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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 16, 2009 11:30am-12:00pm EDT

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consent to include in the record following my remarks the letter from douglas elmendorf to senator kennedy, june 15, stating his bill would cost $1 trillion more over the next ten years to the debt, and that doesn't even include the medicaid expansions i've just talked about. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: and executive summary of the impact of the 2009 affordable health choices act kphrao*eted by the h.s.i. network released june 13 which estimates that the kennedy bill may be closer to $4 trillion. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: an article from "the wall street journal" yesterday talking about state budget gaps which shows in what dire straits many states are. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator's time has expired. mr. alexander: i thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mrs. boxer: madam president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i ask unanimous consent that morning business be extended until 15 minutes from now when we have our vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you. i also ask unanimous consent that jonathan colacant and matthew long of senator bingam bingaman's office be granted the privileges of the floor during the pendency of the travel promotion bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you very much. madam president, i decided to come to the floor to talk about a couple of things. one, health care reform, and the other, the stimulus package. we're seeing attacks from the party of "no," the republican party, every day on this floor, and i believe the purpose is to derail health reform. and, you know, i think it's perfectly legitimate to debate how we proceed, but i think when everything is stripped away, you're going to see again the
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republicans as the party of the status quo, and i have to say in relation to health care reform, the status quo has got to go because it's really hurting our people, and i will just put a couple of facts out there that are irrefutable. they're just facts, you know. the fact is that if we don't a act, soaring health care costs are unsustainable for our feassments madam president, this great nation, we pay twice as much as any other nation for our health care. and the fact of the matter is, we must turn this around. as the words go now, "we must bend that cost curve" because we cannot sustain the situation as it is. it is hurting our families, premium rises are unbelievable. we all know it in our own circumstances. and we know the uninsured keep growing because -- why?
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they can't afford the premiums or insurance companies won't take them because they're an individual or they may have had high blood pressure or something like that. they don't get the coverage that they need, and they don't -- they don't avail themselves of prevention. we have too much obesity in this country among our kids and adults, and we know prevention in and of itself could bend that cost curve. if someone really understands nutrition and diet and they get help in making sure they change their lifestyle or their kids don't get into the lifestyle of eating sugar and fattening foods all the time, all the rest, it has an enormous impact on what happens to them when they get older. diabetes -- we know this is a major problem. we can turn that around, and later the heart risk that goes with it, the stroke risk that goes with high blood pressure. these things can be controlled. we took a first step in the direction of prevention when we
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passed the bill on smoking which for the first time will give the food and drug administration the ability to regulate cigarettes and keep these products away from our kids who are lured into smoking -- and then you know how it is -- because i'm sure everyone knows someone who has this addiction. clearly, if we have preveftion as the name of the game, we're going to -- clearly, if we have prevention as the name of the game, we're going to see a decrease in costs, we're going to see healthier families and lower premiums. so the question is, if we do nothing, can we sustain what's happening? we can. i-- we can't.we ought to make se insurance companies are kept honest. how do you do that? it seems to me you want to make sure that we have some kind of plan out there that has to live by the same rules as the private
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sector, be it a cooperative, a public plan, has to live by the same rules, so we can test and judge as to whether or not our people are getting ripped off when they get these huge increases in their premiums. the other thing is we need a plan that covers the uninsured, however we deal with it, because there is no question about it that when people are uninsured, they're still going to get the health care they need -- no doctor is going to turn them away when they show up in an emergency room with a stroke or a heart condition that, you know, has probably not been looked at for a long time. the signs of the stroke you can find through blood pressure taking. and if they haven't done that they show up there. now, who pays for it? the fact is, those costs come right back home to us. somebody has to pay for it. and that's reflected in the premiums. so here's the point: i don't think it's that
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complicated. if you stress prevention, if you have a plan that's out there -- a nonprofit plan that can keep the insurance companies honest and make sure that they're not overcharging us, if you cover the uninsured, i think those are the three principles that i ha g for. when we hear our colleagues come in day in and day out on the republican side, now they're bashing public plans. let them introduce a bill to repeal medicare. that's a public plan. our seniors love it. the republicans fought it in the 1960's. the democrats passed it under lyndon johnson. why don't they come here, madam chair -- madam president, and say they want to repeal medica medicare. we'll wait a minute. let's look at another public plan. veterans health care, a government plan. why don't they come here and put
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forward a proposal to completely do away with veterans health care? i will tell you, the veterans in this country will rise up. the republican veterans, the democratic veterans, the independent veterans, the old vents, the middle-aged veterans, the young veterans -- why don't they do that instead of just come here and say, public plans are bad? how about schip? that's the bill the public plan that allows our children to be covered, our poor kids. why don't they come here and say, our children shouldn't be covered. let's repeal it? how about our military? they get free health care through the public domain. should we now cancel that? and contract out? look, i'm for a robust debate. i'm for a bipartisan bill. i want to work toward that,
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madam president, but let me tell you this: if we don't get 60 votes for something, we can't quit around here. we cannot allow a terrible crisis toward the end of life to bankrupt our families, and more than half of our families who file bankruptcy, file bankruptcy because of a crisis in their health. we can't afford it. and the fact is, we are on the verge of being able to do something, but not if the party of "no" comes here every day and bashes every idea. and starts frightening the american people. so they'll have their chance. but i hope we won't stop. we'll have to figure out a way to do it with a majority vote. that's my feeling, because this is too important and issue. and our families can't take it. they can't take a circumstance where they're now already paying a third of their money for their
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mortgage. what they going to do? another third or half for their health care? and then what's left over to live a life and support our kids? come on! get over it, the party of "no." come to the table. work with us and don't bash every idea that president obama lays out on the table. he is the president. give him a chance to move this forward. speaking of bashing things, my last commentary until we vote would be this: senator coburn has put out a report in which he bashes the stimulus program. i think it's very important for the american people to understand a few things. one, a couple of his examples are right on target, and we always expected there would be a couple of things that happened that were wrong. the administration is aware of it. we're trying to get on top of it and stop it. but we lost over $1 trillion
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from our economy and we put in the stimulus package about $700 billion, $787 billion, so that we could make sure that this great recession doesn't turn into a great depression, and we knew -- that's why we have -- i think it's 30 inspectors general? 30 inspectors general overseeing this program. so despite that, i understand senator coburn. he was never for the stimulus. he just says, lel let the amerin people work their way through it. government should stay out. that's fair. so now he's bashing the stimulus program. all the work he has done so far has identified .7%, not even 1%, that were a problem. and some of those are way off-base. and i wapt to talk about some of them in california -- and i want to talk about some of them in california that he has highlighted and is bashing. $200,000 to place restrooms at a
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black butte lake california park. excuse me, maybe there's something lon wrong with me. i think having a clean restroom in a state park that is safe and available is quite important. but he says that's ridiculous. it creates jobs to build that. it's an important hygieneic proke that i think has to happen. there's -- he talks also about a state park. and this is near and dear to my park. $620,000 to build a skate park for our children in long beach, california. now, i don't know about mr. coburn in oklahoma -- they have fewer people there, that's true. i have a state of 37 million people. we have a lot of kids. we have a lot of kids who get in trouble after school. we have a lot of kids that drop out of school. we have a problem. they love to skateboard. as a matter of fact, we had a
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group, a former gang in oakland come forward and actually construct it themselves. so building a skatepark for our kids is not a boondoggle. it is a safe place for them to go, and you create jobs when you do it. we're installing energy-efficient runway guidance lights at the san diego airport. yes, energy-efficient lighting saves money. as a matter of fact, this thing has a payback -- it costs $5 million. this has a pay-back of two years to five years. when you put in efficient lighting it has a payback. it uses less electricity. it lowers the cost. but, no, senator dough burn comes to the floor and bashes it. so those are examples -- some examples of what he's bashing just in my state. but i have to say, madam
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president, i'm going to put into the record, if i might -- i ask unanimous consent to place in the record the fundin funding ns by program -- the funding notifications by program for my state of california. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: if you go through here, madam president, you will see in this largest state of the union that is suffering with an 11.2% unemployment rate, projects that are putting people to work today and doing good things. a medical assistance program, a clean water state revolving fund grant, state energy programs, putting people to work, weatherizing for low-income, working with the youth -- it goes on and on -- safe drinking water grants and law enforcement grants, educational technology grants, adoption assistance grants, foster care
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grants. why is my colleague not coming down here and saying, you know, i did find less than 1% of a problem but these other things are good? and these other things are putting people to work and these other things are saving our children, saving our environment, saving energy? you know, it's the party of "no." no, no, 1,000 times no. and the american people understand that we on the one oe of the aisle and our president preaching across the aisle are going to continue to work -- reaching across the aisle are going to continue to work for change. and change means getting out of this mess that we are in right now. this deep, deep recession. and we're going to continuing to do t and they're going to say "no," "no," 1,000 times "no." and we'll work with them when thement to work with us. if they don't, we're going to have to figure out a way to bring the change and jobs to america, the energy efficiency to america and all the good
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things the american people deserve to have. we're going to work to bring that to them. so, madam president, i thank you very much. i would yield the floor and i don't know if i need to say anything else -- and i will. i ask that morning business be closed. the presiding officer: without objection, morning business is closed. mrs. boxer: and i ask that the hour for debate prior to the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to s. 1023 be yielded back. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. boxer: thank you very much. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 71, s. 1023, the travel promotion act of 2009, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call is waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed on
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s. 1023, the travel promotion act of 2009, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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