tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 14, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
allies. one is that we now have plans to deal, contingency plans to do with problems, threats from that part of the world and we will be exercising those plants. baltic air policing will be continued at least through 2018 and probably beyond. the nato response force which ian and i worked on many years ago, will be revitalized and refocused on article v. the united states has f-16 training programs in poland and will retain a base in romania so there is just a few examples of the steps that we have taken as a nation as an alliance to reassure our eastern allies. there is more that can be done but i think those important first step so i've laid out these four problems in my argument is that at the summit and within nato, we are taking steps to deal with all of those
problems. doesn't it doesn't mean they go away. but steps are taken to deal with them. >> thank you, madam. >> thank you all very much. i want to start dr. binnendijk with your comments amount missile defense and as mr. brzezinski mentioned earlier, this month we heard russia suggest that they might use preemptive force against missile installations if there is not a topic of agreement reached with nato. do you think this is just posturing? do you think there are -- this represents a heightened -- a heightened threat on the part of russia to oppose the missile defense installation or should
we just expect more rhetoric and continue as you suggested we have been operating in a way that is sufficient to continue to have some sort of a relationship with russia that allows us to move forward? >> i think we are being tested by the russians. there's a long history to this of course. during the cold war, essentially the united states convince the russians of the importance of a second strike capability and that notion was accepted by both sides and kept the peace essentially during the cold war. i think the russians were quite upset when the abm treaty was abrogated because it tended to challenge that notion. when the bush administration put forward the third site which was different in composition but a similar purpose, they oppose that.
when the obama administration decided to go with another option, a phase adaptive approach based on the standard missile treaty, they first required. they thought it might be a good deal and then they started looking at phase three and phase four and thought, maybe that is it. so i think they are testing us. they are uncomfortable with this. they would like to set limits. i think actually if you look at the consensus in europe, the consensus in europe really is about creating issel defenses to deal with an iranian threat, not to deal with a russian threat. if you look at the capabilities that we are talking about, these missile interceptors are slow. they are not going to catch an icbm. we have been telling the russians that. they want legally binding assurances. i'm not sure that a legally binding assurance would be ratified. so secretary rasmussen, secretary-general rasmussen is preparing political assurances. i don't think we need to give them though. i think we need to understand where the red lines are.
there is a real threat coming from the middle east. this is a serious proposal that has consensus and i don't think we should let the russians move us from the direction in which we are headed. but we ought to seek to give them as many reassurances as we can within the scope of the plan that we have. >> let me just ask the other two panelists, do you all agree with that analysis? >> i agree with the analysis. i think hans is spot on. i would add that the russian motivations behind their opposition to those defense plans are really more geopolitical than they are technical. they are more settled with the fact that they united states would have military in poland and romania. i think i would add the concern about the conditionality in the missile defense plans. if i may quote the president, president obama, as long as the
threat with iran persist we will go forward with the missile defense system that is cost effective and proven. the iranian threat is eliminated we will have a stronger basis for security and the driving force for missile defense construction in europe will be removed. now that has been hanging over central europe thomas centro european understandings of how -- to this plan. i don't think there's high confidence in warsaw, bucharest and elsewhere that it will be built in 2018. in fact, foreign minister in reporting on the policy said just this last spring, quote we stand ready to implement the whole u.s. agreement on the missile defense base, even though we are aware of the fact that u.s. plans may be subject to modification. for example if an agreement is reached on iran's nuclear program. so they are not confident at all
but these plans are going to go for. i personally think these plans are justified whether or not we make progress in iran are not because we have the basic fact, weapons of mass destruction and missile technologies are proliferating. missile defense is going to become part of any forces complement of capabilities including transatlantic communities complement of the defense capabilities. >> thank you. dr. kupchan? >> i would associate myself with dr. binnendijk's analysis. i think the dispute over missile defense is really part of a broader lack of confidence and trust that exists between nato and russia. i would agree with what he said, that it's not a technical issue. it's much broader than that. i am someone who is supportive of the obama administration's
reset. it has had good days and bad days but i think the glass is more half-full than half-empty. and i believe that we should continue to press on u.s.-russian relations and nato russian relations, realizing that we have differences over georgia, that we have differences over missile defense but continue to pocket those areas where we have agreement. because if we can build greater trust, if we can get the russians to see that nato means them no harm, then i actually think we will be able to reach agreement on missile defense and perhaps on georgia. i don't want to minimize the difficulties of doing that, but i think the outreach to russia is correct and we should push hard on that front. one quick comment on what dr. brzezinski said about conditionality. i don't see the obama commitment to missile defense as conditional.
i think it is conditional in the sense that it is being adapted to the new chair of the threat and that is why there is a revision to begin with, to move toward a sea-based structure that would better deal with threats from iran. so i think those sites of the house are moving forward on missile defense. what remains to be determined is the exact nature of that and that will depend upon the nature of the threat. >> but, i assume you would agree with his analysis that there is still some concern in the eastern european capital about the commitment of our missile defense efforts? >> i think there is still some broad discomfort in central europe about the degree to which
they don't enjoy the same pride of place that they did in the alliance 10 years ago. during the first decade after the fall of the berlin wall, they were the apple side. they had a sort of door open policy in washington. they don't enjoy quite as much access or pride of place that they use to. i don't think that is because the obama administration is neglecting them are going over their heads or working on russia at their expense. i think it is what one could call the new normal, and nato alliance in which pope and starts to enjoy the same kind of status as italy and spain. that requires adjustment but it's actually very good news. >> given what you said about the russian reset, do you share what we heard earlier from secretary gordon that we shouldn't read anything more ominous into putin's not coming to the g8 summit other than that he has work at home?
>> i find it regrettable that president putin has not decided to calm. i think it is a mistake on russia's part. who knows exactly why he made that decision, but there's no question that the initial decision not to go to chicago, and now his decision not to show up at the g8 suggests that he is keeping a certain distance. i am confident that over time, russia is going to orient itself westward, and that is because i'm not sure geopolitically speaking they have a lot of other options. big union with belarus and kazakhstan is not in the future of russia. it's in my mind a question of when russian domestic politics works itself out. if it could take a very long time but i think putin is smart
enough to know that the arrow points westward, and the institutions of the european union and nato provide a better future for russia than the alternatives. >> said in your statement that, and i'm not quoting you exactly, but you suggested that, as the circle widens, preserving the rules-based system as you said, that has really been established by the united states and europe in the transatlantic relationship will be difficult if the u.s. and europe don't move forward together. is there some reason to believe that we will not be moving forward together? are you suggesting that, because of the current fiscal crisis, because of some of the domestic issues that you identified, that we should worry about this as a
future challenge? >> well i worry about the different dimensions of that challenge. one is the bigger question of the degree to which the china's, the india's the brazil's of the world will embrace a rules-based system and if so will it be our rules-based system? i think that is a conversation that will be increasingly important in the years ahead. it has party started and i 2 concern is that we can't manage that path on our own. the west has had going concern, is really been about partnerships between the u.s. and europe and between their u.s. and japan and other allies in the pacific. i do worry that the european union's foreseeable future is perhaps introverted and fragmented.
so it is not that they will diverge from us on what these rules are. it is just that they might not gain and i think that would leave us in an exposed position and that is why i think the united states and europe should do what they can to refurbish, revitalize the anchor of liberal values and open markets, and an democratic institutions, because they are now under threat. rising powers do not share the same commitments and that is why we need to make sure that our model is both strong and serves as an example for the rest of the world. >> you know, we had a panel in the european affairs subcommittee last fall on the european fiscal crisis, and virtually all of the panelists agreed that one of the most important things we can do to support europe in addressing their fiscal crisis was to address our own at home. so, i certainly think, i would
certainly support your analysis. let me just go to an issue that i think has been brought up several times and that is that, as the they look at the summit, as we look at the future of nato, that is the partnerships, it's one way for us to expand the influence and the ability to work in the global environment that we are now in. do you think that offers an opportunity, and i guess i would ask mr. brzezinski and doctors binnendijk if you have views on this as well, do you think this offers the opportunity to expand the circle in a way that allows that influence to continue to happen? as you look at the partnerships that have been developed, that are being looked at in the future. is this a way for nato to continue to have some influence and work with those countries
with rising economies? >> absolutely. i think partnerships are the way of the future for the alliance. the fact is that probably the most urgent challenges and the most surprising and unpredictable challenges are going to come from outside bulgaria. it's going to be the middle east, it's going to be asia and i think somebody mentioned africa. also the systemic challenges these regions are facing. ..
be it brazil, be it india, be it japan, australia, most of whom already have these relationships. we need to deepen them and leverage them more. >> thank you doctor. >> let me answer your last two questions together because i think they fit together. if you look at american grand strategy today and look at so-called pivot to asia or rebalancing to asia i think that is probably the right thing to do. that is where the long-term security challenges lie. shorter term challenges still remain in the greater middle east. so that is the second part. we are looking to our european allies to help us in primarily that second endeavor.
otherwise we're not going to have the capacity to do it. the question is, are the european allies willing and able to do that? there is, afghanistan fatigue in europe as it is here but i think it is even worse in europe and you've got the financial problems that we discussed. so as you look at that strategy i the question i think are the european partners allies, willing to go along with this strategy? it's, some have talked about not pivoting away from europe but rather pivoting with europe. and that notion of pivoting with europe requires partners willing and able and that is the task. will it be able to do that. that is the first part. related part with regard to partnerships in general i agree with ian. i think we're going to have, 13 or so partners meeting in chicago and there's a real opportunity there. if you look at so-called partnerships for the alliance today, you have the partnership for peace which
was initially a waiting chamber for membership. now you have some very capable countries and some very less capable countries in the partnership. it is not really functional anymore. you have the med dialogue. you have instan bull cooperation agreement and others but they don't make much sense anymore. i think we really need to think partnerships in general for the alliance. doesn't mean you can't keep the dialogues going but to me it is about capabilities and will. and you need to find those functional partners if you who can be with us and they can be global. australia, japan, south korea, india potentially, others. how do you partner with them and how can you, how can they be useful to the alliance and to the united states? and i think where you have to start in addition to the political elements is inneroperability so we can
operate and there are standards within nato. we should be using those nato standards to apply to these other countries so when we come together in a operation we're inneroperable. and we should be able to certify that. and these countries shut get something for that which is greater concentration. there is something to be on done in partnership which will help the grand strategy i laid out to be able to work. >> you know, i think you all have mentioned the pivot toward asia and what the european reaction has been in some quarters and i like your comment, dr. binnendijik about the idea this is really, what is happening in asia is of equal interest to europe and there is an opportunity to pivot together and i wonder if any of you have thoughts about to what extent that kind of message will come out of the summit in chicago and whether there's an
opportunity to make that point in a way that has not been made to date anyway? >> you know, i think the europeans are beginning to understand the importance of global engagement. they are beginning to understand that the future of our partnership with them depends on their readiness to do things that are well beyond their normal purview. but i think that's going to be a long-term process in the sense that the europeans at this point simply don't have the equities or the capabilities to be players in asia in the same way we are. that doesn't moon they can't be helpful. that doesn't mean that they can't invest in the kind of capabilities that will get them there but i do think,
and this comes back to the discussion we were just having about partnerships, that that conversation should not just be about what partners can do for nato to increase nato capability. it's also about what nato can do for others in the sense that as i suggested in my opening remarks i'm not sure that nato is going to be sending out the fire trucks every few months whenever there's a problem out there. who is going to be sending out the fire trucks? probably groupings that are local. so if i were to guess at what the most important security institutions of the coming world will be, they're going to be asean in southeast asia. gulf cooperation council. african union, uinsr, a defense union emerging in africa. i think nato's engagement in the groups should be partly about inneroperability as hans was just saying but
also teaching them to do for themselves what nato has done for itself which is the most successful operational, integrated military/political institution in history. because if we're not going to do it we should invest in making sure that others will be ready to fill that gap. >> thank you. yes, mr. brzezinski? >> i hope that is the message that comes from chicago we'll be pivoting together to the new challenges of the 21st century. that is the essence of the transatlantic bargain. it would be united states, canada, european allies reaching out to brazils, indias, australias and deepening the transatlantic community's ties to them. europe and north america pivoting together to these new regions. but i am concerned about our ability to pivot militarily together as we reduce u.s. force presence in europe. we're reducing two or four
bcts, brigade combat teams. we're pulling out prepositioned ships from the mediterranean and an a-10 squad dron from among other elements. i think it does raise because it hasn't adequately been addressed by inches administration how we will maintain inother operability to pivot to these new regions. given a sense of what the administrations plans are, new engagement occurs between two bringing dwad combat teams that will be eliminated they will have the united states commit a brigade combat team to the nrf. fantastic, first rate decision. we should have done it a long time ago. and they're going to insure that two brigade combat team equivalents are going to rotate to europe each year which sound good. when you start scratching the surface of that those rotations are only six to eight weeks long per year.
that comes nowhere close to the kind of engagement that a permanently based unit in europe can provide that comes nowhere close to the level of joint training a unit based in europe can do with the italians, with the poles and norwegians and such. there is a real question out there what will happen to all the great inneroperability we developed in the last decade? remember when europeans started first flowing into afghanistan and into iraq also we had real inneroperability problems. it wasn't smooth. as a battlefield becomes more complex, more technologily-demand, certainly way we fight it, inother operability is more difficult to maintain, more difficult to develop, more difficulty to sustain. regards more cooperation and less engagement. that is the question i bring to the table. >> yes, dr. binnendijik. >> i would hope that the
message from chicago is that we face global challenges together. this group of nations this group of democracies needs to work together to meet those global challenges. and i think that, that is what the message should be. and i think if you look at libya, and what happened there, it does demonstrate that if an issue is in the interest of our allies to engage in they will do it. it doesn't require all european allies to engage in that. enough engaged. 90% of the ordnance dropped in libya was european ordnance. that demonstrates when there is an interest there can be a will. so i wouldn't write off the europeans as quickly as some others might. now they are in a near existential crisis today over the future of the euro and we see that with developments in greece so that will complicate it.
let me just say a final word about what ian just raised which is narrower issue of brigade combat teams and the american presence there i actually think as ian suggested this was a very sound decision to have these brigade combat teams to have at least one u.s. based brigade combat team deploy battalions to europe to do joint training with the nato response force. that ought to be a model. it ought to be a model for what we do to maintain inneroperability, military inneroperability between the united states and al our allies post-isaf. we need to find many other examples. this may be a place where the committee could play a constructive role to try to urge the administration to find other places because inneroperability is very precious and it's very fragile and we need to be able to sustain that if we're going to stay in the alliance over time post-isaf. >> thank you all very much. i know we promised to have
folks out by about 1230. so let me close with one question that's a little more parochial for me. i'm planning to attend the summit in chicago and one of the programs that i'm going to be participating in is the atlantic council's young atlantis program. obviously it is aimed at trying to engage more young professional leaders in and future decision-makers in policy questions and particularly in the importance of nato. so do you all have thoughts about what we can do to better engage upcoming leaders on nato and on what the next generation should look like for nato and for our future leaders? you professors ought to have some really good ideas about this. >> we're thrilled to have you at the atlantic council conference there, senator shaheen. i guess one the fact that
you're attending is important because you represent this institution and the that communicates a lot, communicates a lot of commitment. with that i said said i reinforce the message. that merc is interested in europe's security interests. third or second i would encourage them to think globally and to recognize they and their countries have a lot at stake globally. they have to start looking beyond their immediate financial crises and how their interests are affected by developments in asia, africa and latin america. third i remind them just as charlie did today by working with the united states we're together stronger and going to be more influential and better able to shape and drive events beyond the north atlantic area in asia, in africa, in the middle east together than 2 if we do it separately. >> thank you. any other thoughts? >> i would just concur that it's not just important but more more and more important over time in the sense i
think on both side of the atlantic we are going through generational changes that are to some extent not eroding would be too strong a word but diminishing the social foundations of the partnership in the sense that i mean, i guess you and i we sort of represent the last generation of people in this game sort of still, who entered professional life when the cold war was still alive but then, you know, not so and students i teach at georgetown, you know, they're growing up in a world in which atlantic partnership, cold war, berlin wall, what's that? and i think that's why it's especially important to get americans and europeans to engage in these issues, to be educated on these issues and, also for europeans i think the other thing i worry about is their own commitment to the european project.
one of the issues that polling data is beginning to show they don't have the same emotional attachment to europe as the older generation. what angela merkel has been doing with the euro helmut kohl would have never done because that was sacred ground for him. and that's why particularly why i think investing in the emerging generation is so critical. >> thank you. dr. binnendijik. you have the last word. >> thank you. first i think it is great you're going for that purpose and fran burwell has done a great job with that program. and it's a problem. i mean i go to meetings on nato and everybody looks like me. and this generation and we need to fix that problem. i've taken one small step. i have my daughter now engaged in nato affairs. so that's a personal contribution. >> if i bring my daughter that would help, probably right? >> i think the message that you want to take though there is that we are really
faced with global challenges, global problems that can not be solved by the united states or a small group. they have to be solved globally and, they, for all of the faults that the europeans have, they still are our best partners in dealing with those global challenges. and it is not just military stuff. it is energy. it is climate. it is sigher about. all of these new challenges and actually, that is where the newer, the latest generation is focusing. they understand those problems. i would focus on those as well. >> thank you all very much this has been very enlightening. at this time i will close the hearing.
[inaudible conversations] >> for more information on members the senate foreign relations committee and other members of congress, c-span's congressional directory is a complete guide to the 112th congress. inside you will find each member of the house and senate including contact information, district maps and committee assignments. information on cabinet members and supreme court justices and the nation's governors. you can pick up a copy for $12.95 plus shipping and handling at c-span.org/shop. congress wasn't in session today but both chambers return next week for legislative business the
senate is back on monday to continue work on the export-import bank charter before turning to debate several judicial nominations. votes on those take place at 5:30 p.m. eastern. the house gavels in on tuesday to take up a number of bills with votes scheduled at 6:30 eastern. also on the house agenda next week, continuing the violence against women act and setting defense department programs and policy for next year and to hear more about that issue we spoke earlier today with a reporter who covers military issues. >> today president obama will deliver the commencement address at
barnard college in new york city. that getting underway at 1:10 p.m. eastern. you can see it live on our companion network, c-span. on 1:10 eastern. later this afternoon on c-span former undersecretary of state nicholas burns speaking at the atlantic council about his ideas strengthening nato and european relations. that starts 4:00 eastern, live on c-span. >> we have a real demand for spectrum but we would be foolish if all we did was rely on things like incentive auctions and the auctioning of spectrum. >> i think it is important to have technological neutrality with respect to the commission rules in order to assure everyone is competing on level playing field.
>> last week, vladmir putin was inaugurated to a third term as russia's president. at atlantic council a member of rush shells opposition movement spoke about fraud in russia's election. he said he doesn't think president putin will serve out his full six-year term. >> david, could you pull the door shut a little bit. let me begin today's event. my name is ross wilson. i'm the director of the eurasia center here at the atlantic council. on behalf of the council i want to welcome all of you here today for another a series of council events on developments in russia. others we have had so far this year include one that examined the outlook for u.s. much russian relations during this year of political transition in both of our countries.
another looked at the mood in russia on the eve of the presidential elections and a third examined the business and trade implications of russia's accession to the world trade organization. today's looks at the domestic political seen in russia and the outlook for the democratic opposition movement that burst into public prominence last fall. for much of the 50 years history of this organization russian politics has often seemed to be unmoving frozen, motionless or at least opaque. in the late brezhnev era when i first worked at our moscow embassy the picture was one of waiting, waiting for the inevitable death of the leader and the transition that we thought would follow. eventually it came. the ice broke during the pair tristroke can years and for the decade or more that followed the soviet russian political scene was boisterous and lively ones. there were halcyon days
where those of us russian watchers in that period. the ascent of vladmir putin to the presidency 12 years ago marked a transition from popular politics back to a country where the key political issues and struggles were behind closed doors, were made behind closed doors. so it has been with immense interest in this town and certainly at the atlantic council we observed fascinating emergence to public politics in russia. since last fall the highly problematic duma elections that took place december 4 and wave after wave of demonstrations in the weeks and months that have followed. those of us who care deeply about russia found greatly encouraging the fact that the country or at least some very important segments of it seem to woken up from the relative slumber to speak out and act publicly on important issues that the country faces. russia is now completed its presidential election cycle. the march election produced
its largely preordained result and vladmir putin was ingnawing rought --ing inaugurated on monday also 30 term as president after a 4-year hiatus as the country's prime minister. the putin regime never became medvedevs or anyone else's but demonstrations continue as well. so too does the public sentiment that is seriously less accepting and less accommodating of authoritarian and arbitrary governance and corruption. to help examine the nature of russia's current political struggles the newly vibrant voices of possible youism and choices that president putin has and some of the substantive issues today we're pleased to welcome, vladimir kara murz is a, former candidate of the opposition movement solidarity or solidarnost.
it was founded in december 2008 by a number of well-known members of the democratic opposition. it was instrumental in organizing mass protests last, after, last december's parliamentary election and the protests that took place earlier this week. journalists an author, mr. kara-murza also washington bureau chief of rtvi television. earlier he was a correspondent and editor-in-chief of russian finance, russian investment review. he has written in the financial times, "wall street journal", and published in a number of books as well. someone who witnesses first-hand the events unfolding in moscow and his life is directly affected by them his observations and comments are of particular importance and value i think to this discussion today. with us to moderate this session is donald jensen, long time and distinguished analyst and manager at radio
free europe and radio liberty currently here in washington at the center for transatlantic relations. he is one of washington's most prolific and respected commentators on russia, appearing regularly on cnn, fox, lehrer news hour and several other acronymed organizations. let me note that today's event is on the record. after some opening remarks by mr. kara-murza. don will lead what i hope will be a lively discussion. i hope you are thinking of questions. if you have one get don's attention. when called upon please state your name and affiliation, loudly and into a microphone that will come around for the benefit of our listening audience. so with no further a due, join me in welcoming vladimir kara-murza. and don jensen. >> thank you, mr. wilson for kind duck shun and thank you for the atlantic council holding this very important and very timely event.
and thank you for don for moderating it. i look forward to a very lively discussion here. one of the most popular features on russia's social networks in the past couple days has been the photo collage two juxtaposition, juxtaposed photographs. one showing inauguration ceremony here in washington, d.c. in 2009 with tens of thousands of people lining up on the national mall from the capitol to the lincoln memorial. the second of the inauguration ceremony in moscow 2012 with city center deserted. with not a single person in sight and rows of armed vehicles of interior ministry troops lining up streets and squares. you seen the tv pictures out of moscow monday you might have thought there was a neutron bomb in the russian capital or looked like something apocalyptic from a hollywood horror movie. there was not a single person as putin's motorcade
made from the government house to the kremlin. not the route of the motorcade, central square, nearby streets and metro stations were closed down and cleared off from the public. there were 20,000 interior ministry troops and riot police guarding the president-elect from his voters on inauguration day. essentially the city looked like military occupation. i remember exact same thing, in march i was in moscow for the presidential election. the protests we had in the days after it and i remember walking down from push kin square where we had the protest from putin's quote, unquote victory and walking towards the kremlin, i never seen my city like that. there were lines and lines of armed to the teeth riot police and vehicles and buses lining up on every single street going to either side. certainly not since the crisis of '93 were so many troops in the central moscow.
whatever it looked like certainly didn't look like the behavior after legitimate winner of a legitimate election. and this of course is because mr. putin is not a legitimate winner of a legitimate election. and just a few words on, on what did happen in march. the vote was unfree and unfair on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. all the way through the process and the only genuinely democratic opposition candidate yolinsky was removed arbitrarily by the authorities from the ballot. all television, national television was and is under total kremlin control. there was monitoring study i think done by a campaign that showed that 72% of all airtime during the campaign was given to putin and 28% was split up between his four nominal competitors. there were harrassment and attacks on election monitoring groups. and numerous violations on voting day itself were not
enough, all the usual tricks and a ballot stuffing and rewriting of protocols. this time on really much bigger scale than before the so-called karo sell voting. we've seen that a number of years. large groups of people are us abouted from one polling place to another voting several times because they local electoral commissioners in the know, give them ballot papers. by estimates in moskow, did, by independent pole monitors up to 20% of people voted on so-called additional voter lists. these are not people registered to vote in those polling places. no update control or monitoring. the legal voters which is specific coalition created to monitor the elections which fielded several thousand poll monitors across the country reported that about a quarter of its monitors reported violations of various kinds from the polling places and the citizen observer project which another election monitoring group, estimated
that about seven or eight million virtual votes were added to putin's tally on the 4th of march. that is estimate. we don't know. it is impossible to know. that is just it. we don't know what the result of the election on march fourth was. that was exactly the message of the tens of thousands of people who came out to central moscow this past sunday, the 6th of may to protest the inauguration of an illegitimate and unelected president. there were despite heavy efforts by the authorities to prevent people from arriving to moscow from the regions, trains canceled, buses turned away, between 60 and 100,000 people came out to protest, to come out on the street and the square last sunday. and the response was unlike what we've seen in december and february, when we had similar-sized rallies was extremely harsh. very much in the style of mr. lukenshko in belarus.
sometimes called here in the western capital, called the last dictator in europe, that implies that vladmir putin is a democrat. the stops was very much, very much minsk-style. pepper spray used on peaceful and unarmed demonstrators. batons used. video going around last couple days after riot policeman kicking pregnant woman in the stomach with his foot. she was protesting in the square. and this reporter for one of the major online publications he witnessed this. this direct quote from his report. they were beating brutally into blood. smashing faces on pavement. dragging them by the hair and clothes regardless of gender or age. after 50 protesters were injured. and more than 1,000 arrested and two days of protests just according to the official figures. it may be more. people arrested during the protest but after the protest walking down the street. as sitting in cafe. opposition leader was arrested in a cafe. having a cup of coffee. riot police, walked in,
ransacked the cafe and detained him and several other people there and released without any explanation. all this apparently was still not good enough we heard mr. putin's press secretary when he was asked you know, for his reaction to how police treated protesters he thought you know, this was not harsh enough. in his words the protesters, this is direct quote, should have their livers spread across the pavement. end of quote. this is what putin's press secretary said two days ago. if anyone need ad preview of putin's attitudes and plans political attitudes, this was as good as preview as any we've seen in the last few days. that is not i think the main question because we know putin hasn't changed. there is no reason he should but russia has. that is i think the main point. that is what ambassador wilson said in his duck shun. russia changed beyond recognition in the last six months especially. beginning in december when 120,000 people came out to central moscow to protest against the a rigged
parliamentary leak shuns and demand a free and fair vote and demand democratic reforms. these are the largest street protests in russia since the anti-communist revolution in 1991. driven primarily not exclusively upper urban middle classes people who achieved a certain degree of economic well-being and who now want to live in a country with rule of law and want to be treated as citizens, not as monkeys as mr. putin called them in his channel 1 interview in december. this is, no economic slogans, no social demands. this movement is about dignity and political rights. and this is a movement for the first time in 12 years forced the putin regime on the defensive. when the kremlin was forced to reinstate direct elections original governance which mr. medvedev recently promised would not come back in 100 years, came back 12 days after the first major protest in december. they were forced to change the legislation on political
parties and opposition, anti-opposition parties have been bad for years are now beginning to come back. just in the last couple days the republican party which was band in 2007 was officially reinstated as legal political party able to participate in elections. i don't want to overstate this. these are timid concessions, timid in many way but the fact still this is first time putin's regime has been on the defensive in 12 years of its rule. as we've seen past couple days, past week this movement is not going away. this movement is here to stay. and the latest poll from the lavada center, probably the most reputable polling agency in russia, latest poll from april, 38% of the russian population, general population is supportive of the protest movement and its goals and its demands that is a serious number. also i think worth noting that even according to the official results of putin's central electoral commission released after 4th of march,
some of the largest cities in russia, moscow, leningrad, the majority of cities voted against putin even according to his own official tallies. that is also, also important to note. so this will be a very different putin presidency than the ones before. and the time when he could do essentially as he pleased and apathy and silence in return that time is finished. i don't think it is coming back. there was also very interesting report forecast by the center of strategic research published in i think in mid-march which is this, by no means an opposition failure groups. this is a think tank, created by putin's associates for putin in 2000 to draft his presidential program and still today chaired by his deputy premier. that center came out with a forecast in the middle of march, their prediction for the next few years is the spread of protests beyond just large cities out into the provinces.
a crash in putin's approval ratings. a new political crisis. very likely early parliamentary elections in two or three years time likely won by the opposition and putin himself struggling to come up with an exit strategy by 2018. indeed analysts who are doubting that he will be able to complete his six-year term until 2018 given current mood and current situation. in closing just a few words i would like to say about the opposition strategy and what the opposition plans and what we'll be doing in the coming months and years. the opposition will be going beyond just the street protest strategy although that is extremely of course important and extremely effective as we've seen one of the forced concessions i mentioned earlier, direct election for regional governors the regime was forced to return to reinstate in december, presents a new opportunity i think. even in very much watered down and limited form that the law was, the law was actually passed in the end it is coming into force on
the 1st of june. there are several conditions inserted to make it difficult for opposition candidates to register. major hurdles to overcomes as we've seen in the very watered down, very limited very manipulated condition elections present a great headache for the current regime. we've seen that in a recent slate of opposition victories in mayoral elections in russia. major industrial center in the volga, speck lar at thisly in the a city in april the runnoff opposition candidate won against the kremlin candidate by 70% to 28. kind of consensus among the experts it wasn't so much that particular opposition candidate who won. people coming out and voting against the ruling regime. and so now as russia prepares to hold gubernatorial elections once again for the first time in eight years, experts are saying several key regions are likely to go into opposition column. a very controversial and very well-connected shall we
say analyst in moscow predicted for instance, that the opposition leader will easily win the governor ship where he was governor already in the '90s. another will win the governorship where he was elected before to parliament. olinsky has not ruled out running for governor st. petersburg. his party had a good foothold. they had a good result in the local parliamentary elections in december. they have a power base in that city. so if we will see several key regions going into the opposition's column i think that will be a game changer. and one of foremost experts on russia here in washington has a paper coming out where he writes about this. he compares this slate of opposition victories at local and regional level we're already seeing unfold to the, loss by several
communist party secretaries in 1989. in the first partially free, partially competitive elections of soviet congress. came as a shock to the civil. suddenly these dozens of communist bosses lost those votes. and that was very important kind of initial breaking point. he compares what is going to happen, already beginning to happen what will happen in the coming months to what happened back in '89. i think it is safe to assume russia is on the verge of some very big and important changes and very interesting place certainly to watch in the coming months and years. and once again, thank you very much for hosting this event. i look forward to our discussions and to don's comments. thank you. >> thank you, vladimir. i also want to thank the atlantic council, ambassador wilson, for hosting this event today, having spent time in the embassy during those alsy i don't know days something i'm emotionally attached and attracted.
someone said to me a russian friend, the inauguration day was the quietest moscow had been since napoleon entered two centuries ago. let me ask the first question and we'll go around the table. there are a number of narratives out there by people skeptical about the opposition and its prospects and, there are many versions of this narrative one of those there is no natural opposition leader. i was in the embassy in 1989 when yeltsin arose from what seemed a very, elite set of associations to lead this opposition movement. can you give me, address that issue. is there leadership out there? do you need a leader out there, part one? and part two, two fascinating but amazingly ambiguous characters, kudrin and prokhorov. kudri nismt darling in certain economic institutions in this town. prokhorov i understand
attended inauguration. >> he did. >> despite having campaigned as, was in the kremlin after the elections. can you comment and allegation there is no natural leader of this opposition? >> well on your first point i think it has been a great strength of the movement, not a weakness this fact it has no vertical structure unlike the kremlin. the fact it is a grassroots-based movement essentially and as much a civic movement now as a political movement. people who make up the protests, majority are pro-democracy or liberal orry entated people. there are leftists. there are socialists. there are nationalists. right-wingers. it's a very wide movement united by those common folks of free elections and releasing political prisoners. allowing opposition parties to be legalized and to compete in elections. so this, i think it is not a detriment. it is an advantage the fact there is no kind of you know,
set figurehead and set structure to this. once, you know, these elections begin especially regional elections, you just mentioned yeltsin in 1990. he did of course begin his kind of return to power after he was forced out of it by binning in a moscow district for those 1989 soviet congress elections. we'll see when those elections do begin to take place and see the new leaders emerging at the ballot box. i think that is a question of time. on kudrin he is considered by very many figures in russian opposition as one at very least a double agent and, you know more favorable just say he is one of the clever ones in the regime and senses when the wind is blowing and one of the first ones to jump ship back in september. he of course resigned, he was officially was sacked but made everything, you know, possible to be sacked back in september. two or three days after the job swap announcement.
and that was of course the major trigger for the protest movement when people especially those middle classes in big cities said okay, enough is enough. who are you holding this for? you think you can swap the two most important jobs in the country and say you will hold them for another 12 years? who do you think you are? he jumped ship two or three days after that happened. so, i don't know if that was kind of your main point but nobody really considers him genuine opposition. >> it was a considered. >> right. in terms of prokhorov, i think it is telling that yalinsky was removed from the ballot and prokhorov was not. he was not, given essentially a green light in the national media in return for certain conditions. nobody ever considered him a genuine opposition figure. having said that, in those conditions millions of people directed the protest votes into prokhorov's column. not by voting for him. one of the most respected
figures in the russian dissident movement, you know, former political prisoner, he urged people to go vote for prokhorov in march not because of prohhorov but because it is in those conditions only useful way to, you know, to express your vote against the regime. and if in those places where we've seen votes counted more or less fairly like moscow and other big cities, more or less i stress because there are a lot of carousels and in those places prokhorov came close to putin and strong second and ahead of the communists. this shows that the protest vote chose him kind of embodiment. what we're seeing now, we're not seeing him now. these past two months nobody heard of prokhorov. as you said people saw him on tv at putin's inauguration. >> designed a basketball team logo. >> move it to brooklyn or something like that. is all he has heard for these days. not the politics. >> okay.
as ross said, when you ask the question please identify yourself and who would like to go first? . . >> i think the argument is really beyond the pail. there was an election. he did get the 64% of the votes or whatever that was, and therefore, you know, he has a right to govern. now, of course, the opposition is going to continue to work, but to think this leads to the
overthrow of the administration seems to me very farfetched. the other thing is what is president putin going to do? there's a broad program of developing the far east, the arctic stops, major advisory council put together development for the underdeveloped area, and putin put his weight behind it. if he's successful with that, he'll be more popular than he is today and they'll deal with that programmatically. why is it such a thing when he has been elected by the significant majority, has a program, and if the program does not work, he'll be in worse shape. if it works, he's looking better off. i mean, how do you deal with this? you can't attack him for who he is because he has won the election. >> okay. well, thanks for the question. do i need the microphone?
we have one here. one of those people beaten to blood in moscow for peacefully coming out, you would not think it was farfetched. if you're a person arrested and thrown into jail 15 days for working in central moscow boulevard, it wouldn't look different. the difference is that luk lukashenko allowed opposition figures on the ballot in december of 2010. others just released from jail recently. he did, of course, win the election, beat down supporters, but he allowed opposition on the ballot. putin dis not allow general opposition on the ballot. when you talk 64%, this is not too harsh, but that's
ridiculous. you need an election. election is not just the mechanical process of paper in the box. you need candidates to have an election. the last election was not registered, and i think over 20 political parties were disallowed or disregistered in 2007 -- excuse me, in 2011. that's not an exex when you can't go and vote for the opposition. national tv, it's putin, putin, and putin. that's not a free election. that's not a campaign. that's not a choice. let's not talk about elections and results. the last, more or less, you know, anything comparable to an election in russia was the federal level and 1990 and 2000 when they were out with 52%, and the moscow's investigation showed there were numerous cases of ballot stacking. even then, he department get the majority of the vote. that was the last thing
conceivably resemilled a free election or at least competitive because of the ballot. you ask why people think he's not lasting out the term? well, because look at the diversions between whether, you know, whether are they going with him and where is he going? if his press secretary says they need the livers spread across the pavement and not harsh enough beating up pregnant women, we'll see. those first five days are not very encouraging, but just as he seemed very strong in his day and mr. ben ali did in tunisia and all the other, you know, examples we see before. these people are strong. they have their 64, the case of mubarak, elections are before you have a square.
my arguments come from historical experience and then probably just i was back from moscow a few weeks ago. you should see the mood of people, you know? when you have -- in our modern times, just to begin to think that somebody can be in power for 24 years, this is a 21st century. when putin came to power, look at what the world leaders did. david cameron worked at a firm in lone -- london. obama was a state senator. look what they were doing when putin was already in charge of russia. it's unbelievable. they are not willing to accept it. are you kidding me? he's been there for 12 years, comes out and says, okay, we're swapping jobs, staying here for another 12. it's not going to happen. that's where this comes from, just goes against everything happening in the world, including everything happening in russia. you can't move russialy losing
the big cities. the city of moscow is even against him even against the official results. he lost sish ya in 2000 -- sirbia in 2000, and i think we're going the same way. i don't the he's going to complete the six years. >> working microphones -- process, maybe it spreads. committee on eastern europe in russia and nato. gather the perspective is something like a new democratic transition or democratic restoration will occur in our lifetimes, maybe the next decade, maybe in several year, and i don't want to debate schedules because i can't
predict the future. when i first wrote nato ought to be ready to throw an umbrella over the soviets, that was in 1985, and gosh shove was not yet legislated. i was surprised. now, you've written some things about what a future democratic transition, whether it comes in one year, five, or 15 we'll need in terms of the international policy, and that's of interest to us here in washington, and those here from the atlantic council, and one of the things you said which is identity -- identical was how many years they need to be part of the west, and that means russia is negotiating to join oecd, a member of eight, but the crucial thing is nato. you've written a very interesting article about this,
about how they were fatally damaged at the start by nato not having any friendly response to them. that's correct. i remember that well then because that was my cause already back then. what will you need in the future and how would it be possible for the west to be better prepared if such an event eventuality occurs, and i put eyes happening in our lifetime because we need to know what to be ready with also. >> thanks for the question. referring to late 91; right? expressing to join nato and he was given a cold shower? right, 20 years ago. actually, the goal of nato membership was present in all the major russian -- and talked about integration into the
space, and even, you know, a more farfetched example like the european union you see consistently in polls especially with russians under the age of 30, they want russia to be a member of the european union so there is parallel track of democracyization. there's a question of institutionalizing that, or as you mentioned already, the oldest european organization which russia joined, the yeltsin in the mid 90s. claimed he brought russia in in 1998 and russia was accepted and you know the history, and so i will be in favor of nato membership. many of the colleagues i know are. some of the opposition are
against people like the leftist and nationalists, but that's sorted out by free election. like don said, there's no structure, no single lead or program. there's no vertical. for now, as you understand, that's not the main, you know, hot point, hot question. the main question is to start changing this horrendous lead that's been there for over a decade and starting with the release of political prisoners and free elections and the rest comes later. i just want to thank you for your efforts for so many years of doing that, and it's nice to know that people are sympathetic here and hopefully when a new democratic elected government in russia does indicate an interest in further integration in europe and structures it's not going to be the same response as president yeltsin received in 1991. >> have not heard they were;
mentioned in years. >> i'm a member of atlantic council and global enterprise. my question would be to you, and i spoke in russia, and i asked at the time, democrats, and not only in russia, but many parts of the world, and they return it and they told me, look, what are you talking about? define democrats in the united states. when you have senators and congressmen who sit 20 or 30 years in the seats, and you have now putin who is, let's say, be 20 years in office, so they ask me very simple question. define what is democrat? >> you're asking me to define? >> actually, can i just
piggyback on that? put it in a somewhat different way that -- add this to your answer which is talk a little bit about what unites the opposition and the extent to which the opposition is made up of democrats as opposed to important segments of the population who oppose putin. two different things. being for a more democratic society and for a more liberal society, a slice of the russian electorat. >> sure. >> but certainly of what we read here elements of the -- elements of the protesters and elements among those who organized the protests are by no means -- appear by no means to be liberals and at best, have dubious democratic credentials in the sense that us in the west think. drill down on the nature of the
opposition as a democratic movement and elements that may be somewhat different and weave in an answer also to walter's question. >> sure. >> to the extent you can. >> nawng for the question. -- thank you for the question. the putin officials, and for instance when putin pushed election of governance in 2004 and asked about it and the united states didn't have the direct election of senators. they had these reporting lines. the example i like to use it three years ago there was a scandal here in washington when, i think the "washington post" published some electronic surveillance -- i don't know the details now, but there was a big scandal and there was a newspaper that forced the attorney general at the time to resign about five years ago. in russia after the ntv channel came up with information that the prosecutor general received
an apartment from some of the people he was supposed to investigate for criminal acts in corruption, they shut down the ntv. i think that's the difference and example. this is just a small thing, but there's several. you mentioned senators for 30 years, and i'm sure there's a couple like lugar who just lost the primaries. he won't be there longer, and a handful of congressmen there longer. the president can't be here longer than two four year terms. imagine if bill clinton was still president. how would that be? would that be conceivable here or george bush, sr? no. we can have this conversation for several hours, but the world "democracy" if you ask people to define them, it's tricky because the word in russia not always has positive connotation. if you look at the polls and if you ask people to decide their
preferences, you know, elect your leadership or have it imposed on you, people want to choose free. do you think the press should have a right to criticize public officials, the vast majority says yes. should they be elected or appointed? and the vast majority says elected. define democracy, please. without doing that, if you do serious polling, you'd see that a strong majority of the russian societies, all the major things like press, you know, press freedom, independent judiciary, elections for government, elections for parliament and head of state, no question where the majority stands. in terms of the democratic reaction on the opposition, well-known characters like hernandez who, you know, less than -- obviously less than democrat, and that was played up
very much by the putin media when the protest began big time in december, and when the state television of forced to the first time in a decade to show opposition leader and they couldn't because of the 20,000 people standing in moscow, they had to show the protests. they couldn't ignore them anymore. looking at the pictures on state tv, they tried to show up at the mosque or a black flag with a national slogan to scare people. that was a tactic for awhile. maybe we're back and we're corrupt, but look at these guys. do you really want somebody extreme coming up? that was in december. then in february, they did -- they did a big survey, one of the largest on 7th avenue on the 24th of december -- oh, still end end of december, not february, excuse me. it was in december excess of
120,000 people, and they did a poll to find out who the people were. the kremlin says look here, communist and the rest of it, and there was a poll just to get it right. 69% described it as democratic or liberal, 69%. 6% viewed it as nationalists. now i think it's very much representative -- maybe not in terms of leadership or the organizing committee which was on purpose made to be vast between left and the right, liberals and nationalists and the socialists and conservatives, but the broad base, certainly, you know, democratic or liberal, but people who are, you know, basically who want to be citizens in their own country, people ready to become consumers and want to be citizens, that's the overwhelming. what we saw, all the violent like dugan, considered to be the
father of intellectual neonaziism, extreme ideologs, they are before putin, that's who these people were and others. we do have some nationalists, sure, and some hard left people too, but there's a small number, you know, this is scare tactics to suggest this is the alternative. >> sure. >> an antonio with lpac. i want to respond to a comment made to the first question. made the comment and response into a question. let's not talk about elections and results. i agree. take about policy. i have seen in november of 2011
the announcement, and i've seen consistently the head of russian railwayings discuss the cooperation of the united states and russia to construct the berring strait's tunnel. i'm sure people are familiar with. two major things driving the fear of the american population which are the prospects of war and the financial collapse. this put on the table, i find it's to be seriously discussed between two major powers, two nuclear powers, in a time where civilization does need it. i'd also just to add that i've been to a number of events, at the csis yesterday, and there's consistent questions about humanitarian concerns to the russian situation. if that'ses case, why do we not -- if that's the case, why not add
the situation into the discussion which is financial dictatorship, and, again, i'd just like to pose that question that when two clear policy initiatives or strategic collaborations between the united states and russia in the form of the sbe and bering strait is on the table, why to the talk about the russian opposition as well and various figures in the united states as opposed to the current drive which could lead to a confrontation between two nuclear powers especially given the construction rt unnecessary four phases of the ballistic missile systems in europe. >> thanks for the question. well, i think just in general that legitimate regimes don't make for good partners. you have to look at the quote-on-quote cooperation on syria and on the others that you
just mentioned as proof of that. on the specific issues, i mean, there's some things like the wgo membership. what the russian opposition's trying to do is to bring the countries closer together while making fear that the situation does not represent our country. you heard that yesterday. you're aware of the debate between -- the entire russian opposition leadership is 100% in favor of that and civil society -- get rid of an amendment and sanction the country. there's a great propaganda tool for putin by the way, saying it's against russia and the americans are anti-russian. get rid of that, and we all support the amendment, but there's another law in place which will say if you violate the basic international norms like peaceful demonstrations are beat with batons, you shouldn't
be able to come here for vacation or send your money here or send your kids to study here. you replace a measure that's a genuine in a relation with a measure that upsets a handful of crooks and murders and the kremlin around it. that's an example of complete cooperation. wgo was complete consensus. the public in favor of the wgo membership for the russian federation when that came in. in terms of initiatives proposed by just study the the biography, the political biography, you wouldn't want to be involved in initiatives proposed. i'm not saying this personally, maybe a pleasant person, but he has a nice hobby, collects past times. he's got a big collection of pasttimes. he has a big collection of polt -- poetry. looking at his politics,
absolute violent nationalism and anti-western, and i don't think it would be one of those voicing opinions of rogozin and advertising him. there's absolute no contradiction of discussing concrete issues and not losing ground and not losing face and not losing reputation of human rights like reagan did with the diplomacy. last note on the pragmatism. there was an editorial when putin quote-on-quote won the election. listed moral arguments for u.s. to get tougher on human rights, and i think it was by fred hiya, and you read it, the miranda rule arguments or arguments standing for principle, and it just had a really brilliant pragmatic point, and it said an
american administration, doesn't matter which party, should put all the eggs in its relations with russia in the basket and when an authoritarian leader with tens of thousands of people demonstrating against him december piet the repression, pepper spray, and batons, is that putting all the eggs into the basket and conditioning the strategic relations between the u.s. and russia, two nuclear powers, a relation with one man who does not have majority support and nobody knows how long he's going to stay there. i think there's no contradiction at all between thinking stray -- strategically and not ushing up the issues of freedom and issues of human rights. i think both should be the same thing. >> if i could hone in on a quick follow-up, a closely related issue, which is the horrible treatment of the ambassador. the election campaign, and i
hear talks with russia's and various opinions on this, the opposition movement. what is or are the u.s. to do in terms of direct support for the ngos, the opposition movements, and so forth. there's days where we have a very extensive set of assistance efforts for that. in fact, my ambassador, in fact, spearheaded to allow that. what should the u.s. be doing in terms of helping or not these groups? >> i think first and foremost the u.s. should not be helping the putin regime. i think that's the most important thing. the russian opposition is not asking for direct help or support. god forbid military support. that would be the best gift for putin and the regime. stop supporting him and when, for instance, you know, when the u.s. state department announces a few days after the march 4
so-called election, we congratulate the russian people on holding the election, and people take it, you know, as a joke, that west is 57b insult. when you have no real opposition candidates present, the state -- it was set, and basically had a predetermined result, and the major democratic power in the world and comes out and congratulates that election, that doesn't hold water. that's why this once again is so important because it doesn't do anything for the russian opposition. i mean, it starts to treat democracy in russia as opposition and for nobody else, no outside forces or actors. it's for russian society alone. just stop supporting the regime. when they steal money and keep them in western banks and buy property here and spend vacations here and send their kids here, that's a means of supporting that corruption, the
russian people and the russian state. this is -- that's what they are really afraid of by the way. first to create the putin, after the inauguration, there was a decree requesting the foreign ministry to make it a priority to stop the united states congress. he was not there by name. it was called extra sanctions in the united states against russian physical and legal entities or something like that. he signed it two hours after his inauguration. that's a message for them, and that's what they are sensitive to. they know they have a place to spend the stolen money and government's profits. they know if that violate basic standards, you know, accepted in international communities alike, they kick people who just, who are just peacefully protesting the elections. they are not going to be accepted in the civilized worm. i think that's the single most important thing to do.
>> sir? >> [inaudible] named with the atlantic council. my question relates to foreign policy, but i'll start with national policy. when president putin became president, before the prime minister, he was very, very low as we all remember, and he went through this power -- i don't know what you call -- why are some military activities and the republic at that time and nationalistic pretty much. looking at this experience today and looking at some of the tense relationships that russia has with some of its neighbors, particularly georgia, do you see that card may be played for internal purposes?
any resource now that president putin has resource today to use that card in the same way that he used it in 1999 to make him more popular today? thank you. >> i think that's the last point that's precisely it. the -- the related card, no, chechnya was kind of a w5r, but, no, but that's what made him president in 1999. you remember late 1999 and the attacks, and remember what an effect it was, a chilling effect and came to power in that way. a couple years ago when there was a terrorist attack in moscow metro underneath the fsb building, and if you remember the reaction then, what is this? you know, been there ten years, basically all the rights and freedoms in return for poor state --
stability and security and these guys blow up stations 100 yards from the fsb building the occurrence was the same. the reaction was different. it doesn't work anymore so if, you know, you're asking can he do it? sure he can. another war? of course he can. he can do it tomorrow, but it's not going -- well, late 2008 when he went to georgia, it was -- he was not held with the same reactions of 1999 with chechnya. people said this is -- many people still saying this today -- it was the best gift to the separatists and western north caucuses to recognize the separate entities. it was the best gift -- you said the president yourself, how can you not say anything, you did it yourself, there you go. if you remember all the main opposition leaders there in 2008 said they were the decision if the opposition came to power,
they would not recognize the separatist entities because it's against long term interest as well. he can try to do it, but i don't think it's going to work. it doesn't work with the terrorism card. he lost that card. putin is the same, but country is different, society is different, and whatever he did in 1990 and 2000, just look at the operation success. in 2007, nobody said anything. when he just pointed at madrid and said this guy will be president. in 2011 when he tried to do the same, he had thousands of people on the streets in the largest cities within weeks. he may try to do the old tricks, but they are not going to work anymore. >> i'm katie from the national democratic institute. thank you very much for the always interesting remarks. i want to ask you a little bit more about the future activities of the opposition, and assuming there is this new constituency
of people who are consumers and now want to be citizens, what is the opposition do to keep them involved in people say it's getting smaller, that tactic is wearing out. running elections is great, of course, but they will be rigged elections, and candidates will not be allowed to register. that will tap into this pool of -- can you talk about that? >> sure. i think you were right in the beginning talking about the local elections, and the opposition shifts the strategy from just the street process which is important and effective and will be and it's not completely going away and the next large march is planned for the 12th of june, the russian national day, and the anniversary of the declaration of sovereignty back in 1990. it's a modern day for russian democrats as well as being an official state holiday. the strategy's moving a little bit from the streets to the
ballot boxes. obviously, elections are rigged and manipulated, but what we're seeing in trying the law of regional governors, there's so many conditions and hurdles for people to be able to run, but with all of that said, the elections like that are a big headache for the regime, and we've seen elections in moscow, opposition, and what conditions have begun? no free campaign, no tv air time, ballots backing, but all of this, the opposition took seats in the legislature. opposition would with mere elections, and in the cities, talked about by 70% to 28% was the score of the opposition candidate beating the putin campaign, and as these elections come back, that's a major opportunity for the opposition,
and as we discussed predictions, some of the major regions legislate leaders as the governors, and all you need to look at is how the kremlin is waiting for this and how it's expecting it. in the last couple months since the election was forced from them, the mass protest and gubernatorial reactions, i think today as of may 11th it's 17 appointmentings. they have been trying to the last minute to use up power. they were supposed to hold elections this year or next so they are afraid of those kinds of elections which they have control over. a guy got 70% against putin's candidate. there's people going and telling what they think of putin, and this is what they are afraid of in the regional votes as well.
even as they disqualify 80% of candidates and some guy nobody heard of but is against the regime, he can get 70% because he's against the regime. they come on june the 1st. we still have, what? two or three weeks of the power of appointment. i think we should expect to see more of those. desperate appointments in the last time frame they can still doing it. it's not going to save them. they can't do it forever, and if, you know, there was some suggestions they may, after the initial rise in the protest, after they announced elections in iran, march, february, there was suggestion they may roll it back but decided they could not do it because there's 200,000 people in central moscow the next day. that's what we talked about before. putin is the same, but russia is not. the public apathy is gone. he can try to do the same things
he did in moscow, but there was no reaction before. imagine, for instance, when he shut own -- down mtv, not shut down, but took over. now it's a symbol of trash journalism, but that used to be the most popular independent television. if he tried to do that now, imagine what kind the numbers of of people you'd see in the streets in central moscow. it's nothing like 2000 or 2001. he may do things the same, but it's not going to lead to the same results. >> what are sort of the timing of these regal elections and particularly people just been appointed, do they have a certain fixed number of years? i mean, how soon will this wave actually take effect for the election date? >> initially, there was supposed
to be a dozen gubernatorial races this year. there's supposed to be a dozen regions. we're now down to five from a dozen because of the appointments made in the last few week, and they still have two more weeks of that power until june 1. they may make more. you can see why they make them. for instance, one region was putin's party that got 30% in december officially. we don't know the real result, but 2,000 voted against them. that region was to hold elections, but they didn't want to risk it. they made the early appointment. they have fixed terms after four or five years, and those people appointed, they are now going to serve out until, you know, 2016 or 2017 and no elections will take place. this shows, and second of the week, and everybody understands they just are making
appointments in the regions which are supposed to hold elections this year or next which basically is playing up to the fact they just lost a slate of narrow votes throughout the country, but october 14th, i mean, they can't get rid of them all because that will be, you know, they have volatile reactions again and then the renewal of the last project. also to the question of limits, they have all of these hurdles in the law, you know, to register gubernatorial candidate, you have to have signatures from local legislatures and many of the provinces where elections are completely rigged, they have -- they would not sign up for opposition candidate, but they have prominent analysts in moscow that said, well, they were -- imagine a popular local leader, a local candidate with real genuine support, and
suddenly the kremlin removes him. imagine what would happen? they just multiply the process and across the country, they give people local grievances, not just national ones. this is the process in the early stages in 2009 and 2010, it was many local issues that brought people to the streets initially like the rise in the car tax, and the process a couple years ago and near moscow, the stock, and the opposition, and all the local grievances, they provided initiatives, and then it was against putin and against the humiliation of the regime and for free elections. if they provide local grievances and local reasons for people to prozest and engage in protests, that will come back to him above
all. even these limited condition elections may be a great opportunity for the opposition. there was a recent, the precise number, a recent leak from the kremlin in the newspaper that said you should expect between three and five gubernatorial races this year. that's when there was supposed to be eight or nine. people realize there's more appointments coming, and they did come. the last two were yesterday, and in the regions that were supposed to have an election, and they will not in october. we are down to five, but it was between three and five, so we may see a couple more, may not, but there will be some in any case, october the 14th. that's the next step. >> [inaudible] >> it was forced out in december, and it's coming out -- any governor for any reason his
or her tucks resigns, whatever, after june 1st, 2012, only legislated in a direct election, no longer appointed like it is now. you have those so they have to do it now. they have two weeks to do it. if it's not before june 1, that's it. they have to have elections. >> just make a chart of the appointment replacements and the percentage of pro-putin voting in the election, targeted all the people with low turn out. >> absolutely. >> let me ask you a question. [inaudible] >> see not just political solution, but also economic
solution, so what opposition of -- what they are offering the russian people? >> sure. >> well, the question you ask is when we do have the next re-election campaign, and that's a legitimate question, and what's the offering. we have the stage where the terms in 2000 and the ukrainians in 2004, and another question of, you know, what the tax rate will be. it's a question of getting people out of prison, and it's a question of having free votes instead of a rigged and prearranged vote like we do. it's a question of having national debate rather than having putin there all the time. it's a great question you ask, but it's not for the stage. not having an election campaign now, but a civic movement against an authoritarian un-legislated regime. when the world has the free election, back to don's point of the opposition, the coalition, when there's the next free election, you will not see, you
know, people on the same list or in the same party, no way. what you -- what you see now is the opposition coalition of reactions caused on june, and now there's a rebranding of it. there's 10 or 12 parties when that time comes. ranging from here there -- here to there, but that's completely different. that's not the point now. >> maybe just to follow up that question. i think a number of people would argue or westerners argue the sources of putin's power have to do with the fact that -- with the image that he established security, established stability, and prosperity, and as president, head of the government, retains a lot after ways to influence the
prosperity, the country going forward. russia faces heavy economic head winds. what extent -- to what extent can putin, and i think from your comments answers it's obvious, but like your answer anyway. to what extent can rising prosperity if putin is able to deliver it, moderate the kind of domestic political problems for him that you've described? >> uh-huh. well, in 2004, it took 27 barrel oil price to balance the russian budget. in 2011 it took 150 just to break even. the absence of any kind of structural reforms that are the entrenchment of the state, and there's a quarter of russian gdp eating up corruption. it's more than dowel -- doubled in the last year,
especially with putin, and in 2010, it was just over $30 billion, and in 2011, it was more than 80. this keeps trumpeting, and, i mean, sure, becoming billionaires in the last years, yeah, they have prosperity, be -- but it doesn't really affect the country. that's why, you know, that's the forecast i mentioned earlier why the central research, one of the reasons they project protests is because if a fiscal crisis hits in 2014 as many expect, there's a whole new constituency of protests for economic greechtions. for now, putin can pay off essentially, with higher pensions and higher handouts, and for the time being just pay them off. when he's no longer able to pay them off because money runs out, they will join the protest
movement, and according to the csi, that's 2014 that that's expected. second point, and i think that's also why we think the government now 1 more significant than even in 1991 because then it was a mixture of political and economic demands. there was a protest, of course, against the totalitarian system, but also against the economic misery that state socialism brought with it. this movement seen since december, there's no economic social slogans. you can't buy the people off. they are not asking for salaries or asking for, you know, better cars. these are people with a good standard of living. they just want to be treated as, you know, as people, not as cattle. they don't want to be told by a guy he's going to be president for another 12 years. they want to elect a president, not a guy that tells them to. this is the old classical, you know, argument, barrington moore, that once the middle class is prosperous, you know,
the population reaches a certain level, it's it's going to be demanding democracy and political rights. it seems to fit in that because the percentage of middle class has certainly risen in russia and not thanks to putin but the oil prices in the last decade, but the phrase used before many times, it's ready, it's not the economic grievances they have. they want to be citizens, have a voice in their future. >> [inaudible] it seems that president putin has a program, and looking at the documents, there's a series of ten speeches including basics of economics and looking at the programs he's emphasizing and the papers coming out from the council on productive forces in russia's stop group and the development of the arctic,
that's a structural program using the oil and gas that's important, but now there's an orientation for mineral resources, china and india need the resources, those mineral resources there in the arctic and in the far east. putin's going to develop this stuff. it also includes an improvement of conditions of life of people in these regions because it's a very difficult region to live in, and they have to have incentives. they are going to do that. it seems to me that he's talking about program where as all the opposition's talking about is let's get putin. no program ideas. if i were interested in the future of russia is ch is in -- which is in bad shape, but the majority of russians are suffering a lot because of the economic conditions, because of the population, the decrease of population, all of these things exist, and it seems to me that this is a program oriented
towards improving the situation of russia, and if i were a patriotic russian and whether i liked putin or not and what the opposition is saying, just get rid of putin, and if i were putin, i would go with putin because this is the way to do it. it's funny to see that, but, you know, vote for the opposition when they don't have an economic program. i think that's farfetched. with regard to putin's extent in german office, he will be there 18 years, not 24 years. i don't think he's decided to run again. i just want to point out that if franklin roosevelt lived, he would have served 16 years. i, myself, think that would have been much better than having harry truman come in, but that's a matter of course. it is an unprecedented, this extent of office for a president. >> not to make the moral
equivalent for fdr. >> whatever you want. >> if i could respond -- you had the phrase, people don't vote for the opposition, you can't vote for the opposition because it's not on the ballot. i wanted to vote for, but you can't vote for the opposition. let's forget that phraseology. there's no elections. you can't vote for whoever you want. forget about voting and not voting. >> he's the only one on the ballot? >> well, they had the kremlin who's been there for 20 years. they had another we talked about earlier who didn't say a single harsh word against him. the parliamentary elections, they were disqualified. >> against putin? >> didn't run against putin because you have to have several things on the ballot.
can't just have one. i'm surprised, you know, you ask all the questions. in 2008, you had one who nobody heard of before on the ballot. anyways, lastly, talking about putin's programs, it's nice to talk about fiction and theory, but, for instance, if you consider the fact that 50% of all oil exports from russia controlled by putin and operating out of switzerland, and you look at the levels of corruption and how it's risen and how it's stifling the entire economy, i just don't want to discuss what he says or what he's going to develop. look at, you know, read the white papers published. putin and corruption. read about the billion dollar paris on the black seacoast. that's his action. that's not what he says. that's what he does. people know that he does it. that's why they do it also not just because of considerations,
but just because of the thievery here. it's more popular than elections or if you look at the protests and who is a thief? that's one of the most popular slogans. >> who's financing it? >> who is financing coming out in the streets? who's financing what? there was a protest in leningrad -- >> we have 10 minutes left, so let me -- >> okay. >> i'll bunch questions together and make them brief. you please and then john had his hand up, new faces first. >> from freedomhouse. one of the first orders or among the first orders that putin gave from the inauguration day was
the deadline to establish the eurasian union by january 1st of 2015, and which has been a big project of his since we saw the articles appearing that he wrote including the program, and so immediately after that, we see a very modest documentary from resembling the state of the union address who almost brushed over the topic at the same time of the recent weeks we saw a deal with kazakhstan and things developing on that front so what do you think? will this project ever come to life and will be something sustainable and something that will eventually aid putin in his current term to maintain his position in the world arena? so now -- or will it be
something bad just dies out? >> asking about the eurasian union? >> the eurasian union. >> take john's question together with it, please, to save time. >> this is putin's support if it collapses in two or three years, if he does last six years, what sort of transition is there going to be after putin? what does that collapse look like? what comes afterwards? what challenges is that based in the rest of the world? >> sure. eurasian question will be the same fate as the union russia. stimes, you know, when it's needed for propaganda purposes, it's forgotten. it's the same type. this union state, quote-on-quote, has been there since 1996. there's nothing to it.
the only unintended consequence or only good one, i think you were there a couple months ago, leaders of the opposition was there to receive an award, and he's, of course, on the ban, blacklist by lukashenko, he's not allowed to leave bellaruse. they take a plane and fly. that's the only good, but unintended consequences of the union state, and in terms of your very important question on the transition, very much up to the regime, how the transition will be. you know, when you saw the initial process and in december and february, you saw people coming out, you know, with families, with small kids, just people with white ribbons and it was 100% peaceful protest, you know, just a moral peaceful
protest this regime, but when you have them basically unleashing an army of 20,000 troops and police on demonstrators, that's radicalizing the opposite side too. nobody from the opposition leadership, nobody, you know, wants a violent revolution or civil war or anything like that, but the regime is actually trying to do that by close off and shut off normal and legal avenues, not just for political participation, which is done over the last decade, but now for peaceful protest as well. this, a couple days ago here, said that, you know, once again, the lukashenko analogy, be arrested for clapping, there's a law against clapping and singing, exactly, and in moscow, you're arrested for wearing white because it's the symbol of protest. i'm not talking sunday and monday, but the entire week when
police just randomly arrested people who wore white ribbon or handkerchiefs. the russian opposition was having a cup of coffee. when you have a regime doing that, that does not encourage peaceful protest and doesn't give the opposition encouragement to remain peaceful and moral. you're building radicals on the other side. that's bad. they are working for that, and by trying to hang on until the very end until they crash, and that's what, you know, this exit strategy is about again. it's the prime minister, the chairman basically saying, you know, are you really going to work for an exit strategy, you're not going to be there much longer. you know, maybe another few
years, but not much longer. there's another strategy, otherwise it's going to crash. that's bad for everybody. for the regime, the opposition, for russia, the neighbors, the outside world. the ball's in their court. the opposition is protesting peacefully. when they kick pregnant women and say their livers should be spread across the pavement, that shows who wants a peaceful transition and who resists it until the very end. >> time for one more, yeah. iris. >> several people prosessed forward on a program, and i will follow-up on that with this word. it seems to me that every opposition in the authoritarian system is lacking in substantive program compared to what will be needed today after a
transition. 24 is always been my experience dealing with people who before the transition, after, seeing what went wrong. i think the question is fair to you even if not always fairly worded, sometimes harshly worded, but still i think it's fair to say probably the opposition needs to work more on program because when the transition occurs, all the bills come due. i'm not just talking about economics. all the issues that people put off under what was called stability, they don't allow it, and you put it off, but then you have to deal with it and be ready for it. it's something worth considering more seriously. on the other hand, you put a challenge to the rest of us in your article some months ago that the bills are due for us, also, who want the change to occur, when the change occurs, we have to be ready with our share, not just in terms of getting money, which is what some people understand it to mean, but in terms of the relations we want, how we want to deal with the relations. i think that's an even more fair
challenge to us because we were not ready during the garbchov. i think it needs to be worded if not more fairly so. >> thank you to everyone who took part in this discussion, and it's great to have those exchanges of opinions here. >> thanks to all of you for attention and good questions, and the comment at the end was a very heful -- helpful one. >> leaving the last minute so we can join the senate live as it gavels in. debate today on the reauthorization of the inport and export bank and two nominations. challenges.
empower them with the courage of obedience so that in doing your will they will find peace. give them such trust in you that they may experience setbacks without ever doubting your providential leading. in all of their strivings, energize them with perseverance to bring the task to its appointed end. lord, as they try to make good decisions, give them the light to see what they ought to do and the resolve to do it. may they ride out the storms of difficulties and discouragement with the knowledge that you will
sustain them. we pray in your great name. 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., may 14, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable richard blumenthal, a senator from the state of connecticut, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore.
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i move to proceed to calendar number 396, h.r. 207 26789 the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 396, h.r. 2072, an act to reauthorize the export-import bank of the united states and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, we're now on the motion to proceed to the ex-im bank bill. we're working on an tkpwaeplt to begin -- on an agreement to begin consideration of the bill. at 4:30 today the senate will proceed to executive session to consider two of the united states district judges from maryland and illinois. at 5:30 there will be up to three roll call votes. the first two will be con confirmation of russell and tharp and the third will be on the motion on cloture to proceed to the ex-im bank bill. there was a time a bill to
reduce the deficit to support hundreds of thousands of jobs would fly through the senate with bipartisan support. not so any more. instead a worthy measure that would support 300,000 american jobs, export-import bank, is being stalled in the senate this evening. the holdup? more republican obstructionism. tonight the senate will vote on whether to end a filibuster of reauthorization of this most important legislation. the bank helps american companies grow and sell their products overseas. last year this bank financed 3,600 private companies at almost 300,000 jobs in more than 2,000 american communities. the last time the senate considered this in legislation, it was offered by a republican senator and it passed by unanimous consent. that means it comes to the floor sponsored by a republican, and everybody agrees and we don't have a vote here. it's done by unanimous consent.
so it's unfortunate i had to file cloture again. i filed cloture, cloture, cloture, cloture on so many different things. we shouldn't have to argue over bipartisan proposals like this one. it should just pass as it has in the past. but i remain hopeful we can find a way to work together on it. the export-import bank has support twaod groups that rarely see -- two groups that rarely see eye to eye, the chamber of commerce and labor unions. today i got a letter from the national association of manufacturers. it says the national association of manufacturers, we refer to as n.a.m., the largest manufacturing association in the united states, representing manufacturers in every industrial sector in all 50 states, urges you to support the export-import bank reauthorization act. the export-import bank of the united states, referred to as the ex-im bank, is one of the only tools manufactured in the
united states that had to counter hundreds of billions of dollars that foreign governments offer to their comporters. in 2010, canada, france and india provided seven times, and china and brazil ten times more export assistance to its share of g.d.p. than did the united states. the ex-im bank levels the playing field for u.s. exporters by matching credit support other nations provide in ensuring our nation's manufacturers can compete based upon the price and peformance of their products. it also enables small and medium-size manufacturers to capture new markets in emerging economies abroad. in 2010 the bank supported more than $41 billion in export sales and more than 3,600 companies, supporting approximately 290,000 jobs here, export-related american jobs. denying ex-im reauthorization will hurt manufacturers of every size and threaten thousands of
u.s. manufacturing jobs. small and medium size companies are particularly vulnerable, those that receive ex-im bank help as well as those supported by larger companies. manufacturers urge support of h.r. 2072 which authorizes the bank through september 2014 and enhances congressional oversight over the bank. that letter is signed by one of the officers of the bank. mr. president, this legislation has republican cosponsors. why we have to go through this endless procedural process, why can't we just pass it as we've done in so many years past? they're saying we want amendments. amendments to kill the bill after saying they support the bill? the house passed this bill
without amendment, without amendment. i repeat -- without amendment, on a 330-93 vote last week. that 93 kaoepbd of says it -- kind of says it all, mr. president. 93 is the mainstay of the tea party caucus in the house. they're opposed to everything, just like almost 50% of the senate republicans are, against everything. that's what we have here. even though there's outward support for this legislation, they want to kill this bill. they don't want government to have anything to do with our lives. period. nothing. which is unrealistic in this modern world and in fact in any world. this legislation is exactly the kind of smart investment congress expects to keep the economy on the road to recovery. and it's the kind of consensus
proposal that shouldn't require democrats to have to try to break a filibuster. when senate democrats brought this reauthorization to the floor in march, we assumed it would pass by a strong bipartisan vote. surprise was here. the republicans voted against it. nearly unanimously, they voted against it. despite public confessions of support for it. mr. president, a day or two after they voted "no," they sent me a letter saying we've got to get this done. so they voted against it in march, now they're threat to think do it for different reasons this time -- threatening to do it for different thraoepbs time. they don't have enough amendments. they're once again forcing us to run out the clock on this measure which expires at the end of this month. frankly, the behavior of my
republican colleagues over the last week has been a little baffling. they say they support our efforts to keep interest rates on federal loans from doubling for seven million college students. they voted the proposal down. now a few days later they say they support the ex-im bank, but they voted it down once and they're threatening to do it again. with the republicans using to use every obstructionist tactic in the book, even some not in the bill, even on bills they supported, it's a wonder the senate gets anything done at all. further delay would allow the bank's lending authority to lapse putting jobs at risk. but there is still time for my colleagues on the other side to reverse course and pass this measure. i understand my republican colleagues want to offer amendments to the bill. i've already said so. mr. president, their amendments generally would just eliminate
the bank. not make it stronger, not lessen it a little bit. just gut the export-import bank, and some just eliminate it all together. even if those amendments weren't egregious, changing this legislation will waste more time. and we've been told the house isn't going to accept any amendments. why would we accept an amendment that gets rid of the bank? the process of reauthorizing this bank has taken months already. there's really no reason to waste more on this. american exporters are counting on us to get something done this week. so i hope my republican colleagues will consider the consequences of yet another filibuster and join democrats to reauthorize this export-import bank without delay. would the chair announce the business of the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. at 4:30, under the previous
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, what is the parliament status at the moment? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mrs. feinstein: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: i ask that i be referred to to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, for about the past week, i have been very concerned and involved in a situation evolving in mongolia. it is a small country. it has been a democratic country for the past 20 years. at one time, part of the soviet bloc but no longer. and i have talked to many people, the state department, the vice president's office, the head of the brookings --
chairman of brookings, the former ambassador to mongolia. so i come to the floor to address the situation of mr. nomburen inkbayar, the former president of montana mona from 2005-2009. i was in mongolia when he was president and had the opportunity to get to know him. as a distinguished international statesman who is sadly facing so-called allegations of corruption in the country he led so well and so long. mr.ism nkbayar, in addition to being president of the country, was previously prime minister and has held many other leadership positions in government over the years. as president, he designed and effectively executed mongolia's third neighbor policy of diversifying its diplomatic and economic relations beyond the strong ties with its immediate
neighbors, china and russia. specifically, mr. inkbayar personally emphasized relations with the united states. with our asian allies such as japan, korea and australia and with europe. at the request of the bush administration, he dispatched mongolian troops to fight alongside americans in iraq and afghanistan. he held t summits with president bush and concluded mongolia's millennium challenge pact in 2007. under his leadership, the mongolian government strengthened its international peacekeeping role with the united nations. joined and then took a leading role in the community of democracies, provided humanitarian transit for north korean refugees through mongolia and developed important intelligence exchanges with american counterparts. domestically, mr. inkbayar
contributed to mongolia's political maturation. with his grateful concession and cooperation after he lost his re-election bid in the 2009 presidential election to mr. eldadorj, the current president of mongolia. this smooth transition of the presidency from one party to another at that time did much to solidify the foundations of democratic politics in the country. sadly, the atmosphere in mongolia has become less conducive to such fair play this year. as mongolia approaches an important parliament election in june. after retiring from politics, with the end of his presidential term in 2009, mr. inkbayar re-entered the public arena. again this year with the formation of a third major
political party, and the fielding of a slate of candidates including for himself for the plarlt. just as the campaigning for this election was starting in earnest a month ago, mr. enkhbayar was arrested under charges brought by the anticorruption agency of mongolia, an organization established while he was president. it's important to say that building practices of good governments and challenging corrupt practices form an important benchmark of achievement for any developing democracy. we should applaud vigorous efforts to combat corrupt practices in the country. that is needed. but it is equally important that those fighting corruption avoid a sense of involvement in such practices themselves, certainly to say the least the bringing of
charges against the political leader in the midst of an important election campaign is, to say the least, unusual. as extraordinary as the timing of the charge is, the process of mr. enkhbayar's subsequent arrest and incarceration was of even more concern. mr. enkhbayar was ostensibly wanted for questioning, but on the evening and early morning of april 12, 13 -- april 12 and 13, he was forcefully removed from his home by several hundred law enforcement officials and without any resistance on his part and then spirited away for confinement in a remote prison where all access was severely limited. in incarceration, mr. enkhbayar suffered further indignities and irregularities of due process.
he had inadequate access to family and counsel. he reportedly received abusive verbal treatment. after initiating a dry hunger strike without liquids to protest these circumstances, which is his right under international law as a prisoner, he was denied adequate medical treatment and endured attempts to force-feed him. only after his health was at risk, mr. enkhbayar was released on bail this morning so he could receive the medical treatment he so desperately needs. it is my sincere hope that he will be well enough to continue with his campaign for parliament. yet i am deeply concerned that he may still be charged with corruption. allegations that have been deemed by one of his attorneys to be -- and i quote -- "insubstantial, stale, and
petty"-- end quote. mr. president, our concern now should be in the first instance mr. enkhbayar's health and even his physical survival of this ordeal. secondly, we need to press for due process in the adjudication of his case. and ensure he is afforded his full rights to a speedy, transparent, and fair hearing of the charges, with full legal assistance with his defense. we cannot be sure at this time that either of these considerations, the minimum that is owed any citizen, any human being under the rule of law in a democracy, can be secured. so i call upon the authorities of mongolia to announce that the procedures and schedule for ajudeification of his case will proceed and that president enkhbayar will be accorded full due process rights to which he
is entitled. to do less would be to reinforce fears, the process employed here is politically driven and is meant exclusively to remove mr. enkhbayar in participation in the parliamentary election now underway. finally, mr. president, this brings me to the larger issue concerning fears for the fate of mongolian democracy and for the now strong relationship between mongolia and the united states. mongolia has been rightly acclaimed for the extraordinary progress it has made in building democratic practices and institutions since the collapse of the soviet union 20 years ago. indeed, mongolia is the only successful functioning democracy from the pacific ocean to eastern europe through the entire expanse of inner asia.
a small country, it has due to this achievement become a country of large significance on the world stage. the best argument that a free and brave people can move their country from you a thorn tearianism -- atheory tearianism to democracy in a relatively short period of time. having done so, mongolians have enjoyed an extraordinary degree of support and attention from the outside world, led by our country, the united states. the mongolian-american relationship now encompasses mongolia's impressive economic potential as it develops its rich mineral resources with the help of foreign partners, many of them american companies with a strong interest in investment there. however, all this promise could be negatively impacted by the emergence of the practices we
have seen in the case of mr. bieng yar. -- enkhbayar. the chill of intimidation is felt by every mongolian citizen for if such treatment can be applied to a former president and still-popular leader, no one is safe. and then such harsh treatment tends to bring reciprocity and the country is in danger of falling into a vicious cycle of political score settling. for the sake of mongolia and the future of its people, the country's leaders must step away from this risk immediately. it is equally true that once having lost one's good reputation, it is almost improcess to restore it. there is still time for mongolia's authorities to correct a dangerous turn of events, probably no one expected or wanted. there are many friends abroad
including this senator, pray that they will do so. should the troubling circumstance of mr. enkhbayar's case continue, it would thereafter be impossible for america's friends -- excuse me, mongolia's friends in america and around the world in other democracies to continue speaking with the hope, promise, and optimism for the country's future with which we have for the last two decades. much is at stake in mongolia now. its political leaders and people have been wise and skillful in choosing the right course in many times of challenges and crises in the past. so i call upon our friends there to help their country, their supporters, and themselves by taking the humane and lawful actions that are needed now to reclaim the reputation at the
forefront of the communities of democracies. i hope it has been obvious that i speak as a friend, a concerned friend, but one who wishes mongolia well. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: before i begin my remarks let me compliment the senator from california on what she said and the remarks she had on television yesterday concerning the danger to our country when people leak information relating to our effort to defeat terrorists, which make it all the more difficult for us to accomplish our job and undercut the mission of the many, many men and women in military, in our intelligence services, in civilian forces of the government and frankly, in the governments of allies who are working very hard to identify and prevent terrorism from occurring and then when leaks
like this occur, it undercuts that effort tremendously and i thought the senator from california did a very good job pointing out how that is so and why we have to go over the people who are responsible. mrs. feinstein: would the senator yield for a comment? senator, cint thank you enough for those comments. i'm very worried about this leak. i was leading the london news clips, and as, you know, i chair the senate intelligence committee, and i believe i can speak for the leadership of both committees in sais we have not been briefed -- saying we have not been briefed. this has been very closely held because of the seriousness of the operation. and to see what is now in the papers, which essentially endanger the asset, put him in fear of his life, tell our allies we cannot be trusted to carry out a mission without leaking that mission, and also thereby alerting al qaeda in the
arabian peninsula they need to increase their security to prevent penetration. it is i think the most serious leak, certainly in the time i've been president -- excuse me, i've been chairman of the committee. and i really thank you for raising it and for your solidarity in that belief. mr. kyl: thank you and i compliment the chairman of the committee for very wise remarks and i know the ranking member, senator chambliss is in full accord. this is a very bipartisan effort and i hope we can succeed in getting to the bottom it. mr. president, i wanted to talk today a little bit about unemployment in the economy. there have been a lot of news stories, some very serious as the one we just scis discussed, some a little bit more frivolous, that are distracting from what i believe is the top domestic problem in the country today, the lagging economy and high unemployment. i'd like to refocus on that a little bit today and especially what we could do about it versus
what we are or are not doing about it. there are some troubling economic trends, and i think maybe we can make some recommendations to the president here about how we could help get out of the ditch that we're in. the administration, unfortunately, has been claiming that the economy is continuing to heal, and touting the latest jobs report. and i think that misleads the american people. and here's why: it is true that by their measure the unemployment rate has declined from 8.2% to 8.1% but that doesn't really represent progress if you look behind the numbers. if you like hoond -- look behind the numbers and the teledata, employers added only 115,000 jobs last month. that's less than the 180,000 that wall street was expecting and more importantly, it's less than the 150,000 jobs that have to be created each month just to
keep up with the new entrants into the work force. the kids graduating from college flex, those graduating from high school that are entering the work force. nord to keep up with that -- in order to keep up with that number, about 150,000 per month, the private sector has to create that many jobs to stay at zero, and if it doesn't, then we're actually getting behind. so the fact that we've had several straight months where there's been an actual increase in the number of jobs increases doesn't measure it properly. you have to measure those months where it was above 150,000 and in that case less than half the months since the president has been in office from met that criteria. so we're actually sliding backward, not moving forward. here's another way to look at the unemployment picture. there are so many people who have given up looking for work
under the obama economy now they that they don't show up in the unemployment statistics. that's why this mum 8.2% actually goes down to 8.1%. not because people are finding work but rather a whole lot of people have stopped looking for work so they're not counted in the unemployed looking for work. in march, for example, there were about three people dropping out of the system for every one job created. think of that. in april, the rate was 4.5 dropouts per new job. so each month we're finding more and more people are simply not looking for work. they're dropping out of that group of people who would like to be employed, who are looking for work. they've stopped. so they don't show in the unemployment numbers. in fact, in the month of april, 522,000 people dropped out of the labor force. now, remember last month 115,000 jobs were created, and
some people thought that was great. it's nice that it was 115,000 and not, you know, none, but the reality is if 522,000 people dropped out of the labor force, that same month, it shows you that there is just not much to cheer about. what that meant in terms of overall statistics was that a number that the labor department calls the labor force participation rate -- in other words, how many of the people who could be working here are actually working, it dropped to 63.6%, which is the lowest level since 1981 when we were headed into a big recession at that time. in other words, we have fewer people actually working in this country as a percentage of those who could than at any time since 1981. james patakukas of the american enterprise institute said this -- quote -- "if the size of the labor force as a share of the
total population was the same as it was when barack obama took office, 65.7% then versus 63.6% today, the unemployment rate to be 11.1%" -- end of quote. 11.1%. that's why you here people say the real rate is not 8.1%, it's 11.1%. what that means is, the more people give up looking for work, the better the official unemployment number gets but it doesn't tell the real story. he also noted and i'm quoting, if "if the participation rate stayed where it was last month, the unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4%. so the unemployment rate is primarily a factor of how many people are still looking for work and if they've given up, then they don't show in these statistics. this is very, very troubling because it also shows that americans do not see their
situation bettering, they don't have a sense of optimism things are getting better. there's a resignation beginning to be created here that things aren't going to get better, and there's no point in trying to look for work. that has ramifications up and down the economy, a couple of which i'll mention here. because there's this view that the economy is not really continuing to heal as the president said, you've got very sluggish economic growth back at the very same point in the reagan recovery, the very same point that president obama is at right now, at that time economic growth was 6.1%. today it's 2.4% under the obama economic economy. social security disability claims are rising and they're rising dramatically. what it shows is that instead of people continuing to look for work, they're filing for disability and a lot of them are
getting on disability. we've had a tremendous increase in disability claims, and determinations of disability in this country. more americans are using food stamps than at any other point in our history. one out of two recent college graduates can't find a job or are underemployed for their skill. i just gave a commencement address saturday, and talking to some of the students about what they were going to be doing, most of them had something to do, but a lot of kids do not have a job even though they've spent five or six years and untold thousands of dollars getting a college education. senator senator thune indicated that the poverty rate among women has reached a 17-year high and that there are nearly 700,000 fewer women working today than when president obama took office. i don't mean to divide this into gender or any other kind of group, but the reality is that
groups in this country suffer when we have poor economic growth, when we aren't creating enough jobs. and if you want to get right down what kind of people are having a problem, here's a situation: 700,000 fewer women working today than when president obama took office. 22.8 million americans remain unemployed or underemployed or are only marginally attached to the workforce. these are 22.8 million americans that could be working productively, and if they were, our economy would be doing much better. and ghast would also be happening -- and guess what would also be happening? people would be earning income and paying income taxes. the government would have more revenue and we would be better able to afford the things that the american people expect of the government. the number of long-term unemployed has increased by 89% under the obama administration. these are the people who have been out of work for a long period of time, at least six
months, many of them more than a year. and all of this as the cost of living for middle-income americans soars. for example, worker health insurance has gone up 23%, even after obamacare. gas prices are now about $4 a gallon. they have doubled since president obama took office. home values nationwide have plunged by 14%. in my state of arizona and many places it's by 50%. so, mr. president, instead of creating a to-do list for the senate, as the president has done, just six months before the election year asking us to vote on what a lot of people call show votes and dividing the country by pitting one group against another, i would urge the president, make some real steps to study the economy and reassure the job creators and let me give you four specific examples of what the president could do lead and what i think
congress would be willing to do to follow. first of all -- and a couple of these things are to stop doing something that's bad. a lot of people say usually government can do best but just getting out of the way because we have a very robust private sector if it is not too tied down with government regulation and taxation. so the first suggestion i have is, let's stop the largest tax increase that will automatically occur -- it's the largest tax increase in the history of our country; it's going to occur on january 1. you said, what? i didn't hear about that! well, this is the so-called bush tax cuts. you know, ten years ago congress passed these, but they had a limit of ten years on them. actually, it was shorter period of that. they were extend two years ago because the president said it would be bad for the economy if these tax rates were allowed to go up. and he was right. he was right then and he is
right today. it would be bad for the economy it would be bad for businesses, especially small business. it would be bad for the american family. and yet here we have automatically, if the president does not act and the congress does not act, every one of the marginal income tax rates will go up. things like the marriage tax pen nacialghts th--things like the x penalty, the child tax credit, the death tax rate. it combines for the largest increase in the history of the world. if you are looking at economic growth, you talk about a wet blanket, something that will kill economic recovery, that kind of a tax increase taking the money out of the private sector and giving it to government is about the worst -- worst medicine that you could think of. and so my hope is that the president will lead, that the congress will provide the support necessary to extend our current tax code and to ensure that we don't have the biggest
tax increase in the history of the country. i mentioned taxation and regulation. well, regulation is number two. over 28,000 pages of new federal regulations have been added to the books in just this calendar year. think about it. 28,000 pages. you think of going to the store and reading -- buying a book of 200 or 250 pages, maybe 300 pages if it is a really big one. how about 28,000 pages of new federal regulations just this year? bureaucracy like the environmental protection agency continue to churn out rules and regulations that confuse job creators and hamper their ability to expand and hire. just to give you one example, where because of a public outcry, they said or, the department of labor won't issue these regulations, basically saying that kids couldn't work on the family farm. many of us worked on family farms. maybe we didn't like it at the time, but we'll all agree it did us a lot of good.
and the reality is, it is not something that the federal government ought to be poking its nose into. so there was finally enough political pushback on that from the f.f.a. and the farm bureau that they pulled it back. but unless the american people pressure, you know, push back against this stuff, bureaucrats in the federal government are going to continuing to figure this they can run our lives better than we can do it ourselves. one of the biggest in terms of regulations is obamacare. it's made the regulatory state much bigger and much more expansive. it has resulted in an estimated 58..5 million annual paperwork hours. i've talked to businessmen and medical offices. they're going nuts trying to figure out how to deal with all of these regulations.
the house of representatives has passed numerous bills that would reduce the regulatory burden that washington imposes on the economy. but the president and the senate democratic leadership have refused to bring those to the senate floor. these ththat's the second thingd do. we should rely more on the power of freedom than on the power of government. if we do, the american people will dot rest. let's stop this biggest tax increase in the history of the country. let's stop issuing these burdensome regulations. and how about the third thing -- american energy. we could be one of if not the most energy-wealthy countries in the world, just taking advantage of our own resources. we could no longer have to be dependent on the middle east for our sources of energy. but, unfortunately, here, too, the president and senate democrats have repeatedly pursued tax increases on the oil and gas industries, they raise
the cost of gasoline, increase our dependence on foreign oil. according to the congressional research service, the nonpartisan entity that looks into these things, we think it would be better if the president would just work with us, work with the house of representatives, to expand the development of domestic resources offshore, on our federal lands, in alaska. we have plenty of oil and gas. we have plenty of other kinds of reserves of energy that could make this country not just no longer dependent on the middle east but much wealthier than we are today. and part of that is just simply approving the keystone pipeline. this isn't even american resources. it's in canada. they meet all of they're environmental requirements. doesn't damage the environment here in the united states. they've already done the environmental reviews for the pipeline. there are thousands of pipelines crisscrossing our country.
this pipeline isn't the going to create an -- this pipeline is not going to create an environmental problem. the president has said the part that goes from oklahoma to texas is fine with him, but not the part that requires e.p.a.'s go ahead. that's the third thing. let's have an energy program that takes advantage of everything we have, including the keystone pipeline. finally, what the president and our democratic friends in the senate could do is to join the house of representatives and clear the deck of all of the legislation that's been piling up here on the senate floor that isn't getting done that we all know has to get done before the end of the year. these things are not optional. this is our homework. this is stuff we have to do. and it's all being put aside for the lame-duck session. the lame-duck session is the time in between the election,
when new members of congress have been elected, and the time they're sworn in; essentially,ty end of the first week in november -- essentially at the end of the first week in november to the end of december. i'll be a lame duck. i'm not running for reelection. i'd rather the new senator for my state make the decision for the country. but because all of these things are piling up, i will be one of the people here making these decisions for the future of our country. i don't mind being here, but it will be very bad for the country to pile up all of these things and expect to get them done smartly in the five or six weeks that surround thanksgiving and christmas. well, what are some of these things? first of all, just if i if i --f all, just funding the government. the appropriations bills -- nobody expects that we will complete work on all the appropriations bills that run the government. as a result of which at the end of the year we will have to pile a whole bunch of things into omnibus appropriations bills, throwing everything into the same pot.
the problem with that, when coupled with the fact that the senate ah. hasn' hasn't approvet this year, is that nothing is prioritized. we're not make the critical decisions about dropping this and adding this that would provide more sensible funding. that's the first thing we ought to be doing. that leads me to the second thing. we have been borrowing so much money that it is very clear that we're going to run once again up against the debt ceiling. we've borrowed so much that we have to increase the debt ceiling in order to pay that money that we've borrowed. nobody likes to do it. nobody likes to say they voted to increase the debt ceiling. well, then why vote to incur the debt in the first place? well, we have to problem to do that at least some members don't. but the relate thank you i reale to raise the debt ceiling. when will this come to pass?
right after the election. wouldn't want to take it up before the election. might remind the american people about how much too much we're spending. 40 cents on every dollar that we spend in this country we had to borrow. so the debt ceiling is something we're going to have to deal with. here's one of the biggest of all -- sequestration. we agreed in the budget control act last year that we would save about $1 billion -- excuse me, about $1 trillion over ten years on discretionary spending. and we would try to save another $1.5 trillion from mandatory spending, the so-called entitlement programs, the programs that are really costing us big bucks -- medicare, medicaid, social security, and there are a whole variety of other programs that are included in the entitlement spending. nobody is talking about ending these programs as we know them. what politician is going to call an end to social security or medicare?
that's not what we're talking about. we're talking about effectuating savings. there is a huge amount of waste and fraud and abuse that everybody acknowledges. we could save billions of dollars in all of these programs. and we need to do that. we need to save $1.2 trillion -- the actual amount ritter by lawe amount amount required by law -- over ten years. so some of us have introduced legislation to pay for this $900-plus billion for next year, to offset with spending reductions the cost of this sequestration. a fancy word for across-the-board spending cutsment halcuts.half go directe department of defense. half are spread to all the other programs in our budget. what makes more sense, taking a
meat ax and lopping off the top 10% or top 12% or whatever it might be of the spending in all these different programs? would you like to buy four-fifths of an airplane in the military? does that make sense? or does it make more sense to say, let's save $10 here so we can spend $10 over here? obviously it makes more sense to do that. everybody assumes that somehow we're going to avoid sequestration in the lame-duck session of congress. who's doing anything about it? well, some of us have introduced legislation. and we hope that this week in the house of representatives they will be able to amend the defense authorization bill by adding a provision that says that the numbers in that bill assume that we have resoferld this sequest -- that we have resolved this sequestration problem so we can begin the negotiations so we can find a solution that both houses will agree to, both parties will agree to -- this shouldn't be partisan; everybody loses if sequestration occurs -- so let's
solve that problem and before we get to the lame-duck session. that's the third thing we can do. everybody familiar with our tax code knows there is a fourth thing. we have got something that happens each year. there are 60 provisions of the tax code that expire every year. we have to renew them. we do. so let's get about it. they have already expired. these are the so-called tax extenders. extending certain provisions of the tax code that everybody wants to see extended. they've already expired. we immediate to do it retroactively to the first of the year. everybody knows we're going to extend most of them. maybe we won't do all of them. we need to do that, so why not? let's get that done. we know that there are other ings that are occurring. there's something called the doc fix. each year we have to figure out how we're going to pay the doctors that take care of medicare patients. it costs a lot of money but if you don't pay them, we're not going to have doctors to take care of medicare patients. it's always a dance. we've got to figure out how to
pay the doctors, and the reality is, as i said, if you don't pay them, then we have only ourselves to blame when our senior citizens can't find a doctor to take care of them when they need that care. there are other things as well. the payroll tax holiday expires. there are many other things that we need to do as part of our business as representatives and senators. this isn't optional. these are the things to keep the government running, to do the things we promised our constituents in legislation that we would do. so my fourth suggestion here is let's start working on these big problems. many of us who will be in a lame-duck position are putting a letter together to our leadership asking them to please tackle these big problems. we shouldn't be voting on a lot of these things. we should be done as of the end of the year. but, if we have to, we will. it's not that we aren't ready for the work. it's that these things should be
done before the election. and this is my last point. why, you ask, why if these are things we are supposed to do -- the appropriations, dealing with the tax code because we will automatically have a big tax increase if we don't, sequestration, the debt ceiling, paying the doctors -- if we have to do all of these things, why are we putting these off? here's the dirty little secret. because if we actually tackled them, we'd have to make tough decisions. if we made tough decisions, we'd have to take votes. if we made votes, those votes will be on the record. if those votes are on the record before the election, our constituents would know what we really think and how we act, and some of them may not like it. and so we don't want to be on the record, some of my colleagues say. again, it doesn't bother me. i'm not running for reelection. we don't want to be on the
record before reelection. it's a little bit like when the president leaned over to then-president of russia, dmitry medvedev, and he said, look, after my last election, i'll have a lot more flexibility to deal with these issues. you tell vladimir. well, after the election, it's too late. the people have cast their ballots. shouldn't the politicians be willing to say before the election what they stand for? and instead of just making campaign promises, how about taking votes on real issues so that the american people know where they stand? and then they can make an informed judgment. i like this person over that person because i like the way this person voted or i don't like the way that person voted. that's what democracy is supposed to be all about. you make the tough decisions. you stand for election. the people either say yes or no. then, by the way, they hold you to account. after you're elected, they continue to watch how you vote to decide whether they want to vote for you again.
but in this day and age, we're playing hide the ball from the american people. let's just don't bring anything up until after the election. that way the american people won't see how we really feel about these things. some of these are tough votes, i acknowledge. it's hard to figure out how to effectuate savings if you have to come up with $100 billion in savings over ten years; something has to go. so you can't promise everything to everybody. you actually have to find $100 billion in savings somewhere. and senator mccain and i and cornyn and ayotte and rubio and graham and some others have introduced legislation to say here's how we would do it. if somebody has a different way of looking at it, tell us, and i'll tell you the way we would do it. you can save $100 billion by just doing two things. when people leave government employment, instead of hiring somebody to replace them, we
would hire two people for every three that leave. the bowles-simpson commission says only hire one for every three that hraoefplt so we're being a -- that leave. we're being a lot more liberal than bowles-simpson. we say every time people leave the government, let's only hire two back. i bet we can get by as a country doing that. the other thing is the president froze increases in federal salaries, and we would simply extend that freeze through the middle of 2014. there are other ways to do it. there are hundreds of billions of dollars to be saved. if you've got a better idea, we're all for it. but at least come up with something, and don't be afraid to vote on things. the american people are pretty smart. they get this stuff, and they know that there's no free lunch. they know the government costs money and they know you can't save money by continuing to promise everything to everybody. so i just urge my colleagues on
both sides of the aisle, leadership in both the house and senate, let's get serious about this stuff. first of all, let's not raise taxes. let's reduce regulations. let's have a real energy policy. and let's get our work done, the work that we know has to be done. and let's get it done as soon as we can. that would give families and businesses the knowledge of how to plan for the future. that would help them understand what they have to deal with and not have to incur this huge uncertainty, which so much would drag on our economy today. these are four constructive suggestions, mr. president. there's a lot more that we can do. but when our economy is in as bad a shape as it is right now, and it's not getting much better, we have this many people not even looking for work anymore, we need to do something more than be out on the campaign hustings talking small ball and
try to blame it on the other side. let's get to work, follow these four ideas and i think we can make tremendous progress to get our country moving again. frankly, if we did, i think the american people would reward us. they would say thank you for finally doing something here. that's what we sent you back here for, and we reward you for it. ironically, good policy turns out to be good politics. and i think we need a little bit more good policy. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. johnson: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: i ask unanimous consent to enter into a colloquy with my republican colleagues for up to 30 minutes. the presiding officer: ?o the senate in the midst of a quorum call. mr. johnson: is i ask unanimous consent to come out of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: now i ask consent to enter into a colloquy with my republican colleagues for up to 30 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: by now it should come as no surprise that the senate has not passed a budget in over three years. i believe the act day count is 1,111 days. when i go back to wisconsin, i'm sure this is true of my colleagues who join me today, the people of wisconsin and the people of america want to us
work together to start solving our debt and deficit issue. since i've been here, the republicans have fulfilled the responsibility to show what the plan is for stabilizing our debt and deficit. the house has passed a budget the last two years but the democrats have not here in the senate. it's because they simply refuse to be held accountable, and that's a real shame. i realize that the american public wants us to work with each other, but my suggestion would be to the first individuals who need to work with each other, the first compromise that needs to be done is with our democratic colleagues in this chamber. they have 53 members. they only need 51 to pass a budget. they need to get together, they need to work together, they need to hammer out a compromise and pass a budget. the way then we can get together and compromise the entire process is the house budget would be presented with the
senate budget into a conference, and then we'd have some process for being -- for being able to compromise. that's the basic minimum of what i think needs to be done here at the senate. one point i'd like to make is that president obama has made a number of promises during his administration and the one i'd like to talk about right now is on february 23 of 2009, in opening remarks to the fiscal responsibility summit, the president stated -- and i quote -- "today i'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. this will not be easy. it will require to us make difficult decisions and mace challenges we've long neglected but i refuse to leave our children with the debt they cannot repay, and that means taking responsibility right now in this administration for getting our spending under control." mr. president, i'd like to
point out when he made those remarks the most recent estimate for what the deficit would be in fiscal year 2009 was put putt forward by the c.b.o. on january 7, 2009 and they were estimating the deficit for that year would be $1.86 trillion, $1.2 trillion rounded up. half would be $593 billion. that's the promise president obama made to this nation in terms of the work we put in and what we deliver to our nation in terms of deficit control. the facts are far different. in 2009, largely because the very partisan stimulus package the president passed, the deficit wasn't $1.2 trillion, it was $1.4 trillion. that was followed in 2010 by $1.29 trillion. and then in fiscal 2011, $1.3 trillion and the latest
c.b.o. estimate for deficit this year will be $1.253 trillion, almost $1.3 trillion. that's double what the president promised he would be delivering to the american people in terms of deficit control. moving forward, this president in his budget is projecting increasing our debt from about $15.6 trillion right now to over $25 trillion. but i'm not sure that's particularly believable. the other quote i'd like to point out of president obama is that on september 26, 2007, in -- 2011 in a remarks at a d.n.c. fundraiser in san diego when he was trying to sell his american jobs act, what he said is -- quote --ates" simple principle everybody should understand. warren buffett's secretary shouldn't pay a lower tax rate than warren buffett. a teacher making $50,000 a year or a firefighter making -- or a firefighter making $50,000 a year or $60,000 shouldn't be
paying a higher tax rate than somebody making $50 million a year, and that basic principle of fairness if applied to our tax code, could raise enough money that not only do we pay for our jobs bill -- and here's the key quote -- we would also stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade." mr. president, i don't know what you'd call that last statement, but whatever you'd call it, i think it would be called a doozie. i think the president of the united states has a very serious responsibility not to mislead the american public. i think that statement was a gross violation of that duty. i have one chart here. pretty simple one. it shows the four-year deficit figures from the last three administrations basically. bush's first four-year administration, $.8 trillion total deficit in four years. the second, $1.2 trillion in
total deficit spending. this president will aconsume $5.3 trillion in deficit -- accumulate $5.3 trillion in deficit spending in his first four years and the buffett rule, the tax the president said would staiivellize our debt and deficit, four years would be $20 million. i realize the people in the gallery can't see that line. it exifs. obviously it's not enough to stabilize our debt and deficit. i think the president of the united states has an obligation, a duty, not to mislead the american public and that's exactly what did he in this case. i think with that senator corker, i think you've been a real leader on this issue in terms of action real hawk trying to get our nation's fiscal house in order. i wonder if you have any comments. mr. corker: i appreciate the gathering of the senator from texas and the senator from wyoming. i would just say that yes, i mean look, the number-one
responsibility that we have in the united states senate is to pass a budget. and to lay out to the american people how we're going to spend the resources that come in. the last time we passed a budget, as you mentioned, was 1,111 days ago. we spent over $10 trillion of the u.s. taxpayers' money during that time. to be honest, i have quit voting for any spending bills, any spending bills, until we come to a point in time where we at least lay out to the american people how much of their money we're going to spend and what we're going to spend it on. again, each year with $3.5 trillion to $3.6 trillion being spent by the federal government with no plan. i am embarrassed for this body, candidly, that we have it -- haven't even tried to take up a budget. i know that the committee itself began to take one up just a few weeks ago, and the chairman was asked not to do it because it made no sense to do a budget at
this time. thankfully, the parliamentarian ruled in this body that it was appropriate for us to take up a budget, and, again, i just can't imagine a greater shirking of our responsibilities than to lay out to the america exactly -- american people exactlily where their dollars are going. what worries me most is this is the greatest transference of wealth,from these pages, from their generation to my generation, that has existed in modern history in this country. i mean there's a tremendous transference of wealth as we do not deal with the issues of medicare, medicaid, and social security, what we're doing is actually piling up tremendous amounts of indebtedness just so the people of america will like us more as plitions as we don't -- politicians as we don't make difficult decisions
and don't have to wrestle with the festival issues the fiscal issues we have as a nation. this is what is ailing western democracies around the world. we're seeing this play out obviously in europe right now. as citizens are rising up in protest over having to deal with the tough issues of the day. and there's been this grand bargain in western democracies, ours being one, where politicians have given citizens what they wish without asking them to pay for it. and i think we all understand that this is up now. we have a dilemma in this nation, we have a dilemma around the world right now because of our inability to deal with this issue. and so in the process, be a what we're doing is basically transferring wealth from this generation to my generation. it is absolutely -- it is absolute generational theft and i think speaks to the greatest vulnerability we have as a nation. if you speak to all of our
national security analysts, you speak to -- to anybody in this body and we know that our greatest threat is not what's happening in china, it's not what's happening in iran, it's not what's happening in syria, but the greatest threat to this nation is we ourselves. and for some reason, this body has chosen to totally shirk our responsibilities as it relates to dealing with this issue. i know over the next couple weeks we're going to have the opportunity to really vote on some budget resolutions. i agree with the senator from wisconsin, i would hope that there would be at least be some way this body could come together and present a budget for debate. if not, i know there are going to be some alternatives that are put forth. but, again, this is the greatest threat to our nation and that is our inability to show the kind of discipline we need to show as a nation.
our country's greatness is dissipating as we continue to put this -- to shovel this under the rug and not deal with it. and i do hope that the united states senate at some point soon will rise up and deal with the major responsibilities that we have in this nation, and that is putting our country on sound footing. let me just close with this: i don't think there's anything we can do that would cause our economy to lift off more quickly than for people in this nation and people around the world to know that we actually have dealt with pro-growth tax reform and entitlement reform and passing longer-term budgets and discretionary caps that would put this nation on sound footing. i believe the economy would take off. i hope that's what we rise to do before the end of this year and, mr. president, i yield the floor to my great friend from texas or wyoming, whichever chooses to speak.
mrs. hutchison: i thank the senator from tennessee. mr. president, i would just say it's interesting because there are four of us on the floor right now. senator from wisconsin, the senator from tennessee, the senator from wyoming, and myself. we have one thing in common: every one of us have run a business. every one of us were in business before we came to the united states senate. so we know when we're talking about new taxes, which is all we hear from the administration, that new taxes are not going to help this economy grow because our small businesses are scared to death out there. i know, because i've heard the senator from tennessee and the senator from wisconsin, who came straight out of a business, who ran for the united states senate because he was so frustrated in business,
we know that small business people out there today are looking at the increased taxes that are already in place with the obamacare added taxes and surtaxes that have already been passed by the democrats in congress without one single republican vote. those taxes are already on board to increase. plus, you've got the fines that they're facing if they don't have the government-prescribed plan for the obama health care plan. they're going to have to pay fines on top of the surtaxes to pay for the bill that they're not going to be able to use. and then they're looking at the regulations that are coming out of this administration and they're saying, and congress wants to spend another $1 trillion this year into deficits?
because every one of us knows that we're looking at hitting the debt ceiling again -- over $16 trillion -- this fall, because this administration will not even consider lower taxes and lower spending levels. so i look at all of us on the floor right now who have been in business, who've run a business, who have met that payroll, who have met the regulatory environment, and i think, why on earth don't we listen to the small business people of this country in this body and do what they do every year -- pass a budget. you know, the senator from wyoming is here, and i would just ask if he has an idea of when the last time the united states senate passed a budget resolution.
mr. barrasso: well, i would tell my colleague from texas, who has been a leader in this fight asking for a budget, demanding a budget, that it is now today -- as of today been 1,111 days since the senate has passed a budget, in spite of the thraw says they must do -- in spite of the law that says they mosmust do so by april 15 of eah year. so april 15 came and april 15 went, this year as it had last yeeryear and the year before and there is no budget. so i look to the leadership of the senator from texas, who knows that the hardworking families of her state, and the hardworking families of my state resent the fact that washington refuses to be accountable. the democrats in this body refuse to be accountable to the american people. the american people, all they're asking for -- in my opinion -- is value for their money. they want to make sure the money they send to washington is being spent effectively, efficiently
and they're getting value for their money. mrs. hutchison: and, you know, the spending issue is very interesting, and i look to my colleague from tennessee, who is really one of the deficit hawks in the united states senate, and i am looking at the statistics that are being put out about the entitlement spendings. the entitlement spending today is over 50% of our spending every year. mandatory spending -- it is going to be -- in ten years it is going to be 74% of the spending in this country. now, i would just ask my friend from tennessee, because he has really been pure on this issue, i have to say, being the deficit hawk that he is, i would ask him, how would we be able to solve the spending problem of
this country without addressing social security, medicare, and medicaid, mandatory spending that will be at 74% of the budget in ten years if we go at this rate? mr. corker: i know the snoe ther from texas spends a tremendous amount of time on aeption pros issue -- on appropriations issues. she knows if you wiped out all the discretionary spending, which this year is going to be capped at $1.47 trillion. we could do away with all defense spend, all educationald spending, all research and development and you still could not cause our budget to not have a deficit. let me just give a stat, and i talk about this a lot back home and i'll so glad you've given me this opportunity. the average american family in america today earns $43,500 --
the average american family worker in america earns $43,500. that's $87,000 in a two-earner family. that family will pay $118,000 into social security. you know about paying the medicare taxes into the system. that combined amount of money for the average american family today is $119,000 in today's dollars. that same family, if they retired, would take out of the system over their lifetime $357,000. now, think about that. $119,000 -- and that's in today's dollars, again. $119,000 going into medicare on their behalf. $357,000 coming out of medicare. i think most people in this
body, even people who haven't been in business, realize you cannot make that up with volume. yet volume is on the way. there are 20 million more americans over this next decade, they're going to be part of that same formula. $119,000 in, $357,000 out. i have been quoting these stats every quarter and the numbers get further and further apart every quarter. mrs. hutchison: i say to the sno rt from tennessee, because he brought this up, not only is it so clear that if there's more going out thank coming back in -- than coming back in, what would you say to the fact that we also -- not "we" because you, myself, and the senator from wyoming all voted against the obama health care bill. but, interestingly, with those numbers that you just quoted, that bill cuts $500 billion more
out of medicare to pay for that overdraft that you're talking about. and you were talking about a generational change? oh, my goodness. >> $52 mr. corker: $529 billion, to be exafnlgt the senator has stated the sustainable growth rate issue, meaning that every year we come into this cliff with physicians, like he is ant used to practice on a daily basis. instead of dealing with this, instead we swept that issue nders d under the rug and took the full $529,000 -- $529 billion to help create this entitlement, which i think most people in this body know there's no way that this bill is going to work as it is laid out, that the costs are going to be substantially more, because in a free enterprise system people act on their own behalf, in
their own self-interest. the subsidies are so high for families up to $88,000 a year, the penalty is so low that what's going to happen is we're going to have thousands and actually millions and millions and millions of people that are out on this program far beyond the projections that have been laid out. so, anyway, because we're talking about social security and medicare, all of us want it to be solved. that's what we want to see. we want to make sure that medicare and social security is here for generations down the road. but we all know that the medicare trustee has said it's going to be insolvent by the year 2024. one way to deal with it is to put your head in the sand and just let it happen, after you're gone. let it happen to the good citizens of this country. another solution is to say, hey, this is a big ship. we need to get turning in a little bit different direction. so again these young people who are sitting in front of us don't
have the tab. mrs. hutchison: and i'm so pleased that the senator from tennessee brought that up because there is a way for us to at least fix one of the entitlements and that is social security, in a relatively painless way. now, it's going to have a few changes that people -- some people won't like, but it could be so gradual if we do it now that we would raise the age just three months a year so in the bill that i've proposed -- and there are others that are equally as good, although none of them have been taken up -- and it would just say, you're 58 years old, you wouldn't have any change at all. if you're 57, you would retire three months later. so it's very gradual. if you do you that and you adjust the cost of living increase, you would not have to raise any social security taxes; you would not cut the core benefits at all; and you could
gradually ease into a system that will be solvent for 75 years, so that our elderly who need social security will have it there, and that's on the table now, but what is happening in congress and where is the leadership from the white house? nothing. nothing. and that -- and i'll going to ask the -- and i'm going 0 ask the senator from wyoming because he is one of the two actual physicians in the united states senate. he knows more about the obama health care system and when you -- when you look at what the becomobama health care system dg to health care, cutting it by half a trillion dollar, and then this social security issue that i address, the medicare overall issue that you address, the senator from tennessee, and what
the senator from wisconsin, who has the real on-hands, most recent small business experience showed in his charts you chartd just ask the senator from wyoming you the real doctor in this body, what is going to happen if the supreme court doesn't save america by throwing out the individual mandate on constitutional grounds and we actually have the implementation of the obamacare with the taxes and fines that are going to come in on january 1 of next year, if we don't act? where are we going to be in health care in this country? mr. barrasso: well, i would tell my friend and colleague from texas, who is a wonderful student of this as well, that this health care law is bad for patients, it's bad for providers, the doctors and nurses who take care of those patients, and it is terrible for taxpayers, who are going to get stuck footing the bill. so it is not a surprise that this administration doesn't want
to come to the senate, is embarrassed to come to the senate with a budget, because they know that the american people would be so much offended by the irresponsibility of -- and the nature of such a budget. and that's the situation we find ourselves in now. and as both my colleagues have said, with the medicare, they took $500 billion from medicare not to save medicare, not to strengthen medicare, bu but to start a whole, new government program for someone else, which is why when i travel the state of wyoming and talk to seniors, they say, we don't like this health care law. it's why the health care law is more unpopular today than it was the day it was passed. but i do notice our colleague from wisconsin has a new chart that i'm trying to read from here, and i'm just going to ask if he could share what is up on that chart so that everyone gets a chance to see it and hear the explanation. gong john i thank the senator.
came -- mr. johnson: i thank the senator. i came with charts. we are talking about the true cost of the health care law. i actually grossed these figures up because they knelte netted oe savings. the way obamacare was going to be paid for www.peds 1.3 trillion to cover about $1.1 trillion in outlays. and that was split you were basically in two. about $5 -9d 0 billion in taxes, fees, and penalties. and then $665 billion in reductions in medicare, medicaid, and medicare advantage. now, we have not imposed the $208 billion of the doc fix, the sustainable growth rate formula, because even washington realizes that if you reduce payment to proirks there will be less access for seniors. so i guess i don't have any reason to believe that those cuts in medicare will actually occur. now, if we move the budgetary window forward to the time frame
when obamacare truly kicks in, because initially, by the way, you had ten years of revenue and only six years of outlays. you really only had four years of full outlays. if you move the budget window forward, the true cost of obamacare over a ten-year window is $2.4 trillion. that's very conservative. if you don't impose medicare cuts and only grow the taxes, fees, penalties, that leaves a $1.6 trillion deficit risk over ten years. and we're talking about these deficits now that for four years have been $is.4 trillion, $1.3 trillion. we're trying to close a $1.3 trillion deficit with about peds 1 trillion of discretionary spending. because the other graph i had -- and this plays into part of the earlier conversation -- back in the 1960's 16% of expenditures
were appropriated. they were under some control here in congress. 32% were the mandatory programs and interest. currently, about 36% of government expenditures are appropriated and 64% are basically off-budget on automatic pilot. as the senator from texas pointed out, ten years forward, only about 25% of our federal budget will be appropriated, be discretionary spending. everything else is on automatic pilot, simply not sustainable. the last graph i want to put up, and we haven't talked about this yet, here's what i fear. if you look at the borrowing cost of the united states from 1970 through 1999, when we were a far more credit worthy nation, our debt's g.d.p. ratio ranged from 40% to 67%. our average borrowing cost was 5.3%. over the last three years, 2010 to 2012, our average borrowing costs have been 1.5% because we
have held rates artificially low. if we revert to that mean, that would be a 3.8% differential applied to our debt, that would be $600 billion to $700 billion per year in additional interest expense. compare that to $1 trillion worth of discretionary spending, that would totally wipe out the defense budget, for example. or if you maintain the defense budget, it would wipe out all discretionary spending. that's what tpwhaoed to be concerned -- what we need to be concerned about, is when creditors from around the world look at the united states and say you know what? i'm not going to loan you any more money. what's more likely to occur is they'll say i'll loan you money but at a far higher interest rate. i know the senator from tennessee is fully aware of these types of figures. do you have comments on that? mr. corker: i would say to the senator from wisconsin, that is an outstanding chart and i like the one before it even better.
but the fact is it's so easily numb. the illumination is so bright that we have a major fiscal issue in this country, and we're watching how that can play out and be so destructive to people's lives right now in europe, as they try to deal with these issues. our nation is so large that, and the economy is so big, there will not be anyone to come to our rescue like we're seeing play out in some of these other countries. and for us to see what's happening, to know that we're participating in this, we're participating in this because spending here in america is on auto pilot. we're going to spend $45 trillion to $47 trillion of the american people's money over the next decade. we have not a single document in place to lay out how that's going to take place. i just think it's incredibly irresponsible. it would be an embarrassment to
me if i had some ability to run this place and to know that we had no budget. and yet, we know the calamity that is going to occur if we do not deal with this issue. we understand it full well. and we're doing nothing about it. instead we're dealing with all kinds of issues here, all about elections and can one side make the other side look bad? and is this going to make a tough vote for somebody else. instead of dealing with our number-one responsibility. i'm hoping that somehow at least 60 folks in this body will be willing to pass a budget to then create a conference between the house and senate so we can take a major step towards living up to our financial obligations as a country. and i thank you so much for organizing this today. and with that, i'm going to yield the floor. someone else may want to speak. mr. johnson: i guess the senator from wyoming, you're standing up. it looks like you might have another concluding comment.
mr. barrasso: mr. president, i want to thank my colleagues who are here today sharing their time and their insight. they have a lot of insight because they've run businesses. they've worked to actually meet a budget, live within the budget, have dealt with government regulations. and the senator from texas was talking about these regulations. they're burdensome, they're expensive, they're time-consuming. hard to budget when you don't know what to expect. that's what the american people who create jobs and who work jobs, they need some predictability, some certainty so they can make wise decisions. whef you have a congress -- when you have a congress led by the democrats in the senate, the unpredictability is there. there is so much confusion and uncertainty that people have a hard time making longer-term decisions. i know my colleague from wisconsin, that's what i saw in my medical office, and as i talked to my colleagues, i know you had the same situation in wisconsin. i want to thank my colleague from wisconsin as well as colleagues from texas and from
tennessee for their leadership and their continued efforts, efforts to try to get the democrats in this body, in this administration to pass a budget which by law they are mandated to do. and yet even today, we're at day 1,111 days without a budget. and to me, that is inexcusable. mr. johnson: i appreciate those comments. i'll just conclude. there are two plans on the table right now. one is from the house republicans. it actually passed the chamber. republicans were willing to put their votes to a budget. republicans are willing to be held accountable. of course the other plan would be the president's budget which last year his budget lost in this body 0-97. his current budget lost in the house 0-414. i guess you could say the plan doesn't sound like a particularly serious plan. i would again join my
colleagues. i want to thank the senators from texas, wyoming and tennessee for joining me here. i would join them in asking this body, please, exercise your responsibility, own up to your duty and let's pass a budget. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. boozman: mr. president, my colleague from arkansas and i would like ten minutes, maximum -- mr. pryor: my colleague and i would like ten minutes to extend birthday greetings. with the president's approval, we'll turn it off to senator boozman and let him lead o. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. it is a pleasure to be with the senior senator from arkansas discussing somebody that we both have a great deal of affection for, and that is the former congressman of the third district of arkansas, the district that i used to represent. congressman hammerschmitt represented the district for 26 years. he recently celebrated his 90th birthday on may 4.
john paul led a dedicated life to public service. in fact, that is truly an understatement. he served as a combat pilot during world war ii and is part of the greatest generation. once he returned home to harrison, arkansas, he ran the family lumber business while spear heading efforts to create a two-party political system in the state of arc saufplt john paul helped mold the political landscape of arkansas and never lost sight of doing that, and that being the people of arkansas. by the time he was elected to congress in 1996 he was the first member of his party to represent reconstruction. he had a reputation of working to help others. did he that for 26 years as a member of congress. by the time he retired he was a ranking member on the house transportation and infrastructure committee. he served in congress with the same enthusiasm that propelled him into office and was rell
respected by -- was well respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his strong work ethic, approach to getting things done. 11 years ago as a newly elected member of congress who also represented the district that john paul used to represent, he gave the advice that i continue to follow, and that is that the key to good governing, the key to good public service is that once elected, there aren't any more republicans, there aren't any more democrats. there are just the people of arkansas, the people of america, and that we need to take care of them. these words ring true today as they did 11 years ago. his efforts to work with his colleagues in both political parties benefit arkansas and america and showed what it truly means to be bipartisan. despite being in the house minority, he was able to achieve much success in congress because he recognized that the key to good governing and good public service is that you treat
everyone fairly and set aside political differences. this ideology aloud him to be influential in a a variety of areas. he is credited for improving infrastructure projects including interstate 540, the northwest arkansas regional airport, protecting the buffalo river under the designation as a national river and setting the example of exemplary constituent service that we strive to continue today. he is showing no signs of letting his age slow him down by any means. he continues his service on numerous boards and for organizations with the same vigor he demonstrated throughout his career. john paul played an important role in our state's history, and he is still continuing to play an important role in our state's history and also played an important influence on me as he did so many others in arkansas. i consider him a friend and a
mentor. i fondly recall the first time that i was in washington being sworn in in 2001, he took my brother and i to the members dining room. again, it was just a very, very important time. just his hospitality to all of us throughout the years, it was so gracious. i appreciate very much his advice and friendship, and john paul was able to leave his fingerprints on projects important to arkansas through his hard work, dedication and commitment. he never forgot about the people he was sent to washington to represent, and we are truly grateful for his tireless efforts to represent the people of arkansas. congressman -- i'm sorry. senator pryor. mr. pryor: thank you. thank you, mr. president. john paul hammerschmidt is 90. there are many colleagues here in this chamber that serve in this body today who worked alongside him either during their service in the house or just when they were in the
senate worked with him on the many things that congressman hammerschmidt did over the years. he really is one of the arkansas greats. he served northwest arkansas, which is the third congressional district, for 26 years in the congress. looking back at his career, he once said -- quote -- "the only reason people should be in public service is to purely serve other people." end quote. indeed, he set the bar for constituent service from delivering a social security check to a senior bog down in fighting for security benefits for a veteran. today each of us in the arkansas congressional delegation tries to emulate his legendary casework management. one of john paul's most significant contributions was the preservation of the buffalo river as a free-flowing stream. according to the pryor center for arkansas oral and visual
history, john paul first floated the buffalo at age 12 after taking wood from his father's lumber yard to build himself a boat. nearly 40 years later, he established the buffalo as the first national river. this was not an easy achievement but one that was built with persistence and through relationships within the community. today, tens of thousands of arkansas families but also american families, including my own just a couple of months ago, enjoy floating the buffalo national river. john paul also used his time in congress to help northwest arkansas expand its infrastructure to keep up with the region's fast growth. for those of my colleagues who don't know, that is one of the fastest growing sections of the entire country. as a member of the public works committee, john paul was credited with securing bipartisan support on key infrastructure legislation. we could use a little bit of that magic today, by the way. you can't go far in northwest
arkansas without seeing his impact. we have the john paul hammerschmidt highway, an access road to carter field near rogers, an industrial park at diamond city, the john paul hammerschmidt plaza, the john paul hammerschmidt business and conference center at north arkansas community college, the john paul hammerschmidt lake at fort smith and the john paul hammerschmidt federal building in fayetteville. upon john paul's retirement, former congressman, commerce and transportation secretary norman mineta spoke on the floor of the house of representatives saying -- quote -- "there is no individual in the house who is more loved and respected than john paul hammerschmidt. his honesty, gentleness, decency and integrity are second to none. don't be swayed by his quiet manner because underneath is a man with strong convictions, a sense of purpose and a keen desire to get things done." end quote. it is fair to say that john paul
never actually retired. he remains involved in many civic organizations, including northwest arkansas council and march of dimes, higher education continues to be one of his priorities. he serves on not one but two boards of trustees, one at the university of the ozarks and the other at arkansas state university. john paul hammerschmidt has spent decades serving others and giving back to his community. i'm pleased to have this opportunity to pay tribute to all he has achieved so far and wish him a happy 90th birthday and many more years of health and happiness. 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:
a senator: mr. president. had. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk:le nominations, george levi russell iii of maryland to be united states district judge. john j. tharp jr. of illinois to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 60 minutes of debate with respect to these nominations, equally divided in the usual
form. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the time run to 5:30 on the nominee which would be approximately 50 minutes but that time be divided in the usual order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask that my statement on the judicial nominees be included in the record as if spoken. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and, mr. president, using the time allocated to the majority, i ask that my remarks be seen as in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i was fortunate to be able to attend the argument before the united states supreme court on the constitutionality of the provision in the affordable care act providing that the individual should take personal responsibility for paying for health care by obtaining health
insurance or paying a fine. i watched a lot of arguments in the supreme court. obviously my position as chairman of the judiciary committee, i pay close attention, as do all members, of what goes on there. i heard a great deal of instant analysis from commentatorrors after the argument including predictions of how the court will rule. what i didn't hear was much devoted to the role of the chief justice of the united states. i saw the chief justice that day when i watched the arguments who i deemed well aware of the significance of this decision. chief justice roberts had not been appointed when the court intervened in the presidential election of 2000, but he
certainly saw the reaction to that decision, bush versus gore, a 5-4 position, a decision the country viewed as partisan, in fact, many in the country felt that five people on the supreme court decided a presidential -- a presidential election. and actually for the person who got less votes than the one they said lost. but the chief justice did participate in the court's recent 5-4 decision in citizens united that divided along ideological lines and continues to engender significant backlash. that decision led directly to the super pac's and campaign excesses that are plaguing our democratic elections. actually it plagued this year's republican presidential primaries.
as bad as its effect on both republicans and democrats and elective offices, i believe it's contributed to the further erosion of the public's confidence in the supreme court to be an independent arbiter. the constitutional challenge to the affordable care act is the current instance in which narrow ideology and partisanship are pressuring the supreme court to intervene where it should not. to override the law and constitutional legal standings that have been settled sifns the great depression. it would also overturn the actions of the people who are elected to represent all americans in both the house and the senate. i was struck by how little respect some of the justices showed to congress, how dismissive they were that months
of work we had, hearings -- dozens of hearings, or the committee actions or the debate of amendments and motions and points of order on the senate and house floor before the measure was enacted, how that was almost summarily dismissed by some. now, i'm not going to be offended if some of the justices don't like us personally or disagree with the policy judgments reflected in the law, as individuals, as citizens, as human beings. they're entitled to their personal views, just as you and i are. but as justices, they are supposed to begin their inquiry by respecting the will of the people, as reflected in the work of congress, and to defer to congress unless the laws we pass violate the constitution. acting out based on their personal views in this matter would be the height of conservative judicial activism.
let me repeat that. acting out based on their personal views in this matter would be the height of conservative judicial activism. the chief justice seems to understand the deference of the elected branch is fundamental to the proper exercise of judicial review. i was struck that more than once commented on the extreme arguments coming from other justices by noting they weren't being fair. well, chief justice roberts was right in that regard. i thought i saw a chief justice who understands the importance of this case to all americans, including those millions who would otherwise continue out health care insurance or access to affordable health care, the kind of health care insurance and access to affordable health care, mr. president, each one of us in this chamber have, that each member of the supreme court have. we all remember when the chief
justice was nominated, he testified that if confirmed, he would honor precedents, he was acknowledge the limited role of the judiciary and seek to bring the court together. well, when i voted to confirm chief justice roberts as chief justice of the united states -- and many of my democratic colleagues voted the other way, and i respect them for that -- i said in voting for him, i was voting with hope and faith. i credited his testimony. i trusted he would act to fulfill hit responsibilities in accordance with the testimony he gave to the united states sena senate. i said then that if i thought he would easily reject precedent or use his position on the supreme court as a bulwark for activism, i would not have supported his confirmation. i was encouraged by the
ashiewrcheses he gave -- the assurances he gave during the confirmation process that he'd respect congressional authority. well, this case is a fundamental test. after all, he relied heavily during his hearing on the recent gonzalez v. raich decision, as controlling precedent upholding congressional authority to act under the commerce clause. i trust that he will be a chief justice for all of us and that he has a strong institutional sense of the proper role of the judicial branch. it is the supreme court of the united states, not the supreme court of the democratic party or the republican party, not the supreme court of the liberals or conservatives; the supreme court of the united states. and the chief justice is the chief justice of the united states, all 320 million of us.
and given the ideological challenge of the affordable care act and the extensive, supported precedent, it would be extraordinary for the supreme court not to defer to congress in this matter that is so clearly -- that so clearly affects interstate commerce. last month the supreme court argument gave me reason to hope the court will do the right thing. i said at the time after all that they could overturn the affordable care act, why couldn't they overturn social security or medicare? there would be just as much reason to overturn those. the key to the test for constitutionality under the commerce clause is whether the law substantially affects interstate commerce. that is a long-established constitutional test set forth time and time again by the supreme court.
as a law passed by congress, passed to regulate a market that makes up one-sixth of the u.s. economy, the affordable care act is well within the limits set by the supreme court's own precedence on congress's commerce clause power. the personal responsibility requirement that is the focus of the legal challenge is necessary to ensthiew ensure that americat stuck with paying the $43 billion of health care costs ink kurd by millions of americans who do not buy health insurance and must rely on expensive emergency health care when inevitably faced with medical problems. that is what congress concluded, after extensive study and debate. it is what we included in the text of the law itself. flosthere is no question that the text by
congress -- >> examples of hypothetical laws that congress has not passed reduce these malts to ridiculous absurdities. they may be popular in federalist society circles or on political blogs or to those who want to bind the constitution enough to be on a bufner sticker slogan. it has no place in the supreme court determination. there may come a time when congress passes a law, when the boundary which affects commerce needs to be more closely considered. that time may covment hypocrite it doesn't. but it is not the time and this is not the case. the affordable care act builds on some of the cornerstones of america's economic security
built over the last century. i believe when it passed and i still believe today that congress acted within its constitutional authority to enact laws to help protect all americans. just as some in this country disagreed when the congress passed social security, the court agreed we acted within our authority to do so. it may agree or disagree with parts of the afoferreddable care act -- the affordable air act. the fact is that congress acting within its authority. i hope and have faith the supreme court will not overstep the judiciary's role by substituting policy preferences for the legislative determinations of congress. mr. president, i ask my full statement be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and returning to regular session, mr. president, i ask that my statement on the
nominations of george levi russell iii and john tharp jr. be placed in the record at the appropriate point today. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president you suggest the absence of a quorum but i ask consent that the time remaining -- the remaining time between now and 5:30 be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. durbin: i ask proceedings under the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i would ask that a statement be entered into the record a statement by my colleague senator mark kirk. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. pending before the national is the nomination of j. tharp to serve on the court for the northern descrirkt of illinois. senator kirk and i have agreed
on an approach to this. we both appointed bipartisan committees who review the respective applicants and make recommendations. we each have a veto over the other's recommendation so it is totally bipartisan. but in the case of j. thrarp, there was to visa toavment searchly not by me and in this case he was sponsored by senator kirk. he is an extraordinarily talented individual. the reason i have entered into the "congressional record" the official statement of senator kirk is because obviously he can't be here. he is in rehab at this point from a stroke which he suffered in january and there was anne couraging video released last week showing the progress that he's making. we're all anxious for him to return. i promised him in a phone conversation last week i would move this nomination as quickly as possible so that his nominee iis approved. his statement in the record speaks to his feelings about j.
tharp's nomination and it speaks for itself. i will add to his comments my oafnlt i am glad that mr. tharp is finally getting a vote in the snavment it has taken a long time. in fact it has taken too long. nominees who are noncontroversial, eminent i had qualified, who go through the committee without even a hint from resistance from democrats or republicans shouldn't have to sit on this calendar for week after week and month after month. it's now become standard around here, just like these mind-numbing filibusters, standard around here. and it isn't fair. it isn't fair to the country to leave vacancies on the federal bench creating hardships in courts around the nation, where people come to the courthouse expecting timely consideration of important matters, from criminal charges to civil litigation. it isn't fair to the noments. it really takes a pretty stalwart individual to put your name up to be a federal judge