a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: thank you, madam president. i rise -- the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. hoeven: i ask that we suspend the quorum call, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i rise this evening to once again address the fiscal cliff. clearly, the time to debate has come and gone. the simple fact is we need to act. and we need to act now. earlier today, we heard from the president, and what i heard from the president is that he feels we have the framework for an agreement on taxes. also, the senate minority leader has indicated after his negotiations with the vice president that he believes we have the basic agreement on a tax proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff. so let's take that step. let's address the tax piece, let's get it done. granted, the tax proposal is not
the big agreement that will fully address our debt and deficit. an agreement that we hoped to be able to put together, an agreement that i support, one that includes pro-growth tax reform, bipartisan entitlement reform and finding savings in the federal budget. clearly, these items all need to be addressed, and they need to be addressed on the order of $4 trillion. to really get our deficit and our debt under control. that's the type of deal that i favor, and it's the kind of deal that we have got to get to, but if we can't do it all at once, let's do it in pieces. as the old saying goes, even the longest journey begins with a single step. well, if the first step is this tax deal, let's get going. to break the logjam, let's start with this piece, a tax deal that will ensure that taxes are not increased for middle-class americans.
that is something we can and we must do. does it involve compromise? yes, it does, of course. for example, i think we should extend the current tax rates for all taxpayers. real revenue comes from economic growth, not higher taxes. and by closing loopholes and limiting deductions, we can create a simpler, fairer tax code that will help our economy grow. president obama, however, has a different view, so we're forced to find common ground, and in this case that means extending the tax rates that we can to help as many americans as possible avoid higher taxes. we also need to fully address sequestration. sequestration involves automatic spending cuts. those spending cuts hit the military disproportionately, and i believe they need to be revised, but the pressure to do
that kicks in after january 1, and i believe that that pressure will serve as a catalyst for congress to come up with and pass better alternatives. also, we must address the debt ceiling, and it must be addressed in a way that reduces spending. we have no choice. we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend, and that is simply not sustainable. but again, we have got to break the current logjam, and if we can't get all of these things done in one package, then let's get started with what we can do. let's get this tax piece done for as many working taxpayers as possible and immediately move on to the next task. quite simply, that is what americans want us to do. with that, madam president, i yield the floor and note the
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: i would ask suspension of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: i ask unanimous consent that morning business be extended until 9:00 p.m. with all other provisions remaining in effect. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you. i'm here tonight to talk about agriculture and the 16 million people all across our country who have jobs because of agriculture. and what i'm very concerned about is the way in which an extension is being talked about as part of the larger package
this evening that foes against the wishes -- goes against the wishes of me, of our committee, the chairman in the house, chairman lucas and i, four leaders working together on an extension that works and extends all the programs for agriculture through the end of the fiscal year giving us time to pass a farm bill. again, i'm very concerned about what i'm hearing this evening. and let me first go back and say how appreciative i am and proud of all of us in the senate for having passed a farm bill last june. we all know what it did. more reforms than we've seen in decades, $24 billion in deficit reduction. i understand that the proposal now, the negotiations going on are attempting to find ways to pay for some provisions in the
large package and, madam president, we sit here with $24 billion in deficit reduction in a farm bill that has reforms in it that supports our farmers and ranchers across the country, but reforms through consolidation, efficiencies and cutting subsidies that we have agreed should not be paid, that the country cannot afford to pay to farmers who don't need them. now, we worked very hard on that. we passed that in june. by a large bipartisan vote. we worked together in committee in a bipartisan way. and it is deeply concerning to me that instead of working in a bipartisan way as we have done throughout this process, even though the house never took up the bill that was passed out of their committee in a bipartisan way, we here have worked in a bipartisan way until now.
untiling this -- until this moment at the 11th hour when we are dealing with very important issues, whether or not we're going to make sure that middle-class families don't see tax increases starting tomorrow. and no one has fought harder to make sure that the middle class families of michigan and across the country get those tax cuts than i have. and we know we need to get things done. but we also need to make sure that in the end, we are not putting agriculture, farmers and ranchers, at a disadvantage in the process. and so we in in a bipartisan basis in the house, in the senate, worked together knowing when it became very clear that the house leadership, the speaker had no intention of taking up the farm bill in the house, despite the fact that farmers need certainty of a five-year farm bill and disaster assistance. when that became clear, we
turned to the next responsible approach was to work together on how we could keep in place farm programs making sure we address what's now being called the dairy cliff in terms of milk prices that over time would go up, not immediately, but over time if nothing is done, disaster assistance, and keep in place the provisions of the farm bill that we passed, that we agreed were important for rural communities, for energy security for our country, for jobs, for farmers and ranchers. and now i understand that the republican leader has insisted in his negotiations that only part of the farm bill be extended for the next nine months. not all of it, not all of the pieces that affect rural america and farmers and ranchers but
only part of it. now, they call that a clean extension. because of the way the funding and base line works. i call that -- i won't say would i would call it frankly. except to say that this is bad news for american agriculture, and certainly for the people that i represent in michigan. now, why do i say that? well, first of all, in our extension we make sure that we keep our commitment on disaster assistance. we passed an important disaster assistance bill a few days ago here in the senate. i supported that. but agriculture wasn't in it. the majority of the counties in this country suffering from severe drought, cherry growers in my state being wiped out, other fruit growers having problems, nothing for agriculture.
well, we in our extension make sure that for this year and next that livestock and the fruit growers have the disaster assistance that we passed in the farm bill. and we pay for that. we also make sure that we continue to have an energy title in the farm bill. now, when we look at getting off of foreign oil and creating real competition, advanced biofuels are doing that and we are now creating jobs across michigan and america and in something called biobased manufacturing using -- using agricultural products and we are creating jobs. and we're doing that in part through support from the energy title of the farm bill. republican leaders -- the republican leader's way of extending the farm bill would