Senate Calendar

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jul 18 2012

Senator Reid: (7:11 PM)
  • Performed Wrap Up --
  • Tomorrow --
    • The Senate will convene at 9:30 AM tomorrow and Majority Leader Reid will be recognized. The first hour will be equally divided, with the Republicans controlling the first 30 minutes and the Majority controlling the second 30 minutes.
    • At 2:15 PM, the Senate will conduct a ROLL CALL VOTE on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3364, the Democrats' Insourcing bill.
The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00 AM Thursday, July 19th.

Wicker, Bennet

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator Wicker: (5:25 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "We're now less than six months away from seeing sequestration go into effect. This is a grim reality that was never supposed to happen, and it's a reality that doesn't have to happen. But it will happen unless we act and unless the president signs legislation. Budget sequestration means defense and non-defense spending will be cut automatically and across the board without regard to priorities, without regard to the importance of programs ... Our debt is our number-one national security threat. And yet, severe across-the-board cuts to the department of defense are not the way to address the security threat and they are not the way to achieve long-term fiscal responsibility. Federal debt is a national security threat, to be sure, but so would be unilaterally cutting key funding to Americans men and women in uniform. Realistically confronting the debt problem means addressing soaring entitlement costs which are growing at three times the rate of inflation, growing at three times the rate of our economic growth. We can't sustain that. Realistically confronting the debt does not mean gambling with the resources our military needs to protect this nation and the skilled jobs necessary to supply today's advanced force. Unless we act and act soon, $492 billion will be cut from defense spending beginning January 3, 2013."

Senator Bennet: (5:42 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hermosa Creek Watershed.
    • SUMMARY "The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act governs the entire 108,000-acre watershed and includes provisions to allow for multiple uses like timber harvesting for forest health, access and trails for off-trail vehicles and more mountain bikers. The bill also adds nearly 40,000 acres to the national wilderness preservation system, lands that provide unique and important opportunities for solitude and reflection, lands that will remain undeveloped forever, so they'll always have clear streams to fish and lush forests for a outfitter to take clients into the wilderness on horseback."

Durbin, Sanders, Brown-OH, Inhofe

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator Durbin: (4:04 pm)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "Everyone here is committed to the basic premise of keeping America safe and standing behind our men and women in uniform. But I also want to be realistic about the defense budget. It's a big budget. Now, the last time the American budget, federal budget was in balance was about ten years ago. And we hit the sweet spot when it came to taxes and revenue on one side and spending on the other. The sweet spot was 19.6%. Of our gross domestic product. That's the sum total and value of all the goods and services produced in America. So we raised 19.6% of our gross domestic product in taxes, and that's how much we spent. We were in balance ten years ago. What has happened since? Since the budget was last in balance, domestic discretionary spending for things like education, health care, correction systems, highways, all the non-defense things in our budget have not grown at all. Flat line. Zero growth. When it came to the entitlement programs - Medicaid, Medicare, veterans programs and the like - they have gone up about 30% in cost since the budget was last in balance. What about the defense budget? What has happened to the defense budget since we had a balanced budget? It has gone up 73%. Zero on domestic discretionary. 30% on entitlements. 73% on the military side. So what happened in the last ten years? Two wars we didn't pay for. A dramatic build-up in the military. And the reality is all of it was added to the debt ... What I hear from the Republican side of the aisle is keep your hands off the department of defense. I don't want to cut them and jeopardize our security or endanger our service men, but I do believe money can be saved there. How do we find ourselves in this position where we're even considering these cuts? Because the Republicans have steadfastly refused to consider revenue The Republicans here, almost to a person, are basically arguing that rather than raise taxes on the richest 2% in America at all, we would run the risk of jeopardizing our national security. That's false choice. We can have a strong national defense, and we must. But we can also have a rational approach to reducing our debt. Our military is the best in the world. It's the biggest in the world. It is larger than most other nations, the next ten combined, and it's certainly dramatically larger than any potential enemy of the United States. It has kept us safe as a nation, and we want it to continue it to. The men and women are the best who serve us in our military. But we can save money in the Department of Defense. We can do it and reduce the deficit. What we need from the Republican side of the aisle is the willingness that we found in the Simpson-Bowles Commission of a few Republicans to step up and say yes. We need to put everything on the table. Let's avoid deep cuts either on the domestic side or the defense side. Let's basically come up with an approach that is fair across the board. And we can do it."

Senator Sanders: (4:23 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "We are in the midst now of a great philosophical and economic debate. The rich are getting richer and our Republican friends want to give them more tax breaks. The middle class is collapsing, our Republican friends want to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And in terms of defense spending, I would just say this: everybody here agrees we want and need are a strong defense. Do we really have to spend more on defense in the United States of America than the rest of the world combined? We spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined. Do we really have to do that? We spend 4.8% of our GDP on defense. Our European allies, who, by the way, provide health care to all of their people as a right - our European allies, who provide in many instances college education free to their young people - $40,000 or $50,000 a year - our European allies - and I say this in all due respect to them; I respect that; that's what we should be doing, providing excellent-quality child care to their working families, they spend 2% of their GDP on defense. We spend 4.8%. We are in the midst of an interesting moment, and I would hope that the American people become engaged in this debate, because I think, by and large the position that the Republican party is taking - tax breaks for billionaires, cuts in Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid - I think that that is way out of touch with where the American people are today. So, I hope that we have a serious debate on these issues. I hope the American people join us, and I hope that the route we go, the road we go down in terms of deficit reduction is one that is fair to working families and the middle class, and that means asking the wealthiest people had this country and the largest corporations in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes."

Senator Brown-OH: (4:48 PM)
  • Spoke on Russian PNTR.
    • SUMMARY "We need to make sure we understand as we go with eyes wide open in the PNTR with Russia. Too often, we compromise our values in these trade agreements, we compromise our commitment to upholding human rights. Granting Russia PNTR status without oversight is another such deal in the making. We have a responsibility to American steel makers and welders, the companies and the workers, the small manufacturers and the employees, engineers, laborers, all of them to get it right this time. I want more trade. This is not just about Russia. This is about America's trade policy, America's workers, American job creation ...enforcement in accountability must be at the heart of our trade commitments with every single country in the world. Granting Russia permanent normal trade relations is important for U.S. businesses. It could be a major step towards boosting exports of machinery, aerospace products and other manufactured goods By passing a Russia PNTR that has real commitments, has real language, not just for reporting language but for enforcement language. After ten years, after hundreds of thousands of American jobs lost, we're saying the same argument we saw for PNTR made in support of granting Russia WTO membership. Our experience with China has shown that we must ensure that our trading partners follow through on their commitments. Our workers, our farmers, our ranchers, our producers, our manufacturers should have confidence that if a trade deal is signed, it will actually be enforced. We can't afford another one-way trade agreement because one-way trade agreements tend to lead to one-way job movements, companies shutting down here, manufacturing somewhere else, selling back into the United States. That's why we must have oversight, we must have mechanisms in place to ensure that Russia adheres to its commitments. We must learn from the Chinese case. Our PNTR with China caused huge damage to our country in manufacturing job loss. From the implementation of PNTR passed in 1999, begun in 2000, accession to the World Trade Organization, around then for China, we saw what happened with job loss Between 2000 and 2010, we lost one-third of our manufacturing jobs in this country, more than five million jobs. We lost 60,000 plants in this country. Not entirely because of China not playing fair, not entirely because of PNTR, not even entirely because of PNTR with China and the North American Free Trade Agreement. It's our tax law, it's our trade law, it's our unwillingness or inability to enforce these trade rules. All of that is conspired for this job loss. We have since 2010, I might add because of the auto rescue and some other things, we have gained back a half a million manufacturing jobs. Ten years of manufacturing job loss since the auto rescue, 500,000 manufacturing job gains. We have to have monitoring, we have to have appropriate consequences in place when these rules are violated."

Senator Inhofe: (4:57 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "If you project what this president has done and would be doing over the next ten years, it would be cutting the military by a half a trillion dollars. Now, that's bad enough. But what's worse is what would happen under sequestration. Under sequestration what his engineered sequestration the amount of cuts that would come with sequestration would be coming almost entirely from the military. So not only is he projecting a cut of a half a trillion dollars in our military as it is today, but if his Obama sequestration goes into effect it's going to be another half trillion dollars. So we know what this is going to do to jobs. We know what it's going to do to our ability in terms of putting our troops in harm's way The problem we're having is the deep cuts that have taken place in the defense. I would have to say one thing that I'm concerned about and this is kind of a warning shot for manufacturers, defense contractors around the country. That it's my opinion that the president and I've heard this from several of the defense contractors saying the administration is leaning on them not to send pink slips out on firing these people as a result of the Obama sequestration until after the November 7 election. Well, I think they're overlooking that there is a law that was passed back in 1988 called the Warn law. It is the worker adjustment and retraining notification law. What it says is, if we go with through something like this, we have to send out pink slips or the contractors have to send out pink slips to those who are going to lose their jobs 60 days prior to the time that going to take place. Well, if sequestration takes place on January 2, that would mean November 2, only five days before the election. I want to make sure everybody knows the law says they must do it by 60 days. But they can do it tomorrow if they want to and I think the people of this country who are going to lose their jobs due to the Obama sequestration should be entitled to know that they're going to get their pink slips before the election so that could certainly affect what they're going to be doing in the election."
  • Spoke on missile defense.
    • SUMMARY "When President Obama was elected he cut the budget for missile defense by $1.4 billion and he killed the ground-based interceptor in Poland. Now, at that time our intelligence had said that Iran will have the capability of sending a nuclear weapon over a delivery system by 2015. Well, the Obama administration, they cut that program and said no, they're not going to have that capability until 2020. Guess what happened just two or three days ago, two or three days ago Secretary Panetta said on 60 minutes he believes that Iran will able to produce a nuclear weapon in a year or two years and then another years and that would be 2015. Now we know we were right in the Bush administration, we know the danger that the Obama administration has put us in and I think the people are going to have to understand that this is true. For us to use the system that President Obama wants to use, we would have to have capability, it's called - it's a system called SM-32-b. That system would not be developed and to be able to used until after 2020. So this is something that is probably one of the most serious things that we're deal dealing with right now."
  • Spoke on the Global Arms Trade Treaty.
    • SUMMARY "In March the president of the conference that is negotiating the treaty released a chairman's draft. Through the draft, we know that the treaty may seek to establish certain criteria that must be met ... We know that the draft, the treaty make seek to establish certain criteria to be met before we can sell it to other countries. We have a lot of friendly countries out there that we would like to sell to. Although we all agree that a committed effort must be made to prevent terrorists and criminals from acquiring weapons, the treaty could undermine our foreign policy and national security strategy and infringe Americans' second amendment rights The heart of the problem with this treaty is the notion that bad actors in the international community will continue to be bad actors. We've seen this time and time again. Law-abiding nations will constrain themselves to the terms of a treaty. Rogue nations in corrupt states will contravene the explicit text of the treaty that only months ago they were endorsing. I remember gun control in the United States. Gun control assumes people out there are going to obey the laws. But those are not the problem people. The problem people are the people who are not going to obey the laws. Why would they single out a law on gun control that would preclude them from having guns if they are criminals to start with? It doesn't make sense. Internationally the same thing is taking place. This treaty is rife with opportunities for such behavior. In fact, the draft requires that provisions - and this is a quote - "shall be implemented in a manner that would avoid hampering the right of self-defense of any state party." One need only look further than the current conflict in Syria to see how ridiculous this requirement is. The arms that Russia is currently supplying Syria obviously have a dual purpose for its national defense against a foreign aggressor but also to be used in the oppression of its own people. We know that's happening ... The arms trade treaty may have a considerable impact. Take, for example, the requirement in the draft that arms should not be used in a manner that would seriously undermine peace or security or provoke prolonged or aggressive internal, regional or sub-regional or international instability. Does anyone deny that each and every time we supply weapons to some of our greatest allies, like Israel and Taiwan and South Korea, that we are in fact prolonging regional and international stability? The answer is no."

McConnell, Cornyn, McCain, Inhofe, Sessions, Thune, Ayotte

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator McConnell: (3:03 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "We have a responsibility to raise and support armies and provide and maintain a navy. If we let sequestration as currently written go forward and do not act, we will have failed. And that's why I am so disappointed with the president's failure of leadership on this issue and that of Senate Democrats as well. Both House and Senate Republicans have offered proposals to replace the savings from sequestration with more thoughtful and targeted spending cuts. Both of those proposals also either eliminated or reduced the sequester on non-defense programs as well. Last week Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Senator Kyl and I sent a letter to the president asking him to work with us to find a bipartisan solution before the end of the fiscal year. With a $3.6 trillion annual budget, clearly, clearly there is a smarter, more thoughtful way to achieve at least $110 billion in savings. It is simply outrageous that this president and Senate Democrats are missing in action on this issue. We're committed to finding a solution to this before we recess for the election. Are they? Or are they committed to jeopardizing our national security? When will they sit down and work with us to find a solution? The House overwhelmingly passed a Sequestration Transparency Act just today by a vote of 414-2. This bill is modeled after a Thune Sessions bill. It asks the president, Office of Management and Budget to submit a report to Congress on the impact of sequestration on both defense and on defense programs. Every single Democrat in the House Budget Committee supported it. Every one. Will that bill die here in the Senate because Democrats not only do not want to address sequestration; they want to hide the ball on the impact of sequestration until after the November election. If they resist this effort to get more information on sequestration out in the open, it is clear they wish congress to be both blind and mute. When it comes to our national defense. And the fate of those who volunteered to defend us. We need President Obama to tell this Congress his plan for avoiding this sequester or preventing the gutting of his strategy or responsibly transitioning to a new commander in chief and for keeping faith with the warriors we have sent into combat. And in all of this, our overriding objective, in fact our duty, should be to work with the president to achieve the level of savings called for in the Budget Control Act without doing harm to our national security or to our military."

Senator Cornyn: (3:20 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "At a time when the world continues to be a very dangerous place and whereas Secretary Gates said we cannot know where the next threat to America or our allies will come from, we're finding the capability to address that threat's reduced because of budgetary cuts and, thus, increasing the risk to not only the United States, but to our allies as well. And I want to make just one point clear. National security is not just one thing on a laundry list of the things that the federal government can or should do. It is number one. It is the ultimate justification for the federal government to provide for the safety and security of the American people. And when the federal government treats national security just like any other expense on the government ledger, I think it denigrates the priority that it should be. But I want to say that when I heard the Senator from Washington the other day speaking at the Brookings Institute, she made an amazing speech which summarizing - she suggested that she and her colleagues are prepared to trigger a recession unless this side would agree to raise taxes. And it's not just the expiring tax provisions on December 31 which would be the single largest tax increase in American history. It is this $1.2 trillion sequester that cuts not only into the muscle, but into the bone of our Defense Department and our ability to provide for our national security needs. It also has collateral impact on private-sector jobs all across the country. By one estimate it's 91,000 jobs in my state alone. So why we would see our colleagues and the commander in chief himself want to play a game of chicken with our national security and our economy is beyond me."

Senator McCain: (3:26 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "We need to discuss this issue in the context of the administration's secretary of defense who says if these sequestration is implemented, it will place our national security in jeopardy. It will be, in his words, devastating. So I think it's important for the American people and our colleagues to understand that the secretary of defense says it will be devastating. We live in a dangerous world. We live in a very dangerous world. And if we cut defense the way that this sequestration is headed, then there is no doubt we will have the smallest navy and air force in history. We will have less ships than we've had since before World War II. It will be a hollow force. And I would just like to make one other comment s my friends join me. What is our country's greatest obligation? What is our number-one obligation? Both the administration and Congress. And that is to ensure the security of our nation. That takes priority over every other item on our agenda. So when we start talking about sequestration, that is important in its effect. But I also think it's entirely proper, in fact it should be our priority to talk about sequestration's effect on our defense. And I would like to point out, all of my colleagues here know we are facing reductions if defense. We already had $87 billion implemented by Secretary Gates, another $400 billion has been implemented if we implement this sequestration it will be over $400 billion. So far the president of the United States has been completely MIA and we need to work this out so we can avoid so we can avoid draconian cuts, not to mention the effect on our economy, the effect on our economy of over a million jobs lost, a reduction in our GDP. So this is an important discussion. This is a very important debate, and if someone disagrees with our assessment and that of the secretary of defense, then I will be glad to listen to their arguments. But until then, if will take the word of the secretary of defense that this implementation of defense sequestration will put our nation in jeopardy."

Senator Inhofe: (3:32 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "By his own budget, we have a president who has given us over $1 trillion of deficit each year for four years totaling $5.3 trillion. So that's the mess that we're in, that we're trying to get out of. But that you will time the ones that have not been properly funded has been the military. The first budget that he had, he cut out the F-22 and all the systems that were so important, and it's gone downhill since then. As you project the president's budget out, we're talking about reducing about a half trillion dollars. Now comes sequestration. A lot of people think we're just talking about the half trillion dollars that's going to be cut over a period of time Everything seems to be exempt except the military. Food stamps, exempt, 100% of it. Medicaid, 30% of it. And only 10% of the DoD budget. The only other thing if want to mention is this: if have every reason to believe that the president is trying to get them to avoid sending pink slips out until after the November 7 election. I would remind him that we have something called the workers adjustment, restraining and notification act, the warn act, that requires these workers prior to sequestration on January 2 or, to notify people of their pink slips. They don't have to wait I think it is imperative that the people, the workers who are going to be laid off work as a result of the Obama sequestration, that they know in advance of the November election that we're going to do everything we can to make sure that that happens."

Senator Sessions: (3:34 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "The reason this government is running such huge deficits is surges in military spending. That is an inaccurate event. The base defense budget from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 increased about 10%. Medicaid, during this same time, increased 37%. Food stamps during this same four-year period doubled, 100% increase. Under this sequester, food stamps and Medicaid gets not a dime of cuts. It is disproportionately targeted at the Defense Department. The Defense Department has taken a $487 billion under the BCA. That's why it's gone from belt tightening and efficiency producing to damage to the Defense Department Under the sequester, the additional $492 billion in cuts, adjusted for inflation, the defense budget over ten years would be reduced by a real 11%. That's one-sixth of the federal government spending is defense. The remaining five-sixths of the government would increase 35% under the sequestration and current BCA policy. So again I think that's clear proof that the Defense Department is disproportionately being asked to reduce In 1963 defense made up 48% of the outlays of the United States. 48% in 1963. Not in the height of Vietnam or the Korean War or anything. And the entitlements of America amounted to 26% of the budget. What has happened in 50 years in entitlements now reach 60% of the budget, and Defense Department is at 19% of the budget. Now, this is a dramatic alteration of where we are but I think what Senator McCain is saying is that defending America is a core function of government. And we need to be sure that this alteration does not put us in the position where America is not properly defended."

Senator Thune: (3:38 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "The reason we are here is for three consecutive years now, the Democratic majority in the United States Senate has not done the most fundamental responsibility, which is to pass a budget, that addresses our national security interests. So what did we end up with? We ended up with the Budget Control Act, which is something that was cobbled together at the 11th hour to avoid a deadline on raising the debt limit, and we put in place a process where a supercommittee would look at advertise find long-term savings so that we could avoid this sequester. But the sequester was put in place as a result of the Budget Control Act, which was put in place because the United States Senate hasn't passed a budget now for three straight years. That is why we are where we are. Now, having said that, we need to fix the problem. The problem, is that we have defense cuts that are going to cut very deeply into our national security interests. And you have the secretary of defense coming out and saying that these cuts would be devastating. The president's own secretary of defense has made statements to that effect. We'd have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest tactical air force literally in the history of the air force. That's the dimension of the problem that we are talking about, as has been described by the experts who are supposed to know these things as I said, the president's own defense secretary has made these types of statements. One of the problems we have of course is we don't even know what the full impact of this sequester will be because the administration hasn't put a plan forward. Today the House of Representatives voted by 414-2 to require the administration at least to submit to congress and to the American people how they intend to implement sequestration. So we at least have a better idea about what these impacts will be, where are they going to make the cuts by account so that we can examine that and come up with a plan, hopefully, to replace those deep, unbalanced cuts to the defense budget with reductions elsewhere in the budget. But we won't know that because we can't get the administration to put forward the plan that we need to move forward with our proposals here in order to do away with a very dangerous cut to America's national security."

Senator Ayotte: (3:50 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "It is irresponsible to put our Department of Defense and our military, our men and women who have fought so bravely for this country at risk because somehow there are members who think that it's important to play roulette with this, to play chicken with our national security, and this isn't from the senator from New Hampshire. Just listen to our own secretary of defense on this. He has described what is coming with these across-the-board cuts in January as devastating, catastrophic, would lead to a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions of the department of defense. He's compared sequestration or these across-the-board cuts to shooting ourselves in the head, inflicting severe damage to our national security and to the point that the senator from Alabama made as well as the senator from South Dakota, which is the president who is the commander in chief of this country. I would call upon him, lead an effort here to resolve this. We can come up with alternative spending reductions. Yes, we need to cut spending and I will be the first to stand in line to say we need to make sure that we make those spending cuts, but let's not do it at the sake of our military One of the reasons we should resolve this before the election is it's not just about the safety of our country, which should come first and foremost, but we're also talking about nearly a million jobs in the private sector in our defense industrial base, based on a report from AIA and George Mason University. Just looking at the defense end, a million jobs, and those jobs are the manufacturers both large and small that build the equipment, the protection, the weapons system that our men and women in uniform need to fight the wars that we ask them to, to keep them safe and protected, and if we lose that capacity, not only do we lose the jobs that are good jobs in this country, but we also lose capacity, which is very much a part of the defense of this nation. Under federal law, these companies will be required to issue under the warrant act notices of layoff, potential layoff, 60 days before it happens, which brings us to November. So that's why we need to address this before the election as well. We should not put all those Americans who work for those companies and those companies at risk. Now, yesterday AIA also issued a report looking at the nondefense implications of sequestration. If you put it all together, it's over two million jobs in this country that are at issue. So we should get to the table right now, resolve this, cut this spending in a responsible way that doesn't add a national security crisis to our fiscal crisis. We can do it, but we aren't going to do it if we continue to put off the difficult decisions, if we kick this can down the road again, if we use this as roulette or chicken in some other debate in December, this needs to be resolved right now for our men and women in uniform who have shown the courage, the tenacity and the love of country that they deserve, that they have done so much for us and they deserve better from us than to put them in as political football in some other debate."

Senator Sessions: (3:59 PM)
  • Spoke on sequestration.
    • SUMMARY "War outlays represent only 4% of defense spending. That's a lot, but it's only 4%. It's not the biggest part of it. 2001 through 2011 that's how much it totaled. It totaled $1.1 trillion during that time. 2001 through 2011, we spent $1.1 trillion on both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Last year our deficit was about $1.3 trillion. The entire ten years of war effort amount to less than one year's deficit last year. In fact, we've averaged over $1.2 trillion for the last four years in deficits. You could eliminate the entire defense department, all $540 billion of it, you would not cut the deficit in half. You can add the war cost to it which is a little over a hundred billion and it's still less than half. So it's just not so that the reason this country is in financial trouble is that. There are other factors that are going on there. From 2008 through 2010, this shows the growth in spending as a percentage of those budgets. Defense department through those three years increased 11%. The nondefense discretionary spending increased 24%. That's more than twice as fast as a rate. So it's not surging defense spending that's driving up the cost of government as much as the increase in the nondefense spending We're now at $16 trillion in debt. Every penny of that is borrowed money. We have to pay interest on that $16 trillion. We're adding a trillion dollars a year to it. We've added $1.2 trillion plus each year for the past four years. According to the CBO, in 2019, just seven years from now, interest will exceed the defense department expenditure. The amount of money we spend servicing the debt that we have run up will exceed the Defense Department and surge past it. And if we have a situation that could happen like is now happening in Europe and interest rates surge faster, that number could be a devastating number to the economy. It's really a matter of great concern to us. So that's why we have to contain spending. Defense Department has got to reduce spending. We support the $487 billion in cuts that they're working on today, but the additional 492 is so large that it does damage to the Defense Department and actually will cost us money by making rapid reductions in spending in such ways that can't be accommodated in any rational way."

Barrasso, Hatch, Alexander, Boxer

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator Barrasso: (2:04 PM)
  • A Doctor's Second Opinion.
    • SUMMARY "Today I'd like to talk about another important part, which is the Supreme Court's ruling that the law's Medicaid mandate is unconstitutional The president's health care law forced states to expand their Medicaid eligibility or face the loss of all their Medicaid matching funds Many states felt that this expansion, this forced expansion, this forced mandate on them was unconstitutional, that it was expensive and it would essentially leave states with no choice but to participate in the program. That, is why 26 different states filed a lawsuit against the federal government to stop this massive Medicaid overreach. The Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts and a majority of justices agreed with the states. Chief Justice Roberts described the Medicaid expansion as a "gun to the head" that would leave states no choice but to participate in the program. The decision of the Supreme Court made clear that states cannot be forced by Washington, cannot be forced by Washington to participate in the health care law's Medicaid expansion Washington Democrats have argued that the expansion is a good deal for states since the federal government is paying for the entire expansion through 2017 and then it will cover 90% of the cost of the states. But, again, that's not of all the people on Medicaid, that's only of newly eligible individuals. Never mind the Congressional Budget Office predicted the expansion would cost the federal government over $900 billion between 2014 and 2022. Apparently Washington Democrats members of this Senate have not passed a budget in over three years - they believe that the federal government has extra money to spend. Completely irresponsible Governors are concerned because they know that Medicaid has been the fastest growing part of state budget for over the past decade. In fact, Medicaid spending has expanded twice as fast, twice as fast as spending on education and this is according to the bipartisan National Governors' Association. In addition, state leaders worry that the federal government will not keep the promises that Washington has made to the states regarding Medicaid's payment rates. The Wall Street Journal referred to the matching rate this way. They say this 100% matching rate is like a subprime loan with a teaser rate and a balloon payment Unlike this current administration, governors of both parties recognize the importance of controlling government spending. Washington cannot expect states to simply trust that the money will come through in the future. States basically don't trust Washington, and they are right to not trust Washington."

Senator Hatch: (2:15 PM)
  • Spoke on welfare reform.
    • SUMMARY "This bill halts last week's unprecedented power grab from the Obama administration whereby unelected bureaucrats granted themselves authority to grant federal welfare work requirements. Unelected bureaucrats bypassed the law passed by Congress. They ignored the work requirements intended by Congress and by the presidents of both parties who signed welfare reform and its subsequent reauthorizations. Ultimately they decided that they knew better than the American people. The American people through their representatives enacted work requirements and welfare reform. But these unelected administrators decided that they did not like these work requirements, so with the stroke of a pen they have attempted to eliminate them. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this action is fundamentally illegitimate in a democratic republic and is the latest example of the Obama administration acting without legal warrant and when the law stands in their way ... This bill includes dispositive findings clearly demonstrating that the Obama administration acted outside the scope of the law and the clear intent of Congress. I would like to stress the fact that I am introducing this legislation because I believe that the Obama administration grossly undermined the constitutional authority of the legislative branch to effect changes instead of law."

Senator Alexander: (2:29 PM)
  • Spoke on the Appropriation bills.
    • SUMMARY "I'm equally disappointed that the majority leader has suddenly announced last week that he won't bring any appropriations bills to the floor. And the reasons he gives are very puzzling to me. First he says, well, the House is using a different number than the Senate. Well what is so new about that? That's why we have the House and the Senate. They're one kind of body. We're another kind. They have their opinion. We have ours. And we vote on our opinions, and then we have a procedure called "the conference," in which we come together and we get a result ... Then the majority leader said, well, they in the House violated the Budget Control Act. The Budget Control Act was something we agreed on. I voted for it to try to put some limits on the growth of the appropriations process in the budget. And if we stick to that over the next ten years, the discretionary spending - not the two-thirds of the budget that's entitlement, but this one-third we're talking about - will only grow at the rate of about inflation, plus a little bit more. If our whole budget grew at that rate, we wouldn't have a fiscal problem. So those aren't good reasons. We have a way to reconcile our differences. The Budget Control Act was only limits. The Senate actually has exceeded those limits, according to my colleague, Senator Corker, already three times this year. So there is no excuse whatsoever, for not bringing up appropriations bills on the floor of the Senate. If you think the Solyndra loan was a bad idea, that's the place to take it out. Or if you want to spend more money for national defense, that's the place to put it in. Or if you think we're wasting money on national parks or too much government land, that's the place to take it out. Are those bills ready to come to the floor? Yes, they are. In the Senate we've been doing our job in our committee. I want to be exactly right about this, but I believe we have seven appropriations bills that are ready to come to the floor, ready to go to work right now We'd like to go to work. And what does the Senate do in the Senate brings bills you were through committee. It puts bills on the floor. Then as the late-Senator Byrd used to say, almost any amendment comes to the floor and we debate it and we vote on it and we either pass the bill or we don't pass the bill. That's what the Senate does. And we on our side have been saying to the majority leader, Mr. Majority leader, let us offer our amendments. Don't silence the voices of the people in our states that we represent. And he has been allowing that more to happen. Of course he has the procedural ability to stop that."

Senator Boxer: (2:39 PM)
  • Spoke on the Democrats' Insourcing bill.
    • SUMMARY "This bill is about, the Bringing American Bobs Home Act, is making sure that we see the words made in America again, we see the words made in America, so that it's not a surprise when we see those words but we say that's right, it's made in America because we have the best work force, the best entrepreneurs in the world, and we need the jobs here. Now, what has happened over the years is that shipping jobs overseas became a trend and a lot of important voices were heard saying well, that's just the way it is. It is not just the way it is. If you have policies in place that incentivize manufacturing and production here, you're not going to lose those jobs. But what happened during these years is that companies got a tax deduction for moving jobs overseas. Imagine that. We American taxpayers were subsidizing companies, giving them tax breaks for moving jobs overseas. Well, the Bringing American Jobs Home Act ends those tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas, and what we do instead is say we will give a 20% tax credit to companies who move their jobs back from overseas so they get 20% tax credit of their moving expenses. So we stop giving tax incentives to companies who move jobs overseas and we instead give tax incentives to those who bring them back A wall street journal survey found that some of our largest corporations cut 2.9 million U.S. jobs over the last decade from America, while hiring 2.4 million people overseas. So they cut jobs here and they created jobs there. So when a politician says to you I am for job creation, ask him where. We want to hear. We don't want it in other countries at the expense of American workers. We wish all countries well but we have got to take care of America."

Coats, Moran, Sessions, Blumenthal, Stabenow

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator Coats: (12:57 PM)
  • Spoke on the Appropriations bills.
    • SUMMARY "There is a reason why the public is so frustrated with the Congress. They can't get clear answers from their respective members as to whether they are for something or against something because when you combine all these bills together, of course you're for parts of it and you're against parts of it, but you're only allowed one vote, yes or no. When I ran for office in 2007, I pledged to the people of Indiana that if I were elected, I would do everything I could to let my yes be yes and my no be no as it applied to a specific program or a specific spending item. So that they can then evaluate their senator in terms of how he was representing them, and they can make a judgment then that I want to support this person or I'm opposed to supporting this person because I don't agree with his vote on this or I support him because I do agree with that. That's the clarity and transparency that the American people are asking for, and of course they are getting just exactly the opposite here. The other problem with not bringing these bills to the floor one by one and having open debate with the opportunity to offer amendments to adjust them, you either pass your amendment or you don't pass your amendment, but in the end, the whole thing has been vetted, vetted in front for the American people to see, for us to understand, and therefore when we do vote, we know that our yes means yes and our no means no. And so it's a mystery to me why in this year and in previous years under the leadership of the majority leader we have not done what the Senate traditionally is historically designed to do and has done and what if think is a duty and a responsibility that we have to the people that we represent to address this When we're not even allowed to come down to this floor and debate those policies and have a package of legislation in front of us in which, we think, will address some of these situations, that is simply taking a pass at a time when our country desperately needs us to be engaged."

Senator Moran: (1:18 PM)
  • Spoke on McConnell Air Force Base.

Senator Sessions: (1:37 PM)
  • Spoke on Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).
    • SUMMARY "Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia adding up to more than 600,000 babies born with CDH since just 2000. CDH is a severe, sometimes fatal, defect that occurs as often as cystic fibrosis and spine bifida. Yet most people have never heard of CDH in my opinion, awareness and early diagnosis and skilled treatment are the keys to greater survival rate in these babies. 50% of the babies born with CDH are said not to survive The bill Senator Cardin and if are introducing today is important because a national campaign for CDH will help bring awareness to this birth defect and save lives. I'm convinced of it. Although hundreds of thousands of babies have been diagnosed with this defect, the causes are unknown and more research is needed. The thousands of happy, growing children who have overcome this condition validates what has been accomplished to date and encourages us to do even more."

Senator Blumenthal: (1:43 PM)
  • Spoke on the Democrats' Insourcing bill.
    • SUMMARY "The Bring Jobs Home Act will restore jobs to this country with two simple, straightforward provisions, very simply, this measure provides a 20% tax credit for the expenses incurred in moving facilities or a plant, basically jobs, back to America. And it also does something that is critically vital to this country, which is to close the loopholes that right now we reward companies for moving those jobs overseas again and again ... Let's close that loophole now. It will produce revenue for the United States, substantial amounts of revenue, literally tens of millions of dollars will come back to our country as a result of closing this loophole and jobs will come back as well. The 20% tax credit, although it may not sound like a lot of money to major corporations, could well be the tipping point for executives considering what to do in terms of investing in this country. It is an incentive to invest in the United States instead of moving these jobs abroad, 20% tax credit could be a critical decision point and a turning point in those decisions. The Boston Consulting Group surveyed 37 companies which have $10 billion or more in revenues and found that 50% of them are at that tipping point. This measure should not be partisan, it should not be a matter of geography or party as to whether or not one of our colleagues supports it. It should be a bipartisan coalition behind it Taxpayers should not be subsidized. Companies that move those kinds of jobs overseas in the last ten years, 2.4 million jobs were shipped overseas, mostly manufacturing, and taxpayers helped to foot the bill for them."

Senator Stabenow: (1:50 PM)
  • Spoke on the Democrats' Insourcing bill.
    • SUMMARY "It's unbelievable to me and I know it's unbelievable to hard-working men and women in Michigan and I know all across the country that right now companies actually get a tax write-off for packing up shop, paying for their moving expenses, doing what they need to do to close down and move jobs overseas. It's actually astounding. And when we look at the fact that we have lost 2.4 million jobs in the last ten years because of that, it is really outrageous when you think about it that we're losing 2.4 million jobs and it continues, and at the same time American taxpayers are helping to foot the bill. That makes absolutely no sense ... First of all, the Bring Jobs Home Act would end the taxpayer subsidies that are helping to pay for moving costs for corporations who are closing up shop, sending jobs overseas. Secondly, we're going to allow companies to have that deduction when they bring the jobs back, so if we have a company wanting to close up shop in China, bring the jobs back, we're happy to allow a business tax deduction for that. And on top of it, we will allow you an additional 20% tax credit for the cost of bringing those jobs back. So we're happy to do that but we're not paying to ship the jobs overseas. I don't know any country in the world right now that would have a tax policy that involves helping to pay for jobs leaving their country."

Kohl, McCain

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator Kohl: (11:47 AM)
  • Spoke on the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)
    • SUMMARY "MEP is unique in that it is funded almost equally between the states, fees paid by companies that use MEP, as well as the federal government. Each year, a bipartisan has worked to secure funding for this important program. MEP is the only public-private program dedicated to providing technical support and services to small- and medium-sized manufacturers, helping them provide quality jobs for American working people. MEP is a nationwide network of proven resources that helps manufacturers compete nationally as well as globally. Simply put, MEP helps manufacturers grow sales, increase profits, and hire more workers. Throughout our country, day in and day out, MEP is working with small- and medium-sized manufacturers to keep jobs here and also helping existing businesses bring their outsourced jobs back to the United States. So let me say that again because it bears repeating. Each day MEP is working with manufacturers to keep jobs here and bring their outsourced jobs back to the United States. Our small- and medium-sized manufacturers face different challenges than larger co companies, especially in this tough economy. The improvements that come to a business from working with an MEP center can make the difference between profitability or shutting their doors. You would be hard-pressed to find another program that has produced the results that MEP has. In fiscal year 2010, the most recent data available, MEP clients across the United States reported over 60,000 new or retained workers, sales of $8.2 billion, cost savings of $1.3 billion and plant and equipment investments of $1.9 billion."

Senator McCain: (11:53 AM)
  • Spoke on Huma Abedin.
    • SUMMARY "Huma Abedin represents what's best about America. The daughter of immigrants who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she bodies. I am proud to know her and I am proud, even maybe with some presumption, to call her my friend. Recently it has been alleged that Huma Abedin, a muslim-American, is part of a nefarious conspiracy to harm the United States by unduly influencing U.S. foreign policy at the Department of State in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist causes. On June 13, five members of Congress wrote to the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of State demanding that he begin an investigation into the possibility that Huma Abedin and other American officials are using their influence to promote the cause of Muslim Brotherhood within the U.S. government This report is scurrilous. To say that the accusations made in both documents are not substantiated by the evidence they offer is to be overly polite and diplomatic about it. It is far better and more accurate to talk straight. These allegations about Huma Abedin and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma's family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way. These attacks have no logic, no basis, and no merit and they need to stop. They need to stop now. Ultimately what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person. This is about who we are as a nation and who we aspire to be. What makes America exceptional among the countries of the world is that we are bound together as citizens not by blood or class, not by sector or ethnicity but by a set of enduring universal and equal rights that are the foundations of our constitution, our laws, our citizenry and our identity. When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation and we all grow poorer because of it. Our reputations, our character are the only things we leave behind when we depart this earth. And unjust acts that malign the good name of a decent and honorable person is not only wrong, it is contrary to everything we hold dear as Americans."

Durbin, Levin, Murray

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator Durbin: (11:08 AM)
  • Spoke on the Reduce Tax Haven Act.
    • SUMMARY "If the bill becomes law, individuals who file a financial disclosure report would be required to list the identity, category of value, and location of any financial interest in a jurisdiction considered to be a tax haven by the secretary of the treasury. The secretary would be required to provide a list of those countries to filers and to consider for inclusion on the list any jurisdiction which has been publicly identified by the IRS The American people might be surprised to know that we don't already ask whether members of Congress are sheltering money offshore to avoid paying taxes in America. That's because under current law, those individuals - that would be candidates and members of Congress - are not required to account for where their financial interests are held. Candidates for federal office, including president, do not have to explicitly disclose their holdings in tax havens ... Today it seems we have a tax system with two sets of rules. One theory those who are very wealthy and one for the rest of the people in America. The wealthiest Americans are able to take advantage of certain breaks, loopholes to lower tax rates than families. We shouldn't have a system where a candidate can claim to champion working people while that same person is secretly betting against America through tax avoidance and tax haven abuse. Now, without this bill the American people will not know whether a candidate has taken advantage of foreign tax havens to avoid paying his or her fair share. Offshore tax havens and other similar loopholes cost taxpayers in America $100 billion a year, which otherwise would be paid by these Americans who are using these offshore tax havens."

Senator Levin: (11:17 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Tax havens cost the treasury in the neighborhood of $100 billion a year. Though we've had some successes in the battle against tax havens since then, tax dodgers and tax avoiders have continued to exploit every offshore loophole and tax haven that they can find. This has significant consequences for the rest of us. Offshore tax evasion and avoidance takes money out of the hands of our military. It takes money out of programs that millions of Americans rely on for good schools or roads or health care or for protecting the environment or for securing our borders. When money is lost to these tax havens, it belongs in our treasury, it adds to our deficits and our debt. Ultimately the rest of us are forced to pay more on our tax bills to make up for those who shirk their tax-paying responsibilities ... His legislation would bring much-needed daylight to the use of offshore tax havens. It would require that officeholders and candidates for public office disclose their financial interests located in tax haven countries. Perhaps there are some who believe that individuals and corporations should be allowed to continue concealing their income and their assets overseas, adding to the deficit and forcing the rest of us to carry their share, their own share of the burden and that of tax dodgers as well. But surely we can all agree that the American people deserve to know when their public officials are using offshore tax havens. Senator Durbin's bill would ensure that Americans know when their elected representatives or candidates for office are taking advantage of the offshore tax havens. This is not about a political campaign. This is about years of effort to make visible those who shortchange their fellow citizens by concealing their financing abroad and to argue for reforms that make our tax system more fair for the vast majority of hardworking Americans who pay what they owe."

Senator Murray: (11:26 AM)
  • Spoke on the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act.
    • SUMMARY "With the passage of Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, military families who have been affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina will have the health care they need. These families have waited for decades to get the assistance that they need, and they should not be forced to wait any longer. The legislation would also allow VA to continue a number of programs that are so critical to helping our veterans who have no place to call home. Currently the VA can only provide emergency shelter services to veterans who are diagnosed with a very serious mental illness. But we all know that not all homeless veterans are mentally ill. Yet, the VA is currently prevented from offering these critical services to all of our veterans. The Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 would also make much-needed improvements to VA's housing programs by expanding the eligibility for VA's specially adapted housing assistance grants. These are some of the most disabled veterans in our nation, and they deserve to be able to move about in their homes freely and safely. This bill will also help more veterans who use telemedicine and allow veterans to receive travel assistance for visits to our vet centers. These provisions will especially help our veterans who live in rural and highly rural areas to get access to the VA it will also improve the way the VA reimburses state veterans homes for the care of elderly seriously disabled veterans. I know that every member of the Senate has at least one state veteran home in their state. And without these changes, some of these homes may have to lay off staffers or be unable to accept more veterans so it is an important provision this have bill. This legislation will require important policy changes to protect veterans from sexual assault and other threats in VA's in patient mental health units and homeless programs. Finally, we all know veterans continue to find themselves waiting entirely too long for a decision on their claims. The legislation will address the claims backlog by providing VA with the ability to process appeals much more quickly and by supporting VA's transformation to a paperless system ... Ensuring surviving spouses receive proper and timely benefit payments. Above all, this bill fulfills the responsibility this nation has to provide care and service to our veterans and their families. In the case of those families who spent time at Camp Lejeune, this bill gives sick veterans and their families the benefit of the doubt that their illness or condition was caused by the water at camp Lejeune so they can finally get the health care they need. This is something that Congress has done before. When an illness or a condition comes about after a veteran's service in any relationship between the veteran's current illness and their service is not readily apparent, the burden of proving that the illness is the result of one's service can be insurmountable. In such circumstances, we have presumed that a veteran's exposure caused their current condition and got them the help they needed. We have lived up to that responsibility that we owe them, which is in the core of this bill."

Udall-CO, Coons, Blunt, Wicker, Isakson, Lee

Democrats' Insourcing bill (S. 3364)

Jul 18 2012

Senator Udall-CO: (10:18 AM)
  • Spoke on the wind production tax credit.
    • SUMMARY "The PTC equals jobs. We should pass it and extend it as soon as possible. It's a commonsense bipartisan measure. It has strong support across our country. Not only has it shown that we can turn around manufacturing states like Ohio, but it's shown us that we can outcompete China and other countries. But if we want to continue to win - I should say we want to continue to lead and then win the global economic race, and specifically the clean energy race."

Senator Coons: (10:25 AM)
  • Spoke on the Democrats' Insourcing bill.
    • SUMMARY "As our economy pulls back out of what has been a devastating recession, I can think of no more galling idea than this country incentivizing American companies to ship some of our best jobs overseas We say we're not going to pay any more for companies that send U.S. jobs overseas. We've got better ways to invest our tax dollars in rebuilding the base of manufacturing and the high-quality, high-paying jobs that come from it. The second thing this bill does, instead of incentivizing the outsourcing of American jobs is incentivizing insourcing. We say bring these jobs home. The Bring Jobs Home Act says you can keep the deduction to help pay your moving costs if you're moving from one facility in the U.S. to another, that's fine. You can still using the moving cost deduction if you're moving from a facility abroad back to the United States. That's better. But this bill takes a further step. We say if you bring jobs home to the U.S., we'll give you an additional 20% tax credit on the costs associated with moving that production back to the U.S.."

Senator Blunt: (10:37 AM)
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "We've heard our colleagues talking about jobs and clearly that needs to be the number-one priority in the country and it needs to be domestic jobs. The private sector is not doing just fine. The answer to the problems we face, not more government jobs, it's more private-sector jobs, and the numbers aren't good anywhere you look, any way you look. In fact, if you look at the last three months in the country, more people signed up for disability than new jobs were created. More people signed up for disability than new jobs were created. More people decided they were going to opt out of the work force because of disability reasons than people that got jobs. And we're here talking about things that have minimal impact on the economy when we could be talking about things that have lots of impact on the economy. Good energy policy, good tax policy, good regulatory policy. As long as this uncertainty continues or as long as there's substantial certainty that all of those things are going to begin to work against job creators, people aren't going to create jobs ... Statistic after statistic are not what the American people would want them to be. Housing prices are down, unemployment's up, the labor group, the people that want to be in the economy is at a 30-year low. If you had the same number of people looking for jobs who were looking for jobs and had jobs in January of 2009, the unemployment rate would be over 11%. The only reason the rate is 8.2% is so many people have given. The labor force that we're counting is smaller than any time since Ronald Reagan was president. There must be some big problem, or people would be out looking for jobs, people would be out finding jobs, people want would want to be part of an economy that they see is faltering, and we're talking about little things instead of big things while the big things that affect America are dramatically affecting American families and American job creators and the president is telling small businesses that if your business was successful, it wasn't because of you. It was because of all kinds of other factors that you just happened to take advantage of. No small business person in America believes that. Nobody who ever opened the door to a business the first thing-day, put their phone number in the phone book the first day and said call me, I can provide these services for you, thinks that they weren't successful because of their work."

Senator Wicker: (10:41 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "We ought to be talking about jobs and the economy and we ought to be bringing legislation to the floor, giving our side an opportunity to offer suggestions and hearing if the majority party in the Senate has something to offer other than the three and a half years of failed policies. Now, their intentions are absolutely honorable. Everyone wants to create jobs. Everyone wants the unemployment rate to go down. But I think any fair observer would have to conclude that after three years, the policies of the majority party in this body, the policies of the Obama administration have been an utter failure. 40 consecutive months of unemployment over 8%. The latest numbers were 8.2%. The last time we had that sustained period of joblessness was World War II. It's absolutely unbelievable that the policies of our democratic friends have been so unsuccessful and such a failure We've got some ideas about how to turn that around. An American-made energy policy ending this regime of overregulation, which is just such a wet blanket on job creation, and ending the situation we have now about the tax burden on job creators. The tax burden on American risk takers is now higher than on any of our allies in the industrialized world. We hit job creators and risk takers and the people who want to help us with this 8.2% unemployment rate, we hit them harder than any other country in the industrialized world. So we've got some ideas. We'd like an honest-to-goodness jobs bill and we'd like the majority leader to give us some votes on some amendments. Don't just call up the bill. Fill up the tree off of every amendment you could possibly offer on the democratic side, file cloture and call it a filibuster. We need to go back to regular order in this senate and let us offer some ideas. Less us have a debate again on this Senate floor about some ideas that we have about job creation."

Senator Isakson: (10:48 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I was astounded, disappointed and perplexed with the president's statement last week that small business didn't owe its success to itself but it owed it to government. Because it's the other way around. We would not exist as a senate were it not for the taxpayers of the United States of America. They under our cash flow, the money we invest to build bridges, roads and highways. It's an affront to those who have taken chances, succeeded and failed to build small businesses to employ American people to make this engine known as America to work ... It sounds like we owe small business, not small business owes us. I think if we began acting like people who understand from whence comes our strength America would begin to come back. Mr. Bernanke yesterday, his downward fast is because business is not deploying capital. People are not making investments. There is one simple reason. We are a nation of uncertainty. Nobody knows what the boundaries are going to be or what policy is going to be on January 1."

Senator Lee: (10:52 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "The vast majority of Republicans are committed not to raise taxes, not on anyone, and there are some very good reasons for this. First, the federal government has proven its inadequacy in this area. Congress has proven time and time again that the money it takes from the American people, from hardworking taxpayers, isn't always spent carefully. In fact, it's been spending more than it takes in for so long people almost can't remember a time when congress routinely balanced its budget. This is a problem. And it's a problem that shouldn't be fixed by taxing the same people who are already paying this bill even more. Now this is not the fault of the American people. And the job of fixing it lies right here in congress, not with the American people. Second, from the CBO to the IMF to the Federal Reserve to Ernst & Young, experts around the world are warning of the dire economic consequences that await us if we raise taxes. And we cannot allow it to happen. We've had over $4 trillion added to the national debt during this president's administration. At the same time we've had unemployment exceeding 8% for the last 41 consecutive months. Nearly 13 million Americans are currently out of work and millionaires more are underemployed and looking for more work. We can't allow this to continue I'd adhere that there is a certain irony in the president's proposal to increase taxes on some Americans while leaving the necessary tax relief in place for others. Well, purporting to help hardworking Americans, this approach would actually have the opposite effect, hurting most, many of those Americans who can least afford the hit right now. A new study from Ernst & Young reveals he that this tax hike, a tax hike that hits some Americans but not others, would kill 710,000 jobs. These are people who can't afford to lose their jobs. These are people who are living pay check to paycheck. These are not CEO's. These are not the top 1%. These are hardworking Americans that cannot afford to lose a job. We can't let a tax hike bring about that kind of terrible consequence. Now, democrats will assure you that their tax hikes are all about reducing the deficit. That's curious because their proposal would leave 94% of this year's deficit intact which makes it an inherently unserious proposal insofar as it relates to deficit reduction. Further, the president's own ten-year budget, which includes massive tax increases, by the way, still adds $11 trillion to the national debt. Now, i really do appreciate the fact that the president is finally talking about these issues, issues that have long gone unaddressed and need to be addressed. But he can't look the American people in the eye and tell them he's doing something about the debt when his own budget, while raising taxes, nearly doubles our already sprawling national debt over the next ten years."

Senator Blunt: (10:58 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Last month the Congressional Budget Office gave a rare warning that if we let the defense sequestration go into effect and return to the tax policies of 2000, that we will be in a recession, we'll see a 4% decline in growth in an economy, as I said earlier, that has more people signing up for disability than new jobs being created. Already the case. And we want to take another 4% out of that economy? The Ernst & Young report that my friend from Utah mentioned said that if we drive over this fiscal cliff, that one of the Senate majority leaders said this week at the Brookings Institute the majority is prepared to drive over, that we'd lose 700,000 jobs, we'd shrink the economy by 1.3%. We'd reduce investment by 2.5%. We'd cut wages by 2%. And this is in a country where middle-class incomes have already dropped by $4,350 since the president took office. Why would we be looking for another time to cut wages? Why would we think that this is a better time to slow the economy down than the end of 2010? Chairman Bernanke from the Federal Reserve was here yesterday and said that we're being held back because there's so much uncertainty. We're being held back because people aren't making the investments. They're not taking the risks Whenever you don't reward risks people don't take risks. And if they don't take risks, they don't create opportunity for others. If we look at putting this tax on small businesses, putting this tax on people that otherwise might take a chance with some of their investments, we're just not going to have the risk rewards system work the way it needs to work. If you don't want people to take risk, don't reward risk If you don't reward risk, people don't take risk. If they don't take risk, we don't have opportunity. We don't have the jobs out there in the private sector that are clearly the key."

Reid, McConnell

Opening Remarks

Jul 18 2012

  • Today --
    • The Senate will resume consideration of the Motion to Proceed to S. 3364, the Democrats' Insourcing bill. The first hour will be equally divided, with the Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
    • On Tuesday, cloture was filed on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3364. Unless an agreement is reached, the ROLL CALL VOTE on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3364, will occur on Thursday.

Senator Reid: (9:33 AM)
  • Spoke on the Democrats' Insourcing bill.
    • SUMMARY "If you own a business in America today, your goal should be to make a profit. There's nothing wrong with that. That's good. Millions of hardworking Americans, entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. And if your company boosts profits by sending jobs overseas, that's your right as a business owner but American taxpayers shouldn't subsidize your business decisions to outsource jobs especially when there are millions of people in this country looking for work. Over the last ten years, two and a half million jobs in call centers and factories were shipped overseas. And American taxpayers helped foot that bill. For sending those jobs overseas. Every time U.S. companies ship jobs or facilities overseas, American taxpayers help cover the moving costs. The Bring Jobs Home Act would end these disgraceful subsidies for outsourcing and give a 20% tax credit for moving back to the United States. But Republicans are filibustering this commonsense legislation. It's no surprise republicans are on the side of corporations. Corporations making big bucks sending American jobs to China and India and other places. After all, their presidential nominee, Mitt Romney made a fortune outsourcing jobs also. So Republicans are putting breaks for corporations and multimillionaires ahead of the needs of ordinary Americans and what most Americans need is a good job, a job here at home and the assurance that taxes won't go up. Democrats, Republicans and Independents across the country agree with our plan. It's only Republicans in Congress who disagree. Yet Republicans here in Congress in the Senate are filibustering the legislation to bring jobs back to America."
  • Spoke on the Bush tax cuts.
    • SUMMARY "They've twice blocked a vote on legislation to keep taxes low for 98% of American families. It was Republicans who asked for a vote on the plan to raise taxes for 25 million families and a vote on our plan to keep taxes low for 135 million American taxpayers. So we offered them what they wanted. We offered them up-or-down votes on both proposals. No procedural hoops, no delay tactics, simple majority votes on our plan and theirs and they refused. So maybe Republicans refused our offer because they don't have the votes for their plan to raise taxes on 25 million American families. Or maybe they refused it because the majority of Americans support our plan to keep taxes low for 98% of families while asking the top 2% to contribute a little bit more to reduce the deficit. Even a majority of Republicans support our plan across the country. Yet still Republicans here in the Senate are holding hostage tax cuts for nearly every American family to extort more budget-busting giveaways to millionaires and billionaires. For years, the deficit was all they were talking about. They were willing to end Medicare as we know it, cut nursing homes for seniors and raise taxes on the middle class all in the name of deficit reduction. But now the Democrats have a plan to reduce the deficit by almost a trillion dollars, simply by ending wasteful tax breaks Republicans have given up fiscal responsibility. I say to my Republican friends. You can't have it both ways. You can't call yourself a deficit hawk and fight for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires while the deficit continues to increase."

Senator McConnell: (9:37 AM)
  • Spoke on the Senate.
    • SUMMARY "Number one, understand my friend the Majority Leader last night on MSNBC said it was his intention at the beginning of the next Congress if the Democrats were in the majority to change the rules of the Senate by a simple majority. I wanted to begin by asking my friend the Majority Leader if his comments at the beginning of this Congress on January 27, 2011, are no longer operative. At that time my friend the majority leader said I agree that the proper way to change national Senate rules is through the procedures established in those rules and I will oppose any effort in this Congress or the next to change the Senate's rules other than through the regular order. So my first question of my friend the Majority Leader is, is that statement no longer operative?"

Senator Reid: (9:38 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I believe that what took place at the beginning of this Congress was very important for this body. Led by Senator Udall from New Mexico and Senator Merkley from Oregon. They had been here a while and they thought that the Senate was dysfunctional. Well, they hadn't been here a long time and I was willing to go along with the traditional view, let's not rock the vote here. That was under the hope and I thought the assurance of my Republican colleagues that they would not have these continue motions to proceed, filibuster, through that finally on a piece of legislation and I said in the Senate a few months ago that I was wrong. It's hard to acknowledge that you're wrong. It's difficult for any of us to do. Especially in front of so many people. But I said that I think they were right and I was wrong. And I stick by that. I think what has happened the last few years of changing the basic rules of this Senate where we have not 50 votes to pass something but takes 60 on everything, I think that's wrong. I think that where we waste weeks and weeks on motions to proceed and I had a conversation with a real traditionalist last evening The filibuster was originally devised, it's not in the constitution, it was devised to help legislation get passed. That's the reason they changed the rules here to do that. Now it's being used to stop legislation from passing and we have to change things because this place is becoming inoperative."

Senator McConnell: (9:41 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Let me turn to a second area. We both agree that the advantage of being in the majority, the principal advantage is you get to schedule legislation. And of course there are a number of things that can be done with a simple majority of 51. And I would ask my friend the Majority Leader why it's his view that Republicans have somehow prevented the Senate from passing a budget which could have been done with a mere 51 votes any time during the last three years."

Senator Reid: (9:41 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "That's an easy question to answer. We already have a budget. We passed in August of last year a budget that took effect for the last fiscal year and this fiscal year. It set numbers through - 302-b numbers in effect. We already had a budget. So the hue and cry of my Republican friend we need a budget is just a lot of talk. We already have a budget."

Senator McConnell: (9:42 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I know the parliamentarian disagrees with his few but let's assume we do have a budget and by judge ask the Majority Leader why we haven't passed a single appropriation bill."

Senator Reid: (9:42 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "That also is an easy question to answer. The Republicans in the House, this is a bicameral legislature, why have reneged on the law passed last August that set numbers. Their appropriation bills have artificially lowered the numbers and in effect violated the law that's in effect here in this Congress. As a result of that, Senator Inouye has marked up his subcommittee bills and we can't and I would also say, the House was not serious about what they do the House sent us over here an appropriation bill that has more than 30 riders directed toward EPA type functions alone. I mean they're not serious about doing sage. They're serious about satisfying their tea party and the ridiculous messages they're trying to send. And I would also say one of the problems we have we have to fight to get to anything, any legislation. We have to fight to get that done. As you know, we've wasted - I said weeks earlier. Months. Trying to get legislation on the floor. So appropriation bills, I wanted to get these done, I'm an appropriator but it's been with the actions of the House unrealistic."

Senator McConnell: (9:44 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "What we just heard it's not the Senate's, it's the House's fault that the Senate won't schedule appropriation bills that have been marked up in the Senate appropriation committee. My concern here is that nobody's taking responsibility for the Senate itself. We're not responsible for what the House is doing. Typically these differences in what we call 302-b's, that is what each subcommittee is going to spend, are worked out in conference. We can't have a conference on any of the bills because we haven't passed any of the bills across the Senate floor. So the Majority Leader doesn't want to do the budget. He doesn't want to schedule votes on appropriations bills ... Would ask my friend why don't we do the DoD Authorization bill?"

Senator Reid: (9:45 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "He answer is pretty simple there too. We have spent the last many weeks working through procedural matters on bills that the republicans have held up. I've spoken to Senator Levin last night about that. He's the Chairman of that committee. I've spoken to John McCain several times on this matter. I know how important they feel this legislation is. And I think it's important also. And we can only do what we have to do. One of the things I think I have an obligation for our country to get to is Cybersecurity ... There are people out there making threats on this country every day, and we've been fortunate being able to stop a number of them. So we're going to have to get to Cybersecurity before we get to the Defense Authorization bill because the on the relative merits, Cybersecurity is more important, one I believe is more important than the other."

Senator McConnell: (9:46 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "It's pretty obvious here the reason the Senate is so inactive is because the Majority Leader doesn't want to take up any serious bills that are important to the future of the country. He mentioned Cybersecurity. Why isn't it on the floor? Defense authorization, why isn't it on the floor? Appropriations bills, why don't we call them up? These are not partisan bills. They're widely supported. They are the basic work of government, including the budget. And I understand his view is that the parliamentarian is wrong, that we really did pass a budget. But the budget could be done with a simple majority. The appropriations bills are not partisan in nature ... We have followed the regular order occasionally, and when we have, senators have been involved. They were relevant in the process ... When senators were made relevant by the fact that we took up bills that actually came out of committees that were worked on by members of both parties, that were brought up on the floor, amendments were offered and in the end bills passed. The core problem here is my good friend, the Majority Leader, as a practical matter is running the whole Senate because everything is centralized in his office which diminishes the opportunity for senators of both parties to represent their constituents. We all were sent here by different Americans who expected us to have a voice, to have an opportunity to effect legislation. I would say to my good friend, the Majority Leader, we don't have a rules problem. We have an attitude problem. When is the Senate going to get back to normal?"

Senator Reid: (9:53 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "The Republican Leader has asked a few questions, so I'll proceed to answer them. I can remember reading with great interest George Orwell's 1984 book where it came out that up was down and down was up. The Republican Leader is living in a fantasy world if he believes what he said, and I assume he does. That's why two scholars a couple of months ago wrote a book. They have been watching Washington for three or four decades. They said they have over the years been like a lot of people who are writers. The Democrats did this, Republicans did this. But their conclusion was what's happened in recent years is the republicans have stopped this body from working. They said that. By all of their shenanigans on these motions to proceed, creating 60 votes when it never existed before. Robert Karo said I had a very difficult job based on how the Senate has changed, with what the Republicans are doing .... Now, I want the record to be very clear, and I've made it all very clear in all of my public statements about the need to get rid of the motion to proceed. I'm not for getting rid of the filibuster rule. In 1984 I suggested I think the House and Senate should be the same. I do believe when the filibuster came into being was to help get legislation passed. I repeat: it's now to stop legislation from passing, and that's not appropriate. So I'm convinced the best thing to do with the filibuster is have filibusters. I've been involved in a couple of them That's what filibusters are supposed to be. Not throwing monkey wrenches into decision we're trying to make and then walk off the floor. The rules have to change, I acknowledge that and don't apologize it for one second. As far as how I attempt to run the Senate, I do the best I can under very difficult circumstances."

Senator McConnell: (9:58 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "Most people think a filibuster is to stop a bill from passing. Cloture is to end debate. What we've had here on at least 62 occasions while the Majority Leader was running the Senate, for example, the time when senators were not allowed to talk, not allowed to offer amendments, not allowed to participate in the process. Cloture is frequently used in order to advance a measure. But as you can imagine, when senators have no opportunity to have any input, it tends to create the opposite reaction. But what is all of this really about? It's about making an excuse for a completely unproductive Senate, much of which could have been done with a simple 51 votes - passing a budget - and not even bringing up bills that we all want to act on. All the appropriations bills, the defense authorization bill. And on the rare occasions when the Majority Leader has turned to a measure that senators have been involved in developing, we've come to the floor, we've had amendments, we've had votes, and the bills have passed. On a bipartisan basis would like to be more productive which would involve the use of senators' talents, speaking ability, voting and debating on the floor of the Senate ... When did that go out of fashion? We have a big difference of opinion here about the way this place is being run. And it's not a rules problem. It's an attitude problem. It's a looking for somebody else to blame game. My friend, the Majority Leader, I think what we need to do is get busy with serious business confronting the American people. Where is the defense authorization bill? Where are the appropriations bills? Don't blame it on the house. Don't blame it on us Senate republicans. We want to go to these bills."

Senator Reid: (10:01 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "This last few years because of what we hear from Ornstein and Mann has made it very, very unpleasant and for the Republican leader with a straight face to come here and say why aren't we doing the defense authorization bill, why aren't we doing appropriation bills, everyone knows why we're not doing them. They haven't let us get to even virtually anything. And to be dismissive of me because I say the Republican Leader in the House has been dismissive of the law we have guiding this country, I think says it all. I recognize we're a bicameral legislature. We have our own things to do. But we have to take this as a whole, and look at the record. Major pieces of legislation, we can't get to. For example, we can't get to something dealing with outsourcing of jobs. We're here filibustering a motion to proceed to that. A motion to proceed to it. Not the substance of the legislation. A motion to proceed to it. So, the record speaks for itself. The record speaks for itself. We've been studying Washington politics and Congress more than 40 years and we have never seen them this dysfunctional. Today we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the republican party. The grand old party, the Republican party, has become an insurgent outlier in American politics extreme, unproved by facts, evidence and science and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."

Senator McConnell: (10:05 AM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "The best way to wrap it up this is nobody else is keeping the Majority Leader from calling up the appropriation bills, from calling up the defense authorization bill, from calling up a budget. That's his responsibility. He has a unique role in this institution. He has the opportunity to set the agenda. And just because all 100 senators don't immediately fall into line and it may be a little bit difficult to go forward is no excuse for not doing the important and basic work that the American people sent us here to do. It's time to bring up serious legislation that affects the future of the country, that the American people expect us to act on. And not expect a hundred senators to all agree on every piece of legislation from the outset. Passing bills is inevitably difficult. But not impossible. And that's been demonstrated on at least five occasions when the majority leader allowed the committees to function, allowed the Senate floor to function, allowed members to have amendments, and we got a result."

Jul 18 2012

The Senate Convened.

Jul 18 2012

The Senate is considering S. 3364, the Stabenow outsourcing bill.  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.