tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 4, 2010 9:00am-12:00pm EDT
>> i'm confident that we can come up with a nominee who will gain the confidence of the senate and the confidence of the country. >> as the president considers potential nominees, learn about the nation's highest court through the eyes of those who served there. in c-span's latest book "the supreme court." 380 pages of history, photos and interviews with all the justices, active and retired. "the supreme court" available now in hardcover and also as an ebook. >> the library of congress recently hosted a tribute of the preservation of arts and
cultural heritage. members of the creative coalition including actors tim daly and dana delaney. presented clips from old movies and television shows as well as vintage recordings. this is an hour. >> ready? >> ladies and gentlemen, michael frankfurt, chairman of the board of the creative coalition. [applause] >> good evening, everyone. welcome to art and soul. a celebration of the american spirit. tonight we've gathered members of the house, senate, actors, producers, writers and directors to celebrate american art. and to highlight the library of
congress' incomparable recorded sound of television, film, and a great unforgettable history. it's my pleasure now to introduce the copresident of the creative coalition, dana delany and tim daly and our ceo. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you, mike. and thank you, everyone, for coming tonight. for over 20 years now the mission of the creative coalition has been to nurture, promote and protect the arts in america. our primary focus has been arts education and the national
endowment of the arts and artists lights we believe arts in america is not just an afterthought but the soul of our nation. it is also an incredibly beneficial thing in our society improving our children's education and also very importantly improving our economy. tim? >> president john kennedy was a great supporter of the arts. there are quotes in his speeches for america's cultural life. tonight as we celebrate the arts and the american spirit these words are especially fitting. i look forward to an america which will reward achievements in the arts as we reward achievements in businesses and statecraft. i look forward to an america which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all our citizens. and i look forward to an america
which commands respect throughout the world, not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. i am certain that after the dusk of the century has passed over our cities we too will be remembered not for our victories in defeats in battle or in politics but for our contribution to the human spirit. >> i want to say that on behalf of the creative coalition we want to thank our gracious host for this evening, the library of congress, for allowing us to be in the presence of history. tonight we are all honored guests of the largest library in the world and the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation. but we couldn't be here tonight without our families, supporters and friends and that's why i want to take a moment or a few moments to thank the members of
this event. the first is hannah simone. we couldn't do it without her. [applause] >> and her partner in -- not crime. her partner in nonprofit thriving is sherry dexter and wayne marshall and drew crowder, joel and william and i justment to say thank you because you allow us to survive. also to our supporters, sony, and heineken, martini & rossi, the jefferson hotel and chariots for hire. and the deep and special thank you to -- more of the staff of the creative coalition. they're the foundation of the creative coalition. there are why we are able to walk the walk and talk the talk. and hopefully make some change for the good. and i want to recognize john
hook, barb, dennis, and megan. thank you. [applause] >> and the library of congress who has really welcomed us into your home. and i hope that we'll be welcomed back again. james, susan hogan who was really our partner and we really feel like -- what can i say. the walls of the library are down, i hope it's okay with you. paul, cheryl, and our own -- and the rest of our family, brian smith, kayla, georgie, chris, abba with the abba agency and occasion caters. and tonight our show was written by kyle bradstreet and brent eagleston and conceived on stage by the multi-emmy award winner tom fontana. thank you.
after the show i want to encourage you to look at the portraits that are displayed in the library of congress. it is our launch for a publication that will be out in the spring called art and soul and the portraits were by the photographer brian smith who is also here this evening. and now we want to start with a special presentation of our -- it says our prestigious spotlight award. we can't say that's prestigious we're in the library of congress. and we're so honored to be presenting it to dr. james billington. [applause] >> our presenters this evening are both cultural icons in their own right. one is an emmy award-winning drack whose films tackle issues such as the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime, race relations and poverty. the other is an actress who has been welcomed in american homes for the last two decades.
most recently for her emmy award-winning role on the hit television show "medium" ladies and gentlemen it is my honor to introduce spike lee and patricia arquette. [applause] >> thank you, tim. tonight patricia and i had the honor to bestow the spotlight award on dr. james h. billington in recognition of his commitment to the arts, past and present. >> james hadley billington was sworn in as the librarian of congress in september 14th, 1987. he's the 13th person to hold the position since the library was established in 1800. since his swearing-in, dr. billington has championed the library's american memory
national digital library program, which makes really available online more than 15.3 million american historical items from the collections of the library and other research institutions. these unique american memory materials and the library's other internet services which include thomas, a congressional database, the online card catalog, exhibitions, and a website for children and families called america's library received more than 82 million visits. and 626 million page views in the year 2009. throughout dr. billington's service to the nation, he has tirelessly worked to find new and innovative ways to expand the reach in the library of congress beyond washington, d.c. taking the collections more broadly and more deeply than ever before. in october, 2004, dr. billington
headed a library of congressdes to tehran, iran. that significantly expanded the exchanges between the library of congress and the national library of iran. dr. billington was the most senior u.s. government official to openly visit iran for over 25 years. the library was placed online under dr. billington's leadership a major bilingual website with two national libraries of russia and have launched smaller such joint projects with the national libraries of spain, the netherlands and egypt. his proposal in 2005 for the creation of a world digital library was adopted in 2007 and put online in april 2009 containing primary cultural materials from over 192 countries. with expert commentary in seven languages.
>> born in pennsylvania in 1992. dr. billington was educated in the public schools of philadelphia. he graduated with the highest honors of 1950. three years later he earned his doctorate at oxford university where he was a rhodes scholar, following at united states military he taught history from 1950 to . in 2008, dr. billington was award the order of friendship have the prince of the russian federation the highest order that a foreign citizen may receive. dr. billington was also presented with the presidential citizens medal by president bush.
he's also an avid philadelphia phillys fan, too bad, [laughter] >> a love of opera and classical music. >> and now on behalf of creative coalition, it's our honor to present the 2010 spotlight award for the 13th librarian of congress, dr. james billton. [applause] -- billington. [applause] >> thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you very much. i'm not sure i'm worthy of sharing the stage with such marvelous performers and creative people.
of course, creativity has taken over so many forces in the 210 of years in which the library of congress has been in existence but no other creative expressions have had a broader collective influence in the world certainly in the 20th century and the early 21st as of those centered in our nation's motion picture broadcast and sound recording industry. the library of congress plays an important role in preserving and guaranteeing public access to all aspects of our nation's creative and cultural history. in honoring me, i really do deeply appreciate this. you're really honoring the dedicated public servant staffs under the direction who manned the library's new 200 million dollar packard campus for audiovisual conservation. the opening of this new facility in 2008 confirmed our responsibility for preserving the national collections, the
national patrimony, if you'd like, of movies, television, radio, broadcast and sound recordings for the 19th century, the late 19th century to the present. and it's fitting to acknowledge here in the library of congress on capitol hill the extraordinary leadership of the u.s. congress which has been the greatest patron of a library in the history of the world. most governments preserve what governments produce. our governments set up in an article of the constitution to preserve and encourage and foster and reward the creative people of the country rather than just what the governments have produced, what the people of america produced. and this world has certainly transformed believe audiovisual world that you're honoring through me as the photo opportunity guy. [laughter] >> for the people who do the real work. i'm not as photogenic as the
rest of the cast. but what's interesting is that it has really transformed the video and soundscape what america has largely created. and the congress has been the greatest patron of a library and the conservation and preservation of a peoples creative life in the history of the world. and you're also recognizing, of course, the vision of the congress as well as its act in sustaining this institution in mandating the preservation of our nation's audiovisual creativity. based on research done at the library with the creation of the film and recorded sound registries, we now know over 60% of the motion pictures produced in america in the 20th century have either been lost or neglected and survived only in mangled and unpreserved formats. and more than 30 -- more than
60% of the archival quality film preservation completed in the united states in the past 30 years when it's become a major activity has been accomplished by the library of congress off -- through the taxpayers through the vision and the sustaining support of the congress itself. out of all the commercial sound recordings produced in the u.s. in the 1960s to 1984, many are not available in any distribution format including the internet. and the next two months the library will release a major national study of the state of sound preservation in the united states. i want to express my deep appreciation of the leadership of the creative coalition for honoring me with the spotlight award and, in fact, honoring the work of this institution. and i also want to recognize robin of the chief executive coalition and dana delany and
tim daly for their support this evening and most expressly thank tom fontana and his staff for not only writing and producing tonight's program but to incorporating so much content in the library's archival, film, television and recorded sound collections. so i'm gratified the creative coalition team for demonstrating how these historical materials can be brought to life for modern audiences. so tonight as we enjoy a program that celebrates the library's collections, the really -- the collections when i sign for a collection, i didn't sign for the library, i signed for the united states of america, a pretty big responsibility for a phillys fan. [laughter] >> but we really do honor the role in conserving the audiovisual role in america and it's great to have those in continuing the creativity and to be with us tonight and it's a special honor to receive this honor for now.
everyone including present members of the creative coalition in the audience, too much of our film, sound recording heritage already has been lost. and remind them how much we are doing here in the nation's library to preserve this unique audiovisual patrimony of our creative people. and doing it to archival standards and at the same time how much more needs to be done? so spread the word. and enjoy yourselves and we especially thank once again the creative coalition for giving us is living demonstration of this creativity and the way in which american creativity can interact with the american people. in closing, i want to thank again robin bronk, dana delany and tim daly and tom fontana for
making tonight a success. [applause] >> now, as the creative coalition launches its 2010 arts activities for arts day on the hill, our first stop is here. and the cast of the creative coalition's art and soul show, arlen, marlin, gloria ruben, wendie malick, cc pounder, tim daly, dana delany, spike lee and patricia arquette. please join me in welcoming them. in the words of the conceived producer of this show, tom
fontaina, thinking this has been in production for weeks and weeks. this is unplugged, unfiltered and most important unrehearsed. [laughter] >> enjoy the show. [applause] ♪ god bless america ♪ my home sweet home >> hello, i'm howard geinman. >> and i'm spike lee again. that was kay smith in 1938 radio premier broadcast of "god bless america." >> in song of myself, walt whitman hoping to avert the civil war wrote, i am large, i contain multitudes. >> and if that doesn't describe of united states of america what does? this country covers miles and multitudes of land and people.
>> yet somehow despite the many differences dividing us -- >> religion, income, race. >> the -- >> and what sometimes unite us is a 3d movie featuring tall blue aliens. >> but sometimes opera singer singing "my country tis of thee" in front of the greatest presidents. ♪ my country tis of thee ♪ sweet land of liberty ♪ for thee we sing
♪ ♪ ♪ >> that recording was from a 1939 concert marian anderson gave at the lincoln memorial. >> ironically she was denied permission to perform at constitution hall. constitution hall had a whites-only policy. >> 75,000 people of all races attended the lincoln memorial concert. and if i can depart from the script for just one minute, spike, one of the people on the mall that day was an idealistic 19-year-old college student from
pittsburgh. that young man became my father. and he has since passed away but it's a moment that he cherished and it's a moment that we as a family cherished but millions and millions of others listened that day on national radio and it echoes down the generations. >> and of the airwaves marian anderson's voice cut through races. >> songs, films, television transport us through time. >> the images placed in the middle of epic events sometimes it's a dramatic moment that captures a slice of history. >> for example, the hindenberg blimp crash, a reporter witnessing the event speaks and suddenly we are witnesses engulfed in the tragedy. >> it burst into flames. get out of the way. get this started. it's rising terrible.
oh, my! get out of the way please. it's bursting into flames and it's falling on them. this is terrible. this is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world. oh, 400, 500 people in the sky. it's a horrific crash, ladies and gentlemen, the smoke and the flames now. oh, the humanity. >> and in a much lighter note -- [laughter] >> the new york yankees and the brooklyn dodgers, the voice puts us behind the plate. >> he's walking around behind the hill now and getting set for the payoff pitch. this is a big one. he turns around. he looks in toward the plate to catch a mickey one to get the sign for the next pitch. he shapes it off.
orrin gives him another sign. he steps on the rubber. he's all set to go. joe dimaggio is on deck. this is strike three for the ball getting away to the mickey. >> the yankees win the world series. >> whether it's sports, the arts, we are a nation which produces culture in ways no other modern country has. >> we consume culture, good and bad. >> and we export it. to the world with more success these days than chevys for computer parts. >> the united states library of congress sound a moving image collections are the largest on the planet. >> television programs, classic films, radio broadcasts, video
games, early sound recordings, screen plays and photographs. >> and in 2007, the single largest private gift the library was made by david whitley packard and the packard institute in the form of packard campus, a more than $155 million audiovisual conservation center. >> the packard campus for audiovisual conservation ensures that our cultural heritage and our current history will be available for all to study and enjoy for centuries. future generations will come to know us as intimately as if they were sitting next to you right here, right now. ♪ the grand old flag and forever in place may you wave ♪ >> i'm marlon wayans and this beautiful lady. >> well, thank you.
i'm gloria ruben. -- rubin. can you hear me. hello, i'm gloria rubin. [laughter] >> and this is my morning voice. >> and this is my g.q. voice. [laughter] >> communication, the ability to talk to each other, not at each other. >> for almost 70 years after the invention of the morris code people around the global could only communicate use dots and dashes. >> but that changed in 19123 27 the first transatlantic phone conversation occurred. he said, lindbergh is on the way across the atlantic. tell him his bags will be there six hours late. [laughter] >> we actually have a piece from
the actual first transatlantic phone conversation. [inaudible] >> well, i'm talking closely into my transmitter. [inaudible] >> i'm talking perhaps a little bit too closely. >> i see. >> and now i'm talking a little farther away from the transmitter and possibly my quality will be a little better. do you notice any difference now? >> wow! >> they all sound like they are at a yankee game. [laughter] >> after too many martinis. two men separated by an ocean hearing each other's voices for the first time. can you imagine the roaming charges? [laughter] >> the marvel of the modern technology. where could it possibly go from there? >> if mankind could communicate across all that water, then why not to the moon? ♪
>> columbia, this is houston reading you loud and clear, over? >> yeah, radio clear. how is it going? >> oh, it's beautiful, mike. it really is. >> oh, that's great. is the lighting decent? >> yes, indeed. they've got the flag up. you can see the stars and stripes. >> beautiful, just beautiful. ♪ >> wow! >> i had a question. we can talk all the way throughout the far reaches of space, why does my cell phone keep dropping calls? [laughter] >> right. you probably have at&t. no, i'm just kidding. [laughter] >> it happens to me. >> thank god this isn't a corporate event? [laughter] >> you know, from rotary phones to push-button phones, to cell phones and our blackberries, our cell phones, our ipads, we're tweeting, texting. [laughter] >> i'm sorry.
i'm tweeting ashton couper. -- kutcher. according to demi, it's time to go to bed. [laughter] >> omar, you have a line here. >> huh? >> you have a line here. >> and i am shutting it. [laughter] [applause] >> the collection of voice, broadcast, and documentary recordings at the packard campus dates all the way back to thomas edison exhibition cylinder from 1888. >> edison tells the story from this a imaginary trip to around the world. >> it was a short trip of a
mommy. >> i ain't your mama. [laughter] >> how about howard stern? not a good idea. not a good idea. how about button down mind of bob newhart. >> there was a thing in the paper tonight about documentaries. i have had my deal for a long time. it has everything. for instance, you go to work, you come home at night and you never really think about it. it's mechanical, it's routine. but there are a group of men who every day, when they go to work, ever know if that night they will return, because they face death in a hundred different ways. and i'm talking aboutmerica's driving instructors.
[laughter] >> i love him. voices of ordinary people, a dog, a trade, thunder, and music, ranging from a peruvian wedding song to melancholy blues and louis armstrong, were launched into space in 1977. >> jimmy carter wrote, this is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our size, our images, our thoughts and our feelings. we are attempting to survive our time so we may lead into yours. he ended his 1977 message by saying, please forgive us for our bellbottoms. [laughter] >> imagine being an alien, and you're living on some of the planet, a billion years, a billion light-years away, many years in the future, a space
capital comes crashing in, you open up and see a cd and a disc and you hear -- ♪ ♪ ♪ [applause] >> hello, i am adrian grenier. >> i am wendie malick. >> i always wanted my own personal entry music like a professional wrestler. >> what would that music be? >> really? hold on. all right, let's do it. ♪ ♪
so good at setting the mood? >> there's something almost primal. the essence of man, or woman, music can tap straight into a woman's heart and inspire her. >> are in him. >> are make her dance. >> it touches everyone who is listing. >> music and turnkey people into a couple. >> twenty people into a movement. >> hundreds of people into an army. >> and thousands of people into a country. >> the library of congress national recording registry is a catalog of recorded sounds, including a wide range of music, music that has been the heartbeat of america. >> rhapsody in blue is, by george gershwin. who describe this piece as a musical kaleidoscope of america.
>> by the way, did you know that rhapsody in blue was the entrance music to professional wrestler shaun micheel's? >> this is so fascinating. [laughter] >> at the packard campus you can listen to songs of social discourse and national celebration. >> if i could hear my mother pray again, performed by tommy dorsey, 1934. >> dorsey is well known as the father. that song wasn't oh to the comfort of his mother and the impact of his religion. >> and who can forget billy holliday singing strange fruits in 1939? ♪ ♪ >> holladay bemoaned their lynching of two black men.
power by public enemy. ♪ ♪ >> through music americans express the passions and challenge their energy. which explains why america is the birthplace of rock 'n roll. >> and just. >> and the blues. all of which are preserved at the packard campus. >> and now time for our contribution. >> from 1897. >> stars and stripes forever. ♪ [applause] >> thank you very much.
>> thank you. >> now we're going to take you back in time to the late 1940s, an american housewife -- thank you -- an american housewife comes home and finds a large wooden box dominating her living room. [laughter] >> why, what in the world is that? >> what is this? honey, this is only the first television said. that's all. >> a television set? what does it to? >> jaime, television brings joy and wonder wonder, and lightman and fulfillment. y., television is going to change the world. you look skeptical. >> i am. >> sweetheart, television will it inspire wonderful inventions such as the lazy boy recliner. [laughter] >> the hungry man dinner. and my personal favorite, the remote control. [laughter] >> that sounds wonderful.
you mean a piece of furniture can do all of that? >> well, debbie, tv has the potential to do all that, and more. imagine, instead of simply listening to the lone ranger on the radio, we will be able to see it. ♪ >> h ho silver. the lone ranger. high host over, away. >> with his faithful indian companion, tonto, he led the fight for law and order in the army west. return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, the lone ranger rides again.
>> i have the same chaps. [laughter] >> i know. so -- [laughter] >> this thing is purely for entertainment. >> no, honey. no. television has the news, too. see, something called an anchorman will tell us of the day's events and even broadcast footage, which will bring the defining moments of each era right into our living room. >> wow. >> some day, debbie, they are will even be 24 hour news channels. all news, all day long. >> fair and balanced? >> well -- [laughter] >> they report, you decided. >> let me ask you something. will there even be enough news to fill up 24 hours? [laughter] >> no. [laughter]
[applause] >> not even close. [laughter] >> and that's where the majority of time will be spent covering high speed car chases. all, get this. they're also going to buy lots and lots of pundits to analyze the news to tell us what to think. >> that sounds logical. [laughter] >> but what about i want something besides politics of? >> then how about the best black and white show ever made about a redhead. [laughter] >> this is easier. we can handle this okay. [laughter]
>> fine. you are doing splendidly. speed it up a little. [applause] >> boy, i love apple. [laughter] >> but television, i become is probably the most fun late at night. >> why is that? >> because, after a long exhausting day there's no better way to relieve stress than to invite a strange person into your bag and while you're falling asleep. >> i know what you mean. [laughter] >> women are always looking for a man with a sense of humor. ♪ [applause] [applause] >> that reminds me of our wedding night.
[laughter] >> the library of congress began collecting television programs in 1949. >> in 1976 the u.s. congress enacted a law specifically sanctioning a national television archive creating a permanent record of television. programs which are the heritage of the people of the united states. >> wait a minute, back in 1976 congress actually passed laws? >> i get it. the goal was to collect news, documented, dramas, comedies, a righty, game shows, even commercial. >> television may be a piece of furniture, but it is also the continues to ration of our lives. >> that's right. and so now we leave you with one of the most controversial, collating and talk about televised musical performances of all time. >> when this musical number first aired, interest groups rose in a fury to many that tdd cleaned up and censored.
>> and it's not super bowl 38 expect and now, ladies and gym and, yes, that's right. elvis presley. ♪ you ain't nothing but a hound dog ♪ ♪ you ain't no friend of mine ♪ they said you is high-class ♪ that's just a lie ♪ well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine ♪ [applause] >> hello. i am elvis presley. [laughter] >> and i am cch pounder.
>> here's the thing that is true about movies. most of them suck. [laughter] >> richard. i don't know that this is the proper form. >> we're in washington, d.c.. were better to tell the truth? [laughter] >> we're supposed to be talking about the lazy collection of films at the library of congress is preserving. like the "bridge over the river kwai." ♪ >> or the godfather. ♪ [laughter] >> you are just getting the movies with memorable theme songs. >> your point is that movies suck.
so i am naming good movies, great movies, classic. >> but my point is that most of them suck, and i know because i have been in many of them. [laughter] >> but some are, some, yes, some are truly transcendent. films have the power to expose us to people we would never otherwise meet. >> like dustin hall up and spit and situations will never have to face. >> like dr. strangelove, helped. >> and in doing so films can challenge us to question our own values. >> like with this is spinal tap. [laughter] >> striptease also comes to mind. [laughter] >> but they can also show us how our government works. >> if you think i'm going back there and tell those boys in my state and say look, fellas, forget about it. forget all the stuff i've been telling you. this isn't your country. it belongs to lot of james taylor. oh, no, not me. and anyone here who thinks i'm going to do that, they've got
another thing coming. that's all right. i just want to find out whether all of you had faces. [laughter] >> when could a filibuster ever have happened? >> finance votes. finance vote comes to mind, but we will see. a national film registry is the collection of films preserved by the library of congress. up to 25 films are chosen each year, many of which are nominated by the american public. >> by the collection doesn't only include blockbuster's bid there are also documentaries. >> such as buffalo flood creek, and active men, which investigates the 1972 bursting of a west virginia.
[silence] >> that would have been a challenge to put me in that picture. [laughter] >> that was actually my thinking they captured on film. [laughter] >> there are also home movies. >> such as disneyland dream vacation which is collected footage of a 1956 family trip to the house of the mouse. >> the excitement kept mounting as the cable cars continued high in the air and passed over fantasyland. the mad hatter tea cups, dumbo the flying elephant and a towering castle to say nothing
>> hello, again. >> i want to tell a joke. >> we're supposed to wrap things up. people are ready to have a drink. >> i want to tell a joke. i can sense this crowd needs a joke. it's a good joke. okay. a lawyer and a lobbyist are drowning. you can save one of them. what do you do. do you read the paper or go grab a sandwich? [laughter] [applause] >> okay, how about this one? how does the politicians live? he lies on one side and then lies on the other. [laughter] >> okay, okay. how about this one? bill maher and bill o'reilly walk into a pub and see greta dancing naked on the bar. >> stop. >> my point is, -- [laughter] >> what is your voice to? my point is i believe the
library congress should have an archive for political jokes. i have stood up here and i embarrassed myself and there will never be a record of it anywhere, oh, my god. there will be a record of it. [laughter] >> so what you are saying in your rather twisted way, without archiving our history, moment of such as that will be forever lost. >> precisely. >> for instance, charlie chaplin directed a movie in 1940 companies on a film called her friend the bandit. big hit. >> i never even heard of its. >> that's right. because it's his only loss bill. there was no existing copy. maybe because a woman contracted it, i don't know. or check this out. in 1924, 14 year-old bobby franks was murdered by nathan leopold and richard love, the two young men were sentenced to
life in prison instead of the death sentence because of their impassioned speech by the defense attorney. >> i'm sure all the lawyers out there would love to be able to figure how darryl wu to the jury, but there's no audio, even though every major radio station covered that story. >> the packard campus preserves what otherwise is the only memory and as we all know, memories are fleeting speck our country has many desperate stories. but they are all chapters in one continuous work, the united states of america. >> thank you for coming, everyone goodnight. [applause] >> the senate is now gaveling in for the day, following an hour of general speeches. senators will resume debate on financial regulations legislation. at 12:30 p.m. eastern the senate will recess for a weekly party
lunch, returning it to 15 eastern to continue work on the bill. some of the measures include the creation of a consumer protection agency, an assistant to liquidate failed financial institutions. also, a provision to regulate the derivatives market. debate on amendments and votes are possible throughout the day. will have live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
eternal god, our only hope, our help in times of trouble lead our senators to use their power and influence with faithfulness. may your word rule in their hearts, as they are led by your wisdom. help them to seek your will and see it clearly. may they work out the issues that divide them, as they strive to serve the welfare of people -- of our nation and world. empower our lawmakers to not become so familiar with your
customary daily blessings that they lose the sense of expectancy for your special interventions in the complex challenges they face. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, may 4, 2010. to the senate:
under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jeanne shaheen, a senator from the state of new hampshire, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: robert c. byrd, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we will be in a period of morning business for 10 minutes following leader remarks. the majority will drol control e first half-hour. the republicans will croalt final 30 minutes. following morning business, we will resume consideration of the wall street reform legislation. the senate recess from 12:30 to 2:15 today to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. madam president, i applaud and commend my friend, the distinguished chairman of the banking committee, senator chris dodd, for the bill that we have on the floor. i also express my appreciation for the work done by the chair of the agriculture committee, senator blanche lincoln, for the work she's done.
these two committees, the work that we're working from. the bill that is now before the senate is a strong bill. i again express my aprearks to the two chairs for the good -- i again express my appreciation to the two chairs for the good work they've done. this bill will hold wall street accountable and puts the consumers in control. it ends taxpayer bailouts. that is going to be underlined, underscored with the amendment that is the first up, that is the boxer amendment, which indicates that in fact is the case. it ends too big to fail. it brings transparency to shadowy markets and i say, madam president, shadowy markets. it was really a revelation to me to read this book.
it is a bestseller now, called "the big short" by an author who has written other bestsellers, including -- he wrote the book that was made into a movie that was awarded for an academy award called "the blind side." this book is really good. and it indicates to anyone that reads it the shadowy markets that are now in existence and we're trying to stop. this legislation will stop that. it would bring sunlight and transparency to the shadowy markets where wall street executives make gambles that threaten our entire economy. this legislation now before the senate reins in c.e.o. pay by giving shareholders a nonbinding vote in excess -- on h excessive compensation. it protects community banks. creates provisions to create later and accountability.
and it protects consumers in many different ways. puts a new cop on the beat. it creates an independent agency with broad authority to monitor firms for abusive practices and intervenes -- and we allow intervention to protect consumers. an important provision that the american public will easily identify with, it guarantees clear information in plain english. it ensures that consumers get the information they need to shop for mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products written in english that we can understand. there will be no more abusive practices t protects consumers o more abusive practices. it protects against bernie madoff-type scams. there will be efforts to make the legislation even stronger with amendments on our side. we would hope that the republicans will join with us in
passing this legislation. there are some who have said that this -- by the time this gets off the floor, it will -- we will have shown that it will have a significant majority of senators voting for this. i hope that is the case. i would hope also that we don't get locked into something that appears to be the order of the congress around here that everything has to have 60 votes. on our side we're willing -- i can't speak for everyone, but i think i'm going to certainly -- i'm more within my power to tell my senators, let's just have a 50-vote margin. why do we need to have 60 votes on everything we do around here? that makes it so much more difficult. and i think that's unnecessary. so i hope we can move forward and get this legislation done. we have to finish it by next week, and we'll finish it one way or the other by next week. we have to do that. we have so much more to do.
we have the expired provisions, the tax extenders we have to do, unemployment benefits will expire at the end of this month. we have the doctors, we have to take care of them. it is a commitment we made -- all of us, democrats, republicans -- that we would take care of the doctors, the g.s.r. we were able to pass with our paygo a five-year fix. there is a longer 10-year fix on the house side. but we have to take care of these doctors. they deserve that. we have to do that before the end of this month. there are other important issues we'd like to deal with. we have small business we would like to deal with. there are so many good things we can do there. there is a bipartisan agreement that we can move forward on that. i hope we can move quickly on this legislation, and i would hope that there can be some work with the two managers to move this legislation along. -- the two initial managers,
that is, dodd and shelby, who will manage most of this bill. when we get into the derivative section, we'll have senators lincoln and chambliss will be managing that part of the legislation. mr. mccidinonofficer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: americans are happy to learn this morning that late last night federal and local officials in new york city apprehended the man they believe to have attempted a terrorist attack in times square on saturday. i want to join all americans in thank the law enforcement officials who worked around the clock these past two days. it looks like they got their man. and we're grateful for their efforts on our behalf. it is my understanding that the suspect, a naturalized american citizen, is a native of pakistan and that he traveled there at some point in the past year. hopefully the appropriate officials are using this opportunity to exploit as much intelligence as he may have about his overseas connections and any other plots against americans, either here or
abroad. but this is very good news, and again we want to thank those who worked so hard to keep us safe and to protect us from ongoing threats. as i said yesterday, this plot is a reminder to all of us that the need for constant vigilance can never, never be dropped. i'd also like to say a word about flooding in kentucky. last night the governor said he would seek a major disaster declaration from the president to help recover from the devastation wrough brought by ad of weekend storms and flooding. i'll be sending a letter to the president today in support of kentucky's request for a major disaster declaration which would provide support and cost-sharing assistance to mitigate the effects of the flooding. emergency declarations have been made in 48 counties throughout the commonwealth, and that number is likely to increase as recovery efforts continue. tragically, four people have been confirmed dead as a result
of flooding in madison and allen and lincoln counties. my office has been in contact with the governor's office and we'll do all we can to assist him. it is my understanding that the governor has spoken with the president about the situation and that fema is already working with state authorities in kentucky to render assistance. our prayers are with the victims of the flooding in both the commonwealth and her sister state of tennessee, and our gratitude goes out to the first responders and emergency personnel rendering aid to the impacted communities. madam psident, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. under the previous order, the -- mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, there will now be a period for the transaction of morning business for up to one hour equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees and senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each and with the majority controlling the first half of the time and the republicans the second. mr. brown: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that senator kaufman, the cosponsor of our wall street reform amendment, and i speak for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president.
we all agree, madam president, that our financial system should never again be on the brink of total collapse. we all agree we must never again allow americans to fall victim to the unconscionable recklessness and unbridled greed that we have seen in the last decade. no longer should a no-show regulatory attitude rob americans of their jobs, of their homes, of their retirement savings, of their credit ratings, and the list goes on and on and on. we all agree that american taxpayers should never again have to foot the bill for bailouts to the very firms whose cowboy attitudes got us into this mess in the first place. so, madam president, how do we put a stop to the madness that left our economies in shambles? we stop it in its tracks. that means hard decisions. it means decisive action. it means doing more than taking action when we recognize the symptoms of collapse. it doesn't mean waiting until it's too late and too many
people suffer. it means eliminating the ingredients of collapse. now, madam president, chairman dodd's bill is strong. it sets the stage for recognizing trouble and it helps use regulatory tools to reverse it. but senator kaufman and i think we owe it to the american people to take one more significant step. we need to take action now so that trouble never has the chance to brew. that means taking on the financial institutions that are too big to fail and doing that now and doing that in this bill. former fdic chair william isaac said these institutions are too big to manage and too big to regulate. senator kaufman and i want to do more than monitor banks that must be bailed out if they gambles themselves into a corner. we want to put a hard limit on the size of these behemoth banks so they don't control so much of our economy that come crisis time, we have to save them. we have to bail them out to save
the economy. we want to limit their size so they can't back taxpayers into a corner, whether it's either help them or hurt ourselves. we don't want that choice. we think that size should be a concern whether it comes through acquisition or organic growth. certainly risk is the biggest problem, but size is almost as big a problem, and together they can spell disaster. our measure only affects the six largest mega banks. madam president, as this chart shows -- and i cited it often in recent weeks -- the assets of these six banks, the assets of the largest six banks in the united states 15 years ago was 17% of gross domestic product. the total assets of the six largest banks today are 63% of gross domestic product. 17% of gross domestic product 15 years ago, six-largest banks,
63% of gross domestic product today. these banks have $9 trillion -- that's nine thousand billion dollars in assets. research shows that a bank size stops providing benefits to its customers once it reaches approximately $100 billion. so you can get all the economies of scale, madam president, in a bank with $100 billion -- one hundred thousand million dollars. those are large banks, $100 billion banks. you can get the economies of scale with a $100 billion bank. you don't need a $1.5 trillion bank. i've heard some argue that smaller banks are actually less stable than larger banks. evidence shows, though, that larger banks actuall exhibit greater risk due to the higher volatility of their assets. look what happened in the last two years. the simplest, most effective way to manage this risk is to spread it out, to have several modestly sized institutions instead of a few giant ones.
but the risk in the financial system is clearly collecting in a few gigantic banks. this is the industry concentration top bank holding companies. when gramm-leach-bliley passed the largest banks had 35% in the financial industry. today they hold 52%. you can add up all the community banks in my state, and there are dozens of them and they serve the communities well. you can add up key bank and fifth third and huntington and first merit, all the regional banks. then you do that all overt country, these -- all over the country, these five banks still have all the assets. five banks, 52% of the assets. i know some people think it's too late, the horses are out of the barn, we can't go back to a size when we had 15 modestly sized banks. but we allowed big financial firms to merge into giant ones.
in the last few decades the the banking industry has become so concentrated it no longer functions as a competitive market. since 1900, the 20 largest financial firms increased -- i'm sr.ry. -- i'm sorry. since 1990 the 20 largest financial firms once controlled 35%. they now control 70%. some firms are 30%, 40% in some cases legislative brancher than they had been before the -- larger than they had been before the crisis. what does it mean? we're twit telling our thumbs as wall street once again, once again places our nation at risk. former tprefrbg chairman a -- federal reserve chairman alan greenspan said in 1911 we broke up standard oeufplt so what happened? the the individual parts became more valuable than the whole. this is alan greenspan. president franklin roosevelt imposed structural regulations on utilities in 1935.
that worked for the prosperity of business and worked for the prosperity of the country as a whole. in 1984, the courts split at&t into a group of regional bells. that worked for business. that worked for the country as a whole. in all these cases, size was detrimental to the marketplace. now these mega banks have grown so large they control the fate of our economy. the large banks have effectively become huge securities and derivatives trading operations drafted on top of commercial banks. now they're using thaeurl trading businesses, neglecting other businesses. ask people in hanover, ask people in mans field, ask people in throed or shelby -- in toledo or shelby, ohio and they'll tell you they can't get the credit they need, manufacturing and other kinds of small businesses. these large banks too often put a virtual freeze on lending to small businesses despite receiving a taxpayer bailout.
three of the largest banks slashed their s.b.a. lending by 86% from 2008 to 2009. in ohio, s.b.a.-backed loans went from $4,200 in 2007 to $2,100 in 2009. i've heard from manufacturers and entrepreneurs from energy start-ups and mom and pop operations, from small business owners to the local corner store operator, all part of the middle class who are struggling to get the credit they need to hire their workers. madam president, our amendment simply says too big to fail is too big. our amendment, we're going to call up the amendment sometime this week. senator kaufman is one of many cosponsors who played a major role in drafting this legislation. i yield to senator kaufman. mr. kaufman: thank you, senator brown. i think senator brown has given a presentation that's perfect. i'm going to make a few points here. i gave a speech on the floor yesterday if anybody is
interested in more detail. let me look at charts which kind of takes what senator brown said and slices and dices it in a different way. this is the assets relative to gross domestic product of u.s. commercial banks. would anybody like to guess when glass-steagall was repealed? how about right about here? i don't know if you've seen the charts. i all thought, one of the reasons i thought there was a housing bubble is if you look at the charts on the housing industry in america, the prices of houses in this country, from 1900 until about 2003 it was just like that, and then it went right through the roof. this is a very bad sign in anything. the fact that our banks are operating this thing is truly scary. let me show you another chart. this is average assets relative to g.d.p. this is the concentration of the u.s. banking system. does that chart look familiar? what -- let me tell you, the know the worst thing about this is? this does not include what we
did during the the meltdown where we took washington mutual and pushed it into j.p. morgan chase, where we took merrill lynch and pushed it into bank of america, where we took wachovia and pushed it into wells fargo. can you imagine where this chart is now? this is incredible. of course the red line is when we passed glass-steagall. the clear indicator here is tkpwhraoerbgs 19 -- is glass-steagall, in 1929 we had a credit meltdown in this country, our forebearers on this very floor said we have to do something about it, we have to pass laws. i go *f -- not go back to the regulators. we have to pass laws, and we passed glass-steagall which not only said you can't be a commercial bank and investment bank under the same roof which when i was in school we learned was one of the bases for our success and why we went 60 years without a bank panic. we should not have investment banks and commercial banks under
the same roof. commercial banks should be there to protect the small deposit tor, make sure it was safe, that's why we gave it federal guaranteed, fdic insurance. we never thought we would have fdic for an organization that had commercial banking in it. commercial banks should be a low-return business. that's the way the vast majority of americans have at their local bank. it should not be included under the same roof as an investment banking operation that is high risk, high return. swraoebgd this argument five -- we could have this argument five years ago and i could say let's see what happened and see where we are. you hear, look, we can't break up those banks. you don't understand, ted. we need these banks to compete internationally. let me get one thing really straight. do you know what we're going to do under our bill if brown-kaufman passes? we'll ask citigroup to go back
to where they were in 2003. was citigroup competing internationally in 2003? i think they were. we're not saying we're going to take it apart. all we're trying to do is get them back to what they were. and goldman sachs, the balance sheet on an investment bank like goldman sachs will be scaled down to $850 billion to a more reasonable level. that sounds pretty draconian. ask them to go from $850 down to $450. would anybody like to guess what their assets were in 2003? would you believe $100 billion. now, one of the people who didn't do real well during this last crisis was alan greenspan. he's the one that said self-regulation works and he said a whole lot of other things. but he said two really important things with regard to where we are right now. one of them is the quote that
senator brown used too big to fail, too big. this is alan greenspan. this is not one populist in big overalls with a pitchfork in the middle of the street. this is alan greenspan. i've got to read this. you've got to believe this. the next time somebody tells you we need these banks to compete and we need economies of scale, listen to what alan greenspan says: for years, for years the federal reserve has been concerned about the ever larger size of our financial institutions. alan greenspan. "federal reserve research has been unable -- unable, unable -- to find economies of scale in banking beyond a modest-sized institution." there is a fellow named andrew holdane. you know what he says the size is? $100 billion. that's what he says. i commend everybody to read his report. it is very, very good. now, just realize that right now we have banks in this country that are $2 trillion and holdane
says $100 billion. greenspan says we can't find economies of scale beyond a modest sized institution. a decade ago citing such evidence, i notice that mega banks being formed by growth and consolidation are increasingly complex entities that create the potential for unusuallily large systemic risk for the nation and international economy should they fail, which is exactly what senator brown and i have been saying with a number -- what a number have been saying about where we are. but this is alan greenspan: "regrettably, we did little to address this problem." i just hope that two years from now i won't be here, but somebody on the floor will be saying regrettably, in 2010 we did little to address this problem. we did little to address this
problem. this seems to me to be so incredibly complex, but at the same time so incredibly simple. i just ask my colleagues: every time someone says something about the brown-kaufman bill, maria cantwell and john mccain's bill or the bill being offered by senator levin and senator merkel, just ask this question and they start laying out problems: are our banks too big? are our banks too big, number one. and number two, are they twao* too big to fail? thank you. brownie -- mr. brown: i thank the senator from delaware. it's so clear that first of all the dodd bill coming to the floor is a huge good step, a solid bill in reforming wall street. it's what we ought to do. there will be three or four major chances. one of of -- one of them is the
amendment senator kaufman and i are working on. there will be three or four votes coming up to strengthen this bill. there will be efforts from the other side of the aisle to weaken this bill. there are clearly many people in this institution that want to do the work of wall street. wall street has been their benefactor. the big banks are their allies. they may do the bidding on the senate floor. but there will be efforts to strengthen this bill. merkley-levin, as you mentioned, some of the work we do in derivatives and this legislation. let me in khroegs, madam president -- in closing, madam president, unless senator kaufman wants to add words too, put a human face on this. we know in this charts that senator kaufman put up and that i put up, what's happening in the size of these banks -- i cite this number that astounds me every time i think about it that only 15 years ago the largest banks in the country had
assets totaling 17% of g.d.p. today they represent 63% of g.d.p. let me shift and put a human face on what this means. i want to share two quick letters, one from someone in columbus, one from someone in lorraine, which is the county live in. a"i'm a small family business owner. i am trying to find help to keep our business open. our 20 employees count on us to continue ormting. they will and he up unemployed if we can't keep money flowing, if we can't get the kind of credit that we need from these banks. my neighbor had to close her business. she cut prices selling everything she could. now she works two part-time jobs. thanks didn't help her either. the banking industry is responsible for this crash. they should be assisting business owners." senator kaufman and i don't want retribution from the baiption.
we just want the banks to start pulling their load and treating small businesses and consumers and all of us more fairly. they should assisting business owners,, she writes. keeping us in business means jobs. turning off the crowed is not helping the economy romplet the other is from barbara from lorraine county. "please stand up for the working folk. as a law-abiding taxpayer, i believe it is time for fiscal integrity of u.s. bankers. we're heelgd on tower jobs and homes by a thread. there are many people out of work. businesses continue to close their jobs. i'm sure there's no one simple solution. holding the bankers responsible nor what happened in our financial industry, in our country, but it's really tows help remedy the financial crisis most of us are in. please support law-abiding people by demanding integrity of the banking industry. qulings "there are plenty of people who work in the banking industry, including my home state of ohio and polices like dover and wilmington, delaware.
but when institutions get this large, when six institutions have this kind of economic power in our system, we know that even someone as conservative as alan greenspan says that that's the problem for our economy. risk is a big problem. size is a big problem. we just want -- this amendment will affect only the six largest banks in the country. they will operate better. they'll operate more efficiently. they probably will operate more profitably if they're just a little bit smaller, madam president. this amendment addresses that iran. -- this amendment addresses that issue. mr. kaufman: i see common cause here from the other side of the aisle. i talk to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, utah a there -- it isn't just the small business. it's not just the small business. it is the small banks. it is the small banks that get hurt by these massive banks. and i'm a market guy. i'm a free market gievment i think it is one of the things that made this country great. the two things that made this
country great are democracy and our capital markets. we can knot forwarwe cannot afft again. what does the market say? not me, not anybody else, not somebody in the street. let's see what the market says about whether these are too big to fail or not. the center for economic and policy research compared the borrowing costs of the 18 largest banks, all of which have over $14*u7b billion in assets, to smaller banks, which make up the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of banks in america. they estimated that the effective government subsidy, because of the implicit guarantee that they are too big to fail -- this is what the market says, not me, not senator brown. guess what? it results in a 70% to 80% resulting in lower borrowing costs. so right now these big banks,
because the market says they're too big to fail, they don't worry. abc bank company down on the corner, they give them a rate. but when it comes to the six big banks shall they give them 70, 80 basis points less because they know they can fail. the presiding officer: 292 minutes of theators has now expired. mr. kaufman: thank you. the mresiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i want to thank my completion for raising this important issue. pend on the floor of the united states senate is this major piece of legislation, the financial stability act. and i would say that all the many amendments which will be offered, this is clearly a game changer. and i am supportive of this amendment, even though i know that some of my frendles in the banking -- some of my friends in the banking industry won't be happy with that. what they're talking is about dealing with the concentration of wealth and the concentration of economic power to a level which can literally bring the economy down. that's what we went through leading into this recession. that's what led to the massive
taxpayer bailout. and that's what the brown-kaufman amendment addresses four sp foursquare. soy congratulate them. i'd like to spheek a separate issue. 99 years ago a boat pulled into the harbor in baltimore, maryland. it had come over, passenger ship, from germany. and down the gang plank walked three individuals: my grandmother, my uncle, my aunt and my mother, two years old, in the arms of my grandmother. they had come from lithuania to the united states of america. and when they arrived, none of them spoke english. my grandmother carried with her a slip of paper which had the words "east st. louis, illinois" written o on them because she kw that's where her husband was.
i cannot imagine how they inform debated their way onto a train to meet my grandfather. but they made t i'm sure there were people standing in baltimore watching all of these foreigners coming in saying, oh, my god, not more of those people. it's been a natural reaction in this nation of immigrants that we low-income at newcomers as -- that we look at newcomers as perhaps new problems. and those that are here and lucky enough to be in america have historically been critical of new immigration. that's nothing new in american history. but what has happened in arizona in the last several weeks has taken this to a different level. the passage of the law in arizona in my mind is not only unjust but unconstitutional. the arizona law you see requires police officers to check the immigration status of any individual that they have -- quote -- "reasonable suspicion"
-- close quote -- that he or she is an undocumented immigrant. how will police determine whether there's reasonable suspicion that someone undocumented? the law doesn't tell them. law enforcement experts say it is likely they will look for those who appear to be hispanic. under this law, any undocumented immigrant can b aof the can be arrested and charged sole link the basis of their immigration status and it is crime for a legal immigrant to fail to carry documents proving their legal status at all times. madam president, one out of three people living in the state of arizona legally are hispanic. we can understand the anxiety they have over a law which would at least lead to the suspicion that they may be illegal and be challenged. as they go about their bail daily basis in a perfectly legal way. "the measure would turn legal reserve did notes into police targets as well as those who are
here illegally. it would foment racial profiling of hispanics." phil gore dorgan the mayor of phoenix, largest city in the state, here wheys said about the new arizona law signed by the gone. "it is unconstitutionally -- it unconstitutionally co-opts our police force to enforce jurisdiction laws that are the rightful jurisdiction of the effect." there are 4r50,000 undocumented immigrants in arizona. law enforcement clearly doesn't have time to stop, prosecute, or remove anything near that number. making undocumented immigrants into criminals will simply drive many of them furlt into the shadows. you know, when we look at this law, i also like to look at it from the viewpoint of those who are in law enforcement in arizona, and i've read their quotes. they feel that this is an unnecessary -- at least an
indefensible -- burden that is being placed on them. i read one chief of police in a small town in arizona said, "you know, i'm not going to be going out stopping people on the streets and seeing if they're gathering on the street corner. my job to fight crime. i thought that's why they hired me." and if i want to keep this community safe, i can't spend a lot of time checking the pains e papers of people who are just walking down the street. madam president in 2005 there was a law passed in the house of representatives known at sensenbrenner amendment, which was step in the wrong direction as well. it made it a felony for anyone to provide services or assistance to undocumented immigrants. i have some friends in chicago who run a home for battered women. it's in the pilson neighborhood, an hispanic neighborhood. and they literally ran the risk of being charnldzed with a federal felony by allowing someone to come through their door, a woman who had been
beaten by her husband, a woman carrying a child, offering them any help or any protection made them, unfortunately, subject to being arrested under this sensenbrenner amendment. i offered an amendment on the floor of the united states senate to remove this, in a republican-controlled united states senate. i was successful. my colleagues believed this went too far. i believe this goes too far. this is not the first time that we've gone too far and have moved back to a more moderate position n1982 there was a texas law passed that said that elementary schools could refuse entry to undocumented children. l.a. in the landmark supreme court decision of plyler v. doe, the supreme court destruct down the law. chief just at this time roberts was lawyer at the justice department and criticized the justice department for is not supporting the texas law. it's been 23 years sincely
letter v. doe was decided. millions of children have become citizens. there are others who contribute to america every day. imagine what would have happened in that texas law had been the law of the land. i asked john roberts during his confirmation hearing for the supreme court if plyler v. doe which struck down the texas law was law in america. he wouldn't answer. it leaves some question as to what might happen if it comes before his complete arizona faces serious law challenges. there is violence on the mexican side of the border because of drug cartels. it is the american appetite for narcotics that is fueling this drug war in mexico. this is american money and guns flowing south of the border which has created the situation and we need to be more honest about it as well. but it is a fact and it is dangerous, and i can understand why the people of arizona would feel some trepidation about this and some real concern.
just last month robert crimms was murdered near the border of mexico. he so to say that violence not part of the scene in arizona is unrealistic and unfair. in march of 2009, i held a hearing in the senate judiciary committee on mexican drug cartels, and i invited terry goddard to testify. "sophisticated violent, highly organized criminals are smuggling drugs, human beings, guns and money across the border and using unimaginable violence to protect and grow the criminal enterprise. law enforcement officers in the state of arizona have been on the front lines of the efforts to combat one of the most serious organized crime threats in the 21st century." so if the arizona law is wrong, what is the right answer? i think the right answer in the framework of the bill which we've brought for members to consider just last week. there are three elements that are essential. first, we've got to do everything in our power to police our border, to make sure that we have the right
technology, the right people, and that we're doing everything to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the united states. those who say "seal the border first" are setting an impossible standard. imagine if we set a standard and said, "seal interstate 95 so that no vehicle passing over that interstate will be carrying illegal narcotics or guns." imagine that. well, there are tens of thousands of vehicles and people passing legally between the united states and mexico every day. amidst this legal flow is an illegal flow, and we need to find way to reduce that. the second part of that bill, the framework, would say the lure of the america is the lure of a job. and let us establish a social security card with biometric identification so the employer clearly knows whether a person is legal or not. i think that's a step in the right direction. the third, of course srk to deal with those here in a humane way, not with amnesty but by setting
up a process where they would have to work their way and prove their way into legal status. it would never be automatic, not be unconditional. the trouble we have is that many of those who say that the federal laws have broken down and we don't have good immigration law are unwilling to stand up and join us in writing a new law. i invite all of my friends on the other side of the aisle to join with the democrats in writing a good immigration law.n option. it invites more laws like those in arizona which unfortunately will have results which i don't think are consistent with values in our country. i join my colleagues in supporting the framework. i hope they'll consider sponsoring or cosponsoring the dream act, a bill i introduced many years ago. senator dick lugar was my cosponsor. it says those brought here as children into america undocumented, who finish school with no criminal record and are
willing to finish two years of college or serve in our military will have a chance to become legal in the united states of america. that is a step in the right direction. it is a step which wasn't necessary 99 years ago when my 2-year-old mother came to this country. thank goodness she did and thank goodness i'm here to tell the story. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, madam president. madam president, are we in morning business? the presiding officer: yes. mr. alexander: thank you. madam president, the business before the united states senate this week is financial regulation. it's hard to pick about what the business should be this week; there's so much going on that's of great concern to many of us. we have a briefing this afternoon on the dimensions of the oil spill in the gulf of mexico. those of us in tennessee are
deeply concerned about the 1,000-year rain, an event that only happens every thousand years according to to some of the engineers in the army corps that has wreaked havoc on middle tennessee and is beginning now to hurt west tennessee. we have the arizona immigration debate, which the distinguished senator from illinois was discussing a little earlier. we have a new start treaty that the president has asked us to consider. just around the corner we have a nomination coming for a vacancy on the supreme court of the united states which will dominate, as it should, the attention of this body for two or three months or so until it's thoroughly considered. and of course the american people would like for us to focus on jobs. i have a great respect for the democratic governor of tennessee who was quoted in the "wall
street journal" yesterday saying the following: "if i have 100 conversations with people, 95 of them will be about jobs, and none of them will be about cap-and-trade, and none of them will be about bank reform," said governor phil bredesen, a conservative democratic in an interview. but financial regulation is the topic and financial regulation is important. the importance of it is this is a country that produces year in and year out about 25% of all the money in the world. we sometimes forget how privileged we are in terms of of our standard of living. we're just about 5% of the people of the world but 25% of the wealth of the world is created here. it is because entrepreneurs have a great advantage here. they can create new jobs, one right after the other. our well-being is not measured by the number of jobs we lose. it's by the difference of the number of jobs we create and the number of jobs we lose. and the problem we have right now is we're not creating enough
new jobs in the united states of america, and we need to focus on doing that. one aspect of that is the kind of system of financial regulation we have. all of us were appalled by some of the high jinx on wall street that helped lead us to the great recession in which we find ourselves and for which we had to take extraordinary action. so the purpose of the financial regulation bill is to minimize the possibility of those high jinx occurring again, but at the same time leave an environment in the united states where we can create the largest number of good new jobs. and when i say "we," i don't mean the government. we've had too much attention on creating government jobs. the one place the stimulus has worked is washington, d.c. salaries are up here. there are more jobs here. the place where it's not working is out across the country where if we continue with the economy over the next year it the rate of growth that it had in the first quarter, which was 3.2%,
we're told that the unemployment rate at the end of the year will still be about 9% or 10%. why? because we're not creating enough good new jobs in the private sector. so as we deal with financial regulation, we must be careful to leave an environment in which we can continue to create jobs, which is why there are five major issues that have come toward us. i heard someone on television say this morning there go the the republicans. they want to slow down the financial regulation bill. they can't agree on it in the senate. well, what we want to do especially after the health care debate is provide some check and balance to make sure we have a good bill. and these are the issues that are before the american people on this bill. is there a washington takeover of main street lending? community banks, credit unions, plumbers, dentists say there may be. we need to make sure that there's not. the last thing we need to do is to make it harder to get a loan
in nashville or manchester or knoxville or san antonio, because if you can't get a loan, you can't hire a person, you can't invest in something, and you can't create a job, and the economy doesn't move. so that's the first issue. is there a washington takeover of main street lending? the second issue, what about this czarina or czar? what about this person that the person would appoint to be in charge of millions of financial transactions in the consumer bureau, but unlike our other independent agency, this person, this man or woman, would not be then accountable to the president, would not be then accountable to the congress, and doesn't that lead to the possibility that this person could write some rules and regulations unaccountably, as the czar or czarina that might make the same sort of mistake we made when we encouraged people to buy houses who couldn't afford to pay for them, which
most agree is the principal event that led us into the great recession that we now have and nearly led us into another depression, which brings us to the third issue: why are we not dealing with the big housing agencies? fannie mae and freddie mac have about as much debt as the united states does, and -- and -- we taxpayers implicitly guarantee their debt. in the health care debate it was said we don't add to the national debt, but we didn't include doctors. we didn't include paying doctors in the health care bill. that would be about like my going to the congressional budget office and saying tell me how much it will cost to run the university of tennessee for the next ten years, and the congressional budget office might say to me with the professors or without the professors. if i wanted a lowball number i'd say give me the number without the professors. that's what we got in the health care bill, so we left out $200 billion or $300 billion.
the president said it's $371 billion over the next few years because we assumed we wouldn't pay doctors who provide medicare, at least there would be a 21% cut and at least for them those medicare patients, it begins to create a health care bridge to nowhere pwhraus there are no doctors -- because there are no doctors who will see them if they are not properly reimbursed. we're doing the same thing in the financial regulation if we leave out if any and freddie mac. why did we leave it out? we're leaving it out because if we put it in, we'd have to deal with the two or three or $400 billion number in the current year. the congressional budget office says, i believe, about $291 billion. so we're going to put it in the drawer or put it under the table or act like it's not there and say to the american people, hooray, we fixed financial regulation, not dealing with housing. when we fix financial regulation
is not paying doctors when we pass a comprehensive health care bill. so that's a third issue. and there are a couple more. one is the so-called derivatives issue. that's a complicated issue for many people. but the head of the federal deposit insurance corporation says the bill before us may actually create less regulation for these complicated transactions rather than more. and this is an area that we want to make sure we don't make a mistake in. and then there's the so-called bank -- big bank bailout provision. most americans don't want a provision in the law that allows, or encourages big banks to take risks to cause them to fail and take the rest of us down with them. so the point of our debate ought to be can we make sure in our financial regulation that we don't provide incentives for big
banks to take imprudent risks that will cause them to fail and hurt us because they're so big. now, how are we making progress on this? well, as the republican leader has said, we have goldman sachs and citibank who have said they like the bill. what i would say, there are a number of people worried about the bill. i'm hearing from community banks, credit unions, dentists, credit unions, plumbers. in "the new york times" there is an article that says "senate financial bill misguided." some academics say. a professor at m.i.t. says we need to proceed about this in a much more deliberate and rational and thoughtful way. that's what we would like to do. a professor says leaving out fannie mae and freddie mac from the discussion is outrageous. the fdic chairman, sheila bair warns against new curbs on bank trading that i just mentioned. so, madam president, my point is
that this is an opportunity for us on the republican side and those on the democratic side to take an important piece of legislation -- not such a visible piece of legislation today because we have issues from immigration to the oil spill to the flooding in tennessee, but vastly important for our country, and work together to make it better. some progress, i understand, is being made on one of the five provisions. that is the too-big-to-fail provision. we'll see what senator shelby has to say. but that still leaves the question of whether we ought to have an independent czarina or czar. that still leaves the question of whether we're dealing properly with derivatives. that still leaves the question of whether we ought to leave out of a financial reform bill the two great housing agencies that are just sticking there right in front of us like a sore thumb reminding us we haven't done our job if we do that. and of great importance is why can't we simply have a provision
in the bill that eliminates any possibility that we have a washington takeover of main street? it's not the business of this bill to make it harder to extend and get credit up and down main street of america. madam president, i thank the president. i yield the floor. and i ask unanimous consent to include, following my remarks, a series of articles which i'll bring to the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. lemieux: madam president, i come to the floor of the senate today to talk about the not only environmental but economic disaster that's happened in the gulf of mexico. yesterday i had the the opportunity to fly over the scene of the spill from the deep water horizon rig along with my colleague, senator sessions, senator shelby and congressman jeff miller, who represents florida's first congressional district. and what we saw, madam president, was pretty
startling. as you fly out over the ocean, you see the beginning of a spill. first it looks like just a sheen, something like you might see with gasoline laying on a concrete floor at a gas station. but as you get closer to where the deep water horizon oil platform was located before it fell into the water, you begin to see these great bands of orange, rust-colored oil that streak across the gulf of mexico. and you begin to see small clumps of what looks like tar. and as you get closer to the scene of the incident, those small clumps turn into what i would describe as large pads of tar that have floated to the surface. we saw the new rigs that are being set up to start the drilling, to do escape drilling, to allow for the pressure to be taken off the spill where it's located now. we saw some of the cleanup vessels. there was about ten vessels out there. we understand there's close to
100 that are involved in the total containment of this spill. but what, mr. president, is really concerning to me, and i know is concerning to many other members of congress, is what could happen, what might happen next. there's a lot of folks working very hard in the coast guard, in the government. we met with captain pullen at the mobile training facility for the coast guard, who briefed us on what's going on so far. but if we don't get this wellhead to stop leaking oil into the ocean, estimated at 5,000 barrels a day, mr. president, we don't really know how much is leaking. it could be less than that; it could be a lot more. if we don't stop the wellhead from leaking, we are going to have a lot bigger of a problem. this area now, you know, it grows every day. when you watch it since april 21 when we had this disaster, it's measured by the size of states.
first it was rhode island and then it was delaware. it's growing bigger and bigger. and when the storms subside, as they are doing now, that sheen is going to spread out even farther. and it certainly is going to likely impact my state of florida and our beaches and our commercial fishermen and our recreational fishermen. so there's cause for great concern. the reason i'm coming to the floor today is to make this point. there are those who are casting blame on british petroleum. there are those who are casting blame on the government. there will be time for that. whether or not the government has done a proper job of getting on this problem from day one, as we're hearing, whether or not british petroleum properly worked along with the folks who ran this rig, the transocean folks, whether or not they made mistakes -- certainly mistakes were made. there will be time for us to evaluate that. what we must do now is spend all
of our energy and efforts stopping the leak from this well because if we don't, we may see an oil spill that's the entire expanse of the gull of mexico. we may see oil that not only hurts the gulf coast of florida, mississippi, alabama, louisiana, and texas, but we poe tongsly could see this oil go around -- we potentially could see this oil go around florida, into the everglades, into the thousands islands area, let alone all of the cost on the -- all of the coast on the western side. so i'm here to urge that all of my colleagues support the administration and b.p. and everyone else who is working on this to stop the leak that we have now. to me, it is the most important thing. there were obviously issues of negligence that caused this disaster to happen in the first place. whether or not the federal government has done everything
it should have done in the beginning days when this happened are going to be questions that we have to answer and folks are going to have to come before our committees to answer those questions. right now, mr. president, we have real estate got to stop db we've got to stop this leak of we have got to have an increased sense of urgency for stopping the leak and containing the oil. we're putting a dispersant into the site of the well head. that is apparently having good good effect. b.p. has also, as he we learned yesterday, to close one of the hydraulic fail-safe valves. we know it wasn't fail-safe. but at least some of that has been closed, which is stopping, we hope, in some way the amount of oil that's going into the gulf of mexico. there is a crisis now, but the crisis to come could be far worse if we don't stop the leak into the well head -- from the well head. mr. president, i'd like to continue my remarks but have this entered as a separate entry into the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
jerusalem mr. president, we have d. mr. lemieux: mr. president, we have seen two more attempts against the united states for terrorist attacks. most recently in times square where thanks to the fine work. new york police dapt bomb was stopped. we've also seen an christmas day when umar farouk abdulmutallab tried to blow up a plane, thankfully that bomb did not explode. these are dangerous times. istin to say we not only need to pay attention to the east where this danger is stemming from but we also have to continue to pay attention to the south. we have to continue to pa pay attention to venezuela and to the dangerous ties between venezuela and iran. we know that a spanish judge has accused venezuelan authorities of conspiring with the e. tee a., the radical group in spain to asenior senator nate -- to
assassinate the president of columbia. we know that venezuela is collaborating with farc, the group that is destabilizing all of central america all the way up into mexico. we know this dangerous situation. we know that there are flights now between caracas and venezuela that don't go through the normal customs channels where folks get off the plane in venezuela, who knows where they go. we also know now mr. president that iran has sent shock troops to venezuela. we've now also heard of a foiled attempt from a company called ven-iran -- presumably venezuela-iran -- to ship through turkey alleged tractor parts to venezuela that turned out to be explosive materials. and i come to the floor today to update this continuing story and to again bring hopefully the focus of this congress and this administration on the gathering storm that is venezuela and its
contacts to iran. and that is, not only are there now shock troops from iran in venezuela, but we see that the chinese government is giving $20 billion to venezuela for derivative future potential to purchase oil parntsly. lots of questions need to be asked. we need answers from this administration about our focus on venezuela. hugo chavez is a dangerous man, and the continued attempts by the venezuela regime to work with cuba, to spread disharmony throughout the region to try to bring other latin american countries along his strong-man tactics are cause for concern. i'll conclude with this, mr. president: two weekends ago i had the opportunity to go to the joint interagency task force in key west, florida, where tremendous work is done by the coast guard, the navy, the f.b.i., d.e.a., all sorts of other agencies to interdict drug trafficking from
south america, central america, into the united states. and we know that venezuela is allowing flights to go over its country to columbia to bring drugs to central america. we know how violence comes from those drugs. we're seeing the destablization of mexico because of t but we also know that there are these semi submersible craft -- mini submarines, full, that ride just below the water that are being used bier drug traffickers with -- that are being used by drug traffickers with the support of venezuela, to bring large amounts of cocaine into the united states. those same crafts can be used to deliver a weapon of terror. this administration and the world has to not just focus on iran but has to focus on the dangerous ties between iran and venezuela. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. i see me friend and colleague from ten fen is here to speak. mr. corker: mr. president?
the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee is recognized. mr. corker: i thank you. before i came down to speak today to some comments made by the junior senator from delaware, but before that i did want to mention that i hope very soon that the administration will work closely and i'm sure they will because i know they're very understanding of what's happening in tennessee. t-but we obviously have quite a disaster under way. we have people who've lost their lives, people who've lost their homes, people who've lost their lives work. and i appreciate so much the work of our governor, the many makers especially the mayor of nashville, but also mayors across our state. i appreciate the response that all of them have given in coming to the aid of our citizens there, and again i know this administration will begin to work very closely with them in the same remarks and i thank them for that in advance. mr. president, i came down to speak specifically today about the comments from my friend from
delaware delaware regarding the fact that because large institutions in this country have a funding advantage over some of the smaller institutions, we ought to break them up. mr. president, i have, you know, concerns certainly about some of the situations we get ourselves into when large institutions -- when a large institution gets into trouble. i don't think that having 100 senators here on the floor arbitrarily deciding what size a financial institution ought to be or be broken up necessarily, i don't think that's the right aproasm. dwhie think is a better approach, and i think this bill attempts to do and doesn't quite get it right is ensure that if an institution fails it actually fails. and the shareholders of the company know that they're going to be out of their entire investment, the creditors know what's going to happen.
the bill attempts to do that. my sense is that senator shell bands senator dodd are working together -- and i think may actually have come to an agreement over a way to close up some of the loopholes that exist in this bill. what i would suggest to my friend from discal is just to support those efforts because i think if that occurs -- and my sense is it will based on conversations i had -- that what will happen very quickly is the credit rating nations this country -- they've already indicated that to be the case, not that they've been stellar. but the fact is that many of them are beginning to look at these large institutions in a different way because they believe we may pass legislation here on the floor that says that if they fail, they actually go out of business. and that creates a situation where that moral hazard doesn't exist, where people in essence loan money or give credit or invest in these larger
institution at rates that are lesser than what might be the case for smaller institutions. so, mr. president, what i would say is, look, the best way we can sort of level the playing field is to ensure that if a big company fails, it fails. and again i think we're on the verge of getting that solved. there will be many people on my side of the aisle -- and by the way, i respect this position very much, that think the only way to do that is through bankruptcy and are talking about either an 11-f section of the code or an section 14 of the bankruptcy code where highly complex financial holding companies would go into bankruptcy if they fail. by the way, i think we should do everything we could to strengthen that. at the same time i think -- in the interim anyway, we need a resolution mechanism so if a large company fails, we have a mechanism to liquidate it. maybe you let the laws sunset.
but again what i would say to my friend from delaware, who i respect -- and i certainly love his passion on this issue -- that the best way we can get that level playing field is to ensure that these large institutions fail when they fail. and that will change that funding level that he's talking about. now, as a matter of fact, we're giving regulators in this bill, if it passes in its form right now -- and i sure hope we make lots of; ichs i cannot support the bill as it is today -- but the bill actually addresses capital levels as institutions become larger and more risky. additional capital requirements are required, which automatically drives up their cost of funding. there's section that senator warner and i worked on called the contingent capital where the regulators can actually cause these institutions to have contingent capital where if a
creditor has loaned money to an institution and this institution gets in trouble, that turns to equity. so it's a buffer -- again, i think the cost of that is going to be more expensive than most credit that would begy ton an institution like this. so again i think -- i think the best way to deal with organizations that are large in this country is to deal with it with the many tools that exist in this bill that need to be improved, no doubt, and hopefully over the course of the next two weeks will be improved. but that's a much better solution than just arbitrarily 100 senators saying, well, if you're x part of our g.d.p., you have a got to be taken down to size. i want to just reiterate, as i did last week on the floor, that our country has by far the largest gross domestic product in the world. i mean, we dwarf everybody. and we have no banks in the top five in our country. we have two banks in the top 15
-- excuse me, in the world. we have no banks in the top five in the world. we have two in the top 156789 so i'm not sure that as we work on globalization and as we hope to ship goods and deal with people around the world our best solution is to hand did i cap the ability -- to handy cap the ability of our banks. i'm not sure it is in our best interest to arbitrarily deciding what size a company can be, a financial holding company can be. i thank you for letting me thank speak to this iran. i do hope over the course of the next couple weeks we can make significant changes in the consumer title aism hearing from people all across the state of tenton. they're ordinary citizens who wake up daily who do things that are outside the financial sphere, at least they believe they dovment they're very concerned about the reach of our consumer protection agency as it is outlined in this bill. the fact that it is unfettered,
that there's no board in any way to control it the fact that there's no federal preemption, the fact that there will now be 50 state attorney generals dealing with our banks, the fact that this consumer entity has the ability to be involved in underwriting loans. you can imagine some of the problems that have occurred through c.r.a. recently and think about this. it would be c.r.a. on steroids. those are some ib ires that i don't think we need to address in this bill. i hope that we will realize in this country is over an expansive government that reaches out unnecessarily in these lives. i want to say in closing, i applaud the efforts that the senator from connecticut and the senator from bam bam have under way to fix this resolution title in such a way that we all know that if a firm fails, it's going to go out of business. and i think that will adequately address the concerns that the
junior senator from delaware brought up earlier that says that these big firms in some cases have funding advantages. i think once the public understands that these firms can go oust business just like any other entity, that that will change. and the i think we're already seeing that through early indications with credit rating agencies and others that are looking at these instances. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 3217, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 349, s. 3217, a bill to promote the financial stability of the united states by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the nator from connecticut is recognized. mr. dodd: thank you, mr. president. i'll be brief at this point. first let me thank the leadership and my colleagues,
democrats and republicans, for allowing us to get to this point now. we're on the bill, after all this time. i heard brief -- i didn't hear all the comments of my colleague and friend from tennessee, but clearly we're making an effort here to try to reach agreement where we can on some of the critical issues. senator shelby and i our staffs worked very hard over the weekend to try to come to closure on the resolution title of the bill, title 1 and title 2, that senator corker spent so much time working on. we thought we did a pretty good job but there's always room for improvement to satisfy the interests people have to make sure taxpayers will never be exposed. we'll try to present that to our colleagues here to be able to close that issue and move on to other areas of the bill that people have interest in. we have a number of amendments, mr. president, that i believe should be relatively noncontroversial, either bipartisan amendments that people want to offer dealing with the federal trade
commission, dealing with the consumer title. there are a number of things that we've already reached some agreement on. my hope would be that we could have an understanding. i obviously want to wait for senator shelby to come over to enter into a time agreement, brief one on the boxer amendment. we've all talked about the boxer amendment so weekend maybe hopefully have that vote when we come back from our respective caucus lunches. shoeflly -- hopefully at that point myself or senator shelby will offer something dealing with the title of the bill to close that up. i'm told senator tester has an amendment dealing with an issue involving assessments on small banks that we agree with. i snow senator snowe and some others have amendments -- i know snowe senator and some others have amendments. senator hutchison and senator rockefeller on the federal trade commission as well have -- we've
reached an agreement on that as well. there are a number of things which i would like to at least deal with here where we've got consensus. then obviously there are going to be amendments that will come up that are controversial, that are going to require a good debate here on the floor. hopefully not an endless one, but a debate on those matters; and want to get to those soon. i know my colleagues who have those ideas want to be heard, and i certainly want to give them the opportunity to do so. my hope would be that we reach time agreements and have up or down votes on them. we could avoid filibusters and those that want to extend the debate even though they're not happy with the agreement, don't like the outcome, i think we'll serve our interests well, with the exception of those that deserve some sort of attention like that, but the overwhelming majority of these issues ought to be debated antivoted up or down -- voted up or down. so that's sort of the game plan
as i see it, mr. president. but i'm obviously not going to make any unanimous consent requests regarding time agreements until my colleague from alabama is here to agree to that. my hope is to offer such a unanimous consent proposal that on the boxer amendment we get a time certain fairly quickly. again, it goes to the heart of exactly what senator corker was talking about, and that is to emphatically state our determination that taxpayers not be exposed to the cost of any institution that, any institution that fails and is wound down either through resolution or more likely through bankruptcy; there is not taxpayer exposure. since we all, i think, agree on that, the language is rather clear, my hope would be we could spend a few minutes talking about it, making that point and
then vote and move on to other matters seeking time agreements as well. i've talked to the leader about this. obviously we don't have an endless amount of time for this debate and this subject matter. but my hope is over the next week or two here starting early, staying a little later in the evening than we normally do, even if necessary spending some time on the weekend. i know that's not normally done here; but again to get to the finish line on this bill is going to take some time given the number of amendments that people have out there that they'd like to be heard on. in order to meet the goals of the leadership to complete our work on this bill and move to the other items that must be debated in this chamber, aside from financial services reform. so we've got a lot of work to do in the coming two weeks on this matter, and my hope is that people bring their amendments early to us, to senator shelby and to myself and our committee members, let us look at them, work on them. where we can accept or modify them, we'll try to do so. where we can't, provide the time
so we can have a debate and vote on your ideas. that's where we stand. i have a number of requests for time here, and i'm not going to make any unanimous consent requests with these. but a number of members here asked for some time to speak today either on amendments they're going to be proposing or on the bill itself. and i have that list here, and i'll try to accommodate those members when i can this afternoon. but again, the first order of business would be on the boxer amendment. let me just say about that amendment, mr. president, that, again, the language of the boxer amendment is rather straightforward. i read it the other day. it's a very brief amendment and very clear. it says at the end of title 2 add the following. so at the end of the resolution title, which is an elaborate title we spent months working on so as to make sure we get it right, and that is the prupblgs is bankruptcy -- the presumption is bankruptcy. in the most painful alternative, a resolution, one you would not like to take at all.
it's really bankruptcy, putting these companies out of their misery and the country out of their misery without exposing the taxpayer to the cost. the managers get fired under the bill, they're gone. not only do they not get bonuses, they don't have a job having done what they did. shareholders lose in these matters, so shareholders have to pay more attention to what's happening to their companies of which they're the owners. creditors also take tremendous hits in this proposal as well. senator boxer has offered some very straightforward language, almost an ex-clam medication point, mr. president -- exclaimation point at the end of title 2. she says liquidation required. all financial companies put into receivership under this title shall, shall be liquidated. if there is any doubt about the provisions. sentence number 2: is no taxpayer funds shall be used to prevent the liquidation of any financial company under this
title. a very clear, declarativ sentence. subparagraph b, recovery of funds, all funds expended in the liquidation under this bill shall again, mr. president, be recovered from the disposition of assets of such financial company or shall be the responsibility of the financial sector to assessments. and then subparagraph c, the final sentence, no losses to taxpayers. taxpayers shall -- again shall -- bear no losses under the exercise of any authority under this title. again, a very straightforward, very clear amendment, one again i think that basically incorporates the views shared by all 100 members of this body. maybe there is someone who agrees with this. -- who disagrees with this, if they do i don't know who they are. every member i've heard on this issue agrees what senator boxer is suggesting on this very important language. it is not a sense of the senate resolution.
this is statutory language on the bill. my hope would be, it seems pretty straightforward, i'd like to first vote to be something we can come together as a chamber, something we all agree on as we begin a debate where not all amendments will end up that waeurbgs but on this one i think there is clarity and we ought to get behind it and say without any equivocation whatsoever that taxpayers are not going to be exposed to the kinds of charges and costs they were in the fall of 2008. with that, mr. president, i'll note the absence -- i'll sit here and wait for senator shelby come on over and in the meantime note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
is en mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado is recognized. a senator: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to speak about a bipartisan amendment, number 3778, which senator lugar and i have filed based on our bill, the fair access to credit scores
act of 2010. this amendment, mr. president, has wide and growing support both with consumer groups and legislators of all political persuasions. i want to thank senators bond, brown of massachusetts, brown of ohio, hagan, levin, lieberman, mccaskill and shaheen, who are also sponsors of this amendment. our amendment takes a commonsense yet significant step toward putting consumers back in control of their finances by offering americans annual access to their credit score when they access their free annual credit report. mr. president, i want to clarify here because this is what's important about this amendment. a credit report tells consumers what outstanding credit accounts they have open like student loans, credit cards, even perhaps a car or a home loan. unfortunately, it tells americans little else. your credit score, on the other hand, which our legislation
makes available, has the critical information that consumers need to know. a credit score affects consumers' interest rates, monthly payments on home loans and could be the difference between whether a child is able to afford college or not. credit scores even affect a consumer's ability to buy a car, rent an apartment and get a phone or even internet service. in 2003, congress enacted legislation requiring the three major consumer credit reporting agencies to provide a free annual credit report to consumers. this law known as the fact act was an important step in ensuring that the financial records of american consumers are accurate. however, since that time many of my constituents have been misled to believe that they have free access to their credit score when what they have is access, free access to their credit report. so you have the score verses the
report -- versus the report. even thoughtful lawmakers in congress do not recognize that american consumers ultimately have to buy access to their credit score. to be clear, banks and lenders can easily obtain these scores while consumers cannot. that simply, mr. president, is not fair. we've all seen the frequent television commercials or internet advertisements which claim to offer consumers free access to their credit score. unfortunately, consumers are often disappointed to learn they only have access to their credit report, not the critical information they need to judge their credit worthiness: their score. and in the most troubling cases consumers often believe they are signing up to get a free credit score only to find out later that they unwittingly signed up for a costly monthly monitoring service that can cost nearly $200 a year. in considering reforms to hold wall street accountable and rein
in their dealings, we believe that the congress should also work to protect consumers from other unscrupulous financial practices. when there's a deal that often seems too good to be true, many americans ask themselves: what's the catch? well, there certainly is a catch in this instance. and the problem is that federal law tacitly supports it by directing consumers to these credit rating agencies under false pretenses. we all know that consumers want their score, but it's the last thing they receive. we are literally sending americans every day into a fine print trap. well, i'm not surprised the credit reporting agencies and their lobbyists have been hard at work over the last several days perpetuating these fine print arguments in opposing our amendment. they even claim, mr. president, that the credit scores belong to them, not the consumers whose livelihood depends on them. would a doctor say,
mr. president, that someone's bloom reading is their -- blood pressure reading is their information, not the patient's? and so these agencies have also been circulating a document oppositing our -- opposing our effort because according to them it would not provide consumers any more information than already available. mr. president, something is up. they oppose our bill because it doesn't offer consumers enough benefits. this is precisely the kind of misleading information included in their advertisements as you see here in this photograph. while this snapshot does not fully reflect the deception in this particular ad, it does picture a squirrel directing consumers to one of the web sites claiming to offer a free credit score. but there's more to the story. while it patently seems to offer a free score, this credit reporting agency requires consumers to enter their credit card information and registers them for a costly credit
monitoring service. you have to look closely at the top of the ad to read the fine print that actually tells consumers the real story. they have to subscribe to the company service to receive the actual credit score. you've probably seen this commercial, mr. president, which tells a sad story about an individual whose poor credit score landed him in a dead-end job. if only he had access to his credit score, the ad explains with a catchy jingle, he would have been able to take action and improve his credit and his quality of life. again, though, you have to look closely to read the fine print. if the consumer goes to this site, they once again have to enter their credit card information and register for a service costing nearly $200 a year. it says here, mr. president, in fine print, free credit score and report with enrollment in
triple advantage. ironically, these credit reporting agencies are walking the halls of congress telling members that our bill is somehow -- and i quote -- "unfair and unfounded." they want to protect a federal law that has given them a monoply on this information and continues to direct unwitting consumers their way. we agree, those of us who have sponsored this piece of legislation, with these credit reporting agencies that a credit score is important information, and perhaps their misleading ads, if anything, have convinced consumers they need to know this information. however, luring hard-working americans into a costly credit monitoring service is simply not fair, especially when federal law nudges consumers in their direction. mr. president, we've all come to the floor this week from both sides of the aisle explaining
what we want to do to protect consumers and do what is right for main street. we have a chance to right this wrong here and now this week. put simply, this amendment accomplishes what the television commercials and their fine print caveats have stkep tively claimed for years -- deceptively claimed for years, the offer of a free credit score. that's why the consumers federation of america and a wide range of consumer affects support this legislation. while free access is only part of the larger reforms needed, it addresses one of the fundamental inequities that pervade the current financial system. put simply, our one-sided marketplace today is often rigged to benefit large financial institutions at the expense of hard-working americans struggling to support their families and save for retirement. if we want to empower americans
to reclaim their financial health, we have to start with a dose of transparency. when so much is at stake, this amendment is a small step that will help restore balance and give americans the tools they need to take back control of their personal finances. my hope, my strong hope, mr. president, is that we'll be able to vote on this important amendment in order to restore an even greater dose of fairness to consumers in my state of colorado and all around the nation. i urge and request that each one of my colleagues support its passage. mr. dodd: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut is recognized. mr. dodd: mr. president, very briefly, let me say to our colleague from colorado that i appreciate his efforts in this regard and where you and senator lugar and others have worked on this. you're absolutely right; people have a right to know what their
credit scores are. they're critical when it comes to that home mortgage, the interest rates that you pay, the down payment you're required to meet are all linked to what that credit score is. we've seen in the past how credit scores can actually be very different from what they should be, when people have had to fight for years to get a credit score restored because of either identity theft, all sorts of things that can happen. we had a hearing not too many years ago on this issue, where the theft of identity caused an individual to have a person who just ran wild with some credit cards. the individual who had his credit cards stolen then spent years trying to rehabilitate his own name and reputation because of what had happened and could never get access to his credit scores except that every financial transaction he engaged
in, he paid an awful price because the credit scores were obviously low in light of the fact that people who had stolen his cards had run up huge debts. so his mortgage rates, everything elsewhere an interest rate was involved, he was paying and his family was paying a price for it. aside from having the knowledge of what it is, the ability to correct it is something we spend a lot of time on. there is hardly an american citizen in this country at one point or another who has not run into this difficult. today when so much of our well-being depends upon our credit scores, how we're rated in these matters, this becomes a critical component. people ought to know what is my credit score. why is it the score it is. so they can either strengthen it or at least understand why they're being charged the various rates they are. so i commend my friend from colorado. and senator lugar, and you mentioned there are others who were on the bill as well, the amendment as well. i thank you for raising it. in the coming days my hope is
we'll be provided some time to further debate it and maybe we'll get an agreement to adopt your amendment as well. mr. lieberman: -- mr. udall: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado is recognized. mr. udall: i want to thank the banking committee chairman on this bipartisan amendment. i take to heart his comments the importance of having access to your credit score. we all have access, as i pointed out, to our credit reports. those are important, but frankly, you ought to understand what's in your credit report. it's the loans, it's the financial obligations you have. it's much harder to get your credit score. we hear a lot about financial literacy, about taking control of your own destiny when it comes to your financial future. this would be an important tool to have in the hands of consumers. the agencies and institutions, mr. chairman, that develop these scores are saying, as i said in my speech, that this is unfair and unfounded. but they found, frankly, when they made the credit reports available on a onetime basis
annually for free, it actually created more traffic and more business. and i would predict when you get your score that one time each year for free, you're going to want to check over time on that score and that's going to create additional business for these companies. much like when i go to my a.t.m., i'm always curious about the flow in and out of my checking account. sometimes i check the last ten transactions. that results in a little bit of income stream to the bank. i don't resent that because i have information at hand. but when i was given the opportunity to have that information initially, that triggered a greater interest in being more financially engaged. so i think this is common sense based, obviously the bipartisan support we have shows there's widespread support for this idea. i thank the chairman again for his interest and his support. and i yield the floor. the presiding ofce the tor from california is