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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 30, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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we have a minute or two before we go to the pentagon for a briefing. go ahead, kelly in oregon. caller: the trouble with public policy makers is that they are out of touch with the vast majority of the regular people. there are a few good persons out there. barry sanders, our beloved peter defazio. but policy which makes sense to , they are out of touch. do not know with the needs and the concerns of the regular individual are. host: this is marjorie in washington dc. caller: hello. i apologize, i'm going to have to let you go.
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you have 15 seconds. axeser: property tas assessments have no control. ont: when you get through washington journal, turned out a television, because you will hear everything three telephone and you will not have any delay. pentagon briefing begins now. general breedlove: good morning.
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he thank you again for the opportunity to provide you with an update on the things that are keeping us busy and u.s. european command. my last visit with you was back in april. i'm confident we will have some updates. on many lines ever since that time. one intervening conference with you scheduled, which was canceled for some tough things happening downrange. i will begin with a brief opening statement and that i will answer questions. since i was last year, a lot has transpired across the yukon theater of operations. european security challenges continue to grow and become more complex. in fact, it will not be an overstatement to say that we are changing on almost a daily basis. therefore my key focus is to remain constant. first, russia's continued aggressive actions and malign influence remain a top concern at high priority. although the cease-fire and eastern ukraine is holding i'm
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still concerned about russia's lack of effort to end its occupations and honor its commitment in ukraine. in syria, russia's intervention continues to make more questions than answers. russia's actions prolong the conditions creating massive scale emigration of refugees that is further worrying our southern allies. and the eastern allies continue to be concerned about russian and mansion. -- russian expansion. these concerns are a strategic challenge for all of europe. as i stated five months ago we cannot fully be certain of what russia will do next. we still cannot fully discern mr. putin's intent. but i can observe the capabilities and capacities that russia is creating across our area. i continue believe that we must strengthen our deterrence and that our nato allies must continue to adapt by improving readiness and responsiveness.
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one example of how we continue is theove our readiness exercise triton to ensure going on today. exercise inbiggest more than a decade. it represents a clear devastation of nato's resolve and capability. demonstration of nato's resolve and capability. a high readiness and technologically advanced force air, maritimeand, and special force units are capable of being deployed quickly to support our operations wherever needed. this exercise is enhancing our ability to work with our allies, partners, and other international organizations with response to crisis situations.
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we also believe that expanding our training mission in ukraine, from the ministry of interior's national guard forces to the ministry of defense active military component will grow the capability capacity to address the challenges it faces. from the outset has been pursuing a diplomatic solution that respects ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. we continue to: russia to fully destabilizing actions in eastern ukraine, to end its occupation of crimea, and to fully honor its commitments. turkey, one of our oldest allies. the situation continues to become more complex around them. now a critical partner integrating at feeding iso--- in degrading and defeating isolate, they continue to
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support has across many lines of effort. the u.s. air force continues to be a important force more employer -- force multiplier. as you know, most of the forces we have in europe are also will have to do to africa coming in. while they are stationed in europe they are focused on african missions on the cognitive. in this way they are supporting across the scene into african. building up to congressional testimony, if you cannot tell. obviously, i do not want to continue to bang the drum about the centrality of european command to the global national security issues we face. i do want to bang the drum. is not what it was 18 months ago, or even six months ago. new threats and challenges seemingly emerge every day.
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we stand ready to meet them, and the supporting commands of and theand afrikaans supporting test command every day. finally, our commitment to our article five obligation in europe is ironclad. giving the complexity of challenges we face globally, it remains critical that we continue to work together with our allies and partners. this has been true for 60 years, and it is true today. with that, i'm ready to take your questions. general, the army chief just returned from ukraine. on the way home he said he is recommending a search of army forces into europe. what does that mean? and if i could, have you seen havence that the russians russian cargo flights are
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ferrying weapons into syria? there has been some reporting that there were 10 days, twice a day flights in breach of un security council resolutions. let me answerove: the second was first, it is fairly easy prey i am not personally seen any confirmation of that. i read the same things you have read. i cannot give you any other definition on that. the general's remarks, he is a good friend and a great chief. he had i have been talking from the very beginning about how we would address force concerns in europe. our force structure in europe now is not adequate to the larger rustler -- russian task that we see. how do we address that? that our current permanent force structure will probably not change. how do we address the need for increased force posture?
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what we see is working to gather of increased pre-positioning of equipment forward, as you know we have just now finished the full deployment of one heavy brigade of the positions which forward. we're now looking at what further reposition material we need to address. we had worked on this before he left. we have to take up into the next administration for the chief of staff of the army. we have highlighted what is important. the ability to rapidly reinforce europe will rely first on fast-moving troops following it on pre-positioning materials. we need to have the appropriate composition and type of position materials forward. both generals before and after
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and i have very similar visions of what that will take. to address the force posture that full said, what you have seen already in our forceion is a rotating into these most former nations -- most former nations of the balkans, and romania and bulgaria. we are talking about the appropriate size and composition of that future horse that mary's with a nato rotation into the same nation to develop assurance and deterrence into the future. these are the things that we're talking about. general, you talk about turkey has little bit. last week secretary carter said that there were going to be lower -- more airstrikes going forward.
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what rules does in-service play in that? we have seen platforms going in there. what kind of missions with a be doing? what is the future for turkey? i will be aedlove: good unsatisfying. i will not share the details because we are still discussing this. but yes, we are looking at some increases to the capabilities. we are looking at it in two venues. one venue, to provide some increases support as you mentioned. secondarily, to show in the nato sites, support to our turkish ally as we continue to address their concerns about their airspace. in the venue of the nato mission we might be making some contributions as well. but details are set to follow. i cannot confirm that we are looking at all of these options. ground you look at the
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at not more, when you seeing in terms of the turks unwilling at this point to let the forces, the kurdish, then are they in syria, northern rock -- northern and advanceound to the west the many sins of the turks are basically one of the factors keeping those forces bottled up. what would you like to see borderon that warner -- so they can carry out the president strategy of more progress? general breedlove: i will answer more so that -- most of that. a lot of the question is best addressed to a different officer. about the me talk yukon side of the border. we see, as you know, and you seen reported, and a lot of
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improvement in the turkish control of that border. turkishe put a brigadier general who has been given the mission of stopping the flow of especially foreign fighters across the border. we have all seen a marked improvement. there are still work to be done, but we have seen an of -- a marked improvement. they did position to try to address that issue. a good progression on the north side of the border. on the south side of the border, as you described, this is a complicated area. people in these areas are seeing by different nations in the area. what i would tell you is that we are committed to work very closely with our turkish allies to address their concerns about
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but to forward the mission on the south side of that border. are the specific concerns you are hearing from the turks about the south side of the border? ,eneral breedlove: as you know our turkish allies see some of the kurdish factions in a way that threatens them. they have been defined as terrorists and others in some cases. the turks are very concerned that we are working appropriately with all the groups on the south side of that order. that is what i mentioned earlier. that we will work with turkey to address their concerns closely on that side of the border. as we work toward advancing the mission of moving i sold to the south. --isil to the south. >> you sent that russian action in syria provides more questions
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than answers. they are popping up and saw a going after any ruggles of threatened this. what questions do you have? general breedlove: they have been clear in the very recent past about what they're doing. they started off saying we are all about isil and what we saw happening on the ground was very different. their approach is beginning to clarify now, and they're pretty forward about the fact that they are bombing the moderate syrian opposition and other groups. that raises questions about what is our future path in syria. we need a political transition in syria. the moderate opposition is a part of forcing that political decision. the actions we see the russians taking now prolonged this conflict which prolongs the conflict -- prolongs the oslo
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.eople -- outflow of people the idea of allowing political transition in syria -- opposition, some of which are treated supported by the u.s., should the u.s. do anything about it? general breedlove: i think i would just refer you to the comments of both the secretary and killed him for -- and dunford. we need to support our moderate opposition. >> my question is about the imf treaty. it is reported that russia conducted a test of a new launch missile which is said to be a violation that was identified a year ago. are you concerned about this new threat to europe, and what are you doing to ensure the allies? russians also said they
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would withdraw from the treaty if the u.s. went ahead with plans to play additional tactical nuclear weapons and can you address those? iferal breedlove: you said we deploy additional tactical weapons? they sure that is what said. they're questioning what we're talking about in the upgrade of our practical nuclear weapons, yes. not to trivialize your first question, but this is not the first time we have seen testing that looks like it violates the imf. we have been discussing this with them for some time now. both in the u.s. bilateral sense and also nato is equally concerned about it. the violation is not new, and yes we are concerned. you have heard our secretary talk as long as she can go about how he sees a framework for addressing.
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those violations. what we have here are threats that are being made in the case upgrade, our extension program to our tactical nuclear weapons in europe. we're not bringing new weapons, we are not bringing more weapons. we're ensuring the safety and functionality of the weapons that are there. we actually believe this is something that is another way to create dialogue and bring pressure on our alliance. there is nothing new about these weapons as far as numbers, etc.. we have a long program and we are continuing with the upgrade of our weapons and this is about reliability. these are things that you want to have a nuclear weapons. concern -- at the
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concern. >> take it back for a second. you have the russian buildup inside syria, and this is what should happen. the fact that back in june or july a few people would have guessed that russia would double down in syria in some of the side. ofyou think there is a lack this capability to anticipate decisions by russia? how does that affect your decision-making and your role right now in need of? -- in nato? general breedlove: i have answered this question several times in the past. i have for example find we have a lack of ability to see into russia, especially at the operational tactical level. we have conducted and focus on the strategic level across the years.
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why has this happened? i do not fall for the relation has done. remember that over the last few decades we have been trying to make a partner out of russia. decades as much as to of 18 years, 14 years, it does not matter exactly what it is great but for almost two decades , since the fall of the wall, we've been trying to bring russia into a family of norms and values that ally with the western world. we see a lot of reaching out to them in economics, energy, etc., in europeans and americans at this time. a verbal where they charge you. that was concerning. but the world went back to trying to make a partner out of russia after 2008. recently they evaded crimea.
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during that time, when we are trying to make a partner out of russia, and we were having these issues and iraq and afghanistan in other places, we have taken our limited bucket of intelligence surveillance and work on a hints capabilities and focus them at the operational and deck will level in the world. russia.ken the view off a strong focus on their strategic level so we could keep after those things that worried us most in their strategic forces. the capability to include analysts that we needed on has been shifted to the pressing concerns that we saw.
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we are not where we need to be now. and eic is addressing it has already made some fairly dramatic changes in the last several months. analyst and use our they are beginning to look at we -- f reprioritizing assets as .ell we're gently turning the nose of this ship to get back to what we need to be looking at. our to recap, i think nation made decisions over the last two decades that were congruent with our approach to russia. we didsee that possibly not have that partner that we thought we had the last two decades. i'me having to readjust and thankful for it. follow up.ld data think you can do business with the russians at this point in time? >> right now i do not see them as a partner.
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i would ask you to greet their paper across the last 18 months. the let's get this on the table as well. if we are going to have a europe , at someand prosperous point in the future when they have changed their behavior on thatround, we need to find relationship in the future. other russians still based at nato headquarters in brussels? partthink that the largest of the russian delegation has departed brussels. i do believe there is a small contact point there. i do not have the exact numbers
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but my characterization is there is a big mission that has gone down. love to speak about intelligence matters from the podium. aboutu talk reprioritizing? general breedlove: can i ask you to talk to them about it? i will be extremely honest. i know the details, but i'm not willing to talk to them at this podium. to talk to them about them. the intelligence community has seen they need, and make adjustments that are appropriate. but it will take time. >> you're seeing better intelligence on russian activities? general breedlove: i'd rather avoid that right now. do you see the need for the
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international body to investigate the doctors without borders? the strides at the hospital -- strikes at the hospital? general breedlove: there is an international body looking into it right now. a natoknow, we have investigation that is ongoing and i think it will report out sooner rather than later. i think it is approaching a time when it can report out. i think that our u.s. investigation is ongoing. i think that our leadership has been extremely clear in this. full, transparent, open investigation.
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that is what is happening first and foremost in this case. we are all saddened by the loss of life and our hearts and minds, to the families of the that are lost. we need to learn. you have heard the commanders say that this was a mistake and that we are looking at everything from personnel toions to procedural actions equipment issues to determine how and what happens so we can address them in the future. you support an international body investigating this? there was a recent report that you would look favorably upon that, having an international body. it is that correct? general breedlove: i am in favor of whatever it takes to get to a full of open, transparent investigation. >> including an international body? iteral breedlove: anything
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takes to get to a full, open, and transparent investigation. >> thank you for being with us. good to see you again. i want to ask about two things you talk about. about the you talked united states is going to start training the ministry to -- ministry of defense troops. can you give us an idea of the training that will be going on? also in syria, some critics have crisis thatugee russia was filling a vacuum that european nations were not helping within syria. theyou talk about some of conversations you have had with your european counterparts on the situation? anymore commitment to help in syria? general breedlove: let's first go to the training. not to waste your time, but i've been there, i have watched the training on the ground, i have watched the last iteration of
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training to the national guard troops. ae scope, size and type on change in all. we will do start to rotate through battalions of active duty and national guard. in our context that may sound like a big division, in their it is not too much in the training will be almost exactly the same. we are working on small unit skills, leadership skills. the ability to employ as a team, etc.. i must tell you that our soldiers are pretty impressed with their soldiers. what the green have done, which , as theys very smart bring these battalions backed they have a mix of new guys, but they also have those who have been on the front line, under fire from the russians every day. they have a great experience of what it is like to be hit by modern artillery. shareguys are able to
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inside of their formation as they are being trained by our troops. very little change. i don't agree with the assertion that there is a filling on a vacuum. remember we have a coalition that is addressing this problem. all 28 nations of nato are in that coalition. the europeans are a part of the againstat is working isil and syria. i think russia's goal is separate and clear. if we want to talk about that, we can do that. >> back on the re-prioritization , in one of your previous visits, you talked about isr. i wanted to ask you about the broad isr, you said it was a
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small percentage. 2%. have you been getting more isr coverage? --the changes to the system this is an annual cycle of how this is allocated. that is happening in the building now. the results are not out. -- building is clearly clearly understand my requirement for isr. one of the reasons i'm back here is to work this issue. [indiscernible] >> what about the navy? the russian fleet has shown activity in the black sea. do you see the need for any additional naval forces? >> first, the good news. as you know, a fourth of the destroyers that will be stationed have arrived and entered into our rotation.
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other the air forces and forces, armed forces in europe which have drawn down for a while, the navy forces are actually growing in europe as the ships are permanently assigned. we have four very capable destroyers that are a huge part of our rotation capability and have already been used to demonstrate freedom of action in the black sea and other places which the russians would like to say. is that is there. there is a requirement for more. again, ross us how we allocate those forces are going on in this building right now. that is part of the reason i am here to advocate what i think is an increased need to address the russian navy as it is growing any black sea fleet as you have seen as presence grow in the eastern mediterranean, etc.
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[indiscernible] >> crisis response from europe or it --. they would like to be a float. could -- would they benefit from having some other ship to be on? >> you just put a fact on the table that is not in my work. now, -- frankly, the acceptance of our great allies, italy, greece, others to move them around, we need to have them postured for rapid insertion. we are getting incredible cooperation out of these nations. i think that right now our can be met from our
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current construct. >> going back to ukraine and onsia, your comments russia's involvement in ukraine has been unchanged over the past few months. i was wondering if there is anything you are seeing on the ground that has given you cause for concern or is it safe to say that russia has shifted its efforts from ukraine to syria? >> it is an entry -- excellent question and when i wanted to answer. i think we have to examine what is going on in ukraine. thati'm concerned about is folks have taken their eye off of ukraine a little bit because of what is happening in syria. technique that is a that i think has been employed here a couple of times. ea,ade crime era -- crime
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take the was off of that -- worlds eyes off of that by getting involved in syria. we to be focused on the fact that this is a larger construct by russia. we need to think holistically about our response to russia. for example -- i will get more specifically to the answer in a wants -- if russia truly to collaborate in syria, a great is toto demonstrate that begin to cooperate, collaborate towards thoseng requirements like returning the border of ukraine to ukraine so that ukraine can control its own international border. if we saw good faith work in ukraine, maybe that starts a conversation. we need to remember that these are commitments in ukraine.
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we are thankful for the work done in the normandy format. see a thankful that we lessening of tensions along the line of contact, although we still have skirmishes here and there. we are thankful for the leading edges of what appears to be moving back some of the weapons. what we have not seen his russia removing any of its forces in ukraine. as you have heard the report at ,his podium before, air defense artillery spotting support, artillery support personnel, supplies, all still being supplied by russia. good faith there would begin the retrograde of those russian forces out of dumbas. that would be a good show of faith, i think. >> could you tell us whether there is any change with respect , theuring out of turkey
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assad regime forces seem to move up to northern syria. given the russians have deployed ground elements into syria. >> as you know, the patriots were brought home for a purpose. a had been there for quite some time and we needed to get them back to retrofit and upgrade them so that we can continue to be able to use them against the continuing threats that are built in the world. alliesworking with other to see what other contributions allies may seem -- bring to the issue. as you know, the spanish patriots remain in place. to the earlier conversation we had, we are looking at other things that we can do to -- theute to active operation which the patriots worked and contributed to. us turkish allies have given
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some concerns that they have about the ability to defend their airspace and other things. ato and u.s. are looking those options. right now, the patriots are going to be a long-term refurbishment. there is no plan for this specific patriot to return. >> if i could go back to russian intended syria. in an interview in the last 24 hours, he doesn't think putin has a plan in syria. do you agree? what is his plan in syria? >> i have said in the past that anyone that i can't so what mr. bruton is going to do. -- mr. putin. what are the capabilities and capacity to the is creating? we determine from that what he might be choosing to do. i think it is important to think
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might behy mr. putin in syria i have done that and this is my opinion, not one of nato or anyone knows. i think learned folks will agree and russia want to be seen as an equal on the world stage and as a world power. i think mr. putin and russia need eastern, mediterranean ports and airfields. i think mr. putin sees the assad regime as the guarantor of those airfields and ports. he needs to support the assad regime in order to maintain those. i think, as we talked about earlier, most
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those other places. i think he wants to keep the world's eyes off of what his supporters team the support team does. the on all of those, i think mr. putin wants to address iceland other things. he sees those is a threat to him in russia. i think there is a hierarchy of needs. that expenses actions. have there been provocative unsafe flights? why are they doing these kinds of things? , and wed a period talked about it from this podium last time. there was a bit of an increase in these interactions. if you remember, i reminded you that some of that increase and interaction is because we have stepped up our responses. we used to have one policing
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base in northern europe. for a while, we were up to three. we were putting up more interceptors and so there was more interaction. it is a complex dance of why there was increased interaction. we didn't see increased -- we increased interaction. i would call bellicose interactions, bellicose intercepts. you have heard from many of the nations about flying through their airspace without transponders, etc. there was a period, i would opine that in the past few weeks or so, it has been a bit more normal. we have seen a real focus on syria. these actions continue. they continue all around the periphery of russia. they are still happening in europe. they are still happening in russia. anybody?uestion,
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, any snape you seeing exercises not anyone is focused on syria? are you seeing anything different? response toow, in the last series of exercises, we saw some big exercises across the line and some snap inspections. at one point, approaching our etc., ilear exercise, think these are clear messages. in the very recent past, we have not seen a lot of it because i think everything is focused on working the syria peace. thank you all.
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>> this briefing coming to a close. some news he made and reported by nbc's pentagon quarter. will announcee today that a small number of u.s. special operations forces will be sent into syria according to a senior u.s. official. the senior official said the forces will be staged in northern syria working alongside groups of with a proven track record of fighting isis. that move is described as a shift but not a change in u.s. strategy against isis. are expecting more about the story later today when we bring you the white house briefing. questions about that in the senate's early morning approval
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of the two-year budget by a vote of 64-35. the agreement also raising the debt ceiling. president obama is eager to sign the two-year budget deal in hopes of breaking the cycle of shutdowns and you manufactured crises that have hurt the u.s. economy. we expect the president to sign a bill today. if you would like to read it, we have it for you online at you can also leave your thoughts on the bill at very quickly again, a white house briefing today at 12:30 eastern with spokesman josh earnest right here on c-span. the senate spent the entire day on that budget deal. up next, a look at some of the floor debates. he show your remarks from finance committee chair and raking members orrin hatch and ron wyden. comments from a pair of republican presidential candidates rand paul and ted cruz. >> thank you very much, mr. president.
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german hedge and i will be managing the bill. we would also like to say to are anxioushat we to have everyone have an opportunity to speak out on this extraordinarily important issue. and consult down with the finance that majority and minority, 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, and go. nothing should ever be allowed to threaten america's sterling economic rotation. this legislation will preserve it. without this agreement, the congress is staring at eight potential debt default. a debt default that would be literally days away, and the
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treasury with lose its authority to borrow in order to make payments. by now, i think a lot of senators understand the disastrous consequences of default. housing costs shooting upward. retirement accounts shrinking. jobs disappearing. consumer confidence dropping. onelso understand that no can get particularly thrilled by the prospect of raising the debt ceiling. yet, it is a job that must be done. rockountry is an economic in tumultuous sees. disagreements practically come with every new cycle and
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election. what's 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 pen, in effect goes back in the grenade where it belongs. that is positive news as we look for some predictability and certainty which we all hear from our businesses and employers and our citizens is so important. congress ought to look at this compromise, in my view, as a springboard to a productive debate over the budget in the upcoming two years. last-minute deals have become too commonplace and have left a lot of important
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policy reforms. policy improvement. on the cutting four. america's west getting hotter and drier each year, our broken system of 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. now, with my time this morning, i'd like to address some specific elements of the bill starting with what i see as several particularly constructive policies. first, the legislation staves off the full brunt of the automatic budget cuts known in the corridors of washington as
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sequestration. this policy was designed, in effect, to be painful from the get-go, and it would weaken medicare, the lifeline for older people and othe, and other domec programs. it was supposed to be considered so god awful that it would vanish two years after it began, but it continues to haunt budget debates to this day. it's important that this legislation eases the burden by $80 billion over two years. that means more opportunities to invest in education, in medical and scientific research, in housing assistance, in public health, and more. now, second, this bipartisan plan is going to prevent a big spike in medicare costs for
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millions of older people. several weeks ago the news came down that seniors were facing a hike in premiums and deductibles in medicare part-bncht-b, the outpatient portion of medicare, of 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 gray panthers, 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 and introduced legislation that would fully shield older people from this huge financial hit. following our work, the
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bipartisan compromise before the senate includes a version of this important fix. it is not as generous as the proposal my colleagues and i introduced. 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 protecting seniors, particularly the dual-eligibles -- seniors eligible 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 of our country's most vital safety net programs, the social security disability insurance program. without a fix, what's called
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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 affected very quickly. this proposal is going to follow what has been a frequently used bipartisan approach of shifting funding within the social security program to make sure that those who 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, again, strengthens the program for several years and we'll have a chance to come together, hopefully on a bipartisan basis, and go even further.
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fourth, the budget package makes real progress on what's called "complying with our tax laws" -- tax compliance. and it is important to note, mr. chairman -- mr. president, these are not tax hikes. this is a question of enforcing tax law so that when tax is -- taxes are sowed, the sowed, thee actually paid. there are several proposals that will crack down on taxpayers that seek to dodge their tax responsibilities and pass the buck to other americans. for example, enforcing the tax laws with respect to large partnerships has been a challenge for sometime. there are more than 10,000 of these complex businesses in our country. more than 500 of them have at
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least 100,000 partners. so there has not been an effective way to conduct audits under the current rules because the rules are basically 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. we all understand that the tax code, it almost boggles the mind in terms of its complexity, and i think it would be fair to say that there may be more work that goes in to getting this policy right, as it relates to partnerships and several of the other issues, and my colleagues and i on the finance committee
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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 with the bill at this time, and it is a provision that really has little to do with the budget. it's called section 301, and it allows debt collectors to make robocalls directly to americans' cell phones. here's my view. debt collectors should not be gifted broad permission to harass our citizens, particularly through robocalls, running up costly charges in many cases. the federal communication commission has limits on the
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number and duration of calls, and they are not sufficient. in a healthier budget process, this kind of proposal would get weeded out. the so i'd like to say to our colleagues in the senate, both democrats and republicans, i'm going to 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 these fiscal agreements ought to be financed in the future. medicare and social security absolutely cannot become the honey pots that congress raids whenever it needs to pay for legislation. if you go around the country to oregon, to illinois, to georgia, to the dakotas, to texas and you ask typical americans what they
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want their representatives in the congress to do, protecting medicare and social security is right -- right at the top of the list. i hear it in every town hall meeting -- i've had more than 700 of them in my home state -- and i've got to believe many colleagues in south dakota and illinois and elsewhere hear the same thing. there is a longstanding tradition that says changes in medicare policy should be for strengthening medicare in the future. the same principle goes for social security. yet twice now these vital programs have been used to fund budget deals, and medicare sequestration is sticking around long past its original expiration date. this legislation preventing a
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calamitous default is coming down to the wire, and 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 also say, we talk about where we go from here. it is important to recognize that medicare and social security must not be used as a.t.m.'s for other spending in the future. the bottom line has to be that 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 of reaching a budget has to change. the congress cannot continue to just go from crisis to crisis to crisis. it's our job as lawmakers, working with a bipartisan way,
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to set the right temperature in our economy with smart, afford, forward-looking policies that keepolicies thathelp our busine. the and giv and give everybody n america the opportunity to get ahead. pretty hard toure to do when yoh from one crisis to another. so let's use this legislation as an opportunity to get back to writing the budget in a bipartisan fashion, through the traditional approaches that have been called regular order. pass this bill now so as to ensure that america's sterling economic reputation is intact, and then let's look to the future around some of the principles that i have laid out. again, mr. president, chairman hatch will be here in a bit.
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he and i, as the managers of the bill, want to make clear we want to accommodate as many colleagues as we can. we ought to be able to. and i look forward to the remarks of the distinguished senior senator from illinois, and i believe before too long chairman hatch will be here as well. and with that,ay. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today to speak in support of the bipartisan budget act of 2015, a legislation that passed in the house last night, and that i expect will be voted -- we will be voting on soon here in the senate. anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the past few weeks is aware of the controversy surrounding this legislation. however, while the bill is likely no one's idea of an ideal path forward, i believe the controversy stems more from political considerations than from policy or substance.
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let me say one thing up front. i don't love this legislation. if we were living in the united states of orrin hatch, this bill would look very, very different. but while i may not like parts of this deal very much, there are other things that i like much less, including political brinkmanship on important matters and election year posturing on complicated issues. this budget deal, while far from perfect, will help eliminate several hurdles that must be overcome in the near term and hopefully allow congress to function and to actually govern over the next year. that said, there are some very important provisions in this bill that i think will be counted as wins for good government and will help us address some important issues. so i'd like to take just a few minutes and talk about some of the specifics of this legislation and why i believe these provisions are important. first, as we all know, the bill would suspend the statutory debt limit through mid march of 2017.
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i've heard a number of my colleagues decry this provision, arguing that any increase in the debt limit should be accompanied by fiscal reforms and on that count my colleagues are right. mr. president, i think you would be hard pressed to find many members of this chamber who have spent more time than i have talking about our nation's debt and calling for reforms. i have spoken extensively about the need to rein in our broken entitlement programs which are the main drivers of our debt, and unlike most members of congress, i have actually come up with specific proposals that would help stave off the growing entitlement crisis. on top of that, as chairman of the senate committee with jurisdiction over the debt limit, i have repeatedly called on the obama administration to do what past administrations have done, which is to use debt limit increases as opportunities to reexamine our fiscal situation and work with congress to find a path toward reforms that will improve our fiscal outlook.
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unfortunately, these calls and similar calls made by other leaders in congress have largely gone ignored as the administration refuses to even consider fiscal changes in the context of debt limit increase, of that debt limit increase. i am as frustrated as anyone here by the refusal of this administration to even engage on this issue. however, the president's refusal to be reasonable and do his job when it comes to our debt is no excuse for congress failing to do its job and prevent a default. i know that some of my colleagues either don't believe a default would be that bad or that the result of hitting the debt limit would even be classified as a default. i won't delve into the semantics of the issue. i will just say that hitting the debt limit would prevent the government from meeting a large number of its obligations, and nothing good and many things that are bad will come from that result. no reasonable person would disgutknecht that. in addition, i don't think any reasonable person wants to see
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congress push up against debt limit deadlines multiple times throughout 2016. mixing a looming possibility of default with election year posturing, and i'm talking about posturing on both sides of the aisle, by the way, is in my view a recipe for disaster. so the budget bill will suspend the debt limit and spare congress and the american people the spectacle of ticking debt clocks in the middle of an election season. once again, this isn't my preferred result, but it is much, much better than the alternative. in addition to raising the debt limit, the bill would extend the life of the social security disability insurance or ssdi trust fund through a temporary re-allocation of resources from the retirement trust fund into the disability insurance program. as we all know, the ssdi trust fund is set to be exhausted sometime late next year, which
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would lead to benefit cuts of around 20% for disabled americans. i'm not willing to do that. right now, the beneficiaries in the disability program face enormous uncertainty, and that will only get worse between now and the end of 2016 if congress fails to act. i have been urging action on this issue for quite some time now and have put forward a number of proposals to reform various aspects of the disability insurance program. sadly, despite many calls for bipartisan cooperation, the administration has decided to remain silent, aside from the very simple and overly broad re-allocation proposal. nonetheless, the budget bill will, as i mentioned, provide an interfund re-allocation that will add an additional six years of liability -- viability to the ssdi trust fund, preventing benefit cuts to disabled american workers and removing
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the current uncertainty. but that's not all. the bill would also put in place reforms to the ssdi program, including some of the proposals that i put forward earlier this year and reflecting the great deal of work between chairman paul ryan of the house ways and means committee, representative stan johnson who chairs the social security subcommittee and myself. our work led to a number of features of the budget bill's treatment of ssdi that will help prevent broad 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 that i would have written, and i think there are a number of other ways to improve the ssdi program and social security more generally. however, nothing on this bill prevents us from continuing to work to continue to develop and refine ideas and come with
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additional improvements. given the unsustainability of the social security system generally, we will have to continue to work on reforms to ensure these programs are available to future generations. for now, we must be realistic. 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 fundamental reforms to an entitlement program will be virtually impossible. instead of a real debate over the future of this important program, we'd see accusations lobbed back and forth about which said is responsible for the impending benefit cuts. why would anyone want that, mr. president? what good would that accomplish? i'd also like to remind my colleagues that the ssdi reforms in this budget bill represent the most significant changes to any social security program
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since 1983. more than three decades ago. now, that's nothing to sneeze at. so while critics may be right that these changes aren't the only type of long-term fixes the ssdi program needs, they should not by any means be overlooked. while we're on the suggest of entitlements, i also want to point out that 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 -- hold harmless -- unquote -- rule, the majority of medicare beneficiaries cannot see a premium increase greater than their cost of living adjustment under social security. however, due to very low inflation, there will be no cost of living adjustments in social
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security in 2016, meaning there can be no premium increases for the majority medicare part b participants. this means that the full amount of what the medicare system needs to collect in part b premiums for next year will be charged to the nearly 30% of medicare beneficiaries who do not have their treems deducted from their social security payments. long story short -- absent some kind of action, more than a quarter of all medicare part b beneficiaries will see their premiums go up by as much as 52% in 2016. this bill's important with all its faults. that's a great reason to vote for it. the legislation before us will prevent this increase, once again allowing congress to avoid a contentious fight and preventing many seniors from becoming pawns in the unending
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liberal political gamesmanship and demagoguery. most importantly, it would do so in a responsible manner. in addition to sparing our country some 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 to opt out. this provision like many provisions of obamacare, never made sense and ultimately had few champions outside left-leaning think tanks that continually advocate for the government to -- quote -- nudge -- unquote -- citizens into what some technocrats believe are preferred outcomes by removing certain nonpreferred choices. so with this legislation, we
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have bipartisan agreement on the need to remove at least part and not an insignificant part of obamacare. that's important. that's a good reason to vote for this. obviously, we need to do more, but in my view, any acknowledgment from my friends on the other side that any part of the president's health law doesn't work is good progress. we haven't been able to get them to admit that in all these years of -- of a failing program that's going on. finally and for many, most significantly the bipartisan budget legislation would partially lift the budget caps established under budget control -- under the budget control act, both for domestic spending priorities and national defense. and while very few people in congress or elsewhere are big fans of the sequester threat, it did result in really the only
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legitimate measurable spending cuts we've seen in quite some time, and it's especially noteworthy, given the current administration's seemingly insatiable desire for more debt-fueled spending. i sympathize with my colleagues who might be hesitant to lift those spending caps. however, i think we need to keep a few things in mind. first, the increase in the spending baseline under this bill is fully offset. that's important. while not all of the offsets are ideal, it's important that the spending cap relief will not result in increased debt or a tax hike. let me repeat that. it's important to note that the spending cap relief will not result in increased debt or a tax hike. in that sense, the spending caps, even with the relief included in this bill, continue to be successful. let me repeat that again.
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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 ensure our military is properly funded, although many of us would like to do more with the world in the turmoil it's in. many members of congress, particularly on the republican side, have expressed concern regarding the impact of the spending caps on our men and women in uniform and our overall military readiness. make no mistake, these are dangerous times. american generals and military officials have made clear that the spending levels under the budget control act are not enough to meet the challenges our nation faces on the world stage. between the threat of isis in iraq and syria, russian aggression in eastern europe and our newly prolonged troop presence in afghanistan, now is not the time to underfund our
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military. we need to be sure our troops have all the resources they need to succeed. as we know, president obama has conditioned any budget cap relief for defense on similar relief for other domestic spending programs, and while i agree with many of my colleagues that this represents an odd set of priorities for a commander in chief, whose number-one duty is to keep us safe, we should not let the president's refusal to do right by our military lead us to do the same. in addition to criticisms of the substance of the bill, some of which i agree with, i've also heard complaints about the process that led us here and on that front as well i share some of my colleagues' concerns. it certainly would have been better to move this legislation through regular order, including committee consideration and an open amendment process.
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i can't speak for anyone else, but i'd assume that almost everyone involved would prefer to see legislation of this magnitude move through the house and senate in a more deliberative process and a longer timetable. unfortunately for a variety of reasons, that is not what happened. however, 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's just a fact. we have to live with that. if we want to get anything done around here, we cannot demand perfection nor can we operate in a zero-sum environment where every victory for the other side, however minor, is considered a loss for yours. i get that there are some who sincerely and truthfully believe that compromise inherently means failure and i know that there are others with different agendas in mind that lead them
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to oppose anything resembling a concession to the other side, no matter what their side may get in return. but i've been around here long enough to know that such an approach does not often yield satisfactory results. if you're going to wait for that perfect bill to come around, my experience has taught me that you're likely to wait a very, very long time. mr. president, the budget bill before us is far from perfect but as the saying goes, the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. under the circumstances, i believe this bill needs to pass so that we can solve these problems, remove many dangerous obstacles that are directly in front of us and give ourselves a chance to govern effectively without the cliffs, crises and deadlines that all too frequently dictate what we do around here. for these reasons, i plan to vote "yes" on this legislation. i urge my colleagues to do the same. now, having said that, finally, i would just like to compliment our majority leader.
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he has one of the toughest jobs ever on capitol hill. i have to say that i want to compliment the house as well. i've worked very closely with the distinguished new speaker of the house. he's a tremendous human being. he does not reject the doable. he's a very strong conservative, one of the strongest spokespeople in either house of congress, as is our majority leader. both of them are doing what has to be done and they deserve to have support in doing that. i compliment my friends on the other side for -- for the successes they consider they've made. on the other hand, i just want to pay tribute to our majority leader and the work that he's doing around here trying to keep this fractious group of people
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together in so many ways and to get important legislation like this passed so that we can get about really working on even more important legislation in the future. and i want to personally pay tribute to paul ryan for -- whose election as speaker of the house. we've worked very closely together, as he's been chairman of the ways and means committee. we've met almost weekly ever since he took over as chairman of that committee and i as chairman of the finance committee. he's one of the truly great people in the congress and i personally want to express my view that we're lucky to have him, we're lucky to have our distinguished majority leader as well. and i want to compliment my friends on the other side who have -- who have been working to do the art of the doable. and though imperfect, have worked with both of these leaders to get this gon call.
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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?
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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?
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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$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. presi order. mr. cruz: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, for many months i've been speaking about what i call the washington cartel. ththe washington cartel consists of career politicians in both parties who get in bed with
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lobbyists and special interests here in washington and grow and grow and grow government. the washington cartel is, i believe, the source of the volcanic frustration americans face across this country. and it is difficult to find a better illustration of the washington cartel than the charade we are engaged in this evening. this deal that we are here to vote on is both shockingly bad on the merits and it is also a manifestation of the bipartisan corruption that suffuses washington, d.c. what are the terms of this budget deal? well, in short, what the house of representatives has passed and what the senate is expected to pass shortly is a bill that adds $858 billion in spending
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increases. $85 billion in spending increases. $85 billion to our national debt. $85 billion to your children and my children that they're somehow expected to pay. i don't know about your kids but my girls don't have $85 billion laying around in their rooms. and it's put together in a way only washington could love. the spending increases, when do they occur? surprise to nobody, $37 billion in 2016, $36 million in 2017, $12 billion in 2018. but, we were told, fear not. there are some spending cuts to offset them. and wonderfully, marry rack husbandly, ostensiblier there oe suppose to be a few spending cuts in at the very end, 10 years from now, when my daughter
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caroline will be getting ready to graduate high school -- she's 7 now -- 10 years from now we are told $33 billion will be cut in 2025. well, mr. president, if you believe that, i have a bridge to sell you in brooklyn and i have some beachfront property in arizona. nobody in this chamber believes that. nobody in the house of representatives believes that. no member of the press believes that. everyone understands this is a lie. it is an agreed-to lie by everyone. we'll spend now for a promise that 10 years hence we'll magically cut spending that will never, ever, ever occur. that's on the face of it. but beyond that. you know, it's worth thinking about just how much $85 billion is. it's more than the senate negotiated with the house when
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harry reid was majority leader. when harry reid was majority leader, the ryan-murray budget agreement, which was a flawed agreement, an agreement i voted against, increased spending by $63 billion over two years. now, mr. president, what does it say to you that a supposedly republican majority of the united states senate negotiates a bigger spending bill than harry reid and the democrats? when harry reid and the democrats were in charge of this body, they jacked up spending on our debt $63 billion. when the republicans take charge, ooh, baby, we can do it better, some $85 billion. not only that, this deal's not content with spending increases. it also takes the debt ceiling and essentially hands president obama a blank credit card. it says to the president, you can add whatever debt you like
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for the remainder of your team with no constraint from this body. we are abdicating any and all congressional authority over the debt that is bankrupting our kids and grandkids. now, you and i both campaigned telling the citizens of nebraska, telling the citizens of texas that if we were elected, we would fight with every breath in our body to stop the spending and debt that is bankrupting our kids and grandkids. how, pray tell, does handing president obama a blank credit card for the remainder of his tenure do anything to follow those commitments? and let me note for the remaining 15 months, we are going to see a binge from this president that makes the preceding 6 1/2 years pale. for 6 1/2 years, we've seen an assault on rule of law, an assault on our constitutional rights, a retreat from the world stage, all of which i think will
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pale compared to what's coming in the next 15 months. the next 15 months abroad, i have said before, we are essentially in a hobzian state of nature, where the enemies of america have made the judgment that the commander in chief is not a credible threat and so they are limited only by the limits of their own strength. like "lord of the flies. "on the regulator -- lordof the" on the regulatory side, we are seeing an affront on freedom, to destroy businesses, to destroy jobs, to destroy our constitutional liberties and when it comes to spending, i shutter to think what president obama for 15 months will do with a blank credit card. that the republican majority in the house of representatives and the republican majority in the senate are preparing to send over. you know, american express has a whole series of credit cards. it has the green card, the introductory card. i remember when i was a freshman in college, i was 17 years old,
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i got a little application for an american express card. i was really excited. i got an amex when i was 17. it was a green card. now, if you spend more and you spend more, eventually you can upgrade to a gold card. then you can upgrade to a platinum card. and then you can actually upgrade to a black card above that. well, i've got to say, a multitrillion-dollar presidential card -- that's got to be an extraordinary card. i assume it's encrusted in diamonds and glows in the dark. that's what the republican majorities have just given president obama. is a diamond-encrusted, glow-in-the-dark amex card. and it has a special feature. the president gets to spend it now and they don't even send him the bill. they send the bill to your kids and my kids. it's a pretty nifty card. you don't have to pay for it, you get to spend it and it's somebody else's problem. but, you know, not only is this
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bill spending us deeper and deeper in a hole, but it's chock-full of gimmicks. and these are gimmicks that everyone writing it knew were there. for example, it contains a spending gimmick that targets single-employer pension plans while ignoring the oncoming union multiemployer pension plan funding tsunami. beyond that, this bill also addresses obamacare. but what does it do? it provides a targeted obamacare fix for big business. those with more than 200 employees. by repealing the law's automatic enrollment provision which requires employers to automatically enroll new full-time employees in one of the company's health plans unless the employee opts out. now, what does it say, mr. president, that the congress of the united states exists to
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provide a special exemption for giant corporations? but turns a blind eye, turns a deaf ear to the small businesses that are being driven out of business over and over and over again by obamacare. what does it say that if you are a giant corporation in america, if you have lobbyists -- and fear not, the washington cartel is here for you -- a special carve-out no doubt just as soon as you hand over your campaign contribution. but for the small business, you know, we're facing a time unique in recorded history where more small businesses are going out of business than are being created. for as long as they've kept record, that has never been true until recent years under the obama economy. now, why does that matter? that matters because over two-thirds of all new jobs come from small businesses. when you hammer small business businesses, you end up getting
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the stagnation, the misery, the malaise we have right now. when you hammer small businesses, you have young people coming out of school who can't find jobs, who have student loans up to their eyeballs but can't find a job. when you hammer small business businesses, you have people like my father, who in the 1950's was a teenage immigrant washing dishes, unable to find a job. what does it say that congress will pass a special exemption for giant corporations but for the single moms, for the teenage immigrants, for the young african-american teenagers struggling to achieve a better life, there's no answer to their plight? to the some 6 million americans who had their health insurance canceled and their doctors canceled because of obamacare, there's no answer to their plight. to the millions of americans who've seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket so they could no longer afford them, there's no answer to their plight. but fear not, the cartel is here for the giant corporations. and let's be abundantly clear,
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the cartel is not a partisan phenomenon. it is not just the democrats, although it is most assuredly the democrats. but it is far, far too many republicans as well who are card-carrying cartel members, who when the k street lobbyists summon action, snap to attention. you look what else does this deal do? this deal additionally takes $150 billion the next three years from the social security trust fund and moves it to the disability insurance fund. mr. president, i would advise all of the members of this body, the next time you're at home, the next time you're visiting with a senior, the next time the topic of social security comes up, if you vote for this deal tonight, be sure to say, "ma'am, just so you know, i voted to take $150 billion out of your social security." because that's what they're doing. that's what they're doing is they're saying to seniors, well,
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there's a little bit of money here, we're going to take it and move it over here. why? because actually fixing the disability program, reforming the program, that would be too difficult. stepping forward to address the fraud in that program, that would be too difficult. stepping forward to put in place work incentives, to help people with disabilities find meaningful work even if it's not everything they're capable of. a great many people with disabilities are capable of meaningful work. reforming that program to help people work to provide for their families, that makes a difference in people's lives. but, mr. president, that isn't easy. that's hard work. that's actually what we were elected to do. far easier just to go raid the social security trust fund. far easier to go pull $150 billion from our seniors and reallocate it and do nothing, zero, to fix the
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underlying problem. the deal also sells 58 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. now it's always interesting to see the federal government selling off federal assets. i have argued for a long time we should be selling off federal land, far too much of which in this country is owned by the federal government. and i'm not talking about national parks, which is a treasure that should be preserved. i'm talking about the vast amounts of land that are held utterly nonproductive by the federal government. so it is a good thing that this bill is selling some assets. but it's interesting, number one, they estimate that that will yield $5 billion because they estimate that it will be selling at $86 a barrel. now, i've got to say, representing the state of texas, if you know how to sell oil today at $86 a barrel, you are truly a magician, because it is
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selling at about half that right now. but when it comes to budget trickery, you just make up a number and put it in there. because as i said before, on this chart everyone knows it's a lie. nobody believes it's true. it's a game. it's the washington game. and i would note that in selling 58 million barrels of oil, they're not using that remnant to pay down our national debt. you're actually selling assets. you would think it would go to something like at home. if you sell an asset and you have a massive credit card debt, the prudent thing to do would be to use the revenue from that asset to pay down that credit card debt. oh no, that's just more and more spending. i would note a group called the conservative action project consists of the c.e.o.'s of over
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100 organizations representing all of the major elements of the conservative movement, the economic, social, and national security conservatives. they sent a letter to this body, the letter reads as follows: the latest budget deal negotiated by the white house and outgoing speaker john boehner, the bipartisan budget act of 2015, proposes increasing spending by $85 billion over the next three fiscal years. what the deal doesn't include are meaningful accountability measures that ensure p responsible spending limits. the deal would allow treasury unfettered borrowing power until 2017 in exchange for theoretical budget cuts down the road. they included offsets are spending gimmicks at best. according to budget analysis from the congressional budget office and the heritage foundation, the deal would result in a spending increase of
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$85 billion over the next three years while significant spending cuts would not take place for another ten years, until 2015. furthermore, we cannot reasonably expect a future congress will abide by these measures. moreover, the busting of the caps presently is proof that the gimmicks which promise reform later are hollow. the bipartisan deal -- in quotes -- indicates a dangerous trend that has become commonplace in washington. rather than answer hard questions about spending, the congress is choosing to eliminate the possibility of these conversations or votes for the next two years. furthermore, the deal represents total surrender on important conservative principles while capitulating to every demand of the white house. it is this sort of irresponsible spending that has resulted in a debt of over $18 trillion.
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for the first time in nearly six years, republicans have control of both houses of congress and a real chance to send responsible budget reforms to the president's desk, a responsible alternative would acknowledge the importance of appropriating funds for government operations while simultaneously addressing our statutory debt limit and staying within the budget caps. instead, lawmakers have foregone the chance at meaningful reforms and instead are digging us deeper into the mire of debt that our nation has already accrued. in potential, the most egreedges portion of the -- egregious portion of the deal, the overseas contingency operation or o.c.o. fund is typically designated to support troops on the ground in emergency situations, is turned over to a
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slush fund for non-defense spending. we oppose the bipartisan budget act of 2015 not only because it fails to curtail spending, but it prevents future reforms for an entire two years. lawmakers should reject this deal and attach earnest, meaningful reforms to any hike of the debt limit. it is signed by former attorney general edwin meese, the honorable becky norton dunlop and dozens and dozens of names of respected conservative leaders across this country, across the full spectrum of the conservative movement, across fiscal conservative, social conservative, national security scerveghts, all united the conservative movement. i would note many of the people that worked very hard to elect us to this body, many of the people that worked very hard to give us a republican majority in the senate, they're now all speaking in unison saying what in the heck are you doing? some of them may be using
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stronger language than that. let me point something out. you know, this bill that we're voting on, this bill was not cooked up overnight. this wasn't a slap dash on a post-it last night. this represents days or weeks or months of negotiations. this represents the cartel in all of its glory because this is the combined work product of john boehner and nancy pelosi and mish mcconnell and harry reid -- and mitch mcconnell and harry reid. the entire time republican leaders have been promising we're going to do something on the budget. we're going to rein in the president, they have been in the back room negotiating to fund every single thing obama did.
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we saw el chapo dug out of his prison cell. one of the first thing you realize is that that wasn't dug overnight. the drug cartel spent many months digging that cartel. our leadership has spent many months breaking el chapo out on the american people, digging us deeper into debt. i'll point out it is contrary to the promises, the promises that our leaders have made. in august of 2014, majority leader mitch mcconnell was quoted as saying, "so in the house and senate, we own the budget. so what does that mean? that means we can pass the spending bill. and i assure you that in a spending bill we will be pushing back against the bureaucracy by doing what's called placing riders in the bill. no money can be spent to do this
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or do that. we're going to go after them on health care, on financial services on the environmental protection agency across the board, all across the federal government we're going to go after it. let me ask you, mr. president, have we done any of that? any of that at all? no, no, wait, wait. leadership might come back and say, well, sure, we have appropriations bills, there are riders. but the democrats are filibustering it. mr. president, everyone understands why the democrats are filibustering appropriations bill. when republican leadership begins the negotiationing by peremptory surrendering by saying we're going to fund everything, 100% of what you want, what rational democrat would ever agree to allow an appropriations bill to go forward? i'm reminded of a football game where at a football game if the coach comes out at the beginning of the game when the coin is being flipped and forfeits, you know the results in 100% of
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those games. 100% of those games, that team will lose. well, sadly, that team is the american people because it's republican leadership that goes out and forfeits at the coin toss over and over again. i would note beyond that, that was in 2014. in 2015 senate majority leader mitch mcconnell vowed -- quote -- "some big fights over p funding the bureaucracy" saying that his party would use spending bills now being written in the g.o.p.-controlled congress to extract policy concessions from president barack obama. well, mr. president, where are those policy concessions? where are those fights? i don't recall seeing any fights. actually, that's not fair. there are fights, fights against conservatives, fights against efforts to rein in the obama administration. fights against efforts to stop the spending, fights against
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effort to turn around our debt. on that the republican leader fights ferociously. but where are the promised fights against the obama agenda or anything? name one concession. and let's go back to the substance of this deal. one of the things this deal does is it utterly makes a mockery of the budget control act. it abrogates the caps, the budget caps. it wasn't too long ago that republican leadership was touting the budget control act as one of the greatest successes of republican leadership. indeed, when asked, why does it matter to have republicans in control, typically the answer would be, well, look at the budget control act. indeed, another quote from majority leader mitch mcconnell quo quoap politicians regularly come to washington promising fiscal responsibility. but too often they can't agree


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