Senate Calendar

Monday, May 14, 2012

Brown-OH (The Senate Stands Adjourned)

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill (H.R. 2072)

May 14 2012

Senator Brown-OH: (6:33 PM)
  • Spoke on the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill.
    • SUMMARY "I rise to discuss why the Export-Import Bank reauthorization is important to strengthening manufacturing and to creating jobs in places like my home state of Ohio. Ohio is the third leading manufacturing state in the country, only the Texas, twice our population, and California, three times our population, produce more goods than we do. The Export-Import Bank is simple, it facilitates exports, contributes to job creation in the united states. It does this through loans and guarantees and insurance, filling in gaps in trade financing at no ultimate cost to taxpayers. Yet despite this record of success, exports and jobs are at stake because Congress cannot agree to Ex-Im reauthorization, in large part because there's a group of people in this body and down the hall in the House of Representatives who think the federal government should not have a role enough in much of anything. The bank's lending authority is set to expire May 31 The has been reauthorized by both chambers by both parties decade after decade. We know how important it is for job creation. But it's taken too long to get this reauthorization moving. While manufacturers wait, Congress has stalled. We cannot wait any longer. We know that Ohio workers can compete with anyone in the world when the playing field is level. When we stamp made in Ohio label, it's a sign that an item was made with pride by some of the finest workers in the united states and some of the finest workers in our country. We know that U.S. manufacturing is getting stronger, due in no small part to increased exports with the help of the export-import bank. Ohio has had quicker increases in job growth than other states. We know that the manufacturing sector nationally has gained back some number of jobs it lost. As an example from 1965 to 1998 or 1999, this country had roughly the same number of manufacturing jobs. A smaller percentage of GDP, a smaller percent of the work force but a constant number of jobs and similar number of jobs in 1999 as we did in 1965 but in the decade after 1999, we lost some four million - between three million and four million manufacturing jobs in this country. But, since 2010 almost every single month we've manufacturing job increases. In Ohio, in the presiding officer's home state of North Carolina, in state after state after state in this country. That's good, obviously, but so many people - too many people in my state are out of work or underemployed. What will happen to Ohio workers and our growing manufacturing sector if we fail to do what we should be doing here if, if we fail to fund this critical resource? Ohio's manufacturers have been able to increase their exports with the assistance and the assurance that the export-import bank provides."
  • Performed Wrap Up --
  • Tomorrow --
    • The Senate will convene at 10:00 AM and Majority Leader Reid will be recognized. It is anticipated that the Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill. The first hour will be equally divided, with the Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
    • At 11:15 AM, the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill, will be Agreed to, and the Senate will begin consideration of the bill. There will be up to 2 hours of debate, equally divided, on the amendments listed below. There will be two minutes of debate, equally divided, prior to each vote. After the first vote, all remaining votes will be 10 minute votes. All amendments and passage of the bill are subject to a 60-vote threshold. Budget points of order are in order.
    • At 12:30 PM, the Senate will recess until 2:15 PM for the weekly caucus lunches.
    • As early as 2:15 PM, the Senate could conduct 6 ROLL CALL VOTES on:
      1. Lee amendment #2100 (phase-out);
      2. Paul amendment #2101 (limitation on Ex-Im support);
      3. Corker amendment #2102 (financing for transaction subsidized by export credit agencies);
      4. Vitter amendment #2103 (prohibitions on funds used for energy development outside of the U.S.);
      5. Toomey amendment #2104 ($40 billion increase contingency); and
      6. Passage of H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill, as amended, if amended.
  • As a reminder, on Tuesday, May 8th, a Motion to Reconsider the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 2343, the Student Loan bill, was entered.
The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00 AM Tuesday, May 15th.

May 14 2012

Confirmed, 86-1:
Executive Calendar #571, John J. Tharp, Jr., of Illinois, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.
The vote results will be posted here within one hour.

May 14 2012

Senator Boozman: (4:12 PM)
  • Paid tribute to former-Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt, who turned 90 on May 4th.

Senator Pryor: (4:16 PM)
  • Paid tribute to former-Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt, who turned 90 on May 4th.

Senator Leahy: (4:42 PM)
  • Spoke on the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on Obamacare.
    • SUMMARY "It would be extraordinary for the Supreme Court not to defer to congress in this matter so clearly affects interstate commerce. Last month the Supreme Court argument gave me reason to hope the court will do the right thing. I said at the time after all that they could overturn the Affordable Care Act, why couldn't they overturn Social Security or Medicare? There would be just as much reason to overturn those. The key to the test for constitutionality under the commerce clause is whether the law substantially affects interstate commerce. That is a long-established constitutional test set forth time and time again by the Supreme Court. As a law passed by Congress, passed to regulate a market that makes up one-sixth of the U.S. economy, the Affordable Care Act is well within the limits set by the Supreme Court's own precedence on congress's commerce clause power. The personal responsibility requirement that is the focus of the legal challenge is necessary to ensure that Americans are not stuck with paying the $43 billion of health care costs incurred by millions of Americans who do not buy health insurance and must rely on expensive emergency health care when inevitably faced with medical problems. That is what Congress concluded, after extensive study and debate. It is what we included in the text of the law itself. There is no question that the text by Congress . examples of hypothetical laws that Congress has not passed reduce these malts to ridiculous absurdities. They may be popular in federalist society circles or on political blogs or to those who want to bind the constitution enough to be on a bumper sticker slogan. It has no place in the Supreme Court determination. There may come a time when Congress passes a law, when the boundary which affects commerce needs to be more closely considered But it is not the time and this is not the case. The Affordable Care Act builds on some of the cornerstones of America's economic security built over the last century. I believe when it passed and I still believe today that congress acted within its constitutional authority to enact laws to help protect all Americans. Just as some in this country disagreed when the Congress passed Social Security, the court agreed we acted within our authority to do so. It may agree or disagree with parts of the Affordable Care Act. The fact is that Congress acting within its authority. I hope and have faith the Supreme Court will not overstep the judiciary's role by substituting policy preferences for the legislative determinations of Congress."

Senator Durbin: (4:57 PM)
  • Spoke on the Tharp nomination.
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • SUMMARY "After today's vote there will be 17 nominees pending on the calendar, and nearly all of them, almost all of them voted out of committee without any dissenting votes, with the exception of Senator Lee of Utah, who votes customarily against all judicial nominees, these nominees but for a few haven't had any controversy. Six of these have been in areas designated as judicial emergencies, including two nominees for seats in the Ninth Circuit I hope my Republican colleagues will give us a break here. These people deserve to get their moment here on the Senate floor, deserve a vote. And the areas that they're going to serve deserve a full complement of competent jurists. It's time to restore sanity, comity and good faith to the way we treat judicial nominations on the senate floor, and it should start today."

Senator Grassley: (5:06 PM)
  • Spoke on judicial nominations.
    • SUMMARY "We continue to confirm the President's nominees at a brisk pace. In fact, with today's confirmations, we will have confirmed 145 of President Obama's district and circuit court nominees. I'd like to put this in perspective. We confirmed two Supreme Court nominees during President Obama's term so far. Everyone knows that it takes a tremendous amount of time and resources to consider Supreme Court nominees. The last time the Senate confirmed two Supreme Court nominees was during President Bush's second term. And during President Bush's entire second term, the Senate confirmed only 120 district and circuit court nominees. Compare that, if you will, to the 145 district and circuit nominees that we have confirmed so far since President Obama has become President. Let me say that same thing a different way. We have confirmed 25 more nominees for President Obama than we did for President Bush in a similar time period. And of course President Obama's term is not over yet. With these facts in mind, I hope my colleagues will understand why I get a little frustrated when I hear all of these complaints about how we're not confirming enough nominees. The fact of the matter is that President Obama is being treated much more fairly than Senate Democrats treated President Bush. It is especially frustrating to hear the other side complain about the vacancy rate. The fact of the matter is that the Senate is doing its job. We're confirming the nominees that are sent to us, and of course we can't confirm nominees that aren't up here from the White House. If there is a problem then, it rests with the President. Right now there are 77 judicial vacancies, but the President has made only 29 nominations. That means 48 vacancies or nearly 60% - actually 63% have no nominee. Now, stating it another way, there are currently 44 million Americans living in districts with vacancies where the President has not submitted a nominee to the Senate."
Spoke on Mikulski: (5:13 PM)
  • Spoke on the Russell nomination.

Senator Cardin: (5:17 PM)
  • Spoke on the Russell nomination.

Senator Reid: (5:27 PM)
  • Unanimous Consent â€"
    • Cloture was vitiated on the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill.
    • Tomorrow at 11:15 AM, the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill, will be adopted. The only amendments pending will be:
      1. Lee amendment #2100 (phase-out);
      2. Paul amendment #2101 (limitation on Ex-Im support);
      3. Corker amendment # 2102 (financing for transaction subsidized by export credit agencies);
      4. Vitter amendment #2103 (prohibitions on funds used for energy development outside of the U.S.); and
      5. Toomey amendment #2104 ($40 billion increase contingency).
    • There be no amendments in order to any of the amendments prior to the votes. There be no motions or points of order other than the budget points of order and the applicable motions waived. There will be two hours of debate equally divided between the two leaders and their designees prior to votes in relation to the amendments in the order listed.
    • Upon disposition of the amendments, the Senate will proceed to a ROLL CALL VOTE on passage of the bill, as amended, if amended. That there be two minutes of debate, equally divided, prior to each vote. All votes after the first vote be ten minutes. The amendments and passage of the bill will be subject to a 60-vote threshold (without objection).

Johnson-WI, Corker, Hutchison, Barrasso

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill (H.R. 2072)

May 14 2012

Colloquy: (Senators Johnson, Corker, Hutchison, and Barrasso)
  • Spoke on the President's budget proposal.

Senator Johnson-WI: (3:31 PM)
  • SUMMARY "By now it should come as no surprise that the Senate has not passed a budget in over three years. I believe the act day count is 1,111 days. When I go back to Wisconsin, I'm sure this is true of my colleagues who join me today, the people of Wisconsin and the people of America want to us work together to start solving our debt and deficit issue. Since I've been here, the Republicans have fulfilled the responsibility to show what the plan is for stabilizing our debt and deficit. The House has passed a budget the last two years but the democrats have not here in the Senate. It's because they simply refuse to be held accountable, and that's a real shame. I realize that the American public wants us to work with each other, but my suggestion would be to the first individuals who need to work with each other, the first compromise that needs to be done is with our Democratic colleagues in this chamber. They have 53 members. They only need 51 to pass a budget. They need to get together, they need to work together, they need to hammer out a compromise and pass a budget. The way then we can get together and compromise the entire process is the House budget would be presented with the Senate budget into a conference, and then we'd have some process for being able to compromise. That's the basic minimum of what I think needs to be done here at the Senate. One point I'd like to make is that President Obama has made a number of promises during his administration and the one I'd like to talk about right now is on February 23 of 2009, in opening remarks to the fiscal responsibility summit, the President stated "Today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require to us make difficult decisions and mace challenges we've long neglected but I refuse to leave our children with the debt they cannot repay, and that means taking responsibility right now in this administration for getting our spending under control." I'd like to point out when he made those remarks the most recent estimate for what the deficit would be in fiscal year 2009 was put forward by the CBO on January 7, 2009 and they were estimating the deficit for that year would be $1.86 trillion, $1.2 trillion rounded up. Half would be $593 billion. That's the promise President Obama made to this nation in terms of the work we put in and what we deliver to our nation in terms of deficit control. The facts are far different. In 2009, largely because the very partisan stimulus package the President passed, the deficit wasn't $1.2 trillion, it was $1.4 trillion. That was followed in 2010 by $1.29 trillion. And then in fiscal 2011, $1.3 trillion and the latest CBO estimate for deficit this year will be $1.253 trillion, almost $1.3 trillion. That's double what the President promised he would be delivering to the American people in terms of deficit control. Moving forward, this President in his budget is projecting increasing our debt from about $15.6 trillion right now to over $25 trillion."

Senator Corker: (3:38 PM)
  • SUMMARY "The number-one responsibility that we have in the United States Senate is to pass a budget. And to lay out to the American people how we're going to spend the resources that come in. The last time we passed a budget, as you mentioned, was 1,111 days ago. We spent over $10 trillion of the U.S. taxpayers' money during that time. To be honest, I have quit voting for any spending bills, any spending bills, until we come to a point in time where we at least lay out to the American people how much of their money we're going to spend and what we're going to spend it on. Again, each year with $3.5 trillion to $3.6 trillion being spent by the federal government with no plan. I am embarrassed for this body, candidly, that we haven't even tried to take up a budget. I know that the committee itself began to take one up just a few weeks ago, and the chairman was asked not to do it because it made no sense to do a budget at this time. Thankfully, the parliamentarian ruled in this body that it was appropriate for us to take up a budget, and, again, I just can't imagine a greater shirking of our responsibilities than to lay out to the America people exactly where their dollars are going. What worries me most is this is the greatest transference of wealth, from these pages, from their generation to my generation, that has existed in modern history in this country. I mean there's a tremendous transference of wealth as we do not deal with the issues of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, what we're doing is actually piling up tremendous amounts of indebtedness just so the people of America will like us more as politicians as we don't make difficult decisions and don't have to wrestle with the festival issues the fiscal issues we have as a nation. This is what is ailing western democracies around the world. We're seeing this play out obviously in Europe right now. As citizens are rising up in protest over having to deal with the tough issues of the day. And there's been this grand bargain in western democracies, ours being one, where politicians have given citizens what they wish without asking them to pay for it. And I think we all understand that this is up now. We have a dilemma in this nation, we have a dilemma around the world right now because of our inability to deal with this issue. And so in the process, be a what we're doing is basically transferring wealth from this generation to my generation. It is absolute generational theft and I think speaks to the greatest vulnerability we have as a nation. If you speak to all of our national security analysts, to anybody in this body and we know that our greatest threat is not what's happening in China, it's not what's happening in Iran, it's not what's happening in Syria, but the greatest threat to this nation is we ourselves. And for some reason, this body has chosen to totally shirk our responsibilities as it relates to dealing with this issue."

Senator Hutchison: (3:43 PM)
  • SUMMARY "I would just say it's interesting because there are four of us on the floor right now. Senator from Wisconsin, the Senator from Tennessee, the Senator from Wyoming, and myself. We have one thing in common: every one of us have run a business. Every one of us were in business before we came to the united states senate. So we know when we're talking about new taxes, which is all we hear from the administration, that new taxes are not going to help this economy grow because our small businesses are scared to death out there. I know, because I've heard the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from Wisconsin, who came straight out of a business, who ran for the United States Senate because he was so frustrated in business, we know that small business people out there today are looking at the increased taxes that are already in place with the Obamacare added taxes and surtaxes that have already been passed by the democrats in congress without one single republican vote. Those taxes are already on board to increase. Plus, you've got the fines that they're facing if they don't have the government-prescribed for the Obama health care plan. They're going to have to pay fines on top of the surtaxes to pay for the bill that they're not going to be able to use. And then they're looking at the regulations that are coming out of this administration and they're saying, and congress wants to spend another $1 trillion this year into deficits? Because every one of us knows that we're looking at hitting the debt ceiling again - over $16 trillion - this fall, because this administration will not even consider lower taxes and lower spending levels. So I look at all of us on the floor right now who have been in business, who've run a business, who have met that payroll, who have met the regulatory environment, and I think, why on earth don't we listen to the small business people of this country in this body and do what they do every year - pass a budget."

Senator Barrasso: (3:46 PM)
  • SUMMARY "Well, I would tell my colleague from Texas, who has been a leader in this fight asking for a budget, demanding a budget, that as of today been 1,111 days since the Senate has passed a budget, in spite of the law that says they must do so by April 15 of each year. So April 15 came and April 15 went, this year as it had last year and the year before and there is no budget. So I look to the leadership of the senator from Texas, who knows that the hardworking families of her state, and the hardworking families of my state resent the fact that Washington refuses to be accountable. The Democrats in this body refuse to be accountable to the American people. The American people, all they're asking for - in my opinion - is value for their money. They want to make sure the money they send to Washington is being spent effectively, efficiently and they're getting value for their money."

Senator Hutchison: (3:47 PM)
  • SUMMARY "And, you know, the spending issue is very interesting, and I look to my colleague from Tennessee, who is really one of the deficit hawks in the United States Senate, and I am looking at the statistics that are being put out about the entitlement spending. The entitlement spending today is over 50% of our spending every year. Mandatory spending - it is going to be - in ten years it is going to be 74% of the spending in this country. Now, I would just ask my friend from Tennessee, because he has really been pure on this issue, I have to say, being the deficit hawk that he is, I would ask him, how would we be able to solve the spending problem of this country without addressing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, mandatory spending that will be at 74% of the budget in ten years if we go at this rate?"

Senator Corker: (3:48 PM)
  • SUMMARY "I know the Senator from Texas spends a tremendous amount of time on appropriations issues. She knows if you wiped out all the discretionary spending, which this year is going to be capped at $1.47 trillion. We could do away with all defense spending, all education spending, all research and development and you still could not cause our budget to not have a deficit. Let me just give a stat, and I talk about this a lot back home and I'll so glad you've given me this opportunity. The average American family in America today earns $43,500 - the average American family worker in America earns $43,500. That's $87,000 in a two-earner family. That family will pay $118,000 into Social Security. You know about paying the Medicare taxes into the system. That combined amount of money for the average American family today is $119,000 in today's dollars. That same family, if they retired, would take out of the system over their lifetime $357,000. Now, think about that. $119,000 - and that's in today's dollars, again. $119,000 going into Medicare on their behalf. $357,000 coming out of Medicare. I think most people in this body, even people who haven't been in business, realize you cannot make that up with volume. Yet volume is on the way. There are 20 million more Americans over this next decade, they're going to be part of that same formula. $119,000 in, $357,000 out. I have been quoting these stats every quarter and the numbers get further and further apart every quarter."

Senator Hutchison: (3:51 PM)
  • SUMMARY "With those numbers that you just quoted, that bill cuts $500 billion more out of Medicare to pay for that overdraft that you're talking about. And you were talking about a generational change?"

Senator Corker: (3:51 PM)
  • SUMMARY "$529 billion, to be exact the Senator has stated the sustainable growth rate issue, meaning that every year we come into this cliff with physicians . Instead of dealing with this, instead we swept that issue under the rug and took the full $$529 billion to help create this entitlement, which I think most people in this body know there's no way that this bill is going to work as it is laid out, that the costs are going to be substantially more, because in a free enterprise system people act on their own behalf, in their own self-interest. The subsidies are so high for families up to $88,000 a year, the penalty is so low that what's going to happen is we're going to have thousands and actually millions and millions and millions of people that are out on this program far beyond the projections that have been laid out. So, anyway, because we're talking about Social Security and Medicare, all of us want it to be solved. That's what we want to see. We want to make sure that Medicare and Social Security is here for generations down the road. But we all know that the Medicare trustee has said it's going to be insolvent by the year 2024. One way to deal with it is to put your head in the sand and just let it happen, after you're gone. Let it happen to the good citizens of this country. Another solution is to say, hey, this is a big ship. We need to get turning in a little bit different direction. So again these young people who are sitting in front of us don't have the tab."

Senator Hutchison: (3:53 PM)
  • SUMMARY "There is a way for us to at least fix one of the entitlements and that is Social Security, in a relatively painless way. Now, it's going to have a few changes that some people won't like, but it could be so gradual if we do it now that we would raise the age just three months a year so in the bill that I've proposed - and there are others that are equally as good, although none of them have been taken up - and it would just say, you're 58 years old, you wouldn't have any change at all. If you're 57, you would retire three months later. So it's very gradual. If you do you that and you adjust the cost of living increase, you would not have to raise any Social Security taxes, you would not cut the core benefits at all, and you could gradually ease into a system that will be solvent for 75 years, so that our elderly who need social security will have it there, and that's on the table now, but what is happening in Congress and where is the leadership from the White House? Nothing And I'm going to ask the senator from Wyoming because he is one of the two actual physicians in the United States Senate what is going to happen if the Supreme Court doesn't save America by throwing out the individual mandate on constitutional grounds and we actually have the implementation of the Obamacare with the taxes and fines that are going to come in on January 1 of next year, if we don't act? Where are we going to be in health care in this country?"

Senator Barrasso: (3:56 PM)
  • SUMMARY "This health care law is bad for patients, it's bad for providers, the doctors and nurses who take care of those patients, and it is terrible for taxpayers, who are going to get stuck footing the bill. So it is not a surprise that this administration doesn't want to come to the Senate, is embarrassed to come to the Senate with a budget, because they know that the American people would be so much offended by the irresponsibility and the nature of such a budget. And that's the situation we find ourselves in now. And as both my colleagues have said, with the Medicare, they took $500 billion from Medicare not to save Medicare, not to strengthen Medicare, but to start a whole, new government program for someone else, which is why when I travel the state of Wyoming and talk to seniors, they say, we don't like this health care law. It's why the health care law is more unpopular today than it was the day it was passed.

Senator Johnson-WI
: (3:59 PM)
  • SUMMARY "Back in the 1960's 16% of expenditures were appropriated. They were under some control here in Congress. 32% were the mandatory programs and interest. Currently, about 36% of government expenditures are appropriated and 64% are basically off-budget on automatic pilot. As the Senator from Texas pointed out, ten years forward, only about 25% of our federal budget will be appropriated, be discretionary spending. Everything else is on automatic, simply not sustainable If you look at the borrowing cost of the United States from 1970 through 1999, when we were a far more credit worthy nation, our debt's GDP ratio ranged from 40% to 67%. Our average borrowing cost was 5.3%. Over the last three years, 2010 to 2012, our average borrowing costs have been 1.5% because we have held rates artificially low. If we revert to that mean, that would be a 3.8% differential applied to our debt, that would be $600 billion to $700 billion per year in additional interest expense. Compare that to $1 trillion worth of discretionary spending, that would totally wipe out the defense budget, for example. Or if you maintain the defense budget, it would wipe out all discretionary spending. That's what we need to be concerned about, is when creditors from around the world look at the united states and say you know what? I'm not going to loan you any more money. What's more likely to occur is they'll say I'll loan you money but at a far higher interest rate."

Senator Corker
: (4:01 PM)
  • SUMMARY "The illumination is so bright that we have a major fiscal issue in this country, and we're watching how that can play out and be so destructive to people's lives right now in Europe, as they try to deal with these issues. Our nation is so large that, and the economy is so big, there will not be anyone to come to our rescue like we're seeing play out in some of these other countries. And for us to see what's happening, to know that we're participating in this, we're participating in this because spending here in America is on autopilot. We're going to spend $45 trillion to $47 trillion of the American people's money over the next decade. We have not a single document in place to lay out how that's going to take place. I just think it's incredibly irresponsible. It would be an embarrassment to me if I had some ability to run this place and to know that we had no budget. And yet, we know the calamity that is going to occur if we do not deal with this issue. We understand it full well. And we're doing nothing about it. Instead we're dealing with all kinds of issues here, all about elections and can one side make the other side look bad? And is this going to make a tough vote for somebody else. Instead of dealing with our number-one responsibility. I'm hoping that somehow at least 60 folks in this body will be willing to pass a budget to then create a conference between the house and senate so we can take a major step towards living up to our financial obligations as a country."

Senator Johnson-WI
: (4:04 PM)
  • SUMMARY "There are two plans on the table right now. One is from the House Republicans. It actually passed the chamber. Republicans were willing to put their votes to a budget. Republicans are willing to be held accountable. Of course the other plan would be the President's budget which last year his budget lost in this body 0-97. His current budget lost in the House 0-414. I guess you could say the plan doesn't sound like a particularly serious plan."

Feinstein, Kyl

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill (H.R. 2072)

May 14 2012

Senator Feinstein: (2:23 PM)
  • Spoke on Mongolia.
    • SUMMARY "Mongolia has been rightly acclaimed for the extraordinary progress it has made in building democratic practices and institutions since the collapse of the soviet union 20 years ago. Indeed, Mongolia is the only successful functioning democracy from the Pacific Ocean to Eastern Europe through the entire expanse of inner Asia. A small country, it has due to this achievement become a country of large significance on the world stage. The best argument that a free and brave people can move their country from authoritarian to democracy in a relatively short period of time. Having done so, Mongolians have enjoyed an extraordinary degree of support and attention from the outside world, led by our country, the United States. The Mongolian-American relationship now encompasses Mongolia's impressive economic potential as it develops its rich mineral resources with the help of foreign partners, many of them American companies with a strong interest in investment there. However, all this promise could be negatively impacted by the emergence of the practices we have seen in the case of Mr. Enkhbayar. The chill of intimidation is felt by every Mongolian citizen for if such treatment can be applied to a former president and still-popular leader, no one is safe. And then such harsh treatment tends to bring reciprocity and the country is in danger of falling into a vicious cycle of political score settling. For the sake of Mongolia and the future of its people, the country's leaders must step away from this risk immediately. It is equally true that once having lost one's good reputation, it is almost impossible to restore it. There is still time for Mongolia's authorities to correct a dangerous turn of events, probably no one expected or wanted. There are many friends abroad including this senator, pray that they will do so. Should the troubling circumstance of Mr. Enkhbayar's case continue, it would thereafter be impossible for Mongolia's friends in America and around the world in other democracies to continue speaking with the hope, promise, and optimism for the country's future with which we have for the last two decades. Much is at stake in Mongolia now. Its political leaders and people have been wise and skillful in choosing the right course in many times of challenges and crises in the past. So I call upon our friends there to help their country, their supporters, and themselves by taking the humane and lawful actions that are needed now to reclaim the reputation at the forefront of the communities of democracies. I hope it has been obvious that I speak as a friend, a concerned friend, but one who wishes Mongolia well."

Senator Kyl: (2:37 PM)
  • Spoke on the economy.
    • SUMMARY "The administration, unfortunately, has been claiming that the economy is continuing to heal, and touting the latest jobs report. And I think that misleads the American people. And here's why: it is true that by their measure the unemployment rate has declined from 8.2% to 8.1% but that doesn't really represent progress if you look behind the numbers. If you look behind the numbers and the data, employers added only 115,000 jobs last month. That's less than the 180,000 that Wall Street was expecting and more importantly, it's less than the 150,000 jobs that have to be created each month just to keep up with the new entrants into the work force. The kids graduating from college those graduating from high school that are entering the work force. In order to keep up with that number, about 150,000 per month, the private sector has to create that many jobs to stay at zero, and if it doesn't, then we're actually getting behind. So the fact that we've had several straight months where there's been an actual increase in the number of jobs increases doesn't measure it properly. You have to measure those months where it was above 150,000 and in that case less than half the months since the president has been in office from met that criteria. So we're actually sliding backward, not moving forward. Here's another way to look at the unemployment picture. There are so many people who have given up looking for work under the Obama economy now they that they don't show up in the unemployment statistics. That's why this mum 8.2% actually goes down to 8.1%. Not because people are finding work but rather a whole lot of people have stopped looking for work so they're not counted in the unemployed looking for work. In March, for example, there were about three people dropping out of the system for every one job created. Think of that. In April, the rate was 4.5 dropouts per new job. So each month we're finding more and more people are simply not looking for work. They're dropping out of that group of people who would like to be employed, who are looking for work. They've stopped. So they don't show in the unemployment numbers. In fact, in the month of April, 522,000 people dropped out of the labor force. Now, remember last month 115,000 jobs were created, and some people thought that was great. It's nice that it was 115,000 and not, you know, none, but the reality is if 522,000 people dropped out of the labor force, that same month, it shows you that there is just not much to cheer about. What that meant in terms of overall statistics was that a number that the labor department calls the labor force participation rate - in other words, how many of the people who could be working here are actually working, it dropped to 63.6%, which is the lowest level since 1981 when we were headed into a big recession at that time. In other words, we have fewer people actually working in this country as a percentage of those who could than at any time since 1981 James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute said "If the size of the labor force as a share of the total population was the same as it was when Barack Obama took office, 65.7% then versus 63.6% today, the unemployment rate to be 11.1%." 11.1%. That's why you here people say the real rate is not 8.1%, it's 11.1%. What that means is, the more people give up looking for work, the better the official unemployment number gets but it doesn't tell the real story. He also noted and I'm quoting, "If the participation rate stayed where it was last month, the unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4%.â€?"


Opening Remarks

May 14 2012

  • Today --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill.
    • At 4:30 PM, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session for up to 1 hour of debate, equally divided, on:
      1. Executive Calendar #570, George Levi Russell, III, of Maryland, to be United States District Judge for the District of Maryland; and
      2. Executive Calendar #571, John J. Tharp, Jr., of Illinois, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.
    • At 5:30 PM, the Senate will conduct up to 3 ROLL CALL VOTES on:
      1. Executive Calendar #570, George Levi Russell, III, of Maryland, to be United States District Judge for the District of Maryland;
      2. Executive Calendar #571, John J. Tharp, Jr., of Illinois, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois; and
      3. The Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill.
  • As a reminder, on Tuesday, May 8th, a Motion to Reconsider the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 2343, the Student Loan bill, was entered.

Senator Reid: (2:02 PM)
  • Spoke on the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill.
    • SUMMARY "There was a time a bill to reduce the deficit to support hundreds of thousands of jobs would fly through the Senate with bipartisan support. Not so any more. Instead a worthy measure that would support 300,000 American jobs, Export-Import Bank, is being stalled in the Senate this evening. The holdup? More Republican obstructionism. Tonight the Senate will vote on whether to end a filibuster of reauthorization of this most important legislation. The Bank helps American companies grow and sell their products overseas. Last year this Bank financed 3,600 private companies at almost 300,000 jobs in more than 2,000 American communities. The last time the Senate considered this in legislation, it was offered by a Republican senator and it passed by unanimous consent. That means it comes to the floor sponsored by a Republican, and everybody agrees and we don't have a vote here. It's done by unanimous consent. So it's unfortunate I had to file cloture again. I filed cloture, cloture, cloture, cloture on so many different things. We shouldn't have to argue over bipartisan proposals like this one. It should just pass as it has in the past. But I remain hopeful we can find a way to work together on it."

May 14 2012

The Senate Convened.

May 14 2012

The Senate is considering H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank reauthorization bill.  The Senate is also considering the nominations of George Levi Russell, of Maryland, to be United States district judge for the District of Maryland, and John J. Tharp, of Illinois, to be United States district judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Republican senators continue to focus on creating jobs, lowering the deficit, reducing gas prices, and replacing the Democrats' health care bill with reforms that will actually lower costs.