Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 5, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

5:00 pm
quorum call:
5:01 pm
5:02 pm
5:03 pm
5:04 pm
5:05 pm
5:06 pm
mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the distinguished senior senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: thank you, mr. president. as we discuss our relationship with china, it strikes me that we're ignore a lot of the most critical issues impacting u.s. competitiveness in regard to china; namely, china's
5:07 pm
inadequate protection of u.s. intellectual property, or what i call i.p. let's remember that i.p. is our nation's number-one export. american i.p. yuns pins the knowledge -- underpins the knowledge comirks providing our workers with a significant competitive advantage. in short, i.p. equals jobs for american workers. it's that simple. studies have shown that the i.p.-incentive industries employ more than 19 million workers, create higher-paying jobs across all skill levels, and support more than 60% of total u.s. exports. that's why throughout my service here, i've endeavored to ensure that u.s. innovators and content creators are able to operate in an environment in which their i.p. -- or intellectual property -- is adequately protected. now, i'm pleased to have been the lead republican sponsor of
5:08 pm
the recently enacted america invents act, which resulted in long overdue reforms to our nation's patent system, which will strengthen our economy, create jobs, and provide a springboard for further improvements to our intellectual property laws. and i was very pleased to see senator grassley take that over as the new ranking member in the committee and do such a great job with it, and i want to pay tribute to the distinguished senator from vermont, senator leahy, as well. and to my colleagues in the house who saw the importance of that particular new law. it's the first time we've modified the patent laws in over 50 years. and that was an historic event. so it's pretty apparent that i take a great interest in intellectual property. and all aspects of it. i'm the chairman of the republican senatorial high-tech task force, and i have to say
5:09 pm
that it is really a privilege to work with these brilliant people who work in the intellectual property areas, many of whom are in silicon valley out there in california. we have our own silicon valley in utah that is becoming very, very well known, a lot of innovation, and we have most of the really great companies right there in utah as well. now, u.s. leadership and innovation has not gone unnoticed by our economic and strategic competitors who are adopting and evolving innumerable tactics to steal, expropry ate or otherwise undermine our intellectual property rights. few, however, have been as overt in these efforts as china. the statistic statistics i am on counterfeiting and piracy are staggering. according it a recent report by the u.s. international trade commission, firms in the u.s. i. pi-intensive economy, that conducted business in china in
5:10 pm
2009 reported losses of approximately $48.2 billion -- that's with a "b" -- in sales, royalties, or license fees due to i.p. infringement in china. now, that bears repeating. $48.2 billion in losses for u.s. companies due to intellectual property infringement in china. perhaps most disturbingly, the i.t.c. report noted that companies reported that an improvement in i.p. protection and enforcement in china to levels comparable to that in the u.s. would likely increase employment by 2.5%. think what that would do for our country. that amounts to almost a million u.s. jobs. and these aren't just jobs. these are really good jobs. and these jobs are jobs that would benefit our country a great deal. the counterfeiting and piracy do
5:11 pm
not stop at china's border. based on u.s. border seizure statistics, china is the primary source of counterfeited products in the united states. now, these products -- these counterfeited products from china run the gamut. we're talking about counterfeit toys, fake drugs, fake auto and aircraft parts, counterfeit computer chips and counterfeit software, music, movies, and games. in essence, anything and everything that has value in the sights of chinese counterfeiters. you can imagine in you are flying on an airplane and the parts that they thought were valid and good parts all of a sudden quit working. this is a very, very important point that i'm making here. now, clearly this is not
5:12 pm
incidental. it's pervasive. and given china's system of government, it's fair to draw the conclusion that piracy and counterfeiting has explicit or implicit government approval, for there's little doubt that china would deal i severely with any other activity they found objectionable well before it became pervasive. and if they wanted to, they could clean this up. i hope that they will, because it's very much to the disadvantage of our cufnlt now, it's becoming clearer every day that china's failure to protect intellectual property is part of a well-coordinated government, national economic development plan. nowhere is this more obvious than in china's adoption of plans to promote -- quote -- "indigenous innovation." china's indigenous insew knowvation policies disadvantage
5:13 pm
u.s. innovators which transfer the transfer of policy. in addition, there have been continued attempts to use technology standards as both a means to erect barriers to u.s. technology and as a means to unfairly acquire really valuable u.s. technology. now, this is not to say that china has not made any progress in combating the theft of u.s. intellectual property. certainly the commitments made at the recent jcct meeting regarding indigenous innoe knowvation in government procurement were a positive step, as was the web site 's recent agreement. while these action action are ad start, there's a lot more that needs to be done. we can debate currency manipulation all day long, but if we want to foster immediate job growth in the united states,
5:14 pm
we should focus our energies on working to find ways to staunch the bleeding when this comes to the benefit of american innovation by china. again, we're talking about close to a million good-paying jobs, u.s. jobs, which stand to be created if we can get this problem under control. now, i stand ready to work with my colleagues on this important set of issues. these are important issues. it's thyme that china grow up and get into the -- it's time that china grow up and get into the world community and do what's right. it is a wonderful end. they have tremendous capacities. they're brilliant people. a lost their engineers were educated here. they're people who really deserve to be leaders in the world community, if they live in accordance with basically honest rules. -- honest rules of the world community. now, they don't live in
5:15 pm
accordance with these rules, and they could do a much better job on intellectual property than they've done. a been there a number of times. each time he have a gone there, i've rased the intellectual property and piracy issues. they always say they're going to do something about these issues, but when push comes to shove, they really don't do what really needs to be done. another important issue we need to discuss is enforcement, and that is why i found amendment number -- i filed amendment number 679. my amendment requires the comptroller general of the united states to submit an annual report to the congress on the trade enforcement activities of the office of the united states trade representative, or we'll refer to it as ustr. this is a simple amendment that serves a vitally important purpose. ustr is a relatively lean agency
5:16 pm
compared to much of the bloated federal bureaucracy. it's at the front lines of our efforts to open new markets to u.s. goods and services providers and it leads the way in holding our trading partners accountable when they fail to live up to their trade commitments. it's a tough job. u.s. companies face an un relenting competitors onent hrebgt wall property rights -- on intellectual property rights, by enacting new technical barriers to trade, imposing unfair pricing and regulatory regimes upon our industries and other equally harmful measures. our goal of course should be to eliminate every single one of these. but the reality of the situation is that in a world of limited resources, we must prioritize.
5:17 pm
in my mind, the number-one priority should be removing barriers to our exports of goods and services and eliminating foreign government practices which most impact u.s. jobs and economic well-being. unfortunately, that has not been the case under this administration. unfortunately, that's the situation we find ourselves in. to cite an example, most people realize that china is an enormous problem for u.s. innovators and content creators. our companies face policies designed to foster chinese innovation at the expense of u.s. inknow sraeu -- innovate tors, policies, laws and regulations that diminish the value of the united states intellectual property. to date this administration has not filed a single intellectual
5:18 pm
property-related enforcement action against china. similarly, chile continues to flagrantly violate the terms of our bilateral agreement with regard to crucial protections for intellectual property. despite the direct and demonstrable harm to american innovators and workers, no dispute settlement process has been initiated with regard to chi le's failure to adhere to intellectual property agreements. in three years of devoting resources to intensive negotiations with the government of guatamala, the obama administration announced the initiation of the first ever bilateral labor dispute against an f.d.a. partner. the administration announced it will investigate allegations by a peruvian union, the government of peru violated its labor
5:19 pm
allegations under u.s.-peru free trade agreement. to me, these actions demonstrate skewed enforcement priorities. it is hard to believe that guatamala's alleged failure to enforce its own domestic labor laws is anywhere near the top of the list when it comes to trade barriers facing u.s. companies and workers. i also find it hard to believe that expanding critical enforcement dollars to defend the interests of the peruvian labor union should be among the top trade enforcement policies for this administration. china, india, brazil, russia, and chile are some of the many countries where we face very real threats to american industry and competitiveness due to unfair trade practices and barriers. but instead of focusing on these immediate ongoing and very real economic harms, the administration seeks yet again
5:20 pm
to instead score political points with labor union leadership. i can hardly blame them for that in a sense because the trade unions in this country are the biggest supporters of the president and of the democrats. but it's outrageous to not put our country first under the circumstances. it really is outrageous. and i think even the trade unions are going to have to stop and think about is this administration really doing what's right with regard to our interests in all these countries i've just mentioned. it's outrageous to direct the limited resources of our most important trade agency towards activities that have little to do with opening new markets or protecting u.s. jobs. this inability to prioritize based upon what's best for workers and the economy as compared to what's best for building labor union support is another unfortunate example of the administration's inability
5:21 pm
to lead on trade. my amendment requires the comptroller general on a yearly basis to detail the enforcement activities undertaken by the ustr and assess the economic impact of each such activity including the impact on bilateral trained on employment in the united states. it would also include an assessment of the cost of and resources dedicated to each such activity. i'm hopeful that my amendment will assist this and future administrations in setting rational enforcement priorities by providing an objective measure of the likely impact on trade and employment of enforcement activities undertaken, it will also be an important resource for this and future congresses in the conduct of our responsibilities. i would hope all my senate colleagues could provide an amendment which provides us with important information and insights which will help us in ensuring that ustr utilizes
5:22 pm
taxpayer funds in the most effective manner possible towards opening markets and removing barriers to u.s. companies and workers. now, mr. president, i rise again today in support of my amendment 680. first, allow me to further explain some of my underlying concerns with the current bill's approach. now we've heard many estimates of job losses in the u.s. associated with our trade deficit with china, following china's entry into the w.t.o., the world trade organization. unfortunately, most of those estimates are highly unreliable and should be taken with a large amount of skepticism. we have heard numbers coming out of the labor-backed economic policy institute, or e.p.i., saying that 2.8 million u.s. jobs have been lost or displaced because of trade deficits with china since that country's entry
5:23 pm
into the w.t.o. with 1.9 million of those jobs estimated to have been in manufacturing. unfortunately, those estimates come from an unreliable static analysis which essentially says that imports displaced labor used in domestic production and, therefore, lead directly to job loss and unemployment. looking at this particular chart here, you can see from that chart that the relation between u.s. imports, the blue line, and the unemployment rate, which is the red line, you can see how it shot up since 2008 and is still wavering at the top. it it does not seem to conform to the jobs and unemployment claims with some of the numbers
5:24 pm
being used in our current debate. if anything, a casual observer might even say that when import growth is strong, it tends to be associated with a strong underlying economy, one in which unemployment -- one in which unemployment is relatively low. you can see from this chart that the imports were going up throughout the first part of 2000 and 2008 when it hit the pinnacle, then all of a sudden dropped down with this administration. now they're coming back up. but yet, employment rate has gone up tremendously and doesn't seem to be coming down very far. so there's a correlation here. frankly, one that really concerns me, as the chart suggests, following the progrowth tax relief of 2003, the economy began to pick up some steam, imports correspondingly grew, and the unemployment rate fell until the
5:25 pm
financial crisis hit. unemployment went down. the 2.8 million job loss number from the labor-funded think tank or the 1.6 million job loss number the majority leader mentioned here on the floor and many of the other job loss numbers associated with the china currency issue that are being offered by many of my colleagues on the other side of the floor are highly unreliable and often not much different from numbers simply picked out of thin air. the jobs numbers do not account for dynamic flows of workers from industry to industry and the message being delivered is that if a job in an industry went away and net imports were going up, then the job must have been lost or displaced because of trade. well, that's foolish. what happened to the displaced worker? it doesn't take that into account. it suggests misleadingly that the worker is unemployed. what happens to the dollars that
5:26 pm
are associated with financing any increased net imports? the analysis doesn't take that into account. if we run a higher trade deficit, financial with dollar outflows and foreign companies recycle the dollars back into the treasury -- into treasury bills to finance the president's stimulus spending spree, does the analysis take into account the resulting jobs that the president claims become -- quote -- "saved or created"? no. those jobs numbers are only convenient when advocates of stimulus like the e.p.i. wish to promote more debt-fueled government spending. i do not dispute that there are important dynamic effects of international trade on the u.s. labor market. i do dispute many of the numbers being tossed about stemming from trade with china. do i dispute that dealing with our bilateral trade deficit with
5:27 pm
china is the most important thing we can do for jobs today, as the senate majority leader has suggested. those doubts of course are not reasons to not act on the chinese currency issue, but they do lead me to doubt the job-creation priorities of my friends on the other side of the aisle. the president has been actively campaigning for congressional consideration and passage of the so-called american jobs act. right now. today. yet the majority leader here in the senate refuses to let us consider the president's proposal right now, despite the minority leader having introduced a proposal for senate consideration. evidently senate democrats believe that construction after new mechanism to use to confront china and raise prospects of trade wars is more important to jobs than the president's plan. i don't think so. the president states rightfully so that unemployed american workers don't have 14 months to wait for action on jobs. yet, we're considering a
5:28 pm
currency bill that at best would set in motion a lengthy process of currency misalignment determinations and perhaps ensuing trade sanctions. if anyone believes that the process set up in the currency bill to confront any currency misalignment in existence today will lead to job creation right now or in the next 14 months, then i suggest that they do not understand much about international trade, labor markets and often painfully slow processes of international trade negotiations. it took president obama over two and a half years to send three free trade agreements to congress, bills that were all set to go from the day he took office. do you really believe that the legislation before us, even if it went into effect right now, would lead to a fundamental misalignment finding immediately along with rapid ensuing
5:29 pm
dialogue and action that would lead to job creation right now? even if the legislation before us today were implemented today, it would likely take months and years before it achieved any results. it is important to confront existing currency and misalignments and global imbalances, the sources of which include persistently high amounts of u.s. debt made significantly worse during the past three years of deficits in excess of $1 trillion that were used wastefully on so-called -- quote -- "stimulus" and commercially nonviable green-energy experiments that just plain do not work. people are starting to wake up to this type of approach to government. to say that the issue of china's managed currency peg is the most important issue for the economy today is telling. it certainly does not speak well
5:30 pm
for how the president's jobs act is perceived by his senate democratic colleagues as a job creator. my concerns go beyond some of the claims related to job creation. i am afraid the current bill will be ineffective and could actually end up harming our exporters through retaliation. that's a real fear. it's a real concern, especially since the chinese have said they will retaliate. and we don't need that right now with the economy the way it is. but that's what they are going to do if this bill passes, even though -- even though some might think that's the right thing to do. and i'm not the only one with concerns. today, according to an article by the associated press, the white house finally publicly stated that it has concerns with this legislation. while we still don't know what those specific concerns are, we do know that they believe approval of the bill would be counterproductive. now, we know that.
5:31 pm
why doesn't the administration just come out and say it? why is it that the president can't lead on these issues? why is it that he always calls on congress to lead on these issues? that's why we elected him as president. or should i say, that's why they elected him as president, because i didn't vote for him even though i like him personally. i did vote for my colleague john mccain. similar concerns were expressed today in an opinion editorial by "the new york times" entitled -- quote -- "the wrong way to deal with china." unquote. they call this bill a -- quote -- "bad idea" -- unquote and -- quote -- "too blunt of an instrument." unquote. specifically they state it is unlikely to persuade china to change its practices, instead -- quote -- "add an explosive new conflict to an already heavy list of bilateral frictions."
5:32 pm
unquote. now, that's "the new york times." my goodness. that is pretty much the bible for our -- for our folks on the other side here. and they do write very effectively on some of these issues. now, i agree that currency manipulation is a serious problem, and i have proposed a better way to address it. my amendment empowers the administration to work within existing frameworks to mitigate the effects of current manipulation and to stop it from occurring, and if our negotiators can't make progress in the w.t.o. and i.m.f., we go there first, we must go outside these organizations and align with other like-minded countries to confront the chinese currency interventions together. i couldn't agree more with my colleagues who have introduced a bill we are debating that china's beggar thy neighbor currency policies do hurt the united states workers. from that standpoint, i commend my colleagues. but massive currency
5:33 pm
interventions harm many other economies and their workers as well. we should join together in a pluralistic way to counter china's actions and negotiate a long-term solution to stop the fundamental misalignment of currencies, whether by china or any other country, and if we did that, it would bring tremendous worldwide pressure on china rather than acting in a bilateral fashion which this bill will do. my amendment would allow that to occur. i would be happy to give credit to the other side if they would accept that amendment. they have to know that it's a prescient, worthy amendment, something that really would make a difference rather than just making talking points or creating a trade war with a country that we should work towards getting along. appreciating the chinese currency will help address global macroeconomic imbalances
5:34 pm
and serve china's long-term economic interests as well while ensuring that american businesses, farmers, manufacturers, service providers and workers compete on a level playing field. now, i just introduced this amendment yesterday around noon, and i am pleased that many of my colleagues have reviewed by -- have reviewed my substitute bill, and they do support it and support a different approach. i think if we want to work together, it's a perfect way of doing it because it gives what the folks want on this side without -- and brings the right kind of pressure without causing a huge trade war that is going to be very much to our disadvantage. in addition, since the introduction of my amendment, many business associations, advocacy groups, think tanks and others have come out in support of my substitute bill. i didn't file that for political reasons. i didn't file that to just cause trouble. i filed it because these ideas
5:35 pm
in that bill are far superior to the ideas in the underlying bill. and i think my friends on the other side ought to look at it and tell me where -- where they could improve it. and take it over if they will. the fact of the matter is it's far superior to what the underlying bill is. now, many agree that my approach is our best choice or best chance at solving this problem that we all find so frustrate frustrateing. to those who think this is more of the same old approach, i say absolutely not. the old policies and the old exchange rate act have not worked, and they need to go. on that, i think we all agree. my proposal does not say try and work this out with china and hope for the best. instead, my approach directs our negotiators to work with others and challenge china until a solution is agreed to. my approach does not prevent the united states from taking unilateral action, but it does demand that the administration seek out those countries that
5:36 pm
will join our efforts to combat currency manipulation. so the directions are more effective and bring worldwide pressure on china to do what's right, to be more fair. we do need a bold new approach and we need to empower our negotiators to work within the w.t.o. and i.m.f. to ensure a level playing field for american businesses and workers, but if they cannot do that there and these institutions cannot handle this problem, then we must join with other like-minded countries to act in concert to counter china's currency policies outside the w.t.o. and i.m.f. this bill is going to cause a tremendous dislocation if it passes, and it's going to cause a trade war that is much to our disadvantage. it may make good populist talk, but it -- it will be very much
5:37 pm
to our disadvantage, and in the end won't do what they want it to do. my bill will. it may take some effort, but my bill will. if they can't do -- if they can't -- you know, if they can't confront these existing currency misliements and global imbalances the way we're suggesting, if they can't do that there and these institutions cannot handle this problem, then we have to join other like-minded countries to act in concert to counter china's currency policies outside the w.t.o. and i.m.f. now, that's what real leadership is about. that's what real executive branch leadership should be about. that's what real u.s. -- ustr should be about. but we also need a partner. we need an administration that will lead on this issue.
5:38 pm
if i have an objection to this administration, it's that they don't lead on anything. they didn't send up a budget. well, the one thing they did failed 97-0, but they really have not taken it seriously, and they just wait for congress to act and for congress to do these things. well, that's what we elected the president to send up his approach to this. that's what we elected him for, and he ought to do that, but they don't for some reason. and we also need a partner. we need an administration that will lead on this issue. my amendment will hold the administration accountable until they achieve results, and that's why it's this administration or a successive administration. we are debating today which approach will better solve the chronic currency manipulation problem with china. my approach has been endorsed by the americans for tax reform who said that the hatch amendment -- quote -- "offers a sensible approach that utilizes the mechanisms created by the international trade community to resolve such disputes."
5:39 pm
unquote. the emergency committee for american trade says that the hatch amendment -- quote -- "will more effectively address concerns about currency misalignment by china and other countries without opening the door to many harmful effects on u.s. business and workers." unquote. the retail industry trade association also supports my amendment, as does the financial services roundtable. this amendment is already generating significant support. what do my friends on the other side take it, declare vanderbilt and go from there? they can refile it in their name. it would be fine with me. i don't care who gets the credit for it. i just care that we handle it in a way that makes sense rather than just make a bunch of political points that frankly will irritate the day lights out of our friends in china. i urge my colleagues to support my amendment, and let's all agree to hold the administration accountable and any success of the -- successive administration accountable and work with other like-minded countries to challenge china's currency
5:40 pm
practices. now, mr. chairman, i'm happy to yield the floor at this point. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of the remarks by the distinguished senator from ohio that i be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i said to senator inhofe i will be no more than ten minutes, and i appreciate your courtesy and your being here. i -- mr. president, i want to rise in -- i rise in opposition to the hatch amendment. i -- i respect -- i appreciate my colleague from utah, his proposal to negotiate a solution with china and other nation's on -- nations on currency. i have worked with him on the health, education, labor and pension committee as the presiding officer has and appreciate his concern on all of these issues and his wide range of knowledge. my firm belief is, however, his amendment is not going to work. i know that he generally doesn't want to take the same direction
5:41 pm
we do in standing up to the chinese here, and i think that when you talk about multilateral negotiation, you're pretty much saying to the chinese please stop a strategy, however unfair and in violation of international norms, that has helped your country accumulate enormous wealth. please stop, we hope you'll stop, please stop. or you're saying what fred burkesman calls -- you're saying please stop what fred burkesman said is the most oppressive policy any country has taken since world war ii. we have tried this. we now have the ability to do multilateral negotiations. senator hatch is right, the administration is not particularly -- has not particularly led on that. he is also right to add that the bush administration also didn't particularly lead on that. and before that, the clinton administration didn't -- did not particularly lead on that. i mean, we have the ability now without amendment 680 because it would really add nothing
5:42 pm
significant to the procedures and the steps that are already in place as a matter of current law and practice to do these negotiations. we have an administration, a treasury department that may change political parties from time to time but doesn't change strategies in dealing with the chinese. it's always please stop, we hope you'll do something differently, we would really like it if you change what you're doing, we really think it would be better if you're -- if you're not cheating on currency and cheating on international trade policies. we really would like it now that we let you into the world trade organization if you actually followed the rules of the world trade organization. we think it would be great if you followed the force of law and the rule of law. saying those things has gotten us nowhere. that's why, while i respect senator hatch, amendment 680 doesn't really get us anywhere, doesn't really change the law. it really just delays. and we know how the chinese like it when we delay because every day we delay is one more day when the chinese cheat, where the chinese have an advantage,
5:43 pm
where the chinese can -- the people's republic of china, the communist party, can again take advantage of american workers and american companies. the treasury department already have specific reporting obligations. they already have ample authority to consult and negotiate multilaterally, bilaterally, pularality. act 1988 which amendment 680 would repeal. mr. president, it's -- you know, i appreciate the -- i appreciate what he wants -- what senator hatch wants to do, but the fact is we have got to make the chinese understand, other than occasional pleading, occasional begging, occasional polite request, we have to make them understand if they don't stop manipulating their currency, don't stop intervening in their currency to keep a weaker yuan, that the united states will defend itself. the united states capital turn its other cheek on this one. the presiding officer said to me the other day, the chinese steal
5:44 pm
our lunch and they expect us -- and if we take any of it back, they get all upset at us, although the presiding officer said it better than i just said it, but the fact is that the chinese have not played fair. i use the example on the senate floor of what currency manipulation means in very simple terms. if there is a gas station on summit street in akron and there is a gas station across the street, one of the -- there is two marathon stations. one of the marathon stations gets its oil from findlay, ohio, at a 30% discount and the other station doesn't, the marathon station that gets the discount is going to put the other one out of business, plain and simple. that's what the chinese -- they have as senator merkley said earlier today, there is a tariff on goods we sell to china and there is a subsidy on goods china sells to us, so how do you compete with that? amendment 680 won't help us compete with that. it will just delay and delay and delay. and that doesn't make sense.
5:45 pm
that's why this legislation, the senate bill 1619, without the hatch amendment, makes much more sense and allows us to move finally and quickly. it allows us to move with certainty. it allows us to move straightforwardly, but it doesn't -- and it strips away all the delay and the head fakes and the fainting and all the -- feinting and all the things that the chinese government, the chinese communist party is so good at doing. mr. president, i ask for defeat of the amendment and passage of 619, and i yield the floor for senator inhofe. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent at the conclusion of my remarks the senator from iowa, senator harkin, be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, recently both the majority and minority leaders came down to the floor to talk about the
5:46 pm
president's jobs bill. there was an effort to bring this bill up by the minority leader and objected to by the majority and i understand that. but, you know, all we've heard from the president, from the very first time that he introduced this thing was pass the bill, pass the bill, pass the bill and i know that there's some reason that he keeps using that phrase over and over again. it's probably been tested and one that i think is going -- he believes will move a lot of people. but frankly i don't think it will because too many people remember what happened last time he had a stimulus bill and that's something that hasn't really been discussed on the floor in the consideration of this particular what he refers to as a jobs bill. so i can see why he keeps talking about pass the bill because he doesn't really want to talk about it. his new proposal, reminds me so much of that $825 billion stimulus package that he rammed through congress shortly after coming into office. it's almost the same thing.
5:47 pm
the recovery act, the $825 billion act, included only $27.5 billion in highway spending which is the stimulus portion of that bill. we're talking about 3% of the $825 billion. i'm particularly sensitive to this since i have in the past been the chairman of the environment and public works committee, i'm now the ranking member, we have a transportation reauthorization bill that we're trying to get up and get up on a bipartisan basis. but back during the consideration of the recovery act, the $825 billion, i tried to put -- pass an amendment on this floor to increase that to about 30% instead of 3% of the bill. if that had happened, we would not be in the situation we're in today. we'd have a lot of jobs out there that would be under construction and good things would be happening. but in the case of this $447 billion bill which is kind of the -- the recovery act
5:48 pm
light, only $27 billion in highway spending. that's just not conceivable that he didn't learn his lesson from the first go-round that that's the main reason people were upset with it right now. and that's the reason he keeps saying pass the bill, pass the bill. the proposal includes few different things but much of it will be sent to the president to spend however he wants. now, you may be wondering, will congress tell the president where to spend the money? to a very limited extent, that's right. but when congress does not tell the president exactly what he is to do with each dime gets, the president gets to decide what to fund and this administration has a history of making incredibly poor spending decisions with the money appropriated to it. the biggest example i can think of is the $825 billion stimulus package, when the president signed this bill in february of 2009 he said i want to you hold this thought, he said and i'm
5:49 pm
quoting now, "what i'm signing then is a balanced plan with mix of tax cuts and investments. it's a plan that's been put together without earmarks or the you are pork barrel spending. it's a plan that will be implemented with the -- a with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability." that's what he said. that's a direct quote. for those of you watching, i have news for you, despite the president's remarks, the spending wasn't balanced and it had a tremendous amount of -- earmark spending, even though there were no congressional earmarks. this is a distinction not many people make. i try to get this point across back when republicans very foolishly talked about having a moratorium on earmarks, i said those are congressional earmarks. that's not where the problem is. the problem is in bureaucratic earmarks. even the clearest and most recent example of the, shall of a huge earmark was the loan
5:50 pm
guarantee given to solyndra. we've all been reading about this and hearing about it recently. it's now a bankrupt solar panel manufacturing company. we've heard about that. solyndra was politically connected firm from california, was able to lobby the white house to obtain a loan guarantee of $535 million to fund its green jobs pipe dream. now, this happened despite the fact that some in the administration were warning the white house to give them more time to evaluate the company's finances. it seems they were concerned about the company's long-term viability but these warnings were ignored by the white house, they wanted to fund the project anyway. why? i think for two reasons: first the white house's fascination with green energy and secondly, political gamesmanship. some of solyndra's biggest investors are big fundraisers for president and have been big fundraisers for president obama and we now know that they made repeated visits to the white house and all that.
5:51 pm
that is not just a coincidence. another question is this: how did the white house have the authority to give the loan guarantee to solyndra in the first place? the short answer is, obama's stimulus package. $825 billion stimulus package. it significantly expanded the department of energy's loan guarantee program and with this expansion the white house was able to select solyndra for a loan guarantee. so while the stimulus package did not include any pork barrel spending in the way that most people think about it, congressional earmarks, this provides clarity to the fact that when congress does not explicitly -- explicitly state where taxpayer funds should go, the money is hand handed over to the administration to spend however he wants. it gets to earmark every last time. and in the case of solyndra, the president handed it over to
5:52 pm
his political buddies in favor to the green energy project. if that isn't pork barrel project, i don't know what is. but now the damage has been done and the taxpayers are going to be on the hook for as much as $535 million in losses. sadly, solyndra is just one example of the pork barrel spend of many of the stimulus and stimulus bill. we're talking about the first stimulus bill, the $825 billion bill. not too long ago sean hannity had it on his program, it took two programs to get it through, the 102 most egregious earmarks that are recorded. and it was kind of interesting. i have, though, in fact i have the whole list here that i'm going to ask to be made a part of the record at the conclusion of my remarks and i'd love to be able to go ahead and name all these things. these are just ridiculous. 219,000 to study the hookup
5:53 pm
behavior of female college coedz in new york, $1.1 million to pay for beaut any fi education of los angeles' sunset boulevard, $10,000 to study whether mice become disoriented when they consume alcohol in florida, 712,000 -- it goes on and on. and again there are 102 of these things. these are the most egregious. the interesting thing is the day after sean hannity exposed these earmarks, 102 of them i came to the floor and read all 10 and said what do these 102 earmarks have in common? the answer: not one is a congressional earmark. they're all bureaucratic earmarks. and that's -- they all came from the $825 billion. remember, i said a minute ago that he said there there will be no earmarks in this package? the same thing he's saying about this second go rownd for -- go-round for the jobs bill that he's talking about today.
5:54 pm
well, anyway, the administration took $825 billion that congress gave it and chose to spend it on stupid things like the ones i just listed but there are 102 of them and i hope people take the time since it's going to be this the record all 102 of them. what does this have to do with the jobs bill? to me the jobs bill is the president coming back to congress to ask for more money to spend however he wants on pork barrel projects like these. no one is talking about this on the floor. they've talked about the other problems they have with this spending bill and why it's really not a jobs bill but no one is talking about the fact this is exactly what he did before and i don't know why we're not talking about this and featuring this because if he said before there are going to be no earmarks and then had all these 102 egregious earmarks, why would he not do the same thing now? the answer is he would do it. he'd like to hand this out to his cronies in ways that would best benefit him. you may remember the president's state of the union address from
5:55 pm
earlier this year. in it he promised, and i quote, "if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks in it, i will veto it." you have a promise from the president and unless congress gives him all of the authority to determine how to -- the money is spent through the bureaucratic earmark process, he'll vote the bill. in other words, he'll veto a bill unless he has total authority and can spend it on his own ear moo in spite of the fact he said there will be no earmarks. for any jobs bill could to be considered, congress has to let the president decide how all the money is being spent. a hard concept because earmarks have become a dirty word and people assume you're talking about congressional earmarks. that's not the problem. and i have legislation i'm going to be talking about that will correct this and better inform the public as to what is really going on. so we're finding ourselves in the same situation again. what's worse is the fact that the problem of bureaucratic earmarks is not limited to
5:56 pm
special stimulus packages. it's a normal course of business in any given day the administration is making thousands of decisions on how to spend money that -- that it has appropriated. congress first passes laws authorizing the executive branch to do certain things. and then we appropriate the money and go and do it. but unless congress gives specific instructions as to where to spend the money, a process many people decry as congressional earmarks, then the administration gets to decide where to spend the money. in other words, the bureaucracy does the earmarking. or president obama does. i can remember i serve on the armed services committee, we are staffed with experts in defending america, we have experts in missile defense, experts in lift capability, all of that, and the way it's always happened before is the president whether that was president bush or clinton or any other president, they design a budget and that budget, the programmers go to congress -- program iters go to the congress
5:57 pm
and then we decide if we agree with the president in how he wants to defend america. a good example, rights before the prohibition on earmarks came in, the president sent his budget down, i think his first budget. in that budget was 330 millions for a launching system called a bucket of rockets. a good system, something i'd like to have for defending america. but when we analyzed it we looked and thought with what's happening right now, our greatest need is to expand our f-18 program and buy six new f-18's. so we took the $330 million he would have spent on the rockets, launching system, and spent it on six new f-18's. and it was a wise thing to do. now, you can't do that now because the president has to make all the decisions because that would be called a congressional earmarks. the earmark don't increase spending at all. all they do is say all right, mr. president, you go ahead and spend it the way you want to.
5:58 pm
so a recent example of this comes from the bureau of land management within the department of interior. while i could talk for hours about whether the management of federal lands is an appropriate thing for government to do, that's not what i want to bring attention to. that's another discussion for another time. what i'm concerned about is how carefully the bureau of land management works to keep its actions aligned with the authorization and power given by congress. we write laws for a reason. we say the bureaucracy can do certain things and not do certain things. and when we do that, we're limiting the bureaucracy and the bureaucracy's authority. we are not saying they can interpret the law any way they choose but generally that doesn't stop them from trying. one thing the bureau of land management is authorized to do by statute is enter into contracts and cooperative agreements to manage, protect, develop, and sell public lands.
5:59 pm
in managing public lands, title 43 authorizes the b.l.m. to among other things preserve the land's historic value. a few days ago as i was searching through the government's grants data base -- by the way this data is something we put in when republicans were in the majority in our committee, the environment and public works committee, the data base which will show people if they care to wander through what the bureaucracy is spending money on. i was looking through the grants data base. i came across one that shocked me. on september 9 of this year, just a few days ago, the b.l.m. announced its intent to award a grant of 214,000 to the public land foundation to fund a research project to describe in detail why the homestead act of 1862 had a significant impact on the history of america. and when i asked them to justify that, they started talking
6:00 pm
about how important history is. today my question is this: what part of this grant has anything to do with the actual -- today's public lands? this isn't a grant to dust off the historic landmarks at national parks. this is a research project to study history which may be a noble task but none unless it's what -- nonetheless it's what it's for. this sort of thing happens all the time. the bureaucracy is completely numb to the fact that we have $1.5 trillion deficit just this this year alone and while this should inform the way it spends money, and help to prioritize accordingly, it doesn't. the bureaucracy takes the money given to it by congress and spends it on pork-barrel projects important to the president. right now there is no way around this. there is no accountability or transparency, no end to it in any way. the bureaucracy' -- the bureaucracy funds its ears's
6:01 pm
earmarks. i believe this needs to be changed and i am currently drafting legislation that would change the way the bureaucracy makes funding decisions. my legislation will bring true transparency and accountability to the process, and it will require the administration to state explicitly the laws authorized in its awards. it will also provide a way for congress to weigh in and challenge the administration's thinking. this is not just the current administration. it's any administration. with the trillions of dollars in deficits, we can't afford to give the president another $447 billion to spend on whatever he wants because that's what it would be. we need to reduce spending, but we also need to ensure that the spending we're doing is justified by the laws congress passes. because of this, we need to bring more light and accountability into the bureaucratic earmarking process. further, i want my colleagues to not be fooled into the idea that
6:02 pm
whenever you pass money off to the administration that it's in safe hand. the opposite is true. i urge my colleagues to oppose more blank checks stimulus spending because, again, after president obama's stated on february 17, 2009, that there would be no earmarks in his $825 billion stimulus bill, it contained more than 100 really egregious, offensive earmarks. and i could -- again, many a not going to read off the list. but i will make it a pardo parte record following this now. he'll do it again if we pass another $450 billion stimulus bill. we can sure it will be full of earmarks just as bad as the ones he put in the initial stimulus bill. this is our second blank check for the president. he fooled us once. don't let it happen again. with that, i'll yield the floor. harass mr. president? the presiding officer: the
6:03 pm
senator -- d. mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i ask unanimous consent that julianna richard and katherine burr be granted floor privileges for the duration of today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: mr. president, the so-called supercommittee created by the budget control act has begun their work. its mandate is to produce plan by november 23 that will reduce future deficits by at lethe 1.5 trillion. -- by at least $1.5 trillion. as the chair of the "help" committee, i've been invited to submit recommendations to the supercomeergts and i will do so in the days ahead. certainly, i wish this group well. however, mr. president, it is critically important that we define "success" in terms that really matter to working americans. frankly, aim deeply disturbed about thbythe washington group-.
6:04 pm
i've come to the floor to urge members of the supercommittee embrace a broader and more powerful definition of success. success must include boosting the economy and creating jobs. after all, the most effective way to reduce the deficit is to help 25 million unemployed and underemployed americans to find jobs and become taxpayers once again. there can be no sustained deficit reduction without a recovery of the economy and a return to normal levels of employment. indeed, just yesterday the congressional budget office released an analysis showing that if our economy were not in recession -- if our economy were not in recession -- if it were employing labor and capital at normal levels, the deficit would be reduced next year by an estimated $343 billion.
6:05 pm
a reduction of one-third of the deficit. in one year. if we just had normal employment. so i have a simple but urgent message to the supercommittee: go big on jobs. that message would be strongly seconded by people like connie smith of tame, iowa. in january she was laid off after working 27 years for the same telecom company. since being laid off, she's been working as a contractor doing the same type of work for less pay and no benefits. gene witt would also agree. she was laid off in 2008, is now a student at iowa western community college, descriesk for a new career in nurse -- striving for a new career in nursing. she is hoping that good jobs will be available when she grad waits. mr. president, as i said, inside the washington bubble here, our leaders have persuaded themselves that the number-one issue confronting america is the budget deficit. i assure you that ordinary
6:06 pm
americans are focused on a far more urgent deficit:, th deficis deficit. but i'm also concerned about the deficit of imagination and vision here in washington today. i'm dismayed by our failure to confront the current economic crisis with the boldness that earlier generations of americans summoned in times of national challenge. let's be clear about the staggering scale of today's challenge. our nation remains mired in the most severe period of joblessness since the great depression. as i said, some 25 million americans are desperate to find full-time employment. according to new data from the census bureaucracy the poverty rate has risen to 15%, the highest level in 18 years. 20% of american children are being raised in poverty. one out of every five kids in america. last week the chairman of the federal reserve, mr. ben
6:07 pm
bernanke, said that unemployment is a -- quote -- "national crisis." well, very true, mr. bernanke. it is a national crisis. it's fa far and away, the number-one concern of the american people. that's why an exclusive, single-minded obsession -- obsession -- with slashing spending and reducing the deficit is not just misguided, it's counterproductive. if the supercommittee cuts the deficit by $1.5 trillion and does nothing to create jobs, this would amount to a massive dose of antistimulus. it will further drain demand from the economy and destroy even more jobs, and that, in it un, will make the deficit worse, not better. it's the equivalent of applying leeches to a patient who needs a
6:08 pm
transfusion. mr. president, we must stop this mindless march to austerity, mindless march to us a staimpl o austerity. smart countries when they have these kind of challenges don't turn a chainsaw on themselves. instead of the current slash-and-burn approach which s being sold to fear and fatalism, we need an approach that reflects the hopes and aspirations of the american people. to be sure, we must agree on necessary spending cuts can and tax increases. but we must continue to invest in continuatio things that willn the middle class, create jobs, knowing that this is the only sustainable way to bring deficits under control. again, i say to the supercommittee: if you're serious about reducing the deficit, you must put job creation front and center in
6:09 pm
your deliberations and agenda, not just slashing and cutting government spending to reduce the deficit. now, i don't want to be misunderstood. my preference, of course, is always to reduce the deficit. i know that. and as a senior member of the appropriations committee, i appreciate that we must seize every opportunity to prudently -- prudently -- reduce federal spending. and there are opportunities, including in the pentagon, to reduce federal spending while minimizing further damage to economy and jobs. however, i believe that we must be equally willing to say "no" -- "no" to foolish, destructive budget cuts. most importantly, as i've said, the supercommittee must broaden its focus to include a sharp emphasis on creating jobs and boosting the economy.
6:10 pm
that's why i was very pleased by the plan presented by president obama, the american jobs act. as the president said in his speech to congress, the americans jobs act boils down to two things: putting people back to work and more money in the pockets of working americans. most importantly, in my book, the american jobs act would dramatically ramp up investments in infrastructure in order to boost u.s. competitiveness and directly create millions of new jobs. specifically, the american jobs act includes $30 billion to renovate some 35,000 schools and community colleges nationwide. this would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, especially in the hard-hit construction industry. the legislation -- the president's bill -- provides $30 billion to help local school districts hire and retain teachers. this new fund would save or create nearly 400,000 education jobs.
6:11 pm
in addition, the american jobs act includes $50 billion for immediate investment in our transportation infrastructure. again, this will dramatically boost employment and modernizing the arteries and veins of our commerce. well, now people say, how are you going to pay for all this? and these other investments, keeping our teachers in the classrooms, renovating the infrastructure? how are we going to pay for all this to get our economy back on track? well, for the answer, mr. president, we again need to listen to the american people. i received a heartfelt message from dan carver, a fifth-grade teacher in carlisle, iowa. he says that he is struggling like other middle-class americans to pay his bills and his taxes and he doesn't understand why corporations and the very wealthy aren't also paying their fair share. in poll after poll after poll,
6:12 pm
by 2-1 margins -- 2-1 margins -- americans want an approach that includes tax increases on those who can most afford it, those whose incomes have skyrocketed in recent years, even as middle-class incomes have fallen. those who have benefited the most from tax breaks initiated during the bush administration. by a 2-1 margin. this should be a no-brainer for people elected to congress. 2-1 margin. read the polls. that's what people want done. you see all those people up on wall street? it's now spreading to washington. there's even an event planned for mason city, iowa, this weekend by a lost young people saying, look, we have to raise revenue. we can't just slash and cut back and retreat.
6:13 pm
we need to raise revenue and charge forward. mr. president, we'd be foolish to ignore the voices of working americans from all walks of life. for more than a decade now, these good citizens have been told that tax breaks for the wealthy will result in millions of new jobs and a booming economy. that's what they've been told. they were told that wealthy americans are so-called -- quote -- "job creator" and if we just shf enough tax breaks their way, jobs will magically bloom. frankly, things the same-old theory of trickle-down economics. it manifestly has never worked. for ordinary americans, the only thing that's trickled down are wage cuts, mass unemployment, upside down mortgages, personal bankruptcies and disappearing pensions. instead of this failed
6:14 pm
trickle-down economics for the rich, it's time for percolate-up economics for middle-class americans. we have a saying for this out in the midwest. i've heard it many times. you don't fertilize a tree from the top down. you got to put it in at the roots. it's time to invest directly in jobs by renovating our crumbling infrastructure, rebuilding our schools, putting laid-off teachers back to work. and by all means, it's time to ask those who have benefited the most from our economy to pay more. yes, to pay more. to help finance these urgent investments. because, mr. president, these are the kind of things that individuals cannot do on their own. an individual cannot rebuild a highway other or a school. an individual cannot retrofit a school building. an individual cannot build a new energy efficiency system. but we can do this acting
6:15 pm
together. that's why it's time to ask those who have benefited the most from our economy to pay some more. mr. president, i close by reiterating that we need to pursue a path that, first and foremost, right now focuses on job creation. in the longer term, focus on deficit reduction. after we get the economy going and getting people back to work and being taxpayers again, then we can reduce the deficit. as the report showed this week, if we were to just have normal employment levels we'd reduce the deficit by $343 billion. i say again to the super committee don't just focus on slashing, cutting, and retreating. focus on raising revenue and
6:16 pm
charging ahead, investing in education, innovation, infrastructure. that means a level playing field with fair taxation. fair taxation. and a strong ladder of opportunity to give every american access to the middle class. it's time to put america back to work. it's time to change the tenor of the debate. it's time to get away from this group think here in washington that if only, if only would just cut more government spending, somehow imagine economy people will go back to -- somehow magically people will go back to work. it's not going to happen only in your dreams. it will only happen if we are bold enough, as our forefathers and people before us were bold enough to raise the necessary revenues to put this country back to work. that should be the first charge of the super committee. mr. president, i yield the
6:17 pm
floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: mr. president, i very much thank the senator, the chairman of the health, education, labor, and pensions committee for his advocacy always for the middle class, advocacy always for those who aspire to the middle class and especially the jobs bill. i particularly appreciate his comments about school construction. that's a major component of the jobs bill. my state has gone through a pretty good period under governor taft -- not in the same political party of me but a friend of mine who launched a program ten years or so ago in ohio to begin to replace to give incentives for local governments, local school districts to vote bond issues where there was a lot of state matching funds that built a lot of new schools, but nothing close to what we need yet with all the progress we made. we tell our children that education is the most important thing in their lives, in our
6:18 pm
lives and our country. then we send them to lousy, decaying falling-apart school buildings. i don't think that quite clicks in kids' mind. the school construction part this have bill, first of all, puts construction workers to work, and their high unemployment rates as senator harkin said. second, it puts steelworkers, cement workers and concrete workers and people making the products, the glass makers and all, manufacturers to work for the materials. third, it sets the foundation by rebuilding -- building community colleges, rebuilding school buildings and all that, putting people to work for long-term economic prosperity. we know for fact the united states in the 1950's, 1960's, the 1970's, created an infrastructure the likes of which the world has never seen and that's the foundation for our prosperity. unfortunately in the last 20 years we let that infrastructure crumble. we let that infrastructure decay. when i look at these young pages
6:19 pm
here, 16, 17 -- 15, 16, 17, 18 years old, i don't want them to inherit a huge budget deficit but i also don't want them to inherit a huge education deficit and infrastructure deficit. we owe that to that generation to do much better than we have. i thank senator harkin and yield to him. mr. harkin: thank you very much. i thank the senator from ohio, a great friend and a great supporter of working americans. i would just say this, that the bill that senator brown has been championing is now leading the charge on the floor on, on the china currency bill, i think is one of the important steps forward in making sure that we start creating jobs for americans. we create jobs -- how can we create jobs for americans when we have the chinese currency that is underpinning their exports to america, undercutting jobs in this country. this is a big step forward, and i hope we can get cloture on this and i hope we can move
6:20 pm
forward on the bill. i thank the senator from ohio for his steadfastness on making sure we get this bill to the floor and hopefully get the votes to pass it. again, we can't -- we can focus on the jobs in this country. if we're just going to continue to allow china to undercut us in just every possible way to manipulating their currency so they can undercut us by 20%, 25% on a lot of goods that come into this country, how are we going to manufacture those things once again in this country? mr. brown: we're joined in this chamber by two of the sponsors of this bill. the presiding officer, senator whitehouse and senator casey from pennsylvania. you said something earlier about the super committee and deficit reduction. what you said is exactly right, that many in this institution and down the hall in the house of representatives don't seem to understand, and that is you can't only cut your way to prosperity. you've got to grow your way to a more balanced budget and prosperity. one of the things this china currency bill will do is it is
6:21 pm
estimated by the economic policy institute that over ten years it will cut the deficit $600 billion to $800 billion. why is that? because of job growth, because this bill provides, according to the economic policy institute study, creates more than 2 million jobs. that's 2 million people instead of receiving unemployment benefits, instead of being eligible for food stamps, instead of other kinds of things we do for people who are out of work, it will mean those 2 million people will actually be working, many of them in manufacturing. those are $12, $15, $20 an hour jobs. they'll be paying taxes, paying into social security, into medicare, into the local retirement systems, all that, paying property taxes for the schools, doing all the things that kphroeud -- employed hardworking taxpayers do. while we need a bill on the president's jobs bill this is one that makes sense. mr. harkin: the senator from
6:22 pm
ohio clearly understands economics. praoeurb that very much. i thank -- i appreciate that very much. i thank the senator from ohio for his leadership. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
6:23 pm
6:24 pm
6:25 pm
6:26 pm
mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i'd ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i rise just for a few moments to make a few comments regarding the pending legislation that deals with the currency policies that china has had in place which have been, have proven to be adverse to american workers. i was saying on the floor yesterday and i'll say it again that this isn't a complicated issue. when china doesn't play by the rules, when they cheat on the international stage and on their currency policies, americans lose jobs. and we've lost far too many of them for us to just sit back and do nothing or to sit back and just discuss and urge and plead instead of taking action. but what i failed to do
6:27 pm
yesterday was put a couple of basic numbers on the table. i mentioned in some of my comments yesterday that we had a hearing in the joint economic committee which for those who aren't as familiar with the workings of that committee, it's a house-senate joint committee where you have senators and house members obviously from both parties meeting, participating in hearings on a whole range of topics, most of them dealing with the economy and jobs. and yesterday we had the federal reserve chairman ben bernanke who testified broadly about a lot of issues. but i asked him about currency, and one of the things that he said -- and i thought this was a pretty significant statement. i'm just reading something chairman bernanke said in pertinent part. this isn't obviously a full statement. but when i asked him about currency, china currency, and
6:28 pm
their policy, he said -- and i'm quoting here -- he said "i think right now a concern is that the chinese currency policy is blocking what might be a more normal recovery process in the global economy." then he goes on to say "the chinese currency policy is blocking that process." i should adhere process meaning the recovery. then he goes on to say, "so it is to some extent hurting the recovery process." unquote. that is the chairman of the federal reserve, someone who, whose job it is to, i should say whose job it is not to comment on public policy on a regular basis necessarily or to take positions on one side or the other on public policy. but the fact that he made that statement which tphaeud abundant -- statement which made it abundantly clear that this
6:29 pm
isn't simply a problem for our workers when we lose jobs, we hemorrhage the jobs we have lost, but this is a -- this currency policy that china has in place is an impediment to the recovery, the economic recovery of the world. i thought it was a critically important statement that he made that is in furtherance of or further evidence, i should say, that this bill that we're working on is the right way to go. i don't want to comply that he endorsed -- i don't want to imply that he endorsed the bill. he didn't. i thought it was interesting that he focused on the economic recovery worldwide and not only on the adverse consequences for our workers, our companies, our jobs. and two other notes, and then i'll sit down. one is the impact in a state like pennsylvania. i have the privilege to represent the people of pennsylvania, so i want to make
6:30 pm
sure that the record is clear in terms of what china's policies both on currency and more broadly on trade have meant in the context of pennsylvania workers. a report released just recently by the economic policy institute, so-called e.p.i. is quoted a lot, the economic policy institute estimates from the year 2001 to 2010 our trade deficit with china led to the loss of 106,970 jobs in pennsylvania, almost 2% of total employment in pennsylvania. across the nation, this same trade deficit with china has led to a loss of 2.8 million jobs since 2001. so basically what you're talking about there is less than a decade. because of -- because of the trade deficit with china, we
6:31 pm
have lost 2.8 million jobs nationally in almost -- and almost just a little shy of 107,000 jobs in one state, the state of pennsylvania. now, some would say well, you should be careful in how you say that because we're not saying that the currency policy that they have in place -- which i would assert they're cheating on -- that that alone can be attributed to -- or the job loss can be attributed solely, solely to that. i'm not saying that. but there is no question, and i think the record is replete with evidence and examples that much of that job loss can be attributed to their currency policies, as well as other policies that they have in place. i'm not even going to get into the infringement on copyright and intellectual property and a whole range of other issues where we have some disagreements with other policies emanating
6:32 pm
from -- emanating from china. and two more points finally about e.p.i. the economic policy institute did an analysis, and they released this report june 17, 2011, and what they -- what they found was that they wanted to make a determination if, if china were to revalue its currency -- in other words, play by the rules to the extent of a 28% level. some people think their manipulation that they're doing amounts to more than 28%, but if they are able to revalue that -- their currency up to that level, what would happen? so here's what e.p.i. found. in only china revalued to 28.5%, the growth in u.s. gross domestic product would support 1,631,000 u.s. jobs. and if other asian countries also revalued at that level,
6:33 pm
28.5%, then the job number would be -- the job gain, i should say, here in the united states would be 2,250,000 jobs because of that revaluation. and i mentioned the study yesterday, and i said what if they are off, what if their estimates are off, what if for some reason you had to scale down that estimate? well, if 1.6 million jobs if they are off by even a lot, that's still a big job number, and if you add in the other asian countries which are obviously impacted by the policies in china, you're over 2.2 million jobs, and even if that's off, it's still a lot of jobs. so this is a jobs bill. we talk about creating new consequences for china's cheating on currency, this is a job creator if we do it, if we can pass the bill and implement
6:34 pm
the policy, we can create a lot of jobs over the next several years at the same time. so this has an impact on job creation and it has an impact ultimately on gross domestic product. i know that when i go back to pennsylvania and people say to me, let me get this straight, you have a currency -- a bill that deals with getting tougher on china as it relates to their currency policy, you have bipartisan support in the united states senate, and it is a job-creating bill, why aren't you -- why won't this pass and why don't you have this enacted into law? so i -- i believe that we have a lot of momentum for passage. i would hope that the bipartisan support we have on the republican side of the aisle with a number of democrats would result in passage of this legislation, and especially when you put it in the context of two points that i made, one, the job
6:35 pm
impact or i should say the job loss that has resulted from china cheating on its currency policy over all these years, and secondly when you put it in the context of not just our economy but the world's economy. when you have the chairman of the federal reserve saying that their policy on currency is impeding, or let me read exactly what he said just to be -- quote -- "chinese currency policy is blocking what might be a more normal recovery process in the global economy." unquote. blocking recovery in the global economy. that is compelling testimony for anyone who cares about and is concerned about creating jobs here, strengthening our recovery and obviously helping the recovery worldwide. so i think the evidence is overwhelming. the support for this legislation is as broad based as any i've seen for any bill i have ever considered in the almost five years i have been in the senate.
6:36 pm
we need to finish the debate on this this week and get a vote, and i would hope that we would continue to have an overwhelming vote that reflects the overwhelming support across the united states. and, mr. president, i would yield the floor and. ♪ the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk clerk -- and would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
6:37 pm
6:38 pm
6:39 pm
6:40 pm
6:41 pm
6:42 pm
6:43 pm
6:44 pm
6:45 pm
6:46 pm
6:47 pm
6:48 pm
6:49 pm
6:50 pm
6:51 pm
6:52 pm
6:53 pm
6:54 pm
6:55 pm
6:56 pm
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
7:01 pm
7:02 pm
7:03 pm
7:04 pm
7:05 pm
the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i would ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i would ask consent to speak as if
7:06 pm
in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: we have been dealing with an issue that relates to china's currency policies, and tphoeu that's been the pending -- and i know that's been the pending business. but i've been wanting to address another issue for a number of days now and just haven't found the time until just now. i'm grateful for this opportunity. it is a, an issue that a number of people here in both parties are very concerned about. it relates to syria. i rise to talk about the situation in syria which is a place of ever-increasing violence and it has taken the lives -- this violence has taken the lives of some 2,000, or i should say more than 2,600 syrians. i spoke before a number of months ago at a hearing about a pennsylvanian. his name is hassan hallock.
7:07 pm
he is a doctor who lives outside of philadelphia in the suburban communities. his brother lived in syria and visited the united states for a medical conference earlier this year. upon his return to syria demonstrations against the assad regime were beginning to intensify. sakhir was not engaged in politics, nor did he want to be engaged in politics. but despite this he went missing and was soon found dead in a ditch in a village south of the town of olipo. sakhir was subjected to unspeakable torture before he was killed. his visit to the united states was enough for the assad regime to target him for death. so his brother, a constituent of
7:08 pm
mine, hassem, has asked me to do everything i can to support democratic change in syria and to protect civilians who continue to be haunted by, and hunted down by this brutal regime. i believe, and i know this is a broad-based point of view in this chamber, democrats and republicans alike, we believe that now more than ever it's critical that the international community led by the united states -- and the united states has done a lot already but needs to do more -- that we show support for the syrian people who continue to live under this dictatorship. the syrian people, especially the democracy and human rights activists, feel defenseless against the tanks, the guns, and the bullets of the assad regime. the united nations human rights council passed an important resolution which called for the
7:09 pm
deployment of three human rights monitors to bear witness to the terrible crimes in syria. i was very disappointed and i know others were as well, but unfortunately we weren't surprised to see that russia and china vetoed a u.n. security council resolution just last night. this resolution had been watered down so much that observers had been taken to calling it the so-called monsoon resolution. yet, the russians and the chinese still refused to recognize the terrible actions of the assad regime and show support for the embattled people of syria. i'm an original cosponsor of senate resolution 180 which was introduced in may. this resolution expresses support for the peaceful demonstrations in universal freedoms in syria and condemns the human rights violations perpetrated by the assad regime.
7:10 pm
this bipartisan resolution has 25 cosponsors but it's been held up by one united states senator who will not let this pass through by unanimous consent. the language we use around here for letting legislation pass without a vote, without a roll call vote, so-called unanimous consent. one senator holding up a resolution to show our solidarity with and support for the syrian people who have been living through the most horrific of nightmares, torture and killing and abuse for all these months. mr. president, there's a lot that we can do and that we should do, and there's also a lot that we should be debating here in the united states senate. but i can't understand on an issue of such importance that we cannot come to consensus on something this basic to show
7:11 pm
fundamental solidarity with the people of syria, especially at this hour. we cannot let another day pass without the united states senate expressing its outrage over the behavior of the assad regime. it's not enough just to condemn it in words. it's very important the united states senate goes on record to pass this resolution. i've spoken in the past very highly of pwapls tkor ford -- of ambassador ford and his team in damascus, our ambassador from the united states to syria. and i was proud to support his nomination. instead of conferring legitimacy on mr. assad and his regime, ambassador ford is the most high-profile opponent of the assad regime, sending out regular condemnations through press releases and facebook
7:12 pm
postings. but what has been even more impressive is the personal courage demonstrated on an almost daily basis that ambassador ford and staff have demonstrated in traveling throughout the country and engaging directly with the democratic opposition. last week ambassador ford met with the leader of the opposition national democratic gathering in damascus. ambassador ford's vehicles were attacked and he was forced to stay inside the building until security forces arrived three hours later to escort him from the premises. he attended the funerals of human rights activists, observed the aftermath of government massacres and engaged directly with the people of syria. he will say that he is just doing his job, almost like good soldiers say often when we commend them for their valerie
7:13 pm
and bravery and -- for their valor and bravery and service. i'm glad the senate did its job just last night in confirming ambassador ford. long overdue but it was finally done. ambassador ford serves as a shining example of the best of our foreign service, the best that our foreign service has to offer to the world. countries that have representatives remaining in damascus should join ambassador ford on his visits with opposition figures and human rights activists around the country. he should not be the only one who bears witness to this horror. other diplomats should join him on his travels throughout syria. we've seen some positive developments among other countries in the international community. i want to acknowledge the increasingly positive role played by turkey, which is report lid considering sanctions against syria. turkey is syria's largest trading partner and sanctions
7:14 pm
could have a serious impact in damascus. turkey provided safe haven in border camps for more than 7,000 refugees that have fled from syria to turkey. turkey's concrete support for the syrian people combined with ongoing diplomatic pressure is a critical element in isolating the syrian regime. mr. president, we know some of the history here, and it's a history of a lot of horror and death. 29 years ago mr. assad's father, bashir al-assad, bashir al-assad's father unleashed government security forces in the community hamma to repress unrest in that city. the killing that took place in february of 1982 was both indiscriminate in mass and in scale. some estimate that as many as, more than 10,000 syrians were
7:15 pm
killed as security forces literally razed the city. thomas freedman, "new york times" columnist, dedicate add chapter entitled -- quote -- "hamma rules" in his book "from beirut to jerusalem to the horror scene in 1982." hamma rules was meant to send a chilling effect to all who question that assad regime. mr. president, bashir al-assad has proven today and over the last several months if not years that he is incapable of reform. when faced with the democratic movement inspired by the wave of change sweeping across the region, the younger assad responded with his own 2011 version of hama rules, and as the world watched, as i said before, over 2,600 syrians have
7:16 pm
been killed in a number of communities, whether it's in hama or homes, rastan, talbesay and several other towns across the country. hama's rules seem to be focused on the militias that have been deployed most recently in rastan to conduct the most oppressive operations that we can think of. these gangs receive informer support from the sear -- informal support from the syrian security forces and have been implicated in serious crimes and atrocities. the syrian people have asked for international monitors to be deployed in the country in order to bear witness and perhaps, perhaps to provide a deterrent against the wrath of these militias. mr. president, in the intervening 29 years since the massacre at hama, syria has changed indeed. the syrian people have shown that they will not be cowed by violence. the opposition has made
7:17 pm
remarkable progress. hama rules no longer work in syria. the opposition has stood up and voted with its feet, every friday turning out to demonstrate and face the wrath, the terrible, deadly wrath of this regime. moreover, scores of security forces have abandoned the regime and have come to the side of the opposition, something that did not happen in 1982 when the elder assad brutally applied his hama rules. in recent weeks, we have seen elements among the opposition emerge who have resorted to violence. one cannot blame the syrian people for defending themselves in the face of unspeakable violence, but i do hope that those -- that although the aspirations of the syrian people can be met through a commitment to nonviolence, as difficult as that is and an understanding that democratic change comes not from the barrel of a gun as we
7:18 pm
have often said on this floor, but the desire of all citizens to chart a new course, the course of peace. mr. president, in summary, the international community can do more to support the syrian people during this darkest of hours, starting right here in this chamber in the united states senate. this week, we sent a strong message in confirming ambassador ford. today we can pass a resolution denouncing the behavior of the syrian regime. more importantly, the international community can and should do more. here are some of the measures that i believe should take place in the coming days and weeks. first, the united nations has proven to not be -- and i want to emphasize that -- to not be the best international institution to address the strife in syria, but key regional organizations could have a positive and substantial impact moving forward. the arab league should suspend
7:19 pm
syria's membership and call for president assad to step down. the gulf cooperation council should explicitly say that president assad is no longer the legitimate leader of the country. number two, concerned countries in the west should work together with the arab league and the gulf cooperation countries to establish an international -- quote -- "friends of the syrian people" -- unquote, as a contact group for the region which can serve as the main point of contact for the opposition and the syrian people. participation in such a group would not necessarily limb the options of individual members and would not preclude bilateral efforts to take squat action in support of the syrian people -- to take separate action in support of the syrian people. it would, however, send a clear message of international solidarity in support of nonviolent change in syria.
7:20 pm
number three, the syrian people have asked that the international -- that i should say international humanitarian observers be deployed in the country to monitor the situation and to perhaps serve as a deterrent against violence in the country. similar to the osce human rights monitors deployed to kosovo in 1998 to bear witness to the violence wrought by the mill milosevic regime, this group of monitors primarily composed by the arab league and the gulf cooperation council could address a central concern of the syrian people and would be a welcome alternative to military intervention from the outside. number four, finally, key countries in the international community need to cut off commercial ties. let me say that again. cut off commercial ties with the assad regime. the united states has done its
7:21 pm
part, as has the european union. turkey may announce new sanctions, but many countries continue to conduct business as usual with the assad regime. for example, there are reports that india is considering the purchase of crude oil from syria the timing of such a purchase is ill-advised, and i hope, and we asked india, but we hope that india can look to identify other sources of energy in the region, especially at this time. mr. president, the stakes have been raised in syria like never before. the opposition is understandably tired and to some extent beaten down, and there is some despair that's starting to set in among the abused population of the country. at this critical time, the newly constituted syrian national council needs to be able to show the syrian people that it can
7:22 pm
deliver results in the international community. the establishment of a friends of syria people group, a contact group, as i said before, and the deployment of international humanitarian monitors would demonstrate that the syrian national council is effective, and it would send a critical message to the syrian people. our options to leverage change in syria are limited, but they do exist. we should be making every effort to build increased international pressure on and isolation of the assad regime. mr. hallak and his family and thousands of other families across syria have suffered enough. they have suffered so much, and they deserve nothing less than our support, our solidarity and our help in this dark hour. mr. president, i would yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
7:23 pm
quorum call:
7:24 pm
7:25 pm
7:26 pm
7:27 pm
7:28 pm
7:29 pm
7:30 pm
quorum call:
7:31 pm
7:32 pm
7:33 pm
7:34 pm
7:35 pm
7:36 pm
7:37 pm
7:38 pm
7:39 pm
7:40 pm
7:41 pm
7:42 pm
7:43 pm
7:44 pm
7:45 pm
7:46 pm
7:47 pm
7:48 pm
7:49 pm
7:50 pm
7:51 pm
7:52 pm
7:53 pm
7:54 pm
7:55 pm
7:56 pm
7:57 pm
7:58 pm
7:59 pm

29 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on