tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 18, 2010 9:00am-12:00pm EST
prior periods in the absence of that. >> which is fine. >> and the polar bear survive and the indian culture. >> i want to recognize dr. bartlett. >> thank you very much. apologize for my absence. the chevy volt is on the mall. i have been scheduled for quite some time to speak briefly to the group there. of the chevy volt at the chapel hill. so very sorry i missed your testimony. you know, in the past the earth has been very much warmer. we are subtropical seas at the north slope of alaska or we wouldn't have oil there. and there weren't any humans and so please something else caused a. that doesn't mean that of our activities today are not enormously important in the climate change it because if you are at the tipping point, if the cars happen over a cliff and that's a tipping point, and a little baby comes up and pushes
on the rear and come it's going overcome isn't? we are at the tipping point. it's irrelevant if our contribution is small or greater. we are at the tipping point and we tip it over, we have done it. i had a chart i would help the staff could get up on the screen. can we get that up on the screen? i want to apologize for my question to the first panel, because i know, i am excited. i know scientists should be consumed with policy, but the only reason you hear is because we are concerned with policy. and we would like to try and illuminate our policy. and so my question was better directed to other people, you know, regardless of what science is whether you agree or disagree with it. what the people want to do the want to move to less also fuels is exactly the right thing to do with two very a good reason. we get that car this is a chart and quite a startling chart. because just a few years ago nobody would've predicted that
we would be saying this today. because our usgs was predicted oil was going to be ever more and more abundant than the consumption of oil is going up and up for ever, despite 1956, they predicted the united states would peak in 1970. and we get right on schedule. there's the chart. the dark area behind you, the dark blue area is conventional oil that we now know about that peak in '06. for three or four years before the recession, the production of oil worldwide was static. demand was going up with static -- the price went up 50, $150 ago. that we had the recession which we shouldn't capitalize on because it gave us a breather. of course, we did not of that. suvs and pickup trucks are back on the roads in grand style in our country.
what they're predicting, see that light blue area? that is a dream. that is the dream that says we're going to find enough more oil, or produce enough oil from the site we have found, and many of these new sites are deepwater sites, enormously difficult to get at, enormously expensive to get at. i don't think there's even a prayer that we will come close to producing as much oil as they say we're going to produce by developing the field we now know, and finding new field. if you look at the oil chart and the discredit of oil, by the way, a large discovery of oil is 10 billion barrels of oil. every 12 days the world uses a billion barrels of oil. that's pretty simple arithmetic. but 84 million, goes into it roughly four times, doesn't? so you have 10 billion barrels discovery of oil, you breathe a sigh of relief that is all over, we've got oil. 120 days that will last the
world. big deal. so, you know, the point we're trying to do, i know scientists are concerned about science, and i am a scientist. but we are concerned about policy. the only reason you're here is because we want you to eliminate our policy. and whether you agree with my colleagues that we are a major factor is totally irrelevant because the right policy is to do exactly what people want to do, if you believe that human activity is increasing co2 in changing the climate. you want to move to fossil fuels, that's exactly the same thing, that those are concerned. national dignity want to do. we have only 2% of the oil. we use 25% of the oil. exactly the same thing that people want to do the recognized -- by the way, the first person to recognize this was hyman rickover in 1957. do a google search and one of the really important things that speech was that how long the age of oil is important in one
regard. the longer allows, the longer we have a chance to plan. i would propose, mr. chairman, by noon that we in this country have now in 30 years, we knew in 1908, when look back to 1970, which they said i would peak in this country, we know of an absolute certain -- certain he was right in united states. we try to make them out a lie by doing a lot of things. we drill more oil wells than the rest of the world put together. we have found a lot of in alaska and the gulf of mexico. in spite of those things today we produce half the oil, less than half we did in 1970. he predicted the world would be peaking about now, and we are. so, you know, if the policy were looking for, whether or not we are to be moving away from fossil fuels two alternatives, absolutely, just one more were. to kind of energy that we use. electricity and liquid fuels. the future will have all the electricity that we need with more nuclear, perhaps 80% with
nuclear. with more wind and solar and micro, hydra and truth geothermal. that's not your ego -- we will use as much electricity. the real crunch is going to be liquid fuels but if you're wind optimistic about everyone of the possibilities for liquid fuels, alternatives, they don't even come close to 84 million barrels a day. to bubble safari been broken. have you heard in my talk about hydrogen anymore? they finally figured out it's not an energy source that is just the equivalent of battery that carries energy from one place to another. you get water when you burn it. the second bubble that broke was the corvette -- if we turn all of our corn into ethanol, still leaves you for displacing fossil fuels if you're simple using another point. we would displace 2.4% of her gasoline. this is national academy. they further said, this is their
statement, that we would save more gas by turning all of our corn into ethanol if we just turned of our car and put air in the tires. now, the next bubble that is going to break is going to be the cellulosic ethanol bubble. we will get something from biomass. it will not even come close to what they hope to get. life on this earth is dependent largely exempt from what comes from the sea, about eight or 10 inches of topsoil. this year weeds grow because last year's weeds dyed and/or fertilizing it. what is the sustainability of cellulosic ethanol? that's the next bubble that will break. we just have to come to the realization that fossil fuels for liquid energy and the amounts would like to use just aren't going to be there. we're going to a largely an electric world, electric cars. you can't electrify the plane by the way. big trucks won't run on batteries they will so we'll have a very -- this is a very challenging future for me, mr.
chairman, because every six hours we go on a billion dollars in debt, and every 12 hours we have another billion dollar trade deficit at the jobs that went overseas are not coming back to we have to create new ones. my dream is we can create a new jobs in the green area. once again, become a major exporting country. and this committee is going to be very important in that regard, in sponsoring the basic science will make this green technology -- i'm so i went over my time but this is something i'm passionate about. thank you very much for holding the hearing. >> one would not detect a passion. [laughter] doctor bartlet, i appreciate your thoughts. you embody them in your own choices about how you power your own life, and it's admirable that you do. one last question for dr. feely, if i may. one of the concerns that many of us have about this phenomenon, is to what extent are we making
decisions now that put us well down the road of a long-term impact, even if we make changes today? and so, sort of at what point do we start bend the curve in the right direction? my understanding is, is passionate in lightness. to what extent is the co2 already present going to cause problems for the ocean? >> that's the exact question that the scientific community is struggling with right now. and it is all rehab and from looking at organisms in sea water that we have already had an impact, shells are getting smaller, you can compare shells that are collected at present with living organisms, to which shells that were at the bottom of the seat from 200 years or longer ago. there's a significant difference. so we already know that we're having impacts. we know with our own shellfish industry on the west coast that we're having significant impacts.
have we reached the tipping point yet? this is the question that we are really asking ourselves, and it's very hard to answer that question. well, we do know for sure if we get about 450 parts per million we will cause the arctic ocean, the and arctic ocean to go from top to bottom. that's it comes impact speed say that again. >> to go from top to bottom, throughout the entire water. >> corrosive? >> to the calcified organisms, which means the ph would be about 7.7 or so. consequently that's not too far away and we have to begin to concern ourselves with whether not people will go much farther in terms of co2 levels beyond that, which would impact a large areas of the pacific and atlantic ocean. the projections out to the end of the century say that we would have co2 levels as high as 800 parts per million. which would have impacts of the entire southern ocean, would impact the coral reef's throughout the world's oceans, and would even impact our deepwater court which we know
very little about. >> let me just make sure i understand. at current rates of increase of seo, we already have problems at current rates of co2 in the atmosphere. at projected increases with economic development, et cetera come if we don't change our energy system to a less fossil fuel-based energy system, the projected levels could reach levels where in the major polar regions, and elsewhere in the oceans, the water itself was become corrosive to the organisms that have evolved over many millions of years to live there, and the basic food chain for much of ocean life could be significantly in fact, is that a fair statement? >> that is absolutely correct. >> now, this highlight something that is fundamental to this hearing, and it is this. it goes back to my friend, doctor bartlet, analogy. if your car might be at a tipping point, and there is some
uncertainty about that, do you tell the baby to stop pushing? it just seems to me if the cause going to off the bloody clip, if there's doubt, you stop pushing. especially when the solution can be beneficial to economy, beneficial to national security respected, beneficial to your and violent, beneficial to human health. why not stop pushing, for goodness sake? if there's out. and bob inglis had the example earlier, and analogy, we have bent over backwards on this committee and this hearing today to include dr. michaels, dr. lindzen, but the reality is surveys of top flight scientists have shown the majority suggests that there is real reason for concern. and if there's real, real -- reason for concern she would not tell the baby to stop pushing if we have ways to do it? so i think this panel. we're not going to talk further
about what possible impact might be. i thank the panel. it's been a spirited discussion, a constructively. as i've done before, please, doctor barnett. >> i cannot stay. i would like to note the importance of the series is not the fact that some congress was up here listening to you. the importance of this hearing is it is on the record. and so thank you very much for coming. the next that will be on the record. i really regret i can't be. my chairman will ask questions that i might've asked and do it better that i. >> doctor, i can do it better than you. but one thing i'm certain of, i was going to say, you anticipated me, the transcript, the written transcript, the oil transcripts, that the of this will be on the record so people can access the website. if you can center the whole thing and don't want to, and having had the purpose to read all the transcripts, i know dr. cullen us, if you want to get a really marvelous understandable graphs of the history of this, i think dr. cullen's testimony is spectacular in that regard. and all of the others are.
but you will get a sense, and i think it's good. and doctor barth, thanks. with this i thank our panelists for the presentation and use of scientific work. we will take a five minute recess followed by the final panel. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> later today the senate will consider a food safety bill. objection, so ordered. rningtion, so ordered. >> i am a real cosponsor of them bill we just invoke cloture on.
voted cloture on, i was going to vote against cloture and i was going to speak after the cloture, and why is because we were up against a timeline. i want to say i regret to vote against cloture. now that cloture has been invoked we'll go to the bill rap hopefully make the necessary changes. frankly, the bill i cosponsored is not the bill that's coming to the floor today. it's been changed in some material ways as late as this morning there were changes being made. and i understand that there are discussions going on right now that hey change it again. first of all, let me say the issue of food safety is an issue that is of primary importance. we need to make sure that the food that's put in the retail stores as well as in restaurants and every other location in america is absolutely the safest, highest quality food product of anybody in the world.
that's always been our reputation. but there are some gaps in that -- in that good safety inspection program in the united states today that have allowed some things to happen. we had a situation in georgia two years ago where we found salmonella in some peanut butter at a location in south georgia, a manufacturing location. and while f.d.a. had the authority to go in and make an inspection, the way they actually inspected it was on a contract basis through the georgia department of agriculture. they didn't have the resources to do the real oversight that needed to be done, and here we had a company that had found salmonella in peanut butter with their own inspections and their own product had been sent to their contractor and salmonella was found to be positive, but yet they didn't have to report
that to f.d.a. that has been changed in this bill, and it's -- it's gaps like that that are important to see changed. what is a problem to me right now are a number of things, not the least of which is the definition of what is a small farmer which now small farmers have been granted an exemption, and that provision was changed as recently as this morning. i understand it is up for discussion again now. but the definition currently in the bill is that a small farmer is determined to be a farmer with gross receipts smaller than $500,000. well, unfortunately or fortunately, in my part of the world, cotton today is selling at $1.50 a bale -- $1.50 a pound. a bale is 500 pounds. it doesn't take much to reach $500,000 in gross receipts just in the sale of cotton, and that doesn't count peanuts and
wheat and corn and whatever else may go along with it. trying to put an arbitrary number low-income that and -- like that and saying you have gross receipts and a number like that, f.d.a. has the authority to come on your farm. if you have less than that, they don't have the authority, i think that's not the proper way to go. secondly with respect to that issue, even if they are exempt as a small farmer, they still have a mandate of a huge amount of paperwork that has to go along with their production on an annual basis. so i -- i don't know what's going to happen with respect to the amendment process. we've heard that there may be a filling of the tree and there will be no amendments. i hope that's not the case. i hope that we have the opportunity to have an unlimited amount of amendments and that we can get the bill corrected and that we can make it at the end of the day a good bill that will generate a significant vote on this floor, but we have also
heard that there may be no amendments that are going to be allowed. obviously, without a definite understanding on that, i -- i had to be opposed to the bill. and let me just say that -- that one other issue that -- that concerns me is an amendment that is -- was filed by -- by senator tester, and i know his heart is in the right place on it, but no less than about 30 national agricultural groups wrote a letter to chairman harkin as well as to ranking member enzi on monday saying they were opposed to that amendment, and if it's included in the bill, they are going to be opposed to the bill. that again is one of these 11th hour issues that remains undecided, and i would ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that a copy of this letter be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without
objection, so ordered. mr. chambliss: so i hope at the end of the day that amendments will be allowed, that we can come up with a bill that is a positive bill and that closes these gaps that we have in the food safety inspection program in this country. senator klobuchar and i have worked very hard on a provision that is included in the base bill that will improve the inspection process and make it easier and give it more authority and more importantly more teeth to the folks that are charged with doing the inspection, and if that is the case, we can get the right amendments done, then perhaps at the end of the day, we can get a -- a true bipartisan bill passed and that we can all feel good about supporting it. so witpresiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. it's temperaturing to take th the -- it's tempting to take the food safety is a given but it's actually a goal of one that continues to elude us.
each year in the u.s., 76 million people contract a foodborne illness. some get mildly sick, some get very sick and a few actually die. the centers for disease control estimates that really more than a few, that 5,000 people a year die from -- from food -- from poofood poisoning, foodborne illnesses. and it's mostly people who are not very young, it's the very old, those people whose health may not be as strong as others. but nonetheless, 5,000 people die a year. over the last few years, we faced malamine in infant formula, e coli in spi spinach, salmonella in peanuts. sometimes it's international problems, sometimes it's domestic problems. international means we ought to be looking at trade policy better than we have but that's a debate for another day. a few months ago we had a nation is wide recall of eggs due to
salmonella contamination. just this week, we saw a recall of smoked turkey breast products because of possible list eaeria contamination. the safety of americans are threatened by a regulatory structure that's failed to keep face in modern production of food safety processing and marketing. we have in our grocery stores a wonderful thing. we have all kinds of selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and fish and all kinds of things that we didn't have when i was growing up in the 1960's in mansfield, ohio. we didn't have that kind of selection at food stores, especially in the winter months. now we do. that's a great thing. but we don't do what we need to do to guarantee its safety. it's time to protect this -- to fix this broken system once and for all. the time has come for congress to pass legislation that will, in fact, improve our country's food safety system. american families should be able to put food on the table without fearing any kind of contamination. we shouldn't worry that the food in school sa cafeterias or at progressive field watching the cleveland indians, or a at at gy
stores or local restaurants, we shouldn't worry that this will send a child to the hospital and spread panic through the community. that's why i'm so pleased we're considering s. 510, the food safety and modernization act. this legislation will address -- and i'll talk briefly about and yield to my colleague from delaware, senator carper, about some of this things in this bill. require facilities to conduct an analysis of the most likely food safety hazards and design and implement risk-based controls to prevent them. it would increase the frequency of plant inspections. it would strengthen record keeping requirements and food traceability systems so you know where the food came from before it gets to the grocery store t. provides the f.d.a. with the authority to mandate food recalls, something that is roll terry now. most companies -- something that is voluntary now. most is companies don't d -- most companies don't do it.
we must ensure this includes an examination of the pallets that our food is shipped on. you know, at home, you don't use the same cutting board for chicken that you use for vegetables, or at least you shouldn't because of potential food safety problems. the same thing with these -- these wooden pallets because they can collect, especially wooden pallets can collect way more bacteria than you can imagine. we require more extensive provisions for heightened security of imports, which account for an increased percentage, a welcome increase, to be sure, because of the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables especially, that the increasing share of u.s. food consumption. this bill is here today because of the strong work especially of senator durbin of illinois, representative dingell of michigan. i would also commend ranking member enzi on the "help" committee and chairman harkin and senators dodd, burr and gregg for their work. i would also commend the kroger
company based in cincinnati ohio in the work that -- in cincinnati, ohio, in the work that they and other grocery store chains and other food processing companies have done collectively to make sure that legislation works for them, the traceability -- many of them -- many of these companies have already set up good traceability provisions by themselves, without government involvement. i think that -- and kroger is especially to be commended for doing that. the -- the best way to ensure the f.d.a. can decisively respond to foodborne outbreak is to author as a a comprehensive food tracing system, as i mentioned. earlier this year, i had introduced s. 425, the food safety and tracing improvement act. it would improve the ability of federal agencies to trace the origins of all contaminated food. i'm pleased that the important components and goals of the -- of my legislation are included in the managers' amendment. with these stronger traceability provisions, the f.d.a. will be tasked with establishing a
tracing system for both unprocessed and processed food with -- such as peanut butter. the 2008-2009 peanut butter salmonella outbreak, which sickened more than 700 people and resulted in nine deaths, demonstrates exactly why the f.d.a. needs expanded authority. one victim of the peanut butter salmonella outbreak was nellie napier of medina, ohio, the country just south of where i live. she was an 80-year-old mother of six children, 13 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren. she got ill in january almost two years ago after eating a peanut butter product tainted with salmonella. when she got sick, doctors told her family there was nothing that she could do -- they could do and she decide shortly thereafter. the f.d.a. was able to identify the source of the outbreak in a short period of time but it was incrediblely difficult and time-consuming for the food and drug administration to determine where all the contaminated peanut butter products ended up. for instance, the f.d.a. knew
the source company sold to 85 other companies. they sold to another 1,500 companies, and many of those companies sold to other companies. so they weren't able -- there was no -- there were no traceback provisions to be able to help and warn others of potential contamination. last year, the inspector general released a report entitled "traceability in the food supply system -- in the food supply chain." this report identified significant and unacceptable difficulties in tracing food through the supply chain. the report attempted to trace 40 products through each stage of the food supply chain. they were able only to trace five of the 40. that's why we know that -- how important this legislation is. we require the f.d.a. to establish a product tracing system and develop additional recordkeeping requirements for foods that the f.d.a. determines to be high risk. we require the controller general to examine and provide recommendations regarding how to further improve the product tracing system. we don't know everything yet we
need to do. this gives the f.d.a. and the controller general guidance and leadership and -- and -- and the authority to do, in addition to what we've specifically done, the authority to do it in the right way. again, i'd like to thank senators harkin and enzi and durbin and burr and gregg for the work that they've done. i'd like to thank representative diana degette from denver for her terrific work and senators merkley and franken who have worked with me for an improved traceability system. the goal is to make food safety a foregone conclusion. it's what americans expect. it's what we've had through many, many years. we've moved away from this. this puts us right on course to doing it right. doing it right. >> floor debate on the senate yesterday. the senate is about to convene for an hour of general speeches, and then they will resume work on a food safety bill expanding the food and drug administration's oversight and we call a thorny.
we are expecting a break at about 1230 time act to 3:00 am and then more work on food safety legislation. and now live coverage of the u.s. 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. o god, we are in your hands, and may we rejoice above all things
in being so. do with us what seems good in your sight. today, show mercy to the members of this legislative body. let your sovereign hand be over them and your holy spirit ever be with them, directing all their thoughts, words, and works lord, prosper the works of their hands, enabling them in due season to reap a bountiful harvest. strengthen their hearts in your ways against temptations and make them more than conquerors in your love.
we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, november 18, 2010. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten e. gillibrand, a senator from the state of new york, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. reid following any leader
remarks, the senate torn a period of morning business for an hour. senators during that time will be permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the republicans will control the first 30 minutes. the majority will control the final 30 minutes. following that morning business, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 510, the f.d.a. food safety modernization act. yesterday cloture was invoked on the motion to proceed. today we will continue to work with senators on reaching agreement so that we may complete action on the bill this week. madam president, we're going to complete action on the bill. if we have to use up all the time, waste all the time with these 30-hour provisions that are allowed under the senate procedures, we're going to have to be here during the weekend. this is something we need to get done. everyone should understand that. there's no -- nothing to be gained by stalling this. it's been stalled for years, this piece of legislation. the senate will recess from 12:30 until 3:00 p.m. today
because we have another democratic caucus. i'm told, madam president, there are two bills at the desk that are due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the senator is correct. the clerk will read the titles of the bills for the second time. the clerk: s. 39 2*e6, a bill to authorize the cancellation of removing and adjustment of certain alien status for students. a bill t students mr. reid: i would object to any further proceedings with respect to these bills and i would do that for both of them you just read. the presiding officer: objection have been been heard, the bills will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: we're going too continue debate on the bill that i just announced, on the food safety legislation. no one should have to worry if
their salad or sandwich is going to kill them. no one in the senate should prey on that fear or play with it like a political football. yet that's exactly what's happening. if you follow the senate every day, you might not be surprised to see our republican friends turn it into a partisan, political issue. if you're just trying to keep yourself and your family healthy, you might be appalled, and rightly so. you might also be troubled to learn that our food safety system hasn't been updatad in almost 100 years, in almost a century. food processing, production, and marketing have surely advanced over the last 100 years, but our safety measures have not. new contaminants come up every day, but our safety measures don't keep up. that's because our f.d.a. doesn't have the authority or resources it needs to keep up. this bill will fix that. it will greatly improve this important system and will keep regulatory burdens on farmers and food producers to a minimum.
it simply gives the f.d.a. the authority to recall contaminated foods to find out where these dangerous foods come from and to stop them from getting into your grocery stores. it is a bipartisan bill. the "help" committee passed it unanimously. but somewhere between the committee and the senate floor making sure the food we eat isn't poison uous has somehow become a partisan issue. that should be unaccept to believe everyone. food poisoning kills as many as 5,000 of us, we americans, every year. foodborne illnesses sicken one in four peemple year. madam president, i don't know how many people hav have been affected by food poisoning, but the presiding officer is from new york. my wife went to new york with our son and his girlfriend. we had dmirn a nice restaurant. we both had chicken, the same dish. about 4:00 in the morning, i
asked my wife if she would get me a drink of water. she said, no, i'm too sick. i was too sick, too. we were so sick that day. we got out of the room we were staying in stymied morning. we looked like a couple of homeless people, we were so sick. i wanted to get back to work. the president is here in washington, and frankly my wife never, ever got over that completely. she had an illness to become with called cul remember ra ulcl lieties. she was hospitalized for more than a month. these illnesses affect everyone. contam nailted food affects people. it affects people very, very badly. i repeat, 5,000 f us die every year as a result of food born ill unless. it is probably more than that because a lot of times people
die. they don't now it's from food.song. if 25 years, a quarter of this senate, got food poisoning got food poisoning this year, we'd do something about t people often think of food.song as an upset stomach but sometimes, yes, that's all it is. but sometimes it is much, much worse. i met with families who have been seriously sickened by the food that they've eaten, people who were hospitalized for weeks and months and months. they came close to death. in some cases they will deal with the results of their food poisoning for the rest of their lives. one such person is a little girl named reilly gustafson from henderson, nevada. when she was nine years old she ate a salad that almost killed her. it had spin african-american in t that spinach had e. coli.
reilly got so seriously ill that she was hospitalized and for a long time. three others who got ecoally from fresh spinach died. this little girl is a feisty little thing, but she will -- her growth has been stunted. she will never be the size that she should be. another story -- there are lots of stories, none of them pleasant. a woman from las vegas ate some cookie dough. e. coli was in the cookie dough. she's recovering but not very well. a few days ago the c.d.c. alerted us to another e. coli outbreak in cheese. a brand of cheese sold in the west, including two cheeses in nevada. so why have we waited this long
to make our food safer? we're still playing these games, these political games. the answer is nothing more than very, very politics. i hope we can end that today. the vast majority of the senate wants to pass this bill. we shouldn't have just a few people standing in the way of doing something that will help the health and safety our country. i would ask the chair to announce morning business. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, there will now be a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the final half. mr. roberts: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: madam president, i ask unanimous consen ask unan,
pardon me, consent. i'm not conceiting anything. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: health care, a big issue. the health care reform bill that is current law, a big issue. a lot of talk about repeal, fix, what's wrong with the bill, what's right with the bill, depending on your personal opinion. i think that the senate and more especially the committees of jurisdiction -- and i'm talking about the senate finance committee -- have a unique ocialtion especially at this time, to conduct their oversight responsibility. unfortunately, theaves that was not the case as of yesterday. one of the major problems with the new health care law is the huge amount, madam president, of power and authority that it
grants to one man, the administrator. perhaps we should call him the czar -- of the centers for medicare and medicaid services, c.m.s. rest assured, every health care provider in the country knows what and who c.m.s. is. the administrator is dr. donald berwick and one of the major problems with him is his long-standing, well-documented support for government rationing. as a means of controlling health care costs, not my words, his. yesterday the senate finance committee finally had our very first chance to question dr. berwick. i say "finally" because for months my colleagues and i have requested this opportunity, a request which was denied when president obama provided a recess appointment for dr. berwick. so yesterday's hearing was a hollow one of sorts since
dr. berwick had already been installed at c.m.s., or maybe parachuted in would be the right way to describe it as he has made many controversial comments about his love for the british health care system and for rationing and other comments that certainly deserved a hearing in regards to a confirmation process. that did not happen. and he was also installed pretty much after the debate that we had on health care. now, unfortunately, we were only given five minutes each yesterday to question the most important man in american health care as of today. five minutes sandwiched in between lengthy remarks by the chairntion the witness and the floor votes that we had yesterday. i was not able to question dr. berwick, but i asked unanimous consent of the chairman if i could submit questions for the record. obviously he agreed and that was t but when ranking member grassley asked dr. berwick if he
would commit to appearing before the committee again, which think the doctor would, he is a very affable and personable man. don't agree with him but he is affable and personable -- so we should continue our oversight, chairman baucus interrupted his response and refused to make mi further commitments. how's that for getting to a hearing with the man that is most important man with regard to the new health care law and implementing it? because i was not able to ask him my questions yesterday, i am forced and am asking them here on the senate floor. dr. berwick knows that my number-one concern with president obama's health care law is the enormous potential for the government to interfere with the treatment decisions of the doctor and the patient. dr. berwick has a long history of statements supporting government control of treatment decisions or what i would call rationing. now some would say that's not the case, but dr. berwick has
said that -- quote -- "most people who have severe pain, do not need advanced methods. they just need the morphine and counseling that have been around for centuries." a most unique statement. he has publicly stated an aversion to new medical technology and health care advances saying, and i quote, "one of the drivers of low value in health care today is the continuous entrance of new technologies, devices and drugs that add no value to caimplet" that's in his eyes, his decision. he refers to this as an excess supply of health care. and, of course, we have his infamous quote that -- quote -- "the decision is not whether or not we will ration health care. the decision is whether we will ration care with our eyes open." it then should come as no surprise that c.m.s., under dr. berwick's leadership, has embarked upon a path of increasing government control,
centralized decision making and top-down mandates that treat doctors as nothing more than cooks practicing cookbook medicine, and patients as nothing more than numbers despite their individual needs and desires. one example, teams by c.m.s. to restrict the number of times seniors with diabetes can test their blood sugar by limiting them to one test strip per day, regardless of what the doctor recommends. doctors understand that diabetes carries an exceedingly complex and personalized enterprise. dr. berwick, my question to you that i could not ask you yesterday: why is c.m.s. replacing the judgment of a doctor on how many times their patient should test their blood sugar with the "c.m.s. knows best" approach? an even more egregious example of the government getting in between patients and doctors is dr. berwick's recent investigation into the medicare coverage of the
hreufl-extending -- life-extending prostate cancer therapy provenge. it is a therapeutic vaccine approved by the food and drug administration to treat late-stage prostate cancer through an innovative process that removes immune system cells from patients and exposes them to cancer cells and an immune system stimulator and then injects them back into the patient. provenge has been shown to increase life expectancy by an average of four months but sometimes longer, with one patient living an additional seven years. in addition, provenge is special because of its lack of side effects as compared to the traditional chemotherapy methods. not only can patients live longer, but the quality of life will be better. medicare coverage for f.d.a.-approved drugs is usually
automatic. let me repeat that. medicare coverage for f.d.a.-approved drugs is usually automatic. so my next question to dr. berwick would have been, had i had the opportunity in the finance committee yesterday but was denied because of the scheduling: why did you initiate a coverage investigation so soon after provenge was approved? why is c.m.s. seeking to substitute its judgment for not only patients and doctors, but for the f.d.a.? the gold standard for drug approval worldwide. are you questioning the f.d.a.'s decision? when drug companies and research folks produce after many, many years of research and effort and cost, are they going to have to go through two hurdles? first be approved by the f.d.a. which can take years and then c.m.s.? it seems to me that's where we're headed.
i know the answer as to why -- or i think i know the answer as to why dr. berwick decided to conduct this investigation. is cost. $93,000 for a complete cycle of pro sr*e n tkpw e was the driving factor behind this investigation. ed good news is the finance committee -- the good news is the finance committee recommended that c.m.s. cover provenge. but i'm concerned that this covers all new medical innovations. some may say an extra four months of life is not enough to justify this high price tag, and it is a high price tag. first -- first -- madam president, the government should not be in the business of placing dollar values on life, period. that is what great britain is trying to move away from.
that is why david karaman made the unique request that maybe we ought to have a system in great britain that puts the choice between doctors and patients. what a novel idea. secondly, the traditional chemo and all of its associated side effects costs medicare upwards of $110,000 per patient per year. provenge is actually a cost saver when viewed in that context. third, this is exactly the type of innovative approach we need to win the fight against cancer. medical advances don't come in giant leaps. they more often occur at the margins. we should not deny patients and doctors treatment options simply because they don't offer a complete kaoufrplt that is shortsighted not to mention cruel. if we want companies and investors to pour dollars into developing a cure for cancer, this is the wrong approach. the investment into researching
and developing provenge approach $1 billion over 15 years, 15 clinical trials. refusing to allow a return on this huge investment will send a chilling effect across the research industry resulting in less innovation and better care for patients. maybe less innovation is actually the goal of this administration and of dr. berwick who has targeted -- quote -- "the entrance of new technologies drugs and devices as one of the drivers in low value in health care today." well, madam president, value is a subjective concept. dr. berwick, another question i have for you, sir, as of yesterday: i prefer that the value of health care be determined by the patient and doctor, not the government. would you agree? finally, just today, or yesterday in the news, i have
been shocked by the number of obama-care waivers, the number of obamacare waivers coming out of the department of health and human services. according to "the new york times" today, 111 waivers have been granted to employers to allow them to avoid the new health care mandates. 11 -- over 100 -- 111 waivers have been granted. the only thing more shocking than the number of waivers is who is getting them. would you believe that they are some of the most ardent supporters of health care reform? unions like the service employees international union, the united federation of teachers, the transport workers union have all applied for and have been granted waivers from the rules. they don't have to follow the rules. they don't have to follow the mandates. guess who are the strongest supporters of health care? the fact is obamacare is bad for
business, bad for workers, bad for seniors, bad for taxpayers. so my question to dr. berwick is: when will the american people get a waiver from obamacare? of course that decision would be under the purview of the secretary of the department of health and human services, kathleen sebelius, who i know as a personal friend. kathleen, kathleen, kathleen, why are you granting all these waivers to the people in regards to mandates on health care? and when will the american people get a waiver from some of the things that they choose not to take part in? this is indeed shocking news. i yield back, and i see the -- my colleague and friend from missouri would like to be recognized. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. bond: madam president, i understand i have 15 minutes? the presiding officer: that is correct. mr. bond: would you please advise me when ten minutes has
been used? the presiding officer: that you. mr. bond: thank you. madam president, i'll be leaving the senate in a few weeks, and i ask my colleagues to indulge me as i speak about another issue that i think is extremely important. that is the continuing policies and funding that are helping drive scientific advancement in the new area of agricultural biotechnology. it goes without saying that we're living in a time of breathtaking scientific skroeufr. aerospace information systems or human biotechnology. most of the work is being done by scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and educators. the government can play a constructive role in creating conditions to succeed, research funding, tax policy, free trade agreements. that's especially true when it doms ag biotech. looking back 15 years ago, i received a strong push for this new idea, mapping the corn genome. one of the first real biotech projects for commercial ag.
the push came not from leaders in education, science or the corporate world but from corn growers and soybean producers in missouri who saw the opportunity. they convinced me that ag biotech was not only key to improving farm incomes in rural economy, but revolutionizing the world in the way that the steam engine and the computer revolutionized sharing of information. the first time i asked the ag appropriations committee to fund biotech, i didn't get a dime. we persisted. i teamed up with my colleague and very good friend, senator barbara mikulski, on a bipartisan initiative to fund biotech research through n.s.f. with the help of missouri's chancellor, bill danforth and others, senator tom harkin and i sponsored legislation that created and established the national stphaouft food and ago -- institute of food and agriculture to support competitive research at the federal level to advance ag science. 15 years later, we now have proof that this idea really is
changing the world as projected. it's bringing hope to those in developing worlds, providing crops that are more pest and disease resistant and nutritious. from an environmental sper speck alternative -- perspective, the use of transgenetic seeds have been important. especially important, now tha*t with the tough recession we're in, ag biotech can create good high-paying jobs and help revitalize rural economies. ag biotech is spreading. in 2008, the second billionth acre of ag biotech were planted only three years after the first. a handful of professional antitech activists are still unsuccessfully in search of their first stomach ache. their persistent hatred of ag
biotech without scientific support has fueled fear of genetically modified of g.m.o. foods even in less developed countries where near-term starvation is a real prospect without ag biotech. the growth of biotech will continue to explode. the number of countries using ag biotech outnumbering other countries by a ratio of 3-2. how do we ensure all people are not left behind? we must do it. this is a humanitarian imperative. people who are well fed have many problems. people who are hungry have only one problem. norman borlag, the great green revolution founder, put it: "without food, man can live at most but a few weeks. without it, all other components of social justice are meaningless." we cannot afford not to tap into
the promise of biotech for agriculture. by 2050, developing countries will be home to 90% of the expected population of 9 billion. while the world is expected to increase its population by 2 billion, more than 30%, the area of productive agricultural lands in the world remains relatively unchanged, and traditional ag cannot keep up. we have challenges. the vocal aggressive group of advocacy organizations continues to market fear rather than sound science. my good friend, dr. martina mclaughlin argued multinational corporations shamelessly hype fear and use that fear to solicit funds for their salaries. these are the modern-day ludites who know how to profit from their self-generated hysteria. the result, some areas science cannot get to the marketplace and improve people's lives.
again, dr. norman borlaug has warned about the biotech base here. he says fearmongering by environmental extremists or n.g.o.'s against pesticides, fertilizers and genetically improved foods would put millions at risk of starvation while damaging the biodiversity these extremists pretend to support. so we have to do a better job. speaking of jobs, we're struggling to find new jobs. ag biotech shows the promise of replacing some of those jobs and providing the jobs of the future, whether in the research lab, the incubator, in a small company or large corporation, biotech -- ag biotech is creating good, high-paying jobs. it's extremely important for producing the jobs of the future. missouri western university in st. joseph, missouri, st. louis
community college, these are training people to develop their skills for ag biotech. one key to the future, make sure that the benefits of biotech continue to grow is making sure the public and press understand the value of ag biotech. as i mentioned earlier, in the last 12 to 13 years congress provided nearly $1 billion to n.s.f. following up on the initiatives senator mikulski and i started. while i won't be around to beat the drum next year, i worked with my colleagues, senator johanns and senator klobuchar to, create a new biotech caucus. i hope those of you who understand the promises and challenges of ag biotech will choose to join the ranks and communicate the benefits of ag biotech. only through effective communication can we ensure that sound science, not myths, guide public policy. in the 40 years of public life,
i've seen lot of great ideas come and g i strongly believe that ag biotech is here to stay and will grow. we're only beginning to see many exciting applications biotech can offer. it is truly changing lives for the better. in my opinion, a dedicated and collaborative investment policy investors, researchers and farmers will result in a vibrant industry that will improve our economy, improve our environment, and feed the world for years to come. now, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the full remarks that i have prepared will be included as if i had given them at this point in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bond: now, madam presiden president, i have a very sad message to bring to the body today. its a he with grade sadness --
it's with great sadness that i report that we lost julie but aman who lost her seven-year battle with cancer. as she was struggling with this disease and going on for a weekend treatment, on friday with a bright smile, she always insisted when asked, she was doing great. her life was far too short. but few on earth live a life as fully as she d a rural kid from minnesota, graduated from the university of minnesota, worked for rudy boschwitz before i was fortunate to hire her in 1987, most recently she went to work as a senior vice president with ogilvie government relations. after joining my staff, she met roth, who was apparently interested in more than her
highly regarded legislative acumen. ralph's newfound interest paid off. and they were married after the 1988 election. she loved her two lovely daughters, monica and paula, and throughout her battle with cancer, they were always by her side. with any successful enterprise, there is the heart of the operation. in the case of julie, she was the harkts the legs, the mind, the backbone and the can-do of my entire staff. for me, from the first time she walked into my office, she was also my friend. remarkably, from that first day through 24 congressional sessions, three elections, marriage, motherhood and a brave, defiant fight against cancer, she never stopped. she never rested. f. scott fitzgerald once said
action is character. in that case, julie was character. some who dealt with her would say that character is probably an understatement. her ability to multi-task was legendary. during her time as my chief of staff, she could simultaneously talk with me, thereon c-span, blackberry instructions to her starvetion check out statistics of the previous vikings game, and see valuate draft picks nine months in advance. not only for the vikings but she learned to do the same for the kansas city chiefs and the st. louis rams. we tried to keep up, but it was hard. the fact that she was able to stay in my employ after the twins-cardinals world series of 1987, an epic tragedy for cardinal fans, speaks volumes to her otherwise high value. there is seldom enough recognition of the high-caliber people that staff us in congress and in the government. julie was exceptional.
from 1987 to 2005, while on my staff, she was perfectly reliable source of sound judgment, energy, cheer, and friendship. she knew the budget, the whip count, the box scores, the poll new jersey the economic report you the schedule, the prost, the players, the politician, as well as every competing argument. but mostly she knew and loved people of she was the ideal public servant. our sincere condolences go to jewel liszt husband rolf, their daughters monica and paul lavment the girls will carry on with the richest of all inheritance, having their mother's genes and love and guidance to govern. julie would not have been in more diligent and loving hands than those of her husband rolf. we've lost a special friend but now we're blessed with a special angel. i ask unanimous consent to place a copy of her obituary from "the
my colleague, senator wyden to introduce legislation that will protect not only his state but my state of massachusetts and other states by allowing them to waive out of the specific requirements out of the patient protection and affordable care act. as my colleagues know, my single priority has been to ensure that what we do here in washington does not harm my state of massachusetts or the rest of the country, and that we are responsible stewards with every tax dollar that flows from the states into the federal government. this has been true when it comes to voting against raising taxes on families and businesses. it has been true when it comes to fighting for commonsense, pro-growth policies that will create jobs in massachusetts. it has been true in my efforts to be sure that the federal health care reform bill does not diminish or harm the health care innovations that have happened and taken part -- occurred in massachusetts.
it's my believe belief that congress needs to be held responsible for its actions for the policie policies that it ads and the legislation that passes in these halls to become law. when congress passes legislation that is harmful, in the case of the federal care health reform legislation, which i did not support, or there is an unintended consequence which i think is the case when it deals with massachusetts and the innovation we have had for years, where we have 98% of our people already insured, members need to be bold enough to stand up and fix it regardless of party affiliation and regardles of whether it is popular or not. i want to commend the senator who is about to speak after me for a his leadership on this matter. senator wyden has been working very diligently on addressing the concerns for his state. and today i get a chance to do the same thing. today we get an opportunity to make a correction to the federal health care reform bill to be
sure this we are doing the right thing, not just for massachusetts but for other states who seek to waive out of certain requirements of the federal health care reform law. madam president, in many ways, massachusetts has been in the forefront of implementing health care reform, expanding access. as i mentioned, 98% of our people already insured, designing mechanisms for the cadillac plan and increasing transparency for consumers and for providers. we continue to learn, however, the lessons every day in massachusetts about what works and what doesn't work. we're continuing to work to make sure we can do to better. and this piece of legislation that is being filed in a bipartisan manner is an important point because it speaks directly to the if you were of the legislation that i'm introducing today with senator wyden from oregon. as you know, massachusetts health care reform efforts are our own.
we were one of the first states in the country to take this upon ourselves to address a very serious problem that we had in providing funds to hospitals that were providing care for people who were making a good wage and they were not paying their bills and as a result the citizens had to subsidize the hospitals to the tune of over $1 billion. so we felt it was imperative for us to get something done. and as difficult as it is to admit this, not every state wants to be like massachusetts. i understand that. and they may not want to be like oregon either. massachusetts is a great state and with the best hospitals -- i feel the best hospitals, physicians, doctors, nurses, treatment facilities, research facilities in the country, and around the world. there is a reason why people come to massachusetts for the care and coverage that they need so badly. but i recognize that my colleague from oregon is interested in protecting reform efforts in oregon as well. he doesn't want to be like
massachusetts. because oregon is different than massachusetts. oregon insurance market is different. its provider network is different, its beneficiaries and population are different than the same in massachusetts. and oregon might want to implement reforms to create a coverage mechanism that i did not like or that i would not want to work in the state of massachusetts but that's okay. that's what this bill is about. it allows the individual state to have the trite do what they feel is imperative and important for their particular states. this is why the legislation that we're introducing, the empower states to innovate act, is so important. right now as provided under section 1332, the waiver for state innovation on patient protection and affordable care act states can waive out of provisions of the federal reform law. that's the good news. we're allowing states to participate in the process and allowing them not to have duplicate process or maybe
potentially have lesser care and coverage if the federal health care bill is implemented. so it allows us to continue to provide the care and services that we want to provide to our citizens in massachusetts. the bad us? that this waiver authority is not scheduled to take effect until 2017. so what do we do until then? a full three years after the ppaca is scheduled to be fully implemented. and to me and to my dear friend from oregon it doesn't make any sense. when i see something that doesn't make any sense in walkers i try -- i do my best, regardless of party affiliation to fix it. the first thing our bill does is to allow states to waive out of specific parts of the ppaca in 2014 rather than 2017. this makes sense not only just from an operational standpoint because the ppaca takes effect in 20140 but also from an economic and fiscal standpoint.
why should massachusetts be delayed in obtaining a waiver from the federal reform bill when it may already have met or exceeded in many cases the provisions of the act? so holding massachusetts back by limiting my state's ability to continue to innovate, remain flexibility and responsive to the health care market, costs money and it costs the taxpayers moafnlt at a point right now where we don't have a health care of a lot of money to go around. the second piece that our bill does is provide states with certainty of the waiver process. not every state will be eligible. let me repeat that, not every state will be eligible for a waiver. not every waiver will be granted. our bill provides some certainty for states who apply for a waiver by requiring the secretary of health and human services to begin reviewing applications within six months of enactment of this bill. i hope this bill is enacted quickly. the earlier a state knows whether it received a waiver, the earlier it can begin
implementing specific plans and proposals. it makes fiscal sense. taken together, these two changes are not only good for massachusetts but potentially for other states. they're good for not only the other states trying to inknowest in advance in the areas of health care reform, cost containment and coverage. that's what it should be. it should be a symbiotic relationship between the federal government and the states. the states should have a right to determine what they want to do for their citizenry. do you think maybe some states could do it better than the federal government? i believe when we deal with health care, massachusetts is second to none -- with all due respect to the other senators in this chamber. so, during wednesday's finance committee hearing, dr. berwick, who is from the state of massachusetts, i may add, said this about state innovation and flexibility -- and i quote -- "the cliche about states as laboratories of a democracy is not just a cliche. it's true. the diversity of approaches that we're seeing emerge state by state has been there for a long
time, and i think we should be doing everything we can to encourage it." i couldn't agree anymore, madam president. i'm a strong supporter of states' rights especially when it makes sense, and for allowing states to solve problems without the federal government's interference. and i ask unanimous consent that i be able to submit for the record a letter from the massachusetts hospital association in support of my efforts today. we should be -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: we should be encouraging state innovation and not hampering. that's what the empowering states to innovate act does. it ensures states are not held back from innovating. finally, madam president, i want to associate myself with the gentleman from oregon's comments when he makes them about how our bill fits into the federal health care reform debate.
enacting this legislation is the right thing to do because it's good for states like massachusetts, like oregon and utah who have begun to make changes and reforms at the state level that make sense for their citizens. the legislation provides flexibility and says that one size fits all is not appropriate, and it does not always meet the needs of that individual state. and i know the federal standard isn't the best -- i know that the federal standard is not in the best interest of the people of massachusetts, which is why passing this bill is the right thing to do. let me just say that i deeply appreciate the gentleman from oregon, his effort to weed through the quagmire of rules and regulations and come up with a common sense solution. i'm hopeful others in this chamber will learn from our example, that we can work together in a bipartisan manner to tackle problems and try to solve them without the rhetoric, without the tpwopl throwing and just -- without the bomb
throwing and just solve problems. right now we need more people like the senator from oregon to do just that. thank you, madam president. i actually am done as well. i thank you. i thank you for -- and i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: would the senator withhold your suggestion for absence of a quorum? mr. brown: yes. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: madam president, thank you. let me just commend the senator from massachusetts on a very fine statement which i think really highlights exactly what we're seeking to do. the senator from massachusetts has been a real pleasure to work with on this matter. as he says, the whole point of this is after the election, people want to find some common ground. they're not interested in any more of a food fight and just bickering back and forth between the political parties. and what senator brown and i are
seeking to do is to show that it's possible on a significant issue. i think we all understand that health care is about as important as it gets. we can come together and the two of us have said we're going to put the focus on innovation. it's pretty clear that what works in springfield, oregon, may not exactly be ideal for springfield, massachusetts. but what we can do is come up with a way to provide more flexibility and particularly more choice and more competition for our states and other states around the country. i am very grateful to the senator from massachusetts on this effort. it is early in the lame-duck session, and it is my hope that this will be a signal here in the chamber that even on these difficult issues, issues that were so contentious in the political campaigns, it's going to be possible to come together and find some common ground.
and as the senator suggests, if we can just move away from a federal cookie-cutter approach and encourage the kind of creative thinking that we have seen in oregon and massachusetts and other parts of the country, i think we will be well served, and particularly be in a position to better contain health care costs. i think we all understand, madam president, that that is first and foremost on the minds of our constituents, is how to rein in these medical costs that are gobbling up everything in sight literally for the amount of money we're spending today in this country, madam president, you could go out and hire a doctor for skwrefrpb families in the united states -- for every seven families in the united states and pay the doctor more than $225,000 a year just for taking care of seven families. i always bring this up as almost a metaphor for health care. but usually after i'm done, a
physician comes up and says where can i go to get my seven families? it sounds like a pretty good deal. so we're spending this enormous sum of money, madam president. and what senator brown and i are seeking to do is encourage additional state innovation in various approaches that are tailored to the needs of their people that will help us particularly, in my view, promote choice and competition in the american health care system. the states are free to do whatever they choose. i just offer up my own judgment that at a time when most americans still don't get much choice in their health care, this is an ideal opportunity that both democrats and republicans can support. and as states seek to go forward with this approach, they can make their own choices, and i
hope in particular take a look at what the senator from new york and i have from our own health care plan. federal employee health benefit plan provides a lot of choice, a lot of competition. you can go out and fire your insurance company if you don't think they're doing a good job. that's the kind of idea that a state could pursue and pursue, we hope, more quickly by speeding up the waiver process. but as senator brown has correctly noted, this is about giving states the freedom to chart their own course. and i'm very hopeful that we will be able to get it passed. and in particular, what i've been concerned about talking to health policy-makers over the last few months, madam president, if in the state of new york, for example, you go out and is i want a process to comply -- go out and set up a process to comply with the regulation for purposes of 2014, and you see that the waiver as
now constituted starts in 2017, you think how am i going to reconcile? am i going to is i want one approach for 2014 and do another approach for 2017? that's going to put us through a lot of bureaucratic water torture to try to figure out how to synchronize those two dates. it only makes sense, madam president, to speed it all up, make it possible for everybody to get started in 2014. one other point, madam president, because this has been discussed. when i originally started talking about this, was this something that was going to be a special opportunity for oregon and not for other states. madam president, i have been promoting the idea that all states -- all states -- be given the freedom to innovate under health reform legislation for
more than a full decade. in fact, madam president, to give a sense of how i got into this, going back and looking at the history of clinton health plan in the early 1990's, it was pretty evident that had president clinton and republicans thought then about giving states the kind of freedom that senator brown and i envision, it might well have been possible, madam president, back in the early 1990's to enact health care reform that would have gotten all americans quality, affordable coverage. that opportunity was missed, madam president. but i decided by the middle 1990's i was tkpw*g not, if i -- i was not, if i had the opportunity, the honor of representing oregon in the united states congress, i was going to use every single opportunity to let all states -- and i want to underline that,
madam president -- all states have the opportunity to innovate in health care. so, early in this century i put together a piece of legislation called the healthy americans act. it was a bipartisan bill, usually 14 or 15 senators, almost evenly divided between political parties. there was a specific section called empowering states to innovate in that bill, madam president. some of the leadership on the other side of the aisle was cosponsoring it, leaders on our side of the aisle. that was a provision in -- there was a provision in that bill that was introduced first to the public in 2006, and it was included as section 1332 in the law that the president signed. so i have long been interested in letting all states have the opportunity to innovate.
one of the reasons i have -- and my good friend, senator merkley is here -- is that our state has been one of the leaders in the whole effort to reform american health care. from time to time folks have said that i'm the senator from waiver, because we have tried so often to pursue innovative approaches in health care waivers. we were, as senator merkley knows, one of the first states to say that medicaid dollars that had been earmarked for seniors for institutional services, like nursing homes, should be used for home health care. thereby, giving senators more of what they want, which is to stay in their homes at a cheaper price to taxpayers. we began those efforts, as senator merkley knows, with waivers from traditional federal law. so we have a long history of doing this, and i have spent well over a decade trying to
establish the principle that all states ought to have the opportunity to bring their creative juices to this issue of health care reform. madam president, we've outlined the two key changes in the legislation that is law today: the establishment of the waivers in 2017 and making sure that it would be possible for states to do this once, focusing on 2014. the second thing, the empowering states to innovate act does is it requires the department of health and human services to begin to review state applications for waivers within six months of enactment of the legislation. this would allow states early notification of whether the state waivers have been approved and would give them adequate time to roll out their state-specific plans.
i think this too will help us create more competition, more choice and more affordability in american health care because it will give the states adequate time to gear up. that's the philosophy behind the empowering states to innovate act. whether you like one particular approach or another, madam president -- and clearly there will be great diversity of approaches tried at the state level -- what should not be debatable at a time when we're looking for ways to bring this country together, deal with the most contentious issues of our time, is we ought to be supporting innovation. we ought to be supporting unleashing creative kinds of approaches to deal with domestic issues. that is what senator brown and i propose in this legislation. i look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. and with that, madam president,
i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: thank you, madam president. it is a pleasure to speak today on the food modernization afnlgt i just want to applaud the work that my senior senator from oregon, ron wyden, has been doing in seeking affordable, effective health care for all americans, and in particular his work to utilize our state laboratories in developing smart health care strategies that then, if successful, can become models for the nation. this process of utilizing waivers isn't about a state wanting an exception so that it can be different; it is about
recognizing that states have powerful opportunities to form policies that work well under particular circumstances but also may provide insights to our whole national strategy for affordable quality health care. so for the work that you and senator scott brown are doing on this, i applaud you, i support you, and i thank you for your decades of advocacy for affordable health care. so now i'm turning to the historic modernization bill we have before us in our food safety system, the food modernization afnlgt i want to start by thanking chairman harkin who worked with me to include provisions to help small farms and processors and organic farms so that they have before them in this bill provisions that support them and will help make them successful.
the last thing we want to see is an effort to make our food safety system work better be used as a tool to diminish the ability of small farms and organic farms to thrive, and that's been effectively addressed in the bill but also by provisions that i'll speak to in a while that senator tester is bringing forward. i'd also like to compliment senator durbin, who has been voting for this bill, working on the elements of this bill for a very long time. and his determined, te tenacious advocacy is the reason that this bill is on the floor before us at this moment. i also appreciate the bipartisan approach of the senator enzi and all the members of the committee for coming together to say, this is not a republican problem or
democratic problem; this is a national health care issue, a national nutrition issue, and let's tackle it together. the safety of the nation's food supply is a serious concern for every family, for every family in oregon, for every family across this nation. but i'd like to highlight one oregon family in particular: jake curly and his dad peter. and i'm sure that they are very happy to see that we have this bill on the floor, and they will be particularly thrilled when we have it on the president's desk. because the issue of tracing contaminated food is an issue that affected their family very directly. this picture is a picture of jake taken when his father peter came with him to washington, d.c., to testify before this
congress and share their story. jake's favorite food was peanut butter crackers. when he was three years old, he became very, very ill, and those crackers that he loved so much were the source of his illness. but because we didn't have an effective tracking system, there was no recall, there was no understanding that the crackers were contaminated and so in his illness, his family continued to share with him his favorite comfort food, those same peanut butter crackers that were already making him extremely ill. turns out, those crackers were contaminated with salmonella and the result was that a child snack ended up putting jake's life in danger. the food and drug administration had already determined that peanut butter was a cause of sickening people across the country, but they hadn't been able to trace the peanut butter
and know that it had made its way into processed product and in particular the product that jake was consuming. the peanut corporation of america, the peanut processing facility in georgia, had contaminated peanut butter that went into thousands of products, sickening 714 people in 46 states, including oregon, and killing nine. the hurleys have been waiting for congress to pass this bill so that families don't have to be worried that their children will become tairm terribly sick -- will become terribly sick because we can't track contaminated food. this bill requires the f.d.a. to create rules for tracing processed food like the crackers that made jake sick. it took the f.d.a. over a year to trace all the products that the peanut butter went into in that outbreak in 2009. and it's not clear that they ever found all of the products.
this is unacceptable. provisions in this bill will help prevent not only future outbreaks but also future problems tracking down the contaminated products. in my work in the "help" committee, i secured a provision that in addition to tracing produce, which was already in the bill, set up a pilot project to calculate the best practices for tracing processed food, which is a more difficult undertaking. but after this bill came out of committee, my colleague, senator sherrod brown, worked hard to build on that, and he has strengthened the tracing provisions further in this bill, and i certainly want to thank him for doing that. the bill now requires the f.d.a. to create regulations enssuring quick and accurate tracing of all types of contaminated food.
better tracing of contam nailted food and better coordination between local, state, and federal food safety officials can help prevent children like jeff valu valenzuela from gettig food poisoning. i met jet earlier this summer in oregon. this was a picture of him two years ago when he became violently ill from contam naughted food. he was hospitalized in bend, oregon. he became so ill, he was flown to portland for more intensive care. he underwent multiple surgeries, blood transfusions and he was eventually put into a medically induced coma. he came within a hair's breath of dying twice. the scariest part of jett's score is that we were never able to find what made him sifnlgt
despite best efforts, because we didn't have the time of produce and processed food procedures that could assist in tracking down the source. so for jett and for jake it is urgent to pass this bill. not only does this help respond but it helps prevent food outbreaks. no family should have to go through what these families went through. most parents, including myself, spend a lot of time worrying about thousand keep their kids safe. but we shouldn't have to worry about thousand protect our children from the food on their plaits. -- on their plates. implementing food safety provisions has to be done in a way that supports our small farms, our family farms. we cannot have a process that hinders them from operating successfully or puts unnecessary
restrictions in their path. and i want to thank chairman harkin for including language in the bill that i suggested so that no new regulations would conflict with or duplicate the requirements of the national organic program. this ensthiewrs there will not be any food safety regulations that would put organic certification in jeopardy. but i want to draw a lot of attention to the work that senator defendanter has done from man mofn montana -- that senator tester has done from montana. he has authored provisions that provide reasonable exemptions for very small farms and processors, farms that sell their products directly to local consumers, farms that sell their products directly to local restaurants or to local grocery stores. this comprises only about 1% of our national food production, but it's very important part of our local economies, very
important foundation for our family farms. and so i am proud to support the work that senator tester has done in making sure that our small local farms are fully accounted for and supported in this legislation. also in this bill are exemptions for farms that produce low-risk food, not matter what their size. this is the type of logical flexibility to make regulations apply when they're needed and not provide unnecessary restrictions or hurdles when they're not. in conclusion, i want to urge all my colleagues to support this bill. it will improve the tracing of contaminated food, whether that be produce, or bhedges that be -
or whether that be processed. it will increase inspections, it will create safety guidelines for farms and processors, it will protect organic farms, it will protect small farms. this bill works to prevent contamination as well so we avoid unnecessary illness and death. improvements totration contam -- -- improvements to contam nailted food will prevent recalls. and most importantly, this bill will help other families avoid the nightmare that jake and jett went through and that their parents went through. our parents should be able to pack their children's lunch boxes without fear. thank you, madam speaker, and i suggest -- madam president, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
senate is in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: we've got a lot to do and not much time to do it in before the end of the session. the american people spoke loudly and clearly on election day. they want us to put aside the political wish list and focus on jobs. the more important thing we can do to create jobs between now and january 1 is to send a message to job creators that we're not going to raise their taxes. that's why i offered a bill back in september, s. 3773, that would make current tax rates permanent. this is the only bill that's yet been offered that would prevent a tax hike on anyone. in other words, nobody in america would get a tax hike at the end of this year. the white house didn't seem to like that idea. they said we should raise taxes on small businesses. but this should be an easy one. we should be promoting private job creation, not killing private job creation.
so i look forward to hearing any ideas the white house has to achieve that. one thing we'll need to do before we leave this year is to fund the government, because democrats didn't pass a single appropriations bill this year. so now we'll have to mop up in the 11th hour with an omnibus spending bill that covers all of it. this is one more sign they aren't learning many lessons from the election. if this election showed us anything, it's that americans don't want congress passing massive trillion-dollar bills thrown together behind closed doors. they want us to do business differently. so i won't be supporting an omnibus spending bill. we've seen what happens when democrats rush legislation and try to jam it through at the last minute with no time for review or for the american people to learn what's actually in the bill. the cornhusker kickback, the louisiana purchase are fresh on their minds. americans want to us take our time and get things right, and
they want us to spend less. the voters have spoken. we need to show that we heard them. on another matter, yesterday's acquittal in a federal court of accused terrorist ahmed jalani on all but one of 285 charges of conspiracy and murder is all the proof we need that the administration's approach to prosecuting terrorists has been deeply misguided and indeed potentially harmful as a matter of national security. you'll recall that attorney general holder assured the american people last year that jalani would not be acquitted of the charges against him. with his appearance in federal court today, holder said back then, ahmed jala tph*eu is being held accountable for his alleged role for bombings in tanzania and kenya and murder of 224 people. he said back then the prosecution in civilian court would prove its effectiveness in
trying terrorists who are picked up on the battlefield. at the time most americans wondered why we would even take the chance now they're wondering when the administration will admit it was wrong and assure us that terrorists will be tried from now on -- from now on -- in the military commission system that was established for this very purpose at the secure facility at guantanamo bay. or detained indefinitely if they cannot be tried without jeopardizing national security. when it comes to terrorism, we e should err on the side of protecting the american people. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. a senator: i would ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. the senate will proceed to s. 510, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of 24, s. 510, a bill to amend the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act with respect to the safety of the food supply. mr. tester: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: i would like to make a brief statement about the food safety bill. i very much appreciate the opportunity now that this important legislation is shaping up to be a much better bill with the inclusion of my amendment for family producers and it protects the jobs of family
farmers, ranchers and processors. this is really time to get the bill passed and strengthen food safety for all americans. i think there's little agreement that the necessity of this bill is real. i think if you take a look at the impacts of -- of recent e. coli outbreaks of salmonella and those kind of food-borne diseases out there, it is -- it is absolutely critical we get this bill passed. i had had some concerns with this bill as it was originally introduced. on its impacts to family-sized growers an processors -- and processors. the fact of the matter is these folks are folks that really help build this country and -- and undue regulation on them, and i do think it would be undue regulation would simply stop a movement in this country that has gone on since this country's inception, but more recently we've kind of gone back to it with locally produced foods.
so i think it's critically important that the -- that my amendment be a part of this bill and i appreciate everybody who -- who worked to make that happen. and here's why, we deal with consolidation in our energy sector. we deal with consolidation in our banking sector. we've done it since i've gotten here and before. we have consolidation in our food industry too. the fact is it -- is that we need to not encourage that consolidation. i think if we can get more locally grown food, if we can get producers to connect up with consumers eyeball to eyeball, that's a positive thing. i don't want to diminish this ability. my will protects the farmer markets to flourish and -- and provide food for people locally. without shipping it halfway around the world and back again. and, yet, this bill also puts regulation on the industrialized folks that the -- that, quite
frankly, because of the size of their operation, because of them being highly -- when a mistake is made, it can affect hundreds of thousands of people in 10, 20, 30 states. in this bill really is wane-win for consume -- a win-win for consumers both locally and the consumers that deal with the -- the more highly industrialized food suppliers. now, people have asked me, you know, why do you think -- why do you think the small guys can even be regulated by the local and state regulators in this country? first of all, they're small, there is a pride of ownership there that is real. they raise food. they don't raise a commodity as -- as happens when -- when the operations get bigger and bigger, and there is a direct customer relationship with that
processor or that farmer that means a lot. and if a mistake is made, which rarely happens, it doesn't impact hundreds of thousands of people. we know exactly where the problem was and we know exactly how to fix it. and, so, the traceability of the outbreaks is immediate and is taken care of without impacting 20, 30 states and hundreds of thousands of people. so as we move forward with this bill, i think it's -- it's incredibly important that we do things like we did in the last farm bill. move forward with locally grown food, move forward with the farmers market kind of model that helps people get to know the people who produce an process their food -- and process their food. we don't want to throw undue paperwork on those folks, they don't have the ability to do it, it takes them out of the field to do that. and, quite honestly, as they move forth, the consumer and the connection with that consumer
makes it so that local entities can do that regulation much better than us anyway. we've been over a pretty long road here over the last many months. i very much appreciate the work that representative dingell has done in the house on this bill. i very much appreciate the work that was done on -- on my amendment over here, kay hagan in particular, the great senator from north carolina, worked closely with me on this amendment and her input was incredibly valuable. i also want to thank senator merkley and the work he did on the amendment. i want to thank the consumer groups out there who i think we found a commonsense solution to this issue. and -- and many of the organizations out there that we work with over the last many months to make sure this bill meets the needs of the people to make sure that -- that we do
address the issue of food-borne illnesses and safe food, but, yet, allow the little guys to grow, employ people, and allow that economy to get bigger and better as time goes on. so, with that, i want to thank you, madam chair with the opportunity to visit about this bill. like i said, it's a very important bill that we need to get done. i think it makes sense for this country and it makes sense for people in agriculture. thank you very much. i yield the floor and -- i request the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burris: thank you, madam president. madam president, i have 12 unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval and the minority leaders, i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burris: thank you, madam president. madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burris i ask unanimous consent to ask for as much time as i need to consume, madam president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burris, i ask unanimous consent that my chief of staff and other members of my staff be granted floor privileges during my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burris: thank you very much, madam president. madam president, as you know, one of the first duties delegated to freshmen senators