tv [untitled] CSPAN June 22, 2009 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
they've got 40 35 congressional negotiators. so we have these suggestions. senator bennett of utah and i, cosponsored by the republican leader and senator kyl, the whip, we have a bill we call the auto stock for every taxpayer legislation amendment. we'd like to offer it this week and get a vote on it. it would say that the treasury can't put any more tarp funds to bail out general motors or chrysler. that while the government has stock in these companies, the secretary of the treasury or his designee has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to get a return on that investment. and most importantly, it says that in the year after general motors comes out of the bankruptcy, that the government should distribute its stock to the 120 million americans who pay taxes on april 15.
in other words, let's have a big stock distribution the same way procter & gamble did when it distributed clorox or other companies do every year. we've got a core business -- the car company -- that has nothing to do with the owner -- us -- and we should give it to the owners, the 120 million people who pay taxes. that's what we ought to do. and the rationale is i paid for it, i should own it. that's the first amendment. now, senator corker, with a couple of cosponsors, including senator warner, from the other side of the aisle, he has another idea which i'm glad to support. a little different approach to the same idea. he would create a limited liability corporation to manage the government ownership state in companies in which the government owns at least 20%. by the fall of this year that will probably include a.i.g., the insurance company, maybe citigroup, general motors, the government assets to be placed in a trust managed by three independent nonpolitical trustees. they need to liquidate the
government's interest by december 24, 2011. and there's a waiver in case the trustees think there's a problem. that's a responsible, interesting approach. why shouldn't senator corker and senator warner have a chance to offer that? that's what the majority of people in america would like to see done. or senator johanns, the distinguished former governor of nebraska, has his free enterprise act of 2009. he has 29 cosponsors. he'd like to require congressional approval before the federal government can use tarp funds to acquire ownership of an entity through stock. and a few other provisions like that. then senator thune, a member of the republican leadership, has a government ownership exit plan act of 2009. he would require the treasury to sell any ownership of private entity by july 1, 2010 and prohibit additional ownership. well, i think you can get the drift, madam president. we have a number of senators,
mostly from this side but cosponsored from the other side, who say the american people are tired of washington take overs. they know that cars aren't going to get better in this country if the government is medaling with them and designing them and building them and making them. i can just imagine what we'll have. we'll have a purple, polka dot car that gets 50 miles per gallon, and will have a windmill on top and a solar panel on the side. and it will have this part made in this congressman's district and that part made in that senator's state. tanned probably won't run file phaoeufs. then what will we do? we'll lower the price to get people to buy it, and we'll have no american automobile industry left. we need to get the government out of the car business, stop that washington takeover. 80%, 90% of the american people tkpwraefplt and what are we doing in the united states
senate? we're going to vote at 5:30 to say no senators, no senator corker, no senator alexander, no senator bennett. we're going to say no to the other senators. you can't continue to debate. you can't continue to offer your amendment. we're going to obstruct your right to do that. we're going to keep you from representing the people from tennessee, the people of utah, the other people you were sent to represent. we're going to is to be the the debate, stop the amendment. that's the tyranny of the majority that alexis de tocqueville envisioned. that's not the way the senate has been running this year. the senators made a good-faith example of saying we're going to have some amendments. that means we're going to have amendments some of us don't really want to vote on them. there have been some i didn't want to vote on, some offered by people on my side of the aisle, some over there. but that's what we do in the united states senate.
so why are we doing this? why are we saying suddenly no amendments? so i would hope that the senators, all of us, would agree that at 5:30 we should vote "no" -- we should vote "no." and by voting "no" we would be saying let's continue to debate. let's continue to amend. a vote "yes" is a vote to obstruct. a vote "no" is to continue to amend. and the issue is shall we take the government ownership of automobile companies and put it as soon as as is practically possible back in the hands of the american people where it belongs? our free enterprise system? that's the american way. we got four different options. we've got a whole different minnesota yew here. if you don't like the alexander-bennett amendment, vote for the corker amendment. if you don't like that, vote for one of the other amendments. four ways to go about it, all
carefully thought out. why don't we do that? i prefer the way the senate has op rated pretty much all the time up to today -- operated pretty much all the time up to today where you say senators, offer your amendments, offer your votes. today is for some reason an aberration, a change, a change away from the way the senate should function. my old friend, alex haley, the late author of good" used to saeup find a way and praise it. i will consider this an aberration. i hope we will vote to continue to amend, to continue to debate and get back to the practice that we practiced most of this year, which is to say if you've got an amendment, senator, bring it on over. put it up. we'll vote on it, and then we'll go on to the next thing. i thank you, madam president. i yield the floor, and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the
clerk will call the roll. quorum call khrop mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i appreciate the comments of the senator from tennessee. i don't know how the vote will come out at 550 today but i know it -ps infrastructure -- come out at 5:today but we want the government to return wholly to the private sector, that this was an extraordinary situation i represent, as senator from tennessee represents. a lot of auto workers, in this case union and nonunion alike. i think all those companies that, certainly g.m. and chrysler, workers and people in the community want this industry back on its feet and want it run
by the private -- by the private investors, as it should be. madam president, i ask unanimous consent to place my following remarks in a different place in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. today marks the 40th anniversary when the cuyahoga river in cleveland burned. the june 22, 1969, fire wasn't the first or the biggest on the cuyahoga or in rivers all over the country in those days when rivers were full of chemicals and all kinds of distinguished chairman that could catch -- all kinds of discharge that could catch fire from a spark from a railroad, from a train passing through or something else passing over the river. but 40 years ago that fire at the tie hoe tkpwa river was the catalyst that helped -- at the cuyahoga river was the catalyst for the landmark clean water act. the fire pushed the government to recognize its responsibility
to safeguard our environment. when the e.p.a. was established in july of 1970, as i said, in large part the impetus came from that fire on the cuyahoga in 1969. when the e.p.a. was established the summer of 1970, it marked a sustained effort by citizens to demand that their government protect our health and sustain our environment. like so many times throughout our nation's history citizen activism served as a vehicle for change. prior to that fire in 1969, i remember as a child -- i was born in 1952. as a small child, as a teenager, i remember going 60 miles north of where i grew up in going to the shores of lake eerie and seeing dead fish along the river, along the lake, seeing what was left of a wonderful living lake in all, one of the great lakes, the greatest national resource in this country, the five great lakes. i remember seeing the pollution and the damage that came from
the effluent that human beings, that individuals and farmers and industry dumped into that lake over -- into rivers and many, many years into the lake. then galvanized byry which he will carf's silent spring, the environmental movement engaged the public and industry leaders about threats to human safety. that citizen call to action spurred decades worth of environmental laws that have improved our quality of life. it has improved the health of our nation's streams, lakes and rivers. when the clean water act was passed in 1972, only about 30% of the nation's waters were safe for fishing and swimming. think about that. in 1972, fewer than than a third of the nation's waters were safe for fishing and swimming. two decades later the e.p.a. reported that 56% of rivers and lakes met safety standards. much progress, but clearly not nearly enough. as a result of the clean water act, thousands of communities around the nation benefit from
waste water treatment plants, improved habitats, increased fish stock and safer recreational waters. as the health of our nation's water has improved, so too has the river in my community, the cuyahoga river. the cuyahoga, which is a native american word meaning crooked river, winds through northeast ohio. if in fact you land at the cleveland airport, you can see the river wind its way right through downtown cleveland. there are banks of the river through several miles as it goes into cuyahoga county. it ultimately flows into lake e r*eu e in the city of cleveland. when scientists began studying the fish population of the cuyahoga, they found only a few species were able to survive in the polluted waters. many of the fish who remained were deformed. after years of hard work by the cuyahoga by citizens, by industry leaders, by government agencies, more than 60 different fish species can now be found in the river. madam president, that tells you
what the efforts of government can do. it took more than a few activists in the city of cleveland. it took more than the cleveland city health department. it took more than the cuyahoga county health department. it took a strong national government and the environmental protection agency created, if you remember, during the presidency of richard nixon with a democratic congress, that ultimately the creation of the environmental protection agency and the ability of the federal government to come in when necessary and mandate that local officials and local industry do what it needs to do for safe drinking water and clean air is a lesson we all should learn. today as one of only 14 american heritage rivers, the cuyahoga flows through the cuyahoga valley national park where bald eagles nest. throughout ohio our clean water supply such as the cuyahoga are critical to farming and clean
energy development and regional economic competitiveness. water-related recreation and tourism provide jobs and billions of dollars in revenues for communities, cities like lorraine, cities in lake county, cities like my wife's hometown of ashtabula, cities like throed. wildlife depends on -- like toledo. we must continue to protect our wetlands and our streams to bolster our fisheries, to increase habitat restoration and recreational opportunities throughout the great lakes. it will mean coming from the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance from all five of the great lakes. it will then mean billions of investment dollars around the in recreation, in fishing, in economic development, in safe drinking water. this includes these -- these efforts include reducing the number of combined sewage overflows into our waterways and removing the toxic sediments
that were dumped into the rivers leading into the great lakes, the ashtabula and others before the glean water act. after years of hard work, continuing restoration of the cuyahoga is a symbol of progress and a symbol of success. the community restoration effort in the cuyahoga is an indication of the undeniable importance of the e.p.a. and the clean water act. it's a testament to what can be accomplished when citizens and government join together to tackle a problem. in the communities that make up the cuyahoga river watershed, among them beachwood and euclid and barberton, 2009 is the year of the cuyahoga but there is no reason why we shouldn't dedicate every day to cleaner water in a more sustainable environment. i commend the thousands of citizens who for more than 40 years worked to make the cuyahoga a source of pride for our community. their collective efforts made their government recognize its role in protecting our health
and preserving our environment. i'm confident that 40 years from now my grandchildren and generations of ohioans will enjoy the clean waters of the cuyahoga river and of lake erie. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. kaufman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. kaufman: i rise today to draw our attention to the tourism promotion act on 2009 and specifically to focus on my small state of delaware. one is treated to a range of arts from marvelous recollection to dozens of fairs an festivals. in the area of art and culture, there is the gardens, the, and the now famous dupont hospital. visitors can visit the bellview state park or the delaware museum or see a show at the hotel few front in wilmington. the state of delaware also has a
significant historical site for tourists to enjoy. you can view the birthday of the dupont. the luxurious home of harry and frances dupont. since delaware is one of the original 13 colonies, we have war historical sites, the amstel house can offer visitors a rare insight of life before the revolution much our constitution park offers a tribute to the ratification of the constitution made significant by the fact that delaware was the first state to do so. civil war buffs can visit the -- while those interested in more contrary history can visit the delaware air force base air mobility command museum. delaware sports and gaming opportunities are nearly limitless, the dover downs casino provides entertainment for the guests, the delaware
park racetrack has slots an horseracing. nascar fans love dover's international speedway the famous monster mile. delaware may not boast any major league sports team, but we're proud of our minor league baseball team, the wilmington blue rocks. to watch them play promises fun for the entire family. for golf enthusists who don't want to lose their skills while on vacation, delaware has excellent golf courses. delaware's outdoor attractions are world class, killings pond features a mill pond where visitors can enjoy boating and fishing. the greatest strength of the outdoors, however, is our beautiful beaches. these beaches stretch for miles an offer ample opportunity for fun on the shore and ocean. the boardwalk provides a wide variety of shops and restaurants
and entertainment to visitors. delaware's best and tax-free shopping can be found on the boardwalk. our various fairs can help celebrate who we are as delawareans and offer entertainment. the delaware state fair features concerts from famous artists and a carnival atmosphere and numerous cultural and livestock events. the state festival is a favorite among delaware residents. the food and entertainment draw large crowds and one of the largest ethnic festivals on the east coast. other ethnic festivals that delaware -- delaware celebrates is the african-american festival, greek festival and many more. in other words, something for everyone. those who enjoy the theater can come to the theater festival where you can enjoy shakespeare.
there is a chance to view excellent films this that they wouldn't get a chance to see in theater. delaware also boasts six wineries including the nassau valley where visitors can enjoy excellent wine and a pleasant atmosphere. you can see delaware is truly a place where folks from across the country can come for fun and excitement in a small, but plentiful tourist haven. i know that delaware is not alone. all 50 states and all the territories offer something special and i believe we should do everything that we can to spread the message. that's why i'm glad to be a cosponsor of the tourist act. it will remind people across the world what dell tell can offer. international traveling is booming. 48 million more international trips last year than 2000, but the united states is still not sharing that bounty. in fact, we lost travelers over the same time period. an estimate i saw says if we kept pace with the expansion of
international travel, we would have seen 58 million more travelers since 2000. that would mean nearly 250,000 more jobs. in today's economy we could sure use that help. i urge my colleagues to support this bill. however, i cannot leave the floor without commenting on another great state for tourism and that is the state that the madam president -- of the madam president, that is the state of north carolina. i spent this weekend in north carolina and i can contribute to the many wonders of north carolina and i encourage north carolina to anyone looking for a wonderful place to go for a vacation. finally, i yield the floor and note the b absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
unanimous consent requests for the committees to meet during today's session of the senate, they have the approval of the majority -- the presiding officer: there's a quorum call in progress. mr. kaufman: i ask that the quorum call be removed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: i have two unanimous consent during today's session of the senate they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask that these requests be agreed to and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: i suggest the absence of a quorum and the time be evenly split between the two parties. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: