tv U.S. Senate CSPAN March 13, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
we came to the house of representatives the same year. we have maintained that friendship here in the senate. we are working closely together on immigration reform and many other issues. i can't think of a finer u.s. senator on either side of the aisle. and i don't have to speak to john mccain's reputation when it comes to military service. we know the story. a navy pilot shot down over vietnam, captured and held captive, subjected to torture for more than five years. john's body still bears the scars of that terrible experience. thank god he survived it and he continues to serve here in the united states senate representing the people of arizona and literally the nation in his capacity as a u.s. senator. he has been the ranking republican on the armed services committee so he knows issues not only as a veteran -- a man who served in the vietnam war -- but also as a senator who has looked closely as each of the issues that affect the department of
defense. he doesn't hold a candle to anyone -- take a step back to anyone when it comes to his commitment to our military and our nation's defense. and now it's my responsibility to come to the floor of the senate and argue against an amendment that senator mccain is offering on the department of defense bill. you think to yourself, durbin, how did you get this assignment? the fact is as chairman of this appropriations subcommittee, it is my responsibility to argue the other side of the issue that senator mccain has brought to the floor. i come to this assignment brand-new, just a few weeks now since the untimely passing of our great friend and national hero, dan inouye of hawaii. and because of his passing, there were vacancies created and i ended up in this position as chairman of the defense appropriation subcommittee in the senate. it is a job i am learning, and i confess there are many here that know it better than i do. but i'll do my best at it because i know the awesome responsibility attached to it.
and i stand today urging my colleagues to vote against the amendment of john mccain. the amendment that john mccain has offered to this continuing resolution as it relates to the department of defense. there are basically four provisions in this three or four provisions in the mccain amendment that i would like to address each of them. one of the provisions allows the department of defense to give grants to organizations. that sounds like a very easy thing to explain, and it is. the three organizations that receive the grants from the department of defense are well known to most americans. certainly two are. the u.s.o. the u.s.o. for decades has been an organization which has troeud troeud -- to provide help to our veterans usually stationed overseas to give them anything as basic to entertainment to counsel as they go to airports to make sure they have a place
to stop by and have a coffee and doughnut. that's the u.s.o. i've kwrupbt stated their mission but we're familiar with it. the other organization is one known to every american, i'm sure: the red cross. and the third is an organization new but important called fisher house. fisher house. let me tell you about fisher house. it was two years ago when i was invited to the grand opening of a fisher house facility near the heinz v.a. hospital in chicago. fisher house is to military and veterans hospitals what ronald mcdonald houses are to children's hospitals. so what we are saying here in the underlying bill is the department of defense can provide grants to these organizations -- fisher house, red cross and u.s.o. and the mccain amendment says no, they can't. it strikes the authority of the department of defense to give them these grants. i think that's a mistake. and for that reason alone, i hope that my colleagues will
vote against the mccain amendment. what we -- the services that are being provided at these -- through these organizations and at these facilities are nothing short of remarkable. fisher house in the city of chicago, near heinz v.a. hospital is a beautiful home, a place where families who have a loved one who is going through surgery or rehabilitation at the heinz v.a. hospital are given a chance to stay overnight. they don't have to pay for a hotel room, and they are treated like royalty, as they should be. these are military families. mothers and fathers, spouses and children who are treated like royalty at this fisher house while they're waiting for their loved one to finish the treatment, the surgery that they need to come back home. why wouldn't we do that? why wouldn't we provide that kind of service? and the fisher house facilities
are largely built by charitable contribution, donations from everybody. so to give to the department of defense the ability to transfer up to $4 million a year -- $4 million -- to the fisher house, why of course we want to do that. across america they do such extraordinary things. and in terms of the red cross grants, here's what the red cross does, and every member of congress knows this. a family will call a senator and say, "senator shelby, we live in mobile, alabama, and i wanted you to know that the mother of a soldier overseas has just passed away, and we've got to get the word to him right away." and what you'll do, senator shelby, and what senator durbin would do is call the red cross. you've got to help us. we've got to get in touch with this serviceman or woman overseas somewhere. so it's an opportunity for them to use their network of volunteers and communications to reach out to that soldier, that sailor, that airman, that marine. that's what they do.
they spend about $10 million in emergency communications services to keep a hotline running, connecting service members, veterans and their families with the services they offer. $2 million for theater support of deployed troops, emergency communications service between deployed service members and their families back home. they provide lounges, the red cross does, in these theaters of operation, settings for our troops to have access to computers so they can be in touch with their families back home. one of the big surprises i ran into as i visited our troops in afghanistan and iraq was to find many of them skyping away with their families while they are far, far away. and some of these facilities are being provided by the red cross. the list goes on and on of all the things that the red cross does to support and help our troops. but the list can't tell you in specifics what red cross volunteers do. these men and women, you see
them everywhere -- under the flag of the red cross, they show up when the tornado hits, when the flood hits. and they always show up when our troops need a helping hand. you know when those thraops get off the -- troops get off the plane in landstuhl germany after being injured overseas, about to be hospitalized, one of the first faces they will see will be a red cross volunteer. what can i do for you? the soldiers are legendary about soldiers who land at these bases and a red cross volunteer walks up. there is one story of one of the soldiers, a volunteer from the red cross said what do you need? he said i need a root beer float, and they kind of laughed and the next thing you know in a matter of 15 minutes up pops the red cross volunteer with a root beer float. it's a small thing. for that soldier, it was an important thing. to say we are not going to allow the department of defense to provide grants to the red cross, the u.s.o. or fisher house?
i think that's a mistake. these are great organizations with great volunteers that do a wonderful job day in and day out to help our troops overseas. if it were my son or daughter overseas, i'd like to know that the red cross is going to be there. i'd like to know the u.s.o. is going to be there. god forbid we need work in a military hospital, i'd like to know there is a fisher house nearby just in case a family needs it that can't otherwise afford to stay at a hotel for a number of nights. the mccain amendment would stop the grants from the department of defense to these three organizations. if it wasn't such a fine man and veteran as john mccain offering this amendment, some people would say, well, why would you do that, you know, to our military service members? i don't think we should. and then there's an issue that's been going on for some time about guam. guam is an important place for stationing some 16,000 marines. 16,000 men and women who volunteer to serve in the u.s.
marine corps and are stationed on guam. it's a challenge. i've been there. it's a remote location, important for our national security, particularly in the pacific theater. but wouldn't we want to say to the men and women who are there in uniform that they are going to have the basics taken care of? and wouldn't we want to say that one of the basics is to make sure that they have safe drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities? here's what we found out. we found out that on the island of guam, our 16,000 marines are in a facility that has reached the absolute limit in terms of wastewater treatment. and the department of defense came to us and said for these troops, we have got to build a new wastewater treatment facility. well, of course we do. we don't want to shortchange them or jeopardize public health in any way. the mccain amendment would eliminate this money, $106 million, in if you funding for n
funding for a wastewater treatment plant on guam. this is not some thrill. this is a basic. you want to believe if your son or daughter volunteers for a marine corps stationed overseas that our government is doing everything we can to make sure they have the basics they need to stay healthy. this is one of them, $106 million for a water water treatment -- a wastewater treatment plan in guam. we want to make sure there is a public health lab in guam. god forbid these men and women in uniform or anyone who represents the united states is facing some biological terrorist. god forbid there is some substance that is being used that could endanger their lives. and god forbid that we'd have to rely on laboratory facilities in atlanta, georgia, if you're halfway around the world. that's where the most professional facilities are. so the department of defense said let's put $13 million
investment in a basic public health lab in guam to protect the safety of americans and our troops. look at these things. look at what i'm asking for. not for museums. not for things that may be considered frivolous and unnecessary in a given context. but rather for the basics to support our troops in the field and to provide those who are stationed on guam some of the most fundamental and basic public health facilities. so it pains me to come to the floor and to resist an amendment from my friend, senator john mccain, but i do it in memory of senator dan inouye, who helped write this bill, who himself a recipient of the congressional medal of honor, had a distinguished service in the military, distinguished career of service in the military. and i hope my colleagues will listen carefully to this debate. and though they feel the strong positive feelings i do towards senator mccain, go to the merits of the issue. defeat the mccain amendment. make sure that the ability of
the department of defense to work with fisher house, the red cross, and the u.s.o. is continued and authorized in law. make sure the 16,000 marines on guam have the most basic things that they need to be safe and healthy and come home and act like we want them to be, as safe as possible. that is what this is about. i urge my colleagues to vote against the mccain amendment, and i yield the floor. and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the time until 5:30 p.m. for debate on the mccain amendment be equally divided between snores mccain and -- senators mccain and myself oregon designees and that at 5:30, the senate proceed to a vote in relation to the mccain amendment, there be no amendments in order to the amendment prior to the vote.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i want to -- i don't know if senator mccain is near is by, but if he is, i want to give him a chance to come over and use the uminutes remaining before the -- the few minutes remaining before the roll call vote. but for those members of the senate who did not listen to the earlier statements by senator mccain and myself, this amendment is very basic and very straightforward. senator mcquey mccain would cutr eliminate the ability of the department of defense to give grants to three organizations -- fisher house, red corks and u.s.o. fisher house is the ronald mcdonald house of veterans hospitals. i visited the one in chicago, talked to my colleagues about other fibber house facilities around america. they are remarkable and amazing places. fisher house is where a family that may not be wealthy has a chance to stay and be treated like royalty while their son, their daughter, their husband, their mother is being operated
on in a military hospital. that's what fisher house is all b i've seen it. volunteers man these houses, make sure that people are treated in the way they should be, make us proud as americans. the mccain amendment would eliminate the authority of the department of defense to give money to the fisher house to continue their operations. the mccain amendment would also eliminate funding grants that are given to the red cross and the u.s.o. the red cross is an extraordinary organization and every american knows what they're about. but if the fiscal year 2010, the red cross provided more than 5 59,000 emergency -- 597,000 emergency communications services for militaryes families and they provided nearly $6 million in financial aid to 5,000 military families, not to mention thousands of red cross volunteers, including service members, veterans, and military spouses who offered comfort and support to our wounded troops
and their families at hospitals around the world. the u.s.o., another great organization, which has provided assistance and entertainment to our troops, many of them stationed far away from home and far away interest their family. and in addition, the mccain amendment would eliminate the construction of a wastewater treatment facility in guam. we have 16,000 marines stationed in guam. the administration -- the president has asked for this money because the waste water treatment facility in guam is inadd quality. it is not safe. it is a public health hazard. an environmental impact statement precede for the realignment of marines from oak noah to guam finds that the current system is near cassty and needs upgrade. whether you argue that guam is going 0 have a large future, a small future, the current -- the current allocation of marines in guam deserve the most basic sanitary wastewater treatment
facility. you'd expect it, would you not, for your soon or daughter serving in our marine corps. we should expect no less and the mccain amendment would eliminate the funding necessary for this wastewater treatment facility as well as a public health laboratory to test samples of suspected toxic substances in a timely manner to protect americans and our troops in that theater of the world. i don't i did noi don't know whr mccain has picked out thesement wills. i hope that my colleagues will join me in defeating the mccain amendment. it is an amendment which would take needed resources away from the u.s.o., red cross and fibber house and deny this wastewater treatment facility in guam. i hope my colleagues will join me in opposing the mccain amendment of i am going to at this point yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum in the hopes that senator mccain can return before the vote. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended and i would like to give my friend, senator mccain, the author of this amendment, an opportunity to speak. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: a short time here. sometimes when you can't argue the merits of an issue, you
just make something up. senator durbin claims that this amendment would cut funding for the fisher house, the red cross, and the u.s.o. well, if you read the bill, if you read the bill, the fisher house is covered in the c.r. in section 8070. the red cross and u.s.o. are covered in section 8078. this amendment strikes section 8039, which pertains to the office of economic adjustment, fund, the o.e.a. fund. has nothing to do with fisher houses, red cross, mothers of america, apple pie, or none of the -- or the flag. nothing to do with those except that it strikes legislation which is expressly prohibited in the defense authorization bill. it strikes -- it strikes language which is directly prohibited by the national defense authorization act. so if the senator wants to claim
that the fisher house, red cross, u.s.o., small animals, children, the united way, whatever else he wants to, they are covered in other parts of the bill. i suggest to the senator from illinois he read the bill, which says section 8070 talks about fisher houses. section 8078 talks about the red cross and the u.s.o. our amendment strikes 8039, which is the office of economic adjustment, that funding. and i thank the senator for recognizing that and i would make it -- well, it's already part of the record because it's there. it's very clear this has nothing to do with the fisher house. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, we have been assured by the house
in the construction of this bill that this provision was added explicitly to make certain that there be no question that the grants that are given to these organizations would be authorized. and included in this appropriation process. and that is their belief, with an abundance of caution we support their belief because we know of the importance of these organizations. and, mr. president, i now move to table the mccain amendment number 33 and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, the vote is 48 yeas, 50 nays. the motion to table is not agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, the question is on the amendment. those in favor please say aye. those opposed.
the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to set the pending amendment aside for consideration of amendment -- ms. mikulski: mr. president, the house is not -- the senate -- the house is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate will please come to order. mr. inhofe: thank you very much. ms. mikulski: i know there is a lot of gloating. i don't mean yours, sir. mr. inhofe: thank you. mr. mikulski: could we kind of keep it quiet so senator inhofe could offer his amendment? mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: would my friend yield so i can make a brief statement? you will get the floor when i finish. mr. inhofe: yes. mr. reid: mr. president, i have
been waiting today to take just a moment to honor myron fleming, director of doorkeepers, who is retiring after 40 years working on capitol hill. he began working in the capitol with the office of senator howard metzenbaum of ohio. he has worked in the senate for 33, 34 years, and prior to that, he worked in the house of representatives for seven years. he is someone i have watched over the many years that i have been here. he is really a wonderful personality. he is someone who helps keep order in this institution. his presence here in the senate is a calming -- one that's calming. everyone knows him, likes him. it just won't be the same without him. while i will miss him, i know he will be glad to spend more time with his wife jean as well as their children, mark and michelle and their granddaughter. we talked the other day when i learned he was retiring. i remember a lot of things.
i have already talked about what a fine gentleman he is. but one thing he and i joked about today, i was here handling the floor as i did for daschle for those many years, and there was this big crash. what has happened here? what had happened, myron was rushing around here, doing the work that he did, and he could not have done a better pir owette if he had been -- pirouette if he had been a ballerina. he flipped in the air, came crashing down. everybody thought something bad had happened. he got up, smiled and walked away. he and i joked about that earlier. earlier, i asked gary, i said find somebody on the staff that was there when myron fell, and no one remembered, but myron and i remembered, so i went and talked to him myself. he's leaving next week to go on a cruise, cancun, mexico, with his wife and his granddaughter. i thank him on behalf of the entire senate for his faithful
service to our country and to the united states senate. i wish him well in retirement. mr. inhofe: i thank the leader. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, first, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment for consideration of amendment number -- mrs. boxer: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: as i understand it, i just two minutes ago got a copy of what my dear friend is going to offer, and here we go again with a series of environmental riders that have nothing to do with this bill, that would change laws that protect our rivers and our streams and involve the e.p.a. making sure that we prevent oil spills. so i frankly, i'm objecting to this at this time unless i know we're going to have a 60-vote threshold on this. otherwise, i'm going to put in a quorum call at this time. mr. inhofe: well, i have the
floor. mrs. boxer: no, you don't have the floor. i have the floor. reserving the right to object. mr. inhofe: no. i have the floor. mrs. boxer: all right. go ahead, senator. mr. inhofe: first of all, i would not object to a 60-vote threshold, because -- in order to get things to move along. mrs. boxer: fine. mr. inhofe: i would say to my good friend from california that you have seen this bill several times before and several months ago, we actually -- we had a vote on it. but i have no objection to that. mrs. boxer: thank you so much. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: thank you. yes, this is something that we're all familiar with. you know, there is a spill prevention or spcc bill some -- oh. the presiding officer: excuse me, senator. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: senator from oklahoma, mr. inhofe, proposes amendment numbered 29 to amendment number 26. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: this is a bill that has been up for years and years this has come up.
it was originally designed for refineries, refineries that have very large amounts of storage, of oil, of propane, of all of that type of material, and it was designed for them to have the necessary safeguards in there. then later on, there became a gray area. should it -- and i ask the question because it's never really been answered -- should they be able to now apply this to farms when the farms would have perhaps a little bit over here, appropriated over here someplace else, some -- and it might add up to the 1,320 gallons at one time. if that's the case, then they would be under the same requirements as we currently have for refineries. and i'm talking about having to do volumes and volumes of paperwork. they would have to purchase new double wide containers and build berms around their storage facilities. we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, and this could be an average sized farm.
e.p.a. hasn't done enough outreach to farmers to help them get into compliance, so when this came up before, we introduced this same amendment that would give them time, with the assurance at that time, that they would do this. in fact, i recall personally visiting with lisa jackson. she had every intent to go ahead and make these notifications. so the e.p.a. shouldn't be allowed to enforce this rule against farmers at this time. what this does is ask for an extension to give them time, and i plan on talking to the new director of the e.p.a. about this very issue. this is not just exempting farmers. this is giving more time, in this case until the end of this fiscal year. and so i would like to be able to pass this. i would like -- i do move its adoption and ask for the yeas and nays. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: we're still on the inhofe amendment. is there an opportunity to speak on the amendment before a vote is called or are you asking for
a vote immediately? are you asking for a vote immediately? mr. inhofe: no, we're asking for a vote sometime tomorrow. they are talking about putting this over. mr. reed: i would -- i just would like to at the appropriate moment be recognized to speak against -- respectfully against the senator's amendment. now is the time? well, in that case, let me go ahead and say this. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island is recognized. mr. reed: senator i who have is proposing a very sweeping amendment is affect a rule that e.p.a. has developed over the normal rule-making process over many, many months. it is scheduled to go in effect in may of this year. the amendment that the senator is offering, as i understand it, exempts all farms from this e.p.a. oil spill regulation. again, this is designed to prevent or significantly prevent the pollution of navigable
waters by oil spills coming from agricultural operations. and one of the issues here is, you know, the definition of what appropriate farm should be exempt. as i understand the amendment, it is all farms, that includes large agricultur agribusinesses, collectively contribute to environmental quality. i know the agricultural community is concerned, and i know also, too, that this is the type of very complicated legislation that is best resolved, i think, at the authorization level, and the senator from oklahoma i think has already indicated there are bills pending. and these bills are much more, i think, finely atuned and -- attuned and nuanced to address more specifically the problem rather than a total effective preemption from the rule for all farms. so i would urge very strenuously
-- and i know the intentions of the senator from oklahoma are to assist the agricultural community, but i don't think this is the place or the time, as we try very seriously to get a bill through the end of the week essentially that will keep the government operating, to decide on these complicated authorization issues, effectively cutting out completely a very serious and detailed rule-making process that the e.p.a. has undertaken. so i would urge my colleagues at the appropriate time -- mrs. boxer: would the senator yield? oh, go ahead, senator inhofe. mr. inhofe: yes, i just want to correct -- to make sure there is a clear understanding of what this is. this is something that is in existence today. and it is going to be a temporary holding this to the e.p.a. will study to see what kind of a hardship this will be to all of your farmers and my farmers. this is not the bill -- i actually is a bill that would exclude farmers from this. this is not that bill. this merely extends that
deadline to give them time to do what they had agreed they were going to do in terms of the e.p.a. studying this issue. i want to make sure that clarification -- mr. reed: i appreciate very much the clarification. but let me retain my time and then yield to the senator from california. mrs. boxer: if i could ask my colleague a couple o couple of , if he would he gauge in a colloquy with me. know that the senator from rhode island dish appreciate what he said about how sweepingness. the senator has amendment in front of him, does he not? mr. reed: i have the amendment, yes. mrs. boxer: and i need to say here, please, colleagues, this is not kind of extension of time. this says "no funds made available under this act shall be used to implement or enforce with respect to any farm" and it goes through "the spill prevention control and countermeasure rule." this is a prohibition on e.p.a.
implementing rule, am i correct? mr. reed: i believe the senator is absolutely correct. it certainly -- there's no time extension. one could argue as this c.r. runs out, maybe this provision would run out, but the intent of the bill is clearly that there is no money to be expended for any implementation against any farm -- mrs. boxer: exactly. mr. reed: and that's the language of the bill. mrs. boxer: i would to ask my colleague a couple of other questions. farms are exempted if they store less than 1,320 gallons of oil above ground or less than 42,000 gallons underground. that's the rule. is my colleague aware that have? mr. reed: well, i thank the senator for bringing that to my attention. because one point i would make -- and i do -- i think senator inhofe doesn' does want to enga. one point i would make is in this e.p.a. rule-making process,
there is a requirement to evaluate the cost and benefits with respect to the rule. and ha in that sense, many of te issues have been addressed, and they have been done so in a very careful way. two, it's been done by listening to -- in fact, the requirement heellheel legal is to take the comments of many people, stakeholders from all sides. the and then frankly the other costs and the traditional costs to protest a rule is not to legislatively illiterat eliminat to contest the rule in court. mrs. boxer: will my colleague yield for one more question. i know senator inhofe wants to speak. by the way, we have a deep friendship, but this is something we have never agreed on. and i want to make a point about the e.p.a. rule. farms storing any amount of oil are exempted if an oil spill could not reasonably be expected to reach rivers and streams.
my colleague is talking about this as some draconian rule. and the fact of the matter is, even one quarter of oil, used oil, can contestimony nate up to 2 million gallons of drinking water. so my feel something did ash i am a little blindsided on this, to saivment if he is going to keep doing these riders on here that threaten the health of the american people, i wish he'd take it to me and at least give me a personal heads up, because this is something that's very serious and i will be speaking more on it to. and i thank my colleague for yielding. mr. reed: i believe i still have the time. let me make one point. i think again, going back to -- this is a complicated rule that has tried to balance various equity -- environmental protection, protecting the navigable waters of the united states, recognizing that small farms or farms that in no way
their oil coul should be exempt. here on the other side is an amendment that is very, very broad, open-innedended, all far. i would urge my colleagues to resist the amendment. and i think the senator from oklahoma wants to speak. mr. inhofe: let me make one comment for clarification. and we will have the opportunity to look at this closer as the senator from california suggests, tomorrow. because we have talked about this in the past of the this is just extending that may 30 date through the he could of the fiscal year. as you know, everything that would be an amendment adopted on this would expire at the end of the year. so it is an extension of that time because by their own admission, the e.p.a. has not had time to listen to the concerns of the farmers, and i'm talking about farmers in both of your states there, as well as my state of oklahoma. and as far as making the determination as to where the oil might go, i think we all
know that would be a very difficult thing to do. there's been an effort for quite sometime to take the word "navigable" out, which could really open it up to anywhere. so i think perhaps tomorrow we'll have time to get into this. and i a i really wanted to get n the queue. i thank -- mr. reed: if i could reclaim the time -- the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: i think the senator'senator's comments are e in that because the c.r. terminates on september 30, then because of the term nation of the c.r., this language might go away. but this language here is not clear -- that's the point of senator from california made -- is not a time certain for the e.p.a. to do something. it is no funds, no farms. and i think there is a reasonable concern that i have that this will not just be a deliberative delay of several months, but this is the intent to stop this indefinitely as this language is drafted.
mr. inhofe: look, i would just conclude by saying, yes, that would be my intent. but not with this legislation. this amendment doesn't do that. i actually do have a bill that i have up that would permanently exempt farmers in certain categories from being under this -- the jurisdiction of this -- of these limitations. but that isn't what this is at this time. thank you very much. i thank the president. mr. reed: i thank the senator from oklahoma, and i would yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington state. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, here in washington, d.c., the budget debate is often discussed in terms of abstract numbers and political winners and losers. but the truth is that budgets are about far more than that. they are about our values and our priorities, and they are about the people across the country whose lives are impacted by the decisions that we make.
today the senate budget committee discussed one approach to tackling our budget challenges, an approach that while getting our debt and deficits under control will also create jobs and build the foundation for prosperity from the middle out. tomorrow we will continue this discussion and vote on a plan. then we will move this debate here to the senate floor and then hopefully work towards a balanced and bipartisan agreement with the house of representatives while the american people have a chance to weigh in. mr. president, i believe our budget must meet not just one but many pressing challenges of our time. we've come a long way since early 2009 when president obama entered office facing massive deficits and an economy that was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month. now we've made progress towards getting our debt and deficits under control, and we've added back jobs, but the recovery
isn't as strong or as fast as it needs to be. millions of workers continue struggling to get back to work, and we still have some very serious challenges when it comes to our medium- and long-term deficit and debt challenges. in the coming weeks and months, we will be asked to make tough choices as we work to tackle these challenges responsibly. this process is not going to be easy. there's a serious difference of opinion about what our government should be doing to keep our economy and our national finances moving in the right direction. one approach is to follow a path back to the economic policies of the last administration. this is the path to more tax cuts for the rich but less opportunity for the middle class to get ahead. it is a path not to prosperity, which can only truly be built from the middle out, but to the deterioration of our national infrastructure and the decline of our schools and the
dismantling of the medicare promise we've made to our seniors. this approach in fact was on the ballot last november. voters around the country rejected it. instead, they want an approach that puts the middle class first, that returns our nation to the fiscal and economic policies that have worked for this country before by focusing on jobs and the economy, cutting spending responsibly, and calling on the wealthiest americans to pay their fair share. the senate budget, mr. president, which we put out today, reflects the progrowth, promiddle-class agenda that the american people went to the polls and supported in november. our budget is really built on three principles. number one -- we need to protect our fragile economic recovery. create jobs and invest in long-term growth. number two -- we need to tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly.
and number three -- we need to keep the promises we've made to our nation's seniors and families in our communities. we believe that with an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly high and the middle class that has seen their wages stagnate for far too long, we simply cannot afford any threats to our fragile recovery. that's why this budget uses equal amounts of responsible spending cuts and new revenue from the wealthiest americans to fully replace the cuts from sequestration, cuts that by the way threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs this year and cuts that endanger economic growth for years to come. and cuts that are being felt in states like mine where military families are losing services, local housing officials are being forced to cut housing vouchers for the homeless, and further lows are being handled out -- furloughs are being handed out to those who are
cleaning up nuclear waste that threaten our environment. mr. president, the budget we are offering invests in infrastructure and job training to get americans back to work now. it prioritizes education as well as research and development so that our workforce of today and tomorrow has the skills to compete in the 21st century global economy. our budget puts jobs and the economy first and foremost, but it also builds on the work we've done over the last two years to tackle our deficit and debt responsibly. mr. president, since 2010, congress and the administration have worked together to reduce the deficit by $2.4 trillion -- $1.8 trillion coming in spending cuts, $600 billion coming from allowing tax rates to rise on the wealthiest americans, which we voted on in the year-end deal. now the senate budget takes us the rest of the way to that $4 trillion goal and beyond. it builds on the $2.4 trillion
in deficit reduction already dong with an additional $1.85 trillion in new deficit reduction for a total of $4.25 trillion in deficit reduction since the simpson-bowles report. our budget reduces the deficit to below 3% of g.d.p. by 2015 and keeps it well below that level for the rest of the ten-year window in a responsible way. and it pushes our debt as a percentage of the economy down moving in the right direction. our budget tackles the deficit the way the american people have consistently said they want it done, with an equal mix of responsible spending cuts made across the federal budget and new revenue raised by closing loopholes and cutting wasteful breaks that primarily benefit the rich. this budget cuts spending responsibly by $975 billion, finding savings across the
budget, including health and defense, and it matches those responsible spending cuts with $975 billion in new revenue, which is raised by closing loopholes and cutting unfair spending in the tax code for those who need it the least. while locking in tax cuts for the middle class and low-income families and protecting them from having to pay a penny more. since we have so far been unable to get a deal because republicans reject using new revenue from the wealthiest to help us reduce the deficit, i want to emphasize there is bipartisan support for deficit reduction through making the tax code more fair and efficient. you know, during the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, speaker boehner proposed that we reduce the deficit by $800 billion by closing what he called special interest loopholes and deductions. this budget takes him up on that. in addition to investing in jobs and economic growth and tackling
our deficit and debt responsibly, this budget also keeps the promises that we have made to our seniors, our families, our veterans, and our communities. and we strongly reject the calls to dismantle medicare by voucherizing it because this critical program that seniors and families support paid into and depend on should be protected. mr. president, this budget takes a responsible, fair approach. it's the one endorsed by bipartisan groups and experts, and it is the one supported by the vast majority of the american people. now, the house of representatives is also working on their budget resolution today and i know there are going to be serious differences between the visions and values and priorities within the budget that will emerge from our chamber and theirs but the american people are going to have an opportunity now to examine these budgets side by side. they are going to be able to decide which approach is best for our economy, best for our
jobs, and best for the middle class. theg they will let us know whether they want to go back down the path of the trickle-down policies that decimated the middle class and threw our economy into a tailspin, or if they would prefer the approach we've seen work before, to tackle our deficit responsibly, to reinvest in the middle class, to build a strong foundation for growth, and to restore the promise of american opportunity. mr. president, the senate budget is a balanced and a responsible approach to taking us down that second path and i'm hopeful that the house of representatives will join us at the bargaining table so that we can end this gridlock and work together towards a responsible and bipartisan budget deal that the american people expect and deserve. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: will --.
the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, before the gentlelady leaves the floor, i want to compliment her on the work she's done on the budget committee. it is indeed impressive. i want to compliment her because she is heading for a balanced approach really, increased revenue, we're not talking about rates, we're talking about getting rid of tax break earmarks. those earmarks that go on not for one group for one year but go on indefinitely. like subsidies to corporate jets, sending jobs overseas. you know, but the other is, also looking at how we need to be more frugal in our spending, and then a rigorous review of mandatory spending. and we have to review it to see how we can get more value for our dollar. you've championed many -- you
champion veterans health care but you and i know we can get more value there. so i want to compliment you on that. now, you -- i want to ask the gentlelady a question about timing and process. does the gentlelady have a time mandate that has been assigned her to complete her bill? mrs. murray: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from maryland. first of all, let me just say it is truly a pleasure to be on the floor with the chairman of the appropriations committee and i just remember senator, when you and i were here back in 1992 and it was the year of the woman, and now here we are managing these really critical bills. ms. mikulski part of the critical framework for the united states. mrs. murray: making sure they have the research and investment they need for their health care and so many transportation infrastructure projects that allowed them to go to work and
raise their families in a responsible way and i really, really respect and admire the work you're trying to do right now on a very difficult, challenging budget c.r. that no one wishes looks like it does but we recognize the reality of the task you've been given and you're just managing it in the best way possible. to answer your question, i would tell the senator that we are in a very short time frame. our budget committee will proceed through the amendment process and tomorrow night pass out our budget after many amendments. at that time, our staff will work over the few short days they have to have the paperwork ready to lay our bill down on the floor of the senate, hopefully monday night. we're in a very constricted time frame, it's the one piece of legislation that comes before this body like that with 50 hours of debate and multiple amendments. we need to finish that before we can leave here for the april break. ms. mikulski: i want to share the gentlelady's sense of urge
ebbs urgency to get your bill done. in order for you to get your bill done, i need to get your bill done. i want to pledge my cooperation with you and believe that of my vice chairman, senator shelby. we have a sense of urgency to move our bill because we must take it over to the house. we have a deadline that is a draconian one that if we do not have a continuing funding resolution passed before the easter-passover break, we will face a government shutdown. that is horrific in terms of our economy and the people who want the united states government to govern itself. it is also one more sign that we have a problem governing. and i say that because i say to you, while you're marking up your bill tomorrow, we want to move through here so that we're
done. i would like to have this bill done tomorrow. there are those who have obligations in their state and even at an international conference. i'd like to support that. but senator shelby and i need support, too. so we don't doubt people offering amendments, we don't question their content or their policy. but we have timing and process. our bill doesn't solve -- is not meant to be pin the tail on the donkey. it is not meant to solve every problem that the united states government has. our job is to keep a continuing resolution. so i'm going to say to you, but in speaking to you i'm going to speak to a much wider audience. i know that there's pent-up frustration not to be able to offer amendments and debate. we're doing that. you win some, you lose some, that's called the senate. and i want you to know we want to work with you so we don't
interfere in your work, but i feel one of the ways we can get to the budget, which is the real framework for how we can even vitiate sequester, is to get our bill done, meaning the continuing funding resolution, so i want to compliment you on your work, i pledge the support but i ask the support of all the other 98 of our colleagues. let's look at what we need to get done on the continuing funding resolution, not what we would like to get done. mrs. murray: if the senator from maryland, the chairman of our appropriations committee, would yield for just a minute, i want to back you up on that. i know there are probably 8,000 amendments that could be offered to this because nobody is happy with the fact we are faced with a continuing resolution that doesn't reflect the needs of all of our communities. i know you didn't come here to debate process or to be the mother of senators and get them over here to offer amendments. i know where your passion is,
it's fighting for our kids and families and your communities in maryland and that's what you want to get back to. if we can get past this and put your c.r. in place, swallow hard, and then get our budget done and work towards a process of a bipartisan budget, we need to do that so we can then give you the ability to put your appropriations committee bills together and they will come out here and we will be able to offer amendments and people will have their stay seau about the federal spending speng of the fiewmplet. but we can't do that until we get your bill done. ms. mikulski: an open and transparent process, legislation that we -- put together over a weekend, 571 pages, senators mccain and coburn were right, but i couldn't do any more because i didn't get it from the house until thursday. so, again, i'm not here to debate process. but i am the prodder of the process so i'm out here prodding and pleading, please, let's get a simple, contained order of amendments.
we thank the other side of the aisle, they are working with us. but in terms of the floor staff that's working on this, we need the cooperation of the senators. mrs. murray: i would back you up and urge senators, please let's finish this product, move on to our budget next week, get that done and then we can get to the point that america will respect the work of this body and not lurch from crisis to crisis as you've outlined and get back to really focusing on the policies that those families you care about and represent so well want you here for. ms. mikulski: absolutely. mr. president, i note that pending on the floor is my colleague from maryland, such an able and active member, a member of the finance committee that is known to make a contribution. we want him to make a couple of trillion dollars worth of contribution, as a matter of fact.
mr. president, i yield the floor and am happy to see my colleagues colleague on it. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you very much. let me thank my colleague from maryland, senator mikulski. i was listening to the exchange between senator murray and senator mikulski and i want to concur in their comments. we need to act on h.r. 933, the amendments offered by senator mikulski and senator shelby. it's important for us to move forward on this. for several reasons. first, we are over five months into the fiscal year, and we need to enact the fy 2012 budget -- fy 2013 budget. excuse me. we have to get past the fy 2013 budget. it's important we pass the omnibus bill, send it back to the house, hopefully reconcile the differences quickly because we only have few more days to
get this enacted in order to make sure government continues, but just as importantly, to give predictability to our agencies for the next seven months. we are very close to getting that done, and i would urge my colleagues to to cooperate as the chairperson of the appropriations committee, senator mikulski, has said. i certainly strongly support the work that's been done. i thank senator mikulski and senator shelby for bringing us together in a way that i would hope the senate would operate, that we work together, democrats and republicans, come together on a bill, and move that legislation. now, having said that, i must tell you i share the frustration that senator mikulski talked about. there are provisions that are not included in this legislation that i would like to see included, and there are some provisions that are included that i would like to see not included. let me talk about one of the provisions that's included that i regret that is there.
that is the provision that would extend the pay freeze for our federal work force through the remainder of the current budget can comeer yeer, through fy 2013. i am proud to represent the people of i had in the united states senate along with my colleague, senator mikulski. we represent 130,000 federal workers. that's about 5.6% of the maryland work force are federal workers. these are public servants. these are people that are on the front line. these are people who are providing critical service every day to the people of this country. a couple weeks ago i was at the national institutes of health. i had a chance to talk to the work force there. the work they are doing is so critically important to the people of this country. i could tell you the basic research they do is critically important to a lot of companies and the creation of jobs and that's absolutely true. but let me just tell you the story of one individual that i happened to meet. one of the scientists there took me to the program that they are
doing. the work that they are doing is in the field of research on renal cancer. i had a chance to meet with one of the individuals in that program. he comes from a different state. he was diagnosed a while ago with having a form of renal consider where there -- cancer where there was no cure. he was told by his doctor you have basically two choices. we can treat you with the only technology that we know, either here or at any facility in the country, and you have six months to live. or you can participate in an n.i.h. program and they're looking at alternative ways to treat this form of renal cancer. well, this person picked the latter course and came to bethesda, maryland, and participated in a program and they discovered in this form of
cancer that there is drug therapy that will stop the growth of the cancer cells. and is he now living a somewhat normal -- more normal life with a hope of survival. he didn't have that just a few months ago. now, when i talked to this person about what he felt about sequestration, do you know what he told me, or about government shutdowns? he said, i never thought i would need government. you know, i was working, i never thought i would need government. but i tell ya, n.i.h. needs the money we give them. it helped save my life and it helps develop the type of scientific base that we need in this country. now, that story could be told many times over. they need the predictability of a budget. they need the legislation that senator mikulski is promoting that will give them the funding for the remainder of this year so they can continue their critically important work. i visited the social security administration just a week or so
ago and i met a lot of hardworking federal workers who are trying to get social security benefits to those who need it. we have people who have disabilities trying to get a disability determination so they can get their check. there's a delay in getting that done. well, that delay will only get longer if the social security administration doesn't have the people they need in order to process those claims. i could mention many other agencies. n.s.a. and the critical work they do on cybersecurity. these are the best mathematicians in the world and they're federal workers and they're serving in the most noble of public service. or the work being done at nist, which is developing the technology needs for our future. or the work done at f.d.a. and food safety. these are all people working in my state of maryland for a federal agency as federal workers getting the job done for
the people of this country. and they deserve our support. they've already sacrificed. they've seen budgets that have shrunk. they have less people working and their mission has increased. more work, less workers. they've now been through two years, now it will be three, of a pay freeze. that translates to $90 billion contribution to the deficit problems of this country. that's what the federal workers have done. and, quite frankly, i find it disappointing that a very modest pay raise -- pay adjustment for a seven-month period of .5%, one-half of 1%, increase that was in the president's budget that we held off for the first five months that we're now going to hold it off for the remainder of this year. i think that's wrong. that pay adjustment should have
gone forward and i regret that it's not included in the legislation that we'll have a chance to act on. now, there are provisions in this bill -- by the way, let me tell you about the federal work force, they're going to have continual sacrifices, because this continuing resolution on this bill continues the lower numbers caused by the across-the-board cuts as a result of sequestration. as a result of that, many of our federal workers are going to be getting furlough notices. what does a furlough notice mean? that means as much as one day out of five they're going to be asked not to show up for work. that translates to a 20% pay c cut. some may be one out of every ten days. that's a 10% pay cut. now, if you have a mortgage payment to make or you have your utility bills to pay, they're not going to accept the fact that it can be 10% less because you've been furloughed one day every ten days. so our federal workers are going
to even do more. and i think we need to acknowledge that, not by just saying they're doing a great job of public service, by giving them the support that they need. and i hope as we move forward on the budget considerations for fy 2014, we will take into consideration the sacrifices already made by our federal work force and give them the support that they need to get the job done for the people of this country. now, there are provisions that were left out of this continuing resolution omnibus bill that i think should have been included. let me support senator harkin and the amendment that he has pending that would basically put into the continuing resolution the work that was done during regular order by the appropriations committee on the labor-h.h.s. appropriation bill. it really accepts regular order. but what it does, it doesn't increase the total at all, it
just adjusts the money that was spent in fiscal year 2012 to the committee priorities established in fy 2013. in other words, it uses regular order with the same appropriation dollars in order to update the spending in the agencies under the committee's jurisdiction. this makes sense. let me just give you one example. i could give you many others. i talked about the national institutes of health. i talked about how valuable the work that they do is all about. well, as a result of budget reductions, they can now only approve one out of about every seven eligible grants that they -- they make grants to our universities, to -- to groups that do work to find the answers to these diseases. they only can now give one out of every seven. as it was explained to me by dr. collins, they have to choose
between the really great grant that are submitted and the great great grants that are submitted and can only take a very few number of the really worthwhile projects that are out there. so we need to do better. senator harkin's amendment would increase the amount of money going to n.i.h. by about $140 million. once again, it doesn't change the overall totals. it just adjusts the priorities from fy 2012 -- from fy 2013 to fy 2014. so i would urge my colleagues to support that amendment so that an agency like n.i.h. can get the help they need without it at all affecting the overall spending of this nation. i really do look forward to us working together, democrats and republicans, in the national interest, compromise, bipartisan. that's what we need to do. that's exactly what senator mikulski and shelby have done in bringing forward this
legislation. it deserves our support. i was listening to senator murray. i know that we'll be voting on a budget next week for fy 2014. what we need to do is work together, democrats and republicans, let these bills go into conference and let's work together and bring out a budget that represents the best for our nation to move forward. the thing i hear the most from the people of maryland is that they want us to make decisions, they need the predictability of a budget. we can give them that for our current year by the enactment of the bill that's currently before us and then we could give them the predictability they need for future decisions of our nation by approving in a bipartisan manner the budget for fy 2014. i hope we can do that also. that would clearly be in the best interest of our nation. and with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without t objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, we had began a markup on the budget today. it's the first time in three years the budget committee has actually met to begin to mark up a bill. we just had opening statements today. we have made opening statements before we saw the chairman's mark, and the mark was produced later after the opening statements were completed, and tomorrow we will have a markup on the budget and it will be one day and amendments will all be completed tomorrow and there will be several interruptions, but the determination is to just finish.
which of course is contrary to what we would like to have happen. the republican members of the committee ask that we have a week set aside, that we do opening statements beginning monday or tuesday, and that we actually have amendments up through a normal process and be able to actually engage in the kind of debate that i think would be helpful for the financial future of our country. the chair and the democratic majority decided that we would just do opening statements. -- opening statements this afternoon and do all the amendments tomorrow and we will complete tomorrow regardless. so that's where we are, and i am glad that we do have a budget being brought forward. if it's brought to the floor, it will be the first time in four years that the democratic majority has brought a budget to the floor. this is in violation of plain law, statutory code of the united states 1974 requires that a budget be passed every year
and brought forward. they just refuseed to do so. the majority leader said it was foolish to bring a budget. what he meant was it was foolish politically. surely, he wouldn't contend it's foolish for america that the democratic leadership in the senate would not bring up a budget. surely it would be good for the country to do this every year like the law requires, but that's where we have been. so we're glad. the house passed earlier this year a bill that said no budget, no pay. the senate, congress, if you don't pass a budget, at least out of your own house, then you don't get paid. so we -- that picked up the pace, apparently, and we have got a budget, although the president had not submitted his budget. amazingly. i think it's the first time in 90 years somebody said, the first time certainly in my memory that the president of the united states -- and he was
required by law to have the budget in by february 4 -- has waited for the house, which is marking up a budget today and the senate to do their budget first. that goes against what mayors and cities do and governors do, but that's where we are. now, mr. president, i'll tell you one thing that we have learned in the short time we have had the budget that defines a lot about where our majority wants the country to go. over ten years, this budget at a time of dangerous fiscal crisis spends more, $640 billion more than the current law we passed, just about 20 months ago, august, 2011. we agreed to the budget control
act. we agreed to a certain amount of money that we would spend, and no more. and the president signed it, and both parties in the house and the senate agreed to it. and what happens? here we are with them proposing a budget, and it will spend more money than we agreed to spend just a few months ago. and the worst thing about it is that spending control act did not go far enough. we should have reduced spending more. and in addition to that, it looks like there will be about a trillion dollars in new taxes in this budget. so it's tax more and spend more. it's really the wrong direction for america. people say that's just politics. what's the matter with you guys? why can't you reach an agreement? and it's hard to reach an agreement when the country is on an unsustainable debt path that puts us in danger of financial
crisis and is already slowing growth down in our country. and to agree to a budget that continues that is not the right thing to do. so i'm deeply disappointed that we are in this fix. and i wish we had had an opportunity in committee to really have a discussion about it back and forth because there are good democratic members of our committee, talented members, good republican members, talented members that bring so much to the discussion, but it was not -- it was just both sides talking today, and some good statements were made but not the kind of engagement we'd like to have. so that's a disappointment. mr. president, under the current baseline that we're on, according to the congressional budget office, in the tenth year of this budget that we are dealing with, that we are under right now, the budget control
act, interest on our debt will be $850 billion. $850 billion in interest payment for one year on the money we have borrowed, the almost $17 trillion that we have borrowed. this is why it's such a dangerous thing. the highway bill is $40 billion or $50 billion a year. aid to education, maybe $100 billion. i'm talking about in just a few years because we run up unnecessarily so much debt, the interest will be 900. that will be more than the defense department, by far. the defense department's base budget is about $540 billion. and it's actually being cut. interest will be the largest growing item in the budget. food stamps went from $20 billion just a decade ago to
$80 billion. i just left my farmers, they came up from alabama. we were talking about that. the farm bill is about $100 billion a year. of that farm bill, $80 billion of it is the food stamp budget. it's gone up four times. the $20 billion that goes to farmers in aid and insurance and those kind of things actually was cut this year, but nothing was cut out of food stamps. they resisted that and turned down even a modest amendment i offered to end clear abuse that wouldn't have hurt anybody. so i guess that what i'm saying to you, we're in a serious business here, and we have got to get off the debt course that we are on. now, a lot of people have said said -- and erskine bowles who was appointed by president obama to head the fiscal commission along with alan simpson, told us in a written statement gnat budget committee this nation has
never faced a more predictable financial crisis. and what they were saying was if we don't get off the debt path we're on, we're going to have a financial collapse. they didn't say exactly what, but something like greece, something like we had in 2007, throwing our country back into a recession, a very dangerous thing. it was a bipartisan warning to us. that we needed to act, and we haven't acted since then. that was over two years ago. and so we haven't done anything. and so a lot of people are saying -- and you have heard it said -- we have got to act because we are worried about our children and our grandchildren, and we should be worried about the debt that's out there for our children and grandchildren. senator kelly ayotte from new hampshire put the picture up at our budget committee today of her two children.
i think 5 and 8. and she had one with $1.1 million of that child's picture and the younger one had $1.3 million on her picture. that's what was calculated will be the share of the nation's debt that they will carry when they are adults. this is wrong. we should not, must not do this to our children and was not done to us. our parents left us with a country much more responsibly managed than this. we have never, ever, ever had a situation in which we've had four consecutive years of deficits amounting to $1 $1,200,000,000,000 a year. never. oh, president bush spent too much. yes, he did. he deserves some criticism. i think he does deserve some criticism. you know what? the year before he left office,
his deficit was $161 billion. his last year was $40 billion. for the -- $40 billion. for the -- was $470 billion. it's got to be changed. now, there's one more thing -- i rulely would like for my colleagues to focus on and i'll wrap up at this point. but it's really, really important. the question is, when you have debt equal to $17 trillion, does it impact the economy now? yes, it puts us at risk for some sort of fiscal crisis, if there is a collapse in europe, a collapse in japan, a quoll lapsn china. it could kick us off in a major financial disaster in the united states. but the question is, does the debt that we have now slow
growth today, mr. president? and i think that's a really important issue. and so we've done the research on it. the issue was originally raised by rogoff and reinhart. they've done a number of studies, wrote a big book on it, about all the nations that go into default and have had debt crises over the last 100 years. it is a thoroughly respected work of two highly competent and proven, respected economists. i think harvard and i'm not sure where ca carmen reinhardt is frm as a professor. when debt reaches 90% of the size of your economy, you show economic growths, 1% to 2%. where are we now? a the although of people have been using the figure, the public debt of the united states. and that's one way to calculate it and our public debt
represents about 76% of our gross domestic product. but the other debt that we use, the one you have a he seen most -- you've seen most often, the $16 trillion figure that has the numbers spinning on if is what's called the gross debt. a lot of people seem to think that we were not in danger because rogoff and reinhart were talking about the public debt. that is not so. we've examined their work. we've examined their footnotes and their reports and analysis. it is the gross debt. that's what they were using. that's what they calculated. so we are at 104% gross debt. so we're well over the 90%. and i would contend that the reason our economy is failing to meet for the last three years the growth expectations that were out there is because our debt is dragging us down now, and there are hundreds of
thousands, millions of americans that are probably out of work today because of the debt drag now, and we need to get off this path. and the budget the majority moves in our committee gets us nowhere off this pasmgh path. it never gets us below a 90% -- 94% g.d.p. debt. and probably -- and we haven't finished the analysis of it. in addition, the international monetary fund, the european central bank, the bank of international -- the bank of international settlements -- the international settlements bank, all three have done similar studies with a little different approach, and they all reach the same conclusion. what they've concluded is that however you calculate the debt, the united states is already above the line where growth is
slowed. so i think it was two years ago that the congressional budget office -- our nonpartisan group that makes projections for our debt finances in the future -- they calculated that this year, 2013, we'd have 4.6% growth. they predicted much higher growth last year than the 2.2% we got the year before that. and they missed the previous year. they missed three consecutive years predicting higher growth than occurred, and growth means a lot. the white house economic expert christine roemer has estimated that 1% dproaj in the economy, the difference between 2% and 3%, means that you would create a million jobs to have 3% growth rather than 2% growth. that's what growths does to job
creation, wages, the possibility of getting raises, getting more wages, more overtime perhaps, more bonuses because the economy is growing, and if it's not growing, our workers are hurting. so our vision -- i think the members of the republican side of this budget committee, we're united in the belief that we can bring this budget under control and we can balance it. now, i have to tell you, the budget chairman murray produced tonight does not balance ever. it never balances. they say it is a balanced approach. they even said a couple of times it is a balanced budget. you're not hearing. but all they were trying to do was use the word "balance" i think maybe -- surely not, but perhaps hoping people will hear
them say they've got a balanced budget. it comes nowhere close to balance. $500 billion, $600 billion, $700 billion of deficits out there for years. congressman ryan made his budget public a day before his announced his hearing, and it balances within ten years. and this is the deal. there's good and bad news in what i'm saying. the good news is that we can increase spending every year by 3.4% and the budget will balance. the path we're operation the --e path we're on predicts an increase in spend each year of 4.5%, 4.6%. so if you reduce that growth, instead of growing at that level, you grew it 3.4%, the budget will balance. and 3.4% is higher than what the
congressional budget office says inflation will be. they say it's about 2.2%, it will be about 25% over ten years. so you can increase spending over ten years by 40% above the inflation rate and the budget will balance. you just can't keep increasing it 5.4%, 5.6%. and it -- it's critical for america that we get on a course -- on the right course. so this is deeply troubling me. i know we can do this. it's not that hard. but here's the bad news and why it's painful a bit to get there. and that is because half -- more than half of our budget now is the entitlement programs and interest. as i said, interest on the debt, you've got to pay t yo it. you can't cut the interest, really, except by reduesing your
debt. and we don't -- you know, there's no balanced budget in the short-term future. so the interest is going up at a solid rate. and then you've got our big entitlement programs. you've got medicare, and you've got social security, and then you've got some large ones -- medicaid, a surging program, growing at 8% a year, projected to increase by 11 7% over ten years. then you've got food stamps that's considered to be an entitlement. soy put awful those entitlements to you've got a problem. those are in law and by sphwhiement mean entitlement, tt means if your age is at a certainagers you are a entitled to the benefit that the law gives you, whether the government has any money money or not. congress doesn't have to appropriate it. they have to go out and borrow the money if they don't change the lathe law.
so we need to change medicare, social security, food stamps and some of the other entitlement programs in way that saves them from the sure financial disaster path that they're on, puts them hon on a sound path and will ben to restore the finances of america. there's still waste, fraud, abuse in the remaining part of the government. there's still flams don't do any good for the money they get. there's still money spent on projects that should never have money spent on them from washington, d.c. and they ought to be eliminated. but we really do, to get this path down from 5.4% to 3.4%, we're going to have to touch a little bit of everything. and it will still go up. that's the good news. we can still spend more, but you are you just can't spend it quite at the increased rate we're on. now, some people say, why don't you imbalance it now? why are you talking about waiting ten years? we should probably do it sooner
than ten years. but i think it's a realistic appeal, to democrats and republicans alike. let's get on this path, this path that's not too hard to achieve what would be fabulous for america. two things -- i believe that if we were to make -- pass a budget that would be on the path to balance in ten years, we would feel some economic growth we never felt before. investors worldwide, investors in the united states, businesses would feel so much better about their country. i really that i that's true. and also we would reduce the huge debt overhang that we have now that's already pulling down growth. those two things we can accomplish. i don't know where we'll go. we'll pass a budget out of committee i am a sure on a party-line voavment maybe it will pass here on the senate floor by party-line vote. then it'll go to conference. i don't know ...
maybe speaker boehner, chairman ryan's budget will match up with the democratic budget out of the senate and maybe something good will happen for america. that we can reach some sort of agreement. but we cannot tax our way out of this. we can't keep increasing spending, for heaven's sakes. we need to reduce the growth of spending to a level that is reasonable and put us on a path to balance. i thank the chair, and i would yield the floor. the presidin i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
are. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that following leader remarks on tomorrow, march 14, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 933, that there be up to one hour of debate equally divided and controlled equally divided and controlled in the usual form on the harkin amendment and on the use or
yielding back of the time the senate proceed to vote in relation to the harkin amendment, and the amendment be subject to a 60 vote affirmative vote threshold. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. reid: i have a cloture on the shelby-mikulski substitute amendment and that's at the desk. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the mikulski-shelby substitute amendment number 26 as modified to h.r. 933, a bill making appropriations for the department of defense, the department of veterans' affairs and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2013, and for other purposes. signed by 17 senators. mr. reid: i ask the further reading of the amendments be waived, mr. president,. in. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i have another cloture motion at the desk.
the presiding officer: the clerk will report the closings etch cologne motion. the clerk: we the undersigned senators in accordance with rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close on h.r. 933, a bill making appropriations for the department of defense, veterans' affairs and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2013 signed by 17 senators. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum required under rule 22 be waived with respect to both cloture motions. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 76. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 76
designating room s-126 of the united states capitol as the senator daniel k. inouye room in recognition of the service to the senate and the people of the united states. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening veengs. the presiding officer: without objection -- no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i understand there is a bill at the desk due for the firps reading. the presiding officer: the senator is correct. the clerk: s. 558 to prohibit the administrator of the environmental protection agency from awarding any grant, contract, cooperative agreement or other financing assistance under section 103 of the clean air act for any program, project or activity outside the united states. mr. reid: i ask for the second reading in order to provide the bill on the
calendar under the provision of rule 14 but i object to my own request. the presiding officer: the objection having been heard, the bill will be read for the second time on the next legislative day. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the appropriation appropriations -- that the appointments at the desk be made in the record and appear separately as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, march 14. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 933, the continuing appropriations bill under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, tomorrow we'll continue to work through the amendments to the c.r. there will be at least one roll call vote at approximately 11:15. we hope to complete action on this bill tomorrow. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that we adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
10:00 a.m. tomorrow. can. >> so the senate's gaveled out. earlier today members continued work on a bill that funds the federal government for the remaining six months of fiscal 2013. current funding runs out march 27th. with the house already passing its version of the measure last week. we expect debate and votes on several amendments in the senate on thursday. also tomorrow president obama goes back to capitol hill to meet with senate republicans. he met with members of the house earlier today and senate democrats yesterday. you can follow the senate live here on c-span2 when members return. both the house and senate budget committees met today to discuss budget proposals. before that the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell came to the floor to discuss a senate plan. here's a look now.
>> four long years. that's how long kentuckyians and americans have coast to coast have to wait senate democrats to perform the most basic of legislative responsibilities. later today we hope that long wait will come to an end when they finally release a budget plan. given what we've heard about the budget so far it is obvious why they have refused to release one for so many years. we hear it won't prevent programs like medicare from going bankrupt. we hear it contains yet more wasteful, quote, stimulus spending. spending that turns out to be a lot more effective at generating jokes for late-night comedians than jobs. and in order to finance more spending we hear it relies on more than a trillion dollars. that's trillion with a t, in new taxes. including on the middle
class. remember, washington democrats already got more than $600 billion in taxes this year. so where is this new revenue going to come from? charities? the home mortgage interest deduction? will they go after families and small businesses yet again? at least there's one thing we almost certainly know, their budget will never balance, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. if that was my vision for the country, and frankly i would want to hide from the american people too. look, a budget like that would be unmitigated disaster for our country. it would-be tray those who are going to need medicare when they retire. it would-be tray the younger americans who would be forced to grapple with the consequences of democrats
failure to get serious about the debt. it would-be tray the hard-working middle class families that can not afford higher taxes especially in the obama economy. if that is the kind of budget senate democrats plan to offer it would sacrifice america's hopes for sustained economic recovery at the altar of higher taxes and bloated, unaccountable government. it would also draw an important contrast with the budget republicans put forward yesterday. because here's the thing. republicans believe we should be growing the economy not the government. growing the economy, not the government. and the house republican budget reflects just those priorities. it's a budget that does something else too. it actually balances. it actually balances. that's important for a number of reasons, not the
least of which it would help unleash economic growth and bring down our country's massive, massive debt load. interest payments on the national debt alone are set to exceed everything we spend on defense. interest on the national debt is going to exceed everything we spend on defense in just a few years time. so the path we're on is clearly not sustainable. with that in mind i hope democrats will offer some, something serious today rather than what i hear may be the case. i hope they face up to the fact that they already got the revenue they're going to get. they already got the revenue they're going to get. so they can startle doing with the real issues that are leading us to fiscal ruin. i hope they will finally stop trying to shield the washington establishment from every attempt to inject a little more accountability and reform because if the reports i've seen are correct, the budget they
plan to offer would do none of these things. it would only speed up the dangerous trajectory that we're on, rather than change it. entrenched government waste and cronyism, rather than root it out. and make things worse for the families we represent rather than giving them some hope. and hope is something the american people really, really need right now. they have been battered by the president's economy, they're tired of seeing their money wasted on an endless labyrinth of self-perpetuating bureaucracy. so i'm calling on my democratic friends to shelf the extremist liberal budget we've been hearing so much about. why don't we get serious here and start doing things necessary to make government more efficient, more pro-growth, more responsive, and more compassionate? in other words, enact the same priorities republicans have and frankly the priorities most of our constituents have too. after four long years senate
democrats should be willing to do more than protect their buddies in government at all costs. to offer americans something better than a budget that would expand the irs and crush the middle class. the american people deserve better than that. haven't they waited long enough already for true growth oriented reform? mr. president, i yield the floor. >> republican leader mcconnell talking about the senate democrats 2014 budget proposal. that budget committee chairman patty murray today as her committee began marking up the bill. tomorrow that meeting continues and we'll have live coverage at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. the house budget committee continues its work this afternoon, making line by line changes to the gop 2014 budget proposal. our live coverage of the markup continues right now on c-span. the session is expected to
continue late into the night. senate majority leader harry reid came to the floor to discuss that house republican plan. here's a look. >> mr. president, yesterday americans got their first look at this year's republican budget. turns out looks like last year's ryan republican budget and it wasn't the only one. i was not the only one that said, gee whiz, not again? here's the headline from "bloomberg news". quote, ryan budget replays republican hits, quote clothe. one "washington post" reporter compared the release of the not so new and certainly not improved ryan republican budget to the movie groundhog day where bill murray relives his least favorite holiday over and over and over. remember this is the third ryan republican budget. this is what
"washington post" also wrote, quote. the unrepentant reprisal of the same fiscal vision that was decisively repute aided last fall is bound to attract notice, close quote. indeed this is the same budget plan we saw from congressman ryan last year and the year before that. even the name is the same. if anything, this new version is even more extreme tan the last two ryan republican budget proposals, proposals that south to end the medicare guaranty and raise taxes on middle class families while handing out more tax breaks to the well think. the ryan republican budget is anything but balanced. and it reflects the same backwards value americans rejected in november. instead of asking the wealthiest to contribute their fair share, the ryan republican budget demands middle class families pay more in taxes. instead of ending wasteful corporate tax loopholes, it
basically ends medicare. in fact, the ryan republican budget takes special aim at health care. it would eliminate free preventative health services for 34 million americans. the ryan republican budget would increase prescription drug prices for seniors by $2.5 billion in one year. it would end the coverage guaranties for 3.1 million young men and women who are on their parents health plans. the budget would end coverage for mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and contraception for more than 47 million women. and it would allow insurance companies to deny care for 17 million children simply because they were born for with a heart defect or some other illness. these drastic cuts will literally cost lives and also jobs. instead of a balanced approach that protects american economy, ryan
republican budget guts education and medical research, infrastructure and even public safety. the ryan republican budget would actually jeopardize the economic recovery, wouldn't help it. and in case you're thinking such huge and painful cuts can buy an awful lot of debt reduction, think again. instead congressman ryan's cuts will buy more tax breaks for the wealthiest among us. this budget isn't a serious attempt to reduce the deficit. meaningful deficit reduction will required shared sacrifice including contributions from those who best afford to contribute. today, budget committee chairman patty murray will introduce a budget that reflects the principle of balance. senator murray's plan, the democratic plan, will cut wasteful spending reduce the deficit and close tax loopholes that benefit in the rich. it will invest in things that help our economy grow, education, preventative health care, worker training,
roads and bridges. it will invest in a strong middle class and unlike the ryan republican plan it won't leave you wondering if it is "groundhog day" all over again. >> defense secretary chuck hagel has ordered a review of air force lt. general craig's decision to overturn a sexual assault conviction against a lieutenant colonel in the air force. members of the senate armed services commit me were critical of that decision. that is next on c-span2. later, work begins on the senate 2014 budget plan. >> coming up on the next "washington journal", congressman richard hudson of north carolina, the chairman of the homeland security transportation subcommittee, on the new tsa rules allowing passengers to carry small knives aboard aircraft. then senator bernie sanders of vermont talks about the senate's 2014 budget proposal released tuesday by
budget chair patty murray of washington state. later we hear from former pakistani ambassador to the u.s. on the history. u.s./pakistan relations. "washington journal" takes your calls, e-mails and tweets, starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> i think dolly madison what she offered us is a model for governance that stresses civility and empathy. now dolly madison is modeling this for us. she is not going to win, right? but we look to our founding generations because we need examples, we need role models and her way of conducting politics stressing building bridges and not bunkers is a model she has bequeathed us and one we can use for the future. >> our conversation with historians on dolly madison is available on our website, c-span doot original/first ladies. --.org slash first ladies.
>> a senate panel looks how the military looks and prosecutes sexual assault cases. we hear from founder of women for social justice. later senior pentagon officials testify including the defense department acting general counsel. this services committee is chaired by senator kirsten gillibrand. >> thank you all for joining us. it's an honor and a privilege to chair this hearing of the personnel subcommittee this morning. i want to thank ranking member of the subcommittee, senator lindsey graham, for his support and in working with me to move this hearing forward as quickly as possible. i know that all of our colleagues on the armed services committee share our
deep commitment to improving the quality of life and men and women who serve in our all-volunteer force on active duty or in the national guard and reserves, their families, military retirees, and department of defense personnel. and that is why this hearing today is so important to me personally. and to thousands of servicemembers and their families across this country. the issue of sexual violence in the military is not new and it has been allowed to go on in the shadows for far too long. the scourge of sexual violence in the military should be intolerable and infuriating to all of us. our best, brightest and bravest join our armed forces for all the right reasons, to serve our country, to protect our freedom, and to keep america safe. the united states military has the best in the world and it overwhelmingly vast majority of our brave men
and women serving in uniform do so honorably and bravely but there is also no doubt that we have men and women in uniform who are committing acts of sexual violence and should no longer be allowed to serve. too often women and men have found themselves in the fight of their lives, not in the theater of war but in their own ranks, among their own brothers and sisters and ranking officers in an environment that enables sexual assault. and after a assault occurs, an estimated 19,000 sexual assaults happened in 2011 alone according to the defense department's own estimates. some of these victims have to fight all over again with every ounce of their being just to have a their voice heard. . .