tv [untitled] CSPAN June 22, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
the presiding officer: are there senators wishing to vote or to change your vote? seeing none, on this vote the yeas are 53 and the nays are 34. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. the majority leader. mr. reid: i enter a motion to reconsider the vote by which cloture was not invoked on the dorgan amendment. the presiding officer: the motion is entered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the cloture petition on the bill be withdrawn. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
calendar number 140. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of state, harold hungu ko of connecticut to be legal advisor of the department of state. mr. reid: mr. president, i send a cloture motion to the desk.. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of harold hongju koh of connecticut to be legal advisor of the department of state. signed by 18 senators as follows: reid, pryor, whitehouse, inouye, feingold, dodd, burris, durbin, murray,
tester, udall of colorado, klobuchar, reed of rhode island, baucus, merkley, lincoln, cantwell, dorgan. mr. reid: i ask that the mandatory quorum be waived. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. reid: i ask the senate resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask now that we proceed to a period of monk business, senators allowed to speak -- of morning business, senators allowed to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: madam president, let me just say a brief word on the cloture that was not invoked on the travel bill. i hope that everyone understands what obstructionism is. this is obstructionism at its best, and it goes along with what the republicans said they wanted to do and that is stop everything. as indicated in "roll call" newspaper last week.
this is a bill that saves the government money, almost a half a billion dollars over ten years. it would create in the first year of the -- after passage of the bill 40,000 jobs. the republicans just killed th this. over the most fictitious amount of reasoning. they said they weren't allowed to offer amendments. that, madam president, is absolutely false. in fact, we had -- we had an agreement that they could offer amendments. there were no restrictions on what they offered. they wanted to offer amendments regarding tarp. they wanted to offer five of those. fine, i said, go ahead. we had one amendment we wanted to offer. they said, no, we want to just offer ours; you can't offer yours. every state would benefit from this piece of legislation
because tourism is so pop expler so important -- popular and so important in every state. but the republicans killed this. now, madam president, is it any wonder they have lost during the last two election cycles by election 15 republican senators. i mean, is it any wonder? they are so enthralled with the status quo, they want no improvements of anything, including they don't want to save the government a half a billion dollars, they don't want to improve tourism because this may be another victory for oba obama. i -- i am aware, madam president, of the work done by the committee. the commerce committee worked so hard. senator rockefeller was ill. he badly injured himself. senator dorgan stepped forward, get it out of that committee, so
we could do this. it's good for every state. tourism is good for new hampshire, it's good for nevada, it's good for north dakota, it's good for wyoming, it's good for idaho. the republicans killed our ability to save half a billion dollars, they killed our ability to create 40,000 new jobs. and tourism is a trillion-dollar industry in this country. the republicans killed this legislation. mr. dorgan: madam president, if the senator would yield for a question? mr. reid: i would be happy to. mr. dorgan: madam president, last thursday the majority leader and i stood in that aisle and the question was going to be under what conditions would this travel promotion act come to the floor of the senate, and we said, do you know what? tell us what amendments you ne need, tell us which amendments you wish to offer and we'll give you some. and so it ended up five amendments on their side, three
on ours, just as a start. it wasn't going to be a limit or anything but we'll just start with five and three. so they showed us their five and none of them had anything to do with the bill and we said okay, that's fine. those five are fine. you can offer those. they were all about tarp, troubled assets and so on. so we said fine. and then we showed them the three that were to be offered on our side and they looked at three of them and said, this one we will not allow to be offered. so all a sudden it became a circumstance where the my north was deciding -- the minority was deciding they could offer all of theirs but they won't allow the majority to offer one amendment that deals with the issue of the price of gasoline. well, the result was we now had a against cloture on an issue dealing with touris tourism andl promotion on a piece of legislation that raises $500 million and reduces the deficit $500 million. i asked the question toarvetiond if we can't agree -- today, if we can't agreed on a piece of
legislation that was offered by over 50 senators, republicans and democrats, dealing with promotion of tourism and creating jobs and promoting this country's economic interests by asking international tour is to come to this -- tourists to come to thisth crrks you're welcome to come to america and see what america is all about, if we can't agree on that, how on earth will we get agreements on energy, health care, climate change and so on? it is so disappointing. mr. reid: madam president, if i could respond to my friend, we had 11 this year, 11 republican sponsors of this bill. nine of them voted against the bill -- against cloture. nine of the 11. that to me is hard to calculate as being within the realm of sensibility. what in the world did they accomplish other than maybe they're following the senate
g.o.p. still saying "no." but should they say "no" to things -- maybe they have a better rationale like we can't do this, it's a government program; we can't do this, it costs money; we can't do this, we don't have time to do it. now, none of those apply. doesn't cost government money. we have time to do it. it's not a government program. mr. dorgan: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. many dorgan: if i my make -- mr. dorgan: if i may make one additional point. unfortunately, in politics, there's too much of my team and your team. but in this situation, i would that thought this was our team. republicans and democrats working together that we both sponsored. on a bill that's going to reduce the budget deficit by half a billion dollars and at a time on a bill that when we're in a deep reregrecession promotes tour toe to this country who on average
spends $ 4,500, to help us create new jobs. we have a substantial number, hundreds of thousands, 633,000, in fact, 633,000 fewer visitors to the united states from overseas than we had in the year 2000. think of that. 633,000 fewer people visited this country from overseas than did in the year 2000. every other country is experiencing a very substantial increase. france, england, italy, yugoslavia -- not yugoslavia, again, i made the mistake, it's turkey and japan and india and so many other countries, kosovo. they're all advertising, all pushing for international tourism to come to their country because they know it creates jobs, and, more important, they understand when you go there, you leave those countries with good impression. boy, i think if ever there was a time when we need people to come to this country and leave with an understanding of the culture and the character of this great country and at the same time create jobs in this country by
buying gas, buy hotel rooms, buying airplane seats and doin doing -- and going to the tourist attractions and understanding about america, it is now. so my hope is in the next day or so we might be able to find a way to bring those who voted against cloture to understand we've said, you know what? want to offer amendments? offer amendments. there is no obstruction. a colleague came to the floor and said, i'm voting against cloture because i was obstructed from offering my amendment and that was a colleague who had an amendment on the list we said explicitly "yes" to. how does one reconcile statements that just aren't accurate? so, my hope is, maybe we can find a way to reach agreement in the next day or two. mr. reid: madam president, the problem is we have is literally one of time now. they have stalled and killed so much time on this bipartisan, good piece of legislation. i think they should hear from
their constituents. and we should go ahead and vote cloture. if they are germane amendments, vote. but not go through the tarp amendments and all that stuff. we have tried in good faith to get this finished. they should march up here and vote cloture, which needs to be done. they and still offer germane amendments. they may not like the bill or may want to offer other amendments relating to the legislation but i think, madam president, i'm, unless i can be quiptsed otherwise, and i certainly can be, i guess, if i can be proven to be wrong, i'm happy to be as reasonable as i can be, i think that this is such a revolting development in a body that is, has pledged to do good things for the country. and we have done a lot of good things this year. and we have done it, madam president, with little help from the republicans.
we have gotten some but not were. so they are stalling obama from accomplishing anything, even a bill that saves the majority money. ms. klobuchar: if the majority leader could yield, one thing i found out in the hearing which you so kindly testified at about tourism which i am chairing the subcommittee, it was bipartisan. there were republicans there. they pledged their support for this bill. but the second thing, when we talk about tour in, it is not just the c.e.o.'s of airlines companies, the jobs that we're talking about in nevada are jobs like maids, the people that work at the flower shops, the people that work on the frontline in the restaurants, the bellboys -- those are real jobs. one in eight people in this country are employed in the tour. industry. i heard in nevada was something like 400 conventions were canceled out of las vegas and we're just starting to see some improvements in our state. we call duluth the las vegas of
minnesota. we are seeing improvements with hope for consumers and this bill will bring in those key people that spend $4,500 every time they come to this country and that's the international traveler. so if the majority leader could comment on what this means to real people in this country, this bill that the republicans have now stopped as we're trying every day to get more jobs in this country. mr. reid: madam president, my father-in-law, may he rest in peace, emgated from russia and wound up in duluth, minnesota. at that time it was a booming town, a real tough town. i've never beened to duluth. i have been to minneapolis a few times but i never had the opportunity to see the land of 1,000 lakes. ms. klobuchar: of 10,000 lakes. nevada in nevada we don't have five lakes. okay? but, i would love to come and spend some time in minnesota.
it's a wonderful tourist destination. in the winter as cold as it is, a lot of great things to do. and in the summer. and as senator dorgan mentioned, we should be promoted our country. so that people like you may have had a father-in-law from duluth or minneapolis or wherever could go visit and have a good time being a tourist. and it is the same in nevada. as i mentioned, new hampshire, illinois. every state in the union is heavily dependent on tourism and the republicans don't seem to much care. this bill is probably finished for the year. and that means 40,000 less jobs. it means this country will go in the red more for not having things -- to stimulating economy and provide money like this. so i just appreciate very much the subcommittee and the committee getting this bill on the floor to -- we thought we
would have this love fest because this bill helps every state in the union. it helps every state in the union create jobs and as the senator from minnesota said so rightly, jobs -- not manufacturing things which are important and i wish we could do more to help that; not jobs that provide entertainment but in the science of the word going to watch a ballgame or something like that, that's tourism. my son and his pals he runs around with traveled one summer all around the country watching ballgames. that's tour im. as the senator from minnesota mentioned, the tourism jobs in nevada, the reason it is so important, we have one union that has 60,000 members. those member members are maids,r
valets, they are waiters, waitresses. so i just think that it's a shame we have, because of the republicans are looking for an excuse to make obama look back, he wants this done. it is part of his program, tourism. so i appreciate the comments of my friend from minnesota. a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
with -- the presiding officer: senator nelson, the senate is currently in a quorum call. mr. nelson: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be dispensed. .the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. nelson: thank you. i rise to discuss a sense-of-the-senate resolution that i proposed with several colleagues to address the government's recent move to take significant ownership stakes in two icons of american business: chrysler and general motors. joining me as cosponsors are senators collins, landrieu, klobuchar, and mil and mccaskild makes clear the federal government is a temporary shareholder in g.m. and chrysler. and that it should divest its shareholder position as expeditiously as possible. no one ever wanted the government to be in the car business but the alternative was worse and the turmoil in the auto industry extends far beyond detroit as most machines know. dealerships -- as most americans know.
dealerships across my state alone are feeling the impact of decisions made by auto dealer somes. chrysler is terminating franchise dealerships with nine dealerships in nebraska and g.m. intends to terminate franchise agreements with 21 dealerships in nebraska. these decisions are affecting dealerships and their employees in communities such as hastings, david city, omaha, auburn, mill ford, lincoln, scotts bluff, and west point which have already been impacted by the auto bankruptcies. auto parts manufacturing plants and communities like karny, grand island and seward are feeling the results of the downturn in the auto industry. according to the nebraska new car and truck dealers association, more than 13,600 nebraskans work in jobs tied to the auto industry in the state of nevada and accounts for $267 million in waims for nebraska and individuals and families.
however, now that an investment has been made we owe it to the american taxpayers to be clear about what will happen with their money. the resolution states that the federal government is only a temporary stakeholder in the american automotive industry and should take all possibles steps to protect american taxpayer dollars and divest its ownership interest as speak dishly as possible. the government should not be involved in day-to-day operations and as soon as the auto companies have rebeginned their financial footing the government must divest. it's involvement should not be open-ended. further, this resolution calls on the government accountability office and the inspector general for the troubled assets relief program, or tarp, to continue providing oversight. in addition, the g.a.o. and inspector general will report to congress on automotive companies receiving financial assistance so the federal government may
complete divestiture without delay. this is not a partisan issue. our deep economic crisis has cost millions of americans their jobs and the added collapse of auto industry, it would take roars to recover. we have had presidents of both political parties recognize the need to address the current downfall of the auto industry and recognize the need to remove government involvement as quickly as possible. on december 19, 2008, president bush stated -- and i quote -- "the actions i'm announcing today represent a state that we wish were not necessary but given the situation it is the most effective and responsible way to address this challenge facing our nation. by giving the auto companies a chance to restructure rewill shield the american people from a harsh economic blow and give american workers an opportunity to show the world once again they can meet the challenges
with ingenuity and determination and bounce back from rough times and emerge stronger than before." on many 30 of this year -- on march 30 of in the year president obama stated -- and i quote -- "we cannot and must not and will not let our auto industry simply vanish. this industry is like no other. it's an emblem of the american spirit, a once and future symbol of america's success, a once and future symbol of america's success. it's what helped build the middle-class and sustained it throughout the 20th century, and it's a source of deep pride for the generations of american workers whose hard work and imagination led to some of the finest cars the world has ever known. it's a pillar of our economy that has held up the dreams of millions of our people. these companies and the industry must stand on their own, not at words of the state." so, to conclude, the government's move is aimed at providing stability for the
automobile industry and for american workers across our great nation in these uncertain economic times. our science of th sense-of-the-e resolution affirms that the taxpayer should be protected and the government should get out of the auto business as soon as possible. through this resolution the senate leaves no question about the government's future role in the u.s. auto industry. thank you. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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