Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 24, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

9:00 am
that's the reason i'm running for a second term as president of the united states of america. [cheers and applause] .. >> his working assumption is, if ceos and wealthy investors like camera get rich, and the rest of us automatically will, too. there was a woman in iowa who
9:01 am
shared heard stories of the financial struggles, and he gave her an answer right out of an economic textbook. he said are part activity equals our income. [laughter] and the notion was that somehow the reason people can't pay their bills is because they are not working hard enough. if they got more productive, then suddenly their incomes would go up. well, those of us who spent time in the real world -- [laughter] know the problem isn't the american people are not productive enough. you've been working harder than ever. the challenge we face right now, and the challenge we faced for over a decade is that harder work has not led to higher income. and bigger profits at the top have that lead to better jobs. what governor romney doesn't seem to get is that a healthy economy doesn't just mean a few folks in maximizing their profits through massive layoffs,
9:02 am
you don't make america stronger by shipping jobs overseas. would you propose cutting own taxes while raising the on 18 million work families, that's not a recipe for broad-based economic growth. [inaudible] [cheers and applause] >> you know, i -- and i need you. [inaudible] [laughter] there is nothing new about these ideas. it's the same old stuff they've been peddling for years. though, you know, build clinton pointed this out a few weeks ago. this time their agenda is on steroids. they went even bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest americans.
9:03 am
they went even deeper cuts to things like education, medicare, research and technology. they want to give banks and insurance companies more power. you know, governor romney says that his 25 years and the private sector gives him a special understanding of how the economy works. now, if that's true, i've got to ask, why is he running around with the same bad ideas that brought our economy to collapse? this last timeout? [applause] i mean, either he thinks they will lead to a different result this time, or he's hoping you won't remember what happened the last time. [laughter] and i'm here to say, we were there. we remember. we are not going back. we are moving forward. [cheers and applause] that's why i am running for president again.
9:04 am
now, understand and we don't expect government to solve all our problems. and it shouldn't try. i learned from my mom, no education policy can take the place of a loving attentive and sometimes somewhat stern parent. when i was a young community organizer i was working with catholic churches, and they taught me that no government program can make as much as the different of times and commitment on the part of neighbors and friends. not every regulation is more. not every tax dollar is spent wisely. your governor, your mayor, your president, all of us are constantly looking for ways to make government smarter, and to upgrade what we have been doing. a lot of the stuff we are doing now we were doing back in 30, 40, '50s and '60s. we need to change some of this
9:05 am
stuff. so we can't just be defending the status quo. we want to transform it, including how government works. not every person can be helped who refuses to help themselves. but that's not an excuse to tell the vast majority of responsible, hard-working americans, you're on your own. and endless you're lucky enough to parents who can lend you money, you may not be able to go to college. and even if you pay your premiums every month, you may be out of luck if an insurance company decides to drop your coverage right when you need it most. that's not who we are. that's not how we build america. we built this country together. we built railroads and highways, the hoover dam and the golden gate bridge, together. we send my grandfather's generation back to college on on the g.i. bill together.
9:06 am
we didn't do these things does it would be good for one person or one group. we did it because we understood, you know what? my neighbor, my friend, my colleague from my coworker, if they're getting a good education, then my business, my company, my communities will thrive. all of us will be better. [applause] if we invest in building roads and bridges, all of us will be better. it will make all of us richer, all of us will have opportunity. those previous generations understood we move forward together. as one nation and as one people. that's the true lesson of our past. and that's the right vision for our future. that's why i'm running for president. [cheers and applause]
9:07 am
now, i'm running to make sure that by the end of this decade more of our citizens hold a college degree than any other nation on earth. [applause] i want to make sure our schools are hiring and rewarding the best teachers especially in math and science. i want to get 2 million more americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn the skills of the local businesses are looking for right now. [applause] higher education isn't a lecture. it's an economic imperative. every american should be able to afford. has the choice in this election. i'm running to make sure the next generation of high-tech manufacturing takes place in denver, cleveland, pittsburgh, in charlotte. [applause] i don't want to reward businesses that are investing creating jobs overseas. i want to reward them for
9:08 am
investing right here in colorado. [applause] creating jobs right here in the united states of america. that's the choice in this election. i'm running so that we can have control over our energy future. our dependence on foreign oil is at its lowest point in 16 years of. [applause] and by the middle of the next decade, our cars will averaged nearly 55 miles per gallon. [applause] thousands of americans have jobs because of the production of renewable energies, here in colorado and all across the country. and your governor and your mayors have been leading in this. your congressional delegation, they understand now is not the time to cut these investments to
9:09 am
pay for $4 billion a year in giveaways to the oil companies. now is the time to end those subsidies on an industry that has rarely been more profitable, and let's invest in the future. let's invest in energy that has rarely been more promising to our economy and our security. [applause] and the safety of our planet. [applause] that's what i am running, denver. that's the choice in this election. [cheers and applause] for the first time in nine years, there are no americans fighting in iraq. [cheers and applause] osama bin laden is no longer a threat to this country, and al qaeda is on the path to defeat. [cheers and applause] we just came out of a nato
9:10 am
summit in chicago, in which all the country participating, the international coalition, said the war in afghanistan will end on 2014. it will be over and we are going to start bringing our troops home. [applause] and we are going to do it in a way that is responsible and allows afghans to take a greater leap for their own security. you know, america is safer and more respected because of the courage and selflessness of the u.s. armed services. i was just at the air force academy, shaking 1100 hands. [laughter] giving 1100 salutes. and as long as i am commander-in-chief, this country will care for our veterans. [cheers and applause] we will care and serve our veterans the way they served us, because no veteran should have to fight for a job when they come on, or five for a roof over their heads. [applause]
9:11 am
that's why we're so proud we are building that va hospital right here in denver. [cheers and applause] and our congressional delegation helped to make that happen. my opponent has different ideas. he said it was tragic to end the war in iraq. won't set a timeline for ending the war in afghanistan. i had set a timeline. our coalition partners and afghans agree with me. i intend to keep it. after a decade of wars that has cost thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own. [cheers and applause] we are going to use half of what we are no longer spending on the war to pay down our deficit, use the other half to invest in
9:12 am
education or research, wireless networks and smart grids and broadband lines and new runways. that's the choice in this election. and i'm willing to pay down our debt that is balanced and is responsible for. [applause] after inheriting a $1 trillion deficit, i signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law. my opponent won't admit it, but it's starting to appear in places, you know, real liberal outlets like "the wall street journal" -- [laughter] since i've been president, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years. [cheers and applause] think about that. think about that. i would point out that it goes up released under democratic
9:13 am
presidents. these other side, i don't know how they have been bamboozling folks into thinking that they are the responsible, fiscally disciplined party. they run up these wild that's, and then when we take over we have to clean it up. and they point and say look at a responsible they are. look at the facts. look at the numbers. and now i want to finish the job. [cheers and applause] i want to finish the job in a balanced way. yes, we are going to streamline government. there's more waste to be cut. we can reform our tax code so that it is simpler and fairer. but so that also asked the wealthiest americans to pay a little bit passionate and let me say, my opponent won't tell us how he paid for his new $5 trillion tax cut. now, this is, this isn't a tax
9:14 am
cut that gives an average of $280,000 to every millionaire in the country. this is on top of the bush tax cuts. there's more. i don't need more. and we know that the tax bill, or the bill for this tax cut, it's going to come from two places to either it is passed on to our children, or it will be paid for by a whole lot of ordinary americans. and we are not going to let that happen again. we're not going to let another millionaire's tax cut get paid for by eliminating medical research projects in things like cancer or alzheimer's. we're not going to pay for another tax cut by taking more kids out of head start programs are asking students to pay more for college, or eliminating
9:15 am
health insurance for millions of poor and elderly and disabled americans on medicaid. and i'm not going to allow medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it. we're not going to do that. [applause] >> we will reform medicare, not by shifting the cost care onto senior but by reducing the spending that is not helping people. issue after issue we can't afford to spend the next four years going backwards. we don't need to revive the battles over wall street reform. we just saw how much we needed. we don't need to revive the battle over health care reform. stanley told you why it's me. we have to put 5 million young people who are on their parents plan right now because of that bill. have health insurance they wouldn't otherwise have. [cheers and applause] millions of seniors who are seeing their prescription drug
9:16 am
prices lower because it was the right thing to do. we're not going to go back to the days when the insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy or to deny your coverage or charge women differently than men. we are not going back there. we certainly don't need a political fight about in a woman's right to choose or get rid of planned parenthood or taking away affordable birth control. [cheers and applause] i want women to control their own health choices, just like i want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons. [cheers and applause] we are not turning back the clock. [cheers and applause] we won't do that. we are not going back to the days when you can be kicked out of the united states military because of who you are and who you love. [cheers and applause] we are moving forward. to a country where every american is treated with dignity and respect and equality.
9:17 am
that's where we are moving forward. [cheers and applause] >> we need to put an end to another election where multimillion dollars donations speak louder than the voice of ordinary citizens. [applause] we need to move forward so that we can stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they are the children of undocumented immigrants. [cheers and applause] this is a country that is at its best when we harness the god-given talents of every individual, when we hear every voice. when we come together as one american family and we are striving for the same dream. that's what we are fighting for. that's why i'm running for president. that's why i need your help.
9:18 am
this election will be closer than the last one. people don't remember the last election was close. will have to contend with even more negative ads, even more cynicism and nastiness and just plain foolishness. but the outcome of the election is ultimately going to depend on all of you. [inaudible] >> that's exactly right. [laughter] because -- [applause] you know, if there's one thing i learned in 2008, there's nothing more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. and when you guys are knocking on doors, when you're picking up phones and calling your friends, talking to your neighbors and your coworkers, when you decide it's time to change that, guess what? it happens. change comes to america. and that's the spirit we need again.
9:19 am
that's the spirit we need again. you know, i took some pictures with some folks before i came out here, and you know, one of the first pictures i took was with a couple of gentlemen. these two right here. 90 years old. they were u.s. olympians in 1938, when jesse owens was their friend. [cheers and applause] they can stand up. these gentleman right here. [cheers and applause] 1938. 1938, think about that. 1938. 48, excuse me. i'm sorry, i'm making them even older. [laughter] 1948. and so we're talking about all the changes they have seen, everything that's happened in their lifetimes.
9:20 am
and i was just imagining, you know, what the world looked like then, and because in part of the example they said what the world looks like now. and then, one of my last pictures, in fact the last picture i took was with a baby. who was drooling on my -- [laughter] there he is, right there. [applause] got the drool all over me. now, and i started imagining what the world will look like for him, 50 years from now. and all the changes he is going to see. and those stories are bound together. that little baby, these two handsome gentlemen, they're part
9:21 am
of that same story. as we are americans. and they understand -- [applause] -- that we are bound together. that people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it's about these gentleman and it's about that baby. you tell them it's about hope. you tell them it's still about change. you tell them it's still about ordinary people who believe in each other, who believe we have more in common than anything that drives us apart, who believe the in the face of great odds, we can make a difference in the life of this country. i still believe. i believe i am absolutely convinced we are not as divided as our politics suggests right now. i still believe we have more in common than the pundits tell us that we're not democrats or republicans first. we are americans first. that's what i believe.
9:22 am
[applause] and so, you should all know, i still believe in you. and i'm asking you to believe in me. [cheers and applause] because, as i told you in 2008, i'm not a perfect man, and i'll never be a perfect president. but i told you i would always say what i thought, i would always tell you where i stood. i would always wake up every single day fighting as hard as i can for you. and i've kept that promise, and i will keep that promise as long as i have the honor of being your president. hope you'll fight with me and stick with me and march with me. willing to work even harder this time than the last time. [cheers and applause] we will move this country forward. we will finish what we started. we will remind the world again
9:23 am
why the united states of america is the greatest nation on earth. thank you, denver. god bless you. [cheers and applause] god bless america. [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
9:24 am
♪ ♪ ♪
9:25 am
♪ ♪ ♪
9:26 am
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
9:27 am
♪ ♪ ♪
9:28 am
♪ ♪ >> this memorial day weekend, three days of american history tv on c-span3. saturday morning at nine eastern actors in hbo's band of brothers joined easy company fast and the 101st thing i said what is this bill? you have given me everything. he said, we are jumping. i said, yes. okay. what's that got to do with me? he said, let me tell you something. how much do you weigh? i said 138 pounds. >> how tall are you?
9:29 am
i said five-foot four inches and have. you have to put a half into. i said because i am five-foot four and a half. the reason you got that, we don't want to go looking for you in spain. [laughter] spent also, sunday night at 9:30 p.m. woodrow wilson, teddy roosevelt, william taft and eugene debs, the legacy of the 1912 presidential election. and monday night at nine,. >> december 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. >> tour the pearl harbors visitors center national monument. three days of american history tv this holiday weekend on c-span3. >> in a moment we'll go live to the u.s. senate as they continue to debate this morning a bill extending food bill extending food and drug administration
9:30 am
user fees for another five years. they pay for fda reviews of prescription drugs and medical devices. creates new programs to monitor generic drugs. at 2 p.m. eastern senators will vote on up to 11 amendments before a vote on final passage. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the giver of every good and perfect gift, thank you
9:31 am
for all that makes life worthwhile. thank you for tasks to do, for health of body, for accuracy of hand and eye, for skill of mind, and for friends and loved ones. today, equip the minds of our senators with three assurances to sustain them. remind them of your sovereignty, your power, and your love. give them the wisdom to believe that there is no problem or circumstance beyond your control. may this knowledge guide their
9:32 am
thinking, speaking and decisions in a way that will glorify you. we pray in your holy name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, may 24, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom udall, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties f the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore.
9:33 am
mr. reid: mada mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: we're now considering s. 3187, the f.d.a. user fees legislation. there is an agreement now reached to complete this legislation today. under the agreement, debate time will expire at 2:00 p.m. today. up to 12 roll call votes could begin earlier in order to complete action on the bill and have a couple votes in relation to the student loan interest rate hike. we'll notify everyone if time is yielded back, but people should be aware of the need for you come here we hope before noon to have a couple votes. there will be no votes between 1:00 and 2:00 because of meetingmeetings both sides have. so we also hope -- we worked out
9:34 am
a tentative agreement yesterday on flood insurance, which is important to 6 million people. we need to get that done today also. we hope we can get that done. mr. president, i was pleased yesterday to reach an agreement with the republican leader on thousand move forward with this f.d.a. -- on how to move forward with this f.d.a. bill. this legislation would establish a protocol and ensure f.d.a. resources are there to approve new drugs and medical devices quickly and efficiently. we're going to consider a number of amendments and i'm optimistic that we'll pass this on a strong bipartisan vote. the week has been productive. and, mr. president, we have not had to break -- or try to break a single republican filibuster. that is a good day in washington. doesn't happen very often. hope it happens more often.
9:35 am
if this trend continues, we could return to the way we used to be; that is, do things that were good for the country and not be trying to stop everything from moving along. i'm also hopeful this week that the senate will be able to find a path to renew the flood insurance program. we need a long-term stliewtion a long-term solution to this problem. we have about 40,000 loans every day that are approved. they are approved because you can make that check that you do have flood insurance. if there's no way to buy flood insurance, you can't make that check in that box, and you can't get a loan. this would be devastating to our fragile economy. we've got to get this done and get it done before the end of this month. the cooperative work on that measure and the f.d.a. bill renew my hope that congress will reach an agreement to prevent student loan interest rates from
9:36 am
doubling for 7 million young men and women. we have two proposals to freeze interest rates at their current levels. the republican proposal is paid for by stripping americans of lifesaving preventive health care. can't say anymore clearly than that. it would be a shame to use that pay-for. that program has already been stripped bare. taking more from it would really hurt the health of america. our proposal is paid for by closing a loophole that allows wealthy americans to dodge their taxes. mr. president, i'm certainly aware how things work around here. neither one of these things are going to pass. i'm sorry to say. these two proposals were not created equal. but i hope a few reasonable republicans will join with us to put -- to not put americans' health at risk.
9:37 am
we need to come to an agreement on the student loan issue. we only have until the end of june to do this. also, mr. president, i hope to resolve an issue dealing with paycheck fairness over the next work period. in addition to that, we're going to deal with the farm bill, flood insurance, as i've talked about, a small business tax relief prasrelief prasm program. last congress we passed the lilly ledbetter act, a woman who was cheated out of the pay she deserved. she did the same work for many, many years as men without the same money. she sought redress in the courts. they said, no, you should have done it when you first started working. she didn't know she had been cheating at the time. now people in the same situation as lilly ledbetter are not going to be found by some phony set of
9:38 am
rules that prevents somebody from filing a lawsuit when they have been aggrieved. the wage gap has been narrowed, but it remains a serious problem in the workplace. the work we did with lilly ledbetter was the single-most important piece of legislation to ensure women will have a chance to protect themselves. it's something we should have done before. we didn't. it's done now. women make up about half of today's workforce. more than half the students in our law schools, more than half the students in medical schools are women. they still only earn 77 cents oarch dollar compared to -- on every dollar compared to their male colleagues for doing the same work. with an increasing number of women leading american households, this is a problem that affects children and families across the country.
9:39 am
the legislation, led by senator barbara mikulski, the paycheck fairness act is a logical extension of protections under the equal pay act. it will create strong incentives for employers to obey the laws already in place. republicans deny they're wage ago war on women, yet they've launch add series of attacks on women on wages and contraception this year. we're going to give them the opportunity to back up their speech with action. to send a clear message that america appreciates the contributions that women make every day. would the chair announce the work we're going to do. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 3187, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 400, s. 3187, a bill to amend
9:40 am
the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act, and sphoamplet and for other purposes. mr. reid: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
9:41 am
9:42 am
9:43 am
mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that further reading under the quorum call be suspend. officer without objection. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent at that call up amendment 2107 and make it pending. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. mccain proposes an amendment numbered 2107. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, this is not a new issue. this has been before this body on cephalo indications, and i want to assure my -- this has been before this body on several occasions, and i want to ensure my friends that if the lobbyists for the pharmaceutical companies in this town are able to block this, we will be revisiting this issue. this is an issue of fundamental fairness and decency and giving
9:44 am
americans the opportunity to have access to the very important medication that in many cases is lifesaving. it has been blocked by one of the most powerful lobbies in washington, the pharmaceutical companies. for year, alon years, along witr senators, including the current occupant of the white house, the president of the united states when he was a senator supported this amendment. i'd like to see the administration weigh in and take the same position that then-senator obama took on this issue of basic and fundamental decency and fairness to people who are badly in need of medicine, in many cases lirlt thacases -- inmany cases that wy save their lives.
9:45 am
various ways have been found to confuse the issue, to raise red herrings about safety or block secret deals. let me give you an example. this recently came up about the activities of the pharmaceutical companies in the formulation of obamacare. and i quote from g.o.p. probe uncovers deal between obama and drug companies by phillip klein, the senior editorial writer of the washington examiner. it goes on -- quote -- "three years ago president obama cut a secret deal with pharmaceutical company lobbyists to secure the industry's support for his national health care law. despite obama's promises during his campaign to run a transparent administration, the deal has been in shrouded in mystery ever since but internal emails obtains by house republicans now provide evidence a deal was struck and g.o.p.
9:46 am
investigators are promising to release more details in the coming week. what the hell, unquote, white house deputy chief of staff jim messina complaints complained to a lobbyist for the phrma, on january 15, 2010, email quote this wasn't part of our deal, unquote, in reference to our deal came two months before the final passage of obamacare in with a subject line townshend -- tauzin e-mail. he was one of the highest paid lobbyists in history, millions of dollars. the email was uncovered as part of the investigation into obama's closed-door health care negotiations that was launched by the house energy and commerce committee's oversight panel. in the coming weeks the committee friends to show the
9:47 am
white house agreed to to deal with its deal with the pharmaceutical industry and how the full details were kept from both the public and the house of representatives. the committee's republican members wrote in a memo today. on june 20, 2009, obama released a terse, 296-word statement announcing a deal between pharmaceutical companies and the senate that didn't mention any involvement by the white house. quote the investigation is determined that the white house primarily through office of health reform director and messina with involvement from chief of staff rahm emanuel was involved in these negotiations while the rol role of congress was limited. three days before the june 20 statement the head of phrma, that's mr. tauzin, promised messina, we will deliver a final yes to you by morning. meanwhile she confirmed that half the legislative branch was
9:48 am
shut out, in an e-mail, i think we should have included the house in the discussions but maybe we never would have gotten anywhere if we had tried. what went on, what went on in the fortunately you'llation of obamacare is still -- formulation of obamacare is one of the worst, sleaziest exercises i've seen in my many years here and this involvement by the pharmaceutical companies was probably the most egregious. all this -- all this amendment does, it allows u.s. consumers who need more affordable prescription drug options either to go without their medications or pay higher prices than they could get from ledge it canadian pharmacies. but that's not a reason for us to stop fighting for those in the united states who need more affordable prescription medications. there are americans in this country today who cannot afford their medications. they have a choice between eating or having -- taking
9:49 am
their prescription drugs. meanwhile, there is a way for them to get much cheaper drugs and this amendment does that. and you'll see and you'll hear from the pharmaceutical company supporters here in the senate who will talk about safety and we don't have the -- the canadians don't have the same standards that we do. really? do we really believe that the canadian regulations and oversight are any better or worse than the united states? to ensure u.s. patients have at least one option, this amendment takes a very narrow approach to safe importation by focusing on legitimate canadian pharmacies. under this amendment, the secretary of health and human services will certify -- quote -- "approved canadian pharmacies based on certain safety and quality criteria to ensure patients are not exposed to
9:50 am
unsafe medications, approve canadian pharmacies can only sell to u.s. customers that are the same as u.s.-approved drugs. to protect u.s. patients against rowing distributors -- droag distributors --, rogue distributors, a list must be published by the secretary so americans know which pharmacies are legitimate. the cost of health care including prescription drugs continues to increase. however, there is nothing in the underlying f.d.a. bill that will bring down the cost of trution prution. i wonder -- prescription drugs. i wonder if a bill should be enacted when it doesn't address costs. the quality of pharmaceuticals in this country is outstanding. and i recognize that. but don't we all know how expensive it is, don't we know that, for example, that in the united states of america nexxium
9:51 am
20-milligram, 30 tabs, $195..99. the canadian brand, $108..55. canadian generic, $69. plavix, u.s. brand, 195. canada brand, $132. i'm sure, i am sure that many americans whose health coverage does not include these very expensive, very expensive pharmaceuticals would be eager, would be eager to take advantage of the same quality brand of prescription drugs that's available at these pharmacies in canada. unemployment remains over 8% as we all know. millions of families have mothers and fathers who remain unemployed or underemployed and have no hoorches coverage.
9:52 am
-- health insurance coverage. but they have conditions and need medications. and millions search for more affordable ways to get their needed prescription drugs. unfortunately, in my state many of my fellow citizens who can't amped it go to mexico and get drugs there and i can't guarantee, i can't guarantee what they purchase there will always be what it's purported to be. and that is not a criticism of my friends south of the border. but the fact is that in canada, in canada they have the same kind of process that we do. well, millions continue searching -- despite there being no official program import medications from canada, approximately one million u.s. consumers use their own money to safely get their medications
9:53 am
from legitimate canadian pharmacies. in arizona over 20,000 patients purchase their medications safely from canadian pharmacies. in florida, over 85,000 patients purchase their medications safely from canadian pharmacies. a recent study from roger bate confirms in drugs dispensed from legitimate canadian pharmacies there was no failure of authenticity between drug samples obtained online from u.s. pharmacies compared to the same drug from canadian pharmacies. and within the verified pharmacies, u.s. prices on average were 52.5% higher than canadian pharmacy prices. in other words, the drugs from canadian pharmacy sites are the same dosage, form, and potency as drugs in the u.s., only much less expensive.
9:54 am
the drugs are the same, as i mentioned. this amendment doesn't authorize insurance companies, huge pharmacy chains or wholesalers to import massive quantities into the u.s. system. this is about safely allowing uninsured, unemployed or the underemployed to individually import these drugs that they need. so please, somebody explain to me how we tell the struggling family who needs their medications that they didn't use their own money -- can't use their own money to get the same drug from legitimate canadian pharmacies where the cost can be more than 50% lower than u.s. prices. and it's not about the alarms of safety because this amendment requires the secretary of health and human services to promulgate regulations permitting individuals to safely import medications from canada and the following safety criteria must be met to import drugs from
9:55 am
f.d.a. approved canadian pharmacies. the scriebd drug must be licensed by a licensed pharmacist. it must be for personal use in quantities that don't exceed a 90-day supply. the prescribed drug must be dispensed in accordance with a valid prescription. imported drug must have the same ingredient or ingredients, mode of administration, dosage form and strength as a prescription drug approved by the secretary. the amendment recognizes that approved canadian pharmacies meeting safety criteria can and should provide needed alternatives to u.s. patients using their own money to affordably obtain their medications. the secretary is required to publish on the f.d.a. web site a list of approved canadian pharmacies that meet the following stringent criteria. pharmacy has been in existence for five years.
9:56 am
prior to enactment of the program and other than to participate in the u.s.-canadian safe drug importation program. the pharmacy operates in accordance with pro provincial regulations. the pharmacy complies with infection specks and data procedures. the pharmacy agrees labs approved by the secretary shall be used to determine the safety and efficacy of sample pharmaceutical products. the pharmacy does not resell products from online pharmacies located outside canada to consumers in the u.s. safe drug importation is a bipartisan issue. people in all of our states are still struggling with family budgets, and the u.s. senate can't do anything to give patients more choices about where they can get their needed drugs because the drug industry opposes allowing individual americans to use their own money to safely get the same drugs
9:57 am
from canada, it doesn't make sense. just a word about the types of medications that are eligible. i've been asked by colleagues whether biologicallic medicines can be part of the program. the answer is not unless they can be safely imported under the provisions of the amendment and regulations issued by the secretary. the amendment doesn't discriminate against the type of conditions or medicines that patients should be able to safely import under this program. not all biolodgics are the same. some are available in capsules, others injectable medications that require refrigeration. some injectables don't require refrigeration and are shipped to patients throughout the u.s. every day. a one-size-fits-all approach does not work here. i don't believe that u.s. patients should necessarily be prevented from saving money on biologics. if it can't meet the safety provisions in the amendment, it should not be eligible but if it can meet the requirements of the
9:58 am
amendment, then a biologic can be available to u.s. patients. if the past is a prologue obviously this amendment will go down, and then after this amendment is rejected, i hope that none of my colleagues have any curiosity about the way the american people feel about us, about the incredible, incredible, inordinate, illegitimate, outrageous influence of the pharmaceutical companies in america over the average american citizen. american citizens should be able to purchase pharmaceuticals from an approved pharmacy in canada that in many times are saving them half the money. i'm sure that the distinguished chairman, my friend from iowa, knows how many families do not have prescription drug coverage, that are making a choice today between eating and medicine. and what are we going to do?
9:59 am
we're going to turn down this commonsense amendment. congratulations ahead of time to the corrupt pharmaceutical companies and their influence here in the united states senate and the capitol. mr. president, i ask for the yeas and nays on the amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
10:00 am
quorum call:
10:01 am
10:02 am
mr. harkin: i ask that the proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: i understand the republican leader is about t to come to the floor give his remarks. we still have -- senator mccain has just brought up his amendment and spoken on it. i know there are some who want to speak in opposition to the mccain amendment. we still have amendment number 2111 by senator bingaman to be called up. we have two amendments, 2146 by senator portman and 2145 by senator portman, that need to be called up. i ask norse to please come -- i ask senators to please come over and call up their amendments so we can debate these and move ahead to expeditiously voting on those amendments and final
10:03 am
passage of the bill. i see the republican leader is on the floor. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: is there an amendment agreement on the bill, are we? the presiding officer: the leader is correct. mr. mcconnell: then i'd like to proceed under my leader time. the presiding officer: the senator has that right. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, today we will once again attempt to prevent student loan interest rates from going up. this problem could have been solved literally weeks ago, but our friends on the other side were not interested in solving the problem. they wanted to scapegoa a scapee than a solution. so this afternoon we'll vote on two different waifs addressing the issue. the democratic plan designed to fail. in order to cover the costs of the temporary rate freeze that both parties actually want, they propose to divert $6 billion
10:04 am
from medicare and to raise taxes on small businesses. hurting the very companies we're counting on to hire today's college graduates. they've known for months that we won't support this tax hike and that it couldn't pass this chamber or the house of representatives. it has already failed, but they're proposing it anyway a second time. if our democratic friends would allow it, the chairman and ranking member could write a bill that could actually pass, but since the passage isn't their goal, our friends on the other side huddle behind closed doors out of sight of the public and the press and produce the tax hike instead of letting the committee actually do its work. we already know how this story is going to end. we know exactly already how the story will end. so why are the democrats forcing us to vote on their failed proposal yet again? because, as i said, they're more interested in drawing our opposition of trying to create a
10:05 am
bad guy here than in actually solving the problem. when it comes to college graduates today, the bigger issue is the president's economic agenda, which has created an environment in which most of them can't find a decent job. so i can understand why our democratic friends want to change the subject, but if we're actually going to do something to solve the problem, we're going to need to get past the political theatrics. if senate democrats reject the bipartisan fix that the house already passed, one that doesn't raise taxes or divert a single dollar away from medicare and is an offset that they have used themselves before, then i hope they will turn around and work with us on a bipartisan fix that doesn't tax small businesses, a proposal that is actually designed to pass and become law. but let's be clear about something: irk the real issue the real issue here isn't the fact that certain students are going to see an interest rate
10:06 am
hike, because we will address that concern, it's that so many young people today can't find a job that will enable them to pay off their loans in the first place. that's the much larger problem. and the solution is a progrowth agenda that would make it easier for u.s. businesses to hire, not a tax hike that will make it actually harder for them to hire. in the short term, republicans are ready to work to offer this temporary relief, but we're still waiting on the democratic leadership to propose a solution of their own that can actually pass either one or two chambers of congress. and i would once again urge the president to get involved. if the president has got time to run around to late-night comedy shows and college campuses talking about this issue, then he can pick up the phone and work out a solution with democrats here in the senate. last week at the white house, i pressed the president to get involved in order to prevent the
10:07 am
student interest rates from going up, a goal we all share. think about it. if the president reall real reao pass this bill so badly, then why on earth hasn't he picked up the phone and spoken to the chairman or rank member of the committee? he's campaigned on it but not actually fixed it. the american people are tired of the posturing and the games. it is fipple for the president to -- it is time for the president to lead. it is time for the senate democrats to stop the political theater and to find a real solution. now, on another matter, i want to thank my good friend from wyoming, mike enzi, for the work he has done shepherding the f.d.a. bill. this is an incredibly complex piece of legislation that strikes a difficult balance of protecting consumers while
10:08 am
avoiding the stifling regulation that cellulos slows the processf bringing lifesaving drugs and devices to market. mike has shown a command of complex topic, steady leadership and interest in his colleagues' priorities that have characteristithat havecharactere on the committee. i would like to address one other matter. i have a sad task today of informing my colleagues that a valiant and honorable kentuckian who enlisted in the u.s. army has fallen in the performance of his duty.
10:09 am
on march 29 of 2012, specialist david w. taylor of dixon, kentucky, died from injuries sustained in an accident at an amanam inanammunition supply po. he received several awards, medals, and decorations, including the army commendation medal, the army good conduct medal, the national defense service medal, the afghanistan campaign medal with bronze service star, the global war on terrorism service medal, the army service ri ribbon, the overseas service ribbon, the nato medal, the parachutist badge and the overseas service bar. after his tragic death at
10:10 am
entirely too young an age, one of specialist taylor's commanders, sergeant addington, delivered a tribute to his fallen brother in arms. this is what he said: "when his country called for young lives to offer themselves up for the preservation of freedom, young david taylor answered the call and said, 'here i am; take me.' " sergeant addington said "specialist taylor was my soldiers, my battle buddy and my friend. he was a fast lerner and my greatest student. he sacrificed himself so that we might be free. before he was a soldier, his mother sarah recalls that david was a compassionate, dedicated young man. from a young age he was always looking for ways to help others.
10:11 am
one christmas he had received a large amount of gifts, sarah says, save david asked his paref he could give some gifts to a classmate of his who he knew had not received many items. david was a great athlete who played football, soccer and ran track. he loved to hunt and hunted turkey and deere. his rea was popular with girls. david would change outfits multiple times before going to school as his hair and clothes had to be perfect, sarah says. david was also very dedicated to physical fitness. he worked out multiple times a week to stay in shape. perhaps that is because young david knew his body was his instrument and he had made up his mind to join the military by age 14. david's high school did not have
10:12 am
an rotc program, so david worked hard to graduate six months early and fo eagerly enlisted. he skipped both the prom and graduation to tank his more important pursuit -- to take up his more important pursuit and enlisted in january 2010. he even waived his signing bonus say, "it's every young manns duty to serve." now david planned to make the military his career and hoped to go into the medical field. he dedicated himself to the military handbook and doing everything by the book. he went on to serve as a paratrooper, one of the most demanding specialties in the army. lieutenant eric fitzgerald was specialist taylor's platoon leader. david was one of the most outstanding paratroopers in the
10:13 am
whole platoon, just striving to be the best, the lieutenant said. when you wanted something done, when you wanted it done right, you went to taylor for it. capital brian buffelco concurs. it was evident since the day i met him that he had all the qualities needed in a paratrooper, smarkts aggressive, committed and reliable. he dues played them readily in everything he did, the capital remembers. david maintained his rigorous workout schedule in the army by following the cross-fit physical fitness program five to six days a week so he could excel in the army's physical fit cal test. he could run his two-mile fitness test faster than anyone else in his platoon.
10:14 am
he was assigned to the 508th parachute infantry division based out of fort bragg, north carolina. he deployed to afghanistan for operation enduring freedom in february of this year for what would be his first and only deployment. david's fellow soldiers from his platoon named the small gym in their afghan outpost in his honor. as a remembrance of david's commitment to excellence. and nearly every soldier in the platoon wears a metal bracelet honoring him. for many of the guys, this is the first friend they've ever lost to combat, says david's friend, sergeant first class russ kelley. they wear the bracelets to remember. so, at this time, we're thinking of specialist david w. taylor's
10:15 am
family and his friends, as i recount the story for the senate, including his brother, sarah, his grandmother, and many other beloved family members and friends. david was preceded in death by his father, kevin taylor. david's mother sarah says that david loved the army and was excited to be in afghanistan. david seemed to live for the job, and while others would whine and complain in the field, david would just sling up his hammock and settle in, remembers sergeant addington. he was at home in the woods, a natural outdoorsman. david, who grew up in the woods, fit in perfectly. he seemed born to do this job, and i felt sorry for any taliban that he was bound into to run into in afghanistan. the taliban got lucky this time.
10:16 am
even if that's the case, mr. president, the tragedy of specialist taylor's death is certainly not lucky for anyone else. most of all, not for the family he has left behind or his friends and fellow soldiers. i know it is a small solace in place of what they have lost, but i want them to know that this united states senate holds specialist david w. taylor in the highest regard for his service on behalf of our country. and we are honored just a few days before memorial day to recognize his enormous sacrifice on behalf of this nation. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey is recognized. mr. menendez: i rise today in strong support of the underlying bill that we are debating, the food and drug administration
10:17 am
safety and administration act. this legislation, which would be the model of bipartisanship and effective legislating on the part of chairman harkin and ranking member enzi, is critically important to the people of new jersey and to the nation. this bill is about more than drug safety. it is about more than protecting patients. it's about improving the approval process to speed access to new lifesaving, life-enhancing drugs and devices and making sure that the f.d.a. is a partner in the production of safe and effective products. this bill does and accomplishes several key goals that are critically important to our nation's health care system. not only does it reauthorize the key user fee agreements for prescription drugs and medical devices, but it establishes agreements for generic drugs and generic biologic drugs called
10:18 am
biosimilars. together they will provide the f.d.a. with the resources necessary to improve the drug and device approval process to move more quickly and more efficiently bringing new products to market. it will enhance communication between manufacturers and the agent to foster a more cooperative environment and will allow for better and more thorough postmarket reviews to ensure continued patient safety and product efficacy. mr. president, there's more to this bill than the f.d.a. user fees. it permanently reauthorizeses two programs that are a vital life line to our nation's country. the best pharmaceutical for children act and the pediatric research equity act which are incredibly important to our children, helps reduce and mitigate the ongoing problem of drug shortages we have heard throughout the country. it provides for enhancement to the prescription drug supply
10:19 am
chain, and increases the accountability and transparency of the food and drug administration. it's good for children, it's good for business, it's good for patients, it makes the f.d.a. a more effective partner in the process, and it demonstrates that we can reach across the aisle and work together to tackle tough issues and find solutions that benefit the people we collectively represent. this just touches the surface of what this bill will accomplish. however, this incredibly hard work could very easily be unraveled by some of the amendments be considered. it seems that once again despite the countless times, the countless times the senate has rejected the policy that my friend from arizona pursues, he has brought us an amendment that i believe puts americans at risk, undermines f.d.a.'s authority, and would have a devastating ripple effect throughout our country's drug supply by allowing untraceable foreign pharmaceuticals into our
10:20 am
country. now, this amendment would ostensibly only allow drugs from canada into the united states. however, nothing in the amendment comes close to ensuring that's the case. in fact, this amendment would easily allow web-based pharmacies within canada to provide untraceable, unaccountable drugs from all over the globe into the united states market without any f.d.a. oversight whatsoever. this amendment does not provide the f.d.a. with any additional resources to monitor the drugs coming in from canada, and even the canadian authorities have said they cannot be expected to monitor all the drugs coming through their country and into ours. and boy,s would -- once one of those drugs hits and causes consequences, we will all be running and saying how did we allow that to happen. the senate has soundly and repeatedly voted against this type of drug importation because we understand the implications
10:21 am
it has in bringing counterfeit and dangerous products into the nation. as we work to strengthen the f.d.a., i ask my colleagues to join me in opposing this amendment which would significantly weaken the agency and put americans at risk. additionally i want to address another critically important issue brought up by my friend from vermont. the sanders amendment would lead to a radical change in how our nation's biotech and pharmaceutical industry achieves the process of bringing lifesaving, life-enhancing drugs into the marketplace. now, i certainly respect the passion for the issues he pursues. but there are over 200,000 people in new jersey who work in the biopharmaceutical industry every day who take pride in the work that they do creating breakthrough, lifesaving, life-enhancing drugs and i take issue with this characterization of an industry which is responsible for some of the
10:22 am
world's most important medical breakthroughs that save millions of lives, and if you're one of those people waiting for one of those drugs to come to marketplace, hoping that your mother's alzheimer's, the alzheimer's that took my mother's life, that you finally have a breakthrough, that the husband with parkinson's that he will finally have a breakthrough, that your loved one with cancer finally has a breakthrough, you want to see that come to the marketplace. this industry is responsible for finding the cures and treatments for diseases that kill people and destroy family incomes. this is the industry that has more than 1,600 active clinical trials in new jersey on drugs to treat cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, h.i.v. aids, mental and behavioral disorders. it's especially important to me personally, trials for drugs treating alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
10:23 am
families look forward to those breakthroughs coming to the market to help cure their loved ones. this work is what keeps our nation competitive and on the cutting edge of medical science, providing billions of dollars in economic impact annually, roughly $900 billion annually and more than $35 billion in new jersey and provides countless people across the globe with lifesaving medications. so, mr. president, the amendment being offered here could have a chilling effect on all of this, all the hope for new treatments and perhaps new cures for diseases that have an opportunity to be able to be turned around, to stop having those families lose a loved one who succumbs to the disease and ruin countless lives. it has the potential to dry up investment in the next cure and severely curtail the number of high-scaled scild, high-paying jobs and billions of dollars in economic environment in -- investment in the
10:24 am
biopharmaceutical industry. i know my friend from vermont wants to prevent fraudulent behavior and i wholeheartedly agree that bad actors who willfully commit fraud need to be punished which is why we have the most stiff civil and criminal penalties to prosecute those who commit fraud. but taking away the incentive we have to attract investment in this important research, especially when the penalties could be triggered by a minor, unrelated offense the way the amendment is written, is just plain and simple bad policy. it's like having the death penalty for a simple assault. the current intellectual property laws that protect pharmaceutical products provide researchers and their investors with a stable and predictable time line that allows them to retop -- recoup the investment in the development of new drugs. we only think about the drugs that have success, but
10:25 am
remember, out of every 5,000 to 10,000 potential compounds identified, only one, only one of those 5,000 to 10,000 potential drug compounds will result in a new medicine on the market. do we want the companies not to take the risk of going through all those thousands and thousands of compounds to come up with the one that can be the cure? for so many lives and save so much money to the government under medicare and medicaid and to our entire health care system. that's risky investing by anybody's standards, so removing incentives really is bad policy for the public health of the united states. this amendment will lead to uncertainty among investors, it will dry up capital, it will further delay access to new medical products, it will pull us back from the cutting-edge research and development that has always made this nation great. so, mr. president, as i've said, as my friends who are
10:26 am
managing this bill have said, this f.d.a. reauthorization is too important not to pass. so i urge my colleagues to reject these harmful amendments so we can move forward and have an f.d.a. that has the ability to do the job on behalf of the american people to create the process that will be safe but that will give us the lifesaving, life-enhancing cures that ultimately will lead to a better life for all of us. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
10:27 am
10:28 am
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. mr. harkin: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: i ask consent that the time on quorum calls be evenly divided on the mccain amendment. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. harkin: mr. president, i just again say that we are rapidly coming to a close here, again the sooner that we can get to voting on this, the sooner that we will close out the business for the day, and probably for the week. so i again would point out that we have senator bingaman's amendment number 2111 yet to be called up, senator portman has two amendments, 2146 and 2145, and those basically are the only
10:29 am
ones left to be brought up. so i would urge them to come and others who have indicated that they wanted to come and speak on the amendments that are pending, and those would be the mccain amendment, the sanders amendment, the hurricane amendment --, the murk the murkowski amendment, the durbin amendment and the paul amendment are still pending. people have indicated they wanted to come over and speak on these various amendments, i would hope that they do so, so we can perhaps getting to voting on the amendments and the final passage of the bill sooner rather than later. with that i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
10:30 am
quorum call:
10:31 am
10:32 am
10:33 am
10:34 am
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. mr. grassley: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i've been a longtime proponent of safe drug importation. i'm currently cosponsor of a pharmaceutical market access and drug safety act, a bill that i've worked on many years with senator snowe and senator mccain. in 2002 and 2003, i supported amendments similar to the one before us today that would permit importation of prescription drugs from canada. in the year 2004, the late-senator kennedy and i
10:35 am
worked together on a bill that would authorize drug importation, but it did not survive the partisan politics of this chamber. i then introduced my own comprehensive drug importation bill in 2004. i entitled that bill "the reliable entry of medicine and everyday discounts through the effective importation act." that with out to an acrorc an a. we called it the remedy act. in 2005 i combined that bill with a proposal sponsored by then-senator dorgan and now senator snowe, and in 2007 and 2009 we reintroduced a version of that legislation with hopes that our combined effort would finally lower the cost of prescription drugs for all americans. during the health care reform debate in 2009, drug imports -- drug importation had a much
10:36 am
better chance to pass than ever before. we in a democratic supermajority in congress, and we had a democratic president who supported drug importation in the past. but in backroom deals between the obama white house and the pharmaceutical industry, those deals prevented us from finally lowering the drug costs for all americans. so, after all these decades and a half of effort, we're back here again trying to accomplish the same goal with senator mccain's amendment. i have always considered drug importation a free trade issue. imports create competition and keep domestic industry more responsive to consumers. consumers in the united states pay far more for prescription drugs than those in other
10:37 am
countries. for instance, u.s. prices are, on average, 52.5% higher than canadian pharmacy prices. if americans could legally and safely access prescription drugs outside the united states, then drug companies would be forced to reevaluate their pricing strategy. they'd no longer be able to gouge american consumers by making them pay more than their fair share for the high cost of research and development, because that's a fact. we pay for most of the research and development of new drugs because other countries are getting by dirt cheap, and there's not enough money coming in from those countries to pay for all the research that it takes. because, you know, most of the cost of a drug is the research and development. i.tit's not the manufacture of t
10:38 am
little pill or a big pill, for that matter. in the united states, it's a fact. we import everything consumers want, so why not pharmaceuticals? in fact, i look back at all my years working on trying to free up trade around the world through efforts to pass free trade agreements, through efforts to get the president trade promotion authority, everything that would make global prices available to american consumers. and i can only think of two things tha that our law prevents consumers in america buying from other countries when everything else that consumers buy they can buy it anywhere in the world, if they want to. but not for pharmaceuticals or not for coul cuban cigars.
10:39 am
some opponents have concerns about what this would mean for safety of the drugs. obviously we have to be earn canned about drug safety, because that's what the f.d.a. all about. it atwo things -- making sure drugs are safe. number two, to make sure they're effective. everyone that knows me knows that i care deeply about the safety of drugs, and i would not bed standing here today urging support for mccain's amendment if i didn't think it would safely protect the nation's drug supply chain. the fact of the matter is that the unsafe spags situatio situae have today. today patients who need a cheaper alternative are ordering drugs over the internet from who knows where and the f.d.a. does not have the resources to do much of anything about it. the fact is that the mccain amendment would not only help to lower the cost of prescription drugs for all americans, but will also establish a system
10:40 am
where american patients can be certain that the drugs they are importing are saivmen safe. the amendment has requirements that a pharmacy must meet before the secretary may approve them for participation. this includes product testing in labs designated by the secretary. a list of approved pharmacies will be published on the f.d.a. web site. patients who are already forced to purchase their medications outside the united states would be able to access the list to choose a safe option. additionally, the amendment lays out criteria that must be met before a patient may import drugs from an f.d.a.-approved pharmacy. patients must have a valid prescription drugprescription fn licensed to practice in our country, the purchase must be for personal use and the drug must have the same active ingredient, route of administration, dosage form, and
10:41 am
strength as prescription drugs approved by the secretary of h.h.s. the mccain amendment would improve drug safety. it would not threaten drug safety. and it would open up trade to lower-cost drugs, and it would make other consumers around the world to start paying for some of the research and development that the american curiam is paying such a i -- the american consumer is paying such a high price to provide for. we should do all we can to get miracle drugs originated and developed, but the american consumer shouldn't be paying the entire bill. we need to make sure that americans have even greater, more affordable access to lifesaving drugs by opening the doors to competition in the global pharmaceutical industry. so obviously after a decade and a half i'm continuing to urge my colleagues to join in this effort on the importation of drugs. and in this particular year, to give support to senator
10:42 am
mccain, support his amendment, and applaud him for the leadership that he's shown in this area over a long period of time. i yield the floor. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming is recognized. mr. enzi: mr. president, i rise in opposition to the mccain amendment number 210 which would facilitate the importation of prescription drugs from canada. we're not talking about bus trips to brick-and-mortar pharmacies across the border.
10:43 am
we're talking about canadian internet pharmacies which pose a significant threat to american patient safety. this amendment would require the food and drug administration to allow individuals to import prescription drugs into the united states from canada, notwithstanding any other provision of the federal, food, drug, and cosmetic afnlgt drugs that supposedly come from canada can originate in any country in the world and merely be shipped to the united states from canada. canadian law does not prohibit shipment of drugs from any country into canada and then into the united states. they don't care. in 2005, f.d.a. conducted an investigation of drugs that american patients thought they were ordering from canada. 85% of the drugs represented as coming from canada tilel canadae from 27 other countries. a number of drugs were found to be counterfeit. a letter from canada to the u.s.
10:44 am
surgeon general general said that you canada does not assure that product being sold to u.s. cernes are safe, effective and of high quality and does not intend to do so in the future. the pending amendment would allow importation from canadian internet pharmacies, canadian internet pharmacies openly acknowledge that they obtain most of their drugs from other countries. the specific language of the pending amendment gives rise to the additional safety concerns. for example, it will not prevent the importation of drugs that need special handling, such as refrigerated or photo-sensitive drugs. it would not prevent the importation of special drugs, such as those inhaled during surgery or administered intravenous lymph the pending amendment would not allow -- there would be a list. but not a licensing or registration. do we really want anyone, even someone under investigation or
10:45 am
with the suspended or revoked license, to be in the business of importing descrution given the well-known risks? the f.d.a. advises consumers that some including those who that bear the name of u.s. mucts products may be counterfeit versions that are unsafe or ineffective. it can have all the ingredients, if it's not put together it doesn't dissolve and there would be no benefit even though it looked like the real thing, tasted like the real thing, went down just like the real thing but if it's not the real thing, it can cause real trouble with people's health. this is not a hypothetical concern. last year, homeland security secretary napolitano testified that counterfeit drugs are a growing problem. two months ago, f.d.a. testified about the dangers of purchasing counterfeit, unapproved or diverted prescription drugs online. my colleague, senator mikulski, has highlighted the
10:46 am
growing involvement of organized crime in this area. prescription drug counterfeiting can be dramatically more profitable than narcotics smuggling. imported drugs pose additional dangers because their labels may lack important information or warning. f.d.a. advises consumers that an imported medication may lack information allowing patients to be promptly and correctly treated for dangerous side effects. we know that imported drugs pose severe risks to american patients. the food and drug administration and the department of health and human services has repeatedly said they cannot assure the safety of imported drugs. a side by side, an amendment we used to put on this all the time, you could import the drugs as long as the secretary of health and human services said it was safe. there hasn't been a secretary of health and human services that's been willing to sign that drugs imported from anywhere, even canada, are safe.
10:47 am
f.d.a.'s web site advises consumers that imported drugs, including drugs imported from canada, may not have been manufactured under quality assurance procedures designed to produce a safe and effective product. that's the f.d.a. web site. the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act represents over one 100 years of lawmaking to protect public health. it gives the food and drug administration authority to make sure drugs are properly approved, manufactured, labeled, shipped, handled and scored, that factories are inspected and numerous other protections in place for american patients. adopting this amendment would endanger american patients and by therefore urge my colleagues to oppose it. there is a lot more that could be said on this. i've been studying this for years, trying to find a way that it could be done. but at the present time the safety of it makes me oppose this particular amendment.
10:48 am
they keep revising the amendment. it's still online and everybody knows how online can be redone. they talked about putting an official seal on each web site. but i know fourth graders that in 20 seconds could duplicate any seal you can put on the internet. any lists can be changed, and who checks the lists anyway. the problem is not really knowing where the drugs come from that go through canada to the united states. if they're counterfeit drugs, they can sell them for less and the canadian secretary of health also does not want to be the pharmaceutical supplier to the united states. they have a little different system up there, and it's a way of driving prices down. it's something that we wouldn't stand for in the united states, it's a mechanism whereby they have to bid on the drugs. so if there are three people that make heart medicines, the three have to bid against each other even though the three do something slightly different and your might prefer one of the ones that don't win the bid but
10:49 am
that's how they drive the price down and it's probably something we wouldn't allow in the united states. i ask my colleagues to oppose the amendment and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. kyl: mr. president, i'd like to speak briefly about two of the amendments we're going to be voting on later. first is the bingaman amendment and i urge my colleagues to oppose the bingaman amendment. it ignores fundamental economic realities of pharmaceutical patent litigation. and it would ultimately result in fewer generic drugs being brought to the market and delays in the launch of many of the generic drugs that do go to the market. under current law, a generic drug company that is the first to file an abbreviated new drug application, that's the application they file for an existing patented drug, is entitled to 180 days of market exclusivity once the generic drug is approved. in other words, they have the exclusive market on it for half
10:50 am
of a year. this creates a powerful incentive for drug companies to bring generic drugs to the market. the present amendment would dilute this right of 120 days of exclusivity and would potentially require the exclusivity period to be shared with another drug company's product. under the amendment, the only way a generic drug company that files the first anda could be assured of getting its 180 days of exclusivity is by litigating a challenge to the validity of the branded drug's patent all the way to final judgment. this is not a sound approach. first of all, patent litigation is very expensive. full litigation of a drug patent suit typically costs between $3 million and $5 million. and second, most drug patents are ultimately found by the courts to be not invalid. that is, most validity challenges to these patents fail. generic drug companies like everyone else have limited litigation budgets. as a practical matter, if we force them to litigate every
10:51 am
patent case to a final judgment in order to preserve their exclusivity rights, they will pursue fewer abbreviated new drug pliksz and fewer anda's mean fewer generic drugs and higher costs for consumers. finally, it's often the case that partway into a drug patent lawsuit, the generic drug company comes to the conclusion that the brand's patent is strong and that the challenge to the patent is likely to lose. in such a situation, everyone is better off if the suit is settled. typically, such settlements allow the generic drug to go to market somewhat earlier but still preserve the bulk of the patent term. obviously if the generic drug company is forced to litigate the suit to judgment just in order to potentially receive their exclusivity and they lose, the full peanlt term will run, no there will be no early generic entry. this purts the generic drug companies and more importantly, the consumers. for these reasons i urge my colleagues to oppose the
10:52 am
bingaman amendment. secondly, mr. president, i urge my colleagues to oppose the sanders amendment. this amendment would undermine the government's ability to fied fraud and harm patients and u.s. competitiveness by eviscerating existing incentives to invest in medical innovation. the sanders amendment would result in the automatic revocation of any remaining regulatory exclusivity on a product when a company is convicted of or even enters into a settlement agreement for certain violations of the food, drug and cosmetic act or any violations of the false claim act or several other listed statutes. there are several reasons why i think this is the wrong approach. first, the amendment will result in less lifesaving drugs ever getting to patients. obviously we should be fighting for lifesaving drugs getting to patients even faster. we provide these periods for exclusivity as i mentioned earlier, for a reason, to enable companies to recoup the significant investments that
10:53 am
they make. as high as over a billion dollars, $1.2 billion per drug to develop new medicines. some of the exclusivities that the amendment would revoke are those reenacted to encourage companies to ensure the safe use of pharmaceuticals in children or to find cure for rare diseases that affect a very small number of people. indeed, orphan drug exclusivity is a great example of how these exclusivity periods benefit patients. since 1983, the year on the orphan drug act, that act was signed into law, more than 350 medicines have been approved to treat rare diseases. compared to fewer than 10 in the 1970's. why would we want to jeopardize such a great success story? second, reduced investment in u.s. drug development is not only bad news for patients, it's bad news for the economy because the amendment, the sanders amendment, would create a disincentive to invest in drug
10:54 am
development. the national venture capital association has stated the amendment has the potential to inadvertently undermine innovation and undermine teacts decades of policies enacted by congress with the goal of fostering medical innovation, end of quotation. defined periods of exclusivity provide some small measure of predictability in what is otherwise a risky and unpredictable process and venture capitalists rely on these periods of exclusivity to make development decisions. by threatening the termination of exclusivity for products that are many years removed from the development process, the sanders amendment would introduce greater uncertainty into the r & d process. we need to reconsider the environment for innovation in the united states yet here we are considering an amendment that if enacted would make the u.s. climate far less attractive for these companies even as other companies are actively courting the biopharmaceutical
10:55 am
industry. third, while the amendment purports to fight fraud, in reality it would undermine the ability of the government to fight fraud by undermining its ability to settle cases. the sanders amendment would revoke exclusivity not only upon conviction, even if it's later overturned on appeal, but also on settlement, and this is a huge problem. because it creates a disincentive for companies to ever settle. as it would make more sense to drag out the district court litigation while any relevant exclusivity period is still running for the company. fourth and finally, the amendment is not actually even necessary because the outcome called for by the sanders amendment can be achieved under current law. in appropriate cases because the government can and does have the power to negotiate the relinquishment of exclusivity as a condition to settlement. it can already do this. for example, this past january the department of justice negotiated the relinquishment of a company's 180-day exclusivity as part of a settlement for
10:56 am
violations of the food, drug and cosmetic act. mandating this outcome underpipelines the agovernment's ability to use it as leverage for settlements. large penalties apply, the world of marketing is heavily regulated, phenomenon compliance is subject to considerable penalties under current law. so this amendment is not necessary. and rather than being outraged by settlements that actually occur, perhaps we odd aught to take them as an indicator that the government is doing a good job of using existing authority to go after those who seek to defraud the health care system. for all these reasons i urge my colleagues to also oppose the sanders amendment.
10:57 am
ms. snowe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine is recognized. ms. snowe: thank you, mr. president,. i rise to speak in support of the amendment offered by the senator from arizona. before i do, i just want to recognize and acknowledge the tremendous and outstanding, remarkable work that was done by the crew at cary portsmouth naval shipyard and the fire departments in the state of maine as well as the state of new hampshire because of a fire that occurred on a nuclear power submarine at the shipyard last evening that was burning for more than nine hours. and it was extraordinary teamwork and coordination among all of the crews as well as the -- so many firefighters and
10:58 am
departments with both states that managed to put the fire out, it's now -- it's smoldering. so the firefighters were -- several firefighters were injured. but i just want to offer my commendations and congratulations to those crews for doing such exceptional and outstanding work, which is -- which exemplifies the kind of teamwork that already occurs at that shipyard. so, mr. president, i did want to offer my recognition to that extraordinary work. in a very difficult circumstance. mr. president, i rise today in support of the amendment that's been offered by the senator from arizona, senator mccain, no in authorizing a very limited drug importation program whereby americans can purchase prch medications from accredited online canadian pharmacies. i'm supporting this amendment as i have in the past, enact we've had broader amendments offered
10:59 am
here on the floor of the senate for almost more than a decade with respect to allowing importation of prescriptions from other countries that offer more competitive prices. i want to applaud senator mccain, who has obviously been a valuable ally in this effort for many years, but he has proposed a very limited approach to address those who have concerns with the idea of importing prescription drugs. i for one cannot understand why there is such fundamental derns about this issue. because first of all, americans are facing tremendous increases in prescription drug prices. for far too long, and i think it's at a point in which congress should address this issue and precisely on this particular piece of legislation that is before us today, it couldn't be more appropriate to have this amendment offered to this legislation.
11:00 am
in 2010, aarp found that retail prices for the most popular brand name drugs increased 41.5% while the consumer price index rose just 13%. in other words, the cost of prescription drugs rose more than three times as much as the inflation rate. that's completely unacceptable, mr. president. and what occurs as a result of this trend, first of all, american consumers are increasingly choosing to risk living without taking critical medications. aqoart the commonwealth fund -- aqoart the commonwealth fund in 2010, 48 million americans did not fill their prescriptions due to high cost. that represents an increase of 66% since 2001. well, if the senate and the overall congress were to adopt the mccain amendment, it would allow americans to purchase safe medications at a lower price than they're
11:01 am
available for us here in this country. we could begin to turn this disturbing trend around. i know that people in maine deserve access to more affordable drug prices, mr. president,. millions of americans and certainly millions have already purchased drugs from canada safely at a significant savings over the years. they've had to go to great lengths in order to purchase those lower priced medications. they've taken bus trips to canada to purchase that medication because that was the only way they could have access to the prescriptions that they so desperately need. the mccain amendment builds on that foundation. if you look at this first chat, mr. president,, chart, a survey comparing average canadian drug prices against u.s. retail pharmacy prices, we find that the average price for
11:02 am
a 90-day supply of nexium is $560 in america but only 265 in canada. so americans are paying twice as much for nexium as canadians do. well, i think that that's simply outrageous, mr. president. why should american consumers pay twice as much for medication that so many americans depend on? and here's another example. here's another example of a drug that is a blood thing drug that is -- a blood thinning drug that is also very crucial in this process and that's plavix. that costs $585 in the united states $398 in canada for a 90-day supply. so, again, american consumers are paying 50% higher costs for the same prescription drugs than canadians do. then you look at the very
11:03 am
popular anticholesterol medication lipitor. and as this chart illustrates, again, lipitor costs the american consumer $478 in the united states compared to $278 in canada for a 90-day supply. so for patients who are already trying to make ends meet in this very difficult economy, they're rationing their medications, they're splitting their pills or even skipping medications entirely. why would we deny them access to safe drug products at these dramatically lower prices? and that's why i've cosponsored senator mccain's amendment, because it would allow americans to import medications from accredited canadian pharmacies, from a list approved by the secretary of health and human services. these accredited pharmacies must
11:04 am
commit to ongoing quality assurance programs and product testing to determine the safety and efficacy of these products. and this amendment is more narrowly focused than even the one that former colleague senator dorgan and i had offered previously. so this provides a pathway to a more limited approach for americans to access affordable medications. in fact, there's been a very recent study, mr. president, that was conducted by roger bad err of the american enterprise institute entitled "unveiling the mystery of on-line pharmacies: an audit study." and what he discovered is -- and i quote -- "that if some foreign web sites sell safe prescription drugs with substantial price discounts but american consumers are guided to buy from u.s. web sites only, the f.d.a. could
11:05 am
potentially discourage price competition between the u.s. and foreign pharmacies and thereby reducing drug affordability within the united states. the danger of reducing price competition depends on whether consumers can distinguish trust worthy web sites from the vast pool of foreign web sites." so here we have the documentation by a very significant study that talks about how americans can access these affordable medications. we shouldn't be discouraging price competition, as this study illustrates, and that's one of the points that i've been arguing over the years, that the real problem in this country with respect to prices for prescriptions is that we don't have competition within the industry and competition for those medications.
11:06 am
and americans have learned that citizens in other countries use the very same medications as we do. they're made in the very same plants and yet they pay less. we talk about the competition injecting free market competition in the health care marketplace as a way of achieving greater affordability and, thereof, this amendment attempts to -- and, therefore, this amendment attempts to address that very issue. as we look at what other countries do, mr. president, when we're talking about accessing, you know, cheaper medications, we know canada that is the case. well, it's certainly true in other industrialized nations, i should add. in fact, they pay 35% to 55% less for their drugs because of our higher prices americans pay, which is about $90 billion more
11:07 am
for the prescription drugs every year than we would otherwise, which is i think totally unacceptable, mr. president. why should american consumers be paying 35% to 55% more or nearly $90 billion more than consumers in other countries for the very same medications? it simply doesn't make sense. according to a former pfizer c.e.o., hank mckinnel -- and i quote -- "competition is good medicine for economies. name an industry in which competition is allowed to flourish -- computers, telecommunications, small package shipping, retailing, entertainment -- and i'll show you lower prices, higher quality, more innovation and better customer service. there's nary an exception. okay, here's one -- so far the health care industry seems immune to the discipline of competition."
11:08 am
when we last considered the legislation that i introduced along with former colleague senator dorgan, we allowed importation only from can dark the european union, australia, new zealand, japan. and the congressional budget office estimated that the federal government would save almost $20 billion. $20 billion if we allow the importation of those medications. so we know for a fact that allowing drug importation generates considerable cost savings to the government, to individuals and businesses that provide health insurance coverage to their employees. the bottom line is, where nations institute safe, regulated trade in pharmaceuticals, they achieve results. when sweden entered the european system of trade, it saw a reduction of 12% to 19% in the price of traded drugs. in fact, europe has had parallel trading for more than 30 years and has never had an incident. industry sees advantages in being part of the global market
11:09 am
when it comes to manufacturing costs. for example, according to a peu peu -- a pugh study in 2011, a number of prescription drugs made in in the u.s. doubled in 2001 and 2008. that means they doubled, a sizable increase, mr. president, with respect to the number of prescription drugs that are made at non-u.s. sites. that means there are more than 50 plants where our medications are manufactured, mr. president, and not all of those facilities are even inspected. not even inspected. and yet those are the medications that we use here in this country because they're manufactured in other plants in other countries. in fact, as i said, there are more than 50 countries in which we have our prescriptions manufactured.
11:10 am
so let me see if i have this straight. it's fine for some foreign countries to manufacture drugs in their own plants for the u.s. market, ship those drugs here, where the american people are given the privilege of paying higher prices than anywhere else in the world but somehow we can't safely import those very drugs into the united states directly? it simply doesn't make sense, mr. president. because the american taxpayer is underwriting more than $30 billion of research, basic and applied research, at the national institutes of health alone. so other consumers in all those other nations are benefiting from the investments the american taxpayer is making with respect to research that produces these medications and these prescriptions, they pay 35% to 55% less than the
11:11 am
american consumer, and yet the american taxpayer is paying more for those drugs, as i said, and also paying more in their tax dollars for the research that is ongoing at the national institutes of health. it simply doesn't make sense. with all the industrial profit, industry invests equally in the u.s. and europe and is increasingly moving research to low-cost asian countries. so paying the world's highest priced -- prices for drugs doesn't ensure us more research but it decreases our access to drugs, mr. president. so that's the contradiction that americans confront each and every day when they're purchasing their medications at a much higher cost than consumers in other countries. and yet the amendment that's offered by the senator from
11:12 am
arizona is allowing importations solely from canada and it's on on-line pharmacies based on a list that has been drafted by the department of health and human services. that is a very proscribed, targeted, limited approach to allow american consumers to benefit from those lower-priced drugs that are offered in canada. it's very important, mr. president, that we take this step. it's important for american consumers who otherwise are not going to be able to afford these medications when they're paying two to three times more than their counterparts in canada, for example. the prices are rising five times more than the inflation rate year after year so the compounding effect is significant and overwhelming for most american consumers and
11:13 am
families. so what i would hope, mr. president, that we would support the amendment that's been offered by senator mccain. now, some have suggested here today that some -- providing support for the mccain amendment will hinder efforts to quickly move on the underlying legislation for the -- for the f.d.a. that concern is certainly not persuasive because the mccain amendment is a very narrowly focused approach. it represents a good-faith effort to find common ground. it has very -- it has included strong safety-related measures, and it's done under very limited circumstances in which the american consumer can take advantage of the lower prices that have been demonstrated here today with some of the commonly used drugs, such as the cholesterol lipitor, or blood thinning drugs like plavix.
11:14 am
it's explicitly designed to make it more broadly acceptable for those who might have concerns with taking the approach of drug importation. we must create, mr. president, a more competitive, more affordable health care system for the american people. prescription drug market needs competition. competition will lower prices. and for some reason, even though we're underwriting all of the research that benefits consumers in so many other countries and even though our medications are manufactured in other plants in 50 countries, american consumers are paying up to 55% more than their counterparts around the world. it simply doesn't make sense. the fact is, mr. president, i would suggest it's outrageous. so that's why i'm supporting this amendment. we need to take this limited,
11:15 am
modest first step that i think goes a long ways to addressing any reservations anyone might have in this chamber with respect to the issue of importation. i hope that we woud allow american consumers to benefit from much lower prices, especially during these very difficult economic times. this is a first step towards a larger system of safe, regulated drug importation, and i want to commend the senator from arizona for offering this amendment, and i hope that the senate would adopt it. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. mr. harkin: mr. president, prior to senator bingaman bringing up his amendment, i ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be in order and made pending: leahy 2142 as modified with the changes that
11:16 am
are at the desk, portman 2145 as modified with the changes that are at the desk, portman 2146 as modified with the changes that are at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from iowa, mr. harkin, proposes amendments en bloc numbered 2142 as modified, 2145 as modified, and 2146 as modified. mr. harkin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following pending amendments be agreed to: leahy number 2142 as modified, portman number 2145 as modified, and coburn number 2131 and that the coburn amendment number 2132 be withdrawn. the presiding officer: is there objection? so ordered. mr. harkin: it is my understanding, mr. president, we are ready to act on the portman amendment number 2146 as
11:17 am
modified. the presiding officer: is there further debate on the amendment? if not, all in favor say aye. all opposed, nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the amendment as modified is agreed to. mr. harkin: mr. president, i have six unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and the requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. harkin: mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from new mexico is recognized. mr. bingaman: i thank the chair. mr. president, i would at this point call up amendment number 2111 and ask that the reading of that amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk will report the
11:18 am
amendment by number. the clerk: the senator from new mexico mr. bingaman for himself and others proposes an amendment numbered 2111. mr. bingaman: i'd ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from new mexico. mr. bingaman: mr. president, this is a bipartisan madam president. senator vitter is sponsoring this with me, also senators shaheen and klobuchar and merkley and sanders and the presiding officer, senator brown. this amendment addresses the very same issue that the senator from maine was talking about, and that is how do we bring down the price of prescription drugs? thousand do we get competition -- how do we get competition into the market for prescription drugs? we have a circumstance today which, an anticompetitive, anticonsumer practice is engaged in, and our amendment will
11:19 am
change the law so that that practice can no longer be engaged in. now the practice i'm talking about is the entering into so-called pay for delay settlements between brand name drugs, brand-name pharmaceutical companies and generic manufacturers that have the effect, these pay-for-delay settlements have the effect of delaying timely access to generic drugs. these agreements between these companies shield billions of dollars in sales each year from effective competition. the pharmaceutical companies benefit from this lack of competition, and they do so at the expense of consumers. they do so at the expense of the federal government, since the federal government is a very large consumer and purchases a substantial amount of
11:20 am
prescription drugs for the military and in other ways. a preliminary estimate from the c.b.o., congressional budget office, indicates that it will -- this amendment will reduce direct spending by hundreds of millions of dollars at a minimum. frankly, i believe that it will in fact save us billions of dollars annually at the federal government level. but the c.b.o. also indicates that the amendment will reduce the average cost for prescription drugs and lower the cost of health insurance plans. earlier access to generic drugs is a key to saving money in the health care system. the kaiser family foundation has found this. they concluded that spending in the u.s. for prescription drugs reached $259.1 billion in 2010.
11:21 am
that is nearly six times as much as we spent on prescription drugs in 1990. since generic drugs are on average four times less expensive or -- another way to put that is a quarter of the cost of the brand-name alternatives, they can be a very important source of, for reducing the cost in our health care system. to actually receive these savings, consumers have to have access to these generic drugs and have access to them in a timely manner. in 1984 congress passed the bipartisan hatch-waxman act to create market-based incentives for generic pharmaceutical companies to bring their drugs to market as quickly as possible. the purpose of the law was to incentivize the early generic drug competition while
11:22 am
preserving incentives for pioneer companies to develop innovative new medicines. unfortunately, pay-for-delay settlements between brand-name drugs that already have their products on the market and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers who have not yet brought their products to market have become commonplace, and these agreements, these so-called settlements have stifled competition and delayed access to generic drugs at a significant cost to everyone who's involved in the health care system. there's a table here i want to put up. it relates to three particular drugs, and i'll talk about the second two of these drugs because this gives some context in what i'm concerned about here. the second drug, lipitor, everybody knows about lipitor. it's a cholesterol-lowering drug. it's familiar to most people.
11:23 am
it is the best-selling pharmaceutical ever in the history of the world. according to a 2008 "new york times" rofrt, a pay -- report, a pay for delay settlement delayed generic entry into that market, the entry of a generic version of lipitor by 20 months. the same report stated that the generic version of the drug was estimated to sell for less than a third the cost of the brand name, brand-name lipitor. and it pointed out that the brand-named lipitor had earned $12.7 billion in sales the year before. according to a letter sent to the f.d.a. director hamburg last year from some of my colleagues in the senate indicating that the federal government was spending $2.4 billion a year on lipitor, they estimated that
11:24 am
bringing a generic version to market would generate somewhere between $4 billion and $6.7 billion in savings annually. two people who are -- to people who are purchasing this drug in this country. the second example is provigil. this is a sleep-disorder drug. and due to the pay for delay settlement entered into there, a generic version of provigil just came to market this year. had this amendment that we are offering as part of this bill been law, generics very likely would have entered the market six years ago with the expiration of exclusivity. the chief executive officer of cephalon, the brand-name manufacturer of provigil, is
11:25 am
quoted as saying -- quote -- "we are able to get six more years of patent protection. that's $4 billion in sales that no one expected." end quote. in other words, the provigil case represents six years and tens and hundreds of millions of dollars of lost savings to consumers, one of the largest consumers, the largest consumer being the u.s. government and particularly the u.s. military. and i have a chart here that relates to the u.s. military's potential savings from this amendment. this illustrates, translates this into dollars that are being paid out by the u.s. military as part of the defense budget which we're going to be passing later this year. assuming that a generic version *f provigil would have been released in 2006, the department of defense alone would have
11:26 am
saved $159 million from this one drug between 2006 and 2011. that's over $150 million from a single prescription drug. mr. president and colleagues, if enacted, this amendment would foster more generic competition, would bring generic drugs to the market sooner and would do so in a manner that's consistent with the original intent of the hatch-waxman act. passage of the amendment would significantly cut prescription drug costs for american consumers and help reduce the federal deficit. let me just also allude to an article that i saw today on the front page of the "new york times" -- and i know some of my colleagues take exception to "the new york times" occasionally. but this is an article entaoelgtsed "new -- entitled new fervor for cutting costs among hospitals and insurers.
11:27 am
the reporter who did this article is reed ableson. about three paragraphs into the article he states, "after years of self-acknowledged profligacy, hospitals, doctors and health insurers say there is a strong effort underway to bring medical costs under control." i was struck by that phrase "self-acknowledged profligacy in the health care system" mr. president. i think that's what we have engaged in here in the congress, frankly, is self-acknowledged profligacy in the health care system. this amendment will help to correct that. the amendment has the strong support of the aarp, of families u.s.a., of the consumer federation of america, of u.s. pirg, of consumers union, the center for medicare advocacy,
11:28 am
the afl-cio, afsme, wal-mart, the national committee to preserve social security and medicare, among other groups and organizations. so, mr. president, if my colleagues favor competition, this amendment helps to promote competition. if you want to see reduced costs to the taxpayer for health care, then this amendment helps to reduce the cost to the taxpayer. if you want to reduce what patients and hospitals and insurance companies have to pay for prescription drugs, this amendment helps to do that as well. mr. president, i think this is something that is long past time we corrected this problem. this is a great opportunity for us to do so. i believe it's one of the first amendments that will be considered on this legislation. i hope my colleagues will put aside whatever other
11:29 am
considerations they might have had in the past and go ahead and vote for this correction in federal law. this is a problem, frankly, that we, we passed legislation that provided the opportunity. unfortunately, it was not intended, but an unintended consequence of the earlier legislation we passed, the hatch-waxman act, was to allow these kind of blocking, these kind of pay-for-delay settlements to be entered into. we can correct that today. i hope very much we will. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: on whose time is the senator speaking? mr. schumer: speaking on the majority's time. the presiding officer: on the bingaman amendment?
11:30 am
mr. schumer: no. i'm speaking off the -- the presiding officer: the senior senator from new york is recognized. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. i'm going to speak for a brief moment on the amendment 2146, and then on a different issue, which is the reaction of some to the proposal senator casey and i made about eduardo savern and others who renounced their citizenship for tax purposes. first on 2146, i'm glad this amendment has phenylly passed the senate. it places synthetic drugs on schedule 1 as totally banned substances where they belong. these synthetic substances are also known as baths salts or in the case of marijuana spice or
11:31 am
incomprehensive. synthetic drugs aren't sold on street corners. instead these drugs are legal, even though they're dangerous, and can be found in local corner stores across the country. they are as easy to buy as a logically pop or a -- as a lolli pop, but even more dangerous than the common illegal drug on which they are based. by -- by passing this amendment today, we finally get these poisonous drugs off our shelves and keep our nation's youth out of emergency rooms. i want to thank senators klobuchar and grassley for working with me on this amendment, as well as chairman harkin and senator enzi, chairman leahy, senator grassley and senator feinstein for their leadership. and i want to thank senator harkin and enzi particularly for getting us in this package and senator portman for working with us on this amendment. now, on the issue of eduardo
11:32 am
savrin. last week, senator casey and i introduced the expatriate bill. it is a bill that makes sure that people that renounce their citizenship for tax purposes don't escape what they owe and can come back without repaying all they avoided paying this great country. it's a modest proposal made in response to the regrettable effort by a person named eduardo savrin, who renounced his american citizenship to avoid paying even the historically low level of 15% on capital gains for the several billions in windfall profit he is set to receive from the facebook i.p.o. now, mr. savrin is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the company and it bears mentioning that the current active leadership of facebook is comprised of responsible corporate citizens who meet all their responsibilities and obligations and proudly maintain their american citizenship. mr. savrin, on the other hand, has chosen to disown the united
11:33 am
states to save some money on his taxes. senator casey and i have proposed a response. our bill would bar savrin and others like him from reentering the country. it would also reimpose taxes on investment income earned in the united states even if an expatriate is living abroad. now, i believe the vast majority of americans of all parties and persuasions think that renouncing citizenship in america to avoid taxes is troubling, unwarranted, ungrateful. it is upsetting, to say the least, that when a person who has benefited so thoroughly from being an american, a person who accessed and enjoyed so many exceptional aspects of american society, just takes the money and runs rather than doing the right thing and repaying a debt to a nation that nurtured, facilitated and cheered his success. and i think the vast majority of americans are receptive to suggestions for how we can address this kind of unacceptable behavior.
11:34 am
look, nobody enjoys paying taxes but americans know that we wouldn't have a functioning society without them. we argue and debate about how the proper rates should be, what is fair, what level will sustain and grow our economy and our middle class. but i think that most americans, mr. president, agree that paying a mere 15% in capital gains taxes on a sum of $3 billion or $4 billion is not too much to ask a person, especially a person who fled their own homeland because their native society could not provide a reasonable level of security to their family. while the real point here is not just about this one case, our bill addresses a small group of evaders over the last decade or so, it is worth pointing out that in this particular case, the savrin family found security here thanks to taxpayer-funded cops, and stability thanks to a taxpair funded military, and a world-class university system like that at harvard, again, underpinned by public support.
11:35 am
and they also found an expansive middle class that would become the market for his product and a dynamic entrepreneurial free market economy that allows for significant accumulation of wealth and functioning capital market that were recently saved from the brink of catastrophic collapse through, who? the american taxpayer. and they found a government that invests in research and development and things like creating the internet and the web and g.p.s. and microprocessors. all of which were necessary precursors to what savrin and his cohorts created via facebook. and let's not forget, a noncorrupt legal system which decided a case in his favor that made him a billionaire. yes, eduardo savrin did very well by being an american and i think that most americans know full well what he accomplished was not done in a vacuum, that his success is the -- is the outgrowth of his participation in an extraordinary american
11:36 am
society, a society we collectively support. no one gets rich in america on their own, and when people do well in america, they should do well by america. i believe the vast majority of americans believe this, too. so when i introduced our legislation, i was sure it would garner wide and deep support and, in general, it has. that is why it is so baf -- baffling that the extreme right-wing republicans, people like grover norquist, the de facto leader of the republican party on tax matters, would rush to the defense of a man who is turning his back on america by dodging taxes. amazingly, the extreme right-wing echo chamber has made savrin into a cause celeb, defending his decision to disown the country as somehow heroic -- their words, not mine. i was amazed, just amazed. day after day the right-wing blogz -- blogs pouring forth
11:37 am
praise of savrin, a man who renounced his citizenship after doing so well by america. i took it that -- as a given that citizenship and all that it implies in terms of loyalty and duty to america was axiomatic, but unfortunately and sadly, mr. president, that is no longer the case. here is just some of what was said. "forbes" said that -- quote -- "for defriending the u.s., facebook eduardo savrin is an american hero." can you believe it, an american hero? renouncing your citizenship now qualifies as heroic for the hard right wing? george washington was heroic. rosa parks was heroic. john mccain and gabby giffords are heroic. navy seals are heroic. i would tell "forbes" magazine and the right wing, eduardo savrin is not heroic.
11:38 am
"national review's" mario loyola says, "it is the foolish and countered productive tax policies of the left that are chasing eduardo savrin to another country." i'm sorry, what tax did he move to escape? a 15% rate on capital gains on, several billion dollars. is that so onerous that it's chasing him away? i'm sure any american worker would love to have the 15% rate. and if 15% is too high, what does mr. loyola or mr. norquist think the proper capital gains rate should be? do they think we should have even a lower rate on capital gains, which disproportionately goes to the highest-income earners? what is the proper rate, mr. norquist, if mr. savrin's's a hero for escaping the 15%? should we make it 10%? should we make it 5%? should we make it zero? well, they won't say, because if they did they'd be laughed out of town. the "wall street journal" says we are oppressive and demagogic.
11:39 am
no, in america, you're free to leave. but if you leave to purposely avoid paying your fair share, then we will attach a consequence to that dodge. right-wing blog after right-wing blog, from the american thinker to the daily caller, echo as that punishing savrin for tax dwojing is un-american. -- tax dodging is un-american. really? silly me. i thought renouncing one's citizenship was un-american. while on the right-wing radio, they ask, if it's a more favorable tax haven than you can find -- that you can find elsewhere, why is it automatic you're unpatriotic? why is it automatic that you're a coward? because, my fellow americans, when you renounce your nation to fatten your bank account, you are, by definition, being greedy and unpatriotic. grover norquist says our bill is like fascist nazi germany or
11:40 am
apartheid south africa or a communist soviet union. while an american thinker, we are being accused of erecting a berlin wall. and in the "examiner," they say we are totalitarian. these comparisons are absurd on their face and border on the odious. the law mr. norquist refers -- references in nazi germany was purely discriminatory. it targeted a particular race of people, the jewish people, and punished them for nothing other than being jewish, and exercised freedom of movement. it was meant to constrain that freedom by forcing jews to reside inside germany. our proposal targets no single race, creed or class. it doesn't punish you for factors beyond your control, like who your parents were. it applies based on actions you take; namely, disowning the united states to avoid taxes. our law is not triggered by a wish to travel beyond america's borders or even reside permanently in a foreign country. it's the act of renouncing one's
11:41 am
u.s. citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxes that triggers our bill. another right-wing opinion piece asks, "if you leave to protest heavy taxation, why must you pay a penalty?" i'm sorry, gentlemen, mr. savrin is not protesting anything. if he was protesting, he'd stay here and fight for a lower rate, not simply exempt himself and leave others like him to continue paying a rate he considers too high. what he's doing is free riding on america, dodging paying his fair share, and pocketing the billions from an i.p.o. yet another right-wing blog says we're engaged in -- quote -- "class warfare to vilify people that create wealth, just like the nazis did with the jews." well, mr. president, i know a thing or two about what nazis did. some of my relatives were skilled by them. and saying that a person who made their fortune specifically because of the positive elements in american society, in turn, has a responsibility to do right
11:42 am
by america is not even on the same planet as comparing to what the nazi s did to the jew -- nazis did to the jews. the comparison is odious but it's in a bunch of these right-wing blogs. it goes on and on. the whole torrent of vitriol is absurd. just absurd. mr. savrin is, in essence, an economic tax dodger. and once upon a time, the right-wing castigated draft dodgers for failing to heed their nation's call. those who fled the country were vilified as cowards, as self-absorbed traitors. yet in this case, the same exact kind of unpatriotic, un-american behavior is actually being defended by the right wing. it's off the deep end. and when a view this irrational has overtaken one end of the political spectrum, it has serious negative consequences
11:43 am
for our ability to solve our nation's problems. if those on the other side of the negotiating table are this obsessive on taxes that they consider their minimization a higher priority than preserving our national identity, then it's no wonder a grand bargain on taxes and spending has been so out of reach. in the last several years, the far right has disregarded one historically conservative priority after another in favor of an all-consuming obsession with protecting low taxes for the wealthiest americans. first it was the deficit. the republicans have for years claimed that deficit reduction was their top priority. but that has since been exposed as a myth. every independent economist will tell you that the deficit problem cannot be solved except through both spending cuts and revenue increases. it is, in fact, preserving tax cuts for the very wealthy is counterproductive to reducing annual deficits.
11:44 am
yet the far right marches on in defense of tax cuts for millionaires, deficit by damned. last august, our nation's creditworthiness became a second casualty of the far right's insistence on low taxes for the wealthy. the right wing was so dug in against any reasonable fiscal compromise, they forced a manufactured crisis over raising the nation's debt ceiling. this caused the first-ever downgrade of our nation's credit rating. unbelievably, the far right prioritized millionaire tax breaks over the nation's full faith and credit. despite that unreasonableness, we thought we had finally figured out a way to force the far right to come to grips with the need to deal with revenues. we came up with a mechanism called the sequester that would trigger harsh defense cuts if the other side continued to refuse ni new revenues -- refuse any new revenues. certainly if there's one things conservatives prized as much as tax cuts, it was defense spending, right? wrong. as we speak, the far right remains unwilling to cede an
11:45 am
inch on revenues no matter what it means for the pent -- pentagon. the deficit, the nation's creditworthiness, our national security -- all of these things have taken a back seat to the far right's idolitry on taxes. and now this has gone so far, this idolitry they have taken to such an extreme end, they make eduardo savrin into their patron saint. in the name of low taxes for the wealthy, they have lionized an inherently unpatriotic person, the hero worship of saverin is norquist's extreme right-wing tax agenda being carried to its logical but irrational conclusion, and it is scary. it's a scary, absurd place where even a tax dodger who renounces america for his own 30 pieces of silver is celebrated as a
11:46 am
patriot and an american hero. it is perverse. reasonable republicans rightly seem wary to embrace taking things this far. house speaker john boehner labeled saverin's move absolutely outrageous, said he would support legislation to stop healthy ex-pats from relocating. others have been quiet perhaps quelled by fears of being the next target. shouldn't loyalty to america and the broader responsibilities and duties of citizenship trump base nonessential financial interests? sadly, the answer to some on the extreme right is no. the "wall street journal" attacked the thrust of our proposed legislation as an example of the age of envy. well, it's not envy. i in fact am happy that those who invented and perfected and invested in facebook got rich. having an idea succeeding and maybe getting rich off this great idea is the american way. more power to them.
11:47 am
however, what is not the american way is taking a free ride on all the exceptional aspects of american society. what is not the american way is deriving massive advantage from various publicly supported elements of that society and then skipping town when you hit the jackpot. yes, you're free to leave. you have a right to be selfish, even greedy, and renounce this nation. i understand this will make you more money and that there is a rational and simplistic economic argument to be made in favor of doing it if the only factor that mattered was always getting richer and all other values were irrelevant. but we americans have other values too. america is special for many reasons. it's secure. it offers freedom of expression. it's diverse and tolerant. it's entrepreneurial. it's economically and culturally dynamic. looking out for the common good is in our blood. it's a part of our shared
11:48 am
history and a vision of our founding fathers. we provide for the common defense, we promote the general welfare and we are not just out for ourselves. no. we look to secure the blessings of liberty not just for ourselves but for our posterity. and it is this and so much more that makes america an exceptional society. mr. president, i am really appalled by the reaction. not appalled by a debate on tax policy. i'm appalled by making heroic a man who renounces citizenship to escape a tax rate capital gains of 15%. and too often i think that every action and dilemma we face is now reduced to a question of whether this means bigger government or smaller government. and since those on the extreme right believe we must have smaller government at all costs, they vehemently oppose all
11:49 am
taxes. but sometimes, as with this case and others like it, it is not just about the size of government. it's about doing what's fair and right and just based on your responsibilities as a citizen. citizenship is not simply business decision. it is not just a transaction. those on the right, like grover norquist, defending this economic draft dodger, are saying something very different. they are saying that the social contract somehow excludes the accumulation of money. we know that we give up certain rights and freedoms to live in a place like america, but we can't just carry our vigilantism to pursue justice. so, in conclusion, mr. president, being an american is not a one-way street. there are enormous benefits to being a citizen of our nation and a member of the amazing society that spawns.
11:50 am
there are also duties like patriotism, service, contributing your fair share, commitment to community and family. as we approach critical debates on the matters of taxation, fairness and job creation, so critical to keeping america the greatest nation on the face of the earth, i certainly hope that is these values, not glorified self-interests, that drowns out all other values that guide our actions. thank you, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from wyoming is recognized. mr. enzi: while i agree with much of what the senator from new york had to say, i hope this doesn't encourage other partisan diatribes to come to the floor when we're on a very bipartisan bill trying to solve getting necessary pharmaceuticals to the market as quickly as possible. we have some limited time of debate, and we need to stay on the subject. so i hope others aren't encouraged to come down to counter anything that they may have heard or to make different
11:51 am
charges. i have some -- we have some time left on bingaman yet, i think, and some others. i hope that we can move forward on the bill. i yield the floor to the chairman. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. har i concur -- mr. harkin: i concur with senator enzi on that. i hope we can stick with the bill. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that not withstanding the previous order, the senate proceed to votes in relation to the following amendments at 12:00 noon with all other provisions of the previous order remaining in effect: the bingaman amendment number 2111, the murkowski amendment number 2108 and the paul amendment number 2143. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, reserving the right to object, and i don't want to object, i just want to ensure that i'll have the ten minutes in support of the bingaman-vitter amendment before the vote that was promised to me to speak.
11:52 am
mr. harkin: mr. president, i understand -- the presiding officer: there is not ten minutes -- the senator from louisiana is notified there is not ten minutes remaining in support of that amendment. mr. vitter: may i inquire of the chair how much time is remaining in support of the amendment? the presiding officer: 3 minutes left in support of the bingaman-vitter amendment. mr. vitter: i'd ask unanimous consent as part of this agreement that i be given seven minutes prior to the vote. mr. harkin: mr. president, i would modify my unanimous consent request to have the vote start at 12:05. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the assistant majority leader is recognized. mr. durbin: mr. president, i think that accommodation was to allow the senator from louisiana to have seven minutes, and i'd ask for five minutes before the votes begin. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from louisiana will
11:53 am
be given seven minutes. the assistant majority leader five minutes and the vote will take place at 12:05. is there objection? so ordered. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask -- the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader is recognized. mr. durbin: i ask the statement of my objection be made a part of the the record. an amendment we will face this afternoon is one that i am offering relative to dietary supplements. i want to make it clear what this is about. if you walk into your neighborhood drugstore and look at everything on the shelf, here's what i can tell you. all the prescription drugs, the pharmacy has access to have been reviewed by the food and drug administration, that they're safe and effective. all of the over-counter drugs have been reviewed and registered with the food and drug administration to make certain that they are safe and
11:54 am
have been precleared before they can be sold to you. now when you move back to the vitamin counter, all bets are off. those are called dietary supplements. they are not subject to the same level of scrutiny, inspection, testing or regulation. it is an entirely different world. now, it's understandable. those of us who want to be able to walk in and buy vitamins, for example, without a prescription, that's our right as americans. but we also want to make sure that whatever is on the shelf at the pharmacy is not dangerous, or at least we know it's there. there are between 55,000 and 75,000 dietary supplements in america. we don't know the exact number. they include the obvious: vitamins, minerals. but they also go further. they include energy drinks. ever heard of the 5-hour energy drink? monster energy drink? those aren't being sold as colas, sodas, or beverages. they are being sold as dietary
11:55 am
supplements. why? there is no regulation in terms of their content. we had a sad story of a family in the gallery, a 16-year-old girl in maryland who drank two monster energy drinks within 24 hours and went into cardiac arrest. she had consumed almost 500 milli grams of caffeine. it was too much for her heart and she died. that was a dietary supplement. here's what my amendment says. my amendment says that if you want to sell in the united states a dietary supplement, you have to do one basic thing. you have to go to the food and drug administration and say this is the name of my company. this is the name of my product. and the ingredients in it, and here's a copy of the label. that's it. so is it important that we know this? there would be 1,000 new products brought and sold in the united states as dietary supplements every year. and just in case you think that knowing that the dietary supplement facility company has been registered is enough, hang on tight.
11:56 am
these dietary supplements are coming from all over the world. and sadly, a lot of them turn out to be dangerous. in 2009, the f.d.a. announced that super slim, a dietary supplement manufactured in china, contained the pharmaceutical agreement cybutramine, no longer available in the united states, was found to increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. -- if the manufacturers registered this, we could protect the american consumers. the same thing true in 2001, another chinese-based weight-loss ingredient, aristolic acid found to produce kidney damage. is it important for us to know this? is it too much to ask the dietary supplement companies to go to the f.d.a. and at least register their product before they put them on the shelves across america? don't you think american consumers and families assume some basic scrutiny or at least
11:57 am
knowledge of the sale of these products? the industry is against this. they don't want to report it. they just basically say it's none of your business. we'll sell what we want to sell and that's the way it will be. if we want to volunteer the information, so be it. but we don't want to be required to disclose the information. there are groups that see it differently. i would ask consent now to enter into the record letters of support for my amendment for the consumers groups -- i'm sorry. i'm struggling to find it among these papers here. center for science and public interest as well as the consumers union in support of this amendment. i ask my colleagues when this comes before us, before we have another death in america from a dietary supplement from china, india action mexico or even in the united states, shouldn't we
11:58 am
require the most basic information so we know the name of the company and the ingredients and what the label looks like? the f.d.a. asked for this information. i ask my colleagues when this amendment comes up later this afternoon that they support this in the best interest of protecting american families and consumers. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana is recognized. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise to strongly support the upcoming bingaman-vitter amendment which is basically an amendment form that bingaman-vitter fair generic act that would stop an escalating trend in the drug industry which is pay-for-delay deals between a generic manufacturer and a big pharmaceutical manufacturer. over the last several years we've seen a huge increase and we've seen this trend grow from modest to a raging trend. and it's anticompetitive. it's pay-for-delay deals in
11:59 am
which the brand-name drugmaker pays off or settles with the first-to-file generic drugmaker, often restricting generic market entry for years into the future. as prescription drug prices have exploded and put real pressure and a real burden on many americans' budgets, these deals are counter productive because they're making medications that should be more affordable in terms of coming on to the market. they're postponing them, paying for delay, holding them off the market for longer and longer. the f.t.c. has compiled data and made clear that this trend is happening, and the f.t.c., an official government agency, has said -- quote -- "the continued trends of record numbers of brands and generic resolving patent litigation prior to a final court

70 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on