Senate Session - June 30, 2011
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  • 09:30:34 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE CHAPLAIN, DR. BARRY BLACK,…

    OFFICER: THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE CHAPLAIN, DR. BARRY BLACK, WILL LEAD THE SENATE IN PRAYER.

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  • 09:30:45 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    LET US PRAY. GOD OF LIBERTY, AS AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY APPROACHES, HELP US TO…

    LET US PRAY. GOD OF LIBERTY, AS AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY APPROACHES, HELP US TO KNOW IN THIS LAND THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF OUR FREEDOM. MAY OUR SENATORS SEEK FREEDOM WITH JUSTICE, FREEDOM TO CHOOSE RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND FREEDOM TO DO THE RIGHT THING WITH JUDICIOUS GOVERNMENTAL INTERVENTION. GIVE OUR LAWMAKERS SUCH LIBERTY OF SOUL THAT THEIR GRATITUDE MIGHT MERGE WITH THEIR COMMITMENT TO HONOR YOU IN WORD AND DEED. GIVE EACH OF US A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER SHARE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESSES, AS WE EARNESTLY SEEK FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT, EXERCISING OUR INFLUENCE RESPONSIBLY. AND, LORD, WE PRAY THAT YOU WOULD BLESS THE MEMBERS OF OUR DEPARTING PAGE CLASS. WE PRAY IN YOUR SACRED NAME. AMEN.

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  • 09:32:35 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 09:33:02 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 09:33:06 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON, D.C, JUNE 30, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF…

    WASHINGTON, D.C, JUNE 30, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE JEFF MERKLEY, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF OREGON, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: DANIEL K. INOUYE, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:33:26 AM

    MR. REID

    FOLLOWING ANY LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING…

    FOLLOWING ANY LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS. THE FIRST HOUR WILL BE UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE MAJORITY, THE REPUBLICANS WILL CONTROL THE SECOND HOUR. FOLLOWING MORNING BUSINESS, THE SENATE WILL BE IN EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER THE NOMINATION OF DAVID PATRAEUS, THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. ABOUT 2:00 P.M. THERE WILL BE A VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF DAVID PETRAEUS. ADDITIONAL ROLL CALL VOTES ARE POSSIBLE DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS WEEKEND WE'LL CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY, AND 235 YEARS OF THIS COUNTRY'S VERY, VERY PROUD HISTORY. THIS NATION WAS FOUNDED ON THE NOTION OF LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. AS WE CELEBRATE, WE SHOULD REMEMBER THAT THE PURSUIT OF LIBERTY IS NOT JUST A JOURNEY WITH A DES DIN NATION, BUT RATHER A QUEST TO WHICH WE MUST STRIVE FOR EVERY SINGLE DAY. WE MUST COMMIT JUSTICE FULLY AND FIRMLY TO THE IDEA THAT THE LIBERTY AND JUSTICE SHOULD BE TRULY FOR ALL. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS OFTEN SAID THAT WITH LIBERTY COMES RESPONSIBILITY. WE SHOULD TAKE THAT RESPONSIBILITY SERIOUSLY. I'M CONFIDENT WE DO. THAT'S WHY THE SENATE WILL RECONVENE ON TUESDAY, THE DAY AFTER THE 4th. WE'LL DO THAT BECAUSE WE HAVE WORK TO DO. WE'LL BE IN SESSION THAT WEEK -- THAT'S NEXT WEEK, WITH -- WITH OUR FIRST VOTE ON JULY 5. WE'LL DETERMINE WHAT TIME THAT VOTE WILL BE, LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON BECAUSE OF THE TRAVEL PROBLEMS OF THE PREVIOUS DAY. THERE'S STILL SO MUCH TO DO TO PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK, TO CUT OUR DEFICIT AND OUR ECONOMY BACK TO WORK. IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE DO THIS. THAT MOMENT IS TOO IMPORTANT, THE OBSTACLE IS TOO STEEP AND THE TIME TOO SHORT TO WASTE EVEN MOMENT. I HOPE MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL PUT POLITICS ASIDE AND HELP DEMOCRATS FULFILL CONGRESS'S RESPONSIBILITY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THERE ARE SOME REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS WHO SAY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS LESS RESPONSIBILITY TO PAY ITS BILLS THAN STRUGGLING FAMILIES ALL ACROSS OUR GREAT COUNTRY. AS A DEFAULT CRISIS APPROACHES, REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING WE SHOULD SIMPLY STOP CUTTING CHECKS, THE NATIONAL EQUIVALENT OF THE MORTGAGE, THE HOME MORTGAGE, THE CREDIT CARD, THE CAR PAYMENT. REPUBLICANS SAY THIS CRISIS IS ABOUT SPENDING OR GROWING GOVERNMENT. THEY'RE WRONG. THIS COMPRISE IS ABOUT PAYING THE BILLS -- THIS CRISIS IS ABOUT PAYING THE BILLS FOR THINGS WE'VE ALREADY BOUGHT. FOR EXAMPLE, A DECADE OF TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES, A WAR OF CHOICE IN IRAQ, A WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, THOSE TAX CUTS FOR BILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES AND THE WARS UNPAID FOR. AND WHAT THEY AREN'T SAYING IS WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES WOULD BE IF SUCH AN IRRESPONSIBLE DECISION TO NOT PAY OUR ACCRUED BILLS. REMEMBER, MR. PRESIDENT, THE BILLS WE ALREADY ACCUMULATED, RUN UP. WE DIDN'T PAY -- IF WE DIDN'T PAY OUR BILLS, IT WOULD PLUNGE THE UNITED STATES NOT INTO A RECESSION, NOT INTO THE SO-CALLED DOUBLE-DIP RECESSION, BUT INTO A FULL-BLOWN DEPRESSION. AND THAT'S WITHOUT A DOUBT. AND WITHOUT EXERNTION THE RESPECTED FINANCIAL -- AND WITHOUT EXCEPTION, THE RESPECTED FINANCIAL VOICES OF OUR TIME, IT WOULD BE FELT ACROSS THE GLOAN SHALL NOT JUST HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. I REPEAT, THIS WOULD CREATE A WORLDWIDE DEPRESSION. MANY, MANY RESPECTED VOICES COULD NOT HAVE SPOKEN IN CLEARER TERMS, FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR, THE MORGAN CHOICE, A MAN BY THE NAME OF JAMIE DIMON SAYS THAT A DEFAULT WOULD BE CAT STROVE IEFNLG HE WENT ON TO SAY THAT RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT IS -- QUOTE -- "OUR MORAL OBLIGATION." SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? IT MEANS THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW THAT THE UNITED STATES IS GOOD FOR ITS MONEY, PERIOD. THAT'S WHAT JAMIE DIAMOND SAID AND I AGREE. HE'S NOT THE ONLY ONE SAYING THIS. BUSINESS LEADERS HAVE SAID IT. ECONOMISTS HAVE SAID IT. BANKS HAVE SAID IT. AND REPUBLICAN ADVISORS TO PRESIDENTS REAGAN, THE FIRST GEORGE BUSH -- THEY'VE SAID IT, AND PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANTLY, CREDIT RATING AGENCIES HAVE SAID T CREDIT RATING AGENCIES, STANDARD & POOR'S AND MOODY'S, HAVE SAID THAT IF THE UNITED STATES MISSES EVEN ONE PAYMENT, THE NATION WILL IMMEDIATELY LOSE ITS HIGH CREDIT RATING, INTEREST PAYMENTS WOULD INCREASE, AND FOR EVERY 1% INCREASE IN THE INTEREST RATES, IT WOULD COST OUR COUNTRY $1.3 TRILLION. NOT BILLION, NOT MILLION, TRILLION. THAT'S ONE MORE REASON WHY DEFAULTING ON OUR DEBT TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY MAKES SO LITTLE SENSE. IF WE DEFAULT, WE'LL ACTUALLY COST OUR NATION MORE TO MEET OUR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS IN THE FUTURE. DEMOCRATS BELIEVE WE MUST CREATE JOBS AND GET OUR ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. WE MUST CUT SPEND AND LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS. WE ALL KNOW THAT. WE MUST ELIMINATE TAX LOOPHOLES FOR MILLIONAIRES, BILLIONAIRES, OIL COMPANIES. REPUBLICANS MUST NOT PUT THE ECONOMY OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD AT RISK FOR THE SAKE OF PROTECTING SPECIAL INTERESTS AND THE BIG DONORS. IT IS TIME WE RETURNED TO THE TYPE OF FISCAL DISCIPLINE DEMOCRATS BROUGHT TO WASHINGTON IN THE 1990'S, WHEN DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE BALANCED THE BUDGET AND USED THE SURPLUS TO DO WHAT, MR. PRESIDENT? TO PAY DOWN THE DEBT. WE WERE BEING CRITICIZED FOR PAYING DOWN THE DEBT TOO FAST. PRESIDENT BUSH CHANGED THAT VERY, VERY QUICKLY. BUT A DEFAULT CRISIS WOULD DO NOTHING TO GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. INSTEAD, DEFAULT -- IN EFFECT, BANKRUPTCY -- WOULD DERAIL OUR FRAGILE ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND PLUNGE THIS NATION AND THE WORLD BACK INTO NOT JUST A RECESSION BUT A FULL-BLOWN DEPRESSION. I SAID THAT EARLIER. IT'S THE TRUTH. IT WOULD ALSO RISK MILLIONS OF AMERICANS' JOBS, TAX REFUNDS, SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS, MEDICARE PAYMENTS AND PAYCHECKS FOR OUR TROOPS. THERE WAS A NICE REPORT WRITTEN THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY BY ALICE RIVLIN AND ONE OF GEORGE BUSH'S ASSISTANT SECRETARIES FOR THE TREASURY. THEY SAID THE SAME THING, BUT IN MUCH MORE DETAIL AND FRANKLY, MR. PRESIDENT, READING THAT WAS VERY, VERY FRIGHTENING. THOSE RISKS ARE SIMPLY NOT WORTH TAKE. TODAY MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES IN AMERICA ARE STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE ECONOMICALLY. THEY'RE LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK IN MANY INSTANCES. MEANWHILE, REPUBLICANS WALKED AWAY FROM THE NEGOTIATIONS, AND WHY DID THEY WALK AWAY FROM THE NEGOTIATIONS? IT WOULD HAVE CUT THE DEFICIT AND AVOIDED A CATASTROPHIC DEFAULT? THEY DID IT IN ORDER TO PROTECT TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. AWL THAT'S ALL IT IS. LEANS REPUBLICANS ARE WILL BE TO -- REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO RISK OUR ECONOMY. MEANWHILE, AVERAGE AMERICANS ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND WORK HERE AT HOME. REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO RISK OUR ECONOMY AND TO PROTECT TAX BREAKS FOR OWNERS OF CORPORATE JETS AND YACHTS AND OIL COMPANIES WHILE THE AVERAGE AMERICAN IS STRUGGLE TO AFFORD GAS FOR THEIR CAR. REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO RISK OUR ECONOMY TO PROTECT TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES AND AVERAGE AMERICANS ARE STRUGGLING TO MAKE THEIR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS FOR THEIR HOMES. I'VE SAID IT BEFORE. REPUBLICANS SIMPLY HAVE THE WRONG PRIORITIES. THEY HAVE MADE THEIR MISSION TO STAND UP AND SHOUT FOR THE RICHEST FEW. WE DEMOCRATS CONSIDER IT OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO STAND UP AND SHOUT FOR ALL AMERICANS. THAT'S WHAT THIS DEBATE IS ALL ABOUT. I HAVE A LETTER FROM MY COUNTERPART SENATOR McCONNELL. I ASK THAT THE ORDER WITH RESPECT TO THE FINANCIAL COMMITTEE TODAY BE VISHTD.

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  • 09:41:31 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:41:36 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 09:42:48 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 09:42:50 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

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

  • 09:42:54 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND THERE'S A JOINT RESOLUTION AT THE DESK THAT IS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND THERE'S A JOINT RESOLUTION AT THE DESK THAT IS DUE FOR ITS SECOND READING.

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  • 09:43:01 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR IS CORRECT. THE CLERK WILL READ THE TITLE OF THE BILL FOR THE…

    THE SENATOR IS CORRECT. THE CLERK WILL READ THE TITLE OF THE BILL FOR THE SECOND TIME.

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  • 09:43:09 AM

    THE CLERK

    2K3, A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE…

    2K3, A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES RELATIVE TO BALANCING THE BUDGET.

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  • 09:43:16 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    TO PLACE THE RESOLUTION ON THE CALENDAR, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 14,…

    TO PLACE THE RESOLUTION ON THE CALENDAR, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 14, I WOULD OBJECT TO FURTHER PROCEEDING.

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  • 09:43:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE JOINT RESOLUTION WILL BE PLACED ON THE CALENDAR.

  • 09:43:32 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY I WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT A YOUNG MAN FROM CORBIN,…

    MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY I WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT A YOUNG MAN FROM CORBIN, KENTUCKY, WHO GAVE HIS LIFE IN SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. LANCE CORPORAL TIMOTHY MATTHEW JACKSON, A UNITED STATES MARINE, WAS TRAGICALLY KILLED WHILE CONDUCTING OPERATIONS IN HELL MAN PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN, ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2010, HE WAS 22 YEARS OLD. LANCE CORPORAL JACKSON WAS DEPLOYED WITH THE SECOND BATTALION, NINTH MARINE REGIMENT, SECOND MARINE DIVISION, SECOND MANAGERS SPIEDDITIONARY FORCE, FOX COMPANY BASED OUT OF CAMP LE JEUNE, NORTH CAROLINA. FOR HIS HEROIC SERVICE, HE RECEIVED MANY AWARDS, MEDALS AND DECORATIONS, INCLUDING THE PURPLE HEART, THE COMBAT ACTION RIBBON, THE MARINE CORPS GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL, THREE SEA SERVICE DEPLOYMENT RIBBONS, THE AFGHANISTAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL, TWO IRAQ CAMPAIGN MEDALS, A GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM SERVICE MEDAL, AND THE NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL. LANCE CORPORAL JACKSON, WHO WENT BY HIS MIDDLE NAME MAT, ATTENDED CORBIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, CORBIN MIDDLE SCHOOL, AND CORBIN HIGH SCHOOL. WHERE HE GRADUATED IN THE CLASS OF 2007. MANY WHO KNEW MATT IN SCHOOL KNEW OF HIS DESIRE TO SERVE IN THE MILITARY AFTER GRADUATION. HE WAS AN ENTHUSIASTIC PARTICIPANT IN HIS SCHOOL'S JUNIOR RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS. ALL HE EVER WANTED TO DO WHEN HE GRADUATED WAS JOIN THE MARINES AND SERVE HIS COUNTRY, AND THAT'S WHAT HE DID SAYS COLONEL RICK McCLURE, MATT'S SENIOR INSTRUCTOR IN THE ROTC PROGRAM. MATT WAS AN OUTSTANDING MAN. HE WAS QUIET, ALWAYS HAD JUST A SMILE, JUST A SUPER YOUNG MAN, COLONEL McCLURE SAYS, AND AS LONG AS I KNEW HIM ALL HE WANTED TO DO WAS GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND BE A MARINE. MATT'S WIFE NICK CAN I REMEMBERS THE -- NICKY REMEMBERS THE SURPRISING WAY MATT ASKED HER TO MARRY HIM. IT WAS ON CHRISTMAS EVE. MATT AND NICKY WERE WITH FAMILY OPENING PRESENTS. ONE PRESENT WAS ADDRESSED TO BOTH OF THEM AND MATT OPENED IT TO REVEAL A CRACKER JACK BOX. HE HANDED IT TO ME AND HE SAID OPEN IT, NICKY'S SAYS. WHEN I DID, EVERYBODY'S HAND SHOT FOR SOME AND BY THE TIME I COULD POUR IT IN MY HANDS THERE WERE CRUMBS. THERE I FELT A RING IN MY HAND. WHEN I LOOKED AT HIM HE WAS DOWN ON ONE KNEE AND ASKED ME TO MARRY HIM. OF COURSE I SAID YES. MATT AND NICKY WERE MARRIED ON MAY 22, 2009. FOR MATT'S MOM, JODY TOMKIN, IT IS TOO HARD TO PICK JUST ONE MEMORY OF HER SON. I DON'T HAVE JUST ONE, SHE SAYS. AS A MOM, ALL OF MY MEMORIES ARE THE BEST. MATT'S AUNT, THERESA JANICE HOPKINS REMEMBERS WHEN MATT WAS A LITTLE BOY AND WENT ON A TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD. HE HAD A SMILE ON HIS FACE THE WHOLE TIME, SHE SAYS. THAT HAD TO BE THE HIGHLIGHT OF HIS LIFE UNTIL HE MET NICKY. MATT WORKED HARD TO PREPARE HIMSELF FOR THE SERVICE AND JOIN THE MARINE CORPS RIGHT AFTER HIGH SCHOOL. IN 2008, HE WAS DEPLOYED TO IRAQ. HE ALSO SERVED ON MISSIONS IN HAITI, THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, NICARAUGA, AND CUBA. AFTER HIS MILITARY SERVICE CONCLUDED, HE WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO A CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT. MATT'S UNCLE, TOM JACKSON, REMEMBERS THE DAY MATT CAME HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN FOR A HERO'S FUNERAL. AT THE TERMINAL OF THE CORBIN -- THE LONDON CORBIN AIRPORT WAITING TO MEET THE PLANE CARRYING MATT'S BODY WERE OVER 100 PATRIOT GUARD RIDERS WITH AMERICAN FLAGS ON THEIR MOTORYCYCLES, THERE TO ESCORT THE FALLEN MARINE TO THE FUNERAL HOME. AS WE FOLLOWED THE HEARSE FROM THE AIRPORT, THE RIDERS SLOWED, AND THERE BESIDE THE ROAD WAS A SMALL GROUP OF MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN WAVING FLAGS AS TEARS RAN DOWN THEIR FACES. I COULD READ THEIR LIPS SAID TOM JACKSON, SAYING "THANK YOU." AND AT THAT POINT THERE WAS AN OUTBURST OF EMOTION THAT I JUST COULD NOT CONTAIN. I WAS CRYING LIKE A BABY, A SLIGHT THAT I'M SURE MY DAUGHTER -- A SIGHT THAT I'M SURE MY DAUGHTER AND GRANDSON HAD NEVER SEEN FROM ME. THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO WISH TO THANK LANCE CORPORAL JACKSON FOR HIS SERVICE WAS SO GREAT THAT THE FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL COULD NOT ACCOMMODATE THEM ALL. THE CITY OF CORBIN GRACIOUSLY DONATED THE USE OF THE ARENA AT THE SOUTHEASTERN KENTUCKY AG AND EXPO COMPLEX WHERE HUNDREDS CAME TO PAY THEIR RESPECTS. MR. PRESIDENT, WE MUST KEEP MATT'S FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN OUR THOUGHTS AS I RECOUNT HIS STORY FOR THE SENATE TODAY. WE'RE THINKING OF HIS WIFE, NICOLE A. JACKSON,; HIS FATHER, TIMOTHY WAYNE JACKSON; HIS MOTHER, JODY TONKIN; HIS BROTHERS BARRY, JUSTIN TONKIN AND WAYNE SPERLING, HIS GRANDMOTHERS, HIS UNCLE TOM JACKSON, HIS COUSIN MICHAEL RYAN HOPKINS, HIS AUNT THERESA JACKSON HOPKINS, AND BEING OTHER BELOVED FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS. MATT WAS PRECEDED IN DEATH BY HIS GRANDFATHER, EDGAR JACKSON. MATT'S UNCLE TONKIN STILL RECALL A TIME WHEN HE AND A NINE-YEAR-OLD MATT WERE WALKING IN THE DARK AND HE FEARED THEY WERE LOST. MATT WAS SCARED BUT PUT ON A BRAVE FACE UNTIL THE END WHEN HE FINALLY SAID, UNCLE TOM, HOLD MY HAND AS THE TWO OF THEM REACHED THE TRUCK. THE FAMILY MUST BE PROUD OF THAT LITTLE BOY WHO GREW UP TO BE TO BECOME ONE OF OUR COUNTRY'S MOST HONORED HEROES, A BRAVE MARINE. I WANT THEM TO KNOW THIS UNITED STATES SENATE HONORS LANCE CORPORAL JACKSON FOR HIS LIFE OF SERVICE, AND WE HONOR THE IMMENSE SACRIFICE HE MADE ON BEHALF OF A GRATEFUL NATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 09:50:36 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 09:50:54 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:01:07 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 10:01:09 AM

    MR. MERKLEY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 10:01:13 AM

    MR. MERKLEY

    I ASK FOR THE PRIVILEGES OF FLOOR TO BE EXTENDED TO BRITTA LOCKLEY ARGUES…

    I ASK FOR THE PRIVILEGES OF FLOOR TO BE EXTENDED TO BRITTA LOCKLEY ARGUES TO UNDERSTAND LUCY KESSEL.

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  • 10:01:24 AM

    MR. MERKLEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WE'RE INVOLVED IN A VERY IMPORTANT NATIONAL…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WE'RE INVOLVED IN A VERY IMPORTANT NATIONAL DEBATE OVER OUR FINANCES, OVER OUR DEFICITS, OVER OUR DEBT, AND OVER THEVESTMENT OUR ECONOMY, THE CREATION OF JOBS. AND HOW WE TAKE ON THOSE IN THE MOST EFFECTIVE MANNER TO BUILD A STRONG FINANCIAL FOUNDATION FOR OUR NATION GOING AHEAD, A STRONG SET OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR FAMILIES TO THRIVE. IN THE COURSE OF THAT, THERE'S BEEN A VERY INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT THAT MERITS OUR ATTENTION, AND THAT DEVELOPMENT IS THIS: SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE HAVE, OVER TIME, CHOSEN TO PUT KEY PROGRAMS FOR THE WEALTHY AND WELL-CONNECTED NOT IN THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL BUT IN THE TAX LEGISLATION, AND THERE'S ADVANTAGES TO DOING SO. WITH APPROPRIATIONS, YOU HAVE TO COME AND DEFEND A PROGRAM YEAR AFTER YEAR. IT HAS TO BE REVIEWED IN COMMITTEE. IT MAY HAVE TO GO THROUGH AN AUTHORIZATION AS WELL AS AN APPROPRIATION. BUT IF YOU PLACE A PROGRAM FOR THE WEALTHICALLY AND WELL-CONNECTED IN THE TAX CODE, THEN, UNLESS YOU'VE INSERTED A SUNSET CLAUSE, THAT PROGRAM IS A GIVE THAT KEEPS ON GIVING, UNEXAMINED IN THE COURSE OF THE STANDARD APPROPRIATING PROCESS. WELL, BY PUTTING THESE PROGRAMS FOR THE WEALTHY AND WELL-CONNECTED INTO THE TAX CODE, SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE HAVE SAID, BY DOING SO, THERE'S AN ADDITIONAL ADVANTAGE, AND THAT IS, WE WILL CLAIM THAT IT'S OFF-LIMITS, AND WE WILL CLAIM IN A IF ANYONE SEEKS TO EXAMINE THESE PROGRAMS FOR THE WEALTHY AND WELL-CONNECTED, THAT THEY'RE SEEKING TO -- QUOTE -- "RAISE TAXES" AND WE WILL SCARE THE AMERICAN CITIZENS INTO REVOLT AGAINST THAT EFFORT TO EXAMINE THESE SACRED COWS. WELL, INDEED, I THINK THAT THIS ATTITUDE, QUITE FRANKLY, UNDERESTIMATES THE AMERICAN CITIZEN. THE AMERICAN CITIZEN VERY WELL UNDERSTANDS WHAT'S UP, THAT THERE IS AN EFFORT TO PUT PROGRAMS FOR WORKING AMERICANS IN LEGISLATION WHERE IT HAS TO BE AUTHORIZED REGULARLY, WHERE IT HAS TO GO THROUGH THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS ANNUALLY, BUT PUT THE PROGRAMS FOR THE MOST WEALTHY AND WELL-CONNECTED OVER HERE, BEHIND A FENCE, WHERE THEY DON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS AND THEN TO SAY THOSE ARE SACRED COWS; WE CAN'T TOUCH THEM. WELL, THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIGHTING FOR FAIRNESS FOR WORKING AMERICANS AND FIGHTING TO DEFEND THE BENEFITS FOR THE BEST-OFF IN OUR SOCIETY. THIS IS A DEBATE THAT MUST BE HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. IT WAS IN 1976 THAT I MAIM HERE AS AN INTERN TO -- THAT I CAME HERE AS AN INTERN TO SENATOR HATFIELD. AND AS IT TURNS OUT, I WAS AASSIGNED TO THE TAX REFORM ACT OF 1976. IN THAT ASSIGNMENT, I WAS READING ALL THE MAIL FROM OREGON. AND THEN AS THE DEBATE WAS HELD ON THE FLOOR OF THIS CHAIRNLG I WOULD MEET SENATOR HATFIELD AT THE ELEVATOR DOORS JUST OUTSIDE THESE DOUBLE DOORS TO THE CHAMBER. OF COURSE IN THOSE DAYS WE DIDN'T HAVE A TELEVISION CAMERA HERE IN THE CHAMBER. IN THOSE DAYS WE DIDN'T HAVE E-MAIL TO COMMUNICATE. SO THE STAFF MEMBERS WOULD LINE UP AND MEET THEIR SENATORS COMING OUT OF THE ELEVATOR AND BRIEF THEM ON THE DEBATE, THE UPS AND DOWNS AND WHAT WERE PEOPLE BACK HOME SAYING AND WHAT TYPE OF MOTION WAS THERE, AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE OR WAS IT A MOTION TO TABLE, AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. THEN I'D RUN BACK UP INTO THE CHAMBER FOR THE SEATS FOR THE STAFF TO OBSERVE THE DEBATE AND THEN I'D GO BACK DOWN WHEN THE NEXT VOTE ON AN AMENDMENT CAIVMENTCAME.THAT REVIEW IN 1976, IT WAS A TOUGH DISCUSSION BECAUSE ANYTIME YOU TALK ABOUT CUTTING A PROGRAM, ANYONE WHO BENEFITS FROM THAT PROGRAM IS VERY UPSET. BUT THERE WAS AN UNDERSTANDING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE THAT WE OWE IT TO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER TO SPEND EVERY DOLLAR IN THE BEST POSSIBLE FASHION, AND THEREFORE THAT THERE CAN BE NO FENCE WALLING OFF THE PROGRAMS FROM SOME FROM CONSIDERATION WHILE THE PROGRAMS FOR OTHERS MERIT FULL EXAMINATION; THAT EVERYTHING NEEDED TO BE TALKED ABOUT, EVERYTHING NEEDED TO BE WEIGHED AS TO THE VALUE THAT IT PROVIDES. AGAIN, IN 1986, TEN YEARS LATER, A DECADE LATER, AN EVEN LARGER EFFORT, A MAJOR EFFORT TO EXAMINE EVERY TAX PROGRAM, WHETHER IT IS ONE THAT BENEFITED PEOPLE HERE OR PEOPLE THERE, TO WEIGH IT IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY TO THIS NATION. AND IT WAS SENATOR PACKWOOD FROM OREGON, WHO WAS HEAD OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE, WHO LED THAT DEBATE HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT SENATOR PACKWOOD WAS A REPUBLICAN. REPUBLICANS BACK THEN BELIEVED IN FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE IN SETTING OFF ONE PART OF THE TAX CODE FOR THE WEALTHY AND WELL-CONNECTED THAT WOULD NEVER BE EXAMINED AGAIN WHILE THE PROGRAMS FOR WORKING AMERICANS, THEY WERE ON THE TABLE. NO, THEY LOOKED AT EVERYTHING ACROSS THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM. SO HERE WE ARE -- NOT IN 1976, NOT IN 1986, BUT HERE IN 2011. IT'S BEEN A QUARTER CENTURY SINCE WE'VE HAD A SERIOUS REVIEW OF THE PROGRAMS EMBEDDED IN THE TAX CODE. I MUST SAY, WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO EXAMINE EVERY PROGRAM FUNDED, WHETHER THROUGH THE APPROPRIATION CODE OR THE TAX CODE. BECAUSE WE FACE SERIOUS, SERIOUS FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES. AND SO IT IS IN THIS CONTEXT THAT I WOULD HAVE EXPECTED TO HEAR THE ECHOES OF 1986, THAT EVERY PROGRAM IS UP FOR EXAMINATION, EVERY PROGRAM IS GOING TO BE TESTED AGAINST A RIGOROUS SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES, SAY, IS THIS THE BEST USE FOR THE DOLLAR? BUT INSTEAD MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE HAVE TAKEN THE POSITION OF PUTTING UP A VERY HIGH FENCE AROUND THE TAX PROVISIONS FOR THE WEALTHY AND WELL-CONNECTED, SAYING THAT IS THEIR NUMBER-ONE GOAL, PROTECT THOSE. OH, PROGRAMS FOR SENIORS? THOSE ARE ON THE TABLE. DISMANTLING MEDICARE? THAT'S A REPUBLICAN PROGRAM. PROGRAMS FOR THOSE WHO DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD TO EAT? THOSE ARE ON THE TABLE. UNEMPLOYMENT? THAT HAS BEEN ON THE TABLE. FUNDING FOR INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WE NEED TO REBUILD OUR COUNTRY? THAT IS ON THE TABLE. BUT NOT THIS SET OF SACRED COWS, THIS SET OF SACRED PROGRAMS FOR THE WEALTHY AND WELL-CONNECTED. QUITE FRANKLY, COLLEAGUES, THAT IS WRONG. THAT MUST CHANGE. AND WE MUST CARRY THAT DEBATE HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AS OUR COLLEAGUES DID A QUARTER CENTURY AGO, AS OUR COLLEAGUES DID 35 YEARS AGO. SO WHEN IT COMES TO THESE PROGRAMS, THERE MUST BE NO SACRED COWS, AND THERE MUST BE NO SACRED HORSES. I'M GOING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY A CHART -- I'M GOING TO PUT UP A CHART. THE CHART SAYS, "PRONKING AWAY WITH OUR TAXDOLLARS -- THE CHART SAYS, "RUNNING AWAY WITH OUR TAXDOLLARS." ONE OF THE PROGRAMS THAT MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE ARE INSISTING BE WALLED OFF FROM EXAMINATION IS A SPECIAL WRITE-OFF FOR THOROUGHBRED RACE HORSES. YES, RACE HORSES. THIS IS THE BLUEGRASS BOONDOGGLE WHICH ALLOWS MILLIONAIRE AND BILLIONAIRE RACE HORSE OWNERS TO WRITE OFF THE COST OF THEIR HORSES IN AN ACCELERATED MANNER, REDUCING THE NORMAL SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR WRITE-OFF TO JUST THREE YEARS. WELL, THIS BLUEGRASS BOONDOGGLE WILL COST U.S. TAXPAYERS OVER THE COURSE OF THE COMING TEN YEARS $126 MILLION. C.B.O. ESTIMATES THAT AFTER MODELING THE IMPACT OF THIS TAX PROVISION. NOW, THIS IS EQUIVALENT TO US WRITING A CHECK OVER THIS COMING DECADE FOR $126 MILLION. THIS IS EQUIVALENT TO A GRANT PROGRAM. THIS IS EQUIVALENT TO SUBSIDIZING A LOAN PROGRAM. NO PROGRAM SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS IN ONE BILL, THE TAX BILL, RATHER THAN IN OTHER BILL, THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL, SHOULD BE OFF LIMITS. HORSE RACING MAY HAVE BEEN CALLED THE SPORT OF KINGS --

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  • 10:11:02 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IF THE SENATOR WOULD SUSPEND, THE SENATOR HAS USED TEN MINUTES.

  • 10:11:11 AM

    MR. MERKLEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IS THERE A TEN-MINUTE RULE IN EFFECT?

  • 10:11:15 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THERE IS. THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK?

  • 10:11:21 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:11:27 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:11:29 AM

    MR. MERKLEY

    YOU. I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW YORK AND I APPRECIATE THOSE THREE…

    YOU. I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW YORK AND I APPRECIATE THOSE THREE MINUTES. SO HORSE RACING MAY HAVE BEEN CALLED THE SPORT OF KINGS, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE OWNERS OF HORSES, THOSE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES OWNING THOSE HORSES, NEED ROYAL TAX TREATMENT. AS LONG AS THESE TAX SUBSIDIES ARE PRESERVED, THE RICHEST AND BEST-OFF WILL REMAIN IN THE WINNERS' CIRCLE, WHILE WORKING FAMILIES DON'T EVEN GET A CHANCE TO COMPETE. NOW, THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT CLOSING THIS LOOPHOLE ALONE ISN'T GOING TO SOLVE OUR DEFICIT PROBLEM, BUT IT IS A GOOD PLACE TO START. BECAUSE OTHERWISE WE'RE GOING TO CUT $126 MILLION FROM HEAD START OR $126 MILLION FROM MEDICARE FOR OUR SENIORS OR PROGRAMS THAT HELP RETRAIN LAID-OFF WORKERS, GIVING TRIPLE-CROWN TREATMENT TO MILLIONAIRES WHILE WORKERS ARE PUT OUT TO PASTURE. THAT'S NOT RIGHT. AND IT'S NOT THE AMERICAN WAY. I HAVE PROPOSED SEARCHING THROUGH THE TAX CODE TO FIND WASTEFUL TAX SUBSIDIES AND ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY GIVEAWAYS. THIS YEAR IS THE RIGHT MOMENT TO START, AND, NO, NOT JUST ONE PROGRAM SHOULD BE SINGLED OUT. WE SHOULD SET A SERIES OF STANDARDS AND TEST EACH TAX PROGRAM AGAINST THOSE STANDARDS ON WHETHER THEY CREATE JOBS, WHETHER THEY MAKE A STRONGER ECONOMY, WHETHER THEY TAKE AMERICA FORWARD, AND WHETHER OR NOT THAT $126 MILLION SPENT IN THIS CATEGORY OR THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO THE NATION THAN OTHER CUTS THAT WE MIGHT BE ENTER TANK. THOSE ARE THE TESTS THAT NEED TO BE APPLIED IN A THOUGHTFUL AND THOROUGH MANNER. IT IS TIME NOT TO WALL OFF THE PROGRAMS FOR THE WEALTH ECONOMY AND WELL-CONNECTED WHILE ATTACKING PROGRAMS THAT MAKE WORKING AMERICA GO FORWARD IN A STRONGER FASHION. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 10:13:33 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS UNTIL 12:00 NOON WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH, WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES, WITH THE MAJORITY CONTROLLING THE FIRST HOUR AND THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING THE SECOND HOUR.

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  • 10:13:56 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SNORE FROM NEW YORK IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:13:58 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    FIRST, MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM OREGON ONCE AGAIN.…

    FIRST, MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM OREGON ONCE AGAIN. HE IS FORTHRIGHT, HE IS COURAGEOUS, HE IS ON THE MONEY, AND PEOPLE SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM, BECAUSE HE SAYS A LOT OF GOOD THINGS ABOUT A LOST SUBJECTS, INCLUDING THIS WUFNLT AND I APPRECIATE WHAT HE HAS SAID. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, AFTER WEEKS OF STOPS AND STARTS, WE'RE NOW APPROACHING CRUNCH TIME IN THE DEBT CEILING TALKS. I BELIEVE THAT A GRAND, BIPARTISAN BARGAIN IS POSSIBLE, BUT ONLY IF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TAKE OFF THEIR PARTISAN BLINDERS. NEITHER SIDE CAN AFFORD TO CLING TO THEIR IDEOLOGICAL POSITIONS ANY LONGER. TO GET ECONOMY HUMMING ON ALL SINALDERS AGAIN AND AVOID A DEFAULT CRISIS, WE NEED TO SAY GOODBYE TO A FEW SACRED COWS. AND YET MERE WEEKS AFTER VOTING TO REPEAL ETHANOL SUBSIDIES, THE OTHER SIDE'S LEADER, THE SENATOR FROM KEN KERNINGS HAS DRAWN A LINE IN THE SAND AGAINST INCLUDING ANY AND ALL REVENUE CHANGES IN THE DEBT DEAL. HE HAS SAID THAT REPEAL OF SPECIAL INTEREST TAX BREAKS IS -- QUOTE -- "POLITICALLY IMPOSSIBLE." WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S A CURIOUS IDEA GIVEN THAT THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY AND 33 OF HIS COLLEAGUES ARE ON RECORD AS SUPPORTING THE END OF ETHANOL GIVEAWAYS. IT SEEMS LEADER McCONNELL WOULD RATHER END ETHANOL AS WE KNOW IT AND FORCE CUTS TO PELL GRANTS AND CANCER RESEARCH THAN INSTITUTE A LITTLE SHARED SACRIFICE. ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE, WE WANT TO REPEAL TAX BREAKS THAT HAVE NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER OTHER THAN TO BLOAT OUR BUDGET DEFICIT. TODAY I WANT TO HIGHLIGHT ONE OF THE MOST EGREGIOUSLY WASTEFUL LOOPHOLES IN THE TAX CODE. THE TAX BREAK FOR YACHT OWNERS. YES, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, UNCLE SAM SUBSIDIZES THE PURCHASE OF SPRAWLING, LUXURIOUS 72-FOOT VIKING YACHTS. AS LONG AS YOUR YACHT HAS A PLACE TO SLEEP AND A PLACE TO, HOW SHALL I PUT IT, RELIEVE YOURSELF, YOU CAN CLAIM IT AS A SECOND HOME AND CLAIM THE MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION. THAT'S RIGHT, THE DEDUCTION CONGRESS HELPED CREATE FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES TO REALIZE THE AMERICAN DREAM OF HOMEOWNERSHIP IS HELPING MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES GET A 35% DISCOUNT ON THEIR YACHTS. IN FACT, HOW-TO BOOKS ON TAX AVOIDANCE ADVISES READERS THAT IF YOU'RE PAYING FOR YOUR YACHT IN CASH, YOU'RE PAYING TOO MUCH. THAT'S A QUOTE. MILLIONAIRES WHO WOULD OTHERWISE WRITE A SIX-FIGURE CHECK FOR THEIR YACHT WITHOUT BATTING AN EYE, INSTEAD TAKE OUT A LOAN SO THEY CAN CLAIM THE MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION. THE I.R.S.'S ONLY REQUIREMENT IS THAT THE YACHT OWNER PROVIDE PROOF THAT THEY SPEND 14 DAYS A YEAR ON THE BOAT. MR. PRESIDENT, IF ONLY GILLIG TPHA AND SKIPPER HAD TAKEN A 14-DAY TRIP INSTEAD OF A THREE-HOUR TOUR THEY COULD HAVE EXPENSE THE COST TO THE S.S.MINNOW. THERE ARE TOUGH CHOICES AHEAD AS WE SEEK TO ACHIEVE OUR DUAL GOAL. BUT REPEALING THIS INSANE TAX BREAK FOR YACHT OWNERS ISN'T TOUGH AT ALL. OR TO PUT IT IN TERMS OUR NAUTICAL FRIENDS WOULD UNDERSTAND, NOT BY A LEAGUE. NOW I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST YACHT OWNERS. GOD BLESS THEM, THEY'RE DOING WELL FOR THEMSELVES, AND IN AMERICA WE CELEBRATE SUCCESS AND SAY ENJOY YOUR SUCCESS. THAT'S A GREAT THING. BUT AT A TIME WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS TIGHTENING ITS BELT AND WE'RE GRAPPLING WITH PAINFUL CUTS TO PROGRAMS, IT BOGGLES THE MIND TO CONTINUE TO GIVE VOTERS A TAX BREAK THEY DON'T NEED AND NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAD IN THE FIRST PLACE. IT'S A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES. MR. PRESIDENT, BOTH SIDES ARE FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION. IF OUR SIDE DUG A LINE IN THE SAND AND SAID NO CUTS TO PROGRAMS, WE WOULD BE REGARDED AS WAY OFF THE DEEP END AND NOT REALLY WANTING TO COMPROMISE. WELL, THE MIRROR IMAGE IS EXACTLY TRUE. JUST AS WE MUST ENDURE CUTS WE CONSIDER PAINFUL ON PROGRAMS, THE OTHER SIDE MUST ENDURE CUTS THEY MAY CONSIDER PAINFUL ON THE TAX SIDE. WE WILL NOT GET ANYWHERE UNLESS BOTH SIDES COMPROMISE. AND WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE TODAY, THE SENATOR FROM OREGON, THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND, THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, MYSELF AND MANY OTHERS, IS WE'RE SHOWING THAT THERE'S PLENTY OF ROOM ON THE TAX SIDE. THESE ARE SMALL. THERE ARE LARGER ONES. BUT THERE'S PLENTY OF ROOM ON THE TAX SIDE TO ELIMINATE WASTE, JUST AS THERE'S PLENTY OF ROOM ON THE SPENDING SIDE TO ELIMINATE WASTE. AND WE WILL NOT COME TO A COMPROMISE UNLESS -- UNLESS -- WE WILL NOT BE TAOEUBL RAISE THE DEBT CEILING AND GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER UNLESS BOTH SIDES GIVE. LINES IN THE SAND DO NOT HELP THIS COUNTRY. I WOULD PLEAD WITH MY COLLEAGUES. NO MORE LINES IN THE SAND. THERE ARE JUST AS MANY WASTEFUL TAX EXPENDITURES AS THERE ARE PROGRAM EXPENDITURES. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 10:19:19 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:19:21 AM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. YESTERDAY AFTERNOON I SPOKE IN THIS CHAMBER AND…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. YESTERDAY AFTERNOON I SPOKE IN THIS CHAMBER AND I QUOTED FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL DAVID WALKER SAYING "WE AS A COUNTRY FACE LARGE KNOWN AND GROWING STRUCTURAL DEFICITS THAT COULD SWAMP OUR SHIP OF STATE. TO GET OUR SHIP OF STATE IN TRIM, WE NEED TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS. WE NEED TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT." I ALSO DISCUSSED THAT WHEN REPUBLICANS DEMAND THAT ALL REVENUE RAISERS BE TAKEN OFF THE TABLE IN OUR DISCUSSIONS ABOUT HOW WE REDUCE THAT DEFICIT AND THAT DEBT, AS THE REPUBLICAN LEADER HAS DONE JUST THIS WEEK, WHAT THEY ARE REPOLYDEFENDING -- WHAT THEY ARE REALLY DEFENDING IS TAX SUBSIDIES FOR PROFITABLE BIG OIL COMPANIES. WHAT THEY'RE REPOLYDEFENDING IS CORPORATIONS THAT -- WHAT THEY'RE REALLY DEFENDING IS CORPORATIONS THAT DODGE THEIR U.S. TAXES BY SETTING UP PHONY BUSINESS LOCATIONS IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS AND ELSEWHERE. WHAT THEY'RE REALLY DEFENDING IS ULTRA-HIGH INCOME INDIVIDUALS, THE HIGHEST 400 EARNERS IN THE COUNTRY PAYING A LOWER ACTUAL TAX RATE THAN ORDINARY WORKING AMERICANS. IN SOME YEARS LOWER THAN TRUCK DRIVERS, IN SOME YEARS AS LOW AS A HOSPITAL ORDERLY. JUST LAST MONTH REPUBLICANS FILIBUSTERED A MEASURE THAT WOULD HAVE ENDED $21 BILLION IN COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY SUBSIDIES FOR THE LARGEST OIL COMPANIES. WE KNOW THAT THOSE OIL COMPANIES ARE ENJOYING RECORD MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR PROFITS, THE HIGHEST IN SOME CASES PROFITS ANY CORPORATION HAS EVER MADE, AND THEY DO NOT NEED CONTINUED SUPPORT FROM THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. THEY JUST DO NOT, NOT WHEN THESE OTHER CUTS ARE BEING THOUGHT OF. BUT OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS WENT TO BAT FOR THE BIG OIL COMPANIES AND FOUGHT OUR ATTEMPTS. TO KEEP OUR SHIP OF STATE AFLOAT, REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO END MEDICARE, KICK CHILDREN OUT OF HEAD START EARLY EDUCATION, KNOCK DOWN PELL GRANTS AND ELIMINATE P.B.S. BUT THEY WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT SPECIAL SUBSIDIES AND TAX BREAKS FOR BIG CORPORATIONS AND BILLIONAIRES. TODAY I RISE TO DISCUSS ONE SUCH UNJUSTIFIABLE TAX GIVEAWAY, A TAX BREAK FOR PRIVATE JETS FOR THE USE OF C.E.O.'S AND OTHER TOP CORPORATE EXECUTIVES THAT HAS NO PUBLIC POLICY BENEFIT WHATSOEVER. THE WAY THIS WORKS, MR. PRESIDENT, UNDER CURRENT LAW COMPANIES THAT BUY PRIVATE JETS, PLANES WHICH CAN COST UPWARD OF $50 MILLION EACH, CAN DEDUCT THE VALUE OF THAT JET FROM THEIR TAXES OVER FIVE YEARS. THERE'S A FIVE-YEAR DEPRECIATION SCHEDULE. AIRLINE CARRIERS, ON THE OTHER HAND, THE FOLKS WHO CARRY 99% OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THROUGH THE AIR, MUPPET DEPRECIATE -- MUST DEPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THEIR PLANES OVER SEVEN YEARS, TWO YEARS LONGER THAN FOR THE PRIVATE EXECUTIVE JETS. NOW THIS MAY SOUND LIKE A MINOR ACCOUNTING ANOMALY, AND I'M SURE THAT'S WHAT THE CORPORATE LOBBYISTS WHO GOT THIS THROUGH AND STUCK INTO OUR TAX CODE SAID WHEN THEY GOT IT DONE, BUT THIS IS ONE THAT MAY COST THE GOVERNMENT $3 BILLION IN LOST TAX REVENUE OVER THE NEXT DECADE. THE SPECIAL TREATMENT OF CORPORATE JETS, ITS ADVANTAGE RELATIVE TO THE JETS THAT REGULAR PEOPLE FLY ON WHEN THEY TAKE TO THE AIR IS JUST ONE MORE EXAMPLE OF A TAX CODE THAT IS RIDDLED WITH CUSTOM-MADE PROVISIONS, EARMARKS IN THE TAX CODE THAT BENEFIT CORPORATIONS AND THE WEALTHY, WHILE MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES STRUGGLE TO MAKE CAR PAYMENTS AND FACE EVER HIGHER PRICES AT THE GAS PUMP, OUR TAX CODE SUBSIDIZES THE PRIVATE JET TRAVEL OF MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. IN A TIME OF AUSTERITY, WHEN WE'RE BEING ASKED TO CUT EDUCATION, WHEN WE'RE BEING ASKED TO CUT SCIENCE, WHEN WE'RE BEING ASKED TO CUT HEALTH CARE, IT IS NO TIME TO BE PROTECTING A PRIVATE JET SUBSIDY THAT ORDINARY TAXPAYERS HAVE TO MAKE UP FOR THROUGH THEIR OWN TAXES. AND WE SHOULD REPEAL IT AS PART OF A PACKAGE TO LOWER OUR BUDGET DEFICITS. I WAS DISAPPOINTED WHEN SENATE REPUBLICANS REJECTED OUR ATTEMPT TO REPEAL BIG TKPWOEUFLWAES, AND I -- GIVEAWAYS AND I HOPE THEY WILL NOT DO THE SAME WHEN WE BRING UP A JET LOOPHOLE REPEAL FOR A VOTE. AS WE CONTINUE TO DEBATE WAYS TO CLOSE THE BUDGET GAP, I HOPE THAT MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL RETHINK THEIR DETERMINATION TO DEFEND TAX LOOPHOLES FOR CORPORATIONS AND THE WEALTHY WHILE THEY'RE TRYING TO GET RID OF MEDICARE. THAT IS A TERRIBLE SET OF PRIORITIES. IT IS SIMPLY UNCONSCIONABLE FOR THEM TO TALK ABOUT CUTTING EDUCATION AND RESEARCH AND HEALTH PROGRAMS WHILE THEY ARE FIGHTING ON THE FLOOR TO PROTECT, AT ALL COSTS, SPECIAL INTEREST TAX SUBSIDIES THAT ARE ON THE BOOKS. I THANK THE CHAIR. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:24:53 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE ASSISTANT MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 10:24:55 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM RHODE ISLAND. SO PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS DEBATE,…

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM RHODE ISLAND. SO PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS DEBATE, WE HAVE A DEFICIT PROBLEM. SERIOUS. WE BORROW 40 CENTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES FOR EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND. WE CAN'T SUSTAIN THAT. OUR ECONOMY MAY BE THE STRONGEST IN THE WORLD, BUT IT'S BEING CALLED INTO QUESTION EVERY DAY. LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE STREETS OF ATHENS, GREECE, AND IN PORTUGAL AND IN IRELAND, BECAUSE THEY WENT TOO FAR. THEY CROSSED THE POINT BEYOND WHICH THEIR CREDITORS WOULD NOT GO. THEY WERE SO DEEPLY IN DEBT THAT THEIR CREDITORS BASICALLY SAID WE'RE NOT GOING TO LOAN YOU ANY MORE MONEY UNLESS YOU CHANGE DRAMATICALLY THE WAY YOU RUN YOUR COUNTRY. THAT'S THE PAIN THAT'S GOING THROUGH THESE COUNTRIES TODAY. WE WANT TO AVOID THAT PAIN IN THE UNITED STATES. AND TO DO IT, WE'VE GOT TO ADDRESS THE DEFICIT HONESTLY. WE'VE GOT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THIS DEBT THAT WE HAVE AND DEAL WITH IT IN HONEST TERMS. MOST PEOPLE, V FORGOTTEN THE FACT THAT TEN YEARS AGO, TEN YEARS AGO WE WERE RUNNING A SURPLUS IN THE FEDERAL BUDGET. THE LAST THREE YEARS OF THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION WERE SURPLUS YEARS. AND NOW WE'RE IN THE DEEPEST DEBT WE HAVE EVER BEEN AS A NATION. WE ARE GENERATING ABOUT $1.4 TRILLION OF ADDITIONAL DEBT EVERY YEAR. HOW DID WE REACH THIS POINT? WELL, THERE ARE A LOT OF EXPLANATIONS. WHEN YOU FIGHT TWO WARS AND DON'T PAY FOR THEM, IT ADDS TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. WHEN YOU PASS PROGRAMS AND DON'T PAY FOR THEM, IT ADDS TO THE DEBT. WHEN YOU ARE ALREADY IN DEBT AND YOU GIVE TAX BREAKS TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA, IT MAKES YOUR DEBT WORSE. THOSE, INCIDENTALLY, WERE THE THREE POLICIES OF THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION WHICH LED US TO THE POINT WHERE A SURPLUS IN EIGHT YEARS BECAME A DEFICIT, THE BIGGEST DEFICIT IN AMERICAN HISTORY EIGHT YEARS LATER. SO NOW WE'VE GOT TO ADDRESS IT. WHAT WE'RE SAYING TO OUR FRIENDS ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE, FOR GOODNESS SAKES, TO END A DEFICIT, YOU CUT SPENDING; RIGHT? RIGHT. BUT TO END A DEFICIT, YOU ALSO CUT WASTEFUL TAX SUBSIDIES. IF YOU LISTENED THIS MORNING TO MY COLLEAGUES, YOU'VE HEARD THEM DESCRIBE A FEW. THE SENATOR FROM OREGON TALKS ABOUT IN THE TAX CODE A TAX SUBSIDY FOR PEOPLE WHO RAISE THOROUGHBRED HORSES. I LOVE HORSES. I LIKE GOING TO RACE TRACKS. BUT TO THINK WE'RE GOING TO SUBSIDIZE THEM AT THE EXPENSE OF MEDICAID RECIPIENTS, THE POOREST CHILDREN IN AMERICA, MAKES NO SENSE. AND THEN MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW YORK, SENATOR SCHUMER, TALKS ABOUT TAX SUBSIDIES FOR PEOPLE WHO OWN YACHTS. FOR GOODNESS SAKES, IF WE CAN'T FLOAT THE BOAT OF MIDDLE AMERICA, HELP WORKING FAMILIES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY SURVIVE, WHY IN THE WORLD ARE WE GIVING A TAX SUBSIDY TO YACHT OWNERS? MY FRIEND FROM RHODE ISLAND WHO CAME HERE AND TALKED ABOUT CORPORATE JET DEDUCTIBILITY, I'M SORRY, I RIDE JET PLANES, BUT THEY'RE COMMERCIAL JETS. AND THE FACT THAT UNITED UNITED AIRLINES AND THE REST DON'T ENJOY THE SAME TAX TREATMENT AS THE REST OF BUSINESS AMERICA AND THEIR YACHTS IS WRONG. IT IS A SUBSIDY WE CANNOT AFFORD. WE SHOULDN'T BE SUBSIDIZING HIGH FLIERS IN AMERICA WHEN THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET IS CALLING FOR US TO END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT. IT MAKES NO SENSE. THERE'S ONE OTHER PROVISION IN THE TAX CODE THAT I REALLY FIND TROUBLING. MR. PRESIDENT, WE LITERALLY SUBSIDIZE AMERICAN COMPANIES THAT WANT TO SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS. WE GIVE THEM ONE OF THE BIGGEST TAX BREAKS IN THE TAX CODE TO LEAVE AMERICA, PUT THEIR PRODUCTION FACILITIES OVERSEAS. SO WHAT'S HAPPENING? TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENED SINCE THE YEAR 1999 IN THE NUMBER OF FOREIGN EMPLOYEES OF U.S. MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS. IT GOES UP EVERY SINGLE YEAR, NOW UP TO TEN MILLION FOREIGN EMPLOYEES OF AMERICAN CORPORATIONS. NOW TAKE A LOOK AT THE U.S. EMPLOYEES OF THESE SAME MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS OVER THE SAME PERIOD OF TIME. SINCE THE YEAR 2000, THE NUMBER OF AMERICAN EMPLOYEES OF U.S. MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS HAS CONTINUED TO GO DOWN, ALMOST WITHOUT EXCEPTION. IT ISN'T JUST A MATTER OF COMPANIES SAYING IF WE BUILD A PRODUCTION FACILITY OVERSEAS, IT'S THE RIGHT ECONOMIC JUDGMENT FOR OUR BUSINESS. IT'S A MATTER OF A U.S. TAX CODE THAT REWARDS THEM IF THEY DO IT. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? WHY AREN'T WE REWARDING PATRIOTIC AMERICAN CORPORATIONS WHOSE OWNERS STAY IN THIS COUNTRY, EMPLOY OUR PEOPLE, PAY A DECENT WAGE WITH BENEFITS, AND WANT TO PROSPER HERE? SHOULDN'T THAT BE OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY RATHER THAN ENCOURAGING COMPANIES TO MOVE PRODUCTION OVERSEAS BY GIVING THEM TAX BREAKS? WELL, IT'S AN ISSUE I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT. I WANT TO END THE SUBSIDIES TO SHIP AMERICAN JOBS OVERSEAS. AT A TIME WHEN WE'RE FACING UNEMPLOYMENT IN RECORD NUMBERS IN SOME PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY, WE SHOULD HAVE A TAX CODE THAT HELPS COMPANIES CREATE AND SAVE JOBS IN AMERICA. I ASK MY FRIENDS ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE: DO YOU WANT TO STAND FOR THE SUBSIDIES THAT SHIP AMERICAN JOBS OVERSEAS OR DO YOU WANT TO STAND BY AMERICAN WORKERS AND PATRIOTIC AMERICAN COMPANIES THAT WANT TO STAY RIGHT HERE AT HOME AND CREATE JOBS? THOSE ARE THE CHOICES. AND ANYONE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO ARGUES THAT TO ELIMINATE TAX SUBSIDIES IS TO RAISE TAXES, COME ON. WHAT WE'RE DOING IS GIVING A TAX EARMARK, A TAX SPECIAL FAVOR TO THOSE WHO ARE BENEFITING, WHETHER THEY OWN YACHTS, RACE HORSES, WHETHER THEY ARE TRYING TO SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS. THESE ARE THE FOLKS THAT I THINK HAVE GOT TO BE WILLING TO STEP UP AND SACRIFICE SO THAT WE CAN REDUCE OUR DEFICIT AND DO IT IN A MEANINGFUL WAY. I SEE MY COLLEAGUE FROM MARYLAND IS HERE, AND I AT THIS POINT YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:31:16 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MARYLAND.

  • 10:31:20 AM

    MS. MIKULSKI

    PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY TO REALLY TALK ABOUT THE CRISIS THAT…

    PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY TO REALLY TALK ABOUT THE CRISIS THAT AMERICA IS FACING, AND WE REALLY ARE FACING TWO CRISES. WE'RE FACING A SIGNIFICANT DEBT CRISIS, AND WE ARE FACING A SIGNIFICANT POLITICAL LEADERSHIP CRISIS. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH BOTH, AND WE NEED TO BE SURE THAT ALL THINGS ARE ON THE TABLE AND ALL PEOPLE ARE AT THE TABLE TRYING TO FIND SENSIBLE, PRAGMATIC SOLUTIONS TO BE ABLE TO MOVE OUR COUNTRY FORWARD AND STABLIZE OUR ECONOMY SO THAT WE CAN GROW OUR ECONOMY. NOW, I WANT TO TALK FIRST ABOUT THE DEBT CRISIS, THEN I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO ACT LIKE AMERICANS. MR. PRESIDENT, I'M FOR A MORE FRUGAL GOVERNMENT, AND WE HAVE BEEN VOTING ON CUTS IN DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. I SUPPORTED THE BAN ON DISCRETIONARY SPENDING EARMARKS. YOU WERE A REFORM THEIR THAT AREA. I JOINED WITH YOU IN THAT AREA. I ALSO VOTED FOR 41 BILLION CUTS IN THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION. IN APRIL I VOTED FOR $78 BILLION MORE IN CUTS. I WANTED TO AVOID A TEA PARTY SHUTDOWN AND WORK FOR THIS MORE FRUGAL GOVERNMENT. BUT NOW WE HAVE TO LIFT THE DEBT CEILING, AND IN ORDER DO THAT HAVE A PATH FORWARD ON DEALING WITH BOTH DEFICIT AND DEBT. BUT IN ORDER TO DO THAT, WE NEED TO, JUST AS WE CUT THE EARMARKS ON DISCRETIONARY SPENDING, WE'VE GOT TO CUT THE TAX BREAK EARMARKS, THOSE TAX BREAK EARMARKS THAT HAVE GONE TO THE WELL-CONNECTED BUT WHO ARE DISCONNECTED FROM HOW WE CAN HELP OUR ECONOMY GROW. I NEVER THOUGHT A BUDGET DEAL WOULD BE EASY, BUT I THOUGHT WE COULD AGREE ON A FEW KEY PRINCIPLES. WELL, WE HAVEN'T. THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO CLOSE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICES. I WANT TO CLOSE TAX LOOPHOLES. THEY WANT TO GET RID OF TEACHERS. I WANT TO GET RID OF SACRED COWS. AND THAT'S WHY I VOTED LAST WEEK TO END THE TAX BREAK ON ETHANOL PRODUCTION. WOW! TALK ABOUT A TAX BREAK EARMARK. IT IS AN ETHANOL, AND IT HAS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES TO OUR BUDGET. IT'S ALSO ARTIFICIALLY RAISED THE COST OF CORN. SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO BARB BAR MIKULSKI? NOW, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT INDUSTRIES ON MY EASTERN SHORE IS POULTRY. POULTRY HAS HELPED MAKE MARYLAND GREAT AND PROVIDED JOBS FOR THOUSANDS OF MARYLANDERS, PEOPLE WHO WORK HARD, GET DIRT UNDER THEIR FINGERNAICIALTION SALUTE THE FLAG. WELL, THEY WANT US TO ACT LIKE WE SALUTE THE FLAG AND WORK UNDER THE FLAG. CORN IS NOW $7 A BUSHEL. I HAVE GOT COMPANIES THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR OVER 100 YEARS FILING BANKRUPTCY. WELL, I CAN'T ALLOW THAT TO GO ON. WE'VE GOT TO GET RID OF THE ARTIFICIAL SUBSIDIES AND DEAL WITH THIS. AND USE THAT MONEY TO GO INTO DEFICIT REDUCTION. SO I WANT PART OF ANY AGREEMENT THAT WE MAKE TO MAKE SURE THAT ETHANOL IS ELIMINATING THE TAX BREAK EARMARK ON ETHANOL TO ALSO BE IN THE BUDGET. I ALSO WANT TO GET RID OF OIL AND GAS TAX BREAKS. GAS HAS REACHED IN MANY PARTS OF MY STATE $4 A GALLON. YET, AT THE SAME TIME, THE FIVE BIGGEST OIL COMPANIES MADE $36 BILLION IN PROFITS IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS MONTHS. THREE MONTHS THEY MADE $36 BILLION. WELL, COMPANIES MAKING BILLIONS IN PROFITS SHOULD AGAIN PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE. WE DEMOCRATS VOTED TO END THOSE SUBSIDIES AND DEVOTE $2 BILLION A YEAR TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. NOW, THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO KEEP TAX BREAK EARMARKS. I WANT TO GET RID OF TAX BREAK EARMARKS. BUT THEY REFUSE TO END THESE GIVEAWAYS. THERE ARE OTHERS. SENATOR DURBIN SPOKE ELOQUENTLY ABOUT THE TAX BREAKS TO SEND JOBS OVERSEAS. THOSE JOBS HAVE LEFT. THEY OPPONENT ON A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA, A FAST TRACK TO MEXICO. OTHER JOBS ARE IN DIAL ANYWHERE BUT IN THE U.S.A. WE HAVE GOT HAVE A PATRIOTIC TAX CODE WHERE WE INVEST THE MONEY HERE AT HOME. WE LEGALLY GIVE THE TAX CHEATS MONEY. WE TAKE THE MONEY OF PEOPLE WHO WORKED IN MANUFACTURING, WHO PAY TAXES AND WHEN THEY PAID THOSE TAXES, WE GIVE SUBSIDIES TO SEND THEIR JOBS OVERSEAS. WOW, NO WONDER PEOPLE ARE MAD AT CONGRESS. THEY OUGHT TO BE MAD AT CONGRESS. BUT I WORRY ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCE ALSO OF DEFAULT. YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN I GO AROUND MARYLAND, THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS. THEY THINK WHEN WE RAISE THE DEBT CEILING THAT IT'S GOING TO RAISE THEIR INTEREST RATES ON LIKE THEIR CREDIT CARD, THEIR STUDENT LOAN, THEIR MORTGAGE IN SOME WAY IF THEY HAVE A VARIABLE RATE. OH, MY GOSH, IT'S JUST REALLY SOMETHING. WE NEED TO REALLY MAKE IN PLAIN ENGLISH WHAT THIS MEANS. THE FACT THAT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA MIGHT NOT PAY ITS BILLS ON AUGUST 3? THIS IS FRIGHTENING. THIS IS FRIGHTENING FROM THE STANDPOINT OF NATIONAL HONOR. AMERICA SHOULD PAY ITS BILLS. IT'S ALWAYS PAID ITS BILLS. AND IT'S ALSO IT'S IMPORTANT FOR OUR ECONOMY. THE CONSEQUENCES COULD BE DRACONIAN, UNPRECEDENTED, EVEN WELL BEYOND THE ARMAGEDDON OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION. WE COULD ON AUGUST 3 NOT BE ABLE TO PAY OUR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. WE COULD NOT BE ABLE TO PAY OUR VETERANS' BENEFITS. THIS IS SHOCKING. WE CAN'T ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. SO WE'VE GOT TO COME TO THE TABLE. THAT'S WHY I SAID AT THE OPENING OF MY REMARKS, WE ALL HAVE TO BETY TABLE AND ALL THINGS HAVE TO BE -- WE ALL HAVE TO BE AT THE TABLE AND ALL THINGS HAVE TO BE ON THE TABLE. NOW I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT POLITICAL LEADERSHIP. I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT ALL OF US AT THE TABLE. I LIVED THROUGH A VERY SERIOUS CRISIS WHEN RONALD REAGAN WAS PRESIDENT. AND RONALD REAGAN, TIP O'NEILL, AND HOWARD BAKER PROVIDED THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP. IT WAS TOUGH, AND IT WAS SCARY. IN 1982 WE WERE SCARED THAT WE COULD NOT MEET OUR OBLIGATIONS, THAT OUR SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS WOULD GO OUT. THE TRUST FUND WAS RUNNING ON FUMES. AMERICA FACED THE FACT THAT WE WOULD GO INTO DEFAULT WITH OUR SENIOR CITIZENS. PRESIDENT REAGAN PROVIDED LEADERSHIP. I DIDN'T AGREE WITH EVERYTHING PRESIDENT REAGAN WANTED TO OFFER, BUT HE SAID, WE HAVE TO PUT AMERICA FIRST. HE CALLED UP HIS FRIEND TIP O'NEILL. TIP O'NEILL BROUGHT DEMOCRATS TO THE TABLE AND BOB BYRD WAS OUR LEADER IN THE HOUSE. THOSE TWO MEN STOOD TOGETHER, AS AMERICANS, NOT AS DEMOCRATS. TURNED TO BOB DOLE, CHAIRING THE FINANCE COMMITTEE, AND HOWARD BAKER. THEY CAME TO THE TABLE, NOT AS REPUBLICANS BUT AS AMERICANS. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED NOW. WE HAVE TO COME TO THE TABLE AS AMERICANS. I LOVE BEING A DEMOCRAT. MY FAMILY WERE DEMOCRATS. WE'RE GOING TO BE DEMOCRATS FOREVER. BUT WHAT I LOVE MORE IS BEING AN AMERICAN. I GOT INTO POLITICS AS A PROTESTER. IN OTHER COUNTRIES THEY WOULD HAVE THROWN ME IN PRISON. HERE THEY PUT ME INTO POLITICS TO STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE. I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GO TO COLLEGE, I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PURSUE THE AMERICAN DREAM. I LOVE AMERICA AND I WANT AMERICA TO HAVE A GREAT FUTURE AHEAD OF IT. WE HAVE TO STOP ACTING LIKE, ARE WE THE RED PARTY AND THE BLUE PARTY. WE'VE GOT TO START BEING AING LIKE WE ARE THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE PARTED. I'VE HEARD ABOUT THESE PLEDGES TO GROVER NOR NORQUIST. I TAKE A PLEDGE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES, ONE NATION, INDIVISIBLE, UNDER GOD, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE -- JUSTICE, JUSTICE, JUSTICE -- FOR ALL. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO DO. I TAKE AN OATH, TOO. IT IS ON THE CONSTITUTION, TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE PEOPLE AND THE LAW THAT GOVERNS IT. NOW, LET'S GET REAL HERE AND LET'S REALIZE WHO OUR FIRST PLEDGE IS TO. SO I SAY TO MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE: YOU GO BACK TO YOUR REPUBLICAN HISTORY BOOKS. READ WHAT RONALD REAGAN DID IN 1982. READ WHAT REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP DID IN 1982. I WILL DO THE SAME FOR DEMOCRATS. WHEN TIP O'NEILL BROUGHT US TO THE TABLE, I HAD TO MAKE TOUGH VOTES. WE DRAINING STRONG MEDICINE. BUT HE KNOW WHAT? AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE MADE OUR OBLIGATIONS. SENIORS GOT THEIR CHECKS. WE GOT THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND IN THERE, AND OUT OF THAT CRISIS BECAME A STRONGER ECONOMY AND A BETTER AMERICA. WE CAN DO IT. BUT LET'S REALIZE WHO WE TAKE OUR PLEDGE TO, AND MINE WILL ALWAYS BE NOT TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BUT TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. SO LET'S BE AT THE TABLE AND PUT ALL THINGS ON THE TABLE. MR. PRESIDENT, I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:41:18 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 10:43:33 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM GEORGIA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:43:36 AM

    MR. ISAKSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:43:38 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:43:40 AM

    MR. ISAKSON

    VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE FOR A MOMENT DURING THIS PERIOD OF…

    VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE FOR A MOMENT DURING THIS PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS TO TALK ABOUT WHARVE IS TALKING ABOUT, THAT'S THE CRISIS WITH OUR DEBT CEILING, THE APPROACHING THE DEADLINE THAT WE HAVE, AND WHAT WE SHOULD DO. LAST NIGHT, AS I THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT I WOULD SAY THIS MORNING, I THOUGHT BACK TO THAT HORRIBLE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER OF 2008 WHEN THE GREATEST FINANCIAL CRISIS SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION HIT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I WAS A MEMBER OF THE SENATE, AND I WAS HERE THE NIGHT THE TARP VOTE CAME BEFORE US TO TRY AND SALVAGE AND SAVE THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES. PROBABLY THE TOUGHEST VOTE I EVER TOOFNLGT AS TIME HAS PROVEN, IT WAS THE RIGHT VOTE TO TAKE BECAUSE WE DID STABLIZE THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM OF BUT AT THAT TIME WE WERE REACTING TO A CRISIS THAT WE WERE NOT IN CONTROL OF. TODAY WE'VE CRISIS THAT WE'RE TOTALLY IN CONTROL OF. IT IS IRONIC TO ME THAT 35 DAYS BEFORE THE DEADLINE OF AUGUST 2, WE'RE FIDDLING AROUND IN THE SENATE ARGUING WITH EACH OTHER WHEN WE SHOULD BE TALKING TO EACH OTHER, LOOKING AT THOSE THINGS THAT WE CAN DO TO AVERT A CRISIS AND TO MOVE FORWARD. I SEE MY LEADERS COME TO THE FLOOR, SO I'M GOING TO SHORTEN MY REMARKS A LITTLE SO HE CAN HAVE HIS FULL TIME. BUT I WANT TO MAKE THIS POINT. THIS IS A CRISIS IN WHICH WE ARE CONTROL, UNLIKE 2508. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT THAT'S BEEN PROPOSED BY THE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE OF THIS SENATE IS THE STRAITJACKET AND THE DISCIPLINE WE ALL NEED. WHEN I WAS A STATE LEGISLATOR FOR 17 YEARS WE HAD A PROGRAM IN CHILDREN'S DRUG ABUSE CALLED "JUST SAY NO" WHERE WE TAUGHT KIDS NOT USE THEM. WE NEED A WAY FOR CONGRESS TO SAY "JUST SAY NO TO SPENDING." IT'S THE TYPE OF DISCIPLINE ALMOST EVERY STATE IN THE UNITED STATES IMPOSES UPON ITSELF. IN GEORGIA WE CAN'T DEFICIT SPEND BECAUSE OUR CONSTITUTION WON'T LET US. WE CAN'T BORROW MORE THAN 10% OF OUR BUDGET BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION WILL NOT LET US. THOSE ARE THE TYPES OF DISCIPLINES THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS NEEDS. SO I END BEFORE I YIELD TO THE LEADER WITH THE WAY I HAVE BEGUN, WHEN THE FINANCIAL CRISIS HIT IN SEPTEMBER 2008, WE WERE DEALING WITH ISSUES UPON WHICH WE HAD NO CONTROL. TODAY WE ARE DEALING WITH AN ISSUE UPON WHICH WE HAVE TOTAL CONTROL. IT'S TIME WE PUT IN THE STRAITJACKET, THE PROCEDURES AND THE PROCESS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND RUN OUR COUNTRY LIKE EVERY AMERICAN FAMILY HAS TO RUN THEIR BUDGET. AND NOW I'LL YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE LEADER.

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  • 10:46:29 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I'D LIKE TO SAY A WORD ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S PRESS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY.…

    I'D LIKE TO SAY A WORD ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S PRESS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY. WHAT I HEARD HIM PROPOSE IS THAT WE SOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS BY SPENDING MORE MONEY. SOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS BY SPENDING MORE MONEY. AND THAT WE SOLVE THE JOBS CRISIS BY RAISING TAXES. SOLVE A JOBS CRISIS BY RAISING TAXES. I WANT TO KNOW, IS THERE A SINGLE MEMBER OF CONGRESS, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, WHO THINKS IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO RAISE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN NEW JOB-KILLING TAXES AT A TIME WHEN 14 MILLION AMERICANS ARE OUT OF WORK. I HAVEN'T HEARD FROM ANY OF THEM, BUT THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENT WAS TRYING TO DEFEND YESTERDAY. WHO REALLY THINKS THE ANSWER TO A $1.6 TRILLION DEFICIT IS A SECOND STIMULUS? THAT THE ANSWER IS MORE DEFICIT SPENDING? WHERE IN THE WORLD DID THAT IDEA COME FROM? THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENT WAS TRYING TO DEFEND YESTERDAY. LOOK, THE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT THIS. HE SAID YESTERDAY THAT REDUCING THE DEFICIT GROWS THE ECONOMY. THAT PART OF HIS PRESS CONFERENCE HE GOT RIGHT. REDUCING THE DEFICIT GROWS THE ECONOMY. HIS OWN SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION HAS TOLD HIM NOT TO ENACT ONE OF THE TAX HIKES HE WAS NOW PROPOSING AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY. THIS IS WHAT THEY SAID OVER AT THE S.B.A., IT COULD FORCE MANY SMALL BUSINESSES TO CLOSE, CLOSE THEIR DOORS. 14 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF WORK, AND HE WANTS TO TAKE AN ACTION THAT WOULD FORCE SMALL BUSINESSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO CLOSE? THAT'S HIS VISION OF SHARED SACRIFICE? I THINK THE AMERICAN WORKER HAS SACRIFICED QUITE ENOUGH ALREADY. BESIDES, ALL OF US KNOW THAT CONGRESS ISN'T GOING TO APPROVE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAX HIKES. IT'S SIMPLY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. WE'VE KNOWN THAT FOR SIX MONTHS, AND WE'VE BEEN SAYING IT ALL ALONG. THE PRESIDENT DOES NOT SEEM TO GET IT. SO LET ME DO SOMETHING THAT I THINK WOULD BE CONSTRUCTIVE. I'D LIKE TO INVITE THE PRESIDENT TO COME TO THE CAPITOL TODAY TO MEET WITH SENATE REPUBLICANS. ANY TIME THIS AFTERNOON HE'S AVAILABLE, TO COME ON UP TO THE CAPITOL AND MEET WITH SENATE REPUBLICANS. THAT WAY HE CAN HEAR DIRECTLY FROM SENATE REPUBLICANS, DIRECTLY FROM SENATE REPUBLICANS WHY WHAT HE'S PROPOSING WILL NOT PASS. SO I INVITE HIM TO COME ON UP TODAY AND MEET WITH SENATE REPUBLICANS, HEAR DIRECTLY FROM THEM, AND WE CAN DISCUSS WHAT HE HAS IN MIND. AND WE CAN START TALKING ABOUT MAYBE FINALLY START TALKING ABOUT WHAT'S ACTUALLY POSSIBLE. THE PRESIDENT SAYS HE WANTS TO GET WORKING, WANTS US TO GET WORKING. I CAN'T THINK OF A BETTER WAY THAN TO HAVE HIM COME RIGHT ON OVER TODAY. WE'RE WAITING. AND HEAR DIRECTLY FROM OUR CONFERENCE ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE REALITIES IN CONGRESS RIGHT NOW. MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:50:00 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 10:50:16 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:56:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: ARE WE IN A QUORUM…

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: ARE WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

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  • 10:56:51 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WE ARE. A SENATOR: I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT IT BE DISPENSED…

    OFFICER: WE ARE. A SENATOR: I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT IT BE DISPENSED WITH AND ALSO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE ALLOWED TO PWER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH MY COLLEAGUES.

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  • 10:57:02 AM

    MR. THUNE

    FACES PERMANENT DEFICITS UNLESS WE CAN GET A HANDLE ON OUR FINANCES. I'VE…

    FACES PERMANENT DEFICITS UNLESS WE CAN GET A HANDLE ON OUR FINANCES. I'VE GOT A CHART HERE WHICH SHOWS WHAT I THINK OUR FUTURE IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE IF WE STAY ON THE CURRENT TRAJECTORY. THE PATH LEADS US TO HIGHER DEBT AND G.D.P. WE'RE IN UNPRECEDENTED TERRITORY ALREADY. YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORLD WAR II TO FIND A TIME WHEN WE HAD THIS KIND OF DEBT TO G.D.P. AS THE CHART SHOWS, WE'RE GOING TO FACE AN EVER-INCREASING BURDEN OF DEBT, WITHOUT SHORING UP OUR FINANCES, WE KNOW WHAT OUR FUTURE IS AND WHAT IT'S GOING TO LOOK LIKE IN THIS COUNTRY. JUST THIS WEEK WE SAW THE COUNTRY OF GREECE HAD TO APPROVE AN AUSTERITY PACKAGE TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THEIR NEXT DISBURSEMENT OF A MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR BAILOUT LOAN FROM THE I.M.F. AND OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. THE AUSTERITY PACKAGE INCLUDED 28.4 BILLION EUROS AND SPENDING CUTS AND TAX INCREASES. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON'T DO ANYTHING. WE'RE GOING TO BE FACED AT A TIME WHEN WE WILL BE FACED WITH MASSIVE CUTS IN SPENDING, MASSIVE TAX INCREASES IF WE DON'T GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. THAT ISN'T NECESSARY, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. INSTEAD OF MORE DEBT AND MORE SPENDING, WE COULD PASS A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT THAT WOULD PREVENT US FROM SPENDING MORE THAN WE TAKE IN. WE KNOW WHAT THE EFFECT OF THIS IS ON OUR FUTURE AS WELL. WE HAVE STATES ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, 49 STATES THAT HAVE SOME TYPE OF BALANCED BUDGET REQUIREMENT, INCLUDING MY HOME STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA. IT'S THE REASON WHY OUR STATE'S BUDGET IS ALWAYS BALANCED. OUR SHREPBLGS SLAY TOUR CAN'T GO -- OUR LEGISLATURE CAN'T GO HOME UNTIL THAT HAPPENS. WE NEED THAT DISCIPLINE HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT WOULD BRING THAT. I HAVE WITH ME ON THE FLOOR A COLLEAGUE FROM THE STATE OF NEBRASKA, SENATOR JOHANNS, WHO ALSO SERVED AS HIS STATE'S GOVERNOR. I THINK, MY UNDERSTANDING IS AT LEAST THAT THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA, WHEN HE WAS GOVERNOR, HAD A BALANCED BUDGET REQUIREMENT IN THEIR CONSTITUTION. AND I WONDER IF YOU COULD EXPLAIN WHAT EFFECT THAT HAD ON YOUR STATE AND WHETHER IT FORCED YOU TO MAKE SOME OF THE TOUGH CHOICES THAT ARE NECESSARY TO GET THE BUDGET BALANCED.

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  • 10:59:13 AM

    MR. JOHANNS

    THANK YOU. I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK ABOUT A TOPIC THAT I…

    THANK YOU. I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK ABOUT A TOPIC THAT I THINK HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD FOR MY STATE, THE STATE OF NEBRASKA. I DID HAVE THE PRIVILEGE A FEW YEARS BACK OF SERVING AS THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEBRASKA UNTIL I CAME OUT TO JOIN THE CABINET AS SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. AND I SERVED ABOUT SIX YEARS. BEFORE THAT, I WAS THE MAYOR OF OUR STATE CAPITAL, THE COMMUNITY OF LINCOLN, A GREAT COMMUNITY. WE FOLLOWED THE SAME PATTERN REALLY AT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE THAT I DID AT THE MAYOR'S OFFICE. WE GOVERNED WITH A SIMPLE PRINCIPLE: WE DID NOT SPEND MONEY THAT WE DID NOT HAVE. BEFORE I TALK ABOUT THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, LET ME JUST EXPLAIN TO YOU HOW THAT WORKED AS MAYOR OF LINCOLN. MY BUDGET STAFF WOULD GO TO WORK. THEY WORKED ON THE BUDGET PRETTY MUCH YEARROUND, REALLY IT WAS A YEAR-ROUND ENDEAVOR, AND AT SOME POINT IN THE PROCESS, I WOULD GET A STACK OF PAPERWORK THAT WAS ABOUT AN INCH THICK WITH LINE AFTER LINE AFTER LINE AFTER LINE OF ITEMS THAT THEY WERE PROPOSING THAT WE NEEDED TO SPEND MONEY ON TO KEEP THE CITY RUNNING. AND THERE WOULD BE EVERYTHING FROM PLACE CARS TO WHATEVER TO SALARIES. IMAGINE WHAT IT TAKES TO RUN A CITY AND IT WOULD BE ON THAT LIST. I WOULD GO THROUGH IT ITEM BY ITEM, PAGE BY PAGE, STUDYING EACH ENTRY, AND ULTIMATELY REACHING THE CONCLUSION FOR EACH ENTRY, YES, I BELIEVE THIS IS NECESSARY TO KEEP OUR CITY GOING. WELL, SOMEWHERE IN THAT THICK STACK OF PAPERWORK I WOULD TURN OVER THE PAGE AND I WOULD COME TO A PAGE WHERE THERE WAS A RED LINE DRAWN THROUGH THE ITEMS, AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT RED LINE WAS THAFERG ABOVE THAT RED LINE -- WAS THAT EVERYTHING ABOVE THAT RED LINE WE HAD MONEY FOR. EVERYTHING BELOW THAT RED LINE, THERE WAS NO MONEY FOR. AND SO IF THE NEXT ENTRY BELOW THE RED LINE WAS SOMETHING THAT I REALLY WANTED TO SEE HAPPEN, THEN WHAT I HAD TO DO AS THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THAT COMMUNITY WAS TO CUT SPENDING TO ELIMINATE SOMETHING ELSE. BECAUSE, YOU SEE, WHEN I WENT TO THE CITY COUNCIL, I COULDN'T GO TO THEM AND SAY FOR OPERATIONS WE'RE GOING TO BORROW A WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY. WELL, IT DIDN'T REALLY CHANGE AT ALL WHEN I BECAME THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEBRASKA. OUR CONSTITUTION REQUIRES A BALANCED BUDGET. AND IT'S VERY, VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD. IT JUST BASICALLY SAYS YOU CAN'T SPEND MORE THAN WHAT'S COMING IN. YOU CAN'T BUY THINGS THAT YOU DON'T HAVE MONEY FOR. BUT LET ME ADD ANOTHER PIECE TO THIS THAT MAKES OUR STATE QUITE A BIT DIFFERENT I THINK THAN VIRTUALLY ANY OTHER STATE IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU SEE, WAY BACK WHEN WHEN OUR CONSTITUTION WAS WRITTEN, THOSE WHO SAT DOWN TO WRITE THE CONSTITUTION WITH AMAZING FORESIGHT SAID YOU KNOW, AT SOME POINT POLITICIANS IN THEIR PASSION TO GET RE-ELECTED ARE GOING TO SAY TO THE PEOPLE YOU CAN HAVE ALL OF THIS AND THEN FINANCE IT BY BORROWING MONEY. WELL, THEY DIDN'T WANT THAT. SO LITERALLY, THERE IS A PROVISION IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT IN ESSENCE SAYS YOU CAN'T BORROW ANY MONEY. I THINK THE LIMIT IS LIKE LIKE $50,000 OR $100,000, AND THAT'S IT. YOU KNOW, IF YOU DRIVE ACROSS THE ROADS IN NEBRASKA, I WANT TO POINT OUT TO YOU THAT THEY'RE PAID FOR. WHY? BECAUSE WE DON'T SPEND MONEY WE DON'T HAVE. OUR CONSTITUTION WILL NOT ALLOW US TO DO IT. AND SO YEAR AFTER YEAR WHEN WE GET TOGETHER, WE LOOK AT THE PRIORITIES OF THE STATE. IT MIGHT BE EDUCATION. IT MIGHT BE SOMETHING RELATIVE TO HUMAN SERVICES, IT MIGHT BE ROADS, WHATEVER IT IS, AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, ME AS GOVERNOR WORKING WITH THE LEGISLATURE WOULD DECIDE WHAT WE ARE GOING TO FUND AND AT WHAT LEVEL. AND I COULD GUARANTEE PEOPLE OF NEBRASKA THAT THREE THINGS WOULD HAPPEN BY THE END OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. NUMBER ONE, A BUDGET WOULD BE PASSED. NUMBER TWO, IT WOULD BE BALANCED. AND NUMBER THREE, WE WOULD NOT BORROW MONEY FOR THOSE FIRST TWO THINGS TO HAPPEN. A BUDGET WOULD BE PASSED AND IT WOULD BE BALANCED AND WE WEREN'T GOING TO BORROW MONEY TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. AND THAT'S BEEN GOING ON FOR DECADES AND DECADES AND DECADES. NOW, SOME ARE OUT THERE PROBABLY READY TO RUSH DOWN HERE TO THE FLOOR AND SAY OH, MIKE, THAT SOUNDS SO BACKWARD. AND HERE'S WHAT I HAVE TO SAY. DURING THIS VERY DIFFICULT ECONOMIC TIME, ALL OF US AGREE IT'S BEEN ONE OF THE TOUGHEST TIMES SINCE THE DEPRESSION. UNEMPLOYMENT IN NEBRASKA HAS NOT GONE OVER 5%. UNEMPLOYMENT TODAY IN NEBRASKA IS 4.1%. LET ME SAY THAT A BIT DIFFERENTLY. 96% OF PEOPLE ABLE TO WORK IN NEBRASKA HAVE A JOB. 96%. OUR LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR ACTUALLY RECESSED EARLY -- AND I BELIEVE I REMEMBER THIS CORRECTLY. THEY UNANIMOUSLY PASSED THE STATE BUDGET. THERE'S DEMOCRATS IN THE LEGISLATURE, THERE'S REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE, THERE'S INDEPENDENTS. HOW DID THEY DO THAT? THEY DID THAT BECAUSE THEY FELT IT A RESPONSIBILITY TO THE STATE AND TO THEIR CONSTITUTION TO GET A BUDGET DONE TO MAKE SURE IT'S BALANCED AND NOT TO BORROW MONEY TO GET THERE. NOW, LET ME CONTRAST THAT WITH WHAT'S HAPPENING OUT HERE. WHAT'S HAPPENING OUT HERE IS FOR DECADES AND DECADES AND DECADES, WE AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAVE SAID TO THE PEOPLE DON'T YOU WORRY. WE CAN BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE. WE CAN GIVE YOU THIS. WE CAN GIVE YOU THAT. BECAUSE WE HAVE GOT A BIG CREDIT CARD. WELL, THAT CREDIT CARD TODAY IS NOW AT $14.5 TRILLION AND GROWING. GROWING AND GROWING AND GROWING. AND WHEN I GO BACK HOME AND DO TOWN HALL MEETINGS AND I LOOK ACROSS THE ROOM AND I SEE YOUNG PEOPLE THERE OR CHILDREN, IT PAINS ME TO TELL THEM THAT I KNOW WHO IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY THE CREDIT CARD OFF. NOT MIKE JOHANNS WHO TURNS 61 THIS YEAR, ALTHOUGH IT SHOULD BE MY RESPONSIBILITY, IT'S GOING TO BE OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN WHO HAVE THEIR OWN PRIORITIES, THEIR OWN DESIRES, THEIR OWN WISHES. AND YET, THEY ARE GOING TO BE SADDLED WITH TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF DEBT BEFORE THEY CAN EVEN ADDRESS THEIR PRIORITIES. I'LL END WITH THIS THOUGHT. WHAT'S THE MERIT OF A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT? WELL, WHEN I WAS 20 YEARS OLD, OUR NATION OWED $380 BILLION. $380 BILLION. IT IS PROJECTED THAT WHEN I REACH 65, JUST FOUR SHORT YEARS FROM NOW, OUR NATION WILL OWE OWE $20 TRILLION. IT IS TIME TO BE HONEST WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. YOU WON'T SOLVE THIS PROBLEM UNLESS YOU PUT DISCIPLINE IN PLACE LIKE OUR STATES HAVE DONE, LIKE THE GREAT STATE OF NEBRASKA HAS DONE THAT ESSENTIALLY SAYS YEAR AFTER YEAR, PRESIDENT AFTER PRESIDENT, SENATOR AFTER SENATOR, HOUSE MEMBER AFTER HOUSE MEMBER, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS. AND THAT'S WHAT THE BALANCED BUDGET IS ABOUT. BECAUSE, YOU SEE, WITHOUT THAT, THERE WILL BE ALWAYS A WAY TO GET AROUND IT TO DO SOMETHING AND NOT ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF RUNNING THIS COUNTRY WITH FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.

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  • 11:09:00 AM

    MR. THUNE

    APPRECIATE THE COMMENTS FROM MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEBRASKA AS AN EXECUTIVE,…

    APPRECIATE THE COMMENTS FROM MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEBRASKA AS AN EXECUTIVE, BOTH AS A MAYOR AND A GOVERNOR, HE OBVIOUSLY HAS HAD TO MAKE THE HARD DECISIONS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO GET THE BOOKS TO BALANCE IN HIS -- IN -- BOTH IN THE CITY OF LINCOLN AND OF NEBRASKA. IT STRIKES ME THAT AS YOU HAVE OBSERVED, THE ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH THE STATE OF NEBRASKA FINDS ITSELF TODAY ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN OTHER PLACES AROUND THE COUNTRY. GRANTED, THERE ARE LOTS OF FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THAT, PART OF IT I THINK HAS TO DO WITH THE -- THE BUSINESS CLIMATE AND -- IN SOME STATES AROUND THE COUNTRY, BUT CLEARLY ALSO A FUNCTION OF THE DISCIPLINE THAT THE STATE OF NEBRASKA IMPOSES ON ITSELF THROUGH THIS BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT AND THE DECISIONS THAT THE LEADERS IN THAT STATE BOTH LEGISLATORS AND GOVERNOR MAKE IN ORDER TO MAKE THAT POSSIBLE. AND SO THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA'S EXPERIENCE I THINK IS VERY VALUABLE IN HELPING US SHAPE THE DEBATE THAT OUGHT TO OCCUR HERE ON A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. AND I WOULD SAY THAT ONE OF THE FEATURES OF THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT THAT WE'RE BOTH COSPONSORING IS THAT IT CAPS SPENDING AT 18% OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY. AND THAT'S NOT A NUMBER THAT'S PICKED OUT OF THIN AIR. THAT'S A NUMBER THAT COMES FROM A HISTORICAL LEVEL OF TAXATION FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS. AND IN THE PAST, THE PAST FIVE TIMES THAT THE BUDGET WAS BALANCED HERE IN WASHINGTON -- AND BEAR IN MIND, FIVE TIMES PROBABLY IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS -- SPENDING AVERAGED JUST UNDER 18.7% OF G.D.P. NOT TOO FAR OFF FROM WHAT THE BALANCED BUDGET REQUIREMENT, THE CAP THAT WOULD BE IMPOSED UNDER THIS AMENDMENT WOULD REQUIRE. AND FURTHER, WE KNOW THAT IN 2007, A YEAR IN WHICH WE HAD TAX LAWS THAT ARE VERY SIMILAR TO CURRENT TAX LAWS, REVENUE WAS 18.5% OF G.D.P. SO IF WE COULD CONSTRAIN SPENDING TO 18% OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMIC OUTPUT, WE WOULD BE ABLE TO BALANCE THE BUDGET WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. NOW, OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE SEEM TO THINK THAT -- CONTINUE TO CLAIM THE PROBLEM COULD BE FIXED IF WE HAD ONLY RAISED TAXES ON A FEW RICH PEOPLE, TAX CORPORATE JETS, TAX -- STOP GIVING TAX BREAKS TO AMERICAN ENERGY PRODUCTION, THOSE SORTS OF THINGS. THE TRUTH IS THAT THE TAX PROPOSALS FROM DEMOCRATS PUT ONLY A RELATIVELY MINOR DEBT IN THE DEFICIT. TO TRULY BALANCE THE BUDGET THROUGH TAX INCREASES, YOU WOULD HAVE TO SEE ASTRONOMICAL RATE INCREASES THAT WOULD HIT NOT ONLY HIGH-INCOME EARNERS AND CORPORATIONS BUT MIDDLE CLASS AND SMALL BUSINESSES AS WELL. SO THIS IS CLEARLY NOT WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT. IT'S NOT WHAT I WANT. SIMPLY RAISING TAXES ON JOB CREATORS ISN'T GOING TO IMPROVE OUR ECONOMY. IT'S ONLY GOING TO HURT IT MORE. TAX INCREASES AREN'T THE ONLY THREAT TO OUR ECONOMY. WE ALSO KNOW THAT THESE CURRENT LEVELS OF DEBT ARE COSTING US ABOUT A MILLION JOBS A YEAR AS WELL AND THAT THESE DEBT LEVELS ARE ONLY PREDICTED TO INCREASE. I GUESS I WOULD ASK MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEBRASKA, IN HIS EXPERIENCE AS A GOVERNOR, AS A MAYOR, WHETHER OR NOT WHEN IT CAME TIME TO MAKE THESE HARD DECISIONS ABOUT BALANCING THE BUDGET, DID THE NOTION OF RAISING REVENUES, INCREASING TAXES COME INTO PLAY, BECAUSE I'M SURE THAT WAS A DEBATE THAT ALWAYS WAS RAISED. IT ALWAYS IS. YOU CAN EITHER REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SPENDING OR YOU CAN RAISE TAXES ON SOMEONE, AND IT STRIKES ME THE PROBLEM WE HAVE HERE IN WASHINGTON IS NOT THAT WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH REVENUE. WE HAVE GOT PLENTY OF REVENUE. WE HAVE JUST GOT TOO MUCH SPENDING. AND I'M CURIOUS TO KNOW IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA IF OF THAT WHAT HIS EXPERIENCE WAS IN TERMS OF THIS DEBATE THAT WE HAVE HERE ABOUT MORE TAXES OR LESS SPENDING.

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  • 11:12:34 AM

    MR. JOHANNS

    THE PHILOSOPHY IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA THAT WE WANTED TO BE JOB CREATORS.…

    THE PHILOSOPHY IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA THAT WE WANTED TO BE JOB CREATORS. WE WANTED TO HAVE THAT LOW UNEMPLOYMENT, AND SO WE RECOGNIZE THAT IT'S NOT GOVERNMENT THAT'S GOING TO CREATE THE JOBS. AFTER ALL, PEOPLE DON'T WANT A BIGGER, GRANDER, GREATER STATE GOVERNMENT OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, FOR THAT MATTER. BUT OUR RESPONSIBILITY WAS TO CREATE THE RIGHT CLIMATE SO A SMALL BUSINESS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW AND EXPAND, THAT A LARGE EMPLOYER, LOOKING ACROSS THE UNITED STATES FOR A GREAT PLACE TO LOCATE WOULD KNOW THAT THEY HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW AND EXPAND A BUSINESS IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA. AND SO WE FOUGHT LIKE TOOTH AND NAIL. AND I WILL GIVE YOU A CURRENT EXAMPLE. IF YOU DIAL THE CLOCK BACK TO ABOUT NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR, YOU WOULD SEE THAT OUR CURRENT GOVERNOR, DAVID HEINEMAN, WAS FACED WITH A GREAT CHALLENGE. HE HAD ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS THAT HE HAD TO SOMEHOW MAKE UP TO BALANCE THE BUDGET OVER A TWO-YEAR CYCLE. NOW, FOR A STATE LIKE NEBRASKA, THAT IS A POWERFUL AMOUNT OF MONEY. YOU KNOW, IN WASHINGTON WHERE WE TALK ABOUT TRILLION DOLLAR PROGRAMS LIKE STIMULUS, ET CETERA, THAT MAY NOT SOUND LIKE MUCH, BUT IT'S A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY IN OUR STATE. NOW, I SUPPOSE OUR GOVERNOR COULD HAVE SAID WELL, IF WE JUST HIT THE TAXPAYER HERE MORE AND HIT THE TAXPAYER THERE MORE, THEN ALL OF THIS WILL BALANCE OUT. BUT HE ADOPTED VERY MUCH THE OPPOSITE VIEW, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I EXPECT OF GOVERNOR HEINEMAN, AND HE SAID WE'RE GOING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET AND WE'RE GOING TO DO IT WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THAT PHILOSOPHY IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. YOU KNOW, FAMILIES ARE TIGHTENING THEIR BELT, THEY'RE BALANCING THEIR BUDGET, THEY'RE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN, THEY'RE SUFFERING THROUGH ECONOMIC TIMES THAT ARE TOUGH. WHY WOULD YOU HIT THEM HARDER? WHY WOULD YOU GO TO YOUR FAMILY SO OUR -- TO YOUR FAMILIES WHO ARE ALREADY STRUGGLING AND SAYING I HAVE GOT TO TAKE MORE MONEY OUT OF YOUR BILL FOLD AND SEND IT TO THE STATE CAPITAL? AND SO HE LED AND HE STEPPED FORWARD AND HE SAID HERE'S A PLAN TO DELIVER A BALANCED BUDGET. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? HE DIDN'T SEND SOMEBODY ELSE TO GO INTO THAT ROOM. HE WENT HIMSELF AND SAID, THIS IS THE PLAN THAT I BELIEVE IN FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR STATE. AND THREFS THROUGH EVERY MINUTE, EVERY HOUR, EVERY SECOND OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. AND AT THE END OF IT, WITH NO TAX INCREASES, THEY BALANCED THE BUDGET, AND LIKE I SAID, I'LL HAVE TO CHECK THIS, BUT IF MEMORY SERVES ME CORRECTLY, I THINK THAT PLAN PASSED UNANIMOUSLY. AND IN OUR STATE LEGISLATURE, WE HAVE MEMBERS WHO ARE MORE LIBERAL THAN OTHERS, MORE CONSERVATIVE, WE HAVE SOME MORE DEMOCRATS, SOME WHO ARE REPUBLICANS. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE LED. AND, AGAIN, I DRAW A SHARP CONTRAST HERE. THERE IS ONE NATIONALLY ELECTED OFFICIAL IN OUR NATION, AND WE CALL HIM "MR. PRESIDENT." THE PRESIDENT PAYS THE FILING FEE AND CONVINCES THE NATION THAT HE OR SHE IS THE RIGHT PERSON TO OCCUPY THAT OFFICE, AND THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THEIR LEADERSHIP. WE NEED TO HAVE OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE, THE MAN WE CALL "MR. PRESIDENT," DELIVER A PLAN THAT HE BELIEVES IS THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR OUR COUNTRY. AND THAT IS THE KEY TO THIS ISSUE. NOW, I WILL BE VERY CLEAR. I LIKE THE PLAN OF GOVERNOR HINEMAN. IN TOUGH TIMES YOU PULL BACK. WHEN THE REVENUES ARE A LITTLE BIT BETTER, YOU CAN DO SOME THINGS AND ESTABLISH SOME NEW PRIORITIES. BUT WHAT HAPPENS OUT HERE IS THERE IS NO PRIORITIZATION. IT'S JUST SPEND ON EVERYTHING, SPEND ON EVERYTHING THAT WALKS BY, AND SOMEDAY OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY OFF THE CREDIT CARD. AND I JUST DON'T THINK THAT'S RIGHT.

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  • 11:17:13 AM

    MR. THUNE

    THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA FOR HIS OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAT. IN JUST A…

    THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA FOR HIS OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAT. IN JUST A MINUTE, I WANT TO TURN TO THE RANKING MEMBER OF THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE TO TALK ABOUT SETTING PRIORITIES. I DO WANT TO POINT OUT IN THE COURSE OF THIS DISCUSSION, HOWEVER, THAT WHAT YOU HAVE SAID IS EXACTLY RIGHT. YOU CUT SPENDING, AND YOU GROW THE ECONOMY. ONE OF THE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO YOU IS GOT TO CREATE JOBS, YOU GOT TO GET ECONOMIC EXPANSION DOING. THE WAY NOT TO DO THAT IS TO RAISE TAXES. THAT'S THE PRESCRIPTION THAT MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE WOULD LIKE. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY THE OPPOSITE THING THAT YOU WOULD DO WHEN YOU'VE GOT A DOWN ECONOMY AND YOU'RE TRYING TO CREATE JOBS. SO WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE LOOKING AT IS HOW DO WE REDUCE THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT, GET US LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS AND GETTING THE ECONOMY GROWING AND EXPANDING AGAIN AND CREATING JOBS? I WANT TO POINT OUT ONE THING. WE'VE ALL -- WE'RE PLANNING RIGHT NOW, TO THE EXTENT THERE IS ANY PLANNING GOING ON -- AND WITHOUT A BUDGET IT IS VERY DO I HAVE PRIORITIZE -- BUT THERE ARE EXPECTATIONS ABOUT WHAT REVENUES WILL BE FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. THERE WAS AN INTERESTING PIECE IN "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" EARLIER THIS WEEK WRITTEN BY LARRY LINDSEY, A FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE GOVERNOR, WHO POINTED OUT THAT THE CURRENT PREDICTIONS FOR DEBTS AND DEFICITS IN THE VERY COMING -- IN THE COMING YEARS ARE VERY, VERY OPTIMISTIC, FOR COUPLE OF REASONS. ONE IS THAT THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE C.B.O. ARE USING VERY OPTIMISTIC NUMBERS FOR GROWTH IN OUR ECONOMY. AND WHILE I HOPE THAT THEY'RE CORRECTCORRECT, I AM CONCERNED THAT THEY COULD BE VERY MUCH OVERSTATING THE ECONOMY. IF MORE REALISTIC NUMBERS WERE USED WHAT LARRY LINDSEY RECOGNIZED IS THAT THE DEBT NUMBERS COULD JUMP BY AN ADDITIONAL $4 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS BY ASSUMING A MORE HISTORIC GROWTH LEVEL, GIVEN THE TIMES THAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH. AT THE SAME TIME, YOU KNOW, THE PRESIDENT AND THE C.B.O. ARE ALSO PREDICTING THAT INTEREST RATES ARE GOING TO REMAIN MUCH LOWER THAN THEY HAVE HISTORICALLY. WHAT MR. LINDSEY POINTED OUT, IS IF INTEREST RATES SET TO WHAT ARE THE HISTORICAL ARCHLS, IT WOULD COST US AN ADDITIONAL $4.9 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS MORE TO FINANCE OUR DEBT THAN WHAT WE'RE CURRENTLY EXPECTING. SO THOSE TWO FACTORS ALONE WOULD HAVE ANDS 8.9 TRILLION -- WOULD HAVE AN $8.9 TRILLION NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THESE FOACT FORECASTS FOR THE NEXT DECADE. HE POINT UTAH OUT THAT THE NEW HEALTH CARE LAW IS ANOTHER HIDDEN SIGNIFICANT COST. IF YOU WHROOK AT WHAT EMPLOYERS ARE BEING FACED WITH MANY ARE GOING TO CHOOSE TO DUMP THEIR EMPLOYEES INTO THESE PUBLIC EXCHANGES AND YOU'LL SEE THE ADDITIONAL COSTS OF $74 BILLION TO $85 BILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. YOU START ADDING THAT UP, YOU ADD IN THE ECONOMIC GROWTH ASUM SHONS, ASSUMING THAT THEY -- AND AGAIN I HOPE THAT THEY ARE RIGHT -- BUT ASSUMING THAT THEY ARE WRONG, AND YOU HAVE LOWER LEVELS OF GROWTH -- IF WE HAVE MORE REALISTIC INTEREST RATES IN TERMS OF HISTORICAL AVERAGES, THESE LONG-TERM PREDICTIONS ARE JUST -- JUST GET AWFUL IN A REAL HUER RISM THE NICE THING ABOUT HAVING A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT IS YOU ARE FORCED TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS EVERY YEAR. INSTEAD OF 2K50E8 DEALING WITH THESE LONG-TERM PREDICTIONS, EACH AND EVERY YIESH THE BUDGET HAS TO BE BALANCED. IFIF THERE ARE FICTIONAL SAVINGS FROM THESE INDEPENDENT PAYMENT ADVISORY BOARDS THAT BE BEING CREATED, AND THOSE AREN'T REALIZED, THE BUDGET HAS GOT TO BE BALANCED. IF TAXES DON'T PRODUCE AS MUCH REF NIEWRKS THE BUDGET HAS GOT TO BE BALANCED. THIS IS THE VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION THAT AS THE SENATOR POINT YOU HAD OUT, SO MANY STATES HAVE COME TO. SO MANY STATES HAVE CONCLUDE THAWFD A GOT HAVE SOME KIND OF RIRNLT TO BATTLE BUSMGHT IT IS THE MOST POWERFUL FISCAL REFORM THAT WE COULD EVER HAVE HERE. WE HAVE GOT CREDIT RATING AGENCIES THAT ARE QUESTIONING OUR LONG-TERM BUDGET OUTLOOK. IF WE DID A BEARNTLE I THINK THAT THERE WOULDN'T BE -- IF WE DID A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, I THINK THAT THERE WOULDN'T BE ANY QUESTION THAT WE WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO PAY OUR BILLS. IN 1987 THERE WAS A VOTE ON A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT AT THAT TIME. WE DIDN'T VOTE ON IT IN THE HOUSE BECAUSE THE SENATE VOTED ON IT FIMPLETS THE SENATE CAME WITHIN ONE SINGLE VOTE OF PASSING A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. HAD THEY DONE THAT, WE WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PASS IT IN THE HOUSE. WE HAD THE VOTES FOR T WE COULD HAVE SENT IT ON TO THE STATES. I CAN'T HELP THINKING HOW DIFFERENT OUR FISCAL SITUATION WOULD BE TODAY IF THEY HAD THAT ONE ADDITIONAL VOTE BACK IN 1997 TO GET US A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. NOW, MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES HERE CAMPAIGNED ON A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, BUT THE -- YOU KNOW, HOPEFULLY WHEN WE GET A CHANCE TO VOTE ON IT -- AND I HOPE WE DO IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS -- WE'LL SEE WHETHER OR NOT THE RHETORIC MATCHES UP WITH THE ACTIONS HERE. BUT ALL THAT TO SAY WE'VE GOT A MAJOR, MAJOR FISCAL CHALLENGE FACE THIS COUNTRY, FOR ALL THE REASONS THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA NOTED, WE ARE HANDING OUR CHILDREN A BURDEN OF DEBT THAT IS NOT FAIR TO THEM, TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS. WE HAVE GOT TO BRING SOME DISCIPLINE TO THE PROCESS OF BUDGETING AROUND HERE, AND WHAT'S UNFORTUNATE -- AND THIS IS I DIDN'T WANT TO TURN TO OUR COLLEAGUE FROM ALABAMA BECAUSE HE IS THE RANKING MEMBER ON THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE -- WE HAVE DONE NOTHING TO PRIORITIZE SPENDING. WE HAVE NOT PASSED A BUDGET FOR 792 DAYS. LET ALONE ONE THAT ACTUALLY BALANCES. AND SO MY STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA SPENDS ANNUALLY ABOUT $3 BILLION. THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BORROWS $4 BILLION EVERY SINGLE DAY. THE BORROWING OF THE FEDERAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EXCEEDS IN ONE DAY WHAT THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA SPENDS IN AN ENTIRE YEAR. THAT IS THE DIMENSION OF THE PROBLEM THAT WE ARE DEALING WITH. ALL THAT BEING SAID, IT'S BEEN 792 DAYS SINCE WE PRODUCED A BUDGET HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. SO I WOULD SAY TO MY COLLEAGUE FROM ALABAMA, CLEARLY THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. WOULDN'T YOU SAY THAT THIS IS REFLECTIVE OF THE LACK OF POLITICAL COURAGE, THE LACK OF POLITICAL WILL THE LACK OF DISCIPLINE AROUND HERE? WE'VE GOT COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT SAY WE DON'T NEED A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. ALL WE'VE GOT TO DO IS BALANCE THE BUDGET. WELL, WHERE IS IT? AND WHERE IS THE BUDGET THAT'S SUPPOSED TO BALANCE? IT'S NOT HAPPENING. SO I THINK THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT IS A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD WAY IN WHICH TO DEAL WITH A MASSIVE, MASSIVE CHALLENGE FACING US IN THE FUTURE, AND WE NEED SOME DISCIPLINE IMPOSED UPON FEDERAL SPENDING, ON THE CONGRESS, THAT SO MANY STATES HAVE, AND AS THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA POINTED OUT, AS THE GOVERNOR OF HIS STATE, HE WAS ABLE TO EXERCISE. I WOULD ASK MY COLLEAGUE FROM ALABAMA HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT WHERE WE ARE WITH REGARD TO THE BUDGET AND IS OUR LACK OF DISCIPLINE HERE, YOU KNOW, NOT -- I SHOULD SAY, IS OUR LACK OF WILLINGNESS TO PASS A BUDGET NOT A REFLECTION OF THE LACK OF DISCIPLINE THAT EXISTS IN THE CONGRESS TODAY AND AN UNWILLINGNESS TO MAKE THE HARD CHOICES NECESSARY TO GET IN FISCAL TRAIN BACK ON TRACK?

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  • 11:24:51 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    YOU, SENATOR THUNE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND THAT OF…

    YOU, SENATOR THUNE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND THAT OF SENATOR JOHANNS. YOU'RE RAISING A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION. WE'VE NEVER, EVER BEEN IN A FINANCIAL SITUATION IN OUR COUNTRY THAT SYSTEMICALLY, DEEPLY DANGEROUS AS WE ARE TODAY. YOU GO THROUGH A WASHINGS YOU BORROW A LOT OF MONEY. YOU GO THROUGH A RECESSION, MAYBE YOUR DEBT GOES UP SOME. BUT WE'RE SYSTEMICALLY IN A RECESSION, BUT WE'RE NESS A LONG-TERM PROLONG-TERM PROJECTIONS, SO LAST YEAR THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY MOVED A BUDGET OUT OF COMMITTEE. SENATOR THUNE IS A MEMBER OF THAT BUDGET COMMITTEE. AND HE REMEMBERS THAT DEBATE. SENATOR REID DECLARED THAT HE WASN'T GOING TO BRING IT UP. IT WAS NEVER BROUGHT UP ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AND EVEN DEBATED. THIS YEAR APPARENTLY THE MAJORITY LEADER DECIDED ONCE AGAIN WE WOULD NOT HAVE A BUDGET AND DIRECTED THAT THE BUDGET COMMITTEE NOT EVEN MARK UP A BUDGET. SO WE'VE NOT EVEN COMMENCED WORK ON A BUDGET THIS YEAR. INDEED, THE MAJORITY LEADER SAID IT WAS FOOLISH FOR THE COUNTRY TO HAVE A BUDGET THIS YEAR, WHICH IS STUNNING SINCE DURING THE 792 DAYS WE'VE BEEN WITHOUT A BUDGET, THE DEBT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS INCREASED SOME $2 TRILLION. THAT'S A STUNNING, STUNNING THING. SO, YES, I BELIEVE THAT HISTORY SHOWS IN THE PAST AND BASED ON THE REAL CRISIS WE FACE IN THE FUTURE, THERE'S NEVER BEEN A MORE IMPORTANT TIME FOR US TO DO WHAT SO MANY STATES DO: HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT THAT REQUIRES US EACH YEAR TO BALANCE THAT BUDGET. I REALLY BELIEVE THIS IS THE RIGHT THING FOR US, AND IT WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER FOR OUR COUNTRY. SENATOR JOHANNS IS HERE, AND HE TALKED ABOUT EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP. YOU AND SENATOR THUNE WERE TALKING ABOUT, JUST HOW DANGEROUS THE DEBT PATH WE'RE ON IS. HOW MUCH GREATER IT WAS IN NEBRASKA'S SITUATION, ALABAMA HAS HAD TO CUT SPENDING -- WE'RE NOT CUTTING SPENDING AT ALL, HAVEN'T BEEN. WE'RE INCREASING SPENDING HERE. BUT I GUESS I WANTED TO ASK YOU A VERY SERIOUS QUESTION: DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE FIRST RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE PRESIDENT, WOULD BE TO HONESTLY TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT THIS IS NOT JUST A POLITICAL DUSTUP BUT THAT WE ARE FACING A VERY SERIOUS DEBT CRISIS THAT COULD ACTUALLY PUT US INTO AN ECONOMIC TAILSPIN AGAIN, KNOCK US DOWN AGAIN, AND THE DEBT NUMBERS WE'RE SEEING WOULD LOOK EVEN WORSE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE HE HAS TO RESPONSIBILITY AND DO YOU FEEL FEEL LIKE IT'S BEEN MET? JOHANNESBURGMR. JOHANNS: SENATOR SESSIONS RAISES AN EXCELLENT POINT. HAVING REALLY SERVED IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH PRETTY MUCH EXCLUSIVELY UNTIL I CAME TO THE SENATE TWO YEARS AGO, THERE IS ONLY ONE LEADER, AND I NOT ONLY BELIEVE THAT THE EXECUTIVE -- IN THIS CASE, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES -- HAS THAT RESPONSIBILITY BUT I FEEL VERY, VERY STRONGLY THAT THAT RESPONSIBILITY HAS NOT BEEN DISCHARGED. I FULLY APPRECIATE THE NEED TO GO OUT THERE AND DRIVE A MESSAGE AND GET VOTES AND GET YOURSELF ELECTED OR REELECTED. THAT, OF COURSE, IS WHAT DEMOCRACY IS ALL ABOUT. BUT THERE IS A POINT AT WHICH THE ELECTION IS OVER, AND THAT NEEDS TO BE SET ASIDE. AND THERE NEEDS TO BE SOMEONE WHO CAN LEAD ON BEHALF OF THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES. WE ARE ALL UNITED STATES SENATORS, BUT IT IS THE PEOPLE OF NEBRASKA WHO VOTE FOR ME. WE ONLY HAVE ONE NATIONALLY ELECTED OFFICIAL, AND THAT IS THE GENTLEMAN THAT I REFERRED TO PREVIOUSLY WHO'S CALLED "MR. PRESIDENT." THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THAT, NOT IN OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT. IT IS ABSOLUTELY INCUMBENT UPON THE PRESIDENT TO LAY OUT, IN TERMS THAT UNITED STATES CITIZENS CAN UNDERSTAND, WHAT WE ARE FACING. I'LL JUST BE VERY CANDID. I COULD NOT BE MORE DISAPPOINTED WITH THE PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS YESTERDAY. AND IT'S HIS PODIUM. HE'S FREE TO TALK ABOUT WHATEVER HE CHOOSES TO TALK ABOUT. AND HE DOESN'T NEED THE ADVICE OF MIKE JOHANNS. BUT I WILL AT THE YOU WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY THAT WAS TO TALK ABOUT THE DIRE SITUATION OF OUR BUDGET AND TO LAY OUT IN STARK DETAIL WHAT BRINGS BRINGS US TO THIS SITUATION. AND INVITE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFICULTY WE ARE FACING, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO PUT A PLAN OUT THAT THE PRESIDENT STANDS BEHIND. NOW, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR. THE PRESIDENT PUT OUT A PLAN. THE PLAN CAME TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, AND IT WAS SO DISREGARDED, IT DID NOT GET A SINGLE VOTE. IT WASN'T A SERIOUS PLAN. NO ONE TOOK IT AS A SERIOUS PLAN. NOW, THINK ABOUT THAT. NO REPUBLICAN, NO DEMOCRAT, NO INDEPENDENT, NO LIBERAL, NO MFORT, NO MODERATE SAID THIS IS THE RIGHT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS GREAT NATION, NOT A SINGLE ONE IN THIS UNITED STATES SENATE. THAT'S A VERY, VERY SERIOUS SITUATION FOR OUR NATION. IT IS TIME TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS AND TO PRESENT A SERIOUS PROPOSAL THAT MAKES THE HARD CHOICES. DON'T TELL ME THAT YOU CAN SOLVE THIS PROBLEM BY, WELL, EVERYBODY'S GOING TO PAY HIGHER TAXES THAT MAKES OVER A CERTAIN LEVEL. I DID THE MATH ON THAT. WHEN I FIRST HEARD THAT, I SAID OKAY, LET ME UNDERSTAND THAT BETTER. IF YOU EARN OVER $250,000 A YEAR, WHAT WOULD THE TAX RATE HAVE TO BE FOR THOSE EARNERS JUST TO BALANCE THE BUDGET FOR THAT YEAR? I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE MASSIVE AMOUNT OF DEBT THAT LIES IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN JUST TO BALANCE THE BUDGET THAT YEAR. THE TAX RATE, 90%. AND IT HAS GOTTEN WORSE BECAUSE OUR DEFICIT HAS GROWN TO TO $1.6 TRILLION. 90%, AND ACTUALLY I THINK IF I REDID THAT MATH, IT WOULD BE CLOSER TO 100%. WELL, THAT MAY BE A GREAT POLITICAL TALKING POINT. IT MAY BE TESTED, IT MAY BE POLLED, IT MAY BE A 70% TALKING POINT, IT MAY BE AN 80% TALKING POINT, BUT I TELL YOU WHAT, IT ISN'T GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM THAT THIS NATION FACES. IT JUST SIMPLY ISN'T. IT JUST ISN'T THE PATHWAY THAT DEALS WITH THE MASSIVE PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE WHO CAN SPEAK TO THE NATION LIKE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. SENATOR SESSIONS CAN'T, SENATOR JOHANNS CAN'T, SENATOR McCONNELL AND SENATOR REID, WITH ALL OF THEIR STATURE CANNOT EITHER. THAT BULLY PULPIT IS UNIQUE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND WE HAVE YET TO SEE THAT RESPONSIBILITY MET.

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  • 11:33:20 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I THANK THE SENATOR, FORMER GOVERNOR, FOR THOSE COMMENTS, AND I -- I DO…

    I THANK THE SENATOR, FORMER GOVERNOR, FOR THOSE COMMENTS, AND I -- I DO BELIEVE THAT IT'S DIFFICULT FOR CONGRESS TO ASK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO MAKE SACRIFICE IF THE PRESIDENT REALLY DOESN'T ACKNOWLEDGE CLEARLY AND ARTICULATELY THE DEEP CRISIS WE ARE IN AND WHY THOSE SACRIFICES HAVE TO BE MADE. IT'S NOT THAT WE WANT TO, IT'S BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SOME CHANGES IN WHAT WE DO. THAT'S WHY A NUMBER OF US ARE CALLED ON THE MAJORITY LEADER REID TO NOT RECESS NEXT WEEK AND STAY HERE AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE DEBT. I UNDERSTAND WE MAY NOW BE STAYING HERE NEXT WEEK, BUT I'M NOT AT ALL SURE THE PLAN IS TO DEAL WITH ANYTHING INVOLVING THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR NATION, WHICH IS OUR DEBT. APPARENTLY, THEY WANT TO TALK ABOUT OTHER ISSUES. THAT WASN'T WHAT DROVE THE CONCERN. IT WASN'T ABOUT A PATENT BILL, MUCH AS I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT PASS. THAT WASN'T WHAT WE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT WHEN WE SAID WE NEED TO BE IN NEXT WEEK. IT'S ABOUT THE FACT THAT BY THE END OF THIS MONTH, MAYBE THE FIRST OF AUGUST, WE'LL SEE A MONUMENTAL BILL OF SOME KIND PRODUCED BY THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN THE SENATE BROUGHT OUT HERE AND WE'RE GOING TO BE ASKED TO VOTE FOR IT IN A MATTER OF HOURS, BEING TOLD EVERY MINUTE THAT THE COUNTRY IS ABOUT TO SINK INTO OBLIVION IF WE DON'T JUST SIGN IT AND VOTE FOR IT, NOT KNOWING FULLY WHAT'S IN IT, NOT FULLY HAVING STUDIED IT, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT KNOWING WHAT'S IN IT. THAT IS WRONG POLICY. WE OBJECT TO THAT. I BELIEVE THE REGULAR ORDER IN THIS SENATE SHOULD BE CONDUCTED, THAT WE OUGHT TO HAVE A PROPOSAL BROUGHT FORTH SO IT CAN BE AMENDED, SO IT CAN BE ANALYZED, SO IT CAN BE ACCOUNTED FOR, HOW MUCH TAXES IS GOING TO BE RAISED BY THE PRESIDENT, WHAT TAXES DOES HE PROPOSE TO RAISE, WHAT DOES SENATOR REID WANT TO DO? LET'S SEE THOSE NUMBERS AND LET'S DEBATE THEM AND LET'S HAVE AMENDMENTS. THAT'S WHY WE NEED TO BE HERE NEXT WEEK, NOT TO DEAL WITH A PATENT BILL OR SOME OTHER LEGISLATION. THAT'S WHY WE CALLED ON IT, AND I'M PREPARED TO WORK AND I THINK OUR COLLEAGUES ARE, BUT IT NEEDS TO BE ON SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT. AND THIS HISTORY OF OUR CONGRESS AND THE SURGING DEBT CRISIS THAT WE FACE IS SO SIGNIFICANT THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. WE ALMOST PASSED THAT BEFORE. WE WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER HAD WE DONE SO. LET'S DO IT THIS TIME AND CHANGE THE COURSE OF OUR COUNTRY. NOTHING CLEARS THE MIND SO WELL AS THE ABSENCE OF ALTERNATIVES, AND WHEN SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS, THEY WILL FIGURE OUT A WAY TO DO IT. BUT IF THEY CAN FIND AN ALTERNATIVE, HISTORY TELLS US TOO OFTEN WE WILL AND WE'LL ACT IRRESPONSIBLY. I THANK THE CHAIR AND WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:36:44 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:36:49 AM

    MR. CORNYN

    MAY I INQUIRE HOW MUCH TIME REMAINS?

  • 11:36:52 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: SEVEN MINUTES AND 25 SECONDS.

  • 11:36:55 AM

    MR. CORNYN

    THE CHAIR. MR. PRESIDENT, I WAS FRANKLY SHOCKED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE…

    THE CHAIR. MR. PRESIDENT, I WAS FRANKLY SHOCKED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES' COMMENTS YESTERDAY AT HIS PRESS CONFERENCE TELLING CONGRESS IT NEEDED TO GET TO WORK. GET TO WORK. I GUESS THE PRESIDENT FORGOT THAT HIS PARTY CONTROLS THE UNITED STATES SENATE, AND REPUBLICANS BEING IN THE MINORITY HAVE NO ABILITY TO PLACE MATTERS ON THE AGENDA OR TO FORCE A VOTE ON ISSUES OVER THE OBJECTION OF SENATOR REID, THE MAJORITY LEADER, AND THE DEMOCRATS WHO CONTROL THE SENATE. I GUESS THE THING THAT RANKLED ME SO MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT, IS RATHER THAN HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE AND TELL SENATOR REID TO GET TO WORK ON THE BUDGET, THE PRESIDENT SHOULD HAVE PICKED UP HIS TELEPHONE OR INVITED SENATOR REID TO COME TO HIS OFFICE AND SAY HARRY, WE NEED TO PASS A BUDGET. WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THIS DEBT CRISIS, WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THIS CLIFF THAT WE'RE GETTING READY TO FALL OFF OF AUGUST 2 THAT SECRETARY GEITHNER HAS WARNED US WOULD HAVE PERHAPS CALAMITOUS IMPACT ON MARKETS AND ON THE ECONOMY AND ON INTEREST RATES CHARGED ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT, AMONG OTHER THINGS. I GUESS THE MOST GALLING THING, LISTENING TO THE PRESIDENT MAKE THIS KIND OF OUTRAGEOUS SPEECH, ENGAGING IN BLATANT ELECTIONEERING, CAMPAIGNING SORT OF RHETORIC, CLASS RAISER, IS THAT THIS COMES FROM A PERSON WHO SINCE JANUARY, 2011, HAS HAD 21 FUNDRAISERS, INCLUDING ONE TONIGHT IN PHILADELPHIA. I WONDER IF HE'S GOING TO CANCEL HIS FUNDRAISER IN PHILADELPHIA TONIGHT TO MEET WITH SENATOR McCONNELL AND SPEAKER BOEHNER TO TRY TO WORK ON THIS THREAT THAT HE WAS SO EMPHATIC ABOUT YESTERDAY. I PREDICT HE WON'T CANCEL HIS FUNDRAISER IN PHILADELPHIA TONIGHT TO GET TO WORK ON SOMETHING THAT ONLY HE CAN DO, WHICH IS TO NEGOTIATE A GRAND BARGAIN WITH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS THAT WILL SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. WELL, WE KNOW HE HAD TIME ON MONDAY TO VIDEOTAPE AN APPEAL TO HIS DONORS WHO WANTED TO SOLICIT DONATIONS FROM PEOPLE SO THEY MIGHT WIN A DINNER WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE VICE PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. HE HAD TIME TO DO THAT. YET, IT WASN'T UNTIL MONDAY OF THIS WEEK THAT THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF FIRST TOOK OWNERSHIP OF THIS ISSUE AFTER MAJORITY LEADER KANTOR AND ASSISTANT LEADER KYL SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT, WE REALLY CAN'T NEGOTIATE WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT BECAUSE THEY KEEP INSISTING ON RAISING TAXES AND WE JUST ARE NOT GOING TO GO THERE. AND SO THE PRESIDENT HAD HIS FIRST MEETING WITH REPUBLICAN LEADER McCONNELL AND THE MAJORITY LEADER TO TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE THAT HE WAS FLAILING CONGRESS ABOUT NOT DOING ITS JOB YESTERDAY. FRANKLY, HE SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THE THRESHOLD FOR EMBARRASSMENT HERE IN WASHINGTON SEEMS TO BE MUCH HIGHER THAN THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT REPUBLICANS WERE BLOCKING THE DEAL ON THE DEBT LIMIT BECAUSE THEY HAD TAKEN TAX INCREASES OFF THE TABLE. WELL, THAT'S RIGHT, WE BELIEVE IT'S A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. WITH UNEMPLOYMENT AT 9.1%, MUCH HIGHER IN MANY REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY TO RAISE TAXES ON THE VERY PEOPLE WHO YOU'RE DEPENDING ON TO CREATE JOBS. WHAT'S HIS MESSAGE TO PEOPLE WHO CAN'T FIND A JOB BECAUSE PEOPLE AREN'T HIRING? WHAT'S HIS MESSENGER TO PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK AND THEY CAN'T PAY THEIR HOME MORTGAGE AND THEY LOSE THEIR HOME? WELL, IT'S HIGHER TAXES. LET'S JUST RAISE TAXES AND EVERYTHING WILL BE JUST FINE. WE DON'T HAVE A TAXING SHORTFALL. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PAY PLENTY OF TAXES ALREADY. WHAT WE HAVE IS A SPENDING BINGE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. TAX REVENUE IS ROUGHLY 18% OF OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, BUT SPENDING IS 25%. HENCE, THE $1.5 TRILLION DEFICIT THIS YEAR AND THE $14.3 TRILLION DEBT SO FAR WHICH THREATENS OUR NATION'S FUTURE. WELL, IT FRANKLY RANKLES MANY OF US TO HAVE THE PRESIDENT ENGAGE IN SUCH BLATANT DEMAGOGUERY AND BLAME SHIFTING WHEN HE HIMSELF IS UNWILLING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS DUTIES, WHICH ARE TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE. WE'RE READY TO WORK WITH THE PRESIDENT TO TRY TO SOLVE THE NATION'S PROBLEMS. THE HOUSE HAS PASSED A PROPOSAL. IT'S NOT PERFECT. I DON'T NECESSARILY AGREE WITH ALL OF IT, BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER PROPOSALS OUT THERE THAT WILL FIX THE NATION'S FISCAL PROBLEMS, ONE OF WHICH IS THE PRESIDENT'S OWN FISCAL COMMISSION ITSELF. HE APPOINTED IT. A BIPARTISAN FISCAL COMMISSION THAT REPORTED BACK IN DECEMBER ENTITLED MOMENT OF TRUTH, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION, A BIPARTISAN COMMISSION THE PRESIDENT APPOINTED HIMSELF, BUT HE'S IGNORED IT. THERE IS ANOTHER ONE, T DOMENICI-RIVLIN COMMISSION. ANOTHER COMMITTEE, ANOTHER BIPARTISAN COMMISSION THAT MADE RECOMMENDATIONS. THE PRESIDENT HAS IGNORED IT. IGNORED IT. WELL, THE PRESIDENT YESTERDAY SAID -- QUOTE -- "CALL ME NAIVE, BUT MY EXPECTATION THAT LEADERS ARE GOING TO LEAD." THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF HAD THE GALL TO SAY YESTERDAY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHEN HE HIMSELF HAS DISPLAYED AN ASTOUNDING LACK OF LEADERSHIP. LIKE I SAID, WE'RE READY TO WORK WITH THE PRESIDENT. I KNOW SENATOR McCONNELL INVITED HIM TO COME OVER TO CONGRESS AND EXPLAIN HOW THIS INCREASE IN TAXES WAS SOMEHOW GOING TO CREATE MORE JOBS IN AMERICA, HOW WE WERE GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS WITH MEDICARE, WHICH IS GOING TO RUN OUT OF MONEY IN A LITTLE MORE THAN A DECADE, AND I HOPE THE PRESIDENT TAKES HIM UP ON THAT INVITATION. YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE REALLY. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON SAYS OUR NATIONAL DEBT SENDS A MESSAGE OF WEAKNESS INTERNATIONALLY. THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, ADMIRAL MULLEN, SAID THAT THE SINGLE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY IS OUR DEBT. IF AMERICA GOES BROKE, HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY, THAT NOT ONLY AMERICANS DEPEND ON BUT SO MANY COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD DEPEND ON AMERICA BEING STRONG TO PROTECT THEM FROM TYRANTS AND DICTATORS AND TERRORISTS. BUT IF OUR ECONOMY GOES BUST, IF INTEREST RATES GO UP TO HISTORIC NORMS, WE COULD SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL, OUR ECONOMY. BUT THERE IS NOT GOING TO BE A BAILOUT FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. OUR ECONOMY IS SIMPLY TOO BIG. THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, THE EUROPEANS, OTHERS ARE NOT GOING TO BAIL US OUT WHILE WE CONTINUE TO SPEND RECKLESSLY, ABOUT 43 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR IN MONEY BORROWED FROM THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN HERE SITTING IN FRONT OF ME, FROM EVERY BABY BORN IN AMERICA TODAY COMES INTO THIS WORLD WITH WITH $46,000 IN DEBT. IT'S IRRESPONSIBLE. IT'S WRONG. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SENT A MESSAGE IN 2010 THAT THEY'RE SICK AND TIRED OF WASHINGTON OPERATING BUSINESS AS USUAL. AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. I THINK WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY HERE. IN TEXAS, WE DON'T RECOGNIZE PROBLEMS. WE RECOGNIZE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR A POSITIVE -- WE'RE A POSITIVE BUNCH OF FOLKS. THIS IS A GRAND OPPORTUNITY FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO COME TOGETHER TO DO THE NATION'S BUSINESS, TO BE SERIOUS, NOT TO BE RECKLESS, NOT TO GIVE SPEECHES LIKE THE PRESIDENT GAVE YESTERDAY AS PART OF HIS REELECTION CAMPAIGN. ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL. HE SHOULD BE ASHAMED. I RESPECT THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, BUT I THINK THE PRESIDENT HAS DIMINISHED THAT OFFICE AND HIMSELF BY GIVING THE KIND OF CAMPAIGN SPEECHES THAT HE GAVE YESTERDAY. WE DO HAVE A SOLUTION. THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA, SENATOR SESSIONS, AND OTHERS OF US HAVE SPONSORED A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. THIS WOULD BE A RESPONSIBLE WAY TO DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM. AND I HOPE WE WILL GET A VOTE ON THAT SHORTLY. BUT IN THE MEANTIME, THERE'S NO REASON WE CAN'T SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. ALL WE NEED IS THE PRESIDENT TO STEP UP AND GIVE US A PROPOSAL. SO FAR HE'S LAID BACK AND CRITICIZED EVERYBODY ELSE AND SAID WHERE'S YOUR PROPOSAL? HOW COME YOU HAVEN'T DONE YOUR WORK? WELL, HE HASN'T DONE HIS WORK BY PROPOSING A RESPONSIBLE SOLUTION. WE'LL HAVE A DEBATE. WE'LL HAVE AMENDMENTS. WE'LL MAKE CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS. WE'LL DO IT OUT IN THE LIGHT OF DAY AND NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, WHICH IS WHERE THESE NEGOTIATIONS ARE OCCURRING NOW. WHY DOES THIS NEED TO BE DONE IN SECRET? WHY IS, AS SENATOR SESSIONS SAID, ARE WE, THE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, LEFT WITH A FAIT ACCOMPLI SHORTLY BEFORE A DEADLINE AND SAID YOU EITHER PASS THIS OR THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMY GOES DOWN THE TUBES? THAT'S NOT WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPECT OF US. THAT'S NOT WHAT THEY DESERVE. SURE THERE ARE GOING TO BE DIFFERENCES OF OPINION, BUT THAT'S WHAT THIS SENATE IS FOR, TO WORK THOSE OUT. WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET WHAT WE WANT 100% OF THE TIME, BUT WE DO DESERVE TO HAVE A FAIR AND OPEN PROCESS, TRANSPARENT AND VISIBLE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I GET TO OFFER SUGGESTIONS. THEY EITHER WIN OR THEY LOSE. AND THEN ULTIMATELY THE MAJORITY VOTE DETERMINES THE OUTCOME. WE RESPECT THAT AS THE PROCESS BY WHICH THESE DIFFERENCES ARE RESOLVED. BUT WE CAN'T DO OUR JOB WHEN THE PRESIDENT DOESN'T DO HIS JOB AND MAKE A RESPONSIBLE PROPOSAL, WHEN SENATOR REID WILL NOT BRING A BUDGET TO THE FLOOR. IT'S BEEN TWO YEARS SINCE THE UNITED STATES SENATE HAS HAD A BUDGET. NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA OR ANYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD CAN OPERATE WITH THAT SORT OF RECKLESSNESS AND IRRESPONSIBILITY. EVERYBODY HAS TO HAVE A BUDGET. MY FAMILY HAS A BUDGET. EVERY BUSINESS HAS A BUDGET. ONLY BY HAVING A BUDGET CAN YOU DETERMINE WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES, WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO HAVE OR DO, WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW, WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT MAYBE WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE BUT YOU CAN'T AFFORD. EVERY FAMILY, EVERY BUSINESS HAS TO GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS, BUT NOT THE UNITED STATES SENATE. AND NOT APPARENTLY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THE PROPOSAL HE MADE, WHICH IS DOUBLE THE DEBT IN FIVE YEARS, TRIPLE IT IN TEN YEARS, CALLS FOR HUGE NEW TAX INCREASES. BUT YET, WHEN IT CAME UP FOR A VOTE, AND ONLY BECAUSE REPUBLICANS FORCED A VOTE ON THAT, IT DIDN'T GET ANY SUPPORT -- I THINK IT WAS 97-0. NOT EVEN OUR FRIENDS ACROSS THE AISLE COULD SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT'S OUTRAGEOUS PROPOSAL BACK THEN. WHY DIDN'T HE COME BACK WITH A NEW ONE? WHY DIDN'T HE STAY AT THE TABLE? INSTEAD OF GOING TO PHILADELPHIA TONIGHT AND RAISING MONEY, WHY DOESN'T HE CALL SENATOR McCONNELL, SPEAKER BOEHNER, MINORITY LEADER PELOSI AND MAJORITY LEADER REID INTO HIS OFFICE AND SIT DOWN AND DO HIS JOB? JUST DO HIS JOB. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:50:21 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:53:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:53:16 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 11:53:20 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:53:22 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    I ASK ALSO, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE EIGHT UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS FOR…

    I ASK ALSO, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE EIGHT UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THESE REQUESTS BE AGREED TO AND THAT THESE REQUESTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 11:53:39 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 11:53:43 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    WAY HERE, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAD THE GREAT PLEASURE OF RUNNING INTO THE…

    WAY HERE, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAD THE GREAT PLEASURE OF RUNNING INTO THE REDWAY FAMILY JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO VISITING FROM THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT. JACK REDWAY IS A FORMER PUBLIC SERVANT IN THE STATE AND HE'S HERE WITH HIS FAMILY, HIS WIFE SUE AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY. AND WHEN I TOLD HIM I WAS ON MY WAY HERE TO TALK ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, THEY ASKED ME WHAT WAS SUBJECT WAS. WHEN I TOLD THEM THAT THE SENATE IS DEBATING THE DEBT AND THE DEFICIT AND THE BUDGET, ONE OF THEM SAID, SAME OLD, SAME OLD. WE ARE HERE ON THE SAME OLD, SAME OLD ISSUES. BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE HAD ENOUGH. THEY'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THE TAX BREAKS AND THE SPECIAL GIVEAWAYS AND SWEETHEART DEALS THAT GO TO THE SPECIAL INTERESTS AND THAT HAVE DRIVEN OUR DEFICIT TO SKY-HIGH, INTOLERABLE LEVELS. WE ARE NOW AT A TURNING POINT AND REALLY AT A PRECIPICE. WHEN WE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD THESE KINDS OF TAX BREAKS AND SWEETHEART DEALS ANY LONGER. AND THE PEOPLE OF CONNECTICUT ARE SAYING ENOUGH IS ENOUGH TO THE SAME OLD, SAME OLD DEALS WITH THESE SPECIAL INTERESTS. WE OUGHT TO COME TOGETHER ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS. NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE A RIGHT AND OPPORTUNITY, WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY AND AN OBLIGATION TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND TO ELIMINATE THESE KINDS OF TAX BREAKS THAT SQUANDER AND WASTE SCARCE RESOURCES. THE ETHANOL SUBSIDIES HAVE BEEN VOTED ON BY THIS BODY OVERWHELMINGLY BY REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS REJECTED. AND THE REASON IS, QUITE SIMPLY, THAT WE CAN SAVE $400 MILLION EACH MONTH, CLOSE TO $2.5 BILLION BY THE END OF THIS YEAR IF WE ELIMINATE THESE SUBSIDIES ON ETHANOL. WE SHOULDN'T BE DIVIDED ON THIS ISSUE GOING FORWARD. WE OUGHT TO BE UNITED ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS BECAUSE THESE SCARCE RESOURCES ARE NECESSARY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO NOT BURDEN OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN WITH THIS KIND OF DEBT GOING FORWARD. THE LOOPHOLE THAT ENABLES CORPORATE JETS TO BE DEPRECIATED AT A FASTER AND HIGHER RATE THAN COMMERCIAL AIRPLANES, AGAIN, ADDS TO THE DEBT AND THE DEFICIT IN HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IF WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT DEFICIT REDUCTION AND ADDRESSING THE DEFICIT, WE SHOULD ELIMINATE THAT LOOPHOLE. IT IS ABOUT MAKING THE TAX CODE FAIR AND EFFECTIVE. AND OVER THE LAST DECADE, THE BIG-FIVE OIL COMPANIES HAVE TAKEN HOME MORE THAN $1 TRILLION IN PROFITS WHILE ENJOYING TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES. THOSE MONEYS, WHETHER YOU CALL THEM REVENUES OR TAXES OR BREAKS, WHATEVER THE NOMENCLATURE, WHATEVER THE RHETORIC, THEY ARE A LOSS TO THE TAXPAYERS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WITHOUT ANY REASON, BECAUSE THESE FIVE OIL COMPANIES ARE AMONG THE MOST PROFITABLE AND LUCRATIVE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. AND THEY DON'T NEED THAT MONEY. IT IS TIME TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH TO THE KINDS OF HIDDEN SUBSIDIES THAT GO TO SPECIAL INTERESTS. AND THERE ARE OTHERS THAT WE OUGHT TO SCRUTINIZE AND ELIMINATE IN THE NAME OF FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN OUR GOVERNMENT SO THAT WE CAN BE SERIOUS ABOUT ADDRESSING OUR DEBT AND OUR DEFICIT. BUDGETS ARE ABOUT CHOICES. SOME CHOICES ARE NOT EASY. WE FACE TOUGH CHOICES, BUT WE OUGHT TO PUT TO USE THE COMMON SENSE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH TO THE SAME OLD, SAME OLD HIDDEN SUBSIDIES, TAX BREAKS, SPECIAL GIVEAWAYS TO SPECIAL INTERESTS. CUTTING MEDICARE BENEFITS FOR MEDICAID WILL NOT MAKE US STRONGER. FIRING TEACHERS WILL NOT MAKE US STRONGER. FORCING KIDS OUT OF COLLEGE WILL NOT MAKE US STRONGER IN CONNECTICUT OR ACROSS THE COUNTRY. NONE OF THESE MEASURES WILL MAKE US STRONGER AS A NATION, OR FAIRER. NOR WILL ROLLING BACK OUR INVESTMENTS IN INNOVATION AND RESEARCH, WHICH ARE VITAL TO THE HIGH-TECH JOBS OF THE FUTURE. NOR WILL CUTTING OUR INVESTMENTS IN THE ESSENTIAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, HIGH-SPEED RAIL, SO IMPORTANT TO CONNECTICUT. NONE OF THESE CUTS WILL BRING BACK JOBS, WHICH HAS TO BE OUR PRIORITY. ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION MUST BE PUT FIRST, AND THE WAY TO DO IT IS TO ELIMINATE THE WASTEFUL TAX SUBSIDIES, THE BREAKS FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS, ELIMINATING THEM WILL MAKE US STRONGER. IT WILL MAKE US FAIRER AS A NATION. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I URGE THAT WE COME TOGETHER AND PUT ASIDE WHATEVER THE LABELS AND THE RHETORIC AND NOMENCLATURE ARE THAT WE CALL THEM AND DO THE RIGHT THING TO MAKE OUR NATION STRONGER AND FAIRER. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM. QUORUM QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

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  • 12:00:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 12:00:36 PM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    I WITHDRAW MY REQUEST FOR A QUORUM AND I YIELD TO THE SENATOR FROM…

    I WITHDRAW MY REQUEST FOR A QUORUM AND I YIELD TO THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

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  • 12:00:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL…

    MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 12:00:50 PM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DAVID H. PETRAEUS OF NEW…

    NOMINATION, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DAVID H. PETRAEUS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE TO BE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.

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  • 12:00:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE TWO HOURS FOR DEBATE…

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE TWO HOURS FOR DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED IN THE USUAL FORM. THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 12:01:08 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE…

    YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COLLECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS TO BECOME THE DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A. I WANT TO THANK THE MAJORITY LEADER FOR BRINGING THIS NOMINATION TO THE FLOOR IN SUCH A QUICK FASHION BECAUSE THE COMMITTEE EARLIER THIS WEEK, TUESDAY, UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL PETRAEUS. I THINK THAT THERE IS NO DOUBT BUT THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS IS AMONG THE FINEST MILITARY OFFICERS AND STRATEGIC THINKERS OF HIS GENERATION. WE ARE VERY LUCKY TO HAVE HIS SERVICE. HE WROTE THE ARMY'S COUNTERINSURGENCY STRATEGY AND THEN APPLIED IT IN IRAQ, SECURING A MILITARY VICTORY FROM WHAT HAD APPEARED TO BE A DESCENT INTO CHAOS AND VIOLENCE. ONE YEAR AGO TO THIS DAY, THE SENATE CONFIRMED GENERAL PETRAEUS TO REPLACE GENERAL STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL AS THE LEADER OF AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN. SINCE THEN, HE HAS SHIFTED THE STRATEGY, IMPLEMENTED THE TROOP SURGE, KEPT OUR COALITION TOGETHER, AND TODAY MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS POINT TO GAINS IN THE SECURITY SITUATION AND IN THE AFGHAN MILITARY AND POLICE'S ABILITY TO SECURE THEIR NATION. GENERAL PETRAEUS' WILLINGNESS TO TAKE ON THE AFGHANISTAN MISSION ALSO DEMONSTRATES HIS EXTRAORDINARY COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SERVICE. AT THE TIME, HE WAS SERVING IN TAMPA, FLORIDA, AS A COMBATANT COMMANDER FOR CENTRAL COMMAND. NO LONGER DIRECTLY IN CHARGE OF THE WAR ZONE BUT WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR NOT JUST AFGHANISTAN BUT FOR 19 OTHER COUNTRIES AS WELL. HE AGREED TO WHAT WAS A STEP DOWN IN THE MILITARY -- QUOTE -- ORG CHART, END QUOTE, TO TAKE ON THE HARD ERRS MILITARY CHALLENGE IN THE WORLD AND TO DEPLOY FROM TAMPA TO KABUL. THE NATION CERTAINLY OWES GENERAL PETRAEUS A DEBT OF GRATITUDE FOR 37 YEARS IN UNIFORM, BUT WHEN HE IS CONFIRMED, GENERAL PETRAEUS WILL BE TAKING OFF THE UNIFORM TO BECOME DIRECTOR PETRAEUS. HE HAS CLEARLY CONSIDERED THE DIFFERENCES IN CULTURE AND MISSION BETWEEN THE C.I.A. AND THE MILITARY, AND NOW HE WILL SHIFT HIS STYLE TO LEAD INTELLIGENCE COLLECTORS AND ANALYSTS RATHER THAN OFFICERS AND ENLISTED TROOPS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, IN OUR HEARING, IN HART 216, THERE WAS A BIT OF LEVITY WHEN HE WAS ASKED THE QUESTION ABOUT HOW HE WOULD TRANSITION FROM A FOUR-STAR MAJOR AMERICAN GENERAL TO A CIVILIAN ROLE AS DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A., AND HE SAID YOU CAN BE SURE THAT WHEN I ARRIVE AT THE C.I.A., I WILL ARRIVE WITHOUT AN ESCORT AND JUST SIMPLY GET OUT OF MY AUTOMOBILE AND WALK INTO THE BUILDING. WELL, AS WE LOOKED OUT IN THE AUDIENCE AND WE SAW A FAY LOS -- PHALANX OF OFFICERS ACCOMPANYING THE GENERAL, IT BECAME QUITE CLEAR INDEED THAT IT WAS A TRANSITION. I BELIEVE AND THIS IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS NOMINEE, THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS UNDERSTANDS THE DIFFERENCE AND IS PREPARED TO MOVE INTO A CIVILIAN ORGANIZATION AT A DIFFICULT TIME. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, OF OUR 16 DIFFERENT INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES, ONE IS GENERALLY AND HOPEFULLY, ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN SEVEN MILITARY COMMANDERS IN OUR HISTORY WHO HAVE BECOME HEAD OF THE C.I.A., BUT GENERALLY DIRECTED BY A CIVILIAN, AND, OF COURSE, LEON PANETTA IS, IN FACT, A CIVILIAN. I THINK WE HAVE TO CONSIDER THE TIMING OF THIS, THE WINDDOWN OF TWO WARS, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, THE OPERATION IN LIBYA, A RESTIVE MIDDLE EAST WHERE THE CHANGES IN AN ARAB SPRING ARE NOT YET FELT, AN ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN SITUATION THAT HAS TO IT CRISIS DIMENSIONS. THE NORTH KOREAN SITUATION WITH RESPECT TO THE NUCLEAR WEAPONRY OF THAT COUNTRY. IRAN, A VERY DANGEROUS COUNTRY WITH THE POTENTIAL OF BECOMING A NUCLEAR COUNTRY, AND ABOVE ALL THINGS, THE FACT THAT IN SEPTEMBER IS THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11, AND WHERE THERE IS NONSPECIFIC INTELLIGENCE THAT THIS COUNTRY MAY WELL HAVE A REVENGE ATTACK. THEREFORE, I THINK THE MILITARY SERVICE WILL COME IN HANDY. I THINK HIS ANALYTICAL SKILLS AND ABILITY WILL COME IN VERY HANDY, AND I REALLY BELIEVE HE'S THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB AT THIS TIME. THROUGH THE CONFIRMATION PROCESS, THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS SOUGHT TO UNDERSTAND GENERAL PETRAEUS' VISION FOR THE C.I.A. AND HOW HE WILL LEAD IT THROUGH THE CHALLENGES THAT I HAVE JUST MENTIONED. I BELIEVE HE'S ANSWERED THESE QUESTIONS AND LAID OUT HIS VIEWS. HE HAS TESTIFIED THAT HE HAD DISCUSSED THIS POSSIBLE MOVE TO THE C.I.A. WITH SECRETARY GATES AS FAR BACK AS LAST YEAR. HE EVEN DEMONSTRATED THAT HE KNOWS THE C.I.A. CULTURE AND THE LINGO, SAYING THAT RIGHT AFTER BEING SWORN IN, HE WILL CALL AN ALL-HANDS MEETING FOR ALL C.I.A. EMPLOYEES AND -- QUOTE -- "WILL TELL THEM RIGHT UP FRONT THAT YOU ALL SHOULD KNOW THAT I'M HERE TO RECRUIT YOU AND I KNOW YOU'RE HERE TO RECRUIT ME." END QUOTE. HE HAS MET WITH JUST ABOUT EVERY C.I.A. FORMER DIRECTOR AND RECEIVED THEIR ADVICE ON RUNNING THE AGENCY, AND HE PLANS TO PUT THAT ADVICE INTO PRACTICE. GENERAL PETRAEUS HAS WRITTEN AND TESTIFIED THAT HE FULLY APPRECIATES THAT THE MISSION OF THE C.I.A. IS TO PROVIDE UNVARNISHED INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTS TO POLICYMAKERS, WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT, AND THAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL POINT. THE INTELLIGENCE MUST STAND ON ITS OWN. IT MUST BE GOOD INTELLIGENCE, IT MUST BE STREAMLINED INTELLIGENCE, AND IT MUST BE INTELLIGENCE WHICH HAS BEEN SUBJECT TO THE BEST OF ANALYSIS AND RED TEAMING. THIS WAS ONE OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAD BEEN RAISED DURING HIS CONFIRMATION. WOULD GENERAL PETRAEUS PUT ASIDE HIS MILITARY COMMANDERS' ASSESSMENTS AND CARRY FORTH THE AGENT'S ANALYTIC VIEW? HE ANSWERED THE QUESTION HEAD ON, POINTING OUT THAT HE HAS EXPERIENCE IN THE ANALYTIC FIELD AND IN DEBATING ASSESSMENTS TO REACH THE BEST JUDGMENT POSSIBLE. GENERAL PETRAEUS SPECIFICALLY POINTED TO HIS ACADEMIC BACKGROUND AS WELL AS HIS MILITARY COMMANDS. HE, IN FACT, HAS EARNED -- AND I DON'T THINK MANY PEOPLE KNOW THIS -- A MASTER'S OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND A Ph.D. IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS FROM PRINCETON UNIVERSITY'S WILSON -- WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. HE HAS SERVED AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AT THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT, FROM WHICH HE HAS GRADUATED AND AS A FELLOW AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY. SO THE CULTURE AND DEBATE IN THE C.I.A.'S DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE WILL NOT BE NEW TO GENERAL PETRAEUS, AND HE UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANCE OF PRESENTING CLEAR ANALYTIC VIEWS AND ANALYSES. WHILE ALL MEMBERS ARE FAMILIAR WITH GENERAL PETRAEUS' RECENT POSITIONS, LET ME TOUCH ON SOME OF HIS PRIOR EXPERIENCE. PRIOR TO COMMAND IN IRAQ, HE SERVED AT FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS, DURING WHICH TIME HE OVERSAW THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARMY AND MARINE CORPS' COUNTERINSURGENCY MANUAL. THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT MANUAL IS THAT IT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME SINCE THEN. EARLIER IN HIS CAREER, HE SERVED IN BOSNIA WHERE HE WAS THE ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF FOR OPERATIONS OF THE NATO STABILIZATION FORCE AND THE DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE UNITED STATES COUNTERTERRORISM TASK FORCE IN BOSNIA. PRIOR TO HIS TOUR IN BOSNIA, HE SPENT TWO YEARS AT FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA, SERVING AS THE ASSISTANT DIVISION COMMANDER FOR OPERATIONS OF THE 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION AND THEN AS CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE AIRBORNE CORPS. IN ADDITION, HE HAS SERVED IN A NUMBER OF STAFF ASSIGNMENTS. AIDE TO THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMY, MILITARY ASSISTANT TO THE SUPREME ALLIED COMMAND EUROPE, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS FORCE IN HAITI, AN EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF. NOT ONLY IS THIS A MAN WHO HAS BEEN AROUND, THIS IS A MAN WHO HAS COMMANDED, WHO UNDERSTANDS THE MILITARY AND WHO HAS PRODUCED FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. FROM MY MEETING AND DISCUSSIONS WITH HIM, HIS RESPONSES BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER ARE CONFIRMATION HEARING AND BASED ON HIS REMARKABLE BACKGROUND, I AM ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENT THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS WILL MAKE AN EXCELLENT DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. I HOPE HIS CONFIRMATION VOTE WILL BE UNANIMOUS. THAT MAKES IT A REAL MANDATE. MR. PRESIDENT, WHILE WE ARE HERE TO CONSIDER THE NOMINATION OF DAVID PETRAEUS, I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO NOTE AND RECOGNIZE SOME OTHER PEOPLE. FIRST AND FOREMOST, DEFENSE SECRETARY BOB GATES, A FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WHOSE TERM ENDS TODAY. SECRETARY GATES HAS BEEN A TREMENDOUSLY DEDICATED PUBLIC SERVANT THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER BUT NEVERMORE NEEDED AND APPRECIATED THAN HIS LAST FOUR AND A HALF YEARS AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. HE HAS PRESIDED OVER THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. HE HAS MANAGED THE LARGEST ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD AT THE PENTAGON. HE HAS EARNED THE COMPLETE TRUST AND RESPECT OF BOTH PRESIDENT BUSH AND PRESIDENT OBAMA AND OF EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THIS BODY. THAT ALMOST MAKES HIM AN ENDANGERED SPECIES. HE IS THE MODEL OF THE PROFESSIONAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL AND HIS LEADERSHIP AND HIS CHARACTER IS TRULY AN EXAMPLE TO US ALL. I WISH HIM WELL AS HE GOES BACK TO THE STATE OF WASHINGTON AND CANDIDLY ON A PERSONAL LEVEL I WILL NEVER FORGET HIS SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. NEXT TODAY IS LEON PANETTA'S LAST DAY AS DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A. I WAS VERY PROUD TO BE ABLE TO INTRODUCE DIRECTOR PANETTA AS A NATIVE CALIFORNIAN AT HIS CONFIRMATION HEARING TO BE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE EARLIER THIS MONTH, AND I REALLY CAN'T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT THE JOB HE HAS DONE AND MY APPRECIATION FOR THE RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE HAD OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS. I THINK IT'S WELL KNOWN THAT WHEN THIS FIRST CROPPED UP THAT HE MIGHT BE CONSIDERED FOR C.I.A. DIRECTOR, I REALLY THOUGHT THAT THE SERVICE COULD BE BEST SERVED BY SOMEONE WITH C.I.A. EXPERIENCE. I CAN SAY HERE I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. DIRECTOR PANETTA HAS STEPPED IN WHEN THE SENATE HAS HAD A HARD TIME FINDING AGREEMENT AND REALLY PUT TOGETHER A NOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN THIS BODY THAT IS UNSURPASSED, AND I BELIEVE THAT'S TRUE AT THE AGENCY AS WELL. HE HAS RAISED MORALE, HE UNDERSTANDS THE PRIORITIES, HE HAS SET THE PRIORITIES, AND HE WAS EMINENTLY PREPARED TO BE THE COMMANDING OFFICER IN THE TAKEDOWN OF OSAMA BIN LADEN. THIS INDEED MAKES HIS SERVICE BOTH UNIQUE AND VERY SPECIAL. I HOPE AND EXPECT THAT THE VOTE ON GENERAL PETRAEUS WILL BE OVERWHELMING. IT SPEAKS OF THE PRESIDENT'S CHOICES OF SUCH QUALIFIED AND RESPECTED NOMINEES AND OF THEIR WILLINGNESS TO CONTINUE SERVICE. QUICKLY, I'D ALSO LIKE TO RECOGNIZE THE PERSON WHO WILL BE AS OF TOMORROW THE ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A., MICHAEL MORRELL. NOW, I NOTICE THAT THE VICE CHAIRMAN, THE DISTINGUISHED SAXBY CHAMBLISS, IS ON THE FLOOR, VICE CHAIRMAN OF OUR COMMITTEE, AND I BELIEVE THAT BOTH OF US FEEL THAT MIKE MORRELL HAS GIVEN OUR INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE NOTHING BUT THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH. HE HAS COME IN, HE HAS BEEN PREPARED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS, HE HAS BROUGHT FACTS, HE IS AN ARTICULATE, STRONG BRIEFER. HE KNOWS THE AGENCY, AND I BELIEVE HE IS GOING TO LEAD THE AGENCY UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER WHEN GENERAL PETRAEUS COMPLETES HIS TOUR IN KABUL IN JULY, AND THEN THERE WILL BE A TRANSITION PERIOD AS HE RETURNS HOME AND RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION. IN THE INTERIM, MIKE MORELL WILL BE IN CHANCHT I THINK WE BOTH BELIEVE THAT THE AGENCY WILL BE WELL-SERVED BY HIS SERVICE AS ACTING DIRECTOR. FINALLY, I WANT TO THANK MRS. WHO WILLY PETRAEUS, THE WIFE OF DAVID PETRAEUS, AND THE INSISTENT DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OFFICE OF SERVICE MEMBER AFFAIRS. GENERAL PETRAEUS MENTIONED AT HIS HEARING THAT HOLLY HAD BEEN WITH HIM FOR 37 YEARS AND 23 MOVES, AND WE THANK HER FOR CONTINUING TO SHARE HER HUSBAND WITH OUR COUNTRY. MADAM PRESIDENT, YOU AND I BOTH KNOW HOW DIFFICULT IT IS WHEN WE HAVE A SPOUSE SOMEWHERE ELSE, LET ALONE HAVING A SPOUSE SOMEWHERE IN GREAT JEOPARDY, IN WARTIME AMERICA, IN COUNTRIES AT WHICH WE ARE WAGING WAR YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR. SHE, INDEED, IS A VERY SPECIAL WOMAN, AND I THINK THE GENERAL IS VERY LUCKY TO HAVE HER AS HIS SPOUSE. IN THE POSITION OF DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A., HE WILL CARRY OUT ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT POSTS IN OUR GOVERNMENT. THE DIRECTOR IS A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM AND PROVIDES CANDID AND OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS ON EVERY SINGLE NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE THAT THIS NATION FACES BUT THE DIRECTOR IS ALSO IN CHARGE OF CLASS DESTINE AND COVERT OPERATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE. IT IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY OUR OVERSIGHT RESPONSIBILITY IS SO IMPORTANT IN THESE AREAS. TO SEE THAT THE LAW IS FOLLOWED AND TO SEE THAT MISSIONS ARE CARRIED OUT WITH THE FULL OVERSIGHT OF OUR COMMITTEE. HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SECURITY OF THE PEOPLE OF HIS AGENCY AND FOR MAKING SURE THAT THEIR EFFORTS ARE IN KEEPING, AS I SAID, WITH THE NATION'S LAWS AND ETHICS. IT IS YOU A UNIQUE AND DIFFICULT COMBINATION OF MANAGEMENT, OF INTELLECT, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, OF CHARACTER BECAUSE THINGS CAN GO AWRY AND ONE CAN ELECT NOT TO FOLLOW THE LAW. AND I BELIEVE THAT THAT WILL NOT BE THE CASE WITH GENERAL PETRAEUS, AND I BELIEVE HE WILL FOLLOW THE LAW, AND HE WILL DO AS EXCELLENT JOB. SO I FULLY 100% ABSOLUTELY SUPPORT HIS CONFIRMATION, AND I'M VERY PLEASED TO YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE DISTINGUISHED VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE, SENATOR -- THE SENATOR FROM GEORGIA. MR.

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  • 12:18:01 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    PRESIDENT MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 12:18:04 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    MADAM PRESIDENT, FIRST OF ALL, LET ME THANK AND COMMEND THE CHAIRMAN OF…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, FIRST OF ALL, LET ME THANK AND COMMEND THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE FOR HER GREAT WORK, NOT ON ONLY ON THIS ISSUE BUT ON EVERY OTHER ISSUE THAT WE HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON TOGETHER OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS. SHE HAS BEEN NUMBER ONE, HAS REACHED OUT TO ME AND MY STAFF EVERY DAY, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE DOING THE INTELLIGENCE WORK IN THE WAY THAT WE BOTH AGREE IT OUGHT TO BE DONE. AND SHE'S DONE A MAGNIFICENT JOB OF LEADING THE COMMITTEE. THE OM NATION OF DAVID PATRAEUS -- THE NOMINATION OF DAVID PATRAEUS IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF HOW SHE HAS LED OUR COMMITTEE. THATIS, THAT WE NEED A VERY SMOOTH AND QUICK TRANSITION WHEN THIS COMES TO THE LEADERSHIP OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. AND WHAT CHAIRMAN FEINSTEIN DID WAS, AS SOON AS THE ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE ON DIRECTOR PA PANETTA'S NOMINATION FOR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, SHE MADE SURE ALL THE BACKGROUND WORK WAS DONE SO THAT WE COULD SCHEDULE A HEARING WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE MOVEMENT BY DIRECTOR PANETTA TO OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND PREPARING FOR THE CONFIRMATION OF DIRECTOR -- EXCUSE ME, GENERAL PETRAEUS TO BE THE NEXT DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A. THEALS NOT ALWAYS EASY -- THAT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY. BUT SHE MADE SURE IT GOT DONE. AND I WANT TO COMMEND, TOO, THE MAJORITY STAFF DIRECTOR, DAVID GRANISE, AS WELL AS THE MINORITY STAFF DIRECTOR FOR THEIR WORK IN DOING THE BACKGROUND THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE TO MOVE THIS NOMINATION VERY QUICKLY. IT IS A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH CHAIRMAN FEINSTEIN. SHE HAS THE BEST INTEREST OF AMERICA AND AMERICANS AT HEART FROM AN INTELLIGENCE STANDPOINT. AND SHE'S DOING A TERRIFIC JOB AND IT IS A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH HER.

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  • 12:20:02 PM

    MR. CHAMBLISS

    TO SPEAK IN FAVOR OF THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL DAVID PATRAEUS TO BE THE…

    TO SPEAK IN FAVOR OF THE NOMINATION OF GENERAL DAVID PATRAEUS TO BE THE NEXT DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. GENERAL PETRAEUS HAS HAD AN EXEMPLARY MILITARY CAREER AND I LOOK FORWARD TO HIS CONFIRMATION AGES THE AGENCY'S 22nd DIRECTOR. I, TOO, WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE HIS WIFE FOR HER SERVICE AND SUPPORT. IN ADDITION TO SUPPORTING A MILITARY FAMILY DURING A NUMBER OF LONG AND UNPRECEDENTED DEPLOYMENTS AND 25 MOVES, HOLLY PETRAEUS HAS ALSO WORKED TO PROTECT MILITARY FAMILIES FROM PREDATORY LENDING PRACTICES. I APPRECIATE HER LONG-STANDING COMMITMENT AND SUPPORT OF HER MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM AND WANT TO THANK HER FOR JOINING HER HUSBAND IN ANSWERING OUR NATION'S CALL OF DUTY. THE STRAIN ON A MILITARY FAMILY JUST CAN'T BE OVERSTATED, AND HOLLY PETRAEUS IS CERTAINLY AN INDIVIDUAL WHO EXEMPLIFIES EVERYTHING THAT'S GOOD ABOUT HOW A MILITARY FAMILY NEEDS TO SUPPORT THE MILITARY MEMBER, AND I TRULY COMMEND HER FOR HER GREAT SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY IN THAT RESPECT. THE NOMINATION OF DAVID PATRAEUS COMES AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY AS WE FACE THREATS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE. AS A WAR FIGHTER, HE BRINGS A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE, HAVING SEEN FIRST HAND THE TACTICAL VALUE OF ACCURATE AND TIMELY INTELLIGENCE. THIS EXPERIENCE IN AN ERA OF UNPARALLELED EXOORPTION COOPTION BETWEEN THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE WILL NOT ONLY BENEFIT THE MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY BUT ALSO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. HE GRADUATED FROM WEST POINT IN 1974, BUT HE HAS SPENT THE BETTER PART OF THE LAST DECADE ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. NO MATTER WHAT THE TASK, DAVID PATRAEUS HAS ALWAYS ANSWERED THIS COUNTRY'S CALL. MOST RECENTLY, AFTER TURNING AROUND THE WAR IN IRAQ, AND PUTTING US ON A PATH TO SUCCESS, HE LEFT HIS POSITION AS COMMANDER OF U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND, WHERE HE WAS AGAIN CALLED UPON FOR ON EXPECTED DEPLOYMENT TO AFGHANISTAN. GENERAL PETRAEUS UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MISSION AND ACCEPTED THE ASSIGNMENT WITH VIGOR. AND AFTER LEADING THE SURGE IN AFGHANISTAN, MANY EXPECTED HIM TO RETIRE FROM THE MILITARY AND PUBLIC SERVICE, BUT NOT PETRAEUS TRAIVMENT-- BUTNOT DAVID PATRAEUS. AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A., GENERAL PETRAEUS WILL FACE A NUMBER OF CRITICAL CHALLENGES, MANY OF WHICH CAN'T BE ANTICIPATED. HOWEVER, WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE THREAT FROM TERRORISM WILL REASONABLYREMAIN THE FOCAL POINT FOR THE C.I.A. AND FOR THE NEW DIRECTOR. THE SUCCESSFUL STRIKE ON BIN LADEN REMOVED AL QAEDA'S LEADER BUT NOT THE THREAT FROM TERRORISM. THE AL QAEDA CORPS HAS BEEN WEAKENED BUT THEIR VIOLENCE CONTINUES TO SPREAD THROUGH OTHER LIKE-MINDED RADICALS. GENERAL PETRAEUS UNDERSTANDS THESE THREATS, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WORK WORKING WITH HIM TO MAKE SURE THE NATION REMAINS VIGILANT THROUGH THESE VERY UNCERTAIN TIMES. I RECALL VERY VIVIDLY MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH DAVID PATRAEUS. IT WAS IN IRAQ WHEN HE WAS IN CHARGE OF THE TRAINING OF THE IRAQI SECURITY POLICE AND THE MILITARY PERSONNEL. AND I REMEMBER STANDING ON A ROOFTOP OUTSIDE OF BAGHDAD AND OBSERVING AN OPERATION, A TRAINING MISSION THAT WAS GOING ON WHERE IRAQI SECURITY POLICE AND MILITARY PERSONNEL WERE INTERACTING AND CARRYING OUT THIS TRAINING MISSION WITH U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL, AND JUST BEING AROUND DAVID PATRAEUS THAT FIRST DAY, YOU COULD SENSE THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING SPECIAL AND SOMETHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS GREAT LEADER. THE RESPECT THAT HE COMMANDED FROM ALL OF HIS SUBORDINATES AND THE RESPECT THAT HE SHOWED TO HIS SUPERIOR OFFICERS WAS EVIDENT, AND IT WAS PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY UNIQUE ABOUT DAVID PATRAEUS. OBVIOUSLY, HE HAS GONE ON TO PROVIDE THE RIGHT KIND OF LEADERSHIP THAT AMERICA HAS GROWN TO RESPECT -- EXPECT FROM OUR GREAT MILITARY LEADERS AND CERTAINLY DAVID PETRAEUS HAS EXEMPLIFIED THE VERY BEST THAT THE UNITED STATES MILITARY HAS TO OFFER. IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT THAT WE NOTE, AS CHAIRMAN FEINSTEIN STATED, THAT THERE ARE SOME OTHER FOLKS WHO ARE MOVING TO DIFFERENT POSITIONS OR LEAVING PUBLIC SERVICE THAT HAVE BEEN SO VALUABLE TO THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. I'VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF WORKING WITH SECRETARY BOB GATES AS A MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON A FAIRLY REGULAR BASIS. AND SECRETARY GATES WOULD BE THE FIRST ONE TO TELL YOU, HE AND I HAVEN'T ALWAYS AGREED ON EVERYTHING, AND THAT'S PART OF WHAT MAKES THIS INSTITUTION WORK SO WELL AND WHAT MAKES OUR COUNTRY SUCH A GREAT COUNTRY. BUT WHAT A PROFESSIONAL INDIVIDUAL HE IS. AND HE HAS PROVIDED THE EXACT KIND OF SERVICE, AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, THAT HAS BEEN NEEDED DURING HIS YEARS AT THE PENTAGON, WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN EASY YEARS. THESE HAVE BEEN VERY DIFFICULT YEARS TO MOVE THROUGH THE IRAQ SITUATION, SURGE INTO AFGHANISTAN, AS WELL AS TO DEAL WITH ALL OF THE OTHER MYRIAD ISSUES FROM PERSONNEL TO HEALTH CARE TO WEAPONS SYSTEMS THAT THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE HAS TO DEAL WITH ON A DAILY BASIS. I JUST ADMIRE AND RESPECT BOB GATES SO MUCH, AND OBVIOUSLY WE CERTAINLY WISH HIM THE BEST IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. LEON PANETTA MOVING FROM THE C.I.A. TO THE OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE IS A NATURAL. AS I HAVE STATED ON THIS FLOOR PREVIOUSLY, I MISS HIM -- I WILL MISS HIM AS THE DIRECTOR BECAUSE I THINK HE'S DONE SUCH AN EXEMPLARY JOB. HE CAME IN WITHOUT A LOT OF THE EXPERIENCE FROM AN INTEL STANDPOINT THAT SOME FOLKS THOUGHT THAT THE DIRECTOR SHOULD HAVE. BUT HAVING WORKED WITH LEON PANETTA WHEN HE WAS CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT CLINTON, HAVING WORKED WITH MINIMUM AS DIRECTOR OF O.M.B. UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON, I KNEW WHAT KIND OF MAN HE IS, AND I KNEW THAT LEON WOULD ADAPT VERY QUICKLY, AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAS HAPPENED. HE ROLLED HIS SLEEVES UP AND WENT TO WONCH HE HAS TRAVELED AROUND THE WORLD MEETING NOT ONLY WITH LEADERS OF OTHER NATIONS BUT HE ALWAYS MAKES SURE THAT HE GOES DOWN AND VISITS NOT JUST THE STATION CHIEF IN THE COUNTRIES WHERE HE'S VISITING BUT THE PERSONNEL THAT REALLY ARE OUT THERE PUTTING THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE EVERY DAY TO TRY TO PROTECT AMERICA AND AMERICANS. AND HE HAS CERTAINLY GAINED THE RESPECT OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL AT THE C.I.A. AS WELL AS MEMBERS OF THIS BODY, AND NOT ONLY HAS HE GAINED RESPECT, BUT THE MORALE AT THE C.I.A. TODAY IS PROBABLY THE HIGHEST IT'S BEEN SINCE I HAVE EVER BEEN INVOLVED OVER THE LAST DECADE WITH THE C.I.A. I THINK HE'S DONE JUST A MAGNIFICENT JOB, AND HE IS A GOING TO DO LIKEWISE AS THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. THE CHAIRMAN IS RIGHT, MIKE MORELL STEPPING IN FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS WILL ALLOW US TO HAVE A VERY SEAMLESS TRANSITION DURING THE INTERIM BECAUSE MIKE IS SUCH A GIFTED PROFESSIONAL, AND HE APPEARS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON A REGULAR BASIS, AND HE DOES PROVIDE THE DIRECT, UNFILTERED, RAW KIND OF INFORMATION THAT WE NEED TO HEAR. AND HE IS A GREAT, GREAT INDIVIDUAL. HE'S BEEN A GREAT LEADER, AS THE NUMBER-TWO PERSON AT THE C.I.A., WHERE HE WILL CONTINUE TO SERVE. AND DURING THE INTERIM, HE'S GOING TO CONTINUE THAT KIND OF LEADERSHIP THAT WE, AGAIN, HAVE GROWN TO EXPECT FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. SO I'M VERY PLEASED THAT MIKE MOREL SLVMENT IN THE POSITION THAT HE IS AT THIS POINT IN TIME SO THAT WE'LL CONTINUE TO HAVE THE RIGHT KIND OF LEADERSHIP AT THE EASMGHTS AGENCY. AWITH THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST SAY THAT WE HAD A UNANIMOUS VOTE OUT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE NOMINATION OF CONFIRMATION OF DAVID PATRAEUS, AND I, LIKE THE CHAIRMAN, HOPE THAT WE HAVE A VERY OUTSTANDING, UNANIMOUS VOTE TODAY FOR GENERAL PETRAEUS TO BE CONFIRMED AS THE NEXT DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A. WITH THAT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:28:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA.

  • 12:28:34 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. IPT I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE -- I WOULD LIKE…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. IPT I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE -- I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR HIS REMARKS. AND I'D LIKE TO THANK HIM ALSO FOR HIS WILLINGNESS TO WORK AS A BIPARTISAN TEAM, WHICH HE SAID WE HAVE DONE. I THINK THE DIVIDENDS HAVE BEEN GREAT FOR OUR COMMITTEE IN THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO GET AN AUTHORIZATION BILL PASSED, WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO AFFECT SOME CHANGES, WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER, OUR STAFFS WORK TOGETHER, AND IN PARTICULAR I'D LIKE TO THANK DAVID GRANISE AND I'D LIKE TO THANK MARTHA SCOTT FOR HER WORK IN THIS REGARD. I THINK IT IS EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT THAT AMERICANS KNOW THAT THERE IS -- IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES -- A TEAM OF OVERSIGHT THAT IS IN FACT WORKING TOGETHER ON A TRUE BIPARTISAN BASIS. SO, MR. VICE CHILDREN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT AND FOR -- ITS A BEEN WONDERFUL FOR ME AND PARTICULARLY FOR OUR FRIENDSHIP AS WELL. SO THANK YOU. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I NOTE THE REPUBLICAN WHIP ON THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:29:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA.

  • 12:29:37 PM

    MR. KYL

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:30:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:30:40 PM

    MR. KYL

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. WE ARE GOING TO BE FOREGOING A JULY FOURTH BREAK TO…

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. WE ARE GOING TO BE FOREGOING A JULY FOURTH BREAK TO GO BACK HOME TO VISIT WITH OUR CONSTITUENTS IN ORDER TO STAY HERE OSTENSIBLY TO WORK ON THE PROBLEM OF THE ACCUMULATING BUDGET DEFICIT AND HUGE DEBT THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS TAKEN ON AND THE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST THAT WE RAISE THE NATIONAL DEBT CEILING. WHAT I'D LIKE TO BRIEFLY ADDRESS TODAY IS WHAT SEEMS TO ME TO BE AN OBSESSION ON THE PART OF THE PRESIDENT TO RAISE TAXES. IN FACT, HE IS SO FIXED ON THIS, IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO HIM TO RAISE TAXES THAT HE'S WILLING TO RISK AN ECONOMIC CRISIS, KNOWING THAT CONGRESS WON'T RAISE TAXES AS PART OF THIS DEBT CEILING INCREASE. AND WE SHOULDN'T. NOT BECAUSE WE'RE TRYING TO PROTECT SOMEBODY BUT BECAUSE HIGHER TAXES ON AN ALREADY WEAK ECONOMY WOULD JUST MAKE THINGS WORSE. NOW, WE CAN POINT TO A LOT OF THINGS THE PRESIDENT HAS DONE SINCE HE TOOK OFFICE THAT HAVE MADE THINGS WORSE, BUT I DON'T KNOW OF A SINGLE ECONOMIST WHO BELIEVES THAT AMERICAN BUSINESSES WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO HIRE PEOPLE, WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO CREATE JOBS IF THEY ARE FACED WITH PAYING HIGHER TAXES. THEY WON'T. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT. SO WHEN THE PRESIDENT TALKS ABOUT RAISING TAXES, HE'S TALKING ABOUT KILLING JOBS. AND I'D LIKE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE THREE SPECIFIC TAXES THAT HE HAS TALKED ABOUT. I KNOW BECAUSE I WAS THE SENATE REPUBLICAN DELEGATE IN THE MEETINGS WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT AT WHICH THIS WAS DISCUSSED. NOW, I'M NOT GOING TO BREAK THE COMMITMENT THAT WE ALL MADE TO EACH OTHER TO DISCUSS THE THINGS THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS NOT ALREADY MADE PUBLIC, SO I WON'T DISCUSS THE MANY THINGS THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OFF THE TABLE. THEY TALKED ABOUT REPUBLICANS TAKING THINGS OFF THE TABLE. I THINK THEY HAVE ALREADY MADE IT CLEAR THAT, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY TOOK ANY CHANGES IN OBAMACARE OFF THE TABLE. I WON'T GET INTO THAT, AND I WON'T DISCUSS OTHER THINGS THAT WERE A PART OF OUR CONVERSATIONS, BUT SINCE THE ADMINISTRATION SPOKESMAN AND THE PRESIDENT SPECIFICALLY YESTERDAY HAS IDENTIFIED THREE OF THE THINGS THAT THEY DID PUT ON THE TABLE AND WANTED TO DISCUSS WITH US, I FEEL THAT I MIGHT AS WELL EXPLAIN TO YOU WHY WE'RE NOT WILLING TO RAISE THESE KINDS OF TAXES, BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL JOB-KILLING TAXES. THEY WOULD ALL INHIBIT GROWTH, WHICH IS EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING. NOW, WHAT ARE THESE JOB-KILLING TAX INCREASES ON SMALL BUSINESSES AND AMERICAN FAMILIES AND OTHER BUSINESSES? IT'S NOT, FIRST OF ALL, JUST ON MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES AND CORPORATE JETS. PRESIDENT OBAMA AND OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE ARE OBVIOUSLY USING POLL-TESTED RHETORIC HERE ABOUT ONLY RAISING TAXES ON MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES AND CORPORATE JETS BECAUSE THAT SOUNDS GOOD, AND THEY WANT ORDINARY AMERICANS TO BELIEVE THAT THEY WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BY THE PRESIDENT'S TAX INCREASE PROPOSALS. BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT THE PROVISIONS THEY PUT FORWARD DURING THE DEBT LIMIT MEETINGS WITH VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN WOULD TARGET SMALL BUSINESSES AND OTHER JOB CREATORS AND MANY AMERICANS WHO ARE FAR FROM BEING MILLIONAIRES OR BILLIONAIRES. AND I SHOULD MENTION RIGHT OFF THE TOP HERE THAT THEY NEVER DISCUSSED WITH US IN THESE MEETINGS ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH CORPORATE JETS, SO I HAVEN'T GONE TO LOOK TO SEE HOW MANY AMERICAN WORKERS ARE EMPLOYED IN THE GENERAL AVIATION BUSINESS. I NOTED THAT IT WAS ON A LIST THAT THEY GAVE TO US, BUT THEY NEVER CHECKED. I SUSPECT THAT THAT IS MORE IN THE REALM OF POLITICAL RHETORIC SINCE IT DOESN'T EVEN UNDER THEIR PROPOSAL I HAVE SEEN RAISE VERY MUCH MONEY. BUT IN ANY EVENT, WHAT HAD THEY ACTUALLY DISCUSSED WITH US? WELL, THE FIRST THING THEY DISCUSSED WAS REPEALING SOMETHING CALLED LIFO. NOW, LIFO IS A TERM LAST IN FIRST OUT THAT IS USED BY ACCOUNTANTS AS ONE OF THE METHODS OF INVENTORY ACCOUNTING. AND FOR YEARS, THERE HAS BEEN A QUESTION SHOULD -- AND MORE THAN A THIRD OF AMERICAN BUSINESSES USE THIS PARTICULAR METHOD OF ACCOUNTING. IT'S PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE, LEGAL AND SO ON. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME TALK SHOULD WE HAVE EVERYBODY USE THE SAME STANDARDIZED METHOD OF ACCOUNTING AND THERE HAVE BEEN PROPOSALS TO DO THAT IN THE PAST. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WHAT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO DO IS NOT JUST TO CONFORM EVERYONE TO THE SAME TYPE OF ACCOUNTING HERE BUT TO ACTUALLY GO BACK AND RETROACTIVELY TAX THE BUSINESSES WHO HAVE BEEN USING THIS ACCOUNTING PRACTICE WHICH IS PERFECTLY LEGAL, TOTALLY RECOGNIZED BY THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, NOTHING WRONG WITH IT, BUT THEY ARE GOING TO GO BACK AND SAY BECAUSE WE ARE INTERESTED IN RAISING REVENUE, WE'RE GOING TO PUT A RETROACTIVE TAX ON ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN USING THIS METHOD OF ACCOUNTING. MORE INTERESTED IN GETTING MONEY THAN IN TAX FAIRNESS. AND THAT'S WHY WE ARE OPPOSED TO THIS. IT WOULD REPRESENT A RETROACTIVE TAX INCREASE ON THE 36% OF AMERICAN BUSINESSES THAT USE THIS PERFECTLY LEGAL METHOD OF ACCOUNTING. NOW, WHO USES IT? MOSTLY IT'S PEOPLE IN THE RETAIL BUSINESS AND MANUFACTURERS. THERE ARE MANY WHO ARE SMALL BUSINESSES, I MIGHT ADD, AND TO SHOW YOU WHAT THE IMPACT OF THIS WOULD BE -- BY THE WAY, WE FIRST TALKED ABOUT CREATING JOBS IN THE RETAIL SECTOR WHERE CONSUMERS COME IN AND BUY THINGS AND IN THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR WHERE THEY ARE MADE. THESE ARE THE VERY FOLKS WHO USE THIS METHOD OF ACCOUNTING, AND HERE'S THE EFFECT THAT IT WOULD HAVE ON SMALL BUSINESSES. IN SEPTEMBER, 2009, THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION'S OFFICE OF ADVOCACY -- THIS IS UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION -- WROTE TO THE TAX REFORM SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE PRESIDENT'S OWN ECONOMIC RECOVERY ADVISORY BOARD THAT REPEALING LIFO -- AND I'M QUOTING HERE -- "WOULD RESULT IN A TAX INCREASE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES THAT COULD ULTIMATELY FORCE MANY SMALL BUSINESSES TO CLOSE." WHY ON EARTH WOULD WE IMPOSE A TAX RETROACTIVELY ON FOLKS WHO PROBABLY -- AT LEAST ACCORDING TO THE PRESIDENT'S OWN SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION COULD ULTIMATELY -- WOULD ULTIMATELY HAVE TO CLOSE THEIR BUSINESS AS A RESULT OF THE IMPOSITION OF THIS TAX. WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT? SHOULDN'T THAT AT LEAST BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT BEFORE WE PROPOSE SOMETHING LIKE THIS, OR ARE YOU SO OBSESSED WITH FINDING SOMEBODY TO RAISE TAXES ON OR GETTING REVENUE THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER? WITH UNEMPLOYMENT AT 9.1%, WE SHOULD NOT RAISE TAXES ON AMERICA'S JOB CREATORS. HERE'S THE SECOND ONE THAT THEY DISCUSSED. CAMPING ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS. THEY PROPOSED CAPPING ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS FOR UPPER INCOME TAXPAYERS EITHER AT THE 28% OR 35% LEVEL. OBVIOUSLY, THIS REDUCES THE ABILITY OF TAXPAYERS TO BUY HOMES, TO MAKE GIFTS TO CHARITY, TO PAY MEDICAL EXPENSES, ALL OF THE THINGS FOR WHICH DEDUCTIONS ARE TAKEN. AND AS "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" EDITORIALIZED ON JUNE 29, AND I'M QUOTING -- "THE BILL POINT OF THIS EXERCISE IS TO RAISE MARGINAL TAX RATES WITHOUT APPEARING TO DO SO." END OF QUOTE, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. THAT EDITORIAL POINTS OUT THAT PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH AGREED TO A SIMILAR PROPOSAL AS PART OF HIS 1990 BUDGET AGREEMENT THAT BROKE HIS READ MY LIPS PROMISE NOT TO RAISE TAXES. BUT THE FACT IS THAT HALF OF ALL SMALL BUSINESS INCOME FALLS IN THE TOP TWO BRACKETS SO THAT THE ABILITY OF SMALL BUSINESSES TO GROW AND CREATE JOBS WOULD OBVIOUSLY BE HARMED BY THIS PROPOSAL. THE FACT IS THAT MOST HIGH INCOME TAXPAYERS, INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS, ALREADY LOSE THE BENEFIT OF TAX DEDUCTIONS AND CREDITS AT THEIR INCOME LEVEL BECAUSE OF WHAT'S CALLED THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX. AND WE EACH YEAR ELIMINATE THE EFFECT OF THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX EXCEPT ON THOSE MAKING, I BELIEVE IT'S ABOVE ABOVE $250,000. SO THE VERY PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE CAPPED HERE ARE ALREADY CAPPED UNDER THE A.M.T. WHO WOULD GET HURT. WELL, WE KNOW THAT 50% OF THE TAXES PAID BY SMALL BUSINESSES ARE PAID IN THESE TWO UPPER BRACKETS BECAUSE THEY PAY INDIVIDUALLY, AND IT IS THOSE FOLKS THAT DON'T -- THAT CAN'T TAKE -- THAT WOULD GET HIT BY THIS BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO TAKE THE DEDUCTIONS AS PART OF THEIR BUSINESSES. THEY WOULD END UP HAVING THEIR DEDUCTIONS CAPPED AND BEING UNABLE, THEREFORE, TO INVEST THAT IN HIRING MORE PEOPLE. MOREOVER, THE TAX INCREASE WOULD HIT A MUCH LARGER SEGMENT OF AMERICAN FAMILIES THAN JUST MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. ACCORDING TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, IN 2008, THE LAST YEAR THAT WE HAVE NUMBERS FOR, ONLY 319,000 HAD TAX RETURNS SHOWED INCOMES OF A MILLION DOLLARS OR MORE, BUT IN THAT SAME YEAR, THE NUMBER OF RETURNS FALLING IN THE 33% AND 35% BRACKETS, WHICH ARE THE BRACKETS MOST AFFECTED BY THIS PROPOSAL, NUMBERED MORE THAN 3.6 MILLION. IN OTHER WORDS, MORE THAN TEN TIMES THE NUMBER OF FILERS WHO WOULD BE HIT IF ONLY MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES WERE AFFECTED. SO WHILE THE PRESIDENT LIKES TO CLAIM THAT IT ONLY WANTS TO TAX MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES, THE FACT IS THAT HIS PROPOSAL WOULD HIT SMALL BUSINESSES AND MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE NOT MILLIONAIRES. BUT AS I SAID, MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT AFFECTS JOB CREATION BECAUSE THE PEOPLE THAT WOULD BE HIT BY THIS, BY THE PEOPLE WHO PAY THEIR -- SMALL BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURS WHO PAY THEIR TAXES UNDER THESE PROVISIONS AND WOULD NO LONGER BE ABLE TO DEDUCT THEIR BUSINESS JOB EXPENSES. WHY? WITH ECONOMIC GROWTH AT JUST 1.9% IN THE LAST QUARTER WOULD CONGRESS WANT TO RAISE TAXES ON SMALL BUSINESSES AND ON AMERICAN FAMILIES? IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. AND FINALLY, OIL AND GAS. ALWAYS POPULAR TO TALK ABOUT ATTACKING BIG OIL. OF COURSE, MILLIONS OF AMERICANS AND RETIRED AMERICANS OWN STOCK IN OIL COMPANIES, AND RAISING TAXES WOULD HAVE THE EFFECT OF BOTH REDUCING WHAT THEY GET IN THEIR PENSIONS AND SO ON AS WELL AS UNDOUBTEDLY RESULTING IN HIGHER GASOLINE PRICES BECAUSE MOST OF THESE KINDS OF TAXES ARE PASSED RIGHT ON THROUGH TO THE CONSUMER. SO THEY WANT TO RAISE TAXES ON U.S.-BASED OIL AND GAS COMPANIES. NOT FOREIGN-OWNED COMPANIES. U.S.-BASED OIL AND GAS COMPANIES. OBVIOUSLY, THIS TAX COULD RESULT IN HIGHER GAS PRICES, WHICH CONTRADICTS THE REASON FOR RELEASING OIL FROM THE STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE. WHY DO THAT IF IT'S GOING TO GET CANCELED OUT BY IMPOSING A NEW TAX? IT COULD OBVIOUSLY HURT JOB CREATION BECAUSE THIS INDUSTRY SUPPORTS OVER 9.2 MILLION AMERICAN JOBS. AND IT DOESN'T JUST TARGET OIL COMPANIES BECAUSE THEY GET SOME KIND OF SPECIAL BENEFIT. WHAT THESE PROVISIONS DO IS ELIMINATE A TAX PROVISION APPLICABLE TO ALL BUSINESSES. ANY MANUFACTURING BUSINESS, FOR EXAMPLE, HAS THE BENEFIT OF THESE PARTICULAR THREE TAX PROVISIONS. SO WHY SINGLE OUT ONE PARTICULAR GROUP OF TAXPAYERS, ONLY ABOUT FIVE IN NUMBER, WHO WOULD NO LONGER BE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PROVISIONS THAT EVERY OTHER AMERICAN BUSINESS CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF? THEY ARE BROADLY AVAILABLE TO AMERICAN BUSINESSES IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER, AND THEY ARE THREE SPECIFIC THINGS. FIRST, THE SO-CALLED 199 DEDUCTION AVAILABLE TO ALL MANUFACTURERS. SECOND, U.S. BUSINESSES ARE GENERALLY ABLE TO PREVENT DOUBLE TAXATION WHEN THEY HAVE TO PAY TAXES ABROAD. THOSE TAXES ARE THEN CREDITED AGAINST THEIR AMERICAN TAX BURDEN. AND THIRD, MOST BUSINESSES CAN EXPENSE THEIR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COSTS. THESE ARE THE THREE THINGS THAT WOULD BE TAKEN AWAY JUST FROM OIL COMPANIES, THE FOLKS WHO FIND AMERICAN OIL SO THAT WE CAN DRIVE OUR CARS AND CONDUCT OUR BUSINESSES. SO RAISING THE COST OF PRODUCING AMERICAN OIL WOULD HELP OUR FOREIGN COMPETITORS MAKE US MORE DEPENDENT ON THEM, DRIVE HIGH-PAYING JOBS OFFSHORE, INCREASE OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL, CAUSE GAS PRICES TO RISE AND HURT AMERICAN FAMILIES ALREADY STRUGGLING WITH HIGH FOOD AND ENERGY COSTS. WHY WOULD WE WANT TO DO THIS EXCEPT TO DEMAGOGUE A POLITICAL ISSUE BECAUSE IT SOUNDS GOOD TO PUNISH SUCCESS? AMERICA HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT PUNISHING SUCCESS. AMERICA HAS BEEN ALL ABOUT CREATING OPPORTUNITIES. AND THIS PRESIDENT'S IDEAS OF RAISING TAXES AS THE AGREEMENT TO ACHIEVE AN INCREASE IN THE DEBT CEILING AS HE HAS PROPOSED WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY CONTRARY TO WHAT WE'RE ALL TRYING TO DO RIGHT NOW, WHICH IS TO HELP OUR ECONOMY GET HEALTHY SO THAT IT CAN CREATE MORE JOBS SO WE CAN REDUCE THIS TREMENDOUSLY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW, PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK, HELP OUR FAMILIES AND IRONICALLY BY GETTING HEALTHIER ECONOMICALLY, MAKING MORE MONEY, PRODUCING MORE REVENUE FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO TAX UNDER OUR EXISTING TAXES. SO IF WE WANT ECONOMIC GROWTH, IF WE WANT IMPROVEMENT IN THE ECONOMY, THE LAST THING WE SHOULD BE DOING WHEN YOU'RE ECONOMY IS AILING NOW IS IMPOSING A HIGHER TAX BURDEN ON IT. WHY THE PRESIDENT IS SO OBSESSED WITH THIS, I DO NOT KNOW, BUT I WILL TELL YOU ONE THING. REPUBLICANS WILL RESIST THESE JOB-KILLING TAX INCREASES, NOT BECAUSE WE ARE TRYING TO PROTECT SOMEBODY, EXCEPT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, BUT BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT IT'S BAD FOR OUR ECONOMY, FOR OUR FAMILIES, FOR OUR SMALL BUSINESSES -- OUR BUSINESSES AND FOR JOB CREATION. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 12:45:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

  • 12:45:13 PM

    MR. BROWN

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. AND THANK YOU, SENATOR KYL, FOR HIS HE WILL…

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. AND THANK YOU, SENATOR KYL, FOR HIS HE WILL SKPWAOEFPBT ON ISSUES -- FOR HIS ELOQUENT SPEECH ON ISSUES OF THE DAY THAT ARE OBVIOUSLY VERY SERIOUS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

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  • 12:45:25 PM

    MR. KYL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO PUT INTO THE RECORD THE ARTICLE FROM THE "WALL…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO PUT INTO THE RECORD THE ARTICLE FROM THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL" TO WHICH I REFERRED.

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  • 12:45:37 PM

    MR. BROWN

    SPEAK TODAY ON A COUPLE OF ISSUES. FIRST, THE ASSET FORFEITURE ACT OF…

    SPEAK TODAY ON A COUPLE OF ISSUES. FIRST, THE ASSET FORFEITURE ACT OF 2011, AN ACT THAT I HAVE FILED AND WILL SPEAK UPON IN A MOMENT. BEFORE I DO, I WANT TO JUST THANK AND ASK TO SPEAK AS IF WE'RE IN MORNING BUSINESS. I WANT TO COMMENT ON SECRETARY GATES' LAST DAY. THANK YOU. I WAS JUST OVER AT THE PENTAGON DOING SOME WORK AND NOTED THAT HE WAS BEING HONORED THERE TODAY. AND I WANT TO THANK HIM FOR HIS DEDICATION AND SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. HE LEAVES BEHIND AN INCREDIBLE RECORD OF SERVICE. OUR MILITARY AND HIS TPAEUPLS, WHILE STRAINED -- FAMILIES, WHILE STRAINED HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE PREPARED TO FIGHT AND WIN IN TODAY'S CONFLICT. I'VE GAINED AN ENORMOUS LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR HIS TIRELESS LEADERSHIP AND COMMITTED RESOLVE ON BEHALF OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM AND THEIR FAMILIES. SO, MR. SECRETARY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR INCREDIBLE SERVICE TO THIS NATION, AND YOU'VE MADE US ALL VERY, VERY PROUD. ALSO, MADAM PRESIDENT, TODAY ONE OF OUR FINEST OFFICERS OUR NATION HAS EVER PRODUCED, GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS, LEAVES BEHIND A DISTINGUISHED RECORD OF MILITARY SERVICE AND MOVES ON TO A NEW JOB. THE WEALTH OF HIS EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERIENCE HE BRINGS TO THIS CRITICAL POST WILL BE INVALUABLE AS HE AND OTHER DEDICATED PUBLIC SERVANTS AT THE AGENCY WORK TO KEEP OUR NATION SAFE FROM HARM. I HAVE THE UTMOST FAITH IN HIS LEADERSHIP AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE CONTRIBUTIONS HE WILL MAKE TO THE AGENCY AND TO OUR COUNTRY. NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, GETTING BACK TO WHAT I WAS HERE TO SPEAK WITH YOU ABOUT, AND OTHERS, I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT OVERREGULATION, SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY PUTTING A WET BLANKET ON MANY BUSINESSES THROUGHOUT OUR COUNTRY AND ESPECIALLY IN MASSACHUSETTS. AND THAT'S WHY I'M INTRODUCING A BILL TO REFORM THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, OR NOAA'S ASSET FORFEITURE FUND. THE FUND IS AUTHORIZED BY THE MAGNUSON FISHERIES CONSERVATION ACT AND ALLOWS NOAA TO RETAIN FINES AND PENALTIES FOR LEGITIMATE ENFORCEMENT PURPOSES. AND AS THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE INSPECTOR GENERAL'S EXCELLENT WORK REVEALED, NOAA HAS MISMANAGED THAT FUND FOR MANY YEARS, WASTING TAXPAYER FUNDS ON EXORBITANT FOREIGN TRAVEL, UNAUTHORIZED PURCHASE OF VEHICLES. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THEY HAVE MORE -- THEY PURCHASE MORE VEHICLES THAN THEY ACTUALLY HAVE EMPLOYEES. SO THAT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. THEY ALSO PURCHASED A $300,000 LUXURY BOAT WITH THE FUNDS COLLECTED IN THAT FORFEITURE FUND. THE REASON I'M STANDING ON THE FLOOR TODAY IS BECAUSE THE WAY THE FUND HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED HAS ACTUALLY CORRUPTED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FISHERMEN AND THE REGULATORS. THE FISHERMEN HAVE COMPLAINED FOR YEARS ABOUT THE ARBITRARY FINES, OVERZEALOUS ENFORCEMENT AND VIOLATION OF THEIR DUE PROCESS RIGHTS WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH NOAA. AFTER DECADES OF SUCH COMPLAINTS MOSTLY IN THE NORTHEAST, THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPOINTED A DISTINGUISHED RETIRED JUDGE TO SERVE AS A SPECIAL MASTER IN INVESTIGATE -- AND INVESTIGATE FORMAT ACTIONS AND ABUSE BY NOAA. IN ONE CASE, MADAM PRESIDENT, A NEW BEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS, FISHERMAN LOST HIS LIVELIHOOD AND A FARM THAT HAD BEEN IN THE FAMILY SINCE THE 1640'S, FORCED TO SELL IT DUE TO THE PUNITIVE NOAA PENALTIES. THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT CONCLUDED THE PERVERSE INCENTIVE TO FILL THE ASSET FORFEITURE FUND WITH FUNDS WAS THE MOTIVATING FACTOR IN HOW NOAA HANDLED TKHAEUS. A GENTLEMAN -- THAT CASE. A GENTLEMAN NAMED LARRY LECUBA GOT NOT ONLY A CHECK BUT APOLOGY FROM WASHINGTON BECAUSE OF THOSE ABUSES. HE WILL NEVER GET HIS HOME BACK. MY ROLE AS RANKING MEMBER OF THE FEDERAL FINANCIAL MANAGER ALONG WITH TOM CARPER OF DELAWARE, WE HELD A FIELD HEARING IN BOSTON ON JUNE 20 TO IDENTIFY A LOT OF THESE LONG-STANDING PROBLEMS AND IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS WITH THE ASSET FORFEITURE FUND ITSELF. UNFORTUNATELY, THE HEARING REVEALED THAT WHILE NOAA HAS INSTITUTED SOME REFORMS TO ITS MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND, INCLUDING AUDITING THE FUND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEARLY FOUR DECADES, IT STILL INTENDS TO UTILIZE THE SEIZED ASSETS OF FISHERMEN TO PAY FOR FOREIGN TRAVEL, WHICH I FEEL IS COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE. THE YEARS OF NOAA'S MISMANAGEMENT AND ABUSE OF THE ASSET FORFEITURE FUND HAVE BRED MISTRUST AMONG THE FISHERMEN AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS AND CAN ONLY BE BROKEN BY REMOVING THE FUND FOR NOAA. IT IS FOR THESE REASONS I'M INTRODUCING THE ASIT FORFEITURE ACT OF 2011 WHICH WILL HOPEFULLY END A SAD CHAPTER OF FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT BY THIS AGENCY AND REPLACING THE EXISTING FUNDS WITH A NEW FISHERIES INVESTMENT FUND AND THE FUNDS WILL BE KEPT AT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR THE BENEFIT OF REGIONAL COUNSELS IN NOAA. THE FUND WILL BE AUDITED FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS. THE FISHING INVESTMENT FUND WILL DIRECT MONEYS FROM THOSE FISHERMEN WHO BREAK THE RULES TOWARDS ASSISTING FISHERMEN WITH THE EVER-GROWING COST OF REGULATORY COMPLIANCE AND TO REIMBURSE THE LEGAL FEES INCURRED BY FISHERMEN WHOSE FINES WERE ACTUALLY REMITTED BY THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE SPECIAL MASTER. CURRENTLY APPROPRIATED FUNDS ASSIST FISHERMEN WITH THE COST OF COMPLIANCE, BUT IN THESE DIFFICULT FISCAL TIMES, THIS FUNDING IS ACTUALLY AT RISK. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS LEGISLATION WOULD ALLOW A MORE RELIABLE SOURCE OF FUNDS TO OFFSET THE INCREASING COST OF COMPLIANCE WHILE ALLOWING THE FISHING COUNCILS TO HAVE THE FLEXIBILITY TO ACTUALLY ADDRESS OTHER PRIORITIES SUCH AS PREPARING FISHING IMPACT STATEMENTS AND ADDRESSING OTHER PRIORITIES TO REBUILD OR MAINTAIN THE FISHERIES AND THE FISHING STOCKS. AS I HAVE ALWAYS SAID SINCE I GOT ELECTED AND INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE, ALL THE FISHERMEN WANT IS TO HAVE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD AND THE ASSURANCES THAT THOSE WHO BREAK THE RULES WILL BE CAUGHT. AND THEY'LL BE FINED AND FINED APPROPRIATELY. THAT'S WHY I HAVE MAINTAINED FUNDING FOR NOAA'S LEGITIMATE LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES. HOWEVER, IN THE END, MADAM PRESIDENT, WE SHOULD BE FOCUSED, QUITE FRANKLY, IN THIS CHAMBER ON BETTERING THE ECONOMIC SECURITY AND ABILITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO MAKE AN HONEST LIVING. THIS BILL WILL BRING BACK JOBS TO THE HARDWORKING MEN AND WOMEN OF THE AMERICAN FISHING INDUSTRY WHILE RESTORING THEIR TRUST IN GOVERNMENT. IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. AND ON A SIDE NOTE, MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M HOPEFUL THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER AND TRY TO GET THROUGH A LOT OF THESE FISCAL CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE. I, FOR ONE, ALONG WITH MANY OTHERS STILL LOOK FORWARD TO FINDING COMMON SOLUTIONS TO MOVE OUR COUNTRY FORWARD AND STEP BACK FROM THAT FINANCIAL PRECIPICE WE'RE APPROACHING. SO I WANT TO THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT, AND I DO NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT TIME DURING THE QUORUM CALL BE CHARGED EQUALLY TO BOTH SIDES. A SENATOR: WOULD THE GENTLEMAN WITHHOLD THAT REQUEST OF ABSENCE OF A QUORUM?

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  • 12:53:07 PM

    MR. BROWN

    I'M SORRY. DIDN'T EVEN SEE YOU THERE. I'M SORRY.

  • 12:53:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO THE SENATOR'S UNANIMOUS CONSENT…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION TO THE SENATOR'S UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST?

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  • 12:53:15 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    OBJECT ONLY FOR PURPOSES OF KEEPING THE QUORUM. I DON'T HAVE TO DO IT -- I…

    OBJECT ONLY FOR PURPOSES OF KEEPING THE QUORUM. I DON'T HAVE TO DO IT -- I WITHDRAW MY OBJECTION.

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  • 12:53:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO MOVED.

  • 12:53:26 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT.

  • 12:53:29 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE ABLE TO SPEAK AS IF…

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE ABLE TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 12:53:34 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I TAKE THIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE BUDGET ISSUES AND THE…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I TAKE THIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE BUDGET ISSUES AND THE DEBT CEILING THAT IS FASTLY APPROACHING. IT IS A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE. IT'S A MATTER WE NEED TO DEAL WITH. I START BY FIRST SAYING CONTINUING'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW -- BY SAYING CONTINUING'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW HOW WE GOT HERE. WE DON'T WANT TO REPEAT THE MISTAKES WE MADE IN THE PAST. IT WAS TEN YEARS AGO WE HAD NOT ONLY A BALANCED BUDGET, WE HAD A BUDGET THAT LOOKED LIKE WE WOULD PAY OFF ALL OF OUR PRIVATELY HELD DEBT. I WAS PART OF THE CONGRESS THAT MOVED US TOWARDS THAT BALANCED BUDGET AND SURPLUS. IT WAS THE DEMOCRATS WHO WERE PREPARED TO DO WHAT WAS NECESSARY TPO BALANCE THE FEDERAL BUDGET IN THE 1990'S, AND WE GOT THERE. WE DIDN'T HAVE A SINGLE VOTE FROM A REPUBLICAN, BUT WE BALANCED THE BUDGET. WE DID IT; IT WAS NOT EASY, BUT IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR OUR ECONOMY. AS A RESULT, OUR ECONOMY PICKED UP AND WE DID EXTREMELY WELL. WE ALSO KNOW THAT THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION CUT TAXES TWICE FROM 2001 AND 2003. WE ALSO WENT TO WAR IN IRAQ, A WAR THAT WAS ONE BY CHOICE. WE ALSO WENT TO WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. DIDN'T PAY FOR EITHER ONE OF THOSE WARS. IT WAS THESE UNPAID-FOR WARS AND THESE TAX POLICIES THAT LED US FROM A SURPLUS TO A DEFICIT. OUR ECONOMY THEN TURNED, AND WE NOW HAVE THESE LARGE DEFICITS. I SAY THAT BECAUSE WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO HOW WE GOT HERE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE A CREDIBLE PLAN TO GET US OUT OF THIS DEFICIT. I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT THIS COUNTRY MOVE TOWARDS A MANAGEABLE DEBT. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR OUR ECONOMY AND FOR JOB GROWTH THAT WE MANAGE OUR DEFICIT AND BRING IT DOWN. SO LET ME JUST GIVE YOU WHAT I THINK NEEDS TO BE DONE IN ANY PLAN THAT IS PRESENTED TO US FOR CONSIDERATION. I THINK WE ALL -- I HOPE WE ALL AGREE THAT WE NEED TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING BECAUSE THAT'S AFTER THE FACT. WE'VE ALREADY SPENT THE MONEY, NOW WE'VE GOT TO PAY THE BILLS. BUT WE ALSO WOULD LIKE TO SEE A PLAN TO BRING OUR DEFICIT UNDER CONTROL. TO DO THAT, WE HAVE TO HAVE A CREDIBLE PLAN, ONE THAT REALLY DOES BRING US WITHIN THE REALM OF A MANAGEABLE DEFICIT. SECONDLY, IT'S GOT TO BE FAIR. I NOTICE THAT MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ASKED OUR CHILDREN TO GIVE UP SOME OF THEIR HELP IN COLLEGE EDUCATION AND THEY WANT TO CUT HEAD START PROGRAM AND WANT OUR SENIORS TO PAY MORE IN HEALTH CARE. BUT HOW ABOUT WELL-OFF? SHOULDN'T THEY BE PART OF THE PLAN? I CAN WE HAVE TO HAVE -- I THINK WE HAVE TO HAVE A FAIR PLAN IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH OUR GOALS. THIRD, WE NEED TO ALLOW OUR NATION TO MOVE FORWARD WITH ECONOMIC GROWTH. JOBS ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT. AS WE CREATE MORE JOBS, WE HELP OUR ECONOMY GROW. IT BRINGS OUR BUDGET BETTER INTO BALANCE. SO I'M FOR A CREDIBLE PLAN. TO ME, A CREDIBLE PLAN NEEDS TO GET THE JOB DONE, NEEDS TO BE FAIR INCLUDING ALL ELEMENTS OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING, INCLUDING TAX EXPENDITURES. AND IT HAS TO ALLOW FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH. SO IF WE'RE TO GET THE JOB DONE, MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'VE GOT TO BRING DOWN SPENDING. WE ALL ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. WE'VE GOT TO BRING DOWN SPENDING ON THE DOMESTIC SIDE AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY SIDE. WE CAN DO BETTER IN BRINGING OUR TROOPS HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN AND SAVE MILITARY DOLLARS. THERE'S THINGS THAT WE CAN DO TO BRING DOWN SPENDING, AND WE NEED TO DO THAT. BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE REVENUE SIDE. AND THE REVENUE SIDE, QUITE FRANKLY, YOU CAN'T GET THE JOB DONE WITHOUT DEALING WITH THE TAX LOOPHOLES AND SHELTERS THAT WE HAVE IN THE TAX CODE. AND I AM CONCERNED THAT THE REPUBLICAN LEADER SAID WE COULDN'T CONSIDER ANY REVENUE. WELL, I HOPE -- AND I KNOW I'VE HEARD FROM A LOT OF MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES THAT THEY DISAGREE WITH THAT -- WE NEED TO INCLUDE REVENUES IN A CREDIBLE PLAN. IT CAN'T GET DONE, CAN'T MANAGE THE DEFICIT WITHOUT CLOSING THOSE LOOPHOLES, WITHOUT ELIMINATING THOSE SHELTERS. YESTERDAY, MADAM PRESIDENT, I TALKED ABOUT ONE OF THOSE SHELTERS. I TALKED ABOUT THE ETHANOL SUBSIDY. IT'S ABOUT $3 BILLION WE CAN SAVE IF WE ACT FAST ENOUGH. THE ETHANOL SUBSIDIES ARE NOT NEEDED. THE MARKET'S THERE. WE'RE DAMAGING, IT'S HURTING OUR ECONOMY. I HAVE THE HONOR OF REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF MARYLAND IN THE DEL MARVA PENINSULA. THE POULTRY INDUSTRY IS SUFFERING BECAUSE OF THE ETHANOL POLICY OF THIS COUNTRY. IT'S COSTING THEM MORE TO PRODUCE POULTRY, MAKING THE INDUSTRY LESS COMPETITIVE. WE CAN SAVE AND CREATE JOBS BY ELIMINATING THE ETHANOL SUBSIDY WHICH WILL HELP US IN BALANCING THE BUDGET. BUT TODAY I WANT TO TALK ABOUT ANOTHER ONE OF THESE TAX SHELTERS AND LOOPHOLES THAT WE COULD DEAL WITH, AND THAT IS THE SECTION 199 TAX BREAKS THAT ARE USED BY THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY. VERY INTERESTING, MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'VE SEEN GASOLINE PRICES RISE. WE'VE SEEN THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF THOSE GASOLINE PRICES ON OUR ECONOMY. BUT GUESS WHO'S BENEFITED FROM THE INCREASE IN THE GASOLINE PRICE STPH-S YOU'RE RIGHT, IT'S THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY. THEIR PROFITS ARE UP AS OUR ECONOMY HAS BEEN SUFFERING. IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THIS YEAR, THE GAS AND OIL INDUSTRIES, THE FIVE LARGEST COMPANIES, HAD PROFITS, RECORD PROFITS OF $35.8 BILLION. IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THIS YEAR. SECTION 199 SUBSIDIES THESE AMOUNT TO $5 BILLION. WE'RE PROJECTING THAT PROFIT BY $4 BILLION OF TAXPAYER CONTRIBUTION. IT'S NOT NEEDED. THESE FUNDS COULD BE USED TO HELP REDUCE OUR DEFICIT. THE WORST PART ABOUT IT IS THAT THE SECTION 199 CAME ABOUT AS A RESULT OF OUR FOREIGN SALES ACT. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? WE WANTED TO PUT AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS AND PRODUCERS ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD ON INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. WE TRIED TO DO THAT WITH A DIRECT SUBSIDY TO HELP EXPORT BUT THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION HELD THAT TO BE ILLEGAL. THEN WE CAME BACK WITH THIS GENERAL MANUFACTURER'S CREDIT, SECTION 199, TO TRY TO HELP OUR EXPORTERS. THE GAS AND OIL INDUSTRY ARE NOT EXPORTING A PRODUCT. THEY SHOULD NEVER HAVE QUALIFIED FOR THIS $4 BILLION OF TAXPAYER SUBSIDY. I ASKED THAT QUESTION IN THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE WHEN WE HAD THE C.E.O.'S BEFORE US. NOT ONE COULD JUSTIFY THE FAIRNESS OF THIS SUBSIDY GOING TO THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY. THEIR ONLY ANSWER WAS, WELL, EVERYBODY ELSE IS GETTING IT. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, WE NEED TO REDUCE UNNECESSARY GOVERNMENT SPENDING, WHETHER IT'S IN THE APPROPRIATIONS SIDE OR THE TAX EXPENDITURE SIDE. IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY, THIS IS $4 BILLION THAT CAN HELP US BALANCE THE BUDGET. NOW, THE MINORITY LEADER SAYS WE CAN'T EVEN CONSIDER THAT. HE SAID WE CAN'T CONSIDER ANY OF THE REVENUES. WELL, TO ME, IT'S -- IT'S NOT A FAIR PROPOSAL, NOT A CREDIBLE PROPOSAL UNLESS WE TELL OUR MOST WEALTHY AND THOSE COMPANIES THAT DON'T NEED THE SUBSIDIES THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE PART OF THE PLAN TO BRING OUR BUDGET INTO BALANCE. THERE ARE MANY MORE PROVISIONS IN THE TAX CODE THAT WE CAN LOOK AT, THAT WE CAN GET THE SAVINGS. I JUST MENTIONED TWO. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A CREDIBLE PLAN THAT'S GOING TO ALLOW US FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH, THAT WILL ALLOW US TO CREATE JOBS, AND THE BEST WAY TO DEAL WITH THE DEFICIT IS TO CREATE MORE JOBS, THEN YOU HAVE TO HAVE A FAIR APPROACH. I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES THAT LET'S GET TOGETHER ON THIS. LOOK, MR. PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND IT'S NOT GOING TO BE THE BUDGET THAT THE DEMOCRATS WANT, BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE THE BUDGET THAT THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS WANT EITHER. WE HAVE GOT TO WORK TOGETHER, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. I THINK WE CAN FIND A COMMON GROUND. EARLIER THIS YEAR, I THINK 62 SENATORS SIGNED A LETTER SAYING LET'S USE THE FRAMEWORK OF THE DEBT COMMISSION. SO I THINK THERE WAS THAT -- THAT -- THAT WILLINGNESS. LET'S GET BACK TO THAT. LET'S GET THE DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS WORKING TOGETHER IN TRUE COMPROMISE. WE DON'T HAVE TO COMPROMISE OUR PRINCIPLES. WE CAN GET THE JOB DONE. AND THE JOB MEANS LET'S GET OUR DEBT IN A MANAGEABLE STATE. LET'S DO IT IN A WAY THAT'S FAIR TO THE -- SO THE WELL OFF ALSO ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION THAT INCLUDES REVENUES. LET'S DO IT IN A WAY THAT ALLOWS AMERICA TO DO WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID, OUTEDUCATE, OUT INNOVATE AND OUTBUILD OUR COMPETITORS SO THAT WE CAN CREATE THE JOBS THAT WILL NOT ONLY HELP US BALANCE OUR BUDGET BUT WILL KEEP AMERICA'S PROSPERITY. THAT'S OUR CHARGE, THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO DO. LET'S GET ON WITH THE WORK. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:03:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 01:03:06 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, BEFORE I START MY REMARKS, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT IN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, BEFORE I START MY REMARKS, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT IN ABOUT AN HOUR, WE WILL START VOTING ON THE NOMINATION OF SENATOR -- EXCUSE ME, GENERAL PETRAEUS TO LEAD THE C.I.A. AND I AM GOING TO ENTHUSIASTICALLY SUPPORT THAT NOMINATION BECAUSE I DO THINK THAT GENERAL PETRAEUS HAS SHOWN THE KIND OF MILITARY LEADERSHIP THAT MAKES OUR COUNTRY PROUD. HE HAS COME IN AT SOME OF THE HARDEST TIMES, IN BOTH IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. I HAVE MET WITH HIM IN IRAQ TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING, HOW HE WAS IMPLEMENTING HIS COUNTERINSURGENCY PROPOSALS, AND I THINK HE IS A GIFTED LEADER. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT IN THIS WAR THAT WE ARE IN, THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISTS, THE C.I.A. AND THE MILITARY HAVE SUCH A NECESSARY LINK, AND IN MANY WAYS THE -- THEY ARE CODEPENDENT FOR THE INFORMATION, FOR THE CAPABILITIES THAT EACH UNIQUELY HAS. SO I THINK THAT HE WILL DO THE SAME GREAT JOB THAT HE HAS DONE IN PUBLIC SERVICE IN A DIFFERENT ARENA BUT ONE THAT HAS BECOME MUCH MORE CLOSELY LINKED TO THE MILITARY FOR SURE, AND I WILL SUPPORT HIS NOMINATION. MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS DEBT CEILING ISSUE, WHICH SHOULD BE WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, BECAUSE WE HAVE PERHAPS AS MUCH AS TWO MONTHS. WE'RE NOT EXACTLY CLEAR WHEN WE'RE GOING TO REACH THAT OVER OVER $14 TRILLION DEBT CEILING, BUT THIS IS THE MOST SERIOUS ISSUE FACING CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT TODAY, AND WE REALLY SHOULDN'T BE DOING ANYTHING ELSE EXCEPT TALKING ABOUT HOW WE ARE GOING TO BRIDGE THIS GAP THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO GO FORWARD WITH SIGNIFICANT REFORMS. I WILL NOT VOTE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING IF THERE ARE NOT SIGNIFICANT REFORMS THAT ASSURE THAT WE WON'T HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN, THAT WE WILL BEGIN TO BRING DOWN THE DEFICIT THAT IS CAUSING THIS HUGE DEBT TO ACCUMULATE, SO I AM LOOKING FOR THE LEADERS THAT ARE MEETING IN THE DIFFERENT MEETINGS AND I'M PRIVY TO SOME OF THOSE, I THINK IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE COME TO AN AGREEMENT SO THAT WE SEND A MESSAGE. PEOPLE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE MESSAGE THAT WOULD BE SENT TO THE WORLD IF THE DEBT CEILING ISN'T LIFTED. I'M CONCERNED ABOUT THE DEBT CEILING MESSAGE THAT WOULD BE SENT IF WE DO LIFT IT WITHOUT REFORMS. I WANT TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE THAT WE ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH OUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. WE ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH IT RESPONSIBLY. WE ARE GOING TO CUT THE SPENDING THAT HAS CAUSED THIS DEBT TO ACCUMULATE TO SUCH ALARMING LEVELS. AND THE MESSAGE I WANT TO SEND TO THE WORLD IS WE'RE GOING TO TAKE THIS PROBLEM AND WE'RE GOING TO SOLVE IT TOGETHER. WE'RE NOT GOING TO JUST DO ANOTHER PRO FORMA LIFTING OF THE DEBT CEILING AS IF IT WAS BUSINESS AS USUAL. BUSINESS AS USUAL IT IS NOT. WE DON'T HAVE A TAX PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY. WE HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM, AND WE MUST ATTACK IT IF WE ARE GOING TO HAVE CREDIBILITY. SO THAT BRINGS ME TO A BILL THAT I HAVE INTRODUCED BECAUSE I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT AS WE ARE LOOKING AT THIS LOOMING DEADLINE TO HAVE A PLAN B, THAT IF, IN FACT, WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO COME TO AN AGREEMENT WITH BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT THAT WOULD CUT THE SPENDING LEVELS SUFFICIENTLY, THAT MANY OF US WOULD BE COMFORTABLE ENOUGH TO PASS THE DEBT LIMIT LIFTING, IF WE DON'T MEET THAT TEST, WE SHOULD HAVE A RESPONSIBLE PLAN B, PLAN THAT SAYS IF, IN FACT, WE CAN'T AGREE ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO LIFT THAT DEBT CEILING, HOW ARE WE GOING TO TREAT THE MONEY THAT WILL BE COMING IN? BECAUSE AT THAT POINT, OUR GOVERNMENT WILL BE LIMITED IN EXPENDITURES BY THE REVENUE THAT IS COMING IN. NOW, WE CAN ALLOCATE THAT REVENUE, AND THAT'S WHERE I THINK WE MUST HAVE PLAN B. WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT CERTAIN THINGS ARE DONE. THE NUMBER ONE THING THAT WE ALL KNOW IS GOING TO BE PAYING THE INTEREST ON THE DEBT. THAT IS OUR NUMBER ONE RESPONSIBILITY BECAUSE THAT WILL KEEP US FROM GOING INTO DEFAULT, WHICH NONE OF US WANT TO DO. THE SECOND THING RIGHT AFTER THAT IS TO PAY OUR MILITARY, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DLOID OVERSEAS IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN AND THE PLACES THAT ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THOSE EFFORTS. WE MUST ASSURE THAT WE ARE PAYING THOSE PEOPLE ON TIME SO THAT THEIR FAMILIES WHO ARE THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY IN OTHER PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY WILL KNOW THAT THEY CAN PAY THE RENT AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GO INTO EXTREMIST POSITIONS. SO I WANT TO TALK ABOUT A BILL THAT I HAVE INTRODUCED THAT HAS 80 COSPONSORS, AND I WANT TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ADD SENATOR HELLER FROM NEVADA TO BE A COSPONSOR OF SENATE BILL 724.

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  • 01:09:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:09:11 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    BILL 724 IS THE ENSURING PAY FOR OUR MILITARY ACT OF 2011. THERE ARE 80…

    BILL 724 IS THE ENSURING PAY FOR OUR MILITARY ACT OF 2011. THERE ARE 80 COSPONSORS OF THIS LEGISLATION. IT'S VERY SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD. IT ENSURES THAT IN THE EVENT OF A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, OUR NATION'S MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM WOULD CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THEIR MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCES. THAT'S WHAT IT DOES. THIS LEGISLATION WILL PROTECT ALL ACTIVE DUTY MEN AND WOMEN, INCLUDING THOSE IN THE COAST GUARD AND RESERVE COMPONENTS. I INTRODUCED THIS BILL BECAUSE WE WERE IN THE PROCESS OF HAVING A MELTDOWN LAST YEAR WITH OUR APPROPRIATIONS. WELL, WE NEED TO HAVE A BILL ON THE BOOKS, A LAW ON THE BOOK THAT ASSURES THAT IF THERE IS A SHUTDOWN, WHETHER IT'S ON AN APPROPRIATIONS ISSUE OR ON A BUDGET ISSUE OR ON A DEBT CEILING ISSUE, IF OUR GOVERNMENT IS FORCED TO SHUT DOWN, WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO? WHERE ARE THE PROTECTIONS? I THINK OUR MILITARY SHOULD BE FRONT AND CENTER. I ALSO THINK SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS SHOULD BE FRONT AND CENTER, BUT THIS BILL IS FOR THE MILITARY BECAUSE THEY ARE IN HARM'S WAY AS WE SPEAK MANY PLACES ACROSS THE GLOBE, AND WE DON'T WANT TO DISRUPT THEIR FAMILIES OR HAVE THEM WORRY FOR ONE MINUTE ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES WHILE THEY ARE DOING THEIR DUTY. THESE MILITARY FAMILIES HAVE FACED STRESS FROM REPEATED DEPLOYMENTS SINCE 9/11. THE LAST THING THEY SHOULD WORRY ABOUT IS NOT RECEIVING THEIR PAYCHECK ON TIME BECAUSE CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DO THE JOBS THAT THEY NEED TO DO. IMMEDIATELY AFTER -- AFTER INTRODUCING THIS BILL, I WAS CONTACTED BY A MILITARY SPOUSE. HER HUSBAND WAS ON HIS TENTH DEPLOYMENT IN SUPPORT OF OPERATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. THE SPOUSE WAS AT HOME RAISING THEIR 1-YEAR-OLD SON. SHE WAS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER SHE WAS GOING TO BE ABLE TO PAY HER BILLS. JUST MULTIPLY THAT STORY BY THOUSANDS. WE CAN ONLY EMERGENCY THE STRESS OF FAMILIES ACROSS OUR NATION WHO HAVE LOVED ONES IN HARM'S WAY. THIS SHOULD NOT BE COMPOUNDED BY ADDING AN UNNECESSARY FINANCIAL STRESS THAT IS THE FAULT OF A CONGRESS THAT IS UNABLE TO PASS AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL OR CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT UNABLE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT TO CUT OUR DEFICITS SO THAT THE DEBT CEILING WILL NOT HAVE TO BE RAISED AGAIN. AT A TIME WHEN OUR NATION HAS 100,000 TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN AND MORE THAN 45,000 IN IRAQ, IT WOULD BE UNCONSCIONABLE THAT WE WOULD ASK OUR TROOPS TO SERVE ON THE FRONT LINES WITHOUT ON-TIME PAY. FOR MY HOME STATE OF TEXAS, THERE ARE MORE THAN 28,000 SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN AND MARINES CURRENTLY DEPLOYED. THIS IS SECOND ONLY TO CALIFORNIA IN THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF DEPLOYED TROOPS FROM ONE STATE. I WOULD LIKE TO REGULAR THE SOLDIERS ESPECIALLY FROM THE 36th INFANTRY DIVISION FROM THE TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD. THEY ARE CURRENTLY SERVING IN THE SOUTHERN REGION OF IRAQ AND ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. THESE BRAVE TEXANS ARE WORKING LONG HOURS IN THE EXTREME HEAT FACING A DANGEROUS ENEMY. THE MOST REMARKABLE ASPECT OF THEIR SERVICES THAT THEY ALL RAISE THEIR HANDS TO VOLUNTEER TO DO IT. THE VERY LEAST WE CAN DO IS PAY THEM ON TIME. IT WOULD BE TREMENDOUSLY DAMAGING FOR MORALE TO TELL OUR TROOPS TO GO ON LONG DEPLOYMENTS, MAYBE MULTIPLE DEPLOYMENTS AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES AND THEN NOT PAY THEM AT THE NORMAL TIME. I KNOW THAT IF THERE IS ONE THING THAT THIS CONGRESS CAN AGREE ON, IT IS OUR TREMENDOUS PRIDE AND SUPPORT FOR THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM. I THINK CONGRESS HAS SHOWN THAT TIME AND TIME AGAIN. WE ALL LEARNED A LESSON FROM WHAT HAPPENED IN THE VIETNAM WAR AND AFTER THE VIETNAM WAR WHEN THE DISAGREEMENT ABOUT THE POLICIES OF THE WAR WERE ACTUALLY IMPUTED TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO WERE FOLLOWING ORDERS TO IMPLEMENT THAT WAR. WE WILL NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN. IT HASN'T HAPPENED SINCE AND IT WON'T HAPPEN. WE ALL IN CONGRESS, THERE IS NOT ONE WHO DOESN'T RESPECT OUR MILITARY AND THE SERVICE THEY ARE GIVING. EVEN IF THEY DISAGREE WITH THE POLICIES, WHICH MANY OFTEN DO. SO I WASN'T SURPRISED WHEN I INTRODUCED THIS BILL TO GET 80 COSPONSORS IMMEDIATELY. MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S BECOMING CLEAR THAT NEGOTIATIONS ON A LONG-TERM DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN MAY GO DOWN TO THE WIRE. THE PRESIDENT SAID YESTERDAY THAT HE WILL INSIST ON TAX INCREASES TO PAY FOR CONTINUED FEDERAL SPENDING SPREE. REPUBLICANS ARE CLEAR, WE MUST LOWER GOVERNMENT SPENDING TO AFFORDABLE LEVELS AND THAT THERE MUST BE FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES IN HOW WASHINGTON SPENDS AMERICAN TAXPAYER DOLLARS. NOW IS THE TIME FOR CONGRESS TO VOTE TO ASSURE THAT OUR TROOPS WILL NOT MISS A PAYCHECK DUE TO GRIDLOCK IN WASHINGTON. NOW, NOT AT MIDNIGHT ON AUGUST 2 OR AUGUST 6 OR WHENEVER WE ARE ADJOURNING FOR A -- HOPEFULLY A RECESS FOR PEOPLE TO GET HOME AND WORK IN THEIR DISTRICTS. IF THE SENATE CANCELS ITS JULY FOURTH HOLIDAY RECESS, WHICH IS NOW ON THE BOOKS, I THINK IT IS TIME FOR US TO SPEND THAT TIME ON NOTHING ELSE BUT THIS ISSUE, LONG-TERM DEFICIT REDUCTION. WE SHOULD START OUR WORK BY MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE PLAN B, THAT OUR TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES WON'T BE POLITICAL PAWNS IN THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN RAISING TAXES AND CUTTING SPENDING. IF WE ARE HERE, IT SHOULD BE FOR ONE PURPOSE, ONE PURPOSE ONLY, AND THAT IS DEBT REDUCTION AND THE PREPARATION FOR WHAT HAPPENS IF THAT DEADLINE PASSES, AND THERE IS NOT AN AGREEMENT. AND I CAN'T THINK OF A BETTER WAY TO SAY WE ARE PREPARING FOR THE WORST WHILE WE'RE HOPING FOR THE BEST. AND THAT IS THAT WE MAKE SURE THAT CERTAIN ESSENTIALS ARE DONE. OBVIOUSLY, INTEREST ON THE DEBT IS OUR FIRST OBLIGATION. THE SECOND ONE IS TO PAY OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO ARE OVERSEAS, WHO ARE DEPLOYED, AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY'RE NOT WORRYING ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES AT HOME HAVING THE MONEY TO PAY THE MORTGAGE AND THE BILLS THAT MUST BE PAID ON TIME. SO I HOPE THAT THE SENATE WILL TAKE THIS BILL UP, AND I'M GOING TO ASK THAT WE CONSIDER THE ENSURING PAY FOR OUR MILITARY ACT OF 2011 IS ON THE AGENDA IF WE ARE IN SESSION NEXT WEEK. THAT SEEMS TO BE WHAT IS IN THE WORKS RIGHT NOW, AND IF THAT'S THE CASE, LET'S DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE. AND I CAN'T THINK OF SOMETHING MORE PRODUCTIVE AND MORE REASSURING TO OUR MILITARY THAN TO PASS SENATE BILL 724 WITH 80 COSPONSORS. IF IT COMES TO THE FLOOR, IT'S GOING TO PASS. IT WILL GO TO THE HOUSE AND I ASSURE YOU IT WILL PASS. SO LET'S START THAT PROCESS, IF WE'RE GOING TO BE HERE NEXT WEEK, AND A LOT OF PLANS ARE GOING TO BE DISRUPTED. WE'RE WILLING TO DO THAT BUT LET'S MAKE IT WORTHWHILE BY PASSING SIGNIFICANT LEGISLATION, LIKE ENSURING THAT OUR MILITARY ARE PAID ON TIME. IF FOR ANY REASON WE ARE LOOKING AT A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:17:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA.

  • 01:17:22 PM

    MR. NELSON

    PRESIDENT, WHILE THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS STILL ON THE FLOOR, I JUST WANT…

    PRESIDENT, WHILE THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS STILL ON THE FLOOR, I JUST WANT TO SAY HOW PERSONALLY THIS SENATOR IS GOING TO MISS HER AFTER THE CALENDAR YEAR 2012, SINCE SHE IS RETIRING FROM THE SENATE. AND I SAY THAT WITH THE UTMOST RESPECT AND AFFECTION FOR THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS BECAUSE, WHAT A GREAT PARTNER SHE HAS BEEN IN SETTING POLICY FOR THIS NATION'S SPACE PROGRAM, AND HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS, WE WOULD NOT HAVE THAT POLICY ETCHED INTO LAW IN THE NASA BILL THAT WE PASSED LAST YEAR AND WHICH NOW IS THE SKELETAL STRUCTURE THAT WE HANG ALL THE APPROPRIATIONS ON GOING FORWARD, GIVING A CLEAR PATH, A CLEAR DIRECTION, A CLEAR ROAD MAP FOR OUR NATION'S SPACE PROGRAM. SO I JUST WANTED IN FRONT OF THE SENATE TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

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  • 01:18:42 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    PRESIDENT, COULD I RESPOND? I APPRECIATE SO MUCH THE WORDS OF THE SENATOR…

    PRESIDENT, COULD I RESPOND? I APPRECIATE SO MUCH THE WORDS OF THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA BECAUSE, OF COURSE, HE IS NOT MENTIONING THE GREAT LEADERSHIP THAT HE HAS PORTRAYED. HE IS TODAY THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE WHO HAS ACTUALLY GONE GONE INTO SPACE IS AS AN ASTRONAUT, AND HIS LOVE FOR AND ZEAL FOR OUR SPACE EXPLORATION IS REALLY UNSURPASSED. AND I APPRECIATED WORKING WITH HIM. IT WAS OUR JOINT BILL THAT PASSED LAST YEAR THAT ASSURES A WAY FORWARD FOR NASA, THAT ASSURES THAT THERE WILL BE MANNED SPACE EXPLORATION, THAT WE WILL USE THE SPACE STATION IN WHICH WE HAVE INVESTED HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS FOR NOT ONLY HEALTH BENEFITS FOR OUR COUNTRY BUT ALSO ENERGY. THE ENERGY RESEARCH THAT'S BEING DONE RIGHT NOW I WITNESSED MYSELF LAST WEEK WHEN I VISITED THE NASA FACILITY, THE JOHNSON CENTER IN HOUSTON, TEXAS. AND WE ARE NOW GETTING THE COSMIC RAYS THAT ARE COMING INTO THE SPECTROMETER THAT HAS JUST BEEN PUT ON THE SPACE STATION BY COMMANDER MARK KELLEY AND HIS CREW, AND WE ARE GOING TO POSSIBLY LEARN THE GENESIS OF EARTH BY THIS FACILITY THAT WAS PUT IN THE SPACE STATION AND THE RESEARCH THAT'S GOING TO BE DONE ON DARK MATTER AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT MEETS MATTER. AND IT'S REALLY EXCITING, AND I BELIEVE THAT THE WAY FORWARD THAT SENATOR NELSON AND I HAVE PUT ON THE PATH, I BELIEVE, IS GOING TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE PRIVATE-SECTOR INVOLVEMENT, THAT THERE WILL EVENTUALLY BE PROBABLY A TRANSITION TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR, BUT IN AN ORDERLY WAY SO THAT WE DON'T LOSE THE EXPERTISE IN WHICH WE HAVE INVESTED SO MUCH. AND I HOPE LATER, BEFORE I LEAVE, WE'LL GET A CHANCE TO REALLY TALK ABOUT THAT, AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING TO THE LAST LAUNCH OF A SPACE SHUTTLE THAT AMERICA WILL PUT UP. THE SYSTEMS THAT WE HAVE HAD WILL END PROBABLY AFTER THIS LAST SPACE LAUNCH THAT WILL HAPPEN IN EARLY JULY, AND THEN WE WILL BE IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING THE NEW VEHICLE, WHICH WE HAVE PUT IN PLACE IN THE LAW TO BEGIN AND TO SHORTEN THE SPACE BETWEEN THE TIME THAT WE CAN PUT AMERICANS IN SPACE WITH OUR OWN VEHICLE, WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO MAKE THAT A SHORTER TIME FRAME BY THE LAW THAT WE PASSED. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA AND LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SPACE EXPLORATION AND AMERICA'S PREEMINENCE IN THAT FIELD, AND WE'LL DO IT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:22:06 PM

    MR. NELSON

    TO, MR. PRESIDENT, THANK THE SENATOR AGAIN. WE STOOD SHOULDER TO SHOULDER…

    TO, MR. PRESIDENT, THANK THE SENATOR AGAIN. WE STOOD SHOULDER TO SHOULDER AND WE WERE ABLE TO GET THESE TWO ADDITIONAL FLIGHTS, OF WHICH THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS JUST CHRONICLED, THAT NO SOONER HAD MARK KELLEY AND HIS CREW PUT THE ALPHA MAGNETIC SPECTROMETER UP ON THE SPACE STATION, BUT IT STARTED COLLECTING THESE COSMIC RAYS. THESE ARE SUBATOMIC PARTICLES THAT ARE FLYING AROUND IN SPACE THAT WE TRIED TO DUPLICATE DOWN HERE ON EARTH BY SMASHING ATOMS TOGETHER IN ACCELERATORS TO UNDERSTAND SUBATOMIC PARTICLES, AND WE'VE GOT THEM OUT THERE BEING COLLECTED OUT THERE RIGHT NOW ON THE SPACE STATION IN THE A.M.S. AND IT WAS ON THE STATION ONE DAY AFTER THEY PUT IT THERE. IT'S COLLECTING THIS. IT'S GOING TO HELP US LEARN ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE. HUFF HUTCH WILL THE GENTLEMAN YIELD, BECAUSE -- -- MRS.

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  • 01:23:10 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

  • 01:23:15 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WHEN I WAS THERE LAST WEEK, THE GNAW NOBEL LAWYER RAT FROM M.I.T. WHO…

    WHEN I WAS THERE LAST WEEK, THE GNAW NOBEL LAWYER RAT FROM M.I.T. WHO BUILT THE SPECTROMETER AND CONVINCED US OF THE IMPORTANCE OF PUTTING IT ON THE SPACE STATION, HE WAS THERE WITH MARK KELLEY AND MYSELF AND HE SAID THEY HAVE A HAD A BILLION HITS NOW OF THOSE COSMIC RAYS. AND HE WAS ON A CLOUD LITERALLY ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE LEARNING ALREADY. AND MARK KELLEY SAID IN A PRESS CONFERENCE THAT WE HAD FOLLOWING THAT MEETING THAT IT WAS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT THAT HE HAS EVER MADE IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER AS AN ASTRONAUT. AND I BELIEVE THAT HE WILL BE PROVEN RIGHT, AND I THINK DR. SAMUEL TINGH WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR ANOTHER NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS, IF THIS -- IF WE CAN REALLY FIND THE GENESIS OF MATTER AND ANTIMATTER IN SPACE, WHICH HE SAID WE WOULD; THAT YOU CANNOT DUPLICATE ON EARTH EXCEPT BY TRYING TO PUT THESE ATOM SMASHERS AND ELECTRON SMASHERS ON EARTH BUT AT MUCH BIGGER EXPENSE THAN BEING ABLE TO DO IT IN SPACE, WHERE IT JUST HAPPENS; BILLIONS ALREADY, HE SAID. SO, THANK YOU. I WILL LEAVE THE FLOOR. BUT I KNOW WE DIGRESS, BUT IT IS VERY, VERY EXCITING. THANK YOU.

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  • 01:24:45 PM

    MR. NELSON

    AS THE -- MR. PRESIDENT, AS THE SENATOR IS LEAVING, I JUST WANT TO SAY…

    AS THE -- MR. PRESIDENT, AS THE SENATOR IS LEAVING, I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT SHE AND I DID HAVE TO STAND SHOULDER TO SHOULDER, AND WE HAD SOME FIGHTS, AND OF COURSE IN THE PROCESS WE HAD SOME CRITICS, TOO. NOW, SOME OF MY CRITICS WISH THAT WHEN I WENT INTO SPACE THAT IT HAD BEEN A ONE-WAY TICKET. BUT THE FACT IS THAT IT WAS TWO WAYS, AND WE STOOD ANOTHER DAY, AND THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING OF WHAT'S HAPPENING UP THERE. AND I'LL HAVE SOMETHING LATER TO SAY, MR. PRESIDENT, ABOUT THE WIND DOWN OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM, BUT WHILE THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS WAS HERE, I JUST WANTED HER TO KNOW MY PROFOUND GRATITUDE FOR HER COLLEGIALITY, HER FRIENDSHIP, HER EXPERTISE. AND WORKING IN THE WAY THIS SENATE OUGHT TO WORK, WHICH IS IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. AND I THANK HER PROFOUNDLY FOR THAT EXAMPLE THAT SHE SET FOR THE SENATE AND FOR THIS COUNTRY. MR. PRESIDENT, I CERTAINLY -- WE'RE HERE ABOUT GENERAL PETRAEUS. I'M A MEMBER OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. I HAVE HAD A CHNS CHANCE TO VISIT WITH HIM ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS IN HIS CAPACITY AS GENERAL AS WELL AS NOW THE NOMINEE -- SOON TO BE THE NEW C.I.A. DIRECTOR. AND I WOULD JUST SIMPLY SAY THAT I DON'T THINK FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY'S SAKE THAT YOU CAN HAVE TWO BETTER NOMINEES NOMINEES. THE FORMER C.I.A. DIRECTOR WHO HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY THIS SENATE AS THE NEW SECRETARY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TAKING OVER FROM AN EXTREMELY GOOD AND COMPETENT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, SECRETARY GATES -- AND OF COURSE THOSE LEON PANETTA -- AND THEN FOR HIS SHOES AS THE LEADER OF THE C.I.A. TO BE FILLED BY GENERAL PETRAEUS. AND WHAT IS HAPPENING TODAY IS ILLUSTRATED BY THE MOTIS OPERANDI OF THE TAKEDOWN OF BIN LADEN. IT IS A MARRIAGE BETWEEN THE MILITARY COMMUNITY AND THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. PAINSTAKING YEARS OF EFFORT TO GET THE INTELLIGENCE SINCE BIN LADEN WENT DARK, AFTER HE SLIPPED THROUGH OUR FINGERS IN TORAH BORETORA BORA WAND WE KNEW HE WAS COMMUNICATING THROUGH A COURIER, SO THE QUESTION WAS, HOW DID WE FIND THE COURIER, AND ONCE WE IDENTIFIED WHO IT WAS, WHERE WAS HE, FIND HIM AND FOLLOW HIM. AND THAT OF COURSE LED US TO THE COMPOUND. AND THEN MARRIED UP WITH ALL OF THAT INTELLIGENCE ON WHAT WAS GOING ON AT THAT COMPOUND, THEN IN CAME THE U.S. MILITARY, ALTHOUGH IT WAS A C.I.A. OPERATION, AS REPORTED BY THE NEWSPAPERS, LED BY LEON PANETTA. IN FACT, IT WAS A THREE-STAR ADMIRAL, A NAVY SEAL, THAT CONDUCTED THE ACTUAL RAID FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS AND, OF COURSE, THE SEALS TOOK CARE OF BUSINESS. AND THEY DID IT IN JUST SUCH A PROFICIENT, EFFECTIVE AND MAGNIFICENT WAY AND SEQUESTERED ALL OF THOSE WOMEN AND CHILDREN, SAVE FOR THE ONE WOMAN, AS REPORTED IN THE NEWSPAPER THAT GOT CAUGHT IN THE CROSS FIRE WHEN THE SEALS WERE FIRING. AND SO IT WAS AN ABSOLUTELY 100% OPERATION, AND IT IS ILLUSTRATIVE OF WHY THIS APPOINTMENT OF GENERAL PETRAEUS IS SO IMPORTANT AND WHY THE APPOINTMENT OF LEON PANETTA, AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, WAS SO IMPORTANT. BECAUSE THESE TWO ARE GOING TO BE JUST LIKE THAT. AS WE ARE PROTECTING THE NATIONAL SECURITY FOR YEARS TO COME. SO THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO SAY ABOUT GENERAL PETRAEUS. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO SPEAK ON ANOTHER SUBJECT, THE BUDGET, AND SO I WOULD ASK CONSENT THAT I SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 01:29:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:29:59 PM

    MR. NELSON

    THE NEGOTIATIONS OVER THIS DEFICIT REDUCTION AND THE DEBT CEILING PACKAGE…

    THE NEGOTIATIONS OVER THIS DEFICIT REDUCTION AND THE DEBT CEILING PACKAGE -- ALL RIGHT, IT'S HIT THE CRITICAL STAGE. IT'S BEGINn -- IT'S BEGINNING TO COME INTO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE COUNTRY AND MOST OF THE PEOPLE AROUND HERE WHO HAVE, IN SOME CASES, WANTED TO PUSH IT OFF; IN OTHER CASES HAVE SAID, OH, THE DEBT CEILING, THAT'S NOT SUCH A BIG DEAL. WELL, IT'S BAFFLING. IT'S BAFFLING THAT PEOPLE WOULD SAY THAT. THE ECONOMIC CHAOS THAT WOULD REIGN IN THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD FINANCIAL MARKETS IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS NOT ABLE TO PAY ALL OF ITS BILLS WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC. AND HOW ANYBODY CAN SAY THAT, ANY PERSON IN A RESPONSIBLE POSITION CAN SAY THAT. BUT IT'S ALSO BAFFLING THAT THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE -- AND YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE -- THAT HAVE DECIDED TO DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND ON ANY DEFICIT REDUCTION AND SAY IT'S GOING TO BE MY WAY OR NO WAY. NOW, THAT'S PART OF THE PROBLEM OF WHAT'S GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW, IS THIS IS A BIG, BROAD, DIVERSE, COMPLICATED COUNTRY. THE VERY PRINCIPLE OF A BODY LIKE THIS IS THAT YOU RESPECT THE OTHER FELLOW'S POINT OF VIEW. AND WHEN YOU HAVE DIFFERENCES OF OPINION, YOU TRY, AS THE GOOD BOOK SAYS, TO COME, LET US REASON TOGETHER AND TO HAMMER OUT A WORKABLE SOLUTION. AND, YET, YOU HEAR THE RHETORIC. IT'S GOING TO BE THEIR WAY OR NO WAY. AND SO NO MATTER WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT CLOSING CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLES -- NO, THAT HAS TO DO WITH TAX REVENUE. IT SURE DOES. BUT THERE'S A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT PAYING THEIR TAX REVENUE ON LOOPHOLES. YOU KNOW, TWO WEEKS AGO WE ACTED ON ONE OF THOSE TAX LOOPHOLES OVERWHELMINGLY. THIS SENATE VOTED TO GET RID OF ONE OF THOSE TAX LOOPHOLES, AND IT WAS FOR CORN ETHANOL, THE BIG SUBSIDY. AND IT WAS MULTIBILLIONS OF DOLLARS PER YEAR THAT WAS A TAX DEDUCTION; IN OTHER WORDS, LOST TAX REVENUE. AND THE SENATE FINALLY REALIZED THAT THAT WASN'T WORTHWHILE. WHY ARE WE SAYING THAT WE SHOULD NOT PUT THAT IN AS A PART OF THE PACKAGE ON DEFICIT REDUCTION? $1 OF DEFICIT REDUCTION IS $1 OF DEFICIT REDUCTION, REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT COMES FROM; WHETHER IT COMES FROM ACTUALLY WHACKING FEDERAL SPENDING OR WHETHER IT IS CUTTING OUT SOME OF THE SPECIAL TAX BREAKS FOR SOME OF THIS COUNTRY'S MOST PROFITABLE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS. SO IF THE OBJECTIVE IS TO BRING DOWN THE DEFICIT -- AND WHAT IS A DEFICIT? AN ANNUAL DEFICIT IS YOU HAVE INCOME COMING IN IN THE FORM OF TAX REVENUE. YOU HAVE OUTGO GOING OUT IN THE FORM OF EXPENDITURES. WHEN THE TWAOR EQUAL, THAT'S A BALANCED BUDGET -- WHEN THE TWO ARE EQUAL, THAT'S A BALANCED BUDGET. WHEN I CAME INTO THE SENATE, WE HAD FOUR YEARS OF THIS. TAX REVENUE WAS ABOVE ANNUAL EXPENDITURES, AND THE DIFFERENCE FOR FOUR YEARS. WE HAD A SURPLUS. BUT THIS IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED, MR. PRESIDENT. THE EXPENDITURES ARE HERE AND THE TAX REVENUE IS HERE. AND IF YOU'RE GOING TO GET THE BUDGET EVENTUALLY IN BALANCE OVER THE COURSE OF A DECADE, YOU'VE GOT TO DO THIS. AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN JUST TAX INCREASES. IT CAN BE DONE BY ELIMINATING TAX EXPENDITURES, WHICH OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS -- GET THIS -- TAX EXPENDITURES IN THE EXISTING TAX CODE ARE $13 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET RID OF ALL OF THEM, AND SOME OF THEM WE DON'T WANT TO GET RID OF BECAUSE THEY'RE GOOD TAX POLICY. THEY'RE GOOD POLITICAL PUBLIC POLICY. BUT YOU CAN SURE GET RID OF SOME OF IT. WE HAVE THE OTHER SIDE OVER THERE THAT WON'T EVEN TALK ABOUT SOME OF THESE TAX LOOPHOLES THAT WE OUGHT TO BE CUTTING. THEY SAY, WELL, THAT'S INCREASING TAXES. THE TRUTH BE KNOWN, IT'S BECAUSE MOST OF THEM, WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT, ON THAT SIDE OF THE AISLE HAVE TAKEN A PLEDGE TO A FELLOW NAMED GROVER NORDQUIST AND SAID THAT THEY WILL NOT VOTE FOR ANY TAX -- NEW TAXES. AND IT IS BEING INTERPRETED THAT TAX EXPENDITURES -- IN OTHER WORDS, TAX DEDUCTIONS, THAT IF YOU CLOSE THOSE TAX LOOPHOLES, THAT'S GOING TO BE NEW TAXES. WELL, THAT'S TAX REVENUE THAT IS NOT COMING IN TO THE U.S. TREASURY BECAUSE SOME SPECIAL INTEREST IS GETTING A TAX DEDUCTION THAT WE OUGHT TO QUESTION. AND A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS IS WHAT WE JUST VOTED ON ON THE REMOVAL OF THE SUBSIDY OF A TAX SUBSIDY FOR CORN ETHANOL. AT THE END OF THE DAY, FOR AMERICANS, THIS DEBATE IS GOING TO MATTER HUGELY. IF WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING BY JUST CUTTING EXPENDITURES AND NOT DO THE TAX LOOPHOLES, THEN IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THE DEFICIT -- REMEMBER THAT THIS IS THE DEFICIT. THIS IS EXPENDITURES. AND THIS IS TAX REVENUE. AND IF YOU'VE GOT TO BRING THAT INTO BALANCE BY ONLY MOVING DOWN THE EXPENDITURES, WELL, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE IT OUT OF THE HIDE OF RETIREES, OUT OF THE HIDE OF HOSPITALS, SCHOOLS, WHAT SENATOR HUTCHISON AND I WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT -- THE SPACE PROGRAM -- THE COASTAL PRESERVATION PROGRAMS, OUR NATIONAL PARKS, THE FEDERAL PRISONS. ARE WE GOING TO PUT AN END TO THE NARROW TAX BREAKS FOR THE WELL-CONNECTED OR ARE WE JUST GOING TO WHACK ALL OF THOSE PROGRAMS? NOW, THIS SENATOR'S VIEW IS THAT IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GET A PACKAGE THAT IS GOING TO BE SERIOUS AND THAT IS REAL MONEY, THAT IS NOT SMOKE AND MIRRORS AND BUDGETARY SLEIGHT OF HAND, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET A PACKAGE OF ABOUT $4 TRILLION IN TEN YEARS OF DEFICIT REDUCTION. THERE'S NO REASON IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT BUDGET REDUCTION, THAT SPECIAL BENEFITS FOR OIL COMPANIES, PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, HEDGE FUNDS AND OTHER SPECIAL INTERESTS SHOULD BE A SACRED COW NOT TO BE TOUCHED. AND WHAT MESSAGE DOES IT SEND TO THE EVERYDAY AMERICAN ABOUT THEIR GOVERNMENT AND WHO THAT GOVERNMENT REPRESENTS IF WE JUST TAKE IT OUT OF THE HIDES OF PEOPLE LIKE THOSE THAT I JUST MENTIONED, LIKE RETIREES? SO, BASICALLY I WOULD SUGGEST YOU TAKE A PAGE FROM ONE OF OUR ILLUSTRIOUS FORMER PRESIDENTS, PRESIDENT REAGAN. IN 1984 THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS CONFRONTED BY DEFICITS AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE. I WAS A YOUNG CONGRESSMAN AT THE TIME. PRESIDENT REAGAN UNDERSTOOD THAT IT WAS APPROPRIATE TO CLOSE THOSE TAX LOOPHOLES AS PART OF DEFICIT-REDUCTION PROCESS. AND THE DEFICIT-REDUCTION ACT OF 1984 INCLUDED MORE THAN 60 PROVISIONS AIMED AT SHUTTING DOWN TAX SHELTERS AND ENDING THE ABUSIVE SPECIAL INTEREST TAX BREAKS. AND THAT 1984 BILL, IT TARGTD FOREIGN INVESTORS THAT SOUGHT TO -- TARGETED FOREIGN INVESTORS THAT SOUGHT TO USE OFFSHORE HAVENS TO DODGE U.S. TAXES. AND IT TARGETED WALL STREET'S USE OF FINANCIAL DERIVATIVES TO EVADE U.S. INCOME TAX. AND IT INCLUDED SOME PROVISIONS TARGETING THE WINDFALL TAX, THE WINDFALL PROFITS FOR OIL COMPANIES AND PUT A TAX ON THAT. AND SO THAT BRINGS ME TO WHAT I WANT TO GIVE SOME DETAIL AND AN EXAMPLE OF. FOR DECADES OIL COMPANIES HAVE BEEN ENJOYING THE GENEROUS TAX SUBSIDIES OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER BY USING THEIR AMPLE RESOURCES TO GET TAX BENEFITS VERY GENEROUSLY GIVEN FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. OIL AND GAS COMPANIES ARE EXPERTS AT FIGURING OUT THE NARROW TAX BREAK, AND IT BENEFITS THEIR INTEREST, AND IT DOES SO PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO OFFSHORE DRILLERS. THE LARGEST OF ALL THE DEDICATED OIL AND GAS TAX BREAKS IS THE ABILITY OF THE OIL COMPANIES TO IMMEDIATELY EXPENSE INTANGIBLE DRILLING COSTS. THESE COSTS INCLUDE DRILLING AND DEVELOPMENT WORK COMPLETED BEFORE A WELL BEGINS PRODUCTION. AND OIL COMPANIES ARE ABLE TO DEDUCT OR, IN OTHER WORDS, TO WRITE OFF AS AN EXPENSE THOSE COSTS, AND DO SO IMMEDIATELY. THE TAX BREAK FOR INTANGIBLE DRILLING EXPENSES IS GOING TO COST THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER $12.4 BILLION OVER THE NEXT DEBATING IF IT'S NOT REPEALED. AND THE PRESIDENT HAS PROPOSED ITS REPEAL. SEVERAL OF US IN THE SENATE HAVE PROPOSED THE REPEAL AND HAVE FILED A BILL TO DO IT. AND THE REPEAL FROM THIS TAX BREAK ON INTANGIBLE COSTS FOR OIL COMPANIES OUGHT TO BE INCLUDED IN A DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGE. NOW REMEMBER, IT'S A CHOICE. ARE WE GOING TO CUT PEOPLE LIKE RETIREES AND THE SPAS TRACE AND -- AND THE SPACE PROGRAM AND EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES AND THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE FEDERAL PRISONS? OR ARE WE GOING TO GET TAX REVENUE FROM SPECIAL TAX BREAKS LIKE THIS? FOR SEVERAL YEARS OIL COMPANIES WORKING OFFSHORE HAVE BEEN DEVOTING SIGNIFICANT RESOURCES TOWARD COMPLEX TAX SCHEMES TO AVOID PAYING TAX TO UNCLE SAM. LET'S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK. TRANSOCEAN THAT,'S A NAME THAT OUGHT TO RING FAMILIAR. THEY WERE THE ONES THAT, REMEMBER, OPERATED THE DEFECTIVE BLOW OUT, THE ONE THAT DIDN'T WORK, THE ONE THAT WAS TO CUT OFF THE OIL FLOW WHEN THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION ON THE DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL WELL? WELL, LET'S LOOK AT THE RECORD. IN 1999 TRANSOCEAN MOVED ITS PLACE OF INCORPORATION FROM DELAWARE TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS. IN 2008, IT MOVED FROM THE CAYMAN ISLANDS TO SWITZERLAND. THIS TAX AVOIDANCE OPERATION REFERRED TO AS -- QUOTE -- "CORPORATE INVERSION" HAD NO REAL EFFECT ON WHERE TRANSOCEAN DOES BUSINESS. IT CONTINUES TO BE, IN FACT, MANAGED AND CONTROLLED FROM HOUSTON, TEXAS. AND IT CONTINUES TO HAVE A SUBSTANTIAL DRILLING ACTIVITIES IN AMERICAN WATERS. BY CHANGING ITS LEGAL DOMICILE FROM DELAWARE TO A TAX HAVEN IN THE CARIBBEAN, TRANSOCEAN WAS ABLE TO CUT ITS TAX BILL NEARLY IN HALF. MARTIN SULLIVAN ESTIMATES THAT TRANSOCEAN'S OFFSHORE TAX SCHEME SAVED THE COMPANY $1.9 BILLION FROM 2002 TO 2009. NOW, THAT'S AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THESE TAX SUBSIDIES THAT OUGHT TO BE ELIMINATED. CONGRESS SHUT DOWN THOSE CORPORATE INVERSIONS IN 2004 BUT ONLY ON A GOING-FORWARD BASIS. AND UNTIL CONGRESS GETS SERIOUS ABOUT TAXING U.S.-MANAGED COMPANIES THAT DECEPTIVELY CLAIM TO BE FOREIGN CORPORATIONS, TRANSOCEAN AND OTHERS WILL CONTINUE TO BENEFIT. AND TRANSOCEAN IS NOT ALONE. WE KNOW OF AT LEAST FIVE OIL COMPANIES INVOLVED IN OFFSHORE DRILLING THAT MOVED THEIR LEGAL DOMICILE TO A TAX HAVEN IN THE CARIBBEAN IN ORDER TO AVOID PAYING U.S. INCOME TAX. AND I WILL CONCLUDE, MR. PRESIDENT, BY SAYING, UNLIKE TRANSOCEAN, B.P. HAS NEVER BEEN AN AMERICAN CORPORATION. BUT IT HAS NO PROBLEM IN REAPING THE BENEFITS OF OUR POOREST TAX CODE DRVE OUR POROUS TAX CODE. WE LEARNED SOON AFTER THE $20 BILLION CLAIMS ENTITY WAS ANNOUNCED THAT B.P. WOULD BE WRITING OFF ALL OF ITS EXPENSES FOR TAX PURPOSES. WRITING OFF AWFUL THAT EXPENSE FOR OWL OF THE OIL THAT WAS SPILLED THAT HURT SO MANY OF OUR RESIDENTS IN FLORIDA AND ALL UP AND DOWN THE GULF COAST. THEY'RE GOING TO WRITE THAT OFF AS A TAX DEDUCTION DEDUCTION AND, THEREFORE, PAY LESS TASSMENTSTAXES.ESTIMATED TO REDUCE THE TAX BURDEN FOR -- BY $9 BILLION FOR B.P. SEVERAL OF US HAVE INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TO SHUT DOWN THIS ABUSIVE TAX BREAK AS WELL, AND IT'S ANOTHER THAT WE OUGHT TO PUT IN THIS DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGE. AND SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I CONCLUDE BY SAYING THAT THESE CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLES FOR OIL COMPANIES SHOULD BE PART OF ANY DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGE, AND THIS SENATOR IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO STAND UP AND FIGHT TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE A PART OF THAT DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:47:55 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    WHAT'S THE PENDING BUSINESS BEFORE THE SENATE?

  • 01:48:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE PETRAEUS NOMINATION, THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 01:48:06 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:48:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:48:14 PM

    MR. McCAIN

  • 01:54:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA.

  • 01:54:25 PM

    MR. GRAHAM

    WELL, I JUST WANT TO ECHO WHAT SENATOR McCAIN SAID. I THINK OUR AMERICAN…

    WELL, I JUST WANT TO ECHO WHAT SENATOR McCAIN SAID. I THINK OUR AMERICAN MILITARY WILL BE STUDYING THE PETRAEUS TACTICS AND STRATEGY THAT HE IMPLEMENTED IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. AND IN JANUARY OF 2007, WHEN THE SURGE WAS ANNOUNCED, I HAD THE PLEASURE OF BEING OVER IN IRAQ IN APRIL. BUT I REMEMBER A LETTER ISSUED BY GENERAL PETRAEUS TO ALL THOSE UNDER HIS COMMAND, AND IT WAS BASICALLY ENTITLED "HEART "HARD IS NOT HOPELESS." HE EXPLAINED IN GREAT DETAIL IN THE LETTER HOW WE WOULD MOVE FORWARD AS A NATION, THAT IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT, IT WOULD BE HARD, BUT IT IS NOT HOPELESS, AND I HAVE SEEN THE INSPIRATION HE PROVIDES TO OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM, AND I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH THIS COUNTRY OWES GENERAL PETRAEUS AND HIS FAMILY. HE'S BEEN DEPLOYED ALMOST CONTINUOUSLY SINCE 2001, BUT WHAT HE WAS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH IN IRAQ WITH THE HELP OF THOSE UNDER HIS COMMAND -- AND HE'LL BE THE FIRST TO SAY THEY DESERVE THE CREDIT -- AND NOW AFGHANISTAN -- HE CAME INTO AFGHANISTAN UNDER VERY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, LOSING A COMMANDER IN THE FIELD, AND THE PROGRESS IN OF THE IN THE LAST YEAR HAS BEEN STUNNING. THEWE HAVE A NEW TRAINING PROGRAM TO TRAIN AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES THAT WILL PAY GREAT DIVIDENDS. TO THE PRESIDENT, HE YOU HAVE CHOSEN WISELY. I AM CONFIDENT THAT DIRECTOR PETRAEUS WILL DOS A GOOD A JUBE -- WILL DO AS GOOD JOB AS DIRECTOR PETRAEUS. FOLLOWING LEON PANETTA WHO DID A GOOD JOB, WE ARE IN GOOD HANDS. I DON'T BELIEVE ANY SINGLE PERSON UNDERSTANDS THE THREATS AMERICA FACES BETTER THAN GENERAL PETRAEUS. AND AT THE C.I.A. HE'LL HAVE CHANCE TO TAKE THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY IN A DIFFERENT WAY. WE WILL NOT HAVE AVAILABLE FOREVER 100,000 TROOPS TO BE USED IN THEATERS OF BATTLE. WE'RE GOING TO BRING OUR TROOPS HOPEHOME IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. I HOPE WE DO IT SMARTLY BASED ON CONDITIONS. BUT THIS FIGHT IS MORPHING INTO OTHER COUNTRIES, AND THE C.I.A. IS PLAYING A MORE CRUCIAL ROLE IN OUR NATION'S DEFENSE THAN IN ANY TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE C.I.A. SO WE WILL BE BLESSED TO HAVE DAVE PETRAEUS TO BE DRERVEGHT C.I.A. HE UNDERSTANDS THE THREATS. I THINK HE WILL BE ABLE TO MARSHAL THE RESOURCES OF THE C.I.A. TO KEEP THE ENEMY ON THEIR HEELS AND TO REINFORCE TO OUR ALLIES THAT WE ARE A RELIABLE PARTNER AND TO OUR ENEMIES THERE IS NO PLACE YOU CAN HIDE. THERE'S NO PASSAGE OF THYME WILL KEEP YOU SAFE FROM -- PASSAGE OF TIME THAT WILL KEEP YOU SAFE FROM AMERICAN JUSTICE. I HOPE THE SENATE WILL LISTEN TO GENERAL PETRAEUS, WHO WILL SOON BE DIRECTOR PETRAEUS, ABOUT HOW TO MAKE SURE THE C.I.A. IS EQUIPPED AND FUNDED TO TAKE THEN MI ON. IN THIS WAR ON TERROR, WE ARE FIGHTING AN IDEA. THERE IS NO CAPITOL TO CONQUER, NO A 5EU6RS TO SHOOT DOWN, NO NAVY TO SINK. WE ARE BATTLING AND IDEA. AND THE WAY WE ULTIMATE ULTIMATELY BECOME SAFE IS THE TO FIGHT THE WILL OF THOSE WITH THE TERRORISTS IN THEIR BACKYARD. LET THE TERRORISTS KNOW THAT WE WILL FOLLOW TO YOU THE GATES OF HELL, THAT WE WILL NEVER RELENT AND THE C.I.A. AND THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVE IN THAT ORGANIZATION ARE BECOMING THE TIP OF THE SNEER THIS BATTLE. WHAT HAPPENED IN SOMALIA YESTERDAY WAS, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE IN YEMEN AND SOMALIA IS A DIRECT RESULT OF GOOD INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL L SO TO SENATOR McCAIN, AND THOSE WHO HAVE GOT TO KNOW GENERAL PETRAEUS, I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA CHOSE WISELY. THIS IS THE PERFECT JOB FOR DAVE PETRAEUS TO TAKE UP FOR THE NATION. HE HAS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE THREATS THAT WE FACE AND THE C.I.A. IS THE PLATFORM WE'LL BE USING AGAINST THE ENEMY MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN ANY OTHER PLATFORM I KNOW. SO WITH THAT, I LOOK FORWARD TO QUAFTCASTING MY VOTE FOR DIRECTOR OF THE C.I.A., DAVE PETRAEUS. AINTDZ HOPE EVERYBODY IN THIS BODY WILL PROVIDE A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE TO GENERAL PETRAEUS. HE'S EARNED THIS. AMERICA IS IN GOOD HAND WITH DAVE PETRAEUS BEING THE C.I.A. DIRECTOR. WITH THAT, I YIELD.

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  • 01:59:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 02:00:00 PM
  • 02:00:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE QUESTION IS ON THE…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE QUESTION IS ON THE PETRAEUS NOMINATION. THERE APPEARS A SUFFICIENT SECOND. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 02:27:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WHO HAVE NOT YET VOTED OR WHO WISH TO…

    OFFICER: ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WHO HAVE NOT YET VOTED OR WHO WISH TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 02:40:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE ANY SENATORS WHO HAVE NOT YET VOTED OR WHO WISH TO CHANGE THEIR…

    THERE ANY SENATORS WHO HAVE NOT YET VOTED OR WHO WISH TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, ON THIS VOTE, THE YEAS ARE 94, THE NAYS ARE 0, AND THE NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER IS CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE, THE PRESIDENT WILL BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THE SENATE WILL RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 02:40:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 02:40:59 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE FINANCE COMMITTEE BE AUTHORIZED TO MEET TODAY…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE FINANCE COMMITTEE BE AUTHORIZED TO MEET TODAY AT 3:00 P.M.

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  • 02:41:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION?

  • 02:41:07 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I OBJECT.

  • 02:41:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 02:41:11 PM

    MR. REID

    OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 02:41:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION IS HEARD.

  • 02:41:53 PM

    MR. REID

    NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 02:41:57 PM

    MR. REID

    BE NO -- MR. PRESIDENT, PRIOR TO THE CHAIR CALLING FOR THE QUORUM THERE,…

    BE NO -- MR. PRESIDENT, PRIOR TO THE CHAIR CALLING FOR THE QUORUM THERE, WILL BE -- I'VE CONFERRED WITH MY FRIEND, THE REPUBLICAN LEADER, AND THERE WILL BE NO MORE VOTES TODAY OR TOMORROW. THE FIRST VOTE WILL BE NEXT TUESDAY. NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:42:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 02:43:41 PM

    MR. REID

    YES.

  • 02:43:46 PM

    MR. REID

    BE TERMINATED. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO PROCEED FOR A PERIOD OF MORNING…

    BE TERMINATED. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO PROCEED FOR A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR DEBATE ONLY UNTIL 6:00 P.M. TONIGHT WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME.

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  • 02:43:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 02:44:02 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    PRESIDENT, I -- I REGRET THAT OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE OBJECTED TO CONSENT TO…

    PRESIDENT, I -- I REGRET THAT OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE OBJECTED TO CONSENT TO GO TO SOME OF THE MOST CRITICAL ISSUES THE COUNTRY ARE FACING, TO HAVE THE FINANCE COMMITTEE MEET ON TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT COULD EXPAND MARKETS AND ULTIMATELY CREATE JOBS HERE IN AMERICA, AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED IN AMERICA IS CREATING JOBS. THAT ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THERE SHOULD BE A LIMITED USE OF FORCE THAT THE COUNTRY AND PARTICULARLY THE SENATE SHOULD SPEAK AND NOT BEING ABLE TO DO THAT IS PRETTY AMAZING TO ME. AND SO I HEAR A LOT ABOUT WANTING TO GET THE PEOPLE'S WORK DONE BUT THEN I HEAR OBJECTIONS TO TRYING TO MOVE ON GET THE PEOPLE'S WORK DONE. IT'S A PRETTY -- PRETTY OUTRAGEOUS. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO -- I CAME ORIGINALLY TO THE FLOOR AFTER THIS VOTE TO THANK PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR YESTERDAY CALLING AND ECHOING MY CALL TO END SUBSIDIES FOR BIG OIL. IT'S A CALL THAT RECEIVED A BIPARTISAN VOTE HERE IN THE SENATE, A BIPARTISAN MAJORITY VOTE HERE IN THE SENATE, BUT, OF COURSE, DID NOT PASS. DID NOT AS IF BECAUSE OF OUR COLLEAGUES'COLLEAGUES' INSISTENCE ON A FILIBUSTER FOR A SUPERMAJORITY AMOUNT. BUT IT'S TIME THAT OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE PUT THE INTERESTS OF TAXPAYERS AHEAD OF BIG OIL AND ALLOW THESE WASTEFUL SUBSIDIES TO FINALLY END. AS THE PRESIDENT SAID, WE HAVE STRATEGIES TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT. LIKE MY LEGISLATION TO CUT OIL SUBSIDIES THAT ARE ALREADY INTRODUCED AND READY TO GO. AND ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS PASS IT. AND A VOTE TO ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN IS A SIMPLE CHOICE FOR EVERYONE IN THIS CHAMBER. ARE YOU ON THE SIDE OF WORKING-CLASS FAMILIES AND SENIORS? OR ARE YOU ON THE SIDE OF BIG OIL? NOW, THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO CUT THE DEFICIT, BUT SAVING TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES FOR BIG OIL WHILE ENDING MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT AND CUTTING STUDENT LOANS IS NOT, IN MY MIND, A SOLUTION. IT MAKES NO SENSE, MR. PRESIDENT, TO GIVE A TAXPAYER H. FUNDED OF IT FUNDED DISOIB TO THE BIG FIVE OIL COMPANIES EARNING HUGE PROFITS A MONTH, THEY'RE GOING TO EARN ABOUT $144 BILLION THIS PROFITS THIS YEAR ALONE AND SAY TO FAMILIES, OH, NO, YOU HAVE TO SACRIFICE EVEN MORE. NOW, THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WOULD TELL A MIDDLE-CLASS STUDENT, WHOSE FAMILY EARNS A MEDIUM FAMILY INCOME OF ABOUT A LITTLE OVER $50,000, THAT, NO, YOU CAN'T GO TO COLLEGE. YOU CAN'T GET A PELL GRANT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. BUT EXXONMOBIL, A COMPANY THAT WILL EARN $42.6 BILLION IN PROFITS THIS YEAR, NEEDS GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE. AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO COME TO THIS FLOOR, LOOK AMERICA IN THE EYE, AND SAY THAT THAT SOMEHOW IS COMMONSENSE DEFICIT REDUCTION. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE SIMPLY IS NO COMMONSENSE EXPLANATION FOR BALANCING THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF WORKING FAMILIES AND LETTING MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR OIL COMPANIES KEEP BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER DOLLARS. SO, WE HAVE THIS DEBATE ABOUT THE DEFICIT AND HOW WE DEAL WITH THE DEBT CEILING, BUT WE DON'T SEEM TO WANT TO HAVE THE SHARED SACRIFICE OF HAVING THE SPECIAL INTERESTS IN THIS COUNTRY, WHETHER IT IS BIG OIL OR ETHANOL, WHICH HAD A HUGE BIPARTISAN VOTE HERE IN THE SENATE, THAT THEY SHOULD NOT FACE ANY CONSEQUENCES BUT THAT, IN FACT, MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING FAMILIES SHOULD. WE ALL KNOW THAT OIL COMPANIES ARE AMONG THE LARGEST, MOST PROFITABLE COMPANIES IN THE WORLD. BUT SOMEHOW IT'S HARD TO UNDERSTAND THE SCALE OF THEIR WEALTH, AND I THINK THIS CHART SHOWS IT VERY CLEARLY. HERE'S OUR CHOICES. THIS IS THE MEDIAN INCOME FOR FAMILIES IN THIS COUNTRY. THIS IS BIG OIL'S PROFITS. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? AND YOU KNOW IT IS ABOUT CLOSING LOOPHOLES, WHICH GIVEN THE CURRENT BUDGET CLIMATE, YOU WOULD THINK THAT WE'RE ALL FOR CLOSING THOSE LOOPHOLES. LET ME JUST GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE OF WHAT ONE OF THOSE LOOPHOLES ARE. UNDER THE LAW AS IT EXISTS TODAY, WE ALLOW THE BIG FIVE OIL COMPANIES TO GO TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD, TO SAY TO THEM, YOU KNOW, TAX US IN A WAY THAT WE CAN TAKE THAT AND ULTIMATELY REDUCE OUR OBLIGATIONS HERE IN THE U.S. SO SINCE U.S. TAXPAYERS ARE TAXED ON THEIR INCOME WORLDWIDE BUT ARE ENTITLED FOR A DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR TAX CREDIT FOR ANY INCOME THEY PAY TO A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT, WHICH MAKES SENSE BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO TAX OUR COMPANIES TWICE, BUT U.S. OIL AND GAS COMPANIES HAVE VERY SMART LAWYERS AND ACCOUNTANTS AND THEY FIGURED OUT THAT IF YOU GO IF A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT LIKE I UNDERSTAND NIECE SHAH AND YOU STY THEM, DON'T CHARGE ME A LICENSE FEE, DON'T CHARGE ME A ROYALTY, WHEYS WE DO HERE IN THE -- WHICH IS WHAT WE DO HERE IN THE UNITED STATES TO PERMIT THESE COMPANIES TO EXPLORE ON FEDERAL LANDS AND WATERS FOR OIL AND GAS, WE CHARGE THEM A ROYALTY. NO, THEY SAY TO INDONESIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES, CHARGE ME A TAX. WHY? BECAUSE THEN I CAN TAKE ALL OF THAT TANCHES WHICH REALLY IS A LICENSE FEE, BUT NOW PAY IT AS A TAX, AND I CAN DEDUCT IT BACK HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, MR. PRESIDENT? THAT MEANS THAT AMERICAN TAXPAYERS ARE SUBSIDIZING FOREIGN OIL PRODUCTION. THAT'S NOT IN THE NATIONAL INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES. IT IS NOT IN THE INTEREST OF TAXPAYERS IN THE UNITED STATES. AND IT ISN'T ABOUT SHARED SACRIFICE WHEN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HOW TO DEAL WITH DEFICIT AND DEBT IN THIS COUNTRY. AND JUST CLOSING THAT LOOPHOLE WOULD CLOSE $6.5 BILLION TO THE TREASURY THAT COULD BE PUT DRAIL TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I'M ONLY TALKING ABOUT CLOSING TWO LOOPHOLES FOR THE BIG FIVE OIL COMPANIES WHO ARE GOING TO MAKE $144 BILLION IN PROFIT. JUST CLOSING THOSE TWO LOOPHOLES WOULD SAVE THE U.S. TAXPAYER $21 BILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. NOW, SOME OF MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, THEY SAY, OH, WELL IF YOU DO THAT TO THOSE POOR OIL COMPANIES, THEY'RE JUST GOING TO RAISE THE PRICE OF GASOLINE. AND THAT'S SIMPLY NOT TRUE. FIRST OF ALL, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT $21 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS, OR ROUGHLY $2 BILLION A YEAR. SO THOSE POOR OIL COMPANIES, IF THEY'D ONLY MAKE $142 BILLION IN PROFITS THIS YEAR INSTEAD OF $144 BILLION IN PROFITS THIS YEAR, WOULD NOT HAVE TO RAISE GAS PRICES, BECAUSE THEY'RE MAKING $142 BILLION A YEAR, SO THEY CERTAINLY DON'T NEED TO RAISE GAS PRICES. AND WE CERTAINLY DON'T NEED TO INCENTIVIZE THEIR EXPLORATION BECAUSE THEY'RE MAKING RECORD PROFITS IN THIS COUNTRY. AND IN THE WORLD. THEY DON'T NEED US TO INCENTIVIZE THEM WHEN THEY'RE MAKING $144 BILLION IN PROFITS. SO LET'S SAVE THE TAXPAYERS THAT $21 BILLION. LET'S PUT IT DIRECTLY TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. AND ONLY IN WASHINGTON -- ONLY IN WASHINGTON WOULD MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS SUGGEST THAT STOPPING THOSE SUBSIDIES TO BIG OIL IS SOMEHOW GOING TO BE A TAX INCREASE. ONLY IN WASHINGTON COULD ENDING $21 BILLION IN SUBSIDIES TO THE BIG FIVE OIL COMPANIES -- WE'RE NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT THE INDEPENDENTS WHO ARE GOINGINDEPENDENTS -- WHO ARE GOING TO MAKE $144 BILLION IN PROFITS THIS YEAR, THAT'S SOMEHOW A TAX INCREASE. YET WE'LL TAKE AWAY PELL GRANTS OR DRAMATICALLY REDUCE THEM. WE'LL CUT SENIORS UNDER MEDICARE, THE POOR UNDER COMAIRKSD AND THAT'S OKAY. WELL, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THAT VISION OF AMERICA. AND DWROWS BACK UP MYAND JUST TO BACK UP MY POINT THAT THE ARGUMENT IS FELL LAY SCHUSS, YOU NEED TO LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THE BEGINNIVE REPORT BY THE CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE THAT EXPLAINS THAT IT WILL NOT LOWER THE PRODUCTION OF OIL AND WILL NOT RAISE GASOLINE PRICES. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU DRIVE UP TO THE PUMP, YOU PAY NEARLY $4 A GALLON ALREADY, IT HAS A REAL IMPACT ON YOUR FAMILY, HAS A REAL IMPACT ON YOUR INCOME, HAS A REAL IMPACT ON YOUR CHOICES, HAS A REAL IMPACT ON FOOD PRICES, HAS A REAL IMPACT IN SO MANY WAY, AND YET WE'RE STILL SUPPOSED TO GIVE THE OIL COMPANIES ANOTHER $21 BILLION IN TAX BREAKS BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. IT'S TIME TO STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE'S INTEREST, NOT THE SPECIAL INTERESTS. IT'S TIME TO END THESE TAX BREAKS. IT'S TIME TO PUT IT AS A REVENUE SOURCE INTO OUR CHALLENGES IN TERMS OF MEETING OUR DEBT AND DEALING WITH OUR DEFICIT. AND OUR PROPOSAL WOULD DO EXACTLY THAT. I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CAN LOOK AT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND LOOK THEM IN THE EYE AND SAY, WE'RE GOING TO CUT SO MANY THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO AFFECT YOUR LIFE, BUT ON THIS ISSUE, WE'RE GOING TO KEEP BIG OIL WHOLE. WE'RE GOING TO NOT TOUCH A PENNY FROM THEIR POCKETS. THAT'S FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW IT. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT? I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES FOR UP TO 30 MINUTES.

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  • 02:54:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: THANK YOU,

  • 02:54:24 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY I AM VERY HAPPY TO HEAR THAT MY…

    FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY I AM VERY HAPPY TO HEAR THAT MY DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES HAVE AGREED TO ALLOW US TO COME BACK NEXT WEEK AND NOT CONTINUE ON WITH THE JULY 4th RECESS. IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE START WORK ON THE SINGLE-GREATEST ISSUE, THE SINGLE-MOST ISSUE FACING THIS NATION, AND THAT'S OUR DEBT AND DEFICIT ISSUE. SO A COUPLE MINUTES AGO I OBJECTED TO WHAT THE LEADERSHIP WANTED US TO MOVE TO, WHICH WAS AN IMPORTANT DEBATE ON LIBYA. BUT IT IS NOT ADDRESSING WHAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, IN THE SENATE THIS YEAR, WE'VE BEEN HERE SIX MONTHS. WE HAVEN'T PASSED A BUDGET IN THAT SIX MONTHS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE HAVEN'T PASSED A BUDGET IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE FOR OVER TWO YEARS. WE'VE MISSED ALL OF THE BUDGET DEADLINES. WE SHOULD HAVE PASSED A BUDGET BY APRIL 15. APPROPRIATIONS BILLS SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED BY JUNE 10. WE'RE SUMLY NOT ADDRESSING -- WE'RE SIMPLY NOT ADDRESSING THE SINGLE-GREATEST ISSUE FACING THIS COUNTRY AND THE ENACT WE'RE BANKRUPTING AMERICA. OF THE SIX BILLS THAT HAVE BEEN -- ONLY SIX BILLS HAVE BEEN PASSED IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE THAT HAVE ACTUALLY BECOME LAW. THREE OF THOSE WERE CLEANING UP LAST YEAR'S BUSINESS. THEY WERE CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS FUNDING THE GOVERNMENT WHEN WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED A YEAR AGO IS THOSE BILLS SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN PASSED. IN PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET THAT HE SENT OVER HERE IN JANUARY, IT WAS SO UNSERIOUS THAT IT ACTUALLY LOST 0-97 IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. NOT A SINGLE DEMOCRAT SENATOR VOTED FOR THAT BUDGET. WE HAVE AN AWFUL LOT OF WORK TO DO. OUR BUDGET DEFICIT THIS YEAR, THE HIGHEST ESTIMATE I'VE HEARD IS ABOUT $1.65 TRILLION. WE'VE INCURRED OVER $4 TRILLION IN JUST THE LAST THREE YEARS. IF ANYONE WANTS TO UNDERSTAND WHY OUR ECONOMY IS IN A COMA, IT IS EXACTLY THAT. PEOPLE LOOK TO WASHINGTON AND THEY SEE HOW RECKLESS, HOW OUT OF CONTROL OUR SPENDING IS. AS A FORMER MANUFACTURER, AS SOMEBODY WHO HAS MADE INVESTMENTS, HAS CREATED JOBS, I REALIZE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY THAT IT DOESN'T HAVE, EVENTUALLY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO TAKE. THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE IN THE FORM OF HIGHER TAXES, POSSIBLY IN THE FORM OF HIGHER INFLATION, AND THE OTHER THING THAT IS OVERHANGING THIS ECONOMY THAT IS PREVENTING JOB CREATION IS THE OVERREGULATION. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MANY WISCONSIN BUSINESS PEOPLE COME IN A TO OUR OFFICE AND -- IN TO OUR OFFICE AND ARE TALKING ABOUT THAT RESOLUTION REGULATION OR THIS REGULATION THAT AGENCIES ARE TRYING TO IMPOSE ON THEM. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT THESE REGULATIONS IS THEY'RE NOT BEING IMPLEMENTED. JUST LIKE THE HEALTH CARE LAW. OVER 3 MILLION WAIVERS HAVE BEEN GRANTED. WHY IS THAT? I BELIEVE IT'S BECAUSE THIS ADMINISTRATION ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS THAT IF THEY CLEMENT IMPLEMENTED THE REGULATIONS, THEY UNDERSTAND EXACTLY THE HARMFUL EFFECT IT WOULD HAVE ON THE ECONOMY, THE HARMFUL EFFECT IT WOULD HAVE ON JOB CREATION. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THIS ADMINISTRATION CAME INTO OFFICE WITH A TOUGH SITUATION, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. BUT THEIR ACTIONS PASSED THROUGH THE HEALTH CARE LARKS THE 1,600-PAGE DODD-FRANK FINANCIAL LAW, THAT HAS MADE THE SITUATION FAR HARDER AND WORSE. I THINK THE SENATOR HAS HAD A FEW WORDS TO SAY. A SENATOR: YES, THANK YOU, SENATOR JOHNSON. I COME DOWN TO THE FLOOR TODAY IN SUPPORT OF THIS MOVEMENT. THIS MOVEMENT IS THAT WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT WHAT AMERICA SAYS WE SHOULD BE TBAWG, THE DEBT.

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  • 02:58:14 PM

    MR. PAUL

    THE PRESIDENT WENT ON NATIONAL TELEVISION AND CHASTISED CONGRESS. HE SAID…

    THE PRESIDENT WENT ON NATIONAL TELEVISION AND CHASTISED CONGRESS. HE SAID TO CONGRESS, AND I QUOTE, "MEMBERS OF CONGRESS NEED TO CANCEL THINGS." WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT? I AGREE. I'M HERE TODAY, THOUGH, MR. PRESIDENT. WHERE ARE YOU? MY UNDERSTANDING IS THE PRESIDENT IS CAMPAIGNING, HAS A FUND-RAISER IN PHILADELPHIA TONIGHT. I DON'T BELIEVE HE'S HERE TACKLING THE NATION'S PROBLEMS TODAY. WCIALTION HE COULD SEND US THE VICE PRESIDENT, BUT I DON'T THINK THE VICE PRESIDENT IS EITHER HERE. WILL I THINK HE'S IN LAS VEGAS CAMPAIGNING TONIGHT. SO THE THING IS IT IS A TWO-WAY STREEVMENT IF HE'S GOING TO GO ON NATIONAL TELEVISION AND CHASTISE US NOT FOR DOING WORK, WE'RE HERE SAYING, WE WANT TO BE WORK ON THE NATION'S PROBLEMS. WE'RE HERE TAKING THE NATION'S DEBT IS A PROBLEM. HIS ADMINISTRATION HAS SAID THE NUMBER-ONE NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT WE FACE IS THE DEBT. WHERE IS THE PRESIDENT? CAMPAIGNING. WE'RE HERE, MR. PRESIDENT. AND WEEP WE WILL HAVE AN OFFER. WE DON'T WANT TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. WE DON'T WANT MORE DEBT. BUT AS REPUBLICANS, FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY, WE'RE WILLING TO RAISE THE DEBT, BUT ONLY -- AND I REPEAT, ONLY IF WE HAVE SIGNIFICANT BUDGETARY REFORM. WE HAVE TO BALANCE THE BUDGET BY LAW, FORCE CONGRESS TO DO IT, BY CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION. IT'S THE ONLY WAY IT WILL EVER CHANGE. THERE IS A PATHOLOGY HERE. THE PATHOLOGY IS THAT WE DO NOT HAVE A SPINE. WE ARE SPINELESS AND CANNOT DO WHAT IT TAKES TO CUT THE SPENDING, AND ONLY WE WILL GET THERE IF WE CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE HERE. WE ARE HERE. WE WELCOME TO YOU COME BACK TO TOWN IN BETWEEN FUND-RAISERS AND TALK ABOUT HOW WE WOULD FIX THIS. BUT WE WOULD FIX THIS BY SAYING, YES, WE WILL RAISE THE DEBT CEILING, CONTINGENT UPON A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. 75% OF THE PUBLIC IS IN FAVOR OF SAYING YOU HAVE TO BALANCE YOUR BUDGET. LET'S COME BACK AND DISCUSS WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT. I COMMEND SENATOR JOHNSON FOR LEADING THIS FIGHT. I THINK THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING. BUT I DON'T PLAN ON SAYING WE SHOULD GO TO ANY OTHER SUBJECT UNTIL WE'VE ADDRESSED THE DEBT CEILING.

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  • 03:00:34 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU. SENATOR RUBIO HAS A FEW WORDS TO ADD.

  • 03:00:42 PM

    MR. RUBIO

    SENATOR JOHNSON. I TOO WATCHED THE PRESIDENT'S LECTURE ON TELEVISION. MY…

    SENATOR JOHNSON. I TOO WATCHED THE PRESIDENT'S LECTURE ON TELEVISION. MY REACTION IS TWOFOLD. ONE IS I'M DISAPPOINTED. THE OTHER IS I'M ALARMED. FIRST I'M DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE AMERICA DOES NOT HAVE A TRADITION OF CLASS WARFARE. ONE OF THE THING THAT DISTINGUISHES US FROM THE WORLD IS AMERICANS NEVER BELIEVE YOU SOMEHOW HAVE TO TAKE MONEY FROM SOMEBODY ELSE IN ORDER TO BE BETTER OFF. ON THE CONTRARY, WE'VE ALWAYS LOOKED TO ADVANCE THE CAUSE OF EVERYONE IN THE BELIEF WE CAN ALL BE PROSPEROUS. THAT'S THE AMERICAN TRADITION. THAT SERVES OUR NATION WELL. YOU WOULDN'T KNOW THAT FROM THE SPEECH YESTERDAY, THE RHETORIC THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, WAS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTING. THE IDEA THAT IF WE RAISE TEXASS -- PRAYS TAXES ON MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES THAT THAT SOMEHOW IS GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN AMERICA'S DEBT IN TERMS OF HAVING A REAL IMPACT, IS NOT ONLY MISLEADING; I THINK, QUITE FRANKLY, IT'S DISAPPOINTING. IT'S CLASS WARFARE AND THE KIND OF LANGUAGE YOU'D EXPECT FROM THE LEADER OF A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY, NOT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. BUT I'M ALSO ALARMED AND WORRIED ABOUT THE SPEECH BECAUSE I THINK FROM IT YOU CAN ONLY TAKE TWO THINGS. EITHER THE PRESIDENT DOESN'T TRULY UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEMS WE FACE OR HE'S DECIDED THIS IS A POLITICAL ISSUE, NOT A POLICY ONE. I SAY HE PERHAPS DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF THE CASE BECAUSE HE MENTIONED THE CORPORATE JET TAX SIX DIFFERENT TIMES AND YET THE IMPACT IT WOULD HAVE IS SO INSIGNIFICANT THAT THE WHITE HOUSE IS NOT ABLE TO GIVE A DOLLAR FIGURE. THAT EXACT TAX PROVISION WAS PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S NOW INFAMOUS STIMULUS PLAN THAT PASSED IN FEBRUARY OF 2009. THE BIGGER PROBLEM, THOUGH, IS MAYBE THE PRESIDENT FUNDAMENTALLY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND HOW JOBS ARE CREATED. POLITICIANS DON'T CREATE JOBS. U.S. SENATORS DON'T CREATE JOBS. SENATOR JOHNSON POINTED OUT JOBS ARE CREATED BY EVERYDAY PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE THAT START A BUSINESS OR EXPAND AN EXISTING ONE. OUR JOB HERE IN GOVERNMENT IS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR THEM TO DO THAT, NOT HARDER. THREATENING TO RAISE TAXES, THREATENING TO WAGE CLASS WARFARE DOES NOT ACCOMPLISH THAT PURPOSE. HERE'S WHAT I WOULD SUGGEST TO THE PRESIDENT. WE HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE AS A PEOPLE OF AMERICA. PEOPLE AROUND HERE ARE IN FAVOR OF TAX REFORM. A SIMPLER TAX REFORM, A MANAGEABLE AND SANE REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT AND A GOVERNMENT THAT DOESN'T SPEND MONEY IT DOESN'T HAVE. THESE THINGS HAVE WORKED BEFORE AND THEY WILL WORK AGAIN. I URGE THE PRESIDENT TO LEAD US IN THAT DIRECTION.

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  • 03:03:05 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    SENATOR RUBIO. I WANTED TO PICK UP ON ONE POINT YOU MADE ABOUT CLASS…

    SENATOR RUBIO. I WANTED TO PICK UP ON ONE POINT YOU MADE ABOUT CLASS WARFARE. AS A JOB CREATOR MYSELF FOR 31, 32 YEARS, I KNOW AN AWFUL LOT ABOUT OTHER ENTREPRENEURS. I HAVE TO POINT OUT HOW INCREDIBLY DISSPIRITTING IT IS TO HAVE LEADERS HERE IN WASHINGTON ATTACK YOU DAY IN AND DAY OUT, DEMONIZE YOU WHEN ALL YOU'RE TRYING TO DO IS MAKE A GOOD LIFE FOR YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, PROVIDE SOUND EMPLOYMENT FOR OTHER AMERICANS. I NEED TO POINT OUT THAT CLASS WARFARE DOES NOT WORK. IT DOES NOTHING TO HELP IMPROVE OUR ECONOMY. SENATOR LEE.

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  • 03:03:42 PM

    MR. LEE

    SENATOR JOHNSON. THERE IS NO SHAOURB THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT -- NO ISSUE…

    SENATOR JOHNSON. THERE IS NO SHAOURB THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT -- NO ISSUE MORE IMPORTANT OR PRESSING FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAN THIS ONE WHERE THE G.D.P. RATIO IS ABOUT 95%. OUR ECONOMY CAN'T LONG ENDURE THAT KIND OF BORROWING. IT HAS AN EFFECT THAT WILL RESULT IN AN ESTIMATED LOSS OF ABOUT A MILLION JOBS A YEAR FOR EACH YEAR THAT WE REMAIN ABOVE THE 90% OF DEBT TO G.D.P. RATIO. WE SIMPLY CAN'T ENDURE THAT. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CAN'T ENDURE IT. WE NEED TO INCREASE REVENUES. THE ONLY WAY WE'RE GOING TO INCREASE REVENUES IS TO ALLOW THE ECONOMY TO RECOVER. THAT WON'T HAPPEN AS LONG AS WE KEEP BORROWING MORE AND MORE MONEY WHILE DOING NOTHING TO CONTROL THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM, THE SYSTEMIC PROBLEM THAT REQUIRES A STRUCTURAL REFORM. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTANDABLY, JUSTIFIABLY AND VERY CORRECTLY ARE DEMANDING THAT BEFORE WE RAISE THE NATION'S DEBT LIMIT YET AGAIN, BEFORE WE EXTEND YET ANOTHER CREDIT CARD FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WE COMMIT TO SOME KIND OF CUTS. FUTURE BORROWING REQUIRES US TO MAKE FUTURE CUTS. THE PROBLEM WITH THAT IS THE MOMENT THAT THAT DEBT IS ACTUALLY USED UP, THE MOMENT IT'S INCURRED, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE UNDER AN OBLIGATION. BUT IF WE PHRAEUBG A PROMISE TODAY -- IF WE MAKE A PROMISE TODAY THAT WE'RE GOING TO CUT, LET'S SAY $2 TRILLION OR $3 TRILLION OR $4 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT 10 OR 12 OR 14 OR 15 YEARS, THAT'S A PROMISE THAT WE CAN'T MAKE. THAT'S A PROMISE THAT WE CAN'T REALLY COMMIT TO BECAUSE THIS CONGRESS, THE ONE THAT SITS RIGHT NOW, WILL NOT BE THE SAME CONGRESS THAT CONVENES IN JANUARY OF 2013 OR ON JANUARY OF 2015 OR IN FUTURE YEARS. WE'VE GOT TO MAKE CHANGES RIGHT NOW. AND THE ONLY WAY THAT WE CAN COMMIT TO FUTURE CUTS, TO FUTURE STRUCTURAL REFORMS, THE ONLY WAY WE CAN BIND FUTURE CONGRESSES IS BY AMENDING THE U.S. CONSTITUTION TO CHANGE THE WAY WE SPEND MONEY, LIMIT SPENDING AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P. AND TO REQUIRE A SUPERMAJORITY TO SPEND MORE THAN WE HAVE OR TO RAISE TAXES. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DEMANDING. WE'RE WILLING TO WORK, WE'RE WILLING TO COME TO THE TABLE ON THE DEBT LIMIT. BUT WE DEMAND SOME KIND OF SOLUTION THAT WILL PUT US ON COURSE TOWARDS SANITY. THAT'S WHY WE'RE HERE.

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  • 03:05:56 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    THANKS, SENATOR. SENATOR AYOTTE.

  • 03:06:00 PM

    MS. AYOTTE

    MY COLLEAGUES AND I THINK THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE WATCHING THIS WILL SEE THAT…

    MY COLLEAGUES AND I THINK THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE WATCHING THIS WILL SEE THAT WE ARE NEW SENATORS BACK HERE IN THE BACK CORNER OF THE SENATE, AND I CAN TELL YOU AS A NEW MEMBER OF THIS CHAMBER I'M DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY THE LACK OF WORK THAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. AND THE MAJORITY LEADER HAS PUT US IN A POSITION WHERE WE HAVEN'T BEEN FOCUSING ON THE FISCAL CRISIS THAT IS FACING OUR NATION RIGHT NOW. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FACT THAT IT'S BEEN 792 DAYS SINCE WE'VE HAD A BUDGET. AND I WAS SO EXCITED AS A NEW MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE TO ROLL UP MY SLEEVES AND GET TOGETHER TO PUT TOGETHER A RESPONSIBLE BLUEPRINT FOR THIS COUNTRY; YET, UNFORTUNATELY, WE WERE TOLD BY THE MAJORITY LEADER THAT WOULD BE FOOLISH TO PUT TOGETHER A RESPONSIBLE BLUEPRINT FOR THIS COUNTRY AND TO DO THE WORK OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. ONE OF THE REASONS I CAME TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE IS I'M TIRED OF BUSINESS AS USUAL. I KNOW THAT MY FRESHMEN COLLEAGUES BACK HERE SHARE THAT. AND I'M THE MOTHER OF TWO CHILDREN. I KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT MENTIONED HIS CHILDREN YESTERDAY. BUT IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN AND THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY, WE OWE IT TO OUR CHILDREN TO NOT CONTINUE TO KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD. WE SHOULD BE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE TODAY AND NEXT WEEK TALKING ABOUT HOW WE ARE GOING TO PUT TOGETHER A BLUEPRINT THAT MAKES SURE THAT WE DO NOT CONTINUE TO BORROW FROM COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA, THAT WE DO NOT CONTINUE TO ENSLAVE OUR CHILDREN WITH THE DEBT THAT THIS COUNTRY IS ACCUMULATING. AND WE KNOW THAT IF WE DO NOT ADDRESS THIS, THAT THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WILL GO BANKRUPT. AND I, FOR ONE, WANT TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON THE PROMISE, THE AMERICAN PROMISE THAT WE HAVE ALWAYS MADE TO THE NEXT GENERATION, AND THAT IS THAT WE WILL LEAVE THEM WITH A BETTER COUNTRY. AND THAT IS SO THREATENED RIGHT NOW WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE IN WASHINGTON. THAT'S WHY I SHARE WITH MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR JOHNSON, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD BE ADDRESSING ANYTHING NEXT WEEK BUT SPENDING AND DEBT, AND WE HAVE THE DEBT CEILING VOTE COMING UP. SO WHY AREN'T WE ROLLING UP OUR SLEEVES RIGHT NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, AND WORKING ON A SOLUTION WITH REAL SPENDING REFORMS, PUTTING THOSE HANDCUFFS ON CONGRESS THAT WE KNOW WE NEED, LIKE A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, SPENDING CAPS, A BUDGET FOR OUR COUNTRY SO WE DON'T CONTINUE TO HAVE THIS CONTINUING RESOLUTION SITUATION, ONE THAT REDUCES SPENDING. WE DO NOT HAVE A TAX PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY. WE HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM. AND WE NEED TO CREATE A POSITIVE CLIMATE FOR OUR PRIVATE SECTOR AND REALLY DO THE HARD WORK HERE IN WASHINGTON LIKE OUR FAMILIES DO AND LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS. SO I THINK NEXT WEEK WE SHOULD BE DOING THE WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU CALLED ON US YESTERDAY TO WORK. WE ARE HERE WORKING. MR. PRESIDENT, THE ONLY BLUEPRINT, FINANCIAL AND FISCAL BLUEPRINT THAT YOU HAVE OFFERED, YOUR BUDGET FOR 2012, DID NOT EVEN GET ONE VOTE FROM A MEMBER OF YOUR PARTY IN THIS CHAMBER. THAT BUDGET BLUEPRINT WOULD HAVE ADDED ANOTHER $14 TRILLION TO OUR DEBT. SO I SAY TO OUR PRESIDENT, WE'RE WILLING TO ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND GET TO WORK WITH YOU TO AVERT THIS LOOMING FISCAL CRISIS, BUT WHERE IS YOUR PLAN THAT'S GOING TO REDUCE SPENDING AND GET US ON A RESPONSIBLE FISCAL PATH TO PRESERVE THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD?

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  • 03:10:01 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    SENATOR AYOTTE. SENATOR VITTER.

  • 03:10:05 PM

    MR. VITTER

    SENATOR JOHNSON. I'M HONORED TO JOIN YOU AND ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES HERE TO…

    SENATOR JOHNSON. I'M HONORED TO JOIN YOU AND ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES HERE TO ECHO THE SAME IMPORTANT MESSAGE. EVERYONE KNOWS, EVERYONE PAYING ATTENTION ACROSS THE COUNTRY KNOWS THAT OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE IS OUT-OF-CONTROL SPENDING AND DEBT. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT WE FACE A MOUNTAIN CRISIS AND AN IMPORTANT DEADLINE IN TERMS OF THE DEBT LIMIT. AND SO WHEN ARE WE GOING TO FACE THESE CRUCIAL ISSUES? THE TOP CHALLENGES WE FACE AS A COUNTRY, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO FACE THEM SQUARELY, DIRECTLY, CONSTRUCTIVELY HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE U.S. SENATE? IT'S JUST THAT SIMPLE. LET'S GET TO THE IMPORTANT MATTER AT HAND. LET'S DEBATE IN A CONSTRUCTIVE WAY. LET'S VOTE ON PROPOSALS TO CURB SPENDING AND DEBT. YESTERDAY WE STOOD TOGETHER UNDER SENATOR JOHNSON'S LEADERSHIP AND SAID JUST THAT, AND WE SAID WE'RE GOING TO BLOCK ANY EFFORT TO GO INTO A RECESS OR EVEN A PRO FORMA SESSION NEXT WEEK, JULY 4 RECESS. AND WE HAVE DONE THAT. WE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY BLOCKED THAT RECESS. AND WE'RE GOING TO DO IT BECAUSE WE NEED TO ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES. WE NEED TO GO TO WORK, NOT GO ON VACATION, ABOUT THIS CRUCIAL CHALLENGE OF SPENDING AND DEBT. INTERESTINGLY, PRESIDENT OBAMA IN MANY WAYS SAID THE SAME THING YESTERDAY. AND HE CHASTISED CONGRESS AND SAID YOU NEED TO GO TO WORK, NOT GO ON VACATION TO ADDRESS THIS CRUCIAL ISSUE. WELL, GREAT, WE'VE SUCCEEDED IN CANCELING THAT RECESS. THAT'S A FIRST IMPORTANT STEP. BUT WHY ARE WE CONTINUING TO TRY TO MOVE TO EVERY OTHER ISSUE UNDER THE SUN EXCEPT THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OUR COUNTRY FACES? WHY DON'T WE FACE THIS ISSUE, DEBATE IT IN A CONSTRUCTIVE WAY? SENATOR REID, WHY DON'T YOU PUT MEASURES ON THE FLOOR THAT DIRECTLY ADDRESS THIS ISSUE? WITH THAT IN MIND, THOSE OF US WHO JOINED TOGETHER YESTERDAY TO BLOCK OUR JULY 4th RECESS HAVE WRITTEN SENATOR REID A LETTER TODAY, AND I THINK IT SUMMARIZES OUR POINT AND OUR POSITION VERY CLEARLY, SO I'LL READ IT. IT'S NOT LONG. "DEAR LEADER REID, YESTERDAY WE CAME TOGETHER TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT WE BELIEVE THE SENATE SHOULD NOT GO ON VACATION WHILE OUR COUNTRY GOES BANKRUPT. AND WE VOW TO BLOCK ANY RECESS OR PRO FORMA SESSION NEXT WEEK. WE'RE GLAD YOU'VE ACCEPTED THAT REALITY, BUT LET'S NOT BE IN SESSION JUST TO TRY TO FOOL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE INTO THINKING THE SENATE IS WORKING ON THE NATION'S FISCAL CRISIS. LET'S ACTUALLY BEGIN A CONSTRUCTIVE DEBATE ON THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OUR COUNTRY FACES: SPENDING AND DEBT. WITH THAT GOAL, WE WRITE TO ASK A FEW SIMPLE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS: WHEN WILL YOU PUT SERIOUS BILLS ON THE FLOOR TO DIRECTLY ADDRESS SPENDING AND DEBT? THE BUDGET ACT OF 1974 REQUIRES THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE TO MARK UP A BUDGET BY APRIL 15, AND TOMORROW WILL MARK THE 793rd DAY SINCE THE DEMOCRATIC-LED SENATE HAS PASSED A BUDGET, AND THE 11th WEEK SINCE MISSING THAT DEADLINE THIS YEAR. WHEN WILL THE BUDGET COMMITTEE MEET TO MARK UP A BUDGET PROPOSAL? AND WHEN WILL YOU PUT SUCH A PROPOSAL ON THE FLOOR? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT US TO ENACT MEANINGFUL, EFFECTIVE SPENDING CAPS. WHEN WILL YOU PUT A SPENDING CAP BILL ON THE SENATE FLOOR? WE CLEARLY NEED THE ENFORCED DISCIPLINE OF A BALANCED BUDGET CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. THIS MEASURE FAILED BY A SINGLE VOTE LAST TIME IT WAS DEBATED ON THE FLOOR OF THE U.S. SENATE. WHEN WILL YOU PUT A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT ON THE SENATE FLOOR? MR. SENATOR REID, WE AWAIT YOUR RESPONSE AND YOUR LEADERSHIP." AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, TO SUMMARIZE, WE BANDED TOGETHER YESTERDAY AND SAID AS THE COUNTRY GOES BANKRUPT, WE SHOULDN'T GO ON VACATION. WE'RE GOING TO BLOCK ANY RECESS, ANY PRO FORMA SESSION NEXT WEEK, AND WE DID. BUT WE DID IT TO TURN TO THIS CHALLENGE, TO DEBATE SPENDING AND DEBT IN A CONSTRUCTIVE WAY, TO HAVE VOTES ON THAT, NOT TO CONTINUE TO AVOID THE ISSUE AND TURN TO EVERY OTHER ISSUE UNDER THE SUN. AND SO, THROUGH THE CHAIR, I'D AGAIN ASK SENATOR REID WHY DON'T WE TURN TO THIS MOST IMPORTANT CHALLENGE OF OUR COUNTRY? PLEASE PUT SERIOUS BILLS ON THE SENATE FLOOR THAT DIRECTLY ADDRESS SPENDING AND DEBT. LET'S GET ON WITH THE PEOPLE'S WORK.

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  • 03:12:55 PM

    QUESTIONS

    YOU PUT SERIOUS BILLS ON THE FLOOR TO DIRECTLY ADDRESS SPENDING AND DEBT?…

    YOU PUT SERIOUS BILLS ON THE FLOOR TO DIRECTLY ADDRESS SPENDING AND DEBT? THE BUDGET ACT OF 1974 REQUIRES THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE TO MARK UP A BUDGET BY APRIL 15, AND TOMORROW WILL MARK THE 793rd DAY SINCE THE DEMOCRATIC-LED SENATE HAS PASSED A BUDGET, AND THE 11th WEEK SINCE MISSING THAT DEADLINE THIS YEAR. WHEN WILL THE BUDGET COMMITTEE MEET TO MARK UP A BUDGET PROPOSAL? AND WHEN WILL YOU PUT SUCH A PROPOSAL ON THE FLOOR? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT US TO ENACT MEANINGFUL, EFFECTIVE SPENDING CAPS. WHEN WILL YOU PUT A SPENDING CAP BILL ON THE SENATE FLOOR? WE CLEARLY NEED THE ENFORCED DISCIPLINE OF A BALANCED BUDGET CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. THIS MEASURE FAILED BY A SINGLE VOTE LAST TIME IT WAS DEBATED ON THE FLOOR OF THE U.S. SENATE. WHEN WILL YOU PUT A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT ON THE SENATE FLOOR? MR. SENATOR REID, WE AWAIT YOUR RESPONSE AND YOUR LEADERSHIP." AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, TO SUMMARIZE, WE BANDED TOGETHER YESTERDAY AND SAID AS THE COUNTRY GOES BANKRUPT, WE SHOULDN'T GO ON VACATION. WE'RE GOING TO BLOCK ANY RECESS, ANY PRO FORMA SESSION NEXT WEEK, AND WE DID. BUT WE DID IT TO TURN TO THIS CHALLENGE, TO DEBATE SPENDING AND DEBT IN A CONSTRUCTIVE WAY, TO HAVE VOTES ON THAT, NOT TO CONTINUE TO AVOID THE ISSUE AND TURN TO EVERY OTHER ISSUE UNDER THE SUN. AND SO, THROUGH THE CHAIR, I'D AGAIN ASK SENATOR REID WHY DON'T WE TURN TO THIS MOST IMPORTANT CHALLENGE OF OUR COUNTRY? PLEASE PUT SERIOUS BILLS ON THE SENATE FLOOR THAT DIRECTLY ADDRESS SPENDING AND DEBT. LET'S GET ON WITH THE PEOPLE'S WORK.

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  • 03:14:44 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    SENATOR VITTER. SENATOR SESSIONS.

  • 03:14:46 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    THANK YOU, SENATOR JOHNSON, AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THIS…

    THANK YOU, SENATOR JOHNSON, AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE. AS THE RANKING REPUBLICAN ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, I SHARE MY COLLEAGUE'S DISAPPOINTMENT THAT WE HAVE NOT FUNCTIONED. IT'S GOOD TO SEE SENATOR AYOTTE AND SENATOR JOHNSON WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THAT COMMITTEE. WE WORKED HARD TO GET PREPARED SOME WEEKS AGO ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE UNITED STATES SENATE WOULD MEET ITS STATUTORILY REQUIRED DUTY, AND THAT IS TO PRODUCE A BUDGET. I'M HOLDING UP TITLE 2, UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 632, AND IT'S THE BUDGET ACT, AND IT REQUIRES THAT THE CONGRESS ANNUALLY PRODUCE A BUDGET. WE HAVE GONE NOW 792 DAYS, I GUESS, WITHOUT A BUDGET. IT'S THE FIRST LINE OF THE ACT IS ON OR BEFORE APRIL 15 OF EACH YEAR, CONGRESS SHALL COMPLETE ACTION ON THE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING OCTOBER 1 FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. WELL, WE HAVEN'T DONE THAT. IT ALSO SAID THAT WE SHOULD MEET BY APRIL 1. SENATOR CONRAD, OUR BUDGET CHAIRMAN, OUR DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN AND ABLE EXPERIENCED -- AN ABLE, EXPERIENCED CHAIRMAN WAS PREPARED TO GO FORWARD. IT IS PRETTY CLEAR TO ME THAT THE MAJORITY LEADER DECIDED THAT WE SHOULDN'T HAVE A BUDGET PROCESS. LAST YEAR, THE BUDGET COMMITTEE PRODUCED A BUDGET OUT OF COMMITTEE BUT THE MAJORITY LEADER FAILED TO BRING IT UP FOR VOTE ON THE FLOOR, AND AS THE LEADER, HE HAS THE POWER TO CONTROL THAT FACT AND WAS ABLE TO DO SO. THIS YEAR, HE SAID IT WOULD BE FOOLISH TO HAVE A BUDGET AND BASICALLY WE HAVEN'T EVEN MET IN COMMITTEE TO HAVE A BUDGET. SO WE ARE FACING THE MOST SERIOUS, SYSTEMIC DEBT CRISIS IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY. THE NUMBERS ARE SO SERIOUS AND OUR PATH IS SO UNACCEPTABLE THAT IT IS CLEARLY THE NUMBER-ONE ISSUE IN -- OF OUR TIME. THE CHAIRMAN OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DEBT COMMISSION GAVE US A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, SAID THIS NATION HAS NEVER FACED A MORE PREDICTABLE ECONOMIC CRISIS. WHEN ASKED WHEN ERSKINE BOWLES, PRESIDENT CLINTON'S CHIEF OF STAFF SAID IT COULD BE TWO YEARS, A LITTLE BEFORE, A LITTLE AFTER. SO I GUESS WHAT I'M SAYING IS THAT THESE INDIVIDUALS, PARTICULARLY THE ONES THAT JUST FINISHED A CAMPAIGN, TRAVELED ALL OVER THEIR STATE, TALKED TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN THEIR STATE, GOT A FEEL FOR IT. THEY ARE BRINGING NEW VITALITY AND NEW INSIGHT INTO WHAT'S HAPPENING, AND WHAT'S HAPPENING IS NOTHING. SIX MONTHS HAVE GONE BY AND WE HAVE HAD NOT ANY HEARINGS, WE HAVE HAD NOT ANY VOTES ON THE FLOOR, WE HAVEN'T SEEN ANY LEGISLATION. SO I THINK THAT THIS IS AN UNACCEPTABLE METHOD. I THINK IT UNDERMINES THE CLASSIC CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY OF CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE MONEY, DEAL WITH TAXES, IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY, AND WE HAVE TO ULTIMATELY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT, BUT HAVE YOU OBSERVED MAYORS WHO SAY I'M NOT GOING TO PRESENT A BUDGET TO CITY COUNCIL, I'M GOING TO LET THEM DECIDE? DO YOU SEE GOVERNORS NOT PRESENT BUDGETS TO THE STATE LEGISLATURES AND THEN FIGHT FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN? LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENED TO GOVERNOR CHRISTIE, GOVERNOR CUOMO IN NEW YORK, GOVERNOR BROWN IN CALIFORNIA, GOVERNOR BENTLEY IN ALABAMA. IT REALLY HELPS TO HAVE THAT ONE SINGLE PERSON ELECTED TO REPRESENT EVERYBODY PROVIDE SOME IMPETUS, AND IT'S ASTOUNDING TO ME THAT WE HAVEN'T SEEN THAT FROM THE MAJORITY LEADER IN THE SENATE AND FROM THE PRESIDENT. HE SUBMITTED A BUDGET BUT THEN BACKED AWAY FROM IT. IT WENT DOWN 97-0 ON THE FLOOR JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO, BUT IT WAS NEVER SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? WE'RE HEAD TO GO A TIME WHEN WE MAY BE ASKED WITHIN A FEW HOURS TO VOTE ON A MONUMENTAL MULTICRIMINAL DOLLAR DEAL TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND WHAT WILL BE IN IT? WILL WE REALLY BE CHANGING THE TRAJECTORY OF OUR NATION OR WILL IT BE BUSINESS AS USUAL? WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TIME TO REVIEW IT. THAT SHOULD BE ON THE FLOOR NOW. PEOPLE SHOULD BE STANDING UP AND CASTING VOTES RIGHT NOW. HOWHOW MUCH TAXES DO YOU WANT TO INCREASE? DO YOU? WHICH ONES? HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO CUT, SESSIONS? WHERE. LET'S HAVE THE VOTE OUT HERE. THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING. I THINK IT WILL HELP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND HOW SERIOUS OUR FIX IS, WHAT IT'S GOING TO TAKE TO GET OUT OF IT. IT'S MUCH MORE SERIOUS AND OUR PROBLEM IS GREATER THAN MOST PEOPLE REALIZE. SO I THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR THEIR GOOD COMMENTS AND THE ENTHUSIASM THEY HAVE BROUGHT AND THE PASSION THEY HAVE BROUGHT TO THIS CRITICAL ISSUE.

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  • 03:20:13 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    SENATOR SESSIONS. I WILL POINT OUT THAT BUSINESS AS USUAL HERE IN…

    SENATOR SESSIONS. I WILL POINT OUT THAT BUSINESS AS USUAL HERE IN WASHINGTON IS BANKRUPTING AMERICA. SENATOR DeMINT.

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  • 03:20:21 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    SENATOR JOHNSON. I'M GLAD OUR REPUBLICAN FRESHMEN DID NOT GET THE MEMO…

    SENATOR JOHNSON. I'M GLAD OUR REPUBLICAN FRESHMEN DID NOT GET THE MEMO THAT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE SEEN BUT NOT HEARD. IT'S REALLY EXCITING FOR THIS OLD, DUSTY ESTABLISHMENT WHEN THE PEOPLE WHO JUST WALKED IN THE DOOR ARE THE ONES WHO ARE LEADING IT, AND SO I -- I THANK ALL OF THE FRESHMEN WHO ARE SITTING HERE. WASHINGTON IS ADDICTED TO SPENDING, AND THE ADDICT IN CHIEF IS PRESIDENT OBAMA. HE HAS PROMISED MANY TIMES TO QUIT, TO QUIT SPENDING, TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS, BUT HE KEEPS FALLING OFF THE WAGON. AND NOW FOR THE FOURTH TIME SINCE HE HAS BEEN PRESIDENT, HE IS ASKING CONGRESS TO REFILL THE BOLT SO THAT -- BOTTLE SO THAT HE CAN KEEP SPENDING, KEEP BORROWING, KEEP INCREASING AMERICA'S DEBT. MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, THE SENATE, OFTEN BRAG ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE HAVE THE POWER OF THE PURSE. PART OF THAT POWER IS TO PASS LAWS TO LIMIT HOW MUCH THE ADMINISTRATION CAN BORROW. IT'S BEEN A TRADITION. BOTH PARTIES OVER THE YEARS HAVE CONSISTENTLY BLOWN THROUGH THAT LEGAL DEBT LIMIT AND INCREASED IT WHENEVER WE WANTED ANOTHER DRINK. THE DEBT LIMIT IS SUPPOSED TO BE A STOP SIGN TO STOP THE ADMINISTRATION FROM SPENDING MORE THAN WE CAN AFFORD AS A NATION. INSTEAD, THEY HAVE TURNED IT INTO A GREEN LIGHT WHERE WE CAN JUST SPEED THROUGH AND CONTINUE TO POUR MORE AND MORE DEBT ONTO OUR CHILDREN. BUT NOW WE HAVE GONE FROM IT BEING JUST A WINK AND A NOD WHERE WE BRAG ABOUT HOW MUCH BACON WE TAKE HOME TO WE'RE AT THE POINT WHERE WE COULD SERIOUSLY LOSE OUR NATION. I THINK AMERICANS SENSE THAT EVERYWHERE. CONGRESSMEN AND POLITICIANS CONSTANTLY EXAGGERATE AND CRY WOLF, BUT I THINK THERE IS A SENSE ALL ACROSS AMERICA THAT GOES BEYOND PARTISANSHIP TO REAL WORRY. THAT'S WHAT I HEAR EVERYWHERE I GO. PEOPLE SOMEHOW INTUITIVELY KNOW THAT IF WE HAVE DEBT ALMOST THE SIZE OF OUR ECONOMY AND PROJECTING TO EVEN DOUBLE THAT OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, THAT WHAT THEY SEE ON TV IN GREECE AND AROUND THE WORLD ARE COUNTRIES LITERALLY COMING UNGLUED COULD VERY WELL HAPPEN MUCH QUICKER THAN WE THINK HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. WE HAVE GOT OVER $14 TRILLION IN DEBT. WE KNOW THE PRESIDENT'S NOT SERIOUS ABOUT QUITTING THIS SPENDING BINGE BECAUSE THE BUDGET HE SENT US PRACTICALLY DOUBLES THAT. AND AS WE HAVE GONE THROUGH THESE LAST FEW MONTHS OF TALKING ABOUT RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT ONCE AGAIN, WE HAVE NOT GOTTEN ONE PROPOSAL FROM THE PRESIDENT TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. HE'S PLAYED DOZENS OF ROUNDS OF GOLF AND HAD MANY, MANY FUNDRAISERS AROUND THE COUNTRY, BUT HE HAS BEEN AWOL ON THIS ISSUE. SO NOT ONLY HAS HE ADDED OVER OVER $3 TRILLION OF DEBT SINCE HE BECAME PRESIDENT, HE HAS BEEN MISSING IN ACTION WHEN IT COMES TO ACTUALLY DEALING WITH IT. AND HIS CONDESCENDING SPEECH YESTERDAY THAT TOLD CONGRESS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM IGNORED THE FACT THAT HE WAS ELECTED AS PRESIDENT TO LEAD, AND YET HE'S NOT EVEN FOLLOWING WHEN IT COMES TO THIS ISSUE. WE DO HAVE A SPENDING ADDICTION, AND THE ONLY WAY THAT WE'RE GOING TO STOP THIS AND KEEP OUR COUNTRY FROM GOING OVER THE CLIFF IS IF WE HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT THAT WE HAVE TO STOP SPENDING MORE THAN WE'RE BORROWING. NOW, OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON, THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE AN EXTRAORDINARY THING TO SAY, BUT HERE LAST WEEK, ONE OF THE DEMOCRAT SENATORS CALLED ME EXTREME FOR SUGGESTING THAT WE NEEDED TO BALANCE OUR BUDGET. AMERICAN FAMILIES HAVE TO DO IT, BUSINESSES HAVE TO DO IT, 49 STATES HAVE TO DO IT, AND SOMETIMES IT'S PAINFUL, BUT WE DON'T HAVE TO DO IT HERE. AND THE REASON WE HAVE AN UNLIMITED GOVERNMENT IS THAT WE HAVE UNLIMITED SPENDING HERE IN CONGRESS. WE'RE AT A POINT WHERE WE HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION. WE HAVE OBLIGATED OURSELVES TO BORROW MORE MONEY. WE REALLY DON'T HAVE A GOOD CHOICE AT THIS POINT, BUT IF WE'RE GOING TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT MORE MONEY TO SPEND TO MEET OBLIGATIONS THAT HE'S ALREADY MADE, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS THE END OF THIS SPENDING ADDICTION, AND THE ONLY WAY FOR THAT TO HAPPEN IS IF WE IN CONGRESS GIVE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE 50 STATES THE OPPORTUNITY TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES IF THEY WANT THEIR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET, AND THAT'S WHAT OUR CONDITION IS. WE WILL HELP THE PRESIDENT DEAL WITH THIS DEBT CEILING, BUT HE IS GOING TO HAVE TO AGREE WITH US AND SO WILL THE DEMOCRAT PARTY THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEND TO THE STATES A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT THAT THE STATES CAN RATIFY, AND FIVE YEARS AFTER THEY RATIFY IT, THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST BE IN BALANCE. IF WE CAN'T DO THAT, IF WE CAN'T MAKE THAT COMMITMENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE'RE GOING TO STOP THIS ADDICTION, STOP BANKRUPTING OUR COUNTRY, THEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE PAIN THAT WE HAVE CAUSED OURSELVES ALONG WITH THIS PRESIDENT WHEN WE DON'T RAISE THAT DEBT LIMIT. WE NEED THE HELP OF AMERICANS TODAY BECAUSE THE PEOPLE IN CONGRESS DO NOT HAVE THE WILL POWER TO DO WHAT I JUST SAID. WE NEED MILLIONS OF AMERICANS TO CALL US AND EMAIL US AND TELL THE PRESIDENT AND TELL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS THAT THIS DEBT LIMIT SHOULD NOT BE RAISED AGAIN EVER UNLESS WE PERMANENTLY SOLVE THIS PROBLEM FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

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  • 03:26:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR HAS USED THE 30 MINUTES OF THE COLLOQUY.

  • 03:26:18 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR TWO MORE MINUTES.

  • 03:26:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: HEARING NO OBJECTION, TWO MINUTES IS GRANTED.

  • 03:26:28 PM

    MR. DeMINT

    IS VERY LITTLE TO ASK THIS CONGRESS TO DO, TO AGREE WITHIN THE NEXT SIX OR…

    IS VERY LITTLE TO ASK THIS CONGRESS TO DO, TO AGREE WITHIN THE NEXT SIX OR EIGHT YEARS TO DO THE HARD WORK TO BALANCE OUR BUDGET IN RETURN FOR GIVING THE PRESIDENT MORE AUTHORITY TO BORROW MORE MONEY. WE OWE IT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO LET THEM DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES, LET THE STATES RATIFY. THIS IS A HUGE DECISION, AND ALL WE'RE ASKING OUR DEMOCRAT COLLEAGUES TO DO IS TO LET AMERICA DECIDE IF WE SHOULD HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET, LET AMERICA DECIDE IF IT'S REALLY A RADICAL, EXTREME IDEA THAT WE LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS AND STOP SPENDING MORE THAN WE'RE BRINGING IN. I KNOW HOW AMERICA'S GOING TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION, AND THAT'S WHY I WANT TO GIVE THEM THE CHANCE TO ANSWER IT. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE GOT THE MONEY YOU NEED TO MEET OUR OBLIGATIONS, BUT ONCE AND FOR ALL WE NEED TO MEAN WHAT WE SAY AND STOP SPENDING THIS COUNTRY INTO BANKRUPTCY. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD BACK.

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  • 03:27:23 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

  • 03:27:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO.

  • 03:27:40 PM

    MR. BENNET

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND THANK YOU FOR RECOGNIZING ME. I'M PLEASED TO…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND THANK YOU FOR RECOGNIZING ME. I'M PLEASED TO BE HERE TODAY WITH MY SENIOR SENATOR FROM COLORADO TO TALK ABOUT THESE IMPORTANT ISSUES, AND THE FIRST THING I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT WAS THE DEBT CEILING ITSELF BECAUSE PEOPLE AT HOME HAVE -- HAVE -- ARE ASKING ME CONSTANTLY, MICHAEL, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON BACK THERE? WE'RE DEALING WITH OUR BUDGET AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, WE'RE DEALING WITH OUR BUDGET AT THE STATE LEVEL, WE'RE MAKING CHOICES THAT AREN'T POPULAR AND THAT AREN'T EASY TO MAKE, BUT WE'RE MOVING AHEAD, WE'RE MAKING DECISIONS IN OUR BUSINESSES, WE'RE MAKING DECISIONS AT HOME, WE'RE MOVING AHEAD. WHAT'S WRONG WITH WASHINGTON, D.C.? PART OF THE PROBLEM IN THIS PLACE IS THAT PEOPLE AREN'T JUST ENTITLED, IT SEEMS, TO THEIR OWN OPINIONS. THEY ARE ALSO ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN SET OF FACTS, AND I THINK WHEN YOU'RE GETTING PAID BY THE TAXPAYER, YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO ACTUALLY NOT PLAY WITH YOUR OWN SET OF FACTS BUT TO COME OUT HERE AND SAY, YOU KNOW, WHAT THE FACTS REALLY ARE. WHAT THE FACTS REALLY ARE IN THE DEBT CEILING, THE DEBT CEILING AND THE VOTE IS THAT THIS IS NOT A CASE OF DECIDING YOU'RE SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE AND YOU'RE SPENDING TOO MUCH AND SO YOU'RE GOING TO CUT UP YOUR CREDIT CARD. I WOULD BE FOR THAT. THAT'S NOT WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE. THESE ARE ABOUT BILLS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN INCURRED BY THE UNITED STATES. THESE ARE DEBTS THAT ARE ALREADY OWED BY THE UNITED STATES. SO WHAT THIS IS ABOUT IS NOT CUTTING UP YOUR CREDIT CARD, IT'S ABOUT SITTING AT HOME AND SAYING YOU KNOW WHAT, I DIDN'T BUDGET VERY WELL LAST MONTH, I DIDN'T BUDGET VERY WELL LAST YEAR, AND SO EVEN THOUGH I WATCHED CABLE HAPPILY ALL YEAR LONG, I'M NOT GOING TO PAY MY CABLE BILL THIS MONTH. I'M JUST NOT GOING TO DO IT. EVEN THOUGH I LIVED IN THIS HOUSE ALL YEAR, I'M NOT GOING TO MAKE MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT THIS MONTH. I'M JUST NOT GOING TO DO IT. THAT'S NOT FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR A FAMILY TO DO, AND IT'S NOT FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DO. AT HOME IF YOU DO THAT, WHAT YOU DISCOVER IS THAT YOUR MORTGAGE RATE GOES THROUGH THE ROOF BECAUSE THE BANK SAYS TO YOU HEY, MICHAEL BENNET, YOU DIDN'T PAY YOUR MORTGAGE LAST MONTH. AND I'M NOT GOING TO LEND YOU MONEY ON THE SAME TERMS THAT I LENT YOU MONEY BEFORE BECAUSE YOU ARE A LOUSY RISK. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. IT'S NOT ABOUT NEWu MONEY. AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR EVERYBODY TO UNDERSTAND THAT, BECAUSE IF WE DON'T RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT AND WE SAY TO THE CREDITORS OF THE UNITED STATES, YOU'RE NOT GETTING PAID, NOT TO MENTION OUR VETERANS AND OUR SENIORS AND THE MEN AND WOMEN THAT ARE FIGHTING IN AFGHANISTAN AFGHANISTAN, BUT TO OUR BONDHOLDERS, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET PAID, THEY'RE GOING TO RAISE OUR INTEREST RATES. AND EVERY PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN OUR INTEREST RATE IS GOING TO DRIVE US $1.3 TRILLION MORE INTO DEBT SO THERE ARE PEOPLE COMING OUT HERE SAYING IT'S THE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO NOT TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING WHEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE $1.3 TRILLION MORE OF DEBT TO PAY AND THE INTEREST ON THAT DEBT. AND NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT. NOW, IT'S NOT SURPRISING TO ME THAT WASHINGTON BEING WASHINGTON, THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT SEE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE LEVERAGE OVER THINGS, TO HAVE A NEGOTIATION ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THIS COUNTRY AND I UNDERSTAND THAT. I UNDERSTAND THAT. I'VE FELT FOR A VERY LONG TIME THAT WE'VE GOT TO GET AHOLD OF OUR DEFICIT AND OUR DEBT. WE HAVE A $1.5 TRILLION DEFICIT. WE'VE GOT ALMOST $15 TRILLION OF DEBT ON OUR BALANCE SHEET, AND I THINK WE HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION NOT TO CONSTRAIN THE CHOICES OF OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDKIDS. I'VE GOT THREE KIDS OF MY OWN THAT ARE 11, 10 AND 6. ONE OF THEM HEARD ME SAY THAT DURING A TOWN HALL MEETING AND SHE FOLLOWED ME OUT TO THE SIDEWALK AND SHE SAID, "DADDY," AND I SAID, WHAT? THIS IS CARE ALINE, THE OLDEST. I SAID, "WHAT?" SHE SAID, "JUST TO BE CLEAR" -- SHE'S MAKING FUN OF ME, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE I USE THAT EXPRESSION SOMETIMES -- SHE SAID, "JUST TO BE CLEAR, I'M NOT PAYING THAT BACK." WHICH IS THE RIGHT ATTITUDE FOR HER TO HAVE. AND WE NEED TO BE ADVOCATES FOR A CAROLINE BENNET AND ALL THE KIDS THAT ARE LIVING ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. NOT JUST TO BE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE, WHICH WE NEED TO BE, NOT JUST ASKING WHAT WE'RE GOING TO CUT, WHICH WE NEED TO DO, BUT ALSO PRIORITIZING WHAT WE'RE SPENDING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE MAINTAINING THE AMERICAN DREAM, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE HONORING THE LEGACY OF OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS AND THEIR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS AND HONORING OUR NATIONAL CREED THAT IT'S OUR JOB, NOT AS SENATORS BUT AS AMERICANS, TO PROVIDE MORE OPPORTUNITY, NOT LESS, TO THE PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING AFTER US. AND THE DEBT AND THE DEFICIT IS A HUGE PIECE OF THAT. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? IT'S NOT THE ONLY THING. I LAY AWAKE AT NIGHT WORRYING ABOUT THE FACT THAT IF -- I LIE AWAKE AT NIGHT WORRYING ABOUT THE FACT THAT IF YOU'RE POOR IN THIS COUNTRY, IT'S HARD FOR YOU TO GET A DECENT EDUCATION. IF YOU'RE BORN INTO A ZIP CODE THAT'S DEFINED BY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES, YOUR CHANCE OF GRADUATING WITH A COLLEGE DEGREE IN THE 21st CENTURY IN THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD ARE 9 IN 100. THAT MEANS 91 OF YOU ARE CONSIGNED TO A FUTURE WHERE YOU CAN'T PARTICIPATE MEANINGFULLY IN THE DEMOCRACY, YOU CAN'T PARTICIPATE MEANINGFULLY IN THIS ECONOMY. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH THAT. THE FACT THAT WE HAVE AN ECONOMY THAT'S NOT GENERATING JOBS, WHERE MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR HISTORY, MR. PRESIDENT, IS FALLING, NOT RISING. PEOPLE COME INTO MY TOWN HALL MEETINGS AND SAY, "I'VE DONE EVERYTHING THAT I COULD DO OVER THE LAST DECADE BUT I'M EARNING LESS AT THE END THAN I WAS AT THE BEGINNING." AND SAYING TO ME, "YOU KNOW, MICHAEL, WE SENT OUR FIRST KID TO THE FANCY SCHOOL BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SEND OUR SECOND KID THERE." OR "WE CAN'T SEND OUR KID TO THE BEST COLLEGE THAT THEY GOT INTO." WE NEED TO BE WORKING ON THAT. WE HAVE AN ENERGY POLICY IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW -- OR MAYBE IT'S BETTER TO SAY A LACK OF AN ENERGY POLICY IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW -- THAT FORCES US TO SHIP BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A WEEK OF OUR TREASURE TO THE PERSIAN GULF TO BUY OIL. THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. I WAS ON A CALL LAST WEEK WITH FARMERS FROM MY STATE THAT WERE SAYING TO ME, THEY ARE BEING DRIVEN OUT OF BUSINESS BY THE BROKEN IMMIGRATION POLICY THAT WE HAVE. NOW, I THINK THE PEOPLE AT HOME ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE SCREAMING MATCH. I THINK THE PEOPLE AT HOME ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE PARTISANSHIP. I BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES. AND I THINK THEY LOOK AT THIS DEFICIT AND DEBT SITUATION AND THEY SAY TO THEMSELVES, THIS IS SUCH A REFLECTION OF INCOMPETENCE THAT WE ARE FEARFUL TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT ALL THE OTHER THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO DO FOR OUR KIDS AND FOR OUR GRANDKIDS. THEIR STANDARD OF WHAT THEY WANT US TO DO IS EXTREMELY CLEAR TO ME. THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM I ARE FROM THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STATE IN THE COUNTRY BUT WE'RE ALSO PROUD OF THE FACT THAT IT'S THE THIRD DEMOCRATIC, A THIRD REPUBLICAN AND A THIRD INDEPENDENT. AND WHAT I'VE TAKEN OUT OF THE TOWN HALL MEETINGS I'VE HAD IS THIS. THEY WANT US TO MATERIALLY ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM. THEY DON'T BELIEVE WE'RE GOING TO FIX IT ALL AT ONCE, AND UNFORTUNATELY THEY'RE RIGHT ABOUT THAT, BUT THEY WANT US TO MATERIALLY ADDRESS IT. THEY WANT TO KNOW THAT WE'RE ALL IN IT TOGETHER, THAT EVERYBODY HAS SOME ROLE TO PLAY IN HELPING PRESERVE CHOICE AND OPTIONS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF AMERICANS AND TO MAKE SURE THAT BUSINESS UNDERSTANDS THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE GOOD ON THE ACCOUNTS THAT WE HAVE. THAT'S NOT WASHINGTONSPEAK, THOUGH. THAT'S COLORADOSPEAK. IT'S TOUGHER AROUND HERE. AND THEY WANT IT TO BE BIPARTISAN BECAUSE THEY DON'T BELIEVE IN EITHER PARTY'S "GO IT ALONE" APPROACH ON THIS QUESTION. AND I WOULD ADD A COARL TO ALL OF -- A COROLLARY TO ALL OF THAT WHICH IS THAT THE CAPITAL MARKETS NEED TO BE REASSURED THAT THEIR PAPER IS GOING TO BE WORTH WHAT THEY PAID -- WHAT THEY'VE PAID FOR IT. WE NEED A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH HERE. IT'S AN APPROACH THAT'S GOING TO REQUIRE US TO CUT DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. IT'S AN APPROACH THAT'S GOING TO REQUIRE US TO REFORM OUR ENTITLEMENT SYSTEM. IT'S GOING TO BE AN APPROACH THAT'S GOING TO REQUIRE TO US DO REAL TAX REFORM IN THIS PLACE. AND WE'RE NOT GREAT HERE AT WALKING AND CHEWING GUM AT THE SAME TIME BUT THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO START DOING. THESE ARE COMPREHENSIVE AND COMPLICATED QUESTIONS. NO ONE WOULD RATHER VOTE ON SOMETHING THAN I WOULD THAT DIDN'T RAISE ANY TAXES. BUT THE MATH DOESN'T WORK. AND IT'S CLEAR THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY FOR US TO MOVE AHEAD, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE AN AGREEMENT THAT HAS ALL OF THOSE ASPECTS IN IT -- DISCRETIONARY SPENDING CUTS, ENTITLEMENT REFORM AND TAX REFORM. THAT'S WHY WHEN SENATOR JOHANNS AND I, A REPUBLICAN HERE, CIRCULATED A LETTER TO THE FLEAS HAD THOSE THREE -- LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT THAT HAD THOSE THREE ELEMENTS IN IT, 32 DEMOCRATS AND 32 REPUBLICANS SIGNED THE LETTER AGREEING THAT ALL OF THESE ELEMENTS -- THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE SIGNED THE LETTER -- AGREEING THAT ALL OF THESE ELEMENTS WERE GOING TO BE PART OF A FINAL PRODUCT HERE. SO WHAT I WANTED TO DO THIS AFTERNOON WAS SIMPLY IMPLORE ALL OF US TO DO OUR JOBS, TO GET THIS BEHIND US, TO BEGIN THE BUILDING OF AMERICA AGAIN IN THE 2 1st CENTURY, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE NOT THE FIRST GENERATION OF AMERICANS TO LEAVE LESS OPPORTUNITY, NOT MORE, TO OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDKIDS. THERE'S A LOT MORE AGREEMENT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS IN THIS PLACE THAN THERE IS OUT ON THE FLOOR, AND WAY WE NEED TO BRING SOME OF THAT AGREEMENT OUT HERE. BECAUSE IF WE FAIL TO REACH SOME CONCLUSION BEFORE THIS DEBT LIMIT VOTE AND WE UNINTENTIONALLY OR INTENTIONALLY END UP IN A PLACE WHERE WE'VE TURNED OUR BACK ON THE DEBTS THAT WE OWE, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. THE CHOICES ARE GOING TO MAKE THESE LOOK LIKE EASY CHOICES. AND SO WE'RE GOING HOME FOR A FEW DAYS THIS WEEKEND, THE SENIOR SENATOR AND I, TO CELEBRATE THE 4th OF JULY, INDEPENDENCE DAY, TO SPEND SOME TIMES WITH OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS AND OUR NEIGHBORS, AND THEN WE'RE COMING BACK NEXT WEEK. AND MY HOPE IS THAT EVERYBODY COMES BACK -- EVERYBODY, ON BOTH SIDES -- WITH MORE OF A SERIOUSNESS OF PURPOSE THAN WE'VE HAD, WITH AN ABILITY TO SEE NOT JUST POLITICAL BENEFIT BUT THE BENEFIT TO THE COUNTRY OF COMING TO AGREEMENT. IF I CAN GO HOME AND SAY TO PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE REACHED A DEAL THAT MEETS THE TERMS THAT I MENTIONED EARLIER, MY VIEW IS THAT THAT WOULD BE PERFECTLY FINE IN DEMOCRATIC PARTS OF THE STATE AND IN REPUBLICAN PARTS OF THE STATE. AND THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD STRIVE TO DO. I HOPE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL HOLD THE PEOPLE IN THIS CHAMBER ACCOUNTABLE IN THE WAY THEY HOLD PEOPLE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL AND THE STATE LEVEL ACCOUNTABLE. NO MAYOR WOULD EVER SAY, I'M GOING TO WILLINGLY OR WANTONLY JEOPARDIZE THE CREDIT RATING OF MY CITY. THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE WAS A MAYOR. AND LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY. AND WE SHOULDN'T DO THAT EITHER. SO I HOPE WE MOVE PAST THE RHETORIC OF THIS DEBT CEILING DISCUSSION AND ACTUALLY INTO A CONVERSATION THAT WILL SOLVE THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES THAT ARE FACING OUR COUNTRY. BECAUSE IF WE DON'T DO THAT, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THE EVEN MORE IMPORTANT WORK THAN THAT, WHICH IS TO SUPPORT THE ASPIRATIONS THAT ALL OF US HAVE FOR THIS COUNTRY AND FOR OUR CHILDREN AND A WORLD THAT IS BECOMING MORE COMPLEX AND UNCERTAIN EVERY SINGLE DAY. SO I THANK THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM COLORADO FOR HIS INCREDIBLE LEADERSHIP ON THESE ISSUES AND I -- AND I BELIEVE THAT IF WE JUST CONTINUE TO TRY TO REACH OUT AND CONTINUE TO TRY TO WORK TOGETHER, THAT ULTIMATELY WE'RE GOING TO FIND A PATH. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:40:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO.

  • 03:40:43 PM

    MR. UDALL

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:42:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:42:05 PM

    MR. BENNET

    SENATOR UDALL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU SAID THAT HAS REMINDED ME OF A…

    SENATOR UDALL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU SAID THAT HAS REMINDED ME OF A CONVERSATION I'D HAD A NUMBER OF MONTHS AGO WITH SOMEBODY WHO'S IN THE CAPITAL MARKETS AND WHO WATCHES EVERYTHING GOING ON DOWN HERE PRETTY CLOSELY BUT -- BUT QUIZICALLY. HE CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHAT IN THE WORLD WE'RE DOING. AND I SAW HIM, I THINK IT WAS MAYBE IN FEBRUARY SOMETIME, SOMEWHERE IN THAT TIME FRAME, AND I ASKED HIM, AS I ALWAYS DO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? US ONE OF THE SMARTEST INVESTORS THAT I KNOW. AND HE SAID, I'M BUYING GOLD. AND I SAID, WHY ARE YOU BUYING GOLD? AND HE SAID, BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ANY CONFIDENCE THAT YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO WORK THIS OUT AND -- AND GET OUR DEFICIT AND DEBT UNDER CONTROL. FIRST OF ALL, THINK ABOUT HOW UNPRODUCTIVE THAT IS. I'M NOT TELLING PEOPLE TO BUY OR SELL GOLD BUT IT DOESN'T CREATE JOBS IN THIS ECONOMY. WHAT WE WANT PEOPLE IS INVESTING IN COMPANIES SO THEY CAN GROW AND HIRE PEOPLE AND -- AND CREATE JOBS. ANYWAY, I SAW HIM AGAIN ABOUT SIX WEEKS AGO AND WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT THE DEBT CEILING CONVERSATION, AND HE SAID, IT IS BEYOND THE REALM OF MY COMPREHENSION THAT YOU GUYS WOULD FAIL TO LIFT THE DEBT CEILING. NOW, HERE'S A GUY, CYNICAL ENOUGH ABOUT THE WAY THIS PLACE WORKS, WHO IS SAYING HE'S BUYING GOLD BUT IT'S EVEN BEYOND HIS COMPREHENSION THAT WE COULD FAIL TO LIFT THE DEBT CEILING. AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS HE ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS WHAT THE FACTS ARE AROUND THIS. BUT, YOU KNOW, I THINK -- I THINK WE WILL LIFT THE DEBT CEILING. I CERTAINLY HOPE WE WILL. BUT THE MORE IMPORTANT POINT IS WHAT THE SENATOR HAS BEEN WORKING ON FOR ALL THESE MANY MONTHS, WHICH IS COMING TO A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN THAT ACTUALLY ADDRESSES THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM OF OUR DEBT AND OUR DEFICIT SO I THANK THE SENATOR.

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  • 03:43:52 PM

    MR. UDALL

    I, MR. PRESIDENT, HOSTED THE CAPITAL CONFERENCE, COLORADO CAPITAL…

    I, MR. PRESIDENT, HOSTED THE CAPITAL CONFERENCE, COLORADO CAPITAL CONFERENCE TWO WEEKS AGO, AND WE HAD COLORADANS FROM ALL SECTIONS OF THE STATE, ALL WALKS OF LIFE. WE HAD THE THREE MAIN POLITICAL POINTS OF VIEW REPRESENTED, DEMOCRATS, INDEPENDENTS, REPUBLICANS, AND THEY REMARKED TO YOU, I KNOW, SENATOR BENNET, AND TO ME AS WELL, AFTER HEARING FROM A BROAD RANGE OF OUR COLLEAGUES WHO WERE GRACIOUS ENOUGH TO TAKE TIME TO SPEAK TO OUR CONSTITUENTS AND ANSWER QUESTIONS, THAT WE ALL IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM AND WE ALL HAD IDENTIFIED THE SOLUTION, WHICH WAS A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN THAT WE IMPLEMENTED TOGETHER. AND WE'RE HERE AGAIN ON THE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON TO CALL ON ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES TO JOIN US IN WORKING TOGETHER, FINDING THAT COMMON GROUND. BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT AT STAKE BUT THERE'S ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITY. MY COLLEAGUE KNOWS THAT. HE'S BEEN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN IN ONE OF HIS PREVIOUS LIVES. BUT YOU MAY WANT TO COMMENT ON THE CAPITAL CONFERENCE AS WELL.

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  • 03:44:51 PM

    MR. BENNET

    YEAH. AND IT IS CLEAR TO ME THAT IF THIS DECISION WERE BEING LEFT UP TO A…

    YEAH. AND IT IS CLEAR TO ME THAT IF THIS DECISION WERE BEING LEFT UP TO A HUNDRED COLORADANS, WE'D SCRATCH OUR HEAD AND -- AND WE'D PROBABLY ARGUE OUT SOME THINGS BUT I THINK IT WOULD TAKE ABOUT A DAY FOR US TO COME TO A SET OF SOLUTIONS THAT WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM, OR AT LEAST MOVE US DOWN THE ROAD, AND WE'D FEEL PRETTY PATRIOTIC ABOUT WHAT WE HAD DONE, THAT WE HAD DONE SOMETHING USEFUL FOR OUR KIDS. AND AT THE END OF THIS PROCESS, IF WE'RE ABLE TO DELIVER SOMETHING LIKE THAT, I THINK THAT'S HOW WE OUGHT TO FEEL. THERE ARE TOO MANY DAYS AROUND THIS PLACE WHERE I THINK WE FEEL LIKE WE'VE LOST SIGHT OF ALL OF THAT. AND THIS THAT CONVERSATION THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, AL SIMPSON WAS SUCH A BIG PART OF, ALICE RIFF ARERIVLIN, A NUMBER OF PEOPLE, IT WAS ABUN DID NOTLY CLEAR THAT YOU COULDN'T APPROACH THIS PROBLEM BY DRAWING BRIGHT LINES AND SAYING, NO, YOU CAN'T TOUCH THIS OR NO YOU CAN'T TOUCH THAT. THEY KNEW EVERYBODY GOING HAVE TO GIVE A LITTLE BIT HERE IN ORDER MAKE THIS WORK. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, SOME OF THAT LINE-DRAWING IS WHAT WE'RE SEEING AROUND HERE THAT WE'VE GOT TO FIND A WAY TO GET PAST.

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  • 03:46:14 PM

    MR. UDALL

    COMMENT ON TWO ELEMENTS OF WHAT MY COLLEAGUE JUST ALLUDED TO. LET'S TALK…

    COMMENT ON TWO ELEMENTS OF WHAT MY COLLEAGUE JUST ALLUDED TO. LET'S TALK ABOUT SFNLGT THERE ARE THOSE OF US IN OUR PARTY WHO HAVE SAID, KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF SFNLGT SENATOR BENNET AND I KNOW WHAT A STRONG AND IMPORTANT PROGRAM SOCIAL SECURITY HAS BEEN. IT'S ALLOWED ME AND MY WIFE TO RAISE OUR CHILDREN, AND MY PARENTS WERE TREATED WITH DIGNITY IN THEIR LATER YEARS. BUT IF YOU THINK THAT SOCIAL SECURITY ON PAPER IS SOLVENT, OUGHT TO THINK AGAIN. THERE'S $3 TRILLION OWED TO THE FUND BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AND, YES, SOCIAL SECURITY ISN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT SHORTFALL BECAUSE WE'VE TAKEN THOSE DOLLARS AND PUT THEM INTO THE GENERAL FUND BUT THAT $3 TRILLION IS GOING TO HAVE TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE. THERE'S SOME COMMONSENSE FIXES THAT WE CAN PUT IN PLACE NOW THAT WOULD PROTECT AND PRESEARCHEDZ STRENGTHEN SFNLGT ON THE OTHER HAND, WE HEAR IN THE CHAMBER THAT TAX REVENUES -- OR REF NIEWRKS I SHOULD SAY, MORE APROPTLY, ARE OFF THE TABLE. EVERY ECONOMIST AND EVERY OBSERVER POINTS OUT THAT YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE, THERE BEING A BALANCED FEDERAL BUDGET. IA CAN'T WE START, AS THE BOWLS SIMPSON COMMISSION PROPOSED, ELIMINATING MANY OF THE SUBSIDIES AND LOOPHOLES AND SPECIAL DEALS IN OUR TAX CODE THAT TOTAL SOMETHING OVER $1 TRILLION? THAT'S A GREAT PLACE TO START. IF YOU FOLLOW THAT WITH TAX REFORM, LOWER RATES FOR CORPORATIONS AND BUSINESSES, THAT'S AN EVEN BIGGER STEP THAT WE COULD TAIFNLGT I THINK THERE'S BROADER AGREEMENT IN THE CHAMBER, AT LEAST CERTAIN ANY OUR CONVERSATIONS, WITH PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO REPRESENT THEIR STATES. THOSE ARE SOME COMMONSENSE STEPS FORWARD.

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  • 03:47:58 PM

    MR. BENNET

    I COMPLETELY AGREE. AND WHY WE WOULDN'T WANT TO LOOK AT OUR TAX CODE AND…

    I COMPLETELY AGREE. AND WHY WE WOULDN'T WANT TO LOOK AT OUR TAX CODE AND REGULATORY CODE. I HEAR ABOUT THAT FROM THE OTHER SIDE. I SHARE THEIR VIEW. LISTEN, I WAS A SCHOOL SCIEWPT FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS. IF YOU THINK I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE ON THE RECEIVING END OF WELL-INTENTIONED LEGISLATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., THAT BY THE TIME IT GET TO A SCHOOL OR CLASSROOM MAKES NO CENT ALL, BELIEVE ME, I LIVED IT EVERY SINGLE DAY. WHY WOULDN'T WE LOOK AT OUR TAX CODE AND REGULATORY CODE AND ASK OURSELVES, ARE THESE THINGS MORE OR LESS LIKELY TO DRIVE INNOVATION IN THE UNITED STATES? ARE THEY MORE OR LESS LIKELY, THESE ASPECTS OF IT, TO GROW OUR ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS IN IT IS CLEAR THAT WE HAVE THE HIGHEST CORPORATE TAX RATE IN THE WORLD NOW. USED TO BE SECOND, BUT JAPAN EITHER CHANGED THEIRS OR IS ABOUT TO CHANGE THEIRS. AND THAT'S SENDING A VERY UN UNCOMPETITIVE MESSAGE TO THE WORLD. ON THE OTHER HAND, WE HAVE SOME SPECIAL INTEREST LOOPHOLES THAT UNDERLIE THE TAX CODE THAT WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY GETTING THE REVENUE THAT WE WOULD BE SUGGESTING. IT IS THE WORST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORDS BECAUSE WE'RE SEND OUT AN ANTICOMPETITIVE MESSAGE TO THE WORLD THAT SAYS WE'RE CLOSED FOR BUSINESS AND WE HAVE A WHOLE BUNCH OF LOOPHOLES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT AND YOU SUSPECT IN MANY CASES DO NOT DRIVE INNOVATION HERE IN THIS COUNTRY. IN FACT, MOST OF THEM ARE LOOKING BACKWARD INTO THE 20th CENTURY. THEY MAY HAVE MADE SENSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 20th CENTURY, BUT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY MAKE SENSE TO BUILD NEW INDUSTRIES HERE, TO DEVELOP THINGS LIKE NEW ENERGY ECONOMY THAT'S SO IMPORTANT TO OUR STATE, WHICH BY THE WAY WOULD HELP LEAD US TOWARD ENERGY INDEPENDENCE FROM THE PERSIAN GULF. I MEAN, THERE'S NO REASON TO THINK THAT ALL THESE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN, YOU KNOW, WRITTEN DOWN ARE WRITTEN IN STONE AND FRANKLY OUR JOB IS TO MAKE SURE THAT IT'S WORKING BETTER FOR PEOPLE. SO I THINK THE DEBT AND DEFICIT COMMISSION MADE SOME EXCELLENT RECOMMENDATIONS ON THAT SIDE OF THIFNLINGS THE OTHER SIDE IS ON PERSONAL INCOME TAX. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAID THERE WASHINGS HEY, WE CAN ACTUALLY LOWER RATES AND RAISE MORE REVENUE. WHY? BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY DEDUCTIONS THAT ARE PART OF THE CODE AND YOU KNOW ONLY 30% OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ITEMIZE, GET THE BENEFIT OF THOSE DEDUCTIONS. YOU CAN IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE EVERYBODY GETS THE BENEFIT OF A LOWER RATE BUT WE'RE ABLE TO HAVE REVENUE TO DRIVE US FORWARD. WE CAN GET THERE. YOU KNOW, THE THING ON THE DEBT AND DEFICIT COMMISSION IS THAT TOM COBURN, WHO'S ONE OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THIS BODY -- I DON'T THINK HE'D MIND MY SAYING THAT -- AND DICK DURBIN, ONE OF THE MOST LIBERAL MEMBERS OF THIS BODY, BOTH VOTED FOR THAT DEFICIT AND DEBT COMMISSION REPORT. THAT'S ALMOST GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME. THAT'S ALMOST GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

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  • 03:50:59 PM

    MR. UDALL

    I WAS PROUD OF THE SENATE WHEN FIVE OF THE SIX SENATORS ON THE COMMISSION…

    I WAS PROUD OF THE SENATE WHEN FIVE OF THE SIX SENATORS ON THE COMMISSION VOTED FOR THE BOWLS-SIMPSON RECOMMENDATIONS, NOT WITHOUT SOME CONCERNS, NOT WITHOUT SOME INTEREST IN WORKING TO FLUSH OUT THE PLAN. BUT FIVE OF THE SIX SENATORS FROM ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM SAID THIS IS A VERY GOOD STARTINGPOINT.

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  • 03:51:20 PM

    MR. BENNET

    WE'RE JOINED BY SENATOR COONS FROM DELAWARE. AND I'M GOING TO STOP. BUT,…

    WE'RE JOINED BY SENATOR COONS FROM DELAWARE. AND I'M GOING TO STOP. BUT, YOU KNOW, JUST ALONG THAT LINE, JUST TO GIVER PEOPLE SOME OPTIMISM THAT ARE HERE IN THE CHAMBER OR THAT MIGHT BE WATCHING, JUST TWO WEEKS AGO WE TOOK A VOTE ON ONE SUBSIDY, AN ETHANOL SUBSIDY. I THINK IT WAS SENATOR COBURN AND SENATOR FEINSTEIN WHO PUT IT ON THE FLOORKS A DEMOCRAT AND A REPUBLICAN, AND IT GOT LIKE 73 VOTES. I GET IN TROUBLE WITH MY KIDS. IT WASN'T "LIKE" 73 VOTES. IT WAS 73 VOTES -- TO END THAT SUBSIDY. AND, BY THE WAY, THERE WERE I THINK AROUND 40 DEMOCRATS AND 30-SOME REPUBLICANS THAT SUPPORTED THAT. WE NEED MORE OF THAT AROUND HERE. AND I THINK IF WE KEEP WORK AT IT, KEEP CHIPPING AWAY AT IT, WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO SEE IN THE END COMMON SCHENS ACTUAL SENSE WILL ACTUALLY PREVAIL OVER POLITICS.

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  • 03:52:23 PM

    MR. UDALL

    COONS, WOULD YOU CARE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH THE SENATE?

  • 03:52:28 PM

    MR. COONS

    THE TWO SENATORS FROM COLORADO HAVE, I THINK, INSPIRED ME TO COME TO THE…

    THE TWO SENATORS FROM COLORADO HAVE, I THINK, INSPIRED ME TO COME TO THE FLOOR AND JOIN THEM IN A COLLOQUY ABOUT THE CHALLENGES FACING OUR COUNTRY. AND TO THE SENATORS FROM COLORADO, I AM PLEASED AND IMPRESSED WITH THEIR LEADERSHIP AND HAVE GREATLY ENJOYED SERVING WITH THEM TO DATE. I AGREE THAT THE VOTE ON ONE OF OUR TAX EXPENDITURES, ON THE ETHANOL SUBSIDY, WAS AN ENCOURAGE AND INSPIRING MOMENT BECAUSE WE SAW BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY CASTING A VOTE TO END A TAX EXPENDITURE, A SUBSIDY, THAT MANY WOULD ARGUE HAS OUTLIVED ITS USEFULNESS IN THE CRENTSZ MARKETPLACE. IN MY HOME STATE WE RECENTLY SAW THE BANKRUPTCY OF OUR SECOND-LARGEST POULTRY COMPANY. THERE ARE LOTS OF FOLKS ON BOTH SIDES OF THAT PARTICULAR GAIVMENT I THINK THE LARGER POINT THAT'S IMPORTANT TO GET TO IS CERTAINTY IN THE MARKETS. I SPENT A NUMBER OF YEARS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, IN BUSINESS BEFORE RUNNING FOR AND BEING ELECTED TO OFFICE. AND I KNOW THE MANTRA THAT SENATOR BENNET IS WELL-FAMILIAR WITH, SENATOR UDALL IS WELL-FAMILIAR WITH BOTH PARTIES ARE WELL-FAMILIAR WITH, IS THAT CERTAINTY IS WHAT THE MARKETS LOOK FOR. CERTAINTY IS ALSO WHAT THE PEOPLE LOOK FOR. I THINK WE HAVE ALARMED THEM, CONCERNED THEM BY NOT BEING ABLE TO REACH A BROAD, BIPARTISAN, RESPONSIBLE PLAN THAT LAYS HOW THE A FRAMEWORK FOR HOW IT IS WE'RE GOING TO ADDRESS BOTH THE NATION'S RECORD DEFICITS AND RECORD DEBT. OUR DEBT TODAY, AS YOU KNOW, IS ROUGHLY $14 TRILLION. OUR DEFICIT HAS HIT AN ALL-TIME RECORD AND WE'RE WORK ON BORROWED TIME. I'VE HEARD SOME SUGGEST THAT WE NEED TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION WE'RE IN. THE SITUATION WE'RE IN, I BELIEVE, IS THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO RISK DEFAULTING ON AMERICA'S MORTGAGE. WE'VE MADE COMMITMENTS AS A NATION. WE'VE EXPENDED OURSELVES AT HOME AND ABROAD IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS, AND I'M WORRIED THAT WE ARE ON THE VERGE OF FAILING TO MEET OUR COMMITMENTS, JUST AS AMERICA'S HOUSEHOLDS REALLY HESITATE BEFORE EVER DEFAULTING ON THEIR MORTGAGE, I THINK WE AS A NATION, AS A PEOPLE, HAVE TO HESITATE, HAVE TO THINK DEEPLY ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF IT. I ASKED THE FOLKS WHO WORK WITH ME ON ECONOMIC POLICY TO QUANTIFY IT. THEY LOOKED AT A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT STUDIES AROUND THE COUNTRY AND GAVE ME SOME CHILLING NUMBERS. SHOULD WE FAIL TO MEET THE A AUGUST 2nd DEADLINE THAT SECRETARY GEITHNER HAS RACHETTEDLY SINCE JANUARY IN WRITING AND -- REPEATEDLY SINCE JANUARY IN WRITING AND IN TESTIMONY TOLD US IS THE LAST DATE BY WHICH WE CAN REACH A BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE AND A WAY FORWARD, WE'LL LOSE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS. THE MARKETS MAY LOSE AS MUCH AS 10% OF THEIR VALUE, WHICH WOULD MEAN LOSS OF ALMOST $1 TRILLION OF MARKET EQUITY VALUE. THAT MEANS THAT PENSION FUNDS, 401(K)'S, PERSONAL SAVINGS WOULD TAKE AN ENORMOUS HIT. THE AVERAGE HOMEOWNER WOULD SEE AN INCREASE IN THE COSTS OF WHETHER IT IS THEIR CREDIT CARDS, OR MORTGAGES, OR CAR LOANS. IT IS EASY TO THINK THIS IS AN ABSTRACT PROBLEM. BUT IN REALITY, I THINK THE PROBLEM THAT WE'RE CAUSING, THE LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN THE MARKETS COULD HAVE A SUDDEN, SHARP, GRINDING EFFECT ON OUR ECONOMIC WORLD. AND THAT'S BECAUSE INVESTORS ACT MORE LIKE ANIMALS THAN THEY DO LIKE MACHINES. AND WHEN SPOOKED, THEY ACT THE WAY HERDS DO AND THEY RUN OFF IN A CERTAIN DIRECTION. AND MY CONCERN IS THAT WE ARE SO USED AS A COUNTRY TO HAVE A AAA BOND RATING TO BEING THE WORLD'S RESERVE CURRENCY, TO BEING THE GOLD STANDARD FOR THE MOST SAFE AND MOST SECURE INVESTMENT. I AM GRAVELY CONCERNED THAT INTRANSIGENCE, AN UNWILLINGNESS TO COME TO A REASONABLE COMPROMISE IS PUTTING US AT REAL RISK OF PUTTING OUR RATING AT RISK AS A COUNTRY. AT THE END OF THE DAY, I'VE OBSERVED SOME THINGS ABOUT HOW WASHINGTON WORKS SO FAR THAT REALLY WORRY ME. IF I COULD OFFER A METAPHOR, IT SEEMS TO ME THERE IS A LOT OF SACRED COWS HERE. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT WE SPEND IN OUR TAX CODE THROUGH FAX LOOPHOLES AND SPECIAL TAX PROVISIONS AND THE TRILLIONS THAT WE SPEND THROUGH DIRECT SPENDING ARE BROKEN UP INTO THESE SACRED COWS, AND I FEEL AS IF I'VE GONE INTO DAIRY. I FEEL AS IF I'M SURRONDESSED BY A WHOLE HERD OF SACRED COWS AND WHAT WE NEED IS A DELIBERATE AND CLEAREYED BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO THIN THE HERD HERE, TO MAKE SOME TOUGH CHOICES. AS I KNOW THE SENATOR BENNET SAID PREVIOUSLY, I WANT TO COMMEND THE HARD WORK OF THE GANG OF CIRCUMSTANCE THE SO-CALLED GANG OF SIX, THE GANG THAT CAME UP WITH THE PROCESSES AND A WAY FORWARD, THE BOWLS SIMPSON COMMISSION THAT PRESENTED TO US A PROPOSAL. THERE ARE PATHS FORWARD. THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE THESE TOUGH CHOICES. I HOPE THAT BEFORE THE TIME RUNS OUT THAT THIS BODY WILL EMBRACE THESE PROPOSALS, MAKE THE TOUGH CHOICES AND THE SACRIFICES WE NEED TO, COME TO THE CENTER, AND LAY OUT A PATH. I FRANKLY DON'T THINK WE'VE GOT UNTIL AUGUST 2. I THINK IF WE'RE GOING TO PUT AT RISK THE MARKETS, I THINK FRANKLY THE TIME LINE MAY BE MORE LIKE THE MIDDLE OF JULY. IT IS MY HOPE, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THE SENATORS FROM COLORADO WILL BE JOINED BY SENATORS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THIS BODY AND BOTH SIDES OF THIS CAPITOL IN CRAFTING A RESPONSIBLE BIPARTISAN SOLUTION.

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  • 03:58:07 PM

    MR. UDALL

    THE SENATOR, IN EFFECT, IS SAYING THAT RATHER THAN THIS BEING A PROBLEM,…

    THE SENATOR, IN EFFECT, IS SAYING THAT RATHER THAN THIS BEING A PROBLEM, ALTHOUGH IT IS, THIS IS AN E ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITY FOR THE COUNTRY TO CHART A NEW COURSE. IF WE AGREE TO DO IT FIRST AND FOREMOST AS AMERICANS -- NOT AS DEMOCRATS --

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  • 03:58:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATORS HAVE SPOKEN COLLECTIVELY FOR 30 MINUTES.

  • 03:58:26 PM

    MR. UDALL

    THANK THE CHAIR FOR THAT NOTIFICATION. WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK…

    THANK THE CHAIR FOR THAT NOTIFICATION. WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK CONTINUING THIS CONVERSATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM DELAWARE FOR JOINING MYSELF AND SENATOR BENNET IN THIS DISCUSSION THIS AFTERNOON.

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  • 03:58:40 PM

    MR. COONS

    I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY GRATITUDE TO THE SENATORS FROM COLORADO FOR…

    I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY GRATITUDE TO THE SENATORS FROM COLORADO FOR ALLOWING ME TO JOIN THEMED AND LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING THIS CONVERSATION.

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  • 03:58:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM INDIANA.

  • 03:58:52 PM

    MR. COATS

    PRESIDENT, IN WAITING TO SPEAK, I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO LISTEN TO MY…

    PRESIDENT, IN WAITING TO SPEAK, I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO LISTEN TO MY COLLEAGUES FROM ACROSS THE AISLE SPEAK. AND WHILE MY PURPOSE HERE IS TO SPEAK ON ANOTHER SUBJECT, I DO WANT TO SAY THAT WHAT WE HAVE JUST HEARD OVER THE LAST 30-SOME MINUTES FROM THREE DEMOCRAT SENATORS -- AND I THINK OTHERS ARE PLAN ISING TO SPEAK ALSO PLAN ISING TO SPEAK ALSO -- PRIOR TO THAT WHAT WAS HEARD FROM A NUMBER OF REPUBLICANS REGARDING THE NECESSITY TO ADDRESS THE SERIOUS ISSUE OF DEBT AND DEFICIT AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO PROCEED TO TRY TO DEAL WITH THIS QUESTION BEFORE WE RUN INTO A SWIGS OF NATIONAL DEFAULT WITH CONSEQUENCES WE CAN'T BEGIN TO IMAGINE, I THINK IT'S APPROPRIATE TO SAY THAT THERE IS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR SERIOUS DEBATE AND DISCUSSION. I WAS DISAPPOINTED OBVIOUSLY -- IN FACT I WAS MORE THAN DISAPPOINTED. I WAS VERY FRUSTRATED YESTERDAY WITH THE PRESIDENT'S PRESS CONFERENCE WHEN HE ESSENTIALLY SAID CONGRESS IS NOT DOING ITS JOB. AND THAT COMPARING TO WHAT WAS BEING DONE HERE WAS LIKE RAISING CHILDREN, UNDISCIPLINED CHILDREN, THAT COULDN'T DO THEIR HOMEWORK. HE NOT ONLY TARGETING THE OPPOSITION, WHICH IS CAMPAIGN RHETORIC -- OF COURSE THIS IS DISAPPOINTING AT A TIME WHEN WE SHOULDN'T EVEN BE THINKING ABOUT THE ELECTION OF 2012 AND FOCUSING ON ANY KIND OF CAMPAIGN RHETORIC. WE OUGHT TO BE THINKING AND WORKING TO ADDRESS THE CRISIS BEFORE US THAT IS NOW, THAT IS GOING TO HAVE IMPLICATIONS FOR EVERY AMERICAN NOW. AND IF WE DON'T COME TO AN AGREEMENT ON HOW TO PROCEED BEFORE AUGUST 2, WE'RE GOING TO SEE HOW THE FINANCIAL MARKETS REACT TO WHAT WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DO. BUT TO SUGGEST THAT WE HAVEN'T BEEN DOING ANYTHING AND THAT THE CONGRESS NEEDS TO TAKE THE LEAD, I THINK, GOES EVEN AGAINST THE PRESIDENT'S OWN THOUGHTS WHEN HE WAS A MEMBER OF THIS BODY. I WANT TO JUST QUOTE FROM A STATEMENT THAT HE MADE WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS SENATOR OBAMA. AND THAT QUOTE STATES THE FOLLOWING: THE FACT THAT WE ARE HERE TODAY TO DEBATE RAISING AMERICA'S DEBT LIMIT IS A SIGN OF LEADERSHIP FAILURE. INCREASING AMERICA'S DEBT WEAKENS US DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY. LEADERSHIP MEANS THAT THE BUCK STOPS HERE. INSTEAD WASHINGTON IS SHIFTING THE BURDEN OF BAD CHOICES TODAY ON TO THE BACKS OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. AMERICA HAS A DEBT PROBLEM AND A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP. AMERICANS DESERVE BETTER. YES, AMERICANS DO DESERVE BETTER, BUT OBVIOUSLY THAT FAMOUS SIGN THAT USED TO BE ON THE DESK OF HARRY TRUMAN WHEN HE WAS PRESIDENT "THE BUCK STOPS HERE" HAS BEEN TAKEN OFF THAT PRESIDENTIAL DESK AND SHIFTED OVER TO THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CONGRESS. AND WE DO HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY. BUT IT'S FAIR TO SAY AND ACCURATE TO SAY THAT WITHOUT PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP, NO MATTER WHAT WE DO HERE WILL NOT BECOME LAW, WILL NOT BECOME AFFECTED BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO BE ENGAGED IN SUPPORTING WHAT WE DO. OTHERWISE, IT WON'T BECOME LAW. NOW, I THINK MOST OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC, BASED ON THE INFERENCES THAT WERE MADE YESTERDAY BY THE PRESIDENT IN HIS PRESS CONFERENCE, THINK THAT REPUBLICANS ARE ON ONE SIDE AND DEMOCRATS ARE ON ANOTHER SIDE, AND THEY DON'T SEE THE PROBLEM THE SAME WAY. I THINK WHAT WE JUST HEARD HERE IS THAT ELOQUENT SPEECHES AND IMPORTANT SPEECHES FROM BOTH REPUBLICANS AND NOW JUST DEMOCRATS INDICATE THAT THERE ARE ADULTS HERE -- NOT JUST CHILDREN -- THAT WE HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD EVER SINCE DAY ONE OF THIS SESSION TO TRY TO ADDRESS A TRAIN WRECK THAT WE SEE COMING. FIRST IT WAS ESTIMATEED TO COME ON MAY 16 AND NOW AUGUST 2. BOUGHT A LITTLE BIT OF TIME, I GUESS. BUT THE CLOCK IS TICKING AND WE SEE A TRAIN WRECK COMING, AND WE'RE TRYING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. AND THERE ARE SERIOUS PEOPLE MAKING SERIOUS EFFORTS TO HAVE SERIOUS DIALOGUE AND DEBATE AS TO HOW WE BEST GO FORWARD IN THE INTEREST OF OUR COUNTRY AND NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE 2012 ELECTION. IN THE INTEREST OF OUR GRANDCHILDREN AND CHILDREN AND NOT IN THE INTEREST OF OUR POLITICAL CAREERS. I CAME BACK TO THE SENATE FOR ONE REASON AND ONE REASON ONLY, THAT I WAS NOT GOING TO STAND IDLY BY AND WATCH THIS CONGRESS BECAUSE OUR GENERATION, MY GENERATION BE THE FIRST GENERATION TO HAND OUR CHILDREN A DEBT AND DEFICIT, PROBLEMS THAT THEY -- A HOLE THEY COULD NEVER DIG OUT OF AND THEY COULD NOT ENJOY ALL THE BENEFITS THAT MY GENERATION HAS HAD THROUGH PEACE AND PROSPERITY THAT WE HAVE ENJOYED. IT IS CLEAR -- AND I'M NOT HERE TO GO THROUGH ALL THE STATISTICS. I'VE MADE SEVERAL SPEECHES ON THIS TOPIC AND WE HEAR THIS ON THE FLOOR EVERY DAY. THERE ARE SO MANY FACTS IN SUPPORT OF THE NEED TO TAKE SERIOUS EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THIS SERIOUS PROBLEM. THERE'S SO MUCH HANDWRITING ON THE WALL, THE WALL'S ABOUT TO COLLAPSE. ECONOMISTS FROM THE CONSERVATIVE SIDE TO THE LIBERAL SIDE AND EVERYBODY IN BETWEEN; ANALYSTS, OTHERS, FINANCIAL MARKETS AND SO FORTH ARE TAKING ACTION AND SAYING THAT WE NEED HERE TO TAKE ACTION. WE SEE GOVERNORS, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY IN VARIOUS STATES TAKING ACTIONS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN. I'M PROUD OF WHAT WE'VE DONE IN THE STATE OF INDIANA IN THE LAST SIX YEARS UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF GOVERNOR DANIELS. WE HAVE BALANCED OUR BUDGET, DUG OUT FROM A DEEP DEFICIT LEFT BY HIS PREDECESSOR. WE HAVE A TRIPLE-A CREDIT RATING. WE'VE MADE SOME TOUGH CHOICES. WE'VE HAD TO CUT AND SLASH GOVERNMENT JOBS. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, HOOSIERS AREN'T EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE MISSING. THERE WAS A LOT OF BLOAT AND EXCESS THERE. WE MADE TOUGH CHOICES AND PAID A FINANCIAL PRICE FOR IT. BUT WE'RE IN BETTER SHAPE TODAY THAN WE'VE BEEN IN MAYBE A LONG, LONG TIME AS A RESULT OF TAKING THESE ACTIONS. AND WE SEE COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD HAVING TO BELLY UP TO THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE OVERSPENT, OVERPROMISED AND HAVE A STATE THAT HAS PROMISED MORE THAN IT DELIVERED. AND YET THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WHICH SHOULD BE THE LEADER OF THIS EFFORT IN TERMS OF GETTING ITS ECONOMY IN SHAPE, IT'S A PLACE WHERE THE DOLLAR WAS SOUND AND THE PLACE TO INVEST YOUR MONEY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AND KNOW IT WAS THE SAFEST PLACE, ALL THAT'S NOW BECOME IN QUESTION. AND I'VE BEEN A PART OF THESE TALKS ACROSS THE AISLE. THE TWO SENATORS FROM COLORADO WHO JUST SPOKE, THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE WHO JUST SPOKE AND OTHERS ARE TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY. THEY'RE NOT PUTTING THEIR POLITICAL FORTUNES AHEAD OF THE NECESSITY TO DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES. THEY ARE SAYING THAT MORE IMPORTANT, WHAT TRANSCENDS POLITICS, WHAT TRANSCENDS REELECTION IS THE FACT THAT WE HAVE A SERIOUS CRISIS THAT HAS TO BE DEALT WITH NOW AND TOUGH CHOICES HAVE TO BE MADE. AND WE'RE TALKING IN EARNEST BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, WORKING IN OPEN SESSIONS AND CLOSED SESSIONS, TRYING TO FASHION AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE. BUT WITHOUT THE PRESIDENT'S LEADERSHIP, NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, NO MATTER PACKAGE WE PUT TOGETHER, WE CANNOT SUCCEED. AND SO IT APPEARS THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS DECIDED TO ENGAGE IN POLITICS OF 2012 ELECTIONS. THAT'S VERY DISAPPOINTING. I HOPE THAT'S NOT THE CASE. I HOPE THIS SHIFT THAT WE HAVE SEEN HERE FROM NEEDING TO GET INVOLVED TO WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU GUYS AND WOMEN, IT'S JUST A TEMPORARY LAPSE. NOW, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU GET FRUSTRATED, IT'S EASY TO SAY CHILDISH THINGS, AND THAT'S WHY I WAITED OVERNIGHT SO I WOULDN'T COME DOWN HERE TO BE CHARACTERIZED AS SOMEONE WHO SAYS CHILDISH THINGS. OUR PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE ARE TOO SERIOUS FOR US NOT TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. I TOO BELIEVE WE CAN FASHION A PLAN THAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA, BUT WE CAN'T DO IT BY POINTING FINGERS AT EACH OTHER AND WE CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP. AND RIGHT NOW THE ONE MISSING ELEMENT IS PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP. AS HAS BEEN SAID BEFORE, THE PRESIDENT WAS INVITEED TO COME AND MEET WITH US TODAY AND TO TALK TO US ABOUT THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS ISSUE. WE'RE WILLING TO DEMONSTRATE TO HIM THAT OUR DOORS ARE OPEN AND WE'RE WILLING TO GO THERE. BUT IT TAKES A COMMITMENT ON BOTH SIDES IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THAT. INSTEAD, I GUESS A COUPLE OF FUND-RAISERS WERE SCHEDULED, ONE IN PHILADELPHIA AND ONE IN LAS VEGAS. APPARENTLY THAT TAKES PRECEDENCE. SO I THINK THE PRESIDENT'S WORDS WERE PRETTY HOLLOW. MR. PRESIDENT, I CAME DOWN HERE TO TALK ABOUT ANOTHER ISSUE, AND I'D LIKE TO DO THAT NOW. OUR FOCUS, OUR NECESSARY FOCUS ON THE ECONOMIC SITUATION AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN THE IMPENDING DEBT CRISIS THAT WE'RE FACING SHOULD TAKE PRECEDENCE HERE, BUT WE CAN'T OVERLOOK THE FACT THAT WE HAVE SERIOUS ISSUES ON AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL THAT WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON OUR COUNTRY IN THE FUTURE. THOSE OF US THAT ARE HERE HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY NOT ONLY TO DEAL WITH OUR FISCAL ISSUES AND DOMESTIC ISSUES, BUT WITH INTERNATIONAL AND SECURITY AND FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES. I'D HOPED TO SPEAK TOMORROW ON THIS BECAUSE IT'S THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMPREHENSIVE IRAN SANCTIONS ACCOUNTABILITY AND DIVESTMENT ACT THAT WAS PASSED BY AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY, BIPARTISAN MAJORITY IN THE LAST CONGRESS. IN FACT, THE VOTE IN THE SENATE HERE WAS 99-0. THIS ACT EXPANDED SANCTIONS ON THE IRANIAN REGIME AS IT CONTINUES ITS QUEST FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITY. CLEARLY MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE, AND I WAS HERE TO TALK ABOUT THAT AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THAT, BUT I NEEDED TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENED HERE IN THE PREVIOUS 24 HOURS THAT'S BEEN SO DISCONCERTING TO NOT ONLY TO ME, BUT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND I THINK TO BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS WHO ARE TRYING TO TAKE A SERIOUS EFFORT AT THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE. PUT ON THE BACK BURNER BECAUSE OF ALL THIS DISCUSSION IS THIS QUESTION ABOUT IRAN AND WHERE IT'S GOING AND WHAT IT'S -- ITS FUTURE IS HEADED TOWARD AND WHAT THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT A NUCLEAR IRAN WILL BE. THIS MONTH MY COLLEAGUES AND I, BECAUSE WE FEEL THESE SANCTIONS HAVE NOT ACCOMPLISHED THE GOAL INTENDED, THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE EVEN TOUGHER SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN. WE'VE INTRODUCED THE IRAN AND NORTH KOREA CONSOLIDATION ACT OF 2007 THAT FURTHER TIGHTENS THE NOOSE ON THE IRANIAN REGIME. WE NEED STRONG SUPPORT FROM THIS BODY AND COLLECTIVE EFFORTS TO PREVENT A NUCLEAR IRAN AND TO EXPLAIN WHY I BELIEVE THIS WORK IS OF SUCH DRAMATIC WORK TO OUR NATION. THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES IN THE MIDDLE EAST, BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE OF THAT MOVEMENT CAPTURED OUR ATTENTION. THOSE OF US WHO CARE PASSIONATELY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND UNDERSTAND THE CONSEQUENCES TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THAT, WHETHER IT'S ECONOMIC SECURITY BECAUSE OF ENERGY RESOURCES WE GET FROM THE MIDDLE EAST OR WHETHER IT'S DIPLOMATIC SECURITY OR JUST NATIONAL SECURITY IN TERMS OF CONFLICT THAT POTENTIALLY DRAWS US INTO THAT EFFORT, ALL OF THIS IS AT STAKE. WE'RE HOPING, OF COURSE, THAT THE DEMOCRATIC INSTINKS OF THE ARAB -- INSTINCTS OF THE ARAB SPRING WILL DEVELOP. BUT WE LOOK AT THIS WITH A MIXTURE OF BOTH HOPE AND CONCERN. THE DEMOCRATIC IMPULSE IN THE REGION HAS NOT YET BROUGHT MEANINGFUL CHANGE TO THE IRANIAN PEOPLE WHO CONTINUE TO SUFFER UNDER AN AUTO CRATIC, SAVAGE AND RUTHLESS REGIME. AS THAT REGIME CONTINUES TO CRUSH EVERY PLEA FOR GREATER DEMOCRATIC LIBERTIES IT PURSUES ITS PROVISIONS FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITY. WELCOME SIGNS OF DEMOCRATIC PROGRESS ELSEWHERE IN THE REGION MUST NOT DEFLECT OUR ATTENTION FROM THE GROWING DANGER IN IRAN. THREE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS, INCLUDING THIS CURRENT PRESIDENT, HAVE DECLARED THAT A NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABLE IRAN IS UNACCEPTABLE. TO GIVE MEANING TO THAT REPEATED COMMITMENT TO DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO PREVENT IRAN FROM GAINING THAT DANGEROUS CAPABILITY REMAINS AN URGENT AND HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT MATTER FACING THE UNITED STATES AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY. THE CONSEQUENCES OF A NUCLEAR IRAN OR A NUCLEAR WEAPONS-CAPABLE IRAN ARE NOT TOLERABLE, NOT ACCEPTABLE AND NEED TO MOTIVATE THE MOST POWERFUL, EFFECTIVE EFFORTS POSSIBLE TO PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING. THE NUCLEAR ARMED IRAN WOULD THREATEN THE ENTIRE REGION AND ITS ENORMOUS ENERGY RESOURCES. IT WOULD MOTIVATE BROAD NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST. IT WOULD FURTHER DESTABILIZE THE REGION ALREADY IN TURMOIL. IT WOULD ENCOURAGE RADICALISM AND TERRORISM, AND IT WOULD THREATEN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL. THIS LAST DANGER ALONE, THE POTENTIAL DESTRUCTION, THE DECLARED DESTRUCTION OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL, THAT ALONE POTENTIALLY RAISES THE DANGER TO WHICH ISRAEL IS THE LAST RESORT, BUT ALMOST CERTAINLY WE HAVE TO RESPOND TO TO ENSURE ITS SURVIVAL. THAT ALONE COMPELS US TO BE CLEAR-EYED AND DETERMINED TO FIND A SOLUTION BEFORE WE HAVE TO FACE THAT POTENTIAL DECISION. I'VE BEEN WORK ING IN RECENT YEARS IN THE BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER TO PRESS FOR A ROBUST, COMPREHENSIVE THREE-TRACK EFFORT TO RAISE THE STAKES ON THE IRANIAN REGIME AND TO COMPEL IT TO LIVE UP TO ITS LIMITS IN THE WEAPONS PROGRAM. THE FIRST TRACK WE PROPOSED WAS ENHANCED DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS. PEOPLE SAY WHY DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS? THAT JUST IS GOING NOWHERE. LOOK, WE FELT WE NEEDED TO ENHANCE THOSE EFFORTS TO, AT LEAST GIVE THAT A CLANS SO THAT -- A CHANCE SO THAT THOSE WHO WOULD SAY SANCTIONS SHOULD NOT BE IMPOSED UNTIL YOU TRY DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS, OKAY, LET'S CONTINUE TO GIVE THAT A SHORT BUT LET'S DO THAT IN PARALLEL WITH SOME OF THESE OTHER APPROACHES. THIS ENHANCED DIPLOMATIC EFFORT WHERE WE CREATE, INVIGORATE AND MOTIVATE AN INTERNATIONAL COALITION DEVOTED TO THE SAME OBJECTIVE, TO PREVENT IRAN FROM GAINING NUCLEAR WEAPONS, HAS BEEN TRIED AND IT HAS NOT SUCCEEDED. NOW, THIS EFFORT DOESN'T MEAN SIMPLY REPEATED OUTREACHES TO THE IRANIAN REGIME TO ENGAGE THEM IN DIALOGUE. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CAME INTO OFFICE PROMISING SUCH DISCUSSIONS, BUT THIS HAS GONE NOWHERE. INTERNATIONAL TALKS IN GENEVA LAST YEAR ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING. TALKS IN TURKEY EARLIER THIS YEAR BROKE DOWN IN THE AFTERNOON OF THE VERY FIRST DAY. CLEARLY LACK OF ANY FLEXIBILITY AND GOODWILL ON BEHALF OF THE IRANIAN REGIME HAS DISSUADED ANY FURTHER ATTEMPT TO RENEW DIALOGUE EFFORTS. DIALOGUE WITH THE IRANIANS IS IN A DEEP --

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  • 04:15:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR HAS USED HIS TEN MINUTES.

  • 04:15:03 PM

    MR. COATS

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WASN'T AWARE THAT I HAD ASKED FOR TEN MINUTES. THERE WAS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WASN'T AWARE THAT I HAD ASKED FOR TEN MINUTES. THERE WAS --

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  • 04:15:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE ORDER IS FOR TEN MINUTES. THE SENATOR HAS CONSUMED…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE ORDER IS FOR TEN MINUTES. THE SENATOR HAS CONSUMED MORE THAN 15 MINUTES.

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  • 04:15:15 PM

    MR. COATS

    NEWS TO ME. I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR AN ADDITIONAL FIVE MINUTES.

  • 04:15:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:15:26 PM

    MR. COATS

    PRESIDENT, I'M JUST TRYING TO SEE HERE HOW I CAN WRAP THIS UP. I'LL CHECK…

    PRESIDENT, I'M JUST TRYING TO SEE HERE HOW I CAN WRAP THIS UP. I'LL CHECK WITH THE DESK NEXT TIME I SPEAK TO MAKE SURE I UNDERSTAND WHAT THE -- WHAT THE CURRENT RULES ARE HERE. I MIGHT ASK, MR. PRESIDENT, IS THERE AN ORDER IN PLACE THAT I'M NOT AWARE OF?

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  • 04:15:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE ORDER IS THAT WE ARE IN MORNING BUSINESS WITH 10 MINUTES TO BE…

    THE ORDER IS THAT WE ARE IN MORNING BUSINESS WITH 10 MINUTES TO BE CONSUMED BY EACH SENATOR.

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  • 04:15:52 PM

    MR. COATS

    ALL RIGHT. I APOLOGIZE, MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 04:15:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALTHOUGH CONSENT HAS BEEN GIVEN FOR LARGER BLOCKS OF TIME AND THE SENATOR…

    ALTHOUGH CONSENT HAS BEEN GIVEN FOR LARGER BLOCKS OF TIME AND THE SENATOR HAS JUST BEEN GIVEN CONSENT.

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  • 04:16:01 PM

    MR. COATS

    ALL RIGHT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AS I SAID, THE SECOND TRACK FOR…

    ALL RIGHT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AS I SAID, THE SECOND TRACK FOR SOLUTIONS ARE SANCTIONS. WE CURRENTLY HAVE SANCTION ACT IN PLACE. WE WANT TO IMPOSE AN ADDITIONAL SANCTION TRACK. THAT'S WHY I HAVE SPONSORED AND COSPONSORED THIS NEW ACT. THE ENACT OF THIS I THINK COULD POTENTIALLY BE SIGNIFICANT, BUT SO FAR WE HAVE NOT SEEN SUCCESS AS A RESULT OF SANCTIONS. SINCE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FIRST BEGAN TO FACE THIS CHALLENGE IN THE FORM OF IAEA INSPECTIONS AND REPORTS, VARIOUS U.S. SECURITY COUNCIL SANCTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS AND PROTRACTED NEGOTIATIONS TO CONSTRUCT AN EFFECTIVE COALITION STRONG ENOUGH TO HAVE MEANING, NONE OF THESE ACTIONS HAVE SERIOUSLY THWARTED THE IRANIAN REGIME'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS. THAT TAKES US TO THE THIRD TRACK OF A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH. THOSE OF US ON THE BIPARTISAN POLICY COMMISSION IN TERMS OF -- IN WORKING WITH EXPERTS ON ALL SIDES OF THIS ISSUE CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT CERTAIN MILITARY OPTIONS CAN BE PUT IN PLACE THAT WILL SERVE SERIOUS AND OPEN DISCUSSION -- DESERVE SERIOUS AND OPEN DISCUSSION AND DIPLOMACY AND SANCTIONS SINCE THEY HAVE PROVEN TOO WEAK, WE NEED AN EXTRA KICK TO THIS PROCESS IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THE DESIRED RESULT. I'M SUGGESTING DISCUSSION AND DEBATE AND DIALOGUE, NO ONE SHOULD SUPPOSE THAT INCLUDING A MILITARY OPTION IN THIS PACKAGE MEANS ANYTHING OTHER THAN PREPARING THE GROUND FOR THE LOGICAL, NECESSARY ACCESS TO MEASURES OF LAST RESORT SHOULD THEY BE NEEDED. THROUGH THE BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER, WE HAVE PARTICIPATED IN AN EXHAUSTIVE ANALYSIS OF ALL THE MEANS AND CONSEQUENCES OF POTENTIAL MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAN'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. THERE WERE NO WAR ADVOCATES IN THAT ROOM, NONE OF US. NEVERTHELESS, IF IT'S TRUE THAT A NUCLEAR WEAPONS-CAPABLE IRAN IS UNACCEPTABLE, THEN OUR NATION AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE MUST SEE WITH VIVID CLARITY WHAT MEASURES REMAIN SHOULD THE FIRST TWO TRACKS FAIL, AND THE IRANIAN REGIME SHUS BE ESPECIALLY CLEAR-EYED AND NONDILUTIONAL ABOUT THOSE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES SHOULD IT NOT CHANGE ITS BEHAVIOR. INDEED, TO GIVE THE DIPLOMATIC AND SANCTIONS TRACKS THE ESSENTIAL CREDIBILITY THEY REQUIRE, THE MILITARY OPTION MUST BE ENTIRELY BELIEVABLE, IN FACT INEVITABLE. MILITARY OPTIONS THEMSELVES INCLUDE A MULTI-PRONGED COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY, NOT ALL OF WHICH ARE KINETIC OR MEAN AN ACTUAL ATTACK WITH ARMED FORCES. SUCH A STRATEGY WOULD INCLUDE PRODUCTING THE ALLIANCES NEEDED TO STATION U.S. FORCES IN POSITION TO CONFRONT IRAN AND THEN A SERIES OF STEPS DESIGNED TO DEMONSTRATE TO IRAN THAT THE UNITED STATES AND ITS COALITION PARTNERS ARE CAPABLE OF DECISIVE MILITARY ACTION, IF NECESSARY TO STOP ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM. AT THE END OF THE DAY WE HAVE TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT WE WILL TOLERATE AN IRAN WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS. IF OTHER STATES INCLUDING IMPORTANTLY CHINA AND RUSSIA REALLY BECOME CONVINCED OF THIS CORE REALITY, THEY WILL MAKE DIFFERENT CALCULATIONS ABOUT THEIR OWN SELF-INTERESTS IN THIS MATTER. IF THEY COME TO BELIEVE THAT WE SO DESPERATELY NEED THEM TO ACCEPT MODEST SANCTIONS ON IRAN, THEN THEY CAN COMPEL US TO TAKE OFF THE TABLE THE SANCTION PROPOSALS WITH REAL TEETH. WE HAVE BECOME HOSTAGE TO THEIR VIEWS IN THIS VITAL ISSUE AND ALSO TO THEIR RELATED ECONOMIC INTERESTS. SO IF THESE AND OTHER STATES COME TO REALIZE THAT, WHEN WE SAY UNACCEPTABLE, WE NEED IT. THEY WILL COME TO DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS ABOUT HOW THEIR OWN INTERESTS CAN BE BEST SERVED. IN CONCLUSION, MR. PRESIDENT, A NUCLEAR WEAPONS-CAPABLE IRAN THAT WE BELIEVE CAN BE CONTAINED IS NOT ONE THAT WE'RE THEREFORE PREPARED TO TOLERATE. IF WE THINK THAT WE CAN SOLVE THIS PROBLEM THROUGH DEBT LIMIT EFFORTS AND SANCTIONS, WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DO SO AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF DOING SO DIMINISHES AS EVERY DAY GOES BY AND THE NUCLEAR CLOCK KEEPS TICKING IN IRAN. THIS IS AN ILLUSION AND ONE THAT MAKES OUR TASK MUCH HARDER. IF OTHERS, HOWEVER, ESPECIALLY IRAN BUT ALSO INCLUDING OUR ALLIES AND OTHER COALITION PARTNERS COME TO BELIEVE THAT WE WOULD CONSIDER TOLERATING A NUCLEAR IRAN BECAUSE IT CAN SOMEHOW BE CONTAINED, THEN NONE OF THIS WILL WORK. THE RESULT THEN WILL NOT BE A CONTAINED AND TOLERATED NUCLEAR IRAN. IT WILL BE THE MILITARY'S ACTION WE ALL HOPE TO AVOID, WHETHER IT IS OURS OR ANOTHER'S. MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 04:20:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • 04:20:50 PM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I CAME TO THE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON TO LEND MY…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I CAME TO THE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON TO LEND MY VOICE TO THE OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN HERE OF MY COLLEAGUES TO TALK ABOUT THE NEED TO COME TO THE TABLE AND COME UP WITH AN AGREEMENT ABOUT HOW WE'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT BY THE AUGUST 2 DEADLINE AND INCLUDE SOME SORT OF PACKAGE TO ADDRESS OUR DEBT AND OUR DEFICITS. AND I LISTENED CAREFULLY TO MY COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND FROM INDIANA, AND I THINK WE AGREE ON A LOT OF WHAT HE SAID. I CERTAINLY AGREE THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD TO LOOK AT WAYS THAT WE CAN ADDRESS THIS ISSUE, AND I AGREE THAT WE NEED PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP. TO ADDRESS THIS CHALLENGE WE'RE FACING. THAT'S WHY I WAS SO PLEASED TO SEE THE PRESIDENT COME OUT YESTERDAY AND SAY VERY STRONGLY THAT IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THIS, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT REVENUES ON THE TABLE, MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN THE MIX, BECAUSE WE CAN'T GET THERE WITHOUT LOOKING AT REVENUES WITH JUST LOOKING AT CUTS TO THE BUDGET. SO I THINK THERE IS A LOT OF AGREEMENT, BUT EVERY NEGOTIATION THAT I HAVE BEEN PART OF MEANS THAT EVERY SIDE HAS TO GIVE A LITTLE. SO DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND AND SAYING WE'RE NOT GOING TO LOOK AT REVENUES AT THE SAME TIME WE'RE LOOKING AT SPENDING CUTS, IT'S NOT THE WAY FOR US TO SOLVE THIS CHALLENGE. NOW, WE ALL KNOW THAT NEGOTIATIONS ARE ONGOING BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND BETWEEN THE LEADERSHIP IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE. THEY ARE LOOKING AT ALL KINDS OF MEASURES TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT AND RAISE THE LEGAL DEBT LIMIT. AND THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS THE LONG-TERM DEBT AND DEFICITS, AND I HAVE REPEATEDLY CALLED FOR A BIPARTISAN PACKAGE THAT INCLUDES REFORMS TO EVERYTHING THAT'S DEFICIT RELATED, SO THAT MEANS DOMESTIC, DEFENSE AND MANDATORY SPENDING, AS WELL AS LOOKING AT REVENUES. AND I SUPPORT INCLUDING DEFICIT REDUCTION MEASURES IN THE VOTE TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT. I BELIEVE THAT REDUCING THE DEFICIT IS IMPORTANT TO STRENGTHENING THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OF OUR ECONOMY. WITH THAT BEING SAID, FAILURE TO INCREASE THE DEBT LIMIT WOULD DO EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. IT WOULD DEVASTATE THE ECONOMY. TO BE CLEAR, RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT DOES NOT MEAN SPENDING MORE. IT MEANS MEETING OUR EXISTING OBLIGATIONS. OBLIGATIONS MADE BY BOTH PARTIES OVER MANY YEARS. FAILURE TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT MEANS DEFAULT. IT MEANS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WE WOULD NOT PAY OUR CREDITORS, AND THAT DISRUPTION WOULD CAUSE THE WORLDWIDE ECONOMY TO HAVE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES, CONSEQUENCES THAT WOULD BE INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE TO AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. WARREN BUFFETT I THINK SAID IT VERY WELL WHEN HE SAID THAT CONGRESS, IF IT DID THAT, IT WOULD BE THE MOST AS A -- MOST AS NINE ACT EVER. FED CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE SAID IT WOULD CAUSE SEVERE REACTIONS IN THE MARKETS, IT WOULD SLOW OUR REQUIRE AND MAKE THE DEFICIT PROBLEM WORSE. THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SAYS IT ABSOLUTELY MUST BE DONE, THE DEBT LIMIT MUST BE RAISED. ECONOMIST AND FORMER REAGAN ADVISOR LARRY CUDLOW SAID DEFAULT WOULD BE -- QUOTE -- "CATASTROPHIC." ALL OF THESE EXPERTS HAVE POINTED OUT THAT THE DISRUPTION TO WORLD FINANCIAL MARKETS WOULD PLUNGE US INTO ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS AND AMERICA WOULD LOSE THE TRUST OF WORLD INVESTORS WHICH WOULD RESULT IN HIGHER BORROWING COSTS FOR THE GOVERNMENT, AND THAT WOULD ULTIMATELY BE BORNE BY TAXPAYERS. IT WOULD ALSO MEAN HIGHER INTEREST RATES FOR CONSUMERS, MAKING IT MORE EXPENSIVE TO BUY A HOUSE, PAY FOR COLLEGE OR EVEN PAY YOUR CREDIT CARD BILL, AND IN A RECENT REPORT, THE NONPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE ESTIMATED THAT IF WE DON'T RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE TO ELIMINATE ALL SPENDING ON DISCRETIONARY PROGRAMS, CUT NEARLY 70% OF SPENDING FOR PROGRAMS LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE OR INCREASE TAXES BY MORE THAN 60%. THAT'S NOT JUST SPECULATION. THAT IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF WE FAIL TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT. WE SHOULD NOT BE PLAYING POLITICS WITH THIS ISSUE. WE ALL HAVE A STAKE IN MAKING SURE THIS GETS DONE. AND THAT'S WHY IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME THAT THE LEADERSHIP FROM OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE ARE REFUSING TO ENTERTAIN ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT ELIMINATING ANY TAX LOOPHOLES. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THOSE TAX LOOPHOLES, AND THERE ARE TWO THAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT HAVE BEEN MENTIONED ON THE FLOOR IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS, AND I WOULD THINK THESE ARE THE KIND OF TAX LOOPHOLES WE OUGHT TO BE CLOSING. FIRST, WE HAVE A SPECIAL DEDUCTION FOR YACHT OWNERS, AND IF THE YACHT IS BIG ENOUGH, LIKE THIS PICTURE OF THIS YACHT, -- SO IF IT HAS BEDS AND A BATHROOM AND A KITCHEN, THOROUGHBRED YACHT OWNERS CAN CLAIM IT AS A SECOND HOME AND THEY CAN GET THE SAME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION ON THEIR TAXES THAT WE GIVE TO MIDDLE-CLASS HOMEOWNERS. I THINK THIS IS A CLEAR ABUSE OF THE TAX CODE. THE MORTGAGE DEDUCTION PROVISION IS MEANT TO INCREASE HOMEOWNERSHIP, NOT YACHT OWNERSHIP. THERE ARE AS MANY AS HALF A MILLION YACHTS IN THE U.S. THAT QUALIFY FOR THIS EXEMPTION, AND THE YACHT INDUSTRY ACTUALLY INCLUDES THIS TAX LOOPHOLE IN THEIR MARKETING. NOW, THE SECOND LOOPHOLE THAT, AGAIN, HAS BEEN MENTIONED BEFORE ON THE FLOOR IS A TAX BREAK FOR RACEHORSE OWNERS. THE CURRENT TAX CODE ALLOWS RACEHORSE OWNERS TO DEPRECIATE THE COST OF THEIR HORIZON AT AN ACCELERATED RATE. YACHTS AND RACEHORSES. THESE ARE TAX BREAKS THAT JUST DON'T MAKE SENSE. WE ALL KNOW WE'RE GRAPPLING WITH A TRULY HISTORIC LONG-TERM DEFICITS. TO CONTINUE TO IGNORE THE REVENUE SIDE OF THAT DEFICIT IS IRRESPONSIBLE. AND OUR TAX CODE IS RIDDLED WITH HUNDREDS OF ARBITRARY TAX BREAKS JUST LIKE THE ONE FOR RACEHORSES AND THE ONE FOR YACHTS. IN FACT, WE GIVE AWAY MORE IN TAX BREAKS IN A YEAR THAN WE TAKE IN THROUGH INDIVIDUAL AND CORPORATE INCOME TAXES. THESE TAX BREAKS ARE TOO OFTEN GRANTED BASED ON WHO HAS THE MOST CLOUD IN CONGRESS RATHER THAN BASED ON WHAT'S THE BEST FOR THE ECONOMY OR WHAT'S FAIR FOR PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. AND SO THE RESULT IS THAT SOME BUSINESSES ARE PAYING NEARLY THE FULL CORPORATE TAX RATE WHILE OTHERS ARE PAYING ALMOST NOTHING. WE NEED A FAIRER SYSTEM. WE NEED A TAX SYSTEM THAT DRIVES INNOVATION AND THAT KEEPS OUR ECONOMY COMPETITIVE ON THE GLOBAL STAGE. DO WE REALLY WANT TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING TAX BREAKS FOR YACHTS AND FOR RACEHORSES? IF WE WANT TO ELIMINATE WASTE IN GOVERNMENT, ISN'T THIS EXACTLY THE KIND OF SPENDING THAT WE SHOULD BE TARGETING? AND LAST, WE MUST CONSIDER THE PRICE OF REFUSING TO DEAL WITH THESE TAX BREAKS, OF REFUSING TO SAY WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THESE KINDS OF TAX BREAKS BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT MEANINGFUL DEFICIT REFORM WILL MEAN TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CHANGES, AND IN AVOIDING REVENUES, REPUBLICANS HAVE INSTEAD PROPOSED STEEP CUTS THAT ARE DANGEROUS BOTH TO THE HEALTH OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND TO THE STRENGTH OF OUR ECONOMY. ELIMINATING FUNDING FOR BASIC WOMEN'S HEALTH CARE, ENDING MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT, DANGEROUS PETS TO NURSING HOME CARE, SLASHING PELL GRANTS THAT WOULD HELP TRAIN THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENGINEERS, STOPPING THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES AND HALTING EFFORTS TO RETOOL THE ECONOMY TO COMPETE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, THESE ARE THE ALTERNATIVES THAT REPUBLICANS ARE PROPOSING TO SAVE TAX BREAKS FOR YACHTS AND RACEHORSES. NOW, WE KNOW WE NEED TO CONTINUE THESE KINDS OF BASIC SERVICES AND INVESTMENTS IN THE ECONOMY. THE PRESIDENT'S BIPARTISAN COMMISSION HAS SAID IT, THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY HAS SAID IT, AND AMERICANS KNOW IT. WE ALSO KNOW THAT FINDING A COMPROMISE ON THE DEBT LIMIT IS CRITICAL IF WE WANT TO AVOID PLUNGING OUR ECONOMY BACK INTO CHAOS, AND WE KNOW THAT MANY OF THESE TAX BREAKS JUST DON'T MAKE SENSE. SO I URGE MY COLLEAGUES LET'S LOOK AT THE FACTS, LET'S WORK TOGETHER FOR WHAT WE ALL KNOW NEEDS TO HAPPEN. REDUCE THE DEFICIT, RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT AND KEEP AMERICA WORKING. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I ASK IF SENATOR JACK REED FROM RHODE ISLAND COULD FOLLOW ME. I ASK CONSENT THAT SENATOR REED BE THE NEXT SPEAKER ON OUR SIDE.

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  • 04:30:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:31:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 04:31:38 PM

    MR. REED

    MR. PRESIDENT, I REQUEST PERMISSION TO SPEAK AS IN MORNING BUSINESS. ARE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I REQUEST PERMISSION TO SPEAK AS IN MORNING BUSINESS. ARE WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

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  • 04:31:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WE ARE IN MORNING BUSINESS. WE ARE IN MORNING BUSINESS AND THE SENATOR…

    WE ARE IN MORNING BUSINESS. WE ARE IN MORNING BUSINESS AND THE SENATOR RECOGNIZED.

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  • 04:31:50 PM

    MR. REED

    WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON NOT JUST EXPENDITURES BUT ALSO REVENUES…

    WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON NOT JUST EXPENDITURES BUT ALSO REVENUES AND WE ALSO HAVE TO BEGIN THE VERY DISPIL ARDUOUS TACT -- VERY DIFFICULT AND ARDUOUS TASK OF ENTITLEMENT REFORM. WE BEGAN THAT IN IN THE LAST CONGRESS. IN FACT I THINK IT IS IRONIC, AS I RECALL THE DEBATE ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, THAT MOST OF THE AMENDMENTS THAT MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE WERE OFFERING WERE TO SEND BACK TO COMMITTEE PROPOSED CHANGES IN MEDICARE THAT WOULD HAVE REDUCED COSTS AND I WOULD ARGUE WOULD ACTUALLY IMPROVE QUALITY. THAT WAS THEIR FOCUS. AND NOW THEIR FOCUS HAS SUDDENLY SHIFTED TO, OH, WE MUST CUT MEDICARE, WE MUST CUT MEDICAID. WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS I THINK PROVIDE THE SAME KIND OF REASONABLE, BALANCED APPROACH THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE 1990'S, AGAIN WITHOUT ANY REPUBLICAN SUPPORT IN 1993 AND 1994 BUT WITH A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT AND DEMOCRATIC VOTES WE WERE ABLE TO BEGIN TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. IT WAS A MULTIYEAR PROCESS. IT REQUIRED DIFFICULT CHOICES. BUT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE THAT PATH OF BALANCED, REASONABLE RESPONSE TO THIS PROBLEM. NOW, AS I SAID BEFORE, ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT IS SO CENTRAL TO THIS COUNTRY IS NOT DIRECTLY RELATED JUST TO THE ISSUE OF THE DEFICIT. IT'S ALSO RELATED TO JOBS. THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY CLOSELY INTERRELATED. THE MORE JOBS WE HAVE, THE MORE PEOPLE THAT ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE ECONOMY, THE BETTER OUR FISCAL POSITION IS IN WASHINGTON. AND, SADLY, WHAT WE SAW, PARTICULARLY AT THE TAIL END OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, IS A COLLAPSE ON OUR JOBS MARKET. THE U.S. ECONOMY LOST 8.7 MILLION PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS IN 2008 AND 2009. WE EXPERIENCED UNDER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION PRINCIPALLY 25 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF JOB LOSSES LOSSES. AND THAT AGAIN HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THESE HUGE DEFICITS. PEOPLE DON'T WORK, THEY DON'T CONTRIBUTE TO THE -- TO THE TAX S. PEOPLE DON'T WORK, THEY GET -- TO THE TAX SYSTEM. PEOPLE DON'T WORK, THEY GET UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. PEOPLE WHO LOSE PART OF THEIR WAGES QUALIFY FOR OTHER PROGRAMS PROGRAMS. NOW, SINCE THE PRESIDENT'S COME TO OFFICE, WE HAVE SEEN A REBOUND. WE HAVE NOT SEEN THE FULL ROBUST RECOVERY WE NEED BUT WE'VE SEEN A REBOUND. WE GAINED 2.081 MILLION JOBS, A LITTLE OVER 2 MILLION JOBS, IN 2010 AND 2011, AND WE'VE EXPERIENCED 15 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB CREATION. NOT ENOUGH BUT WE REVERSED THE COLLAPSE AND 25 MONTHS OF JOB DECLINE BY CREATING JOBS AND CONTINUING ON A SUSTAINED BASIS. AND AS A RESULT OF DIFFICULT DECISIONS THAT WERE MADE BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS IN THE RECOVERY ACT. MY HOME STATE OF RHODE ISLAND HAS PARTICULARLY HARD-HIT BY THE POLICIES THAT WE SAW IN THE FIRST PART OF THIS DECADE. THIRD-HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 10.9%. WE'VE SEEN FORECLOSURE PROBLEMS. WE HAVE SEEN VERY, VERY CRIPPLING IMPACTS ON THE WORKING FAMILIES OF RHODE ISLAND. BUT NOW WE HEAR THAT THE ONLY SOLUTION WE HAVE AND THE BEST WAY TO CORRECT JOBS IS TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WAS DONE UNDER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, LET'S JUST CUT TAXES, PARTICULARLY FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. NOW, THE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT THAT DOESN'T PRODUCE THE KIND OF JOBS, NOT EVEN THE KIND OF JOBS WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST 15 MONTHS. THE ECONOMY DID NOT ADD A SINGLE NEW JOB DURING THE THREE YEARS UNDER THE BUSH TAX CUTS. THE ECONOMY HAD 132 MILLION JOBS IN JUNE OF 2001, WHEN WE PASSED, AGAINST MY OP SILINGS, THE BUSH TAX -- MY OPPOSITION, THE BUSH TAX CUT. THAT WAS THE MONTH IT WAS FIRST SIGNED INTO LAW. THREE YEARS LATER, IN JUNE OF 2004, THERE WERE JUST 131.4 MILLION JOBS. WE ACTUALLY LOST SOME JOBS. IF WE TAKE A STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THE COURSE OF THE ENTIRE BUSH PRESIDENCY FROM JANUARY 2001-JANUARY 2009, THERE WAS A DECLINE IN THE NUMBER OF PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS OF APPROXIMATELY 650,000. THAT'S OVER THE COURSE OF THE WHOLE ADMINISTRATION. IN FACT, THE ONLY NET JOB CREATION THAT OCCURRED WAS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR. NEARLY 1.75 MILLION GOVERNMENT JOBS WERE CREATED OVER THE COURSE OF THE BUSH PRESIDENCY. REVENUE AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ECONOMY, AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P., WAS 14% IN 2010. IT'S THE LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 19 50, WHEN IT DROPPED TO 14.4%. BY COMPARISON, GOVERNMENT REVENUE WAS AVERAGING ABOUT 18% OVER THE PREVIOUS 30 YEARS. SO YOU SEE UNDER BUSH POLICIES, WHICH ESSENTIALLY MY COLLEAGUES WANT TO EMULATE, RECONSTITUTE, NO JOB GROWTH AND A SIGNIFICANT DECLINE IN REVENUE. AT A TIME WHEN REVENUES TO G.D.P. IS THE LOWEST IT'S BEEN IN 60 YEARS, NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FURTHER TAX CUTS IN THE RYAN BUDGET, BUT WE'RE CERTAINLY TALKING -- MY COLLEAGUES ARE TALKING ABOUT MAINTAINING THE CURRENT TAX SYSTEM. AND, FRANKLY, THERE ARE SO MANY TAX EXPENDITURES THAT MY COLLEAGUES TALKED ABOUT THAT ARE NOT WORTHY OF RETENTION, THAT ARE LOOPHOLES THAT WE CAN, IN FACT, ELIMINATE AND WE SHOULD. SOME EXAMPLES. TAX BREAKS FOR PEOPLE WHO BREED ALPACAS, DEDUCTIONS FOR FILM AND TV PRODUCTION, FAVORABLE TAX DEPRECIATION FOR RACEHORSE OWNERS, HORSE BREEDERS, EXEMPTION FOR WOOL AND -- WOODEN PRACTICE ARROWS USED BY CHILDREN, NASCAR MOTORSPORTS RACING FACILITY TAX CREDIT, AND WITHHOLDING TAX BREAKS ON HORSE AND DOG TRACK WINNING. AND THE LIST COULD GO ON AND ON AND ON.

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  • 04:36:42 PM

    MR. REED

    HAVE TO FOCUS ON NOT JUST EXPENDITURES BUT ALSO REVENUES AND WE ALSO HAVE…

    HAVE TO FOCUS ON NOT JUST EXPENDITURES BUT ALSO REVENUES AND WE ALSO HAVE TO BEGIN THE VERY DISPIL ARDUOUS TACT -- VERY DIFFICULT AND ARDUOUS TASK OF ENTITLEMENT REFORM. WE BEGAN THAT IN IN THE LAST CONGRESS. IN FACT I THINK IT IS IRONIC, AS I RECALL THE DEBATE ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, THAT MOST OF THE AMENDMENTS THAT MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE WERE OFFERING WERE TO SEND BACK TO COMMITTEE PROPOSED CHANGES IN MEDICARE THAT WOULD HAVE REDUCED COSTS AND I WOULD ARGUE WOULD ACTUALLY IMPROVE QUALITY. THAT WAS THEIR FOCUS. AND NOW THEIR FOCUS HAS SUDDENLY SHIFTED TO, OH, WE MUST CUT MEDICARE, WE MUST CUT MEDICAID. WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS I THINK PROVIDE THE SAME KIND OF REASONABLE, BALANCED APPROACH THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE 1990'S, AGAIN WITHOUT ANY REPUBLICAN SUPPORT IN 1993 AND 1994 BUT WITH A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT AND DEMOCRATIC VOTES WE WERE ABLE TO BEGIN TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. IT WAS A MULTIYEAR PROCESS. IT REQUIRED DIFFICULT CHOICES. BUT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE THAT PATH OF BALANCED, REASONABLE RESPONSE TO THIS PROBLEM. NOW, AS I SAID BEFORE, ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT IS SO CENTRAL TO THIS COUNTRY IS NOT DIRECTLY RELATED JUST TO THE ISSUE OF THE DEFICIT. IT'S ALSO RELATED TO JOBS. THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY CLOSELY INTERRELATED. THE MORE JOBS WE HAVE, THE MORE PEOPLE THAT ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE ECONOMY, THE BETTER OUR FISCAL POSITION IS IN WASHINGTON. AND, SADLY, WHAT WE SAW, PARTICULARLY AT THE TAIL END OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, IS A COLLAPSE ON OUR JOBS MARKET. THE U.S. ECONOMY LOST 8.7 MILLION PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS IN 2008 AND 2009. WE EXPERIENCED UNDER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION PRINCIPALLY 25 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF JOB LOSSES LOSSES. AND THAT AGAIN HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THESE HUGE DEFICITS. PEOPLE DON'T WORK, THEY DON'T CONTRIBUTE TO THE -- TO THE TAX S. PEOPLE DON'T WORK, THEY GET -- TO THE TAX SYSTEM. PEOPLE DON'T WORK, THEY GET UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. PEOPLE WHO LOSE PART OF THEIR WAGES QUALIFY FOR OTHER PROGRAMS PROGRAMS. NOW, SINCE THE PRESIDENT'S COME TO OFFICE, WE HAVE SEEN A REBOUND. WE HAVE NOT SEEN THE FULL ROBUST RECOVERY WE NEED BUT WE'VE SEEN A REBOUND. WE GAINED 2.081 MILLION JOBS, A LITTLE OVER 2 MILLION JOBS, IN 2010 AND 2011, AND WE'VE EXPERIENCED 15 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB CREATION. NOT ENOUGH BUT WE REVERSED THE COLLAPSE AND 25 MONTHS OF JOB DECLINE BY CREATING JOBS AND CONTINUING ON A SUSTAINED BASIS. AND AS A RESULT OF DIFFICULT DECISIONS THAT WERE MADE BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS IN THE RECOVERY ACT. MY HOME STATE OF RHODE ISLAND HAS PARTICULARLY HARD-HIT BY THE POLICIES THAT WE SAW IN THE FIRST PART OF THIS DECADE. THIRD-HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 10.9%. WE'VE SEEN FORECLOSURE PROBLEMS. WE HAVE SEEN VERY, VERY CRIPPLING IMPACTS ON THE WORKING FAMILIES OF RHODE ISLAND. BUT NOW WE HEAR THAT THE ONLY SOLUTION WE HAVE AND THE BEST WAY TO CORRECT JOBS IS TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WAS DONE UNDER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, LET'S JUST CUT TAXES, PARTICULARLY FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. NOW, THE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT THAT DOESN'T PRODUCE THE KIND OF JOBS, NOT EVEN THE KIND OF JOBS WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST 15 MONTHS. THE ECONOMY DID NOT ADD A SINGLE NEW JOB DURING THE THREE YEARS UNDER THE BUSH TAX CUTS. THE ECONOMY HAD 132 MILLION JOBS IN JUNE OF 2001, WHEN WE PASSED, AGAINST MY OP SILINGS, THE BUSH TAX -- MY OPPOSITION, THE BUSH TAX CUT. THAT WAS THE MONTH IT WAS FIRST SIGNED INTO LAW. THREE YEARS LATER, IN JUNE OF 2004, THERE WERE JUST 131.4 MILLION JOBS. WE ACTUALLY LOST SOME JOBS. IF WE TAKE A STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THE COURSE OF THE ENTIRE BUSH PRESIDENCY FROM JANUARY 2001-JANUARY 2009, THERE WAS A DECLINE IN THE NUMBER OF PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS OF APPROXIMATELY 650,000. THAT'S OVER THE COURSE OF THE WHOLE ADMINISTRATION. IN FACT, THE ONLY NET JOB CREATION THAT OCCURRED WAS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR. NEARLY 1.75 MILLION GOVERNMENT JOBS WERE CREATED OVER THE COURSE OF THE BUSH PRESIDENCY. REVENUE AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ECONOMY, AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P., WAS 14% IN 2010. IT'S THE LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 19 50, WHEN IT DROPPED TO 14.4%. BY COMPARISON, GOVERNMENT REVENUE WAS AVERAGING ABOUT 18% OVER THE PREVIOUS 30 YEARS. SO YOU SEE UNDER BUSH POLICIES, WHICH ESSENTIALLY MY COLLEAGUES WANT TO EMULATE, RECONSTITUTE, NO JOB GROWTH AND A SIGNIFICANT DECLINE IN REVENUE. AT A TIME WHEN REVENUES TO G.D.P. IS THE LOWEST IT'S BEEN IN 60 YEARS, NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FURTHER TAX CUTS IN THE RYAN BUDGET, BUT WE'RE CERTAINLY TALKING -- MY COLLEAGUES ARE TALKING ABOUT MAINTAINING THE CURRENT TAX SYSTEM. AND, FRANKLY, THERE ARE SO MANY TAX EXPENDITURES THAT MY COLLEAGUES TALKED ABOUT THAT ARE NOT WORTHY OF RETENTION, THAT ARE LOOPHOLES THAT WE CAN, IN FACT, ELIMINATE AND WE SHOULD. SOME EXAMPLES. TAX BREAKS FOR PEOPLE WHO BREED ALPACAS, DEDUCTIONS FOR FILM AND TV PRODUCTION, FAVORABLE TAX DEPRECIATION FOR RACEHORSE OWNERS, HORSE BREEDERS, EXEMPTION FOR WOOL AND -- WOODEN PRACTICE ARROWS USED BY CHILDREN, NASCAR MOTORSPORTS RACING FACILITY TAX CREDIT, AND WITHHOLDING TAX BREAKS ON HORSE AND DOG TRACK WINNING. AND THE LIST COULD GO ON AND ON AND ON.

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  • 04:42:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR HAS USED HIS TEN MINUTES.

  • 04:43:00 PM

    MR. REED

    MR. PRESIDENT, I REQUEST UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR ONE ADDITIONAL MINUTE.

  • 04:43:06 PM

    MR. REED

    THANK THE GENTLEMAN, THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, FOR HIS DEFERENCE. WE…

    THANK THE GENTLEMAN, THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, FOR HIS DEFERENCE. WE UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE TOUGH CHOICES. THEY HAVE TO INCLUDE EXPENDITURE CUTS, AND WE'VE ALREADY STARTED WITH THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION FOR LAST YEAR. WE'LL REDUCE SPENDING SIGNIFICANTLY. BUT WE HAVE TO HAVE REVENUE ON THE TABLE. AS FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN BERNANKE SAID, A SHARP FISCAL CONSOLIDATION FOCUSED ON THE VERY NEAR TERM COULD BE SELF-DEFEATING IF IT WERE TO UNDERCUT THE STILL FRAGILE RECOVERY. WE NEED TO CREATE JOBS. WE NEED TO BALANCE DEFICIT REDUCTION WITH JOB CREATION. WE NEED TO PUT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE. AND WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEFAULT ON OUR DEBT WILL BE STAGGERING, FELT BY EVERY AMERICAN. ONE FIGURE THAT CONTINUES TO BE IMPRESSED UPON ME IS THE FACT THAT FOR EVERY 1% INCREASE IN THE INTEREST RATE OVER THE TEN-YEAR PERIOD, WE INCREASE OUR DEFICIT BY OVER A TRILLION DOLLARS. AND I THINK THE FIRST RESPONSE TO A DEFAULT WOULD BE A RISE IN INTEREST RATES THAT WE HAVE TO PAY FOR OUR DEBT. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD URGE PROGRESS ON THE EFFORTS TO HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:44:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 04:44:24 PM

    MR. KIRK

    I ASK CONSENT TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 04:44:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR IS IN MORNING BUSINESS. THE SENATOR IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:44:31 PM

    MR. KIRK

    YOU. MR. PRESIDENT, BEYOND THE DEBT LIMIT EXTENSION WHICH HAS CONSUMED…

    YOU. MR. PRESIDENT, BEYOND THE DEBT LIMIT EXTENSION WHICH HAS CONSUMED RIGHTLY THE ATTENTION OF THIS BODY, WE FACE ANOTHER CHALLENGE AND THAT IS FUNDING FOR OUR ROADS, OUR AIRPORTS, AND OUR RAILROADS. OUR BEST ESTIMATE IS THAT CURRENT NEEDS WOULD TOTAL $225 BILLION ANNUALLY. BUT REVENUE FROM THE MAIN SOURCE OF FUNDING FOR THESE PROGRAMS, THE GASOLINE TAX, ONLY TOTALS $90 BILLION. THE LAW REQUIRES BALANCE IN THAT -- IN THE TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND, AND SO HOW WOULD WE RESPOND? THERE ARE BASICALLY THREE MAJOR OPTIONS. OPTION ONE, LET FUNDING FALL. BUT THIS WOULD BE A CATASTROPHE, ESPECIALLY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY WHERE ALREADY IN MY HOME STATE OF ILLINOIS UPWARDS OF 30% OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS ARE WITHOUT WORK. OPTION TWO, KRESS INCREASE THE GAS TAX. BUT THAT IS ONE OF THE MOST REGRESSIVE TAXES THAT HITS THE WORKING POOR HARDER THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER CITIZEN IN OUR COUNTRY. AND THE SLOWDOWN IN OUR ECONOMY AS A RESULT OF A GAS TAX INCREASE WOULD PROBABLY CAUSE UNEMPLOYMENT TO GO UP AND COULD JEOPARDIZE OUR EXTREMELY FRAGILE RECOVERY. THERE IS A THIRD OPTION, BUT BEFORE I DESCRIBE THE THIRD OPTION, LET ME ASK A QUESTION. ARGUABLY, WHAT IS THE THIRD-BIGGEST THING THAT THE LINCOLN ADMINISTRATION WAS KNOWN FOR? FIRST WOULD BE THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. SECOND WOULD BE THE VICTORY IN THE CIVIL WAR. BUT WHAT'S NUMBER THREE? I WOULD ARGUE IT WAS THE 1862 TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY ACT, ENACTED IN 1862 WHEN THE LINCOLN ADMINISTRATION WAS BORROWING AS MUCH MONEY AS IT COULD FROM AS MANY CREDITORS AS POSSIBLE TO FUND THE EXPANSION OF THE UNION ARMY. WITH CREDIT ALREADY STRETCHING TO THE LIMIT -- AND DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? -- THE LINCOLN ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHED THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. WE BUILT A 2,000-MILE RAILROAD IN ONLY SIX YEARS AND CREATED 7,000 AMERICAN TOWNS, AND WE DID IT WITH ONLY $50 MILLION IN APPROPRIATIONS. HOW DID WE FUND THE REST? AND THE ANSWER WAS: THIS WAS THE ULTIMATE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP. I'M PARTICULARLY WORRIED IN THIS CONGRESS, ESPECIALLY AS IT CONSIDERS A TRANSPORTATION BILL NEXT YEAR. HAVE WE FORGOTTEN OUR OWN ECONOMIC LEGACY, ESPECIALLY FROM THE TIME THAT WE BUILT ONE OF THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN HISTORY? TO RECALL, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GRANTED 20 SQUARE MILES OF OF ALTERNATING SECTIONS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE RAILROAD FOR EVERY MILE OF TRACK THEY LAID TO THOSE RAILROADS. RAILROADS WERE ALSO GRANTED TIMBER, STONE, AND MINERAL RIGHTS IN ADDITION FOR EVERY MILE OF TRACK THEY LAID, THE RAILROADS WERE AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE A SET AMOUNT OF BONDS, LOANS TO THAT THEY RECEIVED WITH INTEREST BACK FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THIS GUARANTEED 30-YEAR BONTSDZS TO BE ISSUED AT RATE OF 6%. THIS IS ONE OF THE LARGEST DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES AND THAT'S WHY I THINK IT IS AN EXAMPLE FOR HOW WE RESPOND TO OUR TRANSPORTATION NEEDS TODAY. WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR OWN ECONOMIC LEGACY AND WE LOOK AT THE FUNDING SHORTFALL FOR NEW ROADS, NEW AIRPORTS, AND NEW RAIL, I THINK WE SHOULD RECOVER THAT LEGACY TO RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGES FOR NEXT YEAR. AND THAT'S WHY I'VE INTRODUCED THE LINCOLN LEGACY INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT ACT. THIS LEGISLATION REMOVES A NUMBER OF FEDERAL RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS, PROVIDING STATES GREATER FLEXIBILITY TO GENERATE TRANSPORTATION REVENUES AND ENHANCE ACCESS TO PRIVATE CAPITAL FOR ROAD, RAIL, AVIATION, TRANSIT, AND PORT INFRASTRUCTURE. UNDER THE LINCOLN LEGACY INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT ACT, WE COULD MOBILIZE OVER $100 BILLION FOR NEW INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT. NOW, SPECIFICALLY, THIS LEGISLATION LIFTS CAPS ON COST RECOVERY PROGRAMS FOR HIGHWAYS, IT INCENTIVIZES PARTNERSHIPS IN TRANSIT, IT REMOVES BARRIERS TO AIRPORT PRIVATIZATION, IT INCREASES RESOURCES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCE AND INNOVATION ACT, SOMETIMES CALLED TIFEA, AND MAKES IMPROVEMENTS IN THE AIRPORT REHABILITATION AND REFINANCING PROGRAM WHICH ARE BACKED BY THE HIGH-SPEED RAIL ASSOCIATION AND THE AMERICAN RAIL ASOASMTION THE LEGISLATION ALSO STANDS ON THE PREMISE THAT THE TAXPAYER SHOULD BE PROTECTED IN THESE TYPES OF ARRANGEMENTS. INDIANA SHOWED US WHAT A PROPERLY-STRUCTURED DEAL WOULD LOOK LIKE. GOVERNOR MITCH DANIELS REAPED A WINDFALL FROM THE 2006 LEASE OF THE INDIANA TOLL ROAD THAT NETTED HIS STATE $3.8 BILLION FOR NEW TRANSPORTATION UPGRADES. MOST OF THE MONEY HAS NOW BEEN REINVESTED IN HIGHWAY PROJECTS THROUGHOUT HIS STATE AND LEADERS SHREWDLY PLACED $500 MILLION IN AN INTEREST-BEARING ACCOUNT TO FUND FUTURE ROAD PROJECTS. THIS IS ONE OF THE MANY REASONS WHY THE INDIANA ECONOMY HAS GROWN AS TWICE THE RATE OF ILLINOIS ECONOMY. NOW, WE HAVE SEEN PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TAKE OFF NOT IN OUR OWN COUNTRY WHERE THEY WERE ALMOST INVENTED BUT IN OTHER COUNTRIES, ESPECIALLY BRITISH COLUMBIA, AND AUSTRALIA, WHERE THEY HAVE MOBILIZED OVER $30 BILLION FOR NEW TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE, ALMOST 20% OF THEIR TOTAL, USING THIS INNOVATIVE FINANCING MEANS. IN THESE TIMES OF DEFICIT AND DEBT, WE COULD LET AMERICA GRIND TO A HALT, WE COULD RAISE TAXES AND SOCK IT TO THE WORKING POOR, WE COULD SLOW DOWN OUR ECONOMY WITH A NEW GOVERNMENT BURDEN, OR WE COULD RECALL OUR OWN ECONOMIC LEGACY. WRITTEN BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S ADMINISTRATION ITSELF TO USE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AS A WAY OF GROWING JOBS AND INCOMES IN THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT INCREASING TAXES. I WOULD URGE THIS BODY TO REVIEW THIS LEGISLATION AS WE COME UP WITH A NEW TRANSPORTATION BILL AND TO SEE IT AS A WAY TO IMPROVE JOBS, INCOMES, AND THE OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, SO CRITICAL TO THE CROSSROADS OF THE NATION IN ILLINOIS AND DOING IT IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T HURT OUR ECONOMY OR THE WORKING POOMPLET AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD BACK.

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  • 04:51:44 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    THE SENATOR HAS 30 SECONDS REMAINING.

  • 05:01:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR HAS 30 SECONDS REMAINING.

  • 05:01:09 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    ANY OTHER SENATOR WAITING? I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE…

    ANY OTHER SENATOR WAITING? I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE PERMITTED TO CONTINUE FOR THREE ADDITIONAL MINUTES.

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  • 05:01:18 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER. NOW, WHAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DONE IS WALK OUT OF…

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER. NOW, WHAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DONE IS WALK OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS AND SAY THAT THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGE IF IT INCLUDES REVENUE MEASURES. LET'S CALL THIS FOR WHAT IT IS. IF REPUBLICANS REFUSE TO CONSIDER COMPROMISE SOLUTION, THEY ARE THREATENING ALL OF US, THE WHOLE COUNTRY, WITH ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE. IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE SKY-HIGH INCOME OF MILLIONAIRE HEDGE FUND MANAGERS AND OFFSHORE TAX ASROEURDZ. THOSE ARE -- AVOIDERS. THOERS TWO OF THE LOOPHOLES, TWO OF MANY LOOPHOLES THAT WE HAVE IDENTIFIED THAT SHOULD BE CLOSED THAT THE REPUBLICANS REFUSE TO CONSIDER CLOSING. WHAT THEY'RE DOING, WE SHOULD MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT THIS, IS HOLDING THE WELL-BEING OF ALL AMERICANS HOSTAGE FOR THE TAX BREAKS OF THE WEALTHY FEW. MR. PRESIDENT, WE ALL AGREE WE MUST ACT TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT. WE'VE ACKNOWLEDGED AS DEMOCRATS THE NEED FOR SPENDING CUTS, EVEN PAINFUL CUTS, THE PROGRAMS THAT WE SUPPORT. AND THAT IS WHY I AM SO TROUBLED BY THE UTTER REFUSAL OF REPUBLICANS TO CONSIDER EVEN MODEST COMPROMISES IN THE DIRECTION OF NEW REVENUE. THERE IS AN OVERWHELMING CONSENSUS AMONG BUDGET EXPERTS THAT WE CANNOT ACHIEVE SERIOUS DEFICIT REDUCTION WITH SPENDING CUTS ALONE. THERE IS AN OVERWHELMING CONSENSUS AMONG ECONOMISTS THAT DRASTIC CUTS IN FEDERAL OUTLAYS WILL THREATEN OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY JUST AS CUTS HAVE THROTTLED RECOVERY IN OTHER NATIONS. DESPITE THE FANTASIES OF SOME IN CONGRESS, IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT FAILURE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING WILL DO ININ -- HARM TO RECOVERY IN THE WORLD. DRAWING LINES IN THE SAND AS THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DONE AND REFUSING TO COMPROMISE BY WALKING OUT HAVE NO PLACE IN THE SITUATION THAT WE FACE. I URGE THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP TO ABANDON THEIR UNCOMPROMISING POSITION, TO EMBRACE SOLUTIONS TO THE DEFICIT, TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE ALL MUST SACRIFICE TO ADDRESS THE DEFICIT PROBLEM. THE WELL-BEING OF ALL OF US, OF ALL AMERICANS SHOULD NOT BE HELD CAPTIVE IN THE SERVICE OF THE MOST FORTUNATE FEW. MR. PRESIDENT, I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:03:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 05:03:59 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:10:56 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I ASK CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 05:11:00 PM

    MR. DURBIN

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

  • 05:11:04 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, IF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, IF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE DEBATE ON THE SENATE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON, THEY UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S FOCUSED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ON THE FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT AND WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT. IT'S A LEGITIMATE QUESTION AND A TIMELY QUESTION, BECAUSE WE ARE NOW IN NEGOTIATIONS AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND LEADERS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE TO TRY TO FIND SOME WAY THROUGH OUR IMPASSE. THE CHALLENGE IS TO FIND A WAY TO REDUCE AMERICA'S DEFICIT AND AT THE END OF THE DAY TO EXTEND OUR DEBT CEILING. THE DEBT CEILING HAS A DEADLINE OF AUGUST 2. WE HAVE NEVER IN OUR HISTORY FAILED TO EXTEND OUR DEBT CEILING. TO FAIL TO DO SO WOULD BE THE EQUIVALENT OF DEFAULTING ON A MORTGAGE PAYMENT. AND OF COURSE WE KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES TO ANY HOME OR FAMILY IF THAT OCCURS. YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR CREDIT RATING IS NOT GOING TO BE THE BEST AFTER YOU'VE DEFAULTED. THE SAME THING WOULD BE TRUE WITH AMERICA. YOU ALSO MAY FIND THE NEXT TIME YOU NEED A MORTGAGE, THAT PARTICULAR BANK MAY NOT WANT TO LEND TO YOU AGAIN. THE SAME THING IS TRUE WITH AMERICA. AND IT HAS A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOUR LIFESTYLE. ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU'RE IN A SUSPECT CLASS AND IT ISN'T AS EASY TO BORROW A MONEY TO BUY A CAR OR MAKE SOME OTHER PURCHASE. THAT'S THE RISK WE ARE RUNNING AT THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE LEVEL TWHE COMES TO THIS -- WHEN IT COMES TO THIS DEBT CEILING VOTE ON AUGUST 2. WE HAVE NEVER -- UNDERLINE THE WORD "NEVER" DEFAULTED ON A DEBT CEILING EXTENSION IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND THAT'S THE REASON WHY THE SECURITIES AND BONDS AND STOCKS THAT ARE SOLD IN THIS COUNTRY ENJOY A FINANCIAL REPUTATION BETTER THAN MOST OF THE WORLD. THE UNITED STATES IS POWERFUL, BIG, AND TRUSTWORTHY. WE'RE GOING TO LOSE THAT LAST WORD, "TRUSTWORTHY." IF WE DEFAULT ON THE DEBT CEILING. THAT'S WHAT WE FACE ON AUGUST 2. THERE IS A GROUP CALLED THE BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER AND THEY HAVE SPELLED OUT IN SPECIFIC TERMS WHAT IT WOULD MEAN IF WE END UP IN DEFAULT, AND IT'S PRETTY GRIM. I HAVE CHARTS HERE THAT TALK ABOUT WHAT WE WOULD FACE IF WE DEFAULTED ON THE DEBT CEILING EXTENSION ON AUGUST 2. THE REVENUES FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST IF WE DEFAULT WILL BE $12 BILLION IN THE UNITED STATES, AND THE BILLS DUE ON AUGUST 3 WILL BE $32 BILLION. THE FIRST DAY WE WILL BE $20 BILLION IN THE RED, WHICH MEANS CHOICES WILL HAVE TO BE MADE IF WE FAIL TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING. AND THEY'RE HARD CHOICES. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THOSE CHOICES THAT WE'D HAVE TO FACE IF WE DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY OUR BILLS. WHICH OF THESE DON'T GET PAID IF CONGRESS DOESN'T RAISE THE DEBT CEILING? SOCIAL SECURITY? MEDICARE? MEDICAID? VETERANS BENEFITS? THOSE FIRMS THAT ARE SUPPORTING OUR WAR IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN? I.R.S. REFUNDS TO INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES? ALL OF THESE WOULD HAVE TO BE BROUGHT INTO QUESTION BECAUSE WE CANNOT PAY THEM ALL IF WE FAIL TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING. WELL, THIS GROUP, THIS BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER, SAID LET'S CONSIDER ONE OF THE OPTIONS. LET'S PROTECT THE BIGGEST PROGRAMS. LET'S PAY INTEREST ON AMERICA'S DEBT SO WE DON'T HAVE ANY FURTHER DEFAULT. LET'S OF COURSE PAY SOCIAL SECURITY. MANY FOLKS HAVE NO OTHER SOURCE OF INCOME. WE BETTER PAY MEDICARE AND MEDICAID BECAUSE HOSPITALS AND DOCTORS ACROSS AMERICA ARE TAKING CARE OF SICK PEOPLE WHO ARE ELDERLY AND POOR. WE BETTER PAY THOSE DEFENSE FIRMS BECAUSE IF THEY WITHDRAW THEIR SERVICES, IT COULD ENDANGER OUR TROOPS, AND WE'D BETTER PAY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BECAUSE FOR THESE FAMILIES THERE'S NO OTHER SOURCE OF INCOME. SO IF WE JUST PAY THOSE, THE ONES I JUST LISTED, WE WOULD BE UNABLE TO PAY THE SALARIES OF THOSE IN ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE WE'D BE UNABLE TO PAY VETERANS BENEFITS. WE'D BE UNTABLE TO KEEP THE COURTS -- UNABLE TO PAY THE F.B.I. WE COULDN'T PAY FOR EDUCATION AND VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING ELSE IN GOVERNMENT. WHAT WOULD THAT INCLUDE? AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS. THE GUARDS AT FEDERAL PRISONS. IF YOU THINK THAT WHAT I'M DESCRIBING HERE IS JUST A SCARE TACTIC, IT'S NOT. IT'S THE REALITY OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DEFAULT, AND IT'S A REALITY THAT'S BEING IGNORED BY MANY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. IN FACT, A PUBLICATION, A FRENCH PUBLICATION CALLED THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER, WHICH IS A VERY CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN PUBLICATION TODAY SAID DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, DEFAULT ON THE DEBT CEILING, WE CAN FIGURE OUT A WAY THROUGH THIS. I'M SORRY, BUT THE REALITY OF THE CHOICES FACING US IS THAT IF WE CHOOSE NOT TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING, THEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE NOTHING BUT TERRIBLE CHOICES. HERE IS ANOTHER SCENARIO, INCIDENTALLY, IF YOU THOUGHT THE FIRST ONE WAS STARK. LET'S ASSUME THAT WE WANT TO PROTECT THE MOST VULNERABLE IN AMERICA WHEN IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST WE HAVE $170 BILLION IN INCOME AND $300 BILLION IN BILLS, SO WE PAY INTEREST ON THE DEBT, SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, VETERANS, FOOD LIKE FOOD STAMPS, HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE POOR, UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND EDUCATION FOR THE KIDS. UNPAID WOULD BE THE DEFENSE FIRMS AGAIN. THOSE MEN AND WOMEN SERVING IN OUR MILITARY, EVEN THOSE IN COMBAT, THE F.B.I., THE COURTS AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN GOVERNMENT. THE OPTIONS ARE GRIM AND REAL. I HAVE HEARD MY COLLEAGUES ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY AND THEY ARE UPSET. THEY ARE UPSET AT A SPEECH GIVEN BY THE PRESIDENT YESTERDAY. WELL, THE PRESIDENT UNDERSTANDS THE GRAVITY OF THE DECISION THAT'S BEFORE US. THE PRESIDENT HAS URGED MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO GET BUSY AND HELP TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. I THINK HE HAS A RIGHT TO BE UPSET TO SOME EXTENT AND IMPATIENT. MR. PRESIDENT, IT WAS TWO WEEKS AGO THAT WE HAD A NEGOTIATION UNDER WAY WITH VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN, BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATION. DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS FROM THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE. IT FELL APART WHEN CONGRESSMAN CANTOR, ERIC CANTOR, THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER WALKED OUT AND ANNOUNCED PUBLICLY I'M NO LONGER PART OF THIS CONVERSATION, I THINK WE HAVE TO STOP THIS NEGOTIATION, THIS BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATION. I'M HANDING IT OVER TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, JOHN BOEHNER, HE CAN TALK TO THE PRESIDENT. NOW, THAT, TO ME, WAS THE HEIGHT OF IRRESPONSIBILITY. IF YOU'RE GIVEN A RESPONSIBILITY TO SIT IN THOSE SESSIONS, TO TRY TO SPARE THE UNITED STATES FROM THIS TERRIBLE OUTCOME, PICKING UP YOUR MARBLES AND GOING HOME IS NOT A GOOD OPTION. EVEN IF YOU HAND IT OVER TO YOUR BOSS, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE. WHAT IT DID WAS TO BREAK DOWN THOSE BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATIONS. WHAT WE THOUGHT MIGHT LEAD TO A SOLUTION HAS FALLEN APART WHEN THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER WALKED OUT. NOW THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO PICK UP THE PIECES AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AND MOVE US TOWARD A SOLUTION. IF HE WAS IMPATIENT ABOUT IT YESTERDAY, HE HAS A RIGHT TO BE. ONE OF THE VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS WE FACE IS THIS. IF WE WANT TO DEAL WITH THIS DEFICIT IN REAL TERMS, MAKE A REAL IMPACT ON IT, WE HAVE GOT TO HAVE MORE BIPARTISAN COOPERATION. THAT'S A CLICHE AROUND HERE BUT IT'S A FACT. I WAS ON THE PRESIDENT'S DEFICIT COMMISSION, THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION. I SAT THERE FOR ALMOST TEN MONTHS AND I LISTENED TO EVERYTHING. I TRIED TO LEARN AS BEST I COULD WHAT WE'RE FACING. AT THE END OF THE DAY, I VOTED FOR THE COMMISSION REPORT. 11 OUT OF 18 OF US DID, A BIPARTISAN VOTE. AND IT WAS TOUGH AND IT WASN'T EASY AND THERE WERE PARTS OF IT THAT I HATED AS A DEMOCRAT, AND YET I KNEW THAT IF WE WERE GOING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO DO IT. WE HAD TO SAY ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE YOU HAVE TO STEP UP WITH US AND FIND WAYS TO BRING REVENUE TO OUR GOVERNMENT. MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY WE ARE BRINGING IN 14% OF OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT IN FEDERAL REVENUE, FEDERAL TAX RECEIPTS. GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT IS THE SUM TOTAL OF OUR ECONOMY, ALL THE PRODUCTION OF GOODS AND SERVICES. 14% OF IT COMES IN IN FEDERAL REVENUE, 24% GOES OUT IN FEDERAL PAYMENTS. SPENDING. THAT 10% DIFFERENCE EQUALS THE ANNUAL DEFICIT. JUST TEN YEARS AGO, WE WERE IN BALANCE. WHEN PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON LEFT OFFICE, THE FEDERAL BUDGET WAS BALANCED, JUST TEN YEARS AGO. AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME, TEN YEARS AGO, THE NATIONAL DEBT, THE NET NATIONAL DEBT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON THROUGH WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON'S EIGHT YEARS WAS $5 TRILLION. EIGHT YEARS LATER WHEN PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH LEFT OFFICE, THE NATIONAL DEBT HAD GROWN FROM FROM $5 TRILLION TO TO $11 TRILLION. MORE THAN DOUBLED IN AN EIGHT-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME. YOU ASK YOURSELF HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN IN EIGHT YEARS THAT WE COULD FALL SO DEEPLY INTO DEBT. THERE ARE THREE BASIC REASONS IT HAPPENED. WE FOUGHT TWO WARS AND DIDN'T PAY FOR THEM SO THE SPENCE OF THOSE WARS WAS ADDED DIRECTLY TO OUR NATIONAL DEBT. THE PRESIDENT'S ECONOMIC THEORY WAS THE BEST WAY TO MOVE THE ECONOMY WAS FOR US TO GIVE TREKS TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA, AND HE DID IT IN THE MIDST OF A WAR, SOMETHING NO PRESIDENT HAD EVER DONE, WHICH WENT DIRECTLY ADDED TO THE DEBT. AND HE SIGNED INTO LAW PROGRAMS THAT WEREN'T PAID FOR, EXPENSIVE PROGRAMS. AND SO WE ENDED UP WITH AN AN $11 TRILLION DEBT FACING THE NEW PRESIDENT, THEN-PRESIDENT OBAMA BEING SWORN IN. AND A FAILED ECONOMIC POLICY WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS OUT OF WORK AND LOSING JOBS BY THE DAY. THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENT INHERITED. NOW HE'S TRIED TO RIGHT THE SHIP AND MOVE US FORWARD AND IT'S BEEN HARD AND IT'S BEEN SLOW AND IT'S BEEN FRUSTRATING. I THINK HE'S DONE HIS BEST AND I THINK HE'S DONE A GOOD JOB AT IT. FIRST HE PUT IN A STIMULUS PACKAGE OF ABOUT $800 BILLION, AND AS THE PRESIDENT KNOWS, AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER HERE KNOWS, 40% OF THAT WAS TAX CUTS, TAX CUTS TO FAMILIES ACROSS AMERICA TO HELP THEM OUT OF THE RECESSION. ANOTHER 25% OF IT WENT TO BUILDING ROADS AND BRIDGES AND HIGHWAYS AND HIGH-SPEED RAIL, INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WILL SERVE AMERICA FOR GENERATIONS. AND THE REMAINDER OF THAT WENT INTO HELPING STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS GET THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES. WE SENT EXTRA MONEY TO STATES BECAUSE WE KNEW A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE OUT OF WORK, THEY WOULD NEED UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS, THEY WOULD NEED HELP TO PAY THEIR HOSPITAL BILLS. WE PUT THAT MONEY INTO A STIMULUS PACKAGE TO STOP WHAT WAS A HEMORRHAGING IN THIS ECONOMY, AND I THINK IT WORKED TO SLOW DOWN THE DECLINE. IT DID NOT TURN IT AROUND AS QUICKLY AS WE HAD LIKED. THEN LAST DECEMBER, THE PRESIDENT SAID ON A BIPARTISAN BASIL AGREE WITH THE REPUBLICANS TO EXTEND ALL TAX CUTS FOR EVERYBODY, HIGHEST INCOME TO LOWEST INCOME AND EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT PAYMENTS, AND WE PASSED THAT AS WELL. THE PRESIDENT HAS TRIED, AND WE ARE COMING FORWARD OUT OF THE RECESSION EVER SO SLOWLY. NOW WE RUN THE VERY RISK OF NOT EXTENDING THE DEBT CEILING AND PLUNGING OURSELVES BACK INTO A RECESSION EVEN WORSE THAN WHERE WE STARTED. SO IS THE PRESIDENT IMPATIENT? YOU BET HE IS. IMPATIENT TO THE POINT WHERE HE INVITED CONGRESS TO MAYBE COME TO WORK NEXT WEEK. MANY OF US HAD FELT THAT WE COULD SPEND A FEW DAYS BACK HOME. I WAS GOING TO SPEND THE TIME AFTER THE FOURTH OF JULY TRAVELING AROUND MY STATE. IT'S A BIG STATE. BUT I GUESS IT'S CLEAR NOW THAT MY JOB IS TO BE HERE, AND I WILL BE, ALONG WITH OTHER MEMBERS. AND THE HOUSE WILL BE IN SESSION. WE'RE IN THE STRANGE PERIOD OF TIME HERE WHERE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMES AND GOES EVEN WHEN THE SENATE IS IN SESSION, SO WE KIND OF SEE EACH OTHER IN PASSING. WELL, WE'LL BOTH BE TOGETHER NEXT WEEK, AND I HOPE WE WILL STAY HERE AND GET THIS JOB DONE. THE HOUSE IS SCHEDULED TO GO INTO ANOTHER RECESS JULY 17-23. I CERTAINLY HOPE THEY DON'T DO THAT. THEY BETTER STAY IN TOWN. LET'S GET THIS DONE BEFORE AUGUST 2. MR. PRESIDENT, WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM FACING US WITH JOB CREATION IN THIS COUNTRY. THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. AND I THINK WE CAN MOVE FORWARD ON THIS AS LONG AS WE UNDERSTAND SOME BASICS. THE KEY TO CREATING JOBS IN AMERICA IS AN EXPANDING, POSITIVE ECONOMY. IT'S A FEELING BY PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD THAT WE ARE MOVING FORWARD. AND SADLY, PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO GET THAT FEELING UNLESS WE GET OUR ACT TOGETHER IN WASHINGTON. IT MEANS DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS WORKING TOGETHER. I HAVE TRIED FOR ABOUT FIVE OR SIX MONTHS NOW WITH A GROUP OF -- BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS TO COME UP WITH A WAY TO DO THIS, AND UNFORTUNATELY ONE OF THE REPUBLICAN SENATORS OF OKLAHOMA WALKED AWAY FROM THAT CONVERSATION AS WELL. BUT WE STILL HAVE A JOB AHEAD OF US, AND IT'S ONE THAT WE OUGHT TO FACE. I SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION IS THE RIGHT PARADIGM, THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR US IN TERMS OF WHERE OUR NATION, OUR BUDGET SHOULD GO. IT CALLS FOR SOME CHANGES MANY DEMOCRATS WILL FIND PAINFUL AND CHANGES REPUBLICANS WILL HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO ACCEPT AS WELL, BUT THOSE ARE THE CHANGES THAT WILL BE NEEDED. IF WE FAIL TO INCLUDE REVENUE IN THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT REDUCING THE DEBT, IF IT'S JUST SPENDING CUTS, IT CAN ONLY GO SO FAR. IF WE INCLUDE REVENUE, WE CAN TALK ABOUT A MUCH BIGGER PACKAGE OF DEFICIT REDUCTION, MUCH MORE CREDIBLE, MORE POSITIVE IMPACT. DURING THE COURSE OF THE LAST FEW DAYS, WE HAVE TRIED TO IDENTIFY ON THE FLOOR SOME PARTS OF THE TAX CODE THAT CAN BE CHANGED TO SAVE MONEY FOR OUR ECONOMY. EACH YEAR, OUR TAX CODE, THAT BODY OF LAWS RELATING TO TAXES IN AMERICA PROVIDES DEDUCTIONS AND CREDITS AND EXCLUSIONS AND SPECIAL TREATMENT THAT SPARES INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES FROM PAYING $1.1 TRILLION IN TAXES EACH YEAR. IT INCLUDES SUCH THINGS AS THE EMPLOYERS EXCLUSION OF HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS, MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTIONS, CHARITABLE DEDUCTIONS, STATE AND LOCAL TAX PAYMENTS, ALL OF THESE THINGS AND MANY OTHERS ARE INCLUDED IN THAT TAX CODE. IT IS RARE THAT WE OPEN THAT TAX CODE AND ASK THE QUESTION IS THIS NEEDED? IN THE LAST FEW DAYS, WE HAVE COME TO THE FLOOR AND TALKED ABOUT TAX SUBSIDIES AND TACK BREAKS THAT AREN'T NEEDED, THAT FRANKLY HAVE TO BE SACRIFICED IN ORDER TO GET THIS ECONOMY BACK ON ITS FEET. WE TALKED ABOUT ONE THAT IS INCREDIBLE. IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF THIS YEAR, EXXONMOBIL DECLARED PROFITS OF $10 BILLION, ONE OF THE MOST PROFITABLE QUARTERS IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN BUSINESS, AND WE AS TAXPAYERS CONTINUE TO SUBSIDIZE EXXONMOBIL. WHY? THEY'RE DOING QUITE WELL. AND REMEMBER THE LAST TIME YOU FILLED YOUR TANK WITH GAS? IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE THEY ARE SPARING US WHEN IT COMES TO RAISING THE PRICE OF A GALLON OF GAS. SO I THINK THAT SUBSIDY SHOULD GO. SUBSIDIES TO THE OIL AND GAS COMPANIES AT THIS MOMENT IN HISTORY ARE REALLY UNACCEPTABLE. WE HAVE A THRIVING, PROFITABLE INDUSTRY THAT DOES NOT NEED A FEDERAL TAX CRUNCH. TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE OTHER ONES WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT AS WELL. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU KNOW WE PROVIDE TAX SUBSIDIES FOR AMERICAN BUSINESSES THAT WANT TO SHIP THEIR JOBS OVERSEAS? WE CALL IT THE DEFERRAL OF INCOME. IT SAYS IF YOU WANT TO MOVE YOUR BUSINESS OVERSEAS, AND GENERAL RIGHT A PROFIT, YOU CAN HANG ONTO THAT MONEY, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY TAXES ON IT. IT'S DEFERAL OF TAXES. IT'S A TAX BREAK FOR A COMPANY THAT DECIDED TO PICK UP AND MOVE SOMEPLACE ELSE. WHY? WHY WOULD WE CREATE A TAX INCENTIVE TO DO THAT? IF A COMPANY DECIDES THAT'S THE WAY TO MAKE A PROFIT, SO BE IT. I'M SORRY THEY ARE LEAVING AMERICA, BUT WE SHOULDN'T VOLUNTEER TO SUBSIDIZE THAT DECISION THAT COST GOOD-PAYING JOBS IN OUR COUNTRY. AND THERE ARE A VARIETY OF OTHER SMALLER TAX SUBSIDIES, BUT THOSE WE OUGHT TO RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT, THAT'S FOR SURE. TAX SUBSIDIES FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO OWN A YACHT. WE WANT A GIVE A TAX SUBSIDY FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO OWN A JET PLANE, PEOPLE WHO ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE THOROUGHBRED HORSES. MOST OF THE FOLKS, THE OWNERS THAT STAND AT THE WINNER'S CIRCLE AT THESE RACES DON'T LOOK LIKE REGULAR WORKING STIFFS. THEY LOOK LIKE FOLKS THAT ARE DOING PRETTY WELL IN LIFE. WHY IS THE TAX CODE SUBSIDIZING THAT PARTICULAR INDUSTRY? I THINK IT'S A VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT QUESTION. WHY DON'T WE PUT THESE THINGS ON THE TABLE? WHY DON'T WE ASK OURSELVES WHETHER AT A TIME OF DEFICIT WHEN WE REALLY NEED TO NOT ONLY REDUCE SPENDING BUT COME UP WITH REVENUE THAT THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD UNDER OUR TAX CODE. BOWLES-SIMPSON WENT A STEP FURTHER AND SAID IF YOU START MAKING SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES AND REDUCING THE TAX EXPENDITURES, DEDUCTIONS AND CREDITS, YOU CAN ACTUALLY REDUCE MARGINAL INCOME TAX RATES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES. I THINK THAT'S A VALUABLE THING TO LOOK AT. WE DON'T HAVE TO ELIMINATE EVERYTHING IN THE TAX CODE, BUT MAKING SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES COULD RESULT IN A FAIRER, MORE COMPREHENSIBLE TAX SYSTEM. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME SAY ONE OTHER THING THAT I THINK IS GUIDING ME IN THIS DEBATE AND I THINK YOU AS WELL. I THINK ABOUT AN AMERICA, A NATION OF VALUES THAT HAS ALWAYS SAID, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE GOT TO CARE FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY. SOME OF THESE PEOPLE THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN WERE BORN WITH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL SHORTCOMES AND LIMITATIONS. SOME OF THEM ARE DEALING WITH ILLNESSES THAT WE WOULDN'T WISH ON ANYONE. MANY COME FROM AN IMPOVERISHED BACKGROUND AND ARE STRUGGLING TO JUST MAKE DO WITH THE BASICS IN LIFE. I FEEL AT THE END OF THE DAY WE CAN MAKE THIS ECONOMY MOVE FORWARD AND WE COULD DO IT IN A SENSIBLE AND HUMANE WAY. WE CAN PROTECT THE BASIC SAFETY NET. ONE OF THE ELEMENTS IN THAT SAFETY NET IS MEDICAID. YESTERDAY, I HAD A MEETING WITH SOME PEOPLE I RESPECT VERY MUCH. THEY REPRESENTED THE HEADS OF CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES, EVEN FROM YOUR STATE WHO CAME IN TO SEE ME. MY FAMILY HAS RELIED ON THOSE CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND IN CHICAGO AND OTHER PLACES, AND THANK GOODNESS THEY'RE THERE. I DON'T KNOW OF MORE CARING, COMPETENT PROFESSIONALS IN AMERICA. AND MORE THAN MOST HOSPITALS, CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS BRING IN PATIENTS ON MEDICAID. THESE ARE PATIENTS THAT AREN'T FROM FAMILIES THAT ARE WEALTHY. THEY AREN'T FROM FAMILIES THAT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES, PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES. NO, BY AND LARGE, THEY ARE FAMILIES, THE POOREST FAMILIES. ONE-THIRD OF THE CHILDREN IN AMERICA ARE COVERED BY MEDICAID, ONE-THIRD. THAT'S WHERE THEY GET THEIR HEALTH CARE. AND IF WE TALK ABOUT CUTTING BACK ON MEDICAID, THIS PROGRAM FOR LOW-INCOME AND DISABLED PEOPLE, THOSE CHILDREN WILL BE UNFORTUNATE VICTIMS IF THAT BUDGET DISCUSSION. ALSO A LARGE PART OF MEDICAID GOES FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE WHO HAVE SPENT THEIR LIFE SAVINGS AND ARE LIVING THEIR LAST YEARS IN NURSING HOMES AND CONVALESCENT CENTERS. MEDICAID PAYS THAT. CUTBACKS IN MEDICAID RUN THE REAL RISK OF PUSHING THOSE PEOPLE OUT OF QUALITY CARE INTO LOWER-QUALITY CARE OR THE STREETS. IS THAT WHAT AMERICA'S ALL ABOUT? WOULD WE PRESERVE A TAX BREAK FOR A PERSON WHO OWNS THOROUGH AUTHOR THOROUGHBREAD HORSES AND THEN SAY THAT ELDERLY LADY NEEDS TO NURSING HOME SHE'S BEEN IN. WOULD WE PRESERVE THE TAX BREAK FOR SOMEONE WHO OWNS A YAWT AND SAY UNFORTUNATELY WE WON'T BE ABLE TO COVER THE COST FOR A NEEDED SURGERY FOR A POOR CHILD AT A CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL IN CHICAGO? IF THAT SOUNDS LIKE AN EXAGGERATION, IT'S NOT. THAT'S WHAT THIS DEBATE COMES TO. WHETHER OR NOT WE WANT TO DEFEND TAX BREAKS FOR THE WELL-OFF PEOPLE IN AMERICA AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MOST VULNERABLE. WE'RE BETTER THAN THAT. AND MOST WELL-OFF PEOPLE THAT I KNOW -- AND I HAVE FRIENDS WHO ARE DOING VERY WELL IN LIFE -- WOULD NOT BE AFRAID TO PAY A LITTLE BIT MORE IN TAXES TO MAKE SURE AMERICA CONTINUES TO MOVE FORWARD. THEY FEEL BLESSED TO BE A PART OF THIS COUNTRY AND BLESSED TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS COUNTRY, AND THEY DON'T RESENT THE SUGGESTION THAT THEY NEED TO PAY A LITTLE BIT MORE WHEN TIMES ARE DIFFICULT. THEY'RE CERTAINLY PREPARED TO SACRIFICE. BUT SOME COME TO THE FLOOR HERE AND THINK IT IS AN OUTRAGE TO ASK OIL COMPANIES NOT TO TAKE A SUBSIDY IN THEIR MOST PROFITABLE YEAR. THEY THINK IT'S AN OUTRAGE TO ASK THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA TO GIVE UP A TAX BREAK ON A JET THAT THEY HAPPEN TO OWN AND USE FOR PERSONAL PURPOSES OR BUSINESS PURPOSES. I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT AMERICA'S ABOUT AND I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD BE ABOUT. LET'S COME TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN FASHION, MAKE THE SPENDING CUTS WHICH NEED TO BE MADE BOTH ON THE DEFENSE SAID AND THE NON-DEFENSE SIDE, THEN DEAL WITH REVENUE SOURCES, EITHER MAKING CERTAIN THAT THOSE IN THE HIGHEST INCOME CATEGORIES ARE PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE OF TAXES OR AT LEAST DON'T RECEIVE THE CURRENT TAX SUBSIDIES THAT ARE GOING THEIR WAY AND LET'S DEAL WITH THE REALITY OF THIS BUDGET DEFICIT. TIME'S AWASTING. IF WE WAIT UNTIL AUGUST 1 TO GET THIS DONE, IT MAY BE TOO LATE. AT SOME POINT IF WE'RE NOT CAREFUL, 30 BOND DEALERS SOMEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES OR SOME OTHER COUNTRY MAY START THIS BALL ROLLING BEFORE WE DO, AND IF THEY DO, QUESTIONING THE CREDIT REPUTATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, INTEREST RATES WILL START MOVING UP AND WE WON'T BE ABLE TO MOVE FAST ENOUGH TO STOP IT. THAT'S WHY THE PRESIDENT WAS IMPATIENT YESTERDAY. THAT'S WHY WE SHOULD BE IN SESSION THIS NEXT WEEK, AND THAT'S WHY WE NEED TO ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND STOP WALKING OUT OF MEETINGS ON BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS AND STAY IN THE ROOM UNTIL WE GET THE JOB DONE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:33:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: FURTHER CALLING OF THE ROLL BE…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: FURTHER CALLING OF THE ROLL BE DISPENSED WITH WITH.

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  • 05:34:01 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:42:46 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    PRESIDENT, I WANT TO BE SURE WHERE WE ARE. NOW, ARE WE IN MORNING BUSINESS…

    PRESIDENT, I WANT TO BE SURE WHERE WE ARE. NOW, ARE WE IN MORNING BUSINESS AT THIS POINT IN TIME?

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  • 05:42:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I BELIEVE SO, YES.

  • 05:43:03 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    ASK THAT ONLY SO I HAVE SOME RECOGNITION OF WHAT THE TIME AVAILABILITY IS.…

    ASK THAT ONLY SO I HAVE SOME RECOGNITION OF WHAT THE TIME AVAILABILITY IS. I DON'T PLAN TO TAKE TOO LONG.

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  • 05:43:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE TEN-MINUTE GRANTS.

  • 05:43:17 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WONDER WHAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THINKS ABOUT…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WONDER WHAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THINKS ABOUT WHEN THEY SEE AN EMPTY CHAMBER, HEAR TALK, HEAR MUTTERINGS ABOUT CLASS WARFARE. AND WHAT PUZZLES ME IS WHICH CLASS IS MAKING WAR AGAINST WHICH CLASS AND WHERE ARE THE CASUALTIES? WELL, AS WE LOOK AROUND, I ASK THE QUESTION: ARE WE PICKING ON THE POOR, RICH FOLK, ON THOSE WITH WEALTH, ABUNDANT WEALTH, THOSE WHO EARN OVER A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR, THOSE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BRING THEIR TALENT, THEIR KNOWLEDGE, THEIR ABILITY TO THE WORLD'S MOST IMPORTANT STAGE? ARE THEY IMMUNE FROM TAKING A BIT PART ON THE STAGE OF HUMAN CONCERNS ONCE IN AWHILE BECAUSE THEY'RE BEING ASKED TO MAKE AN EXTRA CONTRIBUTION TO THE WELL-BEING OF OUR COUNTRY? I DON'T THINK SO. MR. PRESIDENT, I'M ONE OF THOSE FORTUNATE, LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO SUCCEED BECAUSE OF A GOVERNMENT ACTION. AND FEW OF US, CERTAINLY NOT ME, WHO SERVED IN THE MILITARY ACHIEVED THE STATUS OF A HERO LIKE OUR FRIEND, DAN INOUYE, WHO SACRIFICED SO GREATLY FOR HIS COUNTRY THAT HE HAS THE HIGHEST MEDAL AWARDED FOR BRAVERY THAT AMERICA CAN GIVE. BUT BE IMU BECAUSE I BUT, BECAUSE DID I MY DIEWRKTS I DID MY DUTY AND WAS AWARDED WITH THE G.I. BILL PAYING MY COLLEGE EDUCATION AND EVEN GIVING KNEE A LITTLE STIPEND -- GIVING ME A LITTLE STIPEND WITH THAT. TURNED MY LIFE AROUND. IT ENABLED ME TO BE ONE OF THREE FOUNDERS OF A COMPANY CALLED A.D.P., A COMPANY TODAY EMPLOYING 45,000 PEOPLE -- 45,000 PEOPLE. OUR PARENTS WERE POOR. WE WORRIED ABOUT MEALS ON THE TABLE. WE COULDN'T AFFORD THE RIGHT KIND OF CLEG CLOTHING. WE COULDN'T AFFORD A BICYCLE THAT MY MOTHER BOUGHT ME AT A BIRTHDAY. MY FATHER ARGUED WITH HER AND HAD IT TAKEN BACK BECAUSE IT WAS $1 A WEEK AND WE COULDN'T AFFORD T45,000 PEOPLE, MR. PRESIDENT. ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES. THE LONGEST RECORD OF ANY COMPANY -- AND I DON'T WANT TO DWELL ON THIS -- ONE OF THE COMPANIES WITH THE LONGEST GROWTH RECORDS IN PROFITS, 10% EACH AND EVERY YEAR FOR 42 YEARS IN A ROW. KID FROM THE BACK OF A CANDY STORE. SO I LOOK AT OUR CANED LOOK AT WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO, AND IT'S HARD TO FIGURE OUT. WHAT HAPPENED? WHY ARE WE LOOKING AT THESE DRASTIC CUTS IN PROGRAMS THAT CAN HELP PEOPLE? WHY ARE WE ENGAGED -- NOT ENGAGED IN WAYS TO HELP PEOPLE, TO IT INTO PROVIDE HELP AND ASSISTANCE, TO HELP THEM GET ALONG IN LIFE AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE OVER THE MAIN REINS OF LEADERSHIP IN THE FUTURE? OUR FRIENDS ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE WILLING TO END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT, DECIMATING ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY? THEY ARE WILLING TO UNRAVEL THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR NATION AND CRITICAL SERVICES THAT HELP FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO GIVE THEIR KIDS A DECENT EDUCATION, GOOD HEALTH, A FUTURE, A JOB OPPORTUNITY. WHAT IS IT THAT THEY WANT TO TAKE AWAY WITH THESE CUTS, MR. PRESIDENT? I CAN TELL YOU, AS A BUSINESSMAN FOR A LONG TIME -- 30 YEARS BEFORE I GOT HERE, AND I'M ACCUSTOMED TO LOOK THE AT BALANCE SHEETS ANT FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, AND ONE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE AN ACCOUNTANT OR AN EXECUTIVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT ON A FINANCIAL STATEMENT YOU HAVE TWO PARTS, TWO SIGNIFICANT PARTS. ONE IS EXPENSES, COSTS. THE OTHER, MR. PRESIDENT, ARE REVENUES -- REVENUES. THAT'S THE INCOME THAT YOU HAVE TO GET IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO PAY THE EXPENSES. NOW, IF ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS JUST CUT EXPENSES, THEN YOU'RE CUTTING IN THE SINEW AND THE FLESH AND THERE ISN'T MUCH LEFT. INSTEAD OF SAYING, OKAY, HERE'S -- HERE'S WHAT OUGHT TO HAPPEN: THOSE WHO ARE THE WEALTHIEST AND LIVING WITH WEALTH IS A PLEASURE, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO -- AN OBLIGATION TO THE COUNTRY AND HAVE TO DO SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT. AND MAKING THE WEALTHIER -- THE MOST PRIVILEGED MORE PRIVILEGED THAN THEY'VE BEEN. AND THAT'S TRUE. YOU LOOK AT THE BIG OIL COMPANIES POCKETING $4 BILLION A YEAR IN TAX BREAKS, EACH AND EVERY YEAR. I DON'T -- THERE ARE NO WAYS -- NO EARNINGS THAT ARE UNCONSCIONABLE. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS, AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK ABOUT A PERIOD OF TIME -- AND I REFLECT, UNFORTUNATELY, THE AGE -- MY EXPERIENCE AND WHEN WHICH WAS GROWING UP. AND I LOOK AT A TIME DURING THE WAR -- THE WAR, WORLD WAR II, AND WE HAD A PROGRAM CALLED THE EXCESS PROFITS TAX. AND WE SAID THAT THOSE COMPANIES THAT ARE MAKING SO MUCH MONEY HAVE GOT TO DO THEIR SHARE AND BE HELPFUL TO THE COUNTRY AT LARGE AND TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT WE -- THAT THEY PAY SOME SHARE OF WHAT THE COUNTRY IS GOING THROUGH. MR. PRESIDENT, I JUST CHECKED. I WANTED TO BE SURE. TO DATE, WE HAVE LOST 4,400 AMERICANS TO THE WAR IN IRAQ. WE'VE LOST OVER 1,600 TO THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. THOSE ARE HOMES THAT ARE WITHOUT A SON, A DAUGHTER, A BROTHER, A FATHER, WITHOUT HOMES. WHERE IS THE SACRIFICE ON THE PART OF THE OTHERS HERE? NO, NO, GOT TO TAKE CARE OF THE RICH. GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY'RE MORE COMFORTABLE THAN THEY ARE, WHETHER IT IS A BIGGER YACHT FOR A BIGGER AIRPLANE OR A BIGGER HOUSE. WE HAVE TO PROTECT THOSE PEOPLE. THEY DON'T NEED ANY PROTECTION. WHAT THEY NEED TO DO IS SHARE IN THE PAIN THAT AMERICA IS GOING THROUGH, AND THIS IS A REMINDER FOR ME. MAKE NO MISTAKE, GREED IS THE FUEL THAT DRIVES BIG OIL, AND IT IS TIME WE END THEIR FREE RIDE ON THE TAXPAYERS' DIME. THE BIG FIVE OIL COMPANIES HAVE MADE ALMOST $1 TRILLION IN PROFIT IN THE PAST DECADE, AND THAT'S A -- THAT'S QUITE A REWARD FOR THESE FOLKS. B.P., $7.1 BILLION IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF 2011, AS THEY GROUND OUT THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. IMAGINE, $7.1 BILLION -- IN A QUARTER. EXXON, $10 BILLION IN A QUARTER. SHELL, $8 BILLION -- THESE ARE ROUNDED NUMBERS -- IN A QUARTER. THEY DON'T NEED HELP, MR. PRESIDENT. WHAT THEY NEED IS TO HELP, TO HELP THEIR COUNTRY WORK ITS WAY THROUGH THE CRISIS THAT WE'RE IN NOW. SO WHEN WE -- WHEN WE SEE WHAT'S BEING ASKED BY THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE, HAVE SYMPATHY, HAVE SENSITIVITY TOWARD THE WEALTHIEST AMONG US BECAUSE THEY -- THEY CAN'T AFFORD EXTRA MONEY, THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT NO, THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT BECAUSE THE OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING THE SACK CRICIALAL WORK AND THEY DON'T WANT TO -- SACRIFICIAL WORK AND THEY DON'T WANT TO HELP THE OTHER FAMILIES TO PROVIDE A FUTURE FOR THEIR CHILDREN. THEY DON'T WANT TO BE ABLE TO HELP THE FAMILIES WHO NEED HELP WITH HEALTH CARE OR THE JOB MARKET. THAT'S NOT WHAT THEY'RE ABOUT. SO WHY SHOULD WE USE SOME OF THE MONEY TO INVEST IN A STRONGER AMERICA, PAY DOWN OUR DEBT, PREPARE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TO CARRY ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR LEADERSHIP IN THE FUTURE? BIG OIL'S GREED IS HELPING TO INFLATE OUR DEFICIT. AND EVERY DAY AMERICANS ARE FOOTING THE BILL. PULL UP TO THE GAS STATION, AND WHEN SOMEONE HAS TO SPEND $40, $50 TO FILL UP A TANK OF GAS, VERY OFTEN IT IS AT A SACRIFICE FOR OTHER THINGS IN THEIR LIVES. IT'S TERRIBLE AND YOU SEE THIS ALL OVER. WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR IN THE STATE OF NOTHER NEW JERSEY RIGHT NOW WHO IS DOING MAJOR CUTTING, AND THE RESULT IS THAT A FAMILY THAT MAKES $24,000 A YEAR NOW -- FAMILY INCOME -- WILL HAVE TO SPEND OVER $1,000 A YEAR MORE FOR THEIR HEALTH SERVICES. $1,000 TO A FAMILY MAKING $24,000 GROSS, A FAMILY THAT EARNS $60,000 WILL HAVE TO SPEND OVER $3,000 TO PAY FOR THEIR HEALTH CARE. AND YOU THINK THAT THE COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE, THERETHERE ARE A LOST INTELLIGENT PEOPLE OVER THERE AND I'M SURE THEY'RE SYMPATHETIC PEOPLE. WHY WOULDN'T THEY WNTS TO PUT WANT TO PUT A A STOP TO THIS MADNESS? WE'RE GRATEFUL FOR THE THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO US INSTEAD OF SAYING, NO, YOU GOT TO HAVE MORE. IF YOU MAKE $10 MILLION A YEAR, YOU GOT TO HAVE MORE. IF YOU MAKE $20 MILLION A YEAR OR WHATEVER IT IS, YOU NEED MORE. IT'S AN OUTRAGE. BIG OIL IS DOING EVERYTHING IN ITS POWER TO PROTECT ITS SUBSIDIES AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE DOING EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO HELP THEM. LAST MONTH 45 REPUBLICAN SENATORS VOTED AGAINST ENDING THESE WASTEFUL SUBSIDIES AND USING THE MONEY TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT. LAST WEEK THEY CHOSE TO WALK OUT ON DEFICIT-REDUCTION NEGOTIATIONS, RATHER THAN EVEN CONSIDERING PUTTING A STOP TO BIG OIL GIVEAWAYS. MAKING OIL COMPANIES PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE IN TAXES ISN'T GOING TO HURT THE INDUSTRY. IT JUST MEANS BIG OIL EXECUTIVES MIGHT HAVE TO DO WITH A SMALLER SWIMMING POOL OR WAIT A LITTLE WHILE LONGER TO BUY A BIGGER YACHT. MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S CLEARLY OFFENSIVE, AND THEY'RE NOT HELPING. THEY'RE NOT HELPING LIFT THE SPIRIT IN AMERICA. PEOPLE ARE DISCOURAGED, WORRIED ABOUT LOSING THEIR HOMES, WORRIED ABOUT THEIR KIDS NOT BEING ABLE TO GET AN EDUCATION, THAT THEY'RE EMOTIONALLY, INTELLECTUAL QUALIFIED FOR, BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY, BECAUSE IT'S NOT AVAILABLE TO THEM. AND SO WHEN WE LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENED HERE -- NOW, I'VE GOT TO BE FAIR, MR. PRESIDENT. AND WHEN THIS POOR GUY, C.E.O. OF EXXON, IS EARNING ONLY $29 MILLION A YEAR... COME ON. GIVE HIM A BREAK. HE HAS TO HAVE A CHANCE TO PRESERVE MORE OF THAT INCOME. WHY SHOULD HE PAY TO HELP THIS COUNTRY WEATHER THE STORM, WEATHER THE WARS, WEATHER THE RECESSION? CONOCOPHILLIPS, HE IS NOT DOING AS GOOD AS THE FIRST GUY. HE ONLY MADE $18 UNTIL MILLION IN 2010. AND THE THIRD ONE, THE CHEVRON C.E.O., HE GOT PAID $16 MILLION. AND YOU KNOW HOW THE MONEY GETS TO THEM? THROUGH NICKLES, DIMES, QUARTERS, AND DOLLARS AT GASOLINE PUMP. THAT'S HOW THE MONEY GETS THERE. THAT'S HOW -- HOW ELSE CAN THIS BE AFFORDED? BY THOSE WHO PULL UP TO THE GAS STATION AND SAY, I GOT TO BUY 10 GALLONS OF GAS AROUND HERE. AROUND HERE, THAT'S ABOUT $45. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY. SO INSTEAD OF BEING FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE BY ENDING THE BIG OIL -- BIG OIL'S BIG WINDFALL, REPUBLICANS HAVE ANOTHER IDEA. THEY WANT TO CUT THE DRFT BY ENDING MEDICAID AS -- THEY WANT TO CUT THE DEFICIT BY ENDING MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT, THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM NEXT TO SOCIAL SECURITY. SENIORS ARE STRUGGLING. THE BIG OIL COMPANIES CERTAINLY AREN'T. I DON'T THINK THIS -- THESE FELLOWS ARE STRUGGLING. I DON'T THINK THEY'RE DOING WITHOUT ANYTHING. I WISH THE OTHER SIDE WOULD LISTEN A LITTLE MORE CLOSELY TO WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT. ALMOST 3/4 OF THE AMERICANS WANT US TO STOP GIVING MILLIONS IN TAX BREAKS TO THE BIG OIL COMPANIES EACH YEAR. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT THESE SUBSIDIES ARE UNNECESSARY, INEFFECTIVE, AND BASICALLY IMMORAL. WE SHOULD TAKE THE $4 BILLION WE GIVE AWAY TO BIG OIL EACH YEAR AND USE THAT MONEY TO PAY DOWN OUR DEFICIT. THAT'S A GOOD IDEA. AND IF WE CAN DO THAT THEN IT STARTS TO MAKE THINGS A LOT EASIER, TO CONTINUE TO PROVIDE THE SERVICES THAT ARE CRITICAL, ESSENTIAL FOR THE AVERAGE FAMILY. WE CAN'T RESTORE FISCAL SANITY HERE UNTIL WE START PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO THE REVENUE COLUMN IN OUR LEDGER. AS I SAID BEFORE, I WAS A C.E.O. FOR MANY YEARS, 30 YEARS BEFORE I GOT HERE, AND I KNOW YOU CAN'T RUN A COMPANY OR A COUNTRY WITHOUT A GOOD, STRONG REVENUE FLOW. SO I CALL ON MY COLLEAGUES, PLEASE LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS, SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE THE COUNTRY STRONGER BECAUSE IF OUR MIDDLE CLASS -- OUR MODEST INCOME CLASS STARTS TO FAIL ALONG THE WAY, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONDUCT BUSINESS AS USUAL. SO IT'S FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION. GET WITH IT. MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN'T JUST GET MORE OF WHAT'S COMING OUT, THAT YOU GOT TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO THIS GREAT COUNTRY OF OURS. SO, I CALL ON MY COLLEAGUES, GET BIG OIL OFF THE FEDERAL WELFARE ROLL. LET'S INVEST IN OUR COUNTRY'S FUTURE. AND NOT FURTHER -- HAVE LARGER WINDFALLS FOR OIL INDUSTRY LOBBYISTS AND LAWYERS. WE GOT TO MAKE SURE OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN INHERIT A COUNTRY THAT'S FISCALLY SOUND, MORALLY RESPONSIBLE, ABLE TO PRI HEALTH CARE, ABLE TO PROVIDE AN EDUCATION, ABLE TO GUARANTEE THAT A CHILD CAN PREPARE TO BE A LEADER IN THE FUTURE, TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYBODY SEES A CHANCE FOR THEMSELVES TO SUCCEED, TO NOT BE DEPENDENT ON GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS BUT AT LEAST BE ABLE TO HAVE THOSE PROGRAMS TO GET THEM STARTED IN LIFE. MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:59:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:00:25 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:29:11 PM

    MR. REID

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE CALL OF THE QUORUM BE TERMINATED.

  • 06:29:16 PM

    MR. REID

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING NOMINATIONS. CALENDAR NUMBER 102, 120, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 1 -9D 1, 192, 193, 195, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 2707, 208, 213, 215, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 228, 229, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, AND ANONYMOUSES PLACED ON THE SECRETARY'S DESK IN THE AIR FORCE, ARMY, COAST GUARD, FOREIGN SERVICE AND NAVY. THE NOMINATIONS BE CONFIRMED EN BLOC, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID ON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE AND NO FURTHER MOTION BE IN ORDER TO ANY OF THE NOMINATIONS, ANY STATEMENTS IN RELATION TO ANY OF THE NOMINATIONS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AND THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION.

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  • 06:30:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:30:54 PM

    MR. REID

    I EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO SENATOR SANDERS, SENATOR LEAHY, MY LONGTIME…

    I EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO SENATOR SANDERS, SENATOR LEAHY, MY LONGTIME FRIEND AND FORMER EMPLOYEE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, RON WHITE, AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND OTHERS FOR WORKING TO HELP US GET THROUGH THIS STALEMATE THAT WE WERE INVOLVED IN. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE "HELP" COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION -- THERE'S TWO ARE THEM, NOMINATIONS -- 678, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE NOMINATIONS, BEGINNING WITH PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION 678, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE NOMINATIONS BEGINNING WITH MARY J.W. W. W. WHICH HOI, AND ENDING WITH CHRISTOPHER P. MORRIS, THE NOMINATION BE PLACED ON THE EXECUTIVE CALENDAR, THE NOMINATIONS BE CONFIRMED EN BLOC, THE MOTION TO REBE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID ON THE TABLE THERE, BE NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE AND THAT NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER TO ANY OF THE NOMINATIONS, ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE NOMINATIONS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AND THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION.

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  • 06:32:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:32:02 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE BE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING NOMINATIONS, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION 341, MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL J. WALSH, UNITED STATES ARMY, TO BE A MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S -- MEMBER AND PRESIDENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION NUMBER 342, REAR ADMIRAL JONATHAN W. BAILEY TO BE A MEMBER OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION, THE NOMINATION BE PLACED ON THE EXECUTIVE CALENDAR, THAT THE NOMINATIONS BE CONFIRMED EN BLOC, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID ON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, DEBATE, THAT NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER TO ANY OF THE NOMINATIONS, THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATED TO THE NOMINATIONS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD, THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THE SENATE THEN RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 06:32:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:33:17 PM

    MR. REID

    BE EXTENDED FOR ANOTHER HOUR -- [INAUDIBLE] -- AND THAT --

  • 06:33:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:34:08 PM

    MR. REID

    CAR CALENDAR NUMBER 79, THE NOMINATION BE CONFIRMED, THAT ANY STATEMENTS…

    CAR CALENDAR NUMBER 79, THE NOMINATION BE CONFIRMED, THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATED BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD, THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ARCS THE SENATE THEN RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 06:34:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:34:28 PM

    MR. REID

    YES.

  • 06:34:39 PM

    MR. REID

    A QUORUM.

  • 06:34:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: HE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 06:34:58 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:41:01 PM

    MR. REID

    I DON'T BELIEVE WE'RE IN A QUORUM CALL, WE? ARE WE?

  • 06:41:11 PM

    MR. REID

    NEW? MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE TERMINATED.

  • 06:41:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: IT THERE ANY OBJECTION? HEARING NONE, WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:41:19 PM

    MR. REID

    THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF -- AND…

    THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF -- AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO S. RES. 165.

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  • 06:41:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:41:30 PM

    THE CLERK

    165, DESIGNATING JULY 23, 2011, AS NATIONAL DAY OF THE AMERICAN COWBOY.

  • 06:41:43 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 IMMEDIATE ACTION.

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  • 06:41:49 PM

    MR. REID

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

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

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  • 06:41:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:41:59 PM

    MR. REID

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:42:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:42:10 PM

    THE CLERK

    HONORING ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD, RETIRED, FOR…

    HONORING ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD, RETIRED, FOR HIS LIFETIME OF SELFLESS COMMITMENT AND EXEMPLARY SERVICE TO THE UNITED STATES.

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  • 06:42:23 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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  • 06:42:26 PM

    MR. REID

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

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

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  • 06:42:32 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK CONSENT THE SENATE NOW PROCEED TO S. RES. 224.

  • 06:42:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:42:43 PM

    THE CLERK:ESS RES.THE CLERK

    S. RES. 224, CONGRATULATING THE SOIL SCIENCE OF AMERICA ON ITS 75th…

    S. RES. 224, CONGRATULATING THE SOIL SCIENCE OF AMERICA ON ITS 75th ANNIVERSARY.

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  • 06:42:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT ANY FURTHER OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MATTER.

  • 06:42:55 PM

    MR. REID

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

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

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  • 06:43:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:43:03 PM

    MR. REID

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO S. RES. 225.

  • 06:43:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:43:11 PM

    THE CLERK

    225, CONGRATULATING THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA BASEBALL TEAM FOR ITS…

    225, CONGRATULATING THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA BASEBALL TEAM FOR ITS GRITTY AND RECORD-BREAKING PURSUIT OF BACK-TO-BACK NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION DIVISION I BASEBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.

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  • 06:43:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:43:31 PM

    MR. REID

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

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

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  • 06:43:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:43:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:47:24 PM

    MR. REID

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:47:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:47:29 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE FOLLOWING BILLS WHICH ARE AT THE DESK BE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE FOLLOWING BILLS WHICH ARE AT THE DESK BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN READ TWICE EN BLOC AND PLACED ON THE CALENDAR: S. 1317 FROM SENATOR DeMINT, S. 1323 FROM SENATOR REID OF NEFF.

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  • 06:47:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. MR.

  • 06:47:57 PM

    MR. REID

    I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 06:47:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: I MOVE TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: I MOVE TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 88, S.J. RES. 20.

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  • 06:49:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:49:07 PM

    MR. REID

    I HAVE A CLOTURE MOTION AT THE DESK FOLLOWING THE REPORT.

  • 06:49:15 PM

    THE CLERK

    88, S-PBLGSZ 20 AUTHORIZING THE LIMITED USE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED…

    88, S-PBLGSZ 20 AUTHORIZING THE LIMITED USE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES IN SUPPORT OF THE NATO MISSION IN LIBYA.

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  • 06:49:25 PM

    MR. REID

    WILL REPORT MY CLOTURE MOTION, PLEASE.

  • 06:49:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE CLOTURE MOTION.

  • 06:49:38 PM

    THE CLERK

    WE THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22…

    WE THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 88, S.J. RES. 20, A JOINT RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING LIMITED USE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES IN SUPPORT OF THE NATO MISSION IN LIBYA, SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS.

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  • 06:49:59 PM

    MR. REID

    I'D ASK CONSENT THE NAMES NOT BE READ.

  • 06:50:05 PM

    MR. REID

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE VOTE ON THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE OCCUR AT…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE VOTE ON THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE OCCUR AT 5:00 P.M. ON TUESDAY, JULY 5 AND THE MANDATORY QUORUM UNDER RULE 22 BE WAIVED.

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  • 06:50:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:50:28 PM

    MR. REID

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY IT ADJOURN UNTIL 11:00 A.M. ON FRIDAY, JULY 1 FOR PRO FORMA SESSION ONLY WITH NO BUSINESS CONDUCTED. WHEN THE SENATE ADJOURNS ON FRIDAY, JULY 1 IT STAND ADJOURNED UNTIL 2:00 P.M. ON TUESDAY, JULY 5. FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE MORNING HOUR DEEMED EXPIRED, AND THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR USE LATER IN THE TKAEUFPLT FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS -- DAY. FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE MOVE TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 88.

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  • 06:50:59 PM

    MR. REID

    WILL OCCUR NEXT TUESDAY, JULY 5 AT 5:00 P.M. ON CLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO…

    WILL OCCUR NEXT TUESDAY, JULY 5 AT 5:00 P.M. ON CLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S.J. RES. 20. WE'LL RUN LONGER THAN USUAL TO ACCOMMODATE SENATORS RETURNING AFTER THE INDEPENDENCE DAY HOLIDAY. IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK WE ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 06:51:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE STANDS ADJOURNED UNTIL 11:00 A.M.

Briefings for June 30, 2011

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Hearings for June 30, 2011

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Statistics

115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 1862 (After 593 days)
  • Debate1110 Hours
  • Quorum Calls436 Hours
  • Votes309 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)