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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 29, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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air force. it was a foregone conclusion that he would serve his country long before that, however. his grandfather served in vietnam. his oldest brother jeremy was a proud marine. and his other older brother lamar graduated from west point just last spring and is now probably serving in the army. his -- his mother told the story about his three sons -- quinn was only three years old at the time -- saluted at the grave of their grandfather and vowed to serve their country. mr. president fo, for men such s these, our nation is eternally grateful. quinn went to rebuild houses in new orleans after hurricane katrina while he was still in school. later one of his comrades, a sergeant that served with him in the air force, said he was --
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quote -- "the heart of the squadron and that he was the best of us." for 239 years, our servicemen and women have guarded our freedom, more than 42 million of them. since the revolutionary war, more than 1 million of those heroes have given their lives, including more than 27,000 sons and daughters of wisconsin. now airman johnson harris has been added to that terrible toll. his brothers, his sister fatia, his parents, ya vet an yavette , and all his families and friends grieve his loss. our hearts go out to him and we pray they will find comfort and peace. i saw the grief of airman johnson harris's family this past weekend during his funeral service at christian faith fellowship church in milwaukee. i saw the respect they had for
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him and the honor granted him by a family that knows the meaning of earned honor. quinn swore to support and defend the constitution of the united states, to put his life on the line for the liberties we all enjoy. we must never take that type of dedication for granted. we owe him the honor of taking our own corresponding oath of duty as seriously as he took h his. mr. president, may god bless airman johnson harris's loved ones. may he guard all those in our armed forces who defend our nation's liberty and may god bless america. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk shall call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you very much. i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. moran: mr. president, i spoke a few moments ago on the senate floor and i was -- as i
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was leaving, i was made aware of an article in which the minority leader, senator reid, was quoted and i wanted to come highlight something i want my colleagues to hear and know. and what the senator from nevada indicated was -- the article begins, "having secured the goal of getting a budget deal addressing the debt ceiling and sequestration cuts," the article says that democrats are now looking forward to the appropriations process. and as an appropriator, so am i. i'm interested for us to have the opportunity if this budget agreement passes, to make decisions about the priorities of spending within those budget numbers. but what is so troublesome to me is that the indication was that president obama and democrats stand firm against efforts to target environmental regulations and other contentious riders. quoting the senator from nevada,
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"we're holding hands with the president. we're all holding hands. we're not going to deal with these vexus riders. we feel comfortable and confident that this --" he goes on to talk about the agreement. mr. president, this is a congress that's supposed to deal with contentious and vexus issues. why does anyone have the opportunity to say it's off the table? happened in these budget agreements in which we were told dealing with mandatory spending is off the table, and yet it is one of the most important issues that we need to address and you ought not start negotiations by saying, we're not even going to talk about an issue. in this case, off the table, not subject to discussion is the issue of contentious or environmental regulations. mr. president, congress, republican and democrat members, ought to care about the power of
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congress which is granted to us by the constitution in our representation of the american people. we need the days in which the congress and members of congress are not wedded to a republican president or a democrat president just because they happen to be republicans or democrats. we need to make decisions based upon what is good for the country, not whether we are backstopping a president who happens to be a member of our political party. where are the members of congress who say about congressional authority, the constitutional grant of power to act on behalf of americans? mr. president, we need not only to establish priorities as a congress when it comes to the spending process but we need to make decisions when an agency or department exceeds their authority when they operate in ways that are contrary to what
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we believe is in the best interest of the country in circumstances in which they are doing things that lack common sense. the role of congress is to direct the spending. it's granted to us by the constitution of the united states and we're saying that while we're pleased we have a budget agreement, we will not stand for congress determining whether or not the money can be spent in a certain way, whether it can be prohibited from being spent in a certain way. we're taking vexus riders off the table. mr. president, this is our responsibility. it is just as important for us to determine whether money should be spent at all as it is for us to determine how much money can be spent on a government program. and it's particularly true, i don't think there's any question but what this administration has been the most active. many of us would consider it active in an unconstitutional way in the development of
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regulations, of policies, of -- of the bureaucracy of what the departments and agencies are doing. this is an administration that cries out for congressional oversight, not for someone who says it is not even on the table to be considered. and i would think that republicans and democrats both ought to have an interest in determining how money is spent as well as whether or not we should tell an agency, a department they can't spend that money at all. many of my democrat colleagues have indicated they support a number of riders, including ones that are considered environmental. waters of the united states is one that i have been told numerous times that my colleagues on the democrat side of this congress support the rider that's in the appropriation bill. numerous times i've been told that many democrats support reining in the regulations that
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are coming from the department of labor related to a fiduciary rule. but now we hear that vexus environmental riders are off the table. we ought not allow that to stand. it's not that i expect every ryder that i'm -- rider that i'm for to receive the approval of congress, but, boy, those votes ought to be taken. that's our responsibility. and majority rules. so, again, the circumstance we now find ourselves in, this is nothing we are even going to talk about. and it's troublesome to me that those of my colleagues who have expressed support for those riders -- and i guess i should explain to kansans and to americans, riders is a provision, language in the appropriation bill that oftentimes says no money can be sent to implement this idea, to take -- to implement this regulation. it's an absolutely important responsibility for congress.
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it's not unusual. it's not something outside the boundaries of what we're supposed to be doing. it is absolutely a significant component of our responsibility. and now those who claim they're for a rider say the waters of the united states or the fiduciary rule that the department of labor is promulgating, we have colleagues who say they're for that. now they will be able to say well, i'm for it, but i just never had a chance to vote on it because it was off the table. i would again ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, tonight fall into this trap in which we are here to support ad hoc at every instance the executive branch just because they happen to be a member of our political party. when there's a republican president, i hope to abide by those same rules. i'm here on behalf of kansans, on behalf of americans, not on behalf of an administration, regardless of their political party, and we ought to demand
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that congress do its work. we had an election. people asked for something different. and once again we're back in the circumstance in which no longer are we able to move forward on legislation. and i assume by what the former majority leader is saying is when he says it's off the table, it means that the democrats, it means that there will not be 60 votes for us to even consider an omnibus bill in which those riders are included. now, what i would say is before long, we will be hearing about how republicans are interested in shutting down government because they want these riders. the reality is that senator -- the senator from nevada is indicating that there is no discussion, and it ought not be the blame fall to those of us who actually want a congress to work. the allegation of shutting down government ought to rest on those who say we won't even discuss an appropriation bill
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that includes contentious riders. who would want to be a member of congress who is unwilling and a congress that is unwilling to deal with contentious issues? it's our responsibility. it's our constitutional responsibility, and the american people ought to demand the opportunity for us to address issues of importance to them, and it ought not be off the table before the conversation even begins. mr. president, i yield the floor and notice the absence -- the presiding officer: will the senator withhold? mr. moran: i will. the presiding officer: pursuant to 42 u.s.c. 2959 i and section 601-b-4 of public law 94329, s.j. res. 20 is discharged and placed on the calendar, 45 days of the review period having elapsed. mr. moran: mr. president, i would again, having yielded the
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floor, i ask to be recognized. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. again, the point being that we have a constitutional responsibility that we failed to exercise when the decisions are made it's off the table. we need a congress that works and we need a congress that puts the american people above defending a president, regardless of his or her political party. now, mr. president, i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: for the information of our colleagues, the cloture vote on the house-passed budget and debt limit package will occur an hour after we reconvene, which is 1:00 a.m. under the regular order. once cloture's invoked, the senate will remain in session and on the message until we've voted on passage. senators will be permitted for up to an hour to speak postcloture -- that is, after 1:00 a.m. -- under the rules. it's my hope that the debate time will be extremely limited and that we'll be able to move to passage -- to a passage vote almost immediately after the 1:00 a.m. the timing, however, is up to any individual senator who claims debate time after the 1:00 a.m. vote.
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so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business today, or at 11:55 p.m. today, whichever comes first, it adjourn until 12:00 01 friday, october 30. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. finally following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of the house message to accompany h.r. 1314, with the time until 1:01 a.m. equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. apparently i was not clear. let me reread the first part of
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my consent. i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today or at 11:55 p.m. today, whichever comes first, it adjourn until 12:01 a.m. friday, october 30. the presiding officer: is there objection to the request? without objection. so ordered. mr. mcconnell: so if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand in recess subject to the call of the chair following the remarks of senator whitehouse. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. whitehouse: presuming the senate to be in a quorum call,
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may i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to speak for about ten minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: we are embarked on a significant budget agreement that has as one of its components adjustments to america's health care costs. in the case of this particular agreement, i support the adjustments that have been proposed, things like preventing generic drug manufacturers from raising their costs higher than the rate of inflation where we've seen people come in and buy companies and jack up the costs ten times just because they can. they don't add any value to the product. they just raise its cost. so i support that. paying hospitals the rates for physician practices, the physician practices were paid before the hospital bought them.
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nothing changed in the physician practice. just ownership changed. that shouldn't allow a windfall to the buyer. so i think we've done well with what we've done to reduce health care spending in this particular bill, but i recall that in the sequester, we did an across-the-board haircut right across medicare. whatever way you were being paid before, you got paid 98% of that afterward if you were a medicare provider. so i just wanted to come today offering a thought that i hope can percolate a bit, and if we have to go back and look at these costs again, i'd like to get this thought into the conversation. the backdrop for this is this extraordinary increase in health care costs that we've seen more or less in my lifetime. here is 1960, and it's a $27 billion american expenditure on health care total. $27 billion. here it is 2013, $2.9 trillion.
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more than a 100 times increase over those years in what we spend on health care. and as we've done that, what we've done is we've become the most expensive per capita health care country in the world, and not by a little. by a ton. over at the far side is united kingdom, then germany, then japan, then switzerland, then france, then the netherlands and here us. again, 2013 data. we are pay above the most expensive competitors that we have. so there's something that can be done here with this excess cost because people aren't getting bad health care in germany. they're not getting terrible health care in the united kingdom. they're not suffering from a lack of health care in japan or switzerland or france or the netherlands. these are competitive systems with ours, only ours costs almost half again as much. so there's a big target in
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savings here. and here's another way of describing it. if you look at the cost and you compare it to a quality measure, so here the quality measure is life expectancy in years. how long people can expect to live in these different countries. and this is that same cost per capita information i showed in the last bar chart. what you see is most of the companies we compete with group right up in here under my hand. greece, great britain, japan, most of the e.u., the european union, is right in here. as you run up the cost curve, you get to switzerland and the netherlands. they are the two most expensive countries in the world in per-capita health care, not counting us. look where we are. out here. our costs are about half again as much as the least efficient health care providers in the
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industrialized world. we are more inefficient by nearly a factor of a third than the least efficient health care providers in the industrialized world. that's not a prize we want to own. we want to be able to move this back. and then if you look on this graph, this gradient, life expectancy, we compare with chile and the czech republic. where we want to be is up here. where we are is here. so once again it proves that there is enormous room for improvement in our health care system, and we know that because other countries are doing it. they can do it, darn it, we ought to be able to do it, too. so now we change the scope of this a little bit. this is the american health care system state by state. state by state. each state is marked as one of the dots on this graph.
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and it -- this graph, the same thing across the bottom, medicare spending per beneficiary. the last was national spending. this is medicare spending per beneficiary. and here is the quality rankings of the state, their whole variety of quality rankings. this assembles a bunch of them into a consolidated quality ranking. so what you see is that within the united states of america, you have states -- this goes back a bit. this is an old ranking that the "journal of the american medical association" produced, and it shows that you've got some states that start here with a little group of states that were just then under $5,000 per capita. they were doing something right. and there were other states here, including an outlier all
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the way over $8,000 per capita, that there is kind of a bulk of states here that run around $7,000 per capita. that's a $2,000 per medicare recipient difference between this group of states and that group of states. so that's interesting. why is it that there is this big difference? and here is another interesting factor behind this. look who's doing better on quality -- the states that spend less. the lesson from this is that if you're delivering high quality health care, you can deliver it less expensively than if you're delivering low quality health care. at a $2,000 per beneficiary increase in costs, these guys are way at the bottom on quality compared to the others. the relationship between quality of the care people receive and the cost that it takes to deliver it to them is reversed.
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this isn't like lexus and mercedes, you pay more, you get a better car. this is the opposite. you've got a really crummy car and so it costs more to run it and it doesn't work and it's expensive because it's not working well, and so it's backwards. it's interesting that way. and if you bring that forward, this is a recent graph from the commonwealth fund that shows the same thing. overall quality score here relative to the u.s. median and cost in total medicare spending, and here is the average right here per cost, and here is the average for quality, and here you have these states down here in the bad box, right? they're way out here on cost. they're very expensive states. they're all above average. some of them here way above
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average, 25% above average, 15% above average, 20% above average. and look at what their quality measuring is. they stink. they deliver terrible quality health care. and over here you've got a bunch of other states that are way above the quality median and at the same time they're way below the cost average. so the principle from that first draft back in 2000 still holds true according to the commonwealth fund. so with that background, here's another way to describe it. these are the worst ten states in terms of highest cost per capita, and these are the best ten states, so i know we've got a country with 50 states, this is only 20. we leave out the middle 30, and this is the worst ten in terms of cost and that's the best ten in terms of cost. so here's the idea.
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why should we be reimbursing the states that have a per-capita cost above average above the average? instead of the way we did on the sequester, taking a 2% cut on everybody across the board that nobody can do anything about that's just a cold wet blanket of funds denial, why not look and make this the most that a state will get paid? whatever its cost would be if it were at the average. if it were at the average. and the rest you just take it back per capita across the entire reimbursement for that state. i tell you what would happen. these high cost states, the very next meeting of the state medical society, the very next time the state met with the governor, the very next time the medicaid program got together, they would be hollering, saying what on earth. i do a good job. i'm going to get my
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reimbursement cut because of that? no. we've got to fix this. it would give them a massive incentive to stop behaving like this and start behaving like this. and if we built in some lead time so they had the chance to actually get there, they might actually never have to cut. they might never have to face that cut, because what they would have done in the time leading up to when the cut was scheduled to be imposed is begun to behave like the states that are lower cost in average. we know this can be done because so many states are already doing it. why would we ever again look at an across-the-board medicare provider cut when we've got this enormous discrepancy, this unor must discrepancy -- this enormous discrepancy like this
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between these high-cost, low-quality states and these low-cost, high-quality states? look at this one all the way over here. oh, my gosh! it's a bargain there. and it's top-quality care. so that's my poipts fo point fo, and i hope that anybody listening who's looking at the proposed cuts in the budget and who's looking at the need to manage this exploding health care cost curve that america has had for the last 50 years, steepening health care cost care curve, starts to think about ways to do not just dumb and bloody cuts but smart cuts, smart cuts that give the states that are costing us way more money than their peers, the incentive to actually start
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behaving like their peers and bring down the cost for everyone. that is what i would consider to be a serious win-win. so i look forward to continuing this discussion. we've got a couple years before we're going to have to face this again with any luck, but i think this is an idea that's worth considering and once again if you give the states enough warning within the ten-year budget period so we can score it, but enough warning so they've got the chance to react, i encourage anybody to read the last article about texas by atul gwandi. about el paso and a town called mcallen, texas. huge. then they brought in the obamacare affordable care organizations, accountable organization model and down came the price in mcallen, so it can be done. we've seen it being done. with that, i will yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate
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stands in recess subject to the call of the chair.objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i said the senate would take up i said the senate would take up mr. president person is said to the senate would take up the fiscal issue with. this agreement is imperfect. i share some concerns but here's the bottom line. this is a fully offset agreement that rejects tax hikes, secures
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long-term savings to entitlement reforms and provides increased support for our military. all this at a time when we confront threats in multiple theaters. each of these items was a republican goal heading into the negotiation. each of these items was achieved in the agreement before us. i'm encouraged that we have got the most significant reform since 1983 resulting in $160 billion in long-term savings. i'm encouraged that would repeal obamacare and i'm encouraged that would help provide resources to our troops desperately needed in an era of diverse and very challenging global threats. when we see isil consolidating gains in iraq and syria, when they see the forces of assad marching alongside iranian soldiers and hezbollah militia
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supported by russia antiaircraft overhead. my colleagues know that i would respect whatever choice they ultimately make when this agreement comes up for a vote. there are valid differences of opinion and that's okay. but i ask every collie to consider what this fully offset agreement would mean for the men and women who voluntarily put themselves in harm's way so that we may live free. commanders tell us additional resources are required. required to ensure their safety and preparedness. this fully offset agreement would help provide that. a long life and no significant social security reformer than three decades along with repealing another piece of obamacare, along with refusing to raise taxes by a penny so i hope senators will join me in voting for it. now allow me to say a few words about the speaker of the house. there's a lot you can say about
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john boehner. he loves his wreck this every morning at pete's diner. he's a fan of the -- he's one of the most genuine guys you would ever ever meet. i know because we fought many battles together in the trenches. he never breaks his word, he never buckles in a storm and what's amazing is how we have had such a frictionless relationship especially when you consider that old saying. the other party, that's just the opposition but the senate, that's the enemy. that may have been true with past house and senate leaders but it wasn't true for us. so you might not expect it, i'm a little more bourbon and john is a little more below.
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i have always considered john and ally and i have always considered john a friend. it's hard not to like him and it's hard not to admire what john has accomplished in his career. as a concerned all high when he took on a scandal plagued incumbent in a primary and one. as a freshman congressman he took on money laundering schemes and banking scandals involving powerful members and prevailed. as an engineer of the contract with america he took on democrats decades long power lock and triumphed. as an ex-member of leadership once considered politically dead he knew he had more to offer and convinced his colleagues that he did. as the inheritor of a diminished and dispirited house minority,
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he dared to believe conservatives could rise again and help grow the largest republican majority sends the flappers were dancing the charleston back in the 20s. john boehner has wandered the valley. john boehner has also visited the mountain tops. john boehner has slid right back into the valley and then ascended to great heights yet again. he does it all with hard work. he does it with an honest mess and an honesty i have always admired. when john talks about struggling to make it it's not some platitude. when john gets choked up about america's reaching for their dreams it's not -- this is a guy who had to share a bathroom with 11 brothers and sisters.
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imagine that. this is a guy whose parents slept on the pullout sofa. this is a guy who worked hard behind the bar and eventually found his way up top the restaurant. maybe that's why he is so humble. maybe that is why when the orders breakfast at pete's, they don't call him mr. speaker. they just call him john john. well here is what i know about speaker john boehner. he says the code he lives by is a simple one. do the right thing, for the right reasons and the right things will happen. i have always found that to be true. i found it to be true in our battles fighting side-by-side for conservative reform, sometimes from a position deep in the minority.
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we had our share of moments, that's for sure but he always strived to push forward. as i said about john boehner the day he announced his retirement grace under pressure, country and institution or for self, these are the things that come to mind when i think of him. i wish speaker boehner the very best in retirement. i thank him for always working hard to do the right thing. for his family, for his district, for his party, for his country. farewell my friend. so we bid farewell to one speaker today we know we will soon be saying hello to a new one. the house will vote later this morning on the nomination of congressman paul ryan.
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i think it's appropriate to wait for that vote to occur before making full comments but i also think it goes without saying that paul ryan is one of the most respected guys around here. everyone knows he is smart. everyone knows he is serious and i look forward to working closely with him in pursuit of conservative solutions for our country. now mr. president i understand there's a bill bill at the desk for a second reading. >> the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. >> and acta reauthorized the export-import bank of the united states and further purposes. >> in order to place the bill on the calendar under provisions of rule 14. >> the objection having been heard that bill will be placed on common calendar. >> mr. president. >> the democratic leader.
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>> last night the house and senate passed a bipartisan budget agreement that will keep our government opened, funded and free from default. 100% of the democrats in the house of representatives voted for this. 16% of republicans voted against it. let's pause just a minute and understand what i just said. 16% of the republicans in the house of representatives voted to default on the full faith and credit of our great country. 16% of republicans voted to close our government. mr. president this legislation now moves before the senate. i join my colleagues to read support this. it's not perfect as my friend the republican leader said. no legislation is that this budget agreement accompanies two major priorities that democrats have long supported, promotion of economic growth, from sequestration is damaging cuts
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for two years and ensures middle class -- the budget agreement is good for the middle class, good for the economy and good for the country. mr. president i believe the people who work so hard to make this agreement today. president obama, speaker boehner mitch mcconnell leader pelosi and i helped. i applaud and command the president of the united states. he was firm, he was resolute and he was as usual very smart. i appreciate the good work that he did to help us get to where we are now. to reach these negotiations we have discussions directly with each other. we also know that a lot of the work was done by our staffs. our respective staffs. my chief of staff true wilson represented senate democrats in
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these negotiations. seven democratic caucus is aware of drew's expertise fairness and hard work. indispensable gary myrick at democratic floor leader as well as a number of people who on my team helped a great deal. can't be on. i don't think there is a new plan in the senate he doesn't know who can't leonidas. bruce king allen tomasky tray rested kyla moran george carlin alex mcdonough and utility man bill pallister all working literally night and day to get this to the point where we are able to be here on the floor today seeking support for it. mr. president i am so grateful
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for the medical staff that i have but there were others involved. senator mcconnell's negotiator and this was hazel marshall. hazel marshall is a good person. he was resolute but like my staff you never get exactly what you want but everybody enjoyed working with him. dave stewart. he was speaker boehner's negotiator on this. i care a great deal about dave stewart. david is a good man and we all with meyer the work he has done and i hope that the new speaker to be paul ryan will use his talent. nick, leader pelosi's able, able negotiator. at the white house mr. president
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let me just say a word about speaker pelosi before a move on. i so admire this good woman. she is a stalwart in the house of representatives. she will go down in history as one of the great great leaders about body. i admire her. i appreciate her friendship and extend to anyone within the sound of my voice my appreciation for the work that she did on this bill. at the white house i never indicated the president did a wonderful job on this but he also assigned good outstanding, i can't say enough about these two people die in deeds, one of the white house negotiators and katie fowler. kd is a woman who worked for
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senator schumer for a number of years prayed she worked for the democratic policy committee for a number of years. we admire her very much and she was so help of and getting this legislation. she is always easy to get ahold of, easy to reach. so mr. president it's time for this important legislation to pass the united states senate. i will say just a few words about speaker boehner. i have to admit that i was skeptical when he said he wanted to clear out the barn before he left that he found a way to clean out the barn. by bypassing the debt limit in the two-year budget agreement which will go a long way to returning the appropriations process. i will always consider you my friend and i will miss him. i wish him the very best in everything he does in the future.
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i listen to his final remarks on the house floor and it wasn't the only john boehner the shed a tear today but many members of the house of representatives and a number of us that watched his final speech shed a tier two. mr. president there is a lot of talk about the appropriations process. i have have been inappropriate or simply came to the senate. i was fortunate as a brand-new senator those many decades ago to be on the appropriations committee. what an honor. the appropriations committee is not as it used to be. we have got to get back to being able to do individual appropriation bills. let me say to my republican friends, let's do the appropriations bills. let's get rid of these stick on appropriation bills. we need to understand there is a time and place for doing it.
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there are authorizations. do the bills, authorize staff and don't mess up the appropriations process. we will be happy to support next year individual appropriations bills coming to the floor. we don't need motions to proceed. we will be happy to move the bill as long as they get rid of those riders that have nothing to do with the bill brought before us. we don't need defense appropriation bill in women's health and the sense of directly attacking planned parenthood. we don't need something dealing with doing away with the environmental protection agency. there are many examples we could use. let's just get to doing appropriations bills the way these two. i want to do that. we don't need to have a motion to proceed as long as my republican colleagues get rid of those ideological amendments that have nothing to do with the
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bill before us. >> thank you very much mr. president and chairman hatch and i will be managing this bill and we also would like to say to colleagues that we are anxious to have everyone have an opportunity to speak out on this extraordinarily important issue and if they come down and consult with the finance staff majority in and the minority in our respective programs, we are going to work very hard to accommodate all of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. here in my view mr. president is what this issue is all about. fiscal battles in the congress come and go, but nothing should ever be allowed to threaten america's sterling economic reputation, and this legislation will preserve it. without this agreement the
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congress is staring at a potential debt default, a debt default that would be literally days away and the treasury would lose its authority to borrow in order to make payments. by now, i think a lot of senators understand the disasters consequences of default. housing costs shooting upwards, retirement accounts shrinking, jobs disappearing, consumer confidence dropping. now we also understand that no one can get particularly thrilled by the prospect of raising the debt ceiling yet it is a job that must be done. our country is an economic rock in tumultuous seas and we certainly have disagreements.
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disagreements practically, to every news cycle and election but what doesn't change mr. president is our country pays its debt and we pay them on time. that is why this legislation is so important. the bipartisan compromise reduces the threat of a potential government shutdown in december. when this becomes law the pin in effect goes back in the grenade were at the longs and that is positive news as we look for some predictability and certainty which we all hear from our businesses and employers and their citizens is so important. congress ought to look at this compromise in my view as a springboard to a slow and productive debate over the
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budget in the upcoming two years. the fact is last last-minute deals have become too commonplace and they have left a lot of importance policy reforms , policy improvements on the cutting floor. for example with america's west getting hotter and drier each year our broken system up budgeting for wildfires is in drastic need of improvement. the same goes for many programs and services that are a lifeline for rural america. fortunately this legislation lays the groundwork for the congress to go back to having robust budget debates that can actually solve these challenges. in my time this morning i would like to address the specific elements of the bill, starting with what i see as several particularly constructive policies.
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first the legislation stays on, the full brunt of the automatic budget cuts known in the corridors of washington as sequestration. this policy was designed in effect to be painful from the get-go and it would weaken medicare, that lifeline for older people and other domestic programs. it was supposed to be considered so god-awful that it would vanish two years after he began but it continues to haunt budget debate to this day. it's important that this legislation eases the burden by $80 billion over two years. that means more opportunity to invest in education, and medical and scientific research, and housing assistance and public health and more. now second, this bipartisan plan
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is going to prevent a big spike in medicare costs for millions of older people. several weeks ago the news came down that seniors were facing a hike in premiums and deductibles in medicare part d the outpatient portion of medicare, a potentially more than 50%. that would amount to an increase of hundreds of dollars, perhaps more in a year when social security benefits are not expected to grow. from my years as codirector of oregon's great -- i can tell you for many seniors living on a fixed income, that would have really hit them like a wrecking ball. so when we got those initial reports several of my democratic colleagues and i got together
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introduced legislation that would fully shield older people from this huge financial hit. following our work, the bipartisan compromise for the senate includes a version of this important fix. it is not as generous a proposal by colleagues in 90 days. there are questions about how it will affect the landscape a few years down the road but make no mistake about it mr. president, this approach goes a long long way to protect king seniors, particularly the -- the dual eligible seniors for medicare and medicaid and this is a very important part of this legislation. third, the budget compromise takes an extraordinarily important step to shore up one
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of our country's most vital safety net programs, the social security disability insurance program. without a fix, what is called ssdi, social security disability insurance benefits that the workers have earned, they would have been slashed by 20% and that 20% hike would have hit those affect did very quickly. this proposal is going to follow what has been a frequently used bipartisan approach shifting funding within the social security program to make sure that those that depend on this program are protected through 2022. i introduced legislation earlier this year along with 28 of our colleagues which would have gone further by guaranteeing that the program remains solvent through 2034. but this compromise package
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again strengthens the program for several years and will have a chance to come together hopefully on a bipartisan basis and go even further. fourth, the budget package makes real progress on what is called complying with our tax laws, tax compliance. it's important to know mr. president these are not tax hikes. this is a question of enforcing tax law, so that when tax -- taxes are owed they are actually paid and in the tax compliance area there are several important proposals that are going to crack down on taxpayers who dodge their responsibilities and pass the buck to other americans. for example, enforcing the tax laws with respect to large partnerships has been a challenge for some time.
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there are more than 10,000 of these complex businesses in our country. more than 500 of them have at least 100,000 partners, so there has not been an effective way to conduct. under the current rules, the rules are currently decades-old and haven't kept up with the times. in my view, the proposal before the senate makes meaningful improvements here. more taxpayers will pay what they owe instead of using sleight-of-hand approaches to dodge their responsibilities. .. to getting this policy
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right, as it relates to partnerships and several of the other issues, and my colleagues and i on the finance committee intend to keep giving the scrutiny that the partnership issue deserves, an ongoing aiminanalysis. those are four issues in this that saves off a risky budgetary balance. i do feel it is important to share one of my concerns >> i want to share one of my concerns with the bill at this time. it is a provision that really have little to do with the budget. it is called section 301. it allows debt collectors to make robo calls to american's
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cell phones. they cannot be gifted to ability to run aup costly charges. the federal communication has limit on the number of calls and they are not sufficient. in this kind of proposal this would be weeded out. i would like to say to colleagues in the senate, both democrat and republican, i will do everything i can to reverse this action in the weeks ahead. finally, mr. president, in my capacity as ranking member of the finance committee, i want to discuss how the fiscal agreements ought to be financed in the future. medicare and social security absolutely cannot become the honey pot that congress raids whenever it needs to pay for
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legislation. if you go around the country to oregon, illinois, georgia, dakotas, and texas, and you ask typical americans what they want their representatives in the congress to do, protecting medicare and social security is right at the top of the list. i hear it in every town hall meeting. i have had more than 700 of them in my home state and i have to believe many colleagues, sewed south dakota and elsewhere are hearing the same thing. medicare policy should be for strengthening medicare in the future and the same principle goes for social security. yet twice now these vital programs have been used to fund budget deals and medicare
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sequestration is sticking around long past its original expiration date. this legislation preventing a default is coming down do the wire. i would tell colleagues this is a must-pass bill. i support it and i would urge democrats and republicans to do so as well. i would say we talk about where we go from here. the bottom line has to be the process of reaching a budget and keeping the lights on in this wonderful institution, the people's branch, keeping the lights on and the process reaching a budget has to change.
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the congress cannot continue to just go from crisis to crisis to crises. it is our job as lawmakers, working in a bipartisan way, to set the right temperature in our economy with smart, forward looking policies that help our businesses succeed and give everybody in america, i want to emphasize that, everybody in america the opportunity to get ahead. let's use this legislation as an opportunity to get back to writing the budget in a bipartisan fashion through the dutritional approaches with what has been called the regular order. pass this bill now to insure that america's sterling economic
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reputation is in tact. and let's look too future for the principles i laid out. chairman hatch will be here in a bit. he and i as managers of the bill want to make it clear we are trying to accommodate as many colleagues as we can. we ought to be able to. i look forward to the remarks of the distinguished senator from illinois. and i believe before too long chairman hatch will be here as well. with that i yield. >> senator from utah. >> i rise to speak in support of the budget act of 2015. the legislation that passed in the house last night and i expect we will vote on here in the senate. anyone who hasn't been living in a cave the last few weeks is aware of the controversy surrounding this legislation. however, while the bill is likely no one's idea of an ideal
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path forward, i believe the controversy stems more from political consideration from policy or substance. let me say up front i don't love his legislation. if we were living in the united states of warren hatch the deal would look different. but there are other things i like less like election year posturing on complicated issues. this budget deal, far from perfect, will eliminate hurdles that must be overcome and hopefully allow congress to function and hopefully govern over the next year. i would like to talk about the
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specifics and why i believe the provisions are important. as we know, the bill would suspend the debt limit from mid march of 2017. i heard colleagues cry saying any increase should be accompanied by fiscal reform and on that count my colleagues are right. mr. president, i think you would be hard pressed to find many members of the chamber who have spent more time about the nation's debt and calling for reforms. i have come up with specific proposals that will help keep off the growing crisis. as chairman of the jurisdiction of the debt limit i called on the obama administration to do what passed administrations did and that is to use debt limit
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increases as an opportunity to reexamine the fiscal operation and work with congress to find a path toward reform to improve the fiscal outlook. these calls unfortunately have gone inorged. the president's refusal to be reasonable do and do his job is no excuse for congress failing to do its job and prevent the default. i know some colleagues don't think the default would be bad or the result would be classified as the default. i will not dive in the semantics of the issue, but i will say hitting the debt limit prevents the government from meeting a
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large number of obligations and nothing good, and many bad things will come from the result. no reasonable person will dispute that. and in addition, i don't think any person wants to see congress push up against debt limit deadlines multiple times throughout 2016. mixing a looming possibility of default, with election year posturing on both sides of the aisle, is a recipe for disaster. it will suspend the debt limit and spare the americans the spectacle of the ticking debt clock in the middle of an election season. this is not my preferred result again but it is much better than the alternative. in addition to raising the debt limit the bill extends the live of the social security insurance trust fund through a temporary
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reallocation of resources into the insurance ability program. the ssdi trust fund is set to be exhausted sometime late next year leading to benefit cuts around 20% for disabled americans. i am not willing to do that. right now beneficiaries in the disability program face enormous uncertainty and that will only get worse if congress fails to action. i have put forward a number of proposals to reform various aspects of the disability insurance program. thirdly, despite many calls for bipartisan cooperation the administration has decided to remain silent, aside the simple and overly broad reallocation proposal. the budget bill will provide a fund reallocation that will add
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an additional six years of liability to the trust fund provoiding benefit cuts to disabled americans and removing the current uncertainty. the bill will also put in place reform do is the ssdi program including some of the proposal i put forward reflecting the work of sam johnson, paul ryan and myself. our work led to a number of features of the budget bills treatment of ssdi that will help combat fraud in the program, make it easier for those who can and desire to return to work to be able to do so, and improve the overall administration and integrity of the disability program. mr. president, as i said before, this is not a budget bill i would have written. i think there are a number of other ways to improve the ssdi
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program and social security more generally. however, nothing in this bill prevents us from continuing to work to continue to develop and refine ideas and come with additional improvements given the unastaunasustainability of unsustainability of the program we will have to work on them for future generations. if we don't act now to prevent next year's benefit cuts we will create a cliff that will occur right in the middle of an election campaign, when fundal lit -- fundamental cuts to the program will be impossible. we would see accusations back and forth about which side is responsible for the impending benefit cuts. why would anyone want that, mr. president? what good would that accomplish?
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i would like to remind my colleagues that the ssdi reforms in the budget bill represent the most significant changes to any social security program since 1983. more than three decaddecades ag. that is nothing to sneeze at. while critics may be right these things are not the only type of long-term fixes the program needs, they should not be any means be overlooked. while we are on the subject of entitlement, i want to point out this budget bill will avert an unprecedented and large increase in medicare part b premiums for millions of elderly americans. under the law, there is a complicated interplay between the social security and medicare programs where under what is called the quote old harmless unquote rule, the majority of medicare beneficiaries cannot see a premium increase greater
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than the cost of living adjustment under social security. due to low inflation, there is no cost of living adjustments in social security in 2016 meaning there can be no premium increases for the majority of medicare part b participants. this means that the full amount of what the medicare system needs to collect in part b premiums next year will be charged to the nearly 30% of medicare beneficiaries who don't have their premium deducted from social security payments. absence some kind of action, more than a quarter of all medicare part b beneficiaries will see their premiums go up as much as 52% in 2016. this stuff is important with all of its faults that is a great reason to vote for us. the legislation before us will
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prevent this increase and once again allow congress to avoid a fight and preventing many seniors from becoming pond in the unending liberal political gamesm gamesmanship. it would do this in a responsible manner. in addition from sparing the country needless political fights over social security and medicare, this bill will also repeal the employer auto enrollment requirement under the so-called affordable care act. this provision once implemented would require large employers to automatically enroll new employees in health insurance plans putting the burden on employees who prefer alternative plans. this provision, like many others, never made sense and ultimately had few champions outside of left leaning think tanks that continually advocate for the government to quote
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nudge unquote citizens into what some believe are preferred outcomes by removing certain non-preferred choices. with this legislation, we have bipartisan agreement on the need to remove at least part and not an insignificant part of obamacare. that is important. we need to do more because any part of the president law not working isn't progress. we have not been able to get them to admit that. finally this would partially lift the budget camps established under the budget control act for domestic spending priorities and national
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defense. while very few people in congress or elsewhere are big fans of the sequester threat, it resulted in the only legitimate cuts we have seen in a while. i sympathize with colleagues who might be hesitant to lift the caps. it is fully offset, and while not all of the offsets are ideal, it is important the spending cap relief will not result in an increased debt or a tax hike. let me repeat that. it is important to note that the spending cap relief will not result in increase debt or a tax
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hike. and in that sense, the spending caps, even with the relief included in this bill continue to be successful. let me repeat that again. in that sense, the spending caps, even with the relief included in this bill, continue to be successful. second, lifting the spending caps will help us insure our military is properly funded although many of us would like to do more with the world and the turmoil it is in. many members of congress, particularly on the republican side, express concern regarding the impact of the spending caps on our men and women in uniform and overall readyiness.
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between all of the threats, now is not the time to under fund the military. we need to be sure the troops have all of the resources they need. in addition to criticisms of the substance of the bill, which i agree with, i heard complaints about the process that led us here. on that front i share colleagues concerns, it would have been better to move the legislation
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through regular order, including committee consideration and an open amendment process. i cannot speak for anyone else, but i would assume that almost everyone involved would prefer to see legislation of this magnitude move through the house and senate in a more deliberate process and time table. for a variety of reasons unfortunately that is not what happened. much of the time, effective government is about the art of doing what is doable. though republicans control both chambers of congress, there is a democrat in the white house, and enough democrats in the senate to sustain a filibuster. that is just a fact. we have to live with that. we cannot demand perfection or operate in a 0-7 environment where a victory for the other side is considered a loss for
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yours. i get there are some that believe compromise inherently means failure and i know some are opposed to anything that looks like an agreement with the other side but i have been here along enough to know that is not going to yield satisfactory results. my experience is teaching me you will wait a long time if you think like that. the budget bill is far from perfect. but as the saying goes the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. i believe the pass needs to pass so we can solve these problems, remove many dangerous obstacles in front of us and give ourselves a chance to govern without the cliff, crisis and deadlines all too frequently that dictate what we do around
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here. i plan to vote yes on this legislation and urge my colleagues to do the same. having said that, finally, i would like to compliment our majority leader. he has one of the toughest jobs on capitol hill. i want to compliment the house as well. i worked closely with the distinguished new speaker of the house. he is a tremendous human being. he does not reject the doable. he is a very strong conservative. one of the strongest spokes people in either house of congress as is our majority leader.
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we are working together to get important legislation passed so we can get about working on even more important legislation in the future. i want to pay tribute to paul ryan for personally for his election as speaker of the house. we have worked closely together as he has been chairman of the ways and means committee. we met weekly every since he took over as chairman of that committee and i am chairman of the finance committee. he is one of the truly great people in the congress and i want to express my view of we are lucky to have him. we are lucky to have the distinguished majority leaders as well. i want to compliment.
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i yield the floor. he replaced john boehner who resigned. senator mitch mcconnell spoke about his relationship with the former speaker on the floor today. >> there is a lot you can say about john boehner. he loves his breakfast every morning at pete's diner. he is a fan of the thai demple. she is one of the most jen genuine guys you will meet --
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he -- he never breaks his word, buckles in a storm, and what is amazing is how we had a frictionless relationship especially when you consider that old saying: the other party, that is just the opposition, but the senate, that is the enemy. that may have been true of past house and senate leaders but it wasn't true for us. though you might not expect it, i am a little more bourbon and john is a little more merlot. i lecture on henry clay. john sings zip do da. but i always considered john an ally and a friend. it is hard not to like him. and hard not to admire what john as accomplished in his career. as a concerned ohioan, he took on a scandal plagued incumbant
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for a primary and won. he took on banking scandals involving pomp powerful members and prevailed. he took on the decade long power lock and triump. he knew he had more to offer and convinced his colleagues he did. he inherited a diminished and disspirited house minority he dared to believe republicans could rise again and build the most majority republican led party since the '20s. john boehner has wandered the valley. he has been the mountant top as
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well. he does it with hard work and an ernest and honesty. when john gets choked up about americans reaching for their dreams it is not some act. this is a guy who had to share a bathroom are 11 brothers and sisters. imagine that. this is a guy whose parents slept on the pull out sofa. this is a guy who worked hard behind the bar and found his way atop the roster. maybe that is why he is humbled and when he orders breakfast at
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pete's they don't call him mr. speaker. they just call him john-john. here is what i know about speaker john boehner. he says the code he lives by is a simple one. do the riot thing. for the right reasons. and the right things will happen. i have always found that to be true. i found it to be true with the battles fighting side by side for conservative reform sometimes from a position deep in the minority. we had our share of may lox moments. that is for sure. but he always strived to push forward.
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i wish speaker boehner the best in retirement. i thank him for working hard to do the right thing. for his family, for his district, for his party, for his country, farewell, my friend. >> the senate is expected to have a late night tonight trying to wrap up a budget agreement between republicans and democrats which the house passed yesterday. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell hopes for a final vote on the measure on friday morning. the senate is back in at 12:01 eastern time according to senator mcconnell and will take a procedural video on the budget and debt ceiling bill at 1:01 a.m. we will be back live. coming up next, a look at u.s.
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defense strategies. the director of mental health told a senate panel more needs to be done to treat mental illness. that is coming up later tonight. next, military analyst talk about ways to improve u.s. military strategy testifying at the senate armed chair committee chaired by senator john mccain of arizona. >> good morning. we are pleased to have with us a group of witness who want to realize and reshape the future.


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