LIVES WE'VE HEARD ABOUT THE NATIONAL DEBT AND WE'VE HEARD ABOUT ANNUAL DEFICITS AND WE GET JADED ABOUT IT. BUT THESE NUMBERS TODAY ARE REAL REAL, THEY ARE SERIOUS, AND THEY COULD BRING DOWN THIS GOVERNMENT, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. THIS CONGRESS HAS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT AND IT'S NOT GOING TO BE DONE BY REPUBLICANS, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE DONE BY DEMOCRATS, IT IS GOING TO TAKE A BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO DO THAT. I'M HERE TODAY TO SUPPORT THAT. I WANT TO YIELD THE FLOOR TO MY GOOD FRIEND, SENATOR UDALL FROM COLORADO.

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  • 05:05:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO.

  • 05:05:02 PM

    MR. UDALL

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 05:07:05 PM

    MR. ALEXANDER

    I'M HERE TONIGHT IN THE SPIRIT OF MY LATE FRIEND, THE AUTHOR OF ROOTS…

    I'M HERE TONIGHT IN THE SPIRIT OF MY LATE FRIEND, THE AUTHOR OF ROOTS "ROOTS," ALEX HALEY, WHO LIVED AND DIED BY THESE WORDS, "FIND THE GOOD AND PRAISE IT." I'M HERE TO COMMEND SENATOR WARNER, SENATOR CHAMBLISS, AND THE BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS WHO HAVE FOCUSED THEIR ATTENTION ON THIS URGENT CRISIS THAT OUR COUNTRY FACES, THE NATIONAL DEBT. THIS IS THE WAY OUR NATION IS SUPPOSED TO WORK, TO SEE AN URGENT NEED, TO DEVELOP A BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS TO GO TO WORK ON IT, COME UP WITH A STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH IT AND GET A RESULT. NOT JUST MAKE SPEECHES BUT GET A RESULT. WE'VE HEARD THE EVIDENCE. WE'VE HAD THE GOOD EXAMPLES SET BY FIVE MEMBERS OF OUR BODY, TWO DEMOCRATS, THREE REPUBLICANS, WHO TOOK A COURAGEOUS STEP IN THEIR ACTION ON ON THE FISCAL COMMISSION THE OTHER DAY. WE SHOULD FOLLOW THAT EXAMPLE. BUT I'M SO ENCOURAGED BY WHAT I HEAR. THIS IS THE WAY THE SENATE IS SUPPOSED TO WORK. LET ME CONCLUDE WITH JUST ONE EXAMPLE FROM HISTORY. I WAS -- PICKED UP A BOOK THE OTHER NIGHT CALLED "THE BRITISH OVERSEAS." IT'S A BRITISH HISTORIAN'S VIEW OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT SOME OF THE COMMENTS MIGHT BE, WRITTEN SEVERAL YEARS. BUT IT POINTED THIS OUT, THAT AT THE TIME OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, THE INTEREST ON THE NATIONAL DEBT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE AMOUNTED TO ONE-HALF OF THE NATIONAL REVENUE OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE. IN OTHER WORDS, AT THE TIME WE WON OUR INDEPENDENCE, GREAT BRITAIN HAD AN UNCONSCIONABLE DEBT AND IT FORCED THEM INTO SOME IMPRUDENT DECISIONS. ONE WAS THE STAMP ACT AND ONE WAS THE LITTLE TAX ON TEA, WHICH OCCURRED AT ABOUT THAT TIME. SO BIG DEBTS FORCE BIG COUNTRIES INTO BAD DECISIONS. THE LEADERSHIP THAT WE'VE SEEN ACROSS THE AISLE IS A GOOD START TOWARD A SERIOUS EFFORT TOWARD DEALING WITH OUR DEBT CRISIS. I'M HERE TODAY TO COMMEND THOSE SENATORS, BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, WHO ARE PART OF IT. I YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM COLORADO.

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  • 05:09:23 PM

    MR. BENNET

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M SO PLEASED TO BE HERE IN THIS ROOM WITH DEMOCRATS AND…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M SO PLEASED TO BE HERE IN THIS ROOM WITH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TALKING CONSTRUCTIVELY WITH EACH OTHER ABOUT SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN A LONG TIME -- ABOUT SOMETHING. IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE WE'VE SEEN THAT. AND IT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I HEARD DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY OVER THE LAST 33 MONTHS AS I HAD TOWN HALL MEETINGS ACROSS THE STATE OF COLORADO. I, TOO, WANTED TO READ SOMETHING FROM THE WORDS OF THE DEFICIT AND DEBT COMMISSION BECAUSE I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND, PEOPLE THAT ARE WATCHING THIS AT HOME AND PEOPLE WORKING IN WASHINGTON, THAT THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL. THEY WRITE, "LARGE DEBT WILL PUT AMERICA AT RISK BY EXPOSING IT TO FOREIGN CREDITORS. THEY CURRENTLY OWN MORE THAN HALF OF OUR PUBLIC DEBT AND THE INTEREST WE PAY THEM REDUCES OUR OWN STANDARD OF LIVING. THE SINGLE LARGEST FOREIGN HOLDER OF OUR DEBT IS CHINA, A NATION," THEY WRITE, "THAT MAY NOT SHARE OUR COUNTRY'S ASPIRATIONS AND STRATEGIC INTERESTS. IN A WORST-CASE SCENARIO, INVESTORS WOULD LOSE CONFIDENCE THAT OUR NATION IS ABLE OR WILLING TO REPAY ITS LOANS, POSSIBLY TRIGGERING A DEBT CRISIS THAT WOULD FORCE THE GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT THE MOST STRINGENT OF OS OSTERITY MEASURES." AS THE PRESIDENT KNOWS, I HAD NEVER RUN FOR OFFICE BEFORE THIS ELECTION. I SPENT HALF MY LIFE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND HALF WORKING IN THINGS LIKE THE DEM REPUBLIC SCHOOLS, OUR FORMER SECRETARY OF EDUCATION IS HERE TODAY. NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD RUNS LIKE THIS. NOWHERE ELSE WOULD WE SAY TO OURSELVES THAT OUR THEORY IS THAT WE'RE GOING TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY, BORROW THE MONEY FROM THE CHINESE, ONE OF OUR GREATEST COMPETITORS, AND STICK OUR KIDS WITH THE BILLS. AND THE REASON THIS HAS BECOME SO IMPORTANT NOW IS BECAUSE THE SIZE AND THE SCALE OF THIS DEBT PUTS US IN THE POSITION WHERE ONE DAY -- AND I'LL CLOSE WITH THIS, MADAM PRESIDENT -- WHERE ONE DAY SOMEBODY MAY SAY, I'M NOT GOING TO BUY YOUR DEBT AT THAT PRICE. AND THE DAY THAT HAPPENS, OUR INTEREST RATES ARE GOING TO SPIKE AND THIS RECESSION IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT WE'RE GOING TO FACE. WE OWE IT TO OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDKIDS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE PAYING OUR WAY, AND I'M SO PLEASED THAT WE'RE HERE TODAY IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:11:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA.

  • 05:11:34 PM

    MR. WARNER

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 05:12:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE.

  • 05:12:16 PM

    MR. CORKER

    THANK YOU, VERY MUCH. I RISE TO SPEAK ON THE TOPIC THAT'S BEEN DISCUSSED…

    THANK YOU, VERY MUCH. I RISE TO SPEAK ON THE TOPIC THAT'S BEEN DISCUSSED HERE OVER THE LAST HOUR AND I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR FOCUSING ON THIS ISSUE. I WANT TO SAY THAT YESTERDAY'S VOTE AND TONIGHT'S VOTE ARE TOUGH VOTES FOR ME AND I THINK THEY'RE TOUGH VOTES FOR EACH OF US. WE'VE GOT A BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE THAT'S COME FORTH. THERE ARE THINGS IN THIS BILL THAT TROUBLE EACH OF US FOR DIFFERENT REASONS. BUT I THINK ALL OF US UNDERSTAND THAT -- THAT OUR DEFICIT ISSUE IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO OUR COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC SECURITY, IN MANY WAYS TO OUR SOVEREIGNTY. OVER THIS SUMMER, I HAD 46 DEFICIT PRESENTATIONS AROUND THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, AND I THINK THE THING THAT PEOPLE WALKED AWAY FROM THOSE MEETINGS -- THESE WERE LARGE MEETINGS -- WAS THE SEVERITY OF THE ISSUE. AND I'M NOT SURE THAT MOST AMERICANS HAD REALLY FOCUSED ON THE SEVERITY OF OUR DEBT ISSUE. I THINK MOST AMERICANS THINK THAT THIS IS GOING TO AFFECT THEIR NEIGHBOR, THAT IT MIGHT AFFECT ANOTHER GENERATION. I THINK A LOT OF AMERICANS THINK THAT IF WE WOULD DO AWAY WITH THINGS LIKE EARMARKS -- AND I DON'T EARMARK -- THAT WE WOULD SOLVE OUR PROBLEM. THAT'S THE THING THAT I HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS SUMMER IN TENNESSEE, WAS TO MAKE PEOPLE AWAY OF HOW BIG THIS ISSUE IS AND THAT THE STEPS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE ARE DRACONIAN. I APPLAUD THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS THAT HAS JUST TAKEN PLACE, THE DEFICIT REDUCTION COMMISSION, AND I'M HOPEFUL THAT SOMETIME VERY SOON, IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, WE'LL EITHER HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY VOTE ON SOMETHING SIMILAR IN NATURE THAT DEALS WITH REAL SPENDING CONSTRAINTS. I THINK ALL OF US KNOW THAT SPENDING AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P. IS AT ALL-TIME NEWS MODERN HISTORY, AND I THINK WE KNOW THAT SPENDING HAS TO COME UNDER CONTROL. AT THE SAME TIME, WE UNDERSTAND THAT IN OUR TAX CODE, WE GIVE AWAY EACH YEAR $1.2 TRILLION. I THINK THAT SHOCKS PEOPLE. AND IF WE WERE TO ELIMINATE THOSE -- AND I KNOW SENATOR WYDEN AND OTHERS HAVE WORKED ON THESE KIND OF THINGS -- IF WE WOULD ELIMINATE THOSE, EVERYBODY'S TAXES COULD BE LESS. WE COULD LOWER INDIVIDUAL RATES, WE COULD LOWER CORPORATE RATES, WE COULD HAVE OUR -- HELP OUR ECONOMY BE SPURRED ON. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I KNOW THAT IT'S IRRESPONSIBLE WHEN A DEBT CEILING COMES BEFORE US TO NOT VOTE FOR A DEBT CEILING IN THAT IT'S LIKE RUNNING UP A CREDIT CARD TAB AND NOT AGREEING TO PAY THE BILL. BUT I'VE HEARD A GREAT SENATOR -- HE'S GETTING READY TO RETIRE AND I WON'T SAY WHAT HIS NAME IS -- SAY THAT IT'S ALSO IRRESPONSIBLE TO NOT BE RESPONSIBLE PRIOR TO VOTING ON A DEBT CEILING INCREASE. SO IT'S MY HOPE THAT SOMETIME BETWEEN NOW AND APRIL OR MAY OR EARLY JUNE, WHENEVER THIS VOTE HAS TO TAKE PLACE, THEN INSTEAD OF US JUST TALKING ABOUT THIS TODAY -- AND I APPLAUD ALL THOSE WHO ARE; I THANK YOU FOR THAT -- BUT THAT WE ACTUALLY VOTE ON SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE THAT DEALS WITH THIS ISSUE IN A REAL WAY AND DOES NOT KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD. THIS IS THE ISSUE THAT COULD CREATE THE GREATEST CRISIS IN OUR COUNTRY. SOMETHING, BY THE WAY, IS TOTALLY IN OUR CONTROL. MANY OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE AS A COUNTRY WE CAN'T DEAL WITH SOLELY OURSELVES. IT INVOLVES LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE. THIS IS ONE MUCH THOSE ISSUES THAT WE HAVE TOTALLY IN OUR CONTROL. AND ALL IT TAKES IS THE COURAGE TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. AND THE -- THE REASONING THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET EVERYTHING EXACTLY THE WAY WE WANT IT, BUT AS A GROUP WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO ACTUALLY DEAL WITH IT. SO I HOPE WE MOVE MORE THAN JUST TO A CONSTRUCT, BUT JUST TO -- TO A REAL VOTE. I HAVE A BILL ON THE FLOOR. AND I'M THANKFUL THAT CLAIRE McCASKILL HAS AGREED TO COSPONSOR AN AMENDMENT TO ACTUALLY THIS TAX BILL THAT I KNOW IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO PASS. PROBABLY NOT EVEN GOING TO HAVE A VOTE. BUT TOWARD BUILDING A MOMENTUM TO HAVE A CONSTRUCT IN PLACE THAT SEQUESTERS SPENDING TO DRIVE US FROM WHERE WE ARE TODAY TO A MORE RESPONSIBLE PLACE, A PLACE WHERE WE'VE BEEN OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS. MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU FOR THE TIME. THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, WHO I RESPECT, THANK YOU FOR YOUR FORBEARANCE. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:16:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • 05:16:43 PM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    PLEASED TO BE HERE ON THE FLOOR TO JOIN MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE…

    PLEASED TO BE HERE ON THE FLOOR TO JOIN MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE TO TALK ABOUT THE NEED FOR US TO DEAL WITH OUR DEFICITS AND OUR DEBT IN THIS COUNTRY. I MADE THE DECISION TO VOTE FOR THE TAX CUT PACKAGE THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE VOTING ON THIS EVENING. I DID THAT WITH SOME -- SOME SENSE OF AMBIGUITY BECAUSE IT DOESN'T ADEQUATELY PUT IN PLACE A PLAN TO ADDRESS OUR DEBT IN THIS COUNTRY. AND ALL THE ECONOMISTS, HOWEVER, THAT I'VE SPOKEN TO HAVE INDICATED THAT THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR US AS WE'RE LOOKING AT CONTINUING TO STIMULATE OUR ECONOMY AND PROVIDE THE RELIEF THAT MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES NEED. SO DESPITE THE FACT THAT THERE ARE THINGS IN IT THAT I DON'T LIKE, I'M GOING TO SUPPORT IT. BUT I WOULD FEEL A LOT BETTER ABOUT IT IF IT CONTAINED LANGUAGE THAT ALL OF US HAVE TALKED ABOUT THAT SAYS AS PART OF DOING THIS, ONCE WE GET THIS ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN, WE'VE ALSO GOT TO ADDRESS THE LONG-TERM DEBT THAT WE FACE IN THIS COUNTRY. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, WE'VE GOT TO DO THAT BOTH BY ADDRESSING SPENDING AND BY ADDRESSING TAX REFORM. I WAS AT A SMALL BUSINESS IN SALEM, NEW HAMPSHIRE, YESTERDAY, A COMPANY CALLED M.S.I. THEY DID HVAC SYSTEMS, A SMALL BUSINESS, THEY HAVE ABOUT 25 EMPLOYEES. AND I ASKED THEM WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR FROM US IN WASHINGTON, AND THEY SAID A FAIR, SIMPLE TAX CODE. SO WE'VE GOT TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT THIS PROBLEM. ALL WE'VE GOT TO DO IS TO LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN EUROPE TO KNOW THAT WE ARE HEADED THAT WAY IF WE GONT DON'T GET THIS DEBT UNDER CONTROL AND WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SOME TOUGH DECISIONS THAT INCLUDE BOTH TAX REFORM AND FISCAL RESTRAINT. AND I WOULD FEEL BETTER IF THIS LANGUAGE WERE IN THE LEGISLATION THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE VOTING ON, BUT I THINK IT'S CLEAR THAT IT'S A SENSE OF SENATE I THINK THAT IF WE CAN GET THIS RESOLUTION DONE, IT WILL BE IMPORTANT TO SEND THAT MESSAGE TO NRVE THE COUNTRY ABOUT WHAT -- TO EVERYBODY IN THE COUNTRY ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO DO. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:19:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA.

  • 05:19:11 PM

    MR. NELSON

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I WANT TO SAY TO THE NEW SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, THANK YOU…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I WANT TO SAY TO THE NEW SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR FORBEARANCE. 10 YEARS AGO THIS SENATOR MADE HIS MAIDEN SPEECH ON THE FLOOR AND IT WAS ABOUT THIS VERY SAME ISSUE BECAUSE THEN, A DECADE AGO, WE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF HAVING SURPLUSES AND MY MAIDEN SPEECH WAS ABOUT EXACTLY IF WE DIDN'T WATCH OUT, WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WAS THOSE SURPLUSES WERE GOING TO GO INTO DEFICITS, AND IF WE HAD BEEN GOOD STEWARDS OF OUR CONDITION, WE COULD HAVE PAID OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT OVER THE COURSE OF 12 YEARS. BUT WE TOOK A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. I AM TO BE FOLLOWED BY THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA, THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA, AND I THINK WHAT WE'RE HEARING HERE IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, AFTER WE ARE SWALLOWING A BITTER PILL OF WHAT WE'RE GOING TO VOTE ON TONIGHT THAT IS GOING TO INCREASE THE DEBT $900 MILLION, BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO TO JUMP-START THE ECONOMY. I THINK WHAT WE'RE HEARING NOW IS A CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS THAT IS GOING TO BRING US STARKLY FACE-TO-FACE THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO REDUCE THE DEBT AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO TAX REFORM. AND BECAUSE THE CONDITIONS ARE SO RAW NOW, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO EXPLAIN WHAT WE SEE AS THE ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE COUNTRY, EXPLAIN IT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THEN ACT ON IT. AND WHEN EMERGENCY CONDITIONS ARISE, THERE IS OPPORTUNITY AND THAT IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE CHANGE FOR THE GOOD. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:21:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA.

  • 05:21:14 PM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ALSO WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE NEW SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ALSO WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE NEW SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS AND THANK HIM FOR THE TIME. BUT I ALSO WANTED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS WHO'S HERE WHO JUST SPENT THE LAST FEW MONTHS SERVING HONORABLY ON THE DEBT COMMISSION ON THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. THEY CAME OUT WITH SOME RECOMMENDATIONS. AND A NUMBER OF US IN THIS CHAMBER, WHILE WE MAY NOT SUPPORT EVERYONE AND DISAGREE WITH SOME OF THEM, THINK THAT THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE MUST PURSUE. AS THEY WROTE IN THEIR REPORT EVERY MODEST SACRIFICE THAT WE REFUSE TO MAKE TODAY ONLY FORCES FAR GREATER SACRIFICES OF HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY UPON THE NEXT GENERATION. AND THEY'RE RIGHT. THE LONGER WE WAIT, THE MORE WRENCHING THE CHOICES BECOME. AND GUESS WHO'S GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE THOSE PAINFUL CHOICES, IT'S OUR CHILDREN AND OUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE, MADAM PRESIDENT, IT'S OURSELVES. AS THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA POINTED OUT ABOUT AN HOUR AGO, 6% -- 6% OF OUR SPENDING IS JUST INTEREST ON THAT DEBT. SO THERE ARE SOME COMMONSENSE SUGGESTIONS THAT ARE IN THAT REPORT. THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO DO NEXT YEAR. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS IDEA, PEOPLE MAKING OVER $250,000, THE FACT THAT JUST GOING BACK TO THE CLINTON LEVELS -- THE CLINTON TAX LEVELS WHEN OUR COUNTRY WAS INCREDIBLY PROSPEROUS THAT THAT WOULD BRING IN $700 BILLION TO BRING DOWN THE DEBT, THAT'S WHY THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY -- THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WANT TO SEE THAT AS ONE OF THE OPTIONS FOR THE LONG TERM. FOR THE SHORT TERM RIGHT NOW WE KNOW THAT OUR COUNTRY IS STILL IN A FRAGILE STATE. WE KNOW THAT WE CAN'T SOCK THE MIDDLE CLASS WITH A $3,000 TAX INCREASE, WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN THAT ARE STILL UNEMPLOYED. THAT'S WHY WE'RE PASSING THIS BILL TONIGHT. BEYOND, THAT AS WE GO TO THE NEXT YEAR, WE MUST WORK TOGETHER AS YOU SEE WHAT'S GOING ON IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO PUT A PLAN IN PLACE. BECAUSE THE MARKET WILL RESPOND TO THAT. IT WILL BE GOOD TO OUR ECONOMY. WE WILL SHOW WE MEAN BUSINESS. AND WE WON'T TURN INTO ONE OF THOSE COUNTRIES OVERSEAS THAT IS EXPERIENCING WHAT THEY'RE EXPERIENCING NOW BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T MAKE THAT LONG-TERM COMMITMENT. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:23:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

  • 05:23:31 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    PRESIDENT, I ALSO AM ONE OF THOSE WHO WORRIED OVER THIS VOTE THAT WE CAST…

    PRESIDENT, I ALSO AM ONE OF THOSE WHO WORRIED OVER THIS VOTE THAT WE CAST YESTERDAY OVER THE WEEKEND. I SPOKE ON THIS VERY FLOOR ABOUT THE FACT I DIDN'T LIKE THE ESTATE TAX. I DIDN'T THINK WEALTHY AMERICANS NEEDED A SUSTAINED TAX CUT. AND THEN I BEGAN TO MAKE SOME CALLS TO ECONOMISTS. AND WHAT I FOUND IS THE KIND OF -- IS A KIND OF DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD. ONE, THEY DID BELIEVE THAT THE PACKAGE HAD A STIMULATIVE NATURE OF ANYWHERE BETWEEN.6% AND 1.1%. .6% IS ABOUT 600,000 JOBS. SO 600,000 TO 1.2 MILLION JOBS. THE PAYROLL TAX CUT WAS STIMULATIVE, ET CETERA. AND THAT WE NEEDED TO DO THIS. BUT THEN THE FLIP SIDE. AND THE FLIP SIDE WAS, WE ARE NOW REACHING 63% OF G.D.P. IN DEBT. AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN IS ONE DAY, IF THIS CONTINUES, WE WILL JUST GO OFF A CLIFF ECONOMICALLY. NOW, SOME TIME AGO DURING THE END OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION MANY OF US WERE ON A PHONE CALL AND WE HEARD SECRETARY PAULSON AND FEDERAL RESERVE BERNANKE SAY THAT WE ARE ON THE BRINK OF A MAJOR COLLAPSE OF THIS ECONOMY. EVERYTHING COULD GO DOWN. BANKS, CREDIT INSTITUTIONS, ET CETERA. I NEVER THOUGHT THIS COULD EVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA. I NOW KNOW THAT THE UNPRECEDENTED CAN AFFECT HAPPEN IN AMERICA. AND THAT WHEN WE VOTE FOR A PACKAGE THAT PUTS ALMOST ALMOST $1 TRILLION ADDITIONAL ON DEBT AND DEFICIT, THAT WE HAD BETTER HAVE A WAY TO MAKE A PIVOT, AS SOME PEOPLE HAVE CALLED IT, AND REALLY DO THESE THINGS THAT CAN CURB EXPENDITURES. WE ARE FORTUNATE. THIS NATIONAL COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY OUTLINES A COURSE -- NOT EVERYTHING DO I AGREE WITH, JUST LIKE THE TAX BILL -- BUT NONETHELESS IT'S A COURSE OF ACTION WHICH CAN BRING DOWN THIS DEBT AND BRING DOWN THIS DEFICIT. I'M VERY PROUD OF THOSE MEMBERS WHO VOTED TO SUSTAIN THIS REPORT. EVEN WITH 11 MEMBERS, I THINK IT GIVES THE KIND OF SUBSTANTIAL ABILITY TO THIS REPORT TO BRING IT BEFORE THIS BODY. AND I WOULD HOPE THAT BEFORE WE HAVE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING, THAT WE WOULD HAVE BEFORE US A PACKAGE THAT WE WOULD SET LIMITS ON SPENDING, THAT WE WOULD FREEZE PAY ACROSS THE BOARD, THAT WE WOULD MAKE SUBSTANTIAL ACROSS THE BOARD CUTS IN TRAVEL, IN PRINTING, IN THOSE THINGS NOT BECAUSE IT'S A BIG ITEM, BECAUSE IT'S AN ITEM THAT WAKES PEOPLE UP. I FOUND THAT ON A CITY LEVEL. IT EXISTS ON A STATE LEVEL. AND IT EXISTS ON A FEDERAL LEVEL. THERE IS MUCH THAT WE CAN DO. AND I THINK AT 63% OF G.D.P., THIS DEBT AND DEFICIT SAYS TO AMERICA, AMERICA, BE CONCERNED. AMERICA AND AMERICAN BUSINESS, COME HOME. BUILD YOUR PLANTS HERE. HELP US REBUILD THIS GREAT COUNTRY. HELP US BUILD THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, RIGHT NOW, WE'VE GOT TO MAKE VERY -- I THINK VERY DEEP CUTS ACROSS THE BOARD. THANK YOU, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:27:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA.

  • 05:27:19 PM

    MR. BEGICH

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 05:29:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA.

  • 05:29:49 PM

    MR. WARNER

    AGAIN THANK MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR CHAMBLISS, AND THERE WILL BE MORE TO…

    AGAIN THANK MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR CHAMBLISS, AND THERE WILL BE MORE TO COME. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF OTHER COLLEAGUES THAT COULDN'T BE HERE AND THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS HAS BEEN MORE THAN KIND IN HIS FORBEARANCE AND I KNOW HE WILL BE MEETING THIS CHALLENGE AS WELL. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 05:30:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 05:30:17 PM

    MR. KIRK

    WORKED IN THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENTS. A NEW MEMBER'S MAIDEN SPEECH IS GIVEN…

    WORKED IN THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENTS. A NEW MEMBER'S MAIDEN SPEECH IS GIVEN GREAT WEIGHT. TRADITIONALLY THE SPEECH IS USED TO HIGHLIGHT WHAT A MEMBER'S PRIORITIES ARE AND SET HIS TONE FOR HIS TENURE. MY EXPERIENCE IN LONDON GUIDED MY THOUGHTS TEN YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS ELECTED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. MY MAIDEN SPEECH THEN FOCUSED ON THE UNIQUE POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE TENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS AND ITS TRADITION OF ELECTING THOUGHTFUL, INDEPENDENT LEADERS. AS I STAND HERE TODAY, NEWLY ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS -- THANK YOU -- TO REPRESENT THEIR INTERESTS IN THE SENATE, I RECALL MY FIRST SPEECH IN THE HOUSE AND HOW HUMBLED I WAS TO FOLLOW SUCH A DISTINGUISHED GROUP OF MEN AND WOMEN IN OFFICE. I'M EQUALLY HUMBLED NOW AS I ASSUME THE OFFICE OF UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. SINCE OUR ADMISSION IN THE UNION IN 1818, ILLINOIS HAS SENT A DIVERSE LIST OF SENATORS TO THIS CHAMBER. MANY OF MY PREDECESSORS SERVED IN UNIFORM VALIANTLY. OTHERS HAD BRILLIANT LEGAL CAREERS, WHILE STILL OTHERS EXCELLED IN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY. AS I TAKE OFFICE, I WANT TO REFLECT ON THOSE WHO REPRESENTED ILLINOIS IN THE SENATE BEFORE ME, THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND THE IMPRINT THEY LEFT ON OUR GREAT NATION. ONE NAME HANGS ABOVE ALL OTHERS. HE NEVER SERVED IN THE SENATE, BUT HE RAN FOR THE OFFICE IN 1858. ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS DEFEATED IN THAT ELECTION, BUT HE WON THE NATION'S SUPPORT FOR THE HIGH OFFICE HE LATER SOUGHT IN THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES. HIS STORY ALSO REMINDS THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC OPPONENTS OF THE CURRENT MEMBERS OF THIS SENATE THAT THE BEST DAYS FOR THOSE DEFEATED OPPONENTS IN PUBLIC LIFE MAY STILL BE AHEAD OF THEM. WITH REGARD TO OUR SENATORS WHO SERVED ILLINOIS, THE FIRST I WILL MENTION IS NINIAN EDWARDS, A PIONEER AT THE TIME WHEN ILLINOIS WAS ACTUALLY A FRONTIER. FIRST ELECTED IN 1818, HE SERVED UNTIL 1824 WHEN HE STEPPED DOWN TO BECOME THE UNITED STATES MINISTER TO MEXICO. HE HAD THE DISTINCTION OF BEING BOTH THE GOVERNOR AND SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. A TRUE SERVANT TO THE STATE, HE DIED THIS 1823 WHEN HE HELPED TREAT THE VICTIMS OF A CHOLERA EPIDEMIC CARRIED BACK BY SOLDIERS WHO SERVED DURING THE BLACKHAWK WAR. SENATOR JAMES SHIELDS REMINDED US THAT WE ARE A STATE AND A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS. BORN IN IRELAND, HE BECAME A NATURALIZED CITIZEN IN 1840. HE SERVED IN THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR UNDER GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR, DEMANDING A BRIGADE IN THE BATTLES OF VERA CRUZ AND CHERABUSCO AND OTHERS. ALREADY ONE OF AMERICA'S LEADING IRISH AMERICANS, BRIGADIER GENERAL SHIELDS WOULD LATER COMMAND A DIVISION DURING THE CIVIL WAR, TAKING HIS MEN AGAINST STONEWALL JACKSON IN THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN OF 1862. HE WAS TWICE ELECTED TO THE SENATE IN 1948, FIRST IN MARCH AND THEN AGAIN IN OCTOBER. BUT HIS FIRST ELECTION WAS VOIDED ON THE GROUNDS THAT HE HAD NOT BEEN A U.S. CITIZEN FOR THE REQUIRED NINE YEARS. EIGHT MONTHS LATER, HE WON ELECTION AGAIN AND WAS FINALLY SEATED. SENATOR SHIELDS IS THE ONLY MEMBER OF THIS BODY TO HAVE SERVED IN THE SENATE FROM THREE STATES. IN ADDITION TO ILLINOIS, HE WAS ELECTED IN MINNESOTA AND MISSOURI. SENATOR SHIELDS ALSO NEARLY CHANGED THE COURSE OF THIS NATION. IN 1842, A YOUNG ABRAHAM LINCOLN WROTE AN ANONYMOUS LETTER TO THE SANGAMON JOURNAL, CRITICIZING THEN-STATE AUDITOR SHIELDS FOR HIS DECISION TO REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF TAXES IN SILVER OR GOLD. WHEN LINCOLN'S FUTURE WIFE, MARY TODD, AND HER FRIENDS GOT IN THE ACT OF WRITING ADDITIONAL MISSIVES, SHIELDS ASKED THE EDITOR TO REVEAL THE IDENTITY OF THE LETTER WRITERS. WHEN LINCOLN CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL THE LETTERS, SHIELDS DEMANDED SATISFACTION AND CHALLENGED LINCOLN TO A DUEL. LINCOLN CHOSE BROAD SWORDS AS THE WEAPON OF CHOICE, AND THE TWO MADE PLANS TO TRAVEL TO MISSOURI, AS DUELING IN ILLINOIS WAS ILLEGAL AT THE TIME. LUCKILY, COOLER HEADS PREVAILED AND THE DUEL WAS CALLED OFF, AVERTING A POTENTIAL HISTORY-CHANGING EVENT. SERVING FROM 1847-1861, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR STEVEN DOUGLAS WAS KNOWN AS THE LITTLE GIANT DURING HIS SHORT -- BECAUSE OF HIS SHORT STATURE BUT POWERFUL HOLD ON THE U.S. SENATE. WHILE ACCOMPLISHED, HE WAS OVERSHADOWED BY LINCOLN DESPITE LINCOLN'S LOSS TO DOUGLAS IN THE 1858 SENATE ELECTION. DOUGLAS SERVED AS THE ARCHITECT OF THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA ACT OF 1854 THAT REPEALED THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE, ALLOWING SETTLERS AND -- IN KANSAS AND NEBRASKA TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO ALLOW SLAVERY. DOUGLAS' REPUTATION WANED IN LATER YEARS WHEN HE LED THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO DEFEAT IN THE ELECTION OF 1860 BY DEFENDING SLAVERY IN THE SOUTHERN STATES. HIS MISCALCULATION DEALT A BLOW TO THE RULING DEMOCRATS, ALLOWING A NEW ANTISLAVERY REPUBLICAN PARTY TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE. ANOTHER ILLINOIS SENATOR, DAVID DAVIS, HOLDS A UNIQUE DISTINCTION, HAVING SERVED AS AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ON THE U.S. SUPREME COURT PRIOR TO HIS SENATE SERVICE. IN HIS NEARLY 15 YEARS ON THE COURT, DAVIS IS BEST KNOWN FOR WRITING THE DECISION IN EX PARTE MILLIGAN, HOLDING THAT A DEATH SENTENCE HANDED DOWN BY A CIVIL WAR MILITARY COMMISSION AGAINST A CIVILIAN WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS CIVILIAN COURTS WERE FUNCTIONING AT THE TIME. THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE ELECTED DAVIS TO THE SENATE IN THE MIDST OF THE DISPUTED 1876 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BETWEEN RUTHERFORD B. HAYES AND SAMUEL TILDEN. BECAUSE OF HIS SERVICE ON THE SUPREME COURT AND HIS LONG REPUTATION FOR FIERCE INDEPENDENCE, SENATOR DAVIS WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE FOLLOWING THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT GARFIELD. UNDER THE LAW OF THE TIME, THIS PLACED HIM NEXT IN LINE OF SUCCESSION TO PRESIDENT CHESTER A. ARTHUR, EVEN THOUGH HE WAS A FRESHMAN SENATOR. ONE OF OUR GREATEST SENATORS WAS THE MAN FROM PEAKIN, SENATOR EVERETT MCKINLEY DIRKSEN, WHO SERVED FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 20th CENTURY. HIS LEADERSHIP WAS APPARENT EARLY IN HIS LIFE. DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR, HE ENTERED SERVICE IN THE FIELD ARREST ARTILLERY AS A PRIVATE AND LEFT AS A SECOND LIEUTENANT. WHILE IN THE SENATE, HE WORKED HIS WAY TO LEAD THE PARTY AS MINORITY LEADER AND DEVELOPED A REPUTATION AS A PRAGMATIC AND THOUGHTFUL LEGISLATOR. HE IS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS ROLE IN PASSING THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1864. IT WAS DIRKSEN WHO SAID ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE -- "THE TIME HAS COME FOR EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY, IN THE SHARING OF GOVERNMENT, IN EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT. IT MUST NOT BE STAYED OR DENIED. IT IS HERE." IT WAS DIRKSEN WHO HELPED GATHER THE VOTES FOR CLOTURE ON THE GROUND-BREAKING LEGISLATION, ENDING THE LONGEST FILIBUSTER IN SENATE HISTORY, A -- OF 534 HOURS, 1 MINUTE AND 51 SECONDS. IF THERE IS ONE OF OUR ILLINOIS SENATORS WHOSE SPIRIT HANGS CLOSEST TO ME AS I BEGIN MY SERVICE HERE, IT'S DIRKSEN'S. SENATOR DIRKSEN'S REPUTATION AS A FISCAL CONSERVATIVE AND SOCIAL MODERATE IS ONE THAT I HOPE TO FOLLOW IN MY SERVICE HERE IN THE SENATE. SENATOR DIRKSEN DIED AFTER A BOUT WITH CANCER IN 1969 BUT HIS LEGACY LIVES ON. ONE OF THE THREE SENATE OFFICE BUILDINGS BEARS HIS NAME, AS WELL AS CHICAGO'S FEDERAL COURTHOUSE. SENATOR CHARLES PERCY ENTERED THE SENATE IN 1867, SERVING ALONGSIDE SENATOR DIRKSEN FOR TWO YEARS. HE WAS A ROCKEFELLER REPUBLICAN, REPRESENTING THE MODERATE WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE SENATE AND WENT ON TO CHAIR THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE. IN ADDITION TO HIS WORK ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, HE WORKED ON LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE HOMEOWNERSHIP TO LOW-INCOME FAMILIES. SENATOR PERCY AND I ALSO SHARE A SIMILAR BACKGROUND. BOTH HE AND I ARE GRADUATES OF NEUTURE HIGH SCHOOL IN WINNETKA AND BOTH SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY. HIS GREATEST WORK FOR ILLINOIS WAS TO ELIMINATE THE CORRUPT PRACTICE OF NOMINATING FEDERAL JUDGES FROM THE CHICAGO POLITICAL MACHINE. I WOULD LIKE TO FOLLOW IN SENATOR PERCY'S FOOTSTEPS BY ENSURING JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS GO THROUGH A RIGOROUS ADVISORY PROCESS. ALLEN DIXON SERVED ILLINOIS IN THE SENATE FROM 1981-1993, BUT BEFORE HE CAME TO WASHINGTON, HE SERVED BOTH THE ILLINOIS HOUSE AND SENATE AND LATER WON STATEWIDE ELECTIONS FOR TREASURER AND AS SECRETARY OF STATE. HE EARNED A DESERVED REPUTATION AS A THOUGHTFUL AND MODERATE SENATOR WHO SERVED THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS WITH A QUIET DEDICATION, AND AFTER LEAVING THE SENATE, WENT ON TO CHAIR THE DEFENSE BASE ALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION IN 1994 AND 1995. BORN IN EUGENE, OREGON, SENATOR PAUL SIMON SERVED FROM 1985-1997 AS A STAUNCH FISCAL PAY AS YOU GO DEMOCRAT. SIMON WORKED WITH SENATOR ORRIN HATCH OF UTAH ON A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. ALTHOUGH UNSUCCESSFUL AT THE TIME, IT DESERVES RENEWED ATTENTION NOW IN THE LIGHT OF OUR CRIPPLING FEDERAL DEBT. ALTHOUGH HE DID NOT WIN THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION IN 1988, HIS GREATEST LEGACY MAY BE THE CREATION OF THE PAUL SIMON PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY WHERE HE SERVED AS DIRECTOR UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 2003 FOLLOWING HEART SURGERY. SENATOR CAROL MOSELEY-BRAUN WAS A TRUE DAUGHTER -- OR IS A TRUE DAUGHTER OF CHICAGO. SHE WAS BORN IN THE CITY, ATTENDED CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND RECEIVED DEGREES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO. SHE REMAINS TODAY AS THE ONLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN TO HAVE SERVED IN THE SENATE, AND AFTER SHE DEPARTED THE SENATE, SHE SERVED AS OUR AMBASSADOR TO NEW ZEALAND AND REMAINS COMMITTED TO PUBLIC SERVICE TODAY AND IS CURRENTLY RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF CHICAGO. SENATOR PETER FITZGERALD CAME TO WASHINGTON TWO YEARS BEFORE I BEGAN MY SERVICE IN THE HOUSE. I WAS HONORED TO SERVE THE ILLINOIS DELEGATION WITH HIM FOR FOUR YEARS. WHEN I LOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE HERE IN THE SENATE, IT WAS SENATOR FITZGERALD AND SENATOR DURBIN AT MY SIDE, RECOGNIZING THAT OUR LEADERSHIP OF OUR STATE REQUIRES A FIRM COMMITMENT TO BIPARTISANSHIP. SENATOR FITZGERALD WAS BORN IN ELGIN AND RAISED IN INVERNESS. HE REPRESENTED THE NORTHWEST SUBURBS IN THE ILLINOIS STATE SENATE BEFORE HIS ELECTION TO THE U.S. SENATE. SENATOR FITZGERALD'S LEGACY IN ILLINOIS WILL FOREVER BE REMEMBERED FOR BRINGING ONE OF THE NATION'S MOST DEDICATED CRIME FIGHTERS TO OUR STATE. SENATOR FITZGERALD IS THE REASON WHY THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS IS HOME TO ONE OF THE BEST PROSECUTORS IN AMERICA, U.S. ATTORNEY PATRICK FITZGERALD. PATRICK FITZGERALD, WHO IS OF NO RELATION TO THE SENATOR, HAS DONE MORE TO FIGHT PUBLIC CORRUPTION IN OUR STATE THAN ANY OTHER PERSON. SENATOR PETER FITZGERALD FOUGHT A TOUGH BATTLE TO RECRUIT AND APPOINT PATRICK FITZGERALD. BEFORE HIS ARRIVAL, ILLINOIS HAD BECOME THE WILD WEST OF POLITICS AND ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT STATES IN THE NATION. UNDER HIS TENURE, U.S. ATTORNEY FITZGERALD CONVICTED TWO GOVERNORS OF CORRUPTION AND COUNTLESS OTHER STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS. WE WILL FOREVER LIVE WITH THE EMBARRASSMENT OF CONVICTED CRIMINALS LIKE GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH, BUT WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF SENATOR PETER FITZGERALD, WE FOUND THE RIGHT PROSECUTOR TO SLOWLY RESTORE THE INTEGRITY AND HONESTY OF OUR STATE. I'VE SPOKEN ABOUT THE PAST GREATS WHO HAVE REPRESENTED ILLINOIS IN THE SENATE, BUT OUR RECENT SENATORS HAVE BEEN CHAMPIONS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT. I'M HONORED TO CALL SENATOR DICK DURBIN MY COLLEAGUE, AND WHILE WE HAIL FROM DIFFERENT PARTIES, WE HAVE PLEDGED TO WORK CLOSELY ON ISSUES THAT WILL BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF OUR STATE. HE, LIKE ME, CAME TO THIS BODY FROM THE HOUSE AND QUICKLY BECAME KNOWN AS A CHAMPION FOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS LIKE THE CRITICAL O'HARE MODERNIZATION PROGRAM AND MASS TRANSIT. HIS KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROCESS OF GOVERNMENT IS UNMATCHED, AND HE IS QUICK TO TELL VERY INTERESTING TALES ABOUT HIS LIFE AS A PARLIAMENTARIAN FOR THE ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY. HIS FATHER DIED OF LUNG CANCER WHEN HE WAS 14, AND HE HAS FOUGHT TIRELESSLY TO PROTECT KIDS FROM TOBACCO. WE FLY TODAY IN SMOKE-FREE AIRLINES BECAUSE OF SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN OF ILLINOIS. RECOGNIZING HIS LEADERSHIP, HIS CAUCUS HAS VOTED TO MAKE HIM MAJORITY WHIP FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS, ONE OF THE FEW SENATORS FROM ILLINOIS TO HOLD SUCH A POSITION OF DISTINCTION. AND THAT BRINGS ME TO PERHAPS THE BEST KNOWN OF SENATORS AND THE MAN WHOSE TERM I COMPLETE, BARACK OBAMA. THE FIRST TIME I REALLY HEARD OF NOW-PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, IN 2000. I WAS FILING PETITIONS TO RUN FOR MY FIRST TERM IN THE HOUSE, AND IN FRONT OF ME IN LINE WAS A YOUNG STAFFER WHO WORKED FOR A STATE SENATOR FROM CHICAGO WHO WAS RUNNING FOR THE CONGRESS. IT'S HIGHLY IRONIC THAT I WON MY ELECTION THAT YEAR AS STATE SENATOR OBAMA LOST HIS, BUT TEN YEARS LATER, ILLINOIS HAD ITS FAVORITE SON IN THE WHITE HOUSE. DESPITE THE MEDIA SPOTLIGHT UPON HIM, THEN-SENATOR OBAMA SOUGHT OUT A LOW INITIAL PROFILE IN THE SENATE AND WORKED WITH SENATOR DURBIN AND THE REST OF OUR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO QUIETLY ADVANCE SOME PROJECTS. WHILE HIS TENURE IN THIS BODY WAS BRIEF, HE AND I ESSENTIALLY WORKED TOGETHER TO SECURE FEDERAL SCHOOL FUNDING FOR MILITARY FAMILIES IN NORTH CHICAGO ILLINOIS, FULFILLING AN IMPORTANT PROMISE TO TAKE CARE OF THOSE WHO TAKE CARE OF US. IN 2008, BARACK OBAMA WAS ELECTED AS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, CREATING A VACANCY THAT WAS FILLED BY ROLAND BURRIS. IT IS THE GREATEST HONOR OF MY LIFE TO WIN ELECTION TO BOTH SENATOR OBAMA'S UNEXPIRED TERM AND A FULL SIX-YEAR TERM. AS I ENTER THE SENATE AND OPEN A NEW CHAPTER IN THE RICH HISTORY OF THIS BODY, I STAND BEFORE YOU AS A FISCAL CONSERVATIVE, SOCIAL MODERATE AND A NATIONAL SECURITY HAWK. I BRING A COMMITMENT TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, SPENDING RESTRAINT, LOWER TAXES, TOLERANCE, A STRONG NATIONAL DEFENSE, AND ABOVE ALL, THOUGHTFUL INDEPENDENT LEADERSHIP. TODAY WE FACE GREAT CHALLENGES BOTH HERE AND ABROAD. HERE AT HOME, RUNAWAY SPENDING AND UNSUSTAINABLE BORROWING THREATEN THE FUTURE OF OUR ECONOMY. UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS HIGH AND ECONOMIC GROWTH SLOW. SMALL BUSINESS EMPLOYERS ARE CRIPPLED BY THE TAX AND REGULATION DECISIONS OF AN EVER-GROWING GOVERNMENT. AS WE LOOK ABROAD, OUR CHALLENGES ARE NO LESS COMPLEX. WE ARE A NATION AT WAR WITH A TERRORIST ENEMY THAT SEEKS OUR DESTRUCTION. AS AMERICA WINDS DOWN OUR MISSION IN IRAQ, OUR MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN GROWS CHALLENGING, MORE CHALLENGING BY THE DAY. IRAN CONTINUES ITS PURSUIT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AS TERRORISTS IN GAZA AND LEBANON THREATEN THE SECURITIES OF OUR STRONGEST ALLY IN THE MIDDLE EAST. AT HOME AND ABROAD OUR COUNTRY FACES THREATS FROM IRAN, NORTH KOREA AND A NUMBER OF TERROR CELLS BASED IN PAKISTAN, YEMEN, SOMALIA AND ELSEWHERE. IN TIMES OF GREAT UNCERTAINTY, WE DO NEED TO COME TOGETHER, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ANDED INS, TO BUILD -- AND INDEPENDENTS TO BUILD CONSENSUS TO KPWRAOUFT LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WE REPRESENT. IN THAT SPIRIT, I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH OUR SENIOR SENATOR, SENATOR DURBIN, TO COMPLETE THE O'HARE MODERNIZATION PROJECT, TO BAN SEWAGE DUMPING IN THE GREAT LAKES AND EXPAND HIGH-SPEED RAEUFPLT FROM ROCKFORD TO CAIRO WE WILL WORK TO EXPAND EMPLOYMENT WHEREVER POSSIBLE SEEKING PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR FAMILIES ACROSS ILLINOIS. AND I'M CONFIDENT THAT WE CAN BUILD A BIPARTISAN, PRO-ILLINOIS AGENDA THAT DELIVERS FOR OUR STATE. NINNIAN EDWARDS, JAMES SHIELDS, STEVENS DOUGLAS, DAVID DAVIS, EVERETT DIRKSEN, CHARLES PERCY, ALLEN DIXON, PAUL SIMON, CAROL MOSELEY-BRAUN, PETER FITZGERALD, ROLAND BURRIS AND BARACK OBAMA. AS I ENTER THIS CHAMBER WITH ALL HUMILITY AND WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US, THEY FOUGHT FOR A BETTER FUTURE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION AS WE SHALL FIGHT FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 05:48:40 PM

    MR. REID

    SORRY TO BARGE IN HERE BUT I'VE BEEN TRYING TO TALK ALL DAY. SO I…

    SORRY TO BARGE IN HERE BUT I'VE BEEN TRYING TO TALK ALL DAY. SO I APPRECIATE EVERYONE'S ATTENTION HERE. IT IS A SHORT SPEECH, BUT I'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET OVER HERE ALL DAY. I FIRST MET EVAN BAYH AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR INDIANAPOLIS. ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE SPEECHES I HAVE WITNESSED WAS IN THE CAPITOL ROTUNDA WHEN WE WERE THERE MEETING THE NEW SENATORS. SENATOR EVAN BAYH, IT WAS HIS FIRST SPEECH THAT I KNOW HE HAD GIVEN IN THE CAPITOL COMPLEX. HE SPOKE WITHOUT NOTES. AND IT WAS A SPEECH LAYING OUT HIS PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT. AND IT WAS REALLY SPELLBINDING. I CAN'T IMAGINE THE TALENT THAT HE HAD, AND I'VE WITNESSED SINCE THAT TIME. THE STATE OF INDIANA IS LOSING A SUPERB SENATOR IN EVAN BAYH. SENATOR BAYH ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT THIS YEAR AND IS WRAPPING UP HIS SECOND TERM WHERE HE'S BEEN A FIGHTER FOR THE SHOE SHERR STATE. THAT -- FOR THE HOOSIER STATE. SOON AFTER EARNING DEGREES FOR INDIANA UNIVERSITY AND UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA HE WAS ELECTED TO THE INDIANA SECRETARY OF STATE, THE FIRST OF FIVE STATEWIDE ELECTIONS HE WOULD WIN. HE SERVED INDIANA FOR EIGHT YEARS AS GOVERNOR, LED THE STATE TO THE LARGEST BUDGET SURPLUS EVER WHILE CREATING THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF JOBS. HE ALSO CREATED THE 21st CENTURY SCHOLARS PROGRAM THAT OTHER STATES REPLICATED TO ENSURE ALL HOOSIERS WOULD RECEIVE A QUALITY EDUCATION. HE WAS LATER ELECTED TO THE SENATE WHEN HE PUT PARTISAN POLITICS ASIDE AND FOUGHT FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF INDIANAANS, A CHAMPION FOR EDUCATION AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. HE SUPPORTED OUR TROOPS FERVENTLY. SENATOR BAYH WASN'T AFRAID TO CALL OUT LEADERS WHEN HE FELT AN INJUSTICE WAS BEING DONE AND SPOKE UP OFTEN FOR MEN AND WOMEN OVERSEAS WHEN NECESSARY. OF COURSE BEING A PUBLIC SERVANT WAS NOTHING NEW TO HIM. HIS DAD, BIRCH, HELD THE SAME SENATE SEAT AND SET A FINE EXAMPLE. SENATOR BAYH ACHIEVED AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT FOR THE PEOPLE OF INDIANA IN HIS RELATIVELY SHORT CAREER AND HE'S NOT DONE YET. HE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK FOR THE LIVES OF PEOPLE IN INDIANA AND ALL OF AMERICA. SENATOR BAYH IS RELINQUISHING THE TITLE OF SENATOR, BUT THE ROLE HE CHERISHES MORE THAN ANYTHING IS THAT OF FATHER. HIS TWIN TEENAGE BOYS, BEAU AND NICK, ARE THE JOY OF HIS LIFE AND I'M CONFIDENT THEY'RE VERY PROUD OF THEIR FATHER. I WISH SUSAN EVAN AND THE BOYS THE VERY BEST IN ALL OF THEIR ENDEAVORS. IS.

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  • 05:51:48 PM

    MR. ENSIGN

  • 06:17:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE ASSISTANT MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 06:17:17 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    PRESIDENT, I ASK ONSENT THAT AFTER I'VE COMPLETED MY REMARKS, THAT THE…

    PRESIDENT, I ASK ONSENT THAT AFTER I'VE COMPLETED MY REMARKS, THAT THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND, SENATOR JACK REED, BE RECOGNIZED.

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  • 06:17:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE BEINGS? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. -- IS THERE OBJECTION?…

    THERE BEINGS? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. -- IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

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  • 06:17:29 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE LISTENED CAREFULLY TO THE REMARKS OF THE SENATOR FROM…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE LISTENED CAREFULLY TO THE REMARKS OF THE SENATOR FROM NEVADA, AND I RESPECT HIM, THOUGH I MUST DISAGREE WITH HIM ON SEVERAL PARTICULARS. WHEN I LOOK BACK ON HISTORY, I SEE IT DIFFERENTLY. WHAT I SEE IS A GREAT DEPRESSION FACING AMERICA THAT LED TO RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT, BUSINESS FAILURES, FARM FAILURES, ONE OF THE WORST ECONOMIC CONDITIONS FACED BY AMERICA IN MODERN TIMES TIMES. THE ELECTION OF FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT IN 1932 AND HIS ASCENSION TO OFFICE IN 1933 USHERED IN A NEW APPROACH, AN APPROACH THAT WAS CALLED THE NEW DEAL, THAT BASICALLY SAID WE ARE GOING TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE SITUATION, WE'RE GOING TO STAND BEHIND YOUR DEPOSITS IN THE BANK TO MAKE SURE YOU DON'T LOSE THEM THEM. THE BANK FAILS, YOU WON'T BE BROKE. FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION. WE'RE GOING TO PUT THE WATCHDOGS ON WALL STREET TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE DON'T DO THINGS THERE THAT ARE BASICALLY IF NOT ILLEGAL, UNWISE, AND MAKE CERTAIN THAT WE HAVE GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICES THERE. WE'RE GOING TO STAND BEHIND THE FARMERS. BEFORE WE LET THEM LOSE THEIR FARM, WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO GET THEM THROUGH A DIFFICULT YEAR SO THEY CAN BE THERE TO FIGHT AGAIN. WE'RE ACTUALLY GOING TO CREATE JOBS ACROSS AMERICA, FIRST FOR THOSE WHO ARE WORKING, WE'RE GOING TO CREATE A MINIMUM WAGE SO THAT PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY CAN GET A BASIC SALARY TO LIVE ON. AND FOR THOSE WHO CAN'T FIND WORK IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT SAID WE'LL CREATE W.P.A. JOBS AND OTHER JOBS ACROSS AMERICA BUILDING THINGS THAT WILL SERVE US FOR AGAIN TRIETIONZ COME. -- FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. THE NEW DEAL WAS LAUNCHED AND NOT LONG AFTER IT WAS LAUNCHED, THE VOICES SIMILAR TO ONES WE'VE HEARD THIS EVENING CAME FORWARD AND SAID WAIT A MINUTE, WE'RE SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE, WE'RE GOING INTO DEBT AS A NATION. AND THOSE VOICES STARTED TO PREVAIL. AND SO FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT AND THE NEW DEAL STARTED TO BACK BACK OFF. AND AS THEY BACKED OFF THE STIMULUS TO THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, AN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, WHICH HAD GONE DOWN FROM OVER 20% TO 13% OR 14%, WENT BACK UP AGAIN TO 19% AND LANGUISHED. BECAUSE WITH THE LACK OF STIMULUS INTO THE ECONOMY, AMERICA WAS JUST NOT GETTING WELL AND STRONG. THEN SOMETHING CAME ALONG WHICH THE SENATOR FROM NEVADA FAILED TO MENTION. HE SPOKE ABOUT HOW GOVERNMENT SPENDING REALLY DOESN'T INVIGOROUS AN ECONOMY, AND I WOULD SUGGEST TO HIM HE LEFT OUT ONE PHRASE IN HIS SPEECH THAT I'D LIKE HIM TO LOOK UP, WORLD WAR II. WHEN WE WENT INTO THAT GREAT WAR TO STOP HITLER, TO STOP THE FORCES OF NAZIISM, FASCISM ACROSS AMERICA, WE MOBILIZED THIS COUNTRY AND PUT IT TO WORK BUILDING THE WAR MACHINE. GREAT SACRIFICE FROM FAMILIES ACROSS AMERICA. ROSY THE RIVET. MOM WENT TO WORK BECAUSE DAD WAS OFF FIGHTING THE WAR. EVERYONE PITCHED IN. WE WENT INTO DEBT AS A NATION BUT WE WON THAT WAR AND WE CAME OUT OF IT WITH A STRONG, THRIVING ECONOMY, ONE OF THE STRONGEST IN THE WORLD. SO TO ARGUE THAT GOVERNMENT SPENDING, WHICH THERE WAS A LOT OF IT DURING WORLD WAR II, DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ECONOMIC STIMULUS IS TO IGNORE THE OBVIOUS, IT DID. NOW LET'S FAST FORWARD TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY AND WHERE WE ARE TONIGHT. I SEE MY COLLEAGUE, THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND, IS HERE AND HE'S BEEN CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT ECONOMIC COMMISSION. HE UNDERSTANDS THE ECONOMIC ISSUES AS WELL OR BETTER THAN MOST OF US WHO SERVE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. BUT I GOT A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO OUR ECONOMY BY SERVING ON THE DEFICIT COMMISSION, THE PRESIDENT'S DEFICIT COMMISSION, FOR THE LAST 10 MONTHS, AND WE MET WEEK AFTER WEEK, MONTH AFTER MONTH AND TALKED ABOUT THE STATE OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY AND THE DEBT OF OUR NATION. I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION, WHICH 11 OUT OF THE 18 MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION AGREED WITH, THAT THE CURRENT SITUATION IS UNSUSTAINABLE. WE ARE, IN FACT, BORROWING 40 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND. WHETHER THAT DOLLAR IS SPENT FOR A NEW MISSILE SYSTEM IN THE PENTAGON OR WHETHER IT'S SPENT FOR FOOD STAMPS FOR THE POOREST OF THE POOR IN AMERICA, WE BORROW 40 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR SPENT. AND WE BORROW IT FROM COUNTRIES WHO ARE BECOMING OUR CREDITORS, OR MORTGAGORS, AND COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA, THE OPEC NATIONS, KOREA AGO, JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA. THEY ARE -- KOREA, JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA. THEY ARE THE ONES LOANING US THE MONEY. AND OF COURSE IT CALLS INTO QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT THEY THINK WE ARE CREDITWORTHY, AND THAT IS WHY WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT OUR DEBT AS WE GET MORE DEEPLY INTO DEBT. NOW, THE SENATOR FROM NEVADA, WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY AND THE DEBT WE'RE FACING, FAILED TO TELL THE WHOLE STORY. I ALWAYS SAY THE STORY SHOULD BEGIN WITH WHAT THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY WAS THE DAY THAT PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON LEFT OFFICE. AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME, THE ACCUMULATED DEBT OF AMERICA FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON THROUGH PRESIDENT CLINTON'S EIGHT YEARS WAS $5 TRILLION. AT THAT TIME, WE WERE IN SURPLUS ON OUR ANNUAL BUDGETS AND PRESIDENT CLINTON TURNED TO INCOMING PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AND SAID, NEXT YEAR WE PROJECT $120 BILLION SURPLUS FOR YOUR BUDGET. SO WE'RE LEAVING YOU IN GOOD SHAPE. NOT WITH RED RED INK BUT BLANK INK. $5 TRILLION DEBT, $120 BILLION SURPLUS FOR THE COMING YEAR. EIGHT YEARS LATER, AT THE END OF GEORGE W. BUSH'S ADMINISTRATION, THE NATIONAL DEBT HAD GROWN FROM $5 TRILLION TO $12 TRILLION, MORE THAN DOUBLED IN EIGHT YEARS YEARS. AND PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH SAID TO INCOMING PRESIDENT OBAMA OBAMA, I'M NOT LEAVING YOU A SUR PLUS, I'MSURPLUS, I'M LEAVING YOU A $1.2 TRILLION DEBT FOR THE NEXT YEAR. $120 BILLION SURPLUS, GEORGE W. BUSH INHERITED WHEN HE CAME TO OFFICE; $1.2 TRILLION DEBT HE LEFT BEHIND. HOW DID WE REACH SUCH A SORRY STATE IN A MERE EIGHT YEARS? FIRST, PRESIDENT BUSH WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY TO CUT TAXES IN THE MIDST OF A WAR. IT'S COUNTERINTUITIVE AND HE DID IT. HE BELIEVED THE ECONOMY WOULD GROW. IT DIDN'T WORK. AND AS A RESULT, WE GOT MORE DEEPLY INTO DEBT. HE GAVE TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHIEST IN AMERICA AND THEY ARE 9 LEAST LIKELY -- THEY ARE THE LEAST LIKELY FROM AN ECONOMIC POINT OF VIEW TO INVIGORATE OUR ECONOMY. AND THEN HE TURNED AROUND AND HAD SEVERAL PROGRAMS HE SIGNED INTO LAW THAT WERE TOTALLY UNPAID FOR, JUST ADDING TO OUR DEBT. THAT'S WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES TODAY. THAT'S WHERE THE DEFICIT COMMISSION FINDS ITSELF. AND SO JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO, WE REPORTED, 11 OUT OF 18 SENATORS -- PARDON ME, 11 OUT OF 18 MEMBERS, VOTING IN FAVOR OF THE DEFICIT COMMISSION. TWO WEEKS LATER, HERE I STAND ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND WE ARE CONSIDERING A BILL WHICH WILL ADD $858 BILLION TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. THAT ISN'T SOMETHING WE ANTICIPATED WHEN THE DEFICIT COMMISSION LABORED FOR TEN MONTHS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WAYS TO CUT $4 TRILLION OUT OF THE DEBT OVER TEN YEARSMENT YEARS -- YEARS. HERE WE ARE TWO WEEKS LATER ADDING THIS MONEY TO OUR DEBT. I WOULD TELL YOU THAT I VOTE FOR IT AND DIE WITH THIS SPECIFIC REASON IN MIND. I BELIEVE THAT UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING DEFINITIVE AND DECISIVE, WE ARE NOT GOING TO COME OUT OF THIS RECESSION AS QUICKLY AS WE SHOULD, MORE PEOPLE WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS, AND OUR DEBT WILL GET WORSE. WE NEED TO STIMULATE AND INVIGORATE THIS ECONOMY. I THINK THE PRESIDENT WAS RIGHT TWO YEARS AGO, PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHEN HE HAD A STIMULUS PACKAGE. I MIGHT REMIND MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE THAT A THIRD OF IT WAS TAX CUTS, WHICH IS THEIR MANTRA IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD, A THIRD OF IT WAS TAX CUTS, A THIRD OF IT WAS SAFETY NET, AND A THIRD OF IT WAS BASICALLY DESIGNED TO BUILD THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THIS COUNTRY. I THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD STIMULUS PACKAGE AND I DO BELIEVE IT CREATED MILLIONS OF JOBS OR AT LEAST SAVED MILLIONS OF JOBS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST. THE SAME HOLDS TRUE TODAY. WE NEED TO INVIGORATE THIS ECONOMY AND MOVE IT FORWARD, AND THAT'S WHY I SUPPORT THIS PACKAGE. NOW, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING ELSE. THERE ARE THINGS IN THIS TAX PACKAGE WHICH WILL BE VOTED ON TONIGHT OR EARLY TOMORROW MORNING WHICH I FIND AWFUL AND INDEFENSIBLE. TWO IN PARTICULAR. THAT WE WOULD EXTEND TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA AT THIS MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY I THINK IS INDEFENSIBLE. SECONDLY, THAT WE WOULD SEGREGATE OUT A SMALL, SMALL GROUP OF THE WEALTH WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA AND SAY WE'RE GOING TO GIVE THEM BLESSED TREATMENT WHEN IT COMES TO THE ESTATE TAX THEY PAY I THINK IS MINDLESS. IT'S NOT GOING TO INVIGORATE THE ECONOMY IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS, THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE WELL SHOULD PAY BACK SOME OF IT TO THE COUNTRY THAT HAS ALLOWED THEM THEIR PROSPERITY. AND INSTEAD, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE INSISTED THAT THESE, THE WEALTHIEST OF WEALTHY IN AMERICA AMERICA, SHOULD RECEIVE MORE. THIS CHART REALLY TELLS YOU WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THIS COUNTRY AND IT'S A SCARY STORYMENT NOT JUST SAD BUT SCARY. -- SCARY STORY. NOT JUST SAD BUT SCARY. THE ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH FOR THE RICHEST 1% OF THE POPULATION IN AMERICA. IN 1976, THE RICHEST 1% OF AMERICA HAD 8.9% OF THE WEALTH IN AMERICA. 1976. TOP 1%, 8.9%. NOW GO TO 2007. THE TOP 1% OF POPULATION IN AMERICA HAS 23.5% OF THE WEALTH. I DON'T BEGRUDGE ANYONE PROSPERITY, WEALTH AND COMFORT, BUT THEY ARE GETTING WEALTHY AT THE EXPENSE OF A SOCIETY WHICH IS NOT PROVIDING FOR THOSE IN LOWER INCOME CATEGORIES. THE PEOPLE IN LOWER- AND MIDDLE-INCOME CATEGORIES ARE FALLING FURTHER AND FURTHER AND FURTHER BEHIND. THAT'S WHY WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TAX CUT THAT OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN REIMPOSED AS A TAX INCREASE JANUARY 1 ON THEM TO OCCUR. THAT'S WHY I'VE SWALLOWED HARD AND SAID, I'LL VOTE FOR THIS PACKAGE EVEN THOUGH I THINK THE BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY REALLY CAN'T BE JUSTIFIED FROM AN ECONOMIC OR VIEWPOINT OF JUST A MOMENT I JUST DON'T THINK THEY CAN. BUT THAT'S THE REALITY THAT WE FACE. I DO WANT TO SAY ONE THING BEFORE I YIELD TO MY FRIEND FROM RHODE ISLAND. MARK MY WORDS, WRITE THEM DOWN, PUT THEM AWAY IN A DESK DRAWER AND PULL THEM OUT APRIL 1 AND THEY'RE THIS -- WHEN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION COMES TO CONGRESS AND SAYS, NOW THAT YOU HAVE VOTED FOR ADDITIONAL TAX CUTS AND SPENDING, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, YOU MUST NOW INCREASE THE DEBT CEILING OF AMERICA BECAUSE WE NEED TO BORROW THE MONEY TO COVER WHAT YOU VOTED FOR. INCLUDING THE VOTE THAT TOOK PLACE THIS DECEMBER WHICH CREATES $858 BILLION MORE IN DEBT. AND YOU WILL HEAR FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SCREAMING, WAILING, WHINING AND CRYING THAT THERE IS NO WAY THAT THEY CAN VOTE TO INCREASE THE DEBT CEILING OF AMERICA. THE SAME PEOPLE WHO WILL HAVE VOTED FOR THIS TAX PACKAGE, INCREASING THE DEBT OF AMERICA BY $858 BILLION, WILL REFUSE TO PAY THE CHECK WHEN IT COMES TO THE TABLE AFTER THE DINNER. THEY HAD THE BIG BANQUET, THEY ANNOUNCED THE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY, AND WHEN THE CHECK COMES TO THE TABLE AND SAYS, INCIDENTALLY, NOW WE HAVE TO BORROW THAT MONEY, THEY'RE GOING TO SAY NO WAY, WE'RE FISCAL CONSERVATIVE, WE DON'T BORROW MONEY. NO, BUT YOU SPEND IT, AND THEY'VE SPENT IT EITHER DIRECTLY ON SPENDING OR INDIRECTLY ON TAX CUTS. THAT WILL COME BETWEEN APRIL 1 AND JULY 1. AND I AM SORRY THAT AS PART OF THIS TAX PACKAGE WE DO NOT HAVE AN INCREASE IN THE DEBT CEILING. THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO WANT TO WAIVE THE BANNER OF TAX CUTS AND CLAIM ALL CREDIT FOR TAX CUTS SHOULD ALSO STAND UP AND TAKE THEIR MEDICINE BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BORROW THE MONEY TO PAY FOR IT. AND WE WILL NEED THEIR VOTES WHEN IT COMES TIME TO ADDRESS THE DEBT CEILING. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR:

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  • 06:29:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 06:29:10 PM

    MR. REATD

    REED: PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY. I UNDERSTAND THERE IS A UNANIMOUS CONSENT…

    REED: PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY. I UNDERSTAND THERE IS A UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I AM TO BE RECOGNIZED AND THEN SENATOR

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  • 06:29:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE AGREEMENT WAS SIMPLY TO RECOGNIZE THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 06:29:20 PM

    MR. REED

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 06:29:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 06:29:48 PM

    MR. REED

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I THANK MY COLLEAGUES. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I THANK MY COLLEAGUES. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO DISCUSS THE TAX PROPOSAL BEFORE US. WE ARE AT A CRITICAL MOMENT. OUR ECONOMY IS SLOWLY CLIMBING FROM THE DEPTHS OF A DEEP RECESSION. BUT WITHOUT ADDITIONAL SUPPORT, IT COULD EASILY BACKFIRE, AND WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LET THAT HAPPEN. THERE ARE STILL TOO MANY AMERICANS, 15 MILLION, WHO DESPERATELY WANT THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK BUT CAN'T FIND A JOB IN THIS DIFFICULT ENVIRONMENT. MY TOP PRIORITY IS JOBS, CREATING JOBS AND SUSTAINING DEMAND TO CONTINUE TO GROW JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. I HAVE SERIOUS, SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT SEVERAL PROVISIONS OF THIS BILL THAT WILL NOT HELP US ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL OF CREATING AND SUSTAINING JOBS. BUT I WILL SUPPORT THIS PACKAGE BECAUSE RIGHT NOW BACK IN MY HOME STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 65,000 MEN AND WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED AND NEED THIS BILL. MANY OF THEM ARE INDIVIDUALS IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR CAREERS WHO HAVE WORKED SINCE THEY WERE 18 OR 21 CONTINUOUSLY, PRODUCTIVELY AND NOW THEY FIND THEMSELVES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIFE WITHOUT ANY JOB AND IF WE DO NOT ACT WITHOUT THE MEANS TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILY AND PROVIDE FOR THEIR CHILDREN. THIS BILL PRESERVES EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE TO HELP THESE INDIVIDUALS MAKE ENDS MEET. HELP THEM TO HOLD THEIR FAMILIES TOGETHER. IT WILL HELP ENSURE THAT THEY CAN BUY THEIR GROCERY, PAY THEIR UTILITY BILLS AN LITERALLY KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS IN MANY CASES. THEIR CONSIDERATION IS MY PRIMARY CONCERN. MOREOVER THIS DOES NOT JUST HELP THE JOBLESS, THEY BOOST THE ENTIRE ECONOMY AS THE UNEMPLOYED SPEND THEIR BENEFITS AT LOCAL BUSINESSES. AMERICA WANTS US TO FOCUS ON CREATING JOBS. FOR MUCH OF THE PAST TWO YEARS, DEMOCRATS PROPOSED MANY BILLS THAT WOULD HELP MIDDLE MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES ONLY TO BE THWARTED OR SLOWED BY PROCEDURAL ROADBLOCKS AND SOMETIMES DISINGENUOUS CLAIMS. WE COULD NOT BREAK FILIBUSTERS LAST SATURDAY THAT WOULD HAVE PASSED THE MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT AND RENEWED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS, WE HAVE HAD LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES FOR TAX EXTENDERS THAT WOULD HAVE INCLUDED A NATIONAL HOUSE AND TRUST FUND, KEY INFRASTRUCTURE INCENTIVES. THOSE TOO WERE THWARTED BY PROCEDURAL ROADBLOCKS. BUT NOW WE ARE FACED WITH THE SPECTER OF A TAX DECREASE ON THE MIDDLE CLASS DURING THIS DISPIRITING ECONOMIC TIME. TIME -- TIME IF WE DO NOT ACT. PERHAPS WE COULD HAVE AVOIDED THIS SITUATION. THE BUSH TAX CUTS WHICH I OPPOSED HAD AN ARTIFICIAL TERMINATION POINT IN ORDER TO FIX THEM INTO THE DEFICIT PROJECTIONS. BUT, AGAIN, WE'RE HERE TODAY AT THE LAST MINUTE AND IT APPEARS THAT THE ONLY PATH THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WOULD SET IS THE ONE BEFORE US. INDEED, REPUBLICANS WILL NOT LET THIS TRAIN LEAVE THE STATION UNLESS THE WEALTHIEST HITCHED A RIDE TOO. THE CHALLENGE WE FACE IS THE NEED TO SUSTAIN AND ACCELERATE GROWTH SO EMPLOYMENT INCREASES WHILE ALSO RECOGNIZING THE NEED TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT ONCE THE ECONOMY IS STABLE AGAIN. THAT IS NO SMALL CHALLENGE AS A NUMBER OF BUDGET DEFICIT COMMISSIONS HAVE SUGGESTED IN RECENT WEEKS, WE HAVE TO CONSIDER REFORM IN MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENSE FUNDING, TAX EXPENDITURES, INVESTMENT IN DOMESTIC PROGRAMS, ALL OF THEM TO STABLIZE THE DEFICIT IN THE LONG TERM. I DON'T RELISH THAT TASK AND I DON'T IMAGINE THAT AMERICA'S FAMILIES RELISH IT EITHER. HOWEVER, THIS IS A REALITY THAT WE MUST CONFRONT AS OUR ECONOMY IMPROVES. IT'S A REALITY THAT WILL BE DIFFICULT. IT'S A REALITY THAT IS A GREAT CHALLENGE, BUT IT IS ONE WE MUST FACE. NOW, THIS BILL INCLUDES SOME PROVISION THAT'S WILL PROVIDE ECONOMIC GROWTH. AS I'VE MENTIONED BEFORE, THE EFFECT OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE EXTENSION IS NOT JUST ON THE INDIVIDUAL RECIPIENTS, IT'S ESTIMATED BY NONPARTISAN EXPERTS THAT NEARLY $2 OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IS GENERATED FOR EACH DOLLAR IN BENEFITS. THAT IS A VERY EFFECTIVE STIMULUS FOR THE ECONOMY. THE BILL ALSO INCLUDES A 2% CUT IN THE PAYROLL TAXES PAID BY WORKERS AND AFTER LOCAL OR STATE ESTATE SALES TAXES, REDUCTION IN PAYROLL TAXES HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON FAMILIES LIVING ON -- THIS PROVISION IS ESTIMATED TO PROMOTE MORE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY THAN IT COSTS AND IT WILL BE THE FIRST RAISE THAT MANY WORKERS HAVE SEEN IN MANY YEARS. IN ADDITION THE PROPOSAL CONTAINS A HOST OF OTHER BENEFITS FOR WORKING AND MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES BY EXTENDING THE CHILD TAX CREDIT FOR 10.5 MILLION FAMILIES AND EXTENSION OF A PARTIALLY REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT OF UP TO TO $2,500 FOR THE COST OF COLLEGE TUITION. ALL OF THIS ECONOMIC ACTIVITY MEANS JOBS AND MORE MONEY IN THE POCKETS OF HARD-WORKING AMERICANS. THESE ARE TARGETED, WELL-DESIGNED PROVISIONS WORTHY OF SUPPORT. INDEED FORECASTERS AS WELL AS ECONOMISTS LIKE MARK ZANDI SUGGESTED THAT THIS BILL WILL HELP MAINTAIN THE FRAGILE RECOVERY AND COULD LEAD TO A ONE POINT DROP IN THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AND PERHAPS AS MUCH AS 1% INCREASE IN G.D.P. IN 2011. AS COMPARED TO PREVIOUS BASELINES THAT TOOK INTO ACCOUNT ONLY THE EXTENSION OF THE MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT AND EXPIRING PROVISIONS LIKE THE ALTERNATE MINIMUM TAX. THERE IS FROM EXPERTS CONSIDERED OPINION THAT THIS WILL HELP GROW THE ECONOMY, REDUCE THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. THE BILL ALSO RECOGNIZES THE NEED TO BUILD ON THE SMALL BUSINESS LENDING AND TAX CREDIT BILLS WE ENACTED THIS SUMMER AND FALL. INDEED, THE PROVISION TO ALLOW BUSINESSES TO EXPAND 1 -- EXPENSE 100% OF ALL OF THEIR INVESTMENTS IN 2011 IS EXPECTED TO GENERATE $50 BILLION IN ADDITIONAL BUSINESS INVESTMENT NEXT YEAR. THAT'S PRIVATE COMPANIES INVESTING IN PRIVATE ENTERPRISES TO PUT PEOPLE TO WORK ON PRIVATE PAYROLLS. THE BILL ALSO ENCOURAGES BUSINESSES TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE PRODUCTS BY THE -- TO KEEP US COMPETITIVE IN A VERY COMPETITIVE WORLD. THE BILL ALSO RECOGNIZES THE NEED FOR CLEAN DOMESTIC ENERGY BY CONTINUING THE RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION GRANTS FOR WIND, SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND A HOST OF OTHER TECHNOLOGIES. AND IN THIS REGARD THE BILL RESPONSIBLY ENSURE THAT'S THE TAX RATES IN PLACE FOR LOWER INCOME AND MIDDLE INCOME FAMILIES STAY AS THEY ARE TODAY. IT MAINTAINS THE MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT. INDEED THE GREAT BULK AND THE BENEFITS OF THIS BILL WILL BE DIRECTED TO STIMULATING THE ECONOMY AND ASSISTING MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES. BUT IN THE FACE OF THIS DEFICIT IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO JUSTIFY THE PROVISIONS OF THE BILL FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. BECAUSE THEY PROVIDE NEGLIGIBLE ECONOMIC GROWTH WHILE ADDING TO THE DEFICIT. IN FACT, WORKING AGAINST THE TWO GREAT ISSUES, STIMULATE GROWTH AND BEGIN TO CONTROL THE DEFICIT. ACCORDING TO THE NONPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE AND OTHER EXPERTS, THE DECISION TO PROVIDE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES WITH TAX BREAKS WON'T GENERATE MANY JOBS BECAUSE THEY'RE MORE APT TO SAVE THESE BENEFITS THAN CIRCULATE THEM IN THE LOCAL ECONOMIES IN THE UNITED STATES, INCREASE THE DEMAND, INCREASED DEMAND FOR WORKERS. THE TO INSIST ON SUCH AN AGGRESSIVE ESTATE TAX PROPOSAL IS VERY DIFFICULT TO JUSTIFY. INSTEAD OF ADOPTING A COMMONSENSE PROPOSAL THAT WOULD HAVE EXEMPTED WELL OVER 90% OF ALL OF OUR STATES, OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE DEMANDED THAT THE BILL CONTAIN A TAX BREAK WORTH MORE THAN $25 BILLION OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS FOR THE TOP 1 QUARTER OF 1% -- ONE-QUARTER OF 1% OF ALL ESTATES. I'M SLIGHTLY HEARTENED THAT THESE PROVISIONS ARE NOT PERMANENT. WHILE I WOULD SUPPORT AN EFFORT TO MOVE OR MODIFY THESE PROVISIONS AT THE VERY LEAST IN THE FUTURE, THEY HAVE TO BE THE FIRST ON THE LIST OF THOSE TOUGH DECISIONS THAT WE HAVE TO FACE IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT. AND WE DO HAVE TO ADDRESS THE DEFICIT THROUGH TAX REFORM, ELIMINATING TAX EXPENDITURES. THERE IS A PERCEPTION, I THINK, THAT IS -- THAT TAX CUTS ARE FREE. AS MY COLLEAGUE FROM ILLINOIS SUGGESTED, FAILING TO LINK THE DEBT CEILING WITH THIS PARTICULAR LEGISLATION CAN GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT WE CAN CUT TAXES AND THERE'S NO EFFECT ON DEFICIT. THESE TAX CUTS DO AFFECT THE DEFICIT. WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT. WHEN WE COME BACK TO FACE THE DIF ISSUES AS WE DID IN THE 1990'S. I SUPPORTED PRESIDENT CLINTON'S EFFORTS, WHICH LED TO A BALANCED BUDGET, WHICH LED TO A SURPLUS, WHICH LED TO EMPLOYMENT GAINS, THOSE DECISIONS INVOLVE REVENUE, CUTTING ENTITLEMENTS, CUTTING DEFENSE SPENDING, MAKING A LOT OF DIFFICULT CHOICES. WE'LL HAVE TO FACE THOSE CHOICES AGAIN. WE ARE AT A POINT WHERE THE BENEFITS OF THIS BILL ARE NECESSARY TO HELP STRUGGLING FAMILIES THROUGHOUT COUNTRY TO MAINTAIN THE GROWTH THAT WE'VE SEEN, TO ACCELERATE IT BECAUSE IT'S NOT ADEQUATE. WE HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD. I HOPE, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THIS PACKAGE WILL PASS. THE REALITY IS THAT THE BENEFITS WILL BE PERCEIVED BY -- RECEIVED BY 98.8% OF RHODE ISLANDERS, PARTICULARLY THE 65,000 WHO ARE OUT OF WORK AND WHO WOULD SUFFER WITHOUT THIS BILL. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 06:39:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 06:39:50 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, ACCORDING TO MY CALCULATIONS IT'S BEEN 42 DAYS SINCE THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, ACCORDING TO MY CALCULATIONS IT'S BEEN 42 DAYS SINCE THE PEOPLE OF THIS GREAT NATION OF OURS SPOKE, AND THEY SPOKE IN A VERY STRONG FASHION. IT WAS DESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AS A IS A SHALACKING. IT WAS DESCRIBED BY OTHERS AS A TSUNMAI. AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AS WE KNOW, PASSED TO REPUBLICAN HANDS AND THIS BODY, THERE WAS SIX ADDITIONAL MEMBERS FROM MY SIDE. AND I THOUGHT THAT THE MESSAGE WAS PRETTY CLEAR, THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAID ENOUGH WITH THE SPENDING. ENOUGH WITH THE PORK BARREL EARMARK SPENDING. ENOUGH OF MORTGAGING OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN'S FUTURES. I DON'T KNOW OF A SINGLE PUNDIT OR OBSERVER OF THE CHATTERING CLASS WHO DIDN'T SAY THE MESSAGE WAS CLEAR FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, THE PHENOMENON OF THE TEA PARTY WAS TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY, BUT THEY WERE AGAINST THE SPENDING, THE EARMARKING, THE APPROVAL -- EARMARKING. THE APPROVAL RATING OF CONGRESS IS SOMEWHERE, DEPENDING ON WHICH POLL YOU LOOK AT, 10, 12, 14, 16% APPROVAL RATINGS. OVERWHELMING DISAPPROVAL OF THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS HERE. SO AT 12:15 TODAY -- 12:15, MY OFFICE RECEIVED THIS APPROPRIATIONS BILL. THIS APPROPRIATIONS BILL. 1,924 PAGES LONG AND CONTAINS FUNDING FOR ALL 12 OF THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS BILLS FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF $1.1 TRILLION. YOU KNOW IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THIS 1,924 PAGES IS ONLY THE LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE AND DOESN'T INCLUDE THE THOUSANDS OF PAGES OF -- OF REPORT LANGUAGE WHICH CONTAINS THE DETAILS OF THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN EARMARKS. AND I AM SURE MAJOR POLICY CHANGES WRITTEN WITHOUT A HEARING, WRITTEN WITHOUT SCRUTINY, WRITTEN WITHOUT THE INPUT OF THE MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS OF THIS BODY, WRITTEN BY A HANDFUL OF SENATORS WHO HAPPEN TO BE MEMBERS OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAID JUST 42 DAYS AGO, ENOUGH. ARE WE -- ARE WE TONE DEAF? ARE WE STRICKEN WITH AMNESIA? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? WE -- I -- WE'VE JUST BEGUN TO LOOK AT THIS MONSTROSITY AND WE'RE CONTINUING TO UNCOVER WHICH EARMARKS THE APPROPRIATORS DECIDED TO FUND THANKS TO A NEW ONLINE DATABASE. WE KNOW WHAT EARMARKS WERE REQUESTED BY MEMBERS AND HOW MUCH THOSE PROJECTS WOULD COST THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IF THEY WERE ALL FUNDED. ORGANIZATIONS, TAXPAYERS AGAINST EARMARKS, WASHINGTONWATCH.COM, AND TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE, JOINED FORCES TO CREATE A DATABASE. ACCORDING TO THE DATA THEY COMPILED FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011 MEMBERS REQUESTED OVER 39,000 EARMARKS TOTALING OVER OVER $130 BILLION. THOSE WERE REQUESTED. I ENCOURAGE EVERY AMERICAN TO GO TO THE WEBSITE THAT SAYS, "ENDING SPENDING -- ENDINGSPENDING.COM, STUDY IT, AND MAKE YOURSELVES AWARE OF HOW YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS SEEK TO SPEND YOUR MONEY. IN THE SHORT TIME THAT I'VE HAD TO REVIEW THIS MASSIVE PIECE OF LEGISLATION, WE HAVE ALREADY IDENTIFIED APPROXIMATELY 6,488 EARMARKS TOTALING NEARLY NEARLY $8.3 BILLION. $8.3 BILLION. WHEN WE'RE RUNNING RECORD DEFICITS, WHEN THERE'S A $40,000 $40,000 DEBT FOR EVERY MAN, WOMAN, CHILD IN AMERICA, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE 6,488 EARMARKS TOTALING NEARLY 8 BILLION. $277,000 FOR POTATO PEST MANAGEMENT IN WISCONSIN. YOU'LL NOTICE THAT THERE IS A LOCATION FOR LITERALLY EVERY ONE OF THESE EARMARKS. $246,000 FOR BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS IN MICHIGAN AND MINNESOTA. $522,000 FOR CRANBERRY AND BLUEBERRY DISEASE BREEDING IN NEW JERSEY. $500,000 FOR OYSTER SAFETY IN FLORIDA. ONE OF MY FAVORITES, $349,000 FOR SWINE WASTE MANAGEMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA. ANOTHER ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES THAT'S ALWAYS IN THERE, $413,000 FOR PEANUT RESEARCH IN ALABAMA. $247,000 FOR VIRUS FREE WINE GRAPES IN WASHINGTON. $208,000 FOR BEAVER MANAGEMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA. $94,000 FOR BLACKBIRD MANAGEMENT IN LOUISIANA. $165,000 FOR MAPLE SYRUP RESEARCH IN VERMONT. $235,000 FOR NOXIOUS WEED MANAGEMENT IN NEVADA. THAT'S ANOTHER ONE THAT WHEN YOU TOTAL IT UP OVER THE YEARS COMES INTO MILLIONS. $100,000 FOR THE EDGAR ALLAN POE COTTAGE VISITORS CENTER IN NEW YORK. ONE OF MY OTHER ALL-TIME FAVORITES THAT IS ALWAYS ON HERE EVERY YEAR, $300,000 FOR THE POLYNESIAN VOYAGING SOCIETY IN HAWAII. SOME PEOPLE ARE WATCHING AND THINKING I'M MAKING THIS UP. I'M NOT MAKING IT UP. $300,000 FOR THE POLYNESIAN VOYAGING SOCIETY IN HAWAII. $400,000 FOR SOLAR PARKING CANOPIES AND PLUG-IN ELECTRIC STATIONNESS KANSAS. ADDITIONALLY THE BILL EARMARKS $720,000 TO COMPENSATE RANCHERS IN MINNESOTA AND MICHIGAN. THE GRAY WOLF PROGRAM IS UNDER INTENSE SCRUTINY FOR WASTING MILLIONS OF TAXPAYERS DOLLARS EVERY YEAR TO -- QUOTE -- "RECOVER ENDANGERED WOLVES THAT ARE OVERPOPULATING THE WEST AND MIDWEST." MY STATE HAS A SIMILAR PROGRAM BUT RANCHERS IN MY STATE AREN'T GETTING $727,000 IN THIS BILL. I'LL HAVE A LOT MORE TO SAY ABOUT THIS BILL THIS WEEK. I ASSURE MY COLLEAGUES WE'LL SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT THIS BILL AND THE OUTRAGEOUS NUMBER OF EARMARKS IT CONTAINS. BUT LET ME JUST SAY THIS, IT'S DECEMBER 14, 22 DAYS AWAY FROM THE BEGINNING OF A NEW CONGRESS AND NEARLY THREE FULL MONTHS INTO FISCAL YEAR 2011. AND YET, WE HAVE NOT DEBATED A SINGLE SPENDING BILL OR CONSIDERED ANY AMENDMENTS TO CUT COSTS OR TO GET OUR DEBT UNDER CONTROL. FURTHERMORE, THE MAJORITY DECIDED THAT THEY JUST DIDN'T FEEL LIKE DOING A BUDGET THIS YEAR. HOW'S THAT RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP? THIS IS THE NINTH OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL WE HAVE CONSIDERED IN THIS BODY SINCE THE YEAR 2000. THAT'S SHAMEFUL. WE SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED BY THE FACT THAT WE CARE SO LITTLE ABOUT DOING THE PEOPLE'S BUSINESS THAT WE CONTINUOUSLY PUT OFF FULFILLING OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES UNTIL LITERALLY THE LAST MINUTE. ONE THING IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR, WE HAVE NOT -- THE MAJORITY HAS NOT LEARNED THE LESSONS OF LAST MONTH'S ELECTION. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE CLEAR, THEY'RE TIRED OF THE WASTEFUL SPENDING, THEY'RE TIRED OF BIG GOVERNMENT, THEY'RE TIRED OF SWEETHEART DEALS FOR SPECIAL INTEREST, AND THEY'RE TIRED OF BUSINESS AS USUAL IN WASHINGTON. AND THEY CERTAINLY ARE TIRED OF MASSIVE BILLS JUST LIKE THIS ONE PUT TOGETHER BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND RAMMED THROUGH THE CONGRESS AT THE LAST MINUTE SO THAT NO ONE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO READ THEM AND NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHAT KIND OF WASTE IS IN THEM. LET ME BE CLEAR ABOUT ONE THING, IF THE MAJORITY LEADER INSISTS ON PROCEEDING TO THIS MONSTROSITY, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL KNOW WHAT'S IN IT. I'LL BE JOINED BY MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE TO ENSURE THAT EVERY SINGLE WORD OF THIS BILL IS READ ALOUD HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. I ENCOURAGE MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO RETHINK THEIR STRATEGY. LET'S MOVE FORWARD WITH A CLEAN CONTINUING RESOLUTION TO KEEP THE GOVERNMENT IN OPERATION FOR 45 DAYS. LET THE NEW CONGRESS THAT REFLECTS THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ADDRESS THESE ISSUES IN THE LONG TERM. LET'S NOT GO OUT THE DOOR THIS CONGRESS WITH A WHOLE BUNCH OF 6,800-SOME EARMARK PROJECTS THAT THE REST OF US HAVE NOT READ. SO I ENCOURAGE MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO RETHINK THEIR STRATEGY. LET'S MOVE FORWARD. A SHORT-TERM CONTINUING RESOLUTION, 45 DAYS, SENATOR GREGG HAS AN AMENDMENT PENDING TO DO THAT. THE MAJORITY MAY BE ABLE TO STRONG-ARM ENOUGH MEMBERS INTO VOTING FOR THIS OMNIBUS, BUT THEY WON'T WIN IN THE END. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER, AND I PREDICT WE'LL SEE A REPEAT OF LAST NOVEMBER 2 IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, HERE WE ARE ON DECEMBER 14 AFTER MANY, LAST YEAR BEING IN SESSION ON CHRISTMAS EVE. APPARENTLY WE MAY BE IN SESSION AGAIN ON CHRISTMAS EVE. I MIGHT POINT OUT NOT HAVING BEEN IN SESSION A SINGLE FRIDAY THE ENTIRE YEAR. NOT BEING IN SESSION A SINGLE FRIDAY THE ENTIRE YEAR, AND YET JUST THIS AFTERNOON THE MAJORITY LEADER SAID WE CAN BE HERE ON CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S AND THAT WE COULD BE IN SESSION UNTIL JANUARY 4 BEFORE THE NEW CONGRESS IS SWORN IN. WELL, OBVIOUSLY THE MAJORITY LEADER AND THE MAJORITY CAN DO THAT, BUT I DON'T THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THINK VERY MUCH OF WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE. IN FACT, I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO BE DEEPLY, DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED AND GREATLY ANGERED BECAUSE WE HAVE REALLY JUST, WITH CONSIDERATION OF THIS BILL, REPUDIATED ALL THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE STANDING FOR AND VOTING FOR, AND INTO THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR AND INTO THE EARMARKING AND PORK-BARREL SPENDING AN END TO THE MORTGAGING OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN'S FUTURE. IT IS WITH GREAT REGRET THAT I AGAIN HAVE TO COME TO THE FLOOR AS I HAVE FOR MANY YEARS AND BE CRITICAL OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO ARE GOOD AND HONORABLE AND DECENT AMERICANS. BUT THIS PROCESS, THIS PROCESS OF EARMARKING KH-RBGS THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF -- WHICH THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF, IS NOT HONORABLE BEHAVIOR. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 06:52:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO.

  • 06:52:26 PM

    MR. BINGAMAN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:03:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:03:53 PM

    MR. BINGAMAN

    A MAIN ARGUMENT BEING USED IN SUPPORT OF THE EXTENSION IS THAT THIS IS THE…

    A MAIN ARGUMENT BEING USED IN SUPPORT OF THE EXTENSION IS THAT THIS IS THE ONLY PROPOSAL WE CAN GET OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TO AGREE TO. IN MY VIEW, THAT IS AN UNCHARITABLE VIEW OF OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES. I THINK THEY WOULD EMBRACE A MORE RESPONSIBLE PROPOSAL IF THEY FELT THAT THEY WERE REQUIRED TO DO SO. THE FACT THAT NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN SUPPORTED EITHER THE PROPOSAL SENATOR BAUCUS BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR OR THE PROPOSAL THAT SENATOR SCHUMER BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR LAST WEEK, IN MY VIEW, SUPPORTED THE FACT THAT NO REPUBLICANS SUPPORTED EITHER ONE OF THOSE PROPOSALS WAS BASED ON THEIR EXPECTATION, WHICH WAS APPARENTLY ACCURATE, THAT IF THEY REMAINED INTRANSIGENT, DEMOCRATS WOULD GIVE INTO THEIR DEMANDS TO STENDLE ALL THE TAX CUTS. -- TO EXTEND ALL THE TAX CUTS. THOSE DEMANDS REFLECTED IN THE BILL NOW BEFORE US DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE SERIOUS PROBLEM THAT WE FACE WITH OUR DEFICITS, AND I'VE EXPLAINED WHY. MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW THAT THERE ARE OTHER COLLEAGUES WAITING TO SPEAK, AND LET ME JUST POINT OUT THAT THERE ARE ALSO SOME IMPORTANT PROVISIONS THAT WERE INCLUDED IN THE RECOVERY ACT WHICH UNFORTUNATELY HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT OF THIS TAX PACKAGE, AND I'M INFORMED THAT THEY'VE BEEN LEFT OUT BECAUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERS HAVE INSISTED THAT RECOVERY ACT PROVISIONS NOT BE EXTENDED. THERE ARE SOME OF THE PROVISIONS IN THE RECOVERY ACT THAT HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL TO ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN MY STATE. THE BUILD AMERICA BONDS PROGRAM, FOR EXAMPLE -- I THINK IT IS VERY UNFORTUNATE THAT THAT PROGRAM IS NOT BEING CONTINUED AS PART OF THIS PACKAGE. THE PACKAGE ALSO ENDS A PROVISION THAT SENATORS CRAPO AND GRASSLEY AND I FOUGHT TO INCLUDE IN THE RECOVERY ACT WHICH RAISES THE BANK QUALIFIED LIMIT, WHICH WAS LAST ADJUSTED IN 1986, FOR SMALL MUNICIPALITIES THAT SELL DEBT TO COMMUNITY BANKS. THIS HAS SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED RURAL GOVERNMENTS' BORROWING GOVERNMENTS AND CREATED JOBS AND NEEDED INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS IN THOUSANDS OF COMMUNITIES. I'M DISAPPOINTED THAT THAT HAS NOT BEEN CONTINUED. THERE WAS A REFLECTIONIVE ANTIRECOVERY ACT POSITION THAT REPUBLICAN LEADERS HAVE TAKEN, AND I BELIEVE THAT HAS BEEN REFLECTED ALSO IN THE PROVISIONS DEALING WITH ENERGY. I WILL -- IN MY FULL REMARKS, I WILL ELABORATE ON THAT. MR. PRESIDENT, IN SPITE OF THE POSITIVE PROVISIONS IN THIS LEGISLATION TO STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY -- AND THERE ARE SOME WHICH I STRONGLY SUPPORT -- THE BILL, IN MY VIEW, MOVES US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION WITH REGARD TO OUR OTHER MAJOR PROBLEM, WHICH IS DEFICIT REDUCTION. ON THAT ISSUE, IT WILL START THE 112th CONGRESS OFF ON THE WRONG TRACK, AND FOR THAT REASON, I WILL OPPOSE THE LEGISLATION TOMORROW WHEN THE VOTE IS CALLED. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 07:07:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MARYLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 07:07:20 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I TAKE THIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE TAX RELIEF…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I TAKE THIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE TAX RELIEF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REAUTHORIZATION AND JOB CREATION ACT, THE TAX PACKAGE, THE SENATE AMENDMENT 4753. THIS IS THE TAX BILL THAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS. AND THE FIRST THING I JUST WANT TO POINT OUT TO MY COLLEAGUES IS THAT THIS BILL IS THE RESULT OF A COMPROMISE. AND LIKE ANY COMPROMISE, THERE'S SOME PROVISIONS THAT I STRONGLY SUPPORT AND THERE ARE PROVISIONS THAT I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED NOT TO SEE IN THIS LEGISLATION. THAT I OPPOSE. AND YOU HAVE TO EVALUATE THE POSITIVE ASPECTS AS WELL AS THOSE PROVISIONS THAT I WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE INCLUDED. THERE'S SOME VERY IMPORTANT PROVISIONS THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THIS LEGISLATION THAT I FOUGHT LONG AND HARD TO MAKE SURE WE ACCOMPLISHED BEFORE CONGRESS ADJOURNS THIS YEAR. FIRST AND FOREMOST IS A PROVISION THAT WOULD EXTEND THE CURRENT TAX RATES FOR MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES. IF WE DON'T DO THAT BY DECEMBER 31, THOSE TAX RATES WOULD GO UP AND THE WITHHOLDING SCHEDULES WOULD BE CHANGED. THE BILL ALSO EXTENDS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, A MATTER THAT I HAVE VOTED ON THE FLOOR WHEN I HAVE SPOKEN -- ONE I HAVE SPOKEN ON THE FLOOR ABOUT. THE FAIRNESS AND IMPORTANCE TO OUR ECONOMY OF EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BENEFITS FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED GIVING THE MORE RECENT UNEMPLOYED THE SAME BENEFITS WE GAVE THE EARLIER UNEMPLOYED UNDER -- DURING THIS DOWNTURN IN OUR ECONOMY. THOSE BENEFITS WOULD BE AVAILABLE THROUGH 2011. I THINK THAT'S AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PROVISION, NOT JUST FOR THE INDIVIDUAL WHO DEPENDS UPON IT IN ORDER TO PAY HER MORTGAGE OR TO PAY THEIR BILLS, BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT SPEAKS TO THE FAIRNESS OF OUR SOCIETY DURING A RECESSION. THIS IS AN INSURANCE PROGRAM. IT IS MEANT TO PROVIDE BENEFITS TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN IN OUR WORKFORCE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, AND AS I WILL POINT OUT ALSO, IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR OUR ECONOMY AS FAR AS OUR RECOVERY IS CONCERNED. THE LEGISLATION ALSO EXTENDS THE CHILD TAX CREDIT. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES IN OUR COMMUNITY, FOR THAT CHILD CREDIT TO BE AVAILABLE. AND IT'S REFUNDABLE, WHICH IS A PROVISION THAT HELPS THE LOWER-WAGE FAMILIES PARTICULARLY. IT EXTENDS THE AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT TO HELP MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES BE ABLE TO AFFORD COLLEGE EDUCATION FOR THEIR CHILDREN UP TO $2,500 A YEAR. THAT CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PERSON BEING ABLE TO GO TO A COLLEGE OR NOT, OR GO TO A SCHOOL THAT THEY WANT TO GO TO, WHICH IS NOT ONLY IMPORTANT FOR THAT FAMILY, IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT FOR OUR COUNTRY, INVESTING IN EDUCATION IS A BEST INVESTMENT IN ORDER FOR AMERICA TO BE COMPETITIVE INTERNATIONALLY. THE LEGISLATION ALSO EXTENDS CERTAIN GREEN ENERGY TAX CREDITS. WELL, THAT MEANS JOBS. INVESTING IN GREEN ENERGY WILL HELP OUR ECONOMY CREATE AND KEEP JOBS HERE IN AMERICA. IT WILL HELP US ON AN ENERGY POLICY. IT WILL NOT ONLY BE FRIENDLY TOWARDS OUR ENVIRONMENT BUT HELP US IN REGARDS TO NATIONAL SECURITY SO WE DON'T HAVE TO IMPORT OIL FROM COUNTRIES WHO DISAGREE WITH OUR WAY OF LIFE. THIS LEGISLATION ALSO PROVIDES IMPORTANT TOOLS FOR BUSINESS TO INVEST IN JOB GROWTH BY ALLOWING ALLOWING EXPENSING. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT MEANS SIMPLY THAT A COMPANY THAT MAKES AN INVESTMENT IN ORDER TO CREATE MORE JOBS WILL BE ABLE TO WRITE OFF THAT INVESTMENT DURING 2011 RATHER THAN HAVING TO WAIT AND AMORTIZE IT OVER A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME. A MAJOR INCENTIVE TO GET BUSINESSES MORE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN MAKE THE INVESTMENTS WE NEED TO CREATE JOBS. IT'S PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT FOR SMALL COMPANIES. I HEAR FREQUENTLY FROM SMALL BUSINESSES IN MY OWN STATE OF MARYLAND THAT TELL ME HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR THAT BUSINESS OWNER TO MAKE THE TYPE OF INVESTMENTS NECESSARY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF JOB GROWTH AND EXPENSING HELPS THEM MAKE THAT DECISION NOW, GIVING CONFIDENCE TO OUR ECONOMY, WHICH IS SOMETHING WE DESPERATELY NEED. NOW, THESE PROVISIONS AND OTHERS -- AND THERE ARE MANY OTHERS IN THE BILL -- WILL HELP OUR ECONOMY. I NEED NOT REMIND THE MEMBERS OF THIS BODY THAT WE'VE A 9.8% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THIS COUNTRY. THAT'S NOT ACCEPT IBLE TO ANY ONE OF US. IT IS THE WRONG TIME TO ALLOW TAX RATES TO GO UP FOR MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES WHEN YOU HAVE THAT TYPE OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN THIS NATION. THE PROVISIONS THAT I OUTLINE WILL HELP US IN JOB GROWTH. THE ECONOMISTS ARE IN AGREEMENT. THE PASSAGE OF THESE PROVISIONS WILL SAVE AND CREATE MILLIONS OF JOBS HERE IN AMERICA. AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO DO. WE NEED TO GET OUR PEOPLE TO WORK, BECAUSE THEN WE CAN DEAL WITH THE OTHER TOUGH ISSUES OF THIS COUNTRY. AND I'LL GET TO IT -- INCLUDING DEFICIT REDUCTION AND GETTING OUR BUDGET IN BALANCE. IT IS DIFFICULT TO DO THAT UNTIL WE GET OUR ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK. SO THE FIRST PRIORITY IS TO GET AMERICANS BACK TO WORK, AND THE PROVISIONS I OUTLINED WILL ALL HELP IN THAT REGARD. IT'S VERY CLEAR TO ME FROM THE CONSTITUENTS IN MARYLAND THAT DURING THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, IT'S THE WRONG TIME -- THE WRONG TIME -- TO INCREASE RATES FOR MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES, AND I MADE IT CLEAR THAT I WOULD DO EVERYTHING I COULD TO MAKE SURE THAT WOULDN'T HAPPEN. THE LARGEST (A) AMOUNT OF THE $858 BILLION -- THE LARGEST AMOUNT OF THE $858 BILLION THAT THAT PACKAGE PROVIDES IN TAX REERVELINGS THE OVERWHELMING AMOUNT, WILL GO TO -- THE OVERWHELMING AMOUNT WILL GO TO BENEFIT MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES. BUT THERE ARE OTHER PROVISIONS THAT I DON'T BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR JOB GROWTH IN MECHANIC. I DON'T BELIEVE THEY'RE WORTH THE COST FOR THE JOBS THAT IT MAY CREATE. AND I WANT TO REFER TO TWO OF THOSE PROVISIONS THAT I STRONGLY OBJECT TO. AND I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED NOT BEING IN THIS PACKAGE. THE EXTENSION OF TAX BREAKS FOR THE HIGHER-INCOME WAGE EARNERS. THEY'LL DO VERY LITTLE TO SPUR ADDITIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH. LET ME JUST GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. IF YOU'RE MAKING $1 MILLION A YEAR AND YOU GET THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF TAX RELIEF PROVIDED UNDER THIS LEGISLATION, THE ODDS THAT YOU'RE GOING TO SPEND MURED AND HELP STIMULATE THE ECONOMY IS VERY REMOTE. IT IS ANOTHER THING IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED AND GET AN UNEMPLOYMENT CHECK. THAT MONEY GOES BACK INTO THE ECONOMY AND WILL HELP CREATE JOBS. BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE WELL-OFF, MILLIONAIRES, THE ECONOMIC BENEFIT OF EXTENDING THESE TAX RATES ARE VERY MARGINAL, VERY MINIMAL COMPARED TO THE COST OF EXTENDING THE TAX BREAKS FOR OUR WEALTHIEST. IT'S CONSISTENT WITH HOW I VOTED LAST SATURDAY. LAST SATURDAY I VOTED TO EXTEND THE TAX RATES FOR THOSE UNDER $1 MILLION. I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE RIGHT WAY. A GOOD COMPROMISE. UNFORTUNATELY, THE BILL WE HAVE BEFORE US EXTENDS THE TAX RATES FOR ALL TAXPAYERS. THE SECOND PROVISION THAT I STRONGLY OBJECT TO BEING IN THIS PACKAGE IS THE ESTATE TAX RELIEF. THE ESTATE TAX RELIEF WOULD PROVIDE FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS FAMILIES WITH $10 MILLION OF AN ESTATE OR LOWER TO BE TOTALLY EXEMPT FROM THE FEDERAL ESTATE TAX AND WOULD REDUCE THE RATE TO 35%. NOW, THIS AFFECTS AFFECTS AFFECTS -- THOSE WHO BENEFIT FROM THAT ARE THE UPPER .25% OF THE FAMILIES IN THIS NATION. I DON'T THINK IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES THAT'S GOING TO HAVE MUCH STIMULATIVE EFFECT ON JOB GROWTH IN AMERICA AND THE REVENUES WE LOSE COULD HAVE BEEN USED IN A BETTER WAY, I BELIEVE, FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN I THINK A STRONGER EFFECT -- POSITIVE EFFECT ON OUR ECONOMY. I THOUGHT WE HAD A REASONABLE COMPROMISE ON THIS ISSUE. I THOUGHT WE HAD A REASONABLE COMPROMISE TO GO BACK TO THE 2009 RATES. IN 2009, AS YOU REMEMBER, WE HAD GOTTEN UP TO $3.5 MILLION PER PERSON, WITH $7 MILLION PER FAMILY AND A 45% TAX RAIVMENT I THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD COMPROMISE AND I'M DISAPPOINTED WE DIDN'T COME BACK TO THAT COMPROMISE. I THINK WE DID THAT, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A MUCH STRONGER CONSENSUS. NOT ONLY IN THIS BODY BUT IN THE HOUSE FOR THIS PACKAGE. SO, THERE'S A GOOD PART OF THIS PACKAGE WHICH I SPORT. THERE'S ONE OTHER GOOD PROVISION I WANT TO POINT OWVMENT IN REGARDS TO THE TWO LAST PROVISIONS AND OTHERS THAT I SPELT OUT, IT PROVIDES RELIEF FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS. IT WILL EXPIRE TEND OF 2012. I THINK THAT'S A GOOD PROVISION BECAUSE THAT MEANS THAT WE'RE GOING TO NEED TO DEAL WITH THE BUDGET DEFICIT. AS I SAID EARLIER, ONCE OUR ECONOMY STARTS GITTING BACK ON TRACK, ONCE WE GET THESE UNEMPLOYMENT RATES DOWN TO A REASONABLE LEVEL, THEN WE HAVE A MUCH BETTER CHANCE OF DEALING WITH THE BUDGET DEFICIT. WE'VE GOT TO START DEALING WITH THE BUDGET DEFICIT THIS YEEMPLET I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. BUT OUR REAL EFFORT IS GOING TO BE WHEN WE HAVE A GROWING ECONOMY IT WILL REALLY HELP US GET OUR BUDGET BACK INTO BALANCE. AND JUST 11 YEARS AGO -- LET ME REMIND MY COLLEAGUES -- JUST 11 YEARS AGO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE PROJECTED SURPLUSES THAT COULD HAVE RETIRED OUR NATION'S MARKETABLE DEBT BETWEEN 2007 AND 2009. IN OTHER WORDS, IF WE WOULD HAVE USED THAT SURPLUS WISELY, WE WOULDN'T BE LOOKING AT A $14 TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT. BUT INSTEAD, THE CONGRESS PASSED THE SO-CALLED BUSH TAX CUTS OF 2001 AND 2003. I VOTED AGAINST THOSE TAX CUSSMENTS I DIDN'T BELIEVE WE COULD -- TAX CUTS. I DIDN'T BELIEVE WE COULD AFFORD THE TYPE OF REVENUE LOSS, AND, IN FACT, THAT'S BEEN THE LARGEST CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO THE DEFICIT WE HAVE TODAY, THE TAX CUTS OF 2001 AND 2003. NOW, REMEMBER, IN THOSE DAYS, WE HAD A GROWING ECONOMY SO IT WAS NO -- THERE WAS NO NEED TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY. TODAY WE'RE IN A DIFFERENT POSITION, ALLOWING INCREASED RATES FOR MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES IN THESE ECONOMIC TIMES WOULD BE THE WRONG THING TO DO. BUT I DO THINK WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT. WE NEED TO HAVE A CREDIBLE PLAN, A CREDIBLE STRATEGY. AND THAT STRATEGY SHOULD INCLUDE SHARED SACRIFICES. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH SPENDING. WE'VE GOT TO GET NOT ONLY DOMESTIC BUT MILITARY SPENDING UNDER CONTROL. AND, YES, WE NEED REVENUES. AND I WOULD HOPE WE WOULD START WITH ALLOWING THE TERMINATION OF THE EXTENSION OF THE HIGH-INCOME TAX BRACKETS FOR THE MILLIONAIRES AS WE START TO TAKE A LOOK AT WAYS THAT WE CAN BALANCE THE BUDGET AS WE MOVE TOWARDS THE NEXT THREE OR FOUR OR FIVE YEARS WHEN WE GET OUR FIVE-YEAR BUDGETS. FIRST THING WE SHOULD DO IS MAKE IT CLEAR THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO EXTEND THE HIGHER-INCOME TAX RATES. ONE MORE HAVE VERY POSITIVE ASPECT TO THIS PACKAGE THAT I WANT TO BRING UP. THIS IS ONE OF THE FIRST -- THIS IS THE MAJOR BILL DEALING WITH A SERIOUS PROBLEM IN OUR NATION AND WE'VE GOT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS WORKING TOGETHER. I CAN TELL YOU THAT WHEN I TALK TO MY CONSTITUENTS IN MARYLAND, THEY TELL ME THAT THIS INSTITUTION IS TOO PARTISAN. THEY LIKE A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE DONE BUT THEY DON'T LIKE THE FACT THAT WE CAN'T GET DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ALLOWING THE SYSTEM TO WORK, WITH THE GIVE AND TAKE THAT SHOULD TAKE PLACE IN THIS MOST DELIBERATIVE BODY. WELL, WE'VE DONE IT ON THIS ISSUE. WE MAY NOT LIKE EVERYTHING THAT'S IN IT BECAUSE WHEN YOU DO COMPROMISE, THERE ARE GOING TO BE THINGS IN IT THAT YOU DON'T ALWAYS AGREE WITH. BUT THE SYSTEM HAS WORKED. IT INCLUDES A LOT OF WHAT I LIKE, A LOT OF WHAT MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES LIKE. AND TOGETHER WE'VE PRODUCED A BILL THAT'S GOING TO HELP OUR ECONOMY. AND I WOULD HOPE THAT THIS WOULD BE A MODEL OF THINGS TO COME. I HOPE IT IS AN INDICATION THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER ACROSS PARTY LINE TO DEAL WITH THE MAJOR CHALLENGES OF OUR NATION. WE NEED TO PUT OUR NATIONAL BUSINESS FIRST OVER PARTISAN AGENDAS. SO ON BALANCE, MR. PRESIDENT, I'M GOING TO SUPPORT THIS PACKAGE. I'M GOING TO SUPPORT THIS PACKAGE BECAUSE I THINK IT'S CRITICALLY NECESSARY FOR OUR ECONOMY. I THINK IT PROVIDES THE TYPE OF HELP FOR MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES THAT THEY NEED TODAY. AND I THINK IT REPRESENTS THE WAY THAT OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM SHOULD OPERATE WITH THE TYPE OF COMPROMISES THAT ALLOW US TO GET TO A CONCLUSION DEALING WITH MAJOR ISSUES IN OUR COUNTRY. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 07:20:19 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN'S RECOGNIZED.

  • 07:37:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN'S RECOGNIZED.

  • 07:37:44 PM

    MS. STABENOW

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE BILL PARTICULARLY…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE BILL PARTICULARLY IN FRONT OF US A PROVISION THAT I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH TO SEE IN THIS LEGISLATION AND WHEN WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUE ON THE FLOOR TONIGHT OR TOMORROW, I INTEND TO -- INTENDING TO OFFER UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE UNDERLYING BILL HAS BEEN A DILEMMA FOR MANY, MANY OF US, CERTAINLY THE VAST MAJORITY OF US ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE GIVEN WHERE WE ARE WITH THE DEFICITS, GIVEN OUR CONCERN WITH THE STRATEGY TOP-END TAX CUTS THAT HAVE NOT CREATED JOBS OVER TIME AND DEEP CONCERN ABOUT THAT. I ALSO KNOW THAT PEOPLE IN MY STATE ARE DESPERATELY HURTING AND THAT THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT EXTENSION IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL FOR FAMILIES WHO ARE FACED WITH DECISIONS ABOUT WHETHER THEY'LL EVEN BE ABLE TO HAVE A CHRISTMAS? WILL THEY HAVE A HOUSE? WILL THEY BE LIVING IN A CAR? WILL THEY BE ABLE TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE LET ALONE GET GIFTS FOR THEIR CHILDREN? VERY, VERY SERIOUS ISSUES FOR FAMILIES IN MICHIGAN. AND THERE ARE VERY IMPORTANT TAX CUTS FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES, FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, AND STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS IN JOBS IN THIS LEGISLATION IN TERMS OF TAX PROVISIONS THAT CREATE JOBS. THE BILL BEFORE US INCLUDES AN IMPORTANT FINANCING MECHANISM CALLED THE TREASURY GRANT PROGRAM OR WE'VE DUBBED IT 1603, FINANCING FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY. AND THIS IS ONE OF THE PROVISIONS THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT'S IN THE BILL. IT'S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT IF WE'RE GOING TO EXPAND OUR ECONOMY THAT WE FOCUS ON THE GROWING CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY, THE CLEAN ENERGY INDUSTRY. THAT'S A PLACE, I BELIEVE, WHERE WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE MIDDLE CLASS JOBS, TO CREATE NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND REALLY CREATE A BOON IN OUR ECONOMY. WHEN DEVELOPERS WANT TO DEVELOP WIND FARMS OR SOLAR, THEY CAN GET FINANCING THROUGH THIS PROGRAM OR FINANCING THAT'S HARD TO GET WHEN YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING ON THE FRONT END WHEN YOU'RE COMMERCIALIZING NEW TECHNOLOGY OR DOING SOMETHING NEW, IT'SULAR TO GET FINANCE -- IT'S HARD TO GET FINANCING. WHEN WE BUILD THE WIND FARMS IN AMERICA, WHEN WE BUILD THE SOLAR UNITS, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE USING WIND TURBINES, THAT THEY'RE USING ALL THE PARTS, THE 8,000 PARTS THAT ARE IN ONE OF THOSE BIG WIND TURBINES, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THOSE ARE MADE IN AMERICA, MR. PRESIDENT. I MEAN, THAT'S HOW WE TRULY GROW OUR ECONOMY. NOT JUST CREATING NEW OPTIONS ON ENERGY, BUT BUILDING THE TECHNOLOGIES HERE. DOING THE R&D, DOING THE INNOVATION, ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. WE'RE THE BEST. WE CREATE THE INNOVATION. BUT WE ALSO ARE THE BEST AT MAKING THINGS AND WE NEED TO BE MAKING IT HERE. AND I'M -- I HAVE TO SAY VERY, VERY PROUD TO REPRESENT A STATE, THE GREAT STATE OF MICHIGAN, WHERE WE KNOW HOW TO BUILD THINGS. WE HAVE GREAT ENGINEERS. WE HAVE THE BEST SKILLED WORKERS IN THE WORLD. WE KNOW HOW TO MAKE THINGS MUCH WE'RE BEGINNING NOW TO MOVE MORE INTO CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY, CERTAINLY ELECTRIC VEHICLES, HYBRIDS, BUT ALSO WIND, SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL, OTHER AREAS THAT INVOLVE MANUFACTURING, AND WE'RE VERY PROUD OF THAT. WHEN WE BUILD THE WIND AND SOLAR PROVISIONS, THE CUTTING-EDGE SOLAR CELLS, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT, IN FACT, THEY'RE MADE IN AMERICA. AND WE'RE DOING THAT RIGHT NOW IN MICHIGAN. MY CONCERN IS THAT THIS BILL DOES NOT EXTEND THE MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT THAT IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL TO KEEPING THOSE JOBS HERE AT HOME IN AMERICA. THE ADVANCED ENERGY MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT, WHICH WE HAVE DUBBED 48-C IS HELPING TO CREATE AT LEAST 17,000 JOBS AT 183 MANUFACTURING FACILITIES ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN 43 DIFFERENT STATES RIGHT NOW. IT HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS AND I WANT TO THANK SENATOR BINGAMAN. I WAS PROUD TO JOIN WITH HIM IN THE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN BEING ABLE TO AUTHOR THAT PROVISION THAT WAS IN THE RECOVERY ACT INITIALLY. I WANT TO THANK SENATOR BROWN OF OHIO FOR HIS EFFORTS AND LEADERSHIP AND PASSION ON THIS ISSUE AS WELL. FOR THE INVESTMENT OF OF $2.3 BILLION THAT WE PUT INTO THE RECOVERY ACT, THE 48-C MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT, HAS LEVERAGED $7.7 BILLION IN PRIVATE INVESTMENT AND CLEAN ENERGY MANUFACTURING IN AMERICA. THAT PROVISION SHOULD BE IN THIS BILL. WE HAVE STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, HAVE IT HAD NOW SINCE IT WAS FIRST INSTITUTED. THAT PROVISION SHOULD BE IN THIS BILL. LAST YEAR CHINA INVESTED INVESTED $35 BILLION IN CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY. THEY'RE EXPECTED TO RAMP THAT UP TO $90 BILLION A YEAR GOING FORWARD. THAT'S $246 MILLION EVERY SINGLE DAY. BY COMPARISON EXTENDING THE 48-C, THE MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT FOR A SMALL SUM WILL LEVERAGE PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENTS AND MORE THAN PAY FOR ITSELF AND CREATE JOBS MAKING THAT NEW CLEAN ENERGY -- THOSE PRODUCTS THAT ARE MANUFACTURED HERE IN AMERICA. IN MY HOME STATE IN MICHIGAN WOO HAVE 12 COMPANIES WHO HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THIS MANUFACTURING INCENTIVE BUILDING WIND TURBINES, SOLAR CELLS, ADVANCED BATTERIES FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES. JOBS, MR. PRESIDENT, IN MICHIGAN. WACKER SILICON IS PRO CAUSING SILICON USED IN SOLAR PANELS. RICHARDSON PANELS IS USING THEIR THEIR $51 MILLION ADVANCED MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT TO REEQUIP THEIR FACILITY AND CREATE SEMICONDUCTORS CREME RECEIVED A TAX CREDIT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF L.E.D. LIGHT CHIPS AND FIXTURES CREATING JOBS. Z.F. STEERING OF FLORENCE, KENTUCKY, RECEIVED $28 MILLION AND THE MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF WIND TURBINE COMPONENT PARTS. AND, FRANKLY, THE LIST, MR. PRESIDENT, GOES ON AND ON AND ON. 43 STATES, REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRAT HAVE BUSINESSES TODAY THAT ARE HIRING PEOPLE THAT ARE MAKE THINGS IN THEIR STATES, MAKING THINGS IN AMERICA BECAUSE OF THE PARTNERSHIP PUT IN PLACE WITH THE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT. SO IN ADDITION TO DEVELOPING THE RENEWABLE ENERGY AREA OF 1603, EXTENDING THAT SO THAT WE ARE HELPING TO CREATE THE INVESTMENT IN THESE NEW TECHNOLOGIES, WE ALSO NEED TO EXTEND THE MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT FOR COMPANIES WHO ARE MAKING RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES HERE. THE WHOLE POINT IS TO MAKE THEM HERE. NOT TO BRING IN THE COMPONENT PARTS FROM CHINA OR SOMEPLACE ELSE BUT TO MAKE THEM HERE. WE CAN DO THAT. WE'RE ALREADY BEGINNING TO DO THAT. WE CAN'T TRADE OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL FOR A DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN TECHNOLOGY. AND IN SOME AREAS WE'RE CLOSE TO DOING THAT. THE RECOVERY ACT WAS ABOUT CHANGING THAT PLAYING FIELD AND I WANT TO THANK PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE ADMINISTRATION FOR UNDERSTANDING ABOUT MANUFACTURING, ABOUT MAKING THINGS IN AMERICA, BUILDING THINGS IN AMERICA, AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO ACTUALLY CREATE GOOD-PAYING MIDDLE CLASS JOBS AGAIN IN AMERICA. THIS BILL DOES PART OF THAT WITH THE RENEWABLE ENERGY GRANTS AND THE FINANCING. BUT IT DOES NOT FOCUS ON WHERE THINGS ARE MADE, WHICH IS OF GREAT CONCERN TO ME. AND SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY, I FULLY DAME TO THE FLOOR TONIGHT -- I FULLY CAME TO THE FLOOR TONIGHT INTENDING TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO WE PROCEED TO MY AMENDMENT, TO BE ABLE TO ADD THIS CRITICAL JOB-CREATING MANUFACTURING CREDIT THAT HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, HAS HAD SINCE IT WAS FIRST INITIATED. BUT I DON'T SEE ANY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES ON THE FLOOR THIS EVENING, AND SO I UNDERSTAND UNDER LEGISLATIVE COURTESY THAT I WILL NOT DO THAT. SO I WILL PROCEED, AND I WILL OFFER THAT TOMORROW. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE'S ANOTHER PROVISION I WANT TO ALSO SPEAK ABOUT, AN AMENDMENT OF MINE TO THE BILL THAT I WILL OFFER UNANIMOUS CONSENT ON TOMORROW THAT RELATES TO SMALL BUSINESS. YOU KNOW, WHEN WE LOOK AT HOW WE GROW OUR ECONOMY, WE NEED TO MAKE THINGS AND, BY THE WAY, A LOST THOSE MANUFACTURERS ARE SMALL BUSINESSES. WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY, WHICH I'M SO PROUD OF AND WHAT THEY'RE DOING IN COMING BACK, THE MAJORITY OF JOBS IN MICHIGAN AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE ACTUALLY ARE SUPPLIERS, SMALL- AND MEDIUM--SIZED SPLOIMPLETS WE KNOW A LOST FOLKS WHO LOST THEIR JOBS, ARE TURNING TO THE POSSIBILITY OF STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS. IN THE GARAGE, IN THE EXTRA BEDROOM, IN THE BASEMENT. BUT THEY'RE TAKING A GREAT IDEA AND TRYING TO PUT IT TO WORK. SO SMALL BUSINESSES ARE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO US. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, WE WORKED VERY HARD, AS YOU KNOW -- YOU'VE BEEN A STRONG SUPPORTER OF HELPING OUR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND WE HAVE CERTAINLY FOCUSED ON THAT IN THE LAST TWO YEARS. WE HAVE PASSED IN FACT IN THE LAST TWO YEARS 16 DIFFERENT TAX CUTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO HELP THEM GROW AND CREATE JOBS. FORTUNATELY, OVER -- UNFORTUNATELY, OVER CONSTANT FILIBUSTERS ON THE OTHER SIDE, CONSTANTLY HAVING OBJECTIONS AND FILIBUSTERS ON THE OTHER SIDE. BUT WE DID PASS THEM. WE KNOW THAT THESE COMPANIES ARE THE BACKBONE OF OUR ECONOMY, AND IT'S OUR COMMITMENT -- IT'S MY COMMITMENT -- TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR THEM EVERY SINGLE DAY. SO THAT THEY CAN DO WELL AND THEY CAN HIRE PEOPLE, AND WE CAN HAVE MORE OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO WORK. UNFORTUNATELY, THERE'S A NEW REPORTING REQUIREMENT FROM THE I.R.S. THAT'S HANGING OVER THE HEADS OF SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS RELATING TO THE FILING OF 109 TAX FORMS. IT WOULD REQUIRE BUSINESS OWNERS TO FILE PAPERWORK WITH THE I.R.S. EVERY TIME THEY PURCHASE A PRODUCT WORTH MORE THAN $600. IN PRACTICE, THAT MEANS THAT BUSINESS OWNERS WILL BE FORCED TO FILE MOUNDS OF PAPERWORK FOR EVEN THE MOST MUNDANE PURCHASES. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ARE A REAL ESTATE AGENT AND GO YOU TO BEST BUY FOR A NEW LAP LAPTOP OR ANY PLACE WHERE YOU ARE BUYING A NEW LAPTOP, YOU WOULD HAVE TO FILE A 1099 FOR BUYING THE LAPTOP. OR IF YOU ARE A FARMER AND BUY $700 WORTH OF SEEDS, THERE IS A FORM TO FILE WITH THE I.R.S. OR IF YOU ARE A PHOTOGRAPHER AND YOU NEED TO TRAVEL FOR A FEW DAYS TO COVER AN EVENT, A FEW NIGHTS IN A HOTEL COULD BE ANOTHER I.R.S. FORM TO FILL OUT WHEN YOU GET HOME. SO WE NEED AND WANT TO FIX THIS -- SO WE UNDERSTAND AND WE WANT TO FIX THIS WE WANT TO ADDRESS THIS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE DO THAT. SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN MY STATE OF MICHIGAN WANT TO BE DOING WHAT IT IS THAT THEY DO, NOT FILLING OUT EXTRA FORMS. REALTORS WANT TO BE SHOWING HOUSES AND FARMERS WANT TO BE GROWING THINGS, AND PHOTOGRAPHERS WANT TO BE TAKING PICTURES. THEY DON'T WANT TO BE FILLING OUT ENDLESS FORMS AND PAPER WELCOME--AND PAPERWORK FOR THE I.R.S. WE'VE HAD A NUMBER OF VOTES ON THE FLOOR. THEY'VE ALWAYS GOT ISEN OVERWHELMING BIPARTISAN MAJORITIES TO FIX THIS. DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS HAVE BOTH AGREED THAT WE CAN'T FORCE AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES TO FUNNEL REAMS OF PAPERWORK WITH THE IMPLETES SO I WAS VERY, VERY SURPRISED WHEN THERE HAVE BEEN OBJECTIONS TO PLACING THIS AS PART OF THIS BILL, THAT THIS BILL -- THIS TAX BILL IN FRONT OF SUCCESS THE PERFECT PLACE TO BE ABLE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE ONCE AND FOR ALL. AND I UNDERSTAND THERE WERE OBJECTIONS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO DOING THAT. WHICH I FIND VERY SURPRISING, BECAUSE WE CONTINUE TO SEE AMENDMENT AFTER AMENDMENT TO TAKE OUT THIS PROVISION, WHICH I'VE SUPPORTED, BUT WHEN WE TRY TO FIX IT NOW, WE ARE SEEING OBJECTIONS. AND SO I INTEND ALSO TOMORROW, MR. PRESIDENT, TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD ELIMINATE THIS PROBLEM FOR SMALL BUSINESSES ONCE AND FOR ALL. IT'S AN AMENDMENT THAT I HAVE FILED TO THIS BILL. IT'S SOMETHING THAT, BASED ON OVERWHELMING VOTES THAT WE HAVE HAD, OVERWHELM BEING BIPARTISAN VOTES THAT WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DEAL WITH VERY QUICKLY. IN FACT, JUST A SIMPLE UNANIMOUS CONSENT OUGHT TO BE ABLE DO IT. IF THERE IS TO OBJECTION -- I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY OBJECTION ON OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, AND I'M SORRY IF THERE IS AN OBJECTION ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE IERL TO ADDRESSING THIS. THERE SHOULD NOT BE, BECAUSE NOW IS THE TIME TO DO THAT. THIS BILL IS THE RIGHT PLACE TO DO T WE'RE COMING TO THE END OF THE YEAR. THIS PROVISION IS SOMETHING THAT WILL BE VERY ONEROUS WHEN IT TAKES EFFECT ON SMASHINGS AND WE NEED TO FIX IT. WE NEED TO ACTUALLY ELIMINATE THAT PROVISION. AND SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY, WHEN WE HAVE REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES JOINING US ON THE FLOOR TOMORROW, I WILL IN FACT OFFER A MOTION TO MOVE TO MY AMENDMENT AND TO GET RID OF THIS 1099 PROVISION ONCE AND FOR ALL. AND I WOULD JUST SAY IN CONCLUSION THAT, FOR ME, MR. PRESIDENT, AS YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING IS ABOUT JOBS. MY GREAT STATE HAS LOST MORE JOBS -- OUR PEOPLE HAVE LOST MORE JOBS THAN ANY OTHER STATE, OVER 800,000 IN THE LAST TEN YEARS. OUR PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HIT HARDER, LONGERRER, DEEPER THAN ANY PLACE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY. WE WORK HARD. WE'RE PROUD PEOPLE. OUR PEOPLE WANT TO WORK. THEY KNOW HOW TO WORK. AND THEY ARE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO GET BACK TO WORK, TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS OR TO GET BACK TO WORK IN SOME OTHER FASHION. I'M PROUD OF WHAT WE'RE SEEING HAPPENING WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE PRESIDENT AND THIS CONGRESS, THE ABILITY FOR THE AUTO INDUSTRY IN AMERICA TO COME BACK. THE FIRST TIME ALL THREE OF OUR AMERICAN COMPANIES WILL HAVE A PROFIT THIS YEAR, FIRST TIME I BELIEVE SINCE 1999. HIRING PEOPLE BACK. WE BEGIN TO SEE THINGS TURN AROUND. BUT WE'VE GOT A LONG WAY TO GO BECAUSE OF SO MANY JOBS THAT WE'VE LOST AND SO MANY PEOPLE THAT HAVE GONE THROUGH SO MUCH AS A RESULT OF THAT. SO, THESE PROVISIONS TO TAKE THE PAPERWORK OFF OF SMALL BUSINESSES, TO INVEST IN AMERICAN-MADE PRODUCTS THROUGH MANUFACTURING ARE TWO PROVISIONS THAT WILL HELP US CREATE JOBS IN AMERICA. AND IF THAT'S NOT OUR NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY, IT SURE OUGHT TO BE. AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO PUSH EVERY DAY. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 07:54:06 PM

    MS. STABENOW

    I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 07:54:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 07:56:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 07:56:37 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 07:56:41 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    I RISE TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT MY DECISION, AFTER A LOT OF SERIOUS…

    I RISE TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT MY DECISION, AFTER A LOT OF SERIOUS CONTEMPLATION, TO SUPPORT THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US. I BELIEVE THAT MINNESOTANS DESERVE A BETTER DEAL THAN THIS ONE. BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS THE ONE WE HAVE. FOR MINNESOTA'S MIDDLE CLASS, THERE IS A LOT IN THIS BILL THAT WILL NOT ONLY BE HELPFUL BUT IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. IT STOPS OUR TAXES FROM GOING UP ON JANUARY 1, IT PROVIDES A PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY THAT GIVES FAMILIES MAKING $50,000 A YEAR A $1,000 TAX BREAK. AND FOR MINNESOTANS WHO ARE TRULY SUFFERING RIGHT NOW, MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN ON THE EDGE OF ECONOMIC DISASTER, IT REINSTATES EMERGENCY FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS THAT EXPIRED AT THE END OF LAST MONTH MONTH. NOT RESTORING THESE BENEFITS WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO MINNESOTA FAMILIES AND TO OUR ECONOMY, LEADING TO A LOT MORE PAIN FOR WORKING FAMILIES, A LOT MORE HOMELESS KIDS SPENDING CHRISTMAS IN A SHELTER OR A CAR. I CAME HERE TO MAKE PEOPLE'S LIVES BETTER, AND SO I'M -- I MUST VOTE TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION, BUT THIS WAS PERHAPS THE HARDEST VOTE I HAVE EVER TAKEN SO FAR AS A SENATOR ANDED A LIKE TO TELL YOU WHY. -- AND I'D LIKE TO TELL YOU WHY. WE'VE SPENT THE BETTER PART OF A YEAR TALKING ABOUT THE BALLOONING DEFICIT. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS AGREE IN EVERY DECISION WE MAKE, EVERY PENNEY WE SPEND, WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT IT WILL BE ADDED TO OUR NATIONAL DEBT. AT THE SAME TIME WE NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF OUR FRAGILE ECONOMIC RECOVERY. ARE WE SPENDING IN THE MOST EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE WAY POSSIBLE TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AND GET OUR ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK? I WAS HOPING TO SEE A TAX PACKAGE THAT WOULD REFLECT THESE PRIORITIES. MINDFUL OF THE DEBT, HELPFUL TO OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY, FAIR -- FAIR -- TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BUT, INSTEAD, THIS LEGISLATION SPENDS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON THE WEALTHIEST 2% OF AMERICANS. THESE ARE AMERICANS WHO HAVE PROSPERED IN RECENT YEARS, ACCORDING TO THE ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE, DURING THE PAST 20 YEARS, 56% OF ALL INCOME GROWTH HAS GONE TO THE TOP 1% OF HOUSEHOLDS. EVEN MORE UNBELIEVABLY, A THIRD OF ALL INCOME GROWTH WENT TO JUST THE TOP.1%. AND AT THE SAME TIME MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES HAVE DONE DECIDEDLY WORSE. WHEN YOU ADJUST FOR INFLATION, THE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME DECLINED OVER THE LAST DECADE. DURING THOSE YEARS, WHILE THE RICH WERE GETTING RICH,THE REST OF WORKING AMERICA WAS STRUGGLING TO KEEP UP. WE'VE BEEN GROWING APART. WE'VE BEEN GROWING APART IN OUR NATION. WE SHOULD BE TACKLING THIS KIND OF INEQUALITY NOT EXACERBATING IT. AND THAT'S WHAT I FIND SO FRUSTRATING ABOUT THIS LEGISLATION, IT KEEPS OUR COUNTRY ON THE SAME PATH OF WIDENING INEQUALITY. WE'RE SECURING TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES TWICE AS LONG AS WE'RE MAINTAINING FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. THIS BILL'S ESTATE TAX PROVISIONS PROVIDE A WINDFALL FOR THE RICHEST FRACTION OF 1% OF AMERICANS. AND IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES AND WITH THESE CURRENT DEFICITS, WE SHOULD BE SPENDING MONEY ONLY ON THOSE POLICIES THAT WILL CREATE THE MOST JOBS. BUT AS I MENTIONED AND IN SPITE THE CONCERNS I HAVE ABOUT THIS BILL, IT UNDENIABLY PROVIDES ESSENTIAL HELP TO MINNESOTA'S FAMILIES. THIS PACKAGE REAUTHORIZES EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS THROUGH THE END OF NEXT YEAR. THEY ARE A VITAL LIFELONG LIFELINE FOR FAMILIES IN NEED AND A VITAL LIFELINE FOR OUR ECONOMY. I MEET PEOPLE BACK IN MINNESOTA WHO TELL ME THAT THEY HATE TAKING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BUT THAT THEY WOULD HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES WITHOUT IT. UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS YIELD $2 IN DEMAND FOR EVERY $1 SPENT, ACCORDING TO A NEW REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. THIS IS A VERY EFFECTIVE WAY TO STIMULATE OUR ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS. THE SAME HOLDS FOR THE PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY THAT'S INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE, IT'S GOING TO PUT REAL DOLLARS IN THE HANDS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, DOLLARS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO SPEND. I STRONGLY SUPPORT EXTENDING THE EXPANDED EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT WHICH HELPS ABOUT 6.5 MILLION WORKING PARENTS. I'M GLAD THIS LEGISLATION INCLUDES THE AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT, MAKING COLLEGE TUITION MORE AFFORDABLE FOR 8 MILLION STUDENTS. THIS BILL ALSO EXTENDS THE RENEWABLE ENERGY GRANT PROGRAM, THE R&D TAX CREDIT, THE ETHANOL AND BIODIESEL TAX CREDITS, ALL PROVISIONS THAT I STRONGLY SUPPORT. VOTING "NO" ON THIS LEGISLATION WOULD BE VOTING "NO" ON ALL OF THESE VITAL PROGRAMS. THE ECONOMISTS ARE IN GENERAL AGREEMENT THIS LEGISLATION WILL HELP THE ECONOMY. MARK ZANDI ON HIS ECONOMIC ANALYSIS, I'VE FREQUENTLY RELIED IN THE PAST, HAS ENCOURAGING PROJECTIONS. HE SEES THIS PACKAGE HAGD A FULL PERCENTAGE -- ADDING A FULL PERCENTAGE POINT TO ECONOMIC GROWTH NEXT YEAR. HE'S ESPECIALLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE NEW BUSINESS DEDUCTIONS, POTENTIAL TO SPUR SPENDING. MANY FACT, HE PREDICTS THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WILL REACH BELOW 9% BY THE END OF NEXT YEAR AND WILL CLOSE IN ON 7.5% BY THE END 2012. THESE FIGURES ARE ALL SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER THAN WHAT WE'D EXPECT WITHOUT THIS LEGISLATION. THIS WASN'T THE BILL THAT I WOULD HAVE WANTED. IF THERE WERE A BETTER WAY, I WOULD DO IT IN A HEARTBEAT. BUT TODAY WE ARE FORCED TO DECIDE BETWEEN TAKING A STAND AGAINST IRRESPONSIBLE TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES VERSUS HELPING STRUGGLING FAMILIES. GIVEN THAT CHOICE, I SIMPLY CAN'T TURN MY BACK ON ALL MINNESOTANS THAT DESPERATELY NEED THE HELP THAT THIS BILL WILL PROVIDE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 08:04:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 08:07:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 08:07:55 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THATFULTHAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THATFULTHAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 08:08:00 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, TWO WEEKS AGO ALL 42 REPUBLICAN SENATORS SIGNED A LETTER…

    MR. PRESIDENT, TWO WEEKS AGO ALL 42 REPUBLICAN SENATORS SIGNED A LETTER THREATENING TO FILIBUSTER ANY EXTENSION OF TAX CUTS FOR MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS OR ANY CONTINUATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS UNLESS AND UNTIL THE SENATE AGREED TO EXTEND TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. AS MANY HAVE POINTED OUT CORRECTLY, REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN HOLDING MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS AND BENEFITS FOR THE UNEMPLOYMENT HOSTAGE TO THE EXTENT OF TAX CUTS FOR THE VERY RICH. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, IT APPEARS THAT THE HOSTAGE-TAKING INCIDENT IS NEARLY OVER. THE HOSTAGES -- THE UNEMPLOYED -- WILL BE RELEASED. THE RANSOM WILL BE PAID. WEALTHY AMERICANS WHO MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS OR MORE A YEAR WILL RECEIVE AN AVERAGE TAX BREAK OF MORE THAN $100,000. INDEED, IN THE COURSE OF NEGOTIATIONS TO RESCUE THE HOSTAGES, REPUBLICANS DEMANDED AND GOT AN EVEN MORE ROYAL RANSOM. THEY DEMANDED AND GOT A GIVEAWAY ON ESTATE TAXES THAT WILL BENEFIT ONLY THE WEALTHIEST ONE-QUARTER OF 1% OF THE U.S. POPULATION. THE HEIRS OF A SINGLE ESTATE WORTH $1 BILLION WOULD SAVE $100 MILLION THANKS TO THE RANSOM DEMANDED BY THE REPUBLICANS. MR. PRESIDENT, AT THIS POINT, I WOULD JUST LIKE TO ASK CONSENT TO SPEAK FOR UP TO 20 MINUTES.

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  • 08:09:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 08:09:35 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, NO QUESTION CHAMPAGNE CORKS ARE POPPING ON WALL STREET AND…

    MR. PRESIDENT, NO QUESTION CHAMPAGNE CORKS ARE POPPING ON WALL STREET AND IN AMERICA'S MOST EXCLUSIVE COUNTRY CLUBS AND BOARDROOMS, THE SUPER RICH AND THEIR HEIRS ARE I'M SURE THROWING LAVISH CHRISTMAS PARTIES AND NEW YEAR'S PARTIES. TIFFANY JEWELERS, NO DOUBT, IS LOOKING FORWARD TO SELLING A RECORD NUMBER OF $28,100 -- I'M TO HER, $29,800 WATCHES. -- I'M SORRY, $29,800 WATCHES. THAT'S IT. GIVING THOSE OVER A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR $100,000 TAX BREAKS, WELL, THEY CAN BUY THIS WRISTWATCH HERE FOR $29,800. ADVERTISED IN "THE NEW YORK TIMES." MADE IN SWITZERLAND. NOW, MAYBE IF IT WAS MADE IN AMERICA, YOU'D SAY, WELL, AT LEAST IT'S MADE IN AMERICA. IT'S NOT MADE HERE. SEE, THIS IS WHAT THE VERY RICH SPEND THEIR EXTRA $100,000 ON, THINGS LIKE THAT. DOESN'T HELP OUR ECONOMY. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF AMERICA? WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO DON'T SHOP AT TIFFANY'S? IS THIS A GOOD DEAL FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OVERALL? WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION IT IS NOT. AT A TIME WHEN OUR ANNUAL DEFICIT IS CLOSE TO $1 TRILLION, MUCH OF IT BORROWED FROM CHINA, AT A TIME WHEN THE WEALTHY ARE ALREADY ENJOYING A HUGE SURGE IN INCOME, EVEN AS MIDDLE-CLASS INCOMES ARE STAGNANT, IT IS SIMPLY OBSCENE TO GIVE ANOTHER LAVISH TAX CUT TO THE TOP 2%. LET ME SAY WHAT SHOULD BE PAINFULLY OBVIOUS ABOUT THIS NEW BONANZA FOR THE RICH -- THEY DON'T NEED IT AND WE CAN'T AFFORD IT. THEY DON'T NEED IT AND WE CAN'T AFFORD IT. AND IT WILL NOT HELP THE ECONOMY ECONOMY. IN FACT, IN THE LONGER TERM, I BELIEVE IT WILL HURT OUR ECONOMY ECONOMY. THESE NEW TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH ARE TERRIBLE PUBLIC POLICY. LET ME JUST BRIEFLY MENTION JUST FOUR REASONS WHY THESE TAX CUTS ARE HARMFUL.

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  • 08:11:40 PM

    MR. REID

    WOULD MY FRIEND YIELD FOR A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST?

  • 08:11:43 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    ABSOLUTELY. ALWAYS GLAD TO YIELD TO MY LEADER.

  • 08:11:46 PM

    MR. REID

    SKILLED THAT THE RECORD NOT SHOW THE INTRIPTION -- I WOULD ASK THAT THE…

    SKILLED THAT THE RECORD NOT SHOW THE INTRIPTION -- I WOULD ASK THAT THE REPORT NOT SHOW THE INTERRUPTION. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME BE CONSIDERED EXPIRED WHEN THE SENATE RESUMES CONSIDERATION OF THE HOUSE MESSAGE WITH RESPECT TO H.R. 4853 ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15. EXCEPT FOR THE TIME PROVIDED FOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT. THE SENATE RESUME THE HOUSE MESSAGE AT 11:00 A.M. WEDNESDAY AND THERE BE ONE HOUR REMAINING FOR DEBATE DIVIDED AS FOLLOWS: 10 MINUTES FOR THE MAJORITY -- UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE MAJORITY AND REPUBLICAN LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES, SENATOR DeMINT, COBURN, LANDRIEU AND SANDERS, THAT THE FOLLOWING BE -- THAT THE FOLLOWING BE THE ONLY MOTIONS TO SUSPEND THE RULES IN ORDER DURING THE DURATION OF THIS AGREEMENT: COBURN MOTION TO SUSPEND WITH RESPECT TO AMENDMENT NUMBER 4765, DeMINT MOTION TO SUSPEND WITH RESPECT TO AMENDMENT NUMBER 4084. SNANDERS MOTION TO SUSPEND WITH RESPECT TO AMENDMENT 4809. THAT UPON THE USE OR YIELDING BACK OF THE TIME, THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO VOTE ON DISPOSITION OF THE MOTIONS IN THE ORDER LISTED. THAT UPON DISPOSITION OF THE LISTED MOTIONS, NO FURTHER MOTIONS OR AMENDMENTS BE IN ORDER. FURTHER, THAT IF ANY MOTION IS SUCCESSFUL AND THE SECOND-DEGREE AMENDMENT BE WITHDRAWN AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO VOTE IMMEDIATELY ON THE AMENDMENT COVERED UNDER ANY SUCCESSFUL MOTION. THAT IF NOT MOTION IS SUCCESSFUL, THE SECOND-DEGREE AMENDMENT BE WITHDRAWN AND WITHOUT FURTHER INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO VOTE ON THE REID OF NEVADA MOTION TO CONCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4853, WITH THE REID-McCONNELL AMENDMENT NUMBER 4753. THAT UPON DISPOSITION OF THE HOUSE MESSAGE, THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS UNTIL 2:15 P.M., WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 08:13:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 08:13:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 08:13:40 PM

    MR. HARK I HARKIN

    PRESIDENT, FIRST, THESE NEW TAX BREAKS WILL MAKE INCOME INEQUALITY IN THE…

    PRESIDENT, FIRST, THESE NEW TAX BREAKS WILL MAKE INCOME INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES EVEN WORSE. IN EVENT YEARS IN THE GRIP OF THE GREAT RECESSION, MANY MILLIONS OF ORDINARY WORKING AMERICANS HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, THEIR HOMES, THEIR SAVINGS, BUT THE WEALTHY HAVE MADE OUT VERY, VERY WELL. TODAY, INCOME INEQUALITY -- INEQUALITY -- IN AMERICA IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH. THE TOP 1% CONTROLS MORE WEALTH THAN THE BOTTOM 90%. AT THE SAME TIME, THE BOTTOM 90% HOLDS 73% OF ALL PERSONAL DEBT IN THIS COUNTRY. 80% OF ALL ADDITIONAL INCOME EARNED BETWEEN 1980-2005 HAS GONE TO THE TOP 1%. LET ME REPEAT. 80% OF ALL ADDITIONAL INCOME EARNED FROM 1980-2005 HAS GONE TO THE TOP 1%. THE GAP GROWS WIDER. IN 2009, IN THE WAKE OF THE TAXPAYER BAILOUT OF WALL STREET, GOLDMAN SACHS PAID ITS EMPLOYEES AN AVERAGE OF NEARLY $600,000 PER PERSON. EXECUTIVES AT GOLDMAN SACHS RECEIVED BONUSES TOTALING $13 BILLION. SO WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THIS CONGRESS VOTE TO MAKE THIS ALREADY EXTREME INCOME INEQUALITY EVEN WORSE? WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD WE VOTE TO BORROW TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM CHINA TO MAKE THE RICH EVEN RICHER? THIS IS FOOLISH. AND IT IS RECKLESSLY IRRESPONSIBLE. THE SECOND REASON WHY THIS IS A BAD AGREEMENT, AGAIN, THE DISTRIBUTION OF THESE NEW TAX CUTS IS RADICALLY SKEWED IN FAVOR OF THE WEALTHY. AS I SAID EARLIER, THOSE WHO EARN $1 MILLION AND ABOVE, WOULD ON AVERAGE RECEIVE AN ANNUAL TAX BREAK OF $100,000. BY CONTRAST, AN AVERAGE AMERICAN TAXPAYER EARNING $26,000 WOULD RECEIVE A TAX BREAK OF $670. IN 2007, THE TOP 25 HEDGE FUND MANAGERS IN THE UNITED STATES TOOK HOME AN AVERAGE INCOME OF OF $892 MILLION. YES, YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT. THEIR INDIVIDUAL ANNUAL INCOME AVERAGED NEARLY.9% OF OF $1 BILLION PER PERSON. UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WOULD GET AN INCOME TAX WORTH AS MUCH AS $50 MILLION. REASON NUMBER THREE WHY THIS IS A BAD AGREEMENT, THE NEARLY NEARLY $900 BILLION OF TAX CUTS IN THIS AGREEMENT WOULD CROWD OUT THE NECESSARY INVESTMENTS AN PRIORITIES SUCH AS EDUCATION, INFRASTRUCTURE, HOMELAND SECURITY, HEALTH CARE, SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, IN OTHER WORDS, WE'RE EATING OUR SEED CORN. BORROWING MONEY TO PAY FOR SHORT-TERM TAX CUTS RATHER THAN FOR LONG-TERM INVESTMENTS THAT DEVELOP OUR HUMAN CAPITAL AND OUR PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE FUTURE. NOW, AS A CONTRAST, THE UNITED STATES RIGHT NOW INVESTS ABOUT 2.4% OF OUR G.D.P., OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, IN INFRASTRUCTURE. CHINA INVESTS ALMOST FOUR TIMES OUR RATE, 9% OF THEIR G.D.P. ANNUALLY GOES TO INFRASTRUCTURE. CHINA INVESTED $186 BILLION JUST IN RAIL IN THE LAST THREE YEARS. WITHIN TWO YEARS THEY WILL HOPE 42 NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINES WITH TRAINS REACHING SPEEDS OF 200 MILES AN HOUR. BY 2020 CHINA PLANS TO ADD 26,000 ADDITIONAL MILES OF TRACKS FOR FREIGHT AND TRAVEL AS WELL AS 230,000 MILES OF NEW AND IMPROVED ROADS AN 97 -- AND 97 NEW AIRPORTS. SO WHAT DO WE HAVE THEN, MR. PRESIDENT? WHAT WE HAVE IS WE'RE BORROWING MONEY FROM CHINA IN ORDER TO PAY FOR SHORT-TERM -- AT THE SAME TIME CHINA IS USING ITS WEALTH TO INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE SO THEY WILL BE MORE COMPETITIVE IN THE WORLD ECONOMY IN THE FUTURE. NOW, WE'RE GOING TO TRY DID MARK MY WORD, MR. PRESIDENT, MARK MY WORD, WE ARE GOING TO BE COMING UP WITH SOME BILLS TO INVEST IN A NEW HIGHWAY BILL. WE HAVE A NEW HIGHWAY BILL COMING UP. WE'RE GOING TO INVEST IN NEW HIGHWAYS, PROBABLY INVEST IN OTHER KINDS OF INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. I'M SURE THAT THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO KNOWS HOW MANY SEWER AND WATER PROJECTS IN COLORADO ARE GOING UNDERFUNDED RIGHT NOW THAT NEED TO BE DONE. I HAVE THE SAME IN THE STATE OF IOWA. AND WE THINK ABOUT HIGH-SPEED RAIL. I SAW A RECENT FIGURE THAT SAID 60% OF ALL OF THE FLIGHTS THAT ORIGINATE OUT OF O'HARE AIRPORT IN CHICAGO GO 300 MILES OR LESS. AND IT'S OVERCROWDED. ONE BAD DAY OF WEATHER, LIKE THE OTHER DAY, THOUSANDS OF AIRPLANES BACKED UP ALL OVER THE COUNTRY BECAUSE OF BAD WEATHER. 300 MILES, THAT COULD BE HIGH-SPEED RAIL. TO GO FROM CHICAGO TO DETROIT COULD TAKE ALMOST ALL DAY. HIGH-SPEED RAIL COULD TAKE A COUPLE OF HOURS. MAYBE YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO TAKE AN AIRPLANE. WE SHOULD HAVE HIGH-SPEED RAIL FROM BOSTON TO MIAMI, FROM SEATTLE TO SAN DIEGO, AND HUBS IN THE MIDWEST FROM CHICAGO GOING OUT TO KANSAS CITY AND ST. LOUIS AN DES MOINES AND ONLY -- AND DES MOINES AND OMAHA AND CINCINNATI, CLEVELAND. WE'RE NOT DOING IT. WE'RE NOT DOING IT. SO WE'RE BORROWING MONEY FROM CHINA TO PAY FOR -- WE'RE GOING INTO DEBT AND THEN WHEN OUR BILLS COME UP TO TRY TO FUND PROGRAMS TO BUILD OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS WILL SAY WE CAN'T AFFORD IT. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY. IT WILL CROWD IT OUT. IT WILL CROWD IT OUT WHY? SO WE CAN GIVE SOME OF THE RICHEST IN OUR COUNTRY ANOTHER ANOTHER $100,000 FOR PEOPLE WITH WITH $1 BILLION ESTATES GETTING AN EXTRA $100 MILLION SO THEY CAN GO OUT AN BUY THOSE $29,000 WRIST WATCHES OR $2,500 CASHMERE SCARVES OR WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE? IF OUR DEBT CONTINUES TO GROW AT UNSUSTAINABLE RATES, WE'RE GOING TO FIND OURSELVES VERY SOON IN THE SAME POSITION AS GREECE, IRELAND, AND SPAIN TODAY. WE'LL REACH A TIPPING POINT WHERE INTERNATIONAL BOND VIGILANTES WILL SHORT OUR DEBT. THIS WILL RADICALLY DRIVE UP INTEREST RATES IN THE U.S., FORCE US TO MAKE EVEN MORE DURAN DRACONIAN CUTS FOR EVERYTHING FROM SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH TO HEALTH CARE. THIS MAY SUIT THE AGENDA OF RIGHT WING WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO SEE EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS GUTTED, BUT WOULD BE A DISASTER FOR ORDINARY WORKING AMERICANS AND FOR OUR ECONOMY AS A WHOLE. ONE LAST, FOURTH, REASON WHY THIS IS A BAD AGREEMENT. THE NONPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE RANKS TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH AS DEAD LAST AMONG THE VARIOUS OPTIONS FOR BOOSTING THE ECONOMY AND CREATING JOBS. THIS IS HARDLY SURPRISING. AS I SAID THE WEALTHY ARE THE LEAST LIKELY TO SPEND NEW TAX CUTS, THEY CAN ONLY BUY SO MANY MANY $29,800 WRIST WATCHES. BY CONTRAST VIRTUALLY EVERY DIME OF EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT IS SPENT ON NECESSITIES SUCH AS FOOD, RENT, TRANSPORTATION. MIDDLE AND LOWER INCOME TAXPAYERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO SPEND MOST IF NOT ALL OF THEIR MODEST TAX CUTS. THIS CREATES JOBS AND HAS A POSITIVE MULTIPLIER EFFECT ACROSS THE ECONOMY. BENEFITS -- UNDER THIS AGREEMENT BENEFITS FOR THE UNEMPLOYED ARE EXTENDED FOR ONE YEAR WHILE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH ARE EXTENDED TWO YEARS AND NOW MORE LIKELY TO BE EXTENDED FAR BEYOND THAT. MR. PRESIDENT; IF WE'RE GOING TO -- MR. PRESIDENT, IF WE'RE GOING TO BORROW -- IF WE'RE GOING TO BORROW ADDITIONAL HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM FOREIGN CREDITORS, NAMELY CHINA, SHOULDN'T WE INSIST THAT THE MONEY IS SPENT IN WAYS THAT BENEFIT OUR ECONOMY IN THE LONG TERM? WE'RE GOING TO -- IF WE'RE GOING TO BORROW THE MONEY, LET'S BUILD OUR INFRASTRUCTURE SO THAT OUR PRIVATE SECTOR FIVE YEARS, 10 YEARS FROM NOW WILL BE MORE EFFICIENT. WE'LL BE ABLE TO COMPETE MORE EFFECTIVELY IN THE WORLD ECONOMY. AND, I MIGHT ADD, IN THESE INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS PUT AMERICANS TO WORK. IT'S ONE OF THE BEST MULTIPLIER EFFECTS THAT WE HAVE. WHY IS THAT? IT'S EASY? WHEN YOU BUILD A NEW SCHOOL, THE WORK HAS TO BE DONE LOCALLY. YOU CAN'T SHIP THE WORK OUT TO INDIA. THINK ABOUT MOST OF THE MATERIALS THAT GO INTO A SCHOOL. THINK ABOUT IT, THE BRICKS, THE MORTAR, THE RERODS, THE WALL BOARD, THE SHEET ROCK, MOST OF THE LIGHTING AND THE CONDUITS, THE PIPING, SWITCHES, FLOOR TILES, WINDOWS, DOORS, MOST OF IT IS MADE IN AMERICA. MOST OF THAT IS MADE HERE. SO WHEN YOU SPEND $1 ON SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THE WORK IS DONE LOCALLY, HELPS THE LOCAL ECONOMY, PLUS ALL THE MATERIALS -- NOT ALL, BUT MOST OF THE MATERIALS ARE MADE IN AMERICA. THAT DOLLAR SPINS AROUND. YOU GIVE SOMEONE AN EXTRA $100,000, THEY SPENT SPENT $29,800 ON A WATCH, I DON'T THINK THAT BENEFITS MANY AMERICANS. MAYBE THE JEWELRY STORE. MAYBE TIFFANY'S WHERE YOU BUY IT. MAYBE THEY GET SOME. SURE THEY DO. BUT THAT GOES OUT OF THE COUNTRY. YOU GIVE EXTRA MONEY TO PEOPLE TO BUY A NEW FLAT SCREEN TV, YEAH, THERE'S SOME BENEFIT HERE. THE RETAILER THAT SELLS IT, MAYBE THE SHIPPER THAT BROUGHT IT IN. THE MAJORITY OF IT GOES OVERSEAS. MAJORITY OF IT GOES OVERSEAS. THAT'S WHY I SAY IF WE'RE GOING TO BORROW MONEY -- IF WE'RE GOING TO BORROW MONEY, PUT IT INTO INFRASTRUCTURE. IT PROVIDES A LOT OF JOBS AND PROVIDES A GREAT MULTIPLIER EFFECT IN OUR ECONOMY AND YOU GET SOMETHING AT THE END OF IT. -- OF IT THAT'S GOING TO BENEFIT OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDKIDS. SO I REPEAT WITH THIS AGREEMENT WE'RE EATING OUR SEED CORN. INSTEAD OF BORROWING TO INVEST IN FRUIT IEWRKS WE'RE -- FUTURE, WE'RE BORROWING TO PAY FOR CONSUMPTION TODAY. WITHIN THE NEXT TWO YEARS THE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF BORROWED DOLLARS WILL JUST GO POOF. THEY'LL BE GONE. NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT, NOT ONE NEW HIGHWAY, NOT ONE NEW BRIDGE, NOT ONE NEW SCHOOL. OUR ECONOMIC COMPETITORS ARE NOT MAKING THESE KIND OF FOOLISH CHOICES. AS FOR FAREED POINTED OUT IN "THE WASHINGTON POST" ON SUNDAY CHINA HAS DOUBLED ITS INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION, ROCKETING TO THE VERY TOP IN THE MOST RECENT EDUCATIONAL RANKINGS OF EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT. THE CHINESE ARE INVESTING HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO BUILD THE WORLD'S MOST ADVANCED INFRASTRUCTURE. ACCORDING TO REUTERS, THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING TO INVEST $1.5 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS IN SEVEN TARGETED SECTORS, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, BIOTECHNOLOGY, NEW GENERATION INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, HIGH-END EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING, ADVANCED MATERIALS, ALTERNATIVE FUEL CARS, AND ENERGY-SAVING TECHNOLOGIES. $1.5 BILLION OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. YOU KNOW WHAT THIS TAX WILL COST US OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? ABOUT $1 TRILLION. WHAT WILL WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT? NOTHING. NOTHING. WELL, INSTEAD OF BORING YOAG -- BORROWING THESE BILLIONS, WE SHOULD USE IT TO MODERNIZE OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE. WE SHOULD INVEST IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY FOR FUTURE, EDUCATE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TO PERFORM THE HIGH-END SHOWS SECTORS -- THOSE SECTORS WOULD CREATE. IT WOULD HAVE HUGE PAYOFFS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. THE NEEDS ARE ENORMOUS. A RECENT REPORT DETERMINED THAT THE CURRENT NEED JUST FOR IMPROVED SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE IS MORE THAN $250 BILLION NATIONWIDE. E.P.A., ENVIROMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ESTIMATES THAT WE NEED TO INVEST MORE THAN $200 BILLION IN WASTEWATER TREATMENT. AND, AS WE ALL KNOW, OUR INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS AN MANY BRIDGES ARE -- AND MANY BRIDGES ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT. IT IS SIMPLY SHAMEFUL TO CONTINUE TO NEGLECT THE BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS EVEN AS WE BORROW HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PAY FOR NEW TAX CUTS AND CONSUMPTION. LASTLY, MR. PRESIDENT, MY FIFTH REASON FOR NOT SUPPORTING THIS TAX PACKAGE IS THE 2% CUT IN SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES FOR ONE YEAR. 2%. SO WE GO FROM 6.2% DOWN TO 4.2%. WELL, THAT MIGHT SOUND LIKE A GOOD IDEA. PUT SOME MORE MONEY IN PEOPLE'S POCKETS. BUT WHY ARE WE TAKING IT OUT OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND? MARK MY WORD, A YEAR FROM NOW -- ONE YEAR FROM NOW, ASSUMING THIS BILL PASSES AND I GUESS THEY'VE GOT THE VOTES FOR IT, ONE YEAR FROM NOW WHEN WE COME BACK, AND WE'RE GOING TO WANT TO GET THAT BACK UP TO 6.2%, OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARE GOING TO SAY THAT'S A TAX INCREASE. IT'S A TAX INCREASE ON HARD-WORKING AMERICANS. YOU'RE GOING TO GO FROM 4% -- 4.2% TO 6.2%. AND PEOPLE WILL BE AFRAID, OH, NO, WE CAN'T RAISE THOSE TAXES. AN THUS, WE WILL SET IN MOTION -- WE WILL SET IN MOTION WITH THIS TAX PACKAGE, I THINK, A PRESSURE TO BEGIN THE DISMANTLING OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. WE HAVEN'T DONE THIS BEFORE. AND WE SHOULDN'T BE DOING IT NOW. THEY'LL COME IN, THERE WILL BE 4% FOR ONE YEAR, 4.2%, NEXT YEAR IT WILL GO BACK TO 6.2%, WE'LL BE ACCUSED OF RAISING TAXES ON HARD-WORKING AMERICANS, THEREFORE, WE NEED TO EXTEND IT. AND AS WE EXTEND, IT THAT MEANS THAT MORE MONEY WILL COME FROM GENERAL REVENUES. WE'LL -- WILL HAVE TO COME FROM GENERAL REVENUES TO PUT IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. OKAY. LET ME REPEAT THIS. RIGHT NOW EVERY WORKING AMERICAN PUTS IN 6.2% OF THEIR INCOME INTO SOCIAL SECURITY. THAT'S A TRUST FUND. TRUST FUND. NOW THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE IT FROM 6.2% DOWN TO 4.2% AND SAY, OK, YOU'RE GOING TO KEEP IN YOUR POCKET 2% FOR ONE YEAR. A YEAR FROM NOW WE'LL COME IN THERE, OH, NO, WE CAN'T GO BACK TO 6.2%, THAT'S AN INCREASE IN TAXES ON WORKING AMERICANS. OKAY. WE'LL EXTEND IT. HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE UP FOR THE 2% CUT? WE'RE WE'RE SUPPOSED TO MAKE UP FOR IT WITH GENERAL REVENUES. HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE IT UP WITH GENERAL REVENUES WHEN IT IS GB TO BE ARGUED THAT THE DEFICIT IS SO HIGH, THE DEBT IS OWE BIG WE GOT TO CUT SPENDING. THEREFORE, WE CAN'T PUT THE MONEY FROM GENERAL REVENUES BACK INTO SOCIAL SECURITY. WHAT'S THE ANSWER? RAISE THE RETIREMENT AGE ON SOCIAL SECURITY. CUT BACK ON THE BENEFITS ON SOCIAL SECURITY. MAYBE CUT DOWN ON DISABILITY BENEFITS. ALL KINDS OF THINGS TO CUT DOWN ON SOCIAL SECURITY SO WE DON'T HAVE TO TAKE MONEY FROM GENERAL REVENUES TO PUT BACK INTO SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. MARK MY WORD, IT IS COMING. THE A COMING. -- IT'S COMING. NOW, WHAT IS IT THAT NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT, MR. PRESIDENT? FIRST OF ALL, THERE IS NO DEFICIT IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND CAN CONTINUE TO PAY OUT 100% OF BEFORE THES UNTIL ABOUT 2037 -- BENEFITS UNTIL ABOUT 2037. THEN IT CAN ONLY AFFORD TO PAY OUT ABOUT 75% OF BENEFITS. NOT ZERO, BUT 75%. WHAT COULD FIX THAT? ONE VERY SIMPLE THING. IT IS CALLED EQUITY. IT IS CALLED FAIRNESS. IT IS CALLED JUSTICE. RIGHT NOW IF YOU WORK AND YOU MAKE $40,000 A YEAR, YOU PAY ON EVERY DOLLAR YOU MAKE 6.2% INTO SOCIAL SECURITY. IF YOU MAKE $400,000 A YEAR, YOU'RE ONLY PAYING IN 6.2% ON 25 CENTS OF A DOLLAR. WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS ARE CAPPED AT $106,800 A YEAR. THAT MEANS YOU PAY 6.2% UP TO $106,800. OVER THAT YOU DON'T PAY ANY MORE INTO SOCIAL SECURITY. THINK OF HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY MAKE $4 MILLION A YEAR. THEY PAY ON $106,000 A YEAR, A FRACTION OF WHAT THEY MAKE. IT SEEMS TO ME FAIRNESS -- AND EQUITY WOULD ARGUE -- THAT IF A WORKING PERSON WHO MAKES $20,000 OR $40,000 OR $50,000 OR $60,000 OR $70,000 A YEAR HAS TO PAY ON EVERY DOLLAR INTO SOCIAL SECURITY, WHY SHOULDN'T SOMEONE WHO'S MAKING $400,000 OR $800,000 OR $1 MILLION OR $4 MILLION? WHY SHOULDN'T THEY PAY IN? RAISE THAT CAP SO THAT EVERYBODY PAYS THAT $ 6.2% ON EVERY DOLLAR THEY MAKE. YOU KNOW WHAT? SOCIAL SECURITY WILL HAVE NO PROBLEMS FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS -- WELL, ACTUALLY 75. FOR 75 YEARS. NO PROBLEMS. WHY AREN'T WE TALKING ABOUT THAT? WHY AREN'T WE TALKING -- WHY AREN'T WE DEBATING AND VOTING ON WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD RAISE THE CAP AND THEN MAKE SOCIAL SECURITY FUND -- AND WE WON'T HAVE TO TAKE 2% OUT OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. MARK MY WORD, IT IS COMING. IT'S COMIN THE PRESSURE IS GOING TO BE BUILT TO DAMAGE THE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. IT IS GOING TO START ABOUT A YEAR FROM NOW. IT IS GOING TO START ABOUT A YEAR FROM NOW. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I CANNOT SUPPORT THE BILL THAT IS BEFORE US. IT WILL EXACERBATE INCOME IN INEQUALITY, IT WILL GIVE TAX CUTS THAT WE CAN'T AFFORD, AND THEY DON'T NEED, TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE. INSTEAD OF INVESTING THAT MONEY IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE FUTURE. IT WILL BEGIN A PROCESS OF DISMANTLING THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. THESE ARE MISPLACED PRIORITIES, I THINK BAD VALUES. IT IS A MISGUIDED BILL THAT WILL DRIVE OUR NATION DEEPER INTO DEBT WITH IT WOULD LITTLE TO SHOW FOR IT IN THE LONG RUN. I MIGHT BE FOR GOING INTO DEBT IF YOU GOT SOMETHING TO SHOW FOR IT, LIKE WHEN MY WIFE AND I GOT MARRIED AND WE BOUGHT A HOUSE. YOU GO INTO DEBT. BUT I KNEW IF WE WORKED HANDERS SAVED OUR MONEY, WE COULD PAY OFF ON THAT HOUSE AND WE'D HAVE SOMETHING TO SHOW FOR IT. WE DIDN'T JUST BORROW MONEY SO THAT WE COULD GO TO FANCY RESTAURANTS AND HAVE NICE MEALS. OR BUY A VERY EXPENSIVE CAR OR BUY NICE CLOTHES. NO, WE PUT IT IN THE HOUSE. BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SOMETHING. THE SAME WITH INFRASTRUCTURE. AT LEAST IF YOU'RE GOING TO BORROW MONEY, HAVE SOMETHING TO SHOW FOR IT IN THE END. SO, AGAIN, IT'LL DRIVE US DEEPER INTO DEBT, TOO LITTLE TO SHOW FOR IT IN THE LONG RUN, AND, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S WHY I AM GOING TO HAVE TO VOTE AGAINST THIS PACKAGE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 08:35:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 08:35:27 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 09:04:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OHIO'S RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:04:40 PM

    MR. BROWN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 09:04:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:04:44 PM

    MR. BROWN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS I'VE MET AND TALKED WITH…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS I'VE MET AND TALKED WITH MANY PEOPLE ACROSS OHIO ABOUT OUR NATION'S ECONOMIC FUTURE. FAMILY AND FRIENDS, CONSTITUENTS STRUGGLING TO GET BY, MINISTERS AND PASTORS WHO COUNSEL THEM. I'VE READ LETTERS AND E-MAILS FROM OHIOANS WHO NEED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE TO FIND A NEW JOB AND PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. I'VE HEARD FROM CONCERNED CITIZENS WHO ARE WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR THEM. ERICA FROM CLEVELAND WROTE ME, I MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO GET BY. I WAS READY FOR MY TAXES TO GO BACK UP AND I COULD HAVE FIGURED OUT A WAY TO DEAL WITH IT BUT I'M TERRIFIED FOR FOLKS LOSING THEIR JOBS OR GETTING BY ON LOW TO MODERATE INCOMES. I WORRY IF THEY LOSE THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS OR THEIR REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS THAT THE STRESS WILL BE TOO MUCH FOR TOO MANY. I'M SICKENED AT THE IDEA OF GIVING SUCH INCREDIBLY WEALTHY PEOPLE A TAX BREAK. I WORRY ABOUT THE FOLKS ON THE OTHER END. THE DEBATE OF WHETHER OR NOT TO SEND BUSH TAX CUTS HAS BEEN REVEALING ABOUT OUR POLICIES AND ABOUT THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE WORRIED ABOUT PUTTING FOOD ON THE TABLE. MY TOP PRIORITY IS TO ENSURE THAT MIDDLE CLASS TAX HOLDS GET TAX RELIEF AND UNEMPLOYED OHIOANS CAN CONTINUE TO PAY THEIR BILLS AND PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES WHILE THEY LOOK FOR WORK. AND IT'S MY PRIORITY TO ENSURE THAT PEOPLE'S LIVES ARE NOT USED IN A CYNICAL, POLITICAL CALCULATION. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE ANGRY ABOUT THIS BILL AND THEY SHOULD BE. THAT'S WHY I FILED AMENDMENTS AIMED AT EASING THE FINANCIAL BURDEN ON MIDDLE CLASS HOUSEHOLDS, ON SMALL BUSINESSES, ON SENIORS, ON AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS, THEY'RE ISSUES THAT DESERVE REAL DEBATE AN AMERICA'S MIDDLE CLASS DESERVE REAL TAX RELIEF. I'M ANGRY THAT REPUBLICAN SENATORS INSIST ON AWARDING BONUS HANDOUTS TO MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. BUT I'D BE MORE ANGRY IF WE LET THEM CONTINUE TO PLAY GAMES WITH PEOPLE'S LIVELIHOODS. THAT'S WHY IT'S WITH GREAT RELUCTANCE THAT EVEN THOUGH I OPPOSE THE CLOTURE VOTE YESTERDAY BECAUSE I STILL HOPED MAYBE BEYOND HOPE THAT WE COULD COME TO A REAL AGREEMENT THAT WOULD WORK FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS, WORK FOR THE UNEMPLOYED, AND WORK FOR OUR BUDGET DEFICIT, WE CLEARLY COULD NOT, IT'S WITH GREAT RELUCTANCE THAT I VOTE IN FAVOR OF THIS BILL. TOO MANY WORKING FAMILIES, MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN ARE ALREADY SUFFERING TOO MUCH PAIN AND ANXIETY. THEY NEED HELP NOW. BUT LET'S NOT FORGET, MR. PRESIDENT, SOMETHING -- HOW SOMETHING HAPPENED THIS MONTH IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE THAT WE'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE PERHAPS NEVER IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY. A POLITICAL PARTY, THE MINORITY PARTY, ALL 42 OF THEM -- ALL 42 OF THOSE SENATORS IN THE MINORITY PARTY THREATENED FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES TO STOP WORKING. -- TO STOP WORKING UNLESS THE MAJORITY PARTY AGREED TO CUT TAXES FOR AMERICA'S WEALTHIEST 315,000 PEOPLE. 315,000 OUT OF 165 MILLION TAX HOLDERS -- TAXPAYERS. THAT'S LESS THAN ONE-FIFTH OF 1% OF ALL FEDERAL TAXPAYERS. THE MINORITY PARTY, THE 42 MINORITY PARTY MEMBERS, U.S. SENATORS, WERE SAYING, WE WILL DO NOTHING UNTIL YOU TAKE AIR OF THE 315,000 -- TAKE CARE OF THE 315,000 OUT OF 165 MILLION UNTIL YOU TAKE CARE OF THE 315,000 WEALTHIEST TAXPAYERS IN THIS NATION. BECAUSE NOTHING MUCH HAPPENS ANYMORE IN THE U.S. SENATE WITHOUT A SUPER MAJORITY OF 60 VOTES. THE MINORITY PARTY KNEW THAT ITS THREATS TO STOP EVERYTHING JUST MIGHT WORK. TWO WEEKS AGO ALL 42 SENATE REPUBLICANS SIGNED A LETTER TO MAJORITY LEADER REED TELLING HIM THEY WOULD BLOCK EVERYTHING UNTIL THE SENATE PASSED TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES, FOR DECA MILLIONAIRES, FOR BILLIONAIRES, IT IS IRONIC THAT -- WOULD EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE IN A STRIKE ITSELF. THIS REPUBLICAN WORK STOPPAGE SINCE I GUESS SENATORS CAN'T ACTUALLY GO ON STRIKE, THIS REPUBLICAN WORK STOPPAGE MEANS NO TAX CUTS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS UNLESS MILLIONAIRES GET A LARGER TAX CUT. IT MEANS LEAVING MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES AND UNEMPLOYED WORKERS IN THE CROSS HAIRS UNLESS DECAMILLIONAIRES GOT A TAX CUT. THEIR THREAT MEANS UNEMPLOYMENT FOR WORKERS WOULD END UNLESS BILLIONAIRE C. O.'S GOT THEIR ESTATE TAX REDUCED. IT MEANS THAT WE CAN'T PROVIDE THE EARNED -- VITAL ASSISTANCE, IT MEANS BLOCKING A COST OF LIVING INCREASE FOR SENIORS ON SOCIAL SECURITY TO HELP BY MEDICINE, FOOD AND SHELTER. IT MEANS WE CAN'T ADDRESS NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS LIKE THE NEW START TREATY, SOMETHING THAT NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERTS IN EVERY LIVING SECRETARY OF STATE SUPPORT. IT MEANS WE CAN'T DO ANY OF THESE THINGS, PROVIDE FOR OUR NATION'S ECONOMIC HEALTH AND NATIONAL SECURITY UNTIL WE TAKE CARE OF THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES FIRST. TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST 2% OF OUR COUNTRY INCLUDING, I SHOULD ADD, LOTS OF U.S. SENATORS, COMES FIRST, WE'RE TOLD. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE 86,000 OHIO WORKERS WHO SAW THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS RUN OUT TWO WEEKS AGO OR THE 108,000 OHIOANS EXPECTED TO LOSE BENEFITS AT THE END OF THE MONTH? SORRY, GET IN LINE BEHIND THE MILLIONAIRES WHO GET $90,000 IN TAX CUTS. HOW ABOUT THE INSURANCE AGENT IN ZANESVILLE, OHIO, WHO MAKES 60,000, AND HOPES FOR A TAX CUT OF $800 TO HELP A DAUGHTER AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE. TOO BAD NOT UNTIL A MILLIONAIRE RECEIVES A TAX CUT OF $400,000. WHAT ABOUT A SINGLE MOTHER WITH TWO CHILDREN EARNING $30,000 A YEAR AND HOPING FOR EXPANDED CHILD CARE IN EXPANDED TAX CREDIT? TOO BAD, WAIT FOR THE BILLIONAIRE TO GET A TAX CUT OF TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK IS ABOUT, THAT WE CAN'T HELP PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR JOBS, THAT WE CAN'T EXTEND A TAX BREAK TO A SALES CLERK MAKING $27,000 A YEAR WHO'S RAISING TWO CHILDREN UNTIL THE MILLIONAIRE GETS HIS TAX? THAT WE KUTLUAY THE TAX UNTIL THE RICHEST 1% OF THE COUNTRY GETS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TAX CUTS. TO HOLD MILLIONS HOSTAGE, AS 42 SENATORS HAVE DONE MAY BE THE MOST CYNICAL POLITICAL ACT I HAVE SEEN. IN A RECENT PLAIN DEALER ARTICLE, SUSAN HAROLD WHO DOESN'T LIKE HOW TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY IS A CONDITION FOR MAINTAINING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT SAID OF THE DEAL, IT'S LIKE EXTORTION, EITHER YOU DO WHAT WE SAY OR SEVERAL MILLION AMERICANS WILL BE LIVING ON THE STREET. THINK ABOUT THAT. THIS IS AN UNEMPLOYED, LAID OFF BOOKKEEPER, LIKE MANY PEOPLE WHO WRITE ME, MANY PEOPLE HAVE WORKED ALL THEIR LIVES, 20, 30, 40 YEARS, THEY'RE LAID OFF. SUSAN WRITES IT'S LIKE EXTORTION, GIVE US OUR TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES OR SEVERAL MILLION AMERICANS WILL BE LIVING ON THE STREETS. WHAT KIND OF COUNTRY IS THIS THAT SUCH A CYNICAL, CYNICAL EXERCISE WOULD HAPPEN? THE SAME ARTICLE DEBBIE KLEIN COMPARES THE CHOICES WEIGHING TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH AND PEOPLE NOT EATING, LIVING AND SURVIVING. SOME SAY THE REPUBLICANS ARE MERELY OBSTRUCTING OR GAMING THE SENATE RULES. BUT I'M WITH SUSAN, LEGISLATIVE EXTORTION MAY BE A MORE ACCURATE DESCRIPTION. UNFORTUNATELY WE MAY HAVE TO PAY THE RANSOM. THAT INCOME TAX CUTS THAT -- THAT MEANS TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES IN EXCHANGE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AND MIDDLE CLASS TAX RELIEF. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE. MICHAEL FROM SHELBY COUNTY IN WESTERN OHIO WRITES ME, I'M AN UNEMPLOYED FATHER OF FOUR, ONE OF THE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FACELESS OHIOANS ABOUT TO BE CUT OFF FROM UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. IT'S OBSCENE TO THINK THAT A TAX GIVEAWAY FOR THE WEALTHY IS GAINING MORE TRACTION POLITICALLY THAN HELPING WORKING CLASS PEOPLE SURVIESM AS AN UNEMPLOYED -- SURVIVE. AS AN UNEMPLOYED WORKER, I HAVE NO LOBBY, I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOSING MY HOME, MY CREDIT RATING AND ANY SENSE OF BEING A BENEFICIARY OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? 42 REPUBLICANS SAY, SORRY, GET IN LINE. WAIT UNTIL WE GIVE THE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH. STACY FROM MEGS COUNTY ON THE OHIO RIVER. I'M THE MOTHER OF THREE SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN, HONOR STUDENTS. I HAVE A MASTERS IN EDUCATION AT OHIO STATE. I TEACH AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM IN EMPLOY HIGHWAY. MY -- IN OHIO. MY HUSBAND'S BEEN UNEMPLOYED FOR 18 MONTHS. HE WORKED PART TIME, MAINTAINING AN EXCELLENT GRADE POINT AVERAGE. WE WORKED VERY HARD AS A FAMILY TO ADJUST TO OUR CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCE, HOWEVER, WITH LOSS OF $60,000-PLUS IN INCOME, WE HAD TO FILE CHAPTER 13. NOW WE'RE FACED WITH NOT HAVING ANY UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. THIS WILL BE A LOSS OF ANOTHER $450 A WEEK. WE NEED TO FEED OUR FAMILY PLEASE VOTE TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT FOR ALL UNEMPLOYED WORKERS WHO ARE TRYING TO BETTER THEMSELVES DURING THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS. WHAT ABOUT THE BUDGET DEFICIT WHICH CONCERNS ALL OF US? TWO WEEKS AGO WHEN THE DEFICIT COMMISSION RELEASED ITS REPORT MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES SOMBER I WILL EXPLAINED THAT NOTHING MATTERED AS MUCH AS THE INCREASING DEBT THAT WILL BURDEN OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. A YEAR FROM NOW WHEN REPUBLICANS WILL LIKELY BLOCK EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT, WE WILL REMIND THEM HOW THEY'RE OWN OWN $128 BILLION FOR TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS ALONE HAVE BLOWN A HOLE IN THE BUDGET. WE'LL REMIND OF THEM OF WHAT THEIR TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES WILL COST WHEN THEY ARGUE FOR CUTS TO EDUCATION, FOR PRIVATIZATION OF MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY, FOR SCALING BACK HEALTH CARE. LET'S NOT FORGET THE REPUBLICAN -- THE CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS WHO WERE OUTSPOKEN ABOUT THE DEBT OR THE PEOPLE MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR IT. CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS HAVE SAID THAT CUTTING TAXES ON THE HIGHEST EARNERS WOULD PAY FOR THEMSELVES. THEY HAVEN'T. THE PRESIDING OFFICER SAT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THOSE DAYS WHEN THE HUGE BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY IN 2001 AND 2003 PASSED. THEY ALL SAID -- THEY ALWAYS SAID THEY WOULD PAY FOR THEMSELVES, NOT EVEN CLOSE. WE WENT FROM A SURPLUS WHEN PRESIDENT CLINTON LEFT OFFICE, THE LARGEST SURPLUS IN THE UNITED STATES' HISTORY TO MASSIVE DEFICITS WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH LEFT OFFICE, THE LARGEST DEFICITS UP TO THAT POINT IN AMERICAN HISTORY. SEA THEY SAID THE TAX CUTS -- THEY SAID THE TAX CUTS -- THOSE -- THE CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS WHO WERE THE MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS ECONOMIC SITUATION WITH PRESIDENT BUSH, THEY SAID THAT TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST WOULD GROW THE ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS. THEY HAVEN'T. UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH -- UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH FOR EIGHT YEARS WE LOST -- WE LOST -- 673,000 PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS. WE ACTUALLY DECLINED THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS WORKING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR DURING THOSE EIGHT YEARS FRVMENT 2001 TO 2007 WE HAD BELOW-AVERAGE ECONOMIC GROWTH. REPUBLICANS SAY THAT IF MILLIONAIRES HAVE TO PAY THE SAME TAX THAT THEY DID BEFORE THE BUSH TAX TAX CUTS -- THAT IS, DURING THE CLINTON YEARS -- THEN JOB CREATION WILL SUMPLET BUT IT IS A FACT THAT DURING THE CLINTON YEARS YETED 22 MILLION JOBS IN THOSE EIGHT YEARS. AGAIN, 21 MILLION PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS, 22 MILLION OVERALL. 21 MILLION PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS COMPARED TO PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB LOSS DURING THE BUSH YEARS. CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS VOTED FOR THE IRAQ WAR BUT IGNORED ITS COST CHARGING IT TO OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. 2003, REPUBLICANS VOTED TO BAIL OUT THE DRUG AND INSURANCE COMPANIES IN THE NAME OF MEDICARE PRIVATIZATION AND CHARGE IT TOWER CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. THE LAST DECADE IS ANY INDICATION, IT IS A TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS SIMPLY DON'T WORK. THE LAST DECADE HAS SHOWED ITS FAILED HISTORY AS AN EXPERIMENT. MEANWHILE, THE LAST TWO YEARS ALONE, DEMOCRATS, USUALLY WITHOUT REPUBLICAN SUPPORT, HAVE ALREADY PASSED $500 BILLION IN TAX CUTS THROUGH THE RECOVERY ACT, THROUGH THE SMALL BUSINESS ACT, THROUGH THE "HIRE" ACT. OUR ECONOMIC POLICIES THAT ARE FOCUSED ON THE MIDDLE CLASS ARE HELPING TO CREATE JOBS AND TURN AROUND OUR ECONOMY AND FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS REPUBLICANS HAVE ACTUALS -- CONGRESS, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ALIKE HAVE ALSO ACTED TO PROVIDE EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT DURING TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES. THAT'S BECAUSE IT IS NOT ONLY A MORAL OBLIGATION BUT ALSO AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS FOR OUR ECONOMY. THE SAME GOES FOR THE CHILD CARE AND THE EARNED-INCOME TAX CREDITS. THEY STRENGTHEN THE MIDDLE CLASS, THEY GIVE PEOPLE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN THE MIDDLE CLASS, THEY HELP THOSE -- THEY HELP THE ECONOMY BY INJECTING MONEY INTO THE ECONOMY THAT'S SPENT. SO THIS DEBATE, MR. PRESIDENT, IN CLOSING, REALLY COMES DOWN TO WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON AND WHO ARE YOU FIGHTING FOR. IT IS A CHOICE BETWEEN PAYING AN EXTORTIONIST RANSOM, WE'RE GOING TO DO A WORK STOPPAGE UNLESS YOU GIVE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH -- IT IS A CHOICE BETWEEN PAYING AN EXTORTIONIST RANSOM OR LETTING THE MIDDLE CLASS SHRINK AND STRUGGLE. IT IS A CHOICEI CAN'T LOOK AN UNEMPLOYED WORK IN THE EYE AND TELL THEM THAT OUR POLITICAL PRINCIPLES STAND IN THE WAY OF THEIR EARNED BENEFITS. AS MUCH AS I SHRIKE WHAT THEY DID -- AS MUCH AS I DISLIKE WHAT THEY DID AND HOW MUCH THEY DID IT, AS MUCH AS I DISLIKE THESE TAX CUTS THAT GO OVERWHELMINGLY TO THE RICH PEOPLE, THE ESTATE TAXES, AS MUCH AS I DISLIKE THAT I JUST CAN'T IMAGINE SAYING TO AN UNEMPLOYED WORKER, SORRY, AS MUCH AS I WOULD WANT TO HELP YOU, I JUST DON'T BELIEVE THIS IS FAIR THAT WE SHOULD DO THIS. I CAN'T LOOK AT A SINGLE MOTHER MAKING $27,000 A YEAR AND SAY THAT THE EARNED-INCOME TAX CREDIT IS NOT IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT IS FOR YOU AND TURN MY BACK ON THEM. THEY SHOULD -- THE UNEMPLOYED WORKER, THE SINGLE PARENT MAKERRING $28,000 A YEAR WORKING TWO JOBS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SPEND THE HOLIDAY SEASON AND ENTER THE NEW YEAR WORRIED BECAUSE POLITICS AND ARCANE SENATE PROCEDURES STOOD IN THEIR WAY. I MAY NOT LIKE THE CHOICE, MAY HAVE TO STANDED WITH THE OHIOANS WHO WAIT UNTIL MIDNIGHT WHEN THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ARE ACTIVATED TO BUY BASIC NECESSITIES LIKE MILK AND BREAD. I HEAR THOSE STORIES TOO OBVIOUS. WE HAVE TO STAND WITH THE MOTHER, THE FATHER THE TEACHER, THE NURSE, THE FARMER WHO NEED MISSILE DEFENSE CLASS TAX RELIEF TO CARE FOR A CHILD, TO AFFORD COLLEGE TO BUILD A SMALL BUSINESS. IT IS WITH THAT IN MIND THAT I SNROAT FAVOR OF THIS BILL, WITH PEOPLE LIKE ERICA AND SUSAN, WITH DEBBIE AND MICHAEL AND STACEY WHO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. PLEASE HELP ME. IT IS BECAUSE OF THEM, I'LL CONTINUE TO FIGHT ON THEIR BAVMENT I HOPE THAT MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, MR. PRESIDENT, LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS. LEGISLATIVE THREATS OF A WORK STOPPAGE, LEGISLATIVE BLACKMAIL MAY HAVE HELPED THEIR RICH FRIENDS AND MAY CONTINUE TODAY, BUT IN THE END IT IS BAD FOR OUR ECONOMY, IT'S BAD FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE, IT'S TERRIBLE FOR OUR COUNTRY, IT'S TERRIBLE FOR OUR FUTURE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 09:20:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 09:21:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OHIO IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:21:29 PM

    MR. BROWN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 09:21:33 PM

    MR. BROWN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:22:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:22:12 PM

    MR. BROWN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:22:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:22:18 PM

    MR. BROWN

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF S. 4005 AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

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  • 09:22:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 09:22:29 PM

    THE CLERK

    BILL TO AMEND TITLE 28, UNITED STATES CODE, TO PREVENT THE PROCEEDS OR…

    BILL TO AMEND TITLE 28, UNITED STATES CODE, TO PREVENT THE PROCEEDS OR INSTRUMENTALITIES OF FOREIGN CRIME LOCATED IN THE UNITED STATES FROM BEING SHIELDED FROM FOREIGN FORFEITURE PROCEEDINGS.

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  • 09:22:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE?

  • 09:22:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE COMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED AND THE SENATE WILL PROCEED…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE COMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED AND THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

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  • 09:22:50 PM

    MR. BROWN

    I FURTHER ASK THAT THE BILL BE READ THREE TIMES, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER…

    I FURTHER ASK THAT THE BILL BE READ THREE TIMES, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE, WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, AND ANY STATEMENTS RELATED TO THE MEASURE BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE.

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  • 09:22:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:23:03 PM

    MR. BROWN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, IT ADJOURN UNTIL 9:30 A.M. TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 156789 FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE MORNING HOUR BE DEEMED EXPIRED, THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY, THAT FOLLOWING ANY LEADER REMARKS, THERE WILL BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS UNTIL 11:00 A.M. WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH, THAT FOLLOWING MORNING BUSINESS, THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE MOTION TO CONDITION CUR WITH RESPECT TO H.R. 4853, THE VEHICLE FOR THE TAX COMPROMISE, AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 09:23:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:23:38 PM

    MR. BROWN

    MR. PRESIDENT, SENATORS SHOULD EXPECT A SERIES OF UP TO FOUR ROLL CALL…

    MR. PRESIDENT, SENATORS SHOULD EXPECT A SERIES OF UP TO FOUR ROLL CALL VOTES AT APPROXIMATELY NOON TOMORROW. AT 2:15, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO VOTE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER THE START TREATY. AS REMINDER, UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE SEVERAL FAREWELL SPEECHES TOMORROW. SENATOR BAYH AT 10:00, SENATOR VOINOVICH AT 10:30, SENATOR LINCOLN FOLLOWING THE 2:15 VOTE. MR. PRESIDENT, IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE YOU I ASK THAT IT ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 09:24:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE STANDS ADJOURNED UNTIL 9:30 A.M.

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Statistics

115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 1414 (After 415 days)
  • Debate895 Hours
  • Quorum Calls314 Hours
  • Votes205 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)