U.S. Senate Rejects White House and Bipartisan Immigration Proposals
Senate Session - June 14, 2012
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:30:04 AM

    >>

    REGARDING AMENDMENTS. AND NOW LIVE TO THE SENATE FLOOR HERE ON C-SPAN2.

  • 09:30:36 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 09:32:04 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 09:32:26 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 09:32:28 AM

    THE CLERK

    WASHINGTON D.C., JUNE 14, 2012. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF…

    WASHINGTON D.C., JUNE 14, 2012. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE TOM UDALL , A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: DANIEL K. INOUYE, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:32:50 AM

    MR. REID

    I NOW MOVE TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 250, S. 1940.

  • 09:32:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 09:32:56 AM

    THE CLERK

    TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 250, S. 1940, A BILL TO AMEND THE NATIONAL…

    TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 250, S. 1940, A BILL TO AMEND THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE ACT OF 1968, AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 09:33:06 AM

    MR. REID

    MR. PRESIDENT, FOLLOWING MY REMARKS AND THOSE OF SENATOR McCONNELL, IF…

    MR. PRESIDENT, FOLLOWING MY REMARKS AND THOSE OF SENATOR McCONNELL, IF ANY, THE NEXT HOUR WILL BE DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS. THEY WILL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED. THE MAJORITY WILL CONTROL THE FIRST HALF AND THE REPUBLICANS THE FINAL HALF. WE'RE STILL WORKING TO TRY TO FINISH AN AGREEMENT ON THE FARM BILL SO WE CAN MOVE FORWARD. IT'S REALLY DISAPPOINTING WE DON'T ALREADY HAVE SOMETHING, BUT HOPE IS STILL HERE, AND I HOPE WE CAN GET THAT DONE; A REALLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION, BUT A FEW SENATORS ARE HOLDING THIS UP, AND THAT'S TOO BAD. I HAVE AGREED THAT WE CAN HAVE SOME AMENDMENTS. I HAD A NICE COLLOQUY ON THE FLOOR YESTERDAY WITH SENATOR COBURN, WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT THIS BILL AND LEGISLATION GENERALLY. HE INDICATED HE THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE A NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS AND JUST START VOTING ON THEM. SO I HOPE WE CAN GET THERE. WE CAN'T DO ALL 250 AMENDMENTS THAT ARE OUT THERE, BUT WE CAN DO A LOT OF THEM. LET'S SEE WHERE WE ARE. I HOPE WE CAN GET IT DONE. ON THE FLOOD INSURANCE BILL, WE HAVE TO GET TO THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. THE FLOOD INSURANCE EXPIRES AT THE END OF THIS MONTH. SO, WE'LL CONTINUE TO WORK ON AGREEMENT WITH THE FARM BILL. I ALSO HOPE TO RECONSIDER THE FAILED CLOTURE VOTE ON THE NOMINATION OF UPON MARIA APONTE TO BE AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR. VOTES ARE POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT TODAY'S SESSION.

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  • 09:34:43 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE FOLLOWING HOUR WILL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES WITH THE MAJORITY CONTROLLING THE FIRST HALF AND THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING THE FINAL HALF. MR.

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  • 09:35:21 AM

    MR. REID

    I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM,

  • 09:35:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 09:35:32 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 09:43:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 09:43:49 AM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    MR. PRESIDENT, MIGHT I ASK THAT THE PENDING QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED?

  • 09:43:53 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 09:43:55 AM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    PRESIDENT, LAST DECEMBER THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY FINALIZED A…

    PRESIDENT, LAST DECEMBER THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY FINALIZED A RULE CALLED THE MERCURY AIR TOXICS STANDARD FOR POWER PLANTS. THIS RULE IS IMPORTANT, AND IT WAS LONG, LONG, LONG OVERDUE. MANY AMERICANS MIGHT NOT REALIZE THAT BEFORE LAST DECEMBER THERE WERE NO FEDERAL STANDARDS FOR MERCURY OR THE OTHER TOXIC AIR POLLUTION POURING OUT OF OUR NATION'S POWER PLANTS. 32 YEARS AGO -- 32 YEARS AGO -- CONGRESS DIRECTED E.P.A. TO LIMIT TOXIC AIR POLLUTION FROM ALL BIG POLLUTING INDUSTRIES. IN RESPONSE, E.P.A. SET STANDARDS FOR NEARLY 100 INDUSTRIES ACROSS OUR NATION. HOWEVER, UNTIL DECEMBER THERE WERE NO SUCH STANDARDS FOR THE UTILITY INDUSTRY. THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF MERCURY, ARSENIC AND OTHER TOXIC AIR POLLUTION IN THE COUNTRY. NOW THERE ARE STANDARDS IN PLACE. ESTIMATED TO THE PROVIDE $ $3 TO $9 OF HEALTH AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS FOR EVERY $1 INVESTED IN POLLUTION CONTROLS. WE SHOULD BE CELEBRATING THIS SENSIBLE YET SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC HEALTH ACHIEVEMENT. YET FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, WE ONLY HEAR ABOUT THE $1 THAT THE POLLUTERS HAVE TO SPEND TO CLEAN UP. WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THE $3 TO $9 THAT THE REST OF THE PUBLIC SAVES AS A RESULT OF THE POLLUTION BEING CLEANED UP. WE HEAR ABOUT THE COST TO THE POLLUTERS ALL THE TIME. WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THE COST -- PICK AN ASTHMA ATTACK CAUSED BY SOOT AND OZONE. WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THE PUBLIC HEALTH COST TO ALL OF US OF THE CHILD HAVING TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FOR AN ASTHMA ATTACK. WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THE COST TO THE BUSINESS, OF THE MOM WHO'S NOT AT WORK DHAI BECAUSE WORK THAT DAY BECAUSE SHE'S OFF TAKING CARE OF THE CHILD IN AN EMERGENCY ROOM. OR IF HE IS SHE'S WORKING A REGULAR WAGE, MAYBE IT IS ON HER. MAYBE SHE DOESN'T GET PAID FOR THAT DAY BECAUSE SHE'S IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM WITH WITH HER CHILD. WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THAT COST. AND HOW ABOUT THE SIMPLE COST OF A MOTHER STUCK IN AN EMERGENCY ROOM WITH A CHILD HAVING A POLLUTION-PROVOKED ASTHMA ATTACK WAITING ANXIOUSLY, WAITING FOR THE NEBULIZER TO KICK? ,-- TO WICK KICK IN, WAITING FOR THE OXYGEN LEVELS TO SHOW THAT THEY'RE BACK WHERE THEY SHOULD BE? THAT'S NOT EVEN COUNTED, THE WORRY OF A MOM FOR HER CHILD, HAVING A POLLUTION-CAUSED ASTHMA INCIDENT. WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THAT. WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THE DOLLAR SIDE. ALL THEY TALK ABOUT, ALL WE HEAR ABOUT FROM THEM IS THE $1 THAT THE POLLUTERS HAS TO PAY TO CLEAN UP THEIR POLLUTION; NEVER IN THIS CASE THE $3 TO $9 -- IN OTHER CASES IT IS $35 TO $1, OVER $100 TO $1. INSTEAD, WE HAVE COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE WHO WANT TO HALT THIS PROGRESS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE SAVINGS FOR VIRTUALLY EVERY AMERICAN. WITH A RESOLUTION THAT WE'RE FACING NOW THAT WOULD VOID THESE STANDARDS, STANDARDS THAT HAVE JUST EMERGED AFTER 32 YEARS FOR THE FIRST TIME REGULATING TOXIC POLLUTION OUT OF UTILITY PLANTS. THIS RESOLUTION WOULD NOT ONLY VOID THE NEW STANDARD, BUT IT WOULD BAR E.P.A. FROM EVER SETTING SIMILAR LIMITS ON POWER PLANTS IN THE FUTURE. IN SPEECHES AGAINST THESE PUBLIC HEALTH STANDARDS, ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES APPEARS SOMEWHAT CONFUSED ABOUT THE MERCURY AIR -- CONFUSED ABOUT THE MERCURY AIR TOXIC STANDARDS. THIS COLLEAGUE HAS COMPLAINED THAT THE TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT EXIST TO MEET THESE STANDARDS. THAT'S THE COMPLAINT, THAT TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT EXIST TO MEET THESE STANDARDS. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE CLEAN AIR ACT, IT DIRECTS THE E.P.A., AS THE E.P.A. DID, TO SET THESE STANDARDS BASED UPON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TOP 12% IN THE INDUSTRY, THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE OF THE TOP 12% IN THE INDUSTRY. AT LEAST ONE OUT OF EVERY EIGHT POWER PLANT UNITS MUST ALREADY BE MEETING, MEETING EACH OF THE STANDARDS THAT IS SET. THIS IS NOT A CASE IN WHICH THE TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT EXIST. THIS IS A SITUATION IN WHICH ONE OUT OF EVERY EIGHTES PLANTS EIGHT PLANTS IS PLANTS IS ALREADY MEETING IT. WHAT E.P.A. IS DOING IS LEVELING THE FIELD SO THAT UTILITIES DON'T GET COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE BY RUNNING DIRTIER POWER PLANTS THAN THEIR FELLOW UTILITIES. THIS COLLEAGUE HAS ALREADY COMPLAINED THAT THE RULE ESTABLISHES STANDARDS FOR TOXIC AIR POLLUTION OTHER THAN MERCURY MERCURY. WELL, LIMITING ALL TOXIC AIR POLLUTION AT ONCE IS MORE EFFICIENT FOR THE UTILITIES THAN TACK LING EACH POLLUTANT SEPARATELY. FRANKLY, IF WE WERE GOING AT MERCURY ONCE AND THEN LATER ARSENIC AND THEN OVER AND OVER THE UTILITIES HAD TO GO BACK AND RECALIBRATE, WE'D BE HEARING COMPLAINTS THAT THAT WAS THE WRONG WAY TO DO IT. SO IF YOU DO IT ALL AT ONCE, THEY COMPLAIN. IF YOU DO IT SEPARATELY, THEY WOULD COMPLAIN. THE BOTTOM LINE IS, ANYTIME POLLUTERS ARE ASKED TO CLEAN UP THEIR ACT, SOME PEOPLE ARE GOING TO COMPLAIN. THE -- SECTION 112-D OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT, CONGRESS TOLD E.P.A. THAT THEY SHALL ESTABLISH EMISSION STANDARDS FOR EACH CATEGORY OF MAJOR SOURCES OF THE TOXIC AIR POLLUTANTS LISTED IN SECTION 112-C. CONGRESS PROVIDED A LIST OF 180 POLLUTANTS WHICH E.P.A. USED AS THE BASIS FOR THE POWER PLANT STANDARDS. YOU CAN'T FAULT E.P.A. FOR THAT. MOREOVER, THE STAGGERING HEALTH BENEFITS OF THIS RULE -- 4,700 FEWER ANTICIPATED HEART ATTACKS, 130,000 FEWER CASES OF CHILDREN WITH ASTHMA SYMPTOMS, 5,700 FEWER EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS EACH YEAR -- FLOW FROM LIMITING ALL TOXIC AIR POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS, NOT -- NOT ELIMINATING, LIMITING -- ALL TOXIC AIR POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS RATHER THAN JUST MERCURY. I DO NOT WANT TO GLOSS OVER THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING THOSE FEDERAL MERCURY STANDARDS. AS I INDICATED EARLIER, POWER PLANTS ARE THE LARGEST SOURCE OF AIRBORNE MERCURY POLLUTION IN THE UNITED STATES. MERCURY IS A NEUROTOXIN THAT CAN BE MOST DEVASTATING TO DEVELOPING NERVOUS SYSTEMS. THE REASON WE HAVE THE PHRASE "MAD AS A HATTER" IS BECAUSE HATTERS USE MERCURY IN THEIR WORK. EXPOSURE CAN PERMANENTLY REDUCE A PERSON'S ABILITY TO THINK AND LEARN. FOR THIS REASON, WOMEN OF CHILD-BEARING AGE, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN MUST AVOID MERCURY EXPOSURE. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR RHODE ISLAND? MANY OF YOU HAVE HEARD ME TALK ABOUT THE OUT-OF-STATE AIR POLLUTION THAT PLAGUES MY STATE. MOST AIR POLLUTION IN RHODE ISLAND IS NOT SCWENG RATED -- IS NOT GENERATED FROM WITHIN OUR BORDERS. IT IS SENT FROM HUNDREDS, EVEN THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY. IT IS SENT BY POWER PLANTS OUT OF STATE IN SIGNIFICANT MEASURE. ON A CLEAR SUMMER DAY IN RHODE ISLAND, WE'LL BE COMMUTING ON THE WORK, WE'LL HEAR ON THE DRIVE-TIME RADIO, TODAY IS A BAD TIME FOR RHODE ISLAND. PEOPLE WITH RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS SHOULD STAY INDOORS TODAY. IF KIDS HAVE ASTHMA, IF THEY HAVE A RESPIRATORY AILMENT, THEY'RE CONGEMMED CONDEMNED TO STAY INSIDE. SO THE SAME SOURCES THAT CREATE THOSE BAD AIR DAYS FOR RHODE ISLAND, THAT FORCE SENIORS AND INFANTS, CHILDREN, PEOPLE WITH RESPIRATORY DIFFICULTIES TO STAY INDOORS ON AN OTHERWISE FINE SUMMER DAY, THEY ALSO SEND US MERCURY POLLUTION, WHICH IS WHY ALTHOUGH RHODE ISLAND DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE COAL-FIRED GENERATING UNIT IN ITS BORDERS, WE HAVE TO ISSUE FISH ADVISORIES. IF THERE IS ONE EMBLEMATIC IMAGE OF AMERICAN FAMILIES DOING SOMETHING IN THE YOWLT OUT-OF-DOORS, IT IS THE PARENT TAKING THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER FISHING. NORMAN ROCKWELL HAS CAPTURED THIS IMAGE. YET TODAY IF A CHILD GOES FISHING WITH HER GRANDFATHER IN RHODE ISLAND, SHE CANNOT EAT THE FISH SHE CAUGHT. THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WARNS THAT PREGNANT WOMEN, WOMEN THINKING OF BECOMING PREGNANT, AND SMALL CHILDREN SHOULD NOT EAT ANY FRESHWATER FISH IN RHODE ISLAND. THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT ALSO WARNS THESE POPULATIONS NOT TO EAT SOME SALT WATER FISH BECAUSE THEY HAVE HIGH LEVELS OF MERCURY STORED IN THEIR FAT. THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT SUGGESTS THAT NO ONE IN RHODE ISLAND SHOULD EAT MORE THAN ONE SERVING OF FRESHWATER FISH -- NOT JUST WOMEN, CHILDREN, WOMEN WHO ARE PREGNANT -- NO ONE IN RHODE ISLAND SHOULD EAT MORE THAN ONE SERVING OF FRESHWATER FISH CAUGHT IN OUR STATE EACH MONTH IN ORDER TO PROTECT AGAINST MERCURY POISSON POISONING. FINALLY, THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT WARNS THAT NOBODY SHOULD EVER EAT ANY OF THE FISH CAUGHT IN THE QUIDTHREE BODIES OF WATER IN RHODE ISLAND. FOR THOSE OF US WHO REMEMBER FISHING AS KIDS AND EATING WHAT WITH WE CAUGHT, THAT IS SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS, AND THIS IS A STATE OF AFFAIRS CAUSED BY POLLUTERS. AND THIS COST OF A FAMILY NOT ABLE TO GO TO QUIDNIC RESERVOIR TO CATCH A FISH, TO TAKE IT HOME, FRY IT UP, TO EAT IT IS BECAUSE OF THE POLLUTERS.

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  • 09:55:17 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    WILL THE SENATOR YIELD AT THIS POINT FOR A QUESTION?

  • 09:55:22 AM

    MRS. BOXER

    I JUST YOUTHANK YOU SO MUCH -- SO MUCH -- FOR TAKING TO THE FLOOR TODAY…

    I JUST YOUTHANK YOU SO MUCH -- SO MUCH -- FOR TAKING TO THE FLOOR TODAY AND EXPLAINING TO EVERYONE WITHIN THE SOWNTSDZ OF SOUND OF YOUR VOICE THAT WE FACE A VERY IMPORTANT VOTE BECAUSE WE HAVE A COLLEAGUE ON THE OTHER SIECHTD AISLE THAT -- ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO WANTS TO SAY THAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, STOP YOUR WORK, ALLOW PLIEWTSERS TO CONTINUE TO -- ALLOW POLLUTERS TO CONTINUE TO POISON THIS ATMOSPHERE. THERE'S ARSENIC, THERE'S LEAD, THERE'S FORMALDEHYDE. WE HAVE TO SAY TO THE UTILITIES, CLEAN UP YOUR ACT. WE'RE GIVING THEM ENOUGH TIME TO DO IT. I WANTED TO ASK MY FRIEND A QUESTION AND THEN I WILL YIELD ALTOGETHER TO HIM. AND THE QUESTION IS, IS MY FRIEND AWARE THAT THE COST-BENEFIT RATIO OF THIS RULE THAT SENATOR INHOFE WANTS TO NOW REPEAL IS 9-1. FOR EVERY $1 THAT WE PUT IN TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS POLLUTION GOES AWAY OR IS CONTROLLED, THERE'S $9 OF BENEFITS IN HEALTH. IS MY COLLEAGUE AWARE OF THAT?

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  • 09:56:33 AM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    FIRST OF ALL, LET ME THANK MY WONDERFUL CHAIRMAN FROM THE ENVIRONMENT AND…

    FIRST OF ALL, LET ME THANK MY WONDERFUL CHAIRMAN FROM THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE FOR JOINING ME ON THE FLOOR AND ASKING THIS QUESTION. THE FIGURE THAT I'VE USED -- I'VE BEEN MORE CONSERVATIVE. I'VE SAID IT'S BEEN WITHIN A RANGE OF $3 AND $9. BUT THERE IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT PAYBACK. THAT PAYBACK ACTUALLY COUNTS HARD DOLLARS TO THE PUBLIC. IT DOESN'T COUNT THINGS LIKE, AS I MENTIONED IN MY SPEERCHTION -- AS I MENTIONED IN MY SPEECH, THE WORRY OF A MOM SPENDING THE DMAI AN -- SPENDING THE DAY IN AN EMERGENCY ROOM WAITING FOR HER CHILD TO RECOVER. IT DOESN'T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HER ECONOMIC OFF COSTS OR HER WORRY. IT DOESN'T COUNT THE COST OF A GRANDFATHER NOT BEING ABLE TO TAKE A FISH HOME FROM A POND. THOSE ARE REAL COSTS, IF YOU HAVE A TRADITIONAL AMERICAN KIND OF FAMILY AND PEOPLE GO FISHING TOGETHER AND DO THINGS LIKE THAT. YOU CAN'T DO THAT ANY LONGER. THAT DOESN'T EVEN COUNT IN THE EQUATION. THE POLLUTERS GET TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM AMERICA FOR FREE IN THAT EQUATION. BUT, AS I SAID, WHAT'S INTERESTING IS THAT OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE ONLY SEEM TO THINK, ONLY SEEM TO NOTICE, ONLY SEEM TO TALK ABOUT THE $IS THAT THE-- THE $1 THAT THE POLLUTERS HAVE TO PAY TO CLEAN UP THEIR ACT. THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT THE FOLKS THAT GET THE JOBS REPAIRING THE POLLUTION, ANGZ, AND THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT THE LOSS OF EDUCATION, THE LONG-TERM HEALTH DAMAGE THAT PEOPLE UNDERTAKE, AND WHILE I HAVE YOU ON THE FLOOR, MADAM CHAIRWOMAN, LET ME TELL YOU HOW PROUD I AM OF THE JOB THAT YOU DID YESTERDAY ON OUR BILL -- ON OUR HIGHWAY BILL, GETTING OUT THERE WITH THOSE BIG TRUCKS AND WITH THE BIG, HEAVY PAVING EQUIPMENT WAS A WONDERFUL WAY OF DEMONSTRATING TO THE PUBLIC WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE, WHICH IS THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT JOBS BILL THAT THE SENATE HAS PASSED THIS YEAR IS BEING BLOCKED BY THE HOUSE TO ELIMINATE OR DAMAGE THE SUMMER CONSTRUCTION SEASON FOR HIGHWAY WORK. IN MY STATE, AS I THINK I'VE TOLD YOU, WE HAVE MORE THAN 90 JOBS ON THE ROSTER -- 90 PROLINGS ONPROJECTS ON THE ROSTER FOR THIS SEASON'S CONSTRUCTIONSEASON'S HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION. 40 OF THEM HAVE FALLEN OFF THE ROSTER. NOW THEY'RE TRYING TO PUSH FOR ANOTHER DELAY THAT WILL PUSH MORE PROJECTS OFF, PUT MORE PEOPLE OUST WORK. OURS WAS A BIPARTISAN BILL, COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE OPENLY AND TRANSPORT TRANSPARENTLY RUN BY YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUE, SENATOR INHOFE. EVERYBODY GETS THAT OUR ROADS AND HIGHWAYS NEED REPAIRED AND YET THE REPUBLICANS -- A GROUP OF REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WILL NOT AGREE TO GO FORWARD ON THIS, AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT ON THIS SUMMER'S CONSTRUCTION SEASON. THEY GET THE BIFLT OF BENEFIT OF KNOCKING DOWN JOBS IN THE RUN-UP TO THE ELECTION, WHICH I KNOW IS A DISGRACEFUL WAY TO GO ABOUT THE NATION'S BUSINESS. BUT WE CAN'T MOVE THEM. THE IRONY AND TRAGEDY HERE IS IF SPEAKER BOEHNER WOULD JUST CALL UP THIS BIPARTISAN SENATE TRANSPORTATION BILL, IT WOULD PASS. IT WOULD PASS WITH REPUBLICAN VOTES AND DEMOCRAT VOTES AND WE COULD PUT PEOPLE TO WORK ACROSS THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW DOING THE WORK THAT EVERY AMERICAN KNOWS OUR HIGHWAY SYSTEM NEEDS. THIS IS NOT BRIDGES TO NOWHERE. THIS IS BRIDGES THAT PEOPLE DRIVE ACROSS TO GET TO WORK. THIS IS POTHOLES AND HIGHWAYS AND PLACES LIKE 95 THAT TKPWU THERE PROF -- THAT GO THROUGH PROVIDENCE ON A VIA DUCT AND IS FALLING APART SO MUCH THAT THEY PUT PLANKS TO KEEP PIECES FROM FALLING ON THE CAR TRAFFIC UNDERNEATH. WE NEED THESE JOBS. WE NEED THIS WORK. IT IS SO DISINGENUOUS AND SO CYNICAL TO STOP THIS WORK JUST BECAUSE THERE'S AN ELECTION COMING. AND WHAT YOU DID YESTERDAY TO PRESS ON THAT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT, AND I APPRECIATE THAT. I SEE SENATOR UDALL HERE, AND I WILL YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:00:52 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:00:56 AM

    MR. UDALL

    I RISE AGAIN TODAY TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT FOR OUR EFFORT TO EXTEND THE…

    I RISE AGAIN TODAY TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT FOR OUR EFFORT TO EXTEND THE PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT FOR WIND. I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO RETURN TO THE FLOOR EVERY MORNING UNTIL WE GET THE P.T.C. EXTENDED. IT HAS A POSITIVE ECONOMIC EFFECT ON EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR STATES, AND WE OUGHT TO IMMEDIATELY EXTEND IT. IF WE DON'T, THERE ARE TREMENDOUS RISKS BECAUSE THERE WILL BE UNCERTAINTY. THERE WILL BE 37,000 JOBS AT RISK PER THE ESTIMATE OF THE AMERICAN WIND ENERGY ASSOCIATION, IN 2013 IF WE LET THIS IMPORTANT, CRUCIAL TAX CREDIT EXPIRE. ON THE OTHER HAND, LOOKING AT THIS POSITIVELY, A RECENT STUDY BY NAVIGANT CONCLUDES A STABLE TAX POLICY WOULD ALLOW THE WIND INDUSTRY TO CREATE AND SAVE 54,000 JOBS. THAT'S A CLEAR CHOICE. DO WE WANT TO LOSE 37,000 JOBS OR DO WE WANT TO CREATE AND SAVE 54,000 MORE? OVER THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS, IN TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, THE WIND INDUSTRY HAS BEEN A BRIGHT SPOT. WE'VE SEEN GROWTH IN THE WIND INDUSTRY IN THE MANUFACTURING SIDE. AND THESE ARE GOOD-PAYING JOBS. BUT WE'RE REALLY AT A MAKE-OR-BREAK MOMENT FOR WIND ENERGY. IF WE LET THE WIND P.T.C. EXPIRE, WE'LL LOSE THOUSANDS OF JOBS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN INVESTMENT. WE ALSO RUN THE REAL RISK OF LOSING OUR POSITION IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC RACE FOR CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY. OTHER COUNTRIES ARE TAKING NOTE. WHILE WE'RE DITHERING HERE IN THE CONGRESS, OUR FOREIGN COMPETITORS ARE LITERALLY EATING OUR LUNCH. AND I AM ABOUT TO ATTEND A SENATE HEARING IN THE ENERGY COMMITTEE ON OUR COMPETITIVENESS IN THE CLEAN ENERGY SECTOR, AND WE'RE GOING TO BE DISCUSSING HOW CHINA IS OUTPACING US IN THE CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY. AND THE WITNESSES, I KNOW, WILL EMPHASIZE -- BECAUSE I'VE SEEN THEIR TESTIMONY -- THAT WE'VE GOT TO IMPROVE AND MAXIMUM MANUFACTURING CAPACITY OR WE RUN THE RISK OF LOSING THESE JOBS TO OVERSEAS COMPETITORS. FOR EXAMPLE, IN NORTH CAROLINA THERE IS A COMPANY P.P.G. INDUSTRIES, A FIBER GLASS COMPANY, HUNDREDS OF EMPLOYEES. THEY HAVE BEEN THREATENED BY FOREIGN COMPETITION IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. FIBER GLASS IS A PRIMARY COMPONENT OF WIND TURBINE BLADES, AND THE COMPANY HAS FOUND NEW BUYERS IN THE WIND INDUSTRY. I WANT TO QUOTE THE MANAGER, CHERYL RICHARDS, OF THIS FACTORY. SHE HAS URGED US TO ACT, AND SHE SAID -- QUOTE -- "THAT'S INVESTMENT IN THE U.S. THAT'S INVESTMENT IN JOBS, IN TECHNOLOGY, IN THE FUTURE IN CLEAN ENERGY F. WE'RE NOT DOING IT, THERE ARE PEOPLE ACROSS THE OCEAN WHO WILL. AND THEY'LL BE HAPPY TO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS HERE." SO WHILE WE CAN'T GET OUR ACT TOGETHER IN CONGRESS TO PASS THE WIND P.T.C., OUR ECONOMIC COMPETITORS IN USUAL AND ASIA HAVE MOVED AHEAD. THEY'VE DEVELOPED ROBUST MANUFACTURING CAPACITY TO SERVE BOTH THEIR DOMESTIC DEMANDS, AND NOW THEY'RE BEGINNING TO SELL ALL OVER THE WORLD. AND JUST TO EMPHASIZE HOW REAL THIS THREAT IS, I WANT TO SHOW ALL THE VIEWERS AND MY COLLEAGUES WHAT'S HAPPENED IN THE PAST WHEN THE P.T.C. HAS EXPIRED. LOOK BACK IN 2000. THERE WAS A 93% DROP. THERE WAS A 73% DROP IN 2001 TO 2002. THAT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. I HEAR THIS FROM COLORADOANS. I HEAR THIS FROM AMERICANS. WIND PROJECT DEVELOPERS IN THE UNITED STATES AND AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS ARE NOT RECEIVING ORDERS. AND WE COULD SEE ANOTHER BOOM-AND-BUST CYCLE, WHERE YOU GET A 73% OR 93% DROP IN INSTALLATIONS. OUR ECONOMY DOESN'T NEED THAT, ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW. SO THERE'S TIME FOR LEADERSHIP HERE. IT'S TIME TO SHOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE CAN BRIDGE PARTISAN DIVIDES IN THE CONGRESS, THAT WE CAN ACT AND THAT WE CAN TAKE URGENT ACTION. LET'S GET THE WIND P.T.C. REAUTHORIZED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. IT'S WITHIN OUR POWER TO STOP SENDING JOBS OVERSEAS, TO PREVENT FALLING BEHIND MAJOR ECONOMIES LIKE CHINA, GERMANY, INDIA, AND TO STOP HARMING DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES AND MANUFACTURING. AGAIN, LOOK AT THIS CHART. THIS TELLS THE STORY. WE HAVE TO STAND UP AND DO THE RIGHT THING. LET'S START BY PASSING THE WIND P.T.C. EXTENSION NOW. WE COULD DO IT TODAY. I'M GOING TO CONTINUE COMING BACK TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, MR. PRESIDENT, UNTIL WE GET THE WIND P.T.C. EXTENDED. AS MY TIME BEGINS TO EXPIRE, I WANTED TO TAKE A MOMENT OF PERSONAL PRIVILEGE AND NOTE THAT FAGILL SHAW WHO HAS BEEN WORKING IN MY OFFICE AS A FELLOW FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT, IS LEAVING MY OFFICE THIS WEEK. SHE IS RETURNING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO CONTINUE DOING HER WORK THERE. I WANT TO THANK HER FOR THE PHENOMENAL SUPPORT SHE'S GIVEN ME, FOR THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS SHE'S BROUGHT TO MY OFFICE. AND I WISH HER WELL IN HER EFFORTS AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT. MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:06:18 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 10:07:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO.

  • 10:07:48 AM

    MR. UDALL

    WOULD ASK TO VITIATE THE QUORUM CALL THAT'S CURRENTLY PENDING.

  • 10:07:53 AM

    MR. UDALL

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD ALSO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK FOR…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD ALSO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK FOR FIVE MINUTES AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 10:07:59 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:08:03 AM

    MR. UDALL

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:12:23 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:12:26 AM

    MR. UDALL

    I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND ONCE AGAIN THANK SENATOR McCAIN.

  • 10:12:30 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    IF THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO DESIRES A FEW EXTRA MINUTES, I WOULD BE…

    IF THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO DESIRES A FEW EXTRA MINUTES, I WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO YIELD.

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  • 10:12:36 AM

    MR. UDALL

    YOU VERY MUCH, SENATOR McCAIN. I'LL TAKE ONE MORE MINUTE HERE TO JUST…

    YOU VERY MUCH, SENATOR McCAIN. I'LL TAKE ONE MORE MINUTE HERE TO JUST FINISH THIS, FINISH THIS OFF. AND FINALLY, I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE THAT THIS RESOLUTION IS A BAILOUT OF COMPANIES WHO WOULD RATHER SPEND MONEY ON LOBBYING THAN ON POLLUTION CONTROLS. THE E.P.A. STANDARD DOES NOT HARM RESPONSIBLE COAL COMPANIES. IT IS ACHIEVABLE WITH CURRENT TECHNOLOGY. IT'S MY UNDERSTANDING THAT MOST OR ALL OF THE COAL PLANTS IN NEW MEXICO HAVE ALREADY, ALREADY HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY TO MEET THESE STANDARDS. PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY OF NEW MEXICO HAS INVESTED IN MERCURY CONTROLS TO REDUCE POLLUTION IN OUR STATE. MANY OTHER UTILITIES HAVE AS WELL ACROSS THE NATION. A VARIETY OF BUSINESS GROUPS SUPPORT E.P.A.'S MERCURY STANDARD, INCLUDING THE CLEAN ENERGY TKPRAOUP OF UTILITIES -- GROUP OF UTILITIES, THE AMERICAN SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS COUNCIL AND THE MAIN STREET ALLIANCE. THESE STANDARDS ARE REQUIRED BY THE CLEAN AIR ACT. IF WE BLOCK THEM, WE WILL PUNISH THE LAW ABIDERS AND BAIL OUT THE PROCRASSTY NAY TORS. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO OPPOSE THE RESOLUTION OF DISAPPROVAL AND ONCE AGAIN I THANK SENATOR McCAIN FROM ARIZONA, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:13:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA.

  • 10:13:58 AM

    MR. McCAIN

    I NOTE THAT THE PRESIDENT RESIDING THE CHAIR WAS PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO…

    I NOTE THAT THE PRESIDENT RESIDING THE CHAIR WAS PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO. THAT I THINK'S ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. I'M SURE THAT IT IS, CERTAINLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FAMILY ALLEGIANCE. THE SENATE IS CONSIDERING THE FARM BILL, WHICH WE DO EVERY FIVE YEARS. DURING THIS DEBATE, AMERICANS WILL HEAR SPEECHES ABOUT SPENDING REDUCTIONS AND CUTS TO FARM SUBSIDIES. AND I CAN SEE THAT THERE'S SOME OF THAT IN THIS BILL. UNFORTUNATELY, SO FAR WE FAILED TO HAVE AN OPEN AND FAIR AMENDMENT PROCESS. THAT SHOULD BE THE CASE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I HAVE SEVERAL AMENDMENTS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE CONSIDERED, AND LIKE MY OTHER COLLEAGUES, WE'VE BEEN PREVENTED FROM DOING SO. I'VE BEEN IN THIS BODY FOR SOME YEARS IN CONSIDERATION OF PREVIOUS FARM BILLS, AND I'VE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO HAVE A COUPLE OF AMENDMENTS CONSIDERED AND VOTED ON. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE THE CASE IN THIS CONSIDERATION OF THIS FARM BILL. IT'S VERY REGRETTABLE. IT'S VERY UNFORTUNATE THAT WE CAN'T JUST START VOTING ON AMENDMENTS AND THEN SEE WHERE WE ARE. INSTEAD WE HAVE THE FILLING OF THE TREE AND OTHER LANGUAGE THAT MOST AMERICANS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, BUT REALLY DOES PREVENT THIS BODY FROM CONSIDERING THE AMENDMENTS OF MEMBERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. IT'S UNFORTUNATE. ALSO, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THE PROGRAMS AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS FARM BILL CONSUME A COLOSSAL SUM OF TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS. THIS BILL IS OVER 1,000 PAGES AND ESTIMATED AT COSTS COSTS OF $960 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. $96 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. THAT'S ABOUT $IS BILLION PER PAGE. IT IS A 60% INCREASE FROM THE PREVIOUS FARM BILL WHICH PASSED IN 2008. AND I BELIEVE IT IS NECESSARY TO ASSIST LOW-INCOME FAMILIES WITH NUTRITION PROGRAMS. WE SHOULD KEEP OUR FARMERS OUT OF THE RED WHEN A NATURAL DISASTER STRIKES, BUT I'M ALSO MINDFUL THAT TAXPAYERS WILL SADDLED WITH A $1.5 TRILLION DEFICIT AND A ABOUT BALLOONING $15 TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT. THE FARM BILL IS RIPE FOR SPENDING CUTS. SOME HAVE TAKEN PLACE, NOT NEARLY AS ARE NECESSARY. AND AS USUAL, A FARM BILL BEING 1,000 PAGES LONG IS FILLED WITH SPECIAL DEALS FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS. I ACKNOWLEDGE THE SENATE BILL GENERATES $23 BILLION IN SAVINGS AND THAT'S A NOTABLE ECONOMY -- ACCOMPLISHMENT. WE'VE FINALLY DONE AWAY WITH DEPRESSION-ERA SUBSIDIES LIKE FARM PAYMENTS AND COUNTERCYCLICAL PROGRAM WHICH COMPENSATES FOR DEPRESSED PRICES. UNFORTUNATELY, IT SEEMS THAT CONGRESS'S IDEA F OF A FARM BILL REFORM IS TO ELIMINATE ONE SUBSIDY PROGRAM ONLY TO INVENT A NEW ONE TO TAKE ITS PLACE. CUTTING DIRECT AND COUNTERCYCLICAL PAYMENTS ACTUALLY SAVE THE TAXPAYERS ABOUT $50 BILLION RATHER THAN PLUG THE MONEY INTO DEFICIT REDUCTION, THE FARM BILL BLOWS $35 BILLION OF ITS OWN SAVINGS ON SEVERAL NEW SUBSIDY PROGRAMS. FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAVE A NEW AGRICULTURAL RISK COVERAGE SUBSIDY PROGRAM -- OR A.R.C. -- WHICH LOCKS IN TODAY'S RECORD-HIGH PRICES GUARANTEEING FARMERS UP TO AN 89% ON THEIR CROP. WE ALSO CREATE A NEW $3 BILLION COTTON SUBSIDY PROGRAM CALLED "STACKS" THAT THE BRAZILIAN TRADE REPRESENTATIVES HAVE SIGNALED WILL ESCALATE THEIR W.T.O. ANTI-DUMPING COMPLAINT AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. I WONDER HOW MANY OF OUR TAXPAYERS KNOW THAT WE ALREADY PAY BRAZIL $150 MILLION A YEAR TO KEEP OUR COTTON PROGRAMS? WHY WOULD WE MAKE THINGS WORSE? THIS BILL AUTHORIZES THE CREATION OF A NEW MARGINAL LOSS SUBSIDY PROGRAM FOR CATFISH. THIS BILL MAINTAINS THE $95 BILLION FEDERALLY-BACKED CROP INSURANCE PROGRAM WHICH ALSO SUBSIDIZES CROP INSURANCE PREMIUMS. WE THEN PILE ON A NEW $4 BILLION PROGRAM CALLED "SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE OPTION" -- S.C.O. -- THAT SUBSIDIZES CROP INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLES. SUBSIDIZED INSURANCE, SUBSIDIZED PREMIUMS, AND SUBSIDIZED DEDUCTIBLES -- I'M HARD-PRESSED TO THINK OF ANY OTHER INDUSTRY THAT OPERATES WITH LESS RISK AT THE EXPENSE OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. THIS IS ALL PART OF FARM POLITICS. IN ORDER TO PASS A FARM BILL, CONGRESS MUST FIND WAY TO APPEASE EVERY SPECIAL INTEREST OF EVERY COMMODITY ASSOCIATION FROM ASPARAGUS FARMERS TO WHEAT GROWERS. IF YOU CUT SOMEBODY'S SUBSIDY, YOU GIVE THEM A GRANT. IF YOU KILL THEIR GRANT, THEN YOU COVER THEIR INSURANCE PROGRAMS. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT SEVERAL OTHER HANDOUTS THAT SPECIAL INTERESTS HAVE REAPED INTO THIS YEAR'S FARM BILL, WHICH MAY ACCOUNT FOR THE SIZE OF THE BILL. $15 MILLION TO ESTABLISH A NEW PROGRAM -- A NEW GRANT PROGRAM -- $15 MILLION TO ESTABLISH A NEW GRANT PROGRAM TO -- QUOTE -- "IMPROVE THE U.S. SHEEP INDUSTRY." WE'RE GOING TO SPEND $15 MILLION OF YOUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO IMPROVE THE U.S. SHEEP INDUSTRY. THE BILL AUTHORIZES $10 MILLION TO ESTABLISH A NEW USDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PROGRAM TO ERADICATE FERRIL FAIRLY PIGS. $25 MILLION TO STUDY THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF PEAS, LENTILS AND GARBANZO BEANS. $25 MILLION TO STUDY THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF PEAS, LENTILS, AND GARBANZO BEINGS. -- BEANS. I KNOW THAT MOTHERS ALL OVER AMERICA THAT HAVE ADVOCATED FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO EAT THEIR PEAS WILL BE PLEASED TO KNOW THAT THERE'S A STUDY THEY'S GOING STUDY THAT'S GOING TO COST THEM $25 MILLION TO STUDY THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF PEAS, LENTILS AND GARBANZO BEANS. $200 MILLION FOR THE VALUE-ADDED GRANT PROGRAM WHICH GIVES GRANTS TO NOVELTY PRODUCERS LIKE SMALL WINERIES -- AND I AM NOT KIDDING -- THE OCCASIONAL CHEESE MAKER. $40 MILLION IN GRANTS FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO ENCOURAGE PRIVATE LANDOWNERS TO USE THEIR LAND FOR BIRDWATCHING OR HUNTING. NOW WE'RE LOOKING AT A $1.5 TRILLION DEFICIT THIS YEAR. WE'RE GOING TO SPEND $40 MILLION TO ENCOURAGE PRIVATE LANDOWNERS TO USE THEIR LAND FOR BIRDWATCHING OR HUNTING. I'M ALL FOR BIRDWATCHING. I SUPPORT HUNTERS, NOT TO THE TUNE OF $40 MILLION. $700 MILLION FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOOD RESEARCH INITIATIVE. $700 MILLION FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOOD RESEARCH INITIATIVE, WHICH FUNDS A VARIETY OF RESEARCH GRANTS LIKE TESTING PINE TREE GROWTH IN FLORIDA OR STUDYING MOTH PHERMONES. WHEN DID IT BECOME A NATIONAL PRIORITY TO STUDY MOTH PHEROMONES? A NEW PROGRAM THAT SPENDS $125 MILLION TO PROMOTE HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES IN SCHOOLS. NOW, THERE ARE ALREADY AT LEAST FOUR -- FOUR -- OTHER HEALTHY EATING EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN THIS BILL ALREADY. THERE ARE ALREADY 401(K)'S SO WE'RE GOING TO ADD -- THERE ARE ALREADY FOUR, SO WE'RE GOING TO ADD ANOTHER $125 MILLION PROGRAM FOR ANOTHER HEALTHY EATING EDUCATION PROGRAM. $200 MILLION FOR ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES, WHICH IS THE MARKET ACCESS PROGRAM, WHICH HAS BEEN THERE FOR YEARS, WHICH SUBSIDIZES OVERSEAS ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS OF LARGE CORPORATIONS. WE HAVE, OF COURSE, THE INFAMOUS MOHAIR WOOL SUBSIDY, WHICH HAS BEEN FLEECING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SINCE 1954. WHEN CONGRESS PASSED THE 1954 FARM BILL, THEY WANTED TO ENSURE A DOMESTIC SUPPLY OF WOOL FOR A MILITARY UNIT BY PAYING FARMERS TO RAISE, AMONG OTHER THINGS, AN GOREANGORA GOATS FOR FOR MOHAIR. TODAY WE USE MOHAIR IN CUSTOM SOCKS, FASHIONABLE SCARFS AND TRENDY THROW RUGS. SOME MAY RECALL THAT CONGRESS KILLED OFF MOHAIR SUBSIDIES IN THE 1990'S. UNFORTUNATELY, GOATS ARE REPUTED TO EAT JUST ABOUT ANYTHING, AND OUR HARD-EARNED TAX DOLLARS ARE NO EXCEPTION. THE MOHAIR PROGRAM WHICH COSTS TAXPAYERS ABOUT $1 MILLION A YEAR MAY NOT BE PARTICULARLY EXPENSIVE COMPARED TO MOST FARM PROGRAMS. I SUPPOSE SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE A GOVERNMENT PITTANCE FOR WOOL SOCKS. THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW SPECIAL INTERESTS CAN EMBED THEMSELVES IN A FARM BILL FOR GENERATIONS. AS IF FIELD CORN AND ETHANOL SUBSIDIES WERE NEFARIOUS ENOUGH, THIS FARM BILL INCLUDES A NEW CARVE-OUT FOR POPCORN SUBSIDIES. I'M NOT MAKING IT UP. POPCORN SUBSIDIES. THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF FARM BILL POLITICS. THANKS TO A PROVISION SNUCKED INTO A 2003 APPROPRIATIONS BOIL, POPCORN STARTED RECEIVING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DIRECT-PAYMENT SUBSIDIES. HOWEVER, BECAUSE THE NEW FARM BILL ELIMINATES DIRECT PAYMENTS, THE POPCORN INDUSTRY IS SCRAMBLING TO BE ADDED TO THE NEWLY CREATED A.R.C. PROGRAM. UNDER IN FARM BILL, POPCORN WILL BE SUBSIDIZED TO THE TUNE OF $91 MILLION OVER TEN YEARS. ACCORDING TO C.B.O. THE COOKING OIL THAT MOVIE THEATERS USE TO COOK POPCORN IS ALREADY SUBSIDIZED AS WELL AS THE BUTTER THEY PUT ON TOP. THE PRICE OF POPCORN HAS RISEN 40% IN RECENT YEARS THANKS IN PART TO ETHANOL AND RECENT FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH COLOMBIA AND SOUTH KOREA, ARE CREATING A POME FOR AMERICAN -- A BOOM FOR AMERICAN POPCORN EXPORTS. THERE ISN'T A KERNEL OF EVIDENCE THAT THEY NEED THIS SUBSIDY. THE USDA OPERATES A COMPLEX SYSTEM OF IMPORT TARIFFS, LOANS, AND GOVERNMENT PRODUCTION QUOTAS THAT RESTRICT SUGAR IMPORTS AND KEEP SUGAR PRICES ARTIFICIALLY HIGH. THE SUGAR BARONS WILL TELL YOU THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S SUGAR PROGRAM OPERATES AT -- QUOTE -- "NO NET COST TO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS BECAUSE SUGAR DIDN'T RECEIVE DIRECT PAYMENTS." IN ACTUALITY, BUSINESSES AND CONSUMERS BEAR THE BURDEN OF A SUGAR PROGRAM BY PAYING HIGHER COSTS FOR ANY SWEETENED PRODUCT. EVERY YEAR AMERICAN CONSUMERS ARE FORCED TO PAY AN EXTRA $3.5 BILLION ON SWEETENED FOOD PRODUCTS. JUST YESTERDAY THE SENATE VOTED TO TABLE AN AMENDMENT TO PHASE OUT THE SUGAR PROGRAM, WHICH IS A SWEETHEART FOR SUGAR GROWERS -- DEAL FOR SUGAR GROWERS. FINALLY, MR. PRESIDENT, ONE OF MY FAVORITES OF ALL TIME IS THE CATFISH. I HAVE AN AMENDMENT WHICH WILL REPEAL A FARM BILL PROVISION WHICH DIRECTS THE USDA TO CREATE A NEW FAT CAT INSPECTION OFFICE. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE SUPPORT OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE COSPONSORED THE AMENDMENT. WHAT WE'RE ATTEMPTING TO DO WITH THIS AMENDMENT IS SIMPLE. THE AMENDMENT PUTS EANGDZ TO -- PUTS EANGDZ TOPUTPUTS AN END TO STOP CATFISH IMPORTS. AS MY COLLEAGUES KNOW, THE USDA INSPECTS MEAT, EGGS, AND POULTRY BUT NOT SEAFOOD. THUS, A WHOLE NEW GOVERNMENT OFFICE IS BEING DEVELOPED AT USDA JUST TO INSPECT CATFISH. CATFISH FARMERS HAVE TRIED TO ARGUE THAT WE NEED A CATFISH INSPECTION OFFICE TO ENSURE AMERICANS ARE EATING SAFE AND HEALTHY CATFISH. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE THAT CATFISH SHOULD BE SAFE FOR CONSUMERS. THE PROBLEM IS, F.D.A. ALREADY INSPECTS CATFISH, JUST AS IT DOES ALL SEAFOOD. SCREENING IT FOR BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL HAZARDS. IF THERE WERE LEGITIMATE FOOD SAFETY REASONS FOR HAVING F.D.A. INSPECT CATFISH, WE WONK BE HAVING THIS DISCUSSION -- WE WOULDN'T BE HAVING THIS DISCUSSION. JUST ASK USDA. WHEN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE COMPLETES AN INTERNAL ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROGRAM IN 2010, THE DEPARTMENT SAID IT COULD NOT ESTABLISH A ""RATIONAL RELATIONSHIP" BETWEEN THE CATFISH OFFICE AND THE RISK TO HUMAN HEALTH. THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ESTIMATES THAT THIS QUESTIONABLE PROGRAM WILL COME AT A COST TO TAXPAYERS OF $30 MILLION TO CREATE THE OFFICE AND $14 MILLION EACH YEAR THEREAFTER. THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE HAS ALSO EXTENSIVELY EXAMINED THE CATFISH OFFICE. IN FEBRUARY OF 2011, G.A.O. RELEASED A REPORT SAYING THAT THE CATFISH OFFICE IS AT HIGH RISK FOR FRAUD, WASTE, AND A. BUSE AND THAT IT IS DUPLICATIVE OF F.D.A.'S FUNCTIONS AND WOULD FRAGMENT OUR FOOD SAFETY SYSTEM. JUST LAST WEEK G.A.O. ISSUED A NEW REPORT SIMPLY TITLED -- QUOTE -- "RESPONSIBILITY FOR INSPECTING CATFISH SHOULD NOT BE ASSIGNED TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ALASKA" AND CALLED UPON CONGRESS -- THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE" AND CALLED UPON CONGRESS TO REPEAL IT. WHEN THE SENATE CONSIDERED THE 2002 FARM BILL, THEY SLIPPED IN AN OBSCURE PROVISION THAT MADE IT ILLEGAL TO LABEL VIETNAMESE CATFISH AS "CATFISH" IN THE UNITED STATES. AT THAT TIME, THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAD RECENTLY REOPENED TRADE RELATIONS RELATIONS ARE VIETNAM AND DOMESTIC CATFISH FARMERS IN SOUTHERN STATES FOUND THEMSELVES COMPETING AGAINST CHEAPER CATFISH IMPORTS. DOMESTIC CATFISH FARMERS WANTED TO DISCOURAGE AMERICAN CONSUMERS FROM BIG VIETNAMESE CATFISH BY MARKETING UNDER ITS LATIN NAME PONGA, EVEN THOUGH IT IS VIRTUALLY INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM U.S.U.S.-GROWN CATFISH. IT ULTIMATELY BACK P FIRED ON CATFISH FARMERS BECAUSE THEY REMAIN POPULAR WITH AMERICAN CONSUMERS. IT IS A SENSE OF THE SENATELESS LAW AND MY COLLEAGUES MAY RECALL DHAIM TO THE FLOOR TO FIGHT AGAINST IT. I ASKED THE QUESTION, WHEN IS A CATFISH NOT A CATFISH? WHY WOULD CONGRESS PASS A LAW THAT RENAMES A SPECIES OF CATFISH INTO SOMETHING ELSE? WHY WOULD WE SINGLE OUT CATFISH AND PUT IT IN THE SAME CATEGORY AS USDA-INSPECTED BEEF? IRONICALLY CATFISH FARMERS ARE LOBBYING USDA TO RE-RELABEL VIETNAMESE PANGA BACK TO CATFISH TO ENSURE ASIAN IMPORTS ARE SUBJECT TO THIS NEW CATFISH OFFICE. SO, THE CATFISH OFFICE OFFERS NO LEGITIMATE FOOD SAFETY BENEFIT. ITS TRUE GOAL IS TO ERECT TRADE BARRIERS ON ASIAN CATFISH IMPORTS TO PROP UP THE DOMESTIC CATFISH INDUSTRY AND MAKE AMERICAN CONSUMERS PAY MORE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THE FARM BILL BEFORE US IS, HAS SOD LAUDABLE PARTS TO IT. THERE ARE SOME REDUCTIONS IN SPENDING. BUT WHEN WE EXAMINE THE BILL, WE FIND MORE AND MORE OF THESE KINDS OF SPECIAL INTEREST, UNNECESSARY SPENDING AND PROGRAMS THAT EITHER ARE PROTECTIONIST IN NATURE, PROGRAMS THAT HAVE BEEN INSERTED SOMETIMES IN THE PAST IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, AND WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO EXAMINE A NUMBER OF PROVISIONS IN THIS BILL WHICH I DID NOT DISCUSS TODAY. MR. PRESIDENT, I WISH THAT THE SMALL BUSINESS MEN AND WOMEN IN MY STATE HAD A BILL FOR SMALL BUSINESS, A BILL THAT WOULD HELP THEM IN THE VERY DIFFICULT TIMES THAT THEY ARE EXPERIENCING. IN THE TERRIBLE ECONOMIC TIMES WHICH HAVE CAUSED THEM TO NOT BE IN BUSINESS ANY MORE, AND THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES GOING THROUGH THE MOST DIFFICULT TIMES. SO THIS BILL OBVIOUSLY IS ONE THAT IS WELL INTENTIONED, BUT I ALSO THINK IN THESE HARSH ECONOMIC TIMES IT IS FAR, FAR FROM THE KIND OF LEGISLATION THAT WE OWE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:32:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 10:32:51 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:51:40 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEVADA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:51:44 AM

    MR. HELLER

    THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 10:51:47 AM

    MR. HELLER

    THANK YOU. I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS ONE OF THE BIGGEST THREATS TO ECONOMIC…

    THANK YOU. I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS ONE OF THE BIGGEST THREATS TO ECONOMIC GROWTH IN OUR COUNTRY, AND THAT'S THIS ADMINISTRATION'S JOB-KILLING REGULATORY AGENDA P. MY GOAL IN THE SENATE TO PROMOTE POLICIES THAT CREATE JOBS. WITH MY HOME STATE OF NEVADA LEADING THE NATION IN UNEMPLOYMENT, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS DOING JUST FINE AND SUPPORT COMMONSENSE POLES THAT GIVE OUR JOB -- POLICIES THAT GIVE OUR JOB CREATES THE TOOLS TO PROVIDE FOR LONG-TERM ECONOMIC GROWTH. UNDER THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION, THEY SEEM BENT UPON ISSUING REGULATION AFTER REGULATION THAT THREATENS EXISTING JOBS AND PREVENTING NEW ONES FROM BEING CREATED. AS I'VE STATED BEFORE, YOU CANNOT BE PRO-JOBS AND ANTI-BUSINESS AT THE SAME TIME. WITH UNEMPLOYMENT AT 11.7% IN NEVADA AND IT CONTINUES TO LEAD THE NATION IN UNEMPLOYMENT, THE ONLY THINGS AS SCARCE AS JOBS IN NEVADA ARE PRIVATE PROPERTY AND WATER. ROUGHLY 87% OF NEVADA IS CONTROLLED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE REMAINING IS HEAVILY REGULATED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ALSO. NEVADA IS ALSO ONE OF THE DRYEST STATES IN THE NATION. BECAUSE OF THIS WATER -- BECAUSE OF THIS WATER IS A VERY PRECIOUS COMMODE TIVMENT AS WE DEBATED FARM BILL, I AM PROUD TO JOIN WITH SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES TO PROVIDE SOME MUCH-NEEDED REGULATORY RELIEF FOR AMERICAN FARMERS IN RURAL AMERICA. HOWEVER, THE LATEST EFFORTS BY THIS ADMINISTRATION GO WELL BEYOND THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR. FOR YEARS THERE'S BEEN A CONCERTED EFFORT TO EXPAND THE REGULATORY REACH OVER WATER IN THIS COUNTRY. AFTER YEARS OF FAILED ATTEMPTS TO LEGISLATIVELY CHANGE THE SCOPE OF REGULATORY AUTHORITY OVER WATER, THE E.P.A. IS NOW TRYING TO OVERTURN BOTH CONGRESSIONAL INTENT AND MULTIPLE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS TO FURTHER THEIR GOAL OF OVERREGULATION. TO PUT IT INTO CONTEXT, IF THIS REGULATION WERE ENACTED, IT WOULD GIVE THE E.P.A. AND THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS THE ABILITY TO REGULATE IRRIGATION DITCHES, LARGE MUD PUDDLES OR ANYTHING THAT CONTAINS STANDING WATER, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT IT'S PERMANENT, SEASONAL, OR MANOR- -- OR MAN-MADE. THIS IS NOT THE INTENT OF CONGRESS WHEN WRITING THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND CONGRESS HAS REPEATEDLY REJECTED ANY LEGISLATIVE EFFORT TO ALTER THE EXISTING LAW. MORE DISTURBING, THE ADMINISTRATION HAS BYPASSED PUBLIC OUTREACH AND HAS NEGLECTED TO CONSIDER THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THEIR PROPOSED ACTION. THIS IS IN ADDITION TO IGNORING THE FACT THAT THE SUPREME COURT TWICE AFFIRMED THE LIMITS OF THE FEDERAL AUTHORITY UNDER THE CLEAN WATER ACT. BUT APPARENTLY THE E.P.A. BELIEVES THAT IT DOES NOT HAVE TO ADHERE TO THE LAWS OF THE LAND. EXPANDING THE FEDERAL REGULATORY OVERREACH INTO WATER ALSO INFRINGES ON PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS. IT STOPS INVESTMENTS IN DEVELOPMENT, INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS INCLUDING HOUSING, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, ROADS, HIGHWAYS, AGRICULTURE AND ENERGY. IN MY HOME STATE, THIS REGULATION WILL HURT FARMING, RANCHING, MINING, AND CONSTRUCTION -- THE SAME MIDDLE-CLASS, BLUE-COLLAR JOBS THIS ADMINISTRATION CLAIMS TO CARE ABOUT. IN AN ALREADY STRUGGLING IT ECONOMY, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO CREATE ADDITIONAL REGULATORY BARRIERS THAT WILL COST JOBS AND PREVENT FUTURE ECONOMIC GROWTH. THIS IS WHY SENATORS BARRASSO, INHOFE, SESSIONS, AND I HAVE OFFERED AN AMENDMENT TO THE FARM BILL AS WELL AS A STAND-ALONE PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT WILL PRESERVE THE CURRENT DEFINITION OF "WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES." THE PRESERVE THE WATERS OF THE U.S. ACT IS SIMPLY STRAIGHTFORWARD LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PRESERVE CURRENT DEFINITION OF "FEDERAL WATERS" AS WELL AS UPHOLD PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS. OPPOSITION TO THIS LEGISLATION HAS BEEN DISINGENUOUS. IT IS RIDICULOUS TO ASSERT THAT I OR ANY OTHER SUPPORTERS OF THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION ARE OPPOSED TO CLEAN WATER. WHAT I AM OPPOSED TO IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTINUING ITS OVERREACH AND FURTHER HURTING OUR ECONOMY AND JEOPARDIZING PERSONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND STATES' RIGHTS. I AM OPPOSED TO GIVING WASHINGTON BUREAUCRATS THE AUTHORITY TO REGULATE THEIR BACKYARD. AND I'M OPPOSED TO THIS ADMINISTRATION USING CLOSED-DOOR PROCESS TO ISSUE JOB-KILLING REGULATIONS THAT HAVE BECOME FAR TOO COMMON. I HAD HOPED FOR A VOTE ON THIS AMENDMENT THAT WILL ALLOW THE NATIONAL TO MAKE A CLEAR -- THE SENATE TO MAKE A CLEAR CHOICE BETWEEN JOBS AND AN EXTREME ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA. UNFORTUNATELY, THE AMENDMENT PROCESS HAS ONCE AGAIN BEEN BROKEN DOWN AND WE WILL NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO OPENLY DEBATE THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE. I ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THE PRESERVE THE WATERS OF THE U.S. ACT AND SHOW THEIR CONSTITUENTS THAT THEY STAND WITH JOB CREATORS. THERE IS A VAST AND DIVERSE COALITION OF SUPPORT FOR OUR EFFORTS TO LIMIT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S OVERREACH. IT INCLUDES LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, MUNICIPALITIES, MANUFACTURERS, SMALL BUSINESSES, AND MANY MORE. AS AN OUTDOORSMAN, I AM COMMITTED TO GOOD STEWARD SHCH OUR NATURAL RESOURCES AND BELIEVE THAT WE DO NOT HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. THE PRESERVE THE WATERS OF THE U.S. ACT IS A COMMONSENSE SOLUTION THAT WILL PREVENT JOBS FROM BEING DESTROYED AND KEEP PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS FROM BEING FURTHER ERODED BY THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. I RESPECTFULLY URGE ALL MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION AND BRING IT TO A VOTE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:58:10 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 10:59:16 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:59:20 AM

    MR. SANDERS

    THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 10:59:24 AM

    MR. SANDERS

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'LL BE SPEAKING ABOUT TWO AMENDMENTS WHICH I INTEND TO…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'LL BE SPEAKING ABOUT TWO AMENDMENTS WHICH I INTEND TO OFFER AS PART OF THE FARM BILL. I THINK BOTH AMENDMENTS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND BOTH AMENDMENTS HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF OUR COUNTRY. IT MAY NOT HAVE THE SUPPORT OF POWERFUL SPECIAL TRRKS INTERESTS, BUT I THINK THAT FROM MAINE TO CALIFORNIA, PEOPLE WILL BE SUPPORTING THESE AMENDMENTS. THE FIRST ONE IS AMENDMENT NUMBER 23010 -- 2310, WHICH COSPONSORED BY SENATOR BARBARA BOXER OF CALIFORNIA. MR. PRESIDENT, ALL ACROSS OUR COUNTRY, PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE CONSCIOUS ABOUT THE FOODS THAT THEY ARE EATING AND THE FOODS THAT THEY ARE SERVING TO THEIR KIDS. AND THIS IS CERTAINLY TRUE FOR GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. THIS IS A MAJOR CONCERN IN MY STATE OF VERMONT. IT IS A MAJOR CONCERN, I KNOW, IN SENATOR BOXER'S STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND IN FACT IT IS A MAJOR CONCERN ALL OVER OUR COUNTRY. THIS YEAR IN MY STATE OF VERMONT, OUR LEGISLATURE TRIED TO PASS A BILL THAT WOULD HAVE REQUIRED FOODS THAT CONTAIN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INGREDIENTS TO HAVE THAT INFORMATION ON THEIR LABELS. AND THAT INFORMATION WOULD SIMPLY GIVE CONSUMERS IN THE STATE OF VERMONT THE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS THAT WERE IN THE FOOD THAT THEY ARE INGESTING. NOT, I BELIEVE, A TERRIBLY RADICAL IDEA. I PERSONALLY BELIEVE -- AND I THINK MOST AMERICANS BELIEVE -- THAT WHEN A MOTHER GOES TO THE STORE AND PURCHASES FOOD FOR HER CHILD, SHE HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT SHE IS FEEDING HER CHILD, WHAT IS IN THE FOOD THAT SHE'S GIVING TO HER KIDS AND HER FAMILY. THIS CONCERN ABOUT GENETICALLY ENGINEERED LABELING BROUGHT HOW THE A HUGE TURNOUT TO THE VERMONT STATE LEGISLATURE OF PEOPLE WHO WERE SUPPORTIVE OF THIS CONCEPT. IN FACT, IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST HOTLY DEBATED AND DISCUSSED ISSUES IN OUR LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR. OVER 100 VERMONTERS TESTIFIED AT A COMMITTEE MEETING, THE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE MEETING, IN THE STATE OF VERMONT IN FAVOR OF THIS LEGISLATION. WARE SMALL STATE AND HUNDREDS MORE CROWDED -- WE ARE A SMALL STATE AND HUNDREDS MORE CROWDED INTO THE STATEHOUSE TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT. SO WHAT PEOPLE IN VERMONT, AND I BELIEVE ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY, ARE SAYING, SIMPLY AND STRAIGHTFORWARDLY, IS WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE FOOD WE'RE EATING AND WHETHER OR NOT THATTED INTO IS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED. CLEARLY THIS IS NOT JUST A VERMONT ISSUE. ALMOST ONE MILLION PEOPLE IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SIGNED A PETITION TO GET LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT. AND IN CALIFORNIA -- A BIG STATE A MILLION PEEL -- THAT'S A LOT OF PEOPLE. IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT WE'RE SEEING FROM VERMONT AND CALIFORNIA, ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY, PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE FOOD THAT THEY ARE EATING AND THEY WANT TO KNOW WHETHER THAT FOOD IS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED. AND I WANT TO THANK SENATOR BOXER OF CALIFORNIA FOR REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF HER STATE IN COSPONSORING THIS LEGISLATION. BUT THIS IS NOT JUST A VERMONT ISSUE, IT'S NOT JUST A CAL CALIFORNIA ISSUE. ACCORDING TO AN MSNBC POLL IN FEBRUARY OF 2011, 95% OF AMERICANS AGREE THAT LABEL OF FOOD WITH GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INGREDIENTS SHOULD BE ALLOWED AND THOSE POLLING NUMBERS HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT -- CONSISTENTLY OVER 90% DATING BACK TO 2001. SO WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN POLLING YEAR AFTER YEAR IS PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE FOOD THAT THEY ARE EATING. NOW, WANT EVERYBODY AGREES. MONSANTO, ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST PRODUCERS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD, THEY DON'T LIKE THIS IDEA. MONSANTO IS ALSO THE WORLD'S LARGEST PRODUCER OF THE HERBICIDE ROUND-UP AS WELL AS CALLED ROUND-UP READY SEEDS THAT HAVE BEEN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED TO RESIST THE PESTICIDE. IT IS NO MYSTERY WHY MONSANTO WOULD FIGHT PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO KNOW. BUSINESS IS BOOMING FOR THIS HUGE CHEMICAL COMPANY. IT RAKED IN OVER $11 BILLION IN REVENUES AND CLEARED $1.6 BILLION IN PROFITS IN 2011, AND THIS YEAR IS GOING PRETTY WELL FOR MONSANTO. SO ONCE IT SEEMED POSSIBLE THAT VERMONT COULD PASS THE BILL -- BECAUSE THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF VERMONT WANTED TO SEE THAT LEGISLATION PASSED -- BUT OUR FRIENDS AT MONSANTO THREATENED TO SUE THE STATE IF THAT BILL WAS PASSED. MONTSADLY -- AND THIS IS WHAT GOES ON IN POLITICS, NOT JUST ON THIS ISSUE BUT ON SO MANY ISSUES -- DESPITE PASSING OUT OF THE HOWG AGRICULTURAL -- OUT OF THE HOUSE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE BY A VOTE OF 9-1, THE BILL DIDN'T MAKE IT ANY FURTHER BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF A LAWSUIT FROM THIS HUGE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION. BUT TODAY, WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY WITH THE SANDERS-BOXER AMENDMENT NUMBER 2310 TO AFFIRM STATES' RIGHTS TO LABEL FOOD THAT CONTAINED GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INGREDIENTS. THIS AMENDMENT RECOGNIZES THAT THE 10th AMENDMENT TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION CLEARLY RESERVES POWERS TO OUR SYSTEM OF FEDERALISM TO THE STATES AND TO THE PEOPLE. IN OTHER WORDS, THAT IS WHAT FEDERALISM IS ABOUT. THIS AMENDMENT ACKNOWLEDGES THAT STATES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE THE LABELING OF FOODS PRODUCED THROUGH GENETIC ENGINEERING OR DERIVED FROM ORGANISMS THAT HAVE BEEN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED. SIMPLY PUT, THIS AMENDMENT GIVES PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO KNOW. IT SAYS THAT A STATE, IF ITS LEGISLATURE SO CHOOSES, MAY REQUIRE THAT ANY FOOD OR BEVERAGE CONTAINING A GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INGREDIENT OFFERED FOR SALE IN THAT STATE HAVE A LABEL THAT MAKES THAT INFORMATION PUBLIC AND CLEAR. IT ALSO REQUIRES THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF THE F.D.A., WITH THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, SHALL REPORT TO CONGRESS WITHIN TWO YEARS ON THE PERCENTAGE OF FOOD AND BEVERAGES IN THE UNITED STATES THAT CONTAIN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INGREDIENTS. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE ARE STRONG PRECEDENCE FOR LABELING. THE F.D.A., AS EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS, ALREADY REQUIRES THE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF OVER 3,000 INGREDIENTS, ADDITIVES AND PROCESSES. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW IF YOUR FOOD CONTAINS GLUTIN, ASPERTAME, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, TRANSFATS OR MSG, YOU SIMPLY READ THE INGREDIENTS LABEL. SIMILARLY, THE F.D.A. REQUIRES LABELING FOR PEANUTS, WHEAT, SHELLFISH AND OTHERS. BUT AMERICANS, FOR SOME REASON, ARE NOT AFFORDED THAT SAME INFORMATION WHEN IT COMES TO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. NOW, HERE IS A VERY IMPORTANT POINT TO MAKE. WHAT I AM ASKING NOW FOR THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA IS SOMETHING THAT EXISTS RIGHT NOW ALL OVER THE WORLD. GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS ARE ALREADY REQUIRED TO BE LABELED IN 49 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD WORLD, INCLUDING RUSSIA, THE U.K., AUSTRALIA, SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN, BRAZIL, CHINA, NEW ZEALAND AND OTHERS AND THE ENTIRE EUROPEAN UNION ALLOWS ITS COUNTRIES TO REQUIRE SUCH LABELS, WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY WHAT THIS AMENDMENT IS ABOUT. IT IS NOT TELLING BUT IT IS REQUIRING -- IT IS ALLOWING STATES THE RIGHT TO GO FORWARD IF THAT IS WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THOSE STATES WANT. SO IF THIS IS GOOD FOR 49 OR MORE COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, WHY IS IT NOT ACCEPTABLE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? AND THE ANSWER IS PRETTY SIMPLE, THAT WE HAVE A LARGE, POWERFUL MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION WHO IS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR OWN PROFITS THAN THEY ARE ABOUT ALLOWING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE FOOD THAT THEY ARE EATING. LET ME CLARIFY JUST THE FEW PIECES OF INFORMATION REGARDING GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. MONSANTO CLAIMS THAT THERE IS NOTHING TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT WITH GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. IN THE 1990'S, THERE WAS A CONSENSUS AMONG SCIENTISTS AND DOCTORS AT THE F.D.A. THAT G.E. FOODS COULD HAVE NEW AND DIFFERENT RISKS, SUCH AS HIDDEN ALLERGENS, INCREASED PLANT TOXIN LEVELS, AND THE POTENTIAL TO HASTEN THE SPREAD OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT DISEASE. BUT THOSE CONCERNS WERE QUICKLY PUSHED ASIDE IN THE NAME OF BIOTECHNOLOGY PROGRESS. THEIR CONCERNS WERE NOT, HOWEVER, UNFOUNDED. IN MAY 2012, A LANDMARK INDEPENDENT STUDY BY CANADIAN DOCTORS PUBLISHED IN THE PEER-REVIEW JOURNAL "REPRODUCTIVE TOXICOLOGY" FOUND THAT TOXIN FROM SOIL, BACTERIUM WHICH HAD BEEN ENGINEERED INTO B.T. CORN TO KILL PESTS WAS PRESENT IN THE BLOODSTREAM OF 93% OF PREGNANT WOMEN AS WELL AS IN 80% OF THEIR FETAL CORD BLOOD BLOOD. IN THE WAKE OF THIS STUDY, ACTION IS BEING TAKEN. IN THREE DAYS, ON JUNE 17, THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION WILL CONSIDER RESOLUTIONS THAT ASK FOR STUDIES ON THE IMPACTS OF G.E. FOODS AND LABELING, RESOLUTIONS CALLING FOR LABELING OF G.E. FOODS HAVE ALREADY BEEN PASSED BY THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION AND THE AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION. THERE IS A GREAT NEED FOR THIS INFORMATION BECAUSE THERE HAS NEVER BEEN MANDATORY HUMAN CLINICAL TRIALS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS, NO TESTS FOR ITS POSSIBILITY OF CAUSING CANCER OR FOR HARM TO FETUSES, NO LONG-TERM TESTING FOR HUMAN HEALTH RISKS, NO REQUIREMENT FOR LONG-TERM TESTING ON ANIMALS, AND ONLY LIMITED ALLERGY TESTING TESTING. WHAT THIS MEAN IS THAT FOR ALL INTENT AND PURPOSES, THE LONG-TERM HEALTH STUDY ON G.E. FOOD IS BEING DONE ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE ARE THE CLINICAL TEST. NOW, LET ME CLARIFY JUST A FEW THINGS ABOUT LABELING GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD. G.E. FOOD LABELS WILL NOT INCREASE COSTS TO SHOPPERS. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT COMPANIES CHANGE THEIR LABELS ALL THE TIME TIME. THEY MARKET THEIR PRODUCTS DIFFERENTLY AND ADDING A LABEL DOES NOT CHANGE THIS. IN FACT, MANY PRODUCTS ALREADY VOLUNTARILY LABEL THEIR FOOD AS -- QUOTE -- "G.M.O. FREE." FURTHER, GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS ARE NOT BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. FOR EXAMPLE, THE USE OF MONSANTO ROUND-UP READY SOYBEANS ENGINEERED TO WITHSTAND EXPOSURE TO THE HERBICIDE ROUND-UP HAS CAUSED THE SPREAD OF ROUND-UP RESISTANT WEEDS WHICH NOW INFEST 10 MILLION ACRES IN 22 STATES WITH PREDICTIONS OF 40 MILLION ACRES OR MORE BY MID-DECADE. RESISTANT WEEDS INCREASE THE USE OF HERBICIDES AND THE USE OF OLDER AND MORE TOXIC HERBICIDES. FURTHER, THERE ARE NO INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS THAT PROHIBIT THE MANDATORY IDENTIFICATION OF FOODS PRODUCED THROUGH GENETIC ENGINEERING, BUT AS I MENTIONED, 49 OTHER COUNTRIES ALREADY REQUIRE IT. MR. PRESIDENT, THE SANDERS-BOXER CONSUMERS' RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD AMENDMENT, AMENDMENT NUMBER 2310, IS ABOUT ALLOWING STATES TO HONOR THE WISHES OF THEIR RESIDENTS AND ALLOWING CONSUMERS TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE EATING. IF THIS IS NOT A CONSERVATIVE AMENDMENT, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. AMERICANS DESERVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT THEY AND THEIR CHILDREN ARE EATING AND THAT IS WHAT THIS AMENDMENT IS ALL ABOUT. MONSANTO AND OTHER MAJOR CORPORATIONS SHOULD NOT BE THE ONES TO DECIDE THIS ISSUE. THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD MAKE THAT DECISION. WITHOUT COMMONSENSE LABELING REQUIREMENTS, THE 295 MILLION AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO FAVOR LABELING -- THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WHO IN POLL AFTER POLL AFTER PAYOFF AFTER POLL SAID YES, THEY WANT TO KNOW WHETHER THE FOOD THEY ARE EATING CONTAINS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED PRODUCTS, THEY ARE NOT BEING LISTENED TO. SO ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THEIR FOOD, I URGE SUPPORT FOR THIS IMPORTANT AMENDMENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE ANOTHER AMENDMENT BUT I AM GOING TO COME BACK AT ANOTHER TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE AMENDMENT WHICH WOULD DEMAND THAT THE COMMODITIES FUTURE TRADING COMMISSION DO WHAT THE LAW REQUIRES THEM AND THAT IS END UP -- END EXCESSIVE SPECULATION IN THE OIL FUTURES MARKET. BUT I'LL HOLD OFF ON THAT UNTIL A LATER TIME. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 11:14:10 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 11:14:18 AM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 12:00 NOON TODAY, THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT AT 12:00 NOON TODAY, THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE EXPETION THAT THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER THE CLOTURE VOTE BY WHICH CLOTURE WAS NOT INVOKED ON EXECUTIVE CALENDAR 501 BE AGREED TO, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE AGREED TO AND THAT THERE BE 30 MINUTES FOR DEBATE EQUALLY DIVIDED IN THE USUAL FORM AND THAT FOLLOWING THE USE OR YIELDING BACK OF TIME, THE SENATE PROCEED TO VOTE ON CLOTURE ON THE NOMINATION UPON RECONSIDERATION.

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  • 11:14:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? HEARING NONE, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:14:51 AM

    MR. MENENDEZ

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

  • 11:14:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:15:15 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:21:07 AM

    MS. STABENOW

    I WOULD ASK SUSPENSION OF THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 11:21:10 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:21:13 AM

    MS. STABENOW

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. FIRST, I HAVE EIGHT UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS FOR…

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

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  • 11:21:28 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:21:31 AM

    MS. STABENOW

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO SPEND A FEW MOMENTS TALKING ABOUT ONE OF OUR…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO SPEND A FEW MOMENTS TALKING ABOUT ONE OF OUR TITLES, OUR JOB-CREATING TITLES IN THE FARM BILL, BUT FIRST I DO WANT TO THANK COLLEAGUES THAT ARE CONTINUING TO WORK THROUGH US AS WE DO THE BUSINESS OF THE SENATE, WORKING THROUGH THE AMENDMENT PROCESS AND COMING TOGETHER WITH WHAT I'M OPTIMISTIC WILL BE AN AGREEMENT FOR US TO BE ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD TO COMPLETE OUR TASK ON THE FARM BILL, BUT I WANT TO CONTINUE TO THANK MY RANKING MEMBER, SENATOR ROBERTS, FOR HIS LEADERSHIP AND HIS STAFF AND MY STAFF WORKING TOGETHER SO HARD. A LOT OF COFFEE INVOLVED, MR. PRESIDENT, FOR FOLKS TO BE ABLE TO PAY AWAKE AND SOME LATE NIGHTS RIGHT NOW, BUT THEY'RE DOING A GREAT JOB. WE ARE VERY OPTIMISTIC AS WE MOVE FORWARD IN THIS PROCESS. ONE OF THE REASONS WE NEED TO GET THIS DONE, AS I HAVE STRESSED MANY TIMES, BUT IT'S WORTH REPEATING AGAIN, IS THAT THIS IS A JOBS BILL. AS THE DISTINGUISHED PRESIDING OFFICER SNOWS FROM OHIO AS WELL AS MYSELF IN MICHIGAN WHERE JOBS ARE A BIG DEAL, AS THEY ARE ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BUT WE HAVE BEEN IN THE MIDDLE OF IT IN TERMS OF THE RECESSION AND WE'RE NOW SEEMING OPTIMISTIC BECAUSE WE ARE RECOMMITTING OURSELVES TO MAKE THINGS AND GROW THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY. WE MAKE A LOT OF GREAT THINGS IN MICHIGAN, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH ARE AUTOMOBILES, BUT A LOT OF OTHER THINGS ALSO. I KNOW IN OHIO AS WELL, A GREAT STATE FOR MAKING THINGS. BUT BOTH OF OUR STATES ARE ALSO STATES WHERE WE GROW THINGS. I APPRECIATE THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PRESIDING OFFICER WHO IS ON OUR AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE AND HAS PLAYED A VERY SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN GETTING US TO THIS POINT. MAJOR REFORMS IN THIS BILL THAT RELATE TO MOVING TO A RISK-BASED SYSTEM TO SUPPORT OUR FARMERS AND BASED ON A PROPOSAL THAT THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR, PRESIDING OFFICER SENATOR BROWN HAS PUT FORWARD. A BIPARTISAN PROPOSAL. I APPRECIATE VERY MUCH YOUR LEADERSHIP ON THAT AS WELL AS A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS. BUT IT IS ABOUT GROWING THINGS. ALMOST ONE OUT OF FOUR PEOPLE IN MICHIGAN HAVE A JOB BECAUSE WE GROW THINGS. WE HAVE MORE DIVERSITY OF CROPS THAN ANY STATE BUT CALIFORNIA. SO THAT MEANS EVERY PAGE OF THE FARM BILL MATTERS TO MICHIGAN. WHICH IS WHY OVER THE YEARS I HAVE PAID ATTENTION TO EVERY SINGLE PAGE OF THE FARM BILL. BUT OVERALL IN OUR COUNTRY, 16 MILLION PEOPLE WORK BECAUSE OF AGRICULTURE. THEY MAY BE INVOLVED IN PRODUCTION, THEY MAY BE INVOLVED IN PACKAGING, THEY MAY BE INVOLVED IN PROCESSING, THEY MAY MAKE THE FARM EQUIPMENT, MAYBE A VARIETY OF THINGS, BUT THEY WORK BECAUSE WE GROW THINGS IN AMERICA. OUR ONE AREA OF HUGE TRADE SURPLUS WHERE WE HAVE GROWN IN THE LAST FEW YEARS 270%, OUR TRADE SURPLUS IS IN AGRICULTURE. WE ARE GROWING THINGS HERE, CREATING JOBS HERE AND EXPORTING. SO THIS IS A JOBS BILL. AND I WANT TO TALK TODAY SPECIFICALLY ABOUT A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE WHERE WE BRING TOGETHER MAKING THINGS AND GROWING THINGS IN OUR ECONOMY, AND THAT'S THE ENERGY TITLE OF THE FARM BILL. THE ENERGY TITLE REFLECTS THE IMPORTANT WORK BEING DONE BY AMERICA'S FARMERS, RANCHERS, FOREST MANAGERS, RURAL SMALL BUSINESSES TO HELP IMPROVE OUR ENERGY SECURITY. SINCE WE ADDED THIS TITLE IN 2002, I WAS PLEASED TO BE A STRONG SUPPORTER OF DOING THAT. THE RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM HAS HELPED PUT IN PLACE YEARLY 8,000 PROJECTS AND JOBS THAT HELP FARMERS LOWER THEIR ENERGY BILLS AND ACTUALLY PRODUCE ELECTRICITY THAT GOES BACK TO THE ELECTRIC GRID. IN THE LAST TEN YEARS, WE HAVE SEEN INCREDIBLE ADVANCES IN ADVANCED BIOFUELS AND BIOBASED MANUFACTURING, WHICH REALLY IS THE ULTIMATE AT BRINGING TOGETHER MAKING THINGS AND GROWING THINGS. BOTH OF WHICH ARE SUPPORTED AND STRENGTHENED IN THIS BILL. THE FARM BILL IS ALSO AN ENERGY BILL. IT'S A JOBS BILL. THERE ARE MORE THAN 3,000 COMPANIES DOING INNOVATIVE BIOBASED MANUFACTURING USING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS INSTEAD OF PETROLEUM TO MANUFACTURE FINISHED PRODUCTS, AND THOSE COMPANIES HAVE ALREADY CREATED OVER 100,000 JOBS AND GROWING EVERY DAY. MANY OF THESE BUSINESSES ARE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES, SUPPORTING THOSE BUSINESSES IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS THAT WE CAN CREATE JOBS IN ECONOMIC GROWTH IN SMALL TOWNS ACROSS OUR COUNTRY. THIS KIND OF MANUFACTURING IS ALSO A WIN-WIN FOR THE FARMERS. THEY GET NEW PRODUCTS FOR -- MARKETS FOR THEIR PRODUCTS, IN SOME CASES MARKETS FOR THEIR WASTE PRODUCTS. WE HAVE ALSO SEEN TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN BIOFUELS. THIS FARM BILL SHIFTS OUR FOCUS TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF ADVANCED BIOFUELS, LIKE CELLULOSIC ETHANOL TO CONTINUE LOWERING PRICES FOR FAMILIES AT THE PUMP. ACCORDING TO A STUDY BY THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN AND THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, ETHANOL HAS ALREADY HELPED KEEP GAS PRICES MORE THAN 1 DOLLAR LOWER THAN THEY OTHERWISE WOULD BE. IT'S THE ONLY COMPETITION WE HAVE AT THE MOMENT TOUGHER AT THE PUMP. WHAT WE NEED AS TOURISMS IS MORE CHOICE, MORE COMPETITION, SO THAT COMPENSATION ON FOREIGN OIL IS NOT THE ONLY CHOICE. MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE DIFFERENT FEELINGS ABOUT OUR ENERGY POLICIES, AND THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE FARM BILL IS THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU BELIEVE, NO MATTER WHERE YOU COME FROM, IT'S A WINNER BECAUSE IT CREATES CHOICES. IF YOU WANT TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION, THIS BILL IS A WINNER. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE AMERICA MORE ENERGY INDEPENDENT SO WE AREN'T RELYING SO MUCH ON FOREIGN OIL, THIS BILL IS A WINNER. IF YOU WANT FARMERS TO PAY LOWER ENERGY BILLS SO THEY HAVE MORE MONEY TO HIRE WORKERS AND IMPROVE THEIR BUSINESS, THIS BILL IS A WINNER. AND IF YOU WANT AMERICANS TO PAY LOWER PRICES AT THE GAS PUMP, AS WE ALL DO, THIS BILL IS A WINNER FOR EVERY AMERICAN. I ESPECIALLY WANT TO THANK SENATOR CONRAD, LUGAR, HARKIN, NELSON, BEN NELSON, SENATOR BENNET, BROWN, KLOBUCHAR, THUNE, CASEY AND HOEVEN WHO WORKED VERY HARD AT PUTTING TOGETHER THE ENERGY TITLE AND THE NECESSARY FUNDING TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING THESE INNOVATIVE FARMERS AND BUSINESSES ALL ACROSS OUR COUNTRY. I APPRECIATE THEIR LEADERSHIP IN WORKING WITH US AND BEING ABLE TO GET THIS DONE. SO LET ME TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE SPECIFIC AREAS THAT WE HAVE IN THE ENERGY TITLE. THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED THE RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM, REAP. IT'S ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ENERGY PROGRAMS IN THE ENERGY TITLE AND ONE WE HEAR ABOUT MOST OFTEN FROM FARMERS AND RANCHERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THIS PROGRAM HELPS FARMERS WITH LOAN GUARANTEES AND GRANTS TO PURCHASE AND INSTALL RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS AND MAKE ENERGY EFFICIENCY UPGRADES. FARMERS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PUT SOLAR PANELS, WIND TURBINES AS WELL AS BIOMASS ENERGY AND GEOTHERMAL AND HYDROELECTRIC AND OTHER FORMS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGY ON THE FARM. SINCE 2003, REAP HAS SUPPORTED 7,997 DIFFERENT ENERGY-EFFICIENT PROJECTS THAT HAVE GENERATED OR SAVED 6.5 MILLION-MEGAWATT HOURS , ENOUGH POWER TO MEET THE ANNUAL NEEDS OF NEARLY 600,000 HOUSEHOLDS. NOW, I ALSO WANT TO SAY AS A CAVEAT THAT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ALL THESE ALTERNATIVES, I ALSO SEE THIS FROM THE STANDPOINT OF MAKING THINGS, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE WHEN WE LOOK AT A BIG WIND TURBINE, A LOT OF FOLKS SEE ENERGY USE. I SEE 8,000 PARTS. WE CAN MAKE EVERY ONE OF THEM IN MICHIGAN, PROBABLY AN AWFUL LOT OF THEM IN OHIO. SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CREATING ENERGY EFFICIENCY OPPORTUNITIES, WE'RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT CREATING MANUFACTURING JOBS IN THE PROCESS. IT IS A BIG SUCCESS STORY WHICH IS WHY WE CONTINUED THE PROGRAM, STREAMLINED THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR FARMERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES APPLYING FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED PROJECTS. EACH PROJECT FUNDED BY REP. CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE UTILITY COSTS INCURRED BY THE BUSINESSES. ONE COMPANY IN GEORGIA CREATED AN ON-FARM SOLAR SOMETIME STEM THAT WILL PRODUCE ABOUT 60,000-KILOWATT HOURS PER YEAR TO LOWER THE COMPANY'S POWER BILLS. ANOTHER COMPANY IN KENTUCKY USED A GRANT-TERM PROVE LIGHTING AND SUPPORT A REFRIGERATION FREEZER PROJECT THAT WOULD GIVE THEM 63% ENERGY SAVINGS. 63%. IT'S A PRETTY BIG DEAL WHEN YOU'RE PAYING THE BILLS. THE NEXT THING I'D LIKE TO DO IS TALK ABOUT SOMETHING CALLED BIOBASED MARKETS AND PART OF A LARGER BIOBASED MANUFACTURING EFFORT THAT I'M VERY ENTHUSED ABOUT. BIOBASEED MANUFACTURING IS RAPIDLY BECOMING A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF OUR ECONOMY. THERE ARE 3,118 REGISTERED BIOBASED COMPANIES IN THE UNITED STATES THAT HAVE CREATED SO FAR ABOUT 100,000 JOBS AND GROWING. WITH CUSTOMERS DEMANDING MORE CHOICES, OIL PRICES RISING, THESE INNOVATIVE COMPANIES ARE TAKING NEW APPROACHES TURNING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS INTO MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS. SO AS YOU CAN SEE, MR. PRESIDENT, ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, 3,000 COMPANIES AND THIS IS A HUGE AREA OF GROWTH AND AND INNOVATION FOR US. WHERE WE LITERALLY ARE TAKING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, REPLACING CHEMICALS, REPLACING PETROLEUM AND PLASTICS, DOING A VARIETY OF THINGS THAT ALLOW US TO CREATE NEW MARKETS FOR FARMERS, GET US OFF OF FOREIGN OIL, AND CREATE JOBS. AND I WOULD ARGUE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS WE WILL SEE MANY, MANY, MANY MORE DOTS ON THIS MAP AS A RESULT OF THE FARM BILL AND PRIVATE-SECTOR EFFORTS THAT ARE GOING ON ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IN THE 2008 FARM BILL WE CREATED THE BIOBASED PROGRAM TO DEVELOP AND EXPAND MARKETS FOR THESE BIOBASED PRODUCTS. THESE A FEW EXAMPLES. PAPERMATE MAKES A BIODEGRADABLE RETRACTIBLE GRIP PEN MANUFACTURED BY SANFORD RUBBERMAID IN GEORGIA. THIS PEN IS MADE FROM BIODEGRADABLE COMPONENTS THAT INCLUDE AN EXCLUSIVE CORN BASED MATERIAL TO PRODUCE LESS WASTE AND MORE COMPOST. ON THE PEN. PURELL, GREEN INSTANT HAND SANITIZER. IT'S A GREEN PRODUCT MADE IN-CON TAINING INGREDIENTS FROM RENEWABLE RESOURCES. IT KILLS MORE THAN 99.9% OF MOST GERMS, MR. PRESIDENT, AND IT'S A PRODUCT THAT IS BIODEGRADABLE. GREENWARE COLD PORTION CUPS MADE BY FABRICAR CORPORATION IN MICHIGAN ARE MADE FROM MATERIALS SUCH AS PLANT BASED AND POIFTD CONSUMER RECYCLED RESINS. MY COLLEAGUES NOTE THIS WILL LOOK FAMILIAR BALLS IT'S THE SAME KIND OF CUP WE USE IN THE SENATE. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE ARE USING IN SUPPORTING THE BIOBASED ECONOMY. BY INCLUDING BIOBASED MANUFACTURING IN THE BIOREFINERY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, WITHIN THE ENERGY TITLE, WE ARE EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FEERMS BY GIVING THEM NEW MARKETS FOR CROPS TO GROW AND WE'RE SUPPORTING CUTTING-EDGE MANUFACTURING BUSINESSES THAT ARE MAKING THESE PRODUCTS AND CREATING THESE JOBS. WE ALSO HAVE DONE OTHER PIECES THAT WILL STRENGTHEN THIS EFFORT, AND I MIGHT MENTION WHILE WE DON'T HAVE A PICTURE OF IT WITH US ON A CHART THAT ONE OF THE EXCITING THINGS THAT I'M SEEING IN MICHIGAN AS WE BRING TOGETHER MAKING THINGS AND GROWING THINGS, THE EXTENT TO WHICH OUR AUTOMAKERS ARE USING BIOBASED PRODUCTS IN THE MAKING OF AUTOMOBILES. AND SO FOR ANYONE WHO IS BUYING A NEW FORD VEHICLE TODAY, I SOUND LIKE AN ADVERTISEMENT, MR. PRESIDENT, BUT NEW FORD VEHICLE OR A GREAT NEW CHEVY VOLT OR A NUMBER OF OTHER VEHICLES THAT WE HAVE, GREAT AMERICAN-MADE VEHICLES, TODAY YOU ARE SITTING ON SEATS MADE FROM SOY BASED FOAM. YOU HAVE SOYBEAN IN THE SEATS. SOY BASED FOAM KELLY ACTUALLY STARTED OVER 80 YEARS AGO WITH HENRY FORD AND HAS BEEN SOMETHING FOCUSED ON ON AND OFF FOR 80 YEARS BUT NOW IT'S BECOMING A MAJOR EFFORT, MAJOR CORPORATION IN MICHIGAN, LEER IS MAKING THESE SEATS AND THEY'RE BIODEGRADABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT, YOU GET BETTER FUEL ECONOMY AND AS I OFTEN TELL MY FRIENDS, IF YOU GET HUNGRY, YOU'VE GOT SOMETHING TO MUNCH ON. THE TRUTH IS THAT WE ARE SEEING HUGE ADVANCES. IF YOU -- YOU MAY VERY WELL HAVE CUPHOLDERS IN YOUR CAR THAT HAVE A CORN BASED OR WHEAT BASED OR OTHER KIND OF AGRICULTURAL BASE IN THE PLASTIC RATHER THAN PETROLEUM. ANOTHER WAY WE GET OFF OF FOREIGN OIL. THEY'RE EXPERIMENTING WITH TIRES RATHER THAN USING PETROLEUM IN TIRES. I THINK THERE'S AN EXPLOSION HERE OF OPPORTUNITY AROUND. INNOVATION WITH OUR FARMERS AND OUR MANUFACTURES --, MANUFACTURERS, WITH OUR UNIVERSITIES AND SCIENTISTS, IT'S VERY EXCITING AND IT'S PART OF THE NEXT GENERATION FOR US OF A NEW ECONOMY AND NEW JOBS. THIS FARM BILL STRENGTHENS THAT EFFORT, WORKING WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO HELP US RAPIDLY MOVE FORWARD ON JOBS. AND ONE OF THE OTHER WAYS WE DO THAT IN ADDITION TO SUPPORTING EFFORTS TO CREATE COMMERCIALIZATION OF PRODUCTS, TO BE ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD AS IT RELATES TO CREATING, PRODUCING MORE PRODUCTS AND SO ON, IS TO GIVE CONSUMERS A WAY TO FIND THESE PRODUCTS. SO WE HAVE SOMETHING CALLED THE USDA CERTIFIED BIOBASED PRODUCT LABEL. THE MISSION OF THE BIOPREFERRED PROGRAM IS TO DEVELOP AND EXPAND MARKETS FOR BIOBASED PRODUCTS THROUGH PREFERRED FEDERAL PURCHASES OF BIOBASED PRODUCTS, ACROSS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND A VOLUNTARY LABELING PROGRAM TO RAISE CONSUMERS' AWARENESS AND TO HELP MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE BUYING IS IN FACT A BIOBASED PRODUCT. SINCE THE PROGRAM WAS CREATED IN THE LAST FARM BILL, 2008, THERE ARE NOW 64 DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF BIOBASED PRODUCTS AND ALMOST 9,000 PRODUCTS, 9,000 PRODUCTS APPROVED FOR PREFERRED FEDERAL PURCHASES. AND EVERYBODY -- IN EVERYBODY'S BEST INTEREST FOR US TO BE ENCOURAGING THESE NEW MARKETS, ENCOURAGING INNOVATION AT THE SAME TIME ADDRESSING OTHER CRITICAL NEEDS FOR OUR COUNTRY INCLUDING GETTING OFF OF FOREIGN OIL. IN ADDITION ANOTHER 430 PRODUCTS FROM 150 COMPANIES HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED TO CARRY THE USDA CERTIFIED BIOBASED PRODUCT LABEL. SO THIS IS AN IMPORTANT WAY, THERE ARE NEW EFFORTS HAPPENING, THE PRESIDENT, THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND I HAVE COME TOGETHER TO URGE, IN FACT, THAT WE DOUBLE -- WE INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF BIOBASED LABELING THAT'S GOING ON, AND MAKE SURE THAT CONSUMERS ARE LOOKING FOR THIS LABEL. WE THEN ARE THE BIOREFINERY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WHICH IS A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF ALL OF THIS. THE BIOREFINERY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED IN THE 2002 FARM BILL TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION SCALE BIOREFINERIES TO DETERMINE THE COMMERCIAL VIABILITY OF SOME OF THE PROCESSES THAT ARE INVOLVED IN CONVERTING RENEWABLE BIOMASS TO ADVANCED BIOFUELS. IT ALSO GUARANTEES LOANS FOR COMPANIES THAT ARE DEVELOPING, CONSTRUCTING, OR RETROFITTING COMMERCIAL SCALE BIOREFINERIES USING THESE NEW TECHNOLOGIES. IN JUST THE LAST TWO YEARS COMPANIES PARTICIPATING IN THIS EFFORT HAVE CREATED NEARLY 300 DIRECT JOBS AND IT'S ESTIMATED THAT AS THIS PROGRAM IS WRITTEN INTO THE 2012 FARM BILL, IT WILL HELP INNOVATIVE BUSINESSES HIRE ANOTHER 450 PEOPLE AS WELL. WE ALSO EXPAND ELIGIBILITY FOR THE PROGRAM TO INCLUDE BIOBASED MANUFACTURING AND, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF THIS. WE ARE NOW GOING FROM REFINERIES, TALKING ABOUT ADVANCED BIOFUELS, TO EXPANDING THE OPPORTUNITY FOR TOOLS FOR OUR BIOBASED MANUFACTURERS WITHIN THE RUBRIC OF THE ENERGY TITLE AND THE FOCUS ON JOBS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LOAN GUARANTEES FOR COMPANIES TO LEVERAGE PRIVATE DOLLARS. SO FOR JUST OVER $400 MILLION IN LOAN GUARANTEES WE'VE LEVERAGED $1.5 BILLION IN PRIVATE DOLLARS TO HELP COMPANIES WITH THE COST OF RETROFITTING AND BUILDING A NEW COMMERCIAL BIOFUEL PLANT. WHEN OPERATIONAL, THESE FACILITIES ARE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE 113 MILLION GALLONS OF ADVANCED BIOFUELS AND GENERATE ALMOST 25 MILLION-KILOWATT HOURS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY, AND REDUCE GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY AN ESTIMATED 600,000 AT THE TIME MICK TONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE WHICH IS THE EQUIVALENT OF TAKING 11,000 CARS OFF THE ROAD. SO I HAVE A MIXED FEELING ABOUT THAT. BUT WE'D PREFER TO DO IT THIS WAY AND KEEP ADVANCED VEHICLES ON THE ROAD. IN 2011 THE USDA AWARDED $6.9 MILLION IN GRANTS AND $13.1 MILLION IN LOAN GUARANTEES TO 17 AN AEROBIC DIGESTER PROJECTS, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WASTE ON THE FARM, TURNING IT INTO ENERGY, AND THAT WOULD HAVE POWERED ENOUGH POWER TO CREATE ENERGY FOR 10,000 HOMES. THERE'S SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR US, WHETHER IT'S ANIMAL WASTE, FOOD WASTE, WE HAVE A FACILITY IN MICHIGAN THAT WILL BE OPENING IN THE FALL THAT IS UP BY GERBER BABY FOOD. WE ARE THE INTERNATIONAL HOME OF GERBER BABY FOOD IN FREMONT, MICHIGAN. THERE IS A NEW BIOBASED FACILITY OPENING UP THAT WILL USE ALL THE FOOD WASTE TO GENERATE ENERGY, ELECTRICITY FOR THE NORTHWESTERN AREA OF MICHIGAN. SO THERE'S SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR US RIGHT NOW USING, AGAIN, FOOD WASTE, BY-PRODUCTS FROM AGRICULTURE WHERE WE CAN BLEND THOSE TOGETHER AND CREATE JOBS, GET US OFF OF FOREIGN OIL. THE BIOBASED -- BIOREFINERY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM HAS HELPED BUILD SEVEN FIRST OF THE KIND REFINERIES TO PRODUCE BIOREFINERIES FROM FLORIDA, MICHIGAN AS I SAID, OREGON, TO NEW MEXICO. ONE OF THE COMPANIES IN THE NEW PLANT HAS JUST BEGUN COMMISSIONING THEIR PLANT IN INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, FLORIDA, WHICH WILL USE CITRUS AND OTHER MUNICIPAL SOLIDWAYS TO PRODUCE EIGHT MILLION GALLONS OF ETHANOL EVERY YEAR, SIX MEGAWATTS OF RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY. THEY HAVE OVER 100 PEOPLE WORKING ON THE JOB, COMPLETING THIS FIRST OF A KIND PLANT USING 85% U.S. MANUFACTURED EQUIPMENT, BY THE WAY, FOR THE FACILITY. SO THERE'S SO MANY THINGS. I COULD SPEND A LONG TIME GOING THROUGH ALL OF THE EXCITING EFFORTS GOING ON LITERALLY FROM THE EAST COAST TO THE WEST COAST, NORTH AND SOUTH, WHERE CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS ARE COMING FORWARD WITH THE SUPPORT THROUGH THE USDA TO BE ABLE TO GET THEM THROUGH WHAT IS OFTEN CALLED THE VALLEY OF DEATH AS THEY HAVE A GREAT IDEA BUT ARE TRYING TO GET IT TO COMMERCIALIZATIONS, AND EFFORTS THAT ARE LEVERAGING PRIVATE DOLLARS AND PUBLIC DOLLARS TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THESE COMPANIES MOVE FORWARD INTO FULL COMMERCIALIZATION WHERE THEY CAN CREATE JOBS, CREATE RENEWABLE ENERGY, GET US OFF OF FOREIGN OIL OR CREATE OTHER KINDS OF PRODUCTS, ALL KINDS OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR US AROUND PRODUCTS. THAT LEADS ME TO ANOTHER IMPORTANT PIECE OF THIS WHICH IS RAND RAND WHICH IS ALWAYS A -- R&D WHICH IS ALWAYS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AS WE LOOK AT THESE NEW PREEN PREN NEW YEAR'S, LARGE AND SMALL, MOST START AS A SMALL BUSINESS. SOME WITH A GREAT IDEA. THEY'RE LOOKING FOR HOW DO THEY TURN THAT INTO A GREAT BUSINESS AND HIRING PEOPLE AND SO ON. WITH THE BIOMASS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE IS AN INTERGRADUALLY COMPONENT TO BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND COMMERCIALIZATION. AS I SAID, THIS IS OFTEN CALLED THE VALLEY OF DEATH. IF YOU'RE A ENTREPRENEUR WITH A GREAT IDEA, HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY CONVINCE SOMEBODY TO INVEST IN IT SO YOU CAN MOVE FORWARD. NEARLY 133 MILLION IN GRANTS WERE PROVIDED THROUGH THE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT EFFORT FROM 2003 TO 2010 AND THEY HELPED LEVERAGE $61 MILLION IN PRIVATE INVESTMENT. ONE OF THE GREAT SUCCESS STORIES AMONG MANY COMES OUT OF WISCONSIN. WE HEARD ABOUT THIS DURING ONE OF OUR FARM BILL HEARINGS WHEN LEE EDWARDS, C.E.O. OF VERENT ENERGY CAME IN TO TELL US ABOUT THE GREAT WORK HIS COMPANY IS DOING. THEY WERE AWARDED A GRANT AS SEED MONEY TO DEVELOP THEIR TECHNOLOGY WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN. THEY NOW HAVE OVER 120 EMPLOYEES, PLANS TO EXPAND AGAIN AFTER RECEIVING A CONTRACT FROM COCA-COLA TO DEVELOP A 100% PLANT-BASED BOTTLE FOR CASH NATURED -- CARBONATED BEVERAGES. VERENCE TECHNOLOGY IS FEEDSTOCK NEUTRAL, AND PROVIDES DROP-IN JET FUEL AND RENEWABLE CHEMICALS AND THEIR PARTNERS INCLUDE CARGO, COCA-COLA, AND SHELL. WE ALSO HAVE THE BIOMASS CROP ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WHICH HELPS FARMERS AND RANCHERS WHO WANT TO PLANT ENERGY CROPS FOR BIOMASS THAT WOULD BE CONVERTED TO BIOFUELS OR BIOENERGY. IN 2011 IN 2011, THIS SUPPORTED BETWEEN 3,000 AND 4,000 JOBS. OUR INVESTMENT IN THE BCAP PROGRAM COULD RESULT IN COMPANIES HIRING IN THIS NEXT FARM BILL WE'RE TOLD BETWEEN 2,000 AND 2,600 ADDITIONAL NEW EMPLOYEES. AND WE'VE ALSO ADDRESSED ISSUES AROUND COLLECTION HARVEST -- COLLECTION, HARVEST, STORAGE AND TRANSPORT TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS THAT HAD OCCURRED IN THE LAST FARM BILL. THIS PROVIDES FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO OWNERS AND OPERATORS OF AGRICULTURAL AND NONINDUSTRIAL PRIVATE FORESTLAND AS WELL, AND WE HAVEN'T -- I HAVEN'T TALKED A LOT ABOUT FORESTLAND BUT CERTAINLY BIOMASS, WHAT'S BEEN DONE AROUND FOREST BY-PRODUCTS, BIOMASS EFFORTS ARE VERY, VERY IMPORTANT AS WELL. STEVE FLICK OF SHOME ENERGY RECEIVED THE FIRST BCAP PROJECT COVERING APPROXIMATELY 50,000 ACRES IN 38 COUNTIES IN MISSOURI AND KANSAS, AND INDIVIDUAL FARMERS WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE PROJECT CAN NOW SIGN CONTRACTS WITH THE USDA TO GROW DEDICATED ENERGY CROPS. THIS IS ANOTHER PROVISION THAT WE HAVE IN THE BILL. SHOME'S PLANT IN CENTERVIEW CURRENTLY PELLATIZES CROPS INTO BIOMASS FUEL FOR SPACE HEAT AND ELECTRIC POWER. THIS TECHNOLOGY WILL EVENTUALLY PROVIDE LIQUID FUELS THAT CAN REPLACE GAS CLEAN AND DIESEL AND THEY -- STEVE FLICK ALSO TESTIFIED AT OUR HEARING IN FEBRUARY. MR. PRESIDENT, I COULD GO ON AND ON WITH EXAMPLES. WE HAVE A VERY EXCITING PROJECT I VISITED NOT LONG AGO IN ALPENA, MICHIGAN, THE NORTHEASTERN PART OF THE STATE, WHICH IS A PLANT WORKING WITH A PANELING COMPANY, DECORATIVE PANELS, WHICH IS DOING BEAUTIFUL PANELING WORK, 100% WOOD PANELING. THEY ARE NOW TAKING WHAT USED TO BE WASTE THAT THEY SENT TO A WASTE TREATMENT FACILITY. THEY ARE NOW PUMPING IT RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO A NEW COMPANY THAT IS CREATING CELLULOSIC ETHANOL AND NOW LOOKING FOR OTHER PRODUCTS. ONE OF THEM WILL BE A NEW GREEN BIODEGRADABLE EFFORT TO DEICE RUNWAYS. SO THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF POSSIBILITIES. AND WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT IS THIS FARM BILL IS FOCUSED ON SMALL BUSINESSES, FARMERS, RANCHERS WORKING WITH THE FORESTRY INDUSTRY, HOW DO WE GROW THE ECONOMY BY TAKING THE TWO GREAT STRENGTHS THAT HAVE CREATED THE MIDDLE CLASS OF THIS COUNTRY: GROWING THINGS AND MAKING THINGS. THAT'S WHAT THIS TITLE IS ABOUT. THAT'S WHAT THIS BILL IS ABOUT. AND I'M ANXIOUS TO GET US THROUGH THIS PROCESS SO THAT WE CAN COMPLETE THIS BILL AND GET ON TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF JOBS. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 11:48:42 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:48:44 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    THANK YOU. I ASK TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 11:48:48 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:48:51 AM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. FIRST LET ME THANK MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUE FROM…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. FIRST LET ME THANK MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUE FROM MICHIGAN FOR HER EXTRAORDINARY LEADERSHIP ON A MILESTONE BILL, AND I AM SO PROUD TO BE SUPPORTING THIS BILL AND TO BE IN THIS CHAMBER SPEAKING WITH HER ON ISSUES THAT REALLY AFFECT EVERY AMERICAN, NOT JUST THOSE WHO MAY HAVE FARMERS OR MAY BE RECOGNIZED AS FARM STATES, BUT THE KIND OF LEADERSHIP THAT HAS JUST BEEN HEARD I THINK IS A MODEL FOR ALL OF US AND I THANK HER. I WANT TO TALK TODAY ABOUT TWO ISSUES THAT DIRECTLY AFFECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF AMERICANS OF ALL AGES BUT PARTICULARLY OUR SENIORS AND BEGIN BY ASSOCIATING MYSELF WITH THE REMARKS MADE EARLIER BY SENATORS WHITEHOUSE AND BOXER WITH RESPECT TO SENATE RESOLUTION 37. I STRONGLY OPPOSE EFFORTS UNDERWAY TO ROLL BACK CLEAN AIR ACT PROVISIONS THAT ARE CRITICAL TO HEALTH AND SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN THIS COUNTRY. LAST DECEMBER, THE E.P.A. FINALIZED A RULE AIMED AT REDUCING MERCURY AND OTHER TOXIC EMISSIONS FROM ELECTRIC GENERATING UNITS BY ABOUT 90%. THIS RULE AFFECTS THE MOST TOXIC EMISSIONS IN THE UNITED STATES: MERCURY, ACID GAS, NICKEL, SILL SILLINEUM, CYANIDE. THESE EFFORTS ARE MORE CRITICAL THAN EFFORT. THE EFFORT TO ROLL THEM BACK SHOULD BE RESISTED AND REJECTED. AND I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN WITH ME IN OPPOSING THE JOINT SENATE RESOLUTION THAT WOULD NOT ONLY STYMIE BUT STOP EFFORTS TO PROTECT AMERICANS AGAINST THE MOST TOXIC EMISSIONS EMISSIONS. I FOUGHT FOR THESE KINDS OF PROTECTIONS AS ATTORNEY GENERAL. IN FACT, TOOK ACTION AS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO COMPEL THESE KINDS OF RULES, AND I BELIEVE THAT THE E.P.A. IS EXACTING RESPONSIBLY NOW IN PROMULGATING THEM. I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUES ON BEHALF OF MYSELF AND SENATOR KIRK FOR APPROVING YESTERDAY A RESOLUTION DESIGNATING TOMORROW, JUNE 15, AS WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY. THE RESOLUTION THAT SENATOR KIRK AND I OFFERED AND THAT THIS BODY PASSED RECOGNIZES THE SCOURGE THAT ELDER ABUSE REPRESENTS HERE IN AMERICA AND AROUND THE WORLD. I THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR SUPPORTING IT OVERWHELMINGLY AND I THANK THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PROCLAIMING TOMORROW, JUNE 15, AS WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY. AND TO SECRETARY SEBELIUS FOR ANNOUNCING TODAY THAT $5.5 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR STATES AND TRIBES WILL BE AVAILABLE TO TEST WAYS TO PREVENT ELDER ABUSE, NEGLECT AND EXPLOITATION. THIS INITIATIVE HELPS TO IMPLEMENT THE ELDER JUSTICE ACT WHICH WAS ENACTED AS PART OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, AND I BELIEVE THAT THIS KIND OF INITIATIVE BRINGS TOGETHER IN PARTNERSHIP LOCAL, STATE, FEDERAL AUTHORITIES AND PRIVATE GROUPS TO COMBAT THIS EPIDEMIC. IT IS A SPREADING EPIDEMIC OF ABUSE OF ELDERS. WE HAVE STATISTICS THAT INDICATE HOW IT IS, IN FACT, SPREADING. ELDER ABUSE INCIDENTS HAVE INCREASED BY 150% IN THE LAST 10 YEARS ALONE. A RECENT STUDY OF THE G.A.O. SHOWS THAT EVERY YEAR, 14% OF ALL NONINSTITUTIONALIZED ADULTS ARE VICTIMS OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT OR EXPLOITATION, WHETHER PHYSICAL OR FINANCIAL OR EVEN SEXUAL. SO THE STATISTICS SHOW A TREND THAT IS UNDENIABLE. NOT ONLY IN THE TWO MILLION ADULTS WHO ARE MALTREATED EVERY YEAR BUT IN THE 2.9 MILLION -- I'M SORRY, $2.9 BILLION TAKEN FROM OLDER ADULTS EACH YEAR AS A RESULT OF FINANCIAL ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION. $2.9 BILLION EVERY YEAR TAKEN FROM OLDER AMERICANS. BUT THE STATISTICS TELL ONLY A FRACTION OF THE STORY, BECAUSE THE FACT IS THAT 1 OUT OF -- ONLY 1 OUT OF EVERY 44 INCIDENTS OF FINANCIAL ABUSE IS REPORTED. 43 OUT OF 44 INCIDENTS ARE UNRECORDUNREPORTED. AND, IN FACT, OF ALL INCIDENTS OF ABUSE, 22 OUT OF 23 ARE UNREPORTED. AND THE REASONS ARE DIVERSE. THERE MAY BE SHAME, EMBARRASSMENT. IN FACT, ONE OF THE MOST COMMON REASONS FOR UNDERREPORTING IS THAT THE VICTIM IS RELATED TO THE PERPETRATOR. SADLY, SHAMEFULLY, TRAGICALLY, ALL TOO MANY VICTIMS OF ELDER ABUSE SUFFER AT THE HANDS OF RELATIVES. IT MAY BE A DAUGHTER OR SON. IT MAY BE A BROTHER OR SISTER. AND ALL TOO OFTEN THEY ARE VICTIMS AT THE HANDS OF CAREGIVERS WHO ARE ENTRUSTED WITH THEIR CARE, LITERALLY IN POSITIONS OF TRUST FOR PEOPLE WHO MAY SUFFER PHYSICALLY FROM DEBILITATING ILLNESSES OR FROM DEMENTIA OR OTHER KINDS OF AFFLICTIONS. AND SO THIS POPULATION IS AMONG OUR MOST VULNERABLE AND WE MUST TAKE STRONGER STEPS TO PROTECT THEM. AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, I SOUGHT TO LEAD SUCH EFFORTS AND, IN FACT, CONNECTICUT NOW HAS STRONGER MEASURES AGAINST ELDER ABUSE, SUCH AS MORE THOROUGH BACKGROUND CHECKS, AS A RESULT OF THESE INITIATIVES. AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGING, I HELD A HEARING IN HARTFORD VERY RECENTLY TO DOCUMENT THIS SPREADING EPIDEMIC AND THE WAY IT AFFECTS ALL OF US, ALL OF OUR RELATIVES, ALL OF OUR FRIENDS. IT CUTS ACROSS ALL LINES OF GEOGRAPHY, RACE, GENDER, EVEN INCOME GROUP. AND SO THIS EPIDEMIC MUST BE STOPPED. AND THAT IS WHY THIS RESOLUTION IS IMPORTANT IN CALLING ATTENTION TO THE PROBLEM. THE PRESIDENT'S PROCLAMATION ENHANCES AWARENESS AND I THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR THEIR CONTINUED EFFORT AND THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN THIS CAUSE. WHAT'S REQUIRED AT THE END OF THE DAY IS MORE RESOURCES. MORE RESOURCES FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES THAT HAVE SUCH A CRITICAL ROLE IN PROTECTING THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM IT AND DETERRING THOSE WHO WOULD COMMIT IT. AND PARTNERSHIPS AMONG STATE, LOCAL AND FEDERAL AUTHORITIES. THOSE PARTNERSHIPS MUST SEEK OUT AND ENCOURAGE GREATER REPORTING SO THAT EFFORTS CAN BE TAKEN TO STOP AND DETER IT. I WILL CONTINUE THIS BATTLE. I THANK MY COLLEAGUES FOR JOINING ME AND FOR APPROVING THIS RESOLUTION AND FOR DEMONSTRATING THAT WE CARE. WE CARE AS A BODY AND AS AN INSTITUTION. IT IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC ISSUE. IT IS TRULY BIPARTISAN, BECAUSE THIS GENERATION HAS WORKED HARD, ACCUMULATED SAVINGS, COUNTED ON SECURITY AND IS DEPENDING ON US, TRUSTING US FOR THEIR SAFETY. AND WE KNOW THAT THE NUMBER IN THIS AGE GROUP WILL ONLY GROW -- IN FACT, DOUBLE -- WITHIN THE NEXT YEARS. AND THAT IS WHY WE MUST ADDRESS IT, AND I THANK, AGAIN, MY COLLEAGUES FOR DOING SO. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:58:04 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 12:00:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:00:52 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT IS THE BUSINESS BEFORE THE SENATE?

  • 12:00:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WE'RE IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 12:00:57 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 12:00:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 12:01:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 12:01:23 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE COME TO THE FLOOR TO ADDRESS AND ADVOCATE FOR THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE COME TO THE FLOOR TO ADDRESS AND ADVOCATE FOR THE NOMINATION OF AN EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN, A QUALIFIED, TALENTED LATINA, MARI CARMEN APONTE, TO BE THE UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR. OVER TWO YEARS AGO, I FIRST CHAIRED THE NOMINATION HEARING FOR AMBASSADOR APONTE TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT OBAMA'S AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR, TO SAN SALVADOR. THE REALITY IS AS A MEMBER OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, I FOUND HER TO BE AN EXCEPTIONAL CANDIDATE. LAST NOVEMBER, I CHAIRED YET ANOTHER HEARING FOR AMBASSADOR APONTE. THEN LAST DECEMBER, THIS CHAMBER MET TO VET ON HER CONFIRMATION. IN ADDITION TO LAST YEAR'S VOTE, THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE HAS HELD A SERIES OF MEETINGS TO CONSIDER HER NOMINATION, AND FRANKLY I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY NOMINEE FORCED TO GO THROUGH SUCH AN ARDUOUS AND DRAWN-OUT CONFIRMATION PROCESS AS MISS APONTE. LET ME TALK ABOUT HER RECORD. MARI CARMEN APONTE IS A RESPECTED AMERICAN DIPLOMAT WHO HAD BEEN ON THE JOB AND SERVED THIS NATION WITH DISTINCTION. DURING THE 15 MONTHS THAT AMBASSADOR APONTE WAS SWORN IN AS THE U.S. AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR, SHE IMPRESSED THE DIPLOMATIC ESTABLISHMENT WITH HER PROFESSIONALISM AND WON THE RESPECT OF PARTIES BOTH ON THE RIGHT AND THE LEFT IN EL SALVADOR. SHE HAS WON THE RESPECT OF CIVILIAN AND MILITARY FORCES. SHE HAS WON THE RESPECT OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS. SHE HAS WON EVERYONE'S SUPPORT AND FOSTERED A STRONG U.S.-SALVADORAN BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP THAT CULMINATED WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCING EL SALVADOR AS ONE OF ONLY FOUR COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD AND THE ONLY COUNTRY IN LATIN AMERICA CHOSEN TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PARTNERSHIP FOR GROWTH INITIATIVE. MOST IMPORTANTLY, AMBASSADOR APONTE HAS BEEN AN ADVOCATE FOR AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEMOCRATIC VALUES. AMBASSADOR APONTE AS A RESULT OF HER ADVOCACY, EL SALVADOR IS AGAIN A KEY ALLY IN CENTRAL AMERICA. ITS TROOPS WERE THE ONLY ONES FROM A LATIN AMERICAN COMPANY FIGHTING ALONGSIDE AMERICAN TROOPS IN BOTH IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, AND AS A RESULT OF HER NEGOTIATING SKILLS, THE UNITED STATES AND EL SALVADOR WILL OPEN A NEW JOINTLY FUNDED ELECTRONIC MONITORING CENTER THAT WILL BE AN INVALUABLE TOOL IN FIGHTING TRANSNATIONAL CRIME. BEFORE THAT PERIOD OF TIME IN WHICH HE HAD A RECESS APPOINTMENT, AMBASSADOR APONTE HAD BEEN THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PUERTO RICAN FEDERAL AFFAIRS ADMINISTRATION IN 2001. SHE HAD SERVED AS A DIRECTOR AT THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LARASSA, THE PUERTO RICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND. SHE PRESIDED OVER THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE HISPANIC NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS A RECORD OF SUCCESS. IT'S A RECORD OF HONOR. IT'S A RECORD OF DIPLOMATIC AND POLITICAL DISTINCTION. IT'S A RECORD OF A DEDICATED, QUALIFIED, EXPERIENCED AND ENGAGED AMERICAN DIPLOMAT, A 15-MONTH RECORD THAT BROUGHT OUR NATIONS TOGETHER. WHAT MORE COULD WE ASK, WHAT MORE SHOULD WE ASK? FINALLY, I WILL SIMPLY SAY THAT THE STATEMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN USED BY SOME AGAINST AMBASSADOR APONTE I BELIEVE ARE BASELESS. AS SOMEONE WHO PERSONALLY REVIEWED HER RECORD, AS VUN WHO PERSONALLY LOOKED AT ALL -- SOMEONE WHO PERSONALLY LOOKED AT ALL OF THE FILES, I BELIEVE THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO PREVENT AMBASSADOR APONTE BY BEING -- FROM BEING CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE. AND IT IS MY HOPE WITH HAVING HAD THE WHOLE HISTORY OF HER TREMENDOUS SERVICE AND ALL THE ISSUE VETTED THAT TODAY THE SENATE WILL TAKE A VOTE THAT WILL CONFIRM AN INCREDIBLY QUALIFIED PERSON WHO HAS A LONG HISTORY OF TREMENDOUS SERVICE TO THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY IN THIS COUNTRY, TO OUR NATION AND WHO DID AN EXCEPTIONAL JOB IN THE 15 MONTHS THAT SHE WAS APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA DURING A RECESS APPOINTMENT AS THE AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR. SHE SERVED THE NATIONAL INTEREST AND SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES VERY WELL, AND WE HAVE HAD AN INCREDIBLE PERIOD OF TIME IN WHICH WE HAVE HAD NO AMBASSADOR CONFIRMED THERE. THAT SENDS THE WRONG MESSAGE TO A COUNTRY THAT IS WILLING TO EMBRACE ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES IN CENTRAL AMERICA, IN THE MIDST OF OTHER COUNTRIES THAT ARE NOT AS FRIENDLY TO THE UNITED STATES. WE NEED TO CONFIRM AN AMBASSADOR, SEND HER THERE, HAVE HER CONTINUE THE WORK SHE WAS DOING. WITH THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ANY TIME THAT -- IN WHICH THERE IS A QUM CALL BE EQUALLY -- THERE IS A QUORUM CALL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED AGAINST BOTH SIDES.

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  • 12:06:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:06:45 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    WITH THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, I OBSERVE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 12:06:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 12:06:59 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:28:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 12:28:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:28:09 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK IN WHAT REMAINING TIME THERE IS.

  • 12:28:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:28:14 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'RE ABOUT TO VOTE ON WHAT I HOPE WILL BE A POSITIVE…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'RE ABOUT TO VOTE ON WHAT I HOPE WILL BE A POSITIVE VOTE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF EL SALVADOR THAT WE APPRECIATE THEIR POSITIVE ENGAGEMENT WITH THE UNITED STATES AT A TIME IN WHICH MANY CENTRAL AND LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES HAVE TAKEN A DIFFERENT VIEW. THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT HAS ENGAGED WITH US ON THE WHOLE ISSUE OF NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING, HAS SENT THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO FIGHT ALONGSIDE WITH US AND HAVE SHOWN A QILG WILGNESS TO ENGAGE IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW. WE HAVE AN INCREDIBLY QUALIFIED AMERICAN OF LATINA DESCENT, MARI APONTE, SHE HAS SERVED WITH DISIRPTION FOR 15 MINUTES. I ATSUNAMI TSUNAMI THE ABSENCE OF VOICES TO THE CONTRARY IN THE CHAMBER SPEAK VOLUMES TO THE PROCESS WE'VE HAD AND THE OPPORTUNITY THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO ENGAGE IN. SO IT IS MY HOPE THAT WE WILL SEE A STRONG BIPARTISAN VOTE ON BEHALF OF AMBASSADOR APONTE, SEND HER BACK TO EL SALVADOR, GETTING BACK TO WORK FOR THE UNITED STATES AND OUR COLLECTIVE INTERESTS. WITH THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND WITH THAT I OBSERVE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:29:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 12:30:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 12:30:34 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 12:30:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. ALL TIME HAS EXPIRED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. ALL TIME HAS EXPIRED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

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  • 12:30:53 PM

    THE CLERK

    WE THE UNDERSIGNED NORS SENATORS IN AACCORDANCE WITH RULE 22 OF THE…

    WE THE UNDERSIGNED NORS SENATORS IN AACCORDANCE WITH RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE THE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF MARI CARMEN APONTE TO BE AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO THE REPUBLIC OF EL SALVADOR. SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS.

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  • 12:31:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE QUESTION UPON RECONSIDERATION IS IT THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF MARI CARMEN APONTE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO BE AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO THE REPUBLIC OF EL SALVADOR SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE. THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 12:31:39 PM
  • 12:58:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE?…

    THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? SEEING NONE, ON THIS VOTE, THE YEAS ARE 62, THE NAYS ARE 37. 3/5 OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION UPON RECONSIDERATION IS AGREED TO.

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  • 12:59:05 PM

    MR. REID

    I ASK THAT THE REMARKS I AM GOING TO GIVE IN JUST A MINUTE APPEAR PRIOR TO…

    I ASK THAT THE REMARKS I AM GOING TO GIVE IN JUST A MINUTE APPEAR PRIOR TO THE VOTE HAVING BEEN TAKEN ON THIS MATTER.

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  • 12:59:12 PM

    MR. REID

    I'M REALLY HAPPY THAT THE SENATE WAS ABLE TO CONFIRM THE NOMINATION OF…

    I'M REALLY HAPPY THAT THE SENATE WAS ABLE TO CONFIRM THE NOMINATION OF APONTE, MARI APONTE TO BE AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR. SHE HAS BEEN WAITING IN THE AISLE TOO LONG. I'M SO GLAD THAT SHE WAS ABLE TO -- SHE WILL BE ABLE TO RENEW HER OLD JOB. SHE WAS REALLY AN EXEMPLARY NOMINEE OF WHOM THE PUERTO RICAN COMMUNITY AND THE HISPANICS IN GENERAL CAN FEEL PROUD. SHE IS AN EXCELLENT AMBASSADOR. PRESIDENT OBAMA RECESS APPOINTED HER AS AN ACTING AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR IN 2010, AND SHE SERVED WITH DISTINCTION. THAT'S WHY SHE WAS CONFIRMED TODAY. DURING HER TIME AS ACTING AMBASSADOR, MISS APONTE WAS AN OUTSPOKEN ADVOCATE FOR AMERICAN VALUES AND DEMOCRACY AND A STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF THE UNITED STATES PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. SHE PERSUADED THE GOVERNMENT OF EL SALVADOR TO DEPLOY TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN. EL SALVADOR IS THE FIRST AND ONLY LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRY TO SEND MILITARY FORCES TO JOIN OUR NATO DEPLOYMENT. THAT SAYS IT ALL. SHE REACHED AN AGREEMENT WITH THE SALVADOR AN GOVERNMENT TO OPEN A NEW ELECTRONIC MONITORING CENTER TO FIGHT TRANSNATIONAL CRIME. SHE HAS ALREADY IMPROVED HER -- PROVED HER STRENGTHS AND QUALIFICATIONS ON THE JOB. THAT'S WHAT SHE HAS ALREADY DONE. SHE HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS AND COUNTLESS OF LATINO ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY. THEY ARE VERY, VERY PROUD OF HER AS THEY SHOULD BE. I'M PROUD OF HER. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DID A LOT OF HEAVY LIFTING TO GET HER CONFIRMED. WHITE HOUSE STAFF WORKED DILIGENTLY TO ROUND UP EVERY VOTE POSSIBLE. SECRETARY CLINTON CALLED SENATORS THIS WEEK, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, TO ADVOCATE FOR APONTE'S ANONYMOUS. I COMMEND SENATOR MENENDEZ FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE. IT'S HIGH TIME THE UNITED STATES HAS A SENATE CONFIRMED AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR, OUR ALLY. I WANT TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WHO DROPPED THEIR UNWARRANTED OPPOSITION AND HELPED US CONFIRM THIS WELL-QUALIFIED NOMINEE. I'M SORRY FOR HER AND THE COUNTRY THAT EL SALVADOR HAS BEEN WITHOUT SOMEONE DOING THE ADVOCACY FOR OUR COUNTRY WITHIN EL SALVADOR. THAT WON'T HAPPEN ANYMORE, SHE WILL BE ABLE TO GO TO WORK TOMORROW. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 01:01:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA.

  • 01:01:46 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    MADAM PRESIDENT, IN A MOMENT I WANT TO PUT A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST AND…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, IN A MOMENT I WANT TO PUT A UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST AND BEFORE I DO, I'D LIKE TO SAY WHAT IT'S ON SO THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE TIME AND THE EFFORT THAT'S GONE INTO GETTING LEGISLATION PASSED, AND I'M REFERRING NOW TO A -- 3268. MADAM PRESIDENT, WHEN JOHN GLENN RETIRED FROM THIS BODY THAT LEFT ME AS KIND OF THE LAST ACTIVE COMMERCIAL PILOT. CONSEQUENTLY I END UP GETTING A LOT MORE OF THE -- OH, THE COMPLAINTS AND PROBLEMS WITHIN THE F.A.A. AND THE WAY CASES, ACCUSATIONS ARE MADE AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE TAKEN. AND I'VE GONE TO BAT FOR A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE WHEN I'VE FELT THERE IS REALLY A FAIRNESS PROBLEM. AND IT WASN'T UNTIL I HAD AN EXPERIENCE, A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT I REALIZED THE DEPTH OF THE PROBLEM. IT'S VERY HARD FOR PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM TO UNDERSTAND IF YOU HAVE BEEN AS I HAVE BEEN A PRIVATE PILOT, A COMMERCIAL PILOT, A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR FOR 55 YEARS, WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO HAVE THAT LICENSE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU IF THAT WERE MERELY AT THE WHIMS OF SOME ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE FIELD. I THINK ALL OF US KNOW WHETHER IT'S -- I WAS MAYOR OF TULSA, NOW AND THEN WE HAD POLICE OFFICERS WHO COULDN'T HANDLE THE AUTHORITY. THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. CERTAINLY IT HAPPENS AND WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT IT WITH ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE F.A.A. SO WHAT HAPPENED TO ME AND I'LL SHARE THAT WITH YOU, I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT, I HAVE PROBABLY MORE HOURS THAN MOST OF THE AIRLINE PILOTS HAVE AND I'M STILL VERY ACTIVE IN AVIATION. I WAS FLYING DOWN TO THE SOUTHERN PART OF TEXAS. THE FURTHEST SOUTH PART OF TEXAS, WAY DOWN BY BROWNSVILLE. IT'S CAMERON COUNTY AIRPORT. IT'S PAPA INDIA LIMA IS THE IDENTIFIER FOR IT. WITH SEVERAL PASSENGERS WITH ME, I WAS GOING BY THE CONTROLLERS AND THIS IS WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO BUT I ALWAYS DO FOR SAFETY PURPOSES. AND I WENT THROUGH THE CORPUS CHRISTI APPROACH CONTROL AND HE HANDED ME OFF TO THE VALLEY APPROACH CONTROL. I WAS GOING INTO A FIELD THAT WAS UNCONTROLLED. SO THE ONLY CONTROL IS THE VALLEY APPROACH CONTROL. AND THEY'RE WATCHING ON A SCREEN AND THEY HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO DIRECT YOU AND AUTHORIZE YOU TO DO THINGS. AND THEY ARE LOOKING FOR TRAFFIC AND YOU'RE SQUAWKING SO THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE, HOW HIGH WE ARE AND ALL THESE THINGS WERE HAPPENING. AGAIN, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT. AND AND ON THIS DAY IN OCTOBER, A YEAR AGO OCTOBER, I DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT BUT I DID IT ANYMORE. WELL, AS I APPROACHED THE WINDOWS ALWAYS OUT -- THE WIND IS ALWAYS OUT OF THE SOUTH DOWN THERE AND THE RUNWAY IS 1-3, THAT COORDINATES WITH 130 DEGREES. AND I'D HAVE TO GO BACK AND LISTEN AGAIN TO THE VOICE RECORDER, ABOUT A TWO OR THREE-MILE FINAL TO RUN WAY 13, THE CONTROLLER SAID TWIN CESSNA, YOU ARE CLEARED TO LAND, RUNWAY 13. WHEN YOU DO THIS, YOU DIRTY UP YOUR PLANE SO YOU CAN LAND. THIS HAPPENS TO BE A PRETTY SOPHISTICATED TWIN-ENGINE PLANE, YOU LET THE FLAPS DOWN AND GEARS DOWN AND ALL THAT STUFF. YOU GET TO THE POINT BEYOND WHICH YOU CAN'T GO AROUND. WHEN I CAME IN TO MAKE A LANDING, I SAW -- I DIDN'T SEE AN X ON THE RUNWAY BECAUSE IT WASN'T PROMINENT BUT NONETHELESS THERE WAS ONE THERE BUT THERE WERE SOME WORKERS ON THE FAR EAST SIDE OF THE RUNWAY. NOW, THIS WAS A 8,000 OR 9,000-FOOT RUN WAY, I ONLY NEED 2,000 FEET SO I WENT OVER THE WORKERS AND LANDED. IMMEDIATELY THEY SAY THEY GOT UPSET THAT I LANDED. AND A LOT OF PEOPLE BECAUSE I'M A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, THEY STARTED CALLING "THE NEW YORK TIMES" AND "THE WASHINGTON POST" AND ALL -- THEY JUST HAD A WONDERFUL TIME WITH THIS. AND SO I STARTED LOOKING AT IT AND TALKING TO THE PEOPLE WHO DO THE ENFORCEMENT ACTION, AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT THEY WERE GOOD BUT THEY WERE RESPONDING TO A LOT OF HYSTERICAL PEOPLE WHO QUITE FRANKLY DIDN'T LIKE ME. AND SO THEY CAME WITH AN ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST ME WHICH MERELY WAS TO TO GO AROUND THE PATTERN WITH A -- WITH A -- A DPRIEMPLET FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND SO I DID THIS WITH ONE, I'M ALSO A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I HAD GIVEN HIM HIS LICENSE, AS A MATTER OF FACT. SO I WENT THROUGH THIS PROCEDURE AND EVERYTHING WAS FINE. HOWEVER, THE PROBLEM WAS THIS: I WAS DENIED ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION THAT THEY WERE GOING TO USE AGAINST ME. AND WHEN I TOLD THEM THAT I WAS CLEARED TO LAND BY A CONTROLLER, IT TOOK ME, A UNITED STATES SENATOR, FOUR MONTHS TO GET THE VOICE RECORDING TO PROVE THAT I WAS RIGHT. SECONDLY, THERE'S A THING CALLED NOTICE TO AIRMEN. NOTAMS ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BE PUBLISHED, AND YOU LOOK THROUGH YOUR RESOURCES, AS I ALWAYS DO, TO SEE IF THERE ARE NOTAMS ON THE RUNWAYS. WHEN I GO ON WEEKENDS, I'LL NORMALLY FLY -- OH, GOSH I'LL BE AT FIVE OR SIX DIFFERENT TOWNS BUT I LOOK UP THE NOTAMS. I HAD DONE THAT. NONE AT CAMERON COUNTY AIRPORT, WE CHECKED AFTERWARDS, WE NEVER COULD FIND ANY, NO ONE SAYS THERE WERE NOTAMS NOW. NUMBER ONE, WAS CLEARED TO LAND, AND NO NOTAMS THAT WERE PUBLISHED. WHAT THEY COULD HAVE DONE IS TAKE MY LICENSE AWAY. AND IT DOESN'T MEAN MUCH TO PEOPLE LISTENING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT PILOTS. BUT IT MEANS A LOT TO THE 400,000 MEMBERS OF THE AOPA WHO ARE WATCHING US RIGHT NOW, AND TO THE 175,000 PILOTS, GENERAL AVIATION PILOTS WITH THE EAA, EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION WHO ARE WATCHING US RIGHT NOW. THEY KNOW THAT THEY COULD AT THE WHIMS OF ONE BUREAUCRAT COULD LOSE THEIR LICENSE. SO ANYWAY, I CAME BACK AND DRAFTED LEGISLATION AND I HAVE TO SAY THIS WAS WAY BACK IN A YEAR AGO NOW, JULY 6 OF 2011, INTRODUCED A BILL WITH 25 COSPONSORS THAT WOULD CORRECT -- DO THREE THINGS VERY SIMPLY. NUMBER ONE, IT WOULD LET THE ACCUSED HAVE ACCESS TO ALL RELEVANT EVIDENCE WITHIN 30 DAYS PRIOR TO A DECISION TO PROCEED WITH AN ENFORCEMENT ACTION. NUMBER TWO, IT WOULD ALLOW THE -- THE ACCUSED TO GO HAVE ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL COURTS, AS IT IS RIGHT NOW, THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, IT GOES TO THEM, THEY RUBBER STAMP WHATEVER THE F.A.A. DOES IN FISCAL YEAR 10 THERE WERE 61 APPEALS AND OF THAT ONLY FIVE WERE REVERSED. OF THE 24 PETITIONS IN 2010, SEEKING REVIEW FOR EMERGENCY DETERMINATIONS, ONLY ONE, ONLY ONE WAS GRANTED. AND 23 WERE DENIED. IT'S A RUBBER STAMP. ASK ANY PILOT THAT YOU CAN FIND AND THEY'LL TELL YOU THAT'S WHAT IT IS. AND SO THIS WAY THEY WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT INSPECTOR IN THE FIELD, ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE FIELD IS NOT GOING TO PUT HIS REPUTATION ON THE LINE TO -- TO KNOWING THAT SOMEONE IS GOING TO BE LOOKING AND A SENSE OF FAIRNESS. THE DISTRICT COURT DOESN'T HAVE TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PILOTING AN AIRPLANE. IT'S JUST A FAIRNESS ISSUE AND IN MY CASE THEY WOULD HAVE LOOKED AT THIS AND SAID WAIT A MINUTE YOU WERE CLEARED TO LAND BY THE F.A.A., NO NOTAMS PUBLISHED, WHAT DID YOU DO WRONG? I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING BE WRONG. THAT IS WHERE THEY COME IN. AND IT WOULD MAKE SURE THAT FLIGHT SERVICE STATION COMMUNICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL AIRMEN. THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE BUT IF IT TOOK ME FOUR MONTHS AND I'M A UNITED STATES SENATOR TO GET A VOICE RECORDING TO SHOW I WAS CLEARED TO LAND, WHAT ABOUT SOMEBODY WHO IS NOT A UNITED STATES SENATOR? WHAT ABOUT SOMEBODY WHO WOULD BE INTIMIDATED TO THE POINT THAT WOULD LOSE HIS LICENSE? THE SECOND THING THIS DOES, IT FORCES THE NOTICE, THE NOTICE TO AIRMEN, TO BE PUT IN A PLACE WHERE THEY ARE VISIBLE, A CENTRAL LOCATION, AND THE THIRD THING IT DOES, THERE IS A PROBLEM. IF YOU TALK TO THE AIRCRAFT OWNERS AND PILOTS ASSOCIATION, OF ALL THE PROBLEMS THAT THEY GET CALLED TO THEIR ATTENTION, 23% OF -- 28% OF ALL THE REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE RECEIVED BY THEM RELATE TO THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATION PROCESS. IN OTHER WORDS, SOMEONE MIGHT LOSE HIS MEDICAL AND TAKE AND FIND HE'S DIRECT CRECTED ANY KIND OF PHYSICAL PROBLEM AND WANT TO GET IT BACK AND THEY GET IT BACK. HOWEVER IF HE HAPPENS TO LIVE IN A DIFFERENT TOWN AND THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THESE DOCTORS THAT DO THIS, THERE'S NO UNIFORMITY BETWEEN IT. IT SETS UP A PROCESS OR HELPS FACILITATE SETTING UP A PROCESS BY HAVING GENERAL AVIATION, HAVING THE F.A.A., HAVING THE NTSB, HAVING EVERYONE WHO IS RELEVANT AND INTERESTED IN THIS TO LOOK AT -- LOOK AT AND COORDINATE THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATION PROCESS. THAT'S ESSENTIALLY IT, MADAM PRESIDENT. I'M PREPARED TO GO INTO A LOT OF DETAIL. I KNOW THAT I NOW HAVE 66 COSPONSORS IN THIS BODY. I COULD HAVE HAD A LOT MORE, WE QUID AFTER WE GOT TWO-THIRDS, I THINK EVERYONE KNOWS THAT'S NORMALLY WHAT DO YOU. AND I DO KNOW THAT WE MAY HAVE ONE OBJECTION TO THIS UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST. BUT I'M GOING TO MAKE IT NOW AS IF IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 422 S. 3268, THAT THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE, AND THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE BILL APPEAR AT THIS POINT IN THE RECORD.

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  • 01:12:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION?

  • 01:12:33 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 01:12:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA.

  • 01:12:37 PM

    MR. ROCKEFELLER

    RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT. FIRST OF ALL, I KNOW THIS BILL IS VERY…

    RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT. FIRST OF ALL, I KNOW THIS BILL IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE SENATOR WHO IS OFFERING IT AND I UNDERSTAND THAT AND I RESPECT THE SENATOR AND HE'S A GOOD SENATOR. BUT THIS -- THIS REALLY, MY OBJECTION IS NOT BASED SO MUCH ON WHAT HE SAID BUT IT'S BASED ON THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF PUBLIC SAFETY. THIS IS ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY. WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WORRY THAT POTENTIALLY UNQUALIFIED PILOTS ARE IN THE AIR. WE HAVE SO MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AIRPLANES IN THE AIR EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY. THIS BILL WOULD CREATE A PROCESS WHICH WOULD BE NEW THAT COULD RESULT IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BEING UNABLE TO PURSUE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS BECAUSE OF LIMITED RESOURCES. IT'S A FACT OF LIFE THESE DAYS. F.A.A. HAS TO CUT WAY BACK. OR HAVING TO ADDRESS OTHER MANDATED PRIORITIES WHICH ARE PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS ONE. AND THAT COULD VERY WELL MEAN THAT THE F.A.A. AND THE NTSB, THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, WHICH ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT WHETHER PILOTS WHO HAVE VIOLATED AVIATION REGULATIONS COULD BE BARRED FROM TAKING ACTIONS TO PREVENT UNSAFE PILOTS FROM CONTINUING TO FLY. THAT'S HEAVY WATER. THAT COULD HAVE SERIOUS SAFETY CONSEQUENCES. ACCORDING TO THE F.A.A. IN SOME CASES WHICH WOULD TYPICALLY WARRANT REVOCATION OF A PILOT'S LICENSE, SOME UNQUALIFIED PILOTS WOULD BE ABLE TO AVOID LOSING THEIR CERTIFICATES BY AVOIDING F.A.A. PROSECUTION OF THE MATTER BEFORE THE IN THE SB. THIS BILL -- IN THE SB. THIS WILL -- NTSB. THIS WOULD STAND THE ENFORCEMENT STRUCTURE ON ITS HEAD AND AS A RESULT I DO OBJECT.

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  • 01:14:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 01:14:35 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    RESPOND. THIS HAS NO WAY -- IN NO WAY ANYTHING TO DO WITH SAFETY. THE…

    RESPOND. THIS HAS NO WAY -- IN NO WAY ANYTHING TO DO WITH SAFETY. THE FIRST ASH TRAITDOR IS -- ARBITRATOR IS THE F.A.A. WHEN WE HAVE A CHANCE TO ALMOST ALL THE SENATORS IN THIS BODY, WE'VE TALKED ABOUT SAFETY, WE HAD A HEARING AT OSHKOSH ABOUT THE SAFETY. THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS SUPPORT ME IN THIS. THEY'RE THE ONES CONCERNED WITH SAFETY. I WOULD JUST SAY I DON'T AGREE WITH THAT ARGUMENT BUT I RESPECT THE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA.

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  • 01:15:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 01:15:10 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I TOO OBJECT, ALONG WITH SENATOR ROCKEFELLER. LET ME SAY…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I TOO OBJECT, ALONG WITH SENATOR ROCKEFELLER. LET ME SAY THAT I HAVE BEEN ON THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, AND I KNOW WELL THE KINDS OF CASES THAT ARE PILOTS LICENSE REVOCATIONS AND THE NTSB PROCESS FOR APPEALS OF THOSE. AND I UNDERSTAND SENATOR INHOFE 'S EXPLANATION FOR WHAT HAPPENED WITH HIM THAT IS IN SOMEWHAT OF A DISAGREEMENT WITH SOME OF THE REPORTING OF THAT INCIDENT. AND I THINK -- I CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA'S LONGTIME RECORD OF BEING A PILOT, AND I RESPECT THAT VERY MUCH. BUT I'M AFRAID THAT WHAT HE'S NOT TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION IS MOST CERTAINLY A SAFETY ISSUE. WE HAVE TASKED THE F.A.A. WITH AIR SAFETY, AND WE HAVE GIVEN THEM THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR REVOKING PILOTS' LICENSES WHEN THERE IS A NEED TO DO THAT IN THEIR OPINION, WHETHER IT BE FOR VIOLATION OF LANDING ON A RUNWAY THAT HAD AN "X" WHICH PILOTS KNOW MEANS THAT RUNWAY CANNOT BE USED AT THAT TIME. AS HAPPENED WITH SENATOR INHOFE'S CASE, HE IS SAYING THAT HE HAD A CLEARANCE, BUT THE "X" WAS THERE, AND THE F.A.A. CITED HIM FOR THAT AND DID NOT REVOKE HIS PILOT'S LICENSE AT ALL. BUT YET HE'S COMING FORWARD WITH A BILL THAT NOT ONLY ADDRESSES SOME OF HIS LEGITIMATE CONCERNS, WHICH I AGREE WITH, BUT ALSO GOES BEYOND THAT TO SAY THAT WHEN THE F.A.A., WITH ITS EXPERTISE AND ITS MISSION THAT IS GIVEN TO IT BY CONGRESS TO PROVIDE FOR SAFETY AND REVOKES A PRIVATE PILOT'S LICENSE OR COMMERCIAL PILOT'S LICENSE OR AVIATION MECHANIC'S LICENSE THAT THEY WOULD THEN NOT HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE APPELLATE PROCESS WITH THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, WHICH IS THE APPELLATE AUTHORITY, WHICH ALSO HAS THE EXPERTISE AND THE EXPERIENCE TO KNOW WHEN A REVOCATION WOULD BE QUESTIONABLE OR IF THE F.A.A. WAS RIGHT. THEY HAVE THE PILOTS, THEY HAVE THE EXPERTISE TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. AND THEY THEN, AFTER THE NTSB APPEAL HAVE THE RIGHT TO GO TO FEDERAL COURT IF THEY SO CHOOSE. WHAT SENATOR INHOFE'S BILL DOES IS TAKE AWAY THE NTSB PORTION OF THE APPEALS PROCESS. NOW LET ME SAY THAT I HAVE OFFERED TO SENATOR INHOFE, BECAUSE HE KNEW THAT I OBJECTED TO THIS BILL, TO DO EVERYTHING IN HIS BILL THAT HE HAS ADDRESSED. THE OPENNESS, THE REQUIREMENT THAT AN ENFORCEMENT ACTION THAT THE F.A.A. WOULD GRANT THE PILOT ALL THE RELEVANT EVIDENCE IN 30 DAYS PRIOR TO A DECISION, THAT IT WOULD CLARIFY THE STATUTORY DEFERENCE AS IT RELATES TO NTSB. NTSB IS NOT A RUBBER STAMP AT ALL. I THINK THEY HAVE BEEN FAIR WITH THEIR EXPERTISE. F.A.A. HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR AVIATION SAFETY. REQUIRING THE F.A.A. TO UNDERTAKE A NOTICE TO AIRMEN IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM, I THINK IS CERTAINLY LEGITIMATE. MAKING FLIGHT SERVICE STATION COMMUNICATIONS AVAILABLE TO ALL AIRMEN IS A LEGITIMATE PIECE OF THIS LEGISLATION. WHAT I OBJECT TO AND HAVE ASKED SENATOR INHOFE TO LET US WORK TOGETHER TO DO IS NOT TO BYPASS NTSB, BUT TO LET THE APPELLATE PROCESS GO FORWARD AND THEN AT THE END, IF THERE IS STILL A FEELING OF UNFAIRNESS ON THE PART OF THE PILOT, THAT THEY WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL COURTS. THEY CAN DO THAT NOW. SO I THINK THAT SENATOR INHOFE INSISTING ON BYPASSING NTSB IS HOLDING UP THE GOOD PARTS OF HIS BILL BECAUSE IT IS VERY IMPORTANT, IN MY OPINION, THAT WE KEEP THE KPER TEASE FOR THE SAFETY -- EXPERTISE FOR THE SAFETY IN THE SKIES WHERE IT IS IN THE F.A.A., THE IN THE IT BE AND THEN THE FEDERAL COURTS IF RIGHTS ARE VIOLATED. IN 2011, THE NTSB HAD 350 APPEALS CASES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES, AND THE NUMBER WAS SIMILAR IN 2011. CASES ARE TYPICALLY DISPOSED OF IN 90 TO 120 DAYS, SO THERE'S NOT A LONG LAG TIME IN WHICH THE PILOT DOESN'T HAVE THE ACCESS TO HIS OR HER LICENSE. THE NTSB HELD 62 APPEALS HEARINGS IN 2011 AND 36 CASES WENT TO THE FULL BOARD. THE BREAKDOWN OF THE CASES WAS PRIVATE PILOTS, 48%. MECHANICS -- AIRLINE MECHANICS OR AVIATION MECHANICS 13%. COMMERCIAL PILOTS 6%. AIR CARRIERS 8%. AND MEDICAL WAS 25%. NOW MADAM PRESIDENT, I -- SENATOR ROCKEFELLER AND I, AS THE RELEVANT CHAIRMAN AND RANKING ON THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, HAVE AGREED TO HAVE A HEARING ON SENATOR INHOFE'S BILL SO THAT THIS COULD BE FULLY VETTED. AND MOST CERTAINLY I HAVE ON MANY OCCASIONS OFFERED TO WORK WITH SENATOR INHOFE TO GET THE NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, THE OPENNESS REQUIREMENTS, EVERY PART OF HIS BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE REFORMS OF THE PROCESS FOR FAIRNESS TO THE PILOTS, I WOULD AGREE WITH AND WORK TO HELP HIM PASS. BUT TAKING OUT THE NTSB AND GOING DIRECTLY TO FEDERAL COURTS I THINK IS NOT NECESSARY, AND I THINK IT WILL RURT AVIATION SAFETY. NOW I ALSO BELIEVE THAT A DIFFERENT EXTRANEOUS ISSUE IS THAT OUR FEDERAL COURTS ARE PRETTY CLOGGED ALREADY AND THE FEDERAL COURTS DO NOT HAVE PILOTS LICENSES ON THEIR STAFF CLERKSHIP ROLLS TO A GREAT EXTENT. MAYBE THEY HAPPEN TO BE, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THE FAMILIARITY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF F.A.A. AND THE ISSUES THAT F.A.A. LOOKS AT. SO -- AND THEY DO HAVE ACCESS TO FEDERAL COURTS IN THE END, ANYWAY. BUT THE NTSB PART I THINK IS IMPORTANT SO THAT THE EXPERIENCED PILOTS IN THE NTSB HAVE THE APPELLATE AUTHORITY AS THEY DO NOW TO DECIPHER WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE F.A.A. AND DETERMINE IF FAIRNESS WAS GIVEN TO THE PILOT. BUT ALSO TO HELP DETERMINE IF THAT PILOT'S REVOCATION WOULD ENDANGER AVIATION SAFETY, WHICH IS NOT A ROLE FOR THE FEDERAL COURTS. SO, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER AND I DO OBJECT. I HOLD MY HAND OUT TO SENATOR INHOFE TO WORK WITH HIM ON THE NOTIFICATION AND FAIRNESS ISSUES IN HIS BILL, WHICH I SUPPORT. I JUST DON'T THINK BYPASSING THE EXPERTISE AND ADDING ANOTHER BURDEN TO THE FEDERAL COURTS, WHERE THEY DO NOT HAVE THE EXPERTISE IS IN ANYONE'S BEST INTEREST IN THIS COUNTRY. AND I'M HAPPY TO WORK WITH ANYONE INTERESTED IN THIS ISSUE AND HOPE THAT WE CAN RESOLVE IT.

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  • 01:24:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA.

  • 01:24:10 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:28:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:28:03 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:30:04 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    WITH THE 400,000 PILOTS INTERESTED IN THIS -- ACTUALLY WELL OVER THAT --…

    WITH THE 400,000 PILOTS INTERESTED IN THIS -- ACTUALLY WELL OVER THAT -- JUST THOSE WHO ARE INVOLVED IN THIS PRO SET RIGHT NOW, THEY HAVE HAD DOCUMENTARY CASES WHERE THE FAIRNESS IS NOT THERE. THAT'S ALL THAT WE'RE ASKING, JUST TO BE TREATED FAIR, LIKE EVERY OTHER CITIZEN IN THE UNITED STATES. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:30:30 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    MR. PRESIDENT, ON THE POINT OF THE HEARING, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER AND I HAVE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, ON THE POINT OF THE HEARING, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER AND I HAVE AGREED CERTAINLY WITH SENATOR INHOFE TO HOLD A HEARING, WHICH WE NOTIFIED SENATOR INHOFE THAT WE WOULD. I WOULD EXPECT IT TO BE NEXT MONTH FOR THE HEARING SCHEDULE. I JUST HOPE THAT w -- AND I JUST HOPE THAT WE CAN PASS A GOOD PART OF HIS BILL, WHICH I'D LIKE TO WORK WITH HIM ON. BUT I THINK THAT THE MOTIVATION HERE SHOULD BE SAFETY AND ASSURING SAFETY, AND I KNOW THE PERSONAL CONFLICT THAT SENATOR INHOFE HAS WITH WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM, AND I'M SYMPATHETIC, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT PASSING LEGISLATION THAT COULD HURT THE AVIATION SAFETY COMMUNITY IS THE RIGHT APPROACH TO MEET THE OBJECTIONS THAT SENATOR INHOFE HAS. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A HEARING AND HAVE ALL OF THE WITNESSES THAT HE WOULD PUT FORWARD, AND LET'S GET THE OBJECTIVE LOOK AT WHAT THIS WOULD DO TO TAKING THE EXPERTISE AND THE MISSION FROM F.A.A. AND ALLOW IT TO BE BYPASSED AT NTSB LEVEL AND GO TO FEDERAL COURTS, WHERE THERE IS NOT THE EXPERIENCE AND THE AVIATION SAFETY MISSION THAT IS, I THINK, WELL-PROTECTED TODAY. SO I HOPE THAT WE CAN WORK TOGETHER ON THIS, AND I UNDERSTAND HIS FRUSTRATION, BUT I DON'T THINK THIS IS THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM WITH ONE INCIDENT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 01:32:25 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    FIRST OF ALL, I'M NOT AWARE THAT I WAS OFFERED A HEARING. BUT LET ME JUST…

    FIRST OF ALL, I'M NOT AWARE THAT I WAS OFFERED A HEARING. BUT LET ME JUST MAKE SURE I HAVE IN THE RECORD A LETTER, SEPTEMBER 15 OF 2011 -- THAT WAS, WHAT, NINE MONTHS AGO -- SIGNED BY 32 MEMBERS OF THIS SENATE, INCLUDING THE OCCUPIER OF THE CHAIR RIGHT NOW, THE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA. AND I DON'T THINK ANYONE IS GOING TO SAY THAT WE HAVEN'T DONE EVERYTHING WE COULD TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS, THE COMMITTEE PROCESS, TO GET A HEARING. I JUST FLAT GAVE UP. AND THAT'S WHY WE HAVE THIS RULE. AND SO I WILL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO TAKING THE NEXT STEPS, AND I KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT WANT TO HAVE THIS TYPE OF JUSTICE AFFORDED THE PILOTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE SAME AS EVERY OTHER CITIZEN ENJOYS. WITH -- I APPRECIATE THE PATIENCE OF THE COMMITTEE BECAUSE I KNOW WE HAVE OTHER BUSINESS. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:33:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT WILL BE PLACED IN THE RECORD.

  • 01:33:28 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    THESE THREE ULTIMATE DOS IN THE RECORD? -- THESE THREE DOCUMENTS IN THE…

    THESE THREE ULTIMATE DOS IN THE RECORD? -- THESE THREE DOCUMENTS IN THE RECORD?

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  • 01:33:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    YES. THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

  • 01:33:37 PM

    MR. BROWN

    TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 01:33:41 PM

    MR. BROWN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS A TERRIBLE SHORTCOMING…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS A TERRIBLE SHORTCOMING IN OUR DISCRIMINATION LAWS IN LEGISLATION WHICH I INTRODUCED AND I ENCOURAGE YOU TO SIGN OFNLT THE BOSTON HERALD REPORTED THAT A VETERAN OF IRAQ IN AFGHANISTAN HAD BEEN FORCED TO FILE SUIT IN BOSTON BECAUSE A POLITICAL ACTIVIST LANDLORD DISCOURAGED HIM HIM FROM RENTING BECAUSE OF HIS MILITARY BACKGROUND CLAIMING THE SITUATION WOULD BE -- QUOTE -- "UNCOMFORTABLE." THIS BRAVE VETERAN BROUGHT HIS FIGHT TO THE PRESS AND TO THE COURTS OF MASSACHUSETTS, WHERE STATE LAW MAKES IT ILLEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST VETERANS WHO ARE SEEKING HOUSING. NOW, IN MASSACHUSETTS THAT IS IN FACT THE LAW -- IT IS ILLEGAL. WHEN I READ THIS, I WAS ANGRY, AS I KNOW YOU WOULD BE ANGRY IF IT HAPPENED IN YOUR STATE. THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN TODAY IS JUST MIND-BOGGLING. SO MY STAFF AND YOU STARTED WORKING TO SEE WHAT WE COULD DO TO RIGHT THIS WRONG. AND SEE IF IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS SYSTEMIC THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. WE STARTED DIGGING INTO THIS ISSUE AND FOUND WHEN IT COMES TO HOUSING, IT IS APPARENTLY NOT ILLEGAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST A VETERAN OR MEMBER OF OUR ARMED FORCES ON THE BASIS OF THEIR BRAVE SERVICE TO OUR NATION. BACK WHEN I WAS A STATE SENATOR AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS AT THE STATEHOUSE, WE TOOK ACTION, AS I REFERENCED, TO ENSURE THAT OUR VETERANS ARE PROTECTED, WHETHER IT IS A WELCOME HOME BONUS, ORS FIRST AND SECOND-TIME SOLDIERS THAT HAVE SERVED, EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS, I CAN GO ON AND ON. I THINK MASS DOES IT BETTER -- I THINK MASSACHUSETTS DOES IT BETTER THAN ANY OTHER STATE IN THE COUNTRY. IT CAME AS A SURPRISE THAT OTHER STATES HAVE SIMILAR PROTECTIONS. THE SIZE OF OUR ARMED FORCES ACTUALLY SHRINKING DRAMATICALLY. NOW IS CLEARLY THE TIME TO FIX THE PROBLEM. I KNOW AND I KNOW YOU AS WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT MORE STORES LIKE THIS ONE BECAUSE I RECOGNIZE HOW IMPORTANT THAT ISSUE IS FOR YOU. MR. PRESIDENT, NO ONE PUTS ON THE UNIFORM OF OUR NATION AND WHO SERVES SHOULD BE FACED WITH DISCRIMINATION. THERE'S NO ONE WHO SHOULD EVER FACE THAT DISCRIMINATION WHEN YOU ARE THEY'RE TRYING TO PUT A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD. THE IDEA THAT ANYONE WOULD DENY A HOME TO SOMEONE WHO HAS PUT THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE FOR OUR FREEDOM IS UNMEN. IT SHOULD BE UNDEMOCRATTED BY -- IT SHOULDEN CONDEMNED BY EVERY MEMBER OF THIS BODY. WE MUST GO BACK TO 1968 TO UNDERSTAND. I WAS NINE YEARS OLD. ONE OF MY PREYED PREDECESSORS, SENATOR EDWARD BROOK, A GREAT LEGISLATOR FROM MY HOME STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS, A GENTLEMAN WITH WHOM I STILL PEEK WITH, OFFERED THE ORIGINAL FAIR HOUSING ACT WHICH WAS SIGNED INTO LAW BUT THEN-PRESIDENT JOHNSON. THAT CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION BROKE NEW GROUND BY BANNING HOUSING DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COUL OR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN. ANOTHER GREAT SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS, SENATOR TED KENNEDY, JOINED SENATOR BROOK IN URGING THE BIPARTISAN PASSAGE OF THAT VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. THEN IN 1974, CLOSER TO YOU, SENATOR BILL BROCK OF TENNESSEE AMENDED THE ACT TO PREVENT HOWLINGSING DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF GENDER. THEN IN 1988, SENATOR KENNEDY EXTENDED THE ACT'S PROTECTIONS TO THOSE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES AND FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN. BOTH OF THESE EXPANSIONS, MR. PRESIDENT, RECEIVED BROAD, BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AND WERE ACTUALLY SIGNED INTO LAW. AND AS SENATOR BROOKS SAID 44 YEARS AGO, FAIR HOUSE SOMETHING NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE EXCEPT AS WE MAKE IT ONE BY THE NATURE OF OUR DEBATE. IT IS PURELY AND SIMPLY A MATTER OF EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL AMERICANS. WELL-SAID BY SENATOR BROOK THOSE 44 YEARS AGO. FAIR HOUSING HAS A BIPARTISAN HISTORY AND TODAY WE HAVE A CHANCE TO DO IT AGAIN. WE CAN DO IT BY PROTECTING TWO ADDITIONAL GROUPS FROM HOUSING DISCRIMINATION. BY ENDING HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SERVICE MEMBERS AND VERNTHS ACT, SENATE 3283, IS NEEDED ANDED IT NEEDED RIGHT NOW. IT AMENDS THE FAIR HOUSING ACT TO PROTECT VETERANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS FROM HOUSE BEING DISCRIMINATION AND BY PASSING THIS BILL RIGHT AWAY, THE SENATE CAN SAY AFFIRMATIVELY AND IMMEDIATELY THAT VETERANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS DESERVE THE SAME RIGHTS TO HOUSING AS ANYONE ELSE. THIS IS A NO-BRAINER. THE COMMANDER IN CHEECH OF THE VETERANS OF -- THE COMEARNGDZ $COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN AWARS HAS ENDORSED MY BILL. SENATOR BROWNS WORK TO PROTECT SERVICE MEMBERS AND VETERANS FROM HOUSE BEING DISCRIMINATION IS VERY POSITIVE. IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE THAT MEMBERS OF OUR MILITARY AND VETERANS SHOULD FEAR NOT BEING ABLE TO RENT OR BUY A HOME BECAUSE OF THEIR STATUS AS A VETERAN. THIS BILL WOULD CORRECT THE ISSUE." BY PASSING THIS RIGHT AWAY, WE CAN ONCE AGAIN SAY TO THOSE VETERANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS THAT THEY HAVE OUR PRIDE AND RESPECT. WE NEED THE ACTION RIGHT NOW. NO VETERAN OR SERVICE MEMBER SHOULD EVER FACE THE INDIGNITY OF BEING DENIED HOUSING SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THEIR SERVICE. THE FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1968 AND SENATOR KENNEDY'S AMENDMENTS IN 1988 PASSED WITH OVERWHELMING SUPPORT. WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THE SAME HERE. I URGE ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES TO COSPONSOR THIS IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION AND WORK FOR ITS IMMEDIATE AND UNANIMOUS PASSAGE. IT'S TIME TO FIX THIS SHORT SHORTCOMING IN OUR NATION'S HOUSING LAWS AND IT IS JUST QUITE FRANKLY THE RIGHT THING TO DO. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WISH THE UNITED STATES ARMY A HAPPY 237th BIRTHDAY. I WAS HONORED TO GO TO THE CAKE CUTTING LAST NIGHT AND HONOR THOSE WHO HAVE DONE SO MUCH FOR OUR GREAT COUNTRY. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:40:00 PM

    MR. KERRY

  • 01:40:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

  • 01:40:04 PM

    MR. KERRY

    I UNDERSTAND WE'RE -- WE CAN PROCEED AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS?

  • 01:40:11 PM

    MR. KERRY

    I WILL DO SO, BUT I WOULD WANT TO SPEAK WITH RESPECT TO AN AMENDMENT ON…

    I WILL DO SO, BUT I WOULD WANT TO SPEAK WITH RESPECT TO AN AMENDMENT ON THE FARM BILL WHEN WE GET BACK TO THAT. I'D LIKE TO CALL MY COLLEAGUES' ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT IN 2008 THE FARM BILL'S CONFEREES INSERTED A PROVISION THAT TRANSFERS AUTHORITY OF THE REGULATION OF CATFISH BUT ONLY CATFISH -- THE ONLY PARTICULAR ITEM SINGLED OUT TO BE TRANSFERRED -- FROM THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. THE PROVISION WAS NOT DEBATED IN EITHER BODY. THAT'S ONE MUCH THOSE THINGS THAT AS WE ALL KNOW PEOPLE HAVE INCREASINGLY GOT INCENSED ABOUT -- IN THE PUBLIC AS WELL AS AROUND HERE IN THE CONGRESS ITSELF. WELL, BECAUSE IT WAS TRANSFERRED OVER TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ARKSAGRICULTURE, THE USDA SUBSEQUENTLY PUBLISHED A PROPOSAL IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE NEW MANDATE THAT IT HAD BEEN GIVE TONGUE REGULATE CATFISH -- -- GIVEN TO REGULATE CATFISH. THAT PROPOSAL HAS REMAINED, AND PROPERLY SO, STALLED IN THE REGULATORY PROCESS -- I SAY "PROPERLY SO" BECAUSE IT SERVES NO PUBLIC INTEREST, IT'S COSTLY FOR TAXPAYERS, AND IT WOULD -- IT'S DUPLICATIVE AND CONFRONTATIONAL WITH OTHER ENTITIES THAT ARE EVEN ENGAGED IN THAT KIND OF OVERSIGHT AND AS A RESULT IT WILL INVITE TRADE RETALIATION ABROAD AND PUT US ON A TRAIN WRECK, IF YOU WILL, OF SORT OF EXCESSIVE REGULATORY CONFLICT HERE. SENATOR McCAIN AND I HAVE JOINED TOGETHER ALONG WITH A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF OUR COLLEAGUES TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT -- AMENDMENT NUMBER 2199 -- TO REPEAL THE 2008 CATFISH LANGUAGE. AND IF WE DON'T REPEAL IT, USDA IS GOING TO TRY TO CONTINUE TO PROCEED FORWARD IN THIS REGULATORY TRAIN WRECK. NOW, LET ME GIVE YOU A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON THIS. IN FEBRUARY OF 2011, THE G.A.O. CITED THE PROPOSED CATFISH REGULATORY PROGRAM, CITED IT AS PART OF ITS REPORT ON THOSE PROGRAMS THAT WERE AT HIGH RISK FOR WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE. THEN IN MARCH OF 2011, THE G.A.O. AGAIN CALLED THIS PROGRAM DUPLICATIVE AS PART OF A TOTALLY SEPARATE RECORD, AND THEN JUST LAST MONTH THE G.A.O. PRODUCED AN EXTENSIVE AND DETAILED ANALYSIS OF WHY THIS PROGRAM IS NOT ONLY COSTLY AND DUPLICATIVE BUT WHY IT WOULD HAVE NO FOOD SAFETY BENEFIT. SO IF IT'S NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY FOOD SAFETY BENEFIT, IT'S COSTLY, IT'S DUPLICATIVE, THE OBVIOUS QUESTION FOR ALL OF US IS, WELL, WHY? WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? WELL, ALL OF US CARE ABOUT JOBS IN OUR COMMUNITIES. EVERY STATE IS ALWAYS VYING TO FIND A WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT THE JOCKS IT HASJOBS IT HAS ARE PROTECTED AND IT IS CREATING MORE JOBS. SO I UNDERSTAND THAT. I DON'T HAVE ANY ANIMUS AGAINST ANY PARTICULAR SENATOR FIGHTING TO DO THAT. IN THIS CASE A NUMBER OF CATFISH PRODUCERS IN THE SOUTH MANAGED TO GET PROTECTION THAT TAKES CARE OF THEM BUT HURTS A LOT OF OTHER FOLKS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. AND SO IT MAY BE GOOD FOR CATFISH PRODUCERS IN A FEW PLACES IN THE SOUTH, BUT IT'S BAD FOR CONSUMERS IN THE UNITED STATES GENERALLY -- BECAUSE IT RAISES COSTS -- AND ITS VERY BAD FOR SEAFOOD PROCESSORS AND FOR COMMUNITIES IN MY STATE, AMONG OTHERS, BUT IN OTHER STATES OF THE COUNTRY. WEST COAST, EAST COAST. THERE ARE EMPLOYERS IN MY STATE WHO WOULD LIKE TO PROCESS AND DISTRIBUTE PRODUCTS THAT COME FROM VARIOUS OTHER PLACES, INCLUDING ABROAD, AND THEY OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO DO SO IN A FREE MARKET, IN AN OPEN MARKET THAT'S NOT PROTECTED AND CHOPPED UP AND DICED AND SLICED IN ORDER TO PROTECT PEOPLE INAPPROPRIATELY. PLAYING PROTECTIONIST GAMES WITH THE RULES AND REGULATIONS AND AGENCIES IS BAD PUBLIC POLICY, IT'S BAD ECONOMIC POLICY PARTICULARLY, AND IT IS AN INVITATION, MR. PRESIDENT, TO OUR TRADING PARTNERS TO DO THE SAME THING, AND WHEN THEY DO IT, WE COMPLAIN ABOUT IT. AND RIGHTFULLY. AS CHAIRMAN BAUCUS HAS POINTED OUT -- THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE HAS SAID, "U.S. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, INCLUDING SAFE, HIGH-QUALITY MONTANA BEEF, FACE UNSCIENTIFIC TRADE RESTRICTIONS IN MANY IMPORTANT MARKETS. IF WE EXPECT OTHER COUNTRIES TO FOLLOW THE RULES AND DROP THESE RESTRICTIONS, IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE PLAY BY THE RULES AND NOT BLOCK IMPORTS FOR ARBITRARY AND UNSCIENTIFIC REASONS." THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO UNDO WITH THE AMENDMENT THAT SENATOR McCAIN AND I ARE BRINGING TO THE FARM BILL. THE ONLY REASON THAT -- THE ONLY REASON THAT THIS BAD IDEA THAT WAS NOT YET, THAT WAS CODIFIED IN 2008 HAS NOT YET BECOME AN ACTIVE PROGRAM IS THAT -- GET THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. THE BILL DID NOT DEFINE THE WORD "CATFISH." SO, AS A RESULT, FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS LAWYERS, LOBBYISTS, PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRMS, FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS, LEGISLATORS, AND MULTIPLE CABINET OFFICIALS HAVE ENGAGED IN A DEFINITIONAL DEBATE OVER WHAT QUALIFIES A FISH TO BE CALLED A CATFISH, AND SUBSEQUENTLY FALL INTO THIS NEW REGIME. WELL, IT TURNS OUT THAT WHETHER A FISH IS OR IS NOT A CATFISH IS SOMETHING THAT EXPERTS CAN ACTUALLY DEBATE FOR HOURS, BELIEVE IT OR NOT. IT ALSO TURNS OUT THAT IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER BECAUSE ACCORDING TO THE G.A.O., THE F.D.A. OUGHT TO RETAIN JURISDICTION OVER ALL FISH, CATFISH AND NONCATFISH ALIKE, AND THAT'S THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION. MR. PRESIDENT, I SEE THE MAJORITY LEADER. IF I COULD JUST ASK THAT MY REMARKS BE WITHOUT INTERRUPTION. THANK YOU.

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  • 01:47:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE MAJORITY LEADER. MR.

  • 01:47:08 PM

    MR. REID

    I APPRECIATE MY COLLEAGUE FOR YIELDING TO ME. I YIELD BACK ALL POSTCLOTURE…

    I APPRECIATE MY COLLEAGUE FOR YIELDING TO ME. I YIELD BACK ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME ON THE NOMINATION OF MARI CARMEN APONTE.

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  • 01:47:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: ALL TIME IS YIELDED BACK. THE QUESTION IS ON THE NOMINATION. ALL…

    OFFICER: ALL TIME IS YIELDED BACK. THE QUESTION IS ON THE NOMINATION. ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. OPPOSED? THIES APPEAR TO HAVE IT. THE AYES DO HAVE IT. THE NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED.

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  • 01:47:32 PM

    MR. REID

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE, LAID ON THE…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE, LAID ON THE TABLE, THERE BE NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, NO FURTHER MOTION BE IN ORDER TO THE NOMINATION, ANY STATEMENTS RELATED TO THE NOMINATION BE PRINTED IN THE RECORD AND PRESIDENT OBAMA BE NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND THE SENATE RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 01:47:52 PM

    MR. REID

    THIS WILL BE THE LAST VOTE TODAY. IT APPEARS WE WILL HAVE NO VOTE…

    THIS WILL BE THE LAST VOTE TODAY. IT APPEARS WE WILL HAVE NO VOTE TOMORROW. BUT SENATOR STABENOW AND SENATOR ROBERTS ARE WORKING VERY DILIGENTLY TO COME UP WITH AN AGREEMENT ON THE FARM BILL. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A VOTE MONDAY EVENING. WE HAVEN'T DECIDED EXACTLY WHAT THAT WILL BE. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ALTERNATIVES. BUT WE HOPE THAT WE CAN HAVE COMMON SENSE PREVAIL AND KOPBL UP WITH AN AGREEMENT. IF FOR NO OTHER REASON, TO RECOGNIZE THE HARD WORK OF THE TWO MANAGERS THIS HAVE BILL. IT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT WE GET THIS DONE. THERE ARE ISSUES THAT WE ARE GOING TO VOTE ON, ONE OF WHICH SENATOR KERRY HAS TALKED ABOUT. THERE ARE THINGS, RELEVANT AMENDMENTS. WE HAVE A LOT OF THEM. WE AGREED TO VOTE ON THOSE. WE'RE TRYING TO WORK OUT THE NONRELEVANT AMENDMENTS AND WE'RE NOT THERE YET.

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  • 01:48:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

  • 01:48:42 PM

    MR. KERRY

    MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU. I WOULD ASK THE NEXT FEW COMMENTS I MAKE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU. I WOULD ASK THE NEXT FEW COMMENTS I MAKE REGARDING THE NOMINATION APPEAR DIRECTLY AFTER THE MINORITY LEADER.

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  • 01:48:53 PM

    MR. KERRY

    I'M GRATEFUL WE'VE FINALLY BEEN ABLE TO GET THE NOMINATION OF MARI APONTE…

    I'M GRATEFUL WE'VE FINALLY BEEN ABLE TO GET THE NOMINATION OF MARI APONTE PASSED. I WAS NOT ABLE TO BE HERE. I WANT TO THANK SENATOR MENENDEZ FOR CHAIRING THAT FOR ME AT THAT TIME. I WANT TO THANK OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE SENATE FOR FINALLY GETTING OUR NOMINEE IN PLACE AND CONFIRMING HER TO BE THE AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR. I THINK IT IS LONG OVERDUE. SHE WILL DO A TERRIFIC JOB, AND I'M GRATEFUL TO COLLEAGUES THAT THEY FINALLY HAVE IN FACT CONFIRMED THIS NOMINATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I WILL NOW RESUME MY COMMENTS, WHERE I WAS IN THE RECORD. AND SO, AS I MENTIONED, APPARENTLY YOU CAN DEBATE FOREVER ABOUT WHAT KIND OF FISH, AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON, WHETHER OR NOT THAT CONSTITUTES. BUT THIS IS REALLY VERY SIMPLE, MR. PRESIDENT. THE G.A.O. PUT OUT A REPORT IN MAY OF THIS YEAR, AND IN THE REPORT, THE G.A.O. COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE CLEAR. THEY -- THEY MADE IT ABOUT AS SIMPLE AS THEY COULD IN THEIR STATEMENT SAYING, "RESPONSIBILITY FOR INSPECTING CATFISH SHOULD NOT BE ASSIGNED TO THE USDA." SIMPLE SENTENCE. G.A.O., AS WE ALL KNOW, NONPOLITICAL ASSESSMENT, A WATCHDOG, IF YOU WILL, FOR THE ACTIONS HERE IN THE CONGRESS, AND IN THAT REPORT THEY STATE, "THE PROPOSED PROGRAM ESSENTIALLY MIRRORS THE CATFISH OVERSIGHT EFFORTS ALREADY UNDERWAY BY THE F.D.A. AND THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE. FURTHERMORE, SINCE F.D.A. INTRODUCED NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR SEAFOOD PROCESSING FACILITIES, INCLUDING CATFISH FACILITIES, IN 1997, NO OUTBREAKS OF ILLNESS OF SALMONELLA OF CATFISH HAVE BEEN REPORTED. CONSEQUENTLY, IF IMPLEMENTED, THE CATFISH INSPECTION PROGRAM WOULD LIKELY NOT ENHANCE THE SAFETY OF CATFISH BUT WOULD DUPLICATE F.D.A. AND NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES INSPECTIONS AT A COST TO THE TAXPAYERS." SO I THINK THAT'S PRETTY CLEAR-CUT. WE NEED TO REPEAL THE 2008 FARM BILL LANGUAGE RELATED TO CATFISH. WE NEED TO LET THE AMERICAN CONSUMER DECIDE FROM ALL OF THE SALE FOOD -- OF THE SAFE FOOD OPTIONS THAT EXIST, LET THEM DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT TO CONSUME. AND, OBVIOUSLY, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE NOTHING SPECIFICALLY AGAINST CATFISH PER SE IN ANY PART OF THE COUNTRY OR -- AND PARTICULARLY THE JOBS. WE ALL WANT THE JOBS BUT THEY SHOULDN'T COME AT THE EXPENSE OF ANOTHER PART OF THE COUNTRY SETTING UP A DUPLICATIVE, COMPLETELY WASTEFUL TAXPAYER EXPENDITURE DUPLICATED PROGRAM. MR. PRESIDENT, IN ADDITION TO THAT, I JUST WANT TO SAY A QUICK WORD ABOUT ANOTHER AMENDMENT THAT SENATOR MURKOWSKI AND I ARE ARE -- ARE SPONSORING, AND MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR BROWN, IS ALSO A SPONSOR OF IT, AND THAT IS TO RESOLVE -- TO RESOLVE AN IMPORTANT INEQUITY THAT EXISTS IN THE CURRENT LAW. WE NEED TO HELP PROVIDE DESPERATELY NEEDED DISASTER ASSISTANCE TO FISHERMEN IN MASSACHUSETTS AND AROUND THE NATION. IT'S NOT JUST FOR MASSACHUSETTS. I HOPE THE MANAGERS HAVE LET -- OF THIS LEGISLATION WILL LET THE BIPARTISAN AMENDMENT RECEIVE A VOTE DURING THE SENATE CONSIDERATION OF THIS LEGISLATION. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT IN CERTAIN PARTS OF NEW ENGLAND, IN PLACES LIKE -- STATES LIKE WASHINGTON -- I WAS OUT IN WASHINGTON LAST WEEKEND -- AND SEATTLE, A HUGE FISHING INDUSTRY; CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO, VERYVARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, LOUISIANA. WE HAVE A LOT OF FISHING AROUND THE COUNTRY. BUT INCREASINGLY, THOSE FISHERY RESOURCES ARE UNDER PRESSURE, AND INCREASINGLY THERE IS REGULATION IN ORDER TO TRY TO PRESERVE THE STOCKS. AND SO FISHERMEN WHO HAVE FISHED FOR A LIVELIHOOD FOR A LIFETIME ARE BEING RESTRICTED IN THE NUMBERS OF DAYS THAT THEY CAN GO TO SEA, RESTRICTED IN THE AMOUNT THAT THEY CAN CATCH, AND PEOPLE HAVE LOST HOMES, THEY'VE LOST BOATS, THEY'VE -- I MEAN, JUST WHOLE LIVES HAVE BEEN TURNED TOPSY-TURVY BECAUSE OF CONDITIONS BEYOND THEIR CONTROL, WHETHER IT'S THE ECOSYSTEM, MOTHER NATURE -- NOBODY KNOWS, BUT IT'S NO DIFFERENT FROM A DROUGHT IN THE IOWA CORNFIELDS OR IN OTHER PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY COUNTRY. IT'S NO DIFFERENT FROM A DISASTER THAT TAKES PLACE WHEN CROPS ARE WIPED OUT OUT. THESE FOLKS ARE BEING WIPED OUT. THEY ARE THE FARMERS OF THE SEA, THE FARMERS OF THE OCEAN, AND THEY FARM SUSTAINABLY. BUT THEY NEED HELP. GLOCESTER AND NEW BEDFORD ARE TWO OF THE LARGEST FISHING PORTS IN OUR NATION IN MASSACHUSETTS, AND COMMERCIAL FISHING INDUSTRY SUPPORTS ABOUT 83,000 JOBS, $4.4 BILLION IN REVENUE, BUT IT'S BECOMING HARDER AND HARDER FOR THESE FISHING FAMILIES AND FOR THE SMALLER BOATS TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE. THESE SMALL-BOAT FISHERMEN PARTICULARLY ARE PART OF THE CULTURE OF OUR -- OF OUR STATE AND OF OUR REGION, AND WE WANT TO TRY TO PRESERVE THAT. LAST FALL, THE NATIONAL OCEAN -- OCEANIC ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED THE REVERSAL IN THE MOST RECENT GULF OF MAINE COD ASSESSMENT. WITHIN THREE YEARS OF EACH OTHER, TWO RADICALLY DIFFERENT STOCK ASSESSMENTS HAVE BEEN ISSUED, ONE SAYING THE STOCKS ARE REPLENISHING, ANOTHER SAYING THEY'RE DISAPPEARING, AND THE FISHERMEN ARE WHIPSAWED BETWEEN THESE STOCK ASSESSMENTS AND ARE TOLD DIFFERENT THINGS. IN ONE, THEY THINK THEY CAN INVEST IN THEIR BOATS AND IN THE FUTURE; IN THE NEXT, THEY'RE BEING TOLD, SORRY, FOLKS, YOU'RE OUT OF LUCK. WELL, IT SHOULDN'T BE THAT ARBITRARY AND IT CERTAINLY SHOULDN'T JUST WHACK THEM AND ABANDON THEM. MY SENSE IS THAT WE NEED TO -- NOAA IS NOW UNDERTAKING A NEW SURVEY FOR NEXT YEAR BECAUSE OF THE CONFLICT OF THE SURVEYS. SO HOW ARE WE GOING TO HELP THESE PEOPLE SURVIVE INSPECT NEXT YEAR? HOW ARE WE GOING TO HELP THEM GET THROUGH THOSE HARD TIMES AND KEEP THOSE BOATS SO THAT IF THE THE -- IF THE WORD COMES BACK THAT THEY CAN GO BACK OUT TO THE OCEAN AND CONTINUE IN THEIR LIVELIHOOD, THEY'RE ACTUALLY ABLE TO DO THAT? MY AMENDMENT SIMPLY EXPANDS THE ELIGIBILITY FOR EMERGENCY DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM. LOAN, UNDERSCORE. NOT A GRANT, IT'S A LOAN PROGRAM PROGRAM. TO INCLUDE COMMERCIAL FISH FISHERMEN AND SHELLFISH FISHERMEN. THAT'S ALL WE'RE ASKING. IT WOULD ALLOW FISHERMEN TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR A LOW-INTEREST EMERGENCY DISASTER LOAN, AVAILABLE THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S FARM SERVICE AGENCY, AND IT'S MY UNDERSTANDING THIS AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE NO SCORE. MR. PRESIDENT, FISHERMEN, AS WE KNOW, MANY PEOPLE SAW "THE PERFECT STORM" THEY RISK THEIR LIVES TO GO OUT AND PUT PROTEIN, FOOD ON THE TABLES OF AMERICA. AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS WATCH ONE OF THE SHOWS, "DEADLIEST CATCH" TO GET A SENSE OF WHAT'S AT STAKE IN THIS. I BELIEVE THEY ARE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS JUST LIKE OTHER KINDS OF FARMERS, AND THEY OUGHT TO BE TREATED WITH THE SAME RESPECT. WE HAVE PUT BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, OFTEN IN GRANTS, IN EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER TO FARMERS ACROSS THE STATES OF THE MIDWEST, FAR WEST AND SOME IN THE NORTHEAST, WHERE WE DO HAVE SOME FARMING. BUT USUALLY IT'S IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. AND WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY VOTED TO DO THAT, TO HELP PEOPLE. WE'RE ASKING OUR COLLEAGUES HERE TO TREAT OUR FARMERS OF THE SEA WITH THE SAME RESPECT THAT OTHERS ARE TREATED IN THIS COUNTRY. WE SIMPLY END AN INEQUITY IN THE LAW THAT DOESN'T PROVIDE A LEGAL MECHANISM FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO DO WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO DO DO, WHICH IS BE ABLE TO LEGALLY HELP OUR FISHERMEN WITH THESE LOW-INTEREST LOANS. AND WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 01:57:24 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 02:03:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA.

  • 02:03:19 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:03:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:03:24 PM

    MR. INHOFE

  • 02:04:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA.

  • 02:04:49 PM

    MR. MANCHIN

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 02:16:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 02:16:28 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    DO I HAVE THE FLOOR NOW?

  • 02:16:31 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    MAY I SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 02:16:35 PM

    MR. WHITEHOUSE

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I COME BEFORE THE SENATE TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT A…

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I COME BEFORE THE SENATE TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT A NUMBER, A NUMBER THAT HAS A PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE FOR US HERE. THAT NUMBER IS 400. WHY IS 400 AN IMPORTANT NUMBER AT THIS POINT IN OUR HISTORY? WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT 400 IS THAT IT IS THE NUMBER OF PARTS PER MILLION OF CARBON DIOXIDE THAT HAS BEEN MEASURED THIS SPRING IN THE ARCTIC. IT'S A FIRST. WE'VE NEVER HIT 400 BEFORE. FOR 8,000 CENTURIES MANKIND HAS INHABITED THIS PLANET WITHIN AN ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE RANGE OF 190 TO HUNDRED PARTS PER MILLION. THAT'S BEEN THE RANGE. THAT'S THE BANDWIDTH THAT WE'VE LIVED WITHIN. HOW LONG IT'S IS 800,000 YEARS? IT'S A PRETTY DARN LONG TIME. I DON'T THINK THERE ARE ANY ARTIFACTS THAT GO MORE THAN 200,000 YEARS. IF YOU GO 10,000 YEARS, YOU ONLY SEE THE BEGINNINGS OF AGRICULTURE, PEOPLE SCRATCHING THE SOIL AND PLANTING THINGS. SO LONGER THAN OUR SPECIES HAS EFFECTIVELY INHABITED THIS EARTH WE'VE BEEN IN THIS HAPPY BANDWIDTH THAT HAS SUPPORTED OUR LIVES, HAS SUPPORTED CONGENIAL CLIMATE FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, AND WE ARE OUT OF IT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THAT PERIOD. 800,000 YEARS. AND WE'RE NOT JUST A LITTLE BIT OUT OF IT. WE DIDN'T GO TO 302, WE DIDN'T GO TO 350, WE'VE NOW CROSSED 400 AND WE'RE STILL GOING. WE ARE STILL GOING. AND THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT. WE CONTINUE TO DUMP GIGATONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE INTO OUR ATMOSPHERE EVERY SINGLE YEAR. WE CONTINUE TO SUBSIDIZE THE PEOPLE WHO DO THE DUMPING, AND AT LEAST IN THIS BUILDING, AND PROBABLY IN THE BOARD ROOM OF EXXONMOBIL AND A FEW OTHER PLACES, WE STUDIOUSLY IGNORE THE FACTS THAT ARE RIGHT BEFORE OUR FACES. RIGHT BEFORE OUR FACES. HERE JUST -- HERE ARE A JUST A FEW STORIES FROM THE PAST WEEK OR SO. A JUNE 4 STORY IN "THE NEW YORK TIMES" REPORTED THAT CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS POWER OUTPUT. NOW, WHY WOULD A WARMING CLIMATE THREATEN POWER OUTPUT? BECAUSE WARMER WATERS WHEN THEY'RE PUMPED THROUGH POWER PLANTS DON'T PROVIDE THE SAME COOLING CAPACITY. SO IF YOU'RE GOING TO KEEP THE PLANT FROM OVERHEATING, YOU HAVE TO DIAL BACK THE POWER OUTPUT. AND FOR PLACES LIKE THE HEAVILY DEVELOPED U.S. NORTHEAST, WE CAN BE PRETTY CLOSE TO OUR MARGINS FROM TIME TO TIME, PARTICULARLY WHEN AIR CONDITIONING LOADS ARE HIGH IN THE SUMMER, AND ON THOSE HOT DAYS THAT INCREASES THE RISK OF POWER CUTBACKS OR CONCEIVABLY EVEN POWER OUTAGES. A JUNE 5 STORY IN THE "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT" DESCRIBED A RECENTLY PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN WHICH SEVERAL EUROPEAN PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS WRITE THAT CLIMATE CHANGE COULD ALTER PATTERNS OF FOOD ABILITY, CHANGE DISEASE DISTRIBUTION, ALL IN WAYS THAT COULD HARM HUMAN HEALTH. IF YOU WANT AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE CHANGING CLIMATE CHANGES THE WAY THAT THINGS MOVE AROUND ON THIS EARTH, YOU HAVE TO LOOK NO FARTHER THAN THE PINE BEETLE WHICH IS DECIMATING OUR TRADITIONAL WESTERN FORESTS BECAUSE THE WINTERS ARE NO LONGER COLD ENOUGH TO KILL OFF THE LARVAE. SO AS THE WARMTH MOVES EVER NORTHWARD, SO DO THE LARVAE, AND YOU CAN FLY OVER MOUNTAINS AND LOOK DOWN AND SEE JUST BROWN WASTELAND OF TREES THAT USED TO BE GREEN PINE FOREST. NOAA REPORTED THAT THE LOWER 48 STATES JUST EXPERIENCED THE WARMEST MAY ON RECORD. THE NATIONAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THIS SPRING, MARCH THROUGH MAY, WAS 5.2 DEGREES ABOVE THE 1901-2000, THE 20th CENTURY, LONG-TERM AVERAGE. SURPASSING THE PREVIOUS WARMEST SPRING EVER 1910 BY TWO FULL DEGREES. SOME STATES WARM FASTER THAN OTHERS AND RHODE ISLAND UNFORTUNATELY POUR US IS AT THE TOP OF THE LIST. CLIMATE CENTRAL, A RESEARCH ORGANIZATION, CRUNCHED AVERAGES OF THE DAILY HIGH AND LOW TEMPERATURES FROM THE NATIONAL CLIMB ATTIC DATA CENTERS, HISTORICAL CLIMATOLOGY WEATHER STATIONS. OVER THE PAST 100 YEARS, RHODE ISLAND HAS ACTUALLY WARMED THE FASTEST OF ANY STATE. THIS HAS TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES FOR US, FROM SHIFTING OUR GROWING SEASON TO HARMING THE COLD WATER FISH WE CATCH IN OUR WARMING NARRAGANSETT BAY. PERSONAL ASIDE ON THIS, WHEN MY WIFE WAS DOING HER GRADUATE RESEARCH OUT IN NARRAGANSETT BAY SHE WAS STUDYING THE INTERACTION BETWEEN WINTER FLOUNDER AND A SHRIMP THAT LIVES IN THE BAY CALLED SPINOSA. THE REASON THAT RESEARCH WAS IMPORTANT THEN IS BECAUSE WINTER FLOUNDER WAS A HUGE CASH CROP FOR OUR FISHERMEN. IT HASN'T BEEN THAT LONG SINCE SHE DID HER GRADUATE RESEARCH, AND WINTER FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDERER HAS FALLEN OFF AS A CASH CROP FOR RHODE ISLAND FISHERMEN BECAUSE NARRAGANSETT BAY HAS WARMED. ITS MEAN WINTER WATER TEMPERATURE IS UP NEARLY FOUR DEGREES WHICH MAY NOT SEEM LIKE US, TO TERRESTRIAL,, 61 DEGREES, 65 DEGREES, DOES THIS REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO US? NO. BUT FOR FISH FOR WHOM THIS IS THEIR ECOSYSTEM, THAT IS AN ECOSYSTEM SHIFT AND IT HAS COMPLETELY DEMOLISHED THE WINTER FLOUNDER FISHERY, DOWN SOMETHING LIKE TEN TIMES. MANY PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A CONNECTION BETWEEN CARBON POLLUTION IN OUR ATMOSPHERE AND THESE WARMING TEMPERATURES. BUT IT'S BECOMING INCONTROVERTIBLE THAT THESE THINGS ARE HAPPENING. THE SCIENCE BEHIND THIS IS ROCK SOLID. PEOPLE SAY THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE THEORY. NO. NO, THERE ARE NOT. THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT SOME OF THE COMPLICATED MODELING THAT PEOPLE GO THROUGH, BUT THE THEORY HAS BEEN CLEAR SINCE THE TIME OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. THE SCIENTIST JOHN TINDAL, TYNDALL, DETERMINED THAT INCREASING MOISTURE AND INCREASING CARBON DIOXIDE HAD A BLANCHGGETTING EFFECT THAT KEPT HEAT IN AND TRAPPED HEAT ON OUR PLANET. THAT'S BEEN BASIC TEXTBOOK SCIENCE FOR A CENTURY. IT'S NEVER BEEN CONTROVERTED. IT'S A LAW ESSENTIALLY OF SCIENCE. AND YET THERE ARE SPECIAL INTERESTS HERE WHO TRY TO DENY THAT. SET AGAINST THOSE SPECIAL INTERESTS IS ABOUT AS UNANIMOUS A COALITION FROM SCIENCE AS HAS EVER BEEN ASSEMBLED. VIRTUALLY EVERY PRESTIGIOUS SCIENTIFIC AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTION HAS STATED THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS HAPPENING AND HUMAN ACTIVITIES, SPECIFICALLY OUR RECKLESS RELEASE OF CARBON POLLUTION, ARE THE DRIVING CAUSE OF THIS CHANGE. IN 2009 THERE WAS A VERY, VERY CLEAR LETTER SIGNED BY THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY, THE GEOPHYSICAL UNION, THE INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, THE SOCIETIES OF AGRONOMY AND PLANT BIOLOGISTS, THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY, THE CROP SCIENCE AND ECOLOGICAL SOCIETIES, AND ON AND ON. AND HERE IS WHAT THEY SAID. IN WORDS THAT FOR SCIENTISTS ARE PRETTY DARNED HARD HITTING. OBSERVATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD MAKE IT CLEAR -- CLEAR IS THE WORD THEY USED -- THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS OCCURRING AND RIGOROUS SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH DEMONSTRATES THAT THE GREENHOUSE GASES EEMENTDED BY -- EMITTED BY UNANIMOUS ACTIVITIES ARE THE PRIMARY DRIVER. NOT OBSERVATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD MAKE IT LIKELY THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS OCCURRING, NOT RIGOROUS SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH POTENTIALLY INDICATES, NOT THAT GREENHOUSE GASES MIGHT BE THE PRIMARY DRIVER, BUT THAT IT IS CLEAR, THAT IT IS DEMONSTRATED, AND THAT THEY ARE THE PRIMARY DRIVER. THEY GO ON THESE CONCLUSIONS ARE BASED ON MULTIPLE INDEPENDENT LINES OF EVIDENCE AND HERE IS THE -- YOU WHAT MIGHT CALL THE SOCKDOLAGER. CREAFER ASSERTIONS ARE INSIFT WITH THE VAST BODY OF PEER REVIEWED SCIENCE. IN A NUTSHELL IF YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE ACTUAL PEER REVIEWED SCIENCE AND NOT PUTTING YOUR THUMB ON THE SCALES, CONTRARY ASSERTIONS -- ASSERTIONS ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THAT. YOU'RE BASICALLY MAKING IT UP. THAT'S A PRETTY POWERFUL STATEMENT. THE ARGUMENT THAT THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON CLIMATE CHANGE IS A FALSE AND BOGUS ARGUMENT. THE JURY IS NOT OUT. IN FACT, THE VERDICT IS IN. THE EFFECTS ARE OBVIOUS, THEY SURROUND US EVERY DAY, AND WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION. I'VE BEEN HERE ON THE FLOOR WITH SENATOR FRANKEN BEFORE AND WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS, AND HE MAKES A WONDERFUL POINT WHICH IS THAT 97% OF THE CLIMATE SCIENTISTS AGREE THAT THIS IS HAPPENING, IT'S HAPPENING BECAUSE OF OUR CARBON POLLUTION, AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING URGENT ABOUT IT. 3% QUESTION IT. 97-3 IS THE ODDS. AND WE'RE ASKED TO AVOID TAKING ANY ACTION, DON'T WORRY BIT BECAUSE THERE'S DOUBT. BECAUSE THERE'S DEBATE. WELL, TRANSLATE THAT TO YOUR REAL, ORDINARY HUMAN LIFE. NOT THIS PECULIAR POLITICAL WORLD WE'RE IN DOWN HERE BUT IN YOUR ORDINARY HUMAN LIFE. LET'S SAY YOU HAVE A CHILD. AND THE CHILD APPEARS TO BE SICK. AND YOU GO IN TO SEE THE DOCTOR, AND THE DOCTOR SAYS YEP, YOUR CHILD IS SICK, AND SHE'S GOING TO NEED TREATMENT. AND YOU SAY YEAH, THE TREATMENT IS KIND OF EXPENSIVE, MIGHT BE UNPLEASANT, MIGHT BE SIDE EFFECTS. TELL YOU WHAT, I'M GOING TO GET A SECOND OPINION. SO YOU GO TO ANOTHER DOCTOR. AND THE OTHER DOCTOR SAYS THE EXACT SAME THING, YOUR CHILD IS SICK, GOING TO NEED TREATMENT AND YOU SAY, WELL, TWO OPINIONS, THAT'S KIND OF A LOT BUT LET'S JUST BE SURE HERE, LET'S GET A THIRD OPINION. AND THAT DOCTOR SAID THE SAME THING, TOO. WHAT WOULD YOU THINK OF THE PARENT WHO DID THAT 100 TIMES, WHO WAS TOLD BY 97 OUT OF 100 DOCTORS THAT THEIR CHILD WAS SICK AND NEEDED TREATMENT AND THEN SAID YOU KNOW WHAT? THERE'S DOUBT ABOUT THIS. I'M NOT SURE. I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE MY CHILD THE TREATMENT THAT THEY NEED. ATES -- IT'S A PREPROCESS TRUSS EXAMPLE, ISN'T IT? IT'S AN ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS POINT OF VIEW FOR THE PARENT TO HOLD YET THAT IS EXACTLY THE POINT OF VIEW THAT WE ARE BEING ASKED TO HOLD AS WE DENY AND DELAY THE STEPS THAT WE HAVE TO TAKE TO PROTECT OURSELVES, TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN, TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY FROM THE DAMAGE THAT IS BEING DONE, FRANKLY BY OURSELVES, BY THE POLLUTING INTERESTS THAT WE DON'T TAKE ADEQUATE STEPS TO PUT ON THE RIGHT TRACK TOWARDS A SUCCESSFUL AND CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE. THE LAST THING I'LL SAY IS ON THAT EXACT POINT, THE MORE WE DEPEND ON FOSSIL FUELS, THE MORE WE DEPEND ON A DIMINISHING RESOURCE THAT POLLUTES OUR COUNTRY, THAT AS IT DIMINISHES FORCES PRICES UP UNDER THE LAWS OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND, AND THAT IN PRACTICE AND RIGHT NOW FORCES US TO ENGAGE WITH FOREIGN OIL PRODUCING COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT HAVE OUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART AND WE SEND OUR DOLLARS, HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF THEM INTO THEIR TREASURIES SO THAT THAT MONEY CAN FILTER OUT INTO ORGANIZATIONS THAT ACTUALLY WISH TO DO US HARM. THAT'S NOT A GREAT STATE OF AFFAIRS. THE ALTERNATIVE IS A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE WHERE AMERICAN HOMES ARE MORE EFFICIENT, WE'VE REPLACED WINDOWS, ADDED INSULATION, IMPROVED BOILERS. WE'VE CREATED INNUMERABLE JOBS THROUGH ALL THAT WORK, AND WE'VE PAID FOR IT WITH REDUCED ENERGY COSTS. IT PAYS FOR ITSELF SOMETIMES IN A YEAR, SOMETIMES IN TWO YEARS, SOMETIMES IN FIVE YEARS. BUT IT PAYS FOR ITSELF. AND IT CREATES WORK. WE'RE IN A BATTLE RIGHT NOW FOR CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES. IT IS AN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. IT IS US AGAINST CHINA, US AGAINST INDIA, US AGAINST THE EUROPEAN UNIONS. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES GETS IT, AND THEY ARE TRYING TO PUSH RESOURCES ON TO THEIR CLEAN ENERGY INDUSTRIES SO THAT THEY GET, THEY CAN LAP US IN THIS RACE. THEY CAN GO SO FAR AHEAD OF US THAT WE'VE BECOME THE WORLD'S BIGGEST GLOBAL CONSUMER OF CLEAN ENERGY, NOW ITS BIGGEST MANUFACTURER. WE INVENTED THE SOLAR CELL. 15 YEARS AGO WE MADE 40% OF ALL THE SOLAR CELLS IN THE WORLD. WE'RE DOWN TO I THINK 7% NOW. THE TOP TEN WIND TURBINE COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD INCLUDE ONE AMERICAN COMPANY. ONE. AND BY KNOCKING DOWN THE PRODUCTION TAX CREDITS, BY ELIMINATING THE 1603 PROGRAM, BY SUBSIDIZING LIKE CRAZY BIG OIL, PEOPLE IN THIS BUILDING ARE DOING THEIR VERY BEST NOT TO HELP US IN THE RACE AGAINST FOREIGN COMPETITION, BUT TO PUT WEIGHTS IN THE POCKETS OF AMERICAN COMPANIES, TO TIE THEIR SHOELACES TOGETHER, TO INTERFERE WITH OUR ABILITY TO COMPETE. THEY DON'T SEE IT YET AS INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. THEY'RE SO TIED TO THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY, THEY ONLY SEE IT AS COMPETITION BETWEEN FOSSIL FUELS AND CLEAN ENERGY, AND IN THAT BATTLE THEY WANT TO BE WITH THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY. THEY DON'T SEE THE FUTURE. THEY DON'T SEE HOW IMPORTANT THESE TECHNOLOGIES ARE GOING TO BE IN BATTERIES, IN WIND, IN CLEAN ENERGY, IN ALL OF THESE AREAS WHERE WE NOT ONLY CAN COMMAND OUR ENERGY FUTURE BY BUILDING AND CREATING THE POWER THAT WE USE AND UNHINGE OURSELVES FROM THESE FOREIGN DICTATORSHIPS THAT RUN OFF OIL ECONOMIES, BUT WE CAN IMPROVE THE FUTURE AND THE SAFETY OF OUR PLANET BY DIALING DOWN THE POLLUTION. MY STATE PAYS A PARTICULAR PRICE. WE ARE DOWNWIND OF THE MIDWESTERN POLLUTERS, THE BIG UTILITY COMPANIES, THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES, THE ONES THAT HAVE BUILT 1,000-FOOT HIGH SMOKE STACKS FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF SHOVING AS MUCH OF THEIR POLLUTION AS HIGH IN THE ATMOSPHERE AS THEY CAN SO IT DOESN'T RAIN DOWN ON THEIR STATES, NOT ON MISSOURI, NOT ON OHIO, NOT ON PENNSYLVANIA. THAT IT RAINS DOWN ON RHODE ISLAND, ON MASSACHUSETTS, ON VERMONT, ON OTHER STATES. I WAS HERE THIS MORNING TALKING ABOUT THE MERCURY POOL. WE HAVE PONDS, LAKES AND RESERVOIRS IN RHODE ISLAND WHERE IT IS UNSAFE TO EAT THE FISH THAT YOU CATCH BECAUSE OF MERCURY POISONING. IT'S UNSAFE EVERYWHERE IN RHODE ISLAND TO EAT THE FISH THAT YOU CATCH IF YOU'RE A CHILD OR AN EXPECTANT MOTHER. BUT IN THESE PONDS NOBODY CAN SAFELY EAT THE FISH THAT YOU CATCH BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH MERCURY IN THEM. HOW DID THE MERCURY GET THERE? HOW DID THE MERCURY GET THERE? PROSECUTE POLLUTION. OUT OF THE -- FROM POLLUTION. OUT OF THE SMOKE STACKS DUMPED DOWN ON OUR STATE. THERE IS NOTHING THAT WE CAN DO TO PREVENT IT OTHER THAN TO SUPPORT E.P.A. IN THESE MERCURY LIMIT RULES. SO THERE IS A REAL COST TO CONTINUING DOWN THIS FOSSIL FUEL PATH. MY HOPE STATE PAYS IT ALL THE TIME. AND WHEN IT COMES TIME TO REAP THE WHIRL WEND OF STORM ACTIVITY, OF SEA LEVEL RISE, COASTAL STATES LIKE RHODE ISLAND WILL PAY A PARTICULARLY HIGH PRICE. SO I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO COME TO THE SENATE FLOOR. THIS IS NOT A POPULAR TOPIC. THE PRESIDING OFFICER, SENATOR SANDERS OF VERMONT, IS ELOQUENT, ARTICULATE AND A CONSTANT ALLY ON THESE SUBJECTS. THERE IS A HANDFUL OF US WHO ARE REGULAR ON THIS SUBJECT. BUT I THINK FOR A GREAT MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES, AND PARTICULARLY FOR VIRTUALLY EVERYBODY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, THEY'D JUST AS SOON WASH THEIR HANDS OF IT, FORGET ABOUT IT, PRETEND IT'S NOT HAPPENING AND CONTINUE TO SLEEPWALK TOWARDS DISASTER. SO I'M GOING TO KEEP DOING THIS. IT'S IMPORTANT TO MY STATE. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO OUR COUNTRY. AND I APPRECIATE THE ATTENTION OF THE PRESIDING OFFICER AND THOSE WHO HAVE THE ATTENTION OF THE FLOOR. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I WOULD NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:35:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: NOR SENATORA…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: NOR SENATORA SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:35:25 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:54:44 PM

    MR. WICKER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 02:54:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:54:50 PM

    MR. WICKER

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

  • 02:54:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:54:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:54:59 PM

    MR. WICKER

    YOU, SIR. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO EXPRESS MY SERIOUS CONCERN ABOUT…

    YOU, SIR. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO EXPRESS MY SERIOUS CONCERN ABOUT A MATTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY. IT IS A MATTER THAT IS INCREASINGLY MORE VISIBLE WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IT'S A MATTER THAT THEY ARE MORE AND MORE CONCERNED ABOUT AS THEY HEAR MORE. IT'S AN ISSUE THAT IS NOT GOING AWAY UNTIL IT'S PROPERLY INVESTIGATED BY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THIS GOVERNMENT. AND THAT, OF COURSE, IS THE RECENT NEWS PUBLICATIONS THAT DISCUSSED DETAILS OF COUNTERTERRORISM PLANS, PROGRAMS, AND OPERATIONS OF OUR GOVERNMENT. THESE PUBLICATIONS PUBLICATIONS REFERRED TO SPECIFIC COUNTERTERRORISM MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES THAT ARE AMONG THE MOST CLASSIFIED AND HIGHLY SENSITIVE NATIONAL SECURITY OPERATIONS INVOLVING OUR MILITARY AND OUR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. THE LEAKS OF THIS INFORMATION CONSTITUTE A GRAVE BREECH OF OUR VITAL NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS. THE PRESIDENT, IN HIS PRESS CONFERENCE LAST FRIDAY, ATTEMPTED TO DISTANCE HIM ADMINISTRATION FROM THESE DAMAGING LEAKS, STATING THAT "THE NOTION THAT MY WHITE HOUSE WOULD PURPOSELY RELEASE CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION IS OFFENSIVE." THE MATTER IS CERTAINLY OFFENSIVE. -- AND NEEDS TOCK FULLY REGULATED. BUT I MUST POINT OUT THAT THE PRESIDENT DID NOT EXPLICITLY DENY THAT MEMBERS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR LEAKING CLASSIFIED OR SENSITIVE INFORMATION TO THE MEDIA. AS A MATTER OF FACT, SO MANY OF THE NEWS REPORTS, QUITE FRANKLY, POINT TO MEMBERS OF THIS ADMINISTRATION FOR THESE DAMAGING AND CRIMINAL LEAKS. ANY MISMANAGED LING OF CLASSIFIED MATERIAL -- ANY MISHANDLING OF CLASSIFIED MATERIAL MUST BE TAKEN WITH THE UTMOST SERIOUSNESS. THE AUTHORS OF THESE PUBLICATIONS CITE UNNAMED SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS AND PRESIDENT DENYING AIDES AS THEIR SOURCES. WE NEED TO KNOW THE NAMES OF THESE SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS. WE NEED TO KNOW THE NAMES OF THESE PRESIDENTIAL AIDES. AND WE NEED TO KNOW, QUITE FRANKLY, IF THEY WERE ENGAGED IN CRIMINAL BREACHES OF OUR ESPIONAGE AND SPELL GENERALS STATUTES -- AND INTELLIGENCE STATUTES. OUR MEN AND WOMEN OF THE MILITARY AND OUR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY OFFICIALS WORK UNDER EXTREMELY DIFFICULT CONDITIONS. THESE LEAKS HAVE PUT THEIR LIVES IN DANGER. THESE LEAKS HAVE PUT THEIR METHODS AND THEIR ONGOING OPERATIONS AT RISK. THEY NEED TO STOP, AND THEY NEED TO BE INVESTIGATED. ALL INDIVIDUALS PRIVY TO THE WHITE HOUSE DISCUSSIONS REGARDING COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS HOLD SECURITY CLEARANCES AT THE VERY HIGHEST LEVELS. BEFORE BEING GRANTINGED ACCESS TO THESE CLASSIFIED ITEMS OF INFORMATION, INDIVIDUALS MUST UNDERGO A THOROUGH BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION AND RECEIVE EXTENSIVE SECURITY TRAINING REGARDING PROPER PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING CLASSIFIED MATERIALS. THEY ARE TRAINED AS TO WHAT THEY CAN SAY AND WHAT THEY OUGHT NOT TO SAY. THEY'RE TRAINED AS TO ARE WHAT THE LAW REQUIRES AND WHAT THE LAW PROHIBITS. IT IS CLEAR THAT ANY POTENTIAL LEAK OF CLASSIFIED MATERIAL WAS NOT AN ACCIDENTAL SLIP OF THE TONGUE BUT A DELIBERATE AND BRAZEN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW, AND WE NEED TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS. I WILL ALSO ADD THAT WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT, AN ISOLATED INSTANCE OF A LEAK. AS THE CHAIR OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE, SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN, RIGHTLY OBSERVED LAST WITNESS DAY, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHAT SHE DESCRIBED AS AN AVALANCHE OF LEAKS. AN AVALANCHE OF LEAKS, MR. PRESIDENT. -- ON NATIONAL SECURITY MATTERS THAT HAVE, IN HER WORDS, PUT OUR NATION'S SECURITY IN JEOPARDY. UNQUOTE. TO QUOTE THE CHAIR OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. TO FURTHER QUOTE CHAIRWOMAN FEINSTEIN, "A NUMBER OF THOSE LEAKS AND OTHERS IN THE LAST MONTHS ABOUT DRONE ACTIVITIES AND OTHER ACTIVITIES ARE FRANKLY AGAINST ALL NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS." I I APOLOGIZE. HERE I'M QUOTING THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, MR. PRESIDENT, SENATOR JOHN KERRY. I'LL READ IT AGAIN SINCE I HAVE THE CITATION CORRECT. A NUMBER OF THESE LEAKS AND OTHERS IN THE LAST MONTHS ABOUT DRONE ACTIVITIES AND OTHER ACTIVITIES ARE FRANKLY ALL AGAINST NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS, SAID CHAIRMAN KERRY. HE GOES ON TO SAY "I THINK THEY'RE DANGEROUS, DAMAGING, AND WHOEVER IS DOING THAT IS NOT ACTING IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." AND YET NEWS REPORTS SAY THAT THESE REPORTS COME FROM SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS. WE NEED TO FIND OUT WHO THESE ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS ARE AND FURTHER TO QUOTE SENATOR FEINSTEIN, WHO I BEGAN QUOTING EARLIER, SHE SAID "WHEN PEOPLE SAY THEY DON'T WANT TO WORK WITH THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE THEY CAN'T TRUST US TO KEEP A SECRET, THAT'S SERIOUS. WHEN ALLIES BECOME CONCERNED, WHEN AN ASSET'S LIFE IS IN JEOPARDY OR THE ASSET'S FAMILY'S LIFE IS IN JEOPARDY, THAT'S A PROBLEM. THE POINT OF INTELLIGENCE IS TO BE ABLE TO KNOW WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY" AND I COULD GO ON AND ON. I'VE JOINED TEN OF MY COLLEAGUES IN COSPONSORING A SENATE RESOLUTION THAT URGES THE U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, ERIC HOLDER, TO APPOINT AN INDEPENDENT SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION LEAKS BY THE ADMINISTRATION. AND YET INSTEAD OF A SPECIAL COUNSEL, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS MERELY APPOINTED TWO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ATTORNEYS TO INVESTIGATE THE LEAKS. U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, RONALD MATSCHEN AND HIS COUNTERPART IN MARYLAND, ROD ROSENSTEIN. ALTHOUGH I HAVE NO QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR ABILITIES, THE APPOINTMENT OF THESE TWO OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS IS UNACCEPTABLE AND RAISES QUESTIONS AS TO THEIR INDEPENDENCE. A TRULY INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION WOULD ALMOST CERTAINLY REVEAL ANY BREACHES OF THE CRIMINAL LAW CONCERNING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION ESSENTIAL TO NATIONAL SECURITY. A TRULY INDEPENDENT COUNSEL WOULD HAVE HIS OR HER OWN PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION, AND IF THE ADMINISTRATION LEAKS INFORMATION, THE PUBLIC HAS RIGHT TO KNOW AND THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO BE OUTRAGED. THE LIVES OF AMERICANS AND OUR FRIENDS HAVE ALREADY BEEN PUT AT RISK. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO PURSUE A COMPLETE SELF-INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGATIONS OF THIS MAGNITUDE IN THE MIDST OF AN ELECTION. THEY SIMPLY CANNOT BE ASKED TO DO THIS. ESPECIALLY WHEN THOSE RESPONSIBLE COULD WELL BE MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION THEMSELVES. ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER IS A PRINCIPAL ON THE PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM. MEMBERS OF THIS TEAM MAY VERY WELL HAVE BEEN THE SOURCES OF THESE LEAKS. MEMBERS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S TEAM. I WANT TO ASK THIS: DOES THE ADMINISTRATION REALLY WANT THE TRUTH IN THIS? OR IS THE ADMINISTRATION SIMPLY LOOKING FOR COVER? WHAT IS IT ABOUT AN INDEPENDENT SPECIAL COUNSEL THAT FRIGHTENS THIS ADMINISTRATION? IS IT THE TRUTH THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION IS AFRAID OF? AND ARE AMERICANS MORE LIKELY TO GET THE TRUTH FROM A TRULY INDEPENDENT COUNSEL OR FROM U.S. ATTORNEYS WHO WILL STILL REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL? THE ADMINISTRATION'S CONCERN ABOUT SPECIAL COUNSELS IS UNDERSTANDABLE. IF AN INDEPENDENT COUNSEL INVESTIGATION REVEALS PROOF OF LEAKS FOR POLITICAL GAIN, IT WILL NOT BE PRETTY AND WILL NOT SIT WELL WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS SUNDAY MARKS THE 40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE WATERGATE BREAK-IN. IT STARTED SMALL, BUT AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE BEGAN TO ASK QUESTIONS AND AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE BEGAN TO DEMAND A TRUE INVESTIGATION, THE TRUTH FINALLY WAS REVEALED AND IT BROUGHT DOWN A PRESIDENCY. EARLY ON IN WATERGATE A MEMBER OF MY POLITICAL PARTY, A MEMBER OF PRESIDENT NIXON'S POLITICAL PARTY, A FORMER NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT, BARRY GOLDWATER, CAME FORWARD TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND SAID LET'S GET THE TRUTH OUT. NO MORE COVERUPS. LET'S GET RID OF THE STINK AND LET'S FIND OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON. MEMBERS OF MY PARTY SHOULD HAVE HEEDED THE WORDS OF BARRY GOLDWATER AT THAT MOMENT, AND PERHAPS THE SCANDAL COULD -- COULD HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO LIGHT AND PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE SUBSEQUENT COVER-UP WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ASKED TO DO SO. BARRY GOLDWATER WAS RIGHT. MEMBERS OF BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES WOULD BE WELL ADVISED TODAY TO ASK THIS ADMINISTRATION TO COME FORWARD, APPOINT A TRULY INDEPENDENT COUNSEL TO HAVE A TRULY INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF THESE BREACHES OF NATIONAL SECURITY. WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT TODAY IS EVIDENCE OF CRIMINAL DISCLOSURES OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE SECRETS, DISCLOSURES THAT HAVE DAMAGED OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND CONTINUE TO DAMAGE OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. THIS ISSUE IS NOT GOING AWAY. I URGE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, I URGE MY PRESIDENT TO ENSURE CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT AND TO APPOINT A SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE AND HOLD ACCOUNTABLE ANYONE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE FLAGRANT VIOLATIONS OF OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:06:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 03:06:27 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE TO CHALLENGE THE OBJECT STIN EANS -- OBSTINACY OF…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE TO CHALLENGE THE OBJECT STIN EANS -- OBSTINACY OF OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO PREVENT US FROM DOING ANYTHING THAT CAN HELP ORDINARY FAMILIES IN OUR COUNTRY GET BACK ON THEIR FEET AND SUCCEED. AS A MATTER OF FACT, IT WAS VERY CLEARLY STATED BY THE MAJORITY -- BY THE MINORITY LEADER, THE REPUBLICAN LEADER, TO TELL US THAT HIS NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY -- IMAGINE THAT, THE LEADER OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE, HIS NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY IS TO MAKE SURE THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA IS A ONE-TERM PRESIDENT. AND I ASK WHAT IS THAT -- WHAT GOOD IS THAT TO THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE JOBS OR THE PEOPLE WHOSE MORTGAGES ARE ABOUT TO BE FLOADZ OR THEIR KIDS CAN'T GET AN EDUCATION NO MATTER HOW SMART THEY ARE BECAUSE IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO AFFORD IT. AND STATED PROUDLY ON THE FLOOR OF THIS SENATE THAT THE MISSION IS TO DESTROY THE PRESIDENCY. SHAME ON YOU. HIS NUMBER-ONE PRIORITY, NOT TO CREATE JOBS, PREVENTING ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS, OR KEEPING OUR CHILDREN SAFE AND HEALTHY. IT'S JUST THAT CYNICAL GOAL OF DESTROYING THE PRESIDENCY NO MATTER HOW MUCH HARM, NO MATTER HOW MUCH PAIN THESE ACTIONS INFLICT ON OUR GENERAL POPULATION. IT'S A DISGRACE. AND WHAT WE'VE SEEN, AND WE'VE SEEN WHAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO DO TO ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL. THEY BROUGHT OUR NATION TO THE BRINK OF DEFAULT. THEY SHUT DOWN THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION. THEY HAD TO BE DRAGGED, KICKING AND SCREAMING, TO EXTEND THE PAYROLL TAX CUT JUST TO NAME A FEW OF THE MOST EGREGIOUS EXAMPLES. NOW THE REPUBLICAN MISSION APPEARS TO BE PUNISHING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WITH LONGER WAITS IN THE COURTROOMS FOR JUDGMENTS TO BE CONCLUDED. THERE ARE CURRENTLY 74 FEDERAL JUDICIAL VACANCIES WAITING TO BE FILLED. IN OTHER WORDS, NEARLY ONE IN 11 FEDERAL JUDGESHIPS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY ARE EVENT -- ARE VACANT. THESE VACANCIES ARE NOT SOME ABSTRACT PROBLEM THAT ONLY LAWYERS AND ACADEMICS CARE ABOUT. JUDICIAL VACANCIES DENVER-DAY AMERICANS -- DENY EVERYDAY AMERICANS OUR CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES AND MILLIONS OF THEM HAVE HAD THEIR CASES DELAYED. AND AT A TIME WHEN OUR ECONOMY IS MAKING A FRAGILE RECOVERY, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO HAVE A LEGAL SYSTEM THAT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR BUSINESSES TO GET LEGAL JUDGMENT CERTAINTY ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES, TO MOVE THEIR OPERATIONS, FOR INSTANCE, TO FULL GEAR PERHAPS, BUT NOW WE'VE LEARNED THAT THE SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE COMMITTED TO MAKING MATTERS EVEN WORSE. "ROLL CALL" REPORTS THAT AT YESTERDAY'S WEEKLY LUNCHEON OF THE CONSERVATIVE STEERING COMMITTEE, MINORITY LEADER McCONNELL DECIDED TO HALT, STOP ALL CIRCUIT COURT CONFIRMATIONS. HOW CAN OUR DEMOCRACY FUNCTION WHEN WE CAN'T EVEN PUT JUDGES IN THE COURTROOM? THE VERY NEXT NOMINEE IN LINE TO BE FORMED THE CIRCUIT COURT IS A HIGHLY QUALIFIED NOMINEE FROM NEW JERSEY AND WE NEED HER ON THE BENCH NOW. MAGISTRATE JUDGE PATTY SCHWARZ HAS BEEN NOMINATED TO SERVE ON THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS. HER NOMINATION WAS FAVORABLY REPORTED BY THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ON MARCH 8 -- MARCH 8, NEARLY A HUNDRED DAYS AGO. THEY REFUSE TO LET US TAKE IT UP. MORE THAN -- FOR MORE THAN THREE MONTHS SHE'S WAITED PATIENTLY FOR A CONFIRMATION VOTE. SHE'S ANXIOUS TO GET TO WORK AND WE NEED HER WHILE THE REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE PLAY GAMES WITH THE CONFIRMATION PROCESS. AND NOW JUDGE SCHWARTZ IS ON THE VERGE OF RECEIVING A VOTE AND FILLING A CRITICAL VACANCY, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE PULLED THE RUG OUT TO MAKE SURE THAT SHE DOESN'T SIT THERE. IT'S NOT FAIR TO THE JUDGE, TO JUDGE SCHWARTZ OR THE PEOPLE OF NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA, AND DELAWARE WHO DESERVE TO HAVE A FULLY STAFFED FEDERAL BENCH. AND IT SENDS A PARTICULARLY NOXIOUS MESSAGE TO THE WOMEN OF THIS COUNTRIES -- OF THIS COUNTRY. IF CONFIRMED, PATTY SHWARTZ WOULD FILL A VOID WHO WOULD BE THE -- THE SECOND WOMAN, WOMAN EVER TO REPRESENT NEW JERSEY ON THAT APPEALS COURT. THIS OBSTRUCTION IS ESPECIALLY OUTRAGEOUS GIVEN THIS PERSON'S RECORD OF SKILL AND CONFIDENCE AND ADMIRATION THAT JUDGE SCHWARTZ HAS EARNED IN THE LEGAL COMMUNITY. HER NOMINATION HAS RECEIVED STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN OUR STATE. HER SUPPORTERS INCLUDE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE, AND HE'S A FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY IN NEW JERSEY, AND HE SAYS JUDGE PATTY SHWARTZ HAS COMMITTED HER ENTIRE PROFESSIONAL LIFE TO PUBLIC SERVICE, AND NOW IS -- AND NEW JERSEY IS BETTER FOR IT. HIS STATEMENT. AND IF GOVERNOR CHRISTIE AND I AGREE ON SOMEONE, YOU KNOW SHE'S REALLY GOT TO BE GOOD. AND WE'RE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO FEEL SO STRONGLY ABOUT PATTY SHWARTZ'S STELLAR QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE BENCH. JOHN LACY, WHO WAS A PAST PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF THE NEW JERSEY FEDERAL BAR, SAID THAT JUDGE SCHWARTZ AND I -- QUOTE -- "IS THOUGHTFUL, INTELLIGENT, HAS AN EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH LEVEL OF COMMON SENSE." THOMAS CURTAIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE LAWYERS' ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE DISTRICT COURT OF NEW JERSEY, I QUOTE HIM, "EVERY LAWYER IN THE WORLD WILL TELL YOU SHE IS EXTRAORDINARILY QUALIFIED, A DECENT PERSON, AND AN EXCELLENT JUDGE." THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION CLEARLY AGREES. THEY GAVE HER THE HIGH -- THEIR HIGHEST RATING OF UNANIMOUSLY WELL QUALIFIED. A REVIEW OF JUDGE SCHWARTZ'S EXPERIENCE SHOWS WHY SHE HAS EARNED SUCH RESPECT AND PRAISE. SINCE 2003, PATTY SHWARTZ HAS SERVED AS A U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE IN THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY WHERE SHE'S HANDLED MORE THAN 4,000 CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES. SHE GRADUATED FROM RUTGERS UNIVERSITY WITH HIGHEST HONORS, FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW SCHOOL, WHERE SHE WAS AN EDITOR OF THE LAW REVIEW, AND WAS NAMED HER CLASS' OUTSTANDING WOMAN LAW GRADUATE. AS GOVERNOR CHRISTIE SAID, PATTY SHWARTZ'S DEVOTED HER ENTIRE CAREER TO PUBLIC SERVICE, AND PREVENTING HER FROM DOING SO WILL ONLY HURT AMERICAN PEOPLE, PEOPLE IN OUR -- IN OUR AREA IN PENNSYLVANIA AND NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE. ONLY HURT THOSE PEOPLE SEEKING JUSTICE AND OUR VERY SYSTEM OF DEMOCRACY. MADAM PRESIDENT, IT'S OFTEN BEEN SAID JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED. IT'S A LESSON THAT PEOPLE IN NEW JERSEY AND ALL THE COUNTRY ARE LEARNING, AND IT'S GOT TO STOP. ALL AMERICANS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE PRICE THAT THEY PAY FOR THE OBSTRUCTION OF THE REPUBLICANS ON THE -- THEIR SIDE OF THE AISLE. WHEN THESE CONFIRMATIONS ARE BLOCKED IT'S NOT JUST NOMINEES THAT SUFFER. THE JUSTICE SYSTEM SUFFERS UNDER THE WEIGHT OF VACANCIES AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SUFFER LONGER WAITS FOR JUSTICES IN OVERBURDENED COURTS. IT'S TIME FOR REPUBLICAN POLITICIANS TO STOP BLOCKING VOTES ON THESE WELL-QUALIFIED NOMINEES AND ALLOW THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO CONFIRM THEM WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, I TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY THE SENATE'S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY OF ADVICE AND CONSENT REGARDING PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE SENATE SHOULD RUBBER STAMP JUDICIAL NOMINEES WITHOUT CONSIDERATION OR DELIBERATION. HOWEVER, WHAT WE SEE TODAY IS AN UNPRECEDENTED LEVEL OF INSTRUCTION IN CONFIRMING JUDGES. AT THIS POINT IN THE TERM OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH'S PRESIDENCY, THE SENATE HAD CONFIRMED 179 JUDGES, 28 MORE THAN THE 151 OF PRESIDENT'S NOMINEES WHO HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED TO DATE. AND PRESIDENT OBAMA'S NOMINEES HAVE BEEN FORCED TO WAIT APPROXIMATELY FOUR TIMES AS LONG AS PRESIDENT BUSH'S NOMINEES TO BE CONFIRMED AFTER BEING FAVORABLY REPORTED BY THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. WE DIDN'T -- WHEN WE HAD THE NUMBERS FAVORING OUR MAJORITY, WE DIDN'T PERMIT DELAYS LIKE THIS. WE NEVER WOULD USE THAT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR A PRESIDENCY THAT WE DISAGREE WITH. AS A RESULT, THE VACANCY RATE IS NEARLY TWICE WHAT IT WAS AT THIS POINT IN PRESIDENT BUSH'S FIRST TERM. THESE DELAYS AND DESTROY TACTICS CANNOT BE WHAT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS HAD IN MIND WHEN THEY GAVE US THE POWER OF ADVICE AND CONSENT. I'M THE SON OF IMMIGRANTS WHO CAME TO THIS COUNTRY, AND I GOT THE MESSAGE OFTEN FROM MY PARENTS AND MY GRANDPARENTS TO COME TO AMERICA, FIND A BETTER WAY OF LIFE THAN YOU HAD IN RUSSIA OR POLAND, THEIR BIRTHPLACE, AND I VIEW OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM AS THE NATION'S PREMIER INSTITUTION. IT DEMONSTRATES SO WELL WHAT AMERICA'S ABOUT. I AM PROUD THAT A COURTHOUSE IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, BEARS MY NAME. IT HAS AN INSCRIPTION THAT I AUTHORED. WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT THE INSCRIPTION, WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE, AND I CAME UP WITH THIS. THE TRUE MEASURE OF A DEMOCRACY IS ITS DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE. WHEN PEOPLE WALK IN THAT COURTROOM, THEY HAVE TO KNOW THEY HAVE AN EQUAL CHANCE AT PROPER DECISIONS LIKE ANYBODY ELSE, AND THERE SHOULDN'T BE THE DISCRIMINATION THAT EXISTS WHEN WE DON'T FILL VACANCIES THAT ARE BEGGING TO BE FILLED WITH QUALIFIED CANDIDATES. ALL IN THIS CHAMBER KNOW WHEN THE DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE IS OBSTRUCTED AND DELAYED, OUR DEMOCRACY SUFFERS. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I PLEAD WITH OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TOP THE OBSTRUCTION. ALLOW THE SENATE TO VOTE ON JUDGE PATTY SCHWARZ'S CONFIRMATION WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY AND PUT OFF YOUR ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S TENURE AS PRESIDENT. THAT DOESN'T FIT IN HERE. YOU WANT TO DO IT IN THE POLITICAL MAINSTREAM. YOU WANT THE WILD GESTURES AND THOSE RIDICULOUS CLAIMS THAT THEY WANT TO DESTROY PRESIDENT OBAMA'S TENURE. NO, DON'T DO THAT. DON'T DO THAT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BE FAIR, DO YOUR JOB, LET'S GET ON WITH IT. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

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  • 03:19:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 03:19:51 PM

    MR. REED

    PRESIDENT, WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. THE INTEREST RATE ON SUBSIDIZED…

    PRESIDENT, WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. THE INTEREST RATE ON SUBSIDIZED STUDENT LOANS IS SET TO DOUBLE IN JUST OVER TWO WEEKS. THIS WILL HIT MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES HARD AT A TIME WHEN THEY ARE REELING FROM THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF THE MOST SEVERE RECESSION THAT WE HAVE WITNESSED IN OUR LIFETIMES. EARLIER THIS WEEK, THE FEDERAL RESERVE REPORTED ADDITIONAL SOBERING NEWS. BETWEEN 2007-2010, MEDIAN FAMILY WEALTH DECLINED BY NEARLY 40%. MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME DECLINED BY NEARLY 8%, AND THE SHARE OF FAMILIES WITH EDUCATION-RELATED DEBT ROSE FROM 15.2% TO 19.2%. CERTAINLY, THIS IS NO TIME TO INCREASE THE INTEREST RATE ON NEED-BASED STUDENT LOANS ON THE MORE THAN 7 MILLION LOW AND MODERATE INCOME STUDENTS WHO RELY ON THEM TO GO TO COLLEGE. WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IS A MIDDLE CLASS THAT HAS BEEN IN TERMS OF WEALTH AND INCOME SHRINKING DRAMATICALLY. IRONICALLY -- PERHAPS IRONICALLY, BUT THE VERY, VERY WEALTHY HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN INCOME AND WEALTH INCREASE. BUT FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, THEY HAVE SEEN THEIR ECONOMIC POSITION DETERIORATE. CLOSELY ALLIED WITH ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND THE IDEA OF MAKING YOUR WAY IN THIS COUNTRY IS THE NEED, THE NECESSITY TO GO ON TO HIGHER EDUCATION. WE HAVE BEEN PREACHING THAT. THAT'S WHAT OUR PARENTS TOLD US. GO ON TO COLLEGE. WE COULDN'T GO. WHEN YOU GO ON TO COLLEGE, YOU WILL BE PREPARED TO GO INTO THE WORK FORCE, INCREASE YOUR FAMILY INCOME, CONTRIBUTE MORE TO YOUR COUNTRY, AND YET NOW WE SEE A SITUATION WHERE NOT ONLY IS THERE A COMPRESSION IN MIDDLE-INCOME WEALTH AND INCOME, THERE IS ALSO A STAGGERING AMOUNT OF STUDENT DEBT, ALMOST A TRILLION DOLLARS. IN FACT, I HAVE HEARD REPORTS SUGGESTING THAT IT'S ECLIPSED CREDIT CARD DEBT IN TERMS OF WHAT HOUSEHOLDS IN AMERICA ARE HOLDING. AND SO YOU HAVE A GENERATION OF COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO HAVE GRADUATED, STRUGGLING WITH THIS DEBT. THE WORST THING WE COULD DO NOW IS DOUBLE THE INTEREST RATE ON THOSE WHO NEED MORE LOANS TO FINISH THEIR SCHOOL AND PUT EVEN A GREATER BURDEN ON THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES AS THEY GO FORWARD. WE NEED TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION THAT WILL PREVENT THE DOUBLING. WE NEED TO DO IT BEFORE JULY 1. WE'RE ALSO LOOKING AT A PERIOD OF TIME WHERE INTEREST RATES ARE VERY, VERY LOW. THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS CHARGING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS SOMEWHERE AROUND 1% OR LESS TO BORROW MONEY. YET WE'RE GOING TO STUDENTS TO SAY IT USED TO BE 3.4%. NOW IT WILL BE 6.8%. THAT SEEMS NOT ONLY INCONGRUOUS BUT INCOMPREHENSIBLE THAT WE WOULD ALLOW THIS RATE TO DOUBLE, PARTICULARLY IN THIS ENVIRONMENT. NOW, STUDENTS' FAMILIES CAN'T ABSORB THIS INCREASE. THEY'RE STRETCHED TOO THIN ALREADY. EVERY STATISTIC, BUT FORGET THE STATISTICS. JUST TALK TO PEOPLE BACK HOME IN NEW HAMPSHIRE OR RHODE ISLAND OR NEW JERSEY, AND THEY'LL TELL YOU IT'S TOUGH. CHILDREN MOVING BACK IN WITH FAMILIES BECAUSE THEY'RE STRUGGLING TO FIND A GOOD JOB, PAY STUDENT DEBT, JUST GET BY. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO DOUBLE THE INTEREST RATE ON THESE LOANS. IT'S AN ISSUE OF FAIRNESS. IT'S AN ISSUE OF THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY. IT'S AN ISSUE OF AVOIDING REALLY INNUMERABLE PERSONAL TRAGEDIES. WE WERE JUST ON THE PHONE, A CONFERENCE CALL, AND A WOMAN CALLED IN AND SAID THAT SHE IS INVOLVED WITH MANY STUDENTS WHO HAVE GRADUATED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, AND THEY ARE LITERALLY AT THEIR WIT'S END, THAT THEY CAN'T PAY THEIR DEBTS, THEY DON'T HAVE JOBS THAT ARE -- THAT WILL GIVE THEM THE CHANCE TO MOVE ON, SADDLED WITH ALL THEIR DEBT. HOW DO THEY EVEN BEGIN TO THINK OF STARTING A FAMILY AND BUYING A HOME? SOMETHING THAT MY GENERATION SORT OF TOOK FOR GRANTED ABOUT THE MID 20'S. WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. THIS IS THE FIRST STEP. NOW, ACCORDING TO GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY CENTER ON EDUCATION AND THE WORK FORCE, OVER 60% OF JOBS WILL REQUIRE SOME POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION BY 2018. WE KNOW THAT NO LONGER IS HIGHER EDUCATION SOME NICE THING TO DO. IT'S BECOME A NECESSITY TO GET JOBS THAT WILL PROVIDE FOR A FAMILY. YET IN 2010, ONLY 38.3% OF WORKING ADULTS HAVE A TWO-YEAR OR FOUR-YEAR DEGREE. SO WE KNOW THERE IS A GAP ALREADY. WE HAVE ABOUT 40% OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, AND EXPERTS ARE TELLING US WE'LL NEED 60% BY 2018. THAT'S JUST FOUR YEARS AWAY. AND WE'RE PROPOSING MAKING IT HARDER TO PAY FOR COLLEGE? AGAIN, IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. THAT'S WHY LAST JANUARY, WORKING WITH MY COLLEAGUE, JOE COURTNEY FROM CONNECTICUT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WE INTRODUCED THE STUDENT LOAN AFFORDABILITY ACT. WE SAW THIS COMING. WE KNEW WE HAD TO PREVENT THIS INCREASE. AND INITIALLY THE RESPONSE FROM OUR COLLEAGUES ON THIS SIDE WAS NO WAY. IN FACT, THEY VOTED FOR TWO BUDGETS THAT ASSUME THE INTEREST RATE WOULD DOUBLE, THEREFORE GIVING MORE RESOURCES FOR TAX CUTS AND OTHER PREFERENCES THAT CERTAINLY WON'T BE AS EFFECTIVE TO HELP THE MIDDLE CLASS AS GIVING A YOUNGSTER A CHANCE TO GO TO COLLEGE. BUT WE CONTINUE TO PUSH. WITH THE THE PRESIDENT AND STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, I THINK WE HAVE SEEN SOME PROGRESS. WE HAVE SEEN A CHANGE IN RHETORIC. GOVERNOR ROMNEY DECLARED HE WOULD KEEP THE RATES LOW. NO SPECIFICATION ON HOW TO DO THIS, NO URGING TO DO THIS, BUT AT LEAST CONCEPTUALLY, THERE SEEMED TO BE AGREEMENT ON THAT ONE POINT. THEN THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS FOLLOWED SUIT. YES, WE HAVE TO KEEP THIS FROM DOUBLING, THIS INTEREST RATE FROM DOUBLING. BUT WE HAVEN'T SEEN THE ACTIONS THAT MATCH THESE WORDS. THEY INITIALLY MADE A PROPOSAL TO KEEP THE INTEREST RATES LOW BY GOING AFTER PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE, AND THAT'S REALLY A NONSTARTER. WE UNDERSTAND -- I HOPE WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT, ONE, IF WE'RE GOING TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF HEALTH CARE IN THIS COUNTRY, WE HAVE TO EMPHASIZE PREVENTATIVE CARE. IF BY THE WAY WE'RE GOING TO BEND THAT PROVERBIAL COST CURVE, WE BETTER START DOING MORE PREVENTION THAN TREATMENT BECAUSE IT'S A LOT MORE COST-EFFECTIVE TO PREVENT THAN TREAT DISEASE. THEN THEY PROPOSE ANOTHER OFFSET THAT WOULD TAKE RESOURCES IN LOW AND MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES, VARIOUS PROGRAMS. SAYING FROM ONE POCKET OF THE MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILY THAT NEED HELP, TAKE THAT AND GIVE THEM TO THEM IN THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT. THAT DIDN'T WORK. THEY CONTINUE TO RESIST THE PROPOSAL WE MADE INITIALLY TO PAY FOR IT BECAUSE WE DO UNDERSTAND IN THIS ENVIRONMENT THAT YOU HAVE TO BE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. WE PROPOSED TO CLOSE ONE OF THE MOST EGREGIOUS LOOPHOLES IN THE TAX CODE. THERE IS A PROVISION THAT ALLOWS THREE OR FOUR HIGH-PAID LOBBYISTS, HIGH-PAID LAWYERS, HIGH-PAID CONSULTANTS TO AVOID THEIR PAYROLL TAXES, THEIR MEDICARE TAXES, THEIR OTHER CHAPTERS BY FORMING A CHAPTER S CORPORATION, AND THEN AT THE END OF THE YEAR GIVE THEMSELVES A DIVIDEND, WHICH IS NOT WAGES SUBJECT TO THESE TAXES, AND IT'S ACTUALLY TREATED AT A VERY PREFERENTIAL TAX RATE. IT SAID THIS IS SUCH AN OUTRAGEOUS LOOPHOLE, IT WAS CONDEMNED BY BOB NOVAK, THE LATE CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST, IT WAS CONDEMNED BY "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL," IT WAS CONDEMNED BY EVERYONE, BUT IT WAS NOT SOMETHING THAT THEY COULD ACCEPT. WELL, WE HAVE MOVED FORWARD. WE HAVE PUT A NEW OFFER ON THE TABLE, LED BY LEADER HARRY REID, AND THAT WOULD EFFECTIVELY HELP WITH RESPECT TO PENSION LIABILITIES. FIRST, IT WOULD GIVE EMPLOYERS MORE PREDICTABILITY IN TERMS OF THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS BY ALLOWING THEM TO SMOOTH OUT THE INTEREST RATE WHICH THEY ASSUME IN THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FUND. IF YOU'RE TRYING TO FUND A LIABILITY, A PENSION LIABILITY OVER MANY YEARS, YOU HAVE TO PUT IN PRINCIPLE BUT THEN YOU HAVE TO ASSUME AN INTEREST RATE TO SEE IF THAT PRINCIPAL WILL GROW TO AN ADEQUATE REMARK. THEY LOOK BACK ABOUT TWO YEARS AND THIS IS A REMARKABLY LOW INTEREST RATE ENVIRONMENT. SO WITH LOW INTEREST RATES, THEY HAVE TO PUT MORE PRINCIPAL IN. THIS WAY THEY COULD LOOK FURTHER BACK, SMOOTH IT OUT, TAKE A MORE REALISTIC INTEREST RATE THAT WILL REFLECT NOT JUST THE LAST TWO YEARS, BUT ONE WOULD ARGUE VERY EXCEPTIONAL IN TERMS OF INTEREST RATES, BUT LOOK AT SOMETHING THAT'S MORE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE 20 OR SO YEARS THAT THEY MUST PROVIDE FOR IN THEIR PENSION FUND. AND IN FACT THIS IS A PROVISION THAT EMPLOYERS THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THEM. THE OTHER SIDE IT TO PROVIDE AN INCREASE OF FUNDING TO THE PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION, THE INSURANCE FUND, BECAUSE TOO OFTEN TODAY THEY HAVE TO STEP IN WHERE COMPANIES GO BANKRUPT AND THEIR PENSION FUNDS ARE NOT ADEQUATE TO PAY FOR AN EVEN PART OF THE LIABILITIES, THE BONA FIDE LIABILITIES THAT THEY OWE THE WORKERS, MANY OF WHOM WHO SPENT YEARS IN THEIR EMPLOY AND ARE DEPENDING UPON THEIR PENSION. SO THIS IS A VERY BALANCED APPROACH. IN FACT, IT'S AN APPROACH IN THE PAST THAT HAS HAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. SO I HOPE THAT WE'RE REACHING THE POINT NOW WHERE WE CAN COME TOGETHER. THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT ISSUE FOR FAMILIES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. I HAVE HEARD PLEAS FROM RHODE ISLAND FAMILIES TO FIX THIS, PLEASE. I RECEIVED LETTERS AND CALLS. ONE OF THEM CAME IN AND IT WAS PLEASE CONTINUE TO FIGHT KEEPING THE INTEREST RATE OF STAFFORD LOANS DOWN AT 3.4%. IT IS DIFFICULT ENOUGH TO PAY FOR COLLEGE. WITH UNEMPLOYMENT SO HIGH FOR RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES, OUR FINANCIAL FUTURE SEEMS BLEAK. MY PARENTS AND I HAVE TAKEN LOANS TO DAY FOR MY AND MY SISTER'S TUITION. WE ARE FROM A MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY. WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT AND HELP WITH THIS ISSUE. THOSE WORDS ARE MORE ELOQUENT THAN MINE. LET'S JUST GET THIS DONE. WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE. JULY 1 IS ALMOST UPON US. TWO WEEKS. LET'S COME TOGETHER, LET'S HELP PEOPLE ACROSS THIS COUNTRY AND HELP OUR COUNTRY. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT, AND I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. I WOULD ALSO NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:30:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 03:32:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING.

  • 03:33:02 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:33:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:33:06 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:33:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:33:10 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. MADAM PRESIDENT, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. MADAM PRESIDENT, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES EARLIER TODAY WAS IN CLEVELAND. HE SPOKE FOR 54 MINUTES, AND YET HE SAID ALMOST NOTHING. AT LEAST CERTAINLY NOTHING THAT MOST OF US HAVE NOT HEARD BEFORE. IT WAS TWO YEARS AGO THIS VERY WEEKEND, TWO YEARS AGO THIS WEEKEND, THAT THE WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCED THE START OF WHAT IT REFERRED TO AS THE RECOVERY SUMMER. THAT CAMPAIGN EFFORT WAS AN EFFORT TO CONVINCE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S POLICIES TO CREATE JOBS, THAT THE POLICIES WERE WORKING. DAVID AXLEROD, THE SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT SAID THIS SUMMER -- THE SUMMER OF 2010 -- THIS SUMMER WILL BE THE MOST ACTIVE RECOVERY ACT SEASON YET. AGAIN, THAT WAS THE SUMMER OF 2010. TREASURY SECRETARY TIM GEITHNER WROTE AN OP-ED IN THE "NEW YORK TIMES" ENTITLED "WELCOME TO THE RECOVERY." AGAIN, THAT WAS 2010. NOW HERE WE ARE, TWO YEARS LATER, AND AMERICANS ARE STILL WAITING FOR A REAL RECOVERY. THE RECOVERY SUMMER FAILED TO PRODUCE RESULTS BECAUSE IT WAS NEVER MORE THAN JUST A CHEAP SLOGAN. IT WAS DESIGNED TO HIDE THE FACT THAT AN UNACCOUNTABLE ADMINISTRATION HAD NO REAL SOLUTIONS. INSTEAD OF WORKING TO CREATE A HEALTHIER ECONOMY, PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS OFFERED MORE EXCUSES, MORE GIMMICKS, AND MORE EMPTY PROMISES AND HE CONTINUES TO SAY THE ECONOMY IS ABOUT TO TURN THE CORNER. THIS PAST MARCH, PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID THINGS WOULD GET BETTER SOON. DAY BY DAY, HE PROMISED, WE ARE RESTORING THE ECONOMY FROM CRISIS. WE'VE HEARD THIS ALL BEFORE. IN FEBRUARY OF 2009 THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT HIS STIMULUS BILL WAS -- QUOTE -- "THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST STEPS TO SET OUR ECONOMY ON A FIRMER FOUNDATION, PAVING THE WAY TO LONG-TERM GROWTH AND PROSPERITY ." THAT'S THE END OF HIS QUOTE. IN APRIL, 2010 HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "OUR ECONOMY IS STRONGER, THE ECONOMIC HEARTBEAT IS GROWING STRONGER." IN 2011, JANUARY THAT YEAR HE CLAIMED -- QUOTE -- "THE NEXT TWO YEARS, HE SAID, OUR JOB NOW IS PUTTING OUR ECONOMY INTO OVERDRIVE." NOW AFTER DISAPPOINTING JOBS NUMBERS FROM MAY OF THIS YEAR WHEN JUST 69,000 JOBS WERE CREATED, THE PRESIDENT ONCE AGAIN PROMISES WE WILL COME BACK STRONGER. YOU KNOW, IT'S A SHAME THAT OUR ECONOMY DOESN'T RUN ON THE PRESIDENT'S RHETORIC. SAYING THAT THINGS WILL GET BETTER DOES NOT MAKE THEM BETTER. WELL, THE PRESIDENT'S RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. FOR STARTERS, WE ALL REMEMBER EARLY 2009 WHEN THE INCOMING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TOLD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT ITS STIMULUS PLAN WOULD KEEP UNEMPLOYMENT BELOW 8%. THAT'S WHAT THEY SAID. KEEP UNEMPLOYMENT, THEY SAID, BELOW 8%. INSTEAD, WE HAVE NOW HAD 40 STRAIGHT MONTHS, 40 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS WITH UNEMPLOYMENT OVER 8%. BY NOW, UNEMPLOYMENT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE EVEN MUCH BETTER, BECAUSE THE ADMINISTRATION HAD SAID THAT BY MID 2012, WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW TODAY, THEIR PROJECTIONS WERE THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WOULD BE BELOW 6% IF THE STIMULUS BILL PASSED. WELL, THE STIMULUS BILL PASSED. I VOTED AGAINST IT, BUT INSTEAD UNEMPLOYMENT HAS TICKED UP AGAIN IN MAY TO 8.2%. LAST MONTH, ONE OFFICIAL AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE SAID IT MIGHT TAKE FOUR TO FIVE MORE YEARS, FOUR TO FIVE ADDITIONAL YEARS TO GET UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN TO 6%, WHICH IS WHERE THE PRESIDENT PROMISED IT WOULD BE AT TODAY. THE LATEST JOBS REPORT ALSO SAID THAT OVER 23 MILLION AMERICANS ARE UNEMPLOYED OR ARE WORKING AT LESS OF A JOB THAN WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE. PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID THE OTHER DAY, HE SAID -- QUOTE -- "THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS DOING FINE." HE SAID IT IN A NATIONALLY TELEVISED PRESS CONFERENCE. HE SAID THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS DOING FINE. HE WENT ON TO SAY IT WAS ONLY GOVERNMENT JOBS THAT WERE LAGGING BEHIND. WELL, I THINK TO MANY OF THESE OVER 23 MILLION AMERICANS WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED, THAT THEY WOULD ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE WITH THIS PRESIDENT. UNDER THE OBAMA ECONOMY SINCE EARLY 2009, WE HAVE LOST 433,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS, 79,000 REAL ESTATE JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST, 160,000 JOBS IN COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRIES LIKE WIRELESS CARRIERS HAVE BEEN LOST, WE'VE LOST 932,000 CONSTRUCTION JOBS. AND THESE MAY SOUND LIKE A LOT OF JUST NUMBERS UPON NUMBERS, BUT BEHIND EACH ONE OF THESE, BEHIND EACH ONE OF THESE STATISTICS IS A PERSON. A HOME BUILDER, A PHONE SALESMAN IN THE MALL, A REAL ESTATE AGENT IN YOUR COMMUNITY. REAL PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST THE PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS THAT THEIR FAMILIES RELY ON TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE, A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD AND TO HELP THEIR KIDS GET THROUGH SCHOOL. MANY AMERICANS HAVE GOTTEN SO DISCOURAGED BY THE OBAMA ECONOMY THAT THEY HAVE ACTUALLY GIVEN UP LOOKING FOR WORK ENTIRELY. THOSE AMERICANS HAVE NOT GIVEN UP -- THEY'RE FINDING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO GET JOBS, EVEN IF THEY'RE TRYING TO FIND A JOB, AND THAT THEIR JOB SEARCH IS TAKING MUCH LONGER THAN THEY EVER WOULD HAVE IMAGINED. OVER FIVE MILLION AMERICANS HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR WORK FOR MORE THAN 27 WEEKS. THAT'S OVER FIVE MILLION AMERICANS WHO HAVE SPENT MORE THAN HALF A YEAR LOOKING FOR WORK. THE UNEMPLOYED NOW SPEND AN AVERAGE OF NEARLY 40 WEEKS LOOKING FOR WORK, DOUBLE THE AVERAGE WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK OFFICE. WELL, THAT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF LOSING YOUR JOB ON NEW YEAR'S DAY AND NOT FINDING WORK AGAIN UNTIL OCTOBER. SO WHY ARE THE JOBS SO SCARCE? WELL, IT'S BECAUSE PRESIDENT OBAMA'S POLICIES HAVE DONE FAR TOO LITTLE TO HELP OUR STRUGGLING ECONOMY. AND IN MANY CASES, HIS POLICIES HAVE ACTUALLY HURT THE ECONOMY AND MADE THINGS WORSE. CONTRARY TO WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA BELIEVES, THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS NOT DOING FINE, AND THE PROBLEMS -- WELL, THE PROBLEM IS NOT JUST THAT WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH BUREAUCRATS. GROWTH IN AMERICA'S G.D.P. FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2012 WAS JUST 1.9%. THAT'S NOWHERE NEAR THE LEVEL WE NEED FOR A HEALTHY ECONOMY. DURING PAST RECOVERIES FROM ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS OTHER PRESIDENTS HAVE PRESIDED OVER MUCH FASTER GROWTH AND AFTER THE RECESSION OF THE EARLY 1980'S PRESIDENT REAGAN'S ECONOMY GREW MUCH FASTER. WELL, THERE IS A SIMPLE REASON WHY. AND IT HAS TO DO WITH THE POLICIES COMING OUT OF THIS PRESIDENT'S ADMINISTRATION. PRESIDENT OBAMA KEEPS REPEATING THAT WE FACE ECONOMIC HEAD WINDS. THE BIGGEST HEAD WINDS THAT WE ARE FACING COME FROM THE PRESIDENT'S OWN ECONOMIC POLICIES. NOW, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS. THEY READ THE PAPERS. HEADLINES LIKE THE ONE FROM "THE WASHINGTON POST" ON TUESDAY, JUST TWO DAYS AGO, SAYS "FAMILIES SEE THEIR WEALTH SAPPED." THE AMERICAN PEOPLE READ ABOUT THE BAD ECONOMIC DATA SAYING THAT DURABLE GOODS, THE ORDERS WERE DOWN 3.7% IN MARCH. PEOPLE KNOW THAT WHEN THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR WHICH IS AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF JOBS, WHEN THIS SLOWS DOWN THAT A DRAMATIC SLOWDOWN DOES NOT BODE WELL FOR JOB GROWTH IN OTHER SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY. WHEN PEOPLE HEAR THIS DRUMBEAT OF BAD ECONOMIC NEWS IT EXPLAINS WHY THE CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX FELL AGAIN IN MAY, THAT WHEN YOU ASK PEOPLE IF THE COUNTRY IS ON THE RIGHT COURSE OR NOT, THE MAJORITY SAY IT IS NOT ON THE RIGHT PATH. WHEN YOU ASK IF THEY THINK THE PRESIDENT IS DOING A GOOD JOB ON THE ECONOMY, THEY SAY NO, THAT HE IS NOT. CONFIDENCE IS DOWN, NOT JUST BECAUSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FOLLOW THE NEWS, AND KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY, IT'S BECAUSE THEY ALSO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THEIR OWN LIVES, WHAT THEY'RE SEEING AT HOME, A WHAT THEY'RE SEEING WITH THEIR FAMILIES AND FOR MANY PEOPLE, THEY ARE NOT EARNING AS MUCH AS THEY HAD EARNED IN THE PAST. THE IMMEDIATE -- MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME HAS FALLEN OVER $4,000 SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK OFFICE. MEANWHILE, THE ACTUAL COSTS, THE COSTS OF EVERYDAY LIVING CONTINUE TO RISE. MORE AND MORE PEOPLE EVERYDAY EVERYDAY -- EVERY DAY ARE FINDING FOR THEM AND FOR THEIR FAMILIES THEY JUST CAN'T KEEP UP. TODAY THERE ARE MORE THAN 46 MILLION AMERICANS ON FOOD STAMPS. THAT'S 14 MILLION MORE THAN RELIED ON THE PROGRAM IN JANUARY OF 2009, WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS SWORN INTO OFFICE. SADLY, THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE EXPECTS THE NUMBER TO GO EVEN HIGHER OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS. WELL, THAT'S OBVIOUSLY THE WRONG DIRECTION, AND IT'S THE RESULT OF BAD DECISIONS AND BAD POLICIES OUT OF THE PRESIDENT'S ADMINISTRATION. THOSE POLICIES HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE LOWER WAGES THAT WE'RE SEEING, TO THE HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT THAT WE'RE LIVING WITH, AND TO MORE PEOPLE LIVING IN POVERTY. THOSE POLICIES ARE CONTRIBUTING AS WELL TO THE SAGGING HOME MARKETS THAT THREATEN TO KEEP MILLIONS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES IN DIRE FINANCIAL STRAITS FOR YEARS TO COME. WE ALL KNOW THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA FACED A DIFFICULT ECONOMIC SITUATION WHEN HE TOOK OFFICE IN 2009. HIS FAILED POLICIES HAVE NOT HEALED OUR ECONOMY. HIGHER TAXES, MORE BUREAUCRACY, MORE BORROWING, MORE WASTEFUL SPENDING BY WASHINGTON WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE THINGS WORSE. NOW WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD WITH EUROPE FACING COLLAPSE AND A GLOBAL SLOWDOWN THAT THREATENS OUR ECONOMY, THE PRESIDENT SEEMS MORE CONCERNED WITH HIS NEXT ELECTION THAN WITH ACTUALLY TAKING ACTION TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. ALONGSIDE ALL THE BAD ECONOMIC NEWS, ABC NEWS REPORTED THE OTHER DAY THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA THEY SAID WILL CONTINUE HIS RECORD SMASHING FUNDRAISING SCHEDULE. RECORD-SMASHING FUNDRAISING SCHEDULE. YOU KNOW, THAT'S NOT THE KIND OF LEADERSHIP THAT OUR ECONOMY NEEDS TODAY. REPUBLICANS ARE FOCUSED ON REAL SOLUTIONS. MAKING OUR TAX CODE SIMPLER, FLAT PERKS AND FAIRER FOR EVERY AMERICAN. REDUCING THE DEBT AND THE DEFICIT. ENDING OVERREGULATION, THE RED TAPE THAT IS BURDENSOME, EXPENSIVE AND TIME CONSUMING. PUTTING PAIRKTS AND DOCTORS --, PATIENTS AND DOCTORS, THEIR OWN DOCTORS IN CONTROL OF HEALTH CARE, NOT CREATING MORE WASHINGTON BROKE. -- BUREAUCRACIES. AND REDUCING OUR DEPENDENCY ON FOREIGN OIL AND SENDING SO MUCH AMERICAN MONEY OVERSEAS. TWO YEARS AGO WHEN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WAS PUTTING OUT PRESS RELEASES AND STAGING PHOTO OPS TO PROCLAIM THE RECOVERY SUMMER, REPUBLICANS WERE APPROACHING REAL SOLUTIONS TO HELP CREATE A HEALTHY ECONOMY. WHEN VOTERS HAD A CHANCE TO COMPARE THE TWO APPROACHES THAT NOVEMBER, NOVEMBER OF 2010, REPUBLICANS EARNED CONTROL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND AT THAT TIME THEY STARTED PASSING A JOBS AGENDA. DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE STILL DON'T GET IT, AND THEY REFUSED TO EVEN CONSIDER THESE BILLS PASSED BY THE HOUSE. THERE ARE 27 JOBS BILLS THAT HAVE PASSED THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON BIPARTISAN VOTES. THE BILLS ARE STILL TODAY WAITING FOR SENATE ACTION. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES REMAINS SILENT ON THESE BILLS THAT WOULD ACTUALLY GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. HE IS OFFERING NOW BUT SCARE TACTICS, EXCUSES, AND BLAME. HE JUST GAVE ANOTHER SPEECH TODAY, JUST THIS VERY AFTERNOON IN OHIO. AND WHAT HE DID WAS JUST MORE OF THAT: MORE SCARE TACTICS, EXCUSES, AND BLAME, BECAUSE IN HIS MIND, IT SEEMS LIKE IT'S ALWAYS SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT. JUST IMAGINE, MADAM PRESIDENT, WHERE OUR ECONOMY WOULD BE TODAY IF DEMOCRATS HAD BEEN WILLING TO ACCEPT COMMONSENSE REPUBLICAN SOLUTIONS TWO YEARS AGO. WE WOULD ACTUALLY BE IN RECOVERY TODAY. WE WOULD HAVE SEEN SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS TO THE ECONOMY. IF DEMOCRATS HAD BEEN WILLING TO WORK WITH US INSTEAD OF GIVING SPEECHES AND PUSHING MORE WASTEFUL STIMULUS SPENDING, MILLIONS OF MORE PEOPLE WOULD BE WORKING TODAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IF PRESIDENT OBAMA HAD BEEN FOCUSED ON PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK INSTEAD OF JUST ON KEEPING HIS OWN JOB, THEN TODAY -- TODAY -- THE SUMMER OF 2012, THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE REALLY WOULD BE DOING FINE. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:47:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA.

  • 03:47:10 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HIS REMARKS. I CAUGHT PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S…

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HIS REMARKS. I CAUGHT PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT THIS AFTERNOON AND GOTTEN A TRANSCRIPT OF SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HE SAID. AS RANKING MEMBER ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, AS SOMEONE WHO'S WRESTLED WITH THESE NUMBERS FOR TWO YEARS VERY INTENSELY, I WAS SHOCKED, SENATOR BARRASSO, BY SOME OF THE THINGS HE SAID. I JUST WOULD ASK YOU BASED ON THE REALITY OF THE WORLD WE ARE IN, HOW YOU REACT TO THE SUMMARY THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR GAVE TO "THE NEW YORK TIMES" BEFORE THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECHES TODAY, SAYING THAT HIS PLAN FOCUSES ON EDUCATION, ENERGY, INNOVATION, INFRASTRUCTURE? FIRST, DOES THAT SUGGEST TO YOU SPENDING?

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  • 03:48:08 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    MADAM PRESIDENT, IF I MAY ENTER INTO A -- I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, IF I MAY ENTER INTO A -- I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENTER INTO A COLLOQUY WITH MY COLLEAGUE.

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  • 03:48:17 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    ISN'T THIS THE SAME PRESIDENT THAT LOBBIED THIS BODY TO BLOCK THE KEYSTONE…

    ISN'T THIS THE SAME PRESIDENT THAT LOBBIED THIS BODY TO BLOCK THE KEYSTONE X.L. PIPELINE THAT WOULD HAVE BROUGHT ENERGY FROM CANADA TO THE UNITED STATES AND JOBS ON THE GROUND HERE IN TERMS OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THAT PIPELINE? YOU TALK ABOUT ENERGY AND YOU TALK ABOUT CONSTRUCTION? AND THAT WAS NOT GOVERNMENT SPENDING. YET THE PRESIDENT LOBBIED THE SENATE TO BLOCK THAT.

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  • 03:48:43 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    AND PRIVATE GROWTH AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT. NOT INCREASING OUR DEFICIT.…

    AND PRIVATE GROWTH AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT. NOT INCREASING OUR DEFICIT. BECAUSE ANY NEW MONEY WE SPEND INCREASES THE DEBT BECAUSE WE'RE ALREADY IN DEBT, IT GOES ON. IN THE SUMMARY OF WHAT HE WAS GOING TO SAY, HE SAID THE PRESIDENT FAVORED A -- QUOTE -- "TAX CODE THAT CREATES AMERICAN JOBS AND PAYS DOWN OUR DEBT." AND, FIRST OF ALL, IS THE SENATOR AWARE THAT UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN THAT HE SUBMITTED TO US, THE BUDGET, THAT THE LOWEST SINGLE YEAR'S DEFICIT IN THE TEN-YEAR PLAN IS $607 BILLION? THAT WE NEVER COME CLOSE TO PAYING DOWN AN DEBT IN THE PLAN THAT HE'S SUBMITTED US? AND HOW CAN THE PRESIDENT -- THIS IS AN UNFAIR QUESTION BUT I'LL ASK THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING. HOW CAN THE PRESIDENT SAY THAT HE'S GOT A PLAN THAT PAYS DOWN OUR DEBT WHEN THE LOWEST SINGLE DEFICIT HE PROPOSES IS $600 BILLION-PLUS.

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  • 03:49:53 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    I WOULD SAY TO MY COLLEAGUE WHO IS ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE WHO WATCHES…

    I WOULD SAY TO MY COLLEAGUE WHO IS ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE WHO WATCHES THESE THINGS VERY CAREFULLY, AS I LOOK AT WHAT THE PRESIDENT PROPOSED, IT NEVER GOT TO BALANCE, NEVER DEALING WITH THE MONUMENTAL DEFICIT, NEVER MIND THE DEBT. JUST SINCE WE HAVE BEEN TALKING HERE THE LAST FOUR OR FIVE MINUTES WE HAVE CONTINUED TO BORROW MONEY OVERSEAS, SPECIFICALLY FROM CHINA. WE IN THE UNITED STATES ARE BORROWING AT A RATE OF $2 MILLION A MINUTE. AND NOTHING THAT I HAVE SEEN COMING FROM THE PRESIDENT OR FROM THE DEMOCRATS, AS A MATTER OF FACT, IN THE SENATE HAVE DEALT WITH ANY OF THOSE THINGS TO THE POINT THAT WE HAVE NOT PASSED A BUDGET FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS IN THIS SENATE, WHICH IS IRRESPONSIBLE.

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  • 03:50:34 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    IT ABSOLUTELY IS. LET ME SAY THIS. THIS IS A QUOTE, THE TRANSCRIPT THAT I…

    IT ABSOLUTELY IS. LET ME SAY THIS. THIS IS A QUOTE, THE TRANSCRIPT THAT I HAVE OF IT, HE DECLARED BOTH PARTIES HAVE LAID OUT THEIR POLICIES ON THE TABLE FOR ALL TO SEE. NOW, ISN'T IT A FACT THAT THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS PASSED A LONG-TERM BUDGET THAT WOULD CHANGE THE DEBT COURSE OF AMERICA, THAT THREE MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN SENATE LAID OUT BUDGETS THAT WOULD HAVE BALANCED THE BUDGET IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND THAT THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP NEVER LAID OUT A PLAN, REFUSED TO LAY OUT A PLAN, VIOLATED THE STATUTORY LAW OF AMERICA BY REFUSING TO LAY OUT A PLAN. AND THEY HAVEN'T LAID OUT A PLAN. ISN'T THAT TRUE? OR AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

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  • 03:51:24 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    THAT'S EXACTLY THE WAY I SEE IT, AND I VOTED FOR THE PLAN THAT WAS…

    THAT'S EXACTLY THE WAY I SEE IT, AND I VOTED FOR THE PLAN THAT WAS SUBMITTED BY THE HOUSE, WHICH ACTUALLY DOES GET TO A BALANCE OF OUR BUDGET, AND THE THREE SENATE COLLEAGUES ON OUR SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO HAD PLANS THAT ALSO GOT TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. I VOTED IN FAVOR OF ALL OF THOSE. NOT ONE DEMOCRAT IN THE SENATE, NOT ONE DEMOCRAT CAST ONE VOTE IN FAVOR OF ANY ONE BUDGET, WHETHER IT WAS THE REPUBLICAN BUDGETS, WHETHER IT WAS THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET. YET THE PRESIDENT GOES TO OHIO TODAY AND GIVES HIS SPEECH FOR 54 MINUTES. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A BIG SPEECH ON THE KPHEURBGS AND I HEARD -- ON THE ECONOMY, AND I HEARD NOTHING NEW. NO NEW IDEAS EXCEPT SPEND MORE MONEY AT A TIME WE HAVE $15 TRILLION IN DEBT AND ADDING TO THAT BY THE MINUTE. THE PRESIDENT DID MAKE ONE INTERESTING STATEMENT. HE SAID SOME OF THE REGULATIONS THAT ARE COMING OUT, ALL THE REGULATIONS AREN'T GOOD. WHO CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BUT THE PRESIDENT? HIS REGULATIONS, AND HE HAS OVER 1,000 NEW REGULATIONS THAT HAVE COME OUT UNDER HIS ADMINISTRATION CALLED ECONOMICALLY SIGNIFICANT REGULATIONS, REGULATIONS THAT HAVE AN IMPACT TO THE ECONOMY OVER $100 MILLION. THOSE REGULATIONS, ALL OF THAT RED TAPE IS PUTTING PEOPLE OUT OF WORK. IT PROEUTS SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY TO THE ECONOMY AS TO WHAT IS THE NEXT REGULATION COMING OUT THAT BUSINESSES DON'T HAVE THE CERTAINTY TO HIRE PAOEFPLT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THE HEALTH CARE LAW? IS IT GOING TO BE FOUND UNCONSTITUTIONAL? I BELIEVE IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WHAT ARE THE COSTS GOING TO BE TO BUSINESS? SO -- IN JUST STATEMENT AFTER STATEMENT THAT THE PRESIDENT MAKES SHOWS THAT THERE IS A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION ABOUT HOW HIS UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE ECONOMY WORKS VERSUS PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN OUT IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, WHO HAVE CREATED JOBS, WHO HAVE PUT PEOPLE TO WORK, WHO HAVE WRITTEN THE PAYCHECK, WHO SIGNED THE FRONT OF THE PAYCHECK, WHO HIRED FOLKS AND HELPED THE ECONOMY IN A COMMUNITY IN A WAY THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE AND BUILDS THAT COMMUNITY. YET I DON'T SEE THOSE THINGS COMING OUT OF THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH, CERTAINLY NOT TODAY IN OHIO.

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  • 03:53:37 PM

    MR. SESSIONS

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR THOSE INSIGHTS BECAUSE THIS IS A BIT…

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR THOSE INSIGHTS BECAUSE THIS IS A BIT DISAPPOINTING. IT'S MORE THAN DISAPPOINTING. THE PRESIDENT SAID AGAIN THAT HE HAS A PLAN FOR -- AND HIS PLAN WOULD -- HE HAS A VISION OF HOW TO CREATE A STRONG SUSTAINED GROWTH AND HOW TO PAY DOWN OUR LONGTERM DEBT. HE DOES NOT HAVE SUCH A PLAN. HIS PLAN COMES NOWHERE CLOSE TO BALANCING THE BUDGET IN TEN YEARS, NOT A SINGLE YEAR, THE LOWEST SINGLE DEFICIT HE WOULD HAVE IN TEN YEARS IS $607 BILLION, ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE. NOT ME. THE INDEPENDENT CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE. AND IT'S NOT ACCURATE. HOW CAN WE HAVE A BIPARTISAN DISCUSSION ON HOW TO SOLVE THE SUSTAINED DEBT THREAT THAT WE HAVE IN THIS NATION IF THE PRESIDENT GOES AROUND SAYING HIS PLAN WILL HELP PAY DOWN OUR DEBT? IT DOES NOT PAY DOWN THE DEBT. IT DOESN'T COME CLOSE TO PAYING DOWN THE DEBT. AND HE SAID THAT LAST YEAR. AND I GRILLED HIS BUDGET DIRECTOR AT THE COMMITTEE. AND HE COULD NOT DEFEND THAT STATEMENT BECAUSE IT'S INDEFENSIBLE. NOBODY CAN DEFEND THAT STATEMENT. AND IF ANY MEMBER OF THIS CONGRESS, THIS SENATE, DEMOCRAT MEMBER, I URGE YOU TO COME DOWN AND TELL ME IF THE PLAN LAID OUT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE ONLY PLAN WE'VE SEEN IS BUDGET PLAN, PAYS DOWN THE DEBT. IT DOES NOT. HE GOES ON TO SAY IN THIS SPEECH, "I SIGNED INTO LAW," HE SAYS -- AND FORGIVE ME IF THIS IS DISTRESSING TO ME, BUT WE'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS DISCUSSION A GOOD LONG TIME. WE HAVE THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND UNITED STATES UNITED STATES SENATE AND WE HAVE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ALL FORMULATING AN ECONOMIC POLICY FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THAT WOULD PUT OUR COUNTRY ON A GROWTH PATH TO ELIMINATE THE UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT COURSE THAT WE ARE ON. THE PHRASE USED SO OFTEN BY PRESIDENT OBAMA'S OWN DEBT COMMISSION, SIMPSON-BOWLES, THEY TOLD US THIS NATION HAS NEVER FACED A MORE PREDICTABLE FINANCIAL CRISIS. WHY? BECAUSE OF THE INCREASING DEBT, THEY SAID. THE NUMBERS ARE JUST RELENTLESS AND IT'S UNSUSTAINABLE. AT SOME POINT THERE WILL BE A CREDIT REACTION, A FINANCIAL COLLAPSE OR REACTION THAT WILL PUT US BACK INTO RECESSION AND DISTRESS. AND WE NEED TO GET OFF THAT PATH IS WHAT THEY PLEADED WITH US TO DO. SO THE PRESIDENT SAYS, "I SIGNED INTO LAW -- I SIGNED A LAW THAT CUTS SPENDING AND REDUCES OUR DEFICIT BY $2 TRILLION." NOW, WHAT DOES HE MEAN BY THAT? WELL, I THINK MOST AMERICANS CAN REMEMBER LAST AUGUST, AND WE REACHED THE DEBT CEILING, AND WE BORROWED SO MUCH MONEY WE HIT THE LIMIT OF MONEY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CAN BORROW. CONGRESS, THE PRESIDENT ASKED US TO RAISE THAT DEBT LIMIT SO HE COULD KEEP SPENDING AND KEEP BORROWING. BASICALLY THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE AND MEMBERS OF THE SENATE TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH WE HAD INFLUENCE SAID MR. PRESIDENT WE'LL RAISE THE DEBT LIMIT BUT WE WANT TO YOU REDUCE SPENDING SOME. SO THEY AGREED AFTER MUCH DEBATE IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING AT THE LATEST POSSIBLE TIME TO CUT $2.1 TRILLION FROM SPENDING. THE PRESIDENT WENT KICKING AND SCREAMING TO THAT POINT. THE DEMOCRATS PRETENDED IT WAS A DISASTER AND AMERICA WAS GOING TO SINK INTO THE OCEAN. THAT'S WHAT THAT WAS ALL ABOUT. AND HERE WE COME WITH THIS PLAN, AND THE PRESIDENT NOW CLAIMS THAT IT'S HIS DEAL, THAT HE CUT $2 TRILLION. I REMEMBER HOW IT WENT DOWN. AND THAT'S NOT A FAIR THING TO SAY. HE SIGNED THAT BECAUSE IF HE DIDN'T SIGN IT, SPENDING WOULD HAVE TO BE CUT 40% IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE THAT'S HOW MUCH OUT OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND WE BORROW. WE'RE BORROWING 40 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND. IF WE-AND RAISED THE DEBT SEALING THE UNITED STATES WOULD HAVE TO CUT ALL EXPENDITURES BY 40%. THAT'S WHY IT IS AN UNSUSTAINABLE COURSE WE'RE ON. IT'S NOT A LITTLE BITTY MATTER. THE PRESIDENT SUGGESTS, IF YOU LISTEN TO HIS SPEECH, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, I'VE GOT A PLAN. WE'RE MOVING ALONG FINE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO REALLY SACRIFICE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MORE EDUCATION, ENERGY, INNOVATION, INFRASTRUCTURE, MORE SPENDING. THAT'S WHAT THAT MEANS. INVESTMENTS, THEY SAY. THAT MEANS SPENDING, YOU KNOW. BUT WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY. THIS COUNTRY IS OUT OF MONEY. IT'S A SERIOUS TIME. AND WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SOME TOUGH DECISIONS. AND WE NEED A CHIEF EXECUTIVE TELLING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE TRUTH ABOUT WHERE WE ARE RATHER THAN PROMISING SOME BALANCED BUDGET PAYING DOWN DEBT THAT'S NOWHERE IN HIS PLAN WHEN IT'S LOOKED AT. HE SAYS "MY OWN DEFICIT PLAN WOULD STRENGTHEN MEDICARE AND MEDICAID FOR THE LONG HAUL BY SLOWING THE GROWTH OF HEALTH CARE COSTS." HE HAS STEADFASTLY REFUSED TO REFORM MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. UNDER THIS $2.1 TRILLION, THE PRESIDENT INSISTED THAT MEDICAID NOT RECEIVE A DIME OF CUTS. AND IT DIDN'T RECEIVE A DIME OF CUTS. THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT GETS A HAMMERING UNDER THE CUTS AND THE SEQUESTER, BIG-TIME. MEDICAID, NOT A DIME CUT OUT OF IT. NO REFORMS IN MEDICAID. IT WOULD REALLY PROVIDE ANY BENEFIT -- NO REFORMS THAT WOULD REALLY PROVIDE ANY BENEFIT, ANYTHING OTHER THAN DRIVE UP THE COST AND INCREASE THE COST OF MEDICAID. SO HOW CAN HE SAY THAT? AND HE'S ATTACKED CONGRESSMAN RYAN, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE IN THE HOUSE, FOR ACTUALLY LAYING OUT A VISION TO TRY TO PUT MEDICARE ON A SOUND BASIS WHERE IT CAN ACTUALLY BE SUSTAINABLE OVER TIME. AND CONGRESSMAN RYAN HAS THE SUPPORT OF SENATOR WYDEN, A DEMOCRATIC MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, HE HAS THE SUPPORT OF ALEX RIFF OF ALICE RIFFEN, ONE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S TOP OFFICIALS IN O.M.B., TO SAVE MEDICARE AND WHAT HAS HAPPENED? THE PRESIDENT CALLS CONGRESSMAN RYAN IN AND ATTACKS HIM ON THE SPOT. THEY ARE STILL ACCUSING HIM OF HAVING A RADICAL SCHEME TO DESTROY MEDICARE AND NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. IT IS A PLAN TO STRENGTHEN MEDICARE, TO SAVE MEDICARE, AND PUT IT ON A SOUND BASIS SO THAT PEOPLE WORKING TODAY CAN BE CONFIDENT THAT WHEN THEY RETIRE AND BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR IT, IT WILL BE THERE. BUT YOU CAN'T CREATE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING. YOU CAN'T TO HAVE A PLAN THAT PROVIDES THE FUNDING FOR IT. THIS IS NOT SMOKE AND MIRRORS. NOTHING COMES FROM NOTHING, I GOT TO TELL YOU. AND ONE MORE THING, THE PRESIDENT SAYS -- QUOTE -- "I'VE SIGNED A LAW THAT CUTS SPENDING AND REDUCES OUR DEFICIT BY $2 TRILLION." QUSHWELL, HE WAS FORCED INTO SIGNING THAT BILL. DID HE REALLY WANT TO SIGN IT? NO, HE DIDN'T. WE ALL KNOW THAT. YOU COULD TELL THAT FROM READING THE NEWSPAPERS AND HOW THE NEGOTIATIONS WENT. OUR BIG SPENDERS RESISTED THAT DRAMATICALLY. AND HOW MUCH IS $2 TRILLION OVER TEN YEARS? WE PLAN TO SPEND $37 TRILLION OVER TEN YEARS, INCREASING THE DEBT BY ABOUT $10 TRILLION TO $13 TRILLION. THAT MUCH MORE DEBT ADDED. THIS WOULD HAVE CUT IT FROM $37 TRILLION BEING SPENT TO $35 TRILLION BEING SPENT. IT WOULD HAVE MEANT WE WOULD INCREASE THE DEFICIT ABOUT $11 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS INSTEAD OF $13 TRILLION, I GUESS. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH BUT AT LEAST SOME STEP TOWARD REINING IN SOARING SPENDING. BUT -- SO THE PRESIDENT BRAGS ON THAT JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO. HE'S BRAGGING ABOUT IT. WELL, WHAT IS THE REAL TRUTH? THE BUDGET HE SUBMITTED, HE VISCERATED THAT AGREEMENT. THE BUDGET HE SUBMITTED IN FEBRUARY OF THIS YEAR, FIVE MONTHS AFTER THE AGREEMENT LAST SPRING -- LAST AUGUST, WOULD WIPE OUT THE ENTIRE SEQUESTER, WOULD ELIMINATE $1 TRILLION IN CUTS, AND ADD MORE SPENDING. IN FACT, HE WOULD ADD, UNDER THAT PLAN, $1.5 TRILLION MORE IN SPENDING THAN THE BUDGET CONTROL ACT AGREEMENT HE'S TAKING CREDIT FOR SIGNING WOULD HAVE ALLOWED TO BE SPENT. THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF DISPUTE. THIS IS A FACT. THE BUDGET HE SUBMITTED WIPED OUT HALF -- MORE THAN HALF OF THE CUTS THAT WERE IN THAT AGREEMENT. AND HE HAD BIG TAX INCREASES, ABOUT $1.8 TRILLION IN TAX INCREASES. SO $1.6 TRILLION MORE IN SPENDING THAN WE AGREED TO JUST LAST SUMMER, AND $1.8 TRILLION MORE IN NEW TAXES. TAX, SPEND. TAX, SPEND. THAT'S WHAT THIS PRESIDENT'S PHILOSOPHY IS. AND IF HE WANTS TO STAND FOR THAT, CAMPAIGN ON THAT RUN ON THAT, WELL AND GOOD. BE HONEST WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BUT DON'T COME IN AND TAKE CREDIT FOR THINGS YOU RESISTED. DON'T COME IN AND CLAIM CREDIT FOR BUDGET CUTS THAT YOU'VE PROPOSED IN YOUR BUDGET TO ELIMINATE. AND HOW CAN WE HAVE A BIPARTISAN DISCUSSION TO RYE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT -- TO TRY TO REACH APPEAR AGREEMENT ABOUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE UNSUSTAINABLE COURSE WE'RE ON IF THE PRESIDENT IS GOING OUT AND SAYING THINGS THAT ARE NOT CONNECTED TO REALITY? I THINK IT'S IRRESPONSIBLE. I REALLY DO. I DON'T SEE HOW A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES COULD POSSIBLY NOT SPEND A GREAT DEAL OF TIME WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, EXPLAINING TO THEM WHY WE'RE ALL GOING TO HAVE TO TIGHTEN OUR BELTS, HOW WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY WE WISH WE HAD, THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO THIS. IS IT SOME SORT OF POLITICAL FEAR THAT BIG SPENDERS WILL ULTIMATELY GET CAUGHT IF THEY TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT HOW MUCH DEBT THEIR BIG SPENDING HAS CAUSED THE COUNTRY, SO THEY JUST HAVE TO PRETEND IT'S NOT SO? WELL, THEY SAID PRESIDENT BUSH HAD BIG DEBTS. HE DID SPEND TOO MUCH MONEY, AND I CRITICIZED HIM SOME ON THAT, AND NONE OF US ARE PERFECT IN THIS CONGRESS, AND WE ALL VOTED FOR THINGS PROBABLY WE SHOULDN'T HAVE. THE LARGEST DEBT THAT PRESIDENT BUSH EVER HAD, ANNUAL DEFICIT, WAS $470 BILLION. THAT'S BIG. IT'S A LOT OF MONEY. PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DEFICITS HAVE BEEN $1,200, $1,300 ALL FOUR YEARS HE'S BEEN IN OFFICE. MORE THAN TWICE WHAT PRESIDENT BUSH'S DEFICITS WERE. HE'S BEEN IN OFFICE NOW FOUR YEARS. THE PLAN HE'S LAID OUT, EVEN ASSUMING THE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW, AS WE ASSUME IN THESE BUDGET ANALYSES, THAT HE DOES NOT COME CLOSE TO BALANCING THE BUDGET. EVERY YEAR WIRE ADDING HUNDREDS OF -- EVERY YEAR WE'RE ADDING HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE IN DEBT. THE LOWEST-SINGLE YEAR IN HIS TENTEN-YEAR PLAN WOULD ADD $600 BILLION MORE TO THE DEBT. AND ACCORDING TO THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, THE INTEREST ON THE -- AND ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, THE INTEREST ON THE DEBT SOARS. INTEREST LAST YEAR WAS $225 BILLION ON THE DEBT AND IN THE TENTH YEAR OF THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET THE CONGRESSIONAL CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE PROJECTS THAT THE INTEREST IN THAT ONE YEAR, TEN YEARS FROM NOW, WILL BE $850 BILLION, EXCEEDING VIRTUALLY EVERY ITEM IN THE GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT. SO THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY THING. SO IN MARCH AT A FUND-RAISER, HE'S GOING TO ALLOW THOSE -- SOMETIMES, SOMEWHERE, SOMEBODY'S GOT TO STAY HOME IN WASHINGTON AND BRING THIS WASTEFUL SPENDING TO CONTROL. HE WAS AT A FUND-RAISER IN DENVER AND SAID, "I'M RUNNING TO PAY DOWN OUR DEBT." I'M RUNNING TO PAY DOWN OUR DEBT. DON'T WORRY. LET ME -- I'M GOING TO PAY DOWN OUR DEBT. THAT'S JUST NOT WHAT THE NUMBERS SHOW. NO PLAN HAS BEEN LAID OUT, OTHER THAN THE PLAN HE LAID OUT IN HIS BUDGET TO TAX, SPEND, AND KEEN -- AND KEEP THE DEBT ON THE SAME LEVEL WE WERE ON IF HE HAD NAH -- IF HE HAD NO CHANGES INTO THE BUDGET SITUATION. SO,MAN, I AM UNHAPPY ABOUT IT. IT IS VERY DISTRESSING TO ME THAT THIS NATION IS FACING A CRISIS FINANCIALLY. WE ARE ALL GOING TO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE TO SPEND AS WE WOULD LIKE TO SPEND. I TOLD SOME PEOPLE THIS MORNING AT A BREAKFAST, LUNCHEON, A GROUP OF AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION AND ALL THAT WE -- DEFENSE PEOPLE NEEDED TO KNOW WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY. FOR YEARS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE TIGHTENING OUR BELTS, BUT WE CAN WORK OUR WAY THROUGH IT, WE CAN DO THE RIGHT THINGS. WHO KNOWS BY PRODUCING EFFICIENCIES AND OTHER ACTIONS OF PRODUCTIVITY THAT WE COULD GET OUR COURSE -- COUNTRY ON A HEALTHIER COURSE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE AT THIS POINT. I ACTUALLY THINK WE COULD. BUT WE GOT TO BE HONEST ABOUT THE SITUATION. WE GOT HAVE IS BEING WHO STAYS IN THE OFFICE FOR A WHILE AND ACTUALLY DRIVES THE RESTRAINT IN SPENDING AND INSISTS THAT EVERY CABINET MEMBER, SUBCABINET MEMBER, G.S.A. PERSON GOING TO A RESORT IN LAS VEGAS THAT IS SPENDING THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY THAT THEY DO IT WITH RESTRAINT AND THAT WASTEFUL ACTIONS ARE ELIMINATED. THAT'S THE KIND OF LEADERSHIP WE NEED. AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO BE TOLD -- AND WE ALL NEED TO UNDERSTAND -- WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE MONEY. WE WISH WE DID. SO WE'LL HAVE TO ALTER OUR SPENDING LEVELS FOR A FEW YEAR, GET THIS COUNTRY ON A SOUND PATH, CREATE CONFIDENCE THAT WILL COME WHEN THE WORLD KNOWS THAT WE'VE GOTTEN OFF THE UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT PATH AND GOTTEN ON A PATH THAT'S SUSTAINABLE, SET ON A SOUND PATH, A PATH THAT LEADS TO PROSPERITY, NOT A PATH THAT LEADS TO DEBT CRISIS AND DECLINE, BUT GROWTH, PROSPERITY, AND FREEDOM. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, AND FORGIVE ME IF IT'S IRRITATING TO ME, BUT I DID CONCLUDE AFTER TODAY'S SPEECH THAT THE PRESIDENT'S MADE A DECISION THAT HE'S GOING TO RUN TO NOVEMBER, HE'S GOING TO RUNNING RUN ON FACT THAT HE IS REDUCING THE DEBT. THAT'S WHAT HE'S APPARENTLY SAID. "I'M RUNNING TO PAY DOWN THE DEBT," IS WHAT HE SAID IN DENVER, AND HE REPEATED THAT AGAIN TODAY. SO THAT'S GOT TO BE CONFRONTED. AND IF I'M WRONG, I ASK ANY MEMBER OF THIS SENATE TO COME FORWARD AND SHOW ME WHAT, IN THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN, LEADS TO ANY CONCLUSION THAT HE HAS LAID OUT A PLAN THAT WOULD PAY DOWN THE DEBT OF THE UNITED STATES. I DON'T SEE IT. I DON'T THINK ITS IT'S CLOSE. I THANK THE CHAIR AND WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:11:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

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

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  • 04:15:57 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:26:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MONTANA.

  • 04:26:06 PM

    MR. BAUCUS

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:26:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:26:12 PM

    MR. BAUCUS

    WASHINGTON ONCE SAID, THE WILLINGNESS OF FUTURE GENERATIONS TO SERVE IN…

    WASHINGTON ONCE SAID, THE WILLINGNESS OF FUTURE GENERATIONS TO SERVE IN OUR MILITARY WILL BE DIRECTLY DEPENDENT UPON HOW WE HAVE TREATED THOSE WE HAVE SERVED IN THE PAST. TOMORROW. 95 WORLD WAR II VETERANS WILL FLY FROM MONTANA TO WASHINGTON TO SEE THEIR MEMORIAL WITH THEIR OWN EYES FOR THE FIRST TIME. THIS TRIP IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE BIG SKY HONOR FLIGHT PROGRAM PROGRAM. THEIR MISSION IS TO RECOGNIZE AMERICAN VETERANS BY FLYING THEM TO WASHINGTON, D.C., TO SEE THEIR MEMORIAL AT NO COST. THESE VETERANS AND THE VOLUNTEERS WHO HELP SENDS THEM HERE -- SEND THEM HERE SAY A LOT ABOUT WHAT HELPS MAKE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH. WHO ARE THESE VETERANS? THEIR AVERAGE AGE IS 90. THEY HAIL FROM ALL PARTS OF OUR STATE, FROM PLENTYWOOD TO SUPERIOR, FROM MILES CITY TO LIBBY, AND MANY PLACES INBETWEEN. AND EACH VETERAN HAS A STORY TO TELL. SHORTLY AFTER THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR, BILL SMITH LEFT HIS JOB AS AN ACCOUNTANT IN BILLINGS AND VOLUNTEERED TO FLY B-24 LIBERATOR BOMBERS WITH THE 466th BOMB GROUP. BILL WENT ON TO FLY 30 MISSIONS OVER EUROPE FROM 1943-1945. HE ROSE THROUGH THE RANKS AND EVENTUALLY TOOK COMMAND OF AN ENTIRE CREW. ON A TYPICAL DAY, BILL AND HIS CREW WOULD RISE AT 4:00 A.M., EAT A QUICK BREAKFAST AND RECEIVE A MISSION BRIEF. AS CREW COMMANDER, BILL WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SEEING TO IT THAT THE BOMBERS SAFELY NAVIGATED ENEMY AIRSPACE, ACCOMPLISHED ITS MISSION ON TIME TIME, ON TARGET, AND RETURNED TO BASE SAFELY. BILL'S B-24 FLEW AT 22,000 FEET IN SUBZERO TEMPERATURES IN NONPRESSURIZED CABINS. JUST THINK ABOUT THAT. WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT THE COZY AIRPLANE CABINS YOU AND I ARE USED TO TODAY. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OPEN-AIR, REALLY LOUD AND REALLY COLD CABINS. NOW, IMAGINE, IF YOU CAN, DOING ALL THAT WITH NAZI FIGHTERS ON YOUR TAIL. IN ONE INSTANCE, INCOMING ENEMY FIRE SHOT THE OXYGEN MASK RIGHT OFF OF THE FACE OF ONE OF THE GUNNERS ON BILL'S CREW. BILL IS 96 NOW. WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS SERVICE, HE SAID, "I AM PROUD OF WHAT WE DID DID. I KNOW WE HIT A LOT OF TARGETS. THAT'S WHAT WE WERE THERE FOR. WE WEREN'T THERE FOR A JOY RIDE RIDE." IN MARCH, I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF MEETING DEL OLSON FROM BILLINGS. DEL WAS BORN ASK RAISED ON A FARM IN RAPLEGY, MONTANA, VERY SMALL TOWN. IN 1944, DEL JOIN THE WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS AS AN AIRPLANE MECHANIC. THE WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS WAS THE FIRST FEMALE UNIT, BESIDES NURSES, TO SERVE WITHIN THE RANKS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY. THEY WERE PATRIOTS, TRAIL BLAZERS. AND LIKE ALL TRAIL BLAZERS, THEIR SERVICE DIDN'T COME WITHOUT CONTROVERSY. BUT DEL DIDN'T LET THE CONTROVERSY GET IN THE WAY OF HER MISSION. SHE DEDICATED HERSELF TO FIXING UP BOMBER AIRCRAFT IN TEXAS. THAT WAS HER JOB. INCLUDING THE B-24 LIBERATOR THAT BILL SMITH WAS FLYING OVER EUROPE. LATER IN THE WAR, DEL MOVED TO BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA, WHERE SHE WORKED AS A NURSE CARING FOR COUNTLESS WOUNDED WARRIORS. NOW, AT AGE 92, WHEN YOU ASK DEL ABOUT HER SERVICE, SHE WILL TELL YOU, "I DIDN'T DO MUCH DURING THE WAR. OTHERS DID SO MUCH MORE." DEL'S HUMILITY IS A TESTAMENT TO WHAT REAL SELFLESS SERVICE LOOKS LIKE. WHEN DEL VISITS THE WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL, SHE PLANS TO PAY HER RESPECTS TO THOSE WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE DURING THE WAR. DEL SAID SHE WILL THINK OF HER BROTHERS AND HER SISTER WHO ALL SERVED UNDER GENERAL EISENHOWER IN EUROPE. SHE ESPECIALLY WANTS TO HONOR HER FIRST AND SECOND HUSBANDS, BOTH OF WHOM SERVED IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC DURING THE WAR. I HAVE MET WITH DEL AND TALKED WITH HER ABOUT COMING TO WASHINGTON, D.C., ON THE HONOR FLIGHT. SHE WAS SUCH A SPECIAL AND IS SUCH A SPECIAL LADY. I HAVE TALKED TO HER, I SAYS BOY, DEL, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE RAISE ENOUGH MONEY SO YOU GET A SEAT IN THE PLANE. SHE SAYS OH, NO, NO, NOT ME. THERE ARE OTHERS WHO ARE SO MUCHER MODIFYING DEION THAT I. NOT ME. EXACTLY THE KIND OF SELFLESS ATTITUDE THAT SHE HAD AND OTHERS WHO SERVED WORLD WAR II HAD. SHE NOW HAS A SEAT. SHE HAS GOT -- SHE WILL BE BACK HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THEIR FIRST EVENT IS TOMORROW NIGHT AND IT'S WITH A SERVICE -- A MEMORIAL TOMORROW. BUT HONOR FLIGHTS JUST DON'T HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY. IT TAKES WORK, A LOT OF WORK. KATHY SHANNON, BETH BOLLEY, TINA VOTHIER, CHRIS REINHART, VICKI STEVENS, BILL KENNEDY AND COUNTLESS OTHER VOLUNTEERS HAVE ALL BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN ORGANIZING MONTANA'S FIRST HONOR FLIGHT. STUDENTS, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, BUSINESSES POOLED TOGETHER NEARLY $150,000 TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. IN TODAY'S TOUGH TIMES WHEN FAMILIES ARE STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET, POOLING TOGETHER THAT KIND OF CONTRIBUTION IS NO SMALL FEAT. THIS WILL BE THE FIRST HONOR FLIGHT FOR MONTANA, BUT I KNOW IT WON'T BE THE LAST. I KNOW BECAUSE I HAVE SEEN THE PASSION AND DEDICATION OF THESE VOLUNTEERS FIRSTHAND. IN MARCH, I HAD THE INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY TO PINCH HIT BY SERVING BURGERS AT A FUNDRAISER IN BILLINGS. IT WAS A LOT OF FUN. IT WAS VERY INSPIRING SEEING ALL THESE FOLKS. INSPIRING TO SEE OUR YOUNG MONTANANS AS WELL DEMONSTRATE THEIR SPIRIT OF SERVICE. FOR EXAMPLE, STUDENTS FROM HUNTLEY PROJECT SCHOOLS RAISED AN AMAZING $2,425 TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. THIS IS KIDS. AND IN THE PROCESS, THEY LEARNED VALUABLE LESSONS ABOUT THE SACRIFICES THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GROW UP IN A COUNTRY STRONG AND FREE. THIS HONOR FLIGHT VISIT IS LARGER THAN JUST A THANK YOU TO OUR WORLD WAR II VETERANS. IT SHOWS THE COMMITMENT WE AMERICANS CONSIDER A SACRED OBLIGATION TO ALL OUR VETERANS. FOR THOSE WHO SERVED OP THE FROZEN BATTLEFIELDS OF KOREA, THE JUNGLES OF VIETNAM TO THE DESERTS OF IRAQ AND TO THOSE WHO ON THIS VERY DAY ARE FIGHTING IN THE MOUNTAINS IN AFGHANISTAN. SO I ASK THE SENATE TO JOIN ME IN WELCOMING THESE HEROES TO OUR NATION'S CAPITAL THIS WEEKEND, AND A SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL 18,000 WORLD WAR II VETERANS LIVING IN MONTANA. WE ARE FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR YOUR SERVICE AND YOUR SACRIFICE. AND I MIGHT ADD, MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE HONOR OUR VETERANS, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT SERVED IN WORLD WAR II, IT'S A GOOD REMINDER TO ALL OF US HERE WHO AS PYRE TO PUBLIC SERVICE TO PROVIDE THIS SERVICE, AT LEAST THAT THEY DID AS VETERANS, WHO IN MANY CASES ARE PUTTING THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY, SACRIFICING THEMSELVES FOR OUR COUNTRY. THE VERY LEAST WE CAN DO HERE IN THE SENATE IS TO REMEMBER OUR VETERANS WHO SACRIFICED SO MUCH. REMEMBER OUR FORCES TODAY WHO SERVE US SO WELL. IN THE VERY LEAST, LET'S WORK TOGETHER AS A SENATE, AS A CONGRESS TO SOLVE A LOT OF THE PROBLEMS THAT ARE AHEAD OF US AND NOT JUST BE SO PARTISAN AND SO DIVISIVE, WHICH IS CLEARLY NOT PUBLIC SERVICE. MR. PRESIDENT, BEFORE I CONCLUDE, I ALSO WANT TO SAY A FEW WORDS ON ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC IMPACTING OUR DEMOCRACY. THAT IS THE FREEDOM OF PEOPLE TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. TODAY, THE SUPREME COURT IS CONSIDERING A CHALLENGE TO MONTANA'S 1912 PRACTICE. 100 YEARS AGO, MONTANANS, IT'S SAID, IN LEGISLATION, ELECTIONS SHOULD NOT BE BOUGHT BY THE COPPER KINGS. WHO ARE THE COPPER KINGS? BASICALLY, THEY ARE THREE VERY WEALTHY TITANS TRYING TO CONTROL THE ECONOMY OF MONTANA AND CONTROL OUR STATE. MONTANANS SAID NO, ELECTIONS SHOULD NOT BE BOUGHT BY COPPER KINGS OR BY ANY CORPORATION. TODAY WE IN MONTANA SAY THE SAME THING. UNFORTUNATELY, THE SUPREME COURT 2010 DECISION IN CITIZENS UNITED CLEARED THE WAY FOR UNLIMITED OUT-OF-STATE CORPORATE DONATIONS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. I APPLAUD MONTANA'S ATTORNEY GENERAL STEVE BULLOCK FOR STICKING UP FOR MONTANANS AS THE SUPREME COURT TAKES A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS CASE. I HAVE INTRODUCED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO LIMIT CORPORATE CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES AND I HAVE SUPPORTED EVERY PIECE OF CAMPAIGN REFORM LEGISLATION THAT'S COME BEFORE ME. AS THE SUPREME COURT LOOKS AT MONTANA'S 1912 PRACTICES ACT TODAY, IT'S MY HOPE THAT MONTANA CAN CONTINUE TO LEAD THE NATION IN SAYING ELECTIONS BELONG IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE, NOT OUT OF STATE FOREIGN CORPORATIONS. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:36:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 04:41:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE.

  • 04:41:09 PM

    MR. CARPER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 04:41:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:41:13 PM

    MR. CARPER

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. A WEEK OR SO AGO, I WAS BEING INTERVIEWED BY CNN, AND…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. A WEEK OR SO AGO, I WAS BEING INTERVIEWED BY CNN, AND I THINK IT WAS THE -- A COUPLE OF DAYS AFTER THE JOBS REPORT HAD COME OUT FOR THE MONTH OF MAY, AND THE REPORTER WHO WAS INTERVIEWING ME WAS COMMENTING ON THOSE JOB NUMBERS, WHICH WERE DISAPPOINTING, I THINK, TO ALL OF US. HE ASKED IF WE'RE GOING TO BE RIGHT BACK INTO A RECESSION INSTEAD OF CONTINUING TO RECOVER FROM A REALLY DEEP, AWFUL RECESSION, AWFULLY TOUGH RECESSION. THAT WE WOULD GO BACK INTO THE SOUP. AND I SAID TO HER, I SAID I KNOW THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE IN MY STATE, I KNOW THERE ARE PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT ARE STILL HURTING, SUFFERING, PEOPLE HAVE LOST JOBS. IN SOME CASES PEOPLE LOST THEIR HOMES, THEY ARE FEARFUL OF LOSING THEIR HEALTH CARE, MAYBE NOT BEING ABLE TO SEND THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER BACK TO SCHOOL. AND I REALIZE THEY HAVE PAIN STILL IN OUR COUNTRY MORE THAN ANY OF US WOULD LIKE. BUT I SAID THERE ARE MAYBE FOUR THINGS WE SHOULD KEEP IN MIND. ONE IS LET'S NOT TALK OURSELVES BACK INTO ANOTHER RECESSION, WHICH WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO. OUR HAIR IS NOT ON FIRE. LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT THE INTERLYING FUNDAMENTALS THAT THE ECONOMY, WHILE THEY ARE NOT UNIVERSALLY UP OR UPBEAT, THE UNDERLYING FUNDAMENTALS ARE NOT ENTIRELY BAD EITHER. OUR ENERGY COSTS ARE DOWN, WAY DOWN. NOT JUST IN SAUDI ARABIA, THE SAUDI ARABIA OF NATURAL GAS, NOW THE NET EXPORTER OF OIL. WE'RE SEEING SIGNIFICANT REDUCTIONS OVER THE LAST HALF DOZEN OR SO YEARS AND OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL FROM ABOUT 60% OF THE FOREIGN OIL WE USE BEING FROM FOREIGN SOURCES TO APPROACHING 40%. THE MOVEMENT IS RIGHT. ANOTHER UNDERLYING FACTOR IS THE COST OF HEALTH CARE IN THIS COUNTRY FOR YEARS HAVE SEEN DOUBLE-DIGIT INCREASES. THE RATE OF HEALTH CARE COSTS IN THIS COUNTRY. LAST YEAR THEY HELP COSTS IN THIS COUNTRY -- HEALTH CARE COSTS IN THIS COUNTRY ROSE BY 4%. THAT'S A POSITIVE FACTOR AS WE TRY TO BE MORE COMPETITIVE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. ANOTHER FACTOR IS THE -- IF YOU WILL, THE DISPARITY OF THE DIFFERENCE IN LABOR COSTS BETWEEN OUR COUNTRY AND THOSE OF OTHER COUNTRIES WITH WHOM WE COMPETE. ONE OF THEM CHINA. ANOTHER BELIEVE IT OR NOT VIETNAM, VERY LOW-COST PRODUCER OF MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS. WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THOSE OTHER COUNTRIES, IN VIETNAM, SHAHEEN AND SOME OF THE OTHER ASIAN COUNTRIES, THEIR WAGE LEVELS HAVE COME UP, AND OUR WAGE LEVELS IN THIS COUNTRY PRETTY MUCH REMAIN THE SAME. AS A RESULT, THE INDUCEMENT FOR COMPANIES HERE, PARTICULARLY MANUFACTURING COMPANIES OFFSHORE, THE MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS ARE DIMINISHED FROM WHERE THEY WERE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. THOSE ARE ALL, I THINK, ENCOURAGING FACTORS. AGAIN, TO LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR A SUSTAINED ECONOMIC RECOVERY IF OUR FRIENDS FROM EUROPE CAN WORK THEIR WAY THROUGH, NAVIGATE THEIR WAY THROUGH THEIR PROBLEMS IN PLACES LIKE GREECE AND SPAIN. BUT IT'S NOT ALL BAD NEWS. IT'S NOT ALL BAD NEWS. IN THE NEAR TERM, WHAT SHOULD WE DO? AGAIN, NUMBER ONE, NOT TALK OURSELVES BACK INTO A RECESSION. NUMBER TWO, PREPARE TO HIT A HOME RUN. I'M A GUY WHO LIKES BASEBALL A LOT. WE NEED TO HIT A HOME RUN. I DON'T THINK WE'RE GOING TO HIT A HOME RUN HERE IN THIS CHAMBER, IN THIS BUILDING, IN THIS CITY MAYBE BEFORE THE ELECTION, BUT THE BEST THING IN MY VIEW THAT WE COULD DO FOR THE ECONOMY IS TO -- TO ADOPT A BIPARTISAN DEFICIT REDUCTION DEAL MUCH LIKE THAT PROPOSED BY THE DEFICIT COMMISSION LED BUYER SKIN BOWLES, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT CLINTON, AND BY FORMER U.S. SENATOR FROM WYOMING, REPUBLICAN ALAN SIMPSON, SO-CALLED BOWLES-SIMPSON DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN THAT PROVIDES FOR $4 TRILLION TO $5 TRILLION OF DEFICIT REDUCTION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, THREE DOLLARS ON THE SPENDING SIDE FOR EVERY ONE DOLLAR ON THE REVENUE SIDE. I THINK THAT ACTUALLY LOWERS TAX RATES, THE CORPORATE AND INDIVIDUAL RATES, LOWERS THE RATES, BROADENS THE BASE OF THE INCOME THAT IS TAXABLE BY ELIMINATING ABOUT HALF OF OUR SO-CALLED TAX EXEMPTIONS, TAX BREAKS, TAX DEDUCTIONS, TAX CREDITS, TAX LOOPHOLES. AND THAT'S HOW WE END UP WITH LOWER RATES, BOTH ON THE CORPORATE AND INDIVIDUAL SIDE, AND ALSO WHY WITH ACTUALLY CREATING SOME REVENUE, ONE DOLLAR OF NEW REVENUE FOR EVERY THREE DOLLARS OF SPENDING REDUCTION. THAT IS A HOME RUN AND I DON'T THINK THAT WE'LL HIT THE HOME RUN BEFORE THE ELECTION BUT SOMETIME BETWEEN THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION AND HOPEFULLY BY THE END OF THE YEAR WE WILL ADOPT SOMETHING SIMILAR TO THAT AND PROVIDE CERTAINTY, ONE, CAN WE GOVERN, WE CAN, TWO, CAN WE BE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE, YES, WE CAN, AND CAN WE PROVIDE FAIRNESS WITH OUR TAX CODE, YES WE CAN. THAT ANSWERS ALL THE OTHER QUESTIONS WITH YES, WE CAN AND WE ARE. BUT WHILE WE'RE PREPARED TO HIT A HOME RUN, I DON'T THINK WE WATT TO WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR TO DO SOMETHING AND IN THE MEANTIME WE NEED TO HIT A LOT OF SINGLES. RATHER THAN HITTING A HOME RUN WITH RUNNERS ON BASE, LET'S SEE IF WE CAN'T HIT SOME SINGLES AND A COUPLE OF DOUBLES AND SCORE SOME RUNS FOR THE ECONOMY. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME AS MY COLLEAGUES WOULD TELL FOLKS, FOCUSING ON HOW DO WE CREATE A MORE NURTURING ENVIRONMENT FOR JOB CREATION AND JOB PRESERVATION. HOW DO WE DO THAT? AND OUR FRIEND, JOHN CHAMBERS, ACTUALLY FROM WEST VIRGINIA, NATIVE OF WEST VIRGINIA, AS AM I, BUT JOHN CHAMBERS HEADS UP CISCO, A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. LIKES TO SAY THE JOBS IN THE 21st CENTURY WILL GO TO THOSE STATES, THOSE COUNTRIES THAT DO TWO THINGS ESPECIALLY WELL. ONE, PRODUCTIVE WORK FORCE, STUDENTS WHO CAN READ, WRITE, THINK, DO MATH, SCIENCE COMING OUT OF OUR HIGH SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES INTO THE WORK FORCE. AND THE STATES AND NATIONS THAT DO ANOTHER THING WHEN VERY WELL, THAT'S CREATE CREATE A WORLD-CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE, BROADLY DEFINED, ROADS, HIGHWAYS, BRIDGES, TRANSIT, RAIL, PORT, AIRPORTS, WATERWAYS, WATER TREATMENT, BROADBAND, ALL OF THE ABOVE BROADLY DEFINED INFRASTRUCTURE. BUT IN ADDITION TO THAT THERE'S A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS WE CAN DO TO PROVIDE A NURTURING ENVIRONMENT AND THEY INCLUDE COST-EFFECTIVE REGULATIONS, COMMONSENSE REGULATIONS, ACCESS TO LEADERS LIKE US. ANOTHER POSITIVE ELEMENT IN JOB CREATION, JOB PRESERVATION, ACCESS TO CAPITAL. BORROW MONEY FROM BUSINESSES LARGE AND SMALL AT REASONABLE RATES. THE ABILITY TO EXPORT TO INTO FOREIGN 345RBG9S AND, MARKETS AND GET FINANCING IF THEY NEED IT. INCENTIVES TO DO BEING BASIC RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT THAT CAN BE COMMERCIALIZED AND CREATE ARE PRODUCTS WE CAN SELL AROUND THE WORLD. THOSE ARE THINGS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE NURTURING ENVIRONMENT, NOT ALL, NOT THE ONLY THINGS BUT SOME OF THEM. THE OTHER THING THAT WE CAN DO IN TERMS OF HITTING SINGLES AND DOUBLES IS SOME THINGS WE'VE DONE IN THIS CHAMBER THIS YEAR. IN THIS CHAMBER THIS YEAR. I WANT TO MENTION A FEW OF THOSE. AND THEY INCLUDE ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT OUR AVIATION INFRASTRUCTURE. AND WHEN WE PASSED THE F.A.A., F.A.A. F.A.A. -- FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION REAUTHORIZATION EARLIER THIS YEAR, WE NOT ONLY PROVIDED FOR A SOURCE OF REVENUES PROVIDED BY THE GENERAL AVIATION COMMUNITY AND CIVILIAN AIRLINES HERE, A SOURCE OF REVENUE TO UPGRADE, MODERNIZE AND IMPROVE AIMPLETS, WE -- AIRPORTS, WE ALSO PROVIDED MONEY TO BRING OUR ANALOG AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM INTO THE 21st CENTURY. AN ANALOG SYSTEM INTO THE 21st CENTURY, ARGUABLY A DIGITAL. THAT'S ONE IN TERMS OF A MORE NURTURING ENVIRONMENT. NUMBER TWO, THE IDEA THAT IN THE PAST IF SOMEONE COMES UP WITH AN IDEA LIKE THIS YOUNG WOMAN RIGHT HERE WHO IS TYPING DOWN MY WORDS ON THE FLOOR TODAY, BUT SHE COMES UP WITH A GOOD IDEA, GOES TO THE PATENT OFFICE IN THE PAST SHE CAN GO TO THE PATENT OFFICE AND SAY I HAVE AN IDEA FOR A BETTER MACHINE THAN THE ONE SHE'S TAKEN MY WORDS DOWN HERE TODAY AND FILES FOR A PATENT ON THAT MACHINE. A YEAR LATER I SHOW UP AT THE PATENT OFFICE AND SAY NO, THAT WAS REALLY MY IDEA, AND I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST. SHE JUST FILED FIRST BUT I HAD IT FIRST. I END UP GOING AND LITIGATING WITH HER AND THAT I MAY STRING OUT FOR MONTHS, YEARS AND PROVIDES A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY. I'M A PATENT TROLL. I JUST WANT TO BE BOUGHT OUT AND BASICALLY PAID OFF. MAYBE I DID ARE THE IDEA FIRST BUT IN A LOT OF CASES I DIDN'T. I WANT TO BE GIVEN SOMETHING OF FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCE SO I'LL GO AWAY. WE'VE CHANGED THAT NOW. WITH THE LAW WE PASSED AND THE PRESIDENT SIGNED, IT SAYS WHOEVER FILES FIRST, SHE FILES FIRST FOR THE NEW MACHINE, IT'S HERS, HER PATENT. AN IMPORTANT THING FOR TO US DO WITH RESPECT TO PROVIDING CERTAINTY FOR INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY. ANOTHER THING WE DID, A SMART IDEA, WE'RE HAVING A HARD TIME SELLING GOODS AND SERVICES IN PLACES LIKE SOUTH KOREA AND PANAMA AND COLOMBIA, A LOT OF OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD BUT NEGOTIATED, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, GEORGE W. BUSH, AND FURTHER IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH SOUTH KOREA, WITH PANAMA, AND WITH COLOMBIA. THEY'VE BEEN APPROVED BY THE SENATE, AGREED TO BY THE PRESIDENT AND THEY'RE NOW THE LAW OF OUR LANDS AND THE LANDS OF THOSE THREE COUNTRIES. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR US? SOUTH KOREA, A PLACE WHERE THEY SOLD TO US LAST YEAR 500,000 CARS AND VANS, 500,000, A COUNTRY WE SOLD 5,000 CARS, TRUCKS AND VANS TO. THAT'S GOING TO CHANGE AND THEIR ABILITY TO KEEP OUR VEHICLES OUT WILL PHASE OUT OVER TIME AND WE'LL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SELL OUR VEHICLES THERE JUST AS THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO SELL VEHICLES HERE. WE'LL HAVE THE ABILITY TO SELL POULTRY PRODUCTS. WE DO LOOT OF POULTRY PRODUCTS ON THE DELMARVA PENINSULA, TARIFF BARRIERS THAT KEEP THEM OUT. SO THE IDEA TO PROVIDE BETTER ACCESS TO FOREIGN MARKETS, WE'VE DONE THAT AT LEAST WITH RESPECT TO THOSE THREE AND WE'RE TRYING TO NEGOTIATE NOW SOMETHING CALLED THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP WHICH WOULD INVOLVE COUNTRIES IN THIS HEMISPHERE AND INCLUDING US AND MAYBE CHILE AND COUNTRIES SOUTH OF US AND MAYBE CANADA AND MEXICO, A PARTNERSHIP WITH MALAYSIA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEE LANDS, VIETNAM. I'M TOLD THE JAPANESE ARE INTERESTED IN THAT AS WELL. THAT COULD BE A NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP TONY HANS TRADE BETWEEN 2010 ALL THE COUNTRIES THAT ARE A PART OF THAT. ANOTHER SINGLE THAT WE'VE HIT OVER HERE IS SOMETHING CALLED THE JOBS ACT. AND YOU MAY RECALL THAT I.P.O. UNWRAPPED FOR INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING, CHANGING SHAREHOLDER THRESHOLD RAISING IT FROM 500 SHAREHOLDERS TO 2,000, SOMETHING I WORKED ON. THE I.P.O. ONRAMP TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR COMPANIES IF THEY WANT TO GO PUBLIC, THEY CAN DO THAT AND JOHN CARNEY, OUR CONGRESSMAN FROM DELAWARE WORKED ON THAT IN THE HOUSE AND DID A VERY NICE JOB. THAT'S SUPPORTED BY DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. NOW THE LAW OF THE LAND. ANOTHER SINGLE, MAYBE A DOUBLE, I DON'T KNOW, FOR SMALLER COMPANIES THAT WANT TO GROW, REMAIN PRIVATELY HELD OR BECOME PUBLICLY TRADED. OTHER POTENTIAL SINGLES AND DOUBLES ARE THE POSTAL LEGISLATION THAT SENATOR LIEBERMAN, SENATOR COLLINS, SENATOR BROWN AND MYSELF AND OTHERS HAVE WORKED ON TO TRY TO SAVE THE POSTAL SERVICE WHICH IS LOSING $25 MILLION A DAY, AND CLEAR THIS THE 21st CENTURY, GOT A PRETTY GOOD IDEA HOW TO STEM THAT HEMORRHAGING IN AND HELP THEM BECOME SUSTAINABLE AGAIN IN A BREANBREAK-EVEN OPERATION. THAT BIPARTISAN BILL PASSED THE SENATE, OVER IN THE HOUSE AWAITING ACTION. WE NEED FOR THE HOUSE TO TAKE UP THAT LEGISLATION. THEY DO, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT COULD HELP SAVE, PRESERVE SEVEN TO EIGHT MILLION JOBS AND AFFECT A SIGNIFICANT PART OF OUR ECONOMY. ANOTHER POTENTIAL DOUBLE -- MAYBE A DOUBLE, MAYBE EVEN A TRIPLE IS TRANSPORTATION LEGISLATION. TWO OR THREE MILLION JOBS THAT FLOAT FLOE FROM THAT, A LOT OF PROJECTS IN MY STATE AND 49 OTHER STATES, GRINDING TO A HALT BECAUSE OF THE INABILITY IN THIS CASE OF THE HOUSE TO AGREE WITH BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION THAT WE PASSED HERE IN THE SENATE TO FUND AND TO GO FORWARD WITH TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS IN ALL 50 STATES. THAT NOBODY IS ARGUING WITH, THEY'RE NOT BRIDGES TO NOWHERE, THEY'RE ACTUALLY SMART IDEAS AND INVOLVE STATE FUNDING AS WELL BUT NEED SOME FEDERAL HELP. WE PASSED IT, THE SENATE -- THE HOUSE HAS GONE TO CONFERENCE WITH US BUT WE'RE HAVING HAVING A TOUGH TIME GETTING TO YES. IF WE DO, THAT'S A DOUBLE OR TRIPLE WITH MEN ON BASE AND TWO TO THREE MILLION JOBS. THOSE ARE THINGS WE CAN DO TO ENHANCE THE NURTURING ENVIRONMENT FOR JOB PRESERVATION THERE'S ONE MORE SINGLE OR DOUBLE I WANT TO TALK ABOUT, IT'S AGRICULTURE LEGISLATION. WE HAVE AN AGRICULTURE BILL THAT HAS BEEN BROUGHT OUT OF COMMITTEE BY A BIG BIPARTISAN VOTE. IT WOULD MABEL US TO GET -- ENABLE US TO GET WHAT WE NEED TO DO AND A LOT OF THAT, GET BETTER RESULTS FOR LESS MONEY. AND I LIKE TO SAY IN EVERYTHING WE DO, EVERYTHING I DO I KNOW I CAN DO BETTER. I THINK THE SAME IS TRUE OF MY 99 COLLEAGUES. I BELIEVE THAT'S TRUE OF MOST FEDERAL PROGRAMS AND ONE OF OUR CHALLENGES IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET BETTER RESULTS FOR EVERYTHING WE DO. TODAY WE'RE -- HAD AN INTERESTING HEARING ON MEDICAID PROGRAM AND HOW DO WE GET BETTER RESULTS FOR LESS MONEY, REDUCE IMPROPER PAYMENTS, REDUCE FRAUD LAWSES -- LOSSES WHICH ARE ABOUT 10% OF WHAT THEY SPEND IN MEDICAID AND MEDICARE. BUT A RECURRING THEME FOR ME AND THE SUBCOMMITTEE I LEAD ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IN THE SENATE IS HOW DO WE GET BETTER RESULTS FOR LESS MONEY OR FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY. THAT'S NOT A DEMOCRATIC IDEA, NOT A REPUBLICAN IDEA, NOT A LIBERAL IDEA OR A CONSERVATIVE IDEA. IT'S JUST A SMART IDEA IN A DAY OF AGE OF TRILLION-DOLLAR DEFICITS AND DEFICITS COMING DOWN BUT STILL TOO HIGH AND WHILE WE WAIT TO DO THAT BIG DEAL, HIT THAT HOME RUN WITH SOMETHING LIKE THE BOWLES-SIMPSON RECOMMENDATION LATER THIS YEAR WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO HIT SINGLES IN TERMS OF REDUCING OUR TAXPAYER MONEY ON A SMARTER, MORE COST-EFFECTIVE WAY. THAT BRINGS TO US LEGISLATION BEFORE THE SENATE THIS WEEK, THE AGRICULTURE BILL. WE BELIEVE IT OR NOT DELAWARE, A LITTLE STATE, FEWER THAN A MILLION PEOPLE, ABOUT 100 MILES FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER NORTH-SOUTH, RIGHT HERE ON THE MID-ATLANTIC BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND NEW YORK CITY, WE FOR US, AGRICULTURE IS STILL A BIG DEAL. AND WE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF COWS, WE HAVE SOME, DON'T HAVE A LOT OF HOGS, WE HAVE SOME, WHAT WE HAVE IS LOT OF IS CHICKENS. A LOT OF CHICKENS. FOR EVERY PERSON WHO LIVES IN MY STATE, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS, BUT THERE ARE 300 CHICKENS. AND AS YOU GO FROM NORTH TO SOUTH, THE CHICKENS ARE -- HAVE US OUTNUMBERED EVEN MORE THAN 300-1. 80% OF OUR AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE IN -- ECONOMY IN DELAWARE IS POULTRY RELATED. POULTRY DOESN'T NEED A LOT OR ASK FOR A LOT IN TERMS OF SUPPORT OR INVESTMENT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BUT WE RAISE CORN AND SOYBEANS IN DELAWARE. SO WE CARE ABOUT AGRICULTURE. WE CARE ABOUT THE FARM BILL. OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY CARE ABOUT IT EVEN MORE, MAYBE, THAN WE DO. BUT I WANT TO TALK FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES IF I CAN, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I'LL HEAD BACK TO MY OFFICE, BUT I'M HERE TODAY TO SAY THAT THE FARM BILL THAT'S BEEN BEFORE US THIS WEEK WHEN COMPARED TO THE ONES THAT HAVE COME BEFORE IT IN RECENT YEARS TAKES GREAT STRIDE TOWARD REFORMING A PROCESS THAT WAS TOO OFTEN I THINK RIGHTLY CRITICIZED AS REGRESSIVE AND, UNFORTUNATELY, WASTEFUL. ALL TOLD, THE BILL THAT'S BEEN BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR, A BIPARTISAN BILL, GREAT KUDOS TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE IN THE SENATE, DEBBIE STABENOW OF MICHIGAN AND THE RANKING REPUBLICAN, SENATOR PAT ROBERTS FROM KANSAS. THEY'VE DONE GREAT WORK IN STEERING THIS LEGISLATION THROUGH COMMITTEE, AGAIN WITH STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AND BRINGING IT TO THE FLOOR. SAVING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ABOUT -- ALMOST $24 BILLION OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS COMPARED TO WHAT WE WOULD OTHERWISE BE SPENDING UNDER CURRENT LAW. THE LEGISLATION ELIMINATES WASTEFUL SPENDING BY GETTING RID OF THE SO-CALLED DIRECT PAYMENTS PROGRAM WHICH TOO OFTEN GAVE MONEY TO FARMERS EVEN WHEN FARMERS DIDN'T GROW ANYTHING, OR EVEN OWN THE LAND. BUT THE BILL IS ALSO I THINK HUMANE AND THIS LEGISLATION IS NOT UNFAIR TO OUR FARMERS, I BELIEVE IT EMBRACES THE GOLDEN RULE OF TREATING PEOPLE THE WAY WE WANT TO BE TREATED, THAT INCLUDES FARMERS AND FARM FAMILIES AND TAXPAYERS. BUT INSTEAD OF CONTINUING THE DIRECT PAYMENTS PROGRAM THAT'S PREVAILED FOR YEARS THIS LEGISLATION INSTITUTES A NEW CROP INSURANCE PROGRAM, A LONG SOUGHT-AFTER GOAL BY THOSE OF US WANTING TO MAKE PROGRESSIVE CHANGES TO FARM FARM LAW. INSTEAD OF GIVING MONEY TO FARMERS THAT, AGAIN, SOMETIMES DON'T GROW EVEN A SINGLE CROP IN A YEAR, THIS LEGISLATION ONLY HELPS FARMERS WHEN THEY ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE A LOSS ON THE CROPS THEY ARE ACTUALLY GROWING. FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY THAT WOULD SOUND LIKE COMMON SENSE. BUT HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IT'S AN UNCOMMON APPROACH TO FARM LEGISLATION. IT'S A MUCH SMARTER APPROACH. IN THE END, THE NEW CROP INSURANCE IN THE FARM BILL WOULD GIVE FARMERS CERTAINTY, A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY IN FARMING. SIT GOING TO RAIN? IS IT GOING TO BE COLD? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE HAIL? HAVE DROUGHT? A HUGE AMOUNT OF UNCERTAINTY. IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO THE EXTENT WE CAN REASONABLY DO IT, REDUCE UNCERTAINTY AND LACK OF PREDICTABILITY FOR ALL KINDS OF BUSINESSES. IT'S HARD TO DO THAT, WE DON'T CONTROL THE WEATHER OR THE TEMPERATURE, SORT OF INDIRECTLY MAYBE, BUT TO THE EXTENT WE CAN PROVIDE SOME SECURITY AND PREDICTABILITY FOR THE FARMERS AT A LOWER COST TO THE TAXPAYERS, WE OUGHT TO DO THAT. AND I THINK THIS COMMITTEE HAS PRETTY WELL THOUGHT THAT PERU THREW AND FIGURED OUT A WAY TO DO CROP INSURANCE. AN OLD PROGRAM WITH A NEW APPROACH, A SMARTER APPROACH THAT'S GOOD FOR FARMERS AND I THINK GOOD FOR TAXPAYERS. ANOTHER THING THAT THIS LEGISLATION FOCUSES ON IS NUTRITION. AND HOW WE CAN ENCOURAGE FARMERS TO GROW AND PEOPLE TO SEAT MORE -- EAT MORE HEALTHFUL FOODS AS PART OF THEIR DAILY DIETS. WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY WHERE SADLY A THIRD OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE OVERWEIGHT, ARE ON THEIR WAY TO BEING OVERWEIGHT; REALLY MAYBE ON THEIR WAY TO BE OBESE. ABOUT A THIRD OF US. AND THE TREND IS NOT GOOD. IN TERMS OF COSTS FOR HEALTH CARE, IT IS KILLING US. MEDICAID, MEDICAID COSTS, DIALYSIS, DIABETES, HOSPITALIZATION, LOSS OF LIMBS, LOSS OF EYESIGHT. AND FOR OUR ABILITY TO FUND MEDICARE, AGAIN, SAME KIND OF CHALLENGES AND HARDSHIPS IN THE ABILITY TO COMPETE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD WHEN WE ARE SO MUCH HEAVIER THAN THEY ARE. WE KNOW THE FOUR MAJOR COST DRIVERS IN HEALTH CARE ARE ONE, WEIGHT; TWO, TOBACCO USE; THREE, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE; FOUR, HIGH CHOLESTEROL. IF WE COULD DO A BETTER JOB ON THOSE FOUR FRONTS WE BE WEE WOULD BE OFF TO THE RACES. WE'RE MAKING SOME PROGRESS IN BRINGING HEALTH CARE COSTS DOWN. BUT BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THIS AGRICULTURAL LEGISLATION IS PART OF THE SOLUTION BECAUSE IT, AMONG OTHER THINGS, ENCOURAGES US TO EAT A DIET THAT IS MORE HEALTHY FOR US. IT STILL DOESN'T MANDATE WHAT PEOPLE EAT, BUT IT HELPS TO ENCOURAGE AND TO FIND WAYS TO MAKE HEALTHIER FOODS AVAILABLE, NUTRITIOUS FOODS AVAILABLE IN PLACES LIKE HEALTH DESERTS WHERE SOME COMMUNITIES, SOME CITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY WHERE THE ONLY GROCERY STORE THEY HAVE IN THEIR COMMUNITY IS LIKE THE CONVENIENCE STORE. THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH CONVENIENCE STORES BUT WHEN THAT'S THE ONLY PLACE YOU HAVE TO BUY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AND THEY DON'T HAVE THEM -- MAYBE BANANAS IF YOU'RE LUCKY, THAT AIN'T GOOD. THIS EFFORT ALONG WITH THE FIRST LADY, MICHELLE OBAMA WILL REDUCE FOOD DESERTS. IN OUR STATE WE GROW NOT JUST CORN AND SOYBEANS, WE RAISE A LOT OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. MOST NOTABLE, WATER MELON BUT WE DO LIMA BEANS AND OTHER THINGS AS WELL. WE GROW THOSE IN THE SUMMER, FALL AND SPRING. WE'LL BE ABLE TO BRING THEM TO MARKETS IN WAYS THAT BENEFITS MARKETS AND CONSUMERS AND ALSO SUPPORT PROGRAMS LIKE FARM TO SCHOOL, WHERE WE ACTUALLY BRING FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FROM OUR FARMS AND BRING THEM ACTUALLY TO SCHOOLS TO FEED OUR STUDENTS. WE ALSO TALK A LOT AROUND HERE, AS MY COLLEAGUES KNOW, ABOUT REDUCING OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL. AS I SAID EARLIER, MR. PRESIDENT, DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL IN THIS COUNTRY HAS DROPPED ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO WHERE 60% OF OUR OIL WAS FROM FOREIGN OIL, NOW WE'RE TURNING DOWN TOWARDS 40%. WE'LL HOPEFULLY BE THERE IN ANOTHER YEAR OR TWO. THE A AGRICULTURE BILL HELPS MOVES US IN THAT DIRECTION. I JOINED SENATOR STABENOW IN INTRODUCING EARLIER THIS YEAR THAT WOULD SUPPORT THE LEGISLATION FOR THE EXPANSION OF BIOBASED MATERIALS, PLANT MATERIAL WHICH CAN BE USED TO REPLACE PETROLEUM IN OUR PLASTICS. THE DUPONT COUNTRY, ONE OF THE MAJOR EMPLOYERS IN OUR STATE AND ONE OF THE GREAT EMPLOYERS IN THIS COUNTRY FOR THE LAST 200 YEARS AND AROUND THE WORLD DOES GREAT WORK, SKPAOEUGT WORK NOT -- EXCITING WORK NOT ONLY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE CORN, AS MUCH AS 300 BUSHELS OF CORN OVER AN ACRE OF LAND. 30 YEARS AGO A FARMER WAS DOING GOOD TO GET 50 BUSHELS. DUPONT IS CONDUCTING AN EXPERIMENT SHOWING WE CAN FEED OURSELVES AND FUEL OURSELVES. NOT ONLY TO TAKE THE CORN HOLDERRERS, CORN STALKS, LEAVES, CORN COBS AND TURN THAT INTO CELLULOSIC ETHANOL. BUT ALSO TO TAKE THE BY-PRODUCT OF SOME OF THE VEGETABLES AND SOME OF THE PLANTS WE'RE RAISING TO CREATE CARPETING. AS ATTRACTIVE AS THE CARPETING HERE IN THIS CHAMBER. TO CREATE CLOTHING. ONE OF THE GREAT GROWTH BUSINESSES FOR DUPONT AT LEAST IS USING PLANT LIFE TO CREATE CARPETS. NOT TO HAVE TO DEPEND ON PETROLEUM TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT. IT'S VERY EXCITING. IT REDUCES OUR DEPENDENCE ON OIL, PARTICULARLY ON FOREIGN OIL. BUT -- AND IT ALSO CREATES NEW JOBS IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS OUR COUNTRY, INCLUDING MY STATE AND I SUSPECT INCLUDING MINNESOTA WHERE OUR PRESIDING OFFICER IS FROM. ANOTHER KEY INVESTMENT THIS BILL CONTINUES, ALTHOUGH AT A SOMEWHAT REDUCE THE FEDERAL LEVEL FROM WHAT WE SAW IN THE 2008 FARM BILL IS THE BILL'S AGRICULTURE BILL INVESTMENT IN CONSERVATION. CONSERVATION AND THE PRESERVATION OF AGRICULTURE LANDS ARE KEY TO THE FUTURE IN EVERY STATE BUT ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO A LITTLE STATE LIKE DELAWARE. THESE CONSERVATION INVESTMENTS ARE PARTICULARLY CRITICAL TO REGIONS LIKE THE CHESAPEAKE BAY TO OUR WEST WHICH DELAWAREANS, MARYLANDERS AND VIRGINIANS ARE WORKING HARD TO RESTORE AND PROTECT. I MIGHT MENTION HERE, IF I COULD, MR. PRESIDENT, IN TERMS OF CONSERVATION, WE HAD A BIG PROBLEM IN OUR STATE. PEOPLE LIKE TO COME TO DELAWARE. WE HAVE GREAT BEACHES IN LEWIS AND REHOBOTH AND DEWEY AND BETTING -- BETHANY. PEOPLE HAVE A BEACH HOUSE AND WANT TO RETIRE AND MAYBE WANT TO COME TO DELAWARE. AND IT CROWDS OUT SOME OF OUR AG LAND WITH CONCERN WHAT DOES IT DO FOR OUR OPEN SPACES AND AG LAND. WE WROTE A PROGRAM TO PRESERVE AG LAND AND WE'VE INVESTED A FAIR AMOUNT OF TAX DOLLARS WITH A LOT OF SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN SUBURBS AND CITIES AS WELL AS ON FARMS TO PRESERVE FARM LANDS. FOR A LITTLE PLACE WE'VE PRESERVED A LOT OF IT. I'M VERY PROUD OF IT. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO PRESERVE FARMLAND IS TO MAKE SURE FARMERS CAN MAKE MONEY OFF OF THE LAND THEY'RE FARMING. IF THEY'RE ABLE TO MAKE A GOOD INCOME, GOOD YEARS AND BAD YEARS, IF THEY HAVE WAYS TO GET EXTRA SOURCES OF INCOME FROM THE FARMS WHICH INCLUDE RAISING CORN, THAT CAN BE TURNED INTO CELLULOSIC BIOFUEL AND HELP FUEL OUR COUNTRY OR PROVIDE THE MATERIALS THAT ARE NEEDED TO CREATE CARPETING OR CLOTHING OR TO BE A PLACE THAT WE CAN BUILD MAYBE WINDMILL FARMS OR SOLAR ENERGY AND DEPLOY THOSE AND HARVEST THAT AS WELL AS THE CROPS, THOSE ARE WAYS TO SUPPLEMENT THE INCOME OF OR FARMERS TO PROMOTE CONSERVATION. BUT BEYOND THAT, THE BILL THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT DOES FOCUS SOME GOOD ATTENTION, APPROPRIATE ATTENTION ON ENCOURAGING AND NURTURING CONSERVATION. I MENTIONED EARLIER IN DELAWARE WE HAVE ABOUT A MILLION PEOPLE FOR EVERY PERSON IN DELAWARE, WE'VE GOT ABOUT 300 CHICKENS. ABOUT 60% OF THE COST, I'M TOLD, OF RAISING A CHICKEN IS THE COST OF FEED. IN RECENT YEARS THE COST OF FEED, INCLUDING THE COST OF CORN, HAS RISEN DRAMATICALLY. OUR NEW PAGES HERE, WHO ARE HERE FOR A THREE-WEEK PERIOD, OR ANXIOUS TO KNOW HOW MUCH IT COSTS TO FEED A CHICKEN. YOU CAN ACTUALLY TAKE A CHICKEN FROM THE TIME IT COMES OUT OF AN EGG IN ABOUT SEVEN WEEKS OR SO IT'S READY TO ACTUALLY GO TO MARKET. WHAT DO WE FEED THEM IN THE MEANTIME? WE FEED THEM A LOT OF CORN AND WE FEED THEM A LOT OF SOYBEANS. WE'VE SEEN THE COST OF CORN GO MAYBE A COUPLE OF BUCKS FOR A BUSHEL OF CORN TO RISE TO AS MUCH AS $7 OR $8 PER BUSHEL. IT'S HARD TO PAY THAT KIND OF MONEY FOR CORN AND SOYBEANS AND -- TO FEED CHICKENS AND RAISE CHICKENS AND MAKE MONEY IN THE END. WE'VE LOST POULTRY IN OUR STATE AND OTHER PLACES BECAUSE OF THE DIFFICULTY FEEDING THE CHICKENS WITH THE HIGH COST OF SOYBEANS. ABOUT 60% OF THE COST OF RAISING A CHICKEN IS CORN AND ABOUT ANOTHER 20% IS SOYBEANS. IT IS A TOUGH BUSINESS WHEN THOSE PRICES HAVE DOUBLED AND TRIPLED. THEY HAVE COME DOWN. WE'RE WORK TO GO BRING THEM DOWN FURTHER. THESE STRAINS HAVE MADE A VERY PROFITABLE BUSINESS IN SOME CASES UNPROFITABLE. THAT IS WHY SENATOR JOHN BOOZMAN OF ARKANSAS AND I HAVE INTRODUCED AN AMENDMENT TO THE BILL. WE HOPE IT WILL BE OFFERED AND ADOPTED, FOLDED INTO THE BILL, THAT MAKES IT A PRIORITY AT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE RESEARCH OPERATION TO KPWRAOUFT EFFICIENCY -- IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY, DIGESTABILITY FOR FEED FOR LIVESTOCK, INCLUDING CORN, SOYBEAN MEAL, AND GRAINS BY-PRODUCTS. INCLUDING THE FEED USED TO RAISE OUR CHICKENS. OTHER LIVESTOCK, HOGS AND CATTLE AND SO FORTH, WE CAN PROVIDE THE POULTRY AND THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRIES WITH A GREATER VARIETY OF FEED CHOICES TO USE IN THEIR OPERATION WHICH I HOPE WILL ULTIMATELY HELP PROVIDE SOME RELIEF TO THESE PRODUCERS WHO RELY HEAVILY ON THESE COMMODITIES IN THEIR OPERATION AND STILL PROVIDE HEALTHY FOOD FOR US TO EAT. SO LET ME GO BACK, MR. PRESIDENT, WHERE I STARTED FROM, AND THAT IS TO ASK THIS QUESTION: HOW DO WE GET BETTER RESULTS FOR LESS MONEY IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO? HOW DO WE GET BETTER RESULTS IN JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING WE DO FOR LESS MONEY OR MAYBE FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY? I THINK ABOUT THAT EVERY DAY THAT I'M HERE, AND I KNOW MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES DO AS WELL. THE BILL BEFORE US, THE AGRICULTURE BILL, SEEKS TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION IN A NUMBER OF WAYS. THEY DO HELP US GET A BETTER RESULT FOR LESS MONEY. NOT JUST A BETTER RESULT FOR THE TAXPAYERS BUT I THINK A BETTER HEALTH CARE OUTCOME RESULT IN REDUCING THE UPWARD TREND TOWARD OBESITY BY MAKING SURE PEOPLE WHO AREN'T EATING THE HEALTHY FOODS THEY NEED, PARTICULARLY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, THAT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. ON BOTH OF THOSE COUNTS, THIS LEGISLATION HELPS NOT JUST OUR FARMERS WHO ARE LITERALLY THE LIFEBLOOD OF THIS COUNTRY, BUT THE REST OF US TOO, INCLUDING TAXPAYERS. SO I'LL JUST WRAP UP WHERE I STARTED AND ASK THE QUESTION, SORT OF RHETORICAL QUESTION OF HOW IS THE ECONOMY DOING? AND WE'RE STILL STRUGGLING, TO SOME EXTENT. IT'S BETTER THAN WAS. BUT WE KNOW FOLKS ARE HAVING, IN SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING SOME PARTS OF MY STATE ARE HAVING A TOUGH TIME FINDING A JOB, KEEP A JOB, MAKE SURE THEIR KIDS GO TO COLLEGE AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE HEALTH CARE. WE KNOW THERE ARE CHALLENGES AND WE NEED TO BE EVER MINDFUL OF THAT. I WOULD SAY, THOUGH, IN TERMS OF MOVING OUT OF RECESSION, I THINK THE UNDERLYING FUNDAMENTALS TO THE ECONOMY ARE NOT ALL BAD AND WE SHOULD KEEP THAT IN MIND. ONE OF THE SUREST WAYS TO TALK OURSELVES INTO ANOTHER RECESSION HAVING COME OUT OF THE WORST RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION -- WE CAN TALK OUR WAY INTO RECESSION. WE DON'T NEED TO DO THAT. WE'VE SEEN CONSISTENT JOB GROWTH IN THE PRIVATE-SECTOR SIDE FOR OVER 24 MONTHS. MANUFACTURING JOBS FOR OVER 30 MONTHS. WE NEED TO KEEP A BALANCED VIEW, KNOWING THAT THERE'S STILL WORK TO BE DONE. INI WAS TALKING TO THIS GUY UP HERE WHO FOLLOWS THE MINNESOTA TWINS AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER PRETTY MUCH, MY GUESS IS WE'RE JOINED BY THE FORMER GOVERNOR NOW, THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA, MY GUESS IS HE MIGHT BE A TWINS FAN TOO. I'M NOT SURE. WE VOTE FOR THE PHILLIES. I PULL FOR THE TIGERS AS WELL FOR SOME REASON I WON'T BORE YOU WITH HERE TODAY. BUT WE NEED TO HIT A HOME RUN TO REALLY GET THE ECONOMY MOVING. IN MY VIEW, THE HOME RUN IS A COMPREHENSIVE BIPARTISAN BALANCED DEFICIT-REDUCTION PLAN NOT UNLIKE THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION. WHEN THE VOTE IS OVER WE CAN PASS SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR. FOR ME THAT IS A HOME RUN. IN THE MEANTIME THERE IS A BUNCH OF THINGS WE CAN DO TO HIT SINGLES, MAYBE DOUBLES TO GET THE ECONOMY MOVING TO CREATE THAT NURTURING ENVIRONMENT. AMONG THE ONES THAT NEED TO BE DONE AND FINISHED WITH ARE TRANSPORTATION LEGISLATION TO KEEP TWO OR THREE MILLION PEOPLE WORKING. WE PASS IT HERE; THE HOUSE HAS BEEN LESS WILLING TO HELP US FIND A GOOD COMPROMISE. THEY NEED TO. AND POSTAL LEGISLATION, WHICH REALLY SUPPORTS AN INDUSTRY OF SEVEN OR EIGHT MILLION PEOPLE. WE PASSED BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION HERE TWO MONTHS AGO. WE'RE STILL WAITING FOR THE HOUSE TO MOVE A BILL EIGHT MONTHS AFTER THEY REPORTED THE BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE. THEY NEED TO GET ON WITH THAT. THEY DID THAT, WE GET A GOOD COMPROMISE ON A BIPARTISAN BILL, ON TRANSPORTATION, WE PRESERVE THOSE TWO TO THREE MILLION JOBS, FREE UP A LOT OF MONEY FOR TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. THAT WOULD BE GREAT AND ON THE POSTAL SIDE HELP THE POSTAL SERVICE REIN IN ITS DEFICITS, MOVE TOWARDS SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND MAKE SURE THOSE SEVEN OR EIGHT MILLION JOBS REMAIN THERE AND THE INDUSTRY STRENGTHENS. THE LAST THING WE NEED TO DO IS FIND WAYS TO FOCUS EVERY DAY ON HOW DO WE GET BETTER RESULTS IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO. HOW DO WE DO THAT? NOT JUST IN DEFENSE SPENDING, DEFENSE PROJECTS, NOT JUST EDUCATION, NOT JUST TRANSPORTATION, NOT JUST ENVIRONMENT, NOT JUST AGRICULTURE. BUT ALL THE ABOVE. AND THIS BILL DOESN'T HELP US REIN IN THE GROWTH OF COSTS IN SOME OF THOSE OTHER AREAS, BUT IT SURE DOES WITH RESPECT TO AGRICULTURE. IT SAVES US ABOUT $24 BILLION -- BILLION DOLLARS ABOUT WHAT WE WOULD OTHERWISE SPEND OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. AND I THINK IT MOVES US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IN TERMS OF HEALTHY AMERICANS. IT MOVES US TO BE A TRIMMER, LESS OBESE POPULATION AND A HEALTHIER POPULATION BY VIRTUE OF EATING OUR SPINACH AND OUR BROCCOLI AND A LOT OF OTHER VEGETABLES, AND FRUITS THAT ARE GOING TO MAKE US HEALTHIER AND MAYBE JUST A LITTLE BIT LEANER THAN WE WOULD OTHERWISE BE. MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK THAT PRETTY WELL WRAPS UP WHAT I WANTED TO SAY TODAY. THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO DO THAT. I THINK MAYBE I SHOULD YIELD THE FLOOR TO MY FRIEND FROM NORTH DAKOTA, A RECOVERING GOVERNOR AND A GOOD MAN. I'M HAPPY TO YIELD THE FLOOR TO HIM AT THIS TIME. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 05:10:05 PM

    QUESTION

    GET BETTER RESULTS FOR LESS MONEY IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO? HOW DO WE GET…

    GET BETTER RESULTS FOR LESS MONEY IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO? HOW DO WE GET BETTER RESULTS IN JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING WE DO FOR LESS MONEY OR MAYBE FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY? I THINK ABOUT THAT EVERY DAY THAT I'M HERE, AND I KNOW MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES DO AS WELL. THE BILL BEFORE US, THE AGRICULTURE BILL, SEEKS TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION IN A NUMBER OF WAYS. THEY DO HELP US GET A BETTER RESULT FOR LESS MONEY. NOT JUST A BETTER RESULT FOR THE TAXPAYERS BUT I THINK A BETTER HEALTH CARE OUTCOME RESULT IN REDUCING THE UPWARD TREND TOWARD OBESITY BY MAKING SURE PEOPLE WHO AREN'T EATING THE HEALTHY FOODS THEY NEED, PARTICULARLY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, THAT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. ON BOTH OF THOSE COUNTS, THIS LEGISLATION HELPS NOT JUST OUR FARMERS WHO ARE LITERALLY THE LIFEBLOOD OF THIS COUNTRY, BUT THE REST OF US TOO, INCLUDING TAXPAYERS. SO I'LL JUST WRAP UP WHERE I STARTED AND ASK THE QUESTION, SORT OF RHETORICAL QUESTION OF HOW IS THE ECONOMY DOING? AND WE'RE STILL STRUGGLING, TO SOME EXTENT. IT'S BETTER THAN WAS. BUT WE KNOW FOLKS ARE HAVING, IN SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING SOME PARTS OF MY STATE ARE HAVING A TOUGH TIME FINDING A JOB, KEEP A JOB, MAKE SURE THEIR KIDS GO TO COLLEGE AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE HEALTH CARE. WE KNOW THERE ARE CHALLENGES AND WE NEED TO BE EVER MINDFUL OF THAT. I WOULD SAY, THOUGH, IN TERMS OF MOVING OUT OF RECESSION, I THINK THE UNDERLYING FUNDAMENTALS TO THE ECONOMY ARE NOT ALL BAD AND WE SHOULD KEEP THAT IN MIND. ONE OF THE SUREST WAYS TO TALK OURSELVES INTO ANOTHER RECESSION HAVING COME OUT OF THE WORST RECESSION SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION -- WE CAN TALK OUR WAY INTO RECESSION. WE DON'T NEED TO DO THAT. WE'VE SEEN CONSISTENT JOB GROWTH IN THE PRIVATE-SECTOR SIDE FOR OVER 24 MONTHS. MANUFACTURING JOBS FOR OVER 30 MONTHS. WE NEED TO KEEP A BALANCED VIEW, KNOWING THAT THERE'S STILL WORK TO BE DONE. INI WAS TALKING TO THIS GUY UP HERE WHO FOLLOWS THE MINNESOTA TWINS AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER PRETTY MUCH, MY GUESS IS WE'RE JOINED BY THE FORMER GOVERNOR NOW, THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA, MY GUESS IS HE MIGHT BE A TWINS FAN TOO. I'M NOT SURE. WE VOTE FOR THE PHILLIES. I PULL FOR THE TIGERS AS WELL FOR SOME REASON I WON'T BORE YOU WITH HERE TODAY. BUT WE NEED TO HIT A HOME RUN TO REALLY GET THE ECONOMY MOVING. IN MY VIEW, THE HOME RUN IS A COMPREHENSIVE BIPARTISAN BALANCED DEFICIT-REDUCTION PLAN NOT UNLIKE THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION. WHEN THE VOTE IS OVER WE CAN PASS SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR. FOR ME THAT IS A HOME RUN. IN THE MEANTIME THERE IS A BUNCH OF THINGS WE CAN DO TO HIT SINGLES, MAYBE DOUBLES TO GET THE ECONOMY MOVING TO CREATE THAT NURTURING ENVIRONMENT. AMONG THE ONES THAT NEED TO BE DONE AND FINISHED WITH ARE TRANSPORTATION LEGISLATION TO KEEP TWO OR THREE MILLION PEOPLE WORKING. WE PASS IT HERE; THE HOUSE HAS BEEN LESS WILLING TO HELP US FIND A GOOD COMPROMISE. THEY NEED TO. AND POSTAL LEGISLATION, WHICH REALLY SUPPORTS AN INDUSTRY OF SEVEN OR EIGHT MILLION PEOPLE. WE PASSED BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION HERE TWO MONTHS AGO. WE'RE STILL WAITING FOR THE HOUSE TO MOVE A BILL EIGHT MONTHS AFTER THEY REPORTED THE BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE. THEY NEED TO GET ON WITH THAT. THEY DID THAT, WE GET A GOOD COMPROMISE ON A BIPARTISAN BILL, ON TRANSPORTATION, WE PRESERVE THOSE TWO TO THREE MILLION JOBS, FREE UP A LOT OF MONEY FOR TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. THAT WOULD BE GREAT AND ON THE POSTAL SIDE HELP THE POSTAL SERVICE REIN IN ITS DEFICITS, MOVE TOWARDS SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND MAKE SURE THOSE SEVEN OR EIGHT MILLION JOBS REMAIN THERE AND THE INDUSTRY STRENGTHENS. THE LAST THING WE NEED TO DO IS FIND WAYS TO FOCUS EVERY DAY ON HOW DO WE GET BETTER RESULTS IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO. HOW DO WE DO THAT? NOT JUST IN DEFENSE SPENDING, DEFENSE PROJECTS, NOT JUST EDUCATION, NOT JUST TRANSPORTATION, NOT JUST ENVIRONMENT, NOT JUST AGRICULTURE. BUT ALL THE ABOVE. AND THIS BILL DOESN'T HELP US REIN IN THE GROWTH OF COSTS IN SOME OF THOSE OTHER AREAS, BUT IT SURE DOES WITH RESPECT TO AGRICULTURE. IT SAVES US ABOUT $24 BILLION -- BILLION DOLLARS ABOUT WHAT WE WOULD OTHERWISE SPEND OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. AND I THINK IT MOVES US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IN TERMS OF HEALTHY AMERICANS. IT MOVES US TO BE A TRIMMER, LESS OBESE POPULATION AND A HEALTHIER POPULATION BY VIRTUE OF EATING OUR SPINACH AND OUR BROCCOLI AND A LOT OF OTHER VEGETABLES, AND FRUITS THAT ARE GOING TO MAKE US HEALTHIER AND MAYBE JUST A LITTLE BIT LEANER THAN WE WOULD OTHERWISE BE. MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK THAT PRETTY WELL WRAPS UP WHAT I WANTED TO SAY TODAY. THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO DO THAT. I THINK MAYBE I SHOULD YIELD THE FLOOR TO MY FRIEND FROM NORTH DAKOTA, A RECOVERING GOVERNOR AND A GOOD MAN. I'M HAPPY TO YIELD THE FLOOR TO HIM AT THIS TIME. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 05:15:13 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    THANK MY ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE, NOT ONLY SENATOR BUT FORMER GOVERNOR AS WELL.…

    THANK MY ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE, NOT ONLY SENATOR BUT FORMER GOVERNOR AS WELL. I THINK WE HAVE REAL OPPORTUNITY HERE, A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO PASS A FARM BILL THAT WILL NOT ONLY REDUCE THE DEFICIT BUT PROVIDE STRONG SUPPORT AS WELL FOR OUR FARMERS AND RANCHERS.

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  • 05:15:31 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    RIGHT NOW AT THIS POINT, I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING LIKE 250 AMENDMENTS…

    RIGHT NOW AT THIS POINT, I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING LIKE 250 AMENDMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN FILED ON THE FARM BILL. SOME ARE GOOD AND OTHERS PROBABLY NOT SO GOOD AND CERTAINLY MANY AMENDMENTS FILED BY BOTH PARTIES. SOME OF THEM ARE GERMANE, MEANING THEY ACTUALLY RELATE TO THE FARM BILL, AND MANY OF THEM ARE NOT. BUT THAT MEANS IF WE ARE GOING TO GET A FARM BILL, WE'VE GOT TO FIND A WAY TO WORK THROUGH THESE AMENDMENTS AND COME TO AGREEMENT ON THE AMENDMENTS AS FAR AS THE AMENDMENTS THAT WILL BE VOTED ON, AND THAT'S GOING TO TAKE SOME COMPROMISE ON THE PART OF BOTH PARTIES. AND I MEAN THAT. WE HAVE TO COME TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, WORK TOGETHER AND COME UP WITH AN AGREEMENT SO THAT WE CAN HAVE A REASONABLE NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS BROUGHT FORWARD AND WE CAN VOTE ON THOSE AMENDMENTS AND PASS A FARM BILL. AND WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT. WE ABSOLUTELY SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET THAT DONE BECAUSE THIS BILL ACCOMPLISHES SOME VERY IMPORTANT THINGS FOR OUR COUNTRY. FIRST, AS I SAID, IT SAVES MONEY, $23.BILLION TO HELP WITH THE DEFICIT -- $23.6 BILLION TO HELP WITH THE DEFICIT AND THE DEBT. BUT ALSO BECAUSE IT PROVIDES A VERY STRONG FARM PROGRAM, AND THAT'S IMPORTANT NOT ONLY FOR OUR FARMERS AND RANCHERS BUT FOR EVERY AMERICAN. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN. GOOD FARM POLICY CERTAINLY BENEFITS FARMERS AND RANCHERS, BUT IT BENEFITS ALL AMERICANS. FIRST, WE HAVE THE HIGHEST QUALITY, LOWEST-COST FOOD SUPPLY IN THE WORLD, BAR NONE. HIGHEST-QUALITY, LOWEST-COST FOOD SUPPLY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. EVERY AMERICAN BENEFITS FROM THAT. SECOND, IT IS A JOBS BILL. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT MILLIONS OF JOBS, BOTH ON A DIRECT BASIS AND ON AN INDIRECT BASIS -- MILLIONS OF JOBS. AND IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT SMALL BUSINESSES, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF SMALL BUSINESSES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY IN EVERY STATE -- FARMERS, RANCHERS, AND ALL OF THE BUSINESSES THAT GO WITH FARMING AND RANCHING, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES. SO IT REALLY IS A JOBS BILL AT A TIME WHEN WE NEED TO GET OUR ECONOMY GOING AND WE NEED TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORTH AND ITS ALSO ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY. THINK HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE'RE ABLE TO RELY ON OUR OWN FARMERS AND RANCHERS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY FOR OUR FOOD SUPPLY. WE'RE NOT BEHOLDEN TO OTHER COUNTRIES OR RELYING ON OTHER COUNTRIES, PARTICULARLY COUNTRIES THAT MAY HAVE VERY DIFFERENT INTERESTS THAN WE HAVE FOR OUR FOOD SUPPLY. SO IT REALLY IS AN ISSUE OF NATIONAL SECURITY AS WELL. SO, FOR ALL THESE REASONS AND MORE, WE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD ON THIS FARM BILL. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LEGISLATION THAT AFFECTS EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN. NOW, IN ADDITION TO THAT, THIS IS A COST-EFFECTIVE BILL. IT PROVIDES STRONG SUPPORT TO OUR FARMERS AND RANCHERS, BUT AS I SAID, IT ALSO PROVIDES REAL SAVINGS TO HELP WITH OUR DEFICIT AND DEBT. AGRICULTURE IS DOING ITS PART TO HELP REDUCE THE DEFICIT, AND I'D LIKE TO GO THROUGH THE NUMBERS FOR JUST A MINUTE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT. ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, THE FARM BILL +S ABOUT IS ABOUT $100 BILLION OUT OF A $3.7 TRILLION BUDGET. BUT THE PORTION THAT GOES TO FARM PROGRAMS, THAT REALLY GOES TO AGRICULTURE, TO MAINTAIN THIS NETWORK -- TO MAINTAIN THIS NETWORK OF FARMS AND RAGES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IS ONLY ABOUT $20 BILLION, ACTUALLY LESS THAN $20 BILLION OUT OF AN ANNUAL BUDGET OF $3.7 TRILLION. 80% OF THE FARM BILL, PER SE, 80% IS NUTRITION PAYMENTS. SO LET'S GO THROUGH THESE NUMBERS. HOW IS THE FARM BILL SCORED? HOW DO WE GET TO WHAT'S REALLY SPENT AND WHERE IT'S SPENT AND THE SAVINGS THAT WE GENERATE WITH THIS NEW LEGISLATION? THE FARM BILL IS SCORED OF COURSE OVER TEN YEARS BY THE C.B.O. TOTAL COST -- $960 BILLION. 80% OF THAT PLUS IS NUTRITION, PRIMARILY SNAP, WHICH IS SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS, AND THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM. SO APPROXIMATELY $800 BILLION OF THAT SCORE IS NUTRITION, LESS THAN $200 BILLION OF THE SCORE RELATES TO THE FARM PROGRAM PORTION OF THE FARM BILL. BUT AS WE KNOW, THE FARM BILL IS ACTUALLY A FIVE-YEAR BILL, FIVE-YEAR LEGISLATION, NOT TEN-YEAR. SO THE ACTUAL COST IS HALF THAT. IT'S $408 BILLION IN TOTAL -- $480 BILLION IN TOTAL, APPROXIMATELY $400 BILLION TO THE NUTRITION PROGRAMS I TALKED ABOUT, LESS THAN $100 BILLION OVER FIVE YEARS -- LESS THAN $IS 00 BILLION OR LESS THAN $20 BILLION A YEAR IS ACTUALLY THE FARM PROGRAM PORTION OF THE BILL. WELL, THEN BACK TO THE SAVINGS. $23.6 BILLION SAVED OUT OF THE PORTION THAT'S LESS THAN -- OR MOSTLY OUT OF THE PORTION THAT IS ABOUT $200 BILLION. IN FACT, OUT OF WHAT ARE TRULY FARM PROGRAM, THE COMMODITY TITLE AND CROP INSURANCE, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT $15 BILLION IN REDUCTIONS, ANOTHER $6 BILLION IN REDUCTIONS OUT OF THE CONSERVATION PROGRAMS. SO, AGAIN, YOU CAN SEE WE'RE TAKING ABOUT $23 -- THOSE TWO PROGRAMS ALONE IS $21 BILLION OF THE $23 BILLION. ONLY ABOUT $4 B.L.M. BILLION COMES OUT OF NUTRITION PROGRAMS. ON A FIVE-YEAR BASIS, CUT THAT IN A BUT YOU CAN SEE WE ARE REDUCING BY 10% THE FUNDING THAT GOES TO SUPPORT THE FARM PROGRAM. THAT'S A SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION. SO NOW LET'S GO BACK TO MY POINT ABOUT ALL THESE AMENDMENTS THAT WE HAVE. ON THE ORDER OF 250 AMENDMENTS, AND WE'VE GOT TO GET THROUGH THEM AND HAVE SOME AGREEMENT -- AGAIN ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS -- AS TO THE AMENDMENTS THAT WILL BE BROUGHT FORWARD AND VOTED ON AS PART OF THIS PACKAGE. WE HAVE THE CORE BILL THAT CAME OUT OF THE AG COMMITTEE WITH A STRONG BIPARTISAN VOTE, 16-5, STRONG BIPARTISAN VOTE. THAT'S THE UNDERLYING LEGISLATION. WE'VE GOT THESE 250 AMENDMENTS. WE'VE GOT TO FIGURE OUT SOMEHOW, WE'RE GOING TO COME TOGETHER, GET AGREEMENT, HAVE VOTES ON THESE AMENDMENTS, SOME WILL PASS, SOME WILL NOT, AND MOVE THIS LEGISLATION FORWARD. WELL, MANY OF THE AMENDMENTS, AS I SAY, RELATE TO THE FARM PROGRAM PORTION OF THE FARM BILL. THEY EITHER SEEK TO FURTHER REDUCE THE COST OF THE BILL OR SEEK TO IMPROVE THE BILL. REGARDING THE COST OF THE BILL, THE FARM PROGRAM PORTION OF THE BILL IS LESS THAN $20 BILLION A YEAR. AND WE'VE ALREADY SAVED 10%. WE'RE ALREADY REDUCING 10%. SO NO AMOUNT OF AMENDING FOR ADDITIONAL SAVINGS IS GOING TO MAKE A LARGE DIFFERENCE ON THE $3.7 TRILLION BUDGET. FURTHER, AS I SAID, SINCE WE'VE ALREADY REDUCED THE 10%, AGRICULTURE IS DOING ITS PART TO HELP WITH THE DEFICIT. THINK, FOR EXAMPLE, IF WE BENTENCE WITH THROUGH THE REST OF THE -- IF WE WENT THROUGH THE REST OF THE BUDGET AND WERE ABLE TO SECURE A 10% REDUCTION OUT OF ALL THE OTHER PORTIONS OF THE BUDGET. RIGHT? AGAIN, MY POINT BEING, OF COURSE WE HAVE TO FIND SAVINGS, BUT WE'RE DOING IT IN AGRICULTURE. WE'RE DOING IT IN A BIG WAY. IT TRULY IS A COST-EFFECTIVE MEASURE. NOW, THERE'S ALSO AMENDMENTS THAT SEEK TO IMPROVE THE BILL. OKAY, AND HERE I GO BACK TO THE OLD SAYING, "PERFECT IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD." I GET THAT THERE'S A LOT OF AMENDMENTSAMENDMENTS. EVERYBODY WANTS THEIR AMENDMENT PASSED. WHAT THIS BILL DOES IS IT ALREADY BUILDS ON THE STRENGTHS OF THE EXISTING FARM PROGRAM AND MAKES THE PROGRAM STRONGER. THE HEART OF THIS BILL IS ENHANCED CROP INSURANCE. THAT'S WHAT PRODUCERS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY TOLD US OVER AND OVER AGAIN THEY WANT, AND IT'S WHAT THEY NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO THE VERY BEST JOB POSSIBLE PRODUCING THE FOOD SUPPLY THAT WE RELY ON THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY AND MANY OTHER COUNTRIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. ENHANGSED -- ENHANCED CROP INSURANCE IS THE TOOL THEY WANT. IT IS A MARKET-BASED APPROACH AND IT IS COST-EFFECTIVE. IN FACT, WE ENHANCE CROP INSURANCE WITH WHAT WE CALL THE SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE OPTION. ESSENTIAL WHAT I WE DO IN THIS FARM BILL IS WE SAY, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO BUILD ON THE CORE, ON THE STRENGTH OF THE EXISTING FARM PROGRAM, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOU, THE FARMERS, THE RANCHERS OF THIS COUNTRY HAVE TOLD US YOU WANT. AS YOU DO NOW, THE FARMER GOES OUT AND BUYS HIS CROP INSURANCE AND INSURES UP TO THE LEVEL HE THINKS IS APPROPRIATE, MAKES THE BEST DECISION HE CAN, AND BUYING CROP INSURANCE ON A COST-EFFECTIVE BASIS. BUT THE HIGHER LEVEL THAT YOU ENSURE, THE MORE COSTLY IT BECOMES TO INSURE. SO WE ADD A NEW ELEMENT CALLED THE SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE APPEARS. WHAT IT DOES IS IT SAYS, ONCE THE FARMERS PURCHASE THEIR CROP INSURANCE AT WHATEVER LEVEL THEY FEEL IS COST-EFFECTIVE, THEN THEY CAN COME IN AND BUY A SECONDARY POLICY ON TOP OF THAT TO INSURE AT A HIGHER LEVEL ON A COST-EFFECTIVE BASIS. IT IS NOT FARM LEVEL COVERAGE. IT IS COUNTYWIDE CONSEQUENTLY. THAT MAKES IT MORE COST EFFECTIVE AND MAKES SURE THAT THAT FARMER CAN CONTINUE IN BUSINESS. SO THEY ARE ABLE TO BUY CROP INSURANCE IN A WAY THAT AFFORDS THEM BETTER COVERAGE. IN ADDITION, THE LEGISLATION PROVIDES HELP WITH SHALLOW OR REPETITIVE LOSSES WHICH FARMERS SOMETIMES FACE DUE TO WEATHER. THAT COVERAGE IS CALLED A.R.C. OR THE AG RISK COVERAGE PROGRAM. THESE ARE VOLUNTARY PROGRAMS, AN EFFORT TO MAKE SURE THAT FARMERS AND RANCHERS CAN ENSURE LIKE OTHER -- INSURE LIKE OTHER TYPES OF BUSINESSES AND PARTICULAR WHEN WEATHER CONDITIONS -- AND CONTINUE WHEN WEATHER CONDITIONS MAKE IT HARD FOR THEM. I KNOW SOME OF OUR SOUTHERN FRIENDS, SOME OF OUR -- SOME OF THE SENATORS FROM THE SOUTHERN STATES THAT FEEL THAT THIS BILL FOR THEIR FARMERS, PARTICULARLY FOR PEANUTS AND FOR RICE, SOME EXTENT COTTON, ALTHOUGH THERE IS A STACKS PROGRAM IN THIS BILL FOR COTTON, THEY FEEL THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE PRICE PROTECTION. AND IN FACT WE ARE WORKING WITH THEM TO DO JUST THATMENT WE HAVE OFFERED AMENDMENTS, WHICH I THINK WE'RE MAKING REAL PROGRESS ON, THAT WILL HELP THEM WITH SOME OF THE PRICE PROTECTION THEY WANT FOR THE SOUTHERN CROPS, PARTICULARLY PEANUTS AND RICE AND, LIKE I SAY, THEY DO HAVE A PRODUCT THAT I THINK THEY FEEL WORKS FOR COTTON BUT THIS WOULD PROVIDE ADDITIONAL PRICE PROTECTION FOR COTTON AS WELL. SO AGAIN I THINK WE'RE REACHING OUT AND DOING THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO WITH SOUTHERN PRODUCERS. I HOPE TO GET THEIR SUPPORT ON THIS BILL AS PART OF GETTING AN AMENDMENT PACKAGE THAT WE CAN AGREE TO AND MOVE FORWARD ON THE BILL. THE OTHER POINT THAT I THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND RELATIVE TO SOUTHERN GROWERS IS THAT THEY WILL HAVE ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY IN THE HOUSE FOR SOME OF THE IMPROVEMENTS THAT THEY MAY FEEL THEY NEED IN THE BILL, EVEN THOUGH, AS I SAY, I THINK THE UNDERLYING BILL ITSELF IS VERY STRONG AND WE HAVE, I BELIEVE, COME TO SOME AGREEMENT OR GOTTEN VERY CLOSE TO SOME AMENDMENTS THAT WILL AFFORD THEM THE FURTHER PRICE PROTECTION THAT THEY FEEL IS NEEDED IN THE LEGISLATION. SO THAT'S WHERE WE ARE, AND I WANT TO RETURN TO WHERE I STARTED. WE HAVE TO COME TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE TO COME TO REASONABLE AGREEMENT ON THESE AMENDMENTS SO THAT WE CAN MOVE FORWARD WITH VOTES ON THIS BILL. I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE WE CAN DO IT, BUT I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR THAT IT IS INCUMBENT ON ALL OF US -- IT IS INCUMBENT ON ALL OF US TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. THIS BILL IS NOT JUST ABOUT OUR FARMERS AND RANCHERS. THIS IS A BILL THAT AFFECTS EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN, AND IT IS TIME WE COME TOGETHER ON AN AMENDMENT PACKAGE AND FIND A WAY TO MOVE FORWARD AND WE GRET THIS BILL -- AND WE GET IT BILL DONE FOR THE GOOD OF FARM COUNTRY AND FOR THE GOOD OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WITH THAT, I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM. AND --

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  • 05:28:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL.

  • 05:28:41 PM

    MR. HOEVEN

    FLOOR. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 05:28:48 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:40:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN.

  • 05:40:35 PM

    MRS. STAB MAO

    THANK YOU. I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SUSPEND THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 05:40:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:40:41 PM

    MS. STABENOW

    VERY MUCH. MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE WRAP UP TODAY AND THE WEEK, I WANT TO TAKE…

    VERY MUCH. MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE WRAP UP TODAY AND THE WEEK, I WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO GIVE A STATUS REPORT AS WE'RE MOVING FORWARD IN OUR NEGOTIATIONS ON THE FARM BILL. WE'VE ACTUALLY HAD SOME VERY GOOD PROGRESS TODAY AND OVERCOME SOME OBSTACLES AND ARE PUTTING TOGETHER WHAT WILL BE SOMETHING FOR THE SENATE FOR THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK THAT WILL ALLOW US TO MOVE FORWARD. AND I WANT TO ALSO THANK THE JUNIOR SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA, WHO I HEARD ON THE FLOOR A LITTLE WHILE AGO, SENATOR HOEVEN, TALKING ABOUT THE 250 DIFFERENT AMENDMENTS THAT WE HAVE. AND, OF COURSE, THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE SENATE IS THAT WE CAN ALL OFFER AMENDMENTS, WHETHER THEY'RE RELEVANT OR NOT. THE CHALLENGE FOR SOMEONE MANAGING A BILL IS THAT ANYONE CAN OFFER AMENDMENTS. AND SO WE HAVE WORKED OUR WAY FROM THE 250 AND -- AND, YOU KNOW, ARE WORKING OUR WAY DOWN FROM 50 DOWN TO 40 AND -- AND PUTTING TOGETHER AN APPROACH THAT WILL BE FAIR AND BALANCED AND ALLOW US TO MOVE FORWARD AND HAVE THE INPUT OF EVERYONE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. SO I WANT TO THANK SENATOR ROBERTS AGAIN FOR BEING TRULY A PARTNER WITH ME ALL THE WAY THROUGH THIS PROCESS AND A TERRIFIC COMMITTEE. AND YOU HEARD FROM ONE OF THOSE MEMBERS IN THE JUNIOR SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA IN LAYING OUT WHAT ARE REALLY POSITIVE AND IMPORTANT -- WHAT A REALLY POSITIVE AND IMPORTANT BILL THIS IS FOR US. AND I WANT TO THANK HIM, AS OUR NEWEST MEMBER OF OUR COMMITTEE, FOR ALL OF HIS CONTRIBUTIONS AS WELL. JUST TO BRIEFLY RECAP AS WE BRING THE DISCUSSION TO A CLOSE THIS WEEK IS THE FACT THAT WE HAVE 16 MILLION PEOPLE THAT WORK BECAUSE OF AGRICULTURE. THEY MAY BE WORKING IN THE FIELDS. THEY MAY BE PACKAGING, PROCESSING, MAKING MACHINERY FOR AGRICULTURE. COULD BE DOING A NUMBER OF THINGS, BUT 16 MILLION PEOPLE WORK BECAUSE OF AGRICULTURE. I'M NOT SURE WE CAN SAY ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL BILL THAT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE IMPACTS THAT MANY PEOPLE. 16 MILLION PEOPLE. AND AS I'VE SAID SO MANY TIMES, I DON'T BELIEVE WE HAVE A MIDDLE CLASS IN THIS COUNTRY UNLESS WE MAKE THINGS AND GROW THINGS. I'M PROUD IN MICHIGAN WE DO THAT, WE MAKE THINGS AND GROW THINGS. AND THE PRESIDING OFFICER'S STATE OF MINNESOTA AS WELL MAKES THINGS AND GROWS THINGS. AND THAT'S THE THEY THINK STRENGTH OF OUR ECONOMY -- AND THAT'S THE STRENGTH OF OUR ECONOMY. AND ONE OF THE BRIGHT SPOTS FOR US, EVEN DURING THE DEEPEST, TOUGHEST TIMES IN THE COUNTRY, AND CERTAINLY IN MICHIGAN, HAS BEEN AND CONTINUES TO BE AGRICULTURE. OUR MAJOR SOURCE OF A TRADE SURPLUS, HAVING SEEN THE TRADE EXPAND 270% JUST OVER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. WE HAVE JOBS -- OVER 8,000 JOBS CREATED FOR EVERY $1 BILLION WE SPEND IN -- WE DO IN TRADE EXPORTS. SO THERE ARE MULTIPLE WAYS IN WHICH THIS IS A JOB BILL, FROM PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, BIOMANUFACTURING, WHETHER IT'S SUPPORT FOR THE CRITICAL NEEDS OF FAMILIES UNDER NUTRITION, WHETHER IT'S CONSERVATION WHERE WE HAVE THE LARGEST INVESTMENT IN LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION IN OUR COUNTRY ON WORKING LANDS MADE THROUGH THE FARM BILL. THIS IS IMPORTANT AND IT COVERS MANY, MANY IMPORTANT SUBJECTS THAT TOUCH EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN RURAL AMERICA AND EVERY PERSON ACROSS THIS COUNTRY AS CONSUMERS OF THE SAFEST, MOST AFFORDABLE FOOD SUPPLY IN THE WORLD. AND SO WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO GET THIS RIGHT AND TO TAKE THE TIME TO DO IT, AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING. I'M SO PROUD THAT HAD CAME OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH A BROAD BIPARTISAN VOTE AND THAT WE HAD SUCH A VERY STRONG VOTE TO PROCEED TO THE BILL. AND NOW WE ARE MOVING THROUGH THE PROCESS OF BRINGING US TO THE PATH TO FINAL CONCLUSION. AS WE DO THAT, I WANT TO JUST STRESS AGAIN A FEW POINTS. WE COULD TALK A LONG TIME BECAUSE THIS IS -- THIS HAS GOT MANY, MANY PIECES TO IT. AND I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT THIS EVENING. BUT I DO WANT TO SAY ONE MORE TIME THAT, TO MY KNOWLEDGE, THIS IS THE ONE PIECE OF REAL DEFICIT REDUCTION DONE IN A BIPARTISAN BASIS. IN FACT, HOUSE-SENATE BASIS BACK IN THE FALL THAT WE'VE HAD BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE. $23 BILLION IN DEFICIT REDUCTION. SO WE ALL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT, SOMETHING WE ALL CARE ABOUT, AND WE CAN DO THAT WHILE PASSING THE FARM BILL. THIS REPEALS DIRECT PAYMENTS. FOUR DIFFERENT SUBSIDIES ARE REPEALED. IN ITS PLACE, WE PUT A RISK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. SO IF THERE ARE LOSSES, IF THERE IS A DISASTER ON WEATHER LIKE WE HAVE SEEN IN MICHIGAN, IF THERE ARE OTHER DISASTERS ON PRICE DECLINES, WORLD ACTIONS THAT CREATE A CHALLENGE FOR OUR FARMERS OR RANCHERS, WE WILL BE THERE TO MAKE SURE THAT NOBODY LOSES THE FARM BECAUSE THERE ARE A FEW DAYS OF BAD WEATHER OR ANY OTHER RISK THAT'S BEYOND THEIR CONTROL. HOWEVER, IF THINGS ARE GOING WELL, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE GIVING A GOVERNMENT PAYMENT. WE'RE GOING TO COVER FARMERS FOR WHAT THEY PLANT AND WHEN THERE ARE LOSSES. WE'RE STRENGTHENING PAYMENT LIMITS SO WE, AGAIN, ARE FOCUSING PRECIOUS DOLLARS TO THOSE WHO NEED IT. AND WE END MORE THAN 100 DIFFERENT PROGRAMS AND AUTHORIZATIONS THAT AS WE HAVE SCOURED EVERY SINGLE PAGE OF THE FARM BILL AND THE USDA RESPONSIBILITIES, WE HAVE FOUND AREAS WHERE THERE IS DUPLICATION, REDUNDANCY, THINGS THAT ARE NO LONGER NEEDED, AND WE HAVE SOLIDIFIED, MADE THINGS MORE FLEXIBLE, CUT DUPLICATION, AND IN THE PROCESS OF THAT, WE HAVE ACTUALLY ELIMINATED 100 DIFFERENT PROGRAMS AND AUTHORIZATIONS, PUT $23 BILLION. AT THE SAME TIME CONTINUED OUR COMMITMENT TO FAMILIES IN THIS NATION AND CHILDREN IN THIS NATION WHO HAVE THEIR OWN PERSONAL DISASTERS AND NEED FOOD ASSISTANCE HELP. WE CONTINUE A STRONG COMMITMENT ON CONSERVATION. WE HAVE OVER 643 DIFFERENT CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS WHO HAVE COME TOGETHER TO SUPPORT OUR APPROACH. 125 DIFFERENT AGRICULTURAL AND HUNGER GROUPS AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT SAY YES TO THIS BILL, AND WE ARE ANXIOUS TO GET IT DONE. AND SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST SAY AS WE CONCLUDE A VERY BUSY WEEK, AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT IT HAS BEEN A VERY PRODUCTIVE WEEK, WE BEGAN A PROCESS, WE HAVE HAD SOME VOTES, WE HAVE HAD A NUMBER OF FOLKS COME TOGETHER. I WANT TO THANK PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE FOR THEIR WILLINGNESS TO WORK WITH THIS AS WE MOVE FORWARD ON OUR PATH TO COMPLETION OF THIS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT FIVE-YEAR BILL, AND I WANT TO INDICATE TO EVERYONE THAT WE WILL LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY NEXT WEEK TO PRESENT SOMETHING TO THE BODY. SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I WOULD SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:48:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 05:48:21 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:04:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA.

  • 06:04:31 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 06:04:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:04:36 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES EACH.

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  • 06:04:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:04:50 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:04:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:05:00 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:05:48 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF H. CON.…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF H. CON. RES. 128.

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  • 06:05:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 06:06:01 PM

    THE CLERK

    USE OF EMANCIPATION HALL IN THE CAPITOL VISITORS' CENTER TO ALLOWED A GOLD…

    USE OF EMANCIPATION HALL IN THE CAPITOL VISITORS' CENTER TO ALLOWED A GOLD MEDAL COLLECTIVELY TO THE MONTFORD POINT MARINES.

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  • 06:06:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 06:06:16 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION BE GROOD AGREED TO, THE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION BE GROOD AGREED TO, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE AND ANY STATEMENTS BE PLACED IN THE RECORD IN THE APPROPRIATE PLACE AS IF READ.

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  • 06:06:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:06:33 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:07:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:07:03 PM

    MR. FRANKEN

    TO WORK ON AN AGREEMENT ON AMENDMENTS TO THE FARM BILL. WE HOPE SUCH AN…

    TO WORK ON AN AGREEMENT ON AMENDMENTS TO THE FARM BILL. WE HOPE SUCH AN AGREEMENT CAN BE REACHED AT 5:30 MONDAY THERE WILL BE A ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE CONFIRMATION OF THE LEWIS NOMINATION. IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE I ASK THAT IT ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 06:07:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL STAND ADJOURNED UNTIL MONDAY, JUNE 18 AT

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

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)