Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 20, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

12:00 pm
either they win or we win. and the sooner we accept that, the better off we're going to be. so we have to accept that on the one hand there are millions of people in that region that want a new and better future. we will side with them. we will support their aspirations. we will work with their hopes for civilian leadership and peace and economic prosperity. but for those that are radical islamists, whose view is that they want to conquer and bring under their control everyone who is not who they are? we have to defeat them. i wish it weren't the case, but it is. and the sooner we accept that, the clearer our policies are going to be. this is not just a critical moment for america and our foreign policy. this is a critical moment for them as well. where they're going to some have to decide if egypt wants a better future for their country, one where their economy is growing and prosperous and young people can fulfill their aspirations they are going to have to unequivocally reject this kind of stuff or they're going to be
12:01 pm
trapped in the 18th century forever. in libya they're trying to cooperate with us. they're allowing us to move forward. we should work with them and strengthen them, not abandon them. and i didn't mention pakistan but that's important too. let me just say it's outrageous that doctor is being held there. i believe every charge against him is trumped up, and i think we should demand and i think it is right to condition some if not all of our foreign aid and cooperation with pakistan on his status and on his release. i hope senator paul and those who support his amendment will consider at a minimum restructuring that amendment to recognize that there's a difference between libya and egypt, and we should take different approaches in that regard. we have a right to be trainld, we have a right to be angry, but we should never abandon being smart. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina is
12:02 pm
recognized. mrs. hagan: i ask unanimous consent i be permitted to speak up to 1015 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. hagan: mr. president, 11 years have now passed since the attacks of september 11, that horrific day that forever changed the world. although we have killed osama bin laden, the fight against the al qaeda militants is not over. al qaeda remains a threat to america, and the brave men and women of our armed services are still fighting every day to protect our way of life. mr. president, i want us to honor and think about these men and women. there are over 77,000 u.s. service members deployed in afghanistan right now who remain in harm's way. these men and women willingly joined the military during a time of war. they want nothing more than to serve our country. they fight for our way of life so that we don't have to and so that our children and
12:03 pm
grandchildren will not have to. i'm going to highlight three servicemen from north carolina who have made the ultimate sacrifice. i have personally spoken with their families, and i want to share their great love of country with you because it is so important that all americans understand our military and their families' -- their families sacrifice so much for all of us. from my home state of north carolina alone there are more than 6,000 of our finest sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, moms and dads, deployed in afghanistan. they are the men and women of the second marine expeditionary force, second marine division, second marine aircraft wing and second marine logistics group from camp lejeune and cherry point. they are the men and women from the national guard and reserve
12:04 pm
units from north carolina. they are the thousands of other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines deployed to foreign lands to stand watch over the world and keep us safe. sometimes i feel as if the war is hardly an issue in the news, in daily life anywhere, except for those who are personally affected by it. our focus is too often drawn to the news of the elections, of the economy, of politics, of celebrities, of scandals, of the rich and famous and of the simply bizarre. we do not hear enough about the brave souls who have lost their lives while trying to make the world safer for the rest of us, who willingly joined the military during a time of war, who wanted to serve our country. we all need to pay respect, to honor, and to remember the very men and women whose commitment,
12:05 pm
dedication, and courage are what make our country safe and to respect and remember the families they left behind. as we scale down our presence in afghanistan and bring our service men and women home, we must remember every day that this war is still going on. and it is occurring at a tremendous cost, a cost that is disproportionately paid by the brave men and women who are fighting for the rights and privileges we enjoy. these men and women traded their youth, they've spent years away from family and friends, they voluntarily put their lives on the line for their friends, for their loved ones, their country, and for people they have never met, for me and for you. these men and women are the almost 50,000 wounded in action since the start of this war. they are the 336 u.s. service members who have died just this
12:06 pm
past year. they are the 54 coalition forces who died in the month of august alone. they are strangers to most of us, they are the most important person in the world to someone. they are selfless defenders of our freedom, many of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice. many of whom are from my home state of north carolina. they are people like corporal dare onterrell hicks, united states army, from hawley, north carolina, who died july 19 of 2012, just two months ago. darian was a 2009 graduate where he was a standout students, loved and respected by all. darian always wanted to be a soldier. it was a goal he set early on and something that everyone remembers about him. it was a goal he pursued with diligence and honor. he was a model junior rotc
12:07 pm
student who was voted mr. junior r.t.c. by his peers. -- rotc by his peers. darian is remembered as the kind of young man a teacher wishes all their students were like. he was a boy you wanted your children to be friends with. he became the kind of man we should all be thankful to have in this world. when i was speaking with his mom, address, she said -- tracy, she shared with me he never gave her a problem, ever. corporate hicks enlisted in the army after graduating from high school. he loved the army and it seemed he had found his place in life. he loved his family and he kept in close contact with his mother. whenever he spoke with his mom, she would always tell him, always pray, be safe, and i love you. to which he would respond, i'm going to be fine, i love you, too. this year darian was serving with the 54th engineer
12:08 pm
battalion, 18th engineer brigade as a sapper, making the way safe for those that follow. this is what corporate hicks was doing when he was killed cild by an enemy i.e.d. he was only 21 years old. as one of his teachers said, when we talk about darian, we're not talking about a teacher making an impact on a student. we're talking about a student who made an impact on the teacher. corporal hicks made an impact on everyone he tuchts, and i think we all have something to learn from him and the life that he chose to lead. and there are people like petty officer second class sean braises, united states navy from greensboro, north carolina, where i have lived for the last 30 years. sean died on may 30, 2012. sean was your all-american boy next door.
12:09 pm
he grew up playing soccer in the same traveling soccer league that my son played in, and sean was on the swim team. he graduated from western gillford high school and key have done anything but he wanted to do something important with his life. sean joined the navy after graduation and became a dog handler. he was stationed at naval base kipsip in washington state where he met the love of his life, ali, he was also in the neach. when sean met ali, being the southern gentleman that he was, he held the door open for her at the post office when they first met. putting others first was just how he lived his life. sean braises loved being a dog handler and loved being in the navy. his wife is now a 23-year-old widow with a young daughter, addison, whom sean nicknamed short stack. they were the center of his
12:10 pm
world, his life as a sailor, devoted husband, loving dad, was rich and full and tragically short. petty officer braises had only been in afghanistan a short time when he died on may 30, while helping a fellow service member get into a helicopter when their unit was ambushed. that seems to define sean, a man who selflessly did what he could to help others. sean braises served his country proudly but as he appreciated the rights and privileges that americans are fortunate to enjoy. he wanted to make sure his daughter never had to worry about anyone telling her what books she could read or where she could go to school or what she could become. he wanted his mom, dad, wife, and daughter to be safe. he died a hero, and now res. at -- rests at arlington with his grandfather and friends who have left the world far too soon. he died as a man that his dad,
12:11 pm
ed, looked up to. ed told me that he hopes to be half the man that his son was. they are people like lance corporal christopher phoenix levy from north carolina who died december 10, 2011. on 9/11 jacob had just turned 11 years old. he had gotten a bloody snows at school and his mom amanda was called to bring a change of clothes. she shared she was driving to his school when she heard on the radio the first plane hit the world trade center. when amanda explained what had happened to jacob that night, she says that jacob then said that he would be in the military. he was only 11 years old at the time. jacob joined the junior rotc at eastern randolph high school where he was a standout runner and wrestler. he was also a proud active
12:12 pm
member of the lumbee indian tribe. that is why he has the name phoenix, from his indian heritage. it stands for immortality and renewal. in 2009, jacob fulfilled the goal he set in 2001. he lynneest in the marine corps and graduated from boot camp. he planned on being a marine for 20 years, retiring and then returning to his hometown to give back to the jrotc in his community. it's clear that jacob was driven to be a part of something more than himself, to do his part for the greater good. that was just how he lived his life. lance corporal levy deployed to afghanistan with the third battalion and returned home from his first tour on mother's day of 2011. however, jacob told his mom that his job was not yet done, that he needed to return to his brothers in arms in afghanistan.
12:13 pm
he then volunteered to deploy again in the fall of 2011. this time with the first bat alon -- battalion out of camp lejeune. it was during this deployment he was mortally wounded by a single enemy shot. he was only 21 years old. a couple of weeks before he died, jacob spoke with his mother for the last time. he told her not to worry about him, he asked for underwear and beef jerky. he asked her to tell everyone he loved them. jacob left his mom, dad, step dad, and two brothers. jacob's indian name phoenix for immortality and renewal has proven a worthy namesake for him. although his life was tragically short, he lives on in the lives he touched. he inspired a scholarship at his high school that will go to help others, and he was an organ donor. he helped save seven other people he had never met. he gave the loved ones of those
12:14 pm
seven strangers more time with their parent, spouse, child, or sibling. his death resulted in an outpouring of love and support for the levy family from the marines of both the 38 and 16. as jacob's mother told me, i ma have lost one son, but i have gained 30 more. to this day those young men who served with lance corporal levy continue to remember and look after her. these are the people who are paying both your share and my share of the cost of freedom. these service members gave their lives for us and for our country. we must not forget them. darian hicks, sean braises, and jacob levy. we must not forget their families. we must not forget the men and women still deployed in harm's way. they come from our small towns, our big cities, and our rural areas. they are our neighbors, they are our fellow americans, they are our heroes, and they are my
12:15 pm
fellow north carolinians. to these men and women, to their families, we owe an eternal debt of gratitude. may god bless them and may god bless america. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: something unusual is happening in congress. democrats and republicans are agreeing on something. we appear headed toward the same goal. the problem is what we're agreeing on is more business as usual in washington. they want to pass yet another continuing resolution instead of a real budget solution. i can almost hear the people back home and all over this country saying there they go again. now, i can argue this both ways. a continuing resolution will let
12:16 pm
the government hreufrpb along again -- limp along again for another six months. that way we can go home now and come back after election to fix the budget. i haven't had anybody, madam president, in west virginia tell me that we should hurry home to campaign. i've had plenty of them tell me that we need to stay here and do the job they hired us to do. and that means fixing the budget, because our debt is piling up every day and it's choking our economy. these continuing resolutions are supposed to be temporary, but it looks to me like they have become a permanent way of doing business here in congress. let me tell you, it's a really bad way of doing business. it ignores the dire circumstances of a record $16 trillion of national debt that will increase close to $1 trillion a year if we don't balance our annual budget and do it soon. it makes me think of the goofy
12:17 pm
kid on the cover of "mad" magazine. alfred e. neuman. me worry? i came to the senate not quite two years, and in the time i've been here there have been 12 of these continuing resolutions. i repeat: 12. there were three in december of 2010. in 2011 there were two in march, two in april, two in september, one in november and three in december. and now we're being asked to pass another c.r. to keep things going just a little bit longer, for six months, so we can all go home. that's the problem. so we can all go home and worry about our elections. and then we're going to worry later about this growing country's debt. that's later. we've got to get home first. well, i can tell you, madam president, a baker's dozen is one too many for me. one too many. enough is enough. i can't vote for this measure to simply kick the can any farther down the road.
12:18 pm
it just can't go on. the people of west virginia didn't send me here or, madam president, send you from the great state of north carolina to do that. they sent us here to help fix our budget problems with a bipartisan commonsense solution. that's the way we did it in west virginia when i was governor. we didn't pull these kinds of stunts on west virginians. we stayed on the job until the work was done. we wouldn't leave. we stayed and worked. if it was all through the night, we'd stay. if it was an extra day or extra week, we would stay and get our work done. we came together to make decisions, what was best for our state, not best for us individually. and it's time we do the same thing here in washington. we have to stop putting off what we need to do to get our fiscal house in order. it's time to cancel the flights home. it's time to roll up our sleeves and get down to the people's business because we've reached a dangerous point in our history, a point at which our debt is
12:19 pm
threatening not just our economic standing in the world but also our national security. i know everybody expects we'll come back after election in a lame-duck session, and we're going to rush to fix all of our fiscal problems at the last minute. but if congress's past performance is any indication of what to expect after the election, i wouldn't expect too much. that's a shame. a lame-duck session of congress is cutting it pretty close, because we've gotten ourselves into a real bind. the so-called fiscal cliff is real. we're looking at over $5 trillion of economic swing by the end of this year, december 31, coming up to january 1. one part of that is the sequestration. i think we all remember the sequestration. that is the penalty we put on ourselves. if the supercommittee did not do their jobs. the supercommittee wasn't that super, didn't work out the way
12:20 pm
we thought it would. it means what we have to do is take painful cuts, because we said if we make the penalty strong enough and great enough, we'll definitely come to the table and fix the financial problems. but we didn't do it. that was a year ago. we could have been working to fix all of that between that. here we come down to the last minute and we're asking for six more months. you know, the kind of meat ax spending cuts, when i talk about that, i never did put budgets together which were across-the-board cuts. if you had to cut basically, look at it. government can do two things with your money. they can spend your money or invest your money. we've done a poor job of investing. we've done a great job of spending. that's got to change. you can't say across-the-board cuts. look and find out. put your priorities based on your values and cut where it's needed to be cut. you shouldn't cut where investments need to be made but overall there will be a reduction. somehow our congressional leaders put together a sequester in order to force us, are now
12:21 pm
acting like we really didn't mean it. it wasn't sincere about we should do this. we knew we couldn't do it but it sounded good back then because we thought we would do something. can you think what would happen to the confidence of the people in this country if we don't do what we said we were going to do? it's not a smart way to run this country. then they talk about cutting the defense budget, that can't be done. that can't be done. we want to make sure that we have the strongest and toughest, and every one of us here support our military to the hilt. every man and woman in uniform should have the best equipment, best in training this country can give them. when you look at the ballooning cost of what's happened to our department of defense, most of the money spent on contracting, most of the increases on contracting, people doing the same job making three and four and five times more than a man or woman in uniform, that's not right. and they're telling me we can't cut it.
12:22 pm
oh, no, if we do that, you're not strong for america. i've said this, the automatic cuts go into effect january 2, as we know. our national security budget is still over $600 million in 2013. that's more than we had in 2006, at the height -- at the height -- of the iraq war. in fact, even after the automatic cuts, the united states will still count for 40% of all military spending in the world. 40% of all the military spending is by our country. i promise you, we're going to make sure that america keeps the strongest defense in the world. but as a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, one of the most sobering moments i've had in this body, i'm sitting on the armed services committee and i had been learning like you and everybody else, madam president, about the dangers we face around the world and the threat to the uplgs. the question -- threat to the united states of america.
12:23 pm
the question was asked to admiral mike mullen, what is the greatest threat america faces. he didn't hesitate, didn't waiver. i'm thinking i'm going to hear about the problems we have, iraq, afghanistan and on and on. he said the debt of this nation is the greatest threat we face as america. he wasn't worried about another military might. he wasn't worried about another terrorist attack. he was worried about us coming apart from within. that was perhaps the most sobering moment since coming to the senate. when you have the highest ranking officer in the world's most powerful military the world has recorded, i think you can take notice. i did. that should give us a sense of urgency and join in doing something about our out of whack spending. if anybody is betting we can fix our spending in the lake dumb congress, i'll remind them somebody was betting on super committee last year. that didn't work out too well. we're about to leave town with a lot of unfinished work and we're
12:24 pm
not too sure about our finances. it's not just about finances. the 112th congress -- the 112th congress -- and i'm ashamed to say, i'm ashamed to say this, is one of the least productive congresses in the history of this country in terms of passing bills. the congress we're in passed 173 public laws as of last month. as you recall, in our history books, president hry truman who dubbed the 80th congress as the do-nothing congress, passed 906 bills. 906. i don't even know if he would have a definition of what we have done. i really don't. so do-nothing congress is something that i'm not proud of. and it's clear to me that betting on congress getting religion after election is also a risky gamble, a gamble with america's future, a gamble with the next generation. we tried that with the super
12:25 pm
committee, but it failed. and that's the reason we're here today facing a fiscal cliff. the sunsetting of the bush tax cuts, tax sturpbdz, end -- tax extenders, emergency unemployment, sequestration, those are meat ax cuts. the congressional budget office says the fiscal cliff could send the economy right back into a recession. look at the time we've wasted. the super committee fell apart almost a year ago, and yet here we are instead of voting on a real and permanent solution to our financial problems, we're getting ready to vote on yet another temporary measure that will allow us to leave before we've addressed a single one of these most critical issues. and what's happened since the super committee shut down with no agreement? one thing that's happened is our long-term national debt has topped $16 trillion, a figure almost impossible to wrap your
12:26 pm
mind around. but i think you can wrap your mind around this, each one of us that live in this great country is now in debt $50,700, each one of us, every man, woman and child. $15 trillion is roughly the same as our country's economic output, the first time in four years we hit that plateau. the last time our country was 100% of g.d.p. was after world war ii, we were fighting to save our nation, save a way of life. this has been self inflicted and we can't keep going on this way. we have reached what the national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform call the moment of truth. and the report it prepared for the president almost two years ago, in fact, that was the title of its report: "the moment of truth." while the commission faced the moment of truth with a comprehensive bipartisan plan for reducing our debt, congress has yet to do so. now is the time, madam president. we know how to fix things.
12:27 pm
congress has done it before. in the early 1990's our economy was faltering because deficits and debt were freezing capital. but congress sent a signal to the market that it was capable of being fiscally responsible, and they were. and the result was the longest economic expansion in history, the creation of over 22 million jobs and unprecedented wealth in america with every income bracket rising. i repeat: every income bracket. not just the chosen few. the budget framework put together by congress and the white house led to the first balanced budget in generations and put our country on track to be debt-free this year, in 2012. if we would have just stayed the course, we would be debt free as the united states of america right now. let me repeat that again. this year we would have been debt free. but we got totally off track with tax cuts, two wars, an expansion of prescription drug benefits for medicare
12:28 pm
recipients, none of which were paid for. all great ideas; none were paid for. and the ten-year, $5.6 trillion surplus forecasted in 2001 has become a debt of more than $16 trillion. that's a $22 trillion swing in less than a decade. it's unbelievable. it's mind-boggling. but we can get back on track if we follow a simple formula, roughly the same one that the bowles-simpson debt commission recommended. we have to curtail spending. we have to have a fair revenue stream and we've got to look at cutting the fat. and to do that and overhaul our tax system so it encourages the kind of entrepreneurship that makes our country the bedrock of a global economy. in america, madam president, we need a tax system where everybody pays their fair share and where american businesses are free to do what they do best. outproduce, outinnovate
12:29 pm
competitors all around the world and to keep a bright future, we have to reform our entitlement program so we can preserve the benefits. there's serious trouble ahead if we don't act. think about this: in 2016, social security disability is basically insolvent. 2024 medicare insolvent. 2033, social security only be able to deliver 75 cents on the dollar. 25% discount. the american people are hungry for plain talk on our debt. that's why hundreds of west virginians just a few weeks ago we hosted in charleston, west virginia, we had alan simpson and senator -- senator alan simpson and white house chief of staff under bicker skin bowls -- chief of staff erskine bowles come to the white house and they spoke the fact. what we're saying is give the american people the facts. they will do their part to get
12:30 pm
the country back on the right path. they always have. that's what makes this country so great. so don't sell the united states of america short. don't sell the american people short just because this is an election year. they can tell when you're dealing straight with them or when you're playing politics. and right now there's no more time to play politics. in fact, i got a letter just yesterday from a west virginian. james in clarksburg, west virginia, talking about the summit. here's what he said -- i quote -- "it is time for responsible members of the senate to take to the floor and tell your fellow senators it is past time for us to take responsible action to address the fiscal crisis which is our responsibility to the people who sent us here." because it's just that. there is no excuse for delaying action until after the election. no excuse. to delay it just because of an election. madam president, james got it exactly right. there is no time to waste. look, i'm not naive. i understand that some of the
12:31 pm
choices we face are going to be hard for some of us to make. i know republicans don't want to talk about revenue. i know democrats don't want to talk about entitlement reform. but we need to start thinking more about the next generation than ourselves, or the next election, or the next news cycle or the next flight out of washington. millions of ameri -- millions of americans are struggling in this economy, working overtime to pay their bills, find a job and find a way forward for their families. they're looking for us for the leadership they need. they're looking to us for solutions. they're looking to us to come together and do what's best for the country in a balanced and practical way. madam president, they're simply looking to us to do our job and i intend to do that to the best of miability. winston churchill once said, "you can always count on americans to do the right thing after they've tried everything else." well, madam president, i think we've tried everything else,
12:32 pm
including kicking the can down the road for 12 times before. now it's time for us to do the right thing. this temporary step is the wrong thing at the wrong time. we have work left to do and we need to stay and do it. the people of america expect us to do better, to stand up for them and to put politics aside. the people of west virginia can be assured that i will always stand up and i will continue to try to do the best that i possibly can for them and for the people of this great country. madam president, i thank you, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehousemr. whitehouse: m, this week the conservation community mourns the passing of a great american leader, a passionate individual and an inspiration and friend to many, russell erol train.
12:33 pm
president nixon first named russell train as under secretary of the department of the interior and then as the first chairman of the new white house council on environmental quality from 1970-1973. russ train then became the administer of the e.p.a., serving there from 1973-1977. he was at the forefront of the legislation that became the bedrock of our country's environmental policy, the clean air act, the safe drinking water act, the endangered species act, the toxic substances control act -- laws that keep the american public safe and that protect our american natural resources. his desire to protect wildlife and habitat predated these years of public service.
12:34 pm
he founded the wildlife conservation foundation in 1959 and then the african wildlife foundation. and when the world wildlife fund was established in the united states, he became its first president. this week, worldwide life fund u.s. c.e.o. carter roberts described russell train as -- i quote -- "a true national treasure and an inspiration to all of us who embrace conservation as their life's work." mr. roberts went on to say tha that -- i quote again -- "undoubtedly russ would prefer that we not spend a lot of time mourning his passing. he would want us to redouble our efforts to save the animals and places we care about, to solve the problems of climate change and resource scarcity, and to build leadership capacity in those countries where it is needed most." and so it is with his legacy in mind that i come to the floor
12:35 pm
today, as i try to do every week, to discuss climate change, the science behind it, and the reality of the changes we are already seeing. this week i'll focus on how the carbon pollution that is causing these climate changes is also affecting our oceans. and causing an equally frightening problem -- ocean acidification. sea water absorbs carbon dioxide and when it does, chemical reactions occur that change the concentration of carbonate and hydrogen ions in a process that lowers the p.h. of sea water, commonly referred to as ocean acidification. since the industrial revolution, we have burned carbon-rich fuels in measurable and ever-increasing amounts, now up
12:36 pm
to 7 gigatons to 8 gigatons each year. we have raised the average parts per million of co2 in our atmosphere from 280 parts to 3 390. by the way, the range for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere for the last, say, 8,000 centuries has been 170-300 parts per million. so we're well outside of that range. indeed, in the arctic, measurements have already reached 400 parts per million. madam president, i see that the majority leader is on the floor. i do not want to hold the floor while the majority leader is here if he seeks recognition. then i will proceed. the oceans of the earth have absorbed more than 550 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the
12:37 pm
atmosphere. that's approximately 30% of all of our carbon dioxide emissions. the good news is that absorbing all this carbon has significantly reduced the greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere. the bad news is that because of all this carbon absorption, ocean p.h. has changed globally, representing a nearly 30% increase in the acidity of the ocean. by the enof th -- end of the ce, ocean change is predicted to change further, leading to a 160% change in acidity. this is where we are so far. this is what is projected. this rate of change in ocean acidity is already thought to be faster than any time in the past 50 million years. and a paper published in
12:38 pm
"science" this march concluded that the current rate of co2 emissions could drive chemical changes in the ocean unparalleled in at least the last 300 million years. i now see that both the majority leader and the minority leader are here and so i will once again offer to yield the floor. not at this moment. the authors of that science study in march -- sthie the authors of that "science" study in march warned that we may be -- and i quote -- "entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change." as the p.h. of sea water drops, so does the saturation of calcium carbonate, a compound that is critical to marine life for the construction of their shells and skeletons. some organisms absorb calcium and carbonate right out of the water. others through the food and water that they ingest.
12:39 pm
but changes in the concentrations of these chemicals mean that the building blocks become less available to make the shells of species like oysters, crabs, lobsters, corals even, and the plankton that comprise the very base of the food web. as oceans get more acidic, it becomes harder and harder for these important species to thrive. and it puts at risk the economies that depend on these species. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i appreciate very much my friend from rhode island yielding and i so appreciate his focusing attention on something we don't focus on nearly enough. and that's a gross understatement and that is our oceans. and i admire the work that he's done on so many different things. we thought we had a path forward to do some really good things for oceans and things didn't work out the way that senator
12:40 pm
whitehouse and i wanted it but we're going to be back more because we have to do something about our oceans. we study everything else but not our oceans and most everything else depends on what happens in the ocean. mr. president, we currently have 17 district judges on the calendar. 14 reported by voice vote, and for the people within the sound of my voice, what that means, they're noncontroversial. and 12 will fill judicial emergencies. these are places around the country where we have judges who are tremendously overworked on these important cases. you know, we've heard this kind of a joke, "what are you trying to do, make a federal case out of it?" yes, what that means is, the federal system is so good that people look at it as being the best there is as far as judicial activity. i'm disappointed to say that my republican friends on the other side have informed me that they will not agree on votes of any
12:41 pm
of these nominees. republicans can offer no reason for blocking these bipartisan consensus district court nominees. i understand if they didn't want us to do circuit courts. i would understand that. i may disagree but i understand that because democrats have set boundaries in the past as when we would no longer accept circuit court judges. but this is district court judges. historically, the senate has considered district court nominees as late as october in presidential election years. in the past five presidential election years, democrats have never blocked a district court nominee from receiving a vote on the senate floor. never. but our republican colleagues are setting new standards for obstruction. not only in all the legislation but in judges. the 28 district court nominees we've considered this year, i filed cloture 19 times. in other words, we've had to break a republican filibuster on 67% of the district judges we've
12:42 pm
considered and confirmed. president obama's district court nominees have been forced to wait 300% more than president bush's nominees. three times more. only two people who the president nominated this year have been confirmed. the kind of qualified consensus nominees that in years past would have been confirmed in a matter of minutes are now taking weeks and months languishing with no action. these votes should be routine. they should not be a fight that delays action on important jobs measures. in september 2008, right before the last presidential election, democrats confirmed ten of president bush's district court nominees in one day. more than half of the nation's population. 160 million americans live in the part of the country where there's been a judicial emergency declared. that means more than half the people in this country seek
12:43 pm
justice from courts and judges that are strained to their breaking point under a backlog so intense an emergency has been declared. the chairman of the judiciary committee of course knows i'm here. he wanted to be on the floor but our time didn't work. he's done a remarkably good job of getting the judges out. with one out of every ten federal judgeships standing vacant, americans can no longer wait on a -- on fair and speedy trials and that's what they have to do. they can't rely on them. republicans should work with democrats to confirm these consensus district court nominees now. refusing to do so is really irresponsible. the senate could act today on highly qualified judges on the federal bench, judges who are supported by both democrats and republicans. so i would hope that we can get something done before we leave here. i don't want to file cloture on these nominees before the end of the year. it's not the way we should be working around here. welsh be working together. oh, i have a -- i'm sorry.
12:44 pm
i have a consent agreement. i'm sorry, i say to my friend, the republican leader. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session and consider the following nominations, calendar number 674, 675, 676, 677, 818, 829, 830, 832, 8 approximate 3, 834, 835, 875, 876, and 877, that the nominations be confirmed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no spur veeng action and debate and that no further motions be in order to any nominations, that any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record. and i would further, mr. president, before -- madam president, before you rule on this, we have a guam utd. wa gamut. connecticut, utah, california, florida, oklahoma, michigan, new york, pennsylvania. that -- and that's a classic, this pennsylvania -- these two
12:45 pm
pennsylvania judges. during the august recess, the republican senator from pennsylvania said, i'm going toe reason that the two pennsylvania judges haven't been confirmed. now, you try that one on for logic. he actually said publicly that "i was the reason that matthew bryan and edward manion" are not being confirmed. "it's my fault." so, madam president, let me finish this consent agreement. that nominations be printed in the record, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: reserving the right to object. it really is quite curious my friend the majority leader is complaining about the one area i can think of over the last year and a half where the senate has met historic norms. in other words, we have handled
12:46 pm
judicial confirmations in this congress here in the senate in a way that meets and in some ways exceeds historic norms. at the same time, of course, we haven't done all the other things that we normally have done in the past, but so far during this presidential election year we've confirmed five circuit court nominees and 29 district court nominees. that is a good record for presidential election years. let me look at a few. in 1996, we confirmed 18 district court nominees. this year we've done 29. in 2000, we confirmed 31. in 2004, we confirmed 30. and in 2008, the last year of president bush's tenure, only 24 district court nominees were confirmed. in fact, in 2008 senate
12:47 pm
democrats free traded president bush's nominees so badly they were forced to confirm as the majority leader just bragged about, ten nominees in september of that year just to try to catch up to historical norms. so rather than bragging about doing ten in one day, the reason they did ten in one day they were so pathetically below historic norms they had to do ten in one to not be completely embarrassed by the process. if they had not done that the senate would have confirmed only 14 district court nominees in 2008, fewer than of that the 29 we've already confirmed this year. president obama is always faring much better than president bush did in his second term which is the last time the senate considered and confirmed two supreme court nominees and the reason i bring that up, because supreme court nominees take up a lot of time and tend to be a distraction. and president obama, of course, did have two supreme court
12:48 pm
nominees during his first term. so far the senate has confirmed 158 of president obama's judicial nominees, compare that to president bush's second term when the senate confirmed only 122. so president obama's gotten 158, president bush in his second term got 122. so the senate has confirmed one-third more nominees than it did the last time it had to process two supreme court nominees. not only is president obama being treated fairly in absolute terms, but the senate is also treating him fairly hell he relative to the number of nominees he has submitted. so far during president obama's term the senate has confirmed 158 of his 205 nominees. that's a confirmation rate of 77%. president bush got only 74% of
12:49 pm
his nominees during his first term. the contrast is even more revealing when you compare president obama to president bush's second term. during that term, president bush got only 61% of his nominees confirmed, 61%, again, president obama got 77% of his nominees confirmed versus president bush 61%. now we're trying to get consent agreements to process the next two district court nominations that are in the queue and we're hoping that will come about. that's the procedure we've been following. i'm hopeful we can achieve that. if we do, we will have confirmed 31 district court nominees which will equal the record for the most confirmations in an presidential election year in recent memory. in recent memory. so whether it's looked at in terms of absolute confirmations or relative confirmations, this
12:50 pm
president is being treated very fairly. and i'm happy to continue to work with the majority leader, but we cannot allow the majority to jam us here at the end of the session. therefore i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reid: i would say this -- no matter how you try to juggle the numbers, we still have 12 emergencies. 12. i would hope that my friends on the other side would at least look at some of those emergencies and see if we could get some help for those beleaguered judges out there and court personnel. you know, it wasn't until may 7 of this year that we were able to vote on our first nominee for this year. they were all from last year we did before that. i would hope everyone understands we have 12 judicial emergencies, and if we got
12:51 pm
these -- some of these nominations done it would take that away and make life for our court system much more -- much fairer, more fair. mr. mcconnell: there's no way to spin the math. president obama has been treated quite fairly. every way you look at it. certainly meeting the historical norm for the treatment of presidents in presidential years. i rest my case. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent i be given three minutes, the senator from indiana be being three minutes and then the senator from rhode island be able to continue on his remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, i just wanted to follow up a little bit on the leader, the democratic and republican leaders' conversation. it's not the first time we have seen obstruction or obstruction's sake over
12:52 pm
noncontroversial consensus nominees to the federal bench. it's been going on for four years. in 2008 we cleared all ten of president bush's district court nominees pending on the floor by unanimous consent. all ten. in september of 2008. and now, of course, we're being blocked. well, i don't think that oliver wendell holmes could get unanimous consent from our republican colleagues to be a district court judge today. in the western district of new york nominee frank geraci has bipartisan support. we need to fill that judicial emergency post. his nomination has been pending on the floor for more than two months. why can't we confirm him today? he passed the judiciary committee unanimously. in the -- or with strong bipartisan support. in the southern district, another nominee, lorna schofield has been awaiting confirmation for two months. she also has complete and total
12:53 pm
bipartisan support. what's more, she would be the first philippinea confirmed to the federal bench. the southern district is one of the busiest in doesn't and the judges hear the most important cases, insider trading, terrorism, you name it, they do it. why can't we confirm her today? we hear one excuse after another for filibuster judges, recess appointments, the so-called thurman rule which cins dentally has never applied to district court nominees. so i support the majority leader's motion for unanimous consent for these pending district court nominees, and hope our colleagues will think about it and before we leave this week that we can come together and do what we've been doing together for decades, confirm uncontroversial judges. i yield the floor and the balance of my time back. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana.
12:54 pm
mr. coats: madam president, thank you. yesterday senator landrieu chairman of the homeland security committee and i as the ranking member entered a colloquy into the record and i would like to explain what we were attempting to do. this was essentially to clarify a provision regarding cybersecurity that is incorporated in the continuing resolution which we will be taking up here shortly. i understand that there is some confusion and there has been confusion over sections 137 as to whether or not this language that's now incorporated in the c.r. expands d.h.s. authority or allows implementation of a potential executive order pertaining to cybersecurity. the answer to that question is no. absolutely not. the provision is limited to funding improvements in the federal network security program which provides lots of security systems that monitor cyber
12:55 pm
attacks on federal government computer networks. and it helps enhance the protection for those existing networks that are in place. it's important that both the house and senate homeland security appropriations bills included this additional funding, and it's considered so critical it was added to the continuing resolution so that this implementation can continue without interruption and it does so because these networks are constantly understand attack by individuals and groups and others that could cause real problems and real harm to our country. so let me just be very clear what the colloquy and what the language that has been agreed on on a bipartisan basis and what the colloquy said. this provision does not intrude upon authorizers' jurisdiction. this provision does not have anything to do with the regulation of private sector infrastructure. d.h.s. has confirmed that in writing and this provision does not enable a new executive order
12:56 pm
in any way. i would be the first to object to this language if that was the case and i believe that we have now remedied any confusion that might exist over that particular language. i'm hopeful even though we were not able to ultimately pass and incorporate a workable cyber protection language, that we can continue to do so. i want thank the chair of the homeland security appropriations committee, senator landrieu for joining me in clarifying this important provision included in the continuing resolution. and with that i want to thank my colleague from rhode island for allowing me the time to insert this, and, unfortunately, his good presentation was interrupted by that but i thank my colleague for the time to clarify that. with that i yield to my colleague. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i'm very happy to allow my colleague from
12:57 pm
indiana the time and i appreciate very much his good work on cybersecurity and hope that he and i and others can continue to work towards legislative solution on that. my topic had been the acidification of our oceans as a result of carbon pollution, now up 30% in acidity, projected to increase 160% in acidity at unprecedented rates in millions of years. 50 to 300 million years since we've seen this dramatic change in acidity and what it means for species that use calcium carbonate to create their shells and their skeletons, oysters and crabs and lobsters and the little plankton at the bottom of the food chain so many other species depend on as the base of the food chain.
12:58 pm
these unprecedented changes that i'm talking about in ocean acidity are not happening alone. they're happening on top of dramatically changing ocean temperature, also driven by carbon pollution. just this week after on the surface of the earth we experienced one of the hottest summers on record, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration released this statement about the northeast shelf large marine ecosystem. the marine ecosystem area that extends from the gulf of maine down to cape hatteras. here's what they said. during the first six months of 2012, sea surface temperatures were the highest ever recorded. above-average temperatures were found in all parts of the ecosystem from the ocean bottom to the sea surface and across the region.
12:59 pm
the annual 2012 spring plankton bloom was intense, started earlier, and lasted longer than average. this has implications for marine life from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales. atlantic cod continue to shift northeastward from its historic distribution center. now, i don't need to tell anybody in the northeast how important the stability of the cod fishery is. that haisk fishery is -- historic fishery is facing significant reductions in catch limits because the population is not rebounding as expected from the reduced catches that fishermen are already contributing to try to solve this problem. something, something is causing that failure to rebound. and the unprecedented environmental changes occurring in the ecosystem cannot be overlooked as the culprit behind
1:00 pm
this unexplained phenomenon of failure to rebound. noaa has cited a 2009 study published in "marine ecology progress sea." it found about half of 36 fish stocks evaluated have been shifting northward for the past four decades, with some disappearing from united states waters as they move farther offshore. the narrangansett bay in my home state of rhode island, average water temperatures have increased by four degrees. this amounts to an ecosystem shift. in fact, the bay, once dominated by bottom-dwelling fish like flounder, is now dominated by open water species like butter
1:01 pm
fish. let's look at winter flounder closely. in the 1960, the winter flounder in the narrangansett bay was as high as 4,500 metric tons. by 2011 it was down to just about 900. this is the total estimated biomass in the blue line. the red line is the landings. that's what the fishermen were able to catch and bring in. as you can see, they went from 1,000 metric tons up to 2,000 metric tons and then over time it sagged and returned to 2,000 metric tons, and now it has slipped to virtually zero. this was a very productive fishery for rhode island
1:02 pm
fishermen, and it is now virtually gone. past overfishing had a role to play but so too has that dramatic temperature change, and the stock's ability to recover has been made all the more difficult by temperature change as well as acidification. as average global temperatures rise, water expands. water expands as it gets warmer, and new fresh water pours out of the stphobg pack and -- snow pack and ice sheets of antarctica and greenland. long term temperature from tide gauges from our traditional sailing point of newport, rhode island, show an increase of average sea level of nearly ten inches since 1930. at these tide gauges,
1:03 pm
measurements show sea level rise in the past two decades compared to the rate over the last century. the increase is not just happening, it is speeding up. this is consistent with reports that since 1990, sea level has been rising faster than the rate predicted by scientific models used to generate the ipcc estimates. global predictions for sea level rise range from 20 to 39 inches by the year 2100 with recent studies showing that the numbers could be even higher than that due to greater than expected melting of glaciers and ice sheets. our rhode island coastal resources management council has used these predictions to estimate that by 2100, sea level in rhode island could rise approximately two to five feet for our coastal ocean state, that is a dramatic threat.
1:04 pm
sea level rise and the increase in storm surges that will accompany it threaten at-risk coastal areas whose roads, whose power plants, whoeft wastewater -- whose wastewater treatment plants, whose public facilities may need to be reinforced or relocated. even he is taou -- even estuaries have a natural role. they act as buffer systems against storms and they are being inundated by rising seas. in rhode island local erosion rates doubled from 1990 to 2006. some of the fresh water he wetls near our coast are already transforming themselves into salt marsh as a result of this inundation. our coastal resources management council documented places like a beach in south kings town where 160 feet of shore line has been
1:05 pm
lost to erosion since 1951 at a rate of three feet per year. in the small but vibrant coastal community of metunick, beaches have eroded 20 feet over the past 12 years. the town faces difficult decisions as the only road connecting the community and their restaurants and businesses is protected by less than a dozen feet of sand. the road provides access for emergency vehicles and it lies on top of the water main. these are not easy concerns for communities with limited resources and lives and livelyhoods at risk. geo- engineering solutions have been theorized to keep the temperature of the planet in check as a result of global climate change by blocking in various ways the heat of the sun. these notions may seem somewhat far-fetched, but even given that, they will not stop the
1:06 pm
chemical process of acidification of our oceans. only curbing global carbon dioxide emissions can do that. sadly, our government in washington these days responds more to dollars than to truth, and the dirty energy dollars are on the march this campaign season. over the weekend "the new york times" analyzed 138 energy-related campaign ads aired on television. it estimated that over 153 -- $153 million, over $153 million has been spent this year to promote coal, argue for more oil and gas drilling and to attack clean energy. with nearly seven weeks to go before this presidential election, 2012 ads promoting fossil fuels are nearly 150%
1:07 pm
higher than four years ago. that's with seven weeks to go, the peak buying season. other disturbing details emerged from "the new york times" article. governor romney, his pac and the r.n.c. have received at least $13 million in campaign contributions from fossil fuel industry executives or related groups. governor romney has accepted $3 million in contributions from oxbo, a coal company controlled by william koch, brother of david koch. well, nature could not be giving us clearer warnings. and whatever higher power gave us our advanced human capacity for perception, calculation, analysis, deduction, and
1:08 pm
foresight has laid out before us more than enough information to make the right decisions. these god-given human capacities provide us everything we need to act responsibly if only we will. but, the polluting special interests appear to rule here. the party of theodore roosevelt, the great conservationist, the party of president nixon who founded the e.p.a., the party of john chafee of rhode island, who was instrumental in the passage of the clean water act and the clean air act, and the party of russell trane who died at the age of 92 after a distinguished career in environmental protection in the republican party, that party has now become the servant and hand maiden, perhaps paid consort would be a better way to say it given the
1:09 pm
money involved, of polluting special interests. all of this money, madam president, can alter how congress behaves. and all of this money can influence the laws we pass. but the laws of nature are not subject to repeal. no matter how much special interest money flows into campaign coffers. the laws of chemistry don't care about the filibuster. the laws of physics don't care how senators vote. nature will work its will, and one day there will be an accounting. madam president, i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
1:10 pm
1:11 pm
1:12 pm
1:13 pm
1:14 pm
1:15 pm
quorum call:
1:16 pm
1:17 pm
1:18 pm
1:19 pm
1:20 pm
1:21 pm
1:22 pm
1:23 pm
1:24 pm
1:25 pm
mr. lautenberg: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nother is recognized. -- the senator from new jersey is recognized. mr. lautenberg: i ask unanimous consent that further calling of the roll be be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lautenberg: madam president, this week the leader of the republican party -- their candidate for president -- was
1:26 pm
seen in a video speaking at a fund-raising meeting with wealthy campaign donors in florida. in the privacy of the event, mitt romney spilled to the donors there what he really thinks about half of the american people. that's over 150 million people. he disparagingly said, 47% of americans support president obama simply because they don't owe federal income taxes or they're getting benefits from a government program. and just to make sure that there's no misquote here, this is the -- mitt romney's statement. he said, "there are 47% who are with him" -- him being president
1:27 pm
obama -- "who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims ... and my job," mitt romney says, "is not to worry about these people. i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." madam president, this is coming from the leader of the republican party, a man who is running to represent every american, all 310 million, from the nation's highest office. these comments are disturbing coming from anybody, but coming from him, they're a disgrace. in plain english, he says if you don't pay federal income tax or you receive a government benefit, then you don't take responsibility personally for your life. so who are these 47% who mitt
1:28 pm
romney and his republican friends feel such contempt for? they're parents who work hard every day to give their families a better future, they're seniors who help build this country and now depend on social security to keep food on the table, they're veterans who risked their lives in iraq or afghanistan. say here, "who mitt romney says doesn't 'take personal responsibility and care for their lives'." working families with children, senior citizens, veterans. mitt romney seems to think that they are a bunch of lazies just taking money from the wealthy. so today i want to take a closer look at some of these americans who mitt romney says don't take
1:29 pm
personal responsibility and care for their lives. let's first look at working families. he says, "i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." what kind of contemptuous statement is that? we're talking about almost over 150 million people. madam president, millions of people -- millions of parents across the country work long hours, struggling to put food on the table and clothes on their children's backs. a family of four making as much as $46,000 a year often will not owe any federal income taxes. so these families would be part of the 47% of americans that mitt romney accuses of being lazy and irresponsible.
1:30 pm
these families deserve our support, not our scorn. they didn't ask anybody for a handout, and they certainly don't deserve romney's condemnation. madam president, let -- let's now look at another group of americans who, by mitt romney's definition, are victims, who don't take responsibility for their lives: senior citizens. more than half of those who don't pay federal income or payroll taxes are senior citizens on fixed incomes. he says i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. people showing some age. they ought to take personal responsibility for their lives. romney thinks that there -- seems to think that because these seniors depend on social
1:31 pm
security, that they are not willing to take personal responsibility for their lives. mitt romney has no business lecturing these people, these americans about personal responsibility. these seniors work, paid taxes their whole lives, fought to defend our nation's freedom and built the greatest middle class that the world has ever known. it's mitt romney who needs a lesson from them about personal responsibility. now let's look at another group of americans that romney has dismissed, troops and veterans. when we send our troops into harm's way, their combat pay is not taxed. and when veterans come back injured physically and emotionally, we don't ask them to pay taxes on their disability
1:32 pm
benefits. should they pay taxes on these benefits in order to be honorable in mitt romney's eyes? i believe that they have already given their country more than their share. if you look at this picture, it tells you so much. that hug that a returning veteran gets. glad to see his family, glad to see him standing straight, able to communicate. he said -- "i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." imagine that, for him to make statements like that that include veterans. and we give our veterans government benefits that they earn through their service. they get education benefits tax free under a new g.i. bill. many received health care from the v.a. and some get housing
1:33 pm
assistance. you can never convince them that they should -- i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. what would mitt romney say to veterans who don't owe federal income tax or receive a government benefit? we have seen the tape. he says they are victims who could never be convinced to take personal responsibility for their lives. mitt romney must have known many who served in vietnam during his period of maturity. did he think of them who served in vietnam as not doing their share, not taking personal responsibility? i am a veteran. i take offense at that. these men and women risk everything fighting for our
1:34 pm
freedoms and our rights, and we ought to do everything we can to support them. these heroes know a great deal more than mitt romney about personal responsibility and sacrifice. madam president, mitt romney was simply saying what many in today's republican party truly believe. he has pulled back the curtain on their agenda. he has revealed the stark choice facing the american people. madam president, america deserves better in a potential presidential candidate that dismisses the contribution that had 47%, to be more precise, of our fellow americans get
1:35 pm
derision and disrespect. that's hardly appropriate for our presidential candidate to be saying. he, after all, seeks the job that puts him in charge of the whole 310 million people in america. and yet, he has the audacity to say that these people are not worthy of honor, worthy of thanks, worthy of their contribution to this country? all this time, it was thought that mitt romney just didn't get it but it turns out worse than that. he just doesn't care. he knows what essaying and he says it deliberately. he just doesn't care. i yield the floor.
1:36 pm
mr. bennet: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: i wanted to come to the floor today to speak on a different subject, which is to demonstrate my support for the sportsman's package compiled by senator tester from montana. i know the bill was discussed on the floor last night and the request to pass this package of bipartisan bills was objected to, which is horribly unfortunate, and i hope we will have the opportunity to vote on the measure before we leave town. sports men and women are an essential part of the fabric of our country, the fabric of my home state of colorado. this community supports millions of jobs and contributes billions of dollars annually to our economy, and they are often the drivers of our most important conservation issues across our rich landscape. while serving on the senate agriculture committee, i have enjoyed working with sportsmen to craft and revamp the
1:37 pm
conservation title in the farm bill. some people forget that the farm bill conservation title is the largest single -- the largest single legislative vehicle for the programs and resources that help us conserve private land all across this country and all across the western united states and enhance vital wildlife habitat across the country. sportsmen have always played a vital role in crafting that bipartisan title and that was exactly the way they participated this time as well. while it's not the reason that i'm here today, i want to talk about senator tester's bill, i do want to take the chance to say once again that in my view the house of representatives ought to pass a five-year farm bill. we pass a bipartisan bill out of this senate with well over 70 votes, democrats and republicans, on the committee we worked together for over two years to create the only, the
1:38 pm
only bipartisan deficit reduction that's happened in this congress, in either the house or the senate. we got rid of direct payments for producers which was an important reform. we strengthened the conservation title, as i was saying earlier. there is absolutely no reason the house shouldn't pass this bill. and, madam president, over the break, i traveled 2,500 miles around the state of colorado. rural communities all over my state. no one wanted to know what was going on in the presidential election, no one wanted to talk about anything except why can't the farm bill get passed? in modern history, -- well, there has never been a time in modern history that a committee in the house -- in this case the house agriculture committee -- passed out a bill in a bipartisan way and it can't even get to the floor for a vote. that's never happened before.
1:39 pm
something is wrong over there. i can tell you my farmers and ranchers in colorado who are going through the worst drought in a generation want people to knock the politics off and pass this bill. it's bipartisan. it's real deficit reduction. it's a good bill. we are doing an incredible disservice to our farmers and ranchers and also our sportsmen by failing to act on this bipartisan legislation. madam president, there was a time in my life when i had the chance to live in montana for a brief time, senator tester's home state, and i thought of myself as a sportsman then. i used to fish a lot, chopped a lot of wood out there. these days, i spend a lot more time on airplanes and chasing my three daughters to soccer games, but someday i will get back there. that brings me to the importance of this package for our nation's sportswomen and men. the tester bill represents some of the best bipartisan ideas out
1:40 pm
there to promote hunting, fishing and recreational access. bills from both sides of the aisle that have been hanging around here for a long time and now need to get passed. the measure would require that 1.5% of annual land and water conservation funds go to provide public access to lands for hunting and for fishing. i'm a huge supporter of the land and water conservation fund, and this provision builds on the fine legacy of that program. the amendment also contains a provision that is homegrown from our sportsmen in colorado. section 103 provides certainty and parity for america's bow hunters, that they can cross national park service lands with their bows to legally hunt nearby lands outside the park boundaries. this access is provided to hunters with firearms but not to those with bows. madam president, i started working on this issue over two years ago when a colorado bow hunter encountered a problem. after 14 years of trying, this particular hunter had finally drawn a license to hunt elk in
1:41 pm
the premium game unit in northwest colorado. he scouted the unit, found the area he wanted to hunt and he was all set to go until federal officials told him he couldn't cross a narrow strip, a very narrow strip of park service land to hunt the b.l.m. land next to it. this is despite the fact that hunters with loaded firearms can cross park service land legally and without applying for a permit. the problem with this particular hunter, madam president, is what brought this issue to my office, but the broader point of the provision is to provide access for our sports men and women. we know that we lose thousands of acres of land every day to development. some of it important wildlife habitats. we need to provide all americans reasonable access to the land that we have set aside for preservation and wildlife habitat, bow hunters included. that's why i was pleased to increase funding for the voluntary public access program when we marked up the farm bill, and that's why i am proud to
1:42 pm
work with senator tester to include this provision in his package that i hope we will be voting on soon. the bow hunting provision was carefully tailored to ensure that hunting of wildlife within park service boundaries remains illegal, yet the measure still provides it reasonable access which is so important to sportsmen in colorado and across the country. i have received a letter of support for the bennet-tester bow hunting language from colorado stakeholder groups across the spectrum, including the colorado wildlife federation, the rocky mountain bighorn sheep society, pheasants forever and the bull moose sportsman's alliance, and the list goes on. madam president, i'd like to submit this letter of support from the colorado groups. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bennet: thank you, madam president. the overall sportsman's package from senator tester is also widely supported, ranging from the theodore roosevelt partnership to the boon and crockett club. the bill represents a bipartisan package of commonsense bills
1:43 pm
that will benefit our nation's sports men and women. i want to thank senator tester for his leadership on behalf of the west and urge a yes vote. madam president, i deeply appreciate your letting me come to the floor today to talk about -- to talk about this legislation, and i will simply close by saying that it is my fervent hope that once this election is over some 45 days from now, that we will come back to this chamber, republicans and democrats together, and work together to avoid surfing over this fiscal cliff that would be so damaging to this economy. and people at home know something that people here have not figured out, which is even if you believe that you were always right on your side or had a monopoly of wisdom on your side -- which i don't but some people seem to -- even if you believed it, we cannot accomplish this meaningful
1:44 pm
deficit reduction without doing it in a bipartisan way. it is impossible to do it without doing it in a bipartisan way. and people at home actually want to see it bipartisan because they frankly don't believe in either party's go it alone strategy when it comes to the debt and deficit. my hope is this election will clear the air, we'll get back to work, and that before january, we'll have something convincing to say to the american public on this subject. with that, madam president, i thank you for your patience and i yield the floor.
1:45 pm
mr. bennet: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, madam president. i see that no colleague has come to the floor, so i wanted to speak on one additional issue just for a moment, and i will be brief because i understand we likely won't have an opportunity to address this issue before we leave town. my senior senator, mark udall and i, have been working to provide resources for the usda's emergency watershed protection program, also known as e.w.p. the reason we have been doing this is that e.w.p. resources help communities recover from
1:46 pm
wildfires, specifically watersheds that after being burned are unstable and risk harming critical drinking water infrastructure and sometimes jeopardize human lives. as many in this chamber know, we had a number of devastating wildfires in colorado this summer. in the communities of fort collins and colorado springs, in particular, are having trouble protecting their vital drinking water infrastructure as their watersheds recover. despite a letter that senator udall and i authored to the appropriators, the house continuing resolution did not contain this critical funding. that means the senate won't be able to vote to help these communities rec -- communities recovery. and while we're disappointed, we're going to ctinue to fight for these resources. and with that, madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
1:47 pm
quorum call: mr. bennet: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: madam president, i see we've been joined by the chairman of the agriculture committee, senator stabenow, she just arrived, and i wanted to
1:48 pm
report to you that before you got -- i'd ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bennet: thank you. before the senator arrived, i was talking about the need to pass a farm bill and the fact that over the break, i had traveled 2,500 miles around the state of colorado, in rural parts of our state, on the east slope -- on the west slope and on the eastern plains, and nobody wanted to talk about anything except why can't we get a farm bill passed. it makes no sense to them. they know it was completely bipartisan here in the senate. they know it was the only bipartisan deficit reduction that any committee of either chamber has been able to accomplish. in the case of the -- colorado's farmers and ranchers, we're going through the worst drought that we've had in a generation. and they want to know why washington, d.c., has a completely different set of priorities than they have. there's still time for this house to pass this bill. this is the first time in modern history that a house ag
1:49 pm
committee has passed out a bill -- in this case, a bipartisan bill; not as good i don't think as ours but a step forward -- that it hasn't come to the near for a vote. floor for a vote. they cannot even get a vote. so while you're here, i just want to say thank you to the chair, and also to the ranking member of the committee if he were here, for the extraordinary bipartisan effort over the last two years that resulted in a very fine bill. but i also think it sets a model for the way we ought to be approaching our work in this chamber. so, thank you. madam president, i yield the floor. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. first, i did come to the floor to talk about the urgency of the farm bill but i also want to thank my friend and colleague from colorado, who chairs our conservation subcommittee, a tremendous piece of work on the conservation title of the farm bill. and thank you for all of that
1:50 pm
effort. and also to say that i understand what's happening in colorado. and as you and i know, we passed disaster assistance, a permanent livestock disaster assist program in our farm bill along with help for fruit growers in michigan and other places. we are totally committed in the short run to be helping those who have the riskiest business in the world which is farming and ranching in this country. but we also know that what they want is the certainty, economic certainty of a five-year farm bill. so i -- i thank my friend for all of his efforts in coming to the floor and also, madam president, just to want say for the record -- ten days until september 30. ten days until the farm bill expires and 16 million people in this country who rely on ago cut for their jobs or their
1:51 pm
livelihood, are put in limbo. that's the reality of where we are. you know, when we worked so hard together on a bipartisan basis in the senate to pass a farm bill, we did that as quickly as we could so the house would have time to be able to act, we could actually get things done in the summer before we got involved in what was happening in the fall and the end of the year and all of the other critically important issues that have to be addressed. so we passed a bill, as we all know, on a bipartisan basis in june. it took a lot of work and i continually thank everyone who was willing to hang in there with us to be able to get this done. and my ranking member, senator roberts, and our two leaders for giving us the time to be able to do this. we worked hard and we got it donees and sent it to the house and then the house committee went to work and they passed out a bipartisan bill. and never before that i can remember -- and i've been around here awhile; this is my fourth
1:52 pm
farm bill -- have we seen a situation where a bipartisan bill came out of committee and the house wouldn't take it up. wouldn't take it up in july, the beginning of august. wouldn't agree to allow us to negotiate differences over august to come up with a way to be able to get this thing done by the end of this month. and so here we are. the house is leaving today. we are either today or tomorrow or the next day leaving in the senate. and there's ten days left on the clock to provide economic certainty for 16 million men and women whose livelihoods come from agriculture. many of these men and women watch as their crops withered under the hot summer sun this year, as days and weeks went by without a drop of rain and the worst drought in 50 years. and yet the house republicans are planning to leave without finishing their work on our farm
1:53 pm
bill. it's absolutely stunning to me. the work that we did in the senate passed on a strong bipartisan vote. as i said before, the committee in the house put forward their bill on a strong bipartisan vote. and if nothing happens, in ten days, we begin to see a transition over the next few months to what's called permanent law, which goes back to the 1940's. now, it's very clear we had over 90 different groups that came in last week, we had hundreds of farmers from around the country that came in. some got off their tractor, took the time, their own expense, to fly in to say, "hey, wait a minute. you know, when there's a job to do, you've got to get it done. when the crops are ready to harvest, you don't say, 'well, i'll wait a month.' you've got to do what you've got to do when it needs to be done." and that's exactly where we are right now. you know, they just need to do it.
1:54 pm
i'm confident that the chairman and the ranking member, working in a bipartisan way, could do this in a day, madam president. i really believe that they could do this in a day. but -- and it's not as if there's a lot of other substantive work going on in the house. so just a day. if they just decided today, ok okay, we're going to just get this done before we leave, create a situation so our farmers who are planning for next year, who have to go in, sit down with their banker, are going to now how to plan, will know what tools they have available. that those who have been hit so hard, so devastated by the disasters. every single one of the counties in michigan, 83 out of 83 counties has a disaster declaration. and they're looking at us going, thank you for what the senate did; why won't the house act? and, frankly, i don't know why the house won't act. but they should, because they're
1:55 pm
leaving an awful lot of people hanging. we know that the consequences of not acting begin to unravel a set of policies that need to be in place for production agriculture, for curvation, for local food systems, energy, nutrition. and we know that if we step up and do what we worked so hard to do in the senate, we will get the added plus of $23 billion in deficit reduction -- the only thing that has passed the senate that is bipartisan deficit reduction is our farm bill. and we know that we need to make reforms. that's why we eliminated four different subsidies, moved to a risk-based, market-based system. we send crop insurance, providing tools for farmers to make sure that they can make their own planting decisions. not plant for government
1:56 pm
programs, make their own planting decisions and then have tools to be able to support th them, to be able to manage the risks that come. and we certainly know now. we've seen this year what kind of devastating risks may come for our farmers and ranchers across the country. so we've gone through so many times what's in our farm bill, i will not do that now, but except to say that we have more refor reform -- in fact, "wall street journal" said more reform in this farm bill than any in decades -- and we're proud of that -- we have more deficit reduction than we've passed in anything else. we have policies for the future. we've listened to farmers who said crop insurance is the most important thing for them in being able to manage their risk. we focus on local food systems, the ability for schools to be able to purchase locally, support their local farmers. energy opportunities for the future. bio-based manufacturing, where
1:57 pm
we truly can make things and grow things and grow the economy and grow the middle class of this country. rural development, where millions of americans live, small towns like claire, where i grew up, where the ability to fund infrastructure, water, sewer, internet, have a business loan financed, all those things that go into rural development of telemedicine, to create a quality of life and health for seniors and families. all of those things are involved in what we call the farm bill. all of those things were passed in the senate. we did what i believe the american public wants us to do, and i certainly know people in michigan want us to make tough decisions, evaluate what works and what doesn't work, cut out the duplication. we eliminated over a hundred different programs and authorizations, streamlined.
1:58 pm
that's what folks want us to do and we did it. and now it's time for the house to do their job. now, the reality is that even though it says ten days until the end of the month, the speaker's said they're going home with no action. so the real number is zero. out of time for farmers and ranchers, families, and, frankly, for all of us if we're fortunate enough to have lunch or breakfast today, we ought to care about the farm bill and the people that provide us the safest, most affordable, abundant food in the world. that's what we do. we're proud of it. and the house of representatives should be ashamed of themselves for leaving town without supporting rural america.
1:59 pm
thank you, madam president. i would yield back the time. and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
2:00 pm
quorum call:
2:01 pm
mr. levin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i ask further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired. the question occurs on the motion to proceed to h.j. res. 117. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
2:02 pm
2:03 pm
2:04 pm
2:05 pm
2:06 pm
2:07 pm
2:08 pm
2:09 pm
2:10 pm
2:11 pm
2:12 pm
2:13 pm
2:14 pm
2:15 pm
2:16 pm
2:17 pm
2:18 pm
2:19 pm
2:20 pm
2:21 pm
2:22 pm
2:23 pm
2:24 pm
2:25 pm
2:26 pm
2:27 pm
2:28 pm
2:29 pm
2:30 pm
2:31 pm
2:32 pm
2:33 pm
2:34 pm
2:35 pm
2:36 pm
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber who wish to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 67, the nays are 31. the motion to proceed is carried. viremr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: for the last several days i have been telling everyone that we need to do a couple things before we leave here. we have to do the c.r. we have to do the sportsman's package. just a second on the sportsman's package. if you flip to the dictionary and found the word "bipartisan," part of that definition would be the tester sportsman's package, because it's a republican-democratic bill. it involves hunters and fishers
2:37 pm
and other sportsmen, off-road vehicles. it is really a good piece of legislation for a group of people who are totally unrecognized here. most of the time. so we're going to do those two things before we leave here. to bring us to that result, i've filled the tree and filed cloture on the c.r. i will shortly do so. and unless we get consent, the cloture vote on the c.r. will occur sometime after midnight on friday, tomorrow, 1:00 a.m. or thereabouts. once we invoke cloture on the c.r., the 30 hours postcloture would run until about 7:30 a.m. on sunday, or give or take an hour, and we would vote then to pass the c.r. immediately thereafter, we'd invoke cloture to proceed to the sportsman's package. here's where this leaves us. we file cloture on the c.r. and
2:38 pm
the motion to proceed to the sportsman's package. that sets up two votes for sunday morning very early, in addition to tomorrow morning at 1:00 a.m. or thereabouts. we can do those votes now, finish everything today, everything today. or we can wait. the choice clear. we end up the same place sunday morning or we can get there today. i've had some come to me and say, well, we are not going to vote on the sportsman's package. well, yes, they are. we have that set up, a clear path. now, the problem with the rest of the stuff, mr. president, is not our -- our problem. it's the republicans' problem. i worked out something in good faith with rand paul. he in good faith worked something out with me. i'm not here to be a cheerleader for rand paul. i'm just telling you what happened. now, if the republicans don't want to volt on that i think it
2:39 pm
would be too bad -- to vote on that, i think it would be too bad, because rand paul, whether you agree with what he wants to do or not, he and i, i repeat, in good faith, worked something out. we have a umin o number of senas coming here, the senior senator from arizona, wh to name one, wo said they need more time i have to problem with that. when he said yesterday that he wanted more tiernl time, i saidt picked the hour because senator paul has been here talking about this for weeks and weeks. he said, i talked a lot about this. 15 minutes will be enough for me. i was being very generous and said, an hour rather than is a minutes. so if the senior senator from arizona wants more time, i don't care. i really don't caimple care. also, mr. president, i've had some conversation with lindsey
2:40 pm
graham, he and senator lieberman -- the two have been pushing very hard on a containment resolution that deals with iron. it is another -- with iran. it is another bipartisan piece of legislation. 80 senators are cosponsors of it. the other 20 i'll bet like it also. if not, a majority of the 20 do. so it's overwhelmingly something we need to do. i think it would be good an in t we are trying to work out things in iraq, which are not -- not really stable at this time, at least the way we would want it to be. it would be nice if america, our country, had an ambassador to go to iraq. that's been held up. now, with all the problems we see with pakistan, i think it would be a good idea that we had an american ambassador to pakistan. that's been held up for a long time. and, say this again to his
2:41 pm
credit, senator paul said, have a vote on the containment resolution. have a vote on the two ambassadors. he's not standing in the way of that. so, mr. president, in short, momentarily i'm going to file cloture and procedurally block any other amendments from coming on to the continuing resolution. we'll vote on that whenever the republicans want, but no later than saturday morning at a time that we'll decide. and when i say "we decide," it's just a statutory clock. that's when it runs out. following that, we'll have a vote on final passage of the c.r., and a motion to proceed to tester. that's what we have to complete. for people to try to get other stuff here, it's just unfair. i have seen newspaper accounts of republican senators who love the tester legislation. i didn't ask them.
2:42 pm
i tread in the paper. they think it is good. because it is good. it's bipartisan. and it does something we've been trying to do here for a long time. that is, a lot of these little bills that have been held up, hundreds of them, but tester and the people that support this legislation, they have joined together 20 of these into this one piece of legislation. really, the right thing to do. and so i hope that we can get this done. remember, the choice, i repeat for the third time, is very clear: we can complete everything tonight quickly, or we can come back here tuesday morning in the middle of the night sometime. and early sunday morning, and we'll be very same pleat place. those votes are going to take place. it is up to the republicans what they want to do with the paul unanimous consent request that they objected to on yesterday. mr. president, i have an amendment at the desk and it relates to the h.j. res. 117.
2:43 pm
the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: house joint resolution 117, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes an amendment numbered 2844 to house joint resolution 117. mr. reid: on that i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment. the presiding officer: the yeas and nays are order. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment 2845 to amendment 2844. scried i have a cloture motion that i would ask the clerk to report with the permission of the chair. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on h.j.
2:44 pm
res. 117, the joint resolution making appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and for other purposes, signed by 18 senators as follows: mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent, mr. president, the reading of the nails b names bed in this instance. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i have a motion to commit the joint resolution with instructions. that has also been filed at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. reid notifies commit the joint resolution h.j. res. 11 to the committee a eption pros with instructions to report back forthwith the following instructions: amendment number 2486. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have an amendment to the instructions. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes an amendment numbered 2847, to the instructions of the motion to commit. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? therthere appears to be.
2:45 pm
the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. reid proposes an amendment numbered 2848 to amendment number 2847. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 504, s. 3525. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: mr. reid moves to proceed to the consideration of calendar number 504, s. 3525. mr. reid: i have a cloture at the desk. officer the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 504, s. 3525, a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting and for other purposes. signinged by 17 senators as follows: mr. reid: i -- i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory -- first of all, i ask consent that the names not be read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous
2:46 pm
consent that the mandatory quorum required under rule 2 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, i now suggest the absence of a quorum -- i'm sorry. my friend from wisconsin seeks to be recognized. i have one more thing i need to do. mr. president, the president pro tempore of the senate is on the floor. he seeks recognition. the presiding officer: the president pro tempore. the senator from hawaii is recognized. mr. inouye: mr. president, today as we near the end of the current fiscal year, the senate is considering house joint resolution 117, a continuing resolution to ensure that the federal government will remain functioning through march of next year in the absence of
2:47 pm
regular appropriations. last thursday, the house passed this measure by a vote of 329- 329-91. this bill provides total discretionary spending of $1,047,000,000,000. this is the funding level the senate appropriations committee recommended on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 27-2, and the level agreed to last year in the budget control act. but, mr. president, this bill is $19 billion more than was approved by the house in the paul ryan budget, and so i am encouraged that the house has finally repudiated its own budget. i'm only sorry that it has taken them this long to come to their senses. one of the primary reasons congress now faces this c.r. is
2:48 pm
that the house broke this agreement on spending. and i want my colleagues to know i support this measure even though it is far from perfect. in fact, i would say that it is not a good bill, but passing it is much better than allowing the government to shut down over a lack of funding. mr. president, continuing resolutions are not new. as some of you are aware, i have served in this senate for 49 years and nine months, and during my tenure, this congress has only completed its work and enacted all of its spending bills without needing a continuing resolution on only three occasions in 49 years,
2:49 pm
three times. and this is not a record that we should be proud of. but it demonstrates how difficult it is to agree on funding for each of the thousands of federal programs that the appropriations committee reviews annually. however, never before in history has the congress passed a stop-gap resolution in september to fund the entire government for half the coming fiscal year. it is unfortunate that it has come to this. seven months ago, as we began this legislative session, mr. president, the mood was quite different. there was broad support for acting on appropriations bills. several members on both sides of the aisle came to the floor to speak about restoring regular
2:50 pm
order and passing all 12 appropriations bills. both the republican and democratic leaders spoke in favor of considering all our bills. the appropriations committee was urged to conduct a budget review as quickly as possible and report bills to the senate for consideration. and our subcommittees, mr. president, embraced this challenge. we shortened our hearing schedule, conducted thousands of meetings with executive branch officials and the public and began to mark up bills shortly after receiving our allocation in the budget committee. in most years, mr. president, the senate appropriations committee begins its markups in june. this year the secrete reported its first two bills in april and
2:51 pm
had nine bills ready for floor consideration by the end of june. by july, the committee had reported out 11 bills, nine of which were recommended with strong bipartisan votes, and by that i mean 30-0 or 29-1. despite the work of the committee, none of those bills have been considered by the senate. the decision by the house to break faith with the senate and the administration on funding levels and the inclusion of outrageous legislative policy riders in their bills drained the enthusiasm for acting on those measures. but the real culprit thwarting the efforts of the committee was a handful of my colleagues who insisted on delaying the
2:52 pm
business of the senate. mr. president, we have heard our distinguished majority leader cite the statistics. in 382 instances in the past six years, he has been forced to file cloture to break filibusters. it is becoming very clear filibusters are crippling the senate. this year, this senate has been in session for 105 days. by my count, on 31 of those days, the senate has done nothing but consider motions to proceed as we are doing at this moment or to invoke cloture. that means nearly 30% of the senate's time this year has been completely wasted. moreover, the senate has only
2:53 pm
voted on amendments and legislation on 21 of those days that we were in session. on 21 out of 105 days, we actually legislated and worked. for the rest of the time, it was spent through a backlog of nominations or on breaking filibusters. mr. president, i have never experienced anything like this in my many years in the senate. it is true that for some time the use of filibusters has been increasing, but this year it has truly exploded. mr. president, i do not oppose filibusters. i believe the filibuster is one of the most critical tools we senators have to protect the rights of our constituents. this is especially true for small states like hawaii which
2:54 pm
are at a disadvantage in the house of representatives compared to states with very large delegations. in fact, mr. president, the first speech i delivered in the senate was a defense of the filibuster. i supported the filibuster. and times were different then. for example, i waited until april of that year before speaking on the senate floor, and i spoke on the filibuster. when i delivered my maiden speech, legendary senators like everett dirksen, richard russell, make mansfield and john stennis were all in attendance. truly, mr. president, times have changed, but the most striking difference between then and now is that a filibuster was used
2:55 pm
very rarely in those early days, and only for matters of extreme importance for members and their states. mr. president, i did not agree with these who used the filibuster in the 1960's to try to stop civil rights legislation. i disagreed with those who would use the filibuster against health care reform in 2010. but in both cases, i defended the right to do so. but this year, mr. president, the senate has been held up, delayed and rendered ineffective for at least 30% of its time by the abuse of the filibuster. these filibusters were not to highlight important policy differences nor were they to protect a senator's
2:56 pm
constituents. instead, in virtually every case , to simply thwart the ability of the senate function. mr. president, today is a sad day. the senate is forced to take up a six-month continuing resolution instead of acting upon regular appropriations bills. the bipartisan zeal for regular order last spring has been crushed by the dilatory tactics of a few members that have wasted the senate's time. at some point, this body needs to alter either its behavior or its rules. mr. president, in addition to discretionary funding, this resolution also provides $99 billion for overseas contingencies as requested in
2:57 pm
the coming year. further, it continues funding at current levels to pay for disasters under fema and to fight fraud, waste and abuse in social security programs. each of these is consistent with the authorities included in the budget control act. in addition, the bill before the senate provides only the bare minimum that is necessary to maintain the functions of our federal government. the administration sought approximately 78 proposals to ensure that critical programs and authorities could be continued for the next six months. this bill includes only about half of them because the house was unwilling to allow more. provisions deemed essential by
2:58 pm
the secretary of defense to preserve authorities for ongoing programs in support of our efforts in afghanistan and iraq are not in this measure. special provisions to allow department of defense to award contracts for critical programs were denied. additional funding to activate new federal prisons that currently sit empty was not included. this bill denies necessary authorities for dozens of programs. in some cases, the administration will find cumbersome workarounds. for others, it will have to slow down work on ongoing programs, and this, mr. president, increases cost and brings about inefficiency. and many programs will simply
2:59 pm
have to seize activity and await additional action on appropriations bills. we urge the house to include many of the provisions requested by the administration, but they refused. the bill would have been far better and more of the requirements met. yet, i would point out that the house has not played favorites. no department was granted the authorities it required. the defense department has not been singled out for special help by house republicans. if anything, it has been treated more harshly than many of the agencies. and so, mr. president, i support this bill because opposing it is not a responsible alternative. no one should be interested in
3:00 pm
delaying or defeating this bill. we simply cannot afford to shut down government operations. so, madam president, i urge my colleagues to join me in voting for this bill which will preserve our government. it is lean, it is stripped down, but it contains the funding and minimum authorities essential to ensure that the services provided for all americans can be continued over the coming months. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: madam president, this continuing resolution results from an agreement reached between the president and the congressional leadership for a six-month clean c.r. that adheres to the fiscal year 2013 spending levels set out in the budget control act.
3:01 pm
the continuing resolution does not make reductions in programs for which the president requested less money in fiscal 2013, nor does it make cuts that have been proposed by the congress. neither does a resolution increase funding for programs that congress or the administration seem to be high priorities, with a few exceptions. the continuing resolution does not contain any new oversight provisions to guide agencies, nor does it include any new riders to limit the activities of the executive branch. in short, it pult it puts the pf government that we call "discretionary" on automatic pilot. enactment of this resolution will, for the time being, avoid a disruptive government shutdown fight. the resolution represents a lost opportunity. we've lost the opportunity to
3:02 pm
provide agencies with at least some certainty about funding for this fiscal year. we've lost the opportunity to make informed judgments about which programs are effective and deserving of additional resources and which programs should be reformed or terminat terminated. contracts will not be led in a timely and efficient manner and acquisition and construction costs will rise with delay. the morale of the federal work service -- work force will suffer. perhaps most importantly, we have lost a chance to supplant the looming sequester. elections have consequences, madam president, as they most certainly should, but elections should not have the consequence of rendering congress unwilling or incapable of performing its most fundamental duties in the times leading up to those
3:03 pm
elections. in my view, the thoughtful and dutiful appropriation of funds for our national defense and other government operations is such a fundamental duty. i deeply regret that the majority leader chose not to call up a single appropriations bill. chairman inouye has shown impressive leadership of our committee in reporting 11 of the 12 bills out of our committee. most were reported on a broad bipartisan basis. the chairman and ranking members of the subcommittees have put a lot of time and thought into the bills. the staffs have worked very hard producing this legislation. the other body has also produced a bill. it has passed seven of the appropriations bills in the other body and i suspect would have passed the others had there
3:04 pm
been any sign of movement in the senate. we can only speculate as to why none of the bills have been considered here in the senate. other issues were deemed more pressing and expedient for one reason or another. perhaps votes on amendments to spending bills were deemed to be politically perilous. whatever the reasons. i ask unanimous consent, madam chairman -- madam president, that the balance of my remarks be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inouye: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. inouye: i believe the record should show how much we appreciate the work of the distinguished senator from mississippi, the vice chairman of the committee, thad cochran. we have demonstrated to our colleagues that bipartisanship works in this senate. all they have to do is watch us operate. i yield the floor.
3:05 pm
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. kohl: madam president, i rise today with great sadness to inform the senate that jennifer greene, a valued member of my staff and a cherished member of the senate family, passed away last weekend after a brief illness. it is a comfort to all who knew jennifer that she spent her last hours in a room filled with the family she cherished so deeply. but no room on earth would have been large enough to hold all those who mourn her, who have been touched and made better by jennifer's beautiful smile, big heart, and easy friendship. she is sorely missed in my office, throughout the senate and even across the country. jennifer worked in my office for the past 14 years but she served the senate for nearly a quarter century, starting with the sergeant of arms when she was just 20 years old.
3:06 pm
jennifer was often the first face visitors to my office would see. she did more than just arrange capitol tours or point them to the nearest d.c. attraction. she worked out a botched hotel reservation, found a glass of water to soothe an overheated toddler, listened to worries about a failing farm, a sick grandparent or a threatened job. many of my constituents arrive in the office a little overwhelmed by washington, perhaps a little angry at congress. but after meeting jennifer, they left knowing they had a friend here. jennifer put a human, caring face on the senate. a service to this institution that affected the way hundreds and probably thousands of wisconsinites viewed their government. of course, no one, not visitor or staff, could leave the office without an update on jennifer's family, especially her beloved mother, beatrice spicer, her father, floyd spicer, her
3:07 pm
brothers and sisters and her son, lorenzo greene. she was so proud of this fine young man, as we all are. though jennifer -- through jennifer, we got to watch a mischievous little boy grow to a talented and strong man, serving our country as a member of the u.s. coast guard. she made sure everyone got a good look at the handsome and big framed picture she kept in her cubicle of lorenzo in uniform. jennifer made us all feel like we were part of her wonderful family. she was always the first to ask to see the picture of a new baby, quick to drive a colleague to the doctor, or listen to a staffer who lost a parent, ready to swap a recipe or dissect the redskins' latest performance. and that wasn't just my experience and that of my staff. jennifer knew just about everyone who works on the hill. we've had a steady stream of visitors stopping by the office to share memories and express their condolences.
3:08 pm
thank you all for the comfort that has brought our staff. jennifer's funeral will be held in her hometown of princeton, west virginia, this saturday. i urge anyone who wants to attend or to leave a message for the family through the funeral home to contact my office for details. we will also be organizing a memorial service for jennifer here in the senate in the coming weeks and we will make sure all offices get plenty of notice so that her many friends can be there. everywhere you look in the capitol, there are plaques, pictures and statues commemorating the men and women who built this great instituti institution. but these, like all things physical, oftentimes fade or are forgotten. jennifer touched the heart of the senate, the people who work here and the people who visit. hers is a legacy and a contribution that time cannot erase. for everyone in my office and for the entire senate, i offer my deepest condolences to jennifer's dear family.
3:09 pm
i hope you can find comfort in knowing of all the good she did and the joy she brought in her time here. we will all miss her profoundly and hold her in our hearts forever. i ask unanimous consent to insert a copy of jennifer's obituary in the record. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: madam president, i rise today to honor my friend, brian mccoy, a departing member of my staff. brian mccoy is, in fact, much more than just a member of my staff. he's been the energy behind many of my legislative goals and he's also a close friend. while no tribute of words could ever match the debt of gratitude that he truly deserves, i'd like to pay tribute in the official records of congress to someone who fought to make a difference both for the state of utah and for our country. c.s. lewis said that friendship
3:10 pm
is borne at that moment when one person says to another, "what? you, too? i thought i was the only one." my friendship with ryan mccoy, my former legislative director, was borne in that very way described by c.s. lewis. we met back in 2009 when i was speaking to a group of utahans about a topic near and dear to my heart, article 1, section 8, of the constitution. i spoke of my passion for the constitution and for the principles of limited government embodied therein. and my message apparently struck something of a cord with ryan, who had recently taken a greater interest in finding ways to restore those same principles. we spent several hours after the speech talking about what the constitution meant to both of us. i had not always thought about running for office but when ryan suddenly prepared a powerpoint presentation for me about the problems that we face as a country and about the ways in which he and i, working
3:11 pm
together, could make a difference, i started thinking much more seriously about it. when ryan and i discussed later his leadership role in my offi office, his wife kara jokingly told him that he had no idea what he was doing. but the truth is that we needed to know only one thing -- just one thing -- that we could make a difference. in the end, i believe that was our greatest asset. ryan and i shared a vision for change in washington. we knew it would not come easily but it had to come from people who wanted to make a difference. it had to come from people who had lived in difficult economic circumstances and felt the need for change as it tugged at their own pocketbooks and at their own individual freedoms being eroded by an ever-expanding government. at a meeting a few months after we met, ryan spoke of the common goals we shared. he said that our movement would
3:12 pm
be based on a clear, unequivocal message, that it was time to change course for our country. ryan and i shared this vision and ryan knew that others would catch on to it. in nearly two years while he served as my legislative director, he worked hard, he worked tirelessly, he worked constantly to keep us focused on these legislative goals and to keep us true to our principles. it's safe to say that i would not be here today without the hard work and dedication of ryan mccoy. once here, i would never have been able to do many of the things that i have done without ryan mccoy's expert assistance. ryan will be remembered in my office as a respected leader and as a man who truly loves his country. too often in the hustle and bustle of washington, we tend to take our staff members for granted. it's when they leave that we truly see the impact that they've had and the wide breadth
3:13 pm
of the influence they had while they were here. and as much as we will miss ry ryan, we will also miss his wife kara and her shared enthusiasm every bit as much. i thank kara. he and -- she and ryan have become an important part of my life, an important part of my family and an important part of my office family. in addition to thanking kara, i also want to thank ryan and kara's children connor, tate, gage and mccall, for loaning their dad to me for these few years. kara once told me that during a particularly busy time in the senate, one of their children -- i don't remember which one -- actually came to her and asked her where their dad had gone and whether or when he might be returning. i appreciate their sacrifice and i hope that they will grow up knowing that their father is a true hero of mine and always will be, one who works
3:14 pm
tirelessly for his country and for their future. i wish them the best back in utah. and on behalf of myself, sharon, and my entire staff, i extend my love and sincere appreciation to each of them. thank you, madam president. mr. franken: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, madam president. two enormous challenges will await us when we return from recess. our economy is still not yet fully recovered from a devastating recession, and the prospects for our middle class and for those aspiring to be in the middle class or to get back into the middle class remain uncertain. meanwhile, our budget remains sorely out of balance and our
3:15 pm
long-term debt crisis is putting our nation's fiscal future at risk. these two challenges are, of course, linked. we can't hope to solve our long-term debt problem unless we get our economy growing again, and we can't hope to rebuild our prosperity unless we resolve our budget problems. so we will have big decisions to make when we come back, but in the meantime, the american people will be wrestling with the same issues. what should we do to grow our economy and reduce our debt? what are the right investments to make? how should we pay for them? what sacrifices must be made in the name of fiscal responsibility, and who is going to make them? that's -- that's the debate our nation will have over the next six weeks.
3:16 pm
those are the questions we must be prepared to answer when we return. so before i go home to minnesota to share my thoughts with my constituents, i wanted to take a few moments to share -- share them with my colleagues. my view of we should do in response to these challenges is based upon what we have done in response to similar challenges in the past. we are not the first congress or the first generation to struggle with these issues. at the end of 2011, our national debt had reached 100% of our gross domestic product. that is frightening. but after world war ii, our debt was 121% of g.d.p. now, to be fair, we had something to show for it, we
3:17 pm
had won world war ii and the world was a very different place in 1945 and it is today. but the point is that we were tested. and how did we respond? well, we invested in things that we believed would grow the economy. we invested in education, things like the g.i. bill, which helped my mother-in-law, widowed at age 29, go to college. and in pell grants, which helped my wife, frannie, and her three sisters, go to college. we invested in infrastructure. we built 40,000 miles of highways in the 1950's. we invested in innovation and we won the space race which in turn led to the creation of whole new -- whole new industries like personal computers and
3:18 pm
telecommunications. those investments paid off, and our economy experienced three decades of incredible growth. growth that flowed to the top, to the middle, and to the bottom. between 1947 and 1977, wages for the top fifth, the top fifth of workers grew by 99%. and wages for those in the bottom fifth, those rose by 116%. i know that's hard to believe. the wages of the bottom fifth grew more than those of the top fifth. but really that happened. and even though we remained a nation in which many kids, like my wife, frannie, grew up in poverty, we had enough to invest in a strong safety net
3:19 pm
that helped those kids like frannie and her sisters and her brother work their way into the middle class. we bounced back from world war ii to build an economy with a middle class that was strong, secure, and accessible to almost everyone. and thanks in large part to the growth generated by that thriving middle class, we were able to lower our national debt to about 31% by 1981. so 121% at the end of world war ii, to 1981, to about 31%. since then, our economy has had some good times and some bad times. we've raised taxes and we have
3:20 pm
lowered taxes. we've had surpluses and we've had deficits. and as this chart shows, our debt relative to g.d.p. has gone up and down. we've seen the results of a variety of approaches to the issues that we face today. now, in the 1980 election, ronald reagan was elected on a platform that appealed to concerns that the government taxed too much and spent too much, and his approach was later called starving the beast. here's how -- here's how he explained it. this is a quote. this is reagan. president reagan. "there are always those who told us that taxes couldn't be cut until spending was reduced. well, you know, we can lecture our children about extravagance until we run out of voice and
3:21 pm
breath, or we can cure their extravagance by simply reducing their allowance." cutting taxes, cutting revenue to the government. when reagan took office, he fulfilled his campaign promise and signed into law a huge tax cut, and on cue we began to amass enormous deficits. almost immediately. in fact, president reagan's budget director at the time, david stockman, has explained that 1981 was when the era of large permanent deficits began. the deficits were so bad in his first year, in 1981, that president reagan had to increase taxes in 1982 and again in 1983. in fact, he ended up raising taxes 11 times.
3:22 pm
not because ronald reagan was a socialist. i really don't think so. but rather, because he couldn't ignore the arithmetic. still, that first tax cut was so big that over the course of his presidency, over the course of his presidency our national debt nearly tripled. it continued to grow rapidly during the administration of george h.w. bush, and then he handed it off to president clinton. and when he hand -- what he handed off was at that point the largest deficit in the history of our country. in president clinton's 1993 deficit reduction package, he added two new tax rates,
3:23 pm
marginal tax rates, at the top end. 36% for income above $180,000, 39.6% for income above $250,000. republicans objected rather vehemently, arguing that asking the top 2% to pay a little more would send the economy into a recession, which, of course, would be detrimental to the goal of reducing the deficit. the bill passed without a single republican vote in either house. but the republicans' dire predictions turned out to be wrong. extremely wrong. between 1993 and 2001, this country experienced an unprecedented expansion of our
3:24 pm
economy. we created 22.7 million net new jobs. we decreased the number of americans in poverty to record lows. we increased the median household incomes and we created more millionaires than we ever had before. and not only did president clinton's deficit reduction plan reduce the deficit, it eliminated the deficit. president clinton was able to hand off to president george w. bush a record surplus, and, in fact, in january of 2001, we were on track to completely pay off our national debt by the year 2011. however, as we know, president
3:25 pm
bush chose a different course. now, whether or not you agree with the two wars we entered into during his administration, the new entitlement program that we created or the two tax cuts we passed, the fact of the matter is that we didn't pay for any of those things. they all went on our national credit card. while the two tax cuts tilted towards those at the top did help some at the top do extremely well during the bush administration, it's hard to say the stuff we created created the kind of durable, broad-based prosperity in the 1990's or we built in the 30 years after world war ii, for that matter.
3:26 pm
it would be hard to say because when president obama took office from president bush, the economy was ham rajing jobs at the rate -- hemorrhaging in jobs at the rate of over 800,000 a month. and when the bill came for the bush policies we were staring at a projected $1.1 trillion deficit for 2009. that was the projected deficit that president bush left for president obama. so far i've talked about president reagan and his approach of cutting revenue in order to force the government to cut spending. we saw what happened. we couldn't or didn't cut enough spending to keep our budget in balance. and we had huge deficits even
3:27 pm
when reagan tried to backtrack and raise more revenue. i've talked about president clinton and his approach of raising taxes on the top 2% in order to bring the budget into balance, and we saw what happened. the economy grew. and we generated a record surplus. i've talked about president bush and his approach of cutting taxes and incurring large expenses without worrying about the ramifications on the deficit and we saw what happened, deficits ballooned, and when the economy crashed, it crashed hard. so what about president obama? what has his approach been? if you ask some people, including, unfortunately, many in this chamber, they say president obama's approach was to go on a massive spending
3:28 pm
spree. well, it's just not true. over his four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annual increase of 0.4%. you can hash these figures out in different ways but here's a chart that comes from market watch, a publication of dow jones which also owns "the wall street journal." and that is obama's increase in spending from 2010, to 2013. this is reagan from 2008 to 1985. these are numbers from the nonpartisan congressional budget office and from the office of office of management and budget and you can see that the growth
3:29 pm
of federal spending is lower than it was under any of the presidents that i talked about. indeed, the article that ran with this chart concludes that the growth of federal spending under president obama is the lowest it's been since the eisenhower administration during the winddown from the korean war. remember that besides a $1.1 trillion deficit, president obama inherited an economy that in the month he took office lost over 800,000 jobs. that was january. the next month, february of 2009, we lost about 700,000
3:30 pm
jobs. but that's also the month in which we passed the recovery act. by the way, when the recovery act was passed in february of 2009, the unemployment rate was already above 8%. the recovery act also known as the stimulus, is what people usually point to when pressed to explain why they think president obama has increased spending, but the truth is more than a third of the recovery act was tax cuts. the stimulus cut taxes from 95% of american families. another third was fiscal aid to the states which were feeling the same budget crunch as the federal government, but in most cases didn't have the option of running a deficit in tough
3:31 pm
years. without the recovery act, imagine how many more teachers and firefighters and police officers would have had to have been laid off, and imagine what that would have meant to our economy, never mind what it would have meant to our communities. but the theurtd that gets the most -- but the third that gets the most attention was the third that went towards creating jobs. now did it work? well, there are a few ways to answer that question, but the answer is the same every time: yes. first we could look at our chart. we can see that once the recovery act began to implemented, that we started losing less jobs and then we started creating jobs. we've had 30 months, 30 straight months of jobs in the private
3:32 pm
sector of job growth. second, you can ask economists. most reputable economists including -- mr. reid: would my friend yield? mr. franken: certainly. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president? madam president, i'm so sorry. we have no more votes today. no more votes today. it's obvious to me what's going on. i've been to a few of these rodeos. it is obvious there is a big stall taking place. one of the senators who doesn't want to debate tonight won't be in debate. while he can't use the senate as an excuse, there will be no more votes today. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you. that is too bad. i was going over really what happened, viewing what happened once the stimulus package had been passed in february, when
3:33 pm
unemployment was over 8%. and you can see as it started taking effect that we lost less and less jobs and then since have had 30 straight months of private-sector job growth. and i said we could ask economists. most reputable economists, including those at the nonpartisan congressional budget office agree the act saved up to 3.5 million jobs. in the words of mark zandi, senator john mccain's economic advisor in the 2008 presidential campaign, the federal policy response to the financial crisis, including the stimulus -- quote -- "probably averted what could have been called
3:34 pm
depression, the great depression 2.0. but we don't have to take mark zandi's words for it. we don't have to take the words of all the other reputable economists. we don't even have to take the congressional budget office's word for it, although we here in congress, the c.b.o. sort of exists for us to take their word for it. but we can just ask jamie cecil and sheila. this is jamie working on the duluth lift bridge a couple years back. this is cecil. he's working on a highway extension project. let's give cecil his due. cecil is working on a highway
3:35 pm
extension project in brooklyn park in suburban twin cities. then we have sheila. this is her in front of her bobcat working on the night shift on an i-94 improvement project. these are people that are put back to work by the stimulus despite claims by some that the only jobs created by the stimulus went to government bureaucrats, you'll notice that jamie, cecil and sheila are not in fact government bureaucrats. thankfully, we do not let government bureaucrats operate heavy machinery. so what can we say about president obama's approach so far? well, he slowed the growth of federal spending to its lowest level since eisenhower.
3:36 pm
he's cut taxes not just in the stimulus package, but many times during his first term to the tune of more than $850 billion. and when the economy was at its low point, he made investments that put people back to work in the short term and prevented things from getting even worse. now there was another road that we could have taken. that approach would have involved not just cutting spending but gutting the government. it definitely would have involved making investments to put people back to work. we'll never know whether that approach known as austerity would have gotten us results like the one reflected on the previous chart, but we do know what happened in countries where they tried this alternate approach. this is european countries that
3:37 pm
went the austerity route. this is g.d.p. from 2008 to 2012. this would be where president obama became president. and europe -- and we all were seeing a global meltdown. this is countries that did austerity. europe. this is the united states. the evidence tells us that our way works. president obama's way worked and theirs did not. of course while we're better off than we were four years ago and better off than we would be if we had tried austerity instead of president obama's approach,
3:38 pm
which if you look at the growth of spending, pretty close to austerity, but we're obviously still not where we want to be either in terms of our economy or in terms of our deficit. so what's the right way going forward? first let's talk about deficit reduction. it's clear to me that any solution that does not include both increased revenue and decreased spending simply isn't going to work. the hole's too big for us to tax our way out or to cut our way out. we have to do betting. but the whole is in fact -- we have to do both. but the hole is in fact so big that we can't even just get out of it just by taxing and cutting. we have to grow our way out too. that's why i think we need to invest in education and in
3:39 pm
infrastructure and in innovation that means early childhood education, which has a return of investment in every study, quality early childhood education, of $16 for every $1 spent. and in workforce training. and in roads and bridges. and rural broadband and clean energy and health care technology. i don't think that only the government can create jobs. i know that. but i know that only the government can make those critical investments that will help the private sector create jobs. and i know it works when we do. it worked after world war ii. it worked under president clinton t. worked in the recovery act.
3:40 pm
those investments, however, cost money, and we won't be able to afford them unless we reduce our deficits. i think people who talk about cutting spending should say what spending they want to cut. i want to cut spending, so let me tell you what spending i want to cut. i want to cut the billions in subsidies that we give to oil companies that simply don't need them. i want to let medicare negotiate for pharmaceuticals under part-d, just like the v.a. does. because prohibiting medicare from doing so amounts to a subsidy for pharmaceutical companies, one that, again, they don't need. and i want to make cuts in our military budget because as the
3:41 pm
comprehensive defense review begun under defense secretary gates and completed under secretary panetta found, we can make hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to the defense budget without compromising our fundamental security and military interests. of course we can't only cut the things we think are easy calls to cut. we're going to have to cut some things that we don't want to cut. and speaking personally, i've already had to vote for some of those hard cuts, and it was not fun. but there simply aren't enough cuts to make, so it's clear to me that if we are going to protect our most vulnerable americans -- our children, the sick, the disabled, our seniors -- and make the investments that will grow our middle class and our economy, we are going to have to raise
3:42 pm
revenue. and like president reagan, but unlike some of today's republicans, i know that you don't raise revenue by cutting taxes. that's why i support restoring the bush tax cuts for the first $250,000 of income. but after that allowing the top marginal rate to go back to where it was under president clinton. i know that just like they did in 1993, people will argue that doing so will hurt the economy. but i'm equally confident that just like they were in 1993, they will be wrong. i know that we all come to the debate about our nation's challenges with different philosophies and different convictions, and i respect that
3:43 pm
many of my colleagues feel they would be betraying their own political core by asking the well ni to pay a little -- the wealthy to pay a little more when investing taxpayer dollars in job creation. i didn't feel great about all the cuts i've had to vote for over the last couple of years either. but i don't think we're going to get anywhere if we're so invested in following our own ideologies that we refuse to acknowledge the lessons of where we have been or the truth about where we are and where we are headed. we're not going to get anywhere if we can't agree that, yes, the government does have a role to play in helping the private sector create jobs. and, no, you won't cut the
3:44 pm
deficit by cutting taxes. and, yes, we're going to have to raise both revenues, raise revenues and reduce spending if we want to get a balanced budget. and, no, asking the wealthy to pay a little more won't drive us back into a recession. we've debated these issues a lot this year, and we haven't resolved the argument. now we're going home, and it's the american people's time -- it's the american people who get to have their say. so i hope that over the next six weeks we leave them in a debate worthy of the challenges we face, a debate rooted in the facts and mindful of our history. and i hope that when we come back, we're ready to have that
3:45 pm
kind of worthy debate ourselves and then make the tough calls just as our constituents will in november. i wish my colleagues well over the recess, and i look forward to getting back to our important work when we return. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: madam president, i see my friend, the majority leader, on the floor. i was a little surprised that he announced no more votes a little while ago. we're prepared to finish business today. in fact, i intend to offer shortly the unanimous consent agreement that the majority leader himself was shopping last night. our side of the aisle is prepared to finish up the business for this particular pre-election session.
3:46 pm
so with that in mind, i ask unanimous consent that at 5:00 p.m. today, the senate proceed to the consideration of s. 3576, senator paul's bill regarding foreign aid, that there be up to two hours of debate equally divided between senators paul and kerry or their designees, that upon the use or yielding back of that time, the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill; that the vote on passage be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold; that if the bill does not achieve 60 affirmative votes, it be considered as having been read twice, placed on the calendar; that following the vote on passage of that legislation, s. 3576, the senate proceed to consideration of calendar number 418, s.j. res. 41, that there be up to 60 minutes of debate equally divided between senators graham and senator paul or their designees; that upon the use or
3:47 pm
yielding back of that tiernlg the senate proceed to vote on passage of the joint resolution; that if the joint resolution is not passed, it be returned to the calendar; that following the vote on the joint resolution, the senate resume consideration of h.j. res. 117, the continuing resolution; that the motion to proceed be agreed to, there be up to 30 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with senator coburn control 15 minutes phs republican time prior to vote on passage. that the vote be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold. that no amendments, motions, or points of order be in order in consideration of these measures. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: reserving the right to object, madam president, we've had the stall here for
3:48 pm
several days now. i wanted to make sure that one of the senators who wanted to go a debate would be able do that tonight. so he can go now, because i aons nod half-hour ago, plenty of time to do the debate. madam president, as i've indicated before, we're anxious to finish the business that we have to do this work period. i'm happy to vote on the paul amendment. i've said that. i'm the one that arranged it so it's possible to vote onment that i have no regret as to having done that. i'm happy to vote on the containment resolution, something that has 80 or more sponsors. i'm happy to have all these votes cloosvotes -- a vote -- ie can do the debate tonight -- on the containment resolution and
3:49 pm
the paul amendment. but, madam president, understand this, we are not separating the vote on the c.r. and a piece of legislation that groups around this country having trying to get done for years, been held up here. as i've said before, everything shouldn't be a fight here. the senator from montana, senator tester, has assembled a broad package of bipartisan legislation that has, i repeat, wide-ranging support from republicans. they're noted publicly in publications here saying they support it they'll vote for it. it has the support of sportsmen throughout this country. getting to vote on this bill should not have to be a big fight. this sort of thing that we ought to be simply able to vote on and we're going to do that but we're not going to separate the two. we're going to have a vote on the c.r. immediately thereafter we'll have a vote on the motion to proceed to the sport sportsmen'.
3:50 pm
now, we can have all this stuff, we can get the debate out of the way tonight, we can voight tomorrow. if not, we're going to vote tomorrow after midnight. that will take care of one vote. the next one will be sometime sunday morning. unless we can work something out where -- we're not having these votes today. everyone should understand. we're not going to do thacks for the reasons i've already indicated. so if we want do this stuff, we can do it early in the morning, that's fine with me, or we can wait until tomorrow night after midnight and then come in sunday morning. so i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. mcconnell: just so everybody in the senate will understand, both democrats and republicans, i just offered the consent the majority leader himself was trying to get last night. senate republicans are prepared to finish the continuing resolution today, prepared to vote on the rand paul proposal today, prepared to vote on the lindsey graham proposal today. that was accept baling to the
3:51 pm
majority leader. it is not acceptable to him today. so obviously something changed over on that side of the aisle. so i just want everybody to understand that i'm -- i'm prepared, and all the members of my conference are prepared, to finish up the business of the senate that was the before the senate at the suggestion of the majority leader as recently as last night. mr. reid: while we're educating senators, i would like to add a little to that. we're willing to vote on all these things. we'll do it tomorrow, not today. we don't want that -- we want the debate to go forward. we're in a very important senate race across the country. we'll vote tomorrow morning or do tomorrow night after midnight. because we're not going to separate the sportsmen from the rest of the stuff, for obvious reasons. mr. mcconnell: i would only add that that's a new development, to hear what the majority leader is saying. i yield the floor. mr. reid: madam president,
3:52 pm
there has been no new development. everyone -- everyone, republican staff, democratic staff, all my caucus, we've known for a long time that we're going to have a vote on the sportsmen'men's pac. this is no new development. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid:. mr. reid: i ask consent that the call of the quorum be teetered. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: we've h. we have a very important matter at 4:00 today. the secretary of state is coming here to address all of us as to what's going on in the middle east and around the world. there will be intelligence officers there and a lot of other people. so i ask unanimous consent the senate recess from 4:00 to 5:00 today to accommodate this very important senators-only briefing. the presiding officer: is there an objection?
3:53 pm
mr. reid: madam president, it is my understanding that we have a couple senators who would like to speak before that. senator collins, how much time does she need? i have no problem with the senator from texas speaking. okay, that's fine. and how about senator collins? does she wish to speak? okay, i ask consent then that senator cornyn be recognized for up to 15 minutes. when he completes that the senate go into recess for one hour. the presiding officer: without objection. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i thank the majority leader for his courte courtesy. earlier this month we received another big job report and along
3:54 pm
with it a serious disappointment. the numbers speak for themselv themselves. in august a remarkable 368,000 americans left the workforce. they gave up. bringing the labor force participation rate, as it's known, to its lowest level in more than three decades. fewer people are looking for work in america than at any time in the last 30 years. that is a national tragedy. the unemployment rate stayed above 8%, only because they quit counting the people who've given up. but it had been above 8% for the 43rd straight month. if in fact the same number of people that were looking for work in january of 2009 were still looking for work in -- today, the unemployment rate would be over 11%.
3:55 pm
that was the date that president obama took office, january the 20th, 2009. so if the same number we're looking for work now as were looking for work then, it would be over 11%. to show you the numbers don't show the pain and sacrifice of the american citizens looking for work. i don't know anyone who could look at the august job report or the july job numbers or the june job numbers and feel good about the economy. i also don't know how they could, contrary to their position, including the president's position, in december 2010 when the economy was growing at roughly 3% of g.d.p., why they could now support a tax increase when the economy is growing at a much slower pace.
3:56 pm
beyond our borders, the europeans are mired in a debt crisis. the chinese economy has slowed down dramatically. and the united states continues to face major economic headwinds. we can't afford any self-flicted wounds -- any self-inflicted wounds. all i'm suggesting is that we maintain the current federal tax rates until we can work together in a bipartisan way and adopt real tax reform. and yet the president occasionally calls that position extreme. ironically, the same position he himself held in december of 2010, as i said just a moment ago. it seems that the president does not always understand or appreciate the strong connection between taxes and economic incentives on small businesses
3:57 pm
and other people who are depending upon to create businesses or grow existing businesses and create jobs and to put americans back to work. we need look no further than the 2010 health care law, the law that went to the united states supreme court. two aspects of it were found unconstitutional, but not the tax on middle-class americans. in addition to that middle-class tax increase, the law contains a new excise tax on medical device manufacturers that will discourage companies from building factories and creating jobs here in the united states. that's not just my conclusion. for example, cook medical, which has roughly 4,000 employees around bloomington, indiana, recently announced it is canceling five new manufacturing plants that it had been scheduled to open over the next
3:58 pm
half decade. a senior official estimated that the new medical device tax will cost his firm between $20 million and $30 million extra each year. that's why they're shuttering those additional five plants. and killing those potential new jobs. another medical device company in another part of the country, in new york, welch allen recent us an nod it would be slashing 10% of its global workforce in response to this new tax. all of this is sadly pr predictable, and it is common sense. unfortunately, common sense doesn't seem to most americans to prevail or to be all that common here in washington, d.c., these days. but if you raise the taxes on these medical devices, it's only logical, it's only reasonable,
3:59 pm
it's only common sense to expect that these companies will produce fewer jobs and, in the process, less innovation. you know, the irony of this discussion over taxes is, we now have a growing bipartisan consensus in congress and in washington, d.c., about the need for commonsense tax reform that would broaden the base, lower the rates, and to help grow the economy by creating the proper incentives. that was a recommen recommendate president's own bipartisan commission, the simpson-bowles commission. in december 2010, the president's own bipartisan fiscal commission where republicans and democrats agreed, this is a good place to start in reforming our broken tax code, paying down the debt, and getting our country and our economy growing again.
4:00 pm
it was also the recommendation of the domenici-rivlin panel, another bipartisan panel. both would have recommended -- or did recommend a more logical, more equitable, more growth-oriented tax code. why, we may ask, is tax reform so urgent? earlier in month, the world economic forum released its new global competitiveness report. america is not alone in trying to create jobs and grow our economy. we're competing with other economies, other countries around the world. as recent as 2508, the united states was ranked the most competitive country on the planet. in the latest index, we felt we were heading in the wrong direction when it comes to competing in the global economy for the jobs so that americans can work and provide for their families and put food on their
4:01 pm
tables and gain the dignity that goes along with working and providing for your family. harvard business school also recently surveyed 10,000 of its alumni to find out their views of american competitiveness. harvard business school, one of the premier business schools in the country. alarmingly, 71% of those respond -- who responded said america would become less competitive during the next few years. in other words, they weren't optimistic about the direction of the country when it came to competitiveness and job creation. one of the biggest reasons for their pessimism was the bewildering complexity of our tax code. a large majority of the harvard respondents said the tax complexity was either much worse or somewhat worse in the united states than it was in other developed countries. that's why americans now spend billions of dollars on tax
4:02 pm
compliance because of a broken, unnecessarily complex and inn preseason traitable -- inpenetrable tax code unless you hire an army of lawyers and accountants to help you figure it out. one more point about our tax code. over time, our tax code has become larded with special provisions and tax expenditures that represent really what has come to be known as crony capitalism. in other words, the federal government just doesn't spend money. the federal government has a tax code that benefits certain industries at sectors of the economy. now, some of them we would largely agree on, like the mortgage interest deduction or the interest you pay on your home mortgage. there is broad support for that, although everyone realizes we need to get all of these on the
4:03 pm
table, and that's what simpson-bowles recommended. let's get a trillion dollars or more of these special tax expenditures on the table and look at the ones that still make sense and the ones we should do away with. as long as the tax code is as complicated as ours is, it's a drag on the economy. it promotes a culture of corruption where people come to congress and they lobby for special tax provisions that aren't available to the broad population that benefit them. it seeks favoritism and rent seeking with companies and industries try to gain competitive advantages through tax subsidies. if we want businesses to spend more time in productive activity and less time begging the government for tax breaks, we need to fix the broken tax code with a flatter, fairer, more
4:04 pm
transparent system which encourages working and saving and investing, not lobbying here in washington, d.c. for special breaks. if we want our tack laws to be respected and understood, they need to be clearer, simpler and more equitable. given how much president obama talks about fairness of the tax code, you would think he would be all over this. you might expect he would be an eager champion for tax reform. instead, the president wants to use the tax code as an a.t.m. machine to subsidize particular industries and interest groups while punishing others. we need to get them all on the table, bring them all out in the light of day and address all of these special tax provisions so we can simplify and make more fair our tax system, unleashing
4:05 pm
the growth potential of the entrepreneurial american economy to create jobs and prosperity that is sadly lacking now in the current environment. unfortunately, president obama has rather than attacked this issue of crony capitalism, he has promoted it. during the long government-run chrysler bankruptcy process, the company-secured bondholders received less for their loans, 29 cents per dollar, than the united auto workers pension funds. they got 40 cents on the dollar. the u.a.w. pension funds, mind you, were unsecured creditors entitled to less of a priority than the bondholders which were entitled to the highest priority, but because of the way this was manipulated, the bondholders got 29 cents on the dollar, the union got 40 cents on the dollar.
4:06 pm
during the automobile bailouts, president obama let politics trump the rule of law. what do i mean by that? well, i believe that rather than let the rule of law apply, he injected politics and favoritism in the process. in his energy policy which i alluded to a moment ago, he put politics before his fiduciary responsibility to the american taxpayer. we agree that the federal government has a role in funding through the research and development tax credit and other ways basic scientific research to promote innovation. but the president and congress should not be using your tax dollars to make risky politically motivated investments this benefit specific companies or industries at your expense. solyndra offers the most conspicuous example. this now-bankrupt solar energy
4:07 pm
firm received a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government. according to "the washington post," the obama administration remains steadfast in its support for solyndra even after being warned that financial disaster might lie ahead. then as solyndra went bankrupt, the administration violated the law by making taxpayers subordinate to private lenders. in other words, even though the taxpayers gave a $535 million loan guarantee to this company that went bankrupt, the ones that ended up taking it in the neck were the taxpayers rather than the private lenders who should have been subordinated to the taxpayers when it comes to getting paid. if president obama is as concerned as he claims about dicey investments with taxpayer money, he should repudiate these kind of boondoggles and let the
4:08 pm
market work to allocate capital. washington should not be picking economic winners and losers. speaking of winners and losers, the department of health and human services granted a series of one and three-year waivers from the annual limit requirements contained in the president's 2010 health care law. these waivers fostered the impression that certain companies, unions and institutions would be exempted and be given preferential treatment. mr. president, i know that there is an important briefing going on in secured facilities downstairs on the situation in the middle east. what i would like to do is to make the remainder of my remarks part of the record at this time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i appreciate it, mr. president. with that, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 5:00 p.m. stands in recess until 5:00 p.m.
4:09 pm
4:10 pm
>> despite unprecedented instruction, there's been a few important bills we've passed to boost the economy. unfortunately, they are all stalled in the republican controlled house without a whine from the republicans over here
4:11 pm
who helped us pass the bills. the house refused to vote on the bipartisan farm bill, which, by the way, reduced the debt by $23 billion, and it supports doctor -- 16 million jobsment speaker boehner said you'll deal with the farm bill after the election, close quote. republican house refused to vote on the postal bill, what an important bill, preserve delivery, six day a week delivery, and effect 8 million jobs. they ignored that. there's another bill to be punted to the next election or next congress. china corp sigh, a bipartisan bill to create 1.6 million jobs, and, again, important for the
4:12 pm
middle class people, is tax cuts. we voted to extend the tax cuts for 98% of the american families, and we reduced the debt by a trillion dollars. the bill the senate past in july averts the fiscal cliff for middle class family, and they are counting on leaders to advance the legislation to give them certainty in the months and years ahead. we know what senate republicans have done here to do filibustering on everything because we have to start always with the premise that the leader of the republican said his number one goal is to defeat president obama. ours is to do something to improve the economy. their actions speak volumes, and it appears now that they are in cahoots with the republicans in the house to spot the important
4:13 pm
few measures we have here. >> we're all students of congressional politics, and congressional politics 101, they start the court by saying, now, there's two bills that are extremely easy. transportation bill and farm bill. they passed them in a snap for reasons. they are bipartisan bill, affecting every part of america, and as long as i've served in the house and senate, they are the two easiest lists when you pass the bills. look what happened this year. we passed the transportation bill on a bipartisan basis, and senators boxers and inhofe put it together and it fell on its face. the farm bill, senator roberts of kansas, they pass the bill on a bipartisan basis, sent it to the house, flat on its face. what happened? you know what went wrong. the house republicans insisted only republicans pass major legislation. they don't do bipartisan bills
4:14 pm
over there other than in the extreme. that's what happenedded again. here we are in the farm bill passing the senate six weeks ago, and it's gone nowhere in the house of representatives. what difference does it make? i come from farm country in illinois. the farmers signed up for crop insurance with the drought, but even those farmers are going to have to sit down with their bankers in the weeks ahead to plan for next year, and the first question from the banger? well, what's the federal farm program next year? the farmer has to say call john boehner because we don't know. the house failed to pass the major legislation. as harry reid said, same was true in postal reform. i called issa in december when we got an agreement from the postmaster general to put off the awesome changes that have to take place in the postal service until we had a chance to do our job, and issa had no interest in it at all. here we are.
4:15 pm
postal reform, bipartisan, passes the senate, fails in the house of representatives. to date, 30 # senate republicans said let us run the place, show you what happens. well, we've seen what happened under their effort. they've been unable even with the republican controlled house to pass the most basic legislation, postal reform, transportation, farm bill, and even when we gave them a bipartisan bill, it's an indication as majority leader said that if you're only goal is to embarrass and defeat the president, then you are going to ignore the speedometer in congress. that's what's happened time and again through republican leadership in the senate and in the house. >> well, thank you, dick. i want to discuss two of the bills on this chart that the house refused to take up. first, china currency. right here. just yesterday, sherrod brown read a letter sent to speaker
4:16 pm
boehner saying to the speaker, before you leave town, bring up the senate's past bill cracking down on china currency ma nip lace. it passed a year ago on a bipartisan vote. we have three democrats, three republicans as the lead sponsors. it was a perfectly balanced bill. three republicans were snowe, sessions, and graham, my partner in the issue, three democrats by brown, stabenow, and myself. throughout the country, there's no bigger step we can take to protect and create manufacturing jobs and to stop unfair china trade practices. speaker boehner won't give the bill a volt. if it had a vote, it would pass. what about middle class tax cuts? on taxes, we, in the senate, said let's focus on the area of common agreement, and at least guarantee that no middle class household faces a tax hike on jap 1 # --
4:17 pm
january 1st. we succeeded in passing a middle class tax cut, but, again, speaker boehner won't work with us. those are two examples of senate passed bills the house won't put on the floor. the reality is for as closely as divided as this senate is, we passed a large number of bipartisan bills this year, very important bills, but, as you all know, it takes two chambers to pass a law, and on the other side, too many of the congress members, particularly the tea party dpoaks, thinks "compromise" is a dirty word. in june, cantor declared legislating will be over for 2012. the reason, he said, is he was bullish on the republican chances of taking back the white house and the senate. well, his prediction didn't look hot now. the entire congress, republicans thought if they blocked anything
4:18 pm
helping the economy and deprived the president of any accomplishments, that delivers a huge political victory in november, and then they could deal with all of the nation's challenges entirely on their own terms. the strategy is backfiring on them. the president -- their presidential nominee just defended half the country, his flailing campaign is now having a drag effect for republican senate candidates across the country, and this has them a little cranky as we saw on the floor this morning. this is not where republicans thought they'd be with 50 days left before election. the good news is this changed outlook may break the fever that has caused house republicans to reject compromise at any cost. it may signal an end to this congressal gridlock, just this morning, senator demint of all people quoted by bloomberg saying if president obama gains
4:19 pm
re-election, he'd be willing to accept revenue as part of a deficit reduction package. when jim demint is open to revenues, you know the tide is turning. we shouldn't have to wait for an election for the two sides to come together, but for the republicans, it just might do the trick. >> well, i want to talk about one thing the has left undone that i know a lot of women across the country have been paying very close attention to, and something they'll continue to watch. that is the house's inability to protect women by joining the senate in bipartisan and inclusive violence against women act. the house's failure left critical protections for 30 million women in doubt. the lack of leadersh by congressman boehner means that women in at-risk communities across the country today do not have access to shelter,
4:20 pm
counseling, or law enforcement protections that are granted by this bill. in every day that goes by that they sit on our bill is another day a lot of women are going to have to face abusers without the protections, the violence against women provides. it's now been five months since 15 republicans, and let me say it again, 15 republicans joined us in passing the bill here on the senate side. in all of that time, republicans, all they did in the house was pass a bill that strips protections for tens of millions of vulnerable women, and that's really shameful. when you sit down with the women who have been left out like i did over august break, you quickly see the implications of the house's political games. i sat down with women who, through their tears, were immigrants, talked about how scaredded they were for themselves and their children so they didn't report their husbands are abusers because they were afraid of being beaten again.
4:21 pm
i talkinged to women on triball lands talked about how they were abused, but then they watched as the same abuser did the same thing to other women on the reservation without any repercussion. shurlly we should all -- surely we should be able to agree with a person lives, their immigration status, or who they love should in the determine whether a prepare traitor of domestic violence is brought to justice. this should not be a fight. surely, we could have came together on this, but not with this congress or house of representatives. unless we believe the house is the only one to blame for obstruction in inaction, after all, it was nearly two years ago as everyone mentioned that senator mcconnell revealed the party's top priority was making sure president obama was not re-elected, not jupes, not the economy, that that president obama was not re-elected. well, yesterday on the floor, we saw he's willing to sacrifice any group of americans to pursue
4:22 pm
that goal, even our nation's veterans. the bill considered yesterday was a bipartisan bill, and out of the 12 provisions in that bill to put veterans back to work, eight of them were republican ideas. it was fully paid for based on grant programs proven to put americans back to work, and it would have helped our veterans serve their communities. if we count get 60 votes for that, i don't know where or how we can say anything about how how republicans approached this congress because i said, like, we have seen there's no group of americans that senate republicans have spared in their quest to deny president obama, not the veterans, not teachers. not college students or farmer. the only people republicans want to give a break to around here is millionaires and billionaires. republicans in the house and senate have to live with that as their legacy of inaction in the
4:23 pm
congress. >> [inaudible] >> i think i had had take a poll of the room and asked you how many of you thought we'd keep the majority, i don't think you'd put money on me or the ability to do that. i think the poll would be different today. here's why. first of all, we recruited amazing people to run in the senate races. i have been so impressed with the people who have stood up to say, yes, i do want to serve my country at a difficult time and run in what is not an easy thing to do for the united states senate. people like hidecamp or jim kaine or shellily burkley in
4:24 pm
nevada. the list is long. i could take 20 minutes to go through them, but every one of them makesly great individual -- amazingly great individuals fighting for their states and know their states. secondly, every one of the candidates knows their states, been talking about the issues we are seeing play out since day one in the campaign, about the fight that we had as democrats to ensure we invest in the future and really help out the middle class americans, and third, the american public responded and the actions of the last several weeks, and the conventions show how democrats pleef in making sure -- believe in making sure everyone in america has the opportunities critical to all of us. this has been good for all of our candidates and i think if i were to take a poll today, it would be different. >> the the middle class tax
4:25 pm
cuts, of course, but the big, big issue is the miss cam gsh fiscal cliff. are you confident you can avoid that fiscal cliff, small window you have after the election? why not start now -- >> speaker boehner said that there was in effect no chance of getting anything done. i don't believe that. i've been here awhile. we come together in times of crisis. i do not believe that we're going to go over the fiscal cliff which i think that the work that needs to be doab, and we've done it starting with the bowles-simpson, biden, supercommittee, again, with many obligations, senator murray wisely chaired that. we know it needs to be done and takes people like jim demint
4:26 pm
to step over. we'll do that after the election. >> when you come back, you'll work out something that's long term or something that's a path -- >> i'm in favor of long term, not short term. >> the supercommittee and working on the issues, there's one solution this, and everyone knows it. we have to have revenue and reductions on the page, and so far, revenue has not been there because the republicans refused it. if they come back in the short term, the time we have in november and december and say we're willing to put the compromise on the table, we will get this done, we will not go over the fiscal cliff. >> there's two groups, the republicans in the house and senate, half of them, no moderates left, no, god bless susan collins, but half are hard
4:27 pm
right tea parties and the others are mainstream conservatives. if the president wins, and we keep the senate, the mainstream conservatives will be strengthenedded and want want to work with us because the embrace of the tea party that mitt romney has done, in my view dragging down all candidates, will have failed, and it will strengthen those in the republican party who would like to work with us and weaken those in the republican party who said compromise is a dirty word. >> if the opposite -- >> we are not going to be cross examed her. >> [inaudible] >> yes, yes. we have a bipartisan farm bill. one of the few things we've done here that they let us legislate on without amendments on contraception and stuff like that, yes, we can get it done. it's a good bill.
4:28 pm
stabenow and roberts worked hard on this, it's a good bill. the farm bills come every four or five years, and the farm groups don't like what's going on. the reform in the bill is long overdue, generations over due, and, yes, i believe we'll get a long term farm bill, not in favor of a short term. we have to take it off the plate. >> how does the 112th congress compare to previous congresses? >> i think it's very, very clear that when i came here, we had such wonderful, republicans, of course, the democrats good too, but the john chaffey of the world, passed away, and i hope i don't embarrass him or the family, but i was running for the re-election in 1990, and he said what can i do to help you?
4:29 pm
he said, i got ideas. more senior than i am, and he said we'll do hearings in nevada. i'll start, you lead, we conduct the hearings. we did that. dan forth, a minister he wanted to get things done, pacwood, hines. the first congress of president obama, we really got a lot done. you heard me say before, we had a lot more senators then, and we were able, beginning with the stimulus to get things done most helpful to the country, but when we have the republican leader come to the senate floor, and you have to admire his being candid saying i have one thing i want to do, defeat obama, and they've legislated that way. hundreds of pieces of legislation would have been done easily would we had been able to
4:30 pm
get them done. simple things. they stopped everything. as i indicated quite a bit lately, i know the senate's changed since johnson was senator, majority leader, sorry, but it's not changed that much. i've had, during my six years here, had to try to overcome 38 # filibusters. that answers the question. because of what senator mcconnell has done, they followed him over the cliff. it's unfortunate for the country. >> [inaudible] >> pardon me? >> [inaudible] >> one. lyndon johnson had one, thanks, patty. she listened to me say this before. [laughter] there's just so -- to come to the floor as they did today and
4:31 pm
blame me for stuff they've done, they complain we have not got anything done. that takes, as we say in brooklyn, a lot of hudspa. >> if the elections return the same balance the power to washington, which is what was said explicitly and everybody thinks, the democratice, president obama, and the republican house, why is it going to get better? why would you be more productive? >> whoever the republican leader will want to legislate for the good of the country and not defeat obama again four years from now. >> just to the point -- >> i can say something? the tea party candidates in illinois never used the words "tea party" anymore because you can't get elected that way. they run as bipartisan candidates. they come back, revert to tea party roots? test that tea party phrase across america. people despise it. it's the symbol of obstruction.
4:32 pm
in the house, that was speculation at a meeting, and i spoke to the campaign committee. we have good chances in illinois, and -- [laughter] all across the country when it comes to the house. >> i just want to elaborate -- >> turn on the microphone -- [laughter] >> don't show any -- what did you call it? the point being there has always been a group of republicans that want a compromise, but they have been out shouted, out flanked by the tea party group. they are about equal. if we keep the senate and the president wins, and even better if we take the house, though the moderate -- the mainstream, no mod -- moderates, the mainstream conservatives will be strengthened. they told me that.
4:33 pm
there's a foot in each camp, but pulled and dragged by the tea party, they will be strengthened to compromise with us. you seen it happening. more bipartisan agreements in the senate as we've all outlined in the last three or four months because their basic strategy of ob instructing and not compromises is failing. that's what the polls have shown. when mitt romney talks about it, it exsempleg waits it. everything it moving in a direction of us coming together because the obstructionist tea party is losing out. they are losing out in elections, and they are losing out in the caucuses. that's how it will get better.
4:34 pm
[inaudible conversations] >> a live picture of the nation's capitol here on a beautiful september afternoon in washington, d.c.. the senate in a closed door briefing with hillary clinton talking about the middle east. we expect the senate back in session in about a half hour or so, and we'll have them live when they return to the floor. earlier today on the senate floor, a group of republican senators spoke about what they called the failed leadership of the democrats and the white house. forty senators spoke for a minute each. >> some say the reason for the do nothing senate or the cure is we need a change in rules. i say we need a change innge behavior. i'd like to offer a single example. we have a big spending ande borrowing problem.ex 4 # 2 crepts out of every
4:35 pm
dollar, we borrow. we are headed off a fiscal cliff. it's been described as that. the australian foreign minister said the united states of america is one budget deal away from restoring its global preimminence so you'd think we'd have a budget, and then you think we would deal with the appropriations bill, the basic work of the senate. i, and others on both sides of the aisle came to the floor earlier this year to compliment the leaders for their decision to bring all 12 appropriation bills to the floor. the committee did its work. 1 # 1 of the 12 reported to the floor. the house did its work, 1 # 1 of the 12 reported to the floor, and six passed, but the majority leader said we're not going to consider any appropriations bills, no appropriations bills. mr. president, being legislated to the senate and not allowed to vote on appropriations bills is like being invited to join the grand old opry and not allowed
4:36 pm
to sing. we need a republican majority. if we have one, we can have a budget, and we have one, we will bring appropriation bills to thi floor.atio we'll debate them.fl we'll amend them.ate we'll vote on them. t we'll do our jobs. thank you, mr. president. >> mr. president? >> senator from south dakota.akt >> there's no question that the issue for americans is jobs and the economy. it's the issue on the minds of all americans, their pocketbook issues that impact middle class americans all across thisars, country. they are trying to make a stronger middle class, and they continue to face bleak economic pictures on this president's watch . $4,000 since the president took office.
4:37 pm
just this last week, the kaiser foundation family study came out and worker health insurance costs have increased by 29% since the president took office. the president promised to lower health care costs by $2,500 per family. instead, average family premiums have increased by $3,000 since he took office. republicans have solutions to grow the economy and to help the middle class, strengthen the middle class. mr. president, we support common sense solutions like increasing domestic energy, reforming our tax code and stopping the job-killing regulations that are killing our small businesses. we hope to have the opportunity to work on those solutions for america's future. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, the president, the administration and the senate majority have failed to govern during a crucial time for our nation. there is a willingness to kick our problems down the road with the hopes that the next election will suddenly inspire action. rome burned while nero fiddled. we have had enough fiddling.
4:38 pm
the president's answer to jobs in the economy was to have his failed budget. three times it was voted on without a single vote in favor, not even a single democrat in favor. over 23 million americans are unemployed or underemployed. government regulations and red tape stunt business growth. that's not leadership. that's being asleep at the wheel. their answer to a job -- to jobs is a bill with a good title and a poison pill that comes right to the floor, and it's set up so the poison pill can't be amended amended out and they wonder why the bill can't pass. that's not politics. that's legislating. lack of a budget shows they don't have a plan. inaction remains the status quo. republicans are prepared to lead today and in the future. i yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, when i talk to employers in my state
4:39 pm
about what washington could do to get people back to work, they inevitably point to the flood of excessive regulation as a major barrier. many of us have offered proposals to reform the regulatory process. even the president's own jobs council has put forth ideas like strengthening the cost-benefit analysis. this just makes common sense. but regrettably, the senate has failed to act. meanwhile, the burden of federal regulation grows ever larger. right now, federal agencies are at work on 2,700 new rules. these rules will go on top of a pile of regulations measuring millions of pages. mr. president, if we want to put people back to work, we have to
4:40 pm
cut the red tape that is strangling our job creators. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. if you look at any objective measurement, whether it's unemployment numbers, gas prices, middle-class income, college tuition, manufacturing production, home values, and the list goes on and on, we are clearly not headed in the right direction. so what's the cause of this? the primary cause is lack of leadership coming from the administration and from the leadership in the senate. the administration's policies have led to the worst recovery since world war ii. over 23 million people are unemployed, underemployed. one of the main reasons that we can't find work in this is the economic uncertainty washington has created, stopping the hiring process. our businesses are frozen.
4:41 pm
as a former small business owner, i understand firsthand how economic uncertainty hampers business growth. if you don't know what your taxes are going to be, if you don't know what your energy costs are going to be, if you don't know what your health care costs are going to be, the last thing in the world you're going to do is hire a bunch of people. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, the number-one job of this congress domestically should have been more private sector jobs. the president's long-held view of redistribution as a goal for the government is not going to accomplish that. what's going to accomplish that is more opportunity, more independence, as my friend from arkansas just said, more certainty, more american energy. these problems are big, mr. president, but they're not necessarily that complicated. we just have to have the willpower to deal with them. this congress has not done that. this senate, more importantly, has not done that. the house has passed bills. the house has passed a budget, the house has passed
4:42 pm
appropriations bills, the house has passed bills to get regulations under control. the senate hasn't, mr. president. i hope when we get back here -- we should stay and do those things, but when we get back, we should be focused on the number-one job for the one today, which is more american jobs. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: president obama, when you took office almost four years ago, you promised to create jobs and to reduce our deficit. yet, four years later, we have fewer americans working than in the last 30 years and we have historic debt and deficits. now you say raising taxes will solve our problems, but those who create jobs disagree. yesterday, a businessman from south carolina came to washington to present a very simple proposition. he had built this business from his garage to 150 workers, putting every dime he could back into his business. his plan was to add 25 workers
4:43 pm
next year if we keep taxes the same, but to do nothing if we follow your plan to raise taxes. mr. president, if you really want to create jobs, help our economy and reduce our deficit, stop threatening to raise taxes. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: we just heard from a number of my colleagues about issues with our jobs and the economy, the debt, unemployment at high rates for 43 months, unprecedented problems. we have learned time and time again in america, you can't tax, regulate your way to prosperity. and republicans in the senate have provided an alternative. this is the republican senate jobs plan. all 47 republican senators have supported it. we have introduced legislation that incorporates these ideas. and yet we haven't gotten a hearing on the senate floor. pretty simple. we believe that we ought to live within our means, fiscal
4:44 pm
discipline is part of getting the economy back on track, reforming the tax code to spur economic growth. we know we can create millions of new jobs in this country by getting the tax code straightened out. economics -- the economic situation will not be improved in this country until we deal with regulatory relief. my colagues have talked about that. a more competitive work force. changing the worker retraining program in this country, improving education to have a competitiveness work force. increasing exports to create more jobs but also to level the playing field. powering america's economy by using the energy in the ground in america. and finally, commonsense approaches to health care to get the costs down. these are the solutions that republicans have offered that have not gotten a fair hearing on this floor for us to begin to turn this economy around and get america back on track. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: today i join my colleagues in expressing my disappointment in president obama in his failure to provide real leadership when our nation needed it most. while failures can be observed across the board when it comes
4:45 pm
to taxes and the pending fiscal cliff, the president has put our future in jeopardy to conserve his own political interests. at the end of this year, the bipartisan tax relief bill signed into law, not only by president bush but president obama as well, is set to expire. virtually every taxpayer in america will see their taxes go up if congress and the president do not extend -- do not act to steer us away from this fiscal cliff. objective analysts, including the c.b.o., have stated that if we were to let the tax relief expire under current economic conditions, it would likely lead to another recession. yet, rather than working with the republicans to extend the tax relief and to aid our recovery, the president has once again sought to divide the american people by using the top marginal tax rate as a political football. in 2010, the president acknowledged that raising taxes in the midst of a weak economic recovery was bad policy. that is why at that time he signed into law full extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax relief.
4:46 pm
aside from the fact that the economy is in worse shape now than it was then, the only thing that's changed between 2010 and 2012 is that the president is now facing the voters, and that means appealing to his base which is committed to raising taxes. the president has put class warfare and his own political future ahead of the immediate and long-term interests of our economy. this is the high-water mark of failed leadership for this administration. our country is at a moment of deep economic uncertainty, and america's citizens and taxpayers deserve more than the president's decision to prioritize electoral politics over sound fiscal policy. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: as the chair of the debt commission simpson-bowles told the budget committee, this nation has never faced a more predictable financial crisis. i would say that this nation has never faced a more difficult financial challenge. we have deep systemic demographic problems. they need to be addressed.
4:47 pm
yet today marks the 1,240th day since the democratic leadership in the senate adopted a budget. for three years in a time of financial crisis, the senate's democratic majority has failed to comply with the united states code that requires us to bring up a budget and bring it to the floor of the united states senate. politico observed on may 15 the democratic leaders have defiantly refused to lay out their own vision for how to deal with the federal debt and spending. i believe that is a colossal failure of leadership, a failure of fundamental responsibility and puts them in a position of, in my opinion, of being unable to ask to be returned to leadership in this senate. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: as the distinguished ranking member of the budget committee pointed out, it has
4:48 pm
been more than three years since the democratically controlled senate has passed a budget. that should be a national scandal. during the same time, we considered the president's proposed budgets which have been voted down unanimously, that is republicans and democrats both realize that the president's proposed budgets are unserious attempts to solve some of our most serious challenges. the president couldn't get a single vote from his own political party for his own plan, a plan because it does not include serious efforts to preserve and protect social security and medicare and put us on a sound fiscal path without job-killing tax increases. when republicans regain the majority in the senate, we will pass a budget, we will reduce the deficit, we will tackle our long-term debt and we will help grow the american economy by getting our boot off the neck of the small businesses and job creators in our country. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: this year we will spend over $3.5 trillion, 60% of
4:49 pm
which is taxpayer money, 40% is borrowed. over the next 10 years, we will spend $45 trillion. we haven't had a budget in this body for 1,240 days. not only is this dysfunctional and america looks at us as a dysfunctional body, it is an embarrassment. the fact is that we are one fiscal reform package away from being able to focus on being a great nation again, and yet many around the world look at us as a nation in decline, which affects everything from people hiring and producing jobs in this country to the activities that we see overseas as it relates to our foreign relations. what we need in this nation is new leadership in november that has the courage and the will to address the most major issue this nation faces, which is fiscal reform, and with that, we'll put this malaise in the rearview mirror and again be able to focus on being a great
4:50 pm
nation. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: mr. president, for three consecutive fiscal years, the leadership of the united states senate majority party has constantly decided not to bring a budget to the floor of the united states senate. and do you know what the result has been? we spent $10.6 trillion, increased our debt over $4 trillion while the american people have cut their debt, cut their spending and got their house in order during our worst recession since the great depression. it's time the leadership of the senate took a lesson from the american people. let's get back to the business of america. let's get a budget to the floor. let's balance our budget. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: mr. president, think about it, $5 trillion of new debt under this president. so when he submits a budget plan, what happens to it? on the floor of this senate, the president's budget plan did not get a single vote.
4:51 pm
no republican, no democrat, no independent supported the president. what happened on the house side? the same identical thing. no republican, no democrat, no independent supported the president's plan. many are working on this. simpson-bowles is a good example. many of my colleagues have been working to find a way forward on our budget issues. and what happens on the floor of the senate? no budget. four years, no budget. when republicans come to the majority, we will pass a budget. we will work to balance our budget. that is where we are headed. nor senator mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: on september
4:52 pm
2007, our total stood stood as $200 billion. last year with the debt ceiling debate, we increased our debt limit by a little more than $2 trillion. we will blow through that limit in less than two years. mr. president, the president of the united states has put forward four budgets. he has yet to submit any proposal to save either social security or medicare. we're facing the most predictable financial crisis in our nation, and our president refuses to lead, this senate refuses to lead. america hungers for leadership. the presiding officer: the? er from utah. -- the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, this is bad enough that this senate leadership has not passed a budget in three and a half years. what's even worse than that is the fact that they haven't offered a budget this congress. they haven't voted for or
4:53 pm
supported a single budget in this congress. we have had, of course, one budget voted on in the senate during this congress, written by a democrat. that was the president's plan, which received zero votes from his own party, zero votes from the republican party last year and this year. if we are able to come to the table, if we are to come to a compromise, we have to have offers on both sides. we have to have a plan on both sides. and so all the calls for civility, for the calls for compromise really fall on deaf ears unless or until we have two willing parties at the table with proposals that they're willing to offer. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: mr. president, the american people are asking two big questions: why has the senate not acted to stop the $4.5 trillion tax hike that will occur on january 1 unless we act? and, second, why has the senate not voted to replace the across-the-board defense cuts
4:54 pm
that will devastate our national security? the unfortunate answer is because senate democrats and the obama administration are too afraid to tackle, let alone vote on, the tough issues in an election year. for americans outside the beltway, the consequences are very serious. the congressional budget office tells us that failure to avoid this fiscal cliff will shrink the economy next year and push unemployment above 9%. that means 2 million jobs will be lost and we'll be back in recession. the house has acted. election year or not, there is no excuse for the senate not to follow the house's action, it's lead in acting to avoid the job-killing consequences of this fiscal cliff. ms. snowe: mr. president, it is are astounding to me, mr. president, that after putting the nation through the self-inflicted travesty of last year's debt ceiling debacle that
4:55 pm
we're facing another manufactured crisis this year with a fiscal cliff that never would have existed if the senate had remained in session, had fewer recesses, and maximized every legislative day based on the job we were elected to do as i have argued virtually throughout this entire congress. according to a recent study illustrated by this chart, deferring last year the debt ceiling to the 11th hour in august produced the highest level of policy uncertainty than any event that occurred over the last 20 years, that includes 9/11, the financial crisis, the fall of lehman, included the iraq war. we now have heard from c.b.o. as well as the fed chairman bernanke who have indicated wreaked trigger a recession next year in we fail to address the if is cal cliff. yet here we're scheduled to adjourn sometime this week for nearly two months after just returning from a five-month break. when i was running for
4:56 pm
reelection in 2000, when the republicans were in the majority, we didn't adjourn until november 3, a few days before the election. i call on the majority leader to continue to have us remain in session, to lay the groundwork for the bipartisan solutions on these monumental issues. i've urged him in letter that i sent last april because it's absolutely pivotal for this country. if we had the policy and certainty of 2006, we would have 2.5 million more jobs in america today. the senate has wasted two years -- two prey new precious years h intransigence and inaction. america deserves better. mr. coburn: mr. president, the problems in front of our country are not unsolvable. our country has a history of doing hard things. what we lack is leadership to call us to do those hard things.
4:57 pm
we find ourselves at a point in time where the greatest threat to our nation is our debt and our economy. we're risking our future, not only our future economically but our future of liberty. what we have had, i would remind my colleagues, is a history in the senate of doing hard things, under the leadership of senator reid, the senate has not attempted to do hard things. what it has attempted to do is abandon the tasks that should be in front of us. america deserves better, it deserves better leadership, it deserves leadership based on bringing this country together rather than dividing this country. not having a fiscal plan to solve the greatest issues in front of our country is an absolute failure of leadership. where is the senate majority leader's -- where is the
4:58 pm
president's plan to solve our plan? -- to solve our problems? mr. toomey: mr. president, the fact is our economy could be booming right now. our economy should be booming right now. the history of this country is that after a serious recession, the economy comes roaring back, and that's exactly what should be happening right now. in fact our economy should be creating more jobs than there are people to fill it. that's not what's happening because of the failed leadership of the democratic majority in control of this body and the president of the united states. our economy can't come back the way it should as long as the threat of a complete fiscal disaster looms over it. as long as everybody who might even contemplate launching a new business or expanding an existing business knows that this government is running trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see with no willingness to address this, then people won't make that investment, they won't expand their business, they won't hire that next worker. mr. president, it's long past
4:59 pm
time that the democratic leadership in this body accept its responsibility to address this problem, pass a budget, get our fiscal house in order tow that this economy can grow again and americans can get back to work. nor senator mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, just two years ago we extended the 2010 tax rates. over a year ago we passed the budget control act, which will trigger sequestration unless we pass a budget-reduction plan. the point is, we've known about the fiscal cliff for a long time, and there's been no shortage of warnings about the dire economic consequences of doing nothing, but that's in fact what this body has done. nothing. so let me just say this. there's a reason that president obama and my colleagues on the other side ofhe


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on