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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 20, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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process saddles the american taxpayer with over half a billion dollars of potential liability. these same loan guarantees precipitate the demise of said company, and this in turn justifies the receipt of new taxpayer-funded benefits for the now-unemployed workers, benefits that go far beyond and cost far more than those the other unemployed people in this country receive. the administration likes to talk about the multiplier effect of new federal spending but i don't think this is what they had in mind. for each initial wasted taxpayer dollar, the government multiplies the losses and manages to waste another quarter. solyndra tried to make solar panels but ran up their costs far higher than even domestic competitors. with costs above the competition the company failed. of course the failure was blamed on china, but if you cannot even outcompete u.s. companies, it wasn't foreign competition that ruined your business. it was simply a failed business
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model. during our hearing on the south korea trade agreement, deputy u.s. trade representative moranos testified the purpose of the t.a.a. program is to help workers manage the transition to globalization and help workers train to be able to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the new economy. well, according to president obama and vice president biden, green jobs like those found at solyndra were supposed to be the jobs of the new economy. now that new economy venture failed, those very same workers are going to be retrained at taxpayers' expense for other jobs in the new economy. government under the president's green agenda picks winners and losers and then pays off the losers when it makes the wrong picks. pardon the american taxpayer for jumping to the conclusion that this plain doesn't make sense. let's not forget that a handful of states received the lion's
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share of t.a.a. money. again this is unfair on its face and represents a distorted allocation of federal resources. president reagan did not graduate from an ivy league college and he was not the editor of any law review. but the man understood how the economy grows and what types of programs waste precious government resources. this was his assessment of t.a.a. -- quote -- "the purpose of t.a.a. is to help these workers find jobs in growing sectors of our economy. there's nothing wrong with that, but because these benefits are paid out on top of normal unemployment benefits, we wind up paying greater benefits to those who lose their jobs because of foreign competition than we do to their friends and neighbors who are laid off due to domestic competition. anyone must agree that this is unfair." that was president reagan. i certainly do, as do most of my constituents who think the last thing this economy needs is another big spending program. another important point is that
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t.a.a. fuels the fire of the virulent antitrade propagandas. t.a.a. supporters say the program keeps faith with the american workers and helps build support for trade. i think just the opposite is true. unions and other antitrade zealots lethally use t.a.a. data to make the case that trade cases -- trade causes outsourcing and job loss. after all, the number of trade dislocated workers is certified by the government. as the program is expanded to include more and more people and entities, including community colleges, firms, farmers and fishermen, the myth that trade is bad for the american worker finds ready fodder and continues to build. instead of helping build the case for trade, t.a.a. certifications are used to show that trade is bad. in the end, t.a.a. really is just a government subsidy for an antitrade propaganda. many of those dedicated to finding a market opening trade
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liberalization agenda and who are hostile to a thoughtful and ambitious trade policy cite each t.a.a. certification and each t.a.a. benefit conferred as further evidence that trade and trade agreements are bad for america. these same groups use t.a.a. certifications and t.a.a. workers to attack the companies who laid those workers off as outsourcers even attempting to name and shame the c.e.o.'s of those companies. for goodness' sake, why should we expand a program that arms the harshest trade critics with more fodder for their ill-informed and relentless attack on trade. finally t.a.a. should move with t.p.a. despite what many of my colleagues and many so-called trade experts say, t.a.a. does minority move with trade agreements. in fact, historically significant spanks show t.a.a. moved with omnibus legislation that included grants of trade negotiating authority to the president. there is a myth that t.a.a. has
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always received strong bipartisan support. again, the historical record does not bear this out. a simple review of a very helpful history of t.a.a. provided by c.r.s. this august shows just how controversial t.a.a. has always been and continues to be and confirms that t.a.a. reforms traditionally move with t.p.a. inexplicably this president doesn't want t.p.a. or trade promotion authority, and the white house is actually encouraging leader reid and democrat senators to vote down a t.p.a. amendment leader mcconnell will offer. leader reid and chairman baucus and the white house have also apparently asked the business community to oppose an amendment on t.p.a. as well. despite the fact that the tkeus community has uniformly supported the granting of trade negotiated authority to every president regardless of party. this is all baffling to me, but i agree with leader mcconnell that the president needs t.p.a., whoever the president is, as
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soon as possible. and i can't imagine any president not wanting that authority as i suspect the democrats will vote down granting their president trade-negotiating authority, i must also be inclined to vote against this t.a.a. amendment. much has been said about t.a.a., and that is the price for free trade agreements, but we are paving new and dangerous ground by holding three trade agreements hostage to expandinged t.a.a. each time we have tried to move these agreements a new roadblock has been erected. while we dilly and dally our trade competitors take more market share around the world and american businesses and farms lose more money and more jobs. mr. president, there has to be a better way. i urge you to reconsider your trade priorities instead of expending your political capital on expanding federal government. liberate the u.s. worker by accepting our offer with the authority to open new markets to u.s. exports. our economy is in dire straits.
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unemployment is sky-high and federal spending is out of control. mr. president, we need your leadership and we need it now. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the junior senator from ohio. mr. portman: let me start by thanking the senior senator from ohio for his generosity in allowing me to proceed now and also to senator hatch. again he's standing up today talking about the importance of us moving forward on a progrowth trade agenda including giving the president the ability to have trade promotion authority. that's what i wanted to talk about today. senator mcconnell, the republican leader, introduced an amendment to the underlying legislation saying that along with trade adjustment assistance for the same three years, that there also be trade promotion authority given to this president, which all of his predecessors have had. that makes sense. the legislation in the amendment is actually identical to
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legislation i introduced my first week here in the united states senate on a bipartisan basis with senator lieberman to provide the president with trade promotion authority. it's incredibly important. i think it goes without saying that we live in an increasingly interconnected world where the movement of goods and services and people across borders is part of our economy. it's very much an economy where the united states is connected to our global competitors. we're moving forward around the globe on various arrangements, export agreements at a rapid pace. and yet, i'm sorry to say that the united states is simply not a part of that because we do not have trade promotion authority. these agreements that are being negotiated open markets for workers and farmers and service providers to be able to expand exports, again, of goods and services. by the way, there are over 100 of those bilateral agreements being negotiated today.
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guess how many the united states is party to? none. not a single one. and the reason is we don't have the ability through trade promotion authority to have the united states at the table in negotiating to open up these markets for our workers and our service providers. there is one agreement we're negotiating on. it's a regional agreement called the transpacific partnership. i support the negotiation there. frankly it's not a bilateral agreement that is likely to reduce barriers significantly. the united states is getting left behind. we lost trade promotion authority in 2007. it expired. and at that time president george w. bush came to the congress and asked for it to be renewed. then democrat-controlled congress said no, we don't want to give you the ability to negotiate these agreements that help, as senator hatch has said, to expand jobs in this country. president obama's administration has not asked for the authority. in fact, senator hatch has just indicated they don't seem having in having it, which is
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unbelievable to me that you would not want the ability to negotiate with other countries to knock down barriers to be able to help our workers, our farmers, our service providers here in this country. but that's where we are right now. before the 2007 expiration of trade promotion authority, the united states was active and involved in agreements that knocked down barriers to our exports. there were three agreements negotiated, now three and four years ago. these were agreements with panama and colombia and korea. and those are the three agreements that have been talked about a lot on this floor over the last day because the trade adjustment assistance we're talking about is related to those three agreements. we need to get them done. they have been languishing for too long. obviously the united states, not being able to negotiate anything in the interim period, has fallen behind. but at the least, we should move ahead and ratify these three agreements. the president's own metrics tell us these three agreements alone
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will generate 350,000 new jobs in this country. with unemployment at over 9% we need those jobs and the jobs tend to be better-paying jobs with better benefits. what's happened in the interim while we have not moved forward with these agreements? korea has started a negotiation with the european union since our agreement was finalized and completed that agreement and now made that agreement effective in july of this year. exports from the european union to korea increased 46% in july alone. our exports increased 3.3%. what's happening? we're losing market share. we're losing jobs. while we sit back and allow these other countries to negotiate, over 100 agreements being negotiated, we're not party to any of them. same thing with colombia. since we started negotiating with colombia colombia started trading with other countries, guess what's happened?
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they completed that agreement. it's gone into effect and our market share diminished. we used to provide about 71% of the agriculture exports, corn, wheat and soybean to colombia. today that market share is down to 26%. that means farmers in ohio, in montana, in utah, in pennsylvania, and elsewhere are being disadvantaged by our trade policy. we've got to move forward with these agreements. instead of having increased exports from seoul and bogota and calgary and munich, they should be coming from cincinnati and cleveland and dayton and columbus. interestingly, korea and colombia have started negotiating an agreement with themselves. again, we're not moving forward because we're not part of these agreements because we do not have trade promotion. i hope these three agreements are the examples of the kind of agreements that we could have been negotiating over the past three or four years and that we
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should start negotiating tomorrow by this senate and the house giving the president the trade promotion authority that he needs to be able to have those negotiations and to open those markets for u.s. products. the reality is trade promotion authority is vital for any country to have because if you don't no one will sit down at the table to tkpwar ban with you -- bargain with you. here in america, after we negotiate an agreement at the executive branch level, it has to come back to congress, and other countries don't want to renegotiate an agreement with the united states congress that would be full of amendments and changes. so in order for us to ensure that we can get the best deal, we have to give the president trade promotion authority. every president since franklin delano roosevelt has asked for this authority and received it. it is unbelievable to me that this president does not want that. i believe he must want it.
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any president would. and he should ask for it and we should provide it to him. this amendment does exactly that. congress has given t.p.a. authority to democrats and republicans alike. it's not a partisan issue. so a republican congress has given it to a democrat president and vice versa. i stand as a republican today telling you i would like to give it to president obama. the underlying amendment we're talking about provides trade promotion authority for three years. it would be for this part of the president's term and if he's reelected the next couple of years. it should not be about party. it should be about our country. the president's been talking a lot in the last couple of weeks about the fact that he wants products stamped with three words: made in america. couldn't agree with him more. he's saying they should be exported all around the world. how's that going to happen? it's going to happen by opening up these markets, by leveling the playing field for us as americans so that we can compete and win. when we open up these markets, we expand exports dramatically. think about this. countries with which we had,
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which which we currently have trade agreements with comprise less than 10% of the global g.d.p. think about it. we don't have an agreement with china or the european union. it's about 10% or less of the global economy. and yet, that's where we send about 41% of our exports. these agreements are good for us. which is why the colombia agreement, the panama agreement and the korea agreement, in my view, will be able to pass this floor easily because the facts are there, if the president would just send them and by giving the president trade promotion authority, we could go on and indeed make good on his promise with more products with those three words, made in america, sent all over the world. it's ironic to me that the underlying bill we're talking about, that trade adjustment assistance, is attached to is the generalized system of preferences, g.s.p. it's not legislation that i oppose, but it is legislation that opens the united states more to products from other countries. so here we are talking about
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opening up the united states more with the g.s.p. bill, and yet we're not willing to put in place measures to open up other markets more for the united states of america through trade promotion authority. how does that make sense? but that's where we are. to my colleagues, i would say if we aren't engaged in opening up markets, we're falling behind. america needs to get back in the game again. we need to take a leadership role in global trade. that means giving this president and all future presidents the ability to negotiate, just as all of their predecessors have had. i strongly urge my colleagues, democrat and republican alike, to give to this president the same authority that other presidents have had of both parties. our economy and the future for our children and our grandchildren depend on it. again, i thank my colleague from ohio for his generosity, and i yield the floor. mr. brown: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. i thank the senator from ohio for his kind words. i appreciate his support, his
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public support. he didn't speak specifically on the casey-brown-baucus amendment, i don't believe. i had to step out for a moment, but i know he has said positive words about restarting, if you will, trade adjustment assistance, and with some expansion, not quite as good as it was from two years ago, but still a very important program. i appreciate senator portman's words in support of expanding it, and i hope that he joins with some other republicans in actually supporting the casey-brown-baucus amendment. i particularly thank chairman baucus for his strong support for trade adjustment assistance. senator casey especially has pushed for this for, well, almost a year now when in december we did everything but beg our colleagues to renew this program that helps workers who are unemployed through no doing of their own. we had written in early 2009 a
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very good, very good trade adjustment assistance. if you lose your job because of a trade agreement, even if it -- or if you lose your job because of trade, even if it's a service job, it used to just be manufacturing, that you will get two things. one, you will get trade adjustment assistance so you can continue with your life and not get foreclosed on, you will continue to provide for your kids, and you have a little bit of money to get retrained. i met a woman in youngstown not too long ago that lost her manufacturing job to trade. she got t.a.a. she used that money to go to nursing school, youngstown state university, and she was in school with her daughter also getting a nursing degree. you think that's exactly how t.a.a. works, and there are those examples, i'm sure, in philadelphia and harrisburg, and i will bet you there are even examples in provo of that trade adjustment assistance working in that way, and that's why it's so very important. at the same time, the language we wrote also gives help for people to continue their health insurance.
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i -- i was at a place in columbus not too long ago that specialized in helping people get back on their feet and get work, and to hear someone tell a story, first they lose their job. they don't get much assistance. then they lose their health care. and then they have got to talk to their 12-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter about moving because they have lost their home. and does nobody here -- i mean, i shouldn't say nobody because a lot of my colleagues do care, but does nobody here care about somebody that has got to sit down with their kids and say sorry, honey, we're going to lose our home because of foreclosure because we have lost our job and we're not getting retrained and we can't find any work? that to me is what this is all about. mr. president, i want to talk a little bit about trade adjustment assistance beyond what i said, but i also want to talk about some of my colleagues' statements about trade and what it's done for this country, to this country. i hear all the theories. you know, every country in the world practices trade according
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to its national interests. the united states of america practices trade according to an economics textbook that's 20 years out of date. i start -- my first year in the house of representatives, the congress passed the north american free trade agreement. something i know if senator casey had been here, he would have voted against it. i voted against it. and i remember the promises, the promises from the free trade at any costs crowd, that they said nafta would create hundreds of thousands of jobs. they said it with nafta, they said it with pntr with china, they said it with the central american free trade agreement, that if you pass this, it will mean more manufacturing, more high-tech jobs and stronger communities, and look what it's meant. go to springfield, ohio, go to ashtabula, go to lima, mansfield, chilicothe, go to zenia. look at what's happened to them. often in smaller communities --
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the senator from montana knows this. often in smaller communities, husband and wife both work at a plant. jackson, ohio. i was walking a picket line with some workers that were locked out and then the plant ultimately closed. the number of people i saw, husband and wife both working at this manufacturing plant, each making about $12 or $13 or $14 an hour. they are middle class with combined income, this plant moves overseas, their family income is wiped out. it happens over and over in small towns and it happens in dayton and it happens in cleveland and it happens in columbus and philly and pittsburgh and harrisburg. it happens in small towns, it happens in big cities. and then we see this free trade at any costs crowd come to the senate floor and say if we only had trade promotion authority so we could do more of this because this just worked so well. free trade has worked so well for our country. why have we lost these hundreds of thousands of jobs? you know why? because the business plan in this country, the business plan, never in world history, i don't think we have seen this ever in
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world history, where a company -- where the business plan for a company has shut down production in steubenville, shut down production in toledo, moved that company to shanghai, moved that company to mexico city, make those products, sell them back into the united states. so their business plan is to shut down manufacturing in this country, go overseas, hire cheaper workers, weaker environmental laws, nonexistent worker safety laws, sell them back to the united states. that's what our economic -- that's what our manufacturing policy has been. that's why this whole idea of korea and colombia and panama, as if mexico and central america and china weren't enough. this whole idea of free trade at any cost is bankrupting our country. that's why wages during the last ten years during the bush administration and since, since 2001. wages in this country have gone down. we have lost jobs in this country. almost -- we haven't grown jobs in this country. it's about what we had in 2001 with a much larger population.
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wages down, job growth flat. and this trade policy is working? so our answer is let's do more of it, as if nafta and cafta and pntr weren't enough. let's do more trade agreements. let's do more jobs overseas. let's practice trade according to "the washington post" and "the new york times" and the right-wing papers and the left-wing papers and the harvard economists and the economic elite in this country. also they can follow what they learned in flicks 101. taught with a textbook that's 20 years out of date. it's not working with our country. now, mr. president, i was talking on the phone today with a retiree in eastern ohio, and she had just been with her son who is about to be deployed at his base. she and her husband went and visited their son. it was a marine. she went to the commissary. you know what? she bought a hat that said marines. i think it said marines. she bought a hat, a bunch of
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stuff at the commissary. where was it made? guess. it wasn't made in helena, wasn't made in harrisburg, wasn't made in columbus. this is insane. we have american flags that are made abroad. we have products in commissaries that are made abroad. we have products senator sanders spoke out against sold here in the united states capitol that are made abroad. why? because we have a foreign trade policy that is morally bankrupt, politically bankrupt, economically bankrupt, and it's not working for our country. that's why, mr. president, this whole idea of trade promotion authority so we can do more of the same makes no sense at all, but lits also why, mr. president, we need to pass the casey-baucus-brown amendment. when we made the reform for t.a.a. in 2009, 185,000 additional trade-affected workers became eligible. in every state, 27,000 workers in 2010 alone participated in t.a.a. they got -- they got trained for more -- they got trained for new jobs that employers are looking to fill, and i think we all know that we all have, even in these
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bad economic times, we have jobs that remain unfilled because they can't find workers with the right skills. this will help to fill that gap. we should all be for this. according to the peterson institute, before the recession hit, 2001 to 2007, two-thirds of t.a.a. participants found jobs within three months of leaving the program. 90% stayed at these jobs for at least a year. it's a program that works. it helps people get health care. it helps people stay in their homes. it helps people get new skills so they can work. and the last comments i will make, mr. president. i have said enough about the bankruptcy of american trade policy, its moral bankruptcy and economic bankruptcy alike. our trade deficit in 2010 -- if this isn't -- and i don't like to come to the floor and use a lot of numbers. if this isn't reason enough. in 2010, our trade deficit was was $634 billion. you know what that means? that means almost -- that means basically every day almost
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almost $2 billion, we buy almost almost $2 billion worth of goods made abroad, then we sell abroad, almost $2 billion a day. if 1/10 the attention was paid to the trade deficit as we pay to the budget deficit, this would be a better country. we would see more manufacturing in places, in places like cleveland and columbus and dayton. so our trade deficit with china was $273 billion in 2010. ten years before, before pntr, our trade deficit with china was was $68 billion. it went from $68 billion to to $273 billion in one decade. that worked so well that we should do more of it. president bush said that a billion dollars in trade surplus or trade deficit translates into 13,000 jobs. a billion dollar surplus means 13,000 additional jobs. billion dollar trade deficit means 13,000 fewer jobs. so our trade deficit with china
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last year was -- was was $273 billion. you don't have to be really good in math to know that translates into a lot of jobs. making products sold at the capitol, making products sold at commissaries, making products all over. until we figure this out and pass trade agreements that actually -- they are actually in our national interests, mr. president, we're simply pure and simple betraying our national interests and betraying the middle-class families and the families in our country that aspire to be middle class. mr. president, i support the casey-brown-baucus amendment, thank chairman baucus again for his work, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that andy lipstein, a detailee to the senate health committee, be granted floor privileges for the duration of the senate work today. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. menendez: mr. president, i have come to the floor to pursue a unanimous consent request on something that is critical to families in my home state of new jersey, which has the highest rate of autism, but is also critical to families across the country who have a loved one who faces one of the -- in the spectrum of autism and other developmental issues the need to get the help so that their child, their loved one can fulfill their god-given capabilities. last tuesday morning, a full week ago from today, i sent this bill before the senate for unanimous consent, and that unanimous consent was cleared on the democratic side, but it has not been cleared on the republican side which has prevented this bill from passing. this legislation was reported out of the senate health,
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education, labor and pensions committee on september 7 without amendment and which unanimous support. republicans and democrats together. this result, the result of a bipartisan effort with senator enzi, who is the ranking member of the health, education and labor committee, is vital to ensuring that the programs created on the landmark combating autism act of 2006 continue. that bill was signed into law by president george w. bush after passing the senate on a unanimous consent. this long history of bipartisan support only adds to my confusion as to why there are colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are currently preventing the bill from passing. this legislation has unanimous support from democrats and strong bipartisan support
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throughout the senate, including nine republican cosponsors. without senate approval, the combating autism act will sunset at the end of next week, leaving countless families across our nation without the support they need in caring for their children with autism. this bill provides an additional three-year of guarantees in terms of simply in the context of an authorization. obviously appropriation processes would have to go through the process and they would have to be debated and voted on the floor. but that authorization for three years at fy 2011 appropriated levels for the programs at the centers for disease control and prevention, the national institutes of health and the health resources and service administration are vital to continuing our efforts on diagnosing autism spectrum disorder, advancing behavioral
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therapies to improve social abilities for those with autism, providing families with education and support services to better understand autism and to coordinating federal efforts on researching autism. i've worked closely with senator enzi, who has been a cochampion in this regard, on this legislation to address all concerns. since it cleared the help, education and labor committee with full bipartisan and unanimous support, i thought we succeeded in addressing those concerns. i have not been approached or heard a single objection from any republican as to why they might hold this bill, and i have been open in my willingness to work with the other side in addressing their concerns with the bill's policy. having not heard a single objection to the merits of this legislation, which, by the way, the exact replica is being offered by the republican majority in the house, i have to
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assume that this is for reasons other than policy. we've had a week to have the opportunity to bring this forward. it has caused incredible uncertainty and unnecessary worry for the parents of children with autism as they wait anxiously to learn if the government is going to continue to reauthorize the very essence of the program that has helped their children be able to fulfill their god-given potential to the maximum ability that they can. i have met family after family in which this legislation has made an enormous difference in their lives. and i don't understand any reason, considering all the work that has been done, considering the bipartisan support, considering that the house republican majority is offering the same legislation while we have not been able to pursue this. so, therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent of the senate to proceed to the consideration of calendar number 163, s. 1094, the combatting
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autism reauthorization act, the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president, on behalf of myself and several colleagues, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: thank you, mr. president. i want to commend my colleague for his attention to this issue. autism is a very difficult issue for many families and the incidents of autism in our country is growing. i'm thankful that congress in its wisdom a number of years ago has established agencies such as the center for disease control, the national institutes of health, where we have scientists, physicians and many others who are dedicating their lives to researching not just autism, but cures for many, many diseases. i appreciate again my colleague for bringing this up, but i'm afraid this is another example
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of political good intentions with many, many unintended consequences. the lobby to support autism is definitely very strong, and we appreciate that. but there are many, many diseases that children and people throughout our country face, and we have put experts in place to determine where we can spend the money that we allocate for medical research. we need to leave that to experts. we've seen when our government tries to pick winners and losers. we tried to do it in the solar business a year or so ago. there are many companies in the solar business, but we picked one. we didn't exactly know what we were doing, and we gave $500 million to an effort that was not the best place to send taxpayer money. autism research will continue,
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and that i think's something we need to make very clear. the people that we've put in charge of doing medical research will continue to do that medical research. congress does not have to decide how much we're going to spend on all the different diseases that affect americans. there are many children facing disease that we don't understand, and they don't have the lobby that many other diseases have. and we cannot, from a political perspective, in an attempt to demonstrate our compassion try to direct all the scientific and medical research from the floor of the congress. so all of us who object support autism research. we'll continue to try to make sure the funding for medical research is there. but it makes absolutely no sense for us from where we sit to try to play scientists and physician and to know where the best outcomes will be, where we get
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the most money if we're going to do that, we might as well decide what kind of medical equipment's going to be used, what kind of drugs are going to be used. we certainly don't have that capability. i'm very thankful that dr. coburn has taken this issue for years to try to leave the decisions of medical research in the hands of those who really understand it. our job as a congress is to continue to appropriate the money, which we will, for medical research. autism research will continue as well as research for many other diseases. and hopefully we can make sure that that funding is there, because many families do -- are suffering, and we need to make sure we do our part in the research area. so i want to welcome my colleagues in the majority to bring this bill to the floor for debate. we're certainly not blocking debate on this issue. but passing something like this without any debate and without any open vote is not what the
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congress should be doing right now. so thank you, mr. president, and i yield. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: mr. president, thank you for the recognition. and i would recognize the good work my colleague, the senator from new jersey, has done on this issue. i've been in the senate a little over six years and was cajoled into allowing this to pass the last time it passed. i have blocked every other disease-specific piece of legislation. and there's a reason for that. both the last director of the n.i.h. and the current one caution against us being specific in what we demand them to do, and there's a reason for that. our science is changing enormously. enormously. we are now at the molecular level. we're at the genetic level. we're at the immune level of thousands of diseases. what we research in diabetes now has prevalence for
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neurosciences. what we research in neurosciences now has prevalence for tons of other diseases. and what dr. czar hugh -- dr. zarhuney told me, said please don't do this. if there were two areas that i would increase spending in our budget it would be to the n.i.h. and to the national science foundation, both of them. i recently reported out a report that was some what critical of the some of the spending on the national science foundation. we can do everything better. no one who is opposing reauthorization of this bill right now is opposed to autism research or the ideas behind it. what we are opposed to is tying the hands of the researchers and the directors at n.i.h. and telling them what they should do and how they should do it. i would also dispute the fact that the money won't go away.
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the c.r. that we're going to consider this week will continue this funding at the level at what it is, that gives us plenty of time to work out our problems with this piece of legislation. we come to this debate in good faith. we recognize the emotional ties that are associated with such a devastating disease. as an obstetrician and pediatrician, i've diagnosed it. i've treated it. i've sat with the families as they have suffered through the consequences of this disease. i don't take it lightly. but i also don't take lightly our inability to make the clear choices and ratchet around the moneys for the n.i.h. what we should do is say, n.i.h., here's your money. go where the science helps the most people in the quickest way and the science leads us. and at a time when our country is desperate to get our fiscal
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house in order, what we want is the most efficient n.i.h. what we want is nonduplicative grants at the n.i.h. what we want is no fraud in the grants associated with autism, which have been published and people are in jail for. we want that eliminated. so we want the oversight on the n.i.h. to be across the board in every area. are you doing what we are asking to you do to spend the money wisely and what the science, what the science would tell you to do? not what any one particular interest group would tell us to do. so i would ask that, a unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s.1094, the combatting autism reauthorization act, and that my amendment at the desk related to, requiring the secretary of h.h.s. to identify and consolidate duplicative overlapping autism funding through the federal government
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be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the bill be printed in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. menendez: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. coburn: i understand that. my commitment is to work with the senator from new jersey to try to solve this problem before any funding will change, and i don't think it's going to change. i would also note to my colleagues that last year we had over $450 billion appropriated by the appropriators that was not authorized for anything. there was no authorizations at all. so this money isn't going to go away. there's no hurry. there's no tragedy. we can continue and we can work as colleagues to try to solve our problems as well as meet the demands that the senator from new jersey thinks must be met. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, first of all, i appreciate my colleague's offer.
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certainly we will take him up on it to have discussion and see where we come to common cause, because the issue is far more important than any one's ideological views. so i look forward to working with him and others about our concerns. let me say there are some inconsistencies. if you do not believe that there should be a disease-specific reauthorization, then the c.r. does exactly that. it will for a more limited time, but it will in fact reauthorize this bill but only to november 18. so whether that debate is now about reauthorizing a disease-specific allocation or whether, which is what i was trying to accomplish, or whether in the c.r., i will assume that the thinking will go that my colleagues will object to the c.r. under the basis that it has a disease-specific reauthorization for a much more, much smaller period of time until november 18. i'm not quite sure how the logic
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follows at the end of the day. secondly, i think it is rather cruel to have an analogy that talks about loan guarantees to some energy entity and talking about autism and families. and when i hear the word "lobby," of course that creates a pejorative description. what's the lobby here? the lobby here are parents, american citizens, husbands and wives, taxpayers who advocate for their children before their representatives. now i thought in a representative democracy, that citizens have the right to go and advocated with their elected representatives for a point of view, even if admit lid that point of view is on behalf of the welfare of their child.
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so i really have a problem when i hear in this context word "lobby" as if it is a negative when a parent is simply trying to accomplish, and a universe of parents in our country who pay taxes are simply trying to accomplish getting the government's attention to a disease that afflicts their children and their ability to be able to function in this society to the full maximum potential that their god-given abilities give them. so i really don't care for listening to a lot of lobby here. the last time i checked, this is what democracy is all about. now, finally, i would just simply say that there is no guarantee -- i know my colleagues suggest there is a guarantee that research into autism will continue. there is no guarantee of that. there is no guarantee of that. and the reason -- the reason why
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i objected to the other unanimous consent by my colleague from oklahoma is that in fact what we have is a set of circumstances that there would be, if you read that unanimous consent, would be a dimunition of funds at the end of the day. so you either believe in a disease-specific reauthorization which to some degree would be allowed but then you take away all the funds. the whole reason this legislation came to be was to coordinate the very efforts of the federal government together to in essence meet the challenge of autism. now, even when we listen to disease-specific legislation and the opposition to disease-specific legislation, i would emphasize that while the name would suggest this is only about autism, this improves services for children with many different developmental disorders and conditions from autism, yes, but down syndrome,
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cerebral palsy, spina bifida, epilepsy, so it is a program that involves a number of efforts broadly based to prevent and detect and improve the health infrastructure for all children, for all children who might face any of these developmental disabilities, not just autism. every year, this program trains thousands of professionals to better care for individuals with a broad range of developmental disabilities, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorders. and given the long waiting list that families often endure to receive diagnostic and treatment services, these programs are essential in addressing an urgent national health need. so, mr. president, i don't quite understand the opposition. it boggles my mind. you're against disease-specific legislation even though this has passed here by voice vote in the past, even though this passed unanimously out of the committee, even though a
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disease-specific provision will be in the c.r., which i assume you would oppose if you don't want legislation to move forward, and then you tell families that they are lobbyists and they have no right to lobby, we shouldn't listen to their voices, and then you say that there will be -- don't worry, there will be money for research when there is no guarantee. that's cruel, in my view, and there is no reason for it. and i would only hope that we can have a change of heart here so that we can have families who have an incredible challenge and who love their children and want to do everything they can to help them fulfill the maximum of their potential to be able to do so. that's what we have done for several years now under this legislation. my god, if we can't get things like this passed, i don't know where we're headed to in the senate. but i hope for a better day, and i am going to continue and
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insist until we achieve those, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until >> so the senate is recessing for weekly party luncheons. when they resume 2:30 eastern they will work on trade preferences for goods from developing countries. provisions were added to the mesh is to extend and program to workers who lose their jobs because of increased foreign competition. at 2:30 this afternoon nevada republican senator, dean heller will make his maiden speech on the floor. he filled a vacancy left by. coming up live on c-span3 this afternoon, defense secretary leon panetta and joint chiefs of staff chair admiral mike mullen will brief reporters on end of to military ban on gays serving
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openly in the military known as don't ask don't tell. it was signed into law by president obama last december takes effect. this could be admiral mullen's last news conference as he begins the his retirement at the end of this month. live coverage of the briefing at 2:00 eastern on c-span3. after that north korean prison camp survivors will testify before the house foreign affairs subcommittee on human rights. their testimony is part of a larger discussion on human rights within that country. that is live at 3:00 eastern eastern also on c-span 3. just before the senate gaveled in today news sources reported that tennessee senator lamar alexander was resigning his position as chair of the republican conference. that is the number three position in senate leadership. his resignation becomes official in january. during general speeches senator alexander came to the floor to make his announcement and explain the decision. he is followed by remarks from senate colleagues. this is about 15 minutes.
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>> madam president, next january, following the annual retreat of republican senators i will step down from the senate republican leadership. my colleagues have elected me as republican conference chairman three times and i will have completed four years or the equivalent of two, two-year terms at that time. the reason for doing that is this. stepping down from the republican leadership will liberate me to spend more time trying to work for results on issues that i care the most about. that means stopping runaway regulations runaway spending but it also means confronting the timidity that allows us or allows health care spending to squeeze out support for roads, support for research, support for scholarships and
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other government functions that make it easier and cheaper to create private sector jobs. i want to do more to make the senate a more effective place to address serious issues. for four years in our caucus my leadership job has been this, to help the leaders succeed, to help individual republicans succeed, to look for a consensus within our caucus and to suggest a message. i have enjoyed that but there are different ways to offer leadership in the united states senate and i have concluded after nine years that this is now the best way for me to make a contribution. it really boils down to this. serving in this body as each one of us knows is a rare privilege. i'm trying to make the best use of that time while i am here. for the same reason i plan to step down in january from the leadership i will not be a candidate for leadership in the next congress, but, i
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do intend to be more, not less, in the thick of resolving issues and i do plan to run for re-election to the united states senate in 2014. these are serious times. every american's job is on the line. the united states still produces about 23% of the world's wealth, even though we only have about 5% of the world's people. but all around the world people are realizing that there's nothing different about their brains and our brains and their using their brain power to try to achieve some of the same kind of standard of living that we've enjoyed here. as a result of this, some have predicted that within a decade for the first time since the 1870s, the united states will not be the world's largest economy. they say china will be. my goal is to help keep the united states of america the world's strongest economy. now, madam president, there are two other matters that are relevant to the decision
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i'm making today that i would like to address. the first is this. when i first ran for the united states senate in 2002 i said to the people of tennessee, and they weren't surprised by this, that i will serve with conservative principles and an independent attitude. i intend to continue to serve in the very same way. i'm a very republican republican. i grew up in the mountains of tennessee and still live there in the congressional district that's never elected a democrat to congress since abraham lincoln was president of the united states. my great-grandfather was once asked his politics. he said, i'm a republican. i fought for the union and i vote like i shot. i've been nominated five times by tennessee republicans to serve in public office. i've been elected three times by senate republicans as conference chairman. if i could get a 100% republican solution of any of our legislative issues i
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would do it in a minute but i know that the senate usually requires 60 votes for solution on serious issues and we simply can't get that with only republican votes or only democratic votes. second, by stepping down from the leadership i expect to be more, not less aggressive on the issues. i look forward to that. i mean the senate is created to be the place where the biggest issues producing the biggest disagreements are argued out. and i don't buy for one minute that these disagreements create some sort of unhealthy lack of civility in the united states senate. i think those who believe that the debates today in our senate are more fractious than the debates in our political history simply have forgotten american history. they have forgotten what adams and jefferson said of one another. they have forgotten that vice president burr killed former secretary of treasury
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alexander hamilton. they have forgotten congressman houston was walking down the streets of washington one day. came across a congressman from ohio who opposed to and drew jackson's indian policy and started caining him for which he was censured. they forgot a south carolina congressman tame of came here here to the floor of the senate, nearly killed by hitting him with a stick a senator from massachusetts. they have forgotten another senator from massachusetts named henry cabot lodge and stood on the floor of the senate of the president of the united states, woodrow wilson, said i hate that man. they forgot about henry clay's compromises and debates held during the army mccarthy days. what of the watergate debates and what of the vietnam debates? the main difference today, between the debates in washington and the debates in history are that today because we have so much media, everybody hears everything instantly.
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if you would notice, most of the people who are shouting at each other on television or radio are the internet have never been elected to anything. it would help if we in the senate knew each other better across party lines but to suggest we should be more time mid in debating the biggest issues before the american people would ignore the function of the senate and would ignore, and would ignore our history. truth is, that the united states senators debate devisive issues with excessive civility. so, madam president, i've enjoyed my four years in the republican leadership. i thank my colleagues for that privilege. i now look forward to spending more time working with all senators to achieve results on the issues that i care about the most, issues that i believe will help, will determine for our next generation what kind of
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economy we will have, what our standard of living will be for our families and what our national security will be. i thank the president. i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> the republican leader. >> madam president, i would say to my friend of 40 years even though there are a number of colleagues here on the floor i'm confident we agree this is not a eulogy. that we're about to engage in. but really i think think i have a great sense of relief that my friend is going to run again in 2014 and continue to make an extraordinary contribution to the senate and to america. when i first met lamar, he was at the white house. i had just come here as a legislative assistant to a newly-elected senator. he had already accomplished a lot. he had been elected to phi beta kappa at vanderbilt. graduated from new york university law school. had clerked for a well-known
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circuit judge. been involved in howard baker's first campaign. helped him set up his first office and that was before i met him. since i've met him, as many of you are already aware, it's hard to think of anybody, hard to think of anybody who's done more things well. he went home in 1970 and ran a successful campaign for, i think the first republican governor of tennessee had elected, certainly since the civil war. ran for governor himself in a very bad year, in 1974. didn't work out too well. but one of the things we know about our colleague lamar is, he is pretty persistent. he tried it again in '78. elected governor. reelected governor in '82. spectacular record. and then he did a very unusual thing, and i remember knowing about it at
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the time. i kept up with him since we had met years before when we were in washington, he took his entire family and went to australia for six months. put the kids in school there. and actually wrote a book called, "six months off". which i read then. now i don't know how many books you sold, how many books senator alexander sold, but it was a fascinating review of basically just taking a break, going somewhere else, doing something entirely new, before getting back on the career treadmill we of course knew we would get back on and so once the australian experience was over, this extraordinarily accomplished and diverse individual become president of the university of tennessee. that was back when they used to play football. [laughter] and then president bush 41
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asked him to become secretary of education. so he was a cabinet member. and oh by the way, i think i left out that his mother's insistence, he became quite proficient at piano. he's a fabulous piano player and musician. my mother let me quit, that was the only mistake she made in an otherwise perfect job of raising me but your mother by insisting you continue to take piano gave him that dimension as well. so here we've got a guy who has been governor, president of his university, a member of the cabinet, and if that were not enough, he went into the private sector and started an extraordinarily successful business. which did very well.
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and so i expect that our colleague from tennessee thought that his public career was over, but then fred public care and fred thompson decided to go something different and all of a sudden he was in the united states senate, not just in the senate but then becomes a leader in the senate in a very short period of time. and we've had an opportunity to get to know our colleague. it's hard to think of anybody more intelligent, more accomplished and also more likeable than lamar alexander and so i'm going to say to my good friend from tennessee i'm relieved you're not leaving the senate. this is not a eulogy but it is an opportunity, i think, for those of us who have known and admired you for a long time to just recount your extraordinary accomplishment during a lifetime of public service. and so it's been my honor to be your friend and i'm going to continue to be your friend and i'm glad you continue to be our colleague. madam president, i yield the
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floor. >> i thank the leader and i have great confidence in derek duly. he's a fine football coach at the university of tennessee. [laughter] >> they're playing very good football and i intend to be in my usual seats at the georgia game in two weeks. [laughter] >> madam president. >> the other senator from tennessee. >> madam president, thank you. i want to say to my colleague i certainly enjoyed your comments and i'm certainly excited for you. i sit very close with with you at the senate. i do plan to keep a cane out of your reach for a few days. [laughter] >> but i very much appreciate your service and leadership of the republican party here in the united states senate. and i think that what you've done in that position is to bring out the best in all of us in the best way that you can.
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i'm excited for you. and i look at this as a great day for the senate, the united states senate. it's a great day for our country. this is a great day for the state -- for the state of tennessee. i can tell you based on the conversations that we've had and the way that i know you, the united states is going to become very quickly a more interesting place to serve. and for all of us who have been concerned about our lack of ability to solve our nation's greatest problems, i look at what you've done today as a step in the direction towards us being able as a body to more responsibly deal with the pressing issues that you outlined in your talk so i thank you for having the courage to step down from a position that many republican senators would
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love to have. i thank you for the way you serve our country. i thank you for the example that you have been to so many in your public service in our state and in our country and i thank you for being my friend. >> thank you. >> and, again, senator lamar alexander set to step down in january. no replacement has been announced. right now the senate is in recess for their weekly party lunches. when they return at 2:15, they'll continue working on a trade previousences bill dealing with goods from foreign countries. and at 2:30 new nevada senator dean heller will give his maiden speech on the senate floor. he was appointed by the state's governor to replace john ensign who resigned in may after ethics violations. when they return again at 2:15 eastern here on c-span2. and coming up live on c-span3
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this afternoon defense secretary leon panetta and joint chief of staff chair mike mullen will brief reporters on the end of the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military known as don't ask, don't tell. that ban ended today. live coverage gets underway at 2:00 eastern again on c-span3. and after that, north korean prison camp survivors testify before on the house subcommittee on human rights. it's part of a larger discussion of human rights in that country. that's live on 3:00 eastern also on c-span3. >> william jennings brian one of the best known speakers of his time and the first politician to campaign from the backs of railroad cars and automobiles. he ran for president three times and lost but he changed political history. he's one of the 14 men featured in c-span's new weekly series the contenders live from fairview friday at 8:00 eastern. learn more about the series and our upcoming programs on
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c-span.org/the contenders. >> which right pa of the u.s. constitution is important to you? that's our question in this year's studentcam competition opened to middle and high school students. make a video documentary 5 to 8 minutes long and tell us the part of the constitution that's important to you and why. be sure to include one point of view and video of c-span programming. entries are due by january 20th 2012. there's $50,000 in total prizes and the grand prize of $5,000. for all the details go to studentcam.org. >> as we mentioned earlier joint chief of staff chair admiral mike mullen will join defense secretary mike mullen on the military's repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy which took effect today. well, earlier today admiral mullen spoke about the future of the u.s. military at the carnegie endowment for international peace. he retires at the end of the
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month ending his nearly four-year tenure. this is about 50 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> thought from a chairman who is known and admired among many other things. the enormous amount of time that he has spent in the field, on the ground, with the troops
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investigating firsthand the progress of the two wars that he's been charged with overseeing. with another surge underway in afghanistan whose outcome is still far from clear. like his -- his first posting as an navy submarine officer in vietnam, he later served on six warships commanding three of them and eventually as vice can chief of naval operations as commander of nato's joint force in naples as commander of u.s. naval services europe and eventually as a navy chief. in these last four momentous years admiral mullen has overseen the iraq war to the peak and then winding down. played a key role in exhaustive strategy roles in afghanistan.
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for the focus now of a similar focus of handled over to afghan political leaders. he will chair on the stiff challenge that we still face. he has met exhaustively with pakistan's military leadership and, of course, has presided over the tracking down of osama bin laden. he's overseen a major shift of doctrine and weaponry with the escalating use of drones with islamic militants and his attention has by no means been limited to south asia. deepening the engagement between the and you say chinese military, for example, has been a top priority. at home he has helped to reconstitute the force after a decade of war and has fought for clarity and intelligence to be brought to bear in future budget cuts. on this day when repeal of don't ask, don't tell becomes final, it is worth talking about the quality of his personal leadership. anyone like myself who heard his
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testimony before the senate on don't ask, don't tell will not soon forget the quiet power of his personal statement. it's a cheap and overused word in washington but anyone who was listening that day heard the real thing. one other aspect of admiral mullen's tenure as the chief military advisor is worth noting. he has served two enormously different presidents. different in every possible way. political party, personal attributes, world view and not in quiet times. he served in -- [inaudible] >> especially in this very politicized town he has managed to do so through very contentious wars without his personal political views ever entering the picture. that will not be the least part, i think, of his distinguished legacy. next friday after more than 40 years of active duty, admiral
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mullen will formally retire. we offer our admiration and our thanks for his service and for coming today to share with us his thoughts looking back and looking ahead. please join me in welcoming admiral mike mullen. [applause] >> thank you. i very much appreciate that kind introduction. when i was interviewed on several morning shows on memorial day, it was four months obviously before i was due to leave. i hoped
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>> and they reflected on my tenure almost as if i was at my wake. as if it were over. and i still had four months left. if i wound the clock back four months from that moment, i would have said, if i use the last four months just as some measure, we could start in egypt and tunisia and libya, bin laden and japan and certainly not expect the world is going to go quiet here for the last four
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months nor do i expect for the last four days. just the way events continue to unfold. i've been asked to reflect -- and actually i think, jessica, you captured a great deal. sometimes more than i can even do myself. this has been a tumultuous four years. i do remember when i took over this job the state of iraq, the despair that was in so many corners. the vector that we were on which was certainly headed for failure. and that has -- to look at that and then be there a few weeks ago on my last trip, i was flying with a couple of army guys who had fought lost comrades and we were flying in
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baghdad with a sea of light like we were in las vegas. they had never seen traffic on the streets of baghdad at night and it was jammed. and since i started going to baghdad, in 2000 -- or to iraq in 2004, and where we are now, it truly is extraordinary. and there's many factors and it will be debated by many people and historians as to why it turned. there are two factors from my point of view which must never be lost, with respect to the military. one, courageous leadership at the top and, two, our men and women who executed that surge and changed the tide, if you will there. and look at where we are right now. on the eve of reducing our troops some 46 or 7,000 there at the beginning of this month and we'll be down by -- down to 30,000 by the end of the month
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and we'll continue on that glide slope under the current -- under the current strategic framework agreement to have our troops all out of iraq by the end of the year. admittedly, we're in negotiations with them right now, what we seek is a long-term relationship with them. and based on what i know, certainly i'm confident that we'll get to that long-term relationship. and that's 26 million people who have a much brighter future than they had certainly when i took over as chairman. when i came into the job i prioritized three things. one is focus on the broader middle east, certainly the war in iraq. i felt very strongly about afghanistan and struggling with afghanistan, where were we? we didn't have enough resources there and that we needed to at some point in time certainly focus there, focus on the
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al-qaeda threat. that is really and it still is today, the epicenter of terrorism in the world. it continues to be and i think we need to hold that focus. al-qaeda is in a much different place than four years ago. and it's not just because we got bin laden although that certainly is the highest priority in terms of that, but that also represents 30 years of work since desert one, when we failed in the iranian hostage rescue and we rebuilt not just our special forces and special operators but our military. and we've been able to get to that point through blood, sweat and tears a lot of losses and become the best military in the world. we adapted who we are in iraq through the shift to
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counterinsurgency and, obviously, we're in the middle of executing a very difficult and challenging campaign in afghanistan. a very well led with both ryan crocker and general john allen there. steady progress over the last couple years since we put 10,000 marines in helmand in the summer of '09 and if if you were to go to helmand or kandahar now and compare it to where it was, it's vastly different, rooting out the taliban of their own internal safe havens in their country. clearly, i've tried to focus this on the region. this isn't just about afghanistan. this is the region. the two countries -- that draw most focus, obviously, afghanistan and pakistan, but it's bigger than that. to me it's about india. it's about the stand. it's about its neighbor, it's about iran, it's about china.
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the totality of the region is what we need to focus on responsibly so that it doesn't deteriorate into either a civil war, a failed state with nuclear weapons, which is a huge danger to the future, not just of the region but i think of the world. so, obviously, lots of focus there and still lots of work to be done there. on the afghanistan side, while we've made improvements in security, clearly the attack on the embassy, the high profile attack, and just earlier today rabini was assassinated in kabul. these are -- we know that's the campaign that the insurgents are on. we've together adjust to that, protect the leaders, look at the
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security issues and we are. also in afghanistan, we've got to get at the corruption. that has to be -- there has to be significant steps taken there so that when the campaign is done -- when we've turned over and finished the training of the afghan security forces which has gone exceptionally well compared to where we were a couple of years ago, that it's a country and the government that people have some faith in. likewise, i've spent a lot of time with the relationship with pakistan. i was just with general kiyani as was reported friday evening on the sidelines of a conference of all the chiefs of defense in nato. and i spent almost -- over four hours with him both at dinner and then privately after that so -- and we covered a full range of issues focusing on the danger of the haqqani network, the need for the haqqani network
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to disengage. so has it gone well so far? all right. [laughter] >> the need for the haqqani network to disengage specifically, the need for the isi to disconnect from haqqani and from this proxy war that they're fighting. and without that, we can't succeed in the overall effort as well. what i believe is a relationship with pakistan is critical. we've walked away from them in the past and in walking away from pakistan, walking away from afghanistan -- look where we are today, and i think that cutoff has a lot to do with where we are. so lots of focus there. second priority -- and there are certainly other issues in the middle east which has evolve through now the arab spring,
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obviously iran, the challenges that we have in yemen. that syria now presents, et cetera. the second thing i tried to focus on was health of the force, a force that certainly in '07 had been through an awful lot. 15-month deployments. i'm what i call a vietnam baby. i remember one-year deployments. i remember how long we could sustain them. and 15 months when we got there, just wasn't sustainable. and our major units now are on their fourth, fifth, and sixth deployment since 2003 with however long that deployment has been and notionally they've been 12 months at a crack. they've been home only that long and we've got to give them some relief there. they have been unbelievably resilient and effective. their families have been unbelievably resilient and effective. and part of what i try to do in this job is connect that message
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to america because the american people know we're at war. they know we're losing people. they support our men and women in uniform. but they don't know the details of it. i've traveled extensively throughout the country and talked to community leaders to see if we can make sure we can connect that leadership locally with veterans who have so much to offer in the future. and they are almost to a person unaware of the depth of the stress and the things we've improved and yet improve the potential for these young men and women in their communities and, quite frankly, for the country. so we tried to emphasized that not just men and women who served but with my wife, deborah, to focus on the families because we just couldn't do without the family support that we've had and so we've together create more time at home. we're doing that now. but the pace is going to continue despite the drawdown in iraq, despite the 33,000 coming home next year, our pace -- the time between deployments will
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slow down, but i seriously doubt over the course over the next two or three or four years that the deployments themselves will slow dramatically. and then lastly, the third priority has been -- you can't forget about the rest of the world. i have spent a lot of time actually with my counterpart in russia through the negotiations and the eventual signing of the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty which is a big deal. and i have worked as hard as i can on deepening the relationships in the pacific with japan and korea if you have not personally seen the damage in japan you just can't fathom it. when i was there one of the things that struck me was how the japanese people handled it. how they're recovering and i consider them, quite frankly, an
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example for the world in that regard. the challenges on the peninsula, the challenges brought by kim jong-il and his leadership to destabilize that part and, obviously, i've worked hard and as heavily engaged as i could with china. my counterpart came two months ago. i returned -- his visit was the first one since 2004. we haven't had a connection with iran since 1979. even in the darkest days of the cold war we had links to the soviet union. we are not talking to iran, so we don't understand each other. if something happens virtually -- it's virtually assured that we won't get it right. that there will be miscalculations which would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world. so -- and i think the pacific and asia, stability there as the -- as one of the economic engines for the world for the
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foreseeable future is something we all need to spend a lot of time on. so that -- i guess between what jessica said and certainly just the brief comments i've made about focus, it's been an enormously, i think, both important but also humbling experience to serve in this capacity to represent 2.2 men and women who are the best i've ever seen active, reserve, guard. we shouldn't forget your guard has completely transformed itself over the course of 10 years. we would not be able to fight in either place successfully without our reserve and guard components. and i actually look to a great future with -- with them, with this combat experienced force that we have. and then lastly, i see some of my friends here who have never asked me a policy question.
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but certainly -- i mean, budget questions and i understand that's a pretty topical subject right now. i actually have some background in that and we're spending a fair amount of time in trying to get that right. my priority there is to make this strategically focused and have a strategy and then make decisions on how the budget needs to support that. what our marine corps, navy, coast guard -- what are the capabilities and what do we think about the future? that strategic set-piece is critical because then all of us can make, i think, informed decision about -- informed decisions about the budget. i think those that just want to do math, that path is a very dangerous path. this is not 1990, this is not 1970. this is a world that from my
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perspective still is very, very dangerous, and we need to make these decisions in a balanced way given where we are and our best estimate of what's going to happen in the future. with that, i'm happy to take your questions. [applause] >> can i just add to please wait for the mics and please introduce yourself. >> i'm from the american council. thank you for your comments. your comment with regards to iran i thought was very interested. could you specify -- are you specifically talking about military-to-military contact or a broader set of engagement between the two countries? >> i'm talking about any channel that's open. i mean, we have not had a direct link of communication with iran since 1979 and i think that
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is -- that plants -- that has planted many seeds for miscalculation when you miscalculate, you can escalate and misunderstand. this isn't about agreeing or disagreeing. that's why from my perspective, the visit that general chin from china -- his visit here, my visit there -- there's a lot of things we don't agree on. there are things we also -- that we do agree on but we have a channel that we can discuss things with each other. and it can be mil-to-mil and actually my own experience it's sort of depends on the country what the most effective challenges are. some of them are diplomatic. some of them are political. some of them are mil-to-mil and some of them are economic but we have not had a clear channel with iran since 1979 and the reason why i point that out is because of the -- of the world we're living in, the instability in the middle east, the
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hegemonic strategic direction that i think iran seeks as a destabilizing influence there, as a deconstructive as opposed to a constructive country. and that's very dangerous. a country that seeks nuclear weapons and achieving that goal would further destabilize that region from my perspective because i think it would generate others who would seek the same capability. it's just a very dangerous time. >> if i could just have a quick follow-up on that, mindful of that, do you believe that in the case of iran, mindful of what has happened in the last three years that as a military-to-military conversation that is easiest to begin with? >> i really wouldn't make a judgment on that. i think -- i think any -- any channel would be terrific. i can honestly say i don't have a preferred one based on what -- what the hopes would be, if you will. yeah. >> i'm with the pakistani
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american leadership center. obviously, we'd like the pakistanis to go out there -- the haqqani network to go out there. we have this constant refrain of do more. one of the things that they've asked from the u.s. is helicopters can you -- attack helicopters. it seems like the delivery of u.s. helicopters would not be what they'd like it to be. can you comment on that. >> certainly the time i've been chairman, i don't know the exact number is, but there's a huge -- there's a large amount of equipment that has been delivered to pakistan, pakistani military. if i -- there are two things when i travel globally, sort of global shortfalls one is what i call strategic lifts c-17 airplanes and helicopters and you never have enough helicopters. we know that is an area of focus both in terms of trying to get their mi-17s to fly as well as their cobras.
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the problem is their -- those helicopters are, in fact, the parts -- you know, we don't -- we're not making them anymore. so support in that regard is very difficult. but it's an area we have put great focus on. my own view is, and i might have this wrong -- i don't think there's -- i don't think there's a direct link between improving their helicopter fleet and the decision that i think the isi has to make to strategically disengage. the isi has been doing this -- working -- supporting proxies for an extended period of time. it is a strategy in the country, and i think that strategic approach has to shift in the future. and i say that given the number of pak-mil soldiers have died fighting terrorists. there have been a tremendous number of pak citizens who have
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lost their lives. huge internal threat that the pakistani military and other forces have worked very hard to combat. but it's -- my own view, it's going in the wrong direction. in addition to those that they are -- the proxy issues associated with haqqani and others. there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that haqqani was behind the attack on the american embassy the other day. haqqani was behind the attack -- the truck bomb attack which injured upwards of 77 u.s. soldiers killed 5 afghans and, you know, the taliban have an atrocious record of killing afghan citizens. and that should never be lost. so we're very focused on that. i mean, we've been focused on it. the haqqani piece of this has got to be reversed.
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period. [inaudible] >> there's been some very tough language from you and the other top u.s. officials in the recent days about the haqqani network. and is the u.s. to take stronger action or to adopt a method to go out on the haqqani network. >> i think the u.s. is willing to take the appropriate action to protect our men and women, obviously, in the fight and certainly to protect the afghan citizens who have been devastated by this network as well. i mean, i would say that broadly but i would never go into the specifics of what that would be as much as you would like me to do that. [laughter] >> thanks. admiral, i'm garrett mitchell and i write the mitchell report. and jessica made mention of your
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very personal leadership on the don't ask, don't tell question, which i think a number of us found very powerful. there's another lingering issue that i'd be interested in your thinking on. and that is in the interest of creating the very best military, we've privatized it. we've taken -- we've created a sort of cul-de-sac where people who serve in the military and their families are disassociated from the rest of us and we from them. i'm interested in your having lived through this from the time when you graduated from the academy and there was a draft all through the various posts that you've had, what you think the civic costs to the democracy are for having made that efficiency and effectiveness decision on the military? and how in what ways might it be
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eroding the sort of civic fiber and strength of the country? >> i have worried about this for a considerable period of time having come into the military, obviously, when we had a draft. i feel very strongly that we need not return to that, but the effects of a draft in terms of exposure and connection with the country, i believe, we have to -- when i say we, i'm pointing at myself and other leaders -- we have to figure a way to connect better with the american people and to understand that. and to be understood. as i said in my opening comments, i've been too many places where american citizens are stunned at what we've been through. stunned at the number of deployments. i talked about five or six major deployments, no time at home, half your time at home is spent away from home because you're training to go on the next one. if i were to pick out the special operators, those numbers go to 14, 15, 20 deployments.
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and the american people really don't understand the details of that even though they're incredibly supportive. and i do worry because we are less than 1% of the population. we come from fewer and fewer places that over time, our connection is eroding. and i think that's a very bad outcome for america. i think that's an outcome that this democracy could not -- could not stand. to have its military essentially be detached from its people and i believe all of us have to figure out a way to he have what that kind of effect at this point in time without going back to a draft. this is an incredibly good professional military. a level of excellence that i have never seen. and years ago could not have imagined, with huge challenges in the future.
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when asked -- i'm somebody -- and probably a little bit biased just because i've seen too many 18 years old come in the military and their lives get changed for the better and whether they stay or go, they become different people. i believe -- i believe broadly a couple years of service -- in any capacity would be good for our young people in the country. in neighborhoods, in communities, with the peace corps, with the military, with other organizations, ngos something that exposes them to the broader world and get a better connection to the challenges and the recognition of the opportunities. so i don't think we're there. i don't think it's been that corrosive yet, but it has from my perspective been brought into stark relief by these wars and where we are and certainly what i've seen. and i think we need to face that and actively -- i think it's a two-way street. it's a military issue.
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military leaders have to voice this and figure out a way not just to talk to ourselves, but it's also an issue that i think the american people -- leadership, need to recognize as well and figure out if we can create that same effect and that's a big challenge. yes, ma'am. >> i know you met general kiyani, as you just said, what kind of response have you gotten from him has there been any commitment or disengagements from his proxies? did you receive any kind of response from mr. kiyani. >> one of the ways i've kept my relationship with him over the last four years is not talk about in detail what we talked about. but we had a very -- i mean, we've met a lot. i visited pakistan, i think, 24, 25, 26 times. i've met him many other times in
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other places as well. i've talked to him on the phone many times. so we have a very close relationship. it's a relationship where both military leaders -- it's a difficult one. it will have its ups and downs. it has had certainly recently but i think the strength of the connection is what's important so that we can get through the hard times because both of us believe that in a long run a strong relationship between our countries and our militaries is very important but i wouldn't go into the details of that. chris? >> is this a policy question? >> a budget question, budget. chris, within the pentagon. admiral, you talked about the need of strategy to shape investment decisions. you've been working on that for months now. can you say anything about what the strategy is? >> the strategy is really for the president of the united states to say. it's not for the military to
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say. it's not for the secretary of defense to say. i'm actually very comfortable that we have in process worked very hard to look at different strategic views and continue to have those discussions so that when we make decisions, as we will -- and when i say we, probably that's the big we with respect to the budget over the course of the next six months. i mean, there are going to be some major, major decisions with respect to the budget of the united states, not just internal to the pentagon. and i am one who believes we need to pay our fair share in this. i am one who -- who voiced very early that i think the biggest threat to our national security is this debt. we got to get our arms around it. but we got to do it carefully. and i believe it's got to be, as i said, strategically focused. and so what did we learn from these wars, how does it inject
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into the future? obviously, this administration has put the qdr focus -- you know, given the budget -- i'm sorry, the qdr out there. given the budget constraints that we are in right now, you know, is that still relevant across-the-board? is there a different strategy for the future? and we're in the midst of that right now, chris. and i think it's going to take a while to really pin that down. but i just want to reassure you that the work is going on. and i'm very comfortable with the work so far and i think the best outcome would be if we can make sure this just isn't a budget drill or as prior secretary of defense said, it's just math. and, quite frankly, there are too many analysts that just just want to do this by map. we did this before in the '90s and i was in the trenches when that happened and it almost broke us, where i was. >> just a quick follow-up, sir, the uncertainty surrounding what the deficit commission is going
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to come up with this fall, i mean, how significantly does that inhibit your ability to, you know, develop that strategy now? >> well, i think the strategy that we have -- that we are working on, if you will, allows us to look into -- what i would call strategic -- a strategic approach if it's a trillion dollars out of defense, which is -- 1.3, whatever it is. if the sequester, you know, bomb goes off. if that happens, we're from my perspective, we're in a different strategy arena and a different military arena. so the work that's gone on, i think, exposes it from that standpoint. we can see that. we can see next steps with respect to -- if that thing were to go off and you heard secretary panetta and others -- and i would say the same thing. i think that would be very dangerous for the country given the national security environments that we have globally. all the way in the back.
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>> i write for the pakistani paper. and my question is addressing pakistani insecurities. given that pakistan lost everyone and then they fought with india and especially the issue with cash miles an hour i believe we can stay in afghanistan for 100 years and we are not going to resolve this issue. so then you look at american mother who lose their son, can you tell them honestly that it's worth to give up afghanistan -- that the country that has become better ground between india and pakistan so my question is merely about addressing pakistani insecurity given they have lost everyone fighting with india, thanks. >> i think that's a fair
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question and i think we need to listen. we need to understand what -- where pakistan's interests are. how does pakistan see its future? and where certainly those shared interests combine, i think we said to help each other chov that. i said earlier this isn't just about afghanistan and pakistan. it's a regional issue. and that includes india and oth others and i think that has been for a significant period of time with respect to pakistan. it remains today. i've said a couple of years ago -- and i believe today i think solving kashmir unlocks the whole place. that that's the path for long-term solutions. very difficult issue that isn't going to go away. it isn't going to get better over time and i have had those discussions. actually, with both pakistani leadership as well as india
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leadership. yeah. >> my name is mohammed and i'm from radio free europe. what's your take on impact on rabini's assassination? >> well, obviously, as the chairman of the high peace council in that regard, certainly someone is going to have to step in pretty quickly because that's a critical part of the whole peace process. and i think anytime you obviously lose a leader like that it's going to have an impact. i think honestly since it happened a couple hours ago it's really too soon to tell what the impact will be. i think leaders need to, you know, i think respond deliberately here. ensure that -- that this is not
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destabilizing certainly from the standpoint of looking to the future and it does represent what is a very clear strategy on the part of the insurgents and the taliban to try to assassinate as many leaders as possible. i don't think it derails the strategy. clearly, they are not winning in the field, if you will. they've had -- from their overall campaign, they've had a pretty difficult year. at the same time, the strategic effects here are not insignificant. we need to pay attention. >> yes, sir. robert kemp from georgia university. what you said about decreasing the possibility of decreasing the military budgets here in the united states, how do you see nato evolving over the next five or ten years given the situation of the european economies. >> it's a difficult challenge. many of the nato countries have already taken steps to dramatically reduce their
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budget. i was just in this meeting in seville. it was a nato meeting and i give nato an awful lot of credit for reacting quickly, for standing up once given the mission for standing up and executing a mission that many people would have possibly doubted they could do. we haven't run an air campaign like that in many, many years inside nato and it had the strategic effect. obviously, it doesn't have gadhafi gone out of the country yet, but for all intents and purposes, his regime is gone. there's still some fighting that's left. and so i'm encouraged by what i saw with respect to nato. and one of the things that my counterparts from several countries said to me very publicly is they could not have done this without the u.s. they couldn't have done it utah would the u.s. both leading it
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initially, getting it going, and then the support -- incredible support structure that we put in from fueling to electronic attack to support across-the-board, munition support, et cetera. so it's still part of the team, but it is -- i think one of the questions that's out there is what does -- what does an operation like libya mean so close to europe? will europe take the lead in these kinds of things in the future? and one of the questions they're going to have to answer is, do they have the military -- do they have the the military capabilities to be able to execute it? and those are some of the lessons, obviously, that we will take forward. but i'm -- you can't -- i mean, i think bob gates said this in his last speech in nato. you can't wish this stuff to happen. you got to have capabilities and to have capabilities you have to make investments. some of the investments are
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expensive. nor can you just depend on everybody else. we can't. and i don't think they can. and i think we're going to have figure this out in the future, michael? >> i'm michael comeski, retired. admiral, what light can can you share on the negotiations with the iraqis in terms of the numbers of troops that remain in iraq post this year and where did the number 3,000 come from? >> i can't shed a lot of light on that right now except to say that we are in negotiations. i guess -- and this goes back to my experience before. i was at the heart when i started this job of negotiations of the last strategic framework agreement with iraqis. this is really hard stuff. and we're in the midst of that right now.
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i think it's one of the nice things about iraq is the vast majority of the problems are political problems. so prime minister maliki and working with the other -- the leaders from the rest of the coalition are going to have to figure out and address what kind of relationship they want with the united states. all of them at one time or another have been very positive in that regard, say sadr. and so i think, you know, the prime minister is working that very hard now and i know how hard it was -- it was hard last time and it's going to be hard this time. you know, there's all kinds of numbers out there. everybody wants numbers, deadlines, times. i'm not going to say anything about that. yeah. >> my name is lami and i'm from
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voice of america. with this from the afghan government and international groups controversial and night raids are still going on in afghanistan and actually it has been increased. so are these raids so important that it makes nato to ignore these criticisms? >> this is something that president karzai -- we've engaged with president karzai over oh, the last couple of years. we certainly have recognized his concern with respect to that. they are -- they have been on the military side enormously effective. the absolute minimum number of civilian casualties, fully 90% or so get executed without a shot being fired. we are certainly sensitive to the -- the afghan civilian
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population in that regard. we do get feedback from an awful lot of civilian leaders that they are in support of these raids because we're getting the right people. so we know where -- we know this is an issue we have to continue to work on. we are continuing to work. if you followed the recent negotiations for the strategic partnership declaration, obviously, this issue is still one that's out there that we have to continue to work on. i think -- i think we can get to a solution that protects the afghan people, gets the right individuals and recognizes certainly the strategic impact that president karzai is so concerned about. we have time for one more question. >> thank you. i'm panka from the british american security information council. so when you look at the big picture and strategically and as you are soon leaving office,
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what are your personal views about what's possibly eliminating one leg of the nuclear triad when you look at all the threats that are out there, things like cyberwarfare? >> eliminating my personal views? >> yeah. >> fortunately, this is not -- this isn't a congressional hearing. i spent a lot of time on this -- in the engagement of the new star. i think the vector is correct. i think the vector is right with respect to nuclear weapons. clearly, the triad is one that has been -- it's been tried and true for a long time. i talk about two threats to the united states right now. one is obviously the nuclear weapons that exist in russia. we think that we've got that, you know, well controlled inside the treaty and inside the relationship. so the likelihood of that is, you know, is virtually nil and the other is cyber. i think cybercan actually bring us to our knees. and at some point in time, and
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maybe it's because i'm tied to my background, that because cyber is a place that has -- there are no boundaries, no rules there are governments, nongovernments, hackers, you pick it, that at some point in time we may need some kind of structure not unlike nuclear weapons because the danger is so significant in terms of having agreed to both doctrine, regulations, et cetera. we're a long way from that now. so i think -- i mean, clearly president obama has sent a message to continue to reduce these -- the nuclear weapons. we are doing that through the new s.t.a.r.t. -- like all things we just need be careful about this. at some point in time, that triad becomes very, very expensive. you know, obviously, the smaller your nuclear arsenal is, and so
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it's at some point in time in the future, certainly i think a decision will have to be made in terms of whether we keep the triad or drop it down to a diet. i didn't see us near that in this recent -- the last couple of years with respect to new s.t.a.r.t., but i spent enough time on it to know at some point that is going to be the case. >> admiral, before you -- before we let you go, can you give us -- >> is this a question? >> this is. >> it's a basic rule we'll never take the last question. what's your assessment as you leave it about the health of the chiefs as an institution and what's the most important thing you've learned in this job? and what piece of advice, if any, might you give to your successor? >> well, i feel -- i feel more than just strongly about retaining both the independence and the -- of this advice to the
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secretary and to the president as well as keeping the military completely apolitical. and in a political town, that's a real challenge. but for the institution and for the institution and for the military but also, quite frankly, for the presidency and for the country. it's absolutely vital that we -- that we retain that. and then given that advice, the president makes a decision and we march off. we don't question it. so i am probably more than anything else in this job because that's what i do virtually every day. and from my perspective, even as a chief, i had -- and i was a chief -- i was a member of the joint chiefs for a couple of years before i took over as chairman, and i worked hard to include the chiefs in the -- you know, in the discussions even when decisions are being made very, very rapidly.
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and to have the presidents engaged with the chiefs and i think that's important. i think the chiefs as an institution are exceptionally strong. i mean, i've watched them inside two administrations right now. they're not shy about -- about their views and i think that needs to be -- that needs to be continued. these are very difficult jobs in very difficult times. when people ask me, you know, what -- what do you depend on, one of the things i depend on in addition to, you know, the woman i've been married to for over 41 years who has been an incredible partner, has been the military colleagues of mine, who are exceptional. i've had the great privilege of leading young men and women who are the best i've ever seen but doing that with a group of four stars that are exceptionally
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strong. so i think we're in pretty good shape. >> thanks. >> thanks. thank you. >> please join me in thanking him. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> the senate is in recess now coming back in, a little over 15 minutes now at 2:15 eastern. for more work dealing with a bill on trade previousences from goods from developing countries. then at 2:30 eastern time a
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republican dean heller who was appointed by the governor of nevada to fill a vacancy left by john ensign will deliver his first speech on the senate floor. so we'll have live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. the joint economic committee held a hearing this morning examining the effects of the federal debt on the u.s. economy. in this 20-minute portion, witnesses were asked what the tipping point is for too much u.s. debt. >> senator representative mulvane, south carolina, is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. s dr. ball, i'm going to take the unusual step of asking you some questions. i've learned not to get in a battle of wits when i'm woefully underarmed. it's been a long time since i've taken economics and i will ask a couple questions and try not to make too big of a fuel. do you believe there is such thing as a tipping point in the size of this debt? >> oh, absolutely. i think probably all three of us agree there is a tipping point and we don't know where it is.
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and it will be prudent not to find out. so by no means do i want to say we shouldn't be very concerned about long-run sustainability. >> that's sort of where i was hoping we could get. i think -- one of the things that all three of you could agree, if we get past that point it would be actually much worse in the situation we find ourselves in today, is that a fair statement? >> probably. i think -- again, because the u.s. is special and this is unprecedented, when it would happen or how bad it would be -- again, it's the kind of thing we don't want to -- we don't want to learn about. >> and that's -- one of my frustrations with the classical keynesians is they seem to lack in my opinion a long-term outlook. we're always looking quarter to quarter, we're looking year to year. there is no long term and you remember what dr. keynes comments was regarding a long-term, we're all dead. we've sat in this room this year with a board of experts regarding entitlements and i'm
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talking -- there were two republican witnesses and an independent witness and a democrat witness. and the window of opportunity that that broad group gave us to fix entitlements was someplace between two years for the most conservative and 5 years for the most progressive or liberal witnesses that we have. and one of my concerns is that when i read -- when i read your analysis -- when i read your testimony is that we lack any type of mid to long-term outlook. that we're simply looking at the next quarter in an effort to try and boost the gdp. you go to the end of your testimony, for example, and you talk about why printing money -- why expansionary policies might not have the same type of inflationary outcomes that we've seen or that many of us, including many of the members of this board because you say that businesses generally do not monitor the fed's balance sheet and they do not base their pricing decisions on the change of the monetary base. i used to run a business. i can assure you i didn't watch
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the fed reserve and i didn't watch expansionary policies but what i did watch was my costs. and that when my costs went up, i had to raise my prices and i can assure you i wasn't watching the fed the brokers in food and fuel certainly were. and as my costs went up because of expansionary policies i had no choice but to raise my prices or to go out of business. you go back to the republic. you saw a tremendous inflation --, in fact, hyperinflation without an overheated economy. it was driven entirely by the printing of money. there was high unemployment at that time. there was fairly low productivity. and what we had was -- well, we had middling productivity but you had tremendous inflation. one of the things that i fear that when i look at your proposals is that we are underestimating the risk of inflation and hyperinflation. take a minute and tell me why i can sleep at night and i shouldn't be too worried about that. >> well, first of all, on the fiscal issues, you talked about
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the long run and the short run. i mean, i think the quote about in the long run we're all dead is something people are a little embarrassed on because the long run is important. again, i think there's a lot of agreement about the long run dangers of the debt. just we need to be realistic about if we're very aggressive right now at cutting the debt there will be major costs in the -- >> if we believed that we were closer to the tipping point rather than further -- if we believed that we were closer than you think that we may be -- let's say we're the two years, you're the 5 years, isn't it entirely rational for us to be taking the steps that we are proposing? >> well, i think at some level the right steps are obvious. maybe everybody could even agree. it's addressing the looming -- i mean, there's the cbo chart of the debt going off. that's because of primarily entitlement programs. so in a perfect world, congress would get together and have a friendly discussion and figure out some nice moderate compromise on how to fix
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entitlement programs. and that would solve the long-term problem without giving a big negative jolt to the economy today. i mean, if we address the deficit just by, you know, willy-nilly spending cuts over the next decade -- i mean, maybe -- i'm not going to say whether that's overall good or bad. i mean, but there are going to be -- there's going to be higher unemployment. there are going to be costs that we should be realistic about that. >> you mentioned very quickly and i have just a few seconds. you mentioned willy-nilly cuts and i agree with you going in and cutting randomly might have a different output than coming in and cutting specifically. the canada example is one -- several of you have mentioned and there if you go back and you look at the history, it appears as if their cuts focused primarily on wealth transfer programs and not on infrastructure. would you agree, sir, with me, with the premise, that cuts in wealth transfer programs might have less of an impact on employment than cuts to
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infrastructure spending? >> i think that is plausible because infrastructure spending appearance substantial effect on employment. but let me say very briefly on the inflation issue. that's something where maybe i do differ from others. i think the fears of inflation are really quite unwarranted. that's a bogie man -- again, without the long economic debate i think historically in the u.s., inflation, pressures have taken off when the economy is overheated. and workers -- unemployment has been low so workers push for higher wage increases, firms are straining their capacity so they have an incentive to raise their prices and overheated economy is obviously the last thing we need to worry about right now. >> thank you, doctor. thank you, mr. chairman. sorry to go over on time. >> no thank you. mr. campbell from california is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you know, subject of this hear i've been talking about for some years, the real debt limit and i've been saying although we've had debates and disputes here in congress here over the statutory debt limit that the statutory
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debt limit is an arbitrary number and the real arbitrary number is what we are calling the tipping point but the push-back i get on that from some people and i like to ask dr. medical melzer we're a long way. look what's happening to the treasury debt today and look where the treasury is dropping right around 2 but dropping at some point below 1.9 or so forth. the auctions are going out there. there's a tremendous appetite for treasury debt and this is an indication that we are a long, long ways from that tipping point. would either of you -- both of you would like to respond to that? >> first i would say the size of the unfunded mandate which is not included in most of the numbers we talk about, not in the 90%, not in the 100% is 6 to 7 times the size of the deficit.
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depending on the interest rate that you count back to the future. that's an enormous amount that it's -- just as the chart shows. mr. ball and i agree. it's the medicare and medicaid expenditure that's going to do -- that's going to cause us the problems we have. social security is a minor but important part of the problem. but it pales in significance compared to medicare and medicaid. there's a lot of things we can do and there's a lot of things we can do to medicare and medicaid that don't require taking away promised benefits to people. but changing them, for example, in just one of many examples, we have -- we have to ask, why do we spend about 50% of the medicare money on people who within six months of dying? now they don't all die so for some there's a benefit but there's no co-pay attached to that. if we attached a co-pay, and
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graduated it according to income, we would reduce a lot of -- >> okay, dr. meltzer just because i've got time. what -- how do you respond to those people who say in spite of all this that we have considerably more debt that we can run up and that the evidence of that is the appetite for and the low interest rate on treasury bills? >> the reason we have the low interest rate is because the fed enforces it. i mean, if you want to look at where the pressure is coming from, look at the fact that the dollar has depreciated by about 15% against the weak currency like the euro by even a larger percent like the weak currency like the japanese yen. that the most recent inflation number was 3.8%, well above the fed's target. so i don't buy the argument that in a weak economy, you don't get inflation. you gave the example of germany. spain at the moment has 20% unemployment. prices are rising.
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britain has a high unemployment rate and prices are rising. so there are other sources other than the labor market to give you inflation and we're going to get them. >> mr. edwards? >> there's these gigantic negative risks out there that something big and bad is going to happen to the american economy and we don't know what it is. if you go back and look at the january 2008 cbo projection, they didn't projection a recession. they said well, maybe a recession would happen but they actually projected growth would be strengthened in coming years. so we're going to be surprised by how the next big recession or negative factor. if you look at cbo projections i mean, there's no recessions in their 10-year outlook but what if we have a gigantic recession another year from now and another major recession, tax revenues would plunge again, unemployment comp costs would soar, a lot of policymakers would want to do another giant stimulus and we would be in this sort of spiral downward of debt and poor economic growth. so, you know, we've got to start
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planning now. the risk factors are all on the negative side. european countries have this horrible demographic problem worse than ours. their debt loads are going up. and there's, you know -- so the higher their debt loads become and the higher ours becomes becomes more risk of an international contagion and we're at a tipping another and if europe can go into another deep recession it would cause a deep recession here. so, you know, the risks are all on the ugly side. >> okay. in my last 15 seconds any of you want to comment on the fed discussing -- i forget what everybody is calling it, to change the maturities of the debt that they hold? >> it won't do much. they tried it back in the 1960s. they had a big experiment. it didn't work. that is their own research at the fed said it didn't work. why? well, think about it. if you suppress long-term rates and raise short-term rates what do you think the market people are going to do? they're going to go the other
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way. >> okay. my time has expired. thank you. >> the chair recognized dr. burgess of texas. >> there you go. >> you're not meant to speak today, dr. burgess. [laughter] >> probably with good reason. dr. meltzer you talked about the cost of medicare for patients in the last months even weeks of life. i'll just tell you as somebody who practiced for a number of years. the principal problem we have there is the lack of transparency on the part of the patient. they don't tell us when that last two weeks begins so it makes it very, very difficult for us to balance our decisions. but along that line, you talk about the cost drivers contained within medicare and medicaid. you talked about perhaps changing things so that they
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don't take away future benefits. i will submit within the health care realm, there is probably $1.3 trillion in immediate savings that will not take away future benefits and that would be to delay the implementation of the affordable care act, which no one seems to seriously consider when they have deficit conditions or when they talk to the president. is that something that this congress should take under serious consideration? >> yes. >> thank you. we also talked -- and this is for anyone of you. we talked a great deal about casual sidelines. i've talked to a number of my community bankers not just in the august recess but going back this past year and a little bit longer. the community bankers tell me that they are -- they're hampered by the fact that they must keep their loan to deposit ratio under 80% or they'll invite a visit from some type of bank examiner and that visit may not be pleasant.
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so they take pains to not go that last -- to not touch that last 20%. as a consequence they're not making money on that 20% of deposits. the community is deprived of the loans that those 20% of deposits could create. do any one of you have a sense that's a bigger problem than what's been talked about before? >> if i may comment i think that is a problem. i think probably depressed lending from community banks is one factor holding back the recovery. and perhaps our regulators could change their attitude a little bit or think of creative ways to encourage lending and perhaps help recapitalize community banks. >> but we've kind of gone the other way in the past 18 to 24 months that rather than making the regulations perhaps clarifying them even we've made them more obscure as has been previously mentioned.
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we frighten people with what is the future regulatory environment that they're going to encounter. and dr. meltzer is that one of the reasons this cash is staying on the sidelines? >> that's one of the reasons. that is generally regulation. as speaker boehner said so well in his speech the other day, you know, you can move your plant to china but you can't move it to south carolina. that sounds funny but at the same time, it really tells us is serious thing about what regulation does to the attitudes of businesses. >> you know, and we're talking right now -- the president is talking about raising taxes to create jobs and yet this is the same white house that just this weekend said that lockheed in fort worth can't sell f-16s to taiwan. that their national labor relations said you can't build aircraft in south carolina. and american airlines's biggest jet purchase in the history of
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the country probably is buying non-boeing products for perhaps the first time in their company's history. american airlines is buying non-american-produced jets. the 8 to 18 power plants are going to close in texas on january 1st because of the cross-state air pollution rule is going to be a significant detriment on jobs. keystone pipeline argue the environmental effects one way or the other but the white house simply will not make a decision whether they say yes or no. drilling in the arctic for shell oil -- they just will not make a decision. the problem, as i see it, is not the taxes are not high enough. it's that the white house is so risk-averse it's afraid to act. do -- >> you can see all of this at c-span.org. the senate is returning now for work on a bill dealing with trade previous -- previousences. international community that there needs to be two states, a jewish state of israel along with an independent palestinian
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state living side by side in peace. but the only way that that will take place is through direct negotiations between the palestinians and the israelis. prime minister netanyahu, the prime minister of israel was here in washington and spoke before a joint session of congress, and he laid out very clearly how peace in the middle east needs to evolve by the recognition, by the international community of the jewish state of israel and an independent palestinian state through direct negotiations between the palestinians and the israelis. israel has been one of our strongest allies. they have been a loyal ally to the united states. we share common values, and it's strategically critical to the united states, particularly in that part of the world. it is clear to all that the only way that we will achieve the true state will be through direct negotiations between the
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palestinians and the israelis. the palestinians have been reluctant for these direct negotiations. try to use intermediaries. they need to do it directly. sit down with the israelis, negotiate the issues. that's the way to move forward to accomplish their goal. the action they are seeking in the united nations will be counterproductive. mr. president, we have gone on record, every single one of us in the senate of the united states in senate resolution 185, a resolution that i brought forward with my colleague from maine, senator collins. it passed unanimously by the united states senate. it stated very clearly that if the palestinians were to pursue this unilateral action through the united nations, that that would not advance the peace process, that it would be counterproductive to the objectives of the palestinians to establish an independent
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state. this past week, senator collins and i sent a letter to president abbas, the president of the palestinian group. we told him that we felt that trying to go directly to the united nations and circumventing the peace process would be a lack of good faith in peace negotiations and that it would have repercussions on united states foreign policy. what we have been told by the palestinians is that they are going to seek full membership as a state in the united nations going to the security council. mr. president, that's not going to succeed. we hope that the security council will recognize the inappropriateness of such action and will not take it up or will not provide the necessary support to forward it to the general assembly. in the unlikely case that it were to get the necessary support in the security council,
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the united states has made it clear it would veto any such action, for good reason. because it would be counterproductive to achieving the objectives of two states living side by side in peace. the palestinians may go to the general assembly, and although they can't get full membership, they could try to advance a resolution within the general assembly of the united nations. and we know the numbers. we know what could happen. but i must tell you, seeking some form of recognition through the general assembly circumventing the peace process and the security council will be harmful to advancing the peace process and the objectives of the palestinians for an independent state. let the parties negotiate directly in good faith. israel has indicated that they are prepared to do that. they have been prepared to do that. negotiate in good faith through direct negotiations.
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there are no shortcuts to achieving this and moving through the united nations will not achieve those objectives. mr. president, with that, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the
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junior senator from nevada. mr. heller: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heller: thank you, mr. president. it is an honor serving the people of the great state of nevada and today i'm speaking on their behalf for the first time in these chambers in the united states senate. before i begin, i'd like to take a moment to reflect on two tragic events that have taken place in nevada recently. in carson city, our nation lost three national guards members at a local restaurant shooting. those members were major heath kelly, sergeant first class miranda mcelleny, and sergeant first class christian reggie. the other was an horrific crash at the air races this weekend. this terrible event not only impacted the communities of northern nevada but the entire state and the nation.
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having visited the scene where the crash occurred, it is difficult to describe the amount of damage that took place there. our state's first responders and medical personnel did an amazing job in a very difficult situation. my thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families and wish the injured a quick recovery. i am deeply humbled by the opportunity to stand here today and to address the body as nevada's 25th senator. nevada is a small state but is one that has provided many with a great chance to succeed. most people know that it was in nevada where samuel clemons began to sign his writings as mark twain and reported on the territorial legislative sessions. however, the reason samuel clemens came to the nevada territory was to follow his older brother, orion clemens. the position he served in would
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later become secretary of state, a position which i held prior to my service in congress. like the clemens brothers who sought greater opportunities, it is in a state like nevada where a son of a mccannet can have the opportunity to interact with those who are responsible for governing the state. for instance, as a boy, i delivered the newspaper to then-governor michael callahan. for a time i went to sunday school with then-lieutenant governor harry reid's sons. i was educated in the same public high school as senator paul laxalt. our current governor, someone who i used to bray basketball with. i want to thank senator laxalt for his support and senator reid for being here today. and although not a nevadan, i also want to thank senator mcconnell for being here as well. my father's automotive shop was across the street from the nevada legislature so many of the legislators would come into
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my dad's business. i spent a lot of time there as a kid working in that garage, sweeping floors, repairing cars, fixing engines and transmissions. in that shop i learned the value of hard work and responsibility and the importance of family. i'm proud of what i learned growing up in nevada, values from two great parents, good teachers, and good neighbors. nevada values, like faith in god, hard work, honesty and commitment to family. these are the values that i try to bring to washington, d.c., every day. although nevada has changed over the years in many ways, it is vecht same place as when i -- it is very much the same place as when i group. i recall what it took for my father to keep his business in operation and i think about what might have happened if he were still in business today. during this time when so many people are hurting, our economy is so fragile, it is important
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to understand how government impacts our economy and businesses across the nation. while washington politicians tarnish one another, americans are still out of work. my home state of nevada in particular leads the nation in unemployment, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. nevadans do not want finger-pointing. they want jobs. nevadans do not want political talkingpoints. they want to keep their homes. nevadans do not want to hear all the promises. they want to pass on a better future to their children and grandchildren. job creation and economic recovery should be a bipartisan value. unfortunately, washington today is perillized by politics and has been reduced to sound bites. too often it seems we cannot move beyond the politics of today. it appears we're more interested in press conferences than solving our nation's most pressing problems. issues such as medicare, which
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is on the verge of bankruptcy, instead of strengthening and preserving the program, it is often used as a political weapon. the truth is, washington has not done enough to get our nation back on track and the american people know it. i recently received a letter from a small business owner who had this to say: "my business had to dramatically cut our spending and unfortunately lay off half you are good employees. many of our customers have lost their jobs and their homes due to government intervention in the housing market and massive mismanagement of our tax dollars. government employment has gone up while private-sector employment has dropped." these are the kind of stories that i hear from nevadans far too often. for over four and a half years i do weekly telephone town hall meetings where i have the opportunity to speak with thousands of households across my great state. during a recent round of phone
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calls, i've been asking participants if they believe their children and grandchildren will have a better economic future than we have today. more than two-thirds of these respondents say "no." many nevadans believe that the economic burden of our national debt and the impact it will have on future generations will lead to fewer opportunities and less upward mobility. i'm certain that nevada is not alone in this sentiment. do we want to be the first congress that hands our children and grandchildren a lesser quality of life? this should serve as a wake-up call for washington. passing a better life to our children and grandchildren is a value and goal we all share as americans. from all corners of nevada and our nation, the message is clear: the status quo is not working. we can no longer afford to ignore the biggest problems facing our country: government spending and the national debt.
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the choices are clear: we can continue down this path which leads to bigger government, higher taxes, less jobs, and rationed health care for our seniors; or we can decrease government spending, create jobs, and fulfill our promises to future generations. washington needs to place its trust in the american people, to reenergreenergize our federal e, not the government. from time to time we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite -- but if no one smowngs capable of governing himself, then who mangs has the dpas toy govern someone else? our debt will serve as an anchor on future prosperity if we do not work today to solve this problem. business as usual is not an
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option. what we do as senators and the decisions we are -- we make are critically important to those who we wish to represent. sometimes the result of our actions are seen immediately. sometimes the full ramification takes decades to unfolds. record deficits, high unemployment, and anemic recovery, inflation, are fueling anxiety over our nation's fiscal health. the key to recovery is to create an environment where economic growth can flourish and provide certainty and stability to our nation's job creators. i evaluate legislation through what i call the entrepreneurial standard -- or the more higher less test. does business provide less competition with higher quality at less cost? what would a small businessman do? if the federal government approached problems through an entrepreneurial perspective, we would have a more efficient
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government at less cost to the taxpayer. unfortunately, our government is not providing that certainty today. we have a temporary tax code, overly burdensome regulations, and an ever-increasing national debt. there is no question, the federal government must stop spending money we do not have. if we are going to keep america exceptional, we have to chart a new direction for our country. as families across nevada struggle to pay their bills and fight to keep their homes, government spending has grown exponentially. this must end if we're going to turn this economy around. we must focus on the long-term health of our economy and remove impediments that have caused economic stagnation and disabled businesses from creating new jobs. the federal government has been on a massive spending spree and it's time for this reckless behavior to end. history offers little evidence
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that massive deficit-financed spending leads to economic recovery. as an opponent of the stimulus and the wall street bailout, i believe reining in government spending is critical to economic recovery and the future of our country. the unemployment rate, foreclosures, bankruptcies -- all represent people who've become victims of this recession. there are those who have endured pay cuts to keep their jobs, individuals who are unde underemployed and seniors on fixed incomes dealing with the increases in cost-of-living increases. the question wees must answer is, do we have the courage to overcome partisan divides, work together to solve our nation's problems? imawf while we all may not be members of the same political party or share the so i am philosophy of government, i believe we're all here to do what's right. in these difficult times it's more important than ever that we
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work together, find common ground, and make tough decisions to create jobs and get people back to work. every day i go to work to advocate for the great state of nevada, and every day i let nevadans know there is someone in washington who is on their side. there's not a day that goes by that i do not think about what can be done to create jobs and get our economy moving again. this is not the first time america has endured tough times and it probably won'ting the last. there will be better days ahead. however, it is incumbent upon us to effect change in difficult times to create a better future. today we're at a crossroads, possibly a defining moment in our nation's history where we must change the way we govern. the window of opportunity is available, but it's growing smaller every day. mark twain wrote, "you are a coward when you even steam have
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backed down from a thing you openly set out to do." so i ask another question: what is it that we set out to do? i ran for office to make a difference, to leave this place better than i found it. we still are the greatest nation on earth with the greatest form of government. our best days are yet to come. if we act now to return our nation to what made us great, families, entrepreneurs, community, the american dream -- we must stop the mind-set that we have all the answers here in washington, because i can assure you, we don't. the answers are out there. they're in places like nevada, alaska, ohio, and perhaps kentucky, in small towns and large cities across this country. let the american engine fire again. tear down the barriers to growths and opportunity and watch this great nation do its next great chapter.
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i stand ready to searchedz ready to bring us all together. when my children and grandchildren look back many years from now, it is my hope that history shows we rose to the occasion to ensure their future and the future of our great nation. i am confident we can meet those challenges. our strength is as a nation is bigger than the challenges of today. may god bless the state of nevada, and may god bless this great country. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the full speech -- full text of my speech be placed in the record. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, i congratulate my colleague on his fine speech. i was happy to hear him mention some of my family. i think most everyone in nevada knows that one of his best friends and mysons benevolen mys
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best friends -- and my son's best friend. so crawtionz on your first speerchtion the first of many. the first one sauls the hardest. after that it is a lot easier. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: let me just add to the remarks of the distinguished majority leader congratulations to our brand-new senator from nevada, his outstanding inaugural dreavment he is off to a very fast start, representing the people of nevada, doing a wonderful job, and i congratulate him for an outstanding address. .
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mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, under the leadership of chairman baucus, i have the honor of chairing the senate finance subcommittee on international trade. and that's why i wanted to take just a few minutes, mr. president, to outline some of the issues that i think are relevant to this important debate by going to bat for workers under the trade adjustment program. now, in my home state, mr. president, about one out of six jobs depends on international trade. the trade jobs tend to pay better than do the nontrade jobs. and so what i said is my philosophy about international trade is what we ought to do is
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everything possible to grow things in oregon and in the country, to make things in oregon and across america, add value to them here and ship them somewhere, because this is an extraordinary opportunity we have in front of us in terms of expanding exports. the fact of the matter is, mr. president, that the american brand, the brand that is attached to american goods, the exports that we send all over the globe are something that consumers worldwide want. and that's really my first point, mr. president. more than 90% of the world's consumers live outside the united states. 90%. and they are all potential customers for the products that we make in the united states. more customers for american products means that american
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businesses have to make more products. to make more products, they go out and hire more workers. hiring more workers to make more products to sell to more consumers is the upside of the trade debate that we are starting today. dismantling trade barriers to american exports gives our businesses access to those new consumers. doing that creates and supports good-paying jobs, jobs that you can support a family on, a family-wage job. as i mentioned, trade-related jobs provide better benefits and pay than many of those jobs unrelated to international trade. that's why when we have an opportunity to open markets, to open markets to american products and american exports, we ought to take advantage of it. point number two is that our successful efforts to open
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markets are undermined when foreign governments and foreign competitors cheat. and i use that word specifically because cheating is exactly what engaging in unfair trade practices that work tpo to* undermine -- that work to undermine our producers is all about. an essential component of our trade policy always has to be enforcement, enforcement of u.s. trade laws and global trade rules. senator snowe, senator portman, senator blunt, senator mccaskill, senator schumer, senator brown and i have been focused specifically on stopping foreign suppliers from wandering their merchandise to a vague u.s. anti-dumping and counterveiling duty laws. these are the duties that are put in place, mr. president, to remedy the damage that unfairly traded imports causes to
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american producers. those foreign trade cheats, especially those from china have been found guilty of dumping their goods in our country. instead of dumping -- instead of stopping the dumping or paying the appropriate duties, the chinese goods are shipped into a country like korea where the goods get repacked into boxes that say "made in korea" in order to avoid the u.s. trade remedy laws. and all of this, mr. president, has been occurring under the sleepy eyes, the sleepy eyes of our customs agency. fortunately, with bipartisan support, the senate is positioned to act on this matter and address the issue. it will not come a minute too soon. mr. president, i was just stunned when the staff of my subcommittee on international trade basically set up a sting
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operation, set up a dummy company, and we were amazed at the number of firms, particularly from china, who basically said, look, we're plenty interested in figuring hout to get around -- figuring out how to get around american trade laws. these foreign trade sheets are out there. they're looking for ways to exploit the fact that the customs agency has not been tough, has not been relentless, particularly not with respect to protecting our manufacturers. and so point number two today is to make sure that in the days ahead we put in place a stronger response to trade cheating, where cheats from china and other countries literally launder their merchandise, launder their merchandise, stamp it as coming from somewhere else in order to avoid our trade laws. the third point, mr. president, speaks to the bill that we
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discuss today, and especially to the valuable casey-brown-baucus amendment that i hope we will be voting on shortly. america's ability to compete in the global economy rests on opening foreign markets, enforcing the trade rules and preparing our workforce, the american workforce, the workforce on which american businesses depend to be globally competitive for the jobs of tomorrow. that is what t.a.a., the trade adjustment assistance program is all about. just as over 90% of the world consumers live outside the united states, so does over 90% of the world's workers. although we have the most productive, innovative workforce in the world, sometimes a foreign producer finds a way to do something better or produce something more efficiently than an american one.
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the result is you can have americans losing jobs through no fault of their own. so the congress decided long ago that the best way to respond to global competition was to meet it head on, to meet it directly. and that's what a trade agenda with a robust trade adjustment assistance program does. trade adjustment assistance throws a lifeline to the workers and to their families who lose their jobs because we have been open, we have been free, we have been expansionists in the area of trade, particularly when it doms creating exports. trade adjustment assistance provides american workers with an opportunity to acquire the skills they need to not just become reemployed, but to help american businesses better compete in the global marketplace while those families make their way back to the
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american economy where they can earn a wage at which they can support their family. now, trade adjustment assistance is a pretty modest program. the lifeline that it's thrown to these workers is modest. just a few hundred dollars a week on average. and the job training that is provided to those workers is typically provided through existing infrastructure like our community colleges. trade adjustment assistance provides just enough assistance for resourceful and threufty and -- and thrifty and industrious workers to rebound. that is what i hope we can start looking at programs like trade adjustment assistance as being. what we want these programs, mr. president, to be all about is something of a trampoline where in effect you can get a modest amount of assistance, and
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through that modest amount of assistance be in a position to bounce back to the american economy with skills that have been improved and be in a position to again make a good wage at a company that can be involved in areas like exports and productivity and innovation-driven services. now, for much of the last half century the united states vigorously promote and open and global economy. as a result, our country launched an effort to become the largest, most dynamic market in the world. today that global market is more competitive than ever before. the rise of china and india and other emerging markets such as brazil and russia provide extraordinary opportunities to our innovators and our producers. but we don't get to be the top
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economy, mr. president, as a result of some kind of entitlement program. we've got to constantly work at it. we've got to constantly work at the task of making more innovative and more productive goods and services. together federal government officials, businesses and workers have the opportunity to seize the possibilities that a global economy provides and also overcome its challenges. and certainly it is more important than ever to do that in the face of growing foreign competition. that means joining again now, mr. president, on a bipartisan basis to support trade adjustment assistance. i would just like to note, mr. president, having been involved in these issues the year since i came to the senate, trade adjustment assistance has historically been a bipartisan
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program. it's been a program where the congress, democrats and republicans, consistently said we can look at trade, we can look at exports as a vehicle for more family-wage jobs here in our country, making things here, growing things here, adding value to them here and shipping them somewhere. but certainly in an ever-changing world we are going to see some of our workers needing the opportunities to upgrade their skills that trade adjustment assistance allows. so i very much hope that my colleagues will support the casey-brown-baucus amendment. it has my full support. it is very much in the spirit of the bipartisan work that has been done on trade adjustment assistance in the past. mr. president, i see other colleagues waiting to speak. wand that, i would yield the floor at this time.
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the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, yesterday the president provided a fiscal plan on paper that he said reflects his latest fiscal vision for the country. it seems to be about the fourth vision we've had this year. and he has said we need to be honest with the american people and talk straight to them. i certainly believe that is correct. and i would share some thoughts about the president's plan and express disappointment that he has not been honest and direct with the american people, hat not discussed -- has not discussed in sufficient depth, in my opinion, the nation's need
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to reduce spending because our debt is surging larger than it ever has in our history and presents a danger today and in the future. the president needs to talk more about that. if we're going to ask the american people to reduce their spending, to take less from the government, to tighten belts, then we need to know why. and i do believe that he has not been sufficiently informative in his conversations, because many of them emphasize increasing investments in various programs and spending programs that he has advocated. with regard to the plan that was introduced yesterday, he claims it would increase the fiscal year 2012 deficit by $300 billion. that's next year it would increase the debt, increase the debt $300 billion. but he says it would reduce
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deficits over the next ten years, in the out years, by $3.2 trillion. now we know that what happens now happens. spending that occurs today, the money is out the door. and promises to raise revenue in the future become less certain as each year passes by. but assuming this is true, assuming we would actually do in the next ten years the kind of things that would pay for this short-term spending, i would advise my colleagues that the fundamental claim the president is making, assuming his numbers are correct and we do the things he suggest, it overstates by $1.8 trillion the amount of the savings. $3.2? no. 1.8 reduceed from that, and
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you're looking at about $1.4 trillion in savings and not $3.2 trillion. that's the fact i'll share with my colleagues, the sad, grim fact of that. how did it happen? well, the bill, as "the washington post" said, is being criticizeed and it's -- because of gimmicks that are in it. first gimmick, the war funding gimmick. the plan shows $1.1 trillion over ten years in savings from putting a cap on war spending costs, but those costs are going to decrease as the war effort unwinds, whether or not this proposal is in place or not. they have long been planned. the president's proposed caps on war spending manipulate base
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line concepts to show the savings that had been long planned as new, something he came up with this week, i suppose. new policy choices which inflates the spending cuts in his plan. in other words, it inflates the amount of spending that he's cut by $1.1 trillion. economists have dealt with this little gimmick in the budgetary process. i serve as ranking member on the budget committee, and we wrestle with these base lines and scoring possibilities, but that gimmick, the $1.1 trillion gimmick, was rejected during the recent debt ceiling debate, raising the debt limit. we talked about that and didn't do it because it's not an accurate explanation of cutting of spending. we don't have any plan to
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continue to spend in iraq and afghanistan and the $158 billion we spend this year. for ten years, give me a break, that's never been our plan and shouldn't be assumed as a base line of spending and claiming credit for not continuing is not a legitimate way to analyze how much you cut spending. some have said that paul ryan and the house republicans when they passed their budget included the $1.1 trillion, when they said they reduced spending by $6.2 trillion. they proposed a budget to cut cut $6.2 trillion. they also proposed a growth-oriented tax reduction and simplification plan that would create economic growth, netting out $4 trillion in actual savings. but paul ryan and his committee did not -- i have checked the numbers. he did not consider
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consider $1.1 trillion in war saving, which no one has disputed should occur, off the present amount we're spending, he did not include that in his his $6.2 trillion. he did have an alternative analysis that showed that, and people have seized upon that to say his fundamental proposal of the 6.2 spending reduction included. it did not. another big gimmick, one that's been used too often in this body is what we call the doc fix, the medicare, the balanced budget amendment in the late 1990's proposed substantial reductions in physician fees, and as the years have gone by, it's become more and more plain that doctors cannot sustain a 20% reduction or more in their fees for doing medicare work. and so each year we put that
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money back in, but it's part of the plan of a long-term budget, the statute itself has not been changed. and so every year we have got this little problem. are you going to cut the doctors 22% or are we going to avoid cutting the doctor 22%? we don't want to cut the doctors that much. they will quit. they can't function. it's too much. that is too big a cut for them. so we find the money some way every year. mostly, we have just borrowed it. but the president's plan assumes that money will be found for the doc fix and they will do it over ten years to the tune of of $293 billion. this trick counts the higher spending as a given rather than as a policy choice that needs to be offset, and without this gimmick, the health care savings of $320 billion that the plan suggests will occur, the
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president says he is going to save $320 billion from health care and you don't save save $293 billion because of this gimmick because it's unpaid for. there is no source of income to pay for the president's assumption that we will pay pay $293 billion, then he only saved $27 billion in health care, not $320 billion. now, i believe this is a truly honest and fair analysis of the president's proposal. it's incorrect, putting it kindly. then there is another little gimmick. when the president talks about cutting spending, we're cutting spending. well, what does he include in that? he is counting as spending reductions the net interest effects of his proposed policy changes, even though interest costs are the secondary effect on the proposed tack hikes. for example, -- proposed tax
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hikes. for example, when you -- if you raise taxes and don't cut spending and spending has not been cut in this plan, you raise taxes and you reduce projected deficits -- we think about about $1.4 trillion under the plan, less than half of what was projected -- then you don't pay as much interest because you don't accrue as much debt and you don't pay as much interest on the debt that's not accrued. they are scoring that as if they cut spending when really it's just a natural byproduct of increased taxes. so when you remove the accounting tricks and the washington gimmicks that have contributeed to this country being in the fiscal condition we are in, you are left with only half of the $3 trillion in
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deficit reduction the white house promised. the white house also claims the president's plan is $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. indeed, early in the year, he suggested we should have a plan that would be $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. but is this accurate? is it really true that we are achieving $2 in spending cuts for one dollar in tax hikes? if you eliminate the gimmicks, you will see that it's absolutely not true. under the plan, total federal spending, including the job plan stimulus bill, the new stimulus bill, will increase under the president's plan, not decrease. total federal spending will increase, not decrease.
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there is no cut in spending. on balance, there is not a penny of net spending that is cut on net. in a speech, the president said -- quote -- "i am proposing real serious cuts in spending. when you include the $1 trillion in cuts that i have already signed into law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spending in our history." close quote. that's just not true. it's just not accurate. and i don't think it bodes well for us to be able to reach an agreement on these very serious issues if the president is pretending that his -- that his plan cuts the war costs or counts interest that shouldn't be counted or proposes that we fix the doc fix without any money to fix it with.
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those are the kind of things that get us in trouble. despite the substantial increase in taxation under the president's plan, deficits would not be tamed at no point over the next ten years would deficits be smaller in nominal terms than the $459 billion recorded before he became president. that's the highest deficit in history. under president bush, bush, $459 billion at the time he was roundly criticized for that. the lowest deficit on this day's plan, the lowest over ten years would be $476 billion, and in the out years it would start going back up again under the plan they proposed, leading to a a $565 billion deficit in 2021. -- and by the way, the last three years of deficits have been $1.2 trillion, $1.3 trillin
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and this year will be be $1.4 trillion. so next year's deficit will actually surge beyond the current projections. we were hoping that they would come down, but because of the new spending in this plan, plan, $350 billion will be added to the deficit next year, putting us well over $1 trillion in debt again, deficit next year. at a time when we should be reducing deficit spending, the immediate pac-10 of the plan will be to increase spending, fostering more fear and uncertainty in our economy. more of a conclusion among the financial investors here and worldwide, and we still haven't gotten the message and we're still out of control. over ten years, deficits would total -- the next ten years would total $6.4 trillion, and gross federal debt would grow by
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by $9.7 trillion. gross federal debt would grow by by $9.7 trillion, exceeding the debt would total over over $24 trillion in 2021 when we are -- we last year had about a $13 trillion debt. that would keep us over our debt being over 100% of g.d.p. probably accounting for the effect of the president's proposed policy changes, the actual amount of the debt reduction proposed by the president is $1.4 trillion, consisting of $146 billion in spending increases that would increase the debt and and $1.5 trillion in tax increases. so we may have raised a few
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weeks ago our legal debt limit and allowed us to run up more debt but we have breached our -- reached our economic debt limit. america's $4.5 trillion debt growth that we have today is 100% of our economy. the prominent study from economists rogoff and reinhart shows when the nation's gross debt reaches 90% of g.d.p., it loses on average a percentage point or more of g.d.p. growth that year. our debt is depressing growth. our debt is now 100% of g.d.p., and our growth is unexpectedly slow this year. could that be a part of the cause? some economists say no, but it certainly is consistent with the projections in their plan. so the plan is presented, i have to say, is gimmick piled upon
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gimmick, adding up to little more than a tax hike camouflaged as fiscal restraint. promised spending control is nowhere to be found. when you're in a crisis, you must deal honestly with the american people. you must present the facts along with a credible solution and call on the people to respond and sacrifice together. americans are good, decent, hard-working people who will accept a difficult choice, if given to them in honest terms, but the white house is trying to be clever at the expense of being credible. the debt is destroying jobs today, i believe, and if we're going to restore confidence in growth, credibility and the president and congress is one asset we cannot afford to borrow against. i thank the chair and would yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i ask for an additional minute. i congratulate my colleague, senator wyden, on his work on this legislation and also would thank him for his efforts to reach a -- an agreement to improve our tax code. it is a big deal. of all the expert witnesses we have had in the budget committee, as senator wyden is a member of the budget committee, have told us that properly improving our tax code could improve growth, create jobs and make america stronger. so senator wyden, i -- i appreciate your hard work and am looking at your proposal and thank you for contributing positively to the debate. i would yield the floor. mr. wyden: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: just before he leaves the floor, let me tell senator sessions how much i appreciate the kind words and enjoy working with him. we serve on the budget committee
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together and talk often about economic issues. i want to tell my colleague that i look forward to working with him on tax and budget issues in the days ahead especially. mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that the following members of the finance committee staff be granted floor privileges during the consideration of the generalized system of preferences act -- derek riggins, chris arnison, miranda delpias, nick malunak, cosimo falley, steven mcgraw and claire green. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, what i'd like to do now is take a couple of minutes to talk about the amendment offered by the distinguished republican leader, senator mcconnell, to extend trade promotion authority, what is known as t.p.a., for two years. i am certainly interested in working with the leader on
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this, certainly chairman baucus has made it very clear that he wants to continue to work on this issue. but i would oppose the mcconnell amendment this afternoon. i want to outline specifically why. the last time the congress passed trade promotion authority was in 2002. essentially almost a decade ago. the mcconnell amendment would simply continue the congress' instructions that were formulated back then. as i said, almost a decade ago. but the fact of the matter is, the american economy has changed dramatically since t.p.a. was adopted last. and the overseas trade barriers have changed dramatically. and yet the mcconnell amendment simply hasn't kept up with the times.
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and what i want to do is just outline a few examples of areas where we face very different economic challenges. and i'd also like to say we talked about this very briefly in the senate finance committee, it was raised by the ranking minority member on our subcommittee, senator thune, and so it's clear there is an interest in the finance committee in working on this issue. but trade promotion authority is a hugely important and complicated issue when it was the last time, mr. president, there were extensive hearings in the finance committee, many amendments were offered, there was considerable time devoted to this. that has not been the case at all with respect to reauthorization and it's why in particular i want to make sure that when the congress next deals with trade promotion
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authority we deal with some of the most important challenges. i'm just going to outline a few of those, digital goods and services would be a special concern we have looked at in our committee, digital goods, an example would be software, digital services would be highlight cloud computing, i know something that's been of great interest in minnesota. it's all about the internet playing an increasing role in the american and the global economy. it's a platform for global commerce. mr. president, i believe the internet represents the shipping lane of the 21st century. it is the shipping lane for goods and services. and the 2002 version of trade promotion authority really doesn't have the kinds of policies that are necessary to address today's challenges that affect our ability to export
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american goods and digital services. a second example would be, mr. president, the question of labor and environmental standards with respect to our trade goals, and intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical drugs. in may of 2007, congressional democrats and republicans got together on a bipartisan basis to update trade goals with respect to key issues like labor and the environment, and intellectual property protection as it related to pharmaceutical drugs and therapies. these agreements, these agreements that were entered into in 2007, aren't reflected in the 2002 version of trade promotion authority. so extending the 2002 version of trade promotion authority is another area where if we simply
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support the mcconnell amendment this afternoon, trade policy has not kept up with the times. and finally, mr. president, i'd just like to mention china and the fact is in 2002 we had a relatively short experience with china at the world trade organization, and more than ever before, state-owned enterprises play a global -- play a role in global commerce, particularly given the rise of china. i think all of us agree that our trade agenda ought to include promoting disciplines so that state-owned enterprises do not undermine the american private sector. that requires reconsidering again the provisions found in the 2002 version of trade promotion authority. so what it really comes down to, mr. president, is that
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this issue deserves more consideration than a floor amendment with just a modest number of senators even being aware of the history and the issues and the complexity of the issues. in fact, i think it would be fair to say, mr. president, that a significant number of senators on both sides of the aisle weren't even a member of this body back when trade promotion was considered last in 2002. so what it comes down to for me, mr. president, is american trade policy is just too important to construct on the back of a galloping horse and that in my view would be what the senate would be doing if it simply adopted the mcconnell amendment. chairman baucus is opposed to this amendment.
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he, like myself, has made it clear that he is interested in working with colleagues on a bipartisan basis on this issue, it's an important part of the role of both executive branch and the congress in terms of looking at trade policy. and it's particularly important right now when in a host of areas -- i'll give you one other example. i cited already digital goods and environmental labor standards and state-owned enterprises. we had a very valuable hearing in the subcommittee on trade and finance on fishing issues which are also playing an increasingly important global role in trade agreements and trade policy. that also really was not part of any discussion back in 2002. those issues and others need to be aired, they odd to be aired on -- ought to be aired on a bipartisan basis. i thought senator thune when we
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were in the finance committee was right to ask about this, this issue, there's going to be taunt in the days ahead to work on this. chairman baucus has made it clear that he wants to work with colleagues on a bipartisan basis on trade promotion authority. i do as well. i already made that pledge to the ranking member of our subcommittee, senator thune, who has been very easy to work with on a host of these trade issues. he has made some particularly important points with respect to digital goods and services and the opportunity for our high-tech sector, wrote a good article on it just a couple of days ago. so suffice it to say there is a lot of interest on our side of the aisle in working on this issue. but i would urge colleagues to resist the mcconnell amendment
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this afternoon when it comes up for a vote for the reasons that i've outlined, and there will be time for the kind of debate on trade promotion that i think is appropriate, one that really reflects the opportunities and challenges of an economy in 2011 that is very different than the one we were addressing when we last did trade promotion authority in 2002. and mr. president, with that i would yield the floor at this time.
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mr. wyden: mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum there's an effort to come up with a unanimous consent agreement that can resolve the question of the upcoming votes and by just say to senators on both sides of the aisle that certainly the next hour would be a very good time for senators who would like to speak on the casey-brown-baucus amendment or the mcconnell amendment. and with that, mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from montana. test tifted a ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rated. the presiding officer: without objection. test tifted a ask for unanimous consent to be in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: darg a trip to baghdad this past january i had the opportunity to meet with several members of the montana national guard's 163rd
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combined arms battalion. i told them i was proud of each and every one of them, from unit commander hulk and sergeant major john wood, right on down the line. through courageous service to our country, they were making tremendous sacrifices on our behalf. and they were representing the very best of montana. this month these folks have been coming back home to montana from their demobilizing station in washington state. today i join their families and their friends and their neighbors in welcoming the last group of those citizen soldiers back to montana. job well done, soldiers. and i thank you. for nearly a year these 600 montanans served in some of the hashest conditions imaginable, escorting numerous convoys across dangerous terrain and conducting other critical security missions throughout iraq. at one point over the 124r569 months this unit accounted for
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more than half of montana's best and brightest serving overseas. they gave up the comforts of their families, their homes, their communities to bring stability to a nation on the other side of the world. through it all, they showed courage in difficult times. they remained strong and they were always in our thoughts and prayers. now they're home. it is our duty to continue our support by providing the benefits, the quality of care, and services they need as they transition back to their families, to their jobs, and to their communities. many iraqi veterans make that transition a success, coming home to good jobs and welcoming communities. for others, maying that fran significance is no easy tafnlgt it's no secret that there is a potential for higher rates of substance abuse, higher divorce rates, higher unemployment rates, the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder
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and traumatic brain injury can impact entire families. thankfully, veterans often look after each other. we should recognize the important role of america's veterans' service organizations and their willingness to help with that transition. in montana -- montana was one of the first states in the nation to adopt the beyond the yellow ribbon program. it involves the entire programs -- the national guards, soldiers, and airmen, providing them for the changes that come before, during, and after deployment. beyond the yellow ribbon program is a success, and i'm pleased that in the last congress my colleagues gave all states the resources to implement it. furthermore, i will do my best to make sure that we keep up our end of the bargain. whether it is college education, health care, or compensation for an injury suffered on the field of battle, we will honor our commitment to our heroes. we make this promise to the men and women of the 163rd and to
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montanans who make up the many other units of the montana national guard that were deployed this year. and to those folks who are part of montana's red horse squadron now in afghanistan. to our reservists and to the folks serving in the bein activy military today, we make the same commitment, even as we make this commitment, many folks in montana are wondering what should happen next in iraq. since 12003, our nation has sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to fight in iraq. we have done so at an enormous cost. 4,474 americans have given their lives and more than 32,000 have been wounded. and we can't put a number on those who suffer from the injuries that are unseen. and let's not forget the price tag of this war that was put on our children was is quickly approaching $1 trillion. and then there's the tens of billions of dollars in waste and fraud.
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mr. president, the war in iraq started with political leaders who had their own agenda. they went there looking for weapons that never existed. but through this all the professionalism of our military never faltered. they provided security and democracy to a nation that had never known it. but for far too long iraqi politicians did nothing to secure their own fiewvment i first went to iraq in 2007 and returned there again this past january. i was struck by how much had changed in those four years. iraq was finally moving forward after too many wasted years, too many wasted dollars, and too many lives lost. there are many reasons for the change. the improved security from our military and the training provided by our troops played a big role. but american diplomats and military leaders told me that the biggest reason for the progress in iraq was this: the iraqis were told in no
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uncertain terms that the united states was leaving. our military presence would end on december 31 of this year. that, mr. president, was what galvanized iraqi politicians to take control of their own country. today i am sending a letter to the president calling on him to stand by his commitment to pull all u.s. operation new dawn troops out of iraq by the end of this year. we should bring the last of them home on schedule. u.s. marines will still guard our embassies, as they always have. and we will still maintain a strong diplomatic presence in iraq. despite this year's deadline, i know there's talk of the possibility of keeping a sizable force of u.s. troops in iraq through next year. if that's the case, it's not good. we cannot afford moving the goal of post. across montana and this nation, people are saying, come home, and come home now. i know the sectarian violence in
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iraq will continue. we should not be asking american troops to referee a century-old civil war. that is likely to continue in the future regardless of our presence. iraq has the tools to secure its people and its economy. iraq's new leaders must solve their problems for their own people. keeping thousands of u.s. troops in iraq would needlessly put them in more danger, it would cost american taxpayers more money, and it would further distract us from our core national security objectives of protecting american citizens and further dismantling al qaeda and other terrorist groups. that's where our focus needs to be. and that's why i'm saying, let's end this war for good. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business for about five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: mr. president, i
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rise today to remember a fallen hero, u.s. marine corps sergeant joshua j. robeson of douglas, nebraska. sergeant robinson walls killed was killed in action on august 7, 2011, while conducting patrol operations in helmand province of afghanistan. he was in his third tour of duty. his story of service comes to us at a time when many are reflecting on the 10th anniversary of september 11 and its terrorist attacks. a fitting time to recognize the patriotism of a fallen hero. sergeant robinson enlisted in the marine corps in 2003, a time when "operation iraqi freedom" was in the beginning stages and many were unsure of what was to come. he felt the call to serve and was rightfully proud of his commitment to defend and to
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protect his country. sergeant robinson's love of the outdoors provided him with many of the skills needed to be the best marine he could be. sadly, his life was cut short toot soon and the robinson family laid their marine to rest in hastings, nebraska, on august 16, 2011. sergeant robinson returned to his birthplace with valor and honor having been awarded the purple heart, the combat action medal, the iraq campaign medal, the afghanistan campaign medal, the global war on terrorism expeditionary medal, and many other decorations during his military career. he died a brave and a most honorable death. we are proud to call him one of our own. the tradition of military service is strong in our great
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state of nebraska, but strong soldiers are not possible without the support of family. i am confident that nebraskans will rally around sergeant robinson's family during this most difficult time. he is mourned by his wife, two sons, mother, and stepfather, sisters and so many others. it is the strength of his wife, rhondha, that will remind wyatt and kodiak of the love their father have for him and for his country. his mother, missy, provided insight into her son's decision to serve when she said -- and i quote -- "our freedom was put on the line. it takes young men like josh to enlist and protect the united states of america." unquote. i know his family's proud of him and will always remember his spirit, his competitiveness and
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his enthusiasm for adventure. may god bless the robinson family and all of our fighting men and women in harm's way. madam president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. coons i rise today to mark -- coons coons i -- mr. coons:madam president -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. coons: usual i ask unanimous consent that pro*edings under the -- proceedings under the
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quorum call be vitiated. i rise today for a momentous day, the end of don't ask, don't tell marks a beginning of the end of an era for our nation. it's been 60 days since president obama certified the united states armed forces were ready for the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. and after 18 long years today, that policy finally comes to an end. this is an important day, madam president, a good day. today's a good day because our nation, in my view, is taking a major step forward not just in the pursuit of equal rights but in the pursuit of equal responsibility. today's a good day because we always talk about equal rights, but with don't ask, don't tell, we're talking about americans who sought equal responsibility, americans who wanted to serve their nation. nearly 14,000 lgbt americans wanted to serve their nation in their military but were deemed unfit to serve not because of
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what they did, but because of whom they loved. as if loving another man would make a soldier untaoeubl aim a rifle or -- unable to aim a rifle or unwilling to die for his country. for as many service members drummed out both literally and figuratively under don't ask, don't tell, i can't wonder how many more served in silence, proud of their uniform but made to feel ashamed of the person underneath. lieutenant colonel charles george served 28 years as a commissioned officer in the united states army. his uniform is deck -- decorated with medals and ribbons. when he graduated in 1980, charlie's boyfriend was there. he wrote about his experience. he said i sat next to charlie's mother keeping quiet so i wouldn't draw attention in any way to our relationship. during his actual pinning, my eyes never left his. i was so proud of him, at one
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moment his eyes found me in the audience and we smiled. i still remember that moment. that was the last of those moments they would have. in 30 years, in 30 years of dedicated service, that ceremony was the only military activity of charlie's that dennis would be able to be a part of. charlie was determined to serve our nation so they had to keep their relationship a secret. charlie rose through the ranks to first thraoupbt, then cap -- to first lieutenant and ultimately to major colonel. these were proud moments but dennis couldn't be in the room for any of them. quote -- the only thing being in the room with a soldier is loving one. i often heard anything harder than loving a soldier would have to be to keep that a secret for decades. like so many military families they discuss their now uncertain future. if charlie died in the service of his country, there would be
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no call on dennis' phone from the army, no knock on his door. dennis would receive no crisply folded flag presented by a military honor guard. dennis would never be able to be buried next to charlie at arlington national cemetery. for 31 years they kept their relationship and their love a secret. colonel george retired this year, a milestone he will celebrate next month at home in re hoe -- in delaware. for the first time since that ceremony more than three decades earlier, dennis will be there proudly looking on. no more secrets, no more hiding. just the respect and dignity they deserve. not just because of charlie's long and dedicated service to the united states army or because of dennis' silent sacrifice but because they are both americans. i was proud to cosponsor the repeal of don't ask, don't tell
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last fall. i was even prouder to vote for it. three months ago i was one of 13 u.s. senators to record a video telling the gay and lesbian and bisexual audience that it gets better. as a nation our actions have in so many ways failed to live up to these brave words. our promise was to this generation of americans, to the generation of my children, a promise that we are working to build an america free of legal discrimination, free of discrimination in our society, that lgbt youth have a future in this country where they will be entitled to the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as every other american. bit by bit we're going to tear down these walls of discrimination. madam president, this is how we make it better. don't ask, don't tell was discrimination, plain and simple. but today it is no more.
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today is a good day. thank you, madam president. mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, being from oklahoma, i can remember back in the days when they called oklahoma, southern kansas, northern texas, and southwestern missouri tornado alley. i say to my good friend from oregon, i have been in aviation for many, many years. i know people who won't even fly airplanes through what they call tornado alley. but now i think they know that tornadoes -- as many of our colleagues are fully aware of, are a daily threat to americans each spring as severe weather rolls across the country. in the past 30 years, over 34,000 tornadoes have touched down somewhere in the country, which means that one touches down on an average of every eight hours of each day.
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now, this chart right here, each one of these little green dots represents a -- a tornado, but they witnessed each spring, many of them grow into the voracious and significant storms that bring significant harm to property and life. this year 57 such tornadoes struck 14 states and claimed 550 lives. alabama was the hardest. i remember when oklahoma has been ranked as the hardest. they had over 240 killed. missouri -- i might say to my good friend from missouri on the floor here -- also suffered heavily with the loss of 157 people in joplin. i say to my friend from missouri, i was up in joplin right after that happened, down close to the oklahoma border. it's just something you have to witness before you understand it. in my state of oklahoma where we have more than our fair share of tornadoes this spring, the storms resulted in the death of 14 people and the injury of many
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others. until you have had this happen and you go on site -- which i always make it a point to do after each tornado in oklahoma, you go down and talk to the people. you know, you think of little kids looking for their toys and this type of thing, that they are gone and gone for good. while this year has seen a large number of fatal tornadoes, there are a nationwide threat each spring. since 1980, 734 deadly tornadoes have claimed 2,400 lives in at least 37 different states, including 126 in my state of oklahoma. unfortunately, many of these lost lives could have been avoided had storm shutters been more widely used. in the past few months, a number of oklahomans have asked me if there is a federal program that promotes the installation of tornado storm shelters. they observed that those individuals who have these storm shelters, they lived through it, and they may lose their property, but they lived through it, so they think well, the government gets involved in all
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these programs. what are they going to do to help us encourage people to build storm shelters? when i looked into it, i came up empty-handed, despite the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars are obligated each year to mitigate the effects of natural disasters. since death is one of the worst effects of natural disasters, you would think the tornado storm shelters, which are really the safest way to ride out tornadoes, would be a high priority, but only limited funds that have been made available in the past, and it has been sporadic and poorly allocated. most of the funds have been made available through fema's hazardous mitigation grant program, which is a mandatory program that allocates funds to states to help them better prepare for future disasters. states are able to direct some of this money to residential storm shelter construction, but to do this, they have to go through a lot of hoops, through a lengthy process of coordinating a program with fema, and needless to say it's a
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bureaucratic nightmare and hugely expensive. oklahoma did this after the devastating tornadoes of may 3, 1999. 50 people died and many others were injured that day, and as the recovery effort took hold, it became clear to public leaders that staggeringly few oklahomans had storm shelters accessible for their homes. because of this, oklahoma's department of emergency management worked with fema to create a temporary rebate program to encourage individuals to install storm shelters in their homes. the rebate was worth $2,000, and the funding cap was set at $6 million. unfortunately, the program didn't get -- didn't perform as well as they would have liked. it was a popular program, and the funding depleted quickly. because of the rebate amount, only 3,000 homeowners were able to take advantage of the program, despite its $6 million in funding level. now, we're talking about here in
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the state of oklahoma. furthermore, because this program is run through fema, it had a lot of paperwork requirements and was time consuming for the state to actually formerrize. furthermore, the ultimate decision of who received the rebate rested with fema and the oklahoma department of emergency management, and they decided who received the rebate and who did not. now, if you ask me, that's a pretty expensive, poorly designed program, but that's generally the way that fema structures these programs when states go to the trouble of requesting them. all told, fema's sporadic hazard hitgation grant program for residential storm shelters has supported the construction of only 15,000 storm shelters at a staggering cost of $35 million. that's $2,000 for each storm shelter. a different approach is needed to encourage a wider group of people to install tornado storm
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shelters, and this will help mitigate the loss of life during tornadoes. give people the opportunity. i have 20 kids and grandkids. my first concern every time i hear of a tornado coming is for them. and this is why we have introduced this bill called the storm shelter tax relief act. it provides a tax deduction of up to $2,500 to any individual that installs a qualified storm shelter. the cost of this deduction is fully offset, which i will explain in just a minute where it's coming from, and there are reductions in other areas of spending. first, the deduction can be claimed by any taxpayer. if someone in oklahoma, kentucky or tennessee decides that they need a storm shelter at their house, they can pay to have one installed and then chairman the incentive by deducting up to $2, 500 from their income when they file their taxes. claiming this incentive would not require dealing with a big bureaucracy. you don't have to fill out the
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forms. you don't have to go through all the red tape. that's one of the reasons that people don't do it under the existing program. as i said before, previous programs that have been administered through the fema place the power of the shelter incentive into the hands of an agency and not a family, not individuals. the agency then decides who does and does not receive the incentive. i think it is best when the middleman can be avoided and a tax deduction does that. the tax code is blind and provides the incentive to anyone who decides in their best judgment that they need a storm shelter. lastly, and probably the most importantly, the tax deduction is better allocated of scarce taxpayers' resources, a rebate that covers a large portion of a shelter's cost as the oklahoma program did can foster moral hazard. what i mean is that when free money is on the table, people will generally take it.
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in this case, people may take the rebate to buy a storm shelter because it's free, not because it's what they really need. a tax deduction doesn't allow this because the actual incentive is much lower in value. no one is going to go out and spend $2,000 or more on a storm shelter just because they get to write that amount off on their taxable income. nobody does that. a rational individual would only go out to buy a shelter if they know they need one, and then it has the added benefit of being deductible from their income. so it's a much better way of approaching it. on the aggregate level, this allows a lot more people to get the incentive at the same cost compared to the rebate programs that have been used in the past. the tax deduction provides a nudge to taxpayers to take practical steps to stay safe in areas where tornadoes are common. it's a commonsense approach and a better way to use taxpayer resources. furthermore, this proposal's
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proposal's $41 million cost is fully paid by rescinding funds authorized for storm shelter construction grants through the programs administered through h.u.d. in other words, we're doing this program and providing countless more of the shelters at a much -- at a cost that would merely mean a tax deduction, and it's going to have a lot more people participating in the program. it means that existing unspent h.u.d. funds that are duplicative of other fema spending will be redirected to a more effective policy in order to accomplish the same goal, encourage the installation of storm shelters to save lives from deadly tornadoes. many may wonder why this is something of a -- whether this is something the federal government should be doing. in reality, this falls squarely within the purpose of the hazard mitigation priorities of the federal government. fema defines hazard mitigation as -- quote -- "a sustained
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action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk of life and property from a hazard event." unquote. and that program, the regulations state that projects retrofitting structures to minimize damages from high winds, earthquake, floods, wildfire and other natural disasters are eligible for the expenditure of such program. the main goal of all this spending is to reduce the likelihood of losses of life and property and retrofitting buildings to lessen the likelihood of damage caused by tornadoes, and that's an eligible expense. that's what this tax deduction does. furthermore, the threat -- we have another chart here -- the threat of deadly danger stretches far across the nation. you saw the first map, but this one shows it's not just the alley i referred to right here. with the exception of the mountainous area here, it's all across america. not surprisingly, oklahoma is
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right in the center, but when you look at where deadly tornadoes have occurred over the past 30 years, it's spread across the entire eastern half of the country. all of the states in red have had at least one deadly tornado every other year since 1980, and most of them have had even more. this may be surprising to some, but the threat is real. it needs to be addressed. many tornado storm shelters need to be constructed around the country. the federal policies encouraging this need to be changed. that's why we're introducing the storm shelter tax relief act. the number of this, i say to my colleagues, is s. 1583. it was just introduced today. i think those of us who have lived in these tornado-prone areas, i could tell you stories about tornadoes picking up a horse and replacing it, dropping it someplace. in my personal experience, my wife was after me -- this was about 50 years ago. hi a place up in the country,
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still had the same place, and i had a red jeep. that red jeep is one that we have had for a long time. she said how come you don't have that insured? i said what can happen to a red jeep in the middle of the country in oklahoma? well, a tornado came along, picked up a tree and dropped it right on top of my red jeep. it cut it in half. they are totally unpredictable. i can tell you story, and more in oklahoma, when we had our 1999 tornado where everything was devastated on one side of the street, nothing was touched on the other side of the street. so it's an art to understanding where these are coming from. we now have developed that art. there is not a person who could be in the path of a tornado that doesn't have the facilities and the resources to see what is out there and where it's coming. what they don't have is a way, if it's unavoidable, to protect themselves if it hits them. the obvious answer is a storm shelter. so i hope -- i appreciate my -- the senator who is going to speak next from missouri
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cosponsoring this bill, and we would like to have more cosponsors. we have every intention of getting this passed. with that, i will yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: i am pleased to cosponsor that bill with senator inhofe. between he and i, we may have been to the scenes of more tornadoes than almost anybody else in america who is not a storm chaser because of where we live and what we have done. we have had the chance to see the aftermath of many tornadoes, and unlike the floods that we have dealt with in our state and the hurricane -- this year and the hurricanes we dealt with in other states recently, the tornadoes there and you don't get much warning and that storm shelter needs to be close if you want a chance to get into it. the bill that he has drafted and i'm proud to cosponsor with him
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provides that opportunity to get that storm shelter nearby. i want to talk for a few minutes today about the bill that's on the floor, the amendment, in fact, to the general system of trade preferences bill. that amendment is trade adjustment assistance, and frankly, madam president, it's not a bill that i would have drafted on my own but my guess is neither would the two people that negotiated the bill. this is a compromise between chairman camp and the senate and the gentleman from montana here. it's a compromise that reflects exactly that. it's not what either one of them may have come up with. certainly not what i would have come up with, but based on the president's determination, it's essential to move on to the three trade agreements that have been waiting to be voted on for three years now.
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i intend to vote for this. i'm looking carefully at the amendments and i'm supportive of the two amendments we'll vote on today, but if they would disrupt the balance of this agreement that's been made, i'm going to look very carefully at that as these votes are cast. certainly i'd like for this president and all of his successors to have trade promotion authority. we've seen the difficulty of the president being able to negotiate a treaty as an agreement, a trade agreement, that would come to the senate, that could be amended by the senate that takes two-thirds of the senate to approve. those days are over. and before trade promotion authority, we had essentially gotten out of the treaty agreement on trade because who wants to make that kind of agreement? who wants to get into a room and negotiate a trade agreement only to see the thing that maybe they thought was the biggest thing that they had given up or the
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biggest thing that they had gotten taken out of the agreement before the senate votes on it? and so this up-or-down, yes yes-or-no majority in the senate and the house trade promotion authority is very important. and i wish we had an agreement that this president wanted right now and that the next president, whoever that is and whenever that is, would have the ability to continue because since we ran out of the -- trade promotion authority law, we haven't had any agreements negotiated. and in fact, the three that we have negotiated now, i want to talk about in a minute, but they've been available for three years. and i am eager for the president to send them up. and the president says that this t.a.a. issue, this trade adjustment assistance issue has to be understood to be completed
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and will be completed or at least he has to be assured it will be completed before we get those three agreements. and it will be fine with me if we could adjust this some. i'd like to see my good friend from oregon who is on the floor, mr. wyden, his bill that i've cosponsored on transshipment where we, many of us in this body have problems in our state. i've got two major problems that i could talk about for a long time, but i won't today, where the proper authority has looked at what's happening and they said no, you've got unfair trade practices so there's a penalty on the country that is -- that is using those unfair practices to compete, but then what that country does is they just start labeling the product as if it were from somewhere else and they may ship the product through that other country and get it labeled there
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and they may short circuit it and put the label on in their own country and i seau it's made somewhere else so when it comes here suddenly it doesn't have that penalty. and whether that's relabeling or i think as my good friend from oregon calls it merchandise laundering. where you just make the merchandise appear to be something that it's not so you no longer pay the penalty. i'd love to see that on a bill here in the near future. the other senator from oregon and i have a bill on affordable footwear that has trade impact that i'd love to see on a bill. and this is a bill that potentially might have jurisdiction to go on, but that's not the agreement that's been made between the house and the senate. and i'm going to be supporting that agreement and not doing anything that makes it impossible for us to get these three trade agreements, and i am absolutely banking on the commitment by the president of the united states that if this
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happens, the three trade agreements come to the congress. and when they come to the congress, i believe they pass the house and senate and they create great opportunity for american workers to send their products to other countries. you know, one of these agreements that's been there for a long time is the agreement with colombia. and colombia already is able to ship its products in here without tariff under something that routinely passes the congress called the-and--- and -- the andean preferences act. their products already come here. this is about whether u.s. workers are going to have every possible advantage in colombia. this is about whether caterpillars made in the united states or john deere tractors or moving equipment made in the united states have the same
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advantage in colombia that the same piece of equipment made in canada has. right now, they don't have that advantage. we need to see that they do. or in korea where the european union negotiated a trade agreement long after we negotiated this agreement, but it went into effect the first of july and the year-to-year comparison july to july is i think 38% bigger, this july than it was last july, and the only difference in this july and last july is the trade agreement. and these are all three countries that all of their trading history, all of their buying history, panama being the third of the free --, three, would be given the choice of an american product to ,,,, w we
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must the deficit and the debt in the long term, we have to focus on jobs in the short term. his plan ensures that middle-class americans get the jobs and the opportunities they need to continue to move ahead. and it also makes sure that we have a fair tax system in place
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so everyone pays his or her own fair share. not too much, not too little, but fair. so this approach is welcome. and i'll tell you why i welcome it. because the approach outlined by president obama, deficit and debt reduction, investments in jobs, that was the same vision that worked before when bill clinton was the president and i had the honor of being here in this body to support those policies. people forget that when bill clinton became president, there were deficits and debt as far as the eye could see. and this country was going on the wrong path. and what he did was to make sure that everyone paid his or her own fair share so that we had the revenues we needed to make the investments we needed to create the jobs we needed. so in those years, the investments were in high-tech
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and biotech, and we really broke through on the global scene, 23 million jobs were created, and deficits were turned into surpluses. and i remember looking back at the record, some of my republican colleagues who were still -- are still here today said the clinton approach is going to lead to, you know, the worst debt, the worst deficits, no job creation and they were incorrect. so we lived through it, and we know that that vision of cutting spending on what doesn't work, increasing spending on investments, everyone paying their fair share, all that turned into prosperity, 23 million jobs, and what per complexes me -- perplexes me is my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to go back to the bush years, trickle-down economics, more are tax breaks for millionaires and
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billionaires, no investments so we even lose funding for our teachers, our firefighters, our nurses, and even our transportation stakeholders. and i'm so grateful we passed an extension of the highway bill for six months but believe me, we face perils ahead because the house cuts that bill by a third and we have to make sure that doesn't happen because 1.8 million jobs are at stake. so i'm perplexed that my republican friends, all the -- only evidence compassion and concern for the millionaires and the billionaires but not for the middle class. their compassion for the wealthiest is overwhelming. their expressions of concern for billionaires, mind-boggling. they call them the job creators even though they're not the ones creating the jobs. the jobs are being created, if they are at all by the way, by the small business people.
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62% of new jobs, the creation comes from small business. they don't earn a million dollars. no way. so they call millionaires and billionaires job creators, which they're not, and they cry bitter tears that we might ask a millionaire or a billionaire to pay a fair share. you know, when i was young -- this is going to date me -- forgive -- maybe i shouldn't, but i want to tell the truth here -- there was a show on television called "dragnet," and the star of it was joe friday. and joe friday u used to say, scwtion "just the facts, let's look at the facts." so let's look at facts. why are my republican friends defending the wealthiest among us? since 1995, the wealthiest 400 americans have seen their taxes
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fall by 40% while their average income quadrupled. let me say it again. the wealthiest 400 families saw their income go up by four times and their taxes went down by 40%. why do you have to cry for that situation? why the tears? here's another fact: the wealth -- madam president, this is amazing. the wealthiest 400 families are worth more than 50% of american families. let me say that again. the wealthiest 400 families in america are worth more than 50% of america's families. bernie sanders -- senator sanders from vermont brought that fact to us. why the tears for those 400 families? you know, one of those people,
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warren buffett, came forward -- bless his heart. he said, his effective tax rate is lower than his secretary's. his effective tax rate is lower than his secretary's. why are we crying for people who earn millions and billions and pay a lower tax rate effectively than their secretaries? i thank warren buffett for coming forward, and others -- other millionaires and billionaires have come forward, basically underscored that. here's what he said. "my friends and i have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly congress. it is time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice." i think he is right. why should a millionaire or billionaire pay a lower effective tax rate than firefighters, who risk their lives every day, then nurses who save lives every day, than their own assistants and secretaries who are so important in running
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their enterprises? the president, our president obama, has suggested that millionaires and billionaires pay the same effective tax rate as their employees. that should be embraced, not attacked as class warfare. and i ask you, madam president, is it class warfare to say to a millionaire or a billionaire they should pay the same effective tax rate as their secretary? or is that just the moral thing to do? it's the moral thing to do. is it the fair thing to do? it's the fair thing to do. our country needs everyone to help us, as we tackle the deficit. why the tears? why the tears? these are not the job creators. these are not people who have given the last ten years. we have seen their incomes rice exponentially and their taxes go down.
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so i don't think it's class warfare at all. it's just a talking point for republicans. but since they've raised it, i would say this: i don't think it's class warfare to ask millionaires and billionaires to pay the same rate as their secretaries -- tax rate. but i think that republican policies really are class warfare on the middle class. look at their policies: they would end medicare and put middle-class senior citizens in jeopardy, they want to privatize social security and put middle-class seniors in jeopar jeopardy; they would to cut one-third of the funds from transportation which would mean 600,000 layoffs of middle-class workers; they stopped us from helping small business by blocking senator landrieu's small business innovation act; they blocked the e.d.a., the economic development act, which would have created a million jobs over five years; they have taken no action on the f.a.a.
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bill; they have not appointed conferees, and we're can't get that bill done, and that's hundreds of job thousands of jo. when the republicans took control of the house, gross domestic product had grown at an average of 2.5%. now it's down to 0.7%. from 2.5% growth to 0.7. the republican congress put the brakes on job creation and that is a strong reason as to why this economy has slowed. and now even before they've read the fine print in president obama's proposal, they say it's dead on arrival. so let's be clear. again, asking millionaires and billionaires to pay the same as their secretaries is not class warfare. it's moral. mark kubin, the owner. dallas mavericks, says "it's the
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most patriotic thing you can do." okay? coin stead of crying for millionaires and billionaires, i'm thinking of sending a box of kleenex tissues over there to paul ryan, who is lamenting this attack on millionaires and billionaires. poor things. poor guys, poor gals. instead of doing that, let's fight for the middle class around here. let's get our arms around deficit reduction by asking everyone who can to pay their fair shaimplet and by the way, let's give tax braings breaks to the middle class. do you know that these same republicans who are crying their tears for the millionaires and billionaires say they don't want to give a tax break to working people, they're against the payroll tax proposal which would suspend that payroll tax for a period of time. stop blocking bills that would create jobs. stop blocking tax breaks for the middle class. stop going after middle-class
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seniors. stop crying for billionaires. help us pass elements of the obama jobs plan, which includes bipartisan proposals that all of us have supported in the past. and i think that is critical. we did it before with bill clinton. we created jobs. we strengthened the middle class. we create surpluses by asking everyone to pay their fair share. remember, when our president took over, this country was bleeding 700,000 jobs a month. i remember that. 700,000 jobs. we were on the verge of losing our automobile industry. this president took action. he doesn't get the credit for it. that's okay. there'll be time to spell it out. but all you have to do is look back to those days. credit was frozen. you remember that, madam president. capitalism was coming to and he. this president acted. and i have to say this:
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i don't want to go back to those days of bleeding 700,000 jobs a month. i don't want to go back to the days of credit freezes. i don't want to see these deficits continue. i want everyone to pay their fair share. and, most of all, i want jobs for the american people. so if we can stop crying tears for the people that have it all and get to work and roll up our sleeves and work together for the middle class, we're going to strengthen this nation. we're going to solve our problems just as we did when bill clinton was president. we have the road map. obama has taken that road map. we know that it works. we will get these deficits down. we'll get the debt down. we will help the middle class. and, yes, the wealthiest among us will pay the same tax rate, effectively, as their secretaries. and you know what? if we do that, democrats and republicans can feel good about this country again.
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let's work together and let's not say now that we can't ask billionaires to pay their fair share and let's not keep the middle class from getting their tax cuts and their jobs. that's what's important. madam president, thank you very much. i want to thank the leaders on this issue for letting me have this time to talk about this middle-class attack that we see. thank you very much. mr. hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: madam president, i'm going talk about the amendment that i will ultimately file linking at that at that suspension to an -- linking t t.a.a. suspension to the free trade agreements. i will send amendment be to the desk in the near future for consideration. i'd like -- and this amendment makes the effective date for
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additional t.a.a. funding contingent upon the enactment of our free trade agreements with colombia, panama, and south korea. it is unfortunate that this amendment is necessary. supporters of this trade adjustment assistance bill tell us that t.a.a. is a necessary precondition to submission of our pending free trade agreements. a necessary precondition by the president. the president and his supporters say that if t.a.a. does not pass, the free trade agreements will never be sent to congress for our consideration. i find this logic disturbing. it basically boils down to this: spend more taxpayer money on one of our pet trade priorities or we will refis fuse to allow -- or we will refry's to allow congress to vote on trade agreements this we know will create jobs and the administration has said it will create 250,000 new jobs. by the way, at a time when they're really necessary, at a time when unemployment is over
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9%. i simply can't understand have the president continues to hold up these f.t.a. and theirs consideration. even today we don't know if the president will actually send the f.t. e.a.s. to congress if we pass trade adjustment assistance assistance. so my amendment is really simple t allows trade adjustment assistance to be approved but it will only go into effect once the president submits the trade geaments tagreements to congrese all approved and when they're signed into law. this amendment is about fundamental fairness. if we're to meet the president's demand, we can at least ensure that tarp priorities are addressed as well. i think it is worth taking a moment to take a look at how we got here. the president's announced that he had finally reached an agreement with south korea to renegotiate parts of that trade agreement. touting the biftds of these changes, the president seemed poised to immediately begin working with congress toward its
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quick implementation. that is, the implementation of the korean free trade agreement. in february senator mcconnell and i wrote to the president commending him for his strong support for the south korea agreement but also expressing disappointment that we did not see the same level of commitment to our pending free trade agreements with colombia and panama. adds at that time we warned that further delay would mean lost market share and alien nation of key latin american aliesms we also made it clear that each agreement would receive broad bipartisan support once the president submitted them to -- submitted each agreement to congress for approval. three days later the president responded when ambassador kirk testified before the ways and means committee that the president had directed him to immediately intensify engagement with colombia and panama to resolve the administration's outstanding issues with these two agreements. senator baucus and i welcomed
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that development when we wrote to ambassador kirk on february 14 and asked that he be prepared to provide testimony regarding what additional steps the administration believes colombia and panama should take and to provide a clear and expeditious time line for moving the agreements through congress. shortly thereafter, in early march, ambassador kirk notified congress thalt administration was ready to -- that the administration was ready to begin the technical work on the south korea implementing bill with the intent to seek approval in the spring of this year. senator baucus and i welcomed this development but called for a specific time line for resolution with the outstanding issues -- of the outstanding issues with colombia and panama. during our march 9 hearing on the administration's trade agenda, i made it clear that the consideration of the south korea agreement without a clear path for the colombia and pang ma agreements would simply not be acceptable. and that -- quote -- ," should
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the president ignore the will of congress and send the korea agreement without colombia and pan marks i would do everything i could to make sure that those two agreements are considered at the time as korea." unquote. now, shortly thrarvetion in early angers the president took steps to fully engage with the government of colombia announcing an agreement on a labor action plan that would enable the administration to begin working with colombia to achievshall -- to achieve bench. a few weeks later panama met one of president obama's preconditions for consideration of their f.t.a. when they aapproved a tax in fact agreement and finalized modifications to pan massachusetts labor laws sm. so there we stood in may on the cusp of victory. months of pressure appeared to have finally resulted in an

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