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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 6, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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of a 2011 legislative strategy. there are 1.7 million fewer american jobs since the president signed the first stimulus bill into law. we don't need stimulus ii. we need to do the things that encourage private sector job creators to create private sector jobs. let's vote on the bill. instead of this debate we're having this week on china currency, let's vote on the president's bill. he said in i think dallas on tuesday at late morning in dallas, let the senate at least vote on the bill. and so the minority leader, mr. mcconnell, came to the floor and said let's vote on the bill, and we're ready on our side. let's vote on the bill. let's get beyond the -- past the bill. let's see if the votes are there to pass the bill so we can get to the things that really will get the country going again.
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these regulations, this talk of higher utility bills and higher taxes puts a big wet blanket on the entire economy. this discussion of who we're going to be puts a big wet blanket on the entire economy. let's take that blanket off, let's do the things that the government -- at the government level that allow private job creators to do what they can to create private sector jobs. and i hope we can get along -- get on with the business that the country needs to get done. madam president, i believe there is 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: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you, madam president. i rise today to speak about the issue of creating jobs in america, more specifically, the loss of jobs that has been driven by the unfair trade practices of china. the bottom line is this: chinese manipulation of currency is a tariff on american products and a subsidy to chinese exports. greatly disadvantaging manufacturing in america and
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destroying thousands, thousands of american jobs. when we look at our challenge, our challenge is to not simply strengthen the overall economy, often measured by the gross domestic product. our challenge is to strengthen the american family, the financial foundations that depend upon a good, living-wage job. so every proposal that we consider should be weighed by whether it creates jobs or destroys jobs. that is true in times of a robust economy. it is particularly true now when we have a persistent high unemployment rate, where families have been battered, not just by the loss of jobs but by the loss of equity in their homes, by the loss of their
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health care that went with their job, by the loss of their retirement savings. all of these in a time when the price of things fundamental to families keeps going up. there are many who looked to the opening of china as an opportunity to have a vast market for american products. and indeed, many continue today to talk about china in terms of the market opportunities for american products. but the picture has changed dramatically over the last decade. and we as policymakers here in the senate must recognize that change, that china has become a vast manufacturing enterprise, that it has done so through a deliberate manufacturing and export strategy, and that that strategy is destroying jobs in the united states of america.
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over the last ten years, china has reaped benefits, but they have not upheld their end of the bargain. indeed, one piece of the deal is that they would create a rule of law, that they would enforce restrictions on the theft of intellectual property. but i can tell you that when we took a bipartisan delegation to china earlier this year led by the majority leader, company after company told us the stories of their products being stolen by chinese enterprises. and not just the design of their products that were then replicated and sold without the appropriate patents, but also the software.
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and if you want a simple example of this, take microsoft windows and its products in its office suite. only about half of the copies used by the official government in china are legal copies. and outside of the government, only a very small fraction of the copies are legal copies. and that's just the beginning of the vast intellectual theft where china has not upheld its end of the bargain to create a rule of law and stop the outright thievery of american intellectual property, damaging american companies. second, we have the chinese pegged currency. now, when a country pegs its currency to another as they have
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their currency to the dmar, they can do so -- dollar, they can do so and adjust it periodically according to market influences, they can decide to end the pegging and let it float which then you get a real market evaluation or they can deliberately keep printing money to sustain a situation in which the currency is undervalued. that's exactly what china has done. now, when they make their currency cheap, what they do is make their products much less expensive to other nations. that is equivalent of subsidizing their exports. and when they make their currency cheap and make dollars very expensive, it is equivalent to putting a tax on american products, a tariff on american products. so while much of america has thought of the world trade organization as one that created a platform for free trade or
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even a level playing field, that is far from the truth. the truth is that china has been allowed to sustain a pegged currency that puts the equivalent of a 25% tariff disadvantage to american products and a 25% subsidy to chinese products. now, there are those on -- in this chamber who have come to this floor and said that to challenge the chinese tariff on american products is to launch a trade war. my friends, do you not realize that chinese tariff on america is a trade war and that they are winning this war and they are destroying american jobs while vastly increasing their own production? if not, please go to china and talk to american companies, and talk to the american companies that have been shut down in
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america. now, we have lost three million manufacturing jobs since 1998, a little bit over a decade. not all of that is the consequence of chinese practices. but a great amount of it is. so we must not stand by trying to pretend the world is one way, that china represents solely a market and not a manufacturing competitor, when the truth is they are a fierce competitor using industrial policy and a pegged currency to outcompete american products, to penalize american products. in terms of the currency manipulation, our secretary of the treasury said this: "whatever your definition of manipulation is, what matters is the currency is undervalued.
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they are intervening, referring to china, they are intervening to hold it down. that adversely affects our economic interests and there is an overwhelmingly compelling economic case for the world for china's trading partners, for china, for us, to work to alter that basic practice." well, certainly we have the secretary of the treasury echoing that we have a challenge that is hurting america and that we need to respond to that challenge, and that is why we have this bill on the floor addressing the chinese manipulation of currency. now, this is not the only strategy that china uses. they also use a strategy of holding down interest rates
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through their use of rules below the inflation rate, which means that any chinese citizen that puts their money in a state-controlled bank -- and that's the only option they have -- loses value every year on that money. this is sometimes called by economists by a fancy name, and that's financial repression. you repress or hold down the interest rates. well, let's just call it something that's a little more understandable. insurance rate manipulation. that is done in order to allow the central bank, the chinese banking system to reap great revenues that they can then take and subsidize manufacturing. they do this through a series of grants and they do this through a series of subsidized loans. an american entrepreneur was in my office the morning before yesterday talking about how an individual that he knows went to
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china and was negotiating and started out with china offering him a 3% interest rate on money to operate his enterprise and ended up offering a negative 3% interest rate. in other words, they would pay him to take the money in order to bring that manufacturing to china, take it out of the united states, bring it to china. they would pay him to do that. that's a vast subsidy, and it's not the only subsidy. the grants, the subsidization of water costs, the subsidization of electricity. all of these subsidies have a big impact, and if you go to the w.t.o. website, you will see how it summarizes the structure of the w.t.o. under the section called subsidies, they note they are prohibited because they are specifically designed to distort international trade and are therefore likely to hurt other
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countries' trade. so the plan was that when subsidies were used deliberately to distort international trade, that they would be outlaud. well, guess what? china is ignoring this. in fact, they are flaunting it because they are required under the w.t.o. to disclose each and every year all of the subsidies they provide to their manufacturing, and they don't do it. they did it once in 2006, a very minimal disclosure. well, why is it that we continue to believe that we have a structure that facilitates mutually beneficial trade in the w.t.o. when china through currency manipulation and direct subsidies to exports is breaking every key aspect of the w.t.o.
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framework with hardly a protest from the united states? well, now we have on the floor a bill which says we will no longer turn our head from the deliberate distortion of the international trading regime that was supposed to benefit both nations but in fact has become a powerful international tool, stealing jobs from the united states of america, undermining the success of the american worker. let's take a look at paper. just a few months ago, blue heron -- which is a company that's operated for nearly a century in oregon -- this company shut down. it's a paper company. now, they shut down for one
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simple reason -- because the chinese currency manipulation and the chinese direct subsidies to those who manufacture paper for export in china completely undermined the market for manufacturers in the united states of america. so their lives are destroyed. you know, the workers own blue heron, and when they got the notice that they were going to have to shut down because of these chinese subsidies and chinese currency manipulations, they basically are completely on the street. no health care after the friday that they were shutting down. no severance payment. indeed, they are starting from scratch, workers 40, 50 years old starting from scratch in an
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economy where there are no jobs to be found. they are not alone. paper companies across the united states of america have been shutting down for exactly the same reasons. or let's take the case of wind turbines. wind turbines that are imported into china are subject to a 10% tariff, while wind turbines imported into the u.s. are suggest to only a 2.5% tariff. why do we on top of everything else that i've noted here add to the injury by putting a lower tariff on their imports than they put on ours? can someone in this chamber explain to me why shutting down manufacturing in the u.s. and opening manufacturing in china by piling on lower tariffs on a country that is already subsidizing its exports, already putting a tariff on ours, makes
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any sense. i certainly would be very interested in that explanation, and i think the workers in the city that would otherwise be manufacturing these wind turbines here in the united states would be very interested in the explanation. china doesn't give our wind turbines a fair chance to be used in their energy products. in 2009, and i vote, all multinational firms bidding on national development and reform commission projects -- those are the chinese projects, were quickly disqualified on technical grounds within three days. in other words, a nontariff barrier in china was added on top of everything else to make sure that only chinese manufacturers would have a chance to get the contracts. let's turn to solar, solar voltaic panels.
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the whole technology invented in the united states of america, but you will see now that over the last three years, tremendous subsidies to solar in china are destroying the american industry. one of the few remaining manufacturers is solar world. it's located in my state, the state of oregon. but in a span of less than ten months in 2009 and 2010, three major manufacturers shut down, destroying hundreds of jobs, jobs that won't be restored. solar world is incredibly efficient. they're working with an american technology. we should be building and selling these solar panels to the world, but we aren't going to be able to do so if china, using their manipulated interest
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rates to produce funds for grants and subsidized loans, are virtually paying folks to shift their manufacturing into china and discriminating against american products. i want solar world to be there, just not next year but ten years from now, 20 years from now, and that won't happen if we don't address this massive assault on american manufacturing. now, because china has failed to disclose its subsidies as required under w.t.o., i proposed an amendment to the bill, an amendment that will now not be heard because a deal cannot be worked out to allow amendments on this bill, and i'm very disappointed in that. this amendment says simply that if china or any other country in
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the w.t.o. fails to do the notification of subsidies required, that our u.s. trade representative will do a counternotification putting those subsidies on the table. that way we can see exactly what they are and we can be part of this debate. it's the beginning of holding china accountable for breaking the w.t.o. rules. now, this is not a democratic amendment, this is not a republican amendment. this is an amendment about the future of the middle class in america, the future of the worker in america. i'm pleased to have senator enzi as my chief cosponsor and additional colleagues from across the aisle, senator barrasso, senator snowe. and i'm pleased on this side of the aisle to have senator nelson and senator schumer and senator levin as cosponsors. that pretty much spans a spectrum of opinion in this
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chamber that everyone can agree that china should be held accountable, and if they are subsidizing their manufacturing, which they are, they have to disclose it, which they aren't, and that we can have a better debate about how to end their rule breaking under w.t.o. if we have that information. in closing, i just want to note that this debate should have happened a decade ago, should have happened five years ago, because over that time span, we have continued to hemorrhage jobs, we have continued to hope that china would apply the rule of law on intellectual property. we have continued to hope that they would end their manipulation of their currency.
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we have continued to hope that they would end their illegal subsidies undermining american products. while those hopes have not been realized, china has not chosen to honor the framework that was established, and while we hope american workers are losing their jobs, and that's why we have to have this debate on the floor. that's why this bill before us must be passed to give the president greater leverage and to send a message to china that we are now fully paying attention at a level we should have a decade ago, but that's water under the bridge. we're paying attention now. and if anyone cares about having america with a middle class, with living wages for workers, then i ask you to fully support
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this bill. the trade war that china has been carrying out decimating manufacturing in our nation must not go without full debate and a full response. thank you, madam president. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: madam president, i stand today here to talk about the case of a use -- before i do, i would like to ask unanimous consent that the privileges of the floor be granted for today's session for a member of my staff, diana vogel who has been working on this matter with me. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: josef naracani was arrested in 2009 for the crime of. i want to read the charges signed by two judges. i will say their names because i
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think one day they will be held accountable for this. their names are mortezza fazel and azazola rosagni. here is what it says. 32 years old, married in the state of galan, is convicted of turning his back on islamic, the greatest religion of the prophecy of muhammad at the age of 19. he has often participated in christian worship and organized home church services, evangelizing and he has been baptized and he has baptized others, converting muslims to christianity. he has been accused of breaking islamic law that from puberty until the age of 19, the year 1996, he was raised a muslim in a muslim home. during court trials, he denied the prophecy of muhammad and the authority of islamic. he has stated that he is a christian and no longer a muslim. during many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, and he has been sentenced to execution by hanging for this alleged crime.
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that's what he has been convicted for. that conviction, by the way, was upheld by appeals court in that province of galan in september of 2010. now in july, the supreme court of iran overturned the death sentence. again, this is according to media reports. did not overturn the conviction, by the way, just the death sentence, and they sent the case back to his hometown. here is what's happened since it's gone back to his hometown. now the deputy governor of that province says that while he is guilty of apostocy, that's not why they sentenced him to death. they come up with new charges. they say he is a security threat. particularly that he is an extortionist. they claim he is a rapist. they have never said this before until this case was sent back to them. and by the way he is also a zionist which in and of itself according to them is punishable by death in iran. that's where the case stands today. there have been reports time and again about what's happening in iran with this case. his lawyers have now been publicly saying they expect to know by saturday whether their client will be executed in iran,
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quite frankly, for the crime of not just being a christian but of converting others to christianity. obviously, this is an outrage. i'm glad to see the voices from this government and from all over the world have expressed themselves against it, but i think it's important for us to express ourselves against this as well for a following reason. number one, this is a time when americans in this nation are increasingly asked to turn to internationa bodies to resolve disputes. we have international bodies and we have international conventions that iran has signed, particularly two, the declaration of human rights, they signed it in 1948. the other is the national covenant of civil and political rights, they signed that in 1966. and if you sign these covenants, any nation who signed on to these sorts of activities by a court in your country are unconscious be a. they violate these things. i'mle still waiting and hopefully we'll see some sort of action on behalf of the united nations and nations like russia and china.
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it will be difficult for china to speak out against oppressing religious minorities when they do that quite often in that country as well. we're interesting to see where some of these other countries will be on this matter. we're obviously encouraged that the european union has spoken about this matter. we'd like to see some of these other countries step up. we'd like to see the united nations take a break from figuring out ways to sanction or take on israel and maybe focus a little bit on these sorts of things where people are being -- are facing a hang man's noose because of their religion. by the way, in iran -- in iran, this sort of thing is not just happening to christians, and not only christians feel oppressed but non-shiet muscles -- shiite muslims feel oppressed. i encourage everyone to pray tonight don't for used hanakari and his family. we realize there are people who
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realize what an atrocity, what human rights violation it would be for this man not just to be sentenced to death but to even be in jail. the second thing, we should feel sorry for the people of iran. it's hard to believe the vast majority of people agree with this. they look at this and say you are isolating us from the world. if the people of iran want to know what is isolating them, they need to look no further than tehran and the people running that government. going back to 2009 the evidence is there that especially young people in that country they just want to have normal lives and live in a normal country and instead their country is being run by individuals who think this sort of thing is okay. i would point out that other nations of latin america that warmly welcome these leaders when they visit this is who you're doing business with. i would urge people in latin america to turn to their he
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leaders and say why are people like this invited to come into our countries and do business with us and tour our treats as heroes? this is who they are. forget the rhetoric and put anything aside. you want to know what the leadership and the government of iran is about, it is about this. this is who they are. and i can think of no other case before us today with regards to iran that more clearly outlines the monsters that we're dealing with in that government than this case that i've outlined here today. and i think there's a broader conversation to be had about what iran means. there's a lot of things going on in the world but what's happening in iran is important and iran's neighbors know it. whether they'll admit it publicly or not, iran's neighbors know what a danger that government is for the region and the world pose. but i think this case is one we should all speak out about. the eyes of the world should be turned to this case. it is an outrage. it is an absolute outrage. and there is no way in the world we should stand by and allow anyone to be silenced or anyone to be silent and particularly
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our allies around the world and other countries and members of the so-called international community. it's time to step up to the plate and condemn these sorts of things. because youcef nadarkahni, not only should he not face the death sentence but he shouldn't even be in jail. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: thank you, madam president. i'd like to address the senate on an amendment that i have to the pending legislation which will be familiar to my colleagues because it's similar to a bipartisan bill that senator menendez of new jersey and i have introduced, a stand-alone bill. it's called the taiwan air power modernization act of 2011. it does something very simple but something very important, it requires the united states to respond to a request by the
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government of taiwan to purchase 66 f-16 c and d models of firefighter aircraft. why is this important? well, it's important for all sorts of reasons. one of which is that as robert kaplan recently pointed out in an op-ed in the september 23 edition of "the washington post," he said by 2020, the united states will not able to defend taiwan from a chinese air attack. a 2009 rand study found even with american's f-22s, two carrier groups in the region and access to the air base in okinawa, the u.s. will not able to defend taiwan so it's very important that we sell taiwan at no taxpayer expense, it's cash money coming from the taiwanese government to the united
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states, it happens to sustain about 2,300 jobs right here in america, that we sell them these f-16's so they can defend themselves. dan blumenthal, in an october 3, 2011 article published by the american enterprise institute lists what he calls the top ten unicorns of china policy. he said in the article, a unicorn is a beautiful make-believe creature that despite overwhelming evidence of its fantastical nature, many people still believe in them. as he lists the unicorn top ten unicorns of u.s. china policy. the number two unicorn relates to the subject of this amendment and it's entitled "abandoning taiwan will remove the biggest obstacle to sino-american relations."
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in other words, rather than antagonize china, communist china by selling 66 f-16's, c and d models, to taiwan, some might suggest we should withhold and not make that sale as the obama administration has apparently at least decided to do for now because we don't want to antagonize china. because if we antagonize china, they're going to be -- our relationships will deteriorate. but as mr. blumenthal points out, rather than bask in the recent warming of its relationship with taiwan, china has picked fights with vietnam, the philippines, japan, south korea, and india. he goes on to say it doesn't matter what obstacles the united states removes, china's foreign policy has its own internal logic that is hard for the united states to shake. abandoning taiwan for the sake of better relations is yet
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another dangerous fantasy. as my colleagues may recall, i introduced this amendment earlier on the trade assistance assistance -- on trade assistance ajuments -- adjustment provisions, the t.a.a. and the the distinguished chairman of the senate finance committee, from montana, quoted's cleez yasties to say it wasn't the right time. he said to everything there is a season. but he indicated my amendment might derail the carefully negotiated bipartisan agreement on trade assistance. i didn't agree with him at that time because my amendment was related to trade, because he's f-16's represent an export for the united states economy that creates jobs right here at home in addition to its importance for other reasons. but now the reason for that objection no longer exists. the pending legislation is not a
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carefully negotiated bipartisan agreement, and i hope my colleagues who shared my concerns or shared the concerns that the chairman of the finance committee argued earlier will find it an opportunity to support this amendment on the merits today. because i think it's very important. the chairman of the foreign relations committee argued at the time against my amendment on the t.a.a. bill, he said it was unprecedented for the congress to force the white house's hand when it comes to foreign military sales. well, the fact of the matter is i would remind my colleagues that the taiwan relations act that passed and was signed into law in 1979 makes it clear that congress has a very important role to play. the taiwan relations act says the president and the congress shall determine the nature and quantity of such defensive
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articles and services based solely upon their judgment of the needs of taiwan. so this is the law of the land, and unfortunately, i don't believe the administration's policy when it comes to selling defensive weaponry to taiwan, that their agreement that we should just upgrade the existing fleet of f-16's is adequate. to meet the demands of -- of the taiwan relations act. this chart, taken from defense intelligence agency materials, public materials, shows the incredible shrinking taiwan air force. taiwan's projected fighter fleet over time goes from roughly 400 as part of the total of 490 combat aircraft, but the f-5 is an obsolete american aircraft,
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as you can see basically because of repairs and -- needed repairs, replacement parts and the other is basically not dependable anymore. the french mirage 2000 it's estimated will basically drop off the chart shortly after 2015 or so and then we see the f-16 a and b models which the administration says we should upgrade will be roughly 150 of those will be basically the remaining taiwan air force, down from a total of roughly 400 fighters and actually the administration's proposed upgrade will essentially take some of these f-16's off line, a whole squadron of f-16 a's and b's out of service during the retrofit period further diminishing the number of available aircraft for taiwan to defend itself.
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the taiwan relations act was a response to the decision by the executive branch of the federal government that congress happened to disagree with. one of the great things about our form of government is that congress can disagree with the administration and force the administration's hand when congress believes it's appropriate to do so. and the taiwan relations act was one example of that. that decision was based on president carter's diplomatic recognition of the people's republic of china and breaking diplomatic relations with taiwan. congress had a different view and wanted to make sure that the freedom of the taiwanese people was secure. and so we passed bipartisan legislation which was ultimately signed into law by president carter, but the great thing about the taiwan relations act and the united states relationship with taiwan is it's and enjoyed strong -- always enjoyed strong bipartisan
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support. this is not a partisan issue at all. here's what former senator jesse helms said about it 20 years after the passage. taiwan relations act. he said it's a bit of a rarity that an issue comes up that brings jesse helms and ted kennedy together. i never served with senator helms, i did serve with senator kennedy and i can assure you of what i know of senator helms and his record, that was an understatement. he but he said that was such an issue, the taiwan relations act. senator kennedy, senator goldwater and i along what congressman wolf, derwinski and others set out to ensure after having their treaty of alliance tossed in the trash can our friends in taiwan would be left with far more than the vague verbal promises the carter administration was offering for taiwan. so we went to work and the result was the taiwan relations act. i believe, madam president, my
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amendment is a natural extension or actually a fulfillment of the taiwan relations act and a reaffirmation of the bipartisan leadership that the senate has brought which would -- originally brought senator kennedy and senator helms together way back in 1979 and we should not depart from that strong bipartisan tradition of supporting our ally in taiwan and providing the defensive weaponry they need in order to defend themselves so the united states will not have to fill that gap. during the debates on the trade assistance authority bill that senator kerry, the distinguished chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, argued that president mah of taiwan is happy with the administration's decision merely to upgrade the existing f-16 a and b models and not to replace the f-5's and mirages and other aircraft that are fast becoming obsolete.
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the senator from massachusetts went so far as to say at the time that the president of taiwan has said the approved package is entirely adequate. he feels they will have the defensive capacity necessary under the taiwan relations act in order to be able to defend themselves at the current level of the upgrade we are providing. the facts are, mr. president, the government of taiwan needs both the existing f-16 a and b models, plus -- and upgraded through this upgrade but also the 66 additional f-16 aircraft that are the subject of my amendment. to quote taiwan's foreign minister, he said our government will continue to work closely with the united states to strengthen our national defense and security. by urging the united states to continue its arms sales to taiwan with needed articles and systems for our defensive capabilities, including f-16 c and d aircraft and diesel
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electric submarines. well, just to remind my colleagues again, this is a familiar chart from the last time i offered this amendment which shows the growing imbalance of the taiwan straight with china some 2300 operational combat aircraft and taiwan 490 operational combat aircraft, including 400 fighters as part of those combat aircraft. but the fact of the matter we know is that china doesn't tell the truth when it comes to its defensive and national security expenditures. it discloses only a fraction of what it spends as it projects power across the world to follow its economic needs and interests. let me quote the taiwan's defense minister. i earlier quoted their -- another taiwanese official, but the taiwan defense minister said the f-16 a and b fleet upgrade package and the f-16 c and d
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fighter purchase have different needs and purposes. it's not contradictory to have both cases done. last friday, september 30, a member of the senate -- excuse me -- the house armed services committee, who happens to be of the other party, met with president ma in taiwan. according to the official press release by the government of taiwan, president ma commented that the upgrades of the f-16 a and b series aircraft are aimed at extending the life of fighter jets -- of the fighter jets and avoiding a lack of spare parts due to the age of the f-16 a and b series. meanwhile, taiwan wishes to purchase f-16 c and d fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of f-5-e fighter jets. that's the -- in red here, the aging f-5-e fighter jets.
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therefore, president ma explained, the objectives of the two are entirely different. well, mr. president, let me just leave with one final comment. several of my colleagues have argued that the obama administration could later approve the sale of these f-16's c and d series at a later date, but that's actually not the case. the f-16 production line was recently received a small order from the air force of iraq to sell iraq f-16's, but without additional orders, the production line will soon be shutting down. the people who are working there will be laid off or reassigned other jobs. so we're rapidly approaching a point at which the president of the united states will not be able to approve the sale of new f-16's because they will not be able to be manufactured because the production line will be shut down, and i hope my colleagues
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will keep this in mind as they consider my amendment. but even if the production line was not an issue, why should we make our allies in taiwan wait? why would the united states tell our friends to come back later? as i said, the chairman of the finance committee quoted ecclesiastes during our last debate, but let me conclude with wise words from proverbs. "do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is within your power to act. do not say to your neighbor come back tomorrow and i'll give it to you when you already have it with you." to that, i hope my colleagues would give a hearty amen, mr. president, and i yield the floor. and 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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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: i ask unanimous consent to rescind the quorum call call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. ayotte: and i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. ayotte: thank you very much. mr. president, i rise today to address the majority leader's refusal to bring the defense authorization bill to the floor. on monday senator reid came to the floor and acknowledged the importance of bringing the defense authorization bill forward, aepbd said -- quote -- "it is vital that we get to this bill and pass it." i couldn't agree more. that's why it's nothing short of outrageous that the majority leader is blocking this important bill from being debated and passed by the senate based on misguided objections that the administration has
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raised to a bipartisan provision in the defense authorization which addresses how we detain and treat terrorists who are captured under the law of war. the american people and our military men and women deserve better. the 2012 national defense authorization act addresses many essential issues for our war fighters. just to mention a few of the important measures that the majority leader is blocking from consideration by failing to bring this bill to the floor, the bill ensures that our war fighters have what weapons they need to win the fight, ranging from small arms and ammunition to tactical vehicles, to satellites. just a few examples. advanced helicopters and reconnaissance aircraft, combat-loss replacement. the authorization ensures that our soldiers and their families
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have quality housing. the authorization gives our wounded warriors better access to educational opportunities. the bill enhances the deployment cycle support system and reintegration for our national guard and reserve, given how much they have done in sacrificing for us with the multiple deployments that they've endured. it strengthens oversight of our taxpayer dollars that are being used for reconstruction projects in afghanistan, and it ensures that our money doesn't continue to go and to be funneled to our enemies. what is so disappointing is that the majority leader is willing to prevent passage of the defense authorization bill which addresses these essential needs that i've talked to you about, about our war fighters and our soldiers, because the obama administration does not like one provision of the bill: the
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detainee provision of the bill that was passed overwhelmingly by senators from both parties who serve on the armed services committee. if the majority leader insists on preventing the defense authorization from coming to the floor this year, 2011 would be the first year since 1960 since the congress -- in which the congress has not passed a defense authorization act, over 40 years in the history of our country, this would be the first time that that bill has not been brought forward and passed by this esteemed body. let me just say this again. here's where we are: in the midst of two wars with our brave sons and daughters, husbands and wives fighting in iraq and afghanistan -- and i'm the wife of a combat veteran who served in iraq -- with our country facing a very serious threat from radical islamist terrorists, this would be the
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first time in a half-century in which we have not passed a national defense authorization act. mr. president, to not bring forward the defense authorization bill to the floor and to pass it after robust debate where senators from both parties can amend it, we can talk about it, we can let the american people know what's in it, this would be shameful to not bring forward this bill. i met recently with the sergeant major of the marine corps. sergeant major barrett shared with me the stories of several marines who are serving our country. i can't discuss all of them, but i want to give you a few examples. one is sergeant ramirez, a squad leader assigned to the first battalion fifth marines in helmand province in afghanistan. sergeant ramirez has a hook as a
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left hand. in february of 2006, sergeant ramirez lost his hand when he was wounded in action while serving in iraq with the three-fifths marines. now he's serving patrols in afghanistan. he wanted to go back and serve our country. talk about bravery. talk about courage. there's also sergeant gill at quantico and corporal pachecko at camp pendelton and thousands of soldiers, sailors and marines who after being injured in the battlefield have gone back to serve their country. they are doing their jobs with skill and courage in the tenth year that our country is at war. i just wish that we would show half, even a quarter of the courage of our military men and women in taking up the important
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issues that need to be addressed to protect our country, and many of them are addressed in this defense authorization act. and that's why i'm on the floor today, because i think it's so important that this bill be brought forward, that we have a debate over it, that we're allowed to amend it, that we pass it, we make sure that our military men and women know that we're fully behind them. now i know the majority leader has said that if we just drop the detainee provision in the bill, that he will bring forward the defense authorization. but this is not how this body is designed to operate. if senator reid and the administration don't like the detainee provision in the bill, senator reid should move to amend it or vote against the bill rather than preventing the entire defense authorization from being considered. that's how the senate is supposed to operate. of course the irony is that the
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place, in a place where we rarely agree on anything, the detainee provision that is holding up this bill, that the administration has objected to actually received overwhelming support in the armed services committee. 25 out of 26 members of the armed services committee voted for the detainee compromise. that rarely happens around here. i think it shows you that this is a thoughtful compromise and members of both sides of the aisle worked hard to address this important issue. this compromise was actually a compromise put together by chairman levin of the committee, ranking member john mccain of the committee, and senator lindsey graham who also has substantial interest in the guard as a jag attorney.
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and the overall defense authorization act passed out of the armed services committee 26-0. how often does that happen around here, that every single member of the armed services committee from both sides of the aisle, republicans and democrats, and senator lieberman, an independent, we all voted to pass this bill. and yet it's being held up right now from being considered and being brought to the floor on such an important issue to our national security and to our war fighters. you know, in this area of partisanship, the american people want us to work together, and that's what we did. and as a result, not a single member, as i mentioned, voted against the phenyl bill. and that -- against the final bill. that's not to suggest that every member of the armed services committee got what they wanted in that compromise or got,
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wanted things to be as they thought it should be. i was someone who fought hard in the committee for the compromise to be tougher on terrorists. but i respect that we came together as colleagues to come to this compromise and to move forward on the defense authorization act so it could be brought for full consideration, for every member of the senate. if the majority leader were to bring this compromise to the senate, according to normal and well-understood procedures, every member of the senate, including the majority leader and myself, would have the opportunity to debate it, to amend it, and to vote on the defense authorization bill, including the detainee compromise that i just referenced. i may be new around here, but i must ask why isn't the majority leader bringing forward? i know he's clearly doing the
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administration's bidding on these detainee issues, but why would you prevent the american people from hearing this important debate? why would giving terrorists greater rights to our civilian detention and court systems, which seems to be the administration's position, be more important than taking up issues like ensuring that our war fighters have the right weapons and equipment, or ensuring that our wounded warriors get better access to educational opportunities, and all of the other important issues that are addressed in the defense authorization to both our national security and to our war fighters? i believe that those issues deserve to be addressed by debating and passing this bill. and i also believe that the american people deserve to know
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all of the facts about where we are with respect to our detention policy with terrorists. because i have to tell you, as a new member of the armed services committee, during the last eight months, having our military leaders come before that committee when i've asked them about our detention policy and how we are treating terrorists that we have captured, how we're gathering intelligence from them, what are we doing to protect the american people, i have been shocked to learn that 27% of the terrorists that we have released from the guantanamo bay detention facility have actually returned to the battle to harm us and our allies. too many former guantanamo detainees are now actively engaged in terrorist activities and are trying to kill americans.
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former guantanamo detainees are conducting suicide bombings, recruiting radicals, and training them to kill americans and our allies. shahiri represents an example of a former guantanamo detainee who has returned to the fight and assumed leadership position in terrorist organizations that are dedicated to killing americans and our allies. savment hid al shahiri has worked as the number two in al qaeda in the arareian peninsula. can you imagine having to tell a mom or a dad that their son or daughter was killed in afghanistan by a terrorist that
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we released from guantanamo bay? given the facts, i understand why senator reid and the obama administration don't want to talk about our detention policy. but as the famous saying goes, facts are stubborn things. the american people deserve to hear this debate and to have us address this issue through the defense authorization act. under our constitution, we have a fundamental duty to protect the american people and to provide for our war fighters. we owe it to our military men and women to fake up the defense authorization act right now. majority leader reid, as the leader of this esteemed body, should allow that to happen so that we can fulfill our responsibility to the american
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people. let me conclude by urging the majority leader to bring the defense authorization bill forward for debate, for amendment, and for passage. in the midst of two wars, it is time that congress does its job and provides for our war fighters and their needs. sergeant ramirez, sergeant gill, corporal pachecko and the thousands of sailors, marines, and airmen and all of our volunteer force deserve no less. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i rise, first, to thank my colleagues, including the presiding officer, for supporting cloture earlier today. it's a second major step in this body passing the largest bipartisan jobs bill that we've seen in this body in years. this bipartisan jobs bill has the potential to create or save around 2 million jobs without cost to taxpayers, because it simply -- its not -- it's simply standing up for american
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companies, standling up for american works. we put american workers and manufacturers first. it's important, mr. president, just for a moment, to consider how we got here. this legislation, this effort did not beginning begin this week, did not begin this year. efforts to combat chinese currency manipulation have been under way for a decade. this began around 2005. since then the situation has grown worse for american businesses and workers. i remember in 2005 there was an intense debate inside the national association of manufacturers. they're the trade association representing a whole wide range of american manufacturers, from the small tool and dye shop in akron to the medium-size manufacturing company in toledo to g.m. and ford and other huge manufacturers. the division was -- the smaller companies generally -- not this every case, of course. the smaller companies generally supported taking action against
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currency manipulation with china. the larger companies, many of which had already outsourced production to china, generally were opposed to stan standing uo the chinese. they were partly opposed because the chinese are very well-known for punishing companies that are doing business in china if those companies actually criticize the chinese communist party government. so it was an interesting, if unwholly, alliance, between america's greatest, best-known, largest, longest-existing companies. it was a wholly alliance between them and the communist party of china. it would have made henry ford turn over in his grave. some of these companies actually left the organization, some of the smaller ones, because the largest companies dominated an organization like that. they pay the biggest dues -- they pay the biggest dues.
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some of these smaller companies left partly because they have to stay in a community and do their manufacturing to supply components to companies which have had outsourced these jobs. what's interesting, mr. president, it has become almost dshes -- well, not almost, it's become a business plan perhaps unprecedenced in world history where a large number of companies in one country -- this country -- shut down production in steubenville and springfield and they move production to wuhan and xi'an, china and then they sell the goods back to the united states. so it is a business plan to shut down production here, move overseas, settle products back. that's, to my knowledge, never really happened the way that it has in this country in the last really dozen years since permanent, normal trade
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relations was approved here to set the stage for china's entry into the world trade organization. and, know, i remember the debate -- the presiding officer was in the house when that debate happened in 1999-2000. what i remember the largest corporations in america were walking the -- the c.e.o.'s were walk the halls of congress and doing the bidding of the communist party of china, doing the bidding of the people's republic of china, and they were -- they were saying that putting china in the w.t.o. would mean china would follow the rule of law. they also said they couldn't wait until they could get access to a billion chinese consumers lockers five years later it was apparent they wanted access to a billion chinese workers. the idea of putting china in the w.t.o. was to have them live under the rule of law and practice trade under the rule of law. that's what we have not seen.
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we have not seen the chinese follow the rule of law. that's why so many economists, including republican and democratic economists, including some economists that work for president reagan and some economists that worked for president clinton and president obama, that some of these economists, the ones that are looking at sort of an expansive world, they say things like fred bergsten says, a pretty much pro-free trade middle of the road corporation said some americans would fret these actions -- these actions meaning regulation, dealing with this currency issue as our bill does -- these actions would needlessly antagonize the chinese and start a trade war. the real threat to the trade system, he says -- this is fred bergsten -- the real threat to the trading system is in fact the protectionist policies, including undervalued currencies of other countries and the vast trade imbalances that result.
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so, and bergsten went on to say not since world war ii have we seen a country practice protectionism to the degree that the people's republic of china does. we know what happens, we were talking earlier about the split in the national association of manufacturers. i'm not making too much of it. most companies didn't leave, but some of the smaller companies which may or may not have left suffered greatly during the chinese -- let me give you an example of one. the bennett brothers, automation tool and dye, a city outside of cleveland, run this tool and dye shot, ought pha*eubgs medication -- automation tool and dye, they had a $1 million contract they thought they were about to sign with a new customer and the chinese came in with a bid 20% under their bid. that meant i don't know how many jobs that didn't stay in
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america, that went to china. that 20% was given to them because of currency. because as senator merkley said on the floor yesterday, this currency advantage given to t chinese, because ty purposely keep their currency devalued means that whene sl products made i our country, mn ch oo, t it's going to be a trae war, they always bluster like that. certain as the sun coming up on tuesday morning, after the vote monday night which was 79-19, the people's bank of china, the ministry of foreign affairs, the ministry of commerce all like one bird flew off a telephone wire, they all did saying this is protectionism, this is a trade war, all the kinds of things they say. just because they say that doesn't mean that's what they're going to do. they want us to believe they're going to do that because far too often american politicians, presidents especially, but pherpbl politicians will -- american politicians will back
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down. mr. president, this bill will begin to help us do what we should be doing in this country, and that's following, as the presiding officer has said so many times and fought for, real manufacturing policy. 30 years ago, when, the early 1980's, between 25% and 30% of our gross domestic product was manufacturing. today it's only about 11%. those manufacturing jobs created an awful lot of middle-class families in garfield heights, ohio, and in norwood, ohio, and in gross city, ohio. today a lot of those families struggle because they've lost their $14, $15, $18, $20 an hour making things. instead they're working places that never has the spinoff effect that a good manufacturing job has. i'm thrilled about this vote today. what makes me more excited is i think it's the beginning of the
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u.s. having a more coherent manufacturing strategy. we're the only wealthy country in the world that doesn't have a manufacturing strategy. while all of our trade competitors practice trade according to their national interest, we practice trade according to a college textbook that's 20 years out of print. i'm hopeful those days are behind us. he think this decisive -- i think this decisive bipartisan vote -- and i especially want to thank senator graham and senator sessions for their standing up and making a difference on this vote today. i think this is the beginning of something much better for our country. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: mr. president, thank you. mr. president, i would ask how is time being divided now? is it divided? the presiding officer: the senator has up to one hour under cloture. mr. kerry: mr. president, i yield myself such time as i'll use under the one hour. i won't use all of that by any means. mr. president, this is obviously an issue that's more complicated
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than the debate here may have indicated at all moments, at least. and i think that there are complicated and long-standing frustrations that have built up in a lot of senators and a lot of people in america that bring us here to this moment on the floor. as chairman of the foreign relations committee, i have a reluctance to see us engage in an effort thaepbg can put -- effort that i think can put other efforts at risk in certain ways. but on the other hand, i have voted to allow and help this legislation to reach the point of postcloture because i think it's an important debate because i think china needs to carefully think about and process the substance of what people are saying here on the floor of the united states senate.
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this is a very complicated relationship. with enormous interests on both sides for us to avoid confrontation in a lot of different ways, a lot of different kinds of confrontation. trade, physical confrontation in the south china sea and the straits and elsewhere, confrontations over human rights in tibet and other issues. there are a lot of issues at play. but with respect to the trade issue, china has a huge interest in the united states of america being able to export more effectively to china. china has an interest in its middle class growing in its purchasing power and expressing that purchasing power through consumption. one of the things china needs is its own higher level of domestic consumption. it's saving too much. and one of the reasons it saves too much is it doesn't have a
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safety net structure of any kind really. so people do save. that's the nature of life there. but at the same time china, i think, is seeing a slowdown of its own economy now. and one of the reasons for the slowdown in china's economy is the fact that we have had a slowdown in our economy and our ability to consume, and the american consumer is paying off debt wisely and consuming less of the goods brought in from china, so it all is interconnected. china's also our biggest banker, and china is critical to our ability to deal with our current economic challenge in many ways, and europe's, i might add, both europe and the united states would benefit significantly with a new trade relationship with china. and that's what i want to talk about for a moment. i believe in trade. i have supported trade here. i don't believe in unequal
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trade. i don't believe in unfair trade. i believe in enforcing the agreements we have. if you look at nafta, for instance, nafta had side agreements, side agreements on the environment, side agreements on labor standards, and they were never enforced. and people have a right to be angry if they see an agreement that's made and then parts of it are enforced, parts of it are not, and they see their job go overseas, whether it's in north carolina or georgia or massachusetts or ohio or any other place in our country. so i think it's important to have trade that's fair and sensible. you're not going to grow your economy trading with yourself. no way. particularly if your overall population growth isn't growing that fast and you're a mature economy, economics just doesn't work that way. you need you are in you need newer markets and other places to expand. so i think that it's important
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for us to recognize that the world's trading system only works if the participants treat each other fairly. over the last decade, our national debate on the costs and benefits of trade has intensified, and frankly the uneasy alliance, the uneasy -- i think i would call it sort of uneasy consensus that had been created from the 1980's forward with respect to trade is being frayed right now, is being frayed for understandable and clearly definable reasons. the american worker is not seeing their wages go up. there are a lot of reasons for that. the unfairness of our tax code, the inability of people in america today to be able to bargain the way they used to and the lack of an nlrb and a court
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that upholds the rights of labor to be able to negotiate, a whole bunch of reasons why people are disadvantaged today. and one of them is the fact that you have this unfair competition. so in order to keep the consensus which allows americans to say yeah, trade is a good thing, it's got to be a good thing, and to be a good thing, it's got to be fair and it's got to result in people's lives being improved by it, meaning their wages go up, their jobs can get better, their opportunities are greater. everything has been working in the opposite direction, and i think that's why so many of our colleagues feel a responsibility to come to the floor on this legislation and make sure that china and others hear from the american people loudly and clearly. we did this before on a vote that we took on currency legislation back in 2005. i think china heard us then, and
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china began slowly to allow the value of its currency to begin to fluctuate rather than keeping it pegged tightly to the dollar. china's taken measures. china's -- in fairness, china's currency has appreciated over the course of the last few years. some argue exactly how much, somewhere in the vicinity of 27%, maybe 7% the last year, but it's not fast enough. it's still not fair enough. and the fact is that there are other chinese trade tactics that contribute to our increasing trade deficit with china, not just currency. unfortunately, our efforts through multilateral institutions, nobody can point a finger at the united states and suggest that we haven't played by the rules or that we haven't gone to the global institutions in order to try to resolve these differences. we have gone to the world trade
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organization, and we have won sort of step by step, slowly but slowly. but if your tactic is to just keep in this highly mer can -- mercantileistic focus of china to keep on taking advantage of everything you can and you get a little nibble here and there at the w.t.o., a little nibble over there, that's really just an inconvenience on the road to a kind of trade domination that is bad for everybody. so that's why i'm here today, that's why i have voted for this legislation to come to the floor to have this debate. this debate is an imperfect stand-in for the broader discussion that we need to have about our economic relationship with china. the truth is that our bilateral relationship is both filled with promise and plagued by complex challenges that we have to overcome for the good of both
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countries. the chinese market is a huge and growing opportunity for american firms, obviously, and despite the hurdles to entry -- and there are hurdles -- china is still our fastest growing export market today. people better think about this as we go forward. i am convinced that the key to america pulling itself out of this economic challenge we're in today and the key to europe pulling itself out is for the united states and europe to actually work out almost formally a new and better relationship with respect to trade with china as well as with the other fast-developing countries -- mexico, south korea, brazil, india. because if those societies will allow us adequate entry to market, and if those societies
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will purchase more from europe and the united states, then we will export more, manufacture more, come out of the economic doldrums, and that reverberates to china's benefit also because their investments in the united states become more secure because our debt goes down because we have a stronger economy and because we're watching more in return from them. what goes around comes around. so my hope is that we can agree on fair terms and conditions for trade with these rising powers, and if we do, we will create jobs. it's the fastest way we have to create jobs and pull out of our economic doldrums today. the simplest, fastest, most obvious way to do this is to be able to access those other markets rapidly with american goods and begin to restore
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confidence to the marketplace so that people believe they will get a larger return on investment and begin to reinvest in job creation and in the marketplace. the current trade model that we're operating under with massive u.s. trade deficits, enormous chinese trade surpluses is not only unfair, it's unsustainable. so we have got to rebalance that relationship. china's own leaders need to understand that their country's long-term economic health absolutely cannot rest on a subsidized foundation of subsidized exports fueled by an indebted american consumer and the credit card of the american consumer. that is a deathly unvirtuous to use our former chairman of the fed's comments about virtuous
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and unvirtuous cycles, it's about as unvirtuous as you could get in that economic relationship. now, conflict, in my judgment, is not the best way to resolve our tensions, but making clear how we feel and what we think the reality is and what's important in our relationship is critical. some of our colleagues have come to the floor to argue that our two countries are already in a trade war. others have come to the floor to say that this bill is going to trigger one. mr. president, i don't agree with either of you. i don't think either one of those views are correct. if we were in a real trade war with our largest lender, let me tell you they would be doing a heck of a lot more damage than the misalignment of currency is currently doing to us. and the specific remedy proposed in this legislation is neither as dramatic nor as offensive as some people have said. this is a pretty carefully
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structured piece of legislation, and i think the language has been chosen in a thoughtful way, and i think the remedies that are available under this bill are not as dramatic as some would suggest. it doesn't propose raising tariffs on all chinese goods. it only proposes increasing tariffs on those chinese goods that receive an unfair advantage from an undervalued currency and then compete with american-made goods here in the u.s. it's a pretty limited and targeted message, and that's within our rights. that's within our rights. and if the yuan is properly valued, that will simply not be necessary. that's china's decision, china's choice. i would much prefer a negotiated, multilateral solution, as i described, involving this new relationship, the new trade relationship, if you will, on a global basis which i think would send an extraordinary message to a
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beleaguered europe, where greece, as we all know, is basically fundamentally insolvent, needing some kind of a managed structured transition hopefully that avoids a greater crisis in simply and spain and contagion in their banking system which clearly needs recapitalization, clearly needs more than $440 billion that was put on the table, clearly needs some kind of a rescue fund with some very tight kinds of requirements, not dissimilar to what we did in the united states in 2008, 2009 out of sheer necessity. my hope is they will do that, but nothing would do more to send a message of confidence about the future of job growth than to have this new trade understanding and relationship where responsible partners are behaving responsibly and accepting responsibility for the global marketplace that we all
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operate in. not just exploit it but support it. protect it, nurture it. beyond the currency, there are many other sources of tension in our economic relationship, and they need to be resolved, mr. president. china does not protect our intellectual property in its market adequately, and that's almost a euphemism. the violations of intellectual property rights, the outright theft of some streets and communities within china, billions of dollars of american design and -- designed and marketed and developed property is shocking, and in addition to that, china imposes artificial regulatory barriers to the entry of many of our goods. it fails to crack down on cyberattacks, and it has executed a thinly veiled effort
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to appropriate key foreign technologies. on each of these issues and others, we have been going to the w.t.o., we have been bringing cases and we have been winning those cases, and as i have said, that is not a substitute for this larger fix in the relationship that is critical. i believe that overcoming market access challenges are actually where we ought to be focusing our efforts in china, and also in the other large fast-growing markets, and that, as i have said several times, is really the answer, the quick answer, if you will. we can develop goods, we can invest in companies here, but if we can't sell the goods to more than ourselves, we have got some serious limits on us, and i think it's important for us to be fighting for that market access. i believe that to increase our experts, we're going to have to increase our competitiveness here at home and we're going to have to convince our partners to lower their tariffs, remove
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discriminatory regulatory restrictions on our exporters, protect intellectual property, use scientific standards as the basis for allowing our agricultural goods to enter and recognize that trade in services is becoming as important to the modern economy as trade in goods. and we need to make the case that doing all of these things is not to the advantage of one country or another. it's to all of our shared advantage because of the nature of the global marketplace that we live in. countries like china, india and brazil are stakeholders whether they want to admit it or not publicly, they are stakeholders in the west's economic success. they need access to our consumers. they need access to our investors. they want to make deals over here. they wouldn't to have joint
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ventures. they want to own companies. and their businesses and citizens will benefit from strong, sustainable growth in the world's largest economies. china is an important are partner of the united states in a lot of ways. it's also a major investor in the united states. so i don't think that we're here to rupture that relationship. i think we're here to send a message to the chinese about the urgent need to repair it. we want a mutely -- mutually beneficial partnership, an equitable partner that will pay dividends for both countries and i believe if we listen to each other and work in good faith we can make that happen, and we can enter into a better framework of cooperation that inures to the benefit and the stability and the leadership demands of both of our countries. we both sit on the security council of the united nations.
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we both have remarkable responsibilities through our economic power. we are still the largest economy on the face of this planet, maybe three times larger than china still, even as china is growing. china will surpass us, and with that reality of where china stands today economically comes a major responsibility. no country has exercised that responsibility through all of the last century and into this century, i think, with greater sense of purpose and responsibility than the united states. and i think hopefully china will embrace the notion that its new economic power brings with it that same shared responsibility, and i hope we can engage in the creation of that kind of mutually beneficial relationship. mr. president, i reserve the balance of my time and yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from utah.
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mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today to speak about our nation's jobs crisis. this is a crisis that is real and it is a crisis that is not going to be addressed by the bill currently being considered by this body. it is not a crisis that is going to be solved by more tax increases as some would have. it is a crisis that will be solved when congress creates the conditions for job creation by giving greater certainty to businesses and individuals and liberating them to take risks. americans are more than uneasy about our current jobs deficit. the failure of this economy to create jobs is the single most important issue to the citizens of this country. for years now, whenever i've talked to my fellow utahans about the economy, their number one concern has been jobs. throughout the country, particularly in those places that are worse off than my own home state i'm quite certain people have the exact same concern. we've had more than our fair
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share of posturing on job creation here in washington. we heard a speech to giant session of congress from the president wherein he demanded passage of his jobs bill. of course, the president's bill has no real chance of passing in either chamber of congress. indeed, members of the senate democratic leadership have been quoted publicly as saying they don't even -- they don't believe -- even poob believe enough democrats would vote for the bill to pass it in the senate with or without a filibuster. but not hope is lost. members of both parties agree we need to pass a jobs package some of kind. the american people demand it and i believe congress can deliver. however i'm not under any illusions this will be a difficult task, and it will require congress to recognize some hard truths and to make some difficult decisions. but if we're serious about job creation, and not just about campaigning on job creation next year, that's what we're going to have to do.
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it won't be enough to simply pass legislation that will stimulate the cea come in the short term. we've tried short-term stimulus time after time again and it just does not work. one of the president's first acts after his inauguration was to promote and sign a partisan big-spending stimulus package. it did not work then and it isn't going to work now. what we need to do is change the economic environment in america to make it more jobs friendly, to change incentives to allow for long, sustained job he growth. like i said, it won't be easy, but i believe it's doable because quite frankly, there are things we should have been doing all along that will create more jobs and prevent more job losses in the future. that's what i want to talk about here today, mr. president. i wasn't to unveil my own jobs proposal. it is a comprehensive ten-point plan i believe encapsulates much of what we should be doing to create more jobs in america. i want to take a few moments to
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talk about each of the ten points in my jobs plan. number one, we need to restore fiscal sanity in washington. our nation's $14 trillion debt is an anchor around the neck of every american people and a threat to our economic growth and job creation now and in the future. congress must take meaningful steps to reduce our debt and get america's throughout fiscal house in order. this is something that my friends on the other side of the aisle don't seem to get. debt and deficit reduction is a jobs issue. the failure to get this spending under control led to a downgrade of our nation's credit rating, an action that will impact our interest rates and impede jobs growth. the failure to get spending under control and the constant threat from the other side of higher taxes to pay for this historically large government keeps businesses on the sideline and discourages risk taking. and the failure to get spending under control crowds out the types of investments in national
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defense and infrastructure that actually have some impact on jobs. reining in spending should be our highest priority. given the fights we've had over the spending in the last year, this goal may seem to some to be out of reach but i'm optimistic. i expect some success from the joint committee on deficit reduction that is currently working to find significant savings and currently trying to find a way out of our problems. members of both parties are on record supporting a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. which would ensure greater fiscal discipline in the long run. this is a have ital element to securing economic growth and job creation this the future and we need to act now. and as the ranking member on the senate's finance committee, i am can committed to working with my colleagues to achieve meaningful reform of our nation's largest spending programs. number two, we need to expand markets for u.s. exports by approving the pending three --
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three free trade agreements. and renewing trade promotion authority. every president has wanted that except this one. congress waited far too long for the president to send up the pending trade agreements agreements with colombia, panama and south korea which would increase u.s. exports by $13 billion and create even as high as 50,000 jobs. unfortunately in delaying submission of these agreements the president prioritized his antitrade union allies at the expense of the american workers who stood to benefit from their passage. now that these agreements are before congress, we need to ratify them promptly. however, we also need to move forward with a robust trade agenda for the future. unfortunately, by refusing to seek renewal of trade promotion authority, the president is undercutting our our nation's ability to realize these new trade agreements. number three, we need to reform
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our nation's tax code to allow american businesses to compete with foreign competitors on a level playing field. rooted in a bygone era, the u.s. tax code is antiquated, impeding our economic recovery and slowing grob job growth. our tax system is too burdensome, it's too inefficient. fundamental tax reform will allow both individuals and businesses to focus their efforts on their families and businesses instead of tax compliance. there is bipartisan agreement on the need to fix our tax code. and if the president and his party will agree that the goal of tax reform should be job creation and economic growth rather than raising taxes, i think progress can be made. number four, we need to repeal obamacare. i'm certain my democratic proposals will write this off as blind partisanship but to paraphrase president obama, this isn't partisanship, it's
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math. the individual care mandate will result in a $2,100 increase in premiums for families buying insurance on their own. rather than saving money, obamacare is st costing individuals and states more money including $118 billion in new costs imposed on states for medicaid expansions meaning our states will have to cut other programs such as education or law enforcement to pay for this unfunded mandate. additionally, obamacare will result in over $1 trillion in new taxes and penalties over a ten-year period while it is fully implemented, once it's fully implemented in 2014. while still increasing the deficit by $701 billion during that same time. collectively, the various provisions induced -- included in obamacare will continue to hinder job creation and industry innovation by mandating the imposition of anti-industry
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burdens such as 2.3% excise tax hike on medical device manufacturers that could result in job losses of over 10% in the device industry work force. that's nearly 43,000 potential lost jobs. some experts have calculated that nearly 800,000 jobs could potentially be lost as a result of full implementation of all of obamacare's provisions. clearly, mr. president, this -- calls to repeal obamacare are more than just political blustering. it is quite simply a necessary step forward in job creation, toward job creation. number five, we need to repeal the dodd-frank act. again, it would be easy for our friends on the other side to write off this proposal as just partisan posturing but facts are facts. american companies and small business owners are paralyzed by the excesses of the dodd-frank act. which has created massive new
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bureaucracies, imposed job-killing mandates and heaped upon american businesses a slew of regulations that are chuck shutting off job opportunities for americans. dodd-frank is leading to reductions in availability of credit to american families and businesses and increases in the cost of credit to those who are able to borrow. the price controls required by dodd-frank and by the dodd-frank interchange amendment are a case in point of what happens when government wade wearlessly into the economy. i don't know why it came as a surprise to anyone that the price controls imposed by the interchange agreement by drying up a revenue stream for banks would require new fees on consumers. yet i doubt the announcements that banks are eliminating free checking and increasing debit card fees as a result of the interchange amendment will result in a long look in the
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mirror for those responsible for this regulation. rather, the favored response will be more regulation. it is essential that we repeal this fundamentally flawed law to unleash the full potential of the american economy by unfreezing much-needed credit for small businesses as well as stripping away layers of burdensome and ineffective regulations. by the way, i haven't really mentioned sarbanes-oxley which is adding accounting costs and other costs so astrom on cal to small business that many of them are not able to hire, they're not able to accomplish what they want to accomplish and it's stultifying our economy. that doesn't mean we don't knee regulations but these bills have gone way to the excess. number six. we need to make our regulatory system more jobs friendly. america's regulatory system is out of control. time and again, unelected washington bureaucrats areact walls of red tape that place significant burdens on the job
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creators. far too often businesses are forced to spend time and resources trying to comply with unnecessary federal rules and regulations. rather than on growth and development. with unemployment at over 9%, congress needs to ensure that policies pursued by federal agency make it -- agencies make it easier to do what it's necessary to be able to compete globally. there is bipartisan support for this idea. president obama mass proposed requiring regulators who perform a cost-benefit analysis in drafting new regulationses. this requirement should be set by statute and apply to all federal agencies. in addition, congress should have greater influence in the regulatory process and should pass legislation like the raines act, s. 299 which would require federal agencies to obtain congressional approval for regulations that will have significant economic impact.
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number seven, we need to develop america's energy resources. in the united states, energy is produced by private industry, yet most energy resources are controlled by the federal government. the obama administration has aggressively withdrawn access to federal energy resources and has stalled or proscribed countless domestic energy projects sought by industry. this he willful inaction by our president has cost americans hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and cost our federal and state governments billions in lost revenue from federal energy royalties which they share. a recent wood-mckenzie study found if our nation were permitted to allow more domestic energy production in the next two decades, an additional 1.4 million jobs would result and federal and state governments would enjoy more than $800 billion in additional revenue. according to the study, it would be more than 40,000 new
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jobs in utah alone. i've worked with my colleague -- colleagues, senator david vitter of louisiana and senator john barrasso of wyoming, on two legislative proposals that would reverse the president's attacks on domestic energy production. the three d, domestic jobs, domestic energy and deficit reduction act, that's s. 706, and the american energy and western jobs act, s. 1027, would get america back in the business of producing its own energy, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and billions in new revenue for state and federal government. number eight, we need to help america compete by protecting and encouraging innovation. we must modernize and make permanent research and development the r&d tax credit to help keep america on the leading edge of technological innovation. the united states once led the
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world in research and development and status when we created the r&d credit back in 1981. however, in the years since, other countries responded with their own incentives, and now we rank 17th behind many of our global competitors. i know senator baucus and i have been the prime sponsors of the research and development tax credit over the years. in order to provide a more level playing field for american companies that compete in the global marketplace, we must provide more center to companies that invest heavily in research and development. in addition, international infringement of u.s. intellectual property rights costs american businesses billions of dollars every year. this affects big corporations and small businesses alike. by simply ensuring that our trade partners fulfill their international obligations to recognize and enforce intellectual property rights, we can create millions of jobs in this country. starting now, this
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administration must take more meaningful steps to address this problem and protect american job creators. number nine, we need to create incentives and remove barriers for small businesses to create jobs. small businesses drive the american economy, and they are the soul of our nation's entrepreneurial heritage. small business create two-thirds of the jobs in our nation's economy. as such, they should be at the forefront of our economic recovery. to achieve this, we need to ensure that american small businesses operate in a more business-friendly environment. big government solutions have failed to produce jobs, so it is long overdue that we release the entrepreneurial power of the private sector to grow our economy once again. we can and must make it easier for small businesses to invest, grow and create jobs. for example, congress could provide a 20% tax deduction for
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small businesses on their income, and congress could repeal the 3% withholding requirement for federal contractors. both of these ideas would expand job creation among small businesses. number ten, finally, we need to reform america's labor laws and rein in the national labor relations board. congress must enact significant reforms to our nation's labor laws to counteract the pro union extremism of the obama national labor relations board or the nlrb. instead of allowing the nlrb to rewrite america's labor laws every time a new administration takes office, congress should reform those laws to provide greater oversight, accountability and judicial review of the nlrb's decisions. they are usurping the power of congress, they are usurping the power of the courts. the fact of the matter is they don't have the right to do that and they are overturning 76 years of solid labor law which slightly is in favor of organized labor.
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they want to make it totally in favor of organized labor. in addition, congress should act s. 1507 which i introduced in august to represent the rights of workers who do not want union representation, to prevent unions from exploiting their current members and to ensure that the nlrb is no longer able to trample employee rights via regulatory fiat. and congress should finally repeal the outdated prevailing wage requirements in the davis-bacon act or at the very least suspend them until the economy recovers. doing so would reduce burdens on small businesses, save the taxpayers money and of course create more jobs. once again, mr. president, i'm not under any illusions of passing this type of jobs agenda will be easy, but i am convince of -- convinced of its necessity. each of these proposals would achieve a commonsense objective and most of these ideas have broad support within congress and the american people. one thing is certain, however,
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we cannot stand by and do nothing. the people of utah whom i serve and people across the country are demanding more jobs. this plan would accomplish this goal but not through government, more regulation, more spending and more taxes. rather, it would encourage private sector job growth by getting government the heck out of the way and by assuring greater economic stability in the future, it would have to maintain the conditions for robust job creation. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i'd like to follow on the speech made by my friend and colleague from utah about the current statement of unemployment in america and what to do about it. one of the last thing he says is get government out of the way. i would like to suggest that maybe if he has some time -- and i know he's a very busy man -- he join me in a trip to peoria, illinois, where i was last week visiting lucas and sons steel
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company. this company has been in business since 1857. it has 26 employees. the c.e.o. is a delightful, dynamic young woman named margaret hanily. she has 26 union employees, all iron workers, and what she does is fabricates steel for construction projects. all over the midwest and as far away as antarctica. as i said, the company has been around over 150 years. and she prides herself in the fact i asked her where do you get your steel? she said it's all american steel. how are you doing, i asked her, and she said great. she says one of the reasons we're doing great is because of president obama's stimulus package. the president said to american businesses like hers you can borrow money at low interest rates to buy new machinery that will help you be more competitive. she said come on, let me show you. we walked in the other room and here was a computer-driven machine as big as a small room
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being handled by a fella that was literally taking steel girders, boring holes in them and bending them where they are supposed to be bent. she said i compete with the big boys with this. we're going to double the number of people working at lucas and sons steel. senator hatch says government, get out of the way. thank goodness government was there for that company. a private company paying a living wage with decent benefits that's been around for a century and a half and is prospering because they are making quality products out of american steel with equipment that they bought through president obama's stimulus package. how many times do we hear senator mcconnell come to the floor and say the president's stimulus package was a punch line on nighttime tv? well, it isn't a punch line in peoria. it's dead serious because people are working, making a good wage, because of the investment in small business through government help. now, i believe and most americans believe real job creation is going to be in the private sector.
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well, look what happened here. because of the investment of government helping her to buy this machinery and be competitive, production manufacturing jobs stayed right here in the united states, and that's what they want. 14 million people out of work. as i travel up and down my state of illinois, i visited some days with those who are unemployed desperately trying to find jobs and other days with businesses like lucas and sons steel in peoria that are doing well, and i asked them the key to their success, and they basically say that they have been lucky to have good products and great workers and great infrastructure. get government out of the way, senator hatch says, but government has to be in the way for infrastructure. it's government that builds the highways, the bridges, the airports, the railroads. that's part of what the government is investing in for the future of our economy. part of president obama's jobs package is to put americans back
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to work rebuilding basic infrastructure. we need it. we need it all across the midwest and across the nation. and if you think we can afford to get government out of the way and not invest in infrastructure, take a look at what's going on in china today. in china, our number-one competitor in the world and our number-one creditor in the world, they are building right and left. they are preparing for the 21st century. they are going to build 50 new airports, madam president, in the next five years that will accommodate every plane of every size made by boeing aircraft. that's how big these airports are. 50 new ones. they are building the infrastructure to not only compete but pass the united states. when my colleagues on the other side come to the floor and say get government out of the way, what do they mean? that we shouldn't be investing in infrastructure to make america strong for the 21st century, that the businesses large and small in illinois that need modern, safe highways to move their goods back and forth to market shouldn't be turning
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to government for that help? it makes no sense. historically, we have agreed on a bipartisan basis when it comes to infrastructure, we should agree again and that is part of the president's jobs bill. let me tell you what else is in there. we know that america's working families are struggling paycheck to paycheck. they took a survey recently, and they asked working families in america how many of your families could come up with $2,000 in 30 days, either out of your savings or borrow it. now, that isn't an unreasonable amount of money, a very moderate injury in an emergency room might cost you $2,000. so they asked them. it turned out that only half, a little over half of working families had access to $2,000. it shows you how close to the edge many families are living. it shows you that many of them are surviving paycheck to paycheck, although they work hard, they just can't seem to get ahead. president obama's jobs act says this -- these working families deserve a payroll tax cut of 2%.
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what would that mean? 2% doesn't sound like much, but look what it means in illinois. our average wage in illinois is about $53,000 a year. a 2% payroll tax cut would give to these families between $125 and $130 a month. a senator may not miss that amount of money, but for a lot of working families, it's the difference between filling your gas tank and buying the shoes for the kids to go to school. so the president's payroll tax cut puts money in the hands of working families to buy the goods and services to get the economy moving forward. and what else does the president suggest? he suggests in his jobs act that we need to provide tax incentives for small businesses to hire the unemployed. one of the things he said, the president said when he spoke to us is we ought to make sure that every veteran who served our country can find a job when they get home by offering incentives for businesses to hire returning
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soldiers. that's government involved. we create that incentive. the republican side says get government out of the way. i don't think so. these men and women who served our country, who risked their lives, who fought for america should not have to come home and fight for a job and lose that fight. we ought to stand by them and help them find work. that is part of president obama's jobs bill, and it's a reasonable part. cutting the payroll taxes, cutting the taxes that businesses, small businesses pay so they are more profitable and can hire more people is a reasonable thing to do. i was amused that the senator from utah brought up one of my issues that i have worked on, and that is the debit card swipe fee. if you use a debit card to make a purchase at a restaurant, a grocery store, a drugstore, bookstore, whatever it happens to be and they swipe that card, the retailer that you have just bought that good or service from has to pay a fee to the bank and major credit card company. we turned out -- it turns out that the fee, the so-called
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swipe fee, is dramatically larger than the actual cost of the transaction to the bank and credit card company. let me give you some numbers. the federal reserve investigated, and here's what they found. to use a debit card to make a purchase costs the bank and credit card company somewhere between 4 cents and 12 cents. that's to process everything. for you to take money out of your checking account with a debit card to pay for a purchase. what do they charge? on average, they charge the retailer 44 cents. somewhere between 600% and 400% of their actual cost. so what we did is to say that retailers across america deserve a break. with the federal reserve establishing the number, we said a reasonable fee is about 24 cents. that splits the difference, which is the common outcome in washington. it gives the banks more than they actually have to spend to process but it doesn't hit the
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retailers hard. i went to the rock island country market when i was back home, down state illinois. carl, the manager, talked about his morning special. a cup of coffee and a doughnut at the country market, 99 cents. he says, senator, do you know what it feels like when somebody hands me a debit card for that 99-cent transaction? i not only didn't break even, i lost money, and i will lose it every time. we have got to give retailers a fighting chance. when the senator from utah comes to the floor and says that we shouldn't do that, that we should stand by the wall street banks and the credit card companies, i think he's lost sight of the fact that main street, not wall street, is where jobs are created in america. helping retailers large and small be profitable, be able to reduce prices on their goods and hire more people is the way for us to emerge from this situation and have more people working across america. now, there is great controversy associated with the fact that president obama made a suggestion when he spoke to us about the jobs bill and when he said to us i'm going to pay for
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it. whatever i do iƱ in this job bill, whether it's payroll tax cuts for work force, a break for small businesses to hire veterans and other unemployed people, we're going to pay for it. we're not going to add this to the deficit and he came up with a plan to do it. i thought his plan was reasonable but we've talked on the democratic senate caucus side and come up with a plan that is more acceptable to our caucus and i can accept it, too. here's what it is: it's a little over 5% surcharge on people who are making over a million dollars a year. 5% surcharge on their income tax. these are people that are making $20,000 a week. $20,000 a week. and the president has suggested they should pay their fair share and we have come up with a more specific approach, a little over 5% surtax to pay for what it will take to get the jobs act moving forward and get the economy moving forward, which will be to everyone's benefit,
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rich and poor alike across america. well, you would think we'd said something her iticcal. the protest that -- heretical, the protest we receive from the house and senate. what i find interesting about this, when ask the american people, is it reasonable to close tax loopholes and ask millionaires to pay a little more on their income tax? here's what the poll says: 64%, almost two out of three americans, support raising taxes on millionaires. how about independents? abc news poll, 75% support raising taxes on millionaires. but what about republicans? 57% of republicans support raising taxes on millionaires, and hang on tight, 55% of tea party supporters agree with raising taxes on millionaires. it turns out that the majority of americans at every political level believes this is a
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reasonable proposal. the only problem is, we can't find a republican senator or house member who agrees. and they've said they'll just vote against anything that includes a penny more taxes for those who are making over a million dollars a year. i think americans believe that we're all in this together, everyone has to sacrifice. families sacrifice every day, businesses are sacrificing trying to stay open and prosper in a rough and challenging economy, and it's not unreasonable to ask those who are doing well off in america to pay a little more so that we can get this economy moving forward and create jobs. two other points that were raised by the senator from jut i'd like to address. one, he said he's against the wall street reform package we passed. do you remember, it happened been that long ago, when we were told by the previous president if we didn't provide almost 800 bmedz -- $800 billion of trears money to the biggest banks they would
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fail and the economy would crater? it's a day i'll never forget. it's a stark choice. take $800 billion out of our treasury with all our debt and give it to wall street banks or run the risk of our economy collapsing? many of us said we'll stand with president bush's proposal. we'll see if we can keep these banks afloat. do you remember the thank you note we got from the major bankers across america for $800 billion in tarp funds? they gave bonus he, million-dollar bonuses to their top oofers, the same people in charge that drove their banks into the ground and drove the economy into the ground that forced the taxpayers' bailout were ending up with millions of dollars in bonuses. we decided with wall street reform to say once and for all we are not going down this road again. this notion some of these wall street banks and bigger banks are too big to fail has got to come to an end. we passed the wall street reform to try to straighten up some of the abuses that led to the
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recession. we didn't get a single vote on the republican side of the aisle, not one. they don't want the government to exercise any power of oversight, to police the ranks of those in financial industry who are not dealing with this situation responsibly. that's their position. i happen to believe that government has a legitimate role. when those banks were about to fail, they loved government. they cooperate wait to get our money. they got the money, they survived, gave one another bonuses and we said got to clean up the act, said get out of the way, government's nothing but a big old problem. the american people know were better. we want wall street and the big banks to be held accountable. we never want to go down this road again to this bailout and i think and i hope most americans believe that oversight of these banks is absolutely essential to make sure that we have money available and these banks are sound. the last point i'll make relates to the health care issue. i see my colleague from colorado on the floor, i'll be happy to yield to him in a couple minutes. but the health care issue is one that is a frequent source of
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conversation among the political talking heads and elected officials here in washington. recently, many on the other side of the aisle have been holding almost daily press conferences. one was reported today in "the washington post" where they get very worked up over the president's health care reform bill which i was proud to support and say that it's the reason for virtually every problem in america. let me tell my colleagues on both sides the reality. having served on the deficit commission, we cannot reduce the deficit and the rate of growth in our national debt without coming to grips with the cost of health care. whether it's a family, a business, or any level of government, the cost of health care is breaking the bank. what we tried to do and i think we will do is to come up with a fair way to bring down the rate of growth in the cost of health care. i'm not naive enough to believe that we're going to actually bring down health care costs dramatically. what we're trying to do is to
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slow that rate of growth. and that is something we can achieve. i take a look around at what we are faced with when it comes to health care and the dilemmas we face, how many people before this health care reform bill had virtually no protection. one of the things we did in health care reform which i suppose those who want to repeal it want to get rid of was to say you couldn't penalize a person or family because of pre-existing conditions. children under the age of 18 could not be don't a family policy because of a pre-existing condition. many parents like my own family have lived through this and have known that if we couldn't get basic health insurance for our child, it could jeopardize the quality of care that was available. we changed that law. we said you cannot discriminate against children under the age of 18 because of pre-existing conditions. and we're moving toward eliminating that discrimination across the board. is that unreasonable? i think it is realistic and humane and it's a good thing to do. the second thing we did was to
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say that senior citizens getting prescription drugs under medicare get stuck with something called the doughnut hole. that's a gap in coverage of almost $2,000 a year they have to take out of their savings accounts to pay for expensive prescription drugs. we're closing that hole over a period of a number of years so that seniors will have seamless coverage start to finish. that's part of health care reform and those calling for its repeal ought to stand up and say exactly they want to get rid of that as well. we also provide coverage under family health insurance plan for children up to the age of 26. it expands the reach of family health insurance for recent high school and college graduates who may not have a job. it's an important coverage factor that i'm glad that we included in this bill. there's more that we need to do, madam president, but to walk away from health care reform, to walk away from efforts to preserve quality and reduce the cost in health care is a step in the wrong direction for the quality of life of american families and for dealing with this deficit
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challenge which we do face. i sincerely hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will consider joining us and even offering amendments to and modifications to the president's jobs act. what is absolutely unacceptable is to do nothing. unfortunately, many of them believe that's exactly what we should do. don't let government get involved in any respect when it comes to the unemployment across america. well, whether it's unemployment benefits, helping work force --, working families, getting incentives to businesses to hire veterans and other people, putting money into us from fast in america, these are things we can and should do together as a nation to bring this economy forward and reduce the unemployment we're currently facing. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: expressions of approval are not in order. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming.
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mr. enzi: if i had the time i would contest a few of the things my colleague from illinois said but i'm not going to make a political speech. i'm going to talk about the bill currently before the senate which is the china currency bill. i rise today to speak on the china currency bill. china's underevaluation of currency is a serious problem. it's an issue i've studied when i was a member of the senate banking committee and now as a member of the finance committee. earlier this year i also had an opportunity to visit china with a number of my colleagues and learned more about this issue as we met with their government officials. it's clear that the efforts of the chinese government to peg its currency against the dollar give unfair benefits to the chinese exporters at the expense of u.s. manufacturers. the united states should take additional action to pressure their government to re-evaluate the chinese currency. however, it's not a new problem. china currency has been a priority for both president
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george w. bush and president obama. through a number of venues including the joint commission on commerce and trade talks, our officials at all levels have raised this issue with little response. this experience shows that action by the united states alone is not enough. we know that other major global trading powers have the same concern but we continue to act individually. just this summer, the german government made a renewed attempt to gain more flexibility in china's currency. the full european union has followed suit, but they, too, have had little gain. but the united states and the european union are not just the only ones concerned about china currency. a number of emerging economies, including both india and brazil, have also made the same plea. so the question i ask now is, why are we considering a bill that puts the united states in a position of going it alone? that's one reason i'm a
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cosponsor of hatch amendment number 680. this substitute amendment retains the designations included in the underlying bill that define 5, quote, fundamentally misaligned currency, end quote, while giving direction to the administration to pursue action through multilateral channels. the amendment also thinks forward by making the issue of currency misalignment a priority issue in both our current trade negotiations and in future trade agreements. it's important that the united states not act by itself when it comes to pressuring china on this issue. i've found in my smeerps when it comes to economic policy in our globalized world, the multilateral approach is the most successful. that's one reason why i do not support imposing unilateral economic sanctions on any nations. i'm hopeful that the senate will have an opportunity to vote on and include the hatch amendment in this bill. i also want to speak about an
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amendment i'm working on with my colleague from oregon, senator merkley. given that this bill is about enforcement of trade obligations, we filed an amendment that would encourage our officials to counternotify those nations that have failed to report on the government subsidies that are provided to industries engaged in international trade and in competition with us. the world trade organization agreement on subsidies and counterveiling measures establishes base rules for when members can provide subsidies. an important element of that agreement for compliance is a measure that requires each country to disclose information about their subsidies annually. china agreed to these obligations in 2001. however, since joining the w.t.o. ten years ago, china has only made its required notification once. that was in 2006. and it was largely incomplete.
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the amendment we have offered requires the u.s. trade representative to use its authority under the w.t.o. subsidies agreement to counternotify a nation that has failed to meet this obligation two years in a row. i am told the u.s. trade representative plans to act this afternoon by submitting information to the w.t.o. that identifies china's failure to comply with this requirement. i'm hopeful this that this will lead to accurate and consistent reporting by those governments that continue to disregard their trade obligations. this problem with reporting subsidies points to the larger issue we have with china aside from currency misalignment. there are other significant chinese policies that put the united states at an economic disadvantage and deserve our attention. one such policy i want to highlight is china's policy of giving value-added tax, t.a.t. rebates to artificially promote
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exports. on april 1, 2009, china reinstated a 9% rebate of its 17% v.a.t. tax on soda ash exports. another instance of china manipulating commercial outcomes through a government industrial policy. in 2009, during the depths of the government -- of the global economic crisis, china's soda ash exports increased 9% while global demand for soda ash was in free fall. that same year the u.s. exports of soda ash fell 19%. this is just one of the countless examples where china's producers pay little attention to market conditions and instead are being driven by artificial incentives to export. continuation of such a policy puts u.s. jobs in the soda ash industry at risk, which is why i've led an effort to have our government press china for the elimination of the v.a.t. tax
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rebate on soda ash. the u.s. natural soda ash industry employs over 3,000 workers in wyoming and california. another 100 dock workers in portland, oregon, as well as railroad workers who help transport soda ash. half of all workers employed in the soda ash industry are dependent on exports for their jobs. the u.s. soda ash industry is an export success story. for the first 250eu8 in 2010, the u.s. soda ash industry shipped more product to overseas markets than it did domestic customers. and exports continued to grow in 2011. domestic demand for soda ash is flat, so growth in the u.s. soda ash industry is entirely dependent on maintaining and expanding its exports. the united states is the most competitive soda ash producer in the world, but it will continue to be confronted by china's
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trade distorting policies that put it at a competitive disadvantage. specifically, china' china's v.x -- it undermines u.s. soda ash exports in other markets. moreover, chinese sowed dash is produced through a synthetic process that are both extremely harmful to the environment and energy-intensive. china's manipulation of its vat tax rebate has been raised multiple times by members of this chamber as well as our house colleagues. on may 31, 2011, we asked commerce secretary gary locke and u.s. trade representative ron kirk to keep this issue on its agenda with the chinese and fight for its elimination. i would seek unanimous consent to insert the text of the following letter to secretary locke and ambassador kirk in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: for over two years
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china has provided its domestic manufacturers with an artificial incentive to export through the 9% vat tax rebate on soda ash. when this incentive is removed, a truly competitive market can be restored for global exports of soda ash. i look forward to a lively discussion on this issue when the u.s. and china meet for the joint commission on commerce and trade ministerials this fall. mr. president -- madam president, i don't want to underestimate the importance of the china currency issue. however, this debate cannot overlook the significant trade imbalances caused by other chinese government policies that disadvantage u.s. industries. if you ask our officials, they won't hesitate to say that the currency issue is just the tip of the iceberg. there are countless tariffs, subsidies, and nontariff barriers that keep the united states out of china at the cost
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of u.s. jobs. that's why i'm disappointed that my colleague, the majority leader, has not yet allowed members to offer the amendments on trade and jobs they wish to offer. our economic policies with china extend far beyond the currency issue, and this bill should be the forum to raise and debate those concerns. this bill has been sold as a jobs bill and a trade bill, and, therefore, should be open to amendment about jobs and trade. allowing amendments now is especially important, since this is yet another bill brought directly to the floor without the benefit of committee consideration. our companies and exporters are among the best in the world, but it's tough for them to succeed when other nations allow competitors to ignore the rules that they've agreed to follow. without a doubt, something needs to be done about currency misalignment in china. however, to be successful, we have to take a holistic approach.
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i'm hopeful that the senate will consider these ideas, including the hatch amendment, if the u.s. continues to go it alone, we'll continue to have the same problems. we must consider legislation that not only authorizes u.s. action but encourages the administration to pursue the currency issue with other nations that may have the same concern. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: madam president, i'm here today to talk a little bit about the state of our economy. i've spent the summer and early fall traveling around the beautiful state of colorado, having town hall meetings, and listening to people who mostly start the conversations by saying, what is wrong with you people? -- in washington? why can't you work together to actually get anything done there?
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they're ee really short on slogs these days and they're desperate for us to turn this economy around. they know what the consequences have been of living in a country that for the first time in its history has had median family income falling, at a time when their cost of health insurance has been skyrocketing, the cost of higher education going through the roof. and i thought "the wall street journal" captured this in a way that i've been unable to, in a very vivid way on the front page a couple of weeks ago. there was an article that was entitled "as middle class shrinks,p & g" -- that's procter and gamble --" aims high and low." that article is about one of the most iconic middle-class brands imaginable, procter & gamble.
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98% of the households in this country have a product in their house that's produced by procter & gamble. crest toothpaste, head and shoulders sha shampoo, tied lauy detergent, bounty paperwork, dura selduracell batteries, pris potato chips, stuff that didn't even exist before there was a middle class in this country to buy it. that's the great brand of procter & gamble, and its a still a great brand. but this article is about how they're changing their business model to reflect the current economic realities, and economic realities that they believe are actually going to persist for sometime. quoting from the article, which i'd ask to be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bennet: thank you. "p & g's profits boomed with the increasing affluence of middle-class households in the
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post world war ii economy." the story i was just telling. "for generations, procter & gamble's growth strategy was focused on developing household stables for the vast american middle class. now, p & g executives say many of its former middle-market shoppers are trading down to lower-priced goods -- widening the pools of have and have-not consumers at the expense of the middle." quption p & g isn't the only company adjusting its business. a wide swath of american companies is convinced that the consumer market is bifurcating into high and low ends and eroding in the middle. they have begun to alter the way they research, develop and market their products." madam president, in other words, they have begun to alter their business plan with the assumption that the middle class is evaporating in this country, and that their growth markets
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are the very richest among us, on the one hand, and the very poorest among us, on the other hand. let me close on this part by reading the end of the story. "to monitor the evolving american securable market, p & g executives study the gine index, a wide lid accepted measure of income inequality that ranges from zero to one. in 2009, the most recent calculation available, there was a 20% rise in income disparity over the last 40 years." here's the quote. "we now have a gini index similar to the philippines and mexico -- you'd never have imagined that," says phyllis jackson, p & g's vice president of consumer market knowledge for merger america. "i don't think we've typically thought about america as a country with big income gaps to this extent." i don't think that's the way we
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thought about america either because that's not what america has been for generation after generation, decade after decade going back to the founding of this country. why do i come to the floor to talk about this, madam president? it's because the debate in this place is becoming more and more unward from the facts. and people need to be reminded, you think, here -- not in colorado, but here -- about what kind of problem we're actually trying to solve. here is our current economic challenge. the top line is our productivity index. going back to 1992, that blue line. you'll notice that it fell slightly during the recession, and then it took off again like a rocket. why? because firms all over the country were having to figure out how to do what they were doing, produce what they were producing with fewer people in
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order to survive in this recession. and the combination of competing in a global economic environment, which wasn't even present remotely in the twhai phs today in the 19 -- the in the way it is today in the 1980's, required us to be more productive. the technological revolution that this country has spawned and led has allowed us to become more productive. and you can see this green line, which is gross domestic product, our economy actually has started to come back. you know, we're about two-thirds of the way back to where we were before this recession started. but what my families are feeling in colorado and what your families i think are probably feeling in missouri are these other two lines. this line is median family income, which as i said earlier continues to drop for the first
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time in our country's history, the last 20 years. what that means is that people earning $4,000 and $5,000 less in real income at the end of the decade than they were at the beginning of the decade. although i guess i should point out here as well that during the time that median family income was falling, average family income went up, reflecting the widening gap between rich and poor in this country. and reflecting a diminishing middle class. this line is unemployment. and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that when this green line crosses again and our g.d.p. is where it was before we even had this recession -- and it will -- we don't have an answer for people that have been dislocated as a consequence of our economy becoming more efficient and more productive. these jobs are going to be created not by legacy firms from
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the last century but by businesses that are going to be started tomorrow and the week after that and the week after that. and rather than having a partisan debate here in washington, we should be having a bipartisan discussion about how to change our tax code and change our regulatory code to make it easier, not harder, for small businesses to be created and to compete, and to make sure that we're creating jobs here in the united states that are actually lifting median family income rather than driving it downward. this is what's happened to manufacturing in the united states since 201. i'd insleightvite anybody to look an -- i'd invite anybody to look on our web site. this top line is our manufacturing output. even that's been rising. this, going back to 2001 to
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today, is manufacturing employment. output rising, employment falling. and people in my state know that we didn't get here yesterday. this has been happening to them for the last decade or so. and they want us to be responsive to that. this is the median family income slide. in 1999, median family income was raufly $53,000. in 2010 it was $49,000. a $4,000 drop in real dollars since 1999. a 7.1% decrease. people are coming to me and saying, michael, they may not know it is a 7.1% decrease, but they know they're earning less.
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they know that ten years ago when they set out to save for college for their 8-year-old, they were expecting to be earning more at the end of the decade. now they are kid is going to scoovment and they're saying, i can't afford it. tuition is skyrocketing, i can't send my kid to the best school they got into. what waste what. a waste. and i'd ask you, madam president, whether any of us think we can afford another decade like that at the beginning of this new century, if we consume a fifth of the 21st century driving american middle-class income down, we're going to have a very tough time recognizing it. this is something that's not noted by many, but i used to be a school superintendent, so i have an interest in our education. this is unemployment during this recession based on educational
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attainment. the worst it ever got for folks with a college degree in this country was 4.5% during this recession. for people that had less than a high school diploma, it was 15. for people with a high school degree it was around 12 pmplet 12%. here's what else we've done over the last years. this is our poverty rate in this country. this is why we have to move past the politics and into a substantive conversation about where we want to take this country together as republicans and democrats. these lines are people that are republicans and democrats and independents, who are seeing their income driven down, who are seeing their wealth destroyed, and expect us to at least be able to have a civil conversation about it on the floor of the united states senate. did you know that poverty has increased by 46% since the year
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2000 in the united states of america? there are today 46 million people in our country of three-hundred-some million that live in poverty. 35 partly cloudy of them are kids. 22% of the children in the united states today are living in poverty, a fifth of the children in our country are living in poverty. as i mentioned earlier, this hasn't affected everybody the same in our economy. this is the income growth, average income growth for the top 1% of income earners in the united states. this is the top 5%. this is the top 10%. this, and it seems insane
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almost, madam president, to describe it this way, the bottom 90%. but nine out of ten income earners -- nine out of ten income earners, this is what's happened to their income since 1967 in real dollars, in inflation-adjusted dollars. it has been absolutely stuck and flat at the bottom of this curve , all of which leads me to show you, i think, the most troubling slide of all, which i know is hard to read. but let me tell you what it say, and you can find it on the web site. what it says is that we have not seen this level of income and equality in america -- income inquality in the united states of america since 1928. that's the last time that the so-called bottom 90% of earners, nine out of ten earners, earned
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roughly 45% of the income in the country. here, in 1928, and here in 2011. i don't think that our democracy can sustain itself with another decade or two of numbers like this. we have to do better than that. the bottom 90% of earners, as i mentioned a minute ago, are republicans and they are democrats, they are independent voters, and they expect their government to work for them. we can't create their jobs, but we can create the conditions under which they can create high-paying jobs here in the united states that is lifting families' income rather than driving it down. and that's what we should be
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debating here in washington. like you, madam president, i have a deep concern about the fiscal condition that this country is in right now. we have $1.5 trillion of deficit and we've got $15 trillion of debt, and don't have the apparent will to address that problem. we can address that problem. we should be adopting the policies recommended by the bipartisan commission simpson-bowles that together combines, takes $4 trillion out of our deficit situation over the next ten years and did it by asking everybody to have a share in the sacrifice. we should be debating that on the floor of the senate. we should be supporting the work that the gang of six has tried to do not just because it will help us with our fiscal situation, which is critical, but because it will help us with our jobs situation.
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there's $2.3 trillion of cash by some estimates sitting on the balance sheets of america's corporations that's not being invested now because people are deeply worried that they can't predict what interest rate environment we're going to be in because we can't get our fiscal house in order and because the government is financing its debt on short-term paper which easily could rise. every rise in our interest rate will add $1.3 trillion to the debt over the next ten years. these are the facts. these are the facts. i've got a list of things we could be doing today. i won't dwell on it. we could be reforming and simplifying our tax code. we could be developing a long term research and development strategy. we could be investing as republicans and democrats have done for decades in our infrastructure. we could bring our public education system into the 21st
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century, which would matter a lot not just to our middle-class kids but to kids living in poverty as well. did you know that today if you're a child born in poverty, whether you're rural or urban, it doesn't matter, your chances of getting a college degree are 9 in 100. 9 in 100, which means that the day you were born, if you're among those 100 kids, out of the chutes 91 of you are consigned to the margins of democracy, the margins of our economy if we don't change the way we educate our kids. and even if you don't care from their point of view what the implications of that are, and i deeply do care about that -- as the father of three little girls, i think everybody should have an opportunity to go graduate from high school, go ton college and succeed. even if you didn't tkpraeur that
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perspective, look at what happens if you don't have an education if the 21st century economy. look at the unemployment rates people are having to suffer there if they don't have a high school did he grow or college degree compared if they do have a degree. that's not going to change. no new jobs to people with a high school did he tkpwraoerbgs and we lost -- high school degree and we lost jobs for high school dropouts. if you care about the strength and success of the american economy, if you care about maintaining the mantle of the land of opportunity, if you care about the idea that the job of one generation is to put another generation into a position to succeed and contribute in the economy, the democracy, you need to care about what we're doing with our education system. we could be talking about that.
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we could be doing regulatory review to make sure we've got a process to get rid of old regulations that don't make sense and put in the ones that do. in colorado we have a huge interest in ending our reliance on foreign oeufplt everywhere i go people talk about that. everywhere i go people wonder whether it wouldn't be better to have an energy policy that created energy independence in this country instead of having one or a lack of one, that forces to us ship billions of dollars a week of oil to the persian gulf for the privilege of buying their oil because we don't have a policy. we could be thinking about advanced manufacturing. we could be eliminating the technology gap. we could be modernizing the f.d.a. there's no shortage of things we can do if we come together to do it. i see my colleague from oregon
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is here, so i'll wrap up in one minute. but in order to be able to get to any of that, in order to get to any of that, we have to knock off the political games and actually start working together around this place. you know, two days ago there was an article in "the washington post" i think it was that said that the united states congress has a 14% approval rating. and the joke around here is well who in the world are those 14% that think we're doing a good job? but it's not a joke. this is serious. and there's a reason our approval rating is in the basement. it's because instead of working on the things that actually would drive productivity in this country, would drive job creation in this country, would most importantly drive median
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family income up instead of down, we're fighting with each other. and i want to go back to colorado and have an answer for the people in my town halls who could care less, could care less whether i am a democrat or i'm a republican. and just want me to do my job. the ones that are doing their jobs want me to do my job. the ones that are not doing their jobs want me to do my job. i know there are people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle that if given the chance will work together to do this. the last they think i'll say is this and then i'll stop. the rest of the world is not waegt for us to get our -- waiting for us to get our act together. the rest of the world is not waiting for us to decide whether or not we're going to have another debate that leads to blowing up the credit rating of the united states. they're not waiting for us to decide whether we want to sacrifice for the first time the full faith and credit of the
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united states of america. they're not waiting for us to decide in whether we're going to invest in 21st century manufacturing. my colleague from ohio just showed up and talked about that. they're not waiting for us to decide whether or not we're going to let them own the 21st century energy economy. they're going right ahead. and so our failure to act has consequences, and i believe it's time for us to come together even though we're in a political season, even though we have a presidential campaign, and do our work on behalf of of the american people and the people of my state of california. madam president, with that, i yield the floor. mr. wyden: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: madam president, before he leaves the floor, i want to commend senator bennet for the outstanding work he's doing on the budget issue and cite the fact that the cooperation of the senator from colorado and senator nebraska, senator johanns, are showing
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illustrates how important it is to try to find some common ground. that's what i'm going to be trying to do on the health care issue coming up. but i just want to commend the senator from colorado for his good work. mr. bennet: thank you. mr. wyden: madam president, as the senate focuses on the budget, and certainly the american people hear the discussion about health care and particularly what is going on in the supercommittee, i want to take a few minutes to talk about how there is an opportunity to come together in a bipartisan way, and particularly with older people to show that it's possible for them to get more of the care they want, particularly care at home for a price that is lower for companies, reduce costs for the tax-paying public.
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this all came to light through an extremely important hearing that was held in the senate finance committee on which i serve. chairman baucus took the time particularly to look at the care of those who are some of the neediest and most vulnerable in our country. they are the older people who are eligible for both medicare and medicaid. and the fancy jargon of american health care, they're called the dual eligibles. but i think anybody who looks at the american health care system, knows that these are some of those who are most vulnerable and most harmed when they fall between the cracks in the health care system. and the fact is, madam president, the ball game as it relates to medicare -- and i know the president of the united president of the senate spent a lot of time on
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these budget issues, is all about chronic disease. that's where the medicare dollar goes. it goes into the treatment of hurt and stroke and diabetes. that's where the money really goes. and millions of those who suffer from these devastating illnesses are those folks that i'm speaking about, the dual eligibles, people who are eligible for medicare and medicaid. and millions of those are eligible for alternative services, particularly services at home, but right now a disproportionally large number of men and women get their care in the most expensive kind of setting, a place where they don't want to be. the hospital and the hospital emergency room. and the fact of the matter is all over the country, in the state of ohio, in the state of
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missouri, every single day these folks are going in ambulances to hospital emergency rooms. often they end up having to go essentially to these facilities. and as of today, even though we have got more than nine million of these individuals who are on both medicare and medicaid, according to dr. don berwick at the center of medicare and medicaid services, about -- only about 100,000 of them are being taken care of at home. so, of course, the congress worked on the health reform issue, and it was possible in that legislation to move to take a few thousand more, a few thousand more than the hundred thousand that are now being taken. but as chairman baucus highlighted just a few days ago, we ought to get serious about
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this and do a lot more because older people, if we come up with approaches that allows them to get cared for at home, will feel better about our health care system and better about the decisions that are being made around here and taxpayers are going to save money. now, anybody who questions whether this is possible, madam president, ought to look at the latest information that is coming from the veterans administration. they have, madam president, 250 be locations, locations all around the country for the program that they use called the home-based primary care program. the only difference, madam president, between that v.a. program and essentially what is being done on the medicare and medicaid side, is that the v.a.
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patients are even sicker, even sicker than those who have been treated in the medicare and the medicaid settings. the v.a. program, the latest information, shows that caring for older veterans in the home has reduced hospital stays by 62%, nursing home days by 88%, and costs by 24%. owe let's just for a moment focus on that number, madam president. costs savings of 24% while the older veteran gets more of what they want, which is to be at home for the care that they need rather than in these institutional settings, whether it's hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, what have you. so we have new information, specific, concrete information,
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and so colleagues know those who are specialists in this area at the university of pennsylvania who have looked particularly at the model that was recently included in the affordable care act, they have said that if that model was fully implemented for caring for these individuals at home, it's their judgment that it would be possible to save in the vicinity of $30 billion a year. these are enormous sums of money, and to be able to make those savings while we say to older people in missouri and oregon and around the country, you're going to get more of what you want, which is care at home, at a price that's lower than the alternative. that looks like a pretty good opportunity, madam president. so now as the super committee goes forward with its work, there are some questions about
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whether they need additional authority, additional legislative authority to do their work. if they do, madam president, i think certainly the super committee, the super committee in conjunction with would both e full senate and the house ought to give it to them. my own sense is they probably don't need additional legislative authority, but certainly there will be support in the senate finance committee under the leadership of chairman baucus and senator hatch, both of whom have done very good work on this issue to move legislatively, whether it's in the super committee or through the simultaneously senate, legislation that would allow us to dramatically expand this program. and madam president, i know the senator from minnesota cares a great deal about seniors and these issues. just a little bit of history.
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as i sat in the senate finance committee just a few days ago listening to how we ought to have some more pilot projects and some demonstrations and some studies, i thought about the days when i was codirector of the oregon gray panthers, about three decades ago. had a full head of hair and rugged good looks and all of that kind of thing. and we were talking then in much the same way i heard the discussion going in the senate finance committee, about demonstrations and pilots and the like. a very good person at the centers for medicare and medicaid services, melanie bellah, and i basically said in conversations later with both chairman baucus and senator hatch, i said we have got to change this, madam president, because if we don't, my prediction is that ten years or so from now, they will be back
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in the senate finance committee having pretty much the same discussion. they will be talking about a few pilot projects and a few demonstration projects and a few more studies, and by that time, the number of those who are eligible for both medicare and medicaid will be lots more than the nine million that are eligible today. it will be many times that, and we will have wasted many billions of dollars more. so now is the time to do it. and i want to close simply by picking up on the point that senator bennet made about trying to find common ground. this question of independence at home has strong bipartisan support. in the other body, the principal sponsor, congressman ed markey, worked with chris smith of new jersey, congressman michael burgess of texas, two very strong conservatives.
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over the years here in the senate, i have been honored to have senator chams, -- senator chambliss, senator burr, a number of colleagues on both sides of the aisle say that this makes sense, both for older people and for taxpayers. so in the next few days, madam president, senators are each going to hear from about a hundred health care groups around the country, making the case for the congress, starting with the super committee, going on through our work in both the senate and the house, to have the congress get serious about dramatically expanding, massively expanding the number of older people who are cared for at home where they want to be, which will result in savings to the taxpayers at the same time. and this is something that should not be allowed to be delayed or put off any further.
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after decades of talking about how it made sense and studying it and having some pilot projects and some demonstration projects, i think at a time when doctors come to the senate president's office, patients come to the senate president's office and say, you know, i'm very concerned about these cuts, i'm just convinced it's going to reduce access. i'm not going to be able, the providers say, to serve the same number of people. older people we know are calling our office, saying they are frightened about how it's going to affect them. for us to be able to come together in the senate, in the kind of spirit that senator bennet was talking about, democrats and republicans, to say look, here's something that works. we know it works. it was proven by chairman baucus' recent hearing. we now know based on the v.a.'s important new study with respect to how you can care for older
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people at home that we have an opportunity to significantly expand, care for older people at home in this country and generate significant budget savings. it will be backed. bipartisan. it's something that ought to be picked up by the super committee. it ought to be picked up by both the full senate and the full house, and we need to do it now. if we don't do it now, if this is put off yet again after chairman baucus' important hearing, has once again opened the door to major reform, as sure as the night follows the day, congresses five, ten years from now will be debating exactly the same thing. i don't think that's right. holding down health care costs does not have to mean benefit cuts or cuts to reimbursement. we have got a chance with this independence at home program to secure for older people more of
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the care they need in the comfort of their own home and providers are actually rewarded with shared savings for delivering the kind of quality care that they have always wanted to provide. these ideas, by the way, are voluntary. no older person, no senior citizen is required to participate in, but we are going to get around to every senator's office, madam president, the findings of this new v.a. study. it comes from 250 locations in each state and d.c. cost savings of 24%, hospital stay reductions of 62%, nursing home day reductions of 88%. these are documented savings for older people who are even sicker, madam president, than those who would be served by programs outside the v.a.
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this is the time. we have talked about it long enough. if the government needs additional legislative authority, it will be possible to give that through the super committee. i urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, democrats and republicans, to pick up on the strong bipartisan support that exists for independence at home services, particularly for those who are eligible for medicare and medicaid. they are the most vulnerable in our society. those individuals and the programs that they rely on, paid for by taxpayers, deserve better. we have the opportunity now to ensure they get it. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: thank you. mr. sessions: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, i was pleased that earlier today,
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the senate voted to move forward with the china currency legislation that has been worked on for so many years by senator schumer, senator lindsey graham, and i'm pleased to join with them. i voted for similar legislation in 2005. i would just say a couple of things. as our members evaluate where they are and what they will do on final passage. i believe in trade. i'm not sure i want to use a phrase free trade anymore. i believe in good trade, and most trade is good trade. countries do need to compete with the production in other countries, and if you have a trading partner, normally both partners to a relationship benefit. the one partner in a treaty, a trade or in a business relationship, if one party to that relationship is being damaged by that relationship,
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then they have to confront the problem and fix it or withdraw from the relationship. that's just the way life is. and i tease some of my free market friends -- and i have a lot of them -- that on trade issues, they are religious about it. it's a religion with them. they don't want to analyze whether or not the trading agreement advantages the united states or the other party. they just want to say it's a trade agreement, be for it. anything that promotes trade is good. peace will break out in the world, cancer will be cured, and just have trade. well, that's not quite what i think conservatives believe. i'm a conservative, and a conservative believes in reality. conservatives -- conservativism is a cast of mind, not an
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ideology. it's an approach to complex issues. as my friend bob torrell at the american spectator says, it's an approach to issues, it's a cast of mind. so how do you approach this matter? we're getting hurt in this relationship. every editorial i have seen, even those groups who are specifically advocating for -- against this legislation, they contend and acknowledge that the united states is being disadvantaged by this currency manipulation. i'll acknowledge that. and when you acknowledge that, you acknowledge that we are losing jobs and losing manufacturing in this country as a result not of competition but of unfair competition. and let's be in contact with reality.
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the people's republic of china is state dominated. those countries -- companies are not free to do as they normally would in the united states. it's a state-dominated thing, and every agenda that's carried out by china, by their companies, even, tends to be driven by expanding the national interest of china. that's the way they operate. their theory of trade is mercantilist. they believe in max compromising exports, minimizing imports, accumulating wealth. some of our friends here say, oh, it's all right, the products that sold at wal-mart, they're from china, all right, yes, we closed a factory in the united states, but don't worry, mother can buy her sneakers or her children's clothes cheaper because it's
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imported. don't worry about it. and manufacturing is not really that important, they've told us. and you've seen that in the writings around the nation from some of our great economic minds. but i don't believe that's true. i do not believe this nation can be a strong, vibrant force in the world without a manufacturing sector. i've had the pleasure of meeting dr. schulze, the c.e.o. of a company in germany, he was investing in my home state of alabama and he said publicly and to me privately with great passion, he just retired, he's 70, very impressive man, and he said you've got to have a renaissance of manufacturing. he said germany was criticized
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by attempting to hold onto its manufacturing base in europe, saying they were not part of the modern economy, the service economy. but he said we did more than most of the europeans to maintain our manufacturing base, and we're now the healthiest economy in europe. you have to have a manufacturing base. wealth is sent abroad every time you purchase imported products. the deficit with china last year was $273 billion. this year it will be the largest in history, $300 billion. there's never been a trading relationship resulting in deficits in the history of the world as large as those. china is the second largest economy in the world. china is growing rapidly. it's been doing this for a decade. and let me say, i celebrate prosperity in china. i'd like to see prosperity in
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all the nations of the world and they would benefit the united states, not harm us, if china is prosperous. but if their prosperity is driven by disadvantaging the united states to their advantage as the currency process does, then that's a different story. it's not a fair competition, and it's not helpful to the united states. so we're told that this won't hurt us, that we can move to a service economy, that we don't have to have manufacturing and the doctrine of comparative advantage is such that if you can manufacture a product cheaper in china, so be it, we just put the american businesses out of -- out of business. let them close the door. well, there are two reasons as a
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conservative i'm not comfortable with that. first, this creates too rapid a dislocation in our economy, causing too much damage societally from rapid unemployment and closing of manufacturing in our country. number two is, we now know with -- with certainty that the manipulation of currency, the 30%, 25% difference is unfairly competing with american business. unfairly closing businesses down. and we have a chance to rebound, i am convinced, in manufacturing. china's salaries are going up, salaries around the world are going up, china's utilities and energy costs are higher than ours. their advantages are not so great as they were a few years ago and we're becoming more
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sophisticated. our businesses are lean and competitive now, and i just think we have a real chance to get back into the game but not if we have a 25% to 30% currency where when we sell a product to china, it costs 25% more than the competing chinese production would, and when they sell to our company, they have a 25% -- country, they have a 25% advantage over our manufacturers. this is when margins are as close as they are in the world economy today, that's too large. any unfairness is too large. so i would -- would contend that we have to act. secondly, there is damage being done to the middle class in our country, and a large part of it is arising out of unfair trade practices. and we've got to be aware that
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millions of americans are hurting. maybe the wife, maybe the husband has lost their job and now unemployed. families are struggling to get by. wages are not going up. in fact, wages have trended down just a little bit. unemployment is not going down, it's maybe going up now for the last several months. and inflation is on the scene. 2%, 3% inflation. so if the wages aren't going up, the number of people aren't going up, and the -- then you get into a situation in which you can't see economic growth occur. there's just not extra money to go to the store and market to buy things. as one businessman told me, one of the great marketing chains in the united states, wal-mart, one of their leaders said people
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just descroant the money to come to the store to buy anything. if you don't have a job, you don't have the money to buy anything. so this is a serious economic problem we're in. i have come to the conclusion we can no longer borrow money to spend today to try to create a sugar high and jump-start our economy. that didn't work before. we don't have the money, the debt is already too great. we need to look for ways to create american jobs now without costing the united states treasury or raising taxes on an already weak economy. this is one of those things. senator schumer, senator brown, senator graham, and i, we agree in a bipartisan way that this is a way to create jobs without harming our economy. without raising the debt of america. a bipartisan act to create
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greater employment by simply eliminating an unfairness that's hammering american manufacturers and american workers. they say if you insist on this, china will be offended. well, first, china's a great nation. they have the second largest economy in the whole world. they are bellicose, they attack us aggressively. we don't go hide under the table when china says something bad about the united states, do we? and neither are they going to hide under the table if the united states senate and united states congress says you got to get your currency correct. great nations don't wither and crawl away. i was looking at the article in "forbes" magazine by mr. gordon chang who talked about this question. my friend, chris chaccola,
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president of club more growth who opposes this legislation, said this, what do they say to arguments that starting a trade war with china would kill jobs, not create them? that's what mr. chaccola was saying. if you start a trade war, you're going to lose jobs. well, first of all, mr. chaccola's hands are not so clean in this issue, when he was in the house of representatives a few years ago he introduced a bill in the house, the china act, that would have imposed similar tariffs on china if it tried to manipulate its currency. according to his press release at the time. i guess he's changed his mind. we all have a right to change our mind. but i would just say that i'm not too impressed with that argument.
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and would note that mr. chang in his comments about it made a very good point, writing in "forbes" he says -- mr. cha cola is correct that a trade war with china would kill jobs, a trade war which will not occur, in my opinion, but if you had a trade war, it would hurt jobs in the united states, but he says, quote, "most of them would be in china." and that's absolutely so. how do we know this, he asked. last year the united states ran a deficit in trade and goods with that country of $273.1 billion and trade wars, it's the surplus country, china, the countries that depend on exports to get hurt
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the most. americans know this was we are the powerhouse exporter in the 1930's when the depression hit, and the trade froze after tariffs and other actions, and we whirt the most because we were exporting goods. and he goes on to note how large china's economy is and its dependence on exports to the united states. so he says this is a pretty good indication that beijing, though it will undoubtably complain, might engage in minor retaliation but will not escalate the fight. china cannot afford more unemployment, qoaz close quote, said mr. chang. and he quotes the chinese premier as saying well, if you
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change this currency countless chinese workers would become unemployed, close quote. what does that say? the premier of china is saying if we have a fair currency rate, chinese would lose jobs. well, somebody is going to gain those jobs. maybe it's in dayton. maybe it's in birmingham. maybe it's in mobile. so as mr. chang says, this puts it on the line, he's seeking to put american workers on the bread line, not chinese workers on the bread line, and as donald trump said as he tweeted last week, quote, china is stealing our jobs, close quote. so i'm not here trying to condemn china. i'm here saying that we've
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failed to address -- aggressively defend our legitimate national interest. we need to do that. i believe this legislation begins us in that path. i believe in trade, i'll support the colombian trade bill. i expect to, as that comes forward. i think it saves our national interest, the panamanian trade will help us be more profitable and i believe the trade agreement that we have negotiated with south korea is also in our national interest and will help us. but this deal needs to be fixed. it's time to stop it. it's gone on too long. great to see my colleague, senator brown, here. i know he'll be ready to talk as we move forward to final passage. and let me congratulate senator sherrod brown and senator schumer and others who have worked on the bill. i believe it's a reasonable
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piece of legislation, provides exits if something dangerous were to occur, gives discretion to the president to delay, even stop actions that might occur under this process if it's damaging to the united states and gives congress a chance to be involved in that process. it's the right way to do it, i think. maybe somebody's got some better ideas and we can improve the bill, but fundamentally i think it's a good piece of legislation. it will do the job and i'm proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort that has moved legislation that will help create american jobs without expanding our debt. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. mr. brown: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio is recognized. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i appreciate very much senator sessions' comments and even more i appreciate his work on this
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legislation. he was one of the couple of real key players in this legislation passing because he did such a good job of explaining to colleagues why this is a plus for american manufacturing and a plus for job growth in our country. and i think about his comments on the major opposition to this bill has been an accusation or a contention from opponents that whether there are some members of the senate or house or some newspapers or economists who say this would initiate -- this would result in a trade war. and fundamentally, as senator sessions' comments indicate, fundamentally, the chinese are not going to initiative a trade war against their largest customer. we buy one-third of chinese exports. of all the hundreds of billions of dollars of exports they do around the world, one-third of them come to the united states of america. just pretend you're in business for yourself and you have a
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customer that buys one-third of your products and they do something to make you mad. you going to declare war on them? no, you're going to sit down and figure out, how do we make this work? you can never predict the future on darn near anything, but with certainty -- whether the a the minnesota twins finishing in last place in year, madam president, what i never would have preducted because they have a good team in previous years, or whether it's trade law or the economy -- but you knew that as soon as we passed this, two things would happen. one is that the chinese -- in this case was the people's bank of china, the ministry of foreign afairks i think, and the ministry of commerce -- would immediately squawk "trade war, trade war, trade war." unfortunately, some others in this body and in newspapers minimum micked that but it wasn't going to result in that. and the other thing you can predict based on history is the chinese, after this strong vote,
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that they're going to probably let their currency appreciate a little bit because w they know we're calling their bluff. they'll fight on some individual issues. they may fight on some products that were made in ohio or alabama and fight back one issue at a time, and we'll go to the world trade -- we'll go to the w.t.o., the world trade organization, we'll have at it in a legal way and we'll win most of them because they're gaming the system. we might win own or two, one of our manufacturers, but we know in the end it will work out. this is the right thifnlg it will create jobs in our country. we've seen the trade deficit increase and increase -- it's almost three times what it was when this started ten years ago, and we're going to be in a much better plashings not tomorrow or the next day but next year, if week get this through the house of representatives. i'm not assuming we'll pass it today. i think we will here. we get it to the house of
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representatives, overwhelming support, 60 republican cosponsors, 150 democratic cosponsors, something like that, will want to move this in the house. the republican leadership in the house aren't quite where senator sessions and i are on this but public pressure will get to them and we expect this bill to get to the president's defnlg i think he'll sign it in the end. american manufacturing is what built this country. you really only create wealth through mining and agriculture and manufacturing. and the presiding officer's home state of minnesota has done all of those very well over the year, mining where she grew up and agriculture, which is why she's on the agriculture committee, as i am, and manufacturing -- minnesota has done a lot of manufacturing. my home state of ohio, we're third in the country in mccain-feingold output behind only texas, twice our size, and california, three times our size. so we know how to make things in
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this country. we just want a fair playing field. i suggest 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 south dakota is recognized. we are in a quorum call. mr. thune: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with and that i be able to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. thune: madam president, i come to the floor today to talk about one of the dirty little secrets around here, and that is the ticking time bomb that is right under our noses and that until recently had been virtually ignored until some recent activity in congress and at the department of health and human sstleses brought the program into the spotlight. that time bomb is the class act. it is a program that was created, a long-term entitlement program created by the health care reform law. on use it dark "the wall street
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journal" described the inclusion of the class program in the health care law as "the definition of insanity." and, madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that that article be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. it will be included. mr. thune: thank you, madam president. madam president, the editorial highlights a point i have been making since i first offered an amendment to strip the class program from the health care reform bill back in december of 2009. the inclusion of the class program was one of the mous brazen budget tricks used by the majority in the health care reform bill. and as "the wall street journal" says, and i quote, "class was added to the bill because it was among the budget gimmicks the democrats needed to create the illusion that trillions of dollars of new spending would somehow reduce the deficit." end quote. due to the five-year vesting period required by the class program, premiums will be coming in long before benefits must be paid. that pot of money somehow is simultaneously used to reduce
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the deficit and pay for other programs within the health care reform law. when it is clear to americans that the money is not there to pay benefits to beneficiaries, this administration will be long gone and taxpayers are going to be left holding the bag. best disingenuous the way the democrats promised individuals that their premiums paid into the class system will be available to pay out future benefits. and when i ask secretary sebelius about this program earlier this year in a senate finance committee hearing, she called the program -- and i quote -- "totally unsustainable." end quote. but h.h.s. continued to push forward toward implementation asserting that they have the authority to make changes in the program. given the inherent questions in the fiscal sustainability of the "class" act i cochaired a bicameral group of senators and representatives along with representative upton from the
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house of representatives that investigated the behind the scenes story of the "class" act. we released the findings of our investigation last month in a report entitled "class. the untold story." i would also ask, madam president that, this be submitted into the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. thune: thank you, madam president. we found astonishing statements from within health and human services, the department of health and human services, that show the lengths to which the administration and democrats knew this program was on a crash course, but proceeded anyway. statements like this program is -- and i quote -- "a recipe for disaster." end quote. with -- and i quote -- "terminal problems." the e-mails also show the independent chief actuary for c.m.s. sounded the first warning in may of 2009. the chief actuary is a nonpartisan official who estimates the long-term financial effects of current law and proposed legislation. this was his estimate, his
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estimate was of this in 2009 he wrote to the h.h.s. officials, some of whom were working directly with the senate democrats saying -- and i quote -- "at first glance this proposal doesn't look workable." the chief actuary showed the back of an envelope analysis showed the program would have to enroll more than 230 million people, more than the number of working adults in the united states, to be financially feasible. a few months later the chief actuary was more assertive in his comments. in july of 2009 after reviewing the latest information from senate democrats he wrote h.h.s. officials -- and i quote -- "36 years of actuarial experience lead me to believe that this program would collapse in short order and require significant federal subsidies to continue." unfortunately, democrats here in the senate needed the political win more than they needed to hear the truth, and so they pushed forward, included the
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"class" act based off illusory savings coming off premiums from the paychecks of hardworking americans who may never consent to program participation. last month there was another development. the actuary tasked with designing the program announced that he was leaving his position at health and human services and that the "class" office was closing. h.h.s. denied closing the "class" office and said they're still evaluating this program. but in a blog post on healthcare.gov, they announced they will be releasing a report on class sometime this month. i believe this report will indicate that this program does not have the fiscal muster to move forward, but it is possible that h.h.s. may try to hide that information. madam president, if this congress is truly concerned about long-term deficits, this program should be at the top of the list of programs to repeal.
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this program may not cost taxpayers money in the short term, as the premiums are coming in, but eventually it will require an ongoing bailout from taxpayers to the tune of billions of dollars. madam president, i hope that sometime in the days ahead, and i filed an amendment to the current legislation that's before us to repeal the "class" act. probably won't get a vote today. but i hope that the united states senate will weigh in and exercise some common sense and do what we should have done a long time ago, and that is to strike and eliminate this program so that we don't deal with this massive time bomb that is ticking out there waiting for future generations of americans who are going to be stuck with the huge deficits which will occur when the inevitable happens. that is only a matter of time. it's pretty clear, as i submitted, madam president, from the statements that were made by
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the actuary at h.h.s., there were statements made by the congressional budget office at the time. there's all kinds of anecdotal evidence out there, all kinds of empirical evidence out there that suggests this is a program which is headed for fiscal disaster. it should not have been included as a pay-for in the health reform bill. that is why it was included, because it showed some short-term revenues, but the long-term costs are like many of the programs that we funded here in the past. they have a long tail on them, and the american taxpayer is going to be stuck on the hook for a long time into the future. so i would hope we will have the good sense here in the united states senate to repeal this program before it becomes the fiscal nightmare and the fiscal disaster that i think everybody has predicted that it would be. madam president, i yield the floor.
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madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio is recognized. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i rise today to honor reverend fred lee shuttlesworth, an american civil rights hero who lived much of his adult life in cincinnati who passed away this week at the age of 89. i come to the floor with, with support of a resolution with senator portman, my colleague from cincinnati, where reverend shuttlesworth lived many years, and also from senator shelby and senator sessions, where both representing alabama, where reverend shuttlesworth lived his earliest several decades and
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then the end of his life. much is known about reverend shuttlesworth's life, the beatings, bombs, arrests and protests. born in 1922 in alabama. he was a truck driver who studied theology at night. he soon became an ordained minister in his 20's. by the 1950's, in his 30's he was the pastor of bethel baptist church in birmingham, the pulpit from which he became an outspoken leader against racial injustice. when the alabama naacp was banned in the state, rev. dr. shuttlesworth established the alabama christian movement for human rights. churches held weekly meetings. membership grew month by month in large part because of reverend shuttlesworth's leadership skills. the christian movement for human rights became the mass movement for blacks in the south. he fought birmingham's racism in
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the courtroom bringing suits to desegregate public facilities. he was beaten with chains and brass knuckle when he tried to enroll his children in a birmingham school, even though he of course was a taxpayer. he would lead freedom riders to safety, a critical voice imploring attorney general robert kennedy and president john f. kennedy to get the federal government to show leadership, as freedom riders were jailed and attacked. reverend shuttlesworth himself was often jailed. he later left bruised and bloodied -- he was left bruised and bloodied from fire hoses and police dogs, the brutal force of bull connor's lynch mob, his life and family threatened by connor's ignorance or hostility or indifference more often than hostility. his words were they would call me s.o.b. and they didn't mean sweet old boy. the first time i saw brass income kels was when they --
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brass knuckle was when they struck me. he mobilized students to boycott merchants with jim crow signs in their storefronts. he worked and marched with dr. king, affiliating the alabama christian movement for human rights with the southern christian leadership conference, organizing busboy cots and sit-ins and mars and acts of civil -- and marches. he persuaded dr. king to bring the movement to birmingham where dr. king would write his letter from a birmingham jail. he writes of the necessity of the direct action campaign fighting -- quote -- "broken promises and blasted hopes. inthe two words broken and blasd meant so much to them personally because both were attacked so frequently. september 1963, the 16th street baptist church was bombed murdering four little girls in a movement's grief and responsive
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resiliency helped pass the civil rights act of 1964. by the next year he helped organize the march from selma to montgomery across the pettiss bridge, galvanizing meeting after meeting with his fiery words. he soon arrived in cincinnati, coming across the ohio river, as pastor and entering the north as pastor of the great new light baptist church in evan dale. he trained freedom riders in nearby oxford ohio at the western campus for women, now affiliated or absorbed by miami of hospital, one of our great state universities. he trained those freedom riders, thousands of activists who would travel south to register black voters. reverend shuttlesworth fought the racial -- fought for racial ekwauplt in -- equality in cincinnati schools, in city council and police departments empowering low-income families
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through education, jobs and housing for decades to come. i would like to read from and ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the editorial from the cincinnati enquirer, madam president and to enter this into the record, the editorial from october 5, 2011. if i could have -- the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: i would like to share a couple of words from the cincinnati enquirer. he once -- this is from the, beautifully written editorial about reverend shuttlesworth. he told the tampa tribune it helped to have -- quote -- "a little define insanity, when you're willing to suffer and die for something." they also wrote nowhere is his ultimate triumph more evident -- i'm reading from the enquirer -- than in the renaming of the birmingham airport, the
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birmingham shuttlesworth international airport, a tribute in a city where once a kkk member who was a police officer warned him to get out of town as fast as he could. needless to say the airport was named after reverend shuttlesworth, not after the kkk police officer. it was an honor to get to know reverend shuttlesworth and to learn from him. in 1998 i first met this historic figure in the civil rights movement. unknown to far too many people, in selma, alabama, during a pilgrimage with congressman john lewis, beaten up perhaps more than anybody in the civil rights movement. it was an opportunity to spend time with reverend shuttlesworth in selma. i visited his church in 2006. i heard him preach. and then at his retirement party awhile

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