tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 9, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
that if you work, you shall receive, but that is not true anymore. please, help the working poor." madam president, what i take out of this more than anything is back in the 1940's and 1950's, our government, from legislation that president roosevelt signed in 1944, the g.i. bill, created a -- a whole generation of prosperity. millions and millions of young men and women coming out of world war ii were given the opportunity to come out of college, build homes and get their family started. because government one at a time helped millions of students, it lifted up the economy. we had a much more pros puss economy because all these young men and women went to college if they chose to, millions and million of them. it meant more highways were built, more businesses were started after they got out of college. the subsidized stafford loan, the senior senator from
minnesota, the presiding officer this afternoon, as she knows, as we all know, helping all of these hundreds of thousands, in my state 380,000, in minnesota more than 100,000 students, it helps these students, more than 200,000 students, the presiding officer's state -- it's a very educated state, minnesota -- helping those hundreds of thousands of students in our two states will help our state become more prosperous. i urge our colleagues to support this legislation, lock this in. do it bipartisanly. it was bipartisan five years ago like the what i bill used -- like the highway bill used to be bipartisan. please return to the days when bipartisanship was rewarded. i close with asking people to go to my web site and tell your story. brown.senate.gov/college
brown.senate.gov/collegeloanstor y. i would like to tell my colleagues because i think putting a human face on this, the students, parents who are struggling, grandparents who are struggling, can make a real difference. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, the quorum is dispensed with. mr. schumer: mr. president, we're still here, and we haven't really gotten much of a response from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle about our legislation that would help students throughout america pay their tuition costs and get a reasonable amount of interest on their loans. and i don't know what my colleagues are waiting for. we all know the crisis in america. college has become more and more
important. to many it's a necessity. and it's become more and more expensive. and that equation is not only hurting the kids who go to college, it is hurting their families and hurting this country. and when the percentage of people who graduate from college declines vis-a-vis other nations, that's a very bad sign for america. we can talk about the problems of quality in our k through 12 schools, and those are important issues, but our higher education system is still rated just about the best in the world, and that is shown by the fact that hundreds of thousands from around the world, including places like china and india, apply to our schools, come here and go. it's a shame we send them back, even if they want to stay, but that's an immigration issue, not an education issue. anyway, our schools are great. and the big problem with higher
education in america is not quality, although of course it could be made better, but it's affordability. it's not the same as k-12. and yet, here we are sitting here, and the other side is in a certain sense figuratively twiddling their thumbs and making it worse. how is america going to stay the greatest economic power in the world when fewer and fewer of our bright, capable, hardworking students can afford college? and when more and more of them decide that they are not going to go to school. or if they go to school, not to the college of their choice for financial reasons. and so we've put a reasonable offer on the table. the proposal -- we pay for our college tuition act by closing a loophole that people like rush
limbaugh said should be closed when john edwards was found to have used it in his law firm, when other leading republicans in 2004 said this is one of the greatest abuses of the tax code they had ever seen. and all of a sudden our colleagues on the other side of the aisle say they can't vote for it. this was an issue that was talked about as we talked about dealing with the budget gap in august or in december. it was during last year. i remember it was. and again, we didn't hear objections from the other side. take that one off the table, we can't live with it. so it seems what's going on here is very simple. our colleagues know that certainly it's politically unpopular but probably it's politically wrong to be, to allow tuition rates to double, interest rates on twin loans to
double -- interest rates on tuition loans to double. but they can't just say they're against it. or they tried to say they're against it. when the president went around the country and talked about that, they had to back off that. in the house they came up with a pay-for which was sort of laughable. everyone knew it wasn't going to pass and no one took their position seriously. we always hoped our colleagues in the senate who, frankly, have been much more reasonable in the last little while -- we passed a highway bill with bipartisan support. we passed a postal reform bill with bipartisan support. we passed the vawa, violence against women act, with bipartisan support. and we thought we could get this done with bipartisan support, because our goal is not to draw a difference between the parties. that's been apparent. but to get this done. and we thought when we put our proposal on the floor, they'd accept it. at minimum, we thought that they
would at least come back with a offer, let's debate it. let's try and see if their amendment passes in terms of a different pay-for, see if our amendment could get support. but instead, what if we found a filibuster, blocking the senate from even considering this reasonable measure. and so, i'm going to yield the floor because i see my colleagues have arrived. the senator from connecticut, the senator from new hampshire, who i know feel strongly about this. we have an all new england cast in the room with a little help from the midatlantic. but i hope they'll reconsider. i hope they'll reconsider because it's the -- it's better for the politics of this country to come together once again on a reasonable issue as we have done in the past few months. it's better, frankly, for their
own politics. not wishing them ill. but most of all, it's better for the future of our country. so please reconsider. let us move forward and debate this bill and let us not let the high cost of going to college get unnecessarily higher. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. blumenthal: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i'm honored to follow my distinguished colleague from new york and his very powerful and eloquent words on a subject that concerns all of us not only in new england, but really across the country. i have heard from countless students in connecticut, where we have some of the best educational institutions in the country. i know that my colleague, senator shaheen from new hampshire, who has been very much in touch with the people of her state, and particularly
young people there striving, as they are in connecticut, for more affordable education. we're talking really about the future of our country. and there should be knob contentious, certainly nothing partisan about this issue of financing the future of education and particularly student loans. there ought to be a common cause here, and it ought to be bipartisan. i believe eventually it will be because we need to come together on this issue for the sake of young people whose lives are very directly and immediately impacted by this issue in connecticut and across the country. not only their lives, but our competitive economy, increasingly a global economy in connecticut that depends more and more on exports and more and more on talented and gifted and trained, educated, skilled people. we need them in connecticut, and
we cannot permit the interest rate on stafford loans to rise to 6.8% from its present rate of 3.4%. even know the debt, with the present 3.4%, is crushing to many of our students who are struggling to pay their student loans with that lower interest rate. stanley notawits, who contacted my office, who is seeking solutions in good faith constructively and positively, reached out to my office because he experiences the same financial hardships facing millions of recent graduates across the country. he's paying $70 a week for gas. he's providing financial support to his grandmother in her late 80's, who might lose her home. he's trying to save money to get his own apartment. and he's one of the many, many students in connecticut and across the country who have
reached out in my -- and my office has helped him. i've heard from brenda cashmere, a mother who would be crushed if she were forced to pay this higher interest rate. again, my office has helped her to meet the ever-increasing challenges of today's economy with that student debt that now overall is the highest of any debts faced by our people as a whole, more than $1 trillion. senators reid and harkin want to come to a solution that will keep the burden off the backs of students without adding to our national debt. it's not a tax increase that they propose. it is simply a solution that clarifies tax rules that are already in existence by closing a loophole. it's known as the gingrich-edwards loophole.
i wish it weren't known by that name. but it lets lawyers, consultants and highly-paid professionals dodge payroll taxes and push that burden off on the middle class. getting rid of this loophole is another step toward an america where everybody pays their fair share and everybody plays by the same rules. it's the america that we grew up believing in. it's the america that we continue to believe in. and some have claimed that it is an america we've lost. i don't believe it. and we can prove it by closing this loophole. the provision proposed by senate democrats to close this loophole is narrowly tailored to affect only wealthy individuals, those making over $200,000 for an individual or $250,000 for joint filers. and they are trying to shield
their salaries from taxes, calling themselves small businesses. it will not affect the actual small businesses of this country and it will not raise taxes for anybody who already pays what they owe in payroll taxes. this loophole should be closed independent of the student loan crisis. we ought to close this loophole regardless of the challenge we face now in keeping the interest rate at 3.4%. very simply, we're being asked to make a false choice. the choice between accessible education and improved public health. it's not a choice that we have to make. our long-term economy, and as a result the federal budget, will both benefit if both these goals are served and preserved. there's an old saying that an
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is supremely epitomized by this situation. last year an analysis in health affairs found that for each 10% increase in local public health spending, the rate of infant deaths and deaths from diabetes, heart disease and cancer dropped significantly. preventing these deaths and the costly treatment that precede them could save the federal government large amounts of money and improve the quality of life for countless americans. so i urge my colleagues to come together, to recognize that preventive health care is essential to the futures of this generation that will take advantage of the 3.4% interest rate for their stafford loans. but other generations as well,
generations whose parents they will be, generations who are their parents. this program is essential, the 3.4% interest rate should not be a partisan issue. and we should be closing this loophole regardless of the stafford loan issue. but one way or the other, we should pay for it by closing the loophole and making sure that students have an affordable interest rate for these stafford loans. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the snoer from north -- new hampshire. mr. inhofe: would the senator from new hampshire yield forea unanimous consent request? mrs. shaheen: i will yield to my colleague. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of the remarks of the senator
from new hampshire, i be recognized for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. inhofe: thank you. mrs. shaheen: mr. president, i'm pleased to join my colleagues from connecticut and from new york and the others who have been here on the floor today to talk about the importance of addressing the -- of avoiding, i guess i should say, the potential for the student loan interest rates to rise at the end of june. the fact is that the united states workforce needs to have the skills to compete in the global economy, and that means making sure that colleges is affordable because so many of the new jobs that are being created require higher education. and the reality is that students today face ever-growing tuition rates and that student loans are a critical bridge for them to cover these costs. but unless we act, over 7
million students, 38,000 in my state of new hampshire alone, 38,000 who rely on subsidized stafford student loans, will see an increase in their student debt when they graduate. now, this is a particular problem for us in new hampshire because our students have the highest average student debt in the nation. they are graduating with just over $31,000 in debt per stiewns, and not only do they have the highest average debt, but 74% of our college students are in debt, and that's the second-largest number in the country. so we have the highest average debt, the second-highest number of students graduating with debt. the fact is that students in new hampshire and across this country need some relief and doubling the interest rate is exactly the wrong way we should
be going in terms of policies to promote giving every american the opportunity to succeed. we need to encourage our students to go on to higher education, to advance gri programs and to -- to advance degree programs and to professional schools. their future employment and our economy both depend on this. last week i had the opportunity to visit two of our state colleges, keen and plymouth university. everyone i spoke with had concerns about the rising interest rates. i've heard from hundreds more who are anxious about this over the past few hours. to be clear, the legislation that we're considering would affect current and future students who will receive subsidized stafford loans starting july 1. the last thing anyone needs in this economic climate is a
reason not to pursue their undergraduate or graduate studies. megan jordan of am hors is a sophomore at the university of the new hampshire. she told the union paper that student loan debt has become a concern for her. megan says her parents would do just about anything to pay for her college education in full, but with two brothers also in college, the finances are simply not available. megan views the prospect of interest rates doubling as an attack on college students trying to make a better future for themselves. sadly, she said it feels like it's a punishment for trying to obtain a college degree. when i was at keen state college in keen last week, i met keating couch, a parent who has a daughter at keen and a son at boston college. between his two kids, his annual tuition bill comes to $90,000.
no wonder he's having trouble figuring out where the money is going to come from. he spends hours trying to figure out how to make his family -- thousand figure out how his -- how to figure out how his family will make college payments each month. loans, he said, help bridge this gap. one constituent, erin, posted on my facebook wall that her husband recently completed medical assistant courses at hesser college in manchester. he's due to start paying his student loans next month but he hasn't been able to find a job in his chosen field. erin said that family finances are tight and if interest rates were to double on the loans they have, there is no way they would be ail to pay them back. the stories that i've heard in new hampshire are similar to the stories that senator blumenthal told about connecticut, to what
senator schumer has had to say about new york, to what we're hearing from students and families across the country. higher education is essential for economic opportunity and personal growth. it's equally essential to the prosperity of our country. and most important, the prospect of higher debt levels affects whether people choose to enter college to begin with. when i was in plymouth last week at the university, a student stood up and say, you know, i'm -- i want to teach history. he said, but tell me why i shouldn't just drop out of college and be a mechanic. i said, well, i like teachers, myself and we need more of them. but in this rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy, we should be doing everything we can to make sure that college is more accessible
to americans, so that we don't have students across this country saying, why should i drop -- not drop out if no one supports my getting a college education? it's critical for all of us, and unfortunately high debt burdens have serious consequences for individuals, for families, and for the economy. student loan debt affects where graduates live, the kinds of careers they can pursue, whether they can try to start a new business, when they can start a family, when they can purchase a home, when they can start to save for retirement. our students deserve better. we need to get rid of any obstacles that are keeping our students from getting the education they need to succeed. we should not put more obstacles in their way. we need to come together, democrats and republicans, to stop this increase in student loan interest rates and to do what's in the best interest of our families and our young
people who need that college education. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i, first of all, will be introducing a bill in a minute called s. 3053. but as kind after predicate to that let me talk again about my ongoing investigation of the overreach of the environmental protection agency. certainly, "the washington post" is right on with their editorial. on may 3, "the washington post" editorial board penned and editorial entitled "the e.p.a. is earning a reputation for abuse." in this editorial, they discuss how the former region six administrator, al armendarez's
"philosophy of enforcement" has severely hurt the e.p.a. to refresh your memory, it was a couple weeks ago at this very podium that i read the quotes that i'm about to quote you again today. and while "the washington post" doesn't agree with me all the time, i was pleased to read that they saw that the crucified policy mr. armendarez reported clearly showed that he preferred to extract harsh punishments on an arbitrary number of firms to scare others into cooperating. further, "the washington post" editorial board saw this attitude as just unjust and threatening to inkvestors in energy -- to investors in energy products. while armendarez has resigned, his statements have undermined the legitimacy of the e.p.a.'s regulatory authorities. we know that harsh punishments on individuals in order to scare
others into cooperation was not just inflated rhetoric. mr. armendares followed through what he had the region six pursue a trumped-up charge on a gas company in texas. the e.p.a. is not using its power fairly and shoring its enformts is arbitrary and reliable, capricious and enduly is he veemplet but "the post" editorial board didn't see armendarez as an isolated incident. they also called out e.p.a.'s actions in other recent pry-promile -- high-profile misuse of power. e.p.a. insisted that an idaho couple, the sacaets stopped construction on a home because it violated the clean water act. the court ruled unanimously 9-0 that e.p.a. had exceeded its authority in pursuing the sacets
and was ensured that they and other people who find themselves in similar situations can overcome the e.p.a.'s assertion of whether or not their property contanksed jurisdictional wetlands without submitting to the permit process. a mere two days later, the e.p.a. was again called out for overreaching their authority on water issues. then on march 23, the u.s. district court ruled, the e.p.a. overreached in revoking a permit to arch coe after the army corps of engineers had already granted it. in quite a blow to the arks the judge said that e.p.a.'s claims -- and i'll quoting now what the yuj said -- "that section 4040 grants in its plenary authority to unilaterally modify or revoke a permit that has been duly issued by the corps is a
stunning power for an agency to abrogate to itself when there is essentially no mention of it in the statute." that's what the court said. yet in the midst of scathing reviews from the press and court, e.p.a. is still acting as if everything is still the same it was before. these cases happen and they're actively pursuing more regulatory power by attempting to vastly increase the scope of the clean waters -- water act reach. when dis -- discussing the results of the second case at an american law institute american bar association event on may 3 of this year, mark pollins, director of e.p.a.'s water enforcement division, said, and i'm quoting now -- "internally it's the same old same old. i plan to send a letter to the administrator jackson addressing mr. pollins' comments in trying to find out how an e.p.a.
official in the face of a 9-0 supreme court decision could say that the agent is not going to do anything different, and if the e.p.a. is able to finalize their new clean air act jurisdictional guidance, it will have given itself a whole new set of excuses for pushing the boundaries of the clean water act as far as possible. this continued overreach is why we now have bye cameral, bipartisan legislation introduced to stop this current guidance overreach. let's take a moment and go back in time to where this all started. remember, a couple years ago, senator feingold from wisconsin, congressman obeystar over in the house introduced the clean water preservation act, the clean water restoration act. remove the word navigable. now, in this act, it gave the federal government through the
e.p.a. the jurisdiction over navigable water, and that was what the law was. they wanted to take out the word navigable. therefore, the e.p.a. would have jurisdiction over all land in the united states. i mean, it's very simple. it was so -- so unfair that not only did we defeat the clean water restoration act, the people defeated senator feingold in wisconsin and congressman oberstar after they had been in for a long time. obviously, this is something that is not possible. it is overreach and everyone understands it. normally when the obama administration can achieve what they want through legislation, they do it through regulations. we see this in cap-and-trade right now. we see that the president tried to get legislation on cap-and-trade, which would have amounted to a $300 billion to $400 billion tax increase on the american people. it wouldn't have done any good, it wouldn't have helped anyone, and yet this would have been the
largest tax increase in history. i go back and say what they are attempting to do to the clinton-gore tax increase of 1993. that's where they raise the marginal rates, they raise the capital gains tax, the death tax. all this massive tax increase, that was a $32 billion tax increase. this would be ten times greater than that. now they are trying to do what they couldn't do with legislation through regulations. that's because in order to take a clean water act rule making, e.p.a. would have to follow a transparent process and engage in a public comment period as required by the administrative procedures act. now, for that reason, they didn't pursue to do that through just regulations. given how unpopular the proposal has been going through with the rule making would make it much more difficult to obtain the expanded federal control that they are clearly trying to pursue. by changing agency practices in
this former and nonregulatory way, they virtually ensure that they will be able to formerrize this agenda easily through future rule making. so what they couldn't achieve through legislation or in this case through the proper rule making, they are trying to do through guidance. now, guidance. that's out there not for that purpose at all. what's even more frustrating than the e.p.a.'s continued overreach is that this new guidance would provide no improvement to water. it would likely -- would likely hinder real progress on cleaning water. the guidance board reach, broad reach and legalistic language will inevitably shift the balance of regulatory authority further away from states which are better equipped to protect waters within their borders. now, given the federal government's control over nearly all water features, it will not lead to cleaner water. it will, however, lead to tremendous uncertainty, tremendous confusion and
economic pain for farmers, energy developers, small businesses and state governments. by saddling them with more layers of expensive, onerous and unnecessary federal regulations. it's yet another obama administration policy that will be all pain for really personally no gain. now, congress has been explicitly clear with e.p.a. that this new guidance is unacceptable. last july, i led a letter with senators roberts, ranking member of the senate agriculture committee, and 39 of our colleagues to administrator jackson where we raised our concerns that this document went far beyond the mere guidance. the e.p.a., the corps of engineers greatly expanded what they can be considered jurisdictional waters through a slew of new and expanded definitions and through changes to the applications and jurisdiction tests.
administrator jackson has said that this guidance will increase the clean water act scope in the economic analysis that accompanied the guidance, it stated that as few as 2%, as many as 17% of the nonjurisdictional determinations under current guidance would be considered jurisdictional use using the expanded tests under the new guidance. however, this analysis was only for the army corps making dredge and fill permit decisions when compared to current practice. now, the guidance will apply to the entire clean water act, including the national pollution discharge elimination system permits, the oil pollution act and spill prevention control, water quality standards and even state water quality certifications because most states have delegated authority under the clean water act. this change in guidance will also result in a change in the
responsibilities of states in executing their responsibilities under the clean water act and a change in how individual citizens are governed by law. so what we're talking about here is what they have been unable to do with legislation, they were going to be doing with -- with regulation. but in this case, what they really couldn't do with regulation is because it would be too transparent they are trying to do through guidance. the finalized guidance document is currently at o.m.b. for former interagency review before it's finalized. we don't know what changes have been made, but based on a draft that was leaked to the press, it doesn't appear that the document is substantially different from the proposed guidance document that they put out for public comment last may. now, this is the last step before this expansive document starts being used throughout the country, and that's why i hope all my colleagues here in the senate on both sides of the aisle will join me in trying to
stop it. now, working with senators barrasso, senator heller, senator sessions and others, we introduced s. 2245. we called that the preserve the waters of the united states act. a bill that stops the e.p.a. from finalizing the guidance and from using the guidance to make decisions about the scope of the clean water act or to turn it into a rule. the house has also acted with chairman and ranking members of the transportation infrastructure and agriculture committees, introduced a bipartisan h.r. 4965. i applaud mr. mica and mr. rahall in this bipartisan effort, mr. lucas and mr. peterson, mr. gibbs for their actions. these bills do not change or roll back any current protections under the clean water act. they simply stop the e.p.a. and the corps of engineers from moving forward and making these unprecedented regulatory changes through a guidance document. the e.p.a. needs to withdraw
this guidance document immediately if it wishes to make changes to the clean water act, it should go through a complete and proper rule-making process under the administrative procedures act. that's why it's there, so that people will know in america the cost of what these regulations mean to them and what they do and do not do. so why do it under the veil of guidance when they should be doing it out in the open? and that's what we want. and that's all, really, that we are asking for. now, i mentioned that i'm introducing a bill today. going back and refreshing my memory on what happened with the overreach of the e.p.a. we might remember the -- it was from this podium i guess two weeks ago -- it was on a friday -- that we had found out, we had access to a tape that we released to the public. it's been on the tv and everyone has seen it now, of the region six of administrator of the e.p,
mr. arrest mend air i. -- mr. arrest mend air. in addition to a meeting that was taking place in texas, he said and i quote now, oil and gas is an enforcement priority. i was in a meeting once and i gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and i think it's probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but i will go ahead and tell you what i said. it was kind of like how the romance used to conquer little villages in the mediterranean. they go to little turkish towns somewhere. they would fine the first five guys they could run into and they would crucify them and let them die on a cross. everyone would look at that. s he said as you know, that town is really easy to manage in the next few years. that is our general philosophy. this is the e.p.a. we're talking about and this is one of ten of the regulators -- this happens
to be the region, the region six administrator. this regional administrator recently resigned when not only his statement received attention but also following public awareness about the manner in which he initiated the enforcement action in region six. now, we know about and i have already mentioned in my previous remarks about the company that was down in texas. this company was cited by armendariz. they are accused of groundwater contamination. they are accused of misusing perhaps hydraulic fracturing. all of this was accusations. but then they sent a letter to them and said we're going to fine you $3,000 a day. $33,000 a day. if you read those letters carefully, you find out that decision isn't already made, but to the person who is reading the letter, who receives the letter, they will think i can stay in business for 30 more days and that's it. you have to ask the question,
how many companies are out there who have received a letter like this from the e.p.a. and assume that they are going to have to start paying this fine, and so they just fold up their tent and they quit. this is what they want. they want to put people out of business. i told the story from this podium about a company in my state of oklahoma. this was back probably ten years ago, i received a letter. we had a lumber company in oklahoma that the president of the lumber company said i don't know what to do. the e.p.a. has just put us out of business. i said what did you do wrong? he said i don't think i have done anything wrong. he said i have been selling our used crank case oil to the same licensed operation for the last ten years, and some of that was -- this -- this contractor was licensed by the state of oklahoma and the federal government and the county of tulsa. he said we have been selling it to the same group, this organization, for ten years. he said some of that has been
traced to a site where they said that this -- it came from our used crank case oil directly to this site, and they said for that reason you have violated the law and we're going to fine you $5,000 a day. now, $5,000 a day, this is to a relatively middle-sized lumber company, mill creek lumber it was called. and they're still in business today. but that would have put them out of business. i said send the letter to me, let me read it. of course i read it and said they are just threatening you, they are trying to run you out of business. so you have to wonder, mr. president, how many companies are out there that are closed now or out of business because of action like this? how many of these companies who received a letter like the operation did down in texas saying we're going to impose $3,000 a -- $33,000 a day fold their tent up and quit? we don't know that. we have invited people from this podium to call. we have received calls from
people who have been out of business. this is an intentional effort that we're dealing with and have been dealing with for quite some time. so we introduced today just a few minutes ago s. 3053. i have a whole bunch of cosponsors. it looks like i have got about 20 cosponsors on the bill. what we do is a very simple thing. i found in my experience in both the house and the senate that the shorter and the simpler you make something, the easier it is to understand. this is a little small two-page bill, and all it does is say that anyone who is going to be appointed or nominated, i should say, as a regional administrator of the environmental protection agency would have to be appointed by and with the advice and consent of the senate. we have a list in our laws as to what has to have senate confirmation. the administrator of the e.p.a. has to, and she went through that process, that's lisa jackson, but not these ten regional directors. so we're saying they should be subjected to the same -- the
same advice and consent of this senate. and we wouldn't have these kinds of problems. i don't know -- i suspect that the administrator of the e.p.a. did not know what was going on in region six with armendariz. i will give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't. in fact, she was very critical of him once we stood here and exposed what was going on. so this would solve the problem. i'm going to invite people to join in here. we have already introduced it. it's a senate bill, s. 3053. it's one that is -- would force the administrators to be subjected to confirmation by this united states senate. keep in mind that these administrators, these regional administrators have the power of life and death over many, many companies in america. so i believe this would solve that problem and i look forward to passing this and having this become law. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. hark i harkin: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: i ask unanimous consent that sarah watt and erica calenberg be granted privileges of the floor through s. 2343, the stop student loan interest rate hike act. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. harkin: mr. president, yesterday republican senators voted to block the bill to prevent the doubling of the federal student loan interest rate on july the 1st. and as long as they continue their filibuster, there is no clear way forward to prevent, to prevent that devastating rate hike less than two months from now. if that happens, more than 7.4 million american students will be required to pay an average of a thousand dollars more per year of school. now, this is especially important to my state of iowa, important to all states. nearly 72% of iowa's college graduates have student loan debt, the fourth highest in the nation. and those borrowers are carrying an average of $30,000 in student loan debt, which is the third highest in the nation. in floor debate this week, republicans claimed that they, too, want to prevent the rate hike so that's fine, i welcome
that. but if republicans want to join with us in preventing the rate hike, why won't they let us proceed to the bill? that will give us all an opportunity to debate the bill and to offer amendments. so i call on my republican friends, if they really want to keep the interest rate hike from doubling on students, call off the filibuster, let's move ahead with the bill. i'm not the only one who wants to end this obstruction by our friends on the republican side. i'm -- i'm hearing from constituents back in iowa frustrated at the senate's failure to act. this is a kitchen-table issue for middle-class americans, for families all across the country. i've heard reports that over 500,000 signatures from students around the country have been delivered to the hill to show their support for keeping the rate at 3.4%.
i know that many senators have come to the floor to share stories from their constituents about how the interest rate hike would affect them and i'd like to share a story that i just received from an iowa student. here it is. "dear congressman," or, senator as the case may be, "i'm writing you on behalf of myself. current college students and future college students everywhere. i've recently reenrolled in college to further my education. this decision came after much time and deep thought. the problem was that i didn't want to attend scoocialg it was whether or not i could afford to attend school. i live on my own, hold a full-time job that i previously attended a technical school to obtain. this job supports me fully and as much as i love parts of my job, i know that my decision to reenroll in school to further my education was the right decision for me. in the middle of all of this, i
came across an article in the "usa today" that said the federal government might raise student loan interest rates. not just raise but double them unless congress intervenes. i could not believe what i was reading and i feel so passionate about this subject that i had to write a letter to you. i'm already struggling on a daily basis to support myself. i live paycheck to paycheck, often have to rely on the savings account i worked so hard to save before graduating high school. along with consistent help from my parents and my grandparents. i wish to be independent from this help even though i'm thankful that it is there. this increase in interest rates on loans is not only disappointing, it's infuriating to me. this will have an effect for many years beyond what it should and not only for me. i live in stanwood, iowa, a place not many people have heard of, and i commuter 35 miles to cedar rapids every day for my job. so when i saw that these loans
that i'm relying on to support me and fund my education were going to double, i was heart broken and i wonder, what's wrong with my country. i'm very proud to be an american and more so an iowan. i believe that the one thing the u.s.a. has going for it -- supporting our future. but that's quickly fading in front of my eyes. i hope that you read this and feel every ounce of disappointment in our great country as i do and do everything in your power to not let the interest rate on student loans increase on july the 1st i hope you can put faith in the american students who are relying on these loans to educate themselves and together get our country back on the right track, not headed down the wrong one. thank you so much for your time, and i hope to hear great things from my representatives soon. sincerely, a proud fellow iowan." mr. president, this is just one of the many stories i have received from my constituents telling me how dep mental it
would be -- detrimental it would be if the rate were to double on july the 1st. now, this increase is a looming reality for many students and families if this senate continues to do what it's doing and that is to do nothing, to bring the bill up and have republicans filibuster it and not even letting us proceed on it. for the past three days, we've been hearing from republicans that they want to keep the interest rates at 3.4% but they don't like how we're paying for it in our bill. well, i've said many times, if they don't like that and our leader has come out here and many people have come out here to say, look, if you -- if my republican friends don't like how we pay for it, let us get on the bill, they can offer their offset or their pay-for. we can vote on it and they can vote on ours.
but that's not acceptable to the republicans. they don't even want the bill to go forward. so we've been hearing from republicans that -- that our offset, which is closing a loop hole in the -- loophole in the tax code that affects subchapter-s corporations -- and i might add, it only affects a very small sliver of subchapter-s corporations -- very tightly drawn. can't have more than three shareholders. how about that? can only be three shareholders. have to have a -- more than $250,000 in income. and it pertains only to those subchapter-s corporations that provide certain kinds of professional services. in other words, it doesn't pertain to real estate or manufacturing or anything like that. it only has to do with certain
professional services, like lawyers and accountants and people like that. well, the republicans say that -- that if we do this, if we cozy that loophole -- if we close that loophole, that it will hurt -- quote -- "the job creators." how many times have i heard that -- the job creators, the job creators, we're going to hurt small businesses. the other side would have you believe that we're doing this for political gain, that somehow we democrats are doing this for political gain. well, if that were the truth, why would we pick an offset, a pay-for to fix a problem that conservatives have railed against in the past? yes, the problem that we're trying to fix in subchapter-s corporations is a problem that
conservative republicans have railed against in the past. i want to refresh my colleagues' memories and set the record straight on this issue of s-corporations offset, the offset we have. for starters, let's start with 2004 in the "wall street journal." here it is. wall street joarnl -- "wall street journal" editorial, 7/13/04 "conservative support for closing the s corp tax loophole." "senator edwards supports the loophole. but that didn't stop him from using a clever tax dodge --" these are the words of the "wall street journal," not mine -- "a clever tax dodge to avoid paying $591,000 into the medicare system. while making his fortune as a trial lawyer in 1995, he formed what is known as a subchapter-s corporation with himself as the
sole shareholder. instead of taking his $26.9 million in earnings directly in the following four years, he paid himself a salary of $360,000 a year and took the rest as corporate dividends. since salary is subject to 2.9% medicare tax but dividends aren't, that meant he shielded more than 90% of his income. that's not necessarily illegal, but damaging such a large chunk of employment tax skates perilously close to the line. attorney c.p.a. magazine listed it as number 11 of the 15 best underutilized tax loopholes." tax loopholes. "wall street journal," "clever tax dodge," 2004. so i guess i'd ask, is the "wall street journal" in favor of --
of, what did they say, hurting job creators? are they in favor of hurting job creators? is the "wall street journal" in favor of -- quote -- "raising taxes on the very businesses we're counting on to hire these young people," as the minority leader said on monday? hiring people -- we limit it to only three shareholders -- husband, wife, kids, something like that, three shareholders. and he said they're going to count on them to hire these young people? what's the minority leader talking about? that same year, in 2004, the late conservative columnist, robert they have novak, wrote, e of the last loopholes left in the internal revenue code and it's a big one." here's the whole statement -- "how can john edwards explain setting up a dummy corporation
corporation" -- subchapter-s corporation -- "to avoid paying an estimated $290,000 in medicare taxes in the two years before he ran for the senate? this is a classic subchapter-s corporation devised to shelter income, mainly for professionals , such as lawyers," and he adds, "also syndicated columnist, but not me, it is one of the last loopholes left in the internal revenue code and it is a big one." robert novak. anyone ever question his conservative credentials? shawn hannaty of fox news said, "hey, john he had war is worth, what, $30 million to $40 million, set up a sub-s corporation to keep him from paying medicare taxes on 90% of his income. and then he lectures the rest of us on how medicare is going broke. "so shawn hannity is saying this loophole needs to be closed.
finally, rush limbaugh himself, what did he say? he said, "senator edwards has also compounded that by structuring his own personal finances to avoid paying medicare taxes on 90% of the nearly $27 million he earned over four years." so i'd ask my republican colleagues, are novak, hannity, limbaugh and the "wall street journal" all in support of raising taxes? are they all in support of killing job creators? these are their statements. that's the record. so for the last several years, conservative republicans have been going after this loophole. obviously they found a democrat who used it -- john edwards. a lot of people used it. a lot of lawyers used it. a lot of accountants used it. a lot of doctors used it.
a lot of different kinds of professionals have now used this loophole to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. so, here's another classic case. the republicans say we're using this for political gain? wait a minute. they are the ones that have been going after this loophole for years. we said hey, we finally got something that we can agree on. the "wall street journal," all these other people saying we've got to close this loophole. we have the opportunity to do so, and in doing so raise the money both to help medicare and social security and to keep the interest rates on students at 3.4%, and the republicans will not even allow us to bring it to the floor. who is playing politics, i ask? who is playing politics? well, as i've said before, i'll say it again, we have come here with a serious offset. one, as i said, that has been
supported, at least closing this loophole has been supported by conservative republicans in the past. if anything, it's worse today than it was in 2004. more and more people are finding out about how they do this, formed this little s-chapter corporation, subchapter-s corporation and avoid paying their taxes. trying to close that. we came with a serious offset that we thought would be acceptable on both sides because of the history. we're ready to do this now, ease the concern of so many students and families across our country. republicans came, and they wanted to pay for it by ehrepl nateing the -- eliminating the prevention and public health fund. eliminating it, the one thing that's going to prevent obesity and heart disease and stroke and cancers and diabetes in the future and save us a lot of
money. they want us to end that and take that money and put it into keeping the interest rates low, pitting health care -- pitting the health care of children -- immunizations, immunizations for kids, that's what we use this prevention fund for. breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening. colonoscopies. cholesterol screenings, diabetes prevention. that pwhaofs we use it for. -- that's what we use it for. they want to take that away, pitting students against the health of our country, that is not a serious offer. that's not a serious offer by the republicans. it's going nowhere. and besides the president said he would veto it. so i ask my colleagues on the other side quit playing
politics. quit playing politics with this. let's bring it up for a vote. maybe you ought to listen to the "wall street journal" and now-deceased novak and fox news and even rush limbaugh and hannity. you know, let's close this loophole once and for all and do something good with it. do something good with it. keep the interest rates low for our students in this country. mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: during the day, i flipped on the tv that we have in our offices and looked at it as often as i could. i was very impressed with my colleagues who came and talked about why it is so important that we not have an increase in the interest rate for student loans. i have been very, very happy with my democratic colleagues who have come here and made such a profound case.
but, mr. president, i listened also to what the republicans have to say, and it's beyond my comprehension how they could come to the floor with a straight face and say what they have said. i've listened as my republican colleagues have come to the senate floor to blame democrats for stalling legislation to keep college affordable for seven million people throughout our great country. the claim's pretty rich, considering republicans voted unanimously yesterday to filibuster this legislation. what is a filibuster? it's stopping us from going to the legislation. our bill would prevent seven million students from paying a thousand dollars more on their loans. with college already unaffordable for far too many young people, democrats believe we should be doing all we can to improve access to higher education.
that's what these student loans are all about. republicans have repeatedly claimed they support efforts to stop interest rates on castroneves from doubling this summer. but they sure have a funny way of showing it. endless filibuster. today republicans have said that democrats should negotiate their way out of the stalemate. again, very strange reasoning. it's hard to negotiate without a partner. every tuesday, mr. president, after we do our weekly caucus meetings, i go to the -- what we call the ohio clock, and one of the reporters said your republican colleague, senator mcconnell, said you should negotiate on this issue with speaker boehner. now, how do you like that one? that i, the leader in the senate, should go to the republican house and start negotiating with them. that is a strange, strange way of doing business.
the republicans claimed that their only objection to our legislation is how it's paid for. by closing a tax loophole that allows wealthy americans to dodge taxes they already owe. that's what we feel should happen. we don't believe it's a tax increase. it's just that people should pay what they are supposed to pay. they now have a way of avoiding taxes. rich accountants and lawyers avoid it by claiming that they are going to pay dividends on ordinary income. it's not fair to everyone else. so if the republicans object to this, fine. democrats are willing to consider alternative offsets. in fact, we're even willing to vote on the house republicans' own proposed offset. now, that's a duesy, mr. president, to offset the republican control in the house. take away money for preventative
care for virtually everybody. the leading causes of death in america are diabetes, heart disease and cancer. they want to take away programs that allow preventative programs to stop heart disease. as we know, mr. president, there are programs now, mammograms, for example, that stop people from having to get too far behind with breast cancer. that's their offset. we strongly oppose that alternative, but we're willing to vote on it. we're not running from it. and once their proposal to slash programs that save money and lives fails, and it will fail, we still -- we democrats are still willing to have other options to pay for this legislation. my republican colleagues, on the other hand, have refused to consider alternative ways to pay for a bill they claim they support.
so i say to my republican colleagues let us bring this bill to the floor. if republicans are so interested in negotiating a solution, they should be willing to take that good-faith step. once the bill is on the floor, we can debate it, we can amend it with an offset both sides can agree on. but until republicans end their obstructionist filibuster, there is no path forward. so for my republican colleagues to come down here and say we support this legislation, i repeat what a strange way of supporting this legislation. mr. president, i now ask we proceed to a period of morning business with senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the senate move to calendar number 385. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 385, s. 2224, a bill to require the president to report to congress on issues.
the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the corker-webb substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, any statements relating to this matter be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask consent that we proceed en bloc to some concurrent resolutions, numbered h. con. res. 105, 106, 117 and 118. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measures en bloc? without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the current resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, en bloc, there be no intervening action or debate and any statements related to this matter be printed in the record as if given. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent we
proceed to s. res. 450, 451, and 452. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measures en bloc? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table for all three of these, and that there be no intervening action or debate and any statements related to any one of these three matters be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if given. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent when the senate dplets complets its gis day it ajurp until tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. the morning business be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders reserved for use later in the day and finally, mr. president, that when we come in tomorrow morning i be the person that's first recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: during tomorrow's session, mr. president, it's possible the senate wit resume
consideration of the motion to proceed to student loan interest rate hike as well as export-import bank reauthorization act. that should be easy. that should be something that we should agree to. we tried here on the ex-im bank to get it done. everybody wanted it done, the chamber of commerce, labor, aircraft companies all want it and everybody wanted it done. but as a lot of things here in the senate it didn't get begun -- get done because the republicans wouldn't let it get done. it went to the house and the republicans sent us one that is virtually the same as the one we weren't able to pass here. i can't imagine anyone would want to slow that one down. but, mr. president, i hope i don't have to file cloture on it because i do, i'll do it because we'll have another chance to vote on it just as it came from the house. it passed over there. every democrat over there voted for it and 90 republicans voted
against it. we all know who they are. but they voted against it. and over here we're going to have a chance to vote on the exact bill bill that passed the house. i ask that we -- there is nothing more to come 0 before the senate i ask we adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
>> i thought it was important to write a book that took the whole movement seriously so the movement that elected obama, obama didn't come out of nowhere. in 2003. also the tea party movement would seem to come out of nowhere. occupy wall street. i thought those were important things to take seriously to look at the social movement from we the people perspective.
speak in indiana yesterday six term incumbent senator richard lugar lost in the republican primary to state treasurer richard murdoch. senator lugar, who was elected to the senate in 1976, is the highest ranking republican on the foreign affairs committee. the chairman of the committee, to mac that john carey and illinois senator richard durbin spoke about their colleague on the senate floor today for about 20 minutes. in a separate portii wanted to take and share a few thoughts this morning not about the results per se of the election last night in indiana, but i do want to talk about the consequences for the united states senate of the loss of senator lugar as of next year
and particularly for the foreign relations committee. it's no secret that dick lugar's loss last night is going to be particularly felt by all of us who've had the privilege of working with him on the senate foreign relations committee, and that's whether he was the chairman of the committee -- and i've served under him when he was chairman -- or whether he's been a member of the committee and the ranking member, as he is now, and as i've privileged to serve with him. whether you agreed with him or not, whether he had the gavel or whether he didn't have the gavel dick lugar had an approach to the senate and to governing that was always the same. he was serious, he was thoughtful, and he refused to allow this march to an orthodoxy about ideology and partisan politics to get in the way of what he thought was the responsibility of a senator and,
indeed, the need of the country to have people come together and find the common ground. he dug deeply into some of foreign policy's most vexing issues, and his expertise on complicated issues that were honed over 36 years really can't be replicated. that's something we're going to lose. the institutional experience, the judgment and the wisdom of the approach on some of those issues, the constitutional questions that he would call into account when no one else would, the questions of not being stampeded by popular opinion with respect to the use of force in one instance or another. all of those are essential to making this institution live up to its full capacity. already, since last night's news, we have been hearing again and again on some of the news shows and elsewhere about the senator from indiana's work on
nuclear nonproliferation. and it's no secret that his nunn-lugar efforts have become almost shorehand for bipartisanship in foreign policy. and they should be recognized. but i want to emphasize here now, that's not all that senator lugar contributed to the -- to this field of foreign policy. he's a league expert on some of the urgent issue as that are -- leading expert on some of the issue as that are off the beaten past. from food security, the eradication of hunger worldwide, his work with joe biden, and then his works i'm privileged to say, with me to try to change the relationship with pakistan. and to help prevent their economy from unraveling, to help to encourage them to cooperate with interests that were vital to america and, indeed, to the stability of that region. to establish what he called a deeper, broader long-term strategic engagement in pakistan. uma privileged to say, p -- i'm
privileged to say, mr. president, for me, the personal journey with dick lugar began before that, and i think it epitomizes sort of who he is and why he'll be missed here. it has nothing to do with ideology. back in 1980, shortly after i came here -- i was elected in 1984 and i started on the foreign relations committee in 1985 -- right away we began to work together on the issue of the philippines, of free and fair elections in the philippines. and i had traveled over there a number of times as a freshman senator. i had met with ferdinand marcos. i was concerned about the torture taking place and the political prisoners and other violations of rights, and yet we were sort of aiding them notwithstanding our values and our standards. well, dick lugar joined with me in that effort, didn't have any reason to join with a, you know, freshly minted senator, wet
behind the ears. but he did. and together we sort of became a team that started to focus on the philippines and figure out how do we hold marcos accountable? and he was serious and he was fair-minded and i saw firsthand during our trip to the philippines, which we made at the time of the election, after we had done a whole lot of groundwork to set up an accountability system for that election, that he had a very personal and special understanding of what the united states meant to the rest of the world with respect to our values. and that cause animated this man, who we all know is dignified and reserved and humble, but who proudly came back and recounted with some animation to president reagan the ditches tha difference thatd states of america makes when it gives voice to people's
aspirations for freedom, and in this case particularly, the people of the philippines. the fact is that it was that discussion with ronald reagan and the results that came out of the accountability in that election that forced ferdinand marcos to leave, saw corey aquino come to power and the philippines come back to general democracy. last year we worked together on the new start treaty -- that was two years ago, i guess, now. his wisdom and patience was invaluable in laying out the case, particularly in building support across the aisle so that we could find the path to 71 votes. and i said then, and i say it again today, given the bitter, divisive, partisan, continual political squabbling that seems
to dominate the life in the city today, 71 votes is probably the equivalent of the 98 votes we used to get on those kinds ofests. and so i --- --on those kind of efforts. and so i am grateful to his work on that. he gave members more time to work through problems, solve individual objections and it reminded me of the way you actually work in what is now sometimes, unfortunately, sarcastically referred to as the world's greatest deliberative body. he deliberated. and he helped us to deliberate. i thought it was one of the finer and prouder moments of the senate in recent years. mr. president, i am confident that dick lugar's record on our committee is going to be one of those that's remembered for a long time. sadly, last night it is
remembered in the context of senator fulbright who also came to lose a primary in the end and paid a high price for his concern about global affairs and his involvement with those issues. but i think that he's also remembered significantly today for his -- for the enormous legacy that he built about american foreign policy and how you make our country stronger. dick lugar does that, and i think he's made it clear. there's no towbt in the mind of anybody -- there's no doubt in the mientdz of anybody on our side of the aisle that dick lugar is a conservative. and his votes through the years have shown that. he is a proud republican. but i think probably because he served as a mayor before he came here, he applied what we call the laguardia rule to foreign policy, which is the rule that laguardia applied to doing things in new york. it didn't matter, you know,
whether you were a republican or democrat as long as the streets got clean, the potholes got filled and they didn't have any labels on them. and that's pretty much the way the foreign policy out to be. we used to say, politics ends at the water's edge. only in the last years here in the senate have i seen a complete diversion from that, where unfortunately, as has been true on both sides, that politics has entered into the choices people have made with respect to major issues of conflict, potential war and peace, and interests of the security of our country. so about four years ago this time, dick lugar received the paul douglas .. night, it's important for all of our colleagues to be mindful of his
words and to think about them as we go forward into these next six, seven, eight months. dick argued that bipartisanship isn't an end in itself, and it's sometimes mistaken for centrism, compromise, when tsk i in fact s really the way of what he called being a constructive public servant, it is the way they approach their job, with self-reflection, discipline and gauge ifaith in the good will of others. particularly destructive is the misconception in some quarters that governing with one vote more than 50% is just as good or better than government with 60% or 70% support. the problem with this thinking, he said, is that whatever is won today through division is usually lost tomorrow. the relationships are destroyed
and the ill will that is created to make subsequent achievements that much more difficult. a 51% mentality deepens sinnism -- cynicism and depletes the good will critical to our survival in hard times. that's actually about as fundamentally, philosophically as conservative, i think, as you could ask for. i think every one of us who has seen the difficulty of the last few years of our politics here who have been frustrated by the sheer inability of the institution to work would agree that there's nothing liberal or sceivive or moderate -- or conservative or moderate about what dick said. it's just common sense about how human nature works, about how people work. mr. president, it seems to me that we would do well to get back in touch -- i often hear people talk about how we need to change the rules here in order to get something done. actually, we don't.
these are the same rules that we operated with when everett dirksen was here, when bob dole was leader, george mitchell was leader. in the 1990's we balanced the budget of our nation four years in a row without a constitutional amendment. it didn't take a piece of paper to tell us to do it or new words written in the constitution. it took the common sense and courage of people on the floor of the senate to do what was right. we don't have to change the rules. we have to change the thinking. or change the people who don't want to do it. every great moment of this institution when people look back in history with pride and point to the missouri compromise or point to henry clay or daniel webster, all these great senators, or ted kennedy more recently and others on the other side of the aisle, when they do that, they're talking about people who operated by the same rules but found a common ground
because they had the intelligence and willpower to put the country and its interests ahead of fg else. that's what dick lugar's loss last night means us to. i don't know who will replace him. we don't know -- we certainly know the cross-currents of some of the campaign and we certainly know what senator lugar chose to say last night about his opponent's quest for more partisanship, not less. so the alarm bells have been sounded, i think. my prayer is that this election this year is tb going to help pe this country of this incredible waste of opportunity that were livingw, this congress isn't ov, and for those of us who were here and remember 1996, it bears repeating that even in presidential years, a congress can actually defy conventional
wisdom and get things done. that's why i know that dick lugar is going to finish out his sixth term in the senate with the same determination and effectiveness that has marked every year of his service here, and he's going to have a lot more contributions to this institution that he reveres and that respects him so enormousl. thank you, mr. president. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: first i want to thank senator kerry, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee for coming to the senate floor and speaking about our mutual friend, colleague nor dick lugar, who serves as the ranking republican on that senate fr foreign relations committee. i am a new come her to that committee but i am not a newcomer to my knowledge of dick lugar. 16 years ago he was well-known throughout the mid-west for his service as mayor of indianapolis where he combined and made more
efficient local units of government and i think the rebirth of indianapolis is attributed to those early steps by dick lugar. loretta, my wife and i, came to snow dick and his wife through an institute. i think we need to encourage where members come together to discuss foreign policy issues. dick lugar was there and always a major contributor when it came to issues of importance. before i arrived in the 123459 when you were still here, senator kerry, he teamed up with senator sam nunn to deal with an issue that related literally to the peace and security of the world. what would happen as the soviet union crumbled to all of those nuclear weapons? would they fall into the wrong hands, would they fuel into disrepair? and what could we do about it? sam nunn and dick lugar stepped
up and said we're going 0 work together on a bipartisan basis to deal with that. time appeared time again throughout his career, dick lugar has really focused on issues of strategic importance to the united states. and i can't agree with senator kerry more, he looked for a bipartisan approach to so many things. we always knew that you weren't going to push over anything ha n it came to dick lugar. he would always listen and he was always, always a gentleman. always. what a disappointment last night. once you've been in this chamber for a few year, you reflex on the lions of the senate who have come and gone, some because of the decision in the electorate, some because of the passage of time and then fateful decisions. we think back on some of these great people, john chafee -- john chafee and dick lugar were soul mates in terms of their view on the republican side of the aisle about how you work
across the aisle to get things dong. our mutual friend and your close personal friend, senator kennedy. senator kennedy's success has always reached across the aisle. and sometimes to the frustration of those on the democratic side who said, we've got enough votes, ted. we don't have do this. he would reach across. bob byrd who used to sit right next to where senator kerry is sitting now, you twhai will the senate be like without these great lions? it will go on. will we have learned from their example? will we take their life and career and build on it to make this a better snrais o or are we going to succumb to making this place more partisan, more high-bound, more dedicated to obstruction than moving forward? i know that dick lugar in the remaining months will be an extraordinary servant of the people of indiana and the nation. i look forward to seeing him here back on the senate floor working for the remainder of his
term. but it is a loss. it is a loss to the senate that he's leaving. and it is a sad day on both sides of the aisle that dick lugar won't be part of the future of the senate in person. but he can add to the senate and what it can bring. i'd like to speak about another republican senator while i have the floor. my colleague, mark kirk. some of you have seen the video. mark had a stroke in january. he wrote about it in this morning's chicago tribune. 52 years of age, the picture of health, a navy reserve officer, a united states senator from illinois, actively engaged in our state, going back and forth county to county, city to city. we worked together on so many things, and then on that fateful day he was stricken. and with the stroke, suffered some very serious damage. i was a little bit disturbed when his physician-surgeon came out and said here's what we can expect. i'm not going to go through the graphic details, but they were
sobering to think he would be limited in any way by the stroke. i was upset because i thought he doesn't know mark kirk. that isn't going to happen. mark is going to fight back. he is going to be back. and he is going to defy the odds in terms of stroke victims. yesterday he released a video. it is inspiring, and i hope that everyone gets a chance to see it. i'm sure it's readily available. showing him going through rehab. showing the efforts that he's making to come back to the united states senate. mark called me earlier this week. we've talked on the phone a couple times since his stroke. he's been actively engaged mentally in everything that we've done since the stroke occurred. but every day he tells me that he spends on a treadmill. you know, miles and miles of walking on a treadmill so he'll be able to come back. i told him we're on a different treadmill here. i'm sure he wants to get back on it with us in the united states senate. but he will be back, and he said something that i think we all
ought to remember. he said he asked his staff to count the steps from where he would park outside the senate chamber up to the senate chamber. they counted the steps, and they told him 45 steps. and he'd be back in the senate. and he said the day is going to come -- and i'm sure it will be soon -- when he will walk those steps. and there will be many, myself included, from both sides of the aisle cheering his return to the united states senate. so for mark, his family, his doctors, medical staff and all, thank you for this battle. thank you for your efforts, on behalf of our state. we look forward to your early return. mark and i have a joint town meeting, republican and democrat, every thursday morning. and the people sit there politely when we discuss issues and love it whaoe disagree because we do it without getting angry with one another. he'll be back soon not only with those meeti
is gone because they the are not able to commit themselves in a marriage of a certain point a just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to going ahead and a firm i think a same-sex couples should be able to get married. president obama with abc news. mitt romney speaking in oklahoma city this afternoon reacted to the president's comment saying he believes marriages between the man and woman. here's some of what he had to say in oklahoma city. >> [inaudible] of it is my great pleasure to welcome governor mitt romney, the next president of the united
states. [applause] dubner romney, i am sure you have heard you are now in the richest state of the nation. >> senator john mccain when he ran for president in 2008 he carried every single county in the state of oklahoma. i'm promising i'm going to do all i can to help you carry every county, every county in the state of oklahoma to help you in your race for the presidency of the united states. oklahoma is a great state, every conservative state. we are people who believe in the power of the individual, we believe and economic freedom, we don't believe that government solves all of our problems and i know governor to you believe in the same thing and that is why i am here today to lend my full endorsement and support of
governor mitt romney for president of the united states. [applause] i'm going to do everything i can to help governor romney and his campaign. i know governor romney i believe, like many oklahomans believe and many in our nation that our nation is headed on the wrong track, and we need a president who's going to get our nation back on the right track. it's critical to our future, and i know governor romney you are going to get our nation on the right course calling in the right direction. i know that, under romney, as i believe, as i also believe knows that our nation is on an unsustainable financial track at cannot sustain the spending, the debt that our nation experiences right now. he also believes like we believe that it's taking away our
freedom as individuals and our freedom right here in the free market system. when president obama came into office, he came with a promise of hope and he came with the promise of change. and of course we got change. was in the change we believed in. he promised he was going to unify the country. he also promised he was going to create jobs and he was going to help america to be more competitive in a global economic environment. but after four years, after four years this becomes very apparent that the president has a different agenda that will not lead america in the direction that we believe it needs to go for economic prosperity, economic growth, and certainly doesn't do what it needs to do to protect our individual freedoms as individuals in the nation. his policies have failed. they haven't created the type of jobs he promised. he has not been able to reduce the deficit. in fact the deficit has grown as
all of you know, and his policies have been to borrow, to tax and spend our way into prosperity. he believes in big government. we in oklahoma don't believe and big government. we believe in individual freedom, we believe in a competitive free market system, and now rather than the president learning from his mistakes, and his policy, now he's promising his way to give another four years of what we just had, and i don't believe that's right for america. if he doubles down on his policies what we have received from him as an extra $4 trillion in debt and our nation. he's also brought us what i believe as many unconstitutional policies, unaffordable reforms that hasn't been good for our citizens, certainly not for the nation. he's promised his way to bring higher taxes, he's promised he's going to work with big labor,
he's promised he thinks we need more government to help control our lives. we don't believe in net but unfortunately i don't think the policies the president has initiated is going to lead us in the direction that we need to go to build stronger are prosperous economy and certainly better schools and a better educated work force either. in fact, i just don't believe that for years that we had is going to take us where we need to go in the future so that's why we need to change the course and direction and that is why we are going to do everything we can to help you. in oklahoma we do things differently. we are not like the rest of the nation. we are a states was built on people who came here looking for a better life. we are a state that had people who were pioneers that believed in hard work and believed in free market systems that believe
in individual responsibility. we have people that came to oklahoma as farmers and small business people and entrepreneurs and people in the oil and gas industry. we were talking about strength as it, and people who can engineers and doctors educated. people who know how to innovate, how to create jobs and provide and create the right time of the atmosphere for prosperity. and we also know that it's the private sector that helped build that strong economy, not a bigger and more intrusive federal government. governor mitt romney understands this. he spent his life helping growth free market systems, john was, opportunities, helping american families support their families in a way that will be get for their future. he knows how to turn things around and take problems and begin to find ways to bring solutions to those problems and
that's what we need in our next president who's going to change the course of the nation, change the course president obama set forth which is the wrong direction. governor romney will do this by bringing the principles of competition there that relates to the free market system and frankly even principals the will bring us back into what our constitution has allowed for individual freedoms and individual rights where there is health care and the education of our children and governor romney will also help the nation's deer backend a retraction as it relates to energy and american produce energy. oklahoma knows about producing energy as you and i were just talking about that unfortunately president obama has been hostile to american made energy. he's done so many things that tell the nation back, creating those jobs, the economic
independence and creating our independence in foreign countries that have provided a leal in the past. we know how important energy is to the national security and economic security. over 300,000 jobs in the state related to the oil and gas industry so some i proceed the fact he's willing to work with us to solve the challenges that face us on our energy independence as a nation. president obama in my opinion doesn't have the courage to do the right thing for the nation and that is to approve the keystone pipeline that will help bring more energy independence to the nation. could have bought billions of dollars into the economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs that would have benefited not only the nation but in particular, oklahoma. governor mitt romney will be a partner for -- he would establish a government like our boss and he knows the
appropriate role of government itself not only in our individual lives of our business environment and i believe governor romney has both a vision and the experience and the know of to keep america moving in the right direction. we are a great nation and we need to do everything we can to get right back on course to be that great nation all of us believe in. so i am here today to say that i fully endorse the governor mitt romney for the next president of the united states and i'm going to do everything i can, governor, to bring you both from oklahoma to help you on your campaign. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome governor mitt romney, our next president of the united states. [applause] for thank you. quite an endorsement and quite a record you have come governor
come and you republicans i know we are a republican headquarters, so this is to be a very friendly audience and i appreciate the chance to be with you today and salute you the changes you've brought to oklahoma. i hope the rest of the nation is watching. your unemployment rate is below 6%, 5.6, 5.4, 5.4%. there are lessons here to a. one is to improve education to make sure kids are getting the high quality education you applied that a through a system of grading skulls putting the kind of transparency in the education system that makes the education here one the other nations look at and it's getting better in oklahoma unit oklahoma e-business friendly state meeting you and to bring jobs, entrepreneur some enterprises that will create jobs.
you also have energy resources. you've taken advantage of to make sure the cost of energy is reasonable in the state, and that makes it easier from manufacturing to come to oklahoma for businesses that use a lot of energy to say oklahoma is a good place to locate. these are not mysteries, they are not hard to understand. good schools, good policies, favorable labor policies have a fair balance between labor and management. tax policies that encourage enterprises to grow and come to your state, these things make sense. what we are finding in washington however is the president has a very different view. i think it is harping back to the old policies in the liberal past and those policies don't work. i think the present is just being guided by things that have been spoken about by liberals for years and you go through
them piece by piece. raising taxes on small business doesn't help. it hurts jobs he wants to raise the marginal tax reforms 35% to 45% of small-business. it will kill jobs. he's also tried to change the deal between labor and management, tried to impose unions with the workers themselves are not given the right to a secret ballot. that will not attract jobs. raising the debt in this country. the debt that he is amassing that scarce on the investment in america that doesn't create jobs and with regard to energy almost every front the president has made it harder to take advantage of the energy resources we have in this nation and the abundance. coal, gas, oil, nuclear. we all like wind and solar but we are not going to come as the governor said we are not 20 flying airplanes, it's the other way around, and so we have to
have those other resources of our low-cost and abundant in this country. when the president ran for office and engaged in denver of the democrat convention he laid out the measures upon which progress would be determined. one, progress would occur if we are creating jobs. he hasn't been successful doing that. his policies have not created jobs and then sat we now have 39. we are nationally the unemployment rate is above 8%, 39 months. 23, 24 million americans out of work or stop looking for work or jobs will be neither skill level. just a tragedy. the president also said he measure progress by whether people were able to pay their mortgages. we've known dorfman record forclosures. he said we measure our progress by with incomes are going up or down. the last four years the median
income in america has dropped 10%. middle class families are feeling squeezed. a meeting with families talking about their circumstances and their lives some have jobs many have jobs and so statistically it looks like they are working and you might think everything must be fine because they are employed but they are working for less money in the sitting incomes haven't risen. the are working at this time gasoline prices are up, the cost of health care is up and they are having tough times. this isn't a delightful time for the american people in the middle class and they need help. there's one more promise the president made. the president said he would invest $150 billion in greenburgh and create 5 million jobs to leave have you seen those year?
since 2009 there's fewer jobs than there were and guess what part of the energy sector has actually grown, leal and gas by 75,000 jobs. the president tries to take a lap and say i am producing more oil and gas now the then-president that would be like me saying i take responsibility for the red sox winning when i was covered. i'm afraid neither one of us deserve the credit and in the president's case he's done almost everything in his power to make it harder to take advantage of our natural gas and coal and oil and nuclear and the president has proposed to cut back some 75 per cent and as you know we said no to the keystone pipeline. i have a different vision in mind. i do not believe in the old
policies of the past i believe america needs a new mission for the future. [applause] part of that vision includes energy. i want to export the resources we have offshore and onshore energy. i want to make sure we drill in the outer continental shelf and once again we encourage drilling in the gulf of mexico and i will make sure that we connect to the solyndra -- no, not solyndra come to the keystone pipeline from canada if i have to build it myself we are going to get the energy in this country. [applause] i do have solyndra on my mind. the president's policies were to invest the 150 billion in places
like solyndra and tesla is making cars now, high-end sports cars pet manufacturing finland and of course solyndra is out of business. his policy hasn't worked by the policy different, so part one will be on energy on a different approach. part number two is making sure we have a level playing field between labor and management and take them out of the national labor relations board and number three is to have tax policies that encourage small business so rather than raising the tax on small business from 35 to 40% i will bring it down to 28% to encourage this does is to go and invest and hire people here in this country. [applause] finally, one more. with regards to health care, the old school liberals believe any time there's a problem government can step in and run things better than people in free enterprise is they are
wrong. one of the first things i will do if i become president is to repeal and replace obamacare. [applause] i believe if we put in place the policies of described you're going to see a resurgence of manufacturing in this country. enterprises that send jobs overseas in the past are going to start bringing jobs back home. i don't have a pessimistic view about the future of america. i believe in america. i believe in an entrepreneurial innovative spirit of the american people. i believe in the productivity of the american workforce. i believe those things combined with the government that encourages the sector rather than dampen it will allow enterprises to come back to this country. we have led the world look how
we live our lives now. we take pictures with self loans and work on virtual marketplace is selling things we don't even see. our best friends include people on facebook we don't even know and these are all invented. the rest of the world isn't inventing these things. we are an inventive people. the skills combined with those other resources we have promised america will continue to be the economic powerhouse of the world if we get the government to be the ally of the people and free enterprise is. i love america. i love the people of america. i'm confident in our future. the president has made bad choices. he has taken us in a course that is reminiscent of the policies of the past and the people of america are disappointed and
where it's ended but we are going to bring america back and the much of what you've learned right here are the policies of conservatism our policies i want to bring to washington i believe in this great land and together we are going to take it back and get it right. thank you so much. agreed to be with you. [applause] thank you. the governor and i want to get a chance to say hi and shake your hands. this isn't such a huge crowd we wouldn't be able to do that but i do know a couple members of the media have us for a chance to ask a question or two and we will let you do that if you would like to do that. >> [inaudible] >> i have the same view on marriage that i had when i was governor and i've expressed many times i believe marriage is a relationship between an man and
woman. >> [inaudible] >> states are able to make decisions with domestic partnership benefits such as hospital visitation rights, benefits and so forth of various kinds can be determined state-by-state but marriage itself is the relationship between a man and a woman and that is my preference. i know other people have different views and it's a tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues, but i have the same view that i had since running for office. >> [inaudible] >> i believe that based upon the interview that he gave today on abc to you are a better judge than point i saw the previous reports he opposed same-sex marriage and now according to abc news he's saying he supports it. so if that's the case he will be
a will to make that determination. thanks, you guys. [applause] >> all of those comments available on the video library, c-span.org. some of the president's comments. we are back live with the house armed services committee authorization. the defense authorization markup session in which got under way 10:00 this morning gaveled backend fer votes on a number of amendments for debate at hit. it is on an amendment by representative lambert of colorado. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> [roll call]
the clerk will report a tally. >> the ayes of 37, noes, 25. >> the amendment is agreed to. the committee postponed proceedings on the amendment offered by mr. turner. the amendment would add turner maintaining a commitment act h.r. 4178. the question occurs on the amendment offered by mr. turner took clerical cultural.
147. >> hearing no objection, and it doesn't change the outcome we want to be accommodating no objection, so ordered. >> thank you. postponement of further proceedings offered by mr. johnson. 197 are one the amendment would require the secretary to report to the defense committee regarding nuclear weapons reductions pursuant to the s.t.a.r.t. treaty. the question now occurs on the amendment by mr. johnson the clerk will call the roll. [roll call]
[applause] >> i knew you would love me. >> she just won the popularity contest. i would like to thank the subcommittee chairman turner, ranking member sanchez for her working together to help expedite the process. the committee postponed further proceedings on the amendment offered by mr. andrus. a number 127 this amendment strikes section 3115 and 3133 of the bill. the question occurs on the amendment offered by mr. sanchez -- mr. andrews. the clerk will call the roll. [roll call]
>> leave it as yes? okay. >> the clerk will report to tally. >> the ayes 27, some of noes, 35. >> the amendment is not agreed to. >> are there any amendments to the subcommittee report? >> mr. chairman, i would like to call the amendment number 43. >> please pass out the amendment. without objection the reading, dispensed with. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. chairman, let them pass
those out. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman for the purpose of explaining his amendment. >> thank you mr. chairman. my amendment provides a sense of congress and request a report focusing on conventional forces in the western pacific particularly the sense of congress supports america's if it to reinforce security of our allies and strengthen our deterrent capability against north korea. encourages steps including deployment of additional conventional and redeploying tactical nuclear weapons to the
western president. further additional convention nuclear forces to the western specific region as a u.s. response to the ballistic and nuclear missile weapons development of north korea and certainly for other actions mr. chairman. the report is to include an evaluation of any bilateral agreements in need a single dramas and cost the would be involved with this deployment. mr. chairman, as you know, north korea has grown more and more belligerent over the years. they've recently conducted a launch that was conducted despite mayoress resolutions and the opposition's voice to detest and despite its failure it revealed mercury as unwillingness to be constrained by the resolutions sanctions of agreement. fundamentally we in the last
many years have appealed to china and others to all of us negotiate with north korea to bring them in line with a the request for peace in the world at it seemed like nothing works and that china is an art on selling nuclear components to north korea and they are not just supporting the financing mr. chairman the murder case supporting north korea's missile program and consequently, it's become time for us as a nation to look to our deterrent ability to take care of ourselves and work with our allies to make sure we are doing everything necessary to detour and be able to defend ourselves against any future belligerence or future threats from north korea and this is a reasonable amendment and conduct a study i hope my
colleagues would support the amendment. i would oppose this amendment and urge the committee to do so with we take north during a very seriously we have substantial u.s. military presence and we've been working closely with the south korean military and is significantly increased their capabilities we are in no way assuming somehow north korea can be negotiated out of the alleged behavior. we are taking every step to be in the military position for that and i don't think there's any evidence that we are not taking the threat of north korea
very seriously making sure we have adequate forces to deal with it. second, one of things in the committee will try to avoid doing and never seem to succeed is overloading the department of defense reports to want to submit. i'm absolutely convinced the department of defense right now is constantly and that the threat from north korea each of the strategy to during out what we need to do and demanding the submit a report less isn't going to help. lastly and most important putting in legislation the notion that it would be helpful to the region to deploy tactical nuclear weapons is completely wrong. if anything the will ramp up the tension and create a greater likelihood of problems in the region not a lesser one. we have the situation covered in the more than adequate deterrent capability to suggest that it would be a good idea to increase
the amount nuclear weapons in that region as not something i can separate or something if the committee should support. i urge opposition to the amendment. >> with the gentleman yield briefly? i want to remind the committee the amendment doesn't force the nuclear weapons on anyone it just examines whether we add our alliances with be strengthened in the deployment of conventional weapons in the region. if china is keen to be so concerned about a stronger u.s. presence in the region it's very simple for them to do something about it. the cast of supporting the nuclear threat and get tough on kim junk il administration. >> un as the appropriate pronunciation i believe. >> i yield back. ..