Senate Session - July 12, 2011
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 10:00:27 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 10:00:44 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. EVER-PRESENT AND EVER-GRACIOUS GOD, TOUCH THE HEARTS OF OUR…

    PRAY. EVER-PRESENT AND EVER-GRACIOUS GOD, TOUCH THE HEARTS OF OUR LAWMAKERS TODAY WITH THE WARMTH OF YOUR LOVE AND THE BLESSING OF YOUR WISDOM. MAY THEY DEVELOP FROM THE WARMTH OF YOUR LOVE A CIVILITY AND RESPECT THAT WILL ENABLE THEM TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR WILL ON EARTH. EMPOWER THEM TO USE THE BLESSING OF YOUR WISDOM TO BUILD A BETTER NATION AND WORLD. ENLARGE THEIR POWERS WITH YOUR STRENGTH BY INFUSING THEIR LIVES WITH THE QUALITIES OF CHARACTER WHICH ARE NEEDED IN THESE CHALLENGING DAYS. LORD, HELP THEM TO SEE BEYOND THE BAFFLING AND BEWILDERING EVENTS OF OUR TIMES THE UNFOLDING OF YOUR LOVING PROVIDENCE, AS THEY HONOR THEIR OFFICE BY STRIVING TO PLEASE YOU. WE PRAY IN YOUR HOLY NAME. AMEN.

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  • 10:02:18 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 10:02:43 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 10:02:45 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 12, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF…

    WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 12, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE JEANNE SHAHEEN, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: DANIEL K. INOUYE, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 10:03:05 AM

    MR. REID

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

    FOLLOWING ANY LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR ONE HOUR. THE MAJORITY WILL CONTROL THE FIRST HALF, THE REPUBLICANS WILL CONTROL THE FINAL HALF. FOLLOWING THAT MORNING BUSINESS, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF S. 1323, WHICH IS A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON THE SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT. THE FILING DEADLINE FOR ALL FIRST-DEGREE AMENDMENTS TO S. 1323 IS NOON TODAY. THE SENATE WILL RECESS FROM 12:30 UNTIL 2:15 TODAY FOR WEEKLY CAUCUS MEETINGS. AS A REMINDER, ALL SENATORS LAST NIGHT I FILED CLOTURE ON S. 1323, WHICH IS THE MATTER I JUST SPOKE ABOUT, AND I ALSO FILED CLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 2055 WHICH IS THE MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS APPROPRIATIONS BILL. AS A RESULT, THERE WILL BE UP TO TWO ROLL CALL VOTES TOMORROW MORNING. THE REPUBLICAN LEADER CAN GO FORWARD. PLP McCONNELL: --

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  • 10:04:11 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 10:04:13 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS NOW, WASHINGTON HAVE STOOD IN THE BELIEVE THAT…

    FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS NOW, WASHINGTON HAVE STOOD IN THE BELIEVE THAT WASHINGTON WOULD NEVER RECOVER FROM THE ECONOMIC CRISIS THAT HIT OUR NATION TWO YEARS AGO AS LONG AS THEY HAD THE MISTAKEN BELIEF THAT GOVERNMENT HAD THE CURE. FOR MOST CLEAR-EYED VIEWERS, THAT VIEW HAS FOUND ITS CLEAREST VINDICATION. IN THE DAILY DRUMBEAT OF NEWS ABOUT LOST JOBS, SHUTTERED BUSINESSES, SLUMPING HOME VALUES, AND IN STORIES THAT EACH OF US HEARS FROM OUR CONSTITUENTS ABOUT THE ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS THEY CONTINUE TO FACE. IF ANYONE WAS STILL LOOKING FOR PROOF THAT THE PRESIDENT'S ECONOMIC POLICIES HAVE BEEN A FAILURE, THEY DON'T HAVE TO LOOK ANY FURTHER THAN THE MORNING PAPERS OR THE CONSTITUENT MAIL. INDEED, THE MORE THE ADMINISTRATION INSISTED ON SPENDING AND DEBT AS A SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS, THE WORSE THOSE PROBLEMS BECAME AND THE MORE AMERICANS DEMANDED THE STATUS QUO IN WASHINGTON HAD TO CHANGE. BUT THE ADMINISTRATION WAS SLOW TO GET THE MESSAGE. AFTER AN ELECTION THAT ANY HONEST OBSERVER SAW AS A REPUDIATION OF ITS POLICIES, THE WHITE HOUSE CONTINUED TO CLING TO ITS PLAYBOOK. AS CONCERNS ABOUT DEBT AND DEFICIT GREW, THE PRESIDENT PRESENTED A BUDGET SO UNEQUAL TO THE TASK THAT NOT A SINGLE DEMOCRAT VOTED FOR IT, NOT ONE. AND AS THE NATION IRCHED CLOSER CLOSER -- INCHED CLOSER TO A POTENTIAL DEFAULT, THE PRESIDENT FOCUSED HIS ATTENTION ELSEWHERE. MEANWHILE, REPUBLICANS WERE OFFERING DETAILED SOLUTIONS TO THE APPROACHING CRISIS. WE OFFERED DETAILED BUDGETS OF OUR OWN. WE OFFERED TO WORK OUT A COMPROMISE THAT LOWERED THE DEBT AND PROTECTED ENTITLEMENTS FROM BANKRUPTCY. AND HERE'S WHAT WE GOT IN RETURN. SILENCE. AND THAT'S WHERE THE DEBATE OVER THE DEBT LIMIT CAME IN. IF DEMOCRATS WOULD NOT AGREE ON THEIR OWN TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEIR ADDICTION TO SPENDING AND DEBT, THEN WE REFUSE TO ENABLE IT. IF THEY WANTED OUR VOTES TO INCREASE THE DEBT LIMIT, THEN THEY WOULD HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO RESTRAIN THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT FIRST. FOR A WHILE THERE, THERE WEREN'T MANY TAKERS. DEMOCRATS FROM THE PRESIDENT ON DOWN INSISTED THAT WE SIMPLY RAISE THE DEBT CEILING AND ENDORSE THE STATUS QUO ON SPENDING WITHOUT ANY REFORMS. NOW, THAT CHANGED A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO WHEN THE PRESIDENT AGREED TO DELEGATE BIPARTISAN DEBT REDUCTION TALKS TO THE VICE PRESIDENT. THEN A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, THE PRESIDENT BROKE HIS OWN SILENCE ON THE DEBT CEILING AND GOT PERSONALLY INVOLVED HIMSELF. INCREDIBLY, FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAD BEEN CALLING FOR ACTION ON THIS ISSUE DAY IN AND DAY OUT FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS, THE PRESIDENT TRIED TO PUT THE BURDEN ON US. WITH THE NATION EDGING CLOSER TO THE DEBT LIMIT DEADLINE, THE PRESIDENT RETREATED BEHIND POLL-TESTED RHETORIC OF CLASS WARFARE. AT A MOMENT WHEN WE NEEDED LEADERSHIP THE MOST, WE GOT IT THE LEAST. THE FINANCIAL SECURITY OF THE NATION WAS BEING GAMBLED ON THE PRESIDENT'S WAGER THAT HE COULD CONVINCE PEOPLE OUR PROBLEMS WOULD BE SOLVED IF WE WOULD ALL AGREE TO TAKE IT OUT ON THE GUY IN THE FANCY HOUSE DOWN THE STREET. IN MY VIEW, THAT WAS THE SADDEST COMMENTARY ON THE STATUS OF LEADERSHIP AT THE WHITE HOUSE, AND I'M PROUD OF THE FACT THAT REPUBLICANS REFUSED TO PLAY ALONG. WE STOOD OUR GROUND. WE KNOW THAT WHAT AMERICANS NEED RIGHT NOW IS FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE JOB CREATION EASIER, NOT HARDER, AND WE SAID SO. AT A TIME WHEN 14 MILLION AMERICANS ARE LOOKING FOR WORK, WE REFUSE TO SUPPORT A TAX HIKE. WE SUPPORTED JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH INSTEAD. WHEN DEMOCRATS SAW THAT WE WOULDN'T BUDGE, THEY PROPOSED ONE LAST OFFER TO CRAFT A DEAL. THEY ASKED US TO JOIN THEM IN ANOTHER WASHINGTON EFFORT TO PULL THE WOOL OVER THE EYES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THEY OFFERED US THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE KIND OF DELIBERATE DECEPTION OF THE PUBLIC THAT HAS GIVEN PUBLIC SERVICE SUCH A BAD NAME IN RECENT YEARS. WE ALSO WORKED. THE ADMINISTRATION CAREFULLY LEAKED TO THE MEDIA WITHOUT ANY DETAILS THE IDEA THAT IT WAS WILLING TO GO ALONG WITH TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF SPENDING CUTS. THE LACK OF DETAIL CONCEALED THE FACT THAT THE SAVINGS THEY WERE SUPPOSEDLY WILLING TO SUPPORT WAS AT BEST SMOKE AND MIRRORS. THE HOPE HERE WAS THAT THE BUDGET GIMMICKS AND DEFERRED DECISIONMAKING THEY ACTUALLY SUPPORTED WOULD HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF SERIOUS BELT TIGHTENING. BUT THE PRACTICAL EFFECT WOULD HAVE BEEN AT MOST ABOUT A COUPLE OF BILLION DOLLARS IN CUTS UP FRONT WITH EMPTY PROMISES OF MORE TO FOLLOW. WE HAVE SEEN THIS KIND OF THING BEFORE. IT'S JUST THE KIND OF SLEIGHT OF HAND GOVERNING THAT'S PUT OUR NATION MORE THAN $14 TRILLION IN DEBT. AND I WILL NOT ASSOCIATE MYSELF WITH IT, AND I REFUSE TO JOIN IN AN EFFORT TO FOOL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. REPUBLICANS HAVE TOLD THE PRESIDENT WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN BUSINESS AS USUAL IN WASHINGTON, AND WE ACTUALLY MEAN IT. WE WILL NOT BE PARTY TO SOMETHING THAT CLAIMS TO SAVE TRILLIONS BUT LEAVES IT TO FUTURE GENERATIONS TO PICK UP THE TAB AND TO FUTURE CONGRESSES TO REVERSE IT WITH A SIMPLE VOTE. WE WILL NOT PRETEND THAT A BAD DEAL IS A GOOD ONE, WHICH BRINGS ME TO A LARGER POINT. THE SUGGESTION HAS BEEN MADE THAT THIS DEBATE WAS HINGED ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE TWO PARTIES COULD FIND A SOLUTION TO OUR ECONOMIC PROBLEMS WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. WRONG. WE COULD HAVE DONE THAT WITHOUT BREAKING A SWEAT. THE TRUTH IS THE DEMOCRATS SAW THIS DEBATE AS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPOSE THE TYPE OF TAX HIKES THEY WANT SO BADLY BUT COULDN'T EVEN PASS IN A DEMOCRATIC-CONTROLLED SENATE LAST YEAR. SO LET'S NOT BE FOOLED BY FALSE CHOICE. THIS WAS NOT IN THE END A DEBATE ABOUT WHETHER TAXES NEEDED TO BE RAISED. IT WAS A DEBATE ABOUT THE KIND OF GOVERNMENT WE WANT. THIS WAS A DEBATE BETWEEN THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT WASHINGTON DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO SPEND AND THOSE LIKE ME TO BELIEVE THAT WASHINGTON HAS BECOME TOO BIG, TOO EXPENSI AND TOO BURDENSOME ALREADY. IF YOU THINK THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ISN'T BIG ENOUGH, THEN THE ONLY RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO IS TO SUPPORT HIGHER TAXES. FOR THOSE WHO ARE HONEST ABOUT THAT, I APPRECIATE THEIR CANDOR. BUT FOR THOSE OF US WHO DON'T THINK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE IN CHARGE OF BANKS, THE AUTO INDUSTRY, THE HOUSING BUSINESS, THE STUDENT LOAN BUSINESS, HEALTH CARE AND REGULATING EVERYTHING ELSE UNDER THE SUN, WE'RE NOT ABOUT TO FURTHER ENABLE THAT MODEL OF GOVERNMENT BY SHAKING DOWN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FOR MORE MONEY AT A TIME WHEN THEY CAN LEAST AFFORD IT. THAT'S WHAT THIS DEBATE IS ABOUT. IT'S ABOUT SAYING WASHINGTON HAS GOTTEN TOO BIG, AND THAT IT CAN'T AFFORD ITS COMMITMENTS, THAT IT NEEDS TO FIND A WAY TO CUT BACK ON THEM. BUT DON'T DEMAND THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PAY MORE SO WASHINGTON CAN MAKE ITS BAD HABITS PERMANENT. I READ AN ARTICLE YESTERDAY THAT SAID TWO OF EVERY FIVE DOLLARS AMERICANS SPEND RIGHT NOW COMES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IS THIS REALLY THE MODEL WE WANT? MADAM PRESIDENT, I HAVE A LOT OF MEETINGS WITH CONSTITUENTS, AND I'M NOT SURE I HAVE EVER HEARD ANYONE SAY THE PROBLEM WITH WASHINGTON IS THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO SPEND. I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER HEARD THAT. IT WAS MY HOPE THAT THE TWO PARTIES COULD REACH A MEANINGFUL BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT, AND I HAVE TO SAY I WAS INITIALLY ENCOURAGED BY THE PROSPECT OF THE BIPARTISAN DISCUSSIONS LED BY THE VICE PRESIDENT. ALTHOUGH I DISAGREE WITH HIM ON MOST ISSUES, VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN IS A MAN I HAVE COME TO RESPECT AS A STRAIGHT-SHOOTING NEGOTIATOR. WE FOUND COMMON GROUND LAST DECEMBER TO PREVENT A TAX HIKE ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND MY HOPE WAS WE COULD FIND A SOLUTION ONCE AGAIN. SADLY, THESE DISCUSSIONS STARTED WITH A SHARED GOAL OF REDUCING THE DEBT BUT QUICKLY REGRESSED TO A PUBLIC SIDE SHOW IN WHICH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION BECAME AN INSISTENCE THAT WE RAISE TAXES ON JOB CREATORS AND ON MILLIONS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES WHO DON'T HAVE YACHTS OR CORPORATE JETS. AT A TIME WHEN JOBS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN, THAT'S NOT A PRICE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CAN AFFORD. SO REPUBLICANS SEARCHED IN GOOD FAITH FOR COMMON GROUND, BUT THE GOAL POSTS JUST KEPT MOVING. WE TRUDGED ON, HOPING THE ADMINISTRATION WOULD AT SOME POINT REALIZE THAT THE CRISIS WE FACED DEMAND A CLEAR CHANGE IN DIRECTION, A DEPARTURE FROM THE GOVERNMENT-DRIVEN POLICIES OF THE PAST TWO YEARS. BUT OUR HOPES FOR A GRAND BARGAIN EVENTUALLY RAN INTO A BITTER REALITY THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION IS JUST NOT INTERESTED IN A MEANINGFUL AND LASTING SOLUTION TO OUR MOUNTING DEBT. IT IS SIMPLY TOO COMMITTED TO BIG GOVERNMENT. WE SHOWED A WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE ALL ALONG EVEN AS WE MADE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR FROM THE OUTSET THAT TAX INCREASES WOULD NOT BE A PART OF ANY AGREEMENT. IT WAS THEIR COMMITMENT TO BIG GOVERNMENT THAT STOOD IN THE WAY OF A GRAND BARGAIN. IT WAS THEIR DETERMINATION TO FREEZE THE POLICIES OF THE LAST TWO YEARS IN PLACE PERMANENTLY. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON'T WANT THAT. AND REPUBLICANS WON'T BE SEDUCED INTO ENABLING IT. AN IDEOLOGICAL COMMITMENT TO BIG GOVERNMENT HAS OUTWEIGHED THE WHITE HOUSE COMMITMENT TO FIND A MEANINGFUL COMPROMISE THAT DOES NOT DAMAGE OUR FRAGILE ECONOMY IN THE PROCESS. RATHER THAN FIND A WAY TO BRING GOVERNMENT BACK TO THE PEOPLE, THE ADMINISTRATION HAS COMMITTED ITSELF TO PROTECTING THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT AT THE COST OF JOB CREATION, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND AMERICA'S STATUS IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. THE TRAGEDY IN ALL THIS IS THAT WE ALL KNOW WHAT'S NECESSARY TO SOLVE THE ECONOMIC CRISIS WE FACE. THE ANSWER IS TO CUT SPENDING. THE ANSWER IS TO CUT SPENDING. IT'S NO SECRET HOW TO SOLVE THE ENTITLEMENT CRISIS EITHER. ANY ONE OF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THESE DISCUSSIONS COULD WRITE IT OUT ON THE BACK OF AN ENVELOPE, BUT IT'S ALSO NO SECRET THAT DEMOCRATS WOULD RATHER DEMAGOGUE ANY SOLUTION REPUBLICANS OPPOSE IN NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION THAN JOIN US IN SERIOUSLY REFORMING THEM, DESPITE WHAT SOME DEMOCRATS STARTED TO SAY ONCE IT BECAME CLEAR THAT REPUBLICANS WOULDN'T AGREE TO A PLAN THAT RAISES TAXES. WE ALL SAW THE NEWS STORIES YESTERDAY ABOUT HOW SENIOR DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN WORRIED ABOUT HOW REFORMING MEDICARE NOW WOULD MAKE IT HARDER FOR THEM TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST REPUBLICANS LATER. EVIDENTLY, THEY'D RATHER SAVE THEIR OWN JOBS THAN SAVE THEIR PROGRAMS FROM INSOL HAVE EN SIVMENT I TRULY BELIEVE WE CAN GET THIS DONE. I TRULY BELIEVE, PERHAPS NAIVELY, THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION WOULD SEE THE NECESSARY NECESSITY OF PRESERVING MEDICARE AND MEDICAID FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. IN THE END, IT APPEARS THAT THE PERCEIVED ELECTORAL SUCCESS OF DEMAGOGUING A SOLUTION PROVED ITS UNDOING. OR PERHAPS IT WAS JUST THE ID LOGICAL COMMITMENT TO PRESERVING THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT BY THE MOST STRIDENTLY LIBERAL MEMBERS OF THE OTHER SIDE. WHATEVER THE REASONS, MADAM PRESIDENT -- WHATEVER THE REASONS -- IT'S A TRAGIC MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR THE COUNTRY. I HOPE THE ECONOMISTS ARE WRONG AND THAT OUR ECONOMY WILL CONTINUE TO GROW OVER THE NEXT YEAR AND A HALF TO BUY US TIME TO TACKLE THE PROBLEMS WE FACE. BUT AFTER YEARS OF DISCUSSIONS AND MONTHS OF NEGOTIATIONS, I HAVE LITTLE QUESTION THAT AS LONG AS THIS PRESIDENT IS IN THE OVAL OFFICE, A REAL SOLUTION IS PROBABLY UNATTAINABLE. THIS WAS NOT AN EASY DECISION FOR ME. FOR MY FIRST DAY AS REPUBLICAN LEADER IN THE SENATE, I CALLED ON PRESIDENTS FROM BOTH PARTIES TO WORK WITH CONGRESS ON REAL SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE. AND FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS I'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH THE ADMINISTRATION ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING BIG FOR THE COUNTRY. ON EACH OCCASION, I'VE BEEN MET INITIALLY WITH ENCRNLG WORDS THAT GRADUALLY GIVE WAY TO MOVING THE GOALPOST. IN THE END, THEY'VE ALWAYS EXPRESS ADD FUNDAMENTAL UNWILLINGNESS TO ENGAGE IN A MEANINGFUL EFFORT TO REDUCE SPENDING AS A MEANS TO REIN IN THE DEBT. DESPITE OUR STAGNANT ECONOMY AND THE DIRE WARNINGS OF ECONOMIC AND SECURITY EXPERTS THAT WE CANNOT SUSTAIN OUR MOUNTING DEBT OR UNFUNDED LIABILITIES, THIS PRESIDENT HAS PROVEDDEN THAT HE WILL DO ALMOST ANYTHING TO PROTECT THE SIZE AND THE SCOPE OF WASHINGTON, D.C.,'S BURGEON BURGEONING BUREAUCRACY, INCLUDING TO THREATEN THE ECONOMIC SECURITY OF EVERY AMERICAN BY BACKING US UP TO THE EDGE OF DEFAULT. NOW, I'VE HEARD SOME ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SUGGEST THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE PUT US IN THIS POSITION BY REFUSING TO ACCEPT WHAT THEY CALL A BALANCED APPROACH. MY RESPONSE IS THAT IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE LEARNED ONE THING OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, IT'S THAT THEY NEED TO BRING THEIR DECODING RINGS TO ANY DEBATE IN WASHINGTON THESE DAYS. WHEN DEMOCRATS SAY "INVESTMENT," THEY MEAN GOVERNMENT SPENDING MANY H. WHEN THEY SAY "REVENUE," THEY MEAN HIGHER TAXES. AND WHEN THEY SAY "SHARED SACRIFICE," THEY MEAN THEY WANT YOU TO TAKE THE HIT, NOT WASHINGTON. IT STARTS WITH THE SO-CALLED RICH, WITH THE OWNERS OF THE CORPORATE JETS, BUT PRETTY SOON IT HITS THE FAMILY FLYING IN COACH. EVENTUALLY, EVERYONE GETS FLEECED. WELL, AMERICANS HAVE HAD ENOUGH. THEY THINK IT'S TIME WASHINGTON SHARES IN THE SACRIFICE. REPUBLICANS INVITED DEMOCRATS INTO THESE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT FINDING A SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS AND WHILE WE APPROACH THEM WITH CLEAR AND UNWAVERING PRINCIPLES, WE ALSO BROUGHT AN OPEN MIND. THE RECORD REFLECTS THAT. I WON'T BETRAY THE CONFIDENCE OF THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO NEGOTIATE WITH US, BUT THERE CAN BE NO QUESTION BY ANYONE INVOLVED IN THESE DISCUSSIONS THAT REPUBLICANS WERE WILLING TO MAKE TOUGH CHOITION CHOICES. SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? WELL, I WAS ONE OF THOSE WHO HAD LONG HOPED WE COULD DO SOMETHING BIG FOR THE COUNTRY. BUT IN MY VIEW THE PRESIDENT HAS PRESENTED US WITH THREE CHOICES: SMOKE AND MIRRORS, TAX HIKES, OR DEFAULT. REPUBLICANS CHOOSE NONE OF THE ABOVE. I HAD HOPED TO DO GOOD, BUT I REFUSE TO DO HARM. SO REPUBLICANS WILL CHOOSE A PATH THAT ACTUALLY REFLECTS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE, WHICH IS TO DO THE RESPONSIBLE THING AND ENSURE THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T DEFAULT ON ITS OBLIGATIONS. AND TO CONTINUE TO PRESS THE ADMINISTRATION TO REIN IN WASHINGTON NOT TO FREEZE IT IN PLACE. THAT'S WHY I WILL CONTINUE TO URGE THE PRESIDENT TO REIN IN OUR DEFICITS AND DEBT IN A WAY THAT PUTS THE SHORT- AND LONG-TERM HEALTH OF OUR ECONOMY AHEAD OF HIS PERSONAL VISION OF GOVERNMENT. THAT'S WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT. THAT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS WILL CONTINUE TO INSIST ON. NOTHING LESS WILL SOLVE THE CRISIS WE FACE. NOTHING LESS WILL DO. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:20:36 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR ONE HOUR WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES AND WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH, WITH THE MAJORITY CONTROLLING THE FIRST HALF AND THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING THE FINAL HALF. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

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  • 10:22:08 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO.

  • 10:22:12 AM

    MR. UDALL

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:22:15 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:22:17 AM

    MR. UDALL

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY AS OUR NATION HONORS THE BRAVERY AND…

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY AS OUR NATION HONORS THE BRAVERY AND SACRIFICE OF SANTA FE NATIVE LEE ROW ARTHUR PETRIE, AN ARMY RANGER WHO IN 2008 RISKED HIS LIFE TO SAVE HIS FELLOW SOLDIERS ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF AFGHANISTAN. TODAY SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE WILL BE HONORED FOR HIS CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY WITH OUR NATION'S HIGHEST MILITARY DECORATION: THE MEDAL OF HONOR. I WILL BE HUMBLED TO BE AT THE WHITE HOUSE ALONG WITH SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE'S FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FELLOW SOLDIERS, AS PRESIDENT OBAMA HONORS HIM WITH THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR. IT WILL BE A SPECIAL DAY FOR SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE, FOR HIS WIFE, HIS CHILDREN, AND HIS -- AND ALL HIS FAMILY AND FOR HIS FELLOW AMERICANS. AS HE BECOMES ONLY THE SECOND LIVING ACTIVE DUTY SERVICE MEMBER TO RECEIVE THE MEDAL OF HONOR FOR ACTIONS IN IRING OR AFGHANISTAN. -- IN IRAQ OR AFGHANISTAN. SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE'S STORY IS ONE OF COURAGE AND SACRIFICE AND IMMENSE LOVE OF COUNTRY. IT'S A STORY THAT BEGAN YEARS AGO IN SANTA FE WITH A YOUNG PLAN WHO STRUGGLED IN HIGH SCHOOL BUT REFUSED TO GIVE UP AND INSTEAD BUCKLED DOWN, DUG DEEP, AND FOUND THE HERO WITHIN. A HERO TO THE MEN HE SAVED ON THAT FATEFUL DAY IN AFGHANISTAN AND A HERO TO ALL AMERICANS WHO OWE THEIR FREEDOMS TO OUR BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM. IT'S THE STORY THAT DAY IN MAY OF 2008 THAT I'D LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT TODAY. SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE WAS A MEMBER OF THE 75th RANGER RELIGIOUS WHEN HE AND -- REGIMEN WHEN HE AND HIS FELLOW SOLDIERS WERE TO CAPTURE. THEY WERE ENGAGED IN A FIRE FIGHT WHEN SEVERAL IN THEIR REGIMEN WERE PINNED DOWN BY GRENADES. PETRIE HAD ALREADY BEEN WOUNDED BY BULLET FISHINGS SHOT THROUGH BOTH LEGS BY A HIDDEN ENEMY. BUT HE DIDN'T A HOW HIS WOUNDS TO STOP HIM. PINNED INSIDE A COURTYARD WITH A FELLOW RANGER, HE CONTINUED THE FIGHT CALLING IN SUPPORT AND CREATING A BRIEF PAUSE IN ENEMY FIRE BY THROWING A GRENADE THEIR WAY. ONE ENEMY GRENADE EXPLODED WITHIN TEN UNDER THE PREVIOUS YARDS OF PETRIE AND A GROUP OF RANGERS. THE EXPLOSION KNOCKED THE RANGERS DOWN AND WOUNDED TWO MEMBERS OF THE TEAM. SOON AFTER THE FISHES GRENADE EXPLODE, THE INSURGENTS THRAW SECOND. THIS TIME IT LANDED NEAR TWO OF HIS COMRADES. WITH NO THOUGHT TO HIS PERSONAL SAFETY, HE GRABBED THE GRENADE AND ATTEMPTED TO TOSS IT AWAY. THE GRENADE EXPLODED AS HE TOSSED IT, TAKING PETRIE'S HAND WITH IT, BUT SAVING THE LIVES OF THOSE NEAR HIM. NOW LOSING A HAND OFF WITH BEEN -- WOULD HAVE BEEN ANY OF TO BREAK MOST PEOPLE BUT NOT SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE. INSTEAD, HE CALMLY INEXPECTED HIS WOUND, STEMMED THE FLOW OF FLOOD WITH A TOURNIQUET AND CONTINUED THE FIGHT. HELPING TO PIN DOWN THE INSURGENTS UNTIL THEY COULD BE KILLED. IT WAS IN IMMENSE ACT OF BRAVERY THAT SAVED THE LIVES OF HIS BROTHERS IN ARMS. IN FACT ONE OF HIS FELLOW RANGERS, SERGEANT YELL HIGGINS WROTE IN A STATEMENT ABOUT THAT DAY, "IF NOT FOR STAFF SERGEANT PETRIE'S ACTIONS, WE WOULD HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY WOUNDED OR KILLED." ON THAT FATEFUL DAY IN 2008, THEN-STAFF SERGEANT PETRIE WAS NO STRANGER TO SERVICE TO THIS COUNTRY. HE WAS ON HIS EIGHTH DEPLOYMENT. LET ME REPEAT THAT EIGHTH DEPLOYMENT IN SUPPORT OF U.S. OPERATIONS OVERSEAS, HIS SIXTH IN AFGHANISTAN AND AFTER TWO TOURS IN IRAQ. SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE'S LIFE OF HEROIC SERVICE WAS BASED ON HUMBLE BEGINNINGS. IN 1998 A SPHOAR IN THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN NEWSPAPER FEATURED A THEN-18-YEAR-OLD PETRIE. THE YOUNG MAN WAS A SENIOR AT SAINT KATHERINE INDIAN SCHOOL, THE INSTITUTION'S FINAL GRADUATING CLASS. HE WAS ALSO A RECIPIENT OF THE BOOTSTRAP AWARD, WHICH HONORED AREA HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS WHO HAD COMMITTED TO IMPROVING THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMMUNITY. HERE'S WHAT THE TEACHER WHO NOMINATED -- NOMINATED HIM WROTE: "WITH A RECORD OF FIGHT, SUSPENSIONS, AND DITCHING SCHOOL, PETRIE REALIZED THAT HE WAS ON A PATH THAT LED NOWHERE. HE TRIED HARDER IN SCHOOL AND APPRECIATED H. HOW IT FELT TO MAKE HIS PARENTS PROUD. FROM A PATH TO NOWHERE TO A PATH TO HISTORY AS A NATIONAL HERO, SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE IS AN INSPIRATION FOR ALL YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND THEIR PLACE IN THE WORLD. TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO MAY BE CONSIDERING GIVING UP AND TAKING A MORE DESTRUCTIVE PATH, HE IS A MODEL. THREE YEARS AFTER HIS HEROIC ACTIONS ON THE BATTLEFIELD, SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE CONTINUES TO GIVE BACK TO HIS COUNTRY AND HIS FELLOW SOLDIERS AS A LIAISON OFFICER FOR THE U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS CARE COALITION IN WASHINGTON STATE, SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE PROVIDES A HELPING HAND AND MUCH-NEEDED RESOURCES TO WOUNDED SOLDIERS, ILL AND INJURED SERVICE MEMBERS, AND THEIR FAMILIES." HERE'S WHAT LEE LEROY'S FATHER SAID OF HIS SON IN A RECENT INTERVIEW. "HE'S REALLY OVERWHELMED BY THIS. HE KEEPS SAYING, DAD, I WAS JUST DOING MY JOB. ANY OTHER SOLDIER WOULD HAVE DONE IT." I THINK WE'LL ALL AGREE WITH WHAT HIS FATHER SAID IN RETURN. "WELL, SON, YOU DID SOMETHING GREAT AND THEY REALLY WANT TO HONOR YOU FOR THAT." DESPITE ALL THE ATTENTION AND RECOGNITION BROUGHT BY THIS AWARD, PETRIE BEINGS, LIKE SOME OF THOSE BRAVE WARRIORS BEFORE HIM, REMAINS HUMBLE. A RECENT POSTING ON HIS FACEBOOK FAITH READS, "THE AWARD IS BIGGER THAN A PERSON, AND I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT." NEW MEXICO HAS A LONG AND PROUD TRADITION OF MILITARY SERVICE, EXEMPLIFIED IN THE HEROIC ACTIONS OF SERGEANT FIRST CLASS LEROY PETRIE ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF AFGHANISTAN. TO SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE'S WIFE ASHLEY AND THEIR FOUR CHILDREN, TO HIS MOTHER AND FATHER AND SIBLINGS AND EXTENDED FAMILY, I KNOW I SPEAK FOR THE PEOPLE OF NEW MEXICO AND ALL OF AMERICA WHEN I OFFER THE THANKS OF A GRATEFUL NATION. YOU SACRIFICE YOUR TIME, YOUR LOVED ONES, -- YOU SACRIFICED YOUR TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONE SO HE COULD BRAVELY SERVE OUR COUNTRY. ALONG WITH SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE, YOU ARE ALL HEROES IN OUR EYES. SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PETRIE IS HIGHLY DESERVING OF THIS HONOR AND NEW MEXICO IS HONORED TO CALL HIM A NATIVE SON. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:30:04 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK.

  • 10:30:11 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:41:50 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:41:53 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    IT'S TIME FOR REPUBLICAN LEADERS TO DO SOME MUCH-NEEDED SOUL SEARCHING.…

    IT'S TIME FOR REPUBLICAN LEADERS TO DO SOME MUCH-NEEDED SOUL SEARCHING. ARE THEY WILLING TO RISK AN ECONOMIC CATACLYSM JUST TO MOLLIFY AN EXTREME WING OF THEIR PARTY AND SCORE POLITICAL POINTS AGAINST THE PRESIDENT? DO THEY WANT US TO BE REMEMBERED IN THE HISTORY BOOKS AS THE FIRST GENERATION OF AMERICANS TO RENEGE ON OUR OBLIGATIONS? OR WILL THEY PUT COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY, COME TO THE BARGAINING TABLE AND FORGE A BIPARTISAN PATH FORWARD? LIKE MOST AMERICANS, I'M A NATURAL OPTIMIST. SURE, I DON'T HAVE MUCH EVIDENCE TO BASE MY OPTIMISM ON WHEN REPUBLICANS WALK OUT ON NEGOTIATIONS TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME WHEN THEY DON'T GET THEIR WAY, BUT I NEVERTHELESS POSSESS AN INNATE BELIEF THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE'LL DO WHAT'S BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY AND OUR ECONOMY. WE'LL RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT, PASS A FAR-REACHING DEFICIT REDUCTION PACKAGE THAT INCLUDES BOTH SPENDING CUTS AND REPEAL OF TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICHEST FEW AMONG US, AS THE PRESIDENT RECENTLY PUT IT, AND HE WAS WHETHER INTENTIONALLY OR NOT, QUOTING A GREAT THINKER FROM ANCIENT BABYLON -- IF NOT NOW, WHEN? LET US HOPE WE ARRIVE IN AGREEMENT SOON. TIME, MADAM PRESIDENT, UNFORTUNATELY, IS NOT ON OUR SIDE. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND THE BALANCE -- I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT.

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  • 10:43:17 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA.

  • 10:43:19 AM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK FOR HIS…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK FOR HIS IMPORTANT REMARKS. I'M HERE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE RECENT COMPROMISE THAT -- BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE THAT WE REACHED ON BIOFUELS. I HAVE COME TO THE SENATE FLOOR A NUMBER OF TIMES TO TALK ABOUT THIS COUNTRY'S BIOFUELS POLICY, AND IN THE LAST MONTH I HAVE WORKED ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS WITH SENATOR FEINSTEIN OF CALIFORNIA AND SENATOR THUNE OF SOUTH DAKOTA TO DEVELOP A COMPROMISE AGREEMENT THAT REPRESENTS A GOOD-FAITH EFFORT TO IMPROVE ENERGY POLICY UNDER VERY DIFFICULT ECONOMIC TIMES. AT A TIME OF BITTER BUDGET DEBATES AND ENTRENCHED POSITIONS, WE WORKED TOGETHER TO FIND COMMON GROUND AND WE TOOK A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, AND THAT IS A STEP OF REDUCING THE DEBT IMMEDIATELY BY $1.3 BILLION OF THE $2 BILLION REMAINING ON A SUBSIDY. MAY I ADD, THIS WAS A SUBSIDY THAT THIS CONGRESS VOTED FOR JUST IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR. SO THE BIOFUELS INDUSTRY UNDERSTANDS THAT THIS SUBSIDY WAS GOING TO END AT THE END OF THIS YEAR, BUT THEY DIDN'T JUST LET IT WRITTAL AWAY TOWARD THE END OF THE YEAR, KNOWING THERE WAS WANING SUPPORT FOR IT. THEY ACTUALLY CAME TO THE TABLE AND SAID LET'S SEE IF WE CAN DO SOMETHING SMART HERE THAT'S GOOD FOR ENERGY POLICY AND GOOD FOR THIS COUNTRY'S FISCAL POSITION. UNDER THIS DEAL, THE VOLUMETRIC ETHANOL ACT, THE EXCISE TAX CREDIT WILL EXPIRE AT THE END OF THIS MONTH INSTEAD OF THE END OF 2011. I HAVE CONTINUED TO SAY THAT THIS DEBATE IS NOT ABOUT WHETHER WE END THIS TAX CREDIT. IT'S ABOUT HOW WE DO IT, AND THIS COMPROMISE AGREEMENT REPRESENTS A RESPONSIBLE AND COST-EFFECTIVE APPROACH. FIRST, THE COMPROMISE DEDICATES $1.3 BILLION, OR TWO-THIRDS OF THE REMAINING ETHANOL SUBSIDY TO SAVINGS TOWARD THE DEFICIT. IT ACTUALLY JUST GOES RIGHT INTO THE COFFERS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE THE DEBT. AT A TIME WHEN OUR COUNTRY IS STRUGGLING WITH INCREASING DEBT AND PARTISAN BICKERING, THE COMPROMISE REPRESENTS A STEP FORWARD, SO TWO-THIRDS OF THE MONEY GOES TOWARDS THE DEBT. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REST OF THE THIRD OF THE MONEY? WELL, NORMALLY IT WOULD BE GOING INTO THAT TAX CREDIT, $400 MILLION EVERY MONTH FOR THE REST OF THIS YEAR. INSTEAD, WE TAKE THAT EXISTING $668 MILLION, THE OTHER THIRD, AND USE IT TO EXTEND AND EXPAND THE SUPPORT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS. AS YOU KNOW, MADAM CHAIR, COMING FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE, WE HAVE A LOT OF CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS IN THE MIDWEST, BUT IT IS SOMETHING YOU CAN SEE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. IT IS A COMMITMENT TO A NEW GENERATION OF FUEL, ALGAE, BIOFUELS, SWITCHGRASS, YOU NAME IT. THERE IS A LOT OF POSSIBILITIES HERE WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT COULD BE THE NEXT GENERATION OF CELLULOSIC ETHANOL. MANY OF THE FIRST ADVANCED BIOFUEL PLANTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE RETROFITTED ONTO EXISTING CORN-BASED ETHANOL FACILITIES. THIS COMPROMISE ALSO EXTENDS A SMALL PRODUCER TAX CREDIT FOR ONE YEAR AT A REDUCED RATE. THIS TAX CREDIT BENEFITS SMALLER PLANTS WHICH WERE SOME OF THE EARLIEST PIONEERS IN THE INDUSTRY AND OFFER STRUCTURED AS FARMER CO-OPS. AGAIN, THIS IS NOT NEW MONEY. THE MONEY SENDING YOU UNDERSTAND UNDER OUR PLAN AS OF JULY 31 FOR THE TAX KED. IT SIMPLY TAKES A THIRD OF THE EXISTING MONEY AND USED IT IN A SMART WAY SO THAT CONGRESS WON'T HAVE TO SPEND ANY NEW MONEY ON VERY IMPORTANT AREAS LIKE CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS. THIS EXTENSION HELPS PROVIDE SMALL ETHANOL PLANTS A GLIDE PATH TO ADJUST TO THE ELIMINATION OF THE VOLUMETRIC ETHANOL EXCISE TAX CREDIT. LAST, THE COMPROMISE INVESTS IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE WE NEED TO BRING GREATER COMPETITION IN THE FUEL MARKET. THIS MEANS EXTENDING TAX CREDITS, THE EXISTING MONEY, TO HELP GAS STATIONS INSTALL A VARIETY OF FUEL DISPENSING TECHNOLOGIES, INCLUDING ETHANOL, HYDROGEN, NATURAL GAS, AND ELECTRIC CHARGING STATIONS. SO LET ME AGAIN REPEAT, THIS ISN'T JUST ABOUT BIOFUELS. IT'S ABOUT ALL KINDS OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY THAT COMPETE WITH OIL. WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE OUR HOMEGROWN FUELS TO COMPETE WITH FOREIGN OIL AND THIS INVESTMENT WILL HELP DO JUST THAT AND GIVE CONSUMERS A REAL CHOICE AT THE PUMP. I'VE ALWAYS BELIEVED WE SHOULD BE INVESTING IN THE FARMERS AND THE WORKERS OF OUR COUNTRY INSTEAD OF THE OIL CARTELS IN THE MIDEASTERN COUNTRIES. THE ETHANOL INDUSTRY SHOULD BE COMMENDED IN COMING TO THE TABLE TO OFFER UP OVER $1 BILLION IN SAVINGS DURING THESE DIFFICULT BUDGET DISCUSSIONS, AND I BELIEVE -- AND THIS I THINK IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FOR SOME OF THE DISCUSSION SENATOR SCHUMER WAS HAVING, THAT WE'VE ALL BEEN HAVING ABOUT THE DEBT, THIS COMPROMISE, WHILE IT MAY BE A $1 BILLION INSTEAD OF $1 TRILLION, BUT IT IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT WE CAN DO IF WE ARE REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT REDUCING OUR DEBT. IT IS A MODEL FOR WHAT CAN HAPPEN WITH GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES GOING FORWARD. TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE OIL INDUSTRY. TRADITIONAL ETHANOL IS A MATURING MARKET PROVIDING ONLY ABOUT 10% OF AMERICANS' FUEL SUPPLY, 10% OF THE FUEL SUPPLY. WE'RE NOW AT THE POINT WHERE WE'RE ACTUALLY MACING MORE BIOFUELS THAN WE IMPORT OIL FROM SAUDI ARABIA. THAT'S PRETTY SIGNIFICANT. BUT WE'RE STILL ONLY 10% WITH BIOFUELS. HOW ABOUT OIL? WELL, THE REST IS OISM THE OIL INDUSTRY HAS BEEN A MATURE INDUSTRY AND COLLECTED SUBSIDIES FOR NEARLY 100 YEARS. AMERICANS HAVE SHOULDERED THESE COSTS FOR TOO LONG. THE OIL COMPANIES NO LONGER NEED THOSE TAX BREAKS AND WE CAN'T AFFORD THEM WHEN WE LOOK AT THE DEBT WE'RE FACING. THE LIST OF THE OIL PRODUCTION TAX DEDUCTIONS INCLUDES ONE COSTING $18.2 BILLION OVER TEN YEARSER, THE EXPENSING OF INTANGIBLE DRILLING, THE PERCENTAGE DEPLETION AFTERLLOWANCE COSTING $11.2 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS, AND THE DUAL CAPACITY RULE FOR FOREIGN TAX CREDITS COSTING $10.8 BILLION TO TAXPAYERS OVER TEN YEARS. THE QUESTION ISN'T ABOUT WHETHER THE OIL COMPANIES DESERVE THE PROFITS. IT IS A QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD PAY THE COST OF PROVIDING PREFERENTIAL TAX TREATMENT TO THE FIVE LARGEST OIL COMPANIES IN THE UNITED STATES WHICH HAVE RACKED UP OVER ALMOST $1 TRILLION IN PROFITS IN JUKES JUST THE PAST DECADE. SO THAT'S THE ISSUE. WE'RE DEALING WITH THIS DEBT. WHEN WE'RE DEALING WITH THE DEBT WHERE MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES ARE PAYING MULTIPLE AMOUNTS EVERY SINGLE YEAR, MULTIPLE DOLLARS INTO INTEREST ON OUR DEBT, SHOULD THEY ALSO BE ASKED TO FOOT THE BILL TO PAY FOR THESE SUBSIDIES FOR OIL COMPANIES WHEN THESE OIL COMPANIES ARE MAKING ALMOST $1 TRILLION IN PROFITS IN THE PAST DECADE? THAT'S THE ISSUE. IT IS A QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER THE MATURE OIL INDUSTRY SHOULD CONTINUE TO RECEIVE BILLIONS IN SUBSIDIES AT A TIME WHEN THEIR PROFITS ARE UP 30% IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2011. I'M NOT AGAINST DRILLING AT ALL. I'M PLEASED ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON IN NORTH DAKOTA RIGHT TO OUR WEST. BUT WHEN I LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THIS DEBT RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE TO BE SMART ABOUT THIS AND THIS IS CLEARLY ONE PLACE TO LOOK FOR SAVINGS. IT IS A QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER A HUGERY PROFITABLE INDUSTRY SHOULD CONTINUE TO ENJOY LUCRATIVE TAX ADVANTAGES AT A TIME WHEN OUR NATION CAN LEAST AFFORD IT. WITH OIL PRICES MUCH HIGHER THAN ACTUAL COSTS, THE OIL INDUSTRY DOESN'T NEED EXTRA MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT. WE MUST GET SERIOUS ABOUT TACKLING THE DEFICIT AND PUTTING OUR COUNTRY BACK ON SOUND FISCAL GROWN. BUT THE PROBLEM WE'RE FACING NOW IS NOT ONLY A CRISIS OF DOLLARS AND CENTS. IT IS ALSO A CRISIS OF THE DIVIDE AND THE DEADLOCK. IT IS TIME WE OPEN THAT DEADLOCK. WE DID IT WITH BIOFUELS. WE CAME TABORED A COMPROMISE, WITH SENATOR FEINSTEIN, WHO HAS SPENT HER LIFETIME IN THE SENATE FIGHTING AGAINST ETHANOL AND SENATOR THUNE AND I CAME TOGETHER ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS AND GOT IT DONE. WE DID IT, IMMEDIATELY TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR IMMEDIATE SUBSIDY GOING TO DEBT REDUCTION. WE KNOW THIS DEFICIT ISN'T GOING TO FIX ITSELF. WE ALL KNOW THAT.

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  • 10:51:30 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.

  • 10:51:36 AM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    THANK YOU. WE ALL KNOW THIS DEBT ISN'T JUST GOING TO GO AWAY. WE ALL KNOW…

    THANK YOU. WE ALL KNOW THIS DEBT ISN'T JUST GOING TO GO AWAY. WE ALL KNOW WE CAN'T JUST CLOSE OTHER HIGHS AND CLICK OUR HEELS AND WISH OUR DEBTS AWAY. IN THAT REPORT, THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY WROTE THAT EVERY MODEST SACRIFICE WE REFUSE TO MAKE TODAY ONLY FORCES FAR GREATER SACRIFICES OF HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY UPON THE NEXT GENERATION. AND THEY'RE RIGHT. A RELATIVELY SMALL INDUSTRY LIKE ETHANOL IS WILLING TO PUT TWO-THIRDS OF ITS TAX BREAKS ON THE DABBLE FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION IMMEDIATELY. THE MUCH LARGE EARS AND MUCH MORE PROFITABLE OIL INDUSTRY CAN CERTAINLY AFFORD TO DO THE SAME, IF NOT MORE. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. A YIELD THE I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:52:20 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA.

  • 10:52:22 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH MY REPUBLICAN…

    I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES.

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  • 10:52:29 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK SENATOR KLOBUCHAR. SHE IS A VALUABLE MEMBER OF…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK SENATOR KLOBUCHAR. SHE IS A VALUABLE MEMBER OF THIS SENATE, AND SHE MENTIONED SOME SAVINGS OR ADDITIONAL REVENUE FROM TAX INCREASES AND SOME WERE $10 BILLION, ONE WAS $8 BILLION, I THINK, ONE WAS $3 BSM I WOULD JUST SAY THAT OVER TEN YEARS THAT'S HOW MUCH THOSE CHANGES WOULD RAISE. I WOULD JUST RECALL FOR ALL MY COLLEAGUES THAT WE UNWISELY YEAR BEFORE LAST, I GUESS IT WAS, SPENT $847 BILLION ON A STIMULUS PACKAGE THAT PRODUCED LITTLE INCOME AND WE'RE PAYING IN INTEREST ON THAT OF ABOUT $27 BILLION, $30 BILLION A YEAR. IT ADDS UP AS THE YEARS GO BY. ITWE'VE NOW GONE I THINK 805 DAYS -- 804 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET IN THIS BODY. DURING THAT TIME, THIS COUNTRY HAS SPENT $7.3 TRILLION -- THAT'S $7,300,000,000,000. WE HAVE PAID IN INTEREST ON THE MONEY WE BORROWED $439 BILLION JUST THIS THAT PERIOD OF TIME THAT WE HAVEN'T HAD A BUDGET, INTEREST ON OUR DEBT IS $439 BILLION IN 804 DAYS. AND WE'VE ACCUMULATED DURING THIS TIME AN ADDITIONAL $3.2 TRILLION IN DEBT, $3,200 $3,200,000,000,000 IN DEBT. AND DURING THE PAST TWO YEARS UNDER THE SUPERDEMOCRATIC MAJORITY HERE IN THE SENATE AND IN THE HOUSE, 60 DEMOCRATIC SENATORS AND THE PRESIDENT'S LEADERSHIP, DISCRETIONARY NON-DEFENSE SPENDING WENT UP 24%. AND THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES IN HIS BUDGET NEXT YEAR TO INCREASE THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, THE STATE DEPARTMENT, THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT, THE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT -- DOUBLE-DIGIT INCREASES AGAIN WHEN THIS YEAR 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND IS BORROWED. SO I AM GLAD MY COLLEAGUES CAN BE WITH ME NOW AND REALLY WOULD ASK -- I SEE SENATOR JOHNSON, A MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. WE HAD MORE PEOPLE WANT TO GET ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE THIS YEAR, THE NEW SENATORS THAT WERE RECENTLY ELECTED. SENATOR JOHNSON WAS ONE OF THE FEW TO BE SELECTED. MANY WERE NOT ABLE TO GET ON THE COMMITTEE. AND THEY HOPE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND TO CONFRONT THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE. SENATOR JOHNSON, YOU'RE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN. YOU JUST JOINED THE SENATE LAST YEAR. HOW HAVE YOU FELT TO DATE ABOUT THE PROCESS?

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  • 10:55:21 AM

    MR. JOHNSON

    WELL, SENATOR SESSIONS, YOU KNOW, I APPRECIATE THE KIND WORDS. MY…

    WELL, SENATOR SESSIONS, YOU KNOW, I APPRECIATE THE KIND WORDS. MY BACKGROUND IS IN ACCOUNTING. AND I HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR 34 YEARS AND I PRODUCED BUDGETS FOR PEOPLE ON TIME, I'VE HAD PEOPLE PRODUCE BUDGETS FOR ME ON DIME. AND I LOOK AT THE PROCESS -- ORB THE LACK AFTER PROCESS HERE AT ABSURD. IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT I CERTAINLY PRODUCED BUDGETS FOR SMALLER BUSINESSES, LET'S SAY A $10 BILLION COMPANY WOULD GO THROUGH AN AWFUL LOT OF DETAIL TO DROP A BUDGET. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT A LITTLE BIT LARGER BUSINESS, MAYBE A $1 BILLION BUSINESS. THEN YOU COME HERE TO WASHINGTON AND YOU SEE BUSINESS AS USUAL HERE AND I WANT TO MAKE SURE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND HOW ABSURD THIS PROCESS IS. THE FACT THAT WE HAVEN'T PASSED A BUDGET IN THE SENATE IN OVER TWO YEARS AND NOW WE HAVE THE PRESIDENT -- AT LEAST HE'S FINALLY GOT ENGAGED LAST WEEK. AND THEY'RE MEETING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND IS IT REALLY TRUE THAT THEY'RE GOING TO PRODUCE A BUDGET OVER THE COURSE OF A COUPLE MEETINGS, A BUDGET FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT WOULD BE $3.7 TRILLION, $3,700,000,000,000 WORTH, AND THEY'RE GOING TO DO THIS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, JUST A COUPLE PEOPLE? I MEAN, THAT IS AN ABSURD PROCESS. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS I AM GLAD THE PRESIDENT FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT MEDICARE IS UNSUSTAINABLE. THAT'S A SAD FACT. I WISH IT WEREN'T SOAVMENT BUT THE FIRST STEP OF COURSE IN ANY PROCESS OF GETTING -- OF BEING HEALED IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. SO I'M GLAD THE PRESIDENT FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT MEDICARE IS UNSUSTAINABLE. BUT IF HE WAS RULELY SERIOUS -- BUT IF HE WAS REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT STRUCTURAL REFORM, IF HE WAS REALLY COMING TO THE TABLE IN GOOD FAITH, SENATOR SESSIONS, HE WOULD HAVE COME TO THE TABLE SIX MONTHS ASMG HE WOULD HAVE BEEN SIGNATURE DOWN IN GOOD FAITH WITH -- HE WOULD HAVE BEEN SITTING DOWN IN GOOD FAITH WITH REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHO UNDERSTAND HOW URGENT THE PROBLEM IS, WHO WANT TO WORK WITH THIS PRESIDENT, WHO WANT TO WORK WITH ANYONE WHO IS WILLING TO SERIOUSLY ADDRESS THE FACT THAT WE'RE BANKRUPTING THIS NATION. SO AGAIN I FIND THIS PROCESS ABSURD AND I AM JUST ASKING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO PLEASE THINK ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE. RATHER THAN AN ORDERLY PROCESS, RATHER THAN A PROCESS IN THE LIGHT OF DAY, WE'RE DOING IT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND THERE'S GOING TO BE SOMETHING DROPPED I'M AFRAID IN OUR LAPS WITH NO TIME TO REVIEW IT. ANOTHER ONE OF THESE BILLS THAT NOBODY CAN HAVE TIME TO READ AND THAT IS WHAT THE FINANCIAL FATE OF AMERICA RESTS ON? I DON'T THINK SO. IT SHOULD NOT BE THAT WAY.

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  • 10:58:06 AM

    MR. WICKER

    ABSOLUTELY.

  • 10:58:09 AM

    MR. WICKER

    OF COURSE THE PROCESS IS IMPORTANT. AND IT IS DESIGNED FOR THE PRESIDENT…

    OF COURSE THE PROCESS IS IMPORTANT. AND IT IS DESIGNED FOR THE PRESIDENT AND THE CONGRESS TO WORK TOGETHER TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS. I THINK THE PROCESS MAY BE BROKEN, WHICH I THINK POINTS UP WHY WE REALLY, BOTTOM LINE, NEED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE THE PRESIDENT TO SUBMIT A BALANCED BUDGET. AND TO REQUIRE THIS CONGRESS TO ENACT A BALANCED BUDGET. YOU KNOW, THE PRESIDENT SUBMITTED A BUDGET TO US. DEFICITS AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE. THE BUDGET, WE BROUGHT IT TO A VOTE UNDER SORT OF AN INTERESTING PROCEDURE HERE. DIDN'T GET ONE SINGLE VOTE, NOT ONE REPUBLICAN, NOT ONE DEMOCRAT WOULD VOTE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET. WE HEAR RUMBLINGS THAT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE -- THE DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE MAY BE ACTUALLY ABOUT TO BRING A BUDGET FORWARD. IT'S BEEN 800 DAYS. WE PASSED THE 800-DAY MARK LAST WEEK. THE BUDGET CHAIRMAN IN THE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND THE PROCESS HAS FAILED TO WORK, TO ACTUALLY BRING A BUDGET OUT TO THE FLOOR BACK FROM -- OUT FROM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, AS MY FRIEND FROM WISCONSIN HAS SAID. AND LET US VOTE ON ALL OF THESE PROCEDURES. SO I WOULD SIMPLY SAY, THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET WAS A NONSTARTER. I THINK, IF THE SENATE DEMOCRATIC VERSION EVER WERE TO BE DEVISED AND BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR, IT WOULD BE A NONSTARTER, WHICH IS WHY WE HAVEN'T SEEN SUCH A PROPOSAL IN 800 DAYS. BOTTOM LINE: REPUBLICANS ARE UNITED ON THIS SIDE IN RESISTING TAX INCREASES ON OUR ECONOMY AT A TIME WHEN WE ARE AT 9.2% UNEMPLOYMENT AND WE'RE UNITED, ALL 47 OF US, IN SAYING WE NEED THE BASIC CHANGE IN THE PROCESS IN THIS COUNTRY. OF ENACTING A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, SENDING THAT AMENDMENT OUT TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION. THAT WOULD BE THE TYPE OF PROCESS REFORM THAT I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AGREE THAT WE NEED.

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  • 11:00:37 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK MY COLLEAGUES, SENATOR LEE FROM UTAH WHO JUST…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK MY COLLEAGUES, SENATOR LEE FROM UTAH WHO JUST JOINED US. HIS LATE FATHER WAS SOLICITOR GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES LAW SCHOOL DEAN. WE'RE GLAD THAT SENATOR LEE HAS REALLY PUT A LOT OF EFFORT IN DRAFTING A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, THE GOOD LAWYER THAT HE IS, THAT WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE, I THINK, FOR OUR COUNTRY. SENATOR LEE, MAYBE YOU WOULD SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUR OBSERVATION AS A NEW SENATOR ON HOW THINGS ARE GOING AND WHY YOU BELIEVE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, AS SENATOR WICKER FROM MISSISSIPPI HAS JUST SAID, WOULD BE HELPFUL FOR OUR COUNTRY AND HELP PUT US ON A SOUND PATH FOR THE FUTURE.

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  • 11:01:21 AM

    MR. LEE

    THE NEED HAS NEVER BEEN GREATER FOR US TO AVOID GIMMICKS. GIMMICKRY IN…

    THE NEED HAS NEVER BEEN GREATER FOR US TO AVOID GIMMICKS. GIMMICKRY IN THIS CONTEXT CAN HAVE VERY HIGH STAKES AND CAN PROVE MOST DETRIMENTAL TO OUR ECONOMY AND TO THE ABILITY OF OUR GOVERNMENT TO FUNCTION. WE HAVE TO LOOK OUT FOR THOSE GIMMICKS THAT WOULD SAY WE'RE GOING TO MAKE A FEW CUTS NOW BUT MOST OF THE CUTS WE'RE GOING TO PROPOSE IN RETURN FOR OUR ABILITY TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT WILL INVOLVE SACRIFICES BY FUTURE CONGRESSES. NOT THE 112th CONGRESS. WE'LL JUST MAKE A FEW, BUT WE'LL SAY THAT THE 113th AND 114th AND SUCCESSIVE CONGRESSES AFTER THAT WILL MAKE THE DIFFICULT, NECESSARY SACRIFICES. WE CAN'T DO THAT. NOTHING ALLOWS US TO BIND A FUTURE CONGRESS. THAT'S WHY WE NEED SOMETHING THAT'S GIMMICK FREE. THAT'S WHY WE NEED TO AMEND OUR LAW OF LAWS, THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, TO PLACE IMPORTANT MEANINGFUL PERMANENT RESTRICTIONS ON THE ABILITY OF CONGRESS TO ENGAGE IN PERPETUAL, RECKLESS DEFICIT SPENDING, OF THE SORT THAT IS PRODUCED IN NATIONAL DEBT, NOW FAST APPROACHING $15 TRILLION. TO A DEGREE THAT IS ESCALATING NOW AT A RATE OF SUCCESS OF OF $1.5 TRILLION EVERY SINGLE YEAR. IN ORDER TO CHANGE THE PROBLEM, WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE ROOT CAUSES. WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE ABILITY OF CONGRESS TO EXERCISE ITS AUTHORITY THAT IT HAS SO SEVERELY ABUSED IN RECENT DECADES UNDER CLAUSE 2 OF ARTICLE 1 SECTION 8 TO ENGAGE IN DEFICIT SPENDING. A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT THAT'S BEEN ENDORSED AND EMBRACED AND COSPONSORED BY ALL 47 REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE WILL DO JUST THAT. WE HAVE GOT A GROWING NUMBER OF REPUBLICANS, A COUPLE DOZEN WHO HAVE NOW GOTTEN BEHIND THE ONE PROPOSAL THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO APPROACH THE DEBT LIMIT WITH THIS IN MIND AND WOULD REQUIRE THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO BE PART OF THAT, AND I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THAT.

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  • 11:03:16 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    YOU, SENATOR LEE, FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP AND HARD WORK ON THAT. IT'S NOT AN…

    YOU, SENATOR LEE, FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP AND HARD WORK ON THAT. IT'S NOT AN EASY THING TO DRAFT SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WOULD ALL AGREE WITH, BUT YOU HAVE ALL -- I THINK ALL REPUBLICAN HAVE SIGNED ONTO THAT, YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES, AND WE ARE HAPPY FOR THAT, AND I BELIEVE THAT THIS IS NOT AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. WHEN I CAME TO THE SENATE IN 1997, WE HAD A VOTE ON THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. IT FELL ONE VOTE SHORT. WE GOT 66, IT REQUIRED 67. HOW MUCH BETTER OFF WOULD WE HAVE BEEN TODAY? HOW MUCH DEBT WOULD WE HAVE PLACED ON OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN HAD THAT AMENDMENT BEEN PASSED THEN? SO I DO THINK IT'S TIME FOR A NATIONAL DISCUSSION AGAIN ON THIS ISSUE AND TO MAKE THAT CHANGE AND WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT SOMETHING ABOUT THE DEBT THAT WE NOW HAVE. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE CAME IN DISAPPOINTINGLY WITH ONLY 18,000 JOBS CREATED LAST MONTH IN JUNE. WE LOOK TO HAVE 150,000 JUST TO STAY LEVEL. UNEMPLOYMENT WENT UP. ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE FIRST QUARTER WAS EXPECTED TO BE MUCH HIGHER THAN IT CAME IN. IT CAME IN, I THINK THE FIRST NUMBER WAS 1.8. MAYBE IT'S BEEN REVISED TO 2%. THE ROGOFF-REINHART STUDY THAT STUDIED DEBT DEFAULTS IN COUNTRIES ALL OVER THE WORLD FOR EIGHT CENTURIES, A HIGHLY RESPECTED STUDY. SECRETARY GEITHNER, THE TREASURY SECRETARY, SAID IT'S AN EXCELLENT STUDY AND IN SOME WAYS IT UNDERESTIMATES THE RISK. THIS STUDY SAYS THAT WHEN YOUR DEBT REACHES 90% OF THE ECONOMY, 90% OF THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, IT PULLS DOWN ECONOMIC GROWTH BY 1% TO 2%. WE ARE NOW AT 95% DEBT TO G.D.P. WE'LL BE AT 100% OF DEBT TO G.D.P. BY THE END OF THIS YEAR. I BELIEVE THAT OUR GROWTH COULD HAVE BEEN 3% INSTEAD OF 2% FIRST QUARTER. I BELIEVE -- AND 1% GROWTH, ACCORDING TO THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE, CHRISTINE ROEMER, ECONOMIC ADVISOR, AMOUNTS TO A MILLION JOBS CREATED. SO I BELIEVE WE HAVE LOST A MILLION JOBS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN CREATED, WE HAVE LOST ADDITIONAL TAX REVENUE AND GROWTH AND PROSPERITY THAT WOULD HELP US DEAL WITH OUR DEBT BECAUSE OF THE DEBT. YOU SEE, YOU CAN'T KEEP BORROWING. MAYBE WHEN OUR DEBT TO G.D.P. WAS 30%, MAYBE THAT'S WHAT IT WAS WHEN SENATOR WICKER PROBABLY CAME TO CONGRESS. NOW WE'RE AT 100%. OUR DEBT IS AS LARGE AS THE ENTIRE PRODUCTIVITY OF OUR ECONOMY, AND ECONOMISTS TELL US IT'S PULLING DOWN OUR GROWTH AND IT'S COSTING JOBS AND AMERICANS ARE NOT WORKING TODAY BECAUSE OF DEBT, AND WHAT WE HEAR IS DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, DEFICITS REALLY DON'T MATTER. SENATOR WICKER, YOU HAVE BEEN HERE IN THE HOUSE AND IN THE SENATE. HAVE YOU SEEN THE SITUATION IN WHICH OUR FINANCIAL CRISIS, SHORT TERM AND LONG-TERM SYSTEMICALLY IS MORE SEVERE THAN IT IS TODAY?

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  • 11:06:45 AM

    MR. WICKER

    WELL, I GUESS I GOT TO THE HOUSE IN 1995, MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA CAME TO…

    WELL, I GUESS I GOT TO THE HOUSE IN 1995, MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA CAME TO THE SENATE TWO YEARS LATER. I DON'T THINK WE COULD HAVE IMAGINED AN ANNUAL DEFICIT OF OF $1.5 TRILLION IN ONE SHORT YEAR. WE ARE AT -- WE ARE SPENDING THAT MUCH MORE THAN WE'RE TAKING IN. IN OTHER WORDS, WE SPENT -- WE TAKE IN $2.2 TRILLION A YEAR, APPROXIMATELY, AND WE SPEND SPEND $3.7 TRILLION A YEAR, A DIFFERENCE OF $1.5 TRILLION. I DON'T THINK WE EVER EXPECTED IT TO GET THAT -- THAT SERIOUS WHEN THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA AND I FIRST GOT HERE. AND CLEARLY, THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN TURN BACK THE CLOCK, BUT THE SENATOR IS CORRECT. IF WE HAD ENACTED JUST ONE MORE VOTE IN THIS VERY BODY A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, CLEARLY WE WOULD NOT BE FACING THIS FISCAL CRISIS. I WANT TO ALSO MAKE A VERY IMPORTANT POINT, AND IT'S WHAT ALL THE PAPERS ARE TALKING ABOUT, AND THAT'S WHETHER SOMEHOW A TAX INCREASE TARGETED TO DEFICIT REDUCTION IS THE THING TO DO. LISTEN, MY FRIENDS. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS OVER TIME UNTIL RECENTLY HAVE BEEN UNITED IN SAYING TAX INCREASES ARE A BAD THING TO DO. AND I WANT TO ASK MY COLLEAGUES IF ANY OF YOU CAN HELP IDENTIFY THE PUBLIC OFFICIAL WHO SAID THIS QUOTE. -- QUOTE -- "THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS TO RAISE TAXES IN THE MIDDLE OF A RECESSION BECAUSE THAT WOULD TAKE MORE DEMAND OUT OF THE ECONOMY AND PUT BUSINESSES IN A FURTHER HOLE." UNQUOTE. NOW, WOULD ANY OF MY COLLEAGUES CARE TO GUESS? SENATOR LEE?

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  • 11:08:53 AM

    MR. LEE

    PRESIDENT OBAMA IN THE MIDDLE OF 2009 WHO MADE THAT COMMENT. MR.

  • 11:08:58 AM

    MR. WICKER

    ABSOLUTELY. SOMEHOW, THE PRESIDENT -- WHO MADE A VERY COGENT AND CORRECT…

    ABSOLUTELY. SOMEHOW, THE PRESIDENT -- WHO MADE A VERY COGENT AND CORRECT STATEMENT IN 2009 -- HAS COMPLETELY CHANGED HIS TUNE NOW. WE COULD HAVE A BUDGET DEAL IN PLACE ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND READY TO BE PASSED IF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD SIMPLY COME BACK TO THE POSITION THAT HE TOOK IN 2009 AND 2010, AS LATE AS DECEMBER OF 2010, THE PRESIDENT WAS TELLING THE "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS" THAT WE SHOULD KEEP THE TAX RATES IN PLACE. THE BUDGET CHAIRMAN AND THE SENATE TOLD REUTERS LAST JULY, ONLY A YEAR AGO, THAT HE SUPPORTED EXTENDING THE TAX CUTS AND KEEPING THEM IN PLACE BECAUSE TO RAISE TAXES ON THE PRIVATE SECTOR DURING A TIME OF ECONOMIC DOWNTURN IS TAKING MONEY OUT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND KILLING THEIR ABILITY TO CREATE JOBS. SO I WOULD SIMPLY CALL ON MY COLLEAGUES FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO RETURN TO THE POSITION THAT THEY HAD A YEAR AGO AND TWO YEARS AGO. LET'S GET A BUDGET DEAL THAT ADDRESSES THE DEBT BY CUTTING SPENDING AND BE UNITED AS WE WERE ON THAT ISSUE SOME YEAR AND TWO YEARS AGO.

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  • 11:10:36 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    JOHNSON, YOU'RE -- YOU ARE, AS I RECOGNIZED, A BUSINESSMAN. PRESIDENT…

    JOHNSON, YOU'RE -- YOU ARE, AS I RECOGNIZED, A BUSINESSMAN. PRESIDENT CLINTON RECENTLY SAID WE NEED TO REDUCE OUR CORPORATE TAX RATE. I WAS ON A TV SHOW WITH SENATOR BILL NELSON, MY GOOD DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUE, WHO SAID WE OUGHT TO REDUCE SOME OF THESE TAX EXPENDITURES SOME CALL THEM, THE KIND OF THINGS THAT SENATOR KLOBUCHAR, I THINK, MENTIONED. MY UNDERSTANDING WAS THAT WE COULD USE THAT TO HELP GET OUR RATES DOWN SO WE ARE MORE COMPETITIVE WORLDWIDE AND CREATE MORE JOBS. NOW, I GUESS MY QUESTION TO YOU IS IF YOU TAKE THE -- IF YOU SIMPLIFY THE TAX CODE, YOU ELIMINATE GIMMICKS, SHOULD THE MONEY BE APPLIED AS PRESIDENT CLINTON SUGGESTED TO REDUCING OUR RATES SO WE ARE MORE COMPETITIVE OR SHOULD THEY BE USED TO SUBSIDIZE MORE SPENDING BY WASHINGTON?

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  • 11:11:30 AM

    MR. JOHNSON

    WELL, OBVIOUSLY, IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO ACTUALLY USE THEM TO MAKE US MORE…

    WELL, OBVIOUSLY, IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO ACTUALLY USE THEM TO MAKE US MORE COMPETITIVE SO THE GLOBAL CAPITAL ACTUALLY FLOWS TO THE UNITED STATES TO CREATE JOBS HERE. I AM A LONG-TERM JOB PRODUCER. I CERTAINLY RECOGNIZE IT IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR THAT CREATES LONG-TERM SELF-SUSTAINING JOBS. I'M AFRAID THAT'S WHAT OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE AND PRESIDENT OBAMA SIMPLY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND. I'M OFTEN ASKED ARE YOU SURPRISED BY ANYTHING IN WASHINGTON. I TELL YOU ONE THING I'M NOT SURPRISED IS THAT THEIR SOLUTION IS INCREASING TAXES. I MEAN, LET'S FACE IT, WE JUST UNDERTOOK A $4 TRILLION EXPERIMENT IN KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS. WE'RE DOWN MORE THAN TWO MILLION JOBS SINCE THAT GRAND EXPERIMENT BEGAN WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA BECAME ELECTED. IT DOESN'T WORK. AND NOW FOR THE DEMOCRATS, PRESIDENT OBAMA PROPOSING PROPOSING $1 TRILLION, $1 TRILLI ON, OR AS YOU POINT OUT AS MUCH AS $8 TRILLION IN NEW TAXES. WHAT IS THAT? THAT IS ACTUALLY TAKING MONEY OUT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR WHERE REAL JOBS ARE CREATED. THAT WOULD BE THE WRONG DIRECTION. THAT WOULD BE A BIG MISTAKE. THAT'S WHY REPUBLICANS ARE UNITED IN SAYING INCREASING TAXES AT ANY TIME, PARTICULARLY IN A WEAK ECONOMY, IS THE WRONG PRESCRIPTION. GETTING OUR DEBT AND DEFICIT AND SPENDING UNDER CONTROL, A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, THAT'S THE SOLUTION. IT CAN ACTUALLY BE ENACTED VERY QUICKLY. WE DON'T HAVE TO FACE A CRISIS THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA AND TREASURY SECRETARY ARE TRYING TO WHIP UP HERE.

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  • 11:12:54 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I WOULD JUST SAY THAT I DO BELIEVE WE ARE AT A NATIONAL CRISIS WITH OUR…

    I WOULD JUST SAY THAT I DO BELIEVE WE ARE AT A NATIONAL CRISIS WITH OUR DEBT. I BELIEVE THAT IT ENDANGERS THE NATION BECAUSE THE ERSKINE BOWLES WHO CHAIRED THE DEBT COMMISSION, APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, HAS TOLD US THAT WE ARE FACING AN ECONOMIC CRISIS AS A RESULT OF THE DEBT AND WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, AND HE WARNED THAT WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE COURSE WE'RE ON. I CERTAINLY BELIEVE THAT'S TRUE AND I BELIEVE THE ROGOFF AND REINHART STUDY AFFIRMED BY SECRETARY GEITHNER IS CORRECT, THAT IT'S ALREADY PULLING DOWN OUR GROWTH. I'M REALLY WORRIED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY. SENATOR LEE, MAYBE YOU WILL WRAP UP FOR US, BUT YOU JUST FINISHED A CAMPAIGN TALKING TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN YOUR STATE. WHAT'S YOUR PERCEPTION OF WHAT WE NEED TO BE DOING AT THIS POINT IN TIME?

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  • 11:13:57 AM

    MR. LEE

    PEOPLE EXPECT US TO STOP BURYING OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN UNDER…

    PEOPLE EXPECT US TO STOP BURYING OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN UNDER A MOUNTAIN OF DEBT, TO STOP SPENDING MONEY THAT WE DON'T HAVE, PARTICULARLY WHERE WE ARE SPENDING ABOUT 40 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR THAT IS BORROWED. MUCH OF THAT BEING BORROWED FROM FOREIGN SOVEREIGN GOVERNMENTS LIKE CHINA. NOW, OBVIOUSLY, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN AS A COUNTRY WE HAVE NEEDED TO DO THIS, WHEN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE REQUIRED IT. THE REASON THAT CONGRESS WAS GIVEN THIS POWER TO BEGIN WITH IS TO MAKE SURE THAT PARTICULARLY IN THE TIME OF WAR CONGRESS HAD THE MEANS AT ITS DISPOSAL TO PROVIDE FOR OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE AND TO PROVIDE FOR OTHER IMMEDIATE EMERGENT NEEDS. BUT THIS PRACTICE OF WHAT I REFERRED TO AS PERPETUAL DEFICIT SPENDING HAS NOT JUST BECOME -- HAS BECOME NOT JUST SOMETHING WE DO ON AN EMERGENCY BASIS, NOT JUST SOMETHING WE DO IN TIME OF WAR OR OTHER KIND OF UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCE. IT'S BECOME SOMETHING THAT WE DO JUST AS A MATTER OF COURSE JUST TO KEEP THINGS MOVING, JUST TO KEEP BUSINESS AS USUAL OPERATING IN WASHINGTON TO THE POINT WHERE WE'RE ACCUMULATING OVER OVER $1.5 TRILLION A YEAR IN NEW DEBT. OUR CONSTITUENTS IN EVERY SINGLE STATE EXPECT MORE AND THEY DESERVE BETTER. AND THE REASON FOR THIS HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THIS UNITES PEOPLE ALONG EVERY POINT, ALONG THE POLITICAL SPECK TRURNLINGS WHETHER YOU ARE A -- SPECTRUM, WHITHER A CONSERVATIVE AND YOU TEAR ABOUT THE DEBT BECAUSE YOU WANT TO PROTECT OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE SYSTEM OR BECAUSE YOU CARE DEEPLY ABOUT OUR ECONOMY OR WHETHER YOU ARE A LIBERAL AND YOU CARE ABOUT THE DEFICIT BECAUSE YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THIS WILL DO TO OUR ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS. ALL OF THOSE THINGS STAND IN GRAVE JEOPARDY AS A RESULT OF THIS PRACTICE OF SPENDING, THIS PRACTICE THAT WILL RESULT IN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAVING TO SPEND OUT -- SPEND A LOT MORE MONEY EVERY SINGLE YEAR JUST TO PAY INTEREST ON THE NATIONAL DEBT, INTEREST THAT DOESN'T BENEFIT ANYONE, INTEREST THAT CROWDS OUT PRIVATE INVESTMENT AND KILLS JOBS. THAT'S WHAT VOTERS IN MY STATE AND IN EVERY STATE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT.

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  • 11:16:10 AM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MADAM PRESIDENT, AND I JUST WOULD SAY THAT THE INTEREST FACTOR MY…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, AND I JUST WOULD SAY THAT THE INTEREST FACTOR MY COLLEAGUE MENTIONED IS VERY, VERY REAL. LAST YEAR -- OR THIS YEAR WE'RE EXPECTED TO PAY $240 BILLION ON INTEREST. HOW MUCH IS THAT? THAT'S JUST A NUMBER? WELL, THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WE SPEND UNDER THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY PROGRAM IS $40 BILLION. THE A AMOUNT OF MONEY WE SPEND ON FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION IS $100 BILLION. SO WE'RE PAYING THIS YEAR $240 BILLION. HOWEVER, UNDER THE BUDGET THAT WAS SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE DEMOCRAT SENATE HAS NEVER BROUGHT ONE FORWARD OF THEIR OWN, AND THAT BUDGET SERVED THE DEBT ADDING $13 TRILLION MORE TO THE DEBT AND THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, OUR NONPARTISAN ACCOUNTANTS WHO ARE PRETTY GOOD, THEY HAVE CALCULATED WHAT THE INTEREST PAYMENT WOULD BE IN THE TENTH YEAR OF THAT TEN-YEAR BUDGET, AND THEY HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE INTEREST PAYMENT THAT YEAR WOULD BE $940 BILLION. THAT'S LARGER THAN MEDICARE, THAT'S LARGER THAN MEDICAID, THAT'S LARGER THAN SOCIAL SECURITY, THAT'S LARGER THAN THE DEFENSE BUDGET. THESE NUMBERS ARE INCREDIBLE BRING LARGE, AND YOU CANNOT -- THESE NUMBERS ARE INCREDIBLY LARGE, AND YOU CANNOT, AS A GENTLEMAN TOLD ME AT A TOWN HALL MEETING, BORROW YOUR WAY OUT OF DEBT. WE CANNOT KEEP SPENDING. IT IS DRAGGING DOWN OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH RIGHT NOW. IT IS COSTING JOBS RIGHT NOW. AND THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT SAY, WELL, WE DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH JOBS. WE NEED TO SPEND MORE AND WHERE ARE WE GOING TO GET THAT MONEY? BORROW THAT MONEY. WE ARE ALREADY BORROWING 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND. CAN WE AFFORD TO BORROW MORE TO TRY TO GET A SUGAR HIGH, KEEP GROWTH ARTIFICIALLY GROWING NOW? I THINK WE JUST HAVE TO BE MATURE, GROWN UP, AND REALIZE THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK OUR WAY OUT OF THIS FIX AND WE CAN DO IT IF WE CREATE STABILITY AND SOUNDNESS IN OUR STABILITY, IF WE DO THIS THING RIGHT, WE CAN CREATE A SYSTEM IN WHICH WE CAN HAVE GROWTH. OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITIES ARE HANGING IN THERE. THEY'RE DOING PRETTY WELL. THEY'RE HOLDING UP. BUT WE'VE GOT TO CREATE JOBS. WE'VE GOT TO HAVE MORE JOB GROWTH AND MORE GROWTH IN THE ENTIRE ECONOMY. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED, AND I DO BELIEVE THAT DEBT IS A WEIGHT ON US. IT IS A BURDEN THAT'S REDUCING THE GROWTH AND WE MUST HAVE IT TO PULL OUR WAY OUT OF THE CRISIS THAT WE'RE IN, AND I'M GLAD TO SEE THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS JOINED IN THE DISCUSSIONS, BUT I HAVE TO SAY -- AND I THINK HE'S MOVED -- HE'S MOVED FROM THE BUDGET HE SUBMITTED JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, WHICH WAS THE MOST IRRESPONSIBLE BUDGET EVER SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS, CALLING FOR MORE TAXES, MORE SPENDING, AND MORE DEBT. IN OTHER WORDS, OVER THE PERIOD OF TEN YEARS, HIS BUDGET LAID OUT, THE TAXES WOULD GO UP, THE SPENDING WOULD GO UP MORE THAN THE TAXES, AND THE DEFICIT WOULD GO UP MORE THAN THE CURRENT PATH WE'RE ON. IT MADE IT WORSE. WE'VE -- WE CANNOT DO THAT. WHEN THAT BUDGET WAS BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR, I BROUGHT IT TO THE FLOOR, AND WE GOT A VOTE, IT FAILED 97-0. SO I'M GLAD THE PRESIDENT IS WORKING NOW. WE'VE GOT TO SOMEHOW TOGETHER DEVELOP A STRATEGY TO PUT US ON A COURSE THAT ALL AMERICANS AND THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN OUR COUNTRY, THE WORLD FINANCIAL COMMUNITY WILL SAY, BOY, THE UNITED STATES GETTING THEIR ACT TOGETHER. THEY'RE MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS. THEY ARE REAL ESTATE ON A SOUND COURSE NOW. MAYBE THAT'S WHERE WE NEED TO PUT OUR MONEY INSTEAD OF SOME OTHER PLACE, BECAUSE THEY'RE ON THE RIGHT PATH. RIGHT NOW IT'S VERY DANGEROUS. MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK THE CHAIR AND WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:20:29 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 11:20:45 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:32:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 11:32:24 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 11:32:29 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    ASK TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 11:32:32 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE BEEN PARTICIPATING IN…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE BEEN PARTICIPATING IN THE WHITE HOUSE MEETINGS WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE LEADERS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE FROM BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES FOR THE LAST SEVERAL DAYS DISCUSSING THE DEADLINE WE FACE OF AUGUST 2 WHERE WE ARE REQUIRED TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THE LARGER QUESTION ABOUT WHAT WE WILL DO WITH OUR NATION'S DEFICIT AND DEBT. IT IS A DAUNTING CHALLENGE BUT ONE WITH A SENSE OF IMMEDIACY. MOST PEOPLE ACROSS AMERICA WOULD JUST REACT INTUITIVELY AND SAY PLEASE, NO MORE DEBT, AND SO THEY REALLY WONDER WHY WE WANT TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING. IT'S A PART OF OUR GOVERNMENT AND PART OF OUR ECONOMY THAT NEEDS AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT OF EXPLANATION. IMAGINE THAT YOU HAVE DECIDED TO PURCHASE A HOME AND YOU HAVE A MORTGAGE. TO STAY IN YOUR HOME AND ENJOY IT, YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOUR MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT. WHEN THE TIME COMES IF YOU DON'T MAKE YOUR MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT, YOU RUN THE RISK OF BEING PUSHED OUT OF YOUR HOME, EVICTED, FORECLOSED. THAT'S WHAT WE FACE ON AUGUST 2 IN A DIFFERENT FORM. BECAUSE IF WE FAIL TO EXTEND T DEBT CEILING, WE ARE IN FACT MISSING OUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT AND IT CREATES PROBLEMS. THE CREDIT RATING OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL SUFFER AS THE CREDIT RATING OF ANY FAMILY WOULD SUFFER IF THEY DIDN'T MAKE A MORTGAGE PAYMENT. THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THE UNITED STATES COULD BORROW MORE MONEY SOON WITHOUT HIGHER INTEREST RATES IS DIMINISHED. IN FACT, WE WOULD FACE HIGHER INTEREST RATES, OUR GOVERNMENT WOULD, IF WE DIDN'T EXTEND OUR DEBT CEILING. THAT IS NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM. HIGHER INTEREST RATES FOR OUR GOVERNMENT MEAN MORE TAXES HAVE TO BE PAID BY OUR CITIZENS TO FINANCE OUR DEBT AND INTEREST RATES ACROSS AMERICA WILL GO UP AS WELL. SO AVERAGE CITIZENS OF FAMILIES WHO HAD NOTHING TO SAY WITH THIS EXTENSION OF THE DEBT CEILING ARE GOING TO FACE HIGHER INTEREST RATES WHEN IT COMES TO PURCHASES THAT THEY MIGHT MAKE FOR CARS AND HOMES AND APPLIANCES. SO IT WOULD BE THE HEIGHT OF IRRESPONSIBILITY NOT TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING. SINCE 1939, I WAS TOLD THIS MORNING, WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY TIME AFTER TIME EXTENDED THE DEBT CEILING OF AMERICA WITHOUT FAIL. WE HAVE NEVER DEFAULTED, WE HAVE NEVER CALLED INTO QUESTION THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES, WE HAVE NEVER JEOPARDIZED OUR CREDIT RATING OF THE WORLD BY FAILING TO MEET THIS RESPONSIBILITY, AND WE CANNOT DO IT NOW. WITH AN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OF 9.2%, WITH AN ECONOMY STILL RECOVERING VERY SLOWLY, WE CAN'T RUN THE RISK OF CREATING MORE UNEMPLOYMENT AND HURTING BUSINESSES WITH HIGHER INTEREST RATES, AND SO WE HAVE TO DO IT. AT THE SAME TIME, THOUGH, WE ARE EMBARKING ON AN IMPORTANT STRATEGIC NATIONAL DISCUSSION ABOUT OUR DEFICIT AND DEBT. MR. PRESIDENT, I DON'T KNOW WHETHER I'M FORTUNATE OR UNFORTUNATE. FOR THE PAST YEAR AND A HALF, I HAVE BEEN ENGAGED IN THIS CONVERSATION IN A MUCH MORE FOCUSED WAY THAN ANY TIME IN MY CAREER. I WAS APPOINTED TO BE A MEMBER OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DEFICIT COMMISSION. THERE ARE 18 OF US. AND I HAVE STAYED ON TO WORK WITH FIVE OF MY COLLEAGUES, TWO DEMOCRATIC SENATORS AND THREE REPUBLICAN SENATORS, TO SEE IF WE CAN COME UP WITH A BIPARTISAN APPROACH TO DEAL WITH A VERY DIFFICULT PROBLEM. LET ME GIVE YOU A FEW FACTS AND A LITTLE HISTORY THAT PUTS IT IN PERSPECTIVE. TODAY, FOR EVERY DOLLAR OUR GOVERNMENT SPENDS IN AMERICA, WE BORROW 40 CENTS. I JUST LEFT THE MEETING OF THE CHINESE-AMERICAN INTERPARLIAMENTARY UNION WHERE MEMBERS OF THE CHINESE PARLIAMENT ARE JUST A FEW STEPS AWAY. CHINA IS OUR NUMBER-ONE CREDITOR IN THE WORLD. CHINA LOANS MORE MONEY TO THE UNITED STATES, BUYS MORE OF OUR DEBT THAN ANY OTHER NATION. THAT IS WORRISOME BECAUSE CHINA, ALTHOUGH IT'S OUR LARGEST CREDITOR, IS ALSO OUR LARGEST COMPETITOR. GO TO YOUR LOCAL BIG BOX STORE, FLIP THE PRODUCT OVER AND SEE WHERE THE PRODUCTS ARE MADE. TIME AND TIME AND TIME AGAIN, THEY ARE MADE IN CHINA. SO THIS COUNTRY THAT IS FINANCING OUR DEBT IS ALSO COMPETING WITH AMERICAN PRODUCERS AND WORKERS. IT'S NOT A HEALTHY SITUATION. THE MORE DEPENDENT WE ARE ON THESE COUNTRIES TO FINANCE OUR DEBT, THE WEAKER OUR ECONOMY. SO REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT WE BORROW IS IN OUR ECONOMIC BEST INTERESTS AND IT LESSENS THE CHANCE THAT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL HAVE TO PAY OFF THE DEBTS THAT WE INCUR. NOW, WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE DEBT IN AMERICA? IT'S ABOUT $14.5 TRILLION, BUT IT HASN'T BEEN AT THAT LEVEL BEFORE, AND IT HASN'T BEEN AT THAT LEVEL FOR A LONG TIME AND IT'S LIKELY TO GO UP. JUST TO GIVE YOU A PERSPECTIVE ON THIS, TEN YEARS AGO, JUST TEN YEARS AGO, THE NATIONAL DEBT OF AMERICA WAS $5 TRILLION. NOW IT'S $14.5 TRILLION. $5 TRILLION. IT WAS THE END OF THE CLINTON PRESIDENCY, AND AS PRESIDENT CLINTON LEFT OFFICE, WE HAD THREE STRAIGHT YEARS OF FEDERAL BUDGET SURPLUS. WE WERE BRINGING IN MORE IN REVENUE THAN WE WERE SPENDING. IT WAS A HEALTHY THING BECAUSE THE EXCESS WE COLLECTED WE PUT INTO PROGRAMS LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY, MAKE SURE THAT THEY WOULD BE THERE FOR YEARS AND YEARS TO COME. AND PRESIDENT CLINTON, AS HE LEFT OFFICE WITH A $5 TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT, WHICH WAS THE DEBT ACCUMULATED ACROSS THE HISTORY OF AMERICA AND SURPLUSES COMING IN EACH YEAR, SAID TO THE INCOMING PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET IS GOING TO GENERATE ANOTHER SURPLUS, SURPLUS, $120 BILLION. WELCOME TO WASHINGTON. PRESIDENT BUSH BECAME PRESIDENT AND NOW FAST FORWARD EIGHT YEARS LATER. WHAT HAPPENED? THE $5 TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION GREW TO ALMOST $11 TRILLION, MORE THAN DOUBLED IN AN EIGHT-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME, AND INSTEAD OF LEAVING PRESIDENT OBAMA A SURPLUS, PRESIDENT BUSH SAID NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET IS GOING TO HAVE A $1.2 BILLION DEFICIT. -- $1.2 TRILLION DEFICIT. SO THE PRESIDENT FACED THE LARGEST SINGLE ANNUAL DEFICIT AS HE CAME TO OFFICE, PRESIDENT OBAMA, AND A NATIONAL DEBT THAT HAD MORE THAN DOUBLED IN THE PREVIOUS EIGHT YEARS. HOW DO YOU DOUBLE THE NATIONAL DEBT OF AMERICA IN EIGHT YEARS? FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON UNTIL THE END OF PRESIDENT CLINTON, THE NET NATIONAL DEBT OF AMERICA WAS WAS $5 TRILLION. HOW DID IT MORE THAN DOUBLE IN EIGHT YEARS? HERE'S HOW YOU DO IT. YOU WAGE TWO WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND YOU DON'T PAY FOR THEM. YOU ADD THEM TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. THEN YOU DO SOMETHING THAT NO PRESIDENT HAS EVER DONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR WITH ANNUAL DEFICITS. YOU CUT TAXES. IT'S COUNTERINTUITIVE. YOU'RE TAKING RENEE WAY FROM THE GOVERNMENT WHEN IT NEEDS IT TO PAY FOR A WAR AND TO CONTINUE THE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT. SO UNPAID FOR WARS AND TAX CUTS PRIMARILY FOR THE WEALTHY PEOPLE IN AMERICA FOLLOWED BY PROGRAMS THAT WEREN'T PAID FOR. YOU PUT THOSE THREE TOGETHER AND YOU BUILD INTO IT AN ECONOMIC THEORY THAT IF WE JUST KEEP CUTTING TAXES ON HIGH-INCOME INDIVIDUALS, AMERICA WILL GET WELL. THE THEORY FAILS AND THE DEBT OF AMERICA DOUBLES IN EIGHT YEARS. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED. IT'S FACT. WENT TO $10.5 TRILLION. FROM $5 TRILLION IN JUST EIGHT YEARS. AND WE KNOW WHAT WE HAVE GONE THROUGH SINCE. PEOPLE OUT OF WORK. FOLKS STRUGGLING TO GET BY, BUSINESSES STRUGGLING. THAT IS A REALITY OF WHERE WE ARE. SO WHEN WE COME TOGETHER TO TALK ABOUT DEALING WITH THIS DEBT, IT IS A PAINFUL TOPIC AND IT AFFECTS EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN. HERE IS WHAT WE FOUND ON THE BOWLES-SIMPSON DEFICIT COMMISSION. ANY SERIOUS CONVERSATION ABOUT REDUCING AMERICA'S DEBT REQUIRES CUTTING SPENDING AND RAISING REVENUE. IF YOU DON'T DO THOSE TWO THINGS, IT WON'T WORK. AND WHAT DO YOU CUT? WELL, ALMOST EVERYTHING. YOU TAKE A LOOK ACROSS THE BOARD AT ALL FEDERAL SPENDING, WHETHER IT'S DISCRETIONARY SPENDING FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES OR FOR DEFENSE PURPOSES, YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, PROGRAMS LIKE MEDICARE, MEDICAID, VETERANS, AGRICULTURE, AND YOU SEE WHERE YOU CAN SAVE MONEY THERE AND YOU LOOK AT REVENUE. WHERE CAN YOU COME UP WITH REVENUE THAT WON'T HURT THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY BUT WILL HELP US BRING OUR DEBT UNDER CONTROL? THE DEFICIT COMMISSION CAME TO THAT CONCLUSION, OTHER SENATORS HAVE COME TO THAT CONCLUSION, AND NOW WE ARE DEBATING IT AGAIN WITH THE PRESIDENT ON A DAILY BASIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. THIS MORNING, MY COLLEAGUES FROM THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE CAME WITH THEIR SOLUTION, AT LEAST ONE OF THEIR SOLUTIONS. IT'S NOT A NEW IDEA. IN FACT, IT'S AN IDEA THAT HAS BEEN AROUND A LONG, LONG TIME. IT'S CALLED A BALANCED BUDGET CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. WE FIRST SAW THE MOVE FOR A BALANCED BUDGET CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IN MODERN TIMES DURING PRESIDENT REAGAN'S PRESIDENCY. IT WAS INTERESTING. PRESIDENT REAGAN INCREASED THE DEBT LIMIT OF THE UNITED STATES MORE THAN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT, RAN UP THE HIGHEST DEFICITS OF ANY PRESIDENT IN HISTORY BEFORE HIM AND HAD THIS PUSH ON TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION. IT IS IRONIC THAT AT THE SAME TIME THAT MEMBERS OF HIS PARTY WERE SPENDING THE MONEY AND PLUNGING US IN DEBT, THEY SAID THE ANSWER WAS CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION. NOT CHANGE THEIR CONDUCT, NOT CHANGE THE WAY THEY MANAGE THEIR GOVERNMENT BUT CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION. IT'S LIKE SAYING I WON'T TELL YOU THAT I'M GOING TO STOP STEALING, BUT I WILL TELL YOU THAT I WILL VOTE FOR THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. IT DOESN'T WORK. WE HAVE IT WITHIN OUR POWER AS MEMBERS OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE SPEND MONEY IN WASHINGTON. TO SAY THAT WE'RE GOING TO WAIT FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO GET IT DONE IS TO SUBMIT IT TO THE STATES AND LET THEM SEE IF 3/4 OF THE STATES AGREE THAT WE SHOULD AMEND THE CONSTITUTION. HOW LONG DOES THAT TAKE, MR. PRESIDENT, TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION? THE LAST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION TOOK 203 YEARS BEFORE ALL OF THE STATES, 3/4 OF THEM, GOT AROUND TO RATIFYING IT. SOME OF THEM TAKE MUCH SHORTER PERIODS OF TIME, BUT THERE IS NO GUARANTEE WHEN THE STATES WILL GET AROUND TO DOING THIS IF THEY AGREE WITH US ON AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION. SO I ASK MY FRIENDS ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE, INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THE CONSTITUTION, WHY DON'T YOU FOCUS ON THE HERE AND NOW, THE AUTHORITY WE HAVE AS ELECTED SENATORS AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE TO DO SOMETHING, NOT TO GIVE SPEECHES AND PREACH ABOUT CHANGING OUR CONSTITUTION. I HAVE TO TELL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN IT COMES TO THIS CONSTITUTION, I DON'T ADDRESS IT WITH FEAR BUT WITH HUMILITY. THIS IS A DOCUMENT WHICH IS REVERED NOT ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES BUT AROUND THE WORLD, AND TO SAY THAT, WELL, WE'RE JUST GOING TO CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION TO DEAL WITH TODAY'S PROBLEMS, I'M SKEPTICAL AND I'M RELUCTANT AND I AM HUMBLED BY THE FACT THAT THOSE WORDS HAVE CREATED THE GREATEST, STRONGEST DEMOCRACY ON EARTH, AND BEFORE WE START CHANGING THE WORDS OF THAT CONSTITUTION, I ALWAYS SAY IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO DO IT, AND THE ANSWER IS YES. CLEARLY, THERE IS. INSTEAD OF SPEECHES ON THE FLOOR ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS, WHY DON'T WE HAVE SPEECHES ON THE FLOOR TALKING ABOUT THE BIPARTISAN DEFICIT COMMISSION AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT OUR DEBT? WHY DON'T WE HONESTLY COME TOGETHER AND SAY EVERYTHING HAS TO BE ON THE TABLE. EVERYTHING, ALL SPENDING PROGRAMS, ALL ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, ALL TAXES HAVE TO BE ON THE TABLE. AND LET'S TAKE AN HONEST LOOK AT HOW WE CAN ADDRESS THEM AND MAKE THIS ECONOMY STRONG AND MOVING FORWARD. THAT IS WHAT WE FACE. NOW, WE'VE HAD A BAD TRACK RECORD FROM SOME MEMBERS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO GIVE SPEECHES ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS BUT DON'T STICK AROUND FOR THE HARD CHOICES. WE HAVE A CHANCE HERE TO PUT A BILL TOGETHER INTO A LAW THAT WOULD HAVE MADE A VOTE OF CONGRESS MANDATORY ON BRINGING THE BUDGET DEFICIT DOWN DRAMATICALLY. SEVEN REPUBLICAN SENATORS WHO WERE COSPONSORS OF THAT BILL WHEN IT CAME TO THE FLOOR VOTED AGAINST IT AND DEFEATED IT. THEY WALKED AWAY FROM IT. WE'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS HERE WHERE SENATORS HAVE COME TOGETHER AND TRIED TO WORK OUT OUR DIFFERENCES ON DEFICITS AND COME UP WITH A PLAN, AND ONE GRUME THAT I HAVE BEEN PART OF, ONE OF THE REPUBLICAN SENATORS WALKED AWAY FROM IT AND IT BASICALLY WAS PUT ON HOLD BECAUSE OF THAT. VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN WAS GIVEN THE AUTHORITY TO SIT DOWN IN A BIPARTISAN CONVERSATION AND COME UP WITH AN APPROACH ON THE DEFICIT, AND THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER WALKED AWAY AND SAID, I'M NOT GOING TO PARTICIPATE. JUST THIS LAST WEEK PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS WORKING DIRECTLY WITH THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE SPEAKER TRYING TO COME UP WITH A PLAN AND OVER THE WEEKEND THE HOUSE SPEAKER SAID, I'M WALKING AFROM IT. SO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS BECOME THE WALK AWAY RENEE PLAN WHEN THIS COMES TO THE BUDGET. WE'VE GOT TO KEEP THEM IN THE ROOM. THEY HAVE TO STOP THEORIZING ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS DOWN THE ROAD, MONTHS ANGZ YEESHES FROM NOW, AND DEAL WITH THE HERE AND NOW. THE REALITY THAT WE NEED TO EXTEND OUR DEBT LIMIT, WE NEED TO DEAL WITH OUR DEFICIT IN AN HOVERHONEST WAY AND WE NEED TO PUT EVERYTHING -- UNDERLINE "EVERYTHING" -- EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE. THAT IS PAINFUL ON OUR SIDE BH IT COMES TO ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, IT IS PAINFUL ON THEIR SIDE OF THE AISLE WHEN IT COMES TO TAXING THOSE IN HIGHER-INCOME CATEGORIES. BUT UNTIL WE REACH THAT POINT, THIS CONVERSATION IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO LEAD TO MORE DEBT, MORE MONEY BEING BORROWED FROM CHINA, AND AN ECONOMY THAT IS NOT GOING TO GET BACK ON ITS FEET. I THINK WE CAN DO THIS IN A RESPONSIBLE FASHION. I HOPE THAT WE CAN HAVE A BIPARTISAN APPROACH TO IT. IT IS THE ONLY WAY THAT IT WILL WORK. WITH THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE AND THE DEMOCRATIC SENATE, WE NEED A BIPARTISAN APPROACH. WE'LL HE BE RETURNING THIS AFTER-- WE'LL BE RETURNING THIS AFTERNOON WITH THE PRESIDENT TO WORK ON APPROACHES TO IT AND I HOPE THIS WE CAN GET SOMETHING DODONE IN A POSITIVE FASHION. SENATOR McCONNELL THIS MORNING SAID SOME INTERESTING THINGS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS. SENATOR Mc McCONS&L THE REPUBLICAN SENATE LEADER. HE EMPLOYED THAT THIS DEBATE SHOULD BE FAIRLY EASY. HE SAID. REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN THE PARTY THAT HAS BROUGHT AN OWN MIND TO THESE DISCUSSIONS. WELL, I DON'T THINK THAT'S A FACT THAT CAN BE PROVEN BASED ON WHAT I SAID EARLIER. HE HE SAID. SUGGESTION HAS BEEN MADE THAT THIS DEBATE HINGED ON WHETHER OR NOT THE TWO PARTIES COULD FIND A SOLUTION WITHOUT RAISING TAXES THAT. COULD BE DONE WITHOUT BREAK AGO SWERKTS HE SAID. PERHAPS THAT'S PART OF THE CHALLENGER. I KNOW THAT THE REPUBLICAN APPROACH IS MEDICARE IS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THE DEMOCRATIC APPROACH. THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN BUDGET WOULD HAVE DRAMATICALLY CHANGED MEDICARE AS WE KNOW T IT WOULD HAVE DOUBLED THE OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENDITURES BY SENIOR CITIZENS. IT WOULD HAVE PUT THE MEDICARE PROGRAM IN THE HANDS OF PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES T WOULD HAVE UNFORTUNATELY PUT MANY SENIORS IN THEIR 60'S, 70'S, 80'S AT THE TENDER MERCY OF HEALTH INSURANCE ADJUSTORS. THAT IS NOT A GOOD APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE FOR OUR SENIORS. THE CHALLENGES WE FACE ARE NOT EASY. THEY'RE NOT COSMETIC AND THEY CAN'T BE SOLVED JUST BY LETTING THE MARKET, MEANING INSURANCE COMPANIES, RUN MEDICARE. IN THESE NEGOTIATIONS, I BELIEVE MANY DEMOCRATS, MYSELF INCLUDED, ARE WILLING TO SIT DOWN AND TALK ABOUT REDUCTIONS IN GOVERNMENT SPENDING, EVEN THOUGH I BELIEVE IN MY HEART OF HEARTS THAT OUR ECONOMY NEEDS A STIMULUS AT THIS POINT AND REDUCING SPENDING MAY BE EXACTLY THE WRONG THING TO DO, I'M STILL PREPARED TO SIT AT THE TABLE AND FIEFNEDZ FIND A CONSENSUS. BUT WE SHOULDN'T MAKE THIS ECONOMIC CHALLENGE BE SUBJECT TO DRAMATICALLY CHANGING THE BENEFITS UNDER SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. THESE PROGRAMS ARE CRITICAL FOR FAMILIES ACROSS AMERICA. SOME OF THEM HAVE WATCHED THEIR SAVINGS DISAPPEAR, THEIR PENSION PLANS EVAPORATE AND A BANKRUPT COURT AND THEY COUNT ON SOCIAL SECURITY. WE'VE GOT TO BE THERE TO MAKE SURE SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE THERE FOR THEM. SENATOR McCONNELL ALSO WANTS WANTS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO THINK THE REPUBLICANS ARE NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH. HE SAID WE SHOWED A WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE ALL ALONG EVEN AS WE MADE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR FROM THE OUTSET THAT TAX INCREASES WOULD NOT BE PART OF THE AGREEMENT. SO I HAVE TO ASK, WHAT IS IT THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO SACRIFICE IN THIS DEBATE? HE WENT ON TO SAY, THERE CAN BE NO QUESTION BY ANYONE INVOLVED IN THESE DISCUSSIONS DISCUSSIONS THAT WE ARE WILLING TO MAKE TOUGH CHOICES. AGAIN, WHICH TOUGH CHOICES? RIGHT NOW WE ARE AT A STALEMATE IN OUR CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO COME UP WITH AN APPROACH THAT WILL MEET THE NEEDS OF DEFICIT REDUCTION. SO WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER. WE NEED TO BOTH SIDES BE WILLING TO MAKE THESE TOUGH CHOICES AND FACE THESE CHALLENGES. UNLESS AND UNTIL WE DO THIS IN A BIPARTISAN BASIS, WE WILL NOT BE SERVING THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED US. IT STRUCK ME AS I SAT IN THAT ROOM THE OTHER NIGHT, THE CABINET ROOM WITH THE PRESIDENT, WHAT A RARE HONOR IT IS FOR ME AND FOR EVERY ONE OF NEWS THAT ROOM TO BE THERE TO BE ENTRUSTED WITH THIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS GREAT NATION OVER 300 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ARE COUNT ON US TO DO SOMETHING HISTORIC AND MAYBE POLITICALLY BOLD. I'M PREPARED TO DO THAT. I HOPE OTHERS ARE AS WELL. I THINK IF WE APPROACH IT ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS, WITH BOTH SIDES WILLING TO GIVE, WITH EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE, WE CAN SOLVE THIS AND WE SHOULD DO IT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE SIX UNANIMOUS REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET TODAY DURING THE SESSION OF THE SENATE WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS, AND I ASK CONSENT THESE REQUESTS BE AGREED TO AND PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 11:52:17 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:52:28 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF S. 1323, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 11:52:36 AM

    THE CLERK

    TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE…

    TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT.

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  • 11:52:47 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 11:52:50 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:53:05 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:11:00 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:11:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:11:08 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    PRESIDENT, LET US BE VERY CLEAR THAT IN TERMS OF THE DEFICIT-REDUCTION…

    PRESIDENT, LET US BE VERY CLEAR THAT IN TERMS OF THE DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGE THAT IS BEING DEBATED, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT AN ISSUE OF HUGE CONSEQUENCE NOT ONLY FOR PEOPLE TODAY BUT FOR OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN. THIS IS LIKELY FROM A DOMESTIC PERSPECTIVE "THE" MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT ANY MEMBER OF THE SENATE OR THE HOUSE WILL EVER VOTE ON IN HIS OR HER POLITICAL CAREER. THIS IS A HUGE DEAL WHICH IN MANY WAYS WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE OF AMERICA. NOW, I KNOW THE MEDIA REFERS TO THE DISCUSSION AS WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A BIG DEAL, $4 TRILLION, OR WHETHER WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A SMALLER DEAL OF $2 TRILLION, BUT THE REAL ISSUE IS WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A FAIR DEAL, A DEFICIT-REDUCTION PACKAGE WHICH REPRESENTS THE INTERESTS OF WORKING PEOPLE AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF OUR PEOPLE OR WHETHER WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A DEFICIT REDUCTION-REDUCTION PACKAGE WHICH ENDS UP REFLECTING THE NEEDS OF THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE DO PHENOMENALLY WELL AND THE LARGEST CORPORATIONS IN THIS COUNTRY WHO, IN MANY INSTANCES, ARE MAKING RECORD-BREAKING PROFITS. THAT'S REALLY WHAT THE DEBATE IS ABOUT. NOW, THE REPUBLICAN POSITION ON DEFICIT REDUCTION HAS BEEN EXTREMELY CLEAR AND IS CONSISTENT WITH THEIR RIGHT-WING IDEOLOGY. DESPITE THE FACT THAT OUR CURRENT DEFICIT CRISIS HAS BEEN CAUSED BY TWO WARS UNPAID FOR, HUGE TAX BREAKS THAT HAVE GONE TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND A RECESSION CAUSED BY THE DEREGULATION OF WALL STREET AND THE LACK OF REVENUE COMING IN AS A RESULT OF THAT RECESSION. OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARE ADAMANT THAT WHILE THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE BECOMING MUCH RICHER, WHILE TODAY WE HAVE THE MOST UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME AND WEALTH OF ANY MAJOR COUNTRY, WHERE THE TOP 400 INDIVIDUALS OWN MORE WEALTH THAN THE BOTTOM 150 MILLION AMERICANS, THAT GAP BETWEEN THE VERY, VERY RICH AND EVERYBODY ELSE IS GROWING WIDER, OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS SAY THE DEFICIT MUST BE BALANCED ON THE BACKS OF WORKING FAMILIES, THE ELDERLY, THE SICK, AND THE CHILDREN. NO, THE VERY RICH, THE TOP 1% WHO NOW EARN MORE INCOME THAN THE BOTTOM 50%, SHOULD NOT BE ASKED TO CONTRIBUTE ONE PENNY MORE. AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE VERY CLEAR THAT DESPITE THE FACT THAT CORPORATE PROFITS ARE SOARING, THAT CORPORATION AFTER CORPORATION ARE ENJOYING HUGE TAX LOOPHOLES THAT ENABLE THEM TO MAKE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR IN PROFITS AND NOT PAY ONE PENNY IN TAXES, REPUBLICANS SAY, SORRY, OFF THE TABLE. LARGE PROFITABLE CORPORATIONS, C.E.O.'S MAKING MILLIONS A YEAR, THEY DON'T HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. ONLY THE CHILDREN HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. ONLY THE ELDERLY HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. ONLY WORKING FAMILIES, ONLY THE UNEMPLOYED, ONLY THE SICK. WE HAVE TO BALANCE THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF THOSE PEOPLE. BUT IF YOU'RE VERY RICH AND GETTING RICHER, IF YOU'RE A PROFITABLE CORPORATION, OFF THE TABLE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE A NICKEL. POLL AFTER POLL SHOWS THAT THE REPUBLICAN POSITION AND THEIR IDEOLOGY IS WAY OUT OF TOUCH WITH WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED OR WANT. THIS IS NOT BERNIE SANDERS TALKING. THIS IS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TALKING. POLL AFTER POLL, WHEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE ASKED: WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED OPTION IN TERMS OF DEFICIT REDUCTION, THEY SAY ASK THE WEALTHY TO PAY MORE IN TAXES. SO WHEN OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS COME UP HERE AND THEY SAY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO RAISE TAXES ON THE WEALTHY, JUST NOT TRUE. SO, TO MY MIND, WHAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE PROPOSING IS NOT ONLY IMMORAL IN TERMS OF COMING DOWN HEAVY ON THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN OUR SOCIETY -- PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY HURTING AS A RESULT OF THE RECESSION. REAL UNEMPLOYMENT, 15%. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TAKE OUT OF THOSE PEOPLE? THEY DON'T HAVE ANY JOBS. HIGHEST RATE OF CHILDHOOD POVERTY IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD. 21% OF OUR KIDS LIVING IN POVERTY. YOU WANT TO CUT THEM EVEN MORE. HUNGER AMONG SENIOR CITIZENS IN THIS COUNTRY GOING UP. YOU WANT TO TAKE AWAY THEIR NUTRITION PROGRAMS? NOT ONLY IS THAT IMMORAL TO MY MIND, IT IS BAD ECONOMICS BECAUSE YOU DON'T GET THE ECONOMY MOVING UNTIL WORKING PEOPLE HAVE SOME MONEY TO GO OUT AND BUY THE GOODS AND SERVICES THAT COMPANIES ARE SELLING. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, TO MY MIND, WHEN THE REPUBLICANS ARE COMING FROM ON THIS ISSUE IS WAY, WAY OUT OF RIGHT FIELD AND WAY OUT OF TOUCH WITH WHERE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BELIEVE WE SHOULD GO. BUT HAVING SAID THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT I AM VERY CONFUSED AS TO WHERE PRESIDENT OBAMA IS COMING FROM ON THIS ISSUE. MAYBE I SPEAK HERE USE AN INDEPENDENT. NOT A REPUBLICAN, NOT A DEMOCRAT. LONGEST-SERVING INDEPENDENT IN CONGRESSIONAL HISTORY. BUT I THINK I SPEAK FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICAN PEOPLE ON THIS ISSUE. WHERE IS PRESIDENT OBAMA ON THIS ISSUE? WE KNOW WHERE THE REPUBLICANS ARE COMING FROM. SUDDENLY OUT OF NOWHERE PRESIDENT OBAMA TELLS US THAT SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS HAVE GOT TO BE PLACED ON THE TABLE. WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM? THE PRESIDENT UNDERSTANDS THAT SOCIAL SECURITY HASN'T CONTRIBUTED ONE NICKEL TO OUR DEFICIT. IN FACT, SOCIAL SECURITY HAS A $2.6 TRILLION SURPLUS TODAY, CAN PAY OUT EVERY BENEFIT OWED TO EVERY ELIGIBLE AMERICAN FOR THE NEXT 25 YEARS. SOCIAL SECURITY IS FUNDED BY THE PAYROLL TAX, NOT BY THE U.S. TREASURY. AND THE PRESIDENT UNDERSTANDS THAT. YET, THE PRESIDENT HAS NOW PUT ON THE TABLE SIGNIFICANT CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY AS WELL AS MEDICARE, AS WELL AS MEDICAID. DESPITE HIS KNOWLEDGE AND HIS PREVIOUS STATEMENTS THAT CUTS IN THESE PROGRAMS WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO ORDINARY AMERICANS. MR. PRESIDENT, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, BARACK OBAMA, IN RECENT STATEMENTS HAS TALKED ABOUT THE GROWTH OF POLITICAL CYNICISM IN THIS COUNTRY AND HAS ARGUED THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF POLITICIANS WHO REFUSE TO TACKLE BIG ISSUES. THERE IS TRUTH TO WHAT HE IS SAYING. BUT THERE IS ALSO A BIGGER TRUTH, AND THAT IS THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SICK AND TIRED AND DISMAYED ABOUT CANDIDATES WHO RUN FOR OFFICE AND SAY ONE THING, AND THEN AFTER THEY ARE ELECTED, THEY DO SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT. IN THAT REGARD, LET ME MENTION THAT WHEN CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA RAN FOR OFFICE, HE TOLD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT HE WAS GOING TO FIGHT TO PROTECT THE NEEDS OF ORDINARY AMERICANS AND THE ELDERLY AND THE SICK AND THE CHILDREN, AMONG MANY OTHER PROMISES THAT HE MADE DURING HIS TOUGH CAMPAIGN AGAINST SENATOR McCAIN, HE SAID HE WAS NOT GOING TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. THAT IS WHAT HE SAID OVER AND OVER AGAIN. AND LET ME QUOTE THEN-SENATOR BARACK OBAMA AND WHAT HE TOLD THE AARP ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2008 -- AND I 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. BARACK OBAMA, SEPTEMBER 2008. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN YOU WANT TO ASK WHY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED WITH POLITICIANS, ARE INCREASINGLY CYNICAL, IT HAS A LOT TO DO WITH CANDIDATES WHO SAY ONE THING AND DO ANOTHER THING. IF YOU TOLD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE YOU'RE NOT GOING TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY, THEN DON'T CUT SOCIAL SECURITY. KEEP YOUR WORD. AND IN CASE PEOPLE THINK THAT, WELL, YOU KNOW, THESE PROPOSED CUTS ARE NOT SIGNIFICANT, THEY'RE JUST REALLY TRIFLING. LET ME QUOTE FROM A DOCUMENT FROM SOCIAL SECURITY WORKS, A COALITION OF MANY, MANY ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. DEFENDING SOCIAL SECURITY, AND THIS IS A QUOTE FROM THEIR RECENT DOCUMENT. WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA AND OTHERS ARE TALKING ABOUT CUTTING SOCIAL SKAOURBGTS ONE OF THE APPROACHES THEY ARE -- SOCIAL SECURITY, ONE OF THE APPROACHES THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT IS CHANGING HOW THEY DO COLAS. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATES -- THIS THETHS FROM THAT DOCUMENT BY SOCIAL SECURITY WORKS. THE C.B.O. ESTIMATES DOCUMENTS FROM THE SO-CALLED CHANGE C.P.I., WHICH IS WHAT I BELIEVE THE PRESIDENT WOULD BE TALKING ABOUT, USED TO CUT BENEFITS BY $112 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION CHIEF ACTUARY ESTIMATES THE EFFECTS OF THIS CHANGE WOULD BE THAT BENEFICIARIES WHO RETIRE AT AGE 65 AND RECEIVE AVERAGE BENEFITS WOULD GET $560 LESS A YEAR AT AGE 75. LET ME REPEAT THAT. $560 LESS A YEAR AT AGE 75. NOW THAT MAY NOT SEEM LIKE A LOT OF MONEY TO SOME FOLKS AROUND HERE, BUT WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO GET BY AT THE AGE OF 75, WHEN YOU'VE GOT ALL KINDS OF MEDICAL BILLS AND YOU'VE GOT ALL KINDS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS AND YOU'RE TRYING TO EAT AND MAYBE YOU'RE GETTING $14,000 A YEAR IN SOCIAL SECURITY, YOU KNOW WHAT? $560 A YEAR IS A LOT OF MONEY. BUT THEN IT GETS WORSE BECAUSE WHAT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ESTIMATES, THAT AT 85 -- AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE, THANK GOD, ARE LIVING TO 85 -- PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY FRAGILE AT AGE 85, WHAT THEY WOULD SEE ARE CUTS OF ABOUT $1,000 A YEAR. THE LONGER YOU LIVE, THE MORE YOU'RE CUT. IS THAT WHAT WE'RE ABOUT IN AMERICA? WE DON'T ASK MILLIONS TO PAY MORE IN TAXES BUT WE TELL SOMEBODY WHO IS 85 YEARS OF AGE LIVING ON $14,000 A YEAR THAT THEY WOULD GET DULLES 1,000 -- THAT THEY WOULD GET $1,000 LESS THAN OTHERWISE BECAUSE WE ADOPTED THIS SO-CALLED CHANGE IN C.P.I. MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK THE ISSUE V IS VERY CLEAR, AND -- I THINK THE ISSUE IS VERY CLEAR, AND THAT IS THE SENATE, THIS CONGRESS HAVE GOT TO STAND WITH THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT THE SOLUTION TO THIS DEFICIT CRISIS REQUIRES SHARED SACRIFICE. YES, WE'VE GOT TO TAKE A LOOK AT WASTE AND FRAUD AND BUREAUCRACY IN EVERY AGENCY OF GOVERNMENT. NO ONE DISPUTES THAT. YES, WE HAVE GOT TO TAKE A HARD LOOK AT MILITARY SPENDING, WHICH HAS TRIPLED SINCE 1997. AND, YES, MAYBE WE'VE GOT TO BRING THE TROOPS HOME FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN SOONER THAN MANY HERE WOULD LIKE OR THAT THE PRESIDENT WOULD LIKE, AND SAVE SUBSTANTIAL SUMS IF WE DO THAT. MOST CERTAINLY IF WE'RE GOING TO GO FORWARD WITH SHARED SACRIFICE, YES, WE DO HAVE TO ASK BILLIONS, DESPITE ALL OF THEIR POWER AND ALL OF THEIR CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND ALL OF THEIR LOBBYING, MAYBE THE BILLIONAIRES WHO ARE DOING PHENOMENALLY WELL MAY HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. YES, MAYBE THOSE COMPANIES THAT STASH THEIR MONEY IN TAX HYPHENS IN PWERPLD AND THE CAYMAN EYE HRALDZ -- IN BERMUDA AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, MAYBE THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO START PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE. ON MY WEB SITE WHICH IS SANDERS.SENATE.GOV, I PUT A SMALL LETTER WHICH SAID TO THE PRESIDENT, MR. PRESIDENT, STAND TALL. TAKE ON THESE RIGHT-WING IDEOLOGUES WHO WANT TO MAKE DEVASTATING CUTS TO WORKING FAMILIES. AND IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS WE HAVE 135,000 SIGNATURES ON THAT LETTER, AND I THINK THAT LETTER REFLECTS WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT. THEY WANT SHARED SACRIFICE. THEY DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE ELDERLY, THE KIDS OR WORKING FAMILIES BEING BATTERED MORE AND MORE, ESPECIALLY IN THE MIDST OF THIS RECESSION. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD SAY TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, DO NOT ASSUME, DO NOT ASSUME THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU WORK AND REACH AN AGREEMENT THAT EVERYBODY HERE IS GOING TO SUPPORT THAT AGREEMENT. THE AMERICAN, THE PEOPLE DEMAND FAIRNESS. THEY DEMAND SHARED SACRIFICE. AND SOME OF US INTEND TO BRING THAT ABOUT. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 12:26:44 PM

    MR. BROWN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:26:47 PM

    MR. BROWN

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE STANDS IN RECESS UNTIL 2:15 P.M.

  • 12:32:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE STANDS IN RECESS UNTIL 2:15 P.M.

  • 12:32:28 PM

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    BEEN DEBATEING A NONBINDING MEASURE URGING HIGH-INCOME EARNERS TO…

    BEEN DEBATEING A NONBINDING MEASURE URGING HIGH-INCOME EARNERS TO CONTRIBUTE MORE TO DEFICIT REDUCTION. A VOTE IS SCHEDULED

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  • 02:15:06 PM

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  • 02:17:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MARYLAND.

  • 02:18:01 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    OFFICER WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 02:18:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 02:18:26 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    THIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE PENDING BUSINESS, WHICH DWELLS HOW WE'RE GOING…

    THIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE PENDING BUSINESS, WHICH DWELLS HOW WE'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH THE DEFICIT OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE DEBT CEILING LIMIT THAT WILL BE EXCEEDED IN AUGUST IF WE DON'T TAKE ANY ACTION IN THE CONGRESS. FIRST, LET ME TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE DEBT CEILING. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE DEBT CEILING AS TO WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBLE THING FOR CONGRESS TO DO. WE ALL KNOW THAT OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS OR SO, THE DEBT CEILING HAS INCREASED OVER 80 TIESSMENTS IT'S DONE AFTER THE FACT. THAT MEANS WE'VE ALREADY INCURRED THE LIABILITY. THE DECISIONS WE'VE TO MAKE IN REGARDS TO OUR FISCAL POLICIES NEED -- NOW WE'VE TO PAY OUR BILLS AND RAISING THE DEBT CEIL SOMETHING NOT ONLY A LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE HAVE TO PAY OUR BILLS, IT'S HAS MORAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SPEAKS TO WHETHER WE'RE WILLING TO LIVE UP TO OUR OBLIGATIONS. FAILURE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE. IT WOULD JEOPARDIZE OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, BECAUSE IT WOULD COST TAXPAYERS MORE MONEY. AND IT WOULD SAY TO THE WORLD THAT THE U.S. BONDS, WHICH ARE THE SAFEST IN THE WORLD, WERE CALLED INTO QUESTION. SO I THINK WE ALL SHOULD AGREE THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE INCREASE THE DEBT CEILING IN TIME. SO THAT WE DO NOT CAUSE THOSE ADVERSE EFFECTS TO OUR NATION. NOW, I MUST TELL YOU, I DO THINK THAT THE DEBT CEILING DEBATE GIVES US AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE DEFICIT. OUR DEFICIT IS NOT SUCCESS STAINABLE F WE DON'T CHANGE COURSE, OUR DEBT WILL DON'T LARGE AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ECONOMY AND IT'S NOT SUSTAINABLE. THAT MEANS WE NEED TO DEAL WITH SPENDING AND WE NEED TO DEAL WITH REVENUE AND TO BRING IT INTO BALANCE. WE NEED DISCUSSIONS ON THE DEBT CEILING COULD BE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO DEVELOP A CREDIBLE PLAN TO MANAGE OUR DEFICIT. I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT'S THE CASE. THAT WE COME TOGETHER WITH A CREDIBLE PLAN TO MANAGE OUR DEFICIT. I WOULD HOPE IT WOULD BE BIPARTISAN, THAT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS WOULD WORK TOGETHER TON A PLAN. IT WOULDN'T BE EXACTLY WHAT EITHER SIDE WANTS. IN FACT, WE BOTH WOULD HAVE TO MAKE COMPROMISES. IF WE DID THAT, IF WE HAVE A CREDIBLE PLAN, I THINK IT WOULD STIMULATE OUR ECONOMY AND WOULD CLEARLY HELP US CREATE MORE JOBS, WHICH IS THE BEST THING WE COULD DO TO HELP REDUCE OUR DEFICIT. NOW, I THINK IN ORDER AS A STARTING POINT WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE GOT TO THIS POINT. 10 YEARS AGO WE HAD SURPLUSES. TEN SHORT YEARS AGO WE HAD SURPLUSES. AND WE WERE CONCERNED THAT WE MIGHT BE RETIRING ALL OF OUR PRIVATELY HELD DEBT. I WAS PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF THE CONGRESS THAT VOTED ON THE LEGISLATION THAT BROUGHT OUR DEFICITS NOT ONLY DOWN BUT GAVE US A SURPLUS AND ONE OF THE LARGEST PERIODS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH IN AMERICA'S HISTORY. THEN DURING THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION, WHICH INHERITED THE LARGE SURPLUS, POLICIES WERE BROUGHT FORWARD TO CUT TAXES NOT ONCE BUT TWICE. MANY OF THOSE TAX CUTS WENT TO OUR WEALTHIEST PEOPLE. THE UNITED STATES WENT TO WAR IN TWO COUNTRIES AND BORROWED MONEY IN ORDER TO PURSUE THOSE WARS. THE FIRST TIME I THINK IN MODERN HISTORY THAT THE UNITED STATES WEFNTS TO WAR AND ASKED THE PEOPLE TO SACRIFICE BY CUTTING TAXES. THE END RESULT WAS THE LARGE DEFICITS. AND WHEN BARACK OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT, HE HAD HUGE DEFICITS, UNLIKE GEORGE W. BUSH, WHO HAD HUGE SURPLUSES. WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH TOOK THE OATH OF OS FOR PRESIDENT CIRCUMSTANCE OUR ECONOMY WAS GROWING CIRCUMSTANCE. WHEN BARACK OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WE WERE LOSING 750,000 JOBS A MONTH. THAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION THAT WE FACE TODAY, IS THAT WE NOW HAVE THESE DEFICITS THAT WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH. HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THE DEFICITS? WELL, WE NEED A BALANCED APPROACH. I MISS TELL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, I AM -- I MUST TELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I AM PROUD THAT SENATOR CONRAD, ON BEHALF OF THE DEMOCRATS ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, HAS COME FORWARD WITH A CREDIBLE PLAN THAT PRESERVES THE PRIORITIES OF THIS COUNTRY TO GROW AND DOES BRING OUR DEFICIT UNDER CONTROL. I'M PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, WORKING WITH SENATOR CONRAD AND WORKING WITH MY DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES TO PUT TOGETHER THE PLAN THAT SENATOR CONRAD SPOKE ON THE FLOOR EARLIER THIS WEEK. FIRST THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT SENATOR CONRAD'S BUDGET IS THAT IT BRINGS DOWN THE DEFICIT BY $4 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. IT ACTUALLY HAS MORE DEFICIT REDUCTION THAN IT THE HOUSE-PASSED SO-CALLED RYAN PLAN THAT THE REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE HAVE SENT OVER TO US. THE CONRAD PLAN THAT THE SENATE DEMOCRATS HAVE COME UP WITH WILL BRING ABOUT MORE DEFICIT REDUCTION AND SUBSTANTIALLY MORE DEFICIT REDUCTION THAN THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION HAD RECOMMENDED. BECAUSE WE'RE USING MORE ACCURATE NUMBERS. IT WOULD STABLIZE THE DEBT BY 2014. AND THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT POINT. I THINK WHAT WE'RE ALL TRYING TO DO IS MANAGE OUR DEFICIT AND AT THE SAME TIME HELP OUR ECONOMY. AND THAT'S WHAT THE CONRAD BUDGET DOES. IT STABLIZES THE DEBT BY 2014. AND IT STARTS WITH REDUCING DOMESTIC SPENDING. WHEN WE LOOK AT SPENDING GENERALLY, WHAT'S HAPPENED, WHERE NOW SPENDING ABOUT 24.1% OF OUR G.D.P. IN FEDERAL SPENDING. THE CONRAD BUDGET WOULD BRING THAT DOWN TO 22.1%, A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN OUR SPENDING PROGRAMS. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST TELL YOU THAT 22.1% WOULD BE THE SAME AMOUNT OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING AS WE WERE SPENDING DURING THE REAGAN PRESIDENCY. THIS IS NOT ANY RADICAL APPROACH TO SAY WE'RE GOING TO SPEND A LOT MORE MONEY. INSTEAD, WE'RE BRINGING SPENDING DOWN TO THE LEVEL WHEN RONALD REAGAN WAS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THE BUDGET WOULD ALSO DEAL WITH OUR OBLIGATIONS FOR A MANDATORY SPENDING. NOW, I MUST TELL YOU, I THINK WE TOOK MAJOR STEPS TO DO THAT IN THE LAST CONGRESS. THE PASSAGE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HELPED US TO PUT FORWARD A BLUEPRINT TO MANAGE OUR HEALTH CARE COSTS AS A NATION. BY PROVIDING UNIVERSAL COVERAGE, BY INVESTING IN HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, BY INVESTING IN WELLNESS PROGRAMS, BY INVESTING IN DEALING WITH REDUCING REEMISSIONS -- READMISSIONS TO HOSPITALS AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON AND ON DOMINICAN REPUBLIC WE WERE GETTING A HANDLE ON HEALTH CARE COSTS. THE BILL WE PASSED IN THE LAST CONGRESS WILL REDUCE FEDERAL SPENDING BY OVER $1 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS. BY REDUCING HEALTH CARE COSTS, WE REDUCE MEDICARE AND MEDICAID FUTURE RESPONSIBILITIES. SO WE'VE ALREADY TAKEN SOME STEPS, AND THE CONRAD BUDGET THAT THE DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE HAVE BROUGHT FORWARD WILL BUILD ON THAT TO BRING ABOUT ADDITIONAL SAVINGS IN DOMESTIC SPENDING. BUT THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THE BUDGET THAT SENATOR CONRAD HAS BROUGHT FORWARD, AS COMPARED TO THE RYAN BUDGET, THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET THAT PASSED THE HOUSE, IS THAT THE CONRAD BUDGET INVESTS IN AMERICA'S FUTURE. BECAUSE IT'S BALANCED, WE INVEST IN WHAT'S IMPORTANT FOR JOB BROG IN AMERICA, WE CONTINUE TO MAKE EDUCATION A TOP PRIORITY, SO THAT AMERICAN FAMILIES CAN AFFORD TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO COLLEGE, SO THAT WE INVEST IN IMPROVING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL PEOPLE IN OUR NATION. THE CONRAD BUDGET ALLOWS US TO INVEST IN INNOVATION, SO AMERICA CAN CONTINUE TO LEAD THE WORLD IN INNOVATION. THAT'S BEEN OUR -- WHERE WE'VE CREATED SO MANY JOBS. IN MY OWN STATE OF MARYLAND, I LOOK AT WHERE THE JOB GROWTH IS, AND I SEE SMALL, INNOHAVE AIVE -- INNOVATIVE COMPANIES DEVELOPING WAYS TO PROTECT OUR NATION IN CYBERSECURITY. I SEE THEM FINDING WAYS TO DEAL WITH SOLVING OUR ENERGY PROBLEMS AND MOVING FORWARD WITH HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, ALL IN INNOVATION, ALL FROM THE ABILITY TO USE OUR CREATIVE GENIUS TO KEEP AMERICA IN THE LEAD ECONOMICALLY. AND THE CONRAD BUDGET ALLOWS US TO CONTINUE OUR INVESTMENTS AT N.I.H. IN BASIC RESEARCH. THE RYAN BUDGET DOESN'T ALLOW US TO DO THAT. SIGNIFICANT CUTBACKS IN ALL THOSE AREAS. THE CONRAD BUDGET WHICH THE HOUSE DEMOCRATS HAVE BROUGHT FORWARD ALLOWS TO INVEST IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, OUR ROADS, BRIDGES, WATER SYSTEMS, SO WE CAN CREATE MORE JOBS FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION. THE BUDGET ALSO DEALS WITH OUR MILITARY SPENDING. LET KNEEL YOU ONE FACT I THINK THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION SHOULD UNDERSTAND. AMERICA SPENDS AS MUCH IN DEFENSE AS ALMOST THE ENTIRE AMOUNT SPENT BY ALL THE OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD. IT'S DIFFICULT TO SEE HOW OUR NATION CAN CONTINUE TO GROW THE WAY WE WANT TO WITH SO MUCH OF OUR BUDGET TIED UP IN THE DEFENSE -- IN NATIONAL DEFENSE. WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO DO THIS IN A BETTER WAY, AND WE CAN SAVE MONEY IN ALL OF OUR SPENDING. BETWEEN 1997 AND 2011, THE DEFENSE BUDGET OF OUR COUNTRY GREW FROM $254 BILLION A YEAR TO $688 BILLION A YEAR. SO WHAT DOES THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET DO? THEY JUST INCREASE THOSE NUMBERS DRAMATICALLY OVER THE NEXT YEAR, FIVE YEARS, TEN YEARS. THE DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL RECOGNIZES THE REALITY THAT WE CAN BRING OUR COMBAT TROOPS HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN, THAT WE CAN EXPECT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO DO MORE, AND WE CAN BRING ABOUT SAVINGS ON THE MILITARY SIDE. BUT LET ME TALK ABOUT THE LAST MAJOR COMPONENT OF THE CONRAD BUDGET AND HOW IT DIFFERS SUBSTANTIALLY FROM THE RYAN BUDGET. AND THAT IS THE AREA OF REVENUES, AND I KNOW THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT REVENUES. SO WHAT DOES THE DEMOCRATIC BUDGET DO IN THIS REGARD? IT TAKES OUR REVENUES TO $19.-- 19.5% OF OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, G.D.P. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S THE SAME AMOUNT THAT WAS RAISED DURING THE CLINTON PRESIDENCY WHEN WE HAD UNPRECEDENTED PROSPERITY AND JOB GROWTH IN AMERICA. HOW DID WE GET THERE? HOW DID WE GET THE REVENUES THAT WE NEED IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO BRING THIS DEBT UNDER CONTROL? WELL, SENATOR CONRAD HAS GIVEN US SOME DIRECTION ON HOW WE CAN DO THAT. HE'S POINTED OUT THAT SHELTERS AND LOOPHOLES NEED TO BE CLOSED. THESE ARE INEFFICIENCIES IN OUR TAX CODE TODAY. I'VE TAKEN THE FLOOR ON TWO OCCASIONS RECENTLY TO TALK ABOUT SOME THAT I THINK WE SHOULD ELIMINATE. ONE, THE ETHANOL SUBSIDY. WE HAD A VOTE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. THE MAJORITY OF THE SENATORS VOTED IN FAVOR OF ELIMINATING THE ETHANOL SUBSIDY. WHY? BECAUSE IT IS NOT NEEDED. ETH NOT SALES ARE NOT DEPEND -- ETHANOL SALES ARE NOT DEPENDENT ON A FEDERAL TAX BREAK. SECONDLY, IT IS CAUSING A DISRUPTION IN THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY. I POINTED OUT THE POULTRY INDUSTRY IN MARYLAND SUFFERS FROM THE HIGH PRICE OF CORN COSTING US JOBS. SO ELIMINATING THE ETHANOL SUBSIDY IS A WIN-WIN SITUATION. WHY NOT TAKE THE MONEY AND USE IT FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION? I'VE ALSO POINTED OUT THAT THE MAJOR GAS COMPANIES IN THIS COUNTRY ARE RECEIVING SUBSIDIES FROM THE TAXPAYERS. THEIR PROFITS IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THIS YEAR WERE $34 BILLION. THEY CERTAINLY DON'T NEED THE HELP FROM THE TAXPAYERS. THE TAXPAYERS HAVE ALREADY GIVEN THEM TOO MUCH IN THE PRICE OF GASOLINE AT THE PUMP, WHICH HAS HURT OUR ECONOMY EXCEPT FOR THE PROFITS OF THE GASOLINE COMPANIES. SO THERE -- THERE ARE TAX LOOPHOLES, THEY'RE SHELTERS THAT COULD BE CLOSED THAT AMOUNT TO A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF FEDERAL EXPENDITURES. AND, YES, THE HIGHEST INCOME TAXPAYERS, THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES, IS IT REASONABLE OR RIGHT OR FAIR TO EXPECT THAT THEY SHOULD CONTINUE TO GET THESE LOWER TAX RATES THAT WERE TEMPORARILY EXTENDED UNDER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION INDEFINITELY WHEN WE'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN BRING THE BUDGET INTO BALANCE? I MUST TELL YOU THAT SENATOR CONRAD HAS MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THERE WOULD BE NO CHANGE FROM THE CURRENT TAX RATES FOR THOSE FAMILIES THAT HAVE A MILLION DOLLARS OF INCOME OR LESS. THAT'S A PRETTY I THINK GENEROUS COMMITMENT ABOUT NOT CHANGING TAX RATES, PARTICULARLY DURING THESE ECONOMIC TIMES. SO LET'S COMPARE THE BUDGETS. THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET, THE RYAN BUDGET SAYS, LOOK, ALL THE SAVINGS IS GOING TO COME OUT OF THE SPENDING SIDE AND, IN FACT, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL TAX CUTS. ASKING MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES TO PAY MORE WHILE OUR WEALTHIEST ENJOY EVEN MORE TAX BREAKS. THE DEMOCRATIC BUDGET SUBMITTED BY SENATOR CONRAD SAYS WE'RE GOING TO BE BALANCED. 50% OF OUR DEFICIT REDUCTION WAS ON THE REVENUE SIDE BUT THAT INCLUDES REDUCING TAX EXPENDITURES, TAX SPENDING. WE SPEND MONEY IN THE TAX CODE. $1.4 TRILLION A YEAR. I REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE IF WE'RE SPENDING MONEY ON HOUSING ON THE TACK CODE OR SPENDING MONEY ON HOUSING ON THE -- ON THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL. BOTH SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE SAME TYPE OF SCRUTINY. SO WHY AREN'T WE USING A SIMILAR STANDARD? WELL, WE HAVE A CHANCE TO DO THAT IN THE CONRAD BUDGET. 50% FROM REVENUES, INCLUDING TAX SPENDING. 50% FROM THE DIRECT SPENDING CUTS. THAT'S A BALANCED APPROACH. THAT'S A CREDIBLE APPROACH. IT'S AN APPROACH THAT WILL PROTECT OUR MOST VULNERABLE. OUR STUDENTS ARE PROTECTED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CONTINUE OUR COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION AND TO THE COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION THROUGH THE PELL GRANTS. OUR SENIORS ARE PROTECTED IN THAT WE DO NOT DO WHAT THE RYAN BUDGET WOULD DO WITH MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. LET ME REMIND YOU THAT THE BUDGET THAT THE REPUBLICANS PASSED IN THE HOUSE WOULD CHANGE MEDICARE FUNDAMENTALLY, CHANGING IT FROM A PROGRAM THAT GUARANTEES BENEFITS TO OUR SENIORS TO A PROGRAM WHERE SENIORS WOULD GET A VOUCHER AND HAVE TO GO OUT AND BUY A PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANY, BE AT THE WHIM OF PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES FOR ADEQUATE PROTECTION AGAINST THEIR HEALTH CARE NEEDS. ESTIMATED THAT THEIR HEALTH CARE COSTS WOULD GROW WHEN FULLY IMPLEMENTED BY $6,000 A YEAR. I CAN TELL YOU THE SENIORS OF MARYLAND CANNOT AFFORD THAT EXTRA $6,000 A YEAR. THAT WILL BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN INDIVIDUAL GETTING ADEQUATE HEALTH CARE OR NOT. THE CONRAD BUDGET REJECTS THAT TYPE OF RADICAL CHANGE IN OUR MEDICARE SYSTEM. THE RYAN BUDGET WOULD REQUIRE THE BLOCK GRANTING OF MEDICAID TO OUR STATES. OUR STATES ARE ALREADY BURDENED. THE CHANCES OF THEM BEING ABLE TO MAINTAIN THEIR COMMITMENT TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO DEPEND ON THE MEDICAID SYSTEM OR SENIORS WHO DEPEND UPON IT FOR LONG-TERM CARE IS VERY REMOTE. THE CONRAD BUDGET PROTECTS THOSE PROGRAMS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE LIVE UP TO OUR COMMITMENTS TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION TO OUR FAMILIES AND TO OUR SENIORS. SOCIAL SECURITY IS PROTECTED IN THE -- IN THE CONRAD BUDGET BECAUSE SOCIAL SECURITY DIDN'T CAUSE THE DEFICIT. SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED OUTSIDE THE BUDGET DEBATES AND I THINK MORE AND MORE OF THE MEMBERS ARE NOW COMING TO THAT CONCLUSION. AND LET ME MENTION ONE OTHER POINT THAT I THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT ABOUT THE DEMOCRATIC BUDGET THAT SENATOR CONRAD HAS BROUGHT FORWARD. IT RECOGNIZES OUR FEDERAL WORK FORCE. MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW YOU'RE PARTICULARLY CONCERNED ABOUT THAT, REPRESENTING THE STATE OF VIRGINIA. I'M PARTICULARLY CONCERNED ABOUT THAT REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF MARYLAND. WE HAVE A LOT OF DEDICATED FEDERAL WORKERS WHO DEVOTED THEIR CAREERS TO HELPING THIS NATION BY PROTECTING OUR NATION AND -- IN THEIR SERVICE, IN -- IN HOMELAND SECURITY OR PROTECTING US IN REGARDS TO HOW THEY DEAL WITH HEALTH SERVICES OR HOW THEY DEAL WITH OUR VETERANS. THESE ARE DEDICATED PEOPLE. AND THEY'VE ALREADY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS DEFICIT REDUCTION. TWO-YEAR PAY FREEZE HAS ALREADY BEEN IMPLEMENTED. IT WAS THE FIRST -- ONE OF THE FIRST. SO THEY HAVE -- THEY HAVE ALREADY DONE THEIR SHARE IN HELPING US BRING OUR BUDGET INTO BALANCE. THE CONRAD BUDGET I'M PROUD TO SAY SAYS THAT'S ENOUGH. LET'S NOT JEOPARDIZE OUR FEDERAL WORK FORCE BY REDUCING THEIR COMPENSATION PACKAGE IN ADDITION TO THE FREEZES. IT SHOWS THAT WE CAN DO IT THAT WAY. TAKE A LOOK AT THE RYAN BUDGET THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE SENT OVER. MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN THE COMPENSATION PACKAGES GOING FORWARD FOR OUR FEDERAL WORK FORCE. THERE'S A BETTER WAY. THE BETTER WAY IS THE CONRAD BUDGET. QUITE FRANKLY, WE HAVE A CHOICE. WE HAVE A CHOICE WHETHER WE'RE GOING TO MOVE FORWARD AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO MOVE FORWARD. I STRONGLY SUPPORT A CREDIBLE PLAN TO DEAL WITH THE DEFICIT. AS I SAID, WE NEED TO GET OUR DEFICIT UNDER CONTROL BUT WE CAN DO IT IN A WAY THAT PRESERVES OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL AMERICANS, CREATING JOB OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED FOR OUR NATION AND PROTECTING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE. TO ME, THAT IS MAINTAINING AMERICA'S FUTURE. THAT'S GIVING US THE BEST HOPE THAT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL ENJOY THE OPPORTUNITIES OF THIS GREAT NATION. AND THAT SHOULD BE THE GUIDING FORCE FOR OUR WORK HERE. I CERTAINLY HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL WORK TOGETHER SO THAT WE CAN COME TOGETHER FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS NATION. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:37:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT, I…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 02:37:33 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:10:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MISSOURI IS RECOGNIZED, AND WITHOUT…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MISSOURI IS RECOGNIZED, AND WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

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  • 03:10:50 PM

    MR. BLUNT

    PRESIDENT, CONVERSATIONS CONTINUE TODAY ABOUT EXACTLY HOW WE'RE GOING TO…

    PRESIDENT, CONVERSATIONS CONTINUE TODAY ABOUT EXACTLY HOW WE'RE GOING TO MEET THE FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS THAT OUR COUNTRY FACES. THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION ON HAND SEEMS TO BE DO WE BORROW MORE AND SPEND MORE OR DO WE MAKE THE TYPES OF SERIOUS, TOUGH DECISIONS THAT WILL MAKE OUR NATION -- THAT WILL GET OUR NATION BACK ON A SOUND FINANCIAL FOOTING? TODAY OUR NATIONAL DEBT STANDS AT OVER $14 TRILLION. UNEMPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO RISE WITH MORE THAN 14 MILLION AMERICANS OUT OF WORK NOW, AND THE GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO SPEND MORE MONEY THAN IT COLLECTS OR THAN I BELIEVE IT SHOULD COLLECT. AS COCHAIRS OF THE PRESIDENT'S OWN FISCAL COMMISSION HAVE WARNED, IF WE FAIL TO TAKE SWIFT AND SERIOUS ACTIONS, THE UNITED STATES FACES, ACCORDING TO THEM, THE MOST PREDICTABLE ECONOMIC CRISIS IN HISTORY. A QUOTE ATTRIBUTED TO MANY PEOPLE INCLUDING MY FELLOW MISSOURIAN MARK TWAIN, IT'S HARD TO MAKE PREDICTIONS, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE. BUT THE THING THAT'S THE EASIEST TO PREDICT IS DEMOGRAPHICS. IF YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE HERE NOW AND HAVE ALL THE OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION YOU NEED, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE POPULATION IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE. AND AS THE POPULATION GETS OLDER, OUR PROGRAMS FOR SENIORS WILL COST MORE. AT HIS NEWS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY, PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS ASKED ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM, AND HE SAID IN A STATEMENT I DIDN'T QUITE UNDERSTAND, SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT THE SOURCE OF OUR DEFICIT PROBLEM, BUT THEN HE WENT ON TO SAY THE REASON THAT WE DO SOCIAL SECURITY IN THE DEBT CEILING PLAN IS TO STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY TO MAKE SURE THAT BENEFITS ARE THERE FOR THE SENIORS IN THE OUT YEARS. WELL, I AGREE TOTALLY. THIS IS THE TIME TO DEAL WITH SOCIAL SECURITY, PARTICULARLY THE TIME TO DEAL WITH SOCIAL SECURITY IF YOU'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH SOCIAL SECURITY IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T IMPACT ANYONE WHO IS RETIRED OR ANYONE WHO IS APPROACHING RETIREMENT. THE PRESIDENT WENT ON TO SAY THAT REPUBLICANS WANT TO TALK ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY AS PART OF A BROADER DEAL BECAUSE IT'S POLITICALLY DIFFICULT TO VOTE ON. NOW, I ACTUALLY THINK THAT A LOT OF REPUBLICANS AND A LOT OF DEMOCRATS WANT TO TALK ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO SAVE IT, AND THAT IF YOU'RE GOING TO SAVE IT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS, YOU HAVE TO START SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. MADAM PRESIDENT, OUR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR BAUCUS, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE, SAID DURING A HEARING IN MAY ON DEFICIT REDUCTION AND SOCIAL SECURITY, QUOTING SENATOR BAUCUS, ADDRESSING OUR DEFICITS AND DEBTS IS AN ECONOMIC ISSUE, A NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE AND A MORAL ISSUE, AND HE WENT ON TO SAY, QUOTING HIM AGAIN, "WE HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO LEAVE THIS PLACE BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT." ENDING HIS QUOTE. BUT, MADAM PRESIDENT, I AGREE WITH HIS QUOTE. IF WE'RE GOING TO LEAVE SOCIAL SECURITY BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT, WE HAVE TO BEGIN TO WORK ON IT RIGHT NOW. EACH YEAR, SOCIAL SECURITY COSTS ARE HIGHER. THIS YEAR, THEY ARE GOING TO BE 3.6% HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR. THAT'S A ONE-YEAR INCREASE, 3.6% IN ONE YEAR. THE WORKER TO BENEFICIARY RATIO -- AND WE KNOW HOW SOCIAL SECURITY WORKS, PEOPLE PAYING IN LARGELY FUND THE MONEY THAT'S GOING OUT TODAY. PEOPLE PAYING IN IN 2035 WILL BE 2.1 FOR EVERY PERSON WORKING. AND IN THE CURRENT SYSTEM, THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE PAGES ON THE FLOOR HERE TODAY ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO TAKE -- TO PAY HALF OF WHATEVER THE AVERAGE RECIPIENT GETS, BUT THAT'S WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO IF WE DON'T CHANGE THE SYSTEM. WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE DEFICITS FACING SOCIAL SECURITY, AND I THINK WE NEED TO DEAL WITH THEM RIGHT NOW, WHETHER IT'S POLITICALLY DIFFICULT OR NOT. OTHERWISE, THERE WON'T BE A SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM THAT WORKS FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING IN TODAY. SOCIAL SECURITY NO LONGER COLLECTS WHAT IT SPENDS. WE HAVE A $45 BILLION DEFICIT OR A SHORTFALL IN 2011, AND THE TRUTH IS WE'RE STILL CASHING IN THE I.O.U.'S TO SOCIAL SECURITY AND WE'LL DO THAT AS LONG AS THEY ARE THERE, BUT EVENTUALLY THOSE I.O.U.'S RUN OUT AS WELL OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, IT'S PROJECTED THAT WE WILL SPEND SPEND $450 BILLION, $447 BILLION MORE THAN COMES INTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. ACCORDING TO A REPORT THIS YEAR, SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOW OPERATING UNDER PERMANENT ANNUAL DEFICITS FOR AS LONG AS THEY CAN CALCULATE. NOW, PERMANENT ANNUAL DEFICITS WON'T WORK, SO WHAT WOULD WORK? TODAY I'D LIKE TO DISCUSS A PLAN TO PUT SOCIAL SECURITY ON A PATH THAT MEANS OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN CAN HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT THE CONTRIBUTIONS THAT COME OUT OF THEIR HARD-EARNED PAYCHECKS WILL RESULT IN BENEFITS WHEN THEY RETIRE. ASK PEOPLE YOU KNOW AT WORK WHO ARE IN THEIR 20'S AND 30'S IF THEY EXPECT TO COLLECT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. JUST UNDER 26% OF VOTERS UNDER 40 BELIEVE IT'S EVEN SOMEWHAT LIKELY THAT THEY'LL RECEIVE ALL THEIR PROMISED SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. 26% SOMEWHAT LIKELY, NOT GUARANTEED, NOT ABSOLUTE, SOMEWHAT LIKELY. AND JUST TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA, 15% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE FINE IF IT'S NOT REFORMED. 15%. 20% OF PEOPLE POLLED BELIEVE THAT ALIENS EXIST AND LIVE AMONG US. SO THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT BELIEVE THAT ALIENS EXIST AND LIVE AMONG US IS HIGHER THAN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT BELIEVE THAT SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE FINE IF IT'S NOT REFURLED. THE LAST TIME THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE MADE COMPREHENSIVE CHANGES IN SOCIAL SECURITY WAS 1983. WCIALG IT'S TIME TO DO IT AGAIN. IT'S TIME TO DO IT AGAIN AND WE CAN MAKE CHANGES IN A PROGRAM THAT WON'T AFFECT THOSE THAT ARE APPROACHING RETIREMENT. THOUGH, THAT'LL ALWAYS BE THE CHARGE. THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY FROM RETIRE HE IS WELL, THIS IS A PLAN THAT TALKS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE 55 AND YOUNGER AND NO CHANGE FOR ANYBODY WHO'S 5 OR OLDER TODAY. SO IF YOU'RE 5 OR OLDER AND YOU HEAR THE DISCUSSION ABOUT AT LEAST THIS PLAN, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. IT WON'T AFFECT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY. SO THAT'S THE FIRST POINT. THE SECOND POINT WOULD BE, WE NEED TO LOOK AT A NEW COST-OF-LIVING INDEX THAT'S REALLY BASED ON THE COST -- THE COST THAT SENIORS HAVE. THE THIRD POINT WE NEED A NEW DISTRIBUTION FORMULA, AND IF WE DO THOSE THREE THINGS, WE'LL HAVE A SOLVENT SYSTEM FOR AT LEAST SEVEN DECADES. IN THE NEXT 70 YEARS SOMEBODY CAN LOOK AT THIS AND COME UP WITH A PLAN TO BE SURE IT GOES BEYOND THENMENT BUT SEVEN DECADES IS AS FAR AS YOU CAN SAVELY PREDICT ANYTHING. BUT THIS WOULD PREDICT THE LIFE OF SOCIAL SECURITY FOR AT LEAST THAT LONG AS A SOLVENT SYSTEM. MOST SENIORS LIVE ON A FIXED INCOME, AND THEY FEEL IT WHEN THEIR UTILITY BILLS GO UP, THEIR HEALTH CARE COSTS GO UP, OR WHEN THEIR FOOD PRICES GO UP. THE CURRENT COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT, THE SO-CALLED COLA FORMULA CALCULATED BY THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, KNOWN AS THE C.P.I. OR THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX, TRACKS PURCHASES BY WORKING AGE INDIVIDUALS. NOW, FRANKLY WHAT WORKING AGE INDIVIDUALS BUY MAY BE QUITE A BIT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT -- THAN HOW SENIORS SPEND THEIR MONEY OR AT LEAST HOW MOST SENIORS SPEND THEIR MONEY. MANY ECONOMISTS BELIEVE THIS CAUSES THE C.P.I. TO MISREPRESENT THE INFLATION THAT IMPACTS SENIORS. AND SENIORS DESERVE BETTER. FOR EXAMPLE, THE RISING COST OF EDUCATION AND CHILD CARE ARE HEAVILY WEIGHTED IN THE CURRENT FORMULA. THESE COSTS DON'T OFTEN HAVE THE SAME IMPACT ON SENIORS AS THEY DO ON THE WORKING-AGE POPULATION OR THE YOUNGER POPULATION. THE HEALTH CARE COSTS AND UTILITY BILLS'S A, AS AN EXAMPLE, HAVE MORE IMPACT ON SENIORS AND ON THE BUDGET OF SENIORS THAN THEY DO ON THE WORKING-AGE POPULATION. MY PLAN DIRECTS THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS TO DEVELOP A MORE ACCURATE METHOD OF CALCULATING COLAS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS. IT WOULD MOVE TO A CHAIN-WEIGHTED C.P.I. THAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE PURCHASING HABITS OF INDIVIDUALS, NOT OF ALL AGES BUT INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE OVER 65. AND HEALTH CARE COSTS WOULD ACCOUNT FOR A MUCH LARGER PORTION OF SENIOR'S SPENDING IN THIS TYPE OF AN INVERY, AN INDESM DEX. WHAT THEY SPEND THEIR MONEY ON IS WHAT WE'D BE LOOKING AT INSTEAD OF WHAT EVERYBODY IN THE WORKING-AGE POPULATION SPENDS THEIR MONEY ON. THIS WOULD ELIMINATE THE PROGRAM'S LONG-TERM FUNDING SHORT FALL AND ENSURE PAMS PAYMENTS FORBE THE NEXT 70 TO 75 YEARS. LIKE THE PRESIDENT'S FISCAL COMMISSION, MY PLAN WOULD ACCOUNT FOR THE INCREASE IN LIFE EXPECTANCICY AND WOULD CALL FOR AN INCREASE IN THE NORMAL RETIREMENT AGE. NOW, REMEMBER, PRIMARILY THESE ARE FOR RETIREES HUE HO DON'T BELIEVE THEY'RE GOING TO BENEFIT FROM THE SYSTEM ANYHOW. MOST OF THE PEOPLE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE WHO WILL BE IMPACTED DON'T THINK THE SYSTEM IS GOING TO BE THERE FOR THEM. WE'RE TRYING TO ENSURE THAT IT WOULD BE. OVER TIME, THE RETIREMENT AGE CHANGES TO 65 YEARS. THAT'S ONE YEAR YOUNGER THAN THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION'S PROPOSAL, BUT I THINK IT'S AN AGE THAT WORKS AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S WORKING AS WE LOOK THROUGH THESE NUMBERS. THIS MEANS THAT THE RETIREMENT AGE WILL RISE SLOWLY FOR FUTURE RETIREES. THREE MONTHS FOR EACH YEAR FROM 2022 TO 2030. NOBODY WOULD BE IMPACTED AT ALL UNTIL 2022, AND THAT PERSON THAT WAS GOING TO RETIRE IN 2022 WOULD RETIRE THREE MONTHS LATER. AND THAT WOULD BE ADDED ON EVERY YEAR UNTIL 2030. LIKEWISE, THE PLAN WOULD CHANGE EARLY RETIREMENT BENEFITS FROM 62 TO 64 BEGINNING IN 2022. SO IT ONLY AGAIN IMPACTS PEOPLE WHO GET TO THAT AGE IN 2022. OUR CURRENT BENEFIT STRUCTURE IS SIMPLY NOT SUSTAINABLE AND THAT'S WHY MY PLAN WOULD ALSO MODIFY THE CURRENT BENEFIT STRUCTURE TO ENSURE THAT SENIORS WHO EARNED AT OR BELOW THE 40th PERCENTILE RECEIVE EXACTLY SAME AMOUNT OF RETIREMENT BENEFITS AS THEY WOULD IF THE PROGRAM CONTINUED EXACTLY AS IT IS TODAY. AND A NEW SLIGHTLY REDUCED INDEX BENEFITS WOULD OCCUR ABOVE THE 40% TOP. WEALTHIER SENIORS CAN PLAN FOR THEIR RETIREMENT YEARS THROUGH PERSONAL SAVINGS, THROUGH RETIREMENT PLANS, THROUGH ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS, THROUGH IRA'S, THROUGH EMPLOYER-SPONSORED PLANS, BUT THOSE WHO ARE NOT IN THAT CATEGORY WOULD CONTINUE TO GET EXACTLY THE SAME BENEFIT WHEN THEY RETIRE THEY WOULD GET AT RETIREMENTTODAY'S RETIREMENT AGE. SO BACK TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S COMMENTS YESTERDAY. LET'S LOOK AT A PLANE THAT DOES THE FOLLOWING, PRESIDENT OBAMA. LET'S LOOK AT A PLAN THAT HAS NO HIGHER RATE OF CONTRIBUTIONS, NO MEANS TEST FOR SOCIAL SECURITY SIMENTS, NO TAX ON FUTURE BENEFICIARIES, A SLIGHTLY LOWER BENEFIT AND A SLIGHTLY LONGER TIME TO WORK TO RETIREMENT. DIFFERENCE IS, IF YOU WORK TO RETIREMENT, YOU ACTUALLY GET A BENEFIT. THIS IS NO LONGER A TOPIC WE CAN AVOID. SO LET'S NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY. LET'S MAKE A PROMISE RIGHT NOW WHILE WE'RE DEALING WITH BIG ISSUES TO WORKERS PAYING THE BILL TODAY THAT SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE THERE FOR THEM WHEN THEY RETIRE. AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:23:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 03:23:24 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:34:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OR ORGANIZE IS RECOGNIZED AND WE ARE IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 03:34:25 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO VITIATE THE QUORUM…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO VITIATE THE QUORUM CALL.

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  • 03:34:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 03:34:30 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    THANK YOU. AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR MY INTERN,…

    THANK YOU. AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR MY INTERN, CONNOR MEYERS, TO BE -- HAVE THE PRIVILEGES OF THE FLOOR FOR THE BALANCE OF THE DAY.

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  • 03:34:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 03:34:39 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANT…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL CHALLENGES THAT OUR NATION FACES. IT WILL COME AS A SURPRISE TO NO ONE THAT THE TOPIC OF GREATEST CONCERN IS JOBS, JOBS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HOW WE MANAGE OUR DEFICIT AND DEBT SO AS TO PUT AMERICA ON A FIRM FINANCIAL FOOTING DOWN THE ROAD, TO PUT AMERICAN FAMILIES BACK ON A FIRM FINANCIAL FOOTING. MY MAILBOX IS FULL OF FAMILIES THAT HAVE A LOT OF CONCERNS ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN PLAN FOR CUTTING PROGRAMS THAT SERVE WORKING AMERICANS. NOW, IT'S A HOST OF PROGRAMS THAT ARE AFFECTED BUT I PULLED A COUPLE LETTERS TO BRING WITH ME. ONE IS LINDA WRITING FROM CANBY, OREGON. SHE IS A DISABLED YOUNG ADULT. SHE WRITES, "MY DAUGHTER NICOLE HAS CEREBRAL PALSY AND OTHER MEDICAL ISSUES. SHE IS DEPENDENT ON MY HUSBAND AND I FOR HER TOTAL 24/7 CARE. MEDICAID IS ESSENTIAL BECAUSE IT HELPS HER WITH MEDICAL AND DENTAL NEEDS AND HER MOBILITY. IF MEDICAID IS CUT OR REDUCED, MANY OF THE DISABLED WILL BE FORCED TO LIVE IN NURSING HOMES OR INSTITUTIONS WHICH WE BOTH KNOW WOULD NOT BE COST-EFFECTIVE COST-EFFECTIVE. PLEASE VOTE AGAINST CUTS TO OUR MEDICAID SYSTEM." AND TRUDY FROM KAISER, OREGON, WRITES A VERY SIMILAR LETTER ABOUT HER GRANDSON, DIAGNOSED WITH'SWITH ASBERGER'S. AND THE MALE GOES ON AND ON WITH CITIZENS WHO ARE WORKING-CLASS AMERICANS, FUNDAMENTAL JOBS, OFTEN WITH MODEST TO NO HEALTH CARE. THEY HAVE CHILDREN, THEY HAVE GRANDCHILDREN WHO WILL BE PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED BY THE CHOICES WE MAKE ON HEALTH CARE, THE CHOICES WE MAKE ON EDUCATION EDUCATION, THE CHOICES WE MAKE IN TERMS OF CREATING JOBS HERE IN AMERICA. SO THIS DEBATE HAS ENORMOUS IMPORT FOR THE SUCCESS OF OUR FAMILIES. AND IN THE CONTEXT OF THAT IMPORTANCE, WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE GOT TO THE POINT WE ARE AT RIGHT NOW. AND SO LET'S START WITH A TEN-YEAR VIEW OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED. NOW, THESE STATISTICS MIGHT COME AS A SURPRISE TO MANY OF YOU BECAUSE THEY'RE A LITTLE BIT OUT OF SYNC WITH SOME OF THE RHETORIC THAT WE HEAR ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS, FROM 2001-2011, WE'VE HAD A REVENUE DECREASE OF 18%. SO REVENUE HAS DECREASED BY NEARLY A FIFTH. NON-DEFENSE SPENDING, YOU'LL SEE NO BAR HERE, EITHER NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE. THE CHANGE HAS BEEN ZERO OVER A TEN-YEAR PERIOD. ZERO CHANGE. THOSE ARE THE PROGRAMS THAT AFFECT WORKING AMERICA, PROGRAMS THAT AFFECT UNEMPLOYMENT, PROGRAMS THAT AFFECT FOOD, SUPPORT, NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT, HEAD START PROGRAMS, HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS, TRAINING PROGRAMS SO THAT PEOPLE CAN GET BETTER JOBS. AND THEN OVER HERE WE HAVE DEFENSE SPENDING UP 74%. WELL, THAT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE THESE THREE BARS TELL THE STORY OF DECISIONS MADE DURING THE EIGHT YEARS OF GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION. OVER HERE ON REVENUE, WE HAVE BREAKS THAT WERE GRANTED TO THE BEST-OFF IN OUR SOCIETY AND THAT HAVE BEEN FOUGHT FOR VIGOROUSLY, THE EXTENSION OF THOSE BREAKS, BY SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE. BREAKS FOR THE BEST-OFF, REVENUES DOWN OVER THAT TEN-YEAR PERIOD. OVER HERE WE HAVE THE FACT THAT DECISIONS WERE MADE FOR TWO WARS NOT FUNDED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NOW, THAT'S AN ANOMALY IN OUR HISTORY. WHEN WE GO TO WAR, WE RAISE THE FUNDS TO PAY FOR IT BUT NOT DURING THE IRRESPONSIBLE EIGHT YEARS OF THE GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION. SO IT IS NOT A SURPRISE THAT WE NOW HAVE A DEFICIT PROBLEM, THAT WE NOW HAVE A DEBT PROBLEM, BECAUSE CONCRETE DECISIONS WERE MADE. AND THESE ARE ONLY PART OF THE STORY. THE REST OF THE STORY IS THAT DEREGULATION OF MORTGAGES LEADING TO A VAST TSUNAMI OF PREDATORY MORTGAGES ON WORKING AMERICANS TURNED INTO SECURITIES THAT POISONED FINANCIAL HOUSES THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES AND, FOR THAT MATTER, THROUGHOUT THE GLOBE ALSO, ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO BLOWING UP THE ECONOMY AND DRIVING DOWN THE REVENUE. SO CONCRETE DECISIONS FROM THOSE EIGHT YEARS HAVE PLACED US WHERE WE'RE AT. NOW, HOW DO WE ADDRESS THIS SHORTFALL? WELL, LET'S START BY LOOKING AT HOW THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET HAS BEEN LAID OUT, WITH THREE PRINCIPAL POINTS. THE FIRST IS TO END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT. WHILE THIS PLAN TO CREATE A VOUCHER SYSTEM IN LIEU OF MEDICARE IS ONE THAT, FRANKLY, TERRIFIES EVERY SENIOR CITIZEN IN AMERICA AND EVERY CITIZEN WHO KNOWS THAT THEY WILL BE A SENIOR CITIZEN, WHO KNOWS THAT THEY'VE BEEN PAYING FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS INTO A PROGRAM THAT ITS ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS ARE FAR MORE EFFICIENT THAN THE GENERAL INSURANCE MARKET. BUT THAT EFFICIENCY, THE GOAL OF THE REPUBLICAN PLAN IS DISMANTLE THAT EFFICIENCY AND THROW PEOPLE INTO THE HIGHLY INEFFICIENT PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKETS WITH A VOUCHER THAT DOES NOT RISE PROPORTIONALLY TO HEALTH CARE COSTS. I DON'T THINK THAT DESTROYING THE VERY SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM TO PROVIDE MEDICARE AND HEALTH CARE FOR OUR SENIORS IS WHERE WE SHOULD BE GOING. THE SECOND PART OF THE PLAN IS TO DO ROUGHLY $4 TRILLION IN CUTS TO PROGRAMS FOR WORKING AMERICANS. AND THE THIRD IS TO PROTECT ALL OF THE PROGRAMS FOR THE BEST-OFF IN OUR SOCIETY. THE BENEFITS FOR THE BEST-OFF. NOW, I THINK MOST CITIZENS UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN WE COME TO A TIME OF NATIONAL CHALLENGE FINANCIALLY, EVERYONE SHOULD PARTICIPATE AND THERE SHOULDN'T BE THIS SACRED COWS FOR THE VERY BEST-OFF WHILE THE WORKERS ARE ASKED TO PICK UP EVEN MORE OF THE BURDEN. IN FACT, LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT A CHART THAT DISPLAYS HOW THIS FUNCTIONS. THE AVERAGE RATE IN AMERICA, AVERAGE TAX RATE IS 20.7%. NOW, LET'S TAKE THE RICHEST 400 IN AMERICA. THE TOP 400, THEIR AVERAGE TAX RATE IS 18%. NOW, WHY DO THE RICHEST 400 GET THE LOWEST TAX RATES? THAT'S WHAT AMERICANS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW. WHY IS IT THAT THE REPUBLICAN PLAN IS ASKING TO CUT PROGRAMS FOR WORKING AMERICA WHILE PROTECTING THE BONUS BENEFITS FOR THE BEST-OFF IN OUR SOCIETY? NOW, THESE RICHEST 400, THEY EARN OVER $270 MILLION PER YEAR. NOT COLLECTIVELY, THAT'S THEIR -- THAT'S THEIR AVERAGE INCOME. WELL, WOULDN'T ALL OF US LOVE TO BE IN A SITUATION WHERE WE EARNED EVEN A FRACTION OF $270 MILLION A YEAR? AND THAT STRUCTURE, WHILE REFLECTED HERE FOR THE TOP 400, IS REALLY A STRUCTURE IS FOR THE BEST-OFF, A BROAD -- HIGH ARRAY, A 5% TO 10% ARRAY OF THE BEST EARNERS IN AMERICA. SO THOSE THREE POINTS -- END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT, REPLACE WITH A VOUCHER PROGRAM; CUT PROGRAMS FOR WORKING AMERICANS; AND PROTECT PROGRAMS FOR BEST-OFF -- THAT'S THE REPUBLICAN PLAN. NOW, THE CHAIR OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE, CAME TO THE FLOOR THIS WEEK WITH A VERY DIFFERENT PLAN AND THAT PLAN HAS THE SAME SAVINGS THAT THE -- THE REPUBLICAN PLAN HAS. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT. OKAY. SO UNDER THIS PLAN, THE BUDGET FRAMEWORK INCLUDES THE SAME AMOUNT OF DEFICIT REDUCTION AS THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN PLAN. IN FACT, ACTUALLY A LITTLE BIT MORE REDUCTION. $4 TRILLION VERSUS $3.9 TRILLION. SO BOTH PLAN GET TOWARDS THE SAME OBJECTIVE OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY BUT THEY GO ABOUT IT IN VERY DIFFERENT WAYS. FIRST, THE CONRAD PLAN THROWS OUT, TOSSES AWAY REPUBLICAN PLAN TO END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT. THE SECOND THING IT DOES IS IT PUTS ALL SPENDING PROGRAMS ON THE TABLE, AND SO LET'S TURN TO THAT PIECE OF THE STRUCTURE. SO HERE WE HAVE THE REPUBLICAN PLAN AND IT'S ALL IN DIRECT SPENDING CUTS, TOUCHING NONE OF THE PROGRAMS FOR THE BEST-OFF THAT HAVE BEEN CAREFUL EMBEDDED IN THE TAX CODE. NOW, EVERY AMERICAN UNDERSTANDS THIS GAME. YOU CAN FUND A PROJECT WITH A $10,000 GRANT OR YOU CAN GIVE A $10,000 TAX CREDIT. THAT'S IN THE TAX CODE. OR YOU CAN GIVE A TAX DEDUCTION THAT'S WORTH $10,000. ALSO IN THE TAX CODE. THREE DIFFERENT WAYS OF ACCOMPLISHING THE VERY SAME OBJECTIVE. BUT THE REPUBLICAN PLAN IS TO SAY, WAIT, LET'S ONLY DO THE FIRST OF THOSE THREE STRATEGIES BECAUSE THE SECOND AND THIRD STRATEGY WE HAVE UTILIZED TO CREATE THE PROGRAMS FOR THE BEST-OFF IN AMERICA AND WE DON'T WANT TO TOUCH THOSE. WE WANT TO PLACE THIS BURDEN ON WORKING AMERICANS. WELL, THE CONRAD PLAN SAYS THAT'S NOT RIGHT, THAT THIS NEEDS TO BE A CONVERSATION ABOUT FAIRNESS. WE KNOW THOSE BEST OFF PAY THE LOWEST TAX RATES COMPARED TO WORKING AMERICANS, AS I JUST SHOWED IN THAT PREVIOUS CHART, JUST 18%. SO, THE CONRAD PLAN SAYS LET'S TAKE 50% OF THAT EFFORT TO CLOSE THE DEFICIT AND DO IT IN DIRECT SPENDING, AND LET'S TAKE 50% BY CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES, CUTTING TAX SUBSIDIES, CUTTING TAX EARMARKS AND PROMOTING FAIRNESS. I CAME TO THE FLOOR LAST WEEK TO TALK ABOUT THE BLUEGRASS BOONDOGGLE. THAT'S NOT A LOT OF MONEY IN TERMS OF THE OVERALL CHALLENGE WE FACE AS AMERICA. $120 MILLION OVER TEN YEARS. BUT, TO WORK -- A WORKING AMERICAN $120 MILLION IS A LOT. WHAT THAT IS IS A SPECIAL PROVISION INSERTED NOT FOR COMPANIES, BUT FOR THE OWNERS, OWNERS TO THE INDIVIDUAL TAX CODE TO THE RICHEST AMERICANS, THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES WHO OWN THOROUGHBREDS. THEY GET A SPECIAL BREAK THAT THE REST OF AMERICA DOESN'T GET. AND THERE'S PROGRAM AFTER PROGRAM AFTER PROGRAM LIKE THAT INSERTED FOR THE BEST OFF. SO, THE CONRAD PLAN SAYS ALL OTHER SPENDING, WHETHER IT'S BEEN IN THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL OR IT'S BEEN IN THE TAX BILL IS GOING TO BE EXAMINED. THAT IS A FAIR, A FUNDAMENTALLY FAIR APPROACH. NOW, LET'S TAKE AND LOOK AT THAT IN A LITTLE MORE DETAIL. FIRST WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT WHAT THE CONRAD DOES IN TERMS OF FAIR RATES FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS. WELL, FIRST IT PROVIDES THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX PROTECTION FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS. SECOND IS IT STAKES AND CONTINUES TAX REDUCTIONS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS THAT WE HAVE CURRENTLY. AND THE THIRD, IT CANCELS THE BONUS BREAKS FOR THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. WELL, THAT'S BASIC RATE FAIRNESS THEN, IN ADDITION, IT SAYS LET'S TAKE ON THOSE SPECIAL TAX SUBSIDIES AND TAX EARMARKS THAT MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE HAVE BEEN SO PROUD OF INSERTING INTO THE TAX CODE TO PROTECT THE BEST OFF IN SOCIETY, AND LET'S EXAMINE THEM. AND IF THEY DON'T MEET THE FUNDAMENTAL TEST OF CREATING UNEMPLOYMENT, CONTRIBUTING TO FAIRNESS AND BEING MORE IMPORTANT THAN OTHER PROGRAMS PLACED AGAINST EACH OH THEN THEY SHOULD BE ELIMINATED. IN ADDITION, LET'S TAKE ON THOSE OFFSHORE TAX HAVENS. THERE ARE SO MANY SETUPS IN WHICH COMPANIES HAVE FALSE ADVERTISEMENTS IN THE CARIBBEAN SO THEY CAN TRANSPORT THEIR GOODS TO A PLACE WHERE THEY HAVE NO TAXES. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT CHALLENGE THAT WE HAVE IN TERMS OF OUR NATIONAL DEFICIT AND OUR DEBT AND TAKING IT ON IN A MANNER THAT TAKES AND STRENGTHENS THE PROGRAMS THAT NEED TO BE STRENGTHENED. IT STRENGTHENS THEM. SO YOU WILL FIND THAT THE CONRAD BUDGET, IN CONTRAST TO THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET, SAYS LET'S INVEST IN EDUCATION. WE ARE IN A KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY WORLD. WE MUST INVEST IN EDUCATION IF OUR ECONOMY IS GOING TO THRIVE AND OUR CHILDREN ARE GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL. THE CONRAD BUDGET, IN CONTRAST TO THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET, SAYS LET'S INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE. WE ARE FALLING BEHIND IN TERMS OF SUPPORTING INFRASTRUCTURE. CHINA IS SPENDING 10% TO 12% A YEAR. EUROPE IS SPENDING 5% A YEAR. AMERICA IS SPENDING ONLY 2%, AND THAT'S BARELY ENOUGH TO REPAIR OR EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE. IN FACT, SOMETIMES THOSE REPAIRS ARE FALLING SHORT. I KNOW OUR COUNTY OFFICIALS AND CITY OFFICIALS WILL BE GLAD TO PROVIDE US WITH A LIST OF JUST HOW SHORT WE ARE. SO, THE THIRD AREA IS THE CONRAD BUDGET, INVEST IN ENERGY. AND WHY IS ENERGY SO IMPORTANT? BECAUSE CURRENTLY WE'RE SPENDING $1 BILLION A DAY, SENDING IT OVERSEAS BASICALLY AS A RESULT OF OUR ADDICTION TO OIL. WHEN YOU SEND $1 BILLION FOR OIL OVERSEAS, DO YOU THREE THINGS. THE FIRST IS YOU CREATE A NATIONAL SECURITY BECAUSE OF THE DEPENDENCE FOR OUR ENERGY IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND PLACES AROUND THE WORLD THAT DON'T SHARE OUR FUNDAMENTAL INTEREST. THE SECOND IS YOU CREATE JOBS OVERSEAS RATHER THAN CREATING JOBS IN THE UNITED STATES. LET'S SPEND THAT $1 BILLION A DAY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ON RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, AMERICAN-MADE RENEWABLE ENERGY. NOT ONLY DOES OUR SECURITY IMPROVE, BUT IN ADDITION, WE CREATE THE JOBS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. AND, THIRD, BY ENDING OUR ADDICTION TO OIL, WE CONTRIBUTE TO ADDRESSING THE CARBON POLLUTION CHALLENGE FACED AROUND THIS GLOBE RATHER THAN BEING PART OF THE PROBLEM OURSELVES. SO, LET'S NOT ADOPT A BUDGET PLAN THAT ENDS MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT AND REPLACES IT WITH A VOUCHER PROGRAM, THAT SAVAGES PROGRAMS FOR WORKING AMERICANS, AND THAT PROTECTS THE PROGRAMS FOR THE BEST OFF IN OUR SOCIETY. LET'S INSTEAD INVEST IN ENERGY, INVEST IN EDUCATION, INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND OBTAIN THE SAME IMPACT ON OUR DEFICIT, BUT DO IT IN A MANNER THAT BUILDS OUR ECONOMY AND BUILDS AMERICAN FAMILIES. THAT IS THE TYPE OF PROGRAM THAT TRUE DID I WOULD -- THAT TRUDY WOULD LIKE TO SEE FROM KAISER, OREGON, LINDA WOULD THRAOEUBG STAOE FROM CAN-- WOULD LIKE TO SEE FROM CANBY, OREGON AND WORKERS WOULD THRAOEUBG SEE BECAUSE THEY KNOW WE SHOULD HAVE A PLAN THAT CREATES JOBS RATHER THAN DOING THE REVERSE. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT.

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  • 03:52:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 03:52:32 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY. MADAM PRESIDENT, IT'S A PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO…

    THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY. MADAM PRESIDENT, IT'S A PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE FLOOR TO SPEAK ON THE ISSUE OF THE RESOLUTION THAT'S BEFORE US, WHICH IS A SENSE OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION, WHICH MEANS BASICALLY THE SENATE IS DEBATING SOMETHING THAT'S NOT SHOOTING WITH REAL BULLETS. IN OTHER WORDS, IT'S -- IT JUST EXPRESSES THE SENATE. IT DOESN'T CHANGE ANY LAWS. IT REALLY DOESN'T AMOUNT TO MUCH. AS THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS CONTINUE TO DEBATE HOW BEST TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT, IT SEEMS THAT MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE AND MY PRESIDENT CONTINUE TO DEMAND A TAX INCREASE AS PART OF ANY DEAL. FOR SURE, ANY DISCUSSION OF REDUCING THE DEFICIT SHOULD INCLUDE A DISCUSSION OF TAX REFORM. TAX REFORM IS DIFFERENT THAN TAX INCREASES. AND YOU HEARD THE PREVIOUS SPEAKER SPEAK ABOUT REPUBLICAN PLANS THAT DEAL WITH JUST REDUCING EXPENDITURES AND THAT'S RIGHT BECAUSE WE FEEL THAT THE DEFICIT PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY ISN'T BECAUSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE UNDERTAXED. IT'S BECAUSE CONGRESS AND WASHINGTON OVERSPEND. HOWEVER, WHAT IS BEING DUSCUSSED WITH THIS RESOLUTION CURRENTLY IS TAX INCREASES ON TARGETED GROUPS SUPPOSEDLY BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD IT. THIS IS NOT TAX REFORM. PROFESSOR VETTER OF OHIO UNIVERSITY HAS STUDIED TAX INCREASES AND SPENDING FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES. IN THE LATE 1980'S, HE COAUTHORED WITH LOWELL GALLOWAY, ALSO OF OHIO UNIVERSITY, A RESEARCH PAPER FOR THE CONGRESSIONAL JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE. THAT STUDY FOUND THAT EVERY NEW DOLLAR OF NEW TAXES LED TO MORE, MORE THAN ONE DOLLAR OF NEW SPENDING BY THE CONGRESS. IT DIDN'T REDUCE THE DEFICIT THEN. YOU RAISE A DOLLAR, YOU INCREASE THE DEFICIT. I'LL BE A LITTLE MORE SPECIFIC. NOW, WORKING WITH STEVEN MOORE OF THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL," PROFESSOR VETTER UPDATED THAT RESEARCH LAST YEAR AND CAME TO THE SAME RESULT. SPECIFICALLY, MOORE AND VETTER FOUND -- AND I QUOTE -- "OVER THE ENTIRE POST WAR II ERA, THROUGH THE YEAR 2009, EACH DOLLAR OF NEW TAX REVENUE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH $1.17 IN NEW SPENDING. THAT'S LIKE A DOG CHASING HIS TAIL. VERY FEW DOGS CATCH IT. AND SO YOU RAISE $1 HERE. WELL, THE COMMON SENSE MIGHT DICTATE IT GOES TO THE BOTTOM LINE, BUT IT DOESN'T WORK OUT THAT WAY. IT ACTUALLY INCREASES THE DEFICIT BECAUSE CONGRESS FEELS, WELL, WE GOT A NEW DOLLAR COMING IN. LET'S SPEND $1.17. SO HISTORY PROVES TAX INCREASES RESULT IN SPENDING INCREASES. AND SO WE KNOW THAT INCREASING TAXES IS NOT GOING TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT. HISTORY ALSO SHOWS THAT TAX INCREASES DON'T INCREASE REVENUES. NOW, THAT'S PROBABLY CONTRARY TO MOST PEOPLE'S COMMON SENSE, BUT I HAVE A CHART HERE THAT I THINK DEMONSTRATES THIS VERY CLEARLY. AND I'LL BE SOMEWHAT REPETITIVE BECAUSE I WANT TO LEAVE MY REMARKS AND GO TO THE CHART, AND I'LL REFER TO IT AGAIN. WHAT THIS CHART BASICALLY SHOWS IS OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, GOING BACK TO WORLD WORLD WAR II TO THE PRESENT, ALL THE TAXES COMING IN TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAVE BEEN ROUGHLY -- WELL, COME OUT 18.2% OF GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT, PRETTY MUCH EVEN STEVEN ACROSS THE BOARD. SOMETIMES UP A LITTLE BIT, SOMETIMES DOWN A LITTLE BIT. BUT FOR 50 OR MORE YEARS, AVERAGING ABOUT 18.2% OF GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT. BUT WHAT THIS CHART ALSO SHOWS IS CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU BELIEVE, THAT YOU HAVE -- YOU RAISE TAXES, YOU'RE GOING TO BRING IN MORE REVENUE, AND YOU REDUCE TAXES, YOU'RE GOING TO BRING IN LESS REVENUE. THAT'S NOT TRUE, WHEN THIS GETS TO THIS ISSUE OF TAXING THE WEALTHY OR GETS TO THE ISSUE OF RAISING TAXES ON ANYBODY. SO FROM WORLD WAR II TO PRESIDENT JACK KENNEDY WE HAD A 90% MARGINAL TAX RATE. THEN FROM PRESIDENT KENNEDY TO PRESIDENT REAGAN, WE HAD 70% MARGINAL TAX RATE. AND THEN IN THE LAST HALF OF THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION AND UP UNTIL, WELL, 1986, IT WAS REDUCED TO 50% UNDER REAGAN'S ADMINISTRATION. THEN REAGAN HAD ANOTHER TAX BILL AND IT WAS REDUCED TO 30%. THEN, OF COURSE, YOU KNOW PRESIDENT BUSH, THE DAD, MADE THIS PROMISE IN THE CAMPAIGN THAT "READ MY LIPS: NO NEW TAXES." HE DIDN'T KEEP HIS PROMISE. THE TAXES WENT BACK UP TO ABOUT 40% FOR A PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL YOU GET TO A PERIOD OF TIME WHEN BUSH THE SON COMES INTO OFFICE AND THE MARGINAL TAX RATE IS REDUCED TO WHERE IT IS NOW, 35. BUT WHETHER YOU HAVE HIGH MARGINAL TAX RATES OR LOW MARGINAL TAX RATES, YOU GET ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF REVENUE. I'M GOING TO BE REPETITIVE ON THAT POINT, BUT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THAT. HISTORY SHOWS THAT TAX INCREASES DON'T INCREASE REVENUES. THE CHART HERE SHOWS THAT REVENUES IS A PERCENTAGE OF GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, HOVERS AROUND 20% AS FAR BACK AS POST WORLD WAR II. I SAID IN MY OFF-THE-CUFF REMARKS IT WOULD AVERAGE OUT TO ABOUT 18.2%. THIS CHART ALSO SHOWS WHERE YOU HAVE HIGH AND LOW MARGINAL TAX RATES OVER THOSE SAME YEARS. DURING THE LAST YEARS OF WORLD WAR II, WE HAD A 94% TAX RATE. AND THAT WAS THEN FROM 1950 THROUGH 1963. IT WAS 90%, AS THIS CHART SHOWS. AND UNDER PRESIDENT KENNEDY -- AND I WAS TO EMPHASIZE HE WAS A DEMOCRAT. HE WAS SMART ENOUGH TO REDUCE MARGINAL TAX RATES TO INCENTIVIZE ENTREPRENEURSHIP. HE REDUCED THE MARGINAL TAX RATES DOWN TO 70%, AND IT STAYED AROUND 70% UNTIL PRESIDENT REAGAN BROUGHT IT DOWN TO 50%. AND LET ME SAY AT THIS POINT THAT I JUST GAVE PRESIDENT REAGAN CREDIT FOR IT, BUT WE HAD SOME -- I WAS A BRAND-NEW MEMBER OF THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN 1981, AND WE HAD SOME VERY BRAVE DEMOCRATS ON THAT COMMITTEE. THEY FELT THAT 70% WAS TOO HIGH, IS GOING TO PROMOTE ENTREPRENEURSHIP MORE IF YOU REDUCE IT TO 50%. NOW, PRESIDENT REAGAN GETS CREDIT FOR IT, AND I DON'T THINK ANY REPUBLICAN ON THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE COULD TAKE CREDIT FOR IT BECAUSE WE WOULD HAVE BEEN ACCUSED AS WE HAVE JUST BEEN ACCUSED OF WANTING TO REDUCE TAXES ON WEALTHY PEOPLE. SO THANK GOD THERE WERE A LOT OF SMART, INTELLECTUALLY PONCE SENATE DEMOCRATS ON THE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN 1981, THAT SAID IT OUGHT TO BE REDUCED DOWN TO 50%. WELL, THEN IT WENT DOWN TO 30% WHEN WE REDUCED MARGINAL TAX RATES FURTHER DURING THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION. AS I SAID BEFORE, THE FIRST PRESIDENT BUSH RENEGED ON HIS PROMISE TO NOT RAISE TAXES AND THE MARGINAL TAX RATES WENT BACK UP TO 40% AND STAYED THERE UNTIL THE TAX RELIEF ENACTED UNDER THE SECOND PRESIDENT BUSH. DURING ALL OF THESE TAX INCREASES AND DECREASES, THE AMOUNT OF REVENUE AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P. STAYED ROUGHLY FLAT, 50-YEAR AVERAGE OF 18.2%. SO EVERYBODY THINKS THAT IF YOU RAISE THE MARGINAL TAX RATE, YOU'RE GOING TO BRING IN MORE REVENUE. SEEMINGLY COMMON SENSE, BUT NOT TRUE BECAUSE THE TAXPAYERS, THE WORKERS IN AMERICA, THE INVESTORS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT CREATE JOBS ARE SMARTER THAN WE ARE, BUT WE DON'T THINK THEY ARE SMARTER THAN WE ARE. AND WE HAVE HAD 93% MARGINAL TAX RATES, 70%, 30%, BACK TO 40%, NOW 35%. BUT REGARDLESS OF THAT RATE, WE GET ROUGHLY THE SAME AMOUNT OF REVENUE. HIGHER TAX RATES JUST PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR TAXPAYERS TO INVEST AND EARN MONEY IN WAYS THAT RESULT IN THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TAXES PAID. OR YOU MIGHT SAY IT THIS WAY. SOME PEOPLE JUST SAY TO THEMSELVES THAT THEY AREN'T GOING TO WORK HARD BECAUSE WHY SHOULD I WORK SO DARN HARD IF I'M GOING TO SEND THE MONEY TO WASHINGTON FOR PEOPLE IN CONGRESS TO SPEND AND WASTE? SPHERDZ, WILL -- IN OTHER WORDS, TAXPAYERS HAVE DECIDED THEY ARE GOING TO GIVE US POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON JUST SO MUCH MONEY TO SPEND, AND IT COMES OUT RIGHT HERE. WE OUGHT TO HAVE SOME PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION THAT WE ABIDE BY, AND I HAVE -- ABIDE BY THIS PRINCIPLE THAT ABOUT 18% OF THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT OF OUR COUNTRY IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO COLLECT AND TO SPEND. THAT LEAVES 82% IN THE POCKETS OF TAXPAYERS FOR THEM TO DECIDE HOW TO SPEND, BECAUSE WHEN YOU SEND MONEY TO WASHINGTON, 535 OF US DECIDING HOW TO SPEND IT, IT DOESN'T DO AS MUCH ECONOMIC GOOD OR TURN OVER AS MUCH IN THE ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS IF IT'S LEFT IN THE POCKETS OF THE 130 MILLION-SOME TAXPAYERS INDIVIDUALLY TO DECIDE HOW TO SPEND IT. THIS BENCHMARK OF 18% OF GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT IS GOOD AND HAS BEEN CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT RECENT HISTORY. IT'S A PRINCIPLE WE SHOULD KEEP IN MIND WHILE WE DEBATE TAX CODE CHANGES. THIS LEVEL OF TAXATION, ANOTHER REASON WHY I SAY IT'S JUSTIFIED. IT HASN'T BEEN HARMFUL TO THE ECONOMY, AS HIGHER TAX RATES LIKE WE FIND IN EUROPE ARE HARMFUL TO THE ECONOMY, MUCH HIGHER TACK RATES THAN WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND IT SEEMED TO BE A LEVEL OF TAXATION THAT THERE HASN'T BEEN A GREAT DEAL OF REVOLT BY THE TAXPAYERS OF AMERICA AGAINST. THERE'S ANOTHER PRINCIPLE I'D LIKE TO HAVE YOU KEEP IN MIND, AND THAT IS WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF TAX LAWS? THOSE WHO SUPPORT RESOLUTIONS LIKE THE ONE WE HAVE HERE CURRENTLY DEBATED, THIS MEANINGLESS RESOLUTION, ASSUME THAT THE KEY OBJECTIVE OF OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE FEDERAL INCOME TAX LAWS SHOULD BE TO ENSURE THAT INCOME IS DISTRIBUTED EQUALLY THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. AS OPPOSED TO GOVERNMENT TAXING FOR THE PURPOSES OF GOVERNMENT BUT NOT FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH. IN OTHER WORDS, THE AUTHORS OF THIS RESOLUTION BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS THE BEST JUDGE OF HOW YOUR INCOME SHOULD BE SPENT. RESOLUTIONS LIKE THE ONE THAT WE'RE CONSIDERING TODAY ASSUME THEN -- I SAY IT FOR A SECOND TIME -- ASSUME THAT 535 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS KNOW HOW TO BEST SPEND THE RESOURCES OF THIS COUNTRY. AND PRESENTLY, THAT'S ABOUT 18%, BUT THAT'S NOT ENOUGH. WELL, ACTUALLY, THEY ARE SPENDING MORE THAN 18% BECAUSE THE EXPENDITURES OF THIS COUNTRY ADD UP TO ABOUT 25% OF THE GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE WE BORROW 42 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR THAT WE'RE SPENDING TODAY. IT ASSUMES THAT GOVERNMENT CREATES WEALTH AND SHOULD THEREFORE SPREAD IT AROUND LIKE THEY DO IN EUROPE. IN FACT, GOVERNMENT DOESN'T CREATE WEALTH. GOVERNMENT DOESN'T CREATE WEALTH. GOVERNMENT CONSUMES WEALTH. ONLY WORKERS AND INVESTORS, LABORERS AND PEOPLE THAT PROVIDE CAPITAL AND IN TURN PEOPLE THAT USE THEIR BRAIN TO INVENT AND CREATE, THAT'S WHAT CREATES WEALTH. YET, AS HISTORY SHOWS, THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT TAX INCREASES LEAD TO MORE SPENDING, AND I QUOTED PROFESSOR VETTER, AND THAT REVENUES AS A PERCENTAGE OF GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT PRETTY MUCH STAYED THE SAME REGARDLESS EVEN IF THE MARGINAL TAX RATES ARE VERY, VERY HIGH. IT WOULD BE ONE THING FOR ME TO VOTE FOR A TAX INCREASE IF IT WENT TO THE BOTTOM LINE, REDUCING THE DEFICIT. IT'S QUITE ANOTHER THING TO VOTE FOR A TAX INCREASE THAT JUST ALLOWS MORE SPENDING AND RAISES THE DEFICIT INSTEAD OF GETTING THE DEFICIT DOWN. THE RESOLUTION BEFORE US NOW IN THE SENATE REQUIRES US TO CONCEDE -- QUOTE -- "THAT ANY AGREEMENT TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT SHOULD REQUIRE THAT THOSE EARNING MORE THAN $1 MILLION PER YEAR MAKE A MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEFICIT REDUCTION EFFORT." END OF QUOTE. THE RESOLUTION DOES NOT STATE -- DOES NOT STATE THAT SUCH A --QUOTE, UNQUOTE -- MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH TAX INCREASES, BUT HOW ELSE WOULD THESE AUTHORS OF THIS RESOLUTION AND THE TAXPAYERS INTEND TO OR MAKE SUCH A CONTRIBUTION? LET ME MAKE CLEAR THAT I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS RESOLUTION AND WILL VOTE NO ON ITS ADOPTION. HOWEVER, I THINK IT IS A GOOD THING THAT WE'RE DEBATING SUCH AN ISSUE. IT IS CLEAR THAT THOSE WHO SUPPORT THIS RESOLUTION BELIEVE THAT THOSE EARNING MORE THAN THAN $1 MILLION PER YEAR ARE NOT PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE. NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT JUST LAST YEAR, THESE VERY SAME PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT A SINGLE PERSON WHO EARNED $200,000 OR A MARRIED COUPLE THAT EARNED $250,000 WASN'T PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE. IN EVALUATING WHETHER PEOPLE ARE PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE, EXPERTS FREQUENTLY LOOK AT WHETHER THE PROPOSAL RETAINS OR IMPROVES THE PROGRESSIVITY OF OUR TAX SYSTEM. CRITICS OF LOWER TAX RATES CONTINUE TO ATTEMPT TO USE DISTRIBUTION TABLES TO SHOW THAT TAX RELIEF PROPOSALS DISPROPORTIONATELY BENEFIT UPPER INCOME TAXPAYERS. WE KEEP HEARING THAT THE RICH ARE GETTER RICHER WHILE THE POOR ARE GETTING POORER, DON'T WE, ALMOST EVERY DAY. THIS IS NOT AN INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST STATEMENT. WHAT DOES IT IMPLY? IT IMPLIES THAT THOSE WHO WERE POOR SEEM TO STAY POOR AND THAT THOSE WHO ARE RICH SEEM TO STAY RICH. SO I WANT TO DISPUTE THAT POSITION. IN 2007, THE DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY PUBLISHED A REPORT ENTITLED "INCOME MOBILITY IN THE UNITED STATES FROM 1996-2005." THE KEY FINDINGS OF THIS STUDY INCLUDE -- AND I HAVE GOT SOME LONG QUOTES, AND I WON'T KEEP SAYING QUOTE, UNQUOTE. BUT I'VE GOT ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE PARAGRAPHS HERE. "THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE INCOME MOBILITY OF INDIVIDUALS IN THE U.S. ECONOMY DURING THE PERIOD 1996-2005 AS OVER HALF THE TAXPAYERS MOVED TO A DIFFERENT INCOME QUINTILE OVER THAT PERIOD. ROUGHLY HALF THE TAXPAYERS WHO BEGAN AT THE BOTTOM INCOME QUINTILE IN 1996 MOVED UP TO A HIGHER INCOME GROUP BY THE YEAR 2005. AMONG THOSE THAT WERE AT THE VERY HIGHEST INCOMES IN 1996, THE TOP.01%, ONLY 25%, ONE IN FOUR, REMAINED IN THIS GROUP TEN YEARS LATER IN 2005. SO THE POOR AREN'T ALWAYS POOR AND THE RICH AREN'T ALWAYS RICH. MOREOVER, THE MEDIAN REAL INCOME OF THESE TAXPAYERS ACTUALLY DECLINED OVER THIS PERIOD. THE DEGREE OF MOBILITY AMONG INCOME GROUPS IS UNCHANGED FROM THE PRIOR DECADE, 1987-1996. SO I QUOTE I USE THE GROUP 1996- 2005 AND I'M COMPARING IT WITH A GROUP 1987-1996, AND SO I WANT TO REPEAT THE DEGREE OF MOBILITY AMONG INCOME GROUPS WAS UNCHANGED OVER A 20-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME. CONTINUING TO QUOTE, ECONOMIC GROWTH RESULTED IN RISING INCOMES FOR MOST TAXPAYERS OVER THE PERIOD OF 1996-2005. MEDIAN INCOME OF ALL TAXPAYERS INCREASED BY 24% AFTER ADJUSTING FOR INFLATION. THE REAL INCOMES OF TWO-THIRDS OF ALL TAXPAYERS INCREASED OVER THIS PERIOD. IN ADDITION, THE MEDIAN INCOME OF THOSE INITIALLY IN THE LOWER INCOME GROUPS INCREASED -- LET ME START OVER AGAIN. IN ADDITION, THE MEDIAN INCOME OF THOSE INITIALLY IN THE LOWER INCOME GROUPS INCREASED MORE THAN THE MEDIAN INCOME OF THOSE INITIALLY IN THE HIGHER INCOME GROUP. THEREFORE, -- AND I REPEAT -- WHOEVER IS SAYING THAT ONCE RICH, AMERICANS STAY RICH, AND ONCE POOR, THEY STAY POOR IS PURELY MISTAKEN BECAUSE AMERICA IS A COUNTRY, A LAND OF OPPORTUNITY. NOW, I WANT TO SAY THAT THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE DATA SUPPORT THE ANALYSIS THAT I JUST GAVE. SO I WAS DONE -- I'M DONE QUOTING AT THAT POINT. A STUDY OF 400 TAX RETURNS WITH THE HIGHEST INCOME REPORTED OVER 14 YEARS. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THESE ARE THE SAME 400 TAXPAYERS THAT MY FRIEND ON THE OTHER SIDE JUST REFERRED TO IN HIS SPEECH, BUT A STUDY OF 400 TAX RETURNS WITH THE HIGHEST INCOMES REPORTED OVER 14 YEARS FROM THE YEAR 1992 TO THE YEAR 2006 SHOWS THAT IN ANY GIVEN YEAR, ON AVERAGE, ABOUT 40% OF THE THRAWRNS WERE FILED WERE NOT IN THE TOP 400 IN ANY OF THE OTHER 14 YEARS. BECAUSE I GOT THE IMPRESSION THAT THE OTHER 400 TAXPAYERS IN THE PREVIOUS SPEECH MAY BE ALWAYS THE SAME PEOPLE. BUT 40% WERE NOT IN THAT GROUP. THE SO-CALLED SHARED SACRIFICE RESOLUTION BEFORE THE SENATE NOW DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THESE TRENDS, HENCE I THINK IT'S INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST. IT PRESUPPOSES THAT ANYONE MAKING MORE THAN $1 MILLION SHOULD BE CONTRIBUTING MORE TO REDUCE A DEFICIT THAT THEY LIKELY DID NOT CREATE IN THE FIRST PLACE. WE CREATED IT. THE RESOLUTION ASSUMES THAT THE FOLKS IN THIS INCOME CATEGORY HAVE ALWAYS MADE MORE THAN THAN $1 MILLION, THAT THEY HAVEN'T PAID THEIR DUES ON THEIR WAY UP THE LADDER OF SUCCESS AND AS A RESULT SHOULD PAY A PENALTY FOR THEIR CURRENT SUCCESS EVEN IF THEY ARE ON THE WAY DOWN THE LADDER. THE RESOLUTION ALSO ASSUMES THAT THESE FOLKS WILL CONTINUE EARNING WHAT THEY ARE EARNING NOW. AS I JUST NOTED, HOWEVER, THE TREASURY REPORT AND THE I.R.S. TAX DATA CONTRADICT THIS POSITION. I WELCOME THIS DATA ON THIS IMPORTANT MATTER FOR ONE SIMPLE REASON. IT SHEDS LIGHT ON WHAT AMERICA REALLY IS ALL ABOUT, WHAT THIS GREAT COUNTRY IS ALL ABOUT. VAST OPPORTUNITIES. AND OF COURSE AS I JUST SAID IN THESE STATISTICS BUT YOU CAN SEE IT IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS AS WELL, WE'RE A COUNTRY OF GREAT ECONOMIC MOBILITY. THIS COUNTRY BUILT BY PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. OUR COUNTRY TRULY PROVIDES UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE. THESE OPPORTUNITIES INCLUDE BETTER EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND FINANCIAL SECURITY AND PROBABLY A LOT OF OTHER THINGS, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY OUR COUNTRY PROVIDES PEOPLE WITH THE FREEDOM TO OBTAIN THE NECESSARY SKILLS TO CLIMB THE ECONOMIC LADDER AND LIVE BETTER LIVES WE ARE A FREE NATION. TWEER A MOW BILE NATION. WE'RE A NATION OF HARD OF WORKING, SKILLED AND RESILIENT PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO TAKE RISKS WHEN NECESSARY IN ORDER TO SUCCEED. WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION AS LAWMAKERS TO INCOOPERATE THESE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES INTO OUR TAX SYSTEM. NOW, AN ANOTHER MATTER IN THIS DEBATE, WE HAVE ALSO HEARD MUCH ABOUT -- QUOTE, UNQUOTE -- "CLOSING RUPEES HOLES." WELL, THAT SOUND GOOD. I DON'T WANT TO TELL YOU HOW I BELIEVE THAT OUGHT TO BE DONE. THERE'S THINGS THAT ARE LEGAL AND THERE'S THINGS THAT AREN'T LEGAL. LET ME JUST SAY THAT THERE ARE IN FACT LOOPHOLES TO BE CLOSED, AND I WOULD SUPPORT CLOSING THEM. DURING MY TENURE AS CHAIRMAN AND THEN RANK MEMBER OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE, I WORKED WITH COLLEAGUES FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE TO CUT OFF TAX CHEATS AT THE PASS. THE AMERICAN JOBS CREATING ACT SIGNED INTO LAW OCTOBER 2004 INCLUDED A SWEEPING PACKAGE TO END AVOIDANCE ABUSES -- AVOIDING ABUSES SUCH AS CORPORATIONS CLAIM TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR TAXPAYER-FUNDED INFRASTRUCTURE SUCH AS SUBWAYS, SUERS AND -- SEWERS AND BRIDGE LEASES. CORPORATE AND INDIVIDUAL EXPATRIATION TO EXSCAPE TAXES AND ENRON-GENERATED TAX EVASION SCHEMES. WE CLOSED THEM. ONE OF THE TAX-AVOIDING PROVISIONS THAT THE JOBS BILL SHUT DOWN WAS THE SO-CALLED CORPORATE INVERSIONS. THE AVERAGE WORKERS IN AMERICA CAN'T PULL UP STAKES AND MOVE TO BERMUDA OR SET UP A FANCY TAX SHELTER TO AVOID PAYING TAXES. COMPANIES THAT DO THIS MAKE A SUCKER OUT OF WORKERS AND COMPANIES THAT STAY HERE IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY AND PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF TASSMENTS SO -- OF TAXES. SO, THAT WAS CLOSED. CORPORATE INVERSIONS WE CALLED THAT. WE ALSO CLOSED LOOPHOLES USED BY INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS MUCH. THE JOBS BILL INCLUDED A PROVISION TO RESTRICTED THE DEDUCTIONS FOR USED VEHICLES TO ACTUAL SALES PRICE. PRIOR TO THAT, FIXED INDIVIDUALS WERE CLAIMING INFLATED FAIR MARKET VALUES, BEFORE THEY GAVE THEIR CARD CAR TO A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION. THEN THE PENSION PROTECTION ACT, WHICH WAS SIGNED INTO LAW IN AUGUST 2006, I CHAMPIONED REFORMS TO DONATIONS FOR GIFTS OF FRACTIONAL INTEREST IN ART AS WELL AS DONATIONS TO CHARITIES THAT WERE CONTROLLED BY THE DONORS. BECAUSE IF YOU GIVE MONEY AWAY, IT OUGHT TO BE GIVEN AWAY. YOU SHOULDN'T CONTROL IT AFTER YOU GIVE IT AWAY. THE SAME WAY WITH YOUR ART. IN BOTH CASES INDIVIDUALS WERE TAKING HUGE DEDUCTIONS FOR DONATIONS WITHOUT PROVIDING EQUIVALENT BENEFITS TO THE CHARITIES TO WHICH THEY DONATED. IN ADDITION TO ENSURING THAT INCOME AND DEDUCTIONS ARE PROPERLY REPORTED, I ALSO SUPPORTED GIVING THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE MORE TOOLS TO GO AFTER TAX CHEATS. THE JOBS BILL CONTAINED PROVISIONS THAT REQUIRED TAXPAYERS TO DISCLOSE TO THE I.R.S. THEIR PARTICIPATION IN TAX SHELTERS AND INCREASE PENALTIES FOR PARTICIPATING IN SUCH TAX SHELTERS AS WELL AS NOT DISCLOSING SUCH PARTICIPATION TO THE I.R.S. I ALSO AUTHORED THE UPDATES TO THE TAX WHISTLE-BLOWER PROVISIONS WHICH WAS SIGNED INTO LAW DECEMBER 2006. THERE WAS A WHISTLE-BLOWER STAWLT LONG BEFORE THAT BUT BECAUSE OF THE LOW DOLLAR THRESHOLDS, SO OUR 2 A 006 CHANGES THAT I CHAMPIONED INCREASE THE AWARDS FOR THOSE BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON THE REALLY BIG FISH: INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES ENGAGED IN LARGE-DOLLAR TAX SHADING THROUGH COMPLEX FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS. I DON'T KNOW WHY IT TOOK THE I.R.S. SO LONG TO GET THIS LAW UNDER WAY BECAUSE THEY'VE HAD PLENTY OF WHISTLE-BLOWERS COME FORTH. BUT WE'VE ONLY HAD ONE TIME SO FAR -- I THINK WE'LL GET A LOT OF OTHERS NOW -- IMU WE'VE ONLY HAD ONE TIME SO FAR UNDER THIS PROVISION. IT WAS MADE IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR AND RECOVERED $20 MILLION FOR TAXPAYERS THAT OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST TO FRAUD. FROM ONE COMPANY. THESE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES OF MY SUPPORT FOR PROVISIONS TO STOP ABUSES OF THE TAX CODE TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE PAYS THEIR FAIR SHARE. IF AND WHEN WE GET AROUND TO CONSIDERING COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM, I WOULD LOOK FORWARD TO SHUTTING DOWN ANY OTHER ABUSES THAT EXIST. BUT FIRST WE NEED TO BE CLEAR ON WHAT A LOOPHOLE IS. ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS ARE JUST THAT: ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS. THEY'RE NOT LOOPHOLES. SIMILARLY, DEDUCTIONS AND TAX CREDITS THAT ENABLE A CORPORATION TO ZERO OUT ITS TAX LIABILITY ARE NOT LOOPHOLES, LIKE FOR INSTANCE IF YOU HAD A LOSS LAST YEAR, YOU CAN CARRY IT FORWARD THIS YEAR. THE QUESTION IS WHETHER DEDUCTIONS AND CREDITS SHOULD BE LIMITED IS A QUESTION THAT SHOULD BE ANSWERED NOT TO RAISE REVENUE BUT IN THE CONTEXT OF COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM. ELIMINATING DEDUCTIONS AND CREDITS FOR CERTAIN TAXPAYERS SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO EXTENSIVE REVIEW AND EXTENSIVE DEBATE AND TAXPAYERS SHOULDN'T BE TARGETED FOR TAX INCREASES FOR POLITICAL SPORT, AS THIS RESOLUTION BEFORE US DOES. I WANT TO FINISH BY SUMMING UP IN THREE POINTS VERY QUICKLY. FIRST, ACCORDING TO THIS CHART, TAX INCREASES DON'T -- WELL NOT ACCORDING TO THIS CHART. THAT'S THE SECOND POINT I WANT TO MAKE. FIRST, TAX INCREASES DON'T REDUCE DEFICITS AND THEY DON'T INCREASE REVENUE AS A PERCENTAGE OF G.D.P. SECONDLY, WE OUGHT TO HAVE SOME PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION -- WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THIS CHART SHOWS THAT YOU GET ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF REVENUE COMING IN OVER A 50-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME, ABOUT 18.2% OF GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT. YOU HAVE HIGH MARGINAL TAX RATES, REALLY LOW MARGINAL TAX RATES. STILL BRINGS IN THE SAME AMOUNT OF REVENUE. WE OUGHT TO HAVE SOME PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION THAT WE ABIDE BY. LIMITING REVENUES TO THE HISTORICAL AVERAGE OF 18% OF G.D.P. SHOULD BE ONE WHILE ENSURING INCOME EQUALITY SHOULD NOT BE ONE. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU RAISE REVENUE FOR THE PURPOSE OF FUNDING THE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT, NOT TO REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, IT IS RIGHT TO CONSIDER TAX REFORM WHEN DISCUSSING DEFICIT REDUCTION. HOWEVER, THE PROPOSAL PUT FORTH SO FAR, INCLUDING THE CURRENT RESOLUTION, ARE POLITICAL PROPOSES, NOT REFORM PROPOSALS. TAX REFORM REQUIRES PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP, AND WE'RE JUST NOW SEEING THAT -- WELL, I MEAN WE AREN'T SEEING IT ON TAX REFORM BUT WE'RE FINALLY SEEING IT ON DEFICIT REDUCTION. BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO LAST VERY LONG. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:22:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IF THE SENATOR WILL HOLD HIS REQUEST, THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA.

  • 04:23:06 PM

    MR. NELSON

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT -- CONSENT THAT I MAY SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT -- CONSENT THAT I MAY SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 04:23:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WOWCTS. MR.WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:23:16 PM

    MR. NELSON

    PRESIDENT, I WILL SPEAK ON THIS RESOLUTION BEFORE US TOMORROW AND MATTERS…

    PRESIDENT, I WILL SPEAK ON THIS RESOLUTION BEFORE US TOMORROW AND MATTERS ABOUT THE BUDGET DEFICIT AND HOW TO -- HOW IT OUGHT TO BE SOLVED, AND IT HAS TO BE SOLVED. AND I WILL RESERVE COMMENTS ON THAT UNTIL TOMORROW. IN THE MEANTIME, WHAT I WANTED TO POINT OUT TO THE SENATE, THAT WE HAD A VERY SIGNIFICANT BENEFIT TO NOT ONLY THE FLORIDA CITRUS INDUSTRY BUT TO THE WORLDWIDE CITRUS INDUSTRY BECAUSE THERE IS A DISEASE -- IT IS A BACTERIAL DISEASE -- OF ALL THIJTS A CALLED CITRUS -- OF ALL THINGS IT'S CALLED CITRUS GREENING. IT IS ANYTHING BUT THAT BECAUSE WHAT IT DOES, IT KILLS A CITRUS TREE WITHIN FIVE YEARS. AND IT HAS INFECTED EVERY GROVE IN FLORIDA. AND WHEN I SAY THAT THE WORLDWIDE CITRUS INDUSTRY IS BEING THREATENED, I MEAN JUST THAT. THIS STRAIN OF BACTERIA CAME SOMEWHERE FROM ASIA, HAS BEEN IMPORTED NOT ONLY INTO THE UNITED STATES BUT IN A LOT OF OTHER COUNTRIES THAT HAVE MODERATE CLIMATES, WARM CLIMATES, HUMID CLIMATES. THERE'S ANOTHER VERSION THAT CAME FROM A DIFFERENT PART OF THE WORLD THAT IS NOT AS VIRULENT. BUT WHAT HAPPENS, THIS BACTERIA THAT IS NOW BEEN BROUGHT INTO THIS COUNTRY, IT'S IN BRAZIL AS WELL, ANOTHER MAJOR CITRUS-PRODUCING COUNTRY, AND IT IS CARRIED BY A LITTLE INSECT CALLED A CILLY. DUVMENT. AND THE LITTLE CILLI DIVMENT CARRYING THIS BACTERIA BITES INTO THE TREE, THE BACTERIA GETS INTO THE SAP, AND IT WILL KILL THE TREE IN FIVE YEARS, AND THERE IS NO KNOWN CURE. WELL, IF IT'SING ABOUT IT TO KILL A TREE IN FIVE YEARS, YOU CAN SEE THE POTENTIAL FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF WHAT WE HAVE COME TO TAKE AS STANDARD FARE, THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ORANGE JUICE ON OUR BREAKFAST TABLE. AND THAT THOSE WHO ENJOY THE MILD ELICKS IRRELEVANCE AND MIX CERTAIN ELICKS IRRELEVANCE WITH ORANGE JUICE, CALLED MAYBE MOHAMMED SIS, WHATEVER, THAT -- MOMOSIS, WHATEVER, THAT THIS IS GOING TO BE A THING OF THE PAST IF WE DON'T GET SERIOUS ABOUT FINDING A CURE FOR THIS DISEASE. NOW, THE REASON THAT IT IS SO EXTRAORDINARILY LETHAL FOR THE UNITED STATES AND FOR THE STATE OF FLORIDA IS THE FACT THAT SINCE EVERY GROVE HAS BEEN AFFECTED AND SINCE ALMOST ALL OF OUR ORANGE JUICE THAT WE CONSUME IN THE DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION OF THE UNITED STATES -- I SAY "ALMOST ALL" -- THE BIGGEST PERCENTAGE COMES FROM FLORIDA. SOME OF IT, A LITTLE BIT, FROM CALIFORNIA, MOSTLY THE JUICE THAT'S ADDED TO FLORIDA JUICE COMES FROM BRAZIL, BUT WHEN THERE IS A BUMPER CROP IN FLORIDA, THEY DON'T HAVE TO SHIP IT IN AND REFRIGERATE -- IN REFRIGERATED SHIPS FROM BRAZIL. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A WHOLE WAY OF LIFE, A WHOLE TRADITION, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION THAT IS THREATENED IF WE DON'T COME UP WITH A CURE. NOW, THE FLORIDA CITRUS INDUSTRY, TO THEIR CREDIT, HAS BEEN TAXING THEMSELVES, THE GROWERS, TO PRODUCE A STREAM OF REVENUE THAT WILL ALLOW THEM TO CONTINUE THE RESEARCH TO TRY TO FIND A CURE. WE'VE GOTTEN SOME LIMITED AMOUNT ALSO FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND SUPPLEMENTING ALL OF THAT WITH BACK AT THE TIME WHEN WE CAN MAKE A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS REQUEST, OTHERWISE CALLED AN EARMARK, THIS SENATOR CERTAINLY WAS ASKING FOR APPROPRIATIONS TO HELP FIND A CURE TO THIS DREADED DISEASE. WE HAVEN'T CURED THE CURE. AND WE HAVE TO HAVE A STREAM OF REVENUE TO KEEP THIS GOING. SO SINCE IT IS SO DIFFICULT TO PASS ANYTHING AROUND HERE THESE DAYS, EVEN THE CITRUS TRUST FUND THAT I HAD FILED THAT LAST YEAR WE HAD A WHOLE BUNCH OF COSPONSORS BUT THIS YEAR, OF COURSE, WE'RE ALL WOUND AROUND THE AXEL HERE ON PASSING ANYTHING, IF IT HAS TOG TO DO WITH THE BUDGET, WHAT I DID WAS GO TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND I SAID, HELP. WE HAVE TO HAVE SOME HELP IMMEDIATELY. AND FORTUNATELY, THE ADMINISTRATION -- AND I TALKED TO THE CHIEF OF STAFF ON THE WHITE HOUSE ABOUT HOW DIRE THIS SITUATION IS -- WE CAN'T WAIT. SO THEY HAVE JUST ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THAT THEY ARE RELEASE RELEASING $2 MILLION IMMEDIATELY THAT WILL GO INTO THE USDA RESEARCH STATION AT FORT PIERCE -- FORT PIERCE, FLORIDA, FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS FISCAL YEAR, AND IN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR, ASSUMING THAT THE COMPETITIVE GRANTS FUND IS FUNDED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WHICH WE HAVE TO ASSUME THAT THAT PROGRAM IS GOING TO CONTINUE, THAT THE USDA HAS SET ASIDE AN AMOUNT OF $5 MILLION IN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR, STARTING OCTOBER 1, THAT WILL GO DIRECTLY INTO THIS RESEARCH, AND THEY HAVE AGREED TO SET ASIDE IN THE FOLLOWING TWO YEARS $2 MILLION AND $2 MILLION IN EACH OF THOSE YEARS SO THAT WE'VE GOT A STEADY STREAM OF FUNDING OF $11 MILLION FOR RESEARCH SPECIFICALLY FOR CITRUS GREENING. NOW, CALIFORNIA MAY HAVE THIS BACTERIA. IF TEXAS DOESN'T HAVE IT, IT'S JUST A MATTER OF DAYS OR MONTHS. AND THE SAME WITH THE CITRUS THAT IS GROWN IN ARIZONA. AND OF COURSE IN A COUNTRY LIKE BRAZIL, WHICH TO THEIR CREDIT SOME OF THE CITRUS GROWERS IN BRAZIL HAVE ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTED MONEY TO OUR U.S. RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS, TRYING TO FIND A CURE BECAUSE BRAZIL HAS GOT THE SAME PROBLEM, THEY'VE GOT IT IN A LOT OF THEIR GROVES. THE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BRAZIL CITRUS INDUSTRY AND THE U.S. IS THAT THEY HAVE MORE LAND, SO THEY CAN -- THEY CAN MOW DOWN AND BURN A CITRUS GROVE AND GO OVER AND -- AND CLEAR NEW LAND THAT'S UNAFFECTED AND GO ON AND START A NEW GROVE. WE DON'T HAVE THAT LUXURY. WE DON'T IN ANY OF OUR CITRUS GROWING STATES IN THE SUNBELT AND CERTAINLY WE DON'T HAVE THAT LUXURY IN FLORIDA TO JUST GO OUT AND FIND NEW LAND TO PLANT NEW CITRUS GROVES. SO THIS IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT DEPARTURE AND A WELCOME NEW ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE THAT THEY WILL BE SENDING $11 MILLION OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS SPECIFICALLY DEDICATED TO FINDING A CURE FOR CITRUS GRUENING BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. -- CITRUS GREENING BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. WHAT CITRUS GROWERS CAN DO IS THAT THEY CAN PROLONG THE LIFE OF A TREE, A GROVE BY DOING CERTAIN SPRING AND SO FORTH, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE TREE'S GOING TO DIE AND THEY'RE NOT GOING TO PRODUCE ANY ORANGES FOR ORANGE JUICE. NO GRAPEFRUIT FOR GRAPEFRUIT THAT WE ENJOY. AND JUST SO THE REST OF THE SENATE WILL UNDERSTAND, THIS INDUSTRY IS -- IS PART OF US, PART OF US AS FLORIDIANS. WE HAVE EVEN ON OUR LICENSE TAG IN FLORIDIAN ORANGE. -- FLORIDA AN ORANGE. WE HAVE AN INDUSTRY THAT HAS BEEN A MAINSTAY OF OUR ECONOMY FOR YEARS AND YEARS. AND, OF COURSE, BECAUSE OF THE FORWARD THINKING, FLORIDA CITRUS COMMISSION IN THE LATE 1940'S, 1950'S AND THE 1960'S, THEY MADE ORANGE JUICE TO BECOME A WANTED AND ACCEPTABLE COMMODITY ON MOST EVERY AMERICAN BREAKFAST TABLE. AND IT'S THREATENED, AND IT'S UP TO US TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I WAS PARTICULARLY THANKFUL TO THE ADMINISTRATION THAT THEY WOULD COME UP WITH THE $2 MILLION IMMEDIATELY, BECAUSE IN ADDITION TO THE GROWERS TAXING THEMSELVES ON A PER CITRUS BOX PRODUCED ASSESSMENT, THEY WERE COUNTING ON THE STATE OF FLORIDA TO PRODUCE A $2 MILLION APPROPRIATION TO GO INTO A $15 MILLION RESEARCH FUND IN THIS YEAR, AND LO AND BEHOLD, THE GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA VETOED THAT IN THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL. SO THE REPLACEMENT OF THAT VETOED ITEM BY THE GOVERNMENT -- BY THE GOVERNOR WITH THIS FEDERAL MONEY FROM THE USDA, CONSIDERED AN EMERGENCY ALLOCATION, IT IS WELCOME, IT IS TIMELY, AND IT IS MUCH APPRECIATED BY ALL OF THE AFICIONADOS ACROSS AMERICA THAT ENJOY ORANGE JUICE AS A STAPLE IN OUR DIET. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:34:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL.

  • 04:35:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDAMENT

  • 04:35:16 PM

    MR. NELSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:35:20 PM

    MR. NELSON

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND I MAY BE NEEDED HERE FOR SOME ADMINISTRATIVE…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I UNDERSTAND I MAY BE NEEDED HERE FOR SOME ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES HERE IN JUST A MINUTE MINUTE, SO WHILE I'M WAITING ON THAT, LET ME JUST SAY THAT WITH THE LAST SPACE SHUTTLE LAUNCHING ON LAST FRIDAY -- AND IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL LAUNCH -- AND, OF COURSE, THE EXPERTISE OF THE FINEST LAUNCH TEAM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WAS VERY EVIDENT. WHEN THEY GOT DOWN TO T-MINUS 31 AND THEY SAW AN INDICATION ON THE -- ON THE CONTROLS THAT THERE HAD NOT BEEN A RETRACTION OF ONE OF THE ARMS THAT'S A SERVICING ARM, BUT THEY WERE READY FOR THAT, AND AS IT TURNED OUT, IT WAS A FAULTY CENSOR. AND, OF COURSE, THE WAY THEY CHECK, THEY'VE GOT CAMERAS ALL OVER THE LAUNCH TOWER, AND SO THEY TURNED THE CAMERAS ON AND TRAINED IT OVER THERE AND SAW THAT THAT ARM, IN FACT, HAD RETRACTED AND PULLED INTO ITS SAFE POSITION. AND SO WITH ONLY 53 SECONDS LEFT IN THE LAUNCH WINDOW, THE LAUNCH WINDOW BEING THAT YOU HAD TO LAUNCH THE SHUTTLE AT THAT TIME SO THAT IT, ONCE ON ORBIT, COULD CATCH UP WITH THE SPACE STATION, WHICH WAS ITS DESTINATION, WITH 53 SECONDS TO GO, THE COUNT CONTINUED THEN, STARTING AT T-MINUS 31 AND WENT ON DOWN INTO A FLAWLESS LAUNCH, A FLAWLESS FLIGHT, AS THEY ARE NOW DOCKED WITH THE SPACE STATION. AND AS THEY ARE NOW TRANSFERRING THIS 20,000 POUNDS OF CARGO AND EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES THAT WILL KEEP THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SUPPLIED FOR THE NEXT YEAR. I DON'T THINK PEOPLE REALIZE HOW BIG THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS. MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS THING IS 120 YARDS LONG. IF YOU SAT ON THE 50-YARD LINE OF A FOOTBALL STADIUM AND LOOKED FROM THE END OF ONE END ZONE ALL THE WAY TO THE OTHER END ZONE, THAT IS HOW BIG THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS THAT WE HAVE BUILT WITH ANOTHER 15 NATIONAL PARTNERS, AND PRIMARILY OUR PARTNER IN BUILDING IT, THE RUSSIANS. AND, OF COURSE, YOU REMEMBER THAT THE ITERATION BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION WAS ORIGINALLY THE SOVIET SPACE STATION THAT BECAME THE RUSSIAN SPACE STATION CALLED MIR, OF WHICH WE USED TO FLY OUR ASTRONAUTS WITH THE SPACE SHUTTLE TO THE RUSSIAN SPACE STATION. AND SO THE RUSSIANS HAVE BEEN OUR PARTNERS. AND, REMEMBER, WHEN WE HAVE BEEN DOWN -- FOR EXAMPLE, AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA IN EARLY 2003, FOR OVER TWO YEARS, WE WOULD NOT FLY THE SPACE SHUTTLE AS WE WENT THROUGH AND MADE THE CORRECTIONS THAT HAD CAUSED THE DESTRUCTION OF COLUMBIA AND THE LOSS OF SEVEN ASTRONAUTS. AND WE RELIED ON THE RUSSIANS, ON THEIR SOYUZ TO GET US TO AND FROM THE SPACE STATION. NOW, THE SAD THING IS THAT THE NEW ROCKETS THAT WE ARE BUILDING TO GO TO AND FROM THE SPACE STATION, THERE'S ONE VERSION OF THOSE ROCKETS THAT, IN FACT, IS GOING TO FLY LATER THIS YEAR, RONRENDEZVOUS AND DOCK WITH THE SPACE STATION AND DELIVER CARGO, BUT IT HAS NOT BEEN HUMAN RATED. AND TO DO THAT, YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH AND PUT IN ALL THE REDUNDANCIES FOR SAFETY, YOU HAVE TO PUT IN ALL THE ESCAPE MECHANISMS ON THE CAPSULE. AND ONCE THAT'S DONE, THIS WILL BE A ROCKET THAT WILL BE MUCH SAFER THAN THE SPACE SHUTTLE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE CAN SAVE THE CREW EVEN FROM, IF THEY HAD AN EXPLOSION ON THE PAD, THE CREW CAN SAFELY EJECTED IN THE ESCAPE ROCKET WITH THE CAPSULE, PARACHUTING TO SAFETY, ALL THE WAY, ALL THE WAY 8 1/2 MINUTES TO ORBIT IF THEY A MALFUNCTION. CONTRAST THAT WITH THE SPACE SHUTTLE. WHEN YOU SAW ATLANTIS LIFT OFF, THE FIRST TWO MINUTES, THERE IS NO ESCAPE. YOU ARE MARRIED TO THOSE BIG SOLID ROCKETS. AND IF THERE'S A FAILURE THEN, THERE IS NO WAY OUT FOR THE CREW. AND AS WE SAW, THAT WAS HOW CHALLENGER 25 YEARS AGO WAS DESTROYED. THEY HAD A MALFUNCTION IN ONE OF THE ROCKETS. IT CAUSED THE WHOLE THING TO EXPLODE. I'M TALKING ABOUT ONE OF THE SOLID ROCKETS WITHIN THE FIRST TWO MINUTES OF FLIGHT. WELL, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A MUCH SAFER WAY TO GET TO AND FROM THE SPACE STATION. THE SAD THING IS, HOWEVER, THAT THE ROCKET FOR HUMANS IS NOT READY AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE ABOUT ANOTHER THREE YEARS. AND, THEREFORE, IT IS SAD THAT ALL OF THAT FINEST LAUNCH TEAM IN THE WORLD AT THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, A GOOD PART OF THEM ARE HAVING TO BE LAID OFF. AND THAT WILL -- THAT EMPLOYMENT WILL RAMP UP OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS AS WE BUILD AND LAUNCH THOSE KIND OF ROCKETS. NOW, THERE'S ANOTHER SET OF HUMAN RATED ROCKETS. I'M JUST TALKING ABOUT THE MANNED SPACE PROGRAM NOW. I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE UNMANNED. LOOK WHAT WE'RE GETTING READY. THIS YEAR WE'RE GOING TO JUPITER JUPITER. LATER ON, WE ARE GETTING READY TO LAUNCH A VOLKSWAGEN SIZE ROVER THAT IS GOING TO GO TO THE SURFACE OF MARS. AND YOU KNOW WHAT THOSE LITTLE ROVERS HAVE DONE OVER THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS. I MEAN, THEY'VE GONE LIKE THE ENERGIZER BUNNY ALL OVER THE SURFACE. THIS ONE IS GOING TO BE THE SIZE OF A VOCOF VOLKSWAGEN. SO WE HAVE THESE KIND OF MISSIONS THAT ARE GOING O. BUT GOING ON. BUT THE HUMAN SPACE PROGRAM, THE NEXT BIG ONE TO GET NASA OUT OF EARTH ORBIT IS THE ROCKET THAT WE'RE DEVELOPING, A MONSTER ROCKET. THE CAPSULE CONTRACT HAS ALREADY BEEN LET AND WE ARE NOW GOING ON THE PROCESS OF, PURSUANT TO THE NASA LAW THAT WE PASSED LAST YEAR, PROCEED WITH THE DESIGN AND THE BUILDING OF THIS ROCKET THAT WILL TAKE US ON THE GOAL SET BY THE PRESIDENT TO MARS WITH INTERIM STATIONS ALONG THE WAY AND HE HAS SUGGESTED AN ASTEROID TO VAUGHAN RENDEZVOUS WITH AN ASTEROID AND LAND BY 2025. WELL, WE HAVE A VIGOROUS SPACE PROGRAM GOING AHEAD. SENATOR HUTCHISON, WHO HAS BEEN A -- JUST A WONDERFUL PARTNER IN HELPING SET NASA POLICY IN ALL OF THIS, AND I ARE GOING TO HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THIS IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS BECAUSE WE THINK THERE IS A HOLDUP IN THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET WITH REGARD TO THE ROCKET DESIGN AND THE ARCHITECTURE FOR THE BIG ROCKET. A DELAY THAT WE ARE WONDERING WHY THIS DELAY KEEPS OCCURRING. BUT WE'LL -- WE'LL TALK ABOUT THAT IN A LATER SESSION. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I WOULD ASK IF THE MINISTERIAL -- ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER IS READY. ALL RIGHT, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK THAT A QUORUM CALL BE INITIATED.

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  • 04:43:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL.FICER: THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA.

  • 04:44:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:44:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:44:48 PM

    MR. NELSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:45:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:45:20 PM

    MR. NELSON

    FOLLOWING, MADAM PRESIDENT, I FURTHER ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FOLLOWING…

    FOLLOWING, MADAM PRESIDENT, I FURTHER ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FOLLOWING ANY LEADER'S REMARKS, THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF S. 1323, A BILL TO EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT, WITH ONE HOUR OF DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES PRIOR TO THE CLOTURE VOTE ON S. 1323. FURTHER, THAT THE FILING DEADLINE FOR ALL SECOND-DEGREE AMENDMENTS ON S. 1323 BE 10:00 A.M. TOMORROW. MADAM PRESIDENT, THERE WILL BE UP TO TWO ROLL CALL VOTES AT APPROXIMATELY 10:30 TOMORROW. THE FIRST VOTE WILL BE ON THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON S. 1323, THE SENSE OF THE SENATE BILL ON SHARED SACRIFICE IN RESOLVING THE BUDGET DEFICIT. AND IF CLOTURE IS NOT INVOKED, THERE WILL BE A SECOND CLOTURE VOTE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 2055, THE MILITARY CONSTRUCTION VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL. MADAM PRESIDENT, IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 04:47:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE STANDS ADJOURNED

Statistics

115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 1874 (After 596 days)
  • Debate1117 Hours
  • Quorum Calls438 Hours
  • Votes310 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)