House Approves National Defense Authorization Act, 351-66
Senate Session - July 7, 2011
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:30:24 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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  • 09:30:40 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. ETERNAL GOD, THE EARTH BELONGS TO YOU. AT CREATION, YOU BROUGHT…

    PRAY. ETERNAL GOD, THE EARTH BELONGS TO YOU. AT CREATION, YOU BROUGHT ORDER OUT OF CHAOS AND LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS. WE WAIT FOR YOU TO RENEW OUR STRENGTH, ENABLING US TO MOUNT UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES. TODAY, REINFORCE OUR SENATORS WITH THE CONSTANT ASSURANCE OF YOUR PRESENCE. RENEW THEIR ENERGIES AND ENLARGING THEIR VISION. GIVE THEM HEARTS THAT FIND PEACE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE ULTIMATELY ACCOUNTABLE TO YOU ALONE. REDEEM THEIR FAILURES. REWARD THEIR INTEGRITY, AND CROWN THEIR DAY WITH THE BENEDICTION OF YOUR PEACE. WE PRAY IN YOUR SOVEREIGN NAME. AMEN.

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  • 09:32:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 09:32:29 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 09:32:32 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON D.C., JULY 7, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE…

    WASHINGTON D.C., JULY 7, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE TOM UDALL, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: DANIEL K. INOUYE, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:32:52 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:32:55 AM

    MR. REID

    LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL RESUME THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1323,…

    LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL RESUME THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1323, WHICH IS A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN THE RESULTING BUDGET DEFICIT, WITH THE TIME UNTIL 10:00 A.M. THIS MORNING EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES. AT 10:00 A.M. THERE WILL BE A VOTE ON THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1323. THIS COULD BE THE ONLY VOTE OF THE DAY ALTHOUGH THERE MAY BE PROCEDURAL MATTERS THAT MAY ARISE. TODAY THE SENATE IS CALLING ON MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES TO CONTRIBUTE TO THIS COUNTRY'S EFFORT TO REDUCE OUR DEFICIT. THE POOR, MIDDLE-CLASS CHILDREN AND SENIORS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ASKED TO MAKE SACRIFICES TO PUT OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. THIS LEGISLATION WOULD REAFFIRM THE SENATE'S COMMITMENT TO ENSURE THE EXTREMELY WEALTHY ARE ASKED TO MAKE SACRIFICES. THIS PRINCIPLE THAT ALL AMERICANS SHOULD CONTRIBUTE THEIR FAIR SHARE AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT IS SO COMMONSENSE, IT SHOULD GO WITHOUT SAYING. YET, REPUBLICANS BOAST OF THEIR OPPOSITION OF HAVING THE VERY AFFLUENT NOT PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE. THIS IS A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD STATEMENT BY MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES. "ANY AGREEMENT TO REDUCE THE BUDGET DEFICIT SHOULD REQUIRE THOSE EARNING $1 MILLION OR MORE PER YEAR MAKE A MEANINGFUL CONVICTION TO THE DEFICIT REDUCTION EFFORT." MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES REJECT THAT. DEMOCRATS BELIEVE ALL AMERICANS, INCLUDING THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD PRIVATE JETS AND YACHTS, SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE COLLECTIVE EFFORT TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT. THE QUESTION IS: WHY AREN'T REPUBLICANS WILLING TO DO THE SAME? THEY SAY IT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE LOOKING OUT FOR THE PEOPLE. THAT CLAIM, MR. PRESIDENT, IS RIDICULOUS. THIS CLAIM IS WITHOUT FOUNDATION. IT'S REALLY PREPOSTEROUS. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES REPUBLICANS ARE DETERMINED TO PROTECT ABOVE ALL ELSE. LESS THAN ONE QUARTER OF 1% OF TAX RETURNS FILED IN THE UNITED STATES EACH YEAR BELONG TO THE PEOPLE MAKING $1 MILLION. 25% OF 1%, A QUARTER PERCENT OF 1%. THESE SAME PEOPLE ARE THE 1% OF AMERICANS WHO CONTROL 50% OF THIS COUNTRY'S WEALTH. WE'RE SPEAKING OF THE WARREN BUFFETS OF THE WORLD. WARREN BUFFET IS MY FRIEND. I HAVE GREAT RESPECT AND ADMIRATION FOR HIM, BUT HE'S TRAOEPBLGSLY WEALTHY. -- HE'S EXTREMELY WEALTHY. WHAT DOES WARREN BUFFET SAY ABOUT CONTRIBUTING HIS FAIR SHARE? HE WELCOMES IT. IN FACT, MR. BUFFET CRITICIZED THE SYSTEM IN WHICH HIS SECRETARY GIVES A GREATER SHARE OF HER INCOME EACH YEAR THAN THIS MAN WORTH MORE THAN $50 BILLION. HERE HE SAYS, IN THE LUCKIEST 1% OF HUMANITY, YOU OWE IT TO THE REST OF HUMANITY TO THINK ABOUT THE OTHER 99%. THAT'S WHAT HE SAID. THAT'S WHAT WARREN BUFFET SAID ABOUT CONTRIBUTING HIS FAIR SHARE. SINCE THE LATE 1970'S INCOMES FROM THE LUCKY 1% OF AMERICA HAVE RISEN BY 281%. IN THE LAST THREE DECADES, THE LAST THREE DECADES HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY GOOD TO THE VERY, VERY WEALTHY. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH CALLED THESE PEOPLE THE HAVES AND HAVE-MORES. HE ALSO CALLED THEM HIS BASE. AND RIGHT NOW THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS PUTTING WHAT IS GOOD WITH THIS VERY SMALL BASE AHEAD OF WHAT IS VERY GOOD FOR THIS GREAT NATION. THE LEGISLATION BEFORE US ASKS ONLY THIS, THAT EACH AMERICAN BE PART OF THE SOLUTION RATHER THAN PART OF THE PROBLEM. IN POLL AFTER POLL, AMERICANS HAVE ENDORSED THIS PRINCIPLE. THEY HAVE SAID THEY BELIEVE WE MUST IMPRESS OUR DEFICIT BY REDUCING THE SPENDING AND ENDING TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHIEST CITIZENS OF CORPORATIONS. WE'VE HEARD THAT. DEMOCRATS HEARD THAT. IF WARREN BUFFET CHOOSES TO BUY A PRIVATE JET OR WHOLE FLEET OF THEM, THAT'S OKAY. BUT THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS SHOULDN'T GIVE HIM A SPECIAL TAX BREAK FOR BUYING HIS OWN JET AIRPLANE. OUR COUNTRY IS FACING A CRISIS. WE FACE MOUNTING DEBT BROUGHT ON BY A DECADE OF WAR AND TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY. WE FACE THE PROSPECT THAT REPUBLICANS WILL FORCE US TO DEFAULT ON OUR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY. DIFFICULT CHOICES MUST BE MADE. TOGETHER WE SHOULD CONSIDER CUTTING PROGRAMS TO HELP REAL PEOPLE IN VERY REAL WAY. LIMITING TAX BREAKS FOR OIL COMPANIES, CORPORATIONS THAT SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS AND THE OWNERS OF PRIVATE JETS AND YACHTS SHOULD BE AN EASY PART OF THIS PROBLEM TO SOLVE. YET THE REPUBLICANS WALKED AWAY FROM THE NEGOTIATING TABLE WHEN A SOLUTION WAS IN SIGHT BECAUSE THEY SAID NO TO FAIRNESS. DEMOCRATS HAD ALREADY AGREED TO TRILLIONS IN DIFFICULT CUTS IN ORDER TO PREVENT A DEFAULT CRISIS AND AVERT A WORLDWIDE DEPRESSION. THEN REPUBLICANS WALKED AWAY FROM THE TABLE TO HELP THE 1% OF AMERICANS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO NOT NEED ANY EXTRA HELP. HOW DO REPUBLICANS EXPLAIN THIS TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS BACK HOME? VERY CAREFULLY. WHY? BECAUSE AS MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET, MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES ARE RISKING THE FINANCIAL FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD FOR THE SAKE OF PEOPLE WHO OWN PRIVATE JETS AND YACHTS THAT CAN'T IMAGINE THAT KIND OF CONVERSATION. ASKING MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES TO CONTINUE TO HELP SOLVE THIS NATION'S ECONOMIC CRISIS IS NOT UNREASONABLE. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A VOTE IN 20 MINUTES OR SO. AND PROBABLY WHAT MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL DO IS TO VOTE TO ALLOW US TO PROCEED TO THIS. NOW, THAT WOULD BE GREAT IF THERE WAS SOME SENSE THAT THEY AGREED WITH WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO. THAT IS, IF THEY WANT MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES TO CONTRIBUTE THEIR FAIR SHARE. THE RULES WILL ONLY ALLOW US TO MOVE TO THE NEXT STEP AND BE ACTUALLY ON THE BILL. WHEN WE ACTUALLY GET ON THE BILL, I'LL TELL EVERYONE HERE THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE FIXED AMENDMENTS AND WORK ON IT. I'LL BE HAPPY TO DO THAT, HOW WE USED TO DO THINGS AROUND HERE. IF THIS MEANS A FREE-FOR-ALL AND OFFERING AMENDMENTS ON ABORTION AND WAR FIGHTING AND ALL THIS KIND OF STUFF, WE CAN'T DO THAT. WE NEED TO DEVOTE THESE NEXT FEW WEEKS TO THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE ON THE DEBT.

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  • 09:39:55 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, LATER THIS MORNING WE'LL HAVE A VOTE ON WHETHER TO PROCEED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, LATER THIS MORNING WE'LL HAVE A VOTE ON WHETHER TO PROCEED TO A TPHO PBL BINDING RESOLUTION ON WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD RAISE TAXES AT A TIME WHEN 14 MILLION AMERICANS ARE OUT OF WORK. I OPPOSE THE RESOLUTION, BUT I'LL VOTE TO MOVE TO IT SO WE CAN FINALLY HAVE A REAL DEBATE ABOUT THE ECONOMIC CRISIS WE FACE. THAT'S WHAT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THIS WEEK, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'LL DO. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DEBATE TO HAVE AS DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE OVER AT THE WHITE HOUSE THIS MORNING IN CONNECTION WITH THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. AMERICANS WANT TO KNOW WHERE THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS STAND ON THESE ISSUES. TODAY WE'LL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THEM WHERE WE STAND ON ENTITLEMENT REFORM, WHERE WE STAND ON GOVERNMENT SPENDING, WHERE WE STAND ON BALANCING THE BUDGET, WHERE WE STAND ON OUR UNSUSTAINABLE DEFICITS AND DEBT. FOR TOO LONG DEMOCRATS HAVE TRIED TO EVADE THESE QUESTIONS. IT'S BEEN 799 DAYS SINCE DEMOCRATS PASSED A BUDGET. 799 DAYS. THEY'VE PRESENTED NO PLAN TO REDUCE OUR DEBTS SO TODAY IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER REAL IDEAS FOR ADDRESSING OUR DEBT AND JOBS CRISIS TO, MAKE OUR POSITIONS CLEAR. FOR OUR PART, REPUBLICANS INTEND TO OFFER MORE THAN A VAGUE, NONBINDING RESOLUTION. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 09:41:33 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1323, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 09:41:46 AM

    THE CLERK

    PROCEED DO THE CONSIDERATION OF S. 1323, A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF…

    PROCEED DO THE CONSIDERATION OF S. 1323, A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT.

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  • 09:41:57 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE TIME UNTIL 10:00 A.M. WILL BE EQUALLY…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE TIME UNTIL 10:00 A.M. WILL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES, WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 09:42:10 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS IS RECOGNIZED. TKOEUPL PENDING IS S. --

  • 09:42:19 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    IS S. 1323. THIS WILL NOT BE A LAW IF PASSED. IT IS MERELY AN EXPRESSION…

    IS S. 1323. THIS WILL NOT BE A LAW IF PASSED. IT IS MERELY AN EXPRESSION OF SENTIMENT BY THE SENATE ON AN ISSUE. IT CAN BE SUMMARIZED VERY QUICKLY WITH THE SENSE OF THE SENATE CLAUSE WHICH READS, IT IS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT ANY AGREEMENT TO REDUCE THE BUDGET DEFICIT SHOULD REQUIRE THAT THOSE EARNING $1 MILLION OR MORE PER YEAR MAKE A MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEFICIT-REDUCTION EFFORT. WHY ARE WE EVEN TALKING ABOUT THIS? WOULDN'T EVERYONE IN AMERICA CONCEDE THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO MAKE A SACRIFICE IF WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY STRONGER? AND THOSE WHO CAN MAKE A GREATER SACRIFICE, THOSE WHO ARE WELL OFF, WITH AN INCOME OF $1 MILLION OR MORE EACH YEAR SHOULD DO A LITTLE MORE. WHY IS THAT SUCH A BOLD AND CONTROVERSIAL SUGGESTION? BECAUSE IN FACT WHEN WE LOOK AT THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY CONGRESS OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS, WE HAVE FOUND A SENTIMENT, A POLITICAL SENTIMENT PRIMARILY FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHICH SAYS YOU CANNOT ASK SACRIFICE OF THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE OF AMERICA. I CAN TELL YOU STUDENTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY KNOW WHEN WE'VE HAD A TKPHAEPBLG THIS NATION -- HAD A CHALLENGE IN THIS NATION, PARTICULARLY DURING WAR WHEN OUR VERY EXISTENCE WAS BEING CHALLENGED, PEOPLE STEPPED UP FROM EVERY INCOME LEVEL IN AMERICA AND SAID I'M WILLING TO FIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY, I'M WILLING TO DIE FOR THIS COUNTRY, I'M WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR THIS COUNTRY. SO WHY WOULD THIS BE A MATTER TO BE DEBATED ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE? BECAUSE IN FACT THE POLICIES OF THIS COUNTRY OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS HAVE SAID THAT THE WEALTHIEST AMONG US SHOULD BE SPARED TIME AND AGAIN FROM SACRIFICE WHEN IT COMES TO THE FUTURE OF OUR NATION. THAT'S JUST PLAIN WRONG. THOSE WHO ARE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE WELL OFF, TO HAVE A STRONG INCOME, TO ENJOY THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY, TO LIVE IN WHAT I FEEL IS THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH SHOULD BE PREPARED TO GIVE BACK SOMETHING. AND I'VE SPOKEN TO SOMETHING IN OUR WALK OF LIFE HERE IN THE SENATE. WE SPEND TIME WITH THOSE WHO ARE WELL-OFF, WHO FINANCE OUR CAMPAIGNS. THAT'S A REALITY I'M NOT HAPPY WITH, BUT A REALITY. AND SO MANY OF THEM HAVE SAID FOR GOODNESS SAKES, SENATOR, WHY DO YOU EVEN HESITATE TO ASK ME FOR MORE TAX STPH-S I'M PREPARED TO PAY THOSE TAXES BECAUSE I FEEL BLESSED TO LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY. THE IDEA OF RAISING TAXES AMONG THE WEALTHIEST AMONG US WON'T CHANGE THEIR LIFESTYLE A BIT BUT WILL HELP SOLVE SOME OF OUR PROBLEMS. IF WE DON'T CHANGE THE TAX CUTS THAT WERE PUT IN UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, PEOPLE MAKING $1 MILLION-PLUS A YEAR WILL GET A $200,000 TAX BREAK. $200,000 TAX BREAK EVERY YEAR. IN ORDER TO PAY FOR THAT TAX BREAK, SOME OTHER AMERICANS HAVE TO SACRIFICE. FOR EXAMPLE, IT WOULD MEAN THAT ABOUT 33 SENIORS WILL HAVE TO PAY $600 MORE A YEAR FOR MEDICARE UNDER ONE PROPOSAL IN THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN BUDGET SO WE WILL GENERATE ENOUGH MONEY TO GIVE A TAX BREAK TO A PERSON WHO IS A MILLIONAIRE. 33 SENIORS PAYING $600 MORE A YEAR SO A MILLIONAIRE CAN GET A TAX BREAK. THAT'S WRONG. IT'S JUST PLAIN WRONG. I BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO ASK FOR SHARED SACRIFICE, AND THAT'S WHAT THIS RESOLUTION SAYS. SENATOR McCONNELL WHO WAS HERE MOMENTS AGO SAID THIS WEEK IT'S ABOUT MAKING WASHINGTON MAKE TOUGH CHOICES. IT'S ABOUT WASHINGTON TAKING THE HIT THIS TIME. WELL, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING THE HIT IN AMERICA ARE NOT WASHINGTON. THEY ARE ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. IT'S LOW AND MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS WHO ARE TAKING A HIT IN THE CURRENT ECONOMY. THERE ARE STILL ALMOST 14 MILLION AMERICANS OUT OF WORK, AND THOSE WHO ARE WORKING HAVE SEEN THE BULK OF INCOME GROWTH GO TO THE HIGHEST INCOME CATEGORIES. WE HAVE THE GREATEST INCOME DISPARITY IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS, THE MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME HAS DECLINED BY MORE THAN $2,500. WHAT IT MEANS, MR. PRESIDENT, WHETHER IT'S NEW MEXICO OR ILLINOIS IS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING HARD, GOING TO WORK EVERY SINGLE DAY, MAKING SACRIFICES FALL FURTHER AND FURTHER BEHIND, LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK, AND THAT IS THE REALITY OF LIFE FOR HARD-WORKING MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS. SO THOSE OF US WHO COME TO THE FLOOR AND SAY SPARE THEM IF YOU'RE GOING TO SPARE ANYONE FROM FURTHER TAXATION, GIVE THEM A HELPING HAND, UNDERSTAND IT SO THEY CAN KEEP THEIR HEADS ABOVE WATER, BARELY. SO MANY AMERICANS LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK. IT'S THE ONLY WAY THEY SURVIVE. THAT IS A REALITY. MY COLLEAGUE FROM KENTUCKY IS RIGHT THAT IN WASHINGTON WE NEED TO MAKE THE TOUGH CHOICES AND WE NEED TO FACE THEM WITH A SENSE OF CONSENSUS AND COMPROMISE. AN ALL-OR-NOTHING APPROACH TO THE BUDGET ISN'T GOING TO WORK. IN ABOUT AN HOUR AND 15 MINUTES, I AM GOING TO BE HONORED TO REPRESENT WITH SENATOR REED, OUR MAJORITY LEADER, THE SENATE DEMOCRATS IN A MEETING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA. WE WILL SIT DOWN IN THE CABINET ROOM, AS I HAVE BEFORE, AND WE WILL TALK ABOUT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO WITH THIS DEFICIT CRISIS. I WOULD SAY -- I WILL SAY TO THE PRESIDENT AND THOSE ASSEMBLED WE HAVE PLENTY TO WORK WITH. IT WAS SIX OR SEVEN MONTHS AGO WHEN THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION, THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON THE DEFICIT GAVE US A BLUEPRINT AND SAID HERE IS A WAY TO REACH $4.5 TRILLION OF DEFICIT REDUCTION IN A FAIR WAY. PUT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE. DEMOCRATS, SUCK IT UP. PUT THE ENTITLES ON THE TABLE, MAKE SURE THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THESE ARE STILL PROGRAMS THAT SERVE THE PUBLIC. SOCIAL SECURITY IS STILL THERE MAKING ITS PROMISED PAYMENTS. MAKE SURE THAT MEDICARE COVERS THE HEALTH CARE OF ELDERLY AMERICANS AND DO IT IN A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY, BUT DON'T RUN AWAY FROM IT, DON'T IGNORE THE PROBLEMS THAT YOU FACE. AND SIMILARLY, THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION SAID TO THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE BE HONEST ABOUT REVENUE. WE ARE FACING THE LOWEST FEDERAL REVENUE AGAINST OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN 60 YEARS. IS IT ANY WONDER WE'RE IN DEFICIT? 15% OF OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT COMES TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE EACH YEAR. WE SPEND 25%. SO THE 10% DIFFERENCE IS OUR DEFICIT. IT IS TIME TO BRING THE SPENDING DOWN AND THE REVENUE UP. OH, CRITICS WILL SAY, YOU CAN'T RAISE TAXES IN THE MIDST OF RECESSION. WELL, WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL, I AGREE. RAISING TAXES IN THE WRONG PLACES COULD HURT OUR RECOVERY. HERE ARE SOME PLACES WHERE IT WON'T HURT, AS THIS RESOLUTION SAYS, AT THE HIGHEST INCOME CATEGORIES. THESE AMERICANS CAN AFFORD TO PAY A LITTLE MORE. THEY CERTAINLY DON'T NEED A TAX BREAK. SECONDLY, TAKE A LOOK AT THE TAX CODE. UP TO $1.2 TRILLION A YEAR IN TAX SPENDING, TAX EARMARKS, CREDITS AND DEDUCTIONS THAT THE SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBYISTS PUT IN THE TAX CODE. MANY OF THEM ARE ABSOLUTELY INDEFENSIBLE, AND WE CAN'T AFFORD THEM ANYMORE. IF WE'RE ASKING SACRIFICE ACROSS THE BOARD FROM AMERICA, WE SHOULD ASK SACRIFICE FOR THOSE WHO ARE BENEFITING FROM THESE TAX LOOPHOLES AND TAX BENEFITS. WE CAN DO THAT. IN FACT, WE MAY BE ABLE TO DO IT IF WE FOLLOW BOWLES-SIMPSON AND AT THE SAME TIME REDUCE THE MARGINAL TAX RATES FOR ALL AMERICANS. IT CAN BE DONE. LET'S TAKE A HARD LOOK AT THE TAX CODE. AND REMEMBER, MR. PRESIDENT, 70% OF AMERICANS DO NOT ITEMIZE, WHICH MEANS THEY DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE TAX CODE EXCEPT IN THE RARE SITUATION WHERE THEY HAVE A REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT. THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT USING THE TAX CODE. THOSE WHO USE IT ARE IN HIGHER INCOME CATEGORIES. THEY ARE USING IT. THEY ARE FOLLOWING THE LAW AND THEY ARE AVOIDING THEIR TAXES. WARREN BUFFETT HAD A GREAT QUOTE WHICH WE SHOULD REMEMBER WHILE WE DEBATE THIS. SAID IT NOVEMBER 26, 2006. "THERE IS CLASS WARFARE, ALL RIGHT, BUT IT'S MY CLASS, THE RICH CLASS, THAT'S MAKING WAR, AND WE'RE WINNING." WARREN BUFFETT IS A MAN OF FEW WORDS AND IS LISTENED TO CAREFULLY BECAUSE OF HIS WISDOM IN BUSINESS AND IN LIFE, AND HE HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. HE SAID TO ME AND MANY OTHERS AND PUBLICLY IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE THAT USING OUR TAX CODE TODAY, HE, WARREN BUFFETT, PAYS A LOWER MARGINAL TAX RATE THAN THE SECRETARIES IN HIS OFFICE. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG. WHY SHOULD A HARD-WORKING PERSON IN A BUSINESS AT A LOWER LEVEL PAY A HIGHER MARGINAL TAX RATE THAN THE PERSON OWNING THE BUSINESS, MAKING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR? THAT'S WHERE THE TAX CODE'S WRONG, AND THAT'S WHERE WE CAN CHANGE IT, SAVE MONEY, USE IT TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT AND REDUCE MARGINAL INCOME TAX RATES. THAT'S WHAT THIS RESOLUTION IS ALL ABOUT. IT IS NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING THAT WE'RE DEBATING THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THOSE WHO MAKE MAKE $1 MILLION OR MORE EACH YEAR SHOULD REALLY PONY UP AND CONTRIBUTE MORE WHEN IT COMES TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. MR. PRESIDENT, THE NEWSPAPERS THIS MORNING TALK ABOUT WHAT MAY BE INCLUDED IN ANY FINAL AGREEMENT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL BE INCLUDED. I HOPE THERE IS AN AGREEMENT. BUT ONE THING I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR, I JUST LEFT A MEETING WITH PEOPLE WHO DO FORECASTING, STANDARD AND POOR'S, MOODY'S, FITCH AND THE LIKE. THEY TALK ABOUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IF WE DO NOT EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING. NOW, LET ME LAY MY CARDS ON THE TABLE. THE DEBT CEILING VOTE EVERY YEAR IS A POLITICAL FOOTBALL. THOSE WHO ARE NOT IN THE PRESIDENT'S PARTY JUST DON'T WANT TO VOTE FOR IT. WHY SHOULD YOU? GO HOME AND GET SLAPPED AROUND FOR HAVING VOTED TO EXTEND AMERICA'S DEBT. AND IN YEARS GONE BY, THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES I DIDN'T VOTE FOR IT, BUT IN ALL HONESTY I KNEW IN THE BACK OF MY MIND IT WAS GOING TO PASS. BUT HERE'S THE REALITY. IF WE REACH A STALEMATE ON THE DEBT CEILING NOW BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT'S PARTY DOESN'T CONTROL THE CONGRESS, CERTAINLY NOT THE HOUSE AND BARELY IN THE SENATE, IF WE DON'T EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IS VERY OBVIOUS. THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES IS GOING TO BE CALLED INTO QUESTION, AND THAT'S NEVER HAPPENED. WE HAVE NEVER IN OUR HISTORY FAILED TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING AND TO SAY THAT WE STAND BEHIND OUR DEBTS AND WILL MAKE GOOD ON PAYMENTS. IF THERE IS ANY QUESTION ABOUT THAT, YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. IT'S THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DEFAULT ON YOUR HOME MORTGAGE. IT BECOMES INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO EVER GET ANOTHER MORTGAGE, AND IF YOU DO, YOU FACE HIGHER INTEREST RATES THAN EVER. THAT'S WHAT AMERICA WILL FACE IF WE DON'T EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING. SO THESE PEOPLE FROM THESE RATING AGENCIES CAME TO US AND SAID IT WILL BE DISASTROUS IF YOU ALLOW THE DEBT CEILING NOT TO BE EXTENDED ON AUGUST 2. THAT IS THE REALITY OF THE WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN. SO I WOULD SAY AS WE GO INTO THESE IMPORTANT AND DIFFICULT NEGOTIATIONS, AS WE MOVE TOWARD THE MOMENT WHEN WE ARE GOING TO HAVE, I HOPE, AN AGREEMENT, LET'S MAKE IT VERY CLEAR TO THE WORLD THE UNITED STATES UNDERSTANDS ITS OBLIGATIONS, WILL PAY ITS DEBTS, AND THAT WE WON'T FACE THE DIRE CONSEQUENCES OF THE OPPOSITE BEING TRUE. THAT'S THE REALITY OF WHAT WE FACE TODAY. I WILL SAY ONE LAST THING HERE BEFORE I YIELD THE FLOOR. AS WE STRUCTURE THIS DEFICIT, RESCUE OR DEFICIT PROJECT, LET'S REMEMBER TWO THINGS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL. THERE ARE VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WHO THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN STRUGGLE EACH DAY TO LIVE. SOME OF THEM SUFFER FROM PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DISABILITIES. SOME OF THEM HAVE BEEN POOR THEIR ENTIRE LIVES AND COME FROM POOR FAMILIES AND HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME AND LIMITED EDUCATION. SOME OF THEM ARE ELDERLY IN NURSING HOMES. THESE PEOPLE, THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US, NEED A HELPING HAND. WE HAVE NEVER FAILED TO DO THAT IN MODERN TIMES, AND WE SHOULDN'T IN THIS TIME OF TROUBLE, TIME OF DEFICIT. WE CAN KEEP OUR WORD TO THE POOR AMONG US THAT WE ARE GOING TO STAND BY THEM BECAUSE WE ARE CARING PEOPLE, AND WE CAN DO IT BY MAKING CERTAIN THAT THE MEDICAID PROGRAM WHICH PROVIDES HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ONE-THIRD OF THE CHILDREN IN AMERICA WHICH COVERS MORE THAN 40% OF THE MEDICAL COSTS OF CHILDREN -- PARDON ME, COVERS THE MEDICAL COSTS OF BIRTH OF MORE THAN 40% OF THE CHILDREN IN AMERICA AND LITERALLY PROVIDES FOR MILLIONS OF SENIORS TO BE ABLE TO STAY IN NURSING HOMES AND IN SENIOR SETTINGS SO THAT THEY CAN DO SO, THESE ARE THE THINGS WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF IN THE MIDST OF THIS DEFICIT REDUCTION. I SEE MY COLLEAGUE FROM TENNESSEE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE HAS COME TO THE FLOOR AND THERE IS TIME AVAILABLE ON YOUR SIDE. I DIDN'T KNOW IF ANYONE WAS COMING. I'M GOING TO YIELD THE FLOOR. WELL, I'M WRAPPING UP. I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FROM TENNESSEE. BUT I WILL WRAP UP TO SAY WE CAN TAKE CARE TO MAKE SURE THE SAFETY NET IS PROTECTED, TO MAKE SURE AS WELL THAT WE ADDRESS ALL LEVELS OF SPENDING IN OUR GOVERNMENT. THAT'S EVERY ONE OF THEM. TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT WHETHER IT'S THE DEFENSE BUDGET OR THE BUDGET FOR PROGRAMS NOT RELATED TO DEFENSE, WHETHER IT'S ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, ALL OF THESE NEED TO BE CAREFULLY, CAREFULLY SCRUTINIZED. WE CAN CUT SPENDING IN A RESPONSIBLE BIPARTISAN WAY AND SHOW THAT WE CAN BRING OUR DEFICIT DOWN, STRENGTHEN THIS ECONOMY, AND I THINK IN THE PROCESS IF WE DO IT ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS, WE ARE GOING TO LAUNCH AN ECONOMIC RECOVERY THAT INURES TO THE BENEFIT OF ALL OF US. IF WE DON'T AND THIS ENDS UP IN FINGER POINTING, I DON'T KNOW WHO WILL TAKE THE FALL FOR IT, NO ONE DOES, BUT THE BEST THING WE CAN DO IS TO IGNORE THAT POLITICAL ASPECT AND DEAL WITH THE REALITY OF THE CHALLENGE THAT WE FACE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 09:56:04 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:56:07 AM

    MR. ALEXANDER

    I WOULD -- I APPRECIATE WHAT THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS SAID, AND I WOULD…

    I WOULD -- I APPRECIATE WHAT THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS SAID, AND I WOULD CONGRATULATE HIM. NOT NECESSARILY FOR THE SPECIFICS OF WHAT HE JUST SAID, BUT FOR HIS GENERAL MISDEMEANOR AND ATTITUDE THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT. HE HAS BEEN ONE OF THOSE SENATORS -- THERE HAVE BEEN SOME ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE -- WHO HAVE MADE SOME DIFFICULT CHOICES AND SOME DIFFICULT DECISIONS, HAVE RECOGNIZED AT A TIME WHEN OUR COUNTRY IS -- WASHINGTON IS BORROWING 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND, THAT WE HAVE GOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM, AND THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT OUR ENTIRE FISCAL CONDITION IN ORDER TO -- IN ORDER TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY EXPECT US TO DO THAT. SO SENATOR DURBIN HAS BY HIS WILLINGNESS TO MAKE SOME HARD DECISIONS SET A PRETTY GOOD EXAMPLE FOR ALL OF US IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. MY HOPE IS TODAY THAT THE MEETING THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS WITH OUR CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS ON BOTH SIDES SUCCEEDS, BECAUSE IF THEY SUCCEED, OUR COUNTRY SUCCEEDS. THE COUNTRY EXPECTS US TO DO THAT. I HOPE THEY THINK BIG. I HOPE THEY SWING FOR THE FENCES AND GET A RESULT AND BRING IT BACK TO US AND LET US CONSIDER IT AND HOPEFULLY -- HOPEFULLY ENACT IT AND GET ON TO OTHER THINGS. WE -- THE DEBT IS A MAJOR LONG-TERM PROBLEM, NOT JUST FOR OUR GRANDCHILDREN BUT FOR US TODAY. WE HAVE A BIGGER ISSUE FACING US, AND THAT IS THE FACT THAT WE HAVE HAD PERSISTENT UNEMPLOYMENT IN AN ECONOMY THAT'S NOT GROWING, AND THAT'S HURTING TOO MANY PEOPLE. SO THE SOONER WE SWING FOR THE FENCES AND GET A RESULT AND GET OUR DEBT UNDER CONTROL AND DEAL WITH IT IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, THE BETTER FOR THE COUNTRY AND THE QUICKER WE WILL BE ABLE TO GET ON TO THE LARGER QUESTION OF JOBS. OF COURSE, ECONOMISTS HAVE MADE IT CLEAR TO US THAT GETTING THE DEBT UNDER CONTROL HAS A LOT TO DO WITH JOBS, THAT WHEN OUR TOTAL DEBT IS AS HIGH AS IT IS TODAY, NEARLY 100% OF OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, THAT THAT PROBABLY COSTS US A MILLION JOBS A YEAR. WE CAN'T SOLVE ALL THAT IN ONE DAY OR ONE MONTH, BUT WE CAN TAKE A BIG STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT OUR COUNTRY MEN AND WOMEN WANT US TO DO. SO I -- I'M GLAD I GOT TO HEAR THE PART OF THE SENATOR'S SPEECH AND I'M GLAD I HAVE A CHANCE TO COMMEND HIM FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS VEXING AND IMPORTANT PROBLEM THAT WE NEED TO DEAL WITH. I THANK THE PRESIDENT AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 09:58:45 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:58:49 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    THE APPROVAL OF THE SENATOR IN LEADERSHIP OF THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, I…

    THE APPROVAL OF THE SENATOR IN LEADERSHIP OF THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, I SUGGEST WE YIELD BACK ALL TIME AND ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO BEGIN THE ROLL CALL.

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  • 09:58:58 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

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  • 09:59:03 AM

    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 THE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 93, S. 1323, A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE AND RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT, SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS.

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  • 09:59:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    OFFICER: BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE QUESTION IS IS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1323, A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE. THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 10:00:00 AM

    Senate Vote 106 - On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider S 1323)

    A bill to express the sense of the Senate on shared sacrifice in resolving the budget deficit.

    Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Agreed to (74 - 22)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 73
    Republican - 25
    Democratic - 46
    Independent - 2

    Vote Details: Nay - 22
    Republican - 21
    Democratic - 1

    Vote Details: Not Voting - 4
    Democratic - 3
    Republican - 1

  • 10:27:08 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WHO WISH TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE A VOTE? IF NOT, ON THIS VOTE, THE YEAS ARE 74, THE NAYS ARE 22. 3/5 OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS AGREED TO. THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 10:27:30 AM

    MR. REID

    ORDER, PLEASE.

  • 10:27:33 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE WILL PLEASE COME TO ORDER. THE MAJORITY LEADER IS…

    OFFICER: THE SENATE WILL PLEASE COME TO ORDER. THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 10:27:43 AM

    MR. REID

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE TIME UNTIL 6:00 P.M. TODAY ON THE MOTION TO…

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE TIME UNTIL 6:00 P.M. TODAY ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED BE EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES. FURTHER, THAT AT 2:00 P.M., MONDAY, JULY 11, THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1323, WITH THE TIME UNTIL 5:30 EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES. AND AT 5:30 P.M., THE SENATE PROCEED TO VOTE ON THE ADOPTION OF THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1323.

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  • 10:28:11 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:28:14 AM

    MR. REID

    BE NO MORE ROLL CALL VOTES THIS WEEK. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 10:28:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 10:32:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:32:15 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 10:32:20 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED. WILL SENATORS PLEASE TAKE…

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED. WILL SENATORS PLEASE TAKE THEIR CONVERSATIONS FROM THE CHAMBER. MRS.

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  • 10:32:26 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE HAVE BEEN HERE THIS WEEK --

  • 10:32:31 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:32:35 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    WILL THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS YIELD FOR A QUESTION?

  • 10:32:39 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    WILL,

  • 10:32:41 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    SENATOR FROM TEXAS, I'M JUST WONDERING THE VIEW THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE THAT…

    SENATOR FROM TEXAS, I'M JUST WONDERING THE VIEW THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE THAT WE'VE BEEN TERRIBLY OVERWORKED THIS WEEK. I UNDERSTAND THAT WE CANCELED OUR 4TH OF JULY RECESS IN ORDER TO GET BACK HERE AND GET TO WORK AND DO THE PEOPLE'S BUSINESS. IS IT CORRECT THAT THAT WAS THE SECOND VOTE THIS WE HAVE TAKE? ONE WAS THE INSTRUCTION OF THE SERGEANT AT ARMS, AND THIS ONE ANOTHER HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE THAT WAS TAKEN UP. I GUESS MY QUESTION TO THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS: HAS THIS WEEK BEEN A WORTHWHILE EXPENDITURE OF THE TAXPAYERS' DOLLAR?

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  • 10:33:21 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    THE SENATE IS NOT IN ORDER.

  • 10:34:13 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    AMERICANS ARE SAYING WHAT ON EARTH IS CONGRESS DOING? WHAT ON EARTH IS THE…

    AMERICANS ARE SAYING WHAT ON EARTH IS CONGRESS DOING? WHAT ON EARTH IS THE PRESIDENT DOING? WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO ADDRESS THE LOOMING DEBT CRISIS? AND WE WERE CALLED BACK IN NOT TO RECESS SO THAT WE COULD DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL. WHEN I SAW THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA ON THE FLOOR, HE WAS READY TO TALK ABOUT OUR INTERNATIONAL SITUATION AND THE COMMITMENTS THAT WE ARE MAKING CERTAINLY. MANY PEOPLE SAID, NO, WAIT A MINUTE, WE'VE GOT A DEBT CRISIS AND WE CAN'T WAIT TILL AUGUST 2 TO FULFILL IT. I WOULD JUST RESPOND TO THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA AND SAY WHEN DOES THE -- WHEN DO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GET THE ANSWER THAT THEY DESERVE, WHICH IS CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT ARE WORKING TOGETHER, AND WE ARE BEING PRODUCTIVE AND WE HAVE A BUDGET RESOLUTION ON THE FLOOR, AND WE'RE DEBATING IT, AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OUR DIFFERENCES ON TAXES AND SPENDING. YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK WE CAN TAX OUR WAY OUT OF A RECESSION. I DON'T THINK WE CAN TAX OUR WAY OUT OF THE BUDGET DEFICITS. I WOULD JUST ASK THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA IF HE THINKS THAT WE CAN MAKE MEANINGFUL PROGRESS STAYING IN SESSION AND DEBATING, AND IF IN FACT THAT MIGHT BE AN OPTION IN THE FUTURE?

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  • 10:35:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:35:44 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER WAITING, SO I WILL MAKE MY COMMENTS…

    THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER WAITING, SO I WILL MAKE MY COMMENTS BRIEF. I KNOW THAT HIS AGENDA IS VERY BUSY. I WOULD JUST SAY THAT, TO MY FRIEND FROM TEXAS -- AND I UNDERSTAND A LOT OF THE INNER MECHANISMS AND HIDDEN WORKINGS THAT'S GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES. BUT WHEN I GO BACK AND TELL MY CONSTITUENTS THAT WE CANCELED A WEEK OF RECESS AND WE HAD TWO VOTES, ONE TO INSTRUCT THE SERGEANT AT ARMS, AND THE OTHER ON A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION, I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE TAKEN UP OTHER BUSINESS THAT WAS REJECTED BY MEMBERS ON THIS SIDE BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO FOCUS ON THE DEFICIT. BUT IF WE'RE FOCUSING ON THAT, MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN UP SOME ISSUES THAT DIRECTLY AFFECT THE DEFICIT, SUCH AS ETHANOL SUBSIDIES, SUCH AS SOME OF THE OTHER TAX BREAKS AND LOOP HOMES AND OTHER -- LOOPHOLES AND OTHER ISSUES THAT SURROUND THE WHOLE BANKRUPTCY OF THIS COUNTRY. I SEE THE MAJORITY LEADER IS THERE WAITING, SO I WILL YIELD TO MY FRIEND FROM TEXAS.

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  • 10:36:52 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FOLLOWING THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FOLLOWING THE MAJORITY LEADER, I REGAIN THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:37:02 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED. MR.

  • 10:37:07 AM

    MR. REID

    JUST A BRIEF COMMENT. I'VE KNOWN MY FRIEND, THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM…

    JUST A BRIEF COMMENT. I'VE KNOWN MY FRIEND, THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM ARIZONA, SINCE 1982, WHEN WE WERE BOTH ELECTED TO CONGRESS. AND HIS RECORD OF PUBLIC SERVICE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. BUT I WOULD SAY TO HIM AND TO EVERYONE WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE, WE DIDN'T VOTE ON LIBYA, THIS IMPORTANT RESOLUTION THAT WE HAD BEEN WORKING ON SO HARD, BY THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR TPWR ARIZONA -- FROM ARIZONA AND CHAIRMAN OF THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE BECAUSE I WAS TOLD WE WOULDN'T GET ANY VOTES FROM REPUBLICANS BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO FOCUS ON THE DEFICIT. MY FRIEND ALSO RECOGNIZES, AS HE SAID, THERE IS WORK GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES, AND THAT'S TRUE. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF WORK THAT TOOK PLACE AS A RESULT OF OUR BEING HERE THAT WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN PLACE BUT FOR THE FACT THAT WE'RE IN SESSION. NOW WE KNOW A LOT OF THE WORK WE ACCOMPLISH HERE IS NOT WITH VOTES. ONE REASON WE'RE NOT HAVING A LOT OF VOTES IN RECENT MONTHS IS BECAUSE WE CAN'T GET THINGS ON THE FLOOR. WE'RE STOPPED BY MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS. THERE'S MEETINGS GOING ON AT THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE SPEAKER; A MULTITUDE OF MEETINGS THERE. MEETINGS GOING ON BETWEEN MEMBERS OF THE SENATE, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. I WOULD SAY TO EVERYONE HERE, IT'S GOOD WE WERE IN SESSION THIS WEEK. I HAVEN'T HEARD A SINGLE PERSON WHO IS NOT IN CONGRESS COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR BEING HERE. IT'S IMPORTANT WE'RE HERE. AND AS A RESULT OF THAT, WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO MOVE DOWN THE ROAD MUCH FURTHER ON THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE WITH THE DEBT THAN WE WOULD HAVE HAD WE NOT BEEN IN SESSION, BECAUSE THERE'S ALL KINDS OF MEETINGS GOING ON AROUND TOWN DEALING WITH HOW WE DO THIS. WE HAVE A MEETING RIGHT BEHIND US TODAY, STARTING AT 9:00. WE HAD THE HEAD OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. WE HAD PEOPLE FROM MOODY'S FINANCIAL SERVICES. THEY WERE THERE TO TELL US WHAT THEY'RE DOING, FOCUS ON REPUBLICANS BEING ABLE TO HELP US WITH THIS PROBLEM, GETTING THROUGH THE DEBT. WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS STAGGERING DEBT THAT FACES US. AND WHAT THIS RESOLUTION WE VOTED ON EARLIER TODAY IS ALL ABOUT IS MAKING SURE WE HAVE EQUAL SACRIFICE IN OUR COUNTRY. THAT IS WE KNOW WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SOME CUTS. WE ALSO RECOGNIZE THAT WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT REVENUE. THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON. WHAT WE DO HERE IN THE SENATE EVERY WEEK IS LIKE SOLVING A MATH -- ISN'T LIKE SOLVING A MATH PROBLEM. THERE IS NO PERFECTION. THAT IS THE WAY THE GOVERNMENT WAS SET UP BY THE TPOUFGS. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK TO SOLVE THE NATION'S PROBLEMS. NUMBER ONE ON THE LIST IS DOING SOMETHING ABOUT OUR STAGGERING DEBT. HUTCH MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 10:40:02 AM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

  • 10:58:00 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:58:02 AM

    MR. CASEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS THE SENATE'S UPCOMING…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS THE SENATE'S UPCOMING TRADE AGENDA AND ITS IMPACT ON PENNSYLVANIA WORKERS AND PENNSYLVANIA JOBS. LIKE SO MANY OF OUR STATES, PENNSYLVANIA HAS ALWAYS PLAYED A CRITICALLY IMPORTANT ROLE IN AMERICA'S MANUFACTURING AND COMMERCIAL HERITAGE. THE COAL AND WATERWAYS OF OUR STATE HELP MAKE THE COMMONWEALTH LEGENDARY FOR STEEL MAKING AND HELP TURN THE UNITED STATES INTO AN INDUSTRIAL POWERHOUSE. DURING ITS HEYDAY, 60% OF THE DOMESTIC STEEL PRODUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES CAME FROM PENNSYLVANIA. DURING WORLD WAR II, ALMOST ONE-THIRD OF THE NATION'S STEEL CAME FROM PENNSYLVANIA, WHICH WAS A FULL 20% OF GLOBAL PRODUCTION AT THE TIME, BUT THEN PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR ARTHUR JAMES PUT IT THIS WAY. PENNSYLVANIA WAS TRULY THE ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY AND THE ARSENAL OF AMERICA. GIVEN ITS DOMINANCE IN THE STEEL INDUSTRY, IT'S NO SURPRISE THAT THE COMMONWEALTH WAS SIXTH IN THE NATION IN TOTAL WORK PRODUCTION DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, LEADING IN SHIPBUILDING AND MUNITIONS PRODUCTION. MORE MONEY WAS SPENT TO EXPAND PRODUCTION CAPACITY IN PENNSYLVANIA THAN IN ANY OTHER STATE DURING THE WAR. WE KNOW AT THE TIME THAT IT DIDN'T STOP THERE. IT DIDN'T STOP AT THE END OF THE WAR. AFTER -- AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER, THESE MANUFACTURING FACILITIES WERE USED TO MAKE AMERICAN PRODUCTS AND FUEL THE GROWTH OF A THRIVING MIDDLE CLASS. TODAY, SO MANY OF THESE PLANTS HAVE GONE AWAY, DUE IN PART TO OUR FAILED TRADE POLICIES. OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS, WE HAVE SEEN TRADE DEFICITS SOAR, CURRENCY MANIPULATION GO UNCHECKED, LAVISH SUBSIDIES BY FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS GO IGNORED, AND EXPLOITATION OF WORKERS IN OTHER COUNTRIES OVERLOOKED. THAT'S WHY I'M VERY CONCERNED THAT TODAY THE FINANCE COMMITTEE IS MOVING FORWARD WITH THE PENDING AGREEMENTS WITH SOUTH KOREA, COLOMBIA AND PANAMA. FOR THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS, SENATOR BROWN AND I HAVE PERSISTENTLY ASKED THE TOUGH CRITICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THESE AGREEMENTS BEFORE THEY'RE CONSIDERED. A REVIEW OF THE IMPACT OF PAST TRADE AGREEMENTS OFFERS VERY LITTLE COMFORT. IN 1994, CONGRESS PASSED THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, CREATING THE WORLD'S LARGEST FREE TRADE ZONE. WE KNOW IT AS NAFTA. AND SINCE NAFTA'S PASSAGE, U.S. TRADE POLICIES HAVE STEADILY CHIPPED AWAY AT PENNSYLVANIA'S MANUFACTURING BASE, A CRITICAL SECTOR FOR OUR BASE AND SO MANY OTHERS. ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY -- AND THE CHART ON MY LEFT DEPICTS IT -- BY THE PENNSYLVANIA INDUSTRIAL RESOURCE CENTERS, FROM 1997 TO 2010 -- JUST 13 YEARS -- MANUFACTURING WENT FROM 16.4% OF OUR STATE'S GROSS STATE PRODUCT TO 12.1%, A REMARKABLE DROP IN JUST 13 YEARS. AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE TOTAL NUMBER OF JOBS? IN TOTAL, PENNSYLVANIA LOST NEARLY 300,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS. AND YOU CAN SEE IT FROM THE CHART. STARTING IN 19 E9, THE DROP TO 12.1% IN JUST THOSE 13 YEARS. 300,000 JOBS IN 13 YEARS. DESPITE THESE ALARMING NUMBERS AND STATISTICS, ADVOCATES FOR THE TRADE DEALS, INCLUDING THE PENDING AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREA, PROMISE SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC BENEFITS, FROM EXPLODING EXPORT POTENTIAL TO DIRECT JOB CREATION. PROPONENTS ARGUE -- THEY ARGUE -- A SIGNET POSITIVE FROM THESE AGREEMENTS EVERY TIME THEY'RE CONSIDERED. IN REALITY, INSTEAD OF CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PENNSYLVANIA, OUR TRADE POLICIES DID LITTLE MORE THAN OFFSHORE GOOD-PAYING JOBS WHILE GIVING OUR TRADING PARTNERS UNLIMITED ACCESS TO OUR MARKETS. SO WE MUST TAKE THE TIME NOW TO ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS. SPECIFICALLY, AS THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA, I MUST ASK THREE BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT ANY TRADE DEAL. NUMBER ONE, WILL THE AGREEMENT PROTECT CURRENT PENNSYLVANIA JOBS AND CREATE NEW JOBS IN PENNSYLVANIA AND ACROSS AMERICA? NUMBER TWO, WILL THE AGREEMENT HELP CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR AMERICAN BUSINESSES AND WORKERS? AND, THIRD, DOES THE AGREEMENT PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS TO EXPORT? TODAY I'LL FOCUS ON THE SOUTH KOREA TRADE AGREEMENT AND THE CONTEXT OF EACH QUESTION. FIRST, WILL THE AGREEMENT PROTECT AND CREATE JOBS IN PENNSYLVANIA AND ACROSS THE NATION? IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES, JOB CREATION MUST BE OUR TOP PRIORITY. IN PENNSYLVANIA, THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR IS CRITICAL. MANUFACTURING REMAINS THE COMMONWEALTH'S LARGEST SOURCE OF GOOD-PAYING JOBS, WITH CHEMICAL, PRIMARY METAL PRODUCTS, FABRICATED METAL PRODUCTS, FOOD PRODUCTS AND MACHINERY MAKING UP THE TOP FIVE AREAS. THESE BENEFITS EXTEND BEYOND INDIVIDUAL MANUFACTURING BUSINESSES IN OUR STATE. IN FACT, THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF A STRONG MANUFACTURING SECTOR EXPERIENCED THROUGHOUT PENNSYLVANIA'S ECONOMY. ACCORDING TO A RESEARCH COMMERCIALED BY THE PENNSYLVANIA INDUSTRIAL RESOURCE CENTERS, EVERY $1 DEMAND FOR PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED IN OUR STATE LEADS TO AN INCREASE OF $2.50 ACROSS ALL INDUSTRIES. SO $1 IN ACTIVITY CAN LEAD TO $2.50 IN VALUE. THE MANUFACTURING JOBS THAT ARE CREATED SUPPORT MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES, AND THE CREATION OF THOSE JOBS AND THE SUPPORT THEY PROVIDE TO THOSE FAMILIES IN 2008 MEANT THE FOLLOWING: IRK THE AVERAGE ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF A BOARK IN THE MANUFACTURING --SECTOR -- THE AVERAGE PAY WAS $10,000 LESS. EACH GOOD-PAYING JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY ALLOWS FOR MORE MONEY TO FLOW BACK INTO THE ECONOMY. BUFF GIVEN THE IMPORTANCE OF MANUFACTURING JOBS IN PENNSYLVANIA, WE MUST ASK OURSELVES, WILL THE KOREA TRADE AGREEMENT CREATE JOBS, ESPECIALLY IN THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR? I BELIEVE IT WILL NOT CREATE A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF NEW JOBS IN THIS CRITICAL SECTOR. LOOKING BACK OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS RS TRADE-RELATED JOB EXPANSION HAS BEEN AN UNFULFILLED PROMISE FOR PENNSYLVANIA AND THE NATION. WE NEED LOOK NO FURTHER THAN NAFTA. IN 1993, WHEN THE AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED, NAFTA PROMISED TO DELIVER HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES. LEADING ECONOMISTS AT THE TIME PROJECTED NAFTA WOULD BRING 170 THO NEW JOBS IN THE NEAR-TERM ALONE. THESE GAINS WERE NOT REALIZED. INSTEAD, SINCE NAFTA WAS SIGNED INTO LAW THROUGH 2002, 525,094 WORKERS WERE CERTIFIED AS DISPLACED UNDER NAFTA, ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. AND I AM A SURE THAT NUMBER HAS GROWN SINCE THAT 2002 DATAPOINT. FURTHERMORE, WHEN NAFTA WAS NEGOTIATED, LEADERS SUGGESTED THAT AMERICAN PORTERS WOULD EXPAND GREATLY TO MEET THE NEWFOUND DEMAND OF OPEN MEXICAN MARKET. THE OPPOSITE HAS OCCURRED. IN 1993, THE UNITED STATES HAD A SMALL TRADE SURPLUS. WE HAVE A SURPLUS WITH MEXICO. ACCORDING TO THE OFFICIAL CENSUS BUREAU STATISTICS, BY 2010, 17 YEARS LATER, WE WERE RUNNING A TRADE DEFICIT WITH MEXICO OF $66.4 BILLION. SO A SURPLUS IN TRADE WITH MEXICO BECAME A HUGE DEFICIT. TRADE WITH CANADA ALSO SAW A WIDENING TRADE DEFICIT FROM $10 BILLION IN 1993 TO $28 BILLION IN 2010, SO THERE A DEFICIT GOT BIGGER WHEREAS IN THE CASE OF MEXICO IT WENT FROM SURPLUS TO A MASSIVE DEFICIT OF $66 BILLION WITH MEXICO. THE IMPACT OF THESE POLICIES IS PLAINLY SEEN IN EMPLOYMENT DATA. PENNSYLVANIA HAS SEEN A DRAMATIC DECLINE IN MANUFACTURING EMPLOYMENT SINCE NAFTA WAS IMPLEMENTED. LOSING A TOTAL OF OVER 300,000 JOBS, AS I SAID BEFORE. WITH THIS ROSY PREDICTION FOR NAFTA IN MIND, A CLOSE LOOK AT THE GOVERNMENT'S PROJECTIONS FOR THE SOUTH KOREA AGREEMENT SHOULD BE VIEWED WITH A GREAT SKEPTICISM. WITH THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE -- WHILE THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION PREDICTS OUR BILATERAL TRADE WITH KOREA WILL IMPROVE, THE TOTAL U.S. TRADE DEFICIT IS PREDICTED TO GET LARGER. WHILE THE PROPONENTS OF THE AGREEMENT ARGUE THAT U.S. EXPORTS TO KOREA WILL INCREASE, THEY ARE NEGLECTING TO TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH. COMPANIES WILL SHIFT -- SIMPLY SHIFT FROM EXPORTING TO CREATING CURRENT CUSTOMERS IN OTHER PLACES TO KOREA RATHER THAN INCREASING TOTAL EXPORTS. SECOND QUESTION I ASK IS WILL THIS AGREEMENT HELP CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD AFTER ENACTMENT? I BELIEVE THAT THIS AGREEMENT, THE SOUTH KOREA AGREEMENT, WILL FAIL TO CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR OUR WORKERS AND OUR COMPANIES. MODERN TRADE AGREEMENTS DO MORE THAN CUT TARIFFS. THESE AGREEMENTS CONTAIN HUNDREDS OF PROVISIONS THAT MAKE SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES TO NONTRADE POLICIES AND THE KOREA AGREEMENT IS NO EXCEPTION. ACCORDING TO THE GROUP PUBLIC CITIZEN, THESE NONTRADE PROVISIONS LIMIT THE AUTHORITY GRANTED TO ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OVER PRODUCT AND FOOD SAFETY, FINANCIAL REGULATIONS, HEALTH CARE AND ENERGY REGULATIONS, PATENT TERMS, AND EVEN OUR TEXTILERS CAN BE SPENT BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE AGREEMENT ALLOWS KOREAN EXPORTERS TO TAKE INVESTMENT DISPUTES OUT OF COURTS AND INTO UNACCOUNTABLE AND SECRETIVE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS THROUGH A PROCESS KNOWN AS "INVESTOR-TO-STATE DISPUTE SYSTEM." IT IS SIMILAR TO NAFTA'S. ADDITIONALLY, THE INVESTMENT CHAPTERS ARE SIGNED -- THAT WERE SIGNED PRIOR TO THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS BACK IN 2007, THESE SPECIFIC CHAPTERS INCLUDE RULES THAT PROHIBIT EITHER COUNTRY FROM IMPOSING FIRE WALLS BETWEEN THE SORTS OF FINANCIAL SERVICES ONE FIRM MAY OFFER TO LIMIT THE SPREAD OF RISK, FOR EXAMPLE. IMPORTANT PROTECTIONS PUT IN PLACE AFTER THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 2007 AND 2008 COULD POTENTIALLY BE CHALLENGED UNDER THE PENDING AGREEMENT. EVEN MORE TROUBLING IS THE ISSUE OF KOREA'S CURRENCY. SOUTH KOREAN CURRENCY MANIPULATION REMAINS AN UNADDRESSED PROBLEM. AS WE'VE SEEN IN CHINA, AN INTENTIONALLY WEAKENED CURRENCY LEADS TO A FUNDAMENTALLY UNBALANCED TRADE RELATIONSHIP AND BRUTAL CONDITIONS FOR U.S. COMPANIES. IN THE JUNE 17th RORKTS THE ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE CALCULATED THAT IF ASIAN CURRENCIES WERE STRENGTHENED TO APPROPRIATE MARKET-DETERMINED LEVELS, IF THEY HAD -- IF THAT WERE DONE, U.S. GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT WOULD INCREASE BY AS MUCH A $287.5 BILLION, CREATING UP TO 2.25 MILLION U.S. JOBS. THAT'S IF -- IF -- ASIAN CURRENCIES WERE STRENGTHENED TO THOSE APPROPRIATE LEVELS. UNFORTUNATELY, AS WITH OTHER NAFTA-STYLE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS, THIS SOUTH KOREA AGREEMENT IS SILENT ON CURRENCY. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE SOUTH KOREA DEVALUED THEIR CURRENCY TWICE, ONCE IN 1998, ONCE IN 1998. BOTH DEVALUED THEIR CURRENCY BY 50% OR MORE. SOUTH KOREA WAS ONE OF THE FIRST COUNTRIES CITED AS A CURRENCY MANIPULATOR BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN 1988. SOUTH KOREA CONTINUES THEIR LONG HISTORY OF MANIPULATING THEIR CURRENCY. IN FACT, THE MOST RECENT TREASURY REPORT TO CONGRESS ON INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC AND EXCHING RATE POLICIES FROM MAY 27, 2011, NOTED THAT SOUTH KOREA INTERVENED -- QUOTE -- "HEAVILY" -- UNQUOTE -- IN ITS CURRENCY MARKET DURING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND HAS CONTINUED UNINTERRUPTED SINCE. TREASURY URGED SOUTH KOREA TO -- QUOTE -- "ADOPT A GREATER DEGREE OF EXCHANGE RATE FLEXIBILITY UNLESS INTERVENTION" -- UNQUOTE. CURRENCY POLICY HAS PLAYED A CENTRAL ROLE IN CHINA'S MERCANTILIST TRADE POLICIES AND HAS COST THE UNITED STATES THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF JOBS. WE SHALL NOT BE CUTTING -- WE SHOULD NOT BE CUTTING TARIFFS WITH A COUNTRY WITH SOUTH KOREA'S HEAVY HISTORY ON CURRENCY MANIPULATION. WITHOUT LANGUAGE TO DEAL WITH PROTECTING US IN A COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT AND IN THE DEVALUATIONS THAT THEY HAVE UNDERTAKEN BEFORE. ADDITIONALLY, SEVERAL GROUPS HAVE RAISED THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE AGREEMENT COULD BE USED TO WEAKEN U.S. TRADE LAWS. THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT CREATES A BILATERAL COMMISSION ON TRADE LAWS. WHILE OUR TRADE REPRESENTATIVE ARGUES THIS WILL NOT CHANGE ANY EXISTING U.S. TRADE LARKS THIS AVENUE COULD BE USED BY ADVOCATES OF WEAKER ENFORCEMENT IN THE FUTURE. FINALLY, I TURN TO THE LAST QUESTION: DOES THE AGREEMENT PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR PENNSYLVANIA MANUFACTURERS TO EXPORT THEIR GOODS? LIKE AND ALIKE NAFTA, THE BENEFITS OF THE SOUTH KOREA DEAL HAVE BEEN, IN MY JUDGMENT, OVERSTATED, WHILE THE RISKS HAVE BEEN LARGELY IGNORED. RATHER THAN OPENING A NEW MARKET FOR PENNSYLVANIA FARMERS AND MANUFACTURERS, I'M CONCERNED THAT THE BENEFITS TO THE UNITED STATES ARE MINIMAL AT BEST. THERE ARE SPECIFIC REASONS THIS DEAL FAILS TO DELIVER FOR PENNSYLVANIA EXPORTERS. FIRST, MOST OF THE BENEFITS ARE BASED ON AN OVERLY OPTIMISTIC PROJECTION FOR AGRICULTURE. THESE PROJECTIONS COMPILED BY SUPPORTERS OF THE AGREEMENT ASSUME THAT A CUT IN TARIFFS WILL IMMEDIATELY EQUAL A GROWTH IN MARKET SHARE. WE KNOW FROM PAST EXPERIENCE THAT ASIAN MARKETS, INCLUDING SOUTH KOREA, HAVE COME UP WITH A HOST OF UNJUSTIFIED, NONTARIFF RESTRICTIONS TO KEEP UNITED STATES BEEF OUT OF THEIR COUNTRY. THESE BARRIERS TO FREE TRADE ARE LIKELY TO LIMIT EXPORT POTENTIAL AND ARE LARGELY UNADDRESSED IN THE AGREEMENT. OTHER TROUBLING CLAUSES DEALING WITH THE BEEF CENTURY EXIST. THE SOUTH KOREA AGREEMENT WILL ALLOW AMERICAN BEEF PACKAGERS TO USE CANADIAN OR MEXICAN CATTLE AND THEN EXPORT THE PASSAGED MEXICAN AND/OR MEXICAN BEEF AS "AMERICAN BEEF." THIS POLICY, WHILE GREAT FOR BEEF PACKAGERS, UNDERCUTS UNITED STATES RANCHERS. GIVEN OUR DIFFICULTIES IN GAINING A FOOTHOLD IN THESE MARKETS, WE SHOULD RELY SOLELY ON U.S. CATTLE, WHICH WE KNOW IS SAFE. SECOND, FOR -- ONE OF PENNSYLVANIA'S MOST IMPORTANT SECTORS, DARELY -- YOU DARE RIRKS THE COMPETING AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREA COULD INHIBIT OUR ABILITY TO COMPETE IN THE SOUTH KOREA MARKET. CERTAIN TIMES OF CHEESE INCLUDING MOZZARELLA MUST COME FROM SPECIFIC REGIONS. AS A RESULT, EUROPEAN EXPORTERS COULD CHALLENGE -- EUROPEAN EXPORTERS COULD CHALLENGE U.S. PRODUCERS SELLING CHEESE IN SOUTH KOREA AS -- QUOTE -- "MOZZARELLA OR" -- -- QUOTE --." THIS GIVES EUROPEAN COMPANIES AN ADVANTAGE OVER AMERICAN CMS. ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH THE AGREEMENT IS WHICH GOODS QUALIFY FOR -- QUOTE -- "MADE IN SOUTH KOREA" DESIGNATION. THE STICKER, SO TO SPEAK. AND ARE ALLOWED TO THEREFORE ENTER THE UNITED STATES DUTY-FREE. UNDER THE RULES OF THE -- UNDER THE RULES OF THE AGREEMENT, IN ANNEX 6-A, 65% OF THE VALUE OF MANY GOODS, INCLUDING AUTOMOBILES SHIPPED DUTY-FREE TO THE U.S., CAN COME FROM SOUTH KOREA AND STILL BE CONSIDERED -- QUOTE -- "MADE IN SOUTH KOREA." THIS STANDARD IS LOWER THAN THE EUROPEAN UNION AGREEMENT. THE EUROPEAN AGREEMENT HAS A 55% CONTENT STANDARD, WHERE CON TAEPBT CAN BE -- CONTENT CAN BE FOREIGN AND ONCE AGAIN PLACES OUR COMPANIES AT A COMPARATIVE DISADVANTAGE IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. 35% KOREA PLUS 56% CHINA WOULD EQUAL MADE IN KOREA. I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BARGAINED FOR WHEN THEY EXPECT TO US GET TRADE POLICIES RIGHT. IN A SENSE THIS OPENS A BACK DOOR FOR PRODUCTS PRIMARILY MADE IN PLACES LIKE NORTH KOREA OR CHINA TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DUTY-FREE. THAT IS WRONG. IT SHOULD BE CHANGED, AND WE SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR AN AGREEMENT THAT HAS THAT IN IT. SO LET ME CONCLUDE, MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THE THREE QUESTIONS THAT I STARTED WITH. FIRST, WILL THE AGREEMENT CREATE A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF NEW JOBS? I'M CONCERNED THAT IT WILL NOT. IN PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS LIKE NAFTA, IF THEY ARE ANY INDICATION THE U.S.-KOREA AGREEMENT WILL LEAD TO JOB LOSSES, ESPECIALLY IN THE CRITICAL MANUFACTURING SECTOR. SECOND, WILL THE AGREEMENT HELP CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD? IT WILL NOT. THE AGREEMENT FAILS TO ADDRESS CRITICAL ISSUES LIKE CURRENCY MANIPULATION THAT HAVE ALREADY HURT AMERICAN BUSINESSES AND COST US JOBS. DOES THE AGREEMENT PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS TO EXPORT? PROPONENTS HAVE OVERSTAEUTD THE BENEFITS. -- OVERSTATED THE BENEFITS. CERTAIN FIRMS AND INDUSTRIES WILL LIKELY BENEFIT WHILE MANY OTHERS WILL NOT. WHAT IS CLEAR IS THAT IN ITS FAILURE TO ADDRESS NONTARIFF BARRIERS TO TRADE, THE AGREEMENT LEAVES AMERICAN FIRMS UNPROTECTED AND ON A PLAYING FIELD THAT IS NOT LEVEL. INSTEAD OF MOVING AHEAD WITH A BROKEN MODEL, WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THE BIGGER PICTURE, FORMULATING A STRATEGY THAT HELPS AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS, THAT LEADS TO JOB CREATION AND HELPS MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES, HELP US CREATE THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE. TO MAKE REAL SUSTAINED PROGRESS, WASHINGTON NEEDS TO HAVE A PLAN ARCS STRATEGY. WE MUST DEVELOP AND COMMIT OURSELVES TO A NATIONAL MANUFACTURING STRATEGY THAT INCLUDES JOB-CREATING TRADE POLICIES AS WELL. RECENTLY I CONVENED A ROUND TABLE IN PENNSYLVANIA, WITH THE LEADER OF SEVERAL SOUTHWESTERN COMPANIES AT THE UNIVERSAL ELECTRICS CORPORATION IN CANNONSBURG, WASHINGTON COUNTY TO LISTEN TO THEIR IDEAS ABOUT WHAT I CAN BRING TO WASHINGTON, D.C. I HEARD A NUMBER OF COMMON THEMES, FIRST, DEVELOP A NATIONAL TRAPBLG. SECOND, MAKE THE R&D PERMANENT. THIRD, CRACK DOWN ON CHINA'S CURRENCY MANIPULATION AND OTHER UNFAIR TRADE POLICIES SO THAT PENNSYLVANIA COMPANIES AND OUR WORKERS HAVE AT LEAST A FAIR SHOT. LEGISLATION I RECENTLY INTRODUCED GIVES US THOSE TOOLS TO HOLD COUNTRIES ACCOUNTABLE FOR MANIPULATING THEIR CURRENCIES. FOURTH, EXTEND TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE TO HELP WORKERS WHO LOST THEIR JOBS TO BUILD NEW SKILLS. FINALLY, INVEST IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH, THE SO-CALLED STEM DISCIPLINE, WHICH WE KNOW WILL CREATE MANY JOBS IN THE FUTURE. MANUFACTURING IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF PENNSYLVANIA AND OUR NATION'S ECONOMY. OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON DEVELOPING POLICIES THAT HELP OUR WORKERS AND OUR BUSINESSES COMPETE IN THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF GOODS. OUR WORKERS AND OUR BUSINESSES CAN OUTCOMPETE ANYONE IN THE WORLD, ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. WE JUST NEED TO GIVE THEM A FAIR SHOT. WE NEED TO GIVE THEM A STRATEGY. AND THESE AGREEMENTS DON'T DO THAT. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:12:17 AM

    QUESTION

    DOES THE AGREEMENT PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR PENNSYLVANIA…

    DOES THE AGREEMENT PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR PENNSYLVANIA MANUFACTURERS TO EXPORT THEIR GOODS? LIKE AND ALIKE NAFTA, THE BENEFITS OF THE SOUTH KOREA DEAL HAVE BEEN, IN MY JUDGMENT, OVERSTATED, WHILE THE RISKS HAVE BEEN LARGELY IGNORED. RATHER THAN OPENING A NEW MARKET FOR PENNSYLVANIA FARMERS AND MANUFACTURERS, I'M CONCERNED THAT THE BENEFITS TO THE UNITED STATES ARE MINIMAL AT BEST. THERE ARE SPECIFIC REASONS THIS DEAL FAILS TO DELIVER FOR PENNSYLVANIA EXPORTERS. FIRST, MOST OF THE BENEFITS ARE BASED ON AN OVERLY OPTIMISTIC PROJECTION FOR AGRICULTURE. THESE PROJECTIONS COMPILED BY SUPPORTERS OF THE AGREEMENT ASSUME THAT A CUT IN TARIFFS WILL IMMEDIATELY EQUAL A GROWTH IN MARKET SHARE. WE KNOW FROM PAST EXPERIENCE THAT ASIAN MARKETS, INCLUDING SOUTH KOREA, HAVE COME UP WITH A HOST OF UNJUSTIFIED, NONTARIFF RESTRICTIONS TO KEEP UNITED STATES BEEF OUT OF THEIR COUNTRY. THESE BARRIERS TO FREE TRADE ARE LIKELY TO LIMIT EXPORT POTENTIAL AND ARE LARGELY UNADDRESSED IN THE AGREEMENT. OTHER TROUBLING CLAUSES DEALING WITH THE BEEF CENTURY EXIST. THE SOUTH KOREA AGREEMENT WILL ALLOW AMERICAN BEEF PACKAGERS TO USE CANADIAN OR MEXICAN CATTLE AND THEN EXPORT THE PASSAGED MEXICAN AND/OR MEXICAN BEEF AS "AMERICAN BEEF." THIS POLICY, WHILE GREAT FOR BEEF PACKAGERS, UNDERCUTS UNITED STATES RANCHERS. GIVEN OUR DIFFICULTIES IN GAINING A FOOTHOLD IN THESE MARKETS, WE SHOULD RELY SOLELY ON U.S. CATTLE, WHICH WE KNOW IS SAFE. SECOND, FOR -- ONE OF PENNSYLVANIA'S MOST IMPORTANT SECTORS, DARELY -- YOU DARE RIRKS THE COMPETING AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREA COULD INHIBIT OUR ABILITY TO COMPETE IN THE SOUTH KOREA MARKET. CERTAIN TIMES OF CHEESE INCLUDING MOZZARELLA MUST COME FROM SPECIFIC REGIONS. AS A RESULT, EUROPEAN EXPORTERS COULD CHALLENGE -- EUROPEAN EXPORTERS COULD CHALLENGE U.S. PRODUCERS SELLING CHEESE IN SOUTH KOREA AS -- QUOTE -- "MOZZARELLA OR" -- -- QUOTE --." THIS GIVES EUROPEAN COMPANIES AN ADVANTAGE OVER AMERICAN CMS. ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH THE AGREEMENT IS WHICH GOODS QUALIFY FOR -- QUOTE -- "MADE IN SOUTH KOREA" DESIGNATION. THE STICKER, SO TO SPEAK. AND ARE ALLOWED TO THEREFORE ENTER THE UNITED STATES DUTY-FREE. UNDER THE RULES OF THE -- UNDER THE RULES OF THE AGREEMENT, IN ANNEX 6-A, 65% OF THE VALUE OF MANY GOODS, INCLUDING AUTOMOBILES SHIPPED DUTY-FREE TO THE U.S., CAN COME FROM SOUTH KOREA AND STILL BE CONSIDERED -- QUOTE -- "MADE IN SOUTH KOREA." THIS STANDARD IS LOWER THAN THE EUROPEAN UNION AGREEMENT. THE EUROPEAN AGREEMENT HAS A 55% CONTENT STANDARD, WHERE CON TAEPBT CAN BE -- CONTENT CAN BE FOREIGN AND ONCE AGAIN PLACES OUR COMPANIES AT A COMPARATIVE DISADVANTAGE IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. 35% KOREA PLUS 56% CHINA WOULD EQUAL MADE IN KOREA. I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BARGAINED FOR WHEN THEY EXPECT TO US GET TRADE POLICIES RIGHT. IN A SENSE THIS OPENS A BACK DOOR FOR PRODUCTS PRIMARILY MADE IN PLACES LIKE NORTH KOREA OR CHINA TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DUTY-FREE. THAT IS WRONG. IT SHOULD BE CHANGED, AND WE SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR AN AGREEMENT THAT HAS THAT IN IT. SO LET ME CONCLUDE, MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THE THREE QUESTIONS THAT I STARTED WITH. FIRST, WILL THE AGREEMENT CREATE A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF NEW JOBS? I'M CONCERNED THAT IT WILL NOT. IN PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS LIKE NAFTA, IF THEY ARE ANY INDICATION THE U.S.-KOREA AGREEMENT WILL LEAD TO JOB LOSSES, ESPECIALLY IN THE CRITICAL MANUFACTURING SECTOR. SECOND, WILL THE AGREEMENT HELP CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD? IT WILL NOT. THE AGREEMENT FAILS TO ADDRESS CRITICAL ISSUES LIKE CURRENCY MANIPULATION THAT HAVE ALREADY HURT AMERICAN BUSINESSES AND COST US JOBS. DOES THE AGREEMENT PROVIDE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS TO EXPORT? PROPONENTS HAVE OVERSTAEUTD THE BENEFITS. -- OVERSTATED THE BENEFITS. CERTAIN FIRMS AND INDUSTRIES WILL LIKELY BENEFIT WHILE MANY OTHERS WILL NOT. WHAT IS CLEAR IS THAT IN ITS FAILURE TO ADDRESS NONTARIFF BARRIERS TO TRADE, THE AGREEMENT LEAVES AMERICAN FIRMS UNPROTECTED AND ON A PLAYING FIELD THAT IS NOT LEVEL. INSTEAD OF MOVING AHEAD WITH A BROKEN MODEL, WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THE BIGGER PICTURE, FORMULATING A STRATEGY THAT HELPS AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS, THAT LEADS TO JOB CREATION AND HELPS MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES, HELP US CREATE THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE. TO MAKE REAL SUSTAINED PROGRESS, WASHINGTON NEEDS TO HAVE A PLAN ARCS STRATEGY. WE MUST DEVELOP AND COMMIT OURSELVES TO A NATIONAL MANUFACTURING STRATEGY THAT INCLUDES JOB-CREATING TRADE POLICIES AS WELL. RECENTLY I CONVENED A ROUND TABLE IN PENNSYLVANIA, WITH THE LEADER OF SEVERAL SOUTHWESTERN COMPANIES AT THE UNIVERSAL ELECTRICS CORPORATION IN CANNONSBURG, WASHINGTON COUNTY TO LISTEN TO THEIR IDEAS ABOUT WHAT I CAN BRING TO WASHINGTON, D.C. I HEARD A NUMBER OF COMMON THEMES, FIRST, DEVELOP A NATIONAL TRAPBLG. SECOND, MAKE THE R&D PERMANENT. THIRD, CRACK DOWN ON CHINA'S CURRENCY MANIPULATION AND OTHER UNFAIR TRADE POLICIES SO THAT PENNSYLVANIA COMPANIES AND OUR WORKERS HAVE AT LEAST A FAIR SHOT. LEGISLATION I RECENTLY INTRODUCED GIVES US THOSE TOOLS TO HOLD COUNTRIES ACCOUNTABLE FOR MANIPULATING THEIR CURRENCIES. FOURTH, EXTEND TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE TO HELP WORKERS WHO LOST THEIR JOBS TO BUILD NEW SKILLS. FINALLY, INVEST IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH, THE SO-CALLED STEM DISCIPLINE, WHICH WE KNOW WILL CREATE MANY JOBS IN THE FUTURE. MANUFACTURING IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF PENNSYLVANIA AND OUR NATION'S ECONOMY. OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON DEVELOPING POLICIES THAT HELP OUR WORKERS AND OUR BUSINESSES COMPETE IN THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF GOODS. OUR WORKERS AND OUR BUSINESSES CAN OUTCOMPETE ANYONE IN THE WORLD, ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. WE JUST NEED TO GIVE THEM A FAIR SHOT. WE NEED TO GIVE THEM A STRATEGY. AND THESE AGREEMENTS DON'T DO THAT. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:19:21 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:19:24 AM

    MR. CORNYN

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD OBSERVE YOU HAVE THE MISFORTUNE OF BEING IN…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD OBSERVE YOU HAVE THE MISFORTUNE OF BEING IN THE CHAIR WHENEVER I END UP COMING DOWN SPEAK LATELY, BUT I APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE. MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS ARE MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO DISCUSS WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE THE NATION'S OUT-OF-CONTROL DEFICIT, TO DEAL WITH OUR UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT, AND TO GET AMERICA BACK TO WORK AND HELP GROW OUR ECONOMY. I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE PRESIDENT FOR CONVENING THIS MEETING WHICH WILL BE PROBABLY ONE OF THE LAST CHANCES WE WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS DEADLINE OF AUGUST 2 TO DEAL WITH THE DEBT LIMIT WHERE WE'VE MAXED OUT OUR NATION'S CREDIT CARD WHILE SPENDING 43 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SPENDS TODAY IS BORROWED MONEY, MAKING THAT DEFICIT WORSE, NOT BETTER; MAKING THE DEBT WORSE AND NOT BETTER. THIS IS THE CHANCE TO KICK THE HABIT OF OUT-OF-CONTROL SPENDING HERE IN WASHINGTON. I APPRECIATE THE FACT THE PRESIDENT HAS MOVED FROM HIS INITIAL POSITION WHEN HE ADVOCATED THAT CONGRESS SIMPLY RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT WITHOUT PUTTING WASHINGTON AND CONGRESS ON A SPENDING DIET. I APPRECIATE THE FACT HE HAS MOVED IN HIS POSITION AND READ TODAY IN THE DAILY NEWSPAPERS THAT HE IS PUTTING A LOT OF THINGS, INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM, ON THE TABLE TOGETHER WITH OTHER ENTITLEMENTS. I HOPE THIS REPRESENTS A CHANGE OF POSITION, A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE AND THAT THE PRESIDENT AND OUR NEGOTIATORS WILL SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE KIND OF GRAND BARGAIN THAT WILL PUT AMERICA BACK ON TO A MORE SOLID FISCAL PATH WHERE EVERY CHILD BORN INTO THE WORLD IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY, WHILE BEING ONE OF THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD BEING BORN IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BUT AT THE SAME TIME BEING BURDENED. EVERY CHILD BORN TODAY WILL BE BURDENED WITH $36,000 IN THEIR SHARE OF THE NATIONAL DEBT. AND THAT'S SIMPLY WRONG, AND WE ALL KNOW IT. UNFORTUNATELY, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE AND SOME OF OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES WANTING TO RAISE TAXES AS PART OF THIS GRAND BARGAIN. INDEED, I THINK THAT'S THE NOTION BEHIND THIS SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION THAT THE MAJORITY LEADER HAS INTRODUCED, WHICH IS TARGETED AT MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. AND THE SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION THAT THE MAJORITY LEADER WANTS US TO VOTE ON IS THAT IT IS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT ANY AGREEMENT TO REDUCE THE BUDGET DEFICIT SHOULD REQUIRE THAT THOSE EARNING $1 MILLION OR MORE PER YEAR MAKE A MORE MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS NOT REAL LEGISLATION. THIS WON'T CHANGE ANYTHING. THIS IS A SENSE OF THE SENATE. THIS IS A RESOLUTION WHICH I THINK IS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO ACTUALLY DEAL WITH THE ISSUE RATHER THAN JUST PRETEND LIKE WE'RE TREATING IT SERIOUSLY. WHEN THE WHITE HOUSE PROPOSES THAT WORKING FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES, AMONG OTHERS, SUFFER A $400 BILLION TAX INCREASE OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, IT STRIKES ME THAT IN ONE SENSE THIS IS LIKE A DIET WHERE YOU SAY I'M GOING TO GIVE UP DESSERT. I'M NOT GOING TO EAT DESSERT. BUT THEN YOU BINGE ON THE BUFFET. IN OTHER WORDS, IT'S NOT REAL. IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK. TO PUT THIS IN PERSPECTIVE, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS CURRENTLY BORROWING $4 BILLION EVERY DAY THIS YEAR. SO ACTUALLY RAISING TAXES IN THIS AMOUNT WHILE THIS ONLY AMOUNTS TO TEN DAYS OF WHAT WASHINGTON SPENDS, RAISING TAXES BY $400 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. AND WHILE WE CAN SEE THAT THAT IS NOT A -- WON'T MAKE A SERIOUS DENT IN THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT, THEY ARE VERY SERIOUS JOB-KILLING PROPOSALS. IT STRIKES ME AS JUST COMMON SENSE TO SAY IF YOU WANT MORE JOBS THAT YOU MAKE IT EASIER TO CREATE JOBS. IF YOU WANT LESS JOBS, YOU MAKE IT HARDER TO CREATE JOBS BY RAISING TAXES, BY EXCESSIVE REGULATION AND OTHER OBSTACLES TO JOB CREATION. THE IRONY IS THAT OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE WHO PROPOSE TAX INCREASES AS PART OF THIS GRAND BARGAIN, I'M NOT CONFIDENT THEY ACTUALLY WANT TO USE THAT INCREASED REVENUE TO PAY DOWN THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT. TO THE CONTRARY, I FEAR WHAT THEY WANT TO DO IS CONTINUE SPENDING AT THE CURRENT LEVELS. SO IT'S REALLY KIND OF A SHELL GAME, SAYING WE'RE GOING TO CUT $2 TRILLION BUT WE'RE GOING TO RAISE TAXES BY $2 TRILLION. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? UNLESS THAT $2 TRILLION IN ADDITIONAL REVENUE IS USED TO PAY DOWN THE DEBT, IT MEANS IT'S A WASH. AND GOVERNMENT AND WASHINGTON CONTINUES BUSINESS AS USUAL. WELL, I DON'T THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT US TO CONTINUE DOING BUSINESS AS USUAL. I THINK THEY WANT US TO LISTEN TO THEM AND AMEND OUR WAYS. BUT LET ME JUST GIVE YOU A CONTEXT FOR WHAT, HOW NONSERIOUS SOME OF THE PROPOSALS COMING, INCLUDING FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. ALL OF A SUDDEN HE FOCUSED LAST WEEK ON THIS DEPRECIATION SCHEDULE FOR CORPORATE JETS. NOW, DEEING APPRECIATION IS A -- DEPRECIATION IS A NORMAL PART OF THE TAX CODE. IF YOU USE SOMETHING IN A BUSINESS, YOU CAN BASICALLY WRITE IT DOWN OVER TIME T. WON'T SURPRISE YOU TO FIND THAT IF YOU DID THAT, IF YOU DID WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID, ELIMINATE DEPRECIATION OF CORPORATE SKWRERBGTS IT WOULD GENERATE -- CORPORATE JETS, IT WOULD GENERATE ABOUT $3 BILLION IN REVENUE TO THE FEDERAL TREASURY OVER TEN YEARS. $3 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. BUT JUST TO GET A SENSE OF WHAT A MINUSCULE CONTRIBUTION THAT WOULD MAKE TO SOLVING THE PROBLEM, CONSIDER WHAT OUR ANNUAL DEFICIT IS. THIS IS IN ONE YEAR. THIS IS WHAT $1.7 -- EXCUSE ME, $1.5 TRILLION LOOKS LIKE. IT'S GOT 12 ZEROS. ONE, FIVE, 12, 11 ZEROS AFTER THE FIVE. THAT'S THE ANNUAL DEFICIT. THE PRESIDENT SAYS TO SOLVE THIS ANNUAL DEFICIT YOU NEED TO RAISE $3 BILLION IN ADDITIONAL REVENUE FROM CORPORATE JET OWNERS. OBVIOUSLY A DROP IN THE BUCKET. IT'S EVEN WORSE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE DEBT. THE DEFICIT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT CONGRESS BRINGS IN, WHATS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BRINGS -- WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BRINGS IN AND WHAT IT SPENDS. RIGHT NOW IT'S SPENDING ABOUT $1.5 TRILLION MORE EACH YEAR THAN IT BRINGS IN IN REVENUE. THAT'S THE DEFICIT. BUT THE ACCUMULATION, ACCUMULATION OF THOSE DEFICITS REPRESENTS THE DEBT. THIS IS HOW MUCH RED INK THAT OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS SPENDING, OR WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES. AND THAT'S $14 TRILLION. THIS IS THE NUMBER THAT THE PRESIDENT WANTS US TO RAISE, $14 TRILLION. THAT'S LIKE THE MAX ON YOUR CREDIT CARD. AND IF YOU'RE SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY, YOU BUMP UP AGAINST THE CREDIT CARD LIMIT. THE PRESIDENT IN ESSENCE, RATHER THAN CUTTING BACK ON SPENDING, MAKING SURE YOU'RE PAYING YOUR BILLS THAT YOU ALREADY OWE, HE WANTS TO RAISE IT SO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN SPEND MORE MONEY. WELL, AS I MENTIONED, THIS $14 TRILLION IN DEBT BOILS DOWN TO $46,000 FOR EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD IN THE COUNTRY. SO WHEN THE PRESIDENT GIVES A PRESS CONFERENCE -- AND I CAN'T REMEMBER HOW MANY TIMES HE MENTIONED CHARTERED JETS, BUT HE TALKS ABOUT $3 BILLION IN REVENUE OVER TEN YEARS. BUT IT'S A DROP IN THE BUCKET DEALING WITH A ONE-YEAR DEFICIT -- OR DEFICIT EACH YEAR, CURRENTLY THIS YEAR $1.5 TRILLION, OR A $14 TRILLION DEBT. SO THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS YOU CANNOT GET THERE FROM HERE. EVEN IF YOU DID WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID, IT'S NOT SERIOUS. IT'S NOT HONEST. IT'S NOT CANDID IN TERMS OF WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO GET OUR COUNTRY BACK ON A SOLID FISCAL PATHWAY. SO LET'S TALK ABOUT FEDERAL TAX REFORM. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT THAT, WHERE WE WANT TO TAKE THE TAX CODE WITH ALL OF ITS MULTIPLE PROVISIONS AND GET IT ON THE TABLE AND TAKE A LOOK AT IT TO MAKE SURE IT'S IN MY VIEW, FLATTER, FAIRER AND SIMPLER. BUT RIGHT NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT ACCORDING TO THE COMMITTEE ON JOINT TAXATION, 51% -- THAT'S A MAJORITY OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS -- PAID NO INCOME TAX IN 2009. ZERO. ZIP. NADA. NO INCOME TAX PAID BY 51% OF THE HOUSEHOLDS IN AMERICA IN 2009. ACTUALLY TO SHOW YOU HOW OUT OF WHACK THINGS HAVE GOTTEN, 30% OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS ACTUALLY MADE MONEY FROM THE TAX SYSTEM BY WAY OF REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS, THE EARNED-INCOME TAX CREDIT, AMONG OTHERS. SO, 51% OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS PAID NO INCOME TAX IN 2009, BUT 30% ACTUALLY MADE MONEY UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM. ACCORDING TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, THE TOP 10% OF WAGE EARNERS IN AMERICA PAID 70% OF TOTAL INCOME TAXES. THE TOP 5% OF INCOME EARNERS IN AMERICA PAY NEARLY 60% OF INCOME TAXES. AND THE TOP 1% PAY 38% OF INCOME TAXES. SO WHAT IS THE PRESIDENT TALKING ABOUT AND WHAT IS THE MAJORITY LEADER -- WHAT POINT ARE THEY TRYING TO MAKE WHEN THEY SUGGEST WE PASS A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION SAYING THAT MILLIONAIRES SHOULD MAKE A MORE MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEFICIT-REDUCTION EFFORT? WHAT ARE THEY -- WHAT'S THEIR POINT? IS THEIR POINT WE OUGHT TO RAISE TAXES ON PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY PAYING TAXES? IS THEIR POINT THAT PEOPLE WHO DON'T PAY TAXES, THAT WE SHOULD EXPAND THE POOL OF PEOPLE WHO DO NOT PAY ANY INCOME TAX? OR SHOULD WE PERHAPS EXPAND THE POOL OF PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM CASH TRANSFERS, PAYMENTS, AS A RESULT OF A REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT? WELL, I THINK IT'S PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT WE NEED TAX REFORM. I AM SKEPTICAL THAT WE HAVE TIME BETWEEN NOW AND SECRETARY GEITHNER'S STATED DEADLINE OF AUGUST THE 2nd TO DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO AND TO REPAIR AND TO FIX OUR BROKEN TAX SYSTEM, BUT I THINK THIS HELPS PUT IN CONTEXT THE, FRANKLY, CYNICAL SUGGESTION THAT SOMEHOW WE COULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM IF WE JUST GO AFTER THE FAT CATS AND THE CORPORATE JET OWNERS. IF WE JUST MAPPING MAKE L MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES PAY MORE MONEY, IT'LL ALL BE ALL RIGHT. WELL, I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SMARTER THAN THAT. AND WHEN CONFRONTED WITH THE FACTS, I THINK THEY CAN READILY CONCLUDE -- AND WILL READILY CONCLUDE -- THAT THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN AND NEEDS TO BE FIXED, AND WE DON'T NEED A BUNCH OF SMOKE AND MIRRORS AND PHONY ARGUMENTS ABOUT CLASS WARFARE. THAT'S NOT GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. AND WE NEED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. WELL, LET'S LOOK AT THE PRESIDENT'S ECONOMIC RECORD. YOU KNOW, I KNOW THERE'S BEEN SOME PRESS REPORTS ABOUT THE PRESIDENT SAID WE'RE MAKING A COMEBACK. I THINK HE CALLED THIS SUMMER THE SUMMER OF RECOVERY, IF I'M MOTT MISTAKEN. BUT IN FACT WE KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT'S POLICIES ARE ACTUALLY MAWING THINGS WORSE. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED IN AMERICA -- 12 MILLION UNEMPLOYED ON INAUGURATION DAY; NOW IT'S ALMOST IS 14 MILLION, ALMOST 2 MILLION MORE AMERICANS UNEMPLOYED. IS THAT MAKING THINGS BETTER? NO. IT'S MAKING THINGS WORSE. AND WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING MINIMUM-WAGE JOBS AND OTHER JOBS NOT UP TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY WANT TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES, SO WE CALL THOSE UNDEREMPLOYED. THAT WOULD MAKE THAT NUMBER EVEN HIGHER. WHEN THE PRESIDENT WAS INAUGURATED ON -- IN JANUARY OF 2011, THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS 7.8% -- 7.8%. TODAY IT'S 9.1%. THAT SHOULD BE A 1.7% -- IT NEEDS A DECIMAL POINT THERE -- A 1.7% INCREASE. IN OTHER WORDS, UNEMPLOYMENT IS WORSE TODAY THAN IT WAS WHEN THE PRESIDENT WAS SWORN IN. GAS PRICES -- WE ALL KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENED TO GAS PRICES, THEY'VE GONE THROUGH THE ROOF. PEOPLE ARE HAVING TO DENY THEMSELVES OTHER DISCRETIONARY EXPENDITURES BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY HAVE TO HAVE THE GASOLINE TO BE ABLE TO DRIVE TO WORK, DRIVE THE KIDS TO SCHOOL, OR TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR DAILY BUSINESS. THE FACT IS, WHEN THE PRESIDENT WAS SWORN IN, GASOLINE PRICES WERE $1.85. WELL, WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT IF GAS PRICES WERE $1.85 TODAY. INSTEAD, THEY AVERAGE $3.58. THAT'S ALMOST 100% INCREASE IN GASOLINE PRICES SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA PUT HIS HAND ON THE BIBLE AND WAS SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. A 94% CREASSMENTS-- --A 94% INCREASE. AND THEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE FEDERAL DEBT. THE FEDERAL DEBT WHEN THE PRESIDENT WAS SWORN IN, SOME PEOPLE WILL TILL, OH, IT'S ALL ABOUT PRESIDENT BUSH AND FITTING FIGHTING TWO WASHINGS IT'S ABOUT THE BUSH TAX CUTS AND OTHER -- WELL, I AGREE THERE'S BIPARTISAN BLAME WHEN IT COMES TO OUR NATIONAL DEBT. BUT WE OUGHT TO LINK ARMS AND WORK TOGETHER TO TRY TO SOLVENT PROBLEM RATHER THAN CONTINUE TO MAKE IT WORSE. THE FEDERAL DEBT WHEN THE PRESIDENT -- WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS SWORN IN WAS $1.6 TRILLION. TODAY IT'S $14.3 TRILLION, 35% WORSE. THE DEBT HAS GONE UP BY 3W5% SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA -- BY 35% SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS SWORN IN. AND I MENTIONED THIS FACTOR EARLIER. THIS IS THE -- WHAT EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN OWES IN TERMS OF THEIR SHARE OF THE NATIONAL DEBT. WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS SWORN IN IT WAS $34,000. TODAY IT IS $46,000. SO, CONGRATULATIONS, EVERYONE WITHIN THE SOWNTDZ OF SOUND OF MY VOICE OWES $11,000 MORE DOLLARS OF THE NATIONAL DEBT SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THEN THERE'S HEALTH INSURANCE. WE'VE HAD A LOST DEBATE ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS. WE WERE TOLD IF WE'D JUST PASS THIS GIANT HEALTH CARE BILL THAT HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS WOULD GO DOWN, THAT WE WOULD FIX PROBLEMS, WE'D MAKE SURE MORE PEOPLE HAD ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE. WELL, SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT, HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS HAVE GONE UP BY 19% -- 19%. DID HE MAKE IF BETTER OR DID HE MAKE IT WORSE? WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, WE NEED TO UNBURDEN THE ECONOMY FROM HIGHER TAXES, EXCESSIVE REGULATION, AND ALL THE SORTS OF OBSTACLES THAT GET IN THE WAY OF SMALL BUSINESSES, THE PRIMARY JOB-CREATING ENGINE IN OUR ECONOMY, FROM DOING WHAT IT DOES BEST AND THAT IS GROWING THE ECONOMY, CREATING JOBS. IF OUR FRIENDS ACROSS THE AISLE WANT MORE TAX REVENUE, WELL, THE BEST WAY TO GET MORE REVENUE TO GET MORE AMERICANS BACK TO WORK, SO THEY PAY TAXES, RATHER THAN REMAIN UNEMPLOYED, LOSING THEIR HOME BECAUSE THEY CAN'T PAY THEIR MORTGAGE. THAT'S HOW WE OUGHT TO INCREASE REF NIEWRKS NOT BY RAISING RATES, NOT BY SOME OF THESE SILLY CLASS WARFARE ARGUMENTS THAT SEEM TO TARGET UNPOPULAR SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY. AND, YES, WE NEED TO INCREASE EXPORTS TO CREATE MORE JOBS. AND WE CAN DO THAT BY RATIFYING THE OUTSTANDING TRADE AGREEMENTS WITHOUT ADDING MORE SPENDING TO THEM. AND THE HIGH PRICE OF GASOLINE, GONE UP 94% SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WE COULD OPEN UP MORE DOMESTIC ENERGY RESERVES, MORE AMERICAN NATURAL RESOURCES RATHER THAN CONTINUE TO HAVE TO IMPORT IT FROM PLACES PLACES ABROAD THAT ARE NOT NECESSARILY OUR FRIENDS, OR WHICH MAY BE IN POLITICAL TURMOIL OR EVEN WAR, LIKE LIBYA. SO IF WE HAD A RATIONAL NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY WHERE THE E.P.A., RATHER THAN LOOKING FOR EXCUSES TO DENY US ACCESS TO THINGS LIKE THE NATURAL GAS DISCOVERIES THAT WE HAVE FOUND IN TEXAS AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, IF WE HAD A WAY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AND DID IN FACT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MORE DOMESTIC ENERGY PRODUCTION THAT COULD HELP US PUT MORE AMERICANS BACK TO WORK AND HELP US REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCY ON ENERGY FROM ABROAD AND HELP BRING DOWN THIS PRICE, THE ONE THAT DOESN'T BREAK THE BACK OF THE AVERAGE WORKING FAMILIES. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:38:23 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:39:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:39:44 AM

    MR. CORNYN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO RESCIND THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 11:39:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:39:48 AM

    MR. CORNYN

    A CORRECTION. MY STAFF TOLD ME THAT I ACTUALLY -- ACTUALLY, I UNDERCOUNTED…

    A CORRECTION. MY STAFF TOLD ME THAT I ACTUALLY -- ACTUALLY, I UNDERCOUNTED $14 TRILLION. I WAS WORRIED ABOUT THAT SINCE I -- AND YOU ASKED AHEAD OF TIME. BUT WE ACTUALLY GOT THE NUMBER WRONG. THIS IS ACTUALLY THREE ZEROS TOO FEW. SO JUST TO MAKE SURE THE RECORD IS CORRECT... SO THAT'S 12 ZEROS AFTER "14." THAT REFLECTS OUR NATIONAL DENT DEBT. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SAID IT WAS MUCH LOWER BUT IT ACTUALLY WAS MUCH LOWER. WHICH I THINK REINFORCES MY POINT. THANK YOU.

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  • 11:40:31 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:40:33 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    WHILE THE SENATOR IS STILL HERE -- MR. PRESIDENT, I RECALL -- SENATOR…

    WHILE THE SENATOR IS STILL HERE -- MR. PRESIDENT, I RECALL -- SENATOR CORNYN IS A MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THESE ISSUES. WE HAVE HAD ONE BUDGET ACTUALLY PRESENTED TO THE HOUSE, AND THAT'S THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET -- TO THE SENATE HERE. AND SCORED BY THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, IT SHOWS IS THAT THE DEBT OF THE UNITED STATES IN TEN YEARS UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET WOULD INCREASE $13 TRILLION. THAT'S $13,000 BILLION DOLLARS. I DON'T KNOW IF THE SENATOR IS AWARE OF IT, BUT I WOULD ASK HIM, IS HE AWARE OF HOW MUCH ADDITIONAL REVENUE WOULD COME TO THE GOVERNMENT IF THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL ON CORPORATE JET TAXATION WERE TO BE IMPOSED AND WOULD THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE $13,000 BILLION DOLLARS THAT WOULD BE ADDED TO THE DEBT IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS?

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  • 11:41:49 AM

    MR. CORNYN

    WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, RESPONDING TO MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA, THE NUMBER IS…

    WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, RESPONDING TO MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA, THE NUMBER IS ROUGHLY $3 BILLION IN ADDITIONAL REVENUE TO THE TREASURY, AND THAT WOULD BE OVER TEN YEARS. BUT, AS YOU CAN SEE, IT'S A DROP IN THE BUCKET WHEN IT COMES TO THE DEFICIT FOR ONE YEAR, WHICH IS $1.5 TRILLION, AND THE NATIONAL DEBT OF $14 TRILLION, AND I APOLOGIZE THAT I WAS -- THE NUMBER -- I'M NOT USED TO DEALING WITH NUMBERS THAT BIG, AND WHICH DEMONSTRATES THAT THESE NUMBERS HAVE REALLY LOST THEIR MEANING HERE. I REMEMBER EVERETT DIRKSEN BEING QUOTED, "A MILLION HERE, A MILLION THERE, PRETTY SIEWRN A TALKING ABOUT REAL MONEY." WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT MILLIONS, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT BILLIONS, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TRILLIONS. I THINK MOST PEOPLE'S MINDS HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME CONCEIVING OF HOW BIG A NUMBER THAT IS.

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  • 11:42:45 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:42:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:42:56 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    AND, SENATOR CORNYN COULD JOIN US, WE'D BE PLEASED. MR. PRESIDENT, THE…

    AND, SENATOR CORNYN COULD JOIN US, WE'D BE PLEASED. MR. PRESIDENT, THE DEBT SITUATION THAT WE'RE IN TODAY IS THE MOST SERIOUS OUR NATION HAS EVER FACED. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND IT AND DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW SERIOUS IT IS. EVEN AFTER WORLD WAR II, WE HAD GROWTH, WE HAD THE BABY BOOMERS JUST BECOMING OF AGE, WE HAD MORE YOUNG PEOPLE AND FEWER OLDER PEOPLE, AND THE SITUATION WAS EVEN THOUGH WE HAD DEBT AFTER THE WAR, IT WAS MORE POSITIVE THAN IT IS TODAY. THAT'S JUST A FACT. I HAVE TRIED TO LOOK AT CREATION OF A BUDGET THAT WOULD BALANCE IN TEN YEARS, BRING US INTO BALANCE IN TEN YEARS. IT'S HARD TO DO. IT ABSOLUTELY CAN BE DONE. IT TAKES SOME REAL EFFORT. BUT IT CAN BE DONE, AND WE COULD DO IT -- WE'VE GOT TO DO IT. BUT WE DOUBLE THE DEBT -- PRESIDENT OBAMA DURING HIS FOUR YEARS AS PRESIDENT IS ON TRACK TO DOUBLING THE ENTIRE DEBT OF AMERICA IN FOUR YEARS. WITH FOUR CONSECUTIVE TRILLION-DOLLAR DEFICITS, THE HIGHEST DEFICIT WE'VE HAD PREVIOUSLY WAS A $450 BILLION DEFICIT THAT PRESIDENT BUSH HAD. WE'VE HAD $1.2 TRILLION, $1, $1,200,000,000,000, $1,300,000,000,000. THIS YEAR AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, WHEN THE FISCAL YEAR ENDS, IT'S ESTIMATED TO BE $1,500,000,000,000 OR SO. DEBT -- EXTRA DEBT. WE TAKE IN $2.2 TRILLION. WE'RE SPENDING $3,700,000,000,000 THIS YEAR. 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR THAT WE SPEND THIS YEAR IS BORROWED. IT IS AN AN UNSUSTAINABLE COURSE. PRESIDENT OBAMA APPOINTED A DEFICIT COMMISSION. HE CHOSE ERSKINE BOWLES, WHO WAS FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT CLINTON. HE CHOSE ALAN SIMPSON, FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATOR. THEY SUBMIT AD -- SUBMITTED A STATEMENT TO THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. THAT STATEMENT WAS THIS COUNTRY FACES THE MOST PREDICTABLE ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ITS HISTORY. WE'VE GOT TO ACT, THEY TOLD US. AND THEY SAID WHEN COULD THIS CRISIS HAPPEN? MR. BOWLES SAID IT COULD HAPPEN WITHIN TWO YEARS. NOT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. HE SAID TWO YEARS, MAYBE A LITTLE SOONER, MAYBE A LITTLE LATER, AND ALAN SIMPSON POPPED UP AS COCHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE AND HE SAID I THINK IT COULD BE ONE YEAR. IN OTHER WORDS, SOME SORT OF ECONOMIC CRISIS LIKE WE HAD IN 2007-2008 OR SOMETHING THAT COULD PUT OUR ECONOMY IN A TAILSPIN. IT'S THAT SERIOUS. AND THE DEBT TRAJECTORY PATH WE'RE ON IS UNSUSTAINABLE, AND TOMORROW I HAVE TO SAY TOMORROW WILL MARK THE 800th DAY THAT THIS SENATE HAS NOT HAD A BUDGET WE'RE SPENDING -- WE'RE BORROWING 40 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND AND WE HAVE GONE THIS LONG WITHOUT A BUDGET. THERE IS NO PLAN APPARENTLY TO PRESENT ONE. A CHAIRMAN OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE WHERE I'M RANKING REPUBLICAN TELLS US THAT HE HAS GOT ONE, THAT HE HAS TALKED TO HIS COLLEAGUES AND THEY HAVE AGREED ON IT, BUT IT REMAINS SECRET. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT EXPLICITLY SAYS WE SHOULD HAVE A BUDGET BY APRIL 15. IT SAID THE COMMITTEE SHOULD BEGIN MARKUP APRIL 1. WELL, WE HAVE NOT CALLED THE COMMITTEE AND NOT HAD A MARKUP, AND APPARENTLY THERE IS NO PLAN TO. WE'RE JUST GOING TO WAIT AND SEE IF SECRET NEGOTIATIONS COULD PRODUCE SOMETHING. THAT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE, AT A TIME IN WHICH THE DEBT IS THE PRIMARY THREAT TO THE HEALTH, SECURITY AND WELFARE OF OUR NATION. THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. ADMIRAL MULLEN, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, SAID THAT THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY IS OUR DEBT. SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON, HILLARY CLINTON, SAID A VERY SIMILAR THING. THEY ARE EXACTLY RIGHT. THERE IS NO DISPUTE ABOUT THIS. AND SO WE HAVE HAD NOTHING ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE EXCEPT NOW A RESOLUTION SAYING WE SHOULD TAX THE RICH. A SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT HAS NO POWER, NO BINDING AUTHORITY, NO NUMBERS, NO HOW MUCH WE'RE GOING TO TAX THE RICH. JUST THAT KIND OF THING. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE IN A SERIOUS CONDITION. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IF THEY UNDERSTOOD HOW LITTLE HAS BEEN DONE IN THIS BODY THIS YEAR ON THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE FACING THIS COUNTRY, THEY WOULD BE EVEN MORE DISSATISFIED WITH THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS THAN THEY ARE, MORE DISSATISFIED AT LEAST WITH THE SENATE, BECAUSE I WILL HAVE TO SAY MY COLLEAGUE, OUR NEW SENATOR FROM MISSOURI, IS NOT NEW TO CONGRESS. HE WAS A REPUBLICAN WHIP IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND THE HOUSE HAS PASSED A BUDGET THIS YEAR, AN HONEST BUDGET, A BUDGET THAT CHANGES THE DEBT TRAJECTORY OF AMERICA IN A SOLID WAY AND WOULD PUT US ON A NEW PATH FOR PROSPERITY. EVERYBODY DOESN'T HAVE TO AGREE WITH EVERYTHING IN IT, BUT THEY MET THEIR RESPONSIBILITY BY APRIL 15. SO IT'S GREAT TO BE WITH SENATOR BLUNT. WE ARE SO PLEASED TO HAVE HIM IN THE SENATE, BUT I WOULD JUST ASK HIM TO -- IF HE WOULD SHARE HIS THOUGHTS AT THIS TIME.

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  • 11:49:08 AM

    MR. BLUNT

    SENATOR, AND I AM GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR SENSE OF THIS BUDGET…

    SENATOR, AND I AM GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR SENSE OF THIS BUDGET SITUATION.

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  • 11:49:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MISSOURI IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:49:15 AM

    MR. BLUNT

    IN A COLLOQUY, SO DO WE NEED TO BE RECOGNIZED OR CAN WE RECOGNIZE EACH…

    IN A COLLOQUY, SO DO WE NEED TO BE RECOGNIZED OR CAN WE RECOGNIZE EACH OTHER?

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  • 11:49:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    FIRST TIME YOU STAND UP, THE CHAIR SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE, BUT IT'S NOT…

    FIRST TIME YOU STAND UP, THE CHAIR SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE, BUT IT'S NOT NECESSARY FROM NOW ON.

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  • 11:49:28 AM

    MR. BLUNT

    THE CHAIR. THE PRESIDING OFFICER AND I WERE SECRETARIES OF STATE TOGETHER…

    THE CHAIR. THE PRESIDING OFFICER AND I WERE SECRETARIES OF STATE TOGETHER SOME TIME AGO AND HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER A LONG TIME, AND I'M GLAD TO BE SERVING WITH HIM AND GLAD TO HAVE HIM IN THE CHAIR AS WE HAVE THIS DISCUSSION, BUT THE -- I DON'T THINK THE HOUSE UNTIL THE LAST CONGRESS EVER FAILED TO PASS A BUDGET. I'M NOT SURE THE SENATE DIDN'T ALWAYS PASS A BUDGET UNTIL THE LAST CONGRESS ALTHOUGH THERE WERE TIMES WHEN THE HOUSE AND SENATE COULDN'T AGREE, BUT AT LEAST EACH SIDE HAD A PLAN. THERE IS THAT OLD ADAGE WHEN YOU FAIL TO PLAN, -- WHEN YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL, AND IT SURE LOOKS LIKE TO ME THAT'S ON THE TRAJECTORY WE'RE ON RIGHT NOW. MEMBERS ARE MORE AND MORE TALKING ABOUT WELL, MAYBE WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER CONTINUING RESOLUTION THIS YEAR. THAT WILL BE THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS BECAUSE WE HAVE NO PLAN. AND, OF COURSE, AS YOU POINTED OUT, AS A PERSON WHO KNOWS AS MUCH ABOUT THE BUDGET PROCESS AS ANYBODY IN WASHINGTON, WE -- WE PASSED THE APRIL 1 DEADLINE AND THEN WE PASSED I GUESS A MAY 1 DATE AND THEN WE PASSED A JUNE 1 DATE AND NOW WE PASSED A JULY 1 DATE AND WE'RE UP TO THAT 800th DAY SINCE THE SENATE PASSED A PLAN, SINCE THE SENATE HAD A PLAN OF ANY KIND, AND WE'RE WAITING FOR A PLAN TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE OTHER WORK OF JUST FUNDING THE GOVERNMENT. AND CLEARLY THAT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE. IT'S -- WE SEE THE ECONOMY I THINK CONTINUING TO WAIT FOR SOME SIGNS OF CERTAINTY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, CERTAIN ABOUT WHAT OUR BUDGET IS GOING TO BE, CERTAIN ABOUT WHAT OUR TAX STRUCTURE IS GOING TO BE, CERTAIN ABOUT REGULATIONS AND UTILITY BILLS, AND WE'RE JUST NOT SEEING THAT HAPPEN. IN FACT, THINGS ARE GETTING PROGRESSIVELY WORSE AND WORSE AND WORSE. GAS PRICES HAVE ALMOST DOUBLED NOW IN THE LAST 30 MONTHS. UNEMPLOYMENT IS UP 17%. IN FACT, I -- THERE IS NO STATISTIC I KNOW OF THAT'S BETTER THAN IT WAS IN JANUARY OF 2009, AND I DON'T KNOW, SENATOR. WAS THERE EVER A -- HAS THE SENATE IN THE PAST UNTIL THE LAST THREE YEARS NOW, HAS THERE EVER BEEN A TIME WHEN THE SENATE DIDN'T EVEN ATTEMPT TO HAVE A BUDGET?

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  • 11:51:44 AM

    >>

    KNOWLEDGE, NO TIME SINCE I HAVE BEEN HERE THAT THE SENATE DID NOT ATTEMPT…

    KNOWLEDGE, NO TIME SINCE I HAVE BEEN HERE THAT THE SENATE DID NOT ATTEMPT TO PASS A BUDGET. THE FIRST TWO YEARS UNDER THE -- THE LAST TWO YEARS, EVEN WHEN OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES HAD 60 VOTES, THE LARGEST MAJORITY I GUESS ALMOST IN RECENT MEMORY IN THE SENATE, THEY DID NOT ATTEMPT TO BRING A BUDGET TO THE FLOOR LAST YEAR. A BUDGET DID GO TO COMMITTEE. IT WAS MARKED UP BY SENATOR CONRAD, IT CAME TO THE FLOOR, BUT MAJORITY LEADER REID DECIDED NOT TO BRING IT UP. THIS YEAR I THINK AT HIS DECISION, PROBABLY -- NOBODY, IT SEEMS TO BE SO -- SENATOR CONRAD WAS TOLD NOT TO HAVE A MARKUP, NOT TO EVEN PRODUCE A BUDGET IN COMMITTEE. AND IT SEEMS TO ME, SENATOR BLUNT, THAT THAT INDICATES A LACK OF WILLINGNESS TO LEAD, BECAUSE WOULDN'T YOU AGREE A BUDGET SETS YOUR PRIORITIES, IT DEMONSTRATES WHAT YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY IS AND WHAT WE SHOULD SPEND AND WHAT WE SHOULD TAX AND HOW MUCH DEBT WE CAN AFFORD TO RUN UP, AND THOSE ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES. AND HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE THE FACT THAT FOR TWO YEARS, TOMORROW 800 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET, WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP THAT WE HAVE SEEN HERE IN THE SENATE?

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  • 11:53:11 AM

    MR. BLUNT

    HAVE HAD 800 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET, BUT BASICALLY WE HAVE 800 DAYS WITHOUT…

    HAVE HAD 800 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET, BUT BASICALLY WE HAVE 800 DAYS WITHOUT ANY STRUCTURED PROCESS OF HOW WE SPEND THE PEOPLE'S MONEY. 800 DAYS. THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE COULD COME UP WITH AN APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS AND WE'LL MODIFY THAT A LITTLE BIT AND MOVE FORWARD, AND THAT CLEARLY IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. AND IN THAT 800 DAYS, AS YOU POINTED OUT, IN THAT 800 DAYS, WE HAVE GONE TO WHERE WE'RE NOW -- WE HAVE ADDED 35% IN A LITTLE OVER 800 DAYS, 35% IN TWO AND A HALF YEARS TO THE FEDERAL DEFICIT. THIS IS NOT DEFENDING ANYBODY ELSE'S EFFORT TO MAKE THE REVENUE AND THE EXPENDITURES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BALANCE, BUT YOU CAN'T CONTINUE TO SPEND MORE THAN YOU HAVE, AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PLAN, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BLUEPRINT, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BUDGET LIKE FAMILIES HAVE TO HAVE A BUDGET SET DOWN, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BUDGET AT THE VERY LEAST YOU'RE MANAGING YOUR MONEY, YOU SIT DOWN ONCE A MONTH, WRITE THE CHECKS UNTIL YOUR MONEY RUNS OUT AND YOU CAN'T DO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. WE'RE AT A POINT NOW WHERE WE'RE SPENDING $3.7 TRILLION, $3.8 TRI LLION, WE'RE COLLECTING COLLECTING $2.2 TRILLION. I'M SORT OF LIKE SENATOR CORNYN ON THIS TOPIC -- AND BY THE WAY, EVERYBODY ELSE IS, TOO, INCLUDING THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY. NOBODY KNOWS HOW MUCH MONEY THIS IS, BUT WE DO ALL KNOW IF YOU'RE MAKING $22,000 A YEAR AND YOU'RE SPENDING $37,000 A YEAR AND YOU HAVE ALREADY BORROWED MORE MONEY THAN PROBABLY ANYBODY SHOULD HAVE EVER LENT YOU, YOU CAN'T CONTINUE TO DO THAT. AT SOME POINT, THERE HAS TO BE A MOMENT WHEN YOU SAY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET REAL HERE AND WE'RE MAKING $22,000, WE BETTER START SPENDING NO MORE THAN THAN $22,000, AND THAT INCLUDES PAYING OFF THE MONEY THAT WE HAVE ALREADY BORROWED WHEN WE WERE SPENDING $37,000. THERE ARE SO MANY ZEROS AND SO MANY NUMBERS HERE THAT IF ANY OF US REALLY UNDERSTOOD HOW MUCH MONEY WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AND HOW LONG WE'LL TAKE TO WAY IT BACK, WE WOULD ALL BE MORE SCARED THAN WE ARE, AND CERTAINLY THE PEOPLE WE WORK FOR WOULD BE MORE SCARED THAN THEY ARE BECAUSE WE'RE DOING IRRESPONSIBLE THINGS, AND AS IRRESPONSIBLE AS ANY OF THOSE THINGS IS NOT HAVING TO PLAN. AND I KNOW ALL THE YEARS YOU SPENT ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THAT COMMITTEE NOW, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PLAN, AND THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS DOESN'T MOVE FORWARD UNLESS WE AGREE FIRST HOW MUCH MONEY WE'RE GOING TO SPEND IN THAT PROCESS. AND SO EVENTUALLY YOU JUST GO BACK AND SAY LET'S GO BACK TO LAST YEAR, MODIFY SLIGHTLY THE TERRIBLE JOB WE DID LAST YEAR AND BORROW THAT MUCH MORE MONEY AGAIN, AND THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

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  • 11:56:08 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I'D LIKE IN A MOMENT TO SHARE SOME THOUGHTS FROM YOUR EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE…

    I'D LIKE IN A MOMENT TO SHARE SOME THOUGHTS FROM YOUR EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CONGRESS ABOUT THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS JUST BRIEFLY MAKE SURE THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND OUR COLLEAGUES KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENED. BUT I SEE OUR COLLEAGUE FROM WISCONSIN, SENATOR RON JOHNSON. NEWLY ELECTED. HE HAD I THINK YOU COULD SAY AN UPSET VICTORY, A POPULAR, BIG VICTORY. HE WENT OUT AND CAMPAIGNED ALL OVER HIS STATE, TALKED ABOUT THE ISSUES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TODAY. SENATOR JOHNSON, AS A NEW MEMBER OF THE SENATE, I'D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT WHERE YOU THINK WE ARE TODAY AND HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT.

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  • 11:56:53 AM

    MR. JOHNSON

    SENATOR SESSIONS, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THIS…

    SENATOR SESSIONS, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE. I KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN TALKING LOUD AND CLEAR ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE SHOULD NOT HAVE RECESSED THIS WEEK. AND I KNOW PRESIDENT OBAMA TRIED TO CLAIM CREDIT FOR THAT, BUT IT'S BECAUSE OF YOUR LEADERSHIP AND REALLY THE MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE HERE IN THE SENATE WHO SAID NO, WE'RE BANKRUPTING AMERICA. WE NEED TO STAY HERE AND WE NEED TO START DEBATING THIS ISSUE. AND UNFORTUNATELY, THAT IS NOT REALLY WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK. IT'S SAD. ONE WORD THAT I -- I USE ALL THE TIME NOW THAT I HAVE COME HERE TO WASHINGTON IS UNBELIEVABLE. I MEAN, IT'S SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE THAT TOMORROW WILL MARK 800 DAYS THAT WE HAVEN'T PASSED A BUDGET. THAT'S UNBELIEVABLE. MY BACKGROUND IS IN BUSINESS FOR THE LAST 34 YEARS. I HAVE HAD TO PRODUCE BUDGETS ON TIME. I HAVE HAD PEOPLE PRODUCE BUDGETS FOR ME ON TIME. IN BUSINESS, I DON'T -- EVEN A SMALL LITTLE BUSINESS, IT'S INCONCEIVABLE THAT YOU WOULD TELL ACCOUNTING, MAKE SURE YOUR BUDGET, WE NED TO HAVE THAT ON OUR DESK ON APRIL 15. I WOULD SAY 99.9% OF THOSE ACCOUNTANTS, THOSE CONTROLLERS WOULD HAVE A BUDGET ON TIME ON APRIL 15. AND WE'RE DEALING WITH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OUR FINANCIAL FUTURE HERE, THE FATE OF AMERICA AND THE DEMOCRATS HERE IN THE SENATE HAVE FAILED TO MEET THAT OBLIGATION TWO YEARS IN IN A ROW. I MEAN, IT'S SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE. IT'S SO INCREDIBLY IRRESPONSIBLE. I THINK THE SENATE HAS BEEN GUILTY OF WILLFUL NEGLECT. I THINK THE PHRASE I HAVE BEEN USING, THE SENATE HAS BEEN FIDDLING WHILE AMERICA'S GOING BROKE, AND THAT'S SAD. AND NOW I THINK AS YOU POINTED OUT AS WELL, WHAT DOES THE FINANCIAL FUTURE OF AMERICA REST ON? SOME SECRET TALKS. TALKS BETWEEN A FEW INDIVIDUALS GOING ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS FAR FROM THE VIEW OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC. RATHER THAN AN ORDERLY PROCESS WHERE A PLAN IS PRESENTED THAT CAN BE VIEWED BY THE AMERICAN PUBLIC, THAT CAN BE DEBATED IN OPEN THE WAY OUR FOUNDERS ENVISION IT ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, THIS HISTORIC FLOOR, INSTEAD OF USING THE PROCESS THAT WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN USING, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A RESULT, A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT DROPPED IN OUR LAP WHAT? A COUPLE DAYS BEFORE THIS DEADLINE DATE? IS THAT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN? IS THAT REALLY -- IS THAT REALLY HOW THE FINANCIAL FATE OF AMERICA IS GOING TO BE DECIDED? I MEAN, PERSONALLY I FIND THAT PROCESS DISGUSTING. THAT'S WHY I STOOD UP LAST TUESDAY ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AND SAID UNLESS WE START SERIOUSLY ADDRESSING THIS PROBLEM, THE BANKRUPTING OF AMERICA, IN THE OPEN, IN THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF DAY, I WAS GOING TO BEGIN TO OBJECT, I WAS GOING TO BEGIN TO WITHHOLD MY CONSENT. AND I TELL YOU, I WAS HEARTENED BY THE SUPPORT I GOT BY MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, BECAUSE LET'S FACE IT, WE UNDERSTAND HOW URGENT THE SITUATION IS. WE UNDERSTAND HOW DIRE OUR FINANCIAL SITUATION IS. WE ARE WILLING TO SIT DOWN AND WORK WITH ANYBODY WHO WILL SERIOUSLY ADDRESS THE FACT THAT WE ARE DRIVING AMERICA TOWARD BANKRUPTCY, BUT WE NEED A WILLING PARTNER. AND UP TO THIS POINT IN TIME, I HAVEN'T SEEN ONE. THE FACT THAT THE ONLY PLAN WE'VE SEEN IS THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET, YOU KNOW, 4-3/4 INCHES THICK, HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF HOURS DID IT TAKE TO PRODUCE? IT WOULD HAVE ADDED MORE THAN $12 TRILLION TO OUR NATION'S DEBT IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS T WOULD HAVE CONTINUED THE BANKRUPTING OF AMERICA. IT WOULD HAVE MADE US GO BROKE. IT WAS SO UNSERIOUS, IT FAILED HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE BY A VOTE OF 0-97. NOT ONE DEMOCRAT SENATOR FOUND THAT BILL SERIOUS ENOUGH TO GIVE IT A VOTE. THAT'S THE ONLY PLAN I'VE SEEFNLT I WOKE UP THIS MORNING TO A COUPLE OF NEWS REPORTS AND THERE WAS MORE DETAIL ABOUT WHAT THE ADMINISTRATION MIGHT PLAN TO DO FED TO REPORTERS THAN FED TO A MEMBER OF CONGRESS. I'M SORRY. I'M SORRY TO BE SO BLUNT ABOUT THIS, BUT THAT IS A DISGUSTING PROCESS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE FAR BETTER. AND I GUESS TODAY WHERE I'M STANDING UP HERE ASKING, I WANT TO SEE PLAN. AND I WANT TO SEE A BUDGET, AND I WANT IT TO GIVE US ENOUGH TIME SO THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY ANALYZE IT AND DEBATE IT AND PASS THE REAL STRUCTURED REFORMS THAT CAN ACTUALLY SOLVE THIS BROB PROBLEM. I'M CALLING ON THE PRESIDENT AND THE SENATE TO HAVE THIS DEBATE.

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  • 12:01:54 PM

    MR. BLUNT

    TO BOTH YOU AND SENATOR JOHNSON, WHO WERE PRIMARY LEADERS IN THIS IDEA…

    TO BOTH YOU AND SENATOR JOHNSON, WHO WERE PRIMARY LEADERS IN THIS IDEA THAT WE SHOULDN'T GO HOME, THAT YOU WERE GOING TO TO BE THINGS THAT DIDN'T RELATE TO THE TBHAIS WE NEED TO DO, AND OF COURSE THAT'S RIGHT. AS YOU WERE TAWRKS SENATOR JOHNSON, I WAS THINKING, THE OTHER APRIL 15 DEADLINE, EVERY AMERICAN HAD BETTER COMPLY WITH THAT ONE, AND ITERS IN THE LAW JUST LIKE -- AND IT'S IN THE LAW JUST LIKE THE ONE THAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO COMPLY WITH. WHAT IF EVERYBODY IN AMERICA DECIDED THEY WEREN'T GOING TO PAY THEIR TAXES? OF COURSE THEY'D BE IN BIG TROUBLE. AND THE SENATE IS NOT IN TROUBLE BUT THE COUNTRY IS IN TROUBLE BECAUSE THE SENATE IS NOT DOING ITS JOB AND NEITHER THE HOUSE NOR THE SENATE DID ITS JOB IN THE LAST CONGRESS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER AND THAT'S HOW WE GO INTO THREE YEARS SINCE WE HAD A WORK DOCUMENT THAT WE SHOULD HAVE TO WORK WITH. AND WHAT DO WE DO THIS WEEK? THE DISAPPOINTMENT TO ALL THREE OF US IS WE SAID WE WANTED TO STAY THIS WEEK AND DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES. WE STARTED OUT TRYING TO DEAL WITH THE LIBYA RESOLUTION WHICH APPARENTLY WASN'T IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH LAST THURSDAY WHEN WE WERE GOING TO TAKE A WEEK TO WORK IN OUR STATES. AND THEN WHEN PEOPLE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE SAID WE REALLY THINK WE OUGHT TO BE DEBATEING THE REASON WE WERE SUPPOSED TO STAY, WE STILL DON'T DO THAT. WE HAVE THIS AMENDMENT -- I THINK IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AND IS A SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT MILLIONAIRES AREN'T PAYING ENOUGH TAXES. NOW, WE ALL UNDERSTAND -- WE ALL UNDERSTAND THE POLITICS OF THAT, JUST LIKE WE UNDERSTAND THE POLITICS OF NO ACCELERATING DEPRECIATION FOR -- NO ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION FOR BUSINESS AIRPLANES. NOW, WHENEVER THAT WAS DONE, IT WAS DONE TO TRY TO CREATE MORE AMERICAN JOBS QUICKER BY A LITTLE MORE DEMAFNLTDZ I THINK HOW THAT WORKS, YOU DEPRECIATE THAT PLANE IN FIVE YEARS INSTEAD OF SEVEN TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GO AHEAD AND BUY A PLANE AND KEEP PEOPLE THAT MAKE PLANES AT WORK. BUT LET'S ASSUME -- WHAT IS THAT $3 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. WE'RE BORROWING $4 BILLION TODAY AND WE TRY TO HAVE THIS DEBATE AS IF IT'S ABOUT $3 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. WE'RE BORROWING $4 BILLION TODAY, AND WE WANT TO HAVE THIS FALSE DEBATE ABOUT WHETHER -- WHO'S NOT PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE. WE'RE SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY IS THE PROFNLT THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE'RE TAXING ENOUGH. WE'RE SPENDING ALMOST 25% OF THE CAPACITY OF THE COUNTRY TO PRODUCE GOODS AND SERVICES. UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF 2009, FOR 40 YEARS WE NEVER SPENT -- THE AVERAGE WAS 20.6%. ONE OUT OF FOUR -- ONE OUT OF $5 WAS GOING TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, NOT ONE OUT OF $4. AND I WAS ASKED BY SOME REPORTERS YESTERDAY, WHY IS THIS SO DIFFERENT THAN OTHER TIMES WHEN THE DEBT LIMIT HAS BEEN INCREASED? AND YOU MENTIONED ONE OF THEM EARLIER. ONE OF THE DIFFERENCES IS, WE'VE ADDED 35% TO THE DEBT IN ABOUT 30 MONTHS. 35% TO THE DEBT IN 30 MONTHS, AND ANOTHER ONE IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS SUFFOCATING THE ECONOMY BY SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY. THERE'S NO MONEY LEFT FOR PEOPLE TO BORROW AND TAKE A RISK AND CREATE A JOB AND CREATE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. AND ON THE MILLIONAIRE TAX THING, 1% OF ALL THE TAXPAYERS PAY 38% OF ALL THE TAXES NOW. NOW MAYBE WE OUGHT TO GET TO WHERE 1% 20R% JUST PAY ALL THE TAXES. WE ALREADY HAVE 47% OF THE INDIVIDUALS IN THE COUNTRY PAY NO INCOME TAX. AND BY THE WAY, YOU VALUE WHAT YOU PAY FOR. AND IF YOU DON'T PAY ANY INCOME TAX, YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT THE INCOME TAX AS MUCH AS IF YOU DID. SO THERE AREN'T AS MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE FIGHTING EXCESSIVE TAXATION BECAUSE THEY HAVE LESS OF A STATE STAKE IN IT. BUT 1% OF THE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY ALREADY PAY 38% OF THE INCOME TAXES AND 10% PAY 70%. MAYBE WE JUST OUGHT TO LET THAT 10% PAY 100%. I GUESS THAT WOULD GET ALL THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. REMEMBER, OH, I REMEMBER THE TAX. REMEMBER THE MILLIONAIRES' TAX THAT ONLY LIKE 155 PEOPLE WOULD PAY OR SOMETHING? IT WAS THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX. 15 PEOPLE WERE GOING TO PAY THAT L -- 155 PEOPLE WERE GOING TO PAY THAT MILLIONAIRES TAX. NOW SOME HUGE PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS PAY IT BECAUSE EVENTUALLY ONCE YOU START DOWN THIS PATH, EVERYBODY IS IMPACTED BY HIGHER TAX RATES, AND THE FRUSTRATION OF BEING HERE AND NOT DOING ANYTHING ALL WEEK -- WE HAD ONE VOTE TO COMPEL THE MEMBERS WHO DIDN'T COME TO COME TO THE SENATE AND ANOTHER VOTE WAS A CLOTURE ON A BILL THAT DOESN'T MATTER. AND, YOU KNOW, THE FRUSTRATION OF YOUR LEADERSHIP AND THEN THAT RESULT IS PRETTY INCREDIBLE TO ME. BUT THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU FOR INSISTING FOR WEEKS BEFORE LAST WEEK THAT WE COULD STAY AND HAVE A DISCUSSION, A DEBATE, A VOTE ON THE THINGS THAT MATTER. AND I'M SORRY THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE THAT, PARTICULARLY BASED ON YOUR INTENSITY ON PART OF BOTH OF YOU OF INSISTING THAT WE HAVE THAT KIND OF DEBATE THIS WEEK, AND WE DIDN'T HAVE IT.

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  • 12:07:24 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    LIKE TO TAKE UP ON THE POINT OF HON SERIOUS THIS WEEK HAS BEEN. ABOUT FIVE…

    LIKE TO TAKE UP ON THE POINT OF HON SERIOUS THIS WEEK HAS BEEN. ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO I BOUGHT A BUSINESS OUT OF BANKRUPTCY. I WATCHED THOSE BUSINESS OWNERS OVER THE COURSE OF TWO OR THREE YEARS STRUGGLE TO MAKE A GO OF THAT BUSINESS. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE NUMBER OF HOURS THOSE PEOPLE, THOSE HARDWORKING AMERICANS PUT INTO SAVING THAT BUSINESS. IT DIDN'T WORK. THEY WENT INTO REORGANIZATION UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY LAWS. I BOUGHT THAT BUSINESS OUT OF BANKRUPTCY. I SAW HOW INCREDIBLY HARD MY TEAM WORKED TO MAKE THAT BUSINESS SURVIVE. AND IT DID SURVIVE. I MEAN, THESE ARE INDIVIDUALS PUTTING IN 16, 17, 18, 20 HOURS A DAY TO MAKE A PRODUCT, TO BUILD A GOOD LIFE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILY, TO PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT, JOBS. THAT'S THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT. THAT'S WHAT AMERICANS DO DAY IN AND DAY OUT. WHETHER YOU OWN A BUSINESS OR CONTRIBUTE YOUR EFFORT, YOUR LABOR TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESSFUL, THE ONE YOU WORK FOR SUCCESSFUL. THAT'S WHAT AMERICANS DO. WHAT HAS THIS PRESIDENT DONE? WHAT HAS THIS CONGRESS, WHAT HAS THIS SENATE DONE? IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS SINCE I'VE BEEN HERE, WE'VE PASSED SIX LAWS -- SIX BILLS HAVE BECOME LAW. THREE OF THOSE HAD TO DO WITH THE CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS OF LAST YEAR'S BUSINESS. FUNDING THE GOVERNMENT FOR THIS YEAR, THOSE WERE LAWS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PASSED LAST YEAR. WE HAD TWO BILLS TO EXTEND THE PATRIOT ACT. LAST-MINUTE, RUSH, RUSH. VERY LITTLE TIME FOR DEBATE. COULDN'T EVEN GET AMENDMENTS IN THERE. THE OTHER ONE IS WE KIND OF CLEAN THE UP A LITTLE BIT, JUST A LITTLE PART OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW, THAT DEALT WITH 1099'S. IT WOULD HAVE COST BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO COMPLY AND NOT BROUGHT IN ANY REVENUE. SO WE FINALLY GOT THAT OFF THE BOOKS, THANKFULLY. YOU KNOW, THE BILLS -- THE OTHER BILLS WE DEBATED HERE, WE SPENT 16 WEEKS DEBATING THREE BILLS. THE TOTAL DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THOSE BILLS IS $20 BILLION. THAT'S ABOUT A HALF A PERCENT OF WHAT THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL SPEND THIS YEAR. SO WE SPENT -- WE'VE SPENT 16 WEEKS DEBATING A HALF A PERCENT OF OUR $3.6 TRILLION-YEAR BUDGET. THAT IN MY MIND, IS THE DEFINITION OF BEING NOT SERIOUS. AND OF COURSE YOU KNOW, YOU'VE SAID, IT'S BEEN 799. TOMORROW IT WILL BE 800 DAYS SINCE WE'VE ACTUALLY PASSED A BUDGET. WE CALLED IT A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION TODAY. IT REALLY SHOULD BE CALLED THE NONSENSE OF THE SENATE. THAT'S WHAT'S BEEN OCCURRING THIS WEEK. AND IT IS A TRAGEDY. IT IS A TRAGEDY. BUT AGAIN THAT'S WHY I SPHOOD UP AND STARTED TO -- I STOOD UP AND STARTED TO OBJECT. I WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT UNTIL WE ACTUALLY START GETTING SERIOUS, UNTIL WE ACTUALLY SEE A PLAN, A BUDGET THAT WE CAN START DEBATING.

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  • 12:10:16 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    ME JUST NOTE THAT WE HAVE A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION ON THE FLOOR.…

    ME JUST NOTE THAT WE HAVE A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION ON THE FLOOR. WE HAD A CLOTURE VOTE ON IT. I THINK EVERYBODY VOTED TO GO TO THE BILL. THAT'S WHAT THE LEADER WANTED TO DO. BUT IT'S REALLY NOTHING BECAUSE IF IT PASSES, IT HAS NO IMPACT AND NO CHANGE WHATSOEVER. IT BASICALLY SAYS WE SHOULD ATTACK -- WE SHOULD TAX THE RICH MORE. AND, WELL, WE CAN DEBATE THESE ISSUES, BUT I WOULD JUST NOTE THAT THE ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, OECD, WHICH IS AN ORGANIZATION FOR THE DEVELOPED WORLD BUSINESSES AND THEY DO ANALYSIS AND THAT SORT OF THING -- IT IS A EUROPEAN-BASED GROUP -- HAS CONCLUDED THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS THE MOST PROGRESSIVE TAX SYSTEM IN THE WORLD. NOW, WE ALWAYS THOUGHT EUROPEANS WERE MORE HOSTILE TO WEALTH AND MORE SOCIALISTIC THAN WE WERE. BUT THAT'S THEIR ANALYSIS. AND, AS SENATOR BLUNT SAID, HOW MUCH MORE DO WE WANT THEM TO PAY? MAYBE WE CAN -- MAYBE THEY SHOULD PAY MORE. LET'S DEBATE IT AND LET'S TALK ABOUT IT. BUT THAT'S NOT GHG TO FIX GOING TO FIX OUR PROBLEM. SENATOR JOHNSON, YOU RAN -- I MEAN, YOU ARE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN AND ACCOUNTANT. I'VE SEEN YOUR WORK. I'M 10 GLAD YOU'RE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. I GUESS YOU AND SENATOR ENZI ARE THE ONLY ACCOUNTANTS AROUND HERE, AND WE'RE GLAD YOU'RE THERE, AND I'VE ACTUALLY SEEN YOUR WORK. SENATOR BLUNT ADDS UP NUMBERS AND HAS GOT CHARTS ABOUT HOW SPENDING WORKS, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT A WAY HOW TO CHANGE AMERICA. MY FIRST COMMENT TOWRKS IS YOU WERE-- MYFIRST COMMENT TOWRKS IS YOU WERE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN. YOU'VE NEVER BEEN A POLITICIAN. WHY DID YOU RUN?

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  • 12:12:20 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    LOVE AMERICA. WE LOVE AMERICA. WHEN I WATCH WHAT'S HAPPENING. WHEN I SAW…

    LOVE AMERICA. WE LOVE AMERICA. WHEN I WATCH WHAT'S HAPPENING. WHEN I SAW HOW BROKEN WASHINGTON IS WHEN I SAW THEM PASS A HEALTH CARE LAW THAT FROM MY STANDPOINT WAS THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK, MY DAUGHTER WAS BORN WITH A HEART DEFECT, DEDICATED DOCTORS AND SURGEONS SAVED HER LIFE THE FIRST DAINDZ THEN EIGHT MONTHS LATER WHEN HER HEART WAS THE SIZE AFTER PLUMB, ANOTHER DEDICATED SURGEON TEAM OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS TOTALLY RECONSTRUCTED THE UPPER CHAMBER OF HER HEART. HER HEART OPERATES BACKWARDS NOW, BUT SHE'S 28 YEARS OLD AND IS A NURSE HERSELF. WHEN THIS CONGRESS AND THIS PRESIDENT SIGNED THE HEALTH CARE LAW, YOU KNOW, I KNOW THE RESULT OF THAT. I MEAN, IT IS DESIGNED TO LEAD TO GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS TAKE A LOOK AT CANADA AND BRITAIN. I MEAN, WE DON'T HAVE TO THEORIZE WHAT THAT WILL RESULT IN. IT WILL RESULT IN RATIONING. THE MEDICAL INNOVATION THAT SAVED MY DAUGHTER'S LIFE AND MILLIONS OF OTHERS, IT REALLY IS AMERICA WHERE MEDICAL MIR RELEASE ARE ARE CREATED. THAT INNOVATION WILL COME IT A GRINDING HALT. THAT'S JUST THE QUALITY ASPECT OF HEALTH CARE BILL. IT IS GOING TO DESTROY OUR BUDGET. I WROTE A PIECE WITH THE EX-C.B.O. DIRECTOR, WHEN THIS THING KICKS IN, AS IT IS DESIGNED TO DO AND A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS LOSE THEIR EMPLOYER HEALTH CARE COVERAGE WE'RE TAKING ABOUT MAYBE $900 BILLION. WE'RE BANKRUPTING AMERICA, SENATOR. THAT'S WHY I RAN.

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  • 12:14:09 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE GIVEN ONE ADDITIONAL MINUTE?

  • 12:14:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:14:14 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MR. PRESIDENT, I JUST WANT TO SAY, WE HAVE IN THIS COLLOQUY SENATOR BLUNT,…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I JUST WANT TO SAY, WE HAVE IN THIS COLLOQUY SENATOR BLUNT, WHO IS THE SECOND-RANK REPUBLICAN LEADER IN THE HOUSE AND WHO HAS DEALT WITH THESE ISSUES FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, WE ARE SO GLAD TO HAVE HIM IN THE SENATE. AND SENATOR JOHNSON, A NEW SENATOR, A PASSIONATE AND CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF AMERICA BOTH OF THEM. AND I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD BE PROUD OF THE SERVICE THEY'VE RENDERED AND REALLY WE HAVE TO CHANGE AND I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN AND WE'RE GOING TO KEEP FIGHTING FORD THAT END. I THANK THE CHAIR AND WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:14:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM OHIO IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:15:00 PM

    MR. BROWN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I APPRECIATE THE PRESIDING OFFICER'S RECOGNIZING…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I APPRECIATE THE PRESIDING OFFICER'S RECOGNIZING ME, AND I WAS GOING TO SWITCH PLACES WITH HIM EARLIER. I WAS IN THE CHAIR AND LISTENED TO SOME COMMENTS FROM A NUMBER OF SENATORS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. I DIDN'T COME TO THE FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT THIS, BUT I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF SOMETIMES. AND I HEARD THESE COMPARISONS BETWEEN, IT ALL STARTED WHEN THEY TALKED ABOUT THE ECONOMY. IT ALL STARTED JANUARY 20, 2009, AND THEY COMPARED ON THAT DAY WITH DAY. WHAT THEY LEFT OUT OF THAT PICTURE IS THAT WHEN BARACK OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT, THIS ECONOMY WAS GOING LIKE THIS. IT WASN'T LIKE HE'S PRESIDENT, NOW THINGS WILL GET BETTER. THE 30 DAYS AFTER HE WAS SWORN IN ON JANUARY 20, 2009, WE LOST 700,000 JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. THE NEXT 30 DAYS WE LOST SOMEWHERE IN EXCESS OF I BELIEVE 600,000 JOBS. THE POINT IS FOR THE FIRST SEVERAL MONTHS BEFORE PRESIDENT OBAMA COULD ALMOST TAKE A BREATH AND BEFORE CONGRESS, THE HOUSE AND SENATE CONTROLLED BY DEMOCRATS THEN, COULD ACTUALLY PUT A PROGRAM IN PLACE AND PUT POLICIES IN PLACE THAT WOULD RESPOND TO THIS TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE ECONOMY BEQUEATHED TO THEM AND TO US BY THIS SORT OF REPUBLICAN -- WELL, THIS REPUBLICAN ECONOMIC POLICY, TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH, TWO WARS THAT AREN'T PAID FOR, A GIVEAWAY TO THE DRUG AND INSURANCE INDUSTRY, BAILOUT IN THE NAME OF PRIVATIZATION, DEREGULATION OF WALL STREET, TAX CUTS THAT WENT OVERWHELMING TO THE RICHEST AMERICANS. THAT'S WHAT GOT US INTO THIS. AND FOR THEM TO SAY LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF JOBS TODAY. LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF JOBS IN JANUARY 2009, THEY KNOW THAT'S A SPECIOUS ARGUMENT. THEY'RE DISINGENUOUS. THEY'RE NOT ESPECIALLY HONEST WHEN THEY MAKE THAT ARGUMENT. THE FACT IS WE HAVE SEEN THE LAST 14 MONTHS, AND I WISH IT WERE BETTER. I WENT TO BARBERTON, OHIO, WITH A PLANT EXPANSION. IT IS AN ALCOA PLANT, THEY'RE HIRING PEOPLE. I WISH THEY COULD PAY MORE WAGES. WE'RE SEEING PROGRESS. BUT IN THE LAST 14 MONTHS WE'RE SEEING JOB GROWTH EVERY MONTH, INCLUDING MANUFACTURING JOCK GROWTH, THE LIFE -- JOB GROWTH, THE LIFEBLOOD OF MY STATE, SECOND BEHIND SENATOR CORNYN'S AND SENATOR FEINSTEIN'S STATE. THE POINT IS WE KNOW OUR POLICIES AREN'T WORKING AS FAST AS WE'D LIKE BUT WE KNOW WHAT THEIR POLICIES BROUGHT US. 21 MILLION PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS CREATED DURING THE EIGHT YEARS OF BILL CLINTON. THEN WHEN THEY PUT IN THE BUSH ECONOMIC POLICIES, TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY TWICE, TWO WARS NOT PAID FOR, PARTIAL PRIVATIZATION OF MEDICARE, DEREGULATION OF WALL STREET, ONE MILLION PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS CREATED IN EIGHT YEARS. 21 MILLION VERSUS 1 MILLION. TELL THAT STORY, TOO, MR. PRESIDENT. I'M NOT SAYING WE HAVE EVERY ANSWER. WE DON'T. BUT WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING THEY SAY WE'RE TRYING TO DO. THE MIDDLE CLASS, THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY TODAY IS THE DECLINE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS. THAT'S WHY I CAME TO THE FLOOR TODAY, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF THIS BUDGET DEBATE, AS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT, THE FOCUS HAS TO STAY ON JOB CREATION. IT HAS TO BE HOW DO WE CREATE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. ONE WAY NOT TO CREATE JOBS, MR. PRESIDENT, IS WHAT SENATOR CASEY TALKED ABOUT A FEW MINUTES, AN HOUR OR SO AGO, AND THAT IS THREE NEW TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE WANT TO WASTE ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THIS MORNING THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE ARE BOTH HAVING WHAT ARE CALLED MOCK MARKUPS OF THREE TRADE DEALS WITH THREE COUNTRIES: SOUTH KOREA, ASIA, COLOMBIA, AND PANAMA IN OUR HEMISPHERE. THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IS INCLUDING TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE. THE HOUSE DOESN'T EVEN CARE TO TAKE CARE OF WORKERS WHO LOSE THEIR JOBS BECAUSE OF THESE TRADE AGREEMENTS. THEY'RE EXPENDABLE. THEY'RE A BUNCH OF 50-YEAR OLDS THAT DON'T HAVE MUCH EDUCATION. AND IF THEY LOSE THEIR JOBS, WHO CARES. THAT'S REALLY WHAT THEY'RE SAYING IN THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE. WE'LL PASS THIS, BUT IF PEOPLE LOSE THEIR JOBS THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO TO HELP THEM. REALLY THERE IS. WE'VE HAD SOMETHING CALLED TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE FOR 50 YEARS. IT'S BEEN BIPARTISAN UNTIL THIS GROUP OF RADICALS THAT RUN THE HOUSE DECIDE WE DON'T WANT TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE ANYMORE. IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS, 55,000 MANUFACTURING PLANTS HAVE BEEN LOST. COMPANIES ARE TOO EASILY SETTING UP OPERATIONS OVERSEAS, EXPORTING PRODUCTS BACK TO THE SUMMIT MARKET. THINK ABOUT ABOUT THIS, MR. PRESIDENT, IS THERE ANY TIME IN WORLD HISTORY WHERE THE MOST COMPELLING BUSINESS PLAN FOR A COMPANY IS SHUT DOWN WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY, MOVE PRODUCTION FAR, FAR AWAY TO ANOTHER COUNTRY WHERE YOU HAVE LOWER WAGES, FEWER REGULATIONS, A COUNTRY, A GOVERNMENT THAT'S NOT EXACTLY FREE, MAKE THOSE PRODUCTS THERE AND SELL THEM BACK TO THE HOME COUNTRY TH-FPLT BUSINESS PLAN THAT SO MANY AMERICAN COMPANIES FOLLOW IS MOVE PRODUCTION OVERSEAS WHERE YOU CAN GET CHEAP LABOR AND WEAK REGULATIONS IN A TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT AND THEN SELL THOSE PRODUCTS BACK TO THE HOME COUNTRY. IT'S A BUSINESS PLAN THAT FAR TOO MANY AMERICAN COMPANIES HAVE OBVIOUSLY FOLLOWED. MANUFACTURING NOW ACCOUNTS FOR LESS THAN 10% OF EMPLOYMENT IN OUR COUNTRY. THAT'S PARTLY BECAUSE OF NAFTA, PARTLY BECAUSE OF CAFTA, PARTLY BECAUSE OF CHINA PERMANENT NORMAL TRADE. THE PUBLIC HAS HEARD PROMISES OF JOB CREATION FROM TRADE DEALS BEFORE. EVERY SINGLE TIME. NAFTA WOULD CREATE THIS MANY JOBS, CAFTA WOULD CREATE THIS MANY JOBS. THE KOREA DEAL IS MORE OF THE SAME. U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION PROJECTS THE KOREAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WILL INCREASE THE U.S. GLOBAL TRADE STATISTIC. THE U.S. TRADE POLL INSTITUTE ESTIMATES A LOSS FROM THIS AGREEMENT. ALLOWING MANUFACTURING GOODS CONTAIN UP TO 65% OF COMPONENTS FROM CHINA OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY TO CONTAIN THE BENEFITS OF THE AGREEMENT. WHAT HAPPENS, MR. PRESIDENT, IS A COMPANY IN SOUL, SOUTH KOREA, AFTER THIS TRADE AGREEMENT WOULD PASS, 65% OF THE PRODUCT WOULD COME FROM CHINA, BE SOLD INTO CHINA, SOUTH KOREA SENDS IT TO THE UNITED STATES DUTY-FREE, TARIFF-FREE, EVEN THOUGH 65% OF IT WAS MADE IN CHINA. PUNDITS OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD SAY THESE ARE NO PWRAEURPBS. THEY SAY TRADE ADJUSTMENTS ASSISTANCE IS A PAYOFF FOR WORKERS. "THE WASHINGTON POST" EDITORIAL BOARD ALWAYS A CREATIVE, ALWAYS A CREATIVE THINKER OF THE FUTURE AND WRONG IN THEIR PREDICTIONS ON WAR, WRONG IN THEIR PREDICTIONS ON TRADE, WRONG IN THEIR PREDICTIONS ON LABOR LAW. BUT NONETHELESS "THE WASHINGTON POST" EDITORIAL BOARD CALLED T.A.A. A CONSOLATION PRIZE. ONCE AGAIN WASHINGTON GETS IT WRONG. NOT MANY EDITORIAL WRITERS IN "THE WASHINGTON POST" HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS TO TRADE AGREEMENTS SO THEY DON'T SEEM ALL THAT INTERESTED IN PEOPLE IN STEUBENVILLE, PEOPLE IN LIMA, PEOPLE IN ZANESVILLE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS BECAUSE OF THESE TRADE AGREEMENTS WHICH THE "WASHINGTON POST" EDITORIAL BOARD ALWAYS SUPPORTS. WE NEED TO FOCUS ON RETRAINING WORKERS WHO WERE DISPLACED BECAUSE OF PAST FREE TRADE DEALS, BUT EVEN THIS HISTORICALLY BIPARTISAN PROGRAM AS I SAID EARLIER, IS SUDDENLY BECOMING CONTROVERSIAL. IT WAS OPERATED THROUGH NUMEROUS ADMINISTRATIONS. IT WAS SUPPORTED BY REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ALIKE. IT ENSURES WORKERS WHO LOSE THEIR JOBS AS A RESULT OF GLOBALIZATION HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO TRANSITION TO NEW JOBS IN EMERGING SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY. IT HELPS RETRAIN WORKERS FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES. IN 2010, FISCAL YEAR, 225,000 WORKERS PARTICIPATED IN T.A.A., RECEIVING TRAINING FOR JOBS EMPLOYERS WERE LOOKING TO FILL. SENATOR CASEY AND I HAVE STOOD ON THIS FLOOR, HE IN THAT ROW, I IN THIS ROW, REPEATEDLY ASKING OUR COLLEAGUES TO EXTEND THIS VITAL JOB TRAINING PROGRAM. UNDER THE RULES OF THE SENATE, ONE OF THEM STANDS UP AND OBJECTS TIME AND TIME AGAIN. WE DID GET A SIX-WEEK EXTENSION. BUT SINCE MID-FEBRUARY THIS PART OF THE TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE IS SIMPLY NOT AVAILABLE TO SO, SO, SO MANY PEOPLE IN NEW MEXICO AND IN OHIO AND IN PENNSYLVANIA AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY. SENATOR CASEY AND I INTRODUCED THE T.A.A. BILL LAST WEEK THAT WOULD EXTEND T.A.A. FOR FIVE YEARS. WE PAID FOR IT. WE KNOW IT IS NO PANACEA FOR BAD TRADE AGREEMENTS. IT IS NOT THE PRICE WORK TPHERS MY STATE WANT TO PAY. WE MUST STAND UP FOR WORKERS BEFORE CONSIDERING NEW TRADE AGREEMENTS. WE MUST FOCUS ON REAL JOB CREATION. A BIG PART OF THAT IS STANDING UP AGAINST CHINA'S UNFAIR CURRENCY REGIME THAT THEY HAVE INFLICTED ON THIS WORLD TRADE -- ON THIS WORLD TRADE REGIMENT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. WITH OUR TRADE DEFICIT ALSO COMES TRADING PARTNERS MANIPULATING CURRENCIES. SOME OF OUR TRADING PARTNERS HAVE FOUND WAYS TO CIRCUMVENT LAW TO GAIN AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE. IN 2010 OUR TRADE DEFICIT WAS $634 BILLION. THAT MEANS EVERY SINGLE DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, 52 WEEKS A YEAR, EVERY SINGLE DAY WE BUY MORE THAN $1.5 BILLION MORE IN GOODS THAN WE SELL INTERNATIONALLY. WITH CHINA OUR TRADE DEFICIT WAS $373 BILLION. THAT MEANS EVERY DAY WE PURCHASE FROM CHINA MORE THAN WE SELL TO CHINA. EVERY SINGLE DAY. PRESIDENT BUSH ONCE SAID THAT $1 BILLION TRADE SURPLUS OR A $1 BILLION TRADE DEFICIT TRANSLATES INTO 13,000 JOBS. IF WE HAVE A TRADE DEFICIT OF $1 BILLION, ACCORDING TO PRESIDENT BUSH, PRESIDENT BUSH WHO SUPPORTS -- BOTH PRESIDENT BUSHES BY AND LARGE SUPPORTED THESE TRADE AGREEMENTS F. WE HAVE A $1 BILLION TRADE DEFICIT, WE LOSE 13,000 JOBS IN STATES LIKE OHIO, NEW MEXICO AND AROUND THE COUNTRY. DO THE MATH. IF OUR TRADE DEFICIT IS $200 BILLION WITH CHINA, WE KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. TEN YEARS AGO OUR TRADE DEFICIT IN GOODS WITH CHINA WAS $68 MILLION. THESE GENIUSES THAT COME UP WITH THESE TRADE AGREEMENTS SUPPORTED BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD, SPOURTD BY HARVARD ECONOMISTS, SUPPORTED BY PRESIDENTS, SUPPORTED BY PUNDITS THAT ARE IN WASHINGTON AND PROBABLY DON'T MUCH GET OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON, WE HAD A $68 BILLION TRADE DEFICIT WITH CHINA WHEN THE MOST EFFECTIVE CORPORATE LOBBYISTS SOLD THE MAJORITY OF HOUSE MEMBERS THAT PNTR WAS A GOOD IDEA. NOW WE HAVE A $273 BILLION TRADE DEFICIT. THEY TOLD US WE'RE GOING TO SELL MORE GOODS, WE'RE GOING TO DO BETTER WITH OUR DEALS WITH CHINA WHEN WE HAVE THIS. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF MINUTES I WOULD POINT OUT SENATOR SNOWE AND I HAVE PROPOSED BIPARTISANLY THE CURRENCY REFORM FOR FAIR TRADE ACT TO ENSURE OUR TRADE DEFICIT ISN'T FURTHER INCREASED WHEN COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA MANIPULATE THEIR CURRENCY TO MAKE THEIR EXPORTS LESS ACCESSIVE. THE LEGISLATION PASSED OVERWHELMINGLY IN THE HOUSE LAST YEAR. OUR BILL WOULD STRENGTHEN COUNTERVEILING DUTY LAWS TO CONSIDER UNDERVALUED CURRENCY. IN OHIO INDUSTRY, COATED PAPER INDUSTRY IN HAMILTON, OHIO; THE STEEL INDUSTRY IN LORAIN, OHIO. THEY PETITIONED THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION FOR RELIEF. THEY CAN TALK ABOUT, INCLUDE IN THAT PETITION THE CHARGE OF CURRENCY MANIPULATION. THE BILL SENDS A SIGNAL WE'RE NOT GOING TO SIT THERE WHILE COMPANIES GAIN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE. LET'S FOCUS ON ENFORCEMENT. LET'S FOCUS ON ADDRESSING CURRENCY MANIPULATION. LET'S LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD SO WE CAN FIGHT BACK AND WE CAN STOP THIS TERRIBLE HEMORRHAGING OF AMERICAN MANUFACTURING JOBS. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 12:27:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM INDIANA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:27:59 PM

    MR. COATS

    PRESIDENT, TODAY, AND IN FACT PROBABLY JUST CONCLUDING CONGRESSIONAL…

    PRESIDENT, TODAY, AND IN FACT PROBABLY JUST CONCLUDING CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HERE ARE MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT TO TRY TO BREAK THIS CURRENT IMPASSE ON THE DEBT TALKS. AS THE PRESIDENT SAID IN A PRESS CONFERENCE EARLIER THIS WEEK -- AND I QUOTE -- "RIGHT NOW WE'VE GOT A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING BIG." I COULDN'T AGREE WITH THAT STATEMENT ANY MORE THAN I HAVE. I'M GLAD AND PLEASED THAT FINALLY, AFTER MONTHS OF CONCERN AND MONTHS OF URGING, WE ARE DEALING WITH THIS IMPENDING DEBT CRISIS. TIME IS RUNNING OUT. THE LEADERSHIP IS NOW MEETING. I WILL BE GETTING REPORTS ON WHAT HAS COME FROM THAT. I WAS ENCOURAGED BY INITIAL REPORTS TODAY INDICATING THE PRESIDENT HAS AGREED TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES OF ENTITLEMENT SPENDING AS WELL AS DEFINING THE AMOUNT OF SPENDING CUTS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO PUT TOGETHER A CREDIBLE PLAN THAT WILL SEE US INTO A BETTER FINANCIAL FUTURE FOR ALL OF US, AND PARTICULARLY FOR THIS COUNTRY. I'VE BEEN DISCUSSING THE NECESSITY FOR A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEM EVER SINCE PRACTICALLY DAY ONE OF THIS SESSION IN MY RETURN TO THE SENATE, INDICATING THAT THE CURRENT PROCESS OF SPENDING WAY BEYOND OUR MEANS SIMPLY CANNOT BE MAINTAINED AND SUSTAINED AND THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS IT NOT AFTER 2012, BUT ADDRESS IT NOW. AND SO I'M ENCOURAGED BY THE TALKS THAT ARE NOW GOING ON THAT ARE BEGINNING TO INCORPORATE THE ELEMENTS THAT I THINK THERE IS GROWING CONSENSUS, IF NOT ALMOST TOTAL CONSENSUS, HAVE TO BE A PART OF THIS INITIATIVE FOR IT TO BE SUCCESSFUL, TO BE DEEMED CREDIBLE AND TO AVOID THE POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES OF DEFAULTING ON OUR DEBT AND LOSING OUR CREDIBILITY AS THE PLACE TO INVEST YOUR MONEY FOR THE BEST SAFETY THAT YOU CAN GET. I DON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE MATH, SPENTDZING $3 SPENDING $3.7 TRILLION A YEAR WHEN YOU ARE ONLY TAKING IN $2.2 TRILLION A YEAR IS SIMPLY UNSUSTAINABLE AND IS DRIVING US FORWARD THE CLIFF OF BANKRUPTCY, AND INABILITY TO PAY OUR DEBTS. A BIG DRIVER OF THAT AND THE BIGGEST DRIVER THAT HAVE DEBT IS CLEARLY THE MANDATORY SPENDING SPENDING THAT COMES WITH ENTITLEMENTS. IT IS NO SECRET WE HAVE SEEN THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION MOVE THROUGH THE ECONOMY FROM BIRTH NOW TO RETIREMENT, AND THE PROGRAMS THAT WERE PUT IN PLACE AND THE PROMISES THAT WERE MADE IN TERMS OF BENEFITS TO THOSE BENEFICIARIES ARE NOT GOING TO BE AVAILABLE IF WE DON'T ADDRESS THE PENDING BANKRUPTCY OF THESE PROGRAMS. THOSE THAT HAVE ANALYZED THIS HAVE SAID, LOOK, YOU'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING NOW TO KEEP THESE PROGRAMS FROM GOING BROKE IN THE FUTURE. SO ALL THOSE WHO SAY, DON'T TOUCH MY MEDICARE, DON'T TOUCH MY SOCIAL SECURITY, DON'T DO ANYTHING ARE ESSENTIALLY SAYING, WE'RE WILLING TO RIDE IT OUT FOR TWOR THREE MORE YEAR AND THEN SEE THE WHOLE THING COLLAPSE. THOSE OF US WHO ARE SAYING LET'S DO SOMETHING SENSIBLE AND RATIONAL NOW, NOT TAKING AWAY ANY BENEFITS FROM CURRENT BENEFICIARIES, BY THE WAY, BUT DOING SOMETHING THAT WILL PRESERVE THESE PROGRAMS IN THE FUTURE IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. WE'RE TRYING TO SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY. WE'RE TRYING TO SAVE MEDICARE. AND WE'RE TRYING TO DO THE KIND OF THINGS THAT ARE NECESSARY WITH OUR MANDATORY SPENDING TO ADDRESS THIS TOTAL IMBALANCE IN PLACE THAT IS DRIVING THEM INTO INSOLVES. SO I WOULD HOPE TODAY THAT WHAT WE HEAR BACK FROM THIS MEETING AT THE WHITE HOUSE IS A COMMITMENT TO GO FORWARD WITH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH, INCLUDING NECESSARY CUTS, DUPLICATIONS OF PROGRAMS, REDUNDANCIES, FRAUD AND ABUSE, THINGS WE JUST SIMPLY CAN'T AFFORD ANYMORE. COMBINED WITH AN ELEMENT OF DEALING WITH ENTITLEMENTS IN A RESPONSIBLE WAY AND THE MANDATORY SPENDING, PUTTING IN THE RIGHT ENFORCEMENT MECHANISMS IN PLACE SO WE DON'T RENEGE ON THE COMMITMENTS WE MAKE, AND ALSO INCORPORATING COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM. FORBE MONTHS, THEFOR MONTHS, THE FOCUS HAS BEEN ON CUTTING SPENDING AND TAX INCREASES. WITHOUT COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO A ADDRESS AND SOLVE THIS PROFNL THE-- THISPROBLEM. THE ADMINISTRATION HAS BEGUN TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM IS NECESSARY. YESTERDAY SENATOR WYDEN AND I SENT A LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS THAT ARE PARTICIPATING IN TODAY'S DEBT CEILING TALKS URGING THEM TO INCLUDE A TIME LINE FOR COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM. THE BILL THAT SENATOR WYDEN AND FORMER SENATOR GREGG PUT TOGETHER, AFTER TWO PAINSTAKING YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS, WHICH I HAVE JOINED NOW IN SENATOR GREGG PLASHINGS AFTER HEPLACE, IS A BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO ZEAL WITH COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM TO GO AFTER THE 10,000 SPECIAL BREAKS AND INTERESTS AND CREDITS AND EXCEPTIONS THAT ARE MADE THERE FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS AND TO INCORPORATE THE SAVINGS FROM THAT INTO LOWER RATES TO MAKE OUR -- THE PRIVATE SECTOR MORE COMPETITIVE, WHICH WE KNOW WILL BRING ABOUT GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY AND ULTIMATELY JOBS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, IS A NECESSARY COMPONENT OF THAT. THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM FOUND THAT RESOLVING THE NATION'S DEBT CRISIS DEMANDS COMPREHENSIVE STRUCTURAL CHANGE CLURKS THEY SAID, TAX REFORM. THERE'S NO BETTER WAY TO RAISE REVENUE AND REDUCE THE DEFICIT THAN BY GROWING THE ECONOMY AND PUTTING AMERICANS BACK TO WORK. AND DONE RIGHT, TAX REFORM WILL CREATE THOSE GOOD-PAYING JOBS AND PROVIDE BUSINESSES AND FAMILIES WITH THE CERTAINTY THEY NEED TO PLAI PLAN FOR THE FUTURE. ANY REVENUES RAISED BY CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES SHOULD BE PART OF A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN THAT REDUCES TAX RATES FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES AND CREATES JOBS. I WANT TO REPEAT THAT. THE WHOLE THEORY BEHIND THIS IS TO TAKE THOSE SPECIAL INTERESTS AND EXEMPTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE TAX CODE OVER A 15-, 20-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME TO THE TOTAL OF 10,000 SPECIAL EXEMPTIONS, TO TAKE SELECTIVE PORTION OF THAT AND A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THAT AND ELIMINATE OR REDUCE THOSE TO GAIN THE REVENUES ALLOWING US TO REDUCE TAX RATES ON AMERICAN FAMILIES AND ON AMERICAN BUSINESSES SO THAT THOSE BUSINESSES CAN BE MORE COMPETITIVE, THOSE FAMILIES WILL HAVE MORE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING SPENDING. WE CURRENT -- OUR BUSINESSES CURRENTCURRENTLY RANK 35 OUST 36 OF THE HIGHEST TAX RATES IMPOSED, SOME OF THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD. AND WE COMPETE IN THE WORLD WITH THOSE COUNTRIES THAT ARE PRODUCING THE SAME PRODUCTS BUT YET THEIR TAX RATES ARE SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER THAN OURS AND PUTS -- AND THAT PUTS US AT A COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE. WE CAN MAKE THE BEST PRODUCTS IN THE WORLD, AND WE CAN OUTSELL ANYBODY IN THE WORLD IF WE PUT OUR COMPANIES AND OUR BUSINESSES ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. AND THE WHOLE STRUCTURE AND PURPOSE BEHIND THE WYDEN-COATS TAX REFORM BILL IS TO DO JUST THAT, TO PUT US ON A COMPETITIVE BASIS WITH OUR COMPETITORS BY LOWERING THE RATES AND GAINING THE REVENUE TO PAY FOR THAT BY ENDING A LOT OF THESE EXCLUSIONS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE JUST FOR THE BENEFIT OF A FEW AND NOT FOR THE MANY. SO WE KNOW THIS WON'T BE EASY. WE KNOW IT REQUIRES DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO WORK TOGETHER TO TAKE ON THE SPECIAL THERE IS A CURRENTLY BENEFIT FROM THE BROKEN TAX SYSTEM. AND WE KNOW THAT RIGHT NOW THAT SEEMS VERY DIFFICULT AND VERY CHALLENGING. BUT IT'S BEEN DONE BEFORE. WE HAD A 1986 TAX RENORM THAT STIMULATED THE ECONOMY IN WAYS THAT NO STIMULUS HAS EVER DONE BEFORE, BROUGHT IN SIGNIFICANT ADDITIONAL REVENUES TO THE TREASURY AND PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK. AND SO SENATOR WYDEN AND I, BECAUSE THIS IS A BIPARTISAN BILL, A DEMOCRAT FROM OREGON AND A REPUBLICAN FROM INDIANA HAVE JOINED FORCES WITH THIS. WE WANT TO SIGNAL THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT CAN BE DONE ASIDE FROM POLITICAL GOTCHAS, ASIDE FROM POLITICAL GAIN FOR THE 2012 ELECTION, AND SOMETHING THAT WE CAN WORK TOGETHER ON THAT WILL MAKE A COMMITMENT TO A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF THE NECESSARY ACTION THAT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN PLACE IN DEALING WITH THIS COMPENSATING DEBT CRISIS AND DEFICIT CRISIS THAT IS TO BE RESOLVED BY AUGUST 2 OR CLOSE TO THAT. SOME SAY, WELL, IT CAN'T BE DONE IN THE TIME THAT'S LEFT. WELL, WE'RE IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES. AND I THINK WE HAVE TO SETTLE ASIDE THE CONVENTIONAL THINKING AND WORK TOWARDS WHAT CAN AND MUST BE DONE. BUT AT THE VERY LEAST I BELIEVE THAT THE PACKAGE THAT WE'RE ULTIMATELY GOING TO BE VOTING ON HERE NEEDS A ROCK-HARD, FIRM COMMITMENT AND INSTRUCTIONS TO THE TAX-WRITING COMMITTEES THAT THIS MUST BE DONE AND PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS IN THIS SESSION SO THAT WE CAN ADDRESS IT AND SO THAT WE ELIMINATE THE UNCERTAINTY AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE GOING TO GO FORWARD AND IT NEEDS AN ENFORCEMENT BACKUP MECHANISM SO THAT IF CONGRESS DOESN'T ACT IN A TIMELY MANNER, THERE WILL BE AN AUTOMATIC PROCESS THAT TAKES PLACE THAT DOES THIS AND PRESENTS IT TO US FOR A VOTE. WE HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING BIG. TO QUOTE THE PRESIDENT AGAIN. AND I COMMEND HIM FOR SAYING THAT. AND I COMMEND HIM FOR COMING FORWARD SAYING, WE WILL GET OFF THIS CUT ONLY, TAX ONLY STALEMATE PROCESS, AND WE WILL BEGIN TO ADDRESS THIS ON A COMPREHENSIVE BASIS AND PUT IN PLACE THOSE ELEMENTS THAT WE ALL KNOW ARE NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS. IT WILL REQUIRE THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE AND THE WHITE HOUSE TO CAST ASIDE POLITICALLY -- POLITICAL POSTURING IN THE 2012 ELECTIONS, TO TRANSCEND THE POLITICS, TO DO IT WHAT WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA, FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICANS, TO DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO GET OUR FINANCES AND OUR ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN AND TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. WE NEED TO TRANSCEND THAT AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR THE FUTURE OUR COUNTRY. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I HOPE WE HAVE TAKEN A POSITIVE SNEAP THAT DIRECTION TODAY AND I LOOK FORWARD TO PARTICIPATING, AS I KNOW ALL OF US DO, IN THAT PROCESS AND HOPEFULLY ASSURE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND ENSURE THE WORLD THAT AMERICA IS NOT AT A STALEMATE, THAT AMERICA CAN ADDRESS A CHALLENGE, A BIG CHALLENGE AND WE CAN COME FORWARD WITH A SENSIBLE SOLUTION THAT PUTS US ON THE PATH TO PROSPERITY AND GUARANTEES A BETTER FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. MR. PRESIDENT, I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:39:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 12:40:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:40:22 PM

    MR. UDALL

    I'D ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BEING VITIATED.

  • 12:40:26 PM

    MR. UDALL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND WE'RE DEBATING A SPECIFIC RESOLUTION, AND I'D…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND WE'RE DEBATING A SPECIFIC RESOLUTION, AND I'D ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE ALLOWED TO SPEAKS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS FOR TEN MINUTES. FIR OFFICER WITHOUT OBJECTION. --

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  • 12:40:41 PM

    MR. UDALL

    I RISE TODAY TO RECOGNIZE NASA NASA'S STS-135 MISSION AS THE PRESIDING…

    I RISE TODAY TO RECOGNIZE NASA NASA'S STS-135 MISSION AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER KNOWS, AT APPROXIMATELY 11:30 A.M. TOMORROW, SPACE SHUTTLE ATLANTIS IS SCHEDULED TO LIFT OFF FROM THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER IN FLORIDA WITH A CREW OF FOUR ON BOARD. THE 12-DAY MISSION WILL DELIVER SUPPLIES, LOGISTICS AND SPARE PARTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION. THIS WILL BE THE FINAL MISSION OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE AIR THAT BEGAN JUST OVER 30 YEARS AGO. THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO MAY NOT SEEM LIKE THE MOST LIKELY PORN TO COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT -- PERSON TO COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT THE SPACE SHUTTLE, BUT AS SOON AS IS A AND SPACE EXPLORATION HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH COLORADO AND IT IS SOMETHING I CARE DEEPLY ABOUT. COLORADO HAS ONE OF THE THREE TOP AEROSPACE ECONOMIES IN THE COUNTRY WITH A HAND IN EVERY ASPECT OF SPACE: GOVERNMENT, COMMERCIAL, AND ACADEMIC, SIRVELINGS AND MILITARY. WE HELPED DEVELOP THE SPACE SHUTTLE AND MANY OF THE MISSIONS THAT FLEW ON IT AND WE ARE PLAYING A MAJOR ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SHUTTLE'S SUCCESSORS. NOW, NASA HAS BEEN A SOURCE OF PRIDE FOR ALL AMERICANS FROM ITS VERY BEGINNINGS. WE'VE CHEERED THEIR TRIUMPHS AND SUFFERED WITH THEM DURING THEIR TRAGEDIES AND ALL THE WHILE WE'VE BEEN INSPIRED BY THEIR MISSION OF EXPLORATION. THE SHUTTLE ERA IS NO EXCEPTION. EVERY SINCE THE FIRST LAUNCH IN APRIL OF 1981, THE NAMES OF THE SPACE SHUTTLES -- COLUMBIA, "CHALLENGER"," DISOARVETION ATLANTIS AND ENDEAVOR -- HAVE BECOME FAMILIAR TO EVEN CASUAL OBSERVERS. THIS IS TESTAMENT TO THE VEHICLE ITSELF AND THOSE BEHIND IT. I WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOU A OF THOSE WHO HAVE THROWN ON THE SHUCIALGHTS THE THOUSANDS OF UNSEEN HEROES AT NASA WHO SUPPORT THEM AND THE CONTRACTORS AT TOO MANY COMPANIES THAT MAKE IT POSSIBLE. FLYING THE SHUTTLE IS A TRUE TEAM EFFORT. EVERYONE SHOULD BE PROUD OF WHAT THEY HAVE ACCOMPLISHED. I SEE MY COLLEAGUE FROM FLORIDA ACROSS THE CHAIRNLINGS AND I KNOW HE'S -- ACROSS THE CHAMBER, AND I KNOW HE'S ALSO VERY, VERY AWARE THAT THIS HAS BEEN A TEAM EFFORT ACROSS THE BOARD. AND I KNOW I'D BE REMISS AT THIS POINT IF I DIDN'T MENTION THOSE WHO PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR THEIR SERVICE. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE IMAGES OF THE HORRIBLE TRAGEDIES THAT BEFELL THE SHUTTLE, ONE OCCURRING MERELY SECONDS AFTER LEAVING THE PULL OF EARTH'S GRAPH TIRKS THE OTHER JUST MINUTES AWAY FROM BEING HOME AGAIN. WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE CREWS OF THE SPACE SHUTTLES "CHALLENGER" AND "COLUMBIA." THIS MILESTONE OF THE HISTORY OF SPACE FLIGHT FORCES US TO REFLECT ON WHAT WE'VE LEARNED AND WHERE WE'RE GOING. AMERICA IS NOW IN THE UNENVIABLE POSITION OF HAVING NO U.S.-DERIVED MEANS OF SENDING HUMANS IN SPACE, INCLUDING TO VITAL ASSETS LIKE THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION. FOR THE NEAR FUTURE WE WILL HAVE TO RELY ON OUR INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS -- NAMELY RUSSIA. BUT THAT POSITION WILL CHANGE. IT MUST CHANGE, I WOULD ADD. NASA IS DEVELOPING A SUCCESSOR TO THE SHUTTLE BASED ON IMPORTANT WORK DONE DURING THE CONSTELLATION PROGRAM. IN THE BURGEONING COMMERCIAL SECTOR, IT IS LITERALLY CHANGING THE WAY WE ACCESS SPACE AS WE SPEAK. THESE COMPLEMENTARY DEVELOPMENT TRACKS WILL BUILD A MORE ROBUST SPACE EXPLORATION ENTERPRISE. AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER KNOWS, I HAVE AN INTEREST IN CLIMBING MOUNTAINS, AS DOES HE, AND I'VE HAD THE GREAT, GOOD FORTUNE TO STAND ON THE TOP OF SOME OF THE WORLD'S HIGHEST MOUNTAINS, AND I BELIEVE IT'S IN OUR NATURE'S HUMANS TO EXPLORE AND UNDERSTAND THE WORLD AROUND YOU TO KEEP STRETCHING, TO ACHIEVE GOALS JUST BEYOND OUR GRASP. MR. PRESIDENT, THE SHUTTLE HAS ALLOWED US TO REACH FARTHER THAN MANY OTHER DREAMED POSSIBLE. BUT THE END OF THE SHUTTLE ERA IS BY NO MEANS THE END OF EXPLORATION. AT ITS HEART, NASA IS NOT ABOUT PARTS, IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE. EVEN AFTER THE SHUTTLE IS ASSUMES ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE IN HISTORY, LEGIONS OF ENGINEERS, SCIENTISTS, PILOTS AND OTHER ADVENTURERS WILL CARRY ITS MISSION FORWARD INTO THE MISSION PHASE OF EXPLORATION. KEEPING THAT SPIRIT INTACT WILL BE A FITTING TRIBUTE TO THE SPACE SHUTTLE. I WISH THE CREW OF STS-135 A SMOOTH AND PRODUCTIVE JOURNEY, AND ABOVE ALL A SAFE RETURN. MR. PRESIDENT, BEFORE I YIELD THE FLOOR, I WANTED TO ADD AN ADDITIONAL NOTE. IN COLORADO, OF COURSE, WE HAVE 54 MOUNTAINS THAT ARE OVER 14,000 FEET. WE HAVE COUNTLESS PEAKS BELOW THAT LOFTY ELEVATION, BUT AMONG THE 100 HIGHEST PEAKS IN COLORADO, WE NOTE COLUMBIA POINT WHICH IS NAMED TO COMMEMORATE THE ASTRONAUTS AND THE MISSION THAT ENDED TRAGICALLY, AND WE ALSO HAVE CHALLENGER POINT. BOTH PEAKS IN THE TOP 100, BOTH PEAKS LINKED BY A HIGH RIDGE AND IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT HIGH RIDGE IS KIT CARSON PEAK WHICH IS A 14,000-FOOT MOUNTAIN. I HAVE HAD THE GREAT FORTUNE TO STAND ON THE SUMMIT OF BOTH OF THOSE PEAKS, MOST RECENTLY COLUMBIA PEAK IN APRIL, AND THE VIEW IS ONE THAT IS WORTHY OF US AS AMERICANS AS WE GO FORWARD, LET'S REMEMBER THE GREAT SUCCESSES OF THE SHUTTLE PROGRAM AND BUILD ON THEM AS WE MOVE FORWARD AS AMERICANS EXPLORING THE WORLD, EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE. I KNOW MY COLLEAGUE FROM FLORIDA SHARES THOSE SENTIMENTS. I DON'T KNOW THAT HE IS ON THE FLOOR TO SPEAK TO THIS PARTICULAR TOPIC, BUT I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH HIM, GIVEN THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SPACE INDUSTRY AND OUR SPACE MISSION TO HIS GREAT STATE OF FLORIDA. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:46:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:46:53 PM

    MR. RUBIO

    I ASK FOR YOUR UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT I BE RECOGNIZED FOR…

    I ASK FOR YOUR UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT I BE RECOGNIZED FOR UP TO 15 MINUTES.

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  • 12:47:01 PM

    MR. RUBIO

    THANK MY COLLEAGUE AND DISTINGUISHED SENATOR AND I WILL TAKE UP WHERE YOU…

    THANK MY COLLEAGUE AND DISTINGUISHED SENATOR AND I WILL TAKE UP WHERE YOU LEFT OFF ON THE SPACE PROGRAM. I AM HERE ON THE EVE OF NASA'S FINAL SPACE SHUTTLE LAUNCH, FIRST TO RECOGNIZE THAT 30 YEARS AGO THE UNITED STATES LAUNCHED THE FIRST SPACE SHUTTLE MISSION FROM KENNEDY SPACE CENTER IN FLORIDA. IT SHOWED ONCE AGAIN THAT AMERICANS WOULD CONTINUE TO BE COMMITTED TO BEING FIRST IN SPACE AND ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS TO IMPROVE OUR LIVES. IT ALSO SHOWED THAT -- WHAT FREE PEOPLE WHO ARE COMMITTED TO DISCOVERY, TO INNOVATION, TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF THEIR FELLOW MAN CAN ACCOMPLISH. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN SAID IT BEST WHEN HE KICKED OFF THE SPACE STATION PROGRAM IN 1984. HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "WE ARE FIRST, WE ARE THE BEST, AND WE ARE SO BECAUSE WE'RE FREE." OVER THESE 30 YEARS, WE HAVE BEEN WITNESS TO MANY HEROIC TRIUMPHS IN SPACE THAT HAVE SERVED AS A TESTAMENT TO AMERICA'S UNPARALLELED INGENUITY AND IMAGINATION. OVER TIME, THE SHUTTLE PROGRAM WOULD MAKE HOUSEHOLD NAMES OUT OF SOME. SALLY RIDE BECAME THE FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN TO TRAVEL INTO SPACE. ONE SHUTTLE ALUM EVEN SERVED WITH US IN THE SENATE TODAY. IT'S OUR COLLEAGUE, THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA, BILL NELSON. OF COURSE SPACE EXPLORATION HAS ALWAYS ENTAILED RISK TAKING. IT HAS ALWAYS REQUIRED PUTTING ONE'S LIFE ON THE LINE. BECAUSE OF THIS, THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM'S HISTORY ALSO GAVE US MOMENTS OF GREAT PAIN AS WE LOST CHRISTA MCAULIFFE AND THE CHALLENGER CREW IN 1986 AND THEN THE COLUMBIA CREW IN 2003. EACH TIME THESE TRAGEDIES FORCED US TO ASK OURSELVES IS SPACE EXPLORATION WORTH IT? THANK GOD EACH TIME AMERICA ANSWERED WITH AN EMPHATIC YES. AND SO TODAY ON THE EVE OF THE FINAL SPACE SHUTTLE LAUNCH, WE CELEBRATE THE SHUTTLE'S PROGRAMS OF REMARKABLE FEATS WHICH EXHIBIT MANY OF THE QUALITIES THAT MAKE AMERICA EXCEPTIONAL -- COURAGE, INGENUITY, RISK TAKING AND AN ABILITY TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT ONCE SEEMED UNTHINKABLE. SPACE EXPLORATION SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT AMERICA, WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE AND AS A NATION. WHEN AMERICA WAS BORN 235 YEARS AGO, SURELY OUR FOUNDING FATHERS COULD NOT FATHOM THAT ONE DAY OUR PEOPLE WOULD FLY AMONG THE STARS, BUT THE TRUTH IS IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUR DESTINY. IN THE 19th CENTURY, IT BECAME OUR MANIFEST DESTINY TO EXPLORE AND PUSH WESTWARD UNTIL THE AMERICAN LAND STRETCHED FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA, AND ONCE WE REACHED AS FAR WEST AS WE COULD, AMERICANS HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO GAZE UP TO THE SKY AND SETTLE ON THE STARS AS OUR NEXT FRONTIER. ALMOST 42 YEARS AGO TO THIS VERY DAY, NEIL ARMSTRONG, BUZZ ALDRIN AND MIKE COLLINS MADE THAT GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND AND LEFT THEIR INDELIBLE FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON'S SURFACE AND ON HUMAN HISTORY. FOR ON THAT NIGHT IN JULY OF 1969, THE WHOLE WORLD WITNESSED THE AMERICAN MIRACLE FIRSTHAND. EVEN TODAY, THOSE MOMENTS SERVE AS A POINTED REMINDER ABOUT THE LIMITLESS CAPACITY THAT AMERICANS POSSESS IN SPACE AND IN EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIVES. EVEN AS WE FACE A HOST OF DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGES, AMERICA POSSESSES A REMARKABLE CAPACITY TO MEET THEM BY SETTING AMBITIOUS GOALS, AS PRESIDENT KENNEDY DID IN HIS MOON SPEECH, PERSEVERING IN THE FACE OF SETBACKS AND RISING TO THE OCCASION TO DO WHAT HISTORY DEMANDS OF US. OUR SPACE PROGRAM INSPIRED YOUNG GENERATIONS OF AMERICANS TO PURSUE CAREERS IN THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY AND OTHER RELATED FIELDS. SATELLITE TECHNOLOGIES DEVELOPED AND IMPROVED BY NASA NOW CONNECT THE WORLD IN UNPRECEDENTED WAYS. SUPPORT OUR MILITARY RECONNAISSANCE MISSIONS AND FACILITATE TRAVEL THROUGH G.P.S. DEVICES. FOR OTHERS, IT GOT THEM HOOKED ON MATH AND SCIENCE AND LET THEM TO OTHER FIELDS WHOSE INNOVATIONS MAKE OUR LIVES BETTER EVERY SINGLE DAY. AND THEN THERE WERE THE LUCKY FEW WHO WOULD ACTUALLY GO ON TO FLY ON OUR SPACE SHUTTLES. FOR THE REST OF US WHO DIDN'T PURSUE CAREERS IN SCIENCE, MATH AND ENGINEERING, OUR JOURNEYS INTO SPACE HAVE MEANT A LOT IN DIFFERENT WAYS. FOR MANY OFS US, KENNEDY SPACE CENTER ELICITS MEMORIES OF WHERE IMAGINATIONS ARE AWAKENED AND WHERE DREAMS ARE BORN AND MANY CHILDREN THINK FONDLY OF THEIR VISITS FOR FIELD TRIPS OR SPACE CAMPS. AND IN MY CASE, THE TIME MY PARENTS TOOK ME THERE FOR MY EIGHTH BIRTHDAY, JUST BEFORE WE MOVED OUR FAMILY TO LAS VEGAS. BUT THESE TYPES OF FEELINGS DIDN'T JUST HAPPEN IN AMERICA. YOU SEE, THE IMPACT OF OUR SPACE PROGRAM IS A GLOBAL PHENOMENON. ONE NEEDS TO LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THE VARIOUS FOREIGN CURRENCIES IN THE DONATION BOX DOWN AT WASHINGTON'S NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM TO UNDERSTAND WHAT OUR SPACE PROGRAM MEANS NOT ONLY TO FLORIDA AND OUR COUNTRY BUT FOR ALL OF HUMANITY. THIS BRINGS ME TO THE OTHER REASON FOR SPEAKING TODAY. YOU SEE, WHEN THIS FINAL SHUTTLE MISSION DRAWS TO A CLOSE, MANY AMERICANS WILL BE STARTLED BY THE REALIZATION THAT WE DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION WHAT'S NEXT FOR NASA. NASA HAS NO ANSWER, THE ADMINISTRATION HAS NO ANSWER, AND AS WE TRANSITION TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF SPACE EXPLORATION, FLORIDA'S AEROSPACE WORKERS ARE LEFT WITH ONLY QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR FUTURE. WE KNOW THAT FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS, WE'LL HAVE TO RELY ON THE RUSSIANS TO GET US TO SPACE. JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO, THAT ONLY COST $50 MILLION AN ASTRONAUT. NOW THE PRICE TAG IS UP TO TO $63 MILLION PER ASTRONAUT. WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE IT WILL GO HIGHER. YOU SEE, WHEREAS AMERICA ONCE LED THE WAY TO THE MOON, WE NOW FACE THE UNACCEPTABLE PROSPECT OF LIMITED OPTIONS TO SIMPLY GET A HUMAN INTO ORBIT. WE KNOW THAT OUR COMMERCIAL SPACE PARTNERS ARE WORKING TO FILL SOME OF THE GAP IN OUR HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT CAPABILITIES, AND THAT IS A PROMISING DEVELOPMENT THAT WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE. BUT WE NEED NASA TO LEAD. AND I SAY THIS, I FULLY RECOGNIZE THAT OUR NATION FACES A DEBT CRISIS BECAUSE QUITE FRANKLY POLITICIANS IN BOTH PARTIES HAVE SPENT RECKLESSLY FOR MANY DECADES, AND IT WILL REQUIRE WASHINGTON TO FINALLY LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS AND FOR LEADERS TO MAKE TOUGH CHOICES ABOUT WHAT OUR NATION'S PRIORITIES ARE. NASA IS NO EXCEPTION. IT WILL NOT BE ABOUT SPENDING MORE. IT WILL BE ABOUT SPENDING WISELY. AND SO TOMORROW AMERICANS WILL PROUDLY WATCH AS ATLANTIS TAKES OFF FOR ITS LAST FLIGHT. IT WILL BE A POINTED OPPORTUNITY TO RECALL THE ENTIRE 30-YEAR HISTORY OF THE SHUTTLE PROGRAM AND ALL THAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED IN 50 YEARS OF NASA'S EXISTENCE AND WILL BE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO THANK THE THOUSANDS OF MEN AND WOMEN IN FLORIDA WHO HAVE MADE THIS PROGRAM POSSIBLE AND WHO TAKE SUCH PRIDE IN THE SHUTTLE AND WHAT IT HAS ACCOMPLISHED. FOR NASA, JUST LIKE OUR NATION, IT IS AT ITS BEST WHEN IT IS LOOKING FORWARD, NOT LOOKING BACK. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MY FULL STATEMENT BE ENTERED INTO THE RECORD AS DELIVERED.

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  • 12:53:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:54:01 PM

    MR. RUBIO

    MAY I INQUIRE OF THE CHAIR OF WHAT MY REMAINING TIME IS.

  • 12:54:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IN POSTCLOTURE STATUS, THE SENATOR HAS 53 MINUTES REMAINING.…

    OFFICER: IN POSTCLOTURE STATUS, THE SENATOR HAS 53 MINUTES REMAINING. EIGHT MINUTES OF THE 15 REMAINS.

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  • 12:54:20 PM

    MR. RUBIO

    THANK YOU. GOT IT. 53 MINUTES SOUNDED LIKE TOO MUCH, EVEN FOR A SENATOR. I…

    THANK YOU. GOT IT. 53 MINUTES SOUNDED LIKE TOO MUCH, EVEN FOR A SENATOR. I BRIEFLY WANT TO USE THE SECOND HALF OF MY SPEECH TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUE OF THE DAY, AND THAT IS THE ISSUE THAT IS BEING DISCUSSED HERE IN TOWN ABOUT THE DEBT, AN IMPORTANT ISSUE. HAPPENING AT A TIME WHEN MANY AMERICANS FROM ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE TRAVELING HERE ON THEIR VACATIONS TO SHOW HOW -- THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS, OR MAYBE IN THE CASE OF THIS ISSUE HOW GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WORK, BUT IN ANY EVENT, HOWEVER, HOWEVER, -- HOWEVER PUBLIC, IT IS TRYING TO WORK ITS WAY THROUGH THIS ISSUE, AN IMPORTANT ONE. I KNOW JUST A FEW MOMENTS AGO, THERE WAS A MEETING AT THE WHITE HOUSE THAT CONCLUDED. WE AWAIT WITH GREAT ANTICIPATION. I SEE MY COLLEAGUE, THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, HAS ARRIVED. MAYBE HE WILL UPDATE US ON THE FLOOR IN A FEW MOMENTS. WE'RE ALL INTERESTED IN THIS ISSUE BECAUSE IT GOES WELL BEYOND PARTNERSHIP OR POLITICS. IT GOES TO THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY. LET ME SAY I THINK THERE IS GROWING CONSENSUS HERE ON SOME OF THE OUTLINES OF WHAT THIS WILL TAKE TO SOLVE THIS ISSUE. I JUST WANT TO POINT OUT IT WILL TAKE TWO THINGS. AS I HAVE HEARD THIS TERMINOLOGY BEING USED ABOUT A BALANCED APPROACH. IT WILL TAKE TWO THINGS. FIRST, IT WILL TAKE REDUCTIONS IN SPENDING, IT WILL TAKE CUTS. BUT WE CANNOT SIMPLY CUT OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROCESS. WE MUST ALSO GROW OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROCESS. MY POINT IS THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN SIMPLY REDUCE SPENDING ENOUGH TO GET AMERICA OUT OF THE PREDICAMENT IT IS FACING. WE MUST ALSO GROW OUR ECONOMY AT THE SAME TIME. AND GROWING OUR ECONOMY LEADS US TO THE NUMBER-ONE ISSUE FACING OUR COUNTRY. FOR AMERICA, FOR GOVERNMENT, FOR US HERE IN WASHINGTON, THE NATIONAL DEBT IS THE NUMBER-ONE ISSUE ON OUR MINDS, AND RIGHTFULLY SO, IT'S A SERIOUS ISSUE. BUT FOR THE REST OF OUR COUNTRY, THE NUMBER-ONE ISSUE ON THEIR MINDS IS JOBLESSNESS. IT'S THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND A JOB. PEOPLE DID EVERYTHING THAT WAS ASKED OF THEM, THEY GOT A DEGREE, THEY WORKED HARD, NOW HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, LOST THEIR HOMES. IF THEY DID FIND A JOB, MAYBE THEY ARE MAKING HALF AS MUCH AND WORKING TWICE AS LONG. SO WE HAVE TO GROW OUR ECONOMY. THE LOGIC BEHIND IT IS VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD. IF WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE WORKING, WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE PAYING INTO OUR TAX SYSTEM AND WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE PAYING INTO OUR TAX SYSTEM, THERE IS MORE MONEY AVAILABLE FOR OUR GOVERNMENT TO PAY DOWN ITS DEBT. SO I WANT TO FOCUS ON THAT FIRST THING, THE GROWTH ASPECT OF IT. WHAT IS IT WE CAN DO TO GROW OUR ECONOMY AND HELP JOB CREATORS CREATE JOBS? DON'T ASK POLITICIANS, ASK THE JOB CREATORS. THEY WILL TELL YOU THERE ARE TWO THINGS STANDING IN THE WAY OF JOB CREATION IN AMERICA. NUMBER ONE IS A BROKEN TAX CODE THAT IS UNCERTAIN, COMPLICATED, DIFFICULT TO NAVIGATE AND IN MANY INSTANCES UNAFFORDABLE FOR THEM AND NUMBER TWO, IT'S RUNAWAY REGULATIONS. SO ANY DEAL THAT DEALS WITH THE DEBT IN A SERIOUS WAY HAS TO ENCOMPASS GROWTH POLICIES THAT INVOLVE IN MY MIND BOTH REGULATORY REFORM AND TAX REFORM. AND I HOPE THAT THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE WORKING TOWARDS, TAX REFORM, BECAUSE WHAT WE NEED IN AMERICA IS NOT MORE TAXES. WE NEED MORE TAXPAYERS. THE OTHER PART OF THE DEAL, OF COURSE, IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE SOME SPENDING REDUCTIONS, AND THAT'S WHY I HAVE PROUDLY STOOD WITH MY COLLEAGUES TO POINT OUT THREE THINGS WE HAVE TO CLEARLY DO TO BRING THAT UNDER CONTROL. THE FIRST IS WE NEED TO REDUCE SPENDING THIS YEAR. OBVIOUSLY, YOU CAN'T SOLVE THE BUDGET DEFICIT AND DEBT IN ONE YEAR, BUT YOU HAVE TO BEGIN TO ADDRESS IT THIS YEAR, AND SO MEANINGFUL CUTS THIS YEAR. THE SECOND THING WE NEED TO DO IS A SPENDING CAP THAT LIMITS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THIS GOVERNMENT CAN SPEND IN THE FUTURE OR THE GROWTH IN THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN SPEND IN THE FUTURE. OUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT GROW FASTER THAN OUR ECONOMY. AND FINALLY, SOME SORT OF BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. AND TO TOP IT ALL OFF, WE HAVE TO SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. I WAS ENCOURAGED THIS MORNING TO READ THAT THE PRESIDENT IS INTERESTED IN THIS ISSUE. IT'S IMPORTANT. IT'S NOT ABOUT BALANCING THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF ANYONE. IT IS ABOUT SAVING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE SO THAT THERE WILL NEVER HAVE TO BE BENEFIT REDUCTIONS FOR CURRENT BENEFICIARIES AND SO THAT THESE PROGRAMS EXIST FOR ME WHEN I RETIRE AND MY CHILDREN WHEN THEY RETIRE AND THAT THEY WILL NEVER GROW INSOLVENT. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. MR. PRESIDENT, I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:58:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 01:02:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE…

    THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

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  • 01:02:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I ASK PERMISSION TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 01:02:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THANK YOU. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT OUR DEBT CRISIS, ABOUT OUR…

    THANK YOU. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT OUR DEBT CRISIS, ABOUT OUR SHORT-TERM DEBT CRISIS AND OUR LONG-TERM DEBT CRISIS. AND I COME HERE TODAY TO DISCUSS WAYS TO ADDRESS THEM AND WAYS NOT TO ADDRESS THEM. OUR MOST IMMEDIATE DEBT CRISIS IS NOW UPON US. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, CONGRESS WILL HAVE TO VOTE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING WITHIN A MATTER OF WEEKS. THIS IS SOMETHING CONGRESS HAS DONE AS A MATTER OF COURSE MANY, MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS AS OUR NATIONAL DEBT HAS GROWN. LET US BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY IS MEANS TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING AND WHY IT IS NECESSARY. AS A NATION, WE HAVE ACCUMULATED $14.3 TRILLION IN DEBT. THIS IN AND OF ITSELF IS A VERY BAD AND DANGEROUS THING. THAT MEANS OUR NATIONAL DEBT IS CURRENTLY 93% OF OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT. -- GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT AND THIS IS A VERY BAD AND DANGEROUS THING. WE'VE BEEN IN THIS SITUATION BEFORE. ACTUALLY IT'S BEEN WORSE. AFTER WORLD WAR II OUR NATIONAL DEBT WAS AT $121.-- WAS AT 121.7% OF OUR GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT. WE HAD SOMETHING TO SHOW FOR IT. WE HAD WON WORLD WAR II. THROUGH THE 1940'S, 1950'S, 1960'S AND 1970'S, WE WORKED OUR WAY TO THE POINT WHERE OUR NATIONAL DEBT FELL TO JUST 32.5% OF G.D.P. IN 1981. WE DID THIS THROUGH A COMBINATION OF GROWTH AND SOME INFLATION. OUR DEBT WAS IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE UNTIL WE HIT THE 1980'S, DURING WHICH WE QUADRUPLED OUR NATIONAL DEBT UNDER PRESIDENTS RONALD REAGAN AND GEORGE H.W. BUSH. WE HAVE HASHED OVER TIME AND AGAIN WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THE SITUATION WE FIND OURSELVES IN, BUT LET ME LEAVE THAT ALONE FOR THE MOMENT AND GET BACK TO WHAT IT MEANS TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. AS I SAID, OUR DEBT CURRENTLY STANDS AT $14.3 TRILLION. I THINK WE CAN AGREE ON THIS. THAT NUMBER REFLECTS PAST CHOICES, NOT CURRENT ONES. THE DEBT CEILING ALSO STANDS AT $14.3 TRILLION. WE HAVE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING BECAUSE WE AS A NATION HAVE CERTAIN OBLIGATIONS THAT WE MUST MEET. WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THE WARS WE ARE CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN. WE HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO VETERANS WHO HAVE SERVED OUR NATION IN THE PAST, LIKE THE PRESIDENT. WE HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO HAVE THE DEDICATED MEN AND WOMEN AT FEMA WHO HAVE BEEN RESPONDING TO THE MANY FLOODS AND FIRES OUR NATION HAS BEEN FACING. WE HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO SENIORS WHO HAVE PAID INTO SOCIAL SECURITY ALL THEIR WORKING LIVES AND HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT A CHECK EVERY MONTH OF THEIR RETIREMENT. WE HAVE OBLIGATIONS UNDER MEDICARE, NOT JUST TO SENIORS WHO, AGAIN, HAVE PAID IN, BUT TO CLINICS AND HOSPITALS AND HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND TO THOSE WHO PROVIDE MEDICINE AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT. WE HAVE CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS OF ALL KINDS, ALL BUSINESS, TOMORROW, MANY DIFFERENT BUSINESSES, WHETHER THEY'RE BUILDING ROADS OR WATER TOWERS OR PROVIDING I.T. SERVICE TO THE V.A. OR THE PARK SERVICE OR THE UNITED STATES SENATE. AND I THINK ALMOST EVERYONE WOULD AGREE THAT IT'S GOOD TO HAVE GUARDS IN OUR FEDERAL PRISONS, EXCEPT MAYBE THE PRISONERS. THE LIST OF OBLIGATIONS GO ON AND ON. AND ONE OF OUR MOST FUNDAMENTAL OBLIGATION STOSZ PAY PRINCIPAL AND -- OBLIGATIONS IS TO PAY PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST TO BONDHOLDERS WHO HAVE INVESTED IN WHAT FOR DECADES AND DECADES BEEN CONSIDERED THE SAFEST INVESTMENT IN THE WORLD: THE U.S. TREASURY BOND. CURRENTLY WE ARE NOT TAKING IN ENOUGH REVENUES TO MEET ALL THESE OBLIGATIONS, SO WE MUST BORROW MORE. AND OF COURSE WE MUST PAY INTEREST ON OUR DEBT AT AN INTEREST RATE THAT IS NOW ACTUALLY QUITE LOW. THE SUREST WAY TO INCREASE THE INTEREST ON OUR DEBT WOULD BE TO DEFAULT ON OUR DEBT OBLIGATIONS. MAKE NO MISTAKE, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF WE FAIL TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. EVEN AN INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES OF JUST 1% WOULD ADD $1.3 TRILLION TO OUR INTEREST PAYMENTS OVER THE NEXT DECADE. SO AS YOU CAN SEE, DEFAULTING ON OUR DEBT TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT THE SERIOUSNESS OF OUR CURRENT POSITION WOULD, TO SAY THE LEAST, BE COUNTER PRODUCTIVE. AND YET SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES ARE WILLING TO DO JUST THAT, AND THAT IS JUST S EUR RESPONSIBLE. AS TO THE MOTION THAT BONDHOLDERS COULD BE PAID WHILE OTHERS POSTPONED, SCOTT ELMENDORF, CHAIR OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, SAID THAT -- QUOTE -- "DEFAULTING ON ANY BUDGET OBLIGATION IS A DANGEROUS GAMBLE." NOW, WE ARE NOT ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN WHAT EXACTLY WILL HAPPEN IF WE DEFAULT, BUT WE HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA. WE KNOW THAT IT WOULD ROIL THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUCE RATING DOWNGRADES OF OUR TREASURY NOTES, CREATE FUNDAMENTAL DOUBTS ABOUT THE WORTHINESS OF THE UNITED STATES AND FORCE US TO HAVE HIGHER INTEREST RATES TO INDUCE PEOPLE TO BUY OUR BONDS. IT WOULD DAMAGE THE DOLLAR AND THE SPECIAL ROLE OF SPECIAL SECURITIES IN GLOBAL MARKETS FOR DECADES, DECADES TO COME. A DANGEROUS GAMBLE, ONE THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO TAKE. DEFAULTING ON OUR DEBT WOULD ALSO BE, AS DAVID BROOKS SO APTLY PUT IT, A STAIN UPON OUR NATIONAL HONOR. ARE WE ACTUALLY GOING TO BECOME A COUNTRY THAT CAN'T BE RELIED ON TO PAY ITS DEBTS? AND YET, WE HAVE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND MEMBERS OF THIS BODY THREATENING TO VOTE AGAINST RAISING THE DEBT CEILING UNLESS THE PRESIDENT AND DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS MEET THEIR DEMANDS ON HOW TO ADDRESS THE DEFICIT GOING FORWARD. ARE MY FRIENDS SUGGEST THAT GO WE ACT LIKE A DEADBEAT WHO BUYS A NEW CAR AND THEN SOMETIME DOWN THE LINE DECIDES, YOU KNOW, I JUST DON'T FEEL LIKE MAKING THE PAYMENTS? I THINK THESE MEMBERS ARE DOING AN ENORMOUS DISSERVICE BY HOLDING OUR NATION'S ECONOMY AND INDEED THE ENTIRE GLOBAL ECONOMY HOSTAGE TO THEIR DEMANDS. BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES TREASURY BOND HAS BEEN THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD FINANCIAL SYSTEM, IT IS NOT AN OVERSTATEMENT TO SAY THAT DEFAULTING ON OUR DEBT AT THIS FRAGILE POINT IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY COULD THROW US INTO A WORLDWIDE DEPRESSION. NOW, I AM HARDLY ALONE IN THIS REGARD. THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SHARES MY ALARM. IT IS NO SMALL SECRET THAT THE WALL STREET BACKERS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE BESEECHING THEIR ALLIES IN CONGRESS TO COME TO THEIR SENSES. YET, REPUBLICAN LEADERS KNOW THAT THERE ARE ALSO THOSE IN THEIR PARTY WHO BELIEVE THAT THIS IS THEIR CHANCE, THIS IS THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO EXACT CONCESSIONS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE AND DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS PRECISELY BECAUSE THE SITUATION IS SO FRAUGHT WITH PERIL. THEY KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CANNOT PLAY A GAME OF CHICKEN WITH THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND IN A GAME OF CHICKEN, THE IRRATIONAL AND IRRESPONSIBLE PLAYER HOLDS A STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE OVERT RATIONAL AND RESPONSIBLE PLAYER. AND SO WE FIND OURSELVES IN THIS PLACE AT THIS TIME. WHAT ARE THE DEMANDS? WELL, REPUBLICAN LEADERS HERE IN THE SENATE ARE HOLDING THE DEBT CEILING HOSTAGE. THEY CAN END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT. DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO PROTECT MEDICARE AND INSURE ITS SOLVENCY. AND THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS ALREADY DOING THAT. NOT ONLY DOES THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PROVIDE MORE BENEFITS TO MEDICARE RECIPIENTS, IT ALSO EXTENDS THE SOLVENCY OF MEDICARE BY SEVEN YEARS. THAT IS THE CONCLUSION OF THE MOST RECENT REPORT OF THE MEDICARE TRUSTEES. OF COURSE, THE FIRST BIG IDEA FROM OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE OF THIS CONGRESS WAS TO REPEAL AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, AND THEY ALL VOTED TO DO JUST THAT. SO, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT ONE OF THEIR FIRST VOTES THIS CONGRESS WOULD HAVE HAD THE EFFECT OF DIMINISHING THE SOLVENCY OF MEDICARE, SHRINKING THE SOLVENCY OF MEDICARE BY SEVEN YEARS. NOT ONLY THAT, BUT ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WILL REDUCE THE DEBT OVER THE NEXT DECADE BY $210 BILLION AND OVER THE DECADE FOLLOWING, FOLLOWING THAT BY MORE THAN $1 TRILLION. SO RATHER THAN SAVING MONEY BY MAKING OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM STRONGER, MAKING OUR DELIVERY OF CARE MORE EFFICIENT AND KEEPING OUR CONSTITUENTS HEALTHY, REPUBLICANS VOTED TO REPEAL THE HEALTH REFORM LAW. SO THE BIG REPUBLICAN CONTRIBUTION TO THE SUSTAINABILITY OF MEDICARE AND OUR NATIONAL DEBT WAS TO VOTE TO SHORTEN MEDICARE'S LIFE EXPECTANCY BY SEVEN YEARS AND TO ADD WELL OVER $1 TRILLION TO THE DEBT IN THE NEXT TWO DECADES. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE BIGGEST THREAT TO THE SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR LONG-TERM DEBT IS THE COST OF HEALTH CARE, AND THAT'S WHY SO MUCH OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS DESIGNED TO ADDRESS THE COST OF THE DELIVERY OF MEDICAL CARE. LET ME GIVE YOU JUST A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES. FIRST, THE VALUE INDEX. THE VALUE INDEX WILL DIRECT THAT HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS BE REIMBURSED BY THE VALUE OF THE CARE THAT THEY PROVIDE RATHER THAN BY THE VOLUME. THE QUALITY OF THE CARE RATHER THAN THE QUANTITY OF CARE. IN MINNESOTA, FOR INSTANCE, WE DO HEALTH CARE A LOT BETTER THAN MOST OTHER STATES. WE PROVIDE HIGHER-QUALITY CARE AT A LOWER COST THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER STATE. THERE'S ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN MINNESOTA, OF COURSE, AS A HEALTH CARE ECONOMIST TOLD ME. IN MINNESOTA, WE GET AN "A" BUT THAT'S BECAUSE WE GRADE ON A CURVE. IN TEXAS, THEY GET REIMBURSED 50% MORE PER PATIENT IN MEDICARE THAN WE DO IN MINNESOTA, AND YET, WE HAVE BETTER OUTCOMES. WHY? WELL, WE HAVE A DIFFERENT HEALTH CARE CULTURE. IN MINNESOTA, WE TEND TO DO MORE COORDINATED, FULLY INTEGRATED CARE. WE TEND TO SEE PATIENTS AS PEOPLE WHO WE WANT TO KEEP HEALTHY AND OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. IN TEXAS, PATIENTS ARE MORE OFTEN VIEWED AS PROFIT CENTERS. THERE ARE SOME EXCELLENT HIGH-VALUE CENTERS OF HEALTH CARE IN TEXAS, SUCH AS BAYLOR UNIVERSITY. THEN THERE ARE SOME EGREGIOUSLY LOW-VALUE ONES LIKE MANY IN McCALLEN, TEXAS. BY AND LARGE TEXAS DOCTORS ORDER MORE PROCEDURES THAN MINNESOTA DOCTORS SO THEY CAN BILL FOR MORE PROCEDURES. BUT THE IDEA HERE ISN'T TO PIT MINNESOTA AGAINST TEXAS. THE IDEA IS TO INCENTIVIZE LOW VALUE STATES TO DO HEALTH CARE MORE LIKE HIGH VALUE STATES. IMAGINE IF WE COULD BRING DOWN THE COST OF HEALTH CARE IN TEXAS BY ONE-THIRD, AND YET MAKE SURE THAT THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS ARE HEALTHIER. IMAGINE THE SAVINGS TO MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. ONE MORE EXAMPLE. SENATOR LUGAR AND I WROTE A PROVISION INTO THE BILL CALLED THE DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM. IT'S BASED ON A C.D.C., CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL PROGRAM PILOTED IN INDIANAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL. THEY TOOK FOLKS THAT HAD BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH PRE-DIABETES AND GAVE THEM 16 WEEKS OF NUTRITIONAL TRAINING AND 16 WEEKS OF PHYSICAL EXERCISE AT THE YMCA, ALL AT A COST OF ABOUT ABOUT $300 PER PERSON. THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WITH PRE-DIABETES WHO LATER DEVELOPED FULL-BLOWN TYPE TWO DIABETES WAS REDUCED BY ALMOST 60%. 60%. CARING FOR CHRONIC DISEASE IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE PIECE OF OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY. ONE OF THE MOST CHRONIC DISEASES IS DIABETES. IT COSTS OUR NATION $218 BILLION A YEAR TO TREAT DIABETES. A COUPLE WEEKS AFTER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PASSED, I BROUGHT THE UNDER SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES INTO MY OFFICE TO MEET DIABETES EXPERTS FROM THE C.D.C. AND WITH UNITED HEALTH GROUP, THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST INSURANCE COMPANY. THE GOAL IN THE MEETING WAS TO GET H.H.S. ON BOARD TO BRING THE PILOTED DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM UP TO SCALE NATIONWIDE. THE EXECUTIVE FROM UNITED HEALTH SAID THAT HER COMPANY WOULD DEFINITELY REIMBURSE THEIR POLICYHOLDERS FOR GOING THROUGH THE 16-WEEK PROGRAM. SHE SAID YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE FOR EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND, WE'LL SAVE $4. THE VALUE INDEX AND THE DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM ARE BUT TWO OF THE MANY PROGRAMS IN THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT THAT HAVE BEEN WRITTEN INTO THE LAW. JONATHAN GRUBER, THE M.I.T. PROFESSOR WHO HELPED PUT TOGETHER THE HEALTH REFORM SYSTEM IN MASSACHUSETTS WHEN MITT ROMNEY WAS GOVERNOR THERE HAS SAID OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT -- QUOTE -- "IT'S REALLY HARD TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BEND THE COST CURVE, BUT I CAN'T THINK OF A THING TO TRY THAT THEY DIDN'T TRY. YOU COULDN'T HAVE DONE BETTER THAN THEY ARE DOING." SINCE THEN IN THE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN AND THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS HAVE TAKEN AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT APPROACH. INSTEAD OF PUTTING IN THE LONG, HARD HOURS OF CONSULTING WITH HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS, HEALTH CARE ECONOMISTS, PATIENT GROUPS, HOSPITALS, RURAL HEALTH GROUPS AND MEDICAL RESEARCHERS TO ACTUALLY TRY TO BUILD ON PROTOCOLS THAT HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO BRING DOWN THE COSTS OF DELIVERING QUALITY MEDICINE, REPRESENTATIVE RYAN DECIDED TO JUST SLASH THE FUNDING OF MEDICARE, GIVE THE MONEY LEFT OVER TO SENIORS AND LET THEM FEND FOR THEMSELVES TO BUY THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE FROM INSURANCE COMPANIES. NOW, WE KNOW THAT THERE WAS NO FUNCTIONAL MARKET FOR HEALTH INSURANCE FOR FOLKS 65 AND OVER BEFORE MEDICARE AND MEDICAID STARTED IN 1965. IT'S DOUBTFUL THAT THERE WOULD BE ONE NOW. UNDER THE REPUBLICAN PLAN, SENIORS WOULD ESSENTIALLY GET A VOUCHER FOR A SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER AMOUNT THAN THEIR MEDICARE IS WORTH NOW. REMEMBER THAT THE COST TO MEDICARE FOR ADMINISTERING ITS PROGRAM IS LESS THAN 2%. INSURANCE COMPANIES, ON THE OTHER HAND, SPEND AROUND 11% ON SOME ADMINISTRATION. THE C.B.O. ESTIMATES THAT UNDER THE RYAN PLAN, OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS FOR HEALTH CARE FOR EACH SENIOR WILL MORE THAN DOUBLE TO OVER $12,500 A YEAR. THIS IS NOT MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT. THIS IS NOT MEDICARE. SO UNDERSTAND THIS. THE REPUBLICAN PLAN TO END MEDICARE WOULD MAKE HUGE CUTS IN MEDICARE BENEFITS AND PUT INSURANCE COMPANIES IN CHARGE OF SENIORS HEALTH CARE. THIS WOULD DOUBLE THE OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES FOR SENIORS AND TOSS ASIDE ALL THE NEW BENEFITS OFFERED BY THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. THERE IS NO QUESTION WHICH VISION OF MEDICARE HOLDS MORE HOPE FOR SENIORS AND WHICH TAKES A SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE-BASED BEST PRACTICES APPROACH TO ADDRESSING THE LONG-RANGE COST OF DELIVERING HEALTH CARE TO ALL AMERICANS. AND YET MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE ARE TELLING US THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO RISK THROWING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY INTO DEPRESSION IF DEMOCRATS DON'T ACT MORE RESPONSIBLY ON MEDICARE. WELL, OKAY, HERE'S AN IDEA. ALLOW MEDICARE TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES ON DRUGS FOR MEDICARE PART-D. THE V.A. DOES IT, AND GUESS WHAT? THE V.A. PAYS AN AVERAGE OF 48% LESS THAN MEDICARE DOES FOR THE TOP TEN MOST PRESCRIBED DRUGS. NOW, THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY TELLS US THEY NEED US TO PAY THE HIGHER PRICE BECAUSE THEY NEED THE MONEY FOR RESEARCH, BUT IN FACT THEY SPEND MORE MONEY ON ADVERTISING AND MARKETING THAN THEY DO ON RESEARCH. ALMOST EVERY OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRY USES ITS SIZE TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. WHY DOES THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER HAVE TO BE THE CHUMP WHO PAYS FULL PRICE? I SAY WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES TO BRING DOWN THE COST OF MEDICARE BY AS MUCH AS $24 BILLION A YEAR OR $240 BILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. THAT COULD GO STRAIGHT TO PAYING OFF THE DEBT. THERE, I GOT YOU $240 BILLION CUT TO MEDICARE. NOW CAN WE PLEASE VOTE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING AND AVERT A WORLDWIDE ECONOMIC CAT AS TROUGH TROUGH -- CATASTROPHE? IF MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE ARE REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING OUR DEFICIT UNDER CONTROL, COULDN'T WE START BY GETTING RID OF A MEASLY $2 BILLION A YEAR IN TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES TO OIL COMPANIES, THE COMPANIES THAT ARE GETTING RECORD PROFITS BECAUSE OF THE PRICE OF OIL? UNFORTUNATELY, ACCORDING TO MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, THIS WOULD BE A TAX HIKE. SUBSIDIES THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PRICE OF OIL, AND THEY ARE MAKING RECORD PROFITS. IN ORDER FOR US TO AGREE TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, EVERYONE, EVERYONE HAS TO SACRIFICE, EVERYONE HAS TO PAY. WHO IS IN A BETTER POSITION TO GIVE? EXXON OR A LITTLE GIRL IN MINNESOTA NAMED EVELYN. YOU SEE, EVELYN WAS BORN WITH CYSTIC FIBROSIS, AND WHEN SHE WAS 10, HER LIVER FAILED AND HER OWN TOXINS STARTED TO POISON HER. BUT MEDICAID, MEDICAID HELPED HER GET THE CARE SHE NEEDED. THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. EXXON OR EVELYN. FRANKLY, IT MAKES ME KIND OF SAD. SO THERE ARE SOME MORE BILLIONS FOR YOU FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION, GET RID OF THE SUBSIDIES TO THE FIVE BIGGEST OIL COMPANIES, COMPANIES, $21 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? IF WE ARE SERIOUSLY GOING TO ADDRESS OUR DEBT CRISIS, WE HAVE TO INCREASE REVENUES. NOW, UNDER THE REPUBLICAN PLAN, THE CUTS TO END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT AND TO SLASH MEDICAID ALL GO TO PAY FOR TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. THAT'S RIGHT. THE REPUBLICAN PLAN CUTS TAXES ON THE TOP MARGINAL RATE FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES FROM 35% TO 25%. NOW, MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS LIKE TO SAY THAT TAX CUTS ALWAYS PRODUCE REVENUE INCREASES. BESIDES THE FACT THAT THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE, IT ALSO CONTRADICTS THE OTHER ARGUMENT THAT REPUBLICANS USE FOR NOT RAISING TAXES. RAISING TAXES, REPUBLICANS OFTEN ARGUE, WOULD JUST GIVE THE GOVERNMENT MORE MONEY TO SPEND. ACCORDING TO THAT OFT-REPEATED REPUBLICAN ARGUMENT, CUTTING TAXES WILL LOWER REVENUES AND -- QUOTE -- STARVE THE BEAST. HERE'S PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN MAKING THIS EXACT POINT IN 1981, AND I QUOTE. THERE WERE ALWAYS THOSE WHO TOLD US THAT TAXES COULDN'T BE CUT UNTIL SPENDING WAS REDUCED. WELL, YOU KNOW, WE CAN LECTURE OUR CHILDREN ABOUT EXTRAVAGANCE UNTIL WE RUN OUT OF VOICE AND BREATH OR WE CAN CURE THEIR EXTRAVAGANCE BY SIMPLY REDUCING THEIR ALLOWANCE, UNQUOTE. IN OTHER WORDS, CUTTING TAXES CUTS REVENUES AND FORCES THE CHILDREN -- IN OUR CASE, IN THIS CASE, THE GOVERNMENT -- TO CUT SPENDING. SO AT THE HEART OF MY FRIEND'S ARGUMENT ON WHY WE MUST CUT TAXES THAT ARE TOO COMPLETELY CONTRADICTORY, MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE ARGUMENTS. ON THE ONE HAND, ACCORDING TO MY FRIENDS, LOWERING TAXES ALWAYS INCREASES REVENUES AND THEREFORE BRINGS DOWN THE DEFICIT. ON THE OTHER HAND, THEY ARGUE LOWERING TAXES DECREASES REVENUES. WHICH IS IT? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. I'LL TRY TO PROVIDE SOME CONTEXT FOR MY FRIENDS. AFTER PRESIDENT REAGAN CUT TAXES IN 1981, WE IMMEDIATELY STARTED AMASSING ENORMOUS DEFICITS. THEY WERE SO BAD THAT PRESIDENT REAGAN FELT COMPELLED TO RAISE TAXES IN 1982 AND THEN AGAIN IN 1983. IN FACT, PRESIDENT REAGAN, THE SUPPLYSIDE ICON, RAISED TAXES 11 TIMES. IF PRESIDENT REAGAN DID THAT TODAY, THE TEA PARTY AND IN FACT THE ENTIRE REPUBLICAN PARTY WOULD RUN HIM OUT OF TOWN ON A RAIL. BUT YOU SEE PRESIDENT REAGAN KNEW THAT TO RAISE REVENUE, YOU EITHER HAVE TO RAISE MARGINAL RATES OR GET RID OF TAX LOOPHOLES FOR THE WEALTHY AND FOR BIG CORPORATIONS, WHICH IS WHAT HE DID REPEATEDLY. EVEN SO, OUR NATIONAL DEBT NEARLY TRIPLED DURING THE REAGAN PRESIDENCY. THE NATIONAL DEBT CONTINUED TO GROW RAPIDLY DURING THE GEORGE H.W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION. IN FACT, IN 1993, HE HANDED PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON WHAT AT THAT POINT WAS THE LARGEST DEFICIT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY. SO WHAT DID PRESIDENT CLINTON DO? WELL, IN HIS 1993 DEFICIT REDUCTION PACKAGE, HE ADDED TWO NEW MARGINAL TAX RATES AT THE TOP END. 36% FOR THOSE MAKING OVER OVER $180,000 AND 39.6% FOR THOSE MAKING OVER $250,000. EVERY REPUBLICAN VOTED AGAINST THIS PACKAGE. THEY SAID THAT RAISING THE TOP MARGINAL RATE WOULD CAUSE A RECESSION. FORMER SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH SAID, AND I QUOTE -- "I BELIEVE THIS WILL LEAD TO RECESSION NEXT YEAR. THIS IS THE DEMOCRAT -- MEANING DEMOCRATIC MACHINE'S RECESSION, AND EACH ONE OF THEM WILL BE HELD PERSONALLY ACCOUNTABLE." SENATOR PHIL GRAMM OF TEXAS SAID THE CLINTON PLAN IS A ONE-WAY TICKET TO RECESSION. THIS PLAN DOES NOT REDUCE THE DEFICIT, BUT IT RAISES TAXES AND PUTS PEOPLE OUT OF WORK, UNQUOTE. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN KASICH, THEN RANKING MEMBER OF THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE, SAID -- QUOTE -- "THIS PLAN WILL NOT WORK. IF IT WAS TO WORK, I WOULD HAVE TO BECOME A DEMOCRAT." UNQUOTE. WELL, IT WORKED. NOT ONLY DID WE HAVE AN UNPRECEDENTED, UNINTERRUPTED EXPANSION OF OUR ECONOMY FOR EIGHT YEARS, CREATING MORE THAN 22 MILLION NET NEW JOBS, BUT WE BALANCED THE BUDGET, AND BILL CLINTON HANDED GEORGE W. BUSH A RECORD SURPLUS, SURPLUS. I CALL THAT WORKING. NOW PRESIDENT CLINTON AND ESPECIALLY THE DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS PAID A POLITICAL PRICE FOR THE 1993 DEFICIT REDUCTION PACKAGE. THE DEMOCRATS WENT DOWN TO DEFEAT IN 1994, LOSING THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 40 YEARS. YOU COULD SAY THAT DEMOCRATS TOOK A SHELLACKING. NEVERTHELESS, BETWEEN 1993-2001, THE NATION CREATED AN UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER OF JOBS BENEFITING EVERY QUARTILE OF OUR ECONOMY, DECREASING THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS IN POVERTY, INCREASING MEDIAN INCOME, AND CREATING MORE MILLIONAIRES THAN EVER. TO WHICH MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE MIGHT SAY SURE IT WORKED IN PRACTICE BUT DOES IT WORK IN THEORY? PRESIDENT CLINTON'S DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN NOT ONLY REDUCED THE DEFICIT AS PLANNED, IT ELIMINATED IT ENTIRELY AND GAVE INCOMING PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH A RECORD SURPLUS. IN FACT, WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH TOOK OFFICE, WE WERE ON TRACK TO COMPLETELY PAY OFF OUR NATIONAL DEBT WITH $5 TRILLION OF SURPLUSES PROJECTED OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. IN OTHER WORDS, WE WOULD HAVE ZEROED OUT OUR NATIONAL DEBT THIS YEAR. FIVE DAYS AFTER PRESIDENT BUSH TOOK OFFICE, AGAIN, AFTER PRESIDENT BUSH TOOK OFFICE, ALAN GREENSPAN TESTIFIED TO THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE THAT WE WERE IN DANGER OF PAYING OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT TOO QUICKLY AND ENTERING UNCHARTED TERRITORY IN WHICH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, GREENSPAN WARNED, WOULD HAVE TO PUT ITS EXCESS MONEY INTO PRIVATE EQUITIES, THEREBY DISTORTING AND DECREASING THE EFFICIENCY OF OUR MARKETS. PRESIDENT BUSH TOLD THE COUNTRY THAT A SURPLUS MEANT THAT AMERICANS WERE PAYING TOO MUCH IN TAXES. THIS WAS OUR MONEY, HE TOLD US, AND SO WE ALL DESERVED A TAX CUT. THEN AFTER THE ECONOMY WENT INTO RECESSION, BUSH TOLD US THAT WE -- WHAT WE NEEDED WAS ANOTHER TAX CUT TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY. SO, IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN THE ECONOMY IS STRONG, TASM TAX CUTS ARE IN ORDER, AND WHEN THE ECONOMY IS WEAK, TAX CUTS ARE IN ORDER. COMBINE THOSE WITH THE AFOREMENTIONED CONTRADICTORY TAX CUTS REDUCE REVENUES FORCING GOVERNMENT TO SPEND LESS OF OUR MONEY AND TAX CUTS ALWAYS INCREASE REVENUES AND YOU HAVE AN EXQUISITELY INCOMPREHENSIBLE ECONOMIC THEORY. BUT THAT EXQUIS THELY IN-- EXQUISITELY INCOMPREHENSIBLE THEORY NEEDED ONE MORE ELEMENT TO MAKE IT DOWNRIGHT DANGEROUS UNDERSTAND THAT WOULD BE PROVIDED BY VICE PRESIDENT RICHARD CHENEY. BY LATE-2002, THE SURPLUS THAT PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH HAD INHERITED FROM BILL CLINTON WAS TURNING ONCE AGAIN INTO HUGE DEFICITS. ACCORDING TO PAUL O'NEILL, HE TRIED TO WARN VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY THAT BUDGET DEFICITS WERE GROWING AT AN ALARMING RATE, POSING A THREAT TO THE ECONOMY. VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY CUT O'NEIL OFF SAYING, YOU KNOW, PAUL, REAGAN PROVED DEFICITS DON'T MATTER. BY THE END OF HIS PRESIDENCY, GEORGE W. BUSH LEFT PRESIDENT OBAMA A BUDGET DEFICIT PROJECTED AT $1.2 TRILLION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009. MEANWHILE, PRESIDENT BUSH HAD DOUBLED OUR NATIONAL DEBT AND LEFT PRESIDENT OBAMA AN ECONOMY THAT WAS HEMORRHAGING 750,000 JOBS A MONTH. SO WHO'S TO BLAME ON THIS DEFICIT? COULD IT HAVE HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY WE CUT TAXES WHILE WE WERE AT WAR? WELL, NOT ACCORDING TO THE REPUBLICAN LEADER. IN JULY OF LAST YEAR, SENATOR McCONNELL SAID, AND I QUOTE, "THERE'S NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER THAT THE BUSH TAX CUTS ACTUALLY DIMINISHED REVENUE." BUT ADJUSTING FOR INFLATION, SINCE THE BUSH TAX CUTS WERE ENACTED, REVENUES HAVE FALLEN 17%, AND THAT'S NOT EVEN TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE GROWTH IN OUR POPULATION. WHICH WAS 9% OVER THIS PERIOD. WHEN YOU ADD THE EFFECT OF POPULATION GROWTH, REVENUES DECLINED BY ABOUT 24% PER CAPITA UNDER THE BUSH TAX CUTS. I THINK THIS CLEARLY CONSTITUTES EVIDENCE THAT THE BUSH TAX CUTS ACTUALLY DIMINISHED REVENUE. SO IT SHOULD BE NO SURPRISE THAT OUR REDUCED REVENUES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR A LOT OF OUR DEFICIT. AS YOU CAN SNEE THIS CHART HERE, THIS CHART IS BY THE CENTER ON BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITIES, BASED ON C.B.O. NUMBERS, AND SHOWS THAT THE BUSH TAX CUTS RESPONSIBLE FOR 25% OF OUR DEBT IN 2010, AND THAT'S ONLY GOING TO GROW. AS YOU SEE, THE DEBT -- THE TAX CUTS ARE THIS ORANGE PART OF OUR DEBT HERE, AND YOU CAN SEE THAT IT GOES TO ABOUT 60% IN 2019. THE FACT IS, NOT ONLY DID THE NATIONAL DEBT DOUBLE DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, WE ALSO JUST HAD A DISMAL RECORD OF JOB CREATION. DURING THE BUSH YEARS, FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE WE STARTED KEEPING RECORDS, MEDIAN INCOME FELL IN AMERICA. AND MORE AMERICANS FELL INTO POVERTY. ONE IN FIVE CHILDREN IN AMERICA NOW LIVES IN POVERTY. IT'S EVEN HIGHER IN RURAL AMERICA. THERE IS ONE GROUP THAT IS -- THAT DID VERY WELL DURING THE BUSH YEARS AND THAT CONTINUES TO DO VERY WELL: THE EXTREMELY WEALTHY. WE NOW HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY THE GREATEST DISPARITY IN INCOME AND WEALTH THAT WE HAVE HAD SINCE THE 1920'S. SO THE ONE THING THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER OF IS THAT CUTTING TAXES ON THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS CAN CREATE JOBS AND KEEP THE DEFICIT UNDER CONTROL. SO WHY WOULD WE DO IT? WHEN THE EVIDENCE IS SO STARK THAT THE BUSH TAX CUTS COINCIDED WITH A HUGE SPIKE IN BOTH THE DEBT AND UNEMPLOYMENT, WHY NOT LOOK BACK ON WHAT HAS WORKED IN THE PAST AND LEARN FROM IT. AS I SAID EARLIER, AFTER WORLD WORLD WAR II, OUR DEBT AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P. WAS IN FACT SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER THAN IT IS TODAY, BUT WHAT DID WE DO? WELL, WE PASSED THE G.I. BILL SO THAT OUR TROOPS RETURNING FROM WAR COULD GO TO COLLEGE. TRUMAN STARTED THE MARSHALL PLAN TO HELP EUROPE GET ON ITS FEET. IT'S NOT AS IF WE HAD SMOOTH SAILING AS FAR AS DEFENSE SPENDING. WE WENT TO WAR IN KOREA LOSING NEARLY 35,000 AMERICANS. AFTER THAT WAR ENDED, WE FOUND OURSELVES IN AN EXTENDED, PROTRACTED COLD WAR. WE BUILT THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT IN OUR HISTORY, THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM. IT ADDED ENORMOUSLY TO OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, BECAUSE NOW WE COULD TRANSPORT OUR GOODS AROUND THE COUNTRY SO MUCH MORE EFFICIENTLY. WHEN THE SOVIETS LAUNCHED SPUTNIK INTO SPARKES WE JUMP-STARTED OUR SPACE PROGRAM AND INVESTMENT IN SHINES AND MATH EDUCATION -- IN SCIENCE AND MATH EDUCATION. MY BROTHER AND I WERE SPUTNIK KIDS. MY BROTHER OWEN WAS 11 AND I WAS 6 WHEN SPUTNIK WAS LAUNCHED. MY PARENTS TOOK US INTO THE LIVING ROOM AND SAT US DOWN AND TOLD THE TWO OF US THAT WE HAD TO STUDY MATH AND SCIENCE IN ORDER TO BEAT THE SOVIETS. I THOUGHT THAT WAS AN AWFUL BIG BURDEN TO PLACE ON AN 11-YEAR-OLD AND A 6-YEAR-OLD, BUT WE WERE OBEDIENCE SONS. AND SO WE STUDIED MATH AND SCIENCE. AND WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, MY PARENTS WERE RIGHT. WE BEAT THE SOVIETS. THE SPACE PROGRAM CREATED ALL KINDS OF DIVIDENDS IN TECHNOLOGY AND TO OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. I WATCHED THE SENATE DEBATE LAST FALL IN WHICH THE REPUBLICAN SENDCANDIDATE SAID THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD NEVER CREATED A JOB. THE DEBATE OF COURSE WAS BROADCAST BY SATELLITE. I THINK YOU GET THE IDEA. THE FACT IS, THE INVESTMENTS WE MADE IN IT THE 1940'S, 1950'S, 1960'S IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, IN STATE UNIVERSITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WAS THE ENVY OF THE WORLD BROUGHT OUR DEBT AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P. FROM 121% IN 1945 TO 33% IN 1980. ERSKINE BOWLES WAS RIGHT. WE CAN'T GET OUT OF OUR CURRENT DEBT WITH GROWTH ALONE. BUT I WILL TELL YOU MOST CERTAINLY THAT WE WILL NOT GET OUT OF IT WITHOUT GROWTH. AND SO WE HAVE TO CHOOSE WISELY. IN WHAT WE INVEST IN, AND WHEN WE INVEST AND HOW WE INVEST, IN WHAT WE CUT AND WHEN WE CUT AND HOW WE CUT, WHICH WE MUST DO. AND IN HOW WE INCREASE OUR REVENUES AND WHEN WE INCREASE OUR REVENUES AND FROM WHOM WE GET THOSE REVENUES. WHY NOT INVEST IN RETROFITTING BUILDINGS WHEN WE HAVE SO MANY IN THE BUILDING TRADES OUT OF WORK SITTING ON THE SIDELINES KNOWING THAT WE CAN RECOUP THAT INVESTMENT IN ENERGY SAVINGS WITHIN THREE TO FIVE YEARS? LET'S FIND CREATIVE WAYS OF FINANCING THAT, LIKE PACE FINANCING, WHICH LETS FAMILIES GET A LOAN FROM THEIR LOCAL GOVERNMENT PANDS IT BACK ON THEIR PROPERTY TAX. THIS IS HOW CITIES PAY FOR STREET LIGHTS AND SIDEWALKS. IT ADDS VALUES TO HOMES AND WHEN THE FAMILY MOVES, THE LOAN STAYS WITH THE PROPERTY. WE SHOULD ALSO CREATE INCENTIVES FOR BANKS TO LEND TO SMALL BUSINESSES FOR RETROFITTING COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS. THERE'S A COMPANY IN MINNESOTA CALLED McQUAY THAT MAKES HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS. AND THEIR VMS SO ENERGY-EFFICIENT THAT THEY PAY FOR THEMSELVES IN THREE TO FIVE YEARS THROUGH ENERGY SAVINGS. THEY'VE BEEN TAKING OUT LOANS FROM BANKS SINCE THEY ARE A LARGE, CREDIT-WORTHY COMPANY AND THEN THEY GIVE OUT LOANS TO CUSTOMERS WHO INSTALL THEIR SYSTEMS. IT IS WIN-WIN. BECAUSE THEY ARE SALING MORE UNITS AND PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AND THEIR CUSTOMERS ARE ACTUALLY MAKING MONEY IN THE LONG RUN THROUGH ENERGY SAVINGS. McQUAY HAS A GOOD MODEL AND WE SHOULD BE FIGURING OUT A WAY TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO THE SAME THING. WIN-WIN. RETURN ON INVESTMENT. WHY NOT CUT OUR DEFENSE SPENDING WHEN $100 BILLION IN CUTS HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED BY OUR SERVICE CHIEFS AT SECRETARY GATES' REQUEST? AND WHEN COST OVERRUNS ON OUR WEAPONS SYSTEMS ARE ABSURDLY HIGH. WHEN YOU ADD UP THE GROWTH IN COSTS OF MAJOR DEFENSE WEAPONS SYSTEMS OVER THEIR ORIGINAL ESTIMATES, THE TOTAL IS OVER $402 BILLION. WHY NOT RAISE REVENUE BY INCREASING TAXES ON THE WEALTHIEST IN THIS NATION, THOSE WHO HAVE BENEFITED THE MOST FROM THE ECONOMY IN RECENT YEARS, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE CAN LOOK TO THE RECENT PAST AND SEE THAT THEIR TAX CUTS ADDED VIRTUALLY NO JOBS AND CONTRIBUTED MIGHTILY TO OUR DEFICIT? ONLY WHEN THE MIDDLE CLASS IS STRONG DOES OUR ECONOMY GROW, BECAUSE THE MIDDLE CLASS HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE PART OF OUR SOCIETY THAT CREATES DEMAND. THERE JUST AREN'T ENOUGH RICH PEOPLE TO BUY ENOUGH STUFF. THE MIDDLE CLASS SPENDS ITS MONEY, BUT TODAY COMPANIES ARE SITTING ON TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS BECAUSE THERE'S JUST NOT ENOUGH DEMAND. AND THAT'S BECAUSE THERE IS A LOT OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND BECAUSE WAGES FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS HAVE GONE DOWN OVER THE LAST DECADE. CREATING A MIDDLE CLASS IS NOT AN END UNTO ITSELF. A STRONG MIDDLE CLASS LEADS TO STRONG CONSUMER SPENDING, AND THEREFORE TO A STRONG ECONOMY AND TO NATIONAL PROSPERITY. THE MIDDLE COMPLAS IS ALSO WHERE YOU GET -- THE MIDDLE COMPLAS IS ALSO WHERE YOU GET ENTREPRENEURS. A MUCH HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS BECOME ENTREPRENEURS THAN ANY OTHER CLASS IN THIS COUNTRY. IT'S WHERE YOU GET SMALL BUSINESSES. THE MIDDLE CLASS IS AN ENGINE TO OUR ECONOMY. WHY NOT INVEST IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WHEN WE KNOW THAT THE RETURN ON QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IS UP TO $16 FOR EVERY $1 SPENT. WE KNOW THAT CHILDREN WHO HAVE HAD QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ARE LESS LIKELY TO NEED SPECIAL EDUCATION, THEY'RE LESS LIKELY TO REPEAT GRADES, THEY ARE -- THEY HAVE BETTER HEALTH OUTCOMES, THAT THE GIRLS ARE LESS LIKELY TO GET PREGNANT AS TEENAGERS. WE KNOW THAT CHILDREN WHO HAVE HAD QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ARE MORE LIKELY TO GRAD WAIT FROM HIGH SCHOOL, MORE LIKELY TO GO TO COLLEGE AND MORE LIKELY TO GET A GOOD JOB AND PAY TAXES. AND MUCH LESS LIKELY TO GO TO PRISON. MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE SAY THAT WE MUST CUT THE DEFICIT FOR OUR CHILDREN'S SAKE. AND I -- I AGREE. BUT THEN WHY ARE SUCH A DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNT OF THE CUTS AIMED AT PROGRAMS THAT HELP CHILDREN? AS I SAID, ONE OF EVERY FIVE CHILDREN IN AMERICA LIVES IN POVERTY, AND THAT'S AN EVEN GREATER PERCENTAGE IN RURAL AMPLEST BUT THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO CUT HEAD START AND EARLY HEAD START. WE CURRENTLY SERVE ABOUT 40% OF THE CHILDREN THAT QUALIFY FOR HEAD START AND LESS THAN 4% OF THE CHILDREN WHO EQUAL FILE FOR EARLY HEAD START. DO WE REALLY WNTS WANT TO CUT THAT? DO WE REALLY WANT TO CUT PELL GRANTS? THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET SLASHES MEDICAID. ABOUT 50% OF THE RECIPIENTS OF MEDICAID ARE CHILDREN. WE KNOW WE'RE IS GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SHARED SACRIFICES TO GET THE BUDGET UNDER CONTROL, BUT DO WE REALLY THINK THAT SICK KIDS ARE THE ONES THAT SHOULD MAKE THOSE SACRIFICES? YOU KNOW, IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS ELECTION, REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP SAID THAT THEIR NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY WAS SEEING TO IT THAT BARACK OBAMA IS A ONE-TERM PRESIDENT. THEY DIDN'T SAY THAT THEIR NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY WAS GETTING AMERICANS BACK TO WORK OR EDUCATING OUR KIDS OR EVEN BALANCING THE BUDGET. THEIR NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY WAS WINNING THE NEXT ELECTION. I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT AMERICANS WANT. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT US TO GET TO WORK. TO SOLVE PROBLEMS, TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES. WE DON'T HAVE TO AGREE ON HOW TO DO THAT. BUT THEY SENT US HERE TO WORK TOGETHER. IF THE TIME BETWEEN ELECTIONS JUST BECOMES ABOUT JOCKEYING FOR THE NEXT ELECTION, THEN WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THE POINT OF GETTING ELECTED IN THE FIRST PLACE? I THOUGHT WE WERE HERE TO WORK TOGETHER CONSTRUCTIVELY IN THE INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NOW THE SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER IS SAYING THAT RAISING ANY REVENUE AT ALL IS OFF THE TABLE, THAT HE WILL NOT VOTE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING IF PART OF OUR COMPROMISE ON THE BUDGET GOING FORWARD INVOLVES ANY TAX INCREASE ON ANYONE, NO MATTER HOW WEALTHY THEY ARE, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR INCOME. I ASK MY COLLEAGUES FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY TO STEP BACK FROM THE BRINK, TO STEP BACK FROM BRINKSMANSHIP ON THIS DEBT CEILING. LET'S NOT PANIC. WE'RE GOING TO BE ON THIS PLANET FOR AWHILE. LET'S HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE IN OURSELVES TO DO THIS IN A SMART, THOUGHTFUL WAY SO THAT OUR CHILDREN WILL SAY, WELL, THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THE GREATEST GENERATION, BUT THEY ARE A PRETTY GOOD GENERATION. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 01:46:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 01:47:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA. SENATOR, A QUORUM CALL IS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA. SENATOR, A QUORUM CALL IS IN PROGRESS. -- [INAUDIBLE] WITHOUT OBJECTION.

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  • 01:47:19 PM

    MR. VITTER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT SENATOR KIRK AND I SPEAK IN SUCCESSION FOR UP…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT SENATOR KIRK AND I SPEAK IN SUCCESSION FOR UP TO 15 MINUTES AND THAT THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE THEN HAVE TWO SPEAKERS.

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  • 01:47:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 01:47:36 PM

    MR. KIRK

  • 01:54:00 PM

    MR. VITTER

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE AGAIN TODAY TO URGE ALL OF…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE AGAIN TODAY TO URGE ALL OF US, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, TO COME TOGETHER AND PUT SERIOUS DEFICIT-REDUCTION PROPOSALS ON THE FLOOR FOR FULL DEBATE AND OPEN AMENDMENT PROCESS, A CONSTRUCTIVE DEBATE AND VOTES AND ACTION. THAT IS THE WAY WE CAN MOVE FORWARD AND RESOLVE THIS GREATEST THREAT WE FACE AS A COUNTRY, OUT-OF-CONTROL WASHINGTON SPENDING AND DEBT. MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE MAKING A LITTLE BIT OF PROGRESS IN THAT REGARD. AFTER MONTHS AND MONTHS OF THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER PUTTING EVERY OTHER ISSUE UNDER THE SUN ON THE FLOOR BUT SPENDING AND DEBT, WE'VE FINALLY FORCED THIS CENTRAL ISSUE TO COME HERE AND BE DEBATED. LAST WEEK MANY OF US BANDED TOGETHER, CONSERVATIVES WHO WERE PUSHING FOB THIS DEBATE SAID WE SHOULD CANCEL THIS JULY 4th RESERBGS WE SHOULD BLOCK IT SO WE CAN STAY HERE AND DEBATE THE CENTRAL ISSUE. THAT'S WHAT WE DID, AND WE SUCCESSFULLY DID THAT. UNFORTUNATELY, THE MAJORITY LEADER THEN PROPOSED WE STAY HERE, YES, BECAUSE WE BLOCKED THE RECESS BUT NOT PUT THE CENTRAL ISSUE ON THE FLOOR, MOVE TO YET ANOTHER TOPIC. AND WE SAID, NO, WE'RE STAYING HERE TO GET TO THIS DEBATE, THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE, THE GREATEST CHALLENGE WE FACE RIGHT NOW AS A COUNTRY. AND WE SUCCESSFULLY DEFEATED HIS MOVE TO ANOTHER TOPIC. AND SO FINALLY THIS LITTLE BIT OF PROGRESS WE'RE HERE ON THE FLOOR AT LEAST TALKING ABOUT THE RIGHT ISSUE. BUT WE DON'T YET HAVE A STRONG, MEANINGFUL UNDERLYING PROPOSAL TO ACT ON. WE HAVE A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION. THAT'S A GOOD BASIS FOR DEBATE, I SUPPOSE. BUT OF COURSE WE NEED MORE THAN THAT. WE NEED SERIOUS PROPOSALS TO DEBATE AND AMEND AND VOTE ON AND ACT ON. AND THAT IS THE IMPORTANT NEXT STEP. NOW WHEN I MADE THESE REMARKS YESTERDAY, THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM NEW YORK, SENATOR SCHUMER, WAS IN THE CHAMBER AND SUGGESTED THAT REPUBLICANS, INCLUDING MYSELF, HAD NOT GOTTEN BEHIND A SERIOUS CREDIBLE PROPOSAL. SPECIFICALLY, HE SAID, WAIT A MINUTE, THE RYAN BUDGET WHICH YOU VOTED FOR, DOESN'T REDUCE THE DEFICIT AT ALL. I SAID AT THE TIME THAT'S INCORRECT, BUT I DIDN'T HAVE THE NUMBERS IN FRONT OF ME. IN FACT, I LOOKED IT UP. THE RYAN BUDGET DOES SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THE DEFICIT FROM $1.4 TRILLION THIS YEAR TO $391 BILLION AT THE END OF TEN YEARS. THAT'S A MAJOR, MAJOR REDUCTION. AS I SAID TO THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK AT THE TIME, MY PREFERENCE EVEN AHEAD OF THAT IS THE TOOMEY BUDGET WHICH WE PRODUCED ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE IN THE SENATE. THAT REDUCES THE DEFICIT FROM $1.4 TRILLION RIGHT NOW TO ZERO OVER TEN YEARS. IT BALANCES THE BUDGET OVER TEN YEARS. OBVIOUSLY MAJOR, MAJOR PROGRESS. AGAIN, GOING BACK TO THE RYAN BUDGET WHICH SENATOR SCHUMER BROUGHT UP, IT CONTAINS $6.2 TRILLION IN SPENDING REDUCTIONS COMPARED TO SPENDING IN PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET. IT HAS TOTAL DEFICITS THAT ARE $4.4 TRILLION LOWER THAN THAT IN THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET. IT BRINGS TOTAL FEDERAL SPENDING TO BELOW 20% OF THE ECONOMY. THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET IS ALWAYS ABOVE 23% IN THAT FIGURE. SO IT PUTS US ON A PATH TO BALANCE. AND, AGAIN, THE TOOMEY BUDGET, MY FIRST CHOICE, ACTUALLY ACHIEVES THAT BALANCE WITHIN THE TEN-YEAR BUDGET WINDOW. NOW, IN CONTRAST TO THAT, I HAVE TO SAY IT'S VERY UNSETTLING THAT THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER, THE MAJORITY IN THIS CHAMBER HAVE NOT EVEN TRIED TO MEET OUR MANDATED BUDGET RESPONSIBILITIES. SECTION 300 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1947 -- -- 19474, THE FEDERAL LAW THAT CONTROLS THE BUDGET PROCESS. IT SAYS BY APRIL 15 OF EVERY YEAR, A BUDGET RESOLUTION IS SUPPOSED TO BE PASSED. WE'RE 83 DAYS AND COUNTING PAST THAT DEADLINE. 83 DAYS AND COUNTING, AND NO SERIOUS ATTEMPT TO EVEN TRY TO MEET THAT LEGAL MANDATE HAS BEEN MADE BY THE MAJORITY, BY THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER. WE HAD A FEW BUDGET VOTES, THREE REPUBLICAN BUDGET PROPOSALS AND PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET. THE OBAMA BUDGET GOT ZERO VOTES ON THE SENATE FLOOR. THE MAJORITY LEADER PRODUCED NO BUDGET PROPOSAL. THE FINANCE COMMITTEE LED BY THE MAJORITY PRODUCED NO BUDGET PROPOSAL, NOT EVEN TRYING TO MEET OUR RESPONSIBILITY. AN ACTUAL, LEGAL MANDATE UNDER THE LAW ENFORCEMENT SO THROUGH THE CHAIR, I WOULD ASK SENATOR SCHUMER, WHERE IS YOUR PROPOSAL? WHERE IS YOUR ATTEMPT? YES, WE HAVE PUT FORTH SPECIFIC PROPOSALS THAT DRAMATICALLY CUT THE DEFICIT. WHEN IS THE MAJORITY GOING TO EVEN TRY? AGAIN, 83 DAYS AND COUNTING THIS YEAR PAST THAT DEADLINE. OF COURSE LAST YEAR THIS BODY, UNDER THE SAME HRAOERPBGS PRODUCED NO -- UNDER THE SAME LEADERSHIP, PRODUCED NO BUDGET. SO WE'RE 448 DAYS AND COUNTING IN TOTAL UNDER THE BUDGET ACT. IN THAT TIME, BY THE WAY, OUR DEBT HAS INCREASED $3.2 TRILLION. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S WHY WE NEED SERIOUS PROPOSALS ON THIS SENATE FLOOR TO DEBATE, TO AMEND IF NECESSARY, TO VOTE ON, TO ACT ON. AT LEAST WE'RE TO THE TOPIC, BUT WE NEED SERIOUS PROPOSALS BEFORE US TO ACT ON. AGAIN, I URGE ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES TO EMBRACE A THREE-TIER APPROACH. CUT AND CAP AND BALANCE. IMMEDIATE CUTS, A BUDGET, PASSING A BUDGET RESOLUTION WHICH WE'RE MANDATED TO DO THAT INCLUDES IMMEDIATE, MEANINGFUL, REAL CUTS. THAT'S CUT. CAP. STRUCTURAL BUDGET REFORM TO CAP SPENDING IN EVERY MAJOR CATEGORY OF THE BUDGET TO ENSURE THAT WE STAY ON THAT PATH TO A BALANCED BUDGET. AND BALANCE, A REQUIREMENT IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION THAT WE HAVE A BALANCED FEDERAL BUDGET THROUGH THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. I SUPPORT THAT. ALL REPUBLICANS IN THIS BODY HAVE COAUTHORED THAT. THAT IS THE THIRD CRUCIAL TIER OF THIS THREE-TIER APPROACH: CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE. I HOPE WE GET TO THE CONSIDERATION OF THOSE AND OTHER IMPORTANT PROPOSALS. I HOPE WE NOT ONLY HAVE A DEBATE AROUND A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION. I HOPE WE HAVE REAL, MEANINGFUL PROPOSALS ON THE FLOOR, AN OPEN AMENDMENT PROCESS, AN OPEN DEBATE AND VOTES AND ACTION ON THIS MOST CRITICAL ISSUE. I'VE ENDORSED SPECIFIC PROPOSALS PROPOSALS. I MENTIONED TWO OF THEM. THEY DRAMATICALLY REDUCE THE DEFICIT. I'VE COAUTHORED THE BALANCED BUDGET CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT ENFORCED DISCIPLINE, THE STRAITJACKET WE NEED. I SUPPORT THE CAP CONCEPT FOR THE MEDIUM TERM, TO GET US ON THAT PATH. BUT WE NEED TO ACT ON THAT ON THE FLOOR IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. I URGE THAT AS THE NEXT NECESSARY STEP. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WITH THAT, I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:02:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 02:02:40 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    ARE WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 02:02:44 PM

    MR. SIEWRM

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 02:02:47 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST, I WANT TO THANK MY GOOD FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE FROM…

    MR. PRESIDENT, FIRST, I WANT TO THANK MY GOOD FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE FROM MINNESOTA, SENATOR FRANKEN, FOR LEADING THIS LITTLE DEBATE HERE TODAY, THE SUBJECT, OF COURSE, BEING THE POTENTIAL OF DEFAULT BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, A SUBJECT MANY OF US THOUGHT WE WOULD NEVER HAVE TO DISCUSS. AND SENATOR FRANKEN, I HOPE PEOPLE WHO DID NOT GET A CHANCE TO SEE HIS SPEECH -- I'M SORRY, I HAD HOPED TO BE HERE BUT WE HAD THE FINAL VOTE ON THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS IN THE FINANCE COMMITTEE -- BUT I HOPE PEOPLE WILL LOOK AT THE SPEECH BECAUSE IT'S A REALLY -- IT'S A VERY, VERY ERUDITE, THOUGHTFUL AND COMPELLING DOCUMENT. AND IT'S ON A SUBJECT THAT DESERVES THAT KIND OF ATTENTION, WHICH IS THE DANGER OF DEFAULT. IN OUR ENTIRE HISTORY, WE'VE NEVER HE DEFAULTED ON OUR DEBT. AMERICA HAS ALWAYS KEPT ITS PROMISES. BUT SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE ARE THREATENING TO MAKE US THE FIRST GENERATION OF AMERICANS THAT DOES NOT PAY ITS DEBTS. DEBTS, THAT DOES NOT KEEP ITS PROMISES. EARLIER THIS WEEK, THE PRESIDENT SAID WE SHOULD REACH A DEAL WITHIN TWO WEEKS IN ORDER TO AVOID ROYALING THE FINANCIAL MARKETS. WE DEMOCRATS ARE WORKING IN GOOD FAITH. WE'RE COMMITTED TO MAKING SURE OUR NATION DOES NOT FAIL TO MEET ITS OBLIGATIONS. MY COLLEAGUES AND I ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE ARE WORKING DILIGENTLY TO FIND SPENDING CUTS, MANY OF WHICH COME FROM PROGRAMS WE STRONGLY BELIEVE HELP THIS COUNTRY, IN ORDER TO COME TO A FINAL AGREEMENT. WE ARE ALSO IDENTIFYING TAX LOOPHOLES TO CLOSE. BUT I MUST ASK: WHAT EXACTLY ARE MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES DOING? THEY ARE STALLING, THEY ARE DEMAGOGUING. THEY WALKED OUT ON THE BIPARTISAN BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS AND ARE CONTINUING TO INSIST THAT WE CAN'T RAISE A SINGLE DOLLAR IN REVENUE NO MATTER HOW WASTEFUL THE TAX BREAK OR HOW GENEROUS THE SUBSIDY. MR. PRESIDENT, THE SHOCKING TRUTH IS THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES SEEM TO BE WILLING TO TANK THE ECONOMY SIMPLY TO HELP OUT THE VERY MOST PRIVILEGED WHO ARE ALREADY DOING WELL. LET'S FACE IT, MIDDLE-CLASS PEOPLE, POOR PEOPLE, THEY DEPEND ON GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. BUT IF YOU'RE WEALTHY, YOU DON'T NEED SPENDING -- YOU DON'T NEED HOPE SEND YOUR KID TO COLLEGE. YOU DON'T NEED TO GO TO A CLINIC TO HAVE YOUR TEETH LOOKED AT IN CASE THEY'RE FALLING APART, WHERE YOU CAN'T AFFORD THE KIND OF HIGH-PRICED, FANCY DENTIST. BUT IF YOU'RE WEALTHY, HOW DO YOU GET BREAKS? YOU LOOK INTO THE TAX CODE AND LOBBY CONGRESS, WHETHER YOU'RE A CORPORATION OR INDIVIDUAL, TO GET THOSE BREAKS IN. THAT'S HOW -- THAT'S HOW THE HIGH-END FOLKS BENEFIT IN TERMS OF THIS GOVERNMENT. AND SO TO SAY THAT ALL OF THOSE ARE OFF-LIMITS IS NOT CLASS WARFARE. IT'S A SIMPLE FACT OF LIFE. IT'S A FACT OF LIFE THAT WELL-TO-GOOD, WHETHER THEY BE CORPORATE OR INDIVIDUAL, BENEFIT FROM TAX EXPENDITURES, WHEREAS MIDDLE CLASS AND POORER PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM SPENDING EXPENDITURES. AND YET OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES SAY ONE WHOLE SIDE IS OFF-LIMITS. THAT'S PUTTING POLITICS OVER THE ECONOMY. IN FACT, THESE ACTIONS SEEM TO INDICATE THAT THEY MIGHT BE DELIBERATELY TANKING OR WANT TO DELIBERATELY TANK THE ECONOMY TO HARM THE PRESIDENT'S REST ELECTION CHANCES. THAT'S A TOUGH TOUGH THOUGHT. I SHUDDER TO REALLY BELIEVE IT. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE, IT LEADS IN THAT DIRECTION. THESE ARE NOT ACTION OF LEADERS. FORCING THE U.S. INTO DEFAULT TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS IS PLAYING WITH FIRE. YOU RUSK UNDERMINING THE FUTURE CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES -- YOU RISK UNDERMINING THE FUTURE CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES AND DO ENOUGH DAMAGE TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY THAT IT COULD CAUSE ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS NOT UNLIKE THE ONE WE SAW IN 2008, FROM WHICH WE STILL HAVE NOT RECOVERED. ALL TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS, ALL TO HELP THOSE, THE ONE SEGMENT OF SOCIETY WHICH, GOD BLESS THEM, HAS DONE VERY WELL IN THE LAST DECADE. MR. PRESIDENT, I ALSO WANT TO TALK TODAY ABOUT A SUBJECT THAT'S OFTEN IGNORED IN DEBATES OVER THE DEBT CEILING. THESE DEBATES CAN SEEM VERY ABSTRACT AND THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES VERY REMOTE. IT'S WHY MY COLLEAGUE FROM MINNESOTA DECIDED TO LEAD A DEBATE IN THIS REGARD. IN FACT, MR. PRESIDENT, THE CONSEQUENCES WOULD AFFECT EVERY AMERICAN WHO WANTS TO TAKE OUT A MORTGAGE, EVERY PARENT WHO NEEDS TO TAKE OUT STUDENT LOANS TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO COLLEGE, EVERY AMERICAN WITH A CREDIT CARD. IT WOULD EVEN AFFECT THE PRICE OF GASOLINE AND THE PRICE OF FOOD. THE IMPACT OF A DEFAULT WILL NOT JUST BE FELT ON WALL STREET OR IN THE MYTHICAL WORLD OF BOND MARKETS BUT IN EVERY TOWN, EVERY HOUSEHOLD IN THE NATION. AND THE CONSEQUENCES WILL NOT BE SHORT LIVED. THE REPERCUSSIONS OF A DEFAULT WILL STAY WITH US FOR YEARS OR EVEN DECADES. J.P. MORGAN ESTIMATES THAT EVEN A TECHNICAL DEFAULT -- THE FAILURE TO PAY INTEREST ON OUR DEBT FOR JUST A FEW DAYS -- WOULD RESULT IN THE COST OF U.S. TREASURIES INCREASING BY 50 BASIS POINTS. WELL, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD? MOST HOUSEHOLDS DON'T SPEAK IN TERMS OF BASIS POINTS. WELL, MORTGAGE RATES ARE OFTEN SET AT 150 POINTS ABOVE U.S. TREASURY. THAT MEANS 1.5% ABOVE U.S. TREASURIES. IF THE RATE ON TREASURIES GOES UP 50 BASIS POINTS, IT GOES UP ANOTHER HALF PERCENT, AND SO THE COST OF A MORTGAGE FOR A FAMILY WITH 30-YEAR FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE WORTH $172,000, JUST THAT ALONE, THAT LITTLE FEW DAYS WHERE THE UNITED STATES DOESN'T PAY ITS DEBT, COSTS $19,000 TO THAT FAMILY. THE COST OF INTEREST ON A CREDIT CARD WOULD ALSO INCREASE. A FAMILY CARRYING A MODEST BALANCE, $3,300, WOULD PAY AN ESTIMATED $250 MORE IN INTEREST EVERY YEAR. IN TOTAL, A DEFAULT OR EVEN A NEAR DEFAULT COULD END UP COSTING AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS $10 BILLION IN INCREASED BORROWING COSTS EVERY YEAR. THE SAME J.P. MORGAN STUDY TELLS US THAT A 50-BASIS POINT INCREASE IN THE COST OF U.S. TREASURIES WILL DECREASE OUR G.D.P. BY 1%. LEADING ECONOMISTS ESTIMATE A 1% CONTRACTION IN THE G.D.P. WOULD RESULT IN 640,000 JOBS LOST. THESE ARE JOBS WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE. IN ADDITION, THE STOCK MARKET WOULD ALSO GO DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY SIGNIFICANTLY, COSTING ALL AMERICANS WHO ARE INVESTING FOR THEIR RETIREMENT OR SAVINGS TO SEND A CHILD TO COLLEGE. THE TYPICAL AMERICAN WOULD LOSE $8,000 TO $12,000 IN HIS OR HER RETIREMENT ACCOUNT. J.P. MORGAN ALSO ESTIMATES THAT THE VALUE OF THE DOLLAR WOULD DECLINE 5% TO 10% AS A RESULT OF A DEFAULT. THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CONSEQUENCES FOR THE FUTURE OF THE DOLLAR IF THIS HAPPENS. WE SHOULD ALL BE ASKING OURSELVES: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DOLLAR CEASES TO BE THE GLOBAL RESERVE CURRENCY? BUT EVEN IF MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE DON'T WANT TO CONSIDER THAT, THEY SHOULD CERTAINLY THINK ABOUT THE IMPACT OF A DEPRECIATED DOLLAR ON THEIR CONSTITUENTS. HIGHER BORROWING COSTS TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD ALSO INCREASE THE DEFICIT, EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO. SO WHEN THEY CAVALIERLY SAY, "LET US DEFAULT," BECAUSE WE HAVE A HUGE DEFICIT, IT'S ACTUALLY AN INTERNAL CONTRADICTION, BECAUSE DEFAULTING WILL MAKE THE DEFICIT WORSE. ACCORDING TO J.P. MORGAN ANALYSIS, THE DEFICIT WOULD INCREASE BY $10 BILLION A YEAR IN THE SHORT TERM, $75 BILLION IN THE LONG TERM. AND THE WORST PART IS THIS. ALL OF IT -- THESE COSTS WOULD BE SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS. WE'RE FULLY CAPABLE OF PAYING OUR DEBT, JUST AS WE ALWAYS HAVE HAVE, BUT SOME ARE THREATENING TO INTENTIONALLY DEFAULT TO BORROW A PHRASE FROM THE PRESIDENT'S ECONOMIC ADVISOR, AUSTIN GOULSEL, "THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST DEFAULT IN HISTORY CAUSED ENTIRELY BY INSANITY." AND LET ME JUST SAY THIS. EVERY AMERICAN FAMILY HAS DEBT, JUST ABOUT. MOST OF US HAVE MORTGAGES. NOW, LET'S SAY WE HAVE A MORTGAGE ON OUR HOUSE AND WE'VE GOTTEN THE HOUSE AND WE'RE LIVING IN IT. ALL OF A SUDDEN WE SAID TO OUR BANK, I'M NOT GOING TO PAY MY MORTGAGE UNLESS YOU DO A, B, C. YOU'VE ALREADY SIGNED TO PAY THAT MORTGAGE. WHAT HAPPENS? WHAT HAPPENS? YOU'RE NOT LIVING UP TO AN AGREEMENT YOU MADE. YOUR HOUSE IS FORECLOSED UPON AND YOU LOSE IT. THE ANALOGY IS THE SAME HERE. FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT -- FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO DEFAULT ON PURPOSE WOULD BE CUTTING OUR NOSE TO SPITE OUR FACE AND HURT THE VERY CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY. SO I WANT TO SAY THIS TO MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO EXPLAIN THIS TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS? DO YOU THINK THEY'LL BELIEVE THE POLITICAL GAMES ARE WORTH THE INCREASED COST? I SINCERELY DOUBT IT. AND I WANT TO SAY TO MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, BECAUSE SO MANY OF YOU HAVE TRIFLED WITH THE IDEA OF NOT PAYING OFF DEBTS, IF, GOD FORBID, IT HAPPENS -- HOPE IT DOESN'T, FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY -- BUT IF IT DOES, YOU WILL BEAR THE BLAME. NOT A SINGLE DEMOCRAT THAT I'M AWARE OF HAS SAID "WE WANT TO DEFAULT." MANY, MANY REPUBLICANS HAVE SAID THEY WANT TO DEFAULT. AND SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE ALBERT EINSTEIN OR A Ph.D. IN BIOPHYSICS TO KNOW WHO IS RISKING DEFAULT, WHO IS TRIFLING DID FAULT AND WHO WOULD CAUSE DEFAULT IF, GOD FORBID, WE CAN'T COME TO AN AGREEMENT. MANY ON OUR SIDE HAVE SAID, WE ARE WILLING, IF IT COMES TO US, TO JUST RAISE THE DEBT CEILING IF WE CAN'T COME TO AN AGREEMENT BECAUSE THE CONSEQUENCES ARE SO HORRIBLE. NOT THE OTHER SIDE. NO. THEY ARE LEVERAGING THEIR BELIEFS, SINCERELY HELD, AS A MEANS -- THEY'RE LEVERAGING, RATHER, THE DEFAULT AS A MEANS TO ACHIEVE THEIR BELIEFS, SINCERELY HELD. THAT IS SO WRONG. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS, THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PEOPLE, AND CERTAINLY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FOLLOWING THIS ISSUE, REALIZE THAT. AND AS WE GET CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE DAY OF AUGUST 2, THEY WILL KNOW WHO IS WILLING TO RISK DEFAULT TO ACHIEVE POLITICAL GOALS. THEY WILL KNOW IT IS NOT THE PEOPLE FROM OUR SIDE OF THE AISLE. THEY WILL KNOW IT IS THE PEOPLE FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE AISLE. AND THAT WILL MAKE THE PROBLEMS NEWT GINGRICH FACED IN 1995, I BELIEVE IT WAS, WHEN HE SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT LOOK LIKE CHILD'S PLAY. SO I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO RETHINK THEIR POSITION. THE TIME HAS COME FOR A LITTLE SOUL-SEARCHING ON THE OTHER SIDE. AISLE -- ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. YOU MUST DECIDE IF YOU'RE WILLING TO CREATE ANOTHER ECONOMIC CRISIS JUST TO MOLLIFY AN EXTREME WING OF YOUR PARTY AND SCORE POLITICAL POINTS AGAINST THE PRESIDENT. YOU MUST DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS THE FIRST GENERATION OF AMERICAN LEADERS TO RENEGE ON PROMISES ALREADY MADE BY PRESIDENTS AND CONGRESSES, DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN ALIKE. IN THE COMING WEEKS, MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS WILL HAVE TO MAKE A VERY SERIOUS DECISION. ARE THEY GOING TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT WORKING WITH US TO FIND A BIPARTISAN SOLUTION TO OUR DEBT CRISIS OR ARE THEY GOING TO PUT PARTISAN POLITICS ABOVE THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY? ARE THEY GOING TO SAY IT HAS TO BE OUR WAY ALL THE WAY, 100%, NO REVENUES O'OR WE'RE GOING -- NO REVENUES, OR WE'RE GOING TO FORCE THE COUNTRY TO DEFAULT, OR WILL THEY FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY COMPROMISE ABOVE NARROW, IDEOLOGICAL, OFTEN FEAR-DRIVEN POLITICS? MR. PRESIDENT, IN CONCLUSION, I'M AN OPTIMIST. I BELIEVE MY COLLEAGUES WILL COME AROUND AND JOIN US IN FINDING A BIPARTISAN WAY FORWARD. I DON'T BASE THAT ON ANYTHING THAT'S BEEN SAID. I WISH I COULD. I BASE IT ON MY INNATE OPTIMISM THAT AMERICANS AT THE END OF THE DAY ARE PRACTICAL, PROBLEM-SOLVING PEOPLE, NOT PEOPLE WHO LOOK FOR SELF-DESTRUCTION, SELF-DESTRUCTIVE SOLUTIONS, RATHER. SO I ASK MY COLLEAGUES TO COME AROUND, JOIN US IN A BIPARTISAN SOLUTION. WE ARE WILLING TO GIVE SOME. YOU SHOULD BE WILLING TO GIVE SOME, BUT I CAN TELL YOU MY FRIENDS, TIME IS RUNNING OUT. I CAN ONLY HOPE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CAN ONLY HOPE YOU DON'T WAIT TOO LONG. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:17:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA.

  • 02:17:27 PM

    MR. BEGICH

    PRESIDENT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'M ON THE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON TO TALK…

    PRESIDENT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'M ON THE FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUE NOT ONLY OF THE DAY, THE WEEK, THE MONTH, THE YEAR, THE ISSUE OF WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE DEBT CEILING. EVERYONE AROUND HERE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF WE FAIL TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING BY AUGUST 2 DEADLINE. THE UNITED STATES WILL DEFAULT ON ITS LOAN PAYMENTS. DEFAULTING COULD HAVE CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES, ON OUR ECONOMY AS WE ATTEMPT TO RECOVER FROM THE WORST ECONOMIC RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. FAILING TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT COULD SEND OUR ECONOMY INTO A TAILSPIN WITH UNTHINKABLE RESULTS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WITH THE STAKES SO HIGH, WE MUST ASK OURSELVES HOW DID WE GET INTO THIS POSITION? OR AS MY CONSTITUENTS BACK HOME IN ALASKA WOULD SAY, HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS MESS? OVER THE LAST DECADE, BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE PLAYED A ROLE IN THIS IRRESPONSIBLE SPENDING THAT RESULTED IN OUR CURRENT FISCAL CRISIS. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LAST DECADE, WE HAD A BUDGET SURPLUS. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. A BUDGET SURPLUS OF OF $200 BILLION, WITH THE PROJECTED SURPLUS OF $5 TRILLION FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS. BY THE TIME I TOOK OFFICE IN 2009, NOT ONLY HAD OUR BUDGET SURPLUS DISAPPEARED, WE FACED A BUDGET DEFICIT OF OVER OVER $1 TRILLION. NOW, THE CREDITWORTHINESS OF THE UNITED STATES IS IN JEOPARDY. SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE OPPOSE RAISING THE DEBT CEILING, CITING THE NEED TO REIN IN RECKLESS SPENDING. I SUPPORT BROAD DEFICIT REDUCTION MEASURES. I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH THOSE WHO NEGLECT TO RECOGNIZE THE CONSEQUENCES OF FAILING TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT AND DEFAULTING ON OUR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS. MR. PRESIDENT, EVERYONE AROUND HERE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF WE DO NOT. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, THE CREDITWORTHINESS OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE PUT IN JEOPARDY. I WANT TO STEP BACK FOR A SECOND HERE AND REMIND EVERYONE THAT CONGRESS HAD ENACTED 74 MEASURES ON THE FEDERAL DEBT LIMIT. 74 TIMES. SO THEY OBVIOUSLY UNDERSTAND WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT DEFAULTS ON THEIR PAYMENTS. THE CEILING HAS BEEN INCREASED BY BOTH DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATIONS AND CONGRESS. GEORGE W. BUSH' FIRST TERM IN MAY, 2003, WE INCREASED THE LIMIT BY $984 BILLION. IN FACT, CONGRESS RAISED THE DEBT CEILING SEVEN TIMES DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION. SENATE REPUBLICANS PROVIDED THE VOTES TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING IN 2002, 2003, 2004 AND 2006. THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING A GOOD CREDIT RATING AND PAYING THE BILLS IS SOMETHING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND AND ARE DOING THEIR VERY BEST DURING THESE HARD TIMES. I HEAR ABOUT THIS ALL THE TIME WHEN I'M BACK HOME. WHILE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT DEFAULTING ON OUR LOANS WOULD ONLY MAKE MATTERS WORSE, SOME MEMBERS OF CONGRESS INSIST ON PLAYING POLITICS, BUT THE ISSUE EVEN DURING THIS ECONOMICALLY CERTAIN -- UNCERTAIN TIMES. IF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT DEFAULTS ON ITS FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS, IT WOULD BE THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY THAT OUR CREDIT WOULD BE DOWNGRADED. LET ME REPEAT, NEVER BEFORE IN HISTORY HAVE WE LET OUR CREDITWORTHINESS BE CALLED INTO QUESTION. THE CONSEQUENCES ARE LARGE AND SOMEWHAT UNKNOWN, BUT LET ME TAKE A LITTLE BIT FROM WHAT THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK TALKED ABOUT AND EXPAND ON THAT, AND THAT IS HOW DOES IT AFFECT -- AS I WAS JUST ASKED RECENTLY, HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE INDIVIDUAL? THE PERSON WORKING HARD EVERY DAY, PAYING THEIR MORTGAGE, DRIVING TO WORK, PUMPING GAS IN THEIR CAR, GOING ON VACATION, JUST DOING THE EVERYDAY THINGS THAT AMERICANS DO, IN MY STATE WHAT ALASKANS DO. ESPECIALLY NOW SUMMERTIME, THEY ARE OUT FISHING, ENJOYING THE SUMMER. KIDS ARE OUT OF SCHOOL. THE STATE FAIR IS GETTING GEARED UP IN ANOTHER MONTH. WHAT HAPPENS? WELL, FIRST OFF, IF OUR CREDITWORTHINESS -- AND WE DEFAULT ON OUR LOANS THAT ARE DUE, OUR OBLIGATIONS, SOME IMMEDIATE THINGS WILL PROBABLY HAPPEN. FIRST OFF, INDIVIDUALS HAVE CREDIT CARDS. THEIR RATES WILL GO UP. IF YOU READ THE FINE PRINT OF THE GREAT CREDIT CARD BILLS THAT WE GET, WHICH ARE VERY SMALL, VERY DETAILED, THEY TALK ABOUT HOW THE RATE IS STRUCTURED. THE RATE IS STRUCTURED AROUND WHAT HAPPENS ON THE MARKET. OBVIOUSLY, A LOT OF THE PEOPLE TODAY, MAYBE THEY HAVE A GOOD RATE, MAYBE 9%, 10% ON THEIR CREDIT CARD, BUT AVERAGE IS AROUND 15% TO 18%. THAT INTEREST RATE WILL GO UP. HOME MORTGAGE RATES, IF YOU'RE ON AN ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE, IT'S GOING TO BE ADJUSTED UP. IF YOU'RE A SMALL BUSINESS PERSON AS I HAVE BEEN AND AM STILL TODAY, MY WIFE, THERE ARE MANY BUSINESSES THAT BORROW ON A ONE-YEAR, TWO-YEAR, THREE-YEAR LOAN, ADJUSTABLE RATE, MAYBE MONTHLY. MAYBE IT'S AN INVENTORY LOAN BECAUSE THEY HAVE A SEASONAL BUSINESS. ALL THOSE RATES WILL GO UP. ASSUMING THEY CAN GET A LOAN. WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU DRIVE YOUR CAR AND YOU GO PUMP THAT GAS AND FILL UP YOUR TANK AND WE THINK PRICES ARE HIGH NOW, OIL COMMODITIES ARE TRADED IN U.S. DOLLARS. THE NET EFFECT IS GOING TO BE THAT DOLLAR IS GOING TO HAVE LESS OF A VALUE, WHICH MEANS THE PRICE OF THE FUEL WILL GO UP AND WHAT YOU PUMP INTO YOUR CAR WILL INCREASE. 75% OF THE WORLD MARKETS, TRANSACTIONS ACROSS THIS WORLD ARE DONE IN U.S. DOLLARS. SO IF YOU IMPACT THE CREDITWORTHINESS OF THE COUNTRY, THE DOLLAR HAS LESS FAITH AND CREDIT BEHIND IT, WHICH, OF COURSE, COSTS MONEY, WHICH MEANS THINGS WE IMPORT SUCH AS FUEL, TO FUEL OUR CARS, OUR BUSINESS, ENERGY TO HEAT THIS BUILDING, TO TURN ON THESE LIGHTS, GO UP. SO IT HAS REAL IMPACT TO INDIVIDUALS. IT'S NOT SOME GLOBAL DISCUSSION HERE IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS. IT'S NOT ABOUT JUST DEBT LIMIT AND G.D.P. AND ALL THESE OTHER PHRASES THAT PEOPLE KIND OF WONDER WHAT IT MEANS TO THEM IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL LIFE, BUT AS A -- HAS A DIRECT IMPACT INTO THEIR LIVES, WITH THESE EXAMPLES. WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR RETIREMENT FUNDS, THAT PORTION OF THEIR FUNDS THAT ARE INVESTED IN MAYBE U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES? WELL, THEY'RE GOING TO SEE A CHANGE, A DRAMATIC CHANGE. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, ALASKANS, ARE ALREADY STRUGGLING TO ADD THIS ADDITIONAL BURDEN BECAUSE WE'RE UNABLE TO SIT DOWN AND WORK TOGETHER AND SOLVE THIS PROBLEM IN A COHESIVE, COMPREHENSIVE WAY IS IRRESPONSIBLE. TO MY FRIENDS ACROSS THE AISLE, LET ME REMIND YOU OF WHAT RONALD REAGAN SAID, PRESIDENT REAGAN SAID. IN 1983, TO A LETTER TO THEN-SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HOWARD BAKER. HE SAID IT BETTER THAN I THINK ANY OF US COULD SAY, AND THIS IS DIRECTLY FROM HIS LETTER. "THE FULL CONSEQUENCES OF A DEFAULT OR EVEN THE SERIOUS PROSPECT AFTER DEFAULT BY THE UNITED STATES ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT AND AWESOME TO CONTEMPLATE. DEGRADATION OF THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD HAVE SUBSTANTIAL EFFECTS OBJECT -- ON THE DOMESTIC FINANCIAL MARKETS AND ON THE VALUE OF THE DOLLAR IN EXCHANGE MARKETS." THE NATION CAN ILL AFFORD TO ALLOW SUCH A RESULT. THE RISK, THE COST, THE DISRUPTIONS ARE INVALUE COOLEYABLE. -- ARE INCALCULABLE. THEY LEAD ME TO BUT ONE CONCLUSION. THE SENATE MUST PASS THE LEGISLATION BEFORE CONGRESS ADJOURNS." CLOSE QUOTE. IT'S AMAZING HOW YOU CAN TAKE A QUOTE LIKE THIS FROM HISTORY AND TRANSPLANT IT TO TODAY, AND IT'S THE SAME SITUATION. YOU KNOW, I -- AT THE SAME TIME AS WE DEAL WITH THIS, I STRONGLY BELIEVE WE MUST PASS A DEFICIT REDUCTION MEASURE. YOU KNOW, I HAVE SUPPORTED THE DEFICIT COMMISSION, THE DEBT COMMISSION AND THEIR EFFORTS. I DIDN'T AGREE WITH IT ALL, BUT I AGREED THAT THE $4 TRILLION MARK SHOULD BE IT AND WE SHOULD TRY TO DO OUR BEST. BECAUSE IN ORDER TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, THIS CHALLENGE -- AND WE ALL HAVE OUR SIDES WHERE WE'RE KIND OF HUNKERRD -- HUNKERED DOWN. I WAS HOME THIS PAST WEEKEND FOR MY SHORT 48 HOURS. I SPEND MORE TIME IN THE PLANE GETTING HOME THAN STAYING AT HOME AT TIMES. BUT WHEN I GOT HOME, PEOPLE SAY VERY SIMPLY TO ME IT'S A COMBINATION. IT'S WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO REDUCE THE SPENDING, I DON'T OBJECT TO THAT, AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CREATE A MORE FAIR TAX SYSTEM, WHICH I DON'T OBJECT TO. AS A MATTER OF FACT, ALONG WITH SENATOR WYDEN AND SENATOR COATS, I HAVE INTRODUCED A TAX REFORM LEGISLATION THAT DOES JUST THAT, LOWERS THE CORPORATE RATE, SIMPLIFIES INDIVIDUAL RATES, FOCUSES ON A GROWTH AGENDA WITH OUR TAX POLICY AND GETS RID OF A LOT OF THESE LOOPHOLES AND SHELTERS AND TAX HAVENS, ALL THESE THINGS THAT PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF AND PAID NO TAXES BUT YET ENJOY THE GREAT BOWNTIES OF OUR COUNTRY. AND WE ALSO HAVE TO INVEST. WE HAVE TO INVEST IN A GROWTH AGENDA. THAT MEANS INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND EDUCATION. BECAUSE AS YOU REDUCE YOUR BUDGET, WHICH I DON'T DISAGREE WITH, AND AS WE CREATE A MORE FAIR AND BALANCED TAX SYSTEM, WE HAVE TO DO ONE OF THE MOST PRINCIPLED THINGS, AND THAT IS CONTINUE TO HELP GROW THIS ECONOMY AND WE HAVE TO INVEST IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, INVEST IN A VARIETY OF THINGS THAT GROW OUR ECONOMY. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO PUT OUR COUNTRY ON SOUND FINANCIAL FOOTING BY PASSING A BROAD DEFICIT REDUCTION MEASURE THAT INCLUDES COST SAVINGS AND INCREASED REVENUES. WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING AMERICA'S ECONOMIC SECURITY AND IMPROVING FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, THE TIME IS TO ACT NOW. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:27:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

  • 02:27:47 PM

    MR. PORTMAN

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ENORMOUS…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ENORMOUS CHALLENGES FACING OUR ECONOMY, WASHINGTON'S FAILURE TO ADDRESS THOSE CHALLENGES AND A WAY FORWARD. TODAY THERE ARE NEARLY 23 MILLION AMERICANS WHO ARE LOOKING FOR FULL-TIME JOBS, 23 MILLION. THIS INCLUDES PEOPLE AMONG THOSE 9% OF AMERICANS WHO ARE ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT ROLLS, BUT IT ALSO HAS TO INCLUDE A LOT OF AMERICANS WHO HAVE GIVEN UP LOOKING FOR WORK OR WHO ARE GETTING BY WITH PART-TIME JOBS WHEN THEY WANT A FULL-TIME JOB. WHAT MAKES IT MORE TROUBLING TO ME IS AMONG THE AMERICANS THAT ARE BEING COUNTED, THAT 9%, THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT ROLLS IS NOW NEARLY 10 MONTHS. THAT'S THE LONGEST EVER RECORDED. THESE FOLKS ARE LOOKING FOR HELP. THEY ARE LOOKING TO US FOR LEADERSHIP AND THEY ARE LOOKING FOR US TO HELP GET THE ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK BY CREATING A BETTER ENVIRONMENT FOR JOB CREATION, ECONOMIC GROWTH. AT THE SAME TIME AS WE HAVE JUST HEARD FROM THE PREVIOUS TWO SPEAKERS, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FACES SERIOUS, UNPRECEDENTED BUDGETARY CHALLENGES. WASHINGTON IS NOW BORROWING NEARLY 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR IT SPENDS. IT LOOKS LIKE WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER RECORD DEFICIT THIS YEAR AND WE'LL HAVE THE HIGHEST DEBT EVER. GOVERNMENT SPENDING HAS GONE FROM ABOUT $25,000 PER HOUSEHOLD TO MORE THAN $31,000 PER HOUSEHOLD JUST IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS. AND THE NATIONAL DEBT IS DOUBLING OVER THE 2008 LEVELS, DOUBLING SINCE 2008. WE HAVE HIT THIS $14.3 TRILLION DEBT LIMIT, AND IF WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT, WE'RE GOING TO END UP WITH AN ECONOMIC CRISIS MUCH LIKE GREECE IS FACING TODAY. I JUST LISTENED TO THE COMMENTS FROM MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW YORK AND MY FRIEND FROM ALASKA AND THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT INTEREST RATES MIGHT GO UP UNLESS WE VOTE TO EXTEND THE DEBT LIMIT. WELL, IN TALKING TO A LOT OF ECONOMISTS AND THINKING ABOUT THE IMPACT IT WILL HAVE IN OHIO, IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE DEFICIT AND DEBT WHEN WE EXTEND THE DEBT LIMIT AGAIN, INTEREST RATES WILL GO UP. THE VALUE OF THE DOLLAR WILL CONTINUE TO GO DOWN. INFLATION WILL GO UP. THE THE POINT IS NOT THAT WE WANT TO GO INTO DEFAULT. I HOPE NOBODY DOES IN THIS CHAMBER. AND DESPITE WHAT MY FRIEND FROM NEW YORK SAID, THE COLLEAGUE FROM NEW YORK, THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN INTEREST IN DEFAULTING ON THE DEBT. NO ONE WANTS TO DEFAULT ON THE DEBT. BUT IT'S JUST LIKE WHEN YOU HAVE A CREDIT CARD IN YOUR FAMILY. ONCE YOU MAX OUT ON THE CREDIT CARD AND YOU TRY TO GET A HIGHER LINE OF CREDIT, YOU OUGHT TO LOOK AT YOUR UNDERLYING PROBLEM, BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T, YOU'RE GOING TO GET RIGHT BACK INTO THE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS YOU'RE IN. THAT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING IS, IF WE DO NOT DEAL WITH THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM, WHICH IS THIS HUGE FISCAL IMBALANCE WE JUST TALKED ABOUT -- $14.3 TRILLION DEBT THAT'S DOUBLED SINCE 2008 -- THEN WE ARE GOING TO FIND OURSELVES IN A FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEM THAT WILL RESULT IN A SPIKE IN INTEREST RATES, WILL RESULT IN THIS NEGATIVE IMPACT ON ALL AMERICANS. CAR LOANS, MORTGAGES, STUDENT LOANS. SO THIS IS WHY ITS SO CRITICAL THAT OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, AS WE WORK THROUGH THIS, THAT WE DEAL WITH NOT JUST EXTEND THE DEBT LIMIT -- I GUESS THAT'S A PRETTY EASY THING TO DO, TO SAY, LET'S JUST GO DO MORE, WE'RE ALREADY BROGUE ABOUT 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR -- BUT WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM. WHAT ROAR DOING HERE TO DEAL WITH THAT UNDERLYING PROBLEM? VERY LITTLE. THIS WEEK WE'RE DEBATING A MEANINGLESS SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION. IT WON'T CREATE A SINGLE JOB, WON'T REFORM A SINGLE PART OF OUR TAX CODE, WON'T SAVE ONE DOLLAR OF FEDERAL SPENDING. IT IS A DISTRACTION. THAT'S WHY I VOTED AGAINST PROCEEDING TO T SERIOUS TIMES DEMAND SERIOUS WORK. I WAS PLEASED WHEN THE SENATE CAME TOGETHER TO CANCEL THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULED RECESS BECAUSE WE SHOULD BE HERE. WE PLEDGED TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON AND TO CONFRONT THESE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES WE TALKED ABOUT AND THE BUDGET PROBLEMS WE FACE AND I SUPPORTED DOING THAT. BUT THIS HAS NOT BEEN A SERIOUS EFFORT. BY THE WAY, THE SENATE HAS NOT EVEN PASSED THE BASIC BUDGET FOR THIS YEAR. FLOSS BUDGET, WHICH IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL -- THERE IS NO BUDGET, WHICH IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL. IT ALSO NEVER PASSED A BUDGET LAST YEAR. SO INSTEAD OF TALKING ABOUT NONBINDING RESOLUTIONS, WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT A BUDGET. WEESHT HAVE A BUDGET ON THE FLOOR. WE SHOULD BE DEBATING IT. THE OTHER SIDE HAS ISSUES. WE'LL HAVE ISSUES WE'LL TALK ABOUT. NONE OF US NECESSARILY AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER ON THE PRECISE PROVISIONS OF A BUDGET. THAT'S FINE. LET'S HAVE THE DEBATE. AND END UP WITH A BLUEPRINT FOR OUR SPENDING GOING FORWARD. PRESIDENT OBAMA TALKS ABOUT GETTING INVOLVED AND SHOWING TRUE LEADERSHIP BUT TO BE HONEST HE HASN'T STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE. THE BEST EXAMPLE WOULD BE HIS OWN BUDGET. HE'S REQUIRED BY LAW TO SUBMIT ONE EVERY YEAR. HE DID SUBMIT A BUDGET. THAT BUDGET WAS VOTED ON ON THE FLOOR OF THIS SENATE. BUS WE DON'T HAVE OUR OWN BUDGET, WE VOTED ON HIS BUDGET. IT WAS UNANIMOUSLY REJECTED 96-0. PARTLY BECAUSE, AS DEMOCRATS WILL SAY, A FEW WEEKS AFTER HE SUBMITTED HIS BUDGET, HE GAVE A SPEECH WHERE HE SAID, YOU KNOW, MY BUDGET WASN'T REALLY ADEQUATE TO THE TASK. SO HE REJECTED HIS OWN BUDGET IN A SENSE. BUT HE OFFERED NO ALTERNATIVES, NO SPECIFICS. HIS OWN BUDGET, BY THE WAY, WAS SO UNSERIOUS THAT IT DOUBLED THE DEBT OVER THE NEXT DECADE AND THAT'S WHY, AGAIN, IT WAS VOTED DOWN BY THIS SENATE. BUT WHAT IS OUR BUDGET? WHAT DO WE BELIEVE IN? WE SHOULD HAVE THAT DEBATE. WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE, WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS FOR A VISION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS -- THAT'S WHAT THE BUDGET IS SUPPOSED TO DO -- AND OF COURSE WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT HE WILL DO TO HELP GROW THE ECONOMY. IN MY VIEW, GETTING THE BULLET UNDER CONTROL IS A MATTER -- GETTING THE BUDGET UNDER CONTROL IS A MATTER OF RESTRAINING SPENDING BUT IT IS WILL ALSO A MATTER OF GROWING THE ECONOMY. THE LACK OF A TRUE DEBATE ON THIS IS NOT FROM A LACK OF IDEAS, BY THE WAY. SENATE REPUBLICANS HAVE DEVELOPED A COMMONSENSE JOBS PLAN, MUCH OF WHICH I THINK SHOULD BE AND CAN BE BIPARTISAN. IT INCLUDES JUST A LOT OF COMMONSENSE IDEAS. ONE IS TO REFORM THE TAX CODE. SENATOR BEGICH FROM ALASKA TALKED ABOUT THAT EARLIER. THAT'S TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR TAX CODE WORKS BETTER FOR OW ECONOMY THAT IT ENCOURAGES INVESTMENT AND JOB CREATION. ECONOMISTS ACROSS THE BOARD WOULD AGREE THAT OUR CURRENT CODE IS INEFFICIENT. WE SHOULD DO THAT AS A BODY. THAT WILL HELP DEVELOP THE ECONOMY AND JOBS AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, WHICH WILL INCREASE REVENUE. WE NEED TO READ IN REGULATIONS. AS I AM HOME TALKING TO SMASHINGS THE FIRST THING THEY TALK TO ME IS THE LATEST FEDERAL REGULATION. A NEW ONE OUT TODAY FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY IS GOING TO RESULT IN LOSS OF JOBS AT A TIME WHEN WE NEED JOBS DESPERATELY. THERE ARE VERY SPECIFIC PROPOSALS HERE. MAYBE THESE AREN'T PROPOSALS EVERYONE CAN AGREE TO. WHAT ARE YOUR PROPOSALS? LET'S DEBATE THIS ISSUE. LET'S PASS LEGISLATION THAT FORCES A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF REGULATIONS. LET'S BE SURE THAT THE REGULATORS ARE USING THE LEAST BURDENSOME AND LEAST COSTLY ALTERNATIVES. THESE ARE COMMONSENSE IDEAS. CREATING A MORE COMPETITIVE WORKFORCE, MAKING SURE WE'RE COMPETITIVE FOR THE 21st CENTURY. EXPANDING EXPORTS TO CREATE MORE JOBS. ENERGY, BEING SURE WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET AWAY FROM OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL BY GET CREATING MORE RESOURCES IN OUR COUNTRY. THESE ARE ALL COMMONSENSE PROPOSALS THAT WE SHOULD WORK ON BECAUSE THEY RELATE TO THE VERY ISSUE WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT THIS WEEK, WHICH IS HOW TO DEAL WITH OUR BUDGET IMBALANCE. THE PROPOSAL BY THE WAY ALSO DOES CAP GOVERNMENT SPENDING. WE NEED TO HAVE A BALANCE BETWEEN REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES, WHICH IS ONLY COMMON SENSE. BECAUSE UNTIL WE GET THE FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER, IT IS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT IT TO GET THE ECONOMY GOING. ON THE BUDGET, LET'S BE CLEAR, THE LONG-TERM PROBLEM IS FROM SOARING SPENDING, NOT FALLING REVENUES. THIS IS FROM THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE. IT IS A NONPARTISAN GROUP. THEIR JOB IS TO GIVE US THE DATA, TO TELL US WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH SPENDING AND WITH REVENUES. THIS IS WHAT THEY TELL US. EVEN IF WE KEEP CURRENT TAX RATES FOR EVERYBODY -- DON'T GET RID OF THE SO-CALLED BUSH TAX CUTS -- REVENUES ARE STILL EXPECTED TO REBOUND ABOVE THE HISTORICAL AVERAGE OF 18% OF THE ECONOMY. IF IN FACT THE BUSH TAX CUTS DO NOT GET EXTENDED, WHICH IS CURRENT LAW -- RIGHT NOW THEY ARE SPEACTED TO END AT THE EXPECTED TO END AT THE END OF NEXT YEAR -- THEY'LL BE ABOVE THE HISTORIC AVERAGE. THEY WILL EIGHT UP TO ABOUT 20%. OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS IT HAS BEEN ABOUT 18%. THE DEFICIT IS RISING NOT BECAUSE OF A LACK OF REVENUE BUT BECAUSE SPENDING IS NOW AT 24.5% TO 25% OF OUR AS COMPARED OUR ECONOMY AS COMPARED TO 20 OR 25 020.5%. IT IS EXPECTED TO RISE TO 30%, 40%, TO 50% OF THE ECONOMY. WE'VE GONE FROM 25 DZ,000 PER HOUSEHOLD FOR GOVERNMENT SPEND TO $30,000. THAT'S THE TOP ISSUE AND AGAIN WE HAVE TO FACE THIS BEFORE WE EXTEND THE DEBT LIMIT AGAIN. IF WE DON'T, IT WILL BE MAJOR -- THERE WILL BE MAJOR ECONOMIC PROBLEMS. LOOK AT WHAT STANDARD & POOR'S AND MOODY'S AND THE OTHER CREDIT RATINGS ARE TELLING US. DEFAULT WILL BE A TERRIBLE THING BUT THEY'RE ALSO SAYING, IF YOU DON'T DEAL WITH THE FISCAL IMBALANCE, IF YOU DON'T DEAL WITH THE RECORD DEFICITS AND DEBTS, THERE WILL BE MAJOR AND NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON THE ECONOMY AND THEY WILL BE IN A POSITION WHERE THEY WILL FEEL THEY NEED TO DOWNGRADE OUR DEBT, WHICH MEANS HIGHER INTEREST RATES. HAVING TAX RATES CHASE THIS SPEND SOMETHING NOT THE SOLUTION. IT WON'T BALANCE THE BUDGET. MOREOVER, IT WILL NOT SPUR THIS SPUTTERING ECONOMY TO GROW AND TO CREATE JOBS THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT TODAY. IT WON'T WORK TO GET US BACK TO WORK. IN FACT, VITTERLY IS ALL ECONOMIC THEORISTS AGREE THAT TAXES HARM ECONOMIC GROWTH. WHEN YOU TAX SOMETHING, PEOPLE DO LESS OF IT. THAT'S WHY WE TAX SMOASMGHT IF YOU WANT ECONOMIC GROWTH, THE LAST THING WE SHOULD DO IS TO RAISE TAXES ON WORKING, RAISE TAXES ON SAVINGS, RAISE TASTLES ON INVESTMENT. THREES NOT THE WAY TO GET THE ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. INSTEAD, WE SHOULD BE UNLEASHING AMERICAN ENTREPRENEURS, NOT PUTTING MORE TAXES ON THEM. SOME SUGGEST WE MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN CREATING JOBS AND REINING IN GOVERNMENT. MY VIEW IS THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE. REINING IN GOVERNMENT CAN HELP CREATE JOBS. THE LESS THE GOVERNMENT SPENDS, THE MORE MONEY REMAINS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR FOR FAMILIES AND ENTREPRENEURS TO SPEND. THE LESS THE GOVERNMENT BORROWS, THE MORE SAVINGS ARE AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES TO BORROW IN ORDER TO EXPAND AS WELL AS FOR FAMILIES TO BORROW FOR A NEW HOME, A NEW CAR, OR STUDENT LOAN. THINK ABOUT IT. THE GOVERNMENT BORROWING ALL THIS MONEY IS ALMOST LIKE A BIG SPONGE, TAKING SO MUCH OF THE SAVINGS. TODAY WE ARE BORROWING AGAIN MORE THAN 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR THE GOVERNMENT SPENDS. THAT'S HAVING A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY. REDUCING THE DEFICIT ALSO REDUCES THE RISK OF A DEBT-INK DUCED FINANCIAL CRISIS THAT MIGHT OTHERWISE DWARF WHAT WE'VE SEEN HAPPENING IN GREECE TODAY. DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR T LOTS OF ECONOMISTS HAVE LOOKED AT IT. THERE IS A GREAT STUDY OUT THERE THAT I ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO LOOK AT. IT IS DONE BY THE ECONOMIST KEN ROGOFF AND CARMEN REINHART, THEY LOOK AT DIFFERENT ECONOMIES AND TERM WHAT HAPPENS WHEN DEBT GETS TOO BIG AS COMPARED TO THE SIZE OF THE ECONOMY. AND THEIR VIEW IS THAT WHEN THE DEBT GETS TO 90% OF THE SIZE OF AN ECONOMY OF A COUNTRY, IT HAS A SUBSTANTIAL NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOBS IN THAT COUNTRY. THEIR DATA SUGGESTS THAT BH IT GETS TO 90% OF THE ECONOMY, THERE IS A 1% REDUCTION IN THE ECONOMIC GROWTH. SO INSTEAD OF IN THE FIRST QUARTER OUR U.S. ECONOMY GROWING AT 1.8%, IF WE DIDN'T HAVE 90% OF DEBT TO OUR ECONOMY, IT SHOULD HAVE GROWN AT 2.8%. AND WHEN DOES THAT MEAN? THAT 1% GROWTH THAT WE WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE MEANS 1 MILLION JOBS. SO IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THIS HUGE DEBT, RIGHT NOW IT IS AT ABOUT 93% OR 95% OF OUR ECONOMY -- IT WILL BE AT 100% OF THE ECONOMY THIS YEAR -- THEN WE WOULD HAVE MORE JOBS. IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT ROGOFF AND REINHART HAVE SAID, WE WOULD HAVE ABOUT A MILLION MORE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. COULD WE USE THOSE JOBS IN YES. THERE IS A CONNECTION BETWEEN THIS OVERSPEND AND THE HUGE GAP WE'VE GOT BETWEEN REVENUES AND SPENDING AND OUR ECONOMY AND THE ABILITY TO GET OUR ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK. OVER 25 YEARS, BY THE WAY, IF WE CONTINUE THE WAY WE'RE GOING, IT WOULD LEAVE THE ECONOMY NEARLY ONE-FOURTH SMALLER THAN IT WOULD OTHERWISE BE. THINK ABOUT THAT, A 25% REDUCTION IN OUR ECONOMY. IN ORDER TO CREATE JOBS AND GROWTH WE'VE GOT TO BALANCE THE BUDGET AND WE'VE GOT TO REDUCE THAT DEBT THAT IS NOW OVER 90%. THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO REDUCE THE DEBT SHARE OF THE ECONOMY. ONE TO MAKE THE DEBT SMALLER. THE OTHER IS TO MAKE THE ECONOMY LARGER. WE KNOW THAT RAISING TAXES WILL SHRINK THE ECONOMY. INSTEAD WE'VE GOT TO KEEP TAX RATES LOW TO CREATE JOBS ANTS -- JOBS AND EXPAND THE ECONOMY. AND WE'VE GOT TO CHANGE THE TAX CODE. ECONOMISTS WILL TELL YOU THAT WE WILL HAVE A BETTER ECONOMY IF WE HAVE A MORE SENSIBLE TAX CODE. LOW TAX RATES AND SPEND RESTRAINT WILL BRING PROSPERITY, ALLEVIATE THIS MORAL AVALANCHE OF DEBT THAT WE'RE PEA OTHERWISE LEAVING ON THE THE LAPS OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. I UNDERSTAND SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE THEIR OWN APPROACH TO THIS. THAT'S FINE. SLATES A DEBATE. THERE ARE NUMEROUS PROPOSALS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, REFORM ENTITLEMENTS, INDIANA STEAD OF VOTING ON POLITICAL -- INSTEAD OF VOTING ON POLITICAL NONE BINDING RESOLUTIONS, SLATES HAVE THAT DEBATE. WE HAVE TOO MANY IMPORTANT AGENDAS. LET'S STOP FILLING WHILE ROME BURNS. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 02:42:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN.

  • 02:42:43 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE DISCUSS THE NEED TO BRING DOWN THE DEFICIT, WE SHOULD…

    MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE DISCUSS THE NEED TO BRING DOWN THE DEFICIT, WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE A FEW BASICS. FIRST IS THAT WE CANNOT ACHIEVE THE DEFICIT REDUCTION WE NEED WITH SPENDING CUTS TO NON-DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY PROGRAMS ALONE. THEY SIMPLY AREN'T LARGE ENOUGH TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE THAT WE NEED AND THE DAMAGE WE WOULD DO TO AMERICAN FAMILIES WITH DRASTIC CUTS IN THOSE PROGRAMS IS SIMPLY TOO GREAT. SECOND, IS THAT IN LIGHT OF THOSE FACTS AND IN THE INTEREST OF BASIC FAIRNESS, A BALANCED SOLUTION TO DEFICIT SPENDING MUST INCLUDE REVENUES AS WELL AS SPENDING CUTS. IF WE ASK COLLEGE STUDENTS RELYING ON FEDERAL AIRKSD WORKERS IN NEED OF FEDERAL JOB TRAINING, SENIORS IN NEED OF HEALTH CARE TO SACK FACE IN THE NAME OF DEFICIT REDUCTION -- TO SACK NEIGHS IN THE NAME OF DEFICIT REDUCTION, SO, TOO SHOULD THOSE WHO BENEFIT FROM HANDOUTS AND HOOP LOCALS THAT BENEFIT ONLY HIGHLY PROFITABLE CORPORATIONS. WITHIN OF THOSE LOOPHOLES THAT BENEFITS CORPORATIONS THAT DOLE OUT LARGE STOCK OPTIONS PAY FOR THEIR EXECUTIVES. CURRENT LAW PROVIDES AN UNWARRANTED TAX SUBSIDY TO EXECUTIVE STOCK OPTION COMPENSATION THEREBY INCREASING THE TAX BURDEN ON WORKING FAMILIES AND INCREASING OUR DEFICIT. ACCORDING TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION, CLOSING THIS LOOPHOLE WOULD REDUCE THE DEFICIT BY ABOUT $25 BILLION. TODAY UNDER TAX RULES FOR REPORTING STOCK OPTIONS, CORPORATIONS REPORT STOCK OPTION EXPENSES ON THEIR BOOKS WHEN THOSE STOCK OPTIONS ARE GRANTED BUT USE ANOTHER METHOD TO CLAIM A DIFFERENT AND A TYPICALLY MUCH HIGHER EXPENSE ON THEIR TAX RETURNS. WHEN THE STOCK OPTIONS ARE EXERCISED. THE RESULT IS THAT CORPORATIONS CAN CLAIM LARGER TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR OPTIONS ON THEIR TAX RETURNS THAN THE ACTUAL EXPENSE THAT THEY SHOW ON THEIR BOOKS FOR THOSE SAME OPTIONS. STOCK OPTIONS ARE THE ONLY TYPE OF COMPENSATION WHERE THE TAX CODE ALLOWS A CORPORATION TO DEDUCT MORE THAN THE EXPENSE SHOWN ON THEIR BOOKS. FOR ALL OTHER TYPES OF COMPENSATION -- CASH, STOCK, BONUSES AND OTHERS -- THE TAX RETURN DEDUCTION EQUALS THE BOOK EXPENSE. IN FACT, IF CORPORATIONS DEDUCTED ON THEIR TAX RETURNS MORE THAN THEIR BOOK SHOWED AS COMPENSATION, IT COULD CONSTITUTE TAX FRAUD. THE SOLE EXCEPTION TO THAT RULE IS STOCK OPTIONS. IT'S AN EXCEPTION WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD. THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS, WHICH I CHAIR, HELD A HEARING IN JUNE OF 2007 WHEN WE EXAMINED THE STOCK OPTION TAX GAP IN DETAIL AT NINE COMPANIES. WE FOUND THAT THOSE NINE COMPANIES CLAIMED TAX DEDUCTIONS THAT WERE A COMBINED $1 BILLION GREATER THAN THE EXPENSES SHOWN ON THEIR BOOKS. LET ME REPEAT. JUST NINE COMPANIES, $1 BILLION IN EXCESS TAX DEDUCTIONS. NOW, WE WERE SHOCKED BY THAT FINDING AND WE ASKED THE I.R.S. TO CALCULATE THE STOCK OPTION TAX GAP FOR THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE. USING ACTUAL DATA FROM TAX RETURNS, THE I.R.S. FOUND THAT FOR THE FULL -- FIRST FULL YEAR IN WHICH DATA WAS AVAILABLE, U.S. COMPANIES CLAIMED IN EXCESS OF $61 BILLION IN STOCK OPTION TAX DEDUCTIONS COMPARED TO THEIR BOOK EXPENSES. SINCE THEN, THE I.R.S. DATA SHOWS THAT THE STOCK OPTION TAX GAP HAS PERSISTED FOR FIVE YEARS YEARS. THEY LOOKED AT 2005-2009, WHICH WAS THE LATEST YEAR FOR WHICH DATA WAS AVAILABLE. WITH THE SIZE OF THE EXCESS TAX DEDUCTIONS VARYING FROM $11 BILLION TO $52 BILLION PER YEAR. THESE EXCESSIVE DEDUCTIONS MEAN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN REDUCED TAXES FOR CORPORATIONS WEALTHY ENOUGH TO PROVIDE SUBSTANTIAL STOCK OPTION COMPENSATION TO THEIR ALREADY WELL-PAID EXECUTIVES AND ALL AT THE EXPENSE OF ORDINARY TAXPAYERS AND AN INCREASE IN THE DEFICIT. IT IS A TAX LOOPHOLE THAT IS FUELING EXCESSIVE EXECUTIVE PAY, INCREASING THE PAY GAP BETWEEN MILLIONAIRES AND THE MIDDLE CLASS, AND ENABLING PROFITABLE CORPORATIONS TO AVOID PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT. MR. PRESIDENTMR. PRESIDENT, I'LL SOONING BE REINTRODUCING THE LEGISLATION I'VE INTRODUCED IN PAST YEARS TO END THIS MISALIGNMENT OF THE TAX CODE. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD NOW ASK -- UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE ALLOWED TO PROCEED AS THOUGH IN MORNING BUSINESS FOR EIGHT MINUTES.

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  • 02:47:55 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    THIS IS ON ANOTHER MATTER AND THAT'S WHY I'M DOING THAT, MR. PRESIDENT.…

    THIS IS ON ANOTHER MATTER AND THAT'S WHY I'M DOING THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCED -- MR. PRESIDENT, IF I DID NOT ALREADY DO SO, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE BALANCE OF THAT STATEMENT THAT I WAS GIVING BE INSERTED IN THE RECORD AT THAT POINT.

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  • 02:48:11 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCED EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCED EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT ABDUL ABDUL KATOR-WARSAIN, AN ACCUSED MEMBER OF THE TERRORIST GROUP AL-SHAHBAB, HAS BEEN INDICTED ON CHARGES OF PROVIDING MATERIAL SUPPORT TO AL-SHAHBAB AND AL QAEDA IN THE ARARIAN PENINSULA. -- ARABIAN PENINSULA. CONSPIRING TO TEACH MAKING EXPLOSIVES, POSSESSING FIREARMS IN FURTHERANCE OF COMMITTING VIOLENCE, AND OTHER VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL LAW. HE WILL BE TRIED FOR THESE OFFENSES IN FEDERAL COURT IN NEW YORK. WARSAIN IS A SOMALI NATIONAL WHO WAS CAPTURED IN LATE APRIL AND TAKEN TO A U.S. NAVAL VESSEL FOR DETENTION AND INTERROGATION. THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HAS STATED THAT THE INTERROGATION WAS CONDUCTED BY AN INTERAGENCY TEAM COMPRISED OF U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL WITH ASSISTANCE FROM THE HIGH-VALUE DETAINEE INTERROGATION GROUP. AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THIS INTERROGATION AND A HIGH HIATUS OF SEVERAL DAYS, HE WAS TURNED OVER TO A TEAM OF F.B.I. OFFICIALS FOR QUESTIONING AND HE WAIVED HIS MIRANDA RIGHTS AND CONTINUED TO TALK. THIS CASE APPEARS TO BE AN EXAMPLE OF OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT TEAMS WORKING TOGETHER IN THE MANNER THAT WE WOULD HOPE THEY WOULD TOWARD THE TWIN OBJECTIVES OF COLLECTING CRITICAL INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION AND ENSURING A SUCCESSFUL CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF THE DETAINEE. PUBLISHED REPORTS INDICATE THAT WARSAME WAS CAPTURED BY AMERICAN MILITARY FORCES ON A BOAT IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS BETWEEN YEMEN AND SOMALIA AFTER THE U.S. ACQUIRED INTELLIGENCE INDICATING THAT A SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST FIGURE WAS ONBOARD THE VESSEL. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WAS APPROPRIATE FOR THE MILITARY TO DETAIN AND INTERROGATE WARSAME TO OBTAIN ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE. THE UNITED STATES IS CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN MILITARY OPERATIONS PURSUANT TO THE 2002 AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE. AS THE SUPREME COURT HELD SEVEN YEARS AGO IN THE CASE OF HAM I HAMDI v. RUMSFELD, THE CAPTURE AND DETENTION OF BOTH LAWFUL AND UNLAWFUL COMBATANTS IS A -- QUOTE -- "FUNDAMENTAL AND ACCEPTED INCIDENT TO WAR." I UNDERSTAND THESE INTERROGATIONS WERE CONDUCTED IN A MANNER FULLY CONSISTENT WITH THE INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ARMY FIELD MANUAL ON INTERROGATIONS. ONCE OUR NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM DETERMINED THAT THE COLLECTION OF ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE HAD BEEN COMPLETED, A SEPARATE DECISION WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE SPECIFIC FACTS OF THIS CASE AS TO THE BEST FORUM NOTCH PROSECUTE WARSAME FOR HIS ALLEGED CRIMES. THE INDICTMENT SETS FORTH EVIDENCE THAT WARSAME VIOLATED A NUMBER OF FEDERAL STATUTES, INCLUDING SECTIONS OF THE CRIMINAL CODE PROHIBITING TRACKING IN EXPLOSIVES, USE OF DANGEROUS WEAPONS, ACTS OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, PROVIDING MATERIAL SUPPORT TO FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS, AND RECEIVING MILITARY-TYPE TRAINING FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS, MAKING HIM A CANDIDATE FOR PROSECUTION IN A FEDERAL COURT WITH JURISDICTION OVER SUCH VIOLATIONS. WARSAME ALSO APPEARS TO HAVE ENGAGED IN ACTS OF TERRORISM AND MATERIAL SUPPORT TO TERRORISM, BOTH OF WHICH ARE CRIMES UNDER THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT IF THEY ARE COMMITTED -- QUOTE -- "IN THE CONTEXT OF AND ASSOCIATED WITH HOSTILITIES" AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. WHAT HAS NOT BEEN RESOLVED, MR. PRESIDENT, WAS WHETHER OR NOT WARSAME MEETS THE JURISDICTIONAL THRESHOLD IN THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF HAVING ACTED IN THE CONTEXT OF HOSTILITIES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND HAVING ENGAGED IN OR MATERIALLY SUPPORTED SUCH HOSTILITY. THE ADMINISTRATION'S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM UNANIMOUSLY AGREED THAT PROSECUTION IN FEDERAL COURT WAS THE BETTER OPTION AND THE ONE MOST LIKELY TO LEAD TO A CONVICTION UNDER THE FACTS OF THIS CASE. OUR FEDERAL PROSECUTORS AND FEDERAL COURTS HAVE A PROVEN TRACK RECORD IN PROSECUTING TERRORISTS. TWO YEARS ARC THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INFORMED -- TWO YEARS AGO, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INFORMED US THERE WERE 282 INMATES IN FEDERAL PRISONS WHO HAD BEEN SENTENCED TO CRIMES RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AND AN ADDITIONAL 139 INMATES WHO HAD BEEN SENTENCED TO CRIMES RELATING TO DOMESTIC TERRORISM. BY CONTRAST, PROSECUTION OF THE WARSAME CASE BEFORE A MILITARY COMMISSION WOULD HAVE RAISED A DIFFICULT JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE THAT COULD HAVE RESULTED IN DISMISSAL OR EVEN ACQUITTAL. CRITICS OF THE DECISION TO TRY WARSAME IN FEDERAL COURT APPARENTLY WOULD PREFER THAT HE BE TRIED BEFORE A MILITARY COMMISSION EVEN THOUGH HE MAY BE LESS LIKELY TO BE CONVICTED THERE DUE TO THE JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE. I DISAGREE WITH THAT POSITION. IN MY VIEW, THE MOST APPROPRIATE FORUM FOR TRIAL SHOULD BE DETERMINED, AS IT WAS HERE, ON THE BASIS OF THE NATURE OF THE OFFENSE, THE NATURE OF THE EVIDENCE, AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION. THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICIALS WHO MADE THE DETERMINATION IN THIS CASE ARE IN A MUCH BETTER POSITION TO WEIGH THOSE FACTORS AND MAKE THAT JUDGMENT THAN IS THE CONGRESS. AND, BY THE WAY, THE APPROACH TAKEN BY THE ADMINISTRATION IN THIS CASE IS CONSISTENT WITH THE BIPARTISAN DETAINEE PROVISIONS INCLUDED IN THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT AS REPORTED BY THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE LAST MONTH. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE BALANCE OF THIS STATEMENT ALSO BE INSERTED IN THE RECORD IN FULL.

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  • 02:54:20 PM

    MR. LEVIN

    AND I THANK THE CHAIR, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 02:54:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 02:54:34 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    ALONG WITH MY FELLOW COLLEAGUES TO AGAIN ADDRESS THE NEED TO REDUCE OUR…

    ALONG WITH MY FELLOW COLLEAGUES TO AGAIN ADDRESS THE NEED TO REDUCE OUR DEFICIT AND OUR DEBT. THE UNITED STATES IS THE STRONGEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, BUT THAT WON'T BE THE CASE FOR LONG IF WE DON'T SOLVE OUR DEFICIT AND OUR DEBT CRISIS. IT'S VITAL THAT WE SOLVE IT NOW FOR OUR GENERATION BUT IT'S VITAL THAT WE SOLVE IT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS AS WELL. NOW, THE WEALTH, THE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY OF THIS COUNTRY IS CREATED BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR, BY HARD-WORKING MEN AND WOMEN, NOT BY THE GOVERNMENT. GOVERNMENT CREATES THE FORUM, THE ENVIRONMENT, IF YOU WILL, THAT FOSTERS OR ALLOWS ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. BUT THE KEY IS, GOVERNMENT SHOULDN'T JUST ALLOW ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT TRULY EMPOWERS, THAT PROMOTES ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, THAT ENCOURAGES PRIVATE INVESTMENT, THAT ENCOURAGES ENTREPRENEURSHIP, BUSINESS EXPANSION AND JOB GROWTH, INNOVATION. THE VERY ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY THAT HAS BUILT THIS COUNTRY. THAT'S THE SUCCESS OF AMERICA. THAT'S THE STRENGTH OF OUR COUNTRY. THAT IS HOW AMERICA HAS BECOME THE GREATEST ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. AND THAT'S WHY OUR PEOPLE ENJOY THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF LIVING. BUT OUR CURRENT ADMINISTRATION BELIEVES THAT MORE GOVERNMENT IS THE ANSWER, MORE SPENDING, MORE REGULATION, AND MORE TAXES. THAT'S NOT THE ANSWER, THAT'S THE PROBLEM, AND IT'S MAKING THE SITUATION WORSE. LET'S GO THROUGH JUST SOME OF THE ECONOMIC STATISTICS. TODAY WE HAVE $13.9 MILLION, ALMOST 14 MILLION PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED. OUR UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS OVER 9%. GAS PRICES SINCE THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION TOOK OFFICE ARE UP TO MORE THAN $3.50 A GALLON. THAT'S ALMOST A 100% INCREASE IN THE COST OF GASOLINE. OUR FEDERAL DEBT IS CLOSING ON $14.5 TRILLION. FOR EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT'S ALMOST $50,000 FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON. WE HAVE 45 MILLION PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS TODAY. HEALTH INSURANCE, IN SPITE OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE LEGISLATION, HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS ARE RISING. AND HOME VALUES ARE GOING DOWN. CLEARLY, WE NEED TO GET OUR ECONOMY GOING. WE NEED TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. WE NEED THAT ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DYNAMISM THAT HAS BEEN THE HALLMARK OF THIS COUNTRY. AND, CLEARLY, WE NEED TO REDUCE OUR DEFICIT AND OUR DEBT. NOW, THE REALITY IS, WE CAN DO IT. WE ABSOLUTELY CAN DO IT. AND WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE. BUT WE NEED TO BEGIN WITH A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT. ANY AGREEMENT TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING NEEDS TO INCLUDE A COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT. AND BY "COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT," I MEAN SOMETHING THAT INCLUDES A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, REDUCTION IN SPENDING SPENDING, AND LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS ON AN ONGOING BASIS. AND IT MEANS REFORMING ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS TO SAVE THEM FROM BANKRUPTCY, NOT ONLY TO PROTECT OUR SENIORS TODAY BUT TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE PROGRAMS ARE SOLVENT AND THERE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. ALL THESE THINGS AND MORE CAN GO INTO A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN BUT WE NEED A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT, TO REDUCE THE DEBT AS PART OF THIS DEBT CEILING ISSUE THAT WE NEED TO DEAL WITH NOW. NOT PUT OFF BUT DEAL WITH NOW. IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT JUST MAKES SENSE. 49 OF THE 50 STATES -- 49 OUT OF 50 STATES HAVE EITHER A CONSTITUTIONAL ORE A STATUTORY REQUIREMENT -- OR A STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT THEY BALANCE THEIR BUDGET. NOT JUST THIS YEAR BUT EVERY YEAR. STATES BALANCE THEIR BUDGET. CITIES BALANCE THEIR BUDGET. BUSINESSES BALANCE THEIR BUDGET. FAMILIES BALANCE THEIR BUDGET. LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS. OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO DO THE SAME. OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEEDS THAT FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. NEEDS THAT FISCAL DISCIPLINE. ALSO, IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, A BALANCED BUDGET GETS EVERYBODY INVOLVED. IT GETS EVERYBODY INVOLVED HERE IN CONGRESS. IT TAKES TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY IN BOTH THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE TO PASS A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT AND THEN WHAT HAPPENS? IT GOES OUT TO THE STATES. IT GOES OUT TO THE 50 STATES. AND THREE-FOURTHS OF THE STATES MUST RATIFY THAT BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE APPROVED. SO YOU NOT ONLY HAVE EVERYBODY AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL WORKING TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS AND BATTLE BUDGET BUDGET BUT YOU GET ALL THE STATES INVOLVED AS W. SO THIS IS A CHALLENGING PROBLEM, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. GETTING ON TOP OF THESE DEFICITS AND OUR LONG-TERM DEBT. NOT ONLY NOW BUT FOR THE FUTURE AS WELL. SO LET'S HAVE EVERYONE INVOLVED, AND A WOMEN AND A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT WILL DO JUST THAT. OF COURSE, AT THE SAME TIME WE'VE GOT TO REDUCE OUR SPENDING SPENDING, BOTH NOW -- AND MAKE SURE WE CONTINUE TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS GOING FORWARD. AND THE STATISTICS ARE VERY CLEAR. THE STATISTICS RIGHT NOW SHOW THIS YEAR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE IN ABOUT $2.2 TRILLION IN REVENUE. SO OUR REVENUE IS ABOUT $2.2 TRILLION. BUT OUR EXPENSES ARE $3.7 TRILLION. THAT'S ABOUT A $1.5 TRILLION DEFICIT. AND THIS YEAR IT WILL BE LARGER THAN THAT NUMBER. SO YOU CAN SEE THAT'S WHY OUR FEDERAL DEBT NOW IS CLOSING IN ON $14.5 TRILLION. WE'RE BORROWING 40 CENTS OF EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR WE SPEND. WE'RE BORROWING 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND, AND EVERY SINGLE DAY OUR DEBT GOES UP $4 BILLION. EVERY SINGLE DAY OUR DEBT IS GROWING BY $4 BILLION. THAT IS SIMPLY UNSUSTAINABLE, AND THAT IS WHY ANY VOTE TO INCREASE THE DEBT CEILING MUST INCLUDE A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO REDUCE OUR DEFICIT AND OUR DEBT. NO QUESTION WE NEED TO CONTROL OUR SPENDING, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, AS WE DO THAT, AT THE SAME TIME IN ORDER TO TRULY SOLVE THE PROBLEM, WE'VE ALSO GOT TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT, AS I SAID AT THE OUTSET, CREATE A GOVERNMENT ENVIRONMENT THAT NOT ONLY ENCOURAGES PRIVATE INVESTMENT BUT TRULY EMPOWERS PRIVATE INVESTMENT ACROSS OUR NATION. THIS NEXT CHART SHOWS SOME OF THE CHALLENGES, SOME OF THE BARRIERS, IF YOU WILL, TO DOING THAT. WE NEED LEGAL TAX AND REGULATORY CERTAINTY TO ENCOURAGE PRIVATE INVESTMENT. A PROBUSINESS, A PROGROWTH, A PROJOBS ENVIRONMENT IS ONE THAT CREATES LEGAL TAX AND REGULATORY CERTAINTY TO NOT ONLY ENCOURAGE BUT EMPOWER PRIVATE INVESTMENT. ONE OF THE WAYS WE DO THIS IS BY REDUCING REGULATORY BURDEN. WE HAVE INCREDIBLE REGULATORY BURDEN AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. WE NEED TO FIND WAYS TO REDUCE THAT. THAT'S WHAT THIS NEXT CHART SHOWS. EARLIER THIS YEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT PROPOSES TO REVIEW REGULATIONS THAT MAY BE OUTMODED, INEFFECTIVE, INSUFFICIENT OR EXCESSIVELY BURDEN S-RPBLGS AND ALSO TO MODIFY -- BURDENSOME, AND ALSO TO MODIFY, STREAMLINE OR EVEN REPEAL THEM. A WEEK AGO HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "WHAT I HAVE DONE, AND THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED, IS THAT I'VE SAID TO EACH AGENCY, LOOK AT THE REGULATIONS THAT ARE ALREADY ON THE BOOKS. AND IF THEY DON'T MAKE SENSE, LET'S GET RID OF THEM." END QUOTE. THAT'S WHAT HE SAID. AND I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH THAT. YET, OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS THE ADMINISTRATION HAS ISSUED 502 PROPOSED OR ENACTED REGULATIONS AND IT'S ON PACE THIS YEAR TO EXCEED $100 BILLION IN TOTAL REGULATORY COST BURDENS TO INDUSTRY. THAT IS A HUGE REGULATORY BURDEN. THIS CHART SHOWS THE COST OF MAJOR NEW REGULATIONS IN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS. AS YOU CAN SEE, WHEN THE COST OF REGULATION IS LOW, THE ECONOMY IS STRONG. AND WHEN THE COST OF REGULATION IS HIGH AS IT IS NOW, THE ECONOMY IS WEAK. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, JOB GROWTH IS WEAK. LOOK AT THE YEAR 2010. IN 2010, YOU SEE THE HIGHEST REGULATORY BURDEN IN ADJUSTED DOLLARS IN THE LAST 30 YEARS. AND HOW DID OUR ECONOMY DO IN 2010? SENATOR ROBERTS, MY COLLEAGUE FROM KANSAS, MYSELF AND OTHERS HAVE TAKEN THE PRESIDENT UP ON HIS PLEDGE TO REVIEW THESE REGULATIONS. WE'VE INTRODUCED THE REGULATORY RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR ECONOMY ACT, A MEASURE THAT WOULD GIVE TEETH TO THE PRESIDENT'S DIRECTIVE. REGULATORS WILL HAVE TO SHOW THE BENEFITS OF A NEW RULE AND SHOW THAT THE BENEFITS OUTWEIGH ITS COSTS. THEY'LL HAVE TO SHOW THAT IT IMPOSES THE LEAST BURDEN ON SOCIETY AND THAT IT MAXIMIZES ECONOMIC BENEFITS. THAT'S AN APPROACH THAT WOULD NOT ONLY ENCOURAGE BUT TRULY EMPOWER PRIVATE INVESTMENT. LET ME GIVE YOU ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT WITH REGULATORY BURDEN, AGAIN TRYING TO CREATE THAT LEGAL TAX, CERTAINTY THAT STIMULATES THE PRIVATE INVESTMENT WE NEED TO GET THIS ECONOMY GOING. NOT MORE GOVERNMENT SPENDING. WE'RE ALREADY SPENDING WAY BEYOND OUR MEANS. BUT MORE PRIVATE INVESTMENT THAT GETS THIS ECONOMY GOING, THAT GETS PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, THAT GENERATES THE REVENUE THAT ALONG WITH REDUCTION IN GOVERNMENT SPENDING WILL HELP US REDUCE OUR DEFICIT AND OVER TIME REDUCE OUR DEBT. BUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ONUS REGULATIONS, ANOTHER KEY AREA OF OUR ECONOMY THAT IS INCREDIBLY OVERBURDENED AND THAT WE SEE A PREVENTION OF INVESTMENT BECAUSE OF THE REGULATORY BURDEN IS THE ENERGY INDUSTRY. MY NEXT CHART ILLUSTRATES THE LONG REACH OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, E.P.A., AND HOW IT IS SIDELINING AND DAMPENING JOB GROWTH IN THE ENERGY SECTOR. IT SHOWS A LONG, COMPLEX OBSTACLE COURSE IF YOU WILL OF STANDARDS, PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS THAT ARE NOT ONLY BEING IMPLEMENTED NOW BUT GO ON FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE AN ENERGY COMPANY PUTTING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO NEW PLANTS, INTO NEW TYPES OF INVESTMENTS WHR-RBGS IT'S PRODUCING -- WHETHER IT'S PRODUCING OIL AND GAS, WHETHER IT'S WIND, WHETHER IT'S BIOMASS, YOU NAME IT, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO AND START TO MAKE THOSE INVESTMENTS ON BEHALF OF YOUR SHAREHOLDERS AND HAVE SOME IDEA WHAT RATE OF RETURN YOU'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET AND WHO RULES OF THE ROAD YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FOLLOW? AND THIS IS JUST A SMALL SAMPLING OF THE REGULATIONS THAT ARE NOW COMING INTO BEING BUT WILL CONTINUE TO COME INTO PLACE FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE. AT A TIME OF HIGH OIL PRICES, UNREST IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND SLUGGISH ECONOMIC GROWTH, WE'RE NOT ONLY FAILING TO PROVIDE AMERICANS WITH AFFORDABLE ENERGY FOR THEIR HOMES AND VEHICLES, BUT WE ARE ACTUALLY DISCOURAGING THE VERY INVESTMENT THAT WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. AND THIS IS JUST ONE SMALL EXAMPLE. TO REMEDY THAT, WE NEED NEW LEGISLATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW YOU AND OTHERS ARE WORKING ON A LOT OF THAT NEW LEGISLATION THAT WILL STREAMLINE REGULATIONS AND ENCOURAGE INVESTMENT. AND I'M JUST GOING TO GIVE A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES. ONE OF THEM THAT I'M WORKING ON, SENATOR JOE MANCHIN FROM WEST VIRGINIA, MY COLLEAGUE FROM WEST VIRGINIA HAS INTRODUCE. IT'S CALLED THE E.P.A. FAIR PLAY-ACT. AND IT WOULD PROHIBIT RESCINDING PROPERLY APPROVED 404 PERMITS. WHEN E.P.A. SUBMITS A, OR APPROVES A 404 PERMIT FOR MINING, ONCE THAT'S APPROVED, IT SAYS YOU CAN'T ARBITRARILY WITHDRAW IT. SO A COMPANY THAT'S INVESTED MILLIONS OR BILLIONS OF DOLLARS CAN'T FIND ITSELF HIGH AND DRY AFTER IT'S ALREADY GOTTEN THE PROPER PERMITS. ANOTHER EXAMPLE IS -- OF LEGISLATION THAT WE'VE INTRODUCED THAT WOULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IS DEFENDING AMERICA'S AFFORDABLE ENERGY AND JOBS ACT. THE PRIMARY SPONSOR IS SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO OF WYOMING. THIS LEGISLATION ENSURES THAT CONGRESS MAKES THE CALL ON REGULATING GREENHOUSE GASES, NOW THE E.P.A., THROUGH REGULATORY FIAT. OR ANOTHER EXAMPLE THAT I WOULD OFFER UP IS THE GAS ACCESSIBILITY AND STABILIZATION ACT THAT I AM PLEASED TO COSPONSOR WITH SENATOR ROY BLUNT OF MISSOURI AND OTHERS THAT WILL SIMPLIFY THE COMPLEX RULES AND REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN REFINING AND DISTRIBUTION OF FUEL THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES. AND THERE ARE MANY OTHER EXAMPLES THAT I COULD GIVE AS WELL. BUT THE POINT IS WITH 14 MILLION AMERICANS OUT OF WORK, WE CAN NO LONGER DELAY. AND IT'S NOT JUST REGULATIONS. IT'S LEGAL TAX AND REGULATORY CERTAINTY THAT WILL EMPOWER INVESTMENT BY PEOPLE, BY ENTREPRENEURS, BY COMPANIES ALL OVER THIS GREAT NATION. AND WE DON'T WANT TO JUST HAVE TO TALK ABOUT REGULATIONS. LET'S TALK ABOUT TRADE FOR A MINUTE. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE THREE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS PENDING: THE U.S.-SOUTH KOREA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH PANAMA, AND ANOTHER FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH COLOMBIA. THESE AGREEMENTS HAVE BEEN PENDING SINCE 2007. THE BENEFIT OF THESE AGREEMENTS, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY WOULD GENERATE MORE THAN $13 BILLION A YEAR IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY FOR THIS COUNTRY AND CREATE UP TO 250,000 AMERICAN JOBS. IF WE FAIL TO ACT, WE WILL LOSE ON THE ORDER OF 380,000 JOBS TO THE EUROPEAN UNION AND TO CANADA WHO HAVE ALREADY APPROVED THEIR TRADE AGREEMENTS. SO WHY AREN'T WE DEALING WITH THOSE TRADE AGREEMENTS HERE TODAY, NOW, WHEN WE HAVE 14 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF WORK? WHEN WE HAVE AN ECONOMY THAT WE NEED TO GET GOING. WHEN WE HAVE HUGE DEFICITS AND DEBT, A DEBT THAT'S INCREASING AT THE RATE OF $4 BILLION A DAY. WELL, THE DEADLINE ON THE DEBT LIMIT IS FAST APPROACHING, AND THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS THIS: WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO SPEND MORE, TAX MORE AND REGULATE MORE. IT'S TIME TO CONTROL OUR SPENDING AND CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT UNLEASHES THE ENTREPRENEURIAL POWER, THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND WE CAN DO IT. IN FACT, WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE. WE JUST NEED THE WILL TO ACT FOR OURSELVES TODAY AND FOR THE BENEFIT OF FUTURE GENERATIONS. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:10:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

  • 03:11:01 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME BEGIN BY REFERRING TO THE FRONT…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME BEGIN BY REFERRING TO THE FRONT PAGE OF TODAY'S "WASHINGTON POST," THE HEADLINE: "OBAMA SOCIAL SECURITY ON TABLE. CUTS OFFERED IN DEBT TALKS." MR. PRESIDENT, I HOPE VERY MUCH THAT THAT HEADLINE IS WRONG, BECAUSE IN FACT SOCIAL SECURITY, WHICH IS PERHAPS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FEDERAL PROGRAM IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY, HAS NOT CONTRIBUTED ONE PENNY TO OUR DEFICIT OR OUR NATIONAL DEBT. SO THE IDEA OF LUMPING SOCIAL SECURITY AND CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY INTO A DISCUSSION ABOUT OUR DEFICIT AND OUR NATIONAL DEBT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG, UNFAIR TO THE TENS OF MILLIONS OF SENIORS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WHO BENEFIT FROM THAT PROGRAM. AS YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, AND AS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW, SOCIAL SECURITY IS INDEPENDENTLY FUNDED THROUGH THE PAYROLL TAX. EVERY WORKER, EVERY EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTES INTO THAT FUND. AND SOCIAL SECURITY TODAY HAS A $2.6 TRILLION SURPLUS THAT IS PROJECTED IN FACT TO GROW TO OVER $4 TRILLION BY THE YEAR 2023. WE, OF COURSE, NEED A VIGOROUS DEBATE ABOUT HOW WE DEAL WITH THE DEFICIT CRISIS AND OUR NATIONAL DEBT. BUT SOCIAL SECURITY INDEPENDENTLY FUNDED WITH A $2.6 TRILLION SURPLUS, HAVING NOT CONTRIBUTED ONE NICKEL TO THE NATIONAL DEBT, SHOULD NOT BE PART OF THAT DEBATE. MR. PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE IN THE SENATE, MANY OF MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WHO DO NOT LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY, WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN SOCIAL SECURITY. BECAUSE ESSENTIALLY THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN RETIREMENT INSURANCE FOR SENIORS OR FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. AND I RESPECT THEIR POINT OF VIEW. I VERY STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH IT. AND THE REAL PROBLEM THAT THEY HAVE IS THAT SOCIAL SECURITY IS ENORMOUSLY POPULAR. POLL AFTER POLL SHOWS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO SEE SOCIAL SECURITY CUT. THEY DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE RETIREMENT AGE RAISED. AND THEY MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT WANT TO SEE SOCIAL SECURITY PRIVATIZED, BECAUSE IN FACT, SOCIAL SECURITY HAS SUCCEEDED. IT HAS ACCOMPLISHED THE GOALS OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO FOUNDED THAT PROGRAM IN THE 1930'S. IN THE 1930'S, ABOUT HALF OF AMERICA'S SENIOR CITIZENS LIVED IN POVERTY. TODAY THAT NUMBER, WHILE IT IS TOO HIGH, IS DOWN TO 10%. MORE IMPORTANTLY, GIVEN THE INCREDIBLE INSTABILITY IN THE ECONOMY THAT WE HAVE SEEN FOR DECADES, ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, WHERE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE LOST SOME OR ALL OF THEIR RETIREMENT SAVINGS THAT THEY HAD INVESTED IN WALL STREET. MR. PRESIDENT, OVER THE LAST 75 YEARS, NOT ONE AMERICAN HAS LOST ONE DIME THAT HE OR SHE WAS ENTITLED TO IN TERMS OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD RECORD. EVERY AMERICAN GETTING EVERY PENNY THAT WAS OWED TO HIM OR HER FOR 75 YEARS. IT IS A PROGRAM THAT HAS WORKED. IT IS A PROGRAM THAT IS WORKING TODAY. IT IS A PROGRAM THAT CAN PAY OUT EVERY BENEFIT OWED TO EVERY ELIGIBLE AMERICAN FOR THE NEXT 25 YEARS. IT IS A PROGRAM THAT SHOULD NOT BE CUT. BUT MORE TO THE POINT, IN ERMS OF PRESIDENT OBAMA. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE AS A NATION IS THAT IT IS NO GREAT SECRET THAT MANY OF OUR PEOPLE ARE LOSING FAITH IN GOVERNMENT FOR A WHOLE LOT OF REASONS. BUT CERTAINLY, ONE OF THE REASONS IS THAT THE POLITICIANS SAY ONE THING AND THEY DO SOMETHING ELSE. THEY CAMPAIGN ON A CERTAIN PROMISE, THEY GIVE A SPEECH, EVERYBODY APPLAUDS. TWO YEARS LATER, WELL, YOU KNOW, I GUESS I HAVE TO CHANGE MY MIND. CAN'T QUITE DO THIS. AND LET'S BE CLEAR. WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA RAN FOR THE PRESIDENCY IN 2008, HE WAS A STRONG ADVOCATE OF SOCIAL SECURITY, MADE IT VERY CLEAR TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT HE WAS NOT GOING TO CUT BENEFITS. LET ME JUST QUOTE FROM A SPEECH THAT THE PRESIDENT GAVE WHO WAS THEN-SENATOR BARACK OBAMA ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2008, AND THIS IS WHAT HE SAID, AND I QUOTE -- QUOTE -- "JOHN McCAIN'S CAMPAIGN HAS SUGGESTED THAT THE BEST ANSWER FOR THE GROWING PRESSURES ON SOCIAL SECURITY MIGHT BE TO CUT COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS OR RAISE THE RETIREMENT AGE. LET ME BE CLEAR, I WILL NOT DO EITHER." END OF QUOTE. I WILL NOT DO EITHER. TODAY'S "WASHINGTON POST," OBAMA, SOCIAL SECURITY ON TABLE, CUTS OFFERED IN DEBT TALKS. MR. PRESIDENT, ON APRIL 16, 2008, BARACK OBAMA, CANDIDATE OBAMA SAID, AND I QUOTE -- "THE ALTERNATIVES LIKE RAISING THE RETIREMENT AGE OR CUTTING BENEFITS OR RAISING THE PAYROLL TAX ON EVERYBODY, INCLUDING PEOPLE MAKING LESS THAN $97,000 A YEAR -- WHICH IS NOW UP TO TO $106,000 A YEAR -- THOSE ARE NOT GOOD POLICY OPTIONS." END OF QUOTE. ON NOVEMBER 11, 2007, CANDIDATE OBAMA SAID -- QUOTE -- "I BELIEVE THAT CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IS NOT THE RIGHT ANSWER AND THAT RAISING THE RETIREMENT AGE IS NOT THE BEST OPTION." END OF QUOTE. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO KEEP HIS WORD. NOW, AGAIN, I AM NOT PRIVY TO THE DISCUSSIONS THAT MAY BE GOING ON RIGHT THIS MOMENT IN THE WHITE HOUSE ABOUT SOME GRAND DEBT -- NATIONAL DEBT NEGOTIATIONS. ALL I CAN TELL YOU -- AND IT MAY BE ACCURATE, IT MAY NOT. THE MEDIA HAS BEEN WRONG ONCE OR TWICE IN HISTORY, BUT ACCORDING TO TODAY'S "WASHINGTON POST," THE PRESIDENT IS CONSIDERING LOWERING COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS, EVEN THOUGH, BY THE WAY, AS YOU WELL KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS HAVE NOT RECEIVED A COLA IN THE LAST TWO YEARS. SO LET'S BE CLEAR. TODAY, DESPITE SIGNIFICANT INFLATION ON HEALTH CARE COSTS, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, SENIORS HAVE NOT RECEIVED A COLA IN TWO YEARS, DISABLED VETS HAVE NOT RECEIVED A COLA IN TWO YEARS, BUT APPARENTLY THE PRESIDENT NEGOTIATING WITH THE REPUBLICANS IS CONSIDERING LOWERING COLAS IN THE FUTURE. NOW, IT'S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS. ACCORDING TO THE STRENGTH IN SOCIAL SECURITY CAMPAIGN, WHICH IS A COALITION OF SENIOR GROUPS WHO ARE WORKING HARD TO PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY, CHANGING THE WAY SOCIAL SECURITY COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS ARE CALCULATED, AS THE PRESIDENT MAY BE CONSIDERING AGAIN -- I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE A DEFINITIVE STATEMENT. ALL I AM DOING IS TELLING YOU WHAT IS IN "THE WASHINGTON POST" FRONT PAGE TODAY. IS IT TRUE? I CAN'T SAY, BUT IF IT IS TRUE THIS WOULD COST SENIOR CITIZENS HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR IN LOWER BENEFITS. NOW, THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATES THAT THE ADOPTION OF THE SO-CALLED CHAIN C.P.I. -- THIS IS A DIFFERENT FORMULATION. I HAPPEN TO BELIEVE, AND I HAVE INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TO THIS EFFECT, THAT THE CURRENT COLAS FOR SENIORS ARE NOT ACCURATE AND ARE TOO LOW BECAUSE THEY DO NOT IN A REALISTIC WAY MEASURE WHAT SENIORS ARE PURCHASING WHICH TO A SIGNIFICANT DEGREE HAS TO DO WITH HEALTH CARE AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. WHEN YOU'RE OLD, YOU'RE NOT PRIMARILY BUYING LAPTOP COMPUTERS OR BIG TELEVISION SETS. YOU'RE OFTEN SPENDING A LOT OF YOUR MONEY ON HEALTH CARE, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. THOSE COSTS ARE GOING UP. SO I THINK TODAY'S COLA IS TOO LOW IN THAT IT DOES NOT REFLECT THE REAL PURCHASING NEEDS OF SENIORS. ACCORDING TO THE C.B.O., IF, IN FACT, THE GOVERNMENT ADOPTED THE SO-CALLED CHAIN C.P.I., WHICH IS A DIFFERENT FORMATION, WHICH IS EVEN LOWER THAN THE CURRENT INADEQUATE FORMULATION, ANNUAL COLAS UNDER THIS PROPOSAL WOULD CUT BENEFITS BY $112 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. AND HERE'S THE IMPORTANT POINT FOR INDIVIDUALS. THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION CHIEF ACTUARY ESTIMATES THE EFFECTS OF THIS CHANGE WOULD BE THAT BENEFICIARIES WHO RETIRE AT THE AGE OF 65 AND RECEIVE AVERAGE BENEFITS WOULD GET $560 LESS A YEAR AT AGE 75 THAN THEY WOULD UNDER CURRENT LAW AND GET $1,000 LESS A YEAR AT AGE 85. PEOPLE ARE LIVING LONGER. MANY OF OUR PEOPLE, GOD BLESS THEM, REACH 75, REACH 85. TO SAY TO SOMEBODY THAT WHEN THEY REACH 85 DON'T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY, THAT AS A RESULT OF THESE CUTS THEY WILL GET GET $1,000 A YEAR LESS IS TOTALLY, TO MY MIND, UNACCEPTABLE AND NOT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY THE PRESIDENT OR BY ANY MEMBER OF THE SENATE. MR. PRESIDENT, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, DESPITE WHAT MANY OF MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARE SAYING, ARE PRETTY CLEAR ON SOME BASIC ISSUES REGARDING HOW WE ADDRESS THE SERIOUS PROBLEM OF OUR NATIONAL DEBT AND OUR DEFICIT. AND WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAY IN POLL AFTER POLL AFTER POLL -- AND THEY SAY IT TO ME ON THE STREETS IN BURLINGTON, VERMONT, OR ANY OTHER PLACE IN VERMONT THAT I GO. THEY SAY THAT WHAT WE MUST HAVE IS SHARED SACRIFICE, THAT AT A TIME WHEN POVERTY IS INCREASING IN THIS COUNTRY, WHEN WE HAVE THE HIGHEST RATE OF CHILDHOOD POVERTY IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD, THAT WHEN MILLIONS OF WORKERS TODAY ARE WORKING LONGER HOURS FOR LOWER WAGES, WHEN UNEMPLOYMENT IS SKY HIGH, WHEN SENIORS HAVE NOT RECEIVED A COLA IN TWO YEARS, WHEN YOUNG PEOPLE ARE FINDING IT HARD TO GET ANY JOBS AT ALL, THAT IT IS IMMORAL AND BAD ECONOMICS TO DO DEFICIT REDUCTION ON THE BACKS OF THOSE PEOPLE, OF WORKING FAMILIES, OF CHILDREN, OF THE ELDERLY, OF THE SICK, OF THE POOR. OVERWHELMINGLY, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAY THAT IS WRONG. ESPECIALLY AT A TIME WHEN THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE HAVE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD, WHEN CORPORATE PROFITS ARE SOARING. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU MAY HAVE SEEN AN ARTICLE FRONT PAGE "NEW YORK TIMES" A FEW DAYS AGO. C.E.O.'S OF MAJOR CORPORATIONS HAVE SEEN A 23% INCREASE LAST YEAR IN THEIR COMPENSATION PACKAGES. 23%. WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF A HORRENDOUS RECESSION, REAL WAGES FOR AMERICAN WORKERS ARE GOING DOWN, C.E.O.'S ARE DOING GREAT, WALL STREET IS DOING GREAT, CORPORATE PROFITS ARE SOARING, AND WE HAVE DOZENS OF CORPORATIONS WHO MAKE HUGE PROFITS, DON'T PAY A NICKEL IN TAXES. WE HAVE A MILITARY BUDGET TODAY THREE TIMES HIGHER THAN IT WAS IN 1997. SO WHAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE SAY -- AND THEY SAY IT IN POLLS ALL OVER THE PLACE -- IS YOU NEED TO GO FORWARD WITH SHARED SACRIFICE, NOT AS THE REPUBLICANS SUGGEST. CUT PROGRAMS FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY, THROW MILLIONS OF KIDS OFF OF MEDICAID, END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT RIGHT NOW. MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR WORKING CLASS FAMILIES TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO COLLEGE. THAT'S NOT WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SAYING. A RECENT SURVEY BY PUBLIC POLICY POLLING IN SWING STATES ASKED THE QUESTION, AND WHEN VOTERS IN OHIO -- THIS JUST THE OTHER DAY CAME OUT -- WERE ASKED THIS SPRING IF THEY WOULD SUPPORT OR OPPOSE CUTTING SPENDING ON SOCIAL SECURITY TO REDUCE THE NATIONAL DEBT, ONLY 16% FAVORED THAT APPROACH COMPARED TO 80% WHO WERE OPPOSED. SIMILAR IDENTICAL RESULTS, VERY CLOSE RESULTS IN STATES SUCH AS MISSOURI, MONTANA AND MINNESOTA. THAT WAS JUST OUT IN THE PAPERS YESTERDAY. MEANWHILE, STRONG MAJORITIES, INCLUDING REPUBLICANS, FAVOR INCREASED REVENUE FROM THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS AND MOST PROFITABLE CORPORATIONS SHOULD BE PART OF ANY DEFICIT REDUCTION PACKAGE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST CONCLUDE BY SAYING THAT I HOPE VERY MUCH PRESIDENT OBAMA DOES NOT REACH ANY AGREEMENT WITH THE REPUBLICANS WHICH INCLUDES CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY. SOCIAL SECURITY HAS NOT CONTRIBUTED ONE NICKEL TO OUR NATIONAL DEBT. IT IS A SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM, WIDELY SUPPORTED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO ARE BENEFITING FROM IT EVERY SINGLE DAY. MORE TO THE POINT, PRESIDENT OBAMA WHEN HE CAMPAIGNED FOR OFFICE MADE IT CLEAR, TOLD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT IF HE WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT, HE WOULD NOT BE CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPECT HIM TO KEEP HIS WORD. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 03:26:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM UTAH IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 03:26:06 PM

    MR. HATCH

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:26:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:26:26 PM

    MR. HATCH

    YOU. DEMOCRATS SAY THAT THEY WANT TO ELIMINATE THEM. THEY REFER TO THEM AS…

    YOU. DEMOCRATS SAY THAT THEY WANT TO ELIMINATE THEM. THEY REFER TO THEM AS LOOPHOLES OR SPENDING THROUGH A TAX CODE. THIS MIGHT BE A GOOD POLITICAL ARGUMENT, BUT IT BEARS LITTLE RELATIONSHIP TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF TAX EXPENDITURES AND TAX LAW OR TAX POLICY. YESTERDAY, I OUTLINED A GENERAL DEFINITION OF TAX EXPENDITURES. THEY ARE MOST DEFINITELY NOT SPENDING THROUGH THE TAX CODE AS PRESIDENT OBAMA SO CREATIVELY TOOK IT, AND THEY ARE MOST DEFINITELY NOT BY AND LARGE LOOPHOLES. RATHER, THEY WERE INTENTIONALLY INCLUDED IN THE TAX CODE BY CONGRESS IN ORDER TO REALIZE CERTAIN POLICY GOALS. WHAT TAX EXPENDITURES ARE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES TO KEEP MORE OF THEIR INCOME. UNFORTUNATELY, RATHER THAN HAVE A SERIOUS CONVERSATION ABOUT TAX EXPENDITURES AND TAX POLICY, PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HIS LIBERAL ALLIES ARE INTENT ONSETTING NEW GROUND FOR JUVENILE PUBLIC DISCOURSE. FACED WITH A $14.3 TRILLION DEBT GOING UP EVERY DAY, SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE PROGRAMS THAT ARE SET FOR BANKRUPTCY, RUINING AMERICAN SENIORS AND A LEGITIMATE FISCAL CRISIS THAT POSES A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER TO THE NATION'S SECURITY AND THE SECURITY OF AMERICA'S FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES, PRESIDENT OBAMA IS AGAIN TALKING ABOUT SHARED SACRIFICE. I LIKE THE TERM. THE ONLY THING IS I WOULD PREFER TO HAVE SHARED PROSPERITY. BECAUSE ALL WE'LL GET OUT OF THIS ADMINISTRATION IS SHARED SACRIFICE WHICH MEANS EVERYBODY IS GOING TO SUFFER. I'D LIKE TO HAVE SHARED PROSPERITY WHERE EVERYBODY IS LIFTED. THE FIRST TIME WE REALLY STARTED A HEARING ABOUT THIS CONCEPT OF SHARED SACRIFICE WAS IN A DEBATE OVER OBAMACARE. FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH WASHINGTONSPEAK, THIS IS WHAT THE PRESIDENT MEANT BY SHARED SACRIFICE -- "I AM GOING TO RAISE TAXES ON FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES BY OVER HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS AND I AM GOING TO DO IT BY SHAKING DOWN BUSINESSES." UNQUOTE. HE MADE THEM OFFER AN OFFER THEY COULDN'T REFUSE, PAY UP MORE NOW OR PAY UP LATER. SO WHEN WE STARTED TO HEAR AGAIN ABOUT SHARED SACRIFICE, WE KNEW WHAT WAS COMING -- MORE PROPOSALS FOR TAX INCREASES. BUT I HAVE TO SAY I REMAIN SHOCKED AT HOW HAM-FISTED MOST OF THESE PROPOSALS ARE. THEY REALLY ARE NOTHING BUT A SERIES OF BAD TALKING POINTS THAT CAN BE USED FOR THE PRESIDENT'S RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. THESE TALKING POINTS WERE TIRED BY THE END OF THE 1936 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO SEE PRESIDENT OBAMA DUST OFF FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT'S SPEECHES AND START RAILING AGAINST ECONOMIC ROYALISTS BY THE END OF THE DEBT LIMIT NEGOTIATIONS. SADLY, THE SENATE'S LEADERSHIP HAS FOLLOWED SUIT. AFTER MAKING A BIG TO-DO ABOUT KEEPING THE SENATE IN SESSION TO ADDRESS THE FISCAL CRISIS, WE ARE SPENDING THIS WEEK DEBATING A NONBINDING RESOLUTION DEMANDING HIGHER TAXES ON MILLIONAIRES. REALLY? THE DEMOCRAT SOLUTION TO TO $14.3 TRILLION IN DEBT IS TO ATTACK CORPORATE JETS. SERIOUSLY? $3 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. LAST TIME THEY DID THAT, THEY WOUND UP WITH THEIR TAILS BETWEEN THEIR LEGS IN 1990 AND THEN 1993 HAD TO REVERSE THE WHOLE THING BECAUSE IT COST THOUSANDS OF JOBS. I NEVER UNDERESTIMATE LIBERALS' LACK OF RESPECT FOR THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, BUT THIS IS A NEW LOW. DO THEY REALLY THINK THAT ORDINARY AMERICANS ARE SO CONSUMED WITH CLASS HATRED THAT THEY WILL RESPOND LIKE PAVLOVIAN DOGS TO THE CRITICISM OF CORPORATE JETS AND FORGET THAT IT WAS PROGRAMMATIC LIBERALISM, NOT BONUS DEPRECIATION OF CORPORATE JETS AND TAX BENEFITS FOR ENERGY COMPANIES THAT GOT US INTO THIS DEBT CRISIS? AND THIS IS REALLY HOW THE LEFT PERCEIVES REPUBLICANS. THEY WANT TO SCORE SOME CHEAP POINTS AGAINST REPUBLICANS BY GOING AFTER CORPORATE JETS, AS THOUGH ALL REPUBLICANS LOVE CORPORATE JETS. I'D HAVE EN THIEWR TO SAY THAT AN AWFUL LOT OF CORPORATE JETS ARE OWNED BY VERY WEALTHY DEMOCRATS. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO GET NEXT WEEK? A TAX ON MONTANA ICLES AND TOPHOTS. MAYBE WE WILL SPEND NEXT WEEK DEBATING TAXES BLAZERS OR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY. UNFORTUNATELY SHALL NOT ALL OF THE DEMOCRAT PROPOSALS ARE A LAUGHING MATTER. THEY HAVE BEEN DOWN IN ROAD IN THE PAST PUSHING TAX INCREASES ON LUXURY ITEMS LIKE YACHTS. TODAY THE PRESS RIDICULED REPUBLICANS FOR "DEFENDING THE YACHTING CLASS." THERE IS NO YACHTING CLASS IN THIS COUNTRY UNLESS YOU COUNT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF MARTHA'S VINEYARD. BUT THERE IS A CLASS OF PEOPLE WHO BUILD YACHTS. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE PEOPLE THE LAST TIME THE DEMOCRATS ENGAGED IN CLASS WARFARE OF THIS KIND. IN THE 1990 BUDGET DEAL, A NEW LUXURY EXCISE TAX WAS CREATED, APPLIED TO YACHTED, AIRCRAFT, JEWELRY AND FURS. FIRST APPLYING TO THE 1991 YEAR. THE SIMILARITIES ARE EERIE. FACED WITH SOARING DEFICITS, DEMOCRATS INSISTED THAT REVENUES BE PART OF THE EQUATION AND HOW DID THIS WORK OUT? THE TAX WAS REPEALED IN 1993, BECAUSE AS THE REPORT REPORTED BY THE BUDGET COMPLETE EXPLAINS, DURING THE RECESS, THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES THAT IT IS APPROPRIATE TO ELIMINATE THE BURDEN THESE TAXES IMPOSE ON THE INTEREST OF FOSTERING ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND THOSE AND RELATED INDUSTRIES. REPUBLICANS ARE NOT DEFENDING THE YACHTING CLASS. THEY ARE DEFENDING THE PEOPLE WHOSE JOBS WILL BE LOST TO DEMOCRATIC CLASS WARFARE. OF COURSE THE LEFT CANNOT CONTAIN TOME THEMSELVES TO THESE TARGETED INCREASES. JUST TODAY WE READ THAT THE PRESIDENT IS EAGER TO REFORM SOCIAL SECURITY. YET IT APPEARS THAT HE'S ONLY WILLING TO DO SO IF WE LET THE 2001 AND 2003 TAX CUTS EXPIRE. TAX CUTS WHICH LAST ONLY -- TAX CUTS WHICH ONLY LAST DECEMBER THE PRESIDENT ACKNOWLEDGED WHY NECESSARY COMPONENTS OF OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY. AND I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISE SURPRISED TO SEE THE OLD DEMOCRATIC HOBBY HORSE, AN INCREASE IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX, MAXED. MAKE AN APPEARANCE IN THE DEMOCRATS' LIST OF DEMAND. THESE ARE NONSTARTERS AND EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS WHY. THESE BROAD-BASED TAX CREASE CREASES WOULD WOULD BE A WEIGHT AROUND OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY. BUT IT CONTINUES TO CAUSE CONFUSION AND MUST BE ADDRESSED. THOSE WHO ADVOCATE LIMITING OR ELIMINATING THESE TAX EXPENDITURES SUGGEST THAT THEY ARE SPENDING AND LOOPHOLES THAT BENEFIT WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS. YESTERDAY I OFFERED A GROWN-UP DEFINITION OF WHAT A TAX EXPENDITURE IS. TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT WHICH ARE IN FACT THE TOP TAX EXPENDITURES. WHAT WE WILL FIND IS THAT THE TAX EXPENDITURES THAT WILL GENERATE THE LARGEST AMOUNT OF REVENUE ARE ALSO THOSE THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO THE MIDDLE CLASS, ENABLING THEM TO GIVE THEIR CHURCHES AND SYNAGOGUES -- TO GIVE THAT THEIR CHURCHES AND SYNAGOGUES AND TO SAVE FOR A HOME, FOR COLLEGES, AND FOR RETIREMENT. DEMOCRATS WOULD HAVE TO ELIMINATE THESE EXPENDITURES. IS THAT REALLY WHAT THEY WANT TO DO? THAT MIGHT BE A GOOD QUESTION AT THE PRESIDENT'S NEXT PRESS CONFERENCE. MAYBE SOMEONE COULD GIVE HIM A COPY OF THIS CHART RIGHT HERE THAT WE'RE GOING TO PUT UP AND ASK WHICH HAVE THESE TAX EXPENDITURES HE'S WILLING TO ELIMINATE IN THE INTEREST OF DEFICIT REDUCTION. NUMBER ONE, THE EXCLUSION FOR EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HEALTH CARE, IS -- HE DOES WANT TO GET RID OF THAT? THAT'S 13% OF ALL TAX EXPENDITURES? HOW ABOUT HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION? IS HE GOING TO GET RID THAT HAVE? HOW ABOUT PREFERENTIAL RATES FOR DIVIDENDS AND CAPITAL GAINS? THAT'S 8%. EXCLUSION OF MEDICARE BENEFITS, GOING TO DO AWAY WITH THAT THAT'S 7%. NET EXCLUSION OF DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS AND EARNINGS? RETHEY GOING TO ATTACK OUR PENSIONS? THAT'S 6%. AN EARNED-INCOME TAX CREDIT? THAT'S 5%. DEDUCTION FOR STATE AND LOCAL TAXES, EXCEPT REAL PROPERTY? THAT'S 5%. NUMBER EIGHT, NET EXCLUSION OF DEFINED CONTRIBUTION/EARNINGS. THAT'S 4%. HOW ABOUT NUMBER 9, EXCLUSION OF CAPITAL GAINS AT DEATH, 4%. HOW ABOUT NUMBER TEN, DEDUCTIONS FOR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS, THAT'S 4%. I VENTURE TO SAY HARDLY ANY AMERICAN IS GOING TO WANT TO DO AWAY WITH ALL THOSE, IN THE INTEREST OF GETTING MORE REVENUE SO THE DEMOCRATS CAN SPEND IT BACK HERE. WELL, LOOK AT THAT CHART. IT IS A LIST OF TOP -- THE TOP TEN TAX EXPENDITURES. YOU KNOW, MAYBE SOMEONE COULD GIVE THEM A COPY OF THIS CHART AND ASK WHICH OF THESE TAX EXPENDITURES HE'S WILLING TO ELIMINATE IN THE INTEREST OF DEFICIT REDUCTION. I ENCOURAGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO LOW-INCOME AT THIS CHART. IT IS A LIST OF THE TOP TEN TAX EXPENDITURES WITH THE RHETORIC COMING OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE, YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT TAX BENEFITS FOR YACHTS AND CORPORATE JETS ARE NOT IN THE TOP TWO. NOT ONLY DO THEY NOT MAKE THE TOP TEN, THEY DON'T EVEN COME CLOSE. IF YOU TAKE THE SO-CALLED SAVINGS THAT WOULD COME FROM THE CORPORATE JET TAX APPROACH OF THE PRESIDENT, IT WOULD TAKE US 3,000 YEARS TO EVEN REACH THE APPROXIMATELY $800 BILLION STIMULUS PACKAGE. IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PRESIDENT'S TRILLION DOLLAR DLFTS, THEY ARE STATISTIC CAL NOISE. SO WHAT ARE THE BIG TAX EXPENDITURES? NUMBER ONE IS AN ISSUE FROM THE OBAMACARE CARE. IT IS THE EXCLUSION FOR EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HEALTH INSURANCE. THE EXCLUSION OF EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HEALTH INSURANCE FROM INCOME IS THE SINGLE-LARGEST TAX EXPENDITURE, REPRESENTING 13% OF TAX EXPENDITURES. YESTERDAY A MEMBER OF THE OTHER SIDE'S LEADERSHIP POINTED OUT THAT THE LEARCHLT TAX EXPENDITURE IS ONE FOR CORPORATIONS. BOY, IS HE WRONG. HERE'S WHAT I SAID, AN I QUOTE, "THE BIGGEST SINGLE DEDUCTION IS THE EMPLOYER'S EXCLUSION FOR HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS. SO EMPLOYERS ARE ABLE TO EXCLUDE FROM INCOME THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY SPEND FOR HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES. THAT'S THE BIGGEST." UNQUOTE. WELL, THAT'S JUST AN INCORRECT DESCRICHTION LAWDESCRIPTION OF THRAW LAW THAT THEY'RE ARGUING. EMPLOYERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED A DEDUCTION FOR THE COST OF BENEFITS IT PROVIDES TO ITS EMPLOYEES. THE PROVISION OF HEALTH INSURANCE IS THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS AND THUS PROPERLY DEDUCTIBLE BY THE EMPLOYER SO AS TO ACCURATELY MEASURE THE INCOME OR PROFIT OF THE EMPLOYER. THAT HAS NEVER BEEN CONSIDERED A TAX EXPENDITURE. THE EXCLUSION AT ISSUE, WHICH IS A TAX EXPENDITURE, REFERS TO THE EMPLOYEE'S TAX TREATMENT, NOT TO THE EMPLOYER'S TAX TREATMENT. THAT IS MOST COMPENSATION THAT AN EMPLOYEE RECEIVES FROM HIS EMPLOYER IS INCLUDABLE AS TAXABLE INCOME. ONE OF THE FEW EXCEPTIONS IS THAT EMPLOYEES DO NOT DPLU TAFNL INCOME THE -- INCLUDE IN TAXABLE INCOME THE VALUE OF EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HEALTH INSURANCE. COMING IN AT NUMBER TWO IS THE HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION. NOW, THIS EXPENDITURE ALONE ACCOUNTS FOR -9D% OF 9% OF ALL EXPENDITURES. DO AWAY WITH THIS EXPENDITURE, THE RATE ON DIVIDENDS AND CAPITALS WILL INCREASE. THEY REPRESENT 8% OF ALL TAX EXPENDITURES. WHAT'S NUMBER FOUR? HERE WE HAVE AN UNTAXED PIECE OF MEDICARE BENEFITS. IMAGINE THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. I WONDER HOW MANY FOLKS ON THE OTHER SIDE REALIZE THIS OR EVEN IF THE PRESIDENT DOES? WHILE MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE TALK ABOUT CUTTING BACK TTACH EXPENDITURES AS THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO DEFICIT REDUCTION, I WONDER IF THEY KNOW THAT HIDING BEHIND THE CURTAIN IS AN INCREASE IN THE AFTERTAX COST OF MEDICARE? DO MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE REALIZE THIS? A FEW MONTHS AGO A LIBERAL GROUP RAN AN AD SHOWING MY FRIEND, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE, PAUL RYAN, PUSHING AN OLD WOMAN IN A WHEELCHAIR OVER A CLIFF. HIS CRIME? RECOMMENDING POLICY CHANGES THAT WOULD PREVENT THE INEVITABLE BANKRUPTCY OF MEDICARE. I'M NOT GOING TO HOLD MY BREATH WAITING FOR THIS SAME GROUP TO PULL THE FIRE ALARM BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS TALK OF ELIMINATING TAX EXPENDITURES MIGHT RESULT IN SENIORS GETTING HIT WITH HIGHER TAXES ON MEDICARE BENEFITS. BUT THIS IS WHAT THE PRESIDENT AND THE DEMOCRATS ARE TALKING ABOUT. IF THEY ARE SERIOUS ABOUT USING TAX EXPENDITURES TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT, THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT WILL HAVE TO BE ON THE TABLE. THESE ARE THE BIG EXPENDITURES. THIS EXPENDITURE IS REAL. YOU CAN LOOK A UP IN THE HANDY TAX EXPENDITURE PUBLICATION FROM THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION AND IT IS SIGNIFICANT, REPRESENTING 7% OF ALL EXPENDITURES, THE EXCLUSION OF MEDICARE BENEFITS. AT NUMBER FIVE IS THE PRETAX TREATMENT FOR DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN CONTRIBUTIONS AND THE INSIDE BUILDUP ON THE ACCOUNTS. THIS IS A TAX BENEFIT THAT REDUCES THE COST OF THOSE WORKERS WHO MAKE THE DECISION TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT. THIS REPRESENTS 6% OF ALL TAX EXPENDITURES. WHAT'S NUMBER SIX? IT IS THE REFUNDABLE EARNED-INCOME TAX CREDIT, THE E.I.C. THIS IS ONE THAT COULD PROPERLY BE LABELED THAT WAY. YOU UNDERSTAND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET RULES, THIS ONE SCORES AS SPENDING. THIS ONE IS THAT'S NOT THE CASE OR THE OTHERS ON THIS LIST. REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS SCORE AS SPENDING BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT CUTS A CHECK TO THE TAXPAYER. REQUEST THE OTHER TAX BENEFITS ON THIS LIST, THE TAXPAYERS RECEIVING A PORTION OF THE MONEY BACK IN THE FORM OF REDUCED TAXES. NOW, THERE ARE SOME SERIOUS TAX HIKES THERE. THIS TAX EXPENDITURE ACCOUNTS FOR 5% OF TAX EXPENDITURES. NUMBER SEVEN IS THE DEDUCTION FOR STATE AND LOCAL TAXES. MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE NEED TO BE PARTICULARLY CAREFUL WITH THIS ONE. SO FAR THEY WOULD HIT SENIORS, FAMILIES, THAT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE THROUGH THEIR EMPLOYERS, PEOPLE WITH MORTGAGES AND ANYONE WHO OWNS STOCKS AND BONDS, BUT WITH THIS MANY DEMOCRATS RISK ALIENATING EVERY LAST TAXPAYER IN THEIR STATES. REMOVING THIS DEDUCTION IS GOING TO HIT HIGH TAX STATES HARD. IF YOU'RE FROM A SO-CALLED BLUE STATE, IT IS LIKELY THAT CONSTITUENTS ARE ALREADY HEAVILY BURDENED WITH STATE AND LOCAL TAXES. TAKE AWAY THIS AND YOU WILL IN EFFECT DRIVE UP THE MARGINAL RATE OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS WHO TAKE THEIR DEDUCTION BY AS MUCH AS 35%. I AM CONVINCE THAMED OF THE INROADS DEMOCRATS MADE BETWEEN 2006 AND 2008 WERE DUE TO CAREFULLY CRAFTED TROJAN HORSE CAMPAIGNS. SKILLFUL OPERATIVES RAN DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGNS PROMISING MODERATE TAX AND SPENDING POLICIES THAT WOULD BE RESPECTFUL OF FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES. BUT ONCE THAT TROJAN HORSE GOT INSIDE THE CAPITOL AND FORMER SPEAKER PELOSI AND PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK CHARGE, FRUSTRATED LIBERALS SPILLED OUT AND THE STARTED TAXING ANYTHING THAT COULD MOVE TO PAY FOR THE LARGEST EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT SINCE LYNDON JOHNSON WAS IN OFFICE. REMOVING THE DEDUCTION FOR STATE AND LOCAL TAXES MIGHT BE THE FINAL ACT THAT RESTORES PURPLE AMERICA TO ITS TRADITIONAL RED HUE. AT 5% OF ALL TAX EXPENDITURES, THIS WOULD REPRESENT A MASSIVE TAX INCREASE, THIS NET EXCLUSION OF DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS/ENGS. I GUESS THAT'S NUMBER SEVEN -- DISKS FOR STATE AN LOCAL TANCHES EXCEPT FOR REAL PROPERTY. WHAT'S NUMBER 2? THE PRETAX TREATMENT FOR CONTRIBUTIONS WORKERS MADE TO THEIR PLANS. MANY OF US KNOW OF THESE RETIREMENT PLANS AS 401(K) PLANS. AT 4% OF TAX EXPENDITURES, THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT INCENTIVE TO FAMILIES TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT. NUMBER NINE IS A BIT MORE OBSCURE, BUT NO LESS CRITICAL FOR FAMILIES. IT IS THE TAX EXPENDITURE FOR THE STEP-UP IN BASIS AT DEATH. WE ALL KNOW THE SAYING THAT NOTHING IS AS CERTAIN AS DEATH AND TAXES. WELL, IF THIS TAX EXPENDITURE WERE ELIMINATED, THIS STEP-UP IN BASIS AT DEATH, THIS SAYING WOULD TAKE ON AN EVEN DARKER MEANING. DEATH COULD NOW BE TAXED TWICE. FIRST THE DEIS HE DENT'S ESTATE MIGHT BE HIT WITH THE DEATH TAX THEN IT WOULD BE TAXED GENG ON THE GAINING EMBEDDED IN ANY INHERITED ASSET SHOULD THEY DECIDE TO SELL. WE CLOSE WITH NUMBER TEN, THE TAX EXPENDITURE THAT IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE TO MY CONSTITUENTS IN UTAH. IT IS THE TAX BENEFIT FOR DONATIONS TO CHARITIES OTHER THAN EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS. WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR WEEKLY OR YEARLY DONATION TO YOUR CHURCH, YOU CAN NOW DEDUCT IT FOR TAX PURPOSES. THIS CHARITABLE DEDUCTION REPRESENTS 4% OF ALL TAX EXPENDITURES. THE FOLKS IN MY STATE ALL PAY -- THAT'S 10% OF THEIR GROSS INCOME. I DO IT EVERY YEAR. I GOT TO TELL YOU, YOU HIT A REALLY CHARITABLE PEOPLED AND A LOT OF CHURCHES WITH THE LOSS OF THAT ONE, NUMBER TEN. YET THAT'S THE SMALLEST OF THE WHOLE TEN. AS THE CHART SHOWS, THESE WIDESPREAD EVERYDAY TAX POLICY ACCOUNT FOR ALMOST TWO-THIRDS OF THESE TAX EXPENDITURES. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT YACHTS OR CORPORATE JETS. I HAVE ALREADY SUGGESTED ROLLING BACK MANY OF THESE EXPENDITURES WOULD HAVE AN IMMEDIATE ADVERSE IMPACT ON AMERICAN FAMILIES AND TAXPAYERS. THEY WOULD ALSO UNDERCUT LONG-STANDING FEDERAL POLICIES PROMOTING SAVING, HOMEOWNERSHIP, AND CHARITABLE GIVING. LET'S TURN FIRST TO RETIREMENT SECURITY. ABOUT HALF OF AMERICANS SAVE FOR RETIREMENT. THE OVERWHELMING BMENT CONSENSUS IS THAT THIS -- BIPARTISAN CENSUS IS THAT THIS NUMBER IS WAY TOO LOW. IDEALLY ALL AMERICAN WORKERS WOULD BE SAVING -- OR SHOULD BE SAVING FOR RETIREMENT. MORE SAVINGS MEANS LESS FINANCIAL STRESS ON SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT MEANS RETIREES CAN ENJOY THEIR RETIREMENT IF THEY CAN RELY HON A NEST EGG. THAT'S WHY THERE HAS BEEN A BIPARTISAN DESIRE TO INCENTIVIZE RETIREMENT SAVINGS THROUGH WORKER PARTICIPATION IN RETIREMENT PLANS. A A TIME-HONORED BENEFIT HAS BEEN TO OFFER A TAX BREAKUP FRONT IN FAVOR OF THE TRADITIONAL DEFINED BENEFIT PLAN, TRADITIONAL DEFINED CONTRIBUTION OR TRADITIONAL IRA. THE BENEFIT REMAINS UNTAXED DURING THE INDIVIDUAL'S WORKING YEARS. IT IS ONLY TAXED WHEN RECEIVED IN RETIREMENT. BY CONTRAST, ROTH PENSION PLANS ANDIRA'S PROVIDE A TAX BENEFIT ON THE BACK END WHEN A RORKER RETIRES -- WORKER RETIRES. WILLIAM ROTH CAPTURED THE POLICY RATIONALE BETH BY NOTING THE DELIBERATE TAX POLICY BIAS TOWARDS SAVINGS. CHAIRMAN ROTH USED TO MAKE THE POINT WITH A RHETORICAL QUESTION. HE'D ASK -- QUOTE -- "IS THERE ANY BAD SAVING?" OF COURSE THE ANSWER IS NO. ONE THING WE KNOW FOR SURE, CURTAIL OR ELIMINATE THE TAX EXPENDITURE FOR RETIREMENT SAVINGS AND THE AFTER-TAX COST OF SAVINGS WILL RISE. SAVERS WILL REACT. IT IS TRUE THAT SOME WILL CONTINUE TO SAVE, BUT IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT THEY WILL HAVE LESS TO SAVE IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO. FOR MIDDLE-INCOME TAXPAYERS, IT WILL PROBABLY MEAN LOWER SAVINGS RATES. IS THAT A GOOD POLICY TO PUT IN PLACE? CONSIDER THIS. ACCORDING TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION FOR 2009, OVER HALF OF HOUSEHOLDS PAID NO INCOME TAX TAX. 49% OF AMERICANS SHOULDERED 100% OF THE INCOME TAX BURDEN. THE HALF SHOULDERING THE INCOME TAX BURDEN ARE ALSO, GENERALLY SPEAKING, THE PART OF THE POPULATION MAKING SOUND PERSONAL DECISIONS, LIKE SAVING FOR RETIREMENT. THAT BEHAVIOR IS GOOD IN BOTH A MICRO AND MACK JOE MAKHARADZE ROW MACROSENSE. IN THE MACRO SENSE, THEY'RE SACRIFICING SECURITY AND CONSUMPTION FOR SECURITY AND BETTER STANDARD OF LIVING IN THE FUTURE. IN THE MACRO SENSE, THE BEHAVIOR OF THESE CITIZENS STABILIZES OR OUR AGING SOCIETY. TO ENCOURAGE THIS -- TO ENCOURAGE THIS TYPE OF SACRIFICE, OUR TAX POLICY PROVIDES A TANGIBLE TAX BENEFIT. TAKE AWAY THAT TAX BENEFIT, AND AS WITH RAISING TAXES ON ANYTHING ELSE, YOU WILL GET LESS OF THE BEHAVIOR. TAKE AWAY THE TAX BENEFIT AND YOU WILL GET LESS SAVING FOR RETIREMENT. MR. PRESIDENT, DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE? IN ORDER TO RESTRAIN THE RABID GROWTH IN GOVERNMENT SPENDING, OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE WOULD HAVE US SEND THE WRONG POLICY SIGNAL TO HALF OF OUR POPULATION THAT SAVES. THEY WOULD ADD TO THE BURDEN OF THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY SHOULDERING THE ENTIRE BURDEN OF FUNDING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AT THE SAME TIME BY DISCOURAGING SAVING AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, WE WOULD FURTHER UNLEASH THE APPETITE OF THOSE WHO WANT TO SPEND MORE. TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THE CHART. ADD UP THE TAX EXPENDITURES FROM DEFINED BENEFIT PLANS AND DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLANS. THEY ACCOUNT FOR 10% OF TAX EXPENDITURES. OVER FIVE YEARS, THE REVENUE FROM THESE EXPENDITURES AMOUNTS TO ALMOST $700 BILLION -- WITH A "B" -- BILLION. ON A PER-YEAR AVERAGE BASIS, IT IS 140 -- IT IS $140 BILLION IN INCENTIVES FOR GROWING GOVERNMENT SPENDING. DO WE WANT A SOCIETY WHERE MORE SAVING IS ENCOURAGED OR DO WE WANT A SOCIETY WHERE DEPENDENCY AND MORE GOVERNMENT SPENDING ARE ENCOURAGED? DO WE WANT TO LOOK MORE LIKE SWITZERLAND OR DO WE WANT TO LOOK MORE LIKE GREECE? THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS CLEAR TO THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY. UNFORTUNATELY, NOT ALL OF THEIR REPRESENTATIVES SEEM TO HAVE THOUGHT THROUGH THE IMPLICATIONS OF GOING AFTER TAX EXPENDITURES. TO GET AT THIS FROM ANOTHER ANGLE, I WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THE IMPACT OF -- ON TAXPAYERS OF CUTTING BACK SOME OF THESE TAX EXPENDITURES THAT COME IN THE FORM OF ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS. I'M GOING TO EXAMINE THE EFFECTS OF CUTTING BACK THESE ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS BY APPLYING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET PROPOSAL TO CAP ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS AT 28%. IT IS CLEAR THAT SOME IN THE WHITE HOUSE ARE PUSHING THIS 28% CAP HARD IN THE NEGOTIATIONS OVER THE DEBT LIMIT. AS NOTED BEFORE, ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS GENERALLY ARE CONSIDERED TAX EXPENDITURES. BUT ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS IMPACT A NUMBER OF BASIC LONG-STANDING FEATURES OF AMERICAN LIFE. ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS INCLUDE THE HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION, THE CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION DEDUCTION, AND THE STATE AND LOCAL TAX DEDUCTION. THE PRESIDENT IS PROPOSING TO CHISEL AWAY AT THESE ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS AND WE SHOULD CAREFULLY REFLECT ON WHAT THAT WOULD REALLY MEAN. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS PROPOSED REPEATEDLY -- QUOTE -- "TO LIMIT THE TAX RATE AT WHICH HIGH-INCOME TAXPAYERS CAN TAKE ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS TO 28%." IT APPEARS THAT THIS PROPOSAL IS DESIGNED TO LESSEN THE BENEFIT TO HIGHER-INCOME TAXPAYERS OF ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS. THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION THAT SAYS THIS PROVISION WOULD MEAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULD COLLECT AN ADDITIONAL $293 BILLION IN TAXES OVER TEN YEARS. TRUE TO FORM, THIS IS JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF THE SAME SOAK-THE-RICH PLAY THAT THE LEFT HAS BEEN RUNNING FOR DECADES. FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE, IT IS UNFAIR THAT HIGHER-INCOME INDIVIDUALS GET A MORE VALUABLE TAX BENEFIT THAN LOWER-INCOME INDIVIDUALS. BUT THIS PERSPECTIVE MISCHARACTERIZES THE CRITICAL ISSUE. THE 35% BRACKET WAS ESTABLISHED BY CONGRESS WITH AN UNDERSTANDING THAT ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS WOULD ALLOW A SIGNIFICANT TAX BENEFIT. HAD CONGRESS KNOWN THAT HIGHER-INCOME TAXPAYERS WOULD BE DISALLOWED SOME OF THEIR ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS AS THE PRESIDENT NOW PROPOSES, UNDOUBTEDLY CONGRESS WOULD HAVE SET THAT BRACKET AT LOWER THAN 35%. SO TAKING AWAY SOME OF THE BENEFIT OF ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS FOR HIGHER-INCOME TAXPAYERS WHILE LEAVING THE HIGHER-INCOME TAX RATES AT THEIR CURRENT LEVELS UPSETS THE BALANCE STRUCK BY PRIOR CONGRESSES. OBVIOUSLY CONGRESS IS ALLOWED TO DO THIS, BUT LET'S NOT PRETHAT END THESE EXPENDITURES ARE LOOPHOLES -- PRETEND THAT THESE EXPENDITURES ARE LOOPHOLES OR OVERSIGHTS BY PRIOR CONGRESSES. THE PRESIDENT AND THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP ARE FREE TO DO THIS IF THEY CHOOSE, BUT THEY SHOULD AT LEAST COME CLEAN ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THEY ARE SIGNIFICANTLY RAISING TAXES ON THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY SHOULDERING THE LION'S SHARE OF THE FEDERAL INCOME TAX BURDEN. 98% OF THEM, AS A MATTER OF FACT. EVEN ASIDE FROM THE STAGGERING CHARACTER OF THIS TAX INCREASE, ONE THAT WOULD CLEARLY VIOLENT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CONTAMINE -- VIOLATE PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN PLEDGE NOT TO RAISE TAXES ON MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS, THE MACROECONOMIC IMPACT OF THIS CAP IS NEGATIVE, AT BEST. PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 28% CAP WOULD REDUCE THE BENEFIT FROM THE HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION FOR FOR FIVE YEARS NOW, OUR NATION HAS BEEN EXPERIENCING A BURST ARING THE REBUBBLE. CURRENT HEADLINES INDICATE THAT THIS TREND WILL CONTINUE FOR A TIME. ELIMINATING THE VALUE OF THE HOME VALUE MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION WOULD PROVIDE ADDITIONAL DOWNWARD PRESSURE ON HOME PRICES. NOT ONLY FOR HIGH-END HOMES BUT FOR ALL HOMES. BY REPEATEDLY REPEATEDLY PROPOSING TO ELIMINATE THE BENEFIT FOR THE HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION, IS IT THE PRESIDENT'S INTENT TO FURTHER DEPRESS HOUSING PRICES OR IS THIS MERE COLLATERAL DAMAGE FROM HIS DESIRE TO RAISE TAXES? BUT THE DAMAGE FROM THIS CAP DOES NOT STOP AT THE HOUSING MARKET. PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 28% CAP WOULD ALSO REDUCE THE BENEFIT FROM THE CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION DEDUCTION. THIS WOULD ALSO SURELY REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF CONTRIBUTIONS PEOPLE MAKE TO CHURCHES, SYNAGOGUES, TEMPLES, SOUP KITCHENS, SHELTERS, UNIVERSITIES, AND MUSEUMS, JUST TO MENTION A FEW. IS THAT THE PRESIDENT'S INTENTION? DOES THE PRESIDENT KNOW THAT THESE REVENUES MIGHT NEVER MATERIALIZE BECAUSE THE ELIMINATION OF THIS DEDUCTION WILL STEP UP PRESSURE FOR DIRECT GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FOR THE POOR, FOR STUDENTS AND FOR THE ARTS? FINALLY, THIS CAP WOULD REDUCE THE BENEFIT OF THE STATE AND LOCAL TAX DEDUCTION. I TOUCHED ON THIS POINT EARLIER. HIGH-TAX STATES ARE ABLE TO SOFTEN THE BLOW OF THEIR HIGH TAXES BY POINTING OUT TO THEIR CITIZENS THE FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY OF SUCH TAXES. SO MY COLLEAGUES FROM HIGH-TAX STATES MIGHT WANT TO TALK TO THEIR GOVERNORS ABOUT THE IMPACT THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSED CAP WOULD HAVE ON STATE AND LOCAL PUBLIC FINANCE. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO BE CLEAR ABOUT SOMETHING. OUR TAX CODE IS A CLASSILY ON -- IS A COLOSSAL, AWFUL MESS, AND TAX EXPENDITURES MUST BE A PART OF ANY CONVERSATION ABOUT TAX REFORM. BUT I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT THE CONVERSATION ABOUT TAX EXPENDITURES SHOULD HAPPEN IN A CONVERSATION ABOUT BROAD-BASED TAX REFORM, REFORM THAT FLATTENS THE CODE WHILE LOWERING RATES. THE CONVERSATION ABOUT TAX EXPENDITURES SHOULD BE A SOBER ONE IN THE CONTEXT OF A MEANINGFUL DISCUSSION ABOUT TAX POLICY. UNFORTUNATELY, THE PRESIDENT HAS CHOSEN INTODAY IS TARGET TAX -- INSTEAD TO TARGET TAX EXPENDITURES WILLY-NILLY WITHOUT REGARD TO THE POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TAX HIKES. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, WHATEVER THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO CALL IT, REDUCING SPENDING THROUGH THE TAX CODE, CLOSING LOOPHOLES, OR MAKING PEOPLE PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE, THESE ARE TAX INCREASES, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. AND THEY ARE TAX INCREASES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS. THERE HAS BEEN SOME CRITICISM IN RECENT DAYS ABOUT REPUBLICANS FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO A PLEDGE MANY OF THEM TOOK AGAINST ANY TAX INCREASE. I HAVE TO ADMIT, I'M AT A LOSS HERE. CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS, CONVINCED THAT TAXES ARE ALREADY HIGH ENOUGH, PROMISED THEIR TAX-PAYING SIT CITIZENS THAT THEY WILL NEVER -- CITIZENS THAT THEY WILL NEVER IS SUPPORT A NET TAX INCREASE. THEY GAVE THEIR CONSTITUENTS THEIR WORD AND THEY'RE STICKING TO IT. MEANWHILE, PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHO PROMISED NOT TO RAISE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS WHEN RUNNING FOR OFFICE, VOWS TO BREAK HIS PROMISE AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY. AND YET IT IS THE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS WHO ARE SOMEHOW LACKING INTEGRITY? HARDLY. MR. PRESIDENT, I DON'T CARE HOW MANY BLOWS I TAKE FROM SOPHISTICATED WASHINGTONIANS AND PROFESSIONAL LEFTISTS FOR STICKING BY MY PLEDGE TO THE PEOPLE OF UTAH. I WILL RESIST ANY EFFORT BY THE PRESIDENT TO INCLUDE TAX INCREASES AS PART OF THE DEAL TO INCREASE THE DEBT CEILING. I WILL DO SO FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS. FIRST, OUR TAX CODE NEEDS A FUNDAMENTAL OVERHAUL. IT IS A COMPLICATED MESS THAT IS LACKING IN FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS. YET THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL TO REDUCE TAX EXPENDITURES FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION IS A PROPOSAL TO MAINTAIN A TAX CODE THAT GROWS MORE BURDENSOME BY THE DAY. THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL ESSENTIALLY ROBS THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REVENUES THAT IT MIGHT USE LATER TO FLATTEN THE TAX CODE AND LOWER RATES. MORE IMPORTANTLY, I OPPOSE THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSED TAX HIKES AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE. FLATTENING THE TAX BASE WITHOUT ANY OFFSETTING RATE VUKS A TAX TAX -- REDUCTION IS A TAX INCREASE. MY FRIEND, THE RANKING MEMBER ON THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE, SENATOR SESSIONS, CAPTURED THE POINT WELL IN AN INTERVIEW THE OTHER DAY. I'LL QUOTE SENATOR SESSIONS. "WE HAVE TO BE HONEST AND RECOGNIZE THAT IF YOU'RE GOING TO ELIMINATE SYSTEMATICALLY A HOST OF DEDUCTIONS AND KEEP THE MONEY OR SPEND IT ON NEW PROGRAMS, THEN YOU'VE RAISED TAXES. IT JUST IS UNLESS WE'VE CHANGED THE ENGLIRK ENGLISH LANGUAGE." A CAMPAIGN FOR INCREASED TAX CODE IS A TAX INCREASE. IT CAN RAISE THE BAR FOR THOSE PERSONS WHO WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE DREAM OF HOMEOWNERSHIP. IT WOULD MEAN THE RESIDENTS OF HIGH-TAX STATES WOULD FACE EVEN HIGHER STATE AND LOCAL TAXES. AND IT COULD MEAN A CUTBACK IN THE VOLUME OF CHARITABLE GIVING. THIS IS SHARED SACRIFICE THAT THE NATION CANNOT AFFORD. I PREFER SHARED PROSPERITY BY CUTTING TAXES AND GIVING THESE SMALL BUSINESSES AND BUSINESSES THE OPPORTUNITY TO USE THAT MONEY TO HIRE PEOPLE AND GET PEOPLE WORKING AND GET MORE PEOPLE PAYING TAXES, AND I THINK IT'S ABYSMAL THAT THE BOTTOM 51% DO NOT PAY INCOME TAXES AND 23 MILLION OF THEM GET REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS FROM THE GOVERNMENT THAT ARE FAR MORE THAN THE PAYROLL TAXES THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE TO PAY, WHICH ARE SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS. MR. PRESIDENT, I LISTENED TO MY COLLEAGUE FROM VERMONT SAYING THAT WE CANNOT DO ANYTHING ON SOCIAL SECURITY, WE CAN'T DO THIS, WE CAN'T DO THAT, THE POOR PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE HURT. WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO BE WHEN SOCIAL SECURITY IS BANKRUPT? WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO BE WHEN MEDICAID AND MEDICARE ARE BANKRUPT? THE WAY WE'RE GOING, THAT'S WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO BE. WE CAN'T KEEP SPENDING LIKE THIS AND WE'VE GOT TO KEEP PLAYING THE PHONY GAME WITH TAX EXPENDITURES. ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT WE HAVE GOT TO GET WITH IT AROUND HERE AND WE'VE GOT TO START WORKING TOGETHER AS DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THAT IS REFORMING THIS AWFUL TAX CODE, GETTING -- GETTING TAXES DOWN FOR EVERYBODY AND TAKING CARE OF THE POOR BUT ALSO EXPECTING EVERYBODY TO HAVE SOME SKIN IN THE GAME EXCEPT THE REALLY POOR AND HELP OUR COUNTRY TO PULL OUT OF THE MESS THAT WE'RE IN. MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:59:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 04:00:34 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY AS I HAVE WEEK AFTER…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY AS I HAVE WEEK AFTER WEEK --

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  • 04:00:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    SENATOR, WE'RE IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 04:00:41 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:00:45 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:00:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:00:49 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR AS I HAVE WEEK…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR AS I HAVE WEEK AFTER WEEK SINCE THE HEALTH CARE BILL WAS SIGNED INTO LAW WITH A DOCTOR'S SECOND OPINION ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE LAW, BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT REPEATEDLY MADE PROMISES TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AS THE HEALTH CARE BILL WAS BEING DEBATED AND EVEN AFTER THE HEALTH CARE BILL WAS SIGNED. AND HE PROMISED TO IMPROVE, NOT HURT, THE QUALITY OF MEDICAL CARE IN THIS COUNTRY. WE NOW KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE LAW ACTUALLY MAKES THE PROBLEM OF HEALTH CARE IN THIS COUNTRY WORSE. IN FACT, SINCE THIS BILL WAS SIGNED INTO LAW, WE LEARNED THAT IT MAKES THE COST OF HEALTH CARE WORSE. WE KNOW THAT IT MAKES AMERICANS' ABILITY TO GET HEALTH CARE WORSE. AND THE ABILITY OF INDIVIDUALS TO KEEP THE CARE THAT THEY LIKE, IT MAKES THEIR ABILITY TO KEEP THAT CARE WORSE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY I'D LIKE TO FIRST TALK ABOUT THE COST OF CARE. AND PRESIDENT OBAMA PROMISED THE AMERICAN FAMILIES THAT THEY WOULD SEE THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS GO DOWN BECAUSE OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW. HE ACTUALLY TOLD THEY WOULD GO DOWN BY OVER $2,000 PER FAMILY. WELL, NOW WE KNOW THAT THAT'S JUST NOT THE CASE. IN FACT, AMERICANS HAVE SEEN THEIR PREMIUMS INCREASE 19% SINCE THE TIME THAT THE PRESIDENT SIGNED HIS HEALTH CARE BILL INTO LAW. AND JUST LOOKING AT THE FRONT PAGE OF THE "SHERIDAN PRESS," FRONT PAGE, THE COUNTY'S COST TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE TO EMPLOYEES WILL INCREASE BY ABOUT $360,000 THIS YEAR. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ONE COUNT, ONE OUT OF 23 COUNTIES IN WYOMING, $360,00 FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEES. THROUGHOUT THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE THE PRESIDENT PROMISED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT IF THEY LIKE THEIR HEALTH CARE PLAN, HIS HEALTH CARE LAW WOULD HELP THEM KEEP IT. ANOTHER BROKEN PROMISE. EMPLOYERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY MADE IT CLEAR THE HEALTH CARE LAW'S MANDATES ARE TOO EXPENSIVE AND THREATEN THEIR ABILITY TO OFFER INSURANCE TO THEIR EMPLOYEES. A RECENT STUDY BY MACKENZIE AND COMPANY WHICH IS A REPUTABLE NATIONAL CONSULTING FIRM PRODUCED THE REPORT TITLED "HOW U.S. HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL AFFECT EMPLOYEES' BENEFITS." THEY SURVEYED OVER 1,300 EMPLOYERS ACROSS DIVERSE INDUSTRIES, GEE OG FISCAL AND -- GEOGRAPHIES AND EMPLOYER SIZES. THE RESULTS CONFIRM WHAT AMERICANS AND THEIR FAMILIES KNEW ALL ALONG AND THEY KNEW IT LONG BEFORE THE PRESIDENT AND WASHINGTON DEMOCRATS FORCED THIS HEALTH CARE LAW DOWN THEIR THROATS. OVERALL, THE REPORT SAYS, 30% OF EMPLOYERS WILL DEFINITELY OR PROBABLY STOP OFFERING EMPLOYER-SPONSORED COVERAGE IN THE YEARS AFTER 2014, WHEN THE OBAMA HEALTH CARE LAW GOES FULLY INTO EFFECT. AMONG EMPLOYERS WITH A HIGH AWARENESS OF THE HEALTH CARE REFORM LAW AND WHAT'S SPECIFICALLY IN THE LAWMAKERS THEN THE PROPORTION OF THOSE WHO WILL DEFINITELY OR PROBABLY STOP OFFERING COVERAGE JUMPS TO 50%, AND UPWARD OF 60% WILL PURSUE OTHER OPTIONS. SO AT LEAST 30% OF EMPLOYERS WOULD ACTUALLY GAIN ECONOMICALLY FROM DROPPING COVERAGE, EVEN IF THEY COMPLETELY COMPENSATED THEIR EMPLOYEES FOR THE CHANGE THROUGH OTHER BENEFIT OFFERINGS AND HIGHER SALARIES. APPARENTLY THE PRESIDENT'S PROMISE OF IF YOU LIKE THE HEALTH INSURANCE YOU HAVE TODAY, YOU CAN KEEP IT TRANSLATES INTO YOU MAY VERY WELL LOSE YOUR COVERAGE. AS FORMER CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE DIRECTOR DOUG HOLTZ-EAKIN CONFIRMS IF EMPLOYERS DECIDE TO DROP COVERAGE WHICH IS ACTUALLY IN THEIR BEST ECONOMIC INTEREST TO DO, THE COST OF INSURANCE SUBSIDIES WILL SKYROCKET. REMEMBER, THE WHITE HOUSE AND DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS MET BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. THEY ACTED SWIFTLY AND COVERTLY TO PASS A LAW WITHOUT REGARD FOR HOW ITS PROVISIONS WOULD IMPACT EACH AND EVERY AMERICAN FAMILY. THEN THE QUESTION IS: WILL AMERICANS ACTUALLY HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET MEDICAL CARE THEY NEED FROM A DOCTOR THEY WANT AT A PRICE THEY CAN AFFORD? THE PRESIDENT PROMISED THAT HIS LAW WOULD INCREASE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CARE. SOME GROUPS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY. IN APRIL OF 2010, A MONTH AFTER THE PRESIDENT SIGNED HIS HEALTH CARE PLAN INTO LAW, THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES ESTIMATED THAT BASED ON GRADUATION AND TRAINING RATES, THIS COUNTRY WOULD HAVE A SHORTAGE OF 150,000 DOCTORS OVER THE NEXT 15 YEARS. IN MAY OF THE SAME YEAR THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION ISSUED THE RESULTS OF ITS SURVEY SHOEGT IMPACT OF LOW -- SHOWING THE IMPACT OF LOW PAYMENT RATES AND FUTURE PAYMENT CUTS ON MEDICAID PATIENTS ACCESS TO CARE. IT FOUND ONE IN FIVE PHYSICIANS CURRENTLY RESTRICT THE NUMBER OF MEDICARE PATIENTS THEY SEE. THE A.M.A. STUDY SHOWED THAT NEARLY A THIRD OF PRIMARY-CARE PHYSICIANS RESTRICT THE NUMBER OF MEDICARE PATIENTS THAT THEY TAKE IN TO THEIR PRACTICE. AND ALL ANY MEMBERS OF THE SENATE NEED TO DO IS AT HOME OVER THE WEEKEND TALK TO SOMEONE IN YOUR COMMUNITY, SOMEONE WHO IS ON MEDICARE, SOMEONE WHO IS TRYING TO FIND A DOCTOR, A DOCTOR TO CARE FOR THEM, AND SEE HOW VERY DIFFICULT IT IS FOR SOMEONE ON MEDICARE AGE TO FIND A DOCTOR TO CARE FOR THEM. WELL, LATER LAST YEAR THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES RELATED UPDATED PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE ESTIMATES. A SEPTEMBER 2010 STUDY SAID THAT BY 2015 DOCTOR SHORTAGES ARE ACTUALLY 50% WORSE THAN ORIGINALLY PROJECTED. BY 2020, THERE WILL BE A SHORTAGE OF 45,000 PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS AND A SHORTAGE OF 46,000 SURGEONS AND MEDICAL SPECIALISTS. SO I FIND IT IRONIC THAT WE HAVE A HEALTH CARE LAW THAT'S PASSED THAT ACTUALLY DOESN'T PUT MONEY INTO TRAINING DOCTORS TO TREAT YOU, BUT PUTS MONEY IN TO HIRE I.R.S. AGENTS TO INVESTIGATE YOU. ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHING. THESE STUDIES CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE LAW WILL ONLY MAKE IT HARDER FOR AMERICANS TO SEE THEIR DOCTORS. IN FACT, WASHINGTON ONLY EXPANDED THE ABILITY TO FOLKS TO GET GOVERNMENT-APPROVED, GOVERNMENT-MANDATED, GOVERNMENT-SUBSIDIZED COVERAGE. THEY DID NOT EXPAND THE ABILITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO ACTUALLY GET MEDICAL CARE. AND THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDICAL COVERAGE AND MEDICAL CARE. WHEN YOU TAKE OVER $500 BILLION AWAY FROM OUR SENIORS ON MEDICARE -- NOT TO SAVE MEDICARE BUT TO START A BRAND-NEW GOVERNMENT PROGRAM FOR SOMEONE ELSE -- WELL, THAT'S A WAY TO MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE. WHEN YOU FORCE 16 MILLION MORE PEOPLE ON TO MEDICAID, A PROGRAM WHERE HALF OF THE DOCTORS IN THE COUNTRY WON'T SEE THOSE PATIENTS, THAT ALSO MAKES THE PROBLEM WORSE. AND THE FRONT PAGE OF YESTERDAY'S "USA TODAY" YESTERDAY, MR. PRESIDENT, WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, THE HEADLINE "MEDICAID PATIENTS F PAYMENTS GO UNDER THE KNIFE. STATE CUTS COULD ADD TO SHORTAGE OF DOCTORS. SECOND PARAGRAPH, SOME HEALTH CARE EXPERTS SAY THE CUTS MOST OF WHICH WENT INTO EFFECT JULY 1 OR WILL LATER THIS MONTH COULD ADD TO A SHORTAGE OF PHYSICIANS AND OTHER PROVIDERS PARTICIPATING IN MEDICAID." THE ARTICLE GOES ON TO SAY THAT "UNDER THE HEALTH CARE LAW, MORE THAN 16 MILLION ADDITIONAL PEOPLE WILL BECOME ELIGIBLE STARTING IN 2014." SO ALREADY WE HAVE A SITUATION WHERE DOCTORS ARE RELUCTANT TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE ON MEDICAID. AND YET, THE PRESIDENT'S SOLUTION TO THE HEALTH CARE DILEMMAS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE TO PUT MORE PEOPLE INTO A SYSTEM THAT IS ALREADY BROKEN. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, WE'RE GIVING INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES AN INSURANCE CARD BUT NOT REALLY GIVING THEM ACCESS TO THE CARE THAT HAS BEEN PROMISED. AND ADULTS AREN'T THE ONLY ONES WHO ARE WAITING IN LINES TO GET INTO A DOCTOR'S OFFICE, AS THE LINES GET LONGER. IN FACT, CHILDREN ENROLLED IN MEDICAID HAVE A MUCH HARDER TIME ACCESSING MEDICAL CARE THAN CHILDREN WHO HAVE PRIVATE INSURANCE. IF THAT'S THE PRESIDENT'S SOLUTION TO THE NEEDS OF THIS COUNTRY. JANUARY 16 OF THIS YEAR THE "NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE" PUBLISHED A STUDY CONDUCTED IN COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, PRESIDENT OBAMA'S HOMETOWN OF CHICAGO. PEOPLE WERE CALLING MEDICAL OFFICES ASKING FOR APPOINTMENTS. THEY WERE ASKING FOR APPOINTMENTS FOR CHILDREN WITH CHRONIC CONDITIONS OR ACUTE CONDITIONS AND TELLING THEM, TELLING THE OFFICES -- THESE WERE KIND OF SECRET SHOPPERS -- TELLING THE OFFICE THE PERSON HAD MEDICAID OR PRIVATE INSURANCE. WHAT THEY FOUND IS THAT 66% OF THE TIME WHEN THE RESEARCHER CALLED FOR AN APPOINTMENT AND THEY MENTIONED MEDICAID, THEY WERE DENIED AN APPOINTMENT. BUT ONLY 11% OF THE RESEARCHERS CALLING FOR APPOINTMENTS WHO SAID THEY HAD PRIVATE INSURANCE, ONLY 11% WOULD NOT GET AN APPOINTMENT. SO THERE YOU HAVE 66% DENIED IF THEY HAVE MEDICAID. ONLY 11% DENIED WITH PRIVATE INSURANCE. AND THOSE MEDICAID PATIENTS WHO DID GET AN APPOINTMENT, WELL, THEY FACED WAIT TIMES TWICE AS LONG AS KIDS WITH PRIVATE INSURANCE, AN AVERAGE OF ABOUT SIX WEEKS. ONE CALLER WAS TOLD WHEN ASKED WHAT KIND OF INSURANCE THE PERSON HAD, WHEN THAT PERSON SAID MEDICAID, THE RECEPTIONIST AT THE MEDICAL OFFICE SAID MEDICAID IS NOT INSURANCE. YET, THAT IS WHAT THE PRESIDENT AND THE DEMOCRATS BASE THEIR ENTIRE HEALTH CARE PLAN ON. 16 MILLION MORE ON TO MEDICAID. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, HERE IT IS OVER A YEAR AFTER THE LAW HAS BEEN SIGNED. THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE LAW HAS MADE HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA WORSE. PREMIUMS ARE HIGHER. THE LINES AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE ARE LONGER. IT IS MORE DIFFICULT TO GET A DOCTOR TO CARE FOR YOU. THIS ISN'T WHAT THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE LAW WAS SUPPOSED TO DO AND IT'S NOT WHAT THE PRESIDENT PROMISED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE LAST YEAR. HE PROMISED THAT THE HEALTH CARE LAW WOULD MAKE HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA BETTER FOR ALL AMERICANS. BUT EACH WEEK WE LEARN THAT THE PROMISES ARE COMING UP EMPTY AND THAT HEALTH CARE AMERICA -- HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA UNDER THIS HEALTH CARE LAW HAS BEEN MADE WORSE. AND THAT'S WHY WEEK AFTER WEEK I COME TO THE SENATE FLOOR AS WE LEARN MORE THINGS ABOUT THIS SENATE, ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE LAW THAT PASSED THE SENATE, PASSED THE HOUSE, WAS SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT, AND IN MY OPINION AS A DOCTOR WHO PRACTICED MEDICINE FOR 24 YEARS, HAS ACTUALLY BEEN BAD FOR PATIENTS, BAD FOR PROVIDERS, THE NURSES AND TKWHORBGTS TAKE CARE OF THOSE -- NURSES AND DOCTORS WHO TAKE CARE OF THOSE PATIENTS AND BAD FOR TAXPAYERS. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 04:12:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO.

  • 04:12:10 PM

    MR. UDALL

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:17:02 PM

    MR. UDALL

    IS WILDFIRES IN NEW MEXICO. I SPENT THE LAST WEEK IN MY STATE OF NEW…

    IS WILDFIRES IN NEW MEXICO. I SPENT THE LAST WEEK IN MY STATE OF NEW MEXICO. I STAYED THERE, I STARTED TO GO TO THE PLANE AND I KEPT HEARING THE REPORTS FROM MY STAFF, AND ONE OF THE MOST SHOCKING WAS THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY OF LOS ALAMOS, 12,000 PEOPLE, WERE EVACUATED BECAUSE A FOREST FIRE WAS COMING IN THEIR DIRECTION. AND AS I KEPT GETTING THE REPORTS AND THE EVACUATION STARTED TO TAKE PLACE, I THOUGHT WELL, THE BEST THING TO DO IS TO NOT FLY OUT, TO GO BACK TO THE COMMUNITY OF LOS ALAMOS AND THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES AND TRY TO ASSIST IN ANY WAY I COULD. AND I WANTED TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT, AND -- AND I THINK THERE ARE SOME LESSONS TO BE LEARNED IN TERMS OF BUDGETS AND DEFICITS AND HOW WE SHOULD INVEST, BUT I WOULD FIRST LIKE TO THANK THE SENATORS WHO HELPED ME WHILE I WAS GONE. AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER, SENATOR FRANKEN KNOWS, WE ARE ASSIGNED WEEKLY DUTIES IN TERMS OF PRESIDING, AND I WAS -- I WAS SUPPOSED TO PRESIDE LAST WEEK, AND THREE SENATORS, SENATOR DURBIN, SENATOR MERKLEY AND MY COUSIN MARK UDALL STEPPED UP TO HELP ME WITH PRESIDING TIME. I HAD AN AMENDMENT THAT WAS ON THE FLOOR WHEN WE WERE DEALING WITH THE RULES PACKAGE, AND SENATOR HARKIN HELPED ME WITH THAT PROPOSAL. SO THERE WAS A REAL TEAM EFFORT WITHIN OUR DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS TO HELP ME TO BE ABLE TO WORK ON THE WILDFIRE ISSUE OUT IN NEW MEXICO AND BE ABLE TO STAY THERE AND HAVE MY CAPABLE STAFF AND THE OTHER SENATORS HELP OUT. AND I JUST WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY FOR THAT TEAM EFFORT. NOW, THE WILDFIRES THAT ARE RAGING ACROSS NEW MEXICO ARE NOT ONLY IN NEW MEXICO. A NUMBER OF STATES HAVE BEEN HIT. TEXAS, ARIZONA, FLORIDA, AND GENERALLY -- AND MY HOME STATE OF NEW MEXICO. GENERALLY WHAT WE SEE IN THIS COUNTRY IS THE FIRE SEASON STARTS AT THE SOUTHERN PART AND MOVES UP TO THE NORTH AS WE GO THROUGH THE SUMMER SEASON, AND IN THE SOUTHWEST, WE HAVE HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY FIRE SEASON. I WAS JUST BRIEFED BY SECRETARY VILSACK WHEN I WAS OUT THERE. HE TALKED IN THE SOUTHWEST REGION ABOUT 1,600-PLUS FIRES BURNING 1.5 MILLION ACRES. AND THIS IS STILL VERY EARLY IN THE FIRE SEASON. WE COULD SEE A LOT MORE BURNING GOING ON. AND THEN THE THING THAT REALLY HIT ME WAS THAT THE -- THE FACT THAT WE WERE TOLD THIS WAS THE DRIEST RECORDED SUMMER SINCE THE FOREST SERVICE HAS BEEN KEEPING RECORDS. SO PRETTY REMARKABLE THAT WE'RE IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION WHERE WE HAVE A DROUGHT, WE HAVE FIRES THAT HEAT UP. THIS PARTICULAR FIRE FOR NEW MEXICO, THE NAME OF IT IS CALLED THE LOS CONCHOS FIRE RIGHT NEAR LOS ALAMOS. AS WE SPEAK, IT IS MORE THAN 135,000 ACRES. IT IS ALMOST THREE TIMES AS BIG AS THE PREVIOUS FIRE SITUATION THAT WE HAVE SEEN. AND WHAT HAPPENS WITH THESE FOREST FIRES IN OUR DRY, ARID REGION IS THAT WE GET EXTREME HEAT WITHIN THE FOREST AND YOU GET WHAT ARE CALLED CROWN FIRES WHERE THE TOPS OF THE TREES, THESE TREES MAY BE 30 TO 50 TO 100-FEET TALL AND THE FIRES BURN IN THE TOP OF THE CROWN, AND THEY CAN SPREAD WHEN THERE IS A 40 OR 50-MILE AN HOUR WIND AS THERE WAS IN SOME CASES HERE. THEY CAN BE IN THE CROWN OF THE TREES AND THEY CAN JUMP OUT A MILE IN ADVANCE WITH EMBERS AND CREATING ADDITIONAL FIRE IN FRONT OF IT, AND AS A RESULT OF THE HEAT, VERY INTENSIVE HEAT, I THINK CLOSE TO A THOUSAND DEGREES WHEN YOU RIDE IN THE HEAT OF THE FIRE, IT MAKES THE SOIL SO THE SOIL WON'T ABSORB WATER ANY LONGER, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT CREATES A SITUATION WHEN WE GET OUR RAINY SEASON, WHICH OCCURS RIGHT AFTER THE FIRE SEASON, YOU CAN HAVE SERIOUS FLOOD SITUATIONS. THAT SOIL WON'T ABSORB WATER SO WHEN THE RAINS COME, ALL OF THE SOIL ON THE SURFACE WASHES OFF. IT WASHES INTO RESERVOIRS, IT CAN FILL THEM UP WITH SILT. SOME OF THOSE ARE USED FOR RECREATION, FOR FISHING. OTHERS ARE USED FOR DRINKING WATER. FOR EXAMPLE, THE -- SEVERAL OF THE COMMUNITIES IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO GET 40%, 50% OF THEIR DRINKING WATER FROM THESE RESERVOIRS. SO THESE KINDS OF FOREST FIRES CAN BE ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING TO COMMUNITIES. BUT THE ONE THING WE WERE THANKFUL FOR BECAUSE OF THE FEDERAL FIREFIGHTERS IS THE WORST-CASE SCENARIOS DIDN'T OCCUR. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WAS EXPECTED -- AND I THINK MANY SAW THIS COVERING ON THE NATIONAL MEDIA, THIS MIGHT GET INTO THE NATIONAL LABORATORY, LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY, THAT THERE WAS GOING TO BE RADIATION RELEASED AND THOSE KINDS OF THINGS, AND IN FACT WE DODGED A BULLET THERE. IT DIDN'T GO INTO LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY. THE LABS AND THE RESIDENCES WERE PROTECTED. THERE WAS ANOTHER FIRE BURNING NEARBY THAT THREATENED THE SANTA FE WATERSHED. THE FIRE CHANGED DIRECTIONS AND BECAUSE OF THE SKILLFUL FIREFIGHTING, IT DIDN'T GET INTO THE WATERSHED. SO WE DODGED A BULLET, BUT MANY OTHER AREAS, MANY OTHER AREAS WERE SEVERELY IMPACTED AND MANY OTHER GROUPS WERE. FOR EXAMPLE, NEW MEXICO'S INDIAN PUEBLOS. WE HAVE 19 PUEBLOS IN NEW MEXICO. SOME OF THEM WERE TERRIBLY IMPACTED BY THIS. THE SANTA CLARA PUEBLO, SAN EL DEFANZO, MANY OTHER PUEBLOS. ONE OF THE MOST DAMAGED PUEBLOS WAS THE SANTA CLARA PUEBLO, AND THE GOVERNOR OF THAT PUEBLO IS A GENTLEMAN BY THE NAME OF WALTER DASHENEAU. HE AND SOME OF HIS COUNSELORS HAD COME TO A MEETING, AND THE LAST TWO BIG FIRES, 85% OF THIS INDIAN RESERVATION HAS BEEN BURNED. WHAT THEY SAID WHEN WE WERE SITTING IN A ROOM -- AND THESE ARE THE ELDERS FROM THE PUEBLO CAME TO TALK TO US. THEY SAID, YOU KNOW, OUR HEARTS ARE IN A VERY SAD STATE. THE -- THE FIRE DEVASTATED OUR RELIGIOUS SITES, OUR SACRED SITES. WE HAD MEDICINEAL PLANTS WE WOULD COLLECT IN THIS AREA. WE CAN'T DO THAT ANY LONGER. AND WITH GREAT EMOTION, THESE ELDERS SAID WE -- WE ARE NEVER GOING TO SEE THIS FOREST IN THE SAME CONDITION AGAIN. AND SO OBVIOUSLY, THE LOSS WAS GREAT AT SANTA CLARA, BUT IT WAS -- IT WAS ALL ACROSS, IT WAS ALL ACROSS NEW MEXICO OF THOSE PUEBLOS THAT I JUST NAMED, AND IT'S A VERY, VERY SIGNIFICANT LOSS. AND THE FIRST THING I WANT TO DO IN SPEAKING TODAY IS TO THANK ALL THE FIREFIGHTERS THAT WERE INVOLVED IN THIS EFFORT. WE HAVE, I THINK, FIGHTING JUST THIS ONE FIRE 2,600 FIREFIGHTERS FROM ALL OVER THE NATION, 15 DIFFERENT STATES PUT FIREFIGHTERS IN TO DO THIS. IT'S INCREDIBLY TOUGH WORK, DIFFICULT, TOUGH, DIRTY WORK. I MET MANY OF THESE FIREFIGHTERS OUT ON THE FRONT WHERE THEY WERE FIGHTING THE FIRES. SOME OF THEM WOULD TALK ABOUT HOW THEY HAD BEEN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES FOR TWO WEEKS. HADN'T HAD A SHOWER. SLEEPING IN TENTS. TREMENDOUSLY TRYING, OCCUPATION OCCUPATION -- TREMENDOUSLY TRYING OCCUPATION BEING A FIREFIGHTER, BUT THEY BELIEVE IN IT, THEY SHOW UP EVERY DAY, AND THEY DO AN INCREDIBLE JOB. AND THEY WERE SUPPORTED BY OUR NATIONAL GUARD WHO GUARDED THE COMMUNITY OF LOS ALAMOS WHILE THE PEOPLE WERE EVACUATED TO MAKE SURE THERE WASN'T ANY CRIME GOING ON. THE STATE POLICE PATROLLED THE ROADS TO TRY TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY COULD KEEP ORDER. LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS PARTICIPATED. THE LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS. SO IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE EFFORT BY OUR COMMUNITY PULLING TOGETHER. AND ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE THINGS IS THE EXPERTISE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, IN FEDERAL LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCIES OF FIREFIGHTERS. THESE TEAMS ARE HEADED UP. TYPICALLY YOU WILL HAVE A TYPE ONE AND A TYPE TWO TEAM, AND THE HEAD OF THE TEAM CALLED THE INCIDENT COMMANDER WILL PROBABLY HAVE 20, 25, 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN FIGHTING FIRES EVERY SUMMER AROUND THE COUNTRY. THESE ARE CAREER PEOPLE FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, THE FOREST SERVICE, THE PARK SERVICE, AND A VARIETY OF OTHER -- OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES THAT REALLY STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND HELP OUT WHEN WE GET IN THESE EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. AND AS I SAID, THEY COME FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY TO WORK IN THE STATES THAT ARE IMPACTED AND AS THE FIRE SEASON SPREADS NORTH UP TO COLORADO AND WYOMING AND MONTANA, THOSE SAME FIREFIGHTERS MOVE ON UP TO -- TO CONTINUE THE BATTLE UP THERE. AND ONE OF THE POINTS I TAKE FROM THIS, ONE OF THE THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS -- AND PRESIDENT LINCOLN, I THINK, SAID THIS VERY WELL. GOVERNMENT DOES FOR PEOPLE WHAT THEY CAN'T DO FOR THEMSELVES. COLLECTIVELY, WE PULL TOGETHER WHEN WE HIT SITUATIONS WHERE IF YOU HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS A HOME IN LOS ALAMOS, THERE IS NOT MUCH HE CAN DO WITH A BIG FOREST FIRE COMING IN THE DIRECTION, BUT WE CAN ORGANIZE AS A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY TO SAY WHEN WE GET BIG CATASTROPHIC FIRES LIKE THIS THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE COMPETENT, THAT ARE CAPABLE AND THAT HAVE ALL OF THIS EXPERIENCE IN FIGHTING FIRES THAT WILL COME TOGETHER AND THAT WILL HELP OUT, AND THAT'S SOMETHING WE NEED TO PROTECT. WHEN WE THINK OF DEBATING BUDGETS AND DEFICITS AND ALL OF THAT, THERE IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT FUNCTION THAT GOVERNMENT SERVES OUT THERE, AND WE NEED TO PROTECT THAT SAFETY NET FUNCTION, THAT COLLECTIVE FUNCTION WHERE WE HELP EACH OTHER, AND THIS FIREFIGHTERRING, I THINK, IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF WHERE GOVERNMENT IS NEEDED AND WE COULD BE DEVASTATEED IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THE EXPERTISE THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS IN TERMS OF FIGHTING FIRES. NOW, THE OTHER THING I SAW AT THESE FIRES -- AND IT WAS PRETTY REMARKABLE. IT'S WHEN I HAVE BEEN TO TORNADO SITES IN NEW MEXICO, WHEN I HAVE BEEN TO SOME OF THE FLOOD SITUATIONS, THE THING THAT STANDS OUT TO ME IS HOW NEW MEXICANS PULL TOGETHER IN THE SITUATION, NEW MEXICANS HELPING NEW MEXICANS. THE PUEBLOS THAT I TALKED ABOUT THAT WERE SO IMPACTED BY THE FIRES, THEY ACTUALLY OPENED UP OTHER SITES ON THEIR RESERVATIONS SO THAT THE EVACUEES THAT WERE COMING OUT OF LOS ALAMOS, THE 12,000 PEOPLE, SEVERAL OF THESE PUEBLOS SAID, YOU KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO OPEN UP OUR CONVENTION CENTER AND LET THEM SET UP COTS AND WE'RE GOING TO FEED THE PEOPLE. WE'RE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HELP WITH THIS SITUATION. AT THE SAME TIME, THEIR PARTICULAR PUEBLO WAS BEING DEVASTATED BY A FOREST FIRE. SO THERE WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY OUTPOURING OF GOODWILL THAT NEW MEXICANS HAVE SHOWN IN THIS KIND OF EMERGENCY SITUATION, AND WHAT THE REMARKABLE THING TO SEE IS IN A TIME OF NEED, PEOPLE PULLING TOGETHER AND DOING THAT IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT REALLY BRINGS TEARS TO YOUR EYES. THERE WAS ONE INDIVIDUAL I JUST WANT TO TALK ABOUT. THIS IS AN INDIVIDUAL -- I WAS IN TALKING TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT WERE TRAINING FOR A CHARITY THAT WAS GOING TO HELP -- HELP THE EVACUEES, HELP THEM SERVE MEALS, HELP THEM SET UP COTS, HELP THEM BE ORGANIZED, AND I GOT A QUESTION FROM THE FLOOR AND THE INDIVIDUAL SAID TO ME, THEY SAID, YOU KNOW, I -- I LIVED IN LOS ALAMOS AND I HAD TO COME DOWN HERE. I'M AN EVACUEE. BUT I FOUND A FRIEND THAT WAS ABLE TO PUT ME UP, AND I KNOW THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE THAT DON'T HAVE THAT SITUATION. SO I WANT -- I'M OUT HERE TODAY TRAINING WITH THE AMERICAN RED CROSS BECAUSE I WANT TO HELP THE OTHERS AND I WANT TO TRY TO GIVE BACK. I MEAN, THAT'S THE SPIRIT THAT WE SAW IN NEW MEXICO OF, EVEN IF YOU WERE IN NEED AND BEEN DRIVEN FROM YOUR HOME, YOU WERE STILL TRYING TO HELP OWVMENT AND I THINK IT IS A PRETTY REMARKABLE -- PRETTY REMARKABLE STORY. NOW, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO AS WE LOOK ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND WE SEE FLOODS IN THE MIDWEST AND WILDFIRES IN THE SOUTHWEST AND FOR NEIGH DOSE, ALL OF THESE THINGS REQUIRE A DISASTER RELIEF BILL. THEY REQUIRE DISASTER RELIEF FUNDING FOR AGENCIES WHO DEAL WITH FIRES AND ALL OF THESE OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS. AND THESE THINGS ARE VERY COSTLY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. FEMA STEPS IN AND HELPS OUT, WITH THE GOVERNOR MAKING A REQUEST. THE FOREST SERVICE HELPS OUT. THERE ARE BURN AREA REHABILITATION TEAMS THAT MOVE IN RIGHT AFTER A FIRE TO TRY TO PROTECT THE EROSION AND SO THERE AREN'T BAD FLOODS. AND WE'VE GOT TO TRY TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE SURE WE MAINTAIN, ONCE AGAIN IN THIS DEFICIT SITUATION THAT WE'RE IN, THAT KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY. WE'VE -- THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO HELP. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO HELP IN DEFICIT, EVEN WITHIN A DEFICIT SITUATION, WE HAVE TO HAVE A DISASTER RELIEF KIND OF EFFORT. AND THE IDEA THAT WE'RE -- WE ARE GOING TO SOMEHOW CHANGE THE WAY WE DO DISASTERS NOW, THAT WE'RE GOING TO TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM MEDICAID IN ORDER TO PUT IT INTO DISASTERS, IS-- I DON'T THINK, A VERY GOOD IDEA. SO I THINK WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HOW WE DO DISASTER RELIEF, WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER AND WHEN WE HIT DISASTERS, WE NEED TO HELP EACH OTHER. AND TO SHOW YOU THE KIND OF PRESSURE THAT WE'RE UNDER IN NEW MEXICO, SECRETARY VILSACK, WITH THE FOREST SERVICE, WAS OUT IN NEW MEXICO AND THE ONE PLEA HE MADE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION, BECAUSE WE WERE TALKING TO HIM ABOUT WATERSHEDS THAT MEAN CLEAN DRINKING WATER IN THAT KIND OF DISWAITION, AND THE SECRETARY SAID, YOU KNOW, I'VE GOT A PROGRAM. IT IS CALLED THE EMERGENCY WATERSHED PROTECTION PROGRAM. IT IS FOR ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. IT'S WHEN WE GET IN THESE KIND OF WILDFIRE, FLOOD, WHATEVER THE SITUATION IS. HE SAYS, WE HAVE $9 MILLION, $-9D MILLION IN THE ACCOUNT. HE SAYS, ALREADY BEFORE YOUR REQUESTS OR ANY OTHERS HAVE COME IN FROM NEW MEXICO AND ANY OTHER STATES -- I KNOW THERE ARE FIRES DOWN IN FLORIDA AND TEXAS AND ARIZONA -- WE HAVE $45 MILLION IN REQUESTS. SO $-9D MILLION IN THE ACCOUNT, $45 MILLION IN REQUESTS. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT WATERSHEDS, WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS DRINKING WATER NOT DETERIORATING AND THAT KIND OF THING. SO WE NEED -- WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT THERE IS A LOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES IN A SHARED WAY WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO PROTECT THOSE COMMUNITIES. AND JUST MY FINAL NOTE, TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE BIGGEST PICTURE HERE, AND THAT'S ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL WARMING. WE'RE SEEING THESE WILDFIRES, DROUGHTS, AND FLOODS LIKE WE'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. I'VE SEEN SENATORS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY TALKING ABOUT THESE DISASTER SITUATIONS. AND THE SCIENTISTS HE WILL US THAT WE'RE PUTTING TOO MUCH CARBON DPIE DIOXIDE INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. WE'RE WARMING THE ATMOSPHERE. IN THE WEST SCIENTISTS TELL US IT IS GOING TO BE TWICE AS HIGH IN THE WEST, THE COMPUTER MODELS SHOW, THAN IN OTHER PLACES IN THE COUNTRY. AND WHILE THE CLIMATE SCIENTISTS ARE VERY CAUTIOUS WITH THEIR MODELING AND WHAT THEY SAY, THEY SAY YOU CAN'T POINT TO ANY PARTICULAR STORM. I CAN'T SAY THAT THAT PARTICULAR FIRE THAT OCCURRED IN NEW MEXICO, THE LAS CONCHAS FIRE, THAT FIRE WAS CAUSED BY GLOBAL WARMING OR CLIMATE CHANGE. THEY ALL TELL US -- AND THIS IS THE PART WE REALLY NEED TO LISTEN TO. THE SCIENTISTS HE WILL US WHAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE, AS A RESULT OF THIS, IS MORE SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS, MEANING MORE SEVERE -- SAY, IF YOU GET INTO A DROUGHT SITUATION, IT'S GOING TO BE A MORE SEVERE DROUGHT, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN NEW MEXICO RIGHT NOW. WHEN YOU GET FLOODS, YOU'RE GOING TO BE SEEING MORE SEVERE FLOODS. YOU ARE HE GOING TO SEE MORE IS HE -- YOU'RE GOING TO SEE MORE SEVERE WILDFIRES. THESE ARE ALL THE THINGS WE'RE SEEING IN NEW MEXICO. WE'RE SEEING THEM ACROSS THE NATION. AND WE'VE SEEN EXTREME FLOODS IN NEW MEXICO, CATASTROPHIC FOREST FIRES, WE'RE SEEING DROUGHTS WE HAVEN'T SEEN BEFORE. THE FOREST SERVICE HAS BEEN KEEPING RECORDS FOR 117 YEARS, AND THEY JUST REPORTED TO US THAT THERE IS NO RECORD FOR HOW DRY WE ARE RIGHT NOW. THIS IS THE DRYEST YEAR WE'VE EVER HAD, WHICH LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE WILDFIRES WE HAD, WITH THE WIND AND ALL THE OTHER THINGS THAT OCCURRED. SO WE CAN'T PUT OUR HEADS IN THE SAND IN TERMS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, IN TERMS OF GLOBAL WARMING. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THESE THINGS AND REALIZE THAT WE'RE CONTRIBUTING TO THEM. AND WE NEED TO PUT POLICIES IN PLACE, SOLID POLICIES, THAT PUT US ON A PATH TO REDUCING THAT CARBON DIOXIDE POLLUTION THAT IS OUT THERE. SO, WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND THANK THE SENATE FOR THE TIME, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 04:36:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

  • 04:36:35 PM

    MR. LEE

    I STAND BEFORE YOU TODAY TO DISCUSS A PROBLEM THAT'S OF CONCERN TO 300…

    I STAND BEFORE YOU TODAY TO DISCUSS A PROBLEM THAT'S OF CONCERN TO 300 MILLION AMERICANS. IT RELATES TO OUR NATIONAL DEBT, A DEBT THAT WILL SOON CROSS THE $15 TRILLION THRESHOLD. WE'VE BEEN ASKED TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT, EXTEND THE NATION'S CREDIT ONE MORE TIME. THIS WE HAVE THE POWER TO DO, BUT WE HAVE TO ASK OUR QUESTION: -- OURSELVES THE QUESTION, SHOULD WE EXERCISE THAT POWER, SHOULD WE INCUR ADDITIONAL DEBT YET AGAIN WITHOUT ANY PLAN MOVING FORWARD TO CHANGE FUNDAMENTALLY THE WAY THAT WE SPEND MONEY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.,? OUR CURRENT LAW REQUIRING US TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT PERIODICALLY EVERY TIME OUR EXISTING LINE OF CREDIT DRIES UP DATES BACK TO 1-9D 82. WE'VE RAISED THE DEBT LIMIT SINCE 1982 NEARLY 40 TIMES. I FEAR THAT IF WE DO IT AGAIN THIS TIME WITHOUT ANY PERMANENT, BINDING PLAN IN PLACE, LEGAL RESTRICTIONS, CHANGING THE WAY THAT CONGRESS SPENDS MONEY, IT WILL BE RIGHT BACK TO THE SAME TROUGH, JUST A FEW MONTHS LATER. THAT'S A PROBLEM BECAUSE AS WE DO THIS OVER TIME, WE INEVITABLY PUT PRESSURE ON OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM. PRESSURE THAT WILL SOON CAUSE OUR ECONOMY DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES. PRESSURE THAT WILL IN TIME RESULT IN EXCESSIVE JOB LOSSES, SKYROCKETING INTEREST RATES, AND LOTS OF OTHER ECONOMIC CONDITIONS THAT WOULD BE, TO SAY THE LEAST, UNPLEASANT. IT'S FOR THIS REASON THAT 100 SENATORS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY HAVE CANCELED THEIR PLANS THAT THEY HAD PREVIOUSLY MADE TO SPEND TIME WITH THEIR CONSTITUENTS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE HOME STATES THIS WEEK THAT. HAD BEEN OUR PLAN, TO SPEND TIME IN OUR HOME STATES. WE CANCELED THOSE PLANS SO THAT WE COULD COME BACK HERE AND HAVE SERIOUS, ERNEST DEBATE AND DISCUSSION SURROUNDING THE BEST PATH FORWARD TOWARD MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF A BALANCED BUDGET, TOWARD FIGURING OUT WHAT CONDITIONS, IF ANY, WOULD SATISFY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WHO ARE UNDERSTANDABLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF YET ANOTHER NEAR-JERK REFLECTIONIVE DEBT LIMIT INCREASE. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE FACT THAT IF WE CHOOSE TO DO NOTHING MORE THAN SAY, WELL, IF WE'RE GOING TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT BY MORE THAN $2 TRILLION, LET'S MAKE SURE THAT WE CUT $2 TRILLION FROM OUR ANTICIPATED SPENDING. THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THAT KIND OF PROMISE IS ONE THAT ISN'T BINDING ON THE CONGRESS. IF THOSE SPENDING CUTS ARE STRETCHED OUT OVER THE COURSE OF 10 OR 15 YEARS OR MORE%, AS HAS BEEN DISCUSSED -- BECAUSE WE HERE IN THIS CONGRESS CANNOT BIND THE CONGRESS THAT WILL BE SWORN INTO POWER IN JANUARY OF 2013 OR JANUARY OF 2015 OR JANUARY OF 2017. WE CAN'T BIND A FUTURE CONGRESS. WE CAN MAKE SUGGESTIONS THAT THEY CAN FOLLOW, BUT WE CAN'T BIND THEM. UNLESS OF COURSE WE CHOOSE TO DO THAT WHICH HAS BEEN DONE ONLY 27 TIMES IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY, WHICH IS AMEND THE CONSTITUTION. THALD THATTHAT WILL BEND BIND A FUTURE CONGRESS. IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE WE'RE NOT HEADED BACK TO THE SAME TROUGH JUST A FEW MONTHS FROM NOW TO DO EXACTLY THE SAME THING, LEADING US CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE DIRE IS THAT I'VE DESCRIBED A FEW MINUTES AGO. WHILE WE'VE BEEN HERE THIS WEEK CONVENING DURING THE WEEK THAT WAS PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED FOR A RECESS, WE AS A GROUP OF SENATE REPUBLICANS HAVE COME TOGETHER AND OFFERED A REAL MEANINGFUL SOLUTION. WE HAVE OFFERED TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT, INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TODAY WITH 21 REPUBLICAN COSPONSORS IN THE SENATE IN A PIECE OF REGULATION THAT WE'RE CALLING THE CUT, CAP, BALANCE ACT. AND WHERES IT SAYS. IT SAYS WE'LL RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT. WE'LL DO SO ONLY UNDER THREE CIRCUMSTANCES, ONLY AFTER THREE CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN MET. THE FIRST TWO RELATE TO IMMEDIATE SPENDING CUTS TO DISCRETIONARY SPENDING AND STATUTORY SPENDING CAPS MAKING SURE THAT WE START PUTTING OURSELVES RIGHT NOW ON A STATUTORILY MANDATED GLIDE PATH TOWARD A BALANCED BUDGET. THE THIRD STEP WHICH IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT INVOLVES PASSAGE OUT OF BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS BY THE REQUISITE TWO-THIRDS MARGIN A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION, ONE THAT WOULD CAP SPENDING AS A PRAFNLG G.D.P. AND ONE THAT WOULD REQUIRE A TWO-THIRDS SUPERMAJORITY IN ORDER TO RAISE TAXES. UPON EACH OF THOSE CONDITIONS BEING MET, THEN THE DEBT LIMIT WOULD RAISE. BUT ONLY THEN. WE WOULD NOT RAISE IT WITHOUT THOSE CONDITIONS HAVING BEEN MET. BECAUSE IF WE DON'T MEET THOSE CONDITIONS, WE WON'T BE ABLE TO LOOK OUR CONSTITUENTS IN THE EYE AND SAY, WE'VE DONE WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET TO WHERE WE NEED TO BE, IN ORDER TO GET TO THE POINT AT WHICH WE WILL NO LONGER BE IN A POSITION OF HAVING TO GO BACK TO THE SAME TROUGH EVERY FEW MONTHS, TO GO THROUGH THE CEREMONY OF RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT YET AGAIN. WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT EVERY TIME WE DO THIS, WE RUN AN INCREASED RISK THAT WE'LL START HAVING TO PAY HIGHER AND HIGHER YIELDS ON OUR TREASURY INSTRUMENTS. EVERY TIME THAT HAPPENS, WE INCUR MORE EXPENSES THAT RELATE TO OUR ABILITY TO REMAIN CURRENT ON OUR DEBT INTEREST PAYMENTS. EVERY TIME INTEREST RATES, YIELDS ON THOSE DEBT INSTRUMENTS GO UP BY ONE PERCENTAGE POINT, WE HAVE TO SPEND AN ADDITIONAL $150 BILLION A YEAR JUST IN INTEREST, ONCE OUR DEBT INSTRUMENTS CATCH UP WITH THE INCREASED RATE. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY. THAT MEANS THAT IF WE WERE JUST TO RETURN -- LET'S SAY IF INTEREST RATES WERE TO GO UP 3%, WE COULD SOON FIND OURSELVES IN A POSITION IN WHICH WE MIGHT BE SPENDING AS MUCH AS $700 BILLION A YEAR ON INTEREST. WE'RE SPENT CURRENTLY PAYING ABOUT $250 BILLION. $700 BILLION A YEAR IS ROUGHLY WHAT WE SPEND ON NATIONAL DEFENSE. IT'S ROUGHLY WHAT WE SPEND ON SOCIAL SECURITY IN AN ENTIRE YEAR. IT'S CLOSE TO WHAT WE PAY IN MEDICARE AND MEDICAID COMBINED AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL IN AN ENTIRE YEAR. SO WHERE'S THE DIFFERENCE GOING TO COME FROM WHEN INTEREST RATES START TO CREEP UP? EVEN IF THEY GO UP THREE PERCENTAGE POINTS, THEY'D STILL BE BELOW THEIR HISTORICALLAGE. THAT MONEY HAS TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE AND IT WILL. IT'LL END UP COMING FROM THE VARIOUS PROGRAMS THAT AMERICANS ARE MOST CONCERNED ABOUT. SO WHITHER A CONSERVE STIFF -- AND YOU MIGHT -- SO WHITHER ARE A A CONSERVATIVE -- AND YOU MIGHT BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE MONEY COMING FROM THE DEFENSE BUDGET -- OR ON THE OTHER HAND YOU'RE LIBERAL AND MOST CONCERNED ABOUT IT COMING FROM ENTITLEMENTS, OUGHT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR PRACTICE OF OF PERPETUAL LIE RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT AND ENGAGING IN PERPETUAL DEBT SPENDING ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS IN EXCESS OF $1.5 TRILLION EVERY SING YEAR SINGLE YEAR. THIS THREATENS EVERY FEDERAL PROGRAM OUT THERE. IT ALSO INTERFERES WITH THE ABILITY OF EACH AMERICAN TO FIND THE PROSPERITY THAT HE OR SHE SEEKS, THE ABILITY OF EACH AMERICAN TO LIVE HIS OR HER LIFE IN THE TWHAI HE OR SHE CHOOSES. THAT'S DISTRESSING. IT INTERFERES WITH THE LIBERTY OF THE INDIVIDUAL, WHICH IS WHAT WE'VE BEEN ELECTED TO PROTECT. I'M VERY PROUD TO BE PART OF THIS 21-SENATOR COALITION, A GROUP CONSISTING OF SENATORS WHO ARE CONCERNED ENOUGH ABOUT THIS ISSUE THAT THEY'RE WILLING TO SAY, WE UNDERSTAND THAT WE CAN'T JUST NOT RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT. THERE ARE ENOUGH PEOPLE WHO ARE CONCERNED ENOUGH IN THIS COUNTRY ABOUT NOT RAISING IT, THE ABRUPT HALT THIS SPEND SPENDING THAT THAT COULD CREATE CHAOS. SO RECOGNIZING THAT REALITY, WE'VE TAKEN THE BULL BY THE HORNS AND WE'RE WILLING TO DO THE DIFFICULT THING. WE'RE SAYING IN ORDER FOR US TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO SET THINGS IN MOTION IN SUCH A WAY THAT WILL SOLVE THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM, WILL CREATE PERMANENT STRUMPLE SPENDING-- PERMANENT STRUCTURAL REFORM WITHIN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS. I WANT TO CLOSE BY RESPONDING TO AN ARGUMENT MADE BY TIM KNEE GEITHNER, THE SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES TREASURY. THE ARGUMENT HE MADE WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT WE IN CONGRESS ARE ESSENTIALLY MERE SURPLUS WHEN IT COMES TO THE DEBT LIMIT INCREASE. HE MADE THE ARGUMENT THAT ACE UNDERSTAND IT -- THAT AS I UNDERSTAND IT, SECTION 4 AUTHORIZES THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, PROGRAMS THE TREASURY SERKTS PERHAPS JUST THE PRESIDENT, TO SOMEHOW RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT WITHOUT CONSULTING CONGRESS, WITHOUT AN ACT OF CONGRESS IN PLACE. THAT ARGUMENT IS NOT ACCURATE. THAT ARGUMENT IS BASED ON AN IMPROPER READING OF THE 14th AMENDMENT. THE LANGUAGE TO WHICH HE REFERS READS IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS, "THE VALIDITY OF THE PUBLIC DEBT OF THE UNITED STATES AUTHORIZED BY LAW SHALL NOT BE QUESTIONED." ADOPTED IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF THE CIVIL WAR, THIS PROVISION SIMPLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE FACT THAT WE CAN'T IGNORE OUR DEBT OBLIGATIONS, THAT WHEN INTEREST OR PRINCIPLE COME DUE DUE -- INTEREST OR PRINCIPAL COME DUE ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT, THOSE THINGS HAVE TO BE HONORED. YOU NOTICE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT, SET OFF BY COMMAS, IS A PHRASE THAT SAYS, "AUTHORIZED BY LAW." TO CREATE LAW IN THIS COUNTRY, YOU HAVE TO MOVE SOMETHING THROUGH CONGRESS. THAT SOMETHING HAS TO BE PRESENTED TO THE PRESIDENT FOR SIGNATURE OR VETO. YOU CAN'T MAKE A LAW IN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITHOUT CONGRESS. ARTICLE 1, EKS SECTION, CLAUSE 2, MAKES THAT POINT CLEAR BY GIVING THE AUTHORITY TO CONGRESS TO INCUR DEBT IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES. SO NECESSARILY, BY DEFINITION, BY OPERATION OF THE PLAIN TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION, YOU CANNOT RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT WITHOUT AN ACT OF CONGRESS. IF ANYTHING, SECTION 4 OF THE 14th AMENDMENT SIMPLY MAKES CLEAR THAT WHICH I WISH SECRETARY GEITHNER WOULD -- WOULD ACKNOWLEDGE AND I HEREBY CALL UPON HIM TO ACKNOWLEDGE, WHICH IS THAT HE HAS A LEGAL AND A MORAL OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE THAT IF THE DEBT LIMIT IS NOT INCREASED DURING WHATEVER TIME THAT IT REMAINS IN LIMBO, DURING WHATEVER TIME THAT WE FACE A DEBT LIMIT INDUCED SHORTFALL, IT IS HIS OBLIGATION AS THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO USE THE FIRST TAX REVENUES COMING IN THE DOOR TO PAY OUR DEBT OBLIGATIONS, TO PAY THE INTEREST THAT'S BEING ACCRUED ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT. IT'S HIS OBLIGATION NOT ONLY AS A FIDUCIARY OR A QUASI-FIDUCIARY BUT ALSO UNDER THE VERY PROVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION. SECTION 4 OF THE 14th AMENDMENT, THE SAME PROVISION THAT HE CITES BINDS HIS HANDS AND REQUIRES HIM TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT INTEREST GETS PAID, PROHIBITS HIM FROM BRINGING ABOUT A DEFAULT ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT, WHICH IS WHAT HE'S BEEN THREATENING ON MANY OCCASIONS. THERE IS A WAY FORWARD. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH WE NOW FIND OURSELVES ARE, TO BE SURE, THREATENING. THEY ARE INTEM INTIM INTIMIDATING. THEY ARE DAUNTING. AND THEY BRING ABOUT SUBSTANTIAL DISAGREEMENT WITHIN THIS BODY AND WITHIN THE BODY THAT MEETS JUST DOWN THE HAUL FROM US. BUT THERE ARE -- JUST DOWN THE HALL FROM US. BUT THERE ARE ANSWERS, THERE ARE SOLUTIONS SO WHICH WE CAN AGREE. I BELIEVE THAT THE CUT-CAP BALANCE ACT PROVIDES THE PROPER SOLUTION AND IT'S A SOLUTION THAT CAN APPEAL TO LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES ALIKE, TO DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ALIKE, AND I CALL UPON ALL WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE TO TAKE A CAREFUL LOOK AT THIS LEGISLATION AND TO JUMP ONBOARD AND BECOME PART OF THE SOLUTION. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 04:48:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 04:48:55 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO SPEAK TODAY ABOUT A SERIOUS PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO SPEAK TODAY ABOUT A SERIOUS PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE IN MY HOME STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND TO COMMEND THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY FOR ITS ACTIONS TO ADDRESS IT. RHODE ISLAND HAS THE SIXTH HIGHEST RATE OF ASTHMA IN THE COUNTRY. ACCORDING TO OUR DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, MORE THAN 25,000 RHODE ISLAND CHILDREN, OR 11%, OF CHILDREN IN OUR STATE -- MORE THAN 1 IN EVERY 10 KIDS -- SUFFERS FROM ASTHMA. 82,000 ADULT IN RHODE ISLAND, WHICH IS ALSO ABOUT 11% OF OUR ADULT POPULATION, SUFFERS ALSO FROM THIS CHRONIC DISEASE. FROM 2005-2009, ASTHMA WAS THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OR A CONTRIBUTING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR 240 PEOPLE IN RHODE ISLAND, INCLUDING FOUR CHILDREN. IN 2009, THERE WERE 1,750 HOSPITAL DISCHARGES IN RHODE ISLAND FOR ASTHMA CASES. THOSE HOSPITAL STAYS COST ABOUT $8 MILLION IN JUST THAT ONE YEAR IN DIRECT MEDICAL COSTS, NOT COUNTING THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH DAYS OF WORK AND SCHOOL MISSED OR THE MEDICATION FOR ONGOING TREATMENT. ON A CLEAR SUMMER DAY IN RHODE ISLAND, MANY OF US HAVE HAD THE EXPERIENCE COMMUTING IN TO WORK OF HEARING THE WARNING ON DRIVE TIME RADIO "TODAY IS A BAD AIR DAY IN RHODE ISLAND. INFANTS, SENIOR CITIZENS, AND PEOPLE WITH RESPIRATORY DIFFICULTIES SHOULD STAY INDOORS TODAY." IN FACT, YESTERDAY WAS JUST SUCH A DAY IN RHODE ISLAND. AN AIR QUALITY ALERT WAS ISSUED BY OUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT WARNING THAT OZONE WAS EXPECTED TO REACH DANGEROUS LEVELS IN THE SOUTHERN HALF OF OUR STATE BY AFTERNOON. THEY RECOMMENDED THAT ALL RESIDENTS LIMIT PHYSICAL EXERTION AND TAKE REFUGE IN AIRCONDITIONED ENVIRONMENT FOR THE BETTER PART OF THE DAY. IN ADDITION, RHODE ISLAND'S PUBLIC TRANSIT OPERATING, RIPTA, THE RHODE ISLAND PUBLIC TRANSIT AGENCY, OFFERED FREE BUS RIDES ALL DAY LONG TO HELP KEEP PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR CARS. THESE ARE REAL COSTS, COSTS PAID IN FREEDOM, IN REDUCED QUALITY OF LIFE, IN MEDICAL BILLS, IN BURDENED PUBLIC SERVICES TO RESPOND TO THE HEALTH RISKS OF DIRTY AIR, AND IN MORE MISSED DAYS OF WORK AND SCHOOL. THERE IS STILL A LOT TO LEARN, MR. PRESIDENT, ABOUT THE CAUSES AND CURES OF ASTHMA BUT WE KNOW THAT AIR POLLUTION TRIGGERS ASTHMA ATTACKS AND WE KNOW THAT AIR POLLUTION IS A PREVENTABLE PROBLEM. ARMED WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE, RHODE ISLAND HAS TAKEN GREAT STRIDES TO REDUCE AIR POLLUTION. IN 2006, RHODE ISLAND PASSED A LAW TO PROHIBIT CARS AND BUSES FROM IDLING WITH THEIR ENGINES ON. IN 2007, RHODE ISLAND PASSED A LAW TO RETROFIT ALL STATE SCHOOL BUSES WITH DIESEL POLLUTION CONTROLS. IN 2010, RHODE ISLAND BEGAN REQUIRING HEAVY DUTY VEHICLES USED IN FEDERALLY FUNDED CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS TO INSTALL DIESEL POLLUTION CONTROLS, TO ADHERE TO THE STATE ANTIIDLING LAW AND TO USE ONLY LOW-SULFUR DIESEL FUEL. RIPTA HAS VOLUNTARILY RETROFITTED HALF OF ITS BUS FLEET WITH DIESEL POLLUTION CONTROL EQUIPMENT. HOWEVER, RHODE ISLAND CANNOT SOLVE THIS PROBLEM ON ITS OWN. WE COULD STOP DRIVING ENTIRELY AND SHUT DOWN EVERY INDUSTRY IN OUR STATE AND WE WOULD STILL HAVE PROBLEMS WITH GROUND-LEVEL OZONE AND PARTICULATE MATTER POLLUTION. WHY IS THAT? IT'S BECAUSE, AS E.P.A. HAS EARNED,HASDETERMINED, MOST OF THE POLLUTION THAT LANDS IN I WILLRY I RHODE ISLAND IS SENT TO US BY OTHER STATES. AND MUCH OF THAT OUT-OF-STATE POLLUTION COMES FROM VIRTUALLY UNCONTROLLED MIDWESTERN COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS THAT ARE TIED TO EXCESSIVELY TALL SMOKESTACKS THAT SEND POLLUTION HUNDREDS OF MILES AWAY FROM THE SOURCE. LAST MONTH, AT MY REQUEST, THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE COMPLETED A REPORT ABOUT TALL SMOKESTACKS AT COAL POWER PLANTS. HERE'S WHAT THE REPORT SAID. IN 1970, THE YEAR THE CLEAN AIR ACT WAS ENACTED, THERE WERE TWO TALL STACKS, STACKS OVER 500 FEET, IN THE UNITED STATES. BY 1985, THIS NUMBER OF TALL STACKS HAD GROWN FROM TWO TO MORE THAN 180. UTILITIES AND INDUSTRY LITERALLY BUILT THEIR WAY INTO COMPLIANCE WITH THE CLEAN AIR ACT. AND THE TREND CONTINUED. AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2010, THE END OF LAST YEAR, 284 TALL STACKS WERE OPERATING AT 172 COAL POWER PLANTS IN THE UNITED STATES. THESE TALL SMOKESTACKS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH 64% OF THE COAL GENERATING CAPACITY IN OUR COUNTRY. MOST OF THE COAL GENERATING CAPACITY IN OUR COUNTRY VENTS ITS POLLUTION THROUGH TALL SMOKESTACKS. MOST OF THE TALL STACKS, 207 OF THEM, NEARLY THREE-QUARTERS OF THEM, ARE BETWEEN 500 AND 699 FEET TALL. 63 OF THEM ARE BETWEEN 700 AND 999 FEET TALL. AND THE REMAINING 14 ARE OVER 1,000 FEET TALL. THE TALLEST STACK AT A COAL POWER PLANT IN THE UNITED STATES, AT 1,038 FEET, IS AT THE ROCKPORT POWER PLANT IN INDIANA. THIS GRAPHIC COMPARES SOME OF THE STACKS WITH SOME OF THE WELL-KNOWN LANDMARKS IN OUR COUNTRY. THE STATUE OF LIBERTY AT 305 FEET, THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT AT 555 FEET. STACKS AT A THOUSAND FEET, 10,03 10,03, AND 1,204 FEET. THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING IN NEW YORK, AND THE WILLIS TOWER IN CHICAGO. AS I'VE NOTED IN PREVIOUS FLOOR REMARKS ON THIS SUBJECT, ONCE A STACK GETS OVER A THOUSAND FEET, IT ACTUALLY HAS TO BE MARKED ON AVIATION MAPS AS A HAZARD TO AVOID PLANE COLLISIONS. SO WHAT DO I MEAN WHEN I SAY THAT UTILITIES BUILT THEIR WAY INTO COMPLIANCE WITH THESE TALL STACKS? WELL, IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT, SOME STATES ALLOWED POLLUTION SOURCES TO BUILD TALL STACKS INSTEAD OF INSTALLING POLLUTION CONTROLS. THE CONCEPT WAS THAT POLLUTION SENT HIGH ENOUGH UP IN THE ATMOSPHERE WOULD BE SENT FAR AWAY FROM THE SOURCE AND WOULD NOT CONTRIBUTE TO AIR POLLUTION PROBLEMS IN THAT STATE AND EVERYBODY WOULD BE HAPPY. WELL, THE PROBLEM IS THAT THIS AIR POLLUTION CAUSES PROBLEMS DOWNWIND IN OTHER STATES. AS THE G.A.O. REPORT PUT IT, TALL STACKS GENERALLY DISBURSE POLLUTANTS OVER GREATER DISTANCES THAN SHORTER STACKS AND PROVIDE POLLUTANTS GREATER TIME TO REACT IN THE ATMOSPHERE TO FORM OZONE AND PARTICULATE MATTER, WHICH ARE THE PRECURSORS TO ASTHMA. AND YET PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY HAS NOT YET CAUGHT UP WITH THIS PRACTICE, AND RHODE ISLAND PAYS THE PRICE. MAKING MATTERS WORSE, THE G.A.O. FOUND THAT MORE THAN HALF OF THE BOILERS ATTACHED TO THESE TALL STACKS AT THE COAL POWER PLANTS HAVE NO SCRUBBER TO CONTROL SULFUR DIOXIDE EMISSIONS. NONE. APPROXIMATELY 85% OF THESE BOILERS WENT INTO SERVICE BEFORE 1980, SO THEY'RE ANTIQUATED AND THEY'RE DIRTY AND THEY RUN THE POLLUTION UP THE TALL STACK AND IT ENDS UP BEING DUMPED ON RHODE ISLAND INSTEAD OF CLEANED UP AT THE SOURCE. NEARLY TWO-THIRDS OF BOILERS CONNECTED TO THESE TALL STACKS HAVE NO POST-COMBUSTION CONTROLS FOR NITROGEN OXIDE, CONTROLS THAT ARE VASTLY MORE EFFECTIVE THAN SO-CALLED LOW-NOX BURNERS. AGAIN, UNCONTROLLED AT THE SOURCE, THEY DUMP THE POLLUTION UP THE TALL STACKS, THEY EXPORT IT ELSEWHERE, IT IS NOT THEIR PROBLEM AND IT THEN LANDS ON RHODE ISLAND. HERE IS A GRAPHIC THAT SHOWS MORE THAN 70 COAL PLANTS WHICH HAVE TALL STACKS, HAVE BOILERS THAT OPERATE WITHOUT SCRUBBERS OR POST-COMBUSTION NITROGEN OXIDE CONTROLS. THESE BOILERS ARE SENDING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TONS -- HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TONS -- OF UNABATED POLLUTION UP VERY TALL SMOKESTACKS INTO THE JET STREAM AND THEN THE JET STREAM DELIVERS IT DOWNWIND ON TO STATES LIKE RHODE ISLAND. AS THE G.A.O. INDICATED, IN THE MID-ATLANTIC UNITED STATES, THE WIND GENERALLY BLOWS FROM WEST TO EAST DURING THE DAY. OZONE CAN TRAVEL HUNDREDS OF MILES AT NIGHT WITH THE HELP OF HIGH-SPEED WINDS KNOWN AS THE LOW-LEVEL JET. THIS PHENOMENON TYPICALLY OCCURS AT NIGHT DUE TO THE GROUND COOLING QUICKER THAN THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE WHICH CAN ALLOW THE LOW-LEVEL JET TO FORM AND TRANSPORT OZONE AND PARTICULATE MATTER WITH ITS HIGH WINDS. THE MAP SHOWS A TYPICAL PREVAILING WIND PATTERN IN THE SPRING. NOTICE HOW THE PREVAILING WINDS SEND SO MUCH OF THIS POLLUTION UP AND OVER TO RHODE ISLAND AND ON OTHER STATES ALONG THE EASTERN SEABOARD. IN FACT, FIVE OF THE STATES ALONG THIS MAP -- OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, WEST VIRGINIA, ILLINOIS, AND NORTH CAROLINA -- HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED BY E.P.A. AS CONTRIBUTING SIGNIFICANTLY TO RHODE ISLAND'S POLLUTION PROBLEMS. THE ELECTRICITY THAT COMES FROM THESE UNCONTROLLED POWER PLANTS, WHICH DON'T STOP THE PLIEWG AT THE START BUT IN-- POLLUTION AT THE START BUT INSTEAD JET IT UP INTO THIS LOW-LEVEL JET SO THAT IT GETS DUMPED IN OTHER STATES, THE ELECTRICITY THAT COMES FROM THEM MIGHT SEEM CHEAPER TO CONSUMERS THAN ELECTRICITY FROM A POLLUTION-CONTROLLED POWER PLANT. BUT THAT'S REALLY NOT SO. THAT WOULD BE WRONG TO CONSIDER OR CONCLUDE. THE COSTS WEREN'T CHEAPER. THE COSTS JUST GOT SHIFTED. THEY GOT SHIFTED FROM THE COMPANIES AND THE CONSUMERS IN THE POLLUTING STATES TO THE LUNGS OF CHILDREN IN RHODE ISLAND AND OTHER DOWNWIND STATES. IT IS THE LUNGS OF CHILDREN AND ADULTS AND SENIORS IN RHODE ISLAND THAT ARE ACTUALLY PAYING FOR THAT CHEAP ELECTRICITY. HAPPILY, MR. PRESIDENT, AND AT LAST THE E.P.A. HAS BEGUN TO REMEDY THIS UNFAIR AND WRONGFUL PUBLIC HEALTH SITUATION BY REQUIRING UTILITIES IN UPWIND STATES TO CONTROL THEIR POLLUTION. UNDER THE GOOD NEIGHBOR PROVISION OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT. BECAUSE WHILE A TALL STACK WILL SEND UNCONTROLLED POLLUTION FARTHER THAN A SHORT STACK WOULD, THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO REDUCE POLLUTION IS TO INSTALL POLLUTION CONTROLS. PROMPTED BY PETITIONS FROM OUR DOWNWIND STATES, THE BUSH E.P.A. ATTEMPTED TO SET POLLUTION LIMITS FOR STATES TO CONTRIBUTE TO UNHEALTHY POLLUTION LEVELS OUTSIDE THEIR BORDERS. HOWEVER, ON REVIEW, THE D.C. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS TOLD THEM THAT THEY HAD NOT GONE FAR ENOUGH. SO THE E.P.A. WENT BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD AND CRAFTED THE CROSS-STATE AIR POLLUTION RULE THAT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED TODAY WHICH WILL CAP THE POLLUTION THAT CAN BE PRODUCED IN UPWIND STATES LIKE OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, WEST VIRGINIA, ILLINOIS AND NORTH CAROLINA. THOSE CAPS WERE DESIGNED BASED ON EACH STATE'S CONTRIBUTION TO POLLUTION IN STATES LIKE RHODE ISLAND. AND IT WILL RATCHET DOWN WHENEVER E.P.A. TIGHTENS AIR QUALITY STANDARDS BASED ON THE LATEST AND BEST SCIENCE. AS I SAID, THAT RULE WAS FINALIZED TODAY. SO THANK YOU, E.P.A. I COMMEND THE E.P.A. FOR TPAOEUPBZING THAT CROSS -- FOR FINALIZE THAT CROSS-STATE AIR POLLUTION RULE. I ALSO URGE THE E.P.A. TO UPDATE THE NATIONAL OZONE AIR QUALITY STANDARD BASED ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE CLEAN AIR SCIENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE. THIS WILL LEAD TO FURTHER POLLUTION REDUCTIONS UPWIND OF RHODE ISLAND AND FURTHER BENEFIT FOR RHODE ISLANDERS. THESE RULES WILL BRING US CLOSER TO THE DAY WHEN THE COAL POWER PLANTS ON THIS CHART START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR POLLUTION AND STOP EXPORTING THAT POLLUTION INTO RHODE ISLAND AND OTHER STATES. WHEN THEY INSTALL POLLUTION CONTROL EQUIPMENT RATHER THAN SENDING THEIR POLLUTION TO WHERE IT BECOMES SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM AND TO WHEN RHODE ISLAND CHILDREN CAN PLAY OUTDOORS SAFELY WITHOUT THE RISK OF AN ASTHMA ATTACK. I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT DAY, AND I KNOW THE PEOPLE OF RHODE ISLAND ARE TOO. WHEN YOU DRIVE IN AND THAT PHORBG RADIO TELLS -- AND THAT MORNING RADIO TELLS YOU THAT TODAY IS ANOTHER BAD DAY AND THAT CHILDREN AND SENIORS SHOULD STAY INDOORS AND CAN'T PLAY, CAN'T TAKE A WALK, CAN'T ENGAGE IN ANYTHING THAT HAS EXERTION, IT'S FRUSTRATING WHEN THERE'S NOTHING THAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COULD PASS REGULATIONS UNTIL IT WAS BLUE IN THE FACE. THE RHODE ISLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY COULD WRITE NEW LAWS ALL DAY LONG, AND IT WOULD MAKE NO DIFFERENCE BECAUSE THE BOMBARDMENT OF OUTSIDE POLLUTION ON OUR STATE IS WHAT IS DRIVING THESE HEALTH PROBLEMS. THAT'S WHY E.P.A. IS SO IMPORTANT. WE WOULD HAVE NO VOICE IN THIS IF IT WERE NOT FOR A NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY THAT CAN LOOK OUT FOR SMALL STATES LIKE OURS THAT ARE ON THE RECEIVING END OF THIS KIND OF A POLLUTION DUMP FROM THE COAL-FIRED UNCONTROLLED PLANTS IN THE MIDWEST. SO I THANK VERY MUCH THE PRESIDING OFFICER, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:04:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 05:08:58 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE PENDING QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 05:09:02 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD LIKE TO ADD A FEW WORDS THIS AFTERNOON…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD LIKE TO ADD A FEW WORDS THIS AFTERNOON ABOUT THE ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS ON THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND ON OUR RAPIDLY APPROACHING DEBT CEILING. I THINK WE ALL AGREE THAT THE SITUATION WE FACE IS ONE OF ENORMOUS IMPORTANCE AND COMPLEXITY. I BELIEVE THAT EVERY RESPONSIBLE PERSON ALSO AGREES THAT A FAILURE TO ACT WOULD HAVE AWFUL REPERCUSSIONS THAT WOULD JEOPARDIZE OR WORSE OUR FRAGILE AND TENTATIVE ECONOMIC RECOVERY. SO I THINK THE RESPONSIBLE VIEW IS THAT IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE ACT. AND IT IS ALSO CLEAR THAT TO DO SO WILL REQUIRE EVERY SIDE TO MAKE CONCESSIONS. I RISE THIS AFTERNOON, HOWEVER, BECAUSE IT'S MY STRONG BELIEF THAT ANY AGREEMENT THAT WE REACH MUST BE BASED ON REAL SAVINGS AND MUST NOT BE MADE AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE CITIZENS. THAT IS WHY I'M SO CONCERNED ABOUT REPORTS THAT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE HAVE BEEN RAISED AS POSSIBLE SOURCES OF DEFICIT REDUCTION. CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY AND TO MEDICARE BENEFITS SHOULD NOT BE ON THE TABLE. SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT THE CAUSE OF THE DEFICIT. NEVER HAS BEEN THE CAUSE OF THE DEFICIT. AND BENEFICIARIES OF SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN OF DEFICIT REDUCTION. SOCIAL SECURITY IS FUNDED THROUGH THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF OUR NATION'S WORKERS AND BUSINESSES. IT HAS AN ENORMOUS SURPLUS, AND IT IS PROJECTED TO BE FULLY VOLUME VENT FOR ANOTHER QUARTER -- FULLY SOLVENT FOR ANOTHER QUARTER CENTURY. SO WHILE I WOULD AGREE WITH STEPS TO STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY, ANY CHANGES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED INDEPENDENT OF OUR EFFORT TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT, AND WE SHOULD NOT CUT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. I HELPED COFOUND THE RHODE ISLAND -- THE SENATE DEFENDING SOCIAL SECURITY CAUCUS FOR THIS VERY REASON. THE SOLVENCY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM CAN BE EXTENDED SIGNIFICANTLY JUST BY APPLYING PAYROLL TAXES TO A GREATER PORTION OF THE EARNINGS OF MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. WHAT WE'VE SEEN IN THIS COUNTRY IS A HUGE SHIFT OF INCOME GOING MORE AND MORE TO THE UPPERMOST ECONOMIC REACHES AND LESS AND LESS TO THE MIDDLE CLASS. THE MIDDLE CLASS HAS ACTUALLY LOST INCOME IN THE LAST DECADE. SO THE CONTRIBUTIONS TO SOCIAL SECURITY ARE LOWER BECAUSE THERE'S LESS INCOME TO DRAW IT OFF OF, AND THE INCOME THAT IS ABOVE THE $106,000 SOCIAL SECURITY CAP, THAT'S WHERE THE EXPLOSION OF INCOME HAS BEEN. AND THEY CONTRIBUTE NOT A NICKEL FROM THAT INCOME TO SOCIAL SECURITY. SO, THERE IS A LOT THAT WE CAN DO TO SUPPORT SOCIAL SECURITY. WHAT WE SHOULD NOT DO IS GIVE IN TO ANY OF THE CALLS TO PUT OUR SENIORS' SECURITY AT RISK IN THE STOCK MARKET BY PRIVATIZING SOCIAL SECURITY OR INCREASING THE RETIREMENT AGE SO THAT A CONSTRUCTION WORKER OR A WAITRESS WHO WORKS ON THEIR FEET ALL DAY LONG HAS TO PUT IN MORE YEARS OF SERVICE AT THAT AGE, WHEN THEIR BODY MIGHT, FRANKLY, NOT BE UP TO IT ANY LONGER; OR TO CUT BENEFITS THROUGH BACKDOOR METHODS SUCH AS LOWERING THE COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT. I TELL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, THE RHODE ISLAND SENIORS I'VE HEARD FROM AT THE COMMUNITY DINNERS AND THE SENIOR CENTERS AROUND THE STATE I'VE VISITED ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THEIR BENEFITS WERE CUT. AUDREY FROM MIDDLE TOWN TOLD ME THAT AFTER HER HUSBAND DIED, SHE HAD MANY EXPENSES. BUT AS SHE SAID, NO INCOME EXCEPT FOR HIS SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK, WHICH ENABLED ME TO GO ON LIVING. SIMPLY BUT ADEQUATELY, WITHOUT BEING A BURDEN ON MY SONS AND LOSING MY DIGNITY AS WELL. TWO VERY IMPORTANT POINTS AUDREY MAKES. ONE IS THAT SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT JUST A BENEFIT TO SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS. IT'S A BENEFIT TO THE CHILDREN OF SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS, ON WHOM THEIR PARENTS MIGHT OTHERWISE BE A BURDEN. AND IT'S AN AMERICAN VALUE THAT SENIOR CITIZENS WHO HAVE WORKED HARD ALL THEIR LIVES, WHO HAVE PLAYED BY THE RULES, WHO HAVE BUILT THE AMERICA THAT WE NOW ENJOY SHOULD BE ABLE TO NOT LOSE THEIR DIGNITY AT THE END OF THEIR LIFE. THAT IS A PRINCIPLE THAT IS WORTH DEFENDING. RONALD FROM CUMBERLAND, RHODE ISLAND, HAS BEEN ON SOCIAL SECURITY FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. HE WROTE ME TO SAY, "IT SEEMS THAT IT'S ALWAYS THE PEOPLE WHO NEED THE HELP THE MOST WHO GET CUT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WHY IS THIS? NO SOCIAL SECURITY COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT FOR TWO YEARS, YET PRICES FOR THE BASIC NEEDS STILL RISE. IN A COUNTRY LIKE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN." THESE PEOPLE, MR. PRESIDENT, WHO ARE LIVING ON SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME ARE NOT LIVING HIGH OFF THE HOG, AND THEY SHOULD NOT BE THE TARGETS OF OUR COST-CUTTING ZEAL. THE THREAT TO THE MEDICARE PROGRAM IS JUST AS REAL. EARLIER THIS YEAR REPUBLICANS OVER IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED A BUDGET THAT WOULD END THE MEDICARE PROGRAM AS WE HAVE COME TO KNOW IT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. I CAN REMEMBER BEING AT A SENIOR CENTER IN NORTH PROVIDENCE AND A GENTLEMAN SITTING AT A TABLE SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW, I'VE HELPED BUILD THIS COUNTRY, I HAVE FOUGHT IN ITS WARS, AND I UNDERSTAND THAT THE REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL WOULD PROTECT MEDICARE FOR ME, BUT I AM NOT WILLING TO LET MEDICARE FOR MY CHILDREN BE THROWN UNDER THE BUS. THAT WOULD MAKE ME FEEL AWFUL. IT SIMPLY ISN'T RIGHT FOR ME TO STAY ON IT AND STAND FOR THE PROGRAM TO BE TAKEN APART AND DISMEMBERED FOR EVERYBODY ELSE. THAT WAS A MOVING STATEMENT FOR ME TO HEAR, AND WE NEED TO HONOR THAT. ESTIMATES SUGGEST THAT THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS' PROPOSAL WOULD END UP FORCING A TYPICAL 65-YEAR-OLD SENIOR TO PAY ON AVERAGE $12,500 EACH YEAR IN OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES STARTING IN 2022. THAT'S MORE THAN DOUBLE WHAT A SENIOR IS ESTIMATED TO PAY THAN IF THE CURRENT SYSTEM, IF MEDICARE STAYED IN PLACE. IN RHODE ISLAND, THE AVERAGE SENIOR ONLY GETS ABOUT $14,200 PER YEAR FROM SOCIAL SECURITY TO BEGIN WITH, SO IF YOU'RE GOING TO ASK PEOPLE WHO NOW HAVE HAVE $14,200 A YEAR WHO AREN'T GETTING COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS BY 2022 TO PAY PAY $12,500 FOR MEDICARE, THAT WOULD BE A MASSIVE EXERCISE IN POVERTY CREATION. AND WHAT MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY HAVE DONE IS LIFTED THE BURDEN OF POVERTY FROM AMERICA'S SENIORS. I THINK SOMETIMES WE'RE BLIND TO WHAT LIFE MIGHT BE LIKE WITHOUT THEM WHEN SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES SO CAVALIERLY SUGGEST THAT WE SHOULD DO AWAY WITH THESE PROGRAMS, PRIVATIZE THEM OR TURN THEM OVER TO THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY. THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET WOULD ALSO REOPEN THE MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG DOUGHNUT HOLE. WE JUST WENT TO A LOT OF EFFORT TO CLOSE THAT DOUGHNUT HOLE IN THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. THAT DOUGHNUT HOLE WILL BE GONE IN TEN YEARS, THANKS TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. THE REPUBLICANS ALL VOTED AGAINST THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, THEY ALL VOTED AGAINST CLOSING THE DOUGHNUT HOLE, AND NOW IN THEIR BUDGET ON THE OTHER SIDE, THEY WANT TO UNWIND THAT PART OF THE BILL AND TAKE AWAY THE PROTECTIONS THAT WE HAVE PROVIDED FOR SENIORS IN THE DOUGHNUT HOLE. THAT WOULD COST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO SENIORS IN RHODE ISLAND, STARTING NEXT YEAR IF IT WERE PUT INTO LAW. THAT'S NOT SOMETHING OFF IN THE FUTURE. THAT IS RIGHT NOW, THOUSANDS OF RHODE ISLAND SENIORS HAVING TO COUGH UP MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BECAUSE OF THIS REPUBLICAN HOUSE BUDGET PLAN. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I THINK WE NEED TO DEFEND AGAINST. THAT'S JUST THE WRONG PLACE TO LOOK. AND IT'S ESPECIALLY THE WRONG PLACE TO LOOK AS WE FIND OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES FIGHTING SO HARD TO PROTECT TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. I'VE GIVEN THE SPEECH REPEATEDLY ALREADY, SO I WON'T DWELL ON IT NOW, BUT WHEN OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES STAND UP AND SAY WE'RE AGAINST TAX HIKES, IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR AMERICANS TO LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN AND SEE WHO THEY ARE REALLY DEFENDING, BECAUSE I WILL TELL YOU EVERYBODY IN THIS CHAMBER, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT ALIKE, BELIEVES THAT ORDINARY AMERICAN FAMILIES EARNING ORDINARY LEVELS OF INCOME SHOULD BE EXEMPT FROM ANY TAX HIKES. THAT IS NOT EVEN ON THE TABLE. WHEN OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TALK ABOUT DEFENDING AGAINST TAX HIKES, THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT DEFENDING THE OIL INDUSTRY FROM HAVING SUBSIDIES THAT THEY DON'T NEED AND THAT TAXPAYERS PAY FOR TAKEN AWAY. THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT PROTECTING THE TOP 400 INCOME EARNERS IN THE COUNTRY WHO ON AVERAGE PAY FEDERAL TAXES, ACTUALLY PAY IT IN. THIS ISN'T A THEORY, THIS ISN'T A RATE. THIS IS WHAT THEY ACTUALLY PAID IN, ACCORDING TO THE I.R.S. 18.2%. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO MADE ON AVERAGE MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS, WITH A B, BILLION DOLLARS WITH A B, IN ONE YEAR. AND GOD BLESS THEM, WHAT A WONDERFUL THING IT IS TO MAKE MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS IN ONE YEAR. BUT THEY PAY TAXES AT A LOWER RATE THAN A TRUCK DRIVER IN RHODE ISLAND DOES ON AVERAGE. THE GUY WHO WAKES UP EVERY MORNING AND GETS INTO HIS CLOTHES AND PUTS ON HIS BOOTS AND GETS IN THE TRUCK AND GOES OUT THERE AND WORKS ALL DAY PAYS THE SAME TAX RATE AS THE PERSON EARNING OVER A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS. AND THEY CAN TALK ABOUT TAX HIKES UNTIL THEY ARE BLUE IN THE FACE, IT WON'T TAKE AWAY THE FACT THAT THAT IS THE WAY IT ACTUALLY WORKS IN THIS COUNTRY. AND THEY ARE DEFENDING THAT AND GOING AFTER AUDREY AND THE FOLKS ON MEDICARE IN RHODE ISLAND, ON RONALD FROM CUMBERLAND. THAT'S JUST NOT RIGHT, AND WE NEED TO ARGUE ABOUT THAT AND FIGHT BACK. WE CAN NEVER OVERLOOK WHAT MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO OUR NATION'S PROSPERITY. IT IS NOT JUST THE BENEFIT FOR THE MEDICARE BENEFICIARY, IT IS NOT JUST THE BENEFIT FOR THE SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENT. IT IS THE FREEDOM WE ALL FEEL KNOWING THAT WE WILL HAVE A DIGNIFIED OLD AGE, THAT WE WON'T BE AT THE MERCY OF WALL STREET, THAT WE WON'T BE AT THE MERCY OF A PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANY, THAT WE WILL HAVE THE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE SERVICES THAT MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY DELIVER. WE CAN KNOW THAT NOW AND ENJOY THAT. WE HAVE MORE FREEDOM AS AMERICANS NOW BECAUSE WE CAN MAKE BOLDER CHOICES IN OUR LIVES KNOWING THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO DEFEND OURSELVES AGAINST THAT KIND OF POVERTY AND THAT KIND OF MISERY IN OUR OLD AGE. OUR CHILDREN CAN MAKE BOLDER CHOICES IN THEIR LIVES KNOWING THAT THEY DON'T HAVE TO SAFEGUARD AGAINST A PARENT'S ILLNESS RUINING THEIR OWN FINANCIAL FUTURES, RUINING THEIR FAMILY'S FINANCIAL FUTURES. AND IMAGINE HOW OFTEN IT MUST FEEL FOR A PARENT IN THAT CIRCUMSTANCE IF IN YOUR OLD AGE YOU BECOME GRIEVOUSLY ILL AND THE ONLY RESORT YOU HAVE IS TO ESSENTIALLY WIPE OUT YOUR CHILDREN WHO FEEL A MORAL OBLIGATION TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR MEDICAL EXPENSES AND PUT THEMSELVES INTO POVERTY AND MISERY AS A RESULT OF YOUR ILLNESS. WHAT AN AWFUL, AWFUL HUMAN TRAGEDY THAT IS FOR THE PEOPLE INVOLVED. AND WE DON'T EXPERIENCE THAT TRAGEDY IN AMERICA. WE DON'T EXPERIENCE IT BECAUSE MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY ARE THERE. THE CHALLENGE BEFORE US, MR. PRESIDENT, IS A FORMIDABLE ONE, BUT I TRULY BELIEVE WE CAN REACH AN AGREEMENT ON THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT CEILING WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE SECURITY AND THE WELL-BEING OF OUR SENIORS. I BELIEVE THAT THE DEMOCRATIC BUDGET COMMITTEE'S PROPOSED BUDGET IS A GOOD MODEL FOR HOW WE CAN ACTUALLY DO IT, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING THIS DISCUSSION. IT IS NOT NECESSARY IN ORDER TO SOLVE OUR IMMEDIATE DEFICIT PROBLEMS AND TO GET THROUGH THIS DEBT LIMIT FIGHT TO TAKE OUR SENIORS AND PUT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE THAT THEY HAVE RELIED ON AT RISK. TO TAKE THIS COUNTRY WHOSE PROSPERITY, SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE DO SO MUCH TO SUPPORT AND KNOCK THAT DOWN WITH A TAX ON SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. IT IS NOT RIGHT, IT IS NOT NECESSARY, AND WE SHOULD STAND AGAINST IT. MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. I WOULD SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:23:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 05:24:10 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:47:02 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE CALL OF THE QUORUM BE TERMINATED.

  • 05:47:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. REID RIOTED FIRST OF ALL, I AEXPRESS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. REID RIOTED FIRST OF ALL, I AEXPRESS M.I.A.PPRECIATION TO YOU PRESIDING ALL OF THESE HOURS THIS AFTERNOON IFLT WANT TO TAKE A MINUTE AND THANK THE PANGS HERE. THATS FIRST -- THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1974 THIS SENATE HAS BEEN IN SESSION DURING THE JULY 4th RECESS PERIOD. SINCE 1974. THESE YOUNG PAGES HAVE PLACES TO BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES DURING THIS SUMMER VACATION PERIOD. THEY'RE JUNIORS IN HIGH SCHOOL. THEY HAVE SOME PLANS I'M SURE THAT WE INTERFERED WITH. BUT THE WORK HERE THAT WE'VE DONE THIS WEEK, WHILE THERE HASN'T BEEN A LOT OF TIME HERE ON THE FLOOR, WE HAVE A LOT OF THINGS GOING ON ALL OVER WASHINGTON. MEETINGS AT THE WHITE HOUSE, THERE'S BEEN MEETINGS WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT, WITH THE PRESIDENT, WITH THE SPEAKER AND OTHERS WORKING ON THIS VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE. AND SO WHEN THESE EIGHT PAGES IN LATER YEARS REFLECT BACK ON THE FACT THAT THEY WERE HERE DURING ONE OF THE FIRST -- THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1974 THAT WE WERE IN SESSION, THEY SHOULD REFLECT THAT WE WERE HERE FOR IMPORTANT REASONS. AND IF WE DO WHAT IS RIGHT, WE'LL BE ABLE TO REIN IN THIS DEBT THE COUNTRY HAS AND PROTECT THE MOST NEEDY OF OUR COUNTRY. SO I APOLOGIZE FOR KEEPING THEM HERE. THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO BE HERE THIS WEEK BUT THEY STAYED HERE BECAUSE THEY HAVE AN OBLIGATION AS PAGES TO BE HERE AND THEY ACCEPTED THAT. THEY'VE KEPT THIS SENATE RUNNING SMOOTHLY AND WE NEED THEM. THEY'RE HELPFUL TO US. AND THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO BE ASKED. EACH ONE OF THESE EIGHT PAGES VOLUNTEERED. NAOMI BIDEN, BRIAN DENINO, CLAIR CARSTING, MARVIN WHISTLE, KYLER HARRIS AND CHAFEE DUCKERS. SO I APPRECIATE VERY MUCH THEIR SERVICE AND WISH THEM THE BEST IN THEIR EDUCATIONAL ENDEAVORS IN THE YEARS TO COME. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 05:49:15 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 229.

  • 05:49:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 05:49:22 PM

    THE CLERK

    RESOLUTION 229, RECOGNIZING THE HEROIC EFFORTS OF FIREFIGHTERS TO CONTAIN…

    RESOLUTION 229, RECOGNIZING THE HEROIC EFFORTS OF FIREFIGHTERS TO CONTAIN NUMEROUS WILDFIRES THAT HAVE AFFECTED THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES.

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  • 05:49:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 05:49:39 PM

    MR. REID

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

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE, THERE BE INTERVENING ACTION ON THIS MATTER OR ANY FURTHER DEBATE. THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THIS MATTER BE PLACED IN THE RECORD AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE AS IF GIVEN.

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  • 05:49:57 PM

    MR. REID

    TOLD THERE'S A BILL AT THE DESK DUE FOR A SECOND READING. -- FIRST READING.

  • 05:50:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT. NO, THE CLERK WILL READ THE…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT. NO, THE CLERK WILL READ THE TITLE OF THE BILL FOR THE FIRST TIME.

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  • 05:50:11 PM

    THE CLERK

    A BILL TO CUT, CAP AND BALANCE THE FEDERAL BUDGET.

  • 05:50:17 PM

    MR. REID

    SECOND READING AND IN ORDER TO PLACE THE BILL ON THE CALENDAR UNDER THE…

    SECOND READING AND IN ORDER TO PLACE THE BILL ON THE CALENDAR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 14, I ALSO OBJECT TO MY OWN REQUEST.

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  • 05:50:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OBJECTION HAVING BEEN HEARD, THE BILL WILL RECEIVE ITS SECOND READING ON…

    OBJECTION HAVING BEEN HEARD, THE BILL WILL RECEIVE ITS SECOND READING ON THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE DAY.

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  • 05:50:34 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 2:00 P.M. ON MONDAY, JULY 11. FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE MORNING HOUR BE DEEMED EXPIRED, THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY. FOLLOWING ANY LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE RESUME THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 93, S. 1323, A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT POSTCLOTURE UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 05:51:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:51:02 PM

    MR. REID

    THERE WILL BE A ROLL CALL VOTE ON MONDAY, ON THE 11th, AT 5:30 ON THE…

    THERE WILL BE A ROLL CALL VOTE ON MONDAY, ON THE 11th, AT 5:30 ON THE MOTION TO PRETO PROCEED TO THAT S. 1323. IF THERE'S NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT WE ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 05:51:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE STANDS ADJOURNED UNTIL MONDAY, 2:00 P.M., ON JULY

Briefings for July 7, 2011

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Statistics

115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 1673 (After 506 days)
  • Debate1022 Hours
  • Quorum Calls385 Hours
  • Votes266 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)