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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 19, 2009 9:30am-10:00am EDT

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it passed a spending bill last night for the commerce justice department. the chaplain: let us pray. o god, lord of all, give us the things that will enable us to make life worthwhile.
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give to the members of this body a sense of proportion to see the things that really matter. help them to appreciate the long view that they may refuse to sell what is precious for temporary short-term gain. lord, remind them that laudable goal often require perseverance. impart to our lawmakers a teachable spirit that's willing to learn and a humble spirit that accepts advice and will not resent rebuke. give them also a diligent spirit
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that whatever their hands find to do they may do it with all their might. we pray in your mighty name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, june 19, 2009. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing
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rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable edward e. kaufman, a senator from the state of delaware, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: robert c. byrd, president pro tempore. reid plap? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will be in period of morning business. senators will be allowed to speak for up to 10 minutes each. there will be no roll call votes today. senators dorgan and martinez, the managers of the travel bill that's before the senate, have indicated that they're ready to move forward on amendments being laid down. we'll have a series of votes monday night. and we'll move toward completing that legislation as quickly as possible. important legislation it is. we look forward to completion of that legislation. as the debate escalates over the best way to ease the crushing burden of health care, it is easy to become sidetracked by misrepresentations or attemp teo point fingers. when we do those things, we lose
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sight of what is at the heart of this debate: this reform. i want to remind all of us what this is all about -- the health care debate. it's about hard-working americans. they deserve better than to be casualties of misleading politics. the millions of americans without health care, this is a concrete and critical crisis that affects children, families, small businesses, big businesses every single day. it's about the parent who can't take a child to the doctor because insurance is prohibi prohibitively expensive. it is about the family that lives one illness away from financial ruin. it is about the small business that had to lay off employees because it couldn't afford skyrocketing health care premiums or that small business that had to cancel health insurance for its employees because it couldn't afford it. its a about the three in five families who put off necessary medical care because it simply costs too much.
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so we as democrats here in the senate are are committed to lowering the high price of health care, ensuring every american has access to that quality, affordable care, and finally, letting people choose their own doctors, hospitals and health plans. we're committed to protecting the existing coverage when it is good and improving it when it's not, and guaranteeing health care for the millions, including 9 million children, who have not. we're committed to preventing disease, and encouraging early detection and effective treatments that save lives. no matter what republicans clairnlg the government has no intention of choosing for you any of these things, meddling in any of your medical relationships. like the coverage you have -- if you like the coverage you have, you can choose to keep it. health care shouldn't be a luxury. we can't afford another year choosing between basic necessities and putting money in
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the insurance companies just to stay healthy. i hear every day from nevirapi nevirapineians. i hear that people are turned down for health coverage by insurance providers who care more about profits than people. i hear about people who lost their health coverage when they lost their jobs and now have no means of getting it back. i hear about people in nevada who play by the rules and rightly demand our health care system is guided by common sense. that's what this debate is all about, nothing more, nothing less. these people -- and nothing else should be the focus of the open and honest debate they deserve, the people of america. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. has the chair yet announced that we are in a period of morning business? the presiding officer: it has not. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, there will now be a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each. mr. reid: i now note the
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absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be
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suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, i send a resolution to the desk and ask for its appropriate consideration to be placed on -- referred to the appropriate committee. the presiding officer: the resolution will be received and appropriately referred. mr. mccain: mr. president, the resolution that i, on behalf of myself, senator lieberman, and others, is exactly the same as has been introduced by congressman berman and pence in the house of representatives. it's the exact same resolution, expresses support for all iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and rule of law, and for other purposes. the resolution expresses its support for all iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law.
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it condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the government of iran and progovernment militias as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the internet and cell phones and affirms the universality and the importance of democratic elections. basically, mr. president, what this is is a resolution that has been introduced in both houses which affirms america's fundamental respect and commitment to human rights to people no matter where they reside in the world. it's unfortunate in a way that this resolution is required since the administration does not want to -- quote -- "meddle" and has refused -- the president has refused to speak out in support of these brave iranian citizens, most of them young,
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who are risking their very lives to protest what was clearly an unfair and corrupt election. mr. president, what we're seeing in iran today is sort of a sequence of events that should worry all of us who have watched this before. the demonstrations, some beaten, some killed. the ayatollah calls together the participants in the election and then says there should be no more demonstrations and strong action will be taken. that coupled with ejecting the world's media from iran, first restricting it and then forcing them out so as not to record events. unfortunately for the ironan mullahs, the -- for the iranian
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mullahs, the twitter has become an incredible means of communications as well as cameras held in cell phones. and the word is still coming out as to the degree of oppression that is being practiced by the iranian government. you know, mr. president, there's a lot i'd like to say today about what's going on in iran and the fact that we have a long history -- the united states of america -- of speaking out on behalf of people who are oppressed or victims of a corrupt election. we stood tall -- america did -- for the workers in tkpwa -- in gdansk and sol tkarry in -- and solidarity in lech walesa, and we were not afraid as ronald reagan was not, to go to the per lynn wall and say take down --
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go to the berlin wall and say take down this wall and call the evil empire what it was -- an evil empire. whaft ironies of this situation that i'd like to address very briefly is that president mahmoud ahmadinejad's top political advisor said thursday that the united states will regret its interference is if iran's disputed election. in other words, our president says he doesn't want to -- quote -- "meddle" and of course they're accusing us of doing exactly that. he said -- the advisor said i hope in the case of the elections they realize their interference as a mistake and they don't repeat this mistake. they'll certainly regret this. they'll have problems reestablishing relations with iran." mr. president, the history of
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this country, july 4, 1776, we affirmed the fundamental right that all people throughout the world have, and that is the inalienable rights granted by our creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. that commitment to human rights is -- was there then and it is there today in the united states of america -- and the united states of america must, and this body must affirm our support for the fundamental human rights of the iranian people who are being beaten and killed in the streets of tehran and other cities around iran. we are with them. it's not an accident, mr. president, that the signs "where is my vote" are in english. they're waiting for an expression of support from the government and the people of the united states of america. i think this resolution is an important way to do so. now, mr. president, i would like to say a few words about health
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care. and obviously we are in a -- according to most media reports and my experience as a member of the "help" committee, basically a gridlock. the congressional budget office stated on monday in relation to the legislation being considered in the "help" committee that once the proposal -- and i quote -- "was fully implemented, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million. the lewin group, a health care consulting firm estimates this number to be higher. they estimate up to 70% of all americans who have private insurance today, 120 million americans will lose their health insurance and be forced on to the government payrolls. that stands in stark contrast to the president's repeated assertions that if you like your
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health care, you can keep it. and further yet, analysis by h.s.i. network, an economics firm, found to get all americans covered under the democrats' bill it would cost a staggering $4 trillion and result in 79 million americans who currently have private insurance having to obtain coverage from the government plan. what i've just described is known as the -- quote -- "crowd-out phenomenon" it's the substitution effect that occurs when a massive government insurance plan crowds out private insurance as the expansions of publicly subsidized programs encourage or force people from private arrangements to public ones. this is a real issue and one we must pay attention to. on monday the president said -- quote -- "i know that there are millions of americans who are content with their health care coverage, and that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise. if you like your doctor, you'll
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be able to keep your doctor. period. if you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan. period. no one will take it away, no matter what." if the bill that we are considering is enacted, i don't believe this is a promise the president will be able to keep. the president's hometown newspaper -- the "the chicago tribune"" stated in an editorial on tuesday -- and i quote -- "the president promises that anyone who wants to keep their private coverage will be able to do so, but we do know a few things about government-run health plans. the federal government isn't competition. it is the health care equivalent of big foot. it sets low prices, to be sure, lower than many insurers are able to match. that just means those doctors in the hospitals recoup the losses by shifting cost on to those with private insurance, which could easily crowd out private plans. a lot of americans think the health care system isn't really all that broken.
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they get good care. they pay for it via insurance. but a government-run health plan, experience says that the cure would be worse than the illness." "the chicago tribune" has it exactly right, mr. president. the fact is a lot of americans are pleased with their health care options. in fact, 70% of americans with health insurance rated their coverage good or excellent, according to to a rasmussen report poll data dated may 14, 2009. those 70% might be the precise group of americans who will lose their health insurance and be forced into government-run programs if the legislation is enacted. now it is a fact that premiums continue rising, eating into family budgets and preventing the uninsured from getting covered. this is the problem we need to be addressing. we need to bring down the cost of health care and, thus, the cost of health insurance
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coverage. this will lead to more coverage of the uninsured and insure that those who like their health care coverage can keep their coverage and their doctor as the president promises. yet, the majority bill contains not a single reform that will save money. instead, as i've just pointed out, it will cost up to $4 trillion and displace up to 79 million americans from their current coverage. this is not reform. this is why we should start over. i continue to believe that the democrats in the white house should scrcrap this incomplete bill and start over. democrats and republicans must come together and draft a bill that allows the president to uphold his promise that americans will be able to keep their current doctor or health care plan. mr. president, we spend a lot of time in the "help" committee going over an incomplete proposal. supposedly by tonight the three major issues, including the
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so-called government option, will be revealed to us by the democratic -- by the majority side. i hope that it's soon. i hope that we will be able to view it so we could have for the first time a meaningful discussion and negotiation in the "help" committee, because so far three major components are still blank spaces. i've been in this for a long time. i've never seen a process such as we are going through now. it is basically fundamentally a charade so that the democrats can come to the floor and say we consulted with the republicans. we had hours and hours of debate and discussion and markup when we were not presented with the key elements of the legislation we were supposed to be considering. if the key elements are there, we get to examine it over the weekend. then perhaps we will be able to sit down together and negotiate some kind of reasonable approach to this bill.
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and it's not an accident that the finance committee -- the other committee that's supposed to be tracking the health reform bill along with the "help" committee -- has decided not to present their proposal until after the 4th of july recess because they simply don't have a way to pay for it. the c.b.o. -- the c.b.o. analysis and other outside analyses, mr. president, has really revealed something very important. that the plans as propounded by the administration and by the democrats is unsustainably expensive and one that would have -- they do not have a way of paying for. it will be very interesting to see how they tailor their plan to the expenses and how they address the issue of how to pay for it. clearly raising taxes, an option that they are considering, i don't think raising anybody's
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taxes in the present-day economy is something that would be beneficial to all americans. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:


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