tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 19, 2013 1:00pm-3:01pm EST
talk about the policies that could make a difference. because if you talk to people up on the hill, they'll say yes, we have a big problem. and you say, okay, we have a wage stagnation problem, what are you going to do about it? that's when they get real abstract. you know, there's a number of policies that we could do. instead of talking about cutting social security, for instance, we got to be talking about expanding social security so that the under 30 generation doesn't hit a train wreck because they are the lowest percentage of them are employed right now, and their wages are lower than they've been in the past. past. >> how could the u.s. possibly afford to expand -- >> oh, that's nonsense. with the richest nation on the face of the earth, mike. how can we afford it? we can afford to do everything we decide to do. just make it a priority and we will be able to pay for it. look, deficits are the cause of
the crisis or a bad economy. they are the result. they are the result of it spent why should the government do less of two expand social security? >> they should do less loopholes for corporations and the very rich. they should do more spending on infrastructure to make us as a country more competitive as a nation and create jobs in the process. we should be increasing the minimum wage. >> let's talk about that for a second. >> if minimum wage had kept pace with inflation instead of being $7.25, it would be $10.70 by. if it had kept pace with productivity it would be $18.75 if it had kept pace with a wage increases of the top 1% it would be $28 an hour. now, -- >> i'm surprised people watching, i think something good will happen on minimum wage next year. this is an issue that really
breaks through. what is your path, what do you think or hope will happen next year in this congress? >> let me expand that out for just a second, if you don't mind, mike. there's a growing trend toward populism in this country. it's not matched in the policies yet but there's a growing trend towards it spent we see this with the election of the mayor of new york? >> you see it with the occupy movement. use it with elizabeth warren get elected. you see it the way obama ran the campaign against mitt romney. you see it with the pope right now being named man of the year, talking about inequality, talking about populism. of the policies haven't caught up with what americans believe the 80% of america's thank you and to increase the minimum wage. 70 some% of americans think social security -- >> one of your hats is a
lobbyist. >> i look like sherlock holmes. you talk to capitol hill, both the information to persuade, to have relationship. what, the very no specific what you think could happen on minimum wage next year? >> i think harkin-miller could get past. here's why. it would do what? >> it would increase the minimum wage -- >> from? >> from $7.25 to 10.10. and then indexed for inflation on out. i think it has to be indexed so we don't run into this problem. it would also increase the tip waged and that's something no one talks about, mike. the tip which right now is $2.13 an hour. $2.13. hasn't been increased since 1991. by the way, three course of the
people that work, earn tip wages are women, so they coul they gee hardest but it would increase tip wages to 70% of minimum wage. so it would be a good thing. you could say is it possible? think about this. chris christie just won an election, and the same electorate that elected him by the same margin increased the minimum wage and index the minimum wage in new jersey. so it's a policy that is not only should happen, i believe will happen in 2014, and must happen for the good of the economy and the good of the country. >> do you think this republican house will pass its? >> i think they won't have a choice. >> wiped? >> because of the growing sentiment right now. they will take it on the chin. look, they are alienating latinos and immigrants. they are alienating african-americans. they are alienating catholics
right now by going after the pope, calling the pope a marxist. >> the speaker is catholic. >> i love this should mark. >> speaker boehner is catholic. >> yes. >> he's not going after the pope. >> the conservatives are. he's not the only person that speaks for the republican party. i don't know if that's good or bad. bad. >> i can tell you, it -- mr. president, you have a problem. the problem is you are shrinking. in 2002 -- >> you know, my suit started looking back he last met. >> in 2002 you had -- >> not shrinking enough, i can tell you that. >> you had a 13 million members. last year you had 11 points 5 million members. what do you do to get more members of? >> well, i mean, we are doing several things. the short answer to that is the same thing with to do to make the country better.
one, we have to change the political climate, the legislative, and economic climate. >> that's all? >> that's all. we can do that before lunch and after lunch we will play ball. no, we are working on it. but what we're doing is expanding out to our progressive friends. because when you put the policies of progressive americans together, we are actually the majority. but we don't act like that and we've been allowed to be even in echelon, a section at a time. so we are trying to put together a coalition of progressive people. we reached out before our convention six-month beforehand, we started reaching out to progressive friends and allies and we said, look, in the past we would come up with a solution and we would say come join us. let's change that. first of all, that's sit down and let's all of us try to create that solution. so six months before the convention we joined with progressive friends and allies
from the naacp, do lareau some -- larocca, the sierra club biggest women's groups of? >> yes, women's groups, environmental groups. and 75, 80 of them, different groups. we talked about the problems. we talked about solutions and we decided to open up the labor movement to bring the men. to form strategic partnerships with those groups so that we can do those three changes that are necessary for the good of the country. again, that's changing the economic climate, the political climate, a legislative on it. >> it used to be if you're going to organize an employee could go to a factory or to a mine. you can't do that anymore. one of the most fascinating things in researching this conversation is the concept of
fragmented workplaces. so an example is car washers or cabdrivers. in l.a., new york, you worked to organize both of those. these are people who don't work in any particular concentrated location. how do you reach them or persuade him to join? >> there's also other groups, although come at itch and scratch on one thing. you can still go organize a mine or a factory if you can find of those. we also do domestic workers, home care workers that are everywhere. >> huge and growing. >> one of the growing sectors in the country. same as domestic workers. we go out very, very labor intensive. you've got to go and talk to them, go and find out their needs, then you bring them together, start to develop issues to work together. it's a very, very labor intensive. but we've been successful at it. 27,000 taxicab drivers in new york city, domestic workers from los angeles to michigan to ohio. carwash workers in new york and
the west coast. so we are organizing, but you're also seeing other signs of people getting interested. you are seeing fast food workers that are fed up with minimum wage and the bad treatment they get, starting to come together and demand, doing collective action to demand better wages. wal-mart workers, thousands of them across the country coming together to try to change the wal-mart model which, quite frankly, drives the low-wage model in this country. >> a lot of what you've been talking about is developing friends and allies as opposed to formal news paying, card-carrying members. like, have formal membership in the afl-cio probably be? >> absolutely not. i think we are on the rise. we have more members this year than two years ago. we we affiliated the food and commercial workers. we we affiliated the laborers.
we we affiliated unite here. so we have more members in the afl-cio that we did a couple years ago. the question is easy enough? isn't enough to do the three changes? change the economy, political environment, legislative environment? the answer is no. that's why we decided we had to reach out to progressive groups. because all of us, all of us will have a difficult time because the entrenched power that exists in the political system through money, and with the elites because of their connections and interconnections with one another. it'll be difficult enough for all of us coming together, but that's the goal. that's the direction we're headed in. bringing progressive people together, we start educating about the economy, at the grassroots level, not just our members but nonunion members. then start talking to candidates at the lower level, educating
them on the economy, making sure they understand really how the economy works and how it doesn't work. and then make them understand some of the failed models that are out there. >> a couple twitter questions coming in and please continue to join us at #playbookbreakfast. how would you these the transition from a coal and natural gas economy to a renewable economic? >> i think you have to look at that time period of that it happened. you know, coal still produces about a little over 50% of the energy in this country. fossil fuel still fuel every car that is out of. we still use a whole lot of fossil fuels so you will not be able to shut them down overnight, nor should you. the transition needs to focus on people. and let me give you sort of an example. i grew up in a small mining town. one mine, the town was built around a that mine and when that
mine went down, the town went down. there were mines like that everywhere. or there was a mill like that or a cotton mill in north carolina or a clothing mill up in maine or massachusetts. you go through the transition, but it wasn't all at once. we really have to focus on the people and transitioning them, not just giving them a fancy burial but actually giving them away and making it a a way to go back into the economy and succeed. so the transition has to look at the transition of the people and the community getting back to some kind of help so you don't just pull the plug on them and say, you are on your own, go find out what you can find out and let your town or your community or your county and some instances of type. >> do you think union should get and obamacare exemption?
>> whenever they built the first automobile, it wasn't a perfect automobile. when we started playing baseball, i mean in 1800, it wasn't a perfect game. it's default. obamacare is a good start. it has some good things, and has a very unintended consequences that really do need to be looked at and changed, and we need to build on it. i would use we in the generic sense of america. we made some classic mistakes when we did, when it was passed. first, we exempted the pharmaceutical industry and said that medicare couldn't use its buying power to drive down prices. that needs to change. we jettisoned the public option so that wasn't the competition that we needed to keep the prices down. we made some mistakes with the exchanges. we made some mistakes with the
system -- >> a lot of mistakes. >> sure there was, but look, it's a good start. everybody agrees that what we had wasn't working. a health care system that didn't provide good results but spent twice as much as any other nation in the world was not a system that we out to be saying, let's go back to. we needed to change. we needed to keep evolving. when we first did social security there were problems just like this. when we first did medicare and medicaid, they were problems just like this. if we had a congress that actually cared about america rather than creating issues and having an issue to run against obamacare or for obamacare, we would fix the system. >> and the affordable care act is very unusual problem as you know. my social stood on medicare that almost any bill the size you can go in and make corrections of various sizes.
everyone is afraid to reopen the transport and so we are stuck with the bill that needs at the very least technical corrections. >> to get back to your original question, she would be exempt, it has had some very unintended consequences that really jeopardized the existence of health and retirement funds that have been the backbone of health care in this country. >> what is the exemption you believe -- >> we just need to have a tweak so that if you have an existing plan, like the health and retirement plan that covers 500,000 people, you ought to be able to continue it. >> you were for the affordable care act. are getting a lot of grief about that now from members who can keep the doctors or who have to pay more? >> i don't know how you would be saying you have to pay more right now because it hasn't kicked in yet. look -- >> excuse become your sink under the affordable care act their people will not have high deductibles then did a? >> i didn't say that. you said already.
i said it hasn't kicked in so they can't be paying anything already. >> they are starting to squeal. >> a lot of them are the we are looking at examples of where we need to make changes. our health care plan really just treated unfairly in this thing. here's how. let me tell you. you raise it so i'm going to give a full answer on this one. luck, anybody else, if you're eligible for subsidy, you get paid the subsidy. we said, don't pay the subsidy to the worker. a the subsidy to the fund that covers them, that helps them out. because if you're a minimum-wage worker, is having a tough time and somebody says okay, here's 3000 bucks, you can go by health care or you can go buy shoes for the kids. i would venture to say some of them are going to buy shoes for the kids instead of buying health care. the second thing is, our
employers pay into the trust fund. they pay an amount into the trust fund. now because in order to get the subsidy, both low-wage workers have to, out of the trust fund, and now they are deemed as not providing healthcare for all of their employees even though there paying for them also they have got to pay a penalty. on top of that ebay a $63 per covered life on top of that, even though we had the same plan as we always had. so that's an unintended consequence that benefits insurance companies at the cost of non-for-profit plans that needs to be adjusted. and am i getting grief about that? sure, i'm getting grief about that. do i want to see obamacare scrapped? absolutely not because it's a good start. but as i said, baseball is not the same game it was in 1800. the model t is in -- we don't
have the same course as a model t. we continue to make improvements and we will continue to push those people up on the hill to make those improvements, because the system in this country is broken. we pay twice as much as any other nation, and we get worse results. it has to be fixed. >> what kind of grief are you getting? >> all, typical, what are you doing, you idiot, you dummy. [laughter] you know, your typical stuff. >> one of -- >> they used to call me big fat but since i lost a little weight -- i'm glad you noticed, i appreciate it. [laughter] they don't call me fat anymore. they just call me dumb, stupid. >> how much did you lose? >> well, probably around 30. >> how did you do at? >> exercise. i pushed away from the table
last night. >> works every time spent i've got to get a great story. my dad was a coal miner, and 44 years in the mine, hard as nails but one day i was real proud of myself because i lost some weight. i was working real hard. and i said, dad, what do you think? i lost some weight and looks at me and he said, well you obviously have a look behind you lately, have you, and walked off. >> you went to college and law school while you're working in a mine. how did you do that? >> first, i started working midnight shift in the mine, went to school -- >> in nemacolin? >> yes. then i went on what's called a six and six-month plan where i worked six months in the mike mcconnell to school six-month. and i got out of undergraduate school and the union sent me to college by the way. mine workers them into law school and it worked about six months and go to law school six-month. and then i got out of law school, went to work in the legal department at the mine
workers, worked there several years and a guy that i have helped elect under a reform ticket with the miners were democracy, he and i had a significant philosophical disagreement and i reside and went back to work in the mine. i worked full-time in the mine and did a little robot a law practice on the side, some black lung cases for people, unemployment comp. never charge anybody for anything. did some adoptions, some other stuff like that to help out members, people in the community. and then ran for office, ran for our executive board and then got elected and then ran for president. >> union contractors, a lot used to be done behind closed doors. you took a more confrontational approach. the first of i covered you i had hair, way back at the pittston coal strike down in southwest virginia. >> that was the extent a strike could be good, that was a good
strike because it was over health care. >> but you were confrontational. we saw a little bit of your style. >> yeah, well. i did what we had to do to protect 200,000 retired workers and widows. guess that's what the strike was over. pittston wanted to jettison their retirees and their widows from health care plan. they actually believed that are active members would support the retirees and the widows. they totally miscalculated. i tried to explain it to them and they wouldn't listen, and they really, they're going to do with the health care fund and we could not allow that to happen because if pittston -- if it's now done away with it, probably close to half a million workers in the industry that depended on the mine workers health care plan would have lost their health care. my mother and dad, both of them at that time would have been included in the. but everybody else's mother and
dad. we took a hard line and said no, you're not going to do that. it was a 15 month strike, not a single mine worker crossed the picket line back them. then. we engaged in peaceful, civil disobedience. it was a very, very confrontational strike that ended up being -- making worldwide news. everybody in your new. even russia, people like that are we've ended up winning the strike. we had tremendous support. this is an interesting thing. at the end of that strike in the state of virginia, or the commonwealth, excuse me, it was one of the most conservative states in the union at that time. may still be, i'm not sure, i think it's changing. 94% of the populace in virginia supported us in saying that we should be able to maintain that health care. >> we are at the last playbook breakfast of the year. let's look ahead. what you think the chances are that democrats take the house in
2014? >> look, 2014 isn't like 2006 when the democrats made major gains, or 2010 when the republicans made major gains. 2014 is an opportunity. like i said, the trend right now is towards populism -- populism, but popular can't be a bumper stick in october and expect the democrats to win. because it's not automatic for them. the republicans are shooting themselves in the foot, but the democrats really aren't capitalizing on it. if you look at the polling figures, they haven't capitalize anywhere near where they should. if you take on issues like unemployment insurance, protecting -- not just protecting but increasing social security, the minimum wage, infrastructure, jobs skills, things of that sort and actually fight for them, not just do a
pro forma effort so we can have been issued in october. then i think they can ultimately make a significant gain in october. it is not automatic because i think the american public right now are frustrated and angered with both parties. and one of the two parties is going to have to show that they have a path forward, that represent and benefits of the average joe and jane, and not just the people at the top like it's been for the last 25, 30 years. >> i hear what you're saying about the message and issues. what are the mechanics about that democrats should capitalize on this? >> they have to bring the issues forward and actually fight for them. >> but how do you want them to do that? >> in legislation. you know, talk is cheap. don't just talk the talk. walk the walk. put forward the harkin miller bill. fight them. make them vote on it.
hold people accountable. do the ui insurance exchange. i've got to tell you, it's unconscionable that the people in the capital out there left down, and 1.3 million people are going to be out in the cold, december 31. >> but do you worry that republicans will take the senate? >> at the current rate, no, i don't worry about that. i don't. on me, i'll democrats may shoot themselves in the foot, these guys are taking their legs off at the knees. i mean, but democrats ought to be capitalizing on it more, and they are not. i wish they would. >> let's say there's a democratic majority in the house and the senate. would you push for the use of nuclear option on legislation to enact card check? >> on the house side?
there is no nuclear -- well, the filibuster you're talking about. you know, look, i think you've got a normal process that you normally go through. when somebody becomes obstructionists, then i think you have to do something. look at what's happened. on the senate side these guys have filibustered more in the last three years and they have a 30 years combined before the. they filibuster people for every position. take the three judges here in the d.c. circuit, nina pillard, exemplary. were going to do that and they do something on taxes. robinson, you know, three quality judges that they just filibustered. that stuff has got to stop. it's got to stop some way. i hope it stops at the ballot box. i hope that the american people
say, we've had enough of this. year and obstructionists. you care more about a political issue than you do about this country. we are going to vote against y you. and barring that, then they did a rules change on appointments. at this point, the president administration, he is five years in. he's got more vacancies than any other president before him. he can't even get normal people appointed to make the government run. now, that is part of the strategy. they want to make the government look bad. you don't want the people and that can make it run so it looks bad so they can say, see how bad it looks like don't put more people than. it's part of the strategy. we've got to just breakthrough that spend i would love to bring into the conversation. take questions, just signal. i want to ask you if you know the mayor elect of new york,
mayor de blasio? >> yes, i do spend what is he like? >> i was excited by his election. i think is a -- i think is a very, very progressive candidate. i think he will be a progressive mayor. i think he will stand up for the average worker. i think you also take care of business. the garbage, take care of all that stuff but more. he really will focus on the little guy, or more than perhaps his predecessors have. have. >> he started as the real underdog in that race and one huge. what you make of his victory? what does it tell you about the times or the trends? >> populism works. it works. if it's your message and it's what you believe and ensure policy, it's the american what most americans believe in. >> so what should other democrats learn from his election? >> they should learn to, one, populism is a very, very
powerful tool, and it is aligned with the major thinking of the american people. when you talk to them, do you support an increase in minimum wage, social security, medicare, unemployment insurance? all of that stuff the american people agree with. you think the trade agreements have been good? no. 80% of americans, 70 some% i think they're bad. but the policy will continue the same trade agreement. not because democracy works, because if democracy worked they would be completely gone. here's the real issue. what happens after they run on populism? president obama ran a populist campaign in many ways against mitt romney. >> you are disappointed with president obama? >> you have to continue through with and fight for those policies after election day. ..
the job creation, the minority support those in a yet the minority position prevails because the system that is a wash with money. my name is richard with alliance for justice. you spent a lot of time talking for good reason about the damage being done by congress. what kind of harm has been done to everyday americans by the supreme court? >> i think the supreme court has done a lasting damage to the system of democracy. this court equates money with free speech. let's think about this.
you actually believe that washington and jefferson were sitting around the table one day and jefferson says ito twice as much money as you, therefore i should have twice as much free speech as you. i can't fathom that. in this supreme court doesn't, this supreme court has been very -- they have done a lasting damage to the system. under the rules you can hardly under regulate with the flow of money in the political system it's difficult to see a way without a constitutional change. so they have done lasting damage and i hope that we will see some change. do i think that's going to happen? it looks like you're the director of great teaching.
in the era where it would seem that union membership would grow very fast it's not. they are holding that backed and how do you intend on that? >> first of all, you have to take my word for this because there's an international group study on these things and they think the labor law in the country are woeful. you have a significant intimidation and i will tell you what happened not just once. there are between 25 to 30,000 that get fired illegally for trying to organize. so think about this. you are in a job, a tough economy. there aren't many jobs out there. you want to organize because your employer for whatever reason you think you aren't getting enough benefits, bad working conditions, come
together so you have a voice and get back to the positive reasons to organize. and then they call you into a meeting and you have to sit in a room like this and i get to tell you what i'm going to do. if you organize i am going to move this plant that could move to china if you organize and then they fired a couple of people. a couple of the ringleaders. they put a couple hits a ball and everybody said these are -- one of the positive reasons is if you look at the institutions that have really in power were the workers by giving them more of a say on the job, those systems are the longest lasting and the most effective when there is a union there because when you come together, when an employer and a group of people come together if you are of a relatively equal power than make
better decisions. someone comes to me when he's 3-years-old. now the same day my wife tells me i won a new car. let's sit down and talk about this. i like to think we are of relatively equal power. i'm probably exaggerating my position, but that is what happens you make better decisions when you are of the relative power and the union gives the two workers look at what ford has done all i joined together with someone and alabama we put together a system that empowered workers, productivity went up, health and safety increasing the number of injuries went down.
we were in. that is one of the great reasons it allows your workers to achieve their power and tools capability. wealthy afl-cio decided? it's not done yet so i want to look at what is in their everyone knows that the model hasn't worked a vast majority of around 80% say that the model is actually lower wages for middle class workers. so we always look at a differen. it's geared towards the same
model. kanaby change, can we get a different type of system and different model i hope so. it is a failed model so we will oppose it and i hope exchange for the sake of a country i hope for the sake of the workers the steelers are six and eight. you had to remind me of that. breaking my heart. i was out hunting and i looked at the sun and it was setting below the tree is and i thought they might have a lot in common. that is the same with the steelers they might have a lot in common with that. if they were zero in 12i am
like so many of your viewers, we would do the annual consideration of the things that we care about because they were important to us as we grew up and issues we care about because they match our broad believe, but the players in the community that we saw doing good work today and martha's table deliver hot meals to the little park outside of the bill and melinda gates foundation offices at mcpherson square and i would see that every night and i would see the lines of people there every night and i knew that there was a volunteer durbin, 10,000 volunteers 80 hard-working staff and i thought
why wouldn't i joined that organization to see if i can put my skills to work but also see if i can understand better why do we have this issue persistent to poverty, why do we have so many children that aren't graduating high school, going on to college and being able to attach to the careers the way that i was able to. on the washington d.c.-based nonprofit, sunday night at eight on c-span q&a. extending unemployment insurance should be the next priority according to the senate democratic leaders who spoke to the press on capitol hill today. majority leader harry reid also said he hopes that next year the senate is more productive and they met a handful of republicans that basically blocked most legislation. this is about 20 minutes.
>> it's been a very eventful fall to say the least, but the highlight at least for me was a delicately crafted budget compromise led by senator murray. it's a step in the right direction, one of the first steps we have had in the right direction for a long time. it moves us away from what we have had to face from crisis to crisis on the regular order in the senate. the economy based on what chairman bernanke said yesterday and we can see it all over the is it as good as we would like it? of course not, but this helps
provide the certainty that it needs to continue to grow. but for far too many americans, as you can see on this chart, the head line is about positive economic news, doesn't match the reality of its lives. even as the econ money creates jobs, too many americans find themselves on the sidelines watching as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class is getting squeezed and squeezed. there is no greater challenge the country has them and come inequality, and we must do something about it. there are lots of things that should be done but the first thing is to make sure those people that are waiting and waiting to find a job still get the important check that they deserve. unemployment compensation is good for the economy. mark zantia said for every
dollar spent on unemployment insurance we have a return rate of 50% growth in our economy. this has been an issue in the past that we have agreed on, but not now. i am very, very pleased, happy and proud of my colleague, senator heller who joined with senator aveda from island to introduce a three month extension of unemployment insurance. that is the way we do things are not here. it is a good bill and it deserves a vote and i hope that my republican colleagues will work with us to schedule a vote in a very timely fashion, which to this point they haven't. we come to the floor and have had appeal last unanimous consent to move but the answer is no. they blocked as from scheduling a vote from the end of this week and as i have indicated before, i'm going to fly file cloture and be the first when we get back. i hope that we can give the cooperation to set up the vote before we leave, but if not, we
are going to vote no later than june every six or seven. this bill this the right thing to do for hard-working americans who are looking for a job. long-term unemployment rate is twice as high now than it was the last time the unemployment benefits were allowed to expire. on a repeat what mark zandi said, remember he was john mccain's financial that pfizer when he ran for president, and he said that every penny spent on unemployment insurance yields a return for more than 50% on economic growth. this is just the first step. we need to raise been among wage and help address income inequality in this country. we have income inequality. but unemployment insurance is an important step in the days ahead helping to find common ground and build up the results for the american people that we would use to do on a bipartisan basis and do it very quickly.
>> thank you senator reid. a very brief period of time one man has made a profound impact on the world. that person is pope francis who was recently named the time and of the year. the statement that he made about income any quality wasn't just a message to america but a message to a world that he warned income inequality leads to in his words and economy of exclusion and inequality in the globalization of indifference. it challenges all of us and it particularly challenges those of us that have been blessed with an opportunity to serve in public life and in the united states senate and it challenges us to acknowledge the obvious there are people that got up and went to work today and tomorrow and will work every single day very hard and despite their best efforts, they are not making enough money to live through the next paycheck. they are below the level of poverty in america. that is unacceptable. it has been years since we have
raised the minimum wage. americans know this regardless of political party. that we have got to give these working families a fighting chance to survive, and that means that when we come back to raising the minimum wage, a high priority in the united states senate and i hope in the house of representatives as well this issue of unemployment benefits means 1.3 million americans are going to see their benefits cut 63,000 in my home state of illinois. for many of these people, unemployment benefits are their only source of income. it may mean the difference of whether they are homeless or have a place to live, including the workers and they were supported by the extended unemployment insurance of benefits. the last point i want to make is that if we are sensitive to the needs of working families, we cannot ignore the burden because
of the student loan debt. i just completed a press conference this morning with elizabeth warren and jack reid and barbara boxer is joining us in this effort for the unfair treatment and families across america and the economic burden it creates for them and the drag that it creates on the economy. when we return next year we need to make working families our highest priority. >> well, there is no doubt this has been a tough year in washington. everything we have seen shows it, but the budget agreement that passed the house and the senate offers a ring of hope. with the passage of the budget and the speaker's recent and refreshing review of the hard right there are signs democrats and republicans could come together to solve the problems
facing the middle class. we have a lot more work to do. for the millions of americans the stand to lose them in the coming year. the economy is making the games but over 4 million people are long-term unemployed in this country. look at the numbers over there and you can see them on that chart. we have a lot more work to do. the extension of unemployment benefits will be the next test in the fight between the hard right and the main street conservatives in the republican party. they should be aware that the tectonic plates of our politics are changing because the decline of the middle class incomes and the difficulty of average people getting a good paying job has overtaken the deficit as the number one problem facing our political economy today. our republican colleagues should
take note. certainly we are going to build on the progress we've made to the use the deficit, that it is no longer the most important issue that we face. the american people overwhelmingly agree with that. issues like job creation, minimum wage, and unemployment insurance are going to weigh on the minds of the voters far more than obamacare by the time the 2014 elections will around. the minimum wage it is unconscionable that someone can work 40 hours, struggle and not be able to provide a life of dignity for their families can get on unemployment insurance, people knocking on doors as they are required to bye law to find a job should be cut off after 26 weeks? now, republicans have worked with us to extend unemployment benefits before and the need to do it again to raise the minimum wage before the need to do it
again. just an example when president bush signed the latest round of emergency unemployment benefits into law, the unemployment rate was 5.6%. that is 1.5 lower than it is now. and that was signed and pushed forward by president bush and now it is 7 percent? they can't do it? they better smell the coffee. the world is changing. the 2010e elections don't govern any longer. if republicans can confine the will to extend unemployment benefits when it was 5.6%, they can certainly find the will to do it now. and so, the republican colleagues are going to have to make another choice and they are going to have to make it very soon. will they then once again to the extreme right and leave millions of americans who are struggling out in the cold? if they do, they will find it is to their political detriment,
and more importantly to the detriment of the american people in this country. or will they seize on their recent bipartisan momentum and join with democrats to provide a much-needed boost to our economy? i'm hopeful there is a breath of fresh air in the capitol and that it will mean we can find a common ground and provided this much needed economic relief. >> i think that we can all agree we took a very important step forward this week in reaching a bipartisan agreement for the next two years we did a number of things that go well for the coming year and the ability to address jobs and the economy as we go forward. first of all we show the american people that members of congress can work together, that we can listen to each other and get into a room and talk frankly without trying to hurt each other politically. second by breaking through the
bipartisanship we finally ended this never ending cycle of lurching from one crisis to the next. third, we showed compromise is not a dirty word and there is a faith coalition at the center that is willing to make some sacrifices political thing to get things done. finally, and importantly, for our efforts to continue to grow our economy, we gave american families and businesses the certainty they need to grow. of course there is a lot more to do. we are heartened by headlines that predict a strong economy next year but we understand how fragile the economic recovery still is with millions of americans still out of work. now is the time to redouble our efforts and not shrink from the challenges we face because of the economic predictions in the world mean nothing if we don't continue to support policies that help our middle class. and that work absolutely starts with extending the unemployment benefits for the millions of
americans who will lose their benefits in the coming months because not only will these families lose their benefits, but the nonpartisan congressional budget office has said that our economy could lose over 200,000 jobs if we do not extend these benefits. this is simply the right thing to do at a time when millions of american families continue on the brink where the state's unemployment remains high. i know that there are already small signs of bipartisan cooperation around this effort and that is an encouraging signal as we head into the holiday season and the next session of this conference. my hope is that the next session will be squarely focused on improving the economy for the middle class americans rolling back $63 billion in the sequester cuts in the deal we passed yesterday was a great step ending the threat of the shutdown was an important step, but increasing the minimum wage and extending the unemployment crisis is right around the
corner, and i hope that we will live up to that. >> some questions? >> as you know, this year is going down at the least productive in the congressional history and i know that there are a lot of reasons for that. what have you given some thought to how you and the leaders can make next year more productive than this one was? i've grown to really like him even though he has some set political views he wants to get things done here and i find that throughout the republicans pity and i think they want to get things done and i hope that is true. there are a number of people on the republican side better
basically stopping everything we need not give you the names it's just a handful of people and that is why we have problems with these nominations. there is no reason we shouldn't be able to help a person that is second in charge of homeland security which is a lot of leadership for so long. all the problems we've had with the internal revenue service and we've always had with the internal revenue service, we need to have someone running the agency. i hope that we can start doing things. this last year has been totally obstructed to be everything we have tried to do we have been stopped. we have an inordinate amount of time on the nominations and maybe you have a better memory than i have but the only thing we've gotten done since the summer is the discrimination i don't think there is anything that we have done.
so that's why when senator murray was able to work with congressman ryan and come up with this piece of legislation that is how we use to do things around here. so i wish i had a magic want to say i know things will be better on a separate note can i get your take on the possibility of your former colleague running for the senate in new hampshire? he's one of the finest people i've ever served in the government with. i & why she has had so much success in new hampshire and i don't know the northeast, but i know the west and wouldn't go over so well. >> on the defense bill, speaking of the way things used to be done i'm sure that you have
heard a lot of what the critics on the republican side have talked about in terms of processing and that's pretty much unprecedented lack of opportunity to significantly amend the bill. can you just weigh in on that and this argument from them of why are we rushing this through if there is time to amend this? >> understand the statement by my republican colleagues are bizarre. the house is gone. no matter how we got to the position that we are in today, we have a bipartisan defense bill that is on the floor ready to pass to the if we change one period or sentence, we have no defense bill. this is an important piece of legislation and we shouldn't pass it. we should have passed it last night.
what is the urgency of voting to confirm him for this post when there's an inspector general is this the inspector general that quite? coming inside washington politics, the department of homeland security was developed at a time of war after 9/11. we consolidated 23 different government agencies to come up with the department of homeland security. they were fortunate to get him to confirm just a day or two ago that agency needs leadership. and tom carper has been
remarkably good at pronounced into the world on the speeches on the floor and otherwise why johnson and the team should be approved quickly. >> [inaudible] she has been on the appropriations committee for a long time and devotee is submitting a budget deal but if you look at the number it is well below what you got a and 12. how difficult is it and held as a point of our people who like the well funded agencies? >> we are in a divided congress, and we had to come up with a compromise just not the one that i wrote in my budget that was passed, but it is a compromise and the senate appropriations committee under the leadership of the senator barbara, mikulski are doing the best with what we have which was a heck of a lot better than what the house republicans wanted us to do so
we are working hard and senator durbin and his committee and me and my committee to put together bills that can reflected the best we can do under the circumstances that we are under. >> and the alternative was -- one last question. >> could you elaborate on your conversation with senator paul -- what areas could be discussed for the common ground and what were the interested in the as? >> he has been interested in a number of issues. he and i are working on an issue dealing with bring some of these sums of money that our overseas. of course he's very interested in the federal reserve. we spent a lot of time on that. so he is a man that has a lot of fixed ideas and i enjoy my conversations with him. thanks everybody.
they had the formation of the force that would accompany her into the reality, the political rally where she was killed but that wasn't there. we saw videos, we saw pictures, we interviewed 250 people there was no elite force for the police protection. and that was the duty of the government and of musharraf. >> assistant secretary-general on the international inquiry that led into the assassination of the former pakistani prime minister benazir bhutto. coming in january, in depth with talk-show host marc levin who will take your questions for three hours beginning at noon eastern sunday january 5th, part of book tv weekends on c-span2.
the senate is taking a break until 2:15 pm eastern so lawmakers can attend a 30 party caucus meeting. senators today have been working on the defense programs and policy bill, which allocates just over 625 billion in pentagon spending. at 3:15 this afternoon we are expecting a vote on the measure from texas senator john cornyn to block the passage of the defense program bill. earlier today, senate majority leader henry mcconnell came to the floor to complain about the agenda as set by the democrats as he was joined by republican orrin hatch. these comments run just over ten minutes. >> mr. president, i would like to comment on the absurdity of
what just transpired here on the senate floor. my friends on the other side have been the longest serving majority since 1980 some would say they were suffering the seventh consecutive year of the majority. yet if someone were to take a close look at the strategy and tactics of the senate democratic leadership, they think that the role is reversed. the democrats are the majority. they have even enhanced the majority by breaking the rules of the senate to give themselves more power. indeed, they haven't been a bit reluctant to overreach. part and parcel of having a majority in the senate is to control or the control of the senate scheduling committees yet still we see what we saw from my friends on the other side of the while under the senate rules, the tax policy matters including the tax extenders and they are
referred to the finance committee. the trade adjustment assistance was also included in this bill and also falls under the jurisdiction of the finance committee. the finance committee processed the text extenders on a bipartisan fashion led last year and that legislation was eventually enacted into law. the committee has also been able to, though without as much bipartisan support deal with the ta in the recent past. yet what do my friends want to do? they want to ignore the senate rules and the expertise of the finance committee and pass the complicated set of policies here on the floor without the discussion or the debate. with regard to the text extenders the finance committee staff from both parties have adjusted in the past few days started the process of developing text extenders legislations. to put it want the majority leader's partisan actions today the shame of that collaborative
methodically and constructive bipartisan effort. why are they afraid of going through the regular order? they have the majority and putting my friend, the chairman there are 13 democrats on the finance committee and only even republicans. a don't date they have the votes? the unanimous request drop from the other side may be a good friend of the components, they might even provide some good campaign but they don't solve any problems to get it's amazing to see this kind of activity from the senate majority party when it controls the agenda both on the floor and in the committee's you might expect these kind of actions on the frustrated minority party which feels shut out of the role and the committees on the floor but here you have the reversal. i hear a member of the minority party in the senate defending regular order in the role that
the committee system. why are you so afraid of regular order? why not process the legislation with a careful and methodical and transparent manner. today my friends on the other side of the nile tried once again to avoid a and accountability to blame their own feelings on republicans and as the saying goes. mr. president i yield the floor. >> of the republican leader. >> the center correctly stated the state of the senate these days it wasn't the same body that it was just a few years ago. and in the way that we are being treated to the it is a very discouraging development as we approach the end of the year.
to see the way that the united states senate has deteriorated under the current leadership, and i think the senator from utah for planning out that it's not just too long ago that the two parties actually functioned on issues like the majority leader was trying to run through without any consideration. >> the majority leader expresses it very well. i've only been here for 37 years, but i have never seen the rules by elated as they have been lately to the it frankly, in a way that is destructive in the senate and isn't helpful or constructive to the senate and this was just another illustration, and i think that our side is getting pretty sick of it. i think my friend from utah. mr. president, earlier, the internal revenue service admitted responsibility for an incredible abuse of power.
in the midst of the season, it targeted and harassed americans for the supposed crime of thinking differently. with some of the most information devotee taxpayer come every taxpayer in america betrayed trust. and in doing so it showed the length to which this administration will go to stifel those who dissent from its policies. although this was and remains a good outrage. the third party dictatorship not the world's leading democracy we don't know how that has happened or if it is still living on. that is because the bipartisan investigation and all of this still has precluded. in many ways it seems to have
treated this gamble more as a public relations problem than to get past any serious problem to solve. and now get this expect the elected representatives of the people to rollover and rubber-stamp a new presidential nominee to have the ims one the congress to forget what happened, too and just simply move on. they expect us to just let them ran through the president's new picked to run the irs. the american people deserve answers about how and why this targeting have been coming and they deserve justice, too tebeau i would be supporting any nominee to lead this agency until the american people get the answers the user of. but of course the democrats in charge of the senate changed the rules a few weeks back in order to ensure they could get their way on the nominees. no matter what the american people think.
it's the same kind of attitude we have seen on the defense bill for the majority leader prevented others from offering amendments. they will just do what they want. even if it means breaking the rules. so, if john kendal sent himself come from tomorrow i want him to know a few things. first of all, he should understand i don't hold an animus towards him personally. under different circumstances, i might well have been able to support him. we had a good conversation when we met recently to discuss his nomination. but he is also someone i will be keeping a close eye on as well the other members of my confidence. as well the american people. because the challenges lie ahead for the next commissioner a matter he or she may be. we expect the next to cooperate fully with the ongoing
investigation and to this scandal to the we expect whoever is eventually confirmed to hold those that broke or bent the rules for the accountable. we expect the next commissioner to implement the law that he or she is charged with executing. and to this credit, the nominee has assured me that he agrees with me on a topic that i feel very, very strongly about. for fact they should stay out of regulating political speech. the all irs should stay out of regulating political speech. he told me so himself and he agreed with that and i was pleased to hear. so were he to become the commissioner i would expect him to oppose the misguided proposed rule that seems to overturn more than 50 years of civil law and practice unfairly targeting the speech of those that criticize
the administration while leaving its supporters untouched. this proposed rule which redefines what, quote, social welfare means in order to target certain groups that seek to educate the public and within the penalizing federal, state, local organizations for the suppose it crimes of providing information, much of it non-partisan or bipartisan the media easier to push through the back door with the democrats have been unable to push through the front door, discriminatory policies that seek to silence those who dare to oppose them. it is just the latest in a long and troubling pattern of chicago style tactics under this administration and it is exactly the kind of political meddling that the next commissioner needs to ensure never happens again. so, let's not forget that the
irs should be boring place, it should be boring place, and impartial agency of tax collectors of the vanguard of the left. the next commissioner needs to see that the organization finally returns to its mission and he or she needs to root out those that have the irs target americans for the way they think. as i told the nominee i am deeply concerned about the role in implementing obamacare. the fact of the matter is it represents a dramatic expansion of the use of the tax code to pick winners and losers. it gives the agency broad responsibility for enforcing obamacare most onerous mandates. and to hand out nearly a trillion dollars, a trillion dollars in the tax payer subsidies and in order to do all this it would need to know who has insurance, penalize those who don't and of those available
for subsidies and how much they are to receive care something that the agency has a very troubled history in doing with other programs. and if they get any of that wrong, they will need to come back and repossess the subsidies after the fact. in my view the irs doesn't have any business snoopy even further into the lives of our constituency. >> we are going to leave this the date from earlier today to return live to the senate floor. lawmakers are expected to continue work on the 2014 defense programs and policy built the lead at 3:15 we are expecting a vote on a measure from texas senator john cornyn to block passage of the defense programs bill. a final vote on the measure is expected today perhaps as late as 10:30 orie 11 p.m. eastern. now live senate coverage on c-span2 mr. baucus: madam president,
last week i had the opportunity to see charles dickens classic "the christmas carol." as you know this is a morality tale that highlights the plight of the poor, the less fortunate, the unemployed. in fact, madam president, when charles dickens back to work on "the christmas carol" actually he was so upset with the plight of youth and children working in the mines in england, he started out to write about that in a novel that evolved into a tale about christmas, a christmas carol. as i watched "the christmas carol" with my wife at ford's theater about a week ago, i was struck about the following line for the spirit of jacob marchly. here -- jacob marley. here's what he said. mankind was my business. the welfare was my business, charity, mercy, benevolence was
all my business. the dealings by trade and the drop of water in the comprehensive ocean was my business. end quote. with that line, dickens was advocating for those less fortunate and voicing his support for economic equality. those words are most appropriate today, this time of year. i come to the floor today with my friend, the senator from rhode island, jack reed, to share our concerns about the weak labor market, those who have been unemployed for so long and its impact on the nation's 11 million unemployed. senator reed are especially concerned about those who have been without work for an extended period of time. it's been four years since the end of the great recession, and while the nation's economy has been slowly recovering, steadily adding jobs, a large sector of society is still out of work. of the nation's 11 million unemployed, a little over four million of our friends and
neighbors are considered long-term unemployed. that means they have been without work for six months or more. most people who find themselves out of work are eligible to receive assistance from their state for 26 weeks as they look for a new job. but for far too many, finding a new job in the sluggish economy has been extremely difficult. when state aid is exhausted, federal emergency unemployment insurance kicks in and helps families to help make ends meet. however, that safety net is now about to expire. it's about to expire in just a couple of weeks. in fact, in less than two weeks federal emergency unemployment insurance will run out. on december 28, 1.3 million people will lose their unemployment benefits. these are people obviously hurting. they don't have a job, would love to find a job, have a job, to try to make ends meet.
they're discouraged and unsuccessful at finding work. we cannot cast them aside. we need to provide out-of-work americans the security they need while they continue to look for jobs. we need to help them look for work clearly and put food on the table for their families. extending the jobless aid to the longtime out of work must be a private for this congress. with the house already in recess, we will not be able to extend emergency unemployment benefits before the end of the year but it is my hope that when congress returns we can retroactively extend benefits. at the same time when we return next month, we need to explore long-term unemployment solutions. we need to jump-start policies that will grow our economy more rapidly and create new jobs. it has to be a dual track, with benefits for those unemployed but also assistance, to find ways so more people can get jobs. we all care deeply about this.
i know no one that cars more deeply than my good friend from rhode island, jack reed. he's been working diligently to look at every possible solution to try to find a way to make sure unemployment benefits are extended, and that is why we're working together on this. it is in the jurisdiction of the finance committee, but jack has worked very hard to ensure that americans are not cast aside, and senator reed and i will do all we can to try to find a solution. i tip my hat to, especially to the senator from rhode island for all that he has done. he's been tireless advocate for a solution for those unemployed, and together we will find, as dickens said, make the common welfare our business. thank you, madam president. mr. reed: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, madam president. first let me thank chairman baucus for his very kind words, but also salute the president of the united states for the wisdom of his announcement that he
intends to appoint the senator to be our next ambassador to the people's republic of china. i can't think of anyone whose integrity, whose intelligence, whose commitment to the nation, whose patriotism would be so well served and so beneficial to this country as continuing his public efforts after his days in the senate in the embassy in beijing. thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank the chairman because he's been an articulate and effective advocate for unemployment compensation benefits for hardworking americans who are without work because, through no fault of their own, this economy has had a drastic contraction beginning in 2007, 2008, 2009. we're seeing some improvements. but in this period, the chairman has been the key actor, the key force striving for extended
benefits. and he's done that also in the context of trying to reform the program. he has implemented efforts like work share, a proposal that i brought to him that is a smart way to do business. it basically allows a company to retain their workers for part of the week and let them collect benefits for the rest of the week so they keep the workforce together. in rhode island it's been extremely beneficial. and it's now a nationwide program because of chairman baucus. he is working very hard, as he indicated, we're working together to ensure that we do not see this cliff where 1.3 million americans lose their benefits on december 28. yesterday, madam president, i came to the floor to discuss some of the economics behind the logic of extending these benefits, and i believe that this extensive amount of economic research supports the very commonsense notion that i think the vast majority of our
colleagues share, that americans want to work. they're in an environment, though, where jobs are scarce. there's two workers for every job and in some parts of the country that ratio is even much worse. however, i hear other colleagues say, well, that might be true, but we've got to fix this program because we've got abuse and we have fraud. well, the chairman and his efforts have always demonstrated that we are committed to rooting out any type of tpraupbd abuse. in -- fraud and abuse. in 2012, for example, we strengthened the requirement that you have to search for work to qualify for unemployment compensation. we improve integrity by having beneficiary show up for frequently for in person assessments to find a job quicker. and so we want the program to be efficient. we want the program to be something that is not subject to abuse. that means that more people can
benefit correctly; not abuse the system. so i'm sure the chairman and i are quite willing. i know i am and i know he is too, to work if we need reform. but we can't do that in ten days. we can't do that. we need some time. so i have joined together to suggest a three-month extension. that will allow us, and this will allow us -- and i thank the senator from nevada -- that will allow to us keep people from falling off the edge literally. the average benefit in rhode island is $350 a week. there are very few people who are going to give up a job to get $350 a week. and, by the way, that money is going right from their, the check to the local grocery store to pay for the heat, to pay for the rent. and that's why c.b.o. has
estimated that if we don't extend unemployment benefits, we will see a situation in which we lose approximately 200,000 jobs next year, which we could otherwise have, that we will see our economic g.d.p. growth shrink by about .2% because the demand generated by unemployment checks going out in the mail will be lost. it will -- it's one of those programs that provides about $1.70, $1.60 for every $1 we invest. this is good economics. not just as senator baucus said so eloquently, not just about our commitment beyond ourselves to the welfare and the good faith of our neighbors in the spirit of christmas, the true spirit of this holiday. well, you know, the other thing too is if you look at this argument about, well, we're not going to extend the program because of abuse. you could look at a lot of programs.
you could look at the crop insurance program, for example. i don't hear many people coming out and saying, let's cut out that crop insurance program, there's abuse. but just recently this year the department of justice prosecuted a very large, significant case of widespread tobacco crop fraud spanning six years. a federal district judge brought to justice an insurance agent or farmer, prison time was ordered, $8 million was, of restitution had to be paid. and no one is standing up and saying let's add crop insurance because of this case. let's get realistic. we need to extend these benefits, and we need to do it promptly because the 28th is just about upon us. shortly, madam president, i will make a unanimous consent request. but before that, i'd like to recognize my colleague, a great leader on this effort, senator stabenow. and then i would ask if at 2:30
she could yield the floor back to me so i can make my request. with that, i will yield to the senator. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. first, thank you to senator reed, who has been such a champion on this issue. and i've been proud to partner with him on behalf of over a million people who are trying to find work and will lose their unemployment three days after christmas, on december 28. i can't think of anything more devastating to families trying to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. i also want to thank senator baucus for his leadership on this and congratulate him on his new opportunity for the future. i will, in the interest of time, put my full statement, with consent, in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you. but let me read specifically letters that i think tell it all from people in michigan.
regina from holland, michigan, writes, "i am begging you to extend unemployment insurance. i've been unemployed since june. i'm almost done with my first year of unemployment. i've been trying to find work. i'm 59 years old, and that does not help in finding a job." and, madam president, let me say we have way too many women, we have way too many people who are in their 50's and in their 60's trying to find work and having a very difficult time for a number of reasons. she goes on to say, "if you don't pass the extensions, my family will only have my husband's social security check coming in, and we'll lose our home. i am really scared we will not have this money coming in after december 28, and i don't know what we're going to do." i also heard from steven in dearborn who wrote me and said, "this december 28 deadline
directly affects me and my family. i've been unemployed for six months. i've been struggling to keep things afloat for my wife and my two young children. if these benefits cease at the end of the month, it will put us even closer to losing everything. losing everything my wife and i have worked very hard for." the reality is even though the economy is getting better, we still have three people looking for every one job that is available. now at one time it was five people. so we've made some progress. but the truth is we still have a situation where way too many people in michigan and across the country, in fact almost 11 million people are out of work, and we've got three people fighting for every one job that is available. and we still also have challenges as it relates to matching up the jobs with the skills that people have.
not that people don't have skills, but they're different than the jobs that are available. so people are going back to school. they want to work. we all want the dignity of financial independence and work. but too many people are struggling in an economy that they did not create. a global economy that they did not create. and if we don't act, if we don't support senator reed's motion, over 43 million -- 43,000 people in michigan -- 43,000 people in michigan -- over one million long-term unemployed people across the country will find themselves in a devastating situation. right after christmas. it makes no sense. i urge my colleagues to join together and do what we have done with republican presidents, democratic presidents, what we have done on a bipartisan basis over the years, and that is to make sure we have a lifeline for people who are needing temporary
help while they look for work. thank you, madam president. mr. reed: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: madam president, at this time i would ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 265, s. 1845, the emergency unemployment compensation extension act, the bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senator -- the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, it's unfortunate that the senate schedule is chock-full of pending cloture motions that are controversial or completely nonurgent nominations, so i would ask the senator to amend his consent request to say that the pending cloture motions on executive nominations be withdrawn and that following the disposition of the defense bill, the senate proceed to consideration of s. 1845, the
unemployment insurance extensi extension, and that the majority leader and the minority leader be recognized to offer amendments in an alternating fashion so these important issues can be considered this week. i'd ask for that amended consent request. the presiding officer: does the senator so modify his request? mr. reed: i do not modify my request. i insist on my request since it's the only practical means of getting the measure passed. the presiding officer: is there objection to the request? mr. cornyn: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reed: madam president, i believe i have just a few minutes left, two minutes, before senator mccain takes the floor. let me make just a few more points that i think are critic critical. last month the economy did add jobs, 203,000 jobs. but what we're seeing is the average length of unemployment is increasing. people are still out of work now
on average 36 weeks. that's more than 26 -- 20 weeks longer than in previous recessions and it's longer than the 26 weeks of state insurance. that's why we're here asking for benefits. people now are averaging a much longer time without insurance benefits. this is not a situation where they fall within the state program. they have to have these federal benefits because it's harder and harder to find work. i would also suggest, too, that if you look at it another way, in 2008, president bush started this emergency compensation program, it took the average jobless american 5.6 months to find employment. now with the increased long-term unemployment, it takes about 9 months. and so, again, this is the reason why these long-term extended benefits are absolutely necessary and i would hope that our colleagues would join myself and senator heller and chairman baucus and senator stabenow and others and continue to move aggressively forward and see if we can, in fact, extend the
benefits so that many americans can continue to have some substance and some sustenance as they continue to look for work. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, i just watched again what's going on here on the floor of the senate. again, there's unanimous consent request to pass a major piece of legislation without an amendme amendment, without debate, without the ability of those on this side of the aisle to even have an amendment considered so
that -- and voted on, which again, completing shutting out this side of the aisle from the ability in any way to affect legislation. so now i'm sure those on the other side of the aisle are going to go out and say, "oh, the republicans, look at them. they won't even agree to extension of unemployment insurance." won't you let us have an amendment? won't you at least let us have debate and vote on an amendment? there are some of us that think that this program can be improved to help those who are unemployed. but, no, the way the senate runs today is that it's either take it or leave it. and i'll tell -- i'll tell the chair and i'll tell my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we're getting sick and tired of it. we're getting sick and tired of the dictatorial way that the united states senate is being run. the senator from south carolina
and i are about to be on the floor to talk about, among other things, the national defense authorization act, the bill that has to do with this nation's defense. and are we going to be able to have a single amendment? no. the bill has been out of the senate armed services committee since may. and so we're going to not address the issue of sexual assaults, protect individual rights in light of revelations on n.s.a. data collection. i would say to my colleagues, the president had a commission that just made some recommendations. wouldn't it be appropriate to take those commission recommendations, debate them here on the floor of the senate, amend the bill so that some of these recommendations by this commission should be enacted into law? do we not -- do we not believe that the issue of surveillance,
of n.s.a. data collection is not an issue that shouldn't be debated on the floor of the united states senate? we would be doing that, we would be debating, we would be amending, we would be making it better, we would be protecting the privacy of americans' lives if on this floor we were amending and debating the defense authorization bill. but we're not. we're not. are we going to talk about this incredible issue which is -- which has permeated so much debate both in and outside the congress of the united states of sexual assaults in the military? no. nope. we're not going to allow an amendment on the other side of the aisle by the senator from new york, who has made it her major legislative effort. we're not going to hear from this side of the aisle, where the senator from missouri has made it her major issue. no, we're not going to debate it. we're not going to amend it.
what about -- what about the issue of detainees? the senator from south carolina and i are not in complete agreement. i had looked forward to a debate with him about how we dispose of the situation of detainees, each of one of whom are costing -- each one of whom are costing $1.5 million a year for their incarceration. but, no, we're not going to do any of that today or tomorrow or next week or next month or maybe even next year if the majority leader of the senate continues to run the senate in such a way that we can't even have debate and discussion. and i will tell my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, this is bad for the united states senate but it's worse for the american people. we have an obligation to the american people to debate issu
issues, to vote on them, to pass legislation that we think is best outcome. there would be votes i would lose. there would be volts i woul votd win. but we're not going to have any votes. and the galling thing about it is, the defense bill passed through the defense -- the senate armed services committee in may. so we went to june, july, augu august, september, october, november and here we are finally maybe going out for -- for the year and we're going to have an up-or-down vote -- an up-or-down vote -- on the defense authorization bill. that is shameful. that -- that is a perversion of everything that the united states senate was designed for by our founding fathers, and there's no doubt about it. so i came to the floor with my friend from south carolina to
talk about iran sanctions. but have no doubt -- have no doubt -- i tell my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, you are doing a great disservice to the american people, to the men and women who are serving this nation by not even fully debating and amending and voting on those amendments on this bill. you are doing a disservice to the men and women who are serving this nation. so you should not be proud of this process that we are going through. sometime today or tomorrow, depending on how many hours go by, we'll have a vote and i will vote to pass the bill. i will vote that way because i can't do this to the american people -- to the men and women who are serving. there's too many provisions in it. it addresses bonuses, special duty, incentive pay, military construction, security -- all kinds of issues that are
contained in this bill. so we can't turn it down but we can't make it a bill that the american people should be proud. in fact, we should be embarrassed at the process that we are engaged in. and, frankly, i hope -- i know that the american people are not too interested or aware of the arcane promises of the united states senate, but steps were taken earlier -- not that long ago that has changed the entire united states senate and it has changed it for the worse. and i can assure my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that it will be very difficul difficult -- very, very difficult -- for us to work with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle on most any issue when we are being deprived of the fundamental rights of a united states senator and that is the right to propose an amendment, debate and have a
vote if that united states senator wishes it. no longer are 45 members on this side of the aisle allowed what should be our right -- not a privilege, our right -- to amend this legislation in order to make it better and make it a better and more effective way to defend this nation. this is a -- this is -- i've been around this body for a long time. this may be one of the lowest points i have seen, particularly in light of the fact that the defense authorization bill for 51 years has been brought to the floor of the senate, it's been debated, it's been amended, sometimes for as long as three weeks. and now what are we going to do? sometime tonight or tomorrow, one or -- at some hour we're going to have -- we're going to have the privilege of voting "aye" or "nay" on a bill that is vital to our nation's security. disgraceful. i see my colleague from the --
from south carolina on the floor and i ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with the senator from south carolina. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i'm sure that my colleague and friend saw the article in the "wall street journal" this morning that says -- quote -- "france doubts iran ready for nuclear pact. foreign minister laurent fabius questions whether tehran is willing to abandon the ability to build an atomic bomb." and really in the first chapter -- the first paragraph of this story what fundamentally i would ask my colleague is really the fundamental problem. there are many issues concerning the iranian lie, cheat for years and years about their continued progress towards the acquisition of a nuclear weapon. but i would ask my -- my friend from south carolina, isn't it really about the most important -- let me put it this way. the most important aspect of this whole issue of these
negotiations is the right to enrich? in other words, will the iranians -- haven't we already given over to them the right to continue to have the centrifuges spin and the enrichment process continue so that at some point, sooner or later, they may have only be the turn of a wrench away from a nuclear weapon? mr. graham: senator mccain, you're absolutely right. the interim deal does not dismantle the centrifuges. they're spinning, as we talk. they disconnect -- i say disconnect, not dismantle -- some advanced centrifuge as that have been installed. what people need to realize is the iranians over the last decade, particularly the last three years, have developed a very mature enrichment program. 18,000 centrifuges. they don't need 20% enriched you'ruranium anymore with thesew centrifuges to get to 90%, which
would produce a uranium-based bomb. they could do it with a 3.5% stockpile. so i guess here's the basic question for us as a nation and the world at large -- do you believe the iranians when they say they're not trying to develop a nuclear weapon, they're trying to only develop peaceful nuclear power? do you believe them when they make that claim, given the reality of their enrichment program, their lying, their if their goal is to enrich not for peaceful nuclear power purposes to make a bomb, how do you get them to change their goal? i think what senator mccain is pointing out is very important. the interim deal, like it or not. has legitimatized your enrichment in iran. how do you go from not dismandating -- dismantling the plume reactor to complete dismantlement, shutting down the centrifuges and turning over the stockpile to the international community after the interim deal?
how do you go from there to the end game? we're so far away from an acceptable outcome. so i just hope that people understand what the french are saying. the french are telling us that they do not believe the iranian negotiators and the iranian regime are serious about abandoning an enrichment program that could break out, produce a nuclear weapon. senator mccain, i just appreciate your leadership on these issues, syria, iran, you name it, you have been there. so i would just like to ask the question of senator mccain. do you believe the iranians when they say they're not trying to acquire a nuclear weapon, and from a u.s.-israel's point of view, what would happen to our nations if they had that capability? mr. mccain: could i say to my friend, one of the things that would happen right away i think is well known. it is not a secret that many nations in the region would then quickly acquire nuclear weapons, and maybe the wealthiest ones might just buy one from
pakistan. that is not a secret. but could i ask my colleague this -- so therefore we now have a period of six months, which originally was stated as the end goal that an agreement would be made and finalized, it would be ready to be put into effect. but then we hear, well, maybe it's going to take more than six months. one, haven't we seen that movie before, extended, pro tacted negotiations which then the centrifuges, as the senator from south carolina just mentioned, continue to spin, but also wouldn't it be appropriate that for the congress to say to the administration and more importantly to the iranians that after six months, my friends, the screws are going to tighten? because if you can't get an agreement in six months, then it would be appropriate for there to be additional pressures that would then hopefully be
incentives for them to reach a final agreement rather than the status quo, which most of us believe is not satisfactory under this six-month period. and so shouldn't there be some sanctions that would kick in after a six-month period, which then the iranians would know that if they don't reach an agreement, that then the sanctions will be more severe? and perhaps my colleague can explain to me why the secretary of state and the administration seems to be so opposed to us putting more pressure on the whole process to be finalized, and six months seems to be a reasonable length of time to get that done. mr. graham: the senator is right. this interim agreement has not been implemented yet. they have six months to reach a final agreement, but also an additional six months beyond that, a year, basically, to drag out these negotiations.
and you asked the ultimate question. sanctions, senator mccain, don't you believe, is the only reason the iranians are at the table? i want to compliment the administration for putting together an international regime to take the sanction that is congress has passed over their objections, i might add, to really inflict pain on the iranian regime. unfortunately, the people, too. but that's the only reason they are at the table. but here is the analysis, as i understand it, senator mccain. people in the administration believe there is a moderate element and a hard-line element, and iran is telling the united states and the b-5-plus-1, if you threaten us with any more sanctions, we walk away. we're not going to negotiate with a gun to our head. these are the people who have been using a lot of guns, put a lot of guns to people's heads, actually pulled the trigger, creating mayhem in syria, they are one of the biggest supporters of state terrorism.
but i believe the only reason they are at the table to begin with is because of sanctions. so my belief is that new sanctions tied to the end game -- and this is what we have been working on in a bipartisan fashion -- is just not keeping the sanctions alive for the next year. it's tying their relief to an outcome that we all want. i want a peaceful resolution of the iranian nuclear program. if they want a peaceful nuclear power program, they can have it. just control the fuel cycle. that's been my position. if they want an enrich many capability that has to be monitored by the u.n. and is robust and the only reason they won't break out to get a nuclear weapon is because of u.n. inspectors, that's north korea. the movie you talked about, senator mccain, is the movie called snort korea where you would impose sanctions, you would relieve them, you would give them money, you would give them food, you would reinstate sanctions, you would have u.n. inspectors to control the
progress. the program was never dismantled. don't repeat the mistake in iran that were repeated in north korea. dismantle this program before it's too late. so to the administration, we're trying to help, not hurt. i don't believe there is a moderate element when it comes to the iranian nuclear power -- nuclear program. i think that is a facade. the new president is a charming fellow on television, but he was a nuclear negotiator in 2004 and 2005 for the iranian regime and openly bragged about how much advancement they made during his time negotiating toward an enrichment program that produced a bomb. so this idea that there is hard-liners and moderates when it comes to the iranian nuclear program is a miscalculation. so we are working on bipartisan sanctions to continue them, and they can only be relieved when we dismantle the enrichment program, when we dismantle the plume reactor, heavy water reactor that has nothing to do with producing nuclear power for peaceful purposes and removing
the stockpile like the u.n. has recommended. the u.n. resolutions are enforce -- are in force today, are on the books today. this agreement is to the left of the u.n. so the reason we're pushing sanctions in a bipartisan fashion is we want to avoid a conflict. the iranian nuclear program, senator mccain, has to be stopped one way or the other, through diplomacy and sanctions or then force, unless that's the options. i cannot imagine a world with nukes. it would create a nuclear arms race. israel, my god, how could they sit on the sideline and watch a nuclear weapon be produced by people who threaten every day to wipe them off the map? so we're hoping we can produce singses that would enable and enhance the administration's opportunity to get a peaceful resolution. sanctions and diplomacy end the program in a peaceful way.
this is our last chance. if we get this wrong, history will judge us poorly. they are trying to get a nuclear weapon. they are hell bent. the only thing that will stop them is pressure. senator mccain, i just want to ask you a question. why are japan banks and other business entities rushing to do business with iran when the interim deal relieves of sanctions? do you believe that the international community is of the mindset that the sanctions are breaking down, they are trying to jump ahead of each other to do business with iran, and if congress passed a new round of sanctions, it would stop that breakout? do you think that makes sense? mr. mccain: well, i think -- i think that it might. i just think that this whole perception of the united states around the world and our weakness, whether it be manifested in the middle east
with recent -- i'm sure that my friend from south carolina saw the comments of the former high-ranking member of the saudi government. the japanese are now starting to go their own way because of they believe american pivot is not reality. there are manifestations of this perception of american weakness all over the world. so i'm not sure they believe that we are serious here or most anyplace else, but i think the senator from south carolina raises an excellent point. i seem to remember during the days of the cold war that we used to look at the reviewing stand on the mayday parade and we would point at one guy and say he is a moderate, he is a soft liner, he is a hard-liner, and you know we hope that fill in the blank is going to really have a beneficial effect and the russians are going to change,
blah, blah, blah. it was always this belief about hard-liners and soft-liners. we know now from history that that was never -- never the case. so now we look at iran. oh, there is the hard-liners and soft-liners. doesn't that ignore the fundamental fact that there is one man that governs iran and just makes all the decisions, and that guy is the ayatollah. and now that rouhani is a hard-liner -- by the way, as the senator from south carolina just mentioned, bragged, bragged about how he deceived the americans when he was the negotiator and the other countries when he was the negotiator for iran. now he's the moderate. now he's the good guy. so all this is just -- is forgot. but i -- is froth. but i guess the other point that really needs to be made that we forget, in syria and in iran, this administration, this president and this secretary of
state look at their -- at these countries as an arms control issue. they look at syria as an arms control issue, while from helicopters they are dropping bombs that are killing and massacring women and children while they are doing -- committing the most atrocious acts. on the one hand, we -- the secretary of state and his friend sergay vladarov are removing chesapeake from syria while plane loads of weapons fly into damascus and they kill people. and i'm not sure whether a mother in syria can discriminate whether that child was killed by a chemical weapon or by a conventional weapon. so here we have the iranians committing acts of terror all over the world, funding the iranian -- sending the iranian reef -- revolutionary guard in
syria, training bashar assad's troops in iran and sending them back, sending in supply after supply of weapons to kill syrians, plots to kill even the saudi ambassador here in washington, d.c. yemen, they have tried to smuggle in a whole boat load full of weapons from iran. the list goes on and on of their persian ambitions throughout the arab world and the world, but by golly, we crush them to sit down and negotiate with us seriously on the issue of nuclear weapons. this is the most narrow view of iran that has ever happened in history. so i don't see how you can judge iranian seriousness about really wanting to rein in their and eliminate their progress toward
a nuclear weapon without considering their behavior throughout the world, particularly in the middle east, which is one of aggression, terror and outright murder of people and destabilizing the entire region to the iranian advantage. mr. graham: well, senator mccain, i think the point that you are making is dead on. isn't it true, senator mccain, that our government has designated the iranian regime. their government is one of the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. is that correct? mr. mccain: true. mr. graham: now, here's the question. it's a good question. if you gave them a -- if they had a nuclear weapon, are they likely to end such activity or would they be more effective in expanding it? mr. mccain: could i just interrupt, my friend?
i forgot one aspect of reining in behavior that is the most egregious -- their sponsorship of hezbollah. there are 5,000 hezbollah from lebanon sponsored by iran that are killing syrians as we speak at the bidding of the ayatollah and maybe rouhani who is supposed to be a moderate. mr. graham: i think what you have just described, the litany of chaos and mayhem spread by the iranian regime, that you knew probably better than anyone because you spend so much time there, it is hamas -- i mean hezbollah, but also hamas. they have actually -- they are all in, the people who create the biggest upheaval for israel. they are all in for their buddy, the butcher of damascus, without iran's support, one of the most evil people on the planet wouldn't have a chance. don't you believe, senator mccain, we're in a proxy war between us and the iranians in
syria, and that if we don't -- and our actions towards we're going to use force, we're not going to use force, assad is winning, that our policies toward syria are affecting the regime's belief about what we may do about their nuclear program, and one thing that might reset our resolve as a nation is for the congress to impose additional sanctions so the ayatollahs will not be confused by our lack of will in syria when it comes to their nuclear program, that the bottom line here is that after our debacle in syria, don't you think we have a problem with the iranian regime of taking us serious? the interna -- the international regime is breaking the sanctions and if know sanctions were imposed in a bipartisan way, that is the best way to reset the debate. mr. mccain: i'd also point out if we are looking for one bright