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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 18, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? hearing none, the yeas are 99, the nays are zero. the amendment as modified is agreed to. mr. reid: madam president, madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. the senate will be in order. the majority leader. mr. reid: madam president, we have been making progress on this bill. we're going to have one more vote now. we have already set up a vote in
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the morning. we at least have an agreement to do so. there will be a little bit of debate prior to that vote, and we hope to be able to work our way through some other amendments. if people have amendments they want to offer, they should do it because time is wasting. we need to move through this bill. we're going to finish it this week, this appropriations bill. the presiding officer: there will now, two minutes of debate equally divided on the mccain amendment. mr. mccain: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, as usual, i am proposing an amendment that is in compliance with the request of the president of the united states. the administration proposes to eliminate the economic development administration trade adjustment assistance program for firms, taaf program. that's the president's message on termination. i remind my colleagues that this provides matching grants to
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private -- so that firms can hire private sector consultants. a senator: regular order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. mccain: so on behalf of the president and my colleagues, i ask for an aye -- an aye on the amendment, and the senator from texas would like to -- where is she? she deserted me. on her behalf, i'd like to say she supports the amendment. ms. mikulski: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i oppose the mccain amendment and oppose o.m.b.'s recommendations. the trade adjustment assistance is an effective and modest program. it's only $15.8 million. the average grant is $75,000. from 2006-2010, it's helped over 830 firms essentially creating or retaining about 50,000 jobs. i urge the defeat of the
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mccain amendment. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this, the ayes are 44, the nays are 55. the amendment is not agreed to. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. kohl: i ask unanimous consent the four amendments listed in the previous order and the following amendments of senator coburn, number 791 and number 792, be the only amendments in order to be offered this evening. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and i call up my amendment number
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804. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from maine, ms. collins, proposes amendment numbered 804 to amendment numbered 738. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i understand this amendment has been cleared on both sides, and i ask for its adoption. the presiding officer: is there further debate on the amendment? if not, all in favor first say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. ms. collins: mr. president, i move to reconsider and lay it on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following senators be added as cosponsors of this version of the amendment: senator udall,
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senator crapo, senator risch, senator snowe, senator ayotte, senator johanns, senator nelson of nevada, senator hoeven, senator murkowski, senator johnson of wisconsin. the presiding officer: is that udall of colorado? ms. collins: thank you, udall of colorado. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. c ms. collins: and, mr. president, i want to thank the senator from business which wisconsin and the senator from colorado and the two senators for their help. i ask that senator kohl be added as a cosponsor of this amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendments and call up my amendment number 816.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from vermont, mr. sanders, proposes an amendment numbered 816 to amendment number 738. on page 87 -- mr. sanders: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: mr. president, pursuant to the previous order, i now ask consent to set aside the pending amendment so i may call up amendment 781. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from louisiana, ms. landrieu, proposes an amendment numbered 781 to amendment number 738. on page 83, between lines 20 and 21, insert the following: section -- section 363 of the -- ms. landrieu: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: i call up vitter autumn 769. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. vitter proposes an amendment numbered 769 to amendment number 738. on page -- mr. vitter: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to waive reading of the whole. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: mr. president, let me briefly explain what this amendment is about and i'll be very brief. it would allow for personal use drug reimportation from canada
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only, and in doing so, mr. president, this amendment is nearly identical to an amendment i have proposed previously on the senate floor last congress, which passed in a very strong bipartisan vote. mr. president, americans spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and prescription drug prices are skyrocketing, and they continue to skyrocket. and that causes real hurt and angst among many family families, particularly american seniors. they shouldn't have to choose between lifesaving medicine and other basic needs of life like food and electricity, and yet often, mr. president, the reality is that they do have to make that choice. my amendment would help ease a little bit of this pain by giving americans more options. but in doing so, mr. president,
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it's very narrow, it's very cautious, it's very specific. it applies to only individual consumers, not wholesalers, bringing in for their personal use f.d.a.-approved prescription drugs, and only from one country; namely, canada. as i said, mr. president, in doing so, the language is nearly identical to the vitter amendment to the d.h.s. appropriations bill that passed the senate last congress with a strong bipartisan majority, 55-36, with nine members not voting. mr. president, this would provide real relief to millions of americans, including seniors. it would allow reimportation from canada, a very safe-source country, including through mail order and over the internet. the language, again, was restricted to personal use
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reimportation, wholesalers cannot participan participate i. it only applies at that consumer that gets a valid prescription from a doctor. so this amendment would specifically prohibit funding to the f.d.a. to the extent that they would crack down and prohibit and police against this narrow set of activity. back home, men in washington, members in congress on both sides of the aisle, often talk about doing something about skyrocketing prescription drug costs. this is a very specific, narrowly tailored, cautious, but effective means whereby we can do something, where we can have an impact, where we can help tens of millions of americans, including many vulnerable seniors. so i hope, mr. president, democrats and republicans will come together again, as we did
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last congress, and give a strong healthy bipartisan majority to this idea. it is the right thing to do. it would help americans, it would help seniors, and it is a very helpful, cautious approach. personal use only; not wholesalers. canada only. again, i urge that we adopt this amendment, mr. president, and with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: mr. president, i know that there may be other senators that want to call up their amendments. i oh only want to speak for two minutes on the amendment that i just submitted and just explain to the senate why this amendment is necessary, and i look forward to working with the chairwoman of the agriculture committee, senator stabenow from michigan, and others to work through the details. but it seems as though there is an inconsistency in the law between the 404 process that the
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corps of engineers uses when anyone, public or private, wants to build anything in a wetlands. of course you've got to get a permit. we're getting used to that. it is not an easy process, but it works for the most part. you've got to mitt gaivment there is a no net loss rule and we're all supporting that. however, there is a discrepancy in the farming rule and development act that actually prohibits some very, very worthy, nonprofit entities who are building community projects. this is not for-profit. to even apply for a permit, even if they could mitigate. and that's what my amendment seeks to correct. so the chairperson on the agriculture committee and others that have jurisdiction are -- have committed to work with me on this, to tailor this amendment so that it provides the help that some of these loans need through the rural development agency, but it
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doesn't open up a whole, new area of policy. and i thank the chair, and that's basically a very short but concise and complete description of whairm a trying to do. it is about aas simple as that. i look forward when we can, the senator from wisconsin, when he allows us to get flien for a vote on this committee, and i thank senator kohl for allowing us to offer this amendment at this time. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside and amendment number 791 be called up. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes an amendment numbered 791 to amendment number 738.
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at the appropriate place -- mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: this is a straightforward amendment. we've had a lot of talk about millionaires in the country, but what most people don't realize is that there are a lot of farmers in this country whose adjusted gross income is well in excess of $1 million that we're paying direct payments to. and what i would put forward is, if you're making a $1 million a year, i really don't think you need a lot of help from the federal government to be profitable. and so what this amendment will do will put a limit of $1 million or greater from receiving direct payments from the department of agriculture. you could say somebody making $980,000 wouldn't, but we've chose en this -- right now it's supposedly $2.5 million. adjusted gross income.
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so, what we've done, of those people who make $2.3.5 million farming, of all the people who make more than $2.5 million, 75% of their income outside of the farming income comes from some other areas. in other words, this is not their main business. their main business isn't farming. so if they make $2.5 million farming and they make a significant 75% more than that in other areas, again, i would say we should have trouble justifying to the american people that we're sending their tax dollars, actually borrowed money that are going to be charged that their kids and grandkids, that we should be sending those to those individuals. of the 1.8 million people who receive farm payments from 2003 to 2006, 2,702 received payments at that time. g.a.o. reported that the usda
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does not have management controls in place to verify that payments are not made to individuals of income-eligibility limit. so we have a limit of $2.5 million. but they don't know that they're enforcing it. first of all, we're going to cut it comeback to $1 million and say, put it -- put in action so you know who you're paying and how much they're making. g.a.o. found that participants in the program in 2506 were three times as likely to have an adjusted gross income in excess of $500,000 as than individuals who did not participate at all in the direct-payment program. in other words, 216 every 1,000 farm program participants reported in excess adjusted gross income of $500,000 or more compared with seven of every 1,000 filers in the tax filers in the general public. instead of taking more of what wealthy individuals have earned, congress would be wise to first
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end unsolicited subsidies in the farm program to those individuals. studies show that direct payments went to wealthy individual whose live in urban areas but own or have partial interest in their farms. in other words, they're absentee landlord whose live in u.s. cities with populations of 100,000 or more. but they were paid $394 million in farm payments in terms of the direct payment in 2010 alone. that's half a billion dollars. the top 10% of direct payments in 2010 received 59% of the money under the program. in other words, the top 10% got 59% of the direct-payment money. these 88,000 people got an average of $30,000. but if you look at those with adjusted gross income, they got far in excess of that.
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some examples include 23 members of congress in 112th congress. 195 individuals living in inside washington, d.c. 203 individuals in miami. 179 individuals inside the city limits of san francisco received over $1 million in payments. 290 individuals in new york city residents received $800,000, on average, in payments. president obama's fiscal 2012 budget proposes to reduce the per-person cap on direct payments to wealthy farmers by 25% or more and reduce the adjusted gross income eligibility limit by $250,000 over three years. well, what this amendment does is it goes in spirit of what the administration wants to do but goes further. it just says, if you're making over $1 million in adjusted gross income, you should not be
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eligible for direct payments through the farm program. straightforward, it's a way for us to change what we're doing. it's a way for us to save a significant amount of money, almost half a billion dollars. and i would dare to say that if you polled the average american and you said, we're paying out hundreds of millions of dollars every year to people that are making more than $1 million that are farming, they'd say, we don't agree with that; that can't be the intent of the original -- the original intent of that program. that program is designed to help those people who are truly undercapitalized, who truly are having a difficult time, even when we have great markets, and i am neat opposed to the direct-payment pravment but the fact is, to have a significant percentage of that go to individuals that are making far in excess -- 33 times what the average individual in this country makes -- i think is something we ought to end and we ought to end right now.
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mr. president, i'd ask that the pending amendment be set aside and amendments number 792 be called up. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes an amendment numbered 792 to amendment number 738. at the appropriate place -- mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent the amendment be considered read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: this is another fairly straightforward amendment. we have significant housing for people that have a need in our country, but inside that program in h.u.d. there are payments being made for housing complexes with life-threatening conditions or in absolute poor physical condition. and yet people are trapped there. we keep sending the money. the money doesn't go to improve the housing. it goes into the pockets of
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those that own the housing through the subsidized housing. thousands of needy families have turned to the government for stable housing. they have been placed in properties with health and safety deficiencies, including some that are life-threatening. there are 3,847 properties with life-threatening -- this is life-threatening deficiencies as determined by h.u.d. life-threatening that are currently or previously designated as trouble by h.u.d. during the past five years. of these, 2,297 are in poor physical condition that were designated as trouble by h.u.d. some of these are for the same properties that appear year after year on h.u.d.'s registration list of trouble properties. these numbers won't reflect all of the deficient housing provided by h.u.d. and other federal departments and agencies. so this is just a taste of the portion of what is out there.
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what this amendment would do would be cut off aid to the greedy slumlords while protecting needy families by prohibiting h.u.d. from making payments for any assistance or assured multifamily housing property currently designated as troubled on the online property integrated information system for a life-threatening deficiencies or poor physical condition that has been on this opis, troubled property lease at least one time during the past five years. what we're saying is if you've been taking advantage of the program as the owner of this property and not making it a safe property, not making it inhappen by thible, yet -- inhabitable, what we're saying is h.u.d. should not be giving you any money. over the past several years there have been far too many examples of slumlords receiving hundreds of millions of dollars,
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federal tax dollars, in many cases those without stable housing seek help but were put at health and safety risk by those entrusted to care for them with taxpayer funds. a recent abc news, ""nightline"" investigation concluded the federal government's low-income housing programs are plagued by theft, mismanagement and corruption at local levels including millions spent on housing for sex offenders and dead people and all too often fail the three million families who rely on them for a clean, safe place to live. specifically, the report found philadelphia housing authorities spent housing funds on lavish gifts for its executives, $500,000 to settle sexual harassment claims, h $17,000 of housing funds to throw an extravagant party for the executives. the same month as a belly-dancer party a 12-year-old girl living in subsidized housing suffered a near-fatal asthma attack that left her untaoeubl speak or
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walk -- unable to speak or walk secondary just to dangerous mold in that apartment housing complex, because it wasn't taken care of with the dollars that were paid by american taxpayers to help those who need it had or depended on us. "the new york daily news" found some of the city's worst landlords received $81 million in federal housing funds even though their buildings are riddled with housing code violations. the report stated millions of dollars have been doled out to buildings where tenants have repeatedly complained. rats, roaches, unworking elevators, lack of heat and flaking, lead paint. the federal government provided $300 million to more than 60 housing agencies that have been repeatedly faulted by auditors for mishandling government aid. in indiana, investigators found the poor being forced to live in substandard housing that local authorities knew was unsafe, yet did not fix. in indianapolis alone, more than $5.2 million a year has been spent on housing residents in
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unsafe conditions according to the fort wayne journal gazette. about $2.2 million of the federal funds intended to support low-income housing of the navajo nation indian lands in new mexico was instead spent on gaming, furs, jewelry, racehorse training according to the "las vegas sun." there is no oversight at h.u.d. to make sure the landlords meet the eligibility requirements for receiving these funds. so what we're asking doing is we're saying if you don't meet the criteria, you shouldn't get the money. that's hardly a novel idea, and yet we continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars supposedly to help those what are neediest among us, but yet doesn't help them at all. because the money's misdirected and not reinvested in the housing. h.u.d. tense to subsidize --
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continues to subsidize repeat offenders. there are 6,1600 -- 6,100 properties designated as troubled during the past five years. some of these properties appear year after year after year on the same list. in other words, no change, they're still getting the money. these include properties in my own state of oklahoma. needy families should not be put in dangerous conditions as a result of neglect by the slumlords. but more importantly, results of neglect by our oversight of h.u.d. so what we would propose to do is to ensure that federal housing benefits for the needy rather than the greedy and to prevent slumlords from abusing taxpayers and the disadvantaged. this amendment would bar h.u.d. from paying landlords whose properties are in poor physical condition or have life-threatening defish circumstance according to their own analysis -- life-threatening
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deficiencies according to their own analysis. they already know it but they're still paying it. what this amendment would say is if you're on the list, you don't qualify. it will send a great signal. not only will we not pay as much money to properties and put people in better properties but we will change the expectation of the people who are making all the money off the h.u.d. moneys for the properties. it will make a big difference. so there may not be many that actually lose the money, but there will be many people who are depending on us living in far better conditions, far safer conditions if we pass this amendment. i want to take just a moment, if my colleague doesn't mind, just to talk about where we are for a moment. i have a total of 12 amendments i was allowed to bring up two. i understand that they don't want to get in a hurry. but the fact is these are all good government amendments. every amendment that i brought up. they may not pass, but that's our fault.
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that's not -- but the fact is, is that we should not be limiting amendments. let's get them out there. let's do them. they are money savings. there are quality savings. there are ways to make the agencies work better. and we shouldn't be afraid of that. we stand right now as a nation in the worst shape we have ever been. the risk to our country are great. we need to quit thinking about partisanship. we need to quit thinking about advantage in the political arena and start doing what is necessary to fix our country. we passed a budget bill that allowed a debt increase that the average american doesn't realize that we actually didn't save any money. we're actually going to spend $800 billion or more than what we spent last year over the next ten years on discretionary
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programs. it's time we start being honest with the american public and these 12 amendments are simple and straightforward. one of them copies senator mikulski's amendment, that in terms ties down and makes more responsible the agencies on their conference spending. conference spending is out of control. the department of agriculture is out of control on the money it spends. and so we ought to be about moving things through here that make a real difference so that we can start rebuilding the confidence. when the american people, 15% of the people have confidence in us. and i understand why, because we spend most of our time around here in a quorum call. and we're going to do -- i was prepared to be here tonight to put all these amendments up to see which ones could be taken, not necessarily have a vote on every one. but we're not going to allow that to happen. and we're not going to allow it to happen not for any good reason. we're not going to allow it to happen for political reasons.
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that's killing our country. whether republicans do it or democrats do it, none of it's any good. the country is on to us. 85% think we're doing a lousy job. i wonder why it's that low. i can't find anybody in the state of oklahoma that thinks we're doing a good job. and i can't find anybody around the country that thinks we're doing a good job. but i would ask my colleagues, let's start moving stuff through here that actually changes things that,'s actually going to make a difference. you don't have to agree, but vote it down. none of these are trick amendments. none of these are meant to be political amendments. they are straightforward, good government amendments that we ought to consider. and if you disagree, disagree, fine. but let's not not vote on them. and let's not make an attempt -- let's not quit making attempts to try to fix what's wrong in our government. h.u.d.'s oversight of the housing is a disaster.
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when we have this many properties year after year on this list. why would we not want to fix that? it's not that we don't want to fix it. it's we don't want to give somebody an opportunity to put out the real reason our country's in trouble. and the real reason is us. we haven't done our jobs. we haven't done the oversight. we haven't cleaned things up. we could have great arguments and great discussions and great debates. but to not have the debate at all means we deserve every bit that have 85% lack of confidence in what we're doing. mr. president, i would hope tomorrow that i would be able to offer the rest of these amendments. i will work with, talk with almost every one of the managers on the amendments. none of them are controversial. some they may disagree with and want votes on. the others can be accepted. but to not move forward and then
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to say it's taking too long to get the bill when we're here ready to work is not an excuse the american people are ready to buy anymore. with that, i yield the floor. kohl mr. president, i ask unanimous consent -- mr. kohl: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: my colleague was addressing the frustration that exists with the american public with this chamber for not doing its job. i must say on that point we are in complete agreement. i hear in every town hall, in
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every conversation with constituents the question of why is it that what we need -- what we need most in this nation are jobs, this chamber, the senate, is unable to hold a debate over a jobs bill? and just last week we had a debate not over the jobs bill, but whether to proceed to the jobs bill. and, unfortunately, it was defeated not because the majority didn't want to get to the bill, but because the minority opposed it and invoked a 60-vote hurdle, a hurdle that was never routinely used in this chamber in the past. the fear of debating a jobs bill in this chamber by my colleagues is irrational. american people want us to wrestle with creating jobs.
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have people not gone out and talked to their constituents? did they not know the unemployment rate in this nation? do they not hear from the fathers and the mothers who are worried about keeping shelter over their family? or worried about their mortgage and their rent and their utilities? i don't understand how anyone could say let's not have a debate about jobs on the floor of the senate, and yet it was a unanimous "no" vote from across the aisle when we proposed having a debate over the jobs bill. i think it's so important that all of us here in this chamber who actually receive a paycheck understand the challenge and the plight of american citizens who
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either are working part time in multiple jobs, trying to make ends meet, have lost their job or completely unemployed. over the last ten years we have lost five million manufacturing jobs in this country. over the last ten years, we have lost 50,000 factories in this country. so working families are in a tremendous crunch. so i thought i'd simply share some stories from back home because there doesn't seem to be many people listening to folks back home, and they are concerned that this chamber debate and produce a jobs bill and get it to the president. jerry from lynn county says i was laid off in april, 2009. it took me two years and two
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months to find a contracting job. i appreciate having a job. however, i have no benefits, no holiday pay, no vacation pay, no medical or dental coverage. my wife recently suffered a badly broken leg. we have no insurance. her injury required surgery and a hospital stay. now we are in danger of losing the house that i bought in 1993. i am told that my contract has been renewed for another year. that will bring us to may of 2012. then i have to leave for three months before i can return. i am given no promise of being able to return to work there. that's jerry's story that he sent in to share. virginia from hillsborough
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writes in february, 2010, my department at my company was advised we would be laid off after transitioning our job duties to replacement staff in india. it felt like quite a blow. prior to the layoff, the company had not given us raises for three to four years, even though they were reporting profits. half of our department was laid off within a few months. i filed a t.a.a. petition to attempt to obtain additional funds for schooling for the people of our department, but it was denied. the year before i was laid off, my daughter who lives with us with her son changed jobs and then was laid off from the new job. four months after my layoff, my husband was advised the rest of his department was being laid off after their job duties are transitioned to an offshore site. hopefully he will have work
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until march. my daughter, myself and my husband are all looking for work. we moved my mother up with us three years ago, so now we have four generations living in our home. i have no idea what will happen if none of us can find work. my husband served his time in the army and he and i have always worked full-time, steady jobs. it feels like we're being punished for spending our lives working to take care of our family and to keep a roof over our heads. i read in the papers this morning that things are improving in oregon, but honestly, i don't see it. americans are hurting. americans need jobs. we want to work and need to work. we are not lazy. we are innovators and always have been. we need to regain our pride in our country, help each other and
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quit focusing on greed. so that was virginia from hillsborough. and if you didn't catch the beginning of her letter, it started by saying that she and her team were laid off after training replacements in india to take over their job, and that this terrible economy is resulting in people in multiple generations of her family without work. julio from southwest portland says i am 31 years old with my first baby on the way, and i can honestly tell you i am nowhere near where i thought i would be at this point in my life. upon graduating high school, i joined the navy. i did a six-year enlistment. my mother was a housekeeper. my father was an ordained minister, and they were unable to help me with the expenses of higher education, so i took full advantage of the g.i. bill once i was discharged, honorably
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discharged in 2004. i completed my degree in three years and nine months and graduated with a bachelor's in business management and a minor in economics. i strongly felt that as a six-year veteran of the navy with a degree in business and being bilingual, i would have no problem finding employment. unfortunately, i had the misfortune of graduating just as the financial world collapsed in 2008. three years later, i work two jobs and still make less than 30,000 a year. i have interviewed for several great jobs but due to the amount of people applying for the same position, i have lost out to individuals with a greater amount of experience. i know i can do well, but in our current environment, i feel as though i don't even have a chance. anything you can do to create better-paying jobs in oregon would be greatly appreciated. that was julio from southwest portland. these stories are coming from our single parents, they are coming from our husbands, our
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wives, they are coming from folks who are taking care of their parents, they are coming from folks who are trying to take care of their children, and you can feel the sense of frustration. you can feel the sense of panic in this economy. so last week, this chamber debated whether to have a debate about creating jobs, and my colleagues across the aisle said no, we will not let the jobs bill come to the floor. i must say i'm extraordinarily frustrated that at this time in this economy with so many americans hurting, my colleagues are unable to summon the connection to the challenge of the american family so that we can have full debate on this floor on a jobs bill.
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well, these families that are writing, as you could tell from their letters, they served their country. several of them were in the service. they played by the rules. they worked hard. but they have been let down again and again by a political system that has protected tax breaks for the wealthy over creating jobs and opportunities for working families. so i hope we'll have another chance to decide whether to debate a jobs bill, and i hope every member of this chamber will say yes, yes to taking and shutting down tax breaks, $20 billion a year for oil companies that are stashing that money in the bank and not creating a single job with it and taking that $20 billion and putting it to work on energy retrofits, which is by every economist the best bang for the buck we could possibly have in creating jobs, because you can't
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outsource a single bit of the labor and virtually all of the products are made right here in our economy, from the pink cotton candy insulation to the double-paned windows to the caulk. so that's just one example of the kind of conversation we should be having. we should be having a conversation about whether we should be helping our school districts hire teachers. that's in the bill. some will agree, some won't, but let's have the debate. if someone wants to propose an amendment and say no, we don't want to help our school districts, we can do something better to create jobs, then let's have that debate, but let's not sit on our hands when the american families are suffering. let's get to work and create jobs that the families across america need. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the
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senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, are we in morning business? the presiding officer: we are. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. i'm delighted the senator from colorado is in the chair when i speak because i want to speak on a subject about which he is the foremost expert in this chamber, at least in day-to-day operations, and that is of school systems, and i think he will appreciate and understand what i am about to say in ways that many people will not. yesterday, yesterday, i had a telephone conversation with a member of the editorial board of a prominent newspaper in this country who asked me this question. she said senator alexander, how could you and the national education association possibly be together on the teacher evaluation question? how can you justify that? and then she said and when has the n.e.a. ever done anything to encourage the evaluation of schoolteachers? that's a good question. both questions are good
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questions. what she was referring to, of course, was the draft announced yesterday by senator harkin and senator enzi who are the ranking members of the senate committee that handles education, and in it included a provision on evaluation of principles and teachers. at my suggestion and that of others. but contrary to the suggestion of a number of people, it does not include an order from washington that all 15,000 school districts have a teacher-principal evaluation system. it does not include a definition of what it should be, and it doesn't include the opportunity for the education secretary, whomever it may be, to then issue a number of regulations defining what a teacher evaluation system would be in denver or in maryville or in nashville. what it does include is the following -- for the first time, it successful allows a state to
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spend its title 2 money. that's $2.5 billion of federal funds that goes to states. it allows that money to be spent to design and implement a principal-teacher evaluation system that is related to student achievement. now, in my view, that's the holy grail of public education. if we could ever figure out how to do that and to get everybody to do it, i think it would do more than any other single thing we could do to help our children learn what they need to know and be able to do, except some law that would make everybody better parents, and i don't know how to pass such a law. so that's the first thing the harkin-enzi draft includes about teacher evaluation. in tennessee, for example, that would mean that there would be about $41 million this year that
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could be spent for that purpose. there are about 63,000 teachers in tennessee, so that's about $660 per teacher, per year of federal funds that could be used to design and implement a principal-teacher evaluation system related to student achievement, and this is the first time that's been specifically allowed. secondly, there is something in the draft legislation called the teacher incentive fund. many school superintendents like the distinguished senator from colorado know that fund very well. we know it in tennessee because of the work in memphis. basically, it's a grant that was included as a result of language in no child left behind. secretary spellings then beefed up the program, got the money appropriated, and it recognizes the difficulty of figuring out how to reward and evaluate
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teachers in a fair way, especially if you're going to base compensation on that, and it says okay, if you want to do it, we'll give you some money to help you try to do it. and so you can do it one way in knoxville, another way in denver, another way in los angeles. hopefully what will happen is over time, we'll find lots of fair ways to -- to reward outstanding teaching and determine outstanding teaching, and smaller school districts and other school districts can -- can borrow ideas from one another. that's been a big success. secretary duncan supports it, i support it. it has support all the way around. president obama has supported it. the third thing that's available for helping develop teacher evaluation systems is a program called race to the top. $700 million in fiscal year 2011. that's a lot of money. states had to compete based upon
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their -- among other things, their ability to develop principal-teacher evaluation systems. my state of tennessee -- and i can brag on them especially because i had nothing to do with it at least recently, won that competition, won $500 million which is being spent today to -- which has been spent to develop and implement an evaluation program for all the teachers in tennessee. and then there is another item in this draft which fits in here. i would call it the secretary's report card. all previous education secretaries -- and i'm one of them -- have tried to use the bully pulpit. so have presidents. when i was governor of tennessee and we were working on a master teacher program, president reagan came to tennessee to say it was a good idea. that was very helpful to me at the time. he didn't try to say this is how
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you should do it. he said i recognize what you're doing and i applaud it and encourage it. bill bennett, when he was the education secretary for president reagan, went to chicago and said they had the worst schools in the country. made a lot of news. but when a secretary uses that bully pulpit, he can make a difference. we have a very good education secretary right now, arne duncan, and what he now has at his disposal, no one has had before. he has eight or nine years of reporting requirements of schools all across the country, and there are about 100,000 public schools he has this information for. and he can go around the cawntd say this is good, this is bad, i'll put the spotlight here, let's do more of this. he can do it in a way nobody ever could before. so this is what in the draft that we're talking about. that would for the first time get the federal government significantly involved in creating an environment for teacher-principal evaluation related to student achievement.
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one is $2.5 billion in federal dollars, in title ii can be used for this purpose, the incentive fund, $399 million, race to the top nearly $700 million and then there's the secretary report card. i responded to the editor who called me and said look, i know something about this, in 193 and 1984 when i was governor of tennessee, we became the first state in the country to create a statewide system for rewarding outstanding teaching and paying those teachers based upon that. at that time in tennessee not one teacher made one penny more anywhere in the country for being a good teacher. not one teacher made one penny more, was paid one penny more for being a good teacher. that's what we did in 1983 and 1984. she said how hard could that be? everybody knows some teachers
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are better than others. we all know that when we put our children in school. everybody knows that. why can't we evaluate teachers? how hard could that be? i was a little bit amused by that because those were exactly the same kinds of questions i was asking in frustration 30 years ago. i would say it to every college of education in the country. i couldn't find a single one that would help me in any significant way evaluate outstanding teaching. now, that may sound like an overstatement, it's not much of an overstatement. i had dean after dean, education professor after education professor say you can't do that. you can't -- you can't determine that one teacher is better than another one, especially if you plan to reward them, compensate them based upon that. i found that patently ridiculous. patently ridiculous. just like the editor was trying to say to me every parent knows that, my mother put me in one first grade instead of another
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first grade in tennessee because she thought one teacher was better than the other. she had an opinion about that. she was teacher herself so perhaps she knew. we all have those judgments to make. and i.b.m. hires a lot of education people and they make -- they have teachers and they know some are better than others and they pay them correspondly. colleges and universities pay teachers all the way up the ladder from lower amounts to very high amounts for distinguished professors. they can find a way to make a distinction. but somehow we'd gotten in this rut 30 years ago that said we can't make -- we can't make any distinction among teachers based upon their ability to teach, especially related to student achievement, and then we especially can't take the next step and pay some more than others. the reason i thought that was such an urgent problem 30 years ago was that we can't trap women
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in our schools anymore to teach. women are in the marketplace now. that's what we did for many, many years. if we want -- if we want to atrack and -- attract and keep the very best men and women 250e67g in our classrooms we need to be able to recognize excellence when we find it and to reward it with compensation. i can remember sitting around with a group of governors when bill clement said to a group of mostly democratic governors, when is one of you, he use he another word, so-and-so's going to get on the courage to take on the n.e.a. what he meant, the national education association. well, i was young and maybe didn't know better so i created a bipartisan commission in my second term with the democratic leaders of the legislature and we set out to figure out a number of things about education, including a master
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teacher program. the loongd short of it was we did that. it took a year and a half of my time as governor. i must have spent an hour and 40 or 50 -- percent of my time engaged in an ongoing brawl namely with the national education association as some whether we could do this or not. they defeated my proposals in the first year, i came back the second year and won by one vote. and we put in place a voluntary program that before long up to 10,000 tennessee teachers voluntarily went into a career ladder program, became master teachers, many got 11-month and 10-month and 12-month contracts, it raised their pay, gave them distinction and i have teacher after teacher come to see me today to thank me for that, including the current leadership of the tennessee education association whose organization killed the program after i left office. so it's appropriate to ask senator alexander, why are you and the national education
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association in cahoots on any sort of teacher evaluation proposal? well, i wanted to just say briefly here why. a lot has happened since 1983- 1984, governor hunt, democratic governor of north carolina and others have created the board of professional teaching standards. the n.e.a. and federation of teachers both participated in that, that was a step forward in recognizing and certifying outstanding teachingers. the a.f.t., the american federation of teachers has always been open to this proposal. the i remember albert schenker saying if we can have master plumbers you can have master teachers especially if you're going to pay them more and he invited me to their national convention in los angeles to talk about it. president bush and secretary spellings, president obama and secretary duncan who have taken a lead on this despite the fact it's not popular with many of
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the constituents of their party have stuck their necks out on this and i applaud them for that. the gates foundation has put money behind it. bill gates has told me personally this is one of the two things he wants to do in education with the time and the money that he's got. so there is a consensus, not everybody might not say as i do it's the holy grail of kindergarten through the 12th grade but there's a consensus that finding fair ways to reward outstanding teaching through teacher-principal evaluation related to student achievement is urgently important. so it's very tempting just to pass along washington and -- a law in washington and say let's order it, let's just do it. well, that's not the way things work in the united states of america. we did that with professional development. the law now says with all that $2.5 billion, do it, have professional development programs. and i don't know what the senator from colorado thinks but my view and i don't think secretary duncan would mind my
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repeating his comments often, that's the biggest waste of money we have in the federal education program. it's not well used. we say do it and so they have all these programs and teachers know it's a waste of time and everybody knows it's a waste of time, we're not spending that money wisely. so why are we to think if we just say create a teacher evaluation system that all across the country in 15,000 school districts people will just say okay, we have to do it to get the money and they'll do it? i think it would be the kiss of death for the whole movement. it's tempting, tempting to do it. then yesterday on my way up here in my hometown of mayoryville, tennessee, i picked up the newspaper and it reminded me of why i so strongly believe it is a good idea to create an environment in which school districts and states can create teacher-principal evaluation systems and it's a bad idea to order it, define it and
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regulate it from washington. here's the headline. i mentioned this yesterday on my remarks on the floor. evaluation of teachers contentious. here's the state of tennessee tennessee -- could i ask for three more minutes? a senator: i certainly have no objection. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from kansas and i'll kind of speed up my comments a little bit. might take four unless that's a problem. mr. moran: i have no objection. mr. alexander: i'd like to finish my point if i may. the state of tennessee,the one rates rays to the top. developed the sanders model which was the first real way that we related student achievement to teacher performance. may sound easy, it's pretty hard. nobody else would do it, this professor in the university of tennessee agriculture department, a statistician said
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i think i can do it and did he it and it's used many places but not every place. some don't have confidence in it. but so tennessee wins $500 million in race to the top to do what? have a teacher-principal evaluation program. here they're doing it. 25 years of experience and it's the front page news, evaluations of teachers contentious. all the struggles with that program. and then we get into here what it's involved. it says under the new system, this is the tennessee system of evaluation, tenured teachers will be evaluated at least four times each year. nontenured teachers will be evaluated at least six times each year. effectiveness ratings are calculated using a formula that's 50% qualitative, 50% qualitative. student growth other 15% and 15% student achievement. mr. president, they're having a tough time in maryville, tennessee and nashville, tennessee, implementing their own proposal.
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it said state officials are traveling across the state to meet with stakeholders, the state of education's advisory group will bring revisions to the education commissioner. recommendations might need to be brought before the state board of education. do we really want them to come to washington after they get through and say okay, we've got it figured out, we're having a really hard time doing it, you tell us what to do, define what we ought to do and may we please have your permission to do things this way instead of that way. i think not, mr. president. i think that would be the kiss of death for any movement for teacher-principal evaluation. so my -- my plea is that we show some restraint here, that we recognize it just a little movement here makes a big difference there when we're dealing with 3.2 million teachers. when we're dealing with 100,000
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schools. secretary duncan says a system based on multiple measures including student achievement is education for education reform to move forward. we cannot retreat from reform. he is exactly right. but that does not mean we need a national school board. that's what a governor, a legislator, a school district, local people ought to be doing working with teachers. so the n.e.a. and i may have the same position today on whether to have a mandate definition and regulation from washington of teacher evaluation. we may agree. i can't speak for them. but what i'll be watching them now -- as i did 30 years ago and as i did 15 years ago -- 20 years ago as education secretary, i'll be twiewchg see what they're doing in tennessee. are they making it easier for kevin huffman and the governor and the legislature to implement this award winning teacher evaluation program or making it harder? i hope we'll have a good, full debate as we move to the markup the next few days.
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i respect the enthusiasm of all those who want to begin a progress for teacher and principal evaluation. i would like to believe that no one wants it to move more than i do. i've watched it for 30 years, i've fought everyone who is against it for 30 years, and i strongly believe that the right way to do it is to recognize that education is like jobs. both are national concerns, both are of interest to the federal government, but we can't create them from here. we have to create an environment in which local people, state people can create better schools and create better jobs and in this case, a mandate definition and regulation from washington, a national school board, would be a terrible error. i thank the president, i thank the senator from kansas for his courtesy and i yield the floor.
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mr. moran: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: i commend the gentleman from tennessee for his remarks. i believe what happens in washington, d.c. is important, we really do change the world one person at a time and it happens at home in classrooms across america each and every day and there is no more noble profession other than parenthood than that of a teacher. and they make a tremendous difference in the lives of americans each and every day and i commend them for that and i commend the gentleman from tennessee for his passion for education. i want to talk about education that's occurring at fort leavenworth, kansas and i want to call to my colleagues' attention important work that's being done in the heartland to educate the next generation of military leadership at the command and general staff college, the cgsc is the intellectual center of the united states army and has
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trained many of our nation's legendary leaders. macarthur, patton, eisenhower, arnold and bradley. today the college continues to prepare a new generation of leaders who are tasked with protecting our country from threats here at home and abroad around the world. the 21st century national disiewrt challenges we face are -- national security challenges we face are often complex and require cooperation of several federal agencies. it is not uncommon for officials from the department of state to be working alongside the department of homeland security or the department of defense on the same project. from the provincial reconstruction teams in afghanistan to responding to hurricanes or man-made disaster, the capability of agencies to work together is vital to the success of this mission. by working together and learning from previous mistakes, our government will become better-prepared to keep our country safe and secure. to improve coordination within
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agencies tasked with the national security, the command and general staff college foundation under the leadership of retired colonel bob uland established the arthur d. steinland center at fort leavenworth in kansas. things a very generous financial gift from ross perot, the center was created last april and named after mr. perot's good friend, retired colonel arthur "bull" simons, who led a rescue mission of special forces to free american prisoners in vietnam in 1970. the simon center focuses on generating solutions to challenges often encountered when government agencies must work together. by drawing on real-world experience, the simon center works to facilitate broader and more effective cooperation within our government at the operational and tactical levels through research, analysis, publication, and outreach. the center is also actively
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engaged in working with members of congress. most recently, the center has been working with the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee, of which i am a mergers and on legislation to help facilitate better communications and coordination among personnel in the national security and homeland security fields. the interagency personnel rotation act is scheduled to be considered in committee tomorrow and would give security professionals the opportunity to work alongside one another in a different agency for a period of time. the bill reminds me of the old saying, "before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes." by giving staff the opportunity to work within another agency, to walk within his shoes, i imagine perspectives will change and cooperation will increase. if the legislation is approved by congress, the simon center will play a role in implementing these policies. in addition to offering policy recommendations, the center also partners with several organizations to host conferences focused on how to
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improve interagency coordination. for example, the center recently cohosted a symposiums on interagency transition in iraq, afghanistan, and beyond with a combined arm centers and the u.s. institute of peace. conferences like these help provide senior government officials a helpful forum to further analyze ongoing challenges and develop practical solutions. i'd like to thank the center's executive director ted strickler who joined after a 30-year career in the state department for his past year's work to et go the center up and running. i'd also like to recognize retired colonel bob uland for his ongoing dedication to this important initiative. under the colonel's leadership, the foundation successfully supported our country's oldest and largest military staff college in its mission to educate the next generation of our military leaders. finally, the urge my colleagues to take a closer look at the valuable work taking place at the simon strvment we all
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recognize the importance of improving our government's ability to harness the strength of its various agencies. by promoting interagency coorntion the simon center is helping to strengthen our national security capabilities so that our country and its citizens are better-prepared for their future. mr. president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quoarmt being 2er89ed. officer without objection. mr. reid: now ask consent that on wednesday, octd 19, when the senate resumes consideration of h.r. 2112, time until noon be equally divided between senators mccain and boxer or their designees. that's for debate on the mccaning amendment number 739. at noon, the senate proceed to vote in relation to the mccain amendment. that there be no amendments or points of order in order to amend that part of the other than budget poirdz. the presiding officer: is is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask that the senate proceed to executive stowings consider calendars 429, 430, 431, 432, 4333, 434, 435, that the nominations be confidence en bloc, the motions to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or gite, no further motions be in order, any statements be placed in the
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record and president obama be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the energy committee be discharged from further consideration of s.925 and the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the following bills en bloc: calendar number 129, s. 270, calendar number 132, calendar number 133, s. 333, calendar number 134, s. 334, calendar 13 of you s. 434 are h.r. 407, h.r. 765, and s. 9 2k56789. the presiding officer: is objection to proceeding to the measures on block? without objection, so ordered.
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mr. reid: i ask consent that the committee amendments where applicable be agreed to, the bill as amended be amended -- let's start that over again, mr. president. i ask consent that the committee amendments where applicable be agreed to, the bills as amended, if amend, be read a third time and and passed, the motions to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. reid: i now ask that the senate proceed to s. con. res. 32. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate concurrent resolution 32 to authorize the clerk of the house of representatives to make technical corrections in the enrollment of h.r. 470 and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. reid: thank you. i ask that the resolution be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask consent that the senate proceed to s. res. 298. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 298, expressing support for the designation of october 20, 2011, as the national day on writing. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, senate will proceed. mr. reid: i scu ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate, and n.i.h. related paimentds be praints printed in the rohr as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the when the senate completes its business today we adjourn until 9:30 a.m. on wednesday, october 19, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserve for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business for up to one hour with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each with the time equally divide and
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controlled between the leaders or her designation dings with the republicans controlling the first half, the majority controlling the final half. following morning business, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 2k 112, agriculture, c.j.s., and transportation aappropriations bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: the first roll call vote will occur around noon tomorrow. if there is no further business come before the senate, i ask at that it adjourn you following the remarks of senator murkowski of alaska. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i request permission to speak for up to one hour. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. tonight -- today is a celebration in alaska. tonight is the 144th anniversary of alaska day. this is the day that
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commemorates the first raising of the stars and stripes over lord baronoff's cass until sit carks alaska. at the time sitka was called something else. until that moment twaks the capital of russia america. we celebrate alaska's statehood today, october 18. we also celebrate our 52-year-old compact with the united states and its promise to grant alaskaians the opportunity to permit equally with the other states of the union. together with hawaii, statehood for alaska marked the last chapter in america's great westward expansion. of course, that expansion really began well before alaska's statehood, well before the purchase from russia, and it really goes back to thomas jefferson's northern west ordinances, which promised an
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equal footing for a state government to stand up on its own and to make that leap out of territorial status. and this resulted in states like ohio, like indiana forming a as sovereign governments with the federal government relinquishing almost all control over the lands within those borders. so people came to live, to build their lives in these new states and with their new lives came the infrastructure, came the roads, the bridges, the factories, and the industry. and that set things in motion for expansion into the far west, frontier states like wyoming and nevada, utah, montana, then gold in california and colorado really brought an urgency to the expansion, and we saw the railroads that helped accelerate and accommodate it. but as times passed, the terms began to change.
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precedents were increasingly set for vast federal land withdrawals in the form of national forests, monuments, parks, and preserves, and the promise and the definition of equal footing changed during these times, and ultimately more states had more of an equal footing than others, as we saw the newest western states would soon have to contend with federal land managers. now, none of this, though, took away from the hope that alaskan felt when secretary of state william seward negotiated the purchase of alaska from czar nicholas, and he negotiated this purchase for $7.2 million. now, mr. president, we're talking a lot about money nowadays and usually talking in billions, rather than millions. but just think about it.
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the purchase of alaska came at the price of $7.2 million. that's about two cents an acre, which is clearly a deal under anybody's terms. and so back in sitka today, this day is always commemorated by the town's biggest parade of the year. it is a time of celebration really, when many alaskans remember the hope that they felt for a brighter future when we became the 49th state in the union back in 1959. now, in 1959, i was only a year old, and -- so when president eisenhower signed that statehood act into law -- can't really have much of an impression at that point in time -- i still feel like i've grown up with alaska, that we have both matured over the years. and throws that know me know that i can go on and on extolling the virtues of my
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state. something as simple as potatoes, i will brag that while we might not have the biggest poe tray tows in the country, but our potatoes are germ-free. we're bigger, better, we've got more sun, more darkness, it's colder, warmer. we are a land of extremes. we're an incredible place. alaska is unparalleled in its beauty and its potential, and there's really always been something that's very classically american about alaska. it is truly our nation's last frontier, a place where it is still possible for adventurous men and women to live the greatest version of the american dream, and i think that's what draws so many people to our state. they -- they still believe that there is a place where you can live on the edge of a lot of possibility. and that continues to make us a
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remarkable place to be. statehood itself was a dream for many, many years among our pioneers and our native people. it didn't come quickly, and it certainly did not come easily. prior to statehood, we only had territorial status in the united states. and that left us without any vote here in the congress. we weren't entitled to receive funding from many programs, we wereg for highways. at the mercy of the generosity of the federal government. we were at the mercy of those out-of-state interests which had locked in a foot hold over many of our resources. i would born and raised in southeastern alaska, and my grandparents raised their families there. and i can remember stories about the push for statehood stemming from the desire to control our fisheries, the salmon wars that went on at that time. ultimately statehood came about
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after 92 long years, and only after heroic efforts from a great many individuals, too many to do justice here this evening. but for purposes of my statement tonight, i would like to invoke three names that some in this town and some in this chamber may still remember. the first is our former governor and senator, earnest greening, whose seat in this chamber i'm humbled to hold. senator greening was really, he was an intellectual titan. he was the consummate public servant. he was an alumnus of harvard medical school, a prolific journalist who served as editor to both the new york tribune and the magazine "the nation." he also contributed to the "atlantic monthly." in the epic novel "alaska" written by james mitchner, he credited senator greening for
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publicizing alaska's cause at the national level. he called him gifted. as a credit to his legacy, earnest greening's statute stands a few steps away from here in the capitol visitors center. another individual, a man who truly built our state was wally hickel, a form are gov, the man who president nixon was so kpwrefd with -- impressed with that he named him secretary of the interior. wally arrived as the legend goes with about 37 cents in his pocket but rose in business. he was at the forefront of negotiating statehood. he understood the critical balance between the federal interests and the state interests, between the corporate interests and the public interest. governor hickel is important to this conversation because alaska
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is where he saw and realized the american dream all the while with a clear eye and a vision towards the future of our state. we lost wally hickel last spring but hit writings and his vision clearly continue to guide our state. and a third man i want to bring up this evening is a man that i was privileged to work for and to serve with, and that is the late senator ted stevens. i hold senator stevens, or "uncle ted" as many in the state referred to him, i hold him in great personal and professional regard. he was a world war ii pilot, a harvard lawyer who served as prosecutor in the territorial days. he was a congressional liaison to president eisenhower. he was an attorney for the interior department. much of the leg work that is associated with statehood was t*ed's, and much of what alaska
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has become is directly attributable to his work here in this chamber. ted's work and his influence carried so much further beyond alaska, his work in matters of national defense, in telecom, in fisheries. they shaped national and global politics. and he was truly, he was truly larger than life. he made alaska matter in a way that nobody could have imagined. and without him, it's indisputable that we wouldn't have the opportunities that we have now. mr. president, the reason that i invoke these names is to remind my colleagues about the consequential nature, the gravitas of great men and women who made sure that alaska became our 49th state. these were exceptional americans with an exceptional vision.
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they really qualified fie as the founding fathers -- they really qualify as the founding fathers of my state. they knew what thomas jefferson knew at the time of the northwest ordinances that the new state of alaska didn't have the population at the time and wasn't likely to get the population. they didn't have the infrastructure to support an economy. and that it would not succeed without open access to its huge natural resource base. and this is why they negotiated 104 million acres of pure state land and a 90% share of revenues from resource development on federal lands. this is compared to the 50% that's enjoyed by the rest of the states. there was no clear path to alaska's self-sufficiency without these terms. as a matter of fact, mr. president, there still
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isn't. in 1958, the u.s. senate's official committee report on the alaska statehood act promised alaska that it would be given great latitude to develop its resources. it read -- and i'll quote here -- "some of the additional costs connected with statehood will be met by granting the state a reasonable return from federal exploitation of resources within the new state. in the past the united states has controlled the lion's share of resources and in some instances retained the lion's share of the proceeds. this situation, though, has not proved conducive to development of the alaskan economy. the committee deems it only fair that when the state relieves the united states of most of its expense burden, the state should receive a realistic portion of the proceeds from resources within its borders."
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that's the end of the quote but there is more to this. skraeufrp interior -- secretary interior fred seaton while in alaska to deliver statements about alaska's statehood. he have said the statement compact reaffirmed alaska's preferential treatment in receiving 90% of all revenues from oil, gas and coal leasing on public domain. in fairbanks, he went further promising, and again i'll quote, "since early this year the territory has received 90% of all oil lease revenues and the state of alaska will continue to do so." end of his quote. these statements are remarkably clear. alaska would be allowed to develop its resources and receive most of the revenues from that development. and, mr. president, i truly wish that i could stand here tonight,
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all these years later, to say that these promises have been upheld. i wish that i could go to sleep tonight or any night knowing that the federal government had kept its promises to the people of alaska and that my children and their children will surely see our state continue to prosper and come into its own. but the reality is, the reality is, mr. president, that alaska's relationship with the federal government has become strained. the federal government has always had a significant presence in the last frontier, from the first alaska day to this one. but today, at a time when alaskans need the federal government to act as our partner, it has become an obstacle. its default position is no longer to enable prosperity for
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alaskans. more often than not the federal government now delays or really denies those opportunities. and that leaves me worried. leaves me concerned about the future of my state not because of the global economy, not because of high unemployment levels, but because of the treatment that we receive at the hands of our own federal government. and i'm here today to say that this treatment can't go on like this. it cannot. and i want to ensure that my colleagues here on the senate understand why. i've asked for a large block of time here, mr. president. i don't usually take a lot of floor time, particularly to go back into history. but this, this is important to not only my state's past, but my state's future. and so i'd like to explain some
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of what we are dealing with. some of this may not be easy for some to see. some believe that alaska and the rest of the country, for that matter, is past the opponent where we need to -- past the point where we need to develop our resources. many of our newer members may not understand the promises made to alaska upon statehood, and therefore they don't understand what's been happening since then. adding to the complication is that our resource options have been greatly restricted over the course of decades, not individual months or even years. so to understand what has changed, we can't look back to the start of this administration. i'm not going to single out the present administration and say you're not letting us do something. the fact of the matter is, mr. president, we've got to go back. we've got to go back many administrations. we've got to go all the way back to the late 1970's, a time when much of alaska had already been
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withdrawn into federal wilderness status. president carter and his interior secretary had decided that, well, that wasn't enough. they designated over 56 million more acres of new national monuments, 40 million more acres of wildlife refuges and 11 million more acres of restricted national forests. now, that in and of itself would have been unprecedented, unprecedented in terms of the amount of land for the federal government to unilaterally withdraw if it were nationwide. but this land was all in alaska. every acre of it was in alaska. so not surprisingly, this came over the state's objection. congress reacted to this tremendous federal overreach so that alaska senators and
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congressmen together with a few sympathetic colleagues could at least try to control that impact, and that negotiated truce was the alaska national interest lands conservation act. we call it anilca for short. in no uncertain terms anilca was a compromise. it was clearly a compromise. and for his part, president carter stated, when he signed anilca into law, he said -- quote -- "100% of the offshore areas and 95% of the potentially productive oil and mineral areas will be available for exploration or for drilling." again, that's president carter saying that 100% of offshore areas, 95% of potentially productive oil and mineral areas will be available for oil, for exploration or for drilling. pretty strong statement. and it seemed pretty clear, very
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reassuring at the time of this compromise. but today it stands as probably the worst broken promise that the federal government has ever made to the state of alaska. as the interior department reported just this past sprepbg, less than -- past spring, less than 1%, less than 1% of federal lands in alaska are currently producing oil or natural gas. mr. president, i would suggest that that's an indictment. a significant portion of our lands have been placed off limits and where development is allowed is often stalled by federal red tape. and that's wrong. it's wrong. it's unacceptable. and it's to the detriment of both alaska and our nation as a whole. alaska is nearly 4,000 miles from where we are here in washington, d.c. i know because i log that trip
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on alaska airlines quite frequently. and i know that what makes news back home doesn't always make news here. so i'd like to use part of my time tonight to provide the senate with some of the many examples of how resource development in my home state is being held back. and let's start with mining. back in 2009, the e.p.a. attempted to halt the keynesington gold mine -- the kensington gold mine from proceeding in alaska. this happened after two decades, two decades of agency review and legal challenges. it happened even though the supreme court had ruled that a crucial permit for the mine was indeed valid. but the e.p.a. was so unhappy with this decision that it jumped back in. it sought to nullify the plan that had just held up to the scrutiny of the supreme court. and, mr. president, this is not the alaska supreme court.
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this is the united states supreme court. this was not an effort to protect the environment as the e.p.a. the e.p.a. proposal was demonstrably worse for the environment. this was an effort to stop the mine at all costs, regardless of the consequences for the local economy or the hundreds of alaskans who were depending on jobs from this particular mine. now, more recently we've seen senators within this body from other states challenge a mine that could one day be located in southwest alaska. those senators have asked the e.p.a. to consider a preemptive veto of the mine, but this is even before a plan has been proposed. now, i have suggested, i have said that a preemptive veto makes no more sense than a preemptive approval, and that
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we should provide a robust environmental review when and if a permit application is going to be submitted. now, i will remind everyone here, we don't have a habit of hastily approving mines here in this country. in fact, we rank dead last, dead last among all the countries in the world in the amount of time it takes to review permits. this mine will have to secure at least 67 different permits, approvals, and authorizations from federal, state, and local governments. that represents about 67 chances for the mine to be delayed, modified, or halted. but some apparently believe that that process is still not sufficient. let's talk about timber. there is the wholesale deficit reduction of the timber industry in southeast alaska.
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now, this point, again, i feel like i need to -- to put my alaska bona fides out there and remind everybody how big alaska is. we're -- we're more than twice the size of texas. people forget that. we've got a lot of room up there. we could produce a tremendous portion of our nation's timber and pulp if we were only allowed to do so. we could do that while leaving vast, vast majority of our lands untouched. but that hasn't been possible. southeast alaska is nearly all federal lands. and so our ability to conduct logging there is very heavily dependent on the federal government's willingness to grant access. now, when anilca passed, the timber industry in return for accepting the creation of more than five million acres of new national monuments closed to timber harvesting, they were
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assured that the forest service would make 450 million board feet of decemberer available in the future, half of what was being produced prior to the bill's passage. but we accepted that, it was a compromise, but anilca also guaranteed a -- $40 million worth of funding each year for road building, precommercial thinning to allow the existing industry to survive on a smaller land base. so you've got to ask the question, what happened? alaska's timber industry has not thrived. it struggles. you go down to seethe, you talk to people in ketchikan or then bay, it's worse than struggling. they're on life support. they're struggling to survive as outside forces repeatedly attempt to shut it down. as the urging of washington, d.c.'s environmental community the funding within anilca was repealed and the
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allowable harvest level was cut in half again over the following decade. but even that reduced amount of logging seems expansive today because the forest service has made far less than 50 million board feet available for timber harvest within the past three years. so far this year, the forest service has amazingly sold just two million board feet of new timber offerings. this is a dramatic decline for an industry that once provided thousands of well-paying jobs for residents in southeast alaska as well as the revenue that came in and by the way, some really world-class quality wood and pulp resources for the rest of our country. given these restrictions, it probably comes as no surprise that employment in the industry has plummeted from about 6,000 total jobs in 1980 to about where we are today, which is
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about 450 and that includes all of the -- the support structure as well. so for those of us who grew up in the tongas, i was born in ketchikan and raised in places like juneau and wrangle, to see an economy cut off to the point that it is no longer existent because of federal policies, it's very difficult, very difficult to deal with. then of course, we can take a look at alaska's oil and gas industry. currently provides nearly 90% of the revenues for alaska's state budget, and historically as much as 20% of our nation's petroleum supply, we're pretty proud of this. we feel like we've done a pretty good job. here more than anywhere else we see the scope and the consequence of federal decisions to restrict resource development. we've just to put things in
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context, so people know what we're talking about, i don't have the rest of the country on here, mr. president, because that chart is coming later, but in understanding where alaska's resources lie, i think it helps to understand the management and the division, if you will, within our state in terms of our lands. the map which i don't expect most can see is kind of a jumble of colors, but what i will direct you to and to those who are looking at this, is all of the green areas are forest service and the orange and tan areas are b.l.m. parklands, the areas that are in blue are the state lands.
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the small areas where you have red are areas that are held in private lands, whether it's native lands or whether it is held in private lands. but up here in the national petroleum reserve at the top of the area, this is an area congress has explicitly designated for producing oil. federal regulators will not allow a simple bridge to be built over a remote river. without this bridge, it is not possible or it's exceptionally difficult to begin commercial production. so you've got production within a national petroleum reserve
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that's remaining off-limits at this moment. and i've asked the question and it's not a rhetorical question but it's clearly worth repeating. if we can't get presume -- petroleum from the national petroleum reserve, where can we get it from? this is an area that was specifically designated by the congress and we're being held up from accessing this because we cannot get approval to place a bridge over the coleville river. mr. president, we continue to work this because it's extraordinary that we would be held up these many years. off-shore in the beaufort , these areas are estimated to contain more than 20 billion barrels of oil. production in these areas could help us refill our pipeline which is running dangerously low, create many thousands of good-paying jobs, but federal
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regulators have held this up over really of all things air permits needed for exploratory operations to begin miles off shore in the arctic ocean. we've seen some steps in the right direction and that's good, but the fact of the matter is that drilling has been canceled each of the last four seasons, and next year is still uncertain. i had an opportunity to quiz director bronze medalwich today, he's trying to give me assurance that it might be on track for next season but it has been almost five years and almost $4 billion in an effort to get to the point where you can proceed to begin exploration. alaska has already lost hundreds of jobs and millions in revenues because of these federally imposed delays. of course i cannot -- cannot not talk about alaska's oil and
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gas resources without discussing alaska's coastal plain, which is this area right over here to add join canada. we've got an area up north that is estimated to hold 10.4 billion barrels of oil. this is the mean estimate, so it's possibly much more than that. i have sponsored legislation to allow responsible development in the nonwilderness portion. not in the wilderness portion of anwar, we're not going to touch that. and i've offered this for several congresses now but even limiting that development to .01% of the refuge has proven unacceptable to many members of this chamber. we repeatedly hear from others well, this area is too sensitive , you know, despite alaska's very strong record of environmental stewardship in
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nearby prudoe bay. we just hear it's going to take too long for this oil to come to market. they'll say it's going to take ten years to get anwar oil. that's just too long. mr. president, the ten years away argument has been made for over 20 years now. so instead of -- of continuing to delay, continuing to delay, let's figure out how we make this happen. but instead of seeking to promote any promotion here in congress and from the fish and wildlife service we face efforts to put all of the coastal plain into permanent wilderness restriction. to anyone who thinks that the nonwilderness portion of anwar was never meant for energy development, i would point you to president eisenhower's original designation creating not a refugee but the arctic
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range and by also remind you that president eisenhower had both an assistant to the secretary of the interior department and a congressional liaison and that individual was named ted stevens. ted was in the room with interior secretary seton drafting the executive order for the arctic range conservation program and if you think that he would have considered locking up alaska's resources, i don't think you know him as i did. the order clearly provided that oil and gas development would be permitted so long as there were reasonable protections in place for the flora and the fauna. i would encourage any of my colleagues, look up this executive order of december 6, 1960 if you've got any further questions. now, for all of its broken promises, anilca is still law and it contains two very important provisions that were negotiated by senator stevens. the first is for an oil and gas
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exploratory program to occur in the 1002 area, this small portion of the -- of the coastal plain that i've sought to open. but i want to repeat this. existing law provides for oil and gas exploration and exploratory drilling has already occurred in anwar. in fact, in the two winters in 1984 and 1985, seismic exploration was conducted along 1,400 miles of survey lines in anwar. there were several companies that were also permitted to conduct other geologic studies like surface rock and -- sampling and mapping, geochemical testing. this resulted in a report from the interior department based on what it learned about the resource and the ability to develop it responsibly, recommending that congress take the next step and authorize oil and gas leasing for the entire
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1002 area. see, you have to ask the question, why is this relevant? to begin with, it's worth noting that the current law already provides for exploratory drilling in anwar. all that is prohibited, and i quote, is "development leading to production." i really doubt that many people realize that we've actually already authorized drilling in anwar, and congress' real decision is to decide whether or not we leave the oil in there or whether we let it come to market. now, the second major provision in anilca is better known, called the no more clause, we talk about it a lot in alaska. it's an express prohibition on any more wilderness withdrawals within alaska. included is a congressional finding that alaska has unequivocally contributed enough of its lands to conservation purposes. and i'm going to quote directly from this law.
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it's been upknelled court, remains in place today, and it provides as follows: should have "this act provides sufficient protection for the senate interest in the scenic, natural, and cultural and environmental values on the public lands in alaska and at the same time provides adequate opportunity for satisfaction of the economic and social needs of the state of alaska and its people.accordingly, the designad disposition of the public lands in alaska pursuant to this act are found to represent a proper balance between the reservation of national conservation system units and those public lands necessary and appropriate for more intensive use and disposition, and, thus, congress believes that the need for future legislation designating new conservation system units, new national conservation areas, or new national recreation areas has been obviated thereby.
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mr. president, i don't think it could be any more clear than that, so it triewbles me great deal when people here in washington then take it upon themselves to look for more wilderness in alaska. in 2004, the g.s.a. did, the general services administration, reported that more than 60% of alaska was owned by the federal government, about 250 million acres in total. so, again, you look at the map here, and outside of the blue areas, pretty much all that you are seeing -- the green, the kind of tan, the orange -- these are all federal areas here. so, about 250 million acres owned by the federal government. compare that with some of the other states. now, i don't mean to pick on the smaller states, but connecticut
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-- $.4% of connecticut, about 14,000 federal acres. new york is .8%, about 230,000 federal acres. illinois, 1.8%. they've got about 640,000 federal acres. but, again, according to that report, the state of alaska is about 250 million acres of land under federal control. so you say, well, where is your private lands? less than 1% of alaska's lands are privately held. people have a tough time with that because they think, well, you've got so much land, so much acreage, it is so huge. surely you must have some of that in private land, and it is less than 1%. so, it begs the question, really, when we're looking to add more wilderness, how fair is it to look to alaska for more
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wilderness when you have some 250 million acres in federal control already, more wilderness in alaska in one state than in the rest of the nation combined. so, it is -- it is an important question to be asked. now, you would at least suppose that the vast areas where alaska cannot develop our resources would give us a silver lining of more recreational access. i know, mr. president, that you enjoy the great outdoors, as do i, and we like to get out and hike and be part of what we have with the land. but, with alaska's land management, even access to our lands makes it complicated. and that promise, too, has been broken. under anilca, alaska's outdoor recreational enthusiasts were
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promised access to the 120 million acres of new parks, of refugees and wilderness areas. so, again, whether it's your forest service lands, your park service lands here, your refuge lands -- that was all promised that, okay, it's there, its for you to enjoy. but as we feared soon after the bill was passed, after anilca passed, federal agencies closed access. they closed access by snow machines, they closed access by road, they closed access by plane to some of the lands. so, in other words, you can enjoy access, you can enjoy this if you can walk there. and that's good for you and i who are still able-bodied and you're much stronger when you're going up those mountains. but the fact of the matter is that it is limited if you can't access it by any other means
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other than walking there. it went further. the access issue went further when glacier bay was eventually shut off to commercial fishing entirely. it especially hurt where alaskans, whose property then became inholdings within these new conservation areas. they faced regulations just five years after this law was passed that made permission for access into their lands much more difficult, clearly much more expensive, and sometimes shutting them out altogether. to this day, i deal with constituents who are out here in mccarthy area, a great park area. but there are inholdings, private inholdings. but in order to gain access to their property that is rightly there and the federal government recognizes it, they say, well, you can be there, but we're just going to make it extraordinarily difficult for you to gain access
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to your own property. so, the promise that we, as alaskans, would be able to enjoy this incredible a land that we have, even that has been hindered. mr. president, i have chosen to speak about these broken promises today because i want to make clear that both history and the law point squarely to alaska's right to the use and the enjoyment of its lands. and while the law should be well enough, we can't forget why good public policy weighs in favor as well. the decisions to block alaskan development have come to a head at really the worst possible time. we've got high unemployment, we've got record federal debt, a global financial distress. alaska could really help on all of these fronts. we stand ready to create tens of
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thousands of jobs. we can create hundreds of billions of dollars in new federal revenues. we can help relieve the staggering costs our nation pays for foreign oil. but we need permission from the federal government. at times it seems like many in this chamber have forgotten why we need to produce our natural resources in the first place. the answer is really pretty simple: it leads to economic growth. it leads to prosperity, and it helps us compete in a rapidly changing world. but because we've slowed down resource production, because we have locked down so much of our lands, our nation is increasingly -- and i believe needlessly -- facing scarcity issues and dependency -- dependent on foreign sources for soavment resources that we depend upon. and in terms of many of these crucial resources, whether it be
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energy, timber, minerals, alaska is not just the last frontier; it is truly the best option. and i'm not overstating the case to say that much of our nation's competitiveness rests on our ability to access our resources. right now -- right now, though, we're constantly blocked and production -- and production is happening all around us. just look at what's going on. we had a hearing today in the energy committee discussing what is happening offshore of cuba. well, it's not just happening offshore of cuba. it's offshore in russia, it's offshore in canada, it's down in mexico, it's in cuba. we can -- you know, we can look to china for our rare-earth elements, but why would we do that when we have the prospects here in this country in alaska?
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alaska has these resources. the positive benefits that would result if we reversed the current dynamic are not up for debate. countless studies clearly show that development in alaska, because of its grand scale and high resource values, will create jobs and economic benefits for literally every single state. for your state of colorado, for all of our states. and this does not require clear-cutting the state or drilling every inch of our state or every acre or every region -- not even close -- not even close. we are asking to pursue developmenttion a very small amount of land -- on we are asking to pursue development on a very small amount of land, especially when you consider alaska's prolific standards. so to put it in context of the whole dunder -- and i hope you e the outline of the lower 48 states here and alaska
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superimposed. i didn't just put alaska in the middle because it looks better in the middle. what i'm trying to show is that this is a proportionate picture of how alaska, if it were superimposed over the lower 48, where we extend to? all the way in southwestern ketchikan here sits in florida to fully the furthest part of the west coast, which is the aleutian islandsality way down here -- aleutian islands, all the way down here, going up a the way up north and into the sowfnlgt the reality is that alaska is a state whose size can't easily be measured or even understood. as i mentioned, its most distant points stretch from california to florida. people say, you must be making it up? well, mr. president, you've had the opportunity to travel to my state. you appreciate that when you're flying in an airplane for hours
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and still looking down and realizing i'm still flying over the same state, you can appreciate the size and scope of what we're dealing with, and within this area lies a tremendous natural resource base, conventional and unconventional, renewable and nonrenewable, and when you see alaska on a map, you never see it represented in proportionate size. you are never realize -- you never realize just how unbelievably large it is. unfortunately, for years when i was in school, alaska was always in a little box down off of california or off of mexico, that little piece down there. and, our kids didn't know where the exact spot on the map was. they didn't know the size. we're continuing to educate and educate in an important way, because it does make a difference.
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before i go off this chart, i want to again kind of put into context the ownership -- the management issues that we deal with. you look at this green area. this would be -- about 64% of alaska is under federal management. state management is about 24.5%, about 90% acres. 10% is native-held. and then less than 1%, about a million acres are in private hands. it kind of gives you an appreciation of what it is that we're dealing with. now, mr. president, you have and i have had an opportunity to talk about some of the truly magical places that you have enjoyed in alaska. and i appreciate your perspective and the special places that you have been. there is no argument -- you will not find argument from this alaskan -- that major portions of alaska are truly worth
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protecting and should not be developed. those are some pretty spectacular areas. you may see them advertised -- oftentimes you'll have environmental groups that will advertise them. the photographs may or pla or mt reflect the proposed sites. but they're beautiful. we will not ever dispute that they are beautiful. the current deputy secretary of the interior has said that we're not going to drill in our pristine wilderness anymore than we're going to build a dam in the grand canyon. mr. president, we're he not proposing that. we're not prepping proposing that. not by -- we're not proposing that. not by any legal or commonsense definition. we have in our state five major oil-bearing regions that remains nonproducing. we've got a pipeline that is dwindling at one of this third of its capacity. this pipeline just literally bisects the state of alaska.
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it is the spinal cord of our state's economy. it's a critical artery for america's energy security. but right now that palestine is running low. it is running slow. and we're being prevented from accessing resources to fill it back up. we've negotiated, pleaded, begged for access to our resources for more than generation. we've even been willing to sacrifice some of the revenues that alaska is clearly entitled to by law, and it's fallen on positively deaf ears here in washingtonings even at a time when those dollars would mean quite a lot in terms of avoiding painful tax hikes or program cuts. when you look back on the past 50 year, it's more than a little astonishing that opposition to development continues to be so, just, dug in. and what has borne out from alaska's resource development, i think, is a very strong record of environmental stewardship.
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we have produced our natural resources for generations. from my entire life there, we have been producing our resources,wheel i,whether phs or timber, fishing, mining and now oil. we have produced them for generations and we have prey searched our pristine areas. we are a world-class vacation destination for everyone who wants to come up on the big cruise ships to those who want to do the ecotiemple. ware genuine paradise for the trophy fishermen, for the hunters who want to come to alaska. we've got a fish and game program that is the most sustainable model for the entire world. i have people tell me the one thing i want to do before i die is come to alaska and see it. so, mr. president, if we had been producing all of our
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resources for all these years, for all these generations, if we have really been doing that terrible of a job, how come everybody wants to see this incredible, beautiful land that we have? and i would suggest it's because we've been doing a pretty good job of the resource development as we have gone along the course. resource production has yielded substantial social and economic benefits to the state, more morn 16 billion barrels of oil have been sent to the lower 48 with minimal environmental impact. our oil also supplies refineries near fairbanks and anchorage. it allows us to serve as an international cargo hub. our refineries produce the fuel for fighter jets and other military needs at our four bases. the strategic value of alaska's geographical position, we sit literally at the top of the world there for military purposes alone, is sufficient to justify access to the resource, even if we were to ignore the jobs, ignore the revenue and the
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energy security benefits that come along with it. yet, as i stand here today, virtually every extractive industry in alaska has been disrupted by the federal government. mining, timber, oil and gas, all these productions are well below or well behind the levels that would best serve alaska and our country. no matter what the project is, it seems we've got to fight the federal government for access and permission every single step of the way. federal agencies attempting to subvert supreme court decisions, senators from other states attempt to go halt mines that have not even been proposed, permits are delayed. they're withheld. they're outright refused. drilling can't take place in places that congress has explicitly designated for drilling, including a national petroleum reserve. at the root of these troubles really is alaska's treatment by the federal government. because we have so much land and
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because we do depend on the development of these lands to thrive as a state, alaska's future truly rests in the federal government's hands. but at the very moment that the time when we most need the federal government to be acting as our partner, it's become an obstacle to progress and to our prosperity. the promises that were made at statehood and under anilca seem to be remembered only by alaskans. so it's apparent to me that the system of federal land management and land use that used to work has now turned against us. instead of facilitating new development and working to ensure that it's carried out responsibly, the federal government now routinely denies our opportunities and locks up alaska's lands. no matter where we look, we face this gauntlet of land use and environmental statutes that have been twisted into permitting
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delays, project denials, endless litigation, and put at risk is the sound economy that we have worked very hard to build the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of alaskans and our ability to live up to our obligation at statehood to remain financially solvent as a state. mr. president, we are in this position for i believe one reason, and that is because the promises that were made to alaska by the federal government have been broken. we have asked nicely, perhaps too nicely, for a long time for those promises to be honored. so before i close, i would like to draw one more quotation from senator gruening who i spoke of earlier, and this is a rather lengthy quote, but it is one worth hearing. and senator gruening states, "we alaskans believe passionately that american citizenship is the
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most precious possession in the world. hence, we want it in full measure. full citizenship instead of half citizenship. first class instead of second class citizenship. we demand equality with all other americans and the liberties long denied us that go with it. to adapt daniel webster's famous phrase uttered against impending separatism, we alaskans want liberty and union, one and inseparable, now and forever. but the keepers of alaska's colonial status should be reminded that the 18th century colonialists for long years sought merely to obtain relief from abuses for which they, like us, vainly pleaded before finally resolving that only independence would secure for them the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness which they felt was their natural right. we trust that the united states will not by similar blindness to
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our rights and deafness to our pleas drive alaskans from patient hope to desperation." mr. president, that's pretty lofty language, i grant you, but i think that it is suited. i think it is suited to this conversation this evening, just at ernest gruening had to have this same fright this same chamber -- same fight from this same chamber over 50 years ago, i feel compelled to remind this body that the greatness of this nation, the ultimate and true greatness of this experiment depends on the greatness of the individual states which kpraoeupls it. as we look at our states and what they are capable of achieving, i would bet alaska's potential against any other. so today on the 144th anniversary of alaska day, i would ask the senate to just
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think to consider the promises that were made to the state of alaska, to realize that those promises have not been kept but broken to the detriment of both alaska and our nation as a whole. and this must be changed with the realization that partnership, not abject denial, is truly the best path forward. if the federal government keeps its promises, alaska will realize its potential, grow as a state and secure its future. and, mr. president, we would not be doing this just for alaska alone. the rest of the nation will benefit greatly as well. and that's something that we need. it's something that we should all agree to work for. and there's probably no better time than today as we recognize alaska day. i thank you for the attention of
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the presiding officer. i thank you for the opportunity to share a little bit of alaska's history and our frustration with our present. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands adjourned until 9:30 a.m. officer: without
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objection. mr. mccain: i thank the president. mr. president, today we come to the floor to talk about the the floor to talk about the >> we come tot floor to talk about the defense authorization bill. for 50 years, 5-0, the congress of the united states has enacted a defense authorization bill,
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enacted it into law, and had it signed by the president of the united states. now, there have been times when this legislation has been very contentious. days during the vietnam war, days during operation desert storm, operation iraqi freedom, bosnia, kosovo, all of those times the defense authorization bill has been a path for debate and votes in the senate for concerning issues of national security, and for 50 years, we have cared for the men and women who have served and provided them with the equipment, the pay, the benefits that the men and women of 24 country deserve, with hundreds of hours deliberation, thousands of hours of written testimony and testimony before the committee, full committee, and subcommittees such as the chairmanship of the senator from
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the state of georgia, and now because of a part of the legislation, the majority leader has decided that we will not take this bill to the floor of the senate. that, my friends, is a betrayal of the men and women who are serving this nation. now, i understand that there are differences on the issue of a detainee treatment. i understand it's an emotional issue, but should it be a reason for the united states senate to carry out its 50 year tradition and debate, discuss, amend, vote, and then come out with a package that provides the training and benefittings to the men and women who are serving? i quote from a letter from the distinguished majority leader who say, and i quote, "however, as you know, i do not intend to
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bring this bill to the floor until concerns regarding the bills detainee provisions are resolved." is that the way the senate works? we don't bring bills to the floor unless objectionable or disagreements with not resolved? i believe the way issues are resolved are through debate, amendments, through votes, through allowing the american people, also, to see and hear our deliberations, our discussions, and our debate, so now it appears, and obviously the miss cam year -- fiscal year has expired, and so this bill is obviously long overdue, and so now we're in a position that apparently, the majority leadermentings to take up the -- leader wants to take up the jobs bill one by one apparently and
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complete disregard of the needs and requirements of the men and women serving for our national security. part of the bill also is the intelligence parts of the bill from the intelligence committee. the senator from georgia who i and by the way, i note the presence of the senator from south carolina who also knows more about detainees than any member of this body without question. he continue sly travels to iraq and afghanistan, visited the prison, he understands the issues better than anyone, and i'd be willing to ask him how he feels about the detainee provisions after the senator from georgia makes a comment about the importance of the intelligence portion of the defense authorization bill. >> well, i thank the senator from arizona. this is the 9th defense authorization bill that i've been involved in since i've been a member of the senate, and i hues say it's a refusal to bring
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this defense authorization bill to the floor by the majority leader is disheartening. it's critically important that we address the issues not only about what's going on in iraq and afghanistan, but the day-to-day operations of our military from the standpoint of pay raises, rot of -- quality of life, and the refusal to bring this to the floor because of his objection to a very critical aspect of the bill truly is disheartening. the committee considered and adopted by a vote of 25 to 1, a comprehensive bipartisan bill provision relating to the detainees. we have no detainee policy in the country today. if we captured bin laden, what
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would we had done with him? if we captured anwar al-awlaki, what would we have done with him? certainly we can gain intelligence from either one of the individuals, but we have no detainee policy in the country dead. we have nowhere to take them to that we can hold these individuals and ensure that they don't get lawyered up quickly, and that we're unable to get the type of information that we need to get from individuals like that. over the past several years, there's been an ongoing don't about the importance of fully lawfully inspecting terrorists. one of the things our nation still lacks this clear and effective policy. this bipartisan detainee compromise goes a long ways towards ensuring we can get timely and actionable intelligence from nearly captured detainees associated
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with al-qaeda and other terrorist organizations. it provides a perm permanent process. we're in the review now in the intelligence committee, the thought process that went into the transferring of detainees by the bush administration and the current administration, and i will tell you there's real flaws in that policy. those flaws have resulted according to dni, general clapper, a recidivism rate of 27%. that means 27% of the individuals that we have released from guantanamo and sent to other countries who have been willing to take them under various agreements, 27% of them have returned to the battlefield and are killing or seeking to kill americans, so the policy is not only about detainees, but policies with regard to what we do with guantanamo detainees is
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extremely important. there's a number of us involved in those -- the amendments that went into the authorization bill in committee. senator grahm from south carolina, senator iraq and was involved, and from the perspective of the people of new hampshire, where do you think we are with respect to a detainee policy in this country today? >> i thank you, senator cham bliss. you highlighted the importance of the defense authorization. i've bb to the floor twice ton this issue because it's important for our country, the notion it's bln half a century since we failed to pass this authorization. what does that say for our troop, and for the troops in the
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message that it sends to them. we still are in two wars. there's threats that face the country every day, and our military men and women, we owe it to them that they know we're going to pass this authorization to address issues like pay increases and issues like weapons that they need, and all of the fundamental day-to-day issues so they know we are behind them. this issue of the detainee policy of this country i would summarize over the last few months in the armed services committee, military leader after military leader has come before our committee, and we asked them about this issue of how do we treat detainee, and i question general carter ham, the general of africa command and what we would do. he said he would need some "lawyerly help to answer that one." is that what we've come to? our generals need lawyerly help
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to know how to deal with captured terrorists and how to treat them in the system so we can ensure that the american people and our allies are protected? this detainee compromise that the majority leader is holding up the entire authorization bill for was an overwhelmingly bipartisan compromise. this provision in the committee was voted 25 to 1 in support of this because there is such a need to address how we treat detainee, and as senator chambliss highlighted, we have a 27% recidivism rate of those released from guantanamo. a couple examples of what those individuals are doing right now against us, our troop, and our allies. for example, the number two in al-qaeda in the ararian
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peninsula was someone we released from guantanamo. another top commander of the taliban is out planning attacks against us as someone we release the from guantanamo. that's where this issue cries out for a detention policy for our country. this is a very important issue to be brought to the floor along with the entire authorization, and i see my colleague from south carolina here, senator grahm, who i know has worked very closely on these detention issues as a jag attorney and someone who visited afghanistan just in august, and i would ask him to -- have you ever seen, first of all in your time in the senate, us acting like this with respect to the defense authorization, the senate in this way, and second, how important do you think it is we address this detainee issue? >> can i just say i thank the senator from new hampshire and enormous contributions she's made in putting together this
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legislation, but i'd also like both of you and my friend from south carolina in the letter to address this issue, in the letter that senator reid, majority leader, i'd ask my colleague, sent to senator levin and me, he used as the rationale for not bringing the bill to the floor, he say, "i do not intend to bring the bill to the floor until detainee provisions are resolved. " as john brennan stated in a recent speech, he said, this approach -- talking about the approach we have taken in the bill by the vote of 25 to 1, he said, this approach would impose unprecedented restrictions on the ability of experienced professionals to combat terrorism injecting legal and
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operational uncertainty on what already is an enormously complicated work." i wonder if the senator from south carolina, does mr. brennan understand what's in the legislation? >> well, thank you, senator from arizona, and all my colleagues working on what is very difficult subject matter, but when 25 to 1 is the outcome, that's pretty good, and i don't know what the -- this is not harry reid quite frankly. i like him. this goes back to the white house. this is president obama's team. this is not harry reid, not the senate 408ing up this bill. it's the white house holding the bill because they are having an irrational bill of what we need to to to be doing with detainees. they lost the argument. we're not going to move prisoners inside the united states. the congress said no. the american people said no. the reason we lost that argument is because after working with
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the white house for about a year and a half to try to find a national security centric, detainee policy that would ensure the american people that were not going to let the people roam around the world and treat them as common criminals, they could never pull the trigger on the hard stuff. we're here because the white house can want tell the aclu no. there's four people in guantanamo held under the law of war who will never see a civilian courtroom, and that's part of military law. you don't have to let an enemy prisoner go. they are held in guantanamo under the law of war, and executive order by the obama administration gives them an annual review. we worked with the obama administration for years now to work on classes of detainees that we make one into this war that will go well beyond my lifetime, and the reason
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mr. brennan objects is because there's a decision made by the congress to say that if a detainee is captured and interrogated by the interrogation team, which i like, an inner agency combination of the cia, fbi, military, and other law enforcement agencies to make sure we get the best intelligence possible, that we create a presumption for military custody, and the reason we're doing that is because the obama administration is hell bent on criminalizing this war. the master mind of 9/11 had charges preferred against him in military commissions during the bush administration, and he was ready to go to trial, literally ready to plead guilty. the obama administration withdraws charges, was going to put him in new york city, giving him the same constitutional rights as an american citizen, take that show on the road from guantanamo bay and have a trial in the heart of new york city that would have cost $300
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million for security aloin. that blew up in their face. most americans don't see these guys who stole a car or robbed a store. they see the detainees as we capture as a jen genuine threat to this country, and i applaud the obama administration for taking the fight to the terrorists, going after bin laden, using predator drones on the battlefield all over afghanistan and pakistan. what i thought them with is we have no way of capturing someone and acquiring good intelligence because you blocked the system down, and this detainee legislation that we have before the senate will allow a way to go forward. what happens if you capture someone tomorrow? where do we put them? what jail do we have as a nation to put a captured nation terrorist in? we don't have one. they capture them and put them on a ship for 60 days. we don't build ships to make
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them jails. we build ships to fight wars. this add version is going to bite us as a nation. in legislation allows us to move forward. if you capture someone, you can gather good intelligence. there's a presumption they're held as an enemy combat, but there's waives of provision there. i dent want to read rights to everybody we capture in the dwriets as part of a plot. we're not fighting a crime. we're fighting a war. under the rules of war, you can hold an enemy, interrogate them as long as necessary to find out what the enemy's up to. that's what the legislation does. you wrote a very balanced approach, and this idea of never using guantanamo bay again is dangerous. the idea that the cia cannot interrogate enemy prisoners as a policy is dangerous. by executive order, the president of the united states,
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president obama, within a week of taking office took off the table enhanced interrogation techniques under the detainee treatment act that were classified, were not water boarding, within values, but there were techniques available to the intelligence community, that would allow them over time to gather good intelligence. one of the reasons we killed bin laden is because of the intelligence picture we acquired over ten years, but this president, within a week said by executive order, the only interrogation tool available to the united states of america is the army field manual which is online. you can read it for yourself. >> can i ask my colleague, it's fact as senator from new hampshire appointmented out that 27% of the detainees released from guantanamo bay returned to the fight. not only have they returned to the fight, the fact they were in guantanamo gives them an automatic kind of charisma and ora and leadership in al-qaeda
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and other terrorist organizations, and is that, do you think the american people find that acceptable that one out of every four that we have released from guantanamo bay have reentered the fight and clearly are responsible for the deaths of at least some brave young americans and may be responsible for the deaths in the future of americans? >> not only i think most americans upset by that, but worried about what comes down the road. that's what i'm worried about the the senate legislation is trying to create a pathway forward for the future. what do you do with these people at guantanamo bay that may never go on trial? what do you do with these people in guantanamo that come from these countries, and if you return them to the country, they'll be back in the fight by the end of the day. we have a bipartisan proposal to allow us as a nation to make
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rational decisions about detention, and the white house is holding it up, and there's provisions 234 this bill that affect the day-to-day lives of the men and women in our military, and the white house is saying detainee policy driven by the aclu is more important to them than a bill that would allow the cia, the authorization they need to go fight this war, that would provide wounded warrior assistance at a time they need it the most. things. you talk about having it wrong in terms of what's most important. allowing the detainee issue to deny the c.i.a. the authorization they need to protect us all is dangerous. to put the men and women's needs in uniform in terms of their health care, their pay, their ability to take care of their families, secondary to detainee policies that make no sense driven by the far left in this


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