2:26 PM EST

Judd Gregg, R-NH

Mr. GREGG. Mr. President, I rise today to take on a cause which I know is close to the hearts of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, which is to assert the privilege of pay-go. I have heard innumerable arguments made on the other side of the aisle about the importance of the pay-go mechanisms in this Congress: how pay-go will be used to discipline our spending as a Congress and how pay-go is the way we get to financial and fiscal responsibility as a Congress. In fact, 2 weeks ago, I

believe it was, the majority leader came to the floor and offered a brandnew pay-go resolution as a matter of statute and said that this is one of the key pillars of the majority party and the President in the area of how you discipline spending and bring our spending house in order. The President has mentioned pay-go on numerous occasions also.

Why all this talk about pay-go? Because I think people are beginning to realize--certainly our constituents--that the government is spending too much money; that we are running up too much debt; that we are passing bill after bill after bill in this Congress which we are not paying for. The cost of those bills is going to our children. We are going to double the Federal debt here in 2013. We are going to triple the Federal debt in 2019 under the President's budget and the budget [Page:

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passed by the Democratic leadership in this Congress. The Federal debt increases by $11 trillion over the next 9 years of this budget that is being proposed by the President--$11 trillion. We get to a point where our Nation is basically spending so much and borrowing so much that our financial house is unsustainable.

Those are not my words. Those are the words actually of the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of OMB. They both said their own budget that they sent up here was unsustainable in its present form because it spends so much more money than we have, and those bills get passed right on to our kids.

Well, in defense of their sending up a budget that spends all of this money we don't have and doubles the debt in 2013 and triples it in 2019, they said they were going to assert pay-go rules which would discipline this Senate on the issue of spending. At the time they made that assertion I said, Oh, come on, give us a break. Over the last 3 years that this Congress has been under Democratic control, under liberal control, in over 20 instances, pay-go as it presently exists in the law was waived,

costing over $ 1/2 trillion in new spending. Approximately $ 1/2 trillion that should have been subject to pay-go rules was waived--simply waived--by the other side of the aisle: We are not going to pay attention to pay-go rules, we are going to spend the money and add the debt to our children's backs.

I think the American people notice this and are certainly frustrated about this, because they intuitively understand--it is called common sense--if you spend all of this money you don't have, the debt is going to come back to roost on our children's backs and it reduces their quality of life. Obviously, if you have a government that runs up deficits which exceed the capacity of our ability to repay them, it is our children who end up paying the cost of that profligate spending. It is our children

who end up with these bills. Their standard of living will be reduced as a result of all of this new deficit and debt this Congress has passed and which this Congress has proposed.

So for political cover, they called up a couple of weeks ago this pay-go resolution and said we are going to assert pay-go around here on everything that comes through this Congress. We are going to make sure the financial house of this Congress is disciplined by the rule of pay-go.

Well, that is why I want to help them, because here is a new bill on the floor of the Senate.

It violates pay-go. It violates their own rules. It violates this great sanctity that they claim was going to be the cause of fiscal discipline--the pay-go rule. Just a few weeks ago, we passed a pay-go resolution here. What did we get? Within 2 weeks, we have a bill that violates the pay-go rules.

The pay-go rules, as we have them--and they are the law, the rule of the Senate today--say that pay-go will apply for any legislation that increases the deficit in the first 5-year period or in the first 10-year period. This bill has been scored by CBO as violating that rule. It increases the deficit by $12 billion, unpaid for, in the first 5-year period. This bill is, therefore, subject to a pay-go point of order.

We are going to hear a specious argument from the other side of the aisle that, well, in the year 2020 we account for all this and we get the money back. Well, I don't believe that. I don't believe the check is in the mail either. The American people don't believe that. More importantly, the rules of the Senate don't allow that. The rules of the Senate make it very clear that if it adds to the deficit in the first 5 years, it is subject to a pay-go point of order. And this is not a small amount

here; $12 billion is a lot of money. I know that under the way we function here, and we talk about trillions--and the President rolled out just yesterday a new $100 billion or $200 billion package of health care, added to a $2.4 trillion package of health care--I know that billions become lost sometimes in that debate. But $1

billion is a lot of money, and this is $12 billion added to our children's backs in the way of deficit and debt. Most Americans see that as a lot of money. You could run the entire State government of New Hampshire for about 3 years on that. Yet we are going to run up the deficit by $12 billion, in violation of our own rules.

There is something even more outrageous about this bill. It is pretty outrageous that we would have all the sanctimonious discussion from the other side of the aisle about how they are going to live by pay-go 2 weeks ago and then have the first bill they bring forth violate the rules of pay-go. That is pretty outrageous in and of itself. But this bill, in an act of gamesmanship that really deserves a special award--maybe a gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics for gamesmanship in fiscal policy

and how you basically pass on to your children a major new debt without telling them it is coming--certainly this bill would deserve a gold medal in that category.

On top of the pay-go violation, this bill creates $140 billion of deficit and debt. Now, even on the other side of the aisle, that has to be considered a lot of money. Maybe they don't consider $12 billion a lot of money, but $140 billion has to be big money. So $140 billion of deficit and debt is built into this bill even though the bill, on its face, states that it only spends $12 billion or $15 billion, something like that. How do they do that? How could that possibly be? Because what they

have done here--and as I said, this deserves a gold medal for manipulating the financial house of the Senate and the Congress in a way that is avoiding actual accountability for the debt you are adding onto our children's shoulders--is they have put into the baseline the highway money. So the billions in highway money for this year in this bill, multiplied out over 10 years, comes to $140 billion, and then they have claimed that is all offset, all that money is offset. How do they claim it is

offset? Well, it is tactical, but follow this because it is the ultimate game in double bookkeeping--something Al Capone might have done were he running the books of the Senate. There is a highway trust fund that doesn't have enough money to pay for the roads they want to build--the highway committee in this Congress, the EPW Committee. They want to build more roads than the trust fund has money coming in for, so they take money from the general fund and transfer it to the highway trust fund.

They allege that 10 years ago or so, the highway trust fund lent money to the general fund and no interest was paid on that money lent to the general fund. First off, at the time they passed the law that said no interest was to be paid on it--but it would be ridiculous to pay interest between the two funds anyway--even if you accepted that argument, you couldn't get to the numbers they are talking about. What they have done is claimed that any money that comes out of the general fund to fund

the highway fund is an offset. That is an interesting concept. Therefore, it doesn't get scored against the deficit by the highway fund.

Where do we get the money we took from the general fund to fund the highway fund? The answer is pretty simple: We borrow it from China, from Saudi Arabia, from Americans, and our kids get a bill called a piece of debt that they have to pay off. This double-entry bookkeeping, in the tradition of Al Capone basically, when simplified, means that it adds $140 billion of new deficit and debt to the general fund, which has to be paid by our kids--not offset, unpaid for, simply money spent.

Do you know something. We are spending a lot of money around here that we don't have, and it is not right. I think the American people would like us to stop that. If we are going to spend this money on roads, then let's pay for it. Don't hide the fact that you are not paying for this with some gamesmanship called offsetting highway fund with general fund money. I think that is a pretty cynical act. If you don't have the courage to stand before this Congress and say publicly that we want to spend

$140 billion and don't want to pay for it, then you are not fulfilling your responsibility to your constituents, because that is what you are doing. You have an obligation not to try to hide what you are doing in some sort of bookkeeping manipulation, which gets you a gold medal for bookkeeping manipulation but certainly doesn't do anything for transparency and honesty in government, on top of having a pay-go violation--$12 billion as scored by CBO.

This point of order lies. There is $140 billion of new spending proposed in this bill, which isn't paid for. It is spending [Page: S685]

that isn't paid for, and it is authorized and going to be spent. That is pretty inexcusable because it is claimed that it is paid for, which is the real hypocrisy of what we are seeing.

My colleagues on the other side may vote against this point of order. I cannot understand how they can do that, and I cannot understand how, when the majority leader comes down here--and I am sure he will or one of his representatives will--and says pay-go should not lie here because in 2020 we are going to pay for all this, that they can claim anything other than the fact that a pay-go point of order lies. I mean, it does lie.

What is a pay-go point of order? It is the CBO telling us that we have violated our own rules, called pay-go, and we are spending money that goes to the deficit--in this case, $12 billion.

So as a very practical matter this is a pretty black-and-white situation: either you are for enforcing fiscal discipline here with a pay-go point of order or you are not. I have to say, if this pay-go point of order fails, then I think we ought to follow it up with a unanimous consent that says we are going to rid ourselves of pay-go as an enforcement mechanism because we are then saying it doesn't mean anything. Clearly, that would be the only conclusion you could reach.

A pay-go point of order makes it clear: There is $12 billion of deficit spending in the first 5-year window, which violates the pay-go rules set up by this Senate and specifically proposed and promoted by the Democratic majority as a way to give us fiscal discipline, and we are ignoring it, overruling it, and we are bypassing it with this piece of legislation if we do waive the pay-go rule.

At this point, I make a point of order that the pending amendment offered by the Senator from Nevada, Mr. Reid, would increase the on-budget deficit for the sum of years 2010 to 2014. Therefore, I raise a point of order against the amendment pursuant to section 201(a) of S. Con. Res. 21, Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2008.

2:42 PM EST

Ben Cardin, D-MD

Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that my waiver of the relevant point of order that was recently entered into include all relevant points of order that were raised.

2:43 PM EST

Ben Cardin, D-MD

Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on the Judiciary be authorized to meet during the session of the Senate, on February 23, 2010, at 10 a.m., in room SD-226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, to conduct a hearing entitled ``Are Foreign Libel Lawsuits Chilling Americans' First Amendment Rights?''

2:43 PM EST

Ben Cardin, D-MD

Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise today on the occasion of Black History Month to recognize the accomplishments of three leading Marylanders in American medicine. Established by Howard University historian Carter G. Woodson in 1927 as Black History Week, this now month-long celebration is an opportunity to elevate awareness of Black Americans' contributions to our Nation's history.

It is customary for American families to spend time in February learning more about famous Black Americans who helped shape our Nation, including Marylanders Harriet Ross Tubman, the ``Moses of her people,'' who ran the Underground Railroad, and Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice and the architect of the legal strategy leading to the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Today, I come to the Senate floor to highlight the contributions of three Marylanders who are currently at the pinnacle of the medical profession--Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Eve Higginbotham, and Dr. Donald Wilson.

I have spoken before on the crushing burden of health disparities on our health care system and the urgent need to eliminate them. It is an issue directly affecting one out of every three Americans: 37 million African Americans, 45 million Latinos, 13 million Asians, 2.3 million Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, and 400,000 Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in our Nation. While minorities represent one-third of our Nation's population, they are fully one-half of the uninsured. So when we enact

legislation that expands access to millions of uninsured Americans, it will make a difference in minority communities, in minority health overall, and in the health of our Nation.

But providing access to comprehensive health insurance addresses only one of the factors contributing to health disparities. Research informs us that even after accounting for those who lack health insurance, minority racial and ethnic groups face inequities in access and treatment; and they have adverse health care outcomes at higher rates than whites. Even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable, racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive lower quality

health care.

Therefore, coverage is not enough.

Despite many attempts over the years by health policymakers, providers, researchers, and others, wide disparities still persist in many facets of health care. When it comes to equitable care for minorities, low-income, geographic, cultural and language barriers, and racial bias are found to be common obstacles. These inequities carry a high cost in terms of life expectancy, quality of life, and efficiency, and they cost our Nation billions of dollars each year.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland found that between 2003 and 2006, racial and ethnic disparities cost the Nation more than $229 billion in excess direct medical costs. Adding indirect costs reveals a staggering $1.24 trillion from lost wages and premature and preventable deaths and disabilities. By elevating the focus on health disparities, we can bring down these costs and improve the quality of care across the board.

If we are to improve the health care status of Americans, we must focus on and eliminate these disparities. One step is ensuring every community has a sufficient supply of well-trained medical professionals, and this is where our Nation's academic medical centers play an essential role. All three physicians--Drs. Carson, Higginbotham, and Wilson--shine as leaders in their medical profession and have devoted their careers to academic medicine.

First is Dr. Benjamin Carson, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who works daily to save and improve the lives of children as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Carson's story is truly inspiring. He was born and raised in Detroit by a mother who encouraged Ben and his brother to work hard and succeed in school. Dr. Carson graduated high school with honors and was admitted to Yale University to study psychology. He attended the University of Michigan Medical School,

specializing in neurosurgery. Dr. Carson completed neurosurgery residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where at age 33 he became the youngest physician ever to head a major division there. Dr. Carson has surgically separated several pairs of conjoined twins and has pioneered new, groundbreaking procedures to save children's lives.

Most notable among Dr. Carson's numerous accolades and honors is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civilian award, which he received in 2008. In addition to his surgical acumen, Dr. Carson is a dedicated community activist. He is president and cofounder of the Carson Scholars Fund which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. He is also president and cofounder of the Benevolent Endowment Network Fund, an organization

that works to cover the medical expenses of pediatric neurosurgery patients with complex medical conditions.

Second, I wish to recognize Dr. Eve Higginbotham, an internationally recognized physician who was recently appointed senior vice president and executive dean for health services at Howard University. Dr. Higginbotham is [Page: S686]

the first woman to chair a university-based ophthalmology department in the United States, and she held this position at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore from 1994 to 2006. Her next appointment was dean and senior

vice president for academic affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Dr. Higginbotham is a frontline warrior in the fight to eliminate health disparities. As a member of the Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation, she developed a glaucoma screening training program that has been implemented in more than 40 medical schools nationwide. Through this program, medical students provide glaucoma screening to elderly residents in underserved communities, making possible early detection and treatment for the leading cause of blindness among African Americans.

Dr. Higginbotham was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served on the boards of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Women in Ophthalmology, and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. She is also a past president of the Baltimore City Medical Society and the Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.

Finally, I wish to recognize Dr. Donald Wilson, who was Dr. Higginbotham's immediate predecessor at Howard University. Dr. Wilson served as dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine from 1991 to 2006. The University of Maryland's medical research funding increased nearly fivefold, from $77 million to $341 million during Dr. Wilson's leadership. His tenure at Maryland distinguished him as the Nation's first African-American dean of a nonminority medical school. While at the University

of Maryland, Dr. Wilson also served as the director of the Program in Minority Health and Health Disparities Education and Research.

Dr. Wilson has also chaired Federal health committees at the NIH and the FDA, as well as serving on the advisory council of HHS's Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. He was chairman of both the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council of Deans of U.S. Medical Schools. And he was the first African American to hold each of these positions. He is a member of several medical and research societies, including the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and

the Association of American Physicians. He is a master of the American College of Physicians, an honor bestowed on fewer than 1 percent of its members. Dr. Wilson also cofounded the Association for Academic Minority Physicians in 1986.

Numerous honors and awards have been bestowed upon Dr. Wilson, including the Baltimore Urban League's Whitney M. Young, Jr., Humanitarian Award. In 2003, he received the prestigious Frederick Douglass Award from the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. Dr. Wilson is also the recipient of the Institutional Leadership Diversity Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Student Affairs-Minority Affairs Section.

Drs. Carson, Higginbotham, and Wilson are three living reasons why we celebrate Black History Month. Their contributions have made invaluable contributions to American medicine, but they are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of African Americans who have made a noteworthy impact upon our Nation.

I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing the contributions of these three noteworthy physicians as this body seeks to make health care available to everyone, and join me in celebrating their accomplishments during Black History Month.

Mr. President, to clarify, my intention on my previous motion to waive was to waive the Budget Act and budget resolutions with respect to the motion to concur with an amendment and that the yeas and nays previously ordered be considered as ordered on the motion as modified. I ask unanimous consent for this request.

2:55 PM EST

Chuck Schumer, D-NY

Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about two issues. First, the jobs bill and the provision that Senator Hatch and I worked on that helped break the partisan logjam, and also the need for the Senate to take up and pass up to $25 billion in FMAP assistance to the States. First, the jobs portion.

During our break, I traveled all around my State from Cheektowaga to Oswego, from Syracuse to Poughkeepsie, from Long Island to New York City. In each place, I talked with people who had lost their jobs. It was heartbreaking. These are people who are looking desperately to find work.

One of the sadder points of this recession is, of course, its depth. It is deeper than all but one recession we have had since World War II. But, second, it seems to affect people at all income levels. If you are poor, if you are middle class, even if you are upper middle class, you can lose your job. Perhaps most painful of all, the amount of time that people are out of work is much longer than previous recessions. In other words, in previous recessions, you would lose your job, it would be

horrible,

but you would say to yourself: In 3 or 4 months, I can find a new job quite easily. That has not happened.

In fact, I met people such as a woman in Rochester who worked for a major firm in human resources. She is about 50. She does not have a family, but her job was her life. She was told she had to leave a year and a half ago. She has been looking and looking. Her salary was in the low six figures. She was a very talented person upon meeting her. No work. No job.

I met somebody who came from a blue-collar background. The family had no education. He climbed his way to the top of the tool-and-die industry. He was making a good living. He has six children and a wife who stayed home because when you have six kids, it is not easy to work. He was laid off about a year ago. Again, he has been looking and looking, first with his high skills in his industry, and then he kept looking lower and lower and lower on the pay scale, to no avail. No job. I could repeat

this story over and over.

I can see why the people of Massachusetts voted the way they did. I did not agree with it, but I understand it. In my judgment, what they were saying was simple. If you look at the exit polls, about 50 percent of the people in Massachusetts supported the President's health care bill and an equal number against it. But, overwhelmingly, they were saying to us, whether they were for the bill or against it, focus on issue No. 1, jobs--jobs, the economy, helping the middle class stretch that paycheck

so they can make ends meet.

That is why I think Senator Reid, our majority leader, was so wise to put together the bill he did, the HIRE Act. That is why he reached out to those across the aisle, as did I. That is why I am pleased this vital legislation--hardly a panacea; it is not going to cure all our problems--looks as though it will move forward late this afternoon or this evening.

I am very proud--we are all proud--that we have bipartisan support. I believe the vote later on will be even more bipartisan than the vote to move forward on the bill yesterday. Bipartisan victories such as this have been few and far between. But this could be the start of something good. I hope the bipartisanship will not end with this afternoon's vote.

Unemployment, of course, is not simply a blue State problem or a red State problem; it is an everywhere problem. It will take more than one party's solutions to solve it. So if there is only one issue that we can find common ground on this year, let it be jobs.

We all know unemployment, which is hovering just below 10 percent, is unacceptably high. When you hear the number 10 percent, it is an abstract figure. But if you are a husband or wife, a son or daughter who is out of work, or one in your family is out of work, unemployment is 100 percent. [Page: S687]

As the economy shows signs of life, unfortunately millions of Americans remain out of work, struggling to make ends meet with savings and unemployment benefits. There are more than 15 million unemployed Americans. That is not even counting those who have stopped looking for work. There are more than 6 million people who have been out of work for 6 or more months. Each one has a story, a life, usually a family, such as the woman from Rochester I mentioned.

When I go to sleep at night, I sometimes think of the people I talked with last week while we were on break and about their pain at losing their job and their quest to find a new one.

Unfortunately, despite their efforts, most of them have not found work.

This recession is unlike anything we have seen since the 1930s. It has created immeasurable hardship and heartache for tens of millions of American families. It doesn't matter if you are in a red State or a blue State. If you are unemployed, you want a job.

Last year, Congress took bold steps to bring our economy back from the brink of collapse, and GDP growth in the last quarter was as high as 5.7 percent. The purpose of the provision Senator Hatch and I have introduced is to take that growth and translate it into jobs because while the economy grew at a very rapid clip--5.7 percent--hardly a job was created. That is a problem because we cannot continue to grow at that rate unless people start going back to work. Until the unemployment

rate drops significantly, Congress must do more to help families across the country who are desperately struggling to find work, and this bill is a step in the right direction.

Last year, I believe Congress was right not to add a jobs tax credit to the stimulus package. Economists told us that with the economy shrinking and losing 700,000 jobs a month when the President took office, our focus had to be on stimulating demand. But now that the economy is beginning to grow--at the very worst is flat--a tax credit is what is needed because there are companies that have seen sales blip up and they are wondering whether to hire that additional worker. The Schumer-Hatch tax

credit may push them over the edge and they may say: OK, I will hire somebody. Then, instead of the vicious cycle of downward employment we have seen, a virtuous cycle will begin. That company will hire a worker, that worker will go to the stores and buy things, those stores may hire another worker and more money circulates in the economy and we start moving upward as opposed to downward.

After reviewing the criticisms of past tax credit proposals, Senator Hatch and I set out to develop an idea that would address some of the past concerns while honing in on the problem we are trying to solve, which is persistently high and long-term unemployment. I felt we needed a solution that was simple, immediate, focused, fiscally responsible, and potentially bipartisan. That is what our proposal does.

Let me talk about each word. It is simple. Small business, we know, is the job growth engine in America. But if you tell a small businessperson they have to fill out 40 pages or even hire an accountant before they get a tax credit, they are going to say: Forget about it. But this is immediate. Again, if you tell a small businessperson: Yes, you will get a tax credit, but it will be a year from April when your tax returns come in, they are not going to do it.

Our proposal is immediate. The minute the worker is hired, the benefit begins. As I said, it is simple: All the employer must do is show that the person they are hiring has been unemployed for 60 days--and that is easy to do because they can show 60 days of unemployment benefits--and that is that.

Third, our program is fiscally responsible. It is not a big, huge bureaucracy. It is not a new government agency. The money goes directly to the small business that makes the new hire, and that is why it has bang for the buck. It is estimated that if 3 million people were hired by this credit, it would cost about $15 billion. Mr. President, $15 billion sounds like a lot of money, but compared to the stimulus--again, for a different purpose a year ago when the economy was collapsing--the cost

of ours is about one-sixtieth, and dollar for dollar it will be focused on jobs.

So it meets all these criteria. It will focus like a laser on the unemployed and will create jobs right away at a reasonable cost. In this day when communication is so important, it can be explained in a single sentence. Any private sector employer that hires a worker who has been unemployed for 60 days will not have to pay payroll taxes on that worker for the rest of the year. That is it. Nothing else. It explains the whole program from start to finish. By the way, if the employer keeps that

worker for at least a year, they will receive an additional $1,000 tax credit.

Our plan is good for business and good for workers. The more a business pays a worker, the bigger benefit they get. Many of the previous programs were aimed, understandably, at workers at the lower income level. But these days, when you have people in our State who make $60,000, $80,000, $100,000 or $120,000 a year and who can't find work, they will benefit by the same percentage as somebody at the lower end of the spectrum. The sooner the employer hires, the bigger the break because it lasts

this year. The employer doesn't pay taxes and the benefits go immediately into the business's cashflow. Unlike other proposals, there is no waiting to receive a tax credit. The employer doesn't pay the taxes to the government in the first place.

Obviously, employers decide to hire workers when it makes business sense. If your sales are declining, no tax incentive is going to encourage you to hire somebody. But we are now finding--at this stage of this Nation's incipient and all-too-small recovery--that many businesses, large and small, are finding orders are beginning to rise, sales beginning to increase. It is those businesses that our tax credit is aimed at. This proposal may give them the push they need to add a few workers or hire

them a few months sooner than they otherwise might. Either would be a good thing.

I don't wish to delude my colleagues, and I know Senator Hatch, the coauthor of this proposal, would agree, that this provision is not a panacea. There are other proposals Congress could, should, and must consider to aid job creation, but I look forward to considering those ideas in the weeks to come. In the meantime, we ought to take advantage of the bipartisan camaraderie, which I hope lasts, and move this proposal forward.

I wish to thank a number of people who helped. At the top of the list is Chairman Baucus. When Senator Hatch and I--both members of his committee, the Finance Committee--brought him the proposal, he thought it was a good idea and helped champion it. I wish to thank Leader Reid, who jumped right at the opportunity to pass the proposal. I wish to recognize Senator Casey and Senator Gillibrand, my colleague, for the hard work they put into an alternative

tax credit idea, which could end up complementing, not replacing, our idea. Finally, last but certainly not least, I wish to thank my colleague, Senator Hatch, as well as Senator Grassley, who worked with us on this proposal to refine it and make it possible to pass, which I believe we will do shortly.

I wish to turn the subject to another pressing issue; that is, the pressing issue of State fiscal relief. While our top priority is putting unemployed Americans back to work, nothing we do on job creation will be truly effective unless we also stop the bleeding caused by State and local budget cuts across the Nation. We cannot, with one hand, incentivize private sector employment while, on the other hand, through inaction, force State and local governments to lay off thousands of firefighters,

teachers, health care providers, and other public servants.

Right now, States face the steepest ever dropoff in revenues. My State of New York and so many of the localities I have visited--from large major cities such as New York City and Buffalo, to the smaller towns and villages--are desperate for help. If they do not receive it, they are going to have to lay off thousands and thousands of workers. In the city of New York, they are talking about laying off teachers. That is hurting our seed corn. The number of police officers, at a time of crime and

terrorist threats, is declining. That hurts our economy as well as our localities.

New York is not alone. From California to Arizona, to Alabama, to [Page: S688]

Maine, and to Mississippi, State Governors have laid out proposals that will unfortunately eliminate jobs and cut critical services in the coming months. In fact, it is estimated, if there is no help, State and local governments will have to lay off 1 million workers--

something we can ill afford at a time of this incipient recovery. The cuts couldn't come at a worse time for our fledgling economy. States will be forced to make massive layoffs and they will be cornered into raising taxes on hard-working, middle-class Americans at a time when families can't afford to take another hit and at a time when taking money out of the economy makes no sense at all. It oftentimes makes no sense but now more particularly.

Last week, the Nation's Governors nearly unanimously endorsed a 6-month emergency extension of FMAP, the Federal Medicaid Assistance Program, which would send up to $25 billion to the States. They know firsthand that job losses in their States would have been much more severe were it not for the significant relief Congress provided for them in last year's stimulus package, particularly through the FMAP program. I know our economy is growing, but out in the States it sure doesn't feel like a recovery

yet. Cutting off this assistance now, as the stimulus expires, would be like pulling the rug from under the States just as they are maybe beginning to turn the corner.

I was an ardent supporter of the Recovery Act's FMAP aid because, plain and simple, it saves jobs, and I argued for it then. I am especially proud to have authored a provision that ensured a stream of funding that went directly to county governments. In my State, the Medicaid burden, much of it--too much of it--falls on localities. If we were just to give Albany the money--not just the Albany share but the county share--the counties and New York City might never see that money ever again. So

I was able to--with the help of Leader Reid and Chairman Baucus--write a provision into law that said the locality gets its share directly, and I am urging the Senate to include this language in a new emergency extension as well.

We cannot afford to delay any longer. This economic downturn didn't come with an end-of-the-year deadline. This critical aid to States shouldn't either. So I hope that in the next jobs bill we pass FMAP is a vital part, and I hope, just as with the provision Senator Hatch and I put together, it will get broad bipartisan support. I believe an overwhelming majority of Governors--Democratic and Republican--have already signed a letter urging that that happen, and I hope we will get people

from both sides of the aisle to make sure the next jobs bill contains a healthy and robust FMAP extension. The House has already passed it. It is up to us.

We have much yet to do on the job front, but our efforts will be undermined if our Nation's Governors are forced to lay off workers and raise property taxes. We need to plug the holes in the dam so our recovery efforts are not washed away. We need to put this great Nation back on a path to prosperity by passing the tax credit Senator Hatch and I have offered and then by moving forward and making sure FMAP is extended for at least another 6 months.

Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

6:15 PM EST

Bob Casey Jr., D-PA

Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, the Vice President said that recent years have seen a slow but steady decline in support for our nuclear stockpile and infrastructure and for our highly trained nuclear workforce. The four national security statesmen I previously referred to agree. In January, all four of these experts wrote:

These investments are urgently needed to undo the adverse consequences of deep reductions over the past 5 years in the laboratories' budgets for the science, technology and engineering programs that support and underwrite the Nation's nuclear deterrent.

We know that JASON, an independent defense advisory group of senior scientists, has also echoed these same concerns in a recent study. The JASON group found that the lifetimes of today's warheads could be extended for decades. That was the good news. While the weapons are in good shape, JASON is concerned that maintenance of the stockpile relies on the ``renewal of expertise and capabilities in science, technology, engineering, and production unique to the nuclear weapons program'' and that this

expertise was ``threatened by lack of program stability, perceived lack of mission importance, and degradation of the work environment.''

The Obama administration's budget request reflects these concerns. The fiscal year 2011 budget request devotes $7 billion to maintaining our nuclear weapons stockpile and complex and for related efforts. Delivering on promises made in Prague and elsewhere, this administration has demonstrated a clear commitment to a nuclear nonproliferation strategy that is an integral part of our security and that of our allies.

As Under Secretary of State for Arms Control in International Security, Ellen Tauscher, a former Member of the House, said recently:

Nuclear disarmament is not the Holy Grail. As long as we see the rise of nuclear weapons in other countries, we will maintain deterrence that is second to none.

This approach by Ellen Tauscher is smart, strategic, and measured, and it puts American security first.

As I stand in support of full funding for the administration's nuclear weapons stockpile and complex request, I believe it is very important that we stand together--all of us, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Key dimensions of our nuclear stockpile are the nuclear labs and resident scientific expertise. We need to be able to continue to recruit the most highly qualified and motivated experts tasked with stockpile maintenance. Our three National Laboratories--Lawrence Livermore in California, Los Alamos in New Mexico, and Sandia in New Mexico and California--are staffed by gifted public servants who have established methods for verifying the safety, security, and reliability of our stockpile. This

budget presented by the administration will help to ensure that the most talented scientists continue to be attracted to our labs and that these labs continue to be state of the art.

The administration's 2011 budget request also bolsters the case for eventual ratification of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty. A full investment in our nuclear weapons infrastructure will mean the United States can continue to maintain its nuclear weapons infrastructure without testing. We have not tested a nuclear weapon since 1992 because we now have the technical means to ensure the reliability and safety of our stockpile without testing.

This is an issue of national security and preventing nuclear terrorism. By working to diminish access to fissile material, by working to ensure Russia and the United States decrease nuclear stockpiles, and by promoting a ban on nuclear testing and by ensuring our nuclear arsenal is safe and secure--all of these measures, as well as others--will help to create an international environment where a terrorist's access to fissile material is diminished.

I should mention as well the work of Senator Lugar. Senator Lugar has been a remarkable leader in regard to promoting the Nunn-Lugar program all these years. I agree with Senator Lugar's efforts to secure more funding as the mandate of the program is expanded without commensurate resources. Senator Lugar reports that the program ``has eliminated more nuclear weapons than the combined nuclear arsenals of France, China, and the United Kingdom for less than $3

billion--a striking return on investment.'' I have to agree that is a striking return, indeed.

Finally, I also express support for the administration's requested increase in funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency, which we all know by the acronym IAEA. For too the long, the IAEA's technical assistance and cooperation programs have been underfunded. International nonproliferation efforts face an uncertain future. Iran and North Korea are our primary concerns, but potential nuclear flashpoints remain between India and Pakistan, and the security of fissile material, while improving,

remains a vital concern. In order for the IAEA to be best positioned to confront proliferation efforts in North Korea and Iran, as well as monitor the peaceful nuclear energy programs in countries around the world, its budget needs to reflect this growing portfolio. U.S. leadership in nonproliferation is essential. A fully funded IAEA will complement U.S. efforts to combat proliferation at this critical time.

These investments in our national security are substantial, but there is no greater threat than that of nuclear terrorism. We must remain vigilant in doing everything we can to ensure terrorists do not get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. The nonproliferation measures mentioned above all help to address this threat.

To keep America safe, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents must work together--let me say that again--must work together to promote nonproliferation and confront nuclear terror by ensuring that our existing nuclear arsenal is safe, secure, and effective.

Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

6:40 PM EST

John Ensign, R-NV

Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, in a moment, I will ask unanimous consent to be able to offer an amendment, but [Page: S692]

first I wish to talk about that amendment because I understand the other side is going to object.

Currently, there are seven States that collect no income tax from their residents. Those States are my home the State of Nevada, Florida, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Under current Federal tax law, in all the States that have an income tax, individuals are allowed to deduct those income taxes from their Federal tax form. Your property taxes can also be deducted. Even when you register your car and pay your registration fee on your car, you are allowed to deduct that because that is a local tax. The tax that you are not allowed to deduct, if we don't extend current law, will be the sales tax.

My State relies more on a sales tax for its revenue sources. That is what it decided to do. Other States have chosen to set their taxes up differently. But States have the flexibility to set up their taxes in the way they feel is best for their residents. My State actually has a constitutional amendment against collecting a State income tax from its residents.

Nevadans don't want a State income tax, but they want to be treated fairly. So a few years ago, we passed a law so that Nevada and these six other States would be treated fairly; so that residents would have the option of deducting a sales tax or an income tax. It is just a matter of fairness, but it also allows people to keep more of their own income. At the end of last year, the deductibility for the sales tax expired, and I would like to be able to offer an amendment to extend it in this jobs

bill.

I believe if people have more of their own money--money they can count on--they will make good decisions, and they will actually go out and spend some of that money. I believe this would actually be a good measure to put in the jobs bill. It was in the original bipartisan bill that Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Grassley came up with and introduced. So I am hoping the other side will not object, although I understand they are going to.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that it be in order to offer an amendment to allow for the deduction of State and local sales tax.

6:43 PM EST

John Ensign, R-NV

Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I knew that was going to happen because the majority party has decided to allow no amendments on this bill, which is a shame. It is the reason I voted against cloture on the bill yesterday, because I think it is only fair that we get to offer amendments on such an important and expensive bill. This is one of the amendments that I think should be allowed.

We will be making other efforts during the year to get the sales tax deductibility enacted into law because it is a question of fairness for these seven States. I know the Senators from those seven States join me in fighting for this. We fought together before, and we are going to continue to fight to try to make sure this deductibility, as a matter of fairness for our citizens, is maintained in Federal law.

I yield the floor.

7:13 PM EST

Harry Reid, D-NV

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate convenes Wednesday, February 24, all postcloture time be considered expired, except for any time available until 9:55 a.m., and that at 9:55 a.m. the Senate proceed to vote on a motion to waive the applicable budget points of order; further, that if the points of order are waived, without further intervening action, the second-degree amendment be withdrawn and no further amendments be in order; the Senate then proceed to vote

on the Reid motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2847, with amendment No. 3310; provided further that upon disposition of the House message with respect to H.R. 2847, the Senate proceed to a period of morning business, with Senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each.

7:14 PM EST

Harry Reid, D-NV

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate convenes Wednesday, February 24, all postcloture time be considered expired, except for any time available until 9:55 a.m., and that at 9:55 a.m. the Senate proceed to vote on a motion to waive the applicable budget points of order; further, that if the points of order are waived, without further intervening action, the second-degree amendment be withdrawn and no further amendments be in order; the Senate then proceed to vote

on the Reid motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2847, with amendment No. 3310; provided further that upon disposition of the House message with respect to H.R. 2847, the Senate proceed to a period of morning business, with Senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each.