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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 14, 2010 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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problem that we service all of the law-enforcement equities that we have and do with the very real problem, the real concern to identify, especially in the last statement you made. >> i appreciate that, general. i hope we have the opportunity to do that soon. >> the gentleman yield back his time and it gives me great pleasure again to yield to another distinguished new member of the committee. . .
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it's done on a case by case basis. we look at the state laws, and what the restrictions are, what the -- how the law is constructed, and then there are a number of factors in that me memo. that are guides. is marijuana being sold consistent with state law. are arms -- are people, are firearms somehow associated with the sale. there are a variety of factors that are contained within the memo that went out from the deputy attorney general, that united states attorneys and assistant united states attorneys are supposed to apply, supposed to consider with trying to make the determination about whether or not federal resources are going to be used to go after somebody, who is dealing in marijuana.
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>> i would certainly encourage that the questioner, whether or not it's consistent with state law, certainly be left to state enforcement actions. in particular, i brought to your concern in a letter of februar february 23, requesting a clarification of your policies regarding medical marijuana, with regard to several statements that were made by one of your agents in colorado, jeffrey sweeten, along the lines of as quoted in the paper, the time is. coulding when we go into a dispensary, we seize the building and arrest everybody. they're violating federal law, they're at risk of arrest and imprisonment, end quote. i would like to ask what steps you would take to make sure the spirit of the enforcement mechanisms that you outlined to me in the answer to your previous questions are not contradicted by the statements of agents that in fact then strike fear into legitimate businesses in the eyes of our states. >> well, it's incumbent upon me as attorney general to make sure
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that what we have set out as policy is being followed by all of the components within the department of justice and to the extent that somebody at the dea, somebody at some -- some assistant united states attorney is not following that policy. it is my responsibility to make sure that the policy is clear, that the policy is disseminated, and that people act in conformity with the policies that we have determined. >> do you believe, do you agree that statements that could be reasonably taken as threatening to businesses that are legal in our state are in fact contrary to your stated policy? >> well, again, if the entity is in fact operating with state law and does not have any of the factors involved that are contained in that deputy attorney general memo, and given again, the limited resources that we have in our determination to focus on major
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traffickers, that would be inconsistent with what the policy as we have set it out. >> moving on to immigration, i'm worried about denying immigrants access to federal judicial review, in light of the arizona law, when they will be dragged in to state courts in a fashion when the ultimate responsibility panned authority regarding immigration is supposed to be that of the federal government. are we worried about arizona courts effectively trying to enforce federal immigration laws? >> that's one of the primary concerns that we have. whether or not the impact of the arizona statute preempt or is -- whether it improperly interferes with what is ultimately a federal responsibility, whether or not federal law preempts the arizona statute. that is one of the things that we are looking at. >> and finally, there's a significant backlog in our immigration courts and i would like you to brief outline the
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steps that you're taking to restore fairness and efficiency to immigration courts, which have been identified by several studies as in need of major structural reforms, as well as additional financial resources. >> we really have been engaged this fiscal year and next fiscal year in hiring a very substantial number of immigration judges, which is one of the problems that we have. we'd simply need more people to process these cases. we have also engaged in i think, training to make sure that the people who serve as judges and who are part of the system are conducting themselves appropriately. we have a new chief judge, who i think is doing a good job in the training component and we're trying to make sure that he and the people in the system have all the tools that they need, so that our responsibility with regard to immigration is done in an appropriate way. >> thank you. and i yield back.
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>> the. >> has yielded back. general, i believe that we are bettebetter as a nation for hava u.s. department of justice and i think we are better as a nation to have a lawyer who represents the american people. i think it is important as i close to give you a few point that may still be somewhat unclear. one is an inquiry that i would appreciate if you would respond in writing within the parameters of that investigation, and that is of course regarding the harris county jail, which is located in harris county, texas. there's been an inquiry and a comment as to what federal fund under the doj could be helpful to local jurisdictions with jail overcrowding problems, impacting mental health issues, and the health and security of the
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incarcerated person, if i could have that in writing, i would appreciate it, but i would like it pursue, to be clear on the record, there are a lot of overlapping jurisdictions. i happen to be on homeland security and there are overlapping jurisdictions between the department of justice and homeland security, so let me just focus on what the administration is for and what it is against, what position it's taking. halls the administration, department of justice, taken any position to be against strong border security, both at the northern and southern border of the united states? >> no, not hat all. we understand that the primary responsibility for the -- for protecting our borders is a national responsibility, is one that this administration takes very seriously. it is one component that we think has to be taken seriously as part of the comprehensive view of immigration reform. >> and if this congress was to undertake what we call a comprehensive immigration reform on the issue of benefits, falls on the judiciary committee, does
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the administration hold that that reform is mutually exclusive to being strong in its position on securing the borders, both northern and southern border? >> no, i mean, i think, if one looks at the totality of this problem, there are a lot of moving pieces, but there's not necessarily tension between them. how we deal with people who are here and undocumented, the whole question of what benefits people have and should have, should not have. the maintenance of strong borders along our southern frontier, northern frontier i guess as well. those are all things that have to be a part of this solution, and the resolution of that big problem does not necessarily mean that there is a tension between the component parts. >> so fixing, for example, the opportunity for a child not born, but raised in the united states to attend college, for example, which is a problem
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plaguing a lot of nonstatus'd immigrants is not mutually exclusive, if that was to occur, if congress was to move from the administration's position on securing the borders? >> we can certainly secure the borders and then the whole question of how we deal with people who are here illegally and putting them on a pathway to citizenship, which is what we had talked about, which has been talked about i guess in previous congresses. i think these are all the kind of things that we need to discuss. >> following up on the arizona law and it is my understanding, and i think you've made it clear, but i think it's important, is there's nothing in your testimony to suggest that you would not read this bill, but presently, you have tasked your staff to do a thorough review of this legislation at this point. is that my understanding? >> yeah. i'm old enough now that i don't read things too far in advance and then forget them before i need to know them and i ultimately will -- believe me, the statute will be read, i will understand it, i will review all the reports, that the review
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team puts before me. i will meet with that review team and on the basis of all of that, we'll make an informed decision. >> we would not want the record to reflect that america's lawyer did not read either legislation we wrote or legislation that was relevant that was written by any state, but pursuing that question, i first focused on federal preemption and i think my colleagues have probed that sufficiently, but if you want to make that clear, that you understand what that means in terms of the assessment of a state law, but i want to raise in terms of the arizona law, the question of potential racial profiling and i say it in this sense. you don't have jurisdiction over the census, but there are reports suggesting that states -- there are still members of the larger body of states, albeit, they are unique states, california, new york, arizona, and texas, among others, have been impacted negatively by a lot of, should i say reflections on immigration
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in terms of a count. that truly impacts an authority embedded in the constitution, and certainly designates the department of commerce to count everybody, and it does not put qualifications on who gets counted. on the question of racial profiling, if your team is reviewing this, and if you read this law, and there is grounds for seeing that this broadly, without basis, racially profiles, i think one of our members indicated that you might be stopped for a traffic, that is a legal contact, you might have someone knock on your door trying to solicit funds for the local police department. i don't know if that's a legal contact or not, but if you find that there is a racial profile, which is under the jurisdiction of the justice department, for example, if you find that there is racial profiling going forward on pakistani americans, obviously, the pakistani americans or pakistanis have been in the news, i tell you
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that the community is frightened, what is the position of the department of justice on unfair racial proa filing within your jurisdiction? >> well, i think first and foremost, people have to understand that racial profiling is not good law enforcement. and we should understand that those who want to do this nation harm understand or are trying to make advantage of the possibility of racial profiling. what you see is turkey sire to come up with people -- their desire to come up with people who have what they call clean skins, people who do not fit profiles, people who do not come from certain countries, people who come from the united states, people who do not look like what you would expect a terrorist to look like. those are people they are trying to recruit and if we restrict ourselves to profiling, we will be handing a tool to those who seek to do this nation harm, and so that is certainly in that context, but racial profiling
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just more generally is never a good law enforcement. it has all kinds of crab rel negative -- collateral impacts that drive wedges between law enforcement and certain communities. there is no good basis. i have never seen a good basis for racial profiling. >> and as your staff reviews, in particular, the arizona law, i would imagine without predicting all that they review, that certainly is an element as you review the arizona law as it relates to the stopping and arresting individuals with surnames and our aspects of that law. >> well, i mean, i think we'll look at the law as it is written, look at the law as it is applied, potentially applied in trying to make our decision about whether or not we should take any action with regard to it. >> let me also -- thank you,. just to follow up and just to put into the record, some language that i've paraphrased, dealing with the clayton act, section 7.
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the act seeks to capture anti-competitive practices in their infancy, by prohibiting certain types of conduct, not deemed in the best interest of a competitive market. if there is ever a question of a competitive market, or one that we are attempting to have competitive, it is the aviation industry. as i read the law, and i'd like you to correct me if i'm incorrect, it seems as if submissions dealing with aviation mergers is presented to the doj, but there is notice given to the ftc, and if you would either correct that or suggest that it is, and if you would give the procedure, if that is the indicates, as to whether or not the ftc is in fact just notified and the doj takes the lead, my question will be whether the doj would take the lead. the second question would be, and i just want this to be further confirmed, have you said or has the justice department set a december 2010 deadline for
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your review of this present merger, in particular, that i've mentioned, and that is continental airlines and united, and if you speak just from the law, the clayton act, section 7, or any aspects of anti-trust law, is obviously appropriate, is the question of pricing and price increase, are those variables that will be under the eye and scrutiny of the department of justice, and lastly, i would ask, and this is a pointed question, i want to pay tribute to chairman conyers, who developed an anti-trust task force under his initial leadership of this will committee, showing how important it is that a vigorous review -- vigorous review, taking into consideration president theodore roosevelt's i guess initial thought on this process of conglomerates, recognizing that we are a capitallistic society. i understand one of his quotes is that we have to save
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capitalism from the capitalists, but chairman conyers thought the anti-trust review was extremely important, and so we had a task force that we ultimately merged into one of our subcommittees, and the question that i now pose is -- which i think someone was asked on another approach, whether there's any politics that would play in any decision that you'd make on really any matter, but in this instance, for example, that one of the parties involved happens to be housed in illinois. all of these comments that are going around and again, i said to you, that one of the c.e.o.'s shade this is a done deal, this will be done by -- we see no problem in its completion, i yield to the general. >> well, the justice department has primary responsibility for the assessment of the
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continental-united merger and whether that has hand anti-trust impact. there is no deadline with regard to how long it will take us to do that. we will do the job as best we can, and use the amount of time that we need, and i can assure you that political considerations will not be a part of that process. as i said, we have anti-trust revision that has been revitalized by the woman who heads it, the assistant attorney general, she has been i any appropriately aggressive in looking at mergers, and will do so with regard to this one. i'm of confident that we will give this a good, thorough, vigorous look and make a decision on the basis of that examination. >> let me close very quickly. i know that you've been very gracious. just give me these last two points that i wish to clarify, and that is the question of national security. and i started out by saying that
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you have traversed a lot of land fields, a lot of mines, and i believe deliberation is key to being an american and as well, the lawyer for america. and there's a lot of talk about the initial decision for khalid sheikh mohammed, politics, and whether or not we said something first. i complimented the doj for its deliberation and its studiousness. i would like you to clarify that. and i will say this. the comments made by a president, a commander-in-chief, who is also a politician and a citizen, are among many comments that have been made. the president has a right to make comments. because he has the first amendment right of freedom of speech. my understanding is that lawyers go into courtrooms, many times around america, and in this
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instance, u.s. attorneys, against all kinds of comments being made in the general forum. but that does not take the place of a vigorous prosecutorial presentation as i understand it, so if you would comment and clarify again with the times square bomber, whose family members came and encouraged that individual to participate fully, and i think you said -- there is so many bombers, but let me just finish the question and i'll clarify, but came and asked them to fully participate, and to give answers and that individual was initially questioned under civilian justice, my ran campaign for liberty rights and of course that -- miranda rights and of course, that was the christmas day bomber, but yet
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the times square bomber likewise provided additional enhanced information. give us your sense that that does not show weakness as it relates to national security. >> i think all that i can point to is the facts, and history, which has shown that the giving of miranda warns has not had an impact on our ability to get information from people charged with terrorist offenses. one can look at umar farouk abdulmutallab in detroit, faisal shahzad, the times square bomber, headily, the person in chicago, all of woman were given their miranda rights and nevertheless decided to continue talking and sharing intelligence, sharing information with us. there is not a tension. there is a misexon exception, a
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misconception that people have that the giving of miranda warnings necessarily means that somebody is going to stop talking, that is inconsistent with the facts. the facts in the cases that i have just mentioned and certainly what i think you see through the criminal justice. is it. the determination that people make as to whether or not they are going to continue to talk or talk at all to law enforcement. is not determined solely by miranda warnings, has a lot more -- there's a lot more that goes in to it. the rappaport that interrogators are panel to make with people -- able to make with people they are questioning, the strength of the case that we can bring. i actually think that we also have to consider the very real -- the reality that once a person is given miranda warnings and if that person decides that he wants to take advantage of them and get a lawyer involved in the process, frequent my a defense attorney looking at the facts that are a raid against
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his client, frequently becomes an advocate on behalf, to try to convince that person to cooperate with the government in the hope that a sentence would be lessened, so even where miranda warnings have that at least initial, that initial impact of stopping an information flow, it does not necessarily mean that that flow of information is forever stopped, but i think one thing that i would really want to clear up is this whole notion that the giving of miranda warnings necessarily means that people stop talking, that is inconsistent with the facts. >> and one final question to you and it's something both of us have spoken about and i think it's very close to your personal beliefs. chairman scott has worked very closely on this whole thought issue of juvenile crime, juvenile justice, and we have managed with his leadership, i believe, to pass out of this committee something called the promise act. but i want to point -- and that
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is looking at best practices, to deal with the question of juvenile justice. you have a section that deals specifically with the issues dealing with juveniles. if we look at our history over the last two decades, we really have done poorly. we had two 16-year-olds, among others, shot and killed at a 3-year-old's birthday party in new york. tens upon tens of juveniles have been murdered in chicago. the lacrosse murder at my alma mater, university of virginia, and down in houston, find a college student at a party shot dead without any hopes of survival. what is the focus of the department as it relates to juvenile violence and also the access of juveniles to guns and how can we work together as a committee and the department of justice and the administration on this ongoing sickness and violence?
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>> well, i don't know if you remember that in chicago, i'd say late last year, there was an incident where a young man was killed by gang, other young people, a board, hit him over the head. arnie duncan and i, the secretary of education an i went out to economy to assess what had happened there and to deal -- to get a better understanding of what was going on in chicago with regard to youth violence. that has led to an effort that i keep saying this to everybody, very soon the administration is about to announce with regard to how we're going to deal with this issue of proposals that we have, this issue of youth violence in a select number of cities where we're going to try a variety of things and see what actually works. when we deal with a problem of youth violence, i think too often we think of it in a microcosm and we don't understand what we're talking about in essence is the future
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of this nation, and kids who can't go to school and feel safe, don't learn as well. people who are exposed to violence, it has negative impacts on their lives as they get older, so we want to deal with this problem. exposure to violence, violence itself, to -- as to what we like to say, to be not tough on crime, but to be smart when it comes to crime and to come up with solutions that will prevent the -- prevent youth violence to the extent that we can, but then deal with the impact of people who are either victims of violence, youth violence. that is also has an impact on young people and impacts them as they mature. >> guns and juveniles? >> obviously, a very large problem.
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the prevalence of guns in certain communities, the possession guns by juveniles, and the way in which they use them is a primary concern. disproportionate number of these unfortunate homicides happen because too many young people have too easy access to guns. they have to deal with that. >> let me thank you very much for your openness and your integrity and honesty during these hearings. let me as well thank chairman conyers for convening this hearing and for the leadership that he's given on any number of these issues that we have addressed throughout this hearing. this will conclude our questioning. i will add that there will be potentially a number of hearings on some of the questions that members have asked. some having to do with the anti-trust question and mergers.
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i would hope that the justice department would receive the transcripts of those hearings as they might be very helpful in the deliberations for that -- for those particular issues. i acknowledge that the general is nodding yes on those comments. and i would like to thank you, attorney general holder, again, for being with us today. without objection, members will have a minimum of five legislative days to submit any additional written questions for you, which we will forward and ask that your answer be forwarded to us as promptly as you can and that they be made part of the record. without objection, the record will remain open for five legislative days, for the submission of other additional materials, including those from the department of justice and i noted for the record that you indicated that you had responded to a number of questions, including the chair's questions, by writing, and we appreciate that. i believe the hearing has been a useful contribution to our efforts to help ensure that the
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nation's premiere law enforcement agencies is dedicated to being a shining example, not only in how effectively it pursues its cases, but equally in how it respects the questions that we hold particularly near and dear and that is the fundamental question of freedom that is the hallmark of american democracy. today i believe we made one more step towards promoting democracy in this nation and protecting the constitution as it should be. general holder, thank you for your presence here today and with that, the hearing is adjourned. >> thank you. spode spod [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> now to the u.s. senate, where members return to work on the financial regulations bill. it's already been announced there won't be any roll call votes during today's session, but the chamber is expected to continue amendment debates and votes when they return on monday. a motion to limit debate on the measure has yet to be filed. but with hundreds of amendments being offered, majority leader reid may have to do exactly that, in order to get a final passage vote. live now to the floor of the
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u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. gracious god, in whose presence the dark night of anxiety is
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dispelled by the dawn of your peace, thank you for guiding us beside still waters. lord, we don't ask for faith for the whole of life, but for enough trust to live one day at a time. draw our lawmakers near to you so that they may see the beauty of your purposes and discern your plan. purge their thoughts and speech that no unworthy communications may proceed out of their mouths. lord, teach them new truths
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today, so that they may sour on the wings of your joy and light. we pray in your great name. amen the presiding 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. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication
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to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., may 14, 2010. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jeff merkley, a senator from the state of oregon, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: robert c. byrd, presidet pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 3217, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 349, s. 3217, a bill to promote the financial stability of the united states by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, and so forth and for other purposes. a senator: mr. president? the esiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you,
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mr. president. mr. president, i rise this morning to speak about the visit this week by afghan president karzai and many of his ministers as well as the policy that's unfolding all these many months in afghanistan. and i rise in the midst of a debate we're having here in the senate on financial reform and continuing efforts and strategies we put in place to create jobs. even in the midst of all those domestic concerns that are economic in nature -- and we're still very concerned about and working on the problem of those who are out of work -- we need in that context to also be be concerned about what's happening in afghanistan. so i'd like to discuss president karzai's visit and the visit as well, as i mentioned, by other
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afghan officials. the other reason to rise in connection with that topic is to talk about the continuing threat our troops face from improvised explosive devices, known by the acronym i.e.d.'s, and they continue to pose a threat to our troops, and we have to continue to be concerned about the nature of that threat. and in a broader sense, when it comes to this policy, we have to get this right. we have to make sure that our government is continually focused on getting the strategy right in afghanistan as it relates to security, governance and development; all aspects of the strategy, working with our coalition partners in doing that. first and foremost on the question of i.e.d.'s, "the los angeles times" reported last week that three-fifths of the 602 combat-related deaths of u.s. troops in afghanistan were due to roadside bombs, so-called
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i.e.d.'s, improvised explosive devices. the primary ingredient in these bombs is ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can also be used as an explosive. we know this from our recent history. we also know that we have some domestic history to consider. timothy mcveigh used a 4,800-pound ammonium nitrate bomb to attack the alfred murrah building in oklahoma city in april of 1995. the afghan government has recognized this problem, the use of ammonium nitrate, and has begun working with coalition troops to crack down on the use of ammonium nitrate. it is no longer legal in afghanistan to use in farming -- to use ammonium nitrate in
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farming, and afghan farmers receive training on how to use other types of fertilizer. during yesterday's press conference that president karzai had with president obama, he discussed the use of ammonium nitrate, in particular, the impact on u.s. troops. i was glad he did that, and i was glad that the president has been focused on this issue as well. i had a chance yesterday in a lunch with a small group of senators to ask president karzai directly about this issue. we talked about it yesterday at lunch as well. despite this ban in afghanistan, ammonium nitrate manages to make its way to afghanistan reportedly from pakistan. "the los angeles times" reported the transport routes are lined with corrupt pakistani police officers, according to "the los angeles times." police officers and border
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officials who accept bribes to allow this smuggling to occur. in this smuggling is a lucrative enterprise. one pakistani businessman reported making almost $950 a month smuggling ammonium nitrate for use in afghanistan. and this is a country where the monthly average income is just $216 a month. so i urge the pakistani government to track and regulate the transport of this dangerous material. the government appears to recognize ammonium nitrate could also pose a threat to pakistan's national security as extremists across the country step up their activities there as well. as in afghanistan, it's important for the authorities in pakistan to first show the political will to address this problem and to put in place proper legal mechanisms to
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diminish its use across the border in afghanistan. ammonium nitrate used in i.e.d.'s is the main killer of the united states troops in afghanistan. we must do all we can -- all we can -- to limit its use. i understand that if ammonium nitrate did not come from pakistan, that smugglers would identify new sources from other bordering countries. well, this may be the case, it appears as though the primary source today is pakistan. and in this case pakistan is where we should focus our attention. so let's get at the supply of ammonium nitrate. let's make it much harder for terrorists to kill u.s. troops. let me move next to the policy overall in afghanistan. i was honored to be one of just
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seven or eight senators to have lunch yesterday with president karzai. and during his time in washington, we were all pleased, i think both sides of the aisle in the senate were pleased that president karzai reiterated his commitment to improving governance and reducing corruption. they are commitments, but i think the people of pennsylvania and people across america need to see results from those commitments. i also hope that president karzai will restate his support for nato efforts to win back the country from the taliban and drive the insurgents to the negotiating table. in a meeting with afghan government ministers on wednesday, i and five or six united states senators emphasized the importance of women's rights in afghanistan. afghan women play a key role in the decision-making process. any peace process or agreement that does minority respect and uphold the rights of half of the
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population -- the women of afghanistan -- will fail to achieve long-term goals for security and stability. in february, senator boxer and i cohosted a senate foreign relations committee -- i should say subcommittee hearing on the future of afghan women and girls. at that hearing, milan ververe, the united states ambassador at large for women's kwraourbgs testified about the challenges afghan women and girls face. she said -- and i quote -- "perhaps the greatest remaining impediment to with many's full civic participation is violence against women and girls, which remains endemic in afghan society. crimes go unpunished because of the anemic rule of law and weak institution of justice. approximately 80% of crimes in
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disputes are settled through judicial justice mechanisms. this is a continuing problem. it's not just a moral problem. this is a problem long term for us as well, because if the women of afghanistan, women and girls, aren't treated with respect, aren't accorded the kind of rights and being given the benefit of a system of justice that will protect them, then our whole strategy in afghanistan is undermined. we cannot just win this on the battlefield. this is not just military. the two other aspects that are so important to this strategy -- governance and development. and of course when you're talking about governance, you're talking about a system of justice. if half the population is the continuing target of violence and if half the population is
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not accorded basic rights and being given the benefit of a functioning system of justice, our strategy in afghanistan will fail. so this is a problem not only because of the current concern we have about how women and girls are treated in afghanistan and around the world as well as here in the united states. that's the main reason for our concern. but it's also connected directly, and i think is inextricably intertwined with our strategy as it relates to governance in afghanistan. we know that since the fall of the taliban, there have been some improvements in women's rights, since the creation of the ministry for women's affairs and the guarantee of equal rights for men and women in the new constitution. indeed, afghan women remain among the worst off in the world with respect to life expectancy as well as quality of life. so even though progress has been made, we need to see a lot more
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in the way of results. i am encouraged by the recent measures undertaken at the top of afghanistan's government to include the voices of women in the consultation process leading up to the peace jerg a*fplt i believe it's essential that the afghan government take immediate measures, immediate measures to include qualified women who have a record of public service, civic or community service in a meaningful -- in meaningful senior roles at every level of government and in the peace process. we were -- i know i was and many of us were very impressed by the women we met who are active participants in the afghan government. but much more needs to be done. let me move next to the, more of the military aspects of our strategy both in marja, the operation that took place over
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the last couple of months, as well as the upcoming operations in kandahar. on april 29 the pentagon released its biepbl report to congress on afghanistan. by all accounts it was sobering. the report portrays an afghan government with limited credibility among its people. in 92 districts assessed for their support of the afghan government or their antagonism to it, not one supported the government. not one in 92. now, i realize sometimes when a report comes out as dated, that it may be -- improvements may have been made over the last couple of months. but the most recent report was not good in terms of support for the afghan government. again, our strategy will not be successful unless the afghan government can improve those numbers of support from its own people. this -- this is an important issue that president karzai and
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the rest of the government must continue to address. i think they're taking steps to do that, but much more needs to be done. the pentagon report highlights one positive development, the taliban are seen by 52% of afghans as the chief cause of instability. so the message is getting out to the people about -- about destructive impact of the taliban. this perception provides the afghan government with an opportunity to show itself as the protecter of the people. one area in which the -- in which i and international aid donors can help is food security an distribution. not only is the agricultural sector critical to the well-being of all afghans, both agriculture and food distribution are caught up in the problems raised by afghan dependence on opium cultivation. an exoration and ruption in the
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transports -- corruption in the transports for that and national and local power brokers. the united states has begun shaping operations, mostly political, in and around kandahar to prepare for the next major military campaign. well, we can apply the lessons learned in marjah, the kandahar campaign will be a for middable test of our counterinsurgency plan. kandahar is the birth place of the taliban and the taliban still have considerable support there. in judging the success of kandahar from washington, we should be aware of the significant political and cultural complexities because of the coalition's need to shift between fighting and outreach in afganistan. the contest for public sentiment among afghan civilians will arguably be more important over the long run -- more important,
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i should say, over the ron run than the relative effectiveness of each side's military skill. a functioning government which maintains credibility in the eyes of the people of afganistan will be necessary if civil military strategy is going to have any chance of success. we must continually stress the movement toward this goal so as not to lose sight of our objectives in afganistan. again, got to be concerned about three things, military concerns and the strategy as it relates to military campaign. second, governance, and, third, development. the ability of nongovernmental organizations who do great work and other aid organizations is hampered by corruption and the ineffectiveness of government. militarily removing the taliban influence must be accompanied by the timely and effective delivery of emergency aid and
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refugee assistance. it is only when government capacity -- when the government's capacity, i should say, to operate in an effective manner can all the tools be applied to increasing the quality of life of local afghans as well as presenting an alternative to the taliban's form of rule. the upcoming operations in kandahar will be the largest to date aimed at securing the population through general mcchrystal's population sent rick civil -- centric military strati jism however, if the government is not capable of providing the capacity necessary follow the military clearing operation, the strategy will not succeed. our brave men and women who serve this country deserve a reliable partner in the afghan government. we must work assiduously and
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continually to realize this issue of a peaceful and stable afganistan. so, in conclusion, mr. president, i, first of all, want to thank president karzai for what he said here in the united states, what he did here to reiterate the goals we have, the partnership between our government and his government to get this policy right. i have been very critical after my two visits in afganistan in 2008 and 2009, very critical of president karzai. i must say based upon the last couple of months, based on the work he did here, the statements he made and some actions that he's taken, i have more cautious optimism, i'll say, than i had before about his ability to move forward helping us on this strategy, his ability to build confidence, the confidence of his own people, his ability to have a positive impact not only
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as to relates to our military strategy, but, of course, especially on governance as well as the development after military campaigns take place. i also appreciate the fact that president karzai showed great respect, not only for our fighting men and women in the field and their families, but especially for those who gave, as president lincoln said a long time ago at gettysburg, the last full measure of devotion to their country when he visited the graves of those -- some of those who perished in this conflict. so we have reason to be more optimistic. but the -- the test will be over time and based upon real results, facts on the ground as it relates to the military operations, governance an development. so -- and development. so this strategy bears a lot of scrutiny. mr. president, let me just say in conclusion that i'd -- i'd
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consent to submit for the record a "l.a. times" story of may 3, 2010, entitled "key bomb ingredient is smuggled in freely in pakistan." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: finally, let me also submit for the record a summary on bro guess of support for security in afganistan, issued by the department of defense dated april 2010. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. with that, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: before i ask consent on an amendment, i'd
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like to comment on senator casey's remarks that he delivered so powerfully and eloquently. he is right on point that the efforts underway in afghanistan are crucial to our country's national security. it was important as well that he talked about the three main factors that are at play there in our ultimate success. this week we've had president karzai and much of his cabinet here in washington. i certainly appreciate the effort president karzai made to show his respect for those who have fallen in afghanistan in the war there. and i also would note that general mcchrystal was here briefing many of us. i think the presiding officer had an opportunity as well to hear from general mcchrystal on the state of the situation in afghanistan. this isn't going to be easy, but i'm heartened by what i heard. in particular, i want to express my appreciation for the valor, the commitment and the honor
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that our forces in afghanistan have displayed. with that, mr. president, let me move to asking for unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside. and i would like to call up amendment 4016. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from colorado, mr. udall, for himself and others, proposes an amendment numbered 4016 to amendment number 3739. mr. udall: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: mr. president, senator lugar and i have introduced this modified amendment in working with senator dodd and the treasury department and the federal reserve to find a way to increase america's access to their credit scores. before i talk a little bit about the amendment, i wanted to, given the chairman of the committee and my friend and colleague from connecticut is on the floor, thank senator dodd specifically for working with me and a group of about 20
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bipartisan senators to provide greater access to consumers' credit scores. senator dodd had a thoughtful, incisive idea about how we might be able to move this bill -- this amendment i should say to the floor of the senate, and that was to provide a credit score on a transactional basis, and that's what this amendment does. a credit score affects a consumer's interest rates and monthly payments on home loans and can even influence a consumer's capacity to buy a car, rent an apartment, even get phone or internet service. our amendment would take the two consumer notices that the federal law currently requires lenders to give consumers and make sure that the credit score that was used to evaluate the consumer is disclosed to that individual. right now, mr. president, i found this out in the process of researching what we were trying to do. if you receive a general notice
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of your credit application being turned down, or if you're offered credit on less favorable terms, you don't receive a disclosure. the credit score that was used to determine that outcome. under our amendment, if you're turned down for a loan or you're given a higher interest rate because of a low credit score, you now have the right to see the credit score that was used. i know the presiding officer's interest and long experience in the world of housing and providing access to people in that wait a minute i know that this is something that -- in that way. i know this is something that you followed with great interest. and that's because there is a fundamental stake -- excuse me. there is a fundamental principle at stake here. that is if your credit score is being used against you, you ought to have the right to at least see it. i know every single american would want to improve that credit score, want to understand how they could have greater financial opportunities, have greater financial standing. so i want to thank chairman
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dodd, senator lugar, levin, bond, scott, brown, schumer, begich, lautenberg and all the 20-plus senators who helped push for this important issue. i especially want to thank senator pryor for working with us to find something that everyone could agree to in this modified version. and i'm really appreciative that we were able to work it out. as i close, mr. president, i understand that the amendment scheduled to be addressed monday night, but i hoped that we could perhaps accept it on a voice vote at the proper time as well. and with that, mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. dodd: mr. president, i would ask consent before you -- hold on that unanimous consent. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: mr. president, i just can't thank our friend and colleague from colorado enough. he's done just a great job. this is a terrific idea and one that's long overdue. the presiding officer is a member of our banking committee, and we know we've talked a lot
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about these issues over the last couple of years, and we've had hearings, in fact we've had some legislation dealing with credit scores. a lot of people have had their good names in a sense stolen from them as a result of some thievery that goes on with credit cards and the like and people's credit scores have been manipulated and so forth. it's very difficult to find out where you are in all of this. you don't know. it's ironic in a way that here we are citizens of our country and other people are determining whether or not we're credit worthy for buying an automobile, purchasing a home, a student loan. the idea that we as consumers can't have access to these scores that people are writing up about us is, to put it mildly, kind of offensive, the fact that we've to go through this is sort of degrading to put it mildly. so i'm very grateful to the senator from colorado for
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pursuing this. he would have gone a bit further. i would have too, but i sense we would have had a problem here to get anything done at all. and the fact that we're going to have this on a transactional basis is a major step forward and may alleviate a good 80% or 90% of the difficulties. it's not to say there isn't room for further improvement down the road and we'll see how this works. if it doesn't work we'll take other steps to make sure people have access to these scores so they have a good idea of where they stand in their ability to afford the things they need as a family. you made a significant contribution to this. we're going to have a vote on it, but i'm confident we can prevail on this. i believe it will be overwhelming that democrats and republicans,they share the concerns you've raised. you've made a valuable contribution to this effort, and look forward when this comes up on the floor for a vote early next week.
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i thank the senator from colorado. mr. udall: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: let me again thank the chairman of the banking committee for his willingness to work with us in his bipartisan coalition. his comments are right on point as his comments always are. i think the senator is completely right when he suggests as americans have access to these credit scores, they're going to be more interested in time goes on in understanding how to build that credit score, how to strengthen it, how to be more financially literate, if you will. the chairman has been remark bible in the time he spent on the floor -- the chairman has been remarkable in the time he spent on the floor, the strength he's shown, the lack of sleep he's endured here on the floor and his product that many of us have contributed to will be seen by historians as a seminal moment that -- we've also given
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consumers more recourse and access. in the end, i think that's what the chairman wanted to do and will do is to protect consumers of all kinds, all stripes, all over our great nation. this is one small but important way to do that. again, i want to thank you, chairman dodd, and look forward to the vote on monday night. i agree. i think this will have widespread support. i'll continue to ask for those votes. i know we'll work at having a successful outcome on monday afternoon. thanks again. i yield the floor, mr. president. and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: mr. president, i'd ask consent that the call of the quorum be rescinded. mr. president, i want to share some thoughts, if i can, for a couple of minutes on one of the proposals that will be coming up, i think next week in the bill. briefly again, i want to express my gratitude to all of my colleagues for the way in which this bill has been conducted. contrary to what many people may think about the united states senate, we are capable of having
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a debate, one filled with emotion and passion about strongly held views and yet respect each other to allow the debate to go forward and amendments be voted up and down. we've done that 33 or 34 times over the last six or seven legislative days. i know there's much more to be done in the coming days before we conclude our consideration of the wall street reform bill. but it is a reflection of how this institution can operate and how we should operate, in my view, on a matter of this import. so it's not only important about what we are doing in terms of reforming the financial system of our nation, but i would argue that history may never record it as such but also how we conduct it on such an important issue. it may not make the headlines, but it is very important for the integrity of this institution and as a model of how important comprehensive legislation can be handled. i know it's cumbersome, it can take a long time, there are delays that occur during consideration of matters in the
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united states senate. but that is as it was intended by our forefathers, in a sense, to have an institution where there would be the ample opportunity for debate, including unlimited debate by any one single member contrary to the other chamber that comprises the united states congress where you're limited to five minutes, the majority rules, allows for matters to be insisted upon the majority prevailing n. this institution, the rules favor the minority, including a minority of one, that can engage in extended debate. so we are different in this institution, and with good reason. if they wanted a unicameral system of one body where just majority rule would prevail, they would have created. in fact they tried to. two senators from connecticut, oliver ellsworth and roger sherman, in consideration of the constitutional convention, when all was about to fail over a contest between large states and small states, fearful large
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states having the dominant number of members in congress would be overwhelmed and their interests be disregarded because they didn't have the votes to counter it. so oliver ellsworth and roger sherman came up with the idea of creating a bicameral system, one wherein one body's membership would be made up based on population. the size of the state, the number of seats it would hold. and this body, regardless of your side, would have equal representation. so the smallest of our states, states like wyoming with a few hundred thousand people, has two united states senators. the state of california, with millions of people, has two united states senators. and so regardless of size, regardless of economic influence or other matters, we are all coequals here, at least as far as our states are represented. and the opportunity as well for minority voices to be heard, not overwhelmed. the tyranny of the majority which can happen. so there's a value to the existence of the senate, and we're slower to act. it can be frustrating, as my
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colleague and presiding officer has come to appreciate and as a former speaker of his own state legislative body, i know he appreciates how difficult that can be as a leader in trying to move business and product along so that matters can be considered. so i say all of that as a backdrop, because in recent years, rearsent months -- recent months in fact we've been bogged down, frustrated. there's been a lot of obstructionism that's gone on that prohibited from moving forward on matters. at least in this case up to now anyway, we've conducted this debate on financial reform in a way i think our forefathers would have appreciated. members have had an ample opportunity, the rules are there for them to use, in order to make sure they can be heard on these matters. again i emphasize while the subject matter of our consideration certainly is tremendously important, the means and the manner by which we've conducted debate also has value. it's that, with that backdrop that i want to again thank my
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colleagues, democrats and kweupbgz. i want to -- democrats and republicans. i want to thank majority leader harry reid because without his insistence as the leader this could not happen. the fact that he demonstrated as a leader the ability to move this institution in a way that allows for equal participation and debate i think is a great tribute to the leadership he demonstrated as majority leader in the senate over many years now. i'd like to concentrate on one subject matter that will probably come up in the next few days when we reconvene the first part of next week. that has to do with the very important part of this bill, one that the presiding officer has demonstrated great interest in, i have a tremendous amount of interest in as well, and it deals with the issue of establishing for the first time in our nation's history, an actual bureau or division designed specifically to protect individual consumers from what can happen to them when financial matters put them in a desperate condition, whether it be credit cards, by home sales,
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all sorts of other financial activities. there's been no place where actually consumers' interests are paramount. there are seven agencies in the federal government that have the history to deal with consumers protection. the history has been malfeasance, uninterest, lack of interest. what we're creating here is a place where the dominant principal, sole interest will be to watch out for consumer interests. one of the debates we're going to have is whether or not a major area of financial interest will be exempted from the consideration of the consumer financial products bureau and division. and that is in the area of financing an automobile. mr. president, i know that this has been one of the most heavily lobbied parts of the whole wall street reform bill, and i certainly understand that many of us know our automobile dealers back home who make important contributions to our communities. and i said in my remarks the other day i worked closely with the car dealers in my state over
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the recent past years, months, we've had major debates over the automobile industry. the cash for clunkers bill to try to increase sales, something i was deeply involved in to try and make it possible for our automobile dealers and manufacturers to get back on their feet again. so i take a back seat to no one about the concern and care about the work that they do, the economic vitality they provide for our communities, the jobs that get created as a result of their efforts. my debate and argument is not with auto dealers. it's over the financing of automobiles and how that occurs and whether or not consumers are going to be protected. for most americans it is the second-largest purchase any of us ever make. our homes, if we have one, is the most important. and then secondly is the purchase of an automobile. most americans, other than having a 401(k) for retirement, don't deal with stockbrokers every day, aren't buying or trading or engaging in sophisticated financial instruments. that's limited to a few of the
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300 million in our population. but you only need to get up in the morning and head off to work, and you know that everyone needs an automobile. one might argue maybe too many. but nonetheless, that's a straight debate. and so that purchase of an automobile is a critical part of our economy. it is the financing of automobiles in certain areas that i have great concern and don't want to see consumers disadvantaged. so it's in that spirit of my support and admiration of people that work in that sector of our economy, i say to you today that those responsible -- corporate citizens, small businesses -- have nothing to fear from this legislation whatsoever. they conduct their business admirably, ethically, morally. they treat their customers as if they were members of their family. that is the overwhelming majority of people who engage in the sale of automobiles. but like all statutes and laws, mr. president, they aren't designed necessarily for the majority of people who operate within the law and operateeth
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ethically and morally. we understand there are those who take advantage of people and so we craft legislation to protect all of us against abuses that can occur. as president obama said on april 22, unless your business model depends on bilking people, there is little to fear with this legislation at all. in fact there's nothing to fear. in a challenge to this congress, michael hayden from the military offices association of america said to us the following: you have an opportunity, he said, and i'm quoting him, "to do something about unscrupulous auto dealers. the above-board firms shouldn't have a problem with the consumer financial product protection bureau." and they shouldn't, mr. president, and let me explain why briefly this morning. first, the wall street reform legislation as being considered by the united states senate has gone more than halfway to meet the concerns originally raised by financing of automobiles. the bill, and let me enumerate, eliminates assessments.
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unlike other financial institutions there are no assessments on auto dealers. the brownback amendment would prohibit assessments. the underhrao*eug bill -- the underlying bill already does that. the bill further eliminates the authority of the bureau of financial protection to examine and enforce new rules on auto dealers. state authorities and the federal trade commission will continue as they have to perform this role. and thirdly, as a result of our bill, the only impact the consumer bureau will have on auto dealers is through rule writing. it is crucial that auto dealers, the financing of autos play by the same rules as their competitors do in communities all across our country. one has to ask, mr. president, what could be more reasonable than that? there are a variety of places people can go to finance an automobile. you can go to a credit union. you can go to your community bank. there may be other means by which you can finance. why should we disadvantage those institutions in a community at the expense of one other who is seeking skpeplgs from these --
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exemption from these rules? that brings me to the second point. the legislation we have written creates a level playing field among auto dealers, community banks, credit unions and others. this will empower consumers to shop effectively for the best financing available as they see it, and they ought to have that opportunity. not fearing if they go to one financial provider or service provider or another, the rules apply in one case and don't in another. that disadvantages all consumers in this country who want to be able to shop effectively. how many times have we seen that ad when consumers, when providers of financial services have to compete, consumers win. and if they have to compete on a level playing field, then you're going to make it possible for people to get the best value that is available to them. a consumer should be treated the same, regardless of whether he or she gets a loan from an auto dealer, a credit union, a community bank or anyone else for that matter who is engaged in the financial products and
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service industry. and community banks and credit unions should not be forced to live under more stringent rules for making auto loans than auto dealers do. just imagine in small communities when on the same street in fact you may have a community bank, a credit union and an automobile dealer that's financing automobiles. why should there be a disparity in terms of the protections consumers get, depending on which door they walk through on that main street? walk into the credit union, walk into the community bank or walk into the auto dealer who's financing. why should that last place be treated differently than the other two when it comes to financing? that's at the heart of what our bill is trying to do. that's what makes it especially important, mr. president, that car salesmen follow the same rules and provide customers with clear, transparent, easy-to-understand information so that those consumers, those who are also our neighbors, are empowered to make smart financial choices for themselves and their families without having to worry about hidden
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markups that can cost them hundreds of dollars over the course of paying off a loan. let me emphasize again what i said at the outset. the overwhelming majority of auto dealers play by good rules. again, i'm not talking about the vast majority that do this, but the unscrupulous ones, those who engage in ripping off people and are doing everything they can to get away with, that is what our bill is designed to deal with. this is the way the mark place is supposed to work where, again, people can shop fairly. competition to provide higher quality products and services at better prices. mr. president, a strong consumer bureau will be good for responsible auto dealers as well. if the brownback amendment wins, wall street wins and those responsible dealers will lose. let me explain why this is true. if auto dealers are carved out of the bill as the brownback amendment will do, we are exempting the wall street-funded
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auto dealers and putting credit unions and community banks at a disadvantage. wall street will continue to incentivize auto dealers to have bad, overpriced loans to make it impossible for responsible dealers to compete. we have seen this time and time again in every market. the bad money pushes out the good money. the responsible players who play by the rules are undercut by the sharp dealers who cut corners. furthermore a strong consumer bureau will restore america's faith in auto deals and loans that they make. responsible auto dealers ought to welcome this. what happens when we have an uneven playing field? unfortunately we've seen many cases where people, particularly men and women serving in our military have been the victims of shady auto dealers financing practices. let me share some of the many stories that i know i've heard and i know my colleagues have as well. a recent news story tells about five young men and women in
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uniform in fort reilly, kansas, and i'm -- quoting -- "conned into paying for phantom options on vehicles they bought from a local auto dealer." they were charged for options on their car they never received. according to their lawyer, despite having decent credit scores, they ended up paying interest on their loans averaging 18%. yesterday, mr. president, i told the story that appeared in "the new york times" recently of matthew garcia, a 25-year-old army specialist who was recently subjected to a trick called yo-yo financing by an unscrupulous car dealer just as he was preparing to deploy in afganistan. specialist garcia, stationed in fort hood, texas, bought an automobile at a used car lot, signed for a loan at 19.9% interest rate. that's not the biggest abuse, believe it or not. the problem came when he drove
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the car home. auto dealer called him up several days later to say that the financing contract had fallen through and demanded an additional dz -- an additiona additional $2,500 in case. to make sure he paid up, the dealer blocked the shoulder's car so he couldn't leave. in north carolina, sergeant diana trana, purchased a used b.m.w. in a dealership near fort bragg, the dealer provided her -- provided her with a registration and, in fact -- and, in fact, did not have title to the car when he did so. the sergeant got to drive her b.m.w. for one week before being deployed to iraq. it was repossessed through no fault of her own and. in addition the learned insists that she has to pay $10,800 that is still owed on the car. she is married and she has her spouse and she and her spouse
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have been without the use after vehicle for a long time. but are still be pressured to pay for it. sergeant trana later learned that the dealer where she bought her automobile sold numerous cars to military personnel even though they didn't know them. the north carolina attorney general eventually sued the dealership and they have gone out of business. this is tread tri -- predatory auto lending where the military member had no way of knowing in advance that the dealer was selling automobiles and originating loans for vehicles it didn't own. this type of practice is actually fairly common among unscrupulous financing auto dealers who finance who are creeping around military bases. some go in and out of business repeatedly reopening under different names leaving many customers in the lurch. regrettably, mr. president, this kind of abusive lending to members of the military and their families is far too
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common. holly portaeus, noted at a press conference yesterday and i'm quoting that auto lending to the military needs oversight because, as she said, sadly, many of those in the military end up paying far more for those automobiles than they should. end of quote. that is why the military coalition, a consortium of over 30 nationally prominent military and veterans organizations representing more than 5.5 million, current and former service members and their family, oppose the brownback amendment. here we talk all the time about protecting and defending and standing up for our men and women in uniform, many of whom are in iraq or afganistan in harm's way, and, yet, we're about to pass legislation, if it's adopted through an exempt automobile financing dealers from the very people we're trying to protect. i'm not making up these quotes and these numbers. when you have that many organizations expressing their opposition to this amendment,
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members ought to take note. again, i emphasize, mr. president, i know my language is talking about auto dealers in a generic way. i want to emphasize, over and over again, if i can in these brief remarks, the overwhelming majority do a fair job, an eth kol and -- ethical and moral job, they can tell you how they can be disadvantaged by the unscrupulous dealers out there who can take advantage of the military. it includes the veterans of foreign wars, the national guard association, military officers association, military order of the purple heart and many, many others who oppose the brownback amendment. i'm taking advantage of this time today to tell my colleagues, please, pay attention to this. i know we care about our auto dealers. i know they've been lobbying heavily. but they should not receive an exemption in the financing area that can put so many people at a disadvantage. the coalition, in fact, mr. president, sent me a letter that i'd like to read just a little from the letter that this
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coalition of our military organizations sent to me and i quote -- "the most significant financial obligation for the majority of service members is auto financing, including the auto dealer financing. in the financial reform bill will provide greater protections our our service members and their families." the letter goes on, "providing a car for auto dealers does the -- a carveout will allow unscrupulous dealers to take advantage of service members and their families." end of quote. clifford stanley, the undersecretary of defense said in a letter to the assistant secretarsecretary of treasury, d welcome and encourage the consumer financial protection bureau, protections provided to service members thairn families with regard to unscrupulous automobile financing practices. end of quote. secretary stanley cites and i quote -- "the bait an switch of
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financing, falsify indication of loan applications, failure to pay of liens on trade in vehicles, packing loans where the item bears little if any relationship to the real cost and diskarim trilending as the kind of problems that members of our armed forces and their families face when dealing with financing their automobiles, with financing automobile -- automobile financing." secretary stanley reports and i quote -- "that 72% of counselors and attorneys surveyed cited problems with auto dealer financing abuses in just the past six months alone." this is not my list of abuses, mr. president, this is the undersecretary of defense in a letter. yesterday senator jack reed of rhode island and senator scott brown of massachusetts offered an amendment to create an office of military liaison within the consumer financial protection bureau. that amendment will carry 9 --
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amendment was carried 98-1, only one member voted against providing an office within that with the kind of protection that's the secretary of defense is talking about in his letter. the amendment, as i said carried by a vote of 98-1, because members here recognize that our service men and women service protection from these shady financial providers, including the major abuser, the kind that our colleague from kansas wants to exempt from this legislation. a crucial part of providing this is coverage of auto dealers. yesterday i received a letter from the secretary of the army, secretary mccue. he makes the point that auto dealers are the most significant financial obligation of our soldiers, particularly in the junior and enlisted grades. end quote. if my colleagues are listening at all, if we carve out auto
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dealers, those who make the loans that are the most significant financial obligation of our soldiers, in the words of the secretary of the army, why did we vote to create the military liaison office in the first place? if we carve it out of our -- mr. president, yesterday the senator from kansas made the point that we ought to regulate the people who are make the loans. not simply the people who are processing the paperwork. i agree. by that standard we should defeat the brownback amendment because, in fact, the auto dealers are the legal lenders. it isn't the financing company. the legal ender is the automobile dealer that engages in financing of automobiles. auto dealers finance cars in much the same way that mortgage brokers an bankers finance mortgages. they shop among a number of wholesale lenders, often on wall
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street, mr. president, and they steer buyers into higher interest rates than those borrowers would otherwise qualify for. in exchange, the auto dealers who get this kind of financing get the equivalent of a yield spread preem or a back end payment. the higher the interest rate they can get, the borrower to agree to, these young service men and women, the higher the payment that the auto dealer receives from the wall street financing firm. the incentive is to get the customer to pay as much as possible that way you get rewarded financially for doing so. this is not the way the market should work whether it's for a young soldier, a first responder, or a single mother working hard to raise her family. let me read to you the court testimony of a former auto dealer financier and insurance manager from tennessee how about the process works. again, this is a former auto dealer finance an insurance manager in a court testimony and
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i'm quoting from him. the standard interest practice, the auto dealer and finance manager says, is to prepare financing documents so that the customer is not alerted in any manner that the person with whom he is dealing has the ability to control the customer's price of credit. let me explain that, the witness goes on. he says that the dealer -- quote -- "has the ability to control the customer's price of credit." he goes on to say that this allows the finance arranger to present himself as the ally of the customer which further relaxes and disarms the customer. the nature of the transaction creates the perfect opportunity -- opportunity for a dealer to retain a large kickback from an unsuspecting customer by subjectively inflating the interest rates. end of quote. what better evidence could you have that someone in court testimony engaged in the
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business telling you exactly how it operates. and, again, the brownback amendment would basically exempt that witness from the rules that were adopted here in the consumer financial protection bureau. what does this remind you of, mr. president? well, i'll tell you. it reminds me exactly of the mortgage broker who i described a few days ago who was taught and encouraged in their training sessions to convince the borrower that he is their financial adviser while profiting from the -- from steering the customer into the more expensive loans. let me go back and read the quote from the witness, the former auto dealer and finance manager here. "this allows the finance arranger to present himself as the ally of the customer." tell me what difference there is about that than the unscrupulous broker who was advised to convince the borrower that i'm your financial adviser in a sense. it's exactly the same kind of abuse. so the mortgage broker without
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any regulations gets away with it and if we take this amendment it will allow the automobile finance dealer to get away with it as well. and we ought not allow that to happen in our legislation. moreover, mr. president, there is a history of discrimination in auto dealer financing. for example, african-american borrowers were charged more than 2.5 times the amount in subjective rate markups compared to a majority of white populations. after controlling for creditworthiness and similar disparities were found for hispanics, this has been curbed as a series of court orders and consent degrees. it will expire in short order. the brownback amendment would create a duplicative operative. if would leave the federal reserve for -- all other truth-in-lending act rules will be written by the consumer
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bureau. that means that the fed will have to maintain a separate bureaucracy to write rules for this one sector to the financing company, again not the legal responsible entity, the auto dealer, of the lending terrorism while the consumer bureau writes the truth-in-lending act rules for everyone else. frankly, that makes no sense whatsoever. one of the things we're trying to do in this bill is get rid of the unnecessary burdensome paperwork and duplication. several weeks ago before the debate on the wall street reform bill started, i told my colleagues about the frank luntz memo which lays out a strategy for attacking real wall street reform. let me read to my colleagues one thing from the luntz memo that i happen to agree with, and it's the following, and i quote from the memo -- "the public is angriest about lobbyist loopholes. part of the perception that washington cannot do anything right is the belief that lobbyists write most of the bills. the american people, "frank
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luntz went on to say," are tired of add-ons, earmarks and back room deals, but they are mad as hell at lobbyist loopholes." end of quote. what is one of the loopholes that mr. luntz' memo refers to specifically? car dealers, the very lobbyist loophole that the brownback amendment would create. the memo, in fact, warns specifically about this amendment we may be asked to vote on because it has been so heavily lobbied by those who would take advantage, unfortunately, of people. finally, i'd like to read to my colleagues a statement that the white house released yesterday on this amendment from the president of the united states. the president says that throughout the debate on wall street reform, i have urged members of the united states senate to fight the efforts of special interests and their lobbyists to weaken consumer protections, an amendment that the senate will soon consider will do exactly that. undermining strong consumer protections with a special loophole for auto dealer
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finances. this amendment would carve out a special exemption for these lenders that would allow them to inflate rates, insert hidden fees into the fine print of paperwork, and include expensive add-ons that caught purchasers by surprise. this amendment guts provisions that empower consumers with clear information that allows them to make financial decisions that work best with them and simply encourages misleading sales tactics to hurt american consumers. unfortunately, the president concludes countless families, particularly military families, have been the target of these deceptive practices. claims by opponents of reform that this legislation unfairly targets auto dealers are simply mistaken. the fact is auto dealer lenders make up nearly 80% of the automobile loans in our country today, and these lenders should be subject to the same standards as any local or community bank that provides loans. auto dealer lenders offering
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transparent and fair financing products, their customers should welcome these reforms which will make their competitors who don't play by the rules compete on a level playing field. the president concludes by saying we simply cannot let lobbyist-inspired loopholes and special carveouts weaken real reform that will empower american families, and he urges the senate to continue to defeat the efforts of special interests, to speaken protections of all american consumers. mr. president, i would further note -- and while i have emphasized here what happens among our 5.5 million of our american service men and women and how they are treated in overwhelming cases and why i don't recall another time that the department of defense and military organizations have gotten involved in a debate such as this. normally they get involved in debates involving the armed services of our nation, the national security issues. but the fact that they have gone out of their way to communicate to me and every other member of this body about their concerns
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over the brownback amendment ought to send up alarm bells to each and every one of us here. rare is it indeed when the secretary of the army or the secretary of the defense or military associations such as the veterans of foreign wars and others write to members of congress about something like this, yet they feel so strongly about it that they are urging us not to succumb to the semitations here of carving out this second most important financial arrangement that most americans ever engage in, the purchase of automobiles that they need. i would also point out that along the -- that among the better business bureau statistics, the single largest number of complaints -- and the number hovers around 70% nationwide, aside from the military side, come in the area of automobile dealer financing arrangements. that's almost 75% of all complaints are in this one area. what more information do you
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need to have about whether or not we ought to keep this section of the bill intact to make sure they are not going to be exempt from these kind of activities? so, mr. president, when the amendment comes up, i will speak further about this, but i wanted today to remind my colleagues, particularly the information we are receiving from our military organizations, from our military at the pentagon and others about how important this member is. i noticed the other day there were votes in the other body to increase the pay of our military men and women, and i applaud that. jim webb, our colleague from virginia, recently passed a bill of rights for our veterans which we all applauded and supported here, as i did. as i said the other day, jack reed and scott brown of massachusetts, by a vote of 98-1, passed an amendment here that creates within this bureau the only special section of this
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bureau designated to protect a class of our citizenry is one designed to protect men and women in uniform, only one. we don't have a class for the elderly or for students or for anyone else. the only class we protected by a vote of 98-1 is our military. and for most of the junior age military, they don't own homes yet. they are too young. 18, 19, 20, 21-year-olds, is in the automobile area. what an irony it would be to have adopted the amendment creating a special division within the consumer protection area to protect our men and women in uniform. we're told by the defense department the single largest area of abuse of these young men and women is in automobile financing, and yet we're about next week to exempt it from this bill. i can't believe that will happen. i'm hopeful that my colleagues, as much as we respect our friend from kansas, and i do. sam brownback and i are very good friends. we have worked together in fact
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on several provisions in this bill. he and i support the same ideas. but on this one, i passionately disagree with what he is trying to do. i think it is a carveout, it is a loophole. there are a thousand lobbyists in this town doing everything they can to gut one provision after another in this bill. millions of dollars are being paid for them to walk the halls of these buildings, to do everything they can to gut this kind of a thing. what a tragedy it would be that at the cost of adopting this legislation, for the first time establish a national consumer protection bureau in our nation that we would carve out an area that affects the very young people who are sitting there in harm's way, in afghanistan, iraq, and elsewhere around the world. my hope is, mr. president, we would not let that happen. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. dodd: i ask consent the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: this is not a unanimous consent request here, but just based on the conversations we have had between the majority and minority in preparation for votes next week. i know members will be interested about possible votes. there will be votes on, we are hoping and planning on monday evening. i think it's fair to say sometime around 5:30 p.m. at least the amendments i think we can have some votes on monday evening involve senator udall of colorado's amendment dealing with credit scores, senator cornyn of texas' amendment dealing with the international monetary fund, the i.m.f. senator rockefeller and senator hutchison's amendment dealing with the federal trade commission. senator bond, senator warner and myself dealing with angel investors as well. those are four votes that we may
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have recorded votes on. some are voice votes, but those are four we think we could have votes on on monday evening. so there will be -- we are planning to have votes. with that, mr. president, let me ask consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 234, h.r. 2711. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 234, h.r. 2711, an act to amend title 5 united states code to provide for the transportation of the dependents' remains and effects of certain federal employees who die while performing official duties or as the result of performance of official duties. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the committee-reported amendments be withdrawn, that a lieberman substitute amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time
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and passed, that a title amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the bill be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 410 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 410, supporting and recognizing the goals and ideals of r.v. centennial celebration month to commemorate 100 years of enjoyment of recreation vehicles in the united states. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and theenate will proceed with the measure. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to the resolution be placed in the
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record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 521 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 521, commemorating and celebrating the lives of fallen law enforcement officials in washington state who gave their lives in the service of the people of washington state in 2009. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to the resolution be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following senate resolutions. s. res. 526, s. res. 527, s.
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res. 528, s. res. 529, and s. res. 530. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measures en bloc. mr. dodd: i ask unanimous consent the resolutions be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table en bloc and any statements related to the resolutions be printed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding the adjournment of the senate, the record remain open until 1:30 p.m. today for the introduction of bills, statements, resolutions and the addition of cosponsors. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2:00 p.m. monday, may 17. that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their
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use later in the day and the senate proceed to a period of morning business until 3:00 p.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. that following morning business, the senate resume consideration of s. 3217, the wall street reform. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dodd: mr. president, senators should expect several votes in relation to amendments on the wall street reform bill beginning at 5:30 p.m. on monday. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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yesterday pennsylvania governor rendell and los angeles mayor villaraigosa testified in favor of a national infrastructure bank. those running the bank what leverage federal dollars by issuing bonds and attracting private funding for infrastructure transportation programs. held by the house ways and means committee, this is about two and a half hours. >> let me call this hearing to order. i hope all will take their seats. i want to welcome everyone to the hearing to explore infrastructure banks. the members of this committee have a lot of opinions about infrastructure spending. with that responsibility mainly lies elsewhere. our part of the job involves the bank aspect of this proposal where the revenue comes from to fund it, with the bank could
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utilize tax preferred bonds and whether the bank would be issuing any federal debt. the doctor said the best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. with an infrastructure funding shortfall estimated by some to be greater than $2 trillion, we surely need to explore new ideas. today's hearing will examine one such proposal that utilize is innovative financing options already at work in several states and foreign countries. our witnesses today will tell us of the serious investment in our infrastructure supporting roads, airports, waste water, drinking water, energy and research. america's competitiveness in our global economy depends on ap reliable inconsistentconist infrastructure.enture. sometimes the funding for suchgh improvements can get bogged down particularly if the projecte might involve multiple jurisdictions. recently i was at a hearing in hartford, connecticut to discuss a new high-speed rail projectin
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involving western massachusetts connecticut and vermont.mont. the transportation secretary, our good friend and former colleague, ray lahood, commented on getting everyone on the samey page and working together. that is too often the problem with these projects but no onewt can this nk beyond their borders and we will hear today of atoda great need for some focus onjecs projects of regional or national significance. se proverb teaches us that one generation plants thehe trees and a mother gets the shade.e s now would be a good time to lay the groundwork for infrastructure improvement. with bridges crumbling and then boiling water we've received th message america's infrastructure is desperately in needage amerio support. what we now recognize my friend mr. tiberi for his openingning . statement. >> thank you, gerrans neal forcn convening gthe hearing to examie infrastructure banks. demandd foll aware thenk. for additional highways,sp spending continues to grow at s the same time the viability of
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the current highway trust fund financing structure is accordini to the congressional researchsis service, and i quote, in aote ia precarious position, end of quote. generoher generous description even without taking into account the very large ac spending increases in the current reauthorizationrrent r proposal.propos. last summer this subcommitteethe was the leadership of chairmana neal met to consider a long term financing options for the highway trust for fund. i found -- i found that hearing to be extremely interesting and informative.esting ain looking forward to the testimono of the witnesses of the twolsto panels today as we discussed another potential mass to fixix the nation's infrastructure needs. as we foresee i think it's important to keep in mind themin national infrastructure bank oro any other financing method thate we will get for that matter is a not free. it would be presumably we wouldl presumably need to beneed tbe capitalizing this initially.s to that extent, it was used to
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disperse federal subsidies such as grants or tax incentives rather than revolving it will also need an ongoing revenue stream.e stream. this would result ultimately in higher taxes, user fees or de deficit spending when forward. anderally guaranteed borrowingfr and lending could place taxpayers on the hook should itn ail we have unfortunately already been down this road in another area of government with fannie mae and freddie my comments, mr. chairman neal, not are not put a damper on thet i e discussion. i think we should proceed withr our eyes as wide open asssib an possible and recognize additional spending doesn't come without cost on the line. thank you and thank you to theit witnesses for being here today.d i lookay. forward to the testim. >> thank you, mr. let mlee twelcome the distingui. panel. repr firstly welcome rosa delauroa from connecticutur who filed legislation to create a national bafrastructure bank.stcture next we welcome the present to wizaeckert represent peter defazio of the trend subcommittee of the house
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transportation infrastructure in committee. we are also pleasedcom to have representative daniel lipinski serves on threeves tportance of committees of thef house transportation committeehs and poirts a chairman of the research education committee oft the science and technologyteetey committee. next, we will all come governor ed rendell of the commonwealth of pennsylvania. governor rendell is the co-chair of building america's future. and finally we will hear from the mayor antonio villaraigosa, the mayor of the city of los angeles. mr. rendell and the mayor of los angeles i will refer to them as i mr. mayer. we share the common alumni as the season. we look for to the testimony today and thank you for your participation.ion. without objection any otherout n members wishing to answer statements as a part of the record may dopart so. writte all written statement, written and proposed by the witnessesppy will be inserted into the record as well.l. i recognize, riss wollman delauro for her opening o forments. >> thank you very muchef
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mr. chairman and ranking member. tiberi. members of the subcommittee, and number from including mr. blumenauer, who has been thv strong proponent ofrong prpon infrastructure over the yearsase thisr is a timely hitting and ii appreciate the opportunity to testify about my proposal. it's a proposal along with representatives keith ellison,ma steve israel and elanthony wieny and yes, it is about to create a national infrastructure bank, and i will also say i am honorem to be on this panel with peopleh who are such strong proponents of smart infrastructure investment with peter defazio and daniel lipinski, the mayor n rendell and we share the podium and a stage oftentimes and the mayor villaraigosa. he the science of the infrastructure crisis are allaru around. in 2003 the northeast a major and id widespread black out. we will never forge t the broken levees after hurricane katrina were the major i35 bridgehe m ollapse of
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just this month, boston inm toward a catastrophic pipe break the shot off the water for 2 million people. fr with the human costs they arecoh heavy economic costs. lost opp ortunities for jobr creation and economic growth we need to remain competitive in in the 21st century. china puts 9% of its gdp gdp infrastructure. indy 500 of 5% and rising. here we spend less than 2% of gdp. down from the time when we spent 8%.ent these other nations aretis are investing in 21st century infrastructure while we too often are shoring up legacy l systems. we know we need to invest in ous infrasttructure in order to move from a recovery led to long-terr economic growth.m grth. yet, the $2.2 trillion questionn is how to pay for caat is how much the american ai society of civil engineerses estimate we need to spend over the next five years just to bring our infrastructure up to an adequate condition.dequate
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representative ellison, wiener and i introduced diplomat to supplement other federal programs such as the surfacech transportation reauthorizationon which cannot make up for this investment deficit alone. and infrastructure bank will be able to leverage private dollars to merit based projects acrossbe thect country.ntry. the bank would be an independent government owned corporationgoro modeled after the european investment bank which has been successfully investing ineur european transportation energy and telecommunications projectso for over 50 years. o in 2008, the european investmenk bank lent $81 billion to finance projects and have a target ofndh $112 billion last year. year our proposed bank would bebank e managed by a five member board hf directors with public andwit private sector experienceprivat appointed to a sixe year term y the president with advice andvi consent of the senatece a but tl
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board defends the could alsential function would bectior initial federal on this and uses proceeds from the issuance to offer loans and loan guarantees to transportation,enviroental, n environmental, energy and telecommunications broadband project. the board under the direction ofn of th the treasury secretary could also buy and sell infrastructurr related loans and securities creating a secondary market fora u.s. infrastructure developmentf and increasing investments inse the sectors.under the memberthe board wou bld be an executive committee headed by ae executive director including a chief compliance officer, chiefl financial officer, chief asset and liabilityr, management officer, chief loan originationn ief cer, chief operations officer, chief list operational officer and general counsel. c the exit of committee would handle the day-to-day operations and help finance andhave fince infrastructure experts thature would recommend projects to thee board. i am much aware of the concern about past experience with other
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entities.her the bank would also have a five member risk-management committe headed byco the chief risk offii to create financial credit and operational risk-management operat guidelines and ensure guelines an diversification of lendingdiveri activities both regional and infrastructure project types. finally, the bank would have a e five member audit committee headed by the chief compliance officer of work with outside auditors providing auditingaudtp activities to the bank. owls a whole, the banquet objectively review projects come up provide financing for those with clear economic environmental and social benefits. criteria for this merit basedrit project selection process mightn include a transportation project ability to reduce surface or aio traffic congestion. a water project public health benefits and a and energy productivity toenergy prod redus emiss or a telecommunications project emphasis on deploying broadbandd to the rural and disadvantagedle communities. the bank, as we proposed, istald
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capitalized like other development banks that the united states has helped fund, such as the world bank. w it would include $25 billion inu paidld in capital to 5 billion l annuall appropriations.iatis an additional $225 billion woulo be available at the call of the treasury secretary to meet the bank's obligations if necessaryf with a conservative leverage ratio of 2.5-1. this is what the europeanba investment bank does. the bank could potentially issue of to $625 billion in bonds. i emphasize the banks that weze are weproposing would need to bu self sustaining. meaning the loans would need to susta be repaid, including through user fees or other mechanisms. and a good exit will be strong candidate project, as the mayors villaraigosa will tell you is the los angeles plan to expand the l.a. rail system usingenue
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revenue from a half cento sales-tax increase approved by y voters. as the mayor has said before, ao government vloan would enable te completion of the project in te years instead of 30. of 3 perhaps even have a lower-cost. again, your subcommittee faces many challenges identified inhae revenue streams to make that we've needed to be committed inf investment on its projects across the country. i believe a national infrastructure bank has theinfr potential to channel privatehana dollars from pension funds, orns will find some insurance companies and the like to create a u.s. infrastructure development market that can help meet that need. calpers, the largest fund has already made $700 millionght 70 infrastructure catmints and is looking to make more.0 infrastu. and so doing it is following the path of the pension funds andsa australia, canada and europe. so the moneye. is out there. the even despite the downrturn. des wet need to make sure that it gets put to work for america.
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our proposal has been endorsed by mayor bloomberg.loober the concept of the proposal has been endorsed by mayor bloomberg, governor rendell and schwarzenegger's build america's future, as well as the national governors' association by the civil engineers, by the u.s. chamber, by labour organizations that have support from across a the spectrum of business and labor.d it has been co-sponsored by about 56 of our colleagues including members of this panel bye supplementing existingsup federalp programs, this bank an could provide a crucial revenue to the infrastructure projects that would improve our lives, or lead to job creation and long-term economic growth.rm it's the kind of growth that g america needs to remain needs competitive in the future. final this nation was built on bricks, mortar and fiber optics with a i vision even in difficult
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economic times that public investment and these kind ofind scforts, the transcontinental railroad, the road systems are all built with public investmenw which has created enormous in economic growth in this nation.n we need to do it again.d i think the committee very muchm for asking me to be here. >> thank you, miss delauro.>> i'm glad you mentioned thetionee transcontinental railroad. th that was a man of massachusettst who met lincoln and oak bluffse iowa. the chairmen would recognize mr. defazio. defaz >> thank you, mr. chairman. and ranking member tiberi for holding this, which is and i understand is the third hearing on the need for additional funding for and for stricter fui investment. i'm not going to reiterate or gg bore you with the statistics ona the incredible state of disrepair of our current infrastructure. but, you


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