tv Capital News Today CSPAN December 17, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EST
increase spending, don't increase the cost and its remarkable shift things to informing the american people and could i just mention one other statistic to a couple of other points made in this poll and the u.s. news and wall street journal in december -- in september 45% of americans say they wanted the plan passed. 39% wanted to, quote, keep the current system. in december this poll today only 41% of the american people want it passed and 44% say keep the current system. and then of course we have another interesting statistic. trust that the government will do what is right. 21% say always most of the time 46% say only some of the time
and 32% of the american people say almost never. and of course, that anger and the disapproval of this health care plan is right now the centerpiece of americans' dissatisfaction of the way we do business and let me just roundup. we don't have a bill, we don't have a bill. we've been debating all this time and we do not have legislation to read this was one of the bills we were presented with, we know that significant changes are being made behind closed doors. we don't have a cbo estimate of the cost to the? we understand they keep sending estimates over to cbo and it comes back so they send them back which probably is why last week the senator from illinois and number two ranking democrat said to me i don't know what's in the bill either. and exciting quote i would say to the senator from arizona that line in the dark almost as much as he is and i am in the
leadership. that's an interesting commentary, and of course the issue of the protection of the rights of the unborn is still unclear. that is a big issue with a lot of americans. it's a big issue with me and it's a big issue with my colleagues. so here we are back off of the bill itself, and apparently we are going to have some kind of vote on christmas eve or something like that. but the american people are seeing now when they see keep the status quo, they are sinking stop, go back to the beginning, sit down in a bipartisan basis and let's get this done but let's get it done right. americans know medicare is going broke, american still costs are rising too quickly but americans want us to do this right and not in a partisan fashion and not with a bill that costs too much, texas two much and deprives people of their benefits.
>> the senator from arizona, i thank him for his comments and i see that we have the two physicians in the senate, dr. colburn, dr. bert casseaux from william. and i wonder if they would bear with me for just a minute or two reflect on something that the minority leader said. i hope the minority leader before too long, and the senator from arizona, the minority leader republican leader talked about historic mistake. there's been a lot of talk about making history on health care. the problem is there are many different kind of history as the republican leader has pointed out it seems our friends on the other side are absolutely determined to pursue a kamikaze, political kamikaze mission to board a historic mistake which will be disastrous for them in the elections of 2010 but much more important that for the country. i've done a little research on historic mistakes. we've made them before in the united states may be wise to take governor schwarzenegger's at fisa slowdown and stop and learn from our history rather
than try to top our previous historic mistakes like the smoot-hawley tariff, that sounded pretty good at that time in 1930 when the idea was to buy american vince but most historians agree it was a mistake and it contributed to the depression. there was the alien and sedition act of 1798, sounded pretty good at that time. we are going to keep these foreigners in our midst. they were mostly french then, from seeing bad things about the government, but it offended all of our traditions of free speech. 1969 congress enacted a millionaire's tax they called it to catch 155 americans who were not paying any taxes. that turned out to be a historic mistake because last year it cut 28 million american tax payers until we had to rush to change it. and just a couple of more there was the catastrophic coverage act of 1988. that was well named because it turned out to be a catastrophe,
congressional catastrophe. the idea was to help seniors deal with financial reverses, but seniors didn't like paying for it. they surrounded the chairman of the ways and means committee in chicago and now the leader of that group is a member of congress and then there was the luxury tax. on boats over $100,000 another historic mistake, because it only raised have the taxes it was supposed to end a nearly sank the boating industry and put 7600 people out of jobs, so i would ask my friends from oklahoma and wyoming, it's going to be a lot harder for congress if they try to fix all this health care system it wants to come back and repeal than it was to repeal a boat tax. don't you think that we ought to take the time to avoid another historic mistake? i would answer my colleague from tennessee as a practicing physician what i see is the
historic mistake as we are going to allow the federal government to allow what kind of care you're going to get. we are going to avoid the loyalty of the opposition. they're going to be an advocate for which the government says because in this bill even the one that is going to count past three different programs that puts government bureaucracy in charge of what to can and cannot have. it doesn't consider what your personal health and past medical history is, what your family history is. they are going to say here is what you can and cannot do. that is called rationing. that is rationing the bill. that's coming and that is a historic mistake because it ruins the best health care system in the world and in the name of trying to fix the smaller problem in terms of access and it ignores the real problem. the problem is health care in this country talk be the cost to much and we know this bill doesn't drive down cost, it increases cost, so your premiums go up, costs go up, your care is going to go down because the government is going to tell you
what you have said that as a historic mistake and we have not addressed that and i wonder what my colleague from glioma and would think. >> i agree completely as a physician practicing medicine taking care of people in wyoming for 25 years i have great concern about this bill at least what we know for sure is in it which is $500 billion of cuts in medicare to our patients who depend on medicare and that is a system we know has gone broke the and that's why there's a front page stories in one of them i wyoming peepers, doctors shortage will worsen. it's going to be harder on the rural communities and other communities around the country if this goes through. and we know that because the folks that looked up the parts of the bill that we have seen, they have said that one-fifth of the hospitals in this country will be if they are able to keep their doors open will be operating at significant loss ten years from now. that's not the best future for health care in our country. but i had a telephone town hall meeting, people from all are
bound wyoming could ask me questions and they said what's in the bill? what's coming to the senate? we don't know yet. we haven't seen that. and they said when you find out what's come home and have more town meetings so we can have input what we think. but that is what we ought to do as a senate. we ought to say what is in the bill, let us go home and see it and share with our friends so we know because right now the american people, what they've seen of this part of the bills, this 2000 page bill, the american people rightly believe this will increase the cost of their own personal care -- >> if my colleague would yield yesterday i asked the chairman of the finance committee to agree to unanimous consent that in fact at least 72 hours the american people get to see this bill, that the members of the senate get to see this bill, that there be a complete cbo's or so we could have an understanding. he denied that request, and that comes back to transparency. the american people expect us to know exactly what we are voting
on and to have read what we are voting on, and his explanation was i can't guarantee that. it presumes a certain level of perception on my part and understanding elving into the minds of the senators they can actually understand, what does understand me and? that's the kind of gibberish the american people want a symbol of we don't want. they brought us to know what we are voting on when we get ready to vote on this bill. >> -- commitment that was made that for 72 hours in the legislation would be on line, not just for us to see but for all americans to see and could i ask the senator from kentucky again, leader, is it not the perception now that this bill is probably going to be pushed through the various parliamentary procedures that we will -- that the majority will try to force a final vote on this legislation no matter what
before we leave, and isn't that in contradiction to what the american people are singing that the majority want us to do nothing? is this the responsible way to govern, to have the senate around the clock, 24 hours, people on the floor, quorum calls and all this kind of stuff? and really there would also be no amendments allowed at that time for us to at least address some of the issues of this bill that begins cutting medicare by 500 billion, increase taxes by 500 billion on january 1st and 4th years begin spending 2.5 trillion. is this a process that the american people are not reacting to in a negative fashion? obviously by polling data and why we, madam president, i ask unanimous consent "the wall street journal" article entitled democrats lose grows deeper in the new poll and support for
health overhaul wayans be included in the record? >> without objection. >> i would say to my friend from arizona with reference to the issue of the process it's been a bit of a charade in fact a total charade. we've been out here two weeks on the amendment process. we've had 21 votes many of them side by side in order to cover the majority against potential downsides of voting to cut medicare and voting to raise taxes. but no serious effort to engage in any kind of genuine and that process such as the senator from arizona and i have been involved in for quite awhile. so and then the bill we are actually only about to have about two votes today on is not the real bill. the real bill, the core is a lot of things around the edges are
being slipped in and slipped out and they want to jam the public before christmas as the senator from arizona indicated, how arrogant is that we know better than you and then the republicans. we know better than the public light of all of you all, the republicans and american public just sit down and shut up and leave it to us and we will take care of it before christmas. >> to the republican leader the center of kentucky there is another little bit of history being made to read this bill, this process is historic in its arrogance. this isn't very hard to understand. i mean, the proposal is to take 16, 17% of our economy affecting 300 million americans, nothing could be more personal as the kentucky senator said then our health care and we don't have
the bill. we do not have the bill. it's being written in secret in another room, and if there is any part of this the date that went through to every single household in america i believe it was when the finance committee voted down the motion the democrats voted down the motion the bill should be on the web for 72 hours so the american people could see the text, would cost and know how it affects them. eight democratic senators wrote the democratic leader and said we want to insist we know with the text is, that we have the officials core from the congressional budget office and that we have eight for 72 hours before we move to vote. now we don't have the bill. we don't have the officials or from the congressional budget office. 72 hours is three more days. and even though eight democratic senators and all the republican senators said we want to know what it costs, know what it is
and how it affects us they want to run through before christmas. >> maybe could i just mention my colleagues have maybe the reason why they don't want it to be on the line for 72 hours is because when they examine what we have on page 324 on this bill 8 billion-dollar tax on individuals that have on government, quote, approved plans. page 348, 28 billion-dollar tax on businesses that cannot afford to offer insurance to their employees. page 1979 race is almost 150 billion-dollar tax on many middle class workers using so-called cadillac health insurance plans. page 1997 will cost families and individuals an additional 5 billion by prohibiting the use of savings set aside for health care expenses. page 2010 meek the cost of life-saving medicine more
expensive by taxing pharmaceutical research firms. 22 billion. this goes on and on including page 2040 increasing medicare payroll taxes by $53.8 billion. that's one reason why maybe it's going to be difficult for them to win passage of this after 72 hours of examining this 2,000 page bill. >> it makes this bill in addition to its other problems a job killer. with unemployment at 10% a big tax increase on a variety of different americans as senator mccain pointed out in addition to its other problems it substantive problems, its process problems it is a job killer and the middle of a very difficult recession. >> i would say to my colleagues the lack of transparency, one of the things my friend, president obama said he wanted was transparency. there's been no transparency in this process, and that's why at least if there is no -- there's not going to be transparency in
the process. we ought to at least at it transparent to the american people for 72 hours. and then even that quote from the chairman of the finance committee as i think it's impossible to certify that any senator will fully understand. so we are going to have a 2,000 plus page bill and the chairman of the finance committee says he thinks it's going to be impossible to certify that any senator will fully understand this bill. that's the best reason i know not to pass this bill because if we don't understand it you can bet the american people aren't going to understand. >> that seems to be the reason -- >> americans are beginning to understand they don't want it. that's thanks to the efforts that have been made over this country to educate the american people about the impact of this bill would be. >> fall and what you're saying that's why the support american people for this bill is at an
all-time low, lowest level of support ever. this is the new nbc poll out yesterday, fewer than one out of three americans support this bill. they don't know what is in it but they sure don't like what they see so far because they all believe overwhelming numbers believe that their own cost of their own care will go up, that this will add to the deficit, it will hurt the economy and that the health care would actually be better if we pass nothing so why would the american people support a bill that is actually going to cost them more personally and their health care is going to get worse? that's not devalue the american people have ever wanted. so that's what i hear from my patients at home and on telephone town hall meetings and when visitors come from wyoming but that's what we are hitting in all of our states and what the american people continue to say do not pass this bill. as our leader said we do need health care reform and dr. colburn certainly knows that but it's not this reform that we
need. >> we come to the floor every day and point out the problems with the bill. we've done that today. we don't have a bill, can treated, don't know how much it cost, don't know how much it affects the american people. we point out that it raises taxes, it raises premiums, it will increase the debt because it doesn't include a lot of things like the physicians reimbursement and it cuts medicare by a trillion dollars over ten years once it is fully implemented but we also point out what we think should be done and what we think should be done, the colleagues here talked about it many times is instead of wheeling and another 2,000 page bill we should focus on the goal of reducing cost and then take several steps towards reducing cost and the senator from arizona talked about one of those, which is reducing the number of jonquils suits against doctors plight don't think that's anywhere in the bill unless it is secretly being added in the backroom today.
>> that is one might help is being added. but again, i also want to point out americans are now against passage of this legislation, but in that polling data it's very interesting also to the majority of seniors by much larger numbers deductible beneficiaries of medicare are turning against it and the intensity of americans against it, which is harder to gauge in a poll. it's incredible. if the responses that our efforts are getting our anything indicative of the mood of the american people and the intensity of it, it is probably as great as i have ever seen in the years that i have had the privilege of serving in the congress of the united states. and this polling data it says more americans now believe it is better to keep the current health system than to pass president obama's plan, it is
the message that is being sent and the intensity of it is higher than any that i have ever observed in my eight years of service, and i thank them for that because there is a chance, there is a chance we could stop this, start beginning in january we would be willing to come back, sit together and negotiate with the c-span cameras, with the c-span cameras as the president committed that he would do as a candidate and we would sit down together here at the white house, anywhere and fix the system which we know needs fixed because as the senator from oklahoma said it's the cost that has to be addressed, not the quality. >> i would like to bring up an example, which is we are calling to see time and time again if this bill goes through. we've u.s. prevented if health task force put out a recommendation on breast cancer
screening through mammography. on the basis of cost, and with the set was it's not cost-effective to screen women under 50 with mammograms because you have to screen 1900 before you find one breast cancer. but comparing, and on the cost they are right but over 50 you have to screen 1470. so what we had was a decision made on cost, not quality, not patients but based on cost. we fixed that s part of the amendment to this bill. we actually fixed that. there's three different agencies within this bill that are going to do the same thing. every time they make a ruling based on cost, not clinical outcomes and what is best for patients are we going to fix it? we are transferring the care of the american patient to the
three bureaucracies within the federal government, and they are going to decide what you have to do. and if you think about it, just this week the wife of a member of this body was diagnosed with breast cancer and was diagnosed through a mammogram. and under that task force recommendation she wouldn't have gotten it. >> can i ask the senator from oklahoma with that aspect of this bill come to light if it hadn't have been the recommendation made by another of similarly acting policy body? in other words that is what triggered the investigation of what was in this bill which would have had exactly the same affect. so if we hadn't had that information of a recommendation by another government policy-making bureaucracy, this -- we would not have known about this on until the bill would have taken effect. >> so there is no transparency
and what we do know that is transparent is we are going to have three organizations come medicare advisory commission, cost-effective this, cost competitive effectiveness panel and the u.s. preventive health task force that's going to tell everybody in america what they are going to receive. >> this example would never have been known if it hadn't been for the actions of the dock receipt. so doesn't that bring into question what else is buried in this 2000 page piece of legislation? >> what are the unintended consequence of this they don't know? what we do know is there's 70 new government programs going to require over 20,000 federal employees with 1619 different times when the secretary of hhs is going to write rules and regulations about your health care in america pick the secretary, not your doctor isn't krin to write rules and regulations what your best care is. the secretary of hhs is going to write the rules.
>> let me point out again we don't know what the cbo estimate is because we know the majority leader keeps bouncing proposals back to cbo back and forth. that is why we don't have any cbo information now for many days. but there is the commission for medicare and medicaid that clearly points out that this legislation would increase taxes dramatically, increased cost dramatically and decrease care and would have the effect of forcing people not only out of the system, but even if they are in the medicare system they would not have physicians to provide the care because more and more physicians would fail to treat medicare patients. >> so we go back to the 72 hours? we are going to get a new build. we are not going to have the opportunity to amend it. we are not going to get the time to read and study it. the american people are not keen to get time to read and study what you think the outcome of that is going to be?
>> i think we know what the outcome -- we will either be able to reflect the feelings and intense feelings of the american people about the majority about this legislation and say let's go back to square one, but all commit to a bipartisan approach to this issue or we will see jam through on christmas eve legislation that will have the most far reaching effects and devastating effects i think not only on our ability to provide much needed medical care to all of our citizens but also in pact would be devastating on the debt and deficit which we have already laid unconscionable burden so we have two choices here it seems to me. back to the beginning and enact many reforms we could agree on and there are many of them we could agree on immediately on a
bipartisan fashion and as the senator from tennessee pointed out, they're has never been a fundamental reform made in the modern history that was not bipartisan, or we are going to see jammed through over objections of majority of americans legislation they've never seen or read or understand so that's the choice between us, that is what this choice is boiling down to, and i think that frankly the american people should be heard, not the majority over on the other side. >> the american people are saying don't cut my medicare, don't raise my taxes, don't make things worse than they are right now and this bill cuts medicare, raises taxes and for people depending upon the health care system in this country this makes things worse. >> by the way, could i mention a few live long enough all things can happen. i now find myself in complete
agreement with dr. howard dean who says we should stop this bill in its tracks, we should go back to the beginning and have an overall bipartisan agreement. dr. dean, i am with you. >> the senator from pennsylvania. >> mr. president i ask unanimous consent i may speak up to 20 minutes. >> without objection. >> i have sought recognition to comment about the patient protection and affordable care act, and it has been an extraordinary legislative process with a good bet of the calendar year 2009 taken up with very intensive work to try to pass health care reform. and at the moment there is still doubt as to what will happen with the bill.
the congressional budget office has not yet submitted a report on the so-called managers package and there is still some concern being expressed by some senators, and i can understand the frustration some have had as we have moved away from a public option. i have been an advocate of safe robust public option and think that it ought to be part of the legislation. the public option is just what it says, it is an option. there have been efforts made to demagogue the issue by saying it is a takeover by the federal government. well, it is not. the private insurance industry remains in the field, and this is one option. as president obama has put it is
an option to try to keep the private insurance companies honest. we have seen in the past several months very large increases in the premiums for small business. and the reports have been that those increases in premiums have come from wall street pressure on the insurance companies to try to increase their profits before there is a legislation. well, the public option would be a forceful factor in dealing. when the objections were raised in the public auction of 60 votes it is difficult when you have no help at all from the republican side of the aisle illustrated by the performance just put on on their prepared
colloquy. it is not easy to find everyone an agreement and then there was an effort to move to expanding medicare, and i think that as a fallback position that would have been very, very helpful. and there are some who are contending that people who are disappointed in the of lack of a public auction, disappointed from the retreat from expanding medicare to say that we ought to start over and began again, and i can -- and i can understand that frustration. health legislative achievements take a period of time to accomplish. the civil rights act of 1957 was necessary, although it didn't go
as far as people would have liked then to get the civil rights act of 1964. again, didn't go as far as people would have liked. but we did find the civil rights act of 1965. and we have to find times when we have to build incrementally on these matters. and i have been in the senate following the elections of 1980, and i've seen matters take a very, very substantial period of time. while it's not on the subject, trying to -- trying to provide more than 100,000 jobs in more than 100,000 jobs in well it is not on the subject, trying to provide more than 100,000 jobs in pennsylvania, by deepening the channel. the authorization came in 1983, it took until 1992 to get the corps of engineers to agree in funding. it now has 77 million modelers
and we are still in court but it is going to move forward. i don't expect health care legislation to take that kind of a long term, but it is a matter which does take some time. it is my hope that we will yet improved this bill. it is my hope that when the bill goes to conference that we will find ways, perhaps even to bring back the public option in a refined sense. the public option is in the house bill. one republican senator, who has stated opposition on the ground that there hasn't been time enough to review the bill. well, it is complicated. i think there has been time enough to review the bill but i respect the view of the senator on the other side of the aisle and when the bill goes to conference that senator will have an opportunity to review
the bill further and that senator has shown some inclination to support the bill having floated it out of the finance committee. another republican senator has commented that the bill has been very greatly improved, not sufficiently for the taste of that senator but perhaps we will find a way to improve the bill. and we still do have a bicameral legislature. we do have the house of representatives, which has the public option. comments were made about the fall of the expansion of medicare on the ground that it was considered too brief a period of time, not enough time to digest it, not enough time to think through it. well, we will have the month of january, some time to consider that further and in conference we may well find we are able to
improve the bill. now we can't get the conference unless we pass the bill out of the united states senate. i was asked yesterday, how will i respond to my constituents if we have the bill which has had so much taken from it, and i said more relevant question or an equally relevant question is how i respond to my 12 million constituents in pennsylvania if we go home with nothing, and that if we have 80% accomplished, then that is a great achievement or it is a starting achievement. and it may well be that it will take the campaign in 2010, if this united states congress will not pass a bill with a robust
public option, it could well be a campaign issue. i believe that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle may well be misleading the american people. i believe the american people do want health reform. and it does take time for the american people to understand the ramifications of it, but this may well be that a campaign issue in 2010 of the 111th congress may have a different feel. as to how we ought to proceed. during the month of august, when i was making the rounds in the town meetings and pennsylvania and of course my habit to cover almost every county almost every year, when i got to the first town meeting on the second tuesday in august, the first week we were in recess i found
instead of the customary 85 or 100 people more than 1,000 people in three national television sound tracks, cnn, msnbc and fox and there were a lot of statements. one man approached me apoplectic i think he got mixed up. i think he meant to say that i was going to stand before the lord. senators are reputed to have power but not quite that much power. well, i think the public tanner is considerably more favorable to health care insurance today than it was then and after the 2010 election it may be substantially more favorable. but i think we have to move ahead with building blocks and we do have the chance to improve the building conference. i would point to the provisions of the bill though as to what we have. we have very significant
insurance reforms, eliminating discrimination based on preexisting conditions. we have new health insurance exchanges. we have and the elimination of a cap. we cover many of the uninsured, expanding to some 33 million additional people. substantially more small business assistance, preventative care, increase health workforce. we have improvements in the health delivery system. we have fiscal responsibility that this bill will not add to the deficit but will let fact reduce the deficit in the first decade by some $120 billion in the second decade by some $650 billion. we have a provision that i have pressed in earlier legislation, senate bill 914 that is a
transformational medicine. during my tenure as chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on health and human services, i took the lead with the concurrence of senator harkin who was then in the minority, to increase at my age funding from 12 to $30 billion. then in the stimulus package to add $10 billion more, and there has been a gapper and what we call transformational medicine, going from the so-called laboratory to the bench side, and while i haven't seen the final version of the managers packet i am informed that that provision will be a part of the bill. we have a very important measure for preventive care and for annual exams, which will cut off many chronic illnesses which are
so debilitating and so expensive. i have pressed an amendment which is pending to have mandatory jail sentences for at least six months for someone convicted of $100,000 or more of medicare or medicaid fraud. and a jail sentence-- jail sentences are a real deterrent. the experience i had as philadelphia's dea, when you have a fine added on to the cost of doing business passed on to the consumers, and i would ask consent that the statement of the provisions which i briefly summarize which are very favorable in this bill and a statement of testimony in a criminal justice subcommittee hearing be admitted, showing the value of deterrence. >> without objection.
>> mr. president, how much time do i have remaining? >> the senator has seven minutes remaining. >> i thank the chair. mr. president there is another very very important aspect in my opinion of the senate enacting legislation on this bill, and that is we were sent to washington to govern, and what we have seen in the recent past has been a staggering partisan politics. partisan politics became a bloodsport in washington d.c.. it is a bloodsport on the floor of the united states senate. it pervades the entire town, and the point from the republican
side of the aisle has been very clear. that is to make this president obama's waterloo, to make this, to quote break president obama, closed quote. and i sauve the ramifications when we took up the stimulus package earlier this year, and there were only three republicans, senator snowe, senator collins, myself to even talk to the democrats. and there was a determination to look ahead to the 2012 elections on the presidency, even before the ink was dry on the oath of office taken by president obama on january 20th. this was the second week of february, the week of february 6th as i recall, just a couple of weeks and already the
plans were for the next election. as i reviewed the matter, it seemed to me that we were on the brink of going into a 1929 depression. the 1929 depression was very hard on the specter family, living in wichita kansas at the time. both of my parents were immigrants in the mid 30's. the family moved from which to talk to philadelphia to live with my father's sister. that is what happened in the depression. you moved in with relatives because there were no jobs, and i had sided with supporting the stimulus package and played a key role in having that enacted, and the political consequences on the personal level are not something to be discussed in this forum at this time, but the conduct of partisanship on the
stimulus package is directly relevant to what we are dealing with here today. and that is we are being stonewalled. and, i think it is harder for republicans to stand up on health care reform and joined the democrats today than it was in january and in february when three of us did so. and, if i were on the other side of the aisle today i would be supporting health care reform. i would be supporting it. and perhaps if i were on the other side of the aisle today i could bring somebody with me. i don't know, that is entirely speculative and without revealing any more of the confidence which went inside the republican caucus when i talked about a republican senator's statement that there should be the waterloo of president obama and they should break him, those are matters, those are matters
of public record but the pressure over there in the republican caucus is absolutely intense. and, we were sent here to govern, and a democratic caucus in the presiding officer, the distinguished senator from colorado, was there on monday evening when my turn came to speak. i had to sentences and made the record show a smile on the face of the presiding officer. i have to sentences. one sinton this the great-- bill is a great deal better in the second seven is we should not let obstructionism prevents us from governing. and that is why i cross the aisle to make the 60th vote. very surprised, been in the newspapers ever sense, stood up and applauded and i'd ran in one
of the hill newspapers today that you could hear the applause done the corridors of the new what was going on. well, that is the role it seems to me of the united states senator, and we are facing a situation where, if defeated, we will have a significant impact on the ten year of president obama. we had a meeting on tuesday, two days ago, and the executive office building and it was rather a remarkable setting. there was a large rectangular table, and in the center on each side, one side with president obama and the other side was vice president biden and with all the 60 senators present. i believe everybody else was present. and during the course of that
session, the president expressed himself and this has also been publicized, that if the action was not taken now that it would discourage anyone from the foreseeable future, and the president from undertaking health care reform. now, with both houses and 60 members of the democratic party you can't get it through the senate and get it conference and get it enacted. some of those who were most vocal urged, the most vocal in favor of the public option urged those in the caucus who disagreed to reconsider their position. and i would renew that request, that they reconsider their position. and the people who would classify themselves as most progressive in the democratic caucus have swallowed hard and have announced publicly that they would support this bill even though it doesn't have the
robust public option, doesn't have the medicare expansion, and that made, that makeshift yet. but, we have an enormous number of problems facing this country. i think it is fair to say accurate to say, 30 seconds more mr. president? >> without objection. >> tharin eckard to say that there are more pressing problems confronting the united states today than at any time in our history and we have to finish health care next year to move ahead to jobs. we have the issues of global warming and climate control. we have the problems with the mideast peace process, the difficulties and iran and north korea and afghanistan and we need a strong president. and we need a congress, which has the courage to act, the tenacity and willingness to
confront problems. and we need to show the american people that it is not all the gridlock here, that it is not all desperate, desolate partisan politics. so am i vogt will be in favor of the bill although i am frankly disappointed and i share the frustration expressed by many people who say go back and start again. this is a significant step forward. we have a great chance to improve it in conference and beyond that there will be another congress and with the analogy of civil rights legislation we can get the public option and get the greater public, governmental involvement for the benefit of the american people. i thank the chair and yield the floor. >> thank you mr. president. mr. president i come to the floor today on behalf of over 10,000 constituents from my home state of washington who have sent me letters and e-mails over
the past six months to tell me their stories and their struggles with our health care system. and i come to the floor today on behalf of the thousands more who don't have the time or don't have the resources to write to me and ask for help, but you are struggling as well. mr. president i come to the floor today on behalf of small business owners, parents, senior citizens and people with preexisting conditions, people with insurance whose premiums are skyrocketing and people without insurance, who spend their nights praying they don't have an accident or fall ill. mr. president, these people are all worried about keeping their jobs and making the mortgage payment and four hum the cost of getting sick today are being dropped from their health care plan or opening their mail to see another premium increase is
just too much to bear. and mr. president those are the people who deserve a real debate and the real plan, not distortions or silly distractions. like conversations about how many pages are in this health care bill. what is more important than the number of pages in this health care bill is the help with the nails pages for businesses and families across this country. now mr. president i have watched day after day after day after day as our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have come down to this floor. they have made outrageous claims. they have handed out reams of paper and sent copies of the senate bill on top of copies of the house bill to try and turn a serious debate into a side show. but if my colleagues on the other side want to focus on pages, fine. let's focus on pages. mr. president beside me is a
photo of a woman named doreen kelsey and in front of doreen is a stack of papers. those are hundreds upon hundreds of pages of forms and rejection letters and appeals and the nylz from her insurance company. these are pages that have taken hours and hours to fill out, and that have stood between doreen's guzman and the care that he desperately needed. eun no imad doreen adi roundtable i posted in august in spokane, washington in my state. dahrain told me that she isn't able to purchase your own health insurance, because she has a preexisting condition. luckily she and her family have health insurance-- coverage. dahrain told me that she and tony thought their family had a good insurance coverage.
but, when he asked for a colonoscopy, they soon discovered the links to which insurance companies will go to deny, to delay and to dispute the care that families like the kelsey's assumed were included in their coverage. their insurance carrier told them that before they would pay for this preventative care it would have to be approved by a primary care physician. after being delayed for more than a month because of that requirement in this little stack of papers here the colonoscopy old confirmed their fears and he was diagnosed with stage iv colon cancer. now, that diagnosis in the end that the kelsey's were determined to be this terrible disease together, but rather than focusing on fighting cancer, they were forced to fight their insurance company. now, doreen told me although they have faithfully paid their premiums for out their entire
working lives, now that tony desperately needed lifesaving treatment, he was in a constant struggle of paperwork with his insurance company to pay for even return care. they were not asking for anything new. they were asking for anything experimental. they were just asking for the kind of care that a lifetime of paid premiums should entitle them to. the kelsey process and what most americans do when they are paying for good health insurance. they assume that while the insurance may be expensive it would be there for them when they needed it. mr. president doreen ender family like many american families and businesses have come to find out that in our current health insurance system, stability is sometimes nothing more than an illusion. with each procedure and each battle, the kelsey's face the new fight.
more paperwork, stacked on more paperwork, another appeal and another appeal in that one point doreen told me that she had to appeal all the way to the state insurance regulators just to get a corrected explanation of benefits, the paperwork, formed from her insurance company. and she told me they had to borrow thousands of dollars to pay doctors while their claims were tied up in what seemed like an endless appeals process, the paperwork mr. president. the kelsey's insurance now cost more than their mortgage and they are constantly worried that tony's employer could drop the coverage. now, thankfully she told me that tony is successfully working hard to battle his cancer and doreen in the meantime has successfully been battling her insurance company but this is and how our system should work mr. president.
and when we passed the bill in front of the senate we are debating on, it won't be, so let me tell all of you and the kelsey's how are bill will help them. first of all, our bill ends that insurance company discrimination for preexisting conditions so in the first place doreen can then be able to purchase insurance on her own and not have to rely on her husband's employer. doreen would also have access to a number of different plans tyrannic change were setting up where insurance companies for the first time would have to compete for her business. our plan would inject competition into the insurance market and that mr. president we know will lower costs and give families like doreen passmore choices. our plan also makes it illegal for insurance companies to drop people when they get sick so doreen and tony would not have to worry about losing their
coverage at the moment they need it the most and friends we know that preventive care is critical to saving lives and saving money on health care costs long term. our bill ensures free preventive services wonder all insurance plans. our plan invest in prevention and public health, to encourage innovations in health care that prevent illness and disease before they require more costly treatment. it would have allowed tony to get a colonoscopy when he first needed it so he could get his treatment started sooner. mr. president we also know that families deserve the security and stability of knowing that if they or their loved one to get sick they will not be forced into bankruptcy to pay for the costs. our build or restrict the arbitrary limits that insurance companies currently place on the amount of coverage that families receive.
caps the total amount that insurance companies can make people pay out-of-pocket on co-pays in deductibles. and it eliminates the lifetime limits insurance companies can impose on coverage. now in addition to putting in place those important consumer protections that would help people like doreen and tony, it would give families the stability they deserve and lower the cost of care, so americans like tawney and doreen won't have coverage that costs as much or more than their mortgage and we do that by putting in place premium rate refuse to track increases and crackdown on excessive insurance company overhead costs. windpower bill passes and mr. president i am confident we will, despite the delay in the delay and the delay we are seeing on the other side of the aisle insurance companies will no longer be allowed to hike up doreen's payments and they will
then put to work battling her claims and we provide sliding scale premium tax credits, tax credits for families who still can't afford coverage which would help in my home state of washington, about 450,000 people, get the coverage that they need. mr. president the bill before us today, which my colleagues, some of them have sitting on their desks to show is the pages, will help families like the kelsey's. that is what is within those pages that we keep saying throne fs, so i think mr. president rather than talking about the number of pages in the bill, i hope our colleagues on the other side actually talk about what is in it because right now instead of debating the merits of bringing down costs, the protecting families from losing coverage when they get sick our colleagues are reckless spending time complaining this bill has too many pages.
mr. president i as you and our colleagues on the other side to take a look this photo of doreen sitting next to the hundreds and hundreds of pages of correspondence and appeals and fights with her insurance company. these are the pages we ought to be talking about. these are the pages that impact people's lives. and the kelsey's are the people we ought to be talking about so when my colleagues come on down here and complain about the number of pages in our health reform bill those pages that will help our families and businesses lower costs, i want them to think about the number of pages right here in front of doreen. these are pages that have caused the kelsey's unimaginable part ake than these are the pages that have come between them and the health care that they paid for. these are the numbers we ought to be focusing on, the 14,000 people who are losing coverage every day are the numbers we have to be focusing on. the 51 million people who have no insurance, those are the
numbers we ought to be focusing on, not the number of pages in the bill. mr. president, we have got to end the politics and the delay in the partisanship. we need to end the substruction because that is what the kelsey's faced every day and was delay and obstruction and they are facing it again here on the floor of the united states senate. it is time for us to come together on this important bill and bring our businesses and families the insurance reform the and asking for. mr. president, i hope that is what americans will remember. at the end of the day the pages in this bill are going to change their lives so they don't have to fight their insurance companies again. >> the u.s. senate is coming back in session after a five hour recess. they will work on a 636 billion-dollar defense spending measure for 2010. and an hour they will vote to limit debate on the bill for three hours. if approved those three hours will expire saturday morning when the chamber can take a final vote on the bill.
the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. and our guest chaplain, senator barrasso of wyoming, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: please join me in prayer. >> almighty god, we praise you for the constancy and consistency for your guidance in whres blessing unite bless senad states through our years of history. we turn to you again today and know that you will be faithful
to give the weapo women and menf this senate exactly what is needed in each hour, each challenge, each decision. give us light when our vision is dim, courage when we need to be bold, decisiveness when it would be easy to equivocate, and hope when others are tempted to be discouraged. so we commit ourselves to be your faithful servants, examples of patriotism to our people and crusaders for your best for our nation. in your holy name. amen. the presiding officer: thank you, senator. please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. 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, december 18, 2009. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable al franken, a senator from the state of minnesota, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: robert c. byrd, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the leader. , majority leader. mr. reid reid: i ask unanimous consent the time until 1:00 a.m. equally divided and controlled between the leaders or their designees, that senators be permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each, that the mandatory quorum be waived and the majority leader be recognized for the last ten minutes and the ten minutes prior to that, the republican leader be recognized if he chooses to speak. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, those who are following the business of the senate may be surprised to find us a little after midnight in session. this is a decision made by the senate just a few hours ago to postpone the continuation of our session into a new legislative day. the purpose is parliamentary so that a motion which we have filed can be voted on. it's an important motion. it's a cloture motion. we often have them. it's a motion that closes debate on the floor and moves us forward to the consideration of the measure, and they are very few measures that the senate would consider any more important than the one we're about to vote on. in about an hour or less, we'll be voting for the defense appropriation bill. this is a bill which is critically important to our
nation's defense and security, as secretary gates reminded us today in a letter to the united states senate. it's also a bill that's important to the men and women in uniform, those who are in harm's way overseas, literally risking their lives while we meet in the safety of this senate chamber. the bill contains a 3.4% pay raise for our military, richly deserved for the men and women who serve us. it also will be a pay raise appreciated by their families, many of whom wait patiently for the return of their loved one. there's money in this as well for families -- military families to make sure that not only the service members but their spouses and children have health care. it's a very basic requirement of life and one that we want to provide for all of our men and women in uniform and their families. there is certainly an allotment and allocation in here for equipment which our men and women in uniform will need to perform their missions and come
home safely. readiness and training. it covers a wide range of important expenditures for our national security. there's no more important bill when it comes to the safety of our troops and for our endorsement and support of what they are giving for our country. in addition to that, there are provisions added by the house which are critically important at this moment in our history. we extend for several months the unemployment benefits for the millions of americans who've lost their job during this recession. although we see things getting a little better in the economy, there are still a lot of people suffering because of unemployment. they've not only lost their jobs, many have expended their savings, they've lost their health insurance, they may lose their homes and they're struggling. this bill extends for a short period of time those unemployment benefits and sop help to pay for health insurance -- some help to pay for health insurance.
it's also a bill that provides for food stamps. i wish this nation didn't need food stamps but we need them desperately. one out of six people on the state of
michigan are on food staches because of the -- food stamps because of the state of their economy. and many states with high unemployment are near that. the food stamps provide literally the basics and necessities of life for these families. you would think as i describe this bill that it would pass in the senate by the same overwhelming margin that it just passed in the house two days a ago. in the house, the vote was, if i recall correctly, in the range of 393-35 or something close to that. it was an overwhelming bipartisan vote. 164 republican congressmen voted for it, and it's an understandable -- it's understandable why. it was a vote of confidence in our men and women in uniform. it was a vote of support for them. and it was a vote of compassion and caring for all the people suffering in this great recession. and yet we may find -- i hope it
isn't true -- but we may find that in just a few moments, this will become a strictly partisan vote. i hope that doesn't happen. it shouldn't. it was not a
partisan issue in the house of representatives. but many have said on the other side of the aisle that they will not vote to support our troops with this appropriation nor provide money for the unemploy unemployed. i don't question their patriotism or their commitment to our men and women in uniform. they are doing it because of a -- a -- a political or procedural approach that they want to use to try to stop or slow down health care reform. i think they picked the wrong bill for it. i think that we've had a healthy debate, a vigorous debate and we're likely to have that debate continue for the next several days. but why are we putting the men and women in uniform in the middle of this debate? they didn't ask for that. they asked to serve our country, to be respected for that service and have some help so they could come home safely, and that's
what this bill does. i hope in 1:00 a.m., in just a few minutes from now, that those on the other side of the aisle will reconsider their opposition to the department of defense appropriation bill. if there was ever a time when we should stand together in solidarity between those -- for those who defend our country, it's now. and i would hope that many on the republican side of the aisle will join us in that effort in a bipartisan effort in a show of support for these men and women in uniform. there is plenty of time for debate but there's also a time for debate to end. there comes a moment after we have tried our best and engaged in debate and amendments when a vote should be taken and the senate should decide. we are dragging this series of votes out on health care reform i think to a degree which is unnecessary. at some point and some point soon, we should take the vote and see if there are literally 60 votes in the united states senate for health care reform.
having done our best on our side of the aisle to argue the case, those on the other side have argued against it and now the people of america should have the last word through their elected senators. i would urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who tried yesterday to stop the proceedings, or at least slow them down by requiring the reading of an amendment and are trying now through the postponement of this vote -- attempt to postpone this vote on the department of defense appropriation bill, to accept the verdict of the senate. there should reach a point when we do that and we should do it in a timely fashion. denying members of the senate, both sides of the aisle, an opportunity to be home with their families, not to mention our poor staff, the people around here who work night and day to support our efforts, denying them a chance to be home with their families and one last perhaps -- in one last perhaps vain effort to stop a vote on health care reform, really doesn't speak as well of this institution as it should. i hope those on the other side of the aisle will have reached a conclusion after two days in
trying to stop this process that it is better for us to have a record vote. if they believe this bill is so bad, they have a chance to vote against it. those of us who support it will be on record for it. then let the american people decide. let them decide in the next election or let them decide in response to us. but i hope that come 1:00 this morning when we vote on the department of defense appropriation bill, we will have a solid, bipartisan vote in support of our men and women in uniform. they deserve no less. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: who yields time?
mrs. hutchison: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, i know that we are going to eventually vote on the d.o.d. -- the department of defense appropriations bill and it may pass tonight, the -- cloture may be invoked. if it isn't, it will be in 30 hours. so i think that the bill that is before us is not what is driving actually the timing of this vote at 12:15 in the morning on friday morning. i think that what is driving it is health care and i believe that all of us are going to support the -- or many of -- most of us are going to support the department of defense
appropriations bill when the time is right. but i think that it is very important that we have the opportunity to talk about the health care bill that is the underlying bill that will be the next piece of legislation that is considered. and i hope that people are looking at the underlying bill that we have before us because it is -- it's so important for the quality of every family, every person in this country that we have a health care system that is affordable, is available, and is the quality health care that we've known in our country for all these years. and i think what concerns so many of us is that we're concerned that if we have a health care reform that instead
of providing more access to more people for -- to have the quality health care that we all want every american to have, that we're going to lose the choices and the patient-doctor relationships if we have a health care takeover that increases costs. and the bill that is the underlying bill is actually going to start taxing every drug that people take, every medical equipment piece of equipment that they buy, and insurance companies that are going to have to raise their prices to accommodate the taxes that are in the bill. the bill starts the taxes two weeks from today, two weeks from
today, the taxes on this health care bill start. the health care bill itself doesn't start for four years, so i think that the people of america are saying, what am i hearing? what am i hearing that taxes start next year, but there's no health program that will give me some kind of new option for four years. it just really doesn't seem like the way we have had policy made in our country before, where you would be taxed for four years before there would ever be a program that you could sign up for. so i think that's what we are going to be dealing with in the next few days, and i think the people of america are very concerned about the bill and the explanations of the bill that we
hear. now, it could be that this bill has changed. we don't know because we haven't seen a new bill come forward, but we've heard that a new bill is being written. so we don't know for sure what it says. but the bill that was introduced and that we have been debating for three weeks now has tax increases. it's about half a trillion dollars over a ten-year period of tax increases, mandates, employer business expenses, individual mandates for every person to have to have health care coverage or pay a fine. and it could be $750 per person, the fine; it could go up from there. every employer is going to have to offer a specified type of health care coverage, or they're going to have a mandate that will require fines as well. so, i think the american people have been watching this debate
and trying to listen to what -- what's in this bill, and what i'm getting in my office is more questions. i have had teletown meetings, and people are calling in with questions. they're legitimate questions. and when they hear that there are so many taxes and mandates and then the government is going to start saying, what would be covered in any kind of plan, people are becoming very concerned. and i think that what happened a few weeks ago, the task force that came out and changed the guidelines for mammograms in this country for women, we've all been told for so many years that early detection is what has saved lives. and, in fact, that's true. we know that early detection has saved lives. so women have been encouraged to
get mammograms starting at the age of 40, and at the age of 40, they start having mammograms on an annual basis. but a few weeks ago, a task force -- a task force that's a part of the bill that would have the government single-pair system -- the task force then began to change the guidelines, and the guidelines were then that you don't need to have a mammogram under the age of 50, so you don't need mammograms at the age of 40. you start at 50 and then it's every other year. well, that concerned women all over our country, and this task force that made this recommendation is the same task force that is going to be making the recommendations about what kind of health care coverage there will be in the underlying bill that is before us. so it begins to look like there is going to be a government task
force saying what will be covered in a government plan, and that it's no longer women who are 40 and above. it's now women who are 50 and above. so those women between 40 and 50 are not going to have that same kind of access, and i just think it's a concern that people are saying, well, if it's going to happen on mammograms, what else is it going to happen on? what else is going to be taken away from me by a government task force instead of my doctor and me making that decision? so, i think that there are many questions in this bill, many questions about what this means to my doctor-patient relationship. and i think people around the country would like for us to say, let's stop here.
let's do this in a way that people know how it's going to affect them, how it's going to affect their families. i think people want to know more about this bill before all of a sudden, just before christmas, we have a health care reform bill and it has taxes, it has more mandates on business, in a very tough economic climate, and it has taxes that start actually next year, and it has a half a trillion cuts in medicare over a ten-year period -- half a trillion dollars in cuts in medicare. half a trillion dollars. now, that's $500 billion in medicare cuts. people were asking me from texas, what does that mean? it means that you're going to have severe cuts in medicare advantage, and there are hundreds of thousands of texans
that have medicare advantage and like medicare advantage. but that is going to be severely curtailed in this bill. the payments to hospitals, the underpayment to hospitals for medicare patients has always been brought back up so that hospitals could break even. but that's not the case in this bill, because those payments are going to be cut. so the underpayment to hospitals is going to be a part of this bill. now, that's going to hurt our rural hospitals. we're very concerned about the rural hospitals that are already having a hard time. their costs are higher, and they -- they have a harder time making ends meet. so we're worried about the quality of care that people are going to get, particularly in our rural areas, with these cuts to medicare. there will be cuts to home health care, there will be cuts
to hospice, nursing homes, the long-term care. these are the cuts in medicare that are not going to shore up medicare. they're going to a new program at the expense of medicare coverage, medicare treatment for medicare patients. so, mr. president, here we are. it's 1:20 -- 12:25. we're going to be voting in about 30 minutes, 1:00 in the morning, and it just seems like it's time for us to say, the american people are very concerned about this bill, and wouldn't it be better to start all over and have a bipartisan effort, where republicans and democrats can sit down together and lay out the principles that
we would want in health care reform? principles would be lower costs. principles would be making sure that more people have access to coverage, with bigger pools to lower the cost of premiums. i think my time is up, and i will certainly yield the floor to those who are wishing to speak, and i just hope that we can start over. it's more important to do this right than to do it fast. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, many who are filibustering this defense appropriations bill tonight are filibustering because they want to delay health care. they want to delay the health care reform legislation from being voted on. so the bill that provides the funding to support our men and women in uniform who are serving on the front lines, often under arduous and dangerous
circumstances, to protect our nation is being filibustered to keep the senate from acting on another unrelated piece of legislation. this is not only unbelievable; it is unconscionable. a 3.4% pay raise for the troops is being filibustered, additional funding for needed medical research in traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress syndrome and to improve the care, the medical care, for our wounded warriors is being filibustered tonight. funding to provide over 6,000 m wrap vehicles -- shows are the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that are so desperately needed by our troops in afghanistan, is being filibustered tonight. $1.8 million -- $1.8 billion for the joint -- what is called the
joint i.e.d. organization, which iwhichhas one commission, that o develop and deploy technologies to protect our troops from the deadly improvised explosive devices that have maimed and killed so many -- is being filibustered here tonight. $$470 million for family advocacy programs and full funding for family support in yellow ribbon programs to provide support to military families, including quality child care, job training for spouses, expanded counseling and outreach to families experiencing the separation and the strain and the stress of war is being filibustered here tonight. what in the world kind of message does a filibuster like this send to our troops? our troops deserve the full support -- and they should know
that they have the full support of the congress when they are in the field, carrying out the democratically arrived at policies and decisions of our government. instead, what they're getting tonight is a republican filibuster. those who are filibustering this defense bill because they think that their they're aiming at health care reform are tragically off-target. they are hitting our troops and their families. how in the name of heaven should the well-being of our troops be sacrificed for one hour when they are sacrificing so much for us day after day? now, there are those who are going to argue that the end that they seek, the delay of the health care reform bill, justifies the means that they are using. holding hostage the critical
funding to support our troops and their families. i couldn't disagree more. the lesson that our troops are going to take from the filibusters tonight is that those who are filibustering this bill think that a short-term political objective is more important than a prompt vote of support and confidence for our military members and their families. just yesterday the ranking member -- the ranking republican member of the appropriations committee said the following: this appropriations bill, this defense appropriations bill -- quote -- "ought to be passed, and it ought to be passed as soon as possible," he said, "in recognition of our respect for service members and their families." close quote.
well, our our respect for our s and the sacrifice that they and their families make for our country every day is exactly why this filibuster should be defeated tonight. those who are filibustering this bill because they want to delay a vote on health care legislation should end that filibuster out of respect for our troops and their families, out of respect for our troops and their families, and for the sacrifices that they make for this country every day, that the senate defeat this filibuster tonight. the stakes, mr. president, are huge, and they were set forth in a letter which we received from the secretary of defense. and this is what the secretary of defense is telling us. this is what the stakes are: quote -- "i'm writing to advise
you of my serious concern over the prospect that fiscal year 2010 appropriation authority for the department of defense could expire by friday, december 18, 2009." that's today. and he goes on, "should we face this unfortunate situation, it would" -- it would -- "result in a serious disruption in the worldwide activities of the department of defense and limit our ability to pay our workforce, including military forces -- military forces." i'm going to repeat this. this is what our secretary of defense is saying, and is he not someone who shoots from the him. our secretary of defense is one of the most serious minded, careful secretaries of any agency that i have ever known.
the secretary of defense says the following -- and i'm going to repeat it because i want everyone to know what th the sts are tonight if we don't defeat this filibuster." should we face this unfortunate situation," he wrote, "it would result in a serious disruption in the worldwide activities of the department of defense and limit our ability to pay our work force, including military forces." and he concludes: "it is inconceivable to me," secretary gates says, "that such a situation would be permitted to occur with u.s. forces actively deployed in combat. accordingly, i strongly urge the congress to do what is necessary to ensure the department has the needed resources to fully and appropriately continue its vital
national mission. signed, robert gates." i hope every one of us before they decide whether to continue this filibuster or not will read this letter from secretary gates and think about what the message is to our troops and their families if an unrelated issue, as important as that issue is, is allowed to interfere with us appropriating the necessary funds for the men and women who put the uniform of this nation on, who take that risk for us. let us remember that as we vote tonight and understand what the stakes are if this filibuster succeeds. i yield the floor. mr. kyl: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: thank you, mr. president. i find it rather curious that our colleague, my friend from michigan, is accusing republicans of filibustering this defense appropriation bill.
republicans don't control the senate or the house. the house just passed this bill wednesday. now, it could have been passed in october or september or july or perhaps it could have been passed in november. republicans don't control the timing of this legislation. we haven't been holding up the defense appropriation bill. we always vote for the defense appropriation bill. everyone supports that. no, the majority controls the timing, and so the house finally got around, a week before christmas -- ten days before christmas to passing the bill, sent it over here. the senate took it up thursday, yesterday. republicans filibustering the bill? the majority leader brought it up yesterday. we're having the vote on it tonight. there's only one reason that there are 60 votes required and that is that the majority leader scheduled the vote at 1:00 a.m.
in the morning for purposes that we all understand have to do with the health care legislation and republicans figured it was probably a good idea that we all be here and vote and, therefore, the majority could produce the 60 votes, which it has -- there being 60 members of the majori majority -- and i suspect that when we vote on this piece of legislation, virtually all of us in this body will support it. there's no question about that. but i rather find it odd that we're accused of filibuster -- have you heard any republicans giving speeches about this. i think of jimmy stewart in the great movie, you know, talking for 24 hours straight or whatever it was. senator hutchison from texas just gave about a five-minute speech, primarily talking about health care. republicans haven't been speaking this bill to death, talking this bill to death. as i said, it was just offered yesterday. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. kyl: let me just complete my
thought here. and we're voting here on friday night -- excuse me, i guess it's thursday night, excuse me, friday morning. and so i think if anybody is staying up late enough to watch this, they might think it's rather odd. they haven't heard anybody talking this bill to death, filibustering the bill. and it isn't republicans that control the timing on this bill. why haven't the democrats been able to bring this most important bill to the senate for a vote until a week before christmas, when the fiscal year began october 1? don't blame republicans for the fact that this bill comes before us a week before christmas and, therefore, we have to act on it at this point in time. republicans had nothing to do with that timing. i'd be happy to yield to my friend. mr. durbin: i'd just say to my friend from arizona, the whip on the republican side, what a great source of relief it is to hear him say that. and i would like to make a unanimous consent request now that we pass this bill immediately, we don't have to wait for this roll call then at
1:00 a.m. and members can go home to their families. will the senator from arizona join me in this unanimous consent request that we immediately take up, consider and pass this important department of defense appropriation conference report? mr. kyl: mr. president, with all due respect, i'll decline that kind invitation, given the fact that the majority leader saw fit to call us here to vote at 1:00 a.m. i think probably everybody's already on their way in here and they appreciate the chance to do that, not be denied that opportunity. i'd be happy to yield the floor to the chairman of the committee. mr. levin: if the senator would yield -- mr. kyl kyl: i'd be happy to yi. mr. levin: i wonder if my good friend from arizona is aware of the statement of the ranking republican on the appropriations committee when he says that -- when the senator from arizona says that we haven't been talking, referring to republicans, about the defense appropriation bill at all. is he aware of the statement of the ranking republican on the appropriations committee who said yesterday that this bill -- quote -- "ought to be passed, it
ought to be passed as soon as possible in recognition of our respect for the service members and their families." i'm wondering if the senator is aware that have statement "as soon as possible" is tonight, not tomorrow or the next day. is he aware that have statement? mr. kyl: mr. president, i'm aware of it because the senator from michigan read it a moment ago. and i talked to the senator from mississippi earlier today. there's nobody more committed to the troops, as my colleague from michigan knows, than the senator from mississippi. , who is very concerned that we get this done. i also talked to secretary gates about it today. there's no question that the defense department needs to be funded, and there is a point in time in which the funding runs out and it needs to be funded. that's not the republicans' fault. the majority leader could have brought this bill up as soon as the house passed it at any time. the house is, last time i cherksd controlled by -- checked, controlled by democrats. republicans didn't delay this bill until a week before christmas. if there's a concern about tonight, all you have to do is
pass a continuing resolution for 24 hours or 48 hours. so there's no question that the troops are going to be funded or the defense department's going to be funded. nobody believes that that's at issue here. the point is, don't blame republicans for being here at almost 1:00 a.m. in the morning a week before christmas. we don't control the timing of the legislation. we're not the reason that the bill isn't ready until right n now, or it wasn't brought up until right now, and we certainly haven't been talking it. the presiding officer: the balance of the republicans' time is reserved for the minority leader. mr. kyl: i thank the presiding officer. the presiding officer: thank you.
mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i want to speak about the troops because i spent thanksgiving with the troops, the troops from wyoming, our national guard, 700 -- mr. reid: parliamentary inquiry. parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: is there objection to the senator -- i'm sorry. hang on. there is a parliamentary inquiry from the leader. mr. reid: under whose time is the distinguished senator from wyoming speaking? the presiding officer: the time -- the time for the republican leader to close the argument is all the time remaining for the republican side. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i yield six minutes to the
senator from wyoming. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. well, in listening to the debate and the discussion tonight, i will tell you that i spent thanksgiving with the troops from wyoming who are serving our nation overseas in kuwait and in iraq. and these 700 men and women driving in and out of iraq on dangerous missions have driven over a million miles. i went to three different bases in kuwait to spend thanksgiving with the troops, to pray with them, to tell them how the people of wyoming are supportive of their efforts, to thank them, to tell them that all of us at home are trying to do all we can to make sure their families know how much we care and we want to do anything we can in our communities to help the families. and i actually held three town hall meetings on thanksgiving day at different military bases in kuwait. and in those meetings, listening to the troops, they said they have what they need in terms of
their military supplies. but they said their biggest concern was jobs, what was going to happen to them when they got home, would there be jobs? there there be jobs in the -- would there be jobs in the energy field, would they still be available? and they said, do people in washington realize that we now have 10% unemployment in this country? because they want to go back to their jobs. they said, do the people in the senate realize, as they're debating health care, that we have an economic concern and crisis in this country, that t the -- that the senate ought to be focused on right now? they said, do they realize that all the discussions on health care, what they are concerned are going to drive up the costs of care, are going to cut medicare, going to increase premiums for people, going to raise taxes. they said we care for what's going to happen to our families and we want to know about jobs. and they know, as many of them are small business people, they know that the national federation of independent business estimates that if we pass this health care bill, it will destroy and cost our nation
1.6 million jobs by the year 2013. that's what the men and the women in the field on thanksgiving day from wyoming who were parts of our community, our brothers, our sisters, the firefighters, the policemen in our communities, the teachers in our schools, that's their concern. that was the number-one concern of the military that i heard about in three different town hall meetings on thanksgiving day. focus on the economy. i want to make sure a job is there when i get back. and i want to make sure my health care is not being made -- is not going to be made worse -- worse -- by what's going to happen in this -- in the senate between now and the end of the year. don't cut my medicare for my parents. don't raise my taxes. and don't make things worse for me. well, i heard from the men and the women in the field -- what i heard from the men and the women in the field was they have the same concerns that the american people have, which is why the ranking on this health care bill -- the rating on the health care bill of the american people right now is at all-time low.
only 32%, only 1-3 americans support what this senate is trying to jam through before the holidays with a health care bill. they have great concern because they believe that their own costs are going to go up, their own quality is going to go down and the costs of care for the nation are going to increase if we proceed with the health care bill. and the other question they ask is, of course, what's in the bill? have you seen the bill? have you read the bill? and i had with me at these town hall meetings the first 400 pages of the health care bill so they could see that and get a look at that. and i went through some of the things with them as i was working my way through the bill -- because this was just at the thanksgiving -- the thanksgiving recess -- and they were astonished. and these -- even as of today, when i had a town hall meeting by phone two nights ago and the people of wyoming said, "do you know what's in the bill right now?" i have to say no. i have to say the same -- a senator: will the senator yield?
will the senator yield for a question? mr. barrasso: yes. a senator: isn't the senator from wyoming saying this? the troops that you spoke to and the troops that we are going to fund in the next day or so with this legislation want a strong country to come back to? mr. wicker: and they would be happy if we were standing firm today, this weekend to prevent ever-increasing deficits, to prevent this country from being burdened with -- with larger and larger debts, to protect the programs that they will come back to to make sure medicare is not cut even further? isn't the senator saying that these troops expect us to be standing for the financial strength of this country so that they can have the same america to come back to that they volunteered to fight for? mr. barrasso: mr. president, that is exactly what i'm saying. my colleague from mississippi is
so right. that's what the men and women from wyoming who are serving right now in iraq and kuwait want. they want to come home to the same country that they left, the place where they have jobs, where they have opportunities for their children, where they are focused on growth, economic development, opportunities for the children for the next -- they are very concerned, mr. president, about the debt. they are very concerned about the amount of spending going on by this congress. they are very concerned, as one said, "the debt is the threat." i mean, it is astonishing, mr. president, to be there with our men and women in the field, with their guns, with their ammunition and what they want to talk about is the national debt in the united states right now as a result of excessive amounts of spending that's going on in this country. they're saying, don't make things worse. what's going to happen to our kids? somebody said, aren't we still borrowing more and more money from china? why are they doing that? how much money do we owe to the
chinese people? that's what i heard when i went to kuwait on things giving. that's what my concerns are for the american people? a senator: will the senator yield for a question? mr. barrasso: how much time do i have remaining, please? the presiding officer: the senator has used the time yielded to him. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. mcconnell: how much time remains on this side? the presiding officer: three minutes and eight seconds. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, regretfully, due to the schedule that the majority has set, we're going to be unable to finish the defense bill before the current funding authority expires at midnight on friday. and as we all know, the president will be out of the country. the house of representatives anticipating this problem, sent over a continuing resolution that would take care of the operations of this remaining portion of the government unfunded through december the 31st.
with the president out of the country, of course, this would have to be flown over to him to be signed. with the country at war and troops in the field, it would be the height of irresponsibility to let funding for the defense department lapse, and that is why, of course, the house of representatives sent thus continuing resolution. i've indicated to the majority that i would propound a consent agreement that we take up and pass this continuing resolution, and i'll do that at this time. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.j. res. 64, that the motion to proceed be agreed to, the joint resolution be read a third time and passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid - upon the table of. mr. reid: reserving the right to object, i hope the american people have the opportunity to see this, even though it is in the middle of the night. on the west coast it is three hours earlier, so there will be a lot of people watching this.
doing everything they can to stall, divert, distract, and now they're using the troops. it's really difficult to comprehend the i will logic of my friend, the republicans. we have a simple issue here. there was a unanimous consent request by my friend, the assistant leader, a few minutes ago, said, you support the troops, let's pass this bill. and that was objected to. so i object to the unanimous consent request of my friend. and i will say this: don't worry about the president being gone. the president will be back tonight, okay? mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i believe i have some time left? the presiding officer: yes, 42 seconds. mr. mcconnell: yes, mr. president, the reason we're in this snarl is because my good
friend, the majority leader, has got this issue all tangled up with the debt ceiling extension and a health care bill that there is this rush to pass before christmas, a 2,100-page bill. no one has seen the final version yet. so all of these things are all tangled up together. our advice would be to quit trying to pass this health care bill before christmas that's got an artificial deadline to pass something that most of us haven't seen, do the necessary business of the government, and do what senator snowe has recommended continuously, which is that we pass the bill on a bipartisan basis with a broad coalition of support. i believe my time may have expired. the presiding officer: your time has expired. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the leader. the majority leader. mr. reid: i yield three minutes to my friend from illinois. mr. durbin: i would just say
that it is difficult to reconcile the statements that have been made by the republican whip and republican leader. the republican whip said we're not stopping the defense bill. the republican leader says because of actions that have been taken here, this bill cannot pass. i made a unanimous consent request to end this debate immediately and pass this appropriations conference report and fund our troops. which i think both republican leaders have said they want to do. but, unfortunately, the republican whip objected to it. now, we know why we're here. we're here because, as senator levin of michigan, chairman of the armed services committee, said, there is a republican filibuster against the funding bill for our troops. there will be an opportunity in just a few moments for members on both sides of the aisle to vote, and i hope that all of the senators of both parties will vote a vote of confidence in support for our men and women in uniform by voting for this cloture motion, and then i will renew my request, unanimous
consent request, that we pass that bill immediately. so there is no question that we will have had a roll call vote, the senate has expressed its sentiment and wree move forward. i don't think there's any reason for us to delay this another minute. the fact that we're here earl any the morning may have been part of a strategy that the republicans holy will abandon. it is time to not abandon them in the course after war. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we should not cause uncertainty or hardship for our armed forces. the senior senator from mississippi, a republican, said this. playing politics with the critical fund thrag our troops need now is political theater of the worst kind. the junior senator from texas, a republican, said that. our obligation to our troops must transcend politics. the junior senator from arizona, the republican whip, said that. every day we don't fund our troops is a day their ability to
fight this war is weakened. the senior senator from kentucky, the republican leader, said that. and yet, mr. president, not a single one of these republican senators -- not a single one of the 40 republicans in this body, have committed to renewing our commitment to our troops before the funding expires later today. we're voting at this rare, late hour but not even the darkness outside can conceal the game being played inside this senate chamber. we're here in the middle of the night, but the reason is as clear as day: senate republicans so desperately want to turn their backs on americans who are suffering and dying for want of decent health care -- 45,000 a year, 7350,000 bankruptcies, 140,000 losing their insurance every day -- that they're
turning their backs on america's troops at wartime. rarely has the senate seen such a sad statement. rarely have i seen such brazen irresponsibility and rarely have our nation's citizens received such little regard from their leaders. mr. president, our sons and daughters are fighting tonight and every night in the deserts of iraq, in the bitter cold mountains and valleys in afghanistan on our behalf. the least we can do is make sure they have the training and equipment they need to succeed. the least we can do. our nation's bravest spend month after month, half a worldway from their families and children. the least we can do is make sure those military families and children who've already sacrificed so much can get the health care they need.
our nation's most selfless men and women volunteer for duty. we have an all-volunteer army. every single one stepped forward to serve. they volunteered. the least we can do is to give them the well-deserved pay raise they have. i received a letter, as has been announced here, a few hours ago -- the letter shah senator durbin and -- that snorn durbin and the senior senator from michigan said was addressed to me. he let me know that he has no fipple for the precious hours that are being wasted. he expressed in his words serious concern that this senate might cause -- and i quote -- "a serious disruption in our military efforts around the world." secretary gates added this: "it is inconceivable to me that
such a situation would be permitted to occur with united states forces bein actively depd in combat." i agree. i couldn't agree more. i'm going to vote for this bill and support every single one of those service members, including the hundreds of nevadans who at this very moment fight for our nation and other nations around the world. i'll vote "yes" because i support the 432 men and women from the armored cavalry from las vegas and the 102 men and women from the 152nd air guard in reno. both of which serve? afghanistan. there are other nevadans serving around the world. those on the other side of the aisle have stubbornly said they will not. the senate republican leadership has shamelessly turned this into a purely partisan exercise, the funding of our military.
they can make all the excuses that they want. we're here at 1:00 in the morning because of the republicans. we could have voted for this bill two days ago. i've even had some republican senators tell me, regretfully and regrettably, they've admitted to me personally this: they've told me plainly that while they want to support our troops, they fear retribution from their own leaders, retribution from their own leaders. we know senators on this side of the aisle have made commitments to vote for this. that's not exactly what john kennedy, who was not only president of the united states but a war hero, who served in this very body, would call a "profile in courage."
but, mr. president, i'm confident not a single one of our troops could care less whether the leaders who give them what they need to succeed are progressives or conservatives. i'm certain that these men and women on deployment after deployment spend more time counting the days until they see their loved ones again than they do counting the splil points scored by either side. -- the political points scored by either side. my vote in support of these soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen has nothing to do with the party with which i'm afilliated. and everything to do with the country for which i took an oath to support and defend. though it is shortly after midnight here in our nation's capital, it is late morning in the battlefields of iraq and afghanistan. when the sun rises over this city, this great city of
washington, a few hours from now, you'll be able to see out those windows on the west side of this capitol and see past the great monuments of lincoln and washington and be able to see the potomac river and see the skyline break to the great lawn of arlington. within that consecrated ground in neat rows that rise and fall with the rolling hills lie the remains of men and women, boyce and girls, who fought and fell for our flag. their headstones are simple, and from a distance, they're identical. no matter how closely you look at the words and symbols etched in those solemn marble gravestones, you'll never be able to discern whether that warrior beneath was a democrat, independent, or republican. we cannot tell for whom he voted
in the last election of his life, or what she thought of this policy or that policy. that's not by accident. that's not an oversight. while the demarcations of left and right, of red and blue seem so important to the daily lives as air and water to some of us, those stones are eternal reminders of such triviality, dedication to this nation above all else, all for our country, which is nevada's motto, should guide us now. on this hill, on this side of the river, in this early morning hour we could stand a little more of the selflessness we too often keep at a distance on that sacred ground we call arlington. i would ask, mr. president, that the vote begin, i ask unanimous consent.
the presiding officer: under the previous order, 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 concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 3326, the department of defense appropriations act for fiscal year 2010. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to concur in the amendment of the house to the amendment of the senate to h.r. 3326 shall be brought to a clo close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll.
three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the motion to refer falls. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, in light of the vote and the fact that cloture has been invoked on the motion to concur, i ask unanimous consent that the motion to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment with an amendment be withdrawn, all postcloture time be yielded back, and the notion concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 3326 be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the leader. mr. reid: for the information of all senators, unless we can work something out about the minority, the next vote will occur very early on saturday morning. around 7:30 or so that morning. and we're -- we'll -- there
could be several votes. we will work with the minority to find out in fact if they want these other votes. i hope we can make that determination tomorrow. we have some people that that would be very convenient if they knew whether it would be a simple majority vote or whether we would need 60 votes on some of the issues that might be raised. we have one member, of course, who has to walk very early a long ways, and others who would be terribly inconvenienced. but unless we hear from our friends, the other side of the aisle shall, the vote will occur at 7:30 or so saturday morning. that's tomorrow. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: ask consent the quorum call be success spended. the presiding officer: -- suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten
minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i understand that h.r. 4314 has been received from the house and is at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the bill. for the first time. the clerk: h.r. 4314, an act to permit continued financing of government operations. mr. durbin: i would ask for its second reading and object to my own request. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business, it adjourn until 11:00 a.m. friday, december 18, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two
leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and the senate resume consideration of the house message with respect to h.r. 3326, the department of defense appropriations bill postcloture, with members permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. that following any leader remarks, the time until 12:00 be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees and with the time from 12:00 until 4:00 p.m. equally divided and controlled in 30-minute alternating blocks of time with the republicans controlling the first block and the majority controlling the next block. further, ask that the time until 4:00 p.m. count postcloture.
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: if the chair would indulge me, i would like to begin again with the following unanimous consent request, withdraw earlier statement and say. i ask unanimous consent that the senate adjourn until 11:00 a.m. friday, december 18, the journal of proceedings approved to dat date -- be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and the senate resume consideration of the house message with respect to h.r. 3326, the department of defense
appropriations bill postcloture, with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. that following any leader remarks, the time until 12:00 be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, and with the time from 12:00 until 4:00 p.m. equally divided and controlled in 30-minute alternating blocks of time with the republicans controlling the first block and the majority controlling the next block. further, i ask that the time until 4:00 p.m. count postcloturemenpostcloture. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, this morning, cloture was invoked on the house mes message with respt to the defense appropriations bill. if all postcloture time is used, the senate will proceed to vote on the motion to condition occur at approximately 7:30 a.m. saturday. and if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 11:00 a.m. today hours.
madam president, we're going to finish this health care bill before we leave here for the before we leave here for the the. >> mr. president we will finish the health care bill before we leave here for the holidays. for nearly an entire year we have reached up to the other side offering the republicans a seat at the table, negotiate in good faith, a whole year.
now we are no closer to fixing the badly broken system making sure every american kn with a healthy life. through instruction manuals manuals, they believe that is good to stall for electoral politics a and gambits like we saw yesterday that force the full hour-long reading of an amendment they did not want and then complained and withdrew. they made there point* to the american people. the made it perfectly clear they have no interest in cooperating or any legislating. families and businesses are suffering and hurting have no kind of games. that is why we will finish health care if the other side cooperates are not. this is not the only critical issue this country are of this body. right now we have 19 men and
women of this country weather in iraq, afghanistan , korea, ja pan, all of those where tens of thousands of people are stationed. simple as that. here are some of the good things in the bill that is now before the senate. this conference report as $100 billion for maintenance personnel requirements for the wars of iraq and afghanistan. part of that will split coverage for any withdrawal. more than $23 billion of equipment used by our service members to do their jobs and stay safe. more than $150,000,000,000.2 train our troops and prepare them for battle. more than $30 billion for health care service members
and also gives of paying truth per of 3.4% of this year. it is not a partisan issue. yesterday the bill passed the house 395/34. more than 90 percent of democrats voted for the bill and more than 90 percent of republicans. cahal -- that is because they know our brave americans have a world away wage to wars on our behalf. it is a material if the leaders give them all of the resources they need to succeed where progressives or conservatives. surely our troops on the employment spend more time counting-- they can see their loved ones again instead of counting political points scored on either side. they don't care most of the
time. they just do their job. the house approved this much yesterday. of the senate should do the same today. we see this bill yesterday at 2:00 p.m.. are really going to wait until tomorrow to pass it? this is simply not right. let's give our troops what they need to succeed and to do with no then give them back what americans need to stay healthy. these two pieces of legislation are about life-and-death our responsibility is too great to waste time playing political games. >> madam president?
>> republican leader. >> madame president the senators of both sides to acknowledge the health care bill but we're considering are among the most significant piece of legislation any of us will consider private argue that most significant piece of legislation currently in my time here. is do is to reason we would devote significant time and attention to it. in deed some would argue we should spend more time and attention on this bill that most, if not every previous build up the consider. the majority disagrees. why? because it has become a political nightmare. a liberal political nightmare for them. there is some of wounds at this poll that they know the americans are overwhelmingly opposed so they want to get
it over with as quickly as possible. >> democratic leaders took their eyes off the ball russia the process of the partisan line that makes the situation even worse. americans were told the purpose of reformist reduce the cost of health care. instead democratic leaders produced a 2.5 trillion comic 200074 page was just a day that vastly expands there might come raises taxes, and rex medicare pro and they want to rush the bill through by christmas? it does one of the disruptive things. one of the most destructive things in u.s. history and they want to rush it? >> at the end of the rush they want to vote on a bill no one outside of the majority leader's conference room has seen.
that is right. the final bill we've both don is not what we have had on the floor, the one the leaders have tried to work out in private they will try to force and then they tried to force is really a charade. well let's just compare the process here is a snapshot of what we have done and where we stand on this bill. majority leader intends to bring this debate to a close as early as this weekend, four days from now, the 2.5 trillion dollar mistake.ñr nobody knows what will be in the bill besides the majority leader that is in his conference room. it has been pending business more than four weeks ago in
november, but we have only starting the business just two weeks ago on the amendment process but we have had 21 month -- amendments, less than two per day. so let's look at how the senate has dealt no child left behind, 21 session-- or seven weeks 44 roll-call votes, 137 amendments offered. 9/11 commission, who led the security act of 200220 roll-call votes, seven weeks come up 30 amendments offered. the energy bill, a 21 session days over eight
weeks? >> 36 roll-call votes. 158 amendments offered. this is not a and energy both this is an account by the majority to take over 1/6 of the u.s. economy. too vastly expand the role of government into the health care decision of every single american. and they wanted to be done after wide substantive amendment. one large substantive amendment. this is absolutely an excusable providing senator snowe put it best on tuesday. this is what she had to say of tuesday of this week. given the enormity and complexity, i don't see anything magical about the christmas deadline of this bill is not going to become law until 2014. i think senator snows comments and the lack of the
bipartisanship are right on point*. here is what senator snowe said in november of this year. >> "i am truly disappointed recommends think our historic debate on whether the most pressing domestic issues of our time with a process to have a broader agreement on some of the most crucial elements of health care reform. the bottom line is the most consequential health care legislation in the history of our country and a reordering of $303 trillion of health care spending over the coming decade should be determined by one roche margin of strategies. surely come a weekend and must do better. senator snowe is entirely correct. the only justification to rush the bill is the overwhelming opposition of
the american people. democrats know the longer americans see this bill, the less that they like it. here is the latest. it came out just yesterday. a majority 58 percent of those who have heard a lot about the bill while only 32% favor it. other is the node justification for the blind rush except for the political. that is that good enough for the venice nudges for forcing the senate to vote on a bill that none of us have seen. ask to -- unanimous consent that the senator from tennessee lead in a colloquy, including the senator from oklahoma, the senator from wyoming, and myself and the senator