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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 29, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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say even when we have our own armed services or personnel firing upon the military establishment, the radar systems and other components of foreign nations defense system on foreign soil, regardless of what we have boots and the ground, it seems to me to be hard to say it does not involve hostilities. given the limitations of our time, i would like to come back to this if we have time -- in your opinion, is this question of the constitutionality of the war powers resolution 1 that logically could or would be resolved in any article 3 court proceeding in light of the political question doctrine and immunity that might be enjoyed by one or more parties to any
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suit that might be brought? >> i think it's a good question. i think it's highly unlikely. there was in the vietnam era a number of cases. some cases did get into court. but the general pattern of the case law has been these suits have been dismissed on some preliminary ground. going to the earlier point, which someone is firing when there are booths on the ground, does that rise to the level of hostilities. in prior administrations, in situations in lebanon, grenada the persian gulf tanker controversy, bosnia, kosovo, all were circumstances in which
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there were casualties and boots on the ground. many, many more munitions dropped. those were not deemed to be hostilities. it is on that basis we have come here saying this actual situation fits within the frame of hostilities as it has been understood and does not trigger the 60 day limit. the final point -- >> i know you have a final point you want to make and have a final question i want to ask. for purposes of the discuss and here we are dealing with hostilities. if you agree that we were dealing with are still a lease. would the president not have to justify -- when the president
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have to articulate a military justification for our involvement based on the language in section 1541, meaning they are justified by a statutory authorization for congress by a definite -- declaration of war or a national emergency created by an attack on the united states by its territory -- on its territory. wouldn't that be the president's duty? >> the president has complied with the reporting provisions. talking about the reporting obligations. the requirement in section 1541 that says, recognizes the constitutional power, the article to commander-in-chief power of the president to introduce the armed forces into
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the skillet these are exercised only pursuant to a declaration of war caused-story authorization or a national security, and emergency created by an attack. that's what i'm talking about. >> as you can imagine, these are questions that have been debated for years. that's a statement by the 1973 congress by what it thinks the president's capacity is to introduce forces. take the professor from columbia law school and his book on foreign affairs and the constitution -- he describes our range of military actions last of hostilities and less than war that have been done outside the scope of that. the question is is that an exhaustive list or is it not an exhaustive list? the critical point here is what we are doing here is the provisions of the statute from our perspective are not
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triggered. therefore we do not even get to the question whether the constitutionality of the statute is in play. we have no intention in this situation to raise that issue and we are operating as a matter of good faith statutory interpretation based on the very unusual facts present here. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. i would like to thank the chairman for his leadership for convening five different hearings on the actions in libya and i would like to thank senator lugar and others on the critical questions that pertain to the war powers resolution. in the face of the atrocities committed by muammar gaddafi this year, the united states did have an obligation to protect the libyan people from the very real threat of massacre. i supported and applauded 1973 to protect libyan civilians and was encouraged by the strong international consensus
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surrounding the issue and have supported u.s. military gateman as one per punt -- one component of the project led by nato. i have real and growing concerns about the approach to the role -- the war powers issue in the president the president has said here. i have always found to enable and compelling advocate i'm reminded -- i'm reminded of the old saw -- when the facts are on your -- today, you have argued the facts. yet argued as ably as one possibly could and explained a very narrow reading of hostilities. a number of the senators to have spoken before me reflected the fact our constituents are finding very real tension between a common sense understanding of hostilities in the exercise of statutory construction in which you are engaged in your role to define these narrowing factors of
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mission, exposure, and means of escalation. the only part of the senators, and i would agree with is the concern about the statistics and the use of the percentage justification. other than that, i find your focus on the unique facts of the libyan situation largely compelling. i am hopeful that later today our committee will move to make an appropriate resolution to this ongoing impasse between the administration and the senate. you repeatedly referred to one of the good outcomes of the war powers resolution being it promotes enter branch dialogue. i suspect you've got a good deal of that dialogue today. a few questions i would be interested in hearing your input on -- understanding and respecting the difference in our constitutional rules. i would urge you to answer this in the context of the others -- what else could we have been
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doing between the branches to foster that dialogue. as you know through a scholarship, the war powers resolution is a rough-hewn artifact of its time. i've been very concerned that through a lack of respect and application, it has drifted into near irrelevance. i was encouraged to hear the testimony that suggests this administration of firms its constitutionality, its relevance going forward, and i would hope like to work in partnership to find ways to make it an effective tool a better bridge dialogue. first, and your response to senator lugar, he said drones do not get a pass under the war powers resolution. you also made a telling reference to cyber warfare. the department of defense just issued a new statement on cyber warfare policy. since you have given great thought to these questions, how might you suggest we update the war powers resolution to reflect the reality of modern warfare,
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one in which many of the factors cited by your predecessor could not have anticipated and reflect some of the points raised by center webb, or the threat of escalation might be limited and the very real understanding of hostilities would be if engaged in war. that's my main concern of the strained and narrow reading of hostilities we have in front of us today. how would you updated to take account of these modern developments in the war capabilities of our nation? >> thank you, senator, and i appreciate your thoughtful remarks. the number one, if we are concerned about unmanned uses of weapons that can deliver huge volumes of violence, festive a
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-- a statute that deals with the introduction armed forces does not deal with that situation. at times the war powers act passed, they were not -- or think about vietnam. they were not thinking about drones or cyber attacks. to change the law to reflect the modern realities of conflict. second, the war powers resolution functions in a way to promote dialogue by a deadline. while it is unclear what triggers the deadline and where the state of affairs is supposed to trigger the deadline is deliberately vague. it puts the congress and president in a position -- to decide if the urgency of the deadline actually promotes a dialogue -- in a book i wrote a
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number of years ago, i address that by saying you could have a statute that directly requires dialogue between congress and the executive branch. particularly a group of senior leaders of congress. the bill was discussed for a long time. a very distinguished commission led by jim baker, warren christopher who had been passed away, and lee hamilton proposed another way to consider the question. as much as any of you, i agree this is not a mathematical calculating aren't -- calculating machine. it requires judgment.
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therefore, it's important to try to direct -- try to get away from false metrics toward things that reflected judgments made through inter-branch dialogue. i think the process here is putting us to the question, if the legal issue is resolved one way or another, the choice remains what to do about the civilians in libya. did the 1973 congress intend they be left unprotected after 60 days or did they not think about this situation? this goes back to the major structural flaw of the war powers resolution has been a
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requires an automatic termination after 60 days without congress making a specific and judgment as to whether this is a case they like to authorize force or not. you cannot run these kinds of things by autopilot. it has to be done through judgment, belittle judgment of the kind you exercise every day. >> if that particular provision in the act, one that compels an action through the inaction of this said that may seems to have reflected the inclination toward -- one other question i would like to get to is the on the question of expropriating funds or taking funds of the regime with which we have suspended relations but where we have not yet recognize -- what is the -- where the foreign- policy implications.
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the council to serve with me identified a provision of the patriot act with which was previously unfamiliar that claims it's illegal for the united states -- what if any tensions d.c. with the war powers resolution and patriot act and what of the challenges we might be raising in the future given the likelihood we are going to proceed to expropriate and reallocate funds that are legally controlled by muammar gaddafi's regime. >> that's an excellent question. the legislation that has been proposed is designed to address the question precisely because under the international emergency economic powers act was designed as a freeze, not sees. -- not sieze.
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you could proceed under which describe for vesting. there is still the question of international law about investing because expropriations, as you know, from the cuban examples, raise questions of international challenge. i think the best approach is to enact a vesting legislation which i think, instead of putting into a past historical frame, is a specific application of congressional judgment to deal with this situation before you now which calls for some consideration of how to get resources to the tnc and the people of libya. >> thank you for your testimony and i look forward to working with you on these issues. >> thank you. i have been watching from afar
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on the tv broadcast and i am intrigued by the creed of explanations we have had here today. i want to give you a quote from then senator obama in december of 2007. he said the president does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorizing military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. i have heard the discussion of that. is that still his position? >> the key word is military attack. is that from "the boston globe?" >> this was not just one publication. may have originated there. how many angels can dance on the head of the pen when you're talking about military air attack or is it a hostility -- it seems to me he was clear in
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this statement. is this still his position? >> as i am understand it, there was a series of questions posed to various candidates and answered by their campaigns. my own view of that phrase -- that was not involved with the campaign, is that it is an overly ltd. statement of the president's constitutional authorities. i think instead of military attack, if it said make war, that would be a correct statement of law. >> this is all the same thing, isn't it? >> make war has specific meaning under the constitution. >> are we making war on libya? >> we are not. not for purposes of the constitution. i said that in my testimony. >> is this or is this not the president's position at this time? >> the position of the president with regard to this action is
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set forth in my testimony. >> can you give me a yes or no? is this or is this not the president's position at this time? >> i did not hear it clearly enough. >> "the president does not have power under the constitutional -- and the constitution to unilaterally opt rise in a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping a national imminent threat to the nation." >> i do not think that is legally correct. >> i'm not asking about legally correct. is this or is this not the president's position today? >> i have not asked, but i would be surprised because i do not believe it to be legally correct. >> i'm not talking about that. i'm talking about the president of the united states. is this or is this not his position today? >> i do not know.
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i have not asked him that question. i do believe the same rules applies to presidents of both parties and i believe the general understanding of the constitutional structure would be that is too limited a statement for whoever is president. >> as you know, president obama's press the -- predecessor, for every conflict that occurred under his watch, he came to congress and ask for authorization. you are aware of that, of course. >> president george w. bush came with regard to 9/11, the authorization of military -- authorization of use of military force with the respect to the taliban and al qaeda and he came with regard in iraq. >> notwithstanding these other explanation than arguments, don't you agree with me that would be a really good idea to come to congress and ask for
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that authorization under the circumstances? >> my understanding is the administration has, going back to march 23rd, expressed it would welcome this support. it has also taken the position from the beginning acting consistently with the war powers resolution. i think you are putting your finger and the important question, which is the debate over a lot can go on forever. but there is an important and urgent question which is what happens to the civilians of libya. that's a decision that can be made by this body, this committee and then by the senate as a whole. >> you can go beyond that. you talked about the citizens of libya, but we have a serious situation in syria right now. the syrians are not even armed and they're being attacked by their government. verses libya, where there is actually armed conflict going on. you would agree with that,
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correct? >> senator, this is an exciting time at the state department. what can i say? there's only one of these countries with respect to the un security council and nato mission with this level of detail and this kind of design role. the analysis we are describing applies to the libyan situation. >> my point is that it deserves a debate the american people can hear. is that fair enough? >> the more dialogue and debate on these matters of life and death, the better for all of us. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing today. we appreciate you being here. i think i am last. hopefully there's not too much additional time you will be required. it was recently reported the u.s. admiral in charge of native statedoperations command a
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-- and i'm not stating this exactly -- he said the removal of the chain of command is consistent with the justification to protect citizens. do you believe that statement is consistent with the un security council resolution and native troops, if they are actively seeking to topple muammar gaddafi that that is consistent with the resolution? >> the un resolution calls for the protection of civilians in civilian populated areas. native does not target individuals. they have made it clear they are not targeting individuals. earlier, i think it may have been before you came in, i pointed out there was a report and admiral had made a comment about the real mission being to
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target khaddafi. -- to target gaddafi. that is not the rules of engagement they are falling. >> to follow that a little further, how would you differentiate between degrading the regime's ability to attack civilians and actively targeting muammar gaddafi himself? is there a line there you can draw or -- >> most of that -- most of it is focused in the operational terms, centered on the destruction of equipment. radar, and-aircraft, which can be mounted on fixed and mobile devices. the targeting has been directed at that command-and-control.
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i note in my own testimony that his own forces rules of engagement seem to authorize them to indiscriminately attack civilians and therefore, if they have the apparatus by which they can do that, large numbers of civilians would be killed and we would not be serving our mission, which is to protect the civilians in the civilian- populated areas. with regard to be targeting of leaders, i think the important point to emphasize from the beginning has been this is a multi-tool operation involving diplomacy, development, asset freezes, and a unanimous referral of this to the international criminal courts and the arrest warrants were issued yesterday. as was the case with slub on
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milosevic, hey -- slobodan milosevic, removal to international criminal trial, not necessarily through the trials of conflict. president milosevic, sometime after the close of the episode when to the hague where he was tried and he died there while a prisoner. >> i would like to ask some questions relative to the transitional national council. what the thinking is of the justice department relative to recognizing the tnc formally. if we were to do that, does this have an impact on our policy, our legal policies with respect to libya?
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for example, how we would deal with any assets? >> senator, international law focuses on the question of recognition, and recognition tends to follow facts on the ground. as a general rule, we are reluctant to recognize entities that do not control entire countries because then they are responsible for parts of the country that they do not control. we are reluctant to recognize leaders that control parts of the country because then you are absolving them for parts of the country that they do control. recognition is not the only tool. there are ways to acknowledge that a particular entity is an illegitimate entity of the people. that will obviously and then go
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to the question ultimately of the extent to which the various assets can be available to the new libya as opposed to muammar gaddafi's old regime. >> with respect to those frozen assets, -- how are we dealing with those assets and the tnc? are there any restrictions that we have put in place about how they can be used by the tnc either now or should the tnc gain control of the country? >> a proposal to try to address the question -- meanwhile, at their regular meetings attended by the secretary in which other countries have made it available to their resources to the tnc bank accounts, etc., so the
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process of supporting the tnc is a long term process that requires close cooperation among allies. >> the access to the bank accounts that you refer to it -- are those bank accounts that would be considered to be part of the frozen assets? >> well, it is always a complicated situation when bank accounts are held by one regime but they appear to be for the purpose of a broader group of individuals. senator luger faced this issue in the philippines. exactly a sorting out who is entitled to gain access to the frozen resources is an exercise in which we are actively engaged. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. we are running up against a
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couple of time conflicts. there is going to be a vote, perhaps several votes, around 12:10. so we are going to excuse you at this point in time to your chagrin and everlasting sorrow, i know. we are going to try to get both of our scholars to be able to get through their opening testimonies and then you can begin if you want to collect your papers and we can try to transition as seamlessly as we can. i want to say to both of our members of panel two -- first of all, i apologize to the committee for the length of time that the first panel took. this is obviously an important topic and we do not want to
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you testimonies.r your testimony on d following -- one of you is in philadelphia and one is in nearby, if we could and need to call you back in order to do this perhaps after the break and finish it and leading off with your panel. we would like to do that unless the senate floor process cooperate in a way that lets people get back here after the vote. we will not know that until we know what happens on the floor. we would like for you to come to the table now. thank you for coming up today and being a >> flied out to capitol hill as the u.s. senate convenes after an hour of general speeches this morning, senators will resume
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work for lower level executive nominations. amendment and final passage votes are set for 11 a.m. this morning. the senate will take up a related package of rule changes to expedite other nominations. and now live senate coverage here on c-span2.
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join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. 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 to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, june 29, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten e. gillibrand, a senator from the state of new york, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: after leader remarks, the senate will be in morning business for an hour.
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the republicans will control the first half, the majority the final half. following morning business, the senate will resume consideration of the presidential appointment efficiency and streamlining act. at 11:00 there will be up to five votes on several amendments and passage of s. 679. we are hopeful that some of the amendments will be disposed of by voice vote. following that, the senate will begin consideration of s. res. 16, which comes out of the rules committee. additional roll call votes on amendments and the resolution are expected today. madam president, often very good ideas, no matter how important, take time to ripen. even when they are ripened -- when they are ripe, they need dedicated advocates to make them a reality. let me give you one example. president harry truman once said, "millions of our citizens do not now have the full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
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millions do not now have protection or security against economic effects of sickness. and the time is now arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity, help them get that protection." that was a quote by harry truman. in 1945, when he spoke those words to congress, time had not yet truly arrived. in fact, it would be another 20 years before truman's good idea was realized. it was 20 years before truman became the first 19 million americans to receive a medicaid card -- medicare card. president lyndon johnson signed medicare and medicaid into law in the truman presidential library in independence, missouri. the law took effect almost a year later. 45 years ago this week on july 1, 1966. the time that medicare took effect, only half of americans 65 and older had access to health care coverage. a third of america's seniors lived in poverty.
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poverty was so common that we didn't know it had a name, president johnson said, describing the time before medicare. today virtually every american over 65 has access to health care. the number of seniors that live below the poverty line has dropped by 75%. that's no accident. medicare provides 47 million americans with the access to care and protection in poverty that president truman envisioned years ago. and medicare and medicaid not only protect seniors from poverty, they also protect those seniors' children. middle-class families often spent themselves into the poor house honoring their commitments to their moms and dads. today seniors and their children have the security and medicare and medicaid will be there to honor their commitment of providing health care, nursing home care when they need it. but medicare doesn't only save american seniors money; it saves their lives. in 1964, just before medicare was signed into law, seniors
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lived an average of not quite 70 years. today the national average is more than 78 years. there is perhaps no achievement greater than that. this law literally extended americans' life expectancy. 46 years ago before signing medicare into law, president johnson made this vow: quote -- "no longer will this nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country." end of quote. democrats to intend that solemn vow, president johnson's. but today medicare is under siege. republicans would trade away the health and safety of trade's seniors for the sake of tax breaks for billionaires, wealthy oil companies, and corporations that ship jobs overseas. they would trade that sense of security, that hand of justice, johnson described, for the tax breaks and corporate jets and their yachts. their ideological budget would end medicare as we know it, once again suggest thing seniors to
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the rising cost of health care. democrats refuse to let that happen. a lot has changed since 1966 and that law. new technologies and medicines are there for diabetes, alzheimer's, park kin son's. we now have hip replacements and chemotherapy, now performed in the united states every single day. medicine that is changed for the better. one thing hasn't changed: seniors need medicare. in fact, the rising cost of health care today means seniors need medicare's protection more now than ever. that's why we will never stop fighting to preserve this successful program. as long as i'm in the senate, i'll oppose republican plans to weaken and undermine it because the republicans' plan to end medicare is one idea whose time will never come. madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum imoarquorum call: mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the
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republican leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: over the past several days, the american people have watched a serious debate unfold right here in washington about our nation's debt and about the future of our economy. and for many, the debate has been extremely illuminating. it's done a lot to clarify where the two parties stand. both sides agree that our deficits andeficits and our debe unsustainable but beyond that the differences are stark. republicans believe that if you increase spending to the point that you can no longer pay the bills, then you need to find a way to cut costs. democrats seem to think that if you increase spending to the point that you can no longer pay the bills, you need to find other people to pick up the tab. this is a fundamental difference between the two parties.
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republicans think that democrats should be held accountable for the way they've mismanaged the national checkbook over the past two years, and democrats seem to think that taxpayers should take the hit. democrats spend beyond their means and now they expect a bailout from the taxpayers. that's what this debate is really all about. it's about holding washington accountable for a change. it's about drawing a line in the sand and saying, no, the taxpayers will not bail out politicians. it's about refusing to subsidize the democrats' irresponsible spending habits another day. democrats have shown through their reckless spending over the past two years that they're not at all concerned about our fiscal future. they shouldn't expect to be rewarded for that. the entire democratic approach to this debate has been astonishly really. i mean, here we are in the midst of two national crises -- 14
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million unemployed and more than $14 trillion in debt. 14 million unemployed and $14 trillion in debt. chronic unemployment and record deficits and debt. higher taxes and more spending. in the middle of a jobs crisis, they want to slam already-struggling businesses with a massive tax hike. in the middle of a debt crisis, they want to borrow and spend more money as a solution to the problem. this isn't a negotiation. it is a parody. in a discussion about reducing the debt, they want to increase -- in discus a discussion about reducing the debt, they want to increase spending. in the middle of a jobs crisis, they want to raise taxes, even
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as they claim to support job creation. well, which is it? yesterday the president went to a manufacturing plant to tout jobs. yet even as he was speaking, his administration was looking to saddle manufacturing companies, including the one he was visiting yesterday, with billions of dollars in new taxes. according to a letter from a group of trade associations, including the national association of manufacturers, this particular tax would be devastating to manufacturers. the president himself said as recently as just six months ago -- six months ago, the president said that keeping taxes where they are enables businesses to hire more workers. six months ago the president said that. in other words, he was saying that raising taxes leads to fewer jobs. so he can call for tax hikes, but he can't call for tax hikes and job creation.
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it's one or the other. six months ago making the argument that tax hikes lose jobs. today out counting jobs on the one hand and pushing for higher taxes on the other. can't have it both ways. the democrats' spending spree has brought us to the brink of an economic calamity and now they're telling taxpayers they won't do anything to prevent it unless the taxpayers hand over more money in the form of tax hikes. and they have the nerve to call their critics "immoral." well, i want to you know that you can call spending trillions more than you have and then expecting others to pick up the tab. that's what this is all b spending trillions more than you have and specking somebody else to pick up the tab. who opposes tax hikes?
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does anybody seriously propose tax hikes as a solution to a jobs crisis? who proposes more spend as a solution to a debt crisis? and who really thinks that if we raise the debt limit now without enacting serious spending cuts and meaningful reforms first, it will lead to greater fiscal discipline later? this is an important principle at stake in this debate. it's not about rich versus poor. it's not about an election. it's about whether washington will ever, ever be held accountable for its mistakes. that's why republicans refuse to let the taxpayers take the hit when it comes to reducing the debt. and that's why all 47
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republicans in the senate support a balanced budget amendment to the u.s. constitution. the debate we've been having here over the past few days shows more than ever why we need a balanced budget amendment in congress. a balanced budget amendment would require that lawmakers stop spending money we don't have. when we come back after july 4, we'll fight for an opportunity to vote on it. broke or balanced, that's the choice. the american people should know where their senators stand on this issue of accountability. senators can talk all day long about the importance of balancing the books and living within our means, but a vote in favor of the balanced budget amendment will show that we actually mean it. a vote against it will show that we don't.
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look, no one denies that both parties are guilty of spending beyond our means, but this white house -- this white house -- has taken wasteful spending to new heights, and its allies in congress are all too quick to defend it. the last time the senate voted on a balanced budget amendment, the government's annual deficit was about $100 billion. the national debt was about $5.5 trillion. and it failed by a single vote. a single vote. today the annual deficit is $1.6 trillion and the national debt is $14.5 trillion. the president and his party need to be held accountable. the fiscal mess they've helped create calls for rehab.
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that's what the balanced budget amendment would provide, a spending straitjacket. no more blank checks. if democrats won't pass a budget of their own, it's time americans impose a budget on them. americans aren't about to let democrats use another crisis as an excuse to expand the size of government. if ever there was a time for washington to pass through a crisis and come out smaller on the other side, it is right now. republicans are totally united in this effort. all we need is 20 democrats to join us. washington should be forced to make the kind of difficult choices the rest of the country has to make. lawmakers should have to make the case for a spending increase before they approve it. never again can they just spend
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away and then demand in the teeth of a crisis that taxpayers cough up the money. as i said earlier, a taxpayer bailout. it's time to put the american people back at the helm of our ship of state. and if that's what this vote achieves, then this debate we're having this summer will have been worth it. if washington is forced to finally reform its ways, then one day we'll look back and say that the american people won this debate. and we'll say that the balanced budget amendment was just the thing we needed to get the house in order. broke or balanced, that's the choice before us. so i look forward to this vote. the american people clearly want it. let's hold washington accountable and let's begin to restore power to the people who sent us here not to do our own
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will, but to carry out theirs. that's the principle at stake here. it's about the kind of government we want to have, a government of the people or a government above the people. that's the choice. much depends on the outcome. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the second half. mr. hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with my republican colleagues. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: madam president, today we're beginning what might prove one of the most consequential debates in our
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nation's history. the american people are demanding that congress debate and pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. they're going to get that debate, and i am confident that if congressmen and senators listen to their constituents, the citizens of this nation are going to have the opportunity to ratify a balanced budget amendment this year. all 47 republican members of the senate are of one mind on the need for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. we have listened to our constituents who are pleading with us to take action that will affirmatively -- permanently resolve our debt crisis and keep us from getting into this situation again. that situation is a disaster. we all know the numbers. three straight trillion-dollar-plus deficits. $14.5 trillion in debt rising every day. $62 trillion in total thraoeublt that this -- in total liability that this government owns.
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since senate democrats last passed a budget, that was over 790 days ago, our national debt has risen by $3.2 trillion. and now the administration is asking for more. we simply can't do this anymore. 100% of our tax revenues are spent on mandatory spending and interest on the debt. every other penny is borrowed. the money is simply not there to finance a government of this size, and everyone knows this, though not everyone will admit it. they know that deficit spending and skyrocketing debt have come to an end. our nation's current debt, the g.d.p. ratio, is 95%. countries with debt of 90% above g.d.p. have countries 1% below normal. our debt is a lead weight around the neck of the economy. but in the current negotiations over the debt limit, the administration insists that it
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is republicans who by refusing to pass an increase of the debt limit that does not include meaningful efforts to address our fiscal situation are holding back the economic recovery and undercutting the stock and bond markets. this has things exactly backward. the markets understand that our long-term deficit projections are moving toward a full-blown debt crisis. the markets understand that we are currently on the glide path to greece. and the markets would respond like gangbusters to spending cuts, spending caps and a balanced budget amendment that brings our long-term fiscal problems under control. i am more convinced than ever that a balanced budget amendment to the constitution is essential if we are to right our fiscal ship. this is not the first time that we've been down this road, but the stakes could not be higher this time. and the amendment could not be better designed to address the crisis. our amendment is not just an amendment for fiscal balance.
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it is an amendment that takes on the root cause of our current debt crisis, and that is government spending. our amendment requires a balanced budget. it establishes a spending cap of 18% of g.d.p. and it establishes supermajority requirements for tax increases or future debt limit increases. we will hear a number of tired arguments against the b.b.a. it's opponents will say that the amendment is not properly vetted. but we've been talking about the balanced budget amendment for decades. and if we had passed it back in 1997 when it failed by one vote short of being sent to the states for ratification, we would not be in the mess we're in today. they will say that it stacks the debt by requiring spending cuts rather than tax increases to balance the budget. this is an issue that i will address at length, but the american people understand that the solution to a spending crisis is not to give the government more money to spend, especially this government.
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they will say that a balanced budget amendment is unnecessary; congress just needs to do its job. but we've heard this over and over before, and the american people know that waiting for congress to balance the budget and shrink the size of government without a constitutional amendment is less fruitful than waiting for a gado. they will say the spending cuts required as a result of this b.b.a. will hurt tkheurpb and the elderly, but the real harm to our children will be when we hand them a future of national indebtedness. the real harm to the elderly will be the bankruptcy of the nation's entitlement programs. the guaranteed result of the president's failure to lead on entitlement reform. finally they will say that the constitution should not be amended. i agree that it should not be amended lightly, but the founders themselves expected that changing circumstances and national emergencies would demand amendments to the constitution from time to time. the american people understand
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that this is one of those times. in this country, the people are sovereign. the constitution is their constitution, and they are demanding that congress pass a balanced budget amendment and send it to them and the states for ratification. my hope is that the party of thomas jefferson will listen to their constituents and follow their founder's lead keeping faith in the people and their good sense and stewardship over the constitution. later this summer we will vote on a balanced budget amendment, god willing this fall the people in the states will start down the road to ratification. i am proud to be joined this morning by several of my colleagues who have been critical leaders on the balanced budget amendment. each brings a unique perspective to this debate, and i think it is great that they are standing up to lead on this issue. mr. president, i would like to yield five minutes to my colleague, the junior senator from kentucky. he is a remarkable spokesperson for limited government and i'm
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glad to have him on my side in the coming fight for the balanced budget amendment. mr. paul: thank you. mr. president -- madam president, the balanced budget amendment, i think is interesting when you look at sort of polls and you ask the american public: do you approve of what congress is doing? do you approve of congressional action? do you think they're doing a good job. 14% to 15% of the american public think we're doing a good job. the other side of that equation is you ask the in do you think a balanced budget amendment would help congress do a better job? about 75% to 80% think we would do a better job. i don't think this is a partisan issue, but i'd like to ask the question both to the senator from utah and perhaps for an opinion from the senator from texas: do you think this should be a partisan issue or do you think this goes beyond partisanship and can we get the democrats to understand this isn't a republican-democrat issue but really an issue for the good of country?
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mr. hatch: this should go way beyond partisanship. if we pass it here by the requisite two-thirds vote and we pass it in the house -- which we will -- this would be submitted to the states. and then the states can make the determination whether or not we have a balanced budget amendment. the democrats who hate the balanced budget amendment -- some of them; in fact, most of them -- all we have to do is get 13 stays to defeat it -- states to gheit it. we have to get 38 states to win. frankly, we will win this because the american people are with us. this is the right thing to do. it's the right thing to do at this time. it is the only thing that is get us to right this fiscal ship. mr. paul: what do you say to those who say statutory caps would work; something like gramm-rudman, something like pay-as-you-go. mr. hatch: gram-rudman lasted a year and a half, two years before the same people went on a spending spree again, though it was a light spending spree compared to today.
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today it's multitrillions of dollars. that has never worked. we've got to put a straitjacket into this matter where the congress has to live like 49 states have to live. there is only one state that doesn't require a balanced budget in their state constitutions. why shouldn't we have a requisite -- a requisite desire, not only desire but rule to have a balanced budget as well? i'm convinced we've got to do it, after being in the senate for 35 years and seeing year after year after year people unwilling to do this. mr. paul: i think what's interesting, if you look at this and you really look at polling data and say who is for the balanced budget amendment, it goes across all party lines. if you look at independents, if you look at democrats, republicans, it's in the high 60's to the mid70's in the percentages of the public who would like to see this. i think it goes hand in hand with the fact that they don't think we're doing a good enough job up here and we need more
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back pwoeb and the constitution -- backbone and the constitution is supposed to be our backbone. it helps us restrain the size and growth of government. i can't see an argument against this. i don't understand how a vast majority of the public can be for this and this body refuses to act. mr. hatch: i think the senator makes some very good points there. frankly, i know this body very well. i've been here -- i'm the most senior republican. i've been here 35 years. i've seen year after year after year excuses to go into debt, excuses to deficit spend, excuses for why they're putting our country into this terrible state of bankruptcy. just plain excuses. of course they hide behind the fact that they're trying to do it for the good of the people. it's not for the good of the people. it's not good to live -- to not live within your means. unfortunately, that's what's been going on here for all of the time i've been here. mr. paul: i think one of the alarming things that we see is
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that on the course we are taking now, if we do nothing dramatic to reform the process, if we don't pass a balanced budget amendment, within about a decade the budget will be entirely consumed by entitlements and interest. this is being driven by something really beyond the control of republicans, beyond the control of democrats. out of everyone's hands. it has to do with the fact that we're living longer and that there are fewer young people and more old people because a lot of babies were born after world war ii. these are disem graphic facts we can't escape. when you look at some of the charts of what goes on with this, you'll see what happens if we do nothing. you see the projected debt levels that go out here. most of this debt problem is the entitlements. we have to come together as parties -- the balanced budget amendment will help us to do this, but then we need to acknowledge that these problems exist, and we need to come together, both parties, and figure out solutions. but i think the balanced budget
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amendment may well be what forces us to really have the discussion. i think to be good legislate,we need to decide priorities. instead of just adding on new program after new program, we have 80 dinch federal programs that are -- 80 different federal programs that are work programs. we need to be consolidating and minimizing govment but we have to do t and i think the balanced budget amendment would allow us to have a discussion in this body on where we would cut spending. mr. hatch: i want to thank the distinguished senator from kentucky. he states it very, very well. that's the whole purpose of the balanced budget amendment. let me just thank him for his cogent remarks. last week i signed a pledge that many people in this body are hearing about from their constituents. it is called the cut, cap, and balance pledge. those of us who sign this pledge committed ourselves to significant spending cuts. a cap on government spend and a
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balanced budget amendment to the constitution as a condition for supporting any increase in the debt limit. and i was pleased to work with my colleague from utah, senator lee, in developing the balanced budget amendment that is supported by every republican in this body. and of course we worked with many others as well, especially senator cornyn. i am now pleased to be work with him on the goals of the cut, cap, and balance coalition, a remarkable group of grass-roots activists committed to getting our nation's spending under control. now, mr. president, i yield -- madam president, i yield five minutes to my friend and colleague from utah, senator lee. mr. lee: thank you very much. i want to thank the distinguished senator, my senior senator from utah, senator hatch, for his leadership on the balanced budget amendment over the years. he's been consistent and stalwart advocate for the cause of amending the constitution in sufficient a way that we restrict congress's ability to engage in deficit spending.
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it is the practice of perpetual reckless deficit spending that has created this almost $15 trillion debt that we're now dealing with. it is this practice of perpetual excessive deficit spending that has fueled the expansion of the federal government far beyond the limits that the founding fathers had in mind, and far beyond the natural limits that this government can handle. it is important to remember that we're now spending through the federal government more than 25% of our annual g.d.p., more than a quarter of every dollar that moves through the american economy is consumed by washington. this is a problem. this is a problem, and it's unfortunately not something that is at all consistent with where we have been historically as americans. we have to remember that for about the first 140 years of our republic's existence under the constitution, our federal spending was nowhere near this
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high as a percentage of g.d.p. between 1790 and the early 1930's, the federal government tended to spend between $ 1.5% d 4% of g.d.p. every year, year in and year out. there were two blips, one during the civil war and one after world war i. but after they passed, we went right back to where we had been before. that started to change in the 1930's and we have been upon a gradual upswing almost ever since then to where we're now above 25%. but if gets worse. by the year 2035, we are predicted to be spending almost 34% of gross domestic product through the federal government every single year. as a result, the federal government will be commanding very substantial portion of the american economy. that makes every american less
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free. the more government spends, the more money it has access to. and the more it borrows on our behalf, the less free we become, the less individual liberty we have to spend our money, to use our resources to devote our lives in those pursuits that we would choose. that's why the cut, cap, and balance pledge is necessary to support individual liberty, to protect our most basic freedoms, is because it will protect us from the inexorable growth of government. what it says is we're at an important time in american history, a time where we are being asked to extend our debt limit again, a time when we are being asked to let the federal government borrow even more money against our children and grandchildren. this is a problem. now, one reason why we're willing to sign this pledge, we're willing to say, okay, we've been put 0en a path where the government is spending at
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this rate -- we can't halt that immediately -- we're willing to extend the limit, but only if certain conditions have been satisfied. we need cuts. we need some kind of significant cuts to our spend right now. we need some kind of statutory spending cap to put us on a gradual glide path toward a balanced budget. and most importantly we have to amend the u.s. constitution so as to say that this will not continue in perpetuity and future congresses won't be able to do what senator hatch referred to a minute ago, which is exempt itself out of statutory spending caps once it has adopted them. we can't bind a future congress to cut $2 trillion over the course of a decade or more because we can't commit a future congress to do what we want it to do, unless of course we amend the constitution, which is why we have to do that right now. this is essential to economic progress in america. this is essential to economic
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well-being and to individual liberty in america the. i'd loo love to talk to anyone about this who wants to. i've invited utahans who may be in town and i invite anyone within the sound of my voice, here or elsewhere, to scwhroin me in my office, this wednesday and every wednesday at 3:30 where we have what we refer to as a jell-o bar. utah consumes more jell-o per capita than any other state in the union. we will talk to you about the cut, cap, and balance pledge. thank you very much. mr. hatch: i want to thank my colleague from utah. he is a wonderful man and it is a wonderful privilege to serving with him in -- to serve with him in the senate. i don't have enough good words to say about my friend from texas, who was on the texas supreme court before coming here, senator cornyn. from the minute that he set foot in this chairnlings he has been a strong conservative dedicated
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to conservatism. from the beginning, he knew we needed to pass a balanced budget amendment. i yield five minutes to my friend and colleague from texas, senator john cornyn. mr. cornyn: madam president, i join my colleagues from kentucky and the junior senator from utah in recognizing the leadership of the senior nor from utah, senator hatch, on this even more compelling issue, the balanced budget amendment, today than it was even back in 1997, and i couldn't help but be struck by the figures that the senior senator from utah mentioned earlier when he said that in 1997 the house of representatives passed a balanced budget amendment. it came to the senate and failed by one vote. the deficit in 1997 was ruffly $-- was roughly $107 billion. today it is $1.5 trillion. the national debt in 1997, if i
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recall what the senator said -- he can correct me if i am wrong -- today it is roughly $14.3 trillion, approaching $15 trillion. back in 1997, it was $5 trillion. did i get those figures correct? mr. hatch: back in 1-9d 1997, e lost it by one vote. we had 67 votes. one of our senators slipped on us and we lost it by one vote. mr. cornyn: i agree with the senator from kentucky who says that this is not a part sarin. back in 1997, 11 of our democratic colleagues joined republicans to vote in favor of a balanced budget amendment and if there is an issue that threatens not only the economy but also our national security today, more than the national debt, i don't know what it is. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mullen, said that the single largest threat
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to our national security is the debt. secretary of state hillary cli clinton said that the debt sends a message of weakness internationally. i would say to my colleagues, i was just over in -- over at the heritage foundation giving a speech. they're studying the role of china in the world. the rise of china. but particularly what i was concerned about and the subject of my remarks was the fact that the treasury department estimates that $1.1 trillion of u.s. debt is held by the communist chinese government. that's about a third of all of our outstanding debt. and we know that at least on one occasion a retired chinese general said that if we didn't do what china wanted, that they would then threaten to disrupt our economy by selling off the debt that they own. but i would just like to ask my colleagues if they would care to comment.
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i know larry lindsey, the renowned economist, wrote an article recently where he cited there are three things that worry him most about high unemployment and the -- really, the has tiewd of the -- the lacitude of the private sector. he said it is slow economic growth, of course, because many in the private sector are discouraged, the entrepreneurs who create jobs, the job creators who would otherwise expand are -- slow economic growth concerns him. the last quarter requests 1.8% of our gross domestic product. not enough to generate the kind of jobs to get people back to work. and one reason for our high employment. but he said the other two things that worry him the most are the interest payments on our national debt. and he points out that our -- because of the federal reserve policy, the interest rates on our national debt are at below historic norms. and he points out, if, for
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example, inflation were to kick in or the federal reserve for some reason should decide to tighten its policy and raise interest rates whashes it would do to -- what it would do to balloon the interest payments on our national debt and threaten our ability to fund national defense and other issues as w he also points out that the exploding cost of the health care bill with more and more employers incentivized to dump people on the state-based exchanges subsidized by taxpayers as opposed to their employers, but i wonder if any of my colleagues -- i see the senator from kentucky may have some comments about the interest on the debt and what he views as a threat to our economy and our security. mr. paul: well, he talks about what happens if interest rates rise. from every point in interest rates rising, it adds $140 billion. so if we get back to an historic
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average it would add $4.9 trillion to our debt problem. here's the rub. we're having discussions where people are talking about, we're going to cut $2.5 trillion over ten years. well, senator hatch points out that we cannot bind future congresses. senator lee has said the same thing. so when they promise us they're going to cut $2.5 trillion, dpair that to what happens if -- compare that to what happens if interest rates rise. all of a sudden we have $5 trillion in extra expenses. we must bind ourselves by amending the constitution. mr. cornyn: i couldn't agree more with the senator from kentucky. this is really the silent but potentially deadly threat to our whole economy if interest rates were to go up, if china or -- the presiding officer: senator, you have consumed five minutes. mr. cornyn: they're not going to buy it at current rates. we're going to offer a better rate of run. so i join my colleagues in
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supporting the balanced budget amendment. i look forward to the vote on this amendment sometime during the week of july the 18th, i think the we're shooting for. we invite our colleagues on the other side to join us. and the reason we're here today is because it is important to let the people across the country know what we are doing, the solution we are proposing and to ask them to encourage other senators and congressmen to support it because this is, i think, the single most important thing we could do get our economy back on track and to save generations in the future. mr. hatch: i want to thank my colleague for his cogent remarks. mr. president, my colleagues in north dakota, senator hoeven, knows a thing or two about balancing budgets. as he former gone, he knows that this is something that states have to go every day. governors and legislators balance their books -- legislatures balance their books by making the tough decisions that the federal government is too often unwilling to make.
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so, mr. president, i yield the remaining time to senator hoeven. mr. hoeven: i want to thank the distinguished senator from utah for take a lead on this balanced budget amendment. i am pleased to join him, pleased to be one of the original cosponsors, and i am extremely pleased that every member of the republican caucus are supporting this balanced budget amendment. and doing everything we can tow reach across the aisle and bring our democrat colleagues with us and then to send this balanced budget amendment, to vote to pass this balanced budget amendment by two-thirds vote and then send it tout to the states for ratification. three-fourths of the states would have to ratify it as well. i believe they will. what a great way for us to join together at a federal and a state level to make sure that we live within our means, that we balance our budget and we do the things we need to do to not only get this economy back on track but to make sure that future generations can enjoy the great country, the great opportunity
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that we and those that have gone before us have enjoyed in the united states of america. we have that opportunity. we need to seize that opportunity by passing this balanced budget amendment. as the senior senator from utah correctly mentioned a minute ago, i had the opportunity, great honor and privilege to serve my state as governor. as a matter of fact, at the time that i was elected to the united states senate last year, i was the longest-serving governor in the united states. i served for a decade. every single year we balanced our budget. 49 of the 50 states have balanced budget amendment requirements. the only one that doesn't is vermont. 49 states have that requirement in their constitution. this year so far 46 of the states have balanced their budget. those that have -- alaska, arizona, california and washington state are still working on it, but 46 have already balanced their budgets.
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families balance their budget. businesses have to balance their budget. cities have to balance their budget. states have to balance their budget. the federal government needs to balance its budget. it's not doing that. when you look at the statistics right now -- we've gone through them before -- but these statistics we've got to continue to talk about our current situation is something we've got to continue to talk about with the american people. right now our revenues are $2.2 trillion. annual revenues to the federal treasury, $2.2 trillion. our expenses are $3.7 trillion. that's about a $1.5 trillion, $1.6 trillion deficit each and every year. when you roll that up, that's why we are now at $14.5 trillion in debt. and that debt continues to grow. but it's like any debt, like any family can tell you or any business can tell you or a state can tell you that as you
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continue to accumulate and grow that deficit and accumulate that debt it, gets harder and harder to get on top of it. it's like having credit cards. as you continue to charge that balance on the credit card, it gets more and more difficult to get on top of that debt and deficit and reduce it. so we've got to get started. we've got to get going. the task gets harder, not easier. that's what this balanced budget amendment is all about. and we need the president to lead. when we talk about getting this debt under control, we need the president to lead. we can't have a situation where we spend more and then simply borrow more or try to raise taxes to cover that spending. that's making it worse. we need this administration to join us. we need our colleagues to join us to get a grip on this spending to start by passing this balanced budget amendment. you know, if you look back to the decade of the 1980's and then into the 1990's and you
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look at president reagan and his approach and his leadership for this country, he came and said, you know, we have the most dynamic economy in the world, in the history of the world, so we've got to create an environment, a projobs, progrowth environment that stimulates job creation, that stimulates private investment, that puts people back to work, that gets this economy growing. and as we get that economy growing, we have the resources then to do the things we need to do, to invest in infrastructure, to make sure that we take care of those that need help, to make sure that we have health care for our citizens. but at the same time, at the same time we need to control our spending and live within our means. and that's the rising tide that lifts all boats. that's how we make sure that everybody participates in the great opportunity that is the very foundation of this country. but to get back to that point, we need this balanced budget amendment. we need this fiscal discipline
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in washington to make sure that we continue to honor the legacy that we have, the legacy that we've been given and that we continue to make this country the country of opportunity. and i know we can do it. the presiding officer: senator's time has expired. mr. hoeven: and i know we can do it. and i thank you for your leadership in this effort. and i thank my colleagues for joining together on this balanced budget amendment. and i ask all of our colleagues to join with us so that we can pass it. i yield the floor. mr. hatch: i thank my colleagues. i would ask for one additional minute, giving the other side an additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: thank you. i really appreciate my colleagues here. they've made some very prescient points on how important this balanced budget amendment is. by the president's own actuary, by 2020 we'll be over $20 trillion in national debt. the interest alone will be over $1 trillion. we won't have any money for the
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poor, sick and the needy because we haven't lived within our means. we simply have to get things under control. the only twaoeu do that is -- the only way to do that is what all these 49 states do every year and that is balance our budgets through a constitutional amendment. let me make one last point, and that is that i don't know why the democrats, some democrats fight against this. because literally, even if we pass it through both houses of congress by the requisite two-thirds vote there,'s still going to be a big battle in the states. if they hate it, they can fight it out there in the states. i think the reason they fight it, say no, is if we pass it here, it's going to pass through the states very, very fast because almost every state knows we've got to do this. almost everybody with intelligence knows we've got to do this. madam president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: madam president, first, i ask unanimous consent that kate waters, andrew rah and jamie ribel of my staff be granted privileges for today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: i ask unanimous consent that derrick skinner of senator bingaman's office be given privileges to the floor during s. 679. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: madam president, just listening to my good friend from utah talk, speaking here -- and he is a good friend of mine -- and others who have been she canning here for the last hour -- who have been speaking around here for the last hour, members reus are short around here. i mean really short. forget about the attention span; memories are really short. how soon we forget that at the end of the clinton years after we had worked with president clinton to pass measures that brought in more revenues, that
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kept our spending under control, we had four years of balanced budgets. four years not only to balance budgets; budget surpluses. when president clinton left office, he left george w. bush the biggest surplus ever in our history. the c.b.o. stpaeud we just continued -- said if we continued on with the policies we had we would have paid off the national debt by 2010. then the republicans come riding into town in 2001. they got the white house, they got the senate, they got the house. what'd they do? they took that surplus we had and said, hey, we've got to give this to the wealthy. we've got to have tax cuts for the wealthiest in our society. and that's what they did. and how did they do it? they snuck it through on something called reconciliation. budget measure which means that you can't filibuster it, and it only takes 50 votes.
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that's what the republicans did. they squandered it. squandered it. give more to the wealthiest members in our society. and look what's happened since then. then we had two unpaid-for wars. it two unpaid-for. george bush in those wars, don't pay for them; just borrow it from china. then a new prescription drug benefit unpaid for. we'll just borrow more money. now these same republicans who ran up the deficit, squandered the surplus are now saying that we've got to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class. we've got to balance the budget on those who already are hurting so much. no, no, we can't raise revenues on the wealthy. oh, no, no, no, can't do that.
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well, as i said, madam president, memories are short. they all want a balanced budget now. why don't we just do what we did under the clinton years? let's have the same kind of economic policies that we had then, and then we'll have balanced budgets. but, no, not my republican friends. no. they said they want to limit government spending to 18% of g.d.p. i'd like to ask: where does that number come from? why is it 18 stph-bgt why isn't it 18.5%? why isn't it 17.75%? why isn't 19.23%? where does 18% come from? madam president, let me tell you where this comes from. the last time that the federal government was 18% of g.d.p. spending was 1967, before medicare really got underway.
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so read between the lines what the republicans are saying, if they could get that down to 18%, we could do away with medicare, which is what they want to do anyway. republicans want to do away with medicare. if you can get g.d.p., the federal government's spending down to 18%, you're back down to where you were in 1967. guess what? we can get rid of medicare and turn it back over to the private insurance companies. that's what the ryan budget did, that's what the republican budget did, and that's what they all voted for. when they tell you about 18% of g.d.p., think medicare. think medicare. goodbye medicare. that's what they're after. madam president, we've reached a point of maximum danger. maximum danger in our fragile economic recovery. we're mired in the most protracted period of joblessness since the great depression. businesses reluctant to invest and hire for the simple reason there is not sufficient demand
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for goods and services largely because, why? so many people are unemployed, 20 million. people are mired in debt. and even those who are working are insecure about their employment. so for most americans in the middle class and lower income, this is still a deep recession. so i have come to the floor repeatedly in recent weeks to warn against the folly, the folly of washington's current obsession with making immediate draconian cuts to the federal budget, something that by its very nature will drain demand, reduce growth and destroy jobs. the federal reserve board chairman ben bernanke warned just last week -- and i quote -- "in light of the weakness of the recovery, it would be best not to have a sudden and sharp fiscal consolidation in the very near term. it would be a negative for growth." here in the washington bubble,
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many, especially those on the opposite side of the aisle, have persuaded themselves that the biggest issue is the budget deficit. but outside the beltway, outside of washington americans are most concerned with a far more urgent deficit, the jobs deficit. the jobs deficit. i'm also concerned, madam president, about a third deficit that i think we have here. a deficit of vision. a deficit of vision. i'm disturbed by our failure to confront the current economic crisis with the boldness and the vision that earlier generations of americans summoned in times of national challenge. our republican friends reject the very possibility that the federal government can act to spur economic growth, boost competitiveness, create good, middle-class jobs.
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that's their ideological position and they're sticking to it even in the face of contrary facts. it's based on a profound misreading or perhaps nonreading of american history. as americans, we pride ourselves on a robust free-enterprise system, but there are some things -- big national undertakings -- that the private sector simply is not capable of doing. at critical junctures going back to the beginning of our republic, the federal government stepped up to the plate. we've acted decisively to spur economic growth, for-profit ter innovation, create jobs. so let's go back, let's do a little analysis of our history. the founding fathers are very much in vogue these days, so let's go back to that time. let's go back to alexander hamilton, a hero of the first revolutionary war, our first secretary of treasury. he put forward a report on
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manufacturers designed to strengthen our new economy. it was a plan adopted by congress that included a tariff to raise revenue and to protect our domestic manufacturing base. am milton's plan was an -- hamilton's plan was an historic success. it was echoed several decades later by congressman henry clay's famous american system. in the burst of nationalism following the war of 1812, clay advocated for major new federal investments in infrastructure. at that time, he didn't call it infrastructure. he called it -- quote -- "internal improvements." clay led in financing roads, canal, bridges, projects designed to expand commerce and knit the nation together. one was the cumberland road, our first truly national road. in begaroad.
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it began in maryland. it was henry clay and other westerners to pushed to extend the road from wheeling, west virginia, to columbus, ohio. but again go back and read your history. clay was bitterly opposed by those who said the federal government couldn't afford to build the roads and canals and had no business doing so. sounds familiar. from what i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle today. history shows that the naysayers were wrong on all accounts. it opened up the west to development. of course the most visionary 19th century advocate of federal investments to spur economic growth was a republic republican, the first republican president, abraham lincoln. despite the disruption of the civil war, lincoln insisted on moving the nation forward through bold federal investments and initiatives. in 1862, he signed ateed the pac
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railway act to billed finance the trans-atlantic railroad and to produce the rails here in america rather than shipping them in from england, enacted a steep tariff on foreign steel in order to jump-start the american steel industry. lincoln did much more. he created the department of agriculture to do more research, distributed free land to farmers, used government agents to promote new farm machinery and agricultural techniques. as a proud graduate of iowa state university, i note that lincoln also dramatically increased higher education by creating the land-grant college system. taken together, these initiatives during lincoln's presidency -- and i remind you, this was -- he was doing all this during the civil war -- it
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had a transformative effect on the u.s. economy. we created new descrirks expanded opportunity, created millions of new jobs, and he did this despite the fact that the federal government was deeply in debt and running huge deficits. imagine that, abraham lincoln. these republicans always go to their lincoln day dinners. why don't they start talking about what abraham lincoln did to spur economic growth and create jobs in our country at a time when our federal government was in a deficit? it's almost humorous to imagine how the republicans -- of today would have reacted to lincoln's agenda. they would v.a. tacked him, i'm sure, as reckless and irresponsible. they'd whine that we're broke. we can't afford to invest in the future. i'm sure that the tea party contingent in the republican party would have demanded that lincoln be expelled from the republican party. madam president, moving into the
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20th century, time and again the federal government has acted with boldness and vision to accomplish big things that was simply beyond the capacity of the private sector. during the presidency of franklin roosevelt, with the private sector paralyzed, paralyzed by the great depression, the federal government responded within an astonishing array of initiatives to create jobs. the list is far too long, but i would mention rural electrification, the civilian conservation corps to plant trees in greenways all across the country, the tennessee valley authority which brought power to aplay chai, grand cool lee dam bringing power across the northwest and southwest, millions of unemployment americans including my father -- you can come over to my office, i'll show you my dad's w.p.a.
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card, works projects administration. got a job with dignity thanks to the works projects administration. they built thousands of infrastructure jobs across our country, many of which we're still using today eight decades later. i would point out one project my father worked on, lake aquabee state park which my father worked on with other w.p.a. people. we're still using it today. by the end of the second world war, wartime investments by the federal government had created an industrial enclos colossus. f.d.a. was followed by dwight inns hour. what did he do? did he pull the plug on all this? let's look at history. eisenhower, a proud republican, was determined to move america forward. he championed, at a time when the federal deficits continued into the 1950's from world war i
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i, because the national debt grew so big during world war ii, we were still in debt and during the 1950's. now what did eisenhower do? did he say we have to retrench, we can't do anything? no, he championed -- he championed one of the greatest public works projects in american history, the construction of the interstate highway system. the national interstate and defense highways act of 1965 ensured dedicated federal funding to build a network of highways. a 1996 study of the system concluded that "the interstate highway system is an engine that has driven 40 years of unprecedented prosperity and positioned the united states to remain the preeminent power into the 21st century." end quote. well, you know what? i'll bet the tea party contingent of today phs republican party would probably try to run driet eisenhower out
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of the -- to run dwight eisenhower oust o out of the ren party. in more recent time, the republican party has spearheaded scientific discovery and innovation that's created millions of high-value jobs. i know my time slimented. i just want to mention a couple of it was the federal government specifically the defense advanced research projects agency called darpa that created the internet. no, i'm sorry, my young friends, it was not google. and it was not microsoft, although bill gates built a great empire. it was the federal government that created the internet. making possible everything you get from e-mail to social networking, dimension tweeting, and the world wawide web.
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this has revolutionized wait we do business and has created untold millions of jobs. it was not a private company. it was the federal government. amassing the money that people pay in taxes to create the internet. federal researchers at this same agency also created the global positioning satellite system, g.p.s. when you get in your car, you think garmi nivment invented that? no. but the garmin company -- there's a lot of competitors out there -- they're make the the instruments, hiring people. the private sector is doing what it should do. but it was the federal government that created the global positioning satellite, and it was taxpayers' dollars that put those 24 satellites in orbit and still keep them orbiting today. -- operating today. researchers at nasa have made
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dozens of technological breakthroughs over the years, everything from microchips to c.a.t. scan technology. and of course a discussion of the federal government's role in stimulating the economy, we have to mention the staggering achievements of the national institutes of health. more than 80 nobel prizes have been awarded for n.i.h.-supported research. unless basic research in biomed sciences is funded by the federal government, most of it simply won't get done. why? because this basic research is basic. it may not lead to ssmght a lost it leads to dead ends. but the basic research is done, the applied research is built on that, the private sector then comes inning innings in, aadopts and we make people health yemplet the economic impact of n.i.h. has been profound. the human genome project,
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mapping and sequencing the entire human gene -- the federal government invested $3.8 billion in mapping and sequencing the human gene. just last month the batel memorial institute issue add report on the economic impact of the genomic revolution launched by this project. batel estimates that as of 2010, the return on investment. project -- $3.8 billion -- return on investment totaled $796 billion. the project had created an estimated 310,000 jobs and $244 billion in personal income. in 2010 alone, just one year, the project generated $67 billion in economic output. the federal government, folks -- federal government. the federal government did that. so a lot of these statistics and
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the historical record that i've just cited going clear back to the founding of our republic, it is be a starred claim that the federal government cannot -- absurd to claim that the federal government cannot play a role in boosting the economy, in spurring innovation, and creating jobs and improving the standard of living of our people. republicans protest that federal investmeninvestment in innovatie about the government picking winners and losers. i hear that all the time. the friewj is that initiatives like the human genome project are not about picking winners and losers. that's about make all of us winners. it is about the federal government stepping up to the plate to undertake big, important, national projects that the private sector is simply not equipped to do. at times of crisis such as during the great depression and in the aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008, the federal government has acted boldly to rescue the economy
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when the private sector was flat on its back and you able to function normally. the recovery act passed by congress soon after president obama took office has manifestly succeeded in jump-starting economic activity. thereon all my republican friends, they say the recovery act, it failed, it failed, it failed, it failed. according to the congressional budget office, the recovery act raised the real inflation-adjusted gross domestic product by as much as 3.5%, increased the number of employed americans by as many as 3 million. but today, a shot in the arm provided by the recovery act is winding down. quite frankly, madam president, we did not put enough in the recovery act. to stretch it out for a longer period of time. the economy is still struggling. our democratic majority in this body s. has brought to the floor a series of job-creating bills,
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but republicans have filibustered and killed every single one. so i repeat, yes, we face a large budget deficit. yes, we have to address it in the medium and long-term. but in the intermediate and long term. but in the immediate term, we need to confront the jobs deficit. but we also face a deficit i said of a positive vision, a positive vision. we have failed to meet the challenges of our day with the boldness and vision that our predecessor summoned in times paflt. -- in times past. how much time do i have remaining? the presiding officer: ten minutes. ten minutes remains for the democratic side collectively. mr. harkin: i'll just take about three more minutes. many republicans are demanding that we permanently who believe the federal government -- hobble
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of the federal government. just as their predecessors didn't want to build the roads and highways and canals in the past, my friend from utah had a chart there that said "broke or balance." they claim our nation is poor and broke. its not true. that's not true. that negative, defeatist viewpoint is dead wrong. we remain the wealthiest nation on earth. we have the highest per capita income of any major -- any major country on the face of the globe. but we have to act decisively. with the power of the federal government to boost the economy, foster innovation, and create good, middle-class jobs. that is the most important thing. and lastly, balanced budget amendment -- let's just do what we now -- what we did under the clinton years in which we had four years of balanced budgets and left the biggest surplus in our nation's history. but the republicans won't do that because they have a
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defeatist attitude. well, we need a more bold vision than what the republicans are offering to the american people. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. whitehouse: madam preside -- madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: madam president, our nation asks a lot of our troops. in return, we must give them the best possible equipment to fulfill their vital missions and come home safely. we have a powerful obligation to them to ensure the proper peformance of weapons systems, body armor, aircraft parts and countless other mission-critical products. today, however, america's military faces a significant and growing threat from counterfeit products entering the military supply chain. so i rise today to speak about a bill i've introduced with senator mccain, senator graham and senator coons, the bath military counter-- combating
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military count tp*euting acts. this bill will enhance the ability to keep counterfeit goods out of the supply klain. it will protect america's forces from the risk of defective equipment. these counterfeit products do not meet military standards. as a result, they put troops' lives at risk, compromise military readiness and cost the country enormous sums in replacement costs. in the case of microelectronics, counterfeit parts also provide an avenue for cybersecurity threats to infiltrate military systems possibly hackers to track or disable crucial national security applications. with troops from rhode island and all over the united states serving overseas in iraq and afghanistan, we cannot accept criminals selling fake versions of products used by our troops. unfortunately, however, this unacceptable threat to troop safety and national security is
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growing. a report by the government accountability office provides examples that demand stiff criminal punishment. it explains that the defense department found out in testing that what it thought was kevlar body armor was in fact nothing of the sort and could not protect our troops the way proper kevlar can. our troops going out on patrol in fake body armor is simply unacceptable. in another example, a supplier sold the defense department a part that it falsely claimed was a $7,000 circuit that met the specifications of a missile guidance system. military-grade chips are called that for a reason. they are required to withstand extreme temperature, force and vibration. chips that don't meet those specifications are prone to fail. for example, when a jet is at high altitude, when a missile is launching, or when a g.p.s. unit is out in the rugged field.
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the possible consequences of such equipment failing are dire. a january 2010 study by the commerce department quoted a defense department official as estimating that counterfeit aircraft parts were leading to a 5% to 15% annual decrease in weapons systems reliability. the commerce department study which surveyed military manufacturers, contractors and distributors, reported approximately two and a half times as many incidents of counterfeit electronics in 2008 as in 2005. the high price of military-grade products attracts more and more counterfeiters. on a related matter, one source of the problem has the often-illegal dumping of u.s. electronic waste in countries such as china. "business week" reported in 2010 that used computer chips from
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old personal computers are fraudulently remarked in china as military grade and sold to u.s. military suppliers. a bill i introduced last week, the responsible electronics recycling act, would help address that issue by cracking down on the profligate dumping of electronic waste. we should also evaluate this combatting military counterfeits bill in the context of the relentless cyberattacks america weathers every day. the chip might not only be counterfeit. it might be the carrier for dangerous viruses and malware that may create windows our enemies can't enter to sabotage our military equipment or steal our military secrets. i applaud those of my colleagues who have been working with the department of defense to ensure that it can keep counterfeits out of the supply chain. i particularly appreciate the leadership of chairman carl levin and ranking member john
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mccain of the armed services committee. i'm also pleased that the administration, particularly its intellectual property enforcement coordinator, is working hard to protect our military from counterfeits. i'm pleased that the national intellectual property rights coordination center recently began operation chain reaction, a new initiative targeting counterfeit items entering the military supply chain. i strongly believe that strengthened criminal provisions should be part of our strategy going forward. as a former united states attorney, i know the significant deterrent effect criminal sanctions can provide. the department of justice has a vital role to play in using criminal investigations and prosecutions to identify and deter trafficking in counterfeit military goods. to that end, the administration endorsed increased penalties for trafficking and counterfeit military goods as part of recent recommendations to congress for better protecting american
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intellectual property. i'm glad that the administration has recognized the need for legislation, and i look forward to working with them. our laws currently do not impose any special punishment for trafficking in counterfeit military goods. 18u.s.c. section 2320, the counterfeiting statute does provide heightened penalties for counterfeits that result in bodily injury or death but in the battlefield it is not part will ever be recovered and it is impossible sometimes to tell whr-ts counterfeit -- whether the counterfeit caused bodily injury or death. as a result, counterfeiters are less likely to face penalties for the risks imposed on soldiers and national security. the legislation i'm introducing today with senator mccain, senator graham of south carolina and senator coons of delaware
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addresses this inadequacy in our laws. i urge my colleagues to join me in seeing it passed into law soon. traffickers should pay a heavy price if they knowingly sell the military a piece of body armor that could fail in combat, a missile control system that could short circuit at launch or a counterfeit g.p.s. that could fail on the battlefield. our troops deserve kevlar that is kevlar and military-grade chips that are military grade. by creating an enhanced offenses for individuals who traffic in counterfeit and know the product is either intended for military use or identified as meeting military standards, this bill will help. it doubles the statutory maximum penalties for such offenses and directs the sentencing commission to update the guidelines as appropriate to reflect congress's intent to traffic in counterfeit military items be punished sufficiently to deter this wrongful endangerment of our service members. the bill targets only
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particularly malicious offenders, those who already are guilty of trafficking in counterfeit goods and know that they're selling military counterfeits. this means that the bill will not affect legitimate military contractors who might be unaware that a counterfeit chip has entered into one of their products. and it will not apply to makers of products that unintentionally fall short of military specifications. this bill is intended to help military suppliers by deterring the criminals who sell counterfeits to them or their subcontractors. manufacturers like the many high-tech innovators in my home state of rhode island will actually benefit from the protection of their intellectual property. i'm grateful to have the support of the chamber of commerce, the semiconductor industry association, the international counterfeiting coalition and others. i look forward to working with them and other interested stakeholders to make this legislation as effective as possible in deterring this
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particularly reprehensible form of criminal activity. let me close by thanking senator graham, senator mccain and senator coons for joining me in interdutiesing this bill today. as my colleagues know, senator mccain and senator graham both have long stood out as champions for our troops. and senator coons has already become a staunch defender of our national security and our nation's intellectual property. i very much look forward to working with them and my other colleagues on this important bill. all of us in the senate have the privilege of visiting with and supporting our troops. we all know the sacrifices that they make for our country. we all want to do everything we can to ensure that their equipment functions properly and that counterfeits do not compromise our nation's military readiness or their capability. passing the combatting military counterfeits act of 2011 will be a valuable step towards these important goals.
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i thank my colleagues and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 679, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 75, s. 679, a bill to reduce the number of executive positions subject to senate confirmation. mr. schumer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that not withstanding the previous order for the votes to begin at 11:00 a.m. there now be ten minutes equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to the votes. further that there be two minutes equally divided between the votes. finally, all roll call votes after the first vote be it ten-minute votes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. and i will take the five minutes on our side, and i believe senator demint will be taking the five minutes on the other side. madam president, i rise today and join my colleagues in strong support of the nominations
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reform package before us today. this bipartisan bill and resolution which we'll vote on a bit later will effectively change the way the senate does business and is long past time to do just that. it isn't often this body voluntarily takes steps to curb its own power, but for the good of our democracy, the senate must become more efficient. i'd like to thank my good friend and colleague, senator lamar alexander, who's been a driving force behind this effort and has been steadfast in his resolve to make a change to this body. we have worked in a bipartisan way resolving all the differences in a way that i would hope the senate could work more often on more pieces of legislation. i'd also like to thank the chair and ranking members of the homeland security committee, senators lieberman and collins, for their input and expertise in drafting this piece of legislation and moving it quickly and productively through
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their committee. their impact in this process can't be understated. i'd like to thank hrao*erd and -- leader reid and republican leader kphabg kopbl. back in january they set up a working group to look into the problem of executive nominations and they supported a more active part of our efforts. madam president, the senate has always been known as a cooling saucer, but as of late it's become a subzero freezer. nominees of impeccable qualification and indisputable support have been frozen out of the confirmation process, and the backup in nominations also gridlocks other important legislative business. and that is why the senate often known as the cooling saucer is now too often a subzero freezer. but today we'll be taking a meaningful and important step toward changing this. the rapid growth of the executive branch has put unanticipated burdens on the
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senate whose job it is to confirm the president's appointees. there is nothing wrong with the senate doing a little prioritizing of its pending business. today about one-third of the senate confirmable positions will either not require confirmation at all or enjoy a streamlined confirmation. by now we all know what s. 679 and senate res. 116 do. what will their impact be? in short this, package will -- of reform will help our government function better. one example of this is the working group the bill creates to examine a smart form to streamline the paperwork by a nominee. a nominee may now today have to complete three separate financial disclosure forms for the executive and legislative branches. hopefully the idea of not having to fill out mountains of paperwork only to be trapped by different definitions of tricky questions will be appealing to government servants. additionally, this bill and resolution we're voting on today will help the senate focus more
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like a laser beam on issues affecting average americans like jobs. the less time committees have to spend on nominees the more time they can spend on improving the everyday life of americans. over the last decades, we've seen an amazing increase in the nominees we've had to confirm. it's gotten out of hand, and that's something both sides agreed on. we're in no way abdicating our advise and consent duty. we're strengthening it. we're focusing on the positions that truly need it according to the constitution. and this package represents the final piece to the reform deal that was set forth in january. last spring motivated by the good work of tom udall of new mexico, the rules committee undertook and detailed an examination of the history and application of the senate rules, especially the filibuster. after six hearings and many conversations, we reached an historic point in january when something needed to be done. change happened slowly. we all know that, particularly in the u.s. senate, and
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sometimes it's a product of compromise and deliberation. we all know that this institution is grand and wonderful as it is, could always serve to benefit by a bit of change. today we have some of that change. is it everything we want? no, far from it, but it will make a difference in the institution's effectiveness. and i'd like for a minute to thank the chairs of our senate committees and the ranking members as well. when we first spoke of this back in january to the introduction of the bill in march, through markup and now today, the chairmen have been greatly impacted -- have impacted greatly by our efforts and we have listened to them and made changes that they have suggested which on reflection we thought were worthwhile. we have listened to both chairs and ranking members, understood their positions and wanted their ideas. all the while, however, they understood what we were attempt to go do, and we appreciate their support. in conclusion, before the final passage of this bill, we'll be
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voting on four amendments. it's our hope we can adopt senator portman, udall and cornyn's amendment and senator toomey's amendment by voice vote. at the same time, i encourage my colleagues to vote against senator demint's two amendments. one amendment would have harmful consequences if passed and could disrupt how the i.m.f. does business. the other, while couched in transparency, essentially removes legislative affairs and public affairs positions from the bills. we have already agreed to remove the legislative affairs positions. it should seem the senate should have some say in determining who is going to give information that the senate and others need, but we don't think that the public affairs positions should not have to go through senate confirmation. all the spokes people -- spokes people report to the senate confirmed individuals who we have oversight over. so we don't agree agree with that half of senator demint's
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proposal. i'd like once again to thank my colleague and friend, senator alexander. i'd also like to thank senators lieberman and collins. in a few minutes, we'll vote on final passage of s. 679 and s. res. 116, and i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make a strong statement in favor of more effective government by voting aye and yield the floor. mr. demint -- mr. alexander: i thank senator schumer for his leadership, senator collins, senator lieberman. mr. alexander: i will make my remarks following the vote. this bill helps the senate do its job under the constitution, article 2, section 2, tells us to designate those persons who va-hud not be advised and consent. we're reducing that total by 169. we're expediting about 280 more, removing about 2,600 from the
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officer corps. it's a good example of bipartisan work here. i want to thank my colleagues for improving the bill, amending it, pointing out things to us that needed to be changed. one of those has been senator demint, and i yield the rest of our time before the vote to senator demint to speak on his amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: thank you, madam president, senator alexander, senator collins. thank you for your leadership on this issue. it is good to see democrats and republicans working together on something. unfortunately, like many of the things we work on, we're dealing with symptoms of a much deeper problem that we fail to recognize. the reason we have gone from a few hundred confirmations during president kennedy's time to thousands today is because of the incredible exponential growth of the federal
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government. new departments everywhere where we have new positions that have to be filled with nominees who are confirmed by the senate. rather than to look at this behe had moth that -- at this behemoth that we have created, we are looking to make it somewhat less accountable. i think we have to recognize when we're treating symptoms and not really solving the problem, the problem that has led to much of the debt, the spending and really out of control congress and congressional interventions because all of these agencies invade on the private sector. but i do appreciate the opportunity to speak and to offer an amendment, and the amendment we will be voting on in a few minutes does really to the international monetary fund. this is a fund set up years ago to help struggling poor nations who get themselves in trouble. the united states has been the
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largest contributor for years, but it's gone from being an international agency that helped a limited number of difficult situations to one that's now huge that has access to americans, our general fund, and that's what i want to talk about today because my amendment would deauthorize what we did in 2009 to open our bank account to bailouts all over the world. americans have gotten plenty tired of our spending and our borrowing and particularly the bailouts that they have seen from washington and how these bailouts have not worked but often made things worse. but the international bailout fund is the international monetary fund, and in 2009, this congress passed an additional additional $100 billion credit line to the international monetary fund. this can be drawn on without any congressional approval, without
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the president's approval. it's an open checkbook in effect that the international monetary fund can use and they will use during these difficult times as we see irresponsible nations like greece who need international funds to continue their profligate spending. we have got to deauthorize this. our country is in dire straits, close to bankruptcy ourselves. the president is asking us for the fourth time to increase the debt limit of our nation so we can borrow another $2 trillion on top of the $14 trillion that we have already borrowed. we cannot afford to let the international monetary fund, who we found in the last month has some questionable management practices, to access access $100 billion more than they already have of our money and help bail out countries all over the world who would fail to make the difficult decisions. and don't think for a moment this isn't helping the poor in
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other countries. this is a bailout for the big banks around the world who have made loans to government and now expect the international monetary fund to back them up. americans had enough of that during our own wall street bailout, but this congress has approved $100 billion more which has not been accessed yet but it's available to the international monetary fund right now without our permission , but we can stop that today with this amendment. there is no excuse for us giving away money around the world when we cannot even keep our promises here in america today, promises we have made to our seniors, promises we have made to our veterans. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. demint: so i encourage my colleagues to maybe do one responsible fiscal thing in this session of congress and at least put this on hold. let's stop this authorized authorized $100 billion for international bailouts. thank you, madam president.
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i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the question is on amendment number 501 offered by senator demint. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 44, the nays are 55. under the previous order requiring 50 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. there are now two minutes of debate equally divided prior to the next vote. there will be two minutes of debate prior to the vote on the potomac -- portman amendment. may we have order in the chamber, please. mr. lieberman: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut.
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mr. lieberman: madam president, i support this -- i support this amendment and i'm prepared to yield back any additional time. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor say aye. opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. lieberman: move for reconsideration be laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. there will now be two minutes of debate prior to the demint amendment, number 511. mr. demint: madam president. madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: thank you. the senate is not in order, madam president. the presiding officer: the senate needs to come to order. can senators take their conversations from the well.
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the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: thank you, madam president. this next amendment is about accountability and transparency. i want to thank the leadership teams on both sides for accepting most of the positions here for legislative affairs that interface on our behalf with the administration. there are eight more positions, and that's all this amendment is about. in their public affairs position that interface on behalf of the public with the administration. certainly, we can give the public the same accountability and transparency that we ask for ourselves. these are the positions within the white house for the -- for the -- the presiding officer: would the gentleman suspend. may we please have order in the chamber. could the senators take their conversations from the well. mr. demint: if americans have a problem in any area, whether it's defense contracting, health and human services, h.u.d.,
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labor, they call a public affairs officer. these folks need to be accountable to us and we need to make sure that they respond to the american people. there is only eight positions here that we're asking to go through the normal confirmation process, so i encourage my colleagues to support this amendment. ms. collins: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: madam president, i rise in opposition to senator demint's amendment. madam president, yesterday, the manager's amendment which was agreed to retained the senate confirmation requirement for the legislative affairs positions, so the only thing we're talking about here are the public affairs positions. most of these positions in cabinet level departments do not require senate confirmation under our current process, and
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heaven help us if these public affairs people are making policy. they are not. they are just the messenger. we need to reserve the senate's advice and consent process for policy-making positions or those that have control over federal funds. neither of those criteria apply in this case. i urge the rejection of the demint amendment. mr. demint: madam president, i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: any senator wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 25. the nays are 74. the amendment is not agreed to.
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mr. lieberman: madam chair, i move for reconsideration and lay that matter on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. the presiding officer: there are now two minutes equally divided for debate on the toomey amendment. mr. lieberman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: i believe there is an agreement on this amendment on both sides. the amendment makes serpbgs and, therefore -- the amendment makes sense and therefore i would yield back all time on both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the amendment. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 75, s. 679, a bill to reduce the number of executive positions
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subject to senate confirmation. mr. lieberman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: this would be final passage, and i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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