Senate Session - December 7, 2011

The Senate convened and began a period of morning business.

Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 11:30:25 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 11:30:40 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, OUR HOPE FOR YEARS TO COME, THANK YOU FOR GIVING US…

    PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, OUR HOPE FOR YEARS TO COME, THANK YOU FOR GIVING US THIS DAY TO USE FOR YOUR GLORY. FROM THE MORNING SUN UNTIL THE GOING DOWN OF THE SAME, YOUR BLESSINGS PROVIDE US WITH CONFIDENCE THAT OUR FUTURE IS BRIGHTER THAN OUR PAST. TODAY, AS WE REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR AND A DAY OF INFAMY, WE PRAISE YOU FOR GIVING SO GENEROUSLY TO THIS NATION. LORD, YOU SHOWER US WITH BLESSINGS WITHOUT REGARD TO OUR WORTHINESS OR IMPORTANCE. AS WE RESPOND TO YOUR BLESSINGS, INFUSE OUR LAWMAKERS THIS DAY WITH A SPIRIT OF HOPE AND PURPOSE THAT THEY MAY DO YOUR WILL IN THESE CHALLENGING TIMES. MAY YOUR SPIRIT SUSTAIN THEM AS THEY LABOR SO THAT JUSTICE WILL ROLL DOWN LIKE WATERS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS LIKE A MIGHTY STREAM. AMEN.

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  • 11:32:17 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 11:32:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 11:32:43 AM

    THE CLERK

    D.C., DECEMBER 7, 2011. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1,…

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

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  • 11:33:04 AM

    MR. REID

    MADAM PRESIDENT. FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD…

    MADAM PRESIDENT. FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS. THE REPUBLICANS WILL CONTROL THE FIRST 30 MINUTES, THE MAJORITY THE NEXT 30 MINUTES. A VOTE IS EXPECTED ON THE CORD RAY NOMINATION TOMORROW MORNING. MADAM PRESIDENT, 70 YEARS AGO TODAY, THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR CHANGED OUR COUNTRY FOREVER. IT ALSO HARDENED OUR RESOLVE TO BECOME A BETTER, STRONGER NATION, AND THAT WE HAVE BECOME. AN EXAMPLE IS THE U.S.S. NEVADA. THE GREAT BATTLESHIP EPITOMIZES THE RESILIENCY OF OUR COUNTRY. WHILE IN THE PORT OF OAHU, NOVEMBER 7, 1941, THE BATTLESHIP NEVADA WAS HIT BY MANY BOMBS AND A TORPEDO. 60 AMERICAN SAILORS DIED. LESS THAN A YEAR LATER, THAT GREAT BATTLESHIP RETURNED TO SERVICE AND SERVED VALIANTLY OUR COUNTRY DURING WORLD WAR II. TODAY WE HONOR THE LIVING PEARL HARBOR VETERANS FOR THEIR COURAGE AND THEIR SACRIFICE. HERE IN THE SENATE, WE, OF COURSE, REFER TO OUR MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER DAN INOUYE, SENATOR AKAKA AND FRANK LAUTENBERG, ALL THREE SERVED IN WORLD WAR II. WE ALSO REMEMBER THE NEARLY 2,400 AMERICANS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES THAT DAY AND THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS MORE WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE DURING WORLD WAR II. THESE SERVICE MEMBERS WERE REALLY HEROES. THEY SET A FINE EXAMPLE FOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO PROTECT OUR FREEDOMS TODAY, AND NONE OF US WILL EVER FORGET THEIR COURAGE. MADAM PRESIDENT, REPUBLICANS LIKE TO CLAIM THEY ARE THE PARTY OF THE TAX CUTS, BUT AS DEMOCRATS PROPOSE MORE TAX RELIEF, WE PROPOSE IT EVERY DAY FOR WORKING FAMILIES, REPUBLICANS EVERY DAY ARE SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS. THEY ONLY SUPPORT TAX CUTS THAT BENEFIT THE RICH. SPEAKER BOEHNER, SENATOR McCONNELL SAY THEY AGREE WITH DEMOCRATS THAT WE SHOULD PREVENT A 1,000-DOLLAR TAX HIKE ON MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES. THE PERSON RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, MITT ROMNEY, AGREES WE SHOULD EXTEND THE PAYROLL TAX CUT. FORMER SPEAKER RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, NEWT GINGRICH, SAYS WE SHOULD EXTEND THE PAYROLL TAX CUT. BUT IT'S BECOME CLEAR THAT THE CAUCUS LED BY THE SPEAKER AND BY THE REPUBLICAN LEADER, THAT THEY LEAD, DON'T SEEM TO BE FOLLOWING THEM. TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS OPPOSE OUR PLAN TO CUT TAXES FOR NEARLY EVERY AMERICAN FAMILY, BUT REPUBLICAN LEADERS RECOGNIZE THAT TAKING A THOUSAND DOLLARS OUT OF MIDDLE-CLASS POCKETS DURING THESE HARD TIMES IS POLITICAL SUICIDE. MADAM PRESIDENT, THERE ARE PAPERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, BUT JUST TAKE THIS ONE AS AN EXAMPLE ." G.O.P. IS SPLIT ON PAYROLL TAX CUT. OBJECTIONS TO SURTAX ON RICH." REMEMBER, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE SURTAX ON THE SECOND MILLION DOLLARS, THE SECOND MILLION DOLLARS THAT PEOPLE MAKE. THE FIRST MILLION NOT A PENNY. ON THE SECOND MILLION DOLLARS, THE BILL THAT WE'RE GOING TO VOTE ON PROBABLY FRIDAY HERE, MAYBE THURSDAY, HAS A SURTAX FOR PEOPLE'S SECOND MILLION DOLLARS OF INCOME OF LESS THAN 2%. THE HEADLINES GO ON TO SAY "OPPOSITION COULD GIVE OBAMA A 2012 ISSUE." MADAM PRESIDENT, OBAMA DOESN'T NEED A 2012 ISSUE. MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS DO NOT NEED A TAX INCREASE. THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT. SO IT'S VERY CLEAR THAT THERE IS A BITTER DIVISION IN THE HOUSE WITH HOUSE REPUBLICANS. AS YOU KNOW, THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO SEND US A BILL TODAY, OR WAS IT YESTERDAY? THEY FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED LATE YESTERDAY THEY COULDN'T SEND US ANYTHING BECAUSE THEY CAN'T GET AGREEMENT EVEN AMONG THE REPUBLICANS, AND THEY HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY UNUSUAL. THEY DON'T REACH OUT TO DEMOCRATS AT ALL. THEY WANT TO DO IT WITH A MAJORITY OF A MAJORITY, AND THEY CAN'T GET ANYTHING DONE. SO IT SEEMS TO ME, FACED WITH THIS REBELLION IN THE TWO CAUCUSES, REPUBLICAN LEADERS HAVE TWO OPTIONS. THEY CAN WORK WITH US TO FORGE A COMPROMISE THAT WILL PASS OR THEY CAN MOVE EVEN FURTHER TO THE RIGHT TO APPEASE THE TEA PARTY BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT. AS WE HAVE SEEN BEFORE WHEN FACED WITH THE CHOICE BETWEEN THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THE TEA PARTY, REPUBLICANS WILL CHOOSE THE TEA PARTY EVERY TIME. WE HAVE SEEN BEFORE WHEN FACED WITH A CHOICE BETWEEN THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THE RICHEST OF THE RICH, REPUBLICANS CHOOSE THE RICHEST OF THE RICH. TOMORROW, THE SENATE WILL VOTE ON WHETHER TO MOVE FORWARD WITH CONFIRMATION OF RICHARD CORDRAY, THE NOMINEE TO HEAD THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU, WHICH WAS PART OF THE DODD-FRANK BILL. THE ONE THING THAT CAME OUT OF THAT LEGISLATION, AND CERTAINLY WE UNDERSTOOD WITH THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN THAT TOOK PLACE ON WALL STREET IS THE BANKS NEED MORE CONTROL, NOT LESS. AND WE ALSO LEARNED DURING THAT LONG DEBATE THAT THE AMERICAN CONSUMER REALLY HAD NO PROTECTION WHATSOEVER, AND THE LEGISLATION WE PASSED CREATED THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES HAVE SIGNALED THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BLOCK MR. CORDRAY'S NOMINATION, BUT, MADAM PRESIDENT, NOT BECAUSE HE IS UNQUALIFIED. YOU WOULD THINK SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO VOTE AGAINST HIM BECAUSE HE IS TOO LIBERAL, TOO CONSERVATIVE, HE IS TOO RICH, TOO POOR, HE DOESN'T HAVE THE PROPER EDUCATION, WHATEVER YOU COULD COME UP WITH TO FIND JUSTIFICATION TO VOTE AGAINST THIS MAN. THAT ISN'T WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT I CAN EVER REMEMBER, AND MY STAFF DID SOME RESEARCH ON THIS LAST NIGHT, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SENATE HISTORY, REPUBLICANS ARE POISED TO BLOCK A QUALIFIED NOMINEE SOLELY BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIKE THE FEDERAL AGENCY HE WILL LEAD. GNAT REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH MR. CORDRAY. INSTEAD, REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO CRIPPLE THE NEW CONSUMER AGENCY ALTOGETHER BY DEPRIVING OF -- IT OF A DIRECTOR. THEIR ATTEMPTS WILL LEAD AMERICANS VULNERABLE TO SCAMS AND RIP-OFFS THAT ARE GOING ON AS WE SPEAK AND HAVE GONE ON IN THE PAST. IT'S REALLY SHAMEFUL REPUBLICANS WOULD LEAVE CONSUMERS IN THE DARK ABOUT THE RISKS THEY FACE WHEN MAKING FINANCIAL DECISIONS, AND THEY'RE DOING IT ONLY TO TRY TO CHANGE A LAW THAT'S THE LAW OF THIS LAND. FINALLY, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WAS WAS -- MY FIRST ELECTED JOB MANY YEARS AGO WAS TO AN ORGANIZATION CALLED THE SOUTHERN NEVADA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL. IT WAS THE LARGEST HOSPITAL IN THE STATE. IT WAS THE LARGEST HOSPITAL DISTRICT AND PEOPLE RAN AT LARGE FROM CLARKE COUNTY, THE LAS VEGAS AREA. I WAS ELECTED TO THAT, MY FIRST ELECTED JOB. WHEN I TOOK THAT JOB, THERE WAS NO MEDICARE. IN THAT HOSPITAL, WHEN SOMEONE CAME THAT WAS OLD AND DIDN'T HAVE MONEY, SOMEONE HAD TO SIGN FOR THEM -- A HUSBAND, WIFE, FATHER, MOTHER, BROTHER, SISTER, NEIGHBOR, SOMEONE SIGNED, AND IF THAT PERSON DIDN'T PAY AFTER AGREEING TO PAY, WE HAD A LARGE COLLECTION AGENCY AND WE WOULD GO AFTER THOSE PEOPLE, AND IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT SOMETIMES TO COLLECT THAT MONEY. DIFFICULT IN THE SENSE IT WAS HARD TO DO BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IT WAS DIFFICULT TO DO BECAUSE YOU HATED TO GO AFTER PEOPLE TO PAY THESE LARGE HOSPITAL AND DOCTOR BILLS. MEDICARE CAME INTO BEING BEFORE I LEFT MY JOB. IT CHANGED. PRIOR TO MEDICARE, 40% OF THE SENIORS THAT CAME INTO THAT HOSPITAL HAD NO INSURANCE, AND THAT'S WHERE THEY HAD TO LOOK TO THEIR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS AND RELATIVES TO TAKE CARE OF THAT BILL. TODAY, AFTER MEDICARE IS THE LAW OF THE LAND, VIRTUALLY EVERYONE GOING INTO A HOSPITAL ANYPLACE IN AMERICA THAT'S A SENIOR CITIZEN HAS THE ABILITY TO GO INTO THAT HOSPITAL. SO FOR ALL THESE MANY YEARS, GOING ON FIVE DECADES, MEDICARE HAS BEEN IMPROVING AND EXTENDING THE LIFE OF SENIORS. PASSING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, LEGISLATION THAT MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TEND TO DENIGRATE, OBAMACARE, MADAM PRESIDENT, LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT OBAMACARE TODAY, THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. ONE THING THAT BILL DID, IT EXTENDED THE LIFE OF MEDICARE FOR 12 YEARS. MEDICARE WOULD STAY STRONG FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS OF RETIREES. THAT'S WHAT WE -- ONE REASON WE PASSED THAT LEGISLATION. BUT HEALTH CARE REFORM TODAY IS HELPING SENIORS BY BEGINNING TO CLOSE THE DOUGHNUT HOLE, THAT INFAMOUS DOUGHNUT HOLE OR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FOR SENIORS. THIS YEAR -- THAT IS, 2011, BECAUSE OF THE LEGISLATION WE PASS, THE OBAMACARE, MORE THAN 2.5 MILLION MEDICARE RECIPIENTS, INCLUDING THOUSANDS OF NEVADANS, SAVED ABOUT $600 EACH ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. THAT AMOUNTS TO ABOUT $1.6 BILLION, THANKS TO THIS LEGISLATION. FOR SOME SENIORS ON FIXED INCOMES, THOSE SAVINGS PREVENTED DIFFICULT CHOICES BETWEEN LITERALLY FOOD AND MEDICINE. NOW, WE ALSO HAD A PROVISION IN THAT LEGISLATION THAT PEOPLE COULD GET WELLNESS CHECKS, SCREENINGS AND A CHECKUP. MORE THAN 24 MILLION SENIORS THIS YEAR GOT FREE PHYSICALS BECAUSE OF HEALTH CARE REFORM. THAT'S PROGRESS AMERICA CAN BE PROUD OF.

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  • 11:43:42 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 11:43:44 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    AS THE MAJORITY LEADER HAS NOTED, TODAY IS THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE…

    AS THE MAJORITY LEADER HAS NOTED, TODAY IS THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE JAPANESE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR. I THINK SEVERAL OF US -- I HAVE CERTAINLY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY AND MANY MEMBERS OF THE SENATE MAY HAVE AS WELL, OF VISITING WORLD WAR II-ERA VETERANS WHEN THEY COME TO WASHINGTON ON WHAT ARE CALLED THE HONOR FLIGHTS WHICH THE VETERANS' GROUPS RAISE THE FUNDS TO GET THESE WORLD WAR II VETS UP HERE TO SEE THE WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL, AND IT IS A GREAT INSPIRATION TO SEE THESE MEMBERS OF THE GREATEST GENERATION WHO INDEED SAVED AMERICA DURING WORLD WAR II, AND I REMEMBER IN PARTICULAR TALKING TO AN ELDERLY -- OBVIOUSLY ELDERLY -- THEY ARE ALL ELDERLY AT THIS POINT -- ELDERLY GENTLEMAN WHO WAS AT PEARL HARBOR THAT DAY, AND HIS DESCRIBING THE HORROR OF THE EXPERIENCE. AND SO WHETHER THESE WORLD WAR II VETERANS SERVED AT PEARL HARBOR OR IN EUROPE OR IN THE PACIFIC LATER, WE CERTAINLY REMEMBER THEIR EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTION TO SAVING THIS COUNTRY AND TODAY IN PARTICULAR. YOU KNOW, FOR OUR PARENTS' GENERATION THEY ALWAYS REMEMBERED EXACTLY WHERE THEY WERE WHEN THEY HEARD ABOUT THE ATTACK. FOR MOST OF US WE REMEMBER EXACTLY WHERE WE WERE WHEN WE HEARD ABOUT THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION, THAT MOMENT IS JUST SEARED IN YOUR MEMORY OF SOME EXTRAORDINARY EVENT. AND OF COURSE FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE THE 9/11 ATTACK. EVERYBODY REMEMBERS EXACTLY WHERE THEY WERE. AND MILLIONS OF AMERICANS SAW THE SECOND PLANE GO INTO THE SECOND BUILDING IN REAL TIME. BUT TODAY WE REMEMBER THE ATTACK AND WE EXPRESS OUR ADMIRATION AND RESPECT FOR THE GREATEST GENERATION. NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, ON ANOTHER ISSUE, THE PRESIDENT WELCOMES CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER STEVEN HARPER THE WHITE HOUSE AND I HOPE THE PRIME MINISTER CAN CONVINCE THE PRESIDENT TO HIS RECENT DISHITION DECISION TO DELAY THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE. THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID REPEATEDLY THAT JOBS ARE HIS TOP PRIORITY. SAYS HE WAKES UP EVERY MORNING THINKING ABOUT HOW HE CAN CREATE JOBS. HERE'S THE SINGLE GREATEST SHOVEL-READY PROJECT IN AMERICA READY TO GO AND FOR SOME REASON HE SUDDENLY IS NOT INTERESTED. I'VE GOT A QUESTION -- HOW IS IT WHEN IT COMES TO TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED JOBS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT MATERIALIZE, THE PRESIDENT TELLS US WE CAN'T WAIT. GOT TO DO IT TOMORROW. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS THAT ARE READY TO GO IMMEDIATELY, HE'S IN NO RUSH. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THE PRESIDENT'S PAST STATEMENTS. HERE ARE A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES: PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID EARLIER THIS YEAR FOR THOSE JUST TO GIVE THE BACKGROUND OF FOLKS, THE PRESIDENT SAID THERE ARE THESE TAR SANDS IN CANADA THAT CAN PRODUCE OILS. THERE'S TALK ABOUT BUILDING A PIPELINE INTO THE UNITED STATES TO IMPORT THAT OIL. THIS IS THE PRESIDENT. HE SAID I WILL MAKE THIS GENERAL POINT WHICH IS FIRST OF ALL IMPORTING OIL FROM COUNTRIES THAT ARE STABLE AND FRIENDLY IS A GOOD THING. THAT'S THE PRESIDENT. I AGREE WITH HIM. THE PRESIDENT ALSO SAID EARLIER THIS THE YEAR -- THIS YEAR, THE STATEMENT OF THE OBVIOUS, WE'RE STILL GOING TO HAVE TO IMPORT SOME OIL. BOY, ARE WE. WHEN IT COMES TO THE OIL WE IMPORT FROM OTHER NATIONS, OBVIOUSLY WE'VE GOT TO LOOK TO NEIGHBORS LIKE CANADA AND MEXICO THAT ARE STABLE AND STEADY AND RELIABLE SOURCES. THAT WAS THE PRESIDENT EARLIER THIS YEAR. SO THE PRESIDENT HAS CORRECTLY SAID IN MY VIEW THAT HE FAVORS IMPORTING OIL FROM ALLIES AND NEIGHBORS. HERE'S A PROJECT THAT WOULD ENABLE US TO DO THAT AND DO A LOT MORE OF IT AND CREATE THOUSANDS OF JOBS IN THE PROCESS WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? LAST FRIDAY AMERICANS WOKE UP TO THE NEWS THAT FOR THE 34th MONTH IN A ROW, THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THIS COUNTRY HAS STOOD ABOVE 8%. A PERIOD OF JOBLESSNESS NOT SEEN SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. NOW, THE LEAST THEY CAN EXPECT FROM WASHINGTON IS WE WON'T STAND IN THE WAY OF PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HIRE. YET THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE GETTING FROM THIS PRESIDENT WHEN IT COMES TO THIS PIPELINE. THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN UNDER REVIEW FOR THREE YEARS. THREE YEARS. INCLUDING TWO EXHAUSTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATIONS. BY ALL ACCOUNTS, THE STATE DEPARTMENT WAS READY TO GIVE IT THE GREEN LIGHT BY THE END OF THIS YEAR, THIS MONTH. WHAT HAPPENED? WELL, IT APPEARS PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS GOT IN THE WAY. THE PRESIDENT STARTED GETTING HEAT FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS HE'S COUNTING ON TO STUFF ENVELOPES NEXT YEAR SO HE PUT OFF A DECISION CONVENIENTLY UNTIL RIGHT AFTER NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION. SO IF THIS EPISODE TELLS US ANYTHING, IT'S THAT THE PRESIDENT IS CLEARLY MORE CONCERNED ABOUT GETTING HIMSELF RE-ELECTED NEXT YEAR THAN GETTING SOMEBODY IN MONTANA OR KANSAS OR SOUTH DAKOTA OR MISSOURI A JOB TODAY. HE'S SO DETERMINED TO KEEP HIS LIBERAL BASE HAPPY, HE'S EVEN WILLING TO GO AGAINST THE LABOR UNIONS WHO BY THE WAY ARE ENTHUSIASTICALLY IN FAVOR OF BEGINNING THIS PROJECT RIGHT NOW. WHAT HAVE THEY HAD TO SAY ABOUT IT? WELL, THE TEAMSTERS PUT IT THIS WAY: THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE PROJECT WILL OFFER WORKING MEN AND WOMEN A REAL CHANCE TO EARN A GOOD WAGE AND SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES IN THIS DIFFICULT ECONOMIC CLIMATE. THAT'S JIMMY HOFFA. THE AFL-CIO, AMERICA'S SKILLED CRAFT CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS, ANY DISCUSSION OF THE KEYSTONE X.L. PROJECT BEGINS AND ENDS WITH ONE WORD -- "JOBS." THE AFL-CIO FURTHER SAID AS MANY AS 500,000 INDIRECT JOBS VIA A STRONG ECONOMIC MULTIPLIER EFFECT WITHOUT ONE SINGLE DOLLAR OF GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE. MADAM PRESIDENT, ISN'T THIS WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR? DOESN'T COST THE GOVERNMENT ANYTHING, CREATES JOBS IMMEDIATELY, THIS IS WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR. THE BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, AT THE TIME WHEN JOBS ARE A TOP GLOBAL PRIORITY THE KEYSTONE PROJECT WILL PUT THOUSANDS BACK TO WORK AND HAVE RIPPLE BENEFITS THROUGHOUT THE NORTH AMERICAN ECONOMY. LABOR'S INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA HAD THIS TO SAY, THIS IS NOT JUST A PIPELINE, BUT A LIFE LINE. NOT JUST A PIPELINE BUT A LIFE LINE FOR THOUSANDS OF DESPERATE WORKING MEN AND WOMEN. SO WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE, MADAM PRESIDENT? A PRIVATELY FUNDED PROJECT THAT LABOR LEADERS ARE SAYING THEIR MEMBERS WANT UP AND RUNNING BUT THE PRESIDENT SAYS THIS ONE, THIS ONE CAN WAIT. THIS FIGHT -- DESPITE WHAT HE ABOUT IMPORTING OIL FROM ALLIES, DESPITE WHAT THE LABOR UNIONS SAY, THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO DELAY THESE JOBS UNTIL AFTER HIS ELECTION. NOW, IT'S NOT JUST THE UNIONS AND THE REPUBLICANS WHO ARE ASKING FOR THIS PROJECT TO MOVE FORWARD. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT SOME OF THE DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS HAVE SAID ABOUT IT. THERE WAS A LETTER FROM 22 HOUSE DEMOCRATS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA IN OCTOBER OF THIS YEAR, OCTOBER 19 OF THIS YEAR. I'LL JUST READ A FEW EXCERPTS. AMERICA TRULY CANNOT AFFORD TO SAY NO. FURTHER IN THE LETTER, MR. PRESIDENT, AMERICA NEEDS THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE. FURTHER IN THE LETTER, THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT REAFFIRMED THE FINDINGS OF THE TWO PREVIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS, NAMELY, THAT THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE WILL HAVE NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT. FURTHER IN THIS LETTER FROM 22 DEMOCRATS TO THE PRESIDENT, THEY SAID, THIS REPRESENTS A TRUE SHOVEL-READY PROJECT THAT WOULD DIRECTLY CREATE 20,000 HIGH QUALITY DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING AND CONSTRUCTION JOBS FOR AMERICANS WHO ARE DESPERATELY SEEKING EMPLOYMENT. THAT'S 22,000 DIRECTLY WORKING FOR THE PIPELINE AND I'VE ALREADY DESCRIBED THE SPIN-OFF BENEFITS, THE OTHER JOBS THAT WOULD BE CREATED AS A RESULT OF IT. SENATOR BAUCUS, SENATOR TESTER RIGHT HERE IN THE SENATE, SENATOR BAUCUS SAID WE NEED TO PUT MONTANANS BACK TO WORK AND CAN'T AFFORD FURTHER DELAYS ON THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE. SENATOR TESTER SAID SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WAIT 14 MONTHS FOR AN UP-OR-DOWN DECISION. THE MONTANA SENATORS HAVE IT RIGHT. AMERICANS CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ELECTION. THEY WANT THEIR JOBS NOW. RIGHT NOW. SO IT'S MY HOPE THAT PRIME MINISTER HARPER IS ABLE TO CONVINCE THE PRESIDENT TO CHANGE HIS MIND, CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS STAND READY TO MOVE FORWARD ON THIS PROJECT. WE'RE PREPARED TO DO ALL WITHIN OUR MEANS TO GET THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE APROCHTD. THERE IS LITERALLY -- APPROVED. THERE IS LITERALLY NO TIME FOR DELAY.

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  • 11:54:15 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 11:54:21 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THERE WILL BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK UP TO 10 MINUTES EACH WITH THE FIRST HOUR EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BY WITH THE LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES WITH THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING THE FIRST 30 MINUTES.

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  • 11:54:42 AM

    MR. REID

    CALENDAR 241, S. 1944.

  • 11:54:47 AM

    THE CLERK

    TO CALENDAR S. 1944, A BILL TO CREATE JOBS BY PROVIDING PAYROLL TAX RELIEF…

    TO CALENDAR S. 1944, A BILL TO CREATE JOBS BY PROVIDING PAYROLL TAX RELIEF FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 11:55:00 AM

    MR. REID

    I HAVE A CLOTURE MOTION AT THE DESK, MADAM PRESIDENT.

  • 11:55:04 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE CLOTURE MOTION.

  • 11:55:08 AM

    THE CLERK

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

    UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE THE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR 251, S. 1944, A BILL TO CREATE JOBS BY PROVIDING PAYROLL TAX RELIEF FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS --.

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  • 11:55:29 AM

    MR. REID

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE READING OF THE NAMES BE WAIVED.

  • 11:55:34 AM

    MR. REID

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:55:40 AM

    MR. REID

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT WE RESUME MORNING BUSINESS UNDER THE PREVIOUS…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT WE RESUME MORNING BUSINESS UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, FURTHER THAT MORNING BUSINESS BE EXTENDED UNTIL 6:00 P.M. WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 11:55:51 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 11:55:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 11:55:57 AM

    MR. HOEVEN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT I BE GRANTED PERMISSION TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT I BE GRANTED PERMISSION TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES DURING OUR MORNING BUSINESS TIME.

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  • 11:56:07 AM

    MR. HOEVEN

    I RISE THIS MORNING TO DISCUSS THE NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY ACT IN A…

    I RISE THIS MORNING TO DISCUSS THE NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY ACT IN A COLLOQUY WITH MY COLLEAGUES JOINING ME WILL BE OUR LEADER, SENATOR MITCH McCONNELL OF KENTUCKY, SENATOR KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON OF TEXAS, SENATORS JOHNNY ISAKSON FROM THE GREAT STATE OF GEORGIA, AND MIKE JOHANNS FROM NEBRASKA AND JIM INHOFE FROM OKLAHOMA. WE'RE HERE TO DISCUSS A VERY -- A SOLUTIONS-ORIENTED PIECE OF LEGISLATION. IT'S ABOUT CREATING JOBS, IT'S ABOUT CREATING ENERGY SECURITY FOR OUR NATION. IT'S ABOUT GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP. IT'S ABOUT ALL OF THESE THINGS AND MORE. AND WE WANT TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS THE LEGISLATION AND ENCOURAGE, TO URGE OUR FELLOW COLLEAGUES TO JOIN WITH US TO CREATE JOBS AND OPPORTUNITY FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IN A NUTSHELL, THIS LEGISLATION CLEARS THE WAY FOR THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE WHICH IS A 1,700-MILE PIPELINE THAT WILL RUN FROM ALBERTA, CANADA, ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE GULF COAST REGION OF THE COUNTRY DOWN 0 THE REFINERIES IN THE UNITED STATES. THIS BLUE LINE SHOWS THE ROUTE OF THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE. THIS RED LINE SHOWS AN EXISTING PIPELINE, THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE WHICH WAS BUILT VERY RECENTLY BY TRANSCANADA. IT PROVIDES ALMOST 600,000 BARRELS A DAY OF CRUDE TO THE UNITED STATES. THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE WOULD PROVIDE MORE THAN 700,000 BARRELS A DAY OF CRUDE OIL TO OUR REFINERIES. IN ADDITION TO CANADIAN CRUDE IT WILL ALSO HAUL DOMESTIC CRUDE FROM STATES LIKE NORTH DAKOTA AND MONTANA, WILL PUT 100,000 BARRELS A DAY OF OUR OWN LIGHT, SWEET, DOMESTIC CRUDE INTO THE PIPELINE TO BRING IT DOWN TO REFINERIES FOR OUR NEEDS IN THE COUNTRY. THE PIPELINE WILL ALSO HELP MOVE OIL FROM PLACES LIKE CUSHING WHERE WE CURRENTLY HAVE BACKLOGS TO THE REFINERIES AS WELL. IT'S ABOUT MOVING OIL WITHIN OUR COUNTRY AS WELL AS BRINGING CANADIAN CRUDE TO THE UNITED STATES AND TO OUR REFINERIES. I MENTIONED IT'S A JOB CREATION BILL. AS OUR LEADER SAID JUST A MINUTE AGO, JUST THE CONSTRUCTION ALONE WILL PUT 20,000 WORKERS ON THE JOB. 20,000 WORKERS ON THE JOB, JUST CONSTRUCTING THE PIPELINE AND THE PERRYMAN GROUP OUT OF WACO, TEXAS HAS INDICATED 250,000 JOBS. IT'S A HUGE JOB CREATOR. I YIELD TO OUR LEADER, SENATOR McCONNELL.

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  • 11:58:53 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MY UNDERSTANDING, IS IT NOT CORRECT, THAT THESE ARE NOT JOBS SOMETIME IN…

    MY UNDERSTANDING, IS IT NOT CORRECT, THAT THESE ARE NOT JOBS SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE, THAT THESE ARE IN FACT JOBS JUST AS SOON AS THE PRESIDENT WOULD SIGN OFF ON THIS, THIS PROJECT IS READY TO GO. RIGHT? WE DON'T HAVE TO BORROW -- THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T HAVE TO BORROW ANY MONEY, THEY DON'T HAVE TO STRIE TRY TO STIMULATE ANYTHING. THIS IS A PROJECT AS I UNDERSTAND IT, I WOULD ASK MY FRIEND FROM NORTH DAKOTA THAT IS LITERALLY SHOVEL READY, WON'T COST THE GOVERNMENT A PENNY.

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  • 11:59:24 AM

    MR. HOEVEN

    PROJECT THAT'S ABSOLUTELY READY TO GO, WILL NOT COST THE FEDERAL…

    PROJECT THAT'S ABSOLUTELY READY TO GO, WILL NOT COST THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ONE PENNY, PUTS 20,000 WORKERS ON THE JOB RIGHT AWAY. AND THE HURDLE WAS THE ROUTE THROUGH NEBRASKA BUT WE'VE NOW WORKED WITH THE STATE OF NEBRASKA, THEY'VE HAD A SPECIAL SESSION, THEY'VE SET UP A PROCESS TO CLEAR THAT PART OF THE ROUTE. OUR LEGISLATION SAYS WITHIN 60 DAYS AFTER PASSAGE OF THIS BILL, THE ROUTE IS DEEMED APPROVED. THAT'S AFTER THREE YEARS OF PROCESS THROUGH THE E.P.A. SO WE ARE READY TO GO. WE'VE ADDRESSED THE ISSUES. WE CAN PUT THESE PEOPLE ON THE JOB NOW IF WE CAN GET THE PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL.

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  • 12:00:01 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    WOULD SAY TO MY FRIEND, THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA IS ON THE FLOOR WITH US…

    WOULD SAY TO MY FRIEND, THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA IS ON THE FLOOR WITH US RIGHT NOW AND COULD FURTHER UNDERSCORE THAT THE PEOPLE OF NEBRASKA HAVING NOW SATISFIED THE CONCERNS THEY HAD EARLIER ABOUT LOCATION SEEM TO BE READY TO GO.

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  • 12:00:20 PM

    MR. JOHANNS

    APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY, MADAM PRESIDENT, TO RESPOND TO THE LEADER'S…

    APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY, MADAM PRESIDENT, TO RESPOND TO THE LEADER'S COMMENT AND HIS QUESTION. THE LEADER IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THE PEOPLE OF NEBRASKA THROUGH THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE WORKED WITH THE COMPANY BUILDING THIS PIPELINE AND VERY HAVE RESOLVED THEIR DIFFERENCES. THE REASON WHY I SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION AND HAVE DECIDED TO BE A COSPONSOR OF THE LEGISLATION IS THAT THIS LEGISLATION RESPECTS THE NEBRASKA PROCESS. IT SAY -- IT SAYS THAT THERE WILL BE A PROCESS IN NEBRASKA, THAT WE WILL SITE THE PIPELINE IN THE BEST PLACE. THIS LEGISLATION SAYS THAT'S FINE. BUT WHAT THIS LEGISLATION ALSO ACKNOWLEDGES, THAT ON THE ENTIRE REST OF THE PIPELINE, OUTSIDE THE STATE OF NEBRASKA, THIS IS READY TO BE BUILT TODAY. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS HAD THREE YEARS OF BACKGROUND STUDY AND EXTENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY, AS THE LEADER HAS POINTED OUT, AND NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE OUTSIDE OF THE STATE OF NEBRASKA. SO WORK CAN BEGIN TODAY. THERE IS JUST ONE PERSON HOLDING UP THAT WORK AND THAT'S THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. WITH THE STROKE OF A PEN, HE CAN TURN THIS PROJECT LOOSE. IT WILL RESPECT WHAT IS GOING ON IN NEBRASKA. WORKERS CAN BE HIRED AND THE PIPELINE CAN BE BUILT AND THOSE JOBS CAN BE LITERALLY PROVIDED TODAY. SO I SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION. I'M PROUD TO BE HERE THIS MORNING TO SAY THAT AND TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA, THE MINORITY LEADER AND ALL OTHERS WHO HAVE WORKED WITH US TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED. WE'RE READY TO CREATE THE JOBS. IT IS MY HOPE THE PRESIDENT WILL ANNOUNCE THAT HE'S READY TO PROCEED TO CREATE THESE JOBS FOR AMERICAN WORKERS.

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  • 12:02:30 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    ONE FURTHER QUESTION OF EITHER OR BOTH OF THE SENATORS, SENATOR ISAKSON AS…

    ONE FURTHER QUESTION OF EITHER OR BOTH OF THE SENATORS, SENATOR ISAKSON AS WELL? I UNDERSTAND THERE ARE SUGGESTIONS THAT THERE MAY BE POLITICAL CONCERNS ON THE PRESIDENT'S PART AND WE ALL KNOW THAT MOST ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ARE VERY MUCH ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE. BUT IS IT NOT THE CASE THAT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF UNIONS IN THE COUNTRY, MOST OF WHICH CERTAINLY DON'T SUPPORT REPUBLICANS ANYWHERE I KNOW, WHO ALSO FEEL PASSIONATELY ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND WOULD LIKE TO GET TO WORK? IS THAT NOT THE CASE? A SENATOR: SENATOR JOHANNS, WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE THIS?

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  • 12:03:11 PM

    MR. JOHANNS

    WORKED ON THIS ISSUE NOW FOR A NUMBER OF MONTHS, ACTUALLY A COUPLE OF…

    WORKED ON THIS ISSUE NOW FOR A NUMBER OF MONTHS, ACTUALLY A COUPLE OF YEARS. HERE'S THE SITUATION. THE UNIONS ARE READY TO GO TO WORK. I TALK TO THE LOCALS IN NEBRASKA ON A REGULAR BASIS AND THEY TALK ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS THAT ARE STAGGERING, IN THE DOUBLE DIGITS, WHICH IN OUR STATE IS REMARKABLE BECAUSE WE HAVE AN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OF 4.2%. THE UNIONS ARE READY TO GO TO WORK, BRING THEIR SKILLS AND THEIR TALENTS TO BEAR. THE LEADER'S OBSERVATION IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS, ON THE OTHER HAND, IT ISN'T THE PIPELINE, IT ISN'T THE LOCATION, IT'S THAT THEY DON'T WANT THE TAR SANDS DEVELOPMENT TO OCCUR. AND SO THE PRESIDENT IS ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA. PART OF HIS BASE, THE UNIONS, ARE SAYING, CREATE THE JOBS. THERE'S ALREADY A PIPELINE. LET US GO OUT THERE AND DO THIS IN THE MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE WAY WE POSSIBLY CAN. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE SAYING, NO, MR. PRESIDENT. THEY CIRCLE THE WHITE HOUSE, THEY'VE DONE ALL OF THESE THINGS THINGS. WELL, THE PRESIDENT SOLVED THIS DILEMMA THAT HE FINDS HIMSELF IN IN, IN MY JUDGMENT, BY ANNOUNCING THAT HE WOULD JUST DELAY THIS UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION.

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  • 12:04:34 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA A FURTHER QUESTION? IT STRIKES -- IT…

    I ASK THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA A FURTHER QUESTION? IT STRIKES -- IT STRIKES ME -- CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG -- THAT AMERICA NOT GOING FORWARD DOESN'T PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING. THIS IS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. AND A GOOD OPTION FOR THE CANADIANS MIGHT WELL BE TO SHIP THIS PRODUCT TO CHINA, WOULD IT NOT?

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  • 12:04:53 PM

    MR. JOHANNS

    IN RESPONSE TO THE LEADER'S QUESTION, THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY…

    IN RESPONSE TO THE LEADER'S QUESTION, THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY INDICATED THAT, LOOK, IF THE UNITED STATES ISN'T A RELIABLE PURCHASER AND TRANSPORTER OF THIS COMMODITY, THAT THEY WILL HAVE TO LOOK TO OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD -- FOR EXAMPLE, CHINA -- TO SELL THIS PRODUCT. THIS WILL NOT STOP THE DEVELOPMENT IN THAT AREA. IN FACT, IT WILL PUSH THE DEVELOPMENT TO A PART OF THE WORLD WHERE THE REFINERY PROCESS MIGHT TAKE PLACE WITH LESS ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS AND, THEREFORE, CAUSE MORE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS IF WE BUILD THIS PIPELINE AND SOLVE IT. THAT'S WHY I'VE SAID FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, LOOK, I'M NOT OPPOSED TO THE TAR SANDS DEVELOPMENT. I'M NOT EVEN OPPOSED TO THE -- THE PIPELINE IN OUR STATE. NOW THAT WE HAVE SOLVED THE PROBLEM, AS I SAID, THERE IS ONE PERSON THAT CAN CREATE THESE JOBS TODAY AND THAT'S THE PRES ENT OF THE UNITED STATES. WITH THE PRESIDENT -- OR WITH THE PRIME MINISTER WITH THE PRESIDENT, IT WOULD BE A PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO SAY, LOOK, WE DON'T HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION, LET'S CREATE THESE JOBS TODAY, LET'S PUT AMERICANS TO WORK.

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  • 12:06:13 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    ONE FINAL OBSERVATION THEN I'M GOING TO LEAVE THE COLLOQUY TO ALL THE REST…

    ONE FINAL OBSERVATION THEN I'M GOING TO LEAVE THE COLLOQUY TO ALL THE REST OF MY COLLEAGUES. BUT IT STRIKES ME, AND I WONDER IF MY COLLEAGUES AGREE, THAT THIS IS ABOUT AS CLOSE TO A NO-BRAINER AS YOU EVER RUN INTO IN AMERICA. A SENATOR: SENATOR JOHANNS, BEFORE YOU LEAVE, I WOULD ASK SENATOR SIZE I CAN SON TO JOIN US AT THIS POINT. HE IS HERE SPECIFICALLY TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE ISSUE WITH OIL SAND DEVELOPMENT AND CHINA, AND SO SENATOR ISAKSON AND THEN CERTAINLY SENATOR HUTCHISON AS WELL. MR.MR.

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  • 12:06:48 PM

    MR.MR. ISAKSON

    SENATOR HOEVEN FOR THE RECOGNITION AND I THANK THE LEADER FOR THE REMARKS.…

    SENATOR HOEVEN FOR THE RECOGNITION AND I THANK THE LEADER FOR THE REMARKS. AND I JUST WANT TO CONFIRM WHAT THE LEADER SAID BY QUOTING FROM TWO RECENT ARTICLES OF THE. THE FIRST IS FROM AN ARTICLE ABOUT MINISTER OLIVER, WHO IS THE MINISTER OF THE CANADIAN ENERGY, ON HIS TRIP TO SHANGHAI. HERE'S HIS QUOTE. "MY MISSION TO CHINA IS CLEAR. I HAVE COME TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE STRENGTH OF CHINA'S RESOURCE CENTER AS BOTH AN OUT STAND SOURCE OF PRODUCTS AND AN APPROPRIATE DESTINATION FOR INVESTMENT." LET ME READ ANOTHER QUOTE SHORTLY AFTER THAT SPEECH WAS MAY BY THE CANADIAN ENERGY ON ENERGY. "A KNOWN AS SYNOPEC AGREED TO BUY DAYLIGHT ENERGY LIMITED, A CANADIAN OIL AND NATURAL GAS PRODUCER, FOR $2.2 BILLION. CHINA'S SECOND PURCHASE AND SECOND FOR RAY INTO THE CAN MADE CANADIAN OIL PATCH IN THE LAST YEAR." SO TO CONFIRM WHAT THE LEADER HAS SAID AND TO CONFIRM WHAT SENATOR HOEVEN HAS BEING BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT MAY HAPPEN, THIS IS HAPPENING NOW. IF WE DEFAULT ON THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE NOW, WE'RE GIVING A WIDE-OPEN YEAR FOR THE CHINESE TO COME BACK TO CANADA, MAKE THOSE INVESTMENTS, TIE DOWN THAT OIL AND ENCOURAGE THAT PIPELINE TO GO NOT TO HOUSTON, TEXAS, BUT TO VANCOUVER, CANADA AND THEN ON SHIPS TO CHINA. AND I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT BOTH THE FULL TEXT OF THESE ARTICLES BE SUBMITTED AND APPEAR IN THE RECORD.

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  • 12:08:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:08:12 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    SENATOR ISAKSON. DID YOU HAVE SOME MORE YOU WANTED TO ADD? I KNOW YOU WANT…

    SENATOR ISAKSON. DID YOU HAVE SOME MORE YOU WANTED TO ADD? I KNOW YOU WANT TO LEAVE, AND ARE ON A TIGHT TIME LINE.

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  • 12:08:23 PM

    MR. ISAKSON

    JUST THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP. IT'S BEEN OUT STANDING.

  • 12:08:26 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    THANK YOU, SENATOR ISAKSON. THANKS FOR BEING HERE. NOW I WILL TURN TO…

    THANK YOU, SENATOR ISAKSON. THANKS FOR BEING HERE. NOW I WILL TURN TO SENATOR HUTCHISON FROM TEXAS. WE HAVE ACTUALLY 40 SENATORS ALREADY ON THIS LEGISLATION. 40 SENATORS. IT IS BIPARTISAN. YOU KNOW, THIS IS SOMETHING WE ABSOLUTELY NEED TO MOVE ON. I SPOKE WITH THE CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TODAY, AMBASSADOR DUER. HE TALKED ABOUT HOW THEY'RE ALREADY LOOKING AT WESTERN ROUTES TO SEND THIS OIL TO CHIEFNLT SO THIS OIL IS GOING TO BE PRODUCED -- OIL TO CHINA. SO THIS OIL IS GOING TO BE PRODUCED. IT'S GOING TO BE PRODUCED. THE QUESTION IS, DOES IT COME TO THE UNITED STATES AND HELP US REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE ON MIDDLE EASTERN OIL? DOES IT COME HERE AND CREATE THOUSANDS OF JOBS? OR DO WE SEND IT TO CHINA, WHERE THERE WILL ACTUALLY BE MORE EMISSIONS BECAUSE IT WILL BE REFINED IN REFINERIES THAT PRODUCE HIGHER EMISSIONS AND YOU'LL ALSO HAVE THE EMISSIONS OF SHIPPING PRODUCT ALL AROUND THE WORLD. NOT ONLY SHIPPING THIS OIL TO CHINA BUT THEN WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO HAVE TO SHIP OIL IN FROM PLACES LIKE THE MIDDLE EAST AND VENEZUELA. SO YOU ACTUALLY INCREASE Co2 EMISSIONS WITHOUT THIS PROJECT. NOW, IN TEXAS, OF COURSE, WE HAVE REFINERYIES, AND SENATOR HUTCHISON IS HERE TO TALK ABOUT JUST HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE BRING THIS PRODUCT DOWN TO OUR REFINERIES IN THE GULF COAST REGION.

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  • 12:09:33 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA, BECAUSE SENATOR HOEVEN HAS REALLY…

    TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA, BECAUSE SENATOR HOEVEN HAS REALLY BEEN A LEADER IN THIS, KNOWING HOW IMPORTANT THIS FIND IS AND HOW MUCH MORE CAPACITY WE WILL HAVE FOR AFFORDABLE ENERGY IN OUR COUNTRY IF WE CAN EXTEND THE PIPELINE. THIS IS A PIPELINE THAT ISN'T JUST STARTING FROM CANADA INTO THE UNITED STATES. THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE WAS STARTED IN 2008. THE INITIAL LINE MOVES 590,000 BARRELS OF OIL PER DAY FROM NORTHERN ALBERTA TO POINTS IN CUSHING, OKLAHOMA, AND PATENT SYSTEMPETOKA,ILLINOIS. THE EXTENSION, WHICH IS WHAT WE'RE BEING TALKED ABOUT, WHICH IS BEING HELD UP BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT, IS CURRENTLY UNDER REVIEW AND IT WOULD EXPAND THE SYSTEM BY 700,000 BARRELS PER DAY. SO MORE THAN DOUBLE WHAT WE ARE GETTING ALREADY AND BRING THE LINE FURTHER SOUTH TO TEXAS. WELL, NOW, WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT? IT'S BECAUSE 25% OF THE REFINERY CAPACITY IN AMERICA IS IN TEXAS. IT'S IN THE GULF COAST OF TEXAS. THAT'S WHERE THE REFINERS ARE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PRODUCING NOW MORE AFFORDABLE ENERGY FOR ALL THE CONSUMERS IN OUR COUNTRY BY BRINGING IT STRAIGHT DOWN AND HAVING IT REFINED AND SENT BACK OUT TO ALL POINTS IN AMERICA. OTHERWISE, WHAT MY COLLEAGUES HAVE JUST BEEN TALKING ABOUT, SENATOR ISAKSON AND SENATOR HOEVEN, IS WE WILL SEE CANADA EXPORT THIS TO OTHER COUNTRIES, WHETHER IT BE CHINA OR OTHER COUNTRIES, AND EVENTUALLY IT'S GOING TO BE COMING BACK INTO THE UNITED STATES MUCH MORE EXPENSIVELY TO BE REFINED IN TEXAS AND SENT OUT. SO SPECIFICALLY TO TEXAS, IT WOULD PUT OUR STATE'S 26 REFINERIES INTO PROBABLY 24 HOURS OF BUSINESS, WHICH MEANS LOTS OF JOBS IN TEXAS. AND THAT 25% OF U.S. PRODUCTION IS APPROXIMATELY 5% OF WORLDWIDE CAPACITY. SO WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LOWERING THE PRICE OF ENERGY THROUGHOUT OUR COUNTRY AND THE WORLD. IT WOULD PRODUCE AN ESTIMATED $2.3 BILLION IN NEW SPENDING AND GENERATE MORE THAN $48 MILLION IN NEW TAX REVENUE FOR OUR COUNTRY. IT WOULD RESULT IN 700,000 BARRELS OF OIL A DAY, AS I HAVE SAID, AND WE KNOW THAT THE CANADIAN FUND, THE SANDS THAT HAVE BEEN FOUND THERE, IS THE THIRD LARGEST CAPACITY NEXT TO SAUDI ARABIA AND VENEZUELA IN CRUDE OIL IN THE WORLD. SO WE HAVE THE THIRD LARGEST RESERVE THAT WE KNOW IS THERE THAT COULD KEEP US MUCH MORE EVEN IN THE ABILITY TO BRING THAT OIL DOWN, HAVE IT REFINED AND GO OUT TO THE UNITED STATES. BECAUSE DEPENDENCE ON THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA HAS CERTAINLY LED TO PRICE SPIKES. VENEZUELA IS CERTAINLY NOT A RELIABLE PARTNER RIGHT NOW. AND THOSE SUPPLY INTERRUPTIONS THREATEN OUR ECONOMY AND OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. SO THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE WOULD CERTAINLY BE A BOON TO TEXAS AND TEXAS JOBS. BUT MORE THAN THAT, IT IS GOING TO BENEFIT EVERY CONSUMER OF ENERGY IN AMERICA. IT WILL MORE THAN DOUBLE WHAT WE CAN BUY FROM CANADA. AND THINK OF THE RELIABILITY OF OUR CANADIAN RELATIONSHIP. THE RELIABILITY OF OUR TRADE AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR NEIGHBOR TO THE NORTH, CANADA, IS AMONG THE MOST SOLID THAT WE HAVE IN ALL OF THE GLOBE. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE BUILD THIS PIPELINE. AND AS THE LEADER SAID EARLIER -- I MEAN, THIS IS A NO-BRAINER, AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN GET TO A NO-BRAINER FOR BUILDING OUR ECONOMY, CREATING JOBS, CREATING MORE TAX REVENUE THAT WILL BRING DOWN THE DEFICIT THAT WE'VE HEARD SO MUCH TALK ABOUT ON THE OTHER SIDE. BUT THIS WOULD DO IT THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY, BY GIVING PEOPLE THE ABILITY TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND CONTRIBUTE TO THE ECONOMY OF OUR COUNTRY. THAT'S THE WAY WE WANT TO SEE INCREASED REVENUE IN THIS COUNTRY, WITH MORE JOBS AND PAYING TAXES, NOT COLLECTING BENEFITS BECAUSE THEY CANNOT FIND WORK. IT'S RIGHT HERE, AND IT DOESN'T COST THE GOVERNMENT A DIME. BECAUSE IT'S PRIVATE INVESTMENT THAT WILL BRING THIS OIL TO THE REFINERIES AND PUT IT BACK OUT TO THE UNITED STATES. I URGE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO GO TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND SAY, LET THIS GO. IN LIEU OF URGING THE PRESIDENT, WE HAVE A BILL THAT IS -- WAS STARTED BY SENATOR HOEVEN WITH 40 SPONSORS THAT WILL TELL THE PRESIDENT, NOW IS THE TIME. IT IS LONG PAST DUE TIME FOR US TO CREATE THE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT ARE NOT GOING TO BE TAXPAYER FUNDED, THEY'RE GOING TO BE PRIVATELY FUNDED, THEY'RE GOING TO CREATE CLEANER, BETTER, CHEAPER, MORE EFFICIENT ENERGY AND THEY'RE GOING TO CREATE JOBS WHICH PEOPLE WANT IN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON AND ON INTO THE FUTURE YEARS. SO SO I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR NORTHNORTH DAKOTA FOR GIVING US THE CHANCE TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE AN ANSWER TO JOBS AND TO BRINGING DOWN THE DEFICIT AND INCREASING REVENUE THE WAY THAT PEOPLE WANT TO, BY PROVIDING FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND PAYING TAXES WITH THE MONEY THEY'RE EARNING. IT'S A WIN FOR EVERYONE. MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA. FOR LEADING THIS EFFORT.

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  • 12:15:43 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    LIKE TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS. SENATOR HUTCHISON IS, AS USUAL, NOT…

    LIKE TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS. SENATOR HUTCHISON IS, AS USUAL, NOT ONLY ELOQUENT BUT HAS HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. LOOK, WHETHER DB ACROSS OUR COUNTRY FROM NORTH DAKOTA TO TEXAS TO OKLAHOMA, ACROSS OUR COUNTRY WE NEED THESE JOBS AND THIS IS THE WAY TO GET THEM, AND WE CAN GET THEM NOW. WE NEED OUR PRESIDENT TO ACT. THIS LEGISLATION IS A SOLUTIONS-ORIENTED BILL. THIS IS ABOUT JOB CREATION. IT IS ABOUT ENERGY INDEPENDENCE. IT IS ABOUT GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP. WE NEED TO DO IT. I WOULD NOW LIKE TO TURN TO MY ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, SENATOR INHOFE. SENATOR INHOFE IS THE RANK MEMBER ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND PUBLIC WORKS. HE HAS A TREMENDOUS BACKGROUND IN ENERGY, AS DOES SENATOR HUTCHISON, AND I WOULD TURN TO SENATOR INWHO HAVE FOR HIS COMMENTS.

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  • 12:16:40 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    DO APPRECIATE THAT. AND I SOMETIMES -- SOMETIMES WE STAND ON THE FLOOR…

    DO APPRECIATE THAT. AND I SOMETIMES -- SOMETIMES WE STAND ON THE FLOOR HERE AND WE TALK ABOUT JOBS. BUT YOU ARE THE EVIDENCE -- YOU KNOW, OKLAHOMA HAS A BIG DOG IN THIS FIGHT, NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE CUSHING -- WHEN THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA HAS TALKED ABOUT CORK. THAT'S CORK, OKLAHOMA, RIGHT THERE ON HIS -- THAT'S CUSHING, OKLAHOMA, RIGHT THERE ON HIS MAP. ALL KIND OF CONVERGED AND THERE'S NO WAY OF GETTING DOWN TO TEXAS WITHOUT GOING THROUGH WHAT WE HAVE IN OKLAHOMA. BUT MORE SO, IF YOU DON'T THINK THIS IS A JOBS BILL, YOU HAVE A VERY FAMOUS OKLAHOMAN WORKING IN YOUR STATE -- I WOULD SAY HAROLD HAMM IS PROBABLY THE NUMBER-ONE PRODUCER UP THERE TODAY. II'VE TALKED TO HIM. YOU KNOW WHAT HIS BIGGEST PROBLEM IS UP IN OKLAHOMA? HE CAN'T FIND EVERYONE TO WORK. THEY'RE FULL EMPLOYED UP THERE. WHAT BETTER EVIDENCE IS THERE THAT THIS SOLVES THE PROBLEM, THAN THE JOBSTHIS IS A JOBS BILL, THAN THE JOBS IN OKLAHOMA? THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN TRYING TO DO. THEY'VE BEEN TRYING TO KILL FOSSIL FUELS FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. ALAN KRUEGER, THE CHAIR OF THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ECONOMIC ADVISORS SAYS, "THE ADMINISTRATION BELIEVES THAT IT IS NO LONGER SUFFICIENT TO ADDRESS OUR NATION'S ENERGY NEEDS BY FINDING MORE FOSSIL FUELS." HE WANTS TO KILL FOSSIL FUELS. STEVEN CHU SAID, "SOMEHOW WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO INCREASE THE PRICE OF OIL TO BE EQUAL TO THAT IN CENTRAL EUROPE." WELL, THAT'S $8 A GALLON. HE IS TRYING TO WEAN US OFF OF FOSSIL FUELS. YOU CAN'T RUN THIS MACHINE CALLED AMERICA WITHOUT IT. I ONLY WANTED TO MENTION THAT BECAUSE -- I APPRECIATE THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA TALKING ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE. IT'S BEEN AN EFFORT OF THIS ADMINISTRATION, THROUGH THE BACK DOOR, THROUGH REGULATIONS, TO DO AWAY WITH FOSSIL FUELS. THE BOILER MACT -- MACT, BY THE WAY MEANS MAXIMUM ACHIEVABLE CONTROL TECHNOLOGY. BY INCREASING EMISSIONS STANDARDS ON UTILITIES YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT $83 BILLION A YEAR OF COSTS. YOU COMPARE THAT TO THE CAP AND TRADE. CAP AND TRADE RIGHT NOW IS -- AND WE'VE GONE THROUGH THIS ON THE FLOOR WITH ALL THESE BILLS TRYING TO -- TRYING TO HAVE CAP AND TRADE AND THE GREENHOUSE GAS AND ALL THAT. THE COST IS BETWEEN $3 BILLION AND $4 BILLION A YEAR. THAT'S MORE THAN ALL THE OTHER REGULATIONS COMBINE. IT'S ALL AIMED AT ONE THING. WHAT IS THAT ONE THING? TO STOP FOSSIL FUELS AND OF COURSE YOU TALK ABOUT MY STATE OF OKLAHOMA BEING KIND OF THE CHUNK POINT AS YOU'VE POINTED OUT IN YOUR CHART OVER THERE, IF WE -- WE HAVE DONE AN ANALYSIS OF JOBS JUST IN MY STATE OF OKLAHOMA. BY THIS CONSTRUCTION OF THE KEYSTONE XL. THAT WOULD BE 14 THOUSAND JUST IN MY STATE. SO THIS IS A HUGE THING THAT WE HAVE IN SUNLIGHT OF OKLAHOMA. IN CUSHING, WHICH JUST HAPPENS TO BE THE CROSSROADS, THAT'S WHERE THEY ALL COME TOGETHER $AND THEY'RE CLOGGED UP NOW AS THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA POINTED OUT -- THEY CAN'T DO ANYTHING. THEIR HANDS ARE TIED BECAUSE THEY'RE IN TOTAL CAPACITY RIGHT NOW. AND IT SHOULD BE A NO BRAINER BUT THE PROBLEM IS THERE'S ONE MAN, AS THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA SAID -- ONE MAN CAN MAKE THIS A REALITY. THAT'S THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. HE'S MADE IT VERY CLEAR HE DOESN'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING TO HELP FOSSIL FUELS IN AMERICA. IT IS A POLITICAL PROBLEM THAT WE'VE GOT.

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  • 12:20:34 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THE ESTEEMED SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA TO JUST TALK FOR A…

    I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THE ESTEEMED SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA TO JUST TALK FOR A MINUTE ON THE SUBJECT OF HOW WE GET -- CREATE THAT ENVIRONMENT THAT GETS JOB CREATION GOING. I THINK THIS PROJECT IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. WE HAVE TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT -- A LEGAL, TAX, AND REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT THAT INCLUDES PRIVATE INVESTMENT TO GET JOB CREATION GOING. SO HER WE HAVE A REGULATORY ISSUE. TRANS-CANADA HAS WORKED FOR THREE YEARS TO MEET THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESS. MOST RECENTLY THE PROBLEM WAS IN NEBRASKA, THE SAND HILLS AREA OF NEBRASKA, THE OGALLALA AQUIFER. NOW WE'VE COME UP WITH A SOLUTION TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DEAL WITH THAT ISSUE, SO WE'VE CLEARED THAT PROCESS, RIGHT? NOW, THAT MEANS THAT THIS PROJECT IS READY TO GO AS WE'RE -- AS WE'VE JUST DESCRIBED. LEADER McCONNELL JUST A MINUTE AGO TALKED ABOUT HOW THE LABOR UNIONS STRONGLY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT AND I CAN GO THROUGH THAT WHOLE LIST AS WELL. IN ADDITION, THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SAYS, LET'S GO; WE SUPPORT THIS PROJECT. SO YOU GOT 40 SENATORS BIPARTISAN, YOU GOT THE LABOR UNIONS, YOU GOT THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. HERE'S ANOTHER INTERESTING STATISTIC -- AND THIS EXAMPLE IS SUCH A GOOD EXAMPLE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, AND I WOULD ASK THE GOOD SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA TO MAYBE EXPAND ON THE POINT, BUT THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE LAST YEAR RELEASED A STUDY IDENTIFYING 351 STALLED ENERGY PROJECTS NATIONWIDE. COSTING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY $1.1 TRILLION IN LOST ECONOMIC IMPACT AND NEARLY 2 MILLION JOBS ANNUALLY. MY POINT IS THIS: WE HAVE GOT TO FIND WAY TO EMPOWER PRIVATE INVESTMENT, TO GET JOB CREATION GOING. NOW, THE ESTEEMED SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA IS RANKING MEMBER ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS. HE SEES THIS EVERY DAY. BUT WITHOUT MORE GOVERNMENT SPENDING, THE SECRET TO UNLOCKING JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY IS TO EMPOWER THE IN INVESTMENT. I'D ASK THAT THE ESTEEMED SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA ADDRESS THAT BECAUSE THIS PROJECT IS SUCH A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

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  • 12:22:51 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    IT IS. AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S UNDERSTOOD. THE TERM "A NO BRAINER"…

    IT IS. AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S UNDERSTOOD. THE TERM "A NO BRAINER" HAS BEEN USED SEVERAL TILES BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE TO THINK THIS THROUGH. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS I HAD BACK WHEN THE REPUBLICANS WERE IN THE MAJORITY, I CHAIRED THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE. THAT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, WHO HAS BEEN MAKING EVERY EFFORT TO OVERREGULATE TO THE EXTENT -- YOU KNOW, EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT THE SPENDING CRISIS WE HAVE, THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT AND ALL THAT, THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT THE OVERREGULATION ACTUALLY COSTS US MORE; THAT ALL OF THESE FISCAL ISSUES COMBINED. AND I MENTIONED JUST A FEW OF THOSE. I CAN RECALL -- IT WAS BEFORE THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA WAS IN THIS BODY -- BACK DURING THE KYOTO TREATY. THEY WERE TRYING TO GET THIS THING THROUGH TO HAVE A TYPE OF CAP AND TRADE, SOMETHING THEY SAID THAT SOMEHOW GREENHOUSE GASES ARE GOING TO CAUSE CATASTROPHIC GLOBAL WARMING AND ALL THAT. WELL, ANYWAY, THAT WENT DOWN THE TUBES. THEN THEY STARTED INTRODUCING LEGISLATION TO DO THE SAME THING. AND THEN WE HAD -- AND APPRECIATE THE HONESTY OF LISA JACKSON, HEAD OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WHEN SHE CAME OUT AND SAID, NO, IF WE WERE TO HAVE THIS STRICTLY IN OUR UNITED STATES, IT'S NOT GOING TO REDUCE THE EMISSIONS. THIS IS KIND OF A LONG WAY AROUND -- AND THE POINT I'M TRYING TO MAKE IT, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND. JUST THE CAP AND TRADE THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION IS TRYING TO DO THROUGH REGULATIONS -- BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T DO IT THROUGH LEGISLATION -- IS GOING TO END UP HAVING THE SAME EFFECT: KILL FOSSIL FUELS. THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE TRYING TO DO. BUT THE POINT THAT THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA IS MAKING IS, THAT'S KIND OF COMPLICATED. THAT'S HARD TO UNDERSTAND. THIS IS NOT. YOU KNOW, THIS IS ALREADY OUT THERE. AND AS I MENTIONED, JUST IN MY STATE OF OKLAHOMA ALONE, 14,000 NEW JOBS. AND WHO WOULD BE AGAINST IT? THE ONLY ONES AGAINST IT ARE PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO KEEP THIS MACHINE RUNNING IN AMERICA BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT THEY CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT FOSSIL FUELS. MAYBE SOMEDAY THAT'LL BE DIFFERENT. IT IS NOT DIFFERENT TODAY. THE WAY TO GET IT DOWN -- TO BRING IT DOWN IS THROUGH THIS PIPELINE. SO I'M VERY SELFISH. IT IS NOT JUST THE COUNTRY. I'VE GOT 20 KIDS AND GRANDKIDS IN OKLAHOMA DEPENDING ON US DOING WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING HERE.

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  • 12:25:17 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    THE ESTEEMED SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA. THAT REALLY IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT.…

    THE ESTEEMED SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA. THAT REALLY IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. IT'S ABOUT PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. IT'S ABOUT AMERICAN INGENUITY, PRIVATE INVESTMENT, IT IS ABOUT GETTING THIS ECONOMY GOING. AND WE HAVE TO FIND WAYS TO SAVE DOLLARS TO REDUCE THE SPENDING THAT'S GOTTEN OUT OF CONTROL. BUT A BIG PART OF GETTING OUT OF THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT IS GETTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AND GETTING THIS ECONOMY GROWING. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A PROJECT THAT WILL CREATE 20,000 CONSTRUCTION JOBS RIGHT UP FRONT, 250,000 PERMANENT JOBS, $600 MILLION IN STATE AND LOCAL TAX REVENUES.

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  • 12:25:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.

  • 12:26:01 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 12:26:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 12:26:31 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:26:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:26:46 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I'VE COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY TO SPEAK IN SUPPORT…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I'VE COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY TO SPEAK IN SUPPORT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S NOMINATION OF RICHARD CORDRAY FROM OHIO TO BE THE DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. HE IS A FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL, FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL, AND FORMER STATE TREASURER OF OHIO. HE IS UNQUESTIONABLY WELL-QUALIFIED TO TAKE ON THE POSITION FOR WHICH HE'S BEEN NOMINATED. UNFORTUNATELY, WE'RE STUCK IN A REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER OF MR. CORDRAY'S NOMINATION. SOMETIMES THERE IS A HIDDEN ULTERIOR MOTIVE AROUND HERE. IN THIS CASE THERE IS A STATED ULTERIOR MOTIVE: TO WEAKEN THE NEW AGENCY'S POWER TO PROTECT CONSUMERS. REPUBLICAN OKAY INSTRUCTION OF MR. CORDRAY'S NOMINATION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MR. CORDRAY HIMSELF. FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATOR AND CURRENT OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE DeWINE HAS CALLED MR. CORDRAY VERY WELL-QUALIFIED FOR THIS JOB. JUST LAST MONTH EIGHT REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL COLLEAGUES OF HIS JOINED 29 DEMOCRATIC ATTORNEY GENERALS IN WRITING TO LEADERS REID AND McCONNELL WITH THEIR SUPPORT FOR MR. CORDRAY'S NOMINATION. MR. CORDRAY HAS BEEN ENDORSED BY GROUPS AS VARIED AS THE AFL-CIO, THE CREDIT UNION NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, THE NATIONAL FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE, AND THE AARP. BUT, NOTWITHSTANDING WIDESPREAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT ON MAIN STREET, SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE SEEKING TO PREVENT MR. CORDRAY FROM TAKING OFFICE AS A SERVICE TO WALL STREET. AS ONE REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF THE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE SAID, "MY COMPLETION AND I STAND BY OUR -- MY COLLEAGUES AND I STAND BY OUR PLEDGE THAT NO NOMINEE TO HEAD THE CFPB WILL BE CONFIDENCE CONFIRMED BY THE U.S. SENATE REGARDLESS OF PARTY AFFILIATION WITHOUT BASIC CHANGES TO THE BUREAU'S STRUCTURE." SO WHAT ARE THESE BASIC CHANGES? THE BASIC CHANGES THAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DEMANDED INCLUDE MAKING THE AGENCY SUBJECT TO THE BUDGETARY INFLUENCES OF CONGRESS, WHICH GIVEN THE WAY CONGRESS IS BEHAVING IS A WAY OF ALLOWING THE INFLUENCES OF WALL STREET TO COME THROUGH AND TO CONTROL IT. AND ALSO REPLACING THE DIRECTOR WITH A BOARD THAT WOULD ENSURE THAT WALL STREET IS REPRESENTED. THESE ARE NOT CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGES. THESE ARE AN ATTEMPT TO WEANING WEAKEN A REGULATOR DESIGNED TO PROTECT CONSUMERS. I HOPE MOO MY THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL REEVALUATE. LET'S TAKE A MOMENT TO REVIEW THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AS MANY OF OUR CONSTITUENTS KNOW IN RHODE ISLAND AND IN MINNESOTA, WE ESTABLISHED THE CFPB IN THE WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT AS A NEW AGENCY TO PROTECT AMERICAN CONSUMERS FROM MISLEADING AND POTENTIALLY RUINOUS FINANCIAL PRODUCTS. AFTER THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE CATASTROPHE, THE LOGIC BEHIND THAT IS PRETTY CLEAR. WE DESIGNED THIS NEW AGENCY TO BE FOR MORTGAGES, CREDIT CARDS, STUDENT LOANS, DEBT COLLECTION, CREDIT REPORTING, WHAT THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION IS FOR TOASTER OVENS, TOYS, BATTERIES AND SWIMMING POOLS. HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR ELIZABETH WARREN FIRST PROPOSED SUCH AN AGENCY -- AND I WAS VERY PROUD TO COSPONSOR SENATOR DURBIN'S ORIGINAL FINANCIAL PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION ACT OF 2009, WHICH WAS THE FIRST BILL TO BRING PROFESSOR WARREN'S IDEA HERE TO THE SENATE. WE DESIGNED THE CFPB TO INVESTIGATE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PRODUCTS AND GAVE IT THE POWER TO MAKE RULES ENSURING THAT FINANCIAL PRODUCTS ARE TRANSPARENT AND FAIR, INCLUDING FOR THE FIRST TIME PROVIDING FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY UNREGULATED LOANS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES FROM NONBANK FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. THOSE INSTITUTIONS ARE OFTEN THE ONES THAT GET REGULAR AMERICANS IN DEEP AND UNEXPECTED TROUBLE BECAUSE OF TRICKS AND TRAPS IN THOSE CONTRACTS. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE LENGTH AND THE THE AMOUNT OF FINE PRINT OF CONSUMER CONTRACTS, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE EXTENT TO WHICH DIFFERENT TRAPS AND TRICKS GET HIDDEN IN ALL THAT FINE PRINT IN ORDER TO CATCH CONSUMERS IN THINGS THEY WEREN'T AWARE OF AND WOULDN'T ACCEPT IF THEY HAD BEEN AWARE OF THEM, THE REASON FOR THIS OVERSIGHT IS OBVIOUS TO MOST AMERICANS. INDEED, IT IS MY CONTENTION THAT AMERICANS IN TODAY'S SOCIETY ARE THE MOST BEDEVILED GROUP OF HUMANS IN HISTORY BY FINE PRINT. EVERYWHERE YOU GO, YOU FIND FINE PRINT FILLED WITH TRICKS AND TRAPS THAT FOOL YOU, TO KICK UP YOUR INTEREST RATE, GIVES AWAY RIGHTS THAT YOU HAVE. SO WHAT WE WANT IS A LITTLE BIT OF A FAIR SHOT AND A STRAIGHT DEAL FOR THE AMERICAN CONSUMER. UNDER THE TEMPORARY DIRECTION OF THE TREASURY SECRETARY, THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU IS ACTUALLY ALREADY UP AND RUNNING, AND IT IS REGULATING NOW THE LARGEST BANKS IN THE COUNTRY, THOSE WITH OVER $10 BILLION IN ASSETS, AS WELL AS CREDIT UNIONS. UNFORTUNATELY, ITS AUTHORITY TO PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM THESE OTHER FINANCIAL PRODUCTS IS UNCLEAR UNTIL THERE IS A DIRECTOR, WHICH MAY BE ANOTHER MOTIVE FOR BLOCKING A DIRECTOR. SO THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BOARD IS ALREADY OUT THERE LOOKING OUT FOR AMERICAN CONSUMERS, OUT THERE TO MAKE SURE THAT BIG BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS ARE PLAYING BY FAIR RULES. BUT IT HAS NOT YET BEEN ABLE TO REGULATE THE NONBANK COMPANIES LIKE MORTGAGE SERVICERS, THE PRUDENT STUDENT LOAN LENDERS -- THE PRAOEUFPT STUDENT LOAN LENDERS, DEBT COLLECTORS, PAYDAY HRERPBTS AND -- PAYDAY LENDERS AND CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES. WHILE SENATE REPUBLICANS FILIBUSTER THIS VERY QUALIFIED NOMINEE, SOME OF THE WORST FINANCIAL ACTORS IN THE COUNTRY REMAIN UNACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR DECEPTIVE AND HARMFUL PRACTICES. PREDATORY LENDERS NEAR MILITARY BASES CONTINUE TO CHARGE OUR SERVICE MEMBERS EFFECTIVE INTEREST RATES OF UP TO 800%. PRIVATE STUDENT LENDERS CONTINUE TO WITHHOLD CLEAR INFORMATION ABOUT REPAYMENT TERMS TO YOUNG STUDENTS TAKING OUT THESE LOANS. DEBT COLLECTORS CONTINUE TO BULLY AND HARASS THOSE WHO ARE ON THE EDGE OF BANKRUPTCY. AND SO-CALLED PAYDAY LENDERS CONTINUE TO DUPE SENIOR CITIZENS INTO TAKING OUT LOANS BEARING TRIPLE-DIGIT INTEREST RATES. THIS IS THE STATUS QUO THAT SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE PRESERVING BY BLOCKING MR. CORDRAY'S NOMINATION. CONSUMER PROTECTION AGAINST THESE KINDS OF PRACTICES SHOULD NOT BE A PARTISAN ISSUE, AND I REALLY HOPE THAT OUR COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE AT LEAST ALLOW US TO HAVE AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE ON THIS NOMINATION. KWRORLS -- MAJORITY RULES, LET'S HAVE THE VOTE, LET'S GO. EVERY DAY REPUBLICANS CONTINUE THEIR OBSTRUCTION, AMERICANS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE WILL CONTINUE TO BE SUBJECT TO UNCHECKED AND UNREGULATED DECEPTIVE FINANCIAL PRODUCTS. THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE PREY FOR PREDATORY LOAN INSTRUMENTS. ABUSIVE LENDING PRACTICES STRIP WEALTH FROM COMMUNITIES AND PURCHASING POWER FROM CONSUMERS IN WAYS THAT CONTINUE TO HOLD BACK OUR STRUGGLING ECONOMY. LET'S CONFIRM MR. COD RAY SO THAT HE CAN -- MR. CORDRAY SO THAT HE CAN BEGIN THE HARD WORK OF LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD FOR THE AMERICAN CONSUMER AND HELP ORDINARY AMERICANS GET A STRAIGHT DEAL IN OUR INCREASINGLY COMPLEX ECONOMY. I HOPE WE'LL BE ABLE TO DO THAT. I THANK THE CHAIR AND YIELD THE FLOOR. I WOULD NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:35:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 12:36:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 12:36:08 PM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:36:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:36:13 PM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    YOU MR. PRESIDENT. I'M HONORED TO ASSOCIATE MYSELF WITH THE REMARKS MADE…

    YOU MR. PRESIDENT. I'M HONORED TO ASSOCIATE MYSELF WITH THE REMARKS MADE BY MY COLLEAGUE FROM RHODE ISLAND WHO HAS EXPRESSED VERY ELOQUENTLY THE REASONS THAT I BELIEVE THAT RICHARD CORDRAY SHOULD BE CONFIRMED IN HIS NOMINATION AS DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCE PROTECTION BUREAU. THIS COUNTRY FACES CONTINUING FINANCIAL CRISIS. WE SEE IT ON THE JOB LINES, IN THE STREETS, IN OUR COMMUNITIES. AND THAT CRISIS CAN BE TRACED TO THE SAME ABUSES THAT THIS NEW AGENCY WAS APPROVED BY THE CONGRESS TO FIGHT. THE LAWS ARE GOOD LUST. THEY'RE DESIGNED TO PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM THOSE ABUSES AND PROBLEMS THAT LED TO THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS. BUT THE LAWS ARE DEAD LETTER. THEY ARE MEANINGLESS UNLESS THEY ARE ENFORCED, UNLESS THEY ARE ENFORCED VIGOROUSLY AND RIGOROUSLY. UNLESS CONSUMERS ARE PROTECTED NOT JUST IN WORD BUT IN DEED. AND THAT IS THE REASON THAT WE SHOULD CONFIRM RICHARD CORDRAY AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE CFPB. THE PEOPLE IN THIS AGENCY ARE DOING GOOD WORK. THEY HAVE THE AUTHORITY NOW TO SUPERVISE SOME OF THE BIGGEST BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS BUT THEY NEED A DIRECTOR TO OVERSEE THE WORK OF NONBANK FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS SUCH AS INDEPENDENT PAYDAY LENDERS, NONBANK MORTGAGE LENDERS, NONBANK MORTGAGE SERVICERS, DEBT COLLECTORS, CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES AND PRIVATE STUDENT LENDERS. LEST ANYONE THINK THAT THESE ARE ABSTRACT OR SPECULATIVE POTENTIAL PROBLEMS, THEY HAVE ONLY TO LOOK TO THEIR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO STAY IN THEIR HOEPLGS, SEEKING TO PAY THEIR -- STRUGGLING TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES, SEEK TO GO PAY THEIR DEBTS AND FACING EVERY DAY THE CONTINUING ABUSES IN THESE AREAS. THEY MAY BE AMONG A MINORITY OF ACTORS IN THIS AREA. THE BAD ACTORS MAY BE A MINORITY. BUT THEY CANNOT BE COUNTED UNLESS RICHARD CORDRAY IS CONFIRMED. I KNOW FROM MY EXPERIENCE THAT CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS ARE MEANINGLESS TO ORDINARY AMERICANS, AS THEY ARE TO CITIZENS OF CONNECTICUT, UNLESS THERE IS VIGOROUS ENFORCEMENT OF THESE LAWS. NOW, RICHARD CORDRAY BRINGS TO THIS JOB A UNIQUE SET OF QUALIFICATIONS. HE HAS BEEN INVOLVED AT THE LOCAL AND STATE LEVEL IN WORKING CLOSELY WITH COMMUNITY BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS AS WELL AS OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AS A STATE AND COUNTY TREASURER. HE UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT THEY PLAY IN SMALL TOWNS AND COMMUNITY. HE KNOWS HOW TO WORK WITH INSTITUTIONS AND THE BUSINESS PEOPLE WHO RUN THEM. HE'S REALISTIC AND SENSIBLE. HE KNOWS COMMON SENSE. AND HE HAS HAD A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE, HANDS ON, WORKING AT THE LOCAL AND STATE LEVEL. I'VE WORKED WITH HIM PERSONALLY AS AN ATTORNEY GENERAL, WORKED COLLABORATIVELY WITH HIM, INDEED, HELPING TO START THE INVESTIGATION OF THE MORTGAGE SERVICE ABUSES THAT HAVE LED TO A NATIONWIDE ENTRY AND HOPELY NATIONWIDE SOLUTION. I KNOW HIM TO BE A PRACTICAL AND SENSIBLE PERSON WHO KNOWS HOW TO LISTEN. RICHARD CORDRAY KNOWS TO TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO ARE AFFECTED BY THE RULINGS HE MAY MAKE, THE POLICIES HE MAY IMPLEMENT AND THE PEOPLE HE MAY HIRE. HIS NOMINATION WAS PRAISED BY FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR AND ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE DeWINE. REPUBLICANS IN THIS BODY HAVE MADE THIS ISSUE A PARTISAN ONE. IT SHOULD NOT BE. THERE IS NOTHING PARTISAN ABOUT DEBT COLLECTORS OR MORTGAGE SERVICERS OR OTHERS WHO MAY ABUSE THEIR TRUST TO CONSUMERS. THERE'S NOTHING PARTISAN ABOUT PEOPLE WHO BECOME VICTIMS OF THE PRACTICES THAT CONTINUE THAT WE NEED THE CFPB TO COUNTER. THERE IS NOTHING PARTISAN -- OR SHOULD BE NOTHING PARTISAN ABOUT THIS INDIVIDUAL, RICH CORDRAY, WHO DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO PROTECTING ORDINARY MEN AND WOMEN AGAINST THE FINANCIAL ABUSES THAT THE CFPB IS DESIGNED TO FIGHT. BLOCKING HIS NOMINATION IS VERY SIMPLY A WAY TO STOP THE CFPB FROM ENDING ABUSES. IT MAY BE ARTICULATED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS, USING WORDS LIKE "ACCOUNTABILITY" OR "RULE MAKING" OR "STRUCTURE" OR "AUTHORITY" AS TERMS THAT ARE AT ISSUE. BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS HIS NOMINATION CRIES OUT FOR CONFIRMATION SIMPLY TO IMPLEMENT THE IMPORTANT LAWS THAT THIS BODY HAS PASSED, LAWS THAT REMAIN DEAD LETTER AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT ENFORCED. THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE WORKING IN THIS AGENCY NOW UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF RAJ ARE DOING THE BEST THEY CAN AND ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE. THEY ARE PROTECTING THEIR VETERANS. OLLIE PETRAEUS, HEAD OF THE AGENCY, IS DOING GREAT WORK IN THAT AREA. AND SHE DESERVES THE SUPPORT SHE NEEDS AND MERITS THE SUPPORT. SHE AND OTHERS IN THAT AGENCY NEED AND DESERVE THE SUPPORT OF THIS CONGRESS AND THIS BODY IN CONFIRMING RICH CORDRAY. I'VE WORKED WITH RICH CORDRAY. I KNOW HIM AS A MAN, AS A PUBLIC OFFICIAL, AS A POTENTIAL NOMINEE AND WE WILL BE LOSING A UNIQUELY QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THIS JOB IF WE FAIL TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM THE CONTINUING ABUSES OF THIS INDUSTRY. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:43:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 12:45:18 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:55:03 PM

    MR. CASEY

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:55:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:55:08 PM

    MR. CASEY

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE ISSUE OF THE PAYROLL TAX AND…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE ISSUE OF THE PAYROLL TAX AND THE TAX CUT THAT WE'RE TRYING TO ENACT. VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT WE DID LAST YEAR WHEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS CAME TOGETHER AT THE END OF THE YEAR RIGHT BEFORE THE HOLIDAY SEASON AND SAID WE HAVE GOT TO TAKE ACTION NOW TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO -- TO JUMP-START THE ECONOMY. ONE OF THE ELEMENTS OF THAT AGREEMENT LAST YEAR -- AND AGAIN, IT WAS BIPARTISAN -- WAS A CUT IN THE PAYROLL TAX. AND JUST FOR -- SO PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT -- WHAT MY POINT IS ABOUT THIS -- ABOUT THIS TAX, WE KNOW THAT -- AND I'LL DEAL ONLY WITH THE EMPLOYEE SIDE. WE KNOW THAT EMPLOYEES IN THE UNITED STATES WHEN THEY PAY THE -- MAKE THEIR PAYROLL TAX PAYMENT, IT'S 6.2% OF THEIR EARNINGS. LAST YEAR, WE CUT THAT FROM 6.2% TO 4.2%. IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND IT HAD A POSITIVE IMPACT. WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO NOW, AND AGAIN I THINK THIS IS BIPARTISAN, WE WANT TO NOT JUST DO THAT AGAIN, BUT WE WANT TO CUT IT EVEN MORE SO THAT WE CAN REDUCE IT IN HALF. INSTEAD OF PAYING 6.2%, YOU'RE PAYING 3.1%. THE KEY POINT HERE -- AND THIS IS A VERY BASIC -- BASIC IDEA, BUT WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO I THINK ARE TWO BASIC THINGS. NUMBER ONE IS TO GIVE FOLKS OUT THERE MORE TAKE-HOME PAY, KIND OF DOLLARS IN THE POCKET. LAST YEAR, IT WAS ROUGHLY A THOUSAND DOLLARS PER WORKER, AND THE IMPACT ON A FAMILY, POSITIVE IMPACT OF THAT IS VERY SIGNIFICANT. THIS YEAR, WE HOPE IT WILL BE GREATER. WE HOPE WE CAN -- WE CAN ENACT SOMETHING WHERE THE TAKE-HOME PAY SAVINGS ARE INCREASED DEPENDING ON HOW YOU ARGUE IT, IS ALMOST $1,500. INSTEAD OF BEING $900 OR $1,000, IT CAN BE $1,500 OR SOMEWHERE IN THAT RANGE. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE WE GET THIS RIGHT. WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION IN A BIPARTISAN WAY THAT SAYS TO PEOPLE WE'RE TRYING TO DO OUR BEST TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE UP AGAINST, WE'RE TRYING TO TAKE ACTIONS THAT WILL LEAD TO ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION. ONE OF THOSE, ONE OF THOSE IS MAKING SURE THAT WE REDUCE THE PAYROLL TAX SO FOLKS OUT THERE HAVE MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKET, MORE TAKE-HOME PAY AS THEY HEAD INTO NOT JUST THE HOLIDAY SEASON BUT AS THEY HEAD INTO A NEW YEAR IN 2012. SO IT REALLY IS ABOUT TAKE-HOME PAY AND PEACE OF MIND. AND WE HAVE MADE SOME PROGRESS IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS WHEN WE CONSIDER WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO BIG OUT OF THE GREAT RECESSION, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THE PROGRESS WE HAVE MADE IS FAR TOO MODEST, AND THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY RIGHT NOW IS STILL VERY VULNERABLE, FRAGILE. PICK YOUR WORD. THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO DESCRIBE IT. WE NEED THIS TAX CUT TO BOOST CONSUMER SPENDING. A LOT OF BUSINESS FOLKS THAT I TALKED TO IN PENNSYLVANIA, I WILL SAY DO YOU WANT TO HIRE OR DO YOU WANT TO INCREASE YOUR PAYROLL? THEY SAY I'D LIKE TO BUT I CAN'T. AND THEN I SAY WHY DON'T YOU? THEY SAY THERE IS NOT ENOUGH DEMAND OUT THERE. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS, MAYBE THE BEST WAY TO CREATE DEMAND IN OUR ECONOMY IS TO HAVE FOLKS HAVE MORE TAKE-HOME PAY. AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE CHART ON MY LEFT, IF YOU LOOK AT THE -- THE QUARTERS, STARTING RIGHT HERE WHERE WE SEE -- I'M SORRY. STARTING RIGHT HERE WHERE WE SEE MINUS 6.7%, THAT'S THE -- THAT'S THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2009. EVENTUALLY, WE GOT TO THE POINT WHERE THERE WAS -- WE HAVE STARTED TO HAVE SOME GROWTH, SO WE HAVE HAD NINE STRAIGHT QUARTERS OF G.D.P. GROWTH, BUT NOT ENOUGH, NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. IT IS MOVEMENT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT IT'S BEEN BARELY POSITIVE, AS YOU CAN SEE, EVEN IF YOU LOOK AT JUST THE LAST YEAR. THAT.04 IS THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2011. FOR 2011, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE HAD GOOD GROWTH ABOVE, ALMOST 4% BACK IN A COUPLE OF QUARTERS IN 2009 INTO 2010, THE LAST THREE QUARTERS, MEANING 2011,.4% GROWTH, 1.3% GROWTH, AND 2.0% GROWTH. WHAT WE HAVE GOT TO DO NOW IS MAKE SURE THE FOURTH QUARTER IS STRONGER AS BEST WE CAN BUT MAKE SURE BY THE ACTIONS WE TAKE HERE THAT 2012 IS MUCH BETTER. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE STRONGER GROWTH AND PUTTING AS I SAID BEFORE $1,500 ADDITIONALLY INTO THE POCKETS OF 160 MILLION WORKERS WILL HELP SUBSTANTIALLY. AND I THINK THAT NUMBER SHOULD BE REPEATED. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CUTTING THE PAYROLL TAX IN HALF, PUTTING MORE TAKE-HOME PAY IN PEOPLE'S POCKETS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AFFECTING 160 MILLION WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. ECONOMISTS ACROSS THE BOARD HAVE TOLD US WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. THEY'VE REPORTED THAT THE PAYROLL TAX CUT WILL CREATE JOBS AND INCREASE G.D.P. INCREASE THOSE NUMBERS THAT I JUST REFERRED TO ON THE CHART. AND FILING EXTEND THE TAX CUT WILL SLOW GROWTH AND LEAD TO FEWER JOBS. MARK ZANDI, ONE OF THE ECONOMISTS WHO WE'VE -- BOTH PARTIES HAVE QUOTED OVER MANY YEARS, MARK GLOODY OF MOODY'S ESTIMATES NOT EXTENDING THE CURRENT PAYROLL TAX CUT, MEANING ALLOWING THE PAYROLL TAX TO GO BACK UP TO THE 6.2%, NOT CUTTING IT IN HALF, IF THAT HAPPENS HE SAYS IT WOULD REDUCE THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT -- GROSS DESK PRODUCT GROWTH, I SHOULD SAY, BY.5% IN 2012. SO INSTEAD OF HAVING GROWTH, HE'S SAYING IF WE DON'T DMACT AND EXTEND THE PAYROLL TAX CUT FROM LAST YEAR AT A MINIMUM WE WOULD BE LOSING A HALF A POINT OF GROWTH. THAT WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO THIS ECONOMY. GOLDMAN SACHS HAS SAID SIMILAR THINGS. GOLDMAN SACHS, THEY PUT THE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON G.D.P. GROWTH AS MUCH AS TWO-THIRDS OF 1% IN 2012. MOST THE ECONOMISTS ARE IN THAT -- IN THAT RANGE. IN TERMS OF THE ADVERSE IMPACT. R.B.C. CAPITAL MARKETS CONCLUDES THE HIT TO G.D.P. NECK YEAR OF FAILING TO ACT WOULD BE -- NEXT YEAR OF FAILING TO ACT WOULD BE A FULL 1%. YOU HAVE AN ECONOMIST SAYING HALF A PERCENT ADVERSE CONSEQUENCE, TWO-THIRDS MAYBE, BUT AT LEAST ONE AMONG OTHERS SAYING A FULL PERCENTAGE POINT. THAT WOULD BE DEVASTATING WHEN WE NEED TO SEE GROWTH AT ABOVE TWO AND HOPEFULLY ABOVE THREE. THAT'S BEEN VERY HARD TO REACH IN THE LAST COUPLE -- LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. PUT THIS CHART UP ON MY LEFT JUST TO HIGHLIGHT WHAT MARK ZANDI SAID. HEARS HIS WARNING IN DISCUSS -- HERE'SES WARNING ON WHAT COULD HAPPEN. ON THE CURRENT PAYROLL TAX CUT RIGHT NOW, THE 4.2 LEVEL WE'RE ON RIGHT NOW, -- QUOTE -- "WE'D BE IN RECESSION RIGHT NOW WITHOUT IT." THAT'S WHAT HE SAID BASED UPON WHAT WE DID LAST YEAR IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. I WOULD HOPE WE COULD END THIS YEAR ON A HIGH NOTE, ON A BIPARTISAN NOTE, AND MAKE SURE THAT WE CUT THE PAYROLL TAX AGAIN AND PUT MORE TAKE-HOME PAY IN PEOPLE'S POCKETS. AND THEN HERE'S MARK ZANDI TALKING ABOUT IF WE DON'T EXTEND, WHAT COULD HAPPEN INTO THE NEAR FUTURE. WE'LL LIKELY GO INTO RECESSION. SO SAYS MARK GLANDY. SO WE -- ZANDI. WE CAN'T AFFORD TO DO THAT. THE PAYROLL TAX CUT HAS SUSTAINED THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY THIS YEAR AND WILL STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY IN 2012 IF WE REDUCE IT AGAIN. MY BILL NOT ONLY EXTENDS IT BUT INCREASES IT, SO THAT THAT PER WORKER TAKE-HOME PAY INCREASE INSTEAD OF BEING AROUND $1,000 WOULD BE APPROXIMATELY $1,500. AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT CUTTING THE TAX LEADS TO JOB GROWTH. WE KNOW THIS FROM EXPERIENCE AND RECENT HISTORY. AT THE END OF 2010 CONGRESS ENACTED THE CURRENT PAYROLL TAX, CUTTING IT AS I SAID, FROM 6.2% TO 4.2%. AND AS WE LOOK AT PRIVATE SECTOR JOB GROWTH IN 2011 WE CAN SEE SOME OF THE IMPACT OF THE CUT. AS WE CAN SEE ON THE CHART IF YOU LOOK AT THE FIRST COUPLE OF BARS, EVEN IF YOU CAN'T READ THE SMALLER PRINT HERE, THIS DEPICTS STARTING IN JANUARY OF 2011 WHAT WAS THE MONTHLY CHANGE IN PRIVATE PAYROLLS, MEANING PRIVATE SECTOR JOB GROWTH. JANUARY WAS ONLY 94,000. NOT THAT GREAT A MONTH, JANUARY OF 2011. BUT LOOK AT FEBRUARY, 261,000 PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS ADDED. LOOK AT MARCH, 219,000 PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS ADDED. AND THEN APRIL, 241,000. YOU HAD AN AVERAGE OF ABOUT 240,000 PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS GROWING IN THOSE THREE MONTHS. NOW, WHEN WE GOT TO -- WE GOT TO MAY AND JUNE OF COURSE A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENED WHEN TOOK THAT NUMBER WAY, WAY DOWN. IT SLOWED FOR A LOT OF REASONS. ONE OF THEM WAS THE SPIKE IN OIL PRICES, ANOTHER WAS THE AFFECT ON -- EFFECT ON OIL PRICES AND FINALLY THE EARTHQUAKE IN JAPAN HAD A TERRIBLE EFFECT ON OUR ECONOMY. I'M WRAPPING UP HERE BUT I JUST WANTED TO MAKE ONE MORE POINT ABOUT THIS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT US RIGHT NOW. THEY'RE WATCHING WHAT WE DO. AND THEY'RE SAYING BASICALLY TWO THINGS TO US. AT LEAST THE PEOPLE IN PENNSYLVANIA SAY IT TO ME. THEY ASK ME ONE BASIC QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GROW THE ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS? WHAT ARE YOU DOING AS AN INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE? ONE OF THE WAYS THAT I CAN RESPOND AFFIRMATIVELY AND POSITIVELY IS SAY WE'VE COME TOGETHER TO REDUCE THE PAYROLL TAX. AND EVEN MORE THAN WE DID LAST YEAR. TO HELP YOU AND YOUR BOTTOM LINE SO YOU HAVE MORE TAKE-HOME PAY FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. THE SECOND THING THEY ASK US, IS WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO TRY TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER, TO TRY TO REACH A BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS? WE'VE ALL GOT TO TRY TO DO THAT IN OUR OWN WAYS. THIS IS REALLY ABOUT TAKE-HOME PAY AND PEACE OF MIND. WE NEED THIS CUT IN PLACE TO BOOST CONSUMER SPENDING, TO CREATE JOBS, AND ACCELERATE ECONOMIC GROWTH. AND I WANT TO CONCLUDE WITH ONE THOUGHT BECAUSE I KNOW IT'S BEEN RAISED BY A NUMBER OF FOLKS THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS. ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY. AND I'LL FIRST OF ALL JUST FOR PURPOSES OF THE RECORD, I'D ASK CONSENT TO INTOAR INTO THE RECORD A LETTER ADDRESSED TO SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY GEITHNER AND DIRECTOR OF OFFICE AND MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, JACK LU -- JACOB LU SHOULD SAY. IT SIGNED BY STEVEN C. GROSS, CHIEF ACTUARY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION. I'D ASK IT BE MADE PART OF THE RECORD.

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  • 01:06:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE SENATOR'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.

  • 01:06:33 PM

    MR. CASEY

    HERE'S THE PERTINENT PART OF THIS LETTER. WE, MEANING THE SOCIAL SECURITY…

    HERE'S THE PERTINENT PART OF THIS LETTER. WE, MEANING THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, QUOTE, "WE ESTIMATE THAT THE PROJECTED LEVEL OF THE OLD AGE AND SURVIVORS INSURANCE AND DISABILITY INSURANCE TRUST FUNDS WOULD BE UNAFFECTED BY ENACTMENT OF THIS PROVISION IN MY BILL" UNQUOTE. WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT THERE IS SOCIAL SECURITY. IT'S WOULD BE UNAFFECTED. THE TRUSTEE SAID LAST YEAR THE SAME THING AND I WON'T ADD ALL THIS TO THE RECORD, JUST READ THE ONE SENTENCE. THIS IS PAGE 33 OF A REPORT FROM LAST YEAR. "THEREFORE THIS PAYROLL TAX FROM LAST YEAR IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE NO FINANCIAL IMPACT ON THIS -- ON THESE SAME TRUST ACCOUNTS." SO IT'S ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT THERE'S NO IMPACT ON SOCIAL SECURITY, AND SECONDLY, IT'S ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT PASSING A PAYROLL TAX CUT AGAIN WILL BOOST JOB GROWTH, STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY AND GROW THE ECONOMY AND GIVE AMERICAN FAMILIES SOME MEASURE OF PEACE OF MIND AS WE HEAD INTO THE HOLIDAYS AND HEAD INTO THE YEAR 2012. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:07:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 01:07:53 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    I HAVE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST THAT TY CROGIN AN INTERN IN SENATOR…

    I HAVE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST THAT TY CROGIN AN INTERN IN SENATOR DeMINT'S OFFICE, BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE.

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  • 01:08:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:08:16 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 01:23:12 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    THERE'S NO REASON TO CHANGE THE RULES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME. I WAS…

    THERE'S NO REASON TO CHANGE THE RULES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME. I WAS RELYING ON THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND OTHER OFFICIALS AT THE DEPARTMENT TO HONOR THEIR AGREEMENT. APPARENTLY THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. FORTUNATELY, CHAIRMAN ISSA HAS THE ABILITY TO REQUIRE THE WITNESS TO APPEAR VIA SUBPOENA. IFIF THEY REFUSE TO APPEAR VOLUNTARILY YOU UNDER THE CONDITIONS THAT THE DEPARTMENT PREVIOUSLY AGREED TO WITH ME. I'M CONFIDENT LE DO THAT IF IT BECOMES -- HE WILL DO THAT IF IT BECOMES NECESSARY AND I WILL TAKE WHATEVER STEPS I HAVE TO HERE IN THE SENATE TO ENCOURAGE THE DEPARTMENT TO RECONSIDER AND STICK TO ITS ORIGINAL AGREEMENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:24:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 01:24:04 PM

    MR. CARPER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M DELIGHTED TO STAND BEFORE YOU ON THIS DELAWARE DAY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M DELIGHTED TO STAND BEFORE YOU ON THIS DELAWARE DAY 2011. THIS IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE DAY WHERE ON DECEMBER 7,1787, DELAWARE BECAME THE FIRST STATE TO RATIFY THE CONSTITUTION. FOR ONE WHOLE WEEK, DELAWARE WAS THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WE OPENED THINGS UP AND LET IN PENNSYLVANIA AND NEW JERSEY, EVENTUALLY NEW MEXICO. I THINK FOR THE MOST PART, IT'S TURNED OUT WELL, ESPECIALLY THE NEW MEXICO PART. AND WE'RE HAPPY TO BE HERE TO CELEBRATE THIS DAY WITH ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES. LATER TODAY, SENATOR COONS AND I WILL RETURN TO REGALE OUR COLLEAGUES WITH MORE ABOUT WHAT -- WHAT WE STARTED ALL THOSE YEARS AGO AND HOW IT'S TURNED OUT. I WANT TO FAST FORWARD IF I COULD, THOUGH, TO 2008. AND AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER WILL RECALL, DURING THE AFTERMATH OF THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS ON WALL STREET, ONE QUESTION WHICH CONGRESS REPEATEDLY ASKED ITSELF WAS, WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT FUTURE HARM FROM REACHING WALL -- MAIN STREET? WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT FUTURE HARM FROM REACHING MAIN STREET? THE STEAM CONTINUED AS -- THIS THEME CONTINUED AS WE CONSIDERED AND ULTIMATELY PASSED IN 2010 COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM LEGISLATION WHICH A MAJORITY OF US, INCLUDING MYSELF, SUPPORTED, LEGISLATION NOW KNOWN AS THE DODD-FRANK LAW. WHILE NOT ALL OF US WERE ABLE TO AGREE ON EACH OF THE ELEMENTS OF THE DODD-FRANK LAW AND WHILE SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES DID NOT SUPPORT IT IN THE END, MOST OF US COULD AGREE THAT WE NEEDED TO DO MORE TO HELP PROTECT AMERICAN FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES FROM BAD ACTORS. AS A RESULT, THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU WAS CREATED. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, ONE AGENCY -- ONE AGENCY -- WILL BE CHARGED WITH OVERSEEING CONSUMER PROTECTION FOR MAIN STREET AMERICANS WITHIN THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY. IN JULY OF THIS YEAR, FIVE MONTHS AGO, RICHARD CORDRAY WAS NOMINATED TO BE DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. MR. PRESIDENT, RICHARD CORDRAY SERVED FOR MANY YEARS AS THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE DELAWARE STATE SENATE BEFORE RETIRING ROUGHLY TEN YEARS AGO. A MAN NOW IN HIS PROBABLY MID-70'S, I WAS SHOCKED TO HEAR THAT HE'D BEEN NOMINATED TO HEAD UP THIS NEW AGENCY. AS IT TURNED OUT, IT'S ANOTHER RICHARD CORDRAY. AND THIS FELLA, THIS RICHARD CORDRAY, HAD BEEN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OHIO FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, WELL REGARDED, AND WHERE HE HELPED TO PROTECT CONSUMERS, INVESTORS, RETIREES AND BUSINESS OWNERS TO ENSURE AMERICANS ON MAIN STREET GOT A FAIR DEAL. AT THE TIME OF HIS NOMINATION, HE WAS LEADING THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU'S ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS. MR. CORDRAY, FORMER A.G., IS SOMEONE WHO'S BEEN INTIMATELY INVOLVED WITH GETTING THE NEW BUREAU STOOD UP AND RUNNING AND WHO BRINGS KEY EXPERTISE TO THE TABLE. WHEN WE FIRST PASSED THE LAW, MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGESTED TO -- TO THE PRESIDENT, TO SECRETARY GEITHNER AND OTHERS, I SAID, I THINK THERE'S REALLY THREE MODELS THAT YOU CAN USE TO CHOOSE FROM TO -- TO PICK SOMEONE TO NOMINATE TO HEAD THIS NEW BUREAU. ONE, YOU CAN PICK AN ACEDEMICIAN. TWO, YOU CAN PICK SOMEBODY WHO'S BEEN A REGULATOR, IN THIS CASE, MAYBE AN ATTORNEY GENERAL. AND THE THIRD, I SAID YOU MIGHT WANT TO TRY FINDING SOMEONE IN THE PUBLIC -- IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR WHO'S RUN A SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL SERVICE COMPANY BUT WHO'VE GOT A GREAT, IMPECCABLE RECORD OUT OF A WHITEHAT FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION LOOKING OUT FOR CONSUMERS. SOMEBODY WHO BELIEVES YOU CAN DO WELL AND DO GOOD AT THE SAME TIME. I THOUGHT THOSE WERE THE THREE MODELS. AND THE ADMINISTRATION LOOKED AT PEOPLE IN ALL THREE OF THOSE CATEGORIES, INCLUDING THE LATTER ONE, AND ULTIMATELY DECIDED THAT IN -- WITHIN THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU, THEY HAD MR. CORDRAY AND THAT HE HAD A GOOD TRACK RECORD AND HE WAS THE PERSON THAT THE PRESIDENT WANTED TO -- TO NOMINATE. AND I THINK HE'S PICKED -- MADE A VERY GOOD CHOICE. I TALKED TO A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO SAT IN ON HEARINGS WHERE HE TESTIFIED ON HIS NOMINATION, AND FOR THE MOST PART GOT GOOD REVIEWS FROM DEMOCRATS AND -- AND REPUBLICANS HERE. SO, AS MY COLLEAGUES AND I DEBATE HIS NOMINATION AND ASK OURCIVILS, IS HE CALL -- OURSELVES IS HE QUALIFIED TO DO THE JOB, I THINK THE ANSWER IS YES. MY COLLEAGUES ON THE STATE BANKING COMMITTEE AGREED AND 37 ATTORNEY GENERALS -- 37 ATTORNEY GENERALS -- FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BOTH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT, AGREED. HOWEVER, TODAY'S DEBATE HAS NOT BEEN ABOUT WHETHER MR. CORDRAY IS QUALIFIED TO DO THIS JOB. INSTEAD, THE DEBATE HAS FOCUSED ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE NEW CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. IN MAY OF THIS YEAR, 44 OF MY COLLEAGUES FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SENT A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT SAYING THAT THEY WOULD BLOCK ANY NOMINEE UNTIL STRUCTURAL CHANGES ARE MADE IN THE NEW AGENCY. THIS WAS BEFORE THE PRESIDENT HAD EVER NOMINATED MR. CORDRAY. MY COLLEAGUES WANT TO SEE CHANGES MADE SUCH AS REPLACING THE DIRECTOR WITH A BOARD STRUCTURE AND SUBJECTING THE BUREAU TO THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS. MY COLLEAGUES -- 44 COLLEAGUES, IN ANY EVENT, POINTED OUT THAT THESE STRUCTURAL CHANGES WOULD MODEL THE BUREAU AFTER ALREADY EXISTING AGENCIES. WHILE SOME OF MY OTHER COLLEAGUES HAVE ALSO MADE THE POINT THAT THERE ARE ALREADY EXISTING AGENCIES NOT SUBJECT TO THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS. LIKE THE FDIC AND THE FEDERAL RESERVE. MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT WE HAVE HERE TODAY IS A DISAGREEMENT, ONE WHERE COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE WHAT I BELIEVE ARE LEGITIMATE POINTS. THE CONSUMER BUREAU WAS CREATED IN DODD-FRANK THROUGH A SERIES OF COMPROMISES, AND RARELY IS ANY COMPROMISE PERFECT. THE PRESIDING OFFICER AND I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN ENOUGH COMPROMISES OVER THE YEARS KNOW THAT IF IN THE END NEITHER SIDE IS FULLY SATISFIED WITH THE PROMISE, MAYBE YOU STRUCK A PRETTY GOOD BALANCE. I THINK THAT'S THE CASE HERE. AT THE END OF THE DAY, HOWEVER, THE POINT OF THE CONSUMER BUREAU IS TO PUT THE CONSUMER FIRST. AND I'LL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT THAT THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT LAW, AND AIM SURE THAT OUR COLLEAGUES THAT ARE HERE, BACK IT THEIR OFFICE AND IN COMMITTEE HEARINGS WOULD AGREE WITH THAT. IF THERE ARE ASPECTS OF DODD-FRANK AT THAT CAN BE TWEAKED AND IMPROVED, NEN WE OUGHT TO DO THAT. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE MUST PUT FINANCIAL PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS ABOVE OUR DISAGREEMENTS AND OUR PERSONAL PREFERENCES. THE LONGER WE CONTINUE TO CONSTRAIN THE BUREAU BY DENYING IT A LEADER AND ONLY DISCUSSION THE STRUCTURAL CHANGES THAT SOME MEMBERS WOULD LIKE TO SEE MADE, THE GREATER THE DISSERVICE TO CONSUMERS ACROSS AMERICA. THE BUREAU'S AUTHORITY WAS CREATED SO THAT IT WOULD NOT JUST BE LIMITED TO BANKS. THOSE INSTITUTIONS ARE ALREADY REGULATED. SO ARE CREDIT UNIONS, SO ARE BANK HOLDING COMPANIES. THE BUREAU'S AUTHORITY IS SUPPOSED TO EXTEND TO NONBANKS AS WELL, NONBANKS WHICH PROVIDE A FORM OF ESSENTIAL SERVICE, INCLUDING PAYDAY LENDERS AND DEBT COLLECTORS. PRIOR TO DODD-FRANK, NONBANK ENTITIES WERE SUBJECT TO LITTLE IF ANY FEDERAL SUPERVISION, YET THEIR REACH AND USE ACROSS OUR COUNTRY IS WIDESPREAD. AS A RESULT, MANY UNSCRUPULOUS ACTORS WERE ABLE TO EXPLOIT LOOPHOLES AND HARM AMERICAN CONSUMERS, AND THAT'S NOT TO SAY ALL PAY-DAY LENDERS OR DEBT COLLECTORS ARE SCRUPULOUS ACTORS. THEY'RE NOT. AND THEY'RE NOT ALL OUT THERE TO EXPLOIT LOOPHOLES. BUT TOO MANY OF THEM DO AND THEY DO SO WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION THAT THEY SHOULD RECEIVE. HOWEVER, WITHOUT A DIRECTOR IN PLASHINGS THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO SUPERVISE THESE THESE. THIS DRASTICALLY UNDERMINES THE REASON FOR WHICH THE BUREAU RAS CREATED. AND IT IS NOT JUST THE CONSUMERS WHO ARE HARMED BUT OUR SMALL COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS AS WELL. MR. PRESIDENT, THESE COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS WANT TO SEE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD WHERE THEY CAN COMPETE AND WHERE EVERYONE PLAYS BY THE RULES. CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES NEED CERTAINTY. THEY NEED PREDICTABILITY. HE HEAR THAT ALMOST EVERY DAY, ESPECIALLY FROM BUSINESSES. WITHOUT CERTAINTY, WITHOUT PREDICTABILITY IN A WHOLE WIDE RANGE OF AREAS, WE CONTINUE TO SEE OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY HINDERED. I THINK I'VE SHARED WITH THE PRESIDING OFFICER BEFORE A STORY THAT I THINK IS GERMANE HERE TO THIS DISCUSSION, AND IT GOES BACK ABOUT SEVEN, EIGHT YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS WORKING ON CLEAN AIR LEGISLATION, HOW TO REDUCE MERCURY AND CARBON DIE OBJECTION IERKSD ISSUES WE DEBATE FROM TIME TO TIME IN THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE WHERE WE SERCHLT I REMEMBER ONE DAY WE HAD SEARCHEN OR EIGHT UTILITY C.E.O.'S IN FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY DISCUSSION THE MERITS OF DIFFERENT LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS. FINALLY, ONE CRUSTY OLD C.E.O. FROM A UTILITY DOWN SOUTH SAID, LOOK, SENATOR, HERE'S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO. YOU SHOULD FIGURE OUT WHAT THE RULES ARE GOING TO BE, USE SOME COMMON SENSE, GIVE US A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME TO COMPLY WITH THEM, AND GET OUT OF THE WAY. THAT'S WHAT HE SAID. I THOUGHT THAT WAS REALLY -- THOSE WERE REALLY WORDS OF GREAT WISDOM, AND NOT JUST FOR CLEAN AIR LEGISLATION BUT ALSO FOR HERE TODAY. WE CAN'T AFFORD TO DRAG THIS DISAGREEMENT OUT IN PERPETUITY. WE MUST EMPOWER THIS BUREAU TO LOOK OUT FOR MAIN STREET, AS WAS ENVISIONED WITH THE CREATION OF THE BUREAU. WE MAY HAVE TO LOOK AT THE IDEA OF A COMMISSION-BASED STRUCTURE. I WOULD LOVE TO SIT DOWN WITH MY COLLEAGUES FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO DISCUSS THAT OPTION IF MR. CORDRAY'S NOMINATION CONTINUES TO BE BLOCKED LATER THIS WEEK. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MOVE FORWARD AND STANDING BY OUR WORDS AND BY SPIRIT OF LAW, BY LOOKING OUT FOR EVER AMERICAN WITH A MORTGAGE, CREDIT CARDS AND LOOKING TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO COLLEGE. I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN ME IN SUPPORTING MR. CORDRAY'S NOMINATION. IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. IT IS OUR OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THE AMERICAN CONSUMERS THAT WE'RE PUTTING THEM FIRST AHEAD OF PARTISAN POLITICS, BY GOVERNING AS WE WERE MEANT TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE. I'LL JUST CLOSE WITH THIS. I SEE SENATOR WEBB OF VIRGINIA HAS JOINED US HERE ON THE FLOOR. I'LL JUST CLOSE BEFORE I TURN OVER TO HIM MAYBE ON A LITTLE BRIGHTER NOTE. IT IS A GLOOMY DAY HERE IN OUR NATION'S CAPITAL. BEEN CLOUDY ALL DAY, RAINING SOMETIMES PRETTY HARD. I WAS WHEN I WAS WALKING UP FROM THE TRAIN STATION IT WAS. THINKI THINK THE GREATEST IMPEDIMENT TO GETTING A MODEST ECONOMIC RECOVERY GOING AND TURNING IT INTO A ROBUST ECONOMIC RECOVERY, ONE OF THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO -- CAN BEST DO TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN IS TO ADDRESS AS MUCH OF THE UNCERTAINTY AND LACK OF PREDICTABILITY. IT REALLY REVOLVES AROUND A BUNCH OF ISSUES HERE THAT WE SAY GRACE OVER. CAN WE DEMONSTRATE TO THOSE WHO QUESTION OUR ABILITY HERE TO FIND THE METTLE, TO REACH AND WORK ACROSS THE AISLE? ARE WE ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE THROUGH AN APPROACH MUCH LIKE THE BOWLES-SIMPSON DEFICIT-REDUCTION PLAN, AN ABILITY TO GET US BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK IN REDUCING OUR DEBT? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THE HEALTH CARE LAW? WILL IT BE DEEMED CONSTITUTIONAL OR UNCONSTITUTIONAL? WHAT ABOUT THE TAX CODE? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN A YEAR FROM NOW? WHAT ARE GOING TO HAPPEN TO ALL THESE TAX PROVISIONS THAT EXPIRE AT THE END OF THIS MONTH? A LACK OF CERTAINTY, A LACK OF PREDICTABILITY. I WANT TO MENTION BEFORE I CLOSE, WE GOT SOME NEW JOB NUMBERS FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPPED DOWN. A LOT OF PEOPLE STOPPED LOOKING FOR A JOB AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THAT NUMBER HAS DROPPED. BUT HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS. THERE ARE ABOUT 120,000 PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS CREATED LAST MONTH. ABOUT 100,000 THE MONTH BEFORE, ROUGHLY 200,000 THE MONTH BEFORE. THAT'S ABOUT 140,000 PER MONTH. WE'RE ACTUALLY STARTING TO SEE GROWTH OCCURRING NOT JUST OVER A COUPLE OF MONTHS BUT NOW FOR WELL OVER A YEAR, PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB CREATION. NOT THE NUMBERS THAT WE'D LIKE BUT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THE OTHER THING I'D SAY, WE'RE SEEING A REGROWTH, A REBIRTH OF REVITALIZATION IN THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR OF OUR ECONOMY. WE HAVE A MANUFACTURING INDEX. IF IT SITS AT 50, IT MEANS THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR IS NOT GROWING, IT IS NOT SHRINKING. IT'S BEEN OVER 50 -- FOR I THINK ABOUT 25 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS. AND WE'RE SEEING REALLY A RESURGENCE IN MANUFACTURING IN THIS COUNTRY WHICH ENCOURAGES ME TO BELIEVE THAT WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO DO, ITS EIGHT NOT JUST A PIPE DREAM. IT IS SOMETHING THAT MIGHT JUST HAPPEN. IT IS AIDED AND ABETTED BY THE THREE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT WEED IN THE LAST MONTH OR TWO. ON THOSE HAPPY NOTE, I'D LIKE TO SAY, THANKS FOR GIVING ME TIME TO TALK ABOUT SOME LEADERSHIP THAT'S NEEDED AND THE ABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE IF WE CAN'T GET MR. CORDRAY CONFIRMED HERE. I THANK YOU FOR THIS TIME. I YIELD THE FLOOR. EBB WEB MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:38:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE THE SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 01:38:31 PM

    MR. WEBB

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, 70 YEARS AGO TODAY, EVEN AS I…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, 70 YEARS AGO TODAY, EVEN AS I SPEAK, AT 00:07:45 IN HAWAII -- IT'S NOW ABOUT 8:40 IN THE MORNING -- OUR COUNTRY WAS ATTACKED AT PEARL HARBOR, BRINGING US INTO WORLD WAR II, A WAR THAT HAD BEEN ONGOING IN EUROPE FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS AND IN ASIA IN DIFFERENT FORMS FOR A MUCH LONGER PERIOD, PROBABLY SEVEN TO EIGHT YEARS. THIS BEGAN A NATIONAL EFFORT THAT WAS HISTORICALLY UNPRECEDENTED IN ITS UNIT AND IN ITS VIGOR -- IN ITS UNITY AND IN ITS VIGOR IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES ASTOUNDED THE WORLD IN TERMS OF IT'S CAPACITY TO RESPOND TO THIS ATTACK IN MANY DIFFERENT FRONTS FRONTS. ECONOMIC PRODUCTION WAS STAGGERING. BY P 1943 OUR PRODUCTION SCHEDULE INCLUDED 125,000 AIRCRAFT, 75,000 TANKS, 35,000 ANTIAIRCRAFT GUNS, 10 -- MILLIONS OF TONS OF MERCHANT SHIPPING DURING THE COURSE OF THAT WAR. THE PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY OF THIS COUNTRY GAVE OUR ALLIED FORCES MORE THAN HALF OF ALL OF ITS ARMAMENTS, INCLUDING 86% OF THE ARMAMENTS THAT WERE USED IN RESPONSE TO THE JAPANESE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR. BUT I RISE TODAY REALLY TO EXPRESS MY THANKS AND MY APPRECIATION TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THAT GENERATION WHO STEPPED FORWARD AND RESPONDED TO THE CALL OF SERVICE IN THIS PERIOD. DURING WORLD WAR II, MORE THAN 16 MILLION AMERICANS STEPPED FORWARD TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY. AND IN THAT PERIOD, MORE THAN 400,000 OF THEM DIED, INCLUDING 291,557 WHO WERE KILLED IN ACTION, ANOTHER 670,846 WERE WOUNDED IN ACTION. OF THOSE 16.1 MILLION, TODAY ABOUT 1.7 MILLION WORLD WAR II VETERANS REMAIN ALIVE. THEY ARE CARRYING THE TORCH AND THE MEMORY OF THIS LARGER GROUP THAT STEPPED FORWARD AND SERVED AND BECAME KNOWN AS "THE GREATEST GENERATION" AND IT IS MY PROFOUND PLEASURE AND, QUITE FRANKLY, MY DUTY TO STAND FORTH AND REMEMBER ALL OF THEM TODAY. AMONG THOSE 16 MILLION WHO SERVED, NEARLY 8 MILLION WERE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WORLD WAR II G.I. BILL. IT WAS MY HONOR TO HAVE INTRODUCED A SIMILAR G.I. BILL ON MY FIRST DAY HERE IN THE SENATE IN 2007, AND WITHIN 16 MONTHS OUR BODY AND THE OTHER BODY HAD COME TOGETHER TO AGREE ON AN EDUCATIONAL PACKAGE THAT WOULD ALLOW THOSE WHO SERVED SINCE 9/11 TO HAVE THE SAME CHANCE AT A FIRST-CLASS FUTURE AS THOSE WHO SERVED DURING WORLD WAR II, A PROGRAM THAT WOULD PAY THEIR TUITION, BUY THEIR BOOKS, GIVE THEM A MONTHLY STIPEND. AND ON THIS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR THOSE WHO SERVED DURING WORLD WAR II, WE SHOULD ALSO REMEMBER THAT FOR EVERY DOLLAR THAT WAS SPENT ON THE WORLD WAR II G.I. BILL, OUR TREASURY RECEIVED $7 IN TAX REIMBURSEMENTS BECAUSE OF THE ABILITY OF THE GREATEST GENERATION TO HAVE SUCCESSFUL CAREERS AND TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR ECONOMY. SO TODAY I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY, AS MANY OF US HERE -- AS ONE OF MANY OF US HERE WHO ARE THE NEXT GENERATION FROM THE GREAT GENERATION -- HOW THANKFUL I AM FOR THE SERVICE THAT THEY GAVE AND FOR THE EXAMPLE THAT THEY SET WHEN THEY RETURNED FROM WAR. FOR MANY OF US -- FOR ME -- THEY WERE OUR PARENTS, THEY WERE OUR MENTORS, THEY WERE OUR ROLE MODELS, THEY WERE OUR LEADERS, AS WE OURSELVES MATURED INTO LEADERS. THEY TAUGHT US HOW TO LOVE OUR COUNTRY, THEY TAUGHT US HOW TO VALUE THE NOTION OF SERVICE. THEIR LEGACY IS IN EVERY AREA OF OUR SOCIETY TODAY. WE HONOR THEM AND WE SHOULD RESOLVE -- ALL OF US -- TO CONTINUE IN THE TRADITIONS THAT WERE IMBUED IN THEM BY -- IMBUED IN US BY THEIR SACRIFICES AND THE EXAMPLE THEY SET WHEN THEY RETURNED FROM THE MOST DIFFICULT WAR. I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 01:43:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: BECAUSE WE'RE IN…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: BECAUSE WE'RE IN THE LAST, WE HOPE, FEW DAYS BEFORE WE ADJOURN FOR THE HOLIDAYS. AND THERE'S CERTAIN LEGISLATION THAT WE MUST GET DONE BEFORE WE LEAVE TOWN. WE THAT YOU WILL THESE -- WE CALL THESE THE MUST-PASS BILLS THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE ARE ENACTED BEFORE CONGRESS ADJOURNS FOR THE YEAR. ONE, OF COURSE, IS WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT, WE NEED TO DEAL WITH THE PAYROLL TAX ISSUE. WE DON'T WANT TO SEE MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES FIND ON JANUARY 1 THAT THEIR PAYCHECKS, THE AMOUNT OF MONEY ACTUALLY IN THEIR, THAT THEY TAKE HOME IS ACTUALLY REDUCED. DURING THIS ECONOMIC TIME, WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE MONEY REMAINS CONSTANT AND THAT WE DON'T WANT TO SEE ADDITIONAL BURDENS PLACED ON MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES. WE ALL KNOW THAT WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE MEDICARE EXTENDERS, INCLUDING THE PHYSICIAN PROBLEMS. WE HAVE A FLAWED SYSTEM FOR REIMBURSING PHYSICIANS THAT WOULD CAUSE A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN RATES FOR PHYSICIANS TO RECEIVE, 27% REDUCTIONS. THAT WOULD AFFECT NOT ONLY THE FAIRNESS OF OUR REIMBURSEMENT SYSTEM TO OUR DOCTORS BUT WOULD ALSO AFFECT ACCESS THAT MEDICARE PATIENTS WOULD HAVE TO PHYSICIANS. SO WE NEED TO ABSOLUTELY TAKE CARE OF THAT ISSUE. WE HAVE THE THE OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL. AND I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT'S GOING TO BE AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL, SO WE CAN GET SOME PREDICTABILITY THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THIS FISCAL YEAR. WE'VE GOT TO GET THAT DONE BEFORE WE ADJOURN FOR THE HOLIDAYS. THEN WE ALSO NEED TO PASS THE TAX EXTENDERS. I KNOW THE PRESIDING OFFICER HAS BEEN VERY ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE ENERGY EXTENDERS, KNOWING FULL WELL THE IMPORTANCE NOT ONLY TO NEW MEXICO BUT TO OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY. THOSE EXTENDERS NEED TO BE PASSED, BECAUSE IF NOT WE LOSE JOBS. THIS INVOLVES THE ABILITY TO MOVE FORWARD WITH SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PROJECTS. IT WILL MEAN JOBS IN OUR COMMUNITY AND ENERGY SELF-SUFFICIENCY FOR AMERICA. BUT I WANT TO TAKE THIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT ANOTHER MUST-PASS BILL BEFORE WE ADJOURN FOR THE YEAR, AND THAT IS THE EXTENSION OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. TO ME, THAT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT WE GET THAT DONE BEFORE CONGRESS ADJOURNS FOR THE YEAR. I THINK WE'VE GOT TO MAKE IT CLEAR. WHAT THIS EXTENSION WILL MEAN IS THAT WE WILL BE PROVIDING THE SAME NUMBER OF WEEKS OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FOR THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY IN THE SYSTEM, HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, THAT WE HAVE FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN CAUGHT UP IN THIS ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. WE'RE NOT EXTENDING BEYOND WHAT THE UNEMPLOYED HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED. SO WE ARE BASICALLY EXTENDING THE CURRENT POLICY BECAUSE WE'RE STILL IN A VERY DIFFICULT ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCE. FOR EVERY JOB THAT IS OPEN, THERE ARE FOUR PEOPLE WHO APPLIED FOR IT. SO IT'S VERY DIFFICULT FOR SOMEONE WHO IS UNEMPLOYED TO BE ABLE TO FIND EMPLOYMENT. AS I KNOW THE PRESIDING OFFICER KNOWS, IF YOU'RE UNEMPLOYED AND LOOKING FOR WORK, IT'S MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. FOR ALL THOSE REASONS, THE RIGHT THING TO DO IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE NUMBER OF WEEKS OF BENEFITS SHOULD NOT BE REDUCED AT THIS PERIOD, THAT THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY IN THE SYSTEM, WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET THE SAME NUMBER OF BENEFITS THAT EARLIER UNEMPLOYED WERE ABLE TO GET DURING THIS ECONOMIC PERIOD. AND THAT'S WHAT THIS LEGISLATION WOULD DO. UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE IS AN INSURANCE PROGRAM. DURING GOOD TIMES WE PAY MORE INTO THE SYSTEM. DURING ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS, WE TAKE THE MONEY OUT OF THE SYSTEM. IT'S COUNTER CYCLICAL SO THAT WE HELP OUR ECONOMY AS WELL AS HELP OUR FAMILIES. THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. THERE ARE MANY FAMILIES THAT THIS IS THE LIFELINE, THIS IS THE ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR FAMILIES OR TO KEEP THEIR HOME FROM GOING INTO FORECLOSURE, TO PAY THEIR RENT OR TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR FAMILY NEEDS. THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF FAMILIES THAT HAVE BEEN CAUGHT UP IN THIS ECONOMIC PERIOD. IT ALSO, BY THE WAY, WOULD AFFECT MILLIONS OF OUR FAMILIES. OVER THE NEXT YEAR, IF WE WERE NOT TO EXTEND THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS, IT'S ESTIMATED THAT SIX MILLION FAMILIES WOULD BE DENIED THEIR FULL BENEFITS THAT THEY ARE RECEIVING CURRENTLY. SIX MILLION FAMILIES. EACH ONE IS A FAMILY IN OUR COMMUNITY THAT WOULD BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED. IT ALSO HELPS OUR ECONOMY. MARK ZANDI, WHO IS THE -- WAS THE ECONOMIC ADVISOR FOR THE THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SENATOR McCAIN, SAID THAT FOR EVERY $1 THAT WE PUT OUT IN THE ECONOMY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, WE GET BACK $1.61 IN OUR ECONOMY. THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT OF UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION IS POSITIVE TO OUR ECONOMY. SO ONCE AGAIN, WHEN WE'RE TRYING TO STIMULATE JOB GROWTH, THIS HELPS US. HOW DOES IT HELP US? THE PEOPLE WHO RECEIVE THEIR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS VISIT OUR LOCAL SHOPS, OUR SMALL BUSINESSES IN OUR COMMUNITY, KEEPING OUR ECONOMY MOVING, KEEPING OUR PAY IT FORWARD TO JOB GROWTH. SO FOR ALL THOSE REASONS, FOR THE FACT THAT IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR FAMILIES, FOR THE INTENT OF WHAT UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE IS ALL ABOUT, IT'S THE RIGHT THING FOR US TO DO, IT ALSO HELPS OUR ECONOMY, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS MUST BE ON OUR LIST OF MUST-PASS LEGISLATION. WE'VE GOT TO GET THIS DONE BEFORE WE CAN ADJOURN FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:55:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 01:55:49 PM

    MR. INOUYE

    MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY IS DECEMBER 7, 2011. 70 YEARS AGO SOMETHING HAPPENED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY IS DECEMBER 7, 2011. 70 YEARS AGO SOMETHING HAPPENED IN PEARL HARBOR. I SHALL NEVER FORGET THAT DAY BECAUSE IT WAS A SUNDAY. AND LIKE MANY AMERICANS, I WAS PREPARED TO GO TO CHURCH AND WAS PUTTING ON MY NECKTIE AND HAVING A GOOD TIME LISTENING TO DELIGHTFUL HAWAIIAN MUSIC. SUDDENLY AT ABOUT THIS TIME -- 7:5 -- THE DISC JOCKEY IN CHARGE OF THAT PROGRAM BEGAN SCREAMING, YELLING INTO THE MIKE. AND HE WAS SAYING "THE JAPANESE ARE BOMBING PEARL HARBOR." HE KEPT ON REPEATING THAT. AND FOR A MOMENT I THOUGHT IT WAS A REPEAT OR REPLAY OF ORSON WELLS, THAT PROGRAM THAT WAS AT MIGHTY HIT IN THE UNITED STATES. WELL, HE KEPT ON DOING THIS FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES. NO MUSIC, JUST SCREAMING. AND SO I DECIDED TO TAKE MY FATHER OUT ON THE STREET AND LOOK TOWARDS PEARL HARBOR. AND YOU COULD SEE THESE BLACK PUFFS. AND THEN YOU KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING. BUT SUDDENLY WE'RE WATCHING THESE BLACK PUFFS OF EXPLOSIONS, YOU COULD HEAR A RUMBLE JUST OVERHEAD, AND THERE WERE THREE AIRCRAFT. THEY WERE PEARL GRAY IN COLOR AND RED DOTS ON THE WINGS. I KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING, AND I THOUGHT THE WORLD HAD JUST COME TO AN END. JUST ABOUT 2,400 AMERICAN SAILORS AND SOLDIERS AND NONCOMBATANTS DIED THAT MORNING. I WAS A YOUNG MAN OF 17 AT THAT TIME, BUT I WAS ALSO A VOLUNTEER MEDICAL AID MAN. WE HAD A LITTLE AID STATION, A TEMPORARY ONE, SET UP AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CALLED LUNA LILO. AND SO I RUSHED THERE TO CALL -- RESPOND TO THE CALL OF DUTY. AND I STAYED THERE FOR ABOUT A WEEK, TAKING CARE OF THE WOUNDED AND THE DEAD, BECAUSE WE ALSO MAINTAINED A MORGUE IN OUR SCHOOL PREMISE. I BECAME FAMILIAR WITH THE COST OF WAR -- NOT THE FULL COST. BUT I KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING. THE WAR WAS MUCH MORE THAN JUST BLOOD AND GUTS. MR. PRESIDENT, WE HAVE AN EXTRAORDINARY CONSTITUTION. WE HAVE AN EXTRAORDINARY SET OF LAWS. BUT THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, NOT JUST THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, BUT THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, WAR HAS ALWAYS PROVIDED SOME JUSTIFICATION TO LEAD US, TO SET ASIDE THESE LAWS. FOR EXAMPLE, ON JUST ABOUT CHRISTMAS EVE OF 1941, OR THREE WEEKS AFTER DECEMBER 7, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MADE A DECISION, AND THAT DECISION WAS TO PROVIDE A NEW DESIGNATION FOR JAPANESE RESIDING IN THE UNITED STATES. CITIZENS AND NONCITIZENS LIKE MY FATHER AND THE DESIGNATION WAS 4-C. MR. PRESIDENT, I DO KNOW 1-A MEANS YOU'RE PHYSICALLY FIT, MENTALLY ALERT AND YOU CAN PUT ON A UNIFORM. 4-F, SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH YOU. 4-C IS THE DESIGNATION OF AN ENEMY AGENT. JUST IMAGINE THAT. ENEMY ALIEN. THIS WAS USED AS ONE OF THE JUSTIFICATIONS TO ROUND UP OVER 120,000 JAPANESE, MOST OF THEM AMERICANS OF JAPANESE ANCESTRY, AND PLACE THEM INTO THESE INTERNMENT CAMPS -- DAMPS. THERE WERE TEN OF THEM THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES IN VERY DESOLATE AREAS -- ARKANSAS, ARIZONA, UTAH, OUT IN THE DESERTS. AND THEIR CRIME WAS THAT THEY WERE ENEMY ALIEN. NONE OF THEM HAD COMMITTED ANY CRIME. INVESTIGATION AFTER INVESTIGATION DISCLOSED THAT. NO SABOTAGE, NO ESPIONAGE, NO ASSAULT, NOTHING, BUT THEY WERE ROUNDED UP AND PLACED INTO THESE CAMPS WHICH WERE DESCRIBED BY OUR GOVERNMENT AS CONCENTRATION CAMPS. YES, IT WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL BUT OUR LEADERS FELT THAT THE WAR WAS A JUSTIFICATION TO SET ASIDE THE CONSTITUTION AND SET ASIDE THE LAWS. WELL, MANY OF US, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG ONES, WERE VERY EAGER TO DEMONSTRATE TO OUR NEIGHBORS AND TO OUR GOVERNMENT THAT WE WERE LOYAL, THAT WE WANTED TO DO OUR PART IN THIS WAR, AND IF NECESSARY, PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE, AND WE PETITIONED THE GOVERNMENT. FINALLY, AFTER ABOUT A YEAR OF PETITIONING, PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT ISSUED A STATEMENT SAYING AMERICANISM IS NOT A MATTER OF BLOOD OR COLOR. AMERICANISM IS A MATTER OF HEART AND SOUL. AND HE SAYS OKAY, FORM A VOLUNTEER GROUP, AND THAT WAS DONE. WE TRAINED IN MISSISSIPPI AND WE DID OUR BEST. THE 100th BATTALION, THE 442nd REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM WERE ASSIGNED TO DO OUR BATTLES IN EUROPE. WE FOUGHT IN ITALY AND FRANCE. WE STARTED OFF THE WAR WITH ABOUT 6,000 MEN. AT THE END, OVER 12,000 HAD GONE THROUGH THE RANKS. SO YOU CAN IMAGINE THE CASUALTY RATES. WE HAD ABOUT 10,000 PURPLE HEARTS FOR ALL THE WOUNDS THAT THEY RECEIVED. AND WE WERE TOLD THAT THESE TWO UNITS BECAME THE MOST DECORATED IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. IT IS THE BOMBING OF PEARL HARBOR SEVERAL YEARS AGO BEGAN A PERIOD OF MY LIFE WHERE I BECAME AN ADULT AND I HOPE A GOOD AMERICAN. IT IS SOMETHING THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER. SOMETHING OF INTEREST AT THIS MOMENT. 20 YEARS AGO WHEN WE DECIDED TO MAKE IT A NATIONAL EVENT, THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOMBING OF PEARL HARBOR, ON THAT MORNING, THE PRESIDENT WAS THERE, THE SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE, SECRETARY OF WAR, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, STATE DEPARTMENT, ALL OF THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES WERE IN ATTENDANCE, AND IN PREPARATION OF THIS, WE TOOK A POLL ABOUT SIX MONTHS BEFORE DECEMBER 7, AND THE POLL WAS AMONG HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS, WELL-EDUCATED YOUNG BOYS AND GIRLS, AND THE QUESTION WAS A VERY SIMPLE ONE -- WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DECEMBER 7, 1941? MR. PRESIDENT, I'M SAD TO REPORT TO YOU THAT LESS THAN HALF COULD RESPOND. MOST OF THEM THOUGHT IT WAS A BIRTHDAY OF SOME PRESIDENT OR SOME HISTORIC DATE OF SOME NATURE, BUT THEY COULDN'T RECALL WHAT IT WAS. ON THE 70th ANNIVERSARY, I JUST WONDER IF THAT POLL WERE TAKEN AGAIN, WHAT WOULD BE THE OUTCOME. WELL, I HOPE THAT WE WILL REMEMBER DECEMBER 7. I HOPE WE WILL REMEMBER 9/11. THAT WAS JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, BUT PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO FORGET 9/11 JUST AS WELL AS FORGETTING DECEMBER 7. IF DECEMBER 7 IS GOING TO TEACH US ANYTHING, IT SHOULD BE THAT WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT AT ALL TIMES, NOT JUST TO AVOID WAR, BUT VIGILANT AMONG OURSELVES SO THAT WE WOULD NOT USE THIS AS A JUSTIFICATION TO SET ASIDE OUR MOST HONORED DOCUMENT, THE CONSTITUTION. I HOPE IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR:

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  • 02:06:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA.

  • 02:06:53 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    I WOULD BE GLAD TO YIELD.

  • 02:07:38 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 02:07:41 PM

    MR. REID

  • 02:08:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA.

  • 02:08:57 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    DEEPLY TOUCHED BY THE KIND AND UNDESERVED WORDS OF MY OLD FRIEND OF MANY,…

    DEEPLY TOUCHED BY THE KIND AND UNDESERVED WORDS OF MY OLD FRIEND OF MANY, MANY YEARS, THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER. WE HAVE HAD OUR -- WE HAVE HAD OUR SPIRITED COMBAT AND OUR AGREEMENTS, BUT WE SHARE A COMMITMENT, THE TWO OF US, FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THIS NATION. AND I WOULD ALSO REMIND MY FRIEND FROM NEVADA WHAT HE ALREADY KNOWS, BUT I REMIND HIM IT DOESN'T TAKE A GREAT DEAL OF TALENT TO GET SHOT DOWN. I WAS ABLE TO INTERCEPT A SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE WITH MY OWN AIRPLANE, WHICH IS NOT -- WHICH DOES NOT GO DOWN IN THE AVIATION HALL OF FAME, NOT TO MENTION THE SEVERAL AIRCRAFT THAT I DESTROYED AT TAXPAYERS' EXPENSE IN PREVIOUS TIMES. SO I THANK MY DEAR FRIEND FROM NEVADA AS WELL FOR HIS KIND WORDS. I'D LIKE TO SPEAK -- MR.

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  • 02:09:50 PM

    MR. REID

    I APPRECIATE THE HUMILITY OF MY FRIEND. I HAVE HEARD HIM SAY WORDS TO THIS…

    I APPRECIATE THE HUMILITY OF MY FRIEND. I HAVE HEARD HIM SAY WORDS TO THIS EFFECT BEFORE, AND THAT'S -- THE FACT IS THAT WHAT HE DID AFTER THE PLANE WENT DOWN IS WHAT WE ALL REMEMBER. AS LONG AS OUR COUNTRY IS THE COUNTRY THAT IT IS, WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT PLANE WENT DOWN, WHAT JOHN McCAIN DID SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR THE WORLD AND CERTAINLY HIS COUNTRY.

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  • 02:10:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA.

  • 02:10:16 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    THANK YOU. MR. PRESIDENT, SKI TO SPEAK IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 02:10:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:10:22 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATOR IS RECOGNIZED FOR FOUR ADDITIONAL MINUTES.

  • 02:30:48 PM

    MR. McCAIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, THROUGHOUT THIS YEAR, I HAVE SAID THAT THE DEMAND FOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THROUGHOUT THIS YEAR, I HAVE SAID THAT THE DEMAND FOR DIGNITY AND JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY THAT IS SHAKING THE ARAB WORLD TO ITS FOUNDATIONS WILL NOT BE CONFINED TO THAT ONE REGION ALONE. IT WILL SPREAD. IT WILL INSPIRE OTHERS. IT WILL DEMONSTRATE TO OTHERS THAT THE FRUSTRATIONS AND INDIGNITIES AND LACK OF HOPE THAT THEY MAY FEEL TODAY NEED NOT BE THE REALITIES THAT THEY ENDURE TOMORROW. THEY CAN CHANGE THOSE. THEY CAN CHANGE THEIR DESTINY. THEY CAN CHANGE THEIR COUNTRIES. AND IT APPEARS THAT MESSAGE MAY BE RESONATING WITH THE PEOPLE IN RUSSIA. WE SHOULD HOPE THAT IT DOES RESONATE AND RESONATE IN A PEACEFUL MANNER, BECAUSE WE AGREE WITH A GROWING NUMBER OF RUSSIANS WHO CLEARLY BELIEVE THAT THEY DESERVE BETTER. THEY DESERVE A GOVERNMENT RESPECTS AND RESPONDS TO THEIR ASPIRATIONS FOR A BETTER LIFE, AND THEY DESERVE THE POWER TO FREELY ELECT THEIR OWN LEADERS. THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIA IS MORE THAN AN ISSUE OF MORAL PRINCIPLE FOR THE UNITED STATES. IT IS CLOSELY TIED TO OUR NATIONAL INTEREST. WE HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST THAT WHEN AUTOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS FEEL THEY ARE LOSING LEGITIMACY AMONG THEIR PEOPLE AT HOME, THEY TRY TO DEMONIZE OTHERS, BOTH IN THEIR COUNTRY AND BEYOND IT, AND REDIRECT THEIR PUBLIC'S ANGER AGAINST IMAGINARY ENEMIES. WE HAVE SEEN HOW THE PUTIN GOVERNMENT HAS DONE THIS IN THE PAST. WE HAVE SEEN ITS ATTEMPTS TO PAINT THE UNITED STATES AND OUR NATO AND OTHER ALLIES AS ENEMIES OF RUSSIA AND TO LASH OUT AGAINST US IN THE HOPE OF MOBILIZING PUBLIC SUPPORT AT HOME. THIS IS WHY THE GROWING PATTERN OF CONFRONTATION FROM THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN RECENT MONTHS OVER MISSILE DEFENSE AND RESUPPLY EFFORTS INTO AFGHANISTAN AND OTHER ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE SO CONCERNING TO US AND WHY WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THE ACTIONS OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM ITS CHARACTER. IN FACT, AS RUSSIA'S GOVERNMENT GROWS LESS TOLERANT OF ITS OWN PEOPLE'S RIGHTS AT HOME, WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF IT TREATS US THE SAME WAY. AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, I BELIEVE WE NEED GREATER REALISM ABOUT RUSSIA, BUT THAT IS NOT THE SAME AS PESSIMISM OR CYNICISM OR DEMONIZATION. I AM ULTIMATELY AN OPTIMIST AND I OFTEN FIND SOURCES FOR HOPE IN THE MOST HOPELESS OF PLACES. ONE YEAR AGO, AFTER LANGUISHING IN PRISON FOR SEVEN YEARS AND FACING THE NEAR CERTAINTY THAT -- OF ENDURING MANY MORE, MIKAEL L L CART COUGH I ASK SPOKE BEFORE HIS SENTENCING ABOUT THE HOPES OF THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE BEFORE HIS TRY. THEY ARE WATCHING, HE SAID, WITH THE HOPE THAT RUSSIA WILL, AFTER ALL, BECOME A COUNTRY OF FREEDOM AND OF THE LAW. WE'RE SUPPORTING OPPOSITION PARTIES -- WHERE SUPPORTING OPPOSITION PARTIES WILL CEASE BE A CAUSE FOR REPRISALS. WILL SUPPORTING SPECIAL SERVICES WILL PROTECT THE PEOPLE AND THE LAW, AND NOT THE BUREAUCRACY FROM THE PEOPLE AND THE LAW. WHERE HUMAN RIGHTS WILL NO LONGER DEPEND ON THE MOOD OF THE CZAR, GOOD OR EVIL. WHERE, ON THE CONTRARY, THE POWER WILL TRIEWBL TRULY BE INDEPENDENT ON THE CITIZENS AND THE COURT, ONLY ON LAW AND GOD. FOR ME, AS FOR ANYBODY, IT'S HARD TO LIVE IN JAIL AND I DO NOT WANT TO DIE THERE. BUT IF I HAVE TO, I WILL NOT HESITATE. THE THINGS I BELIEVE IN ARE WORTH DYING FOR. THERE ARE MEN AND WOMEN OF SUCH SPIRIT IN RUSSIA IS CAUSE FOR HOPE. AND EVENTUALLY, MAYBE NOT THIS YEAR OR THE NEXT YEAR OR THE YEAR AFTER THAT, BUT EVENTUALLY THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE WILL HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT IS WORTHY OF THEIR'S SPIRGS -- OF THEIR ASPIRATIONS, WHERE EQUAL JUSTICE CAN BE DELAYED AND HUMAN DIGNITY CAN BE DENIED, BUT NOT FOREVER. I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I THANK MY COLLEAGUE.

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  • 02:34:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII.

  • 02:34:48 PM

    MR. INOUYE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WISH TO THANK MY MOST DISTINGUISHED FRIEND FROM ARIZONA…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WISH TO THANK MY MOST DISTINGUISHED FRIEND FROM ARIZONA FOR HIS GENEROUS, WARM, AND FRIENDLY REMARKS. THEY MEAN A LOT TO ME AND I'LL NEVER FORGET THEM. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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  • 02:35:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT'S RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:35:22 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANTED TO SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I WANTED TO SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT AN ISSUE OF ENORMOUS IMPORTANCE TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF VERMONT AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY AND THAT IS THE ISSUE OF MAKING SURE THAT IN AMERICA THIS WINTER NOBODY GOES COLD, THAT NOBODY FREEZES TO DEATH, THAT CHILDREN DO NOT BECOME ILL BECAUSE THE THERMOSTATS IN THEIR HOMES ARE TURNED DOWN SO LOW. AND THE ISSUE THAT I AM TALKING ABOUT IS TO ASK FOR SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATION THAT IS BEING INTRODUCED BY SENATOR JACK REED OF RHODE ISLAND AND SENATOR OLYMPIA SNOWE OF MAINE WHICH WOULD LEVEL FUND THE LIHEAP PROGRAM AT $4.7 BILLION. AND AS MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES KNOW, THE LIHEAP PROGRAM IS THE LOW-INCOME HEATING ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. HERE IS THE PROBLEM THAT WE FACE, MR. PRESIDENT. WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF A HORRENDOUS RECESSION. UNEMPLOYMENT IS SKY-HIGH. IN MANY CASES, WAGES ARE IN DECLINE. POVERTY IS CREATION INCREASING. AND AT THE SAME TIME, THE PRICE FOR HOME HEATING OIL AND PROPANE GAS IS GOING UP. ACCORDING TO THE ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION, AVERAGE EXPENDITURES FOR HOUSEHOLDS THAT HEAT WITH OIL OR PROPANE ARE FORECAST TO BE HIGHER THAN IN ANY PREVIOUS WINTER. AND HEATING OIL PRICES ARE CURRENTLY AVERAGE -- AVERAGING ABOUT $3.90 A GALLON. SO WHAT PEOPLE IN THE NORTHEAST, PEOPLE ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY ARE LOOKING AT IS, ARE THE HIGHEST HOME HEATING OIL PRICES THAT WE HAVE EVER SEEN COMING IN THE MIDST OF A TERRIBLE RECESSION, WITH UNEMPLOYMENT HIGH AND WAGES IN DECLINE. IN THE STATE OF HAVE THE VERMONT, HEATING OIL PRICES ARE ALREADY 34% HIGHER THAN THEY WERE AT THE SAME TIME LAST YEAR. THEY ARE CURRENTLY $3.82 A GALLON COMPARED TO $2.85 A GALLON LAST YEAR. AND WHAT IS HAPPENING IS THAT BECAUSE OF CUTS, SIGNIFICANT CUTS IN LIHEAP FUND, THE AVERAGE LIHEAP BENEFIT IN VERMONT IS 45% LESS THIS YEAR THAN IT WAS LAST YEAR. THAT IS $474 PER FAMILY AS OPPOSED TO $866 LAST YEAR. MR. PRESIDENT, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS GOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD ABOUT LIHEAP IS THAT NEARLY 80% OF FUNDING FOR -- FROM THIS PROGRAM GOES TO OUR CITIZENS WHO ARE ELDERLY, FAMILIES WITH PRESCHOOL KIDS, AND THE DISABLED. SO THE PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT FROM THIS PROGRAM ARE SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY. 80% OF THE FUNDING, ONCE AGAIN, GOES TO SMITHS -- GOES TO SENIOR CITIZENS, FAMILIES WITH PRESCHOOL CHILDREN, YOUNG CHILDREN, AND PEOPLE WHO ARE DEALING WITH DISABILITIES. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS NOT UNCOMMON IN THE STATE OF VERMONT AND IN OTHER STATES FOR THE TEMPERATURE TO DROP TO 10 BELOW ZERO, 20 BELOW ZERO IN THE WINTERTIME. AND WHEN PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FUNDS TO HEAT THEIR HOMES OR THEIR APARTMENTS, SERIOUS PROBLEMS ARISE. WHAT I WANT TO DO, MR. PRESIDENT, IS JUST TO TAKE A MOMENT TO READ YOU SOME COMMENTS THAT MY OFFICE HAS RECEIVED FROM VERMONTERS ALL OVER THE STATE WHO ARE TRYING DESPERATELY TO STAY WARM THIS WINTER. JOSIE CROSBERRY, WHO IS 81 YEARS OF AGE, WHO LIVES IN BRADELBERG, VERMONT, SAID -- THIS IS WHAT SHE SAID -- "WE WILL HAVE MONEY FOR ONE MORE TANK. AFTER THAT, I DON'T KNOW." THAT IS A WOMAN 81 YEARS OF AGE HAS MONEY FOR ONE MORE TANK OF OIL. AFTER THAT, SHE'S NOT SURE HOW SHE STAYS WARM IN THE WINTER. A 48-YEAR-OLD VERMONTER FROM ORLEANS COUNTY IN THE NORTHERN PART OF OUR STATE WROTE -- AND I QUOTE -- "I WAS ABLE TO GET A HUNDRED GALLONS OF FUEL LAST WEEK AND FOR THAT I'M GRATEFUL. THE STRUGGLE BEGINS NOW ON HOW TO STRETCH THAT FUEL AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. I HAD TO BUY A PORTABLE ELECTRIC HEATER TO KEEP HALFWAY WARM WHILE WAITING FOR FUEL ASSISTANCE. I DON'T EVEN WANT TO KNOW HOW HIGH MY ELECTRIC BILL WILL BE. I AM AN HONORABLY DISCHARGED DISABLED VETERAN AND HAVE LIMITED FUNDS. I HAVE ALREADY SLASHED MY FOOD BILL, SO WHAT GOES NEXT? MY MEDS, MY ELECTRIC SERVICE, MY HOME?" AND THAT IS FROM A DISABLED VET IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE STATE OF VERMONT. A 59-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN CENTRAL VERMONT WRITES -- AND I QUOTE -- "I HAVE BEEN KEEPING MY THERMOSTAT AT AS LOW AS I CAN ALMOST TOLERATE. I BUNDLE UP IN THE HOUSE WITH SEVERAL SWEATERS AND EVEN A COAT AND HAT AT TIMES. WHEN COMPANY ARRIVES, I'M EMBARRASSED AT HOW RIDICULOUS I PROBABLY APPEAR. I AM JUST BARELY SQUEAKING THROUGH EACH MONTH. I HAVE MADE CUTS EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE, INCLUDING FOOD." WENDY RAVEN FROM WITTINGHAM, VERMONT, WRITES -- SHE'S 62 YEARS OF AGE -- "I HAD TO DRAG MY BED OUT OF MY BEDROOM AND PUT IT IN THE LIVING ROOM, THEN CLOSE OFF THE BEDROOM FOR THE WINTER. I WILL HAVE TO EAT EVEN LESS THAN I DO NOW IN ORDER TO PAY MY FUEL BILLS. I HAVE DONE EVERYTHING I CAN TO BUTTON UP THE PLACE, BUT NOW ALL I CAN DO IS PRAY I GET THROUGH THE WINTER WITHOUT A BILL SO LARGE IT WILL AGAIN TAKE ME UNTIL NEXT FALL TO PAY IT OFF." IS THAT WHERE WE ARE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THAT WE FORCE PEOPLE TO LIVE UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS? A 31-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FROM BEDDINGTON, VERMONT, WRITES -- QUOTE -- "WE ARE NOW TRYING TO STAY WARM BY SCRAPPING UP ENOUGH FOR A GALLON OR TWO OF HEATING OIL A WEEK AND KEEPING THE THERMOSTAT DOWN VERY LOW. I TURN THE FURNACE OFF DURING THE DAY WHEN MY CHILD IS IN SCHOOL AND TURN IT ON AN HOUR BEFORE SHE GETS HOME SO THAT THE HOUSE GETS WARM. WE ARE HOPING TO SQUALL PHI FOR CRISIS -- WE ARE HOPING TO QUALIFY FOR CRISIS FUEL ASSISTANCE OR WE ARE IN TROUBLE, BECAUSE THERE IS NOWHERE TO GET THE EXTRA MONEY NEEDED TO PAY FOR THE FUEL, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING ITS CONTINUOUSLY INCREASING COST. WE HAVE TO CHOOSE WHAT BILLS TO PAY EACH MONTH AND WHAT ONES NOT TO PAY IN ORDER TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE." SO, MR. PRESIDENT, IN THIS GREAT NATION, IN THE MIDST OF A RECESSION, IN THE MIDST OF HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, IN THE MIDST OF GROWING POVERTY, WE AS A UNITED STATES SENATE MUST BE VERY CLEAR CLEAR -- NOBODY IN THIS COUNTRY IS GOING TO GO COLD THIS WINTER. WE'RE NOT GOING TO PICK UP A PAPER IN MAINE OR RHODE ISLAND OR VERMONT OR NORTH DAKOTA AND READ THAT SOME SENIOR CITIZEN WAS FOUND FROZEN TO DEATH. THAT IS NOT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO ALLOW. AND THAT IS WHY SENATOR JACK REED, SENATOR OLYMPIA SNOWE AND I AND MANY OTHERS ARE WORKING HARD SO THAT, AT THE VERY, VERY LEAST, WE CAN LEVEL FUND LIHEAP SO THAT NOBODY IN OUR COUNTRY GOES COLD THIS WINTER. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:43:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL OF THE SENATE. QUORUM CALL: S RECOGNIZE.

  • 02:44:51 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 02:44:55 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 02:44:59 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:05:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:05:01 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT -- EXCUSE ME. I SEE THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA IS HERE.…

    MR. PRESIDENT -- EXCUSE ME. I SEE THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA IS HERE. IS IT ALL RIGHT FOR ME TO CONTINUE WITH THIS STATEMENT AT THIS TIME? I THANK YOU. I'LL TRY TO BE BRIEF. I THANK THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA. MR. PRESIDENT, EXPERTS BLAME CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS AND COLLATERALIZED DEBT OBLIGATIONS FOR THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. THESE COMPLICATED FINANCIAL PRODUCTS WERE BAITED ON MORTGAGES -- BASED ON MORTGAGES STOELD FAMILIES WHO COULDN'T AFFORD THEM, CREDIT CARDS WITH HIDDEN FEES AND LOANS TARGETED TO LOW-INCOME INDIVIDUALS WITH UP TO 400% INTEREST RATES. THE FINANCIAL REGULATORS IGNORED THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM THESE PREDATORY PRACTICES. BECAUSE THERE WAS NOT ONE REGULATOR SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION, THE FINANCIAL REGULATORS POINTED THEIR FINGERS AT THE OTHER GUY WHEN THE SYSTEM COLLAPSED. CONSUMERS LOST $17 TRILLION IN HOUSEHOLD WEALTH AND RETIREMENT SAVINGS ALMOST OVERNIGHT. THAT'S WHY A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF 60 SENATORS VOTED LAST YEAR TO CONSOLIDATE CONSUMER PROTECTION AUTHORITY UNDER ONE AGENCY, THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. THE CFPB WAS GIVEN NEW RESPONSIBILITIES TO OVERSEE NONBANK ACTORS WHO DEAL IN PAYDAY LOANS, PREPAID CARDS, STUDENT LOANS AND CREDIT REPORTING. 200 MILLION AMERICANS RELY ON CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES WHEN THEY MAKE A BIG PURCHASE, SOMETIMES WHEN THEY APPLY FOR A JOB. AN ESTIMATED 20 MILLION PEOPLE USE PAYDAY LENDERS TO MAKE ENDS MEET. I WISH THEY DIDN'T BUT THEY DO. MANY OF THEM FACE UP TO 400% INTEREST RATES TO OBTAIN THESE SHORT-TERM LOANS. FOUR MILLION AMERICANS HAVE PREPAID DEBIT CARDS AS MORE COMPANIES USE THIS PRODUCT INSTEAD OF CHECKS OR DIRECT DEPOSIT. IT'S EXPECTED THAT OVER $670 BILLION WILL BE LOADED INTO PREPAID CARDS IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS. MORE THAN $10 BILLION IN PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS ARE GIVEN TO STUDENTS WHO THEN FACE UP TO 15% INTEREST RATES. I TALKED ABOUT A FEW OF THEM IN AN EARLIER STATEMENT. TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS RELYING ON NONBANKS FOR THEIR FINANCIAL NEEDS WILL GO WITHOUT PROTECTION UNLESS THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU HAS THE RESOURCES IT NEEDS TO HELP AMERICAN CONSUMERS AND A DIRECTOR. EARLIER THIS YEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA NOMINATED RICHARD CORDRAY TO BE DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. HE WAS RECRUITED TO LEAD THE ENFORCEMENT DIVISION, AND NOW IS BEING ASKED TO MOVE UP AND TAKE OVER THE DIRECTORSHIP. BEFORE JOINING, HE SERVED AS OHIO'S ATTORNEY GENERAL, RECOVERING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PENSION FUNDS ON BEHALF OF RETIREES AND TAKING ON THE PREDATORY LENDERS. MR. CORDRAY SAW FIRSTHAND OF THE FAILURE TO ENFORCE CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS RELATED TO MORTGAGES AFFECTING OHIO RESIDENTS. HE HAS A STRONG GROUND IN WORKING WITH CONSUMER ADVOCATES AND THE FINANCIAL SECTOR. HE'S AN EXCELLENT CHOICE AND I SUPPORT HIS NOMINATION. UNFORTUNATELY MR. CORDRAY IS ASKING TO HEAD UP A CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY WHICH, TO PARAPHRASE A FORMER COLLEAGUE ON THE FLOOR, THE BANKS HATE LIKE THE DEVIL HATES HOLY WATER. THE IDEA THAT WE WOULD GIVE AUTHORITY TO AN AGENCY TO WATCH THESE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, PAYDAY LOAN OPERATIONS AND THE REST, TO MAKE CERTAIN THEY DON'T EXPLOIT AMERICAN CONSUMERS DRIVES THESE BANKING INTERESTS WILD. THEY'VE DONE EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO STOP HIM FROM BECOMING DIRECTOR AND TO CUT THE MONEY AVAILABLE FOR HIS BUREAU. THEY DON'T BELIEVE THERE SHOULD BE CONSUMER PROTECTION. LET THE BUYER BEWARE. THEY DON'T CARE AT THE END OF THE DAY IF INNOCENT PEOPLE SUFFER ACROSS AMERICA. BUT THEY SHOULD. MY COLLEAGUES CLAIM THERE WON'T BE ANY REAL CHECKS ON HIS POWER IF MR. CORDRAY IS GIVEN THIS POSITION. BUT HE'S SUBJECT TO AN ANNUAL AUDIT BY THE G.A.O., HAS TO REPORT TO CONGRESS BIANNUALLY, IS SUBJECT TO PRIVATE-SECTOR INDEPENDENT AUDIT, MONITORED BY THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE, REQUIRED TO ANNUALLY AUDIT -- THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IS REQUIRED TO ANNUALLY AUDIT THE -PBGSS OF THE BUREAU AND IS SUBJECT TO THE PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT, CONGRESS REVIEW ACT, TO NAME A FEW. THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OVERSITE COUNCIL THAT INCLUDES MEMBERS FROM ACROSS THE FINANCIAL SPECTRUM CAN REVIEW AND OVERTURN CFPB REGULATIONS. NO OTHER AGENCY IS SUBJECT TO HAVING REGULATIONS UNDER ITS OWN JURISDICTION OVERTURNED. THAT ISN'T ENOUGH FROM THE SPECIAL INTERESTS THAT HATE THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. THESE ARE THE SAME PLAYERS THAT HELPED CREATE THE FINANCIAL CRISIS WHICH DEVASTATED OUR ECONOMY. DESPITE ALL OF THESE MEASURES TO ENSURE CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT, THOSE WHO COULDN'T KILL THE CFPB OUTRIGHT ARE DETERMINED TO DESTROY ITS ABILITY TO ACT. NOW AS WE FINALLY START TO RECOVER FROM THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS, THE SAME SPECIAL INTERESTS ARE PROTESTING EFFORTS TO REQUIRE THE DISCLOSURE OF CREDIT CARD FEES, FOR EXAMPLE. THE SAME BANKS THAT MADE BILLIONS FROM SELLING HOMES TO FAMILIES THAT COULDN'T AFFORD THEM ARE REFUSING TO MODIFY MORTGAGES SO FAMILIES CAN STAY IN THEIR HOMES. THEY DON'T WANT TO CHANGE THE STRUCTURE OF THE CFPB. THEY WANT TO DESTROY ITS ABILITY TO PROTECT AMERICA'S CONSUMERS AND FAMILIES. THEY WANT TO GO BACK TO THE DAYS OF HEADS I WIN AND TAILS YOU LOSE. BACK TO THE DAYS WE DIDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT A REGULATOR ENFORCING CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS. THE CFPB STRUCTURE IS SIMILAR TO OTHER FINANCIAL REGULATORS, OFFICE OF COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY HAS BEEN LED BY ONE INDIVIDUAL WITH CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT FOR OVER 100 YEARS, FOR EXAMPLE. THE FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY THAT OVERSEES FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC IS ALSO LED BY A SINGLE DIRECTOR WITH CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT. YET BOTH FINANCIAL REGULATORS AVOIDED THE POLITICAL OUTCRY WE'RE HEARING ABOUT THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. REALLY WHAT WE'RE SEEING, I'M AFRAID, IS A PARTISAN EFFORT TO BLOCK A WELL-QUALIFIED NOMINEE. MANY INTELLIGENT, DECENT AND HARDWORKING AMERICANS VOLUNTEER TO CONTRIBUTE AS A POINT OF PUBLIC SERVICE. THEY'RE WELL QUALIFIED. TOO OFTEN THESE DAYS THEY CAN'T GET THROUGH THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THIS HAS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES ON ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES AND OUR JUDICIARY. YESTERDAY WE SAW AN INCREDIBLE, ASTONISHING REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER OF THE NOMINATION OF CAITLIN HALLIGAN TO SERVE ON THE D.C. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THOSE VOTING AGAINST HER NOMINATION COULDN'T COME UP WITH A GOOD REASON. SHE HAD BEEN FOUND BY THE A.B.A. TO BE UNANIMOUSLY WELL QUALIFIED. SHE HAD AN AMAZING RESUME. AND SHE WAS REJECTED ON A FILIBUSTER INITIATED BY THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. THAT IS UNFORTUNATE. I WOULD JUST SAY TO MY SENATE REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, I THINK THAT RICHARD CORDRAY HAS THE BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE TO LEAD THIS AGENCY. HE SHOULD BE GIVEN A CHANCE. I KNOW THAT THE BANKS AREN'T HAPPY THAT ANYBODY IS WATCHING THEM. THESE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, PAYDAY LENDERS AND THE REST WOULD RATHER DO THEIR BUSINESS WITHOUT ANYBODY LOOKING OVER THEIR SHOULDER. HOLLY PETRAEUS IS THE WIFE OF GENERAL PETRAEUS. SHE'S BEEN WORKING WITH THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU TO STOP THE EXPLOITATION OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THE MILITARY SERVICE. SHE CAME BY MY OFFICE TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS AGENCY IS DOING TO PROTECT THOSE FAMILIES. SADLY, SOME OF THESE FAMILIES ARE EXPLOITED SO BADLY THAT THEY ARE FORCED OUT OF THE MILITARY AND HAVE TO BE DISCHARGED. WE DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN. WE DON'T WANT IT TO HAPPEN TO AMERICAN FAMILIES WHO UNSUSPECTING FIND THEMSELVES LURED INTO FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS WHICH ARE TOTALLY UNFAIR. RICHARD CORDRAY IS COMPETENT, QUALIFIED AND AN HONORABLE PUBLIC SERVANT. HE DESERVES AN UP-OR-DOWN VOTE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THAT VOTE PROBABLY TOMORROW. AND I HOPE THAT HE WILL BE CONFIRMED, GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THIS IMPORTANT AGENCY. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:12:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    STPHOUPL SOUTH DAKOTA.

  • 03:13:07 PM

    MR. THUNE

  • 03:13:34 PM

    QUESTION

    THE QUESTION: WHY THAT IS? I THINK THERE ARE PROBABLY A NUMBER OF REASONS,…

    THE QUESTION: WHY THAT IS? I THINK THERE ARE PROBABLY A NUMBER OF REASONS, MOST OF WHICH HAVE TO DO WITH POLITICS AND NOT THE ECONOMY AND NOT JOBS, BECAUSE CLEARLY THIS IS A SUBJECT ON WHICH THERE IS NO DEBATE WHEN IT COMES TO THE JOB CREATION POTENTIAL THERE, THE IMPACT THAT IT WOULD HAVE ON THE ECONOMIES OF MULTIPLE STATES IN OUR COUNTRY, WHAT IT WOULD DO TO THE ISSUE OF ENERGY SECURITY, AND THE PROJECT TO WHICH I'M REFERRING, MR. PRESIDENT, IS THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE. THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE IS A PROJECT THAT HAS BEEN UNDER REVIEW NOW FOR THE BETTER PART OF THREE YEARS. IN FACT, THERE HAVE HAVE TWO ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES. IF YOU LOOK AT ALL THE DUE DILIGENCE DONE, IT'S CLEARLY BEEN REVIEWED, IT HAS BEEN ANALYZED, IT HAS BEEN STUDIED, IT HAS BEEN SCRUTINIZED. IT'S GOTTEN TO THE POINT NOW WHERE IT'S TIME TO MOVE FORWARD, TIME TO MAKE A DECISION ON THIS. IRONICALLY, AND I THINK SORT OF SURPRISINGLY TO A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE RECENTLY, THE ADMINISTRATION SAID THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO DECIDE THIS NOW. FOR 18 MONTHS THEY'RE GOING TO PUT IT OFF. FOR 18 MONTHS. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH FROM A TIMING STANDPOINT, UNTIL AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION. WELL, I THINK IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT THAT'S THE CASE BECAUSE, AGAIN, IF YOUR NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY IS JOB CREATION, YOU HAVE ONE HERE READY TO GO TODAY THAT COULD BE UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND THAT WOULD IMMEDIATELY CREATE 20,000 JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. IT WOULD CREATE $7 BILLION OF INVESTMENT. AND LOTS OF REVENUE FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, MANY OF WHICH DESPERATELY NEED THAT. I THINK OF MY OWN STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE WOULD TRAVERSE MY STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA AS THE OIL SANDS, OIL THAT COMES UP IN CANADA, MAKES ITS WAY TO THE REFINERIES AND OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, COMES THROUGH SOUTH DAKOTA AND IN OUR STATE ALONE WOULD BE ABOUT A HALF A BILLION DOLLARS OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, IT WOULD MEAN HUNDREDS OF JOBS AND REVENUE FOR LOTS OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. THIS PROJECT IN MY STATE LIKE SO MANY STATES WHERE IT COMES THROUGH WHERE IT IMPACTS, THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO BE HEARD, TO GET THEIR INPUT MADE ON THIS. IT'S BEEN, AS I SAID, GOING ON NOW FOR THREE YEARS, AND SO YOU FINALLY GET TO A POINT WHERE YOU HAVE TO SAY IT IS TIME TO MAKE A DECISION ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. NOW, CLEARLY, MY VIEW ON THIS IS THAT THIS IS A PROJECT THAT SHOULD MOVE FORWARD, BUT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND HIS ADMINISTRATION OUGHT TO BE ACTING WITH SOME FINALITY ON THIS SUBJECT NOW, NOT WAITING 18 MONTHS, NOT WAITING UNTIL AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION BECAUSE IT'S POLITICALLY EXPEDIENT TO DO THAT, BUT MAKING A DECISION NOW. WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE IF IT DOESN'T GET DONE HERE, THAT OIL FROM THE OIL SANDS AREA IN CANADA WILL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND SOME OTHER COUNTRY AROUND THE WORLD WILL BENEFIT FROM THAT. IT WON'T BE THE UNITED STATES, IT WON'T BE REFINERIES HERE IN THIS COUNTRY, IT WON'T BE THE CITIZENS OF AMERICA WHO HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR NEIGHBOR TO THE NORTH. CANADA IS OUR BIGGEST SINGLE TRADING PARTNER. WE DO ABOUT $640 BILLION OF BILATERAL TRADE EVERY SINGLE YEAR WITH CANADA. IT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE IF YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT ENERGY SECURITY, IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT THE DANGEROUS DEPENDENCE THAT WE HAVE ON OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD FOR OUR ENERGY NEEDS, THAT IF WE'RE GOING TO GET ENERGY, WE GET IT FROM A COUNTRY WITH WHOM WE HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP, A COUNTRY THAT IS FRIENDLY, A COUNTRY WE DO ALREADY A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TRADE WITH. AND SO IF WE DON'T MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS, IT IS GOING SOMEWHERE, PROBABLY TO ASIA, PROBABLY TO CHINA, AND CHINA WILL GET THE BENEFIT AND THE CITIZENS OF CHINA WILL GET THE BENEFIT OF THIS PROJECT RATHER THAN HAVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM ALL THAT THIS PROJECT WOULD ENTAIL IF WE COULD GET IT APPROVED HERE. BUT WE OUGHT TO AT LEAST MAKE A DECISION. WE HAVE GOT ALL THESE THINGS THAT -- ALL THE DISCUSSION IN THIS COUNTRY, ALL THE RHETORIC COMING FROM THE OTHER SIDE ABOUT HOW IT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT WE CREATE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY, AND YET THE ADMINISTRATION SEEMS WILLING TO JUST DISREGARD THAT AND SAY WE ARE GOING TO MAKE WHAT IS CLEARLY A POLITICAL DECISION AND PUT THIS OFF FOR 18 MONTHS UNTIL AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION. I THINK IT'S INTERESTING TO NOTE WHAT SOME ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS, AND FRANKLY EVEN WHAT THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF HAS SAID AS RECENTLY AS LAST APRIL ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING ENERGY FROM COUNTRIES THAT ARE STABLE AND FRIENDLY. AND I WANT TO QUOTE. THIS IS SOMETHING THE PRESIDENT SAID. IMPORTING OIL FROM COUNTRIES THAT ARE STABLE AND FRIENDLY IS A GOOD THING. THAT IS SOMETHING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SAID IS RECENTLY AS LAST APRIL. THERE IS A LETTER THAT WENT FROM 22 CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS TO THE PRESIDENT TELLING HIM THAT AMERICA NEEDS THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE. 22 DEMOCRAT MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WEIGHED IN ON THIS ISSUE. WE HAVE HAD DEMOCRAT SENATORS HERE AS WELL THAT HAVE WEIGHED IN WITH THE ADMINISTRATION, WEIGHED IN PUBLICLY AND SAID THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PROJECT, THIS IS A PROJECT THAT NEEDS TO BE COMPLETED. WELL, YOU EVEN HAVE THE LABOR UNIONS WHICH TRADITIONALLY YOU WOULD THINK OF AS PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S POLITICAL BASE, AND WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ABOUT THIS? THE AFL-CIO SAID FOR AMERICA'S SKILLED CRAFT CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS, ANY DISCUSSION OF THE KEYSTONE X.L. PROJECT BEGINS AND ENDS WITH THE WORD JOBS. THAT'S WHAT THE AFL-CIO IS SAYING. THE LABOR INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, SAYS IT'S NOT JUST A KEEP LINE BUT IT IS A LIFELINE, FOR THOUSANDS OF DESPERATE WORKING MEN AND WOMEN. SO YOU HAVE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT HERE IN CONGRESS, YOU HAVE THE WORKING PEOPLE, THE ORGANIZATIONS OF THIS COUNTRY REPRESENT WORKING PEOPLE WEIGHING IN SAYING THIS IS A PROJECT THAT NEEDS TO BE APPROVED THAT WOULD CREATE JOBS, THAT WOULD ADDRESS SOME OF THE ECONOMIC ANGST THAT WE'RE FEELING IN THIS COUNTRY, AND HERE WE ARE FACED WITH THIS UNNECESSARY DELAY. WELL, WE HAVE A PIECE OF LEGISLATION, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT HAS 40 COSPONSORS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. IT WAS INTRODUCED LAST WEEK. MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD. SENATOR HOEVEN FROM NORTH DAKOTA, SENATOR JOHANNS FROM NEBRASKA, SENATOR BARRASSO AND OTHERS, WHO BELIEVE SO STRONGLY IN THE ISSUE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH, JOB CREATION, ENERGY SECURITY, NATIONAL SECURITY THAT WE HAVE INTRODUCED A BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW THIS PROJECT, EITHER ONE TO MOVE FORWARD OR HAVE THE PRESIDENT PROVIDE A RATIONALE FOR WHY IT WON'T MOVE FORWARD. PRETTY SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD LEGISLATION. IT WOULD ALLOW 60 DAYS FROM ENACTMENT OF THE LEGISLATION FOR A DECISION TO BE MADE ABOUT THE PERMIT. ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, EITHER IT GETS PERMITTED OR ON THE CONTRARY THE PRESIDENT GIVES AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY IT SHOULDN'T BE PERMITTED, BUT AT LEAST WE GET A DECISION MADE SO THERE IS SOME ECONOMIC CERTAINTY FOR THE PEOPLE BEHIND THIS PROJECT, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING THIS INVESTMENT ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT IT'S GOING TO GO FORWARD. THE ONE THING WE HEAR OVER AND OVER FROM BUSINESS, SMALL BUSINESSES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, LARGE BUSINESSES, JOB CREATORS IS WE NEED ECONOMIC CERTAINTY. WE CAN'T CONTINUE TO OPERATE IN THIS COMPLETE CLOUD OF ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY IF WE'RE GOING TO PUT INVESTMENT OUT THERE AND CREATE THE JOBS THAT GO WITH THAT INVESTMENT. WELL, 700,000 BARRELS A DAY IS THE EQUIVALENT OF WHAT WE GET DAILY FROM VENEZUELA, SO WE COULD GET 700,000 BARRELS OF OIL A DAY FROM CANADA, A FRIENDLY NEIGHBOR TO THE NORTH OR 700,000 BARRELS A DAY FROM VENEZUELA OR ANY OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD FROM WHICH WE IMPORT OIL, AND IT JUST SEEMS SO LOGICAL AND JUST SUCH A NO-BRAINER FOR US TO BE ABLE TO TRADE AND TO INTERACT AND TO HAVE THIS ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP WITH CANADA ON THIS PARTICULAR PROJECT. AND IT DOES COME ACROSS, AS I SAID, MANY PARTS OF THE DAKOTAS AND MONTANA, IT WILL ENCOURAGE GREATER OIL PRODUCTION, FRANKLY, HERE IN THIS COUNTRY AS WELL BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE BACK -- BAKKAN RESERVE, WHICH WE HOPE TO HAVE THE PIPELINE AND GET SOME OF THEIR ENERGY TO SOME OF THE REFINERIES AROUND THE COUNTRY. IT IS A DOMESTIC STRATEGY, MORE ALTERNATIVE OILS, MORE ALTERNATIVE FUELS, MORE INNOVATION. IT'S ALL OF THESE THINGS WE NEED WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ENERGY SECURITY, BUT CLEARLY IN THIS CASE FOR JUST SOME UNEXPLAINED REASON, THE ADMINISTRATION HAS CONCLUDED THAT THIS PROJECT SHOULDN'T GO FORWARD. WELL, THERE WAS A CONCERN RAISED EARLIER ON ABOUT THE STATE OF NEBRASKA AND THE ROUTE THAT THE PIPELINE WAS TAKING. THAT ISSUE HAS BEEN ADDRESSED. THE LEADERS OF NEBRASKA, SENATOR JOHANNS, THE GOVERNOR OF NEBRASKA HAVE COME TOGETHER BEHIND AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE WHICH I BELIEVE WAS AGREEABLE TO THE COUNTRY, TO TRANSCANADA, AND SO YOU CAN NO LONGER HIDE BEHIND THAT AND USE THAT AS A SHIELD. AND THE LEGISLATION THAT WE INTRODUCED WOULD MAKE, OF COURSE, THIS SUBJECT TO STATES' RIGHTS AND HAVING STATES LIKE NEBRASKA INTERVENE AND WORK WITH THE COMPANY TO FIND THIS ALTERNATIVE ROUTE. IT ALSO WOULD ENSURE AND REQUIRE STRONG ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS IN THE LEGISLATION, AND SO THAT ISSUE IS SOMETHING THAT THE LEGISLATION IS ADDRESSED. BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, MR. PRESIDENT, IS WHAT IT DOES, IS THAT IT AT LEAST FORCES SOME ACTION. IT AT LEAST SAYS WE ARE GOING TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT JOB CREATION IN THIS COUNTRY OR WE'RE NOT. WE ARE GOING TO SUPPORT A SHOVEL-READY PROJECT THAT COULD CREATE 20,000 JOBS AND START IMMEDIATELY OR WE'RE NOT. AND SO ALL THIS RHETORIC AND ALL THE HOT AIR THAT COMES FROM PEOPLE HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., ABOUT WANTING TO CREATE JOBS, THIS IS REALLY PUTTING IT TO THE TEST. THIS IS WHERE YOU HAVE TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP WHEN IT COMES TO WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT CREATING JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. AND SO I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES HERE IN THE SENATE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THIS IS A BIPARTISAN ISSUE, WILL WORK WITH US TO ADVANCE THIS LEGISLATION. THERE IS SOME THINKING THAT PERHAPS THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THE OTHER BODY, MAY INCLUDE IT IN SOME LEGISLATION THAT THEY SEND US THAT COULD BE COMING THIS WAY IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE. IF THAT IS THE CASE, I HOPE WE WILL PICK THAT UP AND ACT ON IT, BECAUSE IF WE ARE SERIOUS AND IF WE MEAN WHAT WE SAY ABOUT JOB CREATION IN THIS COUNTRY, THERE IS NO BETTER WAY THAN TO PUT SOME CERTAINTY BEHIND THIS PROJECT. AND AGAIN, IT WOULD BE ONE THING IF THIS HADN'T BEEN STUDIED AND OVERSTUDIED AND EVALUATED AND ANALYZED AND SCRUTINIZED, BUT IT HAS OVER AND OVER AGAIN NOW FOR THE BETTER PART OF THREE YEARS. 700,000 BARRELS OF OIL A DAY FROM CANADA, AND THE U.S. BAKKAN REGION UP IN NORTH DAKOTA TO U.S. REFINERIES, 700,000 BARRELS OF OIL HEADED TO SOME OTHER PLACE AROUND THE WORLD THAT WILL BENEFIT FROM IT. AND JUST AS IMPORTANTLY IF NOT MORE IMPORTANTLY, 700,000 BARRELS OF OIL THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL HAVE TO IMPORT FROM SOME OTHER COUNTRY AROUND THE WORLD THAT PERHAPS ISN'T NEARLY AS FRIENDLY AS OUR NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH. AS I SAID, THIS IS NOT A -- THIS ISN'T COMPLICATED. THIS IS A PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD ISSUE AND ONE WHERE I DON'T THINK THERE IS ANYTHING BUT SUPPORT FROM THE STATES THAT ARE IMPACTED BY THIS, ANYTHING BUT SUPPORT FROM THE LEADERSHIP, THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AT THE STATE LEVEL AND LOCAL LEVELS. AND CLEARLY, I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT THIS IS -- THERE IS NO PROJECT THAT HAS UNANIMOUS SUPPORT AND THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE THIS AS THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE ALMOST ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN THIS COUNTRY, BUT THE HUGE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE I THINK IN THE STATES WHO ARE IMPACTED BY THIS SEE THIS AS -- FOR WHAT IT IS, A POSITIVE, FORWARD-LOOKING PROJECT THAT WOULD ADDRESS SO MANY OF THE IMPORTANT PRIORITIES FOR THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW -- ECONOMIC GROWTH, JOB CREATION, ENERGY SECURITY, NATIONAL SECURITY, ADDRESSING SOME OF THE NEEDS STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE FOR ADDITIONAL REVENUE. ALL THESE ISSUES ARE ADDRESSED WITH REGARD TO THIS PROJECT, AND IT IS MYSTIFYING, ABSOLUTELY MYSTIFYING AS TO WHY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND HIS ADMINISTRATION WOULD PUT THIS DECISION OFF UNTIL 18 MONTHS FROM NOW, AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION, OTHER THAN PURELY AND SIMPLY POLITICAL REASONS AND MOTIVATIONS. THAT IS WRONG FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, IT'S WRONG FOR THIS PROJECT, IT'S WRONG FOR JOBS, IT'S WRONG FOR OUR ECONOMY, AND I HOPE THIS BODY, THE UNITED STATES SENATE, WILL TAKE STEPS TO RECTIFY THAT BY PUTTING A DATE CERTAIN OUT THERE BY WHICH THIS PROJECT IS AT LEAST ACTED ON, AT LEAST DECIDED, AT LEAST PERMITTED OR NOT PERMITTED, HOPEFULLY PERMITTED SO THAT THESE JOBS CAN BE CREATED AND WE CAN GET THIS ECONOMIC ACTIVITY UNDER WAY IN MANY STATES. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 03:26:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING.

  • 03:26:38 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR…

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY AS I HAVE SO MANY TIMES SINCE THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE BILL WAS SIGNED INTO LAW WITH A DOCTOR'S SECOND OPINION, AND I DO THAT BECAUSE I PRACTICE MEDICINE IN WYOMING, TAKING CARE OF FAMILIES AROUND THE STATE FOR ABOUT A QUARTER OF A CENTURY. AND WHEN I TALK TO PATIENTS AT HOME, WHEN I TALK TO PEOPLE ON THE STREET, WHEN I TALK TO FOLKS ALL AROUND MY STATE AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, WHAT I HEAR IS WHAT THEY WANT, WHAT THEY WANTED FROM THE HEALTH CARE LAW WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE CARE THEY NEED FROM A DOCTOR THAT THEY WANT AT A COST THEY CAN AFFORD, BUT WHAT WE HAVE GOTTEN, WHAT WE HAVE GOTTEN IN THIS COUNTRY THROUGH THIS ADMINISTRATION, THIS HEALTH CARE LAW IS A LAW THAT IS BAD FOR PATIENTS, IN MY OPINION, BAD FOR PROVIDERS, THE HURS AND THE DOCTORS WHO TAKE CARE OF THOSE PATIENTS, AND TERRIBLE FOR AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. SO I COME TO THE FLOOR AGAIN WITH A SECOND OPINION TODAY, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE I AM THINKING ABOUT JOB CREATION AND WE JUST HEARD ABOUT THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE AND THE OPPORTUNITY THERE WITH THE SHOVEL-READY PROJECT TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, AND I'M REMINDED OF WHAT STORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI CLAIMED AFTER THE HEALTH CARE LAW WAS PASSED, AND SHE SAID THAT IT WOULD CREATE FOUR MILLION JOBS. SHE WENT ON TO SAY 400,000 JOBS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. WELL, AS WE ALL KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT PREDICTION NEVER CAME TRUE. IN FACT, THE NONPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE SAID THAT THE HEALTH CARE LAW WILL ACTUALLY ENCOURAGE SOME PEOPLE TO WORK FEWER HOURS OR TO WITHDRAW FROM THE LABOR MARKET ALTOGETHER. WELL, IN JUST THIS PAST WEEK WHEN THE EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS CAME OUT, WE SAW THAT OVER 300,000 AMERICANS HAVE WITHDRAWN FROM THE LABOR MARKET ALTOGETHER. IT IS INTERESTING THAT AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME THAT THE HEALTH CARE LAW WAS SIGNED, MARCH, 2010, SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER, A NEW YORK SENATOR, CLAIMED ON "MEET THE PRESS" THAT -- HE SAID "AS PEOPLE LEARN ABOUT THE BILL AND NOW THAT THE BILL IS ENACTED, IT'S GOING TO BECOME MORE AND MORE POPULAR." WELL, IN FACT, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS HEALTH CARE LAW IS LESS POPULAR NOW, LESS POPULAR NOW TODAY, DECEMBER, 2011, THAN IT WAS AT THE TIME IT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW. SO WE LOOK AT ALL OF THESE PREDICTIONS THAT NEVER CAME TRUE. IT'S BEEN 20 MONTHS. THE HEALTH CARE LAW'S POPULARITY REMAINS LOW. THE LAWS IN FRONT OF THE SUPREME COURT -- THE LAW IS IN FRONT OF THE SUPREME COURT TO DEAL WITH THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THIS GOVERNMENT GOING INTO THE HOMES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, TELLING THEM THEY MUST BUY A PRODUCT. IT IS CLEAR THAT WASHINGTON DEMOCRATS AND THE PRESIDENT HAVE MISCALCULATED. THEY MADE PROMISE AFTER PROMISE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THEY ASKED FAMILIES, THEY ASKED BUSINESSES ALL ACROSS THE NATION TO TRUST THEM. THE PRESIDENT PROMISED THAT IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE, YOU CAN KEEP IT. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT THAT PROMISE HAS BEEN BROKEN. THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT PREMIUMS, HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS FOR INSURANCE COSTS FOR FAMILIES WOULD DROP BY $2,500 PER FAMILY PER YEAR. WE NOW KNOW THAT THE COSTS HAVE GONE UP HIGHER THAN IF THE LAW HAD NEVER BEEN PASSED IN THE FIRST PLACE. WEEK AFTER WEEK WE HEAR OF MORE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES IN THE LAW, GLITCHES THAT ARE FOUND WHICH SHOW ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW AND ADDITIONAL PRESIDENT'S PROMISES BEING BROKEN. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY DO NOT LIKE THIS HEALTH CARE LAW, AND WHEN YOU ASK THEM DO YOU THINK THIS HEALTH CARE LAW WAS PASSED FOR YOU OR FOR SOMEONE ELSE, MOST AMERICANS WILL TELL YOU THAT THEY THINK IT WAS PASSED FOR SOMEONE ELSE. SO TODAY I WANT TO TALK ABOUT TWO SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF PROBLEMS WITH THIS HEALTH CARE LAW AND THE POSSIBLE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES AND SOME OF THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED WITH THIS HEALTH CARE LAW, AND ONE HAS TO DO WITH THE LABOR STATISTICS THAT CAME OUT DECEMBER 2 OF THIS YEAR. THEY RELEASED UPDATED PAYROLL EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS AND THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS DATA ACTUALLY SHOWED THAT HEALTH CARE EMPLOYMENT WAS UP IN NOVEMBER. IT WAS UP FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE HEALTH CARE LAW'S EXCESSIVE MANDATES AND BURDENSOME REGULATIONS ARE PROMPTING THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY TO CREATE ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE JOBS, NOT CAREGIVER JOBS. THE HEALTH CARE LAW WAS SUPPOSED TO ACTUALLY WORK TO GET MORE DOCTORS AND MORE NURSES AND MORE X-RAY TECHS AND PHYSICAL THERAPISTS TO TAKE CARE OF PATIENTS BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED. NOW WE SEE IT'S ADMINISTRATIVE JOBS THAT ARE UP, NOT CAREGIVER JOBS. AS A MATTER OF FACT THE "USA TODAY" PRINTED AN ARTICLE, A HALF-PAGE ARTICLE AND THE TITLE WAS "HEALTH CARE JOBS GROW IN ADMINISTRATION." THE ARTICLE ACTUALLY TALKED ABOUT A NEW HAMPSHIRE HOSPITAL, AND THAT HOSPITAL ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE WAS FORCED TO ELIMINATE 5% OF ITS WORK FORCE. SO YOU HAVE A HOSPITAL ELIMINATING 5% OF THE WORK FORCE AFTER THE STATE CUT MEDICAID FUNDING LAST YEAR. SO HERE'S A HOSPITAL, 5% OF THE WORK FORCE IS CUT. MANY OF THOSE WORKERS, NURSES AND OTHER CAREGIVERS. CAREGIVERS, I THINK OF PHYSICAL THERAPISTS, RADIATION TECHNOLOGISTS, NURSES' AIDES. YET IN SPITE OF THE FACT THEY'VE HAD TO CUT, ELIMINATE 5% OF THE WORK FORCE, THEY'RE ACTUALLY STILL HIRING. WELL, HOW CAN THAT BE? LET'S LISTEN TO WHAT THE HOSPITAL'S VICE PRESIDENT, MARK WHITNEY SAID. HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "WE NEED TO DEAL WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY, NEW SERVICES, NEW REGULATIONS, ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS, GOVERNMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS ON QUALITY. A LOT OF THIS IS RELATED TO THE NEW FEDERAL HEALTH LAW." SO THEY'RE ELIMINATING NURSING POSITIONS, POSITIONS OF CAREGIVERS AND HIRING MORE PEOPLE TO PUSH PAPER. WELL, THE PRESIDENT AND THE DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS PROMISED THEIR HEALTH CARE LAW WOULD EXPAND HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE. LOOK WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW, MORE AND MORE PEOPLE PUSHING PAPER. IT'S INTERESTING WHAT THE PRESIDENT AND DEMOCRATS DID NOT TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IS THAT THE HEALTH CARE LAW'S OPPRESSIVE MANDATES, BURDENSOME REGULATIONS BOO CAUSE -- -- WOULD CAUSE, ACTUALLY CAUSE HEALTH CARE EMPLOYERS WHO LAY OFF OR TOP HIRING THE VERY HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS NEEDED TO TREAT PATIENTS. INSTEAD, THE HEALTH CARE EMPLOYERS MUST BE HIRING MORE CLERKS, MORE ADMINISTRATORS, MORE PAPER PUSHERS, ALL IN AN EFFORT TO FIGURE OUT AND THEN COMPLY WITH THE HEALTH CARE LAW'S RULES AND MANDATES. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THAT IS THE CHANGE MOST AMERICANS WANTED WHEN THEY STARTED TO THINK ABOUT HEALTH CARE REFORM. THE SECOND EXAMPLE I'D LIKE TO GIVE, MR. PRESIDENT, IS FROM A COLUMN IN "THE WASHINGTON POST" DECEMBER 2 OF THIS YEAR, JUST A WEEK OR SO AGO, WRITTEN BY GEORGE WILL. THE ARTICLE IS TITLED "CHOKING ON OBAMACARE." THE ARTICLE TALKS ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE LAW'S CRUSHING INSURANCE MANDATES AND HOW THOSE INFLUENCE THOSE SMALL AND LARGE BUSINESSES IN TERMS OF THEIR WILLINGNESS TO ACTUALLY HIRE NEW WORKERS. BECAUSE WHEN YOU HAVE THIS KIND OF RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT LIKE WE'RE DEALING WITH THIS IN COUNTRY, YOU WANT TO HAVE BUSINESSES HIRE MORE PEOPLE, GET BEAK PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. THAT'S WHAT MAKES AMERICA GROW, HELPS OUR ECONOMY, PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. IN THE ARTICLE THEY USE THE EXAMPLE OF THE RESTAURANTS CARL'S JUNIOR'S, HARDY'S RESTAURANTS, THERE ARE ABOUT 3,200 OF THOSE AROUND THE COUNTRY AND THE PARENT COMPANY SAYS THAT THEY HAVE CREATED ABOUT 70,000 JOBS AND THEY WANT TO HIRE MORE WORKERS. BUT THE C.E.O. OF THE COMPANY, ANDY PUDZDER SAYS THEY CAN'T HIRE MORE WORKERS BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH THEY WILL NEED TO SPEND ON HEALTH CARE. THEY'RE PLANNING TO SPEND ABOUT $18 MILLION ON HEALTH CARE, AND THEY SAY THAT'S JUST A GUESS. THEY'RE TRYING TO -- RUNNING A BUSINESS, YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOUR FUTURE COSTS ARE GOING TO BE, WHAT THE EXPENSES ARE GOING TO BE AND YOU'D RATHER HAVE A LITTLE MORE PREDICTABILITY THAN JUST GUESSING. BUT THANKS TO THE HEALTH CARE LAW'S COMPLEX FORMULAS AND MANY REGULATIONS WHICH HAVE NOT YET BEEN RELEASED, AND MANY OF THE UNCERTAINTIES THAT CONTINUE TO EXIST, THIS IS A COMPANY THAT'S GOING TO HAVE TO GUESS ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY'LL NEED TO SPEND ON HEALTH CARE. WELL, WHAT BUSINESS CAN AFFORD TO GUESS WHAT ONE OF THEIR LARGEST COSTS IS GOING TO BE? WELL, THEY'RE GUESSING THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SPEND ABOUT TWICE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY ON HEALTH CARE AS THEY DID BUILDING NEW RESTAURANTS LAST YEAR. SO THEY TALK ABOUT BUILDING NEW RESTAURANTS AND THOSE ARE CONSTRUCTION JOBS AND THEN JOBS IN THE PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THE RESTAURANTS PROVIDING SERVICES, AND THEY'RE GOING TO END UP SPENDING ABOUT TWICE AS MUCH ON HEALTH CARE AS ON BUILDING NEW RESTAURANTS. WELL, IT DOESN'T TAKE A LOT TO REALIZE THAT HINDERING A COMPANY'S ABILITY TO BUILD NEW RESTAURANTS MEANS FEWER AVAILABLE JOBS, CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, SERVICE SUPPLIERS, IN A STRUGGLING ECONOMY. THE C.E.O. OF THE COMPANY IS RIGHT WHEN HE SAYS THAT -- QUOTE -- "EMPLOYERS EVERYWHERE -- EMPLOYERS EVERYWHERE, HE SAYS -- WILL BE LOOKING TO REDUCE BUSINESS CONTENT IN THEIR BUSINESS MODELS AS OBAMACARE MAKES EMPLOYEES UNAMBIGUOUSLY MORE EXPENSIVE." IF WE WANT TO SPUR THE JOB CREATION, WASHINGTON MUST TAKE ITS SHACKLES OFF OF OUR JOB CREATORS. AND THIS IS JUST ONE MORE REASON WHY THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE LAW MUST BE REPEALED AND REPLACED. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:37:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 03:37:46 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:53:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    I ASK THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED. I RISE TODAY TO STRONGLY SUPPORT…

    I ASK THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED. I RISE TODAY TO STRONGLY SUPPORT RICHARD CORDRAY, THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINEE TO BE DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. THREE YEARS AGO OUR ECONOMY WAS TUMBLING INTO THE DEEPEST RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. IN THE FALL OF 2008 THE STOCK MARKET WAS PLUMMETED. UNEMPLOYMENT WAS SKYROCKETING, AND THERE WERE DAILY REPORTS OF ANOTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTION CRUMBLING. OUR ECONOMY WAS IN A CHAOTIC TAIL SPAIN. THAT WAS ONLY THREE YEARS AGO. TODAY WE'RE IN A SLOW AND TEN SP UOUS RECOVERY. MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE OUT OF WORK AND HAVE BEEN FOR SOME TIME. LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT IS STAGGERINGLY HIGH. RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS ARE STILL REELING. YET, IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS WE ARE DOMINATED BY DISCUSSIONS OF OUR NATION'S DEBT AND DEFICIT. IN FACT, WE'RE DOING LITTLE ELSE. NOW THESE DISCUSSIONS ARE NECESSARY. WE NEED TO TACKLE OUR DEFICITS AND OUR LONG-TERM DEBT. BUT AS WE DO, WE SHOULDN'T LOSE SIGHT OF HOW WE GOT HERE. THE LESSONS WE LEARN IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE 2008 CRASH SHOULDN'T BE SO QUICKLY FORGOTTEN. THE CRASH OF TRAIT WAS DRIVEN -- THE CRASH OF 2008 WAS DRIVEN BY UNFAIR PRACTICES IN THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY WHICH LED TO MANY CONSUMERS BEING TRAPPED IN LOANS THEY COULDN'T UNDERSTAND AND COULDN'T AFFORD. IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT THIS WAS THE RESULT OF INCREASING DEREGULATION OF THE BANKING INDUSTRY. IN RESPONSE CONGRESS PASSED THE DODD-FRANK REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT. DODD-FRANK WHICH WAS PASSED INTO LAW LAST WEEK SOUGHT TO REIN IN ABUSIVE PRACTICES, PROTECT AMERICAN CONSUMERS AND PREVENT FUTURE MELTDOWNS. ONE OF THE BILL'S CENTERPIECES WAS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. THE CFPB IS THE FIRST FEDERAL FINANCIAL REGULATOR DEVOTED SOLELY TO LOOKING OUT FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF AMERICAN CONSUMERS AND TO DO SO BEFORE A CRASH AND BEFORE ANY TAXPAYER-FUNDED BAILOUTS ARE NECESSARY. THE CFPB'S MISSION IS A COMMONSENSE ONE. THE CFPB IS TASKED WITH ENSURING THAT CONSUMER FINANCIAL MARKETS ARE FAIR AND COMPETITIVE, THAT CONSUMERS HAVE CLEAR INFORMATION ABOUT FINANCIAL PRODUCTS, THAT FINANCIAL PRACTICES ARE NOT UNFAIR, DECEPTIVE OR ABUSIVE, AND THAT CONSUMER FINANCIAL REGULATIONS ARE IMPROVED AND STREAMLINED. THE CFPB SEEKS TO EMPOWER AMERICAN CONSUMERS TO MAKE THE BEST FINANCIAL DECISIONS FOR THEIR FAMILIES, AND THAT CAN ONLY HELP OUT OUR NATION AS A WHOLE. SEVERAL MONTHS AGO ON THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE ENACTMENT OF DODD-FRANK, THERE WAS GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS. THE GOOD NEWS WAS THAT THE CFPB OFFICIALLY OPENED ITS DOORS. IT'S ALREADY HIRED STAFF AND BEGUN SOME OF ITS WORK. IN FACT, AWHILE BACK I MET WITH MRS. HOLLY PETRAEUS, WHO WAS HEADING UP THE OFFICE FOR SERVICE MEMBER AFFAIRS AT CFPB. SHE WANTED TO DISCUSS A FEW PROBLEMS THAT DISPROPORTIONATELY HARM MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED SERVICES. WE TALKED ABOUT WAYS TO EDUCATE SERVICE MEMBERS ABOUT THE POTENTIAL DOWN FALLS OF CERTAIN TYPES OF LOANS. THIS IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF WORK THAT I'M SO HAPPY THAT THE CFPB HAS BEGUN. THAT IS THE GOOD NEWS. THE BAD NEWS IS THAT CFPB STILL DOES NOT HAVE A DIRECTOR. UNDER DODD-FRANK, THE CFPB CANNOT FULLY DO ITS JOB UNTIL A DIRECTOR IS IN PLACE. YOU CAN DO SOME THINGS, BUT IT WILL BE LIMITED UNTIL THE SENATE CONFIRMS A NOMINEE. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS NOMINATED RICHARD CORDRAY. RICH IS AN IMPRESSIVE FIGURE, AND HE HAS MY FULL SUPPORT. RICH CORDRAY HAS BEEN ON THE FRONT LINES PROTECTING HOMEOWNERS FROM RISKY AND SOMETIMES ILLEGAL PRACTICES OF MORTGAGE SERVICERS. IN 2009, HE WAS THE FIRST STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO TAKE ON MORTGAGE, A MORTGAGE SERVICER FOR VIOLATING CONSUMER LAWS. AND LAST YEAR HE CONTINUED HIS STRONG RECORD OF STANDING UP FOR HOMEOWNERS WHEN HE REPRESENTED THE PEOPLE OF OHIO AGAINST GMAC MORTGAGE FOR SIGNING THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF AFFIDAVITS ALLOWING FORECLOSURES TO PROCEED, DESPITE THE FACT THAT NOBODY AT THE COMPANY HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THESE CASES. SO I WANT RICH CORDRAY AT CFPB PUTTING HIS PREVIOUS EXPERTISE TO WORK. DURING HIS TENURE AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, HE ALSO TOOK ON THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES ON BEHALF OF OHIO'S PENSIONERS. BECAUSE OF THE RATING AGENCY'S RECKLESS BEHAVIOR, HARDWORKING OHIOANS LOST OVER $450 MILLION FROM THEIR PENSIONS. RICH CORDRAY IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF STRONG CONSUMER ADVOCATE THAT CFPB NEEDS. FURTHER COMPOUNDING THE BAD NEWS IS THAT MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE HAVE VOWED TO OPPOSE ANY NOMINEE UNTIL THE CFPB IS SUBSTANTIALLY ALTERED. LITERALLY ANY NOMINEE. THEY CLAIM THAT CHANGES TO THE CFPB NEED TO BE MADE BEFORE THEY'LL EVEN LOOK AT A NOMINEE. THE PROPOSED CHANGES SUPPOSEDLY RECTIFY THE -- QUOTE -- "UNPRECEDENTED AUTHORITY" -- UNPRECEDENTED AUTHORITY GRANTED TO THE CFPB AND IMPOSE -- QUOTE -- "REAL CHECKS ON THAT AUTHORITY." IN FACT, THE CFPB IS SUBJECTED TO UNPRECEDENTED LIMITATIONS. IT IS THE ONLY BANKING REGULATOR WHOSE RULES ARE SUBJECT TO VETO POWER BY A GROUP OF OTHER REGULATORS, THE ONLY BANKING REGULATOR SUBJECT TO SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY ENFORCEMENT FAIRNESS ACT, AND THE ONLY BANKING REGULATOR WITH A BUDGETARY CAP. WE ALREADY HAD THIS DEBATE DURING THE CONSIDERATION OF DODD-FRANK LAST YEAR. THERE WERE ATTEMPTS TO WEAKEN THE CFPB AND THOSE ATTEMPTS WERE DEFEATED. NOW THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THAT DEBATE ARE TAKING A SECOND CRACK AT CONSUMERS AND TRYING TO BRING DOWN THIS BUREAU. ONLY THIS TIME INSTEAD OF DEBATING ON THE SENATE FLOOR, THEY'RE HIJACKING THE ADVICE AND CONSENT FUNCTION OF THE SENATE. IS THAT REALLY A PRECEDENT THAT WE WANT TO SET? I DON'T BELIEVE THAT'S WHAT THE FOUNDERS OF THIS GREAT NATION CONCEIVED WHEN THEY GAVE THIS FUNCTION TO THE SNAVMENT SENATE. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES INSTEAD TO CONSIDER THIS NOMINEE ON HIS MERITS. RICH CORDRAY HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT HE IS LOOKING OUT FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES. HE'S LOOKING OUT FOR HOMEOWNERS WHO HAVE BEEN SCAMMED BY MORTGAGE SERVICERS. HE'S LOOKING OUT FOR PENSIONERS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR PENSIONS AT THE HAND OF WALL STREET RECKLESSNESS. HE HAS BEEN ENDORSED BY FORMER REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATOR AND CURRENT OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE DeWINE. HE IS EXACTLY -- EXACTLY -- THE TYPE OF PERSON WE NEED AT THE HELM OF THIS CRITICAL BUREAU, AND THIS BUREAU CAN'T DO ITS JOB UNTIL HE IS CONFIRMED. I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL RECONSIDER THEIR POSITION AND INSTEAD DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR AMERICAN CONSUMERS. I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN ME IN SUPPORTING RICH CORDRAY TO BE THE FIRST DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I WOULD SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:03:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: ER: THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: ER: THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM DELAWARE.

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  • 04:03:21 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:41:15 PM

    MR. CARPER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 04:41:20 PM

    MR. CARPER

    TODAY IS DELAWARE DAY. SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR OUR STATE AND OUR NATION…

    TODAY IS DELAWARE DAY. SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR OUR STATE AND OUR NATION OCCURRED DECEMBER 7, 1787. SENATOR COONS IS HERE. I JUST WANT TO ASK HIM TO TAKE A MOMENT AND MAYBE SHARE WITH OUR COLLEAGUES WHAT THAT WAS ALL ABOUT. THE SENATOR WAS KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE US A COUPLE MINUTES OF HIS TIME TO DO THIS. SENATOR COONS, WHAT HAPPENED AT THE GOLDEN FLEECE TAVERN?

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  • 04:41:43 PM

    MR. COONS

    IT'S GREAT TO ENTER INTO THIS COLLOQUY ABOUT DELAWARE DAY. AS SOME FOLKS…

    IT'S GREAT TO ENTER INTO THIS COLLOQUY ABOUT DELAWARE DAY. AS SOME FOLKS MAY KNOW, IF YOU LOOK AT THE DELAWARE FLAG, THERE IS THE DATE, DECEMBER 7, 1787, AND THAT'S THE DAY 13 ELECTED DELEGATES GATHERED IN THE GOLDEN FLEECE TAVERN IN DOVER AND VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO MAKE DELAWARE THE FIRST STATE TO RATIFY THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. THAT'S WHY OUR STATE MONIKER IS --

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  • 04:42:08 PM

    MR. CARPER

    STATE. SMALL WONDER. THE GUYS WHO WERE THERE THAT DAY, 30 OF THEM, HAD…

    STATE. SMALL WONDER. THE GUYS WHO WERE THERE THAT DAY, 30 OF THEM, HAD BEEN THERE FOR THREE DAYS. I LIKE TO SAY THEY WERE DRINKING HOT CHOCOLATE AT THE GOLDEN FLEECE TAVERN. I'M NOT SURE WHAT THEY WERE DRINKING. THE OUTCOME WAS A GOOD ONE. FOR ONE WHOLE WEEK AFTER THAT, DELAWARE WAS THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. IT OPENED IT UP. WHO DID WE LET IN NEXT? WAS IT PENNSYLVANIA? I THINK PENNSYLVANIA, MAYBE NEW JERSEY. THEN THE REST FOLLOWED. I THINK FOR THE MOST PART, IT TURNED OUT PRETTY WELL.

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  • 04:42:36 PM

    MR. COONS

    WELL, SENATOR, ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN STRUCK BY IS THAT IT…

    WELL, SENATOR, ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN STRUCK BY IS THAT IT WAS 11 YEARS BEFORE THAT THAT DELAWARE ACTUALLY ON SEPARATION DAY, ON JUNE 15 OF 1776, ACTED BOTH TO DECLARE ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM PENNSYLVANIA AND ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM THE KING OF ENGLAND, AND BY DOING SO ACTED IN AN INCREDIBLY RISKY WAY BECAUSE HAD THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, JULY FOURTH, NOT CHOSEN TO RATIFY THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, THEN DELAWARE WOULD HAVE STOOD ALONE AND ARGUABLY HUNG ALONE FOR HAVING TAKEN THE RISK OF STEPPING OUT FIRST. SO DELAWARE HAS A TRADITION OF BEING FIRST IN DECLARING ITS INDEPENDENCE, IN ACTING TO SECURE ITS INDEPENDENCE AND IN RATIFYING THE CONSTITUTION THAT SET THE WHOLE STRUCTURE THAT ENDED THE DEBATE, OVER THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION AND MOVED TOWARDS A FEDERAL SYSTEM, ONE WHERE WE LOOK TO EACH OTHER AS STATES AND LOOK TO THIS GOVERNMENT FOR THE PROVISION OF, THE SECURING OF OUR LIBERTY THROUGH THE BALANCE OF JUSTICE AND LIBERTY THAT WE RELY ON SO MUCH IN THIS BODY. WHAT ELSE ARE WE DOING TO CELEBRATE THIS GREAT DAY, SENATOR CARPER?

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  • 04:43:46 PM

    MR. CARPER

    THAT CONSTITUTION THAT WAS RATIFIED THAT DAY, THINK ABOUT IT, THE MOST…

    THAT CONSTITUTION THAT WAS RATIFIED THAT DAY, THINK ABOUT IT, THE MOST ENDURING CONSTITUTION OF ANY NATION ON EARTH, THE MOST COPIED OR EMULATED CONSTITUTION OF ANY NATION ON EARTH AS WELL. AND A LIVING DOCUMENT THAT PROVIDES PROVISIONS FOR US TO CHANGE AND TO UPDATE IT IN TIME. I'M VERY PROUD OF THE ROLE WE PLAYED IN GETTING THE BALL ROLLING ON THIS GREAT COUNTRY OF OURS. I WANT TO GO BACK TO JULY, 1776, IF I CAN, FROM NOT FAR AWAY FROM THE GOLDEN FLEECE TAVERN, A GUY NAMED CAESAR RODNEY RODE HIS HORSE. DO YOU WANT TO SHARE THAT STORY?

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  • 04:44:25 PM

    MR. COONS

    MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR OUR DELEGATION TO BE REPRESENTED IN PHILADELPHIA AND…

    MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR OUR DELEGATION TO BE REPRESENTED IN PHILADELPHIA AND FOR US TO COMMIT TO THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE BY BREAKING A TIE BETWEEN THE OTHER REPRESENTATIVES OF DELAWARE AND THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.

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  • 04:44:40 PM

    MR. CARPER

    BACK OF THE DELAWARE COIN, YOU SAY WHY IS PAUL REVERE ON THE BACK OF THE…

    BACK OF THE DELAWARE COIN, YOU SAY WHY IS PAUL REVERE ON THE BACK OF THE COIN? THAT'S NOT PAUL REVERE. THAT'S CAESAR RODNEY. FOR PEOPLE FAMILIAR WITH THE DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, THE BIG PLANES THAT COME IN THERE AND FEDERAL FLY ALL OVER THE WORLD, AS YOU COME IN ON THE APPROACH TO THE RUNWAY HEADING NORTHEAST TO LAND, YOU FLY OVER -- VERY CLOSE TO FLYING OVER AN OLD PLANTATION HOUSE THERE WHERE A GUY NAMED JOHN DICKINSON USED TO LIVE. JOHN DICKINSON -- THERE IS A HIGH SCHOOL IN DELAWARE, THERE IS A HIGH SCHOOL NAMED AFTER JOHN DICKINSON. HE IS ALSO THE GUY THAT WAS INVOLVED IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONGRESS, ALSO INVOLVED IN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, AND HE WAS A PENMAN OF THE REVOLUTION. SO YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THERE AT THE GOLDEN FLEECE TAVERN, CONSTITUTION RATIFIED. CAESAR RODNEY NOT FAR FROM THERE, CAST THE TIE-BREAKING VOTE FOR THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, AND THE PENMAN OF THE REVOLUTION GOING UP IN WHAT IS NOW THE DICKINSON PLANTATION. A LOT OF HISTORY THERE, A LOT OF HISTORY ESPECIALLY FOR A STATE THAT DOESN'T HAVE A NATIONAL PARK.

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  • 04:45:44 PM

    MR. COONS

    WE HAVE THIS SENIOR SENATOR WHO IS TIRELESS IN HIS EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY.

  • 04:45:50 PM

    MR. CARPER

    MAYBE WE SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT. INCLUDING THE PRESIDING OFFICER…

    MAYBE WE SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT. INCLUDING THE PRESIDING OFFICER THERE FROM NORTH CAROLINA, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THE ECONOMIC VALUE FOR THE NATIONAL PARK, THE NICK VALUE FOR NATIONAL PARKS IS -- IS, THE MOST VISITED SITES ARE OUR NATIONAL, A. THE ECONOMIC VALUE TO THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA I WAS TOLD FROM THE NATIONAL, A, $700 MILLION. $700 MILLION. NOT BAD.

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  • 04:46:18 PM

    MR. COONS

    WE'RE HAVING OUR FIRST DELAWARE DAY RECEPTION HERE IN ONE OF THE SENATE…

    WE'RE HAVING OUR FIRST DELAWARE DAY RECEPTION HERE IN ONE OF THE SENATE BUILDINGS, IT'S A WAY FOR TO US PROMOTE AND CELEBRATE BE A WHAT IS GREAT ABOUT DELAWARE BUT ONE OF THE THINGS I TREASURE MOST ABOUT DELAWARE IS OUR UNIQUE POLITICAL CULTURE THAT FOCUSES ON CONSENSUS, ON REASONED COMPROMISE, ON BRINGING FOLKS TOGETHER FROM CROSS WHAT -- ACROSS WHAT IS A SHARP PARTISAN DIVIDE TO FIND REASONABLE, PRINCIPLED PATHS FORWARD TO TACKLING THE CHALLENGES THAT FACE OUR STATE. IT IS THAT CONSENSUS, COMMONSENSE APPROACH THAT I KNOW MY SENIOR SENATOR BROUGHT, OUR CONGRESSMAN WHO WAS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION THIS MORNING WITH A REPUBLICAN COSPONSOR OF AN INITIATIVE HAS MADE THAT HALLMARK OF HIS TENURE AND OUR GOVERNOR HAS AS WELL. I'D LIKE TO SUGGEST ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES DELAWARE UNIQUE, SPECIAL, VALUED, FIRST ISN'T JUST OUR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS OUR OUR FOOD PRODUCTS, OUR UNIQUE HISTORY AT THE BEGINNING OF OUR COUNTRY BUT ALSO HOW WE CONTINUE TO FIND WAYS TO BUILD BRIDGES ACROSS THE DIVIDE THAT SO MANY WATCH US WRESTLING WITH AT THIS MOMENT AND IN OUR HOME STATE WE'VE FOUND A GOOD PATH FORWARD.

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  • 04:47:31 PM

    MR. CARPER

    WE CALL THIS THE DELAWARE WAY. AS MY COLLEAGUE FROM WHAT DELAWARE KNOW,…

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  • 04:48:43 PM

    MR. CARPER

    WOULD NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 04:48:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 04:53:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 04:53:34 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE RESCINDED.

  • 04:53:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:53:42 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:53:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:53:51 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    TO THE FLOOR ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS TO DISCUSS THE DISTRESSED STATE OF…

    TO THE FLOOR ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS TO DISCUSS THE DISTRESSED STATE OF AMERICA'S MIDDLE CLASS. IN OUR COMMITTEE WE'VE HAD A SERIES OF HEARINGS LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE MIDDLE CLASS IN AMERICA. IN RECENT DECADES OUR NATION'S ONCE SECURE MIDDLE CLASS HAS STRUGGLED IN THE FACE OF STAGNANT WAGES, RISING INDEBTEDNESS AND DISAPPEARING PENSIONS. NOT TO MENTION SHARPLY HIGHER COSTS FOR HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION, FOOD, AND ENERGY. MADAM PRESIDENT, IT WASN'T ALSO THIS WAY. IN THE THREE DECADES AFTER WORLD WAR II, AMERICA'S MIDDLE CLASS GREW RAPIDLY. INCOMES ROSE STEADILY AS THE MIDDLE CLASS SECURED ITS FAIR SHARE OF THE EXPANDING NATIONAL WEALTH. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INVESTED GENEROUSLY IN INFRASTRUCTURE BUILDING, INNOVATION, EDUCATION, EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO MOVE INTO THE MIDDLE CLASS. AMERICA BECAME A MORE EQUAL, FAIR, AND JUT JUST SOCIETY BUILT ON THE STRONG BEDROCK OF A STRONG MIDDLE CLASS. I AM AN EXAMPLE OF THAT. MY FATHER HAD AN EIGHTH GRADE EDUCATION. WAS A COAL MINER. MY MOTHER WAS AN IMMIGRANT. WITH VERY LITTLE FORMAL EDUCATION. YET THEIR THREE CHILDREN WERE ABLE TO GO TO GOOD SCHOOLS, GET GOOD JOBS AND GET AN EDUCATION, ALL THREE OF THEIR CHILDREN GRADUATED FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, A GREAT LAND GRANT COLLEGE. BECAUSE IT DIDN'T COST VERY MUCH. WE COULD AFFORD TO GO THERE. AND WE WERE ABLE TO ENTER THE MIDDLE CLASS FROM THOSE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS. BUT BEGINNING THIS THE 1970'S MUCH OF THAT PROGRESS STARTED TO COME TO A HALT. OUR MANUFACTURING BASE DECLINED, THE U.S. ECONOMY BECAME INCREASINGLY DOMINATED BY FINANCIAL MARKETS AND WALL STREET, A TREND THAT WAS ACCELERATED BY ILL-ADVISED DEREGULATION. SOARING PROFITS AND SKY-HIGH SALARIES ATTRACTED MORE OF OUR NATION'S BEST AND BRIGHTEST TO PURSUE CAREERS IN SCIENCE AS THE EXPENSE OF TEACHING, PUBLIC SERVICE. WALL STREET BANKERS WERE EMBOLDENED BY DEREGULATION, INCENTIVIZED BY HUGE SALARIES AND BONUSES TO TAKE GREATER RISKS AND THEY DEVISED EVER MORE EXOTIC AND RISKY INVESTMENT SCHEMES. AS WE ALL KNOW, IN 2008 THIS FRENZY OF GREED AND RECKLESSNESS CULMINATED IN THE CATASTROPHIC MELTDOWN OF OUR NATION'S FINANCIAL SYSTEM. THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS WAS A HAMMER BLOW TO OUR ALREADY STRUGGLING MIDDLE CLASS. THE VALUE OF AMERICA'S HOMES AND RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS PLURMTED, MILLIONS LOST THEIR JOBS OR WERE FORCED INTO FORECLOSURE, HOPES FOR THE FUTURE DIMMED. IN THE WAKE OF THIS FINANCIAL CRASH WITH ITS PERVASIVE CLAD RAL DAMAGE TO THE MIDDLE CLASS, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DEMANDED ACTION TO REIN IN THE WORST ABUSES OF WALL STREET AND TO PREVENT A REPLAY OF 2008. THIS LED TO THE DODD-FRANK WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT. LET ME REPEAT THAT. THE WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT. THE MOST SWEEPING REFORM OF OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. FOR HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICAN CONSUMERS IN THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES NO ASPECT OF THIS LAW IS MORE IMPORTANT AND TRANSFORMATIVE THAN THE CREATION OF A CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. AGAIN, READ THE WORDS OF THE LEGISLATION. IT'S THE WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT. THEREFORE, A BIG PART OF THE BILL WAS TO BUILD IN CONSUMER PROTECTIONS. ONE OF THAT WAS TO CREATE THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. I'VE COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY IN STRONG SUPPORT OF THE NOMINATION OF RICHARD CORDRAY TO BE DIRECTOR OF THIS CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. THE IDEA BEHIND THIS BUREAU IS VERY SIMPLE. WE NEED A COP ON THE BEAT LOOKING OUT FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF CONSUMERS WHO USE FINANCIAL PRODUCTS. JUST AS WE HAVE REGULATORS LOOKING OUT FOR THE FINANCIAL HEALTH OF BANKS. A STRONG CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU WILL ENSURE THAT CONSUMERS ARE NOT LURED INTO DEBT THROUGH HIDDEN FEES , FOR EXAMPLE. IT WILL SIMPLIFY DISCLOSURES, REDUCE PAPERWORK SO CONSUMERS AREN'T FACED WITH MOUNTAINS OF PAPERWORK THEY CAN'T UNDERSTAND. IT WILL OVERSEE PROVIDERS OF CONSUMER CREDIT SUCH AS PAY DAY LENDERS, WHICH FOR YEARS HAVE ACTED LIKE BANKS WITHOUT FACING ANY KIND OF BANKING REGULATION. ADDITIONALLY, A STUDENT DEBT SURPASSES CREDIT CARD DEBT AS THE LARGEST SOURCE OF CONSUMER DEBT WHICH THAT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED, BY THE WAY, THAT STUDENT DEBT RIGHT NOW IS BIGGER THAN CREDIT CARD DEBT. THE BUREAU, THIS CONSUMER PROTECTION BUREAU CAN PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN HELPING FAMILIES BETTER UNDERSTAND THE INCREASING CHALLENGES FACING A COLLEGE EDUCATION AND FINANCING IT AS WELL AS BRINGING SOME SANITY TO THE PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN MARKETPLACE. FINALLY, A KEY FUNCTION. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU WILL ALSO PROVIDE HELP TO OUR VETERANS THROUGH THE OFFICE OF SERVICE MEMBER AFFAIRS. THE OFFICE OF SERVICE MEMBER AFFAIRS. SADLY, TOO OFTEN OUR SERVICE MEMBERS FALL VICTIM TO ABUSIVE FINANCIAL TRAPS UPON THEIR RETURN HOME. THE BUREAU HAS MADE AN OUTSTANDING CHOICE FOR LEADERSHIP OF THIS THE OFFICE WITH THE SELECTION OF MRS. HOBBLESTER PETRAEUS. BUT CYNICALLY MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES HAVE PROPOSEN TO PROTECT THE UNSCRUPULOUS LENDERS WHO PREY ON MILITARY FAMILIES. THEY WOULD RATHER NEUTER THE ENTIRE AGENCY, HAVE NO DIRECTOR, THAN TO FULLY EMPOWER PETRAEUS -- MS. PETRAEUS THAN PROTECT OUR FAMILIES FROM PREDATORY LENDING ACTIVITIES. THESE ARE HELPING TO TILT THE SKILLS OF OUR ECONOMY BACK INTO BALANCE SO WE PUT THE INTEREST OF THE 99% OF AMERICANS WHO USE FINANCIAL PRODUCTS AHEAD OF THE 1% WHO PROFIT FROM THEM. I WAS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED WHEN OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES VOTED AGAINST THE WALL STREET REFORM BILL. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMINGLY BIPARTISAN BILL. BUT NOW THE BILL IS LAW, AND GUESS WHAT -- MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARE DOING EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO PREVENT IT FROM DOING ITS IMPORTANT JOB. EARLIER THIS YEAR 44 REPUBLICAN SENATORS SERVED NOTICE THEY WOULD NOT CONFIRM ANYONE -- LET ME REPEAT, THEY WOULD NOT CONFIRM ANYONE -- TO THE POSITION OF DIRECTOR UNLESS STRUCTURAL CHANGES ARE MADE TO THE BUREAU THAT WOULD EFFECTIVELY TAKE AWAY ITS ABILITY TO STAND UP FOR CONSUMERS. THE CHANGES THEY'VE DEMANDED ARE UNFAIR AND UNREASONABLE. NO OTHER INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL REGULATOR HAS ITS RULES SUBJECT TO VETO BY OTHER REGULATORY AGENCIES. TO SUGGEST THAT THE ONLY REGULATOR WHOSE PRIMARY MISSION IS TO PROTECT EVERYDAY HARD-WORKING AMERICANS SHOULD FACE UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF OVERSIGHT SIMPLE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. ONCE -- SIMPLY DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. ONCE AGAIN, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BRAZENLY PUT THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS OVER THE INTERESTS OF MAIN STREET CONSUMERS. MR. PRESIDENT, TO RESTORE THE MARKETPLACE TO CONSUMERS, WE NEED A FINANCIAL SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR THEM. THEY NEED A SYSTEM BASED ON A FULL AND TRANSPARENT UNDERSTANDING OF 9 OF THE COSTS OF THOSE SERVICES. BUT ABSENT A DIRECTOR, THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU WON'T BE ABLE TO SUPERVISE PAYDAY LENDERS OR DEBT COLLECTORS OR PRIVATE STIEWND LEARNEDDERS. IT WON'T BE ABLE TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE GOOD ACTORS IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM, OUR COMMUNITY BANKS, FOR EXAMPLE, OR OUR CREDIT UNIONS, TO COMPETE AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE MAKING A LARGE PROFIT BY UNFAIRLY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF UNSUSPECTING CONSUMERS. MR. PRESIDENT, RICHARD CORDRAY IS A SUPERB CHOICE TO SERVE AS THE FIRST DIRECTOR OF THIS BUREAU. AS ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OHIO, HE WAS A STRONG BUT FAIR ADVOCATE FOR CONSUMERS. HIS WORK HAS EARNED HIM THE ENDORSEMENT OF BANKERS, C.E.O.'S AND CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS AYOS THE STATE OF OHIO. -- ACROSS THE STATE OF OHIO. HE IS A PUBLIC SERVANT OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER WHO DESERVES TO BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THIS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT BUREAU. AS A METE OF FUNDAMENTAL -- MATTER OF FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS FOR HARD-WORKING AMERICANS ON MAIN STREET, WE NEED AN EFFECTIVE, EVENHANDED CONSUMER PROTECTION BIEWR ROW. BUREAU. MR. CORD CORDRAY DESERVES THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAD THIS BUREAU. I CALL ON MY COLLEAGUES AT LONG LAST TO PUT THE INTERESTS OF CONSUMERS AHEAD OF THOSE WHOSE RECKLESS PURSUIT OF PROFITS AND BONUSES HAVE CAUSED SO MUCH HARM TO OUR SOCIETY AND ECONOMY. I CALL UPON MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TO IGNORE THE LEGIONS OF WALL STREET LOBBYISTS WHO ARE URGING THEM TO DISABLE AND, IF POSSIBLE, KILL THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. RICHARD CORDRAY IS A DEDICATED AND IMPARTIAL PUBLIC SERVANT WHO WILL PUT THE BEST INTERESTS OF AMERICAN CONSUMERS FIRST. WE SHOULD GIVE HIM THAT OPPORTUNITY. I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN ME IN STRONGLY SUPPORTING HIS NOMINATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE YF. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 05:03:37 PM

    MR. WICKER

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WE ARE NOW AS A COUNTRY SQUARELY IN THE MIDDLE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WE ARE NOW AS A COUNTRY SQUARELY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OBAMA ECONOMY. IT IS A PERIOD OF SLOW GROWTH, PERSISTENTLY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT WITH MANY POTENTIAL WORKERS HAVING ABANDONED THE PLAYING FIELD AND SIMPLY GIVEN UP LOOKING FOR WORK. THERE IS A GROWING AWARENESS AMONG OUR COUNTRYMEN THAT THE POLICIES OF PRESIDENT OBAMA, THE POLICIES ENACTED DURING THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION UNDER DEMOCRAT SUPERMAJORITIES, HAVE MADE MATTERS WORSE. WE HAVE LEGITIMATE DISAGREEMENTS IN THIS CAPITOL CONCERNING THE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS THAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING WITH THE OBAMA ECONOMY. MY COLLEAGUES AND I ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE WOULD ENACT AGGRESSIVE REGULATORY REFORM, AN EXPANSIVE ENERGY POLICY AND WE WOULD VASTLY LIMIT THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THAT IS OUR PLAN AND IT'S A PLAN THAT WE COULD HAVE GENUINE DISAGREEMENTS ABOUT. WHAT I WANT TO TALK TO MY COLLEAGUES ABOUT TODAY, MR. PRESIDENT, THOUGH IS WHAT I WOULD SUGGEST IS A MANUFACTURED DISPUTE AND IT IS OVER THIS ISSUE OF THE EXTENSION OF THE PAYROLL TAX. THAT IS AN ISSUE ON WHICH REALLY THERE IS A WIDE CONSENSUS ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE OF THE AISLE, OVER HERE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE AND DOWN THE HALL IN THE OTHER BODY. NOW, THE PRESIDENT SAID ONLY A FEW MONTHS AGO THAT IT IS NOT WISE TO RAISE TAXES ON ANYONE DURING A RECESSION, AND WE CERTAINLY ARE IN A RECESSION. IN RECENT WEEKS, THE PRESIDENT HAS SUGGESTED THAT PERHAPS HE HAS ABANDONED THIS POSITION AND CHANGED HIS MIND AND THAT WE SHOULD PERHAPS RAISE TAXES ON -- ON SOME PEOPLE EVEN THOUGH WE'RE STILL IN A RECESSION. BUT REPUBLICANS HAVE CONSISTENTLY AGREED WITH WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID EARLIER. WE ARE IN A RECESSION AND THIS IS NO TIME TO RAISE TAXES ON ANYONE. THIS MEANS WE SHOULDN'T RAISE TAXES ON THE WORKING POOR. THAT MEANS WE SHOULDN'T RAISE TAXES ON EMPLOYEES WORKING ON THE ASSEMBLY LINE OR WORKING IN THE RETAIL SECTOR. IT MEANS THAT WE SHOULD NOT RAISE TAXES ON JOB CREATORS. WE SHOULD NOT RAISE TAXES ON INVESTORS THAT WE DEPEND ON TO PROVIDE THE CAPITAL TO CREATE JOBS. WE SHOULDN'T RAISE TAXES ON ANYBODY BECAUSE WE'RE IN A TIME OF RECESSION. NOW, LET'S PUT THIS IN A HISTORICAL CONTEXT. LAST DECEMBER, AT A TIME WHEN DEMOCRATS STILL HAVE HAD SUPERMAJORITIES OVER HERE IN THE SENATE, WHEN SPEAKER PELOSI WAS STILL IN CHARGE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WITH HER MAJORITY THERE, THIS CONGRESS ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS ENACTED LEGISLATION TO KEEP IN PLACE THE BUSH-ERA TAX CUTS, TO LEAVE THOSE RATES IN PLACE FOR ALL AMERICANS AT WHATEVER INCOME LEVEL. AND WE ALSO ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS ENACTED A CUT IN THE PAYROLL TAX. NOW, THIS IS THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX THAT ALL WORKERS PAY REGARDLESS OF INCOME, THE SO-CALLED FICA TAXES THAT YOU SEE ON YOUR PAY STUBS. AND LAST DECEMBER, THAT TAX DROPPED THE PAYROLL TAX FOR EMPLOYEES FROM 6.2% TO 4.2%. I SUPPORTED THAT. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS SUPPORTED THAT. IT'S UP FOR RENEWAL AND THERE'S A HUGE MAJORITY OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE WHO WANT TO RENEW THAT. THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER, SENATOR REID, HOWEVER, HAS SUGGESTED THAT NOT ONLY DO WE KEEP THE LOWER RATE OF 4.2% RATHER THAN 6.2%, BUT WE ACTUALLY LOWER THAT FICA TAX TO 3.1%. MR. PRESIDENT, WE CAN HAVE AN EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT FICA TAX RATE. DEMOCRATS KNOW IT. THE WHITE HOUSE KNOWS IT. AND THE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE KNOWS IT. BUT ONE PROBLEM MUST BE ADDRESSED AND I THINK BOTH PARTIES WANT TO ADDRESS THIS. WE NEED TO OFFSET THE COST TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND OF THESE -- THESE LOWER PAYROLL TAX RATES. WHY DO WE NEED TO DO THIS? BECAUSE WHEN WE -- WHEN WE'RE -- WHEN THE LAW SAYS WE'RE REALLY SUPPOSED TO BE TAKING IN 6.2% AND PUTTING THAT IN THE TRUST FUND TO MAKE THE -- THE SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM AS SOLVENT AS POSSIBLE, WHEN WE LOWER THAT TO 4.2%, OR TO LESS, AS THE MAJORITY LEADER WANTS TO DO, IT AMOUNTS TO A DRAIN ON THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM. AND I THINK THE LAST THING WE WANT TO DO IN -- WITH A WEAK SYSTEM, WHICH WE KNOW CAN'T COME OUT IN THE END, IS TO PUT FURTHER PRESSURE ON THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. SO BOTH PARTIES HAVE PROPOSED TO OFFSET OR PAY FOR A CONTINUATION OF THE PAYROLL TAX CUTS. YOU KNOW, LAST WEEK THE WHITE HOUSE UNVEILED A DIGITAL CLOCK AT THE TOP OF ITS WEB SITE THAT COUNTS DOWN TO THE DATE WHEN THE PAYROLL TAX CUTS WILL EXPIRE AT THE END OF THE YEAR. THIS SOMEHOW SUGGESTS THAT SOMEONE IN THIS TOWN WANTS THE PAYROLL TAX TO GO BACK UP TO 6.2%. THIS IS PURE POLITICAL GAMESMANSHIP. WE CAN HAVE A BIPARTISAN SOLUTION TO KEEP THE PAYROLL TAX AT 4.2% BUT WE MUST PAY FOR THEM -- PAY FOR IT. NOW, THE DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER, SENATOR REID, HAD A PROPOSAL LAST WEEK NOT ONLY TO LOWER THE PAYROLL TAX TO 3.1% BUT TO PAY FOR IT BY RAISING TAXES ON SOMEONE ELSE. THIS VIOLATES WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, WE DON'T NEED TO RAISE TAXES ON ANYONE. WE CAN PAY FOR A CONTINUATION OF THIS, AS REPUBLICANS HAVE PROPOSED TO DO, BY OFFSETTING IT WITH SMART SPENDING CUTS, A FREEZE IN FEDERAL PAY, A REDUCTION IN THE FEDERAL WORK FORCE, AND MEANS TESTING OF SOME BENEFITS AT THE UPPER-INCOME LEVELS. WE PROPOSED THIS LAST WEEK BUT IT WAS SHOT DOWN BY THE MAJORITY IN THIS BODY WITH A -- TO ME A CONTRIBED PLAN TO ACTUALLY LOWER THE PAYROLL TAX AND SHIFT THOSE TAXES TO SOMEONE ELSE. NOW, WE'RE TOLD THAT THIS WEEK, JUST LIKE LAST WEEK, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME MORE POLITICAL THEATER. THE MAJORITY LEADER WILL PROPOSE ONCE AGAIN A TAX INCREASE ON OTHERS SO THAT WE CAN KEEP THIS PAYROLL TAX CUT AND WE WILL PROPOSE A SIDE-BY-SIDE WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY THE PAY-FOR PLAN TO KEEP THE TAX RATE AS IT IS. BOTH OF THESE WILL FAIL BECAUSE THE MAJORITY LEADER INTENDS FOR THEM TO FAIL AND ESSENTIALLY WE WILL HAVE WASTED TWO WEEKS AT THE END OF THIS SESSION OF CONGRESS BY CREATING A MANUFACTURED DISAGREEMENT FOR THE SAKE OF SCORING POLITICAL POINTS. MAYBE AFTER WE GET THIS WEEK OVER WITH AND WE'VE HAD YET ANOTHER WEEK OF GAMESMANSHIP, THE SENATE CAN GET DOWN TO THE BUSINESS OF PASSING A SIMPLE EXTENSION OF THE PAYROLL RATES IN THEIR CURRENT FORM AND TO OFFSET THAT ACTION WITH SAVINGS. THERE IS AN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY IN THE SENATE AND IN THE HOUSE TO DO JUST THAT. IN DOING SO, WE CAN END THREE WEEKS OF POLITICAL THEATER WITH THE DEMOCRATS TRYING TO SCORE POINTS FOR 2012. I WISH WE COULD FAST FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK AND GET THIS IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION DONE AND ENACT A CONTINUATION OF THE PAYROLL TAXES THAT A VAST MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS SUPPORT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 05:13:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA.

  • 05:13:35 PM

    MR. VITTER

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, LAST WEEK I CAME TO THE FLOOR AND…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, LAST WEEK I CAME TO THE FLOOR AND URGED ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE TO COME TOGETHER IN A COMMONSENSE, BIPARTISAN WAY AND EXTEND FOR A SIGNIFICANT PERIOD OF TIME THE VERY IMPORTANT NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM. THAT PROGRAM, WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO THE COUNTRY, INVOLVES A LOT OF PROPERTIES ESSENTIAL TO REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS, TO ALLOW THAT IMPORTANT PART OF OUR ECONOMY TO HAPPEN AS WE STRUGGLE TO GET OUT OF THIS RECESSION. THAT PROGRAM WOULD OTHERWISE EXPIRE A WEEK FROM THIS FRIDAY. I ALSO WROTE SENATOR REID THAT SAME DAY AS I CAME TO THE FLOOR URGING HIM TO SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION EXTENDING THIS VITAL PROGRAM TO BE PASSED QUICKLY, HOPEFULLY UNANIMOUSLY, THROUGH THE SENATE. MR. PRESIDENT, THE GOOD NEWS IS, IS I'VE REACHED OUT TO MANY FOLKS, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS REPUBLICANS, SINCE THEN WITH -- WE'VE CONTINUED TO BUILD CONSENSUS TO DO THAT, TO MAKE SURE THERE'S NO THREAT OF THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM LAPSING YET AGAIN AS IT DID UNFORTUNATELY FOUR TIMES IN 2010. NO GOOD REASON. FOR A TOTAL OF 53 DAYS. EVERY TIME THAT HAPPENS OR IS EVEN THREATENED TO HAPPEN BE WITHIN A FEW DAYS, THERE'S GREAT CHAOS AND UNCERTAINTY IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. GOOD CLOSINGS ARE PUT O. OUR OFF. OUR ECONOMY SLOWS DOWN FOR NO GOOD REASON AS WE NEED EVERY CLOSING IN SIGHT TO DO EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE AND IMPROVE THE ECONOMY. AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WE HAVE BUILT CONSENSUS, AND I THINK WE HAVE REACHED CONSENSUS TO AVOID THAT SORT OF LAPSE. SO I RETURN TO THE FLOOR TODAY, MR. PRESIDENT, TO GET THAT FORMALLY DONE, AND AT THIS POINT I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF 1958 -- S. 1958, MY BILL TO EXTEND THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM WELL INTO NEXT YEAR TO MAY 31, WHICH I INTRODUCED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 05:15:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MEASURE.

  • 05:15:57 PM

    THE CLERK

    A BILL TO EXTEND THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM UNTIL MAY 31, 2012.

  • 05:16:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE…

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

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  • 05:16:19 PM

    MR. VITTER

    FEW MORE FORMAL COMMENTS AFTER WE PASS T BUT I URGE ITS PASSAGE.

  • 05:16:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: SINCE THERE IS NO FURTHER DEBATE, WILL ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. ALL…

    OFFICER: SINCE THERE IS NO FURTHER DEBATE, WILL ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. ALL OPPOSED SAY "NO." THE AYES APPEAR TO HAVE IT. THE AYES DO HAVE T THE MEASURE IS ADOPTED.

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  • 05:16:39 PM

    MR. VITTER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:16:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:16:49 PM

    MR. VITTER

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, IN CLOSING, LET ME THANK EVERYONE,…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, IN CLOSING, LET ME THANK EVERYONE, BOTH SIDES OF THE IERL, WHO WORKED IN A VERY COMMONSENSE WAY TO GET THIS DONE. AGAIN, SORT OF A WORST-CASE SCENARIO IS WHAT WE ALL EXPERIENCED IN 2010. FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES IN 2010 THE PROGRAM ACTUALLY LAPSED. A TOTAL OF 53 DAYS. MORE TIMES THAN THAT, IT CAME WITHIN A FEW DAYS OF LAPSING AND CREATED GREAT UNCERTAINTY IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. WE DON'T NEED ANY OF THAT. WE'RE TRYING TO STRUGGLE OUT OF A RECESSION AND A VERY BAD ECONOMY, WHICH HAS BEEN LED BY A REAL ESTATE DOWNTURN. SO WE NEED EVERY GOOD CLOSING WE CAN GET. AND GIVING THE MARKET THIS CERTAINTY OVER A WEEK BEFORE IT WOULD OTHERWISE EXPIRE IS VERY GOOD AS WE TRY TO CREATE THAT CERTAINTY AND BUILD A BETTER ECONOMIC CLIMATE. SO I'M VERY HAPPY WE CAME TOGETHER IN A COMMONSENSE BIPARTISAN WAY TO EXTEND THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM AS IS TO MAY 31. LET ME ALSO SAY IN CLOSEING, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT I STRONGLY, STRONGLY SUPPORT A FULL SIX-YEAR REAUTHORIZATION OF THE PROGRAM. I'VE WORKED ON THAT BILL WITH MANY OTHERS IN THE RELEVANT SENATE COMMITTEE, THE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE. WE'VE REPORTED A GOOD BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE. I WANT TO GET THAT THROUGH THE SENATE FLOOR AND MERGE IT AND COMPROMISE IN SOME REASONABLE WAY WITH THE HOUSE REAUTHORIZATION. WE NEED A FULL-BLOWN SIX-YEAR REAUTHORIZATION OF THE PROGRAM WITH SIGNIFICANT REFORMS, BUT THAT WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN BETWEEN NOW AND A WEEK FROM FRIDAY. IT'S OBVIOUSLY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN A MONTH OR TWO INTO THE NEW YEAR. SO WE NEEDED TO CREATE THE CERTAINTY THAT THIS EXTENSION WILL CREATE AS WE CONTINUE TO WORK ON THAT FULL REAUTHORIZATION. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:19:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MURRAY: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MURRAY: MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

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  • 05:19:17 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:35:27 PM

    MRS. MURRAY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR THIS EVENING TO URGE MY…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I COME TO THE FLOOR THIS EVENING TO URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION TOW EXTEND AND EXPAND THE PAYROLL TAX CUT THAT MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES ACROSS AMERICA DEPEND ON. LAST WEEK DEMOCRATS BROUGHT A BILL TO THE FLOOR THAT WOULD HAVE NOT ONLY ACCOMPLISHED THIS GOAL FOR OUR WORKERS, IT WOULD ALSO CUT THE PAYROLL TAX FOR HALF OF OUR NATION'S EMPLOYERS AND ELIMINATE IT HAD ENTIRELY FOR BUSINESSES NEW HIRES. TO PAY FOR THIS PROPOSAL, DEMOCRATS PROPOSED A SMALL SURTAX ON MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. THAT IS PEOPLE WHO ARE EARNING MORE THAN $1 MILLION A YEAR. IN ORDER TO EXTEND AND EXPAND A CRITICAL TAX BREAK FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS, WE THOUGHT IT RIGHT TO CALL ON THE WEALTHIEST AMONG US, THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD IT, TO PAY JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE AT A TIME WHEN THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE REALLY STRUGGLING. OUR BILL SET UP A CHOICE, AND WE THOUGHT IT WAS AN EASY ONE. DO YOU VOTE TO EXTEND CRITICAL TAX CUTS FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES OR DO YOU VOTE TO PROTECT THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS FROM PAYING ONE PENNY MORE FROM THEIR FAIR SHARE? WELL, UNFORTUNATELY, MR. PRESIDENT, ALMOST EVERY SENATE REPUBLICAN CHOSE TO SIDE WITH THE RICHEST AMERICANS AND FILIBUSTER OUR MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUT BILL. AND IN A SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT, THEIR LEADERSHIP'S OWN BILL TO SIMPLY EXTEND THE MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS WHILE PROTECTING THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS WAS OPPOSED BY THE MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS. MR. PRESIDENT, REPUBLICANS SPENT MONTHS ON THE JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE ON DEFICIT REDUCTION SAYING THAT TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS SHOULD BE MADE PERMANENT, THAT THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS AND BIGGEST CORPORATIONS SHOULD GET EVEN DEEPER TAX CUTS. THE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH SHOULDN'T BE PAID FOR AND SHOULD BE SIMPLY ADDED TO THE DEFICIT AND THAT A PLEDGE MADE TO A REPUBLICAN LOBBYIST NAMED GROVER NORQUIST GAVE THEM NO CHOICE BUT TO SUPPORT TAX CUT EXTENSIONS. SO I HAVE TO SAY I AM TRULY DISAPPOINTED TO SEE ONCE AGAIN THAT THIS APPARENTLY CONCERN FOR TAX CUTS ONLY SEEMS TO EXTEND TO MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. AND NOW THAT A BREAK FOR MIDDLE-CLASS IS ON THE VERGE OF ENDING IN A FEW SHORT WEEKS, POTENTIALLY CAUSING DEEP HARM TO OUR WEAK ECONOMY, THOSE REPUBLICANS WHO FOUGHT TOOTH AND NAIL FOR TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. IN FACT, MANY OF THEM ARE ACTIVELY OPPOSING IT. MR. PRESIDENT, REPUBLICANS SEEM TO BE OPERATING UNDER THE BACKWARD ECONOMIC PRINCIPLE THAT ONLY TAX CUTS FOR THE RICHEST AMERICANS AND BIGGEST CORPORATIONS ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. IN FACT, THEY HAVE A NAME FOR THAT GROUP OF PEOPLE. THEY CALL THEM THE JOB CREATORS. THEY BELIEVE THE ONLY ONES WHO CREATE JOBS IN AMERICA ARE THE RICH, AND THEY CLAIM THE TAX CUTS AND LOOPHOLES THEY FIGHT FOR THAT BENEFIT THE WEALTHY WILL SOMEHOW TRICKLE DOWN TO THE REST OF US. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S WRONG. WE KNOW THAT REPUBLICAN ECONOMY POLICY HAS FAILED US. IT WAS THIS KIND OF THINKING THAT TURNED A SURPLUS INTO A DEFICIT, THAT BROUGHT OUR ECONOMY TO ITS KNEES, THAT FAILED OUR MIDDLE CLASS AND ALLOWED THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS TO AMASS RECORD FORTUNES PAYING THE LOWEST TAX RATES IN DECADES. IT'S THE WRONG WAY TO GO AND AMERICANS KNOW IT. AND OUR COUNTRY HAS THE SCARS TO PROVE IT. MR. PRESIDENT, A CONSTITUENT OF MINE NAMED NICK KANAR PUBLISHED AN OP-ED IN BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK THAT SPEAKS TO THIS POINT EXCEPTIONALLY WELL. NICK IS A BUSINESSMAN. HE'S A VENTURE CAPITALIST IN SEATTLE. HE HELPED TO LAUNCH MORE THAN 20 COMPANIES, INCLUDING AMAZON.COM, AND HE HAS A DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF 21st CENTURY JOBS AND THE INNOVATION ECONOMY. NICK WROTE IN THAT, THAT IT'S NOT TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH THAT CREATE JOBS, BUT THAT -- AND I WANT TO QUOTE HIM. HE SAYS "ONLY CONSUMERS CAN SET IN MOTION A VIRTUAL CYCLE THAT ALLOWS COMPANIES TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE AND BUSINESS OWNERS TO HIRE. AN ORDINARY MIDDLE-CLASS CONSUMER IS FAR MORE OF A JOB CREATOR THAN I EVER HAVE BEEN OR EVER WILL BE." HE ADVOCATES ENDING THE TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH AND USING SOME OF THAT SAVINGS TO GIVE AVERAGE WORKING FAMILIES A BREAK AND PUT MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS. NICK'S LOGIC IS CLEAR AND IT MAKES ECONOMIC SENSE. IT'S IN LINE WITH THE -- WITH WHAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC BELIEVES AND IS EXACTLY WHY THIS MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUT NEEDS TO PASS. SO WHILE I STRONGLY SUPPORTED OUR LAST BILL THAT WOULD HAVE EXTENDED AND EXPANDED THIS TAX CUT ON WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS, IT IS CLEAR REPUBLICANS WERE NOT GOING TO DROP THEIR FILIBUSTER. SO WE ARE BACK NOW WITH A COMPROMISE. REPUBLICANS CLAIM TO BE CONCERNED THAT OUR BILL WAS TOO BIG, SO WE SCALED IT BACK. THEY SAID THEY DIDN'T LIKE THE SURCHARGE ON THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS, SO WE CUT IT DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY AND WE MADE IT TEMPORARY. AND TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE ACCEPTABLE, WE INCLUDED SPENDING CUTS THAT BOTH SIDES SAID WERE ACCEPTABLE AS WELL AS THEIR PROPOSAL TO MAKE MILLIONAIRES INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AND FOOD STAMPS. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THE COMPROMISE THAT'S BEFORE US IS FULLY PAID FOR. IT EXTENDS AND EXPANDS PAYROLL TAX RELIEF FOR MILLIONS OF MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES IN OUR COUNTRY. IT WILL CREATE JOBS AND PROVIDE A CRITICAL BOOST FOR THIS ECONOMY AT A TIME WHEN WE DESPERATELY NEED IT. SO I CONTINUE HOPING THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL BE AS FOCUSED ON TAX CUTS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS AS THEY ARE ON FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS AND LARGEST CORPORATIONS. AND I HOPE THEY STAND WITH US TO PASS THIS CRITICAL LEGISLATION IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT AMERICAN FAMILIES WANT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:41:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 05:41:37 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:50:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 05:50:04 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 05:50:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    SHALL BE.

  • 05:50:09 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. COLLEAGUES, TOMORROW, WE ARE GOING TO BE VOTING…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. COLLEAGUES, TOMORROW, WE ARE GOING TO BE VOTING WHETHER TO CLOSE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF RICHARD CORDRAY AS DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. THIS CAN BE FRAMED IN TERMS OF HIS QUALIFICATIONS, BUT THAT WOULD BE A MISTAKE BECAUSE FOLKS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE NOTED HE IS EXCEPTIONALLY QUALIFIED FOR THIS POSITION. A GRADUATE OF MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL WHERE HE WAS EDITOR IN CHIEF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW REVIEW. IN ADDITION, HE'S HELD A NUMBER OF PUBLIC POSITIONS WITH HONOR AND DISTINCTION -- AS STATE REPRESENTATIVE, AS OHIO TREASURER, AS OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL. INDEED, AS OHIO'S ATTORNEY GENERAL, HE WAS AN AGGRESSIVE ADVOCATE FOR CONSUMERS. HE RECOVERED MORE THAN $2 BILLION FOR OHIO'S RETIREES, INVESTORS AND BUSINESS OWNERS AND TOOK MAJOR STEPS TO HELP PROTECT ITS CONSUMERS FROM FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURES AND FINANCIAL PREDATORS. WHAT A TERRIFIC RESUME. AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS STOOD UP FOR RETIREES, WHO HAS STOOD UP FOR BUSINESS OWNERS, WHO HAS STOOD UP FOR INVESTORS AND SAID FRAUD WILL NOT BE TOLERATEED. WE WILL SEEK IT OUT AND WE WILL PENALIZE IT AND WE WILL END IT. IN OTHER WORDS, EXACTLY THE RESUME OF SOMEONE YOU WOULD WANT TO HEAD A CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION DEPARTMENT OR DIVISION OR BUREAU. SO WHY ARE WE VOTING TOMORROW ON ENDING DEBATE? WHY DON'T WE JUST HAVE A UNANIMOUS CONSENT MOTION THAT WE GO TO A FINAL VOTE? AND THE ANSWER IS MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE ARE OBJECTING. THEY ARE OBJECTING TO A VOTE ON HIS NOMINATION, NOT BECAUSE HE ISN'T QUALIFIED, BUT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO PREVENT THIS AGENCY FROM DOING ITS JOB, PROTECTING AMERICA'S FAMILIES AGAINST PREDATORS. I CANNOT THINK OF MANY ISSUES THAT ARE SO IMPORTANT TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR FAMILIES AS MAKING SURE THAT THEY ARE NOT SUBJECT TO FINANCIAL PREDATORS. AND YET, MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE ARE OPPOSING THIS NOMINATION IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE PREDATORS PREYING ON AMERICA'S FAMILIES. THAT IS JUST PLAIN WRONG. SO I HOPE THEY'LL CHANGE THEIR POSITION BEFORE TOMORROW. LET'S TURN THE CLOCK BACK TO 2003. IN 2003, A NEW TYPE OF MORTGAGE WAS INVENTED IN THE UNITED STATES. THIS WAS A MORTGAGE THAT HAD A TWO-YEAR TEASER RATE, A VERY FAVORABLE LOW RATE SO AS THE SERVICE ABATE FOR MORTGAGE OR IJ IJ -- ORIGINATORS TO SAY TO THEIR CLIENTS, THIS IS THE BEST MORTGAGE FOR YOU BECAUSE IT HAS THE LOWEST RATE. WHAT THEY DIDN'T TELL THEIR CLIENTS IS AFTER TWO YEARS, THAT INTEREST RATE EXPLODED TO A VERY HIGH INTEREST RATE, A PREDATORY RATE, AND THAT THEY COULDN'T GET OUT OF THE MORTGAGE BECAUSE THE MORTGAGE HAD A LITTLE SENTENCE IN IT THAT SAID YOU HAVE TO PAY A HUGE PENALTY IF YOU TRY TO REFINANCE THIS MORTGAGE. THAT PENALTY WAS 5% OR 10% OF THE VALUE OF A LOAN. SHOW ME A WORKING FAMILY IN AMERICA THAT BUYS A HOUSE, PUTS DOWN THEIR DOWN PAYMENT, MAKES THEIR REPAIRS, GETS MOVED IN AND STILL HAS 10% OF THE VALUE OF A HOUSE SITTING IN A BANK, ABLE TO PAY A PENALTY SO THEY CAN GET TO A FAIR INTEREST RATE AFTER THE INTEREST RATE EXPLODES. SO THIS NEW MORTGAGE TURNED THE HUMBLE, AMORTIZING FAMILY MORTGAGE THAT HAD BEEN THE PATHWAY TO THE MIDDLE CLASS FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES INTO A PREDATORY TRAP THAT DESTROYED FAMILIES AND THAT CREATED A LOT OF WEALTH FOR THE 1% WHO RUN THE SYSTEM IN OUR SOCIETY. AND HAVE NO DOUBT, THAT 1% GOT IN IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY. THEY SAID WELL, LET'S TAKE AND PACKAGE THESE PREDATORY MORTGAGES AND SELL THEM, AND THEN LET'S TAKE PIECES OF THOSE PACKAGES AND COMBINE THEM WITH PIECES OF OTHER SECURITY PACKAGES AND RESELL THEM. AND THEN LET'S DEVELOP A BRAND-NEW INSURANCE INDUSTRY THAT INSURES SECURITIES -- THIS INSURANCE IS WHAT'S OFTEN CALLED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS OR DERIVATIVES, FANCY NAMES FOR INSURANCE FOR THESE PACKAGES OF MORTGAGES, AND THEN LET'S THEREBY MAKE THEM VERY ATTRACTIVE TO PENSION FUNDS AND INVESTORS ACROSS THE WORLD, ACTUALLY. AND THIS WAS SO SUCCESSFUL THAT THOSE WHO WERE BUYING THOSE MORTGAGES WERE WILLING TO PAY A HUGE BONUS TO THOSE ORIGINATORS, THOSE MORTGAGE ORIGINATORS TO STEER FAMILIES OUT OF THE VERY SUCCESSFUL, HUMBLE, AMORE ADVERTISING -- AMORTIZING FIXED RATE MORTGAGE INTO THIS PREDATORY, EXPLODING INTEREST RATE MORTGAGE ALL THE TIME POSING AS A FAMILY'S COUNSELOR, SAYING IT'S MY JOB TO DO WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU. SO WHY DID THIS PREDATORY PRACTICE IN 2003 THAT GREW ENORMOUSLY OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS, WHY DID IT GO ON? WHAT HAPPENED TO OVERSIGHT OF FAIRNESS, AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AGENCY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO SHUT DOWN PREDATORY PRACTICES? WELL, THAT AGENCY, MR. PRESIDENT, WAS THE FEDERAL RESERVE. THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS A VERY POWERFUL ORGANIZATION. THE FEDERAL RESERVE HAS TWO RESPONSIBILITIES -- EMPLOYMENT AND MONETARY POLICY. THOSE ARE THE TRADITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES, BUT THEY WERE GIVEN A THIRD WHICH WAS CONSUMER PROTECTION. SO SOMEWHERE IN THAT VAST, POWERFUL AGENCY, UP ON THE UPPER FLOOR, THE HEAD OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND HIS KEY ADVISORS WERE HARD AT WORK ON MONETARY POLICY, DECIDING WHAT INTEREST RATES THAT THEY WOULD LEND TO OUR MAJOR BANKS, AND THEY WERE HARD AT WORK, WE WOULD HOPE, ON THE EMPLOYMENT SIDE AS WELL. BUT THEY SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THEY WERE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION. THAT MISSION WAS SET ASIDE. IT WAS PUT DOWN IN THE BASEMENT OF THE BUILDING, AND THE DOORS WERE LOCKED AND THE LIGHTS WERE TURNED OUT AND THEY DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THESE PREDATORY PRACTICES THAT WERE DESTROYING THE FINANCES OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS. THEY WERE BETRAYING THE FUNDAMENTAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A FAMILY AND ITS TRUSTED MORTGAGE ORIGINATOR WHO WAS GETTING BONUS PAYMENTS FOR STEERING THEM IN TO THESE LOANS. AND THEY DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT A NUMBER OF OTHER PREDATORY PRACTICES, AND THAT'S WHY, THAT'S WHY THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU WAS CREATED. THAT DOESN'T HAVE OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES TO DISTRACT IT, THAT ISN'T GOING TO TAKE THE FATE AND SUCCESS OF OUR FAMILIES AND LOCK THAT MISSION DOWN IN THE BASEMENT AND TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, BECAUSE THIS IS THE HEART OF WHY THIS BUREAU EXISTS. SO THIS VOTE TOMORROW IS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT YOU BELIEVE IN THE FAMILY VALUE OF FAIR DEALS THAT BUILD THE SUCCESS OF OUR FAMILIES OR YOU BELIEVE IN THE 1% EXERCISING FULL PREDATORY PRACTICES TO DESTROY THE FINANCIAL LIVES OF AMERICANS, DESTROY THE FINANCIAL LIVES OF OUR VETERANS WHO ARE STANDING UP FOR US IN WAR, WHO ARE OFTEN A HIGHLY TARGETED GROUP WHEN IT COMES TO THESE TYPES OF MORTGAGE PRACTICES AND THESE TYPES OF PAYDAY PRACTICES. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT VOTE TOMORROW. IT'S NOT A VOTE ABOUT THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE NOMINEE BECAUSE THE NOMINEE HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THEY HAVE JUST THE RIGHT SET OF SKILLS TO BE HIGHLY QUALIFIED FROM A NUMBER OF DIRECTIONS. IT IS A VOTE ABOUT WHETHER HERE IN AMERICA YOU BELIEVE THAT IT SHOULD BE OKAY TO BE A PREDATOR OR NOT OKAY. I BELIEVE IT'S NOT OKAY. I BELIEVE THAT STATES AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO ALL THEY CAN TO MAKE SURE DEALS ARE FAIR, TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE ARE NOT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE NOT STEERING PAYMENTS THAT ARE UNDISCLOSED TO THE CONSUMER, TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE ARE NOT HIDDEN CLAUSES THAT SAY IF I CONVINCE YOU, I'M YOUR ADVISOR AND I SAY SIGN HERE, THAT YOU HAVE NOT NOW DESTROYED YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE FOR THE NEXT 10 OR 20 YEARS AS A RESULT OF THAT TRUST. FAIRNESS MATTERS TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR FAMILIES. MR. PRESIDENT, WE SHOULD HAVE A UNANIMOUS VOTE TOMORROW TO END THIS DEBATE AND GET ON TO THE FINAL VOTE OF WHETHER OR NOT TO CONFIRM A VERY DISTINGUISHED AND CAPABLE AND HONORABLE MAN WHO IS PREPARED TO FIGHT FOR THE SUCCESS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 06:00:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:01:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 06:01:18 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED --

  • 06:01:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WE'RE IN A QUORUM CALL, SENATOR.

  • 06:01:27 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO CONSIDERATION OF SENATE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO CONSIDERATION OF SENATE RESOLUTION 345 SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 06:01:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:01:37 PM

    THE CLERK

    RESOLUTION 345, EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON THE CLOSURE OF…

    RESOLUTION 345, EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON THE CLOSURE OF UMATILLA ARMY DEPOT, OREGON.

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  • 06:01:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 06:01:52 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE, WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE AND ANY RELATED STATEMENTS BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AS IF READ.

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  • 06:02:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:02:12 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

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

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY IT ADJOURN UNTIL 9:30 A.M. ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2011, THAT FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE MORNING BUSINESS BE DEEMED EXPIRED, AND THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY. THAT FOLLOWING ANY LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO CONSIDER CALENDAR NUMBER 413, THE NOMINATION OF RICHARD CORDRAY TO BE DIRECTOR OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU, WITH THE TIME UNTIL 10:30 A.M. EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BY THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES. AND THAT THE CLOTURE VOTE ON THE CORDRAY NOMINATION OCCUR AT 10:30 A.M. FINALLY, IF CLOTURE IS NOT INVOKED, THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1944.

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  • 06:03:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:03:09 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    PRESIDENT, THE CLOTURE VOTE WILL BE HELD AT 10:30 TOMORROW. CLOTURE WAS…

    PRESIDENT, THE CLOTURE VOTE WILL BE HELD AT 10:30 TOMORROW. CLOTURE WAS FILED ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 1944, THE MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUT ACT OF 2011. UNLESS AGREEMENT IS REACHED, THAT VOTE WILL BE FRIDAY MORNING. IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 06:03:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 1850 (After 589 days)
  • Debate1107 Hours
  • Quorum Calls434 Hours
  • Votes306 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)