Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 8, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EST

4:00 pm
mr. coons: mr. president, i ask that the proceedings under the quormquorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: come to the floor at the start of this new year and new congress to speak about how we can and why we must work together to improve the affordable care act. since work on health care reform really began in earnest in 2009, debate in this chamber and across this country has too often been defined by fantastic claims and fear fearmongering and in the midst of this division, i feel too often the experiences of real people have been lost. while politicians on both sides cling to their sacred cows, too many americans become casualties of our divided politics. and i think on few issues has this been more true than on health care. mr. president, critics of the affordable care act seem locked into the belief that it will bring about america's demise,
4:01 pm
despite little evidence to support that. too often they've been unable or unwilling to grapple with the reality of those whose lives the law has forever change for the better. on the other side of the aisle we mostly democrats have often shied away from acknowledging some of the law's weaknesses. i know many of my colleagues have been eager and have offered fixes to the law but willing republican partners, we haven't made enough progress. mr. president, as i've spent time in my home state of delaware in recent months listening to families and other folks who've been affected by the law for better or for worse, it's become clear to me that this stalemate is unsustainable. on many days i've met delawareans who love the affordable care act whose lyes haveliveshave literally been saved by it. but inbetween those encounters, i've also met many small business owners in particular
4:02 pm
who want to offer health insurance to their workers and are struggling to afford it. this much has become clear to me me -- no conversation about the affordable care act and how to improve it can be complete without reconciling the reality of millions of americans it has helped and the many others for whom it falls short. mr. president, michelle reid is a delawarean who eye come to i've come to know and admire with breast cancer who first contacted me about this issue last fall. she's an example about why the affordable care act is so important. michelle was first negotiationed diagnosed with cancer back in 2008 and went after month after painful month of chemo and radiation therapy as well as surgery. and after the next few years since her cancer nightmare began, she faced problems that were sadly typical of how our health insurance system used to work. at the time she was first
4:03 pm
diagnosed, she and her husband received health insurance through her husband's employer. her husband's an auto mechanic and worked for a small auto body shop. but though the insurance he got through his work was helpful for routine minor health care needs it was a bare-bones insurance policy as she explained it to me. it left her and her husband with extremely high co-pays that strained their family budget. naturally, her husband began looking for a new job that would provide better health insurance but this ended up being much more difficult than it seemed because transitioning to a new job often required accepting a large three-month gap in coverage a gap michelle just couldn't afford as insurance companies would then deny her care considering her cancer a preexisting condition. at one point during michelle's years of treatment her husband's employer switched health care plans and in the process missed one premium payment. suddenly, after months of having
4:04 pm
had steady, positive progress in her care, without any warning or notification michelle started getting bills not just small bills but huge bills a bill for $23,000 for radiation expenses. it took her months of going back and forth between employer and insurance company all the while as she's also trying to overcome her disease. before michelle and her husband got a straight answer about why they were suddenly facing these huge costs. now, let's step back for a second and just -- just imagine where she was. michelle has cancer. she is shuttling from chemo to radiation. her husband's working constantly to try and cover the high premiums, trying to get all the overtime they can and during this they're also going back and forth between employer and insurance company trying to figure out why this new high charge they can't afford has come from. meanwhile, michelle's husband's out looking for new jobs with better insurance struggling to find one because michelle would face discrimination and couldn't get coverage. the emotional strain on a family
4:05 pm
and a loved one battling cancer is enormous, almost unimaginable, but if you add to that the financial and the emotional stress caused by our relic of a health care insurance system of that time, it's unimaginable. yet this is the reality that michelle and her family faced. and unfortunately it's the reality that millions of americans used to face before the affordable care act. these problems all changed last year when the a.c.a.'s exchanges came on-line. and as michelle wrote to me, the a.c.a. open enrollment began and we couldn't get signed up quick enough. although it did take her a little while because the administration's web site had some problems she persevered and, as she said to me in her note, we have no problems now. we have what we need and we need what we have. mr. president, people like michelle are why democrats passed the affordable care act in the first place and it's because of the law that millions of americans now have access to quality and affordable health insurance that was once
4:06 pm
desperately out of reach for them. but the story is not complete. unless we are clear-eyed about where this law also falls short. as the president and many democrats have recognized any significant reform effort like the affordable care act is going to have weaknesses and unintended consequences that only become apparent after the law is being implemented and this has been true throughout our history with every major advance, and health care reform is no different. in delaware among the many whom the law has helped, i've also seen how some of these reforms and the costs they have incurred have hurt small businesses. to the small business owners that i've sat down and listened to their employees aren't labor costs or rows on a balance sheet, they're family. they've worked together for years and owners provide health insurance because they believe it's the right thing to do for the workers who helped their business grow. though many of the folks i've sat down and visited with aren't
4:07 pm
required to provide insurance because they've got fewer than 50 full-time workers, they still want to do so because it's the right thing to do. and it helps them incentivize and support their best employees. many though, are struggling today because of higher costs and the challenges that come with flaf navigating a changed insurance market. this year the biggest issue they've faced is how higher quality standards have also caused premiums to increase, often to unaffordable levels. this has been especially true for a small state like delaware, where there isn't a lot of competition in the provision of health care or in our insurance market. unfortunately, some of the increase is also due to insurance companies using the health care law as an excuse to charge more. some of it is also simply the result of plans that now cover more costing more. for the most part, that aspect isn't a bad thing but the affordable care act was designed to compensate for increased quality with financial assistance to those who can't afford it.
4:08 pm
in michelle reid's case this increased quality was great almost literally lifesaving. and it's for people like her that insurance plans now need to meet certain standards. in particular, that they can no longer discriminate against preexisting conditions. but we've also seen that even though there's assistance to many some individuals and some small businesses have fallen into gaps where they have to deal with higher costs and they're not getting the help they deserve. so mr. president here's why we are. the affordable care act has helped millions of americans and it also can be improved to help many more. when we talk about health care, it is simply dishonest to leave one side out when talking about both. in this new congress, i know many of my republican colleagues are eager to continue efforts of their colleagues in the house. in the majority, i know many will seek an opportunity to vote on repealing or dismantling the
4:09 pm
affordable care act but i would ask them for an answer to michelle reid and the many americans like her who have had their lives changed or even saved by this law. i know many of my democratic colleagues are as well eager to work together to improve our health care system to ensure small businesses can do the right thing and be successful and to ensure that no american gets left behind. we know this is possible. there's no reason to believe that we as a body lack the creativity, the drive and the ability to work together across the aisle on these important issues. surely there is much we can do to reduce cost through competition, to develop new and more efficient delivery systems and innovative payment models. the affordable care act took critical steps to move forward in each of these areas. millions more have health insurance and costs across our health care system have actually increased at the slowest rate in decades. for most, costs have been manageable or even decreased. but critical work remains. we now have the opportunity
4:10 pm
mr. president, to take the next steps to building a health care system that works for every american and it is my sincere hope that we can come together and to seize that opportunity. mr. president, with that, thank you, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in month rng business. morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: thank you sir. i also ask unanimous consent that jane soreneki, a coast guard fellow in my office, and ron gillette green a marine corps fellow in my office, be granted floor privileges during the first session of this 114th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: thank you mr. president. these will be my first remarks of the 114th congress. i am encouraged by the commitment of many of my
4:11 pm
colleagues, including the majority leader to restoring the senate as one of america's great institutions. it's time for us to get to work. we begin this congress with a number of urgent priorities not the least of which is job creation. more than 9 million americans are still unemployed and more significantly perhaps millions more have given up looking for work. the latest jobs report from the department of labor shows that the labor force participation rate is only 62.8% one of the lowest levels in 36 years. this number matters because it reflects the size of the u.s. work force. it reflects how many working working-aged americans have a job or are actively looking for one. now, mr. president, some people have suggested that we should take heart in the latest job
4:12 pm
figures that this points to an improving economy. i -- i disagree with that. i am not at all satisfied with these employment numbers and particularly with the fact that only 62% of eligible members of the labor force actually are choosing to participate. to me, as shrinking work force points to a weak economy. boosting the job market is important to boosting future economic growth. i look forward to working with my colleagues to advance job-creating legislation that has a positive impact on americans' daily lives. fortunately, dozens of job bills were passed during the last term of congress by the house of representatives. these ideas deserve consideration and debate in in chamber and i think these -- in this chamber and i think in the
4:13 pm
new congress, these ideas will receive that consideration. i'm aware that there's likely to be disagreement about the details, disagreement about the merits of some of the pro-growth ideas that have come over to us from the house of representatives. as well as proposals concerning energy and health care, to name a few. but resolving our differences is part of what makes this chamber and our country unique. in a floor speech early last year leader mcconnell said "i'm certain of one thing -- the senate can be better." and i think that's one of the messages from the american people in last november and last december's elections mr. president. the american people believe the senate can be better. we each have a responsibility and a role in making the senate better. we could start by legislating through the committee process
4:14 pm
and we've begun doing that already. instead of backroom deals pushed through at the last minute, which has been the order of the day in past years bills should be thoroughly debated and vetted first in committee and then on the senate floor. the issues of our day deserve that attention. forging consensus takes effort but that is how the senate is supposed to work. our consideration next week will demonstrate that this is a new day in the senate. and i look forward to being a part of the debate and the amendment process on the keystone x.l. pipeline proposal. offering amendments is a way in which each of us can have input on the legislation at hand input on behalf of our constituents, the people who sent us here. for too long, the amendment tree has been filled by the majority leader essentially limiting the
4:15 pm
right of every member to voice the concerns and opinions of the people they represent essentially limiting our rights to represent the people of our states who sent us here. and instead of a series of continuing resolutions we should return to the process of 12 separate appropriation bills. in doing so we can carefully assess federal spending and reduce waste and i think the american people sent that message to us also in november and december. the federal debt has reached unprecedented levels, forcing us to make tough decisions on how to do more with less. now, with regard to national defense, i look forward during the 114th congress to serving as chairman of the senate armed services subcommittee on sea power. our subcommittee has a wide
4:16 pm
range of oversight responsibilities including the procurement, sustainment and research and development needs of the navy and marine corps. from classified briefings and other hearings with senior officials in the navy and intelligence community i'm well aware of the imminent and emerging threats facing our sea services. america should maintain its ability to project power around the world while upholding our obligations to our friends and allies. our navy is now the smallest it has been since world war i mr. president. demanding i believe a robust investment in sea power. in the coming weeks the sea power subcommittee will hold hearings to determine whether the president's budget proposals for the department of the navy are sufficient to meet our national security requirements. following these hearings, we
4:17 pm
will draft a defense authorization bill to deliver important capabilities and support for our sailors and marines. this includes funding for construction of various types and classes of ships such as aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, submarines and large and small surface combatants. i would like to note that supporting the department of defense is best done when congress legislates under regular order. the republican-led senate should take up a defense authorization bill and a defense appropriation bill and we are committed to doing this. regular order will help provide our military planners with valuable budget predictability something they have suffered without in past years. and i was very pleat learn this week that chairman mccain
4:18 pm
plans for the armed services committee to marine up a defense authorization bill before memorial day. now, our committee did that under the leadership of senator levin last year, but where this senate fell down on its responsibilities that we didn't get the bill to the floor until december and then it was in a rushed unamendable form. our goal under regular order is for us to take up the bill on the floor this summer and have a conference report between the house and the senate reported before august. i am heartened that chairman mccain intends to do this, i'm heartened by the commitment of senator -- the distinguished majority leader that we will indeed take that legislation up before the end of the fiscal year. i should also observe that absent congressional action,
4:19 pm
budget sequestration will return to the defense department in october of this year. sequestration remains one of the greatest challenges facing our military. unless we take action, the ability of our military and our industrial base to react to unforeseen contingents will be severely eroded and there will be undoubtedly be unforeseen contingents. there are always unforeseen contingents -- contingencyies. and we'll be unprepared unless we take action. as a member of the armed services committee and the budget committee, i will work to help forge a bipartisan path so we can avert a return to the across-the-board the board defense cuts under sequestration and i am so pleased that a bipartisan task force within the armed services committee is already taking shape to discuss
4:20 pm
this. we'll begin to have discussions beginning monday and tuesday of next week. now, with regard to commerce, i also look forward to assuming the chairmanship of the subcommittee on communications, technology innovation, and the internet. my chief focus will continue to be the deployment and adoption of broadband in rural america something i'm interested in as a senator from mississippi something that the distinguished president pro tem is interested in as a senator from louisiana. broadband has become a vital economic engine in this country and around the world. in many ways the proliferation of the internet is likes the construction of the internet -- of the interstate highway system in 19 -- in the 1950's. we need to ensure that people in
4:21 pm
rural areas have the same quality broadband as those in urban areas. to that end our committee will continue to examine ways to foster broadband growth and development. we also need to find ways to make nor spectrum available for wireless which can help spur innovation and economic growth in the mobile broadband space. i also expect the senate this year mr. president to deal with legislation regarding the environmental protection agency and the obama administration's environmental executive overreach. the administration has proposed a litany of costly environmental rules targeting everything from coal fired power plants to small streams to small ponds many would cause significant economic harm and provide little or no
4:22 pm
help to the economy. no help to the the economy -- to the environment. but significant economic harm. by e.p.a.'s own estimates its recently proposed ground-level ozone rule could cost taxpayers as much as $44 billion per year making it the most expensive rule making to date. meanwhile e.p.a.'s clean power plant rule could lead to a loss of 224,000 jobs each year. these costs are staggering. i'm pleased that the final omnibus appropriation bill for fiscal year 2015 which was passed in december included limits on the controversial waters of the united states proposal which regulates small ponds and streams and puddles. however, i remain committed to ensuring that this rule not be implemented at all.
4:23 pm
by broadening the definition of waters of the united states, washington bureaucrats would potentially regulate puddles and ditches on farms and back yards. is this really what is necessary to protect the environment? is this really what the american people require? these regulations would have significant impact on the state of mississippi. our economic growth depends on agriculture, it depends on manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries. with each new environmental regulation, the administration is compounding the financial burden on the american people without delivering any environmental benefits. we can have clean air, we can have clean water without losing 224,000 jobs. we can have clean air and water without a cost of $44 billion per year for one single
4:24 pm
regulation. low cost and reliable energy is at the core of economic growth. economic gains from the abundance of affordable energy could be lost if these rules are allowed to be put into place. in an economy desperate for growth and -- a regulatory onslaught is the wrong way to encourage jobs and the investment. mr. president, the american people also want us to address the affordable care act. obamacare. and i was particularly interested in the thoughtful remarks of the senator from delaware who speak immediately before me. to me, the remarks of my distinguished colleague suggest that members on both sides of the aisle have heard the message from the american people from november and december and the elections.
4:25 pm
i think both sides recognize that the affordable care act is not affordable and, as a matter of fact, is causing great hardship and pain to the majority of american people. and so i'm glad to hear members on the other side of the aisle at least acknowledge that major, significant changes need to be made in obamacare. overall disapproval of the president's health care law is at an all-time high of 56%. americans are suffering under the law's mandates and taxes many are faced with a a financial burden of higher co-pays and deductibles. this is a reality. and i must say i appreciate the remarks of the distinguished senior senator from new york recently when he acknowledged that passing obamacare in the way this previous congress -- previous congresses did was a
4:26 pm
mistake, that most americans were satisfied with their coverage and it was a mistake to turn that entire system on its head to solve a problem which we very much needed to solve with regard to the uninsured and underinsured. there was a better way to provide health insurance to those individuals without disadvantaging the vast majority the vast majority of people who were satisfied with their health care and find themselves now in a much worse position. congress has a responsibility to ease the burden of obamacare by repealing the law's most onerous provisions. i would like to repeal the entire act and start over with some good aspects that we could incorporate into a better bill but also to start off with a better way to providing health care for americans and providing those who were uninsured with
4:27 pm
the opportunity to get insurance. at the very least, we should pass legislation restoring the 40-hour workweek. i hope this is one of the things that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are talking about, but i note, mr. president, that the president of the united states has threatened to veto affordable care act amendments that would restore something that has become very traditional in the united states, the 40-hour workweek. that is really surprising to me that it would be on that proposal that the president of the united states would say no, i will not even sign legislation to restore something as traditional as the 40-hour workweek. we need to repeal the medical device tax and clearly there are well over 60 votes in this body today to do just that. we need to exempt veterans from the employer mandate to provide relief to rural hospitals and
4:28 pm
repeal the health insurance tax. i hope we can do that and i hope the sounds i hear from the other side of the aisle indicate we can reach bipartisan consensus and send legislation to the president persuading him that there's such broad support for that that he should sign it. we can do better by the american people than the higher co-pays and higher deductibles. and the broken promises that they've received under the a.c.a. americans were flatly told if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. that turned out to be a promise that the administration could not or would not keep. if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. turned out that the administration was not able to make good on that promise. we can do better, mr. president. with regard to the federal budget the national debt now exceeds $18 trillion.
4:29 pm
during the next ten years interest payments on the debt will be the fastest growing budget expenditure. interest on the debt will be the fastest growing expenditure more than tripling to $800 billion. put in perspective one out of every seven tax dollars taken in by the government will be used to service the federal debt. wise -- why is regular order important in this regard? in returning to regular order the senate republicans will enact a budget resolution each year as required by law. we haven't done this. the law requires it but somehow congress has waived this requirement for themselves. this contrasts sharply for the last five years the democratic-led senate passed only one budget. and as a result congress has not adopted a joint budget resolution since 2009. this will change in this new day
4:30 pm
of congress. under the previous majority, spending bills were not brought to the floor to be debated. budget laws were routinely waived or ignored and there has been no plan whatever for finally bringing the federal budget under control. these are facts. we need to change that and i hope we'll do so in this congress. in conclusion, mr. president we have plenty of work to do. people in my state of mississippi like most americans expect results from this congress. the challenges of our economy the importance of our national defense and the negative impact of intrusive executive overreach are too great not to address. we need to meet the expectation of the american people in this regard. the distinguished majority leader reminded us earlier this week that americans want a government that works one that
4:31 pm
functions with efficiency and accountability competence and purpose. i believe we can do that, but it will take a return to regular order. it will take faith in the committee process. it will take faith in returning this institution to functioning the way the founders intended it and it will take meaningful legislation. it's time to put the priorities of the american people first. thank you mr. president. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
4:32 pm
4:33 pm
4:34 pm
4:35 pm
4:36 pm
4:37 pm
4:38 pm
4:39 pm
4:40 pm
4:41 pm
4:42 pm
4:43 pm
4:44 pm
4:45 pm
quorum call:
4:46 pm
4:47 pm
4:48 pm
4:49 pm
4:50 pm
4:51 pm
4:52 pm
4:53 pm
4:54 pm
4:55 pm
4:56 pm
4:57 pm
4:58 pm
4:59 pm
5:00 pm
quorum call:
5:01 pm
5:02 pm
5:03 pm
5:04 pm
5:05 pm
5:06 pm
5:07 pm
5:08 pm
5:09 pm
5:10 pm
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i've ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to consideration of s. con. res. 2, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. con. res. 2 authorizing the use of emancipation hall in the capitol visitors's center and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the concurrent resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table.
5:11 pm
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to consideration of s. res. 23, submitted he willier today. -- earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 23 making majority party appointments for the 114th congress. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to consideration of s. res. 24. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 2 24 recognizing the 150th anniversary of bowie state university. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous
5:12 pm
consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until:30 a.m. tomorrow -- until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, friday january 9. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask unanimous consent that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.
5:13 pm
why is the keystone though one of the first to come up in congress and the effort in the house? >> guest: thanks for having me. keystone is the first bill to come up because since after the midterms last year the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said it was the first item that he wanted to send to president
5:14 pm
obama's desk although there would likely be a veto but republicans want to push the president on this and they now finally have the votes to pass it through all of congress and now in the house the bill is cosponsored by representatives upton and sessions so they are scheduled to vote on the bill on friday. >> it's not only one of the first to come up that would've the last they don't with -- adult with supporting it. what's different in the house and is there anything different in terms of the democratic the measure in the house? >> i wouldn't say that there is anything different in the house when it comes to the democrats but will vote for or against the bill. the ones that are opposed in the house are sticking to that line of the ones that the representatives who are not onboard with this bill and never have been and don't plan on changing their votes at all.
5:15 pm
>> they didn't issue a veto threat. what do they specifically object to in the keystone bill? >> the reason is that they felt those were convinced the ongoing process and the state department and that this is an administrative review. but the president is the one that had the authority to say whether or not this pipeline is in the best interest of the nation because it crosses the border from canada into the u.s. and so they also are upset because there's ongoing litigation right now in nebraska and they want that to be able to be resolved before the state department issued a final recommendation to the president. >> host: on the senate side of things you covered the energy markup on the bill with the headline in the hill today advance the keystone bill 13-9 votes. on the keystone pipeline they
5:16 pm
say that it is going through the process for six years it still got through the process. americans won world war ii in a short amount of time for a democrat joe manchin of west virginia, you said the keystone piece of bread was not the way that a democracy works. it was a bipartisan debate or support for the measure? >> guest: there was only one that voted for the bill and that was the senator mentioned mansion. there were a number of democrats that were on the bill. there's a total of nine that are behind it, six perco sponsors and only one of them is on the committee. the senate energy committee that you were talking about. and the rest of the democrats voted against the measure. >> host: perhaps it is too far down the road to look at this but assuming it passes the house and senate atlanta president's desk and he vetoes the bill
5:17 pm
while the senate have the votes to override the veto? >> guest: that is a tricky one because right now with all of the democrats that the senators say support the bill there are 63 that are behind the keystone building to get to the president's desk so that means they have a filibuster majority but it's good to be a hard push to get it to the 67 that is needed and even if that were to happen but house doesn't have the votes to be able to override the president's veto. >> host: energy and environmental report can read more at the hill.com and follow her on twitter. thanks for the update. >> guest: thank you.
5:18 pm
>> nancy pelosi was asked at a news briefing about senator boxer's retirement and here's what she had to say. >> she called me and said he wanted up to me personally. i thought she may be wanted to have dinner tonight or something. >> her decision is an important one for her and her family. it is all important and individual.
5:19 pm
senator boxer has been such a champion for the people of california and indeed for the entire country. she has -- i've always had a senator boxer but this will sound this'll sound like an oxymoron to you but she is one of the most unselfish politicians that i've ever known a. she has always shared her ideas. she has always shared the credit and she's always try to help people succeed with their ideas. she has reached across the aisle. she's reached across the state which is a glorious state. as she goes she will be here the next two years but isn't a
5:20 pm
difference but she has made in the environment and respect for the men and women in uniform she is a great leader for the country small in size but the giant in the contribution in the country. god plus her for her decision. my granddaughter just took her grandson out further they were born a couple of months apart so they were very close from a family standpoint. as senator boxer had a shower
5:21 pm
for my daughter, christine four days ago, five days ago that would be six years and then the next day her daughter had the baby, sawyer. so they are very close in age and the family celebrations have been together over time so it is a close personal friendship and of course i wish the best for her in that regard personally. officially. i think it is a big loss for the country that she knows her but she knows her timetable. thank you all very much.
5:22 pm
>> friends colleagues countrymen, especially the people of ohio in the eighth congressional district, thank you for sending me here. and let's today welcome all of the new members and all of the families to what we all know to be a truly historical day. >> today is an important day for our country. many senators, 13 for the first time and a new republican majority accepted its new responsibility. we recognize the enormity of the task, we know a lot of hard work of faith and we know many important opportunities await as well.
5:23 pm
>> the senate voted 93-for her to renew the terrorism risk insurance program also know in as tree a. of the bill already passed the house of representatives and now heads on onto president of him and extends extend the terrorism risk insurance program for six years. part of the bill would change the rules from the dodd frank financial reform law dealing with the regulation of the derivatives trading. massachusetts senator elizabeth warren proposed an amendment to the bill that would keep the current rules on the derivatives trading. here is some of the de- bait on that insurance program. >> i ask that the call be lifted.
5:24 pm
>> without objection. >> i have an amendment at the desk and ask for its consideration. >> the clerk will report the amendment. >> the senator for herself proposes an amendment number one. strike all after the acting calls and insert the following. >> mr. president, i ask consent for their reading of the the amendment to be dispensed with. >> without objection. >> after 9/11, the congress passed tria to make sure developers could afford the high cost against the possibility of a devastating terrorist attack. this is a buildup for the people that build up a taller sort of the tallest buildings in the world can tria is a critical program that helps drive economic development and create jobs. last july senate democrats were united in supporting a bill that
5:25 pm
would reauthorize tria and establish a national association of registered agents and brokers the bill passed with 93 votes and senate negotiators reached a compromise in the house on both tria that the 11th hour the top republicans packed on a provision that would roll back the unrelated provision in dodd frank and then they left town for the year knowing the senate would either have to swallow the change order was tria expire. at the same though, the compromise with the extra change attached to it is currently being debated in the senate. we have seen this before at the end of the last congress the house republicans tapped back the low bailout provision in dodd frank onto the on to the must pass bill. that rollback was literally
5:26 pm
written by lobbyists for the giant bank citigroup was a wall street giveaway plain and simple. it made our financial system less safe and it increased the chances of another taxpayer bailout. also the biggest banks in the country could rake in more profit. but it passed the house and then the house (-left-paren and the only way to stop it here in the senate would have been to shut the government down. now once again the house has attached a change to a must pass piece of legislation. whatever your views on the substance of the proficient but of us should endorse the tactics that house republicans have used to try to achieve this change. while some might find this particular change desirable or unobjectionable, that may not be the case with other changes that were public when they decided to strap onto import and must pass
5:27 pm
bill. if we fail to challenge the cynical strategy now it will only encourage republicans to pull the financial regulations apart piece by piece. just over four years ago, every democrat voted for dodd frank as a necessary response to the worst financial crisis in generations. republicans have no hidden their intention to try to undo these basic financial reforms. we cannot have that debate if we permit the republicans to attach financial reform rollbacks to the must-have pieces of legislation like the government funding bills and the tria reauthorization bill. that's why we are offering a substitute amendment that
5:28 pm
reflects the original compromise between the house and the senate. on the amendment that includes the compromise language on tria but it omits the change. although the amendment is fully consistent with the vote of 93 senators took last july, the vote in favor of the clean reauthorization of tria and establishment for that reason i'm hopeful that it would pass and that it will show a clean bill and that we can debate this provision separately. i'm also hopeful the senate democrats in particular will support it on the principle that the senate expects the house to honor the results of the good-faith negotiations and will not support the procedural tricks to tackle into the changes to be unrelated must pass bills that matter what the
5:29 pm
changes might be. the treasury department supports this amendment if here's what they said. we support a long-term renewal of tria given the important role that it plays in the national security and economy while making sensible reforms to further reduce the taxpayer exposure. it is unfortunate that some are attempting to use the legislation to modify the reform act. we support the substitute amendment that represents the bicameral, bipartisan tria contrabass from last year that would have diverted any lapses in the program. i agree with the president. i voted for tria and being in kennedy and was one of 93 senators that voted in the senate floor debate about i cannot support the wall street reform rollbacks through these hostage tactics so if we are able to pass the amendment that i would also vote no on the
5:30 pm
bill. thank you mr. president and i suggest the absence of a quorum. >> it is my understanding that hr 26 has been reported to the floor and we have two hours of debate divided; is that correct? >> the time is equally divided. >> thank you mr. president. it is my pleasure today to rise to speak in favor of hr 26 with the terrorism, risk insurance program reauthorization act or what is more popularly known as the tria legislation. during the last congress by colleagues and i worked hard to put together a bipartisan bill that gained wide support. however literally in the waning hours of the session we were unable to complete the work at the end of the last congress and i'm very glad to see the fiscal legislation has been moved promptly by the house of representatives and again promptly today in the senate to move forward and finalize it.
5:31 pm
i particularly want to thank the majority leader for bringing the bill to the floor so quickly because the reauthorization of the tria program is the sensual for the certainty that we need in our insurance marketplace and for other important functions in our markets. i also want to recognize some of the senators that have been involved in this in the past. there are many that can be named, but in particular i think we need to recognize that senator on the republican side. and senator schumer and senator reid on the democratic side. senator brown the new ranking member on the democratic side and many others that have worked to help us move this legislation forward. additionally, i want to give thanks to the former chairman of the banking committee chairman johnson and his staff who deserve a great amount of thing is as they have worked with us very closely moving this bill forward and of course my own staff on the republican side who have put in so much time and effort to make sure that we got
5:32 pm
this important legislation moved over the finishing line. working together we developed a bill that was supported unanimously out of the banking committee. in what was a very partisan environment that we can all recall from the last congress. and we then approved it in the senate by a vote of 93-4. showing the broad bipartisan support that has been developed for this legislation. building on the senate framework, the house passed their own version last congress by an overwhelming vote of 417-7. and yesterday, in this new congress, the house again voted by a margin of 416-5 to extend the program another six years. the legislation that is currently before us here in the senate. these strong vote to demonstrate the importance of this program. the chairman of the representative senator schumer
5:33 pm
and others deserve thanks for bringing the differences to focus and getting us to this point. this bill requires that the private insurance industry absorbed and cover the losses for all but the largest act of terror. one in which the federal government will almost certainly be forced to step in if this program were not in place. the bill increases the the insurance industries aggregate retention level and the companies coinsurance level meaning that it increases the participation of the private sector in responding to the insurance issues created by an act of terrorism in the united states but still provides the stability of the market needs to ensure that there is coverage and protection. once it reaches that level the recruitment will be indexed to the amount of deductibles for all insurers participating in the program. this is a significant reduction in the potential exposure and costs to taxpayers.
5:34 pm
under this bill each company will take on a greater portion of losses above their deductible this is done by increasing the coinsurance from 15 to 20% and by raising the level at which the program is triggered from a hundred million dollars to $200 million. as these levels are increased, the federal share is reduced. this bill maintains the amendment offered by the senator to create an advisory committee focused on finding additional private sector solutions to lowering the federal exposures from a catastrophic terrorist incident in the united states. getting terrorism risk insurance right is imported in order to protect taxpayers and limit the economic and physical impact of any future terrorist attack on the united states. this bill will help us maintain a it properly balanced servers at risk insurance program that
5:35 pm
increases the nations economic resilience to the terrorism. the bill also includes a separate legislation that will establish the national association of registered agents and brokers or what is commonly known as narap. i've been a cosponsor because it simplifies the process of the agent licensing across the state lines. while preserving the state's right specifically the authority of the state insurance regulators. the bill has broad support from the insurance community including the national association of insurance commissioners the independent insurance agents and brokers of america by the national association of insurance and financial advisors and by counsel of insurance agents and brokers. by reducing the costs and increasing the competition among insurance producers, we will generate lower costs and better service for consumers.
5:36 pm
"complete -- importantly we deal specifically with marketplace entry and wouldn't impact the state day-to-day authority over the insurance marketplaces. state regulators will serve on the board with the same objectives they have as insurance commissioners to protect the public interest by promoting the fair and equitable treatment of insurance consumers. the idea is now 14-years-old and i am very glad to see that we are now going to bid across the finish line. the final bill also includes the amendment that was added in the senate to require that the federal reserve board had at least one member with experience working in or supervising the community banks. finally the bill also includes a very critical reform to the dodd
5:37 pm
frank financial legislation. this has commonly been referred to as the end-user amendment issue. a piece of legislation that historically has also received wide bipartisan support. this is a targeted at sky have been pushing for over four years. ever since the conference there has been a debate regarding whether the nonfinancial end-users were exempt from the margin requirements. most americans won't really understand the details of these kinds of transactions if they are not involved in the derivative industry. but it is critical that we allow the end-users, those that produce products or provide services to those are the ones who are accusing the financial system and the benefits it can provide to get productive additions to the economy and that they not be subjected to the requirements that were put into place to control the
5:38 pm
financial sector dealings and derivatives. then chairman and and on into senator lincoln acknowledged the language for the end-users was not perfect and try to clarify the intent of a joint letter. in the letter they stated the legislation doesn't authorize the margins on the end-users. those entities that use the hedges to mitigate commercial risk. if regulators raise the cost of the end-user transactions they may create more risk. it is imperative that the regulators do not unnecessarily diapered working capital from our economy into the margin accounts in a way that would discourage hedging by end-users or impair economic growth. and i might add to that quote from the senators that it would also increase cost in the marketplace to consumers. stand-alone legislation passed
5:39 pm
the house to fix this problem last congress with 411 votes broad bipartisan support. in the senate legislation to deal with the end-user programs introduced originally by a bipartisan group of six democrats and six republicans. congressional intent was to provide an explicit extension of the margin requirements from margin requirements from the nonfinancial end-users that qualified for the exemption which this language accomplishes unless congress acts the new regulations would make it more expensive for farmers manufacturers for energy producers and many small-business owners across the country to manage their own unique business risks associated in their dalia operations. an unintended and harmful consequence of the language in the dodd frank legislation i
5:40 pm
mentioned in my earlier statement this bill had has the support of 93 senators in the last congress. the final bill before us today passed the house by an overwhelming vote of 416-5. again i encourage all of the senators to vote for the legislation that we have before us today and hope this first piece of legislation in the senate and the congress gets a quick resolution so we can resolve one or two or three of the critical issues facing our economy today, help strengthen our economy and promote jobs and increase our movement along the pathway towards economic recovery. again i want to thank senator schumer, senator reid, senator kirk and senator heller for their partnership in bringing the bill forward. thank you mr. chairman and i yield the floor. >> the senator from ohio.
5:41 pm
>> to speak on hr 36 the terrorism risk insurance program reauthorization i appreciate and enjoy the relationship that we have had over the last eight years as a joint the banking committee and he was already a relatively better member of the committee and very knowledgeable and very straightforward and fair and i appreciate his work especially in this legislation also. i support the authorization of the insurance program. i did not want it to expire. many of us on both sides of the aisle worked to try to get this reenacted in december. unfortunately because of the partisan gains in the house of representatives that didn't happen. that's why i voted for the reauthorization in the banking committee last year and they supported the bill in the full senate that passed in july as the senator said by the vote of 93-for.
5:42 pm
it made important reforms in order to gain bipartisan support but it's still provided long-term certainty to the marketplace but what was unfortunate was the house republicans were unable to embrace a bill similar to immigration if you will that had broad bipartisan support. they waited until the last days to engage the effort to reauthorize something that is dangerous if it goes on authorized. it can be dangerous if unauthorized and we are going to be able to move today to get this to the president very quickly and at least protect our cities and communities and the people. while they agree it went further than i would have liked. it represents a compromise something that we don't see enough of. alternately though, that's what the user provision that was
5:43 pm
added by the house leadership to the bill at the last moment was not a compromise. it was moving in a different direction. it was a weakening and it wasn't was and the way that this congress or any congress should proceed. that end user provision didn't go through the regular order in the senate and the committee held no hearings, no markups to consider the merits and disability never brought to the senate floor to be debated. that's what people whether it is in florida or idaho or ohio is legislation that needs to pass and there is strong bipartisan across-the-board almost unanimous support in that special interest groups get provisions in that don't belong there and that were never debated or discussed. that provision is controversial and it overrides the regulators
5:44 pm
proposed rules and prevents future regulatory flexibility and allows another avenue for the derivatives risk to build up in the financial system. these actions have been inserting this provision and the legislation was overwhelming almost unanimously in adding to these kind of provisions. it's not the way that we should be legislating and it begs the question did we learn nothing less than a decade ago when we know what happened to our financial system and agreed on wall street and the pain it caused on main street in columbus and cleveland was pretty hard to measure. the financial crisis exposed risk in all areas of the wall street reform the target dangerous exposure to the system by strengthening protections using the marginal requirements. under wall street reform the commercial end-users are exempt from the requirements and
5:45 pm
regulators have provided them with accommodation and the requirements recognizing that this is a related needed to the companies. the end-user legislation added to the bill but it goes above and beyond the existing law and rule making and can tie their hands in the future with excessive risk were to develop the less exposed financial system and the taxpayers to do more harm. one example that the end user provision can cut both ways. two days before they quoted the major airlines including the delta and southwest are rushing to the best of the crumbling fuel prices gave them with billions of dollars of losses according to people in the scheme. we know that most of us are thrilled in the price of gas in the pump going down significantly below $2 a gallon. we know there are other people that are less thrilled as the
5:46 pm
story illustrates with d-delta and southwest. we know that the economy of texas and north dakota have had problems because the oil revenue decline. we know all that but we also know that when you act provisions like this that are not deleted and are not discussed to have unforeseen consequences. within seven years after the financial crisis we shouldn't forget the risks involved should its not forget the crisis on the consumers and investors and taxpayers and the financial system as a whole. what we do here has an impact in a law and in cleveland and it's important that we really do understand what we are doing by going through regular order. this is just the latest republican effort to roll back the reform. in december we know the same cast of characters attached to the repeal of section 716 to the end of the year spending bill.
5:47 pm
yesterday they try and thankfully failed to pass the bill consisting of 11 smaller bills that included attempts to weaken a number of important dodd frank provisions. i am concerned. i don't like the way that this has been done today. but but madame president we have seen this movie before and we will keep seeing it over and over again. this seems to be the new wall street playbook and it seems to be the new republican playbook. i hope it isn't the senate leadership playbook where you take a pill that most people have pretty much overwhelming support and to help wall street and wall street lobbyists get provisions and they can weaken the consumer protections. consumer protections were the rules on wall street that would keep it safe us safer so that we don't have to have another federal bailout. i yield the floor.
5:48 pm
>> the senator from new york. ischemic madame president, first i want to thank my colleagues who are here today. senator brown this is his first day in a session as the ranking member and it is clear to all of us in the caucus that he's going to be a hard-working, she enters member and i look forward to working with him and congratulate him on his new position. i want to thank my good friend who will be leaving as ranking member. we had at the new ranking member and the former ranking member and i wish that were not the case but so be it. it's been just a pleasure to work with you on this bill and so many other bills. so i appreciate his hard work as well. i rise today in support of reauthorize and terrorism risk insurance program. the purpose that has brought me to the floor of the body several times in the last year.
5:49 pm
we all know what a crucial piece of legislation tria is for our country. it should be reauthorized without the attempts of point scoring that we have seen through the several months. but the good news is that it will pass today. and millions of americans can breathe a sigh of relief not just those that ensure buildings and inshore buildings and build buildings but those that work in buildings. office workers restaurant workers those that work in shopping centers, sports fans those that care of having new stadiums. all of these depend on terrorism risk insurance. we all know the history. when my city was devastated people couldn't get the financing to build new buildings and the insurers said the damage
5:50 pm
from terrorism both the loss of life and property damage is so great that they were not going to end sure without a federal backstop. and in a bipartisan way we came together in 2002 and passed the tria bill and it helped curtail the economy for the last decade because some on the other side are not sure that this should be a government function we couldn't make it permanent. it would be a lot better if we could, but we extended it for periods of years and it came to pass that it expired on december 31 of this last year in 2014. in the senate here though i was proud to sponsor senators murphy and jack kamas menendez kirk
5:51 pm
we anticipated no problem and the bill passed 93-for. senators from bernie sanders to ted cruz voted for it and everyone thought it worked. it hasn't cost the government and nickel. it will pass easily but unfortunately it got caught up in the machinations of the house and there were some on the house but didn't want this terrorism insurance at all and some were extremely reluctant. i will say this ibb the speaker and majority leader understood the importance of this and i worked with them in the later months of last year to try to get a bill done. and at the end of the day i was able to negotiate a bill with the chairman of the house banking committee who was a
5:52 pm
reluctant supporter of terrorism insurance and to come up with a proposal that made some changes but kept the program intact. it was a good compromise that is before us here today. it's a little different than the original bill and it extends us for six years. the hundred million dollars limit has been raised to 200, but still the program can function very well under these proposals embody brought it early in the session, i'm glad it passed the house and i'm glad that hopefully by the end of today it will be moving to the president's desk that there is one sour note in all of this and that is the attempt and i agree
5:53 pm
completely with my colleague from ohio, the ranking member mr. brown that the idea to add extraneous measures to this provision is wrong. my view dodd frank strengthened the financial banking system in this country. the loose regulatory regime that was in place before everyone agreed cost the worst financial collapse that we have seen since the great depression. there are some on the other side i understand who disagree with that view and that is something that will obviously be subject to debate. but to attach a provision at the last minute which is what the house of david the end of last year, put it on the bill and said take it or leave it that is wrong and unfair and i think every fair-minded person whatever their view is what feel that we should debate an
5:54 pm
important amendment, any amendment that would roll back parts of dodd frank given the fact that most everyone who's looked at it has bought today has been a success. so that plus the change in the provision which my colleagues have mentioned that to some problems. we on the democratic side while we do not like the rollback of the end-user provision even last year we were not prepared to stop the bill from going forward but the change that they changed our house republican colleagues made was blocked by a republican senator coburn and at the last minute in the waning hours of the session it was stymied. now today senator coburn might your friend i wish him the best of health.
5:55 pm
he is not here. he wasn't here to object to the unanimous consent request that was made in a bipartisan way. and so, we were voting on this bill. but the bottom line is simple. republicans monkeyed around with a bipartisan compromise to earn a pound of flesh and what in with a new is a must pass piece of legislation. i'm glad it won't kill the bill but it never should have been there to begin with and the amendments that will be proposed will allow many on this side of the aisle that belief in tria but didn't want to see it at the last minute a rollback of dodd frank albeit one of the smaller rollbacks that have been proposed to ride on the back of the important anti-terrorism proposal using the must pass on
5:56 pm
related legislation to chip away at that piece by piece even small pieces like the end-user provision even in the committee process is not how we should go about the business of conserving the important regulations on financial services and i joined the ranking member brown and saying that shouldn't happen in the future and we should do everything to stop it from happening. the good news is in this new session there were attempts by some on the republican side to dilute the tradition further. from what i'm told the chairman wanted to dilute it further to start the negotiations that we had. i want to thank the republican leadership for not allowing that to happen. and so the same basic compromise that the chairman and i negotiated in the hours of the last year's session will be on
5:57 pm
the floor today and it will not be weakened any further. so mr. president i'm proud of the compromise but congressmen and i reached on the substance. i am hopeful we can pass a bill without the extraneous issues and i certainly bb that it should be signed into law as quickly as possible because we all know that if we do not have terrorism insurance it is going to greatly hurt our economy is. the damage has been minimized because most of the insurance have 30 to 60 day notice provisions. so there has been no affect up until now. but if we do go any further i think it affects no one who cares about jobs or cares about working people or cares about
5:58 pm
new construction in america would want to account. so mr. president, madam president, excuse me i'm glad that it will pass today. our country needs it and i want to think again we worked hard to do this and i hope we will not find what happened today happening again which is adding extraneous rollbacks without the debate and discussion to the future legislation. i note the absence.
5:59 pm
>> i ask unanimous consent that the colby vitiated. >> without objection. >> i don't see another speaker on our side right now so i would like to take a few moments and just respond to some of the remarks of my colleagues. >> the senator from idaho. >> first let me say i'm very pleased to see that we have strong support across the aisle on a bipartisan basis for three of the key parts of the decision. the reauthorization of the terrorism risk and insurance program for the insurance industry. it appears the focus of the debate or the disagreement between us today is going to come down to that part of the bill that deals with the end-user exemption under the legislation so i would like to talk about that for a little bit
6:00 pm
to strengthen wall street at the expense of main street the reality is just the reverse .. protect us against wall street. let me explain what i mean. derivatives -- and i'm reading right now from a summary of the house bill, which is the version of the language we're going to be voting on today and i will be reading some and summarizing some. but derivatives are contracts whose value is linked to changes in another variable, such as the price of a physical commodity. my colleague from ohio, senator brown, referenced delta airlines who buys contracts for fuel for their airplanes and they do this in order to hedge the risk on the price of fuel, and it's a critical part of their risk management for their business. other businesses,

31 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on