U.S. Senate Rejects White House and Bipartisan Immigration Proposals
Senate Session - July 14, 2011
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:30:38 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. IT IS MY HONOR AND PRIVILEGE TO ANNOUNCE…

    THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. IT IS MY HONOR AND PRIVILEGE TO ANNOUNCE TODAY'S OPENING PRAYER WILL BE OFFERED BY THE RIGHT REVEREND GERALYN WOLF FROM THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF RHODE ISLAND.

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  • 09:31:02 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, SHEPHERD OF OUR SOULS, THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY LISTENS…

    PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, SHEPHERD OF OUR SOULS, THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY LISTENS WITH EAGER EXPECTATION TO THE DELIBERATIONS AND DECISIONS OF THE SENATE OF THESE UNITED STATES. WITH YOUR HOLY WISDOM, ENTER THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO SERVE IN THIS AUGUST CHAMBER, ASSURE THEM OF YOUR CONSTANT LOVE AND PRESENCE AS THEY ADDRESS CHALLENGES THAT OCCASION CREATIVE SOLUTIONS. LET YOUR HOLY SPIRIT COME AND BREATHE UPON THEIR ANXIETIES, DIMINISHING THEIR POWER AND RELEASING A FRESHNESS OF VISION THAT SECURES THE COMMON GOOD AND HONORS THE GENERATIONS TO FOLLOW. MAY THEIR PURSUIT OF PEACE, SECURITY AND HAPPINESS EXTEND ACROSS NATIONS AND PEOPLES, MOVING BEYOND POLITICAL ALLEGIANCES TO A PROCLAMATION OF HOPE FOR ALL HUMANITY. BLESS US, DEAR LORD, AND MAKE US A BLESSING TO OTHERS. AMEN.

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  • 09:32:15 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    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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  • 09:32:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 09:32:49 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 14, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF…

    WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 14, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: DANIEL K. INOUYE, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:33:19 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:33:22 AM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M DELIGHTED TO BE HERE WITH MY SENIOR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M DELIGHTED TO BE HERE WITH MY SENIOR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR JACK REED, TO WELCOME GERALYN WOLF, THE BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL ARCHDIOCESE OF RHODE ISLAND WHO SHARED WITH US THE PRAYER THIS MORNING. I WANT TO SHARE WITH MY COLLEAGUES WHAT A WONDERFUL ADDITION SHE IS TO OUR RHODE ISLAND COMMUNITY. SHE HAS SERVED IN KENTUCKY AND IN PENNSYLVANIA, BUT SHE HAS BEEN IN RHODE ISLAND FOR MANY YEARS AND HAS BEEN DEVOTED TO OUR COMMUNITY AND PARTICULARLY TO THE NEEDY IN OUR COMMUNITY TO THE POINT WHERE AT ONE POINT SHE SPENT 30 DAYS LIVING AS A HOMELESS PERSON IN ORDER TO SEE FIRSTHAND WHAT THE RESOURCES WERE TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WHEN THEY FACED THE BURDEN AND THE SORROW OF HOMELESSNESS AND TO INFORM HER ACTIONS AS THE BISHOP OF OUR DIOCESE. SHE IS KEENLY INTERESTED IN THE SUDAN AND WORKS WITH PRIESTS WHO ARE HELPING TO BRING CHRISTIANITY TO THOSE AREAS AS THE VEHICLE FOR PEACE AMIDST SOME OF THE WORST AND MOST HORRIFIC VIOLENCE ON THE FACE OF OUR PLANET. IT GIVES SENATOR REED AND MYSELF BOTH GREAT PRIDE THAT SHE HAS COME DOWN TO WASHINGTON TODAY TO OPEN THE SENATE, AND IT IS MY HOPE AND I'M SURE SENATOR REED'S AS WELL THAT DURING THE COURSE OF OUR DELIBERATIONS TODAY WE WILL BE INFORMED BY THE HOPES AND THE SENTIMENTS AND THE CONFIDENCE AND THE BLESSINGS THAT SHE EXPRESSED. THANK YOU.

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  • 09:35:00 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:35:02 AM

    MR. REED

    MR. PRESIDENT, I JOIN MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR WHITEHOUSE, IN WELCOMING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I JOIN MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR WHITEHOUSE, IN WELCOMING BISHOP WOLF TO THE SENATE TODAY, AND I COMMEND SENATOR WHITEHOUSE FOR HIS INVITATION. BISHOP WOLF IS NOT ONLY A PASTORAL LEADER IN OUR COMMUNITY, SHE IS ALSO A GREAT COMMUNITY LEADER. SHE NOT ONLY PREACHES THE GOSPEL, SHE LIVES THE GOSPEL. AS SENATOR WHITEHOUSE INDICATED, SHE WENT ON THE STREETS OF PROVIDENCE, THE MEAN STREETS -- AND THERE ARE MEAN STREETS IN EVERY TOWN IN THIS COUNTRY -- TO EXPERIENCE FIRSTHAND THE TRAVAILS AND THE TROUBLES OF PEOPLE JUST TRYING TO GET BY. THAT EXPERIENCE INFORMED HER MINISTRY AND INFORMED HER PUBLIC POSITIONS, AND WE THANK HER FOR THAT. AND SHE HAS A GLOBAL VISION AS WELL AS A VISION IN RHODE ISLAND, AND THAT GLOBAL VISION IS A WORLD INSPIRED BY AMERICAN ACTIONS THAT IS PEACEFUL AND PROGRESSIVE AND PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL. SO ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF RHODE ISLAND, WE WANT TO THANK HER FOR HER SERVICE, AND I WANT TO THANK HER ESPECIALLY FOR THE GRACE SHE HAS BROUGHT TO US TODAY AND HAS BROUGHT TO THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND IN ALL OF HER SERVICE. THANK YOU.

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  • 09:36:08 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:36:14 AM

    MR. REID

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

    PRESIDENT, FOLLOWING ANY LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR ONE HOUR. REPUBLICANS WILL CONTROL THE FIRST HALF, THE MAJORITY WILL CONTROL THE FINAL HALF. FOLLOWING MORNING BUSINESS, THE SENATE WILL RESUME THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 2055, THE MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS APPROPRIATIONS BILL POSTCLOTURE. WE HOPE TO YIELD BACK TIME AND BEGIN CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL SOME TIME TODAY. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MICHAEL LYNCH, UNITED STATES ARMY AVIATION OFFICER WHO IS CURRENTLY SERVING AS MY DEFENSE LEGISLATIVE FELLOW THIS YEAR BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE DURATION OF H.R. 2055.

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  • 09:36:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:36:58 AM

    MR. REID

    PRESIDENT, THERE ARE SOME IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WHO WILL NOT LISTEN TO…

    PRESIDENT, THERE ARE SOME IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WHO WILL NOT LISTEN TO THE TRUTH NO MATTER WHO SPEAKS IT. THIS IS MY OPINION. IF WE ALLOW THIS NATION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITS HISTORY TO DEFAULT ON OUR NATIONAL OBLIGATIONS, IT WILL NOT ONLY BE A BLACK MARK ON OUR REPUTATION BUT ALSO A MASSIVE FINANCIAL DISASTER WILL SWEEP THE WORLD IN A GLOBAL DEPRESSION. IT IS NOT MY OPINION ALONE. I HAVE COME TO THAT BELIEF BY LISTENING TO THE MOST RESPECTED VOICES IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY. DEFAULT, THEY SAY, AND I QUOTE, IS A RISK OUR COUNTRY MUST NOT TAKE. THEY NOT ONLY -- THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO BELIEVE THAT'S TRUE. THE MOST RESPECTED BANKERS HAVE SAID -- J.P. MORGAN CHASE, SAYS DEFAULT WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC. INVESTORS HAVE SAID IT. BILL GROSS, ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST MUTUAL FUND MANAGERS SENT US A WARNING YESTERDAY. HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "THERE SHOULD BE NO QUESTION AT ALL THE DEBT CEILING SHOULD BE RAISED AND NOT BE HELD HOSTAGE BY BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS. DON'T MESS WITH THE DEBT CEILING, WASHINGTON." THAT'S WHAT BILL GROSS SAID. ECONOMISTS HAVE ALSO SAID IT. BEN BERNANKE APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT BUSH AS CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE HAS SAID DEFAULT WOULD BE A MAJOR CRISIS THAT WOULD SEND SHOCKWAVES THROUGH THE WORLD FINANCIAL MARKETS. AND YESTERDAY, HE SAID FAILURE TO AVERT DEFAULT WOULD MEAN HUGE FINANCIAL CALAMITY. EVEN OTHER REPUBLICANS HAVE SAID IT. THIS IS WHAT SPEAKER BOEHNER SAID IN APRIL. "NOT RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT WOULD BE SERIOUS, VERY SERIOUS. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WORLDWIDE ECONOMY AND JOBS HERE IN AMERICA." END OF QUOTE. AND PERHAPS MOST TELLING OF ALL, ALL THREE RATING AGENCIES HAVE ALREADY SENT WARNING SHOTS ACROSS OUR BOW. LAST NIGHT, MOODY CAUTIONED US THAT AMERICA'S AAA RATING, THE AAA RATING, WAS ALREADY UNDER REVIEW FOR DOWNGRADE. NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY HAS THAT HAPPENED. WE'RE BEING REVIEWED TO DOWNGRADE OUR DEBT RATING. WE HAVE JUST THREE WEEKS LEFT UNTIL WE MISS OUR FIRST PAYMENT. THEY CITED THE -- QUOTE -- "RISING POSSIBILITY THAT WE WILL DEFAULT." THEY SAID THAT WE WILL LOSE THIS CRUCIAL RATING WHICH SAVES EVERY AMERICAN MONEY EVERY DAY EVEN BEFORE WE MISS A PAYMENT. STANDARD AND POOR'S HAS TOLD CONGRESS AND BUSINESS LEADERS THAT EVEN IF THE UNITED STATES KEEPS PAYING CREDITORS BUT DELAYS PAYMENTS SUCH AS SOCIAL SECURITY OR VETERANS' BENEFITS, IT WOULD CUT OUR RATING. AND FITCH HAS SAID DEFAULT WOULD -- QUOTE -- "THREATEN THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD AS A WHOLE." CLOSE QUOTES. SO WHY ARE SOME REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS STILL SAYING THAT A FIRST-EVER DEFAULT ON OUR NATION'S FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS WOULD BE NO BIG DEAL? WHEN EVERY FINANCIAL EXPERT, INVESTOR, BUSINESS LEADER AND BANKER IN THE COUNTRY AND EVEN EVERY REASONABLE MEMBER OF YOUR OWN POLITICAL PARTY IS TELLING YOU THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEFAULT WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC, IT'S TIME TO START LISTENING. WHY? BECAUSE DEFAULT WON'T JUST ROIL THE FINANCIAL MARKETS, PUSHING INTEREST RATES HIGHER AND TANK THE STOCK MARKETS, IT WILL AFFECT EVERY AMERICAN'S WALLET AS WELL. THERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT WILL HAPPEN. SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS AND VETERANS' BENEFITS AND PAYCHECKS TO OUR TROOPS WOULD STOP. SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE AMERICANS WOULD BE PLACED AT RISK. OUR PROMISE TO THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WOULD PROTECT THIS NATION SO BRAVELY AND THOSE WHO PROTECT IT TODAY WOULD BE BROKEN. WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE PAYMENTS TO OUR MILITARY. PAYMENTS ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT WOULD STOP. AMERICAN INVESTMENTS IN RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS WOULD BE DECIMATED. MILLIONS OF AMERICANS COULD LOSE THEIR JOBS. INTEREST RATES WOULD RISE, NOT ONLY FOR THE GOVERNMENT BUT FOR ORDINARY AMERICANS AS WELL. THOSE AMERICANS WILL PAY MORE FOR THEIR MORTGAGES, THEY WILL PAY MORE TO USE A CREDIT CARD OR BUY A CAR OR FINANCE A UNIVERSITY EDUCATION. THEY WILL EVEN PAY MORE FOR THEIR ELECTRIC BILLS, GROCERIES AND GAS. A SPIKE IN INTEREST RATES AND THE DAMAGE TO THE UNITED STATES DOLLAR ALONE WOULD COST THE AVERAGE AMERICAN FAMILY MORE THAN $1,500 IMMEDIATELY. IT WOULD BE THE MOST SERIOUS FINANCIAL CRISIS THE COUNTRY HAS EVER FACED. IT WOULD COME AT A TIME WHEN OUR ECONOMY CAN LEAST AFFORD IT. AND IN THE LONG RUN, IT WOULD WIND UP COSTING THE GOVERNMENT NOT MILLIONS, NOT BILLIONS, TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS. A FACT REPUBLICANS SHOUTING ABOUT THE DEBT FAILED TO MENTION. FOR EVERY 1% INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES, IT WILL COST OUR NATION 1.3 -- AGAIN, NOT MILLION, NOT BILLIONS, BUT TRILLIONS. FOR EVERY 1% INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES, IT WILL COST THIS NATION $1.3 TRILLION. THERE IS SO MUCH AT STAKE. EVEN SPEAK BOEHNER AND MINORITY LEADER McCONNELL SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS SITUATION. THEY ARE WILLING TO NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH WHICH I APPRECIATE, AND THE COUNTRY APPRECIATES. MEANWHILE, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR HAS SHOWN HE SHOULDN'T BE AT THE TABLE AND REPUBLICANS AGREE HE SHOULDN'T BE AT THE TABLE. ONE REPUBLICAN TOLD "POLITICO" LAST NIGHT "HE LOST A LOT OF CREDIBILITY WHEN HE WALKED AWAY FROM THE TABLE. IT WAS CHILDISH." END QUOTE. THAT'S WHAT ALL ABOUT, MR. PRESIDENT? WE HAD NEGOTIATIONS GOING HERE IN A ROOM, S. 219, A SHORT JOG FROM HERE, AND HE HAS WALKED OUT ON THE MEETINGS WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. IT WAS CHILDISH. ANOTHER REPUBLICAN SAID CANTOR IS PUTTING HIMSELF FIRST. HE SAID THIS -- QUOTE -- "HE IS ALL ABOUT ERIC." END OF QUOTE. THE TIME FOR PERSONAL GAIN AND POLITICAL POSTURING ARE OVER. IT'S TIME TO PUT OUR ECONOMY AND OUR COUNTRY FIRST. THE RISKS WE FACE ARE SIMPLY TOO GREAT. WE DON'T NEED TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. MORE THAN 300 RESPECTED BUSINESS LEADERS WRET TO CONGRESS NIGHT BEFORE LAST TO MAKE IT CLEAR HOW SERIOUS THIS CRISIS REALLY IS. QUOTE AGAIN, "A GREAT NATION, LIKE A GREAT COMPANY, HAS TO BE RELIED UPON TO PAY ITS DEBTS WHEN THEY BECOME DUE." THEY FURTHER SAID THIS IS MAIN STREET, NOT WALL STREET. THIS IS A MAIN STREET ISSUE, NOT A WALL STREET ISSUE. WE'RE LISTENING. IT'S TIME FOR THE IRRESPONSIBLE VOICES IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH OF THIS CRISIS TO LISTEN AS WELL. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 09:43:26 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT. I WILL WAIT A MINUTE, MR. PRESIDENT. MR.

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  • 09:44:42 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:44:44 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    TO THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE. I HOPE I HAVEN'T INCONVENIENCED HIM. MY…

    TO THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE. I HOPE I HAVEN'T INCONVENIENCED HIM. MY REMARKS ARE NOT LENGTHY. MR. PRESIDENT, OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS --

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  • 09:44:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS CURRENTLY IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 09:44:59 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:45:00 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:45:02 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO…

    OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO OFFER REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS AND ME IN PARTICULAR THEIR ADVICE ON THE DEBT LIMIT, AND I HAVE LISTENED TO ALL OF IT VERY CAREFULLY. I APPRECIATE HOW FRUSTRATING IT IS FOR PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT DESPITE ALL WE KNOW ABOUT THE STATE OF OUR ECONOMY, DESPITE ALL THE WARNINGS ABOUT OUR DEFICIT AND DEBT, THAT WE CAN'T DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I SHARE THAT FRUSTRATION. NO ONE HAS SPENT MORE TIME CAJOLING AND PERSUADING THIS WHITE HOUSE OF THE NEED TO DO SOMETHING BIG. I WAS TRULY HOPEFUL THAT THE PRESIDENT COULD BE PERSUADED TO VIEW THE UPCOMING DEBT LIMIT VOTE AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CUT WASHINGTON SPENDING AND THE DEBT THAT HAS BALLOONED SINCE HE TOOK OFFICE, AND TO PRESERVE ENTITLEMENTS AT THE SAME TIME. BUT IN THE END, HE JUST WASN'T INTERESTED IN DOING SOMETHING OF THAT MAGNITUDE THAT WOULD PASS. REALLY GAVE US THREE BAD CHOICES: HIGHER TAXES, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, OR DEFAULT. AND WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT ANY OF THEM. REPUBLICANS NOT BE REDUCED TO BEING THE TAX COLLECTORS FOR THE OBAMA ECONOMY. WE WON'T BE SEDUCED INTO CALLING A BAD DEAL A GOOD DEAL. AND WE WON'T LET THE WHITE HOUSE FOOL AROUND WITH THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES. IF THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO THREATEN SENIORS OR VETERANS OR RATTLE THE WORLD ECONOMY BY PRETENDING HE CAN'T PAY OUR BILLS, HE OF COURSE CAN DO THAT. BUT HE IS NOT GOING TO IMPLICATE REPUBLICANS IN THESE EFFORTS. THAT'S WHY I PROPOSE AS A LAST RESORT A PLAN THAT WOULD FORCE THE WHITE HOUSE TO REALLY SHOW ITS HAND. IF THE PRESIDENT WOULD RATHER DEFAULT THAN CUT BACK ON THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT, LET HIM EXPLAIN THAT. IF HE'D RATHER PRESERVE HIS VISION OF WASHINGTON THAT -- RATHER PRESERVE HIS VISION OF WASHINGTON THAN PROTECT ENTITLEMENTS, LET HIM EXPLAIN THAT. IF HE AND THE DEMOCRATIC SENATE WOULD RATHER BORROW AND SPEND US INTO OBLIVION, THEY CAN CERTAINLY DO THAT. BUT DON'T EXPECT ANYMORE COVER FROM REPUBLICANS ON IT THAN YOU GOT ON HEALTH CARE. NONE. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW WHAT THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES STAND FOR IN THIS DEBATE. NONE OF THESE PROPOSALS THAT HAVE BEEN PRESENTED UP TO NOW WOULD DO THAT. IF DEMOCRATS WON'T AGREE TO THE REFORMS WE NEED, THEN WE SHOULD AT LEAST SHOW THE PUBLIC WHERE WE STAND. WHAT THEY WANTED WAS A DEAL THAT PURPORTED TO LOWER THE DEBT FROM $26 TRILLION TO $24 TRILLION OVER TEN YEARS, THEN HAVE US GIVE IT THUMBS UP AND CALL IT A BIPARTISAN VICTORY FOR FISCAL DISCIPLINE. WELL, WE WEREN'T ABOUT TO CALL THIS A GOOD DEAL ANYMORE THAN WE WERE ABOUT IT TO CALL THE HEALTH CARE REFORM REAL REFORM. WE REFUSE TO LET THE DEAD THRIEN GET US TO CAVE. IT'S TIME TO CHANGE THIS DEBATE ALTOGETHER. IT'S TRIM TO MAKE IT CLEAR AT THAT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHERE THE TWO PARTIES STANDED IN THIS DEBATE. EITHER YOU'RE WITH THE PRESIDENT AND HIS VISION OF A GOVERNMENT THAT CONTINUES TO LIVE BEYOND ITS MEANS OR YOU'RE WITH THOSE OF US WHO BELIEVE WASHINGTON NEEDS SOME STRONG MEDICINE. EITHER YOU WANT TO SIMPLY BORROW AND SPEND OUR NATION INTO OBLIVION OR YOU WANT TO GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. THE SINGLE-MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DO THAT IS WITH A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. IF THE PRESIDENT AND DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS WON'T AGREE TO CUT BACK, LET'S FORCE THEM. LET'S PASS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT ACTUALLY REQUIRES CONGRESS TO LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS. IT'S TIME FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO CONTACT LAWMAKERS ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE AND SIMPLY DEMAND IT. REPUBLICANS ARE UNANIMOUS IN THEIR SUPPORT FOR A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT. WE NEED 20 DEMOCRATS TO JOIN US. IT'S AN UPHILL CLIMB, BUT IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SPEAK OUT, WE CAN GET IT DONE. IF THE PRESIDENT WON'T AGREE TO IT, IT IS TIME WE GO AROUND HIM AND DIRECTLY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. LET'S KEEP THE PRESSURE ON. LET'S SHOW THE ADMINISTRATION WHERE THE PUBLIC IS ON THIS ISSUE, AND LET'S GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 09:49:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 09:49:37 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:49:40 AM

    MR. CORKER

    I REALIZE THAT A SCHEME HAS BEEN CONCOCTED ON THE DEBT CEILING THAT ALLOWS…

    I REALIZE THAT A SCHEME HAS BEEN CONCOCTED ON THE DEBT CEILING THAT ALLOWS DEMOCRATS TO GO INTO THIS NEXT ELECTION CONTINUING TO ENSURE THAT SPENDING TO MANY OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS IS AT LEVELS THAT PLEASE THEM; THEREFORE ALLOW THEM TO RUN SUCCESSFULLY IN 2012, AND THAT SCHEME ALSO ALLOWS REPUBLICANS TO RUN IN 2012 WITH SPENDING BEING THE ISSUE. SO I THINK WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT, LOOK, THE DEBT CEILING IS GOING TO BE INCREASED, AND IT'S GOING TO BE INCREASED IN SUCH A WAY THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE THE ABILITY TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE OTHER RESPECTIVE TO THEIR BASES. BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, MR. PRESIDENT, OUR GREAT NATION IS IN DECLINE BECAUSE OF THE ELECTED LEADERS IN WASHINGTON. OUR GREAT NATION IS IN DECLINE BECAUSE OF THIS BODY AND THE WAY IT'S ACTING. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE WAY IT'S ACTING, AND THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE WAY THAT IT IS ACTING. SO THIS BODY TODAY, AS WE MEET AND GO INTO A SPENDING BILL, IS HELPING OUR GREAT NATION GO INTO DECLINE. AND LET ME EXPLAIN WHY. MAYBE THE DEBT CEILING WAS THE WRONG PLACE TO PICK A FIGHT, AS IT RELATED TO TRYING TO GET OUR COUNTRY'S HOUSE IN ORDER. MAYBE THAT WAS THE WRONG PLACE TO DO IT. THE REASON IT WAS CHOSEN IS BECAUSE THIS BODY HASN'T PASSED A BUDGET IN 806-807 DAYS. AND I CREDIT BOTH SIDES FOR THAT. BUT THE FACT IS THAT THE UNITED STATES SENATE HASN'T PASSED A BUDGET IN OVER 806 DAYS. I HAD A DINNER THIS WEEK, MONDAY NIGHT -- I HAD DINNER WITH SIX DEMOCRATS AND FIVE REPUBLICANS. I WON'T MENTION THEIR NAMES, TO IMPUGN THEM IN ANY WAY. BUT ALL OF THEM EXPRESSED TREMENDOUS FRUSTRATION WITH THE WAY THIS BODY IS BEING RUN, BASICALLY MOST SENATORS IN THIS BODY ARE NOTHING BUT TWO-BIT PAWNS -- TWO-BIT PAWNS -- AS A POLITICAL FIGHT IS UNDER WAY, BASICALLY, TO LAY OUT THE GROUNDWORK, IF YOU WILL, FOR A 2012 ELECTION. I MEAN, THAT'S WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING NOW IN THIS BODY, AND THE I THINK WE ALL KNOW THAT. AND YET YESTERDAY WE VOTED TO MOVE TO A SPENDING BILL WHERE WE IN ESSENCE ARE ACTING AS ACCOMPLICES, WE'RE A COME POLICES TO THIS. THE -- WE'RE ACCOMPLICES TO THIS. THE PRESIDING OFFICER AND MYSELF -- I MEAN, ANYBODY WHO VOTES TO GO A SPENDING BILL WITHOUT FORCING THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO COME TO TERMS WITH A BUDGET IS IN ESSENCE AN ACCOMPLICE TO ALLOWING THE SHENANIGANS THAT ARE TAKING PLACE RIGHT NOW TO CONTINUE. WE ARE ALLOWING THIS GREAT NATION TO GO INTO DECLINE BY NOT FORCING US TO MAKE THOSE TOUGH DECISIONS. THE REASON THE DEBT CEILING WAS CHOSEN IS BECAUSE THERE HASN'T BEEN ANY OTHER MECHANISM TO CAUSE US TO SIT DOWN AND MAKE THOSE TOUGH CHOICES AS IT RELATES TO SPENDING HERE IN OUR COUNTRY. BECAUSE WE WERE UNWILLING TO DO THAT, MANY PEOPLE LINED UP -- AS A MATTER OF FACT, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS -- THERE IS A GANG OF SIX THAT HAD BEEN WORKING -- THREE REPUBLICANS AND THREE DEMOCRATS. IT IS MY SENSE THAT THEY, TOO, HAD PLANNED TO USE THE DEBT CEILING VOTE AS A PLACE TO TRY TO CAUSE US TO COME TOGETHER AROUND SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE SENSIBLE FOR OUR COUNTRY. WE HAVEN'T SEEN THE DETAILS OF THAT. I HOPE WE'LL SEE THAT SOON. BUT MY PINT POINT IS THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE ACTUALLY HAD FOCUSED ON THIS DEBT CEILING VOTE -- OR MANY PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE, TO CAUSE US TO HAVE THE FISCAL DISCIPLINE WE NEED TO HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY. OBVIOUSLY WITH THIS NEW SCHEME THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAVMENT I THINK WE ALL KNOW THE DEBT CEILING IS GOING TO BE RAISED. BLAME WILL BE ASSESSED TO EITHER SIDE. BOTH SIDES WILL USE THAT IN THE 2012 ELECTION, AND THEN WE'LL MOVE ON TO ANOTHER CYCLE WHERE PROBABLY WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE IRRESPONSIBLE. BUT THE FACT IS THAT THIS BODY TODAY, BY MOVING TO A SPENDING BILL WITHOUT A BUDGET, EVERYONE WHO AGREES TO DO THAT -- EVERYTHINGEVERYSINGLE PERSON WHO AGREES TO MOVE TO A SPENDING BILL, NO MATTER WHAT LEVEL IT'S FUNDING THE THINGS IT'S FUNDING, EVERYONE IS AN ACCOMPLICE IN CAUSING THIS GREAT NATION TO DECLINE. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US. SO I WOULD URGE PEOPLE IN THIS BODY WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE US ACTUALLY DO OUR WORK, CAUSE US TO FUNCTION THE WAY THE FOUNDING FATHERS HAD CREATED THIS BODY, CALLS US TO FUNCTION IN A WAY THAT NO LONGER ALLOWS OUR COUNTRY TO BE IN DECLINE. I WOULD URGE EVERYBODY IN THIS BODY TO NOT AGREE TO GO TO THIS SPENDING BILL AND TO SAY THAT WE WILL NOT SPEND ANYMORE OF THE UNITED STATES RESOURCES, TAXPAYERS' RESOURCES, WITHOUT FIRST AGREEING TO THOSE TOUGH DECISIONS. I LOVE SEEING SOME OF THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE ON SOME OF THESE FINANCIAL PROGRAMS IN THE MORNING. I HEARD ONE OF THEM THIS MORNING ON A PARTICULAR PROGRAM THAT SOMETIMES I TURN ON TO SEE WHAT THE MARKETS ARE DOING IN REACTION TO THE RIDICULOUS, UNDISCIPLINED NATURE OF THIS BODY. I HEARD ONE OF THEM SAY THAT YOU KNOW, THE DEBT CEIL SOMETHING NO PLACE -- MOST COUNTRIES DON'T EVEN VOTE HON A DEBT CEILING. WHAT THEY DO IS THEY VOTE ON BUDGETS. YOU KNOW, IN THIS COUNTRY, WE DON'T EVEN VOTE ON BUDGETS, AND OF COURSE WE FIGURED OUT A WAY TO REALLY NOT MAKE ANY TOUGH DECISION ON THE DEBT CEILING VOTE EITHER. AND I UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GETTING READY TO HAPPEN. BUT, AGAIN, TO ALL THOSE FOLKS THAT AREN'T HEAD OF THIS BODY, THAT AREN'T IN LEADERSHIP, WHO IN THE BATHROOMS OR IN THE HALLS OR AT DINNER OR AT LUNCH COMPLAIN ABOUT THE FACT THAT THIS PLACE IS DYSFUNCTIONAL, COMPLAIN ABOUT THE FACT THAT THEY REALLY DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE INVOLVED IN CAUSING US TO FUNCTION IN THE WAY THAT WE SHOULD, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, IN MY OPINION, THAT VOTES TO GO TO A SPENDING BILL TODAY OR END DEBATE ON A SPENDING BILL -- IN ESSENCE, ALLOWALLOW US TO PASS A SPENDING BILL -- IS AN ACCOMPLICE TO ALLOW THIS GREAT NATION TO GO INTO DECLINE. WE MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF SOME ITEMS AROUND HERE, BUT WE DON'T MAKE A BIG DEAL WHEN IT COMES TO SOMETHING THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY EFFECT AND CAUSE US, AS A BODY, TO DO THE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO. SO, MR. PRESIDENT -- OR, PRESIDING OFFICER, LOOK, I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE WHITE HOUSE. I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED IN ALL OF US. I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE CHILDISH BEHAVIOR THAT THIS BODY HAS CONTINUED TO EXUDE OVER THE COURSE OF THIS ENTIRE YEAR. I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED THAT WE WOULD EVEN CONSIDER GOING ON WITH SPENDING TAXPAYER RESOURCES AND NOT SITTING DOWN AND MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS. I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED, CANDIDLY, THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE ONLY WANT IT THEIR WAY. I DON'T THINK THIS GREAT COUNTRY WAS CREATED THE WAY THAT IT WAS SO THAT ONE SIDE OF THE AISLE GOT IT EXACTLY THE WAY THEY WANTED IT. I THINK THIS BODY WAS CREATED TO BE -- QUOTE -- "THE GREATEST DELIBERATIVE BODY IN THE COUNTRY" AND YET WE DON'T DO THAT. WE DON'T ACT THAT WAY. WE DON'T DEBATE TOUGH ISSUES. WE HIDE, ALL OF US -- WE HIDE AND WE LET OUR LEADERSHIP CONCOCT WAYS TO KEEP US FROM DOING THE TOUGH THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO. THE FACT THAT WE CAN'T EVEN HAVE A BUDGET ON THIS FLOOR TO COME OUT OF A COMMITTEE WHEN -- WHEN OBVIOUSLY THERE IS A MAJORITY. AND I'M NOT EVEN POINTING FINGERS AT THE OTHER SIEVMENTD I THINK BOTH SIDES ARE EQUALLY PROBLEMATIC IN THIS BECAUSE BOTH SIDES, IT'S EVIDENT TO ME, ARE GOING TO ALLOW US TO GO TO A SPINGDZING BILL TODAY WITHOUT A BUDGET -- TO A SPENDING BILL TODAY WITHOUT A BUDGET. BUT THE FACT THAT WE CAN'T EVEN BRING A BUDGET TO THE FLOOR WHEN COMMITTEES ARE STACKED IN SUCH A MATTER THAT ONE SIDE DOES HAVE THE MAJORITY, TO ME, IS AN INCREDIBLE THING. SO, YOU KNOW, THIS UNITED STATES SENATE, IF WE MOVE TO A SPENDING BILL TODAY WITHOUT A BUDGET, IF WE CONTINUE TO DO THE THINGS THAT WE DO HERE JUST WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE FUNDAMENTALS OF WHAT IT TAKES FOR THIS COUNTRY TO BE GREAT, THIS BODY TODAY WILL MOVE ONE STEP CLOSER, ONE STEP -- NOT CLOSER, ONE STEP FURTHER DOWN THE PATH OF CAUSING THIS GREAT NATION TO GO IN DECLINE, TO KEEP US FROM MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS, TO ALLOW COMMITTEE HEADS OR SUBCOMMITTEE HEADS IN APPROPRIATIONS TO BE ABLE TO BRING FORTH THEIR FRUIT, IF YOU WILL, THE THINGS THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO SPEND MONEY ON -- BY THE WAY, I SUPPORT MUCH MUCH, PROBABLY SUPPORT EVERYTHING THAT'S IN THIS BILL. I'M NOT SURE. IT SUPPORTS VETERANS, IT SUPPORTS MILITARY CONSTRUCTION. BUT THE FACT IS THAT ACTUALLY THE VERY PEOPLE THAT THIS BENEFIT, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VERNLTSED IN THE PAST, THE PEOPLE -- THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VETERANNED IN THE PAST, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVE OF THEMSELVES, SOME OF THEM LOVED ONES, THEY PROBABLY ARE IMPAIR EMBARRASSED BY THE UNITED STATES SENATE, TOO. EVEN THOUGH THEY'D LIKE IT RECEIVE THE BENEFITS AT SOME POINT DOWN THE ROAD WHEN THESE BENEFITS COME TO FRUITION IN THIS NEXT FISCAL YEAR, THEY'D LIKE TO RECEIVE THOSE, THEY PROBABLY WOULD PREFER FIRST THAT ALL OF US IN THIS BODY DO OUR JOBS. THAT WE QUIT ACTING LIKE THE CHILDREN WE'VE BEEN ACTING LIKE THIS ENTIRE YEAR. THAT WE QUIT CALCULATING WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO AROUND THE 2012 ELECTIONS. THAT WE QUIT HIDING BEHIND OUR LEADERSHIP AND ALLOWING THEM TO GO DOWN AND NEGOTIATE GRAND BARGAINS IN PRIVATE, THAT WE QUIT -- QUIT AGAIN HIDING FROM TOUGH DECISIONS. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I HOPE TODAY THAT OTHERS WILL JOIN WITH ME AND THAT WE WILL NOT END DEBATE ON THIS BILL. LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY. IF WE DON'T, IF WE DON'T DO THAT, IN OTHER WORDS, IF WE PROCEED WITH SPENDING IN THIS BILL, I SURE HOPE THAT ALL THOSE WHO VOTE TO DO SO WILL STOP TALKING IN PRIVATE ABOUT HOW EMBARRASSED THEY ARE ABOUT THIS UNITED STATES SENATE, WILL STOP TALKING IN PRIVATE ABOUT HOW THEY FEEL LIKE LITTLE PAWNS IN A POLITICAL GAME, WILL STOP TALKING IN PRIVATE ABOUT HOW THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS BODY START ACTING IN THE FASHION THAT IT SHOULD ACT. WE HAVEN'T DONE ANY REAL BUSINESS THIS YEAR. WE ALL KNOW IT. WE HAVEN'T DONE ANY REAL BUSINESS THIS YEAR BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T WANTED TO TAKE ON THOSE TOUGH ISSUES. I'M EMBARRASSED BY THAT PERSONALLY. I'M EMBARRASSED ABOUT THE WAY THIS UNITED STATES SENATE HAS BEEN CONDUCTING ITS BUSINESS THIS YEAR. MR. PRESIDENT, I'M NOT GOING TO VOTE FOR A SPENDING BILL UNTIL WE PASS A BUDGET. IF WE HAD PASSED A BUDGET AND HAD THE TOUGH DEBATES ABOUT REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES, WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS NO-WIN SITUATION WE'RE IN RIGHT NOW AS IT RELATES TO THE DEBT CEILING. AND WE ALL KNOW THAT, BUT WE WANT TO HIDE BEHIND THAT. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I SEE THE LACK OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:02:15 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 10:05:28 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:05:30 AM

    MR. THUNE

    IS THE SENATE IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 10:05:32 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATE IS.

  • 10:05:35 AM

    MR. THUNE

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:05:37 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:05:39 AM

    MR. THUNE

    PRESIDENT, AS WE ALL KNOW, IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, WE'LL BE FACED WITH A…

    PRESIDENT, AS WE ALL KNOW, IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, WE'LL BE FACED WITH A DECISION ABOUT WHAT TO DO WITH THE DEBT LIMIT. OF COURSE, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION AROUND HERE AS WELL AS BETWEEN THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP ABOUT HOW BEST TO RESOLVE THIS ISSUE, AND I THINK WHAT IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO IS A QUESTION ABOUT WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO -- TO RESOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS. I THINK IT CREATES A GREAT DEBATE, PHILOSOPHICAL DEBATE ABOUT HOW DO YOU -- DO WE NEED TO GROW GOVERNMENT, DO WE NEED TO SHRINK GOVERNMENT, AND REALLY, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ARGUE THAT'S KIND OF THE DEFINING LINE IN THIS DEBATE IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU BELIEVE THAT THE BEST WAY OUT OF THE DEBT CRISIS IS TO EXPAND AND GROW GOVERNMENT OR WHETHER YOU THINK LIKE I DO THAT WE OUGHT TO MAKE GOVERNMENT SMALLER, NOT LARGER, IF WE'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET OUT OF THIS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN RIGHT NOW. WE HAVE A $14 TRILLION DEBT. WE HAVE TO INCREASE THE BORROWING AUTHORITY TO GET TO THE 2012 ELECTION BY ABOUT ABOUT $2.4 TRILLION. THAT IS THE RATE AT WHICH OUR DEBT IS GROWING. AND I HAVE SAID ON THE FLOOR BEFORE THAT IF YOU LOOK AT JUST THE DAILY BORROWING THAT OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES, IT EXCEEDS THE ENTIRE BUDGET OF MY STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA FOR A WHOLE YEAR. SO WE WILL BORROW MORE IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., ABOUT ABOUT $4 BILLION, THAN THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA SPENDS IN AN ENTIRE YEAR. THAT IS THE DIMENSION OF THE PROBLEM THAT WE ARE FACING. NOW, MANY OF US BELIEVE THAT THE BEST THING THAT WE COULD DO IN ORDER TO GET OURSELVES ON A BETTER FISCAL TRACK IS TO PASS A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION, AND FRANKLY I HOPE THAT WE WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE ON JUST THAT SOMETIME IN THIS NEXT WEEK OR THE FOLLOWING WEEK. BUT MOST STATES AROUND THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING MY STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT IN THEIR CONSTITUTION, SO IT REQUIRES THEM YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT TO GET THEIR BOOKS BALANCED. THEY CAN'T CONTINUE TO SPEND LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW. THEY CAN'T SPEND MONEY THEY DON'T HAVE, THEY LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS. THAT'S WHAT MOST AMERICANS HAVE TO DO. THAT'S WHAT AMERICAN BUSINESSES AND FAMILIES HAVE TO DO. IT CERTAINLY MAKES SENSE, I THINK, THAT WE OUGHT TO BE DOING THAT HERE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. SO I WOULD ARGUE TO MY COLLEAGUES THAT IF WE LOOK AT THE SHORT-TERM ISSUE, WHICH IS THE DEBT LIMIT BOTH THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW ARE WE BEST GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT IN THE NEAR TERM, BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO IN THE LONG TERM TO PUT OUR COUNTRY ON A MORE SUSTAINABLE FISCAL FOOTING? AND I WOULD ARGUE THAT PUTTING AN IMPOSED DISCIPLINE ON CONGRESS LIKE AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION THAT WOULD REQUIRE US YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT TO BALANCE OUR BUDGET JUST MAKES SENSE. IT'S PRACTICAL, IT MAKES ECONOMIC SENSE, AND IT CERTAINLY IS DISCIPLINE THAT HAS BEEN LACKING HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR SOME TIME. AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE STATES THAT HAVE MADE HARD DECISIONS -- MINE IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THAT. THEY HAD TO CUT SPENDING THIS YEAR SIGNIFICANTLY TO BALANCE THEIR BUDGET, BUT AT LEAST THEY ARE DOING THAT. THEY ARE MAKING THOSE HARD CHOICES AND HARD DECISIONS, AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE BEEN PUTTING OFF HERE FOR WAY TOO LONG. AND I WOULD POINT OUT, TOO, TO MY COLLEAGUES HERE THAT THE -- AS WE TALK ABOUT HOW TO GET THE COUNTRY BACK ON THE RIGHT FISCAL TRACK, YOU DO HAVE TO START SETTING PRIORITIES, BUT WE'RE NOT DOING THAT. WE HAVEN'T HAD A BUDGET HERE IN NOW 806 DAYS. IT HAS BEEN 806 DAYS SINCE THE DEMOCRAT MAJORITY HERE IN THE SENATE HAS ALLOWED US TO HAVE A VOTE ON A BUDGET. NOW, MANY OF US BELIEVE THAT IN ORDER TO DETERMINE HOW YOU'RE GOING TO SPEND $3.7 TRILLION OF AMERICA'S HARD-EARNED MONEY, YOU OUGHT TO HAVE SOME PRIORITIES. YOU OUGHT TO AT LEAST PUT A PATHWAY OUT THERE ABOUT HOW YOU'RE GOING TO GO ABOUT SPENDING THOSE DOLLARS, AND IN SETTING PRIORITIES FOR THE COUNTRY. WELL, WE'RE NOT DOING THAT BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T PASSED A BUDGET IN 806 DAYS. THAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE HAVE AS LEADERS, THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY ELECT US TO DO THAT AND WE'RE NOT DOING IT. I THINK THAT IS CREATING UNCERTAINTY. I THINK IT IS CREATING INSTABILITY OUT THERE AROUND THE COUNTRY. I MET WITH SOME BUSINESS OWNERS THIS MORNING WHO SAY THAT IN THEIR PARTICULAR INDUSTRY, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO INVEST, THEY WANT TO CREATE JOBS, THEY WANT TO MAKE CAPITAL INVESTMENTS, BUT THEY ARE LONG-TERM INVESTMENTS, AND THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE POLICIES COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON ARE GOING TO BE WITH REGARD TO TAXES, SPENDING, REGULATIONS, ALL THOSE SORTS OF THINGS. THERE IS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF UNCERTAINTY. AND THERE WAS A SURVEY THAT WAS DONE JUST RECENTLY BY THE UNITED STATES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN WHICH THEY ASKED SMALL BUSINESSES ABOUT THEIR FUTURE HIRING PLANS. 64% OF THE SMALL BUSINESSES WHO RESPONDED TO THAT SURVEY SAID THEY WERE NOT GOING TO ADD TO THEIR PAYROLLS THIS YEAR. THEY WEREN'T GOING TO HIRE THIS YEAR. ANOTHER 12% SAID THAT THEY WERE ACTUALLY GOING TO CUT JOBS. WHY? HALF OF THE PEOPLE WHO RESPONDED TO THE SURVEY SAID ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY. THEY JUST FLAT DON'T KNOW WHAT WASHINGTON IS GOING TO DO NEXT. AND YOU CAN'T HAVE THAT KIND OF UNCERTAINTY. WHAT THE MARKETS WANT, WHAT BUSINESS WANTS, WHAT INVESTORS WANT IS THEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE RULES ARE GOING TO BE, THEY WANT SOME CERTAINTY ABOUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT. THE KIND OF UNCERTAINTY WE'RE CREATING, MR. PRESIDENT, REACHES BEYOND OUR SHORES. I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN EUROPE TODAY, THEY ARE FACING A DEBT CRISIS IN MANY OF THOSE COUNTRIES, AND WHAT ARE THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF THAT? WELL, IF YOU LOOK AT THE INTEREST RATES IN THE EURO ZONE, THE THREE-YEAR GOVERNMENT BOND INTEREST RATES ARE 19.4% FOR PORTUGAL, 28.9% FOR GREECE AND 12.9% FOR IRELAND. THAT IS OUR FUTURE IF WE DON'T GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. WELL, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? THAT MEANS THAT NOT JUST DOES THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAVE TO PAY MORE TO BORROW MONEY, PAY MORE IN HIGHER INTEREST COSTS, IT ALSO MEANS THAT THOSE INTEREST COSTS -- BECAUSE ALL INTEREST RATES IN THIS COUNTRY, WHETHER IT'S FOR AN AUTO LOAN OR HOME LOAN OR STUDENT, COLLEGE LOAN, THEY ALL TRACK WITH THE TREASURY BORROWING RATES, THOSE RATES GO UP. THAT HAS PROFOUND IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR ECONOMY. THAT MEANS THAT PEOPLE ACROSS THIS COUNTRY ARE GOING TO PAY MUCH HIGHER INTEREST RATES. SMALL BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO PAY HIGHER INTEREST RATES TO BORROW MONEY. THOSE ARE REAL-WORLD IMPACTS IF WE DON'T MAKE THE RIGHT KINDS OF DECISIONS HERE TO GET THIS SPENDING AND THIS BORROWING UNDER CONTROL. SO IF YOU WANT TO SEE OUR FUTURE, LOOK AT SOME OF THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. LOOK AT THE IMPACT THIS IS HAVING ON INTEREST RATES AND ON THEIR ECONOMIES. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT OUR ECONOMY COULD NOT WITHSTAND. WE'RE ALREADY FACING 9.2% UNEMPLOYMENT. WE HAVE A NEED TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. WHAT WE NEED NOW IS NOT MORE EXPANDED GOVERNMENT AND MORE UNCERTAINTY ABOUT WHAT WASHINGTON, D.C., IS GOING TO DO, BUT WE NEED STABILITY, WE NEED CERTAINTY, WE NEED THE DECISIONS HERE TO HAVE A FAVORABLE IMPACT ON THE PRIVATE MARKETPLACE AND CREATE AN INDUCEMENT TO HIRE PEOPLE AS OPPOSED TO DISCOURAGING IT, WHICH IS WHAT WE ARE -- WHAT WE ARE SEEING TODAY. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE ARGUED DOWN HERE ON MANY OCCASIONS THAT THIS -- THIS DEBT IS REALLY STRANGLING OUR ECONOMY BECAUSE IT'S CROWDING OUT PRIVATE INVESTMENT. ANY TIME THE GOVERNMENT IS OUT THERE BORROWING MONEY, IT MEANS THERE IS LESS CAPITAL OUT THERE FOR PRIVATE BUSINESSES TO HAVE ACCESS TO. I THINK THAT THE MORE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE IN THIS WHOLE DEBATE, HOWEVER -- AND I MENTIONED THIS YESTERDAY IN SOME REMARKS ON THE FLOOR -- IS REALLY THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT AND WHETHER OR NOT WE WANT TO SEE AN EXPANDED, BIGGER, LARGER GOVERNMENT OR WHETHER WE OUGHT TO TRY AND WORK OUR WAY OUT OF THIS DEBT CRISIS BY ACTUALLY REDUCING THE SIZE OF OUR GOVERNMENT. AND I POINTED OUT THAT IN THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS ALONE, WE HAVE SEEN GOVERNMENT EXPAND DRAMATICALLY. IN FACT, NONDEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING IN THE LAST TWO YEARS HAS GROWN BY 24%. THE DEBT HAS GROWN BY 35% IN JUST THE TIME THAT THIS PRESIDENT HAS BEEN IN OFFICE. AND THE AMOUNT THAT WE SPEND ON OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY IS GROWING DRAMATICALLY AS WELL. THE 40-YEAR HISTORICAL AVERAGE IS 20.6%. THAT'S WHAT WE HISTORICALLY FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS HAVE SPENT ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMIC OUTPUT. YOU GO BACK TO THE YEAR 1800, HARD TO BELIEVE THIS, IT WAS 2%. THAT'S WHAT WE SPENT ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY. OF COURSE, IT'S GROWN -- IT'S GROWN AT -- SINCE THAT TIME, BUT IT'S REALLY TAKEN OFF HERE IN JUST THE LAST FEW YEARS. AND I POINTED OUT YESTERDAY AS WELL THAT OF THE FIVE TIMES THAT THE BUDGET HAS ACTUALLY BEEN BALANCED IN THIS COUNTRY SINCE 1969, IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE, IT HAS BEEN WHEN GOVERNMENT HAS SPENT LESS AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY THAN THE AVERAGE. SO IF THE AVERAGE IS 20.6% FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS, THE TIMES WHEN WE HAVE ACTUALLY BALANCED THE BUDGET, WE HAVE AVERAGED SPENDING 18.7% OF OUR G.D.P. THE POINT SIMPLY IS THIS: IF YOU WANT TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, IT GETS SOLVED ON THE SPENDING SIDE OF THE EQUATION. THE PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY IS NOT THAT WE TAX TOO LITTLE OR HAVE TOO LITTLE REVENUE. IT'S THAT WE SPEND TOO MUCH, BECAUSE THIS YEAR WE WILL SPEND AS A PERCENTAGE OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY 24.3%. WE'RE ALMOST A QUARTER OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY OF THIS COUNTRY NOW BEING SPENT BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AND THAT WILL ONLY GO UP OVER TIME AS WE SEE THESE NEW ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, NEW HEALTH CARE PROGRAM THAT WAS CREATED LAST YEAR CONTINUES TO CONSUME MORE AND MORE OF OUR RESOURCES IN THIS COUNTRY. THAT MEANS THAT THERE IS LESS AND LESS OUT THERE FOR THE PRIVATE ECONOMY WHERE THE REAL JOBS ARE CREATED. IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT -- JUST WHAT WE PAY IN INTEREST COSTS ALONE AND HOW WE WOULD BE INFLUENCED BY A SLIGHT UPTICK IN INTEREST RATES -- THERE WAS A GREAT OP-ED WRITTEN IN "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO BY LARRY LINDSEY, WHO WAS A FORMER ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BUSH, ALSO A MEMBER OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD OF GOVERNORS, AND HE POINTED OUT THAT IF INTEREST RATES RETURN TO THEIR 20-YEAR AVERAGE, THAT IT WOULD ADD $4.9 TRILLION IN ADDITIONAL BORROWING COSTS OVER THE NEXT DECADE. SO EVERYTHING THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE IN THIS DEBATE ABOUT THE DEBT LIMIT IN TERMS OF REDUCING SPENDING REALLY PALES IN COMPARISON TO JUST A NORMALIZATION OF INTEREST RATES. IF WE SAW INTEREST RATES GO BACK TO WHAT IS A 20-YEAR AVERAGE, WE WOULD SEE AN ADDITIONAL $4.9 TRILLION THAT WE WOULD HAVE TO SPEND TO FINANCE OUR DEBT. AND THAT IS A STAGGERING STATISTIC, MR. PRESIDENT. I THINK, AGAIN, IT SPEAKS TO THE NEED FOR US TO GET OUR SPENDING UNDER CONTROL. BECAUSE THE AMOUNT THAT WE BORROW, AS IT CONTINUES TO GO UP, RATCHET UP, WE CONTINUE TO GET FURTHER, AND FURTHER IN DEBT FEN THE LIKELIHOOD IS THAT OUR --INTEREST RATES WILL CONTINUE TO GO UP AND WE'LL END UP SPENDING MORE AND MORE ON HIGHER INTEREST. SO I THINK THAT THE REAL ISSUE HERE IS WHETHER OR NOT WE AS A NATION ARE GOING TO MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION THAT THE WAY THAT WE RESOLVE THIS DEBT CRISIS IS ON THE SPENDING SIDE OR ON THE REVENUE SIDE. AND WE'VE HEARD OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE, WE'VE HEARD THE PRESIDENT SAY, WE NEED MORE REVENUE. IN FACT, I'VE NOT BEEN IN ON THE DISCUSSIONS THAT HAVE BEEN OCCURRING AT THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT ONE OF THE LATEST PROPOSALS ON THE TABLE WAS $1.6 TRILLION INCREASE IN TAXES. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY WANT TO SPEND -- THEY WANT TO ADD $1.6 TRILLION IN ADDITIONAL TAX REVENUES IN ORDER TO GET SOME AMOUNT OF SPENDING REDUCTIONS. WEWELL, WE'VE SEEN THIS PICTURE BEFORE. YOU GO BACK TO THE 1990 PRESIDENT DEALDEALTHAT PRESIDENT BUSH MADE. THE TAX INCREASES OCCURRED, THE SPENDING CUTS DIDN'T. THAT IS OUR HISTORY, MR. PRESIDENT. THAT IS WHY MAKING A DEAL THAT INVOLVES MASSIVE INCREASES IN TAXES ON OUR ECONOMY, ON OUR SMALL BUSINESSES, AT A TIME THAT WE HAVE 9.2% UNEMPLOYMENT IS A REALLY BAD IDEA WHEN THE PROBLEM YOU'RE TRYING TO FIX IS FUNDAMENTALLY A SPENDING PROBLEM. IT WOULD BE ONE THING IF WE WERE SPENDING AT AN HISTORICAL RATE, IF WE WERE SPENDING AT A RATE THAT'S 20.6% OF OUR TOTAL ECONOMY, WHICH IS THE 40-YEAR AVERAGE, IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT. BUT WE'RE SPENDING MORE THAN 24% OF OUR TOTAL ECONOMY. THIS IS FUNDAMENTALLY A SPENDING PROBLEM. IT CANNOT BE SOLVED ON THE REVENUE SIDE. THE ONLY THING INCREASING TAXES WOULD DO IS MAKE IT MORE HARDER, MORE -- HARDER, MORE EXPENSIVE, AND MORE DIFFICULT FOR OUR SMALL BUSINESSES TO CREATE JOBS. THAT IS PRECISELY WHAT WE WANT OUR SMALL BUSINESSES TO BE THINKING ABOUT DOING. INSTEAD, THEY'RE SAYING -- 64% OF THEM ARE SAYING THIS NEXT YEAR WE'RE NOT GOING TO ADD TO THE PAYROLL, WE'RE NOT GOING TO CREATE JOBS. WHY? BECAUSE OF ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY. WELL, WE NEED TO CREATE SOME CERTAINTY OUT THERE. WE NEED THEM TO KNOW THE TAX RATES ARE GOING TO STAY AT A LOW LEVEL, TAXES ON INVESTMENT, FAX ON INCOME. WE NEED THEM TO KNOW THAT WE ARE COMMITTED TO CUTTING SPENDING AND TO GETTING THE FEDERAL DEBT UNDER CONTROL. WE NEED THEM TO KNOW THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO ADD TO THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY BY INCREASING THE NUMBER OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS REGULATIONS THAT THEY HAVE TO COMPLY W I HEAR THAT EVERYWHERE I GO, WHETHER IT IS A FARMER, RANCHERS, OR SMALL BUSINESS OWNER. I HEARD IT THIS MORNING IN MEETING WITH SOME OF THESE SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS, THAT THE REGULATIONS COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON, D.C., ARE MAKING IT INCREASINGLY COSTLY AND MORE DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO CREATE JOBS. AND SO, AS WE GET INTO THE FINAL DAYS OF THIS DEBATE AND THESE DECISIONS HAVE TO BE MADE, I WOULD SAY THAT -- TO THE PRESIDENT -- THAT THE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO RECOGNIZE THAT THIS IS NOT A REVENUE ISSUE. THIS IS A SPENDING ISSUE. AND STEP UP AND PROVIDE LEADERSHIP AND PROVIDE A PATHWAY FOR HOW WE GET OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER, NOT BY INCREASING TAXES ON THE JOB CREATORS IN OUR ECONOMY, OUR SMALL BUSINESSES, BUT, RATHER, BY GETTING FEDERAL SPEND UNDER CONTROL. I THINK HE WOULD HAVE AN INCREDIBLY WARM AND FAVORABLE RECEPTION FROM BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE, WHO ARE PREPARED TO DO BUSINESS WHEN IT COMES TO REDUCING SPENDING AND MAKING GOVERNMENT SMALLER, NOT BIGGER, AND DEALING WITH THIS LONG-TERM STRUCTURAL PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE OF A RUNAWAY DEBT THAT IS GROWING LITERALLY AT THE TUNE OF ABOUT $1 TRILLION ANNUALLY. NOW, IF WE DON'T DO THIS AS I SAID BEFORE, WE ARE LOOKING AT A FUTURE THAT RESEMBLES MANY OF THESE COUNTRIES IN EUROPE THAT I MENTIONED. WE DO WANT TO GO DOWN THAT PASMGHT WE DON'T -- WE DON'T WANT TO GO DOWN THAT PATH. WE NEED TO PAY OUR DEBT. WE NEED TO ADREF THIS ISSUE OF THE DEBT LIMIT BUT WE NEED DO IT IN A RESPONSIBLE WAY THAT HOLD US ACCOUNTABLE WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO SPOKE LOUDLY AND CLEARLY IN THE LAST ELECTION THAT THEY BELIEVE GOVERNMENT HAS GOTTEN TOO BIG, IS GROWING TOO FAST AND THEY WANT THAT GOVERNMENT REINED N THE WAY THAT WE DO THAT TO REIN IN FEDERAL SPENDING. THAT INCLUDES NOT THE LONG-TERM STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE IN OUR ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS, MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY. REPUBLICANS HERE IN THE CONGRESS ARE WILLING TO LEAD ON THOSE ISSUES, ARE WILLING TO STEP FORWARD AND PUT FORWARD A PLAN. IN FACT THE ONLY PLAN SO THAT ARE PHASE BEEN PUT FORWARD TO REFORM ENTITLEMENTS HAS COME FROM THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS. IT HAS BEEN CRITICIZED BY DEMOCRATS IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND BY THE WHITE HOUSE BUT WE'VE YET TO SEE A PLAN FROM THE OTHER SIDE. 806 DAYS AND WE HAVEN'T HAD A BUDGET PRESENTED BY THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE, NOR HAS THE PRESIDENT COME FORWARD WITH PLAN THAT ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING TO REDUCE SPENDING AND DEBT. THE PRESIDENT DID SUBMIT A BUDGET PROPOSAL EARLIER THIS YEAR BY DRAMATICALLY INCREASED SPENDING AND DOUBLED THE DEBT OVER THE NEXT DECADE AND DRAMATICALLY INCREASED TAXES. THAT IS THE MESSAGE, THE WRONG MESSAGE, TO HAVE RECEIVED. THE MESSAGE THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY IS SEND SOMETHING WE WANT WASHINGTON TO FOCUS ON THE AS ISPENDING SIDE OF THE EQUATION. WE WANT LESS SPENDING, WE WANT A SMALLER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, NOT A LARGER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WE WANT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DO WHAT WE HAVE TO DO, THE AMERICAN FAMILY HAS TO DO AND SMALL BUSINESSES HAVE TO DO, AND THAT'S LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS. SO I WOULD HOPE, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THIS DEBT DEBATE, IT IS A COMES TO A CONCLUSION -- AND I HOPE IT WILL COME TO A GOOD OUTCOME, A GOOD RESULT FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY -- IT IS NOT -- WE DO NOT WANT TO HAVE THIS COUNTRY IN A SITUATION WHERE WE ARE NOT A MAKING PAYMENTS, WHERE WE ARE DEFAULTING ON OUR DEBT. BUT WE CANNOT JUST CONTINUE THIS PATTERN OF RAISING THE BORROWING AUTHORITY OF THIS COUNTRY, OF ADDING TO THE FEDERAL DEBT, WITHOUT DOING SOMETHING TO GET THAT DEBT UNDER CONTROL, WITHOUT DOING SOMETHING TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT THAT THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SPENDING EVERY SINGLE YEAR. SPENDING AT 24% TO 25% OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY IS A TREND THAT CANNOT BE CONTINUED, IT CANNOT BE SUSTAINED, AND WE NEED TO GET BACK TO MORE OF AN HISTORICAL AVERAGE WHERE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE I THINK WANT US TO BE. THE REASON THEY REACTED THE WAY THEY DID IN THE LAST ELECTION IS BECAUSE THEY SAW THIS GOVERNMENT GROWING AT A FRIGHTENING RATE. THAT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY BECAUSE THERE IS UNCERTAINTY ABOUT THE COUNTRY'S FUTURE, THERE IS AN INSTABILITY THAT EXISTS TODAY, AND WHAT I HEARD FROM THESE BUSINESS OWNERS THIS MORNING IS, WE WANT STABILITY. WE WANT TO KNOW -- WE NEED SOME CERTAINTY ABOUT WHAT THE RULES ARE GOING TO BE AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT STARTS BY HAVING A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT LIVES WITHIN ITS MEANS THAT DOESN'T SPEND MONEY THAT IT DOESN'T HAVE, AND THAT FOCUSES INTENTLY ON GETTING SPENDING AND DEBT UNDER CONTROL AND CREATING FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION IN THIS COUNTRY. THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN BY RAISING GOVERNMENT REVENUES, BY RAISING TAXES. THAT HAPPENS BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EXERCISING FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, REDUCING SPENDING, REDUCING DEBT, KEEPING TAXES LOW ON OUR JOB CREATORS SO THAT WE CAN GET PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY BACK TO WORK. THAT IS THE CORRECT PRESCRIPTION FOR THIS COUNTRY, MR. PRESIDENT. IT IS A PRESCRIPTION THAT I HOPE THE PRESIDENT WILL EMBRACE. I CAN TELL -- I CAN SAY THAT REPUBLICANS HERE IN THE SENATE AND I WOULD DARE SAY REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AS WELL ARE PREPARED TO MEET HIM IN WORKING TOGETHER ON THAT CHALLENGE OF REDUCING SPENDING, REDUCING DEBT AND CREATING CONDITIONS THAT ARE FAVORABLE TO ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION AND GETTING AMERICAN PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:24:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 10:24:57 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:35:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM FLORIDA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:35:43 AM

    MR. RUBIO

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE RECOGNIZED FOR UP TO…

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

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  • 10:35:47 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE IS CURRENTLY IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 10:35:52 AM

    MR. RUBIO

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:35:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:35:56 AM

    MR. RUBIO

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:35:59 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:36:01 AM

    MR. RUBIO

    HERE TODAY, I HAVE SPENT SOME TIME OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS REALLY THINKING…

    HERE TODAY, I HAVE SPENT SOME TIME OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS REALLY THINKING ABOUT THIS DISPUTE ON THE DEBT LIMIT AS WE HEAR FROM OUR CONSTITUENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY THAT ARE LOOKING AT WASHINGTON AND ASKING THEMSELVES WHAT'S GOING ON UP THERE, WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING? IT'S A DIFFICULT PROCESS FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND. THEY ELECT US AND THEY SEND US HERE TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY AND TO SOLVE PROBLEMS. YET THEY READ IN THE NEWSPAPERS ALL THESE STARTLING STATEMENTS NOW, THE PRESIDENT SAYING A FEW DAYS AGO THAT HE CAN'T GUARANTEE SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS. OTHERS SAYING THAT OUR BOND RATING MIGHT BE AT RISK. AND OF COURSE THE REALITY OF DAILY LIFE THAT MORE THAN EVER, AMERICANS ARE FINDING IT HARD TO FIND A JOB. THE ONES THAT DO HAVE A JOB ARE WORKING TWICE AS HARD, MAKING HALF AS MUCH. THINGS ARE TOUGH ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. THEY HAVE GOTTEN TOUGHER OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, UNFORTUNATELY, AND PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE UPSET WITH THE DIRECTION THAT WE'RE HEADED. IT WAS ONE OF THE REASONS THAT COMPELLED ME TO RUN FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE WAS TO HOPE TO COME UP HERE AND BE PART OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE, BE PART OF PUTTING THIS COUNTRY ON A TRACK THAT HELPS US TO EMBRACE ALL THE THINGS THAT MADE US EXCEPTIONAL AND UNIQUE AND CONTINUE TO MAKE US EXCEPTIONAL AND UNIQUE. I LOOK AT THIS DISPUTE ABOUT THE DEBT LIMIT AND I SAY WHAT'S THE DISPUTE ABOUT? TWO THINGS ARE VERY CLEAR. ONE, WE CAN'T CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WE'RE DOING NOW. ANYONE WHO ARGUES THAT WE CAN IS NOT BEING REALISTIC AND DOING A GREAT DISSERVICE TO THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY. YOU CANNOT HAVE A GOVERNMENT -- IT'S JUST SIMPLE. YOU CANNOT HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT SPENDS $1.5 TRILLION MORE THAN IT TAKES IN EVERY SINGLE YEAR. YOU CANNOT HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT SPENDS 40 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR THAT IT SPENDS IS MONEY THAT IT'S BORROWING. YOU CAN'T DO THAT. THAT'S NOT SUSTAINABLE. LOOK AT EUROPE. LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY. GREECE WAS DOWNGRADED. THEY ARE ON THE VERGE OF BEING IN DEFAULT. NOT GREECE. I APOLOGIZE. IT WAS IRELAND. WHY IS THAT HAPPENING IN EUROPE? WHY ARE THESE COUNTRIES IN TROUBLE? IT'S NOT BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO RAISE THEIR DEBT LIMIT. IT'S BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T THINK THEY CAN PAY BACK THE MONEY ANYMORE. THE PEOPLE THAT LEND YOU MONEY, SELL YOU YOUR DEBT, THEY ARE SAYING WE'RE LOOKING AT THESE COUNTRIES. WE DON'T KNOW HOW YOU WILL PAY US BACK. YOUR ECONOMY DOESN'T PRODUCE ENOUGH MONEY. YOU HAVE NO PLAN TO BRING SPENDING UNDER CONTROL. WE HAVE LOST CONFIDENCE IN YOU. THAT'S THE MESSAGE THAT IS BEING SENT TO EUROPE TODAY. IF WE KEEP DOING WHAT WE'RE DOING NOW, THAT'S THE MESSAGE THAT IS GOING TO BE SENT HERE TO AMERICA VERY SOON. AND THE IMPACT THAT THAT WILL HAVE, NOT JUST ON OUR COUNTRY BUT THE WORLD IS, QUITE FRANKLY, DEVASTATING. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE FACING. THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM HERE IS TWOFOLD. WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT SPENDS TOO MUCH MONEY, MORE MONEY THAN IT TAKES IN, AND WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT, WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT DOESN'T TAKE IN ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY ITS DEBTS BECAUSE ITS ECONOMY IS NOT GROWING. AND THAT'S WHY I HAVE ARGUED FROM THE DAYS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL WHEN I GOT ELECTED THAT THE WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM IS A TWO-PRONGED APPROACH AND YOU HAVE GOT TO DO THEM BOTH. YOU HAVE GOT TO CUT SPENDING. WE HAVE TO HAVE SPENDING CUTS AND SPENDING DISCIPLINE. IT DOESN'T ALL HAVE TO HAPPEN OVERNIGHT, BUT WE HAVE TO STOP SPENDING $1.5 TRILLION A YEAR OF MONEY WE DO NOT HAVE. YOU CANNOT CONTINUE TO DO THAT. THAT'S WHY I SUPPORT THE CUT, CAP AND BALANCE PLAN BECAUSE IT SAYS WE'RE GOING TO BEGIN TO CUT SPENDING THIS YEAR IN A REAL WAY, WE'RE GOING TO CAP THE ABILITY OF GOVERNMENT TO GROW IN SPENDING IN FUTURE YEARS AND WE'RE GOING TO GIVE THE STATES A RIGHT TO RATIFY A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT FOR OUR COUNTRY THAT BASICALLY SAYS YOU CAN'T SPEND MORE MONEY THAN YOU TAKE IN. STATES BALANCE THEIR BUDGET, BUSINESSES HAVE TO BALANCE THEIR BUDGETS, FAMILIES HAVE TO BALANCE THEIR BUDGET. IF THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES NOT BEGIN TO BALANCE ITS BUDGET AT SOME POINT IN THE NEAR FUTURE, WE MAY CROSS A LINE THAT'S IRREVERSIBLE AND PUT US IN A PLACE SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU'RE SEEING IN EUROPE TODAY. SO ON THE SPENDING SIDE, IT HAS TO HAPPEN. AGAIN, PEOPLE THAT PRETEND THAT WE CAN DO IT OVERNIGHT, OF COURSE NOT. IT TOOK US A LONG TIME TO GET INTO THIS PREDICAMENT. IT'S GOING TO TAKE A WHILE TO GET OUT. BUT WE HAVE TO START TRENDING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. IT'S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT SOME SORT OF SPENDING DISCIPLINE PLAN BE PUT IN PLACE. I DON'T WANT TO GET OVERLY -- THIS IS A POLITICAL PLACE. THE DEBATE IS ALWAYS FRAMED BY POLITICS. I LIKE EVERYONE ELSE HERE FULLY PARTICIPATES IN THE POLITICAL BANTER, BUT TODAY FOR A MOMENT I WANT TO STEP BACK AND JUST SAY THIS. ULTIMATELY, I WANT TO SEE A SOLUTION TO THE SPENDING PLAN, AND I WILL WELCOME THAT SOLUTION IF IT COMES FROM THE WHITE HOUSE, IF IT COMES FROM OUR MINORITY LEADER, IF IT COMES FROM OUR MAJORITY LEADER. I JUST WANT SOMEONE TO STEP UP AND OFFER A PLAN THAT BEGINS TO BRING SPENDING DISCIPLINE UNDER CONTROL. I KNOW I HAVE ENDORSED ONE. IT'S CALLED CUT, CAP AND BALANCE. IT'S OUT THERE NOW. IF THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO DO IT, OFFER IT NOW. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? NOW IS THE TIME TO OFFER IT. IF SOMEONE IN THIS BUILDING HAS A BETTER WAY TO BRING SPENDING UNDER CONTROL, THEN NOW IS THE TIME TO OFFER IT. DON'T NEGOTIATE IN THE SHADOWS. ALL THESE NEGOTIATIONS THAT ARE GOING ON, WE'RE HEARING ABOUT IN THE PRESS, WHERE'S THE PLAN, WHERE IS THE DOCUMENT THAT TELLS US AND SHOWS US HOW YOU BRING SPENDING UNDER CONTROL? BECAUSE NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOW IT. NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? THAT'S ON THE SPENDING SIDE. BUT SPENDING CUTS ARE IMPORTANT, THEY ARE ESSENTIAL, WE CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT IT. WE CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT FISCAL SPENDING DISCIPLINE. BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH. WE ALSO HAVE TO GROW. WE HAVE TO GROW. AND THAT'S WHERE THE CRUX OF THIS DEBATE HAS REALLY GOTTEN. YOU HEAR IN THE PRESS THIS FIGHT IS BECAUSE CERTAIN PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO RAISE TAXES ON CERTAIN PEOPLE, AND THAT'S REALLY NOT WHAT THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT. I THINK EVERYONE AGREES THAT WE NEED GROWTH. GOVERNMENT NEEDS GROWTH IN ITS REVENUE SO IT HAS A WAY TO PAY DOWN THIS DEBT. THE DEBATE IS ABOUT WHERE DOES THIS REVENUE COME FROM? SOME ARGUE THE WAY YOU GET MORE MONEY FOR GOVERNMENT IS YOU RAISE TAXES ON PEOPLE. YOU RAISE TAXES ON REALLY RICH PEOPLE. AND I HAVE TWO PROBLEMS WITH THAT. NEITHER ONE IS IDEOLOGICAL. MY FIRST PROBLEM IS IT DOESN'T WORK. YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY RAISE TAXES HIGH ENOUGH TO COLLECT ENOUGH MONEY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE ON THE DEBT. I LOOKED AT SOME OF THE TAX INCREASES THAT THE PRESIDENT AND OTHERS HAVE PROPOSED. IT ADDS UP TO LESS THAN TEN DAYS OF DEFICIT SPENDING. EVEN IF YOU RAISE THE TAXES OF WHAT THEY DEFINE AS RICH TO 100% NEXT YEAR, IT'S STILL NOT ENOUGH MONEY JUST FOR ONE YEAR'S DEFICIT. AND SO TAX INCREASES DON'T WORK BECAUSE THEY DON'T WORK. THEY DON'T GENERATE ENOUGH MONEY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. AND THE SECOND REASON WHY I CAN'T SUPPORT TAX INCREASES IS BECAUSE IT WILL KILL JOBS. AND THIS DEBT THING IS A HUGE ISSUE. IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT, BUT THE JOBS ISSUE IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT. THE NUMBER-ONE ISSUE IN WASHINGTON IS THE DEBT, AND RIGHTFULLY SO. IT'S A HUGE, ENORMOUS GENERATIONAL ISSUE, BUT UNEMPLOYMENT IS THE NUMBER-ONE ISSUE IN AMERICA. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE THAT HAVE WORKED HARD THEIR ENTIRE LIVES, THAT WENT TO SCHOOL, THAT DID EVERYTHING THAT WAS ASKED OF THEM, AND NOW THEY GO OUT INTO THE JOB MARKET AND THEY CAN'T FIND A JOB. IT'S ESPECIALLY ASTONISHING AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE. 25, 30 YEARS OF AGE. THEY WENT TO COLLEGE, THEY GOT THEIR DEGREE. NOW THEY ARE OUT THERE TRYING TO FIND A JOB AND THEY CAN'T FIND ONE. CERTAINLY NOT FOR WHAT THEY STUDIED TO BE. WE HAVE TO GET THAT TURNED AROUND. EVERY OTHER PROBLEM WE FACE IN OUR COUNTRY, THE HOUSING CRISIS, ALL THESE OTHER PROBLEMS BECOME EASIER TO DEAL WITH IF YOU HAVE MORE PEOPLE WORKING, PEOPLE MAKING MONEY, PEOPLE PAYING THEIR TAXES, PEOPLE SPENDING MONEY INTO THE ECONOMY. UNEMPLOYMENT IS WHAT WE HAVE TO GET AT. AND YOU'RE NOT GOING TO CREATE JOBS BY TAX INCREASES. AND IF SOMEONE IN THIS BUILDING, IF SOMEONE IN WASHINGTON HAS A TAX INCREASE THAT CREATES JOBS, I INVITE YOU TO OFFER IT. WE'RE ALL EARS. RIGHT NOW. IF SOMEONE IN WASHINGTON HAS A TAX INCREASE THAT HELPS CREATE JOBS, THEN NOW IS THE TIME TO OFFER IT. I WOULD SUBMIT TO YOU YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FIND ONE. BECAUSE THERE ARE NO TAX INCREASES THAT WILL CREATE JOBS. AND IF YOU DON'T CREATE JOBS AND YOU DON'T GROW THIS ECONOMY, THERE IS NO WAY OUT OF THIS DEBT. YOU CANNOT CUT YOUR WAY OUT OF IT AND YOU CERTAINLY CAN'T TAX YOUR WAY OUT OF IT. DOES THAT MEAN WE DON'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT TAXES, AS I HEAR SOME COMMENTATORS SAYING IN THE PRESS? OF COURSE NOT. OUR TAX CODE IS BROKEN. THERE ARE A BUNCH OF THING IN THE TAX CODE THAT DO NOT BELONG THERE, AND I THINK THERE IS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, WHETHER THE MEDIA TRIES TO IGNORE IT OR NOT, I THINK THERE IS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN THE SENATE, IN THE HOUSE, IN WASHINGTON FOR TAX REFORM. TAX REFORM, WE CAN GET DONE. TAX REFORM MEANS WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THE TAX CODE, AND IF THERE ARE THINGS IN THE TAX CODE THAT ARE THERE BECAUSE SOMEBODY HIRED A LOBBYIST AND GOT IT PUT IN THE TAX CODE BUT IT'S NOT REALLY GOOD POLICY, IT SHOULDN'T BE IN THERE. AND IF WE FIND ENOUGH OF THOSE UNFAIR THINGS IN THE TAX CODE, THEN WE CAN LOWER EVERYBODY'S RATES. WE CAN MAKE THE RATES FLAT. WE CAN MAKE THE TAX CODE SIMPLER AND EASIER TO COMPLY WITH. AND THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD AIM AT. BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT JOB CREATORS TELL US. I MEAN, I SWEAR TO YOU, I HAVE NEVER MET A JOB CREATOR THAT TOLD ME THAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A STATE WITH HIGH TAXES AND BURDENSOME REGULATIONS. I HAVE NEVER MET ONE. THERE MAY BE ONE. AND AGAIN, I INVITE ANYONE HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., TO PRODUCE FOR US A JOB CREATOR, A COMPANY OR AN INDIVIDUAL WHO SAYS THAT WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR IS THEY ARE LOOKING TO OPEN A BUSINESS SOMEPLACE WHERE THE TAXES ARE HIGH AND DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND AND THE REGULATIONS ARE EXPENSIVE TO COMPLY WITH. BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE IN AMERICA. YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY JOBS AREN'T BEING CREATED? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE IN AMERICA. SO IF SOMEONE KNOWS OF A JOB CREATOR ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD THAT'S LOOKING FOR A HIGH, COMPLEX TAX ENVIRONMENT OR LOOKING FOR A HIGH REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT, I WOULD LIKE TO MEET THEM. BECAUSE I HAVE YET TO MEET A JOB CREATOR THAT'S LOOKING FOR THAT, AND THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE. I WOULD SUBMIT TO YOU THAT THERE IS SUPPORT, THERE IS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR THE IDEA OF TAX REFORM, OF SIMPLIFYING OUR TAX CODE, OF MAKING IT EASIER TO COMPLY WITH. IF WE DO IT THE RIGHT WAY, OF LOWERING EVERYBODY'S TAX RATES, SO THAT PEOPLE HAVE MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKET TO SPEND INTO THE ECONOMY, TO GROW THEIR BUSINESS, TO START A NEW BUSINESS, BECAUSE THAT'S HOW JOBS ARE CREATED. I I KNOW THAT ALL OF US WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT SENATORS AND PRESIDENTS CREATE JOBS. NOT OUTSIDE THIS BUILDING THEY DON'T. JOBS ARE CREATED WHEN EVERYDAY PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO TODAY? I'M GOING TO OPEN UP A BUSINESS IN THE SPARE BEDROOM OF MY HOME OR OUT OF THE GARAGE OR WHEN SOMEONE HAS AN EXISTING BUSINESS AN DECIDES, I WANT TO GROW THIS BIRKS I WANT TO HIRE A COUPLE MORE PEOPLE BECAUSE I HAVE A BELIEF THAT THIS BUSINESS CAN DO BETTER. WE NEED TO GET PEOPLE EXCITED ABOUT DOING THAT AGAIN. YOU ARE NEAT GOING TO DO THAT IF OUR TAXES AND REGULATIONS ARE OUT OF CONTROL. SO LET'S BEGIN TO FOCUS ON SOME OF THE THANKS THERE HAS TO BE AGREEMENT ON. AND THERE ARE TWO THINGS: WE MUST -- WE MUST CONTROL OUR SPENDING, AND WE MUST PUT A PLAN IN PLACE THAT SHOWS THE WORLD HOW AMERICA WOULD BRING ITS SPENDING UNDER CONTROL, AND WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO GROW OUR ECONOMY, AND YOU ASK ANY JOB CREATOR IN THE REAL WORLD, YOU ASK ANY JOB CREATOR IN THE REAL WORLD, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR TO GROW YOUR ECONOMY -- TO CREATE JOBS AND THEY'LL TELL YOU, WE'RE LOOKING FOR CONFIDENCE. AND WE GET CONFIDENCE FROM KNOWING THAT REGULATIONS ARE PREDICTABLE AND EASY TO COMPLY WITH, AND THE TAX CODE IS PREDICTABLE, AFFORDABLE, AND EASY TO COMPLY W I SUBMIT, IF WE FOCUS ON THOSE THINGS AND NOT ALL THE OTHER SHOIS NOISE THAT GOES ON IN THE BACK AND FORTH OF THIS PLACE, WE CAN ACTUALLY START MOFERG TOWARDS A SOLUTION. THE LAST POINT I WOULD MAKE IS THE WORD "COMPROMISE" IS A VERY POPULAR WORD AROUND HERE. AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH COMPROMISE, SO LONG AS THE COMPROMISE ALSO HAPPENS TO BE A SOLUTION, BECAUSE IF YOUR COMPROMISE DOESN'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM, YOU'VE JUST CREATED A NEW PROBLEM. NOTHING WRONG WITH COMPROMISE. MAYBE YOUR IDEAS OF TAX REFORM ARE DIFFERENT FROM MY IDEAS OF TAX REFORTUNATELY. BUT ULTIMATELY WE HAVE TO SOLVE THE BROKEN TASM TAX CODE. SO COMPROMISE IS NOT A DIRTY WORD UNLESS THE COMPROMISE MAKES IT WORSE, NOT BETTER. TOO OFTENTIMES IN POLITICS COMPROMISE LEADS TO THINGS THAT MAKE THINGS WORSE, NOT BETTER. AND IF YOU RAISE TAXES IN THIS ECONOMY WITH 9% UNEMPLOYMENT, YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE THINGS WORSE, NOT BETTER. SO I HOPE THAT WE WILL RALLY IN A BIPARTISAN FASHION AROUND THE CONCEPT OF TAX REFORM, OF CREATING A TAX CODE IN AMERICA THAT ENCOURAGES PEOPLE TO CREATE JOBS HERE ONCE AGAIN. BECAUSE IF WE CAN SOLVE THE JOBS ISSUE, THE UNUNEMPLOYMENT ISSUE, ALL HAS TO OTHER ISSUES THAT WE FACE AS A NATION BECOME EASIER TO DEAL W WITH THAT, I THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION, MR. PRESIDENT. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:47:57 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:48:11 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:29:32 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH. OFFICER WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:29:35 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    10 UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S…

    10 UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THESE REQUESTS BE AGREED TO AND THESE REQUESTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 11:29:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:29:48 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK UP TO TEN MINUTES AS IF IN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK UP TO TEN MINUTES AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 11:29:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:29:56 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    GETTING DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO THE AUGUST 2 DEADLINE. THE AUGUST 2 DEADLINE…

    GETTING DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO THE AUGUST 2 DEADLINE. THE AUGUST 2 DEADLINE IS THE DEADLINE FOR AMERICA TO INCREASE ITS DEBT LIMIT OR TO FACE DEFAULT ON OUR OBLIGATIONS. WE ARE -- WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER. WE NEED TO INCREASE THE DEBT LIPT AND THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US ALSO TO MANAGE OUR DEBT. WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS FOR A WHILE. AND I UNDERSTAND -- I THINK MY COLLEAGUES UNDERSTAND THAT THE RESPONSIBLE THING FOR US TO DO IS TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INCREASE THE DEBT LIMIT, TO ALSO GIVE US A GAME PLAN TO MANAGE OUR NATIONAL DEBT AND SPENDING. WE NEED TO HAVE A CREDIBLE PLAN. OUR DEBT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. WE CAN'T CONTINUE ALONG THIS PATH. WE UNDERSTAND THAT. AND WE HAVE TO HAVE A CREDIBLE PLAN TO MANAGE OUR DEFICIT. QUITE FRANKLY, MR. PRESIDENT, THE DEMOCRATS HAVE COME UP WITH THESE PLANS. THE PROPOSAL OFFERED BY SENATOR CONRAD, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, AND SUPPORTED BY ALL THE DEMOCRATS ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE -- AND I'M PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF THAT COMMITTEE -- BRINGS FORWARD A CREDIBLE PROPOSAL THAT HAS ALL THE ELEMENTS OF OUR BUDGET ON THE TABLE. IT REDUCES GOVERNMENT SPENDING. IT DEALS WITH PROTECTING THE PRIORITIES THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR AMERICA'S GROWTH: INVEST IN EDUCATION, INVEST IN INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE SO WE CAN CREATE THE JOBS NECESSARY FOR AMERICA'S PROSPERITY. THAT'S WHAT THAT BUDGET DOES. AND IT BRINGS ABOUT MORE DEFICIT REDUCTION THAN THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET, BRINGING OUR DEBT UNDER CONTROL. WELL, WE UNDERSTAND THAT WE NEED A BIPARTISAN BUDGET. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE JUST WHAT THE DEMOCRATS WANT. THAT'S WHAT THE POLITICAL PROCESS IS ALL ABOUT. MIDTERM ELECTIONS, THE HOUSE IS CONTROLLED BY REPUBLICANS. THE SENATE HAS A -- HAS A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY. WE'VE GOT TO COME TOGETHER. SO WHAT MANY OF US HAVE SAID IN THIS BODY, WELL, OKAY, LET'S USE THE BIPARTISAN BOWLES-SIMPSON PROPOSAL AS A STARTING POINT. THAT HAS ALL THE ELEMENTS ON THE TABLE, INCLUDING MANDATORY SPENDING AND INCLUDING DOING A BETTER JOB ON REVENUES. WELL, OKAY, THAT'S A BIPARTISAN PROPOSAL. DEMOCRATS HAVE SAID, WE'RE WILLING TO WORK AND COME OUT WITH WHAT WE CALL THE GRAND DEAL, THE DEAL THAT WILL REALLY MANAGE OUR DEBT AND ALL ELEMENTS OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET WILL BE ON THE TABLE AS WE TALK ABOUT THAT. BUT, MR. PRESIDENT, THERE'S ONE OPTION THAT SHOULD NOT BE ON THE TABLE AND THAT OPTION IS TO ALLOW AUGUST 2 TO PASS WITHOUT INCREASING THE DEBT LIMIT. IN OTHER WORDS, TO PERMIT AMERICA TO DEFAULT ON ITS OBLIGATIONS. THAT'S ONE OPTION THAT CANNOT BE ON THE TABLE. AND, QUITE FRANKLY, WHAT CONCERNS ME, THERE SEEMS TO BE A GROWING NUMBER OF REPUBLICANS WHO SAY THAT IS AN OPTION, THAT'S OKAY. IT WOULD BE ALL RIGHT FOR US TO PASS AUGUST 2 WITHOUT INCREASING THE DEBT LIMIT. LET ME QUOTE, IF I MIGHT, FROM DAVID BROOKS, THE CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST WHO SAID -- AND I QUOTE -- "THE REPUBLICAN PARTY MAY NO LONGER BE A NORMAL PARTY. OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, IT HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY A FACTION THAT IS MORE A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROTEST THAN A PRACTICAL GOVERNING ALTERNATIVE. THE MEMBERS OF THIS MOVEMENT DO NOT ACCEPT THE LOGIC OF COMPROMISE. NO MATTER HOW SWEET THE TERMS. IF YOU ASK THEM TO RAISE TAXES BY AN INCH IN ORDER TO CUT GOVERNMENT BY A FOOT, THEY'LL SAY NO. IF YOU ASK THEM TO RAISE TAXES BY AN INCH TO CUT GOVERNMENT BY A YARD, THEY'LL SAY NO. THE MEMBERS OF THIS MOVEMENT DO NOT ACCEPT THE LEGITIMACY OF SCHOLARS OR INTELLECTUAL AUTHORITIES. A THOUSAND IMPARTIAL EXPERTS MAY TELL THEM THAT A DEFAULT ON THE DEBT WOULD HAVE CALAMITOUS EFFECTS FAR WORSE THAN RAISING REVENUES A BIT, BUT THE MEMBERS OF THIS MOVEMENT REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT." I KNOW THAT THE MAJORITY LEADER IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MR. KANTOR, TELLS US THAT THERE'S NO COMPROMISE THAT CAN PASS AT THE PRESENT TIME IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. I DON'T ACCEPT THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. I THINK DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS WORKING TOGETHER IN THE HOUSE CAN PASS A GRAND DEAL. UNDER THE PARAMETERS THAT HAVE BEEN TALKED ABOUT AT THE WHITE HOUSE. BUT WHAT MR. KANTOR NEEDS TO DO IS TO WORK WITH THE DEMOCRATS AS WELL AS THE REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. WE'VE GOT TO COME TOGETHER, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. BUT THE ONE PART OF THE OPTION THAT SHOULD NOT BE ON THE TABLE IS ALLOW US TO PASS AUGUST THE 2nd WITHOUT RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT. LET ME TALK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES. I'VE SAID I BELIEVE THERE ARE CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES AND I BELIEVE THAT. WE KNOW THAT IT IS LIKELY, ALMOST CERTAIN THAT THE RATING HOUSES WILL DOWNGRADE AMERICA'S CURRENCY FROM THE MOST SECURE CURRENCY IN THE WORLD. WE WOULD BE DOWNGRADED. IT RUNS THE REAL RISK AS TO WHETHER THE DOLLAR WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE GLOBAL CURRENCY. RIGHT NOW, MANY INTERNATIONAL TRANSACTIONS ARE RELATED IN DOLLARS. WE KNOW THAT AS FAR AS ENERGY, ET CETERA. ALL OF A SUDDEN ON AUGUST THE 3rd, WE RUN THE RISK THAT THE AMERICAN DOLLAR WOULD NO LONGER BE THE GLOBAL CURRENCY, HAVING MAJOR IMPACT ON THE U.S. ECONOMY. J.P. MORGAN TELLS US THAT WE CAN EXPECT AN IMMEDIATE INCREASE IN INTEREST COSTS OF 75 TO 100 BASIS POINTS. NOW, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WELL, FOR THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS COUNTRY, IT MEANS THAT IT'S GOING TO COST MORE MONEY FOR US TO PAY FOR OUR BORROWING. THAT WILL RAISE THE COST OF INTEREST PAYMENTS, WHICH I WOULD SUGGEST ARE NOT VERY PRODUCTIVE USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS. CAUSING TAXPAYERS TO HAVE TO PAY MORE FOR OUR BORROWING. BUT IT GOES WELL BEYOND THE FEDERAL TAXPAYERS. IT AFFECTS EVERY FAMILY IN AMERICA. THE ESTIMATES THAT THE EFFECT OF THE INCREASE IN U.S. OBLIGATIONS ON INTEREST RATES WILL HAVE AN EFFECT ON ALL BORROWING. SO IF YOU'RE BUYING A HOME, YOU CAN EXPECT THAT THE INTEREST COSTS WILL INCREASE BY ABOUT $1,000 A YEAR IN YOUR COST OF TRYING TO BUY A HOME. YOU'RE A CREDIT CARDHOLDER, YOU CAN EXPECT YOUR INTEREST RATES TO GO UP ABOUT $250 A YEAR. THAT'S THE EFFECT IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO EVERY AMERICAN FAMILY IF WE PASS AUGUST 2 WITHOUT INCREASING OUR DEBT LIMIT. IF YOU HAVE MONEY IN THE STOCK MARKET, YOU CAN EXPECT THAT THERE WILL BE A REDUCTION IN THE VALUE OF YOUR WEALTH. WE SAW THAT HAPPEN ONCE BEFORE WHEN RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS' VALUES SLIPPED DRAMATICALLY. WE RUN THE RISK OF HAVING THAT HAPPEN AGAIN IF WE PASS AUGUST 2 WITHOUT INCREASING THE DEBT LIMIT. THE IMPACT IT WILL HAVE ON OUR ECONOMY, ON JOBS, WE EXPECT THAT IT WILL CLEARLY HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OUR JOB MARKET. WE WILL LOSE JOBS AND WE VERY MUCH -- VERY WELL MAY GO BACK INTO RECESSION. THAT'S WHY THIS IS CATASTROPHIC IF WE DON'T DEAL WITH THE DEBT LIMIT IN A MATURE WAY. LET ME JUST GIVE YOU THE NUMBERS, MR. PRESIDENT, IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST, WE EXPECT THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ABOUT $172 BILLION OF REVENUE COMING INTO OUR TREASURY BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE $360 BILLION OF BILLS COMING IN, SPENDING THAT WE'VE ALREADY INCURRED THAT WE HAVE TO PAY FOR. SO THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY, WELL, WE COULD JUST PICK WHICH BILLS WE WANT TO PAY AND LET THE OTHERS JUST GO. WELL, THEY SAY, WE'LL HAVE SOME WINNERS AND LOSERS. WELL, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ALL LOSERS. BECAUSE YOU JUST CAN'T PICK THE WINNERS AND LOSERS. THERE ARE SOME WHO SAY, WELL, OBVIOUSLY WE'LL PAY THE INTEREST ON THE NATIONAL DEBT. WELL, OKAY, WE PAY THAT. HOW ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY? AND HOW LONG CAN WE PAY SOCIAL SECURITY? AND IF WE DON'T PAY SOCIAL SECURITY, WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE ON FIXED INCOME? OR IF WE REDUCE THE SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS, HOW DOES SOMEONE WHO HAS PLANNED THEIR -- THEIR MONTHLY BENEFITS -- THEIR MONTHLY BUDGET, HOW DO THEY MANAGE WITH GETTING, SAY, 40% LESS IN THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK IN AUGUST? HOW DO THEY HANDLE THEIR OBLIGATIONS? AND THEN WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT MEDICARE? DO WE CONTINUE TO PAY MEDICARE AT 100%? WELL, WE ASSUME WE'RE GOING TO RUN OUT OF MONEY. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT OUR MILITARY, OUR SOLDIERS, WHO WE ALL SAY WE WANT TO SUPPORT? DO WE CONTINUE THEIR SALARIES OR DO WE REDUCE THEIR AMOUNTS BY, SAY,40%? IF HE WITH PAY ALL OF THOSE, THEN THERE'S -- IF WE PAY ALL OF THOSE, THEN THERE'S NO MONEY TO PAY VETERANS BENEFITS, AND WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR VETERANS WHO ARE DEPENDING ON THEIR CHECKS IN ORDER TO MEET THEIR OBLIGATIONS. WHAT DO WE TELL OUR STUDENTS WHO ARE PLANNING TO GO TO SCHOOL IN THE FALL ABOUT THEIR PELL GRANTS, THAT THEIR PELL GRANTS AREN'T GOING TO BE AVAILABLE AND MAYBE THEY CAN'T GO TO SCHOOL IN THE FALL? THEY HAVE TO MAKE PLANS RIGHT NOW. AND WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS WHO ARE DEPENDING UPON THEIR CONTRACTS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN ORDER TO MAKE THEIR PAYROLL? ARE THEIR -- ARE THEIR -- IS THEIR MONEY GOING TO BE COMING IN ON AUGUST 3? WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, WE CAN'T PAY THOSE BILLS UNLESS WE RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO ABOUT INCREASED OBLIGATIONS OF THIS COUNTRY. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SPENDING THAT WE'VE ALREADY INCURRED, THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN OBLIGATED AND NOW THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ENTITLED TO THE MONEY ARE ASKING FOR THEIR CHECKS. WHAT DO WE DO ON AUGUST THE 3rd? WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I DON'T BELIEVE WE HAVE A CHOICE. I THINK WE MUST INCREASE THE DEBT LIMIT. I DON'T THINK THAT'S AN OPTION. NO RESPONSIBLE LEGISLATOR WOULD CONSIDER THAT TO BE AN OPTION. NOW, YES, LET'S USE THAT OPPORTUNITY TO MANAGE OUR DEFICIT. I STILL HOLD OUT HOPE THAT WE CAN GET THIS GRAND DEAL. IT'S GOT TO BE FAIR. IT'S GOT TO BE BALANCED. IT'S GOT TO ALLOW AMERICA TO GROW. IT'S GOT TO ALLOW US TO CREATE MORE JOBS. IT'S GOT TO INVEST IN EDUCATION AND INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE SO AMERICA CAN COMPETE. WE KNOW WE CAN GET THAT DONE IF WE USE A BALANCED APPROACH. REDUCE GOVERNMENT SPENDING AT ALL LEVELS, INCLUDING THE MILITARY, AS WE BRING OUR TROOPS HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN. AND, YES, IT NEEDS TO LOOK AT THE MONEY THAT WE SPEND THROUGH OUR TAX CODE -- AND WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WE NEED TO HAVE A BALANCED APPROACH, A CREDIBLE APPROACH TO MANAGE OUR DEBT. AND THAT SHOULD BE OUR FIRST OPTION. BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD WE ALLOW AMERICA TO DEFAULT ON ITS OBLIGATIONS, CAUSING HARM TO EVERY AMERICAN FAMILY. I URGE-COLLEAGUES TO PUT THE NATIONAL -- I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO PUT THE NATIONAL INTERESTS FIRST, TO TAKE OFF THE TABLE THE DEFAULT ON OUR DEBT, TAKE THAT OFF THE TABLE, LET'S PUT THE NATIONAL INTEREST FIRST, WORK TOGETHER TO BRING ABOUT A CREDIBLE PLAN TO MANAGE OUR NATIONAL DEBT. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE AN -- BEFORE I DO THAT, I WOULD SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:41:27 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 11:41:47 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:06:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 12:06:10 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:06:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:06:22 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:13:43 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 12:20 P.M., THE SENATE…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 12:20 P.M., THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2055, THE MILITARY CONSTRUCTION CONSTRUCTION-VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION BILL. FURTHER, THAT FOLLOWING THE OPENING REMARKS OF THE TWO MANAGERS OF THE BILL, SENATOR SESSIONS BE RECOGNIZED TO RAISE A 303C BUDGET ACT POINT OF ORDER, THAT SENATOR JOHNSON BE RECOGNIZED TO WAIVE THE APPLICABLE PORTIONS OF THE BUDGET ACT AND THAT THERE BE FOUR HOURS OF DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN SENATORS JOHNSON AND SESSIONS OR THEIR DESIGNEE PRIOR TO A VOTE ON CLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE. PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT IF CLOTURE IS INVOKED, THE SENATE IMMEDIATELY PROCEED TO A VOTE ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE.

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  • 12:14:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:14:24 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    PRESIDENT, RESUMING MY REMARKS. THAT MEANS I HAVE EIGHT MINUTES AND I MAY…

    PRESIDENT, RESUMING MY REMARKS. THAT MEANS I HAVE EIGHT MINUTES AND I MAY NOT USE ALL OF THEM. WHAT WE'RE DOING IN THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY IS NEGOTIATING WITH LEADERS IN CONGRESS, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, AND THE PRESIDENT TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING BECAUSE MANY OF US BELIEVE IT WOULD BE DISASTROUS IF WE WOULD DEFAULT ON OUR DEBT. WE'D CALL INTO QUESTION THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND AT THE END OF THE DAY FIND OURSELVES WITH A SELF-INFLICTED WOUND TO THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, RAISING INTEREST RATES, AND MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO COME OUT OF THIS RECESSION. WE'RE TRYING TO REACH AN AGREEMENTANAGREEMENT AND IT'S BEEN HARD GOING. WE'VE HAD FIVE FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS. IT'S BEEN REPORTED IN THE NEWS THAT IT'S BEEN CONTENTIOUS AND IT IS. THE PRESIDENT BELIEVES IT IS IN OUR INTEREST TO GET AMERICANS BACK TO WORK. WE SHOULD NOT DO ANYTHING IN THE COURSE OF OUR BUSINESS THAT WOULD MAKE THAT MORE DIFFICULT. I COULDN'T AGREE WITH HIM MORE. THE HIGHEST PRIORITY IN AMERICA IS PUTTING AMERICANS BACK TO WORK IN GOOD-PAYING JOBS RIGHT HERE AT HOME. THE HIGHEST PRIORITY IN AMERICA IS ALLOWING SMALL BUSINESSES TO EXPAND TO, DO MORE BUSINESS AND HIRE MORE PEOPLE. THAT'S WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE ABOUT. IF WE FAIL TO EXTEND THE DEBT CEILING, IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT TO REACH THOSE GOALS. I LISTEN AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES OF THE OTHER PARTY IN IOWA SAY IT DOESN'T MATTER. DEFAULT ON THE DEBT. LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS. THAT IS THE MOST -- LET ME THINK OF A GOOD WORD HERE -- NAIVE COMMENT ON OUR ECONOMY THAT I CAN IMAGINE. AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING IT HAVE NO BUSINESS ASPIRING TO THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE LAND. WE NEED TO ACCEPT THIS RESPONSIBILITY AND DEAL WITH THIS DEBT CEILING HONESTLY. WE NEED TO EXTEND IT SO THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THE CREDIT RATING AND FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND SECONDLY, WE NEED TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT THIS DEFICIT. MADAM PRESIDENT, I KNOW YOU HAVE STRONG PERSONAL FEELINGS. YOU INTRODUCED LEGISLATION DEALING WITH THIS DEFICIT AND HOW WE CAN COPE WITH IT HERE IN THE SENATE AND IN THE HOUSE. I'VE BEEN PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S DEFICIT COMMISSION. I'VE BEEN ENGAGED WITH COLLEAGUES OF BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES ON HOW TO TAKE IT FURTHER. OUR GOAL IS VERY SIMPLY STATED. I BELIEVE, AND THOSE WHO ARE ENGAGED IN THESE CONVERSATIONS BELIEVE, WE CAN REDUCE THE DEBT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY UP TO $4 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. WE CAN DO IT IN A SENSIBLE, THOUGHTFUL WAY, WITH SHARED SACRIFICE ACROSS AMERICA. WE NEED TO PUT EVERYTHING -- UNDERLINE THE WORD "EVERYTHING" -- ON THE TABLE. SPEND PROGRAMS START. THAT'S THE START. WE GO TO THEM AND ROUTE OUT WHAT WE CONSIDER TO BE WASTEFUL, UNNECESSARY, FRAUDULENT AND ABUSIVE PRACTICES IN OUR SPENDING, WHETHER IT'S IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OR IN ANY OTHER AGENCY OF GOVERNMENT. WHEN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CAME BEFORE THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION, WE ASKED THEM HOW MANY PRIVATE CONTRACTORS WORKED FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, AND THEIR ANSWER WAS, "WE HAVE NO IDEA." GIVE US A RANGE, WE SAID. THE RANGE IS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ONE MILLION AND NINE MILLION PEOPLE WORKING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, MAYBE. THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE. WE CAN DO BETTER. OUR BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM DESERVE BETTER AND THE TAXPAYERS DESERVE BETTER. SO WE PUT ALL SPENDING ON THE TABLE. REDUCING SPENDING WHERE WE CAN, WHERE WE MUST TO MOVE TOWARD $4 TRILLION IN DEFICIT REDUCTION. THEN WE PUT ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS ON THE TABLE, AND THIS IS WHERE MANY DEMOCRATS GET NERVOUS BECAUSE YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT MEAN A LOT TO US: SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE AND MEDICAID, FOR EXAMPLE. I AM AS COMMITTED TO THOSE PROGRAMS AS ANY MEMBER OF THE SENATE. AND I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN PROTECT THE BASIC BENEFITS UNDER THOSE PROGRAMS AND STILL FIND WAYS TO MAKE THEM STRONGER AND LONGER. SOCIAL SECURITY UNTOUCHED WILL MAKE EVERY PROMISED PAYMENT WITH COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS FOR THE NEXT 25 YEARS. YOU CAN'T SAY THAT ABOUT MUCH IN WASHINGTON. YOU CAN'T SAY IT ABOUT ANY PROGRAM IN WASHINGTON OTHER THAN SOCIAL SECURITY. BUT WE CAN DO BETTER BY MAKING MINOR, SMALL CHANGES IN SOCIAL SECURITY TODAY AND PUTTING THE SAVINGS BACK IN SOCIAL SECURITY, WE CAN SAY THAT IT WILL LAST FOR 75 YEARS, WHICH MEANS EVERYBODY GOING TO THE WORKPLACE, STARTING THEIR WORK CAREER IN AMERICA WILL KNOW YOU CAN COUNT ON SOCIAL SECURITY TO BE THERE WHEN YOU NEED IT. THAT, I THINK, IS AN ATTAINABLE GOAL. AND IF WE FACE IT HONESTLY, WE CAN DO IT. WHEN I GOT ELECTED IN 1982, CAME TO OFFICE IN 1983, WE WERE FACING BANKRUPTCY IN SOCIAL SECURITY. WE CAME TOGETHER WITH A BIPARTISAN APPROACH AND WE PASSED IT, AND WE BOUGHT LITERALLY 52 YEARS OF SOLVENCY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY. NOT A SINGLE MEMBER OF CONGRESS LOST THE NEXT ELECTION BECAUSE WE DID IT IN A BIPARTISAN FASHION, DETERMINED TO MAKE SOCIAL SECURITY STRONGER. WE CAN DO IT AGAIN. MEDICARE, SAME STORY. MEDICARE, WHICH OF COURSE PROVIDES HEALTH CARE FOR THE ELDERLY AND DISABLED IN AMERICA, IS EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE BECAUSE HEALTH CARE COSTS KEEP GOING UP. ARE THERE WAYS FOR US TO REDUCE THE COST OF MEDICARE SO THAT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DESERVING OF CARE, THE SENIORS AND DISABLED, WILL HAVE IT AVAILABLE TO THEM? MADAM PRESIDENT, ON JANUARY 1 OF THIS YEAR, 9,000 AMERICANS TURNED THE AGE OF 65. ON JANUARY 2, ANOTHER 9 THOUSAND,000 AND EVERY DAY SINCE, AND EVERY DAY FOR THE NEXT 19 YEARS. THE BOOMERS HAVE ARRIVED, AND THEY PAID INTO MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY THEIR ENTIRE LIVES AND THEY EXPECT AMERICA TO KEEP ITS PROMISE, AND WE WILL. BUT WE CAN TAKE A LOOK AT MEDICARE AND FIND WAYS TO MAKE THAT PROGRAM MORE COST EFFICIENT. THERE ARE CERTAINLY WAYS THAT ARE OBVIOUS. UNDER THE MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAM, WE CURRENTLY DON'T HAVE A MEDICARE OPTION. ALL WE HAVE ARE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY OPLGSS. LET MEDICARE BARGAIN WITH PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, BRING DOWN BY BUYING IN BULK AND QUANTITY THE COST OF DRUGS FOR SENIORS ACROSS AMERICA, THUS, REDUCING THEIR COST OUT OF POCKET AND OUR COST AS TAXPAYERS. THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY HATES THAT LIKE THE DEVIL HATES HOLY WATER. BUT THE FACT IS WHEN YOU PUT MEDICARE IN THERE, LIKE THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IS IN THERE, IT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THERE ARE WAYS FOR US TO MOVE FORWARD, AND WE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD TO INCLUDE SPENDING ENTITLEMENTS AND REVENUE. I HOPE WE CAN DO THIS ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:20:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 205 WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 12:21:07 PM

    THE CLERK

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 12:21:20 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 12:21:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 12:21:42 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:33:01 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    TERMINATE THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 12:33:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:33:13 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:38:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 12:38:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 12:38:43 PM

    MR. KIRK

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I FIRST CAME TO CAPITOL HILL IN 1984 DURING RONALD…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I FIRST CAME TO CAPITOL HILL IN 1984 DURING RONALD REAGAN'S FIRST TERM. I BELIEVE IT WAS CHAIRMAN HATFIELD RUNNING THE COMMITTEE ON THE SENATE SIDE AND JAMIE WITTEN ON THE HOUSE SIDE. I CARE VERY MUCH ABOUT THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS AND THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE BECAUSE I THINK WE SPEND LESS WITH A HIGHER DEGREE OF TRANSPARENCY WHEN WE CONSIDER APPROPRIATIONS BILLS IN REGULAR ORDER, AS THIS ONE NOW IS. THIS BILL FUNDS OUR VETERANS PROGRAMS AND OUR MILITARY CONSTRUCTION NEEDS MAINLY FOR THE ACTIVE DUTY AND RESERVE AMERICANS WHO WEAR THE UNIFORM OR WORE THE UNIFORM, UPON WHICH ALL OF OUR FREEDOMS AND THE INDEPENDENCE OF OUR COUNTRY DEPENDS. TODAY THERE ARE OVER 20 MILLION VETERANS AND THIS BILL CARES FOR THEM IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. WE OWE THESE VETERANS JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING FOR OUR INDEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM AND THIS BILL CARES FOR THEM. NOW, WHY IN THIS DIFFICULT AND PARTISAN TIME IS THIS BILL COMING UP IN THIS WAY? AND WHY IS IT THAT WE HAVE EVERY REPUBLICAN ON THE SUBCOMMITTEE AND THE FULL COMMITTEE IN FAVOR OF THIS LEGISLATION? IT'S BECAUSE THE CHAIRMAN MADE THE DECISION THAT I STRONGLY SUPPORTED TO MARK TO THE HOUSE LEVEL. AND WHEN WE MARKED TO THE HOUSE LEVEL, WE OPENED THE DOOR FOR A FULL BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR THIS NEEDED BILL. WE PRESENT TO THE SENATE THIS BILL FOR FULL CONSIDERATION, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ALL OF THE REQUESTS OF MEMBERS IN THEIR BUDGET SUBMISSION. BUT LET ME EMPHASIZE, NOT ONLY ARE WE SLIGHTLY BELOW THE HOUSE SPENDING LEVEL IN DISCRETIONARY BUDGET AUTHORITY, BUT THERE ARE NO EARMARKS IN THIS BILL, REFLECTING THE NEW WAVE OF REFORM THAT HAS COME TO THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE. NOW, WE HAVE MADE A TOUGH SET OF SPENDING DECISIONS IN THIS BILL. WE HAVE COME IN $1.2 BILLION BELOW PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SPENDING REQUEST. WE CAME IN $620 MILLION BELOW LAST YEAR'S LEVEL. AND I WAS A BIT SURPRISED THAT WE WERE ABLE TO DO THIS, AND WE COULD, WE ARE EVEN $2.6 MILLION BELOW THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN APPROVED LEVEL AND THE BILL PUT TOGETHER BY CHAIRMAN CULVERSON. NOW, THIS BILL SPENDS IN DISCRETIONARY BUDGET AUTHORITY LESS THAN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND I WILL JUST POINT OUT THAT WHEN THE HOUSE TOOK UP THIS LEGISLATION, OVER 400 MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, SUPPORTED THIS LEGISLATION AND ONLY FIVE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE VOTED AGAINST THIS LEGISLATION. THAT'S WHY THIS LEGISLATION ENJOYS SUCH TREMENDOUS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT ON OUR SIDE. NOW, THIS BILL WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE OUTSTANDING WORK OF CHAIRMAN JOHNSON AND HIS STAFF. HIS MILITARY EXPERIENCE, MO IMPORTANTLY HIS SON'S MILITARY EXPERIENCE -- AND ON BEHALF OF THE VETERANS OF HIS STATE HE HAS DONE A VERY GOOD JOB WITH MY FULL SUPPORT. WE TAKE CARE OF OUR VETERANS AND THEIR BENEFITS, THEIR HEALTH CARE, THE CONSTRUCTION OF MEDICAL FACILITIES IN THIS LEGISLATION. MR. PRESIDENT, MANY -- MADAM PRESIDENT, MANY VETERANS LIVE IN URBAN AREAS BUT ALSO A GREAT MANY LIVE IN RURAL AND EVEN HIGHLY RURAL AREAS, AND THIS BILL PAYS ATTENTION TO THEIR NEEDS THANKS TO THE CHAIRMAN AND ALSO I WANT TO HIGHLIGHT THE WORK OF THE SENATOR FROM ALASKA, LISA MURKOWSKI, IN THE DECISIONS WE MADE IN THIS BILL TO MAKE SURE THAT VETERANS WHO LIVE IN THE STATE OF ALASKA, MAY NOT IN MANY CASES NOW NEED TO LEAVE THE STATE FOR THEIR VETERANS CARE. WE HAVE ALSO WORKED DILIGENTLY WITH OUR VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS, AND I WOULD HIGHLIGHT THAT THIS BILL HAS NOW BEEN ENDORSED BY THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS, BY AMVETS, BY THE PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA, THE DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS, AND THE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA. I TAKE THE LAST ENDORSEMENT VERY CLOSELY, HAVING AS A RESERVIST SERVED IN AFGHANISTAN MYSELF. NOW, CHAIRMAN JOHNSON HIGHLIGHTED THE FUNDING LEVELS IN THIS BILL, WHICH I THINK ARE QUITE IMPORTANT. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT SEVERAL POLICY ISSUES IN THIS BILL. NUMBER ONE, ORIGINALLY THE ADMINISTRATION, OUR COMMANDER IN SOUTH KOREA, PUT FORWARD AN IDEA TO BRING ALMOST 50,000 AMERICAN DEPENDENTS TO SOUTH KOREA TO BUILD HOMES AND HOSPITALS AND SCHOOLS, BUT THE COST COULD BE UPWARDS OF OVER $20 BILLION TO TRANSFER THIS MANY AMERICANS TO THE KOREAN PENINSULA. GIVEN THE TIME OF DEFICITS AND DEBT, GIVEN THIS ENORMOUS BILL, I THINK D.O.D. IS RETHINKING THIS PROPOSAL, AS THEY WISELY SHOULD, AND I THINK THIS BILL LAYS OUT A SET OF CONCERNS OVER WHERE WE GO WITH SUCH A SPENDING DECISION. WITH REGARD TO GUANTANAMO, VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, ORIGINALLY THERE WAS A PROPOSAL TO TRANSFER THE AL QAEDA CORE OF TERRORISTS TO MY STATE, TO THOMPSON, ILLINOIS. THIS BILL WISELY CONCLUDES THE OVERWHELMINGLY PROVISION PROHIBITING CONSTRUCTION OR RENOVATION OF ANY FACILITY IN THE UNITED STATES OR ITS TERRITORIES FOR INDIVIDUALS DETAINED AT GUANTANAMO BAY. WITH REGARD TO GUAM, WHILE THE NAVY IS ATTEMPTING TO MOVE MORE THAN 17,000 MARINES AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM OKINAWA TO GUAM, THE PLAN THAT CHAIRMAN JOHNSON AND I HAVE SEEN HAS SERIOUS PROBLEMS AND, THEREFORE, THERE ARE NO PROJECTS IN THIS BILL ASSOCIATED WITH THIS VERY COMPLICATED MOVE. WE DID FUND THE AIR FORCE REQUEST FOR PROJECTS RELATED TO THE STRIKE CAPABILITY FOR THE BEDDOWN OF STRIKE AND INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES, BUT THE REST WE ARE LOOKING FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON. ALSO WITH REGARD TO OUR MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE IN GERMANY, WE BELIEVE THERE IS A BETTER NEED FOR ACCOUNTING AND FUNDS AND THAT WE PROVIDE FOR FACILITIES. AS A RESULT, WE CUT ABOUT $37 MILLION FROM REQUESTED PROJECTS. WITH REGARD TO CHARTER SCHOOLS, IMPROVING EDUCATION FOR OUR MILITARY FAMILIES, THE CHILDREN OF SERVICE MEMBERS, WE THINK, HAVE A UNIQUE SITUATION AND FEWER CHOICES WHEN CHOOSING SCHOOLS, AND SO WE'VE ASKED THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO CONDUCT A STUDY AND TELL THIS COMMITTEE WHERE CHARTER SCHOOLS COULD MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE. I WILL HIGHLIGHT HERE MY WORK WITH MY FELLOW SENATOR, SENATOR DURBIN, OR POTENTIAL CHARTER SCHOOL OPERATIONS SERVING THE MEN AND WOMEN AND THE FAMILIES OF THE GREAT LAKES COMMUNITY IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS. I RAISED THE ONE PARTICULAR ISSUE IMPORTANT TO ME, WHICH IS THAT OVER TIME WE ARE PLANNING ON SPENDING UPWARDS OF $20 BILLION, AS WE SHOULD, ON A NEW FACILITIES FOR GUAM. BUT I THINK THAT IF WE ARE GOING TO MAKE THAT KIND OF INVESTMENT IN GUAM, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE FACILITIES ARE THERE WHEN THE UNITED STATES NEEDS THEM MOST IN A MILITARY CAPACITY, WHICH IS DURING COMBAT. THAT'S WHY IT'S SO ESSENTIAL TO PROVIDE ALSO FOR THE MISSILE DEFENSE OF GUAM. I WOULD SAY FOR THE MISSILE DEFENSE OF GUAM ON PLATFORMS THAT CANNOT BE SUNK. AND THAT'S WHY WE ARE CALLING ON THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE NOT TO IGNORE PLANS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE MISSILE DEFENSE OF GUAM, AND I WOULD SAY TO EMPHASIZE, A LAND-BASED SOLUTION THAT'S MORE SURVIVABLE. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHTED MORE SCRUTINY ON THE BUDGET REQUEST, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO FUNDING FOR GENERAL OFFICERS QUARTERS. I WILL SAY THAT IN MY REVIEW, ALONG WITH THE CHAIRMAN, WE SAW A DISCIPLINED BUDGET REQUEST LARGELY BY THE AIR FORCE AND THE NAVY TO HOUSE OUR AIR FORCE GENERALS AND ADMIRALS, BUT I'VE BEEN DISAPPOINTED WITH THE ARMY THAT ORIGINALLY CAME FORWARD WITH A REQUEST FOR $1.4 MILLION TO UPGRADE A GENERAL'S GARDEN IN GERMANY. LUCKILY THE ARMY HAS PULLED BACK THAT REQUEST, AND WE'RE LOOKING FOR FURTHER SCRUTINY TO MAKE SURE THAT GENERAL OFFICER QUARTERS BUDGET REQUESTS ARE IN LINE WITH THE PRACTICE AND THE SISTER SERVICES OF THE AIR FORCE AND THE NAVY. THIS BILL ALSO HANDLES ISSUES WITH REGARD TO THE V.A., ESPECIALLY ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, AND THIS BILL FULLY FUNDS THE ACCOUNT AND ENCOURAGES THE DEPARTMENT TO PURSUE OPEN-SOURCE, OFF-THE-SHELF TECHNOLOGY FOR ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS, AND I THINK THAT'S CRITICAL TO MAINTAINING COST CONTAINMENT AS WE GO FORWARD. I WILL ALSO SAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS TO COME UP WITH ONE COMMON ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORD. DIVISION HERE IS THAT WHEN AN AMERICAN JOINS THE U.S. MILITARY THAT THAT RECORD THEN FOLLOWS THAT SERVICE MEMBER THROUGH, AT MINIMUM, FOR EXAMPLE, A THREE-YEAR ENLISTMENT, AND THEN A 60- TO 90-YEAR TIME AS A VETERAN. IT SHOULD BE A COMMON RECORD, AND I HOPE THE TWO SECRETARIES, PANETTA AND SHINSEKI MOVE TO MAKE SURE THAT BECOMES A REALITY. WITH REGARD TO THE CONTINGENCY FUND IN THIS BILL, THE DEPARTMENT REQUESTED AT THE V.A. A CONTINGENCY FUND IN THE EVENT THAT THEY NEEDED ADDITIONAL FUNDS. WE DO NOT SUPPORT ESTABLISHING THIS FUND BUT DID ALLOW THE DEPARTMENT TO KEEP $664 MILLION THAT IT RECEIVED LAST YEAR IN ADVANCE OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR NOW PROHIBITED PAY RAISES. THIS SHOULD BE ADEQUATE TO ENSURE OUR VETERANS ARE NOT ONLY CARED FOR BUT WILL GIVE THE V.A. SOME FLEXIBILITY DURING A PERIOD OF CONFLICT IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. THIS BILL ALSO EMPHASIZES CAREGIVERS WHO GIVE CARE TO OUR WOUNDED VETERANS, VETERANS WHO LIVE IN RURAL AREAS, AND VETERANS WHO ARE SENT TO FACILITIES A LONG DISTANCE FROM THEIR HOME, AS I MENTIONED, IN THE STATE OF ALASKA. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHTED THE ISSUE OF CLAIMS PROCESSING SO THAT OUR VETERANS CAN FINALLY RECEIVE THE COMPENSATION THEY DESERVE IN A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME. I WANT TO ECHO THE CHAIRMAN'S THANKS TO THE STAFF, ESPECIALLY LED BY TINA EVANS ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE AND DENNIS BALKAM ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. IN SHORT, THIS IS A VERY GOOD BILL. IT REPRESENTS THE SENATE MOVING FORWARD ON THE REGULAR ORDER. IT REPRESENTS GREATER TRANSPARENCY TO THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS. AND I WOULD JUST LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT WE HAVE CUT OR REDUCED FUNDING IN 24 SEPARATE MAJOR AREAS, AND THESE WERE HARD CHOICES TO MAKE. AND WE DID THEM IN LINE WITH THE DECISIONS MADE BY THE AUTHORIZING COMMITTEE UNDER CHAIRMAN LEVIN AND McCAIN'S LEADERSHIP. WE DETPHAOEULD FUNDING FOR A PROPOSED BRAND-NEW BUILD TO HOUSE THE COURT OF VETERANS APPEALS. BUT IN THIS TIME OF DEFICIT AND DEBT, I THINK WE SHOULD HOLD OFF. IN SUM, THIS BILL REPRESENTS COOPERATION BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS. THIS BILL REPRESENTS BUDGET CONTROL AND COOPERATION BETWEEN HOUSE AND SENATE. THIS BILL REPRESENTS COOPERATION AND COORDINATION BETWEEN THE AUTHORIZING ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE AND THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. AND THIS BILL UNDERLINED WITH THE ENDORSEMENT OF MAJOR VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTS A COMMITMENT TO OUR VETERANS. I THINK WE SHOULD MOVE FORWARD. I KNOW LATER WE WILL CONSIDER A POINT OF ORDER WITH REGARD TO NOT TAKING UP A BILL PRIOR TO THE ADOPTION OF A FORMAL BUDGET. I WOULD HOPE THAT COMMON SENSE WOULD PREVAIL HERE. THAT BECAUSE THIS IS ONE OF THOSE RARE MEASURES WHERE WE'RE MARKING UP TO THE HOUSE LEVEL THAT ONLY FIVE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE VOTED AGAINST THIS BILL AT THAT LEVEL, THAT ALL OF THE REPUBLICANS AND ALL OF THE DEMOCRATS ON THE SUBCOMMITTEE VOTED FOR THIS LEGISLATION, AND JUST YESTERDAY 89 MEMBERS VOTED IN OVERWHELMING BIPARTISAN FASHION FOR CLOTURE TO BRING THIS BILL UP, THAT WE CAN GET THE SENATE MOVING AGAIN, THAT WE CAN GET THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS MOVING AGAIN, THAT WE CAN STAND BY OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM THAT NEED THESE FACILITIES, AND OUR VETERANS. AND THAT, YES, WE CAN CONTROL SPENDING IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BUT STILL MOVE THE SENATE FORWARD. AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I YIELD BACK MY TIME.

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  • 12:52:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA.

  • 12:52:07 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR THEIR EXCELLENT PRESENTATION.…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR THEIR EXCELLENT PRESENTATION. THEY ARE EXCELLENT SENATORS. AND FROM ALL THAT APPEARS, HAVE PRODUCED A PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT IS -- WILL BE POSITIVE FOR OUR COUNTRY. BUT THE PENDING MEASURE, H.R. 2055, AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES, OFFERED BY SENATOR -- BY THE SENATORS WOULD APPROPRIATE FEDERAL FUNDS FOR THE YEAR 2012. HOWEVER, THE SENATE HAS NOT YET ADOPTED A CONCURRENT BUDGET RESOLUTION FOR 2012, AND THERE IS NO 302-A ALLOCATION IN PLACE FOR THAT FISCAL YEAR. SECTION 303-C OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT PROHIBITS CONSIDERATION OF ANY APPROPRIATIONS BILL UNTIL A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET HAS BEEN AGREED TO AND AN ALLOCATION HAS BEEN MADE TO THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS FOR FY 2012 OR ANY SUBSEQUENT YEAR. THEREFORE, I RAISE A POINT OF ORDER AGAINST THIS MEASURE PURSUANT TO SECTION 303 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT.

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  • 12:53:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA.

  • 12:53:46 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    TO SECTION 904 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1974, I MOVE TO WAIVE…

    TO SECTION 904 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1974, I MOVE TO WAIVE THE CONCURRENT ORDER UNDER SECTION 303 OF THAT ACT FOR H.R. 2055 AND ANY AMENDMENTS THERETO AND MOTIONS THEREON.

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  • 12:54:07 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD OBJECT TO THAT AND WOULD LIKE -- AND WOULD DEBATE…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD OBJECT TO THAT AND WOULD LIKE -- AND WOULD DEBATE THE ISSUE. I JUST WOULD SAY I MAKE THIS MOTION FOR A VERY IMPORTANT REASON, THAT'S NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE QUALITY OF THE WORK OF SENATOR JOHNSON AND SENATOR KIRK IN PRODUCING THIS BILL, BUT A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION CONCERNING THE BUDGET OF THE UNITED STATES. SO I HAVE THE FLOOR. I WOULD BE PREPARED TO TALK ON THAT. IF MY COLLEAGUES WANTED TO TALK RIGHT NOW, MAYBE WE COULD REACH AN AGREEMENT. ALL RIGHT. VERY GOOD. MADAM PRESIDENT, WE HAVE IN THE UNITED STATES CODE A BUDGET ACT. IT REQUIRES US TO PROCEED IN AN ORDERLY FASHION. THE BUDGET ACT SAYS YOU SHOULDN'T BE SPENDING MONEY, APPROPRIATING BILLS UNTIL YOU HAVE A BUDGET. THAT'S PRETTY SIMPLE. THAT'S PRETTY COMMON-SENSICAL AND IT IS THE CORRECT WAY TO DO BUSINESS. WE HAVEN'T HAD A BUDGET FOR 606 DAYS NOW, AND THAT'S THE REASON WE'RE SPINNING THIS COUNTRY INTO BANKRUPTCY. WE'VE HAD NO BUDGET, AND THIS YEAR THE MAJORITY HAS NOT EVEN SOUGHT TO BRING ONE TO COMMITTEE AND CERTAINLY NOT BROUGHT ONE ON THE FLOOR. THE LEADERSHIP, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP SAID IT WOULD BE FOOLISH TO PASS A BUDGET. WELL, I DON'T THINK IT'S FOOLISH TO PASS A BUDGET. I THINK IT'S THE REASON WE'VE GOTTEN OUT OF CONTROL IN WHAT WE'RE DOING, AND SO THAT'S WHY I'VE MADE THE OBJECTION. MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE ABLE TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES.

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  • 12:56:00 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I JUST WOULD SAY THAT. THIS IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I JUST WOULD SAY THAT. THIS IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT MATTER, AND I DON'T LIKE TO HAVE TO TAKE THIS ACTION. BUT I BELIEVE IT'S THE RIGHT ACTION. I SEE ON THE FLOOR NOW IS SENATOR CORKER FROM TENNESSEE. HE WAS MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CHATTANOOGA. AND AS MAYOR, THEY PRODUCE BUDGETS, AND ACTUALLY DID ONE OF THE GREATEST JOBS OF ANY MAYOR OF THE UNITED STATES, THE TRUTH BE KNOWN, IN MAKING THAT CITY THE FABULOUS PLACE IT IS TODAY. HE IS A BUSINESSMAN ALSO. SO I GUESS, SENATOR CORKER, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AT THIS POINT IN TIME ABOUT THE STATE OF THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY BEING HANDLED BY THE UNITED STATES SENATE?

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  • 12:57:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE.

  • 12:57:02 PM

    MR. CORKER

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA, THANK YOU FOR THE…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA, THANK YOU FOR THE COMMENTS AND YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. AND TO THE TWO GENTLEMEN, THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS AND THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA, I THANK THEM FOR THEIR WORK IN APPROPRIATIONS. AND THIS DISCUSSION ON THE FLOOR HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WORK THAT THEY'VE DONE. I UNDERSTAND THAT ACTUAL LIT TOP LINE THAT THEY'RE USING WAS WITHIN THE BUDGET THAT WAS PASSED THROUGH THE HOUSE. THE REASON I'M HERE WITH YOU TODAY, THOUGH, IS FOR THIS REASON. I DON'T THINK THERE IS MANY -- THERE AREN'T MANY SENATORS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE AISLE THAT BELIEVE THAT THE SENATE IS FUNCTIONING IN AN APPROPRIATE MANNER. I CAN'T GO TO THE DINING ROOM OR ANY OTHER PLACE, WALK DOWN THE HALL, GET ON THE SUBWAY WITHOUT SOME SENATOR SAYING, CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW THIS PLACE IS OPERATING? AND US ALLOWING SPENDING BILLS TO COME TO THE FLOOR AND TO BE VOTED UPON WITHOUT HAVING BUDGETS BASICALLY MAKES US AN ACCOMPLICE IN ALLOWING THIS PLACE TO CONTINUE TO BE DYSFUNCTIONAL. WE'RE HAVING A SHOWDOWN OVER THE DEBT CEILING BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ANY OTHER PLACE TO HAVE A SHOWDOWN. AND I REALIZE THAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE DECIDED THAT THAT'S NOT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE, AND THERE'S BEEN A SCHEME CONCOCTED TO SORT OF ALLOW BOTH SIDES TO HAVE IT AS THEY MAY AND TRY TO FIGHT THIS OUT IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS DOWN THE ROAD INSTEAD OF GOING AHEAD AND DEALING WITH SOME OF THE TOUGH ISSUES WE OUGHT TO DEAL WITH NOW. BUT IT JUST SEEMS TO ME, SENATOR, THAT WHAT WE DO BY GOING ON ABOUT OUR BUSINESS IN THIS WAY IS WE ACT AS ACCOMPLICES TO THE DISFUNCTIONALITY OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. IT IS MY BELIEF THAT THIS UNITED STATES SENATE, BY VIRTUE OF THE WAY WE ARE ACTING, IS MAKING THIS GREAT NATION WEAKER. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING. IS THIS SENATE THAT WE'RE -- THIS SENATE THAT WE'RE STANDING IN RIGHT NOW IS CAUSING THIS GREAT NATION TO DECLINE BECAUSE WE ARE UNWILLING TO COME DOWN HERE, AND I WOULD SAY CANDIDLY LEADERSHIP ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE DOESN'T REALLY WANT US TO COME DOWN HERE AND MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS. YOU ARE KNOW, EITHER SIDE WANTS IT 100% THEIR WAY, BUT WE REALIZE TO MOVE THINGS AHEAD YOU'VE GOT TO SKIRMISH, YOU'VE GOT TO FIGHT, YOU'VE GOT TO DEBATE. SOMETIMES YOU'VE GOT TO DO SOME THINGS YOU DON'T REALLY WANT TO DO TO MOVE THE COUNTRY AHEAD. BUT WE'RE AVOIDING THAT. AND WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY IS MOVING POSSIBLY TO AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL, A SPENDING BILL, WITHOUT A BUDGET. I CAN'T IMAGINE IN A COUNTRY SPENDING $3.7 TRILLION, 40% OF IT THAT WE DON'T HAVE, THAT WE'RE GOING TO MOVE TO SPENDING BILLS WITHOUT RESOLVING THESE PARTICULAR ISSUES. SO I'M EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED. I KNOW THAT I'VE BEEN SAYING SOME PRETTY STRONG THINGS HERE ON THE FLOOR BUT IT'S BECAUSE I'M CONCERNED ABOUT THIS COUNTRY. AND I KNOW EVERYBODY HERE IS CONCERNED ABOUT THIS COUNTRY. IT'S NOT AS IF THOSE OF US WHO ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE ARE THE ONLY ONES. THAT'S NOT THE IMAGE OR PERCEPTION THAT I'M TRYING TO PROJECT. I JUST THINK THAT SOMETIMES WE GO TO SLEEP AT THE SWITCH. WE GO ABOUT OUR BUSINESS ALMOST AS ZOMBIES DOWN HERE, CONTINUING TO ALLOW THIS DISFUNCTIONALITY TO OCCUR. I'M ALL IN SUPPORT OF THE MOVEMENT THAT YOU'VE PUT IN PLACE HERE TO BASICALLY NOT ALLOW THIS TO GO FORWARD, BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE A BUDGET. THAT IS THE APPROPRIATE PLACE FOR US TO BE, AND I HOPE THIS SENATE, IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THIS APPROPRIATIONS BILL FUNDS SOME THINGS THAT CANDIDLY WE ALL SUPPORT -- WE WANT TO SEE VETERANS GET BENEFITS. BUT THOSE VETERANS, MANY OF THEM LOST LIMBS DOING TOUGH THINGS FOR OUR COUNTRY, AND THEY'RE WATCHING POTENTIALLY US NOT HAVING THE COURAGE TO DO TOUGH THINGS ON THE FLOOR THAT MIGHT FLESH US OUT, THAT MIGHT CAUSE US TO ACTUALLY TAKE A TOUGH POSITION ON THE FLOOR. BUT, OH, THAT MIGHT AFFECT ELECTORAL POLITICS DOWN THE ROAD. INSTEAD OF DOING THAT, WE'LL GO 806 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET. I'M DISAPPOINTED. I'M DISAPPOINTED IN ALL OF US, BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. AND I DO NOT THINK WE SHOULD BE GOING TO A SPENDING BILL UNTIL WE DO THE TOUGH BUSINESS THAT WE WERE SENT HERE TO DO AS UNITED STATES SENATORS. AND WITH THAT, I YIELD TO MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA.

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  • 01:01:36 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I RECOGNIZE THE OTHER SENATORS, I JUST BRIEFLY ASK YOU THIS, SENATOR…

    I RECOGNIZE THE OTHER SENATORS, I JUST BRIEFLY ASK YOU THIS, SENATOR CORKER, HAVING BEEN A BUSINESSMAN AND A MAYOR AND OBSERVED THE POLITICAL SCENE IN THE COUNTRY, ARE YOU AWARE OF ANY GOVERNMENT ENTITY, CITY, COUNTY OR STATE, THAT'S SYSTEMICALLY ALMOST STRUCTURALLY BORROWING 40 CENTS OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR THEY HAVE SPENT. CAN YOU REMEMBER ANY TIME WHERE ANY CITY OR STATE RAN SUCH A DEFICIT?

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  • 01:02:12 PM

    MR. CORKER

    I CANNOT. AND THE FACT IS THAT'S WHY, YOU KNOW, RECENT POLLS SHOW THAT…

    I CANNOT. AND THE FACT IS THAT'S WHY, YOU KNOW, RECENT POLLS SHOW THAT AMERICANS HAVE ABOUT A 20% APPROVAL RATING OF CONGRESS. WHAT I WOULD SAY TO THEM, BASED ON WHAT I KNOW, BASED ON WHAT WE'RE GETTING READY TO DO HERE ON THE FLOOR TODAY, 20% IS WAY TOO HIGH. WAY TOO HIGH. THE FACT IS THAT WE DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO AVOID TOUGH DECISIONS IN PUBLIC, TOUGH DECISIONS IN PUBLIC, WHERE -- WHERE WE HAVE TO TAKE A STAND. THAT'S WHAT WE WERE ELECTED TO DO. THAT'S WHAT THE VETERANS THAT WILL BE RECEIVING BENEFITS, IF THIS BILL PASSES, DID. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE NOT DOING. MY GUESS IS THEY'D BE WILLING TO WAIT FOR THIS BILL TO PASS. IT DOESN'T FUND THINGS UNTIL NEXT YEAR, AND ALLOW US TO MAKE THOSE TOUGH DECISIONS THAT NEED TO BE MADE AS WE FLUSH OUT A BUDGET, AS WE WORK AMONGST OURSELVES TO FINALLY COME TO A PLACE THAT WE -- WE AGREE UPON IN FUNDING THIS GOVERNMENT. SO I CERTAINLY APPRECIATE YOUR LEADERSHIP. I KNOW THAT OTHERS WANT TO SPEAK AT THIS MOMENT, AND I WILL YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:03:16 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    YOU, SENATOR CORKER. I JUST WOULD SAY THAT THE SPASM THAT'S OCCURRING IN…

    YOU, SENATOR CORKER. I JUST WOULD SAY THAT THE SPASM THAT'S OCCURRING IN THE SENATE, THE FRUSTRATION THAT'S BOILING UP IS NOT FOR LIGHT OR TRANSIENT REASONS. IT'S A BIG, BIG DEAL WHEN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN FOR MONTHS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE BORROWING ABOUT 40% OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND, RUNNING UP THE LARGEST DEFICITS THE NATION HAS EVER SEEN. AND SO WHAT THE LAW SAYS, THAT -- THE LAW AND THE UNITED STATES CODE SAYS YOU SHOULD HAVE A BUDGET. AND WHEN YOU SET A BUDGET, YOU TAKE ALL OF THE BILLS THAT ARE OUT THERE AND TELL THEM HOW MUCH MONEY THEY HAVE TO SPEND SO YOUR TOTAL AMOUNT OF MONEY AT THE END DOES NOT EXCEED A DANGEROUS LEVEL FOR THE C. THAT'S WHATC -- FOR THE COUNTRY. THAT'S WHAT A BUDGET DOES. AND SO WE'RE GOING TO SEEK AND REPEATEDLY CALL TO THIS SENATE'S ATTENTION THAT WE GOT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE. WE'RE SPENDING MONEY WITHOUT A BUDGET AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE A BUDGET, ELSE WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF OUR SPENDING. AND ONCE YOU HAVE A BUDGET, IT TAKES 60 VOTES TO VIOLATE THE BUDGET. YOU CAN KIND OF STICK TO IT IF YOU MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO DO SO. AND WE DON'T HAVE TO VIOLATE IT AND BURST THE BUDGET. SO THAT'S -- THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TODAY AND IT'S A MATTER OF GREAT SERIOUSNESS. I'M PLEASED MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR RAND PAUL FROM KENTUCKY, WHO WAS ELECTED LAST FALL TO THIS BODY, I KNOW HE TALKED ABOUT THE STATE OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY AND OUR DEBT DURING THAT CAMPAIGN. AND SENATOR PAUL, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AS WE APPROACH THIS MOMENT?

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  • 01:05:05 PM

    MR. PAUL

    THE BUDGET ACT.

  • 01:06:37 PM

    MR. PAUL

    ACT. AND IN THAT, IT HAS SOME RULES. RIGHT NOW WE'RE DISCUSSING DO WE NEED…

    ACT. AND IN THAT, IT HAS SOME RULES. RIGHT NOW WE'RE DISCUSSING DO WE NEED NEW RULES TO CONTROL THE DEFICIT. THIS WAS A RULE THEY WROTE BACK IN 1974 TO KIND OF MAKE THINGS BETTER. BUT IT SHOWS THE RULES ONLY WORK IF WE OBEY THEM. WE WILL BE IN DEFIANCE OF THIS RULE, AND THAT'S THE QUESTION I HAVE FOR SENATOR SESSIONS, WE WILL BE IN DEFIANCE OF OUR OWN RULES IF WE GO FORWARD WITH AN APPROPRIATION WITHOUT A BUDGET?

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  • 01:06:59 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    ABSOLUTELY WILL WILL. IT SETS FORTH PRECISELY THE -- THE LANGUAGE I…

    ABSOLUTELY WILL WILL. IT SETS FORTH PRECISELY THE -- THE LANGUAGE I THOUGHT I HAD BEFORE ME -- BUT IT REQUIRES THIS. SENATOR PAUL, IT'S PRET PRETTY CLEAR. I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DOUBT ABOUT IT. "UNTIL THE CONCURRENT BUDGET RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET FOR A FISCAL YEAR HAS BEEN AGREED TO AND AN ALLOCATION HAS BEEN MADE TO THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS OF THE SENATE UNDER SECTION 302-A FOR THAT YEAR, IT SHALL NOT BE IN ORDER FOR THE SENATE TO CONSIDER ANY APPROPRIATIONS BILL." THAT'S PRETTY CLEAR.

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  • 01:07:49 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    IS A DOCTOR AND NOT A LAWYER BUT I BELIEVE MOST ANYBODY COULD UNDERSTAND…

    IS A DOCTOR AND NOT A LAWYER BUT I BELIEVE MOST ANYBODY COULD UNDERSTAND THAT POINT.

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  • 01:07:53 PM

    MR. PAUL

    THE INTENTION, THOUGH? WHAT WAS THE INTENTION THAT RULE WOULD DO BY HAVING…

    THE INTENTION, THOUGH? WHAT WAS THE INTENTION THAT RULE WOULD DO BY HAVING A BUDGET? WAS IT SUPPOSED TO LIMIT THEM, WHAT EACH APPROPRIATION BILL FOR EACH SUBJECT WOULD BE ALLOWED TO SPEND?

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  • 01:08:04 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    CORRECT, SENATOR PAUL. THE -- I'M SURE IN 1974, THEY WERE CONCERNED ABOUT…

    CORRECT, SENATOR PAUL. THE -- I'M SURE IN 1974, THEY WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROCESS IN THE SENATE, THEY DECIDED TO TRY TO BRING ORDER TO IT. THEY DECIDED TO REQUIRE THE BUDGET BE PASSED WHICH SENDS A MESSAGE OVER TO THE APPROPRIATION COMMITTEES -- AND THIS IS A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, PRODUCING THEIR MILCON PROPOSAL PROPOSAL -- AND THEY THEN GIVE THEM NUMBERS BY WHICH THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO STAY WITHIN. AND IF THEY DON'T, IT REQUIRES A 60-VOTE TOTAL TO PROCEED ABOVE THE BUDGET NUMBER. SO IT'S THE WAY TO BRING INTEGRITY TO THE SYSTEM.

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  • 01:08:48 PM

    MR. PAUL

    BY INVOKING THIS RULE FROM THE 1974 BUDGET ACT, YOUR INTENTION REALLY HAS…

    BY INVOKING THIS RULE FROM THE 1974 BUDGET ACT, YOUR INTENTION REALLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BILL THAT'S PRESENTED BEFORE US, IT HAS TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE AS A GOVERNMENT, HAVE A BUDGETARY PLAN, KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY COMES IN, KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY IS BEING SPENT AND DO THE RESPONSIBLE THING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPECT OF US. YOU KNOW, I'M CONCERNED WHAT HAPPENS IF WE KEEP UPON THIS PATH. IF WE KEEP SPENDING MONEY AT THE RATE WE'RE SPENDING IT, WITHIN ABOUT A DECADE, ENTITLEMENTS AND INTEREST CONSUME THE WHOLE BUDGET. THAT'S IF INTEREST RATES DON'T GO UP. YOU KNOW, AS YOU NOTICED THE OTHER DAY WHEN LARRY LINDSEY WROTE ABOUT IT IN THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL," HE SAID, IF INTEREST RATES GO UP TO WHERE THEY HISTORICALLY HAVE BEEN, WE'LL ADD ANOTHER $5 TRILLION. I DON'T THINK WE CAN WITHSTAND IT. MY SPHERE THAT THE ECONOMY WON'T WITHSTAND IT, THAT OUR COUNTRY WON'T WITHSTAND IT AND THAT WE DO HAVE TO HAVE SOMEBODY WHO WILL STAND UP AND SAY, ENOUGH'S ENOUGH. THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO HAVE A PLAN. WE NEED TO BUDGET HOW MUCH MONEY COMES IN AND HOW MUCH WE CAN SPEND. AND I THINK THIS IS A GOOD FIRST STEP.

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  • 01:09:52 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    YOU. I CAN'T THINK OF A MORE IMPORTANT TIME IN HISTORY FOR US TO RETURN TO…

    YOU. I CAN'T THINK OF A MORE IMPORTANT TIME IN HISTORY FOR US TO RETURN TO THE TRIED-AND-TRUE BUDGETARY PROCESS THAN AT A TIME IN WHICH WE ARE SPENDING TO A DEGREE THAT'S IRRESPONSIBLE, ABOVE ANYTHING WE'VE EVER DONE BEFORE. IT'S REALLY THREATENING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY. IT'S NOT A LIGHT, LITTLE PROBLEM. IT'S A SERIOUS PROBLEM. SO WE'VE GOT 805, 806 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET AND THAT IS -- SO WE'VE GONE 805, 806 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET, AND THAT IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM. SO WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK TO INSIST THAT WE PROCEED ON THE REGULAR ORDER UNDER A BUDGET. AND I'LL TALK IN A MOMENT, BUT THE REASON WE DON'T HAVE A BUDGET, THE HOUSE HAS PASSED A BUDGET. THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE PASSED ONE BY APRIL 15, LIKE THE LAW REQUIRES. WE'VE NOT EVEN HAD A MARKUP IN THE BUDGET COMMITTEE BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP HAS DECIDED THAT IT'S NOT FUN TO VOTE ON A BUDGET. YOU HAVE TO SHOW YOUR CARDS. YOU HAVE TO SHOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO RAISE TAXES, WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO CUT SPENDING AND HOW MUCH THE DEFICIT'S GOING TO BE AFTER IT'S ALL OVER. AND PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET RECEIVED SUCH A POOR RECEPTION BECAUSE IT WAS SO UNBALANCED AND IRRESPONSIBLE THAT I GUESS MAYBE THEY DECIDED IT WOULD BE FOOLISH FOOLISH, AS THE LEADER SAID, FOR THE SENATE TO EVEN PRODUCE ONE. AND THAT'S NOT A GOOD REASON, IN MY VIEW. SENATOR PAUL, I KNOW IT MIGHT BE APPROPRIATE THAT WE YIELD AT THIS POINT TO OUR COLLEAGUES AND LET THEM SHARE ANY REMARKS.

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  • 01:11:42 PM

    MR. PAUL

    I HAVE A QUESTION BEFORE WE FINISH. THE ONE QUESTION I HAVE IS WE HAVEN'T…

    I HAVE A QUESTION BEFORE WE FINISH. THE ONE QUESTION I HAVE IS WE HAVEN'T HAD A BUDGET IN TWO YEARS. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME WE HAD APPROPRIATIONS BILLS AND ARE WE WORKING IN THE COMMITTEE? SEE, THE PEOPLE EXPECT US TO COME UP HERE AND DO OUR JOB, AND I WOULD THINK OUR JOB IS IN COMMITTEE, WE DELIBERATE OVER A BUDGET, IN YOUR BUDGET COMMITTEE, OVER APPROPRIATIONS. ARE WE DELIBERATING OVER APPROPRIATIONS OR HAVE WE HAD ANY COMMITTEE HEARINGS ON THE DEBT CEILING OR HOW WE CAN CUT SPENDING IN ORDER TO TRY TO NOT BE SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY THAT WE DON'T HAVE? ARE WE IN THE PROCESS OF DOING WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING IN COMMITTEE?

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  • 01:12:15 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 01:13:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA.

  • 01:13:25 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

  • 01:13:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 01:13:37 PM

    MR. KIRK

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK OUR RANKING REPUBLICAN MEMBER ON THE BUDGET…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK OUR RANKING REPUBLICAN MEMBER ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, BECAUSE IN NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES, I WOULD BE STRONGLY SUPPORTING HIM AND AGREE WITH HIM. THE IRONY HERE IS THAT THIS LEGISLATION CONFORMS TO A BUDGET. IT CONFORMS TO THE PAUL RYAN HOUSE BUDGET AND FITS UNDER THE 302-B ALLOCATION. THAT'S THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT THE HOUSE GRANTED TO THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE THAT WROTE THIS BILL. AND WHEN THIS BILL PASSED OUR VERY CONSERVATIVE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ONLY FIVE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE VOTED AGAINST IT. ALL OF OUR LEADING MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE VOTING FOR IT. NOW, WE TALK ABOUT NEEDING TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS. I APPRECIATE THE MEMBERS AND THEIR PRAISE FOR THE UNDERLYING LEGISLATION BECAUSE WE MADE SOME SOMETIVE TOUGH DECISIONS. WE LOOKED AT THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST AND WE MADE A NUMBER OF CUTS. IN ALASKA, AT FORT WAYNEWRIGHT, WE CUT $57 MILLION FROM THEIR AVIATION COMPLEX. IN GERMANY AT GESH I'M CENTRAL DISTRIBUTION FACILITY, WE CUT $21 MILLION. ALSO AT THAT SAME FACILITY, THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE WE CUT BY $16 MILLION. AT FORT BLISS, FOR THE MAINTENANCE FACILITY, WE TERMINATED THE FUNDING FOR THAT. ALSO FOR THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSAL. AT FORT BELVOIR, ROAD AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS, WE TERMINATED THAT PROJECT. IN HONDURAS AT SOTOCANO, WE MADE A $5 MILLION REDUCTION. IN CALIFORNIA, THE CORONADO FITNESS CENTER FOR NORTH ISLAND WE MADE A $14 MILLION REDUCTION. IN CAL CL CALIFORNIA AT BRIDGEPORTED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE ADDITION, WE MADE A $3 MILLION REDUCTION. IN THE PERSIAN GULF IN BAHRAIN, FOR THE BACHELOR'S BACHELOR'S ENLISTED QUARTERS, WE TERMINATED FUNDING FOR THAT FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR. ALSO IN BAHRAIN, A WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT ALSO TERMINATED THAT. IN MARIANAS, AT THE NORTH RAMP FACILITIES, WE ALSO TERMINATED. THAT WAS A $78 MILLION REDUCTION. ALSO IN MARIANA, ENDED FUNDING FOR THAT PROJECT. IN GUAM AT THE GUAM STRIKE FUEL SYSTEMS MAINTENANCE HANDER, WE CUT FANGED IN HALF SAVING $64 MILLION. IN NEBRASKA AT OFFET SP-RBGTS A $30 MILLION REDUCTION FOR REPLACEMENT FACILITY NUMBER ONE. IN QATAR, WE TERMINATED FUNDING FOR THE BLASR FORD CONFERENCE. IN UTAH WE TERMINATED FUNDING FOR THE F-35ADELL HANGAR. IN COLORADO AT BUCKLEY, WE MADE A $70 MILLION REDUCTION IN THE MOUNTAIN VIEW OPERATIONS FACILITY. IN MARYLAND AT THE JOINT BASE AN TKRAOURBGS AM PWAOU -- ANDREWS, AMBULATORY CARE CENTER, A $121 MILLION REDUCTION. IN MARYLAND, WE TERMINATED FUNDING FOR THAT FACILITY. IN TEXAS, JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, AMBULATORY CARE CENTER, WE CUT FUNDING IN HALF. IN TEXAS AT FORT BLISS AT THE HOSPITAL REPLACEMENT FACILITY, REDUCED FUNDING BY $27 MILLION. IN UTAH AT CAMP WILLIAMS DATA CENTER, WE CUT FUNDING IN HALF SAVING $123 MILLION. IN TOTAL, WE MADE REDUCTIONS IN 24 SEPARATE PROGRAMS, INCLUDING CANCELING THE BUILDING I TALKED ABOUT, A WHOLE NEW COURT FOR THE COURT OF VETERANS APPEALS. THAT'S WHY THIS LEGISLATION CAME IN $2.6 MILLION EVEN BELOW THE HOUSE, WHY IT'S $1.2 BILLION IN BUDGET AUTHORITY BELOW THE PRESIDENT. AND $620 MILLION BELOW LAST YEAR'S BUDGET AUTHORITY. REMINDING MEMBERS THERE ARE NO EARMARKS IN THIS LEGISLATION. SO MY HOPE IS 89 MEMBERS VOTED FOR CLOTURE ON THIS LEGISLATION YESTERDAY, WHICH IS WHY WE BROUGHT IT UP. MY HOPE IS THAT THOSE 89 MEMBERS VOTE FOR CLOTURE AGAIN ON THIS UNDERLYING MOTION. I THINK MOST OF OUR MEMBERS ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR THE MEMBERS ON MY SIDE, ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR THIS BUDGET POINT OF ORDER ONCE WE GET TO THAT. AND I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THAT. I'LL BE PROBABLY SUPPORTING HIM ON OTHER BILLS. THE ONLY COMMONSENSE POINT I'LL MAKE HERE IS BECAUSE WE ARE AT THE HOUSE BUDGET LEVEL AND BECAUSE THE HOUSE HAS ADOPTED THEM, BECAUSE THIS CONFORMS TO THE PAUL RYAN BUDGET, I THINK WE SHOULD MOVE FORWARD, ESPECIALLY AS OUR RANKING MEMBER WISELY SAID, THIS IS THE FIRST APPROPRIATIONS BILL COMING UP SEPARATELY SINCE 2008, AND I WILL SAY YOU MAKE SPECIFIC REDUCTIONS TO REAL SPENDING WHEN YOU ACTUALLY BRING UP A BILL, AS CHAIRMAN JOHNSON HAS DECIDED TO DO WITH MY BACKING. AND WITH THAT, I YIELD BACK TO CHAIRMAN JOHNSON AND THANK HIM FOR THE TIME.

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  • 01:18:39 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    THE FLOOR TO -- I RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 01:18:50 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    SEE SENATOR LEE FROM UTAH. SENATOR LEE IS A NEW SENATOR. HE CAMPAIGNED…

    SEE SENATOR LEE FROM UTAH. SENATOR LEE IS A NEW SENATOR. HE CAMPAIGNED THROUGHOUT HIS STATE AND TALKED ABOUT THE KIND OF ISSUES WE'RE DEALING WITH TODAY. AND I WOULD YIELD TO HIM AT THIS TIME.

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  • 01:19:05 PM

    MR. LEE

    MR. PRESIDENT WE'VE NOW BEEN OPERATING FOR MORE THAN 800 DAYS WITHOUT A…

    MR. PRESIDENT WE'VE NOW BEEN OPERATING FOR MORE THAN 800 DAYS WITHOUT A BUDGET HAVING BEEN PASSED. WE ARE OPERATING AT THE DIRECTION OF THE PARTY IN CONTROL OF THIS BODY ON AUTO PILOT. IT'S EASY TO OPERATE ON AUTO PILOT. IN MANY WAYS IT'S FAR EASIER THAN OPERATING NOT ON AUTO PILOT, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE'RE SPENDING MORE THAN $1.5 TRILLION A YEAR MORE THAN WE'RE BRINGING IN. MORE THAN $1.5 TRILLION EVERY YEAR MORE THAN THAN WE HAVE, CONTINUING TO BURY OUR CHILDREN UNDER A MOUNTAIN OF DEBT. WHEN YOU'RE ON AUTO PILOT, YOU DON'T HAVE THE SAME CONSTRAINTS, THE SAME HARD CHOICES, THE SAME PRIORITIZATION DEMANDS THAT NEED TO BE MADE THAT AMERICANS MAKE EVERY SINGLE DAY AS THEY MANAGE THEIR HOMES, THEIR LIVES, THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR BUSINESSES AND STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. THIS IS UNFORTUNATE. IT'S UNNECESSARY. AND IT'S SHAMEFUL. IT SHOULDN'T CONTINUE TO OPERATE THIS WAY. AN ENTERPRISE AS LARGE AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHICH BRINGS IN $2.2 TRILLION EVERY SINGLE YEAR, HAVING ACCESS TO MORE MONEY THAN PERHAPS ANY OTHER INSTITUTION ON EARTH OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO OPERATE WITH A BUDGET. IT OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO PASS A BUDGET. IT OUGHT NOT BE OPERATING ON AUTO PILOT SO AS TO INSULATE ITSELF FROM CRITIQUES JUSTIFIABLE AND UNJUSTIFIABLE ALIKE, FROM THOSE WHO WOULD SAY WHY ARE YOU DOING IT THIS WAY? WHY ARE YOU DOING IT THAT WAY? IT OUGHT TO HAVE THE DEBATE AND DISCUSSION THAT IS NECESSARY, THAT NECESSARILY SURROUNDS THE BUDGETING PROCESS IN ANY LEGISLATIVE BODY, IN ANY REPUBLIC AROUND THE WORLD. IN THE PROCESS OF OPERATING ON AUTO PILOT, WE'RE SEVERELY EXACERBATING OUR DEFICIT PROBLEM WITH OUR NATIONAL DEBT NOW TOTALING NEARLY $15 TRILLION. WHAT THEN IS THE SOLUTION? I BELIEVE THAT THE SOLUTION TO OUR CURRENT PROBLEM, ESPECIALLY AS WE APPROACH THE DEBT LIMIT, INVOLVES THE CUT, CAP AND BALANCE APPROACH, INCLUDING PASSAGE BY BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS OF THE CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE ACT, ONE THAT WOULD REQUIRE, IN ADDITION TO OUR MAKING IMMEDIATE SHORT-TERM CUTS AND ADOPTION STATUTORY SPENDING CAPS DESIGNED TO PLACE US ON A FIRM, SMOOTH GLIDE PATH TKAORD A BALANCED BUDGET -- TOWARD A BALANCED BUDGET, THAT WE ALSO PASS A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. ALL OF THESE WOULD BE PASSED AS CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO OUR RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT WHICH MANY OF US WOULD BE WILLING TO DO IF NECESSARY TO GET THOSE MEASURES PASSED. WE'RE NOT WILLING TO RAISE IT WITHOUT THOSE MEASURES FIRST BEING PASSED BECAUSE WE CAN'T CONTINUE TO PERPETUATE THIS PROBLEM, ONE IN WHICH WE OPERATE ON AUTO PILOT WHILE BURNING $1.5 TRILLION A YEAR THAT WE DON'T HAVE. THIS IS CROWDING OUT OTHER PRIORITIES. IT'S CROWDING OUT OTHER INVESTMENT IN OUR ECONOMY. IT'S KILLING JOBS, AND IT'S JOBS WE NEED TO BE FOCUSED ON BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE FOCUSED ON. THEY'RE WORRIED ABOUT THEIR ABILITY AND ABILITY OF THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS, MANY OF WHOM ARE UNEMPLOYED, TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR CHILDREN, TO PAY THEIR RENT TO, BUY THEIR GROCERIES. THESE ARE THINGS EVERY AMERICAN OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO HAVE ACCESS TO AND WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO IF ONLY THEY HAD ACCESS TO JOBS. BUT AT A TIME WHEN WE ARE SPENDING AT SUCH A RATE AS WE ARE, WHEN WE BORROW TO SUCH A DEGREE THAT WE HAVE THAT OUR DEBT TO G.D.P. RATIO IS AT ABOUT 95%, WE'RE KILLING AS MANY AS A MILLION JOBS EVERY SINGLE YEAR IN AMERICA AS LONG AS WE REMAIN IN THAT DANGER ZONE. THIS SIMPLY CANNOT CONTINUE. ANOTHER THING THAT WE FACE RIGHT NOW THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I FIND COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE IS THE FACT THAT AMIDST ALL OF THIS DEBATE AND DISCUSSION THAT WE'VE HAD IN RECENT WEEKS ABOUT THE DEBT LIMIT, AMIDST THE OFFER ON THE PART OF WHAT ARE NOW MOST OF THE REPUBLICANS IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT I'VE OUTLINED, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES RESPONDED TO THOSE OFFERS BY THREATENING, PROMISING PERHAPS TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS TO CURRENT RETIREES IF THE DEBT LIMIT IS NOT IMMEDIATELY RAISED AND RAISED ONLY CONSISTENT WITH THE CONDITIONS THAT HE'S DEMANDING RIGHT NOW. I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND, MR. PRESIDENT, WHY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD PREFER TO MAKE SO HASTY, SO CRUEL AND SO RECKLESS A THREAT AS WITHHOLDING SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS FOR CURRENT RETIREES BEFORE LOOKING AT ANY OTHER FEDERAL PROGRAM. I MEAN, LOOK, WE BORROW AT ABOUT A RATE OF $125 BILLION A MONTH. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T MAKE THAT MUCH MONEY IN A YEAR. NOW AS WE'RE BORROWING AT THAT RATE, WE HAVE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE FACT THAT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS COST THE U.S. TREASURY ABOUT $50 BILLION A MONTH. $50 BILLION OUT OF THE $125 BILLION EACH MONTH WE BORROW, ASSUMING THAT'S THE PORTION OF IT THAT'S BORROWED. MEANWHILE WE'RE BRINGING IN ABOUT $200 BILLION A MONTH IN TAX REVENUE. SO THERE'S MORE THAN ENOUGH TAX REVENUE THERE TO COVER NOT ONLY SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS BUT ALSO INTEREST ON DEBT AND A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS AS WELL. THAT BEGS THE QUESTION, WHY ARE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARIES THE FIRST TO BE THREATENED? WHY IS IT THEIR CHECKS THAT THE PRESIDENT IS THREATENING TO WITHHOLD FIRST? THERE IS NO EXPLANATION TO THIS THAT HE'S OFFERED, AND I HEREBY DEMAND ONE. I THINK OUR CURRENT RETIREES DESERVE MORE THAN TO BE USED AS PAWNS IN A HIGH-STAKES POLITICAL GAME, ONE THAT USES FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY AND DOUBT RATHER THAN REASON AND DISCUSSION AND DEBATE AND WILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE. THE NEED FOR THIS HAS NEVER BEEN GREATER. THE CONSEQUENCES FOR DISREGARDING THE NEED FOR DEBATE AND DISCUSSION HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES AND I URGE ALL AMERICANS TO WORK TOGETHER TO FIND A SOLUTION TO THIS. A SOLUTION THAT NEED NOT INVOLVE AND SHOULD NOT INVOLVE THREATENING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE, INCLUDING OUR RETIREES WHO RELY EACH MONTH ON SOCIAL SECURITY, WITHHOLDING THOSE BENEFITS SIMPLY BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS UNWILLING TO COMPROMISE, IS UNWILLING TO MEET THE CONDITIONS THAT MANY REPUBLICANS IN THIS BODY HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED ARE THEIR CONDITIONS PRECEDENT FOR RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT. THERE IS A WAY FORWARD. THERE IS A ROAD THAT WILL TAKE US HOME. AND THE ROAD HOME CAN BE FOUND IN THE CUT, CAP AND BALANCE ACT. THIS IS NOT JUST THE BEST PROPOSAL, THIS IS THE ONLY PROPOSAL THAT CURRENTLY HAS SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC SUPPORT FROM A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF MEMBERS OF THIS BODY. SOMETIME TODAY OR TOMORROW COMPANION LEGISLATION WILL BE INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND WE'LL BE MOVING FORWARD. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER THIS, AND I URGE MY FELLOW AMERICANS TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE AND TO URGE THEIR REPRESENTATIVES AND THEIR SENATORS TO EMBRACE THEM AND TO ADOPT THEM. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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  • 01:26:38 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I THANK SENATOR LEE FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE PLAN.…

    I THANK SENATOR LEE FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE PLAN. I THINK IT WOULD CHANGE THE DEBT TRAJECTORY OF OUR COUNTRY AND PUT US ON THE PATH TO PROSPERITY RATHER THAN THE PATH TO DECLINE AND DEFICIT AND MAYBE FINANCIAL CRISIS. INDEED, MR. ERSKINE BOWLES AND MR. ALAN SIMPSON, THE COCHAIRMAN OF THE DEFICIT COMMISSION APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, TOLD US EARLIER THIS YEAR IN THE BUDGET COMMITTEE THAT THIS NATION HAS NEVER FACED A MORE PREDICTABLE ECONOMIC CRISIS. AND WHAT HE WAS SAYING WAS THE SPENDING LEVEL WE'RE ON IS SO OUT OF SYNC WITH REALITY THAT IT IS INEVITABLE THAT WE WILL PAY THE PRICE ECONOMICALLY FOR THAT. AND SO, PART OF THE PROBLEM, PART OF REASON WE'RE WHERE WE ARE IS BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T HAD A BUDGET IN OVER TWO YEARS. AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BUDGET, IT MAKES IT HARDER TO, FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER YOU'RE SPENDING MORE THAN YOU OUGHT TO BE SPENDING. AND THE WHOLE PROCESS IS ABLE TO BE PURSUED WITHOUT PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AND FULL DISCLOSURE WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A BUDGET. EVERY PRESIDENT IS REQUIRED BY THE SAME BUDGET ACT TO SUBMIT A BUDGET. I THINK THERE IS NO PRESIDENT WHO'S FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE BUDGET ACT. IT DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT YOU GO TO JAIL IF YOU VIOLATE IT. PROBABLY WE'D BE BETTER OFF HAD THAT BEEN THE CASE. BUT THE PRESIDENT SUBMITTED A BUDGET EARLIER THIS YEAR, I THINK IN FEBRUARY. IT WAS, I BELIEVE, THE MOST IRRESPONSIBLE BUDGET EVER PRESENTED TO CONGRESS AT A TIME OF SYSTEMIC STRUCTURAL DEFICITS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS, THE LIKES OF WHICH WE'VE NEVER EVER HAD BEFORE, AT A TIME WHEN WE NEEDED TO CONFRONT THAT AND DISCUSS IT AS A PEOPLE, AS A NATION, HE SUBMITTED A BUDGET THAT INCREASED TAXES SIGNIFICANTLY, INCREASED SPENDING EVEN MORE, AND INCREASED THE DEFICIT, NOT REDUCED IT. EVENTUALLY IT CAME UP FOR A VOTE. I BROUGHT IT UP FOR A VOTE SINCE MY COLLEAGUES WANTED TO VOTE DOWN THE HOUSE BUDGET THAT WAS A RESPONSIBLE BUDGET. IT WOULD ACTUALLY CHANGE OUR DEBT COURSE, REDUCE SPENDING BY $6 TRILLION. THEY BROUGHT THAT UP, AND IT GOT 40 OR SO VOTES, BUT IT DIDN'T PASS. I THEN BROUGHT UP PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET IN THE SENATE WITH A MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS, AND IT FAILED ZERO TO 97. 97 TO ZERO BECAUSE IT DIDN'T DESERVE A SINGLE VOTE. BUT IT HAD ONE CHARACTERISTIC ABOUT IT THAT WAS IMPORTANT. IT ACTUALLY HAD NUMBERS IN IT. I GUESS THE BUDGET STAFF, THEY ALWAYS PRODUCED A BUDGET BEFORE THE SPIN DOCTORS AT THE WHITE HOUSE REALIZE IT, THEY SEND OUT A BUDGET PROJECTING THE PRESIDENT'S FUTURE PLANS FOR AMERICA. JUST FOR EXAMPLE AT A TIME WHEN WE'RE BORROWING 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR, THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES NEXT YEAR TO INCREASE THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT. 90% OF OUR EDUCATION FUNDS ARE FROM THE STATES, AND THEY ALWAYS TAKE CARE OF THAT. WE PROVIDE CERTAIN FEDERAL FUNDS THAT CAN BE AN ASSET TO THEM. SOMETIMES, SOMETIMES IT'S A LIABILITY, FRANKLY. BUT AT ANY RATE, HE ASKED FOR 10.5% INCREASE IN EDUCATION FUNDING, 9.5% INCREASE TO THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT, WHICH SPENDS MOST OF ITS TIME BLOCKING THE PRODUCTION OF ENERGY RATHER THAN PRODUCING MORE LOWER COST, CLEANER ENERGY FOR THE COUNTRY. IT PROPOSED A 10.5% INCREASE IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT BUDGET AND PROPOSED -- HOLD YOUR HAT -- 60% INCREASE IN TRANSPORTATION. MUCH OF THAT WAS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL SO EVERYBODY CAN WALK -- 80% OF AMERICANS APPARENTLY CAN WALK TO A TRAIN STATION AND TRAVEL ON HIGH-SPEED RAIL. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY FOR THAT. STATES ARE REJECTING THE MONEY. THEY RUN THE NUMBERS. THEY KNOW IT'S NOT GOING TO BE FEASIBLE, AND IT'S JUST AN OVERREACH. SO I GUESS WHAT I'M SAYING IS SOMEBODY IN THIS COUNTRY DOES NOT GET IT. I THOUGHT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SENT A MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR LAST YEAR WHEN THEY SENT A LOT OF NEW MEMBERS TO CONGRESS LIKE SENATOR PAUL AND SENATOR LEE WHO WERE SHOCKED AT IT AND TALKED TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS AND CAME TO CONGRESS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. AND WE HAVE NOT EVEN BROUGHT A BUDGET UP. WHY DIDN'T SENATOR REID AND THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP DECIDE TO BRING A BUDGET UP? WELL, IF YOU BRING A BUDGET, THEN YOU HAVE TO SHOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE. YOU HAVE TO PROPOSE A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM. WHAT WAS THEIR PLAN? TO CALL THE HOUSE BUDGET AND VOTE IT DOWN AS EVERY DEMOCRAT VOTED IT DOWN, AND THEY NEVER PRODUCED ONE OF THEIR OWN. WHEN I BROUGHT UP PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET, THEY VOTED IT DOWN. SO WE HAVE NOT SEEN ONE REAL SOLUTION. WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT OH, THEY WILL DO THIS AND THAT. SENATOR DURBIN SAID WE CAN CHANGE SOCIAL SECURITY SOME AND GET IT ON A SOUND -- WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT MEDICARE. WELL, LET'S SEE YOUR PLAN. LET'S SEE IT. THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE SAYS HE HAS A BUDGET, HE HAS GOT A BUDGET AND HE LEAKS OUT PORTIONS OF IT, BUT NOBODY SEES THE REAL BUDGET. A CERTAIN NUMBER OF VISIONS AND IDEAS AND HE CLAIMS HE HAS AN IDEA, BUT IF YOU'RE UNWILLING TO PRODUCE THE BUDGET AND HAVE A HEARING IN THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, THEN YOU DON'T HAVE ONE, I THINK. IT'S NOT A BUDGET. I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS, IT'S NOT A BUDGET. I SEE MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR CORNYN. HE HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. HE IS, I KNOW, KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THESE ISSUES. I'M PLEASED TO YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:33:53 PM

    MR. CORNYN

    PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION FOR THE RANKING…

    PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION FOR THE RANKING MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, SENATOR SESSIONS, AND TO EXPRESS MANY OF THE SAME CONCERNS THAT I KNOW HE HAS ARTICULATED. ONE OF THE MOST BASIC RESPONSIBILITIES OF ANY BUSINESS OR FAMILY OR FRANKLY OF CONGRESS ITSELF IS TO PASS A BUDGET, BUT AS HE HAS POINTED OUT AND HAS BEEN POINTED OUT TIME AND TIME AGAIN, CONGRESS HAS FAILED FOR MORE THAN 800 DAYS, 800 DAYS TO PERFORM ONE OF ITS MOST BASIC AND FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES, AND THAT IS TAKE UP AND PASS A BUDGET. WELL, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVEN'T PASSED A BUDGET AND TAKEN UP A BUDGET, THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE SPENDING HAS STOPPED. INDEED, THE SPENDING GOES ON IN A RECKLESS SORT OF WAY, WE HAVE SPENT $7.3 TRILLION SINCE THE LAST BUDGET WAS PASSED AND INCREASED THE NATIONAL DEBT BY BY $3.2 TRILLION. NOW THE SENATE IS CONSIDERING A BILL, A SPENDING BILL, AN APPROPRIATION BILL BEFORE WE HAVE EVEN PASSED A BUDGET. IT STRIKES ME, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THAT IS EXACTLY BACKWARDS. WE SHOULD BE PASSING AND DEBATING A BUDGET FIRST BEFORE WE THEN TAKE UP APPROPRIATION BILLS. THIS IS NOT THE WAY CONGRESS SHOULD OPERATE. NOW, TAXPAYERS WHO MIGHT BE WATCHING THIS ON C-SPAN OR ELSEWHERE IN THE GALLERY MAY BE ASKING THEMSELVES WELL HOW CAN CONGRESS SPEND MONEY WITHOUT HAVING A BUDGET IN PLACE BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT A BUDGET IS A VERY IMPORTANT FORM OF SELF-DISCIPLINE. IT REQUIRES YOU TO IDENTIFY WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES, WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO SPEND MONEY ON, WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE BUT YOU CAN PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW OR NEXT YEAR, AND WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE BUT YOU REALLY CAN'T AFFORD. WELL, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS CONGRESS HAS BEEN OPERATING IN AN UNDISCIPLINED AND EXTRAVAGANT SORT OF WAY, NOT WITH OUR MONEY BUT WITH THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY, AND EVEN WORSE WITH THE MONEY THAT THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE SITTING IN FRONT OF ME ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY BECAUSE OUR LEGACY TO THEM WILL BE DEBT, A BURDEN OF DEBT WHICH WILL LIMIT THEIR OPPORTUNITY AND THEIR PROSPERITY. WELL, AS SENATOR SESSIONS, OUR RANKING MEMBER, HAS POINTED OUT, THIS IS NOT ONLY A BAD IDEA, THIS IS NOT ONLY BAD POLICY, THIS IS NOT ONLY A BREACH WITH OUR PRECEDENT AND POLICIES, THERE IS IN FACT A BUDGET ACT RULE THAT PROHIBITS WHAT IS GOING ON. THAT IS, SPENDING MONEY WITHOUT A BUDGET IN PLACE. IT VIOLATES THE SENATE RULES. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT SPENDING MONEY WITHOUT A BUDGET IN PLACE IS NOT A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY TO ACT. OF COURSE, I WOULD SAY TO THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA THAT WE ALL SUPPORT OUR MILITARY AND OUR VETERANS AND THAT THERE IS NO GREATER RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAN TO DEFEND OUR CITIZENS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE NEEDS OF OUR TROOPS AND VETERANS ARE MET. BUT CONGRESS SHOULD NOT, IN THE INTEREST OF DOING SOMETHING THAT IS IMPORTANT, CIRCUMVENT ITS OWN RULES. TAXPAYERS DESERVE TRANSPARENCY. WITH TRANSPARENCY COMES ACCOUNTABILITY, AND WITHOUT A BUDGET, TAXPAYERS GET NEITHER. WELL, WE KNOW WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON IN THE ABSENCE OF CONGRESS DOING ITS JOB. INDEED, THE PRESIDENT'S OWN PROPOSED BUDGET WOULD HAVE VASTLY EXPANDED THE DEBT AND THE DEFICITS, AND THAT'S WHY IT LOST WHEN WE BROUGHT IT TO THE FLOOR AND SAID WE WANT TO VOTE ON IT. IT LOST 97-0. NO MEMBER OF THE OPPOSING PARTY, THE PRESIDENT'S OWN PARTY, VOTED FOR THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSED BUDGET BECAUSE IT WAS IRRESPONSIBLE, DID NOTHING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF RECKLESS SPENDING, DEFICITS AND UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT. SO WHAT ARE WE LEFT WITH? WELL, WE'RE TOLD THAT AUGUST 2, AUGUST 2, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY SAYS WE WILL RUN OUT OF MONEY. WELL, RATHER THAN HAVING A BUDGET DEBATED AND VOTED ON IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHERE EVERY AMERICAN COULD WATCH IT, SEE WHAT'S GOING ON, CALL OUR OFFICES, EXPRESS THEIR CONCERNS EITHER SUPPORTING THAT BUDGET OR SAYING NO, YOU OUGHT TO CHANGE IT BY OFFERING AN AMENDMENT. WHAT WE ARE GIVEN NOW BY THE PRESIDENT IS SECRET NEGOTIATIONS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND TOLD EVENTUALLY, I ASSUME, THAT IT WILL BE ROLLED OUT AND WE WILL BE TOLD TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, AUGUST 2 WE'RE OUT OF MONEY. AND YOU, MR. SENATOR, MADAM SENATOR, MADAM CONGRESSPERSON, YOU CAN'T DO YOUR MOST FUNDAMENTAL JOB AND THAT IS HAVE A DEBATE IN THE LIGHT OF DAY IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NOW, DOES THIS RING A BELL? IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THIS IS STARTING TO BE A HABIT, A BAD HABIT. IT STARTED WITH THE HEALTH CARE BILL. IT WAS RAMMED THROUGH CONGRESS. THERE WAS A PRODUCT OF SECRET NEGOTIATIONS, ALL SORTS OF SPECIAL DEALS CUT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, AND ONLY NOW ARE WE REALLY BEGINNING TO SEE WHAT THE CONSEQUENCE OF THOSE SPECIAL DEALS WERE AND THE COSTS THAT WERE VASTLY UNDERESTIMATED IN THE HEALTH CARE BILL. WELL, I HATE TO SAY THIS, MR. PRESIDENT, BUT PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS FAILED TO LEAD ON THE DEBT CEILING. FIRST WE KNOW THAT HE CALLED FOR A CLEAN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE WITHOUT ANY CUTS OR ANY ENTITLEMENT REFORM. THAT'S THE FIRST THING HE CALLED FOR. THANK GOODNESS HE HAS MOVED AWAY FROM THAT POSITION, BUT THERE ARE PROBLEMS YET. BUT -- WHEN HE WAS A SENATOR, IN 2006, HE SAID INCREASING AMERICA'S DEBT WEAKENS US DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY. AT THE TIME HE ALSO SAID IT IS A SIGN THAT WE NOW DEPEND ON ONGOING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES TO FINANCE OUR GOVERNMENT'S RECKLESS FISCAL POLICIES. THAT WAS BACK IN 2006 WHEN THEN-SENATOR OBAMA MADE THOSE STATEMENTS. SO TODAY WE'RE PRESENTED WITH A MUCH DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WHO IS NOW DEMAGOGUING THOSE WHO HOLD THE SAME VIEWS THAT HE ESPOUSED HIMSELF IN 2006. BACK WHEN OUR DEBT AND OUR DEFICITS WERE MUCH SMALLER THAN THEY ARE TODAY. NOW, THIS ISN'T A MATTER OF THE PRESIDENT NOT UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM THAT WE FIND OURSELVES WITH BECAUSE HE APPOINTED A COMMISSION, A BIPARTISAN COMMISSION, THE SIMPSON-BOWLES COMMISSION THAT REPORTED BACK IN DECEMBER IN A REPORT CALLED "A MOMENT OF TRUTH" WHICH LAID OUT IN SOBERING DETAIL THE UNSUSTAINABILITY OF OUR NATIONAL DEBT, THE RECKLESS SPENDING THAT HAD GONE ON, THE BORROWING FROM THE CHINESE AND OTHER GOVERNMENTS. BUT RATHER THAN THE PRESIDENT TAKING UP THE REPORT OF HIS OWN FISCAL COMMISSION, HE SIMPLY IGNORED IT. HE IGNORED IT IN THE STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE. HE CERTAINLY IGNORED IT IN HIS PROPOSED BUDGET WHICH WAS DEAD ON ARRIVAL OVER HERE WITHOUT A SINGLE DEMOCRAT VOTING FOR IT, AND IN ESSENCE THE PRESIDENT HAS OUTSOURCED HIS LEADERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES TO OTHERS. WE KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT'S CURRENT PROPOSAL, IF YOU CAN CALL IT THAT -- AND, FRANKLY, THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS, AND WHILE THE HOUSE HAS PASSED A BUDGET, WHILE THE SIMPSON-BOWLES COMMISSION HAS MADE A RECOMMENDATION, THE DOMENICI-RIVLIN BIPARTISAN COMMISSION HAS MADE A RECOMMENDATION, WE HAVE YET TO SEE THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN. YES, HE HAS HELD PRESS CONFERENCES, HE'S BASHED THOSE RHETORICALLY WHO HELD THE VERY SAME POSITION HE HELD IN 2006, BUT HE HAS FAILED TO LEAD AND OFFER A PLAN TO DEAL WITH THIS IMPENDING CRISIS. IN FACT, THE PRESIDENT'S CURRENT RHETORIC, I DON'T THINK WE CAN DIGNIFY IT BY CALLING IT A PLAN -- IS SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE LEFT OF HIS OWN BIPARTISAN SIMPSON-BOWLES RECOMMENDATIONS. HE IS CERTAINLY TO THE LEFT OF SIMPSON-BOWLES WHEN IT COMES TO SPENDING, CALLING FOR MUCH MORE SPENDING, NO CUTS BUT CONTINUED SPENDING. AND HE'S TO THE LEFT OF SIMPSON-BOWLES WHEN IT COMES TO TAXES WHEN MORE IS ALL -- IS THE ONLY WORD HE SEEMS TO KNOW WHEN IT COMES TO TAXES. MORE TAXES. IN FACT, WHEN THE PRESIDENT SAYS WELL, WE'RE GOING TO CUT CUT $1 TRILLION, LET'S SAY OR OR $2 TRILLION OR WE'RE GOING TO RAISE TAXES $2 TRILLION, WHAT DOES THAT NET? THAT MEANS NO NET CHANGE IN THE SIZE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND THAT MEANS NO REAL DOWN PAYMENT ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT OR DEFICIT. IT'S A SLEIGHT OF HAND. IT'S PHONY. IT'S DESIGNED TO GIVE THE APPEARANCE OF DOING SOMETHING SERIOUS WHILE DOING NOTHING SERIOUS AT ALL. WE KNOW THE PRESIDENT HAS FAILED TO LEAD IN OTHER WAYS. HE'S DELEGATED OR OUTSOURCED HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO THE VICE PRESIDENT. AND IT TOOK ONLY -- IT TOOK ONLY A FEW WEEKS AGO FOR THE PRESIDENT TO FINALLY STEP UP AND ENGAGE PERSONALLY, AND WE FIND THAT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT HE PROPOSED PHONY SOLUTIONS LIKE CHANGING THE DEPRECIATION SCHEDULE FOR CORPORATE JET OWNERS, DEALING WITH THE TAX TREATMENT OF OIL AND GAS COMPANIES AND CHANGING AN ACCOUNTING RULE CALLED LAST IN, FIRST OUT. BUT THE FACTS ARE THAT THOSE CHANGES, EVEN IF ADOPTED, WOULD BE A DROP IN THE BUCKET. THEY WOULD DO NOTHING SIGNIFICANT OR SERIOUS TO DEAL WITH OUR HUGE DEFICITS AND OUR UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT. UNFORTUNATELY, THE PRESIDENT'S OWN PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT IS FREQUENTLY NOTHING MORE THAN PERSONAL ATTACKS. HIS RECENT PRESS CONFERENCES HAVE BEEN FULL OF NAME-CALLING AND STRAW MAN ATTACKS THAT ARE FRANKLY BENEATH THE DIGNITY OF THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. IT'S MORE LIKE SOMEBODY INSTEAD OF BEING A COMMANDER IN CHIEF, IT'S MORE LIKE HE'S DECIDED I'M GOING TO BE CAMPAIGNER IN CHIEF. I WILL ALE NOT GOING TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM -- I'M NOT GOING TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM. I'M GOING TO JUST LOOK AT WINNING THE NEXT ELECTION. AND THEN WE READ YESTERDAY THAT EVEN IN PRIVATE THE PRESIDENT IS THROWING TEMPER TANTRUMS, LIKE HE DID YESTERDAY AND STOMPING OUT OF THE MEETING AT THE WHITE HOUSE, AGAIN FAILING TO SHOW LEADERSHIP. BUT THE MOST SIN ICLE THING -- BUT THE MOST CYNICAL THING THE PRESIDENT HAS DONE, THE MOST CYNICAL ABDICATION OF LEADERSHIP THAT HE HAS DISPLAYED SO FAR IS HIS NEW THREAT TO HOLD SENIORS, OUR VETERANS, AND OUR TROOPS HOSTAGE UNLESS CONGRESS WILL AGREE TO JOB-KILLING TAX INCREASES IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS SHAMEFUL BEHAVIOR. WE ALL KNOW THAT EVEN IF THE AUGUST 2 DEADLINE PASSES WITHOUT A DEAL, ACCORDING TO THE BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER, THE UNITED STATES TREASURY WILL STILL HAVE ENOUGH REVENUE -- ABOUT $172 BILLION -- TO PAY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS, TO PAY FOR MEDICAID AND MEDICARE, TO PAY ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY AND OTHER NATIONAL PRIORITIES. LET ME REPEAT: THE ONLY REASON SENATORS -- EXCUSE ME, SENIORS AND OUR TROOPS WILL SEE THEIR CHECKS STOP COMING IS IF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DECIDES TO MAKE OTHER SPENDING A PRIORITY, AND IF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CHOOSES TO HOLD OUR TROOPS AND SENIORS HOSTAGE, JUST SO THEY CAN RAISE TAXES. YOU KNOW, THIS IS ANOTHER AMAZING DISPLAY OF CYNICISM OR I GUESS THE MOST CHARITABLE WAY I CAN SAY IT SHORT-TERM MEMORY. THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF SAID LAST DECEMBER, THE REASON WHY WE COULDN'T RAISE TAXES -- OR SHOULDN'T RAISE TAXES IN A FRAGILE ECONOMIC RECOVERY IS BECAUSE IT WOULD BE BAD FOR JOB CREATION. IT WOULD FURTHER DISCOURAGE JOB CREATION AT A TIME WHEN WE NEED JOBS BADLY. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME SAY JUST A WORD ABOUT TAX INCREASES AND WHY THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE BELIEVES SO STRONGLY THAT TAX INCREASES ARE NOT THE ANSWER TO OUR DEBT CRISIS. AS ONE PRESIDENT FAMOUSLY SAID -- QUOTE -- "THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS RAISE TAXES IN THE MIDDLE OF A RECESSION BECAUSE IT WOULD JUST SUCK UP, TAKE MORE DEMAND OUT OF THE ECONOMY AND PUT BUSINESSES FURTHER IN THE HOLE." CLOSE QUOTE. WELL, THE PRESIDENT THAT SAID THAT WAS PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, BACK IN 2009. THE PRESIDENT MAKES OUR CASE FOR US. ANOTHER PRESIDENT SAID, "LOW TAXES HELP MILLIONS OF ENTREPRENEURS HIRE NEW WORKERS." OH, YES, THAT WAS AGAIN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA WHEN HE SIGNED THE EXTENSION OF TAX RELIEF LAST DECEMBER. THEN THERE WAS ANOTHER PRESIDENT PRESIDENT, SOMEBODY WHO OUR NATION HOLDS IN HIGH REGARDS, WHO HAPPENS TO HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE OTHER POLITICAL PARTY, WHO SAID -- QUOTE -- "THE FINAL AND BEST MEANS OF STRENGTHENING DEMAND AMONG CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES TO REDUCE THE BURDEN ON PRIVATE INCOME AND THE DETERRENCE TO PRIVATE INITIATIVES THAT ARE IMPOSED BY OUR CURRENT TAX SYSTEM." THAT WAS PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY IN 1962. PRESIDENT KENNEDY ALSO SAID, "IN SHORT, IT IS A PARADOXICAL TRUTH THAT TAX RATES ARE TOO HIGH TODAY AND TAX REVENUES ARE TOO LOW, AND THE SOUNDEST WAY TO RAISE REVENUE IN THE LONG-RUN IS TO CUT THE RATES NOW." ONLY, HE SAID -- AND HE IS EXACTLY RIGHT WHEN HE SAID, "ONLY FULL EMPLOYMENT CAN BALANCE THE BUDGET AND TAX REDUCTION CAN PAVE THE WAY TO THAT EMPLOYMENT." THE PURPOSE OF CUTTING TAXES NOW IS NOT TO INCUR A BUDGET DEFICIT BUT TO ACHIEVE THE MORE PROSPEROUS EXPANDING ECONOMY THAT CAN BRING ABOUT A BUDGET SURPLUS. HE HAD IT EXACTLY RIGHT. WE NEED TO NOT ONLY CUT SPENDING SPENDING, BUT WE NEED TO GROW REVENUE. THE BEST WAY TO GROW REVENUE IS TO GET MORE TAXPAYERS TO GET MORE PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. THE REASON WHY FEDERAL REVENUE IS SO LOW IS NOT BECAUSE TAX RATES ARE TOO LOW OR PEOPLE ARE NOT TAXED ENOUGH; IT'S BECAUSE TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE OUT OF WORK. OUT OF WORK. WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB, YOU CAN'T PAY YOUR TAXES, YOU CAN'T PAY TAXES, YOU DON'T PAY TANCHES AND YOU DON'T PAY YOUR HOME MORTGAGE. YOU LOSE YOUR HOME. WE ARE FOR MORE PEOPLE GETTING BACK TO WORK, AND WE'VE TRIED THE FAILED STIMULUS, THE GOAL OF WHICH WAS TO KEEP UNEMPLOYMENT BETWEEN -- OR BELOW 8%. WE KNOW THAT FAILED, AND YET WE WRACKED UP ANOTHER $800 BILLION IN DEBT. SO WHY DON'T WE TRY THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY, TO TAKE OUR BOOT OFF THE NECK OF THE JOB CREATORS IN AMERICA, TO MAKE IT EASIER, NOT HARDER, TO CREATE JOBS, TO PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO START NEW BUSINESSES, TO EXISTING SMALL BUSINESSES TO EXPAND THEIR BUSINESS. BUT THEY CAN'T DO IT AND THEY WON'T DO IT WITH UNCERTAINTY ABOUT THEIR TAXES, WITH REGULATORY OVERREACHING, AND OTHER POLICIES COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON, D.C. REPUBLICANS ARE HOLDING THE LINE AGAINST THE PRESIDENT'S DEMAND FOR HIGHER TAXES FOR A VERY SIMPLE REASON: PRESIDENT KENNEDY WAS RIGHT ABOUT TAXES BACK IN 1962, AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA WAS RIGHT ABOUT TAXES AS RECENTLY AS LAST DECEMBER. UNFORTUNATELY, HE'S CHANGED HIS MIND OR HE'S FORGOTTEN THE POSITION HE TOOK JUST LAST DECEMBER. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, REPUBLICANS DON'T WANT TAX INCREASES, AND WE DON'T WANT TO SEE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DEFAULT ON ITS OBLIGATIONS. SO WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO COME UP WITH AN AFFIRMATIVE PLAN, A POSITIVE PLAN TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, AND I BELIEVE WE'VE DONE SO. THE FIRST IS A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION THAT'S COSPONSORED BY EVERY REPUBLICAN ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE. THE LAST TIME WE VOTED ON A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT IN THE SENATE WAS 1997, BEFORE I GOT HERE, WHERE 11 DEMOCRATS VOTED TO SUPPORT THAT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. I HOPE OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN US IN DOING -- NOT ON EXTRAORDINARY THING, NOT AN EXTRAORDINARY THING, NOT AN HEROIC THING. IT IS A VERY ORDINARY BUT A VERY COMMON SENSE THING THANSDZ TO MAKE SURE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT -- AND THAT IS TO MAKE SURE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LERPS TO LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS -- LEARNS TO LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS AN NOT SPEND MONEY IT DOESN'T HAVE. WE HOPE THEY WILL JOIN US. PART OF THAT PLAN IS ALSO THE CAP, CUT, AND BALANCE LEGISLATION THAT I'VE COSPONSORED AND THAT I HOPE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WILL TAKE UP AND SEND OVER HERE SOON. THIS LEGISLATION IS A PLAN THAT AVOIDS DEFAULTING ON OUR OBLIGATIONS, THAT PREVENTS MORE TAXES, PARTICULARLY DURING A FRAGILE ECONOMIC RECOVERY. IT CUTS CUTS RECKLESS SPENDING AND IT CUTS OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. WHAT IS PAINFULLY APPARENT, MR. PRESIDENT, IS WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. AND I'M NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT THE AUGUST THE 2nd DEADLINE. YESTERDAY, MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICES SAID IT WAS REVIEWING THE NATION'S TOP-NOTCH AAA CREDIT RATING FOR A POTENTIAL DOWNGRADE. IF CREDIT AGENCIES DOWNGRADE OUR DEBT, IT WILL COST MORE FOR US TO BORROW FROM THE CHINESE AND OUR OTHER CREDITORS. AND AS WE KNOW, BECAUSE OF FEDERAL RESERVE POLICIES, THE FEDERAL RESERVE HAS KEPT INTEREST RATES BELOW HISTORIC NORMS. IF THOSE WERE TO GROW TO HISTORIC NORMS, BECAUSE OUR DEBT HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED BY THE CREDIT AGENCIES OR FOR ANY OTHER REASON, THE INTEREST ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT ALONE WILL CROWD OUT OTHER PRIORITIES FOR OUR NATION. IT WILL MAKE IT LESS LIKELY THAT WE CAN AFFORD TO DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO DEFEND OUR NATIONAL SECURITY OR TO PROVIDE THE VERY SAFETY NET THAT OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES CLAIM TO CARE SO MUCH ABOUT. WE WON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO DO IT. BECAUSE WE WILL NOT HAVE ACTED RESPONSIBLY IN DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT TODAY. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO HEED THESE WARNINGS AND TO JOIN US IN CUTTING SPENDING AND TO GET OUR DEBT UNDER CONTROL. IN THE END, EVERYONE WILL COME OUT A WINNER IF WE ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL. THIS IS NOT A REPUBLICAN PLAN. THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC PLAN. THIS IS WHAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD AND NECESSARY FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND SO THAT GENERATIONS IN THE FUTURE CAN ENJOY THE SAME OPPORTUNITY AND PROSPERITY THAT WE OURSELVES HAVE ENJOYED. AND, HEAVEN HELP US -- HEAVEN HELP US -- IF WE FAIL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY AND TO DEAL RESPONSIBLY WITH THIS IMPENDING CRISIS. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:56:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA.

  • 01:56:21 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS. THIS IS VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS WE'RE ENGAGED IN…

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS. THIS IS VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS WE'RE ENGAGED IN HERE. THE STRENGTH OF HIS COMMENTS, THE METHOD OF DELIVERY, AND THE CONTENT ARE INDICATIVE OF THE SERIOUS CHALLENGES WE'RE FACING. FOR EXAMPLE, UNDER THE BUDGET THAT WAS SUBMITTED TO US -- THE ONLY BUDGET WE'VE SEEN SO FAR FROM THE PRESIDENT -- THE INTEREST ON OUR DEBT, ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE WHO TOOK THEIR TEN-YEAR BUDGET AND CALCULATED IT OUT, CALCULATED THAT WE'RE PAYING ABOUT $240 BILLION IN INTEREST TODAY ON OUR DEBT. IN THE TENTH YEAR OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET, AS YOU SAID, SENATOR CORNYN, INTEREST WOULD CROWD OUT OTHER THINGS. IT WOULD BE $940 BILLION, ONE YEAR'S INTEREST. WHEN WE BORROW MONEY, WE PAY TRRKS JUST LIKE INDIVIDUAL DOZEN WHEN THEY BORROW MONEY. AND WE'RE BORROWING SO MUCH MONEY THAT WE'RE DOUBLING THE DEBT AGAIN, AND OUR COUNTRY IN TEN YEARS, THE INTEREST ON IT WILL CROWD OUT OTHER THINGS; ELOGYFOREXAMPLE, IT WOULD BE MORE THAN SOCIAL SECURITY, MORE THAN OUR MEDICARE, MORE THAN YOU ARE A DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SPENDING IN THAT YEAR. SO I THANK YOU FOR SHARING THAT. I SEE MY SENATOR -- MY FRIEND, SENATOR JOHNSON, WHO WANTED TO MAKE A CONSENT REQUEST. I WOULD BE PLEASED TO YIELD AT THIS TIME.

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  • 01:58:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA.

  • 01:58:06 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:58:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:58:21 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    THE SENATOR FOR HIS COURTESY. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND RESERVE THE BALANCE OF…

    THE SENATOR FOR HIS COURTESY. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.

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  • 01:58:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA.

  • 01:58:34 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    UP HERE AND I'LL CLOSE AT 2:00. I UNDERSTAND THAT UNDER OUR AGREEMENT,…

    UP HERE AND I'LL CLOSE AT 2:00. I UNDERSTAND THAT UNDER OUR AGREEMENT, THAT 2:00 WOULD BE THE TIME ALOTE CATTED FOR THE DEMOCRATIC SPEAKERS -- WOULD BE THE TIME ALLOCATED FOR THE DEMOCRATIC SPEAKERS, AS THEY MAY APPEAR AND THERE MAY BE TIME 359:00 AT 3:00, UNDER MY CONTROL OR FOR THE REPUBLICAN SPEAKERS AT THAT TIME.

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  • 01:59:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THAT IS THE UNDERSTANDING, ALTHOUGH I'M TOLD THAT THE AGREEMENT HAS NOT…

    THAT IS THE UNDERSTANDING, ALTHOUGH I'M TOLD THAT THE AGREEMENT HAS NOT BEEN FORMALIZED AS YET. BUT I DO UNDERSTAND THAT'S THE AGREEMENT. THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA IS CORRECT.

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  • 01:59:22 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    THAT IS ALL RIGHT.

  • 01:59:28 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    UP AND RESERVE -- I ASK CONSENT THAT THERE BE 30 MINUTES UNDER MY CONTROL…

    UP AND RESERVE -- I ASK CONSENT THAT THERE BE 30 MINUTES UNDER MY CONTROL AT 3:00 P.M.

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  • 01:59:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? HEARING NONE -- WITHOUT OBJECTION. IT IS…

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? HEARING NONE -- WITHOUT OBJECTION. IT IS GRANTED.

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  • 01:59:51 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I THANK THE CHAIMPLET THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM IS THAT OUR DEMOCRATIC…

    I THANK THE CHAIMPLET THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM IS THAT OUR DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP HAS DECIDED THAT IT WOULD BE FOOLISH TO HAVE A BUDGET. EVEN THOUGH IT'S REQUIRED BY LARKS THEY REFUSE TO PRODUCE A BUDGET NOW FOR 806 DAYS, OVER TWO YEARS. LAST YEAR SENATOR CONRAD PRODUCED A BUDGET IN COMMITTEE AND HE WAS -- IT WAS VOTED ON AND BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR, BUT THE MAJORITY LEADER REFUSED TO EVEN BRING IT UP FOR DEBATE AND VOTE. THIS YEAR, I SUPPOSE IT WAS, THAT THE MAJORITY LEADER DECIDED WE WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE ONE IN COMMITTEE. SO WE'VE NOT COMMENCED ANY ACTION TO PASS A BUDGET. BUT NOW WE ARE PROCEEDING TO SPEND MONEY, WE'RE PROCEEDING TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD EXPEND TAXPAYERS' MONEY WITHOUT A BUDGET. AND THAT'S NOT GOOD POLICY BY ANY STANDARDS, WHETHER YOU HAVE A LAW OR NOT. WE ACTUALLY HAVE A LAW THAT REQUIRES US TO HAVE A BUDGET FIRST. THAT'S WHY I FOUND MYSELF HAVING TO PRODUCE A -- TO RAISE A BUDGET POINT OF ORDER. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WE WEREN'T ELECTED HERE TO SHUT DOWN THE COMMITTEES, TO VIOLATE THE CONGRESSIONAL PROCESS OF DECIDING HOW MONEY SHOULD BE SPENT, TO CEDE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO SOME SECRET MEETING SOMEWHERE, SO THEY CAN PRODUCE SOME SORT OF BILL AND DROP IT IN THE SENATE ON AUGUST 1 PRESUMABLY AND THEN DEMAND THAT WE PAY FOR IT, BECAUSE, LOOK, YOU'VE GOT TO LOOK BEHIND THE NUMBERS. JUST BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT SAYS HIS BUDGET DOES ONE THING, HIS PLAN DOES ANOTHER THING, DON'T YOU THINK WE OUGHT TO CHECK IT OUT? ONE OF THE MOST STUNNING STATEMENTS I'VE EVER HEARD FROM A PRESIDENT AND FROM THE BUDGET DIRECTOR WAS HEARD EARLY THIS YEAR AFTER THE PRESIDENT PRESENTED HIS BUDGET. HE AND THE BUDGET DIRECTOR, PUBLICLY AND IN COMMITTEE -- THE BUDGET DIRECTOR IN COMMITTEE SAID THAT OUR BUDGET WILL HAVE US LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS AND PAY DOWN THE DEBT. THEY USED THOSE WORDS. SO ANYBODY HEARING THAT GOSH, I'M GLAD THE PRESIDENT PRODUCED A BUDGET TO HAVE US LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS AND PAY DOWN OUR DEBT. YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY. AND WHAT'S THE TRUTH? THE TRUTH IS THE LOWEST SINGLE ANNUAL DEFICIT IN TEN YEARS, ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ANALYSTS, WOULD BE $740 BILLION? THE HIGHEST PRESIDENT BUSH EVER HAD WAS $450 BILLION AND THAT WAS TOO HIGH. THIS YEAR IT WILL BE $1,500 BILLION. SO -- AND I WOULD POINT OUT THAT IN THE OUT-YEARS, THAT $740 BILLION WAS ABOUT YEAR SIX. THE SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE, TEN, THE NUMBERS ARE GOING UP AGAIN AND C.B.O. SAYS THE 10th YEAR, THE DEFICIT UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET WILL BE $1,200 BILLION, $1.2 TRILLION. SO THIS IS NOT GOOD. WE NEED TO GET OUR HOUSE IN ORDER. WE'RE GOING TO INSIST THAT WE DO IT IN THE RIGHT WAY. THAT'S WHY I'VE OBJECTED TO PROCEEDING TO SPENDING BILLS WITHOUT A BUDGET. IT'S TIME FOR THE MAJORITY LEADER TO BRING US INTO SESSION. LET'S HAVE A BUDGET. LET'S SEE WHERE PEOPLE STAND. LET'S MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS. LET'S VOTE ON IT. LET'S ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY THE PEOPLE WHO SENT US HERE. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 02:03:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • 02:03:51 PM

    MRS. SHAHEEN

    I'M I'M -- I APPRECIATED HEARING MY COLLEAGUES TALKING ABOUT THE…

    I'M I'M -- I APPRECIATED HEARING MY COLLEAGUES TALKING ABOUT THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SITUATION THAT WE'RE IN BECAUSE I THINK THERE IS ONE THING THAT EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THIS BODY AGREES ON AND THAT IS THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS THE LONG-TERM DEBT AND DEFICITS OF THE COUNTRY. AND LIKE MANY MEMBERS OF THIS CHAMBER, I'VE REPEATEDLY CALLED FOR A BIPARTISAN PACKAGE THAT INCLUDES REFORMS TO EVERYTHING THAT'S DEFICIT RELATED. SO THAT MEANS CUTS IN SPENDING, DOMESTIC, DISCRETIONARY AND NONDISCRETIONARY, THAT MEANS DEFENSE, AND IT MEANS MANDATORY PROGRAMS, BUT IT ALSO MEANS INCREASED REVENUE. AND I HAVE SUPPORTED ATTACHING DEFICIT-REDUCTION MEASURES TO THE VOTE ON THE DEBT LIMIT AND I BELIEVE THAT REDUCING THE DEFICIT IS CRITICAL TO STRENGTHENING THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OF OUR ECONOMY. BUT I ALSO, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT EVERYEVERYONE -- AND THAT MEANS EVERYONE -- HAS TO COME TO THE TABLE TO FIND A COMPROMISE SOLUTION THAT WILL GET THIS DONE. I THINK DEMOCRATS KNOW THIS. THAT'S WHY TIME AND TIME AGAIN WE'VE OFFERED COMPROMISE PLANS, INCLUDING MORE THAN A TRILLION DOLLARS IN SPENDING CUTS. BUT IT'S DISAPPOINTING THAT POLITICS ARE KEEPING SOME IN THIS CHAMBER AND IN THE CONGRESS FROM NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH. THAT'S A REAL DISSERVICE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I'VE SPOKEN BEFORE ABOUT WHAT SOME PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO PROTECT -- TAX BREAKS FOR BIG OIL, FOR HEDGE FUND OPERATORS AND FOR YACHT OWNERS -- BUT I'D LIKE TO SPEAK TODAY ABOUT WHAT SOME ARE WILLING TO RISK TO PROTECT THOSE TAX GIVEAWAYS AND WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON'T INCREASE THE DEBT LIMIT AND MEET THE UNITED STATES' FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS. FIRST OF ALL, RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT DOES NOT MEAN SPENDING MORE. OUR SPENDING IS SET BY CONGRESS EVERY YEAR IN OUR ANNUAL BUDGET PROCESS. RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT MEANS PAYING THE GOVERNMENT'S BILLS, OUR GOVERNMENT, THE GOVERNMENT THAT ALL OF US ARE A PART OF. AND NOT JUST MEMBERS OF CONGRESS BUT EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY. IT'S NOT THE DEMOCRATS' GOVERNMENT AND IT'S NOT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S GOVERNMENT AND IT'S NOT THE REPUBLICANS' GOVERNMENT. IT BELONGS TO ALL OF US. AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SERVICING SAVINGS BONDS THAT HAVE BEEN ISSUED UNDER PRESIDENT REAGAN, ABOUT SUPPORTING AN ARMY THAT WAS FIRST SENT TO AFGHANISTAN UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH BUSH, ABOUT PAYING SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS AND FOR FOOD INSPECTORS AND AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS. THE DISCUSSION WE'RE HAVING NOW IS ABOUT THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. FAILURE TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT MEANS DEFAULT. IT MEANS THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD NOT MEET ITS OBLIGATIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR HISTORY. AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? WELL, WARREN BUFFETT SAID SAID -- AND I QUOTE -- "IT WOULD FOR CONGRESS BE THE MOST'S MOST ASSININE ACT EVER." FED CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE IT SAID WOULD LEAD TO -- QUOTE -- "A HUGE FINANCIAL CALAMITY." ECONOMIST AND FORMER REAGAN ADVISOR RON KUDLOW, SAID "DEFAULT WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC." THE BIGGEST CONCERN THESE EXPERTS NAME IS THE POTENTIAL FOR A GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS. COMPANIES, PENSION FUNDS AND GOVERNMENTS ACROSS THE WORLD HOLD U.S. SAVINGS BONDS. A DEFAULT COULD CIGAR TRIGGER A CRISIS WORSE THAN ONE IN 2008. AND IN FACT, WE JUST HEARD FROM SECRETARY GEITHNER A FEW MINUTES AGO IT WOULD BE WORSE THAN THE CRISIS OF 2008, WHICH ITSELF TRIGGERED THE WORST RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. WE'RE JUST NOW CLIMB OUT OF THAT HOLE CAUSED BY -- WE'RE JUST NOW CLIMBING OUT OF THAT HOLE CAUSED BY THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. WE CANNOT RISK ANOTHER ONE. I WANT TO READ FROM A LETTER THAT WAS SENT TO CONGRESS EARLIER THIS WEEK BY HUNDREDS OF AMERICA'S TOP BUSINESSES AND BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS, INCLUDING THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, THE FINANCIAL SERVICES ROUND-TABLE, AND SOME GREAT NEW HAMPSHIRE COMPANIES LIKE CIRTRONICS AND CONTROL AIR. AND I'M QUOTING -- "WE BELIEVE IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO MAKE GOOD ON ITS FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS. IT IS CRITICAL THAT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT NOT DEFAULT IN ANY WAY ON ITS FISCAL OBLIGATIONS. A GREAT NATION, LIKE A GREAT COMPANY, HAS TO BE RELIED ON TO PAY ITS BILLS, TO PAY ITS DEBTS WHEN THEY BECOME DUE." AND I'M STILL QUOTING -- "THIS IS A MAINSTREET NOT WALL STREET ISSUE. TREASURY SECURITIES INFLUENCE THE COST OF FINANCING NOT JUST FOR COMPANIES BUT, MORE IMPORTANTLY, FOR MORTGAGES, AUTO LOANS, CREDIT CARDS, AND STUDENT DEBT. A DEFAULT WOULD RISK BOTH DISARRAY IN THOSE MARKETS AND A HOST OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. THE DEBT CEILING TRIGGER DOES OFFER A NEEDED CATALYST FOR SERIOUS NEGOTIATIONS ON BUDGET DISCIPLINE, BUT AVOIDING EVEN A TECHNICAL DEFAULT IS ESSENTIAL. THIS IS A RISK OUR COUNTRY MUST NOT TAKE." AGAIN, THIS ISN'T MY OPINION. THIS IS THE OPINION OF OUR NATION'S BUSINESS LEADERS. I HOPE WE'RE GOING TO LISTEN TO THEM. IN A RECENT OP-ED IN "USA TODAY," THE CHAMBER AND THE FINANCIAL SERVICES FORUM SPELLED OUT WHY THEY BELIEVE A DEFAULT WOULD RESULT IN -- QUOTE -- "HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LOST JOBS EVERY YEAR." FIRST, THEY POINT OUT THAT A DEFAULT WOULD HALT CRITICAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS FAR MORE ABRUPTLY THAN WE'VE SEEN IN PAST STANDOFFS OVER THE BUDGET, SO THAT MEANS WORSE THAN IN 1995 WHEN GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN. THEY SAY -- QUOTE -- "THE U.S. TREASURY IS EXPECTED TO TAKE IN ABOUT $100 BILLION IN TAX REVENUE IN AUGUST BUT NEEDS TO PAY $300 BILLION IN EXPENSES. THE RESULTING $130 BILLION DEFICIT WOULD REQUIRE THE GOVERNMENT TO PICK WHICH PROGRAMS -- MEDICARE, MEDICAID, FOOD STAMPS, UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE -- TO PAY FOR AND WHICH NOT TO FUND AND THERE WOULD BE LITTLE MONEY LEFT TO PAY OUR TROOPS OR TO RUN OUR COURTS, THE PRISON SYSTEM, THE F.B.I., OR OTHER ESSENTIAL OPERATIONS." THEY GO ON TO NOTE THAT DETAUGHT WOULD MAKE OUR -- DEFAULT WOULD MAKE OUR GOVERNMENT DEBT AND DEFICIT PROBLEM WORSE. YESTERDAY, MOODY'S, THE CREDIT RATING AGENCY, PUT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT'S CREDIT RATING UNDER REVIEW. IF MOODY'S WERE TO DOWNGRADE OUR CREDIT RATING, INVESTOR CONFIDENCE IN U.S. BONDS WOULD BE SHAKEN AND IT WOULD BE MORE EXPENSIVE FOR OUR GOVERNMENT TO BORROW MONEY. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I UNDERSTAND VISCERALLY BECAUSE AS GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, WE WORKED CLOSELY TO TRY AND AVOID THE RATING AGENCIES DOWN GRADING DOWN DOWN -- DOWNGRADING THE STATE'S BORROWING SO THAT WE WOULD HAVE TO PAY MORE MONEY. J.P. MORGAN ESTIMATES THAT THE HIGHER INTEREST RATES CAUSED BY DEFAULT COULD INCREASE OUR ANNUAL DEFICITS BY A STAGGERING $75 BILLION A YEAR. JUST FROM HIGHER INTEREST RATES. IF WE'RE REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT REDUCING THE DEFICIT, THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO GO. AND THAT'S WHY WE NEED TO FIND A COMPROMISE SOLUTION. WE'VE DONE THAT IN THE PAST. THE DEBT LIMIT HAS GONE UP UNDER EVERY PRESIDENT IN MODERN TIMES, AND I THINK THIS LIST IS INSTRUCTIVE. IT SHOWS THAT PRESIDENT NIXON RAISED IT NINE TIMES FOR A TOTAL INCREASE OF $130 BILLION AND 36% OF THE COST. PRESIDENT CLINTON RAISED IT FOUR TIMES -- SEE THAT -- AND THE COST AND THE PERCENT OF SPENDING SPENDING. SINCE PRESIDENT KENNEDY, THE MOST FREQUENT AND LARGEST INCREASES CAME UNDER PRESIDENT REAGAN. 18 INCREASES, 199% TOTAL INCREASE. I DON'T THINK ANYBODY HERE THINKS THAT PRESIDENT REAGAN WAS A CHAMPION OF BIG GOVERNMENT OR THAT IF HE DIDN'T HAVE TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT IN ORDER TO ADDRESS WHAT HE HAD TO DO AS PRESIDENT, THAT HE WOULD HAVE RAISED IT. THIS IS NOT A QUESTION ABOUT THE OPTION OF RAISING OUR DEBT LIMIT LIMIT. IT'S A QUESTION OF RAISING OUR DEBT LIMIT OR CATASTROPHE IS GOING TO OCCUR. AND I BELIEVE THAT MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES, MR. PRESIDENT, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING THIS DONE. I BELIEVE THAT MANY OF THEM VALUE -- BELIEVE IN THE VALUE OF COMPROMISE. WE ALL HAVE TO BE AT THE TABLE. WE ALL HAVE TO BE READY TO COMPROMISE TO REACH A SOLUTION. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT, FOR US ALL TO PUT POLITICS ASIDE FOR THE GOOD OF THE ECONOMY AND THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 02:14:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 02:14:26 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    PRESIDENT, FIRST, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT GERDANA SIDNER, EDDIE SAHIK…

    PRESIDENT, FIRST, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT GERDANA SIDNER, EDDIE SAHIK AND TYLER SMITH OF MY STAFF BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE DURATION OF TODAY'S PROCEEDINGS.

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  • 02:14:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. MR. HARK

  • 02:14:41 PM

    MR. HARK I HARKIN

    I'D LIKE TO FOLLOW UP A LITTLE BIT ON WHAT THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE…

    I'D LIKE TO FOLLOW UP A LITTLE BIT ON WHAT THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE JUST SPOKE ABOUT AND THAT IS THE ABSURDITY, THE ABSOLUTE ABSURDITY, OF WHAT'S GOING ON IN WASHINGTON HERE TODAY. MR. PRESIDENT, OUR NATION USED TO HAVE A TWO-PARTY SYSTEM IN OUR COUNTRY BUT IT'S INCREASINGLY APPARENT THAT ONE OF OUR TWO PARTIES HAS MORPHED MORPHED -- HAS MORPHED INTO SOME KIND OF A QUASI-RELIGION, DRIVEN BY ONE IDEOLOGY: PRESERVING AND EXPANDING TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY AND FOR BIG CORPORATIONS. TO THAT END, MANY REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS ARE PERFECTLY WILLING TO PUSH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA INTO DEFAULTING ON ITS DEBT OBLIGATIONS WITH DIRE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS DETOUR IN OUR NATION'S POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC LIFE. BUT JUST AS DANGEROUS, JUST AS DANGEROUS AS THE PROSPECT OF A DEFAULT ON OUR DEBT OBLIGATIONS IS THE REPUBLICANS' DETERMINATION TO DEFUND AND DISMANTLE AS MUCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS POSSIBLE. TO THAT END, THEY'RE DEMANDING DEEP DRACONIAN CUTS TO FEDERAL FUNDING AND INVESTING AT A TIME WHEN UNEMPLOYMENT IS ALREADY HIGH AND SKYROCKETING AND WHEN OUR ECONOMY REMAINS FRAGILE. TO JUSTIFY THESE DEEP CUTS, REPUBLICANS WITH THIS NEW IDEOLOGY THAT THEY HAVE HAVE ARTICULATED AN ABSURD ECONOMIC THEORY. ABSOLUTELY ABSURD. THEY CLAIM THAT SLASHING FEDERAL FUNDING AND INVESTMENTS BY TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS WILL SOMEHOW MAGICALLY CREATE JOBS. I DON'T KNOW OF ANY MAINSTREAM ECONOMIST, ANYONE WITH AN OUNCE OF COMMON SENSE WHO AGREES WITH THIS BIZARRE THEORY. TO THE CONTRARY, ECONOMISTS WARN US THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG TIME TO BE SLASHING FEDERAL INVESTMENT FOR THE OBVIOUS REASON. THAT DEEP SHORT-TERM CUTS TO FEDERAL SPENDING WILL DRAMATICALLY REDUCE DEMAND IN THE ECONOMY, THUS REDUCING EMPLOYMENT EVEN FURTHER. ALREADY THIS YEAR CUTS TO GOVERNMENT SPENDING AT THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVELS HAVE DESTROYED AN ESTIMATED 500,000 PUBLIC-SECTOR JOBS. AND THAT GOES ON WITH AN UNDETERMINED NUMBER OF PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS THAT WORK WITH THESE PUBLIC SECTORS. ECONOMISTS UNDERSTAND THAT TERMINATING THE JOBS OF TEACHERS, POLICE OFFICER AND OTHER ESSENTIAL PUBLIC EMPLOYEES HAS THE SAME NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY AS ELIMINATING PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS. NOW, NONETHELESS, AS IF THEY LIVE IN SOME KIND OF A PARALLEL UPSIDE DOWN UNIVERSE, REPUBLICANS INSIST THAT SLASHING FEDERAL FUNDING IN INVESTMENT WILL CREATE JOBS. LET'S TEST THAT THEORY. LET'S TEST THAT THEORY IN ONE AREA OF FEDERAL INVESTMENT. LET'S TAKE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING. EVERYBODY UNDERSTANDS THAT OUR TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE IS WOEFULLY INADEQUATE. IT'S IN A STATE OF INCREASING DISREPAIR, OVERLOADED. MOST PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT RAMPING UP INVESTMENTS AND MODERNIZING OUR HIGHWAYS AND BRIDGES AND PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEMS WOULD STRENGTHEN OUR ECONOMY AND CREATE MILLIONS OF JOBS. THESE ARE THE VEINS AND ARTERIES OF OUR COMMERCE. SO WHAT DO THE REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE PROPOSE? LAST WEEK THE REPUBLICAN LEADER PUT FORWARD A NEW TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZATION BILL THAT WOULD SLASH CURRENT INVESTMENTS IN TRANSPORTATION BY MORE THAN ONE-THIRD. ONE-THIRD. ONE-THIRD CUT IN TRANSPORTATION. SO WILL THIS CREATE JOBS? AS THE REPUBLICANS CLAIM? OF COURSE NOT. THE SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE ESTIMATES THAT THE HOUSE BILL WOULD DESTROY MORE THAN 490,000 HIGHWAY INSTRUCTION JOBS AND CLOSE CLOSE TO 100,000 TRANSIT-RELATED IN MASS TRANSIT. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS PURE FOLLY. THIS IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IDEOLOGICAL OBSESSIONS CAUSE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO BE BLIND TO PRACTICAL, COMMONSENSE REALITIES. I HAVE REPEATEDLY COME TO THE FLOOR TO ADVOCATE FOR A BALANCED APPROACH TO BRINGING OUR DEFICITS UNDER CONTROL ONE THAT INCLUDES SPENDING CUTS AND REVENUE INCREASES. AT THE SAME TIME ECONOMISTS WARN US THAT WE NEED A DEFICIT-REDUCTION PLAN THAT DEFERS THE LION'S SHARE OF SPENDING CUTS FOR SEVERAL YEARS, ALLOWING OUR ECONOMY TO RECOVER BEFORE THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS ARE FELT. I MUST ALSO ASK, MR. PRESIDENT, WHY ARE WE PROEPLG TO SLASH ALL -- PROPOSING TO SLASH ALL THESE FUNDINGS FOR HIGHWAYS AND SCHOOLS AND INFRASTRUCTURE HERE AT HOME WHILE WE CONTINUE TO SPEND UNTOLD BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO BUILD HIGHWAYS, SCHOOLS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN AFGHANISTAN? A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE ASK ME, THEY SAY, SENATOR HARKIN, YOU SAY YOU'RE WILLING TO CUT SPENDING. WHERE? RIGHT HERE. LET'S START RIGHT HERE. LET'S START WITH AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ. WE'RE SPENDING $168 BILLION IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN THIS YEAR ALONE. $168 BILLION. THIS YEAR, FISCAL YEAR 2011, WE'RE SPENDING MORE THAN $13 BILLION TO TRAIN THE IRAQI AND AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES. $13 BILLION. OKAY. WHAT DID WE SPEND HERE IN AMERICA TO RETRAIN OUR WORKERS SO THEY CAN GET NEW JOBS? LESS THAN $10 BILLION. WE'RE SPENDING MORE MONEY TO TRAIN AFGHAN AND IRAQI FORCES, SECURITY FORCES THAN WE'RE SPENDING TO RETRAIN OUR OWN WORKERS ALL OVER AMERICA. 24 MILLION AMERICANS UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED AND YET WE'RE SPENDING $168 BILLION THIS YEAR ON AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ. AGAIN, I APPLAUD THE PRESIDENT FOR THE ACTIONS HE'S TAKEN, BUT QUITE FRANKLY, MR. PRESIDENT, THEY DON'T GO FAR ENOUGH. THE PRESIDENT SHOULD HAVE A FASTER TIMETABLE FOR OUR TROOPS TO GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN. I'VE SAID IS THAT PUBLICLY MANY TIMES. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SAVE SOME MONEY, SAVE THAT $1 MILLION THAT IT COSTS TO KEEP ONE SOLDIER IN AFGHANISTAN AND GET THEM BACK HERE. WE WENT TO AFGHANISTAN TO GET THE TALIBAN OUT, GET AL QAEDA OUT AND TO GET OSAMA BIN LADEN. WE GOT OSAMA BIN LADEN. AL QAEDA IS NO LONGER IN AFGHANISTAN. AND THE TALIBAN IS GONE. SO WHAT ARE WE STILL DOING THERE? WHY ARE WE STILL THERE? WHY ARE WE STILL SPENDING ABOUT $14 BILLION A MONTH IN AFGHANISTAN? SO, MR. PRESIDENT, AGAIN, WE NEED A BALANCED APPROACH. SPENDING CUTS ALONE WON'T DO THE JOB. I THINK THE KWEUPBDZ HAVE -- I THINK THE REPUBLICANS HAVE JUST PROVED THIS. REPUBLICANS HAVE PROVED THAT SPENDING CUTS ALONE WILL NOT GET THE JOB DONE. HOW DO I SAY THAT? LOOK AT THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET, THE SO-CALLED RYAN BUDGET. IT DISMANDATE ALSO MEDICARE, GUTS MEDICAID, MAKES SEVERE CUTS ACROSS THE FEDERAL BUDGET. YET IT STILL ADDS TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE FEDERAL DEFICIT FOR YEARS TO COME LARGELY BECAUSE IT REFUSES TO TOUCH TAX BREAKS FOR THE WELL-TO-DO OR TO RAISE OTHER REVENUES FROM CORPORATIONS. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE SAID THEY DON'T WANT TO RAISE TAXES ON SO-CALLED JOB CREATORS. THEY DON'T WANT TO RAISE TAXES ON JOB CREATORS. WELL, TO CALL TRUST FUND MILLIONAIRES AND WALL STREET MONEY MANIPULATORS JOB CREATORS IS LAUGHABLE. MEANWHILE, TO CALL ANY CORPORATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES JOB CREATORS IS INCREASINGLY QUESTIONABLE. IN ONE RESPECT ACTUALLY YOU CAN ARGUE THAT AMERICA'S BIG BRAND NAME CORPORATIONS -- G.E., MICROSOFT, AND SO ON -- ARE -- QUOTE -- "JOB CREATORS." THE PROBLEM IS THEY'RE NOT CREATING JOBS HERE. THEY'RE CREATING THEM OVERSEAS AND ELIMINATING THEM HERE. THE U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT DATA SHOWS THAT DURING THE 2000'S, U.S. COMPANIES, MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES CUT THEIR WORKFORCES HERE AT HOME BY 2.9 MILLION. 2.9 MILLION AND INCREASED THEIR WORKFORCES OVERSEAS BY 2.4 MILLION. THEY'RE CREATING JOBS ALL RIGHT, THEY'RE JUST NOT CREATING THEM HERE IN AMERICA. AND TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, THERE ARE PROVISIONS IN THE U.S. TAX CODE THAT PROMOTE THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR, THE KIND OF TAX BREAKS THAT REPUBLICANS INSIST ON PRESERVING. SO THEY WANT -- THEY DON'T WANT TO TAX JOB CREATORS. AND YET, WE'VE SHOWN, THE DATA IS THERE, THESE BIG MULTINATIONALS ARE CREATING JOBS OVERSEAS. WE WOULD LIKE TO, I WOULD LIKE TO, I'M SURE THE OCCUPANT OF THE CHAIR WOULD LIKE TO CLOSE SOME OF THOSE LOOPHOLES SO THERE'S NOT A TAX BENEFIT TO SHIPPING YOUR JOBS OVERSEAS. REPUBLICANS SAY NO, THEY DON'T WANT TO DO THAT. IN THE MONTH OF MAY, THE U.S. TRADE DEFICIT SOARED TO MORE THAN $50 BILLION, THE HIGHEST LEVEL IN NEARLY THREE YEARS. IN JUST ONE MONTH. ONE MONTH. AND THE TRADE DEFICIT, THAT $50 BILLION JUST FOR ONE COUNTRY WAS HALF OF THAT. CHINA $25 BILLION TRADE DEFICIT. THOSE FIGURES, YOU MIGHT SAY WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WELL, THOSE FIGURES REPRESENT A TRANSFER OF MILLIONS OF JOBS AND BILLIONS IN WAGES FROM THE UNITED STATES TO CHINA OR TO OTHER COUNTRIES ABROAD. WE NEED TO SERIOUSLY EXAMINE OUR TRADE POLICIES ALSO WHICH CONTINUALLY SEND JOBS AND WAGES OVERSEAS. WE NEED TO IS TO BE BOWING BEFORE THE SACROSANCT ALTAR OF FREE TRADE AS IF IT DOESN'T EVEN WARRANT OUR EXAMINATION. INSTEAD WE NEED TO ASK HOW WE CAN MAKE OUR TRADE POLICIES WORK FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS. FOR INSTANCE, BY DEFENDING AMERICA'S RIGHT TO OPPOSE CURRENCY MANIPULATION AND ABUSIVE TRADE PRACTICES. JUST ONE AREA ALONE. WE OUGHT TO START TALKING ABOUT FAIR TRADE, FAIR TRADE, FAIR TRADE. NOT FREE TRADE, FREE TRADE, FREE TRAEUFPLTD BECAUSE YOU SEE WHERE FREE TRADE GETS US IF WE DON'T STAND UP TO OTHER COUNTRIES WHO MANIPULATE THEIR CURRENCIES LIKE KHAOEURPBGS AND TO WHOM WE'RE SHIPPING -- LIKE CHINA, AND TO WHOM WE'RE SHIPPING ALL OUR JOBS AND OUR MONEY. I THINK OUR ECONOMY IS AT THE POINT OF MAXIMUM DANGER. THIS CONGRESS IS AT AN HISTORIC DECISION POINT WITH REGARD TO RAISING THE DEBT CEILING AND BRINGING DEFICITS UNDER CONTROL. HOWEVER, AS WE'VE SEEN PLAYED OUT IN THE PRESS, IN THE MEDIA, STANDING IN THE WAY -- STANDING IN THE WAY OF A RATIONAL, REASONABLE COMPROMISE, OUR CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS' IDEOLOGICAL OBSESSIONING WITH PRESERVING TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES AT ALL COSTS. THEY HAVE REJECTED THE PRESIDENT'S DEFICIT-REDUCTION PLAN THAT WAS $4 TRILLION. HE WENT OVER HALFWAY. THEY REJECTED THAT. NOW THEY'RE THREATENING TO FORCE US TO DEFAULT ON THE NATIONAL DEBT. I'LL JUST CLOSE ON THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. I HEARD OUR DISTINGUISHED MINORITY LEADER, THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY, SAID THAT THIS WAS NOW OBAMA'S ECONOMY. AND THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE IS BECAUSE OF OBAMA BECAUSE HE'S BEEN THERE ALMOST, ALMOST THREE YEARS. TWO AND A HALF YEARS NOW. SO, THEREFORE, HE OWNS IT. YOU KNOW, THIS IS REALLY A KIND OF AN INTERESTING WORLD WE'RE LIVING IN. WE'RE -- WE HAVE A DEBT CEILING. AND WHY HAS THE DEBT GONE UP? THE DEBT'S GONE UP BECAUSE WE BORROWED MONEY. WE BORROWED A LOT OF MONEY. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE SAYS THAT THE DEBT THAT WE HAVE TODAY COMES FROM, NUMBER ONE -- NOW REMEMBER TEN YEARS AGO, TEN YEARS AGO RIGHT NOW WE HAD A SURPLUS, A BUDGET SURPLUS, ONE OF THE LARGEST IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY LEFT THANKS TO PRESIDENT CLINTON. WELL, THEN PRESIDENT BUSH COMES INTO OFFICE. REPUBLICANS TAKE OVER THE HOUSE. REPUBLICANS TAKE OVER THE SENATE. WHAT DO THEY DO? THEY RAM THROUGH A MASSIVE TAX CUT AND GIVES IT MOSTLY TO THE WEALTHY IN OUR COUNTRY. THEN 9/11 HAPPENS, WE RUN INTO TWO WARS TOTALLY UNPAID FOR. JUST BORROW IT. BORROW IT FROM CHINA, WHEREVER. JUST BORROW THE MONEY TO PAY FOR TWO WARS. THEN WE HAD A MEDICARE DRUG PRESCRIPTION BENEFITS, AND WE DIDN'T PAY FOR THAT. WE BORROWED MONEY FOR THAT ALSO. AND SO, THE DEBT THAT WE HAVE TODAY, THAT WE'RE GRAPPLING WITH IS BECAUSE OF POLICIES ENACTED BY A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT AND A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS. SO THEY RAN UP THE DEBT AND NOW THEY DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT. THIS IS NOT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DEBT, NOT AT ALL. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE ALMOST EIGHT, NINE YEARS OF UNINTERRUPTED BORROWING AND SPENDING, BORROWING AND SPENDING BY PRESIDENT BUSH AND A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS. WELL, THIS IS THEIR DEBT. AGAIN, I CALL UPON REPUBLICANS, REASONABLE, RESPONSIBLE REPUBLICANS TO COME FORWARD AND GIVE UP ON THIS IDEOLOGICAL OBSESSION THAT THEY HAVE, THIS NEW THEOLOGY THAT SAYS NO TAX REFORM, NO RAISING OF REVENUES FROM ANYONE, EVEN THOSE THAT CAN AFFORD IT THE MOST. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I STILL REMAIN AN OPTIMIST. IT IS NOT TOO LATE FOR REASON TO PREVAIL. YOU'VE HEARD LOUDLY AND CLEARLY FROM THE EXTREMISTS AND IDEOLOGUES WHO WOULD BRING DOWN OUR ECONOMIC HOUSE RATHER THAN AGREE TO ANY COMPROMISE. NOW IT'S TIME FOR DECENT, PATRIOTIC AMERICANS TO SPEAK UP AND SAY ENOUGH. WE CAN AND MUST COME TOGETHER AROUND A BALANCED PLAN TO BRING OUR DEFICITS UNDER CONTROL, AND WE MUST UPHOLD THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:29:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 02:30:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE.

  • 02:30:10 PM

    MR. COONS

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 02:30:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:30:15 PM

    MR. COONS

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY AS HAVE SO MANY OTHER SENATORS BECAUSE…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY AS HAVE SO MANY OTHER SENATORS BECAUSE I'M CONCERNED. I'M CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT I HAVE BEEN HEARING ABOUT THE THREAT OF DEFAULT HAS NOW JUST OVER THREE WEEKS AWAY. WHAT I HAVE HEARD BOTH HERE IN WASHINGTON AND IN MY HOME STATE OF DELAWARE. THIS LOOMING DEFAULT CRISIS IS ONE OF THE MOST GRAVE AND MOST PREDICTABLE THREATS FOR OUR ECONOMY AND OUR COUNTRY THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN. AND IT'S NO LONGER FLOATING IN A DISTANCE OVER THE HORIZON, SOMETHING WE CAN DEBATE ACADEMICALLY, SOMETHING WHOSE IMPACT WE MAY YET AVERT. IT IS HERE. WE ARE ON THE EDGE. WE ARE GIVEN THE DIFFICULTIES THIS BODY CAN HAVE IN MOVING SOMETHING THROUGH IN A MATTER OF DAYS, WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO THE ABSOLUTE LAST DAY WHEN WE CAN CONSIDER OPTIONS AND A PATH FORWARD. DEFAULT IS RIGHT BEFORE US, AND IT MUST BE DEALT WITH. I RISE TODAY NOT TO ADD TO THE POLITICAL RHETORIC. THERE HAS CERTAINLY BEEN PLENTY OF THAT IN THE LAST FEW DAYS. NOR DO I RISE TO TRY TO ILLICIT PANIC OR FEAR IN THE BROADER PUBLIC. I RISE BECAUSE THE FOLKS OF DELAWARE, THE PEOPLE FROM WHOM I HAVE BEEN HEARING JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE. THEY KNOW OUR DEFICIT SPENDING, THEY KNOW OUR NATIONAL DEBT IS OUT OF CONTROL AND THEY ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED. THAT'S GOOD. I SHARE THAT CONCERN. I SHARE THAT COMMITMENT TO MAKING CERTAIN THAT WE REDUCE OUR SPENDING AND WE DEAL WITH OUR DEFICITS, BECAUSE DEFICITS AND DEBT OF THE SIZE THAT WE HAVE TODAY CAN HARM OUR ECONOMY FUNDAMENTALLY. THEY ARE A BASIC CHALLENGE TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, TO OUR SUCCESS, TO OUR GROWTH GOING FORWARD. BUT I ALSO RISE BECAUSE THERE IS NO FASTER WAY TO ENSURE THAT OUR ECONOMY WILL NEVER GET BACK ON TRACK, THAT OUR COUNTRY WILL NEVER REACH ITS FULL POTENTIAL THAN TO LET OUR NATION DEFAULT ON ITS FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS DEFAULT CRISIS, MR. PRESIDENT, IN A RESPONSIBLE AND PRAGMATIC WAY TO CREATE A REAL AND LASTING SOLUTION. WE MUST, IN MY VIEW, RESTORE CERTAINTY TO OUR MARKETS TO HELP GET OUR ECONOMY GOING AGAIN. WHAT DO WE HEAR FROM BUSINESS? FROM BUSINESSMEN LARGE AND SMALL ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, CERTAINTY, WE NEED PREDICTABILITY, WE NEED CERTAINTY IN THE MARKETS. NOTHING IS CREATING UNCERTAINTY MORE THAN THIS CHRISTKINDLING LACK OF RESOLUTION TO THE -- THAN THIS GRINDING LACK OF RESOLUTION TO THE VOTE TO RAISE OUR DEBT CEILING. I WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT A FEW OF THE MYTHS THAT I HEAR AT HOME THAT I THINK NEED TO BE CLEARED UP. FIRST, SOME MEMBERS OF THIS BODY AND THE OTHER HOUSE OF CONGRESS, SOME FOLKS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, SOME PEOPLE IN THE PRESS HAVE SUGGESTED THAT A DEFAULT WILL CAUSE ONLY MINOR ECONOMIC DISRUPTION, IF ANY AT ALL. ECONOMIST AFTER ECONOMIST, THINK TANK AFTER THINK TANK, STUDY AFTER STUDY HAVE SHOWN IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS THAT NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. THERE ARE PREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES OF DEFAULT THAT WILL AFFECT EVERY AMERICAN, AMERICANS IN EVERY STATE, OF EVERY INCOME LEVEL. AND MORE THAN ANY, I WORRY ABOUT THE WORKING FAMILIES OR THOSE CURRENTLY OUT OF WORK WHO ARE ALREADY STRUGGLING THROUGH THE GREATEST RECESSION WE HAVE KNOWN IN MY LIFETIME. ONE REPORT SUGGESTS 640,000 PEOPLE WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS IN THE MONTHS AFTER DEFAULT. ECONOMISTS CONFIRM THAT THE COST OF HOME MORTGAGES, OF CAR LOANS, OF INTEREST RATES WILL GO UP FOR EVERYTHING. THE COST OF FOOD, OF GAS, OF EVERYDAY ITEMS FOR FAMILIES ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY WILL GO UP, IN REAL AND CONCRETE WAYS. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, IF WE DEFAULT ON AMERICA'S MORTGAGE, THE IMPACT IN TERMS OF THE INCREASED COST OF BORROWING FOR OUR WHOLE COUNTRY AND FOR ALL OF OUR FAMILIES WON'T JUST BE BRIEF. IT WILL BE LASTING BECAUSE IT WILL HANG WITH US ON OUR CREDIT SCORE AS A NATION FOR YEARS. SO THE -- TO THE FOLKS WATCHING, IF YOU THINK IT'S DIFFICULT TO FIND A JOB OR TO HELP GROW A BUSINESS, TO HELP DEAL WITH THE DAILY COST OF LIVING NOW, JUST WAIT UNTIL WE DEFAULT ON AMERICA'S MORTGAGE AND THE COST OF BORROWING FUNDS TO DO ANYTHING, TO CREATE NEW JOBS OR HELP PAY YOUR BILLS AS A FAMILY GOES UP, DEFAULT WILL HAVE REAL AND LASTING ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES THAT WILL HALT THIS ECONOMY -- HAUNT THIS ECONOMY AND HAUNT THE WORKING FAMILIES OF THIS NATION FOR YEARS. THE SECOND MYTH, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT WE CAN JUST STOP SPENDING MONEY WITHOUT REAL CONSEQUENCES. SOME IN THIS VERY CHAMBER HAVE SUGGESTED THAT WHEN WE GET TO AUGUST, THERE IS STILL PLENTY OF MONEY COMING IN TO SERVICE THE DEBT, SO THERE IS NO REAL THREAT OF DEFAULT, AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS A RELATIVELY SIMPLE EXERCISE OF JUST DECIDING WHICH THINGS WE WILL STOP PAYING. THE SECOND MYTH GOES THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WILL JUST START PICKING WINNERS AND LOSERS. THEY WILL PAY SOCIAL SECURITY BUT FORGO MEDICARE. THEY WILL PAY OUR TROOPS BUT PINK SLIP OUR FEDERAL CIVILIANS. THEY WILL FUND THE PENTAGON BUT FORGET THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. NEVER MIND THE ETHICAL QANDARIES, THE LONG-TERM DISSERVICE SUCH ACTION WOULD HAVE ON OUR ECONOMY AND OUR COUNTRY. IN FACT, THE TRUTH IS IT'S ALSO NOT EVEN CLEAR THEY HAVE THE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO DO SO IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, TO PICK THESE WINNERS AND LOSERS ON A WEEK-BY-WEEK BASIS. TO JUST CHOOSE ONE EXAMPLE OF THE STUDIES THAT HAVE BEEN DONE ON THIS MYTH, THAT WE CAN SIMPLY PAY THE DEBT SERVICE AND A FEW BIG THINGS AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE REST WOULD BE FINE, ACCORDING TO THE BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER, BEGINNING IN AUGUST, IF WE CONTINUE TO MAKE PAYMENTS -- OBVIOUSLY, ON INTEREST ON THE DEBT, BUT ALSO ON SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, ALL DEFENSE CONTRACTORS AND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, SO THE REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS, AND WE JUST STOP PAYING THE REST. OUR TROOPS ON ACTIVE DUTY, ALL OF OUR VETERANS' PROGRAMS, ALL OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, INCLUDING, FOR EXAMPLE, THE F.B.I., THE WHOLE FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM, THE F.A.A. WHICH MONITORS AIR TRAFFIC, THE F.D.A. WHICH INSPECTS FOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY AND A HOST OF DOZENS AND DOZENS OF OTHER FEDERAL PROGRAMS WOULD COME TO A HALT WITHIN DAYS. SO THE CONSEQUENCES TO THE SAFETY OF OUR FAMILIES, TO THE STRENGTH OF OUR ECONOMY, TO THE CONFIDENCE OF OUR COUNTRY, TO OUR ROLE AT HOME AND ABROAD WOULD IN MY VIEW BE TRAGIC, ALMOST CATASTROPHIC. SO EVEN IF WE COULD AVOID TECHNICALLY DEFAULT FOR A FEW DAYS OR WEEKS BY CONTINUING TO SERVICE OUR DEBT, THE COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF THESE OTHER EASY CHOICES WOULD BE DRAMATIC, DIFFICULT AND LASTING. ACCORDING TO STEVE MCMILLAN WHO WAS RECENTLY QUOTED ON THIS TOPIC, THE FORMER O.M.B. DEPUTY DIRECTOR UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH. HE WOULD SAY I WOULD SAY THE OPTIONS TREASURY HAS IF THE DEBT LIMIT IS NOT RAISED ARE ALL VERY UGLY. LET ME GIVE YOU A THIRD MYTH. AS I WAS TALKING WITH SOME SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN DELAWARE OVER THE PAST WEEK, SOME SUGGESTED THAT THEY REALLY FELT WE NEEDED TO GO AHEAD, TAKE THE TOUGH MEDICINE OF DEFAULTING AND CUT UP THE PRESIDENT'S CREDIT CARD, STOP THE PRESIDENT FROM SPENDING. AND WHILE I SHARE THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT THE VERY REAL AND VERY SIGNIFICANT THREAT POSED BY OUR DEEP DEFICITS AND SHARE THE VIEW THAT WE MUST CUT SPENDING, AS ALL OF US WHO ARE DEMOCRATS ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE HAVE SAID NOW PUBLICLY, WE'RE COMMITTED TO A BALANCED APPROACH THAT SIGNIFICANTLY CUTS FEDERAL SPENDING. THE METAPHOR OF CUTTING UP THE CREDIT CARDS IS WRONG. NOT JUST WRONG. IT'S DESPERATELY WRONG AND MISLEADING. OUR NATION DEFAULTING ON ITS DEBT IS NOT LIKE CUTTING UP THE CREDIT CARDS AND STOPPING THE FUTURE SPENDING. IT'S MUCH MORE LIKE DEFAULTING ON A MORTGAGE. IT HURTS OUR CREDIT RATING AND HINDERS OUR ABILITY TO BORROW. AS WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BEFORE, EVERY ONE PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES WILL CAUSE OUR NATIONAL DEBT TO GO UP UP $1.3 TRILLION OVER TEN YEARS. ACCORDING TO SOME ECONOMISTS, INCREASED INTEREST RATES COULD LAST FOR A DECADE OR MORE. NO, THE OBLIGATIONS THAT COME DUE AUGUST 2 ARE THE OBLIGATIONS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN UNDERTAKEN. AS SENATOR HARKIN SAID BEFORE ME, IT IS REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS, IT IS REPUBLICANS, BOTH PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS DEMOCRATS, BOTH PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS OVER THE LAST DECADE WHO HAVE MOVED US INTO A BIGGER HOUSE AS A COUNTRY. IT IS THE COST OF TWO WARS, THE CAST OF -- THE COST OF AN EXPANDED MEDICARE PART-D, THE COST OF AN EXPANDED INVESTMENT IN OUR COUNTRY, THE COST OF THIS BIGGER HOUSE THAT IS NOW COMING DUE. AND FOR US TO STOP PAYING THAT MORTGAGE WOULD HAVE THE SAME CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR COUNTRY AS IT WOULD FOR ANY FAMILY BECAUSE WHEN YOU DEFAULT ON YOUR MORTGAGE, IT'S NOT LIKE CUTTING UP A CREDIT CARD. IT AFFECTS YOUR CREDIT RATING, IT AFFECTS YOUR ABILITY TO BORROW, IT AFFECTS YOUR ABILITY TO DO ANYTHING MORE FOR YOUR FAMILY FOR YEARS TO COME. SO, TOO, WOULD THE CONSEQUENCES BE FOR THIS COUNTRY, AND IN MY VIEW, WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LET OUR COUNTRY BECOME A BAD INVESTMENT. LAST, SOME HAVE SUGGESTED THAT AUGUST 2 IS NOT A SERIOUS DEADLINE, THAT SOMEHOW SECRETARY GEITHNER MUST HAVE SOME OTHER RABBIT IN THE HAT OR SOME ESCAPE HATCH. BACK IN JANUARY, SECRETARY GEITHNER SENT A LETTER TO ALL OF US IN CONGRESS SUGGESTING WE WOULD, IN FACT, RUN OUT OF MONEY ON MAY 16 AND THE GOVERNMENT, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WOULD THEN HAVE TO START TAKING EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES TO AVOID DEFAULT. IN FACT, HE DETAILED IN SIX PAGES ALL THE EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED, AND HE WAS RIGHT. ALMOST LITERALLY TO THE DIE ABOUT WHEN THAT TRANSITION OCCURRED AND WHEN THOSE EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES NEEDED TO BE DEPLOYED. THE TIME RUNS OUT AUGUST 2, BUT IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE THE DEADLINES FOR SOME REASON PRESENTED TO US BY OUR VERY OWN SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AND THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, JUST LOOK AT WHAT THE THREE BOND RATING AGENCIES ARE ALREADY SAYING ABOUT THE IMPENDING DEFAULT. MOODY'S, S&P AND FITCH HAVE ALL THREATENED TO DOWNGRADE AMERICA'S RATING. FROM AAA, THE MOST SECURE AND STABLE IN THE WORLD, S&P SUGGESTED LAST WEEK, TO D, TO JUNK BOND STATUS. MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST AMERICA IS NOT A JUNK BOND NATION. IT PUTS US AT RISK, AS A NATION, AS A PEOPLE, AS AN ECONOMY. WHEN WE ARE MENTIONED IN THE SAME SENTENCES AS IRELAND, AS GREECE, AS ITALY, AS COUNTRIES CURRENTLY WRESTLING WITH FUNDAMENTAL FAILURES TO MEET THEIR OBLIGATIONS AS A COUNTRY AND WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT. ALL OF US IN THIS CHAMBER, ALL OF US, MR. PRESIDENT, ARE CHALLENGED TO COME TOGETHER AND TO PUT OUR ECONOMY AND OUR COUNTRY BACK ON SOLID FOOTING, TO RESTORE CERTAINTY TO THE MARKETS, TO GIVE CONFIDENCE TO RETIREES, TO FAMILIES RAISING CHILDREN, TO SMALL BUSINESSES ABOUT GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT PUTTING A PLAN ON THIS FLOOR NEXT WEEK AND PASSING IT. BECAUSE, FRANKLY, IF WE ALLOW THIS COUNTRY TO DEFAULT ON ITS SOVEREIGN DEBT, TO FAIL TO MEET ITS MORAL COMMITMENT, BOTH FINANCIAL AND TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE CONSEQUENCES WILL BE DESPERATE AND LASTING. MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGESTED A FEW WEEKS AGO THAT WE SHOULD CONSIDER SERIOUSLY THE BIPARTISAN POLICY COMMISSION'S PROPOSAL, SO-CALLED SAVE-GO WHICH WOULD PICK UP WHERE THE PAYGO DISCIPLINE OF THE 1990'S STARTED AND MODERNIZE IT FOR OUR CURRENT SITUATION. IF WE CANNOT GET A COMPREHENSIVE, $4 TRILLION BALANCED DEAL TOGETHER TO THIS FLOOR AND PASSED, LET US AT LEAST GET A DOWN PAYMENT AND ENFORCE A BUDGET MECHANISM THAT WOULD ENSURE THAT COMPREHENSIVE DEAL IS ACCOMPLISHED OVER THE NEXT DECADE. SAVE-GO WHICH I RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE IN THIS BODY WOULD LOCK IN SAVINGS OVER THE NEXT DECADE, FORCE BOTH PARTIES TO STAY AT THE TABLE AND URGE US TO MEET THE TARGETS THAT WE ALL KNOW WE NEED TO MEET, TO REDUCE OUR DEFICITS, TO STABILIZE OUR DEBT, TO STRENGTHEN OUR COUNTRY AND TO MOVE PAST THIS TRAGIC, NARROW DEBATE OVER AUGUST 2 AND OUR NATION'S MORTGAGE. WE NEED, MR. PRESIDENT, TO FOCUS, NOT ON THE NEXT ELECTION CYCLE, NOT ON THE PARTISAN BACK AND FORTH THAT MIGHT WIN ONE PARTY OVER ANOTHER, ONE PERSON OVER ANOTHER ADVANTAGE IN THIS CHAMBER OR THE OTHER FOR 2012, BUT WE NEED INSTEAD TO FOCUS ON THE NEXT GENERATION, ON THE FUTURE. THE ONLY WAY FORWARD, IN MY VIEW, IS TO HONOR OUR MORAL COMMITMENTS AS A NATION, TO THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO RELY ON MEDICARE AND MEDICAID AND SOCIAL SECURITY, ON THE SAFETY OF OUR TROOPS AND ON THE INVESTMENTS WE MAKE IN THE FUTURE AND TO CONTINUE TO HONOR OUR OBLIGATIONS AS A NATION. TO DO ANYTHING LESS IS TO DISHONOR THE SACRIFICE OF THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED US IN THE PAST AND TO IGNORE THE VERY REAL NEEDS OF THE WORKING FAMILIES ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY WHO LOOK TO US FOR LEADERSHIP AND SACRIFICE TO PUT US ON A SUSTAINABLE PATH FORWARD. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WITH THAT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:43:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: OFFICER THE SENATOR FROM…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: OFFICER THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

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  • 02:45:33 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    I WOULD VITIATE THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 02:45:36 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY, AND I THINK…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE ARE AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY, AND I THINK MANY AMERICANS ARE CONFUSED AND PERPLEXED AND ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED AS TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY AND HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE AND WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF DECISIONS MADE IN THE PAST OR BEING MADE RIGHT NOW WILL MEAN TO THEIR FAMILIES. LET ME JUST TAKE A MINUTE TO TRY TO GIVE YOU MY VIEW AS TO HOW WE GHOTGOT TO WHERE WE ARE AND WHAT OUR OPTIONS ARE. AS YOU HAVE JUST STATED, MR. PRESIDENT, AND SENATOR HARKIN BEFORE YOU, ANYONE WHO TALKS BLINDLY ABOUT DEFAULT IN SAYING IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL FOR THIS COUNTRY CLEARLY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT HE OR SHE IS TALKING ABOUT. THIS IS THE GREATEST NATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. THIS IS A NATION WHOSE FAITH AND CREDIT HAS BEEN THE GOLD STANDARD OF COUNTRIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. THIS IS A NATION SINCE GEORGE WASHINGTON WHICH HAS PAID OUT EVERY NICKEL THAT IT HAS BORROWED, WHICH IS IN FACT WHY IT IS THE GREAT NATION THAT IT IS AND WHY WE HAVE THE STRONGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD TODAY, TROUBLED THOUGH IT MAY BE. THE IDEA FOR SOME PEOPLE TO SIMPLY SAY, OH, NOT A BIG DEAL, WE'RE NOT GOING TO PAY OUR DEBT, MOG TO REALLYNOTHING TO REALLY WORRY ABOUT -- THOSE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE WISHING OUR ECONOMY HARM FOR POLITICAL REASONS, AND THOSE ARE PEOPLE WHOSE ATTITUDES WILL HAVE TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES FOR VIRTUALLY EVERY WORKING FAMILY IN THIS COUNTRY IN TERMS OF HIGHER INTEREST RATES, IN TERMS OF SIGNIFICANT JOB LOSS, IN TERMS OF MAKING A VERY UNSTABLE GLOBAL ECONOMY EVEN MORE UNSTABLE. THIS COUNTRY, WHICH HAS PAID ITS DEBTS FROM DAY ONE, MUST PAY ITS DEBTS, AND I CAN'T SAY IT ANYMORE CLEARLY THAN THAT. NOW, OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS, ESPECIALLY OUR RIGHT-WING FRIENDS WHO NOW CONTROL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THEY HAVE GIVEN US AN OPTION. AND HERE'S THEIR OPTION: WHAT THEY HAVE SAID IS, WE WANT TO DO DEFICIT REDUCTION, AND THIS IS HOW WE'RE GOING TO DO IT. WE'RE GOING TO END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT AND FORCE ELDERLY PEOPLE, MANY OF WHOM DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY SUBSTANTIALLY MORE FOR THEIR HEALTH CARE. SO WHEN YOU'RE 70 UNDER THEIR PLAN AND YOU GET SICK AND YOU DON'T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF INCOME, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU. THEY FORTH TO TELL FORGET TO TELL US. BUT WHAT THEY DID FORGET TO TELL US IS THAT MEDICARE IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE FOUR. AND THOLED US THAT TOMORROW IF THEIR PLAN WAS PASSED YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY A HECK OF A LOT MORE FOR THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS YOU'RE GETTING TODAY. OH, YOU DON'T HAVE THE MONEY? THAT'S NOT OUR PROBLEM. AND THEY TOLD US WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SAVAGE CUTS IN MEDICAID, THROW MILLIONS OF KIDS OFF THE HEALTH INSURANCE WHEN 50 MILLION KIDS HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE TODAY. THEY WANT MILLIONS MORE WITHOUT ANY HEALTH INSURANCE. AND IF YOUR MOM OR DAD IS IN A NURSING HOME AND THAT NURSING HOME BILL IS PAID SIGNIFICANTLY BY MEDICAID AND MEDICAID ISN'T PAYING ANYMORE, THEY FORGOT TO TELL US WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR MOM OR DAD IN THAT NURSING HOME. WHAT HAPPENS? AND WHAT HAPPENS TODAY IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED AND YOU'RE NOT ABLE TO GET UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION, WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE A A MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY DESPERATELY TRYING TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO COLLEGE AND YOU MAKE SAVAGE CUTS TO PELL GRANTS AND YOU CAN'T GO TO COLLEGE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE NATION IF WE ARE NOT BRINGING FORTH YOUNG PEOPLE THAT HAVE THE EDUCATION THAT THEY NEED. THEY FORGOT TO TELL US THAT. AND IF ONE OF THE GROWING NUMBER OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE GOING HUNGRY, THEY WANT TO CUT NUTRITION PROGRAMS. AND ON AND ON IT GOES. EVERY PROGRAM THAT HAS ANY SIGNIFICANCE TO WORKING FAMILIES, THE SICK, THE ELDERLY, THE CHILDREN, THE POOR, THEY ARE GOING TO CUT, AND THEY ARE DID-TO-CUT IN A SAVAGE WAY, AND THEY ARE GOING TO DO THAT IN THE MIDST OF A RECESSION WHERE REAL UNEMPLOYMENT IS ALREADY AT 15% AND THE MIDDLE CLASS IS DISAPPEARING AND POVERTY IS INCREASING. THAT'S THEIR IDEA. ANDS THEN WHEN YOU SAY TO THEM, WELL, THE VERY, VERY RICH ARE DOING PHENOMENALLY WELL, THE TOP 1% NOW EARNS MORE INCOME EN THIS THE BOTTOM 50%. THE TOP 400 WEALTHIEST FAMILIES IN THIS COUNTRY OWN MORE WEALTH THAN THE BOTTOM 150 MILLION AMERICANS. DON'T YOU THINK MAYBE IT'S APPROPRIATE THAT WHEN THE RICH ARE GETTING RICHER, THEIR TAX RATES HAVE GONE DOWN, THEIR EFFECTIVE TAX RATES ARE THE LOWEST IN MODERN HISTORY, WHEN MAJOR CORPORATIONS ARE MAKING BILLIONS IN PROFITS, IN SOME CASES NOT PAYING A NICKEL IN TAXES, DON'T YOU THINK MAYBE IT'S FAIR THAT THEY CONTRIBUTE TO DEFICIT REDUCTION RATHER THAN JUST THE ELDERLY AND THE SICK AND WORKING FAMILIES? AND THEY SAY, NO, WE'VE GOT A LINE IN THE SAND, AND IF IT MEANS THIS COUNTRY WILL DEFAULT ON ITS DEBT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, THAT'S OKAY. BUT WE ARE ABSOLUTELY GOING TO DEFEND THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY -- MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES -- AND MAKE SURE THEY DON'T PAY A NICKEL MORE IN TAXES. WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THERE IS NO TAX REFORM SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO LOSE $100 BILLION EVERY SINGLE YEAR BECAUSE WEALTHY PEOPLE AND CORPORATIONS STASH THEIR MONEY IN TAX HAVENS IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS OR BERMUDA, AND THAT'S JUST FINE. WE'LL PROTECT THOSE TAX BREAKS WHILE WE SAVAGE PROGRAMS FOR WORKING FAMILIES. THOSE ARE THE CHOICES THAT OUR RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARE GIVING US. DEFAULTS WITH HORRENDOUS ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES FOR WORKING FAMILIES IN THIS COUNTRY AND IN FACT FOR THE ENTIRE GLOBAL ECONOMY OR MASSIVE CUTS TO PROGRAMS THAT WORKING FAMILIES DESPERATELY NEED. WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT, MR. PRESIDENT? NEITHER OF THOSE OPTIONS ARE ACCEPTABLE TO ME, AND NEITHER ARE THOSE OPTIONS ACCEPTABLE TO THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. EVERY SINGLE POLL THAT I HAVE SEEN SAYS THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT SHARED SACRIFICE. THEY DON'T WANT OR BELIEVE THAT DEFICIT REDUCTION CAN SIMPLY COME DOWN ON THE BACKS OF THE WEAK AND THE VULNERABLE, THE ELDERLY, THE CHILDREN, AND THE POOR; THAT THE WEALTHY AND LARGE CORPORATIONS ALSO HAVE TO PARTICIPATE. MR. PRESIDENT, I MUST ALSO, IN ALL HONESTY, TELL YOU THAT I I HAVE BEEN DISAPPOINTMENTED BY THE PRESIDENT'S ROLE IN THESE DISCUSSIONS AND SOME OF HIS IDEAS. HE HAS BROUGHT FORTH AND IDEA WHICH I CATEGORICALLY REJECT, THAT WE SHOULD MAKE SIGNIFICANT CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY, THAT WHEN SOMEONE REESMS THE AGE OF 85 -- WHEN SOMEONE REACHES THE AGE OF 85, THEY WOULD LOSE $1,000 AS OPPOSED TO WHAT THEY WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE GOTTEN. THIS SENATOR IS NOT GOING TO BALANCE OUR BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF AN 85-YEAR-OLD PERSON WHO'S EARNING $14,000 A YEAR, NOT WITH MY VOTE. AND THIS SENATOR DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT THAT WE RAISE ELIGIBILITY AGE FOR MEDICARE FROM 65 TO 67, BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORKED THEIR WHOLE LIVES, FINALLY REACH 65 ANTICIPATING MEDICARE BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE THERE FOR THEM. SO I VERY STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT ON THOSE INITIATIVES. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST TELL YOU THAT ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. AND I THINK MANY PEOPLE NOW ARE BEGINNING TO CATCH ON TO THAT. IT IS NO SECRET THAT OUR RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES DID VERY WELL IN NOVEMBER 2010. THEY CAPTURED THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND NOW A YEAR-PLUS LATER, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, WE ARE ON THE VERGE OF A DEFAULT. SO I WOULD CLOSE BY SAYING TO PEOPLE ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY IS THAT IF YOU BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE GOT TO START INVESTING IN AMERICA AND CREATING THE MILLIONS OF JOBS THAT THIS COUNTRY DESPERATELY NEEDS, ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS THE DEFICIT CRISIS IN A WAY THAT IS RESPONSIBLE, IN A WAY THAT ASKS THE WEALTHY AND LARGE CORPORATIONS ALSO TO PLAY A ROLE, IN A WAY, AS SENATOR HARKIN MENTIONED A MEEMENT AGO, THAT CALLS FOR CUTS IN DEFENSE SPENDING AND BRINGING OUR TROOPS HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FROM AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS. IN MY VIEW -- IN MY VIEW -- A GROUP OF PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE WHOSE VIEWS REPRESENT A SMALL MINORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE HOLDING THIS CONGRESS HOSTAGE. AND IT IS TIME FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO STAND UP AND SAY, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH; THE FUNCTION OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS IS TO REPRESENT ALL OF OUR PEOPLE AND NOT JUST THE WEALTHIEST AND MOD POWERFUL. AND -- AND MOST POWERFUL. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:56:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 03:00:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING.

  • 03:00:43 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

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

  • 03:00:47 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

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

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY AS SOMEONE WHO IS BACK IN MY HOME STATE EVERY WEEKEND. AS I TALK TO PEOPLE AND SAY WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND, THEY SAY WHAT'S ON THEIR MIND ARE JOBS, THE ECONOMY, THE NATION'S DEBT AND THE NATION'S SPENDING. I SAY WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THINGS GOING ON IN WASHINGTON? THEY SAY THE PROBLEM WITH WASHINGTON IS TAX IS TOO MUCH, -- TAXES TOO MUCH, BORROWS TOO MUCH AND THE GOVERNMENT GROWS BIGGER EVERY DAY. AND THEY SAY WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE DEBT, THE PEOPLE OF WYOMING HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING THAT THE NUMBER IS VERY, VERY LARGE. AND THEY SAY WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE BUDGET? AS WE GET INTO THE DISCUSSION, IT COMES DOWN TO WHAT BUDGET, WHERE IS THE BUDGET? IT HAS BEEN 800 DAYS SINCE THE BUDGET HAS GONE THROUGH THIS BODY, OVER 800 DAYS. YOU'RE TALKING MORE THAN TWO YEARS. WHY IS THAT? I THINK THERE WAS A VOTE ON THE BUDGET EARLIER THIS YEAR THAT WAS THE PRESIDENT'S SO-CALLED BUDGET, LOST 97-0. NOT EVEN ONE DEMOCRAT VOTED FOR WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAD PROPOSED. THE MAGAZINE, THE NEWS MAGAZINE "THE ECONOMIST" CALLED IT A DISHONEST BUDGET. YOU KNOW, IN WYOMING, WE BALANCE OUR BUDGET EVERY YEAR. WE DON'T HAVE A DEBT LIKE THE COUNTRY HAS, THE COUNTRY WITH ITS $14 TRILLION DEBT. IN WYOMING, THE DEBT IS ZERO BECAUSE YEAR AFTER YEAR, WE BALANCE OUR BUDGET, LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS, SPEND ONLY WHAT COMES IN AND ACTUALLY HAVE MONEY LEFT OVER THAT WE CAN INVEST IN THE PEOPLE OF OUR STATE. AND IT'S BECAUSE FROM THE BEGINNING WHEN THE CONSTITUTION OF OUR STATE WAS WRITTEN, INCLUDED RIGHT THERE IN THE CONSTITUTION IS A COMPONENT THAT SAYS THAT YOU SHALL BALANCE THE BUDGET EVERY YEAR. DON'T SPEND MORE THAN WE HAVE COMING IN. SO TO DO THAT, ONE OF THE MOST USEFUL THINGS IS THAT THERE ACTUALLY BE A BUDGET, BE A BUDGET, SOMETHING TO LIVE WITHIN, SOMETHING TO LOOK TO AS A GUIDEPOST, AS A ROAD MAP. I'M STILL LOOKING FOR ONE IN THIS BODY, MADAM PRESIDENT. WHERE IS IT? WHY HAVEN'T WE SEEN ONE? SO THAT'S WHY I AM COMING TO THE FLOOR TODAY WITH A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES TO SAY WHAT IS GOING ON THAT IT'S BEEN OVER 800 DAYS, NO BUDGET, NO OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE LOOK TO A ROAD MAP TO SEE WHERE THE COUNTRY IS HEADED. WE HEAR ALL THE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE FACT THAT ARE WE -- ARE WE HEADED TO A DEFAULT? WHAT ABOUT THE DEBT LIMIT? WHAT ABOUT THE CEILING? IS THAT GOING TO BE RAISED. THEY SAY WHAT'S THE PLAN, WHAT'S THE SPENDING PLAN, WHAT'S THE SAVINGS PLAN? I DON'T HEAR ONE COMING FORTH FROM THE MAJORITY PARTY. I DON'T SEE ONE FROM THE MAJORITY LEADER, I DON'T SEE ONE FROM THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, I DON'T SEE ONE FROM THE PRESIDENT. THEY ARE HAVING DISCUSSIONS AT THE WHITE HOUSE ABOUT HOW TO TRY TO GET SPENDING UNDER CONTROL. I SAY WHERE IS THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN? WHAT I HEAR FROM THE PRESIDENT IS HE WANTS TO RAISE TAXES. AND THE PEOPLE OF WYOMING WOULD SAY THE BEST WAY FOR MORE REVENUE TO COME IN IS NOT RAISE TAXES ON THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING. IT'S PUT SOME OF THOSE 9.2 MILLION AMERICANS -- I'M SORRY. 9.2% OF AMERICANS WHO ARE LOOKING FOR WORK, PUT THEM TO WORK AND THEN THAT MONEY WILL COME IN AS THEY PAY TAXES. SO I COME TODAY TO THE FLOOR, MADAM PRESIDENT, WITH A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES, NOR SESSIONS, THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA HAS ARRIVED, AND -- AND I SNOW THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE ENGAGED IN A COLLOQUY TO DISCUSS SOME OF THESE ISSUES, BUT I'LL TELL YOU WE OUGHT TO BE FOCUSING ON THESE 9.2% OF AMERICANS WHO CAN'T FIND WORK OR MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF AMERICANS LOOKING FOR JOBS. WHEN I TALK TO THE JOB CREATORS, THEY ARE SAYING IT'S THE PRESIDENT'S POSITION AND HIS POLICIES THAT HAVE MADE MATTERS WORSE, MADE MATTERS WORSE WITH INCREASING HEALTH CARE COSTS AS A RESULT OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW, MADE MATTERS WORSE AS A RESULT OF THE REGULATIONS COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON THAT ADD ADDITIONAL COSTS ONTO BUSINESSES, AND MAKING IT WORSE IN INCREASED ENERGY COSTS AS THE PRESIDENT CONTINUES TO SEND ENERGY JOBS OVERSEAS AS HE MAKES IT HARDER AND HARDER TO EXPLORE FOR AMERICAN ENERGY. AND SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR SESSIONS, TO GIVE US HIS THOUGHTS, IF I COULD, ON THE CONCERNS THAT WE FACE AS A NATION WITHOUT A BUDGET, WITHOUT A PLAN, WITHOUT A ROAD MAP AT A TIME OF ASTRONOMICAL, ASTRONOMICAL DEFICIT, HUGE NUMBERS, NUMBERS THAT ARE TOO HIGH FOR PEOPLE TO EVEN UNDERSTAND AND COMPRHEND.

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  • 03:05:58 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I APPRECIATE SENATOR BARRASSO AND HIS LEADERSHIP ON SO MANY ISSUES IN THIS…

    I APPRECIATE SENATOR BARRASSO AND HIS LEADERSHIP ON SO MANY ISSUES IN THIS SENATE. IT IS A SAD EVENT THAT WE ARE NOW FILING AN OBJECTION TO THE MOVEMENT OF A APPROPRIATIONS BILL BECAUSE IT VIOLATES THE BUDGET ACT CONTAINED IN THE UNITED STATES CODE, AND THE BUDGET ACT SAYS YOU SHALL NOT MOVE FORWARD WITH A APPROPRIATIONS BILL IF YOU HAVEN'T FIRST PASSED A BUDGET. SO I GUESS MY FRIEND FROM WYOMING, AN ACCOMPLISHED ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON AND PHYSICIAN , AND HIS EXPERIENCE IN THE LEGISLATURE AND HIS STATE, DOES IT STRIKE HIM THAT WHEN YOU'RE IN THE MOST SERIOUS DEBT CRISIS PERHAPS THE NATION HAS EVER HAD FROM A STRUCTURAL, SYSTEMIC POINT OF VIEW, THAT WE OUGHT TO FOLLOW THE LAW, WE OUGHT TO FIRST DECIDE HOW MUCH MONEY WE CAN AFFORD TO SPEND NEXT YEAR AND THEN ALLOCATE THAT MONEY TO THE VARIOUS SPENDING APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEES SO THAT THEY CAN PRODUCE A PLAN THAT WOULD LIVE WITHIN THAT BUDGET. IS THAT THE COMMONSENSE WAY THAT WE SHOULD PROCEED?

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  • 03:07:26 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    I WOULD SAY ABSOLUTELY YES. IF YOU'RE A FAMILY IN WYOMING -- AND I DON'T…

    I WOULD SAY ABSOLUTELY YES. IF YOU'RE A FAMILY IN WYOMING -- AND I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE LIVING IN CASPER OR YOU'RE LIVING IN KEMER, EITHER WAY YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO LIVE WITHIN SOME CONSTRUCT OF HOW MUCH IS COMING IN, HOW MUCH CAN YOU SPEND, LIVE WITHIN A BUDGET. FAMILIES HAVE BUDGETS. THEY LIVE WITHIN THEIR BUDGETS. THE STATE OF WYOMING HAS A BUDGET. WE HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET COMPONENT OF OUR CONSTITUTION. SO IT NOT ONLY SAYS WE HAVE TO HAVE A BUDGET, IT SAYS WE HAVE TO BALANCE IT. AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BUDGET TO BEGIN WITH, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW YOU CAN BALANCE IT AND SO IS IT ANY SURPRISE THAT WE ARE $14 TRILLION IN DEBT AND WE'RE BORROWING $4 BILLION A DAY, $2 MILLION A MINUTE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND WE'RE BORROWING A LOT OF IT FROM CHINA. IT JUST SEEMS WE OUGHT TO BE FOLLOWING THE LAW, HAVING A BUDGET AND THEN LIVING WITHIN THE BUDGET, AND IT NEEDS TO BE A RESPONSIBLE BUDGET CONSISTENT WITH WHAT'S COMING IN.

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  • 03:08:23 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I KNOW WE APPRECIATE OUR COLLEAGUES WHO WORKED ON THIS BILL, BUT IT HAS…

    I KNOW WE APPRECIATE OUR COLLEAGUES WHO WORKED ON THIS BILL, BUT IT HAS MUCH, MUCH MORE APPROPRIATIONS THAT SHOULD BE DONE THIS YEAR, AND HOW CAN THEY BE CONTINUED WITHOUT A BUDGET. YOU SAY WELL, WE SPENT WITHIN THE PRESIDENT'S NUMBERS OR THE HOUSE NUMBERS, BUT THOSE HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED IN THE SENATE. WE HAVE NO VOTES IN THE SENATE. IT'S NOT A BINDING NUMBER, AND THE TRUTH IS WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS WHAT THE HOUSE DID, I BELIEVE. SENATOR BARRASSO, ISN'T IT TRUE THAT THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE WITH A NEW LEADERSHIP CAME IN, THEY FACED UP TO THE TEN-YEAR BUDGET WINDOW THAT WE HAVE, THEY LAID OUT A PLAN FOR TEN YEARS. IT CUT SPENDING BY $6 TRILLION, IT ACTUALLY SIMPLIFIED OUR TAX CODE SUBSTANTIALLY AND REDUCED CERTAIN TAXES, FOCUSING ON TAX REDUCTIONS THAT CREATE GROWTH SO WE COULD HAVE MORE INCOME GENERATED, AND WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH IT OR NOT BY APRIL 15, THEY DID ALL THIS, WHICH IS WHAT THIS CODE SAYS. DON'T YOU THINK THEY HAVE DONE THEIR DUTY? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ABOUT THE SENATE'S FAILURE TO EVEN ATTEMPT TO PRODUCE A BUDGET.

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  • 03:09:52 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    THE HOUSE HAS PRESENTED A BUDGET, DEBATED A BUDGET, PASSED A BUDGET.…

    THE HOUSE HAS PRESENTED A BUDGET, DEBATED A BUDGET, PASSED A BUDGET. NOTHING IN THE SENATE FOR OVER 800 DAYS. PEOPLE TELL ME OVER THE WEEKENDS YOU HAVE TO STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE, STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE. THEY SAY WE EXPECT BETTER, WE EXPECT BETTER OF THOSE WHO ARE ELECTED TO GO TO WASHINGTON AND REPRESENT US. WE EXPECT BETTER. AND THE THING THEY ALSO BELIEVE IS THAT OF THE MONEY THAT THEY'RE SPENDING -- THAT THEY'RE SENDING TO WASHINGTON -- IT'S THEIR MONEY. IT'S NOT WASHINGTON'S MONEY, IT'S THEIR MONEY. THE MONEY THAT THEY'RE SENDING TO WASHINGTON, PEOPLE DON'T BELIEVE THEY ARE GETTING VALUE FOR THEIR DOLLAR. IF YOU SAID OF EVERY DOLLAR YOU SEND IN, HOW MUCH VALUE ARE YOU GETTING BACK? IT'S AT AN ALL-TIME LOW, LESS THAN 50 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE GETTING VALUE. PEOPLE WANT EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT, EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT. THAT'S NOT WHAT THEY ARE FINDING TODAY. THEY ARE SEEING AMAZING AMOUNTS OF WASTE AND FRAUD AND ABUSE, BUT FUNDAMENTALLY THEY ARE NOT SEEING A BUDGET, A ROAD MAP FROM WHICH TO MAKE A PLAN AND THEN LIVE WITHIN THAT. AND THAT'S WHY I COME TO THE SENATE FLOOR WITH MY COLLEAGUE TODAY FROM ALABAMA TO SAY THE LAW IS SPECIFIC, NOT JUST IN THE STATE OF WYOMING BUT ALSO IN THE UNITED STATES THAT WE NEED TO HAVE A BUDGET.

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  • 03:11:08 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    IS SPECIFIC AND THE NEED IS THERE WHETHER WE HAD A LAW OR NOT. THE LAW…

    IS SPECIFIC AND THE NEED IS THERE WHETHER WE HAD A LAW OR NOT. THE LAW DOESN'T REQUIRE FAMILIES TO HAVE BUDGETS, BUT FAMILIES THAT ARE SMARTLY MANAGING THEIR MONEY HAVE BUDGETS. SMALL BUSINESSES -- BUSINESSES HAVE BUDGETS. NO LAW REQUIRES THEM TO HAVE BUDGETS BECAUSE IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO MANAGE YOUR MONEY. AND IT'S REALLY A -- AN UNACCEPTABLE SITUATION WE FIND OURSELVES IN. SENATOR BARRASSO, LET ME ASK YOU THIS, AND I WANT TO TRY TO BOIL IT DOWN TO THE NUB OF WHY WE DON'T -- WE HAVEN'T DONE IT. WHY THE MAJORITY IN THE SENATE HAS NOT PROCEEDED WITH A BUDGET. AND LET ME JUST SAY THAT A BUDGET IS CONSIDERED SO IMPORTANT THAT UNLIKE OTHER LEGISLATION, IT CAN BE PASSED WITH A SIMPLE MAJORITY. IT CANNOT BE FILIBUSTERED. IT HAS PRIORITY PROCESS TO BE MOVED RAPIDLY ON THE FLOOR. IT CAN'T BE BLOCKED. AND SO THE GOAL IS THAT YOU COULD PASS A BUDGET, EVEN A PARTY IF THEY WANTED TO DO IT ON A STRAIGHT PARTY-LINE BASIS WITH OVER 50 VOTES TO PASS A BUDGET. AND SO I GUESS I'M TRYING TO FOCUS ON IS THERE SOMETHING BROKEN ABOUT THE SENATE? IS THERE SOMETHING BROKEN THAT CAUSES US NOT TO BE EFFECTIVE? IS THERE SOMETHING BROKEN IN THE WAY WE OPERATE THAT WOULD HAVE KEPT THE BUDGET COMMITTEE FROM BRINGING A BUDGET FORWARD AND VOTING ON IT IN COMMITTEE AND PASSING IT OUT OF COMMITTEE? THEY DID THAT LAST YEAR. IS THERE ANY REASON THAT THE SENATOR CAN THINK OF A SUBSTANTIVE NATURE THAT WOULD HAVE BLOCKED THAT?

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  • 03:13:04 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    SAY THE REASON I KNOW IS THAT SOMEONE INTENTIONALLY DOESN'T WANT TO BRING…

    SAY THE REASON I KNOW IS THAT SOMEONE INTENTIONALLY DOESN'T WANT TO BRING A BUDGET TO THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, BECAUSE IF A BUDGET WERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, THEN WE WOULD LOOK THROUGH IT, READ IT, PEOPLE AT HOME COULD LOOK THROUGH IT, HAVE SOME INPUT, CALL, WRITE, TALK TO US AT TOWN HALL MEETINGS, SAY YOU KNOW WE OUGHT TO TRY TO AMEND THIS PROPOSAL TO SPEND LESS MONEY OVER HERE, MORE MONEY OVER THERE, TRY TO DECIDE THE BEST WAY TO -- TO WORK TOGETHER AS A NATION TO IMPROVE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. I MEAN, THAT'S WHAT A FAMILY BUDGET DOES, WHETHER THEY HAVE TO -- THEY DON'T HAVE TO BY LAW BUT SMART FAMILIES DO THAT. THEY MAKE PLANS, THEY THINK AHEAD. NOT JUST THREE MONTHS, SIX MONTHS. FAMILIES LOOK AHEAD TO COLLEGE, THEY THINK ABOUT WILL THEY NEED A NEW CAR, NEW ROOF AT SOME POINT DOWN THE LINE, WHAT WILL THEY NEED. THAT'S WHAT BUDGETING IS ALL ABOUT. SO I SEE NO REASON FUNDAMENTALLY WHY THERE ISN'T A BUDGET PROPOSED BY THE MAJORITY PARTY HERE ON THE FLOOR FOR ALL OF THE COUNTRY TO TAKE A LOOK AT, ALL OF THE COUNTRY TO SAY YEAH, CHANGE THIS, MORE HERE, LESS THERE, REPRIORITIZE AND LET THE COUNTRY WORK.

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  • 03:14:18 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    IF THE SENATOR WOULD YIELD, UNLESS YOU'RE UNWILLING TO TELL THE AMERICAN…

    IF THE SENATOR WOULD YIELD, UNLESS YOU'RE UNWILLING TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHERE YOU STAND, UNWILLING TO PUT REAL NUMBERS ON PAPER. YOU OUGHT TO -- YOU PREFER TO SAY WELL, AMERICAN PEOPLE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, WE ARE MEETING IN SECRET OVER HERE. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, WE HAVE GOT THE VICE PRESIDENT, HE CALLS SOME SENATORS TOGETHER, HE'S GOING TO FIX IT. OH, NOW, THE PRESIDENT IS MEETING IN SECRET. I HEAR HE STOMPED OUT OF THE MEETING YESTERDAY WHEN SOME QUESTIONS WERE ASKED, BUT -- SO WE'RE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT. YOU GUYS THAT SERVE ON COMMITTEES AND THE FINANCE COMMITTEE WHERE TAXES HAVE TO BE VOTED ON, SHOULD BE VOTED ON, YOU GUYS ARE NO LONGER RELEVANT, THE SYSTEM'S BROKEN, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT. THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. THEY'RE SAYING WE'RE NOT GOING TO GO ALONG WITH IT. IT'S NOT BECAUSE IT WON'T WORK. IT'S BECAUSE THE BUDGET PRESENTED, THE ONLY BUDGET WE'VE SEEN HERE WAS PRESENTED BY THE PRESIDENT. IT INCREASED TAXES SUBSTANTIALLY. IT INCREASED SPENDING EVEN MORE THAN THAT. AND IT INCREASED THE DEBT MORE THAN IF WE HAD DONE NOTHING OVER THE TEN YEARS. SO I SEE OUR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR TOOMEY, A NEW SENATOR BUT NOT NEW TO THE BUDGET PROCESS BECAUSE HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE IN THE HOUSE. SO I GUESS WHAT I'M FRUSTRATED ABOUT, AND I BELIEVE PEOPLE SHOULD BE UNHAPPY ABOUT, THIS DECISION, THIS POLICY DECISION BY THE LEADERSHIP IN THE SENATE THAT IT WAS FOOLISH TO PRODUCE A BUDGET IS NOT A SIGN THAT THE SENATE IS BROKEN. IT'S A SIGN THAT THE LEADERSHIP IS BROKEN. IT'S A SIGN THE LEADERSHIP DOES NOT HAVE THE COURAGE TO STAND BEFORE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND PRODUCE A PLAN BECAUSE IT EITHER WOULD RAISE TAXES TOO MUCH, NOT CUT SPENDING TOO MUCH OR RAISE THE DEBT TOO MUCH. AND I THINK THAT'S IRRESPONSIBLE. BUT I HAVE TO SAY SENATOR TOOMEY, A NEW MEMBER OF OUR SENATE, HE'S PRODUCED A BUDGET. HE LAID IT OUT RIGHT IN OUR COMMITTEE, AND HE WAS PREPARED AS A MEMBER OF OUR COMMITTEE TO PRODUCE HIS BUDGET AND ADVOCATE FOR IT. AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED? WE DIDN'T MEET. I CAN'T CALL THE COMMITTEE INTO SESSION. I'M THE RANKING REPUBLICAN. SENATOR TOOMEY CAN'T CALL THE COMMITTEE INTO SESSION AND HAVE A VOTE. THEY DECIDED NOT TO MEET, NOT TO DO THEIR DUTY. AND THEY'RE GOING TO MEET IN SECRET SOMEWHERE AND HAVE THEIR LITTLE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ELECTED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FOR WHAT WE DO WITH THEIR MONEY ARE JUST STANDING AROUND WONDERING WHAT'S HAPPENING. FORGIVE ME IF I'M NOT HAPPY. I DON'T THINK IT'S RIGHT. I THINK IT'S WEAKENING THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I BELIEVE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY IS NOT BEING FULFILLED IF WE END UP WITH SOME BIG-DEAL BIG ON AUGUST 1, AND WE'RE TOLD IT'S GOT TO BE PASSED BY AUGUST 2, AND YOU CAN FIND OUT WHAT'S IN IT AFTER WE PASS IT. I'M NOT THERE. COUNT ME OUT. SENATOR TOOMEY, WE HAD MORE PEOPLE WANTING TO GET ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE THIS YEAR. THEY WERE SO EXCITED. IT WAS THE MOST WANTED COMMITTEE TO BE ON IN THE ENTIRE SENATE, AND WE'VE NOT DONE ANYTHING. YOU WERE SELECTED TO BE ON THE COMMITTEE, WHICH IS A TRIBUTE TO YOUR EXPERIENCE. I GUESS I WOULD ASK YOU, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WHERE WE ARE?

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  • 03:18:21 PM

    MR. TOOMEY

    SESSIONS, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR RAISING THIS ISSUE BECAUSE I DO…

    SESSIONS, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR RAISING THIS ISSUE BECAUSE I DO THINK THIS IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE. MANY OF US WANTED TO BE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE BECAUSE WE SEE WHAT A CRITICAL MOMENT OUR COUNTRY IS IN. WE SEE THE VERY DIRE STRAITS THAT WE HAVE PUT OURSELVES IN BECAUSE OF THE FISCAL IRRESPONSIBILITY OF WASHINGTON. AND SOME OF US BELIEVE THAT WE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF TIME TO GET THIS IN ORDER. AND SO I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE ON THE COMMITTEE THAT WOULD DESIGN THE BLUEPRINT FOR OUR ENTIRE FISCAL POLICY FOR THIS YEAR AND HOPEFULLY BEYOND. I THINK THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, FRANKLY, OF ANY -- A RESPONSIBLE ORGANIZATION TO HAVE A BUDGET. I RAN A SMALL BUSINESS FOR YEARS, MY OWN LITTLE BUSINESS. WE ALWAYS HAD A BUDGET. THE CORNER PIZZA SHOP HAS A BUDGET. WE ARE THE BIGGEST ENTERPRISE IN THE WORLD, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. WE SPEND $3.26 TRILLION. AND FOR THE MAJORITY PARTY TO CHOOSE REALLY, TOEUF SAY CYNICALLY -- I HAVE TO SAY CYNICALLY, TO CHOOSE NOT TO WRITE A BUDGET, TO ABDICATE THAT FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, TO LAY OUT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HOW MUCH MONEY THEY WANT TO SPEND, ON WHAT THEY WANT TO SPEND IT, ON WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING TO COME FROM, TO ABDICATE THAT RESPONSIBILITY IS REALLY SHOCKING. BUT OF COURSE TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, THEY HAVE A STATUTORY OBLIGATION TO DO THIS, SO IT'S ACTUALLY ALSO ILLEGAL. AND HERE WE ARE WITHOUT A BUDGET. WE'RE ABOUT TO RUN OUT OF THIS YEAR'S FUNDING. WHEN WE COME BACK FROM THE AUGUST BREAK, WE'RE GOING TO BE PASSING SOME HUGE OMNIBUS. WHO KNOWS WHAT'S IN THAT. WHAOEF A COMPLETELY -- WE HAVE A COMPLETELY BROKEN-DOWN PROCESS. ABOUT THIS DEBT LIMIT ISSUE, BECAUSE WE HAD A DISCUSSION TODAY IN THE BANKING COMMITTEE, THE FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN BERNANKE WAS THERE TO TESTIFY. IT WAS A USEFUL DISCUSSION. UNFORTUNATELY, AFTER I LEFT THE COMMITTEE, I LEARNED LATER THAT SENATOR SCHUMER BEGAN TO DISCUSS SOME OF MY REMARKS WITH CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. AND IN THE PROCESS, HE GROSSLY MISCHARACTERIZED WHAT I SAID. I'M QUITE SURE THAT SENATOR SCHUMER WOULD NEVER INTENTIONALLY MISCHARACTERIZE THE REMARKS OF ONE OF HIS COLLEAGUES. SO WHAT I'D LIKE TO DO IS JUST CLARIFY WHAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID SO IN THE FUTURE IT WON'T BE MISCHARACTERIZED. I HAD OBSERVED THAT THE TREASURY WILL HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH CASH COMING IN IN THE FORM OF TAX RECEIPTS TO PAY THE INTEREST ON OUR DEBT IN THE EVENT THAT WE DIDN'T RAISE THE DEBT CEILING ON AUGUST 2. I IMMEDIATELY WENT ON TO SAY, AND I WILL NOW QUOTE MYSELF, IF YOU WILL ALLOW. I SAID I DON'T KNOW OF ANYBODY THAT SUGGESTS THAT WE CAN OR SHOULD GO INDEFINITELY WITHOUT RAISING THE DEBT CEILING. AND I HAVE ARGUED THAT WE WOULD CERTAINLY BE MUCH BETTER OFF REACHING AN AGREEMENT AND RAISING THE DEBT CEILING PRIOR TO AUGUST 2. END QUOTE. THAT WAS CHARACTERIZED BY SENATOR SCHUMER AS FOLLOWS -- AND I WILL QUOTE HIM. HE SAID, "FOR A SMART GUY" -- HE WAS REFERRING TO PHAOERBGS BELIEVE IT OR NOT -- REFERRING TO ME, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, TO SAY WE CAN PAY THE OBLIGATIONS, AND FORGET THE REST, THAT'S FINE. I'M SURPRISED AT IT. I NEVER SAID IT WAS JUST FINE. WHAT I HAVE SAID IS THAT WE'VE GOT A DIRE CRISIS ON OUR HANDS AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, AND I DON'T KNOW THAT WE'RE GOING TO GET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY THAN THE OPPORTUNITY OVER THIS QUESTION OF WHETHER AND WHEN AND BY HOW MUCH WE'LL RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT. BUT I'M NOT GOING TO SIT BY IDLY AND I'M NOT GOING TO GO ALONG WITH SOME DEAL THAT RAISES THE DEBT LIMIT WITHOUT MAKING THE REAL CUTS IN SPENDING WE NEED AND THE REAL PROCESS REFORM. SO SENATOR SESSIONS, AS YOU KNOW, SOME OF US HAVE ADVOCATED THAT THERE BE A SIMPLE DEAL, IF YOU WILL, PREFERLY ONE THAT WE WOULD DISCUSS IN PUBLIC, ONE WE'D HAVE A DEBATE OVER, ONE WE'D HAVE A VOTE ON. THE DEAL IS SIMPLY THIS. WE WILL AGREE TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT BY THE FULL AMOUNT THE PRESIDENT HAS REQUESTED, PROVIDED ONLY THAT THE PRESIDENT AGREE TO PUT US ON A PATH TO A BALANCED BUDGET. THAT'S IT. WE CALL IT CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE. IT HAS SOME IMMEDIATE CUTS. IT HAS SPENDING CAPS THAT PUT US ON THAT PATH TO A BALANCED BUDGET. AND IT CALLS FOR THE ADOPTION OF A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. WE HAVE A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT NAMED WILLIAM CLINTON WHO TOGETHER WITH THE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS IN THE 1990'S ACKNOWLEDGED THE IMPORTANCE OF REACHING A BALANCED BUDGET. NONE OF US THINK WE CAN DO IT OVERNIGHT. NONE OF US ARE CALLING FOR THAT. BUT BACK THEN IN THE 1990'S THEY DECIDED THEY WOULD STRIVE FOR IT AND IN FACT THEY ACHIEVED IT. WE REACHED A BALANCED BUDGET AND A MODEST SURPLUS. ALL I'M ASKING TODAY AS WE CONFRONT THIS ISSUE AND AS WE CONTEMPLATE SADDLING OURSELVES AND OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS WITH STILL MORE DEBT THAN THE RECORD LEVEL WE HAVE NOW, WHAT I'M SUGGESTING IS THAT AT THE SAME TIME WE TAKE THE MEASURES NECESSARY TO GET US OUT OF THIS MESS, TO PREVENT US FROM GOING FARTHER DOWN THIS UNSUSTAINABLE PATH AND TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE DON'T CONTINUE RUNNING DEFICITS, A PATH TO A BALANCED BUDGET, CUT SPENDING NOW, STATUTORY SPENDING CAPS AND A BALANCED BUDGET. WE NOW HAVE A BIG MAJORITY OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS WHO HAVE COSPONSORED THIS BILL THAT WOULD RAISE THE DEBT CEILING BY $2.4 TRILLION, PROVIDED THAT WE GET THESE CHANGES. AND I'M INCREASINGLY OPTIMISTIC THAT THE HOUSE MIGHT VERY WELL PASS A BILL THAT WOULD RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT CONTINGENT ONLY ON 0 THIS PATH TO A BALANCED BUDGET. SO WHILE WE'RE DOWN HERE TODAY, I THINK THIS IS WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE TALKING ABOUT. WE SHOULDN'T GO ON TO AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL THAT HAS NO CONTEXT BECAUSE THERE'S BEEN NO BUDGET. WE OUGHT TO BE FOCUSED ON GETTING THIS PROBLEM SOLVED AND THEN GET BACK TO THE REGULAR ORDER OF HAVING A BUDGET THAT DEFINES THE LEVEL OF SPENDING AND WHERE THAT MONEY IS GOING TO COME FROM AND ALLOWS US TO PURSUE THE ORDINARY APPROPRIATION PROCESS SO THAT WE CAN EXERCISE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTROL THE PURSE STRINGS OF THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SENATOR SESSIONS, I THANK YOU FOR RAISING THIS ISSUE. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE, AND I AGREE WITH YOU WHOLEHEARTEDLY THAT IT'S A TRAVESTY THAT WE DON'T HAVE A BUDGET IN THIS BODY. I CERTAINLY HOPE WE DON'T GO FARTHER DOWN THIS PATH.

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  • 03:24:50 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA. HE'S BEEN SUCH A FABULOUS ADDITION…

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA. HE'S BEEN SUCH A FABULOUS ADDITION TO THE COMMITTEE, TALENTED AND EXPERIENCED, AND HE'S WORKED SO HARD THAT HE'S ACTUALLY LAID OUT A BUDGET HIMSELF. THE PRESIDENT HAS 500 PEOPLE. THE CONGRESS HERE HAS A LOT OF STAFFERS. SENATOR TOOMEY HAS PRODUCED A BUDGET. THE HOUSE HAS PRODUCED A BUDGET BUT WE HAVEN'T SEEN ONE HERE. I'M PLEASED THAT MY COLLEAGUE, ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, SENATOR RON JOHNSON, IS HERE. HE'S A BUSINESSPERSON WHO TRAVELED HIS STATE AND TALKED WITH HIS CONSTITUENTS ABOUT HIS CONCERNS ABOUT THE DEBT THIS COUNTRY FACES. SENATOR JOHNSON, I'M PLEASED TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS AT THIS TIME.

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  • 03:25:36 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

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

    SENATOR SESSIONS. FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE. YOU KNOW I SHARE YOUR CONCERN ABOUT THE DYSFUNCTION OF NOT ONLY THIS BODY, OUR BUDGET COMMITTEE, BUT REALLY WASHINGTON IN GENERAL. I MEAN, WASHINGTON IS BROKEN. WE ARE CURRENTLY CONDUCTING BUSINESS AS USUAL HERE IN WASHINGTON IS BANKRUPTING OUR NATION. CERTAINLY HAVING SPENT 34 YEARS AS A MANUFACTURER, SENATOR, I RECOGNIZE THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GOOD PROCESS IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD PRODUCT. AND BECAUSE OUR PROCESS HERE IS SO BROKEN, THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WE'RE BANKRUPTING THIS NATION, BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE A GOOD PROCESS. IT IS, TO ME, UNBELIEVABLE, SIR, THAT IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE WE HAVEN'T PASSED A BUDGET NOW IN, WHAT IS IT, 805 OR 806 DAYS. OVER TWO YEARS WE HAVE NOT PASSED A BUDGET YET IN THIS BODY. AS AN ACCOUNTANT -- THAT'S MY BACKGROUND -- I'VE HAD TO PRODUCE BUDGETS ON TIME FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF SIZES OF BUSINESSES. AND IT'S SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE TO ME WHEN I KNOW HOW HARD INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES WORK TO PRODUCE A BUDGET. AND, BY THE WAY, THEY GENERALLY PRESENT THOSE BUDGETS ON TIME. THEY DON'T MISS THE BUDGET DATES. BUT THEY ACTUALLY PRODUCE A BUDGET, AND THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT OF WORK THAT GOES INTO THOSE THINGS. AND THEN I COME HERE AFTER 34 YEARS IN BUSINESS, I COME TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE UNDERSTANDING, NOT BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE A UNITED STATES SENATOR, SIR, BECAUSE I REALIZE WE'RE BANKRUPTING THIS NATION, THAT AMERICA IS IN PERIL. AND I GET HERE, AND I HOPE TO BE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE SO I CAN ACTUALLY START SOLVING THIS PROBLEM. I GET ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, AND I'M READY TO ROLL UP MY SHIRT SLEEVES AND START WORKING ON THE PROBLEM. AND WHAT DO WE HOLD? I THINK SIX HEARINGS ON THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET, A BUDGET THAT WAS SO UNSERIOUS THAT IT LOST IN THIS BODY 0-97. NOT ONE MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S OWN PARTY THOUGHT IT WAS SERIOUS ENOUGH, OR MAYBE IT DIDN'T SPEND QUITE ENOUGH FOR THEM. MAYBE IT DIDN'T TAX ENOUGH FOR THEM. BUT FOR WHATEVER REASON, NOT ONE MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S OWN PARTY DECIDED TO VOTE FOR THAT BUDGET. I THINK THAT'S A STUNNING REPUDIATION. IT'S VERY DISAPPOINTING, QUITE HONESTLY. RIGHT NOW, AS OUR COUNTRY FACES BANKRUPTCY, WE ARE HUNGRY FOR LEADERSHIP, AND WE'RE NOT GETTING ANY. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS IF THE PRESIDENT REALLY WAS SERIOUS ABOUT ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE, IF HE WAS SERIOUS ABOUT ATTACKING THIS PROBLEM, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN COMING TO US MONTHS AGO TO NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH TO PREVENT THE BANKRUPTING OF AMERICA. BUT THAT HASN'T HAPPENED. SO WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW? FOR THE LAST FEW WEEKS WE'VE BEEN HOLDING SOME SECRET MEETINGS, FAR FROM THE VIEW OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. I'M NOT SURE, IS THAT REALLY HOW WE'RE GOING TO SOLVE THE FINANCIAL FUTURE OF AMERICA? I CAME HERE TO WORK. I CAME HERE TO BE ENGAGED IN DEBATE. I WAS HOPING WE WOULD HAVE A VERY OPEN PROCESS UNDER GENERAL ORDER, BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT'S HAPPENING. WHAT I'M AFRAID IS WE'RE GOING TO END WAUP DEAL THAT'S GOING -- UP WITH A DEAL THAT'S GOING TO BE DROPPED IN OUR LAPS WITH A FEW DAYS TO GO -- KIND OF LIKE THE HEALTH CARE LAWMAKERS KIND OF LIKE DODD-FRANK, NO TIME TO REVIEW AND YOU START SEETHE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF IT. I THINK THAT IS A REAL SHAME. I JUST CAME FROM A PRESS CONFERENCE WHERE EVERY MEMBER OF THE FRESHMAN CLASS, WE HAD A MEETING THIS MORNING. WE WERE TALKING ABOUT WHAT CAN WE DO. WE ALL CAME HERE IN A VERY SINCERE DESIRE TO ACTUALLY SOLVE THE PROBLEM. AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT IS HOW PRESIDENT OBAMA NOW, RATHER THAN BEING SERIOUS ABOUT THIS, RATHER THAN REALLY TACKLING THE PROBLEM, HE'S BEGINNING TO SCARE SENIORS AND MEMBERS OF OUR MILITARY. WE THOUGHT THAT WAS OVER THE LINE. WE SENT A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT TODAY ASKING HIM TO PLEASE STEP UP TO THE PLATE, SERIOUSLY ADDRESS THE PROBLEM. STOP SCARING OUR SENIORS. WORK WITH US. WE WANT TO HELP YOU SOLVE THE PROBLEM. THANK YOU, SENATOR.

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  • 03:29:47 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    YOU, SENATOR JOHNSON. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT TKPWRAOUFP FRESHMAN…

    YOU, SENATOR JOHNSON. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT TKPWRAOUFP FRESHMAN SENATORS -- GROUP OF FRESHMAN SENATORS WHO HAVE ADDED SO MUCH COMMON SENSE TO OUR PROBLEM. WE WERE NOT ELECTED TO PRESIDE OVER THE FINANCIAL DECLINE OF AMERICA. WE WERE NOT ELECTED TO SKIRT THE LAW. WE WERE NOT ELECTED TO SHUT DOWN COMMITTEES, TO SHUT DOWN DEBATE, TO SEE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO SECRET MEETINGS AND CLOSED-DOOR PROCEEDINGS.y WE WERE ELECTED TO DO OUR DUTY, AND THERE IS NO HIGHER DUTY THAN TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. FOR THAT REASON, I WILL OPPOSE CLOTURE ON TODAY'S APPROPRIATIONS BILL. I WILL VOTE TO SUSTAIN THE BUDGETARY POINT OF ORDER, AND I WILL ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT MY AMENDMENT RAISING THAT BUDGET POURED TO A THRESHOLD OF 60 VOTES. THIS IS ALL IN THE BEGINNING OF OUR FIGHT -- THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF OUR FIGHT. THERE WILL BE MORE VOTES, MORE OBJECTIONS, MORE POINTS OF ORDER. WORKING WITH MY COLLEAGUES, I WILL GIVE ALL THAT I HAVE TO HELP PUT THIS COUNTRY BACK ON A SOUND, HONEST, SOLID FINANCIAL PATH. WASHINGTON MUST RECOGNIZE THAT AMERICA'S STRENGTH DOES NOT LIE IN THE SIZE OF OUR GOVERNMENT BUT IN THE SCOPE OF OUR FREEDOMS AND IN THE HEARTS OF OUR PEOPLE. THE DEBT WE HAVE TODAY IS ALREADY PULLING DOWN OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH. EXPERTS TELL US WE HAVE LOST 1% OF ECONOMIC GROWTH BECAUSE OUR DEBT EXCEEDS 90% OF OUR TOTAL ECONOMY, 90% OF G.D.P. WELL, IT'S 95% OF G.D.P. RIGHT NOW. WE'LL REACH 100% OF G.D.P. BY THE END OF THIS YEAR. THAT ALONE REDUCES GROWTH, ACCORDING TO THE EXPERTS. SECRETARY OF TREASURY GEITHNER SAID HE THOUGHT THAT WAS AN EXCELLENT STUDY THAT FOUND THAT FACT. AND WHAT DOES 1% GROWTH MEAN? WELL, INSTEAD OF THE FIRST QUARTER HAVING 1.8% OR 2% GROWTH, WE WOULD HAVE HAD 3% GROWTH. IF WE HAD HAD 3% GROWTH INSTEAD OF 2% GROWTH, ONE MILLION MORE JOBS WOULD BE ADDED PER YEAR BASED ON JUST ALTERATION OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 2% GROWTH AND 3% GROWTH. WE HAVE GOT TO FACE THESE PROBLEMS. I HOPE OUR COLLEAGUES ARE REACHING A DECISION ABOUT HOW TO PROCEED THAT CAN BE SUCCESSFUL. WE HAVE GOT TO MAKE PROGRESS THIS YEAR. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SUSTAIN PROGRESS FOR A DECADE. IF WE DO SO, WE WILL PUT THIS COUNTRY ON A RIGHT PATH, AND IF WE GET THAT DEBT DOWN, IT'S NOT TOO HARD TO DO IT, REALLY, WE'LL START SEEING OUR GROWTH COME BACK AND JOBS BE CREATED, MORE WEALTH BE CREATED, MORE TAXES BE PAID, LESS HELP TO PEOPLE POOR AND IN NEED BECAUSE THEY ARE NOW WORKING WHEN THEY WEREN'T. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK THE CHAIR, APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THESE REMARKS AND WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:33:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MADAM PRESIDENT.

  • 03:35:21 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    WOULD ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 03:35:25 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT IT BE IN ORDER FOR ME TO OFFER AND…

    I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT IT BE IN ORDER FOR ME TO OFFER AND RECEIVE A VOTE ON AN AMENDMENT TO THIS BILL WHICH RELATES TO A 303-C POINT OF ORDER THAT REQUIRES ADOPTION OF A BUDGET RESOLUTION PRIOR TO THE CONSIDERATION OF ANY APPROPRIATION BILLS.

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  • 03:35:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION? MR.

  • 03:35:50 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE AMENDMENT IS NOT GERMANE TO THE BILL. I AM TRYING TO…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE AMENDMENT IS NOT GERMANE TO THE BILL. I AM TRYING TO KEEP THIS BILL BIPARTISAN AND FREE OF EXTRANEOUS MATTERS. THEREFORE, I OBJECT.

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  • 03:35:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: OBJECTION'S HEARD.

  • 03:36:02 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.

  • 03:36:20 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    MR. PRESIDENT, THERE IS A CLOTURE MOTION AT THE DESK.

  • 03:36:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

  • 03:36:28 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT -- CLERK: WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT -- CLERK: WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 2 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE HEREBY BRING TO -- UNDER SECTION 303 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1974 FOR H.R. 2055, ANY AMENDMENTS THERETO AND MOTIONS THEREON SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS. REID OF NEVADA, JOHNSON OF SOUTH DAKOTA, KIRK, DURBIN, HAGAN, BENNET, WARNER, KERRY, BINGAMAN, UDALL OF COLORADO, MURRAY, LEAHY AND WHITEHOUSE.

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  • 03:37:04 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:37:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:37:12 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ALL TIME BE YIELDED BACK.

  • 03:37:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE QUESTION IS -- BY UNANIMOUS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE QUESTION IS -- BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE -- THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

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  • 03:37:28 PM

    THE CLERK

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

    WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE THE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE THE POINTS OF ORDER UNDER SECTION 303 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1974 FOR H.R. 2055, ANY AMENDMENTS THERETO AND MOTIONS THEREON.

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  • 03:37:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE QUESTION IS IS IT THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE THE POINTS OF ORDER UNDER SECTION 303 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT FOR H.R. 2055 AND ANY AMENDMENTS OR MOTIONS THERETO SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE. THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE, AND THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 03:38:24 PM
  • 04:01:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: ON THIS VOTE, THE YEAS ARE 71, THE NAYS ARE 26. THREE-FIFTHS OF…

    OFFICER: ON THIS VOTE, THE YEAS ARE 71, THE NAYS ARE 26. THREE-FIFTHS OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS AGREED TO.

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  • 04:01:17 PM

    MR. REID

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 04:01:20 PM

    MR. REID

    MADAM PRESIDENT, COULD WE HAVE ORDER. MR.

  • 04:01:26 PM

    MR. REID

    MADAM PRESIDENT, COULD WE HAVE ORDER. MADAM PRESIDENT? MADAM PRESIDENT,…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, COULD WE HAVE ORDER. MADAM PRESIDENT? MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M GIVING FAIR WARNING TO EVERYONE. WE'VE GOTTEN VERY NONCHALANT ABOUT COMING TO VOTE. WE'RE GOING -- WE HAVE AN EXTRA FIVE MINUTES AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO EXTEND THAT IN THE FUTURE. IT'S NOT FAIR TO EVERYONE ELSE WHO GETS HERE ON TIME. SO EVERYONE IS ON NOTICE, WE'RE GOING TO CUT THE VOTES OFF AT 20 MINUTES. PEOPLE COME STRAGGLING IN EIGHT, TEN MINUTES LATE. THAT'S NOT GOING TO WORK ANYMORE. IT WILL AFFECT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. OKAY. THIS WILL BE THE LAST VOTE OF THIS WEEK. WE WILL MORE THAN LIKELY BE IN SESSION TOMORROW. THERE WILL BE NO VOTES TOMORROW. IF THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO OFFER AMENDMENTS, THE TWO MANAGERS OF THIS BILL, SENATOR JOHNSON AND KIRK, ARE HERE. THEY'RE HERE TONIGHT. WE HAVE -- THIS VOTE COMING UP WILL BE THE LAST VOTE OF THE WEEK.

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  • 04:02:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE QUESTION'S ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE. THE YEAS AND NAYS? A…

    OFFICER: THE QUESTION'S ON THE MOTION TO WAIVE. THE YEAS AND NAYS? A SENATOR: CAN WE HAVE THE YEAS AND NAYS, PLEASE.

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  • 04:02:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THERE IS A SUFFICIENT…

    IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THERE IS A SUFFICIENT SECOND. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 04:02:48 PM
  • 04:20:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WHO WISH TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? ON THIS VOTE THE YEAS ARE 56. THE NAYS ARE 40. THE MOTION TO WAIVE IS AGREED TO. A SENATOR: MOVE TO RECONSIDER.

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  • 04:21:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS. A…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS. A SENATOR: I MOVE TO WAIVE -- [INAUDIBLE]

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  • 04:21:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 04:21:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:21:45 PM

    MR. INOUYE

    PRESIDENT, I'M PLEASED --

  • 04:21:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    COULD WE PLEASE HAVE ORDER FOR THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII. THE SENATOR FROM…

    COULD WE PLEASE HAVE ORDER FOR THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII. THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII.

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  • 04:21:52 PM

    MR. INOUYE

    THAT WE'RE BEGINNING CONSIDERATION OF FY 2012 MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND…

    THAT WE'RE BEGINNING CONSIDERATION OF FY 2012 MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS BILL. MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS BILL WAS PASSED OUT BY THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS BY UNANIMOUS VOTE OF 30-0, AND IT IS THE HOPE OF THE COMMITTEE THAT SUCH STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT WILL CONTINUE AS THE FULL SENATE DEBATES THIS MEASURE AND THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO CONSIDER GERMANE AMENDMENTS IN A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME, PASS THE BILL AND MOVE ON TO A CONFERENCE WITH THE HOUSE. AS WE CONTINUE TO DEBATE THE LARGER FISCAL CHALLENGES OUR NATION FACES, I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE THAT THE LEVEL OF FUNDING IN THE SENATE MARK OF THIS MILCON V.A. BILL IS CONSISTENT WITH THE LEVEL OF FUNDING IN THE HOUSE-PASSED MEASURE. I'D LIKE TO THANK CHAIRMAN JOHNSON AND VICE CHAIRMAN KIRK FOR THEIR BRILLIANT WORK IN PRODUCING THE BILL THAT PROVIDES ESSENTIAL SUPPORT TO OUR VETERANS, OUR ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY AND THEIR FAMILIES. THE RESOURCES PROVIDED IN THIS BILL WILL FUND VITAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS AND WILL ENSURE THAT OUR WOUNDED VETERANS AND WARRIORS RECEIVE THE EXCELLENT CARE THEY DESERVE. MADAM PRESIDENT, IT'S GOOD TO NOTE THAT WE ARE MOVING THE FIRST OF OUR FISCAL YEAR 2012 APPROPRIATIONS BILL UNDER REGULAR ORDER. AS I'VE SAID ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS, THE BEST WAY TO ENSURE THAT EVERY TAXPAYER DOLLAR IS SPENT WISELY IS TO MOVE OUR 12 BILLS THROUGH THE COMMITTEE, THE FULL SENATE, CONFERENCE WITH THE HOUSE AND THROUGH FINAL PASSAGE IN BOTH CHAMBERS. OUR ABILITY TO WORK TOGETHER ON THIS IMPORTANT BILL SERVES AS A REMINDER THAT BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE CAN BE ACHIEVED BY THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS EVEN IN THE MOST DIFFICULT OF BUDGET ENVIRONMENTS. IT IS MY HOPE THAT THE SPIRIT OF BIPARTISANSHIP EMBODIED IN THIS BILL WILL SERVE AS A MODEL FOR THE REMAINING FY 2012 APPROPRIATIONS PROJECT. SO I WISH TO CONGRATULATE CHAIRMAN JOHNSON AND VICE CHAIRMAN KIRK FOR THEIR EFFORTS, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO RETURNING TO THE FLOOR AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE FOR THE NEXT APPROPRIATIONS MEASURE. MADAM PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:24:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MISSISSIPPI.

  • 04:24:34 PM

    MR. COCHRAN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME THANK THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM HAWAII FOR…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME THANK THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM HAWAII FOR HIS KIND WORDS ABOUT THE MANAGEMENT OF THIS BILL. I WANT TO JOIN HIM IN HIS CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TWO MANAGERS. WE APPRECIATE THEIR HARD WORK. THE COMMITTEE HAD EXTENSIVE HEARINGS AND REVIEW OF ALL THE APPROPRIATIONS BILLS THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE TAKING UP IN A PUBLIC HEARING PROCESS, OPEN FOR COMMENTS, OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS. AND THEY'VE DONE THAT IN A DILIGENT AND CAREFUL AND RESPONSIBLE MANNER. I THINK IT'S A CREDIT TO THE SENATE THAT WE HAVE PASSED THIS BILL TODAY. WE LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO WORK OUR WAY THROUGH ALL OF THE APPROPRIATIONS BILLS THAT COME UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE COMMITTEE. I ESPECIALLY WANT TO THANK MY FRIEND FROM HAWAII FOR HIS LEADERSHIP. MR.

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  • 04:25:45 PM

    MR. INOUYE

    PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 04:25:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:26:04 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:36:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 04:36:37 PM

    MR. KIRK

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE QUORUM CALL AND MOVE AS IF IN…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE QUORUM CALL AND MOVE AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 04:36:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 04:36:43 PM

    MR. KIRK

    I WANTED TO RISE WHILE WE'RE WAITING FOR AUTHORS OF THEIR AMENDMENTS TO…

    I WANTED TO RISE WHILE WE'RE WAITING FOR AUTHORS OF THEIR AMENDMENTS TO COME TO THE FLOOR ON THE POINT OF PERSONAL BUSINESS TO EULOGIZE ONE OF MY MENTORS IN POLITICS. STATE REPRESENTATIVE BETTY LOU REED DIED THIS WEEK AND SHE WAS SOMEBODY THAT MANY OF US IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS LOOKED UP TO. BETTY LOU REED SERVED FROM HER HOME COMMUNITY OF DEERFIELD, ILLINOIS. SHE KNEW SENATOR EVERETT DIRKSEN WELL AND HELPED OUT IN HIS CAMPAIGNS FOR RE-ELECTION, AND SHE WAS SOMEONE THAT PRACTICED THE ART OF POLITICS FROM THE FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE SIDE BUT THE IDEOLOGICAL CENTER. SHE WAS SOMEONE WHO WAS A ROLE MODEL FOR MANY OF US AT THE TOWNSHIP, AT THE STATE AND ESPECIALLY AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. I FIRST MET HER AFTER SHE HAD RETIRED FROM OUR STATE LEGISLATURE IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS. WHEN SHE SERVED AS THE DISTRICT DIRECTOR FOR CONGRESSMAN JOHN PORTER. I REMEMBER ON A LONG VISIT IN WHICH SHE WAS SHOWING ME THE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WHERE I GREW UP IN FROM A POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW, AND AS WE PASSED BY THE ZION NUCLEAR REACTOR, SHE SAID WHATEVER YOUR FEELINGS FROM COLLEGE, BUDDY BOY, HERE WE'RE PRO NUCLEAR POWER, AND BEGAN TO INTRODUCE ME TO THE POLITICS ESPECIALLY OF LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS. BETTY LOU REED WAS SOMEONE WHO LIKED TO DRINK HER BOURBON AND BRANCH WATER, AS SHE CALLED IT, REGULARLY IN THE EVENING, TELLING OLD WAR STORIES ABOUT HOW THINGS WERE DONE IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS. SHE WAS ALWAYS KIND, CONSIDERATE, AND I NEVER REALLY HEARD A SWEAR WORD FROM HER EVER, DESPITE THE ROUGH LANGUAGE THAT'S USED BOTH IN SPRINGFIELD AND IN CHICAGO. HER HUSBAND WAS A STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF HERS AND ALWAYS AVAILABLE FOR THE -- THE CONTINUOUS SET OF PARADES AND PUBLIC MEETINGS THAT SHE WENT THROUGH. SHE GUIDED US ESPECIALLY IN THE CONSIDERATION OF THE FIRST BASE CLOSURE AND REALIGNMENT COMMITTEE IN WHICH FORT SHERIDAN, ILLINOIS, NEXT TO HER HOME DISTRICT WAS THE POSTER CHILD, GIVEN ITS HIGH VALUE AND GOLF COURSE NEXT TO LAKE MICHIGAN FOR DISPOSAL. WE WENT THROUGH A NUMBER OF PROPOSALS LIKE BRINGING IN A PRISON OR HOMELESS SHELTERS, ET CETERA, BUT FINALLY CAME TO A MUTUALLY AGREED UPON SOLUTION OF A SET OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS, PARKS AND ADDITIONS TO LAKE FOREST, HIGHWOOD AND HIGHLAND PARK. PROBABLY HER GREATEST LEGACY WAS IN SUPPORTING AND TEACHING A YOUNG CONGRESSMAN FROM OUR AREA, CONGRESSMAN JOHN PORTER, THE ROPES AND GUIDING HIM THROUGH DIFFICULT ELECTIONS AND TOUGH PARTISAN TIMES. I SERVED AS CONGRESSMAN PORTER'S CHIEF OF STAFF WHILE SHE, AS SHE PUT IT, GARNERED THE REAL VOTES BACK HOME AND TOOK CARE OF BUSINESS. BETTY LOU LOST HER HUSBAND A WHILE AGO AND PASSED AWAY THIS WEEK. MANY OF US IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS REMEMBER HER, NOT JUST AS A TRUSTED PUBLIC OFFICIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL STAFF MEMBER BUT AS SOMEONE WHO TAUGHT US THE ROPES AND TAUGHT US THE ROPES EVEN FROM CHICAGOLAND OF HOW TO EXERCISE THE ART OF POLITICS, MAYBE MORE GENTLY AND WITH BETTER LANGUAGE THAN OUR PREDECESSORS. I VERY MUCH WILL MISS BETTY LOU REED. I KNOW CONGRESSMAN PORTER SHARES THIS, AS MANY OF HIS STAFF AND POLITICAL FAMILIES OF NORTHERN ILLINOIS. AND I WANTED TO TAKE THIS MOMENT TODAY IN THE SENATE TO MARK HER PASSING AND SAY HOW VERY MUCH WE WILL MISS HER. WITH THAT, MADAM CHAIRWOMAN, I YIELD BACK AND WOULD ONCE AGAIN SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM. THE PRESIDING

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  • 05:12:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 05:12:10 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE WAIVED.

  • 05:12:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:12:15 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW WE'RE ON THE MILCON APPROPRIATION BILL BUT I DID NOT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW WE'RE ON THE MILCON APPROPRIATION BILL BUT I DID NOT WANT TO LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT A PRESSING ISSUE BEFORE THE COUNTRY TODAY AND THAT IS HOW WE WILL WORK TO RESOLVE THE NATION'S OBLIGATIONS TO ITS CREDITORS AND WHAT THE FAILURE OF DOING THAT MEANS TO THE NATION AND TO EACH AND EVERY AMERICAN. AND SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO ASK A SIMPLE QUESTION OF MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES: WHEN IS AN ENTITLEMENT NOT AN ENTITLEMENT? APPARENTLY, GIVEN THE RHETORIC AND ACTIONS OF SOME OF OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, THE ANSWER WOULD BE THAT AN ENTITLEMENT IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT WHEN IT BENEFITS AN ENTITLED CLASS OF WEALTHY AMERICANS. IN THE REPUBLICANS' IDEOLOGICAL HAZE THAT IS SWIRLING AROUND WASHINGTON THESE DAYS, IT'S ONLY AN ENTITLEMENT WHEN IT GOES TO THE MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES, TO STUDENTS, TO SENIORS, TO THE DISABLED, TO THE DOWNTRODDEN AND THE DISPOSSESSED. THOSE ENTITLEMENTS, ACCORDING TO THE REPUBLICANS, SHOULD BE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK. BUT ENTITLEMENTS TO THE WEALTHY CAN NEVER BE ON THE TABLE, DESPITE THE FACT THAT OUR CURRENT TAX CODE ALLOWS THE WEALTHIEST 400 TAXPAYERS IN AMERICA TO PAY A SMALLER PERCENTAGE OF THEIR INCOME IN TAXES THAN THE AVERAGE NEW JERSEY FAMILY. LESS THAN THE AVERAGE NEW JERSEY FAMILY. MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT REPUBLICANS WILL ULTIMATELY DO, THEIR GOAL IN THIS DEBT NEGOTIATION, OUGHT OUTLINED IN THE HOUSE-PASSED BUDGET THAT ENDS MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT, THE BASELINE OF RETIREMENT SECURITY FOR OUR SENIORS. WHAT WAS THE RETIREMENT SECURITY OF MY MOTHER IN THE TWILIGHT OF HER LIFE AS SHE STRUGGLED AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S, AFTER HAVING WORKED A LIFETIME TO HELP BUILD A FAMILY AND BE PART OF CONTRIBUTING TO A COMMUNITY. SHE WOULD NOT HAVE LIVED WITH THE DIGNITY THAT SHE DESERVED IN THE TWILIGHT OF HER LIFE BUT FOR MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT. AND IT MAKES A MIDDLE-CLASS LIFE IN AMERICA MORE EXPENSIVE AND LESS ACCESSIBLE. NOW, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS, THEIR POLICIES WOULD MAKE SURE THAT THE RICHER GET EVEN MORE RICH AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS. THEY THINK THAT THE RICH ARE ENTITLED TO ALL THE TAX LOOPHOLES THEY GET BUT SENIORS AND THE DISABLED, THEY DON'T REALLY NEED THE HEALTH BENEFITS THEY'RE GETTING. AND WE CALL THIS LEADERSHIP? DO THEY CALL IT LEADERSHIP TO STAND ON IDEOLOGY, SEND THIS NATION INTO DEFAULT? DEFAULT BASICALLY MEANS BEING A DEADBEAT. I THINK AVERAGE AMERICANS UNDERSTAND WHAT BEING A DEADBEAT IS ALL ABOUT. WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO MEET THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES. WE SAY DON'T INCUR DEBT, BUT IF YOU INCUR THAT DEBT MEET YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. PAY IT. BUT NOW WE HAVE LEADERS IN THIS NATION WHO SAY LET'S HAVE THE NATION BE A DEADBEAT. AND WE WOULD LEAVE A SENIOR CITIZEN WHO LIVES -- I KNOW SOME OF OUR FRIENDS HERE MAY NOT HAVE AN APPRECIATION OF THIS, BUT WHO LIVES MONTH TO MONTH ONLY ON SOCIAL SECURITY, STANDING HOPELESSLY ON THE FRONT PORCH WAITING FOR A CHECK THAT MAY NOT COME. YOU CALL THAT LEADERSHIP? YOU CALL IT LEADERSHIP TO RISK INCREASING INTEREST RATES ON MORTGAGES WHEN FAMILIES ARE STRUGGLING TO PAY AT THE CURRENT RATES ON STUDENT LOANS, ON CAR PAYMENTS, ON CREDIT CARDS THAT MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES CAN ILL AFFORD NOW? THEY CALL IT LEADERSHIP TO RISK LEAVING A WOUNDED VETERAN WITHOUT A BENEFIT CHECK? OR ACTIVE MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN, THEIR FAMILIES WITHOUT A PAYCHECK. THEY CALL IT LEADERSHIP TO RISK A SPIKE IN PRICES THAT INCREASES THE COST OF GROCERIES AND GAS AND POTENTIALLY COSTS A MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY IN NEW JERSEY AN ADDITIONAL $1,500 IN THE SHORT TERM? THEY CALL IT LEADERSHIP TO RISK AN END TO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, TO STATES LEAVING THOSE ALREADY STRUGGLING IN THIS ECONOMY AT RISK OF LOSING WHAT LITTLE THEY HAVE? THEY CALL IT LEADERSHIP TO RISK MEDICAID PAYMENTS TO STATES FOR DISABLED SENIORS IN NURSING HOMES WHO HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS? BUT AMAZINGLY ALLOW A MILLIONAIRE WHO OWNS A STABLE OF RACEHORSES A DEPRECIATION ALLOWANCE ON THE TAX CODE ON THOSE RACEHORSES? THAT'S AN ENTITLEMENT WE SHOULDN'T TOUCH. THAT'S LEADERSHIP. THE BOTTOM LINE, IT'S ESTIMATED THAT ABOUT $125 BILLION WORTH OF BILLS ON AVERAGE MAY HAVE TO BE PUT OFF IF WE DON'T DEAL WITH MEETING THE NATION'S OBLIGATIONS. MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S NOT LEADERSHIP IF THE DOLLAR PLUMMETS AND AMERICA LOSES. IT'S NOT LEADERSHIP IF NO ONE FOLLOWS BUT THE FAR RIGHT WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. IF WE'RE GOING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET BY LIMITING ENTITLEMENTS AND SUBSIDIES AND EARMARKS, PERHAPS WE SHOULD BEGIN WITH THOSE ENTITLEMENTS IN THE TAX CODE THAT BENEFIT THOSE WHO ARE THE WEALTHIEST IN THE COUNTRY. PERHAPS WE SHOULD LOOK AT ENDING ENTITLEMENTS FOR RICH OIL COMPANIES WHO RECEIVE $2 BILLION A YEAR. THEY RECEIVE IN JUST TWO TAX BREAKS THAT THE CODE GIVES THEM $21 BILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. AND YET, OH NO, WE CAN'T TOUCH THAT, BUT WE CAN TELL SOME SENIOR THAT IN FACT THEY HAVE TO BE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK, THAT MEDICARE HAS TO END AS WE KNOW IT. OR HOW ABOUT $6 BILLION FOR ETHANOL PRODUCERS. OR HOW ABOUT THE RACEHORSE DEPRECIATION ALLOWANCE? OR THE BILLIONS YEAR AFTER YEAR THAT DEFENSE CONTRACTORS THINK THEY'RE ENTITLED TO. HOW ABOUT INVESTING IN NEW BRIDGES AND TUNNELS AND A NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN NEW JERSEY INSTEAD OF KANDAHAR? MR. PRESIDENT, OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE WHO BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD BALANCE THE BUDGET BY SPENDING CUTS ALONE ARE MORE THAN WILLING TO BARGAIN AWAY STUDENT LOANS, BARGAIN AWAY PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE, EVEN BARGAIN AWAY NURSING HOME CARE FOR THE ELDERLY PARENTS TO PROTECT ENTITLEMENTS FOR BIG OIL COMPANIES, BILLIONAIRE CORPORATE EXECUTIVES WHO TRAVEL THE WORLD IN PRIVATE JETS AND MILLIONAIRES WHO BELIEVE THEY ARE ENTITLED TO ALL OF THE TAX LOOPHOLES THEY'RE GETTING NOW AFTER THE BIGGEST TAX CUT IN HISTORY, ENTITLED TO TAX CUTS BUT NOT OBLIGATED TO CREATE AMERICAN JOBS. CONTRARY TO THE FALSE RHETORIC WE HEAR FROM THE OTHER SIDE ABOUT A CORRELATION BETWEEN ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE WEALTHY AND JOB CREATION. THE HARD RIGHT WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS COME TO THE TABLE WILLING TO GIVE UP NOTHING, UNWILLING TO ACCEPT AN OFFER BY THE PRESIDENT AND DEMOCRATS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN SPENDING CUTS, POTENTIAL SAVINGS IN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS AND TAX REFORM OPTIONS, ALL OF WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN DEMANDING, UNLESS WE AGREE TO PROTECT TO THE ENTITLEMENTS THAT EXIST FOR THE WEALTHY. NOT EVEN A SINGLE PENNY ON THE REVENUE SIDE OF THE OPTION. DON'T TOUCH THOSE ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE BIG FIVE OIL COMPANIES. DON'T TOUCH THE ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE CORPORATE JETS. DON'T TOUCH THE ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE RACEHORSES. DON'T TOUCH ANY OF THOSE ENTITLEMENTS GIVEN THE TAX BREAK AND HAVING A CODE WHERE AN INCREDIBLE UNIVERSE OF CORPORATIONS IN AMERICA DON'T EVEN PAY AT THE END OF THE DAY BY AOUGS ALL OF THE PROVISIONS -- USING ALL OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE CODE ANYTHING TOWARDS THE COMMON GOOD. THEY COME TO THE TABLE WITH NOTHING. THEY LOOK AMERICA IN THE EYE AND TELL US WE CANNOT CUT SUBSIDIES TO BIG OIL COMPANIES. WEWE CANNOT PUT ENTITLEMENTS TO BIG CORPORATIONS ON THE TABLE BECAUSE THEY CONVENIENTLY THROUGH THIS POLITICAL SLEIGHT OF HAND LABEL ANY ATTEMPT TO END THOSE TAX BREAKS, THOSE ENTITLEMENTS AS A TAX INCREASE ON WHAT THEY LIKE TO CALL THE JOB CREATORS. AND THEIR EXCUSE FOR SUCH AN IRRESPONSIBLE BARGAINING POSITION? TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS. I'VE HEARD THIS SO MANY TIMES OVER THE TIME I'VE BEEN HERE IN CONGRESS. BUT THE PROBLEM IS NOTHING HAS EVER TRICKLED DOWN. AND YET, THOSE SAME ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE ENTITLED, THE $5 TRILLION ENTITLEMENT THE BUSH TAX CUTS WOULD COST GOING FORWARD OVER THE NEXT DECADE THAT WE ARE TOLD AT THE OUTSET WOULD CREATE JOBS HAVE TURNED TO BE THE GREATEST FAILED JOBS PROGRAM IN AMERICAN HISTORY. AND I LOOK AT HOW THOSE TAXES, TAX BREAKS ARE SKEWED TO THE WEALTHIEST. I UNDERSTAND THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES, AND I PROMOTE THAT BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONES WHO SPEND IN THIS ECONOMY AND CREATE DEMANDS. BUT THE WAY THOSE TAX CUTS ARE SKEWED TO THE WEALTHIEST, $5 TRILLION, I ASK MY FRIENDS, WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS THAT WERE SUPPOSEDLY GOING TO BE CREATED AS A RESULT OF THAT? WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS THESE REPUBLICAN ENTITLEMENTS TO THE WEALTHY WERE SUPPOSED TO PRODUCE? WHERE ARE THEY? WHEN MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS ARE STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET, PAY THE BILLS, KEEP THEIR JOBS, THEIR HEALTH CARE, THEIR HOMES, ENTITLEMENTS TO THE ENTITLED ARE THE MOST RECKLESS KIND OF SPENDING. THIS IS THE IRRESPONSIBLE REPUBLICAN ENTITLEMENT, SPENDING THAT SHOULD BE ON THE TABLE. THE VERY ENTITLEMENT SPENDING THAT CONTRIBUTED TO OUR CURRENT DEBT. AND YET, OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE CONTINUE TO PROTECT THESE ENTITLEMENTS. YOU KNOW, THEY WILL NOT VOTE TO RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT UNLESS WE CUT ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS, THE WORKING MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES OF THIS COUNTRY, BUT THEY PROTECT ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. THEY'RE HOLDING A GUN TO OUR HEADS AT A CRITICAL TIME IN OUR ECONOMIC HISTORY, BUT WE NEED ONLY TO LOOK BACK AT HOW OFTEN REPUBLICANS THEMSELVES HAVE RAISED THE DEBT LIMIT. AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THIS CHART, TO PAY FOR TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY, GEORGE W. BUSH HAD SEVEN INCREASES OF THE DEBT CEILING, INCREASING IT BY 90% FOR THE LARGEST INCREASE IN HISTORY, A TOTAL OF OVER $5 TRILLION. THAT INCLUDES THE ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE WEALTHY THAT THEY WILL NOT PUT ON THE TABLE IN THE NAME OF SHARED SACRIFICE, EVEN IF IT MEANS AMERICA DEFAULTS ON ITS DEBT AND BECOMES A DEADBEAT AND SENDS A RIPPLE EFFECT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AND ITS ECONOMIES THAT COME BACK CRASHING ON OUR SHORES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. SO IT'S AMAZING TO ME. RONALD REAGAN, HE RAISED THE DEBT CEILING 18 TIMES. 18 TIMES IN EIGHT YEARS, A TOTAL PERCENTAGE INCREASE OF 199% AMOUNTING TO $1.8 TRILLION, WHICH IN TODAY'S DOLLARS WOULD BE $4 TRILLION TODAY. 18 TIMES, RONALD REAGAN. 18 TIMES. GEORGE BUSH, SEVEN TIMES FOR $5.3 TRILLION. AND THAT AMOUNT, BY THE WAY, UNDER THE BUSH YEARS ENDS UP BEING WHAT? WHAT IS IT EQUAL TO? THE BUSH TAX CUTS. $5 TRILLION. NOW THEY WILL NOT RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT TO PROTECT THE GOOD FAITH OF THE AMERICAN FINANCIAL SYSTEM, TO PROTECT MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES WHO ALREADY LOST SO MUCH UNDER REPUBLICAN ECONOMIC POLICIES THAT LED US TO THE BRINK OF ECONOMIC DISASTER. THE WHOLE CONFLUENCE OF WHAT HAPPENED IN SEPTEMBER OF 2008, WHERE WE HAD THESE BUSH TAX CUTS TOTALLY UNPAID FOR, DENYING THE FEDERAL TREASURY THOSE MONEYS AT A TIME IN WHICH WE HAD TWO WARS RAGING ABROAD IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND NEW ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM UNPAID FOR, AND A MARKETPLACE THAT INSTEAD OF BEING A FREE MARKET, WHICH I SUPPORT, BECAME A FREE-FOR-ALL MARKET IN WHICH INVESTOR DECISIONS END UP BECOMING COLLECTIVE RISKS TO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. AND THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN FACING. INSTEAD OF MEETING THIS RESPONSIBILITY, THEY FAVOR CUTS IN ENTITLEMENTS TO SENIORS, TO THE DISABLED, THE FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET, TO STUDENTS SEEKING TO GET THE COLLEGE EDUCATION THAT CAN HELP FUEL AMERICA'S PROSPERITY. THAT'S WHAT WE SAW IN THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN BUDGET THAT PASSED. BUT ARE WILLING TO DECIMATE OUR NATION'S ECONOMY TO PROTECT ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE RICH. THEY'VE DUG IN THEIR HEELS AND WALLED OFF IRRESPONSIBLE, UNNECESSARY TAX BREAKS FOR BIG OIL COMPANIES. THEY'VE WALLED OFF ENTITLEMENTS TO MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR CORPORATIONS AND MILLIONAIRES WHO NEED NO ENTITLEMENTS BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE, BLINDED BY THEIR IDEOLOGICAL HAZE, THAT THE RICH ARE ENTITLEED TO THEIR OUTRAGEOUS WAYS EVEN IF IT MEANS BALLOONING THE DEFICIT AND SENDING THE NATION INTO DEFAULT ON ITS DEBT. ENTITLEMENTS FOR THESE SPECIAL INTERESTS, CUTS FOR EVERYONE ELSE. MR. PRESIDENT, REPUBLICANS PREFER TO TALK ABOUT CUTTING ENTITLEMENTS RATHER THAN WHAT IT REALLY MEANS. RATHER THAN CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY, RATHER THAN CUTTING MEDICARE, RATHER THAN CUTTING MEDICAID. BECAUSE CUTTING ENTITLEMENTS SEEMS SO MUCH ESOTERIC. IT'S NOT VERY PERSONAL. BUT WE ALL KNOW OUR FAMILIES, OUR MOTHERS AND FATHERS WHO MAY BE GETTING THEIR HEALTH CARE ON MEDICARE, OR ONE OF THEM WHO MAY BE SITTING IN A NURSING HOME ON MEDICAID. OR A POOR CHILD WHO IS GETTING THEIR HEALTH CARE BEING TAKEN CARE OF ON MEDICAID. WE KNOW OUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS WITH DISABILITIES. AND WE UNDERSTAND WHAT THOSE CHALLENGES ARE. LET'S BE CLEAR, THE ONLY ENTITLED PEOPLE, REPUBLICANS ARE TALKING ABOUT IN THIS DEBATE ARE THOSE WHO ALREADY ENJOY ENORMOUS BENEFITS UNDER THE TAX CODE, BOTH INDIVIDUALLY AND CORPORATIONS WHO FEEL ENTITLED TO THESE PRETTY OUTRAGEOUS TAX BREAKS. OIL COMPANIES, USE I HEARD FROM THE EXECUTIVES WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE, THEY CLEARLY FEEL ENTITLED TO $21 BILLION IN SUBTKEUS. -- SUBSIDIES. MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES THINK THEY'RE ENTITLED TO THE BUSH TAX CUTS. CORPORATE TITANS TH EUR -- THEY'RE ENTITLED TO TAX BREAKS FOR THEIR JETS. AND REPUBLICANS THINK THESE ARE THE ONLY ENTITLEMENTS WORTH PROTECTING. IT'S TIME TO STOP TRYING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF SENIORS AND MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING FAMILIES IN THIS COUNTRY. IT'S TIME TO STOP PROTECTING GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS TO THE ENTITLED CLASS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS AND TELLING AMERICA IN GOOD ECONOMIC TIMES THAT IT STIMULATES THE ECONOMY AND IN BAD TIMES THAT IT'S A JOB-CREATION POLICY. THE TRUTH IS IT IS NEITHER. IT IS SIMPLY AN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM FOR AN ENTITLED SMALL CLASS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE NOT STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET OR PAY THE MORTGAGE OR AFFORD HEALTH CARE OR FIND ANOTHER MINIMUM WAGE JOB TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS STARK CONTRAST OF WEALTH IN THE NATION IS IN THE NUMBERS. THE 400 WEALTHIEST TAXPAYERS, THOSE WHO GET THE MOST OUT OF REPUBLICAN ENTITLEMENTS, HAD AN AVERAGE INCOME IN 2008 OF $270 MILLION. ALMOST $300 MILLION. THAT AMOUNTS TO AN HOURLY WAGE OF ABOUT $31,000 AN HOUR. THEIR AVERAGE TAX RATE WAS ABOUT 18%. IN CONTRAST, THE MEDIAN NEW JERSEY HOUSEHOLD EARNED ABOUT $64,777 THE ENTIRE YEAR AS OPPOSED TO JUST TWO HOURS -- THAT EQUATEED TO TWO HOURS FOR THE RICHEST 400 PEOPLE, AND YET THEY PAID AN AVERAGE OF 21.2%. THEY PAID A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF LESS OF THEIR WAGES THAN THOSE 400 TOP EARNERS IN THE COUNTRY. A FIRST LIEUTENANT AT FORT DIX, NEW JERSEY, EARNED ABOUT ABOUT $52,000. HE PAID AN AVERAGE TAX RATE OF 18.9%. SO I ASK, MR. PRESIDENT, LOOKING AT THESE NUMBERS, WHAT SHOULD BE ON THE TABLE AND WHAT SHOULD NOT. THE FACT IS WE ARE OFFERING SOLUTIONS. WE ARE SIMPLY ASKING FOR FAIRNESS AND FOR OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE TO BRING SOMETHING TO THE TABLE OTHER THAN A POLITICAL IDEOLOGY AND AN UNREALISTIC ULTIMATUM, ALL IN ORDER TO PROTECT AN ENTITLED CLASS THAT NEEDS NO PROTECTIONS. I DON'T USUALLY AGREE WITH THE CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST DAVID BROOKS, BUT AS I HAVE SAID ON THIS FLOOR BEFORE, I AGREE WITH HIM WHEN HE SAYS -- QUOTE -- "THE MEMBERS OF THIS MOVEMENT TALK BLANDLY OF DEFAULT AND ARE WILLING TO STAIN THEIR NATION'S HONOR." WILLING TO STAIN THEIR NATION'S HONOR. AND I AGREE WHEN HE WROTE THAT IF THE DEBT TALKS FAIL, INDEPENDENT VOTERS WILL SEE DEMOCRATS AS WILLING TO COMPROMISE BUT REPUBLICANS WERE NOT. MR. PRESIDENT, THOUGH, THIS IS NOT EVEN ABOUT THAT. AT THE END OF THE DAY, THIS IS ABOUT THE NATION. THIS IS ABOUT OUR ECONOMY. THIS IS ABOUT TRYING TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. THIS IS ABOUT TRYING TO ENSURE FAMILIES CAN REALIZE THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS. THIS IS ABOUT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A BEACON OF LIGHT TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, THE GOLD STANDARD IN TERMS OF CREDIT AND MEETING ITS OBLIGATIONS CONTINUING TO BE THAT GOLD STANDARD AND THAT BEACON OF LIGHT OR BECOMING A DEADBEAT IN THE WORLD. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD GO EVEN FURTHER AND SAY THE AMERICAN PUBLIC WILL SEE RIGHT THROUGH THESE EFFORTS TO PROTECT ENTITLEMENTS FOR A PRIVILEGED CLASS WHILE THOSE AMERICANS WHO STRUGGLE EVERY DAY TO BUILD THE FOUNDATION OF THIS AMERICA, THE CUTS GO ON THEIR BACK. THEY COME TO THE TABLE WITH NOTHING OTHER THAN AN IDEOLOGICAL FIXATION THAT PREVENTS THEM FROM NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH, PREVENTS THEM FROM PUTTING THE INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY AHEAD OF THEIR NARROW POLITICAL INTERESTS. I SEE THAT -- I HAVE READ SOME OF THE COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ISSUE AS IT RELATES TO, WELL, YOU KNOW, DO WE END UP GIVING PRESIDENT OBAMA THE ABILITY TO GET RE-ELECTED OR NOT? THIS IS NOT ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA. THIS IS ABOUT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS IS ABOUT OUR COUNTRY. THIS IS ABOUT BEING RESPONSIBLE AT ONE OF ITS MOST CRITICAL TIMES. THIS IS ABOUT GETTING THE COUNTRY BACK ON TRACK. THIS IS ABOUT GIVING THE PRIVATE SECTOR FAITH AND CONFIDENCE THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO DEFAULT ON OUR DEBT, THAT WE'RE GOING TO MEET OUR OBLIGATIONS. IT'S ABOUT TELLING INVESTORS IN THE WORLD THE UNITED STATES IS STILL A GOOD PLACE TO INVEST IN, AND WHEN THOSE INVESTMENTS ARE MADE, JOBS ARE CREATED, PEOPLE GO TO WORK. ONCE AGAIN, THEY HAVE THE DIGNITY OF WORK TAKING PLACE. THEY ARE ABLE TO SPEND IN THE ECONOMY, THE ECONOMY GROWS, THAT CREATES OTHER JOBS, OTHER OPPORTUNITIES, AND WE MOVE TOWARD FULFILLMENT ONCE AGAIN OF A GREAT AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY. THAT'S WHAT THIS DEBATE IS ALL ABOUT. IT'S A DEBATE ABOUT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US, AND THE SOONER OUR FRIENDS REALIZE THAT, IT'S NOT ABOUT A POLITICAL EQUATION, IT'S NOT ABOUT WHO WINS AND LOSES IN A POLITICAL CONTEXT, IT'S ABOUT THE NATION, AND IF WE CAN FIX OUR ATTENTION TO THE NEEDS OF THE NATION, THEN I HAVE GOT TO BELIEVE THAT WE CAN MEET THIS CHALLENGE IN A BALANCED WAY. CLEARLY, IF RONALD REAGAN RAISED THE DEBT CEILING 18 TIMES AND IF GEORGE BUSH RAISED IT SEVEN TIMES, THEN THIS TIME, THE FIRST TIME UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA THAT IT NEEDS TO BE RAISED, WHICH IS MERELY TO PAY THE OBLIGATIONS WE ALREADY HAVE, I HAVE GOT TO BELIEVE THAT RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE WILL COME FORWARD AND SAY YES AND DO IT IN A WAY THAT ISN'T ON THE BACKS OF MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING FAMILIES. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND OBSERVE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:34:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: R FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 05:35:29 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 05:35:34 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    OF SENATOR LEAHY, I ASK THAT HIS LAW CLERK ON HIS STAFF, BRENDAN FORBES,…

    OF SENATOR LEAHY, I ASK THAT HIS LAW CLERK ON HIS STAFF, BRENDAN FORBES, BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 18, 2011.

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  • 05:35:45 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I OBSERVE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 05:35:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA.

  • 05:36:07 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:42:46 PM

    MR. COBURN

    THANK YOU. I ASK THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 05:42:50 PM

    MR. COBURN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO CALL UP AMENDMENT NUMBER 553.

  • 05:42:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 05:42:57 PM

    THE CLERK

    FROM OKLAHOMA, MR. COBURN, FOR MR. McCAIN, PROPOSES AN AMENDMENT NUMBERED…

    FROM OKLAHOMA, MR. COBURN, FOR MR. McCAIN, PROPOSES AN AMENDMENT NUMBERED 553.

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  • 05:43:03 PM

    MR. COBURN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE AMENDMENT BE CONSIDERED AS READ. I NOTE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE AMENDMENT BE CONSIDERED AS READ. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:43:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: FIRST, WITHOUT OBJECTION. AND THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL.…

    OFFICER: FIRST, WITHOUT OBJECTION. AND THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MR.

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  • 05:43:34 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:14:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 06:14:16 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 06:14:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:14:21 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE PENDING AMENDMENT BE SET ASIDE AND I CALL…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE PENDING AMENDMENT BE SET ASIDE AND I CALL UP MY AMENDMENT 556, WHICH IS AT THE DESK.

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  • 06:14:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:14:36 PM

    THE CLERK

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA, MR. JOHNSON, FOR HIMSELF AND MR. KIRK,…

    THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA, MR. JOHNSON, FOR HIMSELF AND MR. KIRK, PROPOSES AN AMENDMENT NUMBERED 556. ON PAGE 114, BETWEEN LINES 18 AND 19 --

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  • 06:14:46 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE AMENDMENT BE CONSIDERED AS READ.

  • 06:14:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:15:00 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

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

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

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  • 06:15:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. WILL THE SENATOR FROM…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. WILL THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA WITHHOLD HIS REQUEST ON THE QUORUM CALL? THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS IS RECOGNIZED. A SENATOR: THIS IS A JOINT AMENDMENT.

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  • 06:15:34 PM

    MR. KIRK

    THIS IS A JOINT AMENDMENT. I SUPPORT IT. IT IS ABOUT ARLINGTON NATIONAL…

    THIS IS A JOINT AMENDMENT. I SUPPORT IT. IT IS ABOUT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY. THIS SETS UP THE VOTE LEADERS HAVE SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY AFTERNOON. THAT IS WHAT WE'RE DOING RIGHT NOW TO CONTINUE THE CONSIDERATION OF THAT BILL. WITH THAT, I YIELD BACK.

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  • 06:15:54 PM

    MR. JOHNSON

    NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 06:15:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:16:15 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 07:04:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW YORK IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 07:04:19 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 07:04:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:04:23 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    I UNDERSTAND THERE IS A BILL AT THE DESK AND I ASK FOR ITS FIRST READING.

  • 07:04:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 07:04:33 PM

    THE CLERK

    TO AMEND THE FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION ACT TO PRESERVE THE AUTHORITY OF EACH…

    TO AMEND THE FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION ACT TO PRESERVE THE AUTHORITY OF EACH STATE TO MAKE DETERMINATIONS RELATING TO THE STATE'S WATER QUALITY STANDARDS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 07:04:43 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

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

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

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  • 07:04:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 07:05:02 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ON MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011, AT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ON MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011, AT 5:00 P.M. THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER CALENDAR NUMBER 82, THAT THERE BE 30 MINUTES FOR DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED IN THE USUAL FORM, THAT UPON THE USE OR YIELDING BACK OF TIME THE SENATE PROCEED TO VOTE WITHOUT INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE ON CALENDAR NUMBER 82. THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID ON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, THAT ANY RELATED STATEMENTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD, THAT THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THEN THE SENATE THEN RESUME LEGISLATIVE ACTION.

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  • 07:05:43 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

Briefings for July 14, 2011

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Statistics

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

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)