tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 31, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
generous compensation packages, and those include paid parental or medical leave. a survey found that 68% of large employers provide that paid parental leave. at the same time not all workers enjoy these options. despite increasingly complex family demands. this, again, is especially true for low-wage workers. and with more than half of women working as the primary breadwinners, workplace flexibility has become a necessity for our 21st century families. it's not just children who require that personal care and attention. it's also our aging parents. nearly half of middle-age adults have elderly parents, and they're still supporting their own children.
over 43 million americans provide direct care to older family members, with women serving as 66% of all primary caregivers. and as we baby boomers, as our generation ages, the number of senior citizens requiring care will likely spike. less take-home pay for those caregivers means tighter finances, more stress, and lost opportunities. all at a time when families are confronting health crisis or dealing with unique challenges of starting a new family. with such events often coinciding with high medical bills, the last thing a stressed family needs is a smaller working budget. senator king and i have offered a proposal that would enable working families to have continued access to pay while
they are meeting necessary family obligations. our plan would create a tax credit to encourage employers to voluntarily offer paid leave for workers. to be eligible for that tax credit, the employer must at a minimum offer four weeks of paid leave. but they could offer more. paid leave would be available on an hourly basis and would be separate from the other vacation or sick leave. for each hour paid leave is provided, the employer would receive a 25% nonrefundable tax credit. the more paid fmla time the employer offers, the greater the tax credit. this tax credit would be available to any employer with qualified employees, regardless of size.
importantly, our bill is reasonable. it's a balanced solution that can make a real difference in the lives of working families. when we do this without new mandates or new taxes, it creates an incentive structure to encourage employers to offer that paid leave. specifically targeting those who hire lower-income, hourly-paid workers. mr. president, this should not be just another election-year issue. this is a middle-class issue, and our bill takes the partisan politics out of it. and it really offers a meaningful solution that we can pass. frankly, i would like to thank my friend from maine, senator king, who joined me in offering this bill. once again, this now-famous,
surf and turf caucus is working together on a commonsense proposal, and it's a proposal that can help american families. i'm grateful for the senator's input, for his hard work and his friendship. and i look forward to closely working with him in the future so that we can advance this measure in the united states senate. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. king: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mr. king: mr. president, i'm delighted to join my colleague from nebraska to introduce what i think is an important and commonsense and workable bill that could be passed in the next several weeks. and i think we would find broad agreement across the political spectrum. the question we're answering today is what does suriname, papua, new guinea and the united
states have in common? the answer is they were the three countries in the world we've been able to turn up that don't have any provision for paid maternity leave. every country in the industrialized world except the united states has coverage for paid medical leave. you see red is the united states, suriname and papua, new gunea, that's it in the world. this is something we can do that won't effect our competitiveness, won't be a problem for economic growth and in fact i believe it will contribute to it. today a family that has a health crisis with an elderly parent, a child or has the joyful issue of a new child in their family has a terrible dilemma. the dilemma is do i stay home to take care of the child or the
elderly parent in a health crisis, or do i have to put food on the table by going to work? if every hour i miss work, i lose an hour of pay. that's a dilemma that we should not put our people through. i believe that this is, as i say, a productivity issue. all of the discussion that we've had in recent months about pay and gender inequity often comes down to the issue of workplace flexibility, particularly in the case of women that are often the ones that are put into this dilemma that i mentioned of choosing between their earnings and their familial obligations. it's women who are often trapped in this dilemma, and they are the ones that are asking for and seeking quite reasonably the same type of flexibility that
virtually every other working person in the world already enjoys. i like this bill and agree with my colleague from nebraska to join in it because it's voluntary. it's not a mandate from washington. it's not something that says every employer in the country has to do this, and there are going to be rules and a bureaucracy and adjudications and all those kinds of things. no. this is a voluntary incentive-based program that says to every employer, not just those 50 or above or 100 or above or 500 or bofer, every employer in the country will have available to them this tax credit for offering paid leave to their employees. i think this is the way we should approach this, not, as my colleague says, with a one-size-fits-all mandate emanating from washington. i think incentives are always better than mandates. the other thing that's important about this bill is that it really focuses on the people who
are currently least likely to have some kind of paid leave available to them, and that's people that work on an hourly basis. that's who this bill is focused on. the interesting thing on the data is that as you go up the income scale into salaried employees, there already is more than two-thirds of american workers in this category already have paid leave policies. and as you go -- but it's when you get down into the working people, the hourly workers, that's where the real problem is. and that's why i think this bill has an important focus on hourly work, people who are covered by the fair labor standards act and people who otherwise just aren't going to have this kind of protection. this, mr. president, is about flexibility. and as i've talked to, listened
to women's groups and advocacy groups, flexibility is always the first thing on the agenda. and that's exactly what we're talking about here. so people, men or women, don't have to make that agonizing decision. people who are living paycheck to paycheck don't have to make the agonizing decision about between being able to put food on the table and pay the rent and staying home to take care of an ill child or an elderly parent or to stay home a reasonable period after the joyous occasion of the arrival of a new child. it's also about productivity. i believe that we will see an increase in productivity because people won't be preoccupied when they're at work. they know they're going to be there and they know they're going to have this protection. and it takes away that agonizing worry and anxiety. and it also, by giving people
paid leave, will enable them to continue to contribute to the economy. and i believe it will be actually a positive stimulus to our economy. of course everybody says we're in competition with the rest of the world. not on this. not on this. everywhere else in the world provides this level of benefit, so we're really in a catch-up situation. and i believe, as i said, i think we'll see an increase in productivity and in economic activity. then finally, it's about fairness. and frankly, mr. president, it's to some extent about gender fairness. it's about fairness to working women who are expected in our culture to be the ones to take care of the sick child. that may not be the fairest thing and that may not be the wave of the future, but that's the fact today. and it's about fairness to those working women who today have to
make a choice between putting food on the table and taking care of a sick child or taking the necessary time off after the birth of a child in order to have that event be a happy one and not an economic strain on the family. so, mr. president, i'm delighted to join my colleague from nebraska, the leader of the turf and surf caucus, in her, i think, brilliant bill that i think can really -- it's something that we can come together on in a bipartisan basis and actually do something and not just talk about the problem of income inequality and not just talk about the problem of fairness, not just talk about the problem of flexibility in the workplace but actually do something about it in a practical, commonsense way that i think will have tremendous ramifications across the country. so i am delighted to be able to
join in this bill. i compliment the senator from nebraska for her work in bringing this forward and look forward to what i hope could be an expeditious consideration of the bill in the senate and in the congress. this is a change we can make that will make a real difference in people's lives across america. thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. sessions: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, the people of the united states have truly begged and pleaded with their lawmakers for years to create a lawful system of immigration, one that works, one that's fair, one that serves the national interest, one that we can believe in. they've been justly and rightly convinced of that fact, and they have demanded that of their elected officeholders to secure their communities and protect the integrity of our national borders. some say that there's something wrong with that. i say there's shewel nothing wrong with that. that is the right thing. that's the moral thing. that's the responsible thing. that's the decent thing. that's what any great nation should have is an immigration
policy that serves its national interest and it's fairly and lawfully conducted. but these pleas have fallen on deaf ears. our border is absolutely not sure. it is in -- secure. it is in crisis. our communities are not safe. preventable crimes occur every day because our laws are not being enforced. and our sovereignty at its base level is not being protected. and we have a president planning to issue sweeping executive amnesty in violation of law in ways he has no power to do and threatens the constitutional separation of powers. congress passes law. the president must execute the law. the president is not entitled to make law, to conduct actions contrary to plain law. the president simply cannot say well, congress didn't act so i
have to act. but congress decided not to act in a way he wanted. they considered legislation, rejected it, and now he is going to, it appears from article after article go forward and carry out an action anyway. it would be fundamentally wrong. this cannot stand. this will not stand. my opposition has been and remains that congress should not pass border legislation that does not foreclose the possibility of these unlawful executive orders. as an institution, this congress has a duty to protect this institution and our constituents. currently, the president has issued approximately half a million work permits to individuals unlawfully present in the country up to 30 years of age. now the president wants to issue
another five million to six million work permits to illegal immigrants of any age despite clear prohibition in the immigration and nationality act. not entitled to do that. plain law says that you cannot employ someone in the country unlawfully. people think well, it's one thing to say you won't support somebody, but colleagues, what was done previously was to provide under the daca legislation an i.d. card with the words work permit across the top. work authorization across the top. so the president is providing in violation of plain law the ability of people in the country to work who are not entitled to work. he will be able to take jobs from any american today and we have a lot of americans today struggling for work. at a time when millions of
americans are out of work. the president's plan is a direct affront to them, to every single unemployed american, to people around the world who have applied to come to the united states and have not been admitted so they didn't come unlawfully. what do we say to them when this happens? it is particularly damaging to those in the poorest and most vulnerable communities in america. so who is speaking for them? who will give them a voice in congress? will members here, will we hear their pleas? i have been shocked that we have not seen a willingness in the congress to resist more effectively than what we are seeing today. so let's consider a bit more deeply for a moment what the president's executive action would do to enforcement in america, and let me just say clearly, colleagues, we're not
just making this up. we're not having some idea that he might do something to five million to six million to more million people. it has been repeatedly leaked from the white house. not leaked, they have discussed it. the president has promised it to activist groups like la raza and aclu that he intends to do this. it's only a question of how and time. the latest article yesterday in "the wall street journal," a big article said it would happen shortly after labor day. this is not something we are making up. it's a direct threat, a direct promise, statement, it appears, from the white house. i hope they will not go forward with it. surely cooler heads in the white house will push back. surely his attorney general will say mr. president, you can't do this. his legal counsel in the white house will say mr. president, don't do this. this is not lawful. department of homeland security,
they need to be saying this would be devastating, mr. president. how can we enforce any law? please don't do this. so i don't think it's -- it's absolutely certain to happen, but it seems to me that by every indication it's an absolute intention right now of the president to go forward with this so they wouldn't have had at least a half a dozen articles on it. "national journal,"" time "magazine and others. so i have spoken many times with a great american by the name of craze crane. a former marine. he is also an i.c.e. officer and the president of i.c.e. officers council, immigration and customs enforcement officers. he has explained and told me and publicly stated how his officers are ordered not to do their jobs. they have been -- they have even sued the secretary of homeland
security for blocking them from fulfilling their oath to enforce the laws of the united states of america. can you imagine that? i have been a law enforcement -- i have been in law enforcement a long time, federal law enforcement 15 years. i have never heard of a situation in which a group of law officers sue their supervisor, saying mr. judge, in federal court, federal judge, my supervisor is -- is causing me on a daily basis, ordering me not to do what my duty and my oath requires. that's a stunning development. their morale for years has been one of the lowest in the federal government. now i think it is the lowest because they have been demeaned and rejected in the duty they believe is worthwhile for them to carry out. so one of the things mr. crane explained is that the president's previous executive amnesty for the so-called dreamers basically halted
enforcement for anyone who asserted protections under that new administration policy. so mr. crane would report that i.c.e. officers would come into contact with individuals unlawfully present in the country, individuals they would encounter in prisons and jails. they will be called by the local police department. they have arrested someone for a serious crime. they tell the i.c.e. officers routinely you're supposed to go and pick them up and deport them. so they encounter people in jail. that's one of the big jobs that they have. and they would be forced to release them simply because they assert i came here as a youth. and nobody is going to do an investigation on this. how do they investigate it? the effect is to demoralize and make it difficult, almost impossible to enforce the law.
you can now imagine then what would happen if the president expands this amnesty and worked the authorization program to cover millions of unlawful immigrants of all ages. everyone i.c.e. comes in contact with will assert these protections. i am qualified under the president's amnesty and a claim in any failed application will say they are eligible for this immigration, this amnesty. so what then? will the f.b.i. open investigations, check when they entered the country or who they entered the country with and where they came from? they're not going to do that. of course not. the officers are going to be totally unable to resist false claims from applicants, the
people they have arrested. it's going to demoralize immigration. i.c.e. officers will again be issued orders basically to stand down, no enforcement is going to occur. it will be the effective end of immigration enforcement in america, in my opinion. you cannot maintain an effective, lawful, consistent, fair immigration enforcement policy with these kind of regulations occurring and these kind of orders from the white house, who is the chief executive officer of america, who is empowered and directed to ensure that the laws of the united states are carried out. not empowered to violate the laws of the united states. so we have also heard from officers who process immigration applications. these are people who receive applications to come to the united states in a lawful way. these dedicated folks at the
united states citizenship and immigration services, these are the people who would have to process all of these millions of applicants if the president issues his order. so let me read at length from a statement from the president of the uscis council who represents these c.i.s. officers. we have an awesome duty. he wrote last year, this is what he said -- quote -- "the uscis adjudications officers are pressured to rubber stamp application instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation." close quote. this is the officers saying that their bosses are pressuring them to just rubber stamp applications right now, not to investigate, not to ask questions, just to prove them. it goes on -- quote -- "the culture at uscis encourages all
applications to be approved. discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications, uscis has been turned into an approval machine." close quote. that's what the top uscis officer said last fall. they have been turned into an approval machine. no wonder the american people are unhappy with what goes on here. does anyone really know how serious this is? it's amazing that we would -- we would undermine the very integrity, really, of the entire process, and that's why they have protested. that's why they have come forward. it hurts them. they feel bad to see the great law of the united states being routinely eviscerated. he went on to say this -- quote -- "uscis has created an almost
insurmountable bureaucracy which often prevents uscis adjudications officers from contacting and coordinating with i.c.e. agents who know something about these people, perhaps, and officers in cases that should have their involvement. uscis officers are pressured to approve visa applications for many individuals. i.c.e. officers have determined should be placed into deportation proceedings." close quote. that's a very serious charge, and that's happening. he is not making that up. goes on -- quote -- "the uscis officers who identify illegal aliens, that in accordance with law should be placed into immigration removal proceedings before a federal judge are prevented from exercising their authority and responsibility to issue notices to appear."
close quote. this is notice to appear at court. they are being obstructed and told not to do it. he goes on to say -- quote -- "the attitudes of uscis management is not that the agency serves the american public or the laws of the united states or public safety and national security, but instead that the agency serves illegal aliens and the attorneys which represent them. while we believe in treating all people with respect, we are concerned that this agency tasked with such a vital security mission is too greatly influenced by special interest groups to the point that it is no longer, no longer properly performs its mission." close quote. what a devastateing critique. does anyone care? has the president done one thing to respond to these allegations? is the senate bill that's
offered by senator reid and our democratic colleagues with the blessings of the president, does it do one thing to fix one of these problems? zero. they have no intention of fixing these problems. they don't want to fix these problems. this is their policy. to forment more lawlessness and to see that the laws are undermined in such a way that they can't be effectively enforced. it's just wrong, colleagues. we need -- republicans and democrats need to stand up to this. don't we need to respond to the desires of the american people? for a lawful system of immigration? isn't that right and just and decent that they ask of us? and yet we go along in total ignorance and ignore these kind of statements from our own enforcement officers, which anybody who looks at the border and sees what's happening could
believe every bit of it. indeed, it is true. it goes on to say this -- quote -- "-- well, he mentioned this. he said the department -- this agency -- he is talking about his bosses -- are tasked with such a vital security mission is too greatly influenced by special interest groups to the point that it is no -- it no longer properly performs its mission. every article we see virtually is the president meeting with some group like la raza, which basically has very extreme policies on immigration, basically an open borders policy. other groups of that group, the aclu was commenting recently on
what they thought the president had told them he was going to do about not enforcing the law. these are the kind of groups he's meeting with. he's not meeting with the law officers. he never sat down with them and asked them tell me what it's like on the brotherhood. let's see if -- what it's like on the border. let's see if we can fix this thing. on this legislation proposed by the democratic leadership in the senate and totally blessed by the president -- it's his bill -- does nothing to fix any of it. just give us more money. he goes on to say the department of homeland security and customs and immigration service leadership have intentionally established an application process for did daca. that's his first amnesty for dreamers the president issued, that bypasses traditional
in--- investigational interviews with officers. these documents were put in place to stop enforcement. he's saying these practices were put in place to stop proper screening and enforcement and to guarantee that applications will be rubber stamped for approval, a practice that virtually guarantees widespread fraud and places public safety at risk. close quote. this is the head of the c.i.s. officers association. he's laying out event after event, action after action that demonstrates that we're dealing with an administration who does not want the laws enforced. and you believe these words? he goes on to say -- quote -- "u.s. taxpayers are currently tasked with absorbing the cost of over $200 million worth of
free waivers bestowed on applicants for naturalizeation during the last fiscal year. this is in addition to the strain put on our social security system that has been deplete bid an onslaught of refugees receiving s.s.i. benefits as soon as their feet touch the soil. this idea of no social security benefits is not correct. the refugees that enter asylum systems through the refugee program are entitled to these benefits. he goes on to say -- quote -- "large swathes of the immigration and nationality act are not effectively enforced for legal immigrants and visa holders including laws regarding public charges as well as many other provisions as the uscis lacks the resources to adequately screen and scrutinize legal immigrants and
nonimmigrants seeking status adjustment. there is also insufficient screening and monitoring of student visas." close quote. theers breath taking reports from -- these are breathtaking reports from our top officers from the front lines of law enforcement, from people who screen and review applications every day for the united states of america. now think, just imagine what will happen to our system if the president goes forward with his executive actions? it would overwhelm a system that is already buckling under the weight of massive illegality on our southern border. we must end this lawlessness. we can end it. we can do so. let me repeat, i know it can be done. but to do so, we must first stop doing more damage. we must prevent the president's massive executive amnesty from
going forward. the public once roused to these issues will not be ignored this time, in my opinion. they will not let their representatives of either party acquiesce to lawlessness. that is why i've said that congress as an institution must not support any border bill that comes forward that does not expressly prohibit the president's executive amnesty ideas that he's been talking about and would block him from spending any money to execute an unlawful plan of this kind. how can we not take this position, colleagues? what basis do we have to say that we won't take any action when we're being told on a daily basis what the president plans to do? are we really ready to go to recess for august having done nothing, said nothing, offered
nothing to oppose the stated intentions of the president in this way? there is currently no legislation pending for a vote in either chamber, house or senate, which passes this test. senator cruz has offered language, but we're not able -- they're not willing to allow it to come up for a vote. as a result, both the house and senate packages should not be supported. congress should not adjourn until it has firmly stood against the president's unconstitutional and dangerous action. the american people are asking for us to help. they are pleading with us to help. and we must answer their call. we must fight for the lawful and just system of immigration that we can be proud of. let's put this into a bigger picture. wages are down. labor force participation is declining. the percentage of people in the working ages who are actually working has been declining
steadily. indeed, it's reached a level of 1970's. since 2000, the federal government has lawfully issued nearly 30 million, however, immigrant and foreign work visas to come to the country to work. almost 30 million visas to legally work in the united states or permanently reside in the united states. during this time the number of americans with jobs, americans with jobs declined on net, on net fewer u.s.-born workers have jobs in 2014 than in 2000. amazing. there are fewer people working today, even though the population has increased, than in 2000. the president's plan to work permits for illegal immigrants is, in addition then, to the already huge flow of low-wage labor into the united states. and we have a problem, colleagues, with americans needing jobs.
we don't have too few workers. we have too few jobs. and i would contend that that's pretty clear because wages are down. if we had a shortage of workers, wages would be up. when you have a surplus of labor and surplus of workers, wages decline. according to the "wall street journal" in 2007, family income of four would amount to about 55,000 dollars income on average. it's now dropped to $50,000. that's a huge diminishment of the wealth of americans. isn't it time we did something for american workers? who do we represent? don't we represent the people of this country? don't we know we can't -- that while we believe in immigration, we respect and love and admire immigrants, we ought to have a lawful system and the number of people that come ought not to be so large that it destabilizes our labor markets?
isn't that the right policy for a great country to pursue? the american people have begged and pleaded for this system, and i believe that we ought to give it to them. let me sum up one more time here. what we're seeing in the bill presented by the majority and demanding that pass the senate today is a bill that just provides money. it doesn't deal with any of the policy problems in any real way that would end the lawlessness and end the belief by people around the world that if they can just come to the united states, particularly if they come as a young person, they'll be allowed to stay. we have not acted to end this belief in any effective way. it could easily be done. they don't need a law to fix
that. we've looked at it. some legal changes could help, but, first of all, the president needs to act. the house is putting up some money and they're saying it's got to be used for some of the things that would be beneficial to ending this flow. but even then, we've seen the president doesn't have to use it. he doesn't have to comply with their vision to end immigration into america. so the president has set this up, and he issued his amnesty and documents, his policy and encouraged more people to come to america. and if he does this new executive order amnesty, it will encourage more adults to come to america. it just will. and it will weaken the moral authority of all immigration
law. you cannot do -- take these kind of actions. somebody who's been in the law enforcement world a long time, you can't take these actions and think there are not ramifications of it. there are not impacts throughout the entire world and throughout the entire law enforcement community where i.c.e. officers work every day dealing with hundreds of these cases. you have to have clarity, you have to have integrity, you have to have consistency, and you have to mean what you say. you can't say i'm for strong borders and i'm for legal immigration and then present a bill that's going to do nothing to change the status we're on. it's just something i hope that our people will look at and pay attention to. this bill is going to go down. it's not going to pass. it should not pass. and it will be voted -- it will be blocked. and it will have no chance of passing in the house if it got
out of the senate. what i want to say colleagues, it's indicative of the lack of seriousness from the majority party when they produce such a poor piece of legislation. i would like to remind my colleagues of one more thing. the only way the administration can run out of money is if it refuses to spend the money that is currently available to it on the border, for the border disaster. there is no law, no regulation preventing the administration from spending the money in the current year. even the bill they submitted to us when it was examined showed it only asked for $25 million for this fiscal year, through september 30. so it's not the kind of crisis that we have to rush out and pass a bill today, tonight and
the country is going to shut down. they can reallocate funds. what we need is, and what congress needs to do as a representative of the american people, it needs to say we're prepared to provide some money, but we need to know, mr. president, if you're serious. we need to know, mr. president, you're going to let your offices do their duty and not block them from doing their duty. we need to know, mr. president, you are in a few weeks going to issue a massive amnesty of millions of people who will be given work permits to compete in america for any job that's out there, any job. we need to know where you stand on this. we represent our people. we can't just throw money at this problem, which is what this legislation does. and let me take a little moment to go back and discuss how we got here.
we've had the current laws basically in effect for a number of years, five, six, seven years. we didn't see a spike of entries in young people until the president issued an executive order basically legalizing people of youth up to 30 years of age who came to america, and that was seen around the world as an invitation for young people to come. and they've come in extraordinary numbers, overwhelming our system. in 2011, it was 6,000. this year it's going to be 90,000. what a huge surge that is. and it should never have happened. and now we're reduced to being here in the congress and having the president come to us demanding billions of dollars to fund this program. and deal with the crisis that his policies created. because it is true and has been true that young people who come
to america and they turn themselves in to the immigration officers who then take them to the health and human services officers and turn them over to them, they go out and find housing. that's why we're seeing this all over the country. find housing for them, and months go by. or if anyone comes to pick them up, they're turned over to them. they don't inquire if they are legally here, those who come to pick them up. they expect no proof that they are related to the child or the young person -- maybe it is a ^17-year-old. most of them them are older teenagers, who picks them up. and they're released on a permiso or bail, and they never show up. and nobody has the capacity to begin to go look why they didn't show up in court. but if you get a traffic ticket and you don't show up in court in alabama or california or texas, somebody is coming after
you. this is the way the system is being collapsed in america today. it's just a tragedy. it breaks my heart. and the american people have never approved of this. so this word got out and we had this surge and now the president, without any real plan to fix it, comes forward and says, give me -- he asked for $4 billion. now the bill here i think is $2.7 billion. without any clear commitment or proof that we have any plan or any commitment from his leadership to alter the dynamics of the situation we're in. mr. president, this is not acceptable. the bill before us now is not acceptable. it will not pass. it will not become law. and we need to insist and the american people will continue to insist that this congress and
this white house do their duty to make sure we have good, sound immigration laws and then ensure that they are faithfully and fairly executed to serve the national interests of the united states. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i'm glad to hear people decided to speak about immigration law. this body passed overwhelmingly -- republicans and democrats joined together -- the comprehensive immigration law last year -- last year. actually, almost exactly a year ago. we did it after hours and hours, days and days and days of hearings, of markups sometimes until 10:00 at night, 11:00 at night. staff and senators, republicans and democrats, worked together weekends, evenings, and the u.s.
senate by better than a 2-1 margin, passed a comprehensive immigration bill that was supported by many from the right to the left. it went over to the other body and the other body there were enough votes to pass the immigration law. and what happened? the republican leadership said, no, we won't bring it up. we won't bring it up. and they refused to bring it up. now they're giving great speeches ... oh, my god, we have to do something about immigration. look at where we are. why don't we do something about immigration. what is the democratic president, president obama, doing about imdpraition? wcialwell, the response is, whae you doing? we'd be a lot better off today if they brought it up and voted on it. vote up or -- vote "yes" or vote "no."
that's what we're supposed to do. we did that. you know, we voted on about 140, 150 amendments in committee. and all but one of them passed with both republican and democratic votes. and they wer then we passed it e on the floor. the republican leadership is so fraid they might actually have to take a position on immigration. they may have to vote "yes" or they may have to vote "no." it is so much easier not to do anything, just let it sit there and say, oh, it must be president obama's fault. oh, it must be the senate's fault. oh, it must be somebody else's fault. or maybe i.t maybe it's the faue 6- and 7-year-old children who are trying to escape being killed or molested, the 12-year-old girls who are afraid they're going to be raped by
gangs, the 12-year-old boys who are going to be forced into gangs or be shot in front of their families. it's so much easier to just say, oh, this is terrible, it's got to be president obama's fault. let's sue him. what i'd say is, why don't you stand up and have the courage to vote "yes" or "no" on the immigration bill we sent you? i mean, i defy any one of them to go home during august and say, we got to do something on imgraismghts i hope people say, how did you vote in how did you vote? they didn't vote "yes." they didn't vote "no." they voted "maybe." that is not a profile in courage, mada mr. president. in fact, that's not living up to your oath of office. in that regard, i spoke in this chamber earlier this month about the importance of living up to
our traditions and principles and we should address what's happening with these unaccompanied central american children, because it is a humanitarian crisis. there's no easy solution. the supplemental appropriations bill offers chance to make a down payment on a strategy. we could address this crisis in accords with our values. as i said before it would have helped a great deal if the republican leadership had at least allowed them to vote o onn immigration bill. republicans in this chamber voted for it. they either voted for it or they voted against it. by a 2-1 margin, democrats and republicans came together in this body to vote for it. they should. now, our bill, the supplemental appropriations bill, was described by the appropriations
chairwoman senator mikulski yesterday. we know it's significantly different than the bill put forward by the house republican leadership this week. the house bill provides $1 billion less than the senate to help unaccompanied children currently in the united states and $700 million less to support the departments of homeland security and justice so they can adjudicate these children's cases appropriately. we're talking about little children, mr. president. there's nobody in this chamber or the other chamber who has to worry if they have children or grandchildren, who have to worry about them going hungry or having to worry about them being in fear every single day. as i said earlier, the house ignored our bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, 30 pages of policy reforms
including the house supplement supplemental. all it does isen force an enforcement agenda and get rid of these children, just throw them out. don't ask if there's any humanitarian or moral issues here. let's not look at these children. let's pretend they're not there. send them back to face whatever horrors they might back home. and we do know some of these children won't qualify for international protection. they'd be better off not risking the dangerous journey. the senate bill seems to address this. but many have legitimate claims of protection because of violence and persecution they've suffered in their home countries. that's why this is a humanitarian issue. that is why we can't expect other countries with far fewer resources, like jordan or turkey or ethiopia, to set far larger numbers of refugees from outside
their borders if we're not willing to do so our self. we could say to the little country of jordan that's being overwhelmed -- overwhelmed by refugees from syria, say oh, i'm glad you're doing that. we're talking about a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage based on the size of o our country. and we say we want other countries to do this, but, gosh, the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth can't? let's ask who we are as americans. that's why it's unconscionable that the house on the one hand recognized these central american countries as the most dangerous in the world, where gangs and other violent crime has taken a horrific toll on families and children. they'll give speeches on that. but then they'll say, however, that's their problem. send these children back. send these children back. 8-year-old, you look tough enough to take care of yourself
against gangs with machine guns. go on back. and -- oh, do it as quickly as possible because we have to go on recess and we don't want to be bothered about you. and that's why it's also unacceptable to the house would seeblg tseek to pay for their md approach by cutting from other programs, funding needed to reduce poverty and corruption and violence in central america so that the children aren't going to be fleeing in the first place. now, these critics of the administration want to point fingers. blame games aren't going to solve this problem. there's no single cause. it didn't occur over the night. it's been building for years, as drug cartels responding to the insatiable demand for drugs in the united states, have migrated to guatemala and honduras and el salvadorment. isalvador. --
-- el salvador. it's caused by corrupt and abusive police forces and judges and the failure of the central american governments to address the lawlessness and impunity in their own countries. and it's caused by the lack of education and employment opportunities that are among the reasons central american youth join the gangs. so let's not play politics over something as complex and deadly as this. let's vote for the senate supplemental. it includes funding needed to begin to address some of these problems we've ignored, some of the contributing causes of the migration, and leaves intact the important legal protections in the trafficking and protections act. it has a multiyear strategy to support the efforts of the central american governments to, one, dismantle their criminal gangs and combat human smuggling and trafficking and domestic and
sexual abuse and to strengthening the social services, law enforcement, and judicial systems and to expand programs in education, get rid of the barriers to economic growth and opportunity. it also funds public information campaigns, so we can discourage these migrants from making the journey in the first place, but it will also have provisions and oversight of the aid we provide. we're americans, mr. president. the emergency spending in this supplemental is nee needed to respond responsibly to this crisis. what do we stand for as americans? let's uphold our nation's long-standing tradition of providing a safe haven for refugees that's engraved in the statutstatue of liberty.
for the millions more in central america who live every day in fear, let's give some hope. let's pass this bill. mr. president, i see my distinguished colleague from maryland on the floor, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. i first want to thank senator leahy for his extraordinary leadership on this issue. i know that he serves on the appropriations committee that has brought us out this supplemental appropriations. he's also the chair of the judiciary committee, and i had the great privilege for a short period of time to serve on the judiciary committee -- too short after period of time -- and saw his extraordinary leadership. and the i know it was his committee that brought together an immigration reform bill that would have dealt with some of the major problems we have in our immigration system today, and through great work we got that bill passed in the united states senate over a year ago. and i find it somewhat just
ironic that in the house they're now talking about how they can change the immigration law. well, we have a bill that's over there. pass our bill, and it would go a long way toward helping this issue. so, senator -- i want to thank senator leahy for his leadership on immigration issues and his passion on the humanitarian issues we have before us. i join senator leahy, and i hope the majority of this membership, in supporting the emergency supplemental act. i hope we can pass it today, and i hope our colleagues in the house will also pass this. i want to thank senator mikulski, my colleague from maryland, for her leadership as chair of the appropriations committee in prig forward a supplemental -- in bringing afford a supplemental appropriation that dealey deals with the human -- that really deals with the humanitarian crisis on our border. we all know about the unaccompanied children on our border. in fy 2016, it will equal 60,000. that's an extraordinary number.
it is not because of border security issues that we have this problem. when these children approach our border, they wave and say, we're here. they'rthey're not trying to snen the united states. they're trying to get to our country. they turn themselves in. we know that most are coming from honduras, el salvador and guatemala. we know the circumstances in those three central american countries. first and foremost, the information they have about the transit and welcome in america is different than reality. the reality is that if children are transited to our border, they are very likely to be at great risk, great risk because of the traffickers who will -- could very well abuse them. certainly are giving very costly transit, giving them information that's just not accurate about the laws of our country. if they make it to our border, what happens is they are put in deportation. there is no right to enter america. we have to evaluate their circumstance.
that's how we do our immigration laws. so first and foremost, we want to make sure that the people of honduras and el salvador and guatemala understand the risk factors and their children should remain in their country. but the root cause, as senator leahy pointed out, is also that the current circumstances in these three central american countries, it's not safe. too many young people have a choice to either join a gang of violence or themselves be victimized by violence. the economic circumstances in these three countries give little hope for an economic future for these children. it's in our interests to partner with all three of these countries to deal with the root causes of why parents would put their children in transit to our borders at great risk. or why families would try to come to america and leave their native country. so it's in our interests to deal with that.
and the supplemental appropriation bill that is now on the floor provides $300 million of help that we can use to deal with root causes in the central american countries. we can make a difference. now, let me just give the dollars for one second. $300 million might seem like a lot of money, but it's not the billions that we need to take care of the problems that are on our border as a result of families sending their children to our border. we can make a difference. our development assistance programs work. they work. it's part of our national security. we understand it. if we have stable countries, it provides a more stable relationship, strategic partnership with us and other countries helping our national security interests. and we can make a difference. let me just remind my colleagues under president reagan, in a bipartisan manner in 2003, we passed the law which dealt with the hiv-aids because we recognize that the -- recognized that the world was being jeopardized, the security of the world was being jeopardized by the spread of hiv-aids.
and guess what? our pep-far initiative made a huge consequential difference. today the landscape is totally difference than it was just a decade ago. that's because we, the united states, showed leadership. we can show the same kind of leadership in dealing with the root problems in central america today that can make our hemisphere safer and by the way help children and help children with a future that can help their country and help the global economy. we have programs in these countries. we have the partnership for growth, for one example, in el salvador, but we have got to really make it consequential. we have got to make it consequential to get rid of these gangs, to give economic hope, to deal with good governance. and the first step is in this supplemental appropriation that provides that $300 million of help to these countries. these children on our border require a humanitarian response from the united states.
mr. president, i have the honor of chairing the u.s. helsinki commission. it's known for many things. it's known for its standing up for human rights globally. and we have talked about america asking the international community to have open borders when their instability in their community. most recently the problems in syria. we thank the people of turkey, the people of jordan for having open borders so people can find safe havens. well, we better take care of our issues at home first. we have humanitarian responsibilities, and this supplemental appropriation takes care of that. $1.2 billion to health and human services to deal with adequate shelter for these children so they are properly cared for. that's our responsibility. they have certain rights, certain rights. the majority will be returned to their host country in a safe manner, but there are many that are entitled to asylum. there are many who have been
victimized by the traffickers and are in fear of their life. there is no safe option and have a right to expect our country to reach out in a humanitarian way to take care of their needs. so this supplemental takes care of that with moneys for h.h.s., moneys for department of justice, $1,224,000,000 to deal -- $124 million to deal with these issues in a prompt manner, to deal with adequate legal representation. as i mentioned in the beginning of our comments, yes, we have to improve our immigration laws. we've already done it. the bill is in the senate, it's in the house. all they have to do is take up our bill, pass it, in a balanced way, representing the -- i think not only the philosophical views of the congress which can be a challenge at times but representing the views of most americans. so i hope that we will support the supplemental gill. i might also add it provides $600 million for wildfires in the west. we know that's an emergency,
urgent situation that needs to be dealt with. it provides help to our ally and friend israel, $225 million to replenish the missiles that have been used in iron dome to shoot down the missiles that are coming into israel. it's a well-balanced supplemental. it represents, i think, the best interests of this country, and i would urge my colleagues to support it promptly. with that, mr. president, i have seven unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have been approved by the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: and, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
debate and discussion -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. ms. mikulski: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i know that the senate is now considering whether we should vote on the motion to proceed to the urgent supplemental bill. that means under our rules of another century, we don't actually get to a bill. we debate or even have a filibuster on whether we should even move to the bill. it was designed to really cool the passions of the time so the senate could be the greatest deliberative body in the world. however, these procedures now have been distorted that we are no longer the greatest deliberative body in the world. we're the greatest delaying body in the world. delay has become not only a tactic to come up with better ideas, delay has become an
outcome into itself. we are facing a really serious problem in our country, and i would hope we would vote on the motion to proceed so we could actually get on the legislation for the urgent supplemental funding to deal with three crises facing our country, one of which is wildfires burge in the best, in which communities are being destroyed and first responders are being exhausted and while they're being exhausted, local and state funds are being exhausted along with the forest service of our own government. we need to stand with our neighbors in these western states because this is a calamity. the presiding officer was the mayor of a great city in new
jersey, newark. he knows what happens when a hurricane hits a city and hits a state. new jersey, we're still -- you could tell me and i know you've spoken frequently about how new jersey is still trying to recover from fema -- excuse me, from sandy. well, the fire raging in the western states are their hurricane. they're their tornado. it's their sandy. and i would hope that we would pass the $615 million to help our own fellow citizens in the eight western states. then we have a treasured ally that is under attack by a terrorist organization that needs to defend itself using a technology called the iron dome, and they defend themselves by shooting interceptor rockets. it's not an offensive rocket,
shoot to kill, it's shoot to defend. they're using up these rockets at an unprecedented rate, and the secretary of -- the secretary of defense has sent a letter to the congress asking for $225 million to be able to replenish this. then we have a crisis in central america with the violence being created by the narcotraffickers or the narco terrorists that is causing a surge of children coming to our country. i would hope that we would pass the money to address those needs, which i'll elaborate on in a minute. so i would hope that this isn't going to be another day when after all is said and done, more gets said than gets done. we need to respond to the needs that are being -- presented to us. mr. president, i want to talk about the children. much has been said here about
the children -- much has been said about president obama's failed immigration policy, we need national guard, we need to give them police powers, all of that. well, i'm glad that many senators are now going down to the border. i went down to the border myself. i wanted to see the situation as chair of the appropriations committee, i wanted to see, number one, was there an urgent need? number two, what would it take to meet that need? and number three, how could we work together on a bipartisan basis to protect the children and protect our own country? well, i got an eyeful. i got an eyeful. and i just want to tell you about it. when i went down the border -- and i traveled with the secretary of homeland security, and i traveled with secretary burrell, head of h.h.s., we want to the mcclellan border
patrol station and we also went to lackland air force base where children were being temporarily housed. and had the opportunity to meet with really great border patrol agents, wonderful faith-based organization caring for the children, frank young lawyers -- fantastic young lawyers from the university of texas austin campus and st. mary's law school, making sure they this legal services on a pro bono basis, making sure they had it on their own dime. we saw a lot and then i talked to the children. first i want to talk about the number of the children. we are acting like we are under siege rather than facing a surge. i think there is a big difference between feeling under siege than under kids with the a
surge. we are talking as of this minute 60,000 children. now, that's a lot of children, but you know what? if you came to baltimore and we went to ravens stadium, ravens stadium holds 60,000 people. we're not talking 600,000. we're not talking six million. we're talking 60,000 children. maybe it will swell to 90,000. all 90,000 still could fit in the new dallas stadium. so we're talking about a number so small, so small that it could fit -- could fit into an american stadium. we are a people 300 million people. certainly we can deal with 60,000 children, feeling traffickers and traffickers in
drugs and sexual slavery. aren't we big enough, aren't we strong enough and aren't we tough enough to be able to deal with that? i think that we are. and when you see what's going on, you would know kind of what i mean. let's talk about this. so let's talk about these 60,000 children. it's literally a children's march across guatemala, honduras and el salvador through mexico and coming to the rio grande. they're not coming across all 1,900 miles of the border. they're coming to a specific area and they cross the river on rafts, they swim, they do what they can. now, when you come to mcquellen and how this began -- it goes like this. the children either come on their own or they come because the smuggler or a coyote brings them. it means that some mother, some
father, some aunt right now in the united states of america making the minimum wage, making the minimum wage, is going to scrape together the three to five grand that the smuggler says we can deliver, kind of like a fed ex or a u.p.s. for human beings, we'll deliver them to the rio grande border. so they scrape together the money and they are willing, the violence is so bad that they are willing to trust a crook to be able to bring the children. they come through and they leave and they trek, they trek through a jungle, they trek through filth and dirt and danger. they stop at what they call safe houses. that's an oxymoron. there is nothing safe about a safe house where you have children with also all kinds of other people on that road where the children are taken advantage of.
and i won't describe it. so from this safe house they finally make it to the border. some ride a train called the beast. this is acorino plane. -- cargo plane. it's not a lovely train that maybe goes up and down our coast from boston to savannah. this is a train called the beast. the children ride the top of these trains, holding each other, clutching each other. i talked to a little girl about 9 years old who told me she rode for two days and had to stay awake for 48 hours because she was afraid of falling off where she could lose an arm, a leg, or death itself. now, would why would children risk this, why would parents risk this? it's because of the danger, the danger, danger in central america. so we don't -- we're talking about arming the border more? we need to go after arming the
fight against the narcotraffickers in central america and also dealing with our insatiable, insatiable appetite for drugs that fuels this. so that's what's driving this. when they say send the children back, what are they going to send them back to? what are they going to send them back to? the ones recruiting the boys to engage in criminal activity, the girls to be recruited into human trafficking? it's not like we're going to send them back on a plane and there's going to be juan diaz with a yellow rose saying welcome back, the children of honduras or el salvador. they're going to go right back into the very danger that they ran from. when i went to the mcquellen border patrol station, this is what we call a detention facility. now,, it was designed to detain adults -- underline that
word -- and it was designed to hold up to 300 people. usually adult illegal immigrants trying to cross the rio grande. these really look like cells, c-e-l-l-s like cells. these are cement, cinderblock facilities that were designed to hold 10 or 12 adults and they hold as much as 20 or 30 children sleeping on the floor, the border patrol doing the very best that they can, the border patrol taking care of children because we can't move them to humanitarian facilities like the law requires. you talk to children who are taking turns sleeping -- sitting on a cement block to even be able to rest. hundreds there, 20 and 30 in a
room, sleeping on floors, using empty water bottles for pillows. these kind of blankets that look like aluminum foil. these are the lucky ones. they come in from the overfill outdoor area, where often the boys are in a covered area where they sleep outside and the girls, quote, can be inside but in these holding cells. very limited showers. very limited hygiene. the border patrol doing everything they could. it's not something they're used to seeing in the united states. i know there's another codel going. go, go, go, go and go see this. i talked to a 12-year-old girl. she was in charge of bringing her 6-year-old sister. their parents sent them to escape the gang violence. the mother told the older girl watch out for your younger sister, don't let her out of your sight until you get to your
america and try to get to your aunt. i talked to a 15-year-old girl from honduras. both of her parents had been killed by gang violence. she worked in a restaurant to save enough money to pay the coyote. it took her two months to get to the united states. escaping violence along the route to get here. you're going to send her back? you're going to send the 6-year-old back? well, i then had the opportunity -- so you just see what these conditions are. and you talk to the border patrol agents, they want to be law enforcement guys. and gee, are they terrific. they are really terrific. and they know that the surge and the border is being caused by the criminal activity there. they talked openly about we know who the seven -- there are seven organized crime sinned cats that are sparking a lot of this. they know about the false recruitment of young people, promising a new day and a new way to get to the united states of america.
so they know about that, and they want to be able to do law enforcement, but in order for them to be able to do what they do, we have to have facilities for the children to be housed, clothed and fed while their legal status is being determined under the law. now, i went up to lackland air force base. now, the children are being cared for in unused dormitories that once housed our air force. we have new facilities pour our enlisted personnel. but do you know that we pay for that, that the department of health and human services has to pay the department of defense to house those children and because it's on a military base, with all the rules and regs associated with that, it is the most expensive housing we can have, but it is the best housing that we have, and right now because of this rejectionist
fear that is being promulgated through our country like somehow or other these children pose a danger to us, it is the best we can do. and i will tell you it's a very nice facility. and i saw it being operated by a faith-based organization, the baptist conference. hats off to them. i speak now as a social worker, a professionally trained social worker. it was one of the most outstanding child welfare service organizations i'd seen from the nurses to the social workers to those who were trying to interview the children. they were doing a fabulous job. but they are under a contract, so though they are a voluntary faith-based organizations, they're being compensate evidence for their time and services because that's what we should be able to do. we want to be able to use groups like that all over america. what was so heart warming to lee, mr. president, -- to me,
mr. president, was that catholic charities in oklahoma had come to texas to see what the baptists were doing because they were getting ready to help take the kid. that's kind of like the america way. that was kind of the american way to see catholic charities learning from the baptists, all concentrating on the welfare of children, knowing that these are all children in god's eyes with human beings, with dignity and then i talked to the legal services people. this goes to those lawyers, the law professors, the law students, university of texas austin, st. mary's college, their services that they were providing was on their own time and their own dime. they were using up their money, their summer time, there was no compensation even for expenses so that they could begin the
interview process to determine if any of these children had the right -- had the opportunity to maybe voluntarily return home, because it was clear the coyotes had misled many, that's true, and so on. well, they were doing that. well, we can't keep doing this on this emergency patchwork basis. we need the urgent supplemental, number one, to help the homeland security law enforcement be them, help health and humans services they need to crack this backlog and be able to place these children. yes, their legal status, do they -- do they have the right for refugee status, to be determined, and even when have you volunteer legal services like the outstanding work i saw in texas, outstanding -- i know you're a lawyer. you would have been proud of them.
and the way they were just responding to these children. bilingual, remember the services -- but you need help, you need paralegals, you need this. so -- and i want to break the backlog of judges, the backlog of cases so we have enough immigration judges to do this. so i tell you this story because there is so much myth, so much misinformation, so much distortion out there that i am afraid that we will end this day and not vote to proceed to the urgent supplemental, debate it and discuss it and then vote on it, that it will just languish. and as a social worker, i just want to say what i've seen these children go through is unimaginable. they have come here to escape violence and death. they deserve to be treated with compassion and integrity, and they deserve us to do our job. and anyone who thinks we should
just deport these children without giving them every right afforded them under our law should go down to look into their eyes and listen to their stories. the time is to act now, but let's put together a comprehensive program and i believe we can really meet this surge, deal with the real root cause and be able to function in a way that we're all proud of. mr. president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, the internet has been possibly the most significant force driving our economy over the past 16 years. it is clearly this century's shipping lane and history's most powerful communications tool. part of the reason the internet has revolutionized american life is that it has been protected from discriminatory taxation, thanks to the internet tax freedom act first enacted 16 years ago.
the law, as you might expect, is extraordinarily popular among the american people, and it's obviously been of enormous importance to the millions of families and businesses who use it each day. however, in just a few short months, the internet tax freedom act is set to expire. if it does, millions of american internet users could face multiple and discriminatory task taxes from thousands of state and local tax collectors around the nation. mr. president, that cannot be allowed to happen. the congress needs to come together on a bipartisan basis and say and say clearly don't hit the internet with discriminatory taxation. now, 16 years ago, mr. president, i was the author
of the internet tax freedom act, along with our former republican colleague, congressman chris cox. and along with our colleague from south dakota, senator thune, and 52 bipartisan cosponsors, i'm the author of the pending bill that would make that protection permanent. i believe if we were able to hold a vote on our bill today, it would pass with overwhelming support. unfortunately, that is not a political reality, and yet the clock keeps ticking towards expiration. protecting the internet and every internet user in our country ought to be a matter that takes precedence over politics and partisanship. the senate can move this
short-term extension today while the senate works on a bipartisan basis to deal with the issues raised by those who believe that allowing localities to collect taxes across the country is more important than a ban on discriminatory taxation. so i hope that the senate will join me in supporting the temporary extension of the internet tax freedom act as a bridge to permanent legislation. and to just reflect very briefly for a minute, mr. president, we thought that this law would work well 16 years ago, and to just describe what really triggered my interest is 16 years ago when i was a young member of this body and had a full head of hair and rugged good looks, we would hear, for example, about how if
someone bought the newspaper, the online edition of the paper, they would face a stiff tax in some jurisdictions, but if they bought the snail mail edition, they wouldn't face a tax. and we said, democrats and republicans coming together, we said that's discriminatory, that's discriminating against technology against the future, against the promise of the internet. and we thought, mr. president, that this proposal would work well. really quite clear. we have just got to make sure that what you do online is not more burdensome and something that involves more taxes than what you do offline. that's really what the bill has been all about. so we thought it would be promising, mr. president, but it has far, far exceeded our expectations in terms of what
it's done to promote innovation and for small businesses and others who don't have political action committees and don't have big lobbies advocating for them. insuring that they are not hammered by multiple and discriminatory taxes by thousands of localities has been a lifeline in terms of their being successful. so i could take more time this morning, mr. president. we've got colleagues and of course still many matters to deal with before we leave, but i just hope that given this history which has been a bipartisan history. i so enjoyed working with our former colleague chris cox on this legislation 16 years ago. i think my take is the overwhelming number of senators would like to permanently
reauthorize a ban on multiple and discriminatory taxes on the internet today. that's what senator thune and i have sought to do in our legislation that has more than half of the senate cosponsoring it. that's not possible today, mr. president, but what is possible is that we act now so we don't bump up against that deadline that if reached and our small businesses are subject -- we have more than 5,000 taxing jurisdictions, mr. president, and it's even a small number of -- if even a small number of them were to inflict discriminatory taxes on internet commerce, that would be a big blow in a fragile economy. so let's say today loud and clear for purposes of the temporary extension of the internet tax freedom act is a bridge to permanent legislation, let us say loud and clear that