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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  November 30, 2010 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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a final recommendation expected when they. you can see that on c-span3. >> the u.s. senate is about to start the day. lawmakers are expected to stake final vote on two expected bills. in 15 minutes there should be three votes, two un senator coburn's amendment, what is the temporary earmarked ben followed by final passage of food safety bill. the senate will recess from 12:30 to 4:00 when democrat christopher dodd will deliver his farewell speech. now live coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span2.
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the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. today's opening prayer will be offered by the reverend father gregoir j. fluet, catholic church in mudist, connecticut. father? the guest chaplain: for our prayer this day, i paraphrase a prayer written in 1791 by the first american catholic bishop, archbishop john carroll, making his words my own. let us pray. we pray, that you, o god of might, wisdom and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed would assist, with your holy spirit of counsel and fortitude, the president of these united states. that his administration may be conducted in
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righteousness, and eminently useful to your people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws of justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. let the light of your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessings of equal liberty. we recommend likewise, to your unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the united states, that they may be blessed in your most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give. great god, make of us a virtuous
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people, and allow us to walk always in your love. we beseech you to send your special blessing and graces upon these elected leaders. in your name, we pray, amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., november 30, 2010. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint
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the honorable al franken, a senator from the state of minnesota, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: -- mr. dodd: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. dodd: it is a great honor this morning to have fluet to provide the hoping prayer this morning. i want to thank him immensely for his words with regard to bishop carol. a wonderful way to begin the session this morning. he's not only a priest, he's a great friend. we've known each other for 30 years, first met when i spoke at a breakfast in connecticut. years later he became my parish priest. he pwab advertised my two -- he baptized my two daughters, was a witness at my marriage to jackie. beyond being a parish priest, he's almost an extended member of my family.
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i'm deeply honored this morning that this wonderful human being has once again graced us with his presence and shared his thoughts. a ph.d. in history, new england history, a great student, a teacher and a wonderful human being. i thank you. i thank father fluet for being here. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i would only say to the good priest that you have a wonderful person as one of your parishioners, someone we all look up to, someone we will miss dearly. for me personally, it's a loss to me personally. he's very proud of his religion, and obviously you're one reason that he's proud of his religion. so, mr. president, we're going to whip through some stuff here now. mr. mcconnell: would my friend, the majority leader,
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allow me -- i had the opportunity to meet father in the hall and express to him my admiration for senator dodd. in fact, i said he was my favorite democrat, and we are going to indeed miss senator dodd here in the senate in the coming years. thank you for being with us this morning, father. mr. reid: after any leader remarks, the senate will resume consideration of the food safety bill. there will be two minutes for debate prior to a series of three roll call votes. we'll have the coburn motion to suspend rule 22 for the purpose of proposing considering the coburn amendment number 4697, coburn motion to suspend rule 22 for the purpose of proposing and considering coburn amendment 4694 and then passage of this bill, most important bill, this food safety bill. upon disposition of the food safety legislation, there will be a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the senate will recess from 12:30 until 4:00 p.m. to allow
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for party caucus meetings. they are a little longer today than normal because of organizational things we're working through. at 4:00 p.m. today senator dodd will be recognized to give his farewell speech to us and the country. mr. president, s. 3985 at the desk is due for its second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the build for the second time. khro*eupl. the clerk: s. -- the clerk: 13985 a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, i would object to any other proceedings with respect to this legislation. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, congressional leaders of both parties will meet with the president at the white house today to talk about the work we have to do before the end of the year and hopefully about the things we can do together to foster the right conditions for businesses to start investing again and creating jobs. americans are watching the economic drama that's playing out in europe. they expect us to read the signs of the times and work together to make sure that we avoid a similar crisis here, that we don't walk into the same problems through a lack of will or political courage. the american people expect us to put the national interest ahead of party interest and frankly that's why it's been so distressing for many of us to watch our democratic friends grope for a clear and unified position on whether or not to raise taxes in the middle of a recession. you would think that this issue
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would be simple and straightforward. economists say preventing a tax increase is one of the most important things congress can do to help the economy, and the voters ratified that view earlier this month by sending candidates from both parties to washington who vowed not to raise taxes once they got here. but our democratic friends are apparently still reluctant to draw any clear lessons from the election. with millions of american households staring at the imminent prospect of smaller paychecks in just a few short weeks unless congress does something, democrats are still searching for a solution that enables them to benefit politically, regardless of what it does to the economy or to families. just take the latest proposal. some democrats now say they only want to raise taxes on businesses that make more than $1 million a year. where did that number come from? it turns out this figure has no economic justification whatsoever. nowhere will you find a study or
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a survey which indicates that raising taxes on small businesses with over $1 million in income will create jobs or spur the economy. in fact, the author of this proposal freely admits that it isn't an economic policy proposal at all, but rather one that was designed to provide better political messaging, an astonishing admission. let's get something straight, millions of americans are not interested in the message. they want a job. millions of struggling families trying to make ends meet don't need the democratic messaging to improve. they need the economy to improve. selling bad economic policy to the american people is not an acceptable alternative to creating an environment that will put people back to work and help spur the economy. we've heard a lot of chatter here in washington lately about the negotiations that are expected to take place on the looming tax hike in the weeks ahead, on how to prevent it. how about we start with this, the beginning and end of any
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negotiation shouldn't be what's good for any political party. it should be what's good for the economy and for the american people. and if we leave the politics aside, if we look at the facts, the answer here is simple. no tax hikes on anybody. no tax hikes on anybody, period. so the question isn't what's best for the economy and jobs. the answer to that is obvious. the question is when will our friends on the other side get serious about either one? it's been reported that the author of the $1 million proposal ran it through a focus group to see how it polled. this is precisely the kind of thing americans are telling us to put aside. the election was a month ago. it's time to move on. it's time to work together on the priorities americans want us to address. republicans have heard the voters loud and clear. they want us to focus on preventing a tax hike on every taxpayer, on reining in
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washington spending and on making it easier for employers to start hiring again. that's why republican leaders are reiterating our offer to work with anyone from either party who is ready to focus on priorities like these. the day after the election, the president acknowledged that the overwhelming message of the voters was that we want you to focus completely on jobs and the economy. that's the same message republicans will bring to the white house today. and that's why there's no reason we shouldn't be able to reach an agreement on taxes soon. it's unclear how long our friends across the aisle will continue to resist the message of the election and claim to the liberal -- cling to the wish list that got us the job-killing health care bill, the cap-and-trade energy tax and out-of-control spending spraoerbgs a million more jobs lost, trillions more in debt but not a single appropriations gill to fund the government or a bill to prevent coming tax hikes. with just a few weeks left before the end of the year, they're still clinging to the wrong priorities. instead of preventing a tax
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hike, they want to focus on immigration and don't ask, don't tell, and if there's time left see what they can do about jobs and the economy. their entire legislative plan for the rest of the lame-duck session appears to be focus on anything except job which is astonishing when you consider the election we just had. republicans aren't looking for a fight. we're appealing to common sense and a shared sense of responsibility for the millions of americans who are looking to us to work together not on the priorities of the left, but on their priorities. and those priorities are quite clear. together we must focus on the things americans want us to do, not on what the government wants americans to accept. there is still time to do the right thing. the voters want us to show that we heard them, and republicans are tkreud to work with anyone -- are ready to work with anyone who is willing to do just that. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the
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leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 510, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 247, s. 510, a bill to amend the federal food, drug and cosmetic act with respect to the safety of the food supply. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between the senator from oklahoma, mr. kpwurpbgs -- mr. coburn, and the senator from hawaii, mr. inouye. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: in the absence of senator inouye, as a member of the appropriations committee, i'd like to ask permission to speak in his behalf for the one minute allocated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i am going to vote today against
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senator coburn's effort to change our rules relative to earmark legislation, and i want to tell you as a member of the senate appropriations committee, that we have put in place what i consider to be the most dramatic reform of this appropriations process since i've served in congress. there is full disclosure of every -- in my office, every single request for an appropriation. we then ask those who made the request for the appropriation to have a full disclaimer of their involvement in the appropriation so it's there for the public record. this kind of transparency is virtually unprecedented. and i think it is an effort to overcome some of the embarrassing episodes primarily in the house of representatives under the other party's leadership where people literally went to jail because of abuse of the earmark process. i believe i have an important responsibility to state of illinois and the people i
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represent to direct federal dollars into projects critically important for our state and its future. what the senator from oklahoma is setting out to do is eliminate that -- the presiding officer: the senator's time expired. mr. durbin: i would hope my colleagues would join me in opposing the coburn amendment.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on the coburn motion to suspend the rules with respect to amendment number 4697. is there a sufficient second or sufficient seconds? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered.
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and the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 39.
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the nays are 56. two-thirds of the senators voting, not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. under the previous order, the question occurs on the coburn motion to suspend the rules. under the previous order, the question occurs on the coburn motion to suspend the rules with respect to amendment number 4696. there are two minutes equally divided prior to the vote. the senate will be in order. please take your conversations out of the well. who yields time? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president --
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the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president, we're rapidly approaching the final vote on the food safety modernization act, the first time in seven decades that the congress has addressed this issue. it has taken several years to get to this point. it has been -- and we've had involvement from republicans and democrats, from the business community, from the consumers groups. it's widely supported by both the business sector and the consumer groups. we've had good bipartisan support on this bill with senator enzi and others on our committee. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i thank the presiding officer. mr. president, this is a product of a long effort to reach the
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compromise needed to get good legislation through. the vote we're about to have here is a substitute offered by my friend, the senator from oklahoma. this substitute would basically kill all of this work that we've done. it eliminates a lot of the provisions we have in this bill like the preventive control provisions that i think are one of the most important parts of this bill. to get preventive measures in, to prevent the contamination of food in the first place. it also eliminates the important trench back provisions we have in this bill that we have worked on on a bipartisan basis. it would eliminate the important foreign supplier verification provisions which says that they have to verify that the food coming into this country is the same as this. i ask senators to reject the substitute. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: the senate's not in order. the presiding officer: the senator's correct. the senate will be in order.
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please take conversations out of the well. the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: mr. president, senator harkin and many on the "help" committee have worked hard on the bill that's before us. but it has fatal flaws, especially in a time with a $14 trillion deficit, a $1.3 trillion deficit and it doesn't really -- fix the real problems. we can spend $1.4 billion in this bill. we can cause food prices to go up at least $300 million t to $400 million, we can put unfunded mandates on the -- on the state of $141 billion a year. this accomplishes the same thing given we have the safest food in the world, we'll continue to have the safest food, we'll move forward, but we won't do it by
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layers upon layers of additional costs. the problem with the food labor is that the agencies don't do what they're supposed to be doing now. they don't need more regulations, they need less. the presiding officer: the time has expired. the question is on the coburn motion. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 36. the nays are 62.
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two-thirds of the senators voting not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. a senator: move to reconsider. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i was unavoid ably delayed on vote number 255, the coburn motion to suspend the rules. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i was unavoidedly debate and i missed the vote number 255, coburn motion on earmarks. i would have voted no because i believe that authority would remain with electives and not go to bureaucrats. i want to make sure that statement remains immediately following the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, amendment number 4696 is agreed to, and the clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. mr. harkin: mr. president?
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the clerk: calendar number 247, s. 510, a bill to amend the food, drug and cosmetic act with respect to safety and food supply. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: after adoption of the substitute amendment for -- the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. the senate will be in order. the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i ask unanimous consent that after adoption of the substitute amendment for s. 510 and now after the third reading the senate then proceed to calendar number 74, h.r. 2751, that all after the enacting clause be stricken and the text of s. 510 as amended be inserted in lieu thereof, that no further amendments or motions be in order, the bill as amended be read a third time, and after the reading of the budget committee pay-as-you-go letter the senate proceed to vote on passage of s. 2751 as amend, the
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title amendment which is at the desk be considered and agreed to. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. coburn: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. under the previous order, the clerk will read the pay-as-you-go statement. the clerk: the senator from north tkarbgs mr. conrad, this is the statement of budgetary tpaoebgts of paygo legislation. total budgetary effects of s. 510 for the total statutory paygo score card zero dollars. total budgetary tpaoebgts of s. 510 for the ten year budgetary score card zero dollars. also submitted for the record is a table prepared by the congressional budget office which provides additional information on the budgetary effects of this afpblgt -- act. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the cloture motion with respect to the bill is withdrawn and the question occurs on the passage of s. 510 as amended. is there a sufficient second?
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there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not on this vote the yeas are 73, the nays are 25, the bill as
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amended is passed. under the previous order, there will now be a period of morning business with senators per mitded -- permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president, today with the passage of the food safety modernization act with the overwhelming vote of 73-25, we have taken momentous steps to help strengthen the food safety in america. the food safety modernization act will bring america's food safety system into the 21st century. this bill gives the f.d.a. the authority the agency needs to help protect americans from food-borne illnesses. while this bill is an historic step forward in ensuring that our food supply is safe and protecting americans from food-borne illnesses, we have to now ensure that the f.d.a. has adequate resources to fulfill their prefound responsibilities. i look forward to working with my colleagues on the appropriations committee and on the entire senate to ensure that they have the necessary resources to fulfill the -- the
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provisions of this legislation. mr. president, as the primary cosponsors of the bill, senators durbin and gregg deserve a great deal of thanks for their outstanding leadership on this bill. i asked senator durbin when he started working on this bill, and he said back in the house 18 years ago. so sometimes it takes a long time to get these things done, but this is the first time in 70 years that we have ever had a major revision of our food safety laws. senator gregg has also worked at least a dozen years that i know of on this bill in his time here in the senate. i would also like to thank my colleagues, senator enzi, the ranking member of the committee, former chairman and ranking member of the committee for his help. senator burr also for working hard on the legislation and getting it where it is today. finally, i want to thank my friend, senator dodd, for his tireless efforts. the senate will certainly miss his leadership on this and so
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many other important issues. additionally, i want to thank members of our staffs who helped to make this possible, and let me just -- i'm going to read their names, but let me just say at the outset, while many of us were perhaps not around during thanksgiving week or perhaps even the week after the election, i can tell you the staffs were hard at work day after day, sometimes late in the evening, sometimes on weekends to help get this bill together. and so they just -- these staff people just deserve so many thanks from -- not only from me but from everyone involved with this legislation. from senator durbin's staff, albert sanders, ann wahl, dina morris. from senator enzi's staff, chuck clapton, keith flanagan, travis jordan, amy mielberg. senator dodd's staff, anna staton and tamar harold. senator gregg's staff who has worked on this bill from the
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beginning, elizabeth rowe, senator burr's staff, abraham and margaret brooks. senator reid's staff, casey gillette. from my staff, kathleen lared, tom krause, janelle kristen murray, pam smith and dan smith. all of them heroes and heroines in my book. they really put forth supreme effort to get this bill to us today so we could have this overwhelming vote of approval. mr. president, i -- i ask consent to reconsider the passage of the bill and also the motion to table on final passage. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. harkin: i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? mr. mccain: mr. president, i want to say a few words about a
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friend and colleague whom i will miss very much when he leaves the senate after we adjourn, senator russ feingold. i can't thank him for his service without mentioning the outstanding work of his capable staff, mary ervine, his chief of staff, his policy director, his chief counsel, and paul wineberger, legislative director, a loyal and outstanding team. without intending it as a commentary on his successor, i have to confess, i think the senate will be a much poorer place without russ feingold in it. i know that in my next term, i will experience fewer occasions of inspiration because of the departure of russ feingold, a man whose courage and dedication to the principles that guided his senate service often inspired me. i will also miss the daily
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experience of russ feingold's friendship and the qualities that distinguish his friendship, his thoughtfulness, kindness, humor and loyalty. i have treasured that friendship all the years we have served together, and while friendship doesn't end with a senate career, i will sorely miss his presence here. i will miss seeing him every day. i will miss traveling with him. i will miss the daily reminder of what a blessing it is to have a true friend in washington. our first encounter with one another was in a senate debate in which we argued about an aircraft carrier, somewhat heatedly, if memory serves. russ thought the united states navy had one too many. i thought we didn't have enough. it was, i'm sorry to admit, not a very considerate welcome on my part to a new colleague whom i would soon have many reasons to
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admire, but to russ' credit, he didn't let my discourtesy stand in the way of working together on issues where we were in agreement. to my good fortune, he didn't let it stand in the way of our friendship either. we are of different parties, and our political views are often opposed. we have had many debates on many issues, but where we agreed on wasteful spending, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and other issues, it was a privilege to fight alongside and not against russ feingold. we don't often hear any more about members of congress who distinguish themselves by having the courage of their convictions, who risk their personal interests for what they believe is in the public interest. i have seen many examples of it here, but the cynicism of our times among the political class
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and the media and the voters tend to miss the examples of political courage or dismiss them as probable frauds or at best exceptions that prove the rule. in his time in the senate, russ feingold every day and in every way had the courage of his convictions, and although i am quite a few years older than russ and have served in this body longer than he has, i confess i have always felt he was my superior in that cardinal virtue. we were both up for re-election in 1998. i had an easy race. russ had a difficult one. as many of our colleagues will remember, russ and i opposed soft money, the unlimited corporate and labor donations to political parties that we believed were compromising the integrity of congress, and we were a nuisance on the subject.
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russ' opponent in 1998 was outspending him on television, and the race became tighter. it reached a point where most observers, democrats and republicans, expected him to lose. the democratic party pleaded with russ to let it spend soft money on his behalf. russ refused. he risked his seat, the job he loved because his convictions were more important to him than any personal success. i think he is one of the most admirable people i've ever met in my life. we've had a lot of experiences together. we fought together for many things, important things, and we fought many times on opposite sides. we have been honored together and scorned together. we have traveled abroad together. we couldn't be further apart in our views on the wars in iraq and afghanistan, but we traveled there together as well to gain
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knowledge that would inform our views and challenge them. we have listened to each other, debated each other, defended each other, joked and commiserated together, and in my every experience with russ feingold, in agreement and disagreement, in pleasant times and difficult ones, in heated arguments and in a relaxed conversation of friends, he was an exemplary public servant, a gentleman, good company, an irreplaceable friend, a kind man, a man to be admired. i can't do justice in these remarks to all of russ' many qualities or express completely how much i think this institution benefited from his service here and how much i benefited from knowing. i lack the eloquence. i don't think he is replaceable.
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we would all do well to keep his example in our minds as we serve our constituents and country and convictions. we couldn't have a better role model. i have every expectation we will remain good friends long after we have both ended our senate careers, but i will miss him here every day and i will try harder to become half the public servant that he is because his friendship is an honor and honors come with responsibilities. god bless him. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call, mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. i want to speak as if in morning business for up to ten minutes, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator has that right. mr. brown: thank you. i have spent a lot of time, as my colleagues have, traveling our states during the elections, to be sure, but also since, and i -- i hear a lot of discussion about -- from regular people, not people running for office, per se, but regular people about what this new health care law has meant to them. i -- i meet 22-year-olds who are
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now on their parents' health insurance plans. they are -- if you're 22 in this country today, your chances of finding a job with decent health care are not real high in most places in our country, and they now celebrate the fact they can be on their parents' health insurance automatically, and that's a big victory for consumers and a big victory for those families. i also talk to people who have children who have pre-existing conditions and couldn't get insurance as a result. the law now is you can't -- you can't prohibit -- you can't deny -- an insurance company can't deny insurance to a family with a child with a pre-existing condition because of that. we also know now that someone that is sick and their health care is very expensive, that they -- they can't -- they can't be thrown off their insurance because it costs the insurance company too much money. we know now and i hear from
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small businesses who almost all want to insure their employees but simply can't because of the high costs, they now are getting a 30% tax credit to be able to insure their employees, something, as i said, they wanted to do, whether they live in northeast ohio or middletown and hamilton in southwest ohio. i see that all over my state, in bowling green, toledo, zanesville, chilicothe and columbus and bel air. we're also seeing that so many senior citizens are getting hit hard by high drug price, and we have begun as one much the leaders in that effort on the "help" committee, senator benson, the presiding officer, knows now has been helpful and now beginning to close that doughnut hole that seniors fall into after they've had $2,000 of drug costs, they still pay the premium, they don't get any coverage until their costs go
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above $5,000. that's sort of a cruel bargain, this congress, for reasons i didn't exactly understand, i opposed it back then, passed the drug benefit an inflicted that on seniors. we're beginning to fix that. we know all that, but those are citizens that i talked to about that. put that aside for a minute, unfortunately, and look at so many elected officials in the state, conservative elected officials, mostly republicans, are saying we should repeal the health care law. we should repeal -- bring by preexisting condition, take 23-year-olds home from college or home from the service or whatever and -- or if they don't have tricare and throw them off their parents' plan. that's what they want to do and repeal this health care plan. my only question, mr. president, is i guess i'm waiting for the first republican elected official, whether he's an attorney general around -- in ohio or elsewhere, or whether he's a congressman or she is a
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congressman or u.s. senator, i'm waiting for the first one who says, i want to repeal this plan, take away these consumer protections and i want to repeal this plan and take away health insurance from people that are in high-risk pools getting insurance now and people down the road who are going to get covered with health insurance, the 50 million americans who don't have it and tens of millions who don't have health care. i want them to say that they're not going to take their government health insurance. i can't believe the number of elected officials, mostly republicans, who have been the beneficiaries of government-sponsored health insurance, taxpayer financed health insurance for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, and they are saying, no, i want to repeal health insurance for millions of americans that are about to receive it. some of them already getting. all of them getting better consumer protections. and they'll keep their plan paid for by taxpayers. they want to deny it to others. i'm waiting for one of my colleagues and republicans around the state -- around the
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country that are calling for this health plan, this health law to be repealed, to step up and say, oh, i'm not going to take government insurance either. i'm still waiting for date. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, if we want to revive our economy, one thing that we can do is to bring back and extend the home buyer tax credit that we enacted earlier this year. it was for a limited time. it has expired, but it was hugely successful. it's an $8,000 tax credit for qualified first-time home buyers
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and a $6,500 tax credit for repeat moveup home buyers. and this tax credit that we passed that was law was largely responsible for many of the homes that were purchased in states like mine, florida, where the housing market has gone caput, the mortgages were inflated when the housing bubble burst, the property values dropped and you see on a number of our states that have been hit so hard, albeit, the entire nation has been hit hard bit housing bubble bursting. well, we tried this home buyer tax credit and it worked. and it was popular in other states like california, like in
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texas. texas had a more stable housing market, but folks recognized that a good housing market provides a lot of ancillary benefits for the economy. it creates jobs. it generates consumer spending. the studies have shown, looking back on this tax credit that we gave for housing, it was in the first-quarter of this year, it led to a 6% increase in all home sales and it led to a whopping 42% increase in the sales of new homes. now, by contrast, when that credit expired, the home sales plummeted. and according to the one estimate, first-time home buyer
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shopping activity fell from 63.5 in april of 2010 to 35.1 million in may of 2010. in just one month. just one month after the credit expired. from 63 million down to 35 million new home sales. well, what does it mean in real terms to real people and real families? it means jobs. it means jobs selling houses, jobs constructing houses, jobs financing houses. anything associated with a person having one of their most important assets, their home. and then it means a lot of jobs
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about making all the things that go inside of a house. and that's the kind of boost that we need again. we need again to get this economy moving. now, since it's been shown to work because it generates home sales and purchases in states where the real estate industry is a large part of the economy, in states where housing values have dropped, where many homes are underwater in the value of their fair market value now compared to the face amount of their mortgage in many communities that are distressed by foreclosures, and what community has not been hit by that? what it does is it turns that around. and boosts the home sales.
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that's a part of economic recovery. now, there are those that are out there that are going to say, well, it's too expensive. that it doesn't yield good results in certain parts of the country that are not hit with the housing crisis like the rest of us were. and some people will claim, well, we're coming out of the recession, by their estimation, and it be better to target our efforts elsewhere. mr. president, the recession's not over for many, many americans. and if something has proven that it works, why don't we reinstitute it? it was president franklin roosevelt that said during another time of economic peril, the great depression, he said, only a foolish optimist can deny
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the dark realities of the moment. mr. president, do we not have the dark realities of the moment of what's happening in the state of the presiding officer right now, in my state and many others? indeed, these are dark economic times and most every american knows it. just look to the elections. in almost every exit the poll after these elections, 60% of the voters said that the economy was the most important issue that was facing the nation that they were concerned about as they walked into that polling place. 40% of those same voters said that the families -- their families are worse off financially than they were just a few years ago.
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and 33% of them said that someone in their household had lost a job recently. is that not the dark realities of the moment? so let's take something that worked. and despite the fact that it's costly, let's find an offset. let's find another source of revenue to pay for approximately the $15 billion to $20 billion that the home buyer tax credit cost before that boosted the sales of homes and started to revive the housing industry, and, therefore, revive the fair market values of people's homes. let's move to quickly bring back this home buyer tax credit.
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it's worked before and it will work again. mr. president, i yield the floor, and -- mr. president, if i maybe recognized again since no one is waiting to speak. the presiding officer: the senator from florida is recognized. mr. nelson: mr. president, on a completely different subject, america's secrets are not what's at risk with the exposure of thousands and thousands of documents of classified cables. america's friends and allies are at risk and, therefore, american's national security is at risk. when classified cables identify certain people that have helped us around the world advance the
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interest of the free world national security and the safety of all humankind, when those people are exposed, there are a lot of bad people out there that want to get rid of those kind of people. when sources of information -- i'll dress you up and tell you exactly what it is -- it's called intelligence. when sources of intelligence are betrayed by being made public, by the disclosure indiscrimnantly of thousands and thousands of cables that were marked top secret or marked secret, then what we've done is we've started to shackle our arms behind ourselves in our
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ability to defend ourselves. now, why do i say that? well, look at all the recent attempts at a terrorist act. we were able to avert the terrorist striking -- terrorists striking because we got the information that he was going to strike before he struck. and where did that source of information come? often that source of information comes from far corners of the globe because we have a relationship with people that are giving us information that we then track down and find that, in fact, it's true and stop the terrorists from doing their dastardly deed upon
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innocent citizens. since 2001, in the september 11 bombings, in the september 11 crashes of the airliners, over an over again the newspapers of this country have chronicled terrorists' plots that have been thwarted for the reason that i've just said. and now along comes someone who, for whatever reasons of being a misfit, wants to disgourge thousands of classified cables that start to betray our sources offings in to protect ourselves and our -- and not even necessarily our allies, other innocent victims in other countries that we may not have a relationship with.
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this is the height of dishonoring our country and our people and of humankind. and it is the height of trai traitorrist activity. mr. president, it has got to stop. we cannot continue to thwart these terrorists' acts if we don't have reliable sources of information in order to disrupt the terrorists' plot. and you know what? the newspapers have chronicled since the attempt, for example, of blowing up fedex and u.p.s. -- and by the way, those packages also were carried on commercial airliners with passengers on them.
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you know what the newspapers have chronicled. they have pointed out how the terrorist organizations are crowing about how little it costs them and how they will find another way in order to do this. as the newspapers reported, we found out and stopped that plot by long distance sources of information that came to us. to betray those sources, to now put their lives in jeopardy by the indiscriminate turning over to an organization called wikileaks that suddenly puts all of this up on the web is the height of irresponsibility, is an act against humanity.
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, and it has to be stopped. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i rise today to speak about our economy and some of the debates and discussions that we're engaged in now about tax policy, and to also emphasize the need to be guided during these debates by the two essential priorities that we must focus on. obviously, that's job creation
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and continuing economic growth, continuing our recovery. we also must make sure that in the process of doing that, that we don't take steps that will increase long-term deficits. so while we debate these many tax issues, i think it's critically important we don't forget about provisions that both combat poverty and assist those who fall in the lower income brackets. last month, the nation added 150,000 jobs, over 150,000 jobs, which is strong evidence that we are slowly recovering from the devastating impacts of the recent recession, but we're certainly not out of the woods yet and the senate must continue to pass legislation that will spur economic growth as well as to focus on ways that we can extend certain tax provisions that are set to expire this
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year. the debate unfortunately is largely focused only on whether to extend the current income tax rates. i'm 100% in favor of extending income tax rates for middle and lower income tax brackets, and now is not the time to raise taxes on those middle-income families who are still recovering from the recession. plus the more money we put in the pockets of those middle-income families means more money is being pumped into the economy through the purchase of goods and services. that's for sure, and i think we will even have consensus on that point alone. but even as our recovery is slow, there has been a number of bright spots. one bright spot in the recovery is the rate of private sector hiring. in fact, according to the figures that have been released by the bureau of labor and
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statistics, more private sector jobs have been created in 2010 when compared to the entire eight years under president bush. private sector jobs decreased by 673,000 in the eight years of president bush's presidency, a decrease of 673,000 private sector jobs. the increase that i spoke of occurred in the last year -- i should say within this calendar year of 2010, an increase of 874,000 jobs, private sector jobs in 2010, and the year, of course, is not over yet. the tax cuts for upper income folks that were implemented by president bush had limited impact on jobs in those years, and of course added the income tax breaks for our upper income folks added hundreds of billions
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to our deficit. however, due to the current condition of the economy and to take every step necessary that we must take to continue the recovery, i believe it's imperative that we maintain certainty, and that's what economists have talked to many of us about, to take steps not just to further economic growth and to continue to push forward the recovery, but to do that in a way that creates some measure of certainty. whether you're a small business owner, hundreds and hundreds of thousands across the country, or whether you're a large company, often uncertainty and change tend to make businesses less willing to expand and less willing to hire. over the last few months, i and i know many of our colleagues in the senate have spoken to both business owners and economists to get their views on how we should handle the expiring tax
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provisions. what i learned among several lessons from these experts is that certainty and consistency are needed when the economy is still in a fragile condition. so we'll have more to say as we -- as the debate continues about tax cuts, but during these discussions about the income tax cuts and what we should do between now and the end of the year, two important provisions have been barely mentioned -- the child tax credit and the marriage penalty under the so-called earned income tax credit. both provisions provide necessary tax relief for those in the lower income brackets, and both provisions are necessary to help working families barely getting by for their children during this recession, at a time when poverty levels, unfortunately, are increasing. and at this time, the senate must act to provide tax relief to those who are in desperate need of assistance while they recover from the effects of the
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recession. first, the child tax credit. this provides tax relief to working families with children of up to $1,000 per child. the tax credit was first enacted in 1997 and was expanded last year in the recovery act to increase the number of families eligible to receive the credit. as a result of this expansion of the child tax credit, millions of previously ineligible families received critical relief during these tough economic times. these expanded tax cuts will expire if they are not extended by the end of the year. here are the numbers from the center on budget and policy priorities. 7.6 million children will lose their child tax credit if we don't continue it. an additional 10.5 million children will see those credits reduced -- or the credits that
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their family receives reduced. in pennsylvania, a half million children will lose that credit. a half a million children will lose the credit. to put this in perspective, if you had a family with two children earning minimum wage, that family would see its child tax credit reduced by $825. that's the equivalent of almost three weeks of pretax wages for a minimum wage worker. $825, which would affect -- which would have an adverse impact even on a middle-income family, but to say that about a family earning the minimum wage is -- i think speaks volumes about the impact of not extending the child tax credit. that would be a horrific result for a minimum wage-earning family. this vital tax relief is necessary to help families struggling to provide their
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children with basic essentials. if that argument is not convincing enough for folks in the senate as a reason to extend it, consider that the money that that child tax credit results in will be spent immediately and go right back into local economies, just the same argument that we have made on unemployment insurance that has an impact on the overall economy. but the child tax credit is not the only poverty-fighting tax provision that's in jeopardy of being reversed. enhancements to the earned income tax credit are also set to expire. the so-called eitc, the earned income tax credit, encourages and rewards work by providing a refundable credit for people against their payroll and income taxes. millions of working families with incomes of up to $48,000 are eligible for the federal earned income tax credit. the recovery act that we passed
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in 2009 reduced the so-called marriage penalty in the earned income tax credit by increasing the income level at which it phases out for married couples. if this expanded tax relief is not extended, six million workers will see their earned income tax credit reduced, and 11 million children will be affected, so children get harmed in both. they get harmed by the failure to extend the earned income tax credit and the failure to extend the child tax credit. so while the debate has been focused on the extension of tax rates on income, the senate must not overlook sound tax policy that both fights poverty and spurs economic growth, so i would encourage all members of the senate to push for an extension of the provisions that expand eligibility for the child tax credit as well as the earned
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income tax credit. and finally, mr. president, in addition to those tax provisions, we must not forget that today, november 30, 2010, is the day that federally funded unemployment insurance programs will expire. i encourage other members of the senate to not block legislation that will re-authorize unemployment insurance programs through the end of 2011. in other words, unemployment insurance to help the newly unemployed still suffering through and fighting through this recession. if folks in the senate here will block this legislation today, an extension of unemployment insurance, if they block it, i would hope that they would have an answer for the following question or two. what is your strategy to help these folks get through this time when they have lost a job through no fault of their own? what are you going to do, what action are you going to take to
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try to help them? that's one question. and if you don't have an answer to that question, you should also have to answer the question what are you doing affirmatively to put in place strategies to create jobs? are you just talking about job creation, are you just talking about helping people, or are you going to take action to extend unemployment insurance or have something else that will both help those who are going through this difficult period in their lives -- many families never dreamed they would be in this position -- and are you going to do something to help the overall economy to grow and to continue the recovery because unemployment insurance does both. it helps the vulnerable get through this recession, it's the right thing to do, but it also has a substantial and a measurable impact on economic growth. all the studies show that. it is irrefutable. it is probably the best thing we can do to create jobs and to continue the recovery, pass an
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extension -- or pass a re-authorization, i should say, of unemployment insurance. so i'd encourage colleagues here to not block, but if you block, you need to have an answer to those basic questions. in pennsylvania, the unemployment rate now is 8.8%. thank goodness it fell below 9%. but 8.8% in our state means 560,000 people out of work. in the summer, it went as high as 592,000. so it was approaching 600,000. we're at approximately 560,000 unemployed pennsylvanians right now. we have got to have an answer for those folks. we can't just say well, it got a little difficult in washington or put some other institutional or policy argument out there without having an answer or an alternative for those who are unemployed. now, like many of the members of the senate, i've discussed the impact on the expiration of unemployment insurance, i have discussed that with folks in pennsylvania who will be
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suffering through this and others, and in the course of those discussions, we have had a chance to review what will -- what the impact would be on the economy and also on americans who have lost their job through no fault of their own. but there's one group that we often don't mention. we talk about unemployment, jobless americans and the economy. we often don't talk about the adverse impact specifically on children. one in ten pennsylvania children has annoyed parent. that is true across -- has an unemployed parent. that is true across the country. that translates in pennsylvania to 265,000 children under the age of 18 in the commonwealth of pennsylvania that are directly impacted by unemployment. 265,300 children affected just
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by unemployment. as we address ways to improve the economic outlook on our country and discuss these tax provisions, we must recognize the impact the economy has on our children. mr. president, i'd end with a line from the scriptures. there's a line somewhere in the scriptures that says that a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. it goes on from there to talk about how important having a faithful friend in life is. there are a lot of folks, politicians especially, who talk nonstop about helping children and the importance of helping our children, the priority we place on our children, the priority to protect our children from harm and to help them especially in recession. you've got to do more than talk. and if you consider yourself a friend to children, you would support an extension of the child tax credit. you would support other provisions like unemployment insurance that helps families
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like those families that have 265,000 children who are affected by unemployment in pennsylvania. so if you're going to say you're a faithful friend and you want to be a sturdy shelter for those children, tough ask yourself what are you going to -- you have to ask yourself what are you going to do about it. stph* the question we have to ask ourselves among many is will the nate be a faithful -- will the united states senate be a faithful friend to children, not just by talk but by action to take steps to help children, help their families and also spur and continue economic growth and recovery. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and -- a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee is recognized. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. 16 united states senators will retire this year. there's always a pretty big turnover in this body of 100,
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but that's a lot of senators at once. we're losing an enormous amount of talent and of course we're gaining a lot of talent in the new senators who are coming in. i wanted to take a few minutes just to show my respect for those who have served, which i'll do in a very summary fashion because we're talking about 16 individuals with very complex and distinguished background. one might ask what are the characteristics of a united states senator? there are a lot of different answers to that depending on your background and attitude toward politics and government, i suppose. i've always thought that one characteristic of almost every member of the united states senate is that he or she probably was a first grader sitting on the front row with his or her hand in the air waiting to be recognized. this is an eager bunch or you wouldn't have gotten here. second, it's a group of risk takers. most people who end up in the
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united states senate get there because a lot of other people who want to be senators were standing around waiting for the right time to run. there are a lot of people who were elected here who had no chance of winning at the time they decided to run, and the voters decided dimple and here -- differently and here they are. a third characteristic of united states senators is that they -- we, i should say, are almost always professionally congenial. that is a big help because it is almost a requirement in an organization of 100 individuals who spend almost all of their time with one another, who serve in a body that operates by unanimous consent when just one senator can bring the whole place to a halt, and whose job basically is to argue about some of the most difficult issues that face the american people. so it helps that almost every
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member of the united states senate is an especially congenial person. people often say to me back in tennessee, it must be rough being in that job. they're awfully mean up there. the truth is i don't know of a more congenial group of men and women than members of the united states senate. we begin the day in the gym. the next thing you know we're at prayer break tpafplt then we're at a -- prayer breakfast. then we're at a hearing, then we have lunch. then it is 7:00, 8:00 we live together and we get along very well. we know each other, respect each other. the majority leader and i have gone together with our wives and we were lamenting a little bit the loss of families that know one another and the way it happened when his parents and family were serving here and when i first came here with senator baker. and that's true, we've lost some of that.
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but still there is an enormous amount of affection and goodwill here. you don't get to be really close friends in this job but you get to be good acquaintances and you learn to respect people for their strengths. senator domenici said when he left that we don't do a very good job of saying goodbye here, and that's true. so as one part of saying goodbye, i would like to say just one good thing about each one of the 16 retiring senators. much more could be said, but i've selected just one thing. and mostly i'll go in alphabetical order. senator bob bennett of utah: i've known him the longest. we served together in the nixon administration. i was in the white house working with bryce harlow and he was in the department of transportation. that was in 1969 and 197o. but what i remember about bob bennett, and most senators will, about his legacy here are his
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careful expositions of economic issues. he has a background as an entrepreneur and businessman. he served with distinction on the joint economic committee. and his expertise in understanding the economy and letting us know where we are has been invaluable. senator evan bayh: he's one of four governors who are leaving the senate. i feel that loss especially because i think the more governors, the better. that's a little bit of a parochial attitude on my part. but governors have todom results and are -- have to come to results and are used to working across party lines. governor bayh served two terms here as a united states senator. still young, obviously has a long career ahead of him in whatever direction he chooses to go. what i remember most about evan bayh is the civility and bipartisanship he's shown on numerous occasions professionally and individually,.
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senator kent bond, another governor. he and i once served as law clerks on the fifth circuit court of appeal for two judges who helped integrate the south, judges tuttle and wisdom. senator bayh has a great many things that could be said about him, but what most of us admire greatly about his time here was his devotion to our intelligence community and national security as vice chairman of our intelligence committee, making sure that our intelligence agencies have the tools they need to prevent terrorist attacks on america. senator sam brownback is going the other way, from senator to governor of kansas. during the health care debate, i often said that everyone who voted for the health care law ought to be sentenced to serve as governor for two terms and try to implement it. senator brownback voted against the health care law, but he's going home and he'll have the
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opportunity to enjoy all those unfunded mandates on medicaid and see how kansas deals with it. what we'll miss about sam brownback here, in addition to his extraordinary kindness as a human being, is his devotion to human rights. giving voice to the oppressed millions in north korea and being an outspoken critic of genocide in darfur. senator jim bunning. everybody knows about jim bunning and baseball. nobody who knows jim bunning would want to be a batter when he's throwing pitches. we can easily understand how he's the only person to strike ted williams out three times. but whatnot as many people know about him is that jim bunning has been a persistent leader in fighting for sick nuclear workers who served our country during the 1950's and 1960's and were sick because of their work in handling nuclear weapons and other matters. so, jim bunning deserves the
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thanks of all of the families of the sick nuclear workers in america for his service here. senator chris dodd, children and families are chris dodd's hallmark and his legacy. he's been here a long time, six terms, i think. but i felt privileged to work with him on the same subcommittee on children and families. he's focused on premature births specifically and a whole variety of other legislation. we'll also miss his congeniality, his good humor and his devotion to the senate as an institution, making sure that it stays unique as a place where we have unlimited amendment and unlimited debate so the voices of the american people can be heard. senator byron dorgan, i once heard our chaplain say there is no better storyteller in the senate. he didn't mean he was making up stories. he said he was good in taking what he figured was the truth and explaining it in ways the
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rest of us could understand. i've especially enjoyed working with muslim on legislation that would make -- with him on legislation that would make it easier to introduce electric cars and trucks in our country. senator russ feingold will be remembered for his strong stance, sometimes solitary stance such as when he voted against the patriot act, such as when he went to early on campaign finance. i thank him for our work together on the africa subcommittee where he has been during his whole time here. there is no better united states senator than judd gregg on either side of the aisle. one indication of that is the last three leaders in the republican senate have asked him to sit on the hearings to get his wisdom and advice. he's been the voice of our party, and we believe the voice of americans who are concerned
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about fiscal responsibility, about spending and about too much debt. senator blanche lincoln has been a pioneer throughout her career throughout public life as a staff member, then as a senator, occupying senator carraway's seat, the first woman to be elected to the senate. blanche was the youngest would be to be elected to the -- woman to be elected to the senate. arlen specter from pennsylvania, the word to describe arlen is courage. the or word is survivor. and they both go together. arlen has had a distinguished career from his youngest days. he was a member of the warren commission investing president kennedy's assassination. his work has spanned the entire mark. one of the things i appreciate both about senator specter is work on constitutional law in if i feel.
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senator -- constitutional law in philadelphia. senator voinovich has been a mayor and legislator. for years of attention, issues involving federal employees that most of us were too busy to pay attention to. there have been four members appointed to the senate -- that's quite a number -- who are retiring. senator kaufman of delaware has been a great teacher, a staff member and now senator. senator lemieux of florida who has made his focus balancing the budget and controlling the debt. we haven't heard the last of george lemieux, i'm sure, in politics. senator burris of illinois, a state comptroller, his own man who has completed an outstanding career in public service by being here. and senator cart goodwin, the youngest senator who replaced the oldest in senator byrd, and has only been here a few months
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but we've greatly enjoyed having him. mr. president, it's been my privilege to serve with these 16 senators. we thank them for their service to this country. we'll greatly miss their leadership, and we hope they'll stay in touch with us because they are not just retiring senators, they're all our friends. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. sanders: mr. president,
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there is a war going on in this country, and i'm not referring to the war in iraq or the war in afghanistan. i'm talking about a war being waged by some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in this country against the working families of the united states of america, against the disappearing and shrinking middle class of our country. the reality is that many of the nation's billionaires are on the warpath. they want more, more, more. their greed has no end, and apparently there is very little concern for our country or for the people of this country if it gets in the way of the accumulation of more and more wealth and more and more power. mr. president, in the year 2007, the top 1% of all income earners in the united states made 23.5%
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of all income. the top 1% earned 23.5% of all income, more than the entire bottom 50%. that's apparently not enough. the percentage of income going to the top 1% nearly tripled since the 1970's. in the mid-1970's, the top 1% earned about 8% of all income. in the 1980's, that figure jumped to 14%. in the late-1990's, that 1% earned about 19%. and today, as the middle class collapsed, the top 1% earns 23.5% of all income, more than the bottom 50%. today, if you can believe it, the top .1% earns about 12 cents
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of every dollar earned in america. we talk about a lot of things on the floor of the senate, but somehow we forget to talk about the reality of who is winning in this economy and who is losing. and it is very clear to anyone who spends two minutes studying the issue that the people on top are doing extraordinarily well at the same time as the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing. mr. president, if you can believe this -- you know, many people out there are angry, they're wondering, what's happening to their own income, to their lives, the lives of their kids. since between 1980 and 2005, 80% -- 80% -- of all new income created in this country went to the top 1%. 80% of all new income. and that's why people are wondering and asking, what's going on in my life?
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how come i'm working longer hours or lower wages? how come i'm worrying about whether my kids will vs good as -- will have as good a standard of living as i've had? from 19 20e 1980, to 2005, 80% l income went to the top 1. today the wall street executives, the crooks on wall street whose actions resulted in the severe recession that we are in right now, the people whose actions, i will lee actions, reckless actions, have resulted in millions of americans losing their jobs, their homes, their savings -- guess what? -- after we bailed them out, the c.e.o.'s today are now earning more money than they did before the bailout. mr. president, while the middle class of this country collapsed and the rich become much richer,
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the united states now has, by far, the most unequal distribution of income in wealth of any major country on earth. when we were in school, we used to read the ta the textbooks whh talked about the banana republics in latin america. we used to read the books about countries in which a handful of people owned and controlled most of the wealth of those countries. well, guess what? that's exactly what's happening in the united states today. mr. president, the wealthiest people in this country -- not all of them, by the way, not all of them; there are many wealthy people in this country who understand and are proud to be americans, who understand that one of the things that's important is that all of us do well. but there are, on the other hand, many others whose apparently only concern is more and more wealth and more and more power for themselves. and this is an issue -- this
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greed is an issue that we have got to deal with. now, in the midst of all this it growing income and wealth and equality in this country, we are now faced with the issue of what we do with the bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. and if you can believe it, we have people here, many of my republican colleagues, who tell us, oh, i am so concerned about our record-breaking deficit; i am terribly concerned about a $13.7 trillion national debt, terribly concerned about the debt that we're going to leaving to our kids and our grandchildren -- but, wait a minute. the a very important that we give over a ten-year period $700 billion in tax breaks to the tap 2%. we're concerned about the deficit and the debt, but we are more concerned that millio mills
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get on average $100,000 a year in tax breaks. you got a $13.7 trillion national debt, growing. you got growing income of inequality, top 1% earning more income than the bottom 50%. but the highest priority of many of my republican colleagues is to make sure that millionaires and billionaires get more tax breaks. i think that that is absurd. it is not only income rate that we're dealing with. it is the estate tax rates as well. while some of my friends want to eliminate completely the estate tax , which has been in existene since 1916, let us be bleb that all of those benefits will go to the top .3%, and if we did, as
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some of my friends would like, eliminate the estate tax completely it would cost us $1 trillion in revenue over a ten-year period. all of the benefits going to the top .3%. so i am sure that in a little while my friends are going to come down to the floor and say, we're very concerned about the deficit. we're very concerned about the national debt, but you know when we're more concerned about? giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country. but, mr. president, the tax issue is just one part of what some of our wealthy friends want to see happen in this country. the reality is that many of these folks want to bring the united states back to where we were in the 1920's, and they want to do their best to eliminate all traces of social legislation which working
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families fought tooth and nail to develop to bring a modicum of stability and security to their lives. there are people out there -- not all, but there are some who want to privatize or completely eliminate social security. they want to privatize or cut back substantially on medicare. yeah, you're 75 years of age and you have no money. good luck to you getting your health insurance at an affordable cost from a private insurance company. i am just sure they're all kinds of private insurance companies out there just delighted to take care of low-income seniors who are struggling with cancer or another disease. mr. president, furthermore, there are corporate leaders out there and many members of the congress who not only want to continue, they want to expand
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our disastrous trade policies. my wife and i went shopping the other day, started our christmas shopping. and we looked and we looked and virtually every product that was out there in the store, consumer products, was china, china, and china. we seem to be a country in which we have a 51st state named china which is producing virtually all of the products that we as americans consumer. our trade policy has resulted in the loss of millions of good-paying jobs, as large corporations and c.e.o.'s have said, why do i want to reinvest in america when i can go to countries where people are paid 50 cents, 75 sents an hour? that's what i'm going to do. the health care with the working people of this country. so -- the heck with the working people of this country. so not only are we saddled with this disastrous trade policy, there are people who actually want to expand it. now, one of the things that we're going to see going on is
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that while we struggle with a record-breaking deficit and a large national debt caused by the wars in iraq and afghanistan, caused by tax breaks for the wealthy, caused by an unpaid for medicare part-d prescription drug program, caused by the wall street bailout, driving up the deficit, driving up the national debt, some people can say, oh, my goodness! wwe've got all of those expenses and then we've got to give tax breaks to millionaires and billion yairks but we want to balance the budget. gee, how are we going to do that? well, obviously we know how they're going to do that? we're going to cut back on health care. we're going to cut back on indication. we're going to cut back on child care. we're going to cut back on health programs. we just don't have enough money for working families and their needs. we're going to cut back on food starchls.
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we're surely not going to expand unemployment exefntle we the g.a.o. high prierkts mr. president. we've got to, got to, got to, got to give tax breaks to millionaires. i mean, that's what this whole place is about, isn't it? they fund the campaigns. they get what's due them. mr. president, amazingly enough, we have our friends on wall street, the c.e.o.'s of the large financial institutions, they want to rescind or slow down many of the provisions, the very modest provisions, in the financial reform bill. i voted for the financial reforel bill, but i will at the -- i voted for the financial reform bill, but i will tell you, it didn't go anywhere far enough. for the hundreds of millions of dollars that wall street spend on this plashings they want to rescind -- on this place, they want to rescind, slow down some of the reforms there. the people want to cut down on the powers of the e.p.a. and the department of energy so
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exxonmobil can remain the most profitable corporation in world history while oil and coal companies continue to pollute our air and water. last year exxonmobil made $19 million in profit. guess what is? they paid zero in taxes. they got $156 million refund from the i.r.s. i guess that's not good enough. we've got to give the oil companies even more tax breaks. so, mr. president, i think that's where we are. we got to own up to it. there is a war going on. the middle class is struggling for existence, and they're taking on some of the wealthiest and most powerful forces in the world whose greed has no end. and if we don't begin to stand together and start representing those families, there will not be a middle class in this country. mr. president, with that, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from --
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sand saifnedz a got something to read here. -- mr. sanders: i've grot something to read here. i have four unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. i ask tucket that these requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the senator from utah is recognized. mr. hatch: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to recognize the retirement and departure of my great friend, bob bennett. bob bennett -- senator bennett and i have jointly represented the state of utah for many years. we're close. during that time we've worked together as partners and collaborators but most of all as good friends. bob's presence in the senate is going to be sorely missed. senator bennett is a lot of things. he's honest, he's thoughtful, he's knowledgeable, and more than anything else, senator bennett is a fighter for the people of utah. bob has served with unwavering devotion to our state, its
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people, and its interests, and their interests. throughout his 18 years in the senate, the state of utah has been foremost in bob's thoughts and i don't believe he's made a single decision that he didn't believe was in the best interests of our state and of our nation. senator bennett is the son of frances and wallace f. bennett. wallace f. ben knelt, we should all remember, was also a great u.s. senator from utah who served four terms between 1951 and 1974. i think that's accurate. bob is also the grand son of hubert j. grant, a past president of the latter day saints. he was elected student body president and obtained a degree in political science in 1959. his first political job was managing his father's 1962 successful reelection campaign. bob then spent several years working as a mormon chaplain in
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the utah army national guard before becoming the chief congressional liaison at the u.s. department of transportation. after his time at the transportation department, senator bennett moved on to a successful career in public relations. for over a drksd he presided over some of the most successful and high-profile public relations organizations in the k he became well known for his hard work, his leadership ability and his entrepreneurial prowess. this was solidified in 1984 when bob was named the c.e.o. of the franklin international institute which is now known as franklin kofi. franklin kofi is now one of the premiere personal and organizational effectiveness firms in the world. the products and services provided by the company impact literally millions of people every year, but when bob joined the company, it had only four
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employees. during his tenure, that number grew to over 1,000, and by the time he left to run for the senate, the company was listed on the new york stock exchange. it was at that time an already thriving corporation, a world leader in its industry, thanks in no small part to bob's leadership. for his efforts, bob was named "inc" magazine's entrepreneur of the year for the rocky mountain region. bob was elected to the senate in 1992 after a hotly contested republican primary and a hard-fought general election. his father once again, the great senator wallace bennett, lived long enough to see his son win election and serve in the senate for almost a full year. i know that must have been a great source of pride for the senior senator bennett and his family. over his 18 years in the senate, bob has continued to demonstrate sound judgment and strong
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leadership. republican senators have considered him a trusted resource when it comes to strategy and policy. he has been a consistent resource for those who seek thoughtful answers to difficult political questions. for these reasons, among others, bob has served on the leadership teams of our current minority leader, senator mcconnell, as well as his predecessor, senator bill frist. while he is more well known for his quiet, contemplative misdemeanor, senator bennett has always been an outstanding orator. he comes often to the floor to discuss various issues at length, rarely reading from notes and almost never skipping a beat. his contributions to our debates here in the senate have always been very valuable, and i think people on both sides of the aisle will acknowledge that and have appreciated the type of advocacy that he has brought to the floor of the senate. always courteous, always well thought out, always reasonable
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and always, in my opinion, right. as i mentioned before, i know of few senators who have match senator bennett's commitment to the people he represents. every single person in the state of utah has benefited from the work of senator bennett. one cannot ride on a train or drive on a freeway in utah or avail themselves of so many other assets and attributes in utah without seeing the results of senator bennett's service in the senate. our state has seen a lot of growth in recent years due to the expansion of our population and the fact that more and more companies have recognized that utah is a great place to do business. utah's infrastructure has for the most part been able to keep pace with the rapid growth, thanks in large measure to the work of senator bennett. i will miss working with senator
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bennett to help the people of our state, but i will miss him more as a friend. mr. president, bob and his wonderful wife joyce -- and she has been a tremendous companion to him, a tremendous helpmate to him over these years -- they have been married for 48 years. they have six children and 20 grandchildren. i know that every one of them is proud of the great service bob has rendered to his country and the u.s. senate, and they should be. i, too, am so pleased and proud of my friend senator bennett, and i am certain that bob will be successful at anien deafer -- at any endeavour he chooses in the future upon leaving the senate. bob bennett is a wise counselor. he is a truly honest man. he cares for the people he represented and everybody in this country and many people throughout the world. he lives his religious beliefs.
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i can't -- other than family, i can't compliment him -- anybody any more than that. he lives his religion. he is exemplary. he is one of the most thoughtful people i have ever known. i value his friendship and i value his advice, and i have valued it over these years that we have served together. he has always been a serious and productive leader. he also has a tremendously great sense of humor. after all, -- and after all is said and done, he is a great father, grandfather, husband and friend, just to mention a few. bob will be successful in whatever he chooses to do. he's a good man. i personally will miss him. i think everybody in the senate will miss him. and i believe it's safe to say everybody in utah will miss him
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as well. some more than others, but nevertheless, if they look at his record and they look at the things that he's done for our state and for our people, they're going to thank god that bob bennett was a senator for 18 solid years. i personally thank the father in heaven for having him here as a partner to me, as a friend and as somebody i can rely on and i could counsel with on some of these very, very earth shakingly important matters that come before our united states senate. i have such a great opinion of bob bennett. i don't think even he has known, maybe not until today, how great that opinion has been. i think the world of him, i love him as a human being, and i wish him the very best, he and his family. with that, i yield the floor.
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mr. bennett: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah is recognized. mr. bennett: mr. president, i am embarrassed and humbled and gratified by the comments of my senior colleague, senator hatch. my wife has said by virtue of our retirement from the senate it's a little like going to your own funeral. you're hearing all of the eulogies, but you're still alive. we indeed are planning a significant life and activity after the senate. i will have more to say about that at some other time, but i want to express my gratitude to senator hatch for the kind words that he has spoken, but more importantly for the relationship that we have developed in the time we have served together. we did not know each other very well prior to my running for the senate. he was a senator off in washington, i was a businessman in utah. we had little occasion to see our paths cross and become
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acquainted, so one of the things that i will treasure the most out of my experiences here in the senate has been the opportunity to come to know orrin as a friend, as a dedicated legislator and a role model and mentor. he has guided me many times when i needed some guidance. we have disagreed sometimes when that was appropriate, given our particular positions on an issue or two, but always i have been able to look to orrin hatch as a mentor, a friend, someone upon whom i could depend. in the recent election when there were those who were suggesting that maybe orrin should distance himself from me for his own political benefit, i'm gratified by the fact that he not only refuseed to do that, but to the very end, he did everything he could throughout the state to see to it that i was triumphant in that election. it turned out i was not, as far as the convention was concerned,
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but elections and conventions are not the be-all and end-all of life, and i will go on to other activities, but i will hang on to my friendship with orrin hatch and continue my respect and love for him in the years to come. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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