tv [untitled] CSPAN June 4, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be vitiated. i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 168, the nomination of david heyman and the nomination be con firmed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and no further motions be in order and any statements appear in the
appropriate place in the record as if read, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the cloture vote on the dodd substitute am occur at 5:30 on monday june 8 and the filing deadline by 3:00 p.m. for first-degree amendments. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: notwithstanding the adjournment of the senate the commerce commitee be authorized to report the travel promotion act on friday, june 5th, from 10:00 to 12:00 noon. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 168 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 168, commending the university of washington's women's softball team for winning the 2009ncaa women's college world series. the presiding officer: no objection to proceeding to the measure. the senate will proceed. mr. brown: i ask unanimous
consent the resolution be agreed to and the preamble program and any statements related to the motion be placed in the record in the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business today at 2:00 p.m. on monday, june 8 and the journal of proceedings be approved tjournal of proceeding, the morning hour be deemed expired, the team for the two leaders reserved for their use later in the day and there be a period of morning business until 5:30 with senators permitted to speak for ten minutes and following morning business the senate resume consideration of calendar number 47, h.r. 1256, the family smoking prevention and tobacco control act under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. shesh mr. president, as a reminder the filing deadlines are 3:00 monday for first degree amendments and 4 p.m. for second-degree and the next voted is on monday at 5:30 and if there is no further business to come before the senate i ask it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate is adjourned until june
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auto companies directly from the government to taxpayers. from capitol hill earlier today, this is 25 minutes. >> lamar alexander, with me, senator kyl is going to join the senate humans. he is coming from the finance committee. we are introducing today the auto stock for every taxpayer act to require the treasury to distribute to individual taxpayers all the stock in the new gm and chrysler within one year following the emergence of the new gm from bankruptcy proceedings. this is the best way to get the auto companies out of the hands of washington bureaucrats and politicians and into the hands of the american people in the marketplace where it belongs. so instead of the treasury polling 60% of the shares of new gm and 8% of shares of chrysler,
he went on them. if you are one of 120 million americans who paid federal taxes on april 15th. this is the fastest way to get the stock out of the hands of washington and back into the hands of the american people who paid for it. to keep it simple and to help the little guy also get an ownership stake in america's future, the treasury would give each taxpayer an equal number of the available shares. the treasury department has said it wants to sell the shares as soon as they can, but the president of general motors said in a phonecall with the number of us in congress a couple of days ago that this is a very large amount of stock and that an orderly offering of the shares might take several years. lease shares might not be worth very much at first, but put them away and one day they might contribute some something to a college education. for example general motors 610 million shares were worth
only 75 cents just before bankruptcy but they were worth $40 a couple of years before that and $75 a few years before then. already we are beginning to see what government ownership of car companies looks like. yesterday the president of gm and chrysler spent four hours of the four congressional committees talking about dealerships. i assume they drove themselves here in congressionally approved methods of transportation, probably their own hybrid cars. that meant they didn't have any time yesterday to design cars, to build cars or to sell cars. unless we get the stock out of the hands of washington this is going to be repeated over and over and over and over again. there are 60 committees and subcommittees in washington who can summoned the heads of the auto companies here to give advice about how to do their jobs. car companies executives you want to be managing complex companies will be reduced to the
status of an assistant secretary moving from subcommittee to subcommittee, holling briefing books. you can just imagine what the questions will be next week, what is the next model going to be? what color will lead paint be? which plan should be closed? why don't you open one in my congressional district? comminate carson have lech steel? what should the work rules be? which of the salaries be in the executive offices? where can conferences be held? someone will want to know why the gm volt is buying a battery made in south korea and said that in that congressman congressional district. there will be lengthy questions about the number of holidays. thomassen some of written questions demanding thousands of written answers, all of it under oath so lots of lawyers will need to be involved. it is not just the congress we have to worry about. the president has already called the mayor of detroit and assured him that he is on his side in keeping the headquarters of gian
in detroit so the executives want move it to michigan and the mayor of detroit he-- his head planet conversations with members of the auto task force to have assured him there on his side as well. then there's the treasury secretary and the undersecretaries it wants to keep up with what is happening to the taxpayers $50 billion. there is a very active economic czar in the white house used to be the president of harvard. there is, there are the epa officials who want to be telling them what size cars to build a and it was not very long ago that the administration told the general motors it was building too many suv's and that its old was too expensive to work and the president himself find the president of general motors of giving the stock to the taxpayers who actually pay for it is the only way to get the government out of the company's hair and give them a chance to
succeed. and, it will create an investor fan base of 120 million or so americans who are now stockholders and the companies who may be little more interested in what the next model chevy might be. thank you-- this ownership is the judy among the people of green bay. this is the fastest way to get back to the wise principle. if you confided in the yellow pages the government ought not to be doing it. more than the money, it is the principle of the thing. the other day a visiting european automotive executives said to me with a laugh, that he had come to the new american automotive center, washington dc. to get our economy moving again, let's get our auto companies out of the hands of washington politicians and bureaucrats and back into the marketplace in the hands of american investors. the sooner the better.
>> when lamar described this amendment that he has just described to you and i said, i have an amendment that will fit perfectly and so i have joined my amendment to his and we will be offering it as the alexander bennett amendment or as i suppose it will be known in utah, the bennett alexander amendment. there will obviously be a period of time before the stock can be distributed. he has anticipated roughly a year. it in that period of a year, the secretary of the treasury will be in charge of controlling the stock, so my amendment will give the secretary of treasury my portion of this amendment, will give the secretary of the treasury the same fiduciary responsibility that and a director or official in a company would have. we talk about conflict of interest here in washington a
great deal and conflict of interest is not a good thing. the secretary of the treasury finds himself in a position of a conflict of interest. he has his interest as the chief financial officer, if you will of the federal government, and conflict of that with his position running an auto company or at least overseeing the running of an auto company. the president of the united states has said, we don't want to run an auto company, so i say could come as good on you mr. president. we will set up a circumstance with this amendment, or the secretary of the treasury has a responsibility to the shareholders, the same as if he were a ceo or a member of the board of directors of a private company. and therefore, in discharging that fiduciary responsibility we have removed the conflict of interest. we have made it clear that he will be subject to the same kinds of laws and regulations, and yes perhaps shareholder
lawsuits that anyone would be in a position of fiduciary responsibility in the company. i think by doing that, i will spur the desire of the secretary of the treasury to comply with senator alexander's part of the amendment and get rid of this stock as fast as he possibly can for give giving it to the american people, who have paid for it, strikes me as a good idea. another portion of my amendment says comment no more t.a.r.p. money can go to a bankrupt company. the t.a.r.p. money was sold to the congress as acquiring assets, not as a quiring stock positions in various companies and particularly, not in the acquiring a stock position in a bankrupt manufacturing company. approved aarp the first time around we did it with the understanding that it was
dealing with a credit crisis and a financial meltdown that we were facing around the world, and instead the t.a.r.p. money has gone into these bankrupt companies and once again, the question in of conflict of interest, i am saying there must be no conflict of interest with respect to how the t.a.r.p. money is being spent, so the treasury secretary says well, wearing my hat, looking out for the benefits of general motors i am going to suddenly switch and take my hat as the treasury secretary and determined that some t.a.r.p. money is going to go to relieve my problems as an executive overseeing the auto companies, so those are the two aspects of the addition that i am making two senator alexander's amendment. number one, we are giving the secretary of the treasury the same kind of fiduciary responsibility and therefore exposure that any officer or director would have any corporate opportunity and at the same time we are saying no more
t.a.r.p. money mr. secretary, whichever hat you may be wearing gang goes to one of the bankrupt auto companies. >> i support the kyl-- i'm just teasing. i am proud to be a co-sponsor of the alexander bennett amendment because they joined to excellent ideas together in something i think is critical. first of all understand, the american people are fed up with the notion of the federal government taking over businesses and running those businesses. barda this is in response to that, but there is a very good governance aspect of this that i want to bring to your attention. you know the government of the united states of america is made up of the people. the people came first. it is we the people in order to form a more perfect union get together and give the government some of our rights and then we will see where it goes from there because are the people of the government in the united states. when we talk about the government on something, it is the people who own it, so it is
that people who should have the shares of stocks, not the government. that is the first idea here, that the stock in this company that the people now on will be held by the people. now it is not just an abstract notion. the second important reason for what senator alexander is doing here and senator bennett alluded to is that it would not be a good financial thing for the united states government to have to sell off all of the stock in a relatively short period of time and of course we don't want the government to hold the stock for a long period of time. why? because it essentially is a fires still. everybody in the market knows the government has to unload 60% of the company. are they going to rush out and pay high dollar for it? no, they are going to pay low dollar. the dahlia the government would give that would not represent the true, the ultimate value we
believe of the stock. if it is held, on the other hand, by millions of individual taxpaying americans, some may want to cash in right away, some may want to hold that. muscle believe there is a significant upside potential and may give it to their kids, and hold it for a long time. i think frankly that is what is going to happen if the company is run right and it will be run right with the editions of the bennett concept to the amendment. so, you don't want the government to an defected rid of these docket fires all prices. the nobody benefits and that is the second very practical reason. we the people should have the stock and secondly it will make the most sense from a long-term value perspective. senator bennett has spoken to the reasons why the fiduciary responsibility "is also important at play here. i hope that rather than viewing this as some kind of partisan exercise, our democratic colleagues will listen to their
constituents back home who were not happy about the way things are going with government takeovers these days and will see the value for them in adopting this amendment. this is an amendment, a bill that should be adopted, and i am very hopeful that democratic colleagues will join us in seeing that that happens. >> any questions? >> have you gotten any reaction from the auto task force or the administration and is there any concern about the complexity of doing something like this? i don't know how easy it would be to distribute it to taxpayers. >> the irs knows where to find as one april 15 kuntz so they can find is when it is giving us something. the irs did not have some-- trouble with tax rebates. they have the names, addresses and electronic files on 120 million people. at.to be relatively easy to get doc to them. typically in the woodstock is handled in america today the
company holds the stock certificates on behalf of the individual owners, so a battle-- let the 120 million americans now you have a few shares of stock in gm and chrysler and when it is time to sell its hugo through the process. it should be relatively simple. >> any response from the administration to suggest this to them? >> i have not suggested it to the administration. i been thinking about it for several weeks. it seems to me to be perfectly obvious, and then when-- the president of gma bikler, it is the treasury's decision when they still the stock according to the with the law is today but he said it is a large amount of stock and senator kyl said selling it would have to probably be done in stages over a period of years ago this could be done in a few months and it would mean we would have 120 million or so americans own general motors and chrysler. that is 60% of gm.
>> uaw fun the hans about 17%. that is nonvoting. the government of canada owns 12% and the bondholders holding the rest. the american company would be back the way companies are supposed to operate and the president instead of driving their hybrids from detroit to washington every day, to answer some subcommittee's questions about the next car model could focus on designing and building and selling cars in competing in trying to make the value of the stock go up. >> senator alexander, with some money auto-- in your home state would you support legislation that would protect a percentage of those jobs in tennessee or any other states? >> i don't know what kind of legislation that would be. i believe in the free market. the jobs are in tennessee. we have gone from having almost no auto jobs to one-third of our audra jobs because we are the best competitive place to build cars. we have a right to work law and
other states don't ago we have one of the best for lane highway systems and other states, so that is why nissan has been the most efficient auto plant in america and many times, way of volkswagon show's tennessean the springhill plant of gm will be successful. >> would support any legislation that would try and commit the government to protect american jobs? >> no, you can't run a country that way. that is the direction we are headed. i am trying to go the other way. i am trying to say let the free market or can get the stock out of washington so everyone in washington "to run the car companies. >> it may be more efficient for gm to downsize their headquarters but the president is quickly on the phone with the mayor of detroit saying, don't worry we are going to keep the headquarters there in detroit. that is exactly the kind of political decision that has no place in the running of the company for the value of the stockholders. >> on jobs-- we have seen steady
drops in claim numbers but also, no one are you and wheatridge by that and what you think we are going to see? >> i want try to forecast what we are going to see tomorrow. the unemployment problem is of course a serious one and it is a tragic one for those people who have lost their jobs. and, i say that as one who has lost my job at various points in my career and as one who has seen my son who lose his job in the financial crisis. and it is a time of great, great difficulty for the individuals and for their families. fortunately, my son found another job and i have found another job that i'm trying to keep. that having been said however, one of the things we have learned is that artificial
attempts to maintain employment that go against market forces prolong recessions and sometimes turn them into depressions. and there is evidence with respect to the great depression now, as we go back and study that, that many of the things that were done in the name of protecting jobs in the great depression in fact caused it to last years longer than it otherwise might have done. you can read the literature on that income to your own conclusion as to how condensing it may be. the most important thing we must do is get manufacturing and all of those parts of the supply chain that support manufacturing back in a healthy condition again. and it is not just automobiles. it is every portion of the economy that needs to come back. u.s. about individual states. in my state the last time i think we had the unemployment rate, it was 4.8%.
i expect it will be higher than that as the recession continues to have its problems. but that is significantly below where it is in many other states and that underscores the fact that, while there are national unemployment rates, they vary dramatically from one region of the country to the other. the recovery is uneven. there are some parts of the country where housing prices have stabilized and indeed some where they are actually rising. remember, this whole thing was caused by the bursting of the housing bubble so that housing starts to get fixed, that is the most important single thing that can be done to get the recession fix. other parts of the country where the housing prices still are dropping and frankly need to drop before you get stability, so we will look at the national numbers with interest, but the solution to the problem will come from the economy and the
actual creation of employment activity region by region. [inaudible] >> doing something like what? [inaudible] >> i supported the first round of t.a.r.p. because it was to prevent an international meltdown of the financial system and i believe it did, and i believe it was justified. i have voted against every other distribution because i disagree with the way they are being managed and maybe good intentions, but i am not at all sure they are going to be as successful as their-- their supporters said they would be. >> annie last questions? >> i was actually going to ask the same questions. >> gm is of course it that the delay in a stock company.
there is other equity and debt. i don't think that is the situation with aig. i think obviously he would have to look at it to see but i don't think that is the situation. >> that taxpayer on 60% of the new gm. it will own 8% of chrysler. that is very straightforward, very simple. we can distribute that to the taxpayers within a matter of months. the bank stocks and warrants that we may own could be more complicated. i was not willing to include that as part of it but i am studying it. >> i am sorry, i misunderstood your question. i agree with his answer. [laughter] >> thank you. >> thank you.
commercial free as a public service. we are joined by the financial times middle east editor. who are the players in this upcoming iran and presidential election? >> well, the first player is somebody that i am sure your viewers know very well, mahmoud ahmadinejad, the current president. he is facing three rivals in this election. the most prominent is
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