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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 5, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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through but makes sure that small businesses and individuals don't get higher costs. that can go to the house, the house can pass it, send it to the president, away we go, we don't have a problem. now, helping small businesses by reducing their paperwork while at the same time driving up health care costs and forcing coverage cuts for small businesses is simply not good policy. now, in all fairness, i didn't hear voices rise up when this bill was being delayed over the last week by some of my republican colleagues trying to get their amendments considered. and those amendments were extraneous to small business. so we either have a double standard here or a desperate attempt to defeat what i think is a good amendment. the house could have taken up the amendment, h.r. 4, pass it into law by now, so it's -- it's not -- it's not -- i think it's somewhat disingenuous to have an argument that says we can't afford one amendment to proceed
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on this bill -- to proceed on this bill when our colleagues at the beginning of this congress made a big production about a full debate and an open amendment process on all things considered on the senate floor. but when there is one amendment that is meant to protect taxpayers and small businesses, oh, no, that's going to create an inordinate delay, after we had well over a week of delays by republican colleagues seeking extraneous amendments to the small business bill. please. now, i love senator hatch's jalopy. i remember that movie, took my family to see it. but the worst jalopy would be taking away 1099 and then going away and giving businesses higher costs and higher tax bill for individuals. that's a real jalopy, that's a lemon. so we have an opportunity to take away and undo and repeal the 1099. my amendment permits that to go
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forward, but at the same time make sure small businesses don't get hurt. how will they get hurt? how may they get hurt? well, a lot of states, for example, are considering whether to combine their small business in individual pools. for states that combine their pools, small businesses could see an increase in premium costs. the healthiest people, with little to no health care costs, will have the most flexibility deciding whether to purchase coverage or not and they may simply pay the mandate penalty versus the potential for a $10,000 to $12,000 tax bill. and with more healthy people opting out of buying insurance, the pool of people who ultimately enroll in the exchanges that would consist of, on average, less healthy individuals, that's going to push up the premiums for everybody else buying insurance in the exchanges, including small businesses and employees. that's only one example. so here's an -- the other problem is when you're facing your constituents, i hope you're ready to tell them that through no fault of their own, when they -- they had a job, they
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lost their job, you know, six months into the year and they faced that -- the fact that they're still over the amount, now they're going to get a $10,000 tax bill. or, on the contrary, they didn't have a job when they get the subsidy, then they get a job in the middle of the year and they're $1 over the amount, they're going to face a $10,000 tax bill. is that what we want to do, send that type of bill to families? now, finally, i appreciate hearing senator hatch say this is a down payment on total repeal of health care law. well, you know, if we're going to do what or that's what this is really all about, this is not about helping small businesses. helping small businesses means we repeal 1099 and don't increase their costs and don't send their employees a $10,000 or higher tax bill. so this is about, in my mind, making sure that there's a win-win for small businesses. because if we want to repeal the health care law, then that's
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about making sure we go back to preexisting conditions, where a husband who had a heart attack on the job can no longer get insurance, where a child born at birth with a defect cannot get insurance, when a woman was facing 150% higher premiums than a man simply because she was a woman, where, in fact, you couldn't keep your child up to age 26 on your insurance as they are going through school, when, in fact, we could close the prescription drug coverage for seniors. if that's what we're talking about, that's a different subject and we can have that debate. but this debate is making sure we repeal 1099 and -- and -- make sure that small businesses don't get higher costs and their employees don't get a tax penalty. i think everybody should want to be for that. can send it straight to the house. the house can pass this version, send it straight to the president. that sultly the opportunity here -- that is ultimately the opportunity here. i urge my colleagues to support my amendment. that's why the main street alliance, which also supports businesses, say "our small
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business owners are very supportive efforts to remove the imposition of the new 1099 reporting requirements. we cannot, however, accept a pay-for that undermines other important provisions of the law that help small businesses and contain costs." my amendment ensures that we do both, repeal 1099, not put the burden on small businesses in terms of higher health insurance costs and their employees. i urge passage of my amendment. and with with that, mr. presidei yield the floor. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: how much time remains to both sides? the presiding officer: a minute and 20. the majority as that 3 1/2. mr. hatch: i would ask unanimous consent that i give a minute to the distinguished senator from nebraska and then if -- if there's not enough time, that i be given sufficient time up to two minutes with an equivalent amount of time given to the other side to make my closing remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: thank you.
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the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: again, in all due respect to my colleague from new jersey, there have been over 200 business groups that have expressed opposition to the menendez amendment. that would include the nfib, the national association of manufacturers, the franchise association, the chamber of commerce. you see, requiring people to pay back what they should not have received in the first place is regarded as good government, not bad policy. that's what should be happening. and the second thing i would say about this, mr. president, is this. this becomes a roadblock because we end up with a different house bill and a different senate bill. if this is such a great idea, attach the amendment to some other bill that's coming along and we can get the study done. so, again, i appreciate
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opportunity to work with senator menendez but i do believe very strongly we need to defeat this amendment. thank you, mr. president. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: if you say you're for fiscal responsibility, you need to oppose my friend from new jersey's amendment. now, here's why. the nonpartisan score keeper for tax legislation, the joint committee on taxation, tells us the menendez amendment puts the savings in the house bill in doubt. that means that if the menendez amendment is adopted, the house bill will add to the deficit by perhaps as much as $25 billion. the menendez amendment would maintain the risk of payment of billions in fraudulent, improper or excessive health insurance exchange subsidies. what's more, the senate unanimously agreed to a similar offset on the doc fix bill. my friends, if you were against fraudulent, improper or excessive health insurance payments before, stick to your
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guns. oppose the menendez amendment. mr. president, i yield the floor and i'm prepared to yield back any time we have. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i'm compelled to answer because now i hear about fraud and $25 billion. you can't have it both ways. you can't say that this amendment costs money. what the joint committee on tax a said, it could not determine a revenue score and it's important to point out that this amendment doesn't spend an additional dime. and the only reason, the only reason that this amendment would have a revenue effect would be if the offset increases health insurance costs or cuts coverage for small business. otherwise, there's no -- no issue. so you can't have it both ways. either there's an admission that it's going to cut small busine business -- cost small business more, cost taxpayers more, or it's not. that's number one. number two, this is not about fraud. this is not about somebody seeking something that they did
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not have the right to receive. the question is, individuals -- fraud is individuals who are deliberately underreporting their income or fraudulently trying to get extra support. that's not what we do. those enforcement provisions in the law to combat fraud and abuse are untouched by my amendment. this is simply about someone who honestly got a subsidy. and we have a providing in the law that deals with how they pay back, but it doesn't throw them over the cliff and send them a surprise $10,000 tax bill. so that is simply not exactly the quite -- quite the same thing. yes, the doc fix, we did use a provision to deal with the s.g.r., with the doc fix, but we did not put small businesses and families at harm, as h.r. 4 does. so the reality is, is this amendment permits repeal to move forward. after the repeal, a study's done. if there is no harm, if this
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supposedly doesn't cost small business any more money, doesn't drive up insurance costs, doesn't cost the taxpayer maybe $10,000 to $12,000, fine. but if it does, then we would ultimately not have that harm come upon small businesses, come upon individual taxpayers with a surprise bill and -- and -- we could, of course, if that's the end result -- which we don't know, that's why the joint tax committee could not come up with a determination; we won't know until the study is done -- instead of having a risky venture, let's have the actual facts. repeal will have gone through. we can protect small businesses and those taxpayers and, if necessary, we can find a different offset if they are -- if they are wrong and i'm right, that this concern about taxpayers getting a surprise bill and small businesses having greater insurance costs is true, then we will protect them and we can look for a different offset at the time. repeal will have taken place no matter what. why would you not want to protect small businesses and taxpayers from getting a surprise bill? that's all my amendment does and
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that's why i urge its passage. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask for the yeas and nays on the menendez amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 41, the nays are 58. under the previous order, requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the
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amendment is not agreed to. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the bill nor the third time. the clerk: h.r. 4, an act to repeal the expansion of information reporting requirements for payments of $600 or more to corporations and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the question occurs on passage of the measure. is there a sufficient second? there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: has every member voted? does any member wish to change his or her vote? on this vote, there are 87 voting nay, 12 voting no. the bill has passed. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. a senator: mr. president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that at 26789. ap.m., the senate permit to a period of morning business with senator coburn recognized for up to 20 minutes, following senator coburn, senator mikulski be royceed for up to 15 minutes, and following senator mikulski's remarks, the majority leader be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. under the previous order the senate stands in recess until
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>> i just wanted to take a il moment to remind you of the history of the effort to repeal 1099. senator johanns offered this the first time last year. it came up well short of a majority. he kept coming back and coming back and coming back and has clearly now succeeded. in the first repeal effort of obamacare. the 1099 requirement was widely viewed therout the country as a
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burden. and let me turn it over to senator johanns. >> thank you. let me just say thanks to the leader. i appreciate his compliments immensely. we're just wrapping up the vote on the senate floor. the last time i checked we had 71 yes votes to repeal 1099 in it's entirety. i'd also point out that this is fully paid for. we used -- ultimately, used the paid for that had been in the doc fix so it was something that senators were used to. this has had a rather tortured history, if you will. we started this effort back in the summer of last year. so we're kind of starting to close in on the one-year anniversary of trying to get this repealed. i said today on the floor that
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the real winners today aren't republicans, democrats or an individual senator. it's about 40 million businesses out there. it's nonprofits. it's churches. it's state and local governments that were going to get tangled up in the 1099 requirement. it never should have been a part of the health care bill from the start. and i could not be more pleased by the action of the senate today and literally passing legislation that now syncs up with the house bill. so no more back and forth. this bill is ready to go to the white house. and my hope is and my anticipation is that the president will sign the bill, will have the 1099 requirement completely and totally repealed in the next few days. i'd also be totally remiss if i didn't say thank you to senator joe manchin. he has been my cosponsor on the other side of the aisle.
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and before the it was senator blanch lincoln, a former senator now. and i thank him for that effort, too. [inaudible] >> yeah, we're going to a stakeout after lunch and i'll be happy to answer your questions on any other matters that we're dealing with. right now we're just on the subject. any questions to 1099s? >> yes. this is -- this is the house bil bill. >> many are saying many things, but i would tell you that i've worked this from day 1. and i just simply didn't believe should have been in care. it's a senseless provision that has really no value, not even the internal revenue service
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wanted this done. so for my standpoint i'm just very pleased to say to the today. small businesses all across this country -- we got something off your back here that was going to be a terrible burden. so this really is a victory for them today. [inaudible] >> that's what you got caught into and once the law is passed and it has a score, if you will, from the folks at cbo, you don't have a choice except to come up with a paid for or added to the national debt. therein lies the challenge you face in trying to repeal anything in that health care bill. it could have economic financial consequences because it is on the books. and if has a cbo score then you're stuck with it. and you either make the case i want to add to the debt or i want to pay for it we, of
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course, found a way to pay for it. thank you, everybody. >> we're taking you over to the house chris van hollen on your screen talking about the fiscal year 2012 budget proposal presented this morning by republicans. his comments just getting underway live here on c-span2. >> our deficits in a steady, predictable and responsible manner. the question is, how do you best do that? as the bipartisan fiscal commission has indicated, any responsible effort, any responsible effort to tackle the deficit requires a balanced approach that addresses both spending and revenue. this house republican plan fails that very simple test. you just have to hear the comments that were just made today by both al simpson and
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irks and bowles. it falls short of the balanced comprehensive approach to achieve the broad bipartisan support. the republican plan largely exempts defense spending and it would not apply any savings from eliminating and reducing tax expenditures as part of tax reform to deficit reduction. as a result, the chairman's plan relies on much larger reductions in domestic discretionary spending than does the commission proposal while also calling for savings in some safety net programs, cuts that would place a disproportionately adverse impact on certain disadvantaged populations. so we've already had the verdict rendered by the leaders of the bipartisan commission that the republican plan in the house fails the simple test of balance. in fact, if you look at the
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republican plan, it is simply a recycled, rigid ideology that says we need to provide big tax breaks to the very wealthy and the very powerful at the expense of the rest of the country. it's dressed up in a lot of nice sounding rhetoric about reform but, in fact, it's the same tired old playbook we've seen before. they preserve and, in fact, increase tax cuts for the very wealthiest americans. they keep in place tax subsidies, tax give-aways to the oil and gas industry and other special corporate interests while they cut education for our kids, while they cut investments in research and science. and while they end the medicare guarantee for seniors and require seniors to go into a
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private insurance plan and they're at the whims of the insurance industry with constantly lowering amounts of support. all the risk goes to the seniors. now, to govern is to choose. and we believe that their plan will weaken america in the long run. it is not courageous to protect the most powerful interest and the very wealthy at the expense of critical investments in our country. and yet that is what they do going forward. now, i want to just turn to these charts here because it suggests that they are way out of the mainstream when it comes to any responsible approach to the deficit reduction. you all remember -- >> you need to go to the microphone. you'll all remember david stockman he was budget director during the reagan administration, and he's made it very clear that he finds it unconscionable that the republican leadership based with $1.5 trillion deficit could
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possibly believe that it's good public policy to maintain tax cuts for the top 2%. and yet that's what this budget does. in fact, it increases the tax breaks for the top 2% because when you lower the top rate to 25% and keep current revenue constant, you are going to be hitting middle incomed taxpayers to pay for tax breaks for the folks at the very top. now, i listened earlier to the chairman of the committee, chairman ryan, when he was asked, you know, why they continue tax breaks for the folks at the very top. and his argument was that was necessary for economic growth. well, the facts tell a very different story. and i want to turn to this chart right here. what this shows is the tax rates for the very top income earners that were in place during the clinton administration. a period of rapid economic growth, almost 4% real gdp
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growth. and compare that to what happened when you provided the bush tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the folks at the very top. you see, in fact, and we all felt it very strongly -- we saw only 2.1% real gdp growth during those years, even though you had the -- the lower tax rates. now, the point is that a lot of things that move our economy. and clearly, that is not a primary factor. and anyone who's interested in reducing the deficit as opposed to another ideological agenda recognizes you have to address that part of the equation. this is a similar chart. it just shows job growth during the booming years during the clinton administration when the economy was booming. again, during the eight years of the previous administration when you had the lower tax rates for the folks on top, you actually
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lost 653 private sector jobs. again, the idea that those little marginal differences drive major economic decisions is just disproven by the facts. now, here's the difference just when you look at the fiscal commission in terms of balance. the difference between the fiscal commission and the house republican plan when it comes to revenues over the next 10 years, $2.5 trillion. the commission -- many people don't know this, they assumed we would turn to the clinton tax rates for folks at the very top. now, when you make those significant cuts as the commission representatives have said. you're going to really cut into important investments. that are important to keep our economy strong. we all recognize that there are cuts to be made and gao has identified many of them but you're going to to appear from paul in a minute about why it's
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so important to maintain those investments. and before that, you're going to hear from john yarmouth a little bit on the tax equation but before we go to them i want to turn to the question of health care. health care. there's been a lot of debate over the last many years on the health care question. every member of the budget committee, every member of the budget committee, republicans and democrats alike understand that rising health care costs represent a huge challenge for the federal budget. as they do for every family budget. because the reality is that the health care costs in medicare and medicaid have been tracking the health care rise in costs in the rest of the health care system over the last three years. in fact, if you look at just the last 10 years, the growth and cost of medicaid is much lower than the increase of health care
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costs in the private sector. so when you look at this problem, you have recognize that the challenge is to get overall health care costs down. and that is why passing the affordable care act last year was so important because it is designed to drive down the costs per person of health care over the long run. in fact, we heard some talk earlier today about -- from dr. riblin's approach to health care. when she testified a few weeks ago before the committee, she indicated that it would be a huge mistake to repeal the affordable care act. and here's what she said. quote, repealing affordable care act would cause needless economic harm and would set back efforts to create a more disciplined and more effective
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health care system. she also said, and i quote, i do believe that almost every idea about improving quality and reducing costs was incorporated in some way usually as a pilot program in the affordable care act and we need to fund it. finally, she said, quote, i strongly believe that the affordable care act has the potential to bend the cost curve. and, in fact, this is a chart put together by the medicare trustees based on their data that shows if you implement the affordable care act, as it was passed, you will indeed bring down the cost of medicare over a period of time. now, i want to say a word about so-called reforms in the republican proposal. and i want people to really focus on this fact. you may remember that during the
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last campaign, republican candidates ran all sorts of ads against the democrats saying that we slashed $500 billion out of medicare. in fact, in an op-ed written for a local paper, chairman ryan said that president obama broke his, quote, promises to seniors by cutting medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars. the reality -- i want you to go look at their budget, all those -- the medicare reforms that we made including ending the overpayments to medicare advantage including some of the other reforms to bring down the cost of health care during this next ten-year window, it looks to us like they have tapped the very savings in medicare that they railed against over the last couple months and years. in fact, it looks like over the
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next 10 years, that is the primary cause of the medicare number they have in the budget. in other words, the health care reforms enacted in the affordable care act, which they say they're repealing -- they're not repealing all of them. they're keeping, as far as we can tell, the savings in medicare. and those savings that were made for the democratic majority in congress represent a significant amount of the funds available at medicare over the next 10 years. now, what do they do with medicare? they essentially end medicare as they know it. they don't reform it. they deform it. they take away the medicare guarantee for seniors. they say you got to go into the private insurance market. and by the way, we'll give you a voucher or whatever you want to call it that will reduce -- will reduce value over time. and all the risk, all the risk
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of increased costs in the health care system will be bourne by the medicare beneficiary, the seniors. even as they get rid of some of the -- the one mechanisms that they kept, that they did -- that they got rid of, excuse me, in the health care reform bill was the creation of a commission to help recommend and reduce costs. they get rid of that which will lead to increase costs in medicare. and then they turn around and put all the risk and burden on the senior citizens under medicare. it is a radical change. and it is extremely bad for seniors. finally, i just want to say with respect to medicare, excuse me, allison schwartz is going to talk in more detail about the medicare cuts and i want to turn to medicaid and karen will address those but simply put, turning medicaid into a block
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grant program is just code for cutting deeply into supports for seniors in nursing homes, seniors in assisted living facilities. low-incomed kids, disabled individuals and the most vulnerable population. it's a blank check to governors with a license to cut those individuals -- to cut the support for those individuals in our society. it is certainly not courageous to pick on some of the most vulnerable in our society. and finally, i'll just end by saying this notion, this orwellian notion that ending the medicare guarantee for seniors and block granting medicare in a way that will hurt seniors and disabled individuals in nursing homes and other settings -- to suggest that is done to save
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medicare is a little reminiscent of that twist saying you have to detroit the village in order to save it. this will do terrible damage to medicare and medicaid and everybody who has paid into the medicare system and relies on that system for their supports. and all of us know that it wasn't that long ago that republican members of congress surely thought the establishment of medicare, the establishment of social security and certainly we're not going to stand by while they undermine the fundamental integrities of those important supports for seniors and others in our society which all of those seniors have paid in to that system. so with that, i'm going to turn it over to congressman john
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yarmouth a great member from kentucky who's going to talk about the republican approach to tax cuts for the wealthy. >> i thought bush tax cuts were unfair and at a time that was very difficult for many americans and also fighting two wars that the notion we ought to cut taxes for the very wealthiest and was offensive and demonstrated the wrong values and that was at the time when the social safety net was much better than it will be under the republican budget. mr. ryan calls his budget the path to prosperity. it's actually a paback to the prosperous. this is a budget that asks virtually all americans to suffer, to take a little pain
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but it asks nothing of the very wealthiest americans, the ones who have experienced the greatest growth in their income and wealth over the last 10 years, in the history of this country, at least in the last 80 or 90 years. what we've seen here under the ryan budget is a proposal that over the next 10 years will reduce taxes for the wealthiest 2% of americans by $807 billion. the same time, as chris mentioned and others will, hitting medicaid by a trillion dollars. cutting education funding, cutting research and development, cutting support programs for low-incomed seniors. and people with low-incomed families with children. all of the things that, i think, reflect well on the values of our nation. they don't ask the wealthiest to pay a penny. they maintain all of the tax breaks for the oil companies in spite of the fact that they have made $900 billion in profit over
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the last decade. they have maintained all the tax breaks -- all the tax expenditures which amount to a trillion dollars a year. these are tax expenditures which if they were actually -- actually recorded on the budget as government programs, republicans would howl about, since they're in the tax code and benefit again, they're major supporters with the wealthiest americans, they're fine. those tax expenditures alone amount to almost all of discretionary spending in the budget including defense. they don't touch any of those. this is the most imbalanced, reckless budget that has been offered in modern history. it exacts a high price on virtually all americans except the very wealthiest. this is the -- i'm sorry, 800 billion versus $771 billion cut in medicaid. this is the statement of the
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republican values right here. these are the wealthy. those are the people who need care and need aid. and i want to say one thing about this notion that you can -- you need to cut taxes to generate economic prosperity. my brother who's in the barbecue restaurant business. he does very, very well. i happen to be an investor in that business. i do well because my investment of that investment. we would do well to return to the prebush tax cuts levels. my brother in 2008 said, you know, i'm going to support barack obama this year and he's always a republican and he wanted to pay less tax and i said why, bob, what's your epiphany. i finally realized if nobody can afford barbecue, it doesn't matter what my tax rate is. this is a statement about where we are in this country. it doesn't matter if there's tax rate if there's no businesses. we had a meeting in louisville
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yet, a round table put on a meeting. all business people were in the room and they were asking tore more government support for education, for things like child care, for research and development. i thought i was at a progressive caucus meeting. and these were business people. they didn't mention tax rates on the wealthiest people in the country. they know that in order to be a vibrant nation into the future, we need to make the kind of investments that are invested in human capital. this budget doesn't do that. again, it imposes great pain on the people who can least withstand it. and gives great benefit to the people who don't need it. >> thank you, john. next we're going to hear from paul, a new member of the committee who has done a terrific job and who's going to talk about the importance of maintaining to keep the country strong. >> thank you to our ranking member of our miesht on the budget committee. and i'm impressed with the work
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that my colleagues and the democrat ranks have done in the last several weeks to bring some balance to the equation. i firmly believe that america needs and deserves a plan that creates jobs, not costs jobs. and that plan for america and for working families requires that it be written with courage, not cowardice. so i see this plan as a clarion wakeup call. working families across this country should have the sounding alarm at home. buyer beware. this is an attack on our middle class families, on our working families. it is an attack on those programs that really respond to growing jobs. now, undeniably. the message that we all heard,
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democrats, republicans in the last campaign is jobs, jobs and jobs. no higher priority professed by all candidates out there. well, where's the jobs package? i'm not surprised this one reduces jobs. because in the last three months of the 112th session of congress, we have seen no jobs legislation presented by the majority. and so the theme continues. they want to disrupt the curve, slow, steady upward moving forward that has produced 1.8 million jobs since the start of 2010. private sector jobs, absolutely an incredible comeback from the painful very long and painful recession that drains our economy of 8.2 million jobs. look at the receipt ink on this chart. look at the bar graph that show the steady precipitous decline of american jobs. and then the turning points that comes early in '09 as we begin
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to climb upward. why would we want to disrupt -- disrupt that steady progress? this is -- you know, i've heard of voodoo economics. this makes voodoo economics look pale. this is an attack that really reduces jobs at a time that we need to invest in jobs, and we seem to defund with this plan. we have the rest of the world, the global economy investing in their nations to be competitive. if it dulls or competitiveness, it and it attacks the middle class and it does not provide the investments that we need for a stronger economy. now, the flashnomics that we see in the bar graphic. and whether you buy the 200,000 or the 975,000, they are
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suggesting that it's going to drain jobs. this is creating the slippery slope. when we climb the mountain now we have the slippery slope with their plan to lose jobs which is certainly the wrong direction to follow. how do we do that? well, they suggest that we drain 29 billion from education and training. 29 billion. they suggest $276 billion be removed for the sake of transportation over a 10-year period. and then with science and tech, a $50 billion reduction over 10 years. now, be mindful, as we engage in this global race on clean energy and innovation, i agree with the president when he says, whoever wins this race emerges the go-to nation. you will be the exporter of energy intellect, innovation, and clean energy ideas. why would we want to put that at
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risk? we have just received the news recently that we have dropped a third in private sector investment for energy transformation after -- after china and germany. the america i know and love is number one. and that's what this democratic minority in the house is all about. keeping america number one. this is a slash on jobs. it will impact our economy tremendously. because it has been stated so many times by economists. the jobs issue, unemployment is driving the deficit. if we invest in job creation, in job retention, we can very much expect an impact on reducing that deficit. i think the roadmap here, the ryan roadmap is the way to the cliff. and then over the cliff. it will wreck our economic comeback. it will destroy the hope that we want to provide, should provide for america's working families. it devastates the work force in
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the future by passing on education funding. it denies r & d research and development at a time when is most critical. think of it we won the global race on space because we committed with passionate resolve to make a difference. and we landed that person first on the moon. simply because we committed our resources, our energy and our passions to making it happen. look at what we're doing here. we're challenged to enter a global race on clean energy and innovation and our response from the ryan roadmap from the republican majority in the house, defund. disinvest, don't worry about the r & d. don't worry about making it in american. invest in america, no such way. this is a dreadful outcome. it required courage. we had cowardice. and as we go forward, we need to fix this plan. clarion wakeup call for america and her workers. let's denounce this plan from the republican majority >> thank you, paul. next we're going to hear from
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karen bass who i said earlier is one of our new members who comes to us from state politics in california and knows very clearly the impact of the republican medicaid proposals as well as others here. >> thank you. just like the roadmap to america's future, the republican path to prosperity is a pathways to despair. the republicans are concerned about kicking the can down the road but they have no problem kicking seniors and children to the curb. the 60-page document that we received today is an ideological statement that ironically captures democratic language and gives lip service to democratic values while covering up a radical agenda that would dramatically alter the quality of life for many working families. the america they paint with their budget proposal is a country we wouldn't recognize. really -- i really look forward to the details of the republican plan.
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what we need is a balanced approach that speaker after speaker at the budget committee said we must to address the deficit do a balanced approach. in their proposal they propose no revenue. they only propose cuts and schemes. giving lip service to democratic values and language i want to give a couple of examples. they talk about ending corporate welfare. i thought that was pretty ironic and there are a couple of examples for how they want to end corporate welfare is to revisit the financial reform regulation. they want to privatize fannie and freddie. and they want to lift moratoriums on oil drilling. this is a way you end corporate welfare. they want to protect the safety net by massively cutting medicaid and having vouchers for medicare. it's not enough to say that if you're over 55 you're protected, thank you. i know that i'm protected now. but the concern is about the future but yet the republicans would lead future generations
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without the resources for health care which ultimately medicaid would result in a 35% cut, over half the users of medicaid are children. seniors use medicaid to pay for expenses that medicare doesn't cover. that's why i said the republicans are willing to kick seniors and children to the curb while expressing concern for kicking the can down the road. many governors have already weighed in on this proposal and are objecting to the way they're talking about reforming medicaid. states should not be left to decide which populations are services to cover. under the gauze of having flexibility for the states, if you look at it down the line, it really just resorts -- results in a cut, a significant cut to medicaid. i do have to hand it to my republican colleagues because maybe the way they attempt to capture our language and give lip service to our values, i think we should spend some time
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explaining what those terms mean. corporate welfare, concern about the safety net is very transparent to think that you can use language to hide a very radical agenda and trick people into believing that the pathway to prosperity is not a pathway to despair. their way that they are talking about medicare and medicaid forces seniors out of the system and into private insurance and leaves children and the disabled without the safety net. thank you very much. >> thank you, karen. next we're going to hear from one of the veteran members of the committee who knows all these issues very well, our colleague allison schwartz. >> thank you. i just want to, i guess, in doing a little bit of cleanup here. i wanted to speak specifically to seniors. before i do, i want to share my -- associate myself with my colleagues' comments that budgets are about priorities. i have served on the budget committee for three terms now
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and my fourth term on the budget committee and i have seen each year as we deal with the budget and the fact is that budgets should be about three things. they are about meeting our obligations as a nation. it is about being fiscally responsible and that's particularly important as we have the challenge of the deficit before us and it's about growing the economy and preparing for the future. and this budget fails all three. i'm going to speak specifically about the fact that this budget really puts seniors, american seniors, at great risk. they have, as you may remember, that the republicans railed against the health reform law. it is now the law of the land. and yet, they scare seniors into believing there would be cuts to their benefits. there were no cuts to their benefits. in fact, enhancements of their benefits and i'll speak about that in a moment and this is a budget and what they're planning on doing on medicare and medicaid should scare every
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senior in this country. and every american who some day they hope will be a senior. so within 10 years, we will not recognize medicare or medicaid. seniors will essentially be on their own. to find health insurance in an individual private marketplace that has failed most americans in this country. so this budget, as they have put forward and seniors know this, understand that they are privatizing medicare. 59% of seniors oppose privatization or the republicans are not listening. seniors know that dismantling medicare and replacing it with a voucher program means they no longer will have access to a guarantee set of health benefits. there'll be no guaranteed health benefits under medicare. they know that the value of a limited voucher, one that's capped will not enable them to meet the rising costs of health
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care. they will know they will have to pay more out-of-pocket and more in premiums. unfortunately, the republicans are proud of this. and they are telling their seniors that they will be on their own to deal with the insurance industry. that they will be on their own to deal with limits on benefits. they'll be on their own on uncertainty if an illness occurs and they will object their own. there will be exclusions of certain kinds of care or settings where there will be care. there could be discrimination based on income and levels of illness and age. and on medicaid, which is going to be block granted. states understand that 62% of medicaid expenses are for long-term care for seniors. so we want to talk about women and children, i'm happy to do that but for seniors this is devastating. any american who has a loved one in the nursing home could well to have pay that out-of-pocket
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in the future, not because medicaid won't be there nor and we'll have to bring them home to care for them. so this is -- the same time they are doing this for seniors, there's question that they are protecting -- you've heard some of this already. they are spending the same amount of money, if not more, to protect tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of americans, $700 billion. they are protecting tax cuts for the oil industry. and they are continuing, in fact, guaranteeing not to deal with the issues of inefficiencies in the pentagon. there are all of us, as i said before, all of us on the committee, republicans and democrats, believe very, very strongly that we have to deal with this deficit. and we should. but the way we do it matters. we do it on the backs of seniors, we do it in a way that shares it across the spectrum in tackling not only spending cuts but tax expenditures and costs in other arena.
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and that is -- that is really the debate we're having here. and again, republicans chose last session to ignore the cost-savings and strengthening of medicare for our seniors. they set back and, in fact, demonize the plan voting time and time again to end -- to stop improvements of medicare for our seniors. and they still want to repeal the law that eliminates copayments for preventive services for seniors. it makes prescription drugs more affordable for our seniors, it improves coordination of care, reduces errors and improves patient care and outcomes for our seniors. they will repeal the law that curbs the growth of medicare spending, that extends the fiscal life of medicare trust fund by 12 years. and saves taxpayers $400 billion by ending overpayment to insurance companies. that's what they want to stop. instead, republicans here in washington want to end medicare
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as we know it for seniors. and again, i will end with where i started. if seniors were scared last year falsely by the republicans, this year the republicans are right to say to american seniors that you have every right to be scared 'cause you'll be on your own. you're going to get a voucher that's limited and it will grow. and you have to negotiate with the insurance companies on your own. you tell that to my 91-year-old father who's right now trying to get off a ventilator. how is he going to negotiate when his medicare benefits are up to be able to find the private health insurance that he needs. he simply won't be able to do it. it will fall on all of us. this is a decision we have to make. this is a question of our priorities. are we going to balance the budget and actually as our ranking member said, it doesn't even do a very good job of that. we're going to take money away from seniors. and finally end medicare as we know it. and medicaid as we know it.
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and protect the wealthiest 2% of americans in corporate america. that's our decision. instead, we ought to get serious and meet our applications to our seniors and our children and to our future and we can do that. and we should. we're not going to do it with the ryan budget. thank you. >> thank you, allyson. i'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. yeah. >> in the ryan budget, do you have your own plan that you guys are putting forward or, you know -- [inaudible] >> two things. we've seen the major pieces of the republican budget here in the house. we haven't had a chance to dig down. so far it's very hard to find something that meets the objectives that we talked about which is having a balanced approach to a deficit reduction. yes, the democratic caucus will have an alternative and that
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alternative will reduce the deficits in a serious and predictable and steady way. and it will demonstrate a very different approach going forward. yeah. >> mr. ryan's budget is being cast as the platform for republicans' economic argument in 2012 including for their eventual nominee against president obama. can you speak to the political significance of this document and how you think about it here. >> it's going to up to every republican candidate for president to decide whether they want to run with this particular republican plan or not. i would just suggest they are going to want to take a very careful look at it because in addition to slashing very important investments that are necessary for our economic growth and the strength of the country, it also essentially undercuts entirely the bargain that we've made with seniors as
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we've discussed. and what it does, it says that we're going to end the medicare guarantee, throw seniors over to the whims of the private insurance market and we've all seen rates rising very rapidly in the private insurance market and you the senior are going to bear the entire risk of that added cost. so it's a budget that as we said have just totally exude and misplaced priority that benefits the wealthy and special interest at the expense of powerful investments and at the expense of seniors. >> if i could just walk back a moment. you said earlier in your comments that to govern is to choose. >> yes. >> and republicans have said repeatedly that democrats didn't pass a budget when you were governing. and that the reason they have to do all this cutting and spending -- cutting spending is because you put them there in
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the first place. >> well, let's -- two things. first of all, when you're talking about the fiscal year 2011 budget, which is the debate going on right now over a very small portion of the budget, the fact is that the democrats did pass last year a budget enforcement resolution that set out the targets very clearly as to what should governor this year. in fact, when you hear the debate that, you know, republicans are making about how we have to make changes to that, that's because there was the other alternative out there. today what we're talking about is where should the discussion move to which is taking a look at the federal budget as a whole. and part of the issue with the debate going on about 2011 is republicans only want to talk about specific cuts to a particular part of the budget. they don't want to talk about cuts that would involve taking the subsidies away from the oil
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industry. they don't want to take away loopholes in the tax code that benefit corporations and result in having many major corporations pay absolutely no income tax, to share in making sure that the country is strong. so look, that's going to be the debate going forward. we're talking about both fiscal year 2011 and '12. >> so that's an old argument then? >> i'm sorry? >> that's an old argument. >> and it also ignores the fact as i said that we did have the one-year blueprint there. yeah. >> can you give us is timeline when you plan to unveil your budget alternative will be ready next week when the committee works to mark up the ryan plan. >> well, we're marking up the ryan plan tomorrow and certainly the democratic alternative will be ready for floor debate a week from tomorrow, yeah. >> on medicare chairman ryan says it's not a vouch very program because the government
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would be negotiating with insureds and then they have an option compared to the plans that members of congress have but it sounds like you're not seeing it that way. >> not at all. and whether you want to call it a voucher or whether he wants to call it a premium support program, it all comes down to the same thing the way he has it designed, which is that, number one, seniors no longer will have the option to be in the medicare program that they're in today, the fee for service medicare program. they'll be required to go into the private insurance market, number one. number two, the value of the voucher or premium support, whatever you want to call it, does not rise at the rate of health care inflation. and what the republican budget does it says to seniors, you're on your own. you've got to pick up the entire cost of that instead of the approach we're taking instead of reducing the health care system, you need to treat the whole
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health care system, you need to get rid of the efficiency, inefficiencies where so many americans were getting their primary health care at the hospitals, driving up costs for that, which is why doctor has said number one make sure you don't dismantle that but in short what they do as i said is shift the entire risk to higher -- to seniors. just a word on the federal employee health benefit plan and the other analogies. under that plan, the employees get a fixed share of the cost. in other words, the employer, in that case the federal government, shares the risk of rising health care costs. under the republicans' plan, that's not the case. the burden of the rising cost is on the senior. you're on your own. >> the details, obviously, have yet to be worked out.
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whether you hear it's a voucher or premium support it suggests there will be a gap. and they also want to make it means tested so where that break is could matter a lot if you're saying seniors above $20,000 income, we're only going to give premiums -- they will get less and less support from the federal government when you go over the 20,000 income. it could well leave literally tens of thousands and leave seniors at great risk for bearing the greater burden for out-of-pocket costs or premium support or buying insurance that really does not carry their health care needs. i always joke -- see my senior groups and say any of you want medication and they all laugh, two medications, three medications? even healthy seniors are pretty costly to take care of. we've discovered that in government and that's why we've instituted a whole variety of
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innovations to improve quality, improve outcomes. but we're doing that by asking both the payers but the providers, doctors, nursing homes to do a better job, spend less money, make sure that people are betting the health care that they need, not putting it on the backs of seniors. thanks. >> it also will mean that you don't get to pick your doctor unless the doctor happens to be on the plan that you can afford. it rations health care this time by the income of the senior because you're only going to purchase what benefits are offered for that price. if those benefits can't be offered at that price you don't get your doctor and you don't get those benefits. we can take just one more, two more and then we got to go. one and two. okay. >> the white house didn't address what he called the budget proposal. i'm wondering if you're going to do that or if you're going to fall back on health care reform
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bills. >> well, let me say something. the republican bill -- i want to make this very clear. i'll make this very clear. in the next 10 years, the revenue they get from so-called medicare reform is the -- are the savings that were generated as a result of the passage of the affordable care act. i want to be very clear about that. they demagogued those medicare reforms. they said we were just slashing medicare in fact when we were removing the subsidies for medicare advantage plans. the overpayments they were getting reimbursed at taxpayer dollars at 114% of fee for service. that is the primary sort of -- they've taken those same ones they criticized in their same plan. but do we end the medicare guarantee for seniors, absolutely not. >> one of the things mr. ryan
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was saying was that he was hoping on the social security portion of this bill we can come to some kind of agreement with democrats. do you see anything like that with the social security language you've seen? >> well, we haven't seen exactly what they do with respect to social security. we'll have an opportunity to do that. our view is that you should not balance the budgets on the back of social security. that social security can pay 100% of the benefits up to the year 2037. after that, if you do nothing at all, those benefits will drop. i believe that we should -- apart from this particular budget negotiations and deficit reduction, apart from that, we should get together on a bipartisan basis like tip o'neill did and with ronald reagan and try and address that issue. but again, we shouldn't be balancing budgets or reducing deficits by cutting social security. >> will you vote --
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>> thank you very much. we've got to go. >> will you vote on another -- will you vote if it pops up and you won't shut the government down? [inaudible conversations] >> well, you heard chris van hollen talking about the markup session. that will be on c-span3. we'll give you a chance to see representative ryan's comments the announcement of the 2012 budget proposal this morning. and that will come up this evening at 8:00 eastern followed by chris van hollen at 8:40 leading off our prime time. 8:00 and 830 with representatives van hollen on c-span. while jim mc -- tom mcclinic talk of california a member of
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the budget committee was on "washington journal" for some more details on the 2012 budget plan. here's part of that conversation. >> host: representative tom mcclintock is a member on the budget committee will be those joining the house budget chairman mr. ryan in the rollout of the 2012 budget. tell us what's in that budget and what's not in that budget? >> guest: well, the budget is a long-term plan to bring the nation's finances back under control. i mean, to understand the situation we're in right now just think of a family that's earning $50,000 a year but it's not spending 50,000. it's spending $86,000 a year. and it's credit cards have are up. that's where the country is right now. the family is not going to get out of that trouble overnight. this is a long-term plan to get the spending back under control.
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and ultimately to pay off the national debt. >> host: in the "wall street journal" this morning, representative ryan had this op-ed, the republicans have to prosperity. what is it in this budget that you and the chairman believe that will be on the path of prosperity? >> guest: most importantly it brings the spending under control so we're not crowding out private capital that is desperately needed to provide business expansion for jobs, to provide credit for consumers to make consumer purchases. and to home buyers to re-enter the housing market. it rejects the $1.5 trillion of tax increases over the next 10 years that are built into president obama's budget. and repeals the $800 million of taxes imposed by obamacare. it restores competitiveness to the corporate tax rates so that american companies can then
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again compete with commerce around the world. >> and then the headline in the "new york times" this morning republican blueprint would remake health policy. medicare and medicaid costs could be split with consumers. explain a little bit about how that would work. >> well, as you know, medicare and medicaid are spinning out of control rapidly. they are the biggest cost drivers in the federal budget. what this proposal does on the medicare side is to preserve medicare for those who are 55 or older so that if you're in retirement or near retirement we know changes are in the plan. for those younger workers under age 55, it moves us toward the same kind of system that members of congress have. where you have a list of approved plans. you choose among those lists. the medicare system will provide a payment directly to the plan to underwrite the costs. if there's any additional costs above that of the individual patient pays them. and with medicaid it's simply
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what a lot of governors have been requesting for a lot of time and that is to remove the federal restrictions, block grant states the money so they can manage it more efficiently with their own populations. . >> host: we're talking with representative tom mcclintock about the budget in two context. first the budget that's going to be rolled out later on this morning by house republican -- house budget committee chairman paul ryan. and also the clock ticking on the federal government on whether or not a deal will be struck to keep the government in operation this past friday. if you would like to get involved in our discussion, please give us a call. as always you can send us messages by email and twitter. our first call comes from middletown, new jersey, on our line for democrats.
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bonnie, go ahead. >> caller: good morning, gentlemen. congressman, in the last decade, the way the economists refer to the last 10 years and it's been a lot more than that, the wealth of the nation didn't just disappear. it was reallocated. we have 400 families, 400 residents that have 50% of the wealth of this nation. and the problem our insane tax structure and our insane trade policies. 150,000 jobs -- i mean, factories, more than that. but the factories, 150,000 factories disappeared in the last administration, in the last term of the last administration and we were told they're not coming back. well, they can come back. we had a tariff system. it worked quite well. every other nation in the wotc has tariffs. so if we put taxes on the
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people -- on the manufacturers that are taking our jobs overseas and getting tax subsidies for doing it, we can bring the jobs back. and we would have the revenue from the working class. we have to stop thinking about our economy based on wall street. it's based on labor. >> host: bonnie, we'll leave it there. representative mcclintock? >> guest: i would warn very strongly against raising tariffs. we've got plenty experience doing that. that was exactly how herbert hoover responded to the recession of 1929. the smoot-hawley tariff act. a steep tax on about 20,000 imported products. economists from left to right attribute to smoot-hawley act of returning the recession in 1929 into the depression of 1930s. hoover did a couple of other things that the prior administration and this administration do and that is massive increases in spending. herbert hoover increased the federal budget 60% in just four
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years. he ended up by taking the federal income tax rate from 25% all the way up to 63%. and the result was the depression of the 1930s. all franklin roosevelt did was to amplify and doubledown on those policies. the similarities between those terrible years and the administrations of george w. bush and barack obama are pretty striking. it was george w. bush who increased federal spending by a full 2% of gdp. remember bill clinton reduced it by 4%. it was bush who drove that spending through the roof and produced massive budget deficits. all that barack obama has done is to take those mistakes amplify and doubledown on them and i think needlessly prolong and deepen the recession. >> next up is greensburg kentucky on the line for republicans. doris, you're on "washington
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journal." >> caller: mr. mcclintock, i had a question about -- since our government is in process maybe of shutting down, i don't understand why -- i don't know what the man's name is right offhand. i'm an older person, of why he has said this morning that we are going to have that trial for those terrorists in new york, that's going to cost the taxpayers -- there's no telling how much money when it could be done in the military which is already paid for and i don't understand why that no one is listening to the people. i'll hang up and listen to your answer. >> host: go ahead, sir. >> guest: well, there are many of us who believe that those trials should always have been in the military courts. these are military combatants who have taken up arms against the united states.
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that's always been done in the military court system. now, i looked at all the newspapers and i believe there's a reversal of the policy within the administration itself. >> host: back to the phones, great falls, virginia, jack, an independent, you're on the line with "washington journal." >> caller: hello. >> host: jack, go ahead. >> caller: the first words i've heard out of this gentleman's mouth and it amused me. >> we're leaving this to go live to the white house. president obama is coming to the briefing room to speak to reporters. >> leader reid as well as the two appropriations chairs inouye and. i want is to give the american people an update where we are. from the outset, my goal has been to significantly cut our
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domestic spending but at the same time make sure we're making key investments in things like education, infrastructure, innovation, the things that are going to help us win the future. and over the course of the last several months, we have identified areas where we can make substantial cuts. in fact, what we've been able to do is to present to the house republicans a budget framework that would cut the same amount of spending as speaker boehner and chairman rogers originally proposed. their original proposal for how much would be cut. and several weeks ago there were discussions between the white house and speaker boehner's office in which we said, let's start negotiating off of that number, $73 billion. we are now closer than we have
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ever been to getting an agreement. there's no reason why we should not get an agreement. as i said before, we have now matched the number that the speaker originally sought. the only question is, whether politics or ideology are going to get in the way of preventing a government shutdown. now, what does this potentially mean for the american people at a time when the economy is just beginning to grow, where we're just beginning to see a pickup. the last thing we need as a disruption that's caused by a government shutdown. not to mention all the people who depend on government services, whether you're a veteran or you're somebody who's trying to get a passport or you're planning to visit one of the national monuments or you're a business leader who's trying to get a small business loan. you don't want delays; you don't
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want disruptions just because of usual politics in washington. so what i said to the speaker today and what i said to leader reid and what i've said to the two appropriation chairs is that myself, joe biden, my team -- we are prepared to meet for as long as possible to get this resolved. my understanding is that there's going to be a meeting between speaker boehner and harry reid this afternoon at 4:00. the speaker apparently didn't want our team involved in that discussion. that's fine. if they can sort it out, then we've got more than enough to do. if they can't sort it out, then i want them back here tomorrow. but it would be inexcusable for us to not be able to take care of last year's business -- keep in mind, we're dealing with a budget that could have gotten
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done three months ago, could have gotten done two months ago, could have gotten done last month. when we are this close simply because of politics. and we are prepared to put whatever resources that are required in terms of time and energy to get this done. but that's what the american people expect. they don't like these games. and we don't have time for them. there's some things that we can't control. we can't control earthquakes. we can't control tsunamis. we can't control uprisings on the other side of the world. what we can control is our capacity to have a reasoned, fair conversation between the parties and get the business of the american people done. and that's what i expect. so, again, i want to reiterate. my understanding is the speaker and leader reid are going to have a meeting at 4:00. if that issue does not get resolved and we don't start seeing progress, i want a meeting again tomorrow, here at the white house. i will invite the same folks
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that we invited today. and if that doesn't work, we'll invite them again the day after that. and i will have my entire team available to work through the details of getting a deal done. but right now, there's no reason why we should not get this done. and we've got more than enough to do than to be spending our time going back and forth quibbling around on the edges of something that's important to the american people. with that, i'm going to take a couple of questions. >> thank you, mr. president. if it came down would you approve a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown? and more broadly, as the american people are watching this, do you think this is a test of your leadership -- many of the american people are expecting for you to make sure this deal happens? >> let me take each question
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separately. on the issue of a short-term extension, we've already done that twice. we did it once for two weeks. then we did another one for three weeks. that is not a way to run a government. i can't have our agencies making plans based on two-week budgets. i can't have the defense department, i can't have the state department, i can't have our various agencies on food safety and making sure our water's clean and making sure that our airports are functioning -- i can't have making decisions on two week at a time budgets. so i've been very clear that the last time we had an extension, it was to give the parties time to go ahead and get something done. we're now at the point where there's no excuse to extend this further. if over the next 24 to 48 hours a deal is done and we just can't
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get the paperwork through congress quick enough and they want to do a clean extension for two or three days in order to go ahead and complete a deal, then that's something that we could support. but what we're not going to do is to once again put off something that should have gotten done several months ago. with respect to the second question, i think what the american people expect from me is the same thing they expect from every member of congress, and that is we're looking out for the interest of the american people and not trying to score political points. i think what they're looking from me is the same thing they are looking for speaker boehner, and harry reid and everybody else and that is we act like grownups. and when we are in negotiations like this that everybody gives a little bit, compromises a little bit in order to do the people's business. and i just -- i just want to set the context for this now.
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again, i'm going to repeat. speaker boehner, chairman rogers, the republican appropriations chairman -- their original budget proposed $73 billion in cuts. we have now agreed to $73 billion worth of cuts. what they are now saying is, well, we're not sure that every single one of the cuts that you've made are ones that we agree to. we'd rather have these cuts rather than that cut. that's not the basis for shutting down the government. we should be able to come up with a compromise in which nobody gets 100% on what they want but the american people get the peace of mind knowing that folks here in washington are actually thinking about them. 'cause they're going through a whole lot of struggles right now. they're worrying about gas prices and they're what they
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want us worrying about and they are worried about jobs and that's what we should be focused on. they're worrying about what -- everything happening in the middle east, what does that mean for them? and that certainly is what i'm spending my time worrying about. and i shouldn't have to oversee a process in which congress deals with last year's budget where we only have six months left. especially when both parties have agreed that we need to make substantial cuts and we're more or less at the same number, all right? >> thank you, mr. president. who should the american people blame if there is a government shutdown and also i was wondering if you could respond to the budget plan the house republicans deal with? >> i don't think the american people are interested in blaming somebody. they want people to fix problems. and offer solutions. they're not interested in finger-pointing and neither am
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i. what i want to do is get the business of the american people done. now, we'll have time to have a long discussion about next year's budget as well as the long-term debt and deficit issues where we're going to have some very tough negotiations. and they're going to be, i think, very sharply contrasting visions in terms of where we should move the country. that's a legitimate debate to have. by the way, part of the reason that debate is going to be important is because that's where 88% of the budget is. what we're spending weeks and weeks and weeks arguing about is actually only 12% of the budget and is not going to dent the deficit or the debt. so i'm looking forward to having that conversation. but right now we've got some business in front of us that needs to be done. and that is making sure that we are cutting spending in a significant way, but we're doing it with a scalpel instead of a
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machete to make sure we can still make investments in education, infrastructure and putting the american people back to work and build our economy for the long term. >> mr. president, thank you. what else does the white house have to offer to make sure a deal happens by friday? and separately, could you tell us a little bit about your meeting with -- >> look, we've got -- we are happy to listen to any additional reasonable proposals. but i want to repeat what i just said. we are now at the figure that was speaker boehner's original proposal. now, speaker boehner originally called for $73 billion worth of cuts. members of his caucus insisted on making it 100 billion. what we've said is we're willing to go to 73. composition of those cuts, where
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they come from -- those are all appropriate subjects of negotiation. but by any standard, these would be reasonable cuts. in fact, if we made these cuts, they'd be in absolute terms the largest cuts in domestic discretionary spending in history. and in relative terms, they would be the largest cuts as a percentage of gdp since 1982. so i don't think anybody -- anybody is suggesting somehow that we haven't been serious about this process. as i said, there can be some negotiations about composition. what we can't be doing is using last year's budget process to have arguments about abortion, to have arguments about the environmental protection agency to try to use this budget negotiation as a vehicle for every ideological or political
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difference between the two parties. that's what the legislature is for is to have those arguments but not stuff it all into one budget bill. and, look, you know, i think the american people recognize that we're in some pretty unsettled times right now. certainly businesses recognize that. families recognize it. we don't have time for games. we don't have time for trying to score political points or maneuvering or positioning. not on this. as i said, when it comes to long-term debt and deficit, there's going to be a real debate about, you know, how do we make sure that we have a social safety net for the american people, when folks have a tough time, how do we make sure that we're investing in the future. and how do we pay for it? and that is a legitimate debate
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to have, but right now what we're talking about is six months remaining on the 2011 budget and we have hit a figure by any standard would be historic in terms of cuts. and what we can't do is have a my way or the highway approach to this problem. we can't have a my way -- >> president obama after meeting with congressional leaders today about spending for the rest of this budget year. returning live to the senate. earlier today the senate repealed a tax provision in the health care law for small business. right now senator tom coburn is speaking on the senate floor. mean? what it means is we put into law a limitation on ourselves on the amount of money we can borrow. now, president bush, i believe my facts are correct, asked for the debt limit to be extend seven times.
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this will be the second under president obama's leadership. and it's been extended multitudes of time prior to that. and, as as physician, i'm querying myself to ask the question, why do we put a limit on our debt when every time it comes up, we just raise the limit again. and the answer to that question is the limit doesn't mean anything, because we continue to disregard the difficulty we're in. if a debt limit really meant something, that means we would make changes and take actions to limit the amount of money we're spending so we would not break the debt limit or have to raise the debt limit. so as a physician, when i think about the debt limit, the debt limit's a symptom simply of another problem. and that other problem is, is we in congress, this congress, the
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congress before this, and the 10, 20 congresses before that, have not taken seriously the idea that this country has to live within its means. and, in fact, we are not living within our means. we weren't living within our means before the housing crisis of 2008. we weren't living within our means except at one short period of time when we had a true net surplus of about $36 billion thanks to the tech bubble and the fact that in 1995, the 104th congress did a rescission package that -- of significant amount, under $30 billion, but the accumulated benefit of that allowed us to run those surpluses. so the question before our country today is, is the congress just going to pass another debt limit? are we just going to raise the debt limit again and not do what
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every other family, every other business and every other organization in this country has to do, and, in fact, the rest of the world, and that is they don't have the liberty of spending money they don't have on things they don't absolutely need? and i believe the question the american people ought to be asking of congress and this president is: how dare you even consider raising the debt limit until you've done a thorough job of finding out whether the problems, the multitied, the hundreds of thousands of -- the multitude, the hundreds of thousands of programs that we have, actually function efficiently, actually do their intended purpose and, in fact, are a legitimate role for the federal government to be doing in the first place. we're always going to have the bipartisan -- or the partisan debate on whether taxes aren't high enough or spending isn't low enough, but awful those belie the -- all of those belie the real problem is this country
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can't continue to live beyond its means. and in point of fact that this congress doesn't want to do th that, we have a small business bill on the floor for which we're all tied up in knots because we really don't want to make votes that actually will cut $20 billion worth of spending this year. we don't want to have those votes so we've had all these shenanigans to try to keep amendments that actually do something from coming to the floor. and i think the american people ought to look at us and say, what is going on? do you not get it? do you not understand that the country as a whole is now experiencing what a large number of our families did over the last two years, is that the amount coming in is less than the amount going out and adjustments in how we spend and what we spend have to be made.
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we've go got an ethanol amendmet that i understand is controversial, and the fact is, is will be voted on after cloture's filed on this bill. but it's an amendment that will save a true $4.9 billion this year alone, and the money for that tax credit that goes to the international and national oil companies in this country to blend ethanol with fuel, they've sent a letter and said they don't want the money. so how do you justify voting to send money, $4.9 billion, to exxonmobil and chevron and conoco if i ips and all the -- conocophillips and all the rest of the big ones that are going to show tremendous profits with oil prices where they are today, when they say they don't want it, how do you justify continuing to send that money to them? how do you vote against not sending that money back to the treasury, not borrowing that money from the chinese to pay the large oil companies to blend ethanol? it's not a justification.
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and so the reason we're not having a vote is because they know it will pass. that amendment will pass. that's why we're not having a vote. america ought to look at the senate and say, you're not having a vote on something that will save america almost $5 billion this year, before the end of this year, that the people who are getting that money don't want and have written to the congress and said, "we don't want the money," and yet we're not going to be allowed to take that amendment up in regular order and we're not going to have a vote on it because a small special interest group doesn't want that to happen. you talk about dysfunctional. talk about having our heads in the sand. talk about not addressing the real problem of the debt limit when we can't even do something that simple, of saving the american people $5 billion on one amendment, that will save that money just like that and we
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won't do it? mr. coburn: some real change has to happen and not enough change has happened yet. the government accountability office -- the government accounting office issued a report a month ago outlining massive duplication throughout our government. the first third of it. massive amounts of duplication. there's -- the question on the other side of should -- are these legitimate roles for the federal government? we're not even going to debate that. the fact is, they showed massive amounts of duplication in large areas across the government in things that we have multiple programs that do the exact same thing. and so we have an amendment that will save $5 billion this year if we'll just vote an amendment and say, let's cut $5 billion out of at least $50 billion to $100 billion that we know is there and let's do it this year and let's have the administration mandate that they
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have to do it. that's another $5 billion. well, in two amendments, we will have covered everything we will have cut with the c.r.'s. and the -- they're common sense, they match what the american people want us to do. if we had true world bankers, they'd be telling us to do it as well, and yet we haven't been able to achieve to get a vote on that. then we have the fact that we have unemployed millionaires to the tune of taking, i believe the number's $20 million, in unemployment checks. people are earning a million dollars a year taking $20 million from the taxpayers of this country for unemployment. we should not let that go on one second longer. unemployment is for people who desperately need it. it's not for those that don't. what we've also found is a
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tremendous cost, as we researched the data on the unemployment for millionaires, that we're spending almost $5 billion a year to manage the unemployment program in this country at the federal level when 85% to 90% of the work's done at the state level. we didn't even offer that amendment to downsize that. so the question i have for my colleagues is, let's go back to the debt extension. the statutory debt limit. you know, i'm of a mind -- and i think the average american -- regardless of what the consequences are in all the -- and all the fearmongering that we hear about oh, you have to do this, you have to do this, i don't think we should do it until we've followed some of the commonsense prescriptions that the average family does in this country before we extend the debt limit. and my -- my knowledge of the functioning of this town says it's doubtful we'll dever that.
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-- it's doubtful we'll ever do that. so i would call on my colleagues to start thinking about what the real disease is in washington, and the real disease is, we don't have the courage to make the very hard choices that are in front of our country today and then live with the results of that in terms of how it's going to impact our political careers. everybody's got a program they want to protect. well, the message for america today is every program's going to get hit. the defense department's going to get hit, every program's going to get hit. my taxes are going to go up. sorry, they're going to go up. this country cannot get out of this mess without the behavior that we're exhibiting in this body, and if we fail to do what is necessary for our country at this critical time in our juncture, history will deem us absolutely incompetent. with that, i yield the floor.
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ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, my colleague has talked about one disease in washington but i'm going to talk about another disease that seems to be running rampant over in the house republican caucus and that is hypocrisy. hypocrisy. and the reason i say that is that they say one thing and they mean another. they say one thing and they deceive the american public. now, we're narrowly -- now, ordinarily i wouldn't comment on the behavior or the tribal wares of the republican caucus, but they've had a field day on tv kind of ridiculing the senate, kind of ridiculing the democratic senate, essentially
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doing a lot of name-calling. now, i'm not doing name-calling. i'm going to do fact describing. the reason i call it "hypocrisy" is this. what they say they want to do, which is reduce government spending, they don't. what they -- they only do it on particular groups of people. and the other is something called the consequences of the shutdown. let me just say this. they want to cut spending but they're unwilling to cut their own pay. sure, i'm for a government that's more frugal. i'm for cuts. but i'm not for their cuts. what they propose is reckless and radical. and when they don't get their own way, they say, "cut it or shut it." however, i say, take this position. if there is a government shutdown, i don't think that
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members of congress should be paid. if there is a government shutdown and we tell dedicated federal employees that they're not going to get paid, that they're nonessential, well, the fact that we couldn't stop a shutdown shows we're known we're nonessential, and i believe that if there is a shutdown, members of congress should not get paid. i not only want to express that as a sentiment, i did that backing senator barbara boxer's bill which passed the senate, that said if there is a shutdown, members of congress don't get paid. now, what did the house republicans do? they passed a bill that -- i won't go into the details, but on this relevant section, they said, oh, members of congress and the president doesn't get paid, but guess what? they allow for retroactive
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payment. now, the senate bill doesn't do that. so they would be the only ones in shutdown that can come back and pick up that little paycheck that they have stuck in a corn corner. you talk about hypocrisy. that's called bait-and-switch. it ought to be under some kind of consumer protection law. even the title of their bill is wrong. their bill says, the government shutdown prevention act. well, their bill doesn't stop a shutdown. it doesn't even help with the sitdown. what is a sitdown? where we would come to the table and as grownup americans, we would try to arrive at how to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government that recognizes not only debt, but that there are certain aspects of the government program we
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need to be able to fund. my constituents were outraged when wall street executives got hundreds of millions of dollars of bonuses. well, they should be outraged when, as members of congress, we're going to get paid when they don't. here's what i don't get. in my home state i'm the national institutes of health. right now i have thousands of people working as a team to find the cure for alzheimer's, for aids, for autism, for cancer. you know, we race for the cure and we should, but oh, no, we're going to tell those researchers that they're nonessential. right now i represent -- now and in the future i represent the headquarters for the social security administration. right now there are thousands of
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federal employees processing the claims of social security, make sure someone who's disabled qualifies their benefit. they're going to be told they're not nonessential. well, let me tell you this, mr. president, when any given day if somebody would, whatever town they live, goes to their social security office and find it shuttered because they cannot apply for a benefit they believe they're eligible for, i believe they would rather shut us down than social security offices be shut down. and if you ask anybody in the united states of america, who do you thinks more essential, members of congress or the researchers working on a cure for cancer or for those people working to defend our borders? i could give example after example. you know where they are. so it's very clear that people
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know they depend on the functioning of a federal government by an -- by a civil services that honest, that has integrity, and counts on us to make sure we keep government doors open. so that's one thing while we negotiate the numbers. numbers do matter. i'm ready to come to the table. i believe all democrats are ready to come to the table. but we will not come to the table to engage in meaningless discussions and pursuing a way that is reckless. i will discuss about the recklessnesrecklessness more. but what i want everybody to understand democrats in the senate passed a bill that said that if there is a shutdown, we don't get paid no way, no day and no back pay. so no way no back pay. the house does the sham scam
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that says, oh, yeah, we'll pretend that we're not getting paid, but we're going to pick up a back payment. you know, i just don't get these guys. they want to take away medicare and turn it into a voucher program, but they're sure happy picking up government health care. they love get government federally subsidized health care. they want to take away other people's pension, but they sure like getting their federal employee pension. i want to put an end to the hypocrisy and i want to put an end to the c.r. dangling. i think we need to come to the table. i think we need to pass a responsible budget that recognizes that we are in a friewgle area -- era -- frugel era, but we want to make sure that people know that we are on their side and at the same time the american people need to
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know -- many of us are willing to say if a shutdown comes and federal employees get no pay, if contractors get no pay, we get no pay and no back pay. mr. president, i'll have more to say to this as this week unfolds. but before i sit down, i would say, please, let's sit down rather than have a shutdown. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask that the call of the quorum be term ill-fated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i have -- had a number of discussions over the last few taste with my new friend from kentucky, the junior senator from kentucky, senator paul, and he feels very strongly about an issue and he should have a right to talk about that. so i would ask unanimous consent that there be 10 minutes for senator paul to speak prior to my being recognized to have the bill called up, that is, the small business jobs bill. and at that time that senator paul be recognized as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: and during that morning business time it will be
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for debate only by senator paul. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: mr. president -- the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky's recognized. mr. paul: i thank very much the majority leader for allowing this important debate to occur. candidate barack obama said during his campaign that no president should unilaterally issue military conflict without congressional authority. i agree with that statement. it is a very important constitutional principle and something that i think deserves debate. i think the most important thing we do as representatives is voting on whether or not to go to war. if congress doesn't vote to go to war or doesn't vote on the notion of going to war, we would have an unlimited presidency, and this is a very dangerous notion. i would take this position no matter what the party affiliation were of the
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president, because i believe very strongly in the constitutional checks and balances. we will vote today on the president's own words, verbatim. the president said during the election, "the president does not have the power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." clearly, the circumstances in libya do not rise to this, and i think this vote is incredibly important. madison wrote that the constitution supposes what history demonstrates, that the executive is the branch most interested in war and most prone to it. therefore, the constitution has, with studied care, given that power to the legislature. don't tread on me was a motto at and rallying cry for our
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founding fathers. the new motto of congress appears to be "tread on me, please tread on me." the congress has become not just a rubber stamp for an unlimited presidency but, worse, congress has become a doormat to be stepped upon, to be ignored and basically to be treated as irrelevant. now, some would say, well, we had no time, we had to go to war. there was no time for debate. when we were attacked in world war ii on december 7, pearl harbor, within 24 hours this body came together and voted to declare war on japan. there is no excuse for the senate not to vote on going to war before we go to war. the president had time to go to the united nations, have a discussion and a vote. the president had time to go to the arab league, have a
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discussion and a vote. the president had the time to go to nato, but the president had no time to come to the people's house, to the congress, and ask, as the constitution dictates, for the approval of the american people and for the approval of congress. now, why is this important? it's important because when our nation was founded, we were founded as a constitutional republic. we placed limitations not only on the president but on the congress. we're supposed to obey the constitution. these are important principles, and we have gone beyond that. we have gotten to the point where my question is, are we even obeying the constitution in this body? this is a sad day. this is a sad day for america. the thing is, we need to have
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checks and balances. do we want an unlimited presidency, a presidency that could take us to war any where, anytime, without the approval of congress? now, some have said, we're going to have a vote sometime, sometime in the next couple of weeks, when we get around to it. we may have a debate about libya. had the president showed true leadership, the president would have, when he called the united nations, when he called the arab league, when he called nato, the president would have called the leadership of the senate and the leadership of the house, and we would have been here within 24 hours having what should be the most momentous debate that this body ever has on sending our young, brave men and women to war. we're currently engaged in two wars, and we are now going to be engaged in a thirder war. now, the interesting thing is when we went into iraq and
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afghanistan, we had votes in this body. president bush came to congress and there were votes. the war powers act -- some on the other side say, well, this is no big deal. the president can do whatever he wants as lorchg as he notifies -- as long as he notifies congress within a certain period of time. this is not a correct interpretation of the war powers act. the war powers act does say he needs to notify congress, but the war powers act also says that the president must meet three hurdles before taking our troops into harm's way. number one, there should be a declaration of war or there should be an authorization of force from this body or there should be imminent danger to the nation. none of these three things were adhered to. the law was not adhered to. well, some will say, well, the war powers act -- no president recognizes it.
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well, the war powers act is the law of the land, and the president needs to respect not only the star statutory law of e land but the constitution. i don't think these are trivial questions, but i am bemused, i am confused, i do not understand why your representatives are not down here debating such a momentous thing as going to war. i can think of no vote and no debate more important than sending our young men and women to war. it should be done reluctantly. we should go to war only when threatened as a nation and when engaged in two wars, we should debate the prudence of being involved in a third war. these are not trivial questions, and i am amazed that this body does not take the time to debate whether we should be in libya. now, some have said, well, we'll debate it next week. the problem is the debate should occur before we go to war.
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at this point, we will have vote. we will have a vote on the president's own words. and i will yield for a minute or two for a question, if that's okay -- for a question. i will yield for a question from the senator from utah. the presiding officer: the senator from utah is recognized. mr. lee: what we have with the situation with libya presents us with a fundamental question, one that we have wrestled with for a couple of centuries as a nation. the founding era was a time that
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was fraught with wars. it was a time when we learned that executives sometimes abuse their power. sometimes they'll take us into wars in faraway nations without the support of the people, knowing full well that it's the sons and daughters of the people on the ground who are asked to make the ultimate sacrifice for those battles. we chan led the war power in the constitution, so as to make sure that these debates would always come to the forefront, that they would always be brought up by the elected representatives of the people in congress. and for that reason, although we give power to the president to be the commander in chief in article 2 of the constitution, in article 1 of the constitution we reserve that power, the power to declare war, to congress. this is how we guarantee that the people's voice will be heard and that people's sons and daughters won't be sent off to
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war without some public debate and discussion by those who have been duly elected by the people and stand accountable to the people. we have over time clarified the intent of it, and we've made clear that there are certain steps that have to be taken. we've also made clear that although there is to be sure a certain unknown continuum, a continuum that can be hard to define in every circumstance, between on the one hand the president's authority as commander in cheer, but on the other hand congress's power to declare war on the other. there does come a point at which we can recognize that we're at war, and that some authorization is required by congress. this very body, congress, has through the war powers resolution attempted to disstill some of these principles. and in section 1541 of the war powers act it's found at 50 united states code section 1541,
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we're told that there are circumstances, three circumstances to be precise -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, first of all, i want to express my appreciation to the senator from kentucky. he is a gentleman. i know how sincere he feels about this issue, and i admire him for feeling sincerely about issues, as he does on a number of things. and it's been good for me to get to know him better during the last four or five days. i would ask now, mr. president, for the clerk to report the pending business. the presiding officer: schort the pending business. the clerk: calendar number 17, s. 493, a bill to reauthorize the sbir and sttr programs and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, it is my understanding that the paul amendment is the pending business. is that right? the presiding officer: the motion to commit by senator paul is pending.
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mr. reid: i would move to table that. i ask for the yeas and nays. the presidinthe presiding offics there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators who wish to change -- to vote or to change his or her vote? there being none, the ayes are
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90, the nays are 10. the motion to table the motion to commit is agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. the presiding officer: without objection, laid on the table. ms. landrieu: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the -- the leader -- the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president,
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are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that a quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, just a brief observation about the vote that we just had. i would say to our colleague, the senator from kentucky, senator paul, the issue of the american effort in libya is a legitimate discussion for debate, i think a legitimate issue for debate, that's a debate we need to have, and i will be talking to the majority leader about the appropriate time to do that. a number of senators are talking among themselves on a bipartisan basis about what kind of resolution would be appropriate, and certainly the senate speaking on this issue is something we need to do in the very near future. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: quorum call: quorum call:
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mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president mr. president, i ask further further proceedings be dispensed with. many republicans in the house, spurred on by the tea party, are radicals and still threatening to throw a temper tantrum and shut down the government if they don't get all their demands. this morning's "washington post" reports that speaker john
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boehner received an ovation from the republican caucus when he told them that he had directed the house administration committee to prepare for a shutdown. to cut medicare, medicaid and social security and cut tax rates for the wealthiest in our society. this tea party budget is an unpress tkepblted assault on --
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unprecedented salt on middle class and working americans. it would reduce access to health care and higher education and do grave damage to our public schools and our ability to prepare the next generation for the jobs of the future. let's be clear, this is not about reducing budget deficits. republican governors and republicans in congress are demanding budget cuts for the middle class at the same time they continue to push for tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthy. so call it what it is. republicans are waging a class warfare in america. republican governors have the gall to attack teachers and firefighters, police officers, other public employees. and in the words of indiana governor mitch daniels, he called them -- quote -- "the privileged elite." end quote. now think about that.
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are teachers, are firefighters, prison guards, others who are public union -- public union members are the privileged elite in our society, according to governor daniels. and why are they the privileged elite? well, i guess because they actually have pensions. they actually have access to decent health care, and they're making decent wages with decent working conditions. that's the privileged elite. i guess now that the middle class are people who are working for minimum wage at mcdonald's with no health care, no pensions, no retirement, not enough to support their families, i guess that's the new middle class in america. but the privileged elite are those that have pensions, access to health care, decent wages. this is the worst kind of
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demagoguery against loyal and hardworking public servants, our friends and our neighbors. we shouldn't be dragging people down because they have a middle-class life. we should be working every day to give every american that opportunity. meanwhile, as republicans at the state and national level go after the health care and retirement security of middle-class americans, they are going all out to pass more tax cuts for the wealthy. the republican governor in michigan called for a $1.8 billion cut in corporate taxes. wisconsin governor walker has called for $200 million in cuts. here in congress just a few months ago in, december republicans demanded and got hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax cuts largely, again, for the wealth kwraoefplt and now -- for the wealthy. and now house republicans, the tea party-driven house republicans, are demanding that we reduce the top tax rate for high earners. get this. we reduce the top tax rate for
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high earners from 35% down to 25%,ing preserving every penny of the tax breaks given to the wealthy given. all these tax cuts will make deficits far worse. this whole battle that we're talking about is not about deficits. indeed the tax cuts congressional republicans secured in december will add, according to c.b.o., $354 billion to the deficit just this year, and even more next year. early this year house republicans voted to repeal the health reform law which would add $210 billion to the deficit over the next decade and over $1 trillion in the decade to follow. again, that's the savings that c.b.o. said would come about because of the health reform bill that we passed. and yet, these same republican politicians in the house and around the country are claiming
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to be worried about the deficit. well, i think this demagoguery is not fooling anyone any longer. it's not about deficit reduction. it's about ideology. republicans are taking a meat ax to programs for the middle class, everything from cancer research to pell grants to health care. they're gutting the safety net started and built up over generations, starting with president franklin roosevelt. it's the same old republican game plan. give huge, unaffordable tax cuts to the wealthy and give budget cuts to the middle class and the most vulnerable in our society, including seniors and people with disabilities. mr. president, this new tea party republican budget proposal gives new meaning to the word "extreme." look at what they've proposed. the new budget that's just come
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out from the house side would basically eliminate medicare as we know it. it would create a new voucher program with seniors in the future paying out of pocket for many lifesaving health care costs. estimates are that this would raise premiums and cut benefits for 25 million seniors. it's a massive giveaway to private insurers, a system that c.b.o., congressional budget office, tells us is much more expensive and we know less efficient than medicare. and by design these vouchers would not keep up with rising health care costs, so they would lose value every year with seniors paying the difference or ending up uninsured. again, the assault on medicare is a transfer of wealth from the middle class to insurance companies and their shareholders, their stockholders. the house budget would reoept prescription drug -- reopen the prescription drug doughnut hole
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requiring seniors to pay $3,600 a year more for prescription drugs. they propose to block grant medicaid and cut $1 trillion in health care services which would end vital services that seniors and disabled native native amers depend on. benefit shifting the cost to the states this would worsen state cost deficits and toledo higher property -- and lead to higher property taxes. 17 governors sent a letter to congressional leaders opposing this writing that -- quote -- "it would shift costs and risks to states. states would be forced to bear all costs after hitting the annual cap just as the baby-boom generation is entering their retirement years. with likely steep increases in their health care and long-term care costs. the ensuing funding shortfall will leave states with an untenable choice between increasing taxes, cutting other state programs or cutting
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eligibility benefits or provider payments." end quote. that's from a letter that 17 governors sent to the president. i remind my colleagues that republicans complained bitterly in the last congress when we approved support for states to maintain health programs for the poor in the recent recession. a level of support the republicans are now trying to slash in the states. the house budget would put future seniors in the same budget vice. and the republican budget proposal doesn't stop at mailing the safety net and program that seniors rely on for a secure retirement. it makes profound and cuts the entire range of programs that underpin the american middle class standard of living, everything from education, student grants and loans, law enforcement, clean air and clean water, food safety, biomedical research, highways, bridges,
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infrastructure. in short, all of the programs and services that americans rely on for a decent way of life. mr. president, the republican assault on the middle class is breathtaking both in scope and its depth. and it could not come at a worst time for working americans who are already under enormous strain, who already fear that the american dream is slipping away. it's no secret that people are working harder and longer than ever before, but they still can't seem to meet the cost of basic every day needs like education, transportation, housing, health care, let alone put away enough money to support themselves in old age. even before the great recession during boon times, working people weren't sharing in our nation's prosperity. real wages peaked in the 1970's, and they haven't moved since. think about this, real wages,
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when accounted for with inflation, real wages are about where they were in 1979. think about that. the middle class in america has not made any headway since 1979. and you wonder why people are upset. because they see the middle class way of life slipping away from them and their children. i don't think you can say that the wealthiest four or -- 400 or 500 people in america are the at -- are at the same place they were in 1979. not at all. in fact, in 1970 -- in the mid-190's, the top -- 1970's, the top 1% of americans in terms of wealth, the top 1%, had abo about $8 trillion in assets. today that same 1% have
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over $40 trillion in assets. not the same as where they were in 1979. the top 1% of senior income -- last friday our colleague from rhode island, senator whitehouse, was on the floor and he had some very startling, i think, statistics. he pointed out that the 400 highest income earners in america, the 400 highest income earners in america earned an average of $344 million a year. got that? they earned an average o of $344 million a year and they paid an effective tax of 16.7%. the average person working around here, the police you see down here that guard the
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capitol, the janitors that clean the capitol, food service workers you see, you know what they're paying? they're paying 29%, 30% of their income in taxes. but the 400 highest only paid 16.7%. and you wonder why people think things aren't quite on the up and up? why things aren't quite fair? when you go around, you detect people are just feeling kind of uneasy about where this country is headed? and, yet, people are profoundly anxious about the future, but look what the house republicans are doing. they're going to make it worse on the middle class. people are worried that they won't be able to have a decent house or enough food for their families or pay for their kids'
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college education. people are there working harder and harder, they don't even take vacations any longer because they can't afford to. if we learned anything about the -- from the great recession, it's that most families, even though solidly in the middle class are just one pink slip away from economic catastrophe. now, everyone keeps talking about a recovery, many of our friends and neighbors aren't seeing it. corporate america is sitting on over a trillion dollars in cash. a trillion dollars in cash while 14 million americans are out of work. that's just the official number. that's not counting the 15 million underemployed who quit looking for jobs because they've been shut out of the job market. so this recovery doesn't like a real recovery. it looks like a repeat of the last recession where the recovery went to the wealthiest and the working people were left
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behind. and now republicans have proposed a a budget that will destroy the middle class in this country. that's what the republican budget is about. many republicans apparently believe that as public sector workers and others lose their jobs, it will actually somehow be good for the economy. two weeks ago the republican staff on the joint economic committee released a report arguing that widespread layoffs would actually increase jobs. how about that for funny reasoning? as noble prize winning -- as a noble prize winning economist, paul crudeman, pointed out, this is a throwback to treasure secretary andrew melon, that the idea of driving down wages and benefits will increase -- this is the doctrine of the g.o.p. if we drive down wages an benefits, we will increase
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employment. well, i suppose you could. i suppose if we got everybody down working for an hour, there would be a lot of jobs out there. the idea is not a job. it's not just having someone work. the idea is to have a good job. as i have pointed out many times in a speech i've given in the past, when you think about it in our sorted history of america, every slave had a job. think about that. every slave had a job. were they free? were they happy? did they keep their families together? were they able to build up a middle class nest egg? did they have decent retirement an health care? but they had a job. is that all we're after is just a job? it seems to me what we are after are jobs that pay decent wages,
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decent working conditions, that allow people to have time with their kids and their family. what's wrong with having a job that pays decent wage and have decent working conditions and you get to take a decent vacation every year, you have health care coverage, you have pension set aside for your old age? what's wrong with that kind of a job? these are the kind of jobs we want for americans, not just a job. but the republican philosophy seems to be just a job. for get about the pension. forget about your standard of living. just be thankful that you've got a minimum wage job. that's where this republican budget is driving us. now, mr. president, i couldn't help but think about this in terms of looking at what's happening around the world. and what's happening in libya and what happened in egypt and
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syria and yemen and what's happening in other places around the globe -- i think when stripped away of all of it what seems to me there is in all these countries people are saying we've had enough of a system where a few at the top get everything and nobody else gets anything and we're all at the bottom. so many of these countries theerks revolutions are -- these revolutions are going on so people can have a more decent life, a better share, if you will, of the products of their own society. so they're going in the direction of trying to establish a better middle class, a stronger middle class. and what are we doing in america? the bastion of middle class virtues? we're going in the other direction. we're destroying the middle class. we're take away the kind of livelihoods that built the middle class.
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that's what this is about. the future of our nation depends on our ability to ensure that the benefits from economic growth are widely shared -- widely shared. that means putting policies in place that believe in a strong and vibrant middle class with good jobs, fair wages, good benefits. that's the america that i want to see, one where people who work hard and play by the rules can have a decent life. tragically the tea party budget plan would take us in exactly the opposite direction. it would gut the whole range of programs that support the middle class in our country. it would dismantle the safety net for seniors, for those with disabilities, for the low income. a safety net, as i said earlier, created under president roosevelt, and has been strengthened since.
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mr. president, the republican tea party budget is built on bad priorities, bad policies, and just plain bad values. as columnist e.j.dionne points out, americans can now see how radical the new conservatives in washington are and the accident to which some politicians would transfer even more resources from the have notes and the have a littles to the have a lots. end quote. mr. president, i do not believe the american people will stand for this unwise, unbalanced, unfair assault on their economic security and their way of life. we must stand strong and oppose these grossly misguided proposals in every way that we possibly can. this is a battle that's joined and we cannot be faint of heart nor weak of spirit.
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we must stand strong for middle class values and what allowed america to become a strong middle class nation. i believe the american people can definitely on our side in this battle. mr. president, i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: madam president, what is the order? the presiding officer: the senate is in morning business. mrs. boxer: is there any time limit on senators? the presiding officer: ten minutes. mrs. boxer: okay. i would ask that i be given aen an additional 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you, madam president. i come to the floor to automatic about the possibility of a government shutdown and to say that such an alternative would
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be very hurtful for the people of this country. i was here when the government was shut down before by another republican speaker, and i can tell you that my small business people, for example, who count on tourism aren't yosemite national park, still remember the sting of losing over $200 million because people had to cancel their trips. that's one example. i know that superfund site cleanups were halted in their tracks. we had issues at the border. we had a whole series of problems, and it seems to me it is a reckless way to go. but it also seems to me that the house republicans want us to have a government shutdown. why would i say that?
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i say that because republicans "gave the speaker of the house an ovation when he informed them ... to begin preemg for a possible shutdown." an ovation. i would hope we would reserve our ovations for our leaders when they tell us that because of our work in funding the national institutes of health, we now have a cure for cancer. i'd like to have an ovation about that. i'd like to have an ovation for our firefighters and our first responders who are brave every single day of the year. i'd like to have an ovation for them. i don't think having an ovation because we might have a
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government shortdown is appropriate. but, you know what? it was an honest response. that's what they want. and you have to ask yourselves, you know, why? why do they want this? because they want to cut $100 billion from the president's budget, when democrats have already agreed to go and meet them with $73 billion in cuts? madam president, there are three parties to these negotiations: the president, who is a democrat, the senate, which is democratic; and the house, which is republican. since when does one-third represent a majority? since when is one-third allowed to say "my way or the highway?"
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well, apparentlyely, that's what they're doing. they put before the house h.r. 1 that has all these cuts, but not just cuts, political vendettas atortured it them, like zeroing out the funds for planned parenthood. nothing to do with abortion funding, because you can't use federal funds for that; the other work of planned parenthood: in preventing unplanned pregnancies, the work they do to ensure that people can have contraception, the work they do to make sure there san spread of communicable diseases, sexually transmitted, the work they do and, yes, no what the what the right -- no matter what the right wing say, to do breast cancer screenings. there was a big article in the paper, "senator box certificate spreading a big lie that planned
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parenthood does breast cancer screenings." although my understanding is that one of their clinics does mammograms, they definitely say to someone, if they find a specific lump in that breast cancer screenings, they will help people get the help they need. yes, they do that. they do pap smears. they make sure that they talk about the dangerous spread of hiv-aids. five million people go to those clinics. they wnts to shut it down. they want to shut -- they wnts to shut it down. they want to shut down title 10, the whroal program, which is family planning. so on the one side they don't want abortions -- nobody does; on the other side, they turn their backs on family planning. this doesn't make sense. that's what was in h.r. 1. also, in my state, $700 million
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would have been cult in pell grants -- would have been cut in pell grants which meant a million california students would no longer be able to rely on them and would therefore have to drop oust college. that's what was in h.r. 1. that's what they want us to accept. head start -- everybody knows head start. it is a success story. and the fact is h.r. 1 slashes it by $1.1 billion would lay off 55,000 teachers and staff, and more than 218,000 low-income children would be cut from the program, in my state, 24,000 low-income kids would lose access to head start. and they're doing all this while they're giving the huge tax breaks to the billionaires. it's wrong. they would cut community health care centers, 457,000
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californians. you know, that's a big number. there are some states that have fewer than that. 457,000 californians would lose their health care if theyence with to community health care centers. 12 centers would close. why on earth would anyone want to do it? we will, they want to do it. -- we will, well, they want to do it. we can figure out other ways to get to those cuts. the thing that amazes me is democrats are the ones that balanced the budget with bill clinton. we took deficits as high as the eye can see, debt forever, and we turned it all arntiondz balanced the budget and created surpluses and now we're being lectured to that if he we don't do it the exact way our friends want, which is to hurt children and education and environmental protection and, by the way, safety issues like making sure that our airplanes don't develop holes in them, an important
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point. they go after all of this. cuts to after-school programs -- that breaks my heart because i know kids -- 11,000 kids in california will be shut out. and we all know kids need help after school. and if they're alone, they get in trouble. they get it trouble, it costs us money. these cuts are ridiculous. we can sit together and work together and do it in a much fairer way. if people pay their fair share, if everybody takes a little bit of a nick, we can get there. we've shown them how to get to $73 billion worth of cuts. that's just for the next six months. they're demanding a hundred billion, their way or the highway. this is a ridiculous situation to be in. and i'm just going to say again, if you control one-third of the
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power in this trio where you have the president is a third, the senate is a third, and the house is a third and you're in the house and you're the only ones run by the republicans, by what measure do you have a right to say, "my way or the highway"? i don't think the american people would think that's right. they want to us work together, and that's the message of the president. i got to tell you, the president -- this budget by the republicans, h.r. 1, that we voted down here, would lead to nearly 900 fewer border patrol agents nationwide. everyone wants to make sure our border is safe. 900 would be gone. how about $1.3 billion cut in the national institutes of health, working as her to develop new treatment and cures for cancer and alzheimer's. if you ask the average family
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what they fear, they'll mention we fear that somebody in our family's going to suffer from one of these diseases. it's outrageous. they're going to kill an energy department loan program when we know we can't be dependent on foreign oil. we need to find those alternatives. energy research and development slashed by almost $2 billion. transportation infrastructure slashed. draconian cuts at the environmental protection agency. and then all these riders. riders and riders and riders. a whole bunch of them, madam president, as i know you're aware, on the environmental protection side. here's the irony. the republicans want to destroy the environmental protection agency, which was created by richard nixon, a republican president. former administrators of 9 e.p.a., republicans -- of the e.p.a., republicans, rucklehaus and whitman, just
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brought a beautiful op-ed in the washington post -- i believe it was "the washington post," or "the times" i'm not sure which, in which they clearly say, please, this is a bipartisan matter. but yet the republicans want to in h.r. 1 and do stop the e.p.a. from enforcing clean air law, which will make our skies dirtier, our kids get more asthma, premature deaths and all the rest. so big surprise that we voted it down over here. it only got 44 votes. it's radical. it's radical. and we can meet them way more than halfway, we already have, without hurting our people and still getting the budget cuts that we need. well, i'm here to say it has now been 35 days, 35 days since the senate passed s. 388. what is s. 388? senate bill 388 says if there is
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a shutdown, members of congress and the president will not receive their pay. why do i think this is important? because most people don't know that although our staffs won't get paid, although many federal employees will not get paid, members of congress have a special protection built in because we're paid under a statute and so is the president. and so 35 days ago we sent over to the house a very simple bill. it says, if there's a shutdown, basically that means failure on our part to keep the government going -- what could be more basic than that -- we shouldn't get paid, and we shouldn't get paid retroactively. our colleagues over there have taken no action.
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now, if you ask them, they'll say, oh, yes, we d. w did. we put that in another bill and passed it. well, you know what the other bill is? the other bill is an illegal bill. the other bill would make our founders roll over in their graves. this is what the bill they embedded no bug, no pay in -- no budget, no pay in. follow me. and i especially hope the young people listening to this debate will follow me, because you've learned how a bill becomes a law. it goes through a committee usually -- doesn't have to -- it goes to one house. they pass it. the other house passes it, so you get the house and the sena senate. and then it goes to the president. he either signs it or vetoes it. if he signs it, it's law. if it's vetoed, two-thirds can override him. guess what? they put no budget, no pay into a bill that says the following.
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if the senate has not acted by a date certain on h.r. 1 -- this horrible bill that i just talked to you about -- that bill will have been deemed to be the law. now it's a new deal. we deem. so in other words, i have 20 bills that i've introduced. today i deem them law. i have some great bills. one is a violence against children act, very, very important. another would help, you know, many of my transportation folks. i deem them all law. how -- how is that legal? it's illegal. so they're saying, if we don't automatic h.r. 1 again, it's deemed the law. it's ridiculous -- it doesn't even pass the smell test, the laugh test, and they've embedded in it no budget, no pay. so, big surprise, we're not going to pass it over here in
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that form. so i'm saying that this is a maneuver and a little dance by speaker boehner and eric kantor, who is the leader over there, to make it look like they're not for them getting their pay but to do nothing about it. so let me tell you what i've done. i've written a letter and it has many colleagues on it. i will read the letter. we're sending it by end of business tonight. "do speake"dear speaker boehnere to request a meeting with you to discuss s. 388, members to prohibit members of congress and the president from receiving any pay during a government shutdown. over a month ago -- over one month has passed since the senate unanimously passed our bill. despite written requests for immediate house consideration, you have failed to schedule a
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vote on stand-alone legislation that would treat members of congress and the president no differently from other federal employees during a shutdown. our bill is simple. if we cannot do our work and keep the government functioning, we should not receive a payche paycheck. if we can't compromise and meet each other halfway, then we should not get paid. as we noted in a previous letter, while appearing on the cnn program "crossfire" in 1995, mr. boehner offered his support for a bill identical to s. 388, so it's unclear why he has not scheduled a vote on stand-alone legislation. embedding no budget, no pay in a bill that has no chance of passage isn't fooling anybody. we request a meeting with speaker boehner as soon as possible, whether in person or via conference call, to discuss how we can work together to immediately send this legislation to the president."
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so here's a bill that passed here without a dissenting vote. so it's basically 100-0 in a time when we can't agree on the color of that wall. we agreed pass this no budget, no pay legislation. but spear boehner -- but speaker boehner, who got a standing ovation -- maybe it was a sitting ovation, it didn't say standing ovation but he got an ovation when talking about preparing for a shutdown, has not done one thing to make sure that his members and he do not get paid in case of a shutdown. i think it's appalling, it's embarrassing. i just am stunned. and the reason i am pressing this, madam president, is i believe that people number treated equally. i believe that if they are cavalierly applauding and giving an ovation to speaker boehner when he just talks about planning for a shutdown, i
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believe they want a shutdown. and they have no skin in the game. they pay no price. they get paid. we had one of them over there complaining that he didn't get paid enough money. he gets paid over $170,000. it wasn't enough money. sorry, boo-hoo. there are people in this government who get paid $50,000, $60,000, $40,000, $30,000, and they're not going to get paid. sorry. and i'm just going to keep coming to this floor. 36 days, 37, 38, 39, 40. this is just plain wrong. now, i want to say who has signed our letter, and you can see, madam president, it's really a good selection of the caucus, from liberal to conservative. joe manchin, claire mccaskill, michael bennet, ben nelson, bob
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menendez, debbie stabenow, jay rockefeller, kay hagan, jeff merkley, ron wyden, mark warner, sherrod brown, tom harkin, chris coons, john tester, sheldon whitehouse, and senator mikulski and senator begich, myself and senator casey are the first two names because it happens to be our bill. it's the boxer-casey bill. so in closing, i want to just spread the word from here over to the house side that we are really serious, those of us who signed this letter. we are keeping this issue in front of the american people. because i assure you, if you walked out and asked anyone that happened to be walking down the street who was not involved here, didn't work for the federal government, and you said this -- in case of a shutdown, because the two sides failed to negotiate an agreement, the only
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people who are assured of their pay -- assured of their pay -- would be members of congress and the president, what do you think? i think the average person would say, that's wrong. they should pay a price. this is a basic function of theirs. to keep this government running, to keep this country going. i -- you know, i could tell you because i remember the last one, the pain and the hurt from people who wanted to get on social security, to veterans who were trying to figure out their disability payments, frankly, to everyone that calls your office or my office just in really deep trouble because they're having problems with a federal agency, they need the help of a federal agency, they want to make sure to get their medicare taken care of, their social security taken care of, or they're contractors who have private employees and they're fixing the road or
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fixing a bridge. this is just wrong. we're trying to find out exactly who would be affected, but i can tell you right now is not the time to lose, for example, inspectors who are inspecting the safety of our aircraft. i would hope that they would stay o. but we don't know -- i would hope that they would stay on. but we don't know. what about those who are inspecting our nuclear power plants? you know, we have 23 nuclear reactors that are the same exact reactor as the ones that, you know, have these problems in japan. we don't want to stop those inspections. they have to move forward. we don't want to have the usgs, that's the u.s. geological survey, close down in the middle of making new earthquake maps. i care about this a lot. i've got two nuclear power plants that are on or near earth earthquake faults. so i just say to my friends on the other side, i know that my
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message isn't pretty to you. it's not pretty to say you don't deserve to get paid in case of a shutdown. but that's my message. and i think once the american people wake up to this, that we're getting paid but our staffs are not getting paid, i think there's going to be an outcry. and so i ask the speaker in behalf of all those colleagues that i read to take up s. 388 without delay. it's sitting at the desk. what does it say? members of congress and the president should not be paid in case of a shutdown. that's a pretty simple thing. and so i know my colleagues are on the floor, and let me guess, senator blumenthal and senator lieberman, let me guess, might you be here to discuss what happened last night? and i am going to -- since my remarks were not happy, i am happy to give up the floor at this time and listen to their
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remarks, and i congratulate both of them on just a great victory. i yield the floor. mr. lieberman: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair and i thank my friend from california. one might say in the context of the debates going on in congress now that senator blumenthal and i have come to the floor of the u.s. senate to talk about a governmental program that really works, that has inspired an entire state, perhaps a nation, and i speak, of course, of the university of connecticut basketball program. madam president, it's with great joy that i come to the floor of the senate today to congratulate the university of connecticut's men's basketball team and their great coach jim calhoun on winning the ncaa championship last night. this has been a remarkable
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season. it -- a team that started unranked, a young team in a year that was supposed to be a rebuilding year just came together in a magical way. they had their ups in the season early, they had their downs as time went on, but the run that began with the big east tournament a few weeks ago has for our state and i think anybody who follows and loves college basketball really been inspirational. i do want to say in terms of inspiration -- and i suppose i might say in the spirit of bipartisanship or at least good sportsmanship, to offer congratulations to the butler bulldogs on their great run in the tournament which also was inspirational and to thank my indiana colleagues for their good sportsmanship and for what they describe as the best popcorn in america made in indiana that is part of a friendly wager they made,
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senators lugar and coats with senator blumenthal and me, we will be pleased to accept and devour. this has been quite a year. led by their floor leader kimball walker, assisted by an extraordinary group of young athletes, this group of student athletes demonstrated to all of us what a administration of hard work, dedication, commitment and teamwork can achieve. honestly, i tip my hat to these top dogs today of college basketball. of course, in my opinion, no matter how good and how much potential the players had on this uconn men's basketball team, they simply couldn't have done it with their great coach and a great man, jim calhoun. this is not the first time i have had the honor to come to
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the senate floor to commend the performance of coach calhoun and the uconn huskies. in fact, with last night's victory, jim has etched his name in basketball glory by winning his third national title. he becomes only the fifth coach in history to win three national championships, and he joins the ranks of other greats like john wooden and coach k., mike krzyzewski. he is one of only eight coaches to run up over 800 career wins. over the years, i have watched jim build upon the athletic program at uconn, transforming it from an occasional regional contender to a regular national powerhouse. his three national championships and seven big east championships have put our team, the state team of a relatively small state
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really on the college basketball map and set a high standard of excellence. i think none of this would have happened without coach calhoun's vision, his drive, his caring for his players and his just extraordinary basketball brains. there's a larger lesson, as there often is in sports, but this was a team that came into the big east tournament with most people thinking the season would end for them quickly, and they -- they had will, which is a word coach calhoun uses a lot. they always had the potential and the ability, but they had the will and they proved to everybody -- i'm looking at the senate pages now, young people. there are a lot of people who read these uconn huskies out at different times of the season, but they didn't read themselves out of the competition, and their coach never did. he -- he kept telling them they had what it took to be
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champions. they pulled together, they worked together, they developed their potential to the fullest. they played and live like -- lived like a family. you might say coach calhoun is the father who employs -- the loving father who employs a lot of tough love but drew gritness out of these players and gave all of us in connecticut a tremendous sense of pride. i don't want to finish my statement without also telling coach gen oe oauriemma and the great players on the uconn women's college basketball how thankful we are and thank them for another season that was filled with historic accomplishments and an impressive run to the final four and a record-breaking 90 consecutive win streak. the laidy huskies were led by the all-impressive mia moore who
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achieved a.p. all-american honors in each of her four seasons at uconn and scored over 3,000 career points. so i give my congratulations to coach geno auriemma and the players on the uconn huskies. the lady huskies also made us proud. i will yield the floor in a minute to my colleague, senator blumenthal. it strikes me this is the first time i have had a chance to celebrate here when my former colleague chris dodd is not here. the first time we celebrated together on the floor, i ended my remarks with the uconn cheer. afterward, senator dodd, then the senior senator, gave me a hard time as to whether i would make a good cheerleader and whether it was a decorous thing to do on the floor of the senate. i told him at the time it would have been worse. i could have done the uconn huskies' woof. but now i'm the senior senator,
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and may i conclude, madam president, by simply saying u-c-o-n-n! uconn, uconn, uconn! national champs. i know that my n needs a little work, and i will be working on that from now until next year when hopefully we secure another championship. i thank the chair, and i yield the floor to senator blumenthal. mr. blumenthal: i thank the senior senator from connecticut for that very, very eloquent tribute to our team. i am not going to try to match the cheer this year, but perhaps next, and i thank him for providing such a model of support for the university of connecticut. truly a government program that works, but also obviously one that is completely nonpolitical, bipartisan, perhaps providing another lesson for us here, and i'm very honored to rise in celebrating this really
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remarkable accomplishment. this majestic and really momentous victory crul minute eights a kind of magical journey for this team. they really defied the odds. they disproved the doubts and the doubters, and they have stared down adversity with real grit and grace. remember that they rallied after whosing four out of five of their last regular season games and then had an extraordinary streak of 11 straight wins to win the big east and then the ncaa championship, and they were just relentless and courageous in believing in themselves throughout that very, very tough battle. at some point, as someone said, this team forgot how to lose. again, a life lesson for many of us. as in every remarkable triumph, this one had a team effort and
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it had stars, kemba walker was perhaps the most notable among them, and he won awards that recognized his remarkable individual effort. but there were also freshmen who were important. i say that as a freshman senator. jeremy lamb and roscoe smith, and as important as any player, as my colleague has recognized, was coach calhoun, who really demonstrated again the reason that he is a champion and a hero to husky fans throughout the state of connecticut and the nation. he gave his team strength at the critical times, and he drew that strength from his own life experiences. just last sunday, he recalled his days shortly after his father's death when he was pumping gas and cutting stone and collecting metal in a
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shipyard in massachusetts. he's a fighter and he's a leader, and the uconn basketball program has come a long way under his leadership. many recall the days when they had no championships and certainly no winning teams. the program began in 1901 with a season that consisted of a single game against wyndham high school, and it was 98 years until coach calhoun won them their first championship and now their third. he won that championship because of the great playing of those teams and the players who have gone on to performances that are remarkable in other leagues. i want to join in paying tribute also to geno auriemma and the lady huskies.
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they came very, very close, heart breakingly close to another championship, and maya moore and every member of that team deserves our gratitude and admiration, and there's no doubt that both teams, both of them have a bright future. i look forward to being here again next year and celebrating another huskies' victory, hopefully by both the women's and the men's team next year. and thank you, madam president, and i'm happy to yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be dispense the with and consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, paul ryan is a congressman from janesville, with is business, and i know it because it's --
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wisconsin, and i know it because it's right across the worried about from illinois. i have relatives and friends who live in the area and i like paul. i served with him on the bowles-simpson deficit commission. we spent a lot of time together. he's a very bright person and has been give in' big assignment as chairman of the house appropriation. he and i have different views of the world of poll -- politics and as you can imagine, we have different views and i respect him for his intelligence. but he's laid out for a plan now for house republicans, a budget plan, which is very specific in the goals that he set for america. now, there are some things that paul and i agree o. we agree -- paul and i agree o. we agree on the fact that we are facing a deficit crisis in this country. we cannot continue to borrow 40 cents for every dollar we spend. it's unsustainability. and we borrow the money from countries like china. china is a nation that is hard-charging and competing with the united states, and they're one of our major creditors.
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now, that's a delicate position to be in, when a country that you're competing with for jobs and economic growth also happens to be your banker, your creditor. that's the case. we can't sustain that. and as we watch our national debt increase, we understand that we have to take serious others in deal with it. this morning at a bipartisan meeting of senators, which the president attended, we had the chairman of the senate budget committee, kent conrad, describe our current situation. we have at this point in time about 14% of our gross domestic product is coming into our government in revenue, which is the lowest percentage in 60 years and the expenditures of our government represent about 24% of our gross domestic product. the difference, the 10% difference, between revenue and expenditure, equals deficit.
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now, we have to reach a point where we are prepared to cut spending and make changes that will lead to a more stable economy and deal with our deficit honestly. there were two state legislators who wrote a letter to the "new york times" several weeks ago that caught my attention, a democrat and a republican, and they were talking about their state challenge and they said, we've come to the conclusion that we can't cut our way out of it, we can't tax our way out of it, we've got to think our way out of it. we've got to really focus on changes in government policy that reduce waste and inefficiency and move us toward, in their case their state budget, toward a more solid position. i think the same lesson applies in washington, that we have to be thinking about what we need to do to move forward so that our children and grandchildren don't inherit the deficit that we now face. the deficit which, of course, is growing by the day. i always like to give a little historic perspective here so that people understand where we
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are and how we arrived there. and i ask people to think back to the year 2000, if they can, and in the year 2000, president william jefferson clinton was leaving office and president george w. bush was coming in office. snapshot -- what was the state of america then? well, the napshot would tell you -- the snapshot would tell you that we had a national debt in the year 2000 of $5 trillion. the accumulated net national debt of america when president clinton left office, $5 trillion. we were in our third year of generating a surplus. that is, more money coming into our government than being spent. the surplus was being put into the social security trust fund and buying more years of solvency for the social security trust fund. president clinton, as he left office and handed the keys to the white house to president george w. bush, said, and next year, this coming year, fiscal
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year that you will inherit, 2001, you'll have $120 billion surplus. welcome to washington. well, now fast forward eight years later, the year is 2008. president george w. bush is leaving office, handing the keys to the white house to president barack obama. what was the national debt? it was $5 trillion when he came into office, president george w. bush, and as he left, the projected debt for the next year was $11 trillion. in eight years, he had more than doubled the national debt in america. and we were witnessing record deficits. and he said to president obama, here is next year's budget and, incidentally, it's a $1.2 trillion deficit. how did this reversal occur in just eight years? it occurred because the policies of the bush administration called for waging two wars and
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not paying for them and doing something that had never been done in u.s. history by any president -- tax cuts in the middle of a war. a war, of course, is over and above the ordinary expenses of government, and if you cut revenues at the same time, it makes it impossible to balance the budget. in fact, drove us to record high deficits. and that's what president obama inherited, an $11 trillion national debt and a deficit for the year that he faced, first year in office, of $1.2 trillion and losing hundreds of thousands of jobs to unemployment as he was being sworn in. fortunately, the recession that we faced slowed down and starts to stabilize and as of last friday we see the lowest unemployment rate in two years. we're coming out of this slowly but we're coming out of it, we're making this recovery. but point that we made in the deficit commission and needs to be repeated is as we chart a
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glide path to bring us out of this deficit, let's get the recession clearly behind us. let's get the 14 million americans unemployed back to work. we're not going to balance the budget with 14 million americans unemployed. these are people who need the basic necessities of life and are not working and paying taxes. that creates a drain on the treasury. so we need to move toward restoring jobs, creating good-paying jobs in america as part of our overall agenda. now, that is the lead-in to congressman paul ryan proposing a budget resolution on his side of the rotunda. he released it today. and, as you take a look at this budget resolution, where it leads, you see that congressman ryan claims that he will reduce the deficits by $4 trillion roughly over the next ten years compared to the president's budget. but he achieves this solely through spending cuts, but his cuts are focused.
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instead of looking at all of the spending of government, he takes a nick, a small amount out of the pentagon spending, some $78 billion. well, i will tell you that in light of the pentagon budget, that is a fractional amount. i want america to be safe. i want our security to never be in question. but i'll tell you point-blank, we waste a lot of money in the pentagon with contracting out and with things that we shouldn't buy and we can save a lot of money there. and congressman ryan's budget does not address that. he leaves, unfortunately, that aspect of the budget untouched, largely untouched. $78 billion over five years is hardly an effort to try to reduce waste and inefficiency in the department of defense. then he turns to the domestic discretionary budget. now, that represents 12% of the overall budget. that has health care, education, and medical research, things of that nature, in it.
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and that's where he makes the biggest cuts in the coming five and ten years. and when it comes to the revenue side of the equation, should, for example, those who are well-off, millionaires in america, pay higher taxes? no. the budget proposed by congressman ryan reduces the top marginal rate for individuals and corporations to 25% from 39.6%, producing an enormous windfall with that reduction to the wealthiest individuals and corporations, even as spending for programs that benefit low-income families, like pell grants for students and low-income families who go to college, are being slushed under his -- slashed under his budget. because the tax plan is revenue neutral, the plan must, by definition, include tax increases for lower-income americans to pay for the tax cuts which congressman ryan's budget gives to the wealthiest 2% of america. is that the key to our future? cutting taxes for the wealthiest
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people in this country, raising taxes for lower- and middle-income families? i don't think that's fair. and those of us who love this country and feel blessed that we were given a chance to live here and do well here i think should accept the reality that we pay back something to this great country and keeping it safe and growing in the right direction. congressman ryan's budget resolution goes in the opposite direction, cutting taxes for those who've really been well-off in our country, those who are well-to-do. the thing that troubles me the most about chairman ryan's budget resolution is what it does to health care. now, i will tell you, you cannot seriously address the deficit and set in our country without addressing the cost of health care. and as the presiding officer knows, we spent a lot of time here debating that over the last tbreef years, and we -- previous two years, and we came up with a plan to try and at least reduce the rate of growth in health care costs in america.
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and i think we achieved some good things. trying to bring more people into coverage when it came to health care and fewer people showing up at hospitals with no insurance, no payment, actually having their medical bills transferred to everyone else. chairman ryan released a budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 that would repeal the health reform law which we passed, signed by the president, and it would end medicare and medicaid programs as we know them today. his proposal balances the budget unfortunately at the expense of those who can least afford it: low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities. mr. durbin: first, chairman ryan proposes repealing the entire affordable care act. that means that all the consumer protections and benefits put in place by that law would disappear. what does it mean to the average family? right now, we changed the law so young americans can stay on their parent's health policies until age 27.
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and i can tell you, having lived through this experience of putting kids through college, it's a real worry. your son or daughter graduates from college, they no longer have health insurance through the ordinary means, either through the college or through the family, and now they're on their own looking for a job. and if you're like most parents, you worry. they are one diagnosis or one accident away from serious medical bills. and you want them to have the best care. i can tell you how many times -- i can't tell you how many times i asked my son or daughter, "do you have health insurance now that you're finished with college?" oh, dad, i feel great, i'm healthy. i wish we could all be so confident. we changed the law so that young people could stay under their parent's health insurance plans until age 27. now, that i think is reasonable. paul ryan, republican budget resolution would repeal that. i don't think that's helpful. we also have what's called the doughnut hole in medicare, where seniors receive payments for prescription drugs, and there's a gap in coverage called the doughnut hole.
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we start filling that in so seniors have seamless coverage, so they can have the prescriptions they need to stay healthy, independent and strong, out of the hospital, out of the nursing home, in the life that they want to lead. unfortunately, that effort would be repealed by congressman paul ryan's republican budget resolution. in addition, we put in the law a provision that people with preexisting conditions wouldn't be denied health insurance. initially we protect children. if you have a child who is diabetic, has a history of cancer or some other disease, it might be next to impossible to buy health insurance. we protect that family and say children under the age of 18 cannot be discriminated against because of preexisting conditi conditions. and, unfortunately, chairman ryan's proposal would eliminate that protection as well. it also means that health care delivery system reforms put in place by the law, things like bundling payments to medic


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