tv U.S. Senate CSPAN October 29, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT
want to set an example, who want to say that we have got to end the murders and the violence that we're seeing in our country and all over the world should in fact be on the side of those of us who believe that we must end capital punishment in this country. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want to take a few minutes to talk about an issue that's very important to me and that is the care of our nation's veterans. as the daughter of a world war ii veteran, i realize what it means for a family member to be willing to sacrifice their life for their country. we promise our men and women in uniform the country will be there for them after they leave service and sometimes that means long after the war is over. but i'm concerned our country is about to turn its back on thousands of veterans and i'm here today to say we have to fix
it. last year the v.a. told homeless service providers that they needed to cut off services to certain veterans who had other than honorable discharges or had not served a certain length of time. if that policy had been enacted, it would have been a major setback for veterans across the country. it would have set us back on our goal of ending veteran homelessness, a goal the administration has set for itself and hundreds of mayors across the country have committed to. it would have been simply unacceptable. these are veterans who need our support. many of them struggle with mental illness and substance abuse or simply finding employment. according to some of our leading veterans and homeless groups, including the american legion, the national alliance to end homelessness, the national low-income housing coalition, and the national coalition for homeless veterans, if the policy was enacted, the v.a. would have had to stop serving about 15% of
the homeless veteran population. and in some urban areas, up to 30% of homeless veterans would be turned away. so, mr. president, thankfully after hearing concern from around the country, including from my home state of washington, the v.a. was able to put off that terrible policy change. but unfortunately the v.a. is now expected to announce their final decision any day that the reprieve is over and they're going to have to go ahead with this change and force homeless providers to turn away veterans who have nowhere else to go, veterans whose providers have been serving them for decades. that is just wrong. this policy change would be heartless. it's a bureaucratic move that would put thousands of veterans on the street practically overnight and it has to be stopped. now, mr. president, the v.a. is going to enact this policy when the final decision is made so congress needs to act now to stop this from happening.
earlier this year i introduced the homeless veteran service protection act. that's a bill that wean sure our most vulnerable veterans would be assured continued access to critical homeless service and programs, regardless of their discharge status or length of service. in other words, it fixes the problem the v.a. says it has and makes sure they do not have to cut off homeless veterans from care. my bill will make it clear that our country takes care of those who've served and that we do not allow bureaucracy to dictate who gets a roof over their head and who does not. but it is critical that we act now. the v.a. has said this -- it would issue this legal decision in november which could put thousands of veterans on the street. so we're running out of time, but the solution to this crisis is now before us and we can do it by passing the homeless veterans service protection act. mr. president, i don't believe there's any member of this body who would deny our obligation to ensure that veterans are taken
care of and have a roof over their head. and while our country's made great strides in recent years providing homeless services to the men and women who so bravely served our country, i believe that even one veteran sleeping on our streets in the united states is one too many. so we know we have a lot of work ahead of us. veterans are at a greater risk of becoming homeless than nonveterans, and on any given night, as many as 50,000 veterans are homeless here in this country. and with an influx of veterans now returning from the wars in iraq and afghanistan, the numbers of veterans seeking care will continue to go up. so in short, this problem is not going away. our veterans have made great sacrifices serving our country. we cannot turn our backs on them when they come home. that commitment includes provision benefits, medical ca care, support and assistance to prevent homelessness. and it is a commitment that shouldn't stop simply because we
have run into a policy roadblock. i am very pleased to call this up now with the heller amendme amendment, which is the text of s. 1105. it's a bill that i strongly support. the provision will increase the availability of care for homeless veterans with children by reimbursing facilities funded by the v.a. grant and per diem program. and i want to thank senator heller for his leadership on this issue. i want to thank senator isakson and senator blumenthal for their leadership as the head of the veterans' affairs committee and for their support in being here today. so, mr. president, i'm hoping democrats and republicans join us today to right this wrong and prevent this problem from happening. it shouldn't be a partisan issue. it's not a political issue. this is a veterans' issue and it's one that should bring us all together. so, mr. president, with that, i ask unanimous consent the veterans' affairs committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 1731, and
the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 1731, a bill to amend title 38, united states code, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mrs. murray: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the heller amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president.mr. president, i want to thank senator heller, senator isakson and the other members who worked so hard with this. and with that, i would like to yield some time to the senator from nevada. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: mr. president, thank you. and i want to thank senator murray for her efforts here today and for her willingness to work with me on including a provision that we worked together on for several years now as members of the senate
veterans' affairs committee. senator murray's legislation ensures that homeless veterans continue to be eligible for the v.a.'s grant and per diem program. with my provision that senator murray has agreed to include, this legislation will also extend this eligibility to the dependents of homeless veterans. given the work that i've done with senator murray on eligibility for homeless veterans' dependents, i believe it was important we address both the needs of the veteran as well as their dependents. in cities like las vegas, where veterans homelessness remains a serious problem, the support of housing service centers who receive v.a. funding are absolutely critical in getting these veterans back on their feet. not only do the programs provide housing but they also offer services such as case manageme management, education, crisis intervention and other service to special populations and important populations such as homeless women's veterans. this congress has a responsibility to ensure that
existing veterans under this program remain eligible but also that dependents of veterans, especially their children, are taken care of when their veteran parents have fallen on hard times. that's why i introduced the care for veterans dependent act with senator murray to make dependents eligible for care at v.a. funded facilities. these children and their parents deserve the certainty that they'll be able to access supportive housing during their serious time of need. i'm proud that we're able to move towards -- move forward on this measure, which was just accepted recently, as a few moments ago by unanimous consent. senator murray and i have a proud history of working together to advocate on behalf of our nation's veterans and today's passage of this legislation is another testament to our strong partnership on behalf of veterans. i'm also grateful to the chairman of the committee, chairman isakson, and ranking member blumenthal of the senate veterans' affairs committee for working so diligently with us to make this happen.
thank you, mr. president. i yield back to the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, as the proud parent of a wonderful daughter and the proud grandparent of three wonderful granddaughters, like so many others, i was proud of the u.s. women's national team and their historic world cup victory. i'm even more proud when on tuesday i saw them at the white house with president obama. i know all americans are so proud of this well-earned honor. and the reason why so many americans are proud of it is that earlier this year, with more than 25 million americans
watching, this electrifying group of athletes led the united states to a record -- a record -- third world cup title. we all cheered this, but then along with a lot of other americans, i was surprised to learn the united states women's team, even though the -- even though they were enormous receipts from the tv coverage of this, they received just $2 million for winning the women's world cup. the 2014 men's world cup winners were awarded $35 million. so the women win, it's $2 million. men win, it's $35 million. to make it even worse, the men's team that lost in the first round of the 2014 men's world cup were awarded $8 million. so in other words, you lose, you get $8 million.
if you're a woman and you win, you get $2 million. that's really not acceptable. i can't imagine anybody finding it acceptable. so i wanted to raise some awareness of this. i introduced a senate resoluti resolution. i called on soccer's international governing body, fifa, to eliminate its discriminatory prize award structure. it highlights the gross pay disparity in their award structure. it calls for immediate change. all democrats support this call. now, i've heard some opponents of an equal prize award structure in sports who say, oh, no, we must pay men more than women, point to revenue as the reason behind this disparity. revenue can't be accepted as a
means for discrimination. awards should not be determined by gender. that's why major sporting events, including the u.s. open tennis championships and wimbledon changed their prize award structure to ensure that both female and male athletes are treated with the same dignity and respect they deserve. this proud father and grandfather feels of course -- y sons and daughters should be treated the same, my grandsons and granddaughters should be treated the same. in fact, that's why the u.s. women's national team was rightly honored with a ticker tape parade and magazine covers for each player and their head coach by "sports illustrated." these athletes were recognized at the white house on tuesday and are global icons. not just here in america but around the world they're recognized. they're role models to young
athletes and fans everywhere. but this includes fans like 13-year-old aila ledlow. she wrote to president obama and the first lady after the women's world cup and she said, "it makes me mad that people do not treat girls equally." well, i agree. it's time to recognize all athletes for their contribution, not make women second-class citizens. so i think taking an overdue but important step toward pay equity would send a resounding message not just to women and girls but also to men and boys around the world. equal pay for equal work should not just be an ideal we talk about but a reality. i call on this side of the ais aisle, we feel -- again, i repeat, the 2014 men's world c cup, the men's team that lost
were awarded $8 million. the women's team who were watched worldwide as they won, $2 million. and the men who did win, $35 million. i cannot imagine anybody that could stand up for that kind of disparity and treat men so much differently and so much better than women. these are athletes who work so hard from the time they're young on to be the best of the best. they made america proud, but i think we make america a little ashamed if we don't stand up and say we want them treated the same as men. so i'm going to ask unanimous consent the help committee be
discharged from further consideration of h. res. 222, the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. that's the resolution calling on the fifa to pay the same. the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, but no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, reserving the right to object, and i listened carefully to the distinguished senator's comments. gender discrimination is wrong, all of us know that. in the united states, we have enacted laws about sports and workplace to make sure that we reflect that. i support those laws, but we have a budget to pass, we have a debt crisis to fix, we have an education system that needs reform, we have a humanitarian
crisis in europe that we ought to address. that's what the united states senate ought to be spending its time on rather than offering opinions and resolutions about a private international entity and how they should award prizes and awards, so i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. leahy: well, mr. president, last night we passed resolutions. here we're talking about taking 30 seconds out of our busy, busy, busy schedule. of course we were in a quorum call for a few hours today, but if we could take 30 or 50 or 82 seconds out of the 100 hours or so we'll spend during the month just sitting here doing nothing and pass a resolution that calls for the equal treatment of male and female athletes. if we can't even do that, is it any wonder the approval ratings
of the u.s. senate are in the tank? if we can't even pass a nonbinding resolution, how do we ever achieve real pay equity for women? what's the real objection to simply urging for the equal treatment of female athletes, treating people differently solely because of their gender is unacceptable. it sends a terrible message to mothers and daughters, granddaughters across the globe. as i said, every single democrat supports this resolution. i am very disappointed the republicans are blocking it. i will just leave you with one more thing. the women's team to international claim, won and they got $2 million. the men's team that lost in the first round got $8 million. the ones that won got
$35 million. now, wimbledon knows better. the u.s. open tennis championship said enough is enough. women should be treated the same as men. a 13-year-old wrote to the president and said it makes me mad that people do not treat girls equally. well, i have a granddaughter who will be 13 in december. how do i speak to her? how do i tell her that the u.s. senate, which is sort of waiting around here, hasn't done anything today, is unwilling to take ten seconds, 30 seconds, 50 seconds to say let's treat women athletes the same as men? i have -- i thank my democratic colleagues for supporting this.
i hope my republican colleagues will change their mind and say let's treat, let's treat women athletes the same as men athletes. especially as they certainly made a heck of a lot more on the tv rights when the women were winning than the men's team that lost and still got paid $8 million four times of the women who won. now, it's sexist, it's wrong, and it's something that in this day and age, stop treating women as second-class citizens. i don't want my daughter treated that way. i don't want my granddaughters treated that way. i don't want the women in vermont treated that way. i don't want women anywhere in
this country to be treated that way. i want that 13-year-old girl who said why is this so, i want to someday be able to say i'm sorry the united states senate wouldn't stand up for you. i stand up for you. others do. but let's hope someday the united states senate does. mr. president, you can see how busy we are. there is not a single senator on this floor, except for the distinguished presiding officer, of course. and so i will suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: i would ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: mr. president, i rise today to address a frustrating situation that has brought us here today. for months, i have been calling on congress to come to the middle and negotiate a responsible budget deal that works for the american people, but time and time again, whether it was in the appropriations committee or here on the senate floor, members of this body refused to have a conversation
about how to do that. they dug their heels in and they said it's my way or the highway. now we are here down to the wire and finally realize that sequestration is damaging. that's something that we have been saying from day one. unfortunately, it cost the speaker of the house his job, the wasted months of time, and it continued to erode what's left of the faith that the american people have in congress. coming from montana, this is incredibly frustrating. folks back home are reasonable. they talk to their neighbors, even if they don't agree with them. they compromise, they negotiate, and they give a little, and most of the time they get a lot. this body could learn a lot from my constituents. the senate was designed to be a deliberative body. it was supposed to be a place where conversations and
compromise happen, where we reach across the aisle and partner with our colleagues who we might not always agree with. that kind of bipartisanship requires more time, harder work, tougher conversations. sure, it's a lot easier to scream and yell at the other side so super pac's and millionaires that fund too much of our politics these days know that we didn't back down, but at the end of the day, that doesn't move the country forward, and unfortunately that happened again this year. had we started these budget negotiations back in july when ten moderate members of this body first rang the alarm, we wouldn't be in a last-minute scramble today. i'm disappointed. i'm disappointed in the senate.
the only time folks are talking to one another is when there's a crisis. the only time when folks are working together is when we're faced with fiscal cliffs, economic meltdowns and catastrophes. i hope that we realize that congress is the only place in this country that operates like this. businesses and families plan, they talk, and they certainly don't wait until the last minute to get their financial house in order. so why does it take an emergency for congress to govern? why does it take a looming deadline for folks to come to their senses and to do their jobs? it's because the voices of the middle are getting drowned out by the voices on the fringes. we have become afraid of compromise. in many circles, it's a dirty word, one that should never be uttered. so here we are today. there's just a few days before we default on our debt, and we have wasted so much time.
our inability to tackle these issues earlier this year caused the appropriations process to break down. it caused an unnecessary veto of the defense authorization bill, something our troops are waiting for us to resolve while they stand on the front lines. now, i know this budget deal isn't perfect, but it is the product of compromise, however last minute it may be, and however limited the ability of senators to weigh in on it is. but by raising the debt ceiling, we will prevent interest rates from skyrocketing and the value of the dollar from plummeting. by adding the sequester, we will do away with severe budget cuts that are hurting our veterans, our seniors, our students and working families. we will show up -- shore up social security and allow ourselves to make responsible investments in our national security and education and health care and in our public lands, and it reduces a massive
premium hike that was scheduled to impact 46,000 montana seniors who use medicare for their health insurance. this legislation will keep those premiums more manageable. now, those accomplishments are critically important to our economy, and they are worthy of this senate's support, but as with anything that comes together at the last minute, there are provisions that i don't like, things that could have been fixed if we had taken more time to negotiate. take, for instance, the budget's impact on our rural hospitals. there are provisions in here that could severely limit access to rural health care. i'm committed to addressing those concerns in the upcoming appropriations process because folks in montana and other rural states shouldn't have to drive hundreds of miles to see a doctor. like i said, this budget isn't perfect, and the most disappointing thing is that it could have been so much better. but in the spirit of compromise
that got us here today, but in the spirit of compromise that got us here today, we need to use that conversation to make sure we get things done. i know that there will always be those who refuse to get out the ideological soapbox and who like to watch others do the hard work of governing, but those folks usually don't last long with my constituents. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: when responsibility calls, it's usually not at a time of our choosing. the decision to answer is rarely easy or straightforward. paul ryan knows this. he's spent his nights dreaming about tax policy, not the
speakership. but our country is fortunate he stepped up to lead and i know i'm grateful that he did. speaker ryan is thoughtful about the issues facing our nation. he's sober minded. he knows the job he's walking into is tough. he also understands the potential that is holds. in terms of conservative solutions for our country, in terms of more opportunity for the middle class, when i called to con tbrat late speaker rye -- congratulate speaker ryan, we discussed our many shared goals for congress, we pledged a strong partnership, we aimed to continue advancing conservative reform. i look forward to working closely with him as we move forward. speaker ryan knows what it means to work hard. he knows what it means to dream big dreams. he knows what it means to
achieve them as well. something we all admire about speaker ryan is his determination to ensure others are able to achieve big things in their lives, too. to ensure others can lead fulfilling lives. defined by meaning and punctuated with purpose. there's no doubt he cares deep deeply, he cares about combating poverty effectively. he cares about lifting up the middle class successfully. and because he cares, he's willing to call out failed policies when they hurt those they're supposed to help. and he's suggested better ways forward as well. in short, here's what you can say about speaker ryan. he's got a big heart. he's got an extraordinary intellect. and he knows how to lead with both.
that quality is rare around he here. so is having a reputation that't so greatly precedes one's self in such a positive way. but that's speaker ryan. nothing is going to come easily in his new role and he certainly knows that. neither of us will be under any illusions about the positions we hold. we face a democratic party that continues to move left. we face a president who doesn't seem very interested in cooperation on the big things or the hard things nor in making divided government work. these are the realities that face us and we might as well acknowledge them. but it won't stop us from working together to advance conservative reform and also to achieve solutions for the middle class whenever we can. today, though, let's celebrate
speaker ryan's extraordinary achievement. he's already proven his stature as a leader in our party, from leading the nation on responsible budgeting and pro-growth tax reform, to serving as an extraordinary candidate for vice president, he always rises to the challenge. i would note for my house colleagues that their incoming leader campaigned vigorously to become president of the senate but he was drafted into the speakership. but, look, on a more serious note, paul ryan may not have asked for this job but the moment called for him to lead and i'm grateful that he will. because we know he's a leader who's repeatedly demonstrated the talent, the vision and the experience to succeed.
i look forward to building a strong partnership on behalf of our country. mr. president, i have seven unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they've been approved by the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: further, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of calendar number 345 through 355 and all nominations on the secretary's desk in the air force, army and navy, that the nominations be confirmed en bloc, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. that no further motions be in order. that any statements relate toedo the 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: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session to consider the calendar number 343, that the senate vote on the nomination without intervening action or debate, that following disposition of the nomination, the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record, that the president be immediately be notified of the senate action and that the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department odepartment of justi. gilmore of illinois to be united states marshal for the northern district of illinois. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the nomination. all those in favor signify by saying aye.
all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. they do have it. the nomination is confirmed. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i rise in opposition to raising the debt ceiling. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i rise today in opposition to raising the debt ceiling. i rise in particular in opposition to raising the debt ceiling without getting any sort of spending reform or budgetary reform in return. in fact, it will be completely the opposite. we will be raising the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion. we will be giving president obama a free pass to borrow as much money as he can borrow in the last year of his office. no limit, no dollar limit. here you go, president obama. spend what you want. we do this while also exceeding what are called budget caps. we have been trying to have
spending restraint in washington. it hasn't worked very well, but at least there are some numbers that government is not supposed to exceed. these include spending caps for military spending as well as domestic spending. when i first arrived in phenomena, i was part of a movement called the tea party movement. we came into prominence and i was elected primarily because i was concerned about the debt, worried about the debt that we were leaving to our kids and our grandkids, worrying that we were destroying the very fabric of the country with debt. we came here in 2010 and we negotiated and negotiated, and the president said, president obama said i won't negotiate with you. he says i won't negotiate with a gun to my head. the media all said you just always have to raise the debt ceiling. it's irresponsible to use that as leverage to get reform. but you know what? we did get reform. the conservatives put forward something called cut, cap and balance. it was passed overwhelmingly in
the house, blocked in the senate, but ultimately there was something passed called sequestration which put caps on both military and domestic spending. and it did slow down the rate of growth of government for a little while. this is the problem with congress. congress will occasionally do something in the right direction, and then they take one step forward and two steps back. in 2013, we gave up on this sequestration when we added back in about $60 billion worth of money. now we're doing the same thing again. we're going to add back in this time $80 billion, $50 billion in 2016, another $30 billion in 2017. we're doing the opposite of what we should be doing. we should be using the leverage of the debt ceiling, saying we're not raising it again until you reform your ways, until you begin spending only money you have. instead, we're doing the opposite. we're saying here,
mr. president, you can raise the debt as much as you want. you can spend as much as you want while you're in office, and we're going to do nothing. in fact, we're going to help you. we're going to exceed the caps so everybody gets what they want. so everyone in washington's going to get something. the right's going to get more military money, the left's going to get more welfare money. the secret handshake goes on, and the american public gets stuck with the bill. now, i think one of the most important things we do is defend the country. if you ask me to prioritize its spending, i would say we have to defend the country above and beyond and before all else. but that doesn't mean we're stronger or safer if we're doing this from bankruptcy court. i any the number-one threat to our country, the number-one threat to our security is debts, piling on of debt. the debt threatens our national security, and yet we just want to pile it on, pill it on.
this deal will do nothing but explode the debt. in fact, it doesn't even limit how much the debt can go up. we're giving the president a blank check. we're in the middle of a filibuster. this filibuster will go on to about 1:00 in the morning and then we will find out who the true conservatives in this town are. if you are conservative, you will say there is no way i'm going to vote to give an unlimited power to the president to borrow money. if you are a conservative, you're going to say we shouldn't be exceeding the budget caps. if anything, we should be passing more stringent budget caps. it disappoints me greater than i can possibly express that the party that i belong to that should be the conservative party doesn't appear to be conservative. this is a big problem. i've asked about -- i'm traveling the country and i ask
republicans everywhere. i have yet to meet a single republican who supports this deal. in the house, they voted on this yesterday. do you know what the vote was? two to one among republicans to say this is a god-awful deal and we shouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. it's a terrible deal. house republicans understood this. we should be doing the opposite. we should be taking the leverage of saying we're not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get reform. instead, we went to the president and said here, raise the debt ceiling as much as you can possibly spend over the next year, and we'll let you exceed the budget caps. it's irresponsible, it shows a lack of concern for our country, for the debt, and it should go down in defeat. when i ran for office in 2010, the debt was an enormous issue and the debt was $10 trillion. some of us in the tea party were concerned because it had doubled
in the last eight years. it doubled from five to ten under a republican administration. and many of us were adamant that republicans needed to do a better job. we had added new entitlement programs, we had added new spending, and the deficit got worse under republicans. now we're under a democrat president, and it's set to double again. this president will add more to the debt than all of the previous presidents combined. so we're going to go from $10 trillion now to nearly $20 trillion. we may get close to $20 trillion. now that we have increased the debt ceiling in an unspecified amount, we may well get to $20 trillion by the time this president leaves. is it a problem? some people say it's just a big number. i don't know what a trillion dollars is. well, if you want to imagine a trillion dollars, take $1,000 bills and put them in your hand. $1,000 bills four inches high is a million dollars. but if you want to have a trillion dollars in $1,000
bills, it would be 63 miles high. we're talking about an amount of money that is hard to fathom, and you say what does that mean? how does that hurt me or my family? economists say that we are losing a million jobs a year to the burden of debt. the economists also say when your debt becomes as large as your economy, that you are in a worrisome place, that when the debt is as large as the economy, there's a possibility that you may enter into a period when you might suffer a panic or a collapse or a burden so great that your economy can't withstand it. 2008, we were very close to a panic. i think we get closer with each day. the number-one priority up here shouldn't be trying to scrounge around and find new money to spend. it should be trying to conserve. it should be doing something that some say is radical but i say is the absolute essence of common sense, and that is we
should spend what comes in. so often up here things become partisan and people just want to point fingers and say it's that party that did it, they're the ones responsible for the debt, but i want to let you in on a secret. this is a secret that goes on and on and on up here. it is something i call the unholy alliance. it is the unholy alliance between right and left. they both have sacred cows they want to spend money on. so instead of saying you know what, the debt is a real problem and we both have to conserve in both areas, they both get together and creditly raise the money for the secret cows. on the right we are busting the limits because the right wants more military spending, the left wants more for welfare, the unholy alliance a secret handshake, and what gets worse? the debt. we're borrowing $1 million every minute, and it's not going to end in a pretty way.
what do other conservatives have to say about this deal? steve moore at the heritage foundation writes it's the worst budget deal to be negotiated by the g.o.p. since george h.w. bush violated his no new taxes pledge in 1990. rush limbaugh says the republican party cannot campaign by running around blaming the democrats for destroying the budget for overspending, for threatening the very fabric of the country. they can't do it because they're now complicit. here's the thing. we can't point fingers and say oh, the democrats are the big spenders. we now by this deal become complicit. we become equally guilty of supporting new debt. now, some say well, gosh, you've got to raise the debt ceiling, right? if you don't raise the debt ceiling, there will be default.
hogwash. do you know how much money comes into this place every month? through taxes, about $250 billion comes in in taxes. do you know what our interest payment is? about $30 billion. it might be as high as $60 billion, $70 billion, $80 billion. there is never not enough revenue to pay for interest. people say well, we couldn't pay for everything. i say well, maybe we shouldn't spend it on everything. we have plenty of money that comes in every month to spend on interest, to spend on medicare, to commend on social security and to spend on sailors and soldiers salaries and veterans' affairs. maybe the federal government shouldn't be doing much else. these are the questions we have to ask. what would happen if the debt ceiling didn't go up? you would have a balanced budget. how bad would that be? if your debt ceiling didn't go up, you would spend what comes in. that's what every american family does, you spend what comes in. i think this is absolutely what we need to do.
but even myself, i'm willing to compromise, so i've put forward a compromise. i've put forward a compromise that we tried in 2011. it's called cut, cap and balance. my compromise would cut the deficit in half in one year, a dramatic lessening of the burden of debt. that's the cut. the cap is that my bill would actually cap spending at 18% of g.d.p. what does that mean? 18% of the total amount of money spent in the economy. why do we pick 18? because that leads to a balanced budget. the last part of my bill, the cut, cap and balance, is that we would pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. and i have kind of jokingly said but probably seriously, if we pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, we pass term limits, i will go back to being a doctor, which is my first love anyway, but we've got
to fix the country. we're destroying the country with debt. we're drowning in a sea of debt, and neither party seems to be concerned with it anymore. so what i would do is i would say yes, i'll compromise. i'll raise the debt ceiling under those three conditions -- cut the deficit in half, cap the spending and pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, and people say well, there aren't the votes for that. why don't we have a vote? why don't we allow a vote on cut, cap and balance, the conservative alternative to this deal that we've got on the floor? why don't we vote on an alternative, because there won't be any amendments allowed. this will be pushed through without amendments. and i really object to that. this is supposed to be the body of deliberation. we're supposed to be able to deliberate over whether or not how we're going to fix the problems of the country. and i think this is the number-one threat to us. we're accumulating debt at a million dollars every minute. someone's got to stand up and do something about it. taxpayers for common sense says
about this we're not a fan of this new agreement. kato writes the gipper, ronald reagan's ghost, is probably to go down from heaven at the new budget deal between congressional leaders and the obama administration and saying there they go again. so let's rephrase the question. what do advocates of fiscal restraint get in exchange for raising these spending caps? well, if you peruse this agreement, it's apparent they don't get anything. so what we have traded is an increase in the debt ceiling -- not just an increase, an unspecified increase in the debt ceiling. we have said to president obama, you can spend as much money as you want throughout the rest of your presidency, no limits. the national taxpayers union writes, "if the question on the budget and debt ceiling package is deal or no deal, taxpayers
should clearly opt for the latter." while the agreement contains a few meritorious provisions, it fails other savings and reforms necessary to address our nation's $18.1 trillion debt problem. the debt is, without question, the number-one problem in the country. we will have a vote this evening and that vote will be, do you care? are you willing to do something to slow it down? do you think we ought to use the leverage of the debt ceiling to slow down spending, or are you a profligate spender who will vote to bust the caps and who will vote to give president obama unlimited borrowing authority? i think it is a clear-cut question. i will vote "no," and i will continue this filibuster as long as there are enough votes here to allow it to continue. at this point, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate
consideration of my bill, cut, cap, and balance, which is calendar number 274, s. 2182. i further ask that there be an hour of debate equally divided in the usual form, that following the use or yielding back of time, the bill be read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. wyden: reserving the right to object, mr. president -- the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, the senate is now going to consider a bipartisan budget agreement, and i believe it's important to pass that bipartisan effort to avoid catastrophic default and to put an end to the mindless sequestration and pass funding to keep the government open. regrettably, because i often agree with my friend from
kentucky and we team up on so many issues, the request to take up the cut, cap, and balance legislation is a step in the wrong direction. when you push for cut, cap, and balance in this context, you're really pushing for default and recession and joblessness because that is what all of the independent financial authorities tell us is what's ahead if we don't act here in the united states senate. the desire to set aside what we're working on and pursue this other legislation is specifically an approach that would throw aside the bipartisan agreement before the senate. this bipartisan effort is exactly the kind of bipartisan work where democrats and
republicans come together to tackle a major issue. the american expect their leaders to find common ground on key issues. that's what this legislation does. and for these reasons, mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. paul: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i agree with the senator from oregon that bipartisan agreement is necessary in this body, but i think we have in this agreement, bipartisan agreement in the wrong direction. the bipartisan agreement we need is to conserve across the board, for both sides to say that our sacred cow, whether it is military on the right or domestic spend on the left, that they all will have to be conserved. we won't be able to spend money that we don't have. and i think we're becoming weaker and a nation the more we borrow. if we pass this bill, it isn't a difference or a choice between calamity and continuing to add to the debt, which this bill
will do. i fully believe that we can continue to make our payments. we have $250 billion a month that comes in, interest payment $30 billion. there's absolutely no reason why we would ever default. i have a bill called default protection act which would ensure that social security and medicare and our soldiers' salaries and the interest on the debt were paid for. so i think what we should be doing is doing the opposite kind of compromise. right and left should come together and say, you know what? i really want spending on this. and the right says i really want spending on the military. and they should come together and say, we don't have any money. we're borrowing $1 million a minute. so i think this bipartisan compromise goes in the wrong direction. what i would ask for is a bipartisan compromise to actually save money and borrow less. thank you, mr. president.
mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i rise to talk about the conflict in syria and, in particular, what's happening over the next couple of days and weeks. we know that in the last four years, starting in 2011, this conflict has resulted in the deaths of a quarter of a million syrians. more than 4 million syrians have fled and registered as refugees in neighboring countries. we're told that 7.6 million syrians are displaced from their homes within syria itself. so when you combine those who have fled the country because of the violence and combine that
with the number of folks displaced in the country, you got about half of the population of syria. if we had the equivalent number here in the united states of over 300 million people, that would be something on the order of 150 million americans displaced from their homes. we can't even imagine -- we can't even imagine the scale of that suffering. at the center of this horror, this horrific war and humanitarian catastrophe, sits bashar al asarksd the dictator, who in the estimation of many, many experts and world leaders -- and this is my opinion as well -- has lost all legitimacy as the leader of syria. a conflict that began with peaceful protests by syrian young people for change quickly gave way to fighting in the streets of homs, dara, and
aleppo assa. assad's security forces have attempted to quash dissent with use of chemical weapons and wholesale destruction from indiscriminate barrel bombs. which, by the way, is a violation of international law. these actions prove to be a recruiting windfall for extremists and terrorist groups like isis. -- which now operate along many major transportation routes and cities in parts of syria. the institute for the study of war just this week assessed that isis is now challenging the assad regime for control of the supply line to aleppo, expanding their reach westward. and as i've said before and some others have said, it's what i will continue to maintain; that
conflict in syria and the international effort to degrade and ultimately defeat isis are inextricably linked. we cannot expect to bring about a lasting defeat of isis without bringing about a political transition in syria. the atrocities perpetrated by these two evils -- one, the assad regime, and also isis -- these atrocities are too numerous to catalog today. neither entity offers a stable, secure, and prosperous future for syria. several times the united states has participated in international negotiations with an eye towards ending this horror and paving the road toward a third choice for syrians, and that's what this would be, a real political transition featuring inclusiveness, rule of law and
the presumecy of citizenship -- primacy of citizenship or sect and other device of categories. these conversations have yet to bear fruit, mostly because the regime in iran and the russians continue to offer a lifeline to the murderous assad. but we must keep trying. we must keep trying. just one look at the images of the destruction in aleppo where the faces of syrians fleeing to europe for a better life reminds us of the human costs of inaction. it's because of this that the iranian and russian escalation in recent weeks is so outrageous. these countries look at syria as a groundline of communication to hezbollah or a friendly host for a warmwater naval outpost. they turn a blind eye to the suffering of ordinary men, women, and children in earchts to exert -- in an effort to
exert their international influence. russia's warplanes have struck in areas where the syrian opposition, not isis, operates. their strikes appear indiscriminate and have killed many civilians. now, in the case of iran, the recent designation -- or i should say, the recent visit of a designated terrorist and rigc commander sulaymaniyah, his movement to syria indicates that iran and its proxies like hezbollah are still central elements of this fight. mr. president, i am a on the floor today as leaders from major countries meet in vienna. yesterday in a speech at the carnegie endowment, secretary kerry described his diplomatic task as -- quote -- "charting a course out of hell."
unquote. that's how we describe the way out to a resolution, a political resolution, in syria. although news reports indicate that these talks will not deal directly with the question of bashar al-assad, our policy must remain firm. assad has no place, no place, in syria's future. no bombing campaigns, no promise of sham elections should change that. and i want to commend the work that secretary kerry is doing. i want to comndz him for the speech he -- i want to commend him for the speech he gave yesterday. a month ago i wrote to him calling for greater u.s. leadership on at least three tracks: political, multilateral, and humanitarian. in the response to my letter, the state department emphasized -- and i'm quoting -- "the only way to sustainably end the suffering of the syrian people is through a genuine political solution consistent with the
geneva principles" -- unquote. i appreciate and agree with this commitment. however, i'm concerned that the governments of syria, iran, and russia remain in clear violation of multiple u.n. security council resolutions, including flouting arms control restrictions and travel restrictions -- travel sanctions. these regimes do not appear to be ready for dialogue consistent with geneva principles. secretary kerry said during his carnegie speech yesterday that the u.s. and russia have many points of common ground on syria. the areas of divergence, however, are stark. we know that there is no military solution to this conflict, only a political settlement can heal the deep wounds across syria. and we must continually assert that no political solution can include a role for bashar
al-assad. for a ruler who indiscriminately barrel bombs children over and over again, presides over the deaths of over a quarter of a million civilians, there must be no soft political landing. we've said over and over again -- and i'll continue to say -- that assad must go and it's important that our negotiators in vienna insist that these talks are a vehicle to effectuate the removal of assad, not continue his brutal rule. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i would note the absence phs a quorum. -- the absence of a quorum. mr. isakson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum. the presiding officer: sure, without objection. mr. isakson: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to be recognized as if in morning business and following my speech, for the senator from utah to be recognized, senator
lee. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: mr. president, all of us know back in our home state,day today and every day there are men and women working hard to work the fields, manufacture the products, run the chambers of commerce, sell the groceries, cut the lawns and make our state and economy work. we also know as politicians serving in the united states senate, there's not a one of us that doesn't owe our community leadercommunity-- our jobsto co. back in georgia there is one person who meets that criteria. his name is woody woodsite, president of the golden chamber of commerce in brunswick, georgia. he is going to be honored for 30 consecutive years as president of that chamber. and woody is one great chamber president. he got his start in washington, d.c. working for 11 years for the congressman from georgia's
coast and three years his successor lindsey thomas. he worked hard for our state, his district, he worked hard for those members of congress. but he comes back to us every year now as the president of the chamber of commerce. he brings his board with him. he brings the issues before them and lobbies hard for his community. he also lobbies hard for the environment. woody represents a chamber that promotes tourism on the coast of yavment but fights for the estuary of the atlantic and marshes of glenn. he's a tireless worker on behalf of his state and community. he loves his beautiful family, his wife, his daughter and his late son and his grandsons. he is one of those priceless citizens that means so much to our state and so much to me personally. on this occasion on the floor of the united states senate i want to pay tribute to woody woodsite and thank him for everything he's done for his country, his state and his community. may god bless woody woodsite and
may god bless the united states of america. mr. lee: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, the budget deal before the senate today is not just a horrible piece of legislation that is undeserving of this chamber's support. it also represents the last gasping breath of a disgraced bipartisan beltway establishment on the verge of collapse. the bill is the product of an unfair, dysfunctional and fundamentally undemocratic process, a process that is virtually indistinguishable from
what we promised the american people, a g.o.p.-controlled congress would bring to an end. we made that promise precisely because negotiating legislation behind closed doors without input from the majority of members and then rushing it through to final passage without debate or opportunity for amendments violates our party's core principles. it also inevitably leads to bad policy. the bipartisan budget act of 2015 is a case in point. this bill would suspend the debt limit for 17 months and increase government spending beyond its already unsustainable levels, and it would do so while failing to make reforms that would put us on a path toward fiscal sustainability. now, many proponents of this budget deal challenge this
claim. they say, well, the bill isn't perfect. but while it isn't perfect, it does include some meaningful entitlements reforms. the sales pitch we hear most often alleges that this budget deal will save the social security disability trust fund from insolvency. but we're never told exactly how this bill would do this. that's because, as always, the devil is in the details. now, mr. president, i rise today to discuss these very details, details that prove this budget deal, so-called entitlement reforms, are nothing of the sort. at best, they're well-intentioned but ineffectual tweaks to a program that desperately needs fundamental overhaul. at worst, they're accounting gimmicks unbecoming of the united states congress. according to the social security trustees, the social security
disability insurance program or ssdi is scheduled to run out of money in 2016, which means that without serious reform, disability benefits would be slashed across the board by nearly 20%. under the bipartisan budget act of 2015, the bankruptcy deadline of ssdi would be pushed off for an additional six years until 2022. but here's the kicker, it would do so by raiding the social security trust fund to the tune of $150 billion. that's right, our grand bipartisan solution to the impending insolvency of our nation's largest disability insurance program amounts to stealing $150 billion from our nation's largest retirement insurance program. and this isn't the only phony pay-for in this budget deal. there are others that simply move around money from elsewhere in the federal budget, like the crime victims fund and the asset
forfeiture fund. there are also new heavy-handed bureaucratic instruments that purport to i am -- implement cost savings. only in washington, d.c. could something so deceptive and ineffective, something so unfair to america's seniors and future generations be considered a reform. now to be fair, there are a couple of sound entitlement reforms in this budget deal that deserve to be commended. first, there is a provision that would correct a design error in the social security program that amounts to an unfair and wasteful loophole. fixing this would save a significant amount of money over a 75-year window. there are also measures that would increase the penalties for fraud, create new pilot programs and prohibit doctors with felonies from submitting medical
evidence. but these minor changes don't even come close to putting ssdi on a path toward fiscal sustainability and sanity. and they represent only a tiny fraction of the sensible reform proposals put forth by our conference. many of my colleagues, like senator lankford and senator cotton, have already spoken or will soon speak on the floor about the long list of structural reform ideas that are still sitting on the sidelines of this debate. i'd like to take a moment to touch on just a few of them. senator coats has a proposal that would protect the ssdi trust fund from being drawn down by fugitive felons illegally receiving disability benefits. senator hatch has put forth a plan that would prevent an individual from receiving both unemployment insurance and disability insurance simultaneously, ensuring that ssdi funds would remain focused on their intended population.
i also have a proposal that would expand the footprint of private disability insurance which i p intend to filed as an amendment to this bill. and that's not all. my friends, senator cotton and senator lankford have their own proposals, and there have been an equal amount of policy innovation by our colleagues in the house of representatives. they're all commonsense ideas that would bring us much closer to real ssdi reform than what's found in this budget deal. but you won't hear much about them in this debate because there won't be any real debate on the bipartisan budget act of 2015. no amendments, a fast-approaching deadline. and in the end a take-it-or-leave-it choice forced upon us on our backs up against a cliff. this is not how congress is supposed to operate.
this is not how we promised the country we would conduct the american people's business if given control of the house and the senate. we should be the party of ideas, but we won't be so long as we continue to tolerate a legislative process that stifles our most innovative proposals from evenly getting a fair hearing. we should be the party of reform, but we won't be so long as individual senators are blocked from offering amendments to legislation. we should be the party of fiscal sanity and responsible governance, but we won't be so long as we continue to govern by crisis and by cliff, delaying the inevitable while working only three days a week in our legislative calendar. we should be the party that looks out for the most vulnerable among us, but we won't be so long as we lack the courage to enact the structural reforms that our retirement and disability insurance programs need to survive for generations
to come. mr. president, we can be all of these things. i know we can, but it's going to take hard work, a fair, open, and inclusive legislative process and all the policy innovation we can muster. it's going to take something more, something better than this budget deal. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. carper: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. carper: mr. president, in recent weeks i've spoken, three, four, five times on the question of whether or not we're going to realistically fund, honestly
fund the transportation improvements that our country so badly needs. i don't know if it's my imagination or not, but every time i'm here speaking on the subject, you are here, and we have any number of people, 50 some republican senators in the majority party who cycle in on the presiding officer, and yet you always seem to draw the short straw and get to hear me wax eloquently about transportation infrastructure. i'm honored that you'd be back today for the same presentation. pretty soon, you'll be able to give these talks for me and i'll sit up there. i won't ask unanimous consent for that but it is a good thought. mr. president, this question was taken -- gosh -- 67 years ago and there is a quote here by a fellow that used to be a great military leader for our country in world war ii and later one of our presidents, in fact he was president when i had just about
come into the world. he was being elected president a few years after that. dwight eisenhower said all those years ago -- this photograph, it says "this is the first project in the united states on which actual construction was started under provisions of the new federal-aid highway act of 194 1946." and this was in missouri and it has the contractor and some of the local folks there. i don't see ike anywhere. his words are here at the bottom of this old photograph. his words that day was, "a modern, efficient highway system is essential to meet the needs of our growing population, our expanding economy, and our national security." a weird prescient indicating wise and forward-looking. and they were first spoken, i believe, roughly 60 years ago,
almost 60 years ago by president eisenhower. this week president obama and leaders in the house of representatives and the senate reached a long-sought compromise on a budget deal for two years through 2017. and while there's certainly some aspects of that budget deal that are disappointing, other aspects of it, at least for me, in terms of trying to find ways to save money, going after program integrity, trying to prevent waste and fraud, it is encouraging that democrats and republicans were able to come together, any agreement, that will pause the cycles of crisis government, from crisis to crisis and where we find a lot of -- too much of our time spent across the federal government as we run up to these crisis, it is not work we ought to be doing
but actually trying to figure out how do we 2k50e deal with a shutdown. at least we can say this agreement will prevent that and for the next couple years will allow people across the federal government to do their work, whether it happens to be in agriculture, law enforcement, border security, you name it. the other thing that i would say is by preventing a default on our federal obligations and lifting the harmful spending cuts, particularly in the areas of our budget where we actually invest money, that create economic opportunity, this deal will help to encourage continued economic growth and recovery and promote job creation and job preservation. a number of heard today, mr. president, this agreement is worth about an extra third of a million jobs, and that's -- in a little state like mine of delaware, that's quite a few jobs. however, if we really wanted to focus on economic growth and job creation, we would be talking a lot more about transportation.
and i mentioned the words here of dwight eisenhower. let's go on to the next poster, if i could, mr. president. while there's much to like, i think, in the budget agreement that we're debating today and into the night, i'm disappointed that it fails to offer a long-term plan to increase investment in america's infrastructure, particularly in our transportation infrastructure. a budget deal like this offered i think a prime opportunity to address our chronic underdevelopment in roads, highways, and bridges, and in our transit systems of this nation. i've looked high and low in this budget agreement, and when it comes to transportation, mr. president, there's a whole lot of nothing in there with respect to transportation and infrastructure investments. instead, congress is now poised
to pass not our 13th but oir 14th extension of the transportation funding. it only continues the cycle of uncertainty and crisis governance that prevented our states and our cities from planning major transportation projects. i just insert here, if you look aat the quun country from coasto coast, on average, state transportation budgets use a mix of funds from different sources but on average about half the money they spend, in delaware and other states, the other 49 states, about half the money comes from the federal government. let's see -- we have missed
another opportunity to give our nation's economy a serious boost. and this is a little bit of what i'm talking about. this post says "here's why congress needs to reauthorize funding to rebuild america's infrastructure:" a couple numbers to keep in mind, 25%, 45 h.r. , 65%. 25% of our bridges require significant repair or either that or they cannot handle traffic -- today's traffic at all. 25%. 45% of americans lack access to transit, 45%. and 65% of america's roads are rated in less than good condition. 65%. there is an outfit called the american society of civil
engineers. one of the things they do every year is to rate our roads, highways, bridges, and they assign a grade. could be our "a." we've got our pages here. they're doing their schoolwork while they're paging on the senate, so they sit through double duty. but hopefully they're all getting "a's" in their courses. our roads, highways, bridges, do not receive any "a's." they do not receive any "b's." our roads, highways, bridges, our transit system -- i'll say, roads, highways, and transit systems are earning a ." d" a "d" disappointing, it is degraded, d as dogged. our nation's bridges, a "c +." those aren't grades that our pages would be proud of. that's are not grades we ought
to be proud of as a country. in most recent forum rankings, the u.s. had in less than a decade fallen from seventh overall in the quality of our transportation infrastructure, a decade ago we're number seven, today we're number 18. in billboard mag diseeng when they're rated the top records across the country, it gets a bullet. number five means it's heading up. ten years ago we were number seven and now with a bullet, the other way, from number 7 to number 18 and we're headed in the wrong direction. here from this poster we can see that highways and transit spending as a share of g.d.p. have not been going up. in 1962 john kennedy was president. the guy was a junior in high school, just like you guys, our pages, and in 1962 our share of
g.d.p. that we spent for highways and transit was right at 3%. right at 3%. over time it started dropping. 1972 right in the middle of the vietnam war, the end of the vietnam war -- i spend some time overseas in southeast asia -- it had dropped to 2%. it really dropped rather steeply there, probably because of the war. what it's done since 1972 is to trend down, down, down, and the number now is somewhere between 1% and 1.5%. it's diminished bid more than half since --- --it's diminished by more than half since 1972. the tbr infrastructure spend something only about 2.5% of g.d.p. -- actually, this chart says it's only 1.5% in the u.s. compared to what? i have a spend $eds friend, you
ask him how you doing? he says, compared to what? well, how is the u.s. doing? well, compared to what? we're at 1.5% of g.d.p. for transportation infrastructure. where are our canadians up to the north? they're 4%, more than twice the number that we are. australia, south korea, where are they? well, they're at 5 pmple%. 5% for most of europe. china is at 9% to 12%. 9% to 12% of their g.d.p. on transportation infrastructure. we're spending 1.5%, 1.5%. that is not a good thing. the national association of manufacturers estimates that our investments in roads and highways dropped significantly between 2003 and 2012. how significantly? by another 20%. 20%. to meet our country's needs in ways that support american business and families, an outfit called the m mackenzie consultig company, they have an arm of their company called global
initiative -- global institute, rather. they estimate that we need to increase infrastructure investment by $150 billion annually through 2020 -- annually through 20 -- t 2020 th all the projects that are badly needed. roads, highways, and transit. our lack of transportation investment is hurting both families -- it hurts individuals and businesses. there is an outfit down in texas, texas a&m fame us famousn recent queer years for their fol teams. they give us a report on congestion, on the roads and highways in the united states. the average commuter wasted 42 hours per year in traffic, 42 hours per year, just sitting there or barely moving.
if you actually looked at cities like new york city or philadelphia, new york, or dallas or denver, l.a., that number is 82 hours per year. just think about that, 82 hours per year. here in the greater washington area and lot of other places like l.a. and new york city. the resulting wasted fuel and lost productivity costs our nation's economy $160 billion this year. $160 billion. that works out to about $960 per commuter. $960. in addition to congestion -- in addition to congestion, we have other costs to commuters, people who are out on our roads, highways, bridges. dhoathey come to from repairs. not everybody can see this. obviously a guy is working on
potholes, talk to his supervisor. here is the number that's really the key. $516 per driver in increased repair and maintenance costs every year. there was an editorial in "the philadelphia inquirer" that said the next time, talking to consumers, voters, the next time you get a bill for replacinplacg your tires or steering or rims of your tires or whatever, send the bill to your congressman or senator -- congresswoman or senator. and -- but it's a lot of money. and even if it's only like half of that, it's a huge amount of money. it is a huge amount of money that we're spending. add that to the wasted time that we spend, it adds up. this is a sad commentary. some of the charts i use are humorous. this one is not. poor roadway conditions were a
significant factor in approximately one-third of the 32,000 traffic fatalities last year. think about that. about 10,000 people who could be alive today, they're not. and the primary contributing factor to their death was the poor condition of the road, the railways, highways, roads or bridges on which they were traveling. i mentioned mckinsey global institute. they said if we're serious about making progress on the conditions of roads, highways and transit system we ought to be investing about $150 billion per year. here's another report from mckinsey's global institute. it says about $150 billion to $180 billion in annual investment is needed for 15 to
20 years. that's a lot of money for a long time. and they say if we are serious and consistent in robustly investing in transportation infrastructure, we would add to g.d.p. not once -- every year -- somewhere between 1.4% and 1.7% per year. and we would add about 1.8 million jobs. 1.8 million jobs. if we were willing to make the kind of investments that are needed. those aren't my numbers. those are mckinsey's. and when you put all that together, that explains why senator dick durbin and i r drused a month or two ago something we call the traffic relief act. and what it does is it raises about $220 billion in new money, user fee revenue, revenue that can only be used for roads,
highways, bridges and transit. not for anything else. not for foreign aid. not for wars. not for some other kind of domestic program or foreign program. $220 billion that would go into roads, highways, bridges and transit systems. the legislation that senator durbin and i introduced permanently eliminates the annual highway trust fund shortfall. every year we run out of money. we run out of money every year in the transportation trust fund. we take money out of the general fund to fill up the transportation trust fund. when the general fund goes out of money we go around the world cup in hand to people like china to refill the general fund so we can refill the transportation trust fund. and then when we call china on their misbehavior, it might be concurrence manipulation, it might be dumping various goods in our country, it might be messing around in the china sea and we say china you can't do that, you can't do that, if i were them i would say to us, we
thought you wanted to borrow our money. we shouldn't be in that position. we should not be in that position. the traffic relief act that senator durbin and i have introduced raises an additional $72 billion over ten years for new transportation investments over and above what would otherwise be generated. and we could use all that $72 billion and more. and more. i don't know if you can read the script here but this one fellow is saying there is no way i can afford an increase on the gas tax. no way i can afford an increase on the gas tax and he goes on to say over here as his car is being towed away. i spent all of my money fixing this car because of these terrible roads. think about that. and there are a lot of terrible roads, highways and bridges. and some pretty lousy transit
systems as well. and people -- i spent money on my minivan last year replacing a tire. i think it cost me about $200 because of the problem with the road that i encountered. and i'm not the only person. it happens to a lot of folks during the course of a year. those are all of the posters i've got, mr. president. i just want to close, if i could, by saying this. we have taken a report out of of the environment and public works committee where i serve, reported out unanimously authorizing legislation that would authorize investments in transportation systems, roads, highways, bridges and transit for the next six years -- actually very smart legislation. i give senator boxer, senator inhofe, the lead democrat, lead republican on the committee, a lot of credit for leading that effort. over in the house of representatives, they're coming up with a six-year transportation authorization plan that reflects in many ways
what we've done in the senate. to the extent that that's the case, we applaud their efforts as well. some of you may remember another poster i showed earlier this week or last week, and it was a photograph, a large photograph of a fellow wearing a cowboy hat, kind of like he was asleep on his back. the cowboy hat was covering his face. he didn't look like the marlboro man. he looked like a cowboy who had ridden hard. but the caption at the bottom of the poster, that picture of that guy was talking about the hat, all hat, no cattle. suggesting that that guy wasn't a real cowboy. all hat, no cattle. it's great that we have sound, smart transportation authorization legislation -- and
we do. what's really disappointing is all hat and no cattle when it comes to paying for this stuff and actually even coming close to the amount of money that we need to invest, we're not even close. we're not even close. and i think we're going to look at the six-year transportation authorization with maybe three years of funding. and some of that fund we kind of create by borrowing savings that are eight or nine or ten years down the road and bring it forward to pay for spending today. and i don't feel good about that. i suspect you don't either. in some cases we're taking money that supposedly is being collected for t.s.a., for aviation safety, for our security in the highways and skies rather and using that money for roads, highways and bridges, ten years of transportation, use that money for just a couple of months for roads, highways and bridges improvement. do the same thing with fees for, customs fees along our border.
people are coming across, commerce coming across our borders. other ideas we used in the past is taking money out of the strategic petroleum reserve, maybe oil we bought for $80, $90 a barrel and selling it for half that price. buy high, sell low, i don't think that's a very smart strategy for investment or for funding transportation projects. the american people deserve better than this. they deserve better than this. and ronald reagan said, eisenhower and others have said, even democrats have said that the way that we have funded for years transportation in this country, improvements in transportation, roads, highways and bridges in this country, it's a user approach. the folks, the businesses who use our roads, highways and bridges ought to pay for them. that's what we've done. and we've come to a place in this country where we're finding it hard to pay for the things that we need and the things that we want. and somehow we've got to summon the courage to do what the
american people expect us to do, and that is to work together to work smartly and to make some tough decisions, to make some tough decisions. the legislation i alluded to that senator durbin and i and another colleague or two have introduced and sponsored would raise the gas tax in this country -- the gas tax in this country and diesel tax haven't been raised for 22 years. 22 years. the gas tax which 22 years ago was raised to 18 cents is now worth, because of inflation, now worth less than a dime. the diesel tax which 22 years ago was worth 23 cents is now worth not even 15 cents. meanwhile the cost of concrete, asphalt, steel, labor have all gone up. and we're still stuck with the same purchasing power from these user fees that we've had 22 years ago. and as a result we earn nearly
failing grades for the transportation system that we have. if we were to actually somehow actually wave a magic wand, mr. president, and the house and senate would come to their severances and -- come to their senses and pass user fees and we get to 2020 and we would have added 16 cents over that period of time to what is one of the lowest, lowest user fees on gas and diesel of any advanced nation in the world. i think we're number 33 out of 34 of the oecd nations. we would, the average driver in 2020 after the increase four cents a year for four years was put in place, the cost to the average driver is the cost of a cup of coffee a week. think about that. for the average driver through
paying additional user fees, four cents a years for four years indexing going forward, the cost to the average driver is the cost of a cup of coffee a week. and the question i ask my colleagues, and i think you ask most people: would you rather put up with really, one of my favorite words, a good senatorial word, crap pi, roads, highways, bridges, continue to put up with that and we could have a transportation system we could be proud of again. a cup of coffee a week. i don't think it's asking too much. i don't think that's asking too much. i don't have a magic wand. i don't think it's likely that my colleagues will rush to the floor after these remarks today and say let's do something real and let's see if we can't get it done on our roads, highways and bridges make the grades our pages are making while they're doing their school work while they're serving us in the here
in the senate. i hope in the bible the parable of the seeds where some of the seeds were sown on hard ground and never bore fruit. some were sown in the thorns and thistles and never bore fruit. some came up for a little while and raised up plants and died away in the hot sun. but others took root and grew 100-fold. and i'm going to keep sewing these -- sowing these seeds and hopefully soon some of these seeds will fall in fertile soil. until then i look forward to joining on the floor, mr. president, and we'll keep this up until you say "uncle" and then we'll change places. until then, i don't see anybody -- oh, i do. my friend from kansas. he's here with our friend from nebraska. i'm tempted to sit here and wait to see what y'all have to say. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: first i'll say "uncle" then i will recognize. mr. moran: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: thank you, mr. president and thank you to the kind compliments from the gentleman. in the morning we will vote on a budget agreement. mr. president, i will vote "no," and i think it's useful and important for my constituents to understand my thinking and the basis for which i reach that conclusion. one of the most important issues that, in my mind that we face in this country today is the fiscal condition of our country and the amount of debt that we incur and the amount of debt that we continue to incur is a significant drag on our economy, on job creation and in reality on the american dream. it's an economic issue and at some point in time if we don't get our fiscal house in order, we will pay a significant price.
and we can either deal with this issue in a gradual incremental way in which we set ourselves on a path to right or we can wait for the crisis to occur which i have no doubt will happen. and while it's often said this is an economic issue and fiscal issue as a matter to the country, i also would point out that this is not just an economic issue. it's a moral issue. the borrowing of money to pay for services and goods that the government provides the american people is a selfish circumstance in which we take the benefits, so-called benefits of government programs today and expect the future generations of americans to pay for those benefits. it is wrong economically for us to continue down the path of
fiscally -- fiscal ir responsibility, but it is also morally wrong to expect someone else to pay for the so-called benefits we receive today. now, this issue today, this budget act, this bipartisan effort to resolve the circumstance we find ourselves in because we face a debt limit problem, the problem is that if we don't do something, that then we reach the debt limit and there are those who will argue that the consequences of not raising the debt sealing are so -- debt ceiling are so dramatic, so damaging that we need to do that regardless of the fiscal consequences of doing so. i come down on the side of fiscal responsibility and i want to explain why. i want kansans to know how i think about this issue. and, in fact, one of the first letters i ever